I jump violently as Jack's voice lashes out from behind me. A
moment later powerful arms are hugging me forcefully back to
him, literally lifting me off my feet, urgently dragging me back
inside the apartment. Jack releases me so abruptly I stumble,
then lunges over to slam the balcony door closed.
His hands are trembling.
"Jesus!" he snarls, turning on me. "What the hell were you
"I was just trying to understand, Jack," I reply softly. "Trying
to process the feelings that took me out there in the first
place." I barely remember my Light-induced suicide attempt. I
don't feel I owe Jack an apology for attempting to understand
all of this, to make such a defining and yet frustratingly vague
experience real. If I don't learn something from it, if it
doesn't take me forward as a person, then what was the point of
it? I don't want to bury it, as much as Jack would like me to. I
want to grow.
Jack's eyes are forbidding in a wintry face. "The withdrawal
took you out there."
End of discussion? I don't think so, Jack.
"The withdrawal amplified feelings that already existed within
us. It didn't create them," I chide him gently. I'm beginning to
frame those feelings, to understand maybe I haven't dealt with
my failures – my many failures, large and small, important or
personal – and losses so well as I'd like to think.
Burying memories and feelings isn't the same as dealing with
them. Isn't this what the monk on Kheb, Oma Desala, Shifu and
even my own subconscious have been trying to tell me? Dreams
teach, Shifu told me. My attempt at suicide is like a dream.
It's no more real to me than that, but I am going to learn from
I am going to effect change in myself.
Jack doesn't want to hear it. Doesn't want to be reminded of an
experience he'll scarcely speak to me about, even though he can
hardly deny I have the right to know. In fact, he shudders away
from the implications of my suicide attempt and from me as I
push him to help me understand it. His eyes shift past me to the
door, he takes a single step forward. "There's no - "
I stand in his path. "Stay." I make a request but the man before
me seemingly hears a command. Jack freezes for a moment, then
steps back. Away from me. I follow, coming close to him. Too
close for Jack. Way too close for him when I lay a gentle hand
on his shoulder, my skin feeling distractingly warm against his
neck. "Please. I'm trying to make sense of what happened here
and I need your help for that, Jack. I'm failing, because I'm
thinking my way through an experience I should be feeling. I
don't remember, I only know what you told me." Only the bare
facts, the minimum he could get away with telling, not anything
of what Jack thought I was doing or feeling or what I made him
It all goes away.
Jack is forcing me to work for the meaning of all of this alone.
He won't face what happened to me and he won't help me to face
It scares me that only the light touch of skin on skin is enough
to hold him here with me when he wants to go. Jack is lost right
now, as lost as I am, and he's denying it with every fibre of
his being. He's desperate for the feelings which led me onto the
balcony to have been solely due to the withdrawal so he can
avoid dealing with his own. He's so filled with anger and
concern for me it hurts me to see it. I want to help him too.
We're friends. What we're feeling, what we're trying to
understand, we should be sharing. We should be in this together.
"You're wearing exactly what you were wearing the last time,"
Jack capitulates wearily.
I didn't know. No wonder he overreacted. "I'm sorry, Jack. That
wasn't an intentional choice. I really don't remember," I
apologise remorsefully. I wear these clothes a lot at home.
They're comfortable; there's nothing more to it than that.
"I need a drink," he growls.
"Coffee or tea, juice or milk?"
"Single malt or beer," Jack contradicts.
I sigh. None of those will help him at all. They're just more
forms of avoidance. "Wine?" I've got a little Chardonnay left,
not enough to get either of us drunk.
Jack prowls along behind me towards the kitchen. I feel the
weight of his concentrated regard playing across my back, just
as I've felt it the whole three weeks we were stranded in the
haunted Goa'uld palace on P4X-347. Just as I've watched him.
I've seen the anger roiling in him, stronger than any
Light-induced 'high', the depths of his concern for me, an
intensity of thought and feeling he couldn't disguise.
And I've seen other things. Finally opened my eyes to reality.
It took neither of us being able to get away from the other, no
matter how much we may have wanted to, for me to finally begin
to question that strange edge to our friendship these past
months. We've both had to work at what was always at its core
easy and natural for us. No matter how much we might argue and
disagree, the foundation of our friendship has always been
solid. And then from what felt like nowhere to me, we were both
having to work at it. We didn't have the luxury any longer of
simply accepting we were friends despite all the odds against
it; we had to work to maintain our friendship despite those
odds. We didn't always succeed too well.
Now I can see it. Jack wants. Jack desires. His need is eating
him alive because he won't, or perhaps he can't, face feeling
this way for me.
I've had to face it for us both. I was no more ready to accept
Jack desired me than apparently Jack is to feel that desire. Our
addiction to the Light has forced to the surface emotions I at
least wasn't consciously aware of, and now we're both bitterly
aware, Jack is refusing to even acknowledge he has feelings for
me, let alone act on them.
Three interminable weeks, trapped in what amounted to a prison.
Luxuriously appointed, filled with treasures from the past, but
still, to all intents and purposes, a prison. Weeks filled with
work and purpose, and the careful mending of fences with Sam.
Careful because we neither of us acknowledged they had ever been
broken. Our team began to reconnect. Yet they were also weeks
filled with Jack, trying to avoid me, failing, returning to my
side again and again. Watching over me. Watching me. Wanting me.
Not trusting himself or me enough to open up about it.
I had too much time to think there, too much quietude; too much
of Jack, his unique, compelling presence flowing over me,
filling me in ways I wasn't prepared for. There have been so few
occasions this past year when our friendship has been as strong,
as uncomplicated as it can be between us. That time in Chicago
lingers, warm and clear in my memory. A time when Jack had made
a consistent, conscious effort to make things right between us,
culminating in that insight, that inclusion in his private life,
making me a part of his family, in however small a way.
Everything was right between us, then. We've stayed close but
there's always this hint of effort from Jack, this –
consciousness – of his I could never quite fathom.
I'm sorry for it now. I want to help Jack as much as I want to
help myself. I wish I'd seen the trouble he was in sooner than I
did. I'd give anything to have made it easier for him to accept
what he was starting to want from me. If I hadn't been so
oblivious then, maybe it wouldn't be so hard for us to be honest
with each other now.
Jack can't read my mind. How is he supposed to know whether I'm
dumb and blind or seeing him just fine and wishing he'd get over
himself already? I haven't given him anything.
The events provoked by my withdrawal from addiction proved how
hard I've made things for both of us, how difficult I've made
our friendship. The withdrawal from the unnatural high of Light
broke down my defences and overturned all my comfortable
assumptions. I didn't just begin to see Jack's feelings had
changed and deepened, I began to question my own.
I'm not good at this. Love – it's one of those things that 'go
away' for me. I struggle to hold on to the people who care for
me. My friendship with Jack is the strongest, the most enduring
relationship of my life. I couldn't bear to lose Jack but when I
think of having more than friendship, of being allowed to
express my affection for him openly – I want to be able to love
him. I want Jack to want me. To need me. I want Jack to love me.
I think he does. I hope he does, but I don't feel it. I don't
know it. I'm not sure of anything. Intellect has brought me to
this point, but feeling must take me to Jack.
I understand what holds him locked in this stasis, unable to
deny his feelings yet equally unable to own to or act on them.
He was a husband and a father. Though Jack isn't an overtly
prejudiced man, is in fact a man I believe could see beyond
gender to become my lover, I can understand how hard it would be
for him to relinquish hopes of ever again becoming a husband and
father. I've lost my wife too, and I know how hard it was for me
to accept her loss, to know I would never marry again.
Jack is also a principled man, with a strong sense of duty, who
embraces responsibility, whose instinct first and foremost is to
protect. I know he belongs in the uniform he wears and I do
understand the commitment he's made to the Air Force. I know he
feels himself to be responsible for me. I don't think he would
ever act on his feelings, for fear he was breaking faith with me
not just as his friend, but as a member of the team he leads.
So I think I must act on my feelings. I must trust Jack to be
honest, once he sees that he can be, that it's safe for him to
love me and more than that, it's welcomed.
It's not an easy decision. I've never seduced another person,
never kissed a man, never been held intimately by any man except
Jack. Only Jack has ever had the temerity to barge through my
defences as if they don't exist, to hold me close to him, touch
me with all his insouciant, confident charm. Over time, I've
grown accustomed. I've grown to welcome his touch, even to look
for it. His warmth, the strength and reality of his friendship
have always felt safe to me. I've always turned willingly to
The very thought of Jack's hands upon me now fills me with
fierce longing and intense desire tinged by dread. Fear of the
unknown. Fear of rejection. Fear for Jack, that he won't be able
to live with a choice I'm making for him. One of us has to do
something. We can't go on as we are, not able to go back to the
simpler friendship we had, but not willing to take the risk of
opening up to each other and deepening it either.
Jack can't do this so I think I have to. I know the risks and
hard as all of this is, I know Jack is worth it to me. He'll
either love me with all his heart and soul, or never forgive me.
We'll have it all, or I guess we'll have nothing. I only know I
can't bear to lose what may be my only chance to be with him
because I was too scared to try to change us or reach for
something more than we have.
He's leaning against the bench beside me, this man I've fallen
in love with, filling every inch of this space with his
presence; filling me.
"Daniel?" Jack's soft voice, softer touch, feather light on my
cold fingers as he patiently takes the bottle and glass from me;
pours us a little wine. "Hell, I curl up and die when I have to
get in touch with my feelings." His tone is light,
self-deprecating. "I'm not exactly nature's choice for
sympathetic listener, here."
"Were you afraid when you found out me there?" I ask him
quietly. I'm afraid. I'm more afraid than I've been since
Sha'uri was taken from me, afraid to take this leap of faith.
Afraid I'll lose him forever. Afraid he'll love me back and I
won't be able to hide from him what I've hidden so well from
others. I do worry that I'm a small person, disconnected from
the people around me and having to work insanely hard to
maintain the few real relationships I have. I'm a loner and as
cliché as that may sound, it's real to me. I do best alone. As
friend and lover, Jack, being Jack, will not rest until he's
reached the very heart of me. Until he knows all of me. I hope
he won't be the less for knowing. I hope that my reaching out to
him now, making this stand for us, will count for something.
