At this time in
the afternoon the street outside was quiet,
too early for school runs or the return of
the conquering commuter. Daniel could almost
believe he and Jack were completely alone in
the world, lingering naked in the drowsing
"This bed is too damn small," Jack grumbled
"You're welcome to get out of it," Daniel
Jack lingeringly kissed Daniel's sweaty
shoulder and slid rather closer, wrapping a
long, muscular leg invitingly around him.
"I admire your resilience," Daniel commented
pleasantly, making a fuss of Jack's
appealingly tousled hair. "Weren't you the
one bitching and moaning about the hideous
mistake we were making?"
"Hey, you jumped me, remember? And I don't
recall it being my resilience you were
admiring at the time."
"It was your ass." Daniel gave this hard,
exciting curve of Jack's a grateful pat. "I
wish you could've seen the look on your face
when I pounced," he recalled with relish,
planting a noisy smacker Jack's cheek.
"It was the shock of getting laid when I
only came over for the Heineken," Jack
insisted with a woeful attempt at wounded
"You came over to watch me sweat. I think I
more than delivered."
"You don't have to sound so smug about it."
"Me getting this house – it's the worst
thing that ever happened to you," Daniel
"It's not the house," Jack responded
gloomily. "It's the yard. Who knew owning
one pathetic little patch of real estate
would turn you into P. Allen Smith? In denim
daisy dukes, no less," he added with a sense
"The fraying occurred naturally at that
level," Daniel explained unsympathetically.
"And cut-offs are practical for yard work in
"So what you're saying is you didn't set out
to trap me?" Jack inferred with some
incredulity. "It just sorta, kinda happened?
All that skin you had on show – that was
mere coincidence? Naturally occurring, as it
were? From the guy who's normally wrapped up
tighter than a mummy?"
"Deck-lounging, beer-swilling critics
notwithstanding, when I got up this morning
all I had on my agenda was planting some
herbs." Daniel brushed his lips warmly over
Jack's, enjoying the simple pleasure of
being close with him. "Nailing you was a
Jack heaved a sigh. "I was fine until you
took the damned denims off," he moaned.
"Right there in the kitchen. Right there in
front of me. You. You and your very bare
"Really? I thought you followed me into my
bedroom to get my beer, not my butt."
"Where'd you get the nerve to come on to me
like that?" Jack interrupted when Daniel
started teasing him about his manly protests
scaring the tourists all across town.
"Seriously?" Daniel looked questioningly
into dark, surprisingly contented eyes and
decided if he could risk his ass, he could
risk the truth. "When I kissed you, when I
went that far – I knew it wasn't nearly far
enough. Not for you."
"I'm not sure I follow."
"I didn't want you walking away from me,"
Daniel quickly supplied, wanting to answer
the question for Jack but only in terms he
was comfortable with. While he couldn't
bring himself to regret the risk he'd taken
today, he wasn't ready to come out and say
he couldn't bear to lose Jack if it hadn't
"I got nailed because I didn't run away
screaming?" Jack enquired a trifle coolly.
"I think you whimpered a little," Daniel
"Your ass isn't that great," Jack sniffed.
"You were after the beer," Daniel consoled
him. "It was the last one. I know it."
"So long as we're clear that's why I came
into the bedroom."
Daniel reached down, between Jack's legs,
rubbing at ready, responsive heat. Amazed he
could do this, he was wanted, he brought his
face close to Jack's. "That hideous
mistake?" he whispered.
"Complicated," Jack firmly corrected, his
cheeks flushing with slow, wanting heat. "I
meant to say complicated."
"And not even necessarily a mistake?"
Daniel rolled on top of Jack, smiling and
touched when the granite, angular body
beneath his softened to offer comfort.
Welcome. Jack had his back, in every way
"Want to make it again?"
This time when he kissed Jack, the metallic
taste of fear was almost gone from his
throat. His heart was hammering at his ribs
but the feeling was mostly good. He thought
it might be the way Jack was smiling at him
as much as it was the way Jack was holding
him, as if there was little doubt in his
mind this was meant for them.
There was an honesty between them. The
admission of feeling and wanting. Mostly
good, Daniel thought again.
There was no question it felt good to
be with Jack. They were curious, even pushy,
establishing where hands or mouth needed to
be, what worked for one or other of them. If
there was a rhythm, an ease in sex, they
weren't particularly finding it and they
didn't particularly care. It was enough they
were together. They were new to each other
and sex for them took work in much the same
way driving a stick-shift car through
stuttering town traffic took work after
cruising long roads in an easy automatic.
The process seemed familiar at the same time
it was a little off, a little alien,
clashing and unnervingly uncoordinated.
It wasn't so much about the sharing of
feelings as maybe the staking of claims and
in the meantime, neither one of them would
be getting off any time soon.
The absurdity of all this fruitless
territorial tussling struck Jack at much the
same time it struck Daniel. Shaking with
laughter, Jack rolled Daniel hard and pinned
him to the bed with the whole of his body.
"What?" Jack demanded when Daniel failed to
put up the expected fight, only staring up
at him in wonderment. "You've got a weird
look on your face."
