It was all
there. The long, meaningful shared looks; the fleeting touches of
hand over hand. Daniel’s sweetest smile, and that way he had of
focusing on the other until the world fell away, the way he focused on
a text or artefact. Daniel making the choice, making the effort
to pursue the other. Daniel reaching out.
Jack shouldn’t have
been surprised Daniel was finally ready to move on after four years of
celibacy. He had been ready for it to happen in a way.
Maybe braced for it was more honest. There was no chance Daniel
would ever really look at Jack, see beyond the friendship thing they
worked at so diligently, beyond Jack’s rank or the mere fact of his
Jack was wryly aware
he shouldn’t ever have looked at Daniel.
He was looking
now. He had been braced for Daniel to be ready for someone; to
need again. It had never crossed his mind the someone would be
Fraiser. She was the Doc. Dammit Janet; pithy pint-sized
power-monger, pissy purveyor of needles and painfully invasive
tests. The SGC’s CMO, Carter’s friend and Cassie’s mom.
And now, seemingly,
more than Daniel’s friend.
<>Jack idly rolled the
mug of lukewarm coffee between his hands, his oatmeal pushed to one
side, uneaten. It was 05:30; the mess was deserted. Just
Jack here, and Daniel with Fraiser, there. Funny. Wasn’t
there a linguist 'round here ten minutes ago? Jack certainly had
a plate of pancakes next to his oatmeal. He was drinking Daniel’s
coffee. He’d lingered over Daniel’s coffee, and even if he could
hang here much longer without completely telegraphing ‘seething
middle-aged Special Ops colonel with humiliating crush on shit-hot male
civilian consultant’, there was no point. Daniel wasn’t coming
Fraiser was pale
from pulling an all-nighter, but quietly triumphant; her warm brown
eyes glowing and her long sensitive fingers snapping as she eloquently
described ‘heroic measures’ to Daniel, who was hanging on every word,
wide-eyed and appreciative.
Jack was glad Kearns
was going to make it; he was a good man. He was happy Fraiser had
gone to the wire, taken every risk, worked every chance the man had
given her and pulled him out of that coma. He WAS glad.
He just hated he was
thinking of her as ‘Fraiser’. She – JANET deserved better.
How many times had he been where Kearns was? Or his kids?
He didn’t want to sit here another minute fighting to not hate Janet
for putting that answering glow of warmth in Daniel’s eyes or the way
Daniel was holding her hand now.
Jack decided if he
absolutely had to get intimately acquainted with his own fathomless
pettiness, he might as well book and do it in the purely hypothetical
comfort of his own office. It wasn't like he didn't have anything
to do. He had the report Carter had sent to him to read for the
mission to P2P-459 for a start.
Jack set down the
mug, pushed back his chair with a squeal that made him cringe, noted
ruefully that neither Daniel nor Fraiser even twitched, shoved his
clenched hands deep in his pockets and strolled out, headed for the
elevator and his office.
He could read the
report. He could do that. Or he could review the footage
Daniel had sent him at his request from their mission to P7X-331.
Jack smiled as he usually did whenever he thought about Daniel these
days, hoping, REALLY hoping he wasn't coming off as doting for the
cameras. He didn't want anyone thinking he was losing it,
especially as it was the truth. He glanced up and waved cheerily
for posterity and whichever security team was on right now.
Hey! Middle-aged Special Ops colonel here! Horny.
Desperate. In love with his shit-hot linguist. You KNOW the
one. Hopeless loser here. Get it? Got it? Good.
reaction to his request, Jack smirked. Daniel had been
shocked. Delighted. Deeply suspicious. Jack didn't
know why. He'd suffered through plenty of mission footage before,
this one had been a damn good mission and for obvious reasons, the
footage was a keeper. No shooting, no angry natives.
Allegedly interesting ruins. Some sort of trippy flower power
alien text which had Daniel excitedly explaining something
incomprehensible yet grammatically important, hands everywhere,
smiling, his hair glinting gold in the sunlight slanting down to pool
at his feet.
If Jack fast
forwarded through the boring close-ups of the alien text, he’d find the
good part, the part where Daniel had handed him the camera. The
part where Daniel kept leaning over to excitedly explain something
equally incomprehensible to do with pictographs.
The part with the
Jack was a
middle-aged Special Ops colonel, and he had inconveniently fallen in
love with his civilian consultant. He didn’t like to use mission
time to blatantly check out Daniel’s ass, but when the opportunity
presented itself, he took it.
And then he uploaded
it to his hard drive and made a VCD of it.
Daniel dropped into
his chair, unenthusiastically eyeing the heap of mail he’d brought from
home. He sorted rapidly. Bills, junk mail and circulars
went into the crap file, aka the waste basket. Professional
journals and flyers he put aside to read later, then he turned his
attention to work mail.
The first was a
pithy memo from Jack demanding to know ‘what the hell is this?’ but the
‘this’ had regrettably become detached in transit so Daniel had no
hesitation in adding it to the crap file. Jack would either
forget about ‘this’ or get in Daniel’s face about it. There was a
request from the Harbinger of Doom for a personal briefing at the
Pentagon, which Daniel got from time to time and always forwarded to
Jack to deal with in his own inimitable style. Needless to say,
Daniel had yet to set foot in the Pentagon. They’d never met
Major Disaster Davis yet when there wasn’t one.
He also had four
memos from Sam, which was pretty good going this early in the
day. There were usually more. Daniel was sorely tempted to
put those with Jack’s memo in the waste basket, but Sam didn’t mess
with paperclips. She stapled. All of her attachments were
tragically still attached. He sighed and slid them into his maybe
tray. It had started out as pending, but Jack had relabelled his
trays as sometime, maybe and never.
The rest of it was a
none too gentle reminder from the personnel clerk about his unused
leave allocation and his ongoing unauthorised absences from his place
of employment. The complaint had been referred to Colonel
O’Neill, although Daniel wasn't too sure how much of a threat
even the personnel clerk thought that was. Daniel glanced at his
last letter, which was also from the Pentagon, and decided to go and
see Colonel O’Neill in person to complain about the personnel clerk.
He shoved the letter
in his pocket. It would give him something to read while Jack was
dripping sarcasm at or around him. He felt a little guilty for
standing Jack up at breakfast, but Janet had been desperately tired and
in need of a sympathetic listener. He honestly didn’t know why
Jack had planted himself at their table, refusing to sit with him and
Janet. It had been a little too blatant to order fresh food while
Jack was sitting there like a bump on a log with the plate Daniel had
started out with, and he’d decided to leave Jack well enough alone
given his all too obvious reluctance to be with Daniel. Jack
didn’t have anything against Janet, so it had to be something Daniel
had done, something Jack had chosen not to let him in on yet.
This was SOP. Jack liked him to suffer first, soften him up for
the inevitable kill.
Maybe a Snickers
would help. It would help Daniel; he felt light-headed after
eating only an apple for dinner. That new journal on
ethnolinguistics had been so provocative…maybe two Snickers, and one
for Jack, who was always more receptive to anything after he’d been
fed. Daniel retrieved three Snickers, and after some thought,
M&Ms from the secret stash Jack was always raiding in his bottom
drawer, then headed out, certain he could rely on Jack for coffee if he
provided the family pack of snacks.
Daniel ate one of
the Snickers without a pang of guilt during the elevator ride
down. His blood sugar was in his shoes. If it got much
lower, his ass would be on the elevator floor and then in one of
Janet’s beds. He was only half way through the second Snickers
when he reached Jack’s office and had the M&Ms ready in
anticipation of Jack sulking.
sulking. He looked up from his PC as Daniel sidled in through the
door with the 'Don't feed the colonel' sign on it. A sudden,
blinding smile from Jack caught both of them off-guard. Daniel
smiled involuntarily back at Jack, vaguely waving his Snickers bar in
greeting, which he kept custody of for exactly as long as it took for a
ferocious scowl to replace Jack’s smile and Jack to get out from behind
his desk and in Daniel’s face.
“You’ve been eating
fruit again, you shit,” Jack accused him indignantly, plucking the
Snickers from him. “I keep telling you that fruit is as well as,
not instead of.” He bit into the Snickers vindictively.
Daniel waved the
M&Ms temptingly, smirking as Jack’s eyes dwelt fondly on the gently
swaying bag. He held out his hand. “Give it up,” he
ordered. Jack being Jack, he took one more bite of the Snickers
before he surrendered and traded up for the family pack sized
snack. “Coffee?” he suggested. At his nod, Daniel
poured two mugs from Jack's elderly, beat up coffee maker - which Jack
insisted had historical significance for reasons he would never explain
- and carried them over to the desk. He pulled the ‘unwanted
guest’ chair haphazardly out of alignment before he sat down, so he
could stretch out and not have the office door hit him on the head if
anyone else was stupid enough to come in. Jack had a target
painted on the inside of the door with 'Bang head here' inscribed
through the centre of it. He still wondered why everyone thought
he had an attitude problem.
