you bring it?" This was Daniel's sole
greeting to Jack as he jumped lithely from
Jack waved a MacDonald's take-out bag in
answer. "Any particular reason you needed to
eat a burger out here at Chez Nowhere?" he
"It's not for me," Daniel said impatiently
as he snatched the bag from Jack. Opening it
up to let the meaty smells escape, he walked
back up the narrow strip of gravel that
bordered the road, aware of Jack prowling
along behind him. Naturally, there was no
way in hell Jack was going to kick off three
days of precious, hard-earned downtime by
driving up into Pike National Forest to give
Daniel a Big Mac and not stick around to
drive him nuts about it. Not that it took
much for Jack to make him nuts these days.
Breathing would do it.
Jack and he were - well, Daniel wasn't sure
what they were. Too close, maybe. Too --
aware. The almost uncomfortable intensity
between them made Daniel jumpy whenever he
was around him.
"Did you get the chicken burger too?" he
asked, striving for a natural tone.
"Even super-sized it for you," Jack promised
"I didn't know what he would like," Daniel
made excuse as he hunkered down and opened
up what he hoped would be appetising enough
to tempt the little stray out of the bushes.
Not that he was an expert on canine cuisine,
or in fact, on canines. They weren't good
conversationalists: that he knew.
"Or she," Daniel said vaguely as Jack
hunkered down too. His attention was fixed
on the bushes ahead of them. "I couldn't
"Not your average date, then," Jack
commented, his voice rich with amusement.
"I don't think I hit him, but he was limping
when he went into the bushes," Daniel
explained worriedly. "I couldn't just leave
him, Jack." What exactly was he looking to
Jack for? Permission? Daniel sighed. It
really did matter much too much to him what
Jack thought of him. "He looks thin, and
he's so little," he appealed directly to
Jack's oftentimes buried better side.
"Have you tried calling him?" Jack asked
readily, apparently needing nothing more in
the way of explanation.
"He'll come so close, almost close enough to
touch, then he gets scared and backs off,"
Daniel admitted, frustrated.
"Tell me about it," Jack said softly,
looking right at Daniel.
Daniel's face flamed, his heart thudding
painfully as Jack aggravatingly framed
feelings he definitely wasn't ready to face,
those deep, deep eyes soft with invitation.
Before Daniel could come up with any kind of
response other than blushing like a
schoolgirl, he caught a glimpse of a small
face peeping cautiously out from behind the
bristling bush straight ahead of them.
Daniel opened the Big Mac box, his fingers
slow and easy. "I gave him a drink earlier,
while I was waiting for you. He's so thin,
"You said," Jack reminded him gently.
"I thought the food would help," Daniel
rushed on, tearing off a piece of burger to
rest on his fingers.
"If he doesn't want the chicken, can I?"
Jack hinted hopefully, fingering the warm
"I don't get anything for coming all this
"You get to go away again."
"He might not come to me if he sees you
looming at him, armed to the teeth," Daniel
"Er, speaking of that," Jack muttered a
trifle reluctantly. "Don't hate me."
Daniel glanced up in time to see Jack draw
his Beretta, his brows snapping together.
"There are times when I really don't like
you," he blurted out in a low, heated rush.
"I know," Jack agreed peaceably, giving him
a soothing pat on the shoulder. "But I'm not
risking exposing you to rabies, either way,"
he added firmly. "I can't take any chances
with you, Daniel. I know it drives you
Daniel snorted irritably.
"But," Jack went on firmly, "I have to be
sure." He backed smoothly off to one side,
then froze in position.
A rustle caught Daniel's attention before he
could annihilate Jack for his overprotective
colonel crap. He called to the dog, making
his voice soft and soothing while he rested
his hand on the ground, palm up, the burger
meat slithering greasily down his fingers.
"Here, boy," Daniel crooned as the little
dog ventured tentatively into view. It was
brown and white, with big eyes, one ear
perked up, the other flopping, while its fur
was unkempt and the curly tail looked too
big for its body. It seemed gaunt to
Daniel's anxious eyes.
"Good boy," Daniel praised it lavishly as it
slunk a few steps towards him. "C'mon, boy,
just a little closer. Good boy, gooood…" He
murmured soft, wordless encouragement,
coaxing the dog into inching forward, its
ridiculous tail beginning to wag as it
scented the meat. Hunger winning out, it
darted forward, its limp pronounced, to nose
at the burger on his fingers. Daniel eased
his hand clear as the dog gulped down the
meat, turning to slide the open box within
He slowly, slowly sat on the ground,
stretching his legs out either side of the
dog, letting it get used to his presence
before he dared to delicately touch it.
Though it shied nervously from him, it
didn't whine or snarl at him. Encouraged he
wasn't frightening the dog, Daniel began to
pet it gently, feeling choked and angry at
the way it shivered beneath his hands.
"He has a collar!" he fired accusingly at
Jack as he hunkered down beside him again.
The dog cowered from Jack's presence,
cuddling against Daniel's leg. He stroked it
soothingly as Jack undid the collar, nimbly
tweaking it away to let the trembling dog
eat in peace.
"No tag," Jack reported, utterly unsurprised
by this. "I guess some upstanding citizen
tossed him out of his car and left him to
die out here." Daniel gaped up at him, his
eyes inexpressibly shocked. Grimacing at the
impact of yet another life lesson on his
all-too sensitive love , Jack scooped up the
take-out bag and retrieved the water Daniel
had asked him to fetch. He poured some of it
into the lid of the Big Mac box, then sat
neatly on the ground to watch Daniel watch
the dog drink greedily.
Jack sat patiently, smiling as Daniel petted
the ugly, skinny little stray, his soft
voice flowing in constant murmuring
reassurance. Finally the dog laid its filthy
head on Daniel's thigh, heaving a sigh, too
exhausted to fight as Daniel picked it up in
tender hands and cradled it to his chest.
"Now, you both have fleas," Jack pronounced
Brooding, Daniel looked down at the dog.
"You think someone really tossed him away,
Jack held up the collar in mute evidence.
Daniel's vivid face flushed, an anger there
Jack had seen a few times, right before
someone died. "We'd better get this mutt to
the vet," he suggested mildly. This show of
canine consideration found immediate favour.
Daniel scrambled up and looked expectantly
at him. He was, of course, fully justified
in his confidence Jack could fix this. For
one thing, there was no way Jack was going
to miss a moment of this escapade,
especially not the moment Daniel realised he
had to give up the dog. Or not.
He called the SGC, shamelessly abusing his
rank to order a security detail to drive
around the mountain and take Daniel's car
home for him. Daniel frowned slightly over
this high-handed interference, sparing a
glance from the dog, who was showing some
smarts and making with the cutesy
finger-licking. Not that Jack blamed him.
He'd be licking too, if Daniel Jackson was
holding on to him like that.
It would happen soon, he hoped. He knew
Daniel was attracted to him; it seemed as if
every word, every look they shared was
loaded, layered with too much meaning. Jack
was sure Daniel was beginning to understand
and accept the deepening feeling between
them, that he was coming closer to trusting
it. Jack knew his friend; his gut told him
if he pushed, he would get Daniel into bed.
Sex was only part of what Jack wanted,
though, so he was determined to wait until
Daniel let him know it was okay to make a
move. Or made a move himself.
"I thought you might want to hold the dog,"
Jack suggested blandly, shepherding Daniel
and his fragile passenger towards the truck.
"He's scared shitless as it is and some dogs
don't like cars on a good day." He gallantly
held the truck door open for Daniel to
"Especially if his last experience was being
tossed out of one," Daniel agreed, biting
off the words with an angry snap as he
climbed into the passenger seat. Juggling
his feebly protesting bundle of scruffy fur,
he got his seatbelt fastened and settled the
dog on his lap, crooning at him as he
stroked him. "What are we waiting for?" he
asked in surprise when Jack didn't
immediately close the door.
"You ever owned a dog?"
Daniel looked back down at his stray, who
yawned cavernously. "No," he said stiffly.
You do now, Jack thought, certain the odds
of Daniel being able to let this stubborn
little scrap go were somewhere between slim
to none. He wouldn't have spent an hour on
his knees on the side of the road trying to
coax the mutt to him if he could've walked
away. "I love dogs," he commented as he
closed the truck door and walked around to
the driver side, Daniel watching him all the
way. Sometimes, Jack knew which buttons to
"Do you know a good vet?" Daniel asked him
as soon as he opened the door.
"I know an expensive vet," Jack answered
placidly. "Laurie Lowandowski. She looks
after Ferretti's menagerie."
"I think he's hurt," Daniel pointed out
anxiously. "He whines when I touch this leg,
this front one."
"There's no obvious wound," Jack replied
reassuringly. "Could be an infected cut,
something like that. Laurie will check him
out thoroughly, get X-Rays, run some tests,
give him shots, the works."
"Rabies and distemper, probably dose him for
Bortadella, that's kennel cough, then when
the test results come back he'll need meds
for Heartworm - that's a killer - Lyme
disease, worms and parasites."