"I never heard you laugh before, Jack. Not
right out loud like that."
"Then we're even," Jack retorted. "Because I
never heard you fart before. Can we talk
noise discipline, here?"
Daniel snorted and it was Jack's turn to get
weird on him. "What?" Daniel echoed him
"I didn't know you could," Jack
admitted frankly, just as surprised as
Daniel had been a minute ago.
"Sorry," Daniel apologised dulcetly,
wilfully misunderstanding. "It’s those
Mexican re-fried beans."
"Laugh, I mean," Jack grinned responsively.
"You realise that makes three things we've
never shared until today? Sex, laughter and
"This is getting...personal." Daniel
blinked, a little disconcerted old, familiar
walls and barriers were slipping away from
"We're making love." Jack gently brought
their mouths together. "It doesn't get more
"In eight years, neither of us has seen the
other laugh," Daniel said stubbornly. "Not
the way we just have. And we go from that to
"What we're saying makes no sense," Jack
argued just as stubbornly. "But this does."
He hushed Daniel with a kiss, a hot and
hungry kiss. "I get this."
Daniel put his arms around Jack. "Me too,"
he confided, stroking coveting hands down
the length of Jack's strong back to hold his
hips, digging demanding fingers into the
gratifyingly tensing muscles of his ass. He
had an effect on Jack; he had proof of it.
"So let's get to it."
They both must have dreamed or imagined
touching each other for them to be able to
do it now, if not with the ease of fantasy
then at least with a tingling edge of
excitement. There was so much more to this
than curiosity or pushing at the envelope of
their signature combative contradictions.
There was undeniable force in even the
gentlest brush of fingers, more than
pleasure expressed in hard, searching
They were talking the talk for sure; their
bravado only failed them in touch. There was
tenderness far beyond the burning away of
physical frustration. Too wrapped up in each
other to be wholly selfish, they wanted only
to connect. Lips, teeth, tongues. Fingers,
hands, arms, legs and feet. Face and chest,
hip and thigh. Skin and bone. There were not
enough ways for them to touch.
Daniel was shaken as much by happiness as
the achingly deliberate grind of his cock
over Jack's, the slow, hard slide of muscle
and heat and skin that made his heart slam.
He found he couldn't be quiet and that his
soft, pleasured moans drove Jack crazy. He
couldn't be still and he couldn't stand the
way Jack would take him deep in his mouth to
go down on his tongue.
The taste and touch of Jack, the feel and
the smell of him, pricked Daniel's skin with
shivering sensation, a pulse of quickening
pleasure that throbbed between his legs,
clenched his thighs and his balls, drawing
down, down, as he and Jack rocked and
He came not with a shout but a low,
quivering sigh Jack swallowed in a deep,
Giddy, panting and disoriented, Daniel
followed blindly when Jack rolled off him,
keeping hold of him. He smoothed the sweat
from Jack's brow, soothing him down from
Jack started to say something to him but it
Daniel hesitated in the doorway, unable to resist the urge to stand for a while
watching Jack sleep. It was rare for his friend to feel so secure he could let
his guard down this way.
He could only relax when someone he trusted had his back.
Eyeing the beautiful back in question, Daniel was tempted to linger and
appreciate the slant of dusty sunlight over tanned skin.
A growling stomach and the lure of cool water beat out perversion. Carrying his
jeans and a fresh t-shirt, he ambled along to the kitchen to pull together a
sandwich for himself and for Jack when he woke. Nothing fancy; canned tuna, mayo
and the delicious sourness of chilled dill pickle. Leaning against the kitchen
counter, gulping down a tall glass of icy milk, he felt better.
He'd forgotten the intense physicality of sex, if that were possible. More than
the tiredness, his muscle aches and the tremor in his legs spoke to him being
with a man. Jack could be tender when he wanted, but he was also tough and he
liked it when Daniel squared off with him.
In sex, Jack liked that a lot.
The bathroom floor was cold beneath Daniel's feet, the spray of water forceful
and cooling. He soaped away sweat and semen, then stood with his face against
the tile, the water beating down on his shoulders, surrendering at last to an
overwhelming sense of unreality.
It took little effort of imagination for him to feel Jack's hands on him and he
found himself tracing the same path down his torso from chest to belly to cock
that had so fascinated Jack when they first tumbled into Daniel's bed.
Jack was right to question how they'd finally come together after all of this
time, he thought.
He didn’t know how he'd had the nerve to take Jack's face in his hands and kiss
him like that, or even where the imperative had come from. He hadn't felt a
sense of having choice, let alone control. He'd had to do it, not knowing as he
jumped if Jack could take this incalculable leap of faith with him, if he was
capable of acting on an attraction neither had ever been able to acknowledge.
Daniel wasn't entirely certain this was a question Jack could answer even now,
sleeping off their long afternoon of mutual predatory exertion.
Maybe reality was too much of a stretch for a man who'd just slept with his
friend, his best friend of nine years.
The sheer number of times they'd butted heads, Daniel didn’t need to be a genius
to know Jack found him difficult, challenging and even contrary, on many levels.
Sometimes, they seemed different in most every way that counted. Other times,
they were so close they could almost read one another's minds.