Jack steadily pours the second glass of wine. He precisely
places the bottle on the counter and takes a measured sip from
his glass. He pulls a face. "Dry."
"Jack?" I prompt, when he refuses to break the drawn-out,
"Afraid?" Jack echoes. "You want to know? You really want to
I nod, swallow convulsively, pilloried by suddenly harsh eyes
and his harsher tone. It's hard on Jack, so very hard, but I
can't, I cannot throw myself at him without the faintest sign he
won't just let me fall.
"I choked," he snarls. "Big, macho, tough-guy hero choked. All
that training, experience - nothing. You needed me and I had
nothing for you. I was making it worse, making it harder on you.
You saved yourself, Daniel. I couldn't pull you back from the
edge. You came back to me. I could only move when it was all
I flinch back from his savage self-condemnation, horrified he
could put himself down like this. If I know anything, it's that
Jack has the power to reach me. He's had me since we met. How
can he not know this?
"There was nothing I could do. I had to talk and I had nothing I
could say to you, no way I could think to reach you. You tell me
if I was afraid." Jack tosses back his wine, slams the glass
down; he's flushed, furious.
With himself? With me?
"You're still afraid," I recognise, boldly closing the gap
between us even though my heart is in my throat. Jack leans back
with studied casualness against the counter, as if my movement
and his aren't in any way connected.
"Don't," Jack warns me, low-voiced and cool. "Don't start with
"I didn't come back on my own," I say gently, inexorably, urging
him to see the truth with me. "You know what brought me back."
His hands shoot out, clench painfully into my shoulders as he
holds me away from him. Holds and then can't let go. Jack's
livid face pales when I curl my hands around his forearms,
slowly slide up to cover his hands, exulting in the feel of taut
muscle trembling beneath my palms, the breadth of bone, the
warmth of his skin.
Such a simple act, but already I'm flushing. He's so beautiful,
so heedless. A pang of desire slams through me, fierce,
exultant. I want him. God, how I want him. No abstract thought
or imagining, this. Real and true and devastating. I'm feeling
this. Knowing this.
I can't be the only one burning for connection. I can't.
I wrench forward, break Jack's grip long enough to reach him.
Ignore the sickening thud of my heart, my terror. I see him,
only him. Feel him. The arch of his jaw beneath my clutching
fingers, thin lips firm and unyielding beneath mine for the few
seconds it takes him to adjust, defend, push me away. Shut me
"What the hell!" Jack howls in astonished anger.
I'm as pale as he, shocked as he. Thwarted as he. If I were any
other man - Jack has never knowingly raised his hand to me and
he can't do it now as much as he might want to.
Am I wrong? I can't be wrong. I was blind before, but not now.
Jack's anger melts to kindness. Pity.
A rough hand cups my head. Shakes me.
"You're confused, is all. Don't sweat it, Daniel."
Kind voice. Kind face. He's fast. Damnably quick to find his
balance, attack. Quickest of all when he's attacking from a
position of weakness. I'm not wrong. I'm not. Jack's eyes aren't
kind. Jack's eyes are dying.
Going to be so much harder this time. Kissing him again. He'll
break me or take me. No choice, the way I'm planning to kiss
him. God, I hope I can do it. I hope I'm strong enough.
I permit him to lead me to my couch, permit him to treat me like
a hurt, confused child. I stand, passive, until Jack realises
I'm not going to sit without intervention.
Is this an ambush I'm planning? A feint? I don't know the
terminology. I'm only hiding in plain sight.
"You're in shock. I'm calling Doc Fraiser," he decides.
He's not 'choking' on me now. He's dealing. Stuffing me back
into my allotted place in his life while he takes refuge in
being the colonel, the guy-in-charge. Hiding behind the security
of giving and taking orders and knowing his place and yours in
precise relation to everyone else. That comfortable discipline
and regimented certainty are Jack's comfort zone.
Coming closer. Hands gentle on my shoulders this time. Urging me
My fingers tangle in his hair this time, pulling him to me,
pulling him down as I tumble, off-balance, sprawling beneath his
weight. Not fast enough, O'Neill. Not this time. I hold him with
arms and legs and vehement lips. No room for the colonel here.
Give me Jack. I want Jack. I love him. Fight to the death for
him. Fighting now. Kissing him.
I writhe beneath Jack, groaning, shuddering from the betraying
fury of his arousal, hard against me, driving against me, beyond
the 'colonel's' control. Beyond mine. I raise my head and steal
his lips as his heat and weight and strength overwhelm me. He's
fighting the kiss even as his hips grind down, rock, thrust. A
harsh, staccato coupling, this. Wild, resistant, clumsy. Jack is
all wanton, focused demand. It's all about his body, mine. His
arms hook around my shoulders, hold me still as the power of his
thrusts jolts through me. He shudders, grunting with effort as
we strain furiously into each other. Both of us sweat-soaked,
passion-flushed, exhausted, trembling.
Out of our minds.
I feel utter frustration when I come, far too soon. I can't find
the connection. I can't reach him.
Jack goes absolutely still above me, poised on the brink. "I
love you." He tears the kiss from me, tongue plunging
ferociously into my mouth. Wrenches free. "God. Love you." He
grimaces, teeth clenching. "Daniel," he grinds out desperately,
hips spasming violently against me as he comes, finally, in
deadly silence, and collapses over me, burying his face in my
"Sorry. I'm so sorry." I hold him close to me, soothing him as
much as shaking hands and ghosting after-shocks of pleasure
permit. "I didn't mean to hurt you, Jack." I wrap myself around
him even more tightly, nuzzling my face into his hair. "I love
you, Jack. I love you."
"Shit. Shit. Shit! Daniel."
"No." Jack lifts his head suddenly and finally looks at me. "I'm
"Don't be. I was the one doing all the pushing." I knew the
risks and accepted them and I was right to do it if it means he
can be this honest. He loves me, he can't take that back. I
won't let him shut down on me again.
"What made you do it?" Jack asks softly as he rolls us onto our
sides and cradles me close, one long denim-clad leg draping
heavily over mine. The air lies heavy with the musk of arousal
and drying semen. "Talk about coming out of left field," he puns
"I wanted to make it easy for you." My voice is trembling just a
little. Reaction I guess. "I thought if you knew, that it was
okay, I felt the same?" What just happened between us was a lot
of things, but easy is not among them.
"The shit-hot animalistic sex kind of swallowed the words whole,
Daniel." Jack is wry, but he's holding me a little tighter, a
little closer. "You had no idea what you do to me. Now you do.
Possibly," his beautiful mouth twists, "no, definitely the best
sex I've ever had. Home run. Touchdown. He shoots, he scores.
Not what you were shooting for, huh? I'm guessing something warm
and civilised, where I wasn't coming in my pants before I
admitted what a selfish, confused bastard I am for falling in
love with you. Am I in the right neighbourhood, here?"
"You need to fire your realtor," I snap, letting my irritation
show. A lot of this semen is mine. "I'm pissed because I didn't
Jack snorts stunned laughter, a lot of his defensiveness
deserting him. There's a limit to how stupid he'll knowingly and
"I never had another man touch me. Only you. I didn't come into
this with expectations, but if I'm frustrated now, it's only
because I want more from you. I want you to open up to me." I've
never gotten intimate without an honest attempt at permanence.
Never really been carried away by shit-hot animalistic anything.
"So tell me, Daniel," Jack invites me. "Have you ever even been
attracted to a man, and if the answer is still only me, how long
exactly has this been going on?"
I know where he's going with this. Oh, I know. My skin is so
hot, flavoured and scented with Jack. I'm cold inside.
Determined. "Since P4X-347," I snap, not about to let him get
away with this.
"Since you got high and then went cold turkey. Died. Went back
to the planet and got high again. So-oo?" Jack drawls, his
meaning very clear to me. "Maybe you haven't gone through the
full twelve step programme."
"You bastard." I pull away, fall off the couch and on my ass,
shaking too much to get up, stay put, glaring up at him. "Get
out of here. Go home. If that's all the value you place on
yourself - it - it doesn't matter what you think of me." I take
a deep, steadying breath. "God, I should be used to it by now.
The constant battle to get you to extend to me any of the faith
you automatically put in them." Sam and Teal'c, I mean. "You
don't love me. You can't. You don't have any respect for me."
"Of course I do. Don't be -"
"Tell me one time you ever took me on faith, Jack. Just one."
Jack shoots me an irritated 'indulge the kid until he's making
sense' look. "Kheb."
"You dropped your weapon like a hot brick," I agree softly. Jack
starts to relax. "Right after Master Bra'tac said you should.
I'll see you Kheb and raise you the quantum mirror."
Jack does not like what he sees in his immediate future. Me.
"Riddle me this, Jack. Just how, exactly, did I get a wound in
my shoulder, stuck in the middle of an abandoned complex where
the Stargate was the only way in or out? Miss Scarlet with the
staff weapon in the locked room?"
He's absolutely fucking furious now but I'm just getting warmed
up here. He is not pulling this on me. I won't allow it! 'It's
not that we don't believe you, Daniel. It's just that we don't
believe you.' 'On a good day, you can be a little flaky.' 'Shut
up, Daniel. Too subtle for you?' He's said all of this to me and
more. How many times have I been right? How many times has he?
"I can't believe you have the gall to hide behind this crap!"
I do make it to my feet this time. "Just go, Jack. Leave." I
point at my front door. "There's no point in you staying right
now. Not if it's easier for you try to believe the withdrawal
triggered this, that it's something inconsequential I'm going to
get over real soon, than for you to accept we could fall in
love." I'm really, really going to need some time to figure out
how to fight back on this one. Stalking him sexually on a daily
basis for months and months is not my first choice for
convincing him my feelings are not conveniently going to go
"Did you stop to think how your denial would make me feel?" I
rally a bit. "Because it only works if we both believe you!"
"This is how it reads to me, Jack. I'm not enough for you. Not
worth a leap of faith, not worth the commitment. Not even
because I'm a man, right? Just because I'm me."
I march over to my bathroom door. I'm exceedingly angry at
having to have this deeply humiliating argument when I'm
standing here with a damp spot at my crotch because neither of
us could wait long enough to undress before we had sex. His come
and mine. Why can't that be all the answer he needs to his
feelings and mine?
"I see you clearly, Jack. I wish you could see me."
