"I'm Dr. Daniel
"Lt. Satterfield," Hailey corrected, rolling
her eyes as Satterfield took Dr. Jackson's
outstretched hand and forgot to shake it.
"Lieutenants Jennifer Hailey and James
Elliot, and this is Sgt. Grogan."
"You don't have a name?" Dr. Jackson asked
Grogan, his eyebrows quirking.
"Mostly rank and serial number," Grogan
Dr. Jackson's nose wrinkled as he fought
down a grin and invited them to make
themselves at home without touching.
Satterfield was visibly disappointed.
James, standing to the rear of his team,
could only be grateful Hailey was running
interference. He couldn't believe this was
the genius who'd opened the Stargate where
Major Carter and all her computer
simulations had failed. And to do it so
fast. How did brains like that come packaged
behind a face like this? The intense
turquoise eyes were mesmerising, wide and
candid behind the lenses of Dr. Jackson's
glasses. His skin was a pale gold, radiant
in the soft glow of the lamps trained on his
books and artefacts. A slim, straight throat
was framed by a perfectly defined jaw arch,
generous, kissable lips…
"You're the, um, linguist, Lt. Satterfield?"
"How did you find the training materials I
"Challenging," Satterfield said carefully.
Dr. Jackson nibbled his lip thoughtfully,
his eyes very reflective. "Everyone says
"In a good way," Satterfield gushed.
"They say that too," Dr. Jackson sighed, not
taking this well.
"She hated your guts, Dr. Jackson," Hailey
Dr. Jackson accepted this philosophically.
"If you have any suggestions for
improvement?" he invited Satterfield
"Love to!" Satterfield interrupted before he
could finish, in an insinuating 'Over
dinner?' kind of tone.
Get in line, James thought, his body
inevitably reacting to this gorgeous,
It didn't take us long to realise Daniel was
actually greater than the sum of the hype
which preceded him all over the SGC. Carter
is brilliant, no one questions that, she
could bore for the planet on any number of
subjects, but ask about Daniel and you get
this, this - I dunno. I don't know how to
describe it. Daniel is in a league of his
own and everyone knows it, except maybe him.
Even Hailey stopped arguing with him after
like five minutes and I always figured it
would take a direct missile strike to shut
her up. He was funny, too, in a deprecating
kind of way, wanting to know if his lecture
session really figured on our orientation
schedule as 'Dem Bones'.
Jack had to smile at this, an old, running
joke. He got up and went into his kitchen,
deciding he needed a beer before he read any
further. He took a sweating bottle of
precious Red Rocket Pale Ale out of the
fridge, letting the icy liquid nectar slide
down his throat, sending up prayerful thanks
for talented local brewers. And for chips.
Chips with dips.
Carrying the beer and his snacks, Jack
returned reluctantly to his place at the
dining table, the laptop looming at him. He
still didn't know how he felt about this.
The mission to Revanna was a shit-storm, all
that was left of their dead personnel boxed
and bagged, scheduled for orderly disposal.
The Tok'ra were all but wiped out, on the
run, the snakes were literally eating each
other alive and going down like ninepins to
the biggest, baddest, nutjob of them all.
Carter was off someplace with Cassie and
Fraiser, commiserating over lost love and
herbal tea while abortive-assassin Daniel
was locked away in his lab, being resolutely
fine at them and stonewalling Jack out of
The kid, Elliot, he did something on Revanna.
He had guts as well as brains, and he saved
Jack and his team in the end. He'd earned
Jack's time, enough of his respect that he
was the one who went with the team to
sanitise Elliot's apartment. There was
nothing incriminating, nothing Elliot's
momma or the security detail shouldn't see.
Nothing but this, the laptop. As soon as the
technical sergeant who hacked into the thing
said there were personal files, Jack had
taken it on himself to do the necessary
checking, clear the thing.
He valued privacy. He'd hoped that counted
for something in the grand scheme of things.
Better him, who at least knew the kid. That
was what he figured. Better it was him.
He was relieved there was nothing in the
apartment to bother Elliot's folks more than
the bare fact of his loss. No gay porn, no
gay anything of any kind. Elliot was
careful. Paranoid, even. He wanted the SGC
more than anything he'd wanted his whole
life. More than he wanted sex.
Career-focused celibacy, that was the
conclusion on his security file before he
was even selected for training, and no hint
at all about his sexual orientation. He'd
worked for this assignment, prepared for
this every way he could and it showed.
Nothing in his life or his service at the
SGC existed to contradict that. Nothing but
this, the laptop Jack's eyes never strayed
from. Only Daniel Jackson and his heedless,
Jack didn't want to know where this was
going. He didn't want some pathetic sexual
fantasy crowding his head when he was alone,
sleepless in the dead hours before dawn. He
had memories, failings of his own. There was
no room for this.
He didn't want to, but he had to know where
this was going.
He took a long, long drink of his beer,
shuffled his finger over the touch pad and
scrolled down the open document.
O'Neill is an asshole. If he wasn't the big,
frickin' hero and he didn't go way back with
Air Force One, he wouldn't get away with
most of what he does. I asked around. The
guy walks on water. There had to be more to
him than the hero, and there was. Everything
gets recorded here, everything. Scares me
shitless, some days. Not many people will
talk, but I'm not the first to go looking
for the inside track, for the edge. O'Neill
is divorced, lost his kid. Pretty much end
of story. A few people figure he's banging
Carter. I figure they're blind. The man is
such a closet case, he's fucking dangerous.
I see the way he is with Daniel and it
scares me. He's insane in love with the guy
and he hates him for it. I never want that
to happen to me. I will **never** be that
bitter because it's fucking a man's ass that
gets me off. O'Neill needs to jump Daniel so
bad I bet he can't even get it up anymore,
not for anyone or anything else. The way he
looks at Daniel, like he could eat him
alive, like he's poised on a knife-edge
between kiss and kill…
It's no wonder he's the best at what he
does. He has all this rage inside of him and
no one questions him, ever. No one except
for Daniel, gentle, gorgeous Daniel, in a
beautiful world of his own, the last to
wonder why he's the one and the only one who
can stop the asshole in his tracks.
I want to be like O'Neill the soldier, not
the man. I want to be better. I don't know
if I can make the compromises he does to be
the soldier he is. I know who I am and what
I am, I accept the sacrifices I'm making.
That's the difference between us. I'm a
better man than him even though he is the
better soldier. I don't hate myself for my
sexuality, I never hid from it. I was twelve
years old and a better man than O'Neill is
at - what? Late forties? Fifty?
He's pathetic. Pathetic and dangerous and I
hate the way he vents all his crap at
Daniel, who doesn’t have a clue except he
can't do a goddamned thing right where
O'Neill is concerned. I think about the
sweet, funny guy we met in his lab, the one
who was so open, who saw us as real human
beings, not FNGs, not meat. He's just this
incredible human being and because O'Neill
wants to fuck his ass and hasn't got the
balls to do it, he treats him like shit on
I'm crazy about Daniel and I barely know
him. There aren't enough nice people in the
world that you don't get it when you meet
one. I never knew anyone with nothing to
prove or anyone with so little notion of his
place in the world. All of us all around him
the whole time and he's so alone. He doesn't
seem to have anyone. He just smiles that
tight little smile of his and says he's fine
and his so-called friends believe him.
