Jack had to admit he was a lost cause. Completely gone.
Passionately in love. Never expected to feel this way again, not
after losing Sara. Losing? Using her up and walking
away? Hard to tell which, even now. And it wasn’t like he’d
had a choice in the matter. He’d fallen in love without even
realising it. His heart skipped the beat and failed to let his
mind in on it. Team leader? Friend? Jack had talked
the talk so fluently for so long he’d believed his own bull, and he’d
almost missed his chance to walk the walk.
death has a way of clearing away the confusion. Cuts right
through the crap.
wasn’t the type for epiphanies, and getting one with a thousand
technobugs crawling up his ass had been unexpected. Not that he’d
even realised it was an epiphany, and maybe it wasn’t, because the
stunning truth really bit him, bit hard, when they all got back to base
and he was in full flow, tearing Major Darling Davis a new one for
making Daniel pull the plug on his pals and blow the frigging sub,
really goin’ at Davis – ‘is that a uniform or a costume?’, that was a
good one, and totally wasted because he’d seen that ‘look’ on Davis’s
face, not apology, more like acknowledgement. A single wry,
betraying ‘who else’ glance to Daniel had cut right through Jack’s crap
like a frigging laser.
life was apparently not Davis’s to call, not the property of the Air
Force or even his own, come to that, the way they’d all leapt to not
carry out his orders. His life was in Daniel’s hands, it was
Daniel’s choice. His life was so obviously Daniel’s a room full
of serving officers and SFs hadn’t even blinked when Daniel, the only
civilian in the building, took command and blew the sub, and how fucked
was that? Daniel’s Jack, not the USAF’s Colonel O’Neill and even
the USAF seemed to agree.
the way it is.
what was this, this thing with him and Daniel? ‘Just the way it
is’? Could it be that simple? Maybe so. Daniel had
saved his life in every way that mattered on Abydos, so maybe Daniel
pretty much owned him forever and really, did he have to be the only
one who didn’t know this? Apart from Daniel, obviously.
Could you quantify how fucked that was?
maybe even that wasn’t the stunning revelation. Maybe that had
come days later when he was out in the hallway with his ass in a sling,
his heart stuttering, Daniel’s door slamming in his face and Daniel’s
‘NO’ ringing in his ears. Yeah. Figuring out maybe Daniel
was HIS, too, figuring that out a little late in the game, well, that
was a total cluster-fuck.
back to that closed door? That was something else again.
He’d actually used the ‘S’ word, had APOLOGISED for behaving like
Colonel Jack O’Neill, USAF, for ALMOST dropping his drawers and
crawling into bed with the Eurondan Reich, almost signing up on the
quest for genetic purity. He was sorry about trying to
crawl into Daniel’s bed too. Couldn’t BE more sorry for
that. Hell, he’d held Daniel’s hand over the DHD, could he have
been more obvious? Could he have made his intentions plainer?
still-closed door was fairly plain spoken too, pithy even, but doors
have locks and locks can be picked, and maybe with a nice guy that
would have been a metaphor, but the nice guy in this equation was on
the other side of the lock-picked door and instead of calling the MPs
he laughed. Tried to be mad but he laughed. And Jack got to
stay. Got his foot through that door and KEPT it there.
Now Jack was fucked. Probably on a quantum level.
strapped in ready for his second run through the brain drain, and right
up to the point Freya started asking the damn questions, his strongest
memory was the kiss. The first awkward touch of his lips against
Daniel’s, a touch where their lips didn’t seem to work the way they
were supposed to, Daniel’s fingers nervously clasping his jaw and right
then all the pieces fitting, fitting so well under Daniel’s trembling
fingers he was IN Daniel’s mouth and giving it so much gas he’d been
afraid of creaming his pants right there and then.
there he was, facing the Amazing Technicolor Brain Drain AND a horde of
some his nearest, and in some cases not so dearest, and all he could
remember coherently was the touch and taste of a lovely mouth and the
sweetest kiss he’d ever had, and the tragedy of Daniel being the kind
of guy who didn’t know they should have been fucking since the third
date; Daniel just being Daniel, making Jack wait until after the fifth
date for that first kiss. Stealing his soul with that kiss,
‘cause fucking was okay, fucking was guys, born to fuck. Kissing
was love, intimacy, promises, commitment. Kissing meant more than
fucking, and Daniel was strolling right through all Jack’s defences
like they weren’t even there, like he didn’t KNOW he had the keys to
the city, like he did know Jack could work through all that anally
retentive control-freak denial stuff. Jack had to admit Daniel
was right so far, so very right they weren’t ever likely to fuck, but
when the time was right, when they were both ready, they would be
thing with Daniel was terrifying and wonderful and real, and Jack was
exponentially beyond fucked. No word existed for just how fucked
he was right now.
Carter’s life was instinctual. Looking after his kids was the
easiest thing there was. Saving her dignity and his own ass at
the same time was that whole other thing. Jack had told the
absolute truth, but the words he spoke weren’t the words she
heard. Carter hadn’t heard ‘caring’, she heard loving. His
confession was absolutely true and totally false. His whole damn
position was false, couldn’t be anything but a lie even when he was
telling the truth, because he wasn’t telling all of the truth and never
could. He was in love with Daniel and he cared more about Carter
than he was supposed to, WAY more, and because he felt both of these
things, not even the careful words he spoke were enough to make it
clear he wasn’t in love with Carter, though it was pretty frigging
clear she was in love with him.
what did we learn today, children? Just what gems of wisdom had
the Zatarc detector detected? Nothing about Zatarcs, that was for
damn sure. What Jack did know was that Carter was in love with
him, seemingly without knowing she’d felt that way or even wanting to
feel that way for him. Jack also knew he’d been denying the SHIT
out of knowing anything about that until it loomed up and publicly
booted him in the behind while he was strapped into the brain
drain. Jack also knew that Daniel was falling in love with him,
and Jack was right there with him on that, coaxing him every step of
honkin’ mess. Right there. Like that wasn’t enough?
on the heels of the great revelation, Carter had to be the one to kill
Martouf, had to go into one of those Carter-Jolinar fugues. Jack
was perfectly aware that he was a selfish shit. He cared deeply
for both Carter and Daniel. He felt for Carter, he was sorry
she’d been forced to kill Martouf. He was also sorry that because
he cared, he was obliged to stay here with her and offer her what
comfort he could. He was sorry about that because he was between
a rock and a goddamn hard place. Jack didn’t want to sit in
Carter’s quarters on base all night while she bared her soul, but he
was going to have to suck it up and stay put when all he really wanted
to do was go home and comfort Daniel. He was in love with Daniel,
he wanted to be with Daniel, not with Carter, and if that made him a
complete asshole, well, he’d just have to learn to live with it.
could see that Daniel seemed confused, and worried. Daniel was
worried about Carter, and he clearly couldn’t understand why out of the
blue, Carter didn’t want him, she wanted Jack. Plenty of reasons,
Daniel; we all know, we just won’t tell you. It doesn’t have to
leave the room? God, let it NEVER leave that room. What a
mess. What a godawful fucking mess. Someone was going to
get hurt, when it did leave the room, and right now, the odds were it
wouldn’t be him, because it never was. Easier to keep it in that
room. Easier not to deal. Pretend it never happened.
Hit Carter with the command structure, hell, just be himself, and she’d
get over it. She was far more interested in her career than him
anyway, no fuel no fire, no harm no foul. He hoped. And no
painful, ‘honest’ conversations with Daniel, who’d fret himself to
pieces over Carter’s tender feelings and maybe do something
REPREHENSIBLY stupid and sensitive like insist they didn’t see each
other for a while, you know, just until Carter was over the worst and
they’d all done the good friend thing.