Because he was an
awkward bastard, Daniel thought fondly.
“Did I ever thank
you for Feng Shui-ing the shit out of my office?” Jack mumbled thickly
round his handful of yellow candy coated peanuts, which he always
rooted out and ate first for no reason Daniel could fathom. “That
book said it wasn’t possible for a room to exist without a little bit
of yang creeping in to take the edge off the yin, but you managed to
get everything in here pointing to evil.”
“Except the coffee
pot,” Daniel reminded him smugly.
Jack toasted Daniel
with his mug. “You’re very good.” The yin in Jack’s life
was Fraiser; dark, feminine and nothing but negative right now.
“Jack, I have a
shooting the shit out of those Replicators?” Daniel asked
solemnly. “Unless you and Sam are prepared to spot me a dime
apiece for them, I’m not getting paid.”
“I thought the
complaint about Velona was justified,” Jack said chattily. “You
promised me that translation by lunch at least and didn’t annoy me with
it for weeks.”
Daniel let the
obvious cue go by. He wasn’t in the mood for one of those dances
they did. Jack was ticked off with him over something and Daniel
didn’t have the energy for the usual pissing contest it took to find
out what the something was, let alone make it right between them.
It was strange, but they seemed to have reached a point in their
friendship where words were unnecessary; they just KNEW. They
could tell a mood or a thought just by looking. It was all very
pleasant and mellow, and undeniably productive for the team, but Daniel
found he was missing the fire of the early days when he and Jack butted
heads constantly over Jack’s outrageous attempts to mother him round
All of Jack’s spark,
his fire, was directed at Sam these days. Sam didn’t seem content
any longer to be the sum of her impeccable service record, and this
crush she’d had on Jack, this perpetual eagerness to please and have
his respect had been eroded over time to the point where she skirted
the edge of contempt. It didn’t happen often, thank God, but it
made Daniel uncomfortable to see battle lines drawn and sides being
taken, when so often it was the three of them against Jack.
It was difficult for
Daniel, more difficult than the times when he was the outsider.
It didn’t feel natural for the whole team to be at odds with Jack, not
after everything they'd been through together. Jack had led, but
only because they had willingly followed. The fact he listened to
them, particularly Daniel, had a lot to do with that. Jack did
his best for them as he always had, but sometimes, lately, it seemed
even Jack's best wasn't good enough for the rest of them. There
was a subtle wrongness in that.
He cared about Jack, deeply, far more than he'd ever cared for any
friend in his life. He was closer to Jack than to anyone and he
thought…he felt that for Jack it was the same. He didn't let
anyone in, not people he worked with. Only Daniel. He
remembered a conversation with Sam, long ago, when he was still trying
to fit in at the SGC. He grinned. He was still
trying. Very trying, according to Jack. In those awkward
first months as the SGC found its feet and its focus, Jack had had his
hands full with all of them, trying to build the team, keep Teal'c safe
from the NID and build common ground with him…He hadn't forgotten
Daniel, though. He'd helped Daniel apartment hunt with more
patience than he'd imagined Jack possessed. He'd trained Daniel,
taught him to fire an MP5, a little hand to hand, HELD his hand as he
struggled to adjust his academic presentations to 'sell' the putative
tactical advantages to the general. Off duty, they hung out, Jack
doing his damndest to fill the aching void where Sha'uri and his family
on Abydos had been with guy stuff and talking.
More than anything,
they had talked, about any and everything. Jack had confided in
Daniel, not easily and not quickly, but they trusted and slowly Jack
had opened up about Sara and Charlie, his feelings. He'd invited
Daniel's confidences in turn. Daniel had called him Jack
unthinkingly until he'd learned enough about military protocol to know
that wasn't the norm. His few fumbling attempts at 'colonel' had
been rebuffed in Jack's inimitable style. He was just Jack.
They were friends, first and foremost. It worked for the
team. Jack listened to Daniel where he wouldn't listen to anyone
else, took his advice, allowed Daniel to lead him to other paths, other
solutions. It wasn't how they were supposed to be, how the
military expected them to be, but Jack had needed to be close as much
as Daniel. He just hadn't realised at first he was the only one
Jack allowed to get close to him, the only one who had all of Jack, the
colonel and the man. They WORKED at being friends, at
understanding their differences.
It had hurt Daniel
to hear Jack admitting that his best wasn't good enough after losing
Teal'c on Vorash, to see him struggle with the consequences of being
too close to his team. His friends. Jack couldn't shrug off
their criticism; he respected them, and he'd let it get personal.
Maybe…maybe it was
natural. Maybe with a leader who invested in his people the way
Jack did, they were supposed to…Daniel wasn’t sure how to phrase it,
maybe to outgrow him. Sam, anyway. She’d never get command
if she was content to live in Jack’s shadow forever. Jack’s own
impatience with Sam, with the science that was so much a part of who
she was…he didn’t even attempt to disguise it anymore.
Daniel noticed Jack
was watching him, frowning, and covered for his abstraction with a
lightning raid on the M&Ms.
protested, smacking Daniel's hands away.
"I LIKE the blue
"So do I!"
Daniel produced the
third and last Snickers bar and unwrapped it slowly. He took a
slow, provocative bite. Jack scowled, weighing up the advantages
of blue M&Ms over Snickers, which he LOVED. Daniel took
another nibble, Jack staring at his mouth.
A ritual exchange of
hostages took place.
Daniel was oddly
regretful about the shifting team dynamic. Though he valued their
deepening friendship, and he was glad Jack turned to him more and more,
he was sorry that Jack had cause. Privately, and probably
selfishly, he also had to admit there were no surprises with a Jack who
listened to him and was at odds with the others in his place. He
found he missed the way they fought over everything, missed the temper
tantrums and the rush of feeling. He hadn’t even realised he and
With Jack sitting so
close, sipping his coffee and savouring his Snickers, Daniel faltered
on the unexpressed thought, surprised how well it fit what he and Jack
did, what they were. Their relationship had always been personal,
from the very beginning of it all. Each had seen something in the
other, had been drawn to it. Jack had seen a geek who wasn't the
stereotypical pacifist, and Daniel had seen an individualist in a
uniform. Neither of them took the straight path, the easy path.
Neither was afraid to stand alone or to do what they believed to be
right. For two men seemingly so different on the surface, they
were scarily alike in so many ways.
He guessed what he
missed was that edge of uncertainty, not knowing which way Jack would
jump if he was pushed. Four years together had taught Daniel
enough that Jack trusted him implicitly as a soldier. Daniel felt
as if he had changed and grown out of all recognition while Jack had
become entrenched, more recognisably himself as time went on.
More obviously cynical, if anything.
Jack had realised
they weren't going to get into it. He looked long and hard at
Daniel, once again sitting silent and pensive. He had no idea
what was going through Daniel's mind but anything that had him staring
at his shoes for five minutes was BEGGING for Jack to finesse it right
out of him. What were friends and frustrated wannabe lovers
for? Daniel knew him. He KNEW it was asking for trouble to
have a problem anywhere near Jack. The only question was how much
digging Jack had to do until he got to the root of it all. In the
meantime, he shrugged philosophically, cut Daniel a little slack for
the Snickers, picked up the phone and enjoyed himself giving the clerk
in personnel hell instead.
uncomfortably in his seat and framed the thoughts tumbling through his
head with a Jackian name. Sparkage. That was what he and Jack had
had, what Daniel…missed. If he was being honest, and he tried to
be so, even with himself, he found what he missed was that subtle,
pleasurable hint of intensely private recognition and attraction
between two straight men, who COULD, but didn’t. It was hint
enough to give a sweet edge of expectation and tension to every shared
look, word and touch. He and Jack shared a private game of
brinkmanship played out right under the oblivious eyes of their
friends, a game safe enough for them to play because it wouldn’t go
anywhere. Couldn’t. The playing of the game had become
habitual, maybe even instinctual, so much a part of them Daniel hadn’t
put a name to it until they’d lost it. Or moved on from it; he
if he was being honest here, why not go the whole hog? He missed
FLIRTING with Jack. The colonel and the doctor of archaeology
didn’t have nearly as much fun, while the colonel and the major weren’t
flirting at all. They were just fighting, and their skirmishes
had an edge that cut if they weren’t careful.
Daniel didn't have a
goddamn clue how he got Jack to start flirting with him again, not
without stirring up a lot of emotions in both of them that he at least
wasn't prepared to deal with. Wanting to and NOT was enough for
him, but if he pushed it…he really didn’t know what would happen if he
He gave up the
conundrum for now, wryly aware this was the last place he should be
thinking about it because Jack would just know. Somehow, he
would. It was just THEM, knowing. Daniel slouched in the
chair as Jack's thankfully distracting tirade reached its climax and
took advantage of Jack being on the phone to blatantly steal another
handful of M&Ms. He fished in his pocket for the
Pentagon epistle since Jack wasn’t likely to indulge him with any kind
of flirting any time soon.