He blew me and my team away today. I
couldn't believe it. How cool was he? Four
of us with MP5s and he's so sexy, so Daniel,
he nails us all with a lousy nine mil.
Everyone was so busy pulling Satterfield to
pieces over her 'concern for the host' - and
jeez, Carter needs to wake up and smell the
coffee, it was like she wasn't even there.
She can pull rank all she likes, O'Neill can
show her all the favouritism he likes, but
all ** we** saw, all ** we** really cared
about was Daniel. He was the one. I keep
telling Satterfield to get it together
around him but as long as she can't, they
don't see me. They don't see it at all, how
I want Daniel. I want him so bad and I
think, hell, it's not like he has anyone
else. I could be so good for him, I know it.
It would kill O'Neill.
Like I care.
He may be the swiftest thing the SGC has
ever seen, but he's an asshole to the core.
O'Neill knows there's something between us,
something off, but he can't quite bring
himself to believe he doesn't have my utter,
undying respect forevermore. It has to be
me, it's my fault, that's all he knows.
I promise myself, I'll never be his kind of
stupid. I'll never be that afraid of who I
I want to beat O'Neill at his own game, I
want the SGC.
I want Daniel.
Tomorrow. We do this thing. We do it all.
"Step away from the prisoner, please,
Colonel," Elliot ordered tersely.
The whole situation felt off to him in a way
he couldn't quite put his finger on. Finding
O'Neill freeing their prisoners almost came
as a relief to him. He was beginning to
believe his judgement was as screwed as
Satterfield's. They were in a foothold
situation and all she had on her mind was
saving Daniel. After O'Neill had gone for
his throat over leaving Grogan behind in the
last exercise in the warehouse, James was
ashamed he hadn't contradicted her on that
in front of the colonel. It would count
against him and he guessed it should. Daniel
was on his mind too. He knew as well as
anyone here that the safety of the base was
paramount, not the welfare of any one man.
He just couldn't make himself believe it.
He was surprised when Carter drew
Satterfield's back-up weapon on O'Neill, but
he was trusting nothing here and refused to
lower his guard.
"Colonel O'Neill's obviously been
compromised. I'll take it from here," Carter
Yeah, right. James Elliot was going to pack
up and move on like a good little boy.
"Lieutenant." O'Neill wasn't phased at all
by the weapons aimed his way, not even
Satterfield's back-up. "You've only been
gone for two minutes," he argued. "There's
no way in that time."
"You saw what he was doing," Carter
Yes. Yes, he had. Something was wrong with
this picture and he was beginning to get a
feel for what. O'Neill was right, there was
no way there was time for him to be
compromised in the short time they were out
of Carter's lab and he was alone with the
prisoners. Carter had to know that and yet
she expected them to buy the story on her
"Why'd you pull us out of the gateroom,
Sir?" he demanded, going with his gut.
"It was an ambush, a trap," O'Neill
Carter was the ambush, James was sure of it.
Someone had to be feeding her updated Intel
on their location or she wouldn't have 'run'
into them like that. Her behaviour here was
suspect. She was way too quick to turn on
"I don't buy it, Sir."
What James needed was a way to neutralise
them both until he was sure about what was
"Look, I am your commanding officer,"
James shot him, more than happy to prove
this was one lesson he'd taken to heart from
O'Neill's training. "Return Satterfield's
weapon, please, Major," he instructed.
"We've got a job to do." She handed it over
obediently enough, obviously realising if
she didn't comply, he'd shoot her too. Just
like they'd been told too. James always was
a quick study.
"How did you know you could trust me?"
Carter queried, curious.
James didn't trust her at all. O'Neill was
down, but despite her supposed concern,
Carter was making no move to secure him. If
O'Neill wasn't compromised, and he couldn't
be, of this James was sure, and he was no
threat to Carter, then she wasn't
compromised either. No one was.
This, he was pretty sure this was all an
"Hailey figured the Goa'uld markers in your
blood wouldn't allow you to be influenced by
Goa'uld designed nanotechnology," he said
"Yes, ma'am," Hailey acknowledged wryly.
Hailey. That reminded him. O'Neill hadn't
allowed them to retrieve any weapons, only
to use the back-ups he provided. Firing
blanks, no doubt. Hailey would be relieved
and in a way he was too. About all he'd
proved so far on this exercise was a
willingness to shoot his own people when his
back was against the wall.
"I need to stay here to work on a cure. Can
you take out the device on your own?" Carter
"Yes, Ma'am." It was past time he started
performing beyond expectations and the best
way he could figure to do that was to go
right on acting as if this were all very
real to him. He wasn't about to open himself
up to another accusation of over-thinking
and keeping his doubts to himself allowed
him to open up a few options, engage in a
more aggressive plan of attack than he would
otherwise have considered with the lives of
their own people on the line.
"You'll also need to shut," Carter began.
"Shut down the Stargate," James interrupted.
"Yes, Ma'am. We're on it."
"Good luck, Lieutenant," Carter offered.
Luck had nothing to do with it. Daniel was
safe whatever action he took and if it came
down to it, if he was questioned, James
could always fall back on admitting he'd
worked out it was an exercise. That should
carry its own weight, that he was smart,
that he could read a situation. At this
point, he was figuring it was win, win.
What a stupid, stupid mistake! Jesus, I know
better. I don't have a clue where Carter's
lab is but I direct Satterfield right to
his! And then to use his **name** to Grogan.
Hailey is quick, too quick. She has to be
wondering how I knew all that crap about
Pelops to start with. It was more detail
than we had in the mythology briefing Daniel
had prepared for us. If she talks to those
two about what went down during our attack,
she'll put it all together, she'll figure
out how much time I've spent with Daniel. A
He's too easy to like and I like him too
He talks as long as I'll let him, not caring
about the sound of his voice the way most
people do, only that he has someone to
listen. He's a good teacher and a generous
one. I spend at least as much time listening
as I do staring at him, imagining how he'll
look when I fuck him, how that soft voice of
his will sound.
Daniel applauded me today, he was the first.
The others were there, O'Neill, of course
that matters. It's just - I won, I earned it
all, even the respect O'Neill withheld. It's
not exactly to the victor the spoils, but
all I could think of was fucking Daniel hard
across his own bed. I've earned the right to
try for him. I've got my place. He's starved
for touch. I know. I know that look. I was
careful in the Academy, careful all the
time. There were guys I wanted, though, and
I would catch myself in the mirror, see that
look, the same need I see in him. What will
it take to get him to feel that need for me?
I wonder how Daniel will react if I come on
to him. If he'll even know. He's sensitive,
perceptive, but so focused outside of
himself, he comes across as sexually
unaware. If you didn't know he'd been
married, you could be forgiven for thinking
he was a virgin, that's how unaware he is.
All his energy, all his passion, it's
channelled into his research. He lives for
it and I can't fault him for that. I feel
the same way for the Air Force.
Things are different now. I'm in. I won. I
beat them at their game.
O'Neill is jealous of anyone even breathing
the same air as Daniel but he was there, he
was clapping too. He'd kill me if he knew
what I was planning but he'll never work it
out. Even when he looks at Daniel, all he
sees is himself.
