JUDGING THE BOOK BY BIBLIO


Slash: Jack and Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves sex.
Rating: NC-17
Category: First Time.  Friendship.  Humour.  Romance.
Season/Spoilers: Season 4. An episode tag for "Window Of Opportunity"
Synopsis: In desperation, Jack steals an opportunity with Daniel he never imagined taking.
Warnings: None.  Well, PhoenixE says this is squishy.  Make of that what you will.
Length: 83 Kb


My timing is impeccable.  Daniel is hustling out of his office door when I take him by the shoulders and hustle him right back in again.

"I was just coming to find you," he explains earnestly.  He's said that before.

"I know."  I've said this before.  I've lost count how many, many, many times.  "Every loop we do this exact same dance."

"That must be frustrating," Daniel says softly, looking at me compassionately.

"Ya think?"  I'm too tired for real sarcasm. 

Daniel appears concerned by this.  "I can't imagine what it's like for you," he offers, clearly wishing he could help.

"No," I agree flatly.  "You want to know what frustrated is?  I've learned Latin.  I've learned Ancient.  I'm correcting your grammar.  I know as much as Carter does about geomagnetic storms, subspace bubbles and time inversions.  I can ride a bicycle, make pots and putt thirteen billion miles." 

I know what my second-in-command tastes like.

"Must be hell on your handicap."  Daniel's automatic snarking is a trifle distracted because he's just noticed my hands are still on his shoulders.  He looks at them and then he looks at me, all wide-eyed and concerned.

"You've been teaching me."

"I would need to," Daniel nods, not knowing where I'm taking this but along for the ride anyhow.  "I couldn't translate four hundred pages of alien text in a day.  I mean, the context -" 

"We've spent a lot of time together," I interrupt loudly.  "Teaching, translating.  Juggling."

"Juggling?"  This piques Daniel's interest.  "I've never tried that on a class before.  Is it working?"

Daniel is very distractable.  Sometimes, this annoys me.  Today, this loop, it comes as a relief.  "Okaaay.  That's new.  New is good."  He has no idea how good.  "Usually you say something like, 'Guys, are you getting this?  Because this is important.'  I'm word perfect," I elaborate unnecessarily.  Daniel, sensitive soul that he is, is blinking in some sort of slow-mo, dawning horror way.  "On all of it.  Everything.  I know what everyone will say, everyone will do, every goddamned permutation of every conceivable thought, word and deed.  I've done everything.  I've done it many, many times."

Daniel opens his mouth and I put my trigger finger over it, hush him, not unkindly.

"You told me about the whole 'no consequences' deal."  Daniel's face lights with fascination.  "I did that too," I add crushingly.  "Everything.  Again and again.  And again.  Again.  Again.  And again."

There's all the empathy and understanding in the world in those eyes for me.

"I can't adequately convey to you the depth of my need to do something new, something I've never done before.  Ever. Something I don't know how it will turn out.  I'm insane with that need."  Exploding out of my skull, skin-stripping, killing insane.  "I can't take it." I move my finger from his mouth, slide my hand around to cup his nape.

"Jack," Daniel sighs.  He hardly ever touches me, hardly ever reaches out, but he does it now, his fingers curling round my bicep.

"I can't even tell you how many loops I've thought about doing this."  God, my voice is beginning to shake.  "I don't want to, and I do.  I don't know what to do, but I have to do it."

"Do what?" Daniel encourages me. 

He believes in talking.  I believe actions speak louder than any words.  I reach around behind him and put my hand, shaking worse than my voice, on his ass.

Daniel goes awfully still and gets kind of pale and breathy, but all he does is look steadily back at me. 

"I've looked," I admit reluctantly.  I've checked him out.  I'm not the only one.  I swear, I've seen Siler do the same.  Not that that's the point.

"At my butt?" Daniel's incredulity is not unexpected.

"You have a great ass."

"For a guy?"

"No," I answer after a moment, surprised to find this is true.  "Your ass needs no qualification.  Just a really, really great -"

"I get the picture!"

"No, I don't think you do."

"Feel good?" Daniel asks with the inane cheeriness of a tour guide.

"Feels fine."  Firmer than I'm used to, but the curves are - are - Christ.  My body knows this;  recognition, acceptance, a punch to my gut, suddenly I'm breathy and shaking too.  Attraction.  I feel it.  I feel it.  God, more than with Carter.  Much.  She told me I was lying to myself, that I didn't even know I was lying - that can't be right.  You either feel or you don't.  No one can tell you what you know.  I kissed her, it was good, it was great, she kissed me back.  I know that about her now.  I know Carter yet I'm here, my heart is pounding out my mouth and my hand is on Daniel's ass.

"Is this?  Um, better now?  I mean, don’t let me, um," Daniel says incoherently.  He hasn't pushed me away or anything but his eyes are huge and extremely worried.

"You're very attractive.  Do you know that?"

Daniel's frown deepens.  "Do you find me attractive?" he asks hesitantly.

I nod.  "I didn't mean to, but I see you.  I feel it."  Daniel doesn't need to tell me what I feel for him.  No words at all.  Mostly, they get in the way.  He thinks the world of me and I…I put my arms around him, hold him close to me, liking the way he feels, though his body is very different from any I've touched this way before.  There's more of him, more to him.  I can’t explain.

"In a few hours," Daniel tells me in a low, compelling voice, his face very close to mine, "this won't have happened for me.  You do realise?"

"Yes," I cut him off, leaning into him, a specific pleasure in the way he takes my weight unthinkingly.

"Realise that it will have happened for you," he goes on patiently.  "You'll remember."

"I know."  I knew what to do, with Carter.  Any woman.  With Daniel, I'm lost.  I don't know the boundaries and my hand on his ass seems less - it's not like kissing.  Daniel is intensely private and I guess I know - kissing is too far, too much.  I shouldn't.  I don't need to be told.  "I want to."  I hear the plea and the shock in my own voice.  Holding Daniel, my blood is pumping, my legs shaking.  I'm trembling, wanting more.  I don't know my limits, I don't know his.  "I shouldn't," I whisper roughly, my lips close to his ear.  He smells of mint, the zingy stuff he uses to wake him up in the shower after he pulls an all-nighter he doesn't want me to know about.  I breathe him in and then my lips are on his skin.

He makes a sound, oddly soft.  Blind, I find his mouth.  The sound, again.  My lips on his, lush and stiff.  I lean into him, weak and giddy, my body hard against his, his mouth…

I never knew.

He's strong but not struggling, not fighting, fingers clenched on my bicep, bruising.  He doesn't know what to do and I - I taste him.

More.

I push him, he staggers and we stumble back into his shelves.  I pin him there with my weight and he moves against me, pushing now, pushing back.  A pleasure I never suspected.  A pleasure.  Pushing, pressure, I slide into his mouth, into heat and sweetness.  His legs go and for a moment, I'm holding his weight, holding him hard, exulting. 

The greedy noise is mine.  I want him.  I want…his tongue, still beneath mine, but his hand, both hands now on my arms, flexing, he doesn’t know whether to push me or hold me.  Trying to hold himself still, he's trembling.

He wants, my god, he's thought about this too.

I stroke into him, maybe harder than I intended.  Deeper.  Tentative is not the way I feel, not now.  Raw, exposed, shivering with desire.  I swear, I never knew.   Not like this!  How deep did I bury this, all the wanting?  I won't bury this again.

