to propose a mission to PJ3-133," Daniel launched right into his spiel
as he walked into Hammond's office.
himself from where he was leaning against the star chart and strolled over
to assist with the precariously balanced pile of files and books, smiling
at Daniel's slightly impatient gratitude. "Daniel is enthused," he
commented to Hammond, who, wise in the ways of their linguist, was already
making space on his desk.
see that," Hammond acknowledged, his shrewd eyes gleaming as Daniel got
his files and his books settled.
thing is that he's going to make us look at all of these," Jack added,
"Before he'll accept we're not going near 133."
Daniel asked, frowning up at Jack while he plumped himself down in the
seat before Hammond's desk.
that mission, Daniel. We all do. Griff and his men are still
talking about it! 133 was a bust." Jack said tartly. "The locals
shot down the UAV for a start."
do exactly the same if an alien aircraft invaded our airspace," Daniel
reminded them, unarguably. "There's a distinct difference between
defence and aggression." His tone implied, 'I should not have to remind
you of this'.
also kicked SG-2's ass and tossed them back through the wormhole," Jack
serious injury was to Major Griff's dignity, and the people also tossed
these through the wormhole!" Daniel announced triumphantly, pointedly ignoring
Jack's snort of outraged disbelief. He held up in evidence a sheaf
of digital images of the clay tablets which had accompanied the woefully
ego-bruised SG-2 back to the SGC eleven weeks before. "I've been
able to translate the tablets," he announced happily.
be amazed if you hadn't," the general greeted this news warmly. "But
perhaps you could explain to us where you found the time? Colonel
O'Neill tells me you've had rather a full work-load on top of a packed
looked slightly uneasy and avoided Colonel O'Neill's jaundiced, knowing
eye. "That's not important," he denied hastily, "but what is important
is this!" He brandished the folder containing his translations.
Jack and the general failed to look impressed. Daniel sensed a kind
but firm lecture about him getting a life was imminent.
recall Griff's debriefing?" Jack prompted Daniel. "Even after almost
three months, I do. Vividly. His tactical assessment of 133
was not so much Desert Storm as Afghanistan."
a problem?" Daniel asked.
if you're Russian, son," Hammond said dryly.
this is a warrior culture we're dealing with," Daniel crisply interjected,
ignoring these irrelevant interpolations. "I don't deny that. But,
from what I've been able to translate, all social and familial relations
are governed by a strict code of conduct, rigid enough I'd describe it
as ritualised, and their laws of hospitality and trade appear equally prescribed."
the general continued to look at him, politely uncomprehending.
was quite accustomed to this reaction. "Griff and SG-2 ran into difficulty
because they were there in force, they bore weapons, and they didn't communicate
in any way the people were honour-bound to respond to," he patiently explained.
"In effect, Griff failed to render the people the respect they were owed
and that in turn freed them from obeying their own laws."
to Hammond. "Griff said he didn't care how many exciting unknown
mineral compounds the UAV telemetry showed 133 has sitting at the bottom
of that inland sea, he would not recommend further contact. If you
recall," he went on, speaking loudly over the top of Daniel's indignant
bristling, "The major likened the sudden appearance of the locals among
the dunes to the arrival of the Zulu in that movie, you know the one.
Michael Caine was in it," he suggested vaguely. "Griff said he knew
now how that Welsh male voice choir felt and he personally wasn't about
to risk singing soprano."
think the Haril were serious about the threat of castration," Daniel insisted,
"They were merely being insulting."
this!" Ignoring Jack's glowering, Daniel looked appealingly to the
general. "Sir, I don't believe the Haril - that's the name of the
people - are hostile to us. They returned SG-2 more or less unharmed
when they could easily have killed them, as well as providing us with the
means to communicate and trade with them on their terms, terms they're
honour-bound to respect. The tablets they provided included a key
to their language as well as a code which describes in simple terms the
system of laws governing behaviour. It's quid pro quo," he added
in his most persuasive tone. "If we respect their rules, the Haril
will follow them to the letter."
Hammond asked straightforwardly.
a curious people," Daniel said softly. "Just like us."
Daniel, I know you're fascinated, God knows you're always fascinated by
everything," Jack interrupted, utterly failing to suppress a treacherous
pang of arousal as Daniel eyed him sulkily, all big eyes and tight mouth.
"And I know you want to go, because you always want to go. But," Jack said
loudly, ruthlessly suppressing his linguist's outraged attempt to get a
word in, "apart from the unknown minerals, which might be useless for all
we know, these Haril have nothing we want."
Daniel asked pleasantly, still scowling darkly. "Then how did they
shoot down the UAV?"
said some kind of projectile weapon," Jack impatiently reminded Hammond.
read Griff's report, and I have, several times," Daniel said crisply, "you'll
see he makes no reference to the Haril carrying projectile weapons."
understandably focused on the big gleaming swords," Jack retorted.
"Given what the locals were planning to use them for." There was
a brief silence from Daniel. Jack sensed this was merely so he could
re-group and attack again. He was amused by Daniel's determination,
touched - although he wouldn't admit it - by the trouble Daniel had taken
to analyse the tactical elements of the abortive mission so he could speak
a language Hammond would appreciate. Not that he wanted to encourage
this alarming innovation. Daniel was hard enough to manage as it
was; their very own Jiminy Cricket was always talking them into stuff they
didn't want to do and out of stuff they were supposed to do.
do the Haril live?" Daniel asked dulcetly.
spotted tents," Jack responded, making a 'wind this up and move on gesture'
didn't spot enough tents to accommodate all those Haril. How many
did Griff report?" Daniel asked innocently.
Jack admitted, frowning. "Are you suggesting those tents are a feint?
Diverting attention away from - what?"
definitely preferred Jack when he didn't play dumb. It was far less
exhausting. "I don't know, but I'd like to find out. A population
that size would need a city, Jack, yet the partial topographical survey
conducted via the UAV before it was destroyed revealed no indications of
human habitation other than the scattering of tents near the Stargate.
The reason Sam assumed a projectile weapon took out the UAV was because
she was unable to detect a discernible energy source."
to argue the existence of a city, not when Daniel was this sure, Jack suggested
that the Haril could live underground, like the Tok'ra.
possible," Daniel graciously conceded. "Or they could be shielding
their city and their weapons. Both the Nox and the Tollan had that
Daniel in dismay. Not just tactics, but the siren call of Good Stuff
We Can Use If We Can Get It.
suggesting that these - Haril? - have a technology in advance of our own,"
Hammond said slowly, thoughtfully looking Daniel over.
have any answers, General," Daniel admitted with disarming honesty.
"Just questions. Lots of questions."
know that I disagree with you," Jack admitted reluctantly. "Just
because we don't know what those exciting new minerals can do doesn't mean
the Haril don't. However long those people have been parked by that
inland sea, someone was bound to get curious sooner or later and try to
figure out what the crud could do, even if it is only good for clearing
the complexion." A brief silence greeted this. "Like the Dead
Sea," Jack explained impatiently. “Salts! They put it in stuff.
Chick stuff,” he elaborated.
are these rules of the Haril?" Hammond asked Daniel, apparently not about
to get into what kind of ‘stuff’.
brightened up, eagerly leaning forward to rifle through the papers and
photographs he had spread over the General's desk. Jack folded his
arms over his chest, watching indulgently as Hammond made suitably encouraging
noises over an array of digitised images blurred at high speed past his
nose, illustrating various key points throughout Daniel's lecture.
society appears to be founded on the basis of Lohitakwar, what I would
best describe as bonded pairs. The pairings are for life, literally,
the only separation is in death," Daniel reported enthusiastically.
"The pairings appear to be based on the warrior bond, strengthening the
defence of the Haril at the same time as fostering a strong sense of familial
and community responsibility. I couldn't get a clearer definition
than that," he apologised. "The Haril really did only provide the
bond, we can do that," Jack said lightly. "We're a team."
call for the initial approach to be made by one Haril Lohitakwar, and met
by one bonded pair, or our equivalent." Daniel glanced up brightly
at Jack. "It's supposed to establish equality and mutual respect,
help in building trust. There's a formal greeting ritual called the
ikvala that's fortunately described in detail, then if we make a sufficiently
good impression, we all share hospitality, food, water, shelter."
What's the catch?"
smiled up at Jack, his eyes lighting ruefully.
it," Jack sighed. "You get nothing for nothing."
we can offer to trade, there's a reference to a rite of passage, a test
of character shared by both bonded pairs," Daniel admitted.
building," Hammond said at once, Jack nodding agreement.
are honour-bound to keep their guests from harm, General," Daniel said
a little castration between friends?" Jack joked.
offer to trade is rejected, they'll just shove us back through the Stargate.
They won't kill us, just like they didn't kill SG-2," Daniel insisted,
scowling at Jack. "To represent the SGC in the ritual, I thought
Sam and I?" he suggested to Hammond.
again," Jack snapped instantly. He was thinking tactically, of course.
This simply needed the best man for the job, which, fortunately, was him.
There was no other reason. He was a professional, so he was being professional.
That was all.
one of the pair has to be me," Daniel snapped back. "I'm the only
one who speaks the language! The translation was, I believe, a test
in itself." He was slightly embarrassed about how long it had taken
him to complete the translation, even with the lexicon the Haril had provided.
Not that he was out to beat the record or anything, but he also didn't
want to come off as a slow learner. He could hardly explain to either
Jack or the Haril that the only reason he'd had time to do the translation
at all was because he wasn't sleeping too well when he wasn't on a mission.