"Oh," Daniel said in a flat little voice,
his hands cradling protectively over the
"Laurie's great," Jack promised. "He's a
stray, Daniel. We don't know why he was
abandoned, or when, or what he's picked up
while he's been alone out here. Laurie will
check him for everything and fix him up the
best she can."
"Do we need to call ahead to the vet? To
Laurie?" Daniel asked after they'd been
driving for a while. The exhausted dog was
sleeping restlessly, whining each time his
injured leg was jarred. It couldn't be
helped on the tight winding mountain road
and Daniel was grateful when the highway
smoothed out, the city sprawling ahead of
them. He hated seeing the dog suffering and
not be able to do anything for him except
hold him and talk to him.
"Her clinic runs until 1900 weekday nights,"
Jack said casually. "We'll make it. No way
she'll turn the ugly little mutt away, not
when he's in pain."
"Thanks," Daniel blurted out gratefully.
"He's not ugly," Daniel argued distractedly,
thrown by Jack's evident sincerity. He found
he was staring at Jack at the same moment he
realised Jack was well aware it and staring
back, a satisfied smile tugging at his lips.
Daniel hurriedly dropped his eyes to the
sleek head nuzzled against his stomach. "He
has character," he decided defiantly.
"And you have sucker written all over you,"
Jack informed him briskly as he turned off
the highway for a short drive to a long,
low-slung white building, its lights
blazing. The parking lot was near deserted,
allowing them to pull up close to the
Daniel slid out of the truck, carefully
carrying the dog. He was encouraged that it
seemed to be taking to him, lying quietly in
his arms, never showing a hint of
aggression, though it was scared and
whimpering. He was hard on Jack's heels as
he led the way into the building, going
ahead to hold the door open for him.
"We're clo--" The receptionist's weary
call was bitten off mid-word as Jack ushered
Daniel in. "But we have time for one more
patient," she cooed, smoothly changing gear,
her eyes lingering appreciatively on the
beautiful boy and his dear little doggie.
Jack scowled at her. She smiled blandly back
"Name?" she asked Daniel sweetly, her
slut-red painted nails poised over her
"I don't know," Daniel answered, looking
down interrogatively. He was touched when
the dog looked back up at him. Daniel didn’t
think any part of this dog was a hound, but
everything else, even the floppy ears,
reminded him irresistibly of the dog in the
book, the first book he read without his
mother, the only dog of his childhood.
It was Jack's turn to smile. "Dr. Jackson,"
he supplied, resting a casual arm around
Daniel's shoulders. The receptionist looked
from his smug face to Daniel's oblivious one
and rolled her eyes as Jack reeled off
Daniel's address and other inanities for the
"Will we have to wait long?" Daniel asked as
politely as possible, rapidly growing
impatient with proceedings. "He's hurt."
"Some waste of skin abandoned him in Pike
National Forest," Jack said coldly.
The receptionist looked suitably shocked and
pissed, but Jack sensed she was cranking up
her reaction for the benefit of the
sensitive, dishevelled, handsome young Dr.
Jackson. She buzzed through to the surgery,
explained the situation rapidly and seemed
disappointed when Laurie opened the door and
came straight out.
Daniel found himself eye-to-eye with a
fifty-ish woman with a helmet of grey curls,
ferocious hazel eyes and the kind of build
he associated with Teamsters. She marched
him into the surgery, firing questions at
him he couldn't answer.
"Cut him some slack, Laurie," Jack ordered
her as he planted a smacker on her cheek.
"He's a rookie dog owner."
Laurie's expression changed from one of
contempt at Daniel's ignorance to astonished
pity. She patted him on the arm and got him
to lay his - the - dog down on the table for
examination. Daniel hovered where he could
be seen and talked quietly to his - the -
dog as Laurie took his temperature, listened
to his heart and lungs, checked his stomach
and glands. Then his mouth, ears, eyes, skin
and paws, the whole time firing explanations
Daniel didn't understand and questions he
still couldn't answer.
Next, Laurie took X-rays, stool samples,
urine samples and bloods, leaving the dog
looking as dazed as Daniel felt, crying
steadily now, begging Daniel with his eyes.
Daniel stroked him while Laurie thoroughly
checked his leg and began to painstakingly
clean the small, infected cut, her hands
deft and quick. He felt like a murderer when
a pained yelp answered the shots Jack had
warned him about. Rabies, distemper, parvo,
a good dose of antibiotics to fight the
Finally, Laurie reeled off a terrifying list
of instructions. Daniel was to give his dog
the pills twice a day, the ointment for his
wound four times a day, keep him from
licking it off, bathe him, de-flea him, worm
him. Unimpressed by Daniel's confusion,
Laurie handed him a little book called
How to care for your dog, ordered him to
study it before he did anything to his dog,
then she gave Jack all the pills, ointments
and shampoos, apparently deciding he was the
one competent to look after both dog and
owner. Only then was Daniel allowed to pick
up his dog, feeling he was getting in a lot
deeper than he'd been prepared for.
"What are you going to call him?" Laurie
cheerfully asked him as she led them back to
"I - um…"
"I forgot to mention what a ruthless bitch
Laurie is," Jack said dryly. "Don’t let her
guilt-trip you into keeping that mangy
Laurie looked complacently at Daniel.
"Honey, when you spend three hundred and
fifty bucks on a dog, you own that dog, and
the dog knows it too."
"Elvis?" Jack repeated incredulously as he
set down the large bag of canine essentials
on Daniel's dining table.
"Elvis," Daniel said defensively. "There was
a dog in a book I read when I was young.
I've never forgotten him, how – how real he
was," he explained inadequately, hopelessly
embarrassed at being caught out in childish
"Then Elvis it is," Jack agreed equably,
smiling gently at him. "Why don't you put
Elvis down, let him sniff around, make
himself at home peeing on your priceless
"His leg hurts."
"Not as much as he's making out." Jack took
a slightly resistant Daniel by the shoulders
and looked him straight in his big beautiful
baby blues. "You need to let him know who's
boss, Daniel, or this little bugger will own
your sorry behind," he promised solemnly,
his eyes dancing.
"I know you're not talking about the dog,"
Daniel sniffed, well aware of his alleged -
by an extremely bitter, mouthy colonel –
impact on the chain of command. Also,
apparently, on the sanity of the extremely
bitter, mouthy colonel. And his hair colour,
too. "I have no sympathy, Jack," he
countered. "You had your shot at me doing
the yes-colonel, no-colonel,
how-high-colonel thing and you blew it."
"Doing the yes-colonel thing?" Jack hooted
"Trying," Daniel amended fair-mindedly. "Not
that it matters much, not when I follow your
orders anyway. Even the really stupid ones,"
he reminded Jack.
"Stupid?" Jack's volume rose impressively.
His hackles rising with Jack’s voice, Elvis
barked at him.
"Good boy!" a delighted Daniel praised him
"Oh, God!" Jack groaned, not about to get
into a pissing contest with a pocket-sized
protector, especially one he would lose. As
hard as he was fighting it, he could see the
cuteness. He cursed himself for his
susceptibility to man and beast.
“See how Elvis listens to me?” Daniel said
happily, wanting to share the thrill. “How
good he is? He’s a smart boy.”
Try petting me like that, you want to see
just how good a boy I can be, Jack thought,
barely restraining himself from voicing it.
"He whines less than you do, too," Daniel
"Elvis needs to learn this is his space
too," Jack announced firmly, ignoring this
childish provocation. "Put him down and let
Somewhat reluctantly accepting Jack's
expertise as a long-time pet owner and more
importantly, a proven dog-loving sap, Daniel
carefully put Elvis down. Elvis looked up at
him pathetically, then sat on his foot.
Jack sighed. He was fighting a terrible urge
to hug them both, especially as Daniel was
melting visibly in response to the dog's
dependency. Jack had a feeling Elvis wasn't
going to know what hit him in the TLC
"He's scared," Daniel made excuse as he
instantly bent down and picked Elvis up
again, cuddling him in to his chest. He sat
at the table, petting Elvis comfortingly as
Jack unpacked everything he'd bought in his
lightning raid on the pet store in the
Pilgrim Street mall on the way home from the
"Dog food, the ridiculously expensive
gourmet kind, several varieties as
instructed," Jack checked off.
"I don't know what his tastes are yet,"
Daniel explained. “Although,” he added
hopefully, “he did eat a Big Mac so he can’t
be all that hard to please.”
"Cereals to mix with the dog food, or more
likely, the filet mignon you’ll be sneaking
the mutt the minute my back is turned. A dog
food bowl." Jack held this up for
inspection, then rapidly unpacked the rest.
"A water bowl. A collar and lead. Stuff for
bathing him. Dog litter box. A dog basket
with a comfy blankie." He tilted the basket
so Elvis could sniff it.
"The tartan will give him nightmares,"
Daniel criticised, frowning.
"And your whatchamacallit death masks
won't?" Jack asked sarcastically. "Plus we
have dog treats and an annoyingly noisy
ball.” He shook this, tiny bells tinkling.