Daniel's resistance is turning me on.  He's his own man and a strong one.  He's not giving in to what either of us wants, maybe not even sure what that is.  I am.  I'm sure now.  He has to open to me,  melt, move with me.  There's nothing else.  I don't demand, I invite, sinuously rubbing his tongue with mine.

He's fighting his body to stillness as I sink deeper into him, panic clawing at me as the feel and the taste of him get me hard.  Scared shitless, I can't stop.  I won't.  I'll never be the same after this.  He knew it, I know it now.  Drowning, afraid, I drive deeper, slowing my thrusts to mirror the pulse of my hips pushing into his, a rhythm we both know, let him taste the sullen throb of my arousal. 

Daniel shudders as his cock fills, as he swells against me.  The breath sobs in his throat as his arms come around me, clamping round my neck.  My knees buckle as his tongue curls up, rubs mine.  I fall into him, he catches me, holds me tightly to him, straining into me, all of him.

We kiss.

Shy, direct, aroused, Daniel eats my tongue.  Suckling, slow, intense, erotic.  Soft, strong bites, holding me where it's good for him.  Crushing ecstasy, burning me away.

We kiss.

My passion is frightening to me, maybe to him, but he takes it.  His hands are restless in my hair, turning my face, deepening the pressure, the pleasure; the sweetest, gentlest soul, he gives himself, everything, holds nothing back and takes it all.  All of me.

My vision blurs and we fall, graceless, to our knees, breaking apart then, gulping in harsh, panting breaths.

Daniel can't speak but he stares.  His eyes drowned, he stares at me.

I stare too.  I've been seeing him for a long time.  Fighting, refusing to know what all this means.  I start to speak and Daniel hushes me with a brush of his lips.  Don't.  I understand.  Not like this.  He lets me touch his face, though, his fingers in my hair.

We huddle in reaction, panic shared, unspoken, understood.

"Don't do this again, Jack," Daniel whispers.

I won't.  I promise.  This wasn't what I meant to do.  This was supposed to be about me and the literal thrill of the unexpected.  I didn't expect - I wasn't prepared in any way.

Daniel means too much.

He holds me tight, stays with me, because I need him.  I'm looking into his eyes as the red alert sounds, the loop about to reset.  I can't let him go.  I can't.

Softly, Daniel kisses me.





"Anyway, I’m sorry, but that just happens to be how I feel about it! What do you think?" Daniel asks me passionately, smacking his hand at the air for emphasis.

I think…I love you.

I put down my spoon and do the clichéd smile though your heart is breaking thing.  For the first time in god knows how many loops, Daniel forgets his question and smiles back.  For the first time, Carter looks at him, instead of him looking at her.

It's not about her.  It never was.  I'm - slow.

"Colonel?  Something wrong?"

Talk about judging a book by its cover.  Damnit.  He was right in front of me the whole time, the 'he', the friend, enough to stop me seeing anything.

"Nothing.  Everything."

"Jack?"

"We have a briefing," I tell them, not wanting to deal with Daniel's soft-eyed concern.  Looking at him, I see myself, my own blindness.  Moments ago he was kissing me because I needed him to and looking at him now, there's nothing.  Just my good, oh, so familiar friend.  Just - Daniel.

Daniel.

It's all there, all this feeling he has for me, locked away, and he doesn't even know.

We can't go on as we are.

I don't mean the loop.

I can’t touch him again.  I promised.  Not while he doesn't know.  This is what he meant, what he was asking, that I would be honest about this with him.  I can't even think about doing nothing, about letting him go.  I couldn't take it, Daniel wanting me, being this close and not allowing himself to see me at all.

I can just reach out…

I should never have kissed him, but I did and I have to go with it.  I have to, the same as I had to go to him.  It makes some sense to me now.  What I felt for him, it was starting to be too much.  More than friendship, for me, was supposed to be.  It was bleeding out, in frustration, anger. 

Looping this way, I've hit bottom, emotionally.  I guess I had to.  That's what it took for me to face this, reaching the point where I felt I was losing everything.  I needed to make something happen, anything.  I could have gone to anyone, done anything.  I went to him. 

I feel worse than I did before and I can't go to him.  I can't do that again.

Having hope is worse when I'm helpless.

"Let's show some hustle, kids.  We have work."




"What are you smiling at?" Carter asks me, puzzled and half-smiling herself.

"Nothing."  Only that I've made up my mind.  About Daniel, about what I feel for him.  It seems right I take the risk, expose something of myself to Daniel when there are consequences for us both.  Kind of balances out how I learned about the two of us.  Not wholly, I mean, this is a calculated risk.  I know what will happen if I get him alone someplace, if I bring him in close to me and kiss him hard.  I know the pleasure I'll take, kissing him until he capitulates, until he opens up to me, until he wants me and kisses me back. 

I know it can't happen that way.  I have to give him the choice, I have to ask.

I'm going to ask.

Jesus, that's ironic.  It actually sounds like I know what I'm doing and I've never been less certain of anything in my life.

Daniel is at the head of the table, showing us more of those interminable images from P4X-639, as if we’ve never seen them before.

"What have you got for us, Dr Jackson?"  Hammond asks him.

"Er…with the help of Teal'c and," he points to me, raising his eyebrows with palpable scepticism,  "Jack, I’ve managed to complete the translation."

He is sooo going to pay for that when I get him alone.  I've been translating rings round him for loops.

"As I originally suspected, P4X-639 was once a colony of the Ancients. They thrived there for thousands of years until they were struck by some sort of unspecified cataclysm, perhaps a disease."

Oh, for cryin' out loud!  Is he trying to kill me, here?   I'm only planning to change my entire life for him and he's speculating about this crap?  Who cares?  Not I!

Daniel catches my eye.  "But we’ll never really know for sure," he sums up hastily.  "In any case, facing certain destruction, they built a time machine."

"They were going to go back and change their history, to avoid their fate," I agree.

I'm doing the opposite.  These last few loops have been torture, being with Daniel the whole time, not able to say anything, looking and wanting what I can't touch.  Depressed at how much he can hide, how hard it is to read him.  If I hadn’t kissed him, if I didn't know how we could be, I would not believe it, not from anything he says or does. 

It's not his fault.  It's not even mine.  Try both of us.  Could either of us ever imagine we stood a chance with the other?  A lot of men must find at some point in their life they really, really like another guy.  You bury it in sports, in beer and bonhomie.  Whatever it takes to keep sex, to keep awareness out of it.  You bury it or you bury that friend.  Some guys can make the leap to friends who sleep together, maybe even more.  Maybe even commitment.  Lovers.  I imagine most can't. 

What you're giving up, what you stand to lose, is not worth that risk.

I took my shot with Daniel.  I didn't have a clue.  I lucked out, I had the magic reset button.  I know I have a chance with him.  We're attracted to one another, whether we want to be or not.  I don't have an answer for that, not even close, not thinking straight enough, but I'm going to ask.  I don't have a choice. 

I guess at this point, only Daniel does.




"Hey," I say casually as I stroll into Daniel's office and pull up a chair, parking myself next to him at his lab bench.

"Hey," Daniel replies distractedly, his gaze fixed on the scrawl covering the blackboard immediately in front of him.
 
"Whatchadoin?"

"Translating."

"Didn't we already do this?"

"Four hundred pages of alien text," Daniel says dreamily, his fingers gloating over the glossy 8x10's scattered all around him.  "In a day!  I can't let this go, Jack.  I need - I have to learn what I know, if that makes sense?"

