Slash: Jack and Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves sex.
Rating: NC-17
Category: First Time.  Humour.  Romance.
Season/Spoilers: Season 4.
Synopsis: Jack challenges Daniel to prove that he isn't an arrant flirt at an SGC reception packed with resourceful, determined admirers.
Warnings: This story was written two years ago for Chance's zine "The Other Side" and was then re-printed a year ago in Phee's e-zine JackDaniel Six Pack #1. I look at it now and the change in my writing style from then 'til now, well, if anyone wants me I'll be whimpering under the bed…This is from my Cute Phase.  Oy.
Length: 139 Kb Download a printer-friendly PDF version of the story

“An extension?" Jack stared at the general incredulously. “He’s been off-world for over a week with SG-11 already. What’s the big attraction? SG-11 got something SG-1 doesn’t?” Apart from Jack’s archaeologist, that was.

The general cleared his throat gently. “SG-11 is scheduled to return,” the activating gate neatly punctuated the sentence, “now.”

“And you’re allowing Daniel to remain off-world alone, Sir?” Jack scowled at his C.O. You are not allowing Daniel to remain off-world alone, Sir. No way José. God knows what Daniel could get up to, loose in the galaxy without the guidance and protection of a motivated friend who only had his welfare to heart. Namely, Jack.

“Major Deeley reported that the natives of P4X-725 are exceptionally friendly and civilised," Hammond reproved him. "They have an orderly, stable, technologically advanced society and take a keen interest in other cultures and traditions. They specifically invited Dr Jackson to remain as their honoured guest, and he specifically requested he be allowed to accept. I’m not disposed to refuse the request unless you can prove to me Dr Jackson faces a threat of which SG-11 is completely unaware.”

Jack swallowed the sarcasm, since it was a luxury Hammond rarely allowed himself at Jack’s expense. It was obvious what had happened. Daniel started out by looking excited and enthused, then when the general expressed legitimate concerns for his safety, Daniel segued into heroically concealed disappointment and hurt, and Hammond spinelessly caved.

Jack would have caved too, but for entirely different reasons and anyway, that wasn’t the point. Jack had to be able to rely on his C.O. to help him prevent Daniel from doing the three million fascinating things clamouring for his attention, some of which could get him killed and all of which would keep him away from Jack. Jack had Deeley well in hand. He’d be expecting the firing squad if Daniel so much as broke a nail whilst under his supervision. Abandoning Daniel to his fate on a strange planet was SO outside the parameters of their agreed protocols for ensuring Daniel’s health, safety and welfare, Jack might be forced to shoot Deeley himself. Right there on the gateroom ramp. Just so the suspense didn’t kill him.

Jack gave Hammond a very disappointed look, which he ignored completely.

“Dr Jackson is the first off-worlder to have been granted access to the sacred temple,” the general said calmly. Then he got a good look at Jack’s face. “Dr Jackson was quite excited about the prospect,” the general offered by way of a palliative.

“That’s news?” Jack drawled witheringly. Daniel got excited over just about everything. Except, typically, the one thing Jack wanted him to get excited over. Jack hadn’t been able to empirically test how excited Daniel would get at the sight of Jack’s naked body, or what Jack could do with Daniel’s naked body. Not a lot for the former, Jack suspected, and as for the latter option, given Daniel's complete lack of awareness, let alone experience, he didn't have a cat in hell's chance of ever finding out. What a guy fantasised obsessively over in the privacy of his own mind couldn’t be held against him. Jack wished it was - held against him, that is - but it wasn’t, never had been, and he should get over it.

“Apparently the Telamon, the ruler of the Etorans, personally requested that Dr Jackson be allowed to remain on the planet.”

“As in asked in person?” Why? “Old gal?” Jack asked casually, hoping to score points for lack of prejudice against the female gender.

“Young guy, Sir,” a light voice commented from behind Jack. Carter.

Doc Fraiser grinned. “A little older than Daniel, I thought.”

“How’d he look?” Trustworthy? A man of high moral fibre and integrity? A man with whom Jack could safely entrust the intensely aggravating love of his life?

“Oh, momma,” the Doc murmured with obvious relish.

“Seconded,” Carter said promptly. “Daniel and the Telamon are getting along like a house on fire.”

Jack turned imperatively to Hammond.

“General, I am not comfortable about leaving Daniel out there alone. No disrespect to Major Deeley, but where the safety of my team is concerned, I feel I should have the final say. Permission to go to 725 and check it out for myself, Sir?”

Jack hoped tone, posture and attitude punched home the message he was gonna make the general’s life a living hell if he didn’t let Jack go. Now.

“If it will set your mind at ease, Colonel. You have a go.”

Jack was gone. Making like the proverbial tree. And, yeah, he did realise the general meant ‘shut you up’.

Jack was in linguistic difficulty. His tongue stubbornly refused to get all the way through ‘Take me to your Telamon’ because it meant he was actually standing here saying ‘Take me to your leader’. How Star Trek was that?

“Take me to Dr Jackson!” he snapped. In more ways than one.

The honour guard camped out at the gate looked like Roman frigging Centurions, but on an epic and distressingly virile scale. They were henchmen. Minions. They had no right to look this good. Good enough for a goddamn GQ cover. Jack felt hopelessly inadequate and he was still within spitting distance of the event horizon.

After a moment of contemplative silence on the part of the guards, during which time Jack took in how perfectly they were groomed and started to feel grubby and inadequate, huge smiles broke out, along with a chorus of ‘Daniel’s’ and a riff of ‘Ah! Of course! Who else!’

Jack let the good grooming guide stuff go because the GQ Centurions could take him straight to his Daniel so he could remind his Daniel forcefully and without any unnecessary delays he damned well was his. Not actually in those words; Jack didn’t want Daniel thinking he’d been hitting the local moonshine, but enough so Daniel would get the gist and do what the hell he was told. In other words, haul ass back to base toot pretty damn sweet.

Jack was expecting to hoof it but they simply escorted him with all due ceremony to a small platform where he stood for a second not admiring the view – trees – and the next was very much admiring the view. Daniel’s butt, looking positively perky as he leaned over some sort of spiky squiggle amongst a host of other spiky squiggles on a wall.