Why should having sex with him let Jack buy any more of a clue to what made
Daniel do or think or feel the things he did? Jack's perpetual need to figure
out what made Daniel tick was probably the reason he couldn't walk away when
Daniel stripped in silent invitation into his bed.
A kick to the head, this was what Daniel believed Jack demanded of him. A shock
to the system Jack could let no one else close enough to effect.
It was very good for Daniel to know he hadn't disappointed.
Steadier now, Daniel was able to dress and go downstairs to his study, feeling
refreshed and ready to work. While he couldn't wholly regret Jack's promotion to
general and the opportunities it brought him to engage in in-depth study as well
as fieldwork, his ever-expanding responsibilities at the SGC were demanding in
ways he wouldn't have willingly chosen to embrace.
Teaching and sharing knowledge had always been a corollary of his researches, a
communicative process personally necessary to him. Challenging grad students -
and even desk-bound Pentagon linguists - to get off their collegiate asses and
think for themselves was far removed from training combat military personnel for
on-the-fly field translation. Daniel's latest candidates were selected because
test scores indicated they had a feel for language, not a love of it, and
because they were highly motivated to exploit what they deemed a superior
tactical advantage in off-world situations.
Jack's uncharacteristically enthusiastic support for the programme appeared to
stem from his implacable resolve to keep Daniel from decamping to the Pegasus
Galaxy and Atlantis over his dead body.
Belatedly realising sleeping with Jack might just be interpreted as
encouragement of this agenda, Daniel logged on to his laptop ready to tackle
some articles he'd been gathering on think-aloud protocols in process-oriented
Before his candidates could learn how to communicate with aliens, he was going
to have to teach them to communicate with him, because he was damned if he could
figure out what they were thinking. While the research into think-aloud
protocols failed to exhibit what Daniel was prepared to call a robust
methodology, he wasn't exactly awash with options.
His trainee tactical linguists were stalled at the 'See Spot run. Run, Spot,
run' stage and he was thinking the problem was they kept looking for Spot.
Daniel didn't know if the failure was his or if it was theirs, but he was
finding more and more that aptitude with human languages was no real indicator
of ability to appropriate alien texts or transfer sense.
Proper names, cultural references, thematic coherence: success in translating
these was dependent on the human condition; the shared history, experience,
empathy and knowledge of mankind. Somehow, he had to get his students to see
past that, to embrace what was truly alien to them in order to achieve some
measure of lexical cohesion.
In short, he had a horrible feeling he was going to have to whip up some sort of
Ancient 101 for them. Without that common frame of human reference to draw on,
alien history, philosophy, science and culture were all going to have to be
taught, painfully, from first principles. All the alien histories.
Jack would be happy to hear it.
"Am I boring you?" Jack enquired with awful politeness from directly behind him.
Refusing to be startled by the sneaky sonovabitch, Daniel tilted back his head
and glared more or less up Jack's nose. He found he was leaning against quite a
lot of bare Jack and instantly wished he wasn't so overdressed for the occasion.
"Whatchadoin?" Jack punctuated this by starting a very distracting neck rub.
"It has to do with process-oriented translation and lexical cohesion."
Jack's nostrils flared.
"And this is better than having sex – how?" he demanded.
"I'm not even sure this is better than having root-canal," Daniel confessed
glumly. "And it's your fault I'm stuck with it, so you'd better start thinking
creatively about all the ways you're going to make it up to me."
"I can think of one really obvious way, and the good thing about it is you don't
even have to haul your ass out of this chair."
Sex? "Again?" Daniel quirked an inquisitive look up at Jack to find him smiling
disturbingly and looking to score.
"My turn," Jack said softly, rotating Daniel's chair to face him as he got down
on his knees. Calmly, he reached out with both hands to snap open the button on
Daniel's jeans and pull down the zipper.
Daniel felt a sharp pain in the pit of his stomach, a literal jolt of desire
that left him red-faced and gasping as his cock was taken in a strong, sure
clasp. Jack watched as Daniel hardened in his hand, then he watched Daniel's
face as he pumped him.
The eroticism of it left Daniel breathless and a little afraid. To have Jack
naked and unafraid, on his knees and yet in control – he'd had no idea how badly
he wanted this until it was happening for him.
Daniel had taken the risks to bring them here. Now, it was as Jack said. It was
his turn. That disturbing smile was back as he bent gracefully to run his tongue
along the shaft of Daniel's cock. He saw Daniel's belly jump, felt the tremor in
his thighs, heard him hastily stifle a whimper. The smile widened. Resting
comfortably across Daniel's thighs, Jack explored his throbbing cock with mouth
Then Jack let his lips slide over the head and took Daniel into his mouth. There
was no stifling the choked noise Daniel made, not this time. Not with Jack
swallowing him down, sliding him home inch by inch. Not with Jack's gorgeous
mouth on him, gentle and expressive; not with a strong, warm tongue rasping over
the head of his cock.
The tense, shivering pleasure in the pit of Daniel's belly seemed to resonate
with the squeezing pressure on his cock. Light-headed and fighting for breath,
he put his hands on Jack's shoulders, trying to centre himself and be still when
he was literally shaking with the effort of not losing it and fucking Jack's
mouth the way he desperately wanted to.
