Finding that Someone


Everything was fine until Daniel was nearly to the front of the line at base security; that’s when the itch in his nose began. Considering the allergy regiment Dr. Fraser had him on and the fact that he wasn’t scheduled for gate travel until the end of the week, there were few possibilities that would explain it. One look at the slightly askew base security station told him all he needed to know.


“Someone’s got a goose, haven’t they?” Daniel asked Juanita as she checked his badge. He rubbed a couple fingers under his nose, wondering how long ago the goose passed by here. If it was recent, it would explain the intensity of his allergic reaction. If not, he was going to be looking at a very long and very miserable day.


Juanita hesitated before nodding. “Yeah. Someone does.”


She made it sound like it was Daniel’s fault. And she said it so pointedly he did actually glance around, thinking maybe a soulmate goose of enforcement had appeared for him and he, perhaps, had just been too busy this morning getting to work to have noticed. But a soulmate goose wasn’t exactly the sort of thing you could easily miss. They honked and hissed and snapped and flew at whoever was lucky—or unlucky—enough to be receiving an indication about their soulmate. They were monsters, plain and simple.


Of course, that didn’t mean Daniel didn’t want one. Growing up, he’d heard all the stories, the fairy tales, the legends. Daniel’s parents had read bedtime stories to him about soulmate geese who visit princesses and the brave, dashing young princes who swooped in, saved the ladies from being kicked in the face by a webbed foot, and who fell in love on the spot. Daniel had read the stories for himself when he was old enough, but he’d also read about them in Ancient Greek, in hieroglyphics, in every language he knew, in fact. Every single story ended with a romantic, happy ending. He had to admit the appeal. He’d also had friends who were visited by the creatures. As Daniel sneezed and scrubbed at his nose, his friend would fend off goose attacks while simultaneously following the bird. He’d watched his friends find the people they were meant to be with forever. He’d watched them kiss. He’d watched them fall in love. It was utterly predictable every time it happened, but Daniel couldn’t take his eyes off the subjects until it was over. Happy endings weren’t easy to come by these days.


He’d always wondered if a soulmate goose should have visited him when he met Sha’re. From all their gate travel since the Stargate program had reopened, it appeared that soulmate geese were a phenomenon exclusive to Earth. And given that they had barely understood how the gate system worked back then, it wasn’t surprising that a goose hadn’t been able to travel from earth to Abydos after him. He liked to imagine that he was one of only a few people who had been able to find the love of his life, his soulmate, without the help of a soulmate goose. All the same, it would have been nice to have had one of his own. The idea of trying to use his limited vocabulary to communicate the purpose of them to Sha’re made him smile. And then the thought of what had happened to her made his stomach sour. It had been more than a year since his wife had died, but the hurt still felt as fresh as ever.


h’Ktchhh!” Daniel fished a handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped at his nose. “Allergic to geese,” he mumbled as he clipped his ID back onto his pocket and headed through the heavy, metal, security doors to the elevator.


The goose had clearly spent some time in the elevator, because the second the doors closed, Daniel broke into a fit of sneezing. He hadn’t reacted this strongly to a goose in ages, but usually he was able to keep one at a distance. Being trapped in an underground base, beneath a mountain with one wasn’t exactly conducive to his ability to breathe normally.


His reaction only got worse as he navigated through the halls to his office. Did the person who had the goose have an office on the same floor? Had the person passed by earlier? Or was the person close-by now? Daniel closed the door, hoping a barrier to the allergens might help.


It didn’t. By mid-morning he was constantly snuffling back a runny nose and alternating rubbing at his eyes and nose. Venturing out of his office seemed like the worst possible thing he could do, but SG-1 had a mission at the end of the week, which meant a routine, pre-mission briefing with General Hammond was in store. It wasn’t as if his teammates had never seen him sneeze before, anyway. They didn’t usually see him when he was this bad, but it would hardly be shocking to them. So Daniel grabbed a couple files, his pen and notebook, and his coffee before braving the halls of Stargate Command once more.


He actually felt better in the conference room. Daniel guessed that this portion of the base might be on a separate ventilation system in case of gate contaminants. Or maybe the air filters were just better here. It was also pretty clear that the goose hadn’t been in this area today. With measurable relief, Daniel slid into his usual seat at the table. Everyone was there already except for Jack. As Daniel opened his notebook, General Hammond started the briefing.