I was prepared to accept he didn't love me and I thought he was
worth taking the risk regardless. To find out he does love me
and he's too afraid to admit it, even now, after what we just
did together on the couch, it's too much for me. I could smack
him one! I desperately need some time to regroup before I go
after his cowardly ass again.
I stalk into my bathroom and start the shower, running the water
as hot as I'll be able to stand it.
"Daniel! For God's sake!"
I hear Jack storming around the apartment, venting his temper on
anything stupid enough to get in his way. It occurs to me he
can't leave in his current condition. He might be the most
infuriatingly obtuse and stubborn man who ever lived, but that's
no excuse for poor hospitality. I'm not mean enough to send him
home soaked with semen. He'll need some fresh clothes and the
shower before he can go, which frankly can't be soon enough for
Gratefully, I peel off my sticky clothes and toss them in the
hamper. The bathroom is blessedly warm and I sit shivering with
reaction on the toilet for a while, listening to Jack apparently
destroying my wilfully uncooperative kitchen, possibly in lieu
I can smell him on my skin. A spicy tang that torments, whispers
of what's going to be denied me for months, unless he starts
acting like a mature, responsible adult.
Defeat is not in my vocabulary. Death hasn't slowed me down and
I'm not about to let Jack get away with it either. I am not
going to get upset here. I am going to stay good and angry
instead. If I end up in a sodden heap of humiliated misery, it
won't be anywhere near him.
Determinedly, I wrap myself in my towel and stalk back out into
my dining room, ready to be mad again the moment I've discharged
my duties as host, offering him whatever clothes he likes to get
him home. If Jack showers first, I can get him out of here
I freeze in my tracks. Jack is slugging back his birthday
present, right out of the extremely expensive bottle. $180 worth
of expensive, to be exact. He has the Middleton's Very Rare in
one hand and my phone in the other, tersely ordering a cab. It's
Irish malt. It was specially imported for me. For him. Supposed
to be special. A gift to him and one he's just helped himself
to, without asking, without even seeing what he's taking. It's
there, so he's having it. Unlike me. Is he trying to piss me
"Jack!" I snap.
"I need something to wear," he snaps back, "then I'm outta
He hasn't deigned to make eye contact. Why? Too mortified to
look his best friend in the eye because he just did me,
resoundingly, right there on the couch, didn't even get naked
"Take this!" I holler, making him jump. I yank off my towel and
hold it out on one hooked finger. Jack freezes, gaping at me
standing defiantly naked in front of him.
Look all you want, buster. You don't get to touch.
Jack looks absolutely terrified. His mouth is opening and
closing but no sound is coming out. I've never seen him so
utterly at a loss. Curling my lip, and justifiably proud of the
fact I haven't bolted or – or anything – I drop the towel to the
Jack's jaw drops with it and then he drops the phone. He stares
at me. Blatantly.
I'm conscious of a growing heat in my face. Throat. Chest.
Blushing. Defiantly naked and blushing. I attempt to ameliorate
the effect by tilting my chin and since I don't know what to do
with my hands, I clamp them on my hips to stop him seeing the
tremors. Being scared is getting old. I hope my paralysed
immobility is coming off as confident haughtiness, rather than
the fact my legs no longer appear to be functional.
Jack is still staring. Darkening, glazed eyes tracking over
every single part of me, up and down and – God – he's –
he's...Oh. Oh, boy. We have a resurgence of interest there.
Quite definite. Emphatic, even.
"I'm a selfish, insecure asshole, and it isn't you, it's me. I'm
sorry. Come here," Jack singsongs in a rapid monotone that
shades towards outright command. He's as flushed as I am; eyes
"No," I say firmly, quelling a few treacherous twitches of
interest from a part of me that's already seen more action in
the last twenty minutes than in the past year. No way, no how am
I going down with a whimper just because he's gone all apex
predator on me.
"Coming there, then," Jack growls throatily. "Now."
My highly trained Special Forces colonel treads heavily on the
fallen phone, stumbles and almost falls on his face at my feet.
It might help if his gaze wasn't riveted to my – um – he's
taking off his shirt. Tearing it off. Fumbling at his belt.
Oh, God. All I did was kiss him and look what happened the last
time. Oh! Now he's naked. No. Not naked. I see socks. He's
hopping madly in socks. Tugging. Now, he's naked now. God, he's
fast. Gotta go! "Shower," I yelp and bolt with more speed than
dignity. I get possibly three steps before his arms wrap around
me, lift me up and he gets off on half-carrying me into my
bathroom. I feel like a bug spattered on a windshield.
My bathroom is deliciously hot and steamy now but not as hot or
steamy as Jack as he manhandles me, breathless, indignant and
sadly quite excited, into the shower and pins me up against the
wall. A lot of the pinning seems to be happening at hip height,
and we both get a lot more excited.
"Now, where were we?" Jack growls, eyeing me up and down in
frank astonishment. Wonder even. Coveting. Starving. "You were
"For being a selfish, insecure asshole? No. I was yelling at you
because you're still being a selfish, insecure asshole." My
voice is much steadier than my knees, unfortunately. In fact, I
may be going down any second, only not the way Jack's hoping
"I love you and I want to kiss you," Jack blithely ignores my
negativity. Taking my hands, he lifts first one palm and then
the other to his lips, planting a hungry kiss on each that makes
me quake inside.
"Christ, look at you. Look," Jack's voice is strangled. "Water –
God." He presses closer; warm, slick, glistening as the water
cascades down on us. "C'mon, Daniel. Let me off the hook here."
He's so aroused I don't think he could actually come up with a
more comprehensive apology if I waved a gun at him. Certainly
not one that involved the word or indeed the concept of 'sorry'.
Most of the blood firming up his interest against my abdomen
seems to have come from the language centre of his brain.
I don't need the gun. He's gone. He's mine. His eyes are eating
me all up and his lips want their fair share. Along with the
entire length of firm, unmistakably masculine body moulded
forcefully, compulsively against mine.
"Not going to let you off with anything." This is not a good
time for me to get nervous. Really. "Mmm." Nice shoulder. Niiice
arms. Nuzzling too. Spoiling me. Seems mean not to – "Not giving
in either," I sigh into his nice, welcoming shoulder as I slip
my arms around his nicer broad back. No suggestion of clinging
on my part.
"Absolutely not," Jack whispers into my hair. His hands are
clutching. Firm. Insistent. Possessive. 'Mine' Jack's hands
whisper on my skin.
"Going to make you pay."
"Stick it to me," Jack encourages.
"Lying naked next to you all night would be intense suffering.
Torture even," Jack murmurs suggestively.
"You're going home. Just because my hand is on your – "
"Butt," Jack supplies graciously.
"- doesn't mean you can get cocky."
Jack snorts at this but heroically refrains from comment. "I'm
not going home." His voice is a little choked and unsteady. "No
way am I leaving you like this."
"I'm fine. My butt is fine too, so just leave it alone."
"What's this?" Jack is exploring, since his hands need constant
occupation. "Shampoo? Smells nice. Smells of you. Herbs. Mmm.
Nice. Heads up," he whispers, honeyed huskiness sending an
uncontrollable shiver down my spine as gentle fingers massage
into my scalp.
Jack is washing my hair. Enjoying himself. Me too. Oh, me too.
"Quit your worryin'," he mutters distractedly. "It's just a
cunning ploy to get my hands on your loofah."
I surprise us both by laughing. Jack drops a light, approving
kiss on my brow then busies himself rinsing me off. I emerge
sputtering indignantly, all acid comments about apparent versus
actual ages of each of us respectively dying on my lips as Jack
slowly, sensuously begins washing me. With his hands. It's
tender, caring and unbearably erotic. I – I lose myself in it,
acquiescent, boneless beneath his hands; just letting him take
care of me.
Caring. Warmth. Enveloping, intimate. Stealing through my
defences. Stroking. Heating. Rocking. Wanting.
"Kiss me." Now it's Jack who's asking.
"Isn't this how we got in trouble in the first place?"
"What does it take to make you monosyllabic?"
"Tell me you love me."
"You won't pull any more stupid stunts like this or tell any
more ridiculous lies to either of us."
"You think we're worth the effort."
"You're not just telling me what I want to hear so you get sex."
"You know you damned well would." Smiling, I kiss him anyway.
This time, I find what I've been looking for. The sense that
Jack is here, he's with me when I'm reaching for him. Hands on
each other, we take our time, touching to communicate feeling as
much as sensation. The water slips down, forcing us to slow and
deepen our movements, to exaggerate every lingering touch. We
found our bodies moving not against but with one another,
rocking, rubbing. We slow again, wanting to take the time, to
make the moment last. We want to be close as much as we want to
Such small things in and of themselves, but they mean the
difference between sex and making love.
How long has Daniel been gone now? A week?
These frigging light-bee burns itch and of
course I can't touch them and I've got
nothing to do but sit here feeling sorry for
myself and think about him. I miss him so
damn much I'm ashamed of myself. I've been
in such a blue funk of Daniel-deprived
depression, I've done everything but bawl
like a little kid.
I mean, I can't believe Daniel upped and
left me, not after everything that's
We've happened. Him and me. Together. All
over. I mean, even couches are significant
in my life at the moment. A lot happens on
couches, including this one. Daniel and me.
We happen on couches. At his place and mine.
In showers. In bed. On tables, indoors and
out, in kitchens and under a piano. We
happen everywhere. All the time. All of this
rolling around necking like crazed kids and
energetically mutual groping with him, I've
never had so much fun in my life.
How could the selfish little shit leave me
to go off on some dig? Doesn't fondling my
ass whenever he feels like it have some
meaning to him? His value system is so
screwed. His definition of fun, too. He
should be able to tell my ass from a hole in
the ground, right?
Stuck here at home, my Daniel-less options
are severely limited. Brooding. Thinking.
Missing him. Worrying about him gating off
through the big bad blue without me. Just me
and my big empty house and my big empty bed,
even this stupid, empty couch.
Pity, party of one!
I should be at work. That would be
something. Medical leave, my sorry ass. Doc
Fraiser couldn't wait to get me off the
Mountain. She had a lot to say about my
I hate this couch. All I get to do is sit on
it and miss Daniel. Miss him, think about
him. Think about us. Why in hell there is an
Daniel is stronger than me. I think I've
known that forever, and resented the hell
out of him for it, from time to time, about
as long. Strange this gentle bookworm has
had a harder life than a Special Forces
colonel. Stranger still all the things about
him that madden and delight me, the fearless
explorer side of him, those all outweigh the
fact he's a 'he'.