Adding telepathy to his tally of mind-blowing talents, Jack tightened his mouth
around Daniel, slid him an inch deeper and pulled back with a delicate grate of
his teeth. He did this again, and again, and then again, with maddening
He was eating Daniel alive.
When Daniel gave in to it, he didn't think it was from Jack sucking him off. He
thought he got lost when he opened to his eyes to see this happening to him, to
see the elegant, rhythmic slide of Jack's head beneath his trembling hands, the
tension in the powerful shoulders gripped tight between his thighs, the arch of
Jack's back as he laboured. It was seeing Jack go down on him with single-minded
passion every bit as much as it was feeling what Jack was doing for him.
It was in seeing what they were sharing, the trust Jack was willing to give,
that Daniel was able to let go. He knew only the closeness, the incredible
warmth and generosity, opening him up to rippling, tenderising heat centred on
Mashed flat against the back of the couch by an armful of aggravatingly amused
general, Daniel was entertaining some dark suspicions about just where Jack had
learned to do that to another guy. A fairly inoffensive guy, a supposed
chum, who might never regain the use of his legs because his spine had fused
during a protracted orgasm. One spaghetti leg was hooked loosely around Jack's
hips; he was rubbing Daniel's thigh in a friendly way as they watched the
"You, er, you know I'm not experienced, right?" Daniel announced in a small,
woodenly mortified voice. "Not with men."
Without taking his eyes off the TV, Jack reached around behind him and groped
Daniel's ass reassuringly. "You're the quickest study I know."
"Based on new evidence, I'd have to say not as quick as you," Daniel retorted
with a slight edge to his tone.
"You wouldn't believe what I've had to swallow in my time in Special Ops," Jack
"Jack?" Daniel gasped in horror, hugging him with instinctive protectiveness.
"Stuff you don't want nosy border guards to find," Jack explained with
infuriating aplomb. "I swallowed a sword one time," he confided chattily.
"Impressed the hell out of the guys I was stationed with. I made a mint off of
the naïve and credulous."
The appropriate response to this subtly directed insult was not the goofy smile
afflicting the naïve and incredulous Daniel.
"It's been a day of surprises," Jack noted philosophically when the expected
retaliation failed to materialise. "You should've pushed me off the couch for
"Stepford Daniel," Jack mused. "Gets laid, gets bored by the lexical whatsit,
farts re-fried beans on me and watches crap on TV. All this normality is
freaking me out," he announced decisively. "I want the real Daniel back."
"Is this a bad time to bring up the L-Word?"
Jack's head swivelled in Daniel's direction. He looked...scared.
"That's what I'm talking about," Jack argued, trying not to look relieved Daniel
wasn't trying to Talk to him or anything. "Snark and ambush sarcasm, that's the
real Daniel Jackson."
"Sorry." Daniel kissed the back of Jack's neck to make it better. "This whole
thing is unreal."
"You're telling me! I almost had a heart-attack when you stripped off in the
kitchen and did that come hither thing." Jack considered these exciting events.
"Come to think of it, you looked so scared I thought you might have a
"I do recall you administering mouth-to-mouth with a certain driving energy and
enthusiasm," Daniel acknowledged charitably.
"That's what I'm saying," Jack agreed modestly. "I could've waited until you
passed out from hyperventilating and stole back the beer."
"Just don't be nice to me, okay? It's weird."
"Weirder than molesting you in my kitchen?"
"You're thinking this through, aren't you?" Jack accused him.
"I wish. The whole thing defies logic or rational explanation. I can't tell you
why I did what I did. I don't even know where to start."
"Welcome to my life," Jack grinned.
"It could have been a hideous mistake," Daniel persisted, horrified by
hindsight. "I got naked on you."
"Gutsiest move I ever saw you make," Jack assured him, turning over unexpectedly
to give him a hug he failed to fight on any level. "I've seen you do a lot, but
this was way out there, Daniel."
"Are you sorry?" He held Jack more tightly. Held on.
"I'm only sorry we're out of beer."
Daniel felt better knowing he wasn't the only one in over his head. He wished he
was stronger, that he wasn't glad this was a risk Jack had only ever taken for
him. Being the only one worth this to Jack, the only man Jack saw this way, it
mattered to him. It meant a lot to him Jack was willing to work to be with him,
to step out blindly into the unknown with him.
"It would probably help if at least one of us didn't suck at relationships,"
Jack suggested with a definite twinkle.
"Or if either of us could communicate on a meaningfully emotional level," Daniel
"You can do that," Jack pointed out tactlessly. "At least, you can do it with
everyone but me. All I get are grunts and eye rolls."
Daniel closed the small gap between them to kiss Jack; a soft, questioning
stroke of lips. Jack invited him to taste, took him into his mouth to speak in
tongues, wet and deep and slow. They melted into one another, legs tangling,
gripping, while sure hands reached to mirror the pulse of their mouths in
There was a language here, one they could both understand. It was an unspoken
language, maybe not overtly acknowledged, but it was always there beneath the
surface of everything that happened between them. They felt more than they could
admit to or ever begin to adequately express; silently sharing a bone-deep
empathy, a union of minds, ideals and emotion no one else could touch. It had
saved their lives, made them whole.
