is - stalking me. Sounds insane to say it, but that's exactly
what it feels like. He can't sit still for starters. He's
making me dizzy the way he's pacing around me, to-ing and fro-ing like
he's on some sort of elastic band that only lets him get so far away
before it snaps him back again.
seems to be going out of his way to avoid me while trying desperately
not to make it LOOK like he's trying to avoid me. Considering
we've both been alone in the same room for the last three hours you
could make a case for the endeavour being more than a lost cause.
Lost causes are Jack's speciality.
does that say about his interest in me?
of lost causes: I've spent the last half hour staring at a line of text
I've transcribed from this column and for all my focus and effort I'll
be damned if I can make sense of it. Just not computing at
all. None of it is. Nothing is making any sense.
Might as well be staring at gibberish. Hell, maybe I am staring
at gibberish. Somebody's idea of a joke. Graffiti, the
Goa'uld equivalent of 'Kilroy was here', or 'for a good time call
head hurts. I should be feeling better, but I'm not.
I'm not going to say anything; it's probably nothing. Nothing a
good night's sleep won't take care of. Sam's dialled the
machine down a notch or two, we've probably all got a bit of an edge on
because of it. That's why Jack is acting the way he is, prowling
around like he's got a burr up his --
am I kidding? We both know what was going on when I woke
up. Well, HE sure knows, maybe he's not so sure how 'with it' I
was - how aware I was, or how much I remember. We've barely said
three words to each other in the last three hours, and we've got three
more weeks of this ahead of us. That is unless one of us sucks it up,
makes the first move and brings everything out into the open.
it up? I probably could have put that another way. Three weeks.
Three weeks of Jack, hanging around. Lurking. Glaring at
have to take my glasses off. The light - it's hurting my eyes.
Drilling into my head.
is it?" Jack says brusquely. Sounds like he's right beside
me. God, he was way the hell over - how does he DO that?
I grit my teeth. "It's nothing. Just a headache. Had
it since - since I woke up."
don't look so good," he says, his voice sounding harsh in my
ears. "Don't move."
worry. Where would I go?
hear him walking away, rather quickly. 'CARTER!" he bellows down
the hall. "Carter! Get in here!"
he bothering Sam for? It's just a headache. A right, royal mother
of a headache, to be sure, but still, just a headache. I hear
voices and risk opening my eyes to take a look. Sam and Jack are
standing at the entrance to the corridor, looking at me, talking like
they don't want me to hear what they're saying. I really don't
care what they're saying. I'm not feeling so well.
catches me watching them, shoots me a look, and then he's gone down the
hall like a bat out of hell. I haven't got a clue what's in his
head. And here comes the other one, smiling warily at me, like she's
trying to figure out the kindest way of breaking it to me that I've
only got three weeks to live.
for all I know she could be right.
Daniel," she says with a tight smile as she hunkers down beside
me. "How's the head?"
attached, for all the good it does me," I try to grin at her, but don't
quite make it. She puts a hand on my forehead, frowns.
feel a little warm, Daniel," she tells me softly.
it is kinda hot in here."
actually it isn't," she shakes her head.
isn't?" Feels damned hot in here to me.
she gives an apologetic shrug. "The colonel's gone to set up a
cot. We're thinking maybe you should lie down, take it easy.
We'll get in touch with Janet, take some blood samples and send them
through, just to be on the safe side. You were here longer than
any of us and well -- "
was the only one who died."
she grimaces. "There's that. You experienced the most extreme
symptoms. Maybe your brain chemistry is still a little out of
mean more so than usual," I grumble.
she says, affecting a lightly offended tone as she gently ruffles my
hair. "Easy with that sort of talk. We might be a little
dysfunctional at times, but we're all still family, right?"
Sorry." I tear my eyes away from her and hang my head. I
suddenly can't bear her kindness. Feel ashamed to feel the
unspoken reality of how much she cares or be the undeserving object of
her unsuspecting affection.
doesn't know what I did to her. But I do.
knows I'm upset about something but I just shake my head when she gives
me a questioning look. It's nothing. Don't worry about it.
she does. They all do. Worry about me. Give a
damn. I'm just so not worth the distance they go for me and I
suddenly can't stand it.
get you off your feet and into bed," she says assertively as she starts
to help me up, mercifully letting me off the hook.
WRONG with him?" Jack's voice. Sounds angry. I'm making him
mad. Better - better try and get up. Wish someone would
open a damned window or something, it's awfully hot in here.
doesn't know. His blood-work is fine." That's Sam, trying
to be the voice of reason. I wish her luck. Jack using that tone of
voice he's just this side of foaming at the mouth. Nice mouth.
fine - what kind of CRAP is that? Look at him - he's burning up over
nice, nice mouth.
isn't 'burning up,' sir, it's a very low grade fever. Janet says
he had the same kind of fever and was exhibiting similar mental
confusion while he was recuperating from Amonet's attack. You
remember how he was, sir."
like his brains were all scrambled by that thing and then he woke up
and started going on about a dream and the kid. Yeah.
I remember all right. Janet thinks this is the same sort of deal?"
she doesn't know for sure, but based on the blood-work and symptoms - "
-- nice mouth. Mmmmmm --
kisser. Really - good.
listen, Major, why don't you - I'll keep an eye on Daniel."
got a very nice tongue in his very nice mouth.
I should find something else to do."
you should. NOW."
– long – tongue --
Christ, Daniel don't do this to me! I'm only human!"
need to go outside. Get some air. It's too hot in
here. I'll just go outside and get some air.
can't hear Jack's voice anymore. The loss of it aches inside
me. Such a void, opening within me, like the vast emptiness under
my feet as I stand on the ledge and look down. It would be so easy to
let go, just a few breathless seconds and then -nothing.
idea I've had in my life.
are you doing out here, Daniel?"
to the end of my road. Nowhere else to go except forward into
nothing. There's no way back. No way to get it back. No
choices; no options. No way to go but down.
always another way, Daniel. You just haven't looked in the right
direction. Turn around and take a look."
made a promise."
you think she would want you to do this? Do you think taking this
way honours her? Don't you think it's time you walked YOUR path
instead of hers? Turn around, Daniel. Take my hand. Come
wake with a start. Disoriented for a second, don't know where I
am. Feeling uncomfortable, cold clamminess, realising my clothes
are soaked with perspiration, sticking to me. What the hell?
getting a little tired of this waking up and not knowing how I happen
to be in my current location. Which seems to be lying down in the
room Jack and I are sharing. I look across at the other cot, and
even though the light is low I can see it's unoccupied.
soft mumbling sound draws my attention to the other side. Jack is
sitting on the floor beside me, head pillowed on his arm. Quite
asleep. He's holding my hand.
head doesn't hurt any more. That's right - I wasn't well. I
remember Sam starting to help me up, then someone - carrying me?
They were talking about me. I had a fever. Something about
Jack's -- mouth?
feel fine now. It's quiet. Wonder what time it is.
Glance at my watch to see only a bare wrist where the watch should
be. Oh yeah. Guess it's still back in the infirmary.
realise I'm desperately thirsty. Don't want to disturb Jack, but
I have to get up. Not simply because I need to get something to
drink, I just need to get up. I have to go somewhere. Feel like
I'm missing something. It's a distressing feeling, like an empty
space inside me. A void. I have to get up - have to go.
carefully take my hand out of Jack's iron grip and lay his hand, still
slightly clenching around nothingness, in his lap. I can't believe it,
but he actually doesn't stir as I get up. I can't begin to
imagine how exhausted he must be to be that - out - I'm actually
getting away with - getting away. But it seems I am.
starts to softly snore as I walk out of the room. It's the
strangest feeling - like I'm going in the wrong direction. I keep
wanting to turn around and look behind me even though I know exactly
what I'll see.
must be three am. The lowest ebb of the body clock. Lowest
ebb. I’m tired. He’s left me again and I’m – tired.
Gonna have to suck it up, though. He needs me.
haul myself to my feet, old bones creaking. Have to work my
shoulders ‘til my neck feels right. Stiff from head to toe.
has to be in the central complex somewhere. If he’d gone beyond
our room, the perimeter alarms would have sounded. Ditto if he’d
tried to leave the palace itself. I’ll just retrace my steps all
the way back to the gate.
Second time in two days I’ve had to sling him over my shoulder and
carry him. I’m surprised I’ve got a stiff neck? Stiff
back. Knees aching. There’s no sign of him as I cut through
the light room and head towards the gateroom. Everything is
aching. I feel – old. Old and weary.
Sitting on the dais again. Arms curled around his knees.
Staring up at the Stargate.
Great. Even my voice sounds old. I sink down next to
him. Kinda embarrassed by the sigh that wells up out of me.
Sitting close. Not too close. Not touching.
are you feeling? I was worried.” Yeah. Right.
Try bordering on hysterical.
news?” Daniel says quietly. “You do that a lot, you know.”
I’m on automatic apology pilot, “and for - ” I wave a hand.
sorry? For –“ he lets it trail off too.
you throw at me next.
Daniel gasps. “That’s not fair.”
More tired than I thought. Speaking. Thinking. If you
think out loud, people hear you. Speaking. Think before
speaking. Hey. It’s a concept. “No. It’s not
fair. And yes, I’m sorry for that too.”
finally have all of Daniel’s attention.
Not fair. Got that. You’re confused. You think you’re
the only one? Can’t you cut me a little slack, Daniel?” I
haven’t got the energy to fight. Really. “I’m sorry.”
Don’t know how many times I’ve said and thought that in the past few
days. Meant it every time. “I’ve had enough.”
feel a hesitant touch at my shoulder and shrug his hand away.
don’t want to be harsh with him. NOT angry here. Not angry
with him. It’s not his fault, none of it is. “THAT isn’t
fair. Don’t worry. I got the message, loud and clear.
Shoulda got it the first time, but I – aww, crap. It doesn’t
matter. Not important. Don’t worry yourself about it.”
– the first time?”
up to a trip down memory lane, here. Not the time and not the
place. He was dead on the floor in this room. He pushed me
away in this room. The feelings are too raw and I’m struggling
with them. It’s hard to make peace with another when you’re
warring with yourself.
important, Daniel. Don’t fret yourself,” I hesitate, struggling
for the right words, “The withdrawal blows things way outta proportion
is all.” Not gonna forget. Just have to accept. Let
it go. “I – it’s not about me,” I say finally, “I’m telling you you’ve
nothing to – to - ” why is it so hard to say this? “Just concentrate on
you. That’s what’s important.”
not unimportant,” Daniel begins.
fine,” I interrupt. “Little tired, is all. Rough coupla
days. A little stressed out, here. Just give me some
time. Things will get back to normal soon.”
How can we - you said -- you said you were in love with me.”
my problem, Daniel.”
worry myself about it?” he snaps. “Too late.”
were dead. You died right in front of me. I’m not trying to
make excuses, here, I was wrong to – I shouldn’t have been mauling you
Jack, it wasn’t – I didn’t know where I was – I –“ Daniel sounds
mean for that to happen.
didn’t choose. I’ve had some time to think, and that’s the worst
part about it. I feel like I invaded your privacy, Daniel.