When he opened it,
he found another envelope inside, surprisingly forwarded from the
University of Chicago. Strange. The only person he still
knew at the U was Steven Rayner and no way would Steven be contacting
him, not after George had him emphatically barred from excavation at
the Temple of Osiris. Curious now, Daniel opened the second
envelope and found a third inside, this one handwritten. The
handwriting was in marked contrast to the delicate floral envelope,
addressed to Dr Daniel Jackson, care of the Oriental Institute.
The script was bold and strident, striking black over the pattern,
overwhelming it. It struck a faint chord with Daniel, as if he’d
seen it some place before. He knew where when he flipped the
envelope and saw the return address.
Jack slammed the
phone down abruptly when Daniel managed a fairly convincing impression
of a stranded guppy, as in a lot of wheezing without much actual
breathing. “Daniel?” he asked warningly, thinking he'd better
DIG, as in right now. Daniel stared right through him, wide-eyed
and bewildered, didn’t even raise a token protest when Jack twitched
the letter from his grasp, which was unnerving enough in itself.
It wasn’t even opened yet, so…what?
inspected the address and flipped the envelope to see what had freaked
Daniel out. Annie Laidlaw? He looked at the handwriting
again. Annie? Somehow he didn’t think so. He flipped
again. "Halcyon?" The postmark was West NY, but Jack had
never heard of Halcyon. Must be some one horse town up by
Buffalo. “Daniel?” he prompted again, more gently this time,
instinctively protective, waving the envelope meaningfully. It
wasn't that he didn’t care; he did, passionately, and not just because
he was in love with the infuriatingly obtuse sonovabitch. They
were friends, after all. He was also aware that Daniel found him
hard to resist when he was nice to him and unfortunately, he wasn't
above using that.
“A blast from the
past,” Daniel muttered reluctantly, reaching out to take the letter
back from Jack. “Annie – the Laidlaws were my last foster family
before I was allowed to go to college,” he said flatly. Jack
seemed to be waiting for more, but he would wait in vain. No way
was Daniel tripping down this memory lane with Jack in tow. Most
of his childhood was like the All-Humiliation Network. He really
didn’t need to share the Laidlaws with the quintessentially confident
“Well, isn’t that
special?” Jack drawled, realising Daniel was not about to spill.
Daniel’s scorching look bounced right off his own anger. Jack
said being in love with Daniel was inconvenient. Didn’t he say
that? He was pretty sure he had, because it was. Goddamn
inconvenient. “Soo? Where’s Annie at?” he asked as Daniel opened
the envelope, his neat, precise movements not quite enough to control
the tremor in his fingers. Jack fought down a surge of useless,
and with Daniel, unwelcome sympathy.
Daniel said coldly.
Daniel found the
words wavering on the page and had to fight for focus, for
meaning. All he could see was Will’s handwriting. Will
fucking Laidlaw, the reason Daniel had bolted clear across the country
to UCLA and had to wait for his dream of the Oriental Institute because
there was no way in hell he was going to the University of Chicago and
letting Will ‘take care’ of him, no fucking way he was sharing a room
in the dorms with Will as Annie and his case worker had wanted.
Like they even knew Will. He'd been sick to his soul of being a
problem to solve, not a PERSON.
“Annie had a
stroke,” Daniel slowly read out loud, the effort it took obvious.
“And then a second. The prognosis isn’t good. She’s…she’s
asking for me.”
“Are you going?”
Daniel just looked
up at Jack for long, silent moment.
“When do we leave?”
Jack asked promptly, briskly reaching for the phone, already mapping
out just what he would say to Hammond. That Velona deal, the rest
of the team got downtime and Daniel didn’t; he had all this unused
leave, and well out of Daniel’s hearing, sensitive, distressed,
closure, yadda yadda.
“WE don’t,” Daniel
snapped, jumping up and booking without a backward glance.
“Oh, I think we do,
Danny,” Jack muttered as the general finally picked up.
“Sir, I need to
speak to you about Daniel. Something’s come up, a personal
matter. One of his foster mothers has had a stroke and she’s
asking for Daniel. He’s going to need some time,” Jack explained
fluently. He waited confidently through the slight pause, sure of
what both men would do.
"I can spare you
five minutes, Jack, before my next meeting. Come down."
“Yes, Sir,” Jack
“I hope you aren’t
even going to suggest Dr Jackson is any kind of security risk,” Hammond
warned Jack without preamble as he strolled into the office.
Jack executed his
start of surprise with élan. “No, Sir. Never crossed
my mind. Let’s just say in the current political climate, I’m
wary about any of my kids wandering far from home.”
“How far?” Hammond
asked, eyes gleaming.
Jack was prepared
for anything the general might throw at him. He was trained for
this crap after all, and he was good at it. “Buffalo,” he told
his boots, milking the reluctance.
“If it was Moscow, I
might buy that line,” Hammond answered dryly. “Do we need to have
that talk again, Jack? The one about maintaining a proper
distance from your subordinates?”
“No, Sir,” Jack
denied, managing to look wounded. Given he wanted naked Jackson
to go, and so far wasn’t gettin' ANY, he considered he was
‘maintaining’ the whole damn time. And they both knew Daniel
technically wasn’t his subordinate at all. As a civilian
consultant, his notional rank was at least the equivalent of
Jack’s. Jack was just waiting for the perfect time to share this
gem, and like making ecstatic monkey love with Daniel, it hadn’t
happened yet. Jack was kinda thinking one revelation would flow
naturally from the other, a reward for bad behaviour. He raised
innocent eyes to his C.O. Pick up the cue, George.
Hello? Buffalo? And in the neighbourhood we haaaave…
“Or is this in the
nature of a fortuitous coincidence?”
Jack was sure he saw
a hint of a twinkle there, a slight softening. “Perfect honeymoon
spot!” he joked.
“I hear Lake Ontario
is lovely this time of year,” Hammond observed apropos of
fishing. “And the Niagara River is wall to wall fins.”
Who? Me? Noooo!
“And Dr Jackson’s
continued belief you think he’s about fifteen years old is…what?”
Hammond enquired gently.
“A bonus, Sir,” Jack
Jack beamed at
him. “There’s a flight to Buffalo at 12:25, Sir. I’ll
hustle Daniel right out of here to pack and take him to Petersen Field
“No cuffs, Jack,”
Jack didn’t even try
the wide eyed innocent act. He settled for a slow, knowing
smirk. “It would help if the order came from you, Sir,” he coaxed.
“It would help you,
certainly,” Hammond riposted pleasantly.
“That’s why we pay
you the big bucks, Sir,” Jack admired. “Something along the lines
of ‘use it or lose it’ re the leave allocation, closure on the personal
matter advisable in light of the overtly covert interest in our
personnel files, my presence purely coincidental…” he reeled off
“I’ll allow a week
to put this thing to bed,” Hammond interrupted the flow. “It
hasn’t escaped my attention that Dr Jackson’s workload is as heavy as
ever. I think a little R&R is allowable in the circumstances.”
Jack tried to drag
his mind away from his own version of R&R, a vividly XXX-y ‘putting
Daniel to bed’ scenario, and decided to git while the gittin’ was
good. “Thank you, Sir.”
“I’ll be sure to
fully apprise Dr Jackson of the situation,” Hammond assured him.
drawled as Daniel stalked into the departure lounge. He
looked. Then he looked again. And again. Could not in
fact look away. Shiiiit. Daniel looked good. Daniel
looked GREAT. Totally fuckably hot, from the tips of his work
boots all the way up to the stormy eyes and the glints of gold in
ruffled hair. Daniel looked good in a way that made the world fit
around him. Jack’s libido took the scenic route, dwelling on
long, long denim clad legs and the way the pale grey sweater clung and
moved distractingly with Daniel’s body, the sleeves just falling over
slender wrists. He lingered on the sullen pout, his own mouth
He lingered too
long. WAY too long. Daniel shifted awkwardly and looked
Everyone else has boarded the flight. We’d better book,” Jack
said brusquely to cover his unwarranted scrutiny, turning on his heel
to march over to the check-in desk. “O’Neill and Jackson,” he
tersely told the attendant. He was aware of Daniel slipping into
his accustomed place behind his shoulder, standing as close as
ever. Closer. He could feel the heat from Daniel’s
body. Daniel couldn’t have…he mustn’t have picked up on…Jack had
to STOP fucking looking! He couldn’t touch so he should not look.
Like he hadn’t been
trying, he thought bitterly. It was way too late in the game for
Daniel to suddenly clue into the fact most of the tension between them
was sexual; conscious or not, it lay heavy and unacknowledged between
them. It always had.
impatiently while the woman futzed with her PC and finally cleared them
to board. He turned into the warmth of Daniel's strong
body. He was standing so close Jack rocked him on his feet,
automatically reaching out to steady him. Daniel’s blush deepened
as Jack’s hands rested over his hips, but he didn’t back down, didn’t
back away. Didn’t even look away.
