Jack's smile was
quietly satisfied as he opened the door for Daniel.
"Hey," he said
softly, reaching out to snag a handful of Daniel's fine grey silk
sweater and draw him into the house. "I was starting to think
you'd stood me up." He backed into the house, turning to walk
confidently around to his bedroom, leaving Daniel to lock the door
Daniel wandered into
the kitchen, opened the fridge and grabbed a bottle of chilled
water. Then he followed Jack along to the bedroom. Jack was
already barefoot and bare chested, waiting impatiently for him by the
"You look good,"
Jack admired Daniel as he shoved the bedroom door closed behind
him. He reached out to cup Daniel's jaw gently, still
smiling. "You always look good."
Daniel stretched up
and kissed Jack, a soft, teasing brush of his lips.
Jack responded by
pushing the heavy, plum-coloured silk jacket from Daniel's
shoulders. "You wear too many damn clothes," he complained.
"I thought I looked
good?" Daniel queried gently, carefully refraining from commenting on
the fact Jack had been wearing a grey T-shirt under his casual red
plaid shirt when Daniel arrived, something which appeared to have
escaped his colonel's erratic attention. He thought Jack looked
good. The tight jeans made Jack's long legs look endless,
accentuating his narrow hips and tight ass. Daniel felt a shock
of arousal, low in his belly.
Jack took Daniel's
bottle of water, drank deep, then tossed it onto the bureau, his slow
smile growing. "You look better naked."
"You want to fuck,"
Daniel recognised the predatory gleam in Jack's heavy, prowling eyes.
"You mind?" Jack
asked as he tugged Daniel's sweater up over his head, letting it pool
on the floor with the jacket. His hands were already busy
unbuttoning Daniel's charcoal grey chinos, pushing them down around
Daniel's hips along with his briefs.
Daniel gasped out
loud, leaning in to rest his head on Jack's shoulder as Jack freed his
cock and held it, Jack's callused trigger finger rubbing lazy circles
along the big vein that ran on the underside.
Jack kissed Daniel's
cheek as Daniel's cock swelled in his hand. "I want you," he
whispered, grazing greedy kisses over Daniel's cheekbone.
"Me too," Daniel
admitted into the warm skin of Jack's shoulder, still feeling shy about
their lovemaking. Jack was the only man he'd been with. He
would never have believed that intercourse could feel so good, that he
and Jack could be so intimate, so connected. "I can't stay too
long," he reminded Jack, obligingly arching his throat for soft kisses
as he rocked his hips easily into Jack's certain touch. "We have
"You can sleep with
me," Jack countered, scowling, as Daniel made himself useful, unzipping
Jack's jeans. "Even if it is a school night."
"I can't. You
know I can't. You don't let me," Daniel complained gently as he
eased Jack's jeans down over his narrow hips, releasing an eager,
slippery erection to jut demandingly against his belly.
"You're young," Jack
smiled winningly, stepping lightly out of the jeans and backing towards
the bed, leading Daniel by the cock. "You need lots of sex."
"You're a pervert,"
Daniel argued, feeling the customary warmth spreading through his
body. There would be heat soon enough, but for now he was
basking in Jack's affection. "You get off watching me come."
"You moan. It
drives me crazy doing that to you, you know it does," Jack agreed, his
smile deepening. He cupped his hand over Daniel's nape, pulled
him close then kissed him hard on the lips, plunging confidently into
Daniel's mouth to stroke sleekly over his tongue.
They tumbled onto
the bed, settling themselves side by side, kissing deeply. Daniel
hooked his leg over Jack's butt, hugging Jack close to him. Their
cocks ground together as they pushed unsubtly into one another.
expectations of intercourse had been limited. The guy on the
bottom lay on his stomach and got fucked, the guy on top had a good
time. End of story. How wrong he'd been. "Remember
the first time?" he murmured, struggling free of Jack's mouth for a few
moments. Jack's cock twitched against Daniel's belly, surprising
a chuckle out of him. "Jack!" he protested.
Jack pulled him back
into the kiss, growing more passionate, more demanding, driving deep
into Daniel's mouth with limber, rasping thrusts, stroking and
squeezing. Revelling in him.
Daniel still wasn't
wholly accepting of the fervid way Jack would touch him when they were
together, like Jack couldn't get enough of him, couldn’t have him close
enough. Sometimes Daniel thought Jack wanted to fuck him every
time they slept together, though they were both more creative, more
open than that.
Jack dropped his
head to nuzzle restlessly at Daniel's throat and shoulders. "I
did you against the door in your apartment."
"Not the first time
you made a pass at me," Daniel contradicted impatiently, sinking his
teeth into Jack's broad shoulder, then licking it better, which made
"Made a pass?" Jack
asked incredulously, obviously recalling the incident in detail.
"I didn't make a pass. We were arguing. You lost it!"
"You lost it!"
Daniel argued hotly. "I still don't know how I ended up with my
jeans round my ankles while you…"
against you?" Jack interrupted, laughing bawdily at the memory.
"Sticking my tongue down your throat was the only way to shut you up."
"It shut YOU up,"
Daniel snapped, dropping down to suckle pointedly at each of Jack's
nipples in turn. "You moan delightfully too," he observed
complacently as Jack's cock twitched against his belly. Jack's
fathomless brown eyes were glazed, his strong, straight lips swollen
and slick from the force of Daniel's kiss.
"You want to fuck
like this?" Jack asked, his voice warm and low, sweet as honey.
"Face to face?"
He hadn't even realised two men could fuck like this. He'd
learned the position from Jack. He'd learned a lot. He
loved the slide of skin inside him and over him, Jack's heated
pleasure, his weight and power driving him deeply into Daniel's
body. Jack would always lose control, he would always need
more. Daniel always wound up on his back, Jack jolting him up the
bed. He'd never felt more pleasure from sex, his whole body
electric. Part of it was he loved to see and feel Jack that way,
red faced and sweating, focused and intense, his powerful muscles
contracting and flexing beneath Daniel's greedy, groping hands.
"I do remember the
first time," Jack admitted as Daniel rolled him onto his back to stroke
and kiss his face. "You were kind of naïve about this
Something in Jack's
face, his eyes, told Daniel this was a good thing, maybe the best
thing. For Daniel the best thing had been Jack's gentle
"You know I've told
you it's not an issue if you want to do me?" Jack murmured
questioningly into Daniel's hair.
Daniel smiled to
himself. Jack liked to sniff and nose into the rumpled strands,
his hands wandering back to pet and stroke again and again as they made
love. Jack also liked when Daniel did this, took Jack's tongue
into his mouth to lick and suck on it.
outspread, Jack's big hands slid firmly down the length of Daniel's
back to cup and knead his ass, pointedly suggesting Daniel get with the
"It's not an issue
for me either," Daniel responded easily, stretching up to nip at Jack's
nose. "Is it okay for me to like how we are for now?"
"More than okay,"
Jack agreed readily, cupping Daniel's face gently. His kiss was
warm and tender, slow sweetness.
Daniel really didn't
have a problem with fucking Jack. He was just - well -
greedy. When Jack was inside him, the immediacy and intensity of
their connection moved him almost unbearably. The world went away
for Jack. For Daniel too. He would lose himself in Jack,
his hands slipping on the sweat that pooled on Jack's broad back, the
rough, capable hands holding his ass just so, holding him right where
it felt good for Jack, good for them both. Jack's eyes would be
liquid with the force of his feelings, the pleasure he was taking and
giving. Maybe Jack was like this with Sara, with his other
lovers. Daniel didn't ask. He was amazed and grateful Jack
had found it in him.