He - um - he needed something to help him sleep. Jack, apparently.
get giddy over the Arabian Knights deal," Jack said flatly. "A freakin'
invisible city, Sir!" he protested volubly to the general. "We'll
both go," he informed his visibly mutinous subordinate. This was
not open to negotiation. Daniel's lovely unbonded behind wasn't going
anywhere without Jack.
with the colonel," Hammond backed Jack up, both of them blandly overlooking
Dr. Jackson's pointedly offended hauteur. "I do see some merit in
what you've said, Dr. Jackson. As I recall, the Haril didn't make
the first aggressive move towards SG-2, even though they had previously
destroyed the UAV. Griff made an assumption, in my opinion a reasonable
assumption based on what he'd seen, about the sophistication of the hostiles
surrounding his team. He opened fire over their heads, trying to
scare them off to a safe distance for all parties. It failed, and
it resulted in his team being efficiently disarmed with minimal injuries
was smart enough not to kill anyone," Jack mused, "so there's no way for
us to determine if the Haril would have used deadly force in response.
They reacted to SG-2's tactics like they understood what Griff did and
why, didn't really fault it, but they made a big point about showing respect."
He found himself returning Daniel's shy, grateful smile, feeling like he
should have 'S-A-P' tattooed across his forehead. He looked wryly
at Hammond. "It was the whole staked-out-in-the-sun-facing-castration-with-a-huge-freakin'-sword
thing," he grinned. "It tends to focus a man's mind."
the hell," Jack said easily. "We've faced worse odds." He was
absolutely not doing this just because Daniel wanted it so badly.
He wasn't so in love with the man that he couldn't do his job, couldn't
use his judgement. If there wasn't a tactical advantage to be gained,
he wouldn't consider it. Daniel was right about the questions he
was asking, even if he was playing Jack and Hammond to get his own way.
To Jack, the risk was calculated.
well. Because of the Haril's reaction to Griff's team, I'm unwilling
to risk a further breach of their trade rules. I'll have Major Carter,
Teal'c and SG-3 on standby here at the SGC, ready to assist if needed,"
Hammond decided. "Colonel, you have a go. I'll give you twenty-four
hours to establish peaceful contact with the Haril. Carter, Teal'c
and SG-3 will gate to the planet at that time to assist in extraction if
necessary. If all goes well, they'll assist in the mineralogical
survey. Dr. Jackson? I'd like you to fully brief Colonel O'Neill
on those Haril trade rules, as well as this ritual greeting you've described."
to be there as the sun is setting, which is around 2am, our time," Daniel
informed him. "It's part of the ikvala ritual, the sharing of hospitality,
tactical," Jack corrected him. "The light will be crappy and if the
Lohiwhatsits toss us out on our ear, we get to stumble back to the gate
in the dark, surrounded by hostiles, through inhospitable territory we
don't know and they do."
think it's going to be a problem," Daniel said confidently. "We just
need to follow the rules."
do the rules say about us carrying weapons?" Jack queried.
the Haril, I don't think they're optional," Daniel responded thoughtfully.
Jack prompted. Daniel acceded with good grace.
You're no doubt aware that we have a very brief window in a very full mission
self-consciously avoided Hammond's ironic eye. Then he avoided Jack's,
twenty-four hours begin at 0200. That gives you eight hours to prepare
for the mission while I brief Major Carter, Teal'c and SG-3. Dismissed."
Jack acknowledged smartly. He helped Daniel gather up his stuff,
then herded him out of the office. "Not bad," he commented when they
were safely out of earshot, grinning. "Not bad at all. Soft
soap, hard sell and perfect timing. You're definitely getting better
at this." Jack was sad he found Daniel endearingly smug about it.
Cute was not a word he should even be thinking in Daniel's presence.
was all that crap about you and Carter going solo on this one?" he asked
as they got onto the elevator, Daniel juggling his files with the ease
of long practice, and the aid of a carefully balanced knee, to reach up
and punch nineteen.
Daniel muttered vaguely, his mind definitely elsewhere.
Carter berserking off into the blue without adult supervision," Jack repeated,
not taking Daniel's distraction personally.
just thought it would be easier on her."
would be easier?" Jack asked eventually, when Daniel failed to elaborate.
the greeting," Daniel answered as the elevator doors opened after the short
ride. He strode out confidently, leading the way to his office.
"The ikvala - well, the literal translation is sharing breath."
breath? Like CPR?" Jack asked doubtfully.
like a kiss," Daniel corrected Jack as he dumped his stuff on his desk.
He took the rest of the files and books from his glorious leader, looking
at him thoughtfully. "If I'm making assumptions, I apologise, Jack,
sincerely. I just didn't think you'd feel comfortable having to kiss
me and the Haril."
I mean, that's what it looks like, that's what it is on our terms, but
not on theirs." Noting that Jack had headed straight over to close
the rear office door, Daniel closed the near one, more than happy to grant
Jack what he no doubt felt to be necessary privacy. "I think like
so many other species, the Haril have suffered predation by the Goa'uld,
and the sharing of breath is both a - well, a double dog dare and the ultimate
expression of trust."
Ma, no snake?" Jack tossed off lightly as he prowled back from the safely
locked door. He should be ashamed of himself. He really should.
The thought of having to plant one on a whole load of sweaty Lawrence of
Arabia-type frogs didn't appeal at all, but it would be worth it if he
got to kiss Prince Daniel in the line of duty.
sat on the corner of his desk, leaning forward confidingly. "The
information the Haril provided about the bonded pairs was less than precise.
I really don't know what the bond entails, what status the bonded pair
enjoys or what their social and familial responsibilities are, but that's
something I can ask about. I couldn't find any indication that the
bonds are gender specific, so we should be okay," he informed Jack brightly.
have to kiss you?" Jack sought clarification of the only part that mattered.
Daniel said seriously, resting his hand on Jack's arm in what he apparently
thought was a sustaining manner.
very touched that Daniel was anxious about how he was taking this shattering
news, what with him being a sheltered Special Ops colonel and all.
"I wouldn't worry General Hammond with the specifics of the ritual unless
we absolutely have to." Translation: Jack was not about to give Hammond
the chance to be a killjoy. He heaved what he hoped came off as a
long-suffering sigh. "Let's get to it!"
jumped right up, seeming very willing to help Jack through his terrible
ordeal. "You have to hold me," he instructed Jack.
completely cool with this, wrapping his arms round Daniel's slender waist
with alacrity. He was trying very hard not to enjoy himself too obviously.
sexy, sensitive and somewhat naïve young man Jack was in love with,
was frankly disconcerted by this unexpected embrace. After craning
around to try to look down his own back, Daniel took a moment to adjust
his strategy to what he was assuming was more Jack's speed. He curled
his fingers around Jack's upper arms. "Hold me like this," he said
carefully. "Around the arm."
Damn. "Got it." Oh, well. At least Daniel had great
biceps. Jack felt the fondling would be even more fun if they were
wearing fewer clothes but was pragmatic about taking what he could get
for now. He could wait until they both got sweaty from all the practice
they were going to need to do before he mastered sharing breath.
we place our mouths together," Daniel lectured him, "And breathe."
our mouths?" Once again, Jack meticulously sought clarification.
scowled at him.
his mouth on Daniel's.
Daniel hissed, his order muffled by Jack’s mouth.
close, not touching except in the mutual clasp around their arms, breathing
into one another's mouths for a few seconds, then parted.
people don't kiss, do they?" Jack said at once.
ritual has no sexual connotations for the Haril, and it shouldn't for us,"
Daniel gladly acknowledged, relaxing as Jack showed his comprehension.
This was all going much more smoothly than he'd thought it would.
He felt slightly guilty for assuming Jack would be freaked.
you're right," Jack said abruptly. "It is a double-dog dare.
The Goa'uld don't enter the host through the mouth, but through the back
of the neck. Even so…" He shrugged. In his opinion, there had
to be smarter ways for the Haril boys to show the world they'd really got
is a symbolic defiance, a very powerful ritual of independence and pride,"
Daniel agreed, delighted that Jack was really with him. "Are you
okay with this?" he asked softly. He wouldn't for the world embarrass
Jack, but their observance of the ritual was a necessity. He had
to be sure Jack was up to it. "It's an affirmation of trust, Jack,
have to do this with every Haril we meet, at least I don't think we do.
With the Lohitakwar, the bonded pair who come to greet us, yes, but after
that, only with each other, and I think if a Haril initiates contact in
some formal way," Daniel mused thoughtfully. "To seal negotiation,
something like that. That's my best guess, anyway. Remember,
Jack, it's a way for the Haril to communicate trust to us and for us to
communicate respect to them."
to try communicating again?" Jack invited, holding up his hands.
Daniel walked readily into the embrace, which was a fairly damning indictment
of Jack's technique right there. Or a compliment to his control.
Fairly depressing, either way. If Daniel had any idea what Jack really
wanted to do with his perfect, pouty mouth, he wouldn't stand so close.
He wouldn't be in the same room. Possibly, he’d be wary about sharing
the planet. This was anthropology, though, and the man who would
yell hello to an empty room, or film plants, or hold unsatisfactory conversations
with dogs, was completely open to sharing breath with his best bud in the
name of science, without a thought in his brilliant mind about sexual connotations.
Not with good old Jack, anyhow.
the hell out of the warm, sweet pressure of Daniel's lips against his,
getting this was about trust, getting off on Daniel trusting him this much.
He wasn't going to rock Daniel's world, not if he could help it, which
sadly meant keeping his tongue in his own mouth. They kept on sharing
breath until they did it easily, holding for the prescribed beats of their
heart and moving apart. Daniel tried to kill him a couple of times
by gently licking his lips to taste Jack on him before Jack had even let
go of him, but other than that they muddled through.
got away unmolested, Jack felt he could legitimately pride himself on being
well-adjusted and well-behaved. He was cooking with gas, here.
was excited and happy, wanting Jack to share the treat, and for once he
didn't have the heart to slap Daniel down. He listened patiently
to a break-neck stream of educated guesswork about human-Haril etiquette,
the sacred law of hospitality, the symbolism of sharing water and breaking
bread, although no information was forthcoming from his cultural expert
on the proper way to break wind. Daniel appeared to suspect facetiousness
on Jack's part.
a few hours of this, Carter and Teal'c dropped by to collect them on their
way to the commissary for dinner. Daniel once more demonstrated his
sensitivity by refusing to demonstrate the famous greeting ritual Hammond
had told Carter, Teal'c and SG-3 all about, at least until Jack reminded
him that being rude could get them castrated. Daniel ably demonstrated
on Carter, who was, in Jack's opinion, inappropriately enthusiastic.