Jack had to bite his lip. He wanted to bite Daniel’s butt, but his lip would have to do. In the old days, before Jack fell hopelessly in love with Daniel, he used to be able to hug Daniel all the time. He got away with calling Daniel ‘Spacemonkey’ and hugging him in front of the Marine Corps and they all just went ‘Aah’ and wiped away tears of joy. Now he couldn’t get within ten feet of Daniel unless he knew Daniel had a gun and was prepared to use it.

Bless him. Daniel had no idea and Jack had to exert every single iota of iron self-control to stop himself from pulling Daniel onto his lap and kissing him senseless. Exerting that kind of self-control didn’t leave a lot of ‘Jack’ left over for shit like temper control. The rest of the SGC wasn’t so much walking softly as running like hell in the opposite direction whenever Jack was en route anywhere. He could empty the hallways faster than Ole Doc Fraiser with the annual medicals on her mind.

Daniel wriggled. Right in front of Jack! Had he no sense of self-preservation? Jesus! Think Carter in your bed. Carter in your bed. Carter in your bed. Jack’s mantra. Did it for him every time. For every Daniel induced erection, there was an equal and opposite Carter cold shower-reaction. She was Jack, ten years younger, way smarter, in a skirt. Like frostbite on the libido.

Before Jack could utter a word of reproof to Daniel, the full meal deal arrived. The kind with extra fries and a very large Coke. Compared to this guy, those guards were candles to the sun. The sheer animal vitality he was exuding from every pore almost nailed Jack to the opposite wall.

“We have a guest, Daniel.”

The full meal deal might be dressed like an escapee from ‘Clash of the Titans’ but he had the kind of natural authority that would have guys shouting ‘Jump? How high?’ a few weeks after he’d killed ‘em. Probably with his pearly teeth, or something.

If Jack tried that line on Daniel he’d stop and have a think and ask Jack if he was sure he wanted Daniel to jump. Skipping would work much better, Jack. Hopping, even.

Jack’s diplomatic smile was more of a baring of teeth. He didn’t actually growl, which was pretty good, considering. If full meal deal’s name wasn’t Alpha-something, Jack would eat this P-90.

“Nikolos, Telamon of the Etore,” FMD introduced himself gravely.

“Colonel Jack O’Neill.” Jack’s tone was more flat than grave, he had to admit. Much like the rest of Jack. It was the tan. The teeth. The tumbling tresses of glossy brown hair. The green eyes. The physique under the short dress. Jack would’ve emptied the magazine into Nikolos on general principles but he suspected the bullets would bounce right off. “Of the Chicago O’Neills.”

Nikolos gestured Jack forward with a gracious sweep of his hand. Jack suppressed his own far from gracious gesture and strolled over to Daniel’s side.

“Jack,” Daniel glanced up at his team leader and closest friend, greeting him without palpable enthusiasm. Jack looked like he was sucking a lemon. This was an expression Daniel was becoming familiar with. Some days, it seemed he could do nothing right where Jack was concerned. What was Jack’s objection to a little harmless translation? Daniel suppressed a sigh and turned to someone who was much more sympathetic to his interests. “Nik, can you translate this for me?”

Jack watched Daniel – simpering wasn’t too strong a word for it, he decided – up at ‘Nik’. Nik? Sonovabitch! He wasn’t having that. “Is that respectful?” he hissed. “Guy in charge, here.”

“It’s what he asked me to call him,” Daniel explained patiently in his ‘indulge Jack, he’s going nuts again for no apparent reason’ voice. Which Jack was. He seemed to have taken an instant, irrational dislike to Nikolos based on what? Only Jack knew, and wouldn’t hesitate to share the pain with anyone who got in his way. “Anything else would be disrespectful.”

Jack scowled as ‘Nik’ knelt beside Daniel, read the squiggle and another couple squiggles Daniel pointed to, then turned to Daniel and smiled. “The beautiful one has come,” he said softly. Meaningfully.

Jack watched in disbelief as Daniel’s eyelashes fluttered. Rapidly. Daniel did that sometimes. Usually in dire situations where Jack didn’t have a gun, and usually the sweetener to comments like ‘We’re sorry. Is the deal still on the table?’ delivered to a motley assortment of intergalactic psychos who couldn’t believe this beautiful man was batting his eyes at them. His huge, stunningly blue eyes, framed under perfectly arched brows. The ones with the ludicrously long sweep of lashes actually touching the ivory perfection of all that flawless silken skin. The skin that made all those psychos – as well as a regrettably ordinary, yet psychotically overprotective, insanely jealous, pathologically possessive colonel with situationally flexible knees – wonder what the hell the rest of him was like, under all those layers of concealing clothing.

It was hard.

Jack had long since realised Daniel was usually as shrewd as they came when it came to judging character, but tragically, Daniel was also all clueless, staggeringly tempting innocence when it came to sex. Bit him on the – caught him out every time. Hell, he didn’t know Jack had the Vesuvius of hots for him and he saw Jack almost every waking moment of almost every single day, and Jack saw Daniel for quite a few of his sleeping moments too, when he threw an off-world tent into the equation.

Daniel was extremely lucky Jack was a credit to his mother and occasionally, to his uniform. He might drool and leer lasciviously from one sleeping bag over, but that was as far as it went.

Daniel was smiling. That sweet, innocent, almost tentative little smile he had, like he was never sure what reception he’d get, trying it out. He was smiling at ‘Nik’, not Jack. Smiling like that and batting his eyes.

Jack glared. Hey. Don’t mind me. Carry on.

“The beautiful one has come, and knows not that love waits for him behind the face of his friend,” Daniel read fluently, delighted to be getting to grips with this enticing new language so quickly. Nikolos had been a great help. It was so rare to meet a soldier, a ruler, who was also a dedicated and talented scholar. He smiled warmly.

“You are a skilled linguist, Daniel,” Nikolos admired.