Jack did. He
swallowed hard, wondering how the hell he was supposed to take the
oddly expectant glow in Daniel’s eyes, the nervous, speculative wince
of a smile. If Daniel knew what was going through Jack’s mind,
just what it was making the breath hitch in Jack’s throat and
tightening his balls right now, Daniel didn’t know what the hell to
make of it, but being Daniel, he had to push it anyway.
“I had dinner
plans,” Daniel said more moderately as they boarded and the flight
attendant led them to their seats. “With Janet.” He noted
Jack’s missed step and realised he wasn’t wrong, that comprehensive
once over in the terminal meant exactly what he thought it did.
Jack wanted him. Daniel was shocked, he truly was. It
wasn’t that men had never shown an interest in him, quite the opposite,
but that it was JACK. They’d danced around each other for so
long, Daniel was convinced nothing would ever change between
them. They’d settled into the same easy relationship rut as a
married couple without ever having had the passion. As big a
shock as it was, at least he knew now why Jack was so pissed at
him. He thought something was going on between Janet and
Daniel. Jack was…he was jealous.
Daniel smiled and
murmured his thanks to the flight attendant as they took their seats,
Jack settling for an ill-tempered grunt and a scowl that melted right
off his face when Daniel smiled at him. He’d never seen Jack so
at a loss. Not that he was in any better case; his heart was
pounding and he had to swallow hard. Scared spitless, he thought
with no amusement at all.
two seem close,” Jack observed with seeming casualness as he buckled
up, hating he HAD to ask but not able to stop himself.
“We had plans to
attend a speculative lecture on the application of scientific method in
field exobiology at the U, Jack,” Daniel went on quietly. He'd
like to think he and Jack were beyond the kind of pettiness that milked
jealousy. “Janet was coming along to translate the medical stuff
in lieu of a wild evening alone grouting her kitchen.”
He and Janet were
friends, and she and Sam together accounted for most of Daniel’s
equally wild non-Jack social life. Daniel felt no particular urge
to share with Jack his role as freely exploited ‘El Cheapo’ translation
service-cum-designated driver. He worked for burgers.
Daniel spent time with Teal’c too of course, but most of his life was
lavished on the infuriatingly smug man relaxing visibly at his side,
complacently flowing into every available space. Jack’s apparent
need to have his leg pressed against Daniel’s was allowable taking into
consideration Jack’s height and long legs versus the leg room they
actually had. Of course, if that was really the issue, Jack could
just move one seat over and stretch out into the aisle.
They were several
rows back from everyone else; the plane was at most a third full.
Daniel knew he was playing with fire, didn’t know why he was pushing it
except that he didn’t have a clue which way Jack would jump and he was
loving it. God, he’d missed this. Mature and pragmatic
smooth sailing sucked. He wanted Jack furious and venting and
passionate, getting in his face like he used to. Daniel took a deep
breath, looked around cautiously and let his fingers trail onto Jack’s
thigh as the plane accelerated and took off. Jack tensed, but as
Daniel’s hand splayed over the denim, curiously settling onto the
warmth and hardness of the powerful muscles, Jack’s hand closed over
his strongly for a moment, then slid possessively onto his own thigh.
Daniel sat frozen,
staring desperately at the seatbelt sign as Jack rhythmically rubbed
the heel of his hand into his instinctively clenched thigh
muscles. Stupidstupidstupid! Like the original go-to guy
WOULDN'T pick up a gauntlet he'd thrown down? He'd known Jack for
This was…it was
explicable - barely, almost deniable, but they both knew.
Daniel was scared
shitless and exhilarated at the same time. Wasn't this exactly
what he'd been missing? Feeling ALIVE in the way he only felt
when he was WITH Jack?
Jack figured he’d
had some kind of blow to the head. He wasn’t in the main
concourse of Buffalo Airport waiting for a room – any room, any place –
to be found by an increasingly desperate booking clerk. He was in
fact in a concussed heap in the infirmary, no other explanation for
it. There was no way this was real, no frickin’ way. Daniel
‘Do Not Touch Me’ Jackson had spent the entire five hour flight
plastered so close to Jack he might as well have climbed into the seat
with him. Daniel was breathing down Jack’s neck right now.
What was going to happen when they finally got into the rental car was
anyone’s guess. Maybe spontaneous sexual combustion.
The plane had picked
up enough passengers at the stopover at O’Hare to make Daniel
uneasy. The touching hadn’t been quite so overt; the merest brush
of knuckles, or the stroke of a finger, but it was there, as real and
erotic as the exploratory skimming of Daniel’s hand over Jack’s
denim-clad leg. It was pretty goddamn obvious Jack’s was the only
male thigh Daniel had ever taken to stroking on impulse, so Jack in
turn had taken it nice and easy when returning the compliment,
ruthlessly suppressing the urge to roam.
Daniel was being
daring and downright naughty, and Jack was in no mood to discourage his
endearingly inquisitive advances. Jack was goddamn certain Daniel
knew how to touch, he just needed some guidance on where. They
had both had a lot of fun, totally ignoring the tactile by-play as they
talked as they usually did, arguing with every other breath.
While Daniel was refusing to divulge anything about the Laidlaws, his
foot had slipped across and between Jack’s, nothing but a tiny, knowing
smile to indicate he was doing anything but stretching tired
legs. Jack’s attempts to persuade Daniel to surrender precious
free time to fishing instead of antiquing his way round the Big Apple
yielded accusations of museum bigotry and Daniel’s fingertips curled
around his. Oh, so casual fleeting touches they refused to
Jack was undeniably
turned on, while Daniel was nervous but flirty in a way Jack had only
ever seen him once. He'd been ready to put a bullet in the bitch
before he even knew she was Linea. Thinking a little more
rationally than he had this morning, he recognised the difference in
Daniel's behaviour now from the way he had been with Janet. Jack
had to wonder what the hell had prompted Daniel to reach out and touch
now of all times, and to reach out to him.
His mind was firmly
in the gutter, or at least in the king sized bed of whatever B&B
the tourist information types were about to magically pull out of the
hat for them, but he didn’t mistake Daniel’s sudden and slightly
confused receptivity for anything like permission to reach out and get
Jack was sure if
Daniel did tell him he was willing to get naked and sprawly, this would
be the exact point he woke up in the infirmary with a tube up his nose,
a needle in his ass and Frais- Janet 'ignoring' his hard-on.
The booking clerk
slammed down the phone and sagged with unmistakeable relief.
“Thanks to my colleagues at Low Tonawanda, we've booked two rooms at
Abe’s B&B, just five miles from Halcyon,” she announced
proudly. “Last two rooms in the county,” she admitted ruefully.
Crap. It would be hard to leap on Daniel’s quivering, helpless
body if he wasn’t even there and so goddamn blatant to lure Daniel back
to his room after dinner, given they weren’t admitting anything was
going on. Not that he could have crazed weasel sex with a virgin,
even an insatiably curious and pushy virgin like Daniel, but without
the correct ambience – i.e., Daniel helplessly trapped in a big bed
with him – he was going to have to ask him if he wanted to come in and
make out. Even the hokey old coffee invite wouldn’t work.
Daniel would definitely allow himself to be lured, but he’d expect the
coffee. Good coffee.
The dearth of coital
opportunities also made it just that more difficult for Jack to extract
post-coital Laidlaw Intel out of his annoyingly resistant
linguist. Something had gone down in Halcyon, something that had
driven Daniel clear across the country to UCLA at the age of
sixteen. Jack needed to know what. He shouldn’t need to
know what, he knew enough about being a good guy to get that, but he
wasn't a good guy and when it came to Daniel, he ALWAYS needed to know.
“It won’t work,”
Daniel said pleasantly as they walked out of the concourse only an hour
and a half after they’d walked into it. Not bad timing to
retrieve luggage, rent cars and book unavailable rooms. “I have
nothing to say about the Laidlaws.”
Jack coolly prompted as they headed over to the Hertz lot. The car
should be easy to spot. He’d plumped for the Lexus. “I’ve
only heard the name Laidlaw, singular, so let’s start right there,”
he persisted. “We have a short drive ahead of us, then we
get to have a nice dinner and a long conversation.”
Daniel corrected resentfully, trailing Jack over to their car. He
was wondering what happened after dinner and the long
conversation. Surreal Fun With Jack And Daniel On The Plane had
segued into tension. Not the pleasant, anticipatory tension of
the plane, but the gut-clenching about to get painfully real kind of
tension. The kind where Jack might reasonably expect to get laid
tonight after the way Daniel had been all over him, and Daniel not
knowing what the hell he would do if Jack did make a pass. He
hadn’t fielded a serious pass from a guy - in the all over him sense of
pass - since he'd gotten the hell out of Halcyon.