He took tiny,
nuzzling bites over Jack's jaw and throat, wriggling pleasurably
against the finger stroking his ass, pushing down to open himself to
the one broad finger nudging meaningfully at his anus. Daniel
chuckled. "I bet you could get a girl's bra off one-handed too,"
he accused teasingly.
Jack beamed at him
complacently. "Manual dexterity is high on the list of useful
skills for a pilot."
"Shut up," Daniel
ordered roughly as Jack's finger rocked into him. "Too much
talking." Hissing with pleasure as Jack stroked him, Daniel
kissed Jack fiercely, thrusting aggressively into his mouth.
Jack's finger began to move in the same pulsing rhythm. "More,"
Daniel demanded, plunging back into the kiss again.
Just as he always
did when they were together, Jack opened up to him and let Daniel do
whatever he wanted. He did laugh a soft protest into Daniel's
mouth as he was fiercely kissed, but a moment later he was pushing back
as powerfully as Daniel was driving into him. Jack got the upper
- um - tongue in the kiss, purely because he was demonstrating his
flawless manual dexterity in Daniel's ass, which was incredibly
distracting. Daniel gave in, pushing and writhing against two
"More, Jack, I need
more," Daniel demanded as sullen desire stabbed in his belly. His
cock was throbbing as he ground his hips against Jack, planting his
foot on the mattress to keep Jack close.
They broke apart
just enough to allow Daniel to take the lube from Jack. He
squeezed a generous amount into his shaking hand and stroked it onto
Jack's cock, smiling involuntarily as Jack jerked greedily against his
"You okay like
this?" Jack asked as he slid down the bed a few inches.
"I want to kiss,"
Daniel said clearly.
Jack licked his
lips, smirking. "I noticed."
Smug was a good look
for Jack, but then Daniel thought everything was a good look for
Jack. They never really talked about this stuff, but Daniel
thought Jack was gorgeous. Jack showed his age in the laugh lines
around his beautiful eyes, his distinguished grey hair, the lined
throat. The first hint of softness in his still enviably muscled
belly. Daniel admired every inch of Jack, who was so very real,
and dear to him. Jack was comfortable in his own skin in a way he
wanted Daniel to share. Daniel wasn't there yet, except when he
was with Jack. He was learning to see himself through Jack's
eyes, to understand his value to Jack. It was hard to be with
someone whose every look and touch saw beauty in him and not be
It took a little
while to get themselves into position, with both of them on their
sides, Daniel's legs hooked around Jack's back, his ankles comfortably
crossed. Jack tilted his pelvis up so he could penetrate Daniel;
his thighs would be hot and chafing against Daniel's ass when Jack
curled up. They would make love slowly, tenderly, rocking easily
together, touching, holding, kissing.
"Mmm," Daniel hummed
anticipation when he felt the slick, snub touch of Jack's cock at his
accused, his eyes twinkling.
Daniel just had to
kiss him. Growling, he pounced, grabbing Jack's ears to steer him
close, chewing on his straight lower lip.
Jack snorted with
laughter, his body shaking. "You're like a terrier puppy I once
had, Jackson. Adorable yet relentless." He laughed again
when Daniel wriggled his ass, fuck-me-already meaningfully.
Firm hands closed
over Daniel's hips, holding him steadily as the snub touch became
insistent pressure. Daniel's head arched back involuntarily as
his body fought the steady penetration. Eyes closed, he reached
up blindly to grasp Jack's shoulders, snatching quick, panting breaths
as the head of Jack's cock pushed steadily inside him. Daniel
pushed down against Jack, both of them moaning out as Daniel's body
opened and Jack sank into him. Daniel moaned again as Jack rocked
steadily, working his cock deeper until the heat of his balls rested
velvet against Daniel's ass.
They lay still, arms
around one another, flowing into a deep, passionate kiss, tongues
pulsing rhythmically. It was one of the necessities of
intercourse, this quiet time to allow Daniel's body to adjust to
Jack. They fit exactly, every thrust would massage the tight
channel, Daniel able to feel the heat and pulse of blood in Jack's
cock. The sensation of his body being filled and slightly
helpless against Jack's vigour and strength was powerfully erotic.
Jack - went
deep. In every way.
"Fuck me," Daniel
ordered, tightening his legs imperatively around Jack's back. He
found himself gazing into Jack's eyes, heavy-lidded and slumberous with
desire. Impulsively, he planted a soft kiss against each eyelid,
then kissed Jack's forehead ceremoniously. "Now, Jack."
This position was
good for them both. Jack was satisfyingly deep and they could
rock and thrust easily.
Daniel gasped as
Jack withdrew a little way then stroked into him. "Mmmm," he
sighed. "I like that. Do that."
"This?" Jack asked
innocently, stroking deeply.
"Here?" Jack sought
clarification, stroking into Daniel again.
pleasurably, pulling Jack into another kiss as he pushed subtly into
the next thrust. His body was rocked each time, his cock rubbing
over the firm ridges of muscle on Jack's belly. It felt
good. Jack went deep and stayed deep, rocking his hips, angling
to find Daniel's prostate, rubbing sleekly over it.
gasped as he quivered, his fingers clenching hard into Jack's
shoulders. "Just there. Again, Jack."
"You're God's own
definition of assertive in bed, Jackson," Jack wryly told him.
Daniel smiled at
him, stroking a gentle finger over the fascinating scar in Jack's
eyebrow, tightening his legs instinctively as Jack's cock slid over his
prostate again. His whole body was tingling with shocks of
pleasure, leaving him breathless and shaking. "Harder, Jack," he
ordered, licking Jack's Adam's apple. "Please."
Jack made a
"And slower," Daniel
suggested a compromise, writhing sensuously. "Actually…roll onto
your back, please."
Jack demanded, his lips quivering. He rolled slowly, holding
Daniel smiled at him
as he planted his palms flat on Jack's belly and rocked himself
groaned, a quiver running through the whole of his body, his hips
Daniel rocked again,
moaning as the hard, throbbing heat pulled the tight muscles inside
him. Jack gave Daniel what he wanted, obediently lifting his legs
to plant his feet against the mattress, his thighs warm against
Daniel's back. Daniel took Jack's hands in his, kissing each
palm. Jack looked dazed as Daniel began to suckle on each finger
in turn, Jack's thrusts getting harder, deeper. "Fuck me, Jack.
Fuck me hard," Daniel breathlessly ordered.
Jack sat up, kissing
Daniel passionately as he writhed sensuously in Jack's lap. They
licked tongues, fighting over who would lead this kiss. Daniel
pulled back suddenly to look at Jack, his hand shaking as he stroked
reverent fingers down Jack's temple, cheek and jaw. Jack was
red-faced and sweaty, panting as they fucked as hard and slow as Daniel
wanted, Daniel's saliva glistening on his lips and chin.
Daniel's smile was
from his heart. He snatched Jack to him, thrust deep into his
mouth, biting down on Jack's tongue as he clenched his ass muscles
around Jack's cock. Jack howled, toppling back, his head
thrashing on the pillow as Daniel rode him.