Then Daniel had to demonstrate on Teal'c, who was pouting and feeling left
and Teal'c demanded to see Daniel demonstrate this ritual with the colonel.
Neither of them believed the colonel would do it, and when he did, Carter
nearly killed herself trying not to laugh as she sputtered something incoherent
about a Kodak moment. After gently reminding her who would have the
honour of demonstrating this technique to SG-3, Jack moseyed down the hallway
with Teal'c, feeling justifiably smug as he let Daniel's excited chatter
and Carter's abject horror wash over him.
tactics in securing this mission were most effective," Teal'c observed
us like violins," Jack agreed cheerfully. "We might even get something
out of it. Who knows?"
Griff believes you are fools to attempt this."
and so does Hammond."
I," Teal'c said calmly. "It is rare DanielJackson is incorrect in
his deductions. I would advise you to use the honour code of these
Haril to your own advantage, O'Neill."
looking at Daniel, walking just ahead of them, talking animatedly with
Carter, making his point with eloquent hands. "I intend to," he said
was looking at Daniel too. After a moment, he simply inclined his
head in unspoken acknowledgement, a slight smile tugging at his lips.
out anything you can about the Haril to aid us in negotiations for access
to those mineral deposits," Hammond ordered Jack. "And of course
to their technology. Whatever you can discover without compromising
Sir," Jack acknowledged briskly.
watched Daniel stalking back and forth in front of the ramp while he waited
impatiently for the gate to complete dialling.
quirked an enquiring eyebrow.
closer. "He wasted a whole hour sleeping at his desk when he could
have been drilling me on my peachy keen grasp of a language he isn't willing
to admit neither of us can pronounce."
worth commenting that most of Daniel's annoyance stemmed from waking up
to find Jack mesmerised not by the Handy Haril Hints he was supposed to
be memorising, but by a desperate website called 'My cat hates you'.
At this point in time, Daniel was very much at one with the cats.
Daniel called imperatively, approximately one nanosecond after the wormhole
telemetry shows nothing but sand and clear skies, for what that's worth,"
Hammond reported, indulging in a little C.O. sarcasm. "You have a
go, Colonel. And twenty-four hours."
a wei, Sir, Siamu a wei," Jack said solemnly, giving an eloquent little
wave of his P-90.
Hammond responded equally solemnly.
to hustle up the ramp to make sure he cut Daniel off at the event horizon.
"The Haril choice of sunset is deliberate, Daniel. The light is uncertain,
making camouflage easier, and the terrain works in their favour.
Let's take it nice and slow when we get through."
be watching us from the moment we arrive," Daniel acknowledged readily.
Jack let it go at that, hiding a smile as Daniel settled his P-90 more
comfortably. It always took him a while. "You going to give
me hell because I wouldn't let you bring any books?" he asked teasingly.
step of the way," Daniel promised as they went through the gate.
learned through long experience to keep moving through the disorientation.
It would pass within moments. The intensity of reintegration hadn't
changed; they'd simply grown accustomed to the nausea.
pleased to see Daniel efficiently scanning the terrain to his right, without
being told to do so, while Jack did the same to his left. Maybe
Daniel would never truly think like a soldier, but he took his responsibilities
for the safety of his teammates seriously.
could be ten thousand Haril within spitting distance," Jack observed quietly
as they walked slowly forward into what felt like a wall of heat.
The Haril desert was disconcertingly like the dunes wallpaper on his Windows
XP. "I hate these sandy planets," he sighed.
even play 'I spy'."
beginning with 's'. I know."
about the weather."
is a pain in the ass. I know."
it was all bad. On the upside, Daniel looked good enough to eat in
his desert cammos, and, knowing his linguist was sensibly naked under them,
Jack always wanted to do bad things to him all night long.
the Haril we have to share breath with aren't stinky. I flossed,
you know," Jack announced informatively.
lips were twitching. "They could put you on CNN and no one would
believe you're Earth's first line of defence."
accepted the implied compliment as his due. "Do you feel like the
heat is standing on your head, trying to hammer your ass into the ground?"
you couldn't complain about the weather on sandy planets?"
has that ever stopped me trying?"
Jack?" Daniel said quietly, watching dark shapes rising to stand silhouetted
at the top of a not particularly distant dune to his left.
'em," Jack answered, reassuringly blasé.
I've seen that movie," Daniel commented. "Zulu." He looked
again at the Haril, each warrior slipping into position with perfect, silent
synchronicity. "Michael Caine," he muttered distractedly. "It's,
um, it's definitely coming back to me. The hordes."
of thousands," Jack agreed. "But the only ones we have to worry about
are these two right in front of us."
looked around in time to see two robed figures walking steadily towards
them. Their clothing was loose and layered, the same colour as the
walking," Jack ordered and they went on at the same steady pace as before.
"Could you not look so eager?" he hissed at Daniel. "You're practically
going to tell the Haril we come in peace. It can't hurt to look as
if we vaguely mean it."
feels like a slow-mo game of chicken," Jack complained as they all kept
walking and walking and walking. "Although, if they're trying to
psyche us out, I guess they can tell from the way you're bouncing it ain't
working," he added unkindly.
remember what to say?" Daniel prompted, ignoring that. His job was
to communicate and he was going to do that, no matter how snarky and chafed
Jack got. "Jack?"
is not funny."
it is," Jack argued complacently. He'd grasped the stuff about equality
on both sides was important, Daniel had made a big deal about that, even
bigger than the big deal he made about all the other stuff that gave Jack
a headache, so he kept them walking, another fifty yards or so, coming
to a natural halt at the same time the Haril did.
in this bonded pair were men, maybe older than Daniel. Two tall,
extremely good looking men, with olive skin and watchful, dark, liquid
eyes, their long hair braided and bound by trailing leather thongs.
Each man stood with legs braced apart, a callused hand resting on the hilt
of the slim, straight sword at his waist. A large water skin was
slung across each of their backs, and each carried a leather drawstring
pouch on the opposite hip to the sword. Jack also noted knives tucked
into sheaths in each knee-high boot and on the broad leather belt that
carried the sword. And those were just the visible weapons.
a wei," Jack greeted them confidently.
a wei," Daniel echoed in his soft, expressive voice.
the Haril reacted to Daniel, not Jack. His pleasure and enthusiasm
were genuine and who in their right mind could resist that sweet little
a wei," the shorter of the two Haril returned their greeting, the taller
picking up the refrain.
didn’t come as a complete shock that Daniel stepped forward first to meet
'n' greet the shorter Haril and share breath. The space between their
bodies was neatly filled by one P-90 and the hilt of one freakin' big sword.
Daniel timed it perfectly, moving back exactly as the other man did, a
courtesy that pleased both the Haril. Daniel turned to the taller
Haril, repeating the ritual as smoothly as the first time.
looked as if Daniel was kissing the two men, but there was nothing sexual
in their touch. It clearly wasn't aggressive, either. Both
parties were taking an equal risk, if they knew anything about the Goa'uld.
Jack decided he was okay with this walk softly and carry a big freakin'
sword approach, refraining from giving either of the men attitude or tongue
as he took his part in the ritual. Just a few moments of clasped
arms and spice-scented mouths and it was over. No harm, and surprisingly,
given the usual state of desert hygiene, no foul.
Daniel," Daniel gave the Haril the expected gift of his name.
Jack," Jack said readily, praying he heard something he could pronounce
Ekala," the shorter Haril man announced.
Daksh," the taller introduced himself.
solemnity got cloying after about ten seconds, so Jack uncorked his canteen,
took a drink of water, hopefully demonstrating the contents were safe,
handed it to Daniel. He drank too, then he passed the canteen to
Ekala. Each of the Haril took a mouthful of water, then Daksh ceremoniously
returned the canteen to Jack.
welcome." Jack recognised fellow professionals in the calm, assured
tones of the Haril men. He had no immediate concerns about either
of them losing their heads or pulling any macho posturing bullshit.
indivar," Ekala invited, turning to gesture gracefully at the dunes behind
stepped forward involuntarily, frowning in concentration. "Indivar,"
he repeated carefully, then glanced at Jack. "Fortunately, the Haril
language is phonetic, " he advised Jack confidentially. "We lucked
out with the simpler vocabulary of the greeting, our pronunciation
wasn't wildly off. Indivar is part of the ritual, it means shelter.
I think they're inviting us to take shelter."
what we came here for, so let's go," Jack approved.
turned to Ekala. "Oja," he politely repeated the thanks Daksh had
offered Jack in return for the water. He was grateful the Haril at
this point were keeping communication as simple as possible, using words
and phrases familiar to Daniel from the clay tablets and the lexicon.
He'd need to hear much, much more of the spoken language to even begin
to correct his pronunciation and syntax, but each party could make themselves
understood for now. It was a start.
like we're doing okay so far," Jack commented.
it was the flossing," Daniel acknowledged solemnly.
fresh breath," Jack agreed, winking. "Impressed the hell out of them."
into step with Daksh as Daniel fell behind to walk with Ekala. When
he glanced up at the dunes surrounding them, the Haril were retreating
silently, in perfect order. Jack understood that. You couldn't
survive in the desert without discipline, and it had to be taught and learned
from the earliest age. Neither Daksh nor Ekala spoke to them, though
the silence was easy, the men looking at them from time to time, but mostly
focusing on the terrain. It just seemed to be their way.
walked two kliks from the Stargate, picking their way carefully between
and occasionally over the dunes, always seeming to take the path of least
resistance. Daksh held up his hand, stopping the party in its tracks.