Jack was gonna let THAT happen.
kept his eyes from Carter’s painfully naked ones and focused instead on
Daniel as he reluctantly headed out the door, his slender frame rigid
with tension, maybe a little hurt. Daniel was as usual trying not
to think about what Daniel wanted, being the good friend like always,
just casting little longing glances back over his shoulder, glances
that Carter didn’t see and Jack couldn’t help seeing but couldn’t do
find you,” Jack said abruptly, meaningfully.
was poised, ready to pull the door shut behind him, ready to give them
privacy, give them space. Jack wanted to be headed out that door
with Daniel, but he had to make do with the slightest of smiles and a
softness in the clear blue eyes that made his loins ache.
you need me, Sam,” Daniel offered one last time before reluctantly
leaving, the quick nod from Carter reassuring and dismissive at the
sighed, and got himself set for the good friend come guilt trip long
haul, only the knowledge of who he had waiting for him at home to get
him through this heartlessly dishonest honesty. There was no way
out of it, all because of him, because he was too spineless to kick
Carter when she was already this down or ever to risk losing Daniel.
gently closed the door to Sam’s quarters, somewhat confused, and, if he
was being scrupulously honest, a little hurt at the exclusion.
He’d - they’d all lived through these days WITH Jack and Sam, and he
knew how hard it had been for Jack, had known in that stunning moment
when Jack had asked Daniel what he would do. Daniel hadn’t known,
still didn’t know, though he hoped he would have thought of Sam and put
himself through it for her. There hadn’t been any time –
General Hammond wishes to speak with you.”
turned and returned Teal’c’s warm smile. Noted the concerned
eyes. “I’m fine, Sam is the one we should be worried about,” he
have observed many times that your insistence on being ‘fine’ is in
fact proof you are NOT ‘fine’,” Teal’c quietly reproved, noting the
pallor and the strain around his friend’s eyes. It was not in
Teal’c’s nature to speak of such matters, but a man would have to be
dead not to see and know the beauty of THIS man. Teal’c found
himself admiring Daniel anew as he fell into step beside him, Daniel
still smiling a little, relaxing, perhaps even comforted by Teal’c’s
presence, a gift that Teal’c had never sought, but had been granted
freely nonetheless. “Jacob Carter will arrive soon. He and
Anise will escort Martouf’s body back to Vorash after Dr Fraiser
assists them with the autopsy.”
called the elevator and leaned against the wall, brightening a
little. “Jacob was sent for when Anise diagnosed Sam as a
Zatarc. I’m glad he’s coming; Sam needs him. She’s
devastated over Martouf. Jack is with her now, but she really
needs Jacob. He cares about Martouf, and Jack tolerated him
at best, something that has to be on Sam’s mind right now.” When
the elevator doors opened, Daniel was glad to see the car was
empty. Daniel punched twenty-eight and turned again to face
Teal’c, feeling the familiar sickening lift in his stomach as the
elevator descended. “I don’t know how she’ll handle this, how
much of this is her and how much Jolinar’s influence. Jolinar and
Martouf were together for hundreds of years, and Martouf called out to
Sam at – at the end, called to Jolinar’s host to take his life.
And to his friend.”
loss is a blow to the Tok’ra and to us. He was one of our
strongest allies and most active in the war against the Goa’uld.
Even in death he did his duty. His sacrifice gives us our best
opportunity to study and hopefully in time combat the Zatarc
programming,” Teal’c said gravely. “His death will not be in vain
if it saves one other life.”
about the others?” Daniel asked quietly. “Major Graham,
Lieutenant Astor and Sergeant Silverman? The three Tok’ra guards?”
each died doing their duty, DanielJackson. It is a risk we all
accept, and the Earth-Tok’ra Alliance is a worthy cause for which to
die,” Daniel sighed.
allowed Daniel to precede him from the elevator and then followed,
settling into his accustomed place at Daniel’s side. He would not
debate acceptable losses with a man who accepted no loss, as such,
ever, who raged against every death, every sacrifice except his
own. Teal’c had known Daniel was passionate from the first moment
he had laid eyes upon him, he had seen that fire burn brightly, but
only time and a difficult, deepening friendship had taught him to see
the strength of will and character that fed the passion. He had
known no one who FELT as Daniel did. It was at once the source of
Daniel’s strength as well as his vulnerability.
was not the Jaffa way to FEEL so; this profundity of passion for others
was more exotic and alien to Teal’c than any mere custom or place could
be, but it was his way to protect. Though it grieved him to keep
his counsel over a matter that affected all the members of SG-1, he
would not betray O’Neill and Major Carter’s confidence. Teal’c
could only accept that withholding the truth was no less a betrayal of
Daniel’s fearless honesty.
tapped lightly on the general’s door and was at once invited in.
Hammond’s harried expression softened as he looked up from his
paperwork when Daniel walked in, Teal’c hard on his heels.
Jackson, Teal’c,” Hammond acknowledged.
Alliance is secure?” Teal’c wasted no time on Tau’ri pleasantries.
is,” Hammond sighed. He smiled suddenly. “Thanks in no
small part to Dr Jackson, here. High Councillor Per’sus was
most impressed by the Treaty document Dr Jackson drew up. He
commented that it was inspiring.”
bowed, gratified for his friend, though it was to be expected.
“DanielJackson worked diligently to overcome the limitations of Tau’ri
diplomatic language, a language which says nothing and means less in
far too many words.”
Daniel said cautiously, “I think.” He grinned up at Teal’c, not missing
the quirked eyebrow. Jaffa humour. Teal’c always worked a
succeeded,” Hammond said warmly. “I’ve never yet heard any Earth
Treaty described as ‘inspiring’. Maybe we should get you signed
up for the UN?” he asked jovially.
fear that would be beyond even DanielJackson’s capabilities,” Teal’c
teased, pleased to see the grin return to Daniel’s face.
had word from the Tok’ra. Jacob Carter will be with us within the
hour.” Hammond hesitated. “How is Major Carter?”
is with her now,” Daniel said softly. “She’s upset, of
course. Martouf was her friend.”
Carter proved herself Martouf’s friend in acceding to his wish to give
his death meaning and purpose,” Teal’c approved.
doesn’t make it any easier on Sam, though,” Daniel sighed.
does not,” Teal’c acknowledged. Bravery is no comfort in loss.
how are YOU, Dr Jackson?”
fine,” Daniel said automatically, blushing under the sceptical, kindly
think SG-1 has been through enough,” Hammond said positively.
“I’m ordering three days on light duties for all of you and I’m sending
you home, Dr Jackson, right now.”
shifted awkwardly. Jack was coming to find him as soon as he
could leave Sam, probably as soon as Jacob got here and took
over. He so wanted to talk, to find out how Jack was, if Sam was
coping, if she needed him. He didn’t want to be at home, out of
it. That had happened too much recently for him to take any
comfort in being separated from his friends again. George’s
affection was one he returned, but the paternal care – the special
consideration – could be very inconvenient. “I’m fine,” Daniel
insisted, stubbornly. He was annoyed to see the general’s eyes
meet Teal’c’s in perfect understanding.
will escort DanielJackson,” Teal’c offered at once.
didn’t need anyone holding his hand, except maybe Jack and even then,
only in the context of Chardonnay and candlelight. He also knew
he wasn’t going to win this argument so he gave in with grudging
grace. Teal’c would escort him every step of the way to his car
if he thought it was necessary. “I need a few things from my
well,” Hammond gave permission. “You have half an hour, and then
I expect you to go home, Dr Jackson. We’ll debrief at 08:00
tomorrow morning. Teal’c? Could you stay for a moment?”
recognised that he had been dismissed and trailed out reluctantly,
taking the path of least resistance to his office. He wouldn’t
see Jack until late, if at all, especially if Jack got tied up with
Jacob, and a fascinating new book on the Anasazi was no consolation at
all. He wanted the book, but what he really needed from his
office was a few minutes’ peace before he made the long drive
home. Home. It was almost alarming, just how far and how
fast Jack had become so necessary for his comfort. It didn't even
feel like he was going home anymore, more like he was going back to an
EMPTY home, like Jack had filled up every available space with himself,
spread out and made himself so at one with the place, Daniel was
beginning to be lost without him.
a little independence, choosing to share, that was one thing.
He’d sworn he’d never become dependent on another living soul.