Daniel blushed a little, uncomfortable as always with praise. He was also very aware of Jack hovering in the background looking – Daniel snuck a quick peek under his lashes – explosive. Jack absently fingering a grenade helped the overall impression of a man counting down.

Jack watched the ‘touching’ little barf-fest playing out before him. Perfectly judged admiration. Not sappy, not gushy. Sincere. Sincere enough to make Daniel blush and look all confused, in his usual adorable fashion. Nik was a prick.

“Who’s the friend?” Jack asked. And waited. And waited. And - Hey! Was he in the tomb, here? Jack adjusted the volume. “Who’s the friend?”

“In this case, the prince has returned from court to find his childhood friend and companion, a simple farmer,” Daniel told him cheerfully after finally deigning to acknowledge his charismatic presence.

Daniel smiled determinedly at Nikolos, trying to smooth over any awkwardness arising from Jack’s brusque, and frankly aggressive manner. Jack wasn’t even attempting to be polite to Nikolos, who was the ruler here, a fact Jack had clearly forgotten in his rush to act like a jerk. What was with Jack? And why did he insist on spreading the load of whatever it was?

Jack looked from Daniel back to Nik the Prick, who had the same expression in his eyes that Jack got in his when he looked in a mirror with Daniel on his mind. Pretty much every damn time he looked in a mirror. Ah. Simple farmer? He sensed they were not talking some chick with a scythe. This situation was very definitely going Plato on them. His threat assessment was that Daniel’s moral well being and virginity were in mortal danger and he should just hustle Daniel over to that cool little transport thingy and make like Scotty.

Of course, the general was looking for something tactical and Jack didn’t think incandescently jealous rage on his part counted no matter how loudly he whined once they got back to base. Things needed to escalate before Jack could evacuate.

He really wanted to know how it was that Daniel was perfectly happy to sit snuggled up to the king of the swingers there and translate a story about two guys doing it, when he remained blithely unaware he was sitting here with two guys who wanted to do it with him about as badly as they wanted to breathe. Really. ‘Cause Jack didn’t have a frigging clue, and until he got one, he was never going to get any closer to Daniel than this. Palpitating from drooling distance over the perfect curves of Daniel’s ass, the luscious pout and the sweetest nape on this or any other planet.

Was it any wonder he was going grey?

Daniel took a deep breath and launched into the translation again. “I think I have this part now. When you add that,” he reached up to touch one the major glyphs, “to thia,” he touched a bridging glyph, “you get – you - oh.” Daniel froze, thinking he’d mistranslated. He ran frantically through all he knew of this particular ancient custom and couldn’t come up with a single reference in the body, no pun, of evidence to suggest the position was even anatomically possible. “Um. Right. Er – Plato doesn’t get this – um – graphic,” he stammered out. Plato was heavy on the emotions and societal mores, but a little light on the actual mechanics. That part of the male anatomy just wasn’t designed for the purpose so vigorously described and he didn’t know anyone with legs or back strong enough to just hold it like that. Daniel could certainly imagine the screaming, as anyone who’d ever been on the receiving end of one of Janet’s full physicals could testify, but he didn’t think it was the kind of scream referenced here.

Nikolos obligingly supplied the translation and made Jack blush too.

“Moving swiftly on - ” Every part of him burning with embarrassment, Daniel shuffled a few feet along to another block of glyphs, took a surreptitious look, blushed even more furiously - God, who could hold their breath for that long? - “and – um - on,” he shuffled a little further, vainly seeking a place of literary safety and morbidly aware of Jack’s avid interest in proceedings now he knew just how – graphic – this stuff was.

Jack smirked. He guessed Daniel wasn’t expecting adult content. Daniel was Discovery channel all the way. Jack figured this might not be a bad thing. It was entirely possible Daniel might just catch on why Nikolos had him reading this particular story. As soon as he realised Nik the prick, Nik’s prick and Daniel were all in the same equation, he’d be scuttling out of here to safety faster than a Victorian virgin out of a bodice ripper. So it was trite. Jack was Showtime all the way.

“If anybody wants me, I’ll be outside, shooting myself,” Jack said lightly and strolled away, leaving Daniel to his all too probable fate.

After a very refreshing stroll around the pleasant environs of what even his untrained eye recognised instantly as a pyramid with the pointy bit at the top chopped off, Jack headed back into the depths of the tomb with the view to see what his fair Daniel was up to. Or, if they really wanted to get out of here toot very much sweet, who he was up to.

Jack found Daniel in a posture strongly suggesting he was at bay, but Nik the prick wasn’t doing anything actively hostile and Jack was looking. Had this itchy trigger finger and all.

“Have you had enough time to think about my proposition, Daniel?” Nik the prick asked pleasantly.

“Yes. I mean no. Yes. No. Er - ” Daniel couldn’t believe Jack had just hauled ass out of the temple and left him alone with a man who was little better than a pornographer and whose interest in Daniel was patently NOT intellectual. And Jack had taken the damn gun with him. There were some occasions even Daniel accepted screamed for an P-90, and the ruler of a friendly, technologically advanced people the Pentagon wanted to get into bed with wanting to get into bed with Daniel was one of them. Not that Nikolos was all that fussy about the bed. He had suggested one or two alternatives, including Daniel just sprawling on the altar, dropping his pants and taking it like a man. More or less.

Jack watched with unconcealed glee as Daniel quit while he was behind and shot Jack a look of naked appeal, which Jack pretended not to see, instead leaning casually against the nearest pillar to watch the unfolding drama. Jack would bet his pension he knew what Nik the prick’s proposition was.

With a brave attempt at calm, and fully aware of Jack hovering like a vulture in the background gleefully noting his every word, no doubt to be used in evidence against him later, Daniel attempted to talk his way out of it. He turned to Nikolos and took a deep, calming breath. “I can’t have intercourse with you,” he announced flatly.

Jack turned a choke of laughter into a cough. Nik clearly had Daniel’s measure too. In Daniel’s case, subtle won’t do. “That’s a shame,” Jack suggested brightly, “I always enjoy a good conversation.”

Daniel shot Jack a scorching look. How the hell could he be so damn facetious when Daniel’s ass was on the line? Literally!

