Title: I Would Trade My Heart To Have You Back
Author: SpencnerTibbsLuvr (KliqzAngel)
Fandom: NCIS and Stargate: SG1
Genre: Angst, Slash, Challenge Response
Relationship(s): Tony DiNozzo/Jack O’Neill, Daniel Jackson/Ronon Dex
Characters: Tony DiNozzo, Jack O’Neill, Daniel Jackson, Other Minor Characters
Content Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Implied Violence, Discussion of Character Death, Character Not Really Dead, Altered Backstory: Daniel Jackson and Tony DiNozzo, Non-Canon Compliant: All Fandoms Involved
Word Count: 7252
Author’s Note: Stargate Atlantis is mentioned in this. I have watched exactly 5 eps. Let’s just all consider this non-canon compliant. I tried to be vague in those scenes, but honestly I made up shit. If that’s going to bother you, this may not be the fic for you. It’s a short story, and to be frank, I didn’t work out all the complexities of the canon changes when they wouldn’t even be discussed.
Summary: When Tony DiNozzo found out he had a brother, he thought that he’d finally found home. Two years later, that’s ripped away from him when that same brother is reported as dead. In the aftermath, he finds comfort in Daniel’s best friend, Jack O’Neill, and tries to learn to live with the loss. However, this is Daniel Jackson we’re talking about, and death never really takes.
I Would Trade My Heart To Have You Back
Tony was standing just behind the entrance to the mountain staring off into the distance. He knew that he was probably driving the guards nuts, but he couldn’t go far because his team was on call. He had to get out of the mountain though. After his meeting with Hammond, it literally felt like the entire base was going to crash down on his head. Daniel was dead. He’d only known he had a brother for 2 years, and now he was gone. He didn’t know why life hated him, but it was pretty fucking obvious now that it did.
“There’s a pretty good chance that he’s not really dead.”
Tony turned his head toward the voice and frowned deeply seeing Colonel Jack O’Neill standing there looking down at him. The man had his hands shoved in his pockets and didn’t look like he was any surer of his statement than Tony’s belief that he was right was. “How do you figure?”
“Danny has this habit of dying or falling in love with random planet princesses and getting kept on a regular basis,” Jack advised as he moved to sit on a rock near where Tony was perched.
“Then why did Hammond just tell me he was dead?” Tony asked quietly and wondered if Jack really seemed to deflate a little.
“He’s pretty confident this time he’s dead, but…” Jack trailed off, and Tony nodded.
“Is this you really believing he’s alive or is it you just wanting to believe that he’s alive?” Tony asked hesitantly pretty sure that he knew the answer, but knew the question had to be asked anyway.
“He’s always come back before,” Jack said stubbornly, and Tony just nodded.
“You know, when I found out that those dreams I had been having since I was a kid weren’t dreams at all and I had a brother I thought, this is it. I finally found a family who wants me, even if Daniel is the only one left of it. Now I know that I had parents who loved me and would never have given me up of their own will. For the last two years, I got to have birthday celebrations and Thanksgiving and Christmas with my brother, and I thought man, I’ll never have to celebrate alone again. I guess I should have known it wasn’t going to last.”
Tony watched Jack for a while waiting for the older man to respond, but when it became apparent that even he didn’t know what to say, Tony just looked away. At least he didn’t have to wonder if the horizon would let him down. Tony already knew the sun would go down eventually leaving him in the dark. He thought just maybe he preferred it that way. Perhaps the darkness was where he belonged.
“You don’t have to be you know,” Jack said finally drawing Tony’s attention away from his musings. “Danny was my best friend. Dead or not, he’d never forgive me if I didn’t watch out for you while he was gone. If he really is dead, he’d probably come back and haunt my ass, if I didn’t. Honestly, my ass is too cute to haunt. So, you’d be doing me a favor if you just let me look out for you.”
Tony couldn’t help but snort. He’d liked Danny’s best friend from the second he’d met him. Really, he more than liked him, but it seemed creepy to be going after your brother’s best friend, especially when sometimes you wondered if there wasn’t something going on between them. “George tells me that you’re not gelling with your new team lead.”
Tony lifted his head and frowned at Jack once more at the subject change. “I’m just a cop,” he replied, and this time it was Jack’s turn to frown.