How exactly did a Special Forces colonel
fall in love with a bookworm? Passionately,
incoherently, desperately, totally gone on
him, in love?
Why the fuck did Dammit Janet send me home?
I've got minor scarring on my face. I can
work. I want to work. I don't want to sit
here pining for Daniel and thinking, asking
myself all these dumb-ass questions I don't
want to know the answers to.
What the hell did Fraiser mean, anyway?
Venting? Venting what? On who?
So, okay, maybe a little venting. Daniel did
go off and leave me all alone. I didn't vent
enough to deserve being stuck at home all
alone, thinking. Not enough to be told that
while my face might not be bothering me, it
was bothering everyone else on base.
Okay, okay. I admit it. Maybe there was a
lot of venting. Even Teal'c, the big guy,
turned on his heel and hauled ass the hell
away from me, a first for us both. So I miss
Daniel? It's not as if I'd sacrifice the
entire human race to get him back home with
me a second sooner or anything. Not even
close. Not even when home is the size,
shape, colour and texture of Daniel Jackson.
Screw thinking! Thinking's for dummies.
Gimme my Daniel. He'll cure what ails me.
Stop with the thinking, start with the
fantasising. That'll work. Forget being in
love is more than making love. Forget it
takes work. Forget I told Daniel not to go
easy on me. Just focus on how he tastes, how
he sweats, the way he bites his lip and
stiffens up to stop coming too soon when my
Christ, all that sex, my brain puddling out
of my ears and Daniel is still talking.
Daniel said he would always give me the
respect of honesty, so I guess I've got to
suck it up and give it right back. There's
only room in this relationship for two
adults. I can be lover, friend, even leader.
Daniel is fine with all of that. What he
doesn't need is a big brother or a
substitute dad. Those are unequivocally not
needed, not wanted. Daniel requires from me
the right to fuck up too, without me taking
the blame from him. That, he says, is not
Soft voice. Hard words. Point very well
Control. That's the heart of the matter. The
crux. I'm stuck in parent mode, seem to want
to keep Daniel stuck in child mode. Keep him
safe. Protected. I protested. USAF colonel,
here. Got away with that cop-out for about
two seconds. Stuff he let me get away with
before we got in bed together and started
sharing all this feeling, he won't let me
get away with now.
What made Daniel so fearless, so open? How
can he make himself so vulnerable
emotionally? Maybe – maybe that's why he's
stronger than me. I'm not strong enough to
cry. I rage against the machine. Storm and
vent, and if that fails, I cut and run.
I can't run when Daniel pins me down and
tells me it is not only my instinct, but my
choice, my need to keep him the child to my
parent. The 'colonel' is a get–outta-jail-free
card Daniel tells me I wave whenever it gets
too hot for 'Jack'. He doesn't believe I've
entirely let go of the old us, or the old
him, the one who always turned to me first.
I'm the original completely unreconstructed,
unapologetic, Alpha Male. Of course Daniel
kicked my ass for that. He's an Alpha too,
when he feels like it. He also licked my
ear, which took some of the sting out of
having to admit that maybe – just maybe –
I'm a little freaked out about being in love
with a man, let's not even start on that man
being Daniel, and truly fucked over just how
much I love him.
Daniel is an adult. He can multi-task. He
can handle being simultaneously teammate,
friend, confidante and significant other,
all without breaking a sweat or losing track
of the point he's making.
I'm the one who's having the trouble
adjusting. Hanging on to the old roles, the
old us. The old, I guess I have to face up
to this one, the old me. I'm making love
with the guy I love and I'm still
sublimating my feelings. I've got it. Daniel
doesn't have to beat me over the head with a
Freudian impulse. Or a textbook on Ancient
Phoenician Symbology. Reverse phrenology, I
was told. Daniel-speak for beating some
sense into me.
My lips curve into a smile, just as they did
then. A week ago that feels like forever. I
kind of like the idea my hands have always
known the warm, welcoming shape and texture
of Daniel Jackson are what I want and need
and get to have again. Maybe 'thinking'
leave isn't so bad if what I get to think
about is Daniel. Daniel and his wish-list.
He's expecting to find the new, improved,
reconstructed adult me when he gets back
from his little jaunt with SG-5, and if he
doesn't find what he's hoping – expecting –
to see, I will have hell to pay. Short of
sticking his tongue out at me, Daniel
couldn't have been more emphatic on that.
Daniel attempting to be stern and commanding
is a delicious turn on, mostly because he's
so goddamn adorable I could eat him with a
spoon. Daniel could never be me. He could
never be Air Force. Impossible. Not with
those eyes, that hair, the skin. The
generous mouth. Pouting. Begging to be
kissed. You can't have a guy who's Air Force
going around with lushly curved lips that
beg to be kissed. The squadron would be
dazed and drooling, dropping their weapons
and tripping over their own feet. Myself,
I'm thinking of a combo of dropping to my
knees and abject yet sincere pleading to
regain lip-lock privileges.
I don't think Daniel would be happy to learn
my thinking about his wish-list, my growing
the hell up and learning to let go, has been
mostly post-coital. Me, my hand and the
Daniel of my dreams. I'm a bad, bad man
who's been all alone. I've been trying to
take the edge off, I don't want to be
crawling all over him like a horny teen the
second he bounces in through my door. As
much fun as all of the rolling around is for
us, he wants to make love; slow, serene and
sure. He hasn't seen himself naked, not the
way I've seen him. He doesn't know how
beautiful he is or what it does to me to see
him standing there in all his glory. Like a
Greek god from one of his books. Stunning.
Not soft, not soft at all. Tall, slender
strength and sleek, smooth skin.
I'm doing my damndest not to think of
endless legs and a beautiful,
character-filled face and ivory skin, not to
think of what I could do to him, with him,
over him, deep inside him. Trying
desperately to think of what I can do for
It's hard and getting harder. No pun. Daniel
leaves and look where it gets me.
Jacking-off leave and more colour
co-ordinated new sheets than I should
decently know what to do with.
There's a key! I hear a key turning in my
lock. I've got company, Daniel-shaped
company. I have to be cool. I have to be
adult. I don't get to maul him. I wait. I
wait right here and be cool. Prove I've
learned something. I sit and I wait. I sit.
"Jack! Let go!"
"Not a chance," I growl, hugging him so hard
he squeaks, scoop him up energetically, his
feet dangling a good foot off the floor. For
a moment he's laughing down into my face,
eyes sparking blue fire; warm, alive, here.
Being an adult is about choices, decisions.
Consequences. The 'colonel' manages it just
fine in the field, but 'Jack' sometimes
needs a kick in the butt. Or simply legs
wrapping around me, feet caressing my
calves. Daniel's face raising to mine, his
lips tenderly pressing to each spot marred
by a burn. Trailing fire up my left
cheekbone, to my temple. My blood boils and
"I missed you." This is honest. I can say
this. I feel a little embarrassed but that's
not so bad when I can make him light up with
"I missed you too, Jack."
Daniel has so much, he's all that, and he's
the one who can't quit staring. How'd I get
this lucky and this fucked? When will he
take a good hard look and see who he's
really saddled himself with? A guy
playacting at being mature and giving. I
want, I want, I want. Self-centred even if
not always actively selfish.
"You want some coffee?" I offer. "Food? Did
"I grabbed a burger at the drive-thru."
Daniel feels silly he couldn't wait to see
"You want dessert?" That would be nice. We
could sit all tangled up on the couch, get
used to being with each other again. He can
talk, I'll listen. "I've got ice cream if
you want it. Espresso Almond Fudge from the
Chocolate Shoppe, not exactly easy to get
hold of down here. You've got to eat that
kind of ice cream with company. If it costs
more than your house, it's one tub, two
spoons minimum. Anything else is
Daniel smiles and lets me take him by the
hand and lead him to the kitchen. If I've
worked out one thing this week, it's that I
shouldn't let us being two guys stop me from
trying this stuff. If Daniel doesn't like
it, he'll let me know. If he doesn't, or I
don't, we try something else. Liking this
particular thing just fine, Daniel entwines
his fingers with mine.
I'm envious. He's not working at this stuff.
He is this stuff. It's his instinct, his
choice and his need, to do for others all
the wonderful things they so rarely do for
him. He has so much beauty, inside and out,
which has its price, takes its toll. It
makes him vulnerable. It makes me try to
stand between him and the people who hurt
him. However much I may bitch about it, I
love him playing with pots and books and
holy places. They keep him safe, keep him
from having to play with people.
One arm on the open door for balance, Daniel
roots through my freezer, every finely honed
cultural instinct alert to pick up clues on
just what he's dealing with in my abandoned,
wounded psyche. I felt sorry for myself,
jacked-off, pigged out. Nothing to hide
behind. Nothing in the world but Daniel's
"Can you not do that!" I yelp.
"What?" Daniel asks vaguely, delving into
the next shelf down and doing it even more.
"Writhing. Waving that around," I say
I hear a hastily suppressed snort of
laughter freezer-wards. "This?" Daniel
wriggles his ass just a little more.
"Why don't you sit down, Jack. I'll bring
out the ice cream. You can tell me all about
your mission to M4C-862."
Colour me bat outta hell. I tumble onto my
couch and cover my indignity with a cushion.
"Geeks from hell. Made me realise all over
again what a sweet deal you are for SG-1. If
I never thanked you before for having a
clue, I'm thanking you now," I call
cheerfully. Some of the flush is subsiding,
the sweat isn't standing proud on my brow.
My breathing is levelling out. Okay. I'm
okay now. We're not dealing with an imminent
eruption. A throaty chuckle echoes from the
kitchen. Or maybe we are. I never heard
Daniel laugh before we started making love.
I love I can do that for him.