It was like the edge of a scalpel, slicing
so deep and so clean Jack almost didn't feel
it at first, and then a blade, serrations
edgy and dull, sawing at him. It hurt, that
this kid could like him so little and see
him so clear.
He should stop reading. He should stop. He
was cold and the touch pad was fogging from
his sweat. He was everything Elliot thought
he was, more, and he wouldn't quit until he
reached the end.
Jack's single strongest memory of Elliot was
the most recent, the kid telling them it
didn’t make sense for them to risk their
lives to save him, wanting them to go while
he stayed behind to take out the Jaffa. Jack
had seen there was something pretty intense
there between the kid and Carter. Stupid of
him not to realise that was only the snake
He picked up his beer bottle, prowled
restlessly out onto the deck, paced some
while he thought it through. He could see it
now, the way Elliot was looking up at
Daniel, was talking to him. Jack hadn't read
anything into that except maybe Daniel was
in the kid's line of sight and he was too
weak to look away. It didn't occur to him
Elliot and the snake, they both had someone
they wanted to save.
It was stupid and small, but Jack felt
better. He never trusted it was Elliot, that
it was a real choice the kid made, and it
had twisted his gut to have to walk away and
leave him behind because he couldn't find
He felt better knowing Elliot wanted it too.
"Sonovabitch," Jack said quietly, in sudden
recognition of something hateful.
"Sonovabitch!" he howled, pitching his beer
bottle hard at the trees, storming away as
glass shattered and fell.
Wasn't this just what the kid had said? That
it was all about him?
There was more, much more. He wanted it all.
He wanted the worst and he guessed he could
trust the kid and his frigging X-Ray Vision
to deliver. Elliot didn't care enough about
Jack he wouldn't tell it straight.
There was Daniel.
Jack was sick to his heart and he had to
know. He was angry all the time and there
was nothing Daniel could say to him. Jack
couldn't be satisfied, not any more. He
wanted Daniel as badly as Elliot saw he did.
Him and the kid, they were the same.
Starving for it and never asking.
Daniel's old junk-heap of a jeep broke down.
I told him artefacts shouldn't come with
tires. He was so pissed at me, I had to feed
him chocolate to get him into my car. Pissed
enough he told me I could lose the 'Dr.
Jackson, Sir!' thing. Pissed and stressed.
It didn't occur to him he'd need a mechanic
until we were off the base, and then he had
to call Sgt. Siler on his cell. Instead of
grovelling like he was supposed to, he got
all insulted and defensive, arguing anyone's
batteries could go flat if their car was
left for days. Siler gave him shit about his
ride crapping out **every** time he left it.
Daniel hung up on him and sat there
muttering under his breath in some language
I don't know. He's damned cute when he
sulks, that's what I know. He doesn't cut
you any slack when you get electrocuted. His
batteries are flat and you can fix 'em,
that's all he cares.
In anyone else, that would be selfish, but
in Daniel? He's so damned hot and his mind
is so clearly elsewhere, he can act like a
sulky kid and he gets away with it.
His stomach started growling and he seemed
surprised. I asked him about Russian cuisine
and all he could remember were small cups of
bitter coffee. I let him have the rest of my
chocolate bar and nearly came in my pants. I
never saw a cocoa-induced orgasm before and
all I could think was how it would feel to
have that luscious mouth riding my cock,
seeing him close his eyes, give in to what
we both want.
I wanted that so much. I wanted him.
I took a chance.
"Hungry? What gave me away?" Daniel asked
"Well, you can look all you like, but you
won't find any more chocolate in there,"
James said cheerfully, nodding towards his
eviscerated glove compartment. "You cleaned
"It was nice."
"It was Swiss."
"I'd offer to buy you some more, but I'd
probably eat it."
"So buy me dinner," James invited him
boldly. "It'd probably cost about the same."
"Handmade and Swiss?" Daniel commented
knowledgeably. He hesitated then, looking
across at James. "I guess I have to eat," he
said slowly and not at all certainly.
"Or you could just pass out."
"You know, I always wondered where colonels
like Jack came from. Now I know. They start
out as you."
James didn't care for the comparison but he
took the compliment for what it was. A good
thing, coming from Daniel. "I know a place
that does a great sirloin steak."
"Steak sounds good." Daniel's stomach agreed
loud enough it made him blush and he
grumbled some more under his breath.
He wanted to see Daniel's reaction to the
club more than to the food. Colorado
Springs' gay scene wasn't extensive but it
boasted some pretty good bars and clubs.
"Hot food and cool music," he promised.
"What kind of music?" Daniel asked
suspiciously, shooting him a wary, sidelong
"Nothing you'd hear on MTV, I swear."
"MTV?" Daniel enquired innocently, his blue
eyes wide and guileless.
He was teasing and James was laughing,
delighted by the sudden spark of mischief
and the sense they were communicating. He
was surprised himself how much of a turn-on
the age gap was for him. There was something
visceral and exciting about Daniel's aura of
innocence, the sweet nature versus the good
soldier he'd seen Daniel could be. There
were ten years or more between them in age
and yet James was the one with all the
experience here. When he got Daniel into bed
- when! - the guy wouldn't know what hit
him. Daniel got him so hot, they would go
all night. He wouldn't be able to get
Maybe not tonight. Probably not. Play it by
He didn't want to lie about himself, not to
Daniel, and he knew, somehow he knew he was
safe with him. He wanted to see if Daniel
picked up on the ambience, if he could see
the clientele and more than that, accept
them for what they were. The anthropologist
in him probably would make the connection,
but he hoped Daniel would see beyond the
general to the specific, see James's
sexuality for what it was too.
It was the best way he knew to force the
issue without forcing Daniel. Talking about
himself was too specific, too intimate.
Daniel would have to respond because he was
a very gentle man and he cared more than it
was safe for him for people. He was also a
pretty private man and it took a long time
to get beyond his natural reserve about
himself. Daniel would see what James needed
him to see but it was up to him if he wanted
to talk. He didn't have to. James just
They were into heavy traffic and he was
getting nervous, so he asked Daniel about
the Russians, if there would be
repercussions because they'd fried the DHD
getting Teal'c back.
"No, I don't think so," Daniel decided after
a moment's quiet reflection. "The Colonel,
and his government, knew the risks before he
agreed to the loan of the DHD. There were no
"Why did he agree?" James wasn't the only
one on base officially out of the loop and
speculating like crazy. Daniel and that
creepy pen-pusher Davis must have promised
Moscow the Earth along with a few other
"Because he knows what it is to lose a
friend," Daniel said simply.
"Are you serious!" James hooted
Daniel frowned at him mildly, mostly
"That's it? That's the reason?" And Daniel
didn't see anything extraordinary in that at
"Ultimately, yes. The Colonel wasn't swayed
by any technological inducement we could
offer, or, to be more accurate, would no
"But he bought an emotional appeal?"
"He 'bought' that Teal'c was my friend."
"That's some kind of magic you work,
Daniel," James told him sincerely. "That
couldn't come from anyone but you. It
wouldn't stand a chance."