“First off, you’re not just anything,” the Colonel insisted, scowling at the notion that Tony was being pigeonholed for any reason. Most around the mountain knew better, but Jack had heard things about Lt. Matthew North that frankly weren’t all that flattering of the man. “Second off, you’re also a linguist and an archaeologist. We didn’t bring you into the SGC just because we really like Danny.”
Tony shrugged one shoulder as if he heard Jack’s words, but they didn’t really mean much. “Lt. North doesn’t like anyone in the mountain that isn’t military. He certainly doesn’t like some lazy cop who only got his position because his big brother goes down on his knees for Hammond’s favorite boy. His words not mine, by the way.”
“OK, I’m gonna start with eww!” Jack scrunched up his nose, and Tony felt his lips twitch in reaction. Somehow the Colonel always knew how to make him laugh. “Danny’s one of my best friends and as close to a brother as I’ll get. Since you can ask now, and I can tell, I’ll admit to you that I’ve never been concerned with the parts as long as the individual had the right mix of brains and understanding for what it is I do. You’re… Well, I’ll just say that if you hadn’t just gotten The Talk from George, I’d have a completely different response to this conversation, but even I know it would be a little inappropriate right now.”
Tony couldn’t help the startled half laugh and half groan that escaped. “Jesus, Jack, sometimes I think you and I were made from the same cloth and wonder if they took their sample from the right member of SG-1 when they did the DNA test. Only, that would be really creepy because even though I’ve always been able to ask and tell, the only reason I haven’t said anything is it feels a little weird lusting after my brother’s best friend.”
Tony took a deep breath and looked out at the sun setting behind the mountain. “Right now, though, I half wonder if maybe I should have anyway. Maybe it wouldn’t feel so much like I’m always alone. Like no matter where I go or what I do I never fit in. When I was at NCIS, my co-workers wouldn’t follow my orders because I was just a cop and they thought I wasn’t professional enough. Only, when I was professional, they’d get mad and tell me that I needed to stop acting like I was someone important. I feel like no matter where I go or what I do, the universe is determined that I remain lonely and isolated. Like there’s some big karmic reject stamp on my soul ‘cause I was some horrible creeper on my past life. I really fucking need Daniel not to be dead, only there’s no way it’s gonna happen because that’s how my life goes. I hate my team leader, but I’m used to being treated like I don’t matter.”
Because he was looking off at the mountain and the sunset, Tony didn’t see the way Jack’s fists clenched in his pockets or how his jaw twitched as he ground his teeth together. Higher powers be damned, Jack didn’t care if it was appropriate or not. There was no way he was letting Danny’s little brother flounder on that team, and if he had anything to say about it that asshole’s time with the SGC was done. “If I offered you Danny’s spot on SG-1 would you take it? Knowing that eventually you and I will have the conversation I’m putting off because it really is inappropriate right now?”
Tony frowned at the distance but eventually turned his gaze toward Jack. “Doesn’t that have to come from General Hammond, and aren’t there fraternization rules? What happens if Danny isn’t dead and comes back? Whose team do I get shuffled to then?”
“Technically, and technically,” Jack admitted with a shrug, “but the thing about it is I’ve saved the planet enough times by now that they’ll give me whoever I want for my team. As for the fraternization, we run things kinda different around here. As long as Hammond is confident that it’s a mutual interest, he won’t say anything. It will help that officially you don’t report to him directly, but to Morrow, because by the books you’re here as an Investigator. If I have my way, you won’t get shuffled to anyone’s team if Danny comes back. SG-1 can handle another person, and you have enough strengths opposite of Danny’s that we can justify you on the team as well.
“Whatever you decide though, Tony, I’m not throwing you out with the bathwater. Even if you tell me to go to hell and this personal thing never gets off the ground, you’ll still always be family. I know what it’s like to be lonely and isolated, and I’m not letting it happen to you again. I know you were given a week off. Take some time to think about what you wanna do, and then let me or George know when you get back. This isn’t NCIS or where ever you were before that. We look after our own.”
Tony nodded carefully and watched Jack stand and head back into the mountain. When he looked back to where the sun had been, he found it had finally slipped behind the trees. Once more he found himself in the darkness and wrapping his arms around himself, all he could think was that he needed his brother. It would all be so much better if Daniel were still here. He’d trade just about anything to have him back. Maybe even Jack.