"It doesn't."  He's far more interested in what I wrote on his blackboards this morning than in anything I have to say.  Colour me irked.  "I wanted to talk to you," I say loudly.  Hallelujah, Daniel looks around.

"Oh.  Okay."  His eyes stray back to the blackboard.

"I'm going to Denver for a few days.  Want to tag along?"

"Sure."

I cross my arms over my chest and wait for the shoe to drop.

"Denver?"

"I've never taken the Budweiser tour."

"Don't you want?"

"No," I interrupt hastily.

Daniel's tongue probes his cheek.  It's his sceptical look, insanely cute.  "Budweiser tour?"

"Think of it as a beer pilgrimage."

"I don't like beer."

"You can pet the horses."

"You want me to tag along?" Daniel's face brightens with curiosity.  "I would've thought, from what you were saying in the de-briefing, you'd be sick of the sight of me after being cooped up in here translating all these months.  That I'd be the last person you'd want to tag along."

"No.  I'm not sick of you."  Anything but.  I still have no idea why I couldn't wait just a few loops more, when we were so close to completing the translation, why I had to climb out of my skin and find him right then.  I knew we were close and I still had to do it.  I don't know why.  I just don't know.  Why I hit bottom and saw him.  My one window of opportunity with Daniel and I'm hating and loving I took it. 

God, I'd love to run from this but I can't.  Can't run from myself, can I?

"Denver," Daniel muses thoughtfully.  "Do they have anything interesting there?"  He seems doubtful about this because if they did, he'd know.  Daniel knows museums like I know ordnance, but he's giving me a shot.  He's really a very nice guy.

"Tiny Town."

Daniel blinks.  I think he was waiting for me to make unconvincing noises about the many alluring attractions of the Mint.  He should give me some credit for baiting a trap.

"The oldest kid-sized railroad in the US of A."

Steam trains.  Who could resist?

I notice a sly, sidelong glance.  Daniel's lips are quivering.  I guess he's pegged the kid in the equation.  This is pretty much all the confirmation I need of abject surrender on his part.  No way he'll let me go off riding little steam trains all by myself.

"Great.  I booked us into a hotel."  I shrug.  "It's not a long drive.  We leave at 14:00, should be plenty of time to pack."

"You know, Jack, if you need to talk," Daniel says gently, staring down at the pen he's twisting between his long fingers.  "We can talk here.  We don't have to-"

"There's something you should know," I say loudly, too loud, I make him jump.  He told me I couldn't kiss him again.  I knew what he meant.  It wasn't honest.  "Before we - something I should say."  Stuffed under my armpits, my hands are still shaking.  "Something I did."

"During the time loops?" Daniel straightens up, his confusion wiped by enthusiasm.  "I knew you had to-"

"I kissed you!" I roar desperately, not even looking at him.  I'm burning up and icy, my heart climbing out my throat.  "We kissed."  It's important he knows this.  "I don't want this to be some kind of ambush."  Christ, I lie.  That's exactly what this is.  "I'll be outside your building at 14:00.  If you're not there, I'll understand."  I won't.  He has to know I won’t.  My throat is so dry I'm croaking and I'm the man who can take anything. 

Not this, though.  I already knew he mattered too much and I couldn't get away from this.  There were consequences, he was right about that.  He's right about most things, even me.

Daniel has nothing to say, not even when I run.




As I lock my apartment door, I look again at my watch.  I'm late, I can't believe this.  Jack didn't give either of us enough time.  Not enough to do anything but race home from the mountain, toss a few things into a bag, certainly not enough to take a minute, think this through.  Out of time, I'm tearing down the hallway to the elevators, stabbing at the call button. 

I don't want to lose him because I'm late.  Not something as small as that.

"Come on!"

The elevator chimes, the doors slide open and I dart into the car, turning quickly to punch the lobby on the keypad.

Lose?  I - I mean I don't want him to leave. 

Not thinking I didn't care, didn't want to know.  It's not that.

We.  He said we but he can't be mad.  He wouldn't have told me what happened.  He wouldn't be waiting for me now.

Please, let him be waiting.  Please.  God, I need to understand.  I need to know we're okay.

We.

I don't know what this means.

The moment the doors begin to move, I sidle through, yanking at my bag.  Jack is still here, disconsolate, holding up the lobby wall.  He spots me immediately, straightening up warily.  He looks tense, pale.  Uncertain, which Jack never is.

"I didn't think you'd come," he says as he strides across to meet me.

"You knew I'd come," I counter sharply, sick with relief.  "You planned it."  He told me just enough to scare the hell out of me, make me come.  I wish I were angry with him, but I'm not.  Too stunned and too rushed to think, mostly, I'm shocked.  A little afraid.

He has the grace to look sorry and amazes me by saying so, taking my arm as we walk out to his truck.  I'm used to it, moving around automatically to toss my bag in the back, then climb into the passenger seat.   Jack makes no move to start the engine, turning instead so he can watch me.

"Are you?"  I have to take a breath and start again as I fumble my seatbelt into place.  I'm asking, I have to ask, but he'll say no.  This trip - we're moving on, yes?  We're fine, still friends, still guys, not looking back.  Not that I even have the memory of kissing.  I'm - I need to be sure.  "Is this a pass?"  It's so stupid I don't know and I don't want him thinking I'm angling for - that I want

Jack winces.  "Yeah," he mumbles, painfully reluctant.  "I'm trying to get you into bed."  He waits a beat, but I say nothing.  I can't.  Not then.  Jack starts the truck and edges out into the traffic.

Bed?  "You couldn't do that at home?" I ask blankly, finding my voice as we move off down the street, utterly unable to take this in. 

"No," Jack replies candidly.  "I didn't think I could."

"Do you know what you're doing, Jack?  Are you sure this isn't just a - a stress reaction to all those months of time loops?" I demand, breaking off in confusion when his eyes catch mine in the rear view mirror.  He wants.  He wants me.  "Oh, god!" I gulp.

Pulling up at the stop sign, Jack pats my hand and apologises again.

"You - you kissed me?" I stammer at him. 

"I kissed you until you kissed me back," he admits simply, not attempting to prevaricate.  "It was intense.  I loved it."

"Intense?"

"Sexy," he growls, embarrassed.  "You blew me away."

Me?

Jack straightens up, his brows snapping together, just as the lights change.  He takes the turn onto East Bijou Street, foaming in silence as he has to focus all his attention on picking his way through the near-gridlock in the commercial district.

I sit there, paralysed, as the city flows by.   I'm incredulous.  It never occurred to me Jack would want to kiss me, that it wasn't some mistake he made in frustration when I was - there.

"Daniel," Jack turns to me fleetingly the instant the traffic gives him a break, streaming northbound on the I-25.  "Look, I know this is difficult for you.  When I kissed you - you didn't know you were attracted to me.  At least not consciously.  I mean, the feelings were there.  You just weren't aware of them.  I kissed you and your knees buckled.  I guessed you'd figured it out."

"I have no idea what you're talking about."  This is not even a specific hypothetical.  I have never imagined Jack O'Neill sweeping me into his arms, pushing me up against a wall or just grabbing me by the scruff of the neck for a passionate kiss.  "None!"

"That's why we have the luxury hotel room.  So I can remind you." This is half-threat, half-promise.  "At length."

"I'm not-"

"You say that now!" Jack retorts.

"Your whole life just got turned upside down."  Mine too and I'm fighting so hard not to let this mean too much.  "Why aren't you unhappy?"