He’d never NEED again. He and Jack had only been together a few
weeks, were just starting to relax and find some balance with and in
each other, and already Daniel was wanting Jack so much it was
difficult to bear being apart.
balance was an illusion. His world was in turmoil, scattering in
the wake of Hurricane Jack’s relentless need for more, for everything
Daniel had to give, and more even than that because Jack wanted to be
needed. Wasn’t going to rest until Daniel needed him as much as
he needed Daniel. Jack pushing, that Daniel could cope
with. Jack WOOING was another matter entirely. Pushy Jack
could be slapped down. Argued with. Pushed back. A
Jack who was kind, careful and loving was just impossible to suppress
or rebuff, and well Jack knew it, sliding sweetly through every defence
Daniel threw up against him.
was needing. Depending. Already.
looked up from the book he wasn’t reading and smiled at Freya.
Encouraged, Freya came into his office and closed the door behind
her. Daniel got up and offered her the chair, which she
accepted. He was surprised to see she looked a little
nervous. “What can I do for you, Freya?”
have made Colonel O’Neill uncomfortable,” Freya said earnestly, leaning
bit back a grin. That was the understatement of the year.
Jack had insisted Daniel should help him work through the ‘trauma’ of
being subjected to what he described as a hissy kiss, a little
therapeutic lip lock ‘to take away the taste’ and while they were on
the subject, how about the condemned man getting his last wish, which
turned out to be ‘getting some’. Sexual harassment by suggestive
yo-yo was an O’Neill talent even Daniel hadn’t been aware of.
unfamiliar with the customs of your world,” Daniel suggested cautiously.
brightened. “I knew I was right to speak of this with you.
You know the custom of your people and you know Colonel O’Neill.
What is the custom to share?”
Daniel asked blankly.
I asked O’Neill if he was loyal to anyone and he did not answer.”
was annoyed to find himself blushing.
see now why he could not. It is not the custom for these feelings
to be made known to your fellows,” Freya said gravely. “But you
are their friend, are you not? You will be able to tell me if
they will share.”
Their? Daniel was groaning silently. What in the world had
Jack told Freya that he didn’t dare confess to Daniel? What
outrageous tale had he spun? Jack and Janet? Jack and –
Carter granted O’Neill permission to reveal his feelings for her, and
she reciprocated. They were not Zatarcs. I did not realise
their need to keep their feelings private, for the sake of their
positions, would have a bearing on the results of the first test.
Had I known of this, had I understood they had something legitimate
they needed to conceal, I would have framed the questions differently
so as to not touch upon it, and they would not have failed the
test. It was my error and for that I am sorry. Now that I
know I must also take Major Carter if I am to have O’Neill, I must have
the custom right. I would not willingly make either of them
couldn’t understand how his skin was so flushed when he felt so
cold. “Jack and Sam have feelings for one another?” he asked
carefully, striving to understand, to not just react. Think,
don’t feel. Think.
sighed. “He would rather have died himself than lose her, for he
cares a lot more for her than he is supposed to.”
hung his head for a moment. Sam wanting Jack, Jack staying with
her – Jack knew why. He knew and he said nothing. Jack
couldn’t have said anything in front of Sam, but surely he could have
snatched a moment in private with Daniel. Just a moment.
Warned him. Said – said something. Something. Instead
Jack said nothing and he stayed. “The machine doesn’t lie.”
does not. Only the literal truth will permit the subject to pass
loved Sam. Sam loved Jack. Jack and Sam. The literal
truth. As true here in this reality as it was everywhere else –
they were meant to be together, that was right, and it was just Sam’s
bad luck she was military here and – Jack was making do. He
couldn’t have Sam so he was making do, and this was wrong. It was
wrong. He needed to hear this from Jack. He had to
know. Daniel couldn’t need. He couldn’t be the only
one who depended, couldn’t depend on a man who was only with him
because he couldn’t have – couldn’t –
Jackson, forgive us. We have distressed you,” Anise
apologised. “My host is upset. She has hopes which she now
realises may not be fulfilled. It is as I suspected. The
custom is not for sharing. O’Neill repudiated us because we share
a body, there could be no chance he would share his. He is not
the man you are,” Anise said softly, touching a fleeting hand to
his. “He judges without understanding. You understand
had to get away. Had to be away from the cold, beautiful face and
the soft alien voice, soft for him, for ‘intellectual’ interest in him,
from the cool hand touching his, from the sympathy and understanding of
wanting and not having. Anise knew all about needing. About
depending. Nobody better. It only worked when there were
was a crowd.
found it easier to look at her feet than to look at the colonel.
Saved him the trouble of looking at his own feet whenever she did look
at him. He was here; he was with her, filled with rough kindness
and unmistakeably uncomfortable. It was enough. It was.
didn’t ask for this, Sir,” she said quietly, “and I didn’t provoke
it. We had no other choice.”
the colonel told his boots, tone nice and easy.
sighed. Did he have to make this so difficult? Couldn’t he
just lower his guard and TALK to her for once? He loved
her. Why the heck couldn’t he talk to her? “We have to deal
with it. Find a way to work together after this.”
sure we’ll manage to be professional,” the colonel said at once,
smiling a little. “It’s never been a problem before.”
never been in the open before,” Sam said a little tartly.
in the open,” the colonel snapped. He paused and seemed to make a
conscious effort to relax. “It stays in that room,
remember? I don’t want to break up my team, Carter. Do
you? Do you want to be transferred to another team or to a desk
“Of course not, Sir. I’m committed to SG-1.”
colonel relaxed visibly and smiled again, with real warmth this
time. Sam smiled right back, some of the tension easing. Of
course the team came first, it had to, that was exactly what got them
into this mess in the first place. Easier not to admit to those
feelings, growing slowly since the colonel had been separated from them
all that time on Edora. Growing from a simple acknowledgement
that Sam missed him. Sam hadn’t asked to fall in love with the
colonel – with Jack - and she’d done nothing to encourage the
feelings. She would never have chosen to acknowledge, let alone
act on them. Sam sighed. It was too late now for
denial. She – they had to deal.
sorry about Martouf,” Jack said softly, just wishing this was over and
he could get the hell out of here before he upset Carter any more than
he already had. She kept looking at him like he should get off
his ass, get over there and hold her. Or something. Longing
blue eyes did it for him, God knows they did it for him every damn
time, but not these eyes. There was a time he could have given
her just that, could have put the regulations aside and hugged her,
could have hugged Sam. That time was past, and it wasn’t safe to
feed her feelings now he knew he was doing it. Crap, he’d known
for a while. Suspected while they were stranded off-world for
those nine days without Daniel, and Carter had that attitude he hadn’t
known how to deal with, like she was pushing him to see beyond the Regs
and the uniform, to acknowledge and see a woman.
spur of the moment fishing invite had been a big mistake. A bad
tactical decision. Bad enough to do it the first time, and then he'd
had to go and do it again. Trying to put it right, to get her away from
the base and remind her of the Regs and the uniform and how little they
had in common with another invite was a huge honkin’ disaster. A
girlie Carter was terrifying to behold and he hadn’t been able to
back-pedal quick enough to avoid the fall-out on Apophis’ ship.
Bad enough thinking she was going to die right in front of him and
there was fuck-all he could do about that, worse, infinitely worse was
seeing that – look – in her eyes. Jack knew that look. It
was the exact same fucking look he saw in the mirror every damn time he
thought of Daniel, which was most of the time, and that was when he
realised Carter’s feelings went way beyond attraction and the pissy
second in command power games.
could cope with the power games. He’d been kinda expecting them,
sooner or later. Everyone who got command had to go through being
the 2IC. Everyone tested their limits, tested the guy in charge
when they started to feel maybe they should be the guy in charge.
To get command, you had to prove you could do more, be more. The
C.O. wasn’t about to give it to you, so you had to take it, had to push
your limits. How the hell else could you prove you were ready for
more? Jack had been thinking Carter wanted command, was pushing
him, was angling for more responsibility. He’d realised on
Apophis’ ship how wrong he’d been about that.
wanted what he couldn’t and wouldn’t give, and the uniform didn’t have
anything to do with it. He didn’t want Carter. He never
had, and he’d never understood what his alternates had seen that he
didn’t. Carter was a good officer and as good a friend as a
subordinate could be, but that was the key right there. She was a
subordinate. There was no way they could be equals, ever, and he
wasn’t prepared to give up his career, or allow her to give up hers in
order to level the playing field. She was beautiful and warm, but
even so, part of her was him ten years ago and part of her reminded him
uncomfortably of Sara. Hard to get past what she reminded him of
and just see her as herself.
was Daniel. Pure and never simple. Never a subordinate and
always Jack’s equal. His superior in many ways, but that
kinda balanced out in all the ways they were just different. Jack
had never worked at Carter like he worked at Daniel. It had never
occurred to him to try.
sappy look Carter had shot him through the force field had whacked him
right between the eyes. He should have dealt with it then.
Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda. What he DID was stuff it WAY
down deep and try to forget about it because, for God’s sake, he had
his hands full with Daniel. Daniel innocently flirting, curiously
testing the limits of this new hold he had over Jack, turning Jack
inside out, turning him on and mercilessly sending him home, home to
his own bed to fuck his own hand. Jack was only submitting to it
because he was hunting in earnest, wasn’t about to put a foot wrong,
wasn’t about to scare Daniel off with demands for physical intimacy
Daniel wasn’t ready to meet. Submitting also because it had been
far too long since he last felt this taut anticipation, this
compulsive, consuming need that would only be satisfied when he was
driving deep into Daniel’s open, willing body. Hell, prolonging
the agony had Jack feeling more ALIVE than he had in years.
– because of Jolinar.”
Jack realised he’d just tuned Carter out. Carter baring her soul
shouldn’t be white noise. Shouldn’t be an inconvenience.
What the hell was he supposed to do now? Ask her to take it from
the top? He settled for a warm smile and vague, encouraging
noises, hoping he’d pick it up as she went along.
wasn’t totally sure she had all of the colonel’s attention, but the
warmth of his smile reassured her. He – Jack - was far better at
listening than he was at talking. He seemed to understand that
she’d had to do what she did, that it was as much for her sake as for
Jolinar’s. It was to ‘Samantha’ that Martouf had called, not to
Jolinar or Jolinar’s host. There had been a time Sam was
overwhelmed by Jolinar’s feelings for Martouf, hadn’t been able to
separate them from her own. She’d always thought Martouf had seen
her as a shrine to Jolinar, that his feelings had never been about
her. It was so hard to learn that Martouf had finally seen
through Jolinar, had finally seen Sam, just as Sam was forced to take
his life. She’d done her duty, she’d done what he wanted her to
do, she’d willingly accepted the burden of guilt for his sake and in
memory of Jolinar. She was going to carry memories of Martouf
that would be just as hard to bear as Jolinar, and she was never going
to know if what she had felt for Martouf was real. Those feelings
had gotten tangled up in so many other things, including the man
sitting before her. There was just too much to take in. Sam
wanted to close her eyes and drift away, just let it all go until her
head was clear, until she could think her way through the grief and the
mess she was in.
look exhausted,” the colonel said softly. “You should rest.
I’ll – “
Sam asked, a little shy, but surely it was excusable, just this once,
when she needed someone – needed him so much? When he smiled, she
smiled back, sure that sigh she’d heard was regret. He could
stay, for a while, and that was all he could do for her. It
wasn’t enough, but it was all she could allow.
sat in his chair and stared at the bare concrete wall as Carter’s
breathing evened out. Stared at anything but her and prayed for
deliverance. Prayed for Jacob Carter.
decided drying off from his shower au naturel, sprawled on his bed, was
probably a very bad idea when he heard the key turn in the lock.
The key he’d had cut for Jack, the one he’d presented with such
ceremony, and which Jack had been so pleased to have, joking that
picking locks was way more fun, just for the look on Daniel’s
face. Just for making Daniel laugh. Daniel had Jack’s key,
too. They’d never be able to live together – not that he’d been
thinking of that, and not like there would ever be much point thinking
of that – but they wouldn’t. Keys seemed like a small thing but
they mattered. They were trust and commitment.
sighed and scrambled up and into his sweats before Jack could come and
find him. He didn’t want Jack in his bedroom, was in fact pretty
shaky about having Jack in his life at all. Daniel didn’t waste
time, just strode out, still pulling his T-shirt over his head, out
into Jack’s waiting, gloating arms.
me,” Jack said with a flourish, ‘assisting’ him to smooth down the
T-shirt, mostly from the skin side of things. Daniel’s mind might
shy away from physical intimacy with his best friend, but his body was
aching for it, trembling beneath a coveting, careful hand curved over
his abdomen, blood slamming down as the tip of a curious finger dipped
into his navel.
moment Daniel was standing and in the next he was pinned flat to the
couch, Jack’s weight settling over him, inviting hardness rubbing
sensuously against his own, not really pushing it, just letting Daniel
know. The one thing Daniel did know was Jack wanted to fuck him,
had in fact known from the first time Jack had walked in through his
door and PUSHED. Daniel had pushed back, pushed Jack right out
the door and slammed it in his face.
could handle that Jack. Pushy, oh so sure of himself, asking to
be taken out at the knees Jack. This Jack, the Jack gazing down at him
in dopey disbelief, stroking his face with trembling fingers, cupping
his chin and leaning in slow, so slow Daniel could have said ‘no’ a
dozen times over, this Jack he couldn’t handle at all. How could
he say no and stop when the breath caught and burned in his lungs,
burned like Jack’s eyes burned, when his body was singing from Jack’s
touch, craving more. Beyond shame, beyond denial, Daniel cupped
Jack’s head and pulled him close, eagerly parting his lips beneath the
onslaught, welcoming Jack in, pushing hard against that probing,
possessive tongue rasping and warring with his, drowning as Jack
steadied and deepened the kiss.
had never known, never suspected another man could arouse him like
this. Had never known the seductive power of this weight holding
him, this hot, hard body straining against his, all planes and angles
and ridges of smooth, sleek muscle. Now he knew, and he
wanted. God he wanted this, wanted the deep sinuous glide of
tongue on tongue, the flickering of tongue over sensitive palette and
cool, nipping teeth. Wanted the surprised hiss of pleasure as he
parted his thighs and wrapped one leg around Jack. Wanted Jack’s
greedy hands lifting him, cupping and kneading his buttocks, burning
through the soft jersey of the sweats, wanted the steady, insistent
rocking that made his blood heat and surge in his veins.
it. Needed it.
– “ he strained against the kiss, against the weight holding him down,
groaned and sullenly released Daniel’s lips. He didn’t have a
clue what the reward for virtue was, totally unexplored territory for
him, but pushing the envelope pretty much got him a firm no every damn
time. He’d never made Daniel lose control, lose himself in the
moment, and God knows he’d been trying. Jack propped himself on
his elbows, resigned to his fate, thoroughly enjoying resting on Daniel
this way, feeling every inch of delectable, slender strength quivering
against him. “Hel-lo,” he said gravely.
Daniel responded, just as gravely.
it Jack’s imagination or was Daniel a little pale, here? A little
tight around the eyes.
smirked. “Always,” he growled.
cook,” Daniel offered.
for food? Curses,” Jack sighed. “Foiled again.” He
thought Daniel’s smile was perfunctory and he didn’t protest when
Daniel pushed at his shoulder, he just sat up, let Daniel untangle
himself and walk away.
was waiting. He was giving Jack a chance to explain, to be open
and honest. Waiting – hoping - for Jack to tell him he
wasn’t just Mr Right Now, that there was more to this than Jack’s
desire to fuck his brains out. He thought – he felt there was
more, but he didn’t KNOW. Daniel could live with Jack confused,
wanting both him and Sam. He might have to, because it would seem
the literal truth was that Jack loved Sam. He’d said so.
He’d said nothing of the kind to Daniel, and clinging to the fact Jack
hadn’t tried to hustle him into bed after that disastrous first pass as
proof there was more to this than frustrated hormones was just
pathetic. So Daniel was waiting. Waiting for Jack to put
him out of his misery.
had held out for exactly three minutes – according to the clock he was
watching - before he’d caved and followed Daniel into the kitchen to
find him beating the hell out of some eggs which had probably done him
no harm when they were alive. He spooned up behind Daniel, hugged
him hard to his chest. “Whatcha doin’?”
didn’t eat breakfast,” Daniel hated his treacherous body for relaxing
into the depths of that comforting embrace. Jack could hug like
no one else, threw everything including the kitchen sink at you.
we’re having it now?” Breakfast was so far the only meal they
hadn’t eaten together. Jack had bought and been cooked a number
of dinners, lunches and on a couple of free Sundays, brunch at Poor
Richards Bookstore, but breakfast, like Daniel’s bed, was
off-limits. “You got Froot Loops?”