"Lekakh," Daksh murmured to Jack, pointing to the ground ahead.
in the still deteriorating light, Jack noted a narrow strip of fractionally
paler sand a few yards in front of them.
reached into his robes, not hurrying the movement, drawing out a small
pouch tied around his neck, from which he extracted a coloured stone.
He tossed the stone lightly onto the sand. Instantly, the narrow
strip of what had looked like paler sand, reared up and viciously
struck at it.
of metal flashed past Jack, one of Ekala's knives neatly spearing the snake
through the skull.
Lekakh means shoot the big ugly fanged fucker from as far away as possible."
digs!" Jack gloated as he ducked into the palatial interior of the seemingly
him, Daksh waited politely until Daniel and Ekala entered, then he turned
to seal the flap behind them. The seal was a panel of the same dense
sand coloured fabric as the tent, braced on either side by a pole.
Daksh stretched the panel across the entrance, then hammered the pole deep.
Jack asked meaningfully, not enthused about the prospect of cuddling up
to a lonely snake. He flinched involuntarily when Ekala swung their
already expertly skinned and filleted, finger-lickin' good, big ugly fucker,
fanged dinner at him, which struck both their hosts as a very funny joke.
on the inside," Jack informed Daniel, who was standing watching him with
arms folded across his chest. "And I'm still stuffed from that yummy
cannelloni we ate in the commissary," he added cunningly.
eating that snake," Daniel ordered him, his expression ominous. "Sacred
Jack retorted. "No way. I bet we get to suck a fang each as
guests of honour. Or the balls. I can't eat a snake's balls."
and so can you," Daniel insisted stonily, looking around appreciatively.
Filmy woven cloths in varying abstract designs draped the walls of the
tent, some with rich earth tones, others harmonious greens and vivid blues.
Thick, deeply-coloured carpets lined the floor, except for the centre of
the tent, which was clear sand. A metal brazier stood well clear
of the carpets, ringed by smooth grey stones. In front of the cooking
area, cushions edged a low table which had a metal circle inlaid in the
middle of it. At the rear of the tent, more of the fine cloths were
hanging suspended from poles to make two private rooms, if sheer walls
could be described as private. With the heaped cushions he glimpsed
between the flowing cloths, Daniel guessed they were for sleeping.
and Ekala were removing their boots, so Daniel followed suit. He
poked Jack hard in the leg when he affected to take an interest in the
decorative cloths. Jack was always a complete pain when it came to
airing his socks, for reasons only Jack knew. Daksh placed a simple
beaten metal bowl on the carpet between the four of them, then Ekala poured
a little water into the bottom of it. He moistened a soft cloth,
making a gesture first at his face, then at his feet.
politely accepted the cloth, washing first his face, then his feet.
Jack was given a fresh cloth and followed suit, looking microscopically
less grumpy than previously. Daniel was relieved the Haril men seemed
to find Jack a source of perpetual quiet amusement, their dark, expressive
eyes filled with laughter at his antics.
was an indefinable quality, but it was what Jack had. In spades.
No one else could get away with half the stuff he did and still have people
getting in line to take more, including one staid linguist who should definitely
know better, yet still somehow willingly wound up at the head of the line
time after time.
aware he'd spent far too much time thinking about Jack these past months,
Daniel made a conscious effort to connect with their Haril hosts.
A light touch to Ekala's arm drew the man's attention. Daniel held
out his canteen, miming taking a drink, then he skimmed his finger over
the surface of the little water that remained in the bowl. "Water,"
he said. "Water."
skimmed the water in the bowl, then unslung his water skin to show his
understanding. "Aakhad. Water," he repeated carefully.
Daniel said pleasantly.
on a roll, find out the Haril for beer," Jack incorrigibly instructed him
as the two Haril walked over to the brazier to prepare the meal.
wasn't a section in the Haril code entitled 'How to hit us up for our exciting
unknown mineral compounds'," Daniel retorted. "We have to move from
the general - as in aakhad, water, or hopefully a recognisable synonym
for the sea if I'm standing there pointing at it, to the specific.”
being 'exciting unknown mineral compounds in the sea'," Jack supplied.
nodded agreement. “At no point do we detour via beer, no matter how
pathetic and dehydrated you look,” he added meanly.
wait for you to act out 'invisible city' for them. I love charades,"
Jack confided, smiling wolfishly. "I have an idea for asking about
their weapons. You do an airplane-cum-UAV impression and I'll chase
you round the tent and shoot you a coupla times," he suggested cheerfully.
"Man, I used to love those Red Baron movies," he sighed nostalgically.
"I do great sound effects."
I knew you would. This is why I wanted Sam," Daniel whispered, scowling.
"You. You're exactly why."
Jack looked wounded. "I'm trying to help."
only succeeding in being a complete pain in the ass."
mir maran," Ekala snorted to Daksh, looking hurriedly away from Daniel
look very diplomatic," Jack translated helpfully as both Haril stole glances
at Daniel, their shoulders shaking. "But I think they think you're
cute when you're all sullen and resistant."
growled at him.
okay," Jack nodded at Ekala and Daksh, prudently changing the subject.
"In fact, are you starting to get the feeling they were winding up Griff
shrugged slightly reluctant agreement, not certain he could survive both
a colonel and an alien species who shared the same warped sense of humour.
He was interested in the food preparation and wandered over, giving Ekala
plenty of time to object if he was encroaching. He was warmly welcomed
and handed some dried fruits and a small dish of velvety blue-black liquid.
Daniel lifted the dish and inhaled gently.
Daksh supplied the name obligingly.
Jack asked, his interest piqued enough to join them. "So we do detour
via beer after all," he said happily, dipping an approving finger into
the shubh. "We drink drinks," he informed their smiling hosts.
"Sacred hospitality and all," he reminded a slightly disapproving Daniel.
take a genius to figure out what needed to be soaked in the alcohol, and
it wasn't the colonel. Daniel extracted Jack and added the fruits,
not bothering to hide his amusement as Jack was given a small, fragrantly
simmering pot to stir and more or less told to make himself useful by Daksh.
Daniel spotted an angled stone, a smaller set on top of it. He had
an aching memory of Sha'uri grinding yaphetta flour, the early light of
dawn pooling at her feet, gilding her hair as she watched the world outside
their door stirring into life.
was expertly dicing the snake meat as Daksh took the pot of sauce from
Jack, then tossed it into a large shallow metallic dish. The meat
followed, sizzling in the heat as Daksh smoothly tilted the dish from side
to side to keep the contents moving. A vivid yellow grain was added,
some small shoots, then Daniel's dried fruits and the shubh. Ekala
walked over to a low, intricately carved cupboard of dark, oiled wood,
fetching out four chased-metal cups and a jug which he set on the low table.
went over to his pack to find their contribution to the meal. They'd
never met a vaguely humanoid species that didn't like chocolate and Sam
had been happy to contribute half a pound of Janet's precious secret stash
of Belgian praline truffles to the mission. What Janet would have
to say about this when Sam broke the terrible news to her was anyone's
guess, but fortunately she'd be saying it to Sam, a wormhole away.
poured shubh into the cups as Daniel took the chocolates out of his pack.
Jack, a stranger to shame, instantly made a beeline for the table, presumably
to closely inspect the quality of their offering, and was less than impressed
when he wasn't allowed to assist in any way with the distribution of the
spoils. When Daniel mischievously handed Jack his pack and suggested
he got their gear squared away, Jack stalked off, grumbling, not particularly
under his breath. He took the P-90s with him.
of faith was enough for the Haril to shed their weapons, and the tension
eased down another notch. Jack just had a way about him. His
everyman good-guy goofing worked, sometimes inexplicably, but it worked.
Daniel felt his optimism rise. The minerals the SGC had found thus
far off-world had been uniformly valuable and that gave him some room for
manoeuvre here. Hammond wasn't asking the impossible of them.
Twenty-four hours to establish rapport with the Haril, enough to fill a
case of vials with mud and water samples - he and Jack could do that.
He was sure of it.
out about the city and the Haril technology would be more difficult.
The Nox had seemed to be without the most basic resources for living, and
since that mission Daniel had taken nothing for granted. The UAV
had been disposed of before the SGC could confirm that there were simply
too many Haril to be accommodated by the tents they'd seen, there were
no slip-ups, no obvious signs of advanced technology anywhere in the tent,
the two men weren't carrying advanced weapons.
was going to enjoy himself communicating these questions, taxing to the
utmost his ability to comprehend and to make himself comprehensible in
this fascinating new language. If the minerals did prove to be as
exciting as the tech team hoped, he had every expectation Hammond would
assign SG-1 to find the answers. Then he and Sam could get their
teeth into exactly the kind of mission they lived for.
called out for Ekala and Jack, everyone gathering together as dinner was
served. Lying comfortably on the heaped cushions, they ate the hot,
spicy food with their fingers, right out of the dish it was cooked in.
The snake was tender and tasty, and with no balls of any kind facing him,
Jack allowed himself to enjoy it.
managing to communicate a lot with very few words, the atmosphere easy-going
and humorous, Daksh's appetite more than a match for Jack's. Daksh
and Ekala talked to one another in soft, low tones, smiling now and again,
teasing, Ekala eating food from Daksh's fingers. They were attentive
hosts, quick to share new words with Daniel, eager to learn the English
his time between watching Daniel thoroughly in his groove and watching
how closely the two Haril men lay together, how intimate they were, the
expressive looks they shared, Jack decided he knew exactly what a bonded
pair was round these parts. As Daniel was the last of the bleeding-heart
liberal do-gooders and a genuinely nice person, he would not have a problem
with this. In fact, he would no doubt think it was extremely cool
and get excited about it, and wish their own allegedly enlightened society
was similarly respectful and accepting of human nature, at great length,
as soon as their hosts were out of earshot.
it was extremely cool too. Daniel hadn't been sure of much, but one
of the things he was definite on was the equality thing. All the
bonded pairs had the same status in Haril society, and it really wasn't
gender specific. Jack guessed that made Ekala and Daksh as married
as any man and woman, or woman and woman, among the Haril.