Elvis growled at the ball, or possibly at
Jack, which Daniel clearly thought was too
cute for words. “Last but not least we have
a chew toy from some sap who should know
better." He sourly squeaked the little bone
"That was sweet of you, Jack, thank you!"
Daniel gushed gleefully, beaming. Elvis
perked up and took an interest, sniffing the
toy thoroughly when Daniel held it to him.
He licked the bone, then he licked Daniel.
"Sweet?" Jack spat, giving his ‘outrage’ all
he'd got, wanting to keep the beguiling
spark of fun in Daniel’s eyes a while
"Saccharine," Daniel agreed demurely.
"Do you want to bath this flea-ridden cur by
yourself?" Jack demanded, pointedly
threatening, although he ruined the effect
of this severity by scratching Elvis under
the chin. "You should say his name as often
as possible, get him used to it," he
instructed as Daniel obediently followed him
into the kitchen.
Feeling that they were going to have take
the How To Look After Your Dog thing
as it came, Jack pulled out the rubber mat
he'd bought and placed it in the kitchen
sink. It was a start. "It'll help him feel
secure," he told Daniel, who was watching
his every move with alert interest.
It was hard for Jack to take, that this was
all new to Daniel. He tried not to think
about what Daniel's childhood was like, not
when every subtle reminder made him sorry
for all the small things Daniel had never
learned to take for granted. Daniel never
acknowledged his time in foster care, never
spoke of being a child or of the loss of his
parents. It was one wall of his Jack had
never breached. He was still not ready to
accept he probably never would get past this
The openings Daniel gave him, Jack took. And
then he took some more.
"I know it seems obvious, Daniel," he went
on as he worked the cups of the rubber
shower spray attachment over the faucets.
"But wet his coat first with warm water,
then rub in the shampoo, keeping the suds
away from his eyes. Rinse him with more warm
water, but be careful to keep it out of his
ears. Towel him dry while he's still in the
"How often do I bath him?" Daniel asked as
he and Elvis dubiously eyed the sink.
"Only when he stinks," Jack grinned. "Like
now." He looked appreciatively over at
Daniel's slim form, clad in what Jack
thought of as geek chic, smart grey chinos,
a fine-knit sweater and a long wine-coloured
shirt he was busy shrugging out of in
preparation for Operation Elvis. The chinos
were filthy from kneeling in the dirt, the
sweater decidedly on the doggie side.
"You're going to get soaked," Jack observed
pleasurably, very much looking forward to
seeing Daniel in damp and clinging
everything. "Cashmere?" he enquired
"It doesn't matter," Daniel impatiently
dismissed this irrelevant objection as he
pushed up his sleeves and tested the spray
for adequate water force. Next up was
temperature control as Daniel dipped his
hand beneath the spray. Then he looked
appealingly to Jack for confirmation.
Settling back against a kitchen unit, Jack
watched them both, enjoying himself hugely.
The dog was a sweet-natured little thing,
very quiet, very gentle, clearly unable to
believe its luck, ludicrously protective.
Much like his new owner. Elvis watched with
melting eyes as Daniel talked him through
what was about to happen to him, nuzzling
into every touch of Daniel's beautiful,
"He trusts you," Jack observed mildly.
"So soon?" Daniel asked doubtfully as he
warily put a less than enthusiastic Elvis in
the sink. While he had every hope of seeing
his dog regain his confidence in time, of
winning his trust, he wasn’t expecting it to
happen any time soon. His immediate reaction
to Jack's gratifying pronouncement was that
Elvis had been through a terrible ordeal, he
was frightened, so of course he was going to
identify closely with his rescuer. It wasn't
a response to Daniel so much as to the
Daniel didn’t know dogs the way Jack did,
He lifted Elvis’s chin and stroked a finger
over his head. “Good boy, Elvis,” he praised
him. Elvis tugged his head away to nibble at
Daniel’s fingers. It was slightly
embarrassing, how pleased he was by this
first hint of playfulness. He glanced
hopefully at Jack.
"He's yours, Daniel,” Jack promised him, his
Daniel's face lit with shy pleasure, his
rare, sweet smile punching Jack's heart out.
It always did. Jack wouldn't - or maybe
couldn't - look away, even though Daniel
rocked back a step, staring at him, a shock
of recognition in his widening eyes.
"The way you look at me?" Daniel murmured
uncertainly, as if he didn't realise he was
"Say it," Jack boldly invited.
Daniel was distracted by an indignant Elvis
making a determined, yelping escape bid as
his skinny little butt got soaked. Daniel
had to hold onto him with both hands while
Jack expertly sprayed him, keeping a beat
ahead of the eel-like squirming and the
growling, vengeful bites at the shower
attachment. As soon as Jack had him at the
drowned rat stage, Daniel pounced with the
flea shampoo and his magic fingers, rapidly
reducing Elvis to foamy, orgasmic adoration.
Taking advantage of man and dog being fully
occupied with their mutual adoration
society, Jack slipped his hand around to rub
the small of Daniel's back.
"Jack," Daniel whispered, shifting
uncomfortably under the warm, invading hand.
He was so not ready to face this. His own
tangled feelings were difficult enough,
without having to deal with Jack’s too.
"Say it," Jack said again, his eyes
"You're - attracted to me,” Daniel admitted
slowly, his tongue stiff and stumbling. He
wished he could back down. Hide. That one of
"Say it like you believe it, Daniel."
"I'm - I'm not sure I do."
Daniel was shaken by what Jack was saying to
him, by what he was seeing, by the feelings
shivering through him. What Jack was doing
to him with the ache in his dark eyes. He
didn't mean to, but he found himself leaning
into the heat of Jack's body, his fingers
stilling on Elvis as a capable hand slid in
front of him, long fingers curving around
his waist. He was shocked to feel Jack
trembling against him. Jack was afraid? Of
"I'm scared shitless," Jack snapped, his
voice rough and edgy. "Daniel, please.
Hesitantly, Daniel turned. He wanted to say
it was too soon, it was too much, but he
wasn't good at lying, least of all to
himself. Fear and uncertain arousal sparked
and shivered through him as he reached up to
kiss Jack softly with a shaking mouth. The
barest touch, then Jack was kissing him, his
firm lips inexpressibly tender as they moved
Elvis squirming out from under made them
break off abruptly after a few brief
moments. They filled the next desperately
awkward minutes with wet, protesting dog,
rinsed thoroughly and towelled dry by Daniel
while Jack put some rabbit-flavoured dog
food and crushed worming pills into the
bowl, their swift, surreptitious glances
Battling an odd, muted panic, Daniel knelt
down while Elvis investigated the contents
of the bowl, his tail beginning to wag as he
sniffed. He looked up, nosing gently at
Daniel’s fingers before he began to eat,
once again gulping down the food. Upset by
Elvis’s desperation, Daniel delicately drew
a silky ear through his fingers, unable to
imagine the kind of person who could leave a
small, defenceless animal who had trusted
and loved them, to starve to death. He’d
rushed into this responsibility without any
thought for anything except protecting the
dog, but even with all the adjustments he
was going to have to make in his life, he
found he didn’t mind. In a way, he was
looking forward to having another presence
in his home.
"Could I get a T-shirt? I'm soaked," Jack
interrupted, his fingers trailing warmth
over Daniel's nape, making him jump. “When
we’re done with the dog.” Jack knelt beside
Daniel to gently rub Elvis with a fresh
towel, trying not to disturb him too much as
he ate. He shot Daniel a quick, sidelong
look. “You doing okay?”
"I don't know what in hell I'm doing. I may
never figure out the how I'm doing part,"
Daniel admitted jerkily. Had he given Jack
permission to be so intimate with him?
Because of a kiss he hadn’t been prepared
for and didn’t wholly understand, let alone
"You think I do?" Jack retorted,
sardonically amused. "I was so damned smug,
so damned sure I wouldn't push you into bed
"Bed?" Daniel echoed stupidly, trembling
now, his body tight and hot, as if his skin
were too small for him.
"I don't want to do this, I tried not to. I
promised myself," Jack snapped in
frustration. When he looked at Daniel, he
was raw, grieved. "I need you," he said
starkly. "Don't let me fuck this up. Don't
let me push you away."
"I don't know what I want, Jack! How can I
set limits for - for feeling lost?" Daniel
Before Jack could answer him, Daniel dashed
along to his bedroom, pulling off his
sweater as he ran. He was angry and upset
with Jack and with himself for the risk
they'd just taken. If Jack wanted him, no,
needed him, where did that leave him? He was
so confused. Conflicted. Fucking was not an
inevitability of friendship, and Daniel was
so far from certain he wanted a sexual
relationship despite the attraction he was
feeling. The only thing he knew was he
couldn't be without Jack, not now. Jack was
- was necessary to him. He didn’t know what
to do. He couldn’t think, his mind
skittering agitatedly when he tried.
Daniel stripped rapidly, tossing on some
jeans and an old blue shirt he wore loose.