Saw things you never meant me to see. Not only have we not been
on the same page, here, I’ve been in a completely different book.
Ignorance is no defence, but I swear, I didn’t realise you didn’t
remember until you told us so.” It’s quite comforting, talking
into your knees. Easier than trying to talk staring into those
eyes and seeing all the pain you put there. “It wasn’t
fair. If I’d thought for a SECOND I was making your choice for
you.” I laugh suddenly. Not a happy sound. “If I’d
thought at all. You didn’t bring this on yourself. It’s my
fault. Only mine. You’ve made your choice now. I know
where I stand. Everything is clear.”
jump up. “I’m tired, Daniel. I’m gonna try to get some
sleep. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
IT? Daniel bursts out. “You’re just leaving me?”
nothing more to say. My feelings aren’t your problem, Daniel.”
not listening to a word I say.”
LISTENING! I don’t ONLY listen to you when you say what I want to
hear. I heard you JUST fine when you told me to get the hell away
from you. I’m a fucking repressed control freak and I got NOTHING
you want. I GET that. I HEAR you.”
flinches back like I slapped him.
No. I’m sorry. Daniel, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean
that. I don’t know what the hell I mean. I’m too damn tired
to – I’m not trying to hurt you. I love you. All I know is
I can’t go on like this. I thought I could, but I can’t.
I’ve been eating my heart out over you as long as I’ve known you and I
just can’t do it anymore. It isn’t fair to either of us.
I’m hurting you and I have to let it go. I have to let you
go. He told me, but I wasn’t listening. I thought he meant
I could let go in you.” I stop and smile for him. “We can
be friends. I miss that. I miss my friend. We can get
it back. I can be the friend I should have been from the start,
if you’ll let me. Just think about it.”
Daniel jumps up and takes a few steps towards me. “Jack, please.
Please don’t walk away,” he pleads.
hand almost grazes his cheek before I pull it back to my side.
“Hey. Quit your worryin’. I’ll be fine. Came too damn
close to losing you, on top of everything else. I don’t know
where the hell I am or what I’m doing or saying just now, but I’ll be
fine. I’ve got my limits too, Daniel, y’know?”
I shut him down and out. I can’t bear that stricken look on his
face and there’s nothing I can do to give him comfort except get out of
his way for a while. I want him so badly it’s hurting, twisting
my gut like a knife.
talk to me tomorrow. Can’t help but be morbid at four am.”
I nod vaguely and turn away. “Try me tomorrow when I’m making
almost out the door before the soft murmur reaches me.
didn’t choose. The choice was made for me.”
know. I know. It hurts I can’t take it back for you.
You’ve no idea how much it hurts.
now you’re choosing for me too.”
crawling into my cot when the words come clear. Daniel made his
own choice in the gateroom, didn’t he? He pushed me away.
He said no. Emphatically. I go to him and do my best to let
him know it’s hard on me right now, but I’ll be able to live with his
choice. Try to be what he wants me to be. I’m trying to
live with his choice, not choose for him.
uses language precisely. He said I was choosing for him now, NOT
that he had made his choice. I was choosing for him, giving him
that out, telling him we would just be friends.
Oh, Christ. There’s a chance. There’s still a chance. He
DOESN’T remember. He wasn’t rejecting me AGAIN. He doesn’t
KNOW about the first time. Didn’t remember the balcony, what he
wanted from me. Then, I thought he loved me too. I thought
there was a chance. I thought we could get it back, make it right
IS a chance.
all went wrong when Daniel chose Sha’uri over me, when he stayed with
her instead of returning with me. It was so simple I didn’t see
it. It was right there in front of me the whole time. I’ve
never forgiven him for choosing her, and I’ve never trusted him not to
leave me again. Afraid. All this time. I’ve been
afraid to let him choose because I was afraid he wouldn’t choose
me. That’s what Shifu was telling me. I just wasn’t hearing
have to let Daniel choose now. I have to let go of my fear and
trust him. That’s all. I have to KNOW. Let him come
to me, come of his own free will. Either way ends me. If he
chooses to be with me, we go on. If he doesn’t -- I can’t live in
this fear any more. We have to make an end, and I have the hope
it’s a beginning.
I choke as I slam my hand down on the first key on the DHD. The
chevron on the gate glows. Can barely see it; can hardly make out
the symbols on the pedestal in front of me. I wipe my eyes with
an angry hand.
do to misdial. Might end up somewhere I was actually SUPPOSED to
loudmouthed, thick-headed - BASTARD!" Two, three, four,
five. Hit them in quick succession, then the sixth. Only
one left. Reaching for it.
don't make it. Hand, covering mine, pulling it away, pulling me
are you doing, Daniel?" Sam says to me, the concern on her face
deepening almost painfully as she takes in what she's seeing.
getting the hell out of here," I mumble, wiping my eyes again.
Trying to pull my hand free, get back to what I was doing. But
she won't let go. Won't let me - won't let me leave.
can't stay here. I have to go. There's just - it doesn't -
I - I can't -- "
think, can't talk, can't stay. Don't have any more options. No
more choices. On the edge. Can't get it back. He won't let
me try. Have to go - nowhere to go.
grabs me by the arms, is dragging me away from the DHD. Trying to
get me to look at her, to listen.
you CAN'T do this. You can't leave. None of us can leave
here. Not yet. It's too soon. You go through that gate and
say that like it's a bad thing." Letting go, going over the edge,
but not far. She catches me, stops me, strength, such strength in
the arms surrounding me, supporting me. Always knew she was
strong but had no idea, never suspected how much she cares about me.
right it would be a bad thing," she scolds me, her voice almost
shattering with the force of her emotion. "You're dying on me
over my dead body. You'll have to drag me through that gate right
along with you. You're bigger but we both know I can beat you up, so
let's just call it even and stay right here, okay?"
- what about -- " I snuffle into her hair. Can't even say
about him?" she snorts. "Beat him up too. He's tough,
but he's slowing down. The knees. I can take him. No
problem. Mop up the floor with him."
can feel myself starting to smile as she gives me a reassuring squeeze.
"Good thing Teal'c isn't here," I murmur.
doesn't scare me either," her voice is lighter, teasing me.
"Tactics. Come up on him from behind, hit him on the head, then
take him. Just got to use what you know and go for it."
more to what she just said. So much more. More to
everything. Much more than I know, remember. Too many
pieces missing from my picture. Gaps in my memory, understanding,
the emptiness, the void.
do I keep coming back to the edge? What's drawing me there?
Why do I feel I have to go there, and yet - am so unwilling to allow
myself see what's waiting for me there?
head is splitting again, reality fractured by images, voices, feelings,
fragments of memory surging up at me from the darkness, dancing about
in unconnected frenzy, making no sense and mocking me.
sitting on the ground. Not sure how we got there, but Sam is
beside me still, her arm around my shoulders as I sit cross-legged
clutching my head. Coming back, it's all coming back.
going on?" I'm scaring her again. "Daniel - are you okay?"
No. Not okay. Remembering. I'm remembering. Oh God he was -
I was - on the edge - nothing he could do but stand there and watch.
was going to jump.
remember everything now. What I said to him. What I did to
him. Might have been the withdrawal effect upping the tempo, but
the words were mine. Can't blame the music this time. I
composed that particular sad symphony. All me.
right back where I was when he found me. Standing on that ledge, all
but letting go. Same damned place. Nowhere to go, no escape
from what I've done. No choice. No choices left.
the two of them, they've made them all for me.
rest my chin on my knees and stare bleakly at the gate in front of
me. Maybe if I stare at it long enough it'll throw me a clue. Or
finally take pity on me and fall down on me and squash me flat.
owe the good woman beside me some sort of explanation. Owe her a
lot more than that, but I figure I'll start with the small stuff and
gradually work my way up the list.
- I won't insult you and say I'm fine." I answer her
quietly. "Some things were said and done - probably - no way to
make it right now."
she pats my shoulder gently. "Before you say any more, there's
something I want to tell you. Something maybe it's time you knew."
puzzled by the strange, confident tone of her voice and turn to
her. Earnest eyes affix me as she continues speaking.
colonel and I - the whole thing was a mistake, right from the
beginning. Not that it was even - anything - really. Except
a really, really bad idea. It wouldn't even have occurred to
either of us, probably, except for - "
breaks off, a shy, grimacing smile on her face. "How do I explain
this?" she mutters, frustrated.
shake my head, trying to - I don't want her to be uncomfortable.
She doesn't have to - it's - it's not necessary. Not like it
matters. Water under the bridge, now.
don't owe me any explanation, Sam," I try to reassure her.
I do!" she returns stubbornly. "Besides, I want to explain. You
have to know that we never meant to hurt you - either one of us.
It was just a stupid mistake we made because - because - well - because
those other Sams and Jacks were getting together we wondered if maybe
we were missing out on something!"
glares at me defiantly, as if daring me to say something. Not if
my life depended on it.
least that's the way it was for me," she continues, her voice a little
softer. “The colonel may have had - other - additional reasons.
Actually, I think that's pretty likely. Not for me to say,
though. But I have my suspicions."
peers at me again, trying to gauge my reaction. I've got nothing
to say. Whatever Jack gets up to is none of my business. He
was pretty clear on that, last I heard from him.
never thought of him that way before, but seeing the other me - kissing
him," she frowns and shakes her head. "I don't know what I was
thinking. Maybe it worked for them, but it never could have
worked for us. They might have looked like us, Daniel, but they
weren't - weren't us. Any more than we are them. They were
completely different people. Completely different. And the main
reason for that - they'd never met YOU. You make a
difference wherever you go. You certainly made a difference in
us. We forgot that. We forgot about you. We didn't
mean to, Daniel." Her eyes are getting wider, more distressed,
filling with penitent tears. "We - I - I never meant to hurt you."
okay, Sam," I soothe. Her distress is making me
uncomfortable. She's not at fault for any of this, but I don't
know how I'm going to make her understand she's needlessly feeling
guilty. What's gone wrong between Jack and I - she's utterly blameless.
didn't - this goes way back. Before we met you, even. Nothing to
do with you. The damage was done a long time ago. Just took
this long to finally - finally - "
can't say the words. Saying it will make it so. Even though
I know it is, if I don't say it, I don't have to face it.
listen to me!" Sam shakes me, trying to get me to look at
her. "You can't do this to yourself. Not again. You can't
just - give up!"
What are you talking about?”
sighs and lays her head on my shoulder. " You can't give up, Daniel.