Daniel's frown deepened. "I don't see why,"
"Then you'll just have to accept the rest of
"Being a soldier doesn't make you inhuman,"
Daniel insisted. "It merely closes you off
to options which can always be opened
"No. No, they can't. You can't ask a soldier
to make those value judgements, to lose a
piece of himself by opening up to what he's
trained from day one to close off." James
didn't think he was getting his point across
too well and it made him impatient. "Not
then, not in combat. You lose it when you're
safe, when you're home, not when lives are
dependent on you exercising good, objective
"But that's what this training programme is
about," Daniel countered patiently. "Apart
from the fact no one is truly objective, you
aren't dealing with a society or any culture
of warfare you know. You have to be open to
the humanity in a situation, you have to be
able to communicate the humanity in
yourself, because ultimately, that's what
makes the difference, that's what those
people out there understand and respond to.
You have to give something of yourself in
negotiation, something of value, if you want
to receive something that equals it in
"I think you're supposed to cheat, Daniel.
You're supposed to get it all and give
Daniel smiled wryly at that and shook his
head. "Most of the people we encounter are
more concerned with survival and freedom. In
their simple agrarian economies, community
is often the highest value, service, not
self, maintaining the whole a stronger
imperative than that of any individual.
Other races have advanced technologically
and socially beyond the need for a partisan
electoral system. Politics as we understand
them are the exception, not the norm."
James wondered indulgently if there was
anything in the world that didn't excite
Daniel's interest. Or, less likely, that he
couldn't expound at length on.
"You're a purely political animal, a
consumer, you've been socialised to think
and respond within our socio-economic value
system, but you'll rarely find the American
dream shared, because contrary to popular
expectation, the good old US of A is not the
centre of the universe and the SG teams
don't always ride in on that big white
"I can't speak to that," James said stiffly,
a little resentful of this judgement.
"I hope you will." Daniel smiled a little.
"Jack is always telling me how the SGC isn't
like any other command he's ever been in. If
you didn't have the requisite flexibility
and moral integrity, you wouldn't be part of
James flushed in a thrill of pleasure at the
"Don't be in a rush to judge everyone and
everything by the standards you know,"
Daniel advised kindly, looking around
vaguely as they finally turned into the
parking lot of the club. "Popular place," he
remarked idly as James cruised around,
looking for a space he could insert his
little Hyundai into. "The Rumour?
"One look and you're writing this place
off?" James asked him softly as he spotted
an empty space and pounced before an
obnoxious beamer made it in. "What about
taking your own advice? Keep your mind open
and don't judge."
Daniel cleared his throat, looking down
deprecatingly at his cream linen pants, with
the pleat front and the tight, tight ass.
The sweater he wore was of fine silk the
colour of bronze, whispering over his skin,
skimming the toned pecs and sculpted
stomach. He was a walking wet-dream, shy,
sincere, beautiful and obliviously
unattainable. Maybe when he turned every
head in the place, he would figure out where
he was even if he couldn't see who he was.
"I'm, I'm open," Daniel said firmly as he
got out of the car.
"You look like you're going to the
guillotine," James contradicted, amused at
another in Daniel's limitless repertoire of
"I look like a professor. Or someone's dad!"
Daniel hissed gloomily in his general
direction, over the roof of the car, as two
college twinks in sprayed-on jeans sauntered
by, eyeing him with interest. He was baffled
when James started laughing.
"One of your Ph.D.'s is in anthropology,
right?" he snorted. "So? Open your eyes." He
led the way into the club, smiling again as
Daniel noted the complete absence of
tweeters, woofers, amps, glitter balls and
raving teens, and brightened visibly. "The
Rumour recruits its musicians from the
university music department. All original
compositions, no covers. Real instruments,"
he promised solemnly, crossing his heart.
"Very eclectic, very cool."
"Why 'The Rumour'?"
"You tell me."
The bar was on two floors, the upper one a
mezzanine gallery tucked beneath the peak of
the deeply sloping roof. The two outer walls
were of thick clear glass, the inner wall
glass bricks shot through with light, the
furnishings and fixtures deep tan leather,
frosted glass and chrome. Chairs clustered
around small, round tables, couches were
grouped into conversation areas lit by
standing lamps. It was smart and
sophisticated, the kind of place Daniel, in
all his grace and class, fit.
Apparently in complete agreement with this
assessment, the waiter took them straight up
to a table on the mezzanine gallery, the
restaurant pleasantly full. From experience,
James warned Daniel that later, the club
would be packed. Daniel either didn't mind
or wasn't listening. He didn't pay attention
to the waiter or the menu when they were
seated, too busy looking around at the other
diners, seeing mostly men with men in
couples or in groups, a few lesbian couples,
and one large, ebullient, mixed group
gathered around several tables pushed
"Open my eyes," Daniel murmured, a puzzle
solved to his apparent satisfaction, then he
bent his attention to the menu.
And that was that.
James was startled. He'd hoped for some
measure of acceptance, but not this. Just
how far did Daniel's comfort zone go, he
could take a gay bar without blinking?
"Do you go out a lot?" he asked, prodding a
little, like he would at an aching tooth.
"No," Daniel said blandly, reading the
dessert selection with great interest.
"Triple chocolate New York style baked
cheesecake," he drawled, his face dreamy.
"Cinnamon oat crunch ice cream?" This seemed
to cause some internal conflict. "You think
they do dessert to go?"
"I think they would for you." He couldn't
leave this alone. He really had to know what
Daniel was thinking.
"It's a curious thing about labels," Daniel
remarked, his eyes still on the menu. "You
can't look at a man and know his sexuality,
but apparently, even a blind man can see a
"Not blind, just dumb," a sharp voice
retorted and Daniel looked up, his eyes
twinkling amused appreciation at their
waiter. He blinked when a bottle of wine was
ceremoniously presented to him. "Did we
"I had an instinct, Sir."
"Siduri Pinot Noir? Your instincts are
good!" Daniel praised happily. "Archery
"One of the finest Oregon vintages."
"That hint of cinnamon," Daniel sighed,
looking fondly into his glass as his wine
"And cream soda." The waiter hovered
attentively as Daniel breathed the wine in,
then took a delicate sip.
"Cream soda? You're kidding," James said
Daniel and the waiter looked at him.
"I presume you'd prefer beer, Sir," the
"I'm not enthused about sharing," Daniel
pointed out, jealously hugging the wine
bottle over to his side of the table.
"Especially not with a complete Philistine."
"May I recommend the peppered steak, Sir?"
the waiter offered helpfully, discreetly
tweaking the menus away. "The sauce is very
fine, with fresh cream, Dijon mustard and
The waiter turned to James. "Would you like
fries with that?"
It's an amazing thing to spend time with a
man so free as Daniel. He doesn't know there
are eyes on him the whole time, coveting and
curious, and if he knew, he might care what
they thought but it wouldn't change what he
did. I can't believe what we got to talk
about. I never had a conversation like that.
Daniel knows about labels, he knows what it
is to feel separated from the world by who
and what you are, how hard it is to have to
be alone when your only other choice is to
lie about who you are so you fit in. He's
not so different than me in that respect.
Prodigy isn't so different from homosexual,
it singles you out, it comes with names and
with attitude, and Daniel is right. No one
looks at me and just knows. No one would
even suspect. I never imagined I was luckier
than him or that people can be even smaller
than I knew. No one judges **me** without
O'Neill calls Daniel a geek. I can't imagine
how the man could know Daniel all this time
and think of him that way. How can he not
understand that the label **hurts**? That it
hurts more because it comes from him and
despite the fact he's an asshole, Daniel
thinks the world of him? Daniel says the
people who know you best hurt you most of
all. It's the risk you take in any
friendship, any relationship.