It was good, it was
so good. Satisfyingly deep and slow, just as Daniel liked
it. His thighs were trembling, sweat pricking his skin, pooling
deliciously on Jack's belly. Daniel liked to watch Jack's muscles
work as they fucked, his hands moving from tracing the ridges on Jack's
belly to press firmly into his own, low, so he could feel Jack moving
inside him. Daniel reached out to rub Jack's nipples to aching
He cried out as
Jack's hand closed over his cock and began to stroke him.
Pleasure shook through Daniel, panging sharp and low in his belly over
and over, quickening, rippling through his body in tight waves of
dizzying heat. He rode it out, rode Jack for a long time, slowing
Jack's hand on his cock, slowing his own rocking, wanting, needing,
taking more. Jack was shaking as much as Daniel, reaching out to
take Daniel's hand, their fingers entwining, rubbing restlessly
together over Daniel's flexing thigh.
wrenchingly as the continual contractions in Daniel's ass squeezed his
cock again and again. He was totally gone, gazing up at Daniel,
his eyes black with the force of his passion, mouth working
soundlessly, shoulders arching up from the bed as the pleasure took him.
Daniel's breath was
labouring, sobbing in his throat as he ground himself against Jack's
groin. "Jack!" he pleaded. Jack's grip on Daniel's hips was
bruising as he thrust up wildly, his ass lifting from the bed to drive
fierce stabs against Daniel's prostate. Daniel saw white flashes
before his eyes as his body tensed and shook, Jack fingers squeezed
hard on Daniel's cock and Daniel came, clenching convulsively around
Heat exploded inside
him, Jack's cock pulsing steadily as he shot his load. Limbs
leaden with satiation, Daniel lifted himself clear, Jack having to help
him. Daniel tumbled limply forward onto Jack's chest, kissing him
in gentle gratitude, then snuggled into Jack's affectionate,
encompassing embrace, his racing pulse gradually slowing, the sweat and
semen sticky on his cooling body. The sweet ache in his ass would
stay with him for a long time.
"How long can you
stay?" Jack asked after a while.
Daniel muttered, nuzzling at the sensitive hollow between Jack's throat
and shoulder. They'd cuddle for a while, shower, dress and
eat. Maybe watch some TV or talk. Not about them.
Just - stuff.
They didn't need
hissed, his careful, diplomatic smile congealing.
"I don't know this
language!" Daniel whispered back. He turned back to the small
alien woman who stood facing them.
species of P4Y-790 was bipedal and humanoid, not tall, but also not
fine boned. The woman's white skin was mottled with soft touches
of purple, as if her blood pooled close to the surface. It seemed
slick with moisture of some kind, possibly secreted. Her hair was
white too, bound around her head in a complicated array of fine braids.
At this distance,
her eyes seemed wholly black to Daniel, her nose was - well, there was
a reason Jack kept humming 'How much is that doggie in the window?'
off-key and under his breath. Her nose was definitely snub, the
flesh delicately wrinkled, with nostrils Jack had with his usual
sensitivity likened to jet intakes.
"Daniel," he said
again, touching his fingertips to his chest. "Daniel."
The woman quirked
her head inquisitively, with quick, sharp, birdlike movements.
Jack snapped. "Her name is Sorentir. After an hour of this,
even I get that."
"Jack, I don't think
so," Daniel quickly disagreed.
"Sir, I agree with
Daniel," Sam said at once, shooting Daniel an uneasy look.
"Carter," she offered the woman, touching her free hand to her chest.
Daniel noticed Sam's
grip was white knuckled on the butt of the P-90 slung from its
customary harness around her shoulders and chest. Sam's unease
was making him edgy too. Sam was wholly to be trusted to keep a
cool head, even when Jack was losing his. Especially then.
Daniel caught Sam's eyes, looking at her questioningly. She shook
her head, her lips thinning in obvious frustration.
"Aw, for cryin' out
loud," Jack bitched. "Teal'c!" He smacked Teal'c in the
promptly responded, smacking Jack back just that much harder.
Jack scowled at him.
"Daniel," the woman
said. She brought her hands together in front of her face like a
child praying, touching the palms of each to her forehead, the slow,
measured movements striking Daniel as being ritualistic. "Errys."
Daniel took an eager
step forward, only to find Sam muscling in front of him, her arm
outflung to bar his way. Her defensive posture was unmistakeable,
close to threatening.
snapped, stalking up to join them, trying to glare Sam down.
queried sotto voce, carefully watching Errys to gauge her reaction to
this. To his surprise, she was looking blandly 'through' Sam as
if she wasn't there, focused wholly on Daniel.
As she had been all
along, Daniel realised suddenly.
"Jack, say something
to Errys," he instructed quietly. Sam shot him a look, part
approval, part apology, but she didn't lower her arm even with Jack
glaring at her.
5-5-5-F-R-E-Y-A," Jack said jovially to Errys.
Daniel and Sam both
turned to look at him, their disapproving frowns identical.
"When Freya yanks
your yo-yo, get back to me," Jack responded tartly to their unspoken
criticism. "Lighten up, willya? It's not like she learned
English since we got here. This isn't 'Star Trek'."
"There's no evidence
to prove she didn't learn English long before we got here," Daniel
riposted, frowning. He carefully avoided using Errys' name,
hoping to avoid triggering her interest in their quiet conversation if
she didn't speak English. "We literally only have her words for
repeated insistently. "Sorentir."
"What's yanking your
chain, Carter?" Jack asked more seriously, eyeing Errys in aggravated
disbelief. "Apart from the fact you-know-who is like a broken
Sam shook her head,
her eyes tight, tracking every move Errys made. "I don't
know. I - she's dangerous, Sir. I know it."
demanded. "Being a boring conversationalist isn't sufficient
grounds for shooting her."
"I just know it!"
Sam snapped. She looked a quick, uncertain apology at Jack,
turning impulsively to Daniel for help.
"I don't do this,"
Sam complained to him, low-voiced and pissy. "I just - it's not
"All the more reason
for us to take it seriously," Daniel blithely suggested, looking Jack
right in the eye as he said it. Behind Sam's back, Jack gave
Daniel the finger.
"I concur," Teal'c
behind them to see that Teal'c had moved position to keep a clear line
of sight on Errys, who he realised was walking towards them, sniffing
the air delicately.
involuntarily, raising her P-90.
twitched towards his gun before he could stop himself.
Annoyed with himself
for reaching for his pistol, Daniel gave Jack credit for not losing his
temper with Sam, simply ordering her through clenched teeth to fall
back. She went, but she didn’t make it look easy or willing,
backing away slowly, never taking her eyes from Errys.
"I don't know what
the hell is going on," Jack told Daniel quietly. "Errys isn't
doing anything overtly hostile. She isn't even armed. But
if Carter is this spooked…" He looked wryly at Daniel.
"Carter doesn't do spooked."
called. "Do you sense anything?"
"I am calm,
"It's nothing to do
with Jolinar, Daniel!" Sam snapped. "This is…" She tutted
in frustration. "Visceral is the best way to describe it."
"If you say ANYTHING
about woman's intuition, she'll shoot YOU," Daniel warned Jack under
"I'm sensing that,
yes," Jack agreed, glancing from one female to the other.
asked, his attention arrested. "Sensing?" He looked again
at Errys, who walked right up to him, still sniffing the air. No,
not quite. He realised she was sniffing him. Errys wasn't
intrusive, she didn't touch him in any way, but he still shifted
uneasily from foot to foot.