“After the mission to P-X5879 was scrubbed, next in line was P-X5—”


“Wait! Where’s Jack?”


Everyone stared at Daniel. General Hammond said nothing. Sam looked down at the table. Teal’c cocked his head. “I, too, would like to know why we are starting without Colonel O’Neill.”


Sam and Hammond exchanged looks. Her shoulders sagged. “You’d better tell them, Sir.”


Hammond nodded. “You’ll find out soon enough, anyway. Colonel O’Neill is dealing with a personal matter. It may or may not be resolved by go time. However, I have the utmost confidence that Major Carter will be able to lead the mission. All data shows that P-X5928 has been uninhabited for centuries. Thorough geological and scientific studies will be conducted by other teams, so your job is strictly to confirm what we think we know and to study whatever writings or tech was left behind by the civilization.”


Daniel scribbled in his notebook, his head spinning with the news. Daniel understood the mission, and he knew Sam would be able to lead the team. But that didn’t explain Jack’s absence. What was this personal matter? The Stargate program was Jack’s life. What could be more important? And how did Sam already know what was going on? Had she spoken to Jack about whatever was going on or had General Hammond informed her? If he’d told her, why wasn’t the rest of the team being told?


None of this made any sense at all… unless…


Daniel lifted his head. “Jack’s the one with the soulmate goose, isn’t he?”


Sam gave a start. General Hammond’s look of surprise lasted only a moment. Then the general nodded. “How’d you know that?” Sam asked.


Daniel sniffed and rubbed at his nose with the side of his hand. “My allergies have been going crazy since I got here. Sneezed my head off in the elevator. Had to be a goose. Can’t believe it’s Jack’s. Wow… that goose has a lot of work cut out for it today!” Daniel thought again about Jack’s love life—at least, the little of it that Daniel knew about. He knew Jack really hadn’t been looking for a relationship since the divorce. He spent all his time at work.


And the goose had lead him straight to work.


Which either meant that Jack’s soulmate was the gate itself or… it was someone on base.


Sam’s train of thought must have been similar, because there was a flush in her cheeks Daniel hardly recognized in her but knew all too well for himself. They’d been paired up on a lot of the missions lately, the two of them. Ever since getting stranded in Alaska and nearly freezing to death, they’d had this bond. Daniel had tried to ignore it. Heck, everyone had as well. Because Sam served directly under his command. They couldn’t pursue a relationship as long as they both wanted to be on the frontlines, part of the premiere team. And Daniel couldn’t see either of them willingly giving that up, not even for the possibility of love.


But a soulmate was different. It was the person you were drawn to, all logic and ambition and reason aside. It was the person you were ultimately meant to be with, the person you were made for. The goose knew it, and it wasn’t going anywhere until both parties not only knew it also but gave into their feelings for each other. Daniel had heard stories of geese sticking around for years before people finally relented and allowed themselves to fall in love. Fending off a goose for that long came with repeated injuries and hardship. You couldn’t go somewhere nice, or the goose would destroy it. You couldn’t go somewhere quiet, or the goose’s honks would be disruptive. And as far as Stargate Command was concerned, you couldn’t go through the gate with one either. They were too unpredictable and violent. The last thing the program needed was an angry bird chasing aliens upon first meeting them. Not a diplomatic way of making first contact with a civilization.


Which was why Daniel was surprised that Jack hadn’t dealt with the goose more efficiently already. Jack seemed like the sort of guy who, even if he didn’t want to know who his soulmate was, would follow the goose to her just to get it all over with.


Unless… unless he already knew who the goose was going to lead him to. If he already knew for sure that it was trying to lead him to Sam, then of course he’d want to hold it back and fight its attempts at uniting them. Maybe it had tried already today. Maybe that’s how Sam had found out. Maybe it was why she kept eyeing the door.


Teal’c noticed as well. “General Hammond, I do not entirely understand this goose phenomenon. However, given the distress my teammates seem to be experiencing over this situation, I wonder if it would not be prudent to assign this mission to another team or postpone it until everything is resolved?”