"I'll have you."

He absolutely floors me with this, with his odd, defiant dignity.

"It was more than kissing," I recognise, stunned again.

"It was everything."  He has a hint of a smile.  "Somehow, you knew."

"I don't appear to know it now."

"We didn't have sex and I never kissed you again," he promises rapidly.  "I wanted to, every loop, but you asked me."  Jack trails off, embarrassed.  "I wouldn't do that to you."

"Sex?" 

"Do I need to explain intense?" he asks impatiently.  "Or demonstrate?"

I know I'm not making myself clear but there's too much going on in my head.  We kissed, is what he told me.  It's what brought me here.  He kissed me until I kissed him back.  I - I've thought about him, about us, this strange intensity, the chemistry, the awareness between us.  I would never do or say anything.  I wasn't even comfortable with my infrequent, inchoate imaginings and I know I have no power to attract.  Not Jack, not even because he's a man and I have no experience of that.

"Daniel?" Jack's voice is very gentle, his hand reaching across to rest over mine. 

I turn my hand in his, squeeze his fingers.  He smiles then moves away, his attention returning to the busy highway.

"You kissed me?" I ask diffidently.  I've asked him before, I think.

"I wanted you," he mumbles reassuringly.  "I just had no idea how much."  He hesitates.  "I want you more, now," he says quietly.  "All the time."

"It's difficult to accept, Jack."

"I know.  I do know," he sighs.  "How hard do you think it was for me?"

"We're driving to Denver."

"You say that like no one in the entire history of road travel ever went to Denver to have sex."

"It's not the first place you think of, no."

"Neutral ground," Jack argues defensively.  "I promised you no ambush."

"You lied."

"It was a tactical necessity," he counters sullenly.  "Short of chloroform, I couldn't think of any other way to get you in the truck."

"There were plenty of ways to get me in this truck."

"None of which wouldn't make you so mad I'd never get you into bed!"

"I would've been less pissed off after a short drive across town," I point out sweetly.

"I should've kept my yap shut and just jumped your bones in the hotel room," Jack informs me bitterly.

"I like that you didn't," I confess.  "If I thought you had a clue what you were doing, I really would be mad.  I do appreciate you building in plenty of panic time for us both."

"Oh, I'm not stupid," Jack drawls.  "If you walk into that hotel room with me, it'll be to spend the next three days in bed."

I straighten up, staring at him.

"We're changing everything.  I know there's no going back.  We need to be sure."

"We're not sure!"

He shrugs. 

"Jack."

"I know!" he flares.  "You told me.  The moment I put my hand on your ass you got in my face.  You told me there was no going back, not for me.  I wouldn't forget."

"You thought I wanted this too," I say slowly, beginning to understand.

"It's why I told you what happened between us.  Why I asked you.  I know you can say no.  I do know, Daniel."

This is so very hard to say.  I had no idea I would ever have to.  "I do think about you."  I sound choked.  I feel it.

"I didn't think at all until you got me hard and then I couldn't think about anything else," Jack admits ironically.  "I guessed you liked me."

I wince.  "Was I so obvious?"

Jack's face gentles.  "It wasn't like that.  All you had to do was push and I would've backed off.  I hope you -"

"Yes.  I - I know."  I don't believe Jack would ever hurt me, not knowingly.  "I do."

"You were fighting, but not me."

"Oh, god."  I have to look down.  I feel so exposed to him.  It makes more sense to me now why Jack couldn't keep quiet.  He stripped away my privacy.  He could do what he liked to me and get away clean.  This whole stupid Denver thing is the best way he knows to make that part of it right.

"Hey," Jack chides me softly.  "Don't look like that.  Don't.  One kiss with you and I'm here, without a single guarantee, turning my whole life upside down."

"It's disconcerting we could've shared such an intimate experience and I don't - it's not even that I have no memory, I'm struggling to even imagine it."

"I walked in, told you I was nuts, put my hand on your ass and felt you up some."

"What did I do?"

"You let me."

"That doesn't sound very -"

"You were being nice."

"Nice."

 "I - er - found myself kissing your throat.  Then your lips.  Then I lost it.  Then you lost it.  Your knees went, my knees went, we fell down."

I turn around and stare at him.

"It was not a chick kiss, I swear.  No matter what it sounds like," Jack mutters uneasily.  "All guy," he promises.  "Boners, the works."

"I was wondering if I could have sex with you," I point out.

"You could!"

"Thank you," I respond politely.  "That doesn't help.  I have to decide."

"Maybe this will help."  Jack doesn't sound too sure.  "A few loops back you were Daniel.  Now you're Daniel."  He glances across at me to see how I'm taking this shattering revelation.  "Oh, for God's sake!  You get me excited just looking at you!" he snarls.

I turn right around and stare desperately out of the window.

Jack chuckles darkly.  "I'm dying to know if that's an all-over blush," he informs me cheerfully.

"Do you honestly see us being able to have sex together?" I ask him dubiously.

"You sound like you don't."

"I'm having difficulty picturing."  I wave an uncertain hand.  "Us."

"Exactly!" Jack says triumphantly if somewhat cryptically.  "Me too!  Until we started kissing and you got me so revved up I could've done you right there on the floor."

He's such a romantic.  "You're imagining we'll just climb into bed and, um, have sex?"

"You sound suspiciously negative," Jack complains.  "What are you imagining?"

"That we'll climb into bed, choke and argue."

"Will you stop thinking about everything and just trust me?  You'll want to get sweaty."

"You make it sound like such a small thing."

"Daniel?" Jack asks in concern.

"Being attracted."  I smile, a little.

"When you think it can't go anyplace."  Jack's smile is twisted too.  "I've been thinking too."

"Homosexuality -"

"I'm okay with that," Jack interrupts.  "It's kind of an abstract anyway.  Ferretti's ass is never going to get my blood pumping.  I just want you."

"I hardly know how to feel about all this," I admit, helplessly.  "I'm drawn."

"You’re curious," Jack gloats.  "I planned for that," he informs me happily. 

"I'm drawn to you," I correct him with some dignity.

"Yeah."  Jack's voice softens.  "I know."

"I do trust you."

"I know that too."  He reaches across to me for a moment, squeezes my shoulder.  "I think we'll be good together but we don't have to - you don't.  If it's too much, if this is too soon, we can cut loose, go ride the steam trains."

"Take the beer tour."

"If I'm not gettin' any, the horses sure as hell aren't," he warns me, glowering as threateningly as possible, which at the moment isn’t saying much.  "You can keep your hands to yourself."

I make another stunning realisation.

Jack is happy.

Happy to be with me.

I'm utterly appalled when this chokes me up.

"Sooo looking forward to getting totally out of my depth with you," Jack murmurs, drumming his fingers on the steering wheel.  I know the tune.  "God, do I need this.  Need you."

I need Jack too.  There's a giddying freedom in being allowed to admit this, even to myself.  Jack is refusing to limit our lovemaking with expectations and I find this freeing too.  We can't bring expertise, but there is real feeling neither one of us has been able to express.  I find I want to, very much.  I want Jack to know what I feel for him, what I can't put into words.

"I'm not scared of the sex."

"That's good!" Jack approves strongly.

"The changes, maybe."

"Keep thinking about the sweat, Daniel," Jack urges me plaintively.  "Don't go getting all mature on me."

I do not want to get into a discussion about comparative maturity.  Does Jack think he's the only one who wants to ride the steam trains?