"Carter brought along the cadet from hell. A
scrubby know-it-all brat, a four-foot-nine
fighting machine. The two of 'em argued day
was night." I used to think only Carter got
that 'tone' in her voice, but the kid had it
too. Hailey thinks it's tough trailing in
the footsteps of the Major Doctor? She
should try commanding her. Scratch the
major's polite protocol-bound surface and
the doctor bites you on the ass. Thank God,
Daniel never makes me feel dumb. "I got
zapped by a swarm of alien glow-in-the-dark
bees on light-speed. Same old, same old. Are
you getting that hideously expensive
Chocolate Shoppe ice cream or..."
Oh. My. God.
"Just getting comfortable," Daniel says
gently. Glasses. Jacket. Shoes. Socks.
Sweater. T-shirt. Gone. Jeans unbuttoned.
Riding low at his hips. My sanity. Gone too.
The only comprehensible sound I make is
'help'. I'm thinking it, certainly. My
actual delivery is more strangulated. And
abbreviated. More of a grunt-wheeze. Daniel
strolls towards me, turns and puts the ice
cream on the floor. He just bends gracefully
from the waist, leaving me gaping at the
ripe curves of his perfect ass and the
hollow at the base of his spine. I almost
come in my pants, right there and then. It
gets worse. While I'm still doing the
beached guppy thing, Daniel peels off my
sweatshirt, retrieves the ice cream just as
gracefully and then straddles me
comfortably, his thighs settling warm
Breathe, O'Neill, breathe.
Daniel is sultry, spectacular, sheer sensual
overload. He's emanating so much sexual
tension he's quivering. He's got me and I'm
scared spit-less. Petrified.
I swallow painfully.
Oh God, those eyes. Glowing. Pure and clean
and strong. Deadly. Daniel is absolutely
deadly. Gentle, curious hands skimming my
chest and shoulders. Tracing the lines of
muscle down each arm. I flex slowly,
deliberately. No surprises here. Just two
men and all that means. We're both strong,
both built. We know the bodies of men.
Daniel is fascinated, his fingers clinging
as the muscles swell and ripple beneath my
skin. He lifts my hand and slowly kisses his
way down from fingertip to palm and wrist.
I feel dazed, suffocated with the intensity
of my arousal, the scent of Daniel mingling
with mine, imprinting indelibly on my
senses. "I love you."
"I love you too, Jack. My Jack." Nursing my
hand to his cheek, his lips and then his
tongue gentle on the wound there. Tears
standing in those glorious eyes. "Look at
Pretty crappy, huh? Mom was right. I'm
spreading, slowly but surely. Slowing down.
Softening up. Greying.
"So beautiful, Jack. You're so beautiful,"
Daniel's soft voice is awed, aching, as he
reaches out to explore the sharp collar
bones, the hollow at the base of my throat.
Me? My God, he's got it as bad for me as I
have for him. Daniel means it, breathes it,
soaks it in through his pores as his hands
cup and cradle the back of my head, and he
leans against me, gasping as flushed,
smooth, sweat-slicked skin glides. I want to
joke, lighten the unbearable tension – look,
Daniel, finally got hair on your chest! I
can't say a word. He's coming closer. Closer
still. His lips against mine. The lightest
of brushes and we both moan.
And then he brings on the ice cream.
A spoonful suckled in gently. I'm
incoherent. Can't – can't – soft lips –
shocking icy richness – smooth and
bitter-biting, the taste of Daniel behind.
In me, on me, oh, God. In my arms, eyes wide
open, we have to see, have to know, love –
tongues stroking urgently, passionately.
Falling, I'm falling for him, collapsing in
shock against the couch. His kisses are
dancing over my lips, running on and on in
shocks of pleasure, his chilled tongue
darting, teasing; hips sinuous, rocking,
gliding. My hands pushing down his jeans and
onto naked skin.
Feel the muscles flex beneath my clutching,
coveting fingers as his tongue flexes and
plays joyously in my mouth. Moaning.
Groaning. Rosy. Needing. Beautiful. Never
seen anyone so beautiful in my life but my
son. I love this man as much as – I love
I know what this is now. I know where this
intensity came from. Ah, Daniel, I'm still
here. Still in one slightly singed piece.
You didn't lose me. It's not your fault you
weren't there helping me baby sit those dumb
geeks. You weren't to know I'd go jump on a
swarm of light-bees the moment your back was
turned. I'm supposed to be the smart one.
"Jack," he whispers with such yearning.
"Let it go, Daniel. Okay? I'm good," I
He kisses me again, not quite there yet.
"Let me make love, Jack, please let me make
I guess he needs to really feel me before he
can know I'm good.
"Please, Jack. I love you. Please."
It takes me a second to get what he's asking
me. He wants to make love to me. My gut gets
all tight and I think, I can't do this. I've
never done this.
"I won't hurt you, I'd never hurt you."
Can I do this? Can I trust him the way he's
supposed to trust me? Is that adult enough
for both of us?
"Let go, for me, Jack. Please let go. Trust
Trust. It's all about trust. Daniel isn't
some game player so this means something to
him. He's not messing with my mind. If he's
even asking me for this, then it means a lot
to him if I can give it. Maybe it means
everything. It means I trust him enough to
I've got to try this. For him. I guess for
me too. Daniel won't hate me if I can't do
it but he'll be hurt if I won't do it.
And if I can? If we get there, do this?
What's the worst that can possibly happen?
No one but me and Daniel will know. It won't
be branded on my skin that Colonel O'Neill
got fucked by Dr. Jackson.
"I trust you," I tell him. "I even love you,
for reasons that escape me at this moment in
He grins and bites me on the lip. Kisses me
I already think it's worth it when I look in
his eyes and see what I put there. He's what
I focus on. The pure, incandescent joy
blazing out of him as I lead him around to
my bedroom. I'm almost proud he can't see
how scared I am. How he's overturned every
single thought and plan I've made for us. I
always imagined it was going to be me in him
when we reached this place.
But he's sweet, this guy of mine. So gentle
and loving and wise. So very, very
dangerous. He thinks the world of me and I
can't refuse him anything he wants, not if
it only hurts me. He asks for so little and
he gives me so much. He's giving me
everything. Himself. Daniel is all I need to
get me through this.
We're both adults. Equals. I can get through
it, I think, even if I can't enjoy it. This
is not the end of the world as I know it.
I'm only letting the guy I love fuck me. I
take far worse and crack jokes about it
I help Daniel out of his jeans, goose him. I
make him laugh. As I strip, I look at him.
Hard for me to believe the sight of my naked
body has him straining, twitching. He loves
me, he wants me that much. I got lucky. So
fucking lucky. He can't hurt me, not Daniel.
"Jack? Are you sure?" Daniel is tender.
"I'm not sure at all," I admit frankly. "But
I want to try."
"It's good to try," Daniel agrees, smiling.
"If it doesn't work out for us, then we can
try something else."
What did I say? I'm the luckiest bastard
"No expectations?" I ask him.
"Only that you're honest. I won't
I can do this. I make some lame-ass joke
about Daniel getting into the lion's den as
I pull him down on top of me. Can I do this?
I'm going to have to get us started. I know
what to do up to the point – the point I've
got to get beyond. I did this with Sara a
time or two. I get as comfortable as
possible as Daniel squirms all over me to
reach the bedside table and the tube of
lube, which he actually reads. If I could
laugh, I would. Bless him, he's so far out
of his depth he's drowning. And so
determined to make me happy. Show me it's
okay. If we trust, if we love, we can do
anything. I can trust myself with him if I
can do this. Open up. Commit. Move on from
I cant up my legs invitingly. Daniel puts
the lube close to hand, looking slightly
bewildered about it all, but so sexy, so
heart-stoppingly aroused by me. "C'm here!"
I growl. He laughs and scoots up to kiss me
passionately. Tells me how much he loves me.
How lucky he is to have me. How he thought
he'd be alone forever, how he's so happy
right now. I see it. He's radiant as he
slips down the length of me and eyes me
"I don't know where to start. I want
everything you've got, right now!" Daniel is
excited, drunk on only the sight of me. "So
what do you want, Jack?"
Honestly? I want this over and not to have
choked. Me or you.
"If you want to do this, no pressure here,
but my favourite torrid fantasy is of having
your mouth on me," I tell him, trying not to
pant and beg or make with the pleading puppy
eyes. If we're outside of our comfort zone,
we might as well be right outside it. Sex is
supposed to be give and take.
This is no sooner asked than offered gladly.
I balance on my elbows to see him as I feel
him kiss the very tip of my cock. The
thoughtful, processing expression as my
bitterness fills his mouth. The smile and
the slow licking of those lips. The purely
naughty look I get peeping up through his
lashes. The sultry, "Mmm." Liar, I think
fondly. Then his tongue extends carefully
and licks. Swirls around the head. Another
swift look up from Daniel, who wants to know
if he's doing good. He's doing better than
good, better than perfect. I'm purring here.
Not gonna give you any less even if I've got
to do a Meg Ryan and fake my way through it.
Daniel nibbles oh, so very gently, anxious
not to hurt me. I'm feeling a little better
about what's to come. No pun. Daniel is
considerate and careful. He doesn't have a
clumsy bone in his body. He's an
archaeologist for God's sake. He knows how
to touch, touches me with exquisite care and
attention, and patience to burn. Cataloguing
every reaction, every hint of pleasure as he
licks the length of my cock and ventures
farther. Ver-ry sensitive here, not so fond
of having my balls touched but his delicacy
makes it my pleasure too. Oh Lord, does it.
My moaning is heart-rending now. I pull
myself together a little. I'm seeing stars.
"Don't try to take me in all at once. Be
comfortable." Time to go for it, I guess.
"Lube up your finger and me before you –
uugh," I finish on a strangled gasp, sultry
flashes going off behind my eyes as he
follows instructions to the letter and
swallows as much of me as he can and lets
his long slender fingers caress the rest.
I'm completely undone by the sight of Dr.
Daniel Jackson, all bright eyes and moist
silken heat around me as he suckles.
"JesusMaryandJoseph," I whimper
inadequately. "Daniel, oh God, oh Daniel."
I've got to lie down. I'm dizzy. Got to
close my eyes. I find the room spinning more
with my eyes closed. I'm dizzy with
pleasure. Profound, sullen pleasure pangs
roiling through my gut as Daniel loves me.
Studies to please me. Learns me. I'm making
more noise than Meg Ryan ever did on the
silver screen and I mean every gasp and
whimper. Sullen is edging to sweet, pangs to
waves. I throw an arm over my eyes. There's
coolness, probing inside me. Seeking.