The general nodded, sat back in his chair, and sighed. “I talked with both Jack and Sam about this earlier—separately. Jack said it might take a few days to make his decisions. I trust him, and I am confident that the situation will be resolved by next week.”


Daniel trusted Jack, too. He trusted the man more than any other person alive. But he still wasn’t sure Jack would be able to make this choice so quickly. This could mean the beginning of the best part of him, but it also meant the end of his career. How did you get ready for something like that? What sort of preparation was even possible? And how was it even possible to think clearly when you were fending off a goose’s attacks?


“Sam, I want a report from you by the end of the day. If there’s another team who have the necessary expertise to take over, I’ll consider it. Otherwise, the planet is yours to explore at the end of this week.”


“Yes, Sir.”


Daniel was a melting pot of emotion as he stood up to leave the briefing room. He felt terrible for Jack and Sam. But considering how stuffed-up and itchy he was, he was also glad to not have to sit through a longer meeting. There was a translation he’d been meaning to get to from PQX548 that had his name on it. There were some other feelings lingering too, though. He couldn’t deny a small pang of jealousy nestled in his chest. He’d always wanted a soulmate goose. They were fierce but romantic. Daniel had probably missed the only chance for one he’d ever get because he’d been offworld. Jack at least had a choice in the matter.


Daniel stopped Sam on her way out with a hand placed comfortingly on her shoulder. “If you ever want to… to talk… I’m… I’m… I’m-heh!” Quickly, he pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket and buried his face in its folder. “heht’chmmphh!” He blew his nose a little and tried to save face by finishing quickly. “Sniff! Excuse me. I’m here for you, Sam.”


Sam smiled with sympathy and maybe a tinge of guilt. “Thanks, Daniel. But I’m okay.” She didn’t sound okay at all, but Daniel didn’t want to press. She knew where his office was if she needed him.


Daniel returned to his office, his nose getting more and more ticklish with every hallway he walked down. Jack’s office wasn’t so close that the goose would be nearby, yet it felt like with every turn he made, he could walk straight into the feathery creature. He snuffled into his handkerchief constantly, unable to restrain the sneezes long enough to get back behind his safe space and shut door. “heh-Ihtchmmphh! Heh heh Chumphh!” As he massaged his nose through the handkerchief, he wondered how he was going to possibly concentrate on the translation. The suspected nature of it meant that he wouldn’t be able to take it home with him, but his eyes were streaming as much as his nose, so he could barely see the symbols in the photographs taken of the artifacts.


The only thing he could think to do was to go to the infirmary and see if there was anything Dr. Fraser could give him to make this more bearable. He suspected over-the-counter allergy medicine just wasn’t going to cut it this time. Besides, he was already on a carefully regulated regimen of antihistamines and didn’t want to overload his system with something.


So this was how Daniel found himself walking back down the hallways, sneezing into his handkerchief at the best of times and into his bent elbow at the worst. He wheezed when he was in the elevator again, trapped in the small space with no air flow. It was a relief when he got to the infirmary, even with his nose practically burning with itches and tickles. There had to be something he could take to lessen the symptoms. There just had to be.


Daniel stepped inside, the door sliding shut behind him. The place was usually quiet, but today it was empty as well. “Dr. Fraser?” he called out, his voice sounded unsurprisingly stuffy and scratchy.


There was a small shriek from the far end of the infirmary and the sound of a door opening and closing. There was a grunt and footsteps and finally Dr. Janet Fraser emerged from behind a curtain. “Hello, Daniel,” she said hurriedly. She paused, a look of concern crossing her face. “Of course you’re allergic to geese. Why wouldn’t you be? Everything else makes you sneeze.”


Daniel was too stuffy and itchy to take offense. Besides, it was kind of accurate. “Meds?” he wheezed out, the word muffled by the damp handkerchief he kept clutched to his face, just in case.


“There’s got to be something I can give you for temporary relief. Hold on a moment while I check your records just to be sure of your last dosage, okay?”


He nodded. “Thadgs. Hehh… HEH… HEHTChuuphh!” The tickle was stronger than ever now. Daniel didn’t understand how that could be until he heard a faint honk from the far corner of the room.