“Daniel?” Jack asked
gently as they were stowing the luggage, catching Daniel off-guard.
“They needed the
money,” Daniel said involuntarily. He cringed at the killing look
in Jack’s eyes and covered it by twitching the keys from Jack’s
slackened grip. Jack’s fingers closed over his wrist and held him
when he tried to pull away.
“They said that?”
Jack demanded grimly. “To you?”
Will had said
it. Gloated over it in fact. The money was for him and for
college, not for Daniel.
“It was true,”
Daniel defended Annie quietly. “Mr. Laidlaw died about eighteen
months before I was fostered and Annie lost the garage when the
insurance ran out. She worked hard but couldn’t afford to hire
any help so…” He shrugged.
“Doesn’t that make
her kind of suspect as a foster parent?” Jack snapped, allowing Daniel
to take to the keys. He felt like punching someone’s lights out
so being behind the wheel wasn’t a good idea.
“It was Annie or the
Family Assistance Centre in Brooklyn,” Daniel muttered. “My case
worker thought Annie beat out getting beat up four times a day just
for…” For being a stuck-up four-eyed faggot. “Being me,” he
The someone Jack
wanted to punch out was regrettably clear across the galaxy making nice
with the giant aliens. Maybe Jack could gate in. Teal’c
would go for that. Carter too. In fact, Carter would
probably club good old Nick with his precious crystal skull if she got
a look at Daniel's shuttered face and RAW eyes.
on getting them out of the airport and onto the I90 before he picked up
the thread again. “Annie was lovely," he admitted honestly
enough. "She was disappointed in life but not bitter," he added,
trying to be fair. "I liked her. She was always honest with
stealing from you?” Jack asked pleasantly, not about to give an inch.
“I had everything I
needed,” Daniel disagreed stiffly.
used your money for your books?” Jack waited for a moment.
“Asked and answered,” he snapped when Daniel sat silent.
“It’s nice to know I
can always rely on you not to be judgemental,” Daniel said
sarcastically, getting nothing but an angry shrug in return. This
was exactly why he hadn’t wanted Jack here. Little Dannyboy lost
pushed every button Jack had and he tended to vent like Vesuvius over
everyone in the vicinity. “Annie taught me to play the piano,” he
offered by way of damage control. “That’s how she made her
living. She gave lessons. I don’t play well, but I learned
to love it.” It took him out of himself, the way that reading
did, made the world go away.
“You’ve got the
hands for it,” Jack said admiringly, without thinking. He smiled
suddenly as the colour surged up Daniel’s face. Soooo…still not
admitting it but still playing, huh? The next few days looked
like they were going to be interesting to say the least. “And the
other Laidlaws plural?”
“Will,” Daniel said
Jack turned to face
him more fully, frowning. The Kenilworth exit loomed ahead of
them, giving Daniel a chance to busy himself while Jack tried to place
the name. Daniel was confident he would. Jack loved sport,
“The only Will
Laidlaw I know is a climber,” Jack said at last. “He's taken
Everest twice, and K2. Fastest ascent of the Eiger. That
“That Will Laidlaw,”
Daniel agreed. The great Will Laidlaw, ‘guy most likely to’.
They were about ten
minutes from Halcyon. He was running on nerves, twitchy libido
and Snickers fumes. He needed to eat and sleep for a week and a
half, not necessarily in that order.
Getting sweaty with
Jack did not figure in his plans, so his libido could just stop with
the twitching. It was too damn late in the day – literally and
figuratively – to notice just how attractive Jack really was and to
want to find out how much more attractive he could be without all those
clothes getting in the way.
That was way beyond
the acceptable flirting entente they had going. That was a
prelude to serious sweat. Admitting he was attracted to his
friend in no way prepared him for sweat. Daniel had been with a
guy exactly once, an occasion that deserved a Hallmark card, if
Hallmark did a disastrous ‘shoulda seen it coming’ first time
cliché commiseration card, and he could live with wanting to and
not, not ever again. He just didn’t know if Jack would get
with the programme.
“You’ll like Will,”
Daniel said positively.
“No,” Jack said
slowly. “No, I won’t.” Something made Daniel run and if it
wasn’t Annie, it had to be Will, man of the moment or not.
Will,” Daniel corrected him serenely.
“Oh, yes,” Daniel
said disingenuously. At first. More than liked. Much
more. Then it took everything he had not to be afraid of
him. “Make up your own mind.”
“I have,” Jack
assured Daniel gently, watching the white knuckles on the steering
“Abe?” Jack asked
“Who’s asking?” Abe
asked just as suspiciously, glaring up at him, one bare foot poised on
the porch step.
Jack wasn’t sure if
that was fight or flight. “MasterCard,” he said solemnly.
breathed, her face lighting up. “Customers?” she asked,
disbelieving. “Paying customers?” she added darkly.
Jack fished into his
wallet and produced his MasterCard. He didn’t blame Abe for
plucking it from his fingers and making a run for the register.
“Abe is strangely shorter than l expected,” Jack called to Daniel as he
loped up the path after parking the car. “And a girl. You
can’t miss her. Pigtails, freckles, snub nose, attitude…”
“And soon to be
owner of groceries!” Abe hooted triumphantly as she shoved the door
open for them.
Abe complained bitterly, “even though I wound up living it.”
“An Abigail was a
lady's-maid,” Daniel explained to Jack, who wasn’t interested.
“I wanted to be six
feet tall and a boy,” Abe sighed. “And I sincerely hope neither
of you is the kind to say I came up short or you’ll both be sleeping in
the car." She glared at them. "And cancellations on the day
are non-refundable,” she added emphatically.
“I’m exactly that
kind,” Jack confessed, “But I pay good, so suck it up.” He plucked the
credit card from Abe’s fingers. She seemed reluctant to let it go.
“You’re the only
B&B in the county that had rooms available,” Daniel
explained. He couldn’t understand it. The B&B was
picture-postcard perfect, a true American Gothic in a cottage
garden. It was charming, perfectly maintained, dripping flowers
and antique ambience.
“I can’t imagine
why,” Jack marvelled, staring at the reason as she grudgingly held the
door for them.
“I’ve got eight
rooms, help yourself.” Abe eyed their luggage
unenthusiastically. “Why don’t you pick your room before I shift
“Make like your
name,” Jack ordered, nudging the bags forward with his foot.
muttered, blushing as he fumbled for his wallet. “Two…rooms,” he
added awkwardly, acutely aware of Jack watching him interestedly,
smirking over his gaucheness in a way that made him want to smack him
Abe stretched up and
snatched Daniel’s credit card from him. “Organic Colombian Roast,
here I come!” she gloated, dancing back into the house.
“That girl has no
rhythm at all,” Jack said critically. “She dances like I
sing. And what was she singing?”
“’I want money’.”
Jack was dying to say something to Daniel about the room-S, but decided
it was a little too early for the flirting to segue into
foreplay. A nice dinner somewhere romantic would relax them, and
then he would bring Daniel back here and relax him a whole lot
more. There were lots of things they could do; gentle,
non-threatening things that involved being close and staying close, and
if Jack did them right, Daniel wouldn’t know what was coming until he
did. “Ah!" He held up a warning finger as Daniel made like the
perfect gentleman. "Don’t touch the bags, Daniel! She’s
trying to psyche you out. We just paid her a small fortune to do
that for us. Say it after me. Paying guest.” Jack
tapped his chest, then Daniel’s. “The help,” Jack pointed at Abe
as they walked into the lobby. He obediently signed on the dotted
line under Abe's anxious eye and pointedly retrieved Daniel’s credit
card. “The reason she is helping,” he announced, waving the card
Daniel signed too,
then looked around. The lobby was filled with comfortable sofas
and tables, with polished wood and fresh paint everywhere he
looked. The colour scheme was shades of blue and lilac which went
well with the oak, and if he had a criticism, it was…well…kind
of…chintzy. In Daniel’s experience, that suggested all the
couches were extremely comfortable. Chintz made men nervous, so
if it was draped over a really comfortable chair, the chair tended not
to be used for e.g. ProAm channel hopping or games of Beerhunter.
Chintz ensured the comfy chair could be used for reading or long
conversations with the like-minded about the evils of ProAm channel
hopping, without having the daily grind of beating the sullen,
uncommunicative lump aka your S.O., off of it first. Daniel shook
his head. Abe had kind of tipped her hand here. There were bound
to be some sullen, uncommunicative lumps who made the chintz-comfort
connection and tried it out at home. Domestic violence was likely
to escalate among her client base.
Um…if she had a
beamed at them.
“Can you recommend
somewhere for dinner?” Jack asked promptly.
“I’ve got a vat of
lasagne if you want some,” Abe grinned.
“I want some,” Jack
said softly, looking right at Daniel. It would be worth whatever
Abe charged them just to cut down on his commute time for the nookie.
“This place is
FLUFFY,” Jack hissed accusingly. “The chintz is sapping the
testosterone right out of me.”