~*~~*~ ~*~~*~ ~*~~*~
“See, I told you that they don’t want you any longer, Daniel Jackson,” Ba’al sneered in Daniel’s ear as the whirlpool in front of them closed shutting off the image they’d been forcing him to watch. “Already O’Neill has moved on from you and replaced you with your brother both on his team and in his bed. They have no loyalty to you. Tell me what you know. Tell me the information I need, and I will make sure you are by my side as we watch the Wraith cull their world.”
“Ok, first off, lean back. Your breath stinks.” Daniel snarled angrily and for a split-second thought maybe he’d been around Jack too long. “Secondly, I haven’t been replaced. Jack is watching out for my brother. It’s exactly what I would want him to do, and if they love each other, they have my blessing. You’ll have to do better than that to turn me against Earth and align myself with a parasite and a reject from the last Aliens movie.”
When the Wraith queen surged forward and hissed in his face, Danny couldn’t help but shrink back slightly. Quick enough though he caught himself and forced himself to not move away, any further. Hell would freeze over before he’d show them any more fear than he already had.
“You will come around,” Ba’al insisted angrily as the Wraith Queen moved away again. “The Tau’ri don’t appreciate you. Sha’re would have wanted you by my side. Give in now. It is only inevitable. Once we find a suitable Symbiote, you will have no choice but to reveal all of your world’s secrets. Then, the Wraith and the Goa’uld will rule the Milky Way.”
“Don’t hold your breath,” Daniel shot back and then turned his gaze toward the landscape in the distance. He had no idea what planet they had him on, but only hoped that his people would find him soon. As he listened to Ba’al storm off, he tried to ignore the little voice in his head that asked what if the System Lord was right.
~*~~*~ ~*~~*~ ~*~~*~
The morning of the fourth day after Tony was notified his brother was considered to be deceased, he found himself heading into the mountain with a bag in one hand, and what felt like the weight of the world on his shoulders. He’d spent the previous three days making it clear that he wasn’t willing to get into anything involving a will and such at that point. While his own lawyer thought it odd and wanted to argue, Daniel’s lawyer seemed to be used to it enough that he quickly agreed.
They did however set up the necessary provisions, so Tony could continue to live in his brother’s house when he wasn’t on base. It would also give him access to Daniel’s finances or to make legal decisions for bills and things if needed. While Tony didn’t expect to need the money, he did want to make sure he could take care of bills and things as they came up. That had all been taken care of much quicker than Tony expected though, and the night before he’d called Jack and practically begged him to let Tony come back to work. Time off had never been his friend, but this time he’d found it especially hard to keep the darkness and doubts at bay. Fortunately, Jack seemed to understand and advised him to come in the following morning, and they’d figure something out.
After stowing his things in his quarters and checking Daniel’s to make sure his brother’s things remained untouched, Tony went in search of Jack or General Hammond, whichever he found first. Eventually, he found himself in the office space outside Hammond’s office waiting for his assistant to say it was ok to go in. Once he was given permission, he entered the office but paused almost immediately inside the door in confusion when he saw G. Callen in one of the chairs in front of the General’s desk, and Sam Hanna leaning against the wall to the left of the door.
“Come on in, son,” Hammond said with a smile that seemed to reflect his understanding of Tony’s confusion. “We were just talking about the situation on your team.”
Stepping forward enough to shut the door, Tony heard it click behind him, and shoved his hands into his pockets in an effort to hide his unease. Jack stood and nodded at him with a smile that echoed Hammond’s and reflected more sympathy than Tony thought he could handle. When the Colonel waved a hand to the now empty chair where he’d been seated, Tony wanted to refuse and just turn and run, but DiNozzo’s were made of sterner stuff than that. Although… He wasn’t really a DiNozzo, and Senior wasn’t really the poster child for bravery and standing in the face of anything uncomfortable, but his Uncle Vincenzo was a solid guy. Tony thought maybe the man he’d grown up calling father was a possibly a poor reflection on the rest of the DiNozzo clan, so perhaps the sentiment was still valid.