“Why do you not desire intercourse with me? You have already said it is not against your custom,” Nikolos asked, clearly puzzled.

Jack grinned. He guessed poor Daniel didn’t see that one coming.

“And what’s your custom?” Jack challenged. Well, Daniel wasn’t going to ask and a good team leader needed all the facts before he decided if the only reasonable response to a developing situation was a really big gun with lots of bullets. “Okay to just say no?” Jack asked lightly.

“It is not ‘okay’ to say no to the person of the Telamon without cause,” Nik the prick snapped.

“Is it okay for the person of the Telamon to Aask without cause?” Jack prompted. They had a word for that. It was coercion, even if Nik the prick did smile like Donny Osmond. Jack wanted Daniel to learn a little lesson about the perils of flirting and going off alone with strange men to look at glyphs, but he didn’t want anybody scaring the shit out of his archaeologist.

He glared at Nik, feeling slightly guilty he’d just left Daniel high and dry like that when he really hadn’t known what would come, excuse the expression, the moment Jack was out of earshot.

Actually Jack was glad he was even here, because if he hadn’t insisted, Daniel would have been dealing with Nik’s prick by himself. This was all fuel to his determination never to let Daniel out of his sight off-world ever again.

“I did not ask without cause,” Nik was visibly shocked. “Daniel’s encouragement was most blatant. He is entitled to refuse, but he must give me cause. It is an insult to honour else. It is not our custom to mislead others.”

Jack turned slowly, menacingly, to his errant love. “Dan-iel?” Just how much eye batting, blushing, lip licking and smiling had he been doing, for God’s sake? Daniel was an arrant flirt but he hadn’t a clue that he was. Daniel had no idea whatsoever about the impact he had on other people. Even on base if some woman, or guy for that matter, looked admiringly in Daniel’s direction, if Daniel even noticed, and nine times out of ten he didn’t notice, well, if Daniel did happen to notice he always glanced over his shoulder to see who was being stared at so rudely. Jack was completely grey and probably headed towards his exhausted follicles throwing in the towel and just dropping off his head over it, and he figured Carter must be hitting the L’Oreal pretty hard by now too.

Daniel tried and failed to avoid Jack’s accusing gaze. He had tried to say no, he wasn’t interested, particularly not interested in the activity described in toe curling detail on panel four, but Nikolos hadn’t listened. He spouted some nonsense about Daniel encouraging him, which was – was nonsensical. How could just talking to someone about iconography be encouragement for anything but an earnest discussion about iconography? Even with this subject matter, which was, admittedly, a first for him.

Jack rolled his eyes to heaven and sighed. Guess he’d have to fix this. “About – Daniel,” he began in a meaningful man-to-sex god tone.

Daniel stiffened at Jack’s faintly pitying tone. “Jack? Could I have a moment with you in private?” he snapped.

Jack took in the pout, the flaring nostrils and the stormy blue eyes. “Whaa?” He was feeling no pain, except in a very localised area, but that was more or less okay, these pants were a little on the baggy side, thank God.

“A word! In private,” Daniel emphasised, glaring at his erstwhile leader.

Nikolos bowed. “Of course.”

Jack shrugged, and followed Daniel across the main chamber and around behind the altar, eyes fixed on Daniel’s ass, wondering if he could get Daniel to lick his lips. He did that. Wantonly moistened them right in front of Jack, just like he did so many other damn things right in front of Jack that got Jack going and then never did anything to stop Jack coming. The only thing Daniel never did was bat his eyes. He batted his eyes at everyone and everything except Jack. Why was that? Why not at Jack, who happened to be passionately in love with him?

Probably because this was Daniel. And he was just Jack. Good old Jack with the fat, saggy butt and the boring brown eyes and grey hair. He couldn’t even fool himself with an ‘ing’ on the end of grey, not any more.

Daniel turned on Jack furiously. “’About – Daniel’?” he prompted. “What about me? Why are you assuming this is MY fault? I didn’t do anything to prompt that man to – to – I didn’t.”

“To? To? To what?” Jack snapped. He was pretty sure what, but he wanted to hear it from Daniel. “WHAT!”

Daniel eyed Jack with dislike. “He wanted to shove me down on this altar – “ Daniel tapped it carefully for emphasis, “ – and you know?”

Jack kept his expression carefully blank. You bet he knew, but did Daniel?

“Fuck me!” Daniel hissed. “And don’t give me any crap about fertility rituals.”

Jack had not in fact planned to do this. “Are you telling me that guy didn’t take one look at you and just know right off your brand of Coke was Cherry?” he asked, voice dripping amazement.

“What?” Daniel asked suspiciously, wondering for the thousandth time where Jack came up with the ‘colourful’ expressions and just why the hell he insisted on sharing them with a fairly inoffensive scholar of ancient languages and literature.

“I heard him, Daniel,” Jack said smugly. “It’s not okay to ask without cause. He said you gave cause and he made it clear it was only reasonable you in turn gave cause why you were changing your mind. This begs the question: what cause did you give?”

“None whatsoever,” Daniel said confidently, scowling at Jack’s patent disbelief.

“None?” Jack rolled his eyes incredulously. The man was utterly clueless. “Did you do this?” Jack batted his eyes at Daniel.

Daniel stepped back, blinking hard. What the hell was Jack doing? “Do you have something in your eyes?”

“I was batting them,” Jack said witheringly. “Just like you do. Just like you just did, come to that.”

“What?” Daniel snarled. “I do not bat my eyes! I’ve never batted my eyes!”

“Daniel, you flirt,” Jack accused his beloved, coldly. Except with him, he thought bitterly.

“I do not!”

“You do!”

“Do not!”

“Do too!”



Daniel blinked, taken aback by both the accusation and Jack’s conviction.

“See! See! You’re doing it right now!” Jack hissed triumphantly.

“Blinking?” Daniel asked cautiously. Maybe he should get Jack out of here? He was going nuts again, for no apparent reason.

“Batting. Flirting.”

“You’re crazy!”

Jack snarled, grabbed Daniel’s hand and towed him forcefully across the chamber floor back to Nik and his waiting prick. He let go of Daniel and stalked over to Nik.