You just can't. It would be wrong, and you know that. The same
way you always seem to KNOW. You do. You always know. I've never
met anyone like you. I'll admit, sometimes you drive me crazy, and I
don't handle it well, but whether I like it or not, there's no way I
can deny that you do.”
you have this GIFT," she says the word with quiet reverence, like she's
describing some kind of - blessing. "This - sense. You look
at things, see things - somehow you always know what's RIGHT. You
know what to do, you see what has to be done. And you get it done. I've
watched you, all this time. You don't care who you have to fight,
what you have to do. You've stood up to System Lords, generals,
alien tyrants, narrow-minded politicians - stood up to us, even - time
and time again. You've kept on going, kept on fighting, you don't
give up, don't back down, don't take no for an answer. You've
gone right out there and done the right thing when no one else believed
in you - and you've done it even when you've known you'd probably die
doing it. You'll fight to your last breath to do the right thing
by every single person in this universe. Every person - but one."
don't know what you're talking about," I say and turn away from her.
not having it. She grabs me by the shoulder and hauls me around
to face her once more. "Oh yes you do!" she asserts
stubbornly. Not letting me off the hook this time. "You
know damned well what I'm talking about. Only one person in your
book doesn't rate you giving your all for. YOU -
Daniel. You won't raise a finger to defend Daniel Jackson.
You'd lay down your life in an instant for a total stranger but you
just stand back and let Daniel - let him get hurt." Her kind,
blue eyes are overflowing with tears. "That's not right, Daniel,"
she pleads with me. "Don't let this happen to my friend.
He's worth fighting for. Do the right thing by him, please. Do
what you know you HAVE to do. FIGHT for him! Not for me,
not for that man out there, even. For you!"
stare at her stricken, tear-stained face astonished. Fight - for ME?
Always another way? The way I never considered? No one can take
except where I allow it. Abnegation is a form of surrender.
Refusing to choose - not the same as not choosing.
couldn't bring myself to choose between them. So I refused to choose at
all. Allowed myself to be claimed. Told myself I was happy
living with the consequences of my own refusal to stand up for myself.
can hardly blame Jack for following a precedent I'd already set. How
could I expect him to respect me when I didn't respect myself?
What right did I have to scream at him for keeping me powerless when he
stood there and watched me give it away without so much as a whimper to
whoever would grab it first?
he did was take over for Sha'uri. And I let him - the same way I
right. She's right. I do have another choice after
all. The choice I always had. I know what I have to
do. I've always known. It's just - this is the first time I
CHOOSE to see it, and to do it.
have I always known? What have I always turned away from?
What have I not let myself see? What do I choose to see now?
Always him. It wasn't just the gate I came to the mountain to find, it
was him. When I went through the gate with him the first time I
was on the right track. Letting him go, not seeing - not letting
myself see the truth - that's when I lost my way.
been stumbling around in the dark ever since. No
more. The truth blazes brightly inside me.
him. I love him. It's the truth. It's right. It's
right for me. I can't turn away from it, can't walk away from
it. Can't put it aside. Not even for her. I did it
once before and it was wrong. Can't keep on making the same
grab Sam, spin her around and plant a big kiss on her startled
mouth. "Thank you!" I tell her warmly. "You're - you're
right. I don't know how to thank you. I'm going - I
have to - I know - that is I mean --"
burbling. She looks up at me, her nose crinkling with a smile as she
makes a show of fanning her face. "Wow, is it hot in here?" she
teases me. "Careful or you'll make a girl sorry she opened her
big mouth." I KNOW she's definitely having me on me now as she
winks at me and broadly leers. "You wanna TALK some more, you
know where to find me."
YOU start with me," I grumble and drop her abruptly. She giggles and
rolls away as she hits the ground. I'm on my feet, dashing away
from her, don't stop to look back as I hear her, even though I carry
her support with me as I go.
luck, Daniel. Even though I know you won't need it."
not sleeping. Lying down but not sleeping. Somehow I'm not
burst into the room, stand breathless in the doorway as he turns to
look at me. I'm breathing hard with anxious courage, my body
trembling with recklessness. I'm - pumped.
taken me four long years to get to this place. To finally face a
moment I almost let slip away to become lost in the tumult of time and
painful memories. I gave my life away and have lived every
subsequent moment for everyone else but me. Have done every single
thing since for every reason except the one I should have.
it was what I needed to do. Me. Daniel Jackson.
lying there, looking at me, a puzzled expression on his face, as if
he's seeing me for the first time.
has no idea he's absolutely right. However, I'm about to throw
him more than a clue. It might be too late. I might have waited
too long, said too much. Let too much water under the bridge that I've
finally figured out I want and need to cross. Maybe I finally
crossed a line there's no taking back. I'll just have to
deal with it if it comes to that.
doesn't matter. I have to do it. However it turns out is
not the point. The point is - it's what I have to do. It's
what I want to do. For me.
realise I'm still standing there, staring at him. So does he. I'm so
worked up I'm vibrating - blinking furiously. Shit. Not now!
blinking past the moisture in my eyes I just make out he's getting
ready to say something.
up!" I snap at him. He cocks a startled eyebrow at me, but says
nothing. "You had your say already. It's my turn.
made a mistake a long time ago and I'm not going to keep on repeating
it. I'm taking my life back. You - " I say pointing a
finger at him, "don't get to tell me what I choose to do with it. What
I want, what I feel - who - who I love. Who I choose to be
with. Not up to you or anyone else what I feel. Just so you
not saying a word. Just staring at me, eyes getting darker, more
unreadable. I can't tell what he's making of what I'm telling
him, don't know if this is good news or bad. Well, if I'm in for
a penny, might as well be in for a pound. The worst he can do to
me is shoot me.
have said so a long time ago, but I didn't. I'm sorry, but I
didn't know. I don't get to take it back or do it over again, so
I'll do it now. Maybe it isn't better late than never but -- "
can't even see him now, can barely breathe with the emotions surging
through me. So much to gain, so much to lose. My life, my
fate all tied up in a few words. Words I should have said a long time
ago, now so significant that they're crushing me before I have a chance
to get them out.
love you," I gasp. "Not going to fight it - or you -
anymore. You - choose to - be - I want - be - be with you -
you - wanted - always - "
can't say any more. Can barely stand. Have to leave, have
to go - had the courage to tell him, but suddenly haven't the strength
to face his rejection.
much as I deserve, for everything I've put him through.
love you," Daniel gasps out. "Not going to fight it - or you - anymore.
You - choose to - be - I want - be - be with you - you -
wanted - always - "
words barely have a moment to impact before Daniel turns abruptly on
his heel and makes like a gazelle out the door. Given his
predominant emotion appears to be sheer terror, I don’t waste time on
words of my own. Old? Who’s old? He’s fast, but I’m
MOTIVATED. I catch him a fair distance down the hallway, spin him
towards me, stoop and straighten with him draped safely over my
shoulder. Then I turn on my heel and – kinda – well – okay.
I’m swaggering. Bite me.
sounds breathless and his voice is a little muffled.
– you can put me down. Any time. Really.”
shift my grip a little, making him squeak.
don’t think this is the approved Air Force lift, Jack.”
can’t say anything. I’ve had my turn.
sure your hand shouldn’t be – there.”
No. Gotta put my hand up to that one. Metaphorically.
And literally. In fact, I’ve got QUITE a handful right now.
Kind of a perfect fit. A suggestion of pertness that certainly
bears further investigation.
hard to sound dignified and authoritative from that angle but Daniel is
giving it his best shot.
Colonel. You asked for it and you’re gonna get it,” Daniel
He pinched me. The little shit actually pinched my butt.
smacked his. Hard.
kiss it better?”
grin breaks out. Your wish is most emphatically my command,
kick the door shut behind me and let him drop to his own two feet in
front of me. He’s blushing furiously. It’s definitely
easier to be bold and wanton when the two of you are cheek to cheek, as
it were. Now he just looks desperately uncertain.
like I feel.
tells me he chooses me and then he runs away again. One
sign. I just need one definitive sign from him that it’s okay –
that I can – that I’m welcome to put my hands on him. I want him
so, and I’m afraid to make another mistake. Afraid to drive him
away from me again.
stares back at me.
on, Daniel. Let me in. Please. I know you remember
the gateroom even if you don’t remember the – the other. Don’t
make ME – please.
his eyes widen with - shock? Recognition? Sorrow. “Oh
no, Jack, no. Oh God, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean – I didn’t.”
closes the vast distance between us in three steps and slowly lays his
head on my shoulder, sighing. And now, NOW I’ve got him, lock my
arms around his back and try to hug him inside my skin with me.
I’ve got a fight on my hands. Daniel’s desperate attempt to
reassure me he didn’t mean a word of it is putting my creaking ribcage
at serious risk. The effect is only slightly hampered by all the
you alright?” he murmurs tenderly into my shoulder. “Getting a
little damp, here.”
got something in my eye,” I say cautiously.
meant me!” He pulls back suddenly and stares at me in wide eyed
astonishment. “You definitely have something in your eye, Jack.”
Then he gives a judicious nod. “Tears.”
got no idea what to say, and have even less when Daniel reaches up a
tentative hand and wipes away the – er - suspect moisture. He has
this softness in his eyes I’m not used to. Whatever he’s seeing
on my face is - is pleasing him.
love you,” I blurt out. So suave is not currently my middle
name. Big deal. He doesn’t seem to mind.
smiles shyly at me. He has the sweetest smile in the world, and I see
it so rarely. “I love you too.”
I want to talk to you. About – I’ve got a lot on my mind.
Stuff you really need to know.”
face is falling. “I know, oh God, I know. I remember.
I’m so sorry,” his voice is an aching whisper, “What I put you through
– I don’t know where to begin. I thought you’d say no. I
was SURE. Too late.”
hush him with a finger across his lips. “You’ve got nothing to
answer for. Nothing! Do you hear me? This is about
me. Things I want you – need you to know. I learned a few
lessons from Shifu myself.”
jerks back from me, eyes widening.
have been proud of me. I haven’t sweated so much since we did
Chaucer in English Lit,” I say dryly. Then I sidle a little
closer and whisper in his ear, “And I was hoping we could adjourn the
conversation to the bed. I strongly suspect I’m going to need a
lot of reassurance to get through my tale of woe.”
reassurance?” Daniel clarifies.
both turn and look at the bed. Cot. Daniel looks profoundly
unenthusiastic. I can’t find it in my heart to blame him.
As highly motivated as I am, I can’t see any damn way we’ll fit on that
cot, not with the level of interactivity we’d both like to test out.
a sec,” inspiration has struck. I pounce on my radio.
“Carter. Carter, come in!”
Carter sounds a little startled. “Is everything all right?”
I say flatly. “Sitting on the floor last night keeping watch over
sleeping beauty here has done my – er – my -- ” my mind’s gone blank.
no good whatsoever.” I can hear a snort through my radio.
Sir. Do you want me to ask for some ice packs?”
I want you to ask for a big comfy bed so Daniel and I can have
sex. Talk. I mean talk.
rolls his eyes. Oh! Sorry. Brain isn’t functioning
too good. Blood supply is busy elsewhere. Closer to floor
level, you catch my drift.
- and I think I’ve fused a couple of vertebra from carrying Daniel
around. He’s no featherweight, you know.”
I mention how resilient Daniel is? A few minutes ago he was
weeping on my shoulder, now he’s glaring at me.
a fair amount of static at Carter’s end.