Canadian ham and maple syrup.”
Jack nuzzled the hot spot behind Daniel’s ear, making him shiver.
“How ya doin’?”
bad, huh?” Jack said softly, tightening his grip. Daniel turned a
little, to face him. Jack licked the tip of Daniel’s nose and
smirked, trying to lighten things up.
happened with Anise and the Zatarc detector, Jack? I know you and
Sam were cleared, I just don’t understand how Anise could have made
such a mistake in the first place. If you didn’t have false
memories, why did you fail the first test?” Daniel asked intently,
heart pounding sickeningly. Tell me, Jack. Tell me why you
passed the second test. Tell me the truth, that’s all I
ask. Meet me half-way. That’s all I want.
gritted his teeth for a moment. Shit. “We made a mistake,
that’s all. Didn’t realise how not recalling accurately what we
were feeling at the time could throw the test off,” he said easily,
sticking with the half-truth for that extra ring of conviction.
“Carter figured it out. You know how it goes, combat.
Coupla Jaffa, locked and loaded, you’re unarmed, you’re not leaning
against the wall analysing the crap outta how it makes you feel.
All us military types are anally retentive control freaks, Carter
included. Anise took it from the top and we ‘fessed up to the
touchy feely crap.”
was staring at him, blue eyes wide, assessing. Jack looked
the President’s life and the Tok’ra Alliance at risk it never crossed
your mind or Sam’s that your feelings could have any bearing on the
outcome of the test? Even after Anise told you it mattered, even
after what happened to Lt Astor? You were ready to face an
untested, potentially fatal procedure because you were embarrassed to
admit you were – what? – upset at the thought of losing Sam?” Daniel
reflected wryly that if only Carter had put it to him THAT way, that he
had a problem with being detached when it came to any of his kids so
deep he didn't even realise he had a problem, he wouldn't be in this
mess right now. Having to be TOLD by Carter he had ‘feelings’ for
her – hell, it wasn’t subtle. He’d been ready to have his brain
fried because the other stuff had never crossed his mind.
don’t believe it,” Daniel said flatly.
let go. Let go and backed off. Took a good hard look at
Daniel. “The only reason Carter is alive is we lucked out and the
shield came down all on it’s lonesome. Yeah, that’s ‘upsetting’,”
he said slowly, carefully, eyes searching Daniel’s face.
turned back to his eggs and beat the mess desultorily. He took a
calming breath. “And you would have stayed for any of us,
wouldn’t you?” he prompted. “You would have stayed while those
locked and loaded Jaffa closed in? You wouldn’t have left any of
was starting to wonder if Daniel was a little jealous of Carter.
Daniel had jumped to the conclusion it was Carter who’d made the pass
when Jack had told him about Freya, and Jack staying with Carter to
‘talk’ hadn’t exactly helped. Jack was also starting to
relax. A major league insecurity complex he could deal
with. Tactile reassurance was the House Speciality. “No, I
wouldn’t have left any of my kids behind. You know that.”
I?” Daniel murmured sotto voce. “You care about us all.”
Jack said softly. He cared, but he was only in love with one
member of his team, and given Jack’s luck, it just had to be the most
difficult one, the only one he really had to work at.
see,” Daniel said flatly.
was starting to feel the first tremors in the sure ground he thought
was under his feet ‘til this moment. “It doesn’t sound like
it.” What did Daniel think he knew?
turned abruptly to face Jack again. “You know you can trust me,
you know I’d never betray a confidence. Is there anything you
want to tell me about that second test? Anything?”
I know, that goes without saying, and no, there isn’t, nothing TO say,”
Jack said confidently and the instant the words were out of his mouth
and Daniel flinched back like he’d been slapped Jack knew the magnitude
of the mistake he’d just made. He’d just lied to Daniel and
Daniel knew he’d lied. Had known all along. Had
trusted. Had frigging prompted him, for Chrissake. Blown
this, Christ, he’d BLOWN this. Gotta get a lid on it.
Contain the damage before -
would rather have died than lose Sam because you care about her a lot
more than you’re supposed to. The literal truth,” Daniel said
clinically, gripped in some strange, cool calm, aware only of his
hammering heart and the biting metallic taste of fear crowding his
throat. “You love Sam and Sam loves you and THAT is the literal
truth. So forgive me if I don’t know what THIS –“ Daniel smacked
Jack in the chest, hard – “is.”
told you?” Jack raged. “That BITCH Anise, right? RIGHT?”
gave Jack a pitying look. “No,” he said with absolute honesty,
flooring Jack completely. Jack couldn’t even see Freya and Anise
as individuals, couldn’t even see that as a lack in himself. “Of course
it’s easier to go postal over that than it is to deal with the real
issue, which is you lying to me, and to yourself. If you’d just
told me the truth, Jack,” he said sadly. “I could have taken
that. I would have known that you being here is honestly meant,
that you were giving me – us – a fair chance. As it is – “ he
it is?” Jack parroted, unable to believe it had gone to shit so fast,
not able to think a single coherent thought but he was totally screwed
think the deciding factor for your presence here is availability,”
Daniel said gently.
don’t want Carter!” Jack snarled, stung. “I want YOU.”
made that apparent from the first time you walked through my door,”
Daniel snapped back. “Sorry I didn’t put out on demand.”
backed away, out of range, before he did something stupid like grab
Daniel and shake him ‘til he turned blue and LISTENED. “I do NOT
Zatarc detector and Sam disagree,” Daniel said calmly. He was
still feeling way too calm here, he was probably going to shatter into
a million pieces but he was riding this eye in the storm while it
lasted, grateful for even this small mercy of coherency.
WRONG. She heard what she wanted to hear, NOT what I said.
I never said I loved her, “ Jack said desperately, “You have to believe
do?” Daniel queried gently. “Why? You stood right here and
lied to me. Lied right to my face with a smile on yours.
Lied so well I would have swallowed every word if I hadn’t known the
truth in this case is a lie.” Jack groaned. He didn’t know
what the hell he was talking about, he just needed to FIX this.
Couldn’t fix it if he couldn’t get a fucking word in edgewise.
now I can’t tell one from the other and until I know, I don’t want to
see you,” Daniel said flatly.
don’t know who and what you want, Jack, and I don’t think you do
either. I’m not going to be the one you make do with because you
can’t have who you really want. I’m not the remedy for your
frustration or loneliness.”
we talk about this?” Jack hated the whine in his voice. “You’re
not giving me a chance to explain. You’re NOT listening to me.”
MY fault you lied to me?” Daniel gasped, angry for the first time, more
angry than hurt, and maybe that was a mercy too. “Go home,
Jack. Go home and get back to me when you’ve grown the hell
up.” He stalked out of the kitchen and snatched up Jack’s coat on
his way to wrench open the door.
followed Daniel, what choice did he have? Daniel was angry and
hurt, and he had a right to be both. Maybe when he was calmer –
Jack took his coat, hating that Daniel flinched away from the touch of
his fingers, flinched away from him. He backed out, still
staring, still hoping Daniel would cut him slack he didn’t deserve.
Daniel said suddenly.
Jack stiffened, hoping.
like my key back,” Daniel said steadily, trying not to see the flush
raging across Jack’s too pale face, hating himself for almost – ALMOST
– caving and letting this go, taking what he could get. He didn’t
ask for much, and surely simple honesty wasn’t more than Jack should be
able to give? Just an acknowledgement, that’s all he’d asked for.
removed the key ring from his pocket and stripped Daniel’s key from it
with swift, jerking movements, pointedly refused to ask for his own key
in return. He could fix this. He could. Once Daniel
was calmer and they could talk and he could explain –
carefully closed the door in Jack’s face and locked it. After a
moment, he shot the bolts.
known, welcomed presence slowly filled Teal’c’s senses, lifting him
swiftly and surely to consciousness. “DanielJackson,” he
acknowledged confidently, opening his eyes. “You are unwell,” he
said at once, carefully noting the pallor, the lines of strain on his
smile was pitiable. Teal’c frowned, and the frown grew as Daniel
tried once again to insist he was ‘fine’. “You are not,” Teal’c
sighed. “I’ll be fine,” he offered carefully. He was punchy
from lack of sleep and a mind he couldn’t drag away from Jack. He
was furious with himself for nursing the phone most of the night, his
finger poised on the last digit in Jack's number, hanging up time after
time before he was tempted to press it. Pathetic.