I so wanted to ask him about O'Neill, how he
could have this reverence and faith for the
man and get nothing, absolutely nothing
back. O'Neill cuts him down to size and he
doesn't deserve it, he's the last person I
want hurt that way. I didn't want to upset
him so I left O'Neill alone. If Daniel is
holding out, hoping O'Neill will come
around, that whatever went bad in him will
right itself, well, I don't want to be
around when Daniel finally gets that this is
it, this is all O'Neill has to give.
He's learned so much and yet he doesn't know
men aren't supposed to talk like this. Men
aren't supposed to care. He thinks we have
to talk, that we should, and everyone must
I think he was a little drunk. I think he
was even happy.
We ate good food, talked our asses off in a
way I never thought I could, listened to
music that mellowed Daniel out and made him
smile. I took him home and he asked me in.
He was starved for talk like this and he
promised good coffee.
Aww, hell, he was funny and sweet and
totally gorgeous, of course I went in!
His loft is fantastic. Like a film set or a
museum, only it's real and it's him. He made
me coffee, poured himself a last glass of
wine and we sat on the couch, talked of this
and that, and right out of the blue, he
asked me how I first kissed a man. How, not
when. I guess I knew what he meant. How do
you know you're not going to get your head
bashed in? The answer is simple. You don't
know and you can't take the risk. That's why
there are bars and clubs, places you go. Not
I told him how I got picked up my first
night out, some businessman in a sharp suit
who was tickled by my bravado. He shoved me
down on the hotel bed and blew me to mark
the occasion, then he turned me on my face
and fucked me raw. I guess I was grateful it
wasn't in the backseat of his car.
"No kissing?" Daniel seemed confused by
"I slept with guys two years before I felt
enough to kiss one," James responded dryly.
"You won't meet a life partner in the bars,
not when you're the age most of us start
out. Any guy who looks at you, he's not
interested in anything some kid has to say,
just the sex because it's easy. That's all
"Have you ever had a relationship?"
"Not in the way you'd understand it."
"You'd be surprised what I understand."
"My last year in high school, I lucked out.
Met an okay kid from the neighbourhood in
one of the bars and we got together as often
as we could for sex."
"We hung out."
"Does it get any easier?" Daniel sounded
like he didn't think so.
"Not for me. I can't ever come out," James
said matter-of-factly. "I guess I'll always
be hitting the bars looking for sex when I
need it. I'm not the only gay man in the
military but I'm smart enough I won't take
risks. I won't get caught."
"There's more to life than your vocation,"
Daniel warned softly.
"Is there?" James challenged him. "You're
"My wife died."
"Two years ago." James winced at this
inadvertent slip. He didn't want Daniel to
know he'd been asking about him. He
understood now how important his privacy was
to him and he would try to respect it.
"Sha'uri was gone a long time," Daniel
sighed, looking at nothing or maybe looking
"You've been with the SGC almost five years.
Has it been that long?" James felt his
horrified pity fell far short of the mark.
"I didn't feel it then. Not when I, I had
"You mourned her all that time?"
"I missed her."
The gentle, dreary voice sparked a question
from James and when Daniel didn't hear him,
he asked again.
"How long since you made love?"
"You don't know me well enough to ask."
Well enough to know.
James blinked hard, his chest crowded,
burning with so much feeling. Sorrow for
Daniel's pain, jealousy he'd had someone who
kept such a hold on him, jealousy it was a
bond James would never know. Anger that
Daniel was so alone when he didn't have to
be, when he shouldn't be, that he couldn't
even see there were options open to him. He
was a man who needed to be touched, in every
way. He thought of himself as a loner but
James could see it was hurting him to be
There was one thing he could do for Daniel,
one thing that might make a difference.
I need to write all of this down, everything
that happened between us. I need to be fair
about what we did, and most of all, I
**need** to work out what to do.
Jack sent the laptop skidding across his
table, shoved his chair back and took off
towards his basement. He was so incensed he
didn't trust himself. Jealousy clawed at his
throat, driving him to his punch bag, hands
trembling with so much loathing he couldn't
even tie on gloves.
Blind with rage, he threw punch after punch,
pounded his bare fists into the cool leather
until sweat blinded him, until he ached. His
legs shook and he pounded on, his skin
splitting, knuckles slipping on hot leather
and slick blood, sending him staggering. He
threw his arms around the punch bag, held
himself up, panting harshly, his eyes
It killed him.
He couldn't stand Elliot defining Daniel in
these overtly sexual terms. He barely knew
him and he wasn't interested in friendship
much beyond what it took to get Daniel into
Elliot was so arrogant, so sure he had all
the answers. He was projecting, not hearing
a word Daniel said to him that didn't fit
what he wanted. Daniel saw some potential in
the kid and he empathised with that whole
outsider thing. He just wanted to understand
Elliot, that was all. He wanted to learn
more about a lifestyle he didn't know and
couldn't comprehend. Daniel had learned some
things in his life and he wanted to help
Elliot out if he could. That was all. A
small thing, but important to Daniel. People
Jack had a sick certainty where this was
going and he couldn't, he really couldn't
bear it. He did not want to read about
Daniel having to put down some horrendous
pass he wouldn't have seen coming. He
thought he and the kid were reading from the
same page. That much was clear to Jack.
He couldn't even hate Elliot, not for being
young and cocksure, for wanting it all. The
kid wasn't bad, he wasn't even wrong. He
just saw the world in a way Daniel didn't
know. It was all about the sex for him. It
was easy. He'd never even been in a
relationship, for chrissake. Who was he to
judge Jack? Elliot hadn't lived.
Self-control and discipline were about all
Jack had and even those were slipping away.
Jack didn't know what he would do. All he
knew was he was falling deeper in love with
a man who fit him in every way. Jack O'Neill
was career military, it was his life. The
Air Force was all he had and he knew better
than anyone what it had cost him, putting
his duty first. Sex with Daniel meant giving
up on everything he'd valued, everything
he'd worked for. His whole life, Jack had
put his duty before himself, before his son
and his wife, and he was scared Daniel
Jackson touched him so profoundly he could
give up on it all.
He could not let Daniel take him away from
the Air Force when the Air Force was what
had taken him away from his wife and his
He could not want Daniel more.
He was very afraid that he did.
It drove him back to his punch bag to pound,
and pound again.
I need to write all of this down, everything
that happened between us. I need to be fair
about what we did, and most of all, I
**need** to work out what to do.
Daniel made roast lamb for dinner and even
got me to drink a bottle of red wine with
him. I don't remember the name, but it was
Californian, and very good. Daniel loves
wine but he gets so engrossed in his work he
forgets to eat, let alone drink. He seems to
be mostly caffeine-fuelled from what I can
tell and he worries for the day he can't get
his coffee high.
He chattered to me about Dr. Seuss and the
Egyptian Book Of The Dead while he was
frying potatoes and stuff in the kitchen. I
sat at the table, drinking my wine and
watching him as he moved. He was dressed in
black, thin, tight and clinging everything.