When Jack arched an eyebrow at him, Tony knew that he’d wasted enough time, and somewhat reluctantly moved forward until he was seated next to the NCIS agent that he’d last heard was working in the LA OSP office. Quickly his eyes shifted to Callen, who just gave him a nod of welcome before he looked to Hanna who had a similar look of sympathy as Jack and the General. Tony really hated it when people were nice to him and thought that if someone wasn’t an asshole soon, he just might lose his mind. He wasn’t sure what that said about him but fought the urge to call Gibbs and ask the man to insult him.
While things were better now than they had been while he worked for him, Gibbs could always be counted on to be a bastard at the absolutely wrong moment. With his luck though, he’d be kind too, and then Tony would really lose his shit. “What’s going on, Sirs?” Tony heard himself asking the General and Jack as he looked from one man to the other and back. He was a little worried that he was being replaced after Jack assured him that they’d take care of him. While the abandoned child in him wanted to believe Jack, all the years of life lessons since his mother died had taught him differently.
“Jack informed me of the specifics of what was going on with your team,” General Hammond advised. The older man leaned forward and rested his arms on his desk curling his fingers together, and Tony found his gaze kept wandering to Jack for reassurance whether he liked it or not. He wanted to be strong enough not to need the comfort of a friendly smile or nod that things would be ok, but he just didn’t have many reserves left at the moment.
“As you know from when we brought you into the program, we’ve been meaning to add other investigators to assist you. Even when it was just the mountain and Area 51, you needed assistance, but now that we have Atlantis, you definitely can’t run everything yourself. Even though we haven’t yet had contact from them, we still hold out hope that they’re alive and just cannot contact us. Should things change, we want to make sure we have enough investigative personnel to cover all areas. Agent Callen was on our early list of possible candidates but initially wasn’t interested. His situation at NCIS recently changed though, and he agreed to join us provided that we’d accept Special Agent Hanna as well.
“When Jack told me what was going on with Lt. North, I had their arrival date moved up so that they could investigate the situation. I wish you’d told one of us what was going on earlier, Son. I understand from Jack and Agent Callen though that your past experiences led you to think otherwise. I want to assure you though that I don’t put up with that kind of bullshit in my command. Every man in this mountain is important and was selected over many other candidates to get here. No one is here just because they knew someone or was related to somebody.”
The General paused at that point, and Tony found himself offering a nod of understanding even if he wasn’t sure he actually did. Hopefully, he’d be able to talk to Jack once this was all done and find out if that was really the case or just a bunch of hot air. So far, his experience with the General had been a positive one, but if NCIS taught him anything it was that things weren’t always what they seemed, and his judgment of his personal situation couldn’t always be trusted. When the base commander started speaking again, Tony tore his gaze away from Jack not remembering looking his way.
“We’ve found enough evidence that Lt. North was removed from duty pending a deeper investigation. Special Agent Hanna has agreed to reenlist in the Navy and will be taking over command of the team at his last ranking. Special Agent Callen will be taking your place on the team, and Jack has requested that you be shifted to SG-1 regardless of what may or may not happen with your brother. Unless you object, I am inclined to agree with his request. Given the nature of our work here, our teams are more than just four or so people we’ve thrown together. They’re families, and it’s not unusual to find strong bonds, even couples within them. While it’s not something we advertise, it is something we are willing to overlook and protect from those outside the mountain. Jack has expressed that he feels strongly that you belong in his team, and from what I’ve seen I agree with him. So, tell me your thoughts.”
Feeling a little off balance, Tony dropped his eyes to his hands, which were clenched in his lap, to prevent him from looking toward Jack again. A part of him was jumping up and down at the thought of working so closely with Jack. Maybe it was his imagination, but it seemed like General Hammond was all but giving the two of them his seal of approval, and the thought that he might really get a chance at something real with Jack made him a little giddy inside. However, there was another part of him that felt like he was trying to run across a sheet of smooth ice in socks and was just waiting to fall on his ass.
The thing was though that he hadn’t gotten as far as he had in life by letting his fears and his uncertainty rule him. If he’d given into the darkness and the doubts, he never would have made it out of that first boarding school that Senior thrust him into when he was still mourning his mother’s death. He certainly wouldn’t have made it as far as he had in basketball or football at Ohio State, and wouldn’t have even considered accepting Gibbs’ job offer after Baltimore.