Hopeless. His timing was as flawless as ever. The optimal
time for Daniel to realise he was irredeemably in love with Jack was of
course AFTER he’d broken up with him, booted him out the door and
bolted it for added emphasis. The only appreciable difference
this made was that Daniel was sick with misery and fighting himself as
hard as he was fighting Jack.
life had become so focused on SG-1, his friends, who had become in many
ways his family, almost without him realising it. This mess with
Jack and Sam was cutting him off from two of the most important people
in his life, and maybe it was ridiculous, maybe it was childish, but he
felt the need to be with someone who hadn’t changed, who didn’t have
any kind of hidden agenda. Teal’c was always completely straight
with Daniel, and even if they didn’t have that comfortable familiarity
he shared with Jack, and with Sam, they were friends, and Daniel needed
that right now, so he’d called in to Teal’c’s quarters to collect him
for the briefing.
may I be of assistance?” Teal’c offered without hesitation, touched
when Daniel’s face melted to softness.
can’t help, not this time, Teal’c,” Daniel said gently, thawing a
little under Teal’c’s warm, certain support. Jack could learn a
thing or three about maturity and honesty, right here, from this man.
rose smoothly to his feet, Daniel following. With two long
strides, Teal’c closed the distance between them. He laid
his hands on Daniel’s shoulders and smiled. “Know that I am your
friend, Daniel. It pains me to see you unhappy.” Daniel’s
eyes widened and a flush spread across his cheeks. Teal’c was
caught for a moment in admiration of his friend’s eyes. The
Tau’ri believed that the eyes were the windows to the soul.
Looking into Daniel’s, Teal’c could not disagree, for Daniel’s soul was
as bright and true as his eyes. Teal’c stepped away and bowed to
his friend. No more needed to be said. Daniel knew now help
was here for him if he desired to seek it.
Teal’c,” Daniel murmured.
felt no thanks were needed. It was as always his pleasure to be
with his friend. “It is time to attend the briefing,” Teal’c
acknowledged, opening the door and urging Daniel to precede him.
settled into step at Teal’c’s side, comforted by the silent, solid
support Teal’c unstintingly offered them all. As they walked into
the briefing room, he felt insane optimism rise. Maybe things
wouldn’t be so bad, maybe Jack would – Daniel faltered for a moment,
crucified by the unguarded look on Sam’s face as she glanced to Jack,
and away, and back again as if she couldn’t bear anything else in her
– three was a crowd.
knew the moment Daniel walked in the room, just knew. He turned
away from Jacob almost mid-sentence, screw protocol, he had to see with
his own eyes Daniel was okay. A single, swift glance was enough
to tell him Daniel was far from okay, was in fact suffering, and
Christ, if Jack thought he’d beaten himself up as much as he could for
this whole fucking fiasco, he realised that was NOTHING, nothing to the
look he’d put in Daniel’s eyes.
saw the single betraying glance from O’Neill to Daniel and knew at once
the source of his friend’s misery. He was stepping between them
before he knew what he was about, some instinct overriding the duty he
owed O’Neill. O’Neill was also his friend; he was not a
threat. Teal’c saw that the moment of connection between Daniel
and O’Neill had been broken, and he sat beside Daniel without
hesitation. Daniel was safely distant from O’Neill, with Teal’c
at his left, and the general at his right.
noted that O'Neill was quick to seat himself directly opposite
Daniel. Teal’c turned slightly toward Daniel, to observe the
effect of this action on his friend. Daniel was obviously
distressed by O'Neill's presence and scrutiny and he was trying to
conceal this fact. However, Daniel’s bowed head and preoccupation
with his nervously clasping fingers, his desperate attempts to avoid
meeting O'Neill's eyes betrayed his inner turmoil. This was
unacceptable. Teal’c decided would speak with O’Neill at the
conclusion of the briefing.
Major Carter was taking her place at O’Neill’s side, Teal’c saw Daniel
stiffen. Teal’c turned to watch Daniel more closely, saw his
friend frowning and looking constantly from O’Neill to Major
Carter. Teal’c also noted that Daniel refused to make eye contact
with O’Neill, despite O’Neill’s scrutiny of Daniel. From this
tension between the two men, and from Daniel’s reaction to Major
Carter’s presence at O’Neill’s side, Teal’c could only conclude that
through some contrivance – his eyes weighed Anise, the only one present
in that room whom Teal’c could imagine would discuss those matters -
Daniel knew the truth that had been revealed. It also seemed he
was hurt by it. That was unfortunate. This was not a hurt Teal’c could
heal, but he could and would offer his support to Daniel. It had
not occurred to him that Daniel had stronger feelings for O’Neill than
friendship. Teal’c considered this at length, and was surprised
to realise that this knowledge did not please him. It would
please him - less - if O’Neill was to return those
feelings. Teal’c felt sorrow for Daniel’s pain, but he could not
be anything but glad O’Neill’s heart was apparently set on Major
Carter. Teal’c watched O’Neill watching Daniel with angry,
coveting eyes. The sight O'Neill's furious, focused attention on
Daniel was neither seemly, nor pleasing.
Teal’c was not pleased. If O’Neill thought to have both, he was
mistaken. Daniel deserved a lover who was not conflicted in his
desires, who would truly know and value all that Daniel was.
O’Neill was not that man.
the first time, Teal’c was moved to wonder if he himself was.
took a while to sink in, but eventually Sam realised how pale Daniel
was, and was conscience-stricken. She’d hustled him out the door
last night without so much as a word, let alone a hug. She
sighed. Too wrapped up in the colonel and her own needs.
She caught Daniel’s eye and smiled hopefully. Daniel seemed to
hesitate for a moment, then his face softened and he smiled back.
A little tentative, sure, but that was nothing out of the ordinary for
Daniel smiling. Sam relaxed. Whatever was bothering him, it
wasn’t her brusqueness. It was a shame she couldn’t talk to
Daniel about the colonel – Jack – and what had happened, but they’d
promised to keep it between themselves. Teal’c and Janet knew, of
course, but Janet had invoked medical confidentiality and since the
general respected her opinion, they’d gotten away with it. The
positive test results were the important thing, and Anise emphatically
cleared them. No sign of Freya this morning for some
reason. Sam noted that Anise was managing to keep a pretty close
eye on Daniel, even though she was sitting to the right of Dad and as
far away from Daniel as she could be and still be at the table.
Everyone was watching Daniel, even the colonel.
glanced up at her father, pleased he’d chosen to sit by her side
instead of the general’s. He and Selmac had mourned Martouf’s
loss with her, and they’d both understood what it cost her to do
it. In the end she was choiceless, she could only do what Martouf
had asked of her. The grief was there, was still raw and weighing
heavy on her mind, and perhaps the pain would never fully go, but she
had been able to gain some semblance of calm, a little perspective,
with her father’s help.
debriefing was curiously low-key after all that had happened.
Reassured that his personnel were safe, along with the Alliance, the
general’s only concern was learning all they could from Martouf’s
autopsy in order to combat the Zatarc threat.
like to assist on the autopsy,” Janet was insisting.
will not be necessary,” Anise said smoothly. “We have all the
necessary equipment on Vorash. Your medical technology is
suppressed a sigh. Janet had disliked and distrusted Anise from
the moment she’d laid eyes on her and the pair of them were beyond
hiding this was emphatically mutual. Some their animosity was
based on professional rivalry, of course, but a small part was also due
to the interest Anise had shown in a certain blue-eyed, gorgeous and
wholly adorable expert on ancient cultures. Even the colonel had
bristled during that first briefing. Nothing like his reaction to
Ke’ra, but – Sam shifted a little, cutting off an uncomfortable train
of thought. The colonel was ludicrously over-protective of
Daniel. Like – well, like now. Daniel was a little pale and
a little upset and Air Force life as they knew it took a time out until
the colonel – until they were sure he was okay. This was not new.
eased back in her seat and eyed the colonel cautiously. He was
very quiet, almost subdued. Pretty much focused on Daniel, which
wasn’t doing him much good, because Daniel was focusing anywhere but on
the colonel. Ah. So that was it. Daniel wasn’t upset
with her at all, he was mad at the colonel. They must have been
fighting over something, and it was clear now to Sam the colonel
obviously had something MAJOR to apologise for, or he’d be bulling his
way through it like he usually did.