Daniel, Jack wasn't a genuinely nice person, he was in fact extremely selective
who he chose to be nice to, and he was looking forward to the moment when
Daniel took him aside and tactfully explained the nature of Ekala and Daksh's
bond to him. These days, Jack took his kicks where he could get them.
He'd long since ceased to be amazed how he and Daniel could look at homosexuality,
both be completely cool with it in theory, and Daniel never, ever bought
a clue he spent most of his life hanging with a man who'd sell his soul
to make love to him.
to be the biggest freakin' irony in the history of ever.
exactly why no man in his right mind should fall in love with an anthropologist-linguist-archaeologist
babe. Dr. Jackson was completely open to the concept of homosexuality.
He could lecture with confidence and sensitivity on various cultural perceptions
of homosexuality throughout history, as well as on the lives of a motley
assortment of heroic historical figures who liked to take it in the ass.
Via his linguistic studies, Daniel had garnered considerable expertise
on interesting ancient techniques of making love.
wouldn't freak at all if a man made a pass at him, any more than he would
reject the notion of a relationship with the sadder and wiser man who'd
grasped the hard way he had to put the work in if he wanted to get some,
'cause Daniel didn't do casual. At least, Daniel wouldn't reject
it on the grounds of the man being a man.
Jack wasn't a man, except in the boring biological sense, he was an Air
Force colonel, and his beloved anthropologist-linguist-archaeologist babe
had done what he was trained to do, and Learned The Rules Of His Tribe.
Daniel was no more capable of ignoring Air Force taboos than he was capable
of ignoring Haril or Nox or Asgard taboos, no matter how much he argued
about his adopted Air Force tribe getting off its collective rule-bound
apathetic ass and doing something, preferably the moral and right something.
If the Nox started frying people in their shoes just because they could,
Daniel wouldn't hesitate to mix it up, but if correct Nox behaviour required
him to fart in Lya's face, he'd do that too.
was empathetic to every damned thing, except the possibility that his best
friend the Air Force colonel could and indeed very definitely had fallen
in love with him, and wanted to have lots of steamy sex with him every
single day. Dr. Jackson's admirably open, impeccably educated mind
did not go there. For these, and for many other reasons, Daniel was
possibly the most aggravating man who'd ever lived.
poured each of them a cup of shubh, taking a respectful sip from his own
cup to make sure they got they weren't supposed to toss it back a cup at
equally respectfully, in fact, beatifically, Jack found the shubh hard
to quantify. With the blue-black sheen, it should have been thick
and sticky, like a liqueur, but it slipped down as fine as wine.
It was silk-smooth, exotically spiced and warming.
Daniel murmured after a while, stretching out contentedly on his stomach
as Daksh lit lanterns to delicately illuminate the now dark tent.
keyu?" Ekala asked them politely.
know." Daniel propped himself up on his elbows. "Lohitakwar…"
keyu," Ekala repeated carefully. "Daksh-keyu."
he's asking us about our bond," Daniel said quietly to Jack.
Ekela called. "Kavera kanishk, keyu."
keyu," Daksh called back good-naturedly. He lit the last of the lanterns
then ambled back to lie at Ekala's side. "Lohitakwar, Ekala-keyu,"
he said softly, trailing his knuckle tenderly over Ekala's cheek.
Daniel watched the two men. "The Haril appear to be very demonstrative,
not that this is unusual in…"
Daniel," Daksh interrupted, cupping Ekala's face and drawing him close.
like a less formal version of the ritual greeting," Daniel reported as
the two men's mouths met. "The formal greeting is ikvala and this
is ishwara, so…"
fighting not to laugh, watching Daniel benignly watching two really hot
men suck each other's tonsils, genuinely thrilled because he'd identified
a new verb.
to give tongue.
is a noun, it’s the name of the bond itself, qualified by 'keyu' it identifies
bonded lovers," Daniel whispered, happy with another socio-linguistic puzzle
solved. "Ekala is asking if we're lovers," he announced triumphantly.
Jack gasped in awe at Daniel's amazing deductive abilities as the two Haril
went at it.
we discussed inappropriate sarcasm?" Daniel snapped.
keyu?" Suddenly demurely apart, Ekala and Daksh were looking at them
no idea how to structure this sentence," Daniel said unhappily. "Jack?
Lohitakwar." He pointed from himself to Jack. "Bonded, teammates,
friends, yes. Keyu? No. Edi. No."
Jack," Daksh commented sadly.
his cup of shubh to that.
and Daksh glanced at one another, then Ekala shrugged and passed Daniel's
cup to him, urging him to finish the little that was left. "Rushir
falah nek, Daniel, Jack."
is sun, if rushir ekash is sunset, then logically rushir falah is sunrise.
The trial must begin at sunrise," Daniel reported.
Daniel continued to obsess on his syntactic inadequacy, Jack assisted Ekala
and to Daksh pig out on the yummy praline treats. Jack sensed every
little Belgian seahorse was winning them major brownie points. When
the lovers started ecstatically licking melted chocolate from one another's
fingers and making with the 'come to my cushions' eyes, Jack dropped a
gentle hint to his oblivious expert on customs and ancient sex and stuff.
"I don't think the boys can hit the hay unless we hit it first."
Oh!" Abruptly realising they were wearing out their welcome as guests,
Daniel scrambled to his feet. "Siamu," he said warmly.
Jack echoed, wondering why the Haril used the same word going and coming.
They all indulged in a little polite post-prandial ikvala, which Jack still
thought was a helluva way to say hi to cute linguists who flossed, then
everyone ambled merrily off to bed, Ekala and Daksh with their arms around
one another, definitely looking like they were planning on having way more
fun than Jack was.
Daniel disposed of his glasses and Jack one or two concealed weapons, they
lay down among the sinfully plump, comfortable cushions, not particularly
far apart. Of course they'd been sleeping together most nights for
five years and it was late in the day to get bashful, just because a few
feet away from them their genial hosts were happily - and quite visibly
- getting naked.
a few very uncomfortable minutes failing to keep his eyes decently shut,
Daniel sighed and hitched closer to Jack. He'd been trained to sleep
no more than an arm's length away and honestly, he found it hard to fall
asleep at all unless Jack was right there. These past months,
he'd had to work himself to the point he was almost falling off his chair
in exhaustion and some nights he'd still come close to calling Jack, just
to hear him. He needed that steady presence at his side. "I
like to listen to you breathing," he blurted out.
got used to having you around too," Jack with careful casualness, trying
not to embarrass either of them. Was it any wonder he'd fallen in
love with Daniel, when he felt and thought like this, when he looked to
Jack and trusted him enough to share?
to the soft murmurs from the boys next door, Jack watched Daniel desperately
trying to ignore what was going on, or should he say down? It was
a very unequal struggle. If Daniel had a downfall, it was curiosity.
He couldn't resist the lure of the unknown, but he was definitely fighting
the good fight on this one. Either that, or he was suffocating in
the huge, over-stuffed pillow his face was buried in. It was just
a matter of time before Daniel really, really needed to see if two guys
doing it was anything like what he'd read in his books.
to himself, Jack closed his eyes.
breathing evened out, Daniel found it harder and harder to ignore Ekala
and Daksh. A low cry made him jump and once he looked he was hooked.
The filmy cloth that divided them merely blurred the outlines of the two
men making love. Unbound hair streaming down his arching back, Ekala
was astride Daksh, slowly rocking himself, his hands planted flat on his
lover's belly, each of them giving soft, pleasured moans. Daksh sat
up to pull Ekala into his arms and they kissed passionately.
he rolled determinedly away, facing Jack, Daniel couldn't block out the
sounds. Though he found it beautiful, listening to their lovemaking
left him shaken in mind and unexpectedly stirred in body. He wasn't
able to pull out of it even when the two reached orgasm, soothing one another
into sleep and silence.
awake for a long time, listening, trembling. It was Jack's breathing
that held him now. It felt to him as if Jack had held him for a long
cry jerked Jack awake, one hand on his gun, the other reaching instinctively
for Daniel. He found him right where he should be, close by Jack’s
shoulder, apparently losing his battle with the large heap of pillows he
was under. "Daniel?"
nothing," the uppermost pillow hissed in a savage undertone.
himself up on his elbow and waited.
some more. Unlike a watched kettle, the linguist always boiled.
pillow twitched irritably. "It was just a stupid dream."
in it?" Jack asked hopefully, feeling like Daniel owed him something for
all the quality time they spent naked together in his dreams and his 2iC
kept waking him up to take watch just as they got to the good stuff.
He was surprised when most of the pillows Daniel was buried under cringed.
Intrigued, Jack decided to excavate.
apparent what kind of dream Jack had featured in when Daniel hung grimly
onto the plump pillow that was over his groin, looking anywhere but at
a perfectly natural reaction," Jack whispered consolingly. "If you've
never seen two guys going at it before." He was now absolutely certain
Daniel Jackson was trying to kill him. How dare he lie there with
an erection Jack couldn't so much as…A terrible thought struck him.
"You yelled ‘no’! What the hell was I doing to you!" he demanded
Daniel whispered sullenly, avoiding his eyes. "And I didn't yell."
Shit! What kind of sicko subliminal Freudian stuff was he projecting,
for Chrissake, if Daniel was picking up on it? He was adjusted, right?
He'd embraced his unrequited side. Right? "What!"
Daniel was absolutely mortified. "You weren't doing a damned thing!"