"I can't keep my hands off you," Jack groaned, urgently clutching Daniel to him.
"And you're not helping. In fact, you seem to have more hands than me and they
get around, if you know what I mean. Peel yourself off, will ya?"
Daniel bit Jack's chin, sucking on the salt-tasting skin there.
"You're evil," Jack growled, quivering.
"I just think if we do this enough times, I might start to believe it's
happening," Daniel explained reasonably.
"What I'm starting to believe is your libido and my hormones are in cahoots to
"Until today, the existence of my libido was as much in question as my sense of
humour." Daniel gave Jack a soft, nibbling kiss. "Enjoy."
"I'd give anything to know why you jumped me today," Jack admitted with unusual
directness as Daniel whimsically applied himself to tufting his hair. "Why
today? Why not yesterday or last week or last year? What was it about me today
of all days that told you to go for it?"
"Now you're trying to think it through."
"And that doesn't happen often enough you can't afford not to humour me now,"
Jack retorted briskly.
"Then I guess it's because you came over to watch me do yard work," Daniel
explained hesitantly, sensing the ground begin its shift under its feet. It
happened to him so often he knew the signs. "I guess it's because I finally
figured out you don’t come over the way you do just to steal my beer and
criticise, just to watch me busting my ass figuring out from books how to make
my garden grow. You're not into watching me sweat, Jack."
Jack's face was curiously gentle, his dark eyes as soft as Daniel had ever seen
them. He was cornered by this tender warmth into taking another leap of faith.
"You're into me," he whispered breathlessly.
Jack's smile was blinding. "Didn't I say you were a quick study?" he murmured
"You could never be the one to take that risk, could you?" Daniel recognised
with sudden, grateful insight. "Because you're in command and so long as you had
any doubt what I might say to you, what I might feel, you risked abusing your
rank and my trust."
"You might have spotted this trifling difficulty sooner if you actually believed
I was the Man instead of only letting me believe I'm in charge, and then only
when you want something."
"You make it sound like I let you take the promotion," Daniel argued, at
something of a loss.
"Didn't you?" Jack asked interestedly.
"I know I said you'd take the advice of your friends..."
"Namely, you," Jack interrupted.
"But I wasn't serious."
Jack raised an extremely sceptical eyebrow.
"I wasn't completely serious," Daniel amended defensively. "Admit it, Jack," he
challenged. "You'd be disappointed if I didn't at least try to take you on. You
need me to kick your ass because no one else can. You won't let them affect you
to that degree."
"Now you look pissed." Jack looked amused.
"I am!" Daniel snapped indignantly. "Tell me how it is I'm the one who bared his
ass and his soul and you're the one who winds up getting what he wants?"
Daniel muttered discontentedly.
"I'm telling you, don't put yourself down," Jack urged. "I hoped some day you'd
buy a clue and when you do, you take ten years off my life with the shock of it.
Is it any wonder I'm grey?" He reached up to tug at the offending strands.
"It'll likely start falling out now," he grumbled.
It was going to take more than a couple of cheap compliments for Jack to get
around Daniel. Jack had to work for it. Daniel hoped this showed.
"If it's any consolation," Jack offered in a tone that suggested he was after
the opposite effect. "I don't annoy you half as much as you annoy me."
Daniel curled his lip.
Jack made with the coaxing neck rub. "Is this a good time to suggest we should
go out and shop for a bigger bed for when I come over?" He grinned at Daniel's
sudden flustered expression. "Hey, it's not just that the bed is small, ya
know?" he explained with dignity. "What little there is of it, you hog."
"You're, er, you're expecting to come over?" Daniel asked weakly. "Here?"
"I figured," Jack drawled, eyeing Daniel with amused resignation. "When you're
not at my place."
"You want to be with me? Not just with me, I mean, but – you know - with
me. You. With me."
"I've got you hooked. Stands to reason I'd want to reel you in," Jack elaborated
carefully, gathering that Daniel was paralysed with shock.
"We both suck at those," Daniel babbled. "At relationships. We suck big time."
"Daniel, you okay? You're starting to look like I feel."
"Sorry," Daniel apologised blankly. "I'm not used to life working out the way I
want, that's all."
"Do you have any idea how often you sucker punch me with stuff like that?" Jack
"Do you have any idea why we work? Why this relationship, our friendship, is the
only one either of us has gotten right?" Daniel asked intensely.
"Honestly, I try not to think about it," Jack admitted frankly. "Freaks me out."
"Things have changed for us, you know. It's going to be harder for me to kick
your ass the way you deserve when I want to take a bite out of it."
Jack blinked at this.
"I might find myself being nice to you for no reason. Or at least for one kind
of obvious reason," Daniel corrected himself conscientiously.
"Just so long as you keep using me for sex, I'll be brave about the rest of it,"
Jack promised magnanimously.
"You can come over." Daniel swallowed hard. "I'm okay with you coming over."
