Title: Old Married Couple in Space
Spoilers: through all aired episodes
Email: mjhaas @ thisfloatingworld.com
Personal Website: This Floating World
I feel almost silly writing an essay about why Jack/Daniel, because if you've spent any amount of time in this fandom you doubtless already have an opinion on the 'ship. J/D and Jack/Sam are, after all, the Goliaths of Stargate pairings. But I just love to talk about these two, so I couldn't resist.
Basic premise of the show, should anyone be reading who's unfamiliar: the US military discovers a device called the Stargate that can transport people to other worlds. They begin to use it to explore and to gain weapons and allies to defend the planet from the goa'uld, parasites that take humans as unwilling hosts and take on the roles of various mythical gods. If you're interested in getting into the show, the Sci-Fi Channel has long blocks of Stargate episodes every Monday night.
Daniel's an archaeologist who sort of functions as the SGC's all-purpose linguist and ancient culture expert. He's brilliant, idealistic, compassionate, and dedicated. He can also be stubborn and arrogant. Jack's a career US Air Force officer and becomes the leader of the SGC's main team. He's loyal, brave, funny, and a natural leader. He's also done what he refers to as "some damn distasteful things" on black ops missions and is capable of lying convincingly to his friends for weeks when he had to go undercover.
Their contrasting viewpoints cause a lot of friction and debate throughout the series. (As a personal sidenote, this is one of the aspects of the pairing I enjoy the most while watching the show, and indeed why I tend to be pulled toward unconventional pairings in general. Conventional ships often spend their scenes together discussing their relationship, which isn't generally satisfying to me, while unconventional pairs discuss larger, more dramatic issues in their scenes together. But you're not reading this essay to find out more about me, so I digress.) Their different approaches tend to balance each other out, and over the eight years of the series so far they've become comfortable with meeting in the middle.
Why do I love this pairing? Because they know each other incredibly well, have each seen the other at his best and worst, and still clearly enjoy each other. There's nothing more attractive in a pairing than that, to me. And whether one interprets their relationship as romantic or not, it's undeniable that they're very important to each other. I started watching the show when season 7 was about to start, and the first episode I saw was one from season two. Within two weeks, I'd bought the first 5 seasons on DVD. I was struck by their relationship right away, and while I've had other fannish loves, nothing's drawn me in as hard and fast as this one.
Nearly a Decade of Subtext
This pairing boasts an embarrassment of riches in the subtext department, so I won't be able to mention everything. But no slash essay would be complete without at least a look at the essentials. (All screencaps probably gakked from JackSlashDaniel.)
Stargate: the Movie - This one will probably get long, because it's just so very key to the characters. Daniel and Jack are both sent on the original Stargate mission to Abydos, which was then thought to be the only planet the gate went to. Both of their lives were in ruins at the time. Daniel's career was all but destroyed by skepticism about his theory that the pyramids weren't built by the Egyptians. Jack's situation is far worse - his son had recently killed himself accidentally with Jack's gun. Jack was chosen to go essentially because he was suicidal enough to set off a nuclear weapon on Abydos if what his group found was threatening enough. His friendship with Daniel brings back his will to live, and he uses the bomb to destroy a gou'ald warship without harming Abydos. When Daniel wants to stay on the planet with an inhabitant named Sha're that he'd fallen for, he tells Daniel to bury the gate and lies to his superiors for Daniel. The government's official report reads that the planet was destroyed and Daniel died there (which he did, but don't worry, he got better - it's kind of his thing), and the program was closed down.
Our story would end here, but Daniel - arrogant and curious kind of guy that he is - uncovers the gate, and various circumstances cause the Earth to start up the Stargate program again. Sha're is taken as a goa'uld host and Daniel becomes a member of SG-1.
Fire and Water - An alien makes Jack (and teammates Sam and Teal'c) think Daniel's dead through a whole elaborate mind control thing. Jack is distraught, beats a car with a hockey stick to get his frustrations out, and considers retiring. The hallucinations of Daniel's death include Daniel calling out to Jack, by name, for help.