"Wow." 

"Bite me," Jack retorts vigorously, taking my arm to tow me through the verdant alpine shrubbery towards the hotel entrance while swarms of minions take care of the mundanities of life behind us.

"Seducing me in style."  Nice and surprisingly low level from the outside, the hotel inside is stunning.  Five-star Tuscan style, in Denver of all places.  "Sweet."  I smile at Jack. 

Jack scowls malignantly back.

To be fair, now we're here, mere minutes away from a huge, luxurious bed, I'm at least as embarrassed as he is.  Possibly more.

I'm not sure our combined wardrobe is up to the acres of gleaming wood, crimson and gold upholstery, marble floors and cascading flowers, but as Jack intends to get me out of my clothes as soon as the door is locked behind us, I guess there's no point panicking about being inadequately dressed.

Jack is being suave, sophisticated and super-nice to the beaming receptionist.  Who wouldn't react well to a tall, handsome man being - um…

God help me.  We're going to be naked!

Our bags are whisked away and we're escorted upstairs with minimum fuss and maximum tip.  Walking into the room last, I see why.  They really have gone for the European motif big time.  We have exactly one bed.  Huge, lavishly draped, blatantly singular. 

I find myself unable to pay much attention at all to anything else as the bellboy gives us the fifty cent tour.  The room is all creams and greens, padded this, cushioned that, draped.  Jack seems disconcerted by how pretty and tasteful it is, all pale wood, armoire, delicate Queen Anne chairs.  If my sex life weren't flashing before my eyes I'd have something to say about this.

The bellboy has plenty to say about climate control, pay-per-view and the mini-bar.  He seems determined to earn his tip.  No worries there, I'd pay him anything to get him out of here.  Jack is plastered to my side, looking all smug and horny.

Smiling discreetly, the bellboy neatly extracts his generous tip from the colonel and himself from the room while I try to work out if I can tough it out until the bags get here, mostly on the grounds I won't make it to the bathroom before Jack makes it to me. 

"Nervous?" Jack asks, infuriatingly perky.  His eyes are glittering.  "I'm gonna git you!" he drawls, grinning, prowling after me as I perambulate about the room, ignoring the bed.

"Gorgeous," I announce obnoxiously, waving an airy hand at our elegant surroundings.

"Mmm-hmm!" Jack agrees, smacking his lips.  He is not looking at the room.

"That's just insulting!" I argue hotly, interrupted by a tap at the door.

"Thank God!" 

I have a head start, but Jack makes it to the door practically in a single bound.  Not that he's in heat or anything.

The valet insinuates himself into the room, deposits the bags, and hovers, mentally fluffing the pillows.
I catch Jack looking me over smugly, also mentally fluffing, then he smiles wolfishly and the nice man pretending not to see this backs out of our room, pocketing a wad of cash.

"Why don’t you just take out a billboard?" I suggest sarcastically, scowling.  "'This archaeologist's ass is property of the USAF'.  It would be less obvious than your glassy-eyed mugging at the natives."

"Get over here!" Jack orders, closing in on me with this huge, offensive smile on his face.

I am so mortified I can't stand my ground.

Jack appears to enjoy catching me round the waist and trapping me against the wall.  "Hi," he says, his face very close to mine.

"Hi."

"Can I kiss you?"

"Okay."  Nerve-wracked.  I'm living the cliché.  Jesus, Jack.  Don’t smoulder at me.  Just do it!  "Hurry up!"  Instead of kissing me, Jack snorts and cracks up, burying his face against my neck, his shoulders heaving.  Since he's here and we're probably, possibly about to go to bed together, I put my arms around him. 

Jack stops with the testosterone-fuelled trapping thing and hugs me back.  Then he lifts his head, reaching around behind me, his hand cradling my neck.

Boldly, I move into him, my hand copying his.  His skin is warm, a little rough, soft silver strands of his hair tickling my fingers.

"We've never touched like this," I blurt out.  "It's difficult."  My touch can’t be anything more than careful.  I can't help that, this is my friend.

"It's good."

I hold Jack's waist while his other arm comes right around me.

We're very close now.  Very close.  I think we move at the same time, it feels as if we do.  Face turning, Jack knows what to do.  Our mouths touch softly.  I make a sound.  Astonishment, rocking me back on my heels.  Jack steadies me and we kiss again.  Fascinated, I learn the shape of Jack's lips, their fit against mine.  Move with him, deepening the pressure, teasing out his lower lip to taste him.  Jack sighs and smiles, pulls me into him, closer again, his tongue tracing my mouth.

He leans back to check on me, flushing as I dreamily lick my lips.  He takes my mouth, an intentness there, a hunger in the pressure.  I open to him and he slides into me with a guttural groan of satisfaction, stroking sensuously deep.  Trembling with shock and pleasure, I push up into his tongue, rubbing the silky surface.

Jack signifies his complete approval of this innovation by starting to back up, tugging me with him towards the bed.

It's difficult to get out of a leather jacket with your eyes closed and your tongue in your friend's mouth, but we manage, scuffing them clear as we stumble on.   Jack hits something, I hit Jack, he spins me around and shoves me across the bed, slamming down on top of me, emphatic as a cover-stone.  I let out one of those cartoon 'oof' noises and he chuckles, pinning me some more.

"Admit it," he demands, taking hold of my face.  "It feels good."

Oh, it does.  It does.

I pull off my glasses, reach out behind me, stretching out across the mattress to find the night table.  Jack stretches out with me, guiding my hand, I hit wood and let go.  He takes hold of my wrist, then the other, pinning my hands either side of my head, entwines his fingers with mine, then takes my mouth again, pushing deeply into me, stroking slowly, shattering me with his tenderness.

Hip to hip, I feel this turn him on, heat and the slow swell of his erection rubbing catlike against me.

It's real.

Jack goes with it good-naturedly when I break his loose grip, push him over onto his side, rolling with him.  He toes off his shoes and socks, mine follow, then he hooks his leg over my thighs.

"I'm not going anywhere"

"Just making sure."  He's fondling my jeans, rolling the pale grey denim between his fingertips.  "You look good in these."

I don't know what to say to that and don't get the chance because he undoes my belt.  My breath catches when he looks at me questioningly.  "It's fine," I mumble, gulping as he unfastens the button and slides down the zipper.  I don't believe this is happening so I have to see it.  I prop myself up on my elbows and watch as he nudges aside the denim to look thoughtfully at the tight, white, knit-jersey of my briefs.  Then he slides up my grey sweater to bare skin.

"I always wanted to see your scar," Jack murmurs, tracing it with a delicate fingertip.

"Maybe later you can kiss it better."

His lips quirk into a grin, then he strokes his fingers down, over skin, onto jersey, down between my legs.  My thighs tremble so badly he sees it, lifting his head to let me kiss him, taking my tongue eagerly into his mouth as his fingers stroke and squeeze my stiffening penis through the thin fabric.  I fall back onto the bed, pulling him down with me, thrusting into him harder, deeper, enjoying his passionate response.  Desire strikes low in my belly, intense as pain, when Jack slips his fingers beneath the briefs, touches me.  I shake from head to foot, moaning into his mouth, then try to pull away.  Jack bites down tenderly on my tongue, holding me inside him, a challenge in his eyes.

He wants to do this for me.  He wants to be the one.