“Look, here’s the deal. He does all that stuff, makes with the eyes, the sweet little smile, the moistening of the lips, the attention, the soft voice, the cute blush, yadda yadda, and he doesn’t have a clue he does it or what it does to anyone on the receiving end. You with me?”

“Of course I am with you. I am standing at your side,” Nik said, clearly bewildered.

Jack ground his teeth. “Do you understand? Not about me standing at your side,” he explained with iron patience, “about Daniel making with the eyes, the sweet yadda yadda.”

Understanding dawned. “Yes.”

“So ask Daniel why he’s refusing you and every time he makes with the fluttering eyes, say so. Got it?” Jack grimaced. “Please do that.” Jack stepped back. This would not take long.

“Very well,” Nik bowed to Jack and turned to Daniel. “Daniel, you must explain to me why it is you are refusing me.”

Daniel eyed both Jack and Nikolos suspiciously. “You claim I have to give you cause to refuse you because I allegedly gave you cause to ask me. That’s not true,” he said earnestly.

“You are giving me cause now,” Nikolos said unexpectedly.

“Excuse me?” Daniel asked, bewildered. He scowled as Jack ostentatiously batted his eyes. He blushed to the roots of his hair as Nikolos took his cue from Jack and batted his eyes too.

“You’re doing it now,” Jack said meanly.

“I’m blinking!” Daniel insisted.

“You are not, but I see now that Colonel O'Neill of the Chicago O'Neills is right and I read too much into your – “ Nikolos hesitated.

“Flirting,” Jack obligingly supplied, tone crisp.

“Flirting. It would seem you do this to everyone, all unknowing,” Nikolos explained kindly.

Jack sighed. Daniel did it to everyone but Jack.

Daniel couldn’t think of a single word to say as Jack said a far from fond farewell, promised to send in SG-9 if Nikolos wanted further contact, which he didn’t, apparently, not if it didn’t lead to further contact with Daniel on any altars that happened to be nearby. Daniel meekly allowed Jack to lead him resistless over to the transporter pad, whisk him through the honour guard and the wormhole, Jack smirking like a Cheshire cat every step of the way. Every step he wasn’t provocatively saying stuff like ‘doing it now’ or ‘right now’. The only coherent word in Daniel’s mind as he stumbled down the gateroom ramp was ‘debriefing’.

Oh God.

“Yeah, you do,” Robert said judiciously.

“I do not bat my eyes!” Daniel protested indignantly.

“Daniel, the first six months I knew you, I thought you just couldn’t figure out I wasn’t playing hard to get, that I wasn’t in fact to be got.” Robert didn’t have the heart to tell Daniel the only reason he’d noticed the flirting was that Daniel flirted so blatantly even he couldn't miss it. “Then the rest of the time I figured everybody at the Institute - including that guard who gave you a cinnamon swirl every Friday – figured you were playing hard to get, and the only reason you got away with it was because so many damned people – including the ‘swirl’ guard, so take that look off your face – wanted you, nobody actually knew who you were playing hard to get with at any one time.”

Daniel sat down hard in the chair opposite Robert. He was cut to the quick. “What about Sarah!”

“Let’s not go there,” Robert said firmly. Ole Frosty Pants couldn’t have happened to a nicer or less deserving guy than Daniel. The only good thing about Frosty was that she kept Stephen ‘God thinks he’s me’ Rayner from Daniel’s bedroom door.

Daniel shot Robert a hard look, but Robert stoically maintained his Sphinx impression.

“So why the sudden interest?” Robert asked, curious. “Why storm into my office and get me to check out your batting average?”

“That’s not funny,” Daniel griped. “Jack – “ Daniel caught Robert’s grimace. “What?” he asked defensively.

“O’Neill accused you of flirting? Shocker,” Robert drawled.

“Jack can be a little over-protective – “ Daniel began.

“A little?” Robert hooted incredulously. “Try pathological. The guy is a psycho.” At least he was where Daniel was concerned. “Seriously scary.” Robert knew this. It surely wasn’t coincidence that the first time Robert had been Daniel’s alternate on SG-1, O’Neill had chosen to ‘bond’ whilst idly hurling his knife at a tree. Over and over. O’Neill and his knife had a number of questions, such as how well Robert knew Daniel.

“Jack is not a psycho!“ Daniel scowled at Robert and his sceptically twitching beard.

“Not around you, maybe. I’m not you. O’Neill likes you. O’Neill doesn’t like me,” Robert said simply. That wasn’t strictly accurate. Robert was pretty damn sure O’Neill had the hots for Daniel. Robert was absolutely positive Daniel didn’t have the least idea. People weren’t really Robert’s thing, so if he noticed O’Neill was crazy about Daniel, it had to be a big deal.

He was vaguely aware the military didn’t exactly embrace alternate life styles, but it didn’t seem to have weighed with O’Neill, so maybe he should cut the psycho some slack on being a psycho. “Daniel, would you say that O’Neill was your friend?” Robert asked, curious.

“Of course,” Daniel admitted cheerfully.

“The Spacemonkey thing?” Robert prompted. “Those Marines gossip worse than old women, and O’Neill put his hands on your ass right there in the gateroom in front of the general and the Corps. It’s the stuff of legend.”

It was also most of the reason why the base almost in its entirety thought O’Neill had been doing Daniel for a couple of years. The sole exceptions being Daniel, the general and O’Neill, who clearly only wished he was doing Daniel. Carter and Teal’c had never owned up one way or the other, but they could hardly friggin’ miss it, could they?

“Jack’s hands were never on my ass!” Daniel bridled. He didn’t know to this day why people obsessed over one of the nicest moments in his life. Seeing his friends alive and well, seeing how happy they were that he was alive and well, being hugged by Jack, realising for the first time how much he meant to Jack. He’d never been anybody’s best friend before, and that was the exact moment he realised that was what he was to Jack, and that Jack was the best friend Daniel had ever had. Why couldn’t people just let him enjoy that?