Daniel agreed cautiously. “And frilled.” Even the breakfast
parlour was floral; literally in this case, it had a flagstone floor,
pale green walls and honeysuckle trained up the walls in trellises and
over the ceiling. With all the doors open into the garden, the
air was warm and deliciously scented.
“The food is good,”
Jack admitted grudgingly. “And the bed is big.” He
maintained the innocent front as Daniel stiffened slightly. The
‘cosy’ tables all had Victorian style skirts so Jack decided to take
advantage, take a leaf out of Daniel’s air travel amusements book and
play a little footsie. He slid his leg forward until his knee was
between Daniel's. “And extremely comfortable,” he added blandly,
blithely ignoring Daniel’s gasp and reproachful look in favour of
ploughing through his second helping of lasagne. He lazily
stirred Daniel’s knee with his, thoroughly enjoying the heat they were
generating as Daniel surrendered, stretching out his long legs either
side of Jack’s.
Jack’s urge to tease
faded as he was caught by the sweet, intense look on Daniel’s face,
Daniel clinging now as Jack rubbed rhythmically between his
thighs. He realised they’d skirmished over the line on the plane,
but the overt eroticism of this went way beyond it, and as far as he
could tell, he was turning Daniel on. Taking in the delicate
flush and the hitches catching Daniel’s breath, Jack would have to say
he was in point of fact slowly driving Daniel out of his mind.
Jack decided he’d
had more than enough lasagne and Daniel wasn’t even pretending to eat
his. “Early night,” he muttered vaguely, eyes riveted to Daniel’s
parted lips. “Bed.”
whispered before he could stop himself, blushing comprehensively.
He hoped to God Jack hadn’t heard that. He was pathetically glad
of his long sweater, because with all the blood in his body committed
to a slow, relentless glide down, he might as well be wearing a
sandwich board that said ‘will put out for food’. He managed to
make it to his feet but had no real objections to letting Jack
steer. The only problem, and it wasn’t a problem per se, more an
observation, was that Jack’s hand started out companionably across his
shoulders, and by the time they’d reached the top of the stairs, it was
curved possessively round his waist.
Dazed, confused and
déjà vu’d. That was how Daniel felt. He was
fatalistic at this point; could not in fact imagine a scenario where he
and Jack didn’t end up in bed together. It wasn’t a matter of
time, or making a conscious decision or a rational choice, it was going
to happen the instant they hit his bedroom door, ‘cause his was nearer
the stairs. He could only hope this worked out better than his
first time. Which had BEEN his first time and had put him off sex
for quite some time.
Daniel did hit his
door, literally. Jack turned him and pushed him up against it,
leaning in to rest his forearms against the panelling either side of
Daniel’s face. Daniel looked into Jack’s glittering eyes and
gulped. Yep. Getting that first time feeling all over again.
“Are you going to invite me in for ‘coffee’?” he asked patiently.
any. I checked.”
Jack shook his head
tragically. “Smooth, Daniel, really smooth,” he chuckled, turning
the handle so they fell in through the door, then kicking it shut
behind him. Jack took Daniel’s face between his hands, Daniel’s
coming up to rest over his. They were both shaking.
Daniel whispered, the rest of his plea for sanity swallowed as Jack
kissed him anything but gently. Jack was kissing him like a man
who had been waiting to do this for so damned long NOTHING was going to
stop him doing it now. Daniel realised he certainly wasn’t.
Jack’s lips were straight and strong, surprisingly soft and warm for
all the insistent pressure massaging against his own mouth.
Daniel leaned gratefully into the kiss, his hands at Jack’s waist
because he didn’t know what to do with them. Jack wasn’t the kind
of man you stroked, so he was keeping his fingers out of Jack’s hair
until he was sure that was…
Oh. Jack was
quite definitely backing him towards the bed.
He knew it. He
knew they were going to end up in bed together. Tumbling into a
tangled heap of limbs on top of the bed, still fully clothed was a
small, temporary reprieve. Not much of a reprieve. Daniel
was mashed flat. Jack weighed a ton, and he was stronger, harder
and more aggressive than Daniel was prepared for. The last time
he’d been under the man like this, 'Touched' Jack had been doing his
Cro-Magnon impression, beating the shit out of him. Now he was
pinned flat by Jack, rocking insistently until he’d insinuated himself
between his thighs, gloating smugly as he ground his steely erection
into Daniel. His hands were clamped to Daniel’s ass, lifting him
into the rhythmic rocking…”Jesus, Jack, could you make it any more
obvious you want to have sex with me?” Daniel complained, his heart
hammering. He just needed a breathing space. This was too…kissing
was good, could they not just…
Jack moved so
quickly Daniel didn’t even have time to yelp as his jeans were unzipped
and pulled off with ruthless efficiency. He managed to get out a
couple of indignant ‘Jack’s’ as his boots hit the floor and his jeans
followed them, then Jack stretched out beside him, his huge, callused
hand firmly clasping Daniel’s now flaccid penis. All Daniel
managed then was a whimper of shock, which earned him another kiss as
emphatic as the first.
Daniel lay flat on
his back, his sweater pooled around his hips, legs sprawled, Jack’s
hand on him. He gazed speechlessly up at him, utterly transfixed
by the inexpressible tenderness in his warm brown eyes.
“What have we
learned?” Jack asked thoughtfully, risking a slow, careful exploration
of Daniel’s dick, slowly swelling again and throbbing hot and heavy
against the palm of his hand. He felt guilty for letting the
crazed weasel get the upper hand there, but Daniel’s face was getting
that sweet, intense stillness Jack was already looking for, his
panicked breathing still quick, but evening out. Fine tremors
were still running through Daniel’s body but his own steadily stroking
hand was the cause of it. He just kept staring into Daniel’s
dazed eyes and smiling, both of which seemed to help. Daniel was
in fact smiling tentatively back.
“You’re a man,”
Daniel said intelligently.
winced. “Deserved, but harsh. It won’t happen again.”
comment was a soft moan he seemed embarrassed about, so Jack took that
as permission to get a tad more creative, brushing his thumb over and
over the head of Daniel’s dick as he rubbed gentle circles along the
underside. Daniel shuddered from head to foot and tried to curl
up into a defensive ball. It wasn’t much of stretch to think
Daniel really liked to be touched just there, so Jack kept it up,
relaxing as Daniel stretched himself out again and settled for just
letting his toes curl. Daniel was moaning continuously and he was
embarrassed about it, but he was also restlessly pushing up into Jack’s
Daniel was going out
of his mind, his head swimming as intense pangs of rich, almost
forgotten pleasure stabbed clean through him. He wanted to tell
Jack he was an insensitive SHIT for just lying there fully dressed;
totally, blatantly getting off on expertly masturbating Daniel beyond
the power of speech, while Daniel was sprawled, writhing shamelessly,
moaning helplessly and arching into that maddening, perfect rhythm and
he was STILL wearing his fucking sweater.
Despite himself, his
mind kept dragging him back to the last time he'd been with someone out
of control like this…all over him. This - it FELT like last time,
the aggression, his panic - but this…this was JACK. He was SAFE
with Jack. He knew that. Jack would NEVER…Daniel could say
no, he could say no and stop Jack COLD. Jack would never, could
never hurt him.
Daniel took some
deep, calming breaths. Jack was excited. Literally.
He was aroused and passionate and a GUY. He wouldn't be all over
a woman like this, but with Daniel…maybe Jack felt safe with HIM.
Jack trusted Daniel to stop him, to say no if he went too far.
He was…He WAS in
control here. There was no risk. Maybe…he could go with the
flow. See where it took them, knowing…sure it wouldn't be further
than he WANTED it to take him. He looked up at Jack's flushed
face…if he got Jack to ease off a little…a natural break…soften the
mood. They could undress and get IN the bed. Take it
croaked. Two seconds later he was thumping into the mattress
completely naked and outraged while the greedy bastard was going mental
over his nipples. Falling for Jack O’Neill like a ton of bricks
at the exact same time he discovered Jack was an irredeemable pig was
abso-friggin-lutely typical of his luck.
Daniel made a
supreme effort and peeled Jack’s hand off him, which wasn’t easy; he
was totally disoriented by the inconceivable sight of Colonel O’Neill
pouting, and the colonel was putting up a fight. Daniel gave in
and tugged sharply at Jack’s shirt. “Clothes!”
Jack glared at him
and sullenly backed off to undress, which he did with no finesse at
all, balling his clothes and tossing them vengefully at the wall,
grumbling bitterly about ‘0 for 2’.
Daniel glared at
him. Tell me about it! He crawled shakily into the bed and
pulled the quilt pettishly up to his chin. “TMI,” he said
flatly. He also wasn’t the one who was out of control here.