"Being in the same building will probably work out for us when we feel like
having sex," Jack noted agreeably.
"I wish I knew why I like you as much as I do," Daniel mourned when he couldn't
find any kind of comeback to that.
"I've been asking myself the same question for years." Jack hugged Daniel until
he squawked, then kissed him very hard on the mouth. "Now, either feed me, or
get back to the part where you were talking about biting my ass."
Jack O'Neill had been addicted to Daniel Jackson for years. He hadn't developed
an immunity so much as he liked to think he'd learned over time to be a
functional junkie. So long as he got his regular fix, he let the rest of the
world get by in one piece.
Unfortunately, this latest evolution of the Jackson – happy Daniel, the
one whose big blue eyes followed Jack as if he were this totally hot, totally,
magnetically amazing man, was hitting his system like a jolt of pure mainlined
Jack's fantasy of Daniel coming to his senses and being willing to quietly get
it on with him wasn't working out quite as he'd intended. Keeping it low-key,
keeping it real – in his mind, that translated to keeping them safe. It wasn't
lack of feeling, not on his part; he just refused to be the latest in an
unfailing line of hard kicks to the 'nads of Daniel's battered optimism.
Daniel's definition of what was safe with Jack scared the shit out of him. He
had never expected to puncture Daniel's hard-won veneer of properly grown-up
pragmatic cynicism and find the sweet, gentle, passionate kid he'd fallen for
bubbling out to adore him.
Since it was a matter of honour for Daniel to not even let himself laugh at
Jack's jokes in case that could be construed as encouragement or something, Jack
could be forgiven for never suspecting Daniel's opinion of him was this high.
From the moment Daniel had kissed him as if he were every damned thing in the
world to him, Jack felt as if he'd been clubbed in the heart as well as the
That edge of Daniel's rubbed right off and Jack was the one who was hooked.
Didn't register in Jack's vocabulary, God help him, not when Daniel was 'okay'
with him coming over to have sex and...stuff. From anyone else, this was a
burning bush. This was walking barefoot over hot coals or broken glass.
Lingering out on the deck through a glorious sunset and a gargantuan dinner of
hot dogs and French fries, Jack had to admit Daniel wasn't the only one feeling
unreal here. Out of nowhere, they'd plummeted to nakedness-with-intent and
couldn't shake the sense they were still falling.
Still, freefall or not, Jack was having a hoot.
"Want another root beer?" Daniel offered hospitably.
"Sure," Jack accepted easily.
"Get me a refill while you're at it, okay?" Smirking, Daniel closed his eyes and
made a show of settling back contentedly on his lounger.
"Bite me," Jack invited, deciding he couldn't be too obvious where Daniel, now
officially inexperienced with both genders, was concerned.
Daniel's face twitched.
"Ah, you're all talk," Jack bitched, collapsing on his own lounger.
"This feels good," Daniel murmured softly, lifting his face towards the last
heat of the dying sun.
"Yeah, it does," Jack agreed complacently. "We probably should've hung out more
before we started in on the whole sex thing."
"If we had, what would we have done together?"
"Sure you do. Stuff. Guy stuff."
"The kind of stuff you're always complaining I don't like and won't do?"
"Maybe you're right," Daniel admitted unexpectedly, showing scary signs of
taking Jack seriously. "Because of the extreme experiences we've shared, we know
each other better than maybe two people should, yet at the same time, by any
normal societal standard, we don't know each other at all," he explained with
frightening earnestness. "You know?"
Daniel swung around his legs and sat on the edge of his lounger, leaning forward
until he was practically within kissing distance.
"I don't know!" Jack insisted vigorously as he leaned forward too.
"If we were two average guys working in an office, we'd know more about each
other than we do," Daniel argued stubbornly. "You'd know stuff like my favourite
"There's a sport you like?" Jack marvelled. "Damn. I feel like Santa just came
down the chimney."
"Maybe I live for sports and I've just been snowing you for years because I
can," Daniel retorted briskly. "My point is, if we were hooking up at the
water cooler or hanging out in the lunch room every day, you'd know. What
else would there be to talk about? Not life or death, not the fate of the planet
or all mankind. If you nine-to-five it for a career, either you talk about the
paperwork you push or you get into stuff like which team you support, what you
watch on TV, the car you only wish you were driving, your favourite colour."
Daniel's tone suggested the alternative to this was descent into madness. It was
kind of fun he had this rich little vein of innocent prejudice to be mined.
"It wouldn't matter if you were hooking up at the water cooler in an office
building downtown or on the peltak of a Goa'uld mother ship," Jack grinned,
surrendering without hesitation to ignoble impulse. "Trust me, some guy asks
your favourite colour, he wants in your pants."
"That was just a random example," Daniel snapped irritably.
"Your favourite colour."
Daniel made the same sort of face Jack's mechanic did every time his truck got
"Mine's peridot," Jack explained helpfully.
"This is exactly what I'm talking about!" Daniel ruffled up. "It's impossible
for us to have a normal, regular conversation without our essential
personalities asserting themselves and dragging us off down these insane
"Usually at your instigation."