I tug at my sweater and he lets me go long enough for me to wrestle it over my head, toss it away, then reach for his loose green shirt.  Clumsily, I unbutton him, slip it back from his shoulders.  Jack takes it the rest of the way, balls it up and throws it to the floor, then unzips his chinos as I begin to push my jeans down over my hips.  His erection juts free and I freeze, suddenly taking in the sight of him, long and lean, hard muscles rolling beneath his golden skin as he moves, narrow hips and tight ass, all power and grace.  His body makes sense to me.  I didn't expect it to.  Not yet.

When Jack rolls onto his side, facing me, my hand goes to his hip, not mine.  I trace the clean line of him from thigh to waist, heavy ribs, follow a ridge of muscle across his abdomen, stroke the deep line which splits his torso up to the hollow of his throat.  Kiss him there.

Jack slips away from me to tug off my jeans, my underwear, his hands shaking as much as mine.  He stands there, his hands balled on his hips, looking down at me.  He swallows hard and shakes his head, as if he can't believe what he sees, then he steps away, tugging at the pillows, making a pile against the headboard. 

I shift across, lean against them, not quite sitting.  Jack kneels on the bed, smiling at me.  Neither of us knows what to say and it's easier not to talk.  His face flames crimson when I open my legs, lifting my knees to plant my feet on the mattress.  He pounces then, his weight driving me deep into the pillows.  I slide my hand around his head, pull him into a woozy kiss, biting at his lips. 

His hands are on my thighs, braced either side of him, stroking over and under, reaching every part of me. Jack is the one to gasp and quiver when I draw my fingers down his spine then cup his buttocks.  Every inch of him is tight and toned, he's a strong man and a hard one.  Yet my hands on him are almost more than he can stand.  He shivers where I touch him.

Again, Jack rolls onto his side, bringing me with him, and the mound of pillows make sense.  Face to face, half-sitting, he puts an arm around me.  "I'm sorry," he apologises roughly.  "This is all I know."  He reaches between us, taking the weight of my straining penis into his hand.  I gasp out something strangled and his arm tightens round my shoulders.  "Daniel," he whispers caressingly, rubbing his cheek over mine, then he kisses me, his mouth shaking as I take hold of him.

It's blindingly obvious neither one of us has ever masturbated another man before.  It doesn't matter it's technically kind of inept, that we both feel - wrong - to each other.  It all feels sooo good, it's incredible just to have Jack's hand on me, wringing my erection, everything he does too hard, too much, pounding pleasure out of me, turning my bones to water. 

Jack has never been more, I can't explain this, more real.  He's easier to touch than he'll ever let anyone but me know.  He likes, he wants, everything.  He craves it all, he gives it all, fucking my hand with abandon.  I grip his hot, steely erection, drawing my fingers strongly over and over slippery skin as he thrusts, not really holding him as tightly as he seems to need. 

Deep, delirious kisses. 

He's killing me with tenderness.

I shudder violently; electric sensation spirals, molten pleasure clenching, my whole body spasms into intense orgasm, pumping heat into Jack's wracking hand.  Blindly, I cling to him, kissed, petted, soothed, while my heart thuds and I pant in deep, wheezing breaths.

Jack noses into my hair.  "Don't you dare fall asleep on me, you selfish little shit!" he hisses indignantly, nudging an outraged erection into my hip.

Melting into him, I snore gently on his shoulder, ignore his sputtering, let my arm naturally fall, reach out and squeeze.

"Daaaniel!" Jack howls ecstatically, shooting ribbons of semen all over me.  "Oh, god," he groans, kissing me madly as he shakes like a dervish.  "You kill me!"

I push him off, finding him easy to handle while he's weak and orgasmic, then stagger off into the bathroom to splash my hot face and drink some water.  I look down at myself, at Jack's semen and mine, spattered over me more or less from thigh to chest, my limp, pathetic, wrung-out penis.  I ache and throb from head to foot.  It seems impossible Jack O'Neill did this to me.

"Daniel?"

I moisten a wash-cloth with warm water, wipe myself down, rinse it, moisten it again.

"Daniel!"

I'm not comfortable now in my nakedness but I walk across to him anyhow.  I clamber on the bed, sit by Jack, sliding the washcloth over his belly, hips and thighs.

Jack rubs my back, sweet and low.  "Totally freaked out about where we just had our hands?" he asks with so much understanding I look around at him.  He sits up, kisses me, then takes the washcloth from me, tossing it to land with deadly accuracy on top of our bouquet of complimentary fresh flowers, then hooks me around the waist and pulls me down.

I feel whiny and uncertain, watching Jack warily while he snags the sheet out from under me then pulls it up behind him as he stretches out on top of me.  "You have the whole bed to choose from," I grumble, cuddling him close, really liking the breadth of his shoulders beneath my hands.

"You're bony and uncomfortable, so naturally, I choose you."

"I liked where we had our hands.  I liked it very much."

"Me too," Jack agrees.  "What we lacked in technique, finesse and, regrettably, stamina, we more than made up for in first time enthusiasm."

"Do we, er, want to try again?"

"You've gone all shy on me," Jack informs me, an oddly intent glint in his eye.

"I'll take that as a yes," I mumble, blushing.

"So."

"So.  Friends who sleep together?" I ask lightly, smoothing down some wayward hair. 

Suddenly Jack is melting-eyed and smiling.  "More, I hope."

I smile too, then kiss him, take him into my mouth, our tongues touching, sliding slow and sweet.  We kiss for a long time, relaxing into one another, into our intimacy, touching without the immediate pressure of sex, a little turned on, yes, but mostly it's closeness. 

"You were right," I admit at last, sighing as Jack's grazes kisses over my throat.

"I frequently am."

"Want me to narrow it down?"

"Right about you trusting me?"

I nod.  "About us being good together."  I can't begin to tell him how good.  I feel I'm soaking him in through my skin, all his joy is lifting me.  I didn't realise I was so starved for his touch, that I craved so much of him.  I can barely take in he means this sincerely.  I - I want him so much and in sex, I have all of Jack, he gives everything to me.  I want to trust this, I want to hope.  I can.

Jack sighs.  "I hit bottom.  I don't know why it happened then, why I couldn't wait.  I found you.  It was crappy, what I did.  Kissing you like that." Pulling a regretful face, he shakes his head.  "I knew what would happen here, Daniel.  I knew before you did you wanted me too.  I'm sorry how I found out, but not that this happened."  He slithers off me and stretches out on his back.  "After the sex we just had, it's nice you can still say 'good'," he says dryly.  Long, capable fingers pluck at the sheet.  "If, for some insane reason, the USAF trusted a colonel instead of an archaeologist with an internet enabled computer, the sex might have been better." 

"Jack?  It's been a really long time," I respond evenly.  "Anything which isn't my own right hand is good."

"You jerk off?"  Jack seems inexpressibly shocked.  Then he shoots me a comically calculating look.  "Would you jerk off for me?" he coaxes.

"If you want."

"Your wantonness would be much more impressive if I hadn't seen the way you limped off into the bathroom," he grins.  "You're not letting me near you."

"You're wrong about that," I retort.  "I want dinner and then some more sex."

Jack lights up and snatches me into an exuberant hug which makes my ribs creak, hooting something about bad sex with him being better than no sex at all.

We're opening up to each other, little by little, and I can't remember the last time I was this happy or felt this wanted, or could give this much to someone I love. 