Robert shook his head pityingly. “In the entire recorded history of the military, without even touching the hard-assed Special Ops thing, has any colonel attempted to hug some gorgeous guy and call him Spacemonkey in front of his C.O. and the Marine Corps, let alone gotten away with it? Apart from O’Neill? Doesn’t that suggest something to you?”

“Gorgeous?” Daniel snapped.

“Statement of fact, not a come on,” Robert remarked briskly, “so stop trying to change the subject.”

“It suggests that Jack is my friend,” Daniel said sullenly. He scowled at Robert’s beard, which as usual had a lot to say for itself. “My best friend,” he snapped. The beard sneered. Daniel stiffened. Robert had to be kidding! Jack? “Drag your mind out of the gutter, Robert. There is nothing between Jack and I except friendship,” he said haughtily.

“Prove it,” Robert challenged.

“Prove it,” Jack challenged.

Daniel sighed and leaned back in his chair. This was getting ridiculous. Robert had challenged Daniel to observe Jack’s behaviour in order to make a definitive determination on what Jack’s feelings for him were. Daniel had decided on covert observation, rejecting out of hand Robert’s actual suggestion, which was to pin Jack to the nearest wall, lay one on him and see what happened. Robert had many sterling qualities, but people skills were not amongst them.

Now Daniel had Jack challenging him to prove he wasn’t a flirt. He sighed. “How do you suggest I do that, Jack, since I can’t identify the behaviour patterns that seem to be keeping you awake at night?”

Jack sat down and leapt back up as Daniel’s computer squealed. Everything looked okay until the instant Daniel touched his fingertip lightly to the save key. Then the computer rebooted. Jack tried a faintly apologetic smile and when that failed miserably, carefully sat in Daniel’s chair.

“Important?” he asked, hoping not.

“Not really,” Daniel sighed. “Just about eight hours worth of typing which I’m hoping the file recover will – “ he tapped his touch screen lightly, hoping like hell – “won’t be able to recover.” He shot Jack a reproachful look.

“Oh.” There didn’t seem to be anything more Jack could say and Daniel had already exceeded his quota of Jack actually using the ‘s’ word; more than once a year and he’d get cocky. “Re the questionable behaviour patterns. Batting of eyes. Licking of lips. Smiling.”

“Smiling?” Daniel asked incredulously, as he leaned with pointed care against his workbench.

Jack was slightly embarrassed. “Sweetly,” he admitted gruffly. “Or so I’ve been told.”

“By whom?” Daniel demanded suspiciously. Was Jack blushing?

“Carter,” Jack lied shamelessly, knowing full well that if Daniel asked Carter if he had a sweet smile she would say yes. “That other thing you do with your eyes. Yeah, that’s it.”

“What?” Daniel asked carefully.

“That.” Jack could tell Daniel wasn’t with him on this one. “That looking up through the lashes thing,” he said casually. That particular thing tended to make the roof of his mouth go dry. He glanced up at Daniel again. “And the blushing.”

“So pretty much everything I do then,” Daniel snapped.

“Did I mention the voice?” Jack muttered, staring fixedly over at the door.

“My voice?” Daniel didn’t think he wanted to know.

“Husky,” Jack sighed gustily. “Cute little catch.” He froze. “So I’ve been told.”

“Sam?” Daniel snapped as Jack muttered ‘Carter’.

Jack realised that most of his IQ was in his pants and it was starting to show. Literally and figuratively. He had to get out of here before he did something stupid, like pinning Daniel up against bookcase and kissing him into orbit. “The reception!”

“The reception?” Daniel asked cautiously. Daniel was starting to have suspicions that maybe Robert was right, maybe Jack’s interest in him was leaning a tad towards the hot and sweaty, given the – um – 'fire down below' he was currently covertly observing. Jack's BDU's weren't quite loose enough. “What about the reception?”

“The Tok’ra are just about as hot to trot with the Tollan as Maybourne was, they’ll all be here. Carter will have her hands full with that sap Narim and her old man in the same room. I’ll probably be beating Freya off with my P-90. We got politicians. Pentagon pussies,” Jack explained fluently, winging it. Pilot. Good at that winging stuff. “So you can work the room.”

“I always work the room,” Daniel riposted. “In my new career as intergalactic goodwill diplomat, which I got stuck with because you guys are too cheap to get a real one. I have to make nice with everybody who swings by the gateroom.” It cut a serious swathe into valuable reading time.

“Phone numbers!” Jack said triumphantly. Daniel was looking bewildered and he wasn’t looking at anything he shouldn't be looking at, so there was still a chance Jack might get out of this office without a sexual harassment charge. Might. No promises if Daniel kept licking his lips like that. “That’s my challenge to you. Don’t do a thing but be yourself. Easy,” he said grandly. “If you don’t flirt, then you won’t score a single phone number. If you do, even if you don’t know you do, then you will. Score phone numbers.” Daniel would get the phone numbers, that wasn’t in question. Hmm. “One military type. Not Carter,” Jack amended instantly. “Or Janet, so lose the grin.”

“I wasn’t thinking about Janet,” Daniel denied hotly. “She has my phone number already. She’d definitely think it was odd if I asked her for it again, given how often we call each other.”

“She does? You do? Why do you?” Jack snapped.

Daniel reluctantly admitted staring at his boots wasn’t really constructive, not when his objective was staring at Jack. He was just – well, a little freaked by Jack’s – um - growing interest in him, which was making Daniel’s observation more overt by the second.

“You don’t need to know,” he said primly, biting back a grin as Jack glowered at him. Jack was scared of Janet. He wouldn’t dare ask her and he’d didn’t dare do anything to Daniel because all Daniel had to do was this, drop his head and peek shyly up through his lashes and Jack was putty in his shaking hands. Which were in his pockets so Jack couldn’t see them shaking and ruin the effect. Jack getting to know how much help Daniel was giving Janet with her Italian so she could help Cassie with her Italian would not help either. “You really don’t,” he insisted.

Jack glared at Daniel. He needed to know. “Davis,” he suggested vindictively.

“Paul?” Daniel gaped at Jack.

Jack stiffened. Bad example! Froze. Paul? “You two were cosied up together while the technobugs were crawling up my ass. You can get Major Davis’s phone number.”