He snagged a black T-shirt out of his bureau
and walked unwillingly back to the kitchen
to face Jack, rolling up his sleeves to the
elbow as he went. Elvis came scampering to
greet him, off-balance because he couldn't
put his weight on the infected leg. When he
stood on the top step waiting for Daniel,
his tail was wagging, but his front paw was
poised awkwardly. Surprised by a rush of
affection, Daniel sat down beside him and
scooped Elvis up into an exuberant hug, a
hot, rasping tongue swiping moistly at his
“I gave him a drink,” Jack informed him,
handing him a brush in exchange for the
T-shirt. “Brush his coat carefully,” he
Elvis sat on Daniel’s knee, his tail gently
thumping as Daniel patiently brushed the
tangles from his damp, matted fur with
painstaking care. "Good boy, Elvis," he
praised him warmly, hugging the frail chest,
the rapid heartbeat fluttering against his
cupping hand, which Elvis was trying to
lick. "He's such a good dog," he said in
bewilderment, as Jack sat down close beside
“I know. Don’t eat your heart out over who
did this to him and why,” Jack advised
mildly. "You'll never know."
Daniel started when Jack's arm went around
him. "I don't want to fight.” He shrugged
his shoulders, Jack’s arm simply skimming
down to his waist. He couldn’t make an issue
of it, not with Elvis just beginning to yawn
and settle, his consideration something he
knew Jack was totally taking advantage of.
"I'm such a prick, Daniel," Jack
Accurately, in Daniel's opinion.
"God knows you can't lie to me on your best
day. I know you're not ready."
"You know a lot,” Daniel snapped, unsure how
he was supposed to be ‘ready’ for his
closest friend to want to get him into bed.
He put down the brush and began to stroke
his sleepy dog, curling now into a small,
defensive ball in his lap. Jack reached past
him to apply some of the ointment the vet
had given them to treat the cut on Elvis's
leg. Daniel was grateful for Jack's
gentleness with the dog. Elvis got a bit
restless, but happily no more than that,
settling again as soon as Jack let him rest.
"He was lucky,” he said softly.
The warm indulgence in Jack's voice
"He's a one-man dog, you know," Jack said
quietly, running the ridiculous tail through
his fingers. "He'll tolerate other people,
the people you have around, but no more than
that. Be careful who you choose to look
after him. He has to be at least comfortable
with them. I'll put the word out on base for
"Thanks, Jack," Daniel said gratefully.
Without warning, Jack’s arm around Daniel
tightened, drawing him in to Jack’s side.
Jack kissed him swift and hard, leaving him
flushed and breathless. Before he could
speak, Jack kissed him again, a warm,
affectionate gloat of a kiss. He only
laughed when Daniel pushed him away.
"You have no idea how long I've wanted to do
that," Jack gleefully celebrated, breaking
out into a huge shit-eating grin.
"No," Daniel agreed darkly, scowling at
"Just like you've no idea how cute that is,"
Jack said solemnly, failing to resist a
reprehensible urge to mess with Daniel's
"I told you he had character." Daniel looked
fondly down at Elvis, a finger sneaking out
to caress the silky fur on his head. "Ugly!"
he sniffed disparagingly.
Highly entertained by this innocent modesty,
Jack decided to go for the jugular. "Cute
dog," he conceded graciously. "Gorgeous
owner," he added blandly, turning to face
Daniel so he could put his other arm around
him, hands lightly clasped around the slim
waist. He watched the play of emotions on
Daniel's handsome, vital face: realisation,
outrage, alarm, confusion. "Can I kiss you?"
he asked winsomely, snugging his chin into
Daniel's shoulder and making with the
pleading puppy eyes.
"Now you ask me?" Daniel bridled
indignantly, ending in a tiny gasp as Jack
kissed his throat.
"Put the dog down and kiss me," Jack coaxed
with soft bites at sensitive skin, pleased
to see Daniel's chin tilt to grant him
"He needs me!" Daniel argued, a protective
hand on Elvis's side.
"I need you!"
"You don't want to kiss?" Jack sighed
"I - I didn't say that," Daniel answered
haltingly, going red.
"We could go get comfortable," Jack
suggested persuasively. "Talk this through."
"Go where?" Daniel asked blankly.
"No pushing, remember?"
"Did I say we would be naked?" Jack asked
"You want to talk?" Daniel demanded,
ignoring what he felt to be deliberate
"No," Jack admitted cheerfully. "But I do
want to get you into bed. Even fully clothed
and chaperoned." He flicked Elvis's curly
"We're too big for the couch!" Jack argued
"Only if we're lying down."
"Exactly!" Jack beamed.
"I'm not getting horizontal with you
"You don't trust me," Jack recognised sadly.
"I did until you started kissing me and
saying - stuff - about me," Daniel snapped,
unable to do his aggravation justice. "After
years - five years! - of salty, bad tempered
insults and gratuitous, infantile alleged
humour, you can't just say I'm - I'm…"
Daniel couldn't say what he was.
"Gorgeous?" Jack supplied, ever helpful in
the face of the flustered.
"Will you stop saying that!"
"Ludicrously handsome?" Jack politely
offered an alternative, very appreciative of
the presence of the snoozing Elvis, who was
severely hampering Daniel's ability to
retaliate in any meaningfully homicidal way.
"I'm willing to concede the point and
refrain from telling you exactly how
gorgeous you are in the interests of
establishing harmonious relations, even
though you are a total babe, everyone but
you knows it and you should just get over
Daniel blinked hard at the rapid flow of
information. Or was that condemnation?
“How about we start smaller?” Jack proposed
cheerfully. “How would you react if I talked
about, say, your eyes?" he suggested
"That hurts my feelings."
"If I wasn't trapped in the Twilight Zone I
might care," Daniel declared.
"Do you want to know how long I've been
looking at you and wanting you?" Jack said
in quite another voice. "I think about you
all the time, you know."
"I only know something has changed between
us," Daniel confessed in a stifled voice.
"There’s an intensity there."
"Attraction," Jack nudged gently.
"I guess," Daniel agreed unhappily. He
sighed heavily, letting himself lean at
Jack's urging. "Yes," he whispered. "I'm
attracted to you." He wrapped his fingers
around Jack's arm, cradled heavy across his
stomach. "It feels good to be held," he
added, incurably honest. A quick, nervous
smile had Jack frowning. "It's been too
long, I think."
"Longer than I wanted to wait, not as long
as I needed to wait," Jack said wryly.
Daniel didn't pretend to misunderstand him
or the difficulties inherent in any kind of
physical relationship between them. There
was so much he wanted to ask, so much he
didn't understand, he didn't know where to
begin. "I thought I knew you," he uttered in
bewilderment, searching Jack's face. "I
thought I knew myself."
"Tell me about it." The hard edge of
bitterness in Jack's voice was
unmistakeable. "Do you think I ever imagined
myself falling for another man?" He'd
enjoyed the physical but hadn't hesitated to
bury it in the dim, distant past. Sex. It
wasn't important enough to him to regret.
"Jack!" Daniel murmured distressfully.
"I didn't fall easily or well. I went down
fighting and when it hit…" He looked up at
Daniel, his face tight with feeling. "The
first time I dreamed about being with you,
it killed me. I thought I could take
anything, but I couldn't take that. Wanting
you." Wanting a man he loved. "The dreams
didn't stop, Daniel," Jack confessed
roughly, his strain beginning to show. "I
was so angry, with myself, with you, can you
believe that?" he said angrily, his voice
thick with condemnation.
"I knew," Daniel said diffidently. "I didn't
know why, just that you couldn't stand…” He
couldn't finish, Jack looked so hurt, so
mortified. “I didn't know what I'd done," he
"I took your hand once, told you I was
sorry," Jack tossed out, his eyes bleak. "I
dream that again and again, holding your
hands while I fuck you, licking the sweat
from your shoulder blade. The way you move…"
He caught himself up, smiling blindly. "It
was more than a year before I could face it,
what it meant." He laughed humourlessly.
Sex. It wasn't supposed to mean anything.
Not to him. It was buried, forgotten, meant
to stay that way. "I had to make sense of it
all," he said carefully, knowing in his gut
he should never tell Daniel just how hard
he'd fought his feelings. "None of this is
easy for me to say, none of it. That makes
me a smart-ass, sometimes."
"What do you want, Jack?" Daniel asked
"Everything. I want you, I want a
relationship." As hard for Jack to admit as
it had been for Daniel to admit there was an
attraction between them.
"A sexual relationship," Daniel clarified,
feeling stupid but unable to stop himself
from saying it.
"You don't have to decide the rest of our
lives right now, Daniel," Jack promised, his
eyes softening to warmth. "I want to see
you, be close to you. I want sex too, but I
can wait. You know that, right?" he
Swallowing a sudden lump in his throat,
"When you're ready," Jack said gruffly.
Ready for Jack to fuck him? “I’m attracted,
Jack, but I haven’t decided – I don’t know
what I want. I have to think.” Daniel
couldn’t be more definite than this. He
really didn’t have an answer for Jack, not
“You think too much.”