"You do your fair share of deflection and obfuscation," Daniel countered
"Daniel, you know less about what goes on in a downtown office building than you
do about life on Mars."
"I've never been to Mars," Daniel objected.
"You've swung past it a couple of times, and that's more than you can say for
the Colorado Springs business district."
Unwilling to concede this point, Daniel pissily scuffed his toes against Jack's.
"Ever notice how argumentative our essential smartass personalities are?" Jack
"My point is," Daniel firmly attempted to assert conversational control.
"Never thought you lost sight of it for a second."
"Maybe you don't know what sport or car or TV show I like, but I don't know what
you read," Daniel said darkly, scowling at Jack. "I don't know if what you see
on your TV or read in your newspaper moves you. I only know you obsess over a
cartoon and make an ass of yourself with the cryptic crosswords."
"So what you're saying here is you think I have depths as well-concealed as your
shallows?" Jack asked facetiously.
"That's exactly what I'm saying." Daniel fought it, but a smile got away from
him. It was just Jack's manly charm getting the better of him again.
"Just so long as I get in your pants at the end of it," Jack warned
emphatically. "You like those earth tones," he added, mostly because he could.
"You know, you volunteered your favourite colour to Emmett Bregman." Daniel's
eyes danced with sudden demure devilry. "Does that mean you wanted to get in his
Daniel was more startled than Jack intended when he lunged in for a punishing
kiss, pushing at Jack's shoulders to fend him off.
"Should you do that?" Daniel looked around nervously. "Out here?"
Jack looked around too. There was nothing visible from the street out front to
indicate the house had two storeys, but the ground dropped away either side of
the house and the deck made a large balcony outside of Daniel's bedroom. The
yard below was levelled off, reached from the deck by a steep flight of stairs
down. Daniel's jeep was parked in a wide gravelled bay at the foot of the
garden. It wasn't a road connecting the houses either side so much as a track.
On one side, the garden was bordered by towering cypress trees, on the other,
leafy bushes. The couple living on that side of Daniel could probably see
something if they peered out their bedroom window looking for cheap gay thrills,
but mostly, all you could see out here were mountains and sky.
It was a sweet spot.
Jack leaned in close. "I think we’re okay," he said confidentially before
grabbing Daniel and kissing him hard.
"I'm just trying to say you don't have to worry about me being discreet," Daniel
persisted, looking slightly depressed. "And it's not only because of the Air
Force. We have to live in this town." He stretched out a leg to rub between
Jack's, wanting the intimacy. "Forget about Jaffa," he muttered. "We're
surrounded by Soldiers of Christ." He looked at Jack. "Doesn't the irony of it
strike you? The Air Force setting up Stargate Command, irrefutable proof of the
existence of teeming extraterrestrial life, not in Roswell but in the heart of
What Jack wanted to strike him wasn't irony. He figured the best response to
living in Evangelical Central was to bare two butts and moon it. Sex. It was
symbolic or something. Daniel let out a very satisfactory yelp when Jack yanked
him to his feet and hauled him bodily into the house.
"You've already poked around my underwear drawer," he said lightly, ruthlessly
interrupting Daniel's distressingly verbose annihilation of his alleged alpha
rutting instincts. "If you want, next time you come over, you can poke around my
bookshelves." The responsive silence was magical. "I keep 'em in my bedroom, you
know." Wide-eyed and speculative, Daniel followed him like a lamb.
"It's a short drive," Daniel commented persuasively, putting both hands on
Jack's ass. "We could be there in fifteen, twenty minutes."
"More like half an hour, forty-five minutes," Jack corrected matter-of-factly,
pulling Daniel into the promised land and steering him for the bed.
"Oh." Daniel tried without much success to drag his mind out of the library as
Jack efficiently disposed of their t-shirts. "Sex again?"
"What gave it away?" Jack reached for Daniel's zipper. Their jeans were more or
less around their ankles when Jack hesitated and took hold of Daniel's hips,
rubbing his thumbs over the alluring points of bone. Daniel liked the feel of
this and promptly tried it out on Jack. "I read National Geographic," Jack said
flatly. "I watch C-SPAN. I care about what we do to the world and what we do to
each other. I care about politics because I know what it takes to enforce peace
and I know my enemies aren’t always on what the TV news would call the other
side. I care enough I'll fight. Okay?"
"Okay," Daniel said meekly. "I can actually play hockey and I like lifting
weights. I veg out when the baseball is on, I'm addicted to ER, I have the
X-Files on DVD and my hero is Stewie from Family Guy. And I read National
"Are you any good at hockey?"
"I'm better than you."
"Shut up and kiss me."
They didn't try for grace, landing on the bed with a perilous bounce that almost
left them on the floor. Pinning Jack's shoulders, Daniel kissed him gladly;
fierce, agile tongue pistoning deep, deliberately making Jack crazy. Daniel was
rock hard and begging, legs clamped either side of Jack's, his hips bucking
He was amazing.
Jack had never been with anyone more open, more honest in bed. Daniel knew
nothing of games or power plays; he knew only that he liked Jack to touch him,
he wanted Jack on him and he worked desperately hard to please when they made
love. Every part of Jack he could reach, he worshipped fearlessly with hands and
hips, with cock, mouth and body.