For some reason only he can fathom, Daniel flatly refused to allow me to flaunt him at our fellow guests downstairs in the restaurant.  He plumped for room service, steaks, red wine and two desserts.  I think he expected a fight when he pulled on his jeans but I'd already figured out that gave me the pleasure of getting him out of them again.  I played along.  I put my jeans on too.  Mutual unzipping will no doubt form some part of the evening's festivities. 

Daniel didn't want me to put my shirt back on.  He made this clear by scooping it up from the floor and hanging in it in the armoire.  I think, not putting any money on this or anything, but I think he likes looking at me.  I know I like looking at him.  Mostly what I'm seeing right now is his perfect ass and some very cute toes.  The rest of him is draped over the end of the bed, hoovering up New York triple chocolate cheesecake.  I've got to say, the way he's idly swinging those feet in the air is doing amazing things to his buttocks.  Talk about your pay-per-view, I could sit here all night watching the muscles flex on his denim-clad rump. 

"I think we totally pulled it off," I comment casually.  "Despite all the skin."

Daniel's head emerges and he scoots backwards, gets up to his knees, then flops onto his ass with a thump which makes the bed rock, sitting so he's facing me.

"Pulled it off?" he asks.

"We looked like two ordinary guys who had not just had sex."

"Despite all the skin."  His tongue probing his cheek, Daniel mulls this over.  "Jack, I don't know how to break this to you."

"Break what?"

"The leering."

"Leering?"  Would I be so uncouth?

"You look like you want to jump me the whole time."

"That would be because I do."

Daniel charms me with a mischievous grin.  I feel humiliatingly misty-eyed when he hitches closer and hugs an arm around my knees.

"How are you doing?" he asks softly.  The grin widens.  "You have to answer these kinds of questions now," he informs me ingenuously.  "We had sex."

He's deliciously bright-eyed and, I think, maybe, happy.  The old ticker gives a painful thump in pointed reminder I'm a goner.  When I don't answer fast enough for his liking, my sensitive, compassionate, er, what-do-I-call-him reaches across and smacks me one in the arm.

"Better!  Jeez!"

"I was worried."

"Yeah."  He was.  I flipped out one loop and Teal'c came looking.  It wasn't that Carter didn't care.  She did.  I think it was more about the science, the problem, than me.  Ten hours wasn't enough for her to move past that, to put herself in my place, to empathise.  Daniel was the one to ask, loop after loop after loop after loop, how I was holding up.  He was the one who wanted to understand, to help me.

Daniel smacks me again.  "Talk!" he orders.

"Owww!"  I rub my arm resentfully.  "I was just thinking how sweet and sensitive you are!"

Surprisingly, Daniel doesn't take this personally.  He's staring at me, a very odd look on his face.  "Denial," he says slowly, perking up horribly, "is not just a river in Egypt, Jack!"

"What are you babbling about?"

"You've been attracted to me for months!" he announces cheerily.

I would love to tell him I don't know where he's going with this but unfortunately…

"Busted!" he sings out triumphantly.  "Can we talk about sublimation?"

There is a certain hooting derision I don't care for in his tone.  "Do we have to?" I whine, keeping up my end of things.  I like to see Daniel enjoying himself.

"Can I see your scar!" he sneers, shaking his head pityingly.

"You know," I interrupt, making a slightly unwelcome realisation in the romantic lamp lit ambience we have going here.  "You're just as sexy with the glasses on as off."  This could be a problem.

"Sexy?" Daniel queries, the tongue making a reappearance in his cheek.

I put up a disclaiming hand.  "I know!  Believe me, I know how that sounds.  I don't appear to have the right vocabulary for this.  I mean, it's you."

"Us."

"I look at you now and see - Daniel."

"Hmmm."

"Daniel!" I snap, alarmed as he looks up, grinning.

"That was a really stupid thing to say to a linguist, Jack," he reproves me, shaking his head sadly.

"Look me in the eye and tell me I'm your boyfriend," I challenge him.

"Lover," Daniel corrects, seeming to like the sound of it.  He curls his legs up under him and leans into me, putting his hand on my thigh.  "Jack," he tells me, his eyes soft, eloquent with contentment.

I may have to tell him he's sweet again.  He just smiles when I reach around to rest my hand at his nape.  "I hate to lose control," I sigh, rubbing his silky hair between my fingertips.

"The loops," Daniel nods with ready understanding, changing mental gears without difficulty.  "I think, in learning those languages, in mastering the science to help Sam and me, you and Teal'c took a measure of control back."

"Don't ask me to say something in Latin.  Please."

Daniel frowns.  "I won't.  Not if it bothers you this much."

"It does!"

"Okay, okay," Daniel soothes, rubbing my thigh.

"I know what it is you do now and I swear, I understand it less."  He looks a little hurt and I massage his nape.  "I've got more respect," I offer.  "I actually know how good you are."  He wrinkles up his nose, curious.  "Hey, Teal'c and I had months of tuition from the best and every loop, you kicked our asses.  I mean, you did it.  That translation was yours.  All we did was remember what you told us and parrot it back to you when you needed it."  Maybe a little more but I'm trying to be modest here.

"From what I heard, you did a lot more than mmpphh."

I put my hand over Daniel's mouth, wincing.  He grasps I don't want to talk about this too much.

"When I say I understand it less, I don’t mean - I don't know how to put this - I don't mean you.  I get how passionate you feel about language and I can extrapolate to an enthusiasm which makes sense," I offer generously.

"I'm choosing to cut you slack on that pronouncement," Daniel says evenly when I let him go again.

"The Latin was more fun than the whole coronal mass emission thing."

Looking at my face, Daniel makes with the tearful sympathy and goes back to rubbing my thigh.

"I can't describe the experience.  I swear, I can't."  He's rubbing, I'm rambling.  "All that time wasted.  Every loop, frickin' Froot Loops, your stupid question, Carter babbling on in the briefing."

"Stupid question?" Daniel's eyebrows are soaring.

"You asked me the same question every ten hours for more than three months.  You're lucky to be alive."  I sit up straighter, Daniel kisses me on the cheek and gives me a bit of a hug.  I hug him back.  "Don't even get me started on Fraiser and her little flashlight."

"Sounds like hell," Daniel commiserates and from him, I know it isn't some platitude.  "If this loop was anything to go by, having to fight the same battle for belief every - "

"Yes!"

"You don't need to hear it," he recognises after a moment, grimacing.  "You've thought about all of that too."

"Could'a.  Would'a.  Should'a," I enunciate leadenly.

"The predictability."

"Everyone.  Every thing."

"So, you found me and you kissed me."

I kissed him and found me.  Isn't that precious?

"Introducing one random note."  Daniel's eyes are dreamy, he's focusing inward, teasing out possible ramifications, consequences.

"I was looking right at you when the loop ended. I was looking at you when we looped again.  You were asking me the stupid question, I had Froot Loops on my spoon and all I could taste was you."

"Oh, Jack," Daniel sighs, hugging the crap out of me.

"On the upside, wanting to nail your ass was excellent motivation to keep going in those moments I needed to nuke the entire base just to see what would happen.  And I did learn to make pots."

"That's, that's good.  Always a useful skill," Daniel says rapidly.  "If you want to talk about something new?"

"I do."

"Why don't you explain to me why you wouldn't let me talk to Malikai?"

I shrug and Daniel erroneously interprets this to mean I'm done with the hugging.

"I was the obvious choice," he goes on, quietly insistent.  "Archaeologist, lost my wife, desperate search, you can see the parallels.  I'm sure Malikai would have seen them too."