The Serpent's Lair - A goa'uld warship is on its way to destroy Earth, and SG-1 gate in to stop the attack. Daniel's critically wounded by a staff weapon blast and convinces Jack to leave him on the ship, and Jack puts a hand against his face for a long moment before leaving. When Jack gets back to the SGC, he's incredibly glad to see Daniel survived, and we get one of the best hugs in the show's history. See for yourselves.
Need - Daniel gets hooked on a goa'uld sarcophagus and then goes into withdrawal when SG-1 comes back to Earth. Another hug as Daniel recovers from the addiction.
The Fifth Race - Jack gets an alien language downloaded into his brain and gradually loses the ability to communicate in English. DANIEL: "And, bottom line, Sir, what about Jack? Right now I'm possibly his only hope for communicating on any serious level. I can't leave him like this, and I won't."
The Devil You Know - An enemy is trying to use the team's memories to make them give up sensitive information. Daniel sees a memory of Jack. Hallucination/Memory!Jack: "And I know I don’t always sound like I believe you, but I do believe in you."
Shades of Grey - Jack has to lie to pretty much everyone to convince a rogue government group that has been running secret missions that he's really interested in joining them. Daniel's the one who goes to Jack's house to find out what's going on - Jack's house, of course, has been bugged, so he can't tell him what's going on. Daniel: "So this whole friendship thing we've been working on the last few years..." Jack: "Apparently not much of a foundation there, huh?" After it's revealed Jack was just acting: "No I feel kind of...I do appreciate that you were the one that came to see if I was okay. That...that means something."
The Serpent's Venom - Not really one of the big moments but so completely adorable I couldn't resist mentioning it, and a good example of their easy mutual snark, which is one of my favorite parts of their relationship. JACK: (picking up one of Daniel's bags) "Sure you GOT everything?" DANIEL: "Wanna try to reprogram that mine without the proper translations?" JACK: "Thought of a laptop?" DANIEL: "Well, I had one, I just couldn't get Beck's Ancient Phonetian Symbolism on CD at Archeology.com, so..." Jack gives him an affectionate Look, and then pushes up Daniel's glasses.
The Light - Daniel gets addicted to an alien substance again, and this time the withdrawal makes him suicidally depressed. Jack goes to check on him and finds him about to jump off his balcony. DANIEL: "I tried. It just goes away." JACK: "Okay. Then we'll get it back." DANIEL: "You can't get it back." JACK: "Whatever's wrong, we'll fix it." DANIEL: "You don't even know what I'm talking about." JACK: "No. No I don't. But come inside." This gets through to Daniel, and Jack holds onto him for a long moment. Jack sits by Daniel's hospital bed, and when Daniel's heart stops and the only thing that will save him is going back to the planet, Jack carries him on his back.
Meridian - One of the big ones. Daniel saves a planet called Kelowna from a disastrous explosion, and in the process is exposed to a lethal dose of radiation. The Kelownans want to blame Daniel for what happened, and the SGC considers going along with it as the planet has a lot of valuable natural resources. JACK: "I'm not gonna let you tarnish his name. See, I don't care what that stuff is worth to anyone. My government will admit Daniel is guilty over my dead body." Later, Jack talks to Daniel about the situation. JACK: "You're not gonna take the fall for this. I don't care what's at stake." DANIEL: "Why do you care?" JACK: "Because despite the fact that you've been a terrific pain in the ass for the last five years, I may have, might have, grown to admire you a little, I think." Later, Daniel decides to ascend - which is a long story, but basically means leaving his physical body behind - and his spirit picks Jack to say goodbye to. Jack tells the doctors to stop trying to heal him because "it's what he wants." No one questions that Jack's the person who would know. DANIEL: "Thank you. For everything."