Sam jerked upright. She’d missed the decision,
wool-gathering. Janet’s tight lips told Sam there was going to be
an autopsy, but Janet wouldn’t be assisting. “Dad? You’ll
make sure we get all the test results, right?”
Sam,” Jacob said easily. “We’ll send you all the pertinent data.”
relaxed, hoping that was enough for Janet. It wasn’t and
apparently it wasn’t enough for the colonel either.
glanced the length of the table to Anise and ground his teeth.
Oh, yeah, totally obvious who’d fucked him over and why. Anise
wasn’t about to ‘suffer’ while Freya chased Jack, not when she was all
hot and intellectual for Daniel, so she’d done her damndest to take
Jack out of the equation. “And of course you’re the ones who
decide exactly what data is ‘pertinent’,” he said smoothly, smile as
sweet as poison. Boned again. He’d like to take that bitch
outside and –
sure you’ll do all you can,” the general smoothed over the awkward
moment, looking daggers at the colonel.
will leave immediately,” Anise announced. “We must not delay or
valuable data will be lost.”
gritted her teeth on a sharp reply. It hadn’t taken long for
Anise to forget about Martouf’s noble sacrifice and see just another
Sam,” Jacob said softly, paying a comforting hand over hers.
“I’ve already stayed longer than I should have.”
returned the clasp, sighing. “I understand.”
there’s nothing further?” Hammond asked. “Thank you all for
doing your duty in the most trying of circumstances.
Dismissed. Anise, Jacob, a word in my office if you don’t mind.”
waited until the general withdrew, Anise and Jacob following, waited
just too long to catch Daniel, who was up and off without a backward
glance, Teal’c hard on his heels. He stared after them for a
moment, not sure what to do. Pushing might just get him even
further out in the cold than he already was, but he couldn’t sit idly
by while Daniel was this miserable. Aah, fuck it. Jack
headed off purposefully after Daniel.
Carter,” he said brusquely. If he picked up the pace he might
head Daniel off at the elevator. Jack broke into a not-quite trot
and closed the gap rapidly, finally glimpsing Teal’c as he rounded the
last corner. Teal’c was looking right back at him, so there was
no mistaking the way Teal’c coolly allowed the elevator door to close
in Jack’s face.
fuck’s sake. What now?
TAKE the mission!” Jack yelled. He threw up his hands.
“Sir,” he said more softly. More - rationally.
shot him a puzzled look. Jack wasn’t surprised. He was
proposing the sort of mission where he usually had to be dragged up the
ramp screaming. He was already there. Three DAYS of ‘light
duties’. Three days of unremitting colonel torture. The
only view he got of Daniel was Daniel’s shapely behind disappearing at
impressive speed, or a momentary glimpse of Daniel’s face as Teal’c
loomed up between them. So he’d cracked. He’d pulled rank
and privilege. Jack couldn’t get within spitting distance of
Daniel, so Colonel O’Neill had summoned Dr Jackson to his office.
Fat lot of good it had done him.
got Dr Jackson all right. He got Teal’c too, blandly impassive
a result of that completely brilliant tactical move, Daniel was now in
some whole other realm of Not Speaking To Him for shamelessly abusing
his authority in order to ‘get some’. Jack got the gist of that,
even if it was shouted at him through Daniel’s resolutely locked
apartment door, got that loud and clear on the occasion of his
committing major disaster number two while trying to rectify major
disaster number one. He was only grateful Teal’c had been back at
the ranch for that one. Not that it had made the slightest bit of
difference. Daniel still wasn't speaking to him.
was though. Oh, joy. More than that, Carter was
perky. Flirty. Truly terrifying. She was
SMILING. Every goddamn time she laid eyes on him.
needed a distraction and he needed it NOW. P4X-639 was the answer
to his prayers. Science stuff for Carter, the sky was an exciting
colour or something, weird-ass Stonehenge look-alike for Daniel to play
with. Crowd pleaser.
this is not a high priority mission. SG-15 surveyed that world
almost two weeks ago. They returned with digital photographs of
some writings on the wall of the structure surrounding the Stargate and
reported that an alien archaeologist was investigating the site,”
Hammond said patiently. “It’s not going anywhere.”
like Jack and Daniel. SG-1 was going because Daniel wanted to
go. Carter too, but that was unimportant in the grand scheme of
Jack ‘getting some’, and Jack didn’t want any from Carter.
thinks the alien text is the language of the Ancients,” Jack tempted.
shot him a ‘so?’ look.
concerned about plummeting morale,” Jack said flatly. He
was. His. Daniel’s too. “The team needs to get back
in the saddle and the kids will have fun in ways not comprehensible to
mortal man.” Cut me some slack here, Sir. I’ll beg if I
Jackson still seems quiet,” Hammond mused.
had to tell him to shut up for days, Sir,” Jack encouraged. Jack
took a deep breath and perjured himself without hesitation.
“General, he was seen in the Commissary drinking chamomile tea.”
have a go.”
“I’ll brief the team, Sir.”
Of course. Not like he could catch a BREAK here or anything.
had to be together. They had to be in Daniel’s office.
Together. Side by side. Two pairs of huge blue eyes fixed
on him. One very soft. The other bordering on actively
hostile. It was just Jack’s frigging luck that Carter was the one
making with the doe eyes and what was it with the SMILING? He’d
been tickling Daniel’s tonsils for several weeks and Daniel had NEVER
smiled at him like that. And of course, Daniel wasn’t missing the
soft eyes or the smile and the edge was coming off the anger, shading
back into hurt, which hurt Jack too, because a feisty Daniel giving him
hell might be – well, giving him hell, but it also gave him hope that
they would get over this. When Jack had ‘suffered’ enough, and
Daniel was sure he was the only tackle in Jack’s play book, and maybe
Jack should just suffer more OBVIOUSLY.
got news,” Jack said jovially, shoving his hands in his pockets and his
back against the wall. “We have a go for P4X-639.”
Daniel snapped bolt upright, forgetting his woes for a moment.
“Jack, that’s great. That’s – you arranged this?” he asked
softly. That was thoughtful. Nice, even.
inclined his head graciously. “Sure. You wanted to go,” he
said gently, risking a small smile.
you, Sir,” Carter beamed.
sighed as Daniel’s pleasure dimmed. “What was it you were so
excited about?” he said absently to Carter, not really caring. “Corona
the beer, Jack,” Daniel sniped, trying to make up for the inappropriate
amount of gratitude he’d just displayed.
to translation, Thesaurus Boy. Leave the gratuitous insults to
the grown-ups,” Jack said equably, happy to see Daniel was in fighting
couldn’t understand this odd feeling of exclusion. She was right
here, they were talking, but it felt like there was a lot more going on
than was actually being said. Things were still tense between the
colonel and Daniel. “What kind of time frame are we looking at,
after tomorrow,” Jack said pleasantly. That should hustle
Carter’s ass right out the door. She’d die at the stake before
she handed in an unverified, un-proofread report for him to not
read. Both Carter and Daniel froze, Daniel shooting a
panic-stricken look at an over-stuffed manila folder bristling with
post-it notes, Carter just looking panic-stricken.
your permission, Sir?”
made a sweeping ‘be my guest’ gesture at Daniel’s door. “Please,”
he said grandly, smirking as Carter exited at something close to a
trot. Too easy.
opened his folder and looked blindly at the nearest photograph, all too
aware of Jack lounging quite at his ease against the wall.
Panicking slightly as Jack decided he’d be much more comfortable
sitting down, and choosing to sit on the workbench next to
Daniel. Jack’s thigh was touching his arm. It would be
chicken to move away too soon, which was what Jack was no doubt
counting on. Carefully turning the photograph like he could
actually see more than a blur, Daniel risked a cautious peek up.