Jack. I swear. You stopped! Don't look so…please,” Daniel
relieved about that, Jack put his arms around Daniel, who scared him by
not putting up any kind of fight at all, which he definitely should have
if Jack was being perverted in his subconscious. Daniel was trembling
and Jack wasn't exactly Joe Cool, here.
I’m sorry, I just didn't want you to stop!" Daniel babbled into Jack's
held back a corner of the drape, looking questioningly at Jack. He
shook his head slightly and the Haril man bowed, then backed noiselessly
shaken, Jack didn't say anything at first. He simply held Daniel,
was accepting of the pounding erection hot against his thigh, hoping that
would help calm Daniel, him being okay with this. He wouldn't allow
himself to make assumptions, not yet, not when Daniel was completely freaked.
He could not blow this. No way. He might never get another
sorry," Daniel whispered after a while.
be," Jack replied matter-of-factly. He did not have a problem with
Daniel wanting him and figured the sooner Daniel understood that, the sooner
he'd start to feel better.
not the first time," Daniel confessed miserably, stunning Jack. "I
just - it wasn't…" He couldn't get the words out, his frustration stifling
him. "It wasn't like this. I just - I wanted you. I always
seem to want you, Jack. I can't sleep…" He trailed off again, still
not looking up. "I guess I dreamed you there," he whispered.
smiling as he slipped his arm down from Daniel's shoulders to curve around
his slim waist. God, that was good to hear. He didn't know
what was bothering Daniel but he hoped, like he always did, it got him
somewhere. Maybe that was selfish. He didn’t know. He
didn't seem to know much of anything any more, except he'd be good for
Daniel. Now Daniel was dreaming him. It had to mean something.
"I like that," he promised.
Daniel did glance up, his face soft with surprise as his eyes searched
Jack’s. "You really mean it," he said diffidently.
were you dreaming, Daniel? Tell me," Jack invited him, doing a piss-poor
job of controlling his impatience.
shook his head, blinking hard, his jaw clenching. If Jack wasn't
looking at him like this, with so much understanding, if he could think…Daniel
couldn't hurt Jack, but he couldn't answer.
speak and Jack was so close to him, he seemed to matter to Jack so very
much. Jack was asking for his trust and this he could never refuse.
He couldn't find the words he needed for his dream so he kissed Jack, his
mouth shaking, his mind greyed and numb.
what you want?" Jack's voice was even gentler than before. He kissed
Daniel, his firm mouth coaxing.
up in the giddying rush of relief, they were okay, Jack was okay, not hurting
from this, Daniel blindly, gratefully returned Jack's kiss. It felt
so good to be accepted, to be wanted, when he needed Jack so much, he flowed
with the feeling, opening himself. Jack's tongue stroked slowly over
his, tasting him. Daniel rubbed his tongue beneath Jack's, his mouth
rich with spices and the alcohol they'd shared. He wanted more, took
it, Jack met him with answering pressure and it was all so easy, he wasn't
thinking, he wasn't prepared for the swift, efficient tugs that opened
his BDUs. Daniel gasped into the kiss, shuddering with pleasure
when Jack's hand closed firmly over his aching cock, thrusting helplessly,
hard into the rough, gripping fist.
too much, too fast for Daniel, but Jack was the one who was shaking, moaning
into Daniel's mouth, kissing him passionately, tongue driving deep as he
ate Daniel alive. Daniel dug his fingers into the broad shoulders
as he fucked Jack's heavy, pumping hand. He was wracked with aching
pleasure as Jack mercilessly worked his cock, strong, wringing fingers
setting off white flashes behind his eyes, his body spasming into wrenching
was out of it, leaden and stupid with satiation, only dimly aware of quick,
clumsy hands stripping him. He was rolled onto his back, held cradled
beneath Jack's weight and strength, deep, powerful thrusts pounding a slick,
jutting cock into his belly. His shoulder was wet where Jack's face
was buried, Jack's distress lifting him from his stupor. Daniel pulled
his dear friend into a kiss, holding Jack tightly, deepening the shivery
friction of Jack's cock grinding over his as his body was rocked with each
powerful thrust. He was clumsy, couldn't seem to match Jack's rhythm,
but Jack was easy with that. Daniel was tense, awkward and exhausted,
but it seemed he was enough, and Jack came hard, kissing him softly, stopping
him thinking as they tumbled into heavy sleep.
up naked and covered in come from the most incomprehensible orgasm of his
life wasn't enough, not for Daniel. He also had to wake up with no
feeling in his ass because Jack was using him as a mattress. There
was something disturbingly primal about the way Jack had him pinned flat,
an unsubtly Stone Age statement of ownership.
and very definitely confused, Daniel was certain of only one thing.
He needed to pee. He shifted Jack with a good hard shove and a vigorous
heave of his hips, scooting out from under. Jack's hand shot out
and clamped over his wrist. "I need to pee!" Daniel bleated.
Gathering this was a genuine urinary emergency, Jack let go, lounging there
watching him as he dug furiously among the jumbled cushions in search of
the most amazing ass," Jack observed with profound satisfaction.
to make eye contact, Daniel yanked his pants up with shaking hands.
He didn't even attempt the buttons, just gripped the fabric together and
stumbled away as fast as he could. He erupted out into the main area
of the tent and Ekala's unexpectedly waiting arms.
a wei, Daniel," Ekala greeted him delightedly, smiling as he more or less
held Daniel up and gently shared breath with him. "Milind nilabh nrupal,"
he said gravely. "Menak inder fanee devghya jag gonath." He
cupped his hand behind his ear, quirking his head in an obvious mimed listening
the second time in a few hours Daniel had been clasped to a naked male
body. He was more upset than he could deal with that kind, tactile
Ekala felt utterly wrong to him. He was so shaky, it took him far
longer than it should to hear the familiar roar. "Sandstorm?" he
Ekala repeated meaningfully, looking at Daniel in concern.
twitched a fleeting, nervous smile at him. Why did lexicons never
cover anything useful, like the Haril for Must Pee Now, Nervous Breakdown
Later. "Aakhad," Daniel hissed desperately, looking pointedly down.
Best he could do. His brain was seizing. A minute later he
was limp with relief against the wall of the tent, pissing inelegantly
into a bucket as Ekala prudently extinguished the lanterns and the brazier,
keeping his back tactfully turned.
as he was done and discreetly buttoned, Daniel was smacked upside the head
by a memory of Jack pounding into him, so strong he could feel it.
He wanted to sit down and gibber, but that was just pathetic. He
wanly accepted a drink of lukewarm water from Ekala, was sympathetically
told 'edi' several times when he asked about the rushir falah nek they'd
spoken of, bitterly accepting that until the distant storm blew out, there
would be no shared test of character, not unless he was up for a threesome.
he supposed to do anything with a bright-eyed Daksh hauling Ekala
off to make whoopee, a smug, naked colonel waiting to make his nervous
breakdown an interactive experience and the whole tent heavy-scented with
sex and spices?
Daniel ducked through the fine, enveloping drapes to find Jack waiting,
check; naked, check; aroused, dear god, he could put someone’s eye out
with that, check check; and as warm and concerned as he had been when he
suckered Daniel into that orgasm last night.
minute, Jack thought Daniel was going to cry, he looked so miserable.
He waited with what patience he could muster to see how Daniel would play
this. Personally, he wanted to do a victory lap round the tent but
he sensed this would not go down well. After a minute or so of strained
silence, Daniel came over and sat down quite close to Jack, his arms hooked
around his knees, eyes fixed on his bare feet.
do you want me to say?” Jack asked, watching the play of sleek muscle in
know.” Daniel pulled an impatient face. “I honestly don’t.
I was not expecting…I wasn’t prepared for that.”
means anything at all, I thought I was helping,” Jack promised. He
hadn’t been thinking about himself, not really, not at first, just wanting
to make it good for Daniel, for once be able to give him what he needed.
Trying to make it okay for Daniel to want it even though he was far from
sure Daniel had wanted him.
looked at Jack, making eye contact for the first time since he’d slunk
back in to the space they were sharing. “I believe you,” he said
slowly, his face softening.
have…after,” Jack said awkwardly, not doing a very good job of projecting
the regret he knew he should feel. He went way over the line when
he shoved Daniel on his back and had sex with him, but damn, it was good.
He’d waited so long and Daniel hadn’t said no, he’d held on to Jack, kissed
him with so much warmth and feeling it had been all too easy for Jack to
forget he hadn’t asked.
good?” Daniel asked, going red. There was something in his face,
an edgy, defensive look that said it shouldn’t have been good.
Jack said sincerely. Over far too quick, but hell, he’d been waiting
more than a year. He was lucky he lasted as long as he did.
seemed to have heard more than Jack had told him, looking down at his feet
was in your dream, Daniel? What got you so shook up?” Jack moved
over to sit beside Daniel. He put his arm around the broad shoulders,
exulting in the slide of Daniel’s smooth skin beneath his palm. He
was trying not to ogle and not doing too well; Daniel was shifting self-consciously.
“You can tell me,” he urged.
turned to face him, swallowing hard, his flush deepening, reaching out
to trace a tentative thumb over the contours of Jack’s mouth. “You’re
really attracted to me, aren’t you?” he asked uncertainly, modesty getting
the better of him. "I mean - you want me?"
to read permission between those lines, Jack smoothly pulled Daniel into
his arms and kissed him. Daniel's start of surprise allowed Jack
to slide into the gentle mouth. He embarrassed himself with his needy
moan as Daniel's tongue sweetly touched his. Despite his best intentions,
Jack's easy embrace tightened imperatively, Daniel wheezing a faint protest
that allowed Jack to slide deeper into him, ecstatically rubbing his tongue
in slow, sensuous pulses over Daniel's.
a shaky start, Daniel felt he had to be fair, had to be open. This
was Jack. He wrapped his arms around Jack's neck and kissed
him back, tasting the firm, straight mouth, yielding to Jack’s deepening
passion, to a forceful dance of plunging tongues that took his breath.
position, kissing and sucking Daniel's throat while his hands were busy
unbuttoning the BDUs. "I want you,” Jack whispered huskily as he
slid the BDUs down Daniel’s slim, muscular legs. “You okay with that?