"I reached him," I argue stiffly.

"You didn't have to."

"I was not protecting you."

"No?"

"Okay," I growl, "I was protecting you.  And Teal'c.  I'm sure Malikai would've been moved to tears, hearing about the death of your wife.  I'm also sure you did not need to hear in detail how if Teal'c had to do it all over again, he'd do the exact same thing, every single time.  You both suck at the convenient little white lie thing.  Ultimately, I wasn't sure who that would benefit."  Certainly not Daniel.

I expect him to be mad, but I'm wrong. 

"It's good you care," he says, tentatively.  "Even when I don't need it.  I'm used to making own my way, Jack, doing what I think is right, picking the battles I need to fight.  You know me.  I shouldn't need to tell you any of this."

"So?  We usually get it together in the end," I retort defiantly.  I'm not about to give up any of my long-established rights to fret over him just because he's sleeping with me.

"Caring can't become a problem for us."

"It's always been a problem for us," I counter crisply, "right from our first mission together."

"You always did play by your own rules, Jack," Daniel acknowledges reluctantly.

"When I care enough, I do."

Daniel smiles, beautifully, a smile I've never seen from him before, lighting his eyes and face, all of him.  "Does this mean I get sex now?" 

He shoves me back and I can only be grateful the headboard is padded.  Survival instincts kicking in, I get horizontal under my own steam and pull Daniel on top of me, my hands clamped to his ass.  "Oh, my god," I breathe reverently, kneading gently.  "You have no idea."

"Nooo," Daniel drawls thoughtfully.  "I've heard, occasionally, hyperbole about my eyes and, um, stuff."  He seems oddly reluctant to elaborate.

"I wasn't going to say," I respond seriously.  Not yet, anyhow.  I'll wait until he's all trembly and asking for it.

Daniel does some wriggling, which feels exceptionally good, gets comfy, and starts exploring.  "I really like touching you," he confides engagingly.  "Particularly knowing no one else can."  He indulges in some kissing at this point, apparently finding my jaw particularly attractive.  "You've always been very tactile with me."

I cough slightly.

"So I hadn't fully appreciated people are actually scared of you."

"The extensive Special Ops training, the ever-mounting body count and my appalling reputation didn't give me away?" I ask, interested.

"No."

"It's nice you keep an open mind." 

These jeans are baggy.  I wonder if they're baggy enough to…aaahhh!  He has a small, pert ass, tighter, flatter than a woman's, toned muscle flexing under satin skin and my shaking hands.  Daniel is looking, if anything, more incredulous than he did the first time we had sex.  "You won't tell anyone I'm easy?" I ask pathetically, catching his eye long enough to sucker him into a kiss.

He's passionate.  I always knew he was, I just never thought about what it could mean in bed.  Kissing me seems to excite him a whole lot, or maybe the way I'm massaging his ass.  He's trembling, rubbing an increasingly imposing bulge up against me, finding the zippered friction very good.

I think skin would be better.

I tug at his belt and he gets the message at once, rolling off of me and onto his back, unbuttoning and unzipping in record time.  I beat him to the punch, pulling the jeans down over his hips, staring at his creamy skin.  Daniel is no waif but you don't realise this fully until you can see him naked and impressively erect.  He's, er, perfectly proportioned.  In every way.  I keep staring until he cracks and scrambles under the covers.  He's really not comfortable with his nudity, although I note with amusement he has far fewer problems with mine.  He doesn't take his glasses off until I slide back into bed and we wind up sitting politely side by side, two blatant tents poking up the covers.

"Well," I say cheerfully.  "Here we are."

Next thing, I have a lap full of aggravated archaeologist.  Daniel grabs my ears, tilts up my face and kisses me hard.  The feel of his bare ass on my thighs is - just - wow. There's a lot of heat throbbing between us, literally, and it occurs to me to do a kind of a check-it out thing.  I take hold of my cock and then, with extreme care, Daniel's.  He breaks off the kiss and looks down, his hands on my shoulders.

"What are you doing?"

"Trying to work out how these, er, fit."  I frown.  I was always good at spatial awareness.  "Could you lift up?"  Intrigued, he does just that, without even arguing about it.  "Just resolving a little directional issue," I inform him brightly, taking us both carefully into my hands.  I may be overdoing it with the cotton-wool crap, but no one is more aware than I am I made him limp last time.  In every sense of the word.  I gently transfer my grip from two hands to one and close my fingers.

Daniel stiffens up and makes this weird little whimpering sound.

"Okay," I gasp.  "Two is - two."  I squeeze my fingers, Daniel's cock thumps in my hand, his body jerks violently and he almost falls off me.  I grab him.  "Better than one."  Then I kiss him.  It's for the best.  We're both making strange noises and god help us, I don't think we're going to last as long as we did the first time.  All the heat, and the pounding, the pulse of blood, I can feel everything and half of it isn't even me!

"I'm beginning to get why the Spartans kicked ass!" Daniel wheezes, throwing his arms around my neck, his tongue plunging deep into my mouth.

I roll and squeeze our cocks together, pleasure pulsing low in my belly, jolting my balls, the base of my spine. It feels so good I'm practically bouncing off the bed, even with Daniel's weight numbing my thighs.  I grip and pull, my ass clenching on a spasm of ecstasy, grip tighter, pull harder, clench again. 

It's good for Daniel too.  He's wrapped around me so tight, I think he's going for auto-erotic strangulation. 

I haven't jerked off with so little finesse for thirty years.  Jerking works.  Jerking is magnificent.  I'm throbbing from the soles of my feet to the tip of my cock, great spasms of pleasure convulsing me, tighter and tighter, spots behind my eyes, head spinning, I seize and come hard, dimly aware of Daniel as he shudders uncontrollably, his cock jerking and twitching in my hand, slick heat pumping onto my groin.

Daniel slumps pitifully, burying his sweaty face in my sweatier shoulder, chest heaving. 

He isn't talking yet and I'm wondering guiltily what I've done to him this time when he sits back and kisses me gratefully.   "That was even better than the first time!  Thank you."

Any woman I've ever been with would have handed me my pants after the first attempt.  "You really do like me, don't you?"

"We've been friends for five years.  You're just working this out now?"  Daniel tumbles bouncily over onto his back, smiling delightedly up at me and still a bit wheezy.  "This is great!"

Oh, god.  I get it.  I get him.  This whole friendship thing - he takes me to heart.  Daniel has never been sure of me.  Not the way he should be.  An afternoon of talk and bad sex and he thinks he has more of me than he had before?  The river in Egypt?  That's enough for me pushing him away, treating him like shit, to make sense to him?  Forget and forgive?

I don't see anything at all, do I?  I didn't see him, I didn't see me.

Daniel loves me. 

I'm just working this out now.

I turn and lift him up, he grabs at me for balance, startled, his pleasure dimming. 

"Friends who have sex?  That's what you think this is?"  Is he nuts?  I thought he was the one setting the limits!

"More, you hoped," he reminds me quickly, twining his arms around my neck, apparently willing to give me the benefit of the doubt.

"That was before I knew bad sex with me made you happy!"  I beam at him.  "Daniel, I love you.  Maybe I should've said."

He makes a strangled noise and I instantly decide this would be a really good time to kiss him.
<>
FINIS

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Biblio, PhoenixE, babs, Brionhet, Darcy, Devra, Fabrisse, JoaG, Kalimyre, Marcia, Rowan and Sideburns, 2001-2008.
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