Sam took that as
permission to close in on Daniel. Jack frowned at her but
moved in also.
Daniel was too used
to his friends reacting like this to fault them for it, even though he
wished they could be more open-minded. Their
defensive postures came off too much like aggression, the one true
universal language Daniel had found. All that appeared to change
was the nature of the response. His friends were more disciplined
than most of the races they met, unfortunately.
"We should leave
this place, O'Neill," Teal'c announced, his voice stony.
deeply, lifting her head to scent the air, turning to Jack instantly,
moving so fast to stand in front of him he jumped, raising his gun
instinctively. He jerked back as she sniffed him.
chick is weirding me out too," Jack barked. "Let's chalk this one
up to experience and head for the hills." He jerked a thumb at
the Stargate behind him.
"There's trinium in
those hills," Daniel reminded Jack, looking meaningfully at the low
mountains spreading out before them, purple and blue in the hazy light.
"That is what we
came here for, Sir," Sam reluctantly concurred.
pronounced with calm satisfaction. She held out her arms, her
movements slow and graceful, the palm of each long fingered hand raised
to Daniel and Jack, then she brought her arms together to cradle over
her stomach. "Daniel. O'Neill. Tahlen," she said
significantly, looking knowingly from Jack to Daniel.
trinium," Jack ordered sharply, visibly rattled as Sam processed this
by-play, frowning. "We're outta here." His eyes met
Daniel's briefly in warning.
It was no shock to
Daniel that Jack didn't want anyone to know they were in a sexual
relationship, especially their teammates. Nothing about the
situation was fair, but Daniel had made his choice from their first
time together. His first loyalty was to Jack. There was too
much going on for Sam to pry into what 'tahlen' meant, and he hoped it
could as easily be interpreted as 'friends' instead of 'lovers'.
He was still
startled that Errys could tell. Daniel had showered with Jack
last night at his place - admittedly they'd had slippery sex in the
suds, with the water pounding down on them - but he'd showered again
alone this morning at his loft to wake himself up. There was no
way Errys could smell Jack on him, even with what seemed to be her
superior olfactory senses.
"Fall back," Jack
ordered his team flatly. "This is a supposedly simple survey
mission. Let's not start a war here. I'm not in the mood."
turned to walk away, basically getting himself out of the way as he'd
been endlessly drilled to do. He was fascinated, disappointed and
slightly spooked by the encounter. It was rare they met a truly
alien species, though the various human cultures they encountered were
uniquely different from those of Earth. The Goa'uld had seeded
the galaxy thoroughly with their human slaves, and of course the
Stargate network was designed to take them to worlds which supported…
Daniel spun around,
startled, drawing his pistol as he turned. Sam was huddled on the
ground, in the grip of some kind of seizure, her body jerking. As
Daniel ran forward to help her, Jack was raising his P-90, spitting
harsh words at Errys.
"What the FUCK!"
Jack hollered, purple with fury. "Watch out!" he snarled as
Daniel dropped to his knees beside Sam to check her pulse. "We
have a sniper!"
"I see nothing,
O'Neill," Teal'c reported tersely.
Daniel rolled Sam
into the recovery position and angled her head carefully to keep her
"How is she?" Jack
asked. He was systematically scanning the horizon when Daniel
pulse is weak and thready, she's having difficulty breathing, and she's
unconscious. There's nothing I can do for her here. We need
to get her to Janet ASAP." Daniel rapidly reported. He wondered
how much chance there was of that. Jack didn't dare open fire on
Errys now he knew they weren't alone. There could be one man out
there or a hundred, and there was no cover.
Errys tossed back
her head and let out a loud, high-pitched ululating cry.
The tall, fragrant
purple grasses before the Gate rippled as a small army silently stood
up, each alien male carrying some kind of chunky rifle.
barked. "We are surrounded."
"No shit, Sherlock,"
Jack retorted bitterly.
Errys ordered with calm satisfaction, her dark eyes gleaming in the
placid face. "Sorentir."
There was no sound
but the familiar spit of Teal'c's staff weapon. Daniel saw the
narrow, focused flare of light strike out from one of the weapons, then
Jack was hurled back, his arms outflung as he thudded gracelessly to
the ground, twitching and jerking as Sam had. Daniel was
scrabbling for his pistol when he was struck in the chest, tossed
backwards, unable to breathe, to see…
Daniel's head swam
sickeningly every time he tried to lift it, so he stayed where he was,
curled up at Jack's side. Sam was on her back an arm's length
from him, still out cold, though Jack was stirring fretfully.
He managed to strain
up a little, peering around to locate Teal'c. His friend was a
few yards away from them, seated in his accustomed stance for
Kel'No'Reem. Daniel's glasses were hanging from one ear. He
freed them, then slid them clumsily on. The world wavered and
reluctantly focused. He could see that the skin on Teal'c's bare
arms and face was marked with ugly purple welts. Daniel looked
anxiously at Jack, then at Sam, and found them unmarked.
"The aliens are
venomous, DanielJackson," Teal'c said softly, opening his eyes.
Daniel asked weakly, his voice parched and husky.
venom is secreted through their skin."
"How are you?"
"My symbiote begins
to heal me," Teal'c said placidly. "We are prisoners." He
rose elegantly to his feet and padded over to kneel at Daniel's side,
carefully lifting him to a sitting position. Teal'c sat behind
Daniel, holding him comfortably. "I regret that I must know your
opinion of this place, DanielJackson," Teal'c murmured, a hint of
apology in his voice.
vaguely why they'd been stripped of not just their weapons and packs,
but some of their uniform too. Their feet were bare, their
jackets missing. 790 wasn't a warm planet. Daniel felt the
chill in the air, biting at his bare skin from the floor. The
cold would make them sluggish, make it difficult to think and
act. When it got dark, they were in real danger of suffering from
He really felt like
just laying his head down on Teal'c's shoulder and closing his
eyes. It hurt to breathe and his dizziness was making him
bitterly sick. The symbiote seemed affected too, stirring in its
pouch behind him, soft, unpleasant touches against his back.
Daniel fought hard not to let his revulsion show, wishing as he always
did that Jack would even make the attempt for Teal'c's sake.
gently reminded him of his duty.
"Just - just give me
a minute to process, okay?" Daniel asked. Hazy natural light was
slanting down on them from high above. Blinking hard, Daniel
looked up, then around. They were in a small square
chamber. The walls were dark grey, almost black. "This is a
tower," Daniel said quietly. "The walls are rising above us maybe
three or four storeys. I can't tell if the walls are stone or
metal." This was important. The presence of metal walls and
floors helped them to determine the level of technological advancement
the team was facing. Daniel leaned forward a little, trailing his
fingers over the cold floor. "Metal," he said slowly, gazing into
the shadows. "Taken with the weapons we saw, this level of
sophisticated construction suggests their technology is in advance of
"I concur," Teal'c
responded. "We are on a platform separated from the rest of the
chamber. I have been unable to determine how far down the chamber
extends below our position."
"It was designed for
this purpose," Daniel said thoughtfully, looking at the way the
daylight artfully pooled around his teammates. The windows were
purposely high above them, specifically placed to illuminate the
platform only. Everything else was in shadow. Daniel
struggled up with Teal'c's support. He winced, remembering he
wasn't the only one hurt here, looking anxiously around. "Your
wounds?" he asked sharply.