Taking a deep breath, he tried to imagine what his brother would want from him. As he turned the question over in his mind, the only thing he could come up with was that Daniel would want him to be safe and happy. He’d probably kick his ass if he found out what Tony had been putting up with from North all this time, and while Sam and Callen were pretty much unknowns to him, his gut said that he’d be happier with Jack and his team than under Master Chief Hanna’s leadership. “I’ll take the position on SG-1, Sir. When we talked about adding more investigators, the plan originally was that I’d be in charge. I know though that Callen and I are fairly equal there though and…”
“Nothing has changed in that regard,” George cut in as he held his hands up in a stop gesture. “When I discussed the assignment with Agent Callen and Master Chief Hanna I made it clear that you would be in charge of any investigations. Mostly it’ll be just you and Special Agent Callen. Although, Master Chief Hanna will be available to you should you need it, and we’re going to continue to look for a third and possibly fourth person should you feel you need a four-person team.”
Needing to hear confirmation from Callen, Tony turned his head to look at the blond who gave him a quick nod of agreement. “I don’t have a problem following your lead. You have more time at NCIS than I do and have done more straight up investigative work, while my background is undercover heavy. I don’t see any problem with us working together. I’m sure there will be some growing pains along the way, but I’m sure we’ll work it out. Just don’t let Sam scare you off when he gives you the shovel talk. He thinks I’m some delicate flower or something. I think he forgets I’m a grown boy and not his wife.”
“Trust me, G, there’s no confusing you and Michelle,” Sam drawled dryly before offering a lopsided grin. “All I have to say is that as long as DiNozzo watches your back, we’re cool. If he messes up and you get hurt though, I reserve the right to kick his ass.”
Tony was about to nod before Jack spoke and drew his attention. “Don’t worry, Tony. Teal’c can totally kick his ass. The Master Chief will have to go through him to get to you.”
Tony couldn’t help but release the grin that came at that statement. One of his favorite of Daniel’s friends was the big Jaffa on SG-1. The two of them had formed something of an unusual friendship, and Jack had made more than one reference to the odd couple over the last couple years when referring to the Tony and Teal’c. Tony couldn’t help his fascination with the big alien though and liked that the other man was always willing to answer his questions and ask his own in return.
“Alright,” Tony agreed with a nod and turned his attention back to the base Commander. “I would like Callen to officially be listed as my Second in Command, though. Whoever we add will have to agree to follow his lead. I’m not going to take the chance that the chain of the command on the investigative team is anything but crystal clear for whatever probies come in. I’ve worked in that environment, and I’m not willing to go back.”
“Done,” Hammond agreed quickly, and when Tony felt a fist hit his shoulder, he turned and flashed his new SIC a grin. While he and Callen seemed to be very similar on the surface, Tony had high hopes for their working relationship. What little Tony knew of the man, it was their differences that would balance them out and make them a cohesive working unit. As he took another deep breath, he hoped it wasn’t his imagination that the knot in his stomach was slowly loosening.
“Jack and I have some things to discuss with Master Chief Hanna about his team and our expectations in that regard. Why don’t you take Special Agent Callen down and show him the office you use for your investigative work, Special Agent DiNozzo?”
Knowing a dismissal when he heard it, Tony nodded and stood up with Callen following his lead. Just before they walked out, he heard Jack call his name, and found himself turning to look at the older man. “I’ll come find you when I’m done here. I’d like the two of us to have lunch with Teal’c and Sam then we can talk and do some team type things.”
“Sure thing, Jack,” Tony agreed and didn’t even bother to hold back one of his full watt grins. As much as he missed Daniel and still longed for his presence, he was slowly coming to believe that just maybe it would work out either way.
~*~~*~ ~*~~*~ ~*~~*~
“You did not believe me, but now you see the truth of my words,” Ba’al hissed in his ear as the planet’s vision pool closed removing the scene they’d been forcing him to watch. “They have moved on without you. It has only been days since they believed you to be dead, and already you’ve been replaced. Your own brother has taken your position, and it is clear from the happiness showing on his face that he doesn’t even mourn your death. You are nothing to them, Daniel Jackson. Stop resisting us. We will get the answers that we want one way or another. You might as well make it easy on yourself because I am more than willing to make it painful for you. I will get what I want either way. It makes no difference to me.”