Mild recognition from Jack that he was going too far, too fast and way
too aggressively for someone who was shaky on the whole guy/guy thing
to start with would be…
“I’m in love with
you,” Jack said gruffly. “I…er…I NEED you,” he mumbled grudgingly
at his feet. He wanted to apologise for going mental on Daniel
and couldn’t get the words out in case he fucked up more than he
already had. Daniel hadn’t even said it was okay for them to kiss
and he’d all but mauled him. Peeled him and mauled
him. Shucked him like an ear of corn. “Can I stay?
Sleep with you?” he pushed his luck anyway.
Daniel lifted the
quilt up in answer and Jack slid into the bed beside him. Jack
was surprised and touched when Daniel scooted into his arms and kissed
“Too much, Jack,”
Daniel told him solemnly. “I think…I’m falling for you too, but
you’re moving way too fast for me. You have to give me a…a chance
here. And try not to look so smug about it.” Daniel
observed the impact of this reproof on Jack, which was apparently
squat. “I mean it, Jack. Try.”
“I AM trying!” Jack
“You’re a pig.”
Jack lay comfortably
on his side, Daniel contentedly curled up beside him, still drowsing
between sleep and waking. It was past dawn but the skies were
leaden, the murmur of the rain deadening every sound, the steady
susurration keeping time with the beat of Daniel’s heart, vibrating
against his chest. Jack smiled slowly. And with the throb
of a slowly swelling erection, jutting aggressively now against Jack’s
After the way Jack
had killed the mood last night, he’d had plenty of time to remember his
original plan of gentle and non-threatening. He tilted Daniel’s
face up and kissed him lingeringly, his gentle mouth opening
naturally. Jack deepened the kiss, suckling at Daniel's lips
until he stirred and sleepily returned the pressure. He felt
rather than saw Daniel’s smile, touched the tips of their tongue
together, sliding easily into Daniel's mouth. Jack kept the
pressure slow and tender, rubbing their tongues over and over one
another gently, smiling in turn when Daniel relaxed into him, his hand
coming up to cup Jack's neck.
Daniel let Jack
balance him on his side, gasping as Jack stroked shaking hands down his
back and onto his ass, holding him steady as Jack’s hips touched his
and he felt that steely erection again, slick and hot against his
own. Jack held him close enough to push into him, rocking Daniel
slowly with him. Pleasure skittered through him with every subtle
slide of his penis over Jack's. Wrapping both his arms around
Jack's neck, he sighed happily and leaned into the deepening kiss,
focusing on the warm, playfully aggressive tongue making free with his
mouth, roaming restlessly until he stroked back. The kiss was
sweeter and more tender than he’d been led to expect by anything Jack
had done last night. The kiss was Jack delivering on that look
he’d given Daniel, the look that told him he was loved, this was real.
He slid his own hand
onto Jack’s ass, curiously exploring the muscles as they clenched and
flexed beneath the hot, satiny skin. Jack’s body was exotically
male, at once familiar and alien to him, filled with negative spaces,
all planes and angles. Nothing about him was soft, nothing
yielded to Daniel’s touch; he was met by a strength as great as his
own, or greater.
Yes. That feels good, Danny. Yeah, just there,” Jack
groaned as teasing fingers skimmed down his chest to flicker over his
nipples. He tightened his grip on Daniel, pulling him closer,
going crazy as Daniel moved with him rather than against him when it
could be so good, so fucking good. Right now Daniel relaxing into
his body and enjoying being this close had to be better than
good. After last night, it was great. When Daniel needed
more, Jack knew now just how to bring him off.
They clung together,
pushing into one another, passionately kissing and drowning in the
sensual pleasure of touch for a long time as Daniel gained
confidence. Despite his good intentions, Jack found himself
leaning into Daniel, slowly forcing him onto his back, but the catch in
Daniel’s breath as his weight increased the friction encouraged Jack to
roll him carefully beneath him. Daniel’s legs parted at once, his
feet planted against the bed as Jack rocked easily against him.
Daniel was smiling up at Jack as he pulled him back into the kiss, his
braced feet giving him leverage to rock up to meet Jack. Jack
wanted those long, long legs wrapped around his back and he couldn’t
even stroke them; he was holding Daniel, coveting fingers touching his
face reassuringly, not just pinning him flat with his weight. The
sweat was beading Daniel’s pleasure-flushed skin, glistening and
gliding down to pool where Jack could lick it clear whenever they broke
the kiss to breathe.
whispered as Daniel moaned softly.
“Oh, yes, Jack,
yes.” Daniel couldn’t seem to open his eyes. He found
making love this way very satisfying now he was getting over the fact
he was making love with Jack. They were slipping and sliding over
one another, already losing friction and rhythm to strain
desperately. It had been so long for both of them. So
long. They seemed to have no self-control. Daniel’s skin
prickled as orgasm began to shiver through him, gradually intensifying
into shudders that wracked his whole body with sleek, sullen pleasure,
pumping out of him as he came. Jack convulsed calling his name,
his penis jerking as he shot all over Daniel, the slick, hot semen from
them both pooling on Daniel’s skin.
“I knew it,” Daniel
mumbled into Jack’s hot, sweaty shoulder.
“I knew we’d end up
going to bed together. I just knew it.”
“Did you also know
we’d end up going at it like crazed weasels in the shower together?”
Jack asked hopefully.
The sunlight was
streaming now into the breakfast parlour, which made the room
significantly lighter than Daniel’s mood. Jack was in fact going
very easy on Daniel, who was freaking through the kind of full blown
panic attack only getting naked and jiggy with his closest friend and
confidante the COLONEL could induce.
Jack was also
remembering Daniel’s restless tossing and turning of last night, which
at the time his ego had chalked up to first time nerves. Now Jack
was certain Daniel was having reunion nerves. He was trying to
respect the occasion, trying not to smoulder too blatantly but not
succeeding very well if the way Daniel was blushing was anything to go
The problem was,
Jack was totally distracted by Daniel in a sweater. There was
something intensely arousing about all that huggable soft wool with
Daniel inside it that just dried the roof of his mouth and made his
palms clammy. He had a feeling this was now obvious to Daniel,
and would lead to some tricky questions later about various birthday
and Christmas presents, including the one Daniel was wearing.
Another shade of grey, a colour Daniel bought for himself in the
mistaken belief it was practical and everyone else bought for him
because it did astonishing things for his eyes. This sweater was
a chunky ribbed silver-grey turtleneck that made Daniel’s creamy skin
glow and made the blue…
hissed. “Can you not drool?”
“Excuse me?” Jack
said indignantly, dabbing his mouth with the napkin. Strictly a
precautionary measure, not an admission of guilt. Not at all.
“You’ve been staring
for five minutes,” Daniel accused. “I’m starting to feel like
that stuff you hurl off the back of the boat to tempt the sharks in.”
“It’s not just the
sex,” Jack complained. He was rather pleased by Daniel's analogy,
which he guessed was the main reason Daniel thought he was a pig.
“Good,” Daniel said
briskly. “So if I tell you this morning was a one shot deal and
you will never get me into bed again?”
“It’s not entirely
about the sex,” Jack amended grudgingly. “How come my telling you
I’m in love with you doesn’t panic you but my looking at your ass and
thinking I’d like to…”
“I’ve been doing
that for a while, you know,” Jack offered. “If that helps.”
Daniel just looked at him, mouth falling open. “Looking at you
and really wanting to have sex with you. For a while.” He
ate a sausage thoughtfully. “Quite a while. I’m not bitter
or anything,” he added. “I’ve just been wanting to do that with
you for quite a while.”
“Oh,” Daniel said
“And just so you
know, I’m going to be spending all day thinking up ways to get you into
bed again tonight.” Jack ate another sausage as Daniel mulled
that over. “What’s your position on that?”
“Oh, I…I really
don’t know, Jack,” Daniel admitted in a rush. “We’ve only done
that one thing.”
“I do want to do
other things to you,” Jack assured Daniel earnestly. “With, I
meant with,” he corrected himself hurriedly.
Daniel suppressed a
sigh. They were on the outskirts of Halcyon, Jack was on a
collision course with Daniel’s life and the only thing that might get
them through it was Jack’s unholy passion for his ass. He had
grasped the exact nature of Jack’s consuming interest in his rear, but
he didn’t care how quote ‘Sweeeet!’ he looked in these jeans, he was
not about to let Jack fuck him, not any time soon. Even if…or
maybe because Jack was good at sex. Terribly talented.
Daniel was fairly certain being fucked by Jack O’Neill would be a life
He was absolutely
certain his commitment to the wildest ride of his life had been
inevitable from the moment he and Jack had rubbed each other up the
right way under the dinner table and that was enough of a life change
right there. The rubbing thing. Jack got him into bed on
the strength of it, and had every intention of keeping him in bed on
the strength of all the other things he was so damn good at, none of
which Daniel was likely to see coming before he did.