"My injuries do not
trouble me, DanielJackson," Teal'c serenely answered.
He meant they
shouldn't trouble Daniel. Daniel looked over his shoulder,
shooting Teal'c a hard, reproving stare, which he ignored.
Surrendering an always unequal struggle, Daniel went on with his visual
survey. "There's a walkway there, skirting the walls. I can
just glimpse the edge here and there," he muttered, pointing vaguely.
As Daniel stared,
the shadows dancing before his eyes then slowly coming into
focus. "No. Perhaps an auditorium of sorts. Just a
single row of throne-like seats, not ornate, but imposing." The
architecture was featureless, as subtle as a fist. "It's not
encouraging," he admitted gloomily. "Did you know Washington D.C.
was deliberately designed to intimidate and humble visitors?"
replied unexpectedly, derailing Daniel's trail of thought.
still talking," Jack whined pitifully. "Someone knock me out
"Happy to," Daniel
hissed indignantly, choking down a very unprofessional wave of relief
as his colonel stirred. It continually pissed Daniel off that the
soft-eyed man who'd lounge drowsily in bed with him, listening happily
to any damn thing Daniel chose to chatter about, wouldn't let Daniel
give him the time of day without calling him on it when they were on
duty. Knowing Jack, he probably did it on purpose.
Jack opened his
eyes, rolled cautiously onto his side and scowled evilly at
Daniel. He seemed decidedly unenthusiastic about Daniel's
intimate and at this point fairly interactive proximity to Teal'c, but
clearly wasn't up to doing anything about it, though his dangerous eyes
promised pleasurable retaliation at some unspecified point in the
future, when Daniel least expected it.
Not that Daniel
would deliberately annoy Jack or anything. Uh-uh. Not him.
"Carter?" Jack asked
piteously. "Here. Unfortunately."
"Allow me to assist
you, Major Carter," Teal'c offered kindly.
responded with real gratitude.
Daniel managed to
keep himself upright as Teal'c freed him to go to Sam, then got
ambitious, crawling over to Jack's side. Jack's fingers touched
his for a fleeting moment, his eyes soft and questioning. Daniel
managed a tiny, wavering smile.
In the next moment,
Jack's face was stony. His game face.
Behind them, Sam was
retching distressingly. Wincing sympathetically, Daniel swallowed
the bitter saltiness flooding his own mouth again.
demanded, cringing as Sam puked her guts up over the edge of the
platform, hanging limp from Teal'c's arms. "Smaller body mass,"
Jack murmured to Daniel as he sat up, reeled and steadied himself,
pushing away Daniel's instinctive helping hand. "She was struck
by the same charge we were from the weapons so it hit her
harder." He shook his head muzzily. "I feel like crap," he
"Me too," Daniel
"Me…" Sam panted,
waving an eloquent hand, "three." Shivering abjectly, Sam slumped
against Teal'c, her head lolling on his supporting shoulder, her face
pale and pinched.
"I do not know if we
are prisoners or prey," Teal'c announced without preamble, gently
They all glared at
him, although Sam's glare was directed more or less up his nose.
Teal'c seemed quite pleased by the sensation he had caused.
"That is NOT
helping!" Jack bitched.
"The aliens are
venomous, O'Neill," Teal'c went on. "I was unable to determine if
this was a natural means of defence against predators or attackers, or
an aggressive response. However…"
"If they were armed,
it might have another purpose altogether," Daniel interrupted excitedly.
"Do you ever listen
to yourself?" Jack demanded incredulously. "When the cannibals
are stuffing Carter in the cook pot I'm sure it will comfort her to
know you're utterly fascinated."
"They won't," Daniel
corrected him absently.
"Stuff Sam in the
cook pot. Not if they're cannibals."
"What?" Jack asked
blankly, frankly not looking up to dealing with any kind of
"If the aliens eat
us, that doesn't make them cannibals." Daniel looked vaguely at
his limp lover. His lover looked apoplectic. "It makes them
carnivores. If they were cannibals, they'd be eating each other,"
he explained hurriedly.
"Carter could be the
dessert," Jack insisted stubbornly.
"But I doubt they'd
eat us even if they are carnivores. We're sentient beings.
Errys knows that. We've communicated," Daniel went on hurriedly,
correctly interpreting Sam's resentful silence as a none too subtle
indicator he should change the subject with some rapidity.
"I think Teal'c's
first suggestion is the correct one," Daniel went on, ignoring what he
felt to be more deliberate provocation.
"I think the aliens
are higher up the food chain we are," Jack argued.
"I think you should
stop thinking," Daniel unkindly advised Jack. "I also think we're
going to be subjected to some kind of rite."
"If I may clarify,"
Jack said crisply, holding up a quelling finger. "We're no longer
on the menu, just heading up the list for ritual sacrifice at dawn?"
"There's no reason
to think we'll be sacrificed, Jack," Daniel retorted impatiently.
"Ritually or otherwise."
"Apart from Errys
and her army shooting the shit out of us and trying to fry Teal'c in
his boots?" Jack asked witheringly, leaning past Daniel to nod
pointedly at Teal'c.
"The chamber appears
to have only one purpose, Jack. It's for the leader…"
interrupted. "I think that's fairly obvious."
"I have reached the
same conclusion, O'Neill," Teal'c said quietly.
"Ditto," Sam added
in a carefully neutral 'I'm not even THINKING I told you so even though
I DID' voice. When Daniel checked on her, she was staring at her
bare toes like they could change the face of physics if only the little
buggers would co-operate.
"Errys and her
priests - generals - council of advisers - influential people
certainly, can gather privately to observe what goes on here, on this
dais," Daniel went on. "It's the seating," he added, pointing out
at the shadows surrounding them. "I count ten - thrones, for want
of a better descriptor, running parallel to us on two sides, and one
much larger throne set alone behind us." He jerked a thumb over
his shoulder. "Four straight ahead of us, then a gap, then
"I believe that gap
you speak of is the entrance to this place, though no one has entered
in our time here," Teal'c informed them. "It is difficult to
determine the construction with the chamber shadowed in this way.
I agree with DanielJackson's judgement that we are dealing with a
technologically sophisticated species. The construction of this
chamber is most impressive, fulfilling a number of different functions."
"What he said,"
Daniel smiled, looking warmly at Teal'c.
Jack made it to his
feet, swaying. "Any way off this thing?"
"There is not."
retractable walk-way," Sam suggested, sounding a little stronger.
"There might be a mechanism we can trigger," she said optimistically as
Teal'c helped her up. "The sooner the better. It's cold in
here," she added, rubbing her bare arms.
"It was I who
removed your jackets and footwear," Teal'c answered the unspoken
question. "I believe Errys was not pleased to see me damaged by
the touch of her people. She allowed me to tend to you.
Though I could not understand her words, her meaning was clear. I
bathed your feet."
Jack cleared his
throat, apparently feeling the comment was directed at him.
"Sorry about that. The laundry kinda piles up. Things get
on top of you."
Daniel, the 'thing'
that usually got on top of Jack, naturally with Jack's wholehearted
assistance, choked. The odds of Jack trading sex for laundry were
slim to none, unless they did it on the drier. "Cleansing is a
common precursor to a ritual or ceremony," Daniel observed in as steady
a voice as he could manage. As he was walking across the
dais to join Jack, the wall ahead of them began to slide noiselessly up.