“I’ll never give into you Ba’al,” Daniel insisted shoving away the doubts that the Goa’uld was trying to put into his head. “I am happy that my brother is finding his place even if I’m not there to see it. I’ll never give into you willingly. You may think that you’re getting away with this, but eventually, Jack will find out and make you pay. You wouldn’t be the first System Lord he’s exterminated like your little cockroach queen over there.”
The Wraith Queen hissed at him, but stayed away, which Daniel was most happy about. The Goa’uld were bad enough, but whoever decided to bring the things from the Alien moves to life was nuts. Unnerved and tired of the constant fight against their mind games, Daniel closed his eyes and rested his head against the post that he was tied to. He had to believe that rescue would come. Somehow, they’d realize that he wasn’t dead. Somehow, he would be saved. He just had to keep telling himself that and hopefully eventually he’d believe it.
In the distance, two men and a woman pulled back from where they’d been watching the scene. “We must get back to Atlantis and tell Shepard of this,” Ronon Dex insisted reluctantly. “As much as I hate to leave him here, we cannot take on them all alone, and I know nothing about these… Goa’uld. Shepard will know how to deal with them.”
“I agree,” Teyla admitted reluctantly, “I wish we had another option available to us though.”
“I do not like the idea of leaving this man alone, even if he does not know we are aware he is here.”
“I will stay,” the merchant who had told them of the strange goings on he’d seen on the planet that he visited to gather berries he needed for his dyes. It was the world of his mother’s people but was mostly empty of life beyond animals and plants. “Someone must watch in case they move him so that you will know where he is taken. Try and hurry back though? I do not know who these other beings are either, but I do not think we can trust them any more than the Wraith.”
“We thank you for your bravery,” Teyla said clutching his shoulder before she turned away. “We will be back as quickly as we can. Keep safe and stay out of sight.” She waited long enough for the villager to nod before taking off in the direction of the gate. She could just hear Ronon speaking quietly to the man and knew he would follow her shortly. There was no time to waste. They could not leave this Tau’ri in the hands of these things.
As Ronon and Teyla ran through the Stargate, they were both happy to see Major John Sheppard and Chief Science Officer Rodney McKay waiting for them in the gate room. “Your visit to the market not productive?” John called out as the gate closed up behind them.
Grim faced, Ronon hurried over to his friend and team leader. “We ran into a problem,” Ronon corrected urgently. “One of the traders that Teyla’s people deal with often had a disturbing story. I do not believe we have much time. The planet of his mother’s people was destroyed by the Wraith, but he still visits to gather berries and other things that he uses for his goods. He was there yesterday and saw a Wraith Queen along with what his mother’s people called a Goa’uld, and a Tau’ri, who was tied to a post in front of a pool of some sorts that they seemed to be looking into. Zernan advised that it was used to see things in other places. We could not hear everything that they were saying but heard who appeared to be the leader of these Goa’uld be called Ba’al, and they referred to the Tau’ri as Daniel Jackson.”
“What?” Rodney spat as he turned to look at John. “What are the Goa’uld doing with the Wraith, and how the hell did either of them get their hands-on Daniel? We have to do something Sheppard!”
“I don’t know, Rodney,” John replied looking grim faced as he looked around to see who was in the gate room with them. “Bates gather the necessary people. We have an emergency rescue mission we need to plan. Make sure Weir knows to join us. Somehow, we have Goa’uld and Wraith together, and they’ve gotten their hands-on Dr. Jackson.”
“Yes, sir,” Bates agreed with a salute before hurrying off to round people up.
Running a hand through his hair, John tried to work his way through the questions forming in his head, as he led his team to the conference room. He had no idea how Dr. Jackson had ended up in the Pegasus Galaxy, but he was damned if he was going to let him die there.
~*~~*~ ~*~~*~ ~*~~*~
Four months after joining SG-1, Tony was finally growing comfortable with the ache his brother’s loss had left on his soul. While he had come to the realization that he’d never get over the loss, he had come to accept the pain of his absence. One thing it had done is give him a whole new appreciation for what Gibbs lived with every day. While he refused to wallow on Daniel’s loss, he could understand why Gibbs held onto the grief of losing his girls so tightly. Sometimes Tony had to remind himself that he had more of his brother than just the pain of him being gone. And, no matter what Jack kept saying, Tony couldn’t bring himself to really believe that he could still come back. As much as it hurt not having him, he knew that it would be a hundred times worse if he held onto his hope and then still was without him at the end.