And then, from behind a curtain, raced a goose. The long neck was straight, its black eyes fixed with determination, its wings stretched wide on either side. It sent chairs rolling and trays of instruments flying as it charged the length of the infirmary at top speeds.


Shocked at its sudden appearance, Daniel froze in place. He’d seen so many soulmate geese visit his friends over the years, so he knew what that look of determination meant. This goose wanted to get to Jack’s soulmate, and nothing was going to stand in its way—not even Daniel Jackson.


A second later, Jack appeared from behind the curtain, a look of frustration in his face morphing almost immediately into terror when he saw which way the goose was headed. If the goose made it anywhere near the doors, the motion sensor would trip and the doors would part for it, allowing it to run free on the base. Jack wasn’t about to let that happen, but stopping a running goose is easier in principle than in execution.


The tiled floors of the infirmary made cleaning a snap, but they made running near impossible. Jack’s black dress shoes slipped and skidded. Twice Jack made a calculated dive toward the bird only to fall short. Another time he lunged and managed to grab a tail feather. It hissed loudly at him in indignation but kept up its forward trajectory. Within a minute, it was clear that Daniel was really the only one who could stop it from escaping and finding its way to Sam.


This was supposed to be Jack’s decision. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.


So it all came down to the fact that Daniel had to stop the goose. He’d have to get his arms around it. He’d have to touch it. And no matter how much it made him itch or sneeze, he’d have to keep hold of the struggling creature. For everything Jack had done for him, he owed Jack that much. Daniel thought of the first time he’d met Jack, a man so lost and ruined he was willing to lead a suicide mission to travel using alien technology. He thought about Jack sending a tissue box through the gate and coming back for him. He thought about getting chosen for Jack’s team—not just because Daniel could translate almost any language if given enough time but because Jack genuinely seemed to want his expertise. He thought about Jack’s arms around him, comforting him when he needed it. And of Jack talking him down off a ledge when he didn’t even realize why he’d been there in the first place. And of Jack putting his own life at risk time and time again to protect Daniel.


And with all that racing through his head, he reached down and scooped the goose up. The momentum made him spin in place, almost all the way around, but he held tight to the goose and refused to let go.


As it turned out, that wasn’t as hard to do as he had thought it would be. He held on so tight that the goose didn’t even struggle in his arms. It relaxed, which meant it was almost too heavy to keep a hold of. Daniel tightened his grip, not wanting to hurt it but determined not to let it go either. This was easier said than done when its neck curved and its head butted right into Daniel’s face. A face full of feathers was definitely not what he’d been hoping for.


HIHChhhh! Heh CHISHHH!” He heard Jack stumble forward. “hehh IHSHHH!” He felt the man’s hand on his back as he pitched forward, sneezing harshly. “hehh hehh-IHTCHHH!” He wanted to thrust the goose at Jack, but he couldn’t stop sneezing. “hahh heh HEHKshhhhh!” His glasses slipped down his nose. “hehh-IHKTchhhh!” The hand on his back rubbed up and down. “hehhh HEHSHHH!” The goose in his arms made what sounded like several tiny happy chirps. “hehh KTCHHH! Heh-IHKShhh! HEHSHHUH!” He felt a little lightheaded from all this. “heh hehh TSHUHHH!” Make that a lot lightheaded.


Daniel wasn’t entirely sure of the sequence of events after that point. But, somehow, he found himself lying on his back upon one of the examination tables with something soft and warm under his head and a box of tissues at his side.


“How are you feeling, Daniel?” Dr. Fraser stood at the end of the bed, capping a needle before setting it down on a tray.


After scrubbing a hand at his face and sniffling a few times, he was shocked to discover he didn’t feel so bad. There was a dull ache in his head that hadn’t been there before; he wondered if he’d taken a spill or if that was from his sinuses. But the violent urge to sneeze was gone. “Head aches… but otherwise, not too bad…” he said, still evaluating. The congestion in his head also wasn’t there anymore, and neither was the itchiness that had been crawling through his skin everywhere since he picked up that goose.


The goose! Daniel sat bolt upright and looked around. “Where is it?”