"Just keep thinking
those happy thoughts, Daniel," Jack instructed him tartly, his mind
apparently very much dwelling on ritual sacrifice.
The team assumed
their customary defensive positions, Daniel tucked neatly behind Jack,
Sam and Teal'c spreading out to flank them. They stood alertly
watching as alien men dressed in flowing iridescent white robes strode
into the chamber, each turning to stand before a throne, the man behind
him taking the throne next to his, filling each place in turn with
interested by this. It was usual that rising societal status was
reflected in the closer proximity members of each social strata were
allowed to the leader. From what little he'd been able to observe
of them so far, Errys' people seemed rigidly hierarchical to
As far as the aliens
themselves were concerned, Daniel could detect no discernible markings,
dress or decoration to suggest a caste system, but couldn't rule it out
at this stage. He simply didn't have enough observational
evidence to make valid assessments. At first sight, there was no
clear pattern of physiological differences - the aliens had differing
facial features of course, none of them were tall, they were solidly
muscled and shared identical eye and hair colouring, their skin mottled
Errys was the last
to enter the chamber, the door sliding closed behind her. She too
robes, though hers were finer, of many layers and natural shades of
cream, floating around her legs as she moved. She stepped
confidently out into thin air, a walk-way gliding out before her to
span the chasm that surrounded the dais the team was imprisoned on.
muttered, craning her head to try to see where the walk-way had sprung
from. "It must be operated by sensors." Her tone suggested
this made it useless to them.
Daniel caught Jack
and Teal'c exchanging a quick look. He knew Jack's body language
better than he knew his own. Jack was uneasy at Errys' calm
assurance, seeming unsure if she was a direct threat or a potential
"She burned you just
touching you?" Jack asked Teal'c, who inclined his head. Jack's
lips thinned. "Won't be easy," he whispered.
"I am with you,"
"So are we," Sam
greeted him as she stepped onto the dais. The walk-way instantly
retracted, gliding back.
"Oh, I don't like
this," Sam said tightly, shifting nervously from foot to foot.
"If the next word
out of that bitch's mouth is 'sorentir' so help me!" Jack grumbled an
aside to Daniel. "Carter," he warned, low-voiced. "Hold
your position." Daniel turned, startled, to see Sam moving forward, her
eyes intent on Errys.
"We haven't seen
another female, Sam. It's possible Errys is the only one," Daniel
said rapidly, trying to distract her, not wanting this to escalate as
it had back at the Stargate. He literally had to get in Sam's
face, taking her shoulders to hold her back, stepping with her as she
sidled impatiently to get past him.
"She sees me as a
threat, you mean?" Sam asked, still glaring over Daniel's
shoulder. "That doesn't explain my reaction to her," she said
secretes chemicals," Daniel suggested urgently, taking Sam's shoulders,
forcing her to focus on him. "We can see the secretions
glistening on her skin. Perhaps one of those chemicals is
Sam looked at him
then, frowning consideringly.
Errys scenting the air. "What's the least developed sense humans
answered instantly. "Studies have shown - oh. Oh!
Pheromones," she recalled triumphantly, her face clearing.
said excitedly. "Do you remember Janet telling us about VMOs -
"Some scientist - I
can't recall the name - thought he'd discovered vomeronasal sacs in
humans," Sam answered. "Janet was pretty excited about it," she
system is wired into the hypothalamus," Daniel went on.
sexual and maternal behaviour! That's where the aggression is
coming from," Sam realised, nodding at him with brisk approval, her
quick mind already analysing.
"Can we FOCUS here?"
Jack demanded in a sarcastic aside to them.
When Daniel glanced
around, Jack was planted solidly in Errys' way, Teal'c circling gently
around behind her. "Ja-ack," Daniel warned, aware of the relaxed
regard of their interested observers.
Errys MOVED, flowing
backwards at blinding speed to launch herself spinning into the air,
her foot lashing out to strike Teal'c solidly in the head. He was
thrown backwards, landing limply at the edge of the platform. He
roared. "Stay where you are!" he barked as Sam and Daniel ran
forward to help. They froze in their tracks, Sam moving
protectively in front of Daniel. "I guess we know why Errys is
the Alpha Bitch round these parts," he acknowledged grimly.
"Me! You talk to me. O'Neill. You get that?" he raged
at Errys, low-voiced and deadly.
Errys stood before
Jack, the many layers of her robes still whispering to stillness around
her legs. She quirked her head in that 'listening' stance that
seemed her signature, then she moved again, dancing past Jack to kick
his legs out from under him as her arm slammed into his chest. He
landed jarringly on his back, his head striking the floor with a
yelled, trying to get past Sam. Errys was coming, coming
fast. She easily evaded Sam's punch, lashing out in a punch of
her own that landed on Sam's solar plexus. Sam folded up,
dropping to her knees, then falling forward onto her face, wheezing
desperately. She curled up into a ball, scrabbling to get back
up. Errys grabbed a good handful of Sam's short hair and dragged
her brutally across the floor to fling her down at Jack's side.
Sam tried to make it
up again as Daniel ran forward. Errys made no hostile move
towards him as he roughly shoved past her. She seemed slightly
amused by his anxiety, walking easily behind him as he crouched between
Sam and Jack, a hand resting on each of them. Jack was
unconscious, Sam huddling into a defensive ball, her knees lifting
jerkily as she fought to get past her pain, to get to her feet, her
eyes huge, frightened and determined.
gracefully. She pointed first at Jack, then at Sam.
"Sorentir, Daniel." Errys mirrored Daniel's pose, one hand poised
over the face of each of his friends. "Sorentir."
Daniel's heart was
beating fast. The ugly burns on Teal'c's skin had come from one
of Errys' people. She was asking him to choose which of his
friends to hurt, to torture. It was impossible, there was no way
he could choose between - Choose! Of course! How stupid of
him! Daniel imperatively rose up on his knees. "I choose
myself! Sorentir." He smacked both hands to his
chest. "Sorentir Daniel!" he demanded.
Errys bowed her head
in gratified acknowledgment of teaching the stupid human a new trick,
then she lightly touched her fingers to his cheek.
Daniel cried out in
agony, falling back on his ass in shock as his skin scorched and
blistered instantly. He sprawled between his friends, gaping up
in sick disbelief at Errys' sleek, purring pleasure at his pain, her
little murmur of appreciation echoed among the watchers.
softly tried the word. "Sorentir…" she nodded at him.
Daniel gasped out. He leaned back instinctively as Errys moved
closer. He thought for a moment she was going to kiss him, but
she halted just short of him, inhaling deeply, sniffing delicately at
his face. Daniel fought to hold still as he felt her warm breath
gust over his skin. Despite his determination to show nothing, he
flinched when she licked delicately over the wound on his cheek,
lapping him like a cat. Choked with revulsion, Daniel looked deep
into her sloe black eyes. "Sorentir?" he questioned.
answered readily, pointing at each of his friends in turn. "Im'da
vestae rohan." She lifted her head and pointed at the
doorway. Daniel glanced behind him to see the chamber door had
been opened once again.