You still there?” I demand.
she sounds a little shaky. “I – I know where I can lay my hands
on an air bed, if that would help. It would certainly be more –
more comfortable than a – a cot. Easier on your - back.”
be too careful with lumbar support,” I agree firmly. “And God knows,
Daniel can generate enough hot air for -- ” I realise this isn’t
the most tactful thing to say to the love of your life as you try to
lure him into your bed for the first time.
isn’t glaring. He’s staring. At my mouth. Licking his
get right on it, Sir.”
too,” I say vaguely and throw the radio in the general direction of the
cots. I make a last ditch effort to do the decent thing and talk
FIRST. “We need to talk.”
need to kiss,” Daniel contradicts.
I insist. I can’t tear my eyes from his lips either.
Daniel drops his head, blushing, then looks up shyly through his
lashes. “I haven’t been able to get that kiss out of my
mind.” Daniel steps a little closer and slips a tentative hand
behind my head. Then he removes his hand, shoots me an
embarrassed look and pulls off his glasses, tossing them at the nearest
cot. When his hand slips back behind my head, he’s apparently slightly
more confident I’ll find him desirable.
melts my bones. I wrap my arms around his waist and pull him to
me so he can feel for himself just how desirable I find him. “I
feel ridiculous saying this to you, Daniel. I mean, our usual MO
is awkward silences and not looking at each other when we have to be
sincere about what we’re feeling. So forgive me if it doesn’t
come out right. You’re drop dead gorgeous. This does
present a SLIGHT problem. The glasses don’t help; on or off, I
find you irresistible. You – breathing – is enough for me.” I’m
very conscious of my actions in the gateroom. “I’d say lots and
lots of unbelievably hot sex would help, but being completely
honest here, it won’t. It will make me very happy – so damn happy
I’ll just want lots MORE unbelievably hot sex. I just want you
knowing that, going down. IN! Going in!” I correct
desperately, giving him an embarrassed look. “Sorry. Mind
in the gutter, here.”
talk too much,” Daniel tells me tenderly, and somewhat unfairly, given
his track record.
don’t know how YOU have the nerve to call ME on – “ I grumble, at which
point Daniel pounces, kissing me ferociously. Pounces so hard I
stagger back and hit my head off the door, which makes me yelp.
Daniel takes instant advantage of my parted lips, pushing his tongue
vigorously down my throat, and staying put through sheer dogged
persistence, desperate suction and clashing teeth.
I’ve got one hand clamped to his butt while the other has the back of
his head in a death-grip in case he has any stupid ideas, like
breathing. The rest of my body is relentlessly trying to climb
inside his skin through a kind of ecstatic sexual osmosis. I’m
groaning, gasping and moaning, shuddering and clinging desperately as
black spots flash in my eyes. We HAVE to stop for air, tearing
our mouths apart a couple of inches and wheezing pathetically at one
another. Daniel’s eyes are enormous. Stunned. I
have never embarrassed myself so thoroughly in front of another human
being in my entire life.
having the time of my life.
– l - love you,” Daniel gasps, caressing his forehead against
- ?” His lungs are younger than mine. That’s all I can
manage by way of verbal communication.
- bed?” As in, we don’t got one.
You certain you want to make love with me? We can wait until you
are certain you are ready for physical intimacy. My hard-on
aside, there’s no rush. I do happen to be crazy in love with you.
stagger over towards the cots like drunken sailors, kissing all the
way, steer in between them, stoop, reach behind, yank, drop sleeping
bag on floor. And again with the other one. Bed.
Daniel shoves my jacket off. Pillow. Hands fumble at
T-shirts, pulling free, pulling up, we pull apart, breathing
hard. T-shirts smoothly over heads, lips meeting, tongues
stroking. More fumbling. Belts, zips, pants.
Down. Have to pull apart again. Frigging laces.
down, Daniel.” My God, kid, you need to get out more.
you’ll be at my side, not leaving me behind. Staying with me,” he
as you’ll have me,” I pull him to me and we kneel side by side on our
makeshift bed and do some creative zipping. I look at Daniel’s
eager, nervous face and he smiles sweetly at me, catching at my
heart. “You deserve better than this for our first time. A
couple of Air Force sleeping bags and a cold, hard floor.”
the only thing harder than that floor is me, and I have to tell you, if
you don’t hurry up, I’m starting without you. You want to get
romantic, I swear, when we get back, you can drag me off to the
honeymoon suite of the tackiest motel you can find – “
rooms?” I interrupt.
senses he may have bitten off more than he can chew. He nods,
eyeing me cautiously.
Big Easy Motel, Bar & Grill! Vegas, here we COME!” I whoop,
tumbling him down beside me.
God,” Daniel whimpers, reading my evil intent. “They’ve got an
Egyptian room, right?”
tomb with a view.” I give him a hurt look. “There’s no
reason to suspect the hieroglyphs are anything other than tasteful and
historically accurate, though I admit the sarcophagus may leave
something to be desired.” Daniel looks terrified. “It
vibrates,” I say kindly, before nibbling a very tempting ear.
whimpers again, with pleasure this time, and takes the opportunity to
bite my shoulder. “I knew you were teasing!”
find a sweet spot just behind Daniel’s ear that makes him writhe when I
probe it with my tongue, and I’m very glad he can’t see my face.
No point upsetting him until we get there, and if he prefers, we can
check out the Aphrodite suite. I have no objections to seeing
Daniel rising naked from the foam. The vast shell bed is lifted
straight from the painting, though Danny is a little on the slender
side for Botticelli. He may not forgive me until the day we die,
but he offered. It’s his own fault. Daniel did say the
tackiest. This place is so tacky it’s magnificent. In fact,
it’s so magnificent he may not get over the shock until – “Hand.”
Forces trained, here! The day an archaeologist beats me in the
field is the day I retire. We’ve both had time to assimilate the
unforgiving nature of the terrain, now Daniel is checking out my
topography, hoping to avoid his sure and certain fate. All’s fair
in love on cold floors.
over it, Daniel. Your butt is younger than mine.”
has more - padding,” Daniel says sweetly, pinching said padding damned
hard, making me yelp again. His face is so endearingly naughty as
he steals a breathtaking kiss, he’s almost impossible to resist.
Almost. The floor is DAMNABLY hard and he’s the one keeping his
pert little derriere on it.
knees are shot. My shoulder hurts. My back hurts. I
think I concussed myself on the door when you threw yourself at
me. And you bit my tongue.”
was an accident and anyway I kissed it better. Why don’t you just
spit it out, Jack? I’m a lot more comfortable to lie on than the
Warmer. Silkier,” I growl. “Trembling. Perfect.
So damn – HOT - oh, God, DANNY!” I’m on him like a force of
nature, kissing him madly, tracing the soft muscles ridging his abdomen
with awed, shaking fingers. Up to his chest, grazing a nipple. He
gasps and arches into my touch, his own hands roaming all over my back,
kneading my butt as he kisses my neck, shoulder, jaw, eyes.
Hand slipped,” I tease, uncurling my fingers from his eager
erection. Danny’s fingers clamp urgently over mine, his wide,
strained eyes pleading. I hold the hard, heated length of him in
my hand and stroke him confidently, my touch firm and sure. As
Daniel’s long, elegant fingers close gently around my shaft and
anxiously search out a rhythm that does for me what his groaning into
my mouth tells me I’m doing for him, I realise even this intimacy
between men is new to him.
does it for me. He doesn’t need to do a goddamn thing but be
here, wanting me, writhing desperately against me. Loving me so much
even I believe he means it.
roll onto my back, lifting him over me, my appreciative hands clamped
to his buttocks, urging him closer to me. Laughing at his
he murmurs against my lips.
I whisper back, parting my thighs and wrapping my legs around
his. So I’m a pushover. So sue me. Four years he’s
been celibate, and maybe with his track record, it’s about damn time he
got some choices in if and when and how he makes love. “Danny,
kinda got the engine running, catch my drift? You wanna put it in
do you – I mean – um - ” Daniel falters.
trust me, whatever you do is fine. Just remember you’re dealing
with a man who so far has proved conclusively that your being fully
conscious is more or less optional in sex. Do with me as you
will.” A thought occurs. “I did check for a pulse FIRST.
Honestly. In case you were wondering,” I add anxiously. “I
don’t want you thinking I’m DESPERATE or anything. I mean, you
dissolves into helpless laughter, collapsing against my chest, shaking
like a leaf, not coming up for quite some time. I hug him close
and thoroughly enjoy the gusts of warm breath snorting into my
neck. When he does emerge, his whole face is alight with laughter
– and love – and a few tears. “S – so romantic!”
always be conscious,” I promise him with simple pride. I wriggle
my hips suggestively against him, remind him he’s got unfinished
business to attend to here. “By the end, anyway.” I pause, mull
it over. Honesty is always the best policy. “Or, maybe
not. I am forty five, you know. But definitely in the
Shut the hell up and kiss me.”
little chokes of laughter are cute too, and Danny might be many things
right now, but nervous is no longer one of them, as he rocks his hips
carefully against mine.
I say smugly, then joyously suck Daniel’s tongue out of his mouth and
into mine as he explores the pleasures of friction between like-minded
lovers. Careful rocks into confident, once he’s sure he won’t
break me and yeah, all the embarrassing groaning means I don’t actively
hate it. Then we rock it up a notch from confident to excited –
both of us - and from there to OH MOMMA! My sweet little Dannyboy
does the wild thing like you wouldn’t believe, pounding my willing,
welcoming, horny old bones into the floor. I’m getting bruises on
my bruises and loving every frenzied second, howling encouragement
every time he lets me up for air and making him laugh every single
time. Wild gives way to ecstatic, pleasure spiking through me
more intensely with every thrust until I can hardly bear it.
screams my name and convulses against me, his back arching, driving him
against me one more time; I lift, spin, fall for him, HARD, howling
“DANNY!” as the top of my head comes off. We collapse in a sweaty
tangle of arms and legs, heaving chests, and salt-tasting kisses,
pleasure shocks still ghosting through us.
you. Love you, Jack. Love you.”
chuckles into my chest. “That’s not news either. Do you
love me though?”
Owning my heart and making free with my body doesn’t give you licence
to mess with my mind. Don’t get cocky.”
right,” Daniel apologises in a small voice. “I should show more
respect, even when it’s just the three of us, all alone.”
He’s worn me out so, I can’t keep my eyes open. If I wasn’t so
blissed out I wouldn’t have been dumb enough to stick my head in the
Daniel kisses my chest. “You.” He kisses the hollow at the
base of my throat. “Your ego.” He kisses my lips, laughing
over just how good I’ve made him feel, I still have to retaliate.
I got some pride. I roll him beneath me, ruthlessly ignoring his
protests, kiss him soundly, tell him I love him very dearly. And
then I heartlessly fall asleep on him. Literally on him.
weighs a ton. I feel as if I'm being flattened right into the
floor, My back is pulverised, I've long since lost all feeling in my
ass, but right at this moment I've never felt more at peace with myself
or life in general. Never felt happier. Ever.
hits me heavier than the man snoring on top of me how I've never, ever
been this happy. Not even when I thought I was as happy as I
could ever be. Not even with --
and I only ever had one serious fight the whole time we were
together. It started strangely, came out of nowhere, bewildered
me and left a bad taste in my mouth long after we left it without ever
having resolved it.
me ever figuring out what it was all about in the first place.