Infinitely careful. Respectful. Seeking and
finding. I arch off the bed with a yelp.
I feel his smile on my cock as a second
finger pushes inside. Long strong, subtle,
sure fingers, thrusting harder than Sara
ever did. Deep inside, oh, so deep, so good.
"Love you, love you, Daniel, love you!" Love
what he's doing to me. Gibbering, I'm
arching again. Three fingers rocking in as
he sucks emphatically, drawing the pleasure
wave out, crashing through me, sparks
flaring and finally pin-wheeling behind my
eyes; pressure in my gut, pressure behind,
thrusting, seeking; finding, finding,
finding. I holler incoherently as pleasure
slams through me, lifting me high, balanced
on my neck, to come down Daniel's throat. He
gamely swallows and then kisses my belly,
wanting to know if it's okay, if I'm okay,
can he love me?
He can do anything he wants to me. I wriggle
my ass invitingly.
Methodical to the end, Daniel does this by
the book, as in the sex book we bought. Hips
lifted. Check. Supporting pillows under ass.
Check. Jelly legs hooked over shoulders.
Check. Lubrication. Check. And check again
to be sure.
"Go for it!" I whisper, using the last of my
strength. He's blown my mind, literally, it
seems. Never felt anything like – oh, god.
In me. He's in me. Slow. Serene. Sure. He
has patience to burn. I've got tremors like
a tea clipper in a gale; his soothing hands
and voice, loving me. Daniel loving me,
rocking gently in, stretching me. Burning.
Oh God. Oh, Daniel.
"Let go, Jack. I love you, please let go,
please trust me, let me in. Let me love you.
Look at me."
Responding instinctively to the order, I
snap my eyes open and see him, every muscle
straining, corded with the effort of holding
still. He won't take what I don't give. His
eyes are glowing. I'm everything in those
eyes. Everything to him. Maybe – maybe I can
"Oh, Jack. My Jack." He's sliding sweetly
Me. Crap. I gave.
Deep inside. So deep, I'm not sure now where
I end and he begins. I didn't expect this to
"Bite me," I plead.
Daniel lowers his weight carefully, slowly,
balancing on trembling arms until I stop
clenching and groaning. Leans in and takes
my lips in a sinfully sensual kiss,
thrusting deep in my mouth, thrusting deep
in me, thrusting, finding.
Ah, god, it's good, he feels so good. I
didn't expect this. "Again. Again!"
He's laughing at me now, so relieved we can
do this together. "Well, only if you're
Rocking, thrusting, finding, hitting that
spot, there, the sweet, sweet spot. He's
done this forever. He does this. What he
does. He makes love. He can just stay here
and do this. Forever. "More. Again." Make
love to me. I thought maybe I could do this
for him and now I don't want to stop doing
this for me. I like this, I love him, I love
The colonel loves being fucked by the
bookworm; smooth, slow, serene, sure. The
colonel wraps his legs harder, higher, round
the strong, slender waist. The colonel will
be frigging limping and smug as hell for
days. "Deeper." More. Again. "Harder." More.
Again. "Kiss me. Mmm. Mmm. M-"
"More, I know, I've got it."
"Well, give it to me then!" More. Again.
He sounds worlds away. Stunned. Me too. Who
knew who I was such a slut? Don't rush this,
don't. Want to let go forever, want to
trust, and be open, and let it all go.
"Slower, Daniel, slower," I whisper into his
mouth. Daniel looks wild, desperate, his
clenched teeth and effortful care taking
their toll. He stops. Rests in me. Not a
selfish bone in his body. Totally fucking
awesome altruistic boner in mine.
I decide I really can't get him any closer
and stretch luxuriously, feel him shift deep
inside me and hear him groan. Oh yeah, gonna
gloat for days. "NOW."
He's not slow now, he's driving into me,
steady, sure; he knows when he'll be there,
knows when I can meet him. He knows what I
can take. God, the feel of him; the sight
and taste of him, filling me up, making me
whole, making me his, making my body sing,
too good, impossibly good, straining,
unbearable, shattering need. "My Dearest,
Darling Love!" I sing out triumphantly.
"PRIIIIICK!" Daniel curses as he convulses
and heat pours into me, his back arching so
hard he drives us both up the bed and I have
the second coming.
After, when everything stops spinning and we
both start breathing again, we sprawl in a
limp, boneless heap of contentment in my –
our - bed. More clean sheets. A vivid blue
of which Daniel is highly suspicious. I've
assured him three times already I'm not
sappy enough to go looking for stuff that
matches his eyes. I flip him on his back and
kiss him senseless. It matches his eyes
That would be a newsflash, huh?
The colonel lives for Dr Daniel Jackson,
colour co-ordination and getting fucked. Oh
my, yes. My ass throbs painfully every time
I move and I get a reminiscent spasm of joy
from my cock every damn time I look at
Daniel's sated, rosy face.
He's quietly pleased I've found a whole new
interest in life and agreed to participate
fully in my plans to thoroughly embrace my
My sultry, confident lover is now quite,
quite certain I'm alive and well – hell, I
hollered the place down and threw in a few
war whoops for good measure when I could see
straight – and now he's gone all shy.
My spine seems to have permanently turned to
mush because I find his shyness utterly
enchanting. I feed us both a lot of melted
coffee ice cream, which was really good with
all the cherries I - er - happened to have
about the place. A glowing, sated, shy
Daniel naked in one's lap whilst nibbling
cherries from one's fingers is a sight one
will be having smug wet dreams over for
years. Possibly forever.
Now I've got Daniel snugly tucked up in a
full body embrace and I'm wondering what's
coiling through that mind of his. Can't be
the earth-shattering sex we've both just
enjoyed to the full, Jeez, I couldn't have
embarrassed myself more if I'd tried, so –
what? I'd call him darling again just to get
a reaction, but I've still got a cosy glow
from watching him chow down on the cherries,
so I'm waiting him out.
One long finger is tracing a maddening path
around my navel. Um hmm. Daniel is a quick
study. He's gone tactical on me already.
I've no strenuous objections to him
distracting me with sex, so I just lie back
and enjoy it. It doesn't in any way distract
my mind from getting to the bottom of this
problem, but then that's one of the most
annoying qualities of the 'colonel' part of
me. Daniel's isn’t the only mind that never
"Do you want to do that with me?"
"Ye-es. But only if you want it and only
when you're ready to make love that way," I
assure Daniel emphatically. What the heck is
this? If I'd been having any better a time
I'd be dead from sheer bliss. Nothing to be
scared of. Voice of one-time soon to be
repeated experience, here.
I tilt Daniel's mutinous chin. "What is it,
Daniel? You can tell me," I encourage him.
No BS for once. I stroke his hair gently.
"I'm not good at – at sex," is Daniel's
I have to bite down hard on an incredulous
'Excuse me?' Then what the hell was that?
Even my hair is still smug.
"That's the first time ever I really, truly
got it right," Daniel cringes. He never
remembers to do the obligatory guy stuff and
swear from the rafters he's an unstoppable
"Do you honestly think you could disappoint
me? Not possible, Daniel, not possible,
except when you think like this." I can't
allow myself to think how weird it is to
talk with Daniel about our intimately
personal lives. I've got to get used to it.
He is my intimately personal life. My
ecstatic little three-ring circus just
intimidated the hell out of him, which was
about the last thing I intended with all of
that positive reinforcement. He's sure he
can please me this way, sure he won't please
me the other. I have never asked exactly
what Hathor, Shyla and Linea did to him. You
don't question a friend about rape, coercive
sex and manipulation. You have to convince
your lover he's not frigid, that he is in
fact beautiful, sensual and responsive, and
it's your very distinct pleasure to make
love to him however he pleases.
"Do you trust me enough to let go, Daniel?
Yeah? So, that's all you have to do."
The troubled look clears a little. I nudge
his head back down to my shoulder.
"Jack? When did you fall in love with me?
You know when I – I mean – when I realised?
I was for a long time, I think, I just
didn't know. I was on the wrong path,"
Daniel's voice stumbles and falters, "So –
so when did you know?"
Daniel nods vigorously, which brushes a lot
of soft hair under my chin. Nice.
"I know the exact moment, but it took a
while for me to realise it too, though there
was an immediate – er – impact on my
behaviour." I'm hedging.
"I'm not!" I protest. "Get your tongue out
of my ear; you've got a hundred percent
success rate with that so far. No fair."
Daniel obeys like a good little – "Jeez!
"Sorry, Jack. My hand slipped."
"Taking a long time to un-slip."
"Just resting. I could move it."
"You certainly could," I leer involuntarily.
"I don't mind trading sexual favours for
information." I slip my hand onto the
corresponding part of Daniel's anatomy,
making him gasp, writhe and shake all over
me. "Easy, da –"
"That better be 'Da-' as in Daniel," Daniel
"Naturally," I say coldly. "You have to
know?" I stroke him smoothly, confidently,
as I explore just what does it for him. He's
not much help. Everything I do makes him
quiver and whimper with ecstatic shock. I
relax and decide to just go with the flow.
"Please, Jack," Daniel pleads.
Obligingly, I stroke him more vigorously,
and his hips thrust him deeply into my
waiting hand. I'm plumb tuckered. Got no
snap in my snake after two separate
mind-blowing main events so close to – Hand!
"Oh, Christ, what you do to me! Don't stop,
Daniel, don't stop." I should just shut the
fuck up about this stuff, I know nothing!
"Ah, do it to me, do it." Whoa boy. "Just
there, just there. And there. And – oh –
o-oh – go-od-d!"
"No!" a fake little Dannyboy voice responds.
"Just me. J-J-J-Jack!"
"Serves you right, you smug little – "
"Smug? This from the man who – Mmmph,"
Daniel gasps as I plunge my tongue into his
mouth. I can think of far too many occasions
where I was 'the man who' and too many
things I've done.
"If you really must have it, I fell in love
with you that last morning we were with the
folks in Chicago. I woke up with you in my
arms, and your t-shirt was all over the
place and my hand was on a lot of warm, bare
skin. Your leg was draped over me." I love
the warm fuzzies, my hand was clamped to the
thigh of the very same leg, though in a
strictly comforting kind of way, and the sun
was slanting down on his face from the
Oriole window. "I should have freaked out to
be in such a compromising position with you,
but I didn't."