Daniel had Paul’s number from his last visit, but he supposed he could pretend he’d lost it and ask again. “Paul,” he agreed promptly. He could deflate Jack completely after the reception by owning up he already had that number too and batting of eyes had nothing to do with getting it the second time.

“One civilian. Not Rothman. I’ll pick one out when I’ve had a chance to assess,” Jack said darkly. Nobody cute. Maybe a senator or something. An elderly senator. “One alien. Not Teal’c.”

“Aliens don’t have phone numbers. They don’t have phones,” Daniel observed dispassionately.

Jack resisted the urge to make some crack like ‘555-FREYA’. Barely. “Get one of ‘em to cough up some high tech gizmo or other, or show you some alien text or something.” Jack frowned as a thought occurred. Specifically, the intellectual interest half of the Tok’ra ho. “Anise doesn’t count in this category either,” he announced emphatically. She was as hot to trot with Daniel as she was with the Tollan.

“So basically you’re hand picking the lucky participants?”

Jack shrugged. Actually, this was a damn good idea. He could give Daniel HIS phone number, and Daniel could take it as a joke. Or not. Glancing up at Daniel’s poker face, which was as readable as everyone else’s face, Jack didn’t think Daniel would take it as a joke either.

“How do I look?” Daniel asked shyly. He turned around and wriggled his butt a little, for effect, grinning when he heard the distressed bleat from behind him.

“Uugh!” Jack commented incisively.

Daniel turned to face Jack again and strolled over to retrieve his jacket. The coat hanger was hooked precariously from a shelf on the bookcase which was coincidentally the one Jack was standing right in front of. Which meant Daniel had to lean in and reach around behind Jack, since locomotion seemed to be beyond Jack’s capabilities right now.

Jack had Daniel’s cheek within nuzzling range. He inhaled sharply and got this waft of something incredible.

“Issy Miyake,” Daniel murmured huskily. He took his time getting the jacket and more time putting it on, right in front of Jack. He glanced down. “I wasn’t sure about the shirt,” he said deprecatingly.

“It’ll do,” Jack shrugged. It was the exact shade of blue as Daniel’s eyes which meant Daniel would probably be getting condo keys shoved in his shorts, not phone numbers. Jack was aware of open office doors here. Lot of traffic to and through Daniel’s office. People just dropped by all the time. Like him. He should get the hell away from Daniel, this wasn’t safe for either of them. He should. He really should.

“Jack?” Daniel queried softly.

“Tie isn’t straight,” Jack said gruffly, smoothing his fingers over the dark silk and twitching gently. He vaguely remembered he was supposed to be twitching the tie while he was here but that was really of secondary importance to just being – here. The Pout, right here in front of him. Melting eyes raised to his. Breathing in that incredible smell. How could a man so shy, so modest, be so damned lush and inviting? Jack was feeling that intense, localised pain again. From Daniel’s lips to Jack’s dick, direct line.

“Neither is yours,” Daniel murmured, reaching out to straighten Jack’s tie for him, mesmerised by the softness of Jack’s eyes. Maybe – maybe Robert had a point. Non-participant observation wasn’t nearly as much fun as it was cracked up to be. Interaction was the thing. It wasn’t possible to be objective anyway, not when the expression in Jack’s eyes was so…so tender, and Jack was smiling just that way, and there was all this HEAT – “Your jacket isn’t sitting right. Allow me.” Biting his lip, Daniel smoothed the material over Jack’s shoulders, really glad his hands weren’t shaking, mostly because they were too busy clinging to this broad expanse of – of - hot, hard Jack.

Janet was having a little trouble with her tenses, so she thought swinging by Daniel’s office for a quick recap was a good idea until the moment she walked in the door and realised he was pretty damn tense already. He was also pouting, batting his eyes and stroking. No-o. Janet eyed the touching little scene playing out in front of her. No, not strictly accurate. Daniel in fact looked like he was about to tie his yellow ribbon round the old oak tree and claim his clusters. The tree himself was so far gone he didn’t even realise she was in the room. So much for those heightened Special Ops honed senses. They were heightened all right, in fact the colonel looked like he was going to eat Daniel alive, and both of them were borderline hyperventilating –-

“O-oh, I think those ties are pretty damn straight now, don’t you?” Janet hollered pleasantly, blithely ignoring a lot of trembling fingers mutually cupping jaws and stroking sensuously over throats. Any actual contact with the ties was purely coincidental. Janet choked down a laugh as both men sprang apart, distinctly glazed around the eyes and blushing. Bless them, she thought fondly, smiling warmly at them both.

Hot damn, she was going to clean up in the 'Who’s Doing Who' pool. Darling Daniel had finally seen the light. In fact, she’d better haul ass over to Siler right now and lay down some cash if she was gonna get that bike for Sam. The odds had never been hotter, what with Sam giving it her all, mooning all over the base after the colonel. Perkiness was above and way beyond. All the stupid money was firmly on her and the colonel, and now was clearly the time for those in the know, i.e, Janet, Sam and Teal’c, to up the ante with a vengeance, before the colonel and his beloved Spacemonkey spontaneously combusted in front of everyone.

Janet sighed. Sam was going to be a little disappointed, though. She was getting off on scaring the colonel shitless every time she did the fifties sitcom blonde thing at him, and it was going to be a wrench to give that up, even for a wrench. The bike of Sam’s dreams was a fixer-upper. Much like the colonel. Not that her Sam wanted the job. The only thing she was lusting over was the bike. Janet thought vaguely that this perky puppy love act of Sam's probably wasn’t fair on the colonel, but you couldn’t make a major without breaking balls.

“I’ll catch you later, Daniel,” Janet beamed at them both. “Alone,” she said meaningfully. She wasn’t about to own up she couldn’t tell her past participle from her present, not anywhere the colonel could start hollering asinine crap like ‘pizzeria’ at her, which was what passed for his Italian.