Until this very minute, that is.
happened in the cartouche room. I'd been spending more and more
time there, pouring over the symbols, wondering. Nothing any more
focussed than that. Although the thought of uncovering the gate -
trying some of the addresses out - was - was there, every once and a
while. Not that I would have. Not that I needed to.
Just thinking about it. Nothing more.
hadn't been spending as much time with me in the room as she used
to. Was growing less indulgent of my fascination with it.
She wanted me to leave it, although she never came out and said as
much. She didn't have to. I knew.
why I was so surprised to see her that day, even more surprised by the
way she - let me know why she'd come. What she wanted. Wonder if
I should tell Jack that this isn't exactly the first time I've made out
on a cold, hard stone floor. And boy, did we ever boogie. What we did
was pretty - unconventional - for us, anyway. Oh yeah. It
was something. And yet - it wasn't.
that it wasn't good. It was good. Like always, yet had a funny,
desperate undertone to it. Just something strangely wild and yet
incomplete. Got even stranger right after we finished.
of immediately curling up beside me as she always did Sha'uri sat up,
turned and looked at me like I'd just done something wrong. I'd
let her down somehow. That was when she said it. A few cryptic
and yet disturbing phrases I never understood. That is, until now.
do you never look at ME when we make love, Danyiel?" she said to
me with deep sorrow in her eyes. "Why are you never with me, even
when you are here? When you look at me, who are you really seeing?"
- I shouted at her. Ashamed to recall it now. I remember
being very angry. Feeling as if what she'd just said - wasn't
fair. What was she talking about, not being with her, not looking at
her, I was at her side practically thirty six hours a day, did
everything she wanted, didn't question, restrict, demand - what more
could I do, what more could she want? She had me - I was
there. She had everything I had to give.
the one thing she really wanted. I didn't understand that,
then. Not then, not the next day or any of the days after that
one. Didn't get what she was saying, what she was asking of
me. Didn't understand why she tried to hide the fact she was
crying when I came home the next day from starting to uncover the gate.
get it now. I loved Sha'uri. But not the way I love the man
currently making a pancake out of me. With my full and fervent
blessings. Worlds of difference between the two. A difference
that makes - all the difference.
the time I was with her I really wanted him and never knew it.
But she did. God, she did. Especially after I let her slip
through my fingers and be taken away again when I had the time and the
chance to save her.
all this time I've been with him, I've tried to be in love with her the
way I should have been. The way - the way she wanted me to be.
Not letting myself see or have the one I wanted all along. Because it
would have been - wrong. Wrong for me to have what I wanted, when
I couldn't give her what she wanted.
deserved far better than anything I was ever capable of being for
her. Yet I know she forgave me for everything, at the very end.
She trusted me with her child.
it's time I finally forgave myself as well.
Jack mumbles sleepily into my ear. "Figured it out, did
you? Took you long enough. And they say I'm the dense one."
could swear I didn't say that out loud. Positive I didn't.
Like that makes the slightest bit of difference.
thought you were sleeping," I tell him fondly as I kiss the side of his
can sleep with all this thinking going on?" Jack grumbles, sighs
and pushes me further into the floor.
Ow! Hip! Hurt! Floor! OW! MOVE!"
gotta yell!" Jack grins as he shifts his weight off me. Oh lord,
feels good to be able to breathe again. And yet, for all it
wasn't exactly the most ideal position to be in, I feel suddenly,
strangely bereft with the loss of that comfortably compacted feeling.
Jack knows this. He doesn't say anything as he draws me into a
tight embrace. I'm equally tacit as I become gradually
reacquainted with my ass.
about that," Jack finally says as he reaches around and gently massages
my butt. "We should probably get up."
I sigh regretfully. It just feels so good. Feeling
him. Feeling him feeling me. I don't want to go. Not
- not yet. It's too soon to leave this place. I know he's
feeling the same way.
you forgive me?" I hear myself saying.
hand freezes. He pulls back until he can see my face. His
dark eyes scan my features, searching, assessing.
kind of a question is that?" he says finally, in a slightly
apprehensive voice. "Forgive you for what? There's nothing
said those very same words to her once. Nothing to forgive. Only
pain unwittingly inflicted without malice. Only suffering caused
by an unwillingness to look at the truth.
one truly meant any harm, though so much came all the same. For
all our good intentions.
had a dream once where I told you the only reason I joined SG-1 was to
find my wife. When that was no longer possible - when she was
gone - I had no reason to be on the team. So I was leaving."
he echoes softly, the pain he feels from even the suggestion I would do
so plain in his expression.
I had another dream," I continue doggedly forward, determined to
finish. So he will understand. "It showed me that was a
lie. Everything I believed about myself - every step I'd taken
since we - parted - all of it was a lie. Even what I told Shifu, the
reason I'd convinced myself I was doing everything I was doing.
Walking my path to honour Sha'uri's strength. Not true. I
was trying to atone for having failed - failed both of you.
should have seen it sooner, when I didn't choose again, on Abydos, when
I could have saved her - brought her back to Earth in time - but I
didn't. And I STILL didn't see it. Until trying to continue
to live that lie and trying to carry the consequences of another's fate
took me out onto that ledge."
staring at me, stunned. I don't even think he's breathing.
wasn't the lie that took me to that edge," I tell him softly. "It
was the truth. I couldn't live the lie one more instant. Just
couldn't do it anymore. Couldn't take another step that wasn't at your
side. I - I finally chose. Knew what I wanted. What I had
to do. Who I really wanted to be with. Had always wanted to be
with. But it was too late. I'd waited too long. The
choice was no longer mine to make. Option expired, no chance for
renewal. I was convinced I'd lost you at the same moment I finally
figured out I couldn't live without you. So I didn't want
to. You came just in time. A few moments more -- "
can't finish. It scares me to realise what almost happened. Not
as much as it scares him, though. He shudders and crushes me to
him. Doesn't make a sound as he clutches me fiercely and I hold
on to him with equally terrified desperation.
- but didn't. Didn't. We're both alive, both here.
Both exactly where we want to be. No misunderstandings, no
confusion. No obstacles, impediments, complications. The path
before us is free and clear.
radio on the cot several feet behind us crackles and pops.
Sam's voice issues out of the instrument.
too far away." I say to Jack. "I can't reach it."
either," Jack nods and just looks at me.
that means one of us is going to have to get up."
the one she wants to talk to."
Sam says again. "Uh, are you guys – um – awake?"
could swear I just heard her giggle.
my ass. I'm going to be killing me one know-it-all major as soon as my
colonel takes his hands off me long enough to let me get my hands on
Jack groans and finally gets up I'm suddenly thinking about
noise. As in specific kinds of noises. Quantity,
volume. Wondering about how far sound travels in this
place. Having a sinking feeling that as soon as we see Sam's face
both Jack and I are both going to wish we were dead.
shaken my kids off in the light room to give me room to do the colonel
thing; I’ve just finished my Sit Rep for Hammond and now it’s Janet’s
is doing better, Doctor.”
physiological symptoms I need to be aware of, Sir?”
is stabilising. The fever spiked and broke, he got a little
sleep. His mood is settling too. I could put it down to the
narcotic, but we have managed to talk about a few things – he’s
starting to remember – and I think he’s beginning to put recent events
in perspective. I’m far less concerned,” Janet graciously allows
me the world class understatement, “than I was. Carter is
completely normal, no after effects whatsoever from the short
withdrawal we experienced on the beach.”
how are you, Sir?”
said. Daniel and Carter are fine.”
Sir,” Janet insists.
little tired,” I admit.
can see you, Sir,” Janet reminds me.
exhausted,” I sigh. “Mentally, physically, emotionally.
Take your pick.”
want both you and Daniel to rest as much as possible, Sir. That’s
an order, by the way.”
I say a WORD?”
can see you.”
had the most prolonged exposure to the narcotic and to the
withdrawal. You’ve experienced milder withdrawal symptoms, but
you’ve also sustained several severe emotional shocks, beginning with
Barber’s suicide. Take a load off, Colonel.”
Can we get some privacy?” I’ve got something weighing on my mind.
got it now, Sir. Medical privilege.” Janet chuckles malevolently.
need to apologise for my unconscionable behaviour toward you in the
Infirmary. I know you were doing everything you could to help
Daniel and I’m truly sorry I said otherwise. Not gonna take the
easy way out and blame the addiction, either. For what it’s
worth, I’m - I am sorry,” I say quietly.
you, Colonel. That means a lot. I – I was hurting
too. We came SO close,” Janet sighs.
about Daniel, Sir. Do you have those stats I wanted?”
been monitoring his vitals,” I suddenly hear ‘static’ behind me and
turn just in time to catch my second in command, Major Samantha Carter,
USAF, PhD, giggling and ostentatiously checking the pulse of my mission
specialist, Doctor Daniel Jackson, PhD, PhD. Also giggling and
looking distinctly naughty.
to check for a pulse FIRST, Daniel!”
beg your pardon?” I intone with freezing disapproval.
two of them dissolve into helpless laughter. I hope to God I’m
not blushing when I turn back to Janet. I can’t believe I was
dumb enough to leave the goddamn channel open on the radio.
Rookie mistake. She must have heard EVERYTHING. No.
No. She wouldn’t. Not Carter. No way.
don’t you two children just run along and play in the nice light room?”
I suggest sternly.
– ‘Kay. W – w - we b – b - better put it in gear, Jack,” Daniel
stammers, holding onto Carter for dear life.
left the engine running!” Carter gasps and they make a run for it.
turn slowly back to Janet. “I forgot to mention one side
effect. They’re acting like five year olds.”
do you have a temperature? You look a little flushed.”
wind it down rapidly and beat a strategic withdrawal. Carter
heard a lot, and what she didn’t – crap – she did. She heard
everything. You can hear a pin drop in the deathly hush here and
with all that enthusiasm – gasping, moaning, howling, screaming of
specific names – she could hardly fail to miss it. What the hell
could she do? Bang on the door and ask the colonel to kindly have
his ecstatic illicit sex without the sound effects?
Mary and Joseph.
heard EVERYTHING and now I have to walk right through the light
room. Past her. Past him. I can’t even pull the colonel
thing, under the circumstances. I’m actually quite touched to see
a little of ‘Sam’ and to know that my loving Daniel is absolutely fine
with her, but still, I got a reputation to maintain. The only
thing I can do is whip up the trauma, make them feel like crap.
They think they can take Jack O’Neill? They don’t have
kids. They know NOTHING.
trudge into the light room to find two very wilful, still giggling
children, two pairs of big blue eyes daring me to make something of it.
stop in front of them. Start to speak. Stop. Hang my
head a little. Make it obvious I can’t make eye contact.