Being around the new team helped the pain though. He even got along well with Captain Carter, whom he hadn’t been sure, prior to him joining the team, even liked him. The two of them bonded one night over the shared loss of a family member. By the time they were done, they were both tipsy from too much beer, and Tony had grown a sister-like affection for the woman.
Teal’c was still Teal’c, and Tony had come to look forward to their daily sparring sessions. The big Jaffa still kicked his ass every day, but Tony felt like he was gradually getting better and when he got praise from the man it brightened his soul. Then there was Jack.
The path the two of them were navigating for this relationship thing they were doing was rocky and filled with potholes, but they kept going. At the end of the day they were more often happy to be together than not, so Tony was considering it a victory. He knew that he was still a little more sensitive and fragile than Jack knew what to do with at times, and Jack still tended to hide how he really felt too often for the good of Tony’s self-confidence. The two of them had agreed to a couple important things though.
The first was that they talked shit out instead of ignoring it in hopes that it would go away, and the second was that they didn’t try and pull Sam or Teal’c into their arguments. Fortunately, their dips had all been squabbles and not anything major. Mostly they were misunderstandings and slightly dented feelings instead of betrayals and broken hearts.
Things with Callen had gone much like his relationship with Jack. Sometimes the road was rocky with potholes, but nothing major that they couldn’t work through. Once Callen realized that Tony would accept his expertise in instances that he genuinely had more knowledge, things between them settled down quickly. Tony wasn’t the kind of leader that was going to lord his power over anyone, but he learned from the mistakes on Team Gibbs and wouldn’t let anyone disrespect him. While it wasn’t his way or the highway, if Tony made a decision he expected Callen to at least respect that it had been made fairly and with his SIC’s opinion kept in mind. In return, he refused to let Callen throw himself recklessly into danger, which helped earn Sam’s respect as well.
Currently, Callen and Tony were in their shared office going over some evidence of a minor theft of supplies going missing from people’s offices. Given that so far, the items always showed up somewhere, although always the last place anyone expected it to be, it was obviously a harmless prank. Thus, neither of them was putting too much energy into it, but since they had nothing else to do at the moment they were giving it a half-hearted look. When their office door suddenly opened with a bang, both turned and pointed the closest weapon type object at the intruder.
When Tony realized that he was holding up a letter opener, while Callen had a water bottle in hand, he found himself fighting to hold back giggles. “Special Agent DiNozzo! General Hammond wants you in his office right away!”
Tony nodded and moved to take his gun out of the filing cabinet, and when Callen stepped up next to him, handed his SIC his own weapon. Quickly the two of them made their way from their office to the General’s office. When they walked inside, Tony noticed that Jack was also there as were Sam and Teal’c.
“Tony, thank you for joining us, Son,” General Hammond greeted as he stood up and waved a hand to his seat. “Please, come sit here. I have something you need to see. Special Agent Callen, this doesn’t affect you directly, but I don’t have a problem with you staying. You’ll hear the good news soon enough.”
Puzzled at the order and not sure how to interpret the expression on Jack’s face, Tony moved behind the desk as ordered and noticed there was a video queued up to be played. “Go ahead, Son.” Hammond ordered, and after frowning up at Jack who still had his blank ‘I am an Air Force Colonel, and you can’t read me’ mask on. He had no idea what he expected, but what he got was definitely not it.
“Hey, Tonio, long time no speak.” With those six words, Tony’s vision narrowed, and he forgot how to breathe. While the picture was dark and slightly grainy, there was no mistaking who it was. Usually, Tony tried to hide his emotional reactions, but he was reasonably sure that holding this in might have given him a stroke. He’d heard a rumor that they’d gotten a transmission from Atlantis the day before. Tony had asked Jack about it, but his other half just shrugged and said that he couldn’t talk about it, yet. He wondered if the older man had known then that there was a video from Daniel andm,6 made a mental note to make sure he knew Tony wasn’t mad.
When he realized he’d stopped the video, he clicked carefully on play again, and let it continue. When he felt a hand squeeze his shoulder, he looked up and was glad to see it was Jack. Daniel’s voice though drew his eyes back to the screen, and quickly he found himself lost in his brother’s face and voice.