Jack was sitting there playing with his goddamn yo-yo, in what was
clearly an act of deliberate provocation. “What do you want,
Jack?” Daniel snapped.
Jack said calmly. “You up for a forward pass?” he drawled
lasciviously, making the yo-yo dance and quiver. “Or are you
still tied in knots over this caring too much business?”
sat back in his chair and gaped up at Jack incredulously. “You
make it sound like – like – “ words failed him.
Carter is the one with the problem here, believe me. I do not
love her,” Jack said emphatically. “I got into this mess because
I was trying to let her down easy in my own inimitable way and it blew
up in my face.”
Daniel asked cautiously, making a great fuss over his photo until Jack
plucked it from his grasp and took his hands. “Oh,” he said
weakly. Jack was holding his hands. Jack was – Jack – oh
Jack said pleasantly, lifting each trembling hand in turn to his lips
and kissing it lingeringly.
obligingly turned his attentions to the delicate tracery of blue veins
at Daniel’s wrists.
swallowed hard. “W-what – “ His mind was blank. His blood
was boiling and his mind was completely blank.
Jack wanted to get naked, take it over to the cot, and get sweaty,
tap on the door and a call of ‘DanielJackson’ heralded Teal’c’s
inimitable presence. Jack unhurriedly released Daniel’s wrists,
as close to angry with Teal’c as he could ever recall being. Was
it fucking telepathy or something? It seemed to him Teal’c was
every place Daniel was. Every single goddamn place, and it was
ticking him off royally.
Teal’c acknowledged coolly. “Major Carter has apprised me of our
mission to P4X-639. I wish to discuss the threat posed by the
alien archaeologist already present at the site.”
an archaeologist,” Jack said as if that explained everything,
His archaeologist sought clarification in a dangerously soft voice.
decided to seek exit. Fast. He hopped up. “Teal’c,
you’re with me.” He waved Teal’c out ahead of him and paused for
a moment at the door. “LATER, Daniel.”
later, Jack,” Daniel snapped, eyes flashing.
It’s a date,” Jack glanced out the door, hovering until Teal’c was – he
hoped - safely out of earshot.
isn’t, and I’ve got bolts on my door,” Daniel said coldly.
is, and I’ve got a grenade,” Jack kept a careful eye on Teal’c.
“Sooner or later you’ll have to see sense.”
already SEEN sense and it’s telling me everything will be fine just so
long as I don’t have to see YOU!”
for God’s sake. “Gimme a minute, here, big guy.”
Time. That’s all Jack needed. Time to get through to
Daniel. “You can run, kid, but you can’t hide,” he said
AWED by your technique. Why waste your time on honesty and
building trust when you can just go straight for THREATS?”
happen to love you, you little shit. GOD alone knows why!” Jack
snarled. “Don’t know what the fuck I did to deserve this.”
ask Sam, shall I?” Daniel asked sweetly. “Compare notes.”
me strength!” Jack howled, “What? WHAT?”
garment is undone.”
glanced down automatically.
Carter was correct,” Teal’c said smoothly. “The men of the Tau’ri do
indeed ‘fall for it’ every time.”
for cryin’ out loud,” Jack groaned, stalking down the hallway after
sat scowling at his door for what felt like hours. He’d been
hurt. He’d been mad. Now? Now he wanted to get
even. He wasn’t going to run and he wasn’t going to hide.
If Jack needed help to make up his mind, decide who he really wanted,
he was damned well going to get it. In spades.
this mission deadline, they’d all be right here. On base.
Jack wanted Sam, Daniel wished him joy of her. Let him moon round
the base after her like a lovesick teenager, if that’s what he
wanted. If Jack wanted Daniel, well, anything worthwhile had to
be worked at. Had to be earned. Jack had a LOT of ground to
make up. A LOT. He needed a MAJOR attitude adjustment, he
needed a lesson in the evils of complacency, arrogance and dog-in-the
manger possessiveness, and Daniel was just the man to teach him.
demanded honesty, trust and mutual respect and he was going to make
Jack SUFFER until he got them.
base wouldn’t be big enough for the both of them.
three of them.
– or someone – would have to give, and no way was it going to be HIM.
was just enjoying the hell out of his breakfast. The food and
décor were just fine and dandy. Froot Loops in the
Commissary. What more could any man ask to start his day, if he
couldn’t start his day with his archaeologist naked and begging for
more of what he’d had the night before? The company and the
conversation left a lot to be desired. A whole lot. He had
his archaeologist. More or less. Daniel definitely had his
game face on, and was being friendly. The lines of communication
were open. Unfortunately, Jack couldn’t do anything about that,
because he also had Carter and she was being friendly too. She’d
just asked Daniel, in a friendly way, how it went with Janet last night.
did it go with Janet? With JANET? Jack had sat outside
Daniel’s building for FOUR hours last night and Daniel had been on a
frigging DATE. With JANET? How did it go with Janet?
Thanks for tabling the question, Carter. The public has a right
to know. Four hours, the first of which was at ten pm.
Daniel hadn’t just gone out with Janet. He STAYED out. With
Janet. HIS Daniel. With Janet. Had he mentioned
Daniel was with Janet?
like Daniel had been with Teal’c, with Carter, with ROTHMAN, that one
had been a joy, a TWO HOUR lecture on what Daniel suspected was the
evolution of the Goa’uld, with SLIDES; with the general, and
fortunately the calming effect of chamomile tea was something Daniel
could discuss with fluency, which got Jack off that hook; with the
self-defence instructor, Sergeant Julia Thomas, who had happily put
Colonel O’Neill on his ASS a few times at Dr Jackson’s request because
he hadn’t ‘quite’ got that move and it would help to SEE it,
don’t you think, Jack? Making with the melting, batting eyes and
the soft husky voice and the gentle hand on his forearm that slammed
all available blood straight down just before Jack was slammed straight
was crazy about this guy who was driving him CRAZY. Look at the
two of them side by side. Daniel and Carter. Carter and
Daniel. Which one did he want? That wasn’t in fucking
question. He’d never wanted to yank Carter over his knee and
smack some sense into her. It was taking every ounce of willpower
he possessed NOT to hurdle over this table and do JUST that to Daniel’s
lush, inviting ass. Just the thought of having that perfectly
pert behind under his hands made the roof of his mouth go dry, and
could Daniel NOT lick his lips like THAT? Could Daniel NOT be
enthusiastic? Daniel was supposed to be MISERABLE. He was
supposed to sit at home and stew, stew until he softened up and Jack
could tell him how things were going to be.
that was going to happen. This was DANIEL. Too easy.
Too frigging easy to just sit there and stew like a good boy and WAIT
for Jack. At home. Alone. Why wait at home –
ALONE - when you can retaliate? With Janet.
was with JANET? Doing WHAT? Exactly. APART from
driving Jack CRAZY. People were going to DIE if this went
on. If he didn’t get Daniel naked and sweaty SOON he was going to
be sharing the pain, probably some place he could share the pain with
He’d seen Daniel naked. Yesterday. After the
sparring. Shy little Dannyboy dropping his towel and sauntering
past Jack towards the shower stall totally, gloriously bare-ass
naked. Naked and glistening and gorgeous and swaying and asking
how Jack’s ass was, PATTING Jack’s ass and giving him hell with those
‘you don’t get to have me but just look what you’re missing’
eyes. Jack looked. Put a gun to his head he still couldn’t
have looked at anything BUT Daniel’s beautiful behind and did he HAVE
to think about that NOW? Over Froot Loops?
ass had been out on the town with Janet. Jack scooped randomly
into his bowl, eyeing his errant lover vengefully. His lover, in
crying need of a lesson Jack would be only too HAPPY to teach.
No, really, his pleasure. If you play with fire, little boy, you
can expect to get BURNED.
I’m sorry but that just happens to be the way I feel about it,” Daniel
zoned back in abruptly. Daniel getting passionate about any old
thing was usually enough to capture his attention. He could be
dead and he’d still be taking a quiet interest in a passionate Daniel.
do you think?” Daniel asked expectantly.
Jack asked blankly. “What do I think?” I think can take
Janet. I think I can take YOU. AND your ass. Just
please, God, let it be SOON.
On to Affinity
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