He felt the hand on his back again and looked to his side, realizing Jack was sitting on a stool beside the bed, realizing the thing he’d been using as a pillow had been Jack’s arm. “It’s gone,” Jack said, softly.


Alarmed, Daniel turned, swinging his legs off the table. “Well, we have to go find it!” He imagined it waddling through the halls of Stargate Command right now, heading straight for Sam’s office. They couldn’t just let this happen. There was still time to stop it!


“Hey, it’s all right. Sit still. There’s no need to go anywhere.” Jack relaxed him with his soft, reassuring tone and also his touch, first his hand rubbing Daniel’s back and then his fingertips grazing Daniel’s cheek.


No, it wasn’t all right. Of course they needed to go somewhere; there was a goose to track down! Daniel started to protest, but Dr. Fraser moved in. “You banged your head pretty hard on a cabinet when you went down. I was just about to put a cold pack on the area.” With that, she cracked a cold pack to activate it and held it to the side of Daniel’s head.


Instant relief flooded him, the ache vanishing almost at once, overwhelmed with cold instead. He also shivered. Jack slid an arm around him, hooking his hand securely around Daniel’s upper arm. “You need a blanket?” he said, his voice even softer now. Gentle.


Daniel was about to nod yes when he realized moving his head might not be the best idea. And then he realized he didn’t actually need a blanket. As long as Jack was holding him like this, he wasn’t cold at all. “M’fine,” he muttered, closing his eyes. He felt better than fine, though. Despite a residual tickle in his nose and the headache, he felt amazing. His instincts were telling him to turn and burrow against Jack’s warm chest, to make Jack wrap both his arms around with a tight hug. He felt bad about losing Jack his goose, about forcing a choice and confession out of Jack. But, at the moment, he couldn’t figure out how to apologize. He didn’t want to do anything that would make Jack pull away from him.


He almost whimpered when Jack moved a little, but he caught himself just in time. There was a shifting around Daniel, Jack’s hand sliding upward, the ice pack being handed off from Dr. Fraser to Jack, and then the sheet around the examination table being pulled around to give them privacy. It seemed strange for Daniel to be left in his care; Dr. Fraser treated him so regularly, she rarely trusted anyone else to look after him. And apart from the two of them, the Infirmary seemed deserted. “I’m sorry about this,” Jack whispered, his voice impossibly soft now.


“It’s just my allergies, Jack. Wouldn’t be the first time they’ve gotten me into trouble. Sniff! Besides, it’s not like you knew a soulmate goose was going to show up for you today.”


Jack did not sound remotely reassured. “I should have had a better plan for this. I should have said something ages ago.”


“You wanted to stay team leader. I understand. I wouldn’t want to lose you.”


Jack’s body rose and fell as he gave a slow, shaky sigh of relief.


It was like he had just been given permission for something. Daniel thought he knew what. “Jack… you need to tell her how you feel.”


Jack’s body tensed up. “Tell who? Doc Fraser?” He paused a moment and then said “Sam? You mean Sam? Tell Sam?”


“Yes, Sam. She knows about the goose already. She should hear it from you. The goose is probably flying at her office door right now.” As hard as it was for him to push Jack away, Daniel knew it had to be done. “You should go to her now, Jack.”


Jack pulled away, far enough to break the hug, break all contact. He let the cold pack onto the examination table beside Daniel. He got up from his seat and took another step back, standing right up against the curtain. He rubbed a hand over his face, rubbing at his eyes, and muttered something under his breath that Daniel didn’t catch.


But Daniel was looking at Jack properly for the first time now. He hadn’t noticed when Jack was running after the goose, because of all the commotion involved at the time, or when Jack was holding him, because Daniel had had his eyes closed for the most part. But now he saw the marks and cuts covering Jack’s body. His uniform was torn in more than a dozen places. Some of the cuts had bandages covering them, but others looked fresher, still bleeding a little. Jack looked like he’d spent all morning being tortured.


And maybe he had been.


“Jack! Your face! You’re still bleeding!” He looked around and spotted gauze, bandages, scissors, and a small bottle of disinfectant lying on the floor, having been knocked there by the goose, Daniel guessed. Gingerly, he slid off the table. He waited the headrush out for a second then went for the items. “Let me call Dr. Fraser back so she can—”




Daniel bent down, scooping up the items. “Yes. You’re bleeding all over.” He glanced at his side where he’d been leaning into Jack and noticed a few smears of blood on his sleeve. “Including on me, apparently.”