“I know you have a thousand questions, and I wish I had the time to answer them all. I wanna start off with I am so sorry. I can’t imagine what you’ve been going through, or well… I can, I guess. I mean I saw it, but I don’t know if they were real and…” Tony couldn’t help but give a watery chuckle as Daniel’s ramble was cut off by a man with long dreadlocks.
“Right,” Daniel said before taking a deep breath and nodding. “I sent a letter to both you and General Hammond with the data burst. In it, there’s a deeper explanation for how I got here, but I guess that isn’t important now. What is important is that I’m here. I’m on Atlantis, and I’m alive. I want you to know that I never would have left you if I had a choice. Now that I’m here though, I’m not sure I can come back for good.”
When Daniel looked up at the man standing behind him, the look of affection on his face was unmistakable, and Tony couldn’t help but smile. “I explained that better in my letter too. I hope things worked out with you and Jack. Maybe I shouldn’t mention this in case it didn’t work, but I know you two care for each other, and I want you to know I approve. It’s easier to be here knowing that my best friend is looking out for my brother and vice versa. As long as you love each other, I don’t care about anything else. I promise that I’ll come to see you as soon as I can, but who knows when that will be. Just, take care of yourself. Jack, you better damned well make sure that you take care of him too, because I found someone who might even be able to kick Teal’c’s ass. Hurt him, and I’m sic’ing Ronon on you. My time is up. I love you Tonio, and I swear you’ll see me again. I love you brother.”
When the video stopped, Daniel’s face was still on the screen, and Tony couldn’t help but reach out and touch. He was alive. Somehow, some way, Daniel was alive. Tony had no idea how he ended up on Atlantis, and the base commander and this Ronon person better damned well make sure he stayed that way. Cause Daniel’s new boyfriend might be badass, but he’d side with Teal’c any day. Anything happened to his brother, and there would be hell to pay.
Finally sitting back, Tony let one of his hands cover Jack’s as he looked up to General Hammond who had a fond smile on his face. “They’re going through the letter Daniel sent you right now. As soon as it’s been cleared it and a copy of the video will be brought to you. You have my word that if we can figure out how to get there, you’ll be the first on the list to go as long as there’s a way back. Congratulations, Son. Jack, if you don’t have anything pressing to do, you both have my permission to take a few days. We’ll call if something urgent comes up.”
The rest of the conversation going on in the room faded into the background, as Tony’s eyes moved back to the screen and the image of his brother alive and well on Atlantis. Jack was right. He wasn’t really dead after all.
~*~~*~ ~*~~*~ ~*~~*~
Daniel Jackson stepped into the pier on Atlantis the Daedalus was set to arrive at with Ronon in his usual spot by his side. There were a lot of things that Daniel loved about Atlantis, but the Satedan was hands down his favorite thing. Sliding around people, he finally stopped next to where John and Rodney were standing. “John, any idea yet why Hammond said I needed to be here to greet the arrival of the Daedalus?”
“None more than I did in this morning’s briefing, Daniel,” John quipped, and Daniel could hear how much the younger man wanted to laugh.
Daniel didn’t even bother to reply as the bay door began to open, and he couldn’t help his excited bounce that resulted from the sight. When he heard the fond chuckle from Ronon, he turned his head briefly and gave his mate a grin before turning his attention back to the ship. Daniel wasn’t surprised to see Caldwell disembark first, knowing that the commander would want to debrief John immediately. The person right behind him though was the last person that he expected.
“Tony!” Daniel shouted and pushed his way through the people, ignoring Rodney’s bitching from where he’d knocked the head scientist down. All he had eyes for was the sight of his brother’s face.
When he finally reached his Tony, Daniel found himself wrapped up in an exuberant hug, and the sound of his brother’s laughter was the most beautiful song he’d heard in his life.
“Fuck, Tonio,” Danny muttered as his brother’s arms wrapped around him tightly.
“Jesus, you’re really real,” Tony said before burying his face in Daniel’s neck.
Unable to reply, Daniel just hugged his brother tighter and ignored the tears running down both of their cheeks. Eventually, he’d greet Jack and introduce Tony to Ronan, but that would happen in due time. He had his brother back, and there wasn’t anything more important anywhere.