The giggling stops. Defiance shades into apprehension. I
lift my weary head and give them a long, hurt look. And they fall
for it hook, line and sinker. I’ve never pulled the weary old man
act on them before. Big blue eyes fill with guilt and dismay as I
turn and walk slowly away, ignoring a tentative “Sir?” and a hesitant
“Jack?” Bless them.
won’t take Daniel long to work out how he can make it up to me, but
Carter is going to have to get creative. Can’t hardly wait.
I get into our room, I realise where all the naughtiness came
from. The two little ones have been revisiting the scene of the
crime. Exit two single cots, enter one king sized air bed,
conveniently situated next to the wall, pillows provided, and sleeping
bag cover temptingly turned down, ready for action. Bless
Carter’s wicked little heart.
has forgiven me. The pillows are from the Infirmary. I’m
guessing my abject emotional state got me the sympathy vote.
Crap. No wonder she picked me up on it. I must be starting
to look as bad as I feel when I don’t watch myself. Daniel will
fret if I’m not careful. Both the kids will fret. Daniel
only remembers some of it, it’s not fair on him for me to be
pathologically over-protective. I can be it, just can’t act
it. And I gotta watch myself from shading too far in the opposite
direction. Even Daniel couldn’t take me perky.
the hell with it. They made this bed, I’m gonna lie in it.
I was ordered to take it easy. I can’t take it any easier than
being naked and horizontal. I shuck my uniform and dive in.
No point being gentle. It’s going to be seeing a lot of
action. Daniel has four years of celibacy to make up for and I’m
a randy bastard.
let me rest my eyes for a minute.
not awake? I see. Well, I might be able to see if you’d
come out from under there.”
I’m nice and cosy in here unless you’re willing to make a better
offer. I snuggle deeper while Daniel formulates his strategy.
can get naked.”
I lift a tempting corner of the cover.
I am not a child. I’m not sitting in your lap.”
yank the cover pointedly back down into my cocoon. He managed
just fine on the floor earlier.
for cryin’ out loud!” Daniel snaps. I hear a lot of encouraging
activity, including an Abydonian curse apparently wished – cursed? - on
all combat boots. “If you tell a living soul!” Daniel
threatens. Then gasps with horror.
Don’t mess with the best, my love.
emerge from under the cover, unfortunately bearing no resemblance
whatsoever to Aphrodite rising from the foam, dispose myself
comfortably among the pillows, and smugly await the delivery of my
naked archaeologist for some quality lap time. Daniel is in fact
already naked, eyeing me with fond dislike. Guess the honeymoon
got the home field advantage and I press it. Time for Daniel to
learn the true depths of the horrific ordeal to which I was
subjected. Don’t want him thinking I take him for granted.
you worship those worthy of worship, who've transcended complications,
lamentation, and grief, who are unendangered, fearless, unbound:
there's no measure for reckoning your merit.”
freezes a step too close to me to be safe, and I pull him down onto my
lap before he can utter a protest. He protests quite a lot once
he’s actually on my lap, but given his head snuggles straight onto my
shoulder and he starts playing with my hair, I don’t take it too
don’t know what that means,” he murmurs, before nibbling my
ear. He gets me all excited, then breathes huskily, “Go
on. Admit it. You made that up.”
didn’t,” I say smugly. “And I DO.”
do? You do what?” I don’t think Danny got enough to eat.
He’s taking bites outta my jaw.
what it means. I worked it out.”
guy,” Daniel whispers in my ear. “I’m completely impressed you
remembered it all.”
teasing. I know he is. I – I know. Just catches me a
little on the raw.
than me, Jack. If you weren’t, I’d still be fully dressed and
making WICK jokes from way over there.”
stiffen. In more ways than one.
chuckles. “Right in front of George. I don’t know how you
dared! I do know only you could have gotten away with it.
You’re a handful,” he sighs, kissing me sweetly.
allow myself to be soothed.
want to explain that cryptic remark?”
could explain, but then you’d only understand my explanation, not what
I said,” I say crisply.
guess so,” Daniel gives me a surprised, admiring look. And a
somewhat more passionate kiss.
cave. “Okay. You’ve won me over with your awesome powers of
persuasion. That cryptic thing? That’s you,” I admit. “According
to Shifu!” I add hastily, just in case he thinks I’m getting all
sensitive on him, grinning as he blushes furiously, sweet lips parting
in surprise. Not in invitation, but I sneak in anyway, making him laugh.
just that we like you, me and Shifu both.” I give him a tragic
look. “Do you have any idea what I’ve been through for you,
Danny? I’ve suffered. Big time. Zen style. The little
bugger outsmarted me. Had to sweat. Had to WORK for
you. Had to think things through.” I lean my forehead
against his, and confess a terrible secret. “I - I got in
touch with my FEELINGS, Danny.” I hang my head and own up to the
worst, the very worst of all. “It was terrible. I went down
fighting, I really did. You have to believe me. But in the
end – I - I had to TALK about them!”
tries heroically to stem the tide, but the little chokes of laughter
get away from him. He laughs and laughs until the tears
come. Not many, but he looks and feels a lot better for both.
stroke his hair back from his brow and soothe us both by slipping my
fingers into the silky strands.
taken me a long time to realise this and it’s been – difficult – to
face, Daniel. Some of what you told me changes things, but I
still want you to know the truth. I never knew myself until Shifu
made me take a good, hard look. I’ve been afraid of losing you
from almost the moment we met.” Daniel shifts convulsively in my
arms, and I quieten him with a finger across his lips. “No,
Daniel, please. Let ME speak. I’ve never forgiven you for
staying on Abydos, for choosing her over me. I made sure I never
gave you a chance to not chose me again. I had to call the shots
for both of us, on my terms. When you started to pull ahead of
me, I pushed you away before you could leave me behind again.”
told me the wounds that did not heal were me, that I returned to the
same crap, the same craving over and over again. I couldn’t let
it be, I couldn’t let it go, I couldn’t move on. I’ve learned my
lesson. I let it go. I forgave you, and I forgave Sha’uri for
taking you from me. Me not trusting you, being scared and taking
it out on you without ever telling you why? Let myself off the
hook about that too. As for the future - it’s all about trust. Me
respecting you enough to allow you to make up your own
mind. Okay, I was hoping you'd choose me, but I had to let
go of that and let you - do the coming.” I don’t think that came
out quite right. “I even got the stuff about being selfless, but
hell, Shifu is only two going on sixty four. He never factored in
your partially naked body sprawled all over the place. I fell off
didn’t choose. I was chosen. All this time, God – I –“
Daniel’s voice is choked.
makes me feel a lot better. I put my faith in you and you came
through for me. You chose ME, Daniel. You’ll never know how
much that means to me.” I kiss his brow gently. “And you have to
let go too.”
the battle,” Daniel whispers, an odd glow in his eyes.
not as catchy as the let go thing, but yeah, essentially. Are we
– are you okay with this? Really hoping this was a one shot deal,
here. Y’know? Back to inarticulate, awkward silences.
More my speed. Getting in touch with your feelings wears you
out. We can talk some more if you like,” I offer heroically, “Or
we could go for some physical therapy.”
looks as if he doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “Of a – of a
brighten right up. The worst is over and he’s still on my lap,
talking about sex. “I’m thinking primal scream. Catharsis.”
please.” I give him my best sultry look. “You like
words. I can give you lots and lots of words. Good words.”
you coming on to me, Jack O’Neill?”
Is it working?”
Daniel has apparently agreed to table any serious response until we’re
both up to more discussion. Or possibly until he thinks I’m up to
more discussion. I’m probably kidding myself here, but I’d also
like to think the sight of my naked body does enough for him to have
played some small part in that decision.
have no idea how well this will be received, but Daniel is a linguist
and he may just be impressed by MY only claim to linguistic fame.
I take a deep breath. “Just a snippet. Just to get you
Daniel murmurs suggestively, licking a warm trail over my cheekbone.
take another deep breath. “And here's a new trick, Mr Knox --
Socks on chicks and chicks on fox. Fox on clocks on bricks and
blocks. Bricks and blocks on Knox on blocks.”
kneels astride me, wraps his arms around my neck and kisses me
to say this, Mr, Knox, please -- Through three cheese trees three free
fleas flew. While these fleas flew, freezy breeze blew.
Freezy breeze made these three trees freeze. Freezy trees made
these trees' cheese freeze. That's what made these three free fleas
starts to let out those delicious chokes of laughter again.
never cease to amaze me with all YOUR talents, Jack O’Neill.” Daniel
nod at the gentle question. I read them to him so often I
you’ve got me. Got me cold. I can’t do that,” Daniel
then -- bring your mouth this way. I'll find it something it can
linguist leans in for his kiss and tells me he loves me without having
to say a single word.
feels so good to be alive.
simple truth I hardly understood until now. It's funny how a lot of
things are suddenly coming clear. All I had to do was let it go
and let it happen.
elbows me sharply in the side. I catch Jack's exasperated eye as I turn
and swiftly punch her in the arm. He's thoroughly disgusted with
the pair of us. Says he prefers the more 'mature' company of
Loren 'cause we're acting like five year olds'.
what of it? So what if we are? We're having FUN! I don't think
either one of us got to do this stuff when we were kids and it was okay
to act like we were five. Or ten. Or just like every other kid
who wasn't some kind of freaking genius. Too busy 'living up to our
potential' to cut loose and have fun.
and I have both come from a past stripped of innocence by loss and the
'otherness' of our very being. We know what it feels like to grow up
way too soon. To have to be something we're not ready for way before it
should have been required of us. This is something Jack can't
relate to - our sudden, mutual need to let all the barriers fall
away and just - cut loose.
it's more than that. Not simply the two of us trying to pack too
many lost years into a few carefree weeks. This is about Sam and
me doing our own version of making up for lost time between us. We've
got a few things to work out. We've found our own unique avenue
of expression. Jack's just going to have to deal with it. And
take being assigned the role of 'designated parent' with his usual
quiet aplomb and generous grace. What does he expect? He's
been calling us 'kids' for the past four years. We're finally
living up to the billing.
you, he's awfully cute when he's sulking.
rolls her eyes in a derisive response to the blow. "Pfffft!" she
snorts. "That all ya got, dirtboy? I hardly even felt that!"
Felt that! God, can she PUNCH! From the way he winced, even
Jack felt that one. Loren is so shocked he's stopped
chewing. Sitting beside Jack, his eyes wide with puzzled
apprehension at the spectacle of two grown-ups wailing on each other
with ferocious gusto.
that out!" Jack growls. "Settle down and eat your
lunch. You keep this up I'm gonna have to separate you."
started it!" I tell him indignantly as I give Sam a healthy
shove. Not quite tumbling her off her stool, but damned close.
You rotten LIAR!" she sputters, flinging aside her lunch before
flinging herself at me. "Get ready to kiss the floor!"
it on! You don't scare me!" I yell as she pushes me over
not true, she scares me lots. I'm glad she actually likes me, or
I'd be in serious danger of getting severely thumped. However, I
have an ace in the hole. I can run for my life like nobody's
business. Years of practice, especially the last four. If I
can get to my feet she won't see me for dust.
is, she damned well knows it too. I let her get that arm-lock on
me she's going for, I'm not going to be going anywhere.