Dressed for comfort, I guess, but showing
every curve of his body. I doubt it occurred
to him anyone would be looking. He carries
more muscle than I thought and he's tall,
exactly six feet, yet he seems almost
fragile. I can't explain it. He's the kind
of man who wouldn't look twice at me if I
ran into him in one of the bars, yet I was
there and he was liking me just fine. I was
giddy and I don't think it was the wine
going to my head.
The food was great, far better than at The
Rumour, and Daniel seemed anxious for me to
talk. He said I could talk to him, I could
talk about anything. He got embarrassed when
I told him how rare it was to be with
someone who didn't judge.
I talked about the academy and the Air
Force, about the SGC. How I almost washed
out because I wanted it too badly. I want to
be the best. I admitted to that and Daniel
didn't take it wrong. He is the best, he's
the original thinker, the one they all copy.
He gives everything he has to his research.
That kind of drive and commitment, he
understands. That's his definition of being
the best. Like, Zen and the archaeologist,
they say only you can be your judge. You
can't measure up to anyone else's standard.
I told him we couldn't all be like him. He's
not the same as me, but he does understand
where I'm coming from. When he talks, it's
like he's plugged right into your brain.
It's real hard to take, someone seeing you
so clearly, not buying into any of your
bullshit, not even the part you want to
No wonder O'Neill is scared of his feelings
for him, no wonder he pushes him away.
Daniel is slow to see that people like him.
I can't explain this blind spot he has. He
has a good opinion of most people he meets,
tolerance for the rest, yet he can't see
anything much good about himself at all.
He's focused on his research, like he's not
quite real to himself. It's about the truth
in his work, I think, not about his
accomplishments. He's strange and sweet and
kind of wonderful.
I'm more certain than ever that he **needs**
someone and I mean that someone to be me.
O'Neill is never gonna have the gonads to
take Daniel to bed. I don't have that
problem and I think getting laid will help
Daniel out a lot, help him see he doesn't
have to live inside his own head like this.
He shouldn't. He deserves better.
He's too nice a guy to be wasted all alone.
I wanted to get Daniel talking, keep the
good times rolling, so I asked him what it
was like out there, what it was really like,
the stuff the orientation and the training
didn't cover and he opened up about some of
the weirder missions SG-1 have had. He can't
say enough good things about O'Neill and the
others but even when I pushed, there was
nothing about himself. Ask about him, you
wind up either talking about yourself or
most likely hearing about his precious
I was intrigued and I guess that was the
start of it. Wanting to hear something
special, something private to Daniel.
Something that **didn't** involve 'Jack'. I
was pretty determined to have one without
We finished dinner and I gave Daniel my
gift. He liked the bourbon sauce they served
with his cheesecake at The Rumour and he was
touched I remembered. He'd never had bourbon
before that evening and he was really
pleased to get this. After complaining it
didn't come with cheesecake, he poured us
both a shot. Baker's 107 Bourbon, a good
brand and expensive, but it slips down like
silk Daniel tasted vanilla and caramel and
toasted nuts. He loved it. When we went over
to the couch, I brought the bourbon along.
I really wanted him to open up and talk to
me about himself. I figured the Baker's
"Jack's my friend." Daniel held his glass
cupped in his palms, rolling the bourbon,
watching the amber light dance through the
crystal. He would lift it to his face and
breathe in the scent, then take a slow
James had already re-filled the glass three
times and was having no trouble keeping
pace. Daniel's sensuous pleasure in the
bourbon was such a turn-on to him, he needed
a little something himself to take the edge
off. He was hard enough to hurt, a sweet
ache in his balls, heat in his belly, a
good, familiar pain. There was tingling
pleasure for him in the way his body was
slowly tensing in anticipation of the sex.
It more than made up for the fact Daniel was
maddeningly elusive and the only way James
was learning anything about him was by
bringing up O'Neill himself. He had to admit
it was paying off.
Daniel was melting, his eyes closing as he
savoured mellow caramel silk sliding down
his throat. He only smiled when he saw James
sitting there watching him, watching now
more than he was talking, waiting for the
moment he knew would come. The first hurdle
was cleared. Daniel wasn't freaking because
James was attracted to him. He was packing a
serious boner in his jeans and Daniel was as
close to him as before, closer, even.
"Your friend?" James prompted, keeping his
tone light, smiling as Daniel tilted his
head to rest against the cushions heaped
Daniel opened his eyes, blinking in
confusion at this.
"The two of you are?" James explained
incoherently, waving a vague hand, feeling a
little of the bourbon buzz and thinking
Daniel's eyes were like sky. Summer sky.
They had just that heat and light.
"Same. Jack 'n' me. The same."
"Not that I could see."
"Together," Daniel promised, holding out his
James poured another generous shot for them
both, his hand and the bottle trembling.
"Always together," Daniel murmured, his face
"You love him." Of course Daniel loved him.
That was why he put up with O'Neill's shit
the way he did. He just didn't have a clue
O'Neill wanted to bend him over and fuck him
Daniel only smiled.
"Questions, questions," Daniel complained,
rolling the bourbon in his crystal glass and
then beatifically over his tongue.
"Do you?" James persisted.
"All o' the time. Always Jack. My friend."
Daniel said this with such serene pleasure
"Is he good to you?"
"He's Jack. Jus' Jack. My Jack." Daniel
breathed in the rich scents in his glass.
"Yours," James sighed heavily. "Can he kiss
Daniel frowned over this, pouting.
Swallowing hard, James reached out to brush
his thumb tenderly over the bourbon-sleek
lips. Daniel's fingers stroked over his,
slipped a little, then closed around his
hand, took it down to rest on his knee.
"Can Jack kiss you?" Firm muscle was hot
beneath his hand. He was close, so close to
having what he wanted. He felt it. Daniel
"Kiss?" Daniel's tongue slid savouringly
over his lush lower lip. "Mmm." He closed
his eyes, sinking deeper into the embrace of
His heart pounding, James slid off the
couch, kneeling before Daniel, resting both
hands on his knees.
"Ever wanted a man?" he asked, breathlessly
"If this was Jack?" James murmured,
transfixed by the radiant face, slowly
stroking his hands back and forth over
Daniel's thighs, feeling the thin fabric
bunch beneath his palms and slip easily over
sleek muscles. Desire panged sharp and
sullen in his groin. "Jack here with you.
James spread his fingers, drawing his thumbs
along Daniel's inner thighs. He nudged
Daniel's knees apart, and leaned in between
them. "Jack touching you. Wanting you." He
cupped the soft curve between Daniel's legs,
Daniel rolled his head against the cushions,
sighing as his cock swelled beneath James's
coaxing hand. "Jaaack," he breathed.
"Want you, Daniel," James whispered. "Here
He slid his fingers up to the waistband of
Daniel's pants, loosened the drawstring and
eased the warm fabric down over the gentle
swell of his belly and slim hips, lowering
his head kiss the tip of Daniel's erect rosy
cock. Daniel's hips jerked reflexively and
he gasped as his cock slid into James's
watering mouth. James moaned as pounding
heat stroked over his tongue, greedily
gulping cock down until he took all of
Daniel in. Sucking ecstatically, he took
Daniel's balls velvet between massaging
fingers, peering awkwardly up to see the
effect he was having. Daniel's neck was
arched like a swan, the tendons standing
proud, his hands thrown up to grip
white-knuckled on the back of the couch, his
mouth gaping wide as he shivered and
groaned, guttural in his desperation.