His first time had
been baaaad sex and he definitely hadn’t seen that coming. The
first time he got drunk, the first time he'd gone to bed with
anyone. Fifteen years old and he'd believed he was in love until
he'd realised Will was in lust. Fifteen wasn't old enough to
realise how stupid it was to gladly tumble into bed with his foster
brother, but it was plenty old enough to realise Will had used him,
used his body to get off. He'd said no at some point in that hot,
aching, helpless confusion. He'd said no, and Will had
stopped. He stopped, but he never forgave Daniel the rejection,
and he never stopped craving what he couldn't have.
With only that
experience to compare, Daniel hadn't been prepared for Jack. Will
came. Daniel hadn't. It certainly hadn’t been high on
Will's list of priorities. This morning had been enough to show
Daniel a focused individual could find an orgasm in the most surprising
places, and Jack was nothing if not focused. The difference was
simple enough to cut, even after all this time. The difference
between Jack and Will was as simple as give…and take.
grasped at any activity that didn’t customarily include going to bed
and having weasel sex.
Jerked out of his
reverie, Daniel shot him a scandalised look. “I’m not having sex
in the river!”
O-kaay, not that
one. “I just want to spend a week in bed in you,” Jack said
plaintively. “Is that too much to ask?”
“In me?” Daniel
asked, dangerously calm.
“With, I meant with.”
Daniel glared at his
unrepentant whatever-it-was Jack was now. Oh, yes. Jack was
nothing if not focused. He just wasn't sure he'd survive the
focus being on him.
Jack hung back to
case the house as Daniel went ahead of him to ring the doorbell.
He had to figure Laidlaw was making money in endorsements, so the place
was fixed up some. It was painfully neat and tidy; the yard, the
porch, the cream and blue paintwork, everything. Jack’s garden
grew where it wanted, he just nipped and tucked and kept the grass in
check. This yard was clipped within an inch of its life, like the
flowers were polished or something. They didn’t even grow in the
ground, there were pots and fancy raised beds everywhere. The
house itself was a typical boxy two-bedroom suburban utility
home. Nothing out of the ordinary.
There was nothing
wrong with the place, he just couldn’t see Daniel in it.
didn’t want to see Daniel in it. He didn’t like reminders that
Daniel’s life was not his own until he turned eighteen and actually got
to make a choice for himself that some prick with a clipboard didn’t
have to sign off on first. He got angry when he had to think
about what it was like for Daniel, independent minded prick that he was.
Jack strolled up the
path and joined Daniel just as the door was pulled open and they found
themselves face to face with THE Will Laidlaw. Jack’s immediate
reaction was the guy was much better looking in the flesh; tall and
tanned, obviously built, brown haired and hazel-eyed and very happy to
see Daniel. Jack could tell without a word said Will was all
alone in the happy zone.
eagerly hailed Daniel, taking a hasty step forward, arms outstretched.
Oh, I don’t think
so, pal. Stepping forward, Jack smoothly blocked Will's path,
sticking out his hand. “Jack,” he cranked up the ebullient
O’Neill charm. “Colonel Jack O’Neill. A friend of
Daniel’s,” he emphasised the name subtly.
“Will Laidlaw,” Will
shook firmly, his own smile warm and charming.
didn’t like him. He sensed he was supposed to, and that alone was
enough to ensure he didn’t. Daniel sure as hell didn’t.
Daniel took the
initiative, beating Will to the punch with his handshake. “Will,”
“It’s been a long
Daniel said easily, surprised at how calm he felt now Will was right in
front of him, no longer larger than life. Experience had finally
given Daniel perspective. It was naïve to assume Will would
exert the power over him he once had. Maybe it was a little pop
psychology 101 of him to think this way, but Will had only the power
Daniel allowed him, and from this point on, he realised with a slight
shock that would be none. Will was human and fallible, like the
rest of them, and he had to live with being Will Laidlaw. That
should be enough for anyone.
“How’s Annie doing?”
he asked as Will stood back to let them into the house. It looked
nothing like he remembered it, different décor, new
furniture. It was warm and comfortable though, which was as much
as Annie had ever wanted of a home. He waited for Will to speak,
knowing the answer wouldn't be good, if Annie was sick enough to call
for him. Neither the letter nor his phone call to Will had
yielded specifics about Annie's condition and he'd had a long night
flooded with painful memories. Daniel didn't know what Annie
needed from him, what he could do for her, but he was going to
“She died, Danny,”
Will said softly. “Two days ago.”
“Excuse me?” Jack
snapped coldly as Daniel floundered. “Am I mistaken in thinking
Daniel called here before we travelled? Odd you didn’t mention
that fact to him.” That was a fucking understatement. What
the hell was Laidlaw playing at, making them come all this way thinking
Annie was sick and needing Daniel?
“Mother wanted Danny
at her memorial service, and I wasn’t sure he’d come all this way just
for that,” Will told them calmly, as if that was some kind of
“You don’t know me
too well,” Daniel responded as he took his seat on the couch, Jack
joining him as Will took Annie’s accustomed spot by the fire.
“But then you never did,” he added softly.
Will’s eyes lit with
dark amusement. “Touché, Danny,” he acknowledged jovially.
“I prefer Daniel,”
Daniel corrected him.
Danny. Excuse me, Dan-yel,” Will corrected himself pointedly,
making it obvious he was 'indulging' Daniel's pathetic correction of
something so unimportant.
Same old same old,
Daniel thought, instantly recognising a tactic used against him so
effectively so often. That was then.
“So when’s the
memorial, Billy?” Jack asked just as pointedly, smiling as Laidlaw’s
two pm. The service will be held at the Wesleyan Chapel as Mother
“I bet if I said you
don’t seem awfully cut up about losing your mother you’d say something
trite like everyone grieves in their own way, huh?” Jack observed
mildly. He really did not like this guy. Seriously.
“Mother was a great
believer in stoicism,” Will smile reminiscently. “That’s why she
liked Daniel so much.”
“I guess she liked
pettiness, too,” Jack smiled right back.
Daniel’s friend.” Will marvelled, shaking his head in amazement.
“One of many,” Jack
“You do surprise me,
Daniel,” Will smiled at him. “Quite a contrast from school.
Not just stoic but exclusive. How many people actually made it to
the inner circle? Let me see…hmm…”
steadily back. It was amazing how the skill had never left
him. Never escalate. Get past if you can, focused on where
you need to be, not what’s waiting for you. If you get in it,
maintain eye contact, keep your voice low and steady.
Pleasant. Don’t smile. That’s pathetic. That’s
nervy. Don’t get scared. There’s never just one. If
you lose it, they take you. Don’t get mad. Mad escalates,
mad lets the other get in your face; it gets stupid and hormonal and
you get hurt. Bored is bad. Comes off as superior.
Stoic is all too easily seen as arrogant by someone who thinks he has
cause. Someone you dared to say no to when he deigned to want
you. You can’t get above yourself, because then they want to take
you down, to the place you’re supposed to fit. Don’t give the
bastards any kind of reaction at all.
It’s hard to walk a
gauntlet with your head up, but not too up, not drawing attention, just
walking, just want to get by. Hard to do it knowing they’re
waiting for you to give them that hook; hard when your heart is
hammering, the blood pounding in your ears, so scared you can feel it
chill your skin and you taste it, salt and metallic in the back of your
throat. Hard to walk a gauntlet like that.
Hard to do it every
single day, almost every class you had to walk into, everyone
Harder still to come
back to what Annie tried to make home and have to eat with that fear,
sit with it, sleep in the same fucking room with it. To never
know a moment’s peace or privacy, a single moment where he wasn’t on
edge, wasn’t waiting for something to blow up in his face, never the
same trigger twice, no, too easy. Bullies weren’t always dumb and
maintaining your balance was dangerous. Getting good at defusing,
deflecting, getting good at getting away with it – that was bad.
This bully wasn’t dumb; he was creative.
With Will and his
friends, the pride of the school on his back each and every day of his
life, Daniel might as well have swung through the halls with ‘outcast’
tattooed across his forehead. He had only one friend who had the
balls to take his baggage. Rainey Witt, the Barbie hating
anti-cheerleader who played chess like a goddamn bastard – in her own
words. Rainey was his friend, she stuck with him, gave Will and
his friends crap because she was a girl and they were big guys, crap
that embarrassed them in front of their acolytes.
creative. He knew the difference between barely fifteen and
seventeen. He started dating Rainey.
everything he knew about people from Will Laidlaw and the first time he
didn’t hear her voice urging Will to just PLEASE, quit it, Rainey
Daniel walked the
gauntlet and came out the other end bound and fucking determined.
You did not do that to other people.
“No,” he agreed
quietly, trying not to mind Jack’s focused, intent presence, Jack
threat-assessing his way into Daniel’s privacy. “No friends.”
“Mother died asking
for you,” Will said gently.
What was it Sam had
said to Jack? Oh, yes. He glanced fleetingly to Jack, icily
still and seething at his side. Welcome to MY life.
On to Part Two
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