"That's why you gave me hell over my seat on
the plane! You sandwiched me between you and
a nun! You were jealous!"
"I was not."
"Weren't. What?" He glares at me for faking
him out. It's not my fault he's easy.
"Prick," he grumbles. "Um. How are Kate and
"Did Kate ever finish my portrait?"
Moment of truth here. "Yes."
"Will I ever get to see it?"
This could be bad.
Very, very bad.
Possibly even perverted.
I sigh and scoot over to the end of the bed,
lean down and feel a kiss on my behind.
Sweetest guy in the world. He so does not
deserve having me happen to him like this. I
turn the other cheek as I slide something
incriminating out from under my bed.
"Mmm." Then he sees what I'm holding. "Oh,
my God! You've been sleeping with me under
Daniel is inexpressibly shocked. He doesn't
spend much time in front of a mirror so he
can't fathom why I'd want him here – in my
bedroom - where I could look at him whenever
I wanted to, not when I see him everyday on
base. Like I'm gonna tell him if he can't
figure it out for himself.
"Yeah, well," I fudge. "Now I get to sleep
with you in my bed."
"There isn't room for all three of us."
"Don't get smart with me."
"Have you been, you know?" Daniel gestures
to a warm intimate spot on me he's just had
his hand on, doing what he thinks I've been
doing. "While you were looking at my
"Certainly not!" Yeah, every chance I got.
I'm a stranger to shame. Lost it decades
ago. No forwarding address. "Daniel,
darling? Be brave." I know people who have
less shame. Three of 'em.
"What? Why?" Daniel seems to have decided to
table a full investigation into my
portrait-perversions until later, because he
slides the painting back under the bed,
shooting me reproachful little glances the
whole time until he achieves a boneless
sprawl all over me.
He weighs a ton, but I weigh more than he
does and I'm tough. He's cuddly. He's also
really shocked I've been jacking-off over
him. I'm not going to tell him just how
often I've come, whimpering his name.
"We're going to have to tell the folks. I
can't lie to them, not about this."
Daniel's face lights up with utterly
inappropriate pleasure for a moment, then
falls. "Will they be hurt?" He's hurt just
thinking about it.
I don't know what to say to him. I've got no
idea how Mom and Dad will take it. It
honestly never crossed my mind I'd be
slinking back home to tell them I'm in love
with their darling Daniel. They love me,
which helps. They're crazy about Daniel,
which helps more. Still, they won't be doing
back-flips because their forty-five
year-old, previously straight, career
military son has a boyfriend. Jokes about me
waking up gay because I had a wet dream
about Johnny Weismuller apart, this is not
anything they wanted for me. What they
wanted were Sara and Charlie. The ordinary
They won't yell at Daniel. Or blame him.
I shudder. The minute Mom finds out I'm
boning her dearest boy every chance we get,
it will hit the fan and then it will hit me.
"Hurt? I hope not, Daniel, I hope not. They
have ways of sharing the load."
I feel a snort snuffling against my
shoulder. "You have something to say?" I
"Love you," Daniel says promptly. "You know,
you're quite bony for someone who worries
about his –"
"Don't you start!"
"But I have to agree with Ruth. You're very
manly." Daniel waits for an explosion and
eventually raises his head. "You're
blushing." He's astonished.
Me too. My vocal chords have just petrified
at the thought of what Ruth is going to make
of all this.
"That's so sweet," Daniel sighs, snuggling
back in, poking a few spots here and there
on me in the vain hope I'll be more
"One track mind." Daniel chuckles. "Don't
worry, Jack. I'll protect you from Ruth."
I know Ruth. She'll probably be up for a
Daniel has all the natural joie de vivre of
a man taking that last slow walk to the
electric chair as we take what he hopes is
not the last slow walk to my parents' front
door. I press as close to his side as I can
without climbing into his clothes with him,
which wins me a grateful smile. A very brief
I'm expected. Me, myself, and I. I decided
surprise was the essence of attack and my
weapon of choice is Daniel. He's gone
through agonies of apprehension since we saw
Carter off on her flight to San Diego, and
had to face the reality we were coming here
to – er – come out. He's terrified it's all
going to go hideously wrong and my folks
will throw us out, ordering me to never
darken their door again or some such, and it
will be all his fault. I told him I had the
honeymoon suite at the Four Seasons in
reserve specifically for that eventuality,
but the joke fell a little flat. Daniel
might be strong, but he is also way too
sensitive. I figured the more fuss the folks
made over him, the less time he'd have to
worry about 'ruining their lives'.
I smile reassuringly and open the door.
Daniel looks a little shocked by my cavalier
attitude. One of the things I've learned
about my lover of almost two months is that
he has exquisite manners and instinctive
courtesy. Someone, somewhere along the line,
convinced him this shit was important and
the lesson has stuck. With our hellish
schedule, it's the little stuff we don't
know about each other that keeps surprising
us. We spend a lot more nights apart than we
can together and I'm already making
adjustments to being in love with a perfect
gentleman. I give him a hard shove and send
him staggering through the door he doesn't
think I should've opened.
Mom is actually trotting down the stairs.
She freezes as Daniel stumbles into the
hallway, and I close the door behind us,
smirking. Then she screams and hurdles down
the rest of the stairs like a gazelle. I got
her to stop sliding down the banisters a
couple of visits ago. Visions of broken hips
were keeping me awake at night.
Daniel drops his bag and shows a vague
instinct for self-preservation, burrowing
back into the nearest place of safety, i.e.,
I love you too, Mom.
I missed you too.
Daniel takes a tentative step forward and
literally staggers as Mom hurtles into his
chest and ecstatically hugs every inch of
him, laughing and – aww – crying.
"Kate," he says softly, trembling with
nerves and excitement and impending doom.
"Darling!" Mom finally steps back an inch or
so and clasps his face tenderly between her
hands. She gazes up at him, searchingly.
Then she turns to me. Hands on hips. I
burrow into the safety of the door. "What
the hell have you been doing to him!"
"Son!" an eager voice calls from the
"Hello, Gorgeous," Ruth beams from the top
of the stairs.
I decide she's a safer option than Mom right
now, and lope past the three-way lovefest
playing out by the front door to fetch her.
The folks will remember I'm here too, once
they've reassured themselves Daniel is real,
and here, and they can talk about those
adoption papers while he's still dazed from
the force of his welcome.
Halfway up the stairs, I glance down. They
each have one of Daniel's hands and they're
towing him off to the kitchen for emergency
resuscitation measures. Daniel has coffee,
cake and cuddles in his immediate future.
I've got Ruth in mine.
Sweet Home Chicago.
I smile. "Horny old harpy," I say fondly.
Ruth smiles. "Jerk. If you wanted to make an
old lady happy, I wouldn't stop you."
I lift her into my arms, gently as a child,
and wait until she settles one arm around my
neck and the other – "Ruth, for God's sake.
I just got here!"
"Flippant enough for ya?" I snarl.
"I'll say," Ruth drools. "Cheeky."
"On the stairs, here!"
"What a way to go."
God help me. She won't let me put her down
when we reach the hallway. I have to carry
her into the kitchen, her hand clamped to my
butt in full view of everyone.
Daniel's honoured status is reflected in the
fact he is being permitted to cut his own
piece of cake, even though Mom is hovering
anxiously as his side, supervising. It's a
privilege I haven't been granted in
forty-five years. Her hand is on his –
Dad sniggers. "We're converting, son. Gonna
be Mormons. Your mother has a yen for
polygamy. She's got some fairly exacting
requirements for the lucky boy who gets to
join our little ménage-a-trois."
I put Ruth carefully into the nearest chair
and step smartly out of range. She still
manages to goose me before I get away.
"Lemme guess. Six-feet tall, blue eyes,
answers to Daniel, Dr. Jackson or darling?"
Both Mom and Ruth sigh as one. "Ay, caramba,"
Mom says huskily. Daniel drops his cake and
blushes furiously. The only coherent word I
hear stammered out is 'um'.
"Leave him alone, Mom," I order. She shoots
me a defiant look, catches my eye and
suddenly I see myself in her. Weighing.
Assessing. Really, Mom. Not right now. He's
not up to this. Her eyes soften suddenly and
then it's my turn to stagger from a forceful
"Missed you, love. Missed you terribly," Mom
sighs into my chest.
"Yeah, right." I'm drawling, but I'm
smiling. I feel her smiling too. Then she
stands on tip-toe and kisses me on the
cheek. "Gettin' misty eyed, here. Take a
minute, Mom," I suggest as I stroll over and
hug Dad. "The name might come back to you."
Daniel turns and solemnly holds up a sheet
from Mom's kitchen notepad. "We've got name
tags," he says kindly. Mom chokes and then I
get a good look. It says 'Jack' and has a
sketch of something that looks suspiciously
like the Pillsbury Dough Boy.
"For the last time, I am not fat!" I howl as
everyone cracks up. Daniel manages his sweet
little smile, but it takes some effort. I
was kind of hoping to edge up to the moment
of truth, but every second I delay is
putting Daniel through the wringer. He
thinks too much of the folks and I can't
convince him this is going to go well. I get
where he's coming from too. Mom and Dad and
Ruth opened up and chose to let him in; they
can choose just as easily to shut him back
out. It doesn't matter how badly I fuck up,
or what lousy choices I make, I always get
to come home. Daniel hardly knows what home
is. He's never had that luxury.
He sidles round the table clutching coffee
and cake for both of us, and gratefully
sinks down next to me as Mom takes her
accustomed place next to Dad.
I smile reassuringly and investigate my
cake. Looks interesting. Spicy. Fruity.
Rich. "Nice. What is it?"
Mom's gaze is dwelling lovingly on Daniel's
increasingly pale face. She's starting to
look worried. Knowing Mom, she'll be
demanding answers with menaces any minute.
"Cut and Come Again."
I manage to inhale a fair bit of my Come
Again cake before I get the choking under
control. And the sniggering. Another look at
Mom's face and I see she's not gonna last
much longer. Daniel is picking at his cake,
unable to meet anybody's eye, and worst of
all, not talking. We're all watching him
anxiously. He hasn't touched his coffee.