Instinctively, Jack’s hand went to his face, and he winced as his fingers made contact with an especially red spot where the goose must have gotten in a couple shots over the course of the morning or perhaps quickly, one after another. “Sorry,” he whispered again. And then he blurted out, “The goose wasn’t leading me to Sam’s office.”


“There’s no need to deny—”


“It took me to yours.”


Daniel felt his face redden. He turned his back to Jack, slowly picking up the rest of the fallen items to buy himself some time. This didn’t make sense. Jack was… hell, Daniel was… they’d both had wives. There had to be a mistake.


Only soulmate geese never made mistakes. That was the best thing about them. The person they led you to was your soulmate, whether you wanted them to be or not. No one knew where they came from or where they went. But the one thing everyone knew was that they were infallible.


Tears burned in his eyes, making the words on the label of the bottle of disinfectant go blurry then causing all the items to go blurry. He let them fall from his hands, back onto the tile floor. He knew he should pick them back up, but he couldn’t move. Fuck! He couldn’t even breathe. The ache in his head was now a sharp, stabbing pain every time his pounding heart pumped blood to it. His pulse threatened him like a bomb, building up, ready to explode.


“You’re killing me, here. Say something?”


But Daniel couldn’t. He was sure he was going to pass out again. He felt that spacey, lightheaded feeling for a second time and threw a hand out to at least try to break his fall.


His hand hit something warm and hard. Then he felt that comforting hand on his back again. “Breathe for me, Space Monkey.”  


The breath Daniel took was sharp and quick and sudden upon realizing he hadn’t been breathing. He looked into Jack’s face, past the cuts and bruises, into desperate, worried eyes. Then Daniel did what he’d wanted to do this whole time and buried himself against Jack’s chest. Jack waited a second, maybe two, and then he wrapped both his arms around Daniel in a tight hug.


“This wasn’t the way I wanted you to find out,” Jack told him. “I wanted to be able to tell you myself when the time was right. But first you were chasing after Sha’re and then you were mourning her… and it just never seemed to be the right time to throw out there that I’m madly in love with you and want to be with you forever.” Daniel couldn’t restrain a whimper this time, and he clutched Jack’s shirt tight in his fist. “The goose kept breaking away from me and racing to your office, kicking its webbed feet and flapping its wings at the door. I finally managed to get a hold of it long enough to wrangle it to the infirmary. It was either that or one of the lockup cells, but I was already bleeding by then, so this made the most sense. But I didn’t count on you being allergic. How did I not know that geese made you sneeze?”


“You should have just assumed. Everything makes me sneeze.”


Jack laughed. His hand stroked the back of Daniel’s head, petting affectionately. It made Daniel feel so cared for, so content, but also a little sleepy.


“Given that neither of us will get any work done today, and I might have a concussion and you’re still actively bleeding in a handful of spots—”


“I forgot!” Jack started to pull back, but Daniel was still grabbing hold, and easily pulled him right back into place.


“I think we both need to take a day or two of leave to figure all this out.”


Jack nodded, his head bobbing up and down. “Yeah. You’re probably right…”


Smiling to himself, Daniel asked, “Your place or mine?”


Jack tensed again.


“I mean, your place has that roof deck where we can make love under the stars and declare ourselves to the whole galaxy. But my place has… um… a humidifier?”


Jack’s hand trembled a little again as he gave Daniel’s head one more stroke. “Tough decision. But what if I were to tell you I’m pretty sure I have a humidifier boxed up somewhere in my basement storage, I just need someone to help me look for it?”


“Then I’d say you found your someone.”


“Yeah, I did.” Jack’s arms tightened around him. Jack took a deep breath and let it out. With his ear pressed to Jack’s chest, Daniel could hear the man’s heart racing. Jack dropped a kiss to the top of Daniel’s head. “I’ll get the cold pack. You get the bandages. We can pick condoms up on the way there.”


“Perfect,” Daniel agreed. And that was the thing Daniel liked most about soulmate goose stories. There was always a happy ending.