James gave himself up to the pleasures of
Daniel's proud cock, throbbing against his
crowding, squeezing tongue. Daniel was
bursting in his mouth, slim hips stuttering
as James grated his teeth over hot skin then
gulped him deep again. Fingering Daniel's
balls made his cock twitch and spurt
delicious bitterness in the back of his
His own cock pulsed, iron in his jeans. He
thought he might come just from this, his
nose filled with the scent and his mouth
with the taste of Daniel, helpless with what
James was doing for him, splayed in his
surrender. James needed to come, he needed
to fuck Daniel now, his body thrumming with
the heady power of this.
He could do anything. Anything. He knew it.
It had been so long for Daniel, he was open
to any pleasure.
He squeezed the jerking cock in his mouth as
he squeezed Daniel's balls, mind flaming in
triumph as Daniel's body spasmed in orgasm,
cock erupting, shooting down his throat.
Rapturously, he swallowed ribbons of slick
cream, sucking Daniel dry.
I never knew anyone who gave himself over so
completely to sex. He let me do everything
for him I wanted. His eyes were closed and
he breathed a name, too soft for me to hear.
My name, I think. Had to be. He was with me.
I was staggering and dizzy from the booze,
practically coming in my jeans, I needed to
fuck him so bad and Daniel was wasted from
bourbon and orgasm. I wasn't about to do him
on his knees at the couch and it was good
when he put his arms around me, held onto me
as I walked him around into his bedroom.
I got him on the bed and took care of his
clothes so I could touch him some. He lay
down and cuddled into his pillows while I
stripped. I was clumsy and shaking, told him
I was sorry I couldn't do more for him than
this. I meant it. His skin is satin, his
body perfect. I wanted to take my time with
him but was scared to touch him more than I
I was worried he would tense up, that it
would be too much of a shock for him, but he
just snuggled where he was on the bed and
made these soft sounds in the back of his
throat while I stretched him. I asked him if
we were good before I fucked him. He just
made this murmuring sound, waiting,
He was so relaxed when I pushed into him,
his body didn't fight me at all. He made
that sound again as I slid deep into him,
all the way in. I held his hands in mine,
rubbed my face in his hair as he took all my
weight on his back. I knew he'd never been
with a man before and it blew my mind to be
his first. He filled me up inside, he was
warm and still and he took everything I
could give him.
I fucked him. I fucked him hard and fast and
slow and deep. I fucked Daniel. I fucked my
I went with my gut and I was right. Daniel
was starving for sex. He took everything I
could do to him. I was right about him too,
I win again.
"Uh, what?" Daniel was muffled, sounding
groggy and close to panic.
James lifted his face from the pillow,
groaning piteously as nausea roiled, burning
the back of his parched throat. His head was
pulsing. "Baker's 107 bourbon," he moaned,
licking the warm, sweaty skin on Daniel's
shoulder. "That's what."
"Don't," Daniel ordered, shuddering.
"Sure," James apologised easily. "God, I
hope you feel better than I do."
"I was drunk."
"I was drunk!" Daniel rolled over suddenly,
pushing James's lazy, encircling arm off of
him. He scrambled up, his back hard against
the headboard, knees folded to his chest,
his face white.
"It made for great sex," James swore
reverently, staring at Daniel and starting
to think maybe, just maybe, he would live.
His head might be pounding, but his cock
apparently had the casting vote here.
"You had sex," Daniel whispered, his pale
"We," James corrected absently, looking over
Daniel's slim, muscular body appreciatively.
"You came down my throat, remember?"
"I. I." Daniel stuttered to a halt,
wide-eyed and kind of desperate, staring
searchingly at nothing. He pushed the heels
of his hands into his eye-sockets, held them
there while he tried to think. "I - I
remember." He jerked his hands away, looking
around at the tumbled bed, his gaze
skittering away from James, hung-over and
sweatily sprawled, his cock beginning to
"Want to fuck again?" James invited him,
slowly sitting up.
"I - did I - did I say?" Daniel turned his
"You didn't say much more than my name."
This didn't seem enough for Daniel, his
"You moaned while we were fucking," James
murmured huskily, his balls tightening at
the memory of Daniel's fabulous ass. "A lot.
Made the most incredible sounds."
"There was no we," Daniel said in a soft,
dead voice. "I take anti-histamine."
"Doesn't go well with alcohol. Induces
drowsiness and impairs judgement. Says so
right there on the box. The warning label.
Side-effects. I didn't think, I mean, I
don't drink a lot. It's never been an
issue," Daniel was babbling, all of this
tumbling out of him in a weird monotone,
like he wasn't completely there. "I didn't
think it was an issue. The bourbon was good
and I didn't think." He shuddered violently.
"I didn't think."
"Look, what are you trying to say here?"
Frowning, James got up onto his knees,
staring at Daniel, who wouldn't even turn to
him. He felt like shit and he really needed
to throw up. He was finding all of this
difficult to follow but he knew something
was badly wrong here and he wanted to help
straighten it out. He didn't want to see
Daniel feeling this way, not when they were
so good together last night. "I went down on
you and then we came in here and fucked. It
was great sex. I asked you, Daniel. I asked
if we were good. You never said no, you
never made a move to stop me and you sure as
hell never passed out while we were
"I didn't say no," Daniel echoed with an odd
note of recognition. "I'd like you to leave
now, Lt. Elliot." He looked around at last.
I fucked him in his own bed and I can't take
it back. He remembers enough to know that.
He remembers enough, I made him cry.
I never meant to hurt him but I did. I made
him cry. I don't know what to do for him.
Jack's knees hit tile and his dinner hit the
back of the john in one vast convulsive
heave. He hung there, retching up beer and
bile, his eyes stinging and leaking tears.
His mind was white and roaring for the
longest time and then he hoisted himself
painfully to his feet, stumbling out of the
bathroom. His teeth chattered and his
fingers shook. Clenching down, he needed
heat. He made it into the dining room, into
a bottle and a glass. Stood blankly before
his reflection, choking down scalding
spirit. His dead eyes drove him outside to
pace out the worst of his fury. He caught
glimpses of himself in the window, of his
face and the questions there, the bottle
neck gripped tight in bleeding fingers, the
glass stuttering at his lips. He jumped down
from the deck, stormed out into the dark.
Where was he? Where?
He didn't know. How could he?
Daniel said nothing, gave nothing away. He
was quiet, he was always quiet lately and
then he slipped away, ready to kill. He was
quiet about the mission like it didn't
matter, like he wasn't the one among them to
find another way. He was always ready to
give, even to die, but to kill? That was
only when he'd used up all his options, with
his back against the wall and no other
choice to take. Daniel was no assassin, he
would never accept the necessity of that, he
would always find another way for Jack, for
the others. Not for himself, though, not
this time. He took the mission without a
word and slipped away like it didn't matter.
It didn't matter.
Daniel was raped.
He didn't matter. Is that what he was
So much Jack didn't know, so much he'd seen
and hadn't questioned, only been relieved
Daniel was quiet and it was easier for him
to keep his focus.
Daniel was raped.
Where had he been?