Daniel stays dead/ascended for all of the 6th season. Even so, the slashiest episode of all time takes place during this year. That would be Abyss. Jack has to become a host to a Tok'ra, which are a group of non-evil goa'ulds. The Tok'ra takes him to a planet ruled by a goa'uld named Ba'al to save his girlfriend, and Jack's captured and tortured to death repeatedly and brought back to life by a sarcophagus as Ba'al tries to find out why he's there. Daniel goes to see him in his cell, but can't use his ascended powers to help Jack escape because ascended aren't allowed to interfere with the world. (Which is a subject of some debate, actually, but that's a subject for another time.) But he's there because overuse of the sarcophagus essentially destroys a person's soul, and so Daniel offers to help him ascend. Jack refuses. JACK: "If the Daniel Jackson I knew was really here..." DANIEL: "I am." JACK: "Then do something!" Later - JACK: "Okay...put yourself in my shoes and me in yours." DANIEL: "You'd be here for me." JACK: "Damn straight! I'd have busted you out, blown this rat hole to hell and made sure that son-of-a-bitch suffered!" DANIEL: "The Others would have stopped you." JACK: "They'd have a hell of a fight on their hands." DANIEL: "You wouldn't do that." JACK: "Ba'al would be dead, and don't think I'd stop there!" DANIEL: "You're a better man than that." JACK: "That's where you're wrong!" Jack then asks Daniel to let him die if he won't help him escape. DANIEL: "Don't ask me to do that." Daniel then leaves - and helps Teal'c to come up with a plan to help Jack escape, though this is left somewhat ambiguous.
In the infirmary, after Jack's escaped - DANIEL: "I always seem to be saying good bye to you." JACK: "Yeah, I noticed that. Why don't you stick around for a while?" DANIEL: "I can't...really." JACK: "You just did." DANIEL: "Special occasion." JACK: "Christmas?" DANIEL: "No." JACK: "Ground Hog's Day?" DANIEL: "Nooo." JACK: "I've got my journey, you've got yours?" DANIEL: "...you're gonna be all right." JACK: "How do you know?" DANIEL: "You're just gonna have to trust me." JACK: "I can do that."
Daniel comes back for season seven, and most of the slashy moments there are small ones. They've entered the territory of old married couple, to my mind, so that's kind of to be expected. But I wanted to mention Lost City part one. SG-1 checks out some ruins in hopes of finding the location of the lost city of the ancients. They find one of the same devices that downloaded a language into Jack's brain. Daniel tries to go up to the device, but Jack stops him, shouting "No, no, no, no, no!" and pushing him against the opposite wall. DANIEL: Jack, somebody has to do it. The answer is in there! If we don't find the Lost City we're as good as dead. Let me do it." JACK: "And who does the translating, when you go Ancient? In fact you're the one person who can't do it!" He then uses the device on himself.
Of course, Jack recovers, as almost always happens with this show, and Jack gets promoted. There haven't been many really showy moments between them in season eight, but there've been a number of fun smaller ones, including Jack having to shoot Daniel to save his life in Lockdown and losing his cool when Daniel's trapped offworld in Icon.
So, where's the porn?
Area 52 is the main archive for Stargate slash, and can be...well, hit or miss. But there are a number of authors who consistently write lovely stories featuring this pairing. Authors include Anna S., Brighid, Destina, The Grrrl, Keiko Kirin, Lady of Asheru, Martha, Otter, Quercus, Salieri (also check out Close on her LJ), and Tripoli. Some other excellent stories include The Clone Series by Danvers, The Cost of a Used Spaceship by Marie Blackpool, East of the Rock by Sage Theory, Grounded by Pares</a>, Loki's Curse by Jonah in the Whale, Naked Patrol by zillah, Things Learned by Moonlight by chelle, and Welcome Aboard the Daniel Jackson by SEF.
Vids, Fanart and Other Graphics Resources:
-JackslashDaniel, which has pretty much everything J/D, from image galleries to fanart to icons to vids to message boards to fanfiction to actual clips from the show. I pretty much stalk this site.
-Le Refuge, home of some incredibly lovely fanart.
-Triptych Vids, which has some of the very best vids I've ever seen. You have to write and ask for a password, but it's well worth it. Be sure to check out "Language."
-My own page of icons. The only bit of self-promotion here, I promise.
jackslashdaniel: For Jack/Daniel stories and discussion.
jd_daily: Daily images of Jack and Daniel.
sg1art: Stargate artwork.
stargate_icons: Stargate icons.
stargateslash: Probably self-explanatory.