“I can’t be anything other than straight
with you. Do you really want me to lie to
Jack’s lips tightened but in the end he just
shook his head quickly.
Daniel had a hard time picturing Jack
getting in touch with his feminine side. All
the sensitivity Daniel had seen had been
reserved for the children Jack had needed to
help. It was there for him too, at times of
need, the patience and gentleness, the
acceptance. Was Daniel naÔve to have
believed that was because they were friends?
Or had he somehow breached Jack’s defences,
touched his friend in a way he’d never
intended? Whatever the cause, he was
beginning to understand Jack had always
treated him differently than Sam or even
Teal’c. Perhaps differently than he’d
treated any of his friends in the past, the
guys he’d worked with, like Kawalsky.
“I was thinking this wasn’t inevitable –
us," he said in some confusion. "There’s
nothing written in stone stating men can
only be so close without needing sex to be
part of who they are together.”
Jack smiled at Daniel. “I think I’ve loved
you since I met you. The fact we were both
guys got in the way for a long time.”
Daniel was deeply moved by Jack's honesty.
He needed to express what he was feeling,
but words were failing him. Holding Elvis
carefully balanced across his thighs, Daniel
leaned in to slide an arm around Jack’s
shoulders and draw him into a kiss, their
mouths meeting softly, but more surely this
time. Jack nuzzled at his lips, tasting him,
an eager tongue flickering over each curve
and contour as strong fingers rubbed the
nape of his neck.
It wasn't the steamy kiss of Jack's dreams,
but Daniel was toe-curlingly sweet and
giving, the tension gradually seeping from
his body as they learned to kiss one
another. Jack found he couldn't resist
nibbling at the pout of Daniel's lower lip
while Daniel was simply fascinated by the
way Jack's mouth fit his. He seemed to like
it when they rubbed against one another,
unhurriedly tilting his face this way and
that to deepen the pressure or change the
They were both easy with this, which was
good in a way Jack hadn't been looking for.
He was beginning to feel he didn't want to
rush this. Daniel's eyes were slow to open
when Jack sat back, his tongue darting out
to taste Jack on him. "You're the first man
I ever kissed," Jack revealed, for the first
time wondering if that had hurt the guys
he'd slept with.
"Not even in school." Not even then. It had
always been just sex. Exercise.
Daniel's fingers slid down from his shoulder
to hold his arm. "No one was ever that
interested in me," he confided, looking
"I would've been all over you like fleas on
"I doubt it," Daniel retorted.
"Is it any more unlikely than me being all
over you now?" Jack challenged him.
"When you put it like that, I guess not."
Daniel eyed him somewhat speculatively.
"This raises questions about your past
behaviour towards me, you know. This whole
'geek' thing, for example. I should have
realised it was your own uniquely obnoxious,
juvenile version of courting me." He perked
up as Jack bristled. "In defence of my
admittedly shameful ignorance, I'd like to
point out that you're too old to be so
hormonally charged and emotionally
"Emotionally volatile?" Jack queried.
"Pissy," Daniel amended, generously
stretching a point.
"I have no problem with hormonally charged,"
Jack hinted broadly, giving Daniel a
distinctly flirty look, which totally
floored him. Jack was quite pleased by his
undeniable effect on Daniel, what with being
old and everything. "Guys can do a lot
together. You'd hardly believe it." Jack
felt his supportiveness needed some gas. He
tried again. "We don't have to do anything
"That's reassuring," Daniel responded in a
small, wooden voice, looking kind of wild
about the eyes.
"It's mostly friction," Jack mumbled,
desperately embarrassed. "A guy knows a
guy's body. You know?" He wasn't sure at
this point he wanted Daniel to know how much
he happened to know.
"I - um - I know."
Daniel didn't sound too sure what he knew,
but Jack thought that was probably a good
"You think I'm good-looking?" Daniel asked
uneasily of the unconscious Elvis. He had no
idea why he couldn't let this go.
"Have I explained how easy this stuff is for
me to talk about?" Jack snapped, pardonably
exasperated. "You think for one second I'm
going to be able to say something I don't
"We're sitting in a briefing, discussing a
mission," Daniel hypothesised rapidly.
"Arguing," Jack corrected him crisply.
"You're looking at me," Daniel said
invitingly. "You're thinking?"
"Nothing," Jack retorted. "I don't have a
thought in my head except shutting you up
the best way I know how."
"Which would be how? Exactly?" Daniel asked
"Sometimes it's a long, deep kiss.
Sometimes, it isn't."
"You imagine me…" Daniel glanced down at
Jack's crotch, blushed to the roots of his
hair and stared desperately at his dog.
"Or me," Jack interrupted hastily. "I don't
want you to get the wrong impression, here!"
He grinned wolfishly. "Either way works just
as well," he smirked. "I'm very well
endowed." He waited a beat while Daniel
sputtered. "In the illustrated how-to guide
"In briefings?" Daniel shook his head as if
to clear it. "You're thinking about doing
that to me in briefings?"
"Right there at the table," Jack confirmed
with slightly insane cheeriness.
"How the - how the hell am I supposed to
look you in the eye after that?" Daniel
Jack smacked him heartily on the back.
"Welcome to my life!"
beautiful, bewildered linguist and small,
snoozing canine chaperone on his hands, Jack
ordered pizza for dinner. All things
considered, he figured he was ahead of the
game. They were still on the stairs and not
in the bed, Daniel had yet to kiss him like
he wanted to be kissed, there was way too
much talking, the only heavy petting thus
far was of Elvis and the pizza boy was late
and, according to the guy on the phone, both
new and lost. On the upside, Daniel hadn't
tossed him out on his ear, demanded his
instant transfer off the team or objected
strenuously to having the crap hugged out of
him. In fact, Daniel was so pathetically
confused about pretty much everything, he
seemed to find being nestled to Jack's side
comforting. Also, he didn't want to wake his
A sharp knock at the door made Elvis twitch.
A scorching glare from Daniel had Jack
running to shut the pizza guy the hell up.
He yanked the door open, forked over twenty
bucks to a kid who clearly had more hormones
than Jack, Daniel and Elvis put together,
grabbed his now lukewarm pepperoni and
meatball pizzas and icy Pepsis, calling to
Daniel to come work the microwave. No two
microwaves were alike. This was a matter of
scientific fact in Jack's universe. The
setting that equalled 'reheat' on Jack's
would equal 'cremate' or 'combust' or
possibly even 'explode' on Daniel's.
Daniel slid his hands under Elvis's tummy
and lifted him. Elvis woke up, yawned and
stretched, then he turned around to rest his
paws on Daniel's chest, his tail beginning
to wag. Daniel ran both hands down Elvis's
back, smiling as he wriggled with pleasure,
his tail wagging harder. "Elvis," he
murmured with quiet satisfaction as he gave
his dog the hands he was nosing for. The
ecstatic licking flustered Daniel as much as
Jack's kisses. He put Elvis carefully down,
alert for any signs of distress. Elvis
watched him as he stood up, limping gamely
along at his side as he walked into the
kitchen. Elvis stopped in his tracks when he
saw Jack cursing at the microwave, looked
uncertainly up at Daniel, then sat on his
Jack stopped cursing to bestow a doting look
on them. "He smells you on me," Jack said
indulgently, picking out a couple of stray
meatballs. "Or me on the pizza." He knelt
down. "Here, boy," he called softly, holding
his hand out. "Elvis, come. Good boy, Elvis.
Come." Elvis stood up and took a few steps
towards him. Jack made no moves at all,
letting the dog come to him in his own time.
A few more steps and Elvis took fright,
looking around for Daniel. His tail began to
wag as Daniel walked him over to the big
scary colonel and knelt beside him as he ate
the treats out of Jack's cupped hand. Elvis
suffered Jack to stroke him as Daniel put
the pizzas into the oven to warm. He
wriggled away and trotted limpingly after
Daniel when he went over to the dining table
to check through the things Jack had bought.
Jack trotted after Elvis.
Daniel knelt again with Elvis's collar in
his hands. "Elvis Jackson?" he asked Jack
incredulously as he read the tag.
"Bite me," Jack retorted pleasantly. "I
thought it was cute. And annoying." He
grinned at Daniel. "Say his name when you
give him a command," he instructed, casually
parking his butt on a corner of the table.
"You should talk to him as much as you can.
He loves the sound of your voice, so use it.
You've got a lot of fragile and
irreplaceable stuff here, but to Elvis, the
whole world is just one big chew toy. You
have to teach him what he can and can't
chew, starting with anything that's older
than he is."
"He's two. Laurie said," Daniel muttered as
he fastened the collar.
"I've got stuff in my fridge older than
"He has your bone and the ball."