"You could be asking
me to choose which of them to set free," Daniel reluctantly
acknowledged the symbolism of the open door to their prison. "Or
which of them to send to their deaths." He took a deep, calming
"Daniel, no!" Sam
ordered shakily. "Don't choose, don't give her what she wants."
he said steadily. With no reason to trust Errys, what other
choice could he make? The consequences of his choices had to fall
on him, not on his friends.
retorted, her eyes caressingly indulgent. She breathed Daniel in
again, inhaling ecstatically "Nah, Daniel." Errys rose
smoothly to her feet. "Tu vay mir na sante, tu do'este amente se
frene nen. Sorentir," she warned him before walking calmly away.
grumbled weakly, finally admitting to consciousness, roughly scrubbing
both hands through his hair. Daniel turned to him at once,
helping him to sit, painfully slowly, glad just to feel Jack's solid
warmth against him. "That bitch has a kick like a mule."
Jack scowled at Daniel, failing to hide his relief at finding him and
Sam okay. "We're in this mess because you smell good?" he asked
challengingly, his strong tone sounding forced to Daniel's sensitive
"From what little
we've observed, I'd argue that Errys' species appears to have highly
developed olfactory senses, Sir," Sam reported wearily. "Daniel's
scent could be exciting her sexually…"
"Unless they stock
full body condoms round these parts, you'll be chargrilled," Jack
informed Daniel unpleasantly.
looked doubtfully at the blistering welt on Daniel's cheek and let that
supposition go. She tutted in frustration, frowning up at
Daniel. "I wish we knew more about their physiology."
Daniel patted Sam's knee consolingly, then scrambled to his feet and
went to check on Teal'c, realising with a shock that their audience was
still present, still watching, their robes reflecting the light while
their faces were shadowed in darkness. The intimidation was
silent and surely intentional. Daniel was wise enough to admit he
was afraid. "Um - guys?" he called, making sure everyone
knew they were under observation.
rohan," Errys ordered in measured tones, gracefully gesturing at the
open doorway as she ascended the steps to take her bleak throne.
"I have no idea what
that means!" Daniel huffed in supreme frustration. He had nothing
to work with!
"Forget about her,"
Jack ordered impatiently. "Just go check on Teal'c."
Teal'c rolled onto
his knees as Daniel drew level with him. He accepted Daniel's
assistance to rise to his feet, inclining his head in thanks.
"You are injured, DanielJackson," he observed, his eyes hardening.
"And you lied about
your wounds being okay," Daniel retorted. "This burn hurts like
"It is of no
importance." Teal'c looked warningly at Daniel, then behind him
to their friends, each busily surveying their audience and the chamber
they were imprisoned in. "We will not speak of it."
They walked with
great dignity back over to Sam and Jack, neither of whom seemed up to
moving around much. Teal'c knelt solicitously at Sam's side,
returning her grateful smile as he helped her to sit. Sam was
deathly pale but up, more or less alert, plainly hurting and rubbing
her stomach continuously.
Daniel helped Jack
up again, alarmed that he hadn't been able to stay upright without
Daniel there to support him, and very conscious that Jack was taking
the burn on his cheek personally, his brown eyes flinty. He hated
that Jack actually leaned on him, knowing Jack felt strongly how
dangerous it was for prisoners to show weakness. Daniel hid his
worry as best he could, bracing himself to take Jack's weight as Jack
slumped pathetically against him. "Is this a tactical slump?" he
whispered anxiously, still hoping.
"I wish," Jack
groaned. He patted the back of his head, his hand coming away wet
with blood. "I'm making it look worse than it is," he added
unconvincingly as Daniel's fingers fumbled agitatedly in his hair in
search of the wound.
"We're in a lot of
trouble," Sam observed quietly, glancing edgily at the invitingly open
advantage of Jack's bluff - which was apparently that he was bluffing -
to hug him supportively, something Jack apparently felt lent much
needed credence to his ruse. Daniel belatedly remembered the
thump in the chest Jack had received, apologetically loosened his grip,
whispering something disjointed about ribs. Jack's sudden snort
of stifled laughter Daniel took as permission to hug the shit out of
his exasperating colonel.
observed with great satisfaction. A knowing murmur ran through
the appreciative audience in the shadows.
A familiar heat
warmed Daniel's cheeks. Jack simply stared stoically at nothing,
particularly at nothing Sam or Teal'c shaped.
"Is there anything
about this - ritual - you find familiar, Daniel?" Sam asked
hopefully. Her beautiful eyes were clouded with pain, lips tight.
"Oh." Sam deflated,
"What are our
options?" Jack asked.
Daniel decided that
comment was directed at him and answered for everyone. "It seems
I can't choose myself for whatever 'vestae' is, Errys made that
clear. 'Im'da vestae rohan', to be precise. Our choices are
pretty limited, Jack. I can refuse to choose. I can choose
one of you. Errys could let that one go. Errys could kill
that one," Daniel rapidly marked each untenable option off on his
fingers. "Regardless, I'm stuck here translating new and exciting
ways to possibly kill each of you." He glanced at Errys on her
throne, still watching his every move. "Actually, I think I'm
stuck here full stop," he confessed miserably. "Errys won't deign
to communicate with anyone else."
sniffing," Jack observed in a cool, distant voice, his shoulders
tensing against Daniel's chest.
supplied helpfully. "Errys' interest in Daniel is probably
sexual," she suggested tactlessly. "It's nothing personal,
Daniel," she added comfortingly. "Stimuli from the environment
are converted into electrochemical nerve impulses, which as you know
are the language of the brain. Your body is simply emitting a
chemical Errys is reacting powerfully to, a chemical we," she gestured
at her teammates, "aren't even aware of, exerting an attraction we
yourself," Jack muttered under his breath so quietly only Daniel caught
it. "So Dog Breath is one quivering mass of uncontrollable
hormonal lust?" Jack's voice was deceptively casual, his eyes, dwelling
on Errys lounging on her throne, anything but.
DanielJackson is a narcotic, not an aphrodisiac?" Teal'c offered,
entering into the obnoxiously pessimistic spirit of things.
Daniel Jackson was
fighting a losing battle against a blush like a sunset. Amazingly
he had enough panic to share between imminent death and imminent outing
if survival was actually an option, which seemed unlikely at this
point. He would be the first to admit it was a teensy bit selfish
to prefer option A. He'd been dead before. He could deal
was morbidly conscious that cuddling his colonel was certainly not
helping his case for strictly platonic connotations to be attached to
'tahlen' by his teammates. Even so, he couldn't bring himself to
let go of the annoyingly smug and slightly dented bastard lounging
fetchingly in his arms, ready to tilt at windmills in his own unique,
aggravating and currently non-ambulatory way.
For once in his
life, Daniel was praying Sam didn't think outside the box.
Daniel honestly had
no idea how he would feel if Sam and Teal'c knew he and Jack were
having sex, if they knew Jack had fucked him. Knew how much he
enjoyed being fucked. He couldn't deal with it; it was too
freaky. Daniel had never expected to tumble into bed with Jack,
hadn't even seen Jack coming until they were humping wildly against his
apartment door, their trousers round their ankles.
Sanity had returned
when Jack had happily suggested a sleepover. Accepting the
unexpected gift Jack had given him, Daniel had promised himself he
would be mature and realistic. He would never compromise Jack,
never damage his reputation. It had to be that way for Jack's
sake. It was hard to be pragmatic, to be careful and considerate,
to be content with what little time they could snatch together,
especially when Jack went out of his way to make it hard on Daniel.