Janet turned on her heel and walked away, making a firm mental note to drag the colonel into her office for an excruciatingly graphic Q&A on safe sex at his earliest possible inconvenience. He couldn’t possibly think he was going to get away with those power monger cracks forever, could he? Janet was with the Sicilians on the whole vendetta thing. Revenge was a dish best served with illustrative medical slides and ‘how to’ pamphlets.

As Janet strolled away, whistling what he eventually placed as The Godfather theme, Jack guessed that the whole tie straightening-cum-touching thing hadn’t looked as toe curlingly erotic as it felt, because Janet didn’t seem to have seen a thing. Janet. Which brought him to – “Alone?” he asked gently.

Daniel smiled sweetly and checked his watch. “Time for the pre-reception reception, Jack,” he said brightly.


Alone sounded like a very good idea to Daniel, but not with Janet. If she hadn’t walked in when she had – He sighed. He and Jack had been nose to nose, breathing on one another. A little closer and they would have been breathing for one another. Daniel was feeling edgy, in a way he hadn't felt for YEARS, and he had a feeling only Jack could take this edge off. It shouldn't be too difficult for a frustrated virgin to seduce his best friend, should it? Not with the way his best friend seemed to want him. Hyperventilating could be interpreted as a firm expression of interest, couldn't it?


“I’ll tell you later,” Daniel promised. “After the reception.” Alone. At his place. With – with – what? Candles? Bubbles? Oil? Whipped cream? Or just naked colonel to go? “Later, Jack,” Daniel insisted when Jack balked. “We’ll be late. We have to come." Daniel froze, blushing furiously. "Go!" he yelped. "Um…I mean…um…go.” Daniel plunged out of his office and along to the elevator, knowing Jack was sure to follow. Especially if he wiggled it. Just a little bit.

Daniel noticing for the first time that Jack looked completely edible in his dress uniform notwithstanding, the briefing was important. They had to meet and greet the politicians in private, so the politicians didn’t embarrass the planet in public when they got to meet and greet the aliens. Janet wanted Daniel to make special mention of appearances being deceptive when it came to Anise. Looking like one didn’t make you one.

George also wanted to score points with the politicians. Come budget time, they’d need every cent they could claw in. Standing orders were ‘whatever it takes’. Daniel also had to play along with a heartfelt personal plea from George NOT to mention the meaning of life stuff unless specifically asked, or the universal ethics and responsibility stuff, or the humanitarian stuff. Daniel was just supposed to smile and talk up all the technology they didn’t have. It taxed even his imagination.

And his patience.

During the last round of budget talks he’d gotten a little ticked off with some humourless bureaucrat with a face like a hatchet and dollar signs where her morals should be. Daniel had found himself beguiling away the tedium of the meeting with a whimsical discussion of the healing properties of a unique medicinal herb they’d found on P5Y-159. The herb worked best when inhaled. Daniel hadn’t actually used the phrase aromatherapy. Was it his fault if the hatchet had leapt to conclusions?

Consequently, Daniel was under special standing orders ‘to be good’ and Jack had been tasked with the ‘whatever it takes’ to make him be good.

Daniel was sorely tempted to be bad and find out just what it would take, especially with the delicious prospect of a little disciplinary tie straightening action in the nearest soundproof lockable supply closet.

Jack followed Daniel like a lamb into and out of the elevator, through the hallways and into the briefing room. He only had three things on his mind. Daniel’s ass, which was wiggling delightfully; Daniel’s husky ‘later, Jack’ and the phrase ‘we have to come’, which he sincerely hoped was being used in the ‘getting some’ context. Jack was a big fan of ‘doing’ words. He could think of a lot of ‘doing’ words in the context of Daniel’s ass. Leering. Swaying. Touching. Stroking. Kneading. Kissing. Licking. Sucking. Fucking. He was a little limited in his options until he was sure what the ‘later, Jack’ actually meant, but in the meantime he was doing another word. Hoping. Like hell.

George relaxed as his two prize assets strolled in, one prize asset hovering protectively at the side of the other, as usual. Jack was an honest-to-goodness all-American hero – if you ignored the insubordination, the sarcasm, the temper, the pushiness, the – anyway, Jack had enough of the square-jawed take it on the chin colonel in him to make one hell of an impression on the impressionable. Almost without exception, the suits who controlled the SGC purse-strings wanted to BE Jack. George got away with it just so long as the suits never got to see Jack being Jack.

George softened as he took in Dr Jackson’s sartorial efforts. Bless the boy, he’d even worn the sky-blue shirt that went with his eyes. A double whammie, if only he knew. Senator Mayhew had just dropped her vol-au-vent for the third time.

The good doctor always performed impeccably at these shindigs, and George couldn’t find it in his heart to blame Daniel for being open and honest. The boy tried; he really, truly tried to be diplomatic, but time and again he had to settle for just being inspirational. And adorable. Dr Jackson’s innate sweetness and his shy little ways had melted hearts of stone all over the galaxy.

George hid a grin. People were usually too dazed by Dr Jackson’s looks to even notice the ferocious intellect or fearless moral courage. They tended to pick up on the passion straight away, hence the colonel’s glowering presence at the doctor’s side. Jack being dangerous was something else people tended to pick up on straight away, and just so long as George kept his boys circulating, everything would be fine, just – oh, boy.

He moved. Fast. Senator Mayhew was swooping down on Dr Jackson like he was something small, fluffy and edible. Even though Jack had never been known to actually haul off and punch a woman, George could see from here Jack seemed to be actively rethinking his position.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Senator Phillips was sneaking up behind the colonel, eyes aglow. Behind being the operative word. George was horrified. The senator was reputed to love a man in uniform, but he must have a death wish if he wanted to love this one. Jack had never been known to haul off and punch a senior citizen either, but then, he’d never been goosed by one. George cringed. Until - too late! - now.

If George had ever doubted Dr Jackson’s ability to handle himself in the field, those doubts were laid to rest. Moving as one, without any more communication than a swift, shared glance, the two men smoothly switched positions, standing firmly back to back, Jack nodding briskly to Senator Mayhew and Daniel shaking hands with a crestfallen Senator Phillips.

It was going to be a long, long day. George thought about Anise and Freya, and shuddered convulsively.

On to Part Two

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