"Try him with both," Jack suggested. "Some
dogs don't like toys that make noise, some
love them. Get him different toys, a sturdy
twist of rope, anything you can fill with a
treat he can eat after he's chewed the crap
out of it.. A tennis ball for walks. When
his leg heals, you'll need to walk him at
least twice a day, more if you can manage
"I'm required to meet the same fitness
standards you are," Daniel reminded him
"If you ever feel like company," Jack
prompted optimistically, strongly drawn to
the idea of an athletic, sweating, skimpily
attired Daniel. "Unless three is a crowd,"
he added stiffly.
"No," Daniel hastily uttered a reassurance.
"I'd like that." As he stood, he looked
resentfully at Jack. "I mean it," he said
accusingly, his eyes brooding. "I really
would like that!"
"Cool!" Jack gloated.
Daniel sniffed. So did Elvis, but he was
sniffing Daniel. This required further
investigation. Daniel looked enquiringly at
"I think you smell good too," Jack offered
"Do you think he needs reassurance?" Daniel
asked innocently, hoping so.
"I think he's going to lose the use of his
legs if you keep carrying him around," Jack
retorted laughingly. "The little bugger
knows a sucker when he sees one."
"Where should I put his basket?" Daniel
wondered. "Where he'll feel secure?" Trying
to see his apartment from Elvis-eyes, he
looked around unenthusiastically at his
stone floors - cold on small paws - and the
elegant lines of his antique furniture and
artefacts - big and scary in the dark.
"Or where you'll feel secure?" Jack tossed
over his shoulder as he went to check on the
"He seems to like being near me," Daniel
explained, picking up the basket and
promptly sidling off towards his bedroom
while Jack was otherwise engaged. "Elvis,
come," he called, obedient to Jack's
instructions, feeling silly when Elvis was
right there attacking the laces on his shoes
every other step. Daniel stopped when he got
into the bedroom, which seemed to be Elvis's
prompt to sit on his foot and give him the
plaintive 'pet me' look. Elvis was less than
impressed when Daniel hardened his heart,
gently stirred a furry rump with his foot
and put the basket down beside the couch. He
figured this was the best spot in the room.
Elvis could see him sleeping from here, but
was far enough away not to have a disturbed
night if Daniel did. Plus, Daniel would see
the basket when he needed to get to his PC
even if he was distracted and didn't
remember it was there.
His dog climbed stiffly into the basket, had
a little look around while Daniel hovered
anxiously, then whined to be lifted out.
Daniel thought he did well to put Elvis
straight down, although this didn't seem to
match Elvis's assessment of the situation.
He was the picture of pathetic, huddling
rejection, pawing appealingly at Daniel's
shoe. Feeling like an absolute bastard,
Daniel swallowed hard but stood his ground,
telling Elvis he was a very good boy and -
somewhat unconvincingly - it was good for
him to be independent.
As Daniel was being ruthlessly strict with
him, Elvis ambled off, still favouring his
injured leg, to sniff pretty much everything
he could reach until he got to the steps
leading up to Daniel's bed. Another whine
had Daniel scurrying to his assistance,
although he regretted it when he heard a
dark chuckle behind him and Elvis started
tugging on the sleeve of his discarded
sweater, dangling down from the bed in front
"You're going to spoil that dog rotten,"
Jack accused him, sounding anything but
disapproving. "The pizza's on the table." He
walked over to the bed, taking a good look
around tasteful Terra Incognita, then
graciously assisted Elvis down the stairs
with his hideously expensive prize. They
watched in fascination as Elvis stiffly
dragged the sweater across the room, his
little head held high. He climbed tiredly
into his basket and began to tug the sweater
in behind him.
Daniel and Jack glanced at one another, then
back at Elvis. Daniel decided it was less
fraught smoothing his sweater than it was
watching Jack interestedly smoothing the
cover on his bed. "I told you he wouldn't
like the tartan," he muttered, feeling the
abject surrender of a two hundred dollar
sweater required some sort of explanation
for certain cynical colonels who were eying
him with amusedly knowing pity. Elvis was
delighted to assist him to tuck and fold and
smooth the cashmere into a comfortable, cosy
bed. He managed to lick Daniel's ear while
he was distracted.
Jack went one better. He goosed him while he
was bent over.
When Daniel stood up, scowling menacingly,
he found Jack anything but penitent. In
fact, Jack was alarmingly bright-eyed and
seemed to want him to make an issue of it.
He took hold of Daniel's waist, a broad
smile breaking out as Daniel's fingers came
up to rest on his shoulders. They found
themselves without a word to say, staring,
trying to make some sense of what they knew
about one another now. They kissed
lingeringly, Daniel's lips parting in shy
invitation. He gasped as Jack slowly slid
into his mouth, a hot, rasping tongue
ardently rubbing over his.
Two years, he thought giddily. Two years
since he was last kissed. Never like this.
He wanted it though. He wanted Jack, his
whole body throbbing and achy. His legs
trembling, Daniel clung to Jack as cradling
arms wrapped tight around him. He pulled
Jack's head to him, gladly deepening the
kiss, shaking with fear and excitement at
the happiness flowing from his dear friend.
It had been so long for both of them and he
felt so good not to be alone, he let it take
him, Jack soaking into his skin.
Jack was thrilled and terrified at once when
Daniel melted bonelessly into him, his
generous mouth grinding into Jack's as his
body surrendered. Daniel shook him to his
core, touched him bone deep. He always had.
It hurt Jack to ride out this explosion of
feeling, to let go of the old fears in the
shock of it all. Daniel was open to him. It
pounded through his head again and again.
Daniel knew how he felt, but he was with him
and Jack had a chance now. He gave himself
over to the heady kiss, fierce joy welling
as he revelled in Daniel's sweetness and the
innocent honesty of his feelings.
Daniel was so gentle, and Jack was so in
love with him, it was impossible for him to
rush this. He savoured the taste and the
feel of Daniel, his fine-boned, slim body so
exotically attractive, his firmness and
strength arousing Jack in ways he'd never
quantified. It felt surprisingly natural to
him to want Daniel, his desire without the
frenetic, guilty edge of his dreams. Jack
was starved for Daniel's touch, unable to
hold him close enough even though their
bodies were plastered together.
Ecstatically stroking over Daniel's
receptive tongue, Jack ignored a peremptory
bark and suppressed an instinctive twitch
from Daniel by segueing smoothly from
licking to sucking. Daniel moaned
delightfully. Then he chuckled as a small,
sinuous, furry body squirmed determinedly
between their ankles. Jack gently but firmly
pushed Elvis away. It took only moments for
the dog to cock a retaliatory leg. Jack
eased back to take swift, distracting
nibbles at Daniel's inviting, swollen lips.
"You don't need to walk him," he murmured,
smiling as Daniel kissed his jawline.
"Elvis. You don't need to walk him now."
Daniel gave up his assault on the tender
spot beneath Jack's ear. "I don’t?"
"Nope. The cocky little bugger is peeing on
me right now."
Daniel refused sternly, finding it difficult
to meet the big, imploring eyes fixed on
his. "There is no way spicy pepperoni can be
good for your digestion, especially not
after those worming pills. You can have a
dog chew." Elvis sighed heavily, abandoned
his attempt at emotional blackmail, and went
back to his spirited attempts to eviscerate
his squeaky bone. Daniel reached down to pat
him in commiseration, reflecting that after
four hours of dog ownership, he was down
three hundred and fifty bucks, one cashmere
sweater, one pair of fine Italian shoes - he
was wearing a bio-hazard suit next time he
wormed Elvis - and some glow-in-the-dark
hieroglyph socks that had come from a Secret
Santa with a whacked sense of humour. In
other words, Jack. His bÍte-noir and - um -
"Elvis can't have anything," Jack argued,
glancing down unenthusiastically at his
borrowed sweats, which he'd come to realise
rapidly had definitely been purchased with a
more pert and youthful rear in mind, taking
some of the fun out of how he'd acquired
them. "He's been a very bad boy."
"You have no shame!" Daniel accused him.
"When the worming meds hit and I scrambled
for mop and newspapers, I heard you telling
Elvis he was a good boy."
"Why would I do that?" Jack enquired, the
picture of butter-wouldn't-melt
"Well, it wasn't just because he held it to
crap on my feet instead of yours," Daniel
informed him tartly.
"I don't know what you mean," Jack denied,
leisurely swiping the last wedge of
"You're wearing DKNY underwear," Daniel
reminded him coldly. "How do I know this?"
he complained bitterly.
Jack quirked a questioning eyebrow.
"Because you got out of your jeans faster
than I got out of my shoes!"
"Talk about your captive audience," Jack
observed complacently, a huge, fatuous smile
spreading over his face.
"And the reason you didn't rush to look for
something to change into was?" Daniel left
it open, waving an airily inviting hand.
"Gallantly rescuing a stricken comrade who'd
finally found something he would not touch,"
Jack answered sleekly. "I don't recall
making you crane around to watch my ass as I
walked out of the room."