Shit! She's strong! If I don't do something soon there's
definitely some floor kissing looming in my immediate future. Ah
well, desperate times call for desperate measures. She has this
vulnerable spot - if I can just reach -
on, Danny!" Jack urges as he gets to his feet and moves toward
us. To referee or gloat, not sure which. He's grinning though,
getting into it.
let a GIRL beat you up?" he jeers.
be the first time, Jack!" I gasp. "What, you want me to hit
no LADY!" Sam crows. "I'm a MAJOR!"
don't you bite her?" Jack shrugs, trying to be helpful.
Now there's a thought. No. She'd just bite me back.
That would hurt. However, I don't have to. I've reached my
objective. Left side. Right there. Give it a good poke --
she cries out, laughing and reflexively cringing away from my prodding
finger. Letting go, shifting her weight just enough for me to --
her on her ass, scramble to my feet and take off like a mad bunny on
speed. Which I proceed to do with all alacrity and despatch. Not
to mention a certain element of desperation. No way she's got a prayer
of catching me. Nobody can run for the hills like me. I take the
gold every time in the hundred yard mad dash for safety in the survival
Olympics. I'm good at fleeing. Still alive, aren't I? Right
now I'm going for breaking a few personal best speed records.
dead, Jackson!" she calls out from behind me. Way behind me.
to catch me first!" I look over my shoulder and holler back at
her. Which is why I don't see Teal'c until I've run right into
immovable objects go, Teal'c is a fairly impressive one. Who am I
kidding, he'd make a great wall. I don't even shift him as I hit him
still seeing stars by the time Sam, Loren and Jack catch up to us.
Teal'c," Jack calls out. His voice has a slight edge to it.
leave it to Teal'c to field this one. Much too busy trying to
force my collapsed lungs to function once more. If it wasn't for
Teal'c holding me up I'd be on the floor.
am assisting DanielJackson," he declaims in what for him is as close to
a matter of fact tone of voice as he is ever going to get. Which
still sounds like 'Sermon on the Mount,' but that's Teal'c. "He
appears to be having difficulty breathing."
the wall," I wheeze.
right into you, did he?" Jack says sceptically.
be easier for him to breathe if you weren't squeezing him so tight."
more than an edge. Jack's getting testy. Also, for the
first time I'm becoming aware Teal'c has a grip on me bordering on -
am merely ensuring he does not fall down."
nice. I think. Wouldn't mind sitting down right now,
though. I'm getting a bit confused by the by-play. Not to
mention the suddenly challenging protectiveness Teal'c is giving off in
something going on here. Looks like, as usual, I'm the last one
Teal'c, but I'm okay, now," I tell him as I lift my head off his
shoulder. He instantly releases me as I show him I can stand on
my own two feet.
steps in front of Jack, who was swiftly closing the gap between
us. His bright, young eyes are full of questions as they fasten
on our large friend.
you bring it?" he demands.
did," Teal'c tells him gravely.
the boy enthuses. Jack shrugs, completely avoiding any
responsibility for being a bad influence, then it occurs to him he has
a question of his own.
what?" he asks Loren.
Jack says with a wide, anticipatory grin, his former issues evidently
forgotten in lieu of an impending opportunity to indulge himself.
"Hope you brought enough for everyone."
too," I affect a mournful glance at no one in particular. "If you
didn't, Sam will beat us up and eat it all herself. She can take us
all, you know. Told me so. Excuse me, I have to GO now."
only just evade her fist and take off at a dead run down the hall, the
major in hot pursuit. The wall that walks like a man safely behind me
so there's no chance I'll be running into him again any time soon. I'm
also fully aware I've just stuck Jack with the explanation. Sorry Jack,
you're on your own. Busy running, here.
sitting in front of the gate when our paths cross again.
don't know what it is. I can't seem to stay away from this thing.
Just keeps calling me back, like it's got one more secret it wants to
whisper in my ear. All I have to do is keep on coming back for
know all about secrets. I've got a big one, one I've been
carrying around for far too long. Seems like this is the proper
place to finally let it go, and release someone else from its
obligation as well.
am pleased to see you are well, DanielJackson," Teal'c says quietly,
still managing to startle me. He's standing right by my side, and
I didn't hear him make a sound as he approached me. My long,
dark, silent shadow. Loyal to a fault, protector, defender,
custodian of my deepest shame, the uncomplaining bearer of the burden
of needless guilt he took for my sake.
undeserving casualty of my unwillingness to choose. I understand
now why I truly needed to remove him from my existence during the time
I spent in the realm of could have been. He was the only one who
knew my secret. The only one who knew the awful truth. I
had to make him disappear. It was the only way I could bury
what he knew with him.
time to set all three of us free.
Teal'c," I motion for him to sit down beside me. "Good to see
doesn't move, but continues to stand over me. He studies me
carefully, like I've seen him examine me many times before. I'm
never quite sure what he's looking for, exactly what it is he's seeing.
As he's yet to tell me, I guess I'll go on not knowing.
have changed," he announces finally. "That which was troubling
you no longer does so."
it doesn't. And you, my friend, are a very observant man.
Scarcely a newsflash, though.
and I have - connected. Come to an understanding. It's - it's
don't know what to tell him because I'm suddenly not sure how much he
wants to know.
am pleased for you," he says quietly.
is. He means it. I'm suddenly even more confused, and not at all
I put it aside for another time. I don't want to talk about Jack
right now. I beckon to him again to join me on the floor.
This time he nods and complies.
assumes a position close to me with efficient grace, then turns an
expectant gaze upon me. He knows I'm about to tell him something,
but he won't ask. He waits until I'm ready to give.
isn't going to come out right, but I have to say it now or it's not
going to come out at all.
got some unfinished business, the three of us," I begin quietly.
"You, me - and Sha'uri. It's time we settled up and closed the
book. For good."
dark eyes are grave, deep pools of inscrutability. He's trying
not to let me see what he's never wanted me to know. How much
it's hurt him - to have to hurt me. Always, because of her.
not to feel bad about choosing her," I tell him frankly. Start at the
beginning. The first black mark he etched on his soul for my
sake. Wipe it away. Once and for all. "You didn't even know
who she was and besides, you were simply the instrument. The agent of
another's will. The blame is his, not yours. I don't want
this from you - let it go."
blinks, but otherwise doesn't move. Carved of ebony he stares at
me, his aspect as immutable as his being.
business with the Hammer," I start again. "I want you to let that
go as well. That wasn't even really about you, it's something
Jack and I have to settle. He saw a chance to - he made me to do it
because he needed me to prove - " I have to stop for a minute.
This one is hard. I DID blame Teal'c for the longest time,
somewhere in the deep recesses where I put things I can't afford to let
myself look at. It's only very recently I realised what actually
happened that day. Why it really happened. I've been
figuring out quite a few things in the wake of Shifu's lesson.
This is one of them. But certainly not the least of the things I've
finally seen the light about.
were not at fault, you were simply an - opportunity - to force an
issue. I understand that now. So should you. Let it go."
still says nothing. We both know I'm not done yet. There's
more. This one - this is going to be the hardest one of all for
both of us to face and let go of. But it's the last strand
holding this triangle of sorrow together. Guilt has fettered the
three of us for far too long. We can't move on from this place until I
sever the bonds.
figured it out," I tell him finally. "I know you've known since
you went to Abydos with me, but I've only just let myself see it.
I can't tell you how sorry I am for forcing you to make a choice -
never should have happened. If I hadn't waited - if I'd brought
her straight back to Earth with me - but that would have meant -
choosing between them again. Couldn't. Didn't.
Waited. Waited until circumstances chose for me. Could have
saved her. Didn't. Let Apophis take her back. Let it fall
to you to finally settle it - once and for all - to make a choice I was
too cowardly to make when I should have."
finally moves him so profoundly he can no longer hide what he's
feeling. He looks distressed, as if he's beginning to speak but I hold
up my hand to stop him.
I have to get this out. Please." He regards me with dark
eyes of concern but remains silent.
this time I've been blaming everyone else for Sha'uri's death.
Blaming the Goa'uld, the fates, hard luck, bad timing. Blaming
you. All this time you took the rap for killing her, when you
knew what really happened. Took it and never said a word.
my friend, I don't deserve the sacrifice and I'm taking it back from
you. You might have been forced to pull the trigger but Sha'uri's
death is my fault. I should have taken her home when I had the
chance. If I had, she'd still be alive, and you wouldn't have had
to kill her for my sake.
not your fault. I told you at the time: you did the right thing.
You did - but it never should have come down to you. You had no
choice - you did the only thing you could have, because when I had the
chance I didn't do everything I should have. Everything I could
have. You knew this, all this time, and yet - you never blamed me for
what I made you do. I don't know what else to say to you except
I'm sorry, and it's time we finally both let go of Sha'uri and let her
rest in peace."
doesn't say anything. Just nods. He places a huge hand on my
shoulder, turns his face away. As I study his strong, impassive profile
I see something extraordinary.
faint glimmer, at the corner of his eye. So slight, so barely
formed it is almost imperceptible. The mere breath of a tear,
glistening hesitantly against the support of the lid.
I have a chance to see any more he rises and glides quietly away from
you, my friend. I hope your road is lighter now that you don't
have quite so much to carry. Good-bye, Sha'uri. I did love
you. As truly as I could. However we came to be, I don't regret
it. I don't regret you. Maybe it shouldn't have been, but I
will always cherish what was. What we did have the chance to
experience together. I will always cherish and remember you, but
it's time to stop walking the path of atonement. Time to step out
of your shadow and into his light.
Danny - where the hell are you? You gotta come and see
this! Teal'c is playing tag with Sam and Loren. No
foolin'! Damndest thing I ever - I think this place is driving
everyone nuts. DANNY! Where the - oh, what, back to staring
at this thing again?"
I murmur as he thuds down beside me. Not much grace, but plenty
so fascinating about this thing anyway?" he complains as he
screws up his face at the gate. "Just a stupid old
Stargate. I can think of better things you could be staring at,"
he leers expectantly at me.
staring?" I ask.
a place to start," he grins. "So you gonna give up this thing you have
with the gate and let ME chase you around the place for a bit?"
shake my head. "I think I've done enough running for a lifetime."