This is unprecedented. The end of the world
is well and truly nigh if Daniel can't drink
"Well, I've got news," I say calmly.
My news emits a low moan of distress.
"Jack," he whispers.
"Hey, now, come on. No need for this,
Daniel," I say gently, cradling his
reluctant face between my hands. "You're
among family, here." I manage to punch up
his anxiety levels to sheer panic. He's
afraid there won't be any family, après the
"I should go." He nods very definitely at
this but doesn't budge an inch. I'm not sure
he can move. "I really think I should go."
"Jack, I think this is a stunningly bad
"Why didn't you think it before you got on
"I did. But you were wearing those damned
"So now it's my fault?"
"Trust me. That's what you said to me before
you stuck your hand in my..."
"Okay!" Can't he let that one go?
"Trust me. That's what got me on the plane.
You and those damned jeans."
"Okay, okay!" Jeez, talk about obsessing!
"How about we forget the blame thing and
stick with the trust thing, huh?" I ask him,
reaching around to hug his neck
"I do trust you." He caresses his forehead
against mine. "But you love your family and
I don't want anything to change that. It's
"None of that talk," I dismiss this briskly.
"I love you. I wish you'd get that through
your thick skull. I'm not going to 'come' to
my senses, Daniel. I already did that,
"Okay. There's no need to get offensive
about it all, but okay."
I can get away with anything in these jeans,
I know I can. Daniel lays his head on my
shoulder and hugs me back, which is pretty
damn okay by me. "For a smart guy, you're
not too bright, Daniel. Just leave it to me.
I'll break the good news gently and –"
Daniel slowly lifts his head and stares into
my eyes, beyond terror now. Then we both
slowly turn and look at the folks.
Daniel instinctively clings a little closer
as we take in Hear No Evil, See No Evil and
Speak No Evil. "Surprise!" I say weakly.
They look like they've been stuffed. Mom is
shaking. Dad is grimacing. They can't look
at each other, let alone at us.
"Damnation!" Ruth snarls. "Spot me, Joe?"
Ruth. My eyes and my mind just won't go
"Sure thing, Ruth," Dad says equably. Then
he solemnly hands Mom two twenty-dollar
bills, which Mom fusses over, smoothing them
out flat on the table and making a show of
counting them. Both of them.
"Mo-om," I growl. I know gloating when I see
Dad slides over an extra twenty-dollar bill,
which Mom then formally returns to him.
Ruth raises a questioning eyebrow.
"Side-bet," Dad apologises.
"Bet?" I holler.
They all crack up, roaring with helpless
laughter, sputtering every time they catch
sight of my outraged face.
"Bet?" Daniel's soft, hurt voice chides.
I gloat as the old reprobates hit the kill
switch on their Laugh-In, falling over
themselves, shamefaced, to reassure, soothe
and generally pet their precious darling.
Daniel's big reproachful eyes and tragic
mouth secure better results than sodium
pentathol. I extract and graciously accept a
full apology from each of them. Then I go
for my pound of flesh.
"What the hell is going on? Bets?"
"After your last visit, Kate insisted she
saw a – what was the word, honey?" Dad asks
"Frisson," Mom rolls the word off her tongue
with palpable relish.
"Thanks, hon. A frisson between you and
"Frisson?" Daniel asks weakly.
"Frisson?" Ruth is incredulous.
"Thanks, Ruth," I agree with her for once.
It's utterly ridiculous. I was no different
with Daniel than I've ever been.
"If Jack had been smouldering any harder he
would have spontaneously combusted," Ruth
"Excuse me?" I sputter, outraged.
"You touched Daniel, son. A whole lot," Dad
"I did not."
"He didn't!" Daniel objects.
"You didn't seem to mind, darling," Mom says
Both of us are blushing. I remove my arm
from around Daniel's shoulders. Mom scowls
ferociously. I put it back.
"The two of you were off in your own private
little world," Dad reflects.
"You were connected," Mom finishes
"Horny," Ruth corrects. "Jack, was anyway. I
watch National Geographic. I know a full-on
mating ritual when I see one."
"A what?" I never laid an impure thought,
let alone an impure finger on him. Never
even occurred to me. Well, it barely even
occurred to me.
"Hugging. Caressing. Eating food off
Daniel's plate. Sleeping together," Mom
"That was your fault! Don't try to shift the
blame on me. You stuck us in there together
because there was no spare room," I snap.
"I checked on you both several times, each
night, after I checked on Ruth," Mom says
calmly. "You were, most definitely, sleeping
"How old am I?" Ruth and I complain as one,
and then scowl at each other.
"How 'together'?" Daniel asks, clearly
knowing he won't like the answer.
"I nearly insisted Jack slept with his
"I insisted Jack slept with me, but who
listens to me?" Ruth complains bitterly.
I shudder convulsively and the old harpy
"Were we really?" Daniel waggles a mortified
hand from him to me.
"Truly," Mom says solemnly.
"Madly," Ruth agrees.
"Deeply," Dad smiles at us both.
"Just clueless," Mom says brightly.
"Hence the bet," Dad is twinkling.
I think Daniel is beyond speech at this
point. He just keeps emitting these soft
snuffs of air instead of words.
"I had every confidence in you, love," Mom
tells me proudly. "I asked you if you loved
Daniel, and you were honest enough to admit
it. I knew you'd get there eventually."
"We didn't," Ruth says meanly.
"You did?" Daniel's eyes are luminous. "You
said you loved me?"
I nod weakly. Damn, those eyes. He knows
he's not supposed to look at me like that,
not if he doesn't want me to –
It seems terribly important to him. "While
you were sleeping. Mom was showing me those
photographs of you and – I knew you were
thinking about the most important person in
your life. She asked and I had a moment of
weakness." He was dreaming of Sha'uri.
"You," Daniel says softly. "I was thinking
"Oh," I say even more softly. "You got stuck
with the King of Clueless, here." All that
time wasted. "Sorry, Daniel."
He smiles that smile only I get to see.
"Don't mind us," Mom says breezily.
We snap our heads apart, reality intruding.
"Connected," Mom crows.
"Horny. Sheesh!" Ruth chuckles malevolently,
making a great show of fanning herself.
"You're okay about this? About us?" Daniel
asks, looking hopefully at each of them in
"Nah. You could do better," Mom sniggers.
"Much better," Dad chuckles.
"I love you too." The Brady Bunch, we ain't.
"Are you okay?" I ask seriously. I think
they've grasped Daniel and I aren't just
drooling over the Ikea brochure in bed.
"Let me see. You're obsessive," Mom says.
"Possessive," Dad picks it up.
"Jealous," Ruth supplies.
"Over-protective," Dad says a little
sternly. "Daniel isn't a little boy."
He certainly isn't. "I – er – I had
noticed," I say meekly.
Daniel chokes down a chuckle and avoids my
eye. He's infuriatingly strict about making
love. I want him to just throw me down and
fuck me through the mattress, but he'll only
play if it's beautiful and tender and
loving. I've not outmanoeuvred him yet, and
by God I've tried. He's no fun at all.
"Masterful," Ruth sighs.
Daniel and I catch Dad's eye and we all
"Sweet," Mom sighs.
"Sappy," Dad corrects grimly.
Daniel laughs out loud this time.
"Well, who can blame you?" Mom beams.
"Daniel is such a darling."
My darling is snarling.
"Basically, you're about as happy as we've
ever seen you, so yes, son, we're okay with
it," Dad says judiciously. "Got a little
sympathetic sugar shock going on, from all
that cosy romantic glow you boys are putting
out, but I guess you won't set my teeth on
"I'm – overwhelmed," I drawl sarcastically.
"What was the side-bet?"
"That you'd totally screw up 'coming out' to
us," Dad gloats.
"No, thank you, son. Your Mom would have
been unbearable if you'd managed to get both
"Both things?" Daniel is snorting with
"Not sure how to put this?" Dad looks for
"Seducing Daniel?" Mom suggests.
"Putting the moves on him? Making a bootie
call? Getting jiggy wid' it?" Ruth looks as
if she could go all day on this one.
"Hey! Little pitchers. It never occurred to
you I might just ask him out to dinner or to
a movie or something?"
"No way, hon. You were smokin'," Ruth says
We all look at Daniel.
Daniel, contrary S.O.B. that he is, rallies
under the scrutiny. "I kissed him." His eyes
on me are sheer wickedness. "And he tried to
I only ran as far as the whiskey bottle.
Daniel dropped his towel, crooked his
finger, and I fell over the phone to come
running. That about says it all for romance.
"What!" Mom howls. "Dammit!"
"Pay up, Kate," Dad gloats as Mom hands over
a twenty, snarling. Ruth crooks one of her
claws and gloats over her twenty every bit
as much as Dad.
I'm glaring at Dad. "Are you seriously
telling me you put money on me screwing up
with Daniel and with telling you about us?"
"Yep," Dad is unrepentant. "You're hopeless
at this stuff, son, you know you are."
Daniel dissolves into helpless laughter,
which has Mom and Ruth cooing.
"It's lucky I don't take this stuff
personally," I growl. "Mom. Mom!
"Your tongue is hanging out. Knock it off.
He's spoken for."
"Ha!" Mom looks me up and down, her lip
curling. "I'll fight you for him. I can take
you, sweet child of mine."
My sense of humour gets the better of me.
"You think you can take me? Bring it on,
Mom. Bring. It. On." Mom jumps up and we
take it over to the window. "You don't make
a fist like that. Like this," I gently fold
her thumb over her clenched fingers. "Want
me to sit down so you can reach?"
"Who said I was going to hit you in the
face? I can reach what I was aiming for just
We both look down. I blush furiously. "Mom!"
"You fight like a girl," Mom sneers.
"Blush like one too."
"Dad! Make her stop!"
"A-any more re-rev-elations bef-before we
break up the p-party?" Daniel stutters,
still laughing helplessly.
"Son? Is this a good time to tell you that
you were adopted?" Dad asks gravely.
I spin around. "A guy can dream!" I holler.
Back to part two of Prodigal Son | On to part two of Passion Play
If you enjoyed this revised version of Passion
please do write and let me know.
It was a nerve-wracking experience to say the least to re-write such a
well-known and for some, fondly remembered story. Even a simple
'thank you' or 'I enjoyed this' is an important message to send.
Thanks so much. Biblio.