"Strolled," Daniel blurted involuntarily,
his face beginning to burn. "I was curious,"
he admitted gruffly, deciding this was a
good time to move into the living room. He
was fairly alarmed to see both Elvis and
Jack chasing after him, Elvis carrying his
squeaky bone, Jack two freshly poured
glasses of wine. They were evenly matched,
the care Jack had to take with the expensive
Chardonnay cancelling out the handicap of
Elvis's limp. They reached the couch at the
same time, Jack sneering as Daniel cravenly
scooped up Elvis and deposited him on the
cushion next to him on the two-seater.
After disposing of the wine glasses, Jack
picked up a surprised Elvis and popped him
back down on the floor. After a reproachful
look up at his embarrassed owner, Elvis made
do with lying on Daniel's bare feet and
attacked his bone again. Jack sat down next
to Daniel and put an arm around him with the
air of a man settling in for the night.
"This is one helluva a first date," Jack
said light-heartedly, toying with the fabric
of the blue shirt, which made Daniel's eyes
look big enough to drown in. "I mean, life
does not get any better than this. I got
peed on, you got crapped on, Elvis has had
two baths, you've had one shower, I got to
mop up ballistic poop and collect stool
"It wasn't all biological warfare," Daniel
retorted, beginning to relax, even though it
looked like Jack wasn't going to be letting
go of him any time soon. "I kissed you."
"You looked at my ass, too."
"I - " Was there any point in denying it?
Daniel uneasily considered the possibility
Jack might just have seen him nearly fall
over, he was leaning so far back to watch
him swagger out into the living room in
nearly all his glory. "I did."
"How was it?"
"Thanks," Jack said ungratefully.
"Your ass wasn't odd. Wanting to look at
your ass was odd."
"Okay. Thanks," Jack muttered. "I think."
"We're not in any kind of rush to leap into
bed or anything," Daniel hinted with
suggestive negativity. "Are we?"
"I can wait," Jack offered dubiously. "I
mean, I'll have to wait. No," he corrected
himself hurriedly. "I don't mean I have to."
He looked nervously at Daniel, clearing his
throat. "I don't know what I mean."
"Neither do I."
They sat in silence for a while, listening
to Elvis happily squeaking his bone and to
the muted sounds of the city outside. The
balcony windows were wide open in the
aftermath of Operation Poop Scoop, as Jack
called it. Then Jack kissed Daniel, another
of those warm, nuzzling kisses they both
liked very much. When they finally parted,
Daniel found their intimacy much less
forced, sitting a little closer than before,
his hand resting over Jack's, clasped around
"What's on your mind, Daniel?" Jack asked,
his voice very kind.
Daniel allowed his head to rest against
Jack's, a contented sigh escaping him. He
felt almost comfortable. "I don't know," he
mused quietly. "It's as if the whole world
shuddered and changed around me. Everything
has changed; us, our friendship, our
feelings. My sexuality," he added
"Too far, too fast?"
"No," Daniel disagreed, surprised to find he
meant this. "I'm - I'm glad you made me face
up to the attraction between us, if it means
we can be like this." He took Jack's hand in
both of his. "If you can."
"I feel good." Jack rubbed his face into
Daniel's silky hair. "What I said
Daniel looked at him encouragingly.
"I meant I'm in for the duration."
"I'm not going anywhere."
Recognising a blatant cue, Daniel uttered a
hasty reassurance. "Um - me too!" He kissed
Jack's jaw, fascinated by the chafe of faint
stubble against his lips. "Can we see each
other for a while?" he suggested.
"You mean, do stuff together? Go out? Hang
"What kind of stuff?" Daniel asked
inquisitively, honestly finding it difficult
to envision dating Jack.
"I'm not very good at gin."
"Which is why it's the fastest way I know to
get you in your underwear, unless I can
train Elvis to crap on command," Jack
"Neck?" Daniel blurted out what was, for
him, the salient part.
"The activity we engage in after I've got
you in your underwear and before you toss me
out on my ass."
"Demonstrate," Daniel ordered boldly.
"Our size relative to the couch severely
hampers my ability to fully demonstrate my
necking capabilities," Jack drawled, a
roughness in his voice that made Daniel
"The other couch is bigger."
"Wasn't this the exact point I was making
earlier?" Jack countered. "Which brings us
right back to the bed."
"I don't want to start something I'm don't
feel ready to finish," Daniel told him
seriously. "Plus," he added haltingly,
desperately embarrassed, looking anywhere
but at Jack. "It's been a while." It felt
Jack found the notion of making Daniel come
in his jeans just from a little rolling
around breathtakingly hot but decided it was
hardly tactful to say so. He settled for
tweaking off Daniel's glasses to take his
first openly wanting look at Daniel's face.
"Jack," Daniel protested breathlessly, his
face flushing as Jack stared wordlessly,
drinking him in. "Honestly, I think the more
upright we stay, the less trouble we'll get
"That assumption is wrong on soooo many
levels," Jack chided Daniel, shaking his
head sadly. Conscious of the presence of a
decidedly drowsy little furry foot-warmer,
he once more failed to resist taking
advantage. Daniel emitted a cute squawk when
Jack pushed him back against the arm of the
couch, glaring up at him with outraged eyes
because he didn't dare push back. "Love your
dog!" Jack gloated, pulling up Daniel's
shirt to bare… "Skin!" he breathed
All the air seemed to whoosh out of Daniel's
lungs as Jack licked his belly, then he
grabbed onto Jack's head. Walking on air,
Jack traced the contours of a respectable
six-pack with a worshipping tongue and
grazing kisses, blown away by the way he was
making Daniel quiver and moan beneath him.
Daniel, always a fast learner, yanked Jack
up to kiss him hard, clamping long, strong,
agile fingers to his ass, grinding his hips
into Jack's as he plunged an aggressive,
limber tongue deep into his mouth.
Daniel's comfort zone was definitely
expanding and this goddamned couch was
definitely too small.
I am so easy, Daniel thought, abashed by his
- well, unfortunately, desperation was not
too strong a word for it. Jack was all over
him and someone appeared to be both egging
Jack on and dragging him back for more every
time he tried to surface long enough to
snatch a wheezing breath. The man looked
like all his Christmases had come! Or he was
having an exertion-induced coronary. Or
Daniel was. He was jumping out of his skin,
his heart was pounding so fast he kept
having to swallow it and that was before
Jack's hand slid down to rub his thigh. The
first squeeze of those strong fingers made
Daniel's whole body jerk, dislodging Elvis.
A startled whine made Daniel take his tongue
from Jack's mouth. "Sorry, boy," he
apologised, dangling his fingers over the
side of the couch to stroke an apology. A
cool nose snuffed air into his palm, then
Elvis's tongue began to lap at his fingers.
Feeling he was neglecting Jack, Daniel
hooked his leg over Jack's and rubbed his
calf. "Good boy, Elvis," he called
distractedly. "Good…" Jack pushed his shirt
up towards his shoulders. "Good…" A hot
tongue lapped at his nipple. "God!" Daniel
yelped, bucking beneath Jack as his insides
liquefied. "Oh, Jack," he gasped
Realising they were headed into freefall,
Jack peeled himself away from Daniel and
collapsed back into his seat, hot, aching
and decidedly shaky. He picked up Elvis and
handed him to Daniel, who took him blindly.
Elvis planted his front paws on Daniel's
chest, his tail wagging furiously as Daniel
ran each hand in turn down his sides, over
and over, making him wriggle ecstatically.
Jack knew how he felt. "I am crazy in love
with you, Daniel Jackson," he swore
solemnly. "God help us both."
"I think - the sex…" Daniel took a deep
breath. "We'll be fine!" he blurted. He was
going to explode if he didn't jerk off, but
other than that - fine. Holding on to Elvis,
he reached around and planted a swift,
strong kiss on Jack's mouth, feeling more
alive than he had in years. Then he put his
hand on Jack's. "Me too," he murmured
bashfully, hesitantly returning Jack's huge,
"Come over to my place tomorrow," Jack urged
him eagerly. "Spend the day. Elvis can play
in the yard. I'll get everyone over for a
barbecue in the afternoon, we can eat some
steaks, have some fun, show Elvis off to the
susceptible and start grilling those pet
owners about carers."
"Sounds good," Daniel admitted shyly.
"Then how about we run off some of those
calories and take a little play-time for
ourselves?" Jack invited him softly, his
Much like Daniel's spine. He nodded
"Come by for breakfast. Say, around nine."
"Mm-hm." Daniel stroked Elvis rhythmically,
Jack's long, muscular legs very much on his
"Bring a deck of cards."
"Sure," Daniel acquiesced vaguely.
"And clean underwear."
Jack gave him a lingering, predatory
"No," Daniel refused with flat finality. "No
"Strip poker?" Jack suggested, generously
willing to stretch a point.
"No strip gin, no strip poker, no strip
Scrabble, Clue or chess."
"Good night, Jack."
"The dog craps on your feet and you throw me
"Elvis was very sorry. You, on the other
hand, are a stranger to shame."
"Daniel," Jack said softly, taking Daniel's
hand in a sustaining clasp. "You've been
buttoned up and multiple-layered in BDUs two
sizes too big for you for years. Years. We
share a locker room. Hell, we even share
showers. Can you explain to me why, in all
that time we've been up close and supposedly
personal, I still don't know the answer to
one simple question?"