Jack ventures, trying to gauge my mood like he's surveying an enemy's
fortifications for the best way to breach the walls. I guess I've
made him do a lot of this sort of thing lately. I'll cut him a
break this time.
you about the dream Shifu gave me, if you like."
dream?" He lights up like a wino who's just found a twenty dollar
bill. "No foolin’?" Then he stops to consider the
consequences of getting what he's been after for ages. Something
I have been obstinately insistent he's not going to be getting.
smells a trap. He's got good instincts. He's also got a fatal
flaw. When it comes to me, he's a lot more curious than he is
cautious. Gets him every time.
not a lot of metaphysical mumbo jumbo hocus pocus crap I'm not going to
get and is just going to make my head hurt, is it?" he asks me
I reassure him as I stand up and pull him up after me. "Matter of
fact, you should find it really interesting. I was the smartest guy in
the world - "
- no delusions of grandeur, here," he scoffs as he slides his arm
around my waist.
it gets better!" I figure one good hand deserves another, but
mine is going a little further south. He doesn't seem to
mind. "I had all these people working for me and we built this
huge underground high tech mission control bunker. Biggest damned big
screen TV on the planet. And you should have seen my chair.
It was cool. Big chair. All the bells and whistles and then
some. Even made coffee. Seriously. Would have given both
Captain Kirk and Jean-Luc severe chair-envy."
you had a fancy hole in the ground and a big seat," Jack pats my ass to
reassure me he wasn't meaning for me to take it as a personal
comment. I don't. We keep walking down the hall and I do a
little patting of my own.
I launched this satellite weapons system up in orbit and then I used it
to take over the world."
stops walking, turns and gapes at me. "You? Doing a Doctor
Evil? Doctor Evil Jackson?" He's grinning from ear to
ear. "No way! Did you do the thing with the finger?
What about the cat? Tell me you had a cat!"
so hopeful I almost lie. "Nope. No finger. No
cat. No Mini Me either. Sorry."
Jack makes a face. "Wasn't going to go there. No
cats, huh? I knew it," he shakes his head sorrowfully. "I knew a
perfectly good megalomaniac’s fantasy would be wasted on you. Bet
you didn't even posture and make tacky speeches."
No tacky speeches. No words could quite cover what I did. That's
a small detail I don't plan on sharing with him.
I in it?" he asks hopefully as we start walking again and cover
the rest of the distance to our room. Like I ever had any doubt
that's where we were headed.
what was I doing?" he asks in response to my affirmative nod.
me flowers," I breathe as he pulls me into him.
he peers at me suspiciously. "Flowers? Why would I do a
dumb-ass thing like that?"
colonel the romantic. Time to play a little fast and loose with the
I guess, you heard Paul - Major Davis - brought me chocolates."
Jack roars. "That sneaky rat bast - "
breaks off in mid rant and glares at me.
are lying through your teeth, aren't you?"
can't hold it in anymore. I start laughing. I'm practically
helpless as Jack groans and tosses me back on the mattress.
"Should have known you'd - you've been winding me up this whole time,
haven't you? 'Doctor Evil Jackson'! As if!"
the whole time. Most of it was true. But he doesn't know
that. And now he'll never ask me about it again. Which is
pretty much the way I want it. Jack's curiosity is rivalled only by his
tenacity. He'd worry this particular bone for the next ten years
if that's what it took for me to finally break down and tell him what
happened. That's something I have no intention of ever
doing. I know it's probably unfair of me. After all, he
didn't get to hide his deliberately genocidal moment from me on
Abydos. But there was a vast difference behind why we both pushed
our respective buttons. He sought to destroy in order to preserve
and protect. I did it because I felt like it. And I could.
bad enough I have to live with seeing that part of myself. No
reason he should be subjected to it as well. He has a certain
high opinion of me I haven't the heart to disabuse him of. Maybe
someday I'll actually become the person he thinks I am. I
can think of worse goals to strive for.
seems to have utterly forgiven me my little deception. It would
appear he's decided he has better things to do with his time than
talk. More than fine by me. He rips off his T-shirt and
flings himself down on top of me. Kissing. Lots of
kissing. Definitely better than talking.
know the same bright burning, the singing sense of rightness rising
within me as his touch inflames both my body and my soul. He
burns, he shines, together we're incandescent. More than seen the light
- we are the light. As long as we love, we'll always see our way
still a long, uncertain road, but as long as we walk it together, we'll
get where we're going. He leads, and I pick the direction.
He holds the sword, I have the compass. He blazes the trail, and
I can see where we have to go.
in the fullest sense of the word. What Shifu said, about a man
ultimately travelling his chosen path alone, might be true. But nowhere
is it written that path can't run right alongside another one.
Going in exactly the same direction. Crossing, for a time.
time stretching from now 'til the rest of our lives.
hand pauses in its welcome meandering across my torsal topography.
After a short pause he pulls out of a deep and prolonged kiss I was
rather enjoying to draw back and give me a slightly anxious glance.
thinking about?" he queries carefully.
I respond carelessly before I fully comprehend the apprehension in his
eyes. He's worried about something. Deeply. I'm
confused about his concern, but before I have a chance to ask him
what's wrong he tells me.
you say so," he returns without conviction. "It's just sometimes
you go to this -- place. You're here, and then the next minute
you're somewhere - I guess it's somewhere you don't want me to go. Feel
like you can't - I wouldn't want to know. That's okay," he says
quickly, looking away so I won't see the sudden flaring of fear in his
eyes, "I guess you've -- well -- we've all got stuff we're not proud
of. I just wanted you to know - you don't have to - I mean - it
doesn't matter what it is. You've seen me at my very worst and yet,
here you are. You like me anyway. Go figure. I don't want
you thinking you can't -- You don't have to do this on your own,
anymore," he blurts out at me defiantly. "You're not alone
anymore. I got broad shoulders. Use 'em. I can handle
whatever it is you've got. Not scared to go with you, anywhere
you need to go."
means it. He wants to know. He wants to help. He loves me.
Whatever I think is the very worst I could be is nothing to him.
He doesn't see the stains and spots. He just sees - me. The
brilliant reality of his fierce, honest faith in me illuminates my
soul. That's when I know. When I truly understand.
tell him everything. No reason I shouldn't. Every reason I
should. I have nothing to lose except a burden I don't
need. 'Doctor Jackson' might be in me, I might carry the memory
of his existence, but he has no power over me. I can take the lesson
and move on from the teaching. I will never be him.
No danger of that ever happening. Not now. All I have to do is
look at the man before me, see what he sees when he looks at me.
I'm Daniel. Not the worst man in the world. Certainly not
the smartest. But definitely the luckiest. Maybe I don't
have a cool chair and a big screen, but I got something the doctor
didn't get, for all he thought he had the world by the short and
got the colonel. By finally not fighting the one battle I could never,
ever lose. Up yours, doc. Score the only victory that matters to
so funny?" Jack peers suspiciously at me as I start to chuckle.
tell you later. I promise. Right now I'd like to engage in
a little research. Test out a premise advanced by a friend of
Jack says warily.
I look up at him and deliberately, slowly run the tip of my tongue
across my lower lip. He gulps and shudders as his eyes track the
movement with hungry anticipation.
want to find out if it is really better to have a big – long -
wick. What do you say, Jack, are you up for a little --
wide, lascivious grin tells me everything I need to know. I'm talking
science he can understand, and he thoroughly approves of my
methodology. Completely dedicated to the task of proving the
premise. He's got a hell of a wick. And that's no
joke. The immediate future promises to be very - illuminating.
the results, though," I murmur as his lips hover close to mine.
"Hands - too full - to take notes. Gonna have to be an oral
kind," he breathes into my mouth.
you trust me?" he breathes as his intention burgeons in his dark,
desperate eyes. I know what he's asking of me. Know what he
needs to do. Never done this, never thought and now, and yet, as
I look, see, feel, feel him touching me, kissing me, surrounding me
with his reality; hot, heavy warmth - his taste, his smell, the sound
of his harsh, rapid breathing - swarming my senses inflaming my mind --
enough. Not enough to simply feel him everywhere outside on my
skin. Barriers - no barriers. Walls. All my life,
I've needed walls between me and everything else. Now, the walls
that protected me are holding me back. Keeping me from knowing
him, understanding. Need to take him in, need to feel - need to
know what he is. Need him to --
you trust me?" he groans again, hand trembling, making me shiver as it
roams purposefully across my sweating skin. Feel him touch -
never been touched - not there - should be afraid, he is and yet he
can't help himself, he needs this as much as I do. Needs to know
me, to be by breaking through, pushing forward - thrusting - GOD!
erupting, shooting, turning me to flame as his fingers push, explore,
reach inside me. Not enough. Not enough for either of
us. He's kissing me frantically, mad with his passion, heaving,
heavy hardness ramming into my stomach. I clutch him, feel him
throbbing, sticky, vital. Hear him cry out, feel him quake with
the sensations as I touch him, stroke him. Hold him in my hand,
feel him but it's not enough, I need more. Need more of
him, all of him. NOW!
close, so close to having what we've both been wanting, needing in each
other. Only one thing left we both must do for each other.
Something we've never been able to before.
he moans into me as his kisses consume me. He's desperate,
insane, pleading, must have and yet cannot take, can only ask, must
wait for me to give; he must let me open to receive him.
I answer him with everything I am, my body trembling, aching and
willing beneath him, must have, must feel, must know but can't unless
he accepts, shares, enters within.
brilliant, blinding, bursting through as he - oh God, filling, moving,
deeper, not familiar but not pain oh, anything but pain - more -
more - don't hold back - don't be afraid - not hurting me, won't hurt
me - love - love you --
God! Oh Jack!"
- sorry! I'm hurting you. DAMMIT! Danny - I'll
- I'll stop --"
I'm okay, I'm okay! Don't - don't stop. God, don't stop.
up, pulling him down, pulling him in, farther, deeper, more;
reassuring, kissing, stroking. Move toward, open wider, it's
okay, love you, know you love me. Know it now, like I never
further into me, he's falling away from reason, taking me along for the
ride. I'm soaring on the crest of his insistent, pounding rhythm,
becoming singing fire in answer to his naked desire. He's pure,
glorious, primal, his entire awareness concentrated, given to me,
driving into me, all of him deep inside me, farther, further, coming
closer, drawing me with him, spiralling steadily upward toward the edge.
so close to falling. I'm swelling with his life, aglow with his
light must look up, must see. He's gasping, grunting, his face -
so - so - beautiful - never seen him like this before, so utterly
open, exposed to me, stripped of all pretence by the honest power of
his passion. His familiar features roughly twisted in a mask of
pleasure, so raw and yet so - magnificent. He's - he's
magnificent. His eyes are tightly closed, chest heaving and
labouring as he rocks and thrusts. Sweat streaming down his
undulating, sinuous body, tears tracking his flushed, red face.
Reach up, touch, taste.
Danny - I - GOD, OH GOD --"
screaming, sobbing, his joy, his love calling me further, asking me,
telling me - I'm standing on the edge - the abyss beneath me - never
let myself let go - not like this - what's waiting - don't know.
Don't have to go, can hold back, can still feel without letting -
without letting all of it go. Didn't - couldn't with her.
Always held something back. Couldn't let it all go. Couldn't let myself
on the edge. Suddenly, no fear. What's waiting for me down
there? Him. He'll be there; he'll catch me. What am I
protecting? Why am I holding back? What have I got to
lose? Nothing to lose. So much more to find. Wait for
me, Jack, I'm coming.
call his name as I open my eyes and jump.
Back to Part Three
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