He picked the kid, he applauded the kid who
raped his friend. Welcomed him in. Felt pity
for him when he died. A medal, for
chrissake. For the heroism, for an arrogant
little bastard who got off on the sex at the
time and wrote it all later and never knew
it was rape. Elliot asked for what he
wanted, that was what he knew, not that he
needed an answer. He asked and Daniel never
said no and never passed out and that was
enough for Elliot to fuck him.
Daniel never said no.
I made him cry.
Daniel never heard him.
I made him cry.
Daniel would never touch him.
Jack dashed an angry hand across his burning
eyes, the hand with the glass, he thought
about rape and silence and slipping away. He
climbed back into the bottle.
Daniel tried to make a friend of Elliot,
tried to give something of himself,
something good, he trusted and Jack wasn't
there and all that was good in Daniel got
I win again.
I made him cry.
I don't know what to do for him.
Too little, too late.
Elliot gave his life for Daniel, tried to
give something of himself back in place of
what he'd taken. He'd learned something from
Daniel. Not enough. Daniel didn't kill and
didn't die at the snake summit, maybe like
he'd hoped, he didn't save Sarah, only
himself, he came back and he had to go on,
live, with the rape and Elliot's sacrifice
he had to know was about him, had to carry
all that weight as well. Had to do it alone.
Jack had seen the weight Daniel carried on
his shoulders, enough weight to make him
choose to kill, enough to make him leave a
boy alone to die, without a question. Jack
was there, he was a part of it, but hadn't
understood what he was seeing. Daniel had
looked to him, accepted his decision, made
no fuss and Jack didn't think to question
Daniel had to be quiet. Who did he have to
tell? He wouldn't have been listening to
Elliot at all if Jack had been talking.
He hadn't even asked Daniel about Sarah. Had
He drained his glass and drank again, sat
heavy in the wet grass and hugged his
bottle. Drank more.
Bourbon and ego cost Daniel. Jack didn't
know yet how much more than he'd read. His
mind was turning circles. Elliot drank
enough to believe he was god, he drank his
control away. Daniel drank enough to have
slipped away from him and Elliot didn't know
it, he didn't see how Daniel was with Jack
in his mind, Jack's kiss, the kiss Elliot
never gave, Jack's hand and mouth on him.
Elliot only used it to get Daniel hot, he
moved on but Daniel stayed with Jack.
The sound Daniel made, in the bed.
Was it Jack's name?
There wasn't enough heat in this bottle for
that and it hammered him to his feet in
search of another. He drank deeply, the
glass shaking or maybe his hand, but there
was no heat anywhere for him.
He wasn't there. He was afraid of what he
wanted and Daniel was alone, lonely because
he needed Jack with him while Jack needed
distance. He kept himself safe and Daniel
quiet. He had to get his head straight, to
get his friend back on terms he decided.
That was what he told himself, that was his
excuse. A careful distance worked for him,
he didn't have to deal with Daniel wanting
him around and missing him, he tuned out
Daniel's struggle to adjust. He got some
focus back, he got the job done while Daniel
got quiet and took what Jack would give him.
He didn't want to go deeper than they were,
he didn't want to give in to his feelings.
He didn't want Daniel to be everything to
him, he couldn't be the person that would
It was all about what Jack wanted. He and
Elliot, they were the same. Jack didn't give
Daniel a chance when he couldn't get past
how his feelings for him had changed, he
didn't ask or offer anything. He'd hurt
Daniel with that and worse. Elliot did the
same. All of this - Elliot was Jack's fault.
Sweating over another emptied bottle, he
couldn't save Daniel, only himself, he
convulsed with cold and hating, and his mind
Jack came to with his face against glass and
a spiking pain in his neck. Pinwheels flared
behind his eyes when he moved and his
pounding head swam. He reached out to steady
himself, found his steering wheel under his
hands and leaned on it gratefully, breathing
harshly as the world steadied. He was in his
His truck? Christ, had he been driving? In
this state? Shock forced his eyes open, got
him moving. He was on some street, dark
buildings all around and it was only when he
looked where light spilled out on the
sidewalk he realised he was parked across
the street from Daniel's building.
He had no clue how he got here or when or
what the fuck he was thinking. He slid
shakily out of the truck, leaned his weight
against the hood and looked up blearily,
painfully counting floors until he hit eight
and Daniel's balcony. No lights he could see
and he hoped, he prayed he hadn't been up
There was bottled water sitting in the cup
holder and he went back for it, guzzled it
down, poured some over his head and let the
truck take his weight while he stared up at
Daniel's apartment and tried to think.
What could he say to Daniel? There was
nothing, was there? It would maybe make him
feel better for a few minutes to spill his
guts, to get it all out, but he would crush
Daniel. Elliot wrote it down, he wrote it
all and Jack sat there reading with a beer.
He didn't know how Daniel felt, he wasn't
there and Elliot didn't have that kind of
empathy. If he rushed in blind, Daniel would
just get hurt again.
"Christ," Jack breathed, some pieces
dropping into place for him. Why had he been
assuming Daniel's interest in Elliot's
sexual exploits was altruistic? He didn't
know, he wasn't sure of anything but his gut
told him that he was there, he was part of
what had happened. He was right there in
Daniel's head. Daniel had been imagining
Jack, fantasising being with him, that was
what turned Daniel on.
How do you kiss a man the first time?
He'd been blind. He looked at Daniel and saw
only his own feelings, his attraction. His
problem. It was all about him. He never let
himself be close enough anymore so Daniel
could talk, he didn't want to be guilty so
he didn't see, he never imagined Daniel was
attracted to him.
"God, Daniel. Daniel, what in hell were you
thinking? That it was you?" Jack whispered,
appalled and cringing. "You're to blame for
me? You made me back away? You think I knew
you wanted me, I pushed you away 'cause I
couldn't feel the same?"
Daniel was what he was, he shouldered blame.
He would look at Jack, at the anger he
couldn't hide, the constant put-downs, how
it was all about work for them, nothing
allowed to get personal, he would see it
exactly that way. Jack shutting him down,
shoving him away, because there was nothing
he had to say, nothing he had to offer Jack
What Jack wanted was everything. He always
did. He tried to have it all but he was the
one who found it hard to give. Sarah walked
away from him for that. Correction. He drove
her away. He gave her no choice at all,
holding back his feelings, refusing to even
talk. He cut her dead, like he was cutting
Daniel dead, refusing to acknowledge him
outside the job they had to do.
All this time he was fooling himself his
family meant the world to him, he couldn't
let Daniel be more to him than them. Why
couldn't he just admit what scared him here
was Daniel wouldn't let him hide or quit? He
would have to face Daniel, he would have to
face himself. He would have to give
everything he would've held back, he would
have to talk.
The truth was, Sarah and Charlie meant
nothing to him if he couldn't learn anything
from losing them the way he had and the
military wasn't his life, it was camouflage.
If he did nothing now, if he did the wrong
thing, he would lose Daniel, he maybe
He had to have Daniel in his life, it was
his one constant. To lose him would be
unbearable. They were too bound up for Jack
to be apart.
All his careful choices were meaningless.
This wasn't up to him.
All he could think to do was talk, let out
some of the truth, the parts that were about
him. If he could tell Daniel he was in love
with him, that he necessary to him, it could
make a difference. It could help. It might.
He didn't know where it would take them, if
Daniel could even hear this from him now,
but he honestly didn't know what else to do.
to part two
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