You've got a boner there but I'm trying not to leap to conclusions," he
observed, reassuringly sarcastic, already assuming, already moving.
faltered when Jack's weight bore him down to the cushions and settled over
him. It was one thing to theorise about sexual techniques to aid
effective translation, quite another to be pinned down by a large, naked
and very aroused man and be turned on by it.
had got Daniel laid last night but it seemed he wasn't thinking any more
clearly this morning. He – he ached. "Jack?" he whispered uncertainly,
wanting the closeness, the rush of feeling again. Needing Jack.
“Go slow.” Please.
as you need, Danny,” Jack promised, wilfully misunderstanding as he fiercely
took Daniel’s mouth again, stroking greedily over the silken rasp of tongue
while his knees carefully worked the slim thighs apart to warmly grip his.
Whatever sensible answer Daniel had been going to make dissolved into a
shaken gasp as Jack’s cock stroked over his in a deep, knowing glide.
Jack unhurriedly rocked their bodies together, stroking tenderly into Daniel’s
gentle mouth, smiling as his wary lover surrendered to the deep, drugging
Jack close, Daniel pushed his hips up into each slow thrust, moaning low
in his throat as Jack’s hot skin rubbed sleekly over his. “What are
we doing?” he murmured shakily into Jack’s broad shoulder.
him with a kiss, sucking Daniel’s tongue into his mouth with a sigh of
mind raced, dazed and disarmed by the way Jack held him, moved against
him. Jack more than wanted him; need was eloquent in every gentle,
wondering touch, in their kissing and the quiet murmurs of his name against
his mouth, his skin.
why you needed me close?” Jack asked him softly, grazing kisses over his
face. “Is this what you dreamed?”
reached up to smooth some of the sweat from Jack's brow, nodding wordlessly,
his throat tight. He hadn’t known.
then, a blaze of feeling in his eyes, fierce and glad. He held Daniel
tighter, closer, moving with him, moving slow, gloating as heat and pleasure
spread over Daniel's face, raised to his to share kiss after kiss as they
loved tenderly. When Daniel's whole body was straining, shaken and
wracked with that shivering pleasure, he whispered to Jack to slow down,
to please, let him feel.
never find words for what was between them, couldn't express how much he
felt for Daniel. They connected so deep, Daniel was part of him.
He shared his love freely with his body, with his mouth and his touch,
holding Daniel safe as he shook and shook through shattering orgasm.
When generous, trembling fingers glided over his cock, Jack convulsed.
Daksh cleared a space among the cushions for Ekala to set down a dish of
steamy water and soft cloths. They each stood for a minute, staring
down at Daniel, sleeping heavily, soothed by the beat of Jack’s heart beneath
his cheek. Jack sensed a measure of approval in their sudden, warm
smiles as they eased out of the small, private space.
his face into the silky hair tickling his chin, enjoying the rasp of Daniel’s
stubble chafing his skin, the warm clasp of long fingers across his shoulder.
He was content to lie here holding Daniel, idling the stormy morning away,
lingering over the memory of their lovemaking. It was so good between
them, slow and aching. Daniel was as sweet and passionate, as giving
as Jack had ever imagined him. Jack was free this morning, a knot
of grief and wanting unclenching in his gut. Daniel was his; he felt
it. Daniel had cried out to Jack when he came, all his unspoken longing
shaking his voice.
murmur made Jack smile. Sometimes, it seemed to him that Daniel had
wanted him as long as they’d known one another, that he’d touched Daniel
on some level no one else had reached since his parents had died, leaving
him alone. Somehow, Jack had filled that lack in Daniel’s life.
I’m insulted,” Jack complained, failing to keep the smile out of his voice
as Daniel surfaced in a daze of confusion. He thwarted Daniel's dignified
withdrawal, rolling easily with him to hug him close. He was pleased
when Daniel's arms went straight round him.
are we going to do, Jack?" Daniel asked, serious eyes going shy as Jack
began to stroke his face.
we get cleaned up," Jack responded readily, rubbing his knuckles over Daniel's
seriously sexy stubble. "We convince the Haril to give us a rain
check because this sacred trial of theirs is not happening." He looked
wryly at the walls of the tent, buffeted now by the gusting winds outside.
the sandstorm lets up, we report back to Hammond that freak weather conditions
made the mission a bust," Jack went on, entertained by Daniel's reaction
to the petting. He seemed to like it very much, especially when Jack
stroked his hair, but wasn't sure if it was the guy thing to show it.
"Then we bail for my place, I'll cook you dinner."
Daniel agreed, his fingers idling over Jack's shoulder blade. "Thank
you," he added, minding his manners. "We can talk."
make love," Jack corrected crisply, "Then you can sleep with me and we
can make love again."
to go on?" Daniel asked, blinking hard at this. "You want a – a relationship?
You want to be with me?"
Daniel, I want a relationship. With you. The full meal deal,"
Jack answered, slightly sarcastic. "Dinner. Dates. Detergent.
Sex, sports and The Simpsons. Even the occasional conversation, if
you insist," he offered generously, giving Daniel’s hand a quick squeeze.
"Is that what you want?" he asked, oh-so-casually, as if his heart wasn’t
in his mouth and what passed for his life wasn’t on the line.
smiled, his rare, sweet smile lighting up his eyes, then he kissed Jack
wonderingly, passionately, in wordless promise.
was waiting for them when they emerged from their private space, slightly
less sticky than they had been, thanks to some interactive washcloths,
and more or less in uniform. Daniel's bashfulness before their expectantly
waiting hosts was forgotten when he spotted a stack of steaming pancakes,
oozing dark berries and juices.
clasp of Jack's fingers at Daniel's waist brought a knowing smile from
Ekala. "Keyu?" he challenged them softly, eyes laughing.
Jack agreed heartily, grinning wolfishly at Daniel's dignified discomfiture.
extracted the uppermost two pancakes, folding them swiftly into a neat
parcel, soon soaked through with juices. He handed it to Daniel with
a consoling pat and urged him to eat while fragrant tea was poured.
his pancake parcel, gobbled it down in two bites and demonstrated he was
a fast learner with the next two on the pile while Daniel followed Daksh's
example and slid a slice of soft mellow cheese into his next parcel.
Jack queried hopefully, poised to follow suit with parcel number three.
beatifically, Daniel gave him a thumb’s up.
himself a triple-decker and eyed the depleted pancake pile, wondering how
hard he could push the honoured guest thing.
had the brilliant idea of trying some of the gooey chocolate praline with
the berries in his next pancake, which achieved instant success with the
Haril. As Ekala drank the last of the tea, Daniel retrieved his precious
Ethiopian Djimma coffee from his pack and introduced their hosts to his
own personal addiction. The two men watched carefully as Daniel prepared
a pot of coffee, sniffed and sipped at their cups at first cautiously and
then ecstatically, beaming as Daniel thoughtfully presented them with the
remainder of the coffee, for no other reason than they liked it.
it was stuff like this that made Daniel so good at the diplomacy thing.
He liked people, he was interested in them and their ways. Whatever
he said, whatever he did, or gave or promised, he meant it. The Haril
were proving highly susceptible to Daniel's unconscious charms. Idly
watching the three of them gloating over the java, chattering incomprehensibly,
Jack trailed his fingers in the cool sand that surrounded the brazier.
It gave him an idea.
over to his pack and retrieved his regrettably limited map of the desert
terrain surrounding the Stargate, then took it back over to the table.
Jack sat with the map in hand, sketching in the sand the key features.
After a few moments, Daniel knelt behind him, peering interestedly over
his shoulder, while Ekala and Daksh squatted either side.
to himself as Daniel began to name the features, lightly touching the Stargate,
saying the name the Haril gave it, 'Manasaiana'. Where Jack sketched
the inland sea, carefully reproducing its contours, Daniel tapped in the
centre and said 'aakhad', water.
looked up, grinning. "Mithun," he corrected easily.
exchanged a quick look with Jack, then headed over to pick up the sample
case. Ekala watched as Daniel opened one of the containers.
"Mithun," Daniel asked meaningfully as he poured some of the water from
his canteen into a sample container. "Mithun," he repeated hopefully
as Ekala tried to puzzle out his meaning. Daniel pointed to the sea
Jack had sketched, then to the container, miming pouring in water.
face cleared and he called out cheerfully to Daksh, who was helping Jack
sketch in the sand, filling in detail the UAV hadn't mapped before it was
shot down. The two clearly thought it was a good joke that the humans
wanted sea water, but they good naturedly gave permission.
ridiculously simple. "What was the word for shelter?" Jack asked
Daniel, figuring he was on a roll here, and he could tell he was completely
impressing his linguist.
Sketch the tent, Jack," Daniel suggested, "And four figures. Then
sketch more figures and ask about 'indivar' again."
Jack agreed smartly, moving round to some fresh sand with Daksh in close
attendance, eager to assist. Jack's stick figures bore no resemblance
to the Zulu hordes let alone the Haril, but Daniel's polite, persistent
query about indivar yielded some intelligence. Shadanan Suren, whatever
smoothed the sand over Jack's sketch, then he quickly represented the tent.
"Geet," he said to Daniel, patting the drawing in the sand.
is tent, I understand," Daniel reassured him.
erased the outlines of the tent, then began to sketch again, rapid strokes
outlining a large square which he began to fill with smaller.
Ekala prompted, touching the city Daksh was drawing in the sand.
Daniel asked, frowning. He pointed to himself. "Daniel?"
Then to Ekala. "Ekala?" Then he touched the town. "Suren?"
beamed at him. "You are a gifted scholar of languages, Daniel," he
said warmly. "And Jack too, of course. Your communication strategy
was simple, yet effective.”
rocked back, stunned. “You speak English?” he gasped, dismayed.