"It would help to know the question," Daniel
said, almost certain this was in fact the
wrong thing to say.
"Boxers? Or briefs?"
"Neither. I think they call them something
"I don't remember."
Jack seemed to feel this required some kind
"They're black," Daniel offered, feeling
control of this surreal conversation was
slipping from him with every syllable.
Jack was reflecting on this latest
"I can guarantee that at no point tomorrow
will you see me in my underwear," Daniel
insisted firmly, taking advantage - he hoped
- of Jack's abstraction.
"Want to bet?"
"Is this what it's going to be like for us
now? Obsessing about underwear?" Daniel
"I've been obsessing about more than
underwear for a while," Jack said heartily.
"You get used to it."
"Get some sleep, Daniel," Jack advised him.
"There'll be plenty of time for me to figure
out how to get you to strip off tomorrow."
"You're relentless," Daniel complained.
"What part of obsessing don't you get?" Jack
had the effrontery to wink at him. "Do I get
a kiss goodnight?"
"I'd love to say no, but that means I won't
get one either," Daniel sighed, sadly
recognising sex was his least likely line of
defence against marauding obsessive-hormonal
Cradling Elvis in the crook of his arm, he
got up to walk Jack out, really grateful to
him for knowing just when to let him be. He
felt incredibly tired, more confused, if
anything, than he had been. He wasn't just
trying to make sense of feelings for Jack
he'd had walled up in safety for so long,
but facing his desire for him. The sullen
ache low in his belly was proof of that.
"Jack," he called impulsively as Jack was
shrugging into his jacket. "Thank you."
"Understanding." Daniel reached up and
kissed Jack tenderly.
"Aah, I've got plenty of time to mess with
your mind," Jack smirked. "And your
He rested his hand at Daniel's waist and
walked with him over to the door, grinning
as Daniel put Elvis down and gave him a
little pat on his rump to get him to scoot
to safety. His gut clenching reflexively,
Jack put his arms around Daniel, slowly
lowering his head to kiss him. Daniel moved
easily into him, kissing him more
confidently than before, increasing the
pressure until Jack opened to him. Daniel
thrust deeply, passionately rubbing tongues
with breathtaking tenderness. This was
better than the way Daniel kissed him in his
dreams. Reality had all the sweetness and
gentleness, but also a straightforward
masculinity that seriously turned Jack on.
He was so going to have his hands full with
Daniel: off-world, at home, in bed.
He could not wait.
"Wear something hot tomorrow," he whispered
into Daniel's ear as he stepped back,
grinning as the dazed pleasure on Daniel's
face gave way to suspicion and mild horror.
"Love you," Jack promised, reluctantly
opening the door.
"Hot?" Daniel's voice rose.
Jack exited rapidly, closing the door
smartly behind him.
"Define hot!" Daniel complained to Elvis,
who came prancing as fast as his injured leg
would let him when Daniel stooped down to
scoop him up. Daniel locked his door, then
turned out the light. Elvis was yawning,
snuggling contentedly into his chest. Daniel
kissed Elvis's head. "I can't believe I'm
saying this, let alone planning on doing it,
Elvis. Want to help me pick out something
hot to wear for Jack? In case I don't come
to my senses in the morning."
Daniel carried Elvis into the kitchen to
have a drink while he applied some more of
the ointment to the cut. "I'm glad I found
you, you know," he promised his sleepy dog
as he closed the balcony doors, then took
him into the bedroom. "I was living inside
my head too much. Not that I stopped caring,
I just felt so distant. I didn't know if it
was him, or if it was me." He put Elvis into
his basket, sitting on the floor beside him
for a minute or two as he turned around and
around, curling himself into a ball. Daniel
stroked him for a while longer, hoping Elvis
understood he was safe now.
Jack had said to use his voice.
"We seemed to be fighting all the time, Jack
and I. I didn't push him away. At least, I
don't think I did. I didn't know he was
falling in love with me. Why didn't I see
his feelings for me were changing? I know
Jack. Sometimes, I know him better than he
knows himself. All I saw was his anger. It
hurt," Daniel whispered. "I've never had so
many friends I can afford to lose one but
even so…When I thought I'd lost Jack, it
hurt me more than it was supposed to."
Daniel got up then and after checking Elvis
was staying put, loped up to the closet in
front of his bed. He undressed rapidly, a
sudden impulse planting him in front of the
mirror on the closet door. He looked warily
at his reflection, frankly wondering what it
was about him that got Jack so excited. He
was pale and lanky. He didn't think too much
about what he wore or why, his favourite
activity was reading and he selected his
underwear for comfort. There just was
nothing he could see to explain the
attraction. Shrugging, Daniel stripped,
tossed his laundry into the canvas basket,
then pulled on a favourite T-shirt from his
days at the Oriental Institute and a pair of
thin navy pyjama bottoms.
He climbed into bed, craning up to check one
more time on Elvis, then hit the lights,
wondering if he was being a tad judgemental
about Jack's libido. He wasn't able to
quantify what it was about Jack's body that
attracted him, but he couldn't deny Jack
cleaned his clock, hormonally speaking.
The patter of hesitant paws over the carpet
made him lean across and put on the bedside
lamp. Daniel scooted over the bed to find
one miserable little dog slinking towards
him, head down, his tail clipped abjectly
between his legs. "Elvis, what is it, boy?"
Daniel pulled a face. As if Elvis could
answer. He jumped out of bed and sat on the
steps, patting the floor. "Elvis, come. Come
on." Daniel reached down and lifted Elvis up
to the top step, wrenched with pity when the
shivering dog cuddled against his leg, the
way he had when Daniel had rescued him on
"Hey," he said gently. "Don't be scared,
Elvis. I'm not leaving you, I'm right here.
I promise." Trust was built, though, and the
last human Elvis trusted had left him up
there in the woods to die a slow death. His
dog was scared. Daniel only had three days
downtime and then he had to go back to work.
He was going to have to get Elvis used to
him being gone and trusting him to come
back. That was going to be hard enough on
his dog without keeping him at unnecessary
distance while he was home with him too.
Elvis wasn't an inconvenience to him: he was
an unexpected gift.
Thinking guiltily about the unread pamphlet
from the vet, Daniel picked him up and
climbed back into bed. He turned off the
lamp, then rolled onto his side facing
Elvis, petting him to soothe away the
"Do you want to hear more about me and Jack?
I feel ridiculous talking to you, but Jack
said you needed to hear the sound of my
voice so…Um, where was I? Oh. Yes. Which is
worse, Elvis? Lashing out at the man you're
falling in love with, or hiding even from
yourself? I don't have anything to feel
superior about, do I? Jack was just as
scared as I was, but he faced his feelings,
made a kind of peace with them. With
himself. I shut myself away. What was I so
scared of? To fall in love again? To fall
for a man?"
The small body was stilling beneath his
hand, a rough tongue rasping hotly over his
fingers, spread out on the pillow.
"I'm not that small, Elvis. I know myself
well enough for that. I think I was afraid
because it was Jack, because I've always
felt too much for Jack. Can you love two
people at once?"
Flipping his pillow to find a cool spot,
Daniel stretched out comfortably. Elvis was
quiet now, nestled in a fold of the
comforter. His eyes adjusting to the dark,
Daniel watched him fondly, listening to him
His feelings for Jack hadn't changed when
Sha'uri died. Maybe that was what he found
so difficult to accept. Jack couldn't have
meant more to him than he did, not when his
instinct took him to his friend time and
again. Daniel hadn't wanted to face his
growing attraction to Jack or admit that it
had always been there between them.
Jack's rigidity was at least partly the
fault of his career. He was used to
sublimating his feelings for the good of his
team. In a way, Daniel was the one who had
pried Jack open to new possibilities, made
him think and feel as much as he judged and
Daniel had Sha'uri. He'd truly loved her, he
always would. He'd reached out past her
though, hadn't he? Reached for Jack. Their
connection was different than anything
Daniel had ever felt. Loving Jack didn't
cost him any part of Sha'uri, did it? He
loved both of them and he'd been moving
towards Jack for so long he hadn't been able
to see it.
Clarity didn't mean Daniel was at peace with
his feelings, but he felt more able to be
honest with Jack and with himself. He rolled
over carefully to avoid waking the sleeping
Elvis and dialled Jack's cell phone. "Jack?"
he said the instant Jack picked up.
"Hey. What's up, Daniel? You freaking out on
me? I just got home, but if you need me?"
Warmth and affectionate concern washed over
Daniel. He relaxed, lying back down with the
handset of the phone. "I'm okay," he
promised. "Doing better, I think."
"Yeah. I wanted to say thanks, Jack."
"Didn't we already do this?" Laughter
mellowed Jack's voice.
"I'm glad you didn't let sleeping dogs lie."
"I - I will be. I'm sure of it. And, Jack?"
"Still here," Jack promised.
"I love you."
to part two
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