Moaning his head off as they kissed deeply and wetly, touched everywhere at once
with shaking, sweaty hands, shuddering bodies pounding together, Daniel had no
idea how good he looked to Jack or how alive, how energised he made him feel.
Jack just filled up his senses. Daniel was high on Jack, coming on Jack in a
splash of heat and groaned, wordless emotion.
Exhausted and aching, he wanted to rest on Jack, brushing kisses across his
throat and his face, stroking his arms and his flanks. His tired, satisfied face
lit up when Jack captured his mouth tenderly and said what he needed to say in a
velvet glide of tongues.
Daniel sighed, a pleasing sound of tensions seeping from him. He dropped his
head, nuzzling into Jack's shoulder, happy to have Jack hold him. "Will you
stay?" he asked drowsily, assuming Jack would.
"Will you tuck me in?"
"Read you a bedtime story?"
"Bite my ass?"
This got him a sleepy chuckle and a vengeful bite at his shoulder.
Jack would stay. He'd cut and run for years whenever he got too close or Daniel
got too close. He was long past that. Waiting for Daniel – that was one of the
reasons he stepped up and took promotion. The Man got to come home at night; he
got to keep Daniel home.
He had no doubts about his value to the Stargate programme or what they'd give
to keep him. If he was watched, if he was caught, he was sure expedience
dictated the President and the Joint Chiefs would simply look away. Bottom line
was, Jack delivered. By luck or by judgement, he gave the Pentagon more than
other leader could. So long as he kept right on confounding their expectations,
then worst-case scenario, he was looking at resigning from the Air Force and
leading the SGC as a civilian. That was a breeze, that was nothing, so long as
he had Daniel with him.
Daniel was courageous enough to depend on Jack, to let down his defences and
show how he felt. Jack wasn't going to repay that hard-won trust by sneaking
home in the early hours to cover his own ass. He wasn't ashamed of having who he
wanted most. If Daniel was right about the need for discretion in this town,
that was all the care Jack was prepared to take. He was willing to keep their
lives private; he was not willing to lie or deny Daniel.
Jack rolled onto his side, sending Daniel slithering grumpily into the sheets.
He radiated offence for at least two seconds before clamping happily onto Jack
The air was heavy with the smells of sex and hot skin. Jack was more than ready
to just lie here and enjoy, take his time with Daniel. He suspected it might
take his lifetime to figure out why only Daniel's body filled his cock. Strong,
sleek and sculpted; muscular and erotically masculine, only Daniel could arouse
him. Only this one man. And he had even less idea what it was about him that got
Daniel so itchy in an only-Jack-could-scratch way.
Jack missed the boy in the handsome face he caressed. He missed the prettiness,
the innocent charm that had first snared him. His attraction had been easier to
deal with, easier to hide behind humour and protectiveness. He'd found the boy
again today, given Daniel a new challenge to explore in living the good suburban
life. Daniel's only true experience of intimacy, his only sexual relationship,
was right out of the pages of a tragic sci-fi soap opera. Boy meets alien slave
girl. Boy loses alien slave girl. Boy searches the heavens for alien slave girl
and finally gets her back only to have her die in his arms. So, yeah. Maybe it
was the worst kind of Harlequin romance cliché, but that didn’t make it any less
It kind of fit their lives – those essential characters of theirs Daniel was so
insistent on – that they sucked at every other relationship than this one. This
was the only one that shouldn't work. Life being the contrary, killing bitch it
was, of course it worked for them. It had to, because nothing else did.
Daniel was totally, utterly out of his depth and loving every second of it. He
loved everything he needed answers for. He would learn Jack and learn sex, beat
the maze of this new relationship of theirs the way he beat everything – with
grit, determination, incessant talking and nagging persistence. Daniel never
could just take what life dished out; he never quit until life was what he made
Life for him now had Jack in it, in every part of it. Daniel would tear down,
make room, make sense, build up – and he'd be looking to Jack all the way, stand
at Jack's shoulder because he could again admit this was where he needed to be.
"Think I could come over tomorrow night?" Jack asked lazily.
"Lounge on my deck?"
"Jack?" Daniel slid closer to take wheedling, sinful advantage of Jack's mouth
as the deal was struck. "If I lay off those re-fried beans, will you kiss my
Feedback makes the difference between
writing and posting; please contact me at
Oh, gosh. There's no way to get through
this without sounding whiny and needy but...here goes!
I feel absolutely terrible about this, but owing to a snafu in the
administration settings of my email, I haven't received any feedback since some
time early-ish in August. I would never have even noticed if not for posting a
story this week and not getting a single comment. Could be this was just a
really terrible story, but usually I hear from a *few* people ;)
Anyway, my apologies if you sent me feedback recently and never heard word one
from me. The email account was accepting emails. It just wasn't keeping them.
They never made it into my inbox, let alone my email software.
Like I said, no way to mention this without sounding like a drain on your
critical faculties but I wanted people to know I wasn't being intentionally
rude! I just never heard from you.
So sorry :(
Crawling back under me rock now...