Jack was fucking
Daniel, but the Air Force was his life. No question.
Stifling an ache of
accustomed regret, Daniel yanked himself back to more immediate
problems than his still-budding sexuality. "How about if I choose
all of you?" he hesitantly suggested.
snarled, surging up to glare at him. "Forget it!"
"I said forget it!"
"I'm not leaving
you!" Sam snapped.
"Nor will I,
DanielJackson," Teal'c coldly rebuked him.
"It presents you
with the best option for escape and survival," Daniel said, blinking
hard against a rush of affection for his stubborn, infuriatingly
over-protective friends. "I can take a little sniffing until you
guys come back with the Marines." Daniel sensed almost
immediately he was alone in judging what he could take His friends
"I doubt I could
make it out of here under my own steam if a snake was crawling up my
ass," Jack announced defiantly.
Daniel hugged Jack
harder, making him squawk a wheezing protest as his ribs creaked.
"Me either," Sam
insisted staunchly, hugging her stomach and rocking a little for effect.
"Teal'c could carry
you," Jack suggested to Sam, far from idly.
"I could not,"
Teal'c responded blandly. "My wounds are causing me great pain and
Major Carter is heavy." He ignored Daniel's outraged look,
choosing instead to respond to Major Carter's.
"We all go or we all
stay," Jack announced with flat, frankly quixotic finality.
"I think you're
letting emotion cloud your judgement," Daniel argued, very aware of the
"I beg your pardon?"
his team leader responded icily. "Three of us are wounded, we
have no idea where we are…" Jack looked questioningly at Teal'c, who
nodded agreement with this statement. "How far it is to the gate,
or if these guys want us on the a la carter menu. We have no
weapons, no compass, no rations, no water, no socks and no frigging
idea what the hell is going on. If we 'vestae' our asses out of
here, the odds are extremely high we'll die whimpering from exposure
three hundred yards from whatever hellhole the bitch lets us crawl out
"That was very
convincing," Daniel informed his lover and his sagely nodding 'what the
colonel said' teammates. "Especially as you all know perfectly
well the only way the rest of us get out of here is if one of us takes
a calculated risk, walks out the door and makes a break for it."
"Makes a break for -
crap! The bitch is back."
No one said
anything. Daniel simply helped Jack to his feet while Teal'c
helped Sam. They stood with their arms around one another,
proudly staring down Errys as she strolled onto the dais, with the slow
confidence of the powerful.
rohan," Errys insisted, gesturing again at the door. "Sorentir,
"We all go or we all
stay. We're probably dead, either way," Jack said tightly.
"Thanks for the pep
"Just choose us,
Daniel," Sam urged. "Choose all of us."
"We'll see which way
the cards fall."
"Can you stand?"
Daniel whispered to Jack.
"Only if I have to,"
Jack said grimly. He looked at Daniel, his face drawn beneath the
tan. "Wasn't kidding about the tail spin the walls are doing."
"You have to,"
Daniel told him gently, squeezing his waist. "I need to try
something." Jack stepped away from him, head held high. He
was swaying perceptibly. Sam shuffled across and got her shoulder
against his back, Teal'c's supporting arm still at her waist. "I
wish I had something to write with," Daniel fretted.
Jack reached behind
his head, scrubbing his hands over his hair, then held out his cupped
palms to Daniel. "I can't manage the Gettysburg Address, but
scalp wounds always bleed like goddamn bastards."
Daniel's mouth fell
open. Feeling sick to his stomach, he inched reluctantly forward,
dipped his trembling fingers into Jack's blood and knelt down to draw
the Stargate on the floor. A simple circle, with five stick
figures beneath it. "Errys," he called. She walked over and
stood before him. "Stargate." Daniel's finger traced his
circle in the air. He pointed at each stick figure in turn.
"Daniel." He tapped the floor, indicating a particular
once, Errys stooped to tap the floor where a single isolated figure
"Stargate," he said meaningfully, tracing its shape again.
Errys was staring at
him, a good deal of comprehension in her eyes.
prompted, politely insistent.
Errys traced the
circle of the gate in the air exactly as Daniel had. "Rohan," she
The stupid human had
learned a new trick. Daniel, a veteran of airplane impressions
for uncomprehending aliens and unsatisfactory conversations with
canines, a stranger to embarrassment, glanced behind him. "Jack?"
"Rohan is the
Stargate, gotcha. Figure out what 'vestae' means and we're
cooking with gas."
difficulty in communicating was never with the concrete. Anything
Daniel or an alien could point to, they could find a word for and share
understanding. Abstract concepts were the killer. There
were simply no cultural reference points to share. He would have
to start slow and build up, and with their lives on the line, be sure.
"Human," he said
made an encouraging face, though he'd noted Errys and her people seemed
to have few facial expressions. "Daniel is human male." He
pointed to himself. Then he stood up and pointed to Jack.
"Human female," Sam
"Jaffa male," Teal'c
went on, inclining his head.
"Houman male," Errys
repeated slowly. She pointed to herself. "D'ahin
to'ai." Her hand flashed out to cup his face caressingly.
Daniel reared back
in shock, clapping his hand to his face, his friends crying out
angrily, surging forward. "I'm okay!" he called urgently,
snatching his hand away to reveal unmarked skin.
"Vestae," Errys said
"Daniel!" Jack asked
"Vestae is mercy, I
think," Daniel answered. He turned impulsively to Teal'c.
"You know what this means, don't you?" he said bitterly.
agreed stonily. "Errys and her people chose deliberately to
inflict these wounds, concealing their control of the secretions from
shrugged elegantly, her voice light and humorous, eyes filled with
sha'lokma'kor, Errys. Kel'cha," Teal'c promised.
Daniel bit his lip,
pulling a face at Sam and Jack. "Jaffa revenge thing," he
"Get in line!" Sam
whispered indignantly to Teal'c.
Rohan," Daniel repeated slowly, frowning.
"Does that mean
Errys is willing to let us all go but you?" Sam queried suspiciously.
"Oh, I don't think
so." Daniel needed to understand the last part of the phrase,
which most likely meant something simple, such as 'go to' or
'take'. 'Take' was a concept he could illustrate. He took
his glasses off.
"Im'da?" he asked.
He put his glasses
on, then took Errys' hand in his. "Im'da?"
A susurration of
shock ran through the watchers. Daniel guessed he'd broken a
tightened in his. She reached up and stroked his hair, enjoying
the way he flinched back from her. "Im'da Daniel."
"Im'da is take,"
Daniel reported, trying not to react to Errys' gloating touch.
"Take the mercy of the gate."
"Mercy?" Sam asked,
"Think about it,
Carter," Jack said savagely.
being asked to choose which of us receives a quick death in the
activating event horizon, Major Carter," Teal'c explained.
"She's going to kill
everyone but Daniel?" Sam sounded as if she couldn't quite believe it.
Daniel's cheek insultingly, her eyes glinting as he flinched
reflexively, absolutely furious with himself for doing so, for making
his fear of her so obvious.
reaction more than the cold, Daniel hugged himself tightly as she
turned on her heel and walked away, her disdain for them evident.
"I wouldn't say that either." All he knew for sure was that the
only option not open to him was a quick death.
"Why?" Sam asked,
bewildered. "Why would she do this to people who mean her no
"Because she can,
On to Part Two
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