English?” Jack echoed, flushing to the roots of his hair. How lovey-dovey
did he get with Daniel? Jack ran a frenzied mind over some sweet
memories and cringed. The answer was…bad. Very, very bad.
He remembered being tender. He remembered petting and stroking.
Shit! How much did the smug bastards hear? Looking at
the decidedly ‘aww, aren’t the humans sweet when they’re fucked and floundering?’
expressions on two complacently approving Haril faces, Jack realised his
mission cred was in his pants. “Sonovabitch!” he howled, completely embarrassed.
you lie to us?” Daniel asked Ekala unhappily. He’d been so impressed
by the honesty of the Haril ritual, the slow building of mutual trust.
He was completely deflated by this unwelcome revelation, and by his own
naivete, because he really hadn’t seen it coming. After the work
he and Jack had put into communicating, he felt cheated of the pleasure
of their small, shared successes.
Daniel, be at peace,” Ekala asked, taking Daniel’s shoulder. “You
have earned our trust. That is why we speak now to you in your own
tongue. We wish to honour you.”
ask of us what you wish," Daksh informed Jack as Ekala cunningly distracted
the pouting, reproachful, fortunately syntactically-challenged Dr. Jackson
with an offer to teach him the Haril language.
of character, huh?" Jack enquired, shooting Daksh a hard look as a torrent
of terrifyingly erudite technical questions broke over Ekala’s head.
a truth revealed here?" Daksh asked keenly, smiling as Jack's eyes went
at once to Daniel. "A greater truth than either of you knew?
Was that not trial enough, Jack?"
it was for you." Jack followed Daksh as he prudently retreated from
the two excited linguists.
Daksh shrugged. "We have long believed you can learn more about the
man in how he deals with weakness than strength."
only works if you aren't weak,” Jack grudgingly admitted. He couldn’t
bring himself to fault the Haril for their tactics just because they’d
disappointed his linguist.
that city of yours?" Jack asked challengingly.
stands beside the sea, on the far shore."
shielded somehow? We couldn't detect any energy signatures."
is for the Haril and those we name nakin or friend, Jack. No girik
- outlanders - may go to the Great City. We grew weary of battle
and it is for the safety of our people that we stand apart. It is
law now," Daksh explained. "We will trade freely and in honour, but
will not allow the girik to take."
covet what you can't see."
soldier once said the battle you win is the battle you don't fight," Jack
announced sententiously, entering into the spirit.
wise soldier?" Daniel asked brightly, and somewhat inconveniently.
Ekala also appeared to want to know.
recall," Jack retorted with stiff dignity and a cold look at Daniel.
snorted. "You are honest men, Jack."
it," Ekala agreed, walking round to sit next to his lover. "We hide
our knowledge of other tongues. It is a test, and a simple one.
We do not wish to be wooed with honeyed words and promises for what we
are thought to possess. We simply seek to know something of the men
who would trade with us. There is much that can be seen and learned
in how a man deals not only with us, but with those whom he names friend.
Some cannot understand us or make themselves understood, some choose not
to, for they judge themselves better men than we. And than their
who respect our ways, and each other, we lead into trial, to know more
Daniel asked, sitting up straighter.
Jack said coolly.
vidi veni," Jack hissed, trying for a little subtlety.
Daniel’s eyebrows quirked questioningly.
we saw, we - er – we came again," Jack elaborated.
blushed and subsided with distressing - to Jack - adorability.
the truth, always," Ekala said soothingly.
respect for our ways, and for each other," Daksh agreed.
what is right, though it is the harder path to take."
more of you would you have us know?" Daksh asked.
felt strongly that naked and thoroughly laid was way more than he wanted
anyone to know.
have what you sought, Daniel," Ekala promised. "You will know more
may have your taste of our sea, Jack," Daksh added. "Lohitkwar Kerrys
and Gora know more of Mithun than any of us, they will speak with your
scholars and teach you what you are willing - and able - to learn."
stands between us and Mithun. It is not safe to pass this day.
You will come to us again, yes?" Ekala asked Daniel.
Daniel promised, glancing to Jack for corroboration.
invisible cities?" Jack said dryly. "You bet we'll be back."
we will take you back to Manasaiana, so you may return to your people and
speak of this with your leader," Ekala said cheerfully. "If you will
say a time, we will send through your taste of our sea." He patted
the sample case Daniel had given him.
send a team through to collect it," Jack said easily. "The SGC is
kind of like your Suren."
it is agreed. Send your people through when you will, at rushir ekash,
to travel in the cool of the evening."
it?" Daniel asked, slightly disconcerted.
little," Ekala replied, surprised.
get even less," Jack retorted.
not trade honourably?"
We usually don't have anything people want," Daniel admitted. "Or
they think we're too 'young'," he grimaced, "to be trusted to share what
like me - us - anyway," Jack added smugly.
willing to trade with us and they have nothing we want," Daniel went on
pursuing his unique spin on 'honesty is the best policy'. "Or they have
something we want but we'd have to sell our souls to get it."
that Daniel was just getting warmed up, Jack interjected with a neat précis.
"It rarely goes well."
Daniel agreed emphatically.
out of curiosity," Jack asked idly, vis a vis a potential fly in the diplomatic
ointment. "How serious are you about that castration thing?"
linger," Daksh said regretfully as he freed Jack and stepped back.
"We must get to shelter. The storm is not passing as we had hoped."
go through the Manasaiana soon, Jack," Ekala urged. "Do not fear
for us, and know that you are welcome here," he said courteously, stepping
up to share breath first with Daniel and then with Jack. "Siamu a
wei, Lohitakwar-keyu," he said softly.
a wei," Daniel responded. The two Haril turned at once and loped
away at a disciplined pace, glancing back to raise a hand in salute as
they passed from sight.
thrown by how easy that was," Jack commented as he leaned against the DHD.
waiting for the other shoe to drop.” Jack shifted his P-90 restlessly.
“I mean, when does this ever happen?"
was a rhetorical question, Daniel. I was building up to a punchline
you were just whining."
Jack repeated, curling his lip. “Excuse me?”
Daniel said sweetly. “It’s not like I’m not used to it.”
probably get struck by lightning when you dial the DHD," Jack said loudly.
turned out to be a forceful colonel snatching him close to share breath.
They kissed passionately, Daniel clinging to Jack in mute gratitude as
their kiss gentled and deepened, slow pulsing tongues rubbing sensuously,
warming him through.
coming over tonight?" Jack demanded. "You'll stay with me?"
sleep with you," Daniel promised. "I want to, Jack." He rested
his face against Jack's shoulder, his arm hooked tight around Jack's neck.
Gentle hands stroked his back.
good to hear," Jack said with quiet satisfaction.
hurt you?" Daniel asked in a stifled voice. He knew from the way
Jack had loved him that his friend had wanted this, had wanted him for
a long time.
you, Jack. I didn't know I wanted this," Daniel admitted with difficulty.
"Not a physical relationship. Maybe I didn’t let myself know."
made you do it," Jack suggested teasingly.
you, Jack," Daniel promised shakily.
a small sniff. "Are you crying?" he asked, horrified, clutching Daniel
protectively to him.
Daniel said, sounding surprised. He gave a little protesting wriggle
against the emphatic grip on his creaking ribs. "My nose is running."
lips twitched. "You're a complete pain in the ass, Daniel!” he accused
forcefully. “You're more than any sane man can handle," he promised.
who you want?" Daniel asked, lifting his head suddenly.
you are," Jack said gruffly, melted by bright, beguiling eyes. This
admission was received so well, Daniel stretched up and kissed him softly
on the lips. Jack hadn’t chosen to fall in love with the sweetest,
gentlest man alive, hadn’t chosen to allow Daniel to worm through all his
defences and turn him to mush. He didn’t know when or how or why
Daniel had become a part of him, Jack just knew that he was. He knew
he would be good for Daniel, that they would be good together. He
wanted to see Daniel happy, not grateful, trusting and sure of him, not
working at him the whole time. Daniel didn’t have to work to keep
Jack; he had Jack. It was purely in the spirit of retaliation that
Jack was going to spoil Daniel rotten.
Jack," Daniel asked seriously, plucking nervously at Jack’s combat vest.
"I'm not used to having what I want. I – I don't have the coping
mechanism for it anymore."
Daniel,” Jack reassured gently, stroking his knuckle over Daniel’s cheek.
because he would be content to stay right where he was, in Jack’s arms,
Daniel pushed him away and finished dialling, smacking his palm emphatically
on the last chevron. Lightning failed to strike, but Jack goosed
him to make up for it.
anti-climactic for them to just walk quietly into the wormhole, as if Daniel
hadn't changed, his whole life and everything he thought he was, everything
he thought he knew and felt, hadn't changed. He was reeling from
the thought that tonight he wouldn't be alone. He'd be with Jack,
he'd be wanted by the man he needed so badly, and so very blindly.
As he walked into the event horizon, Daniel was wondering what hellish
concoction Jack would think it was amusing to inflict on him to eat, what
he could make Jack talk about, what they would do in bed together.
Daniel wanted to make love, he wanted to sleep with Jack - he just wanted
to be with him, share with him.
he ever come back from a mission thinking about himself? For Daniel,
possibility was on the other side of the Stargate. The gateroom hubbub
seemed distant and tinny as a rush of feeling burned in Daniel's chest,
choking him with its intensity. Daniel had found Jack, and he was beginning
to find himself again. God, it had been so long, he'd almost forgotten.
He was - he was happy. He stumbled on the ramp, a quick, capable
hand there to steady him. Jack was always there, at his back.
Jack asked, a strained note in his voice as he moved in front of Daniel,
his eyes intense as he backed down the ramp.
be," Daniel promised, everyone else fading to silence in Jack’s blinding
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