Daniel was seriously starting
to wonder if he was sending out some kind of 'fuckable!' vibe.
He tended not to go out because
it always stressed him out waiting for the inevitable someone, somewhere
to call him a geek and get a loaded Sam in the face. Or Jack.
Or, on one never to be sufficiently regretted team outing, Cass.
When Daniel went out on his
own, people…well, they looked at him in a manner he could only describe
Consequently his favourite social
haunt was the university archaeological society's Yahoogroup, where he
was a known and feared flamer of lazy sophomore Budge advocates.
His credibility was slightly suspect given that when he'd briefed Sam to
come up with a suitably anonymous Yahoo identity for him so he could mess
with the minds of the upperclassmen, his so-called surrogate sister had
saddled him with the astonishing nom-de-plume 'chocolate_covered_archaeologist'
and a sig that said 'Bite me' every time he posted.
Having five people in one night
try to pick him up was outside of his experience to say the least, even
if he was wearing his good jacket. If he was being hit on in some
downtown bar, Daniel could have - um, would have - walked away. Or
run. Unfortunately, he was in a formal reception being held in the
Orangery of the Devidae Palace on a world known to Sam as P7X-985 and to
everyone else as Shreve.
Being hit on in a downtown bar
by three women in a row and then two together would have been embarrassing
enough, but being hit on in the Devidae Palace was a fathomless humiliation.
Daniel was going to have to leave immediately, and he couldn't do that
without giving Jack an explanation. He might be paid an astonishing
amount of money to act as Earth's first line of communication, but he had
to admit even he couldn't come up with a goddamn word to get him out of
'SHIT!' was all that was currently
coming to his resolutely blank mind.
The two who wanted to get together
and make him scream were the Prefect of the Most Noble Devid's army and
the Prime Minister of the Most Noble Devid's government.
Daniel could feel another treaty
slithering from his grasp.
It went without saying that
Jack would laugh his ass off.
He began to politely make his
way through the throng of happily chattering guests to the exquisite ice
sculpture Jack couldn't be dragged away from. Daniel sensed he should
have known something was up from the subject matter, which Jack classified
as tasteful erotica and he and Sam dubbed porn, but really, if anyone had
to be fielding amorous advances from ardent - and in one case elderly -
admirers, why couldn't it be Sam?
Trapped in her regulation heels
for four hours, Sam was ripe for murder, treaty or no treaty. From
the look she was shooting Jack, Daniel figured they were about to get a
vacancy in the chain of command. If only he'd stop looking at the
ice breasts and work the room a little, Daniel could…oh, shit!
SHIT! Crystal cup at twelve
o'clock, closing fast. Between him and Jack.
Tragically, the Shrevans had
flatly refused Teal'c entry to their world because he still bore a symbiote.
Daniel would have hidden behind him until the latest in the ever-growing
line of nobles to sidle up to him bearing one of those little crystal cups
gave up and found someone else to feel up.
The fact that the general gave
the mission a go despite Teal'c being barred from participating showed
how much pressure he was under to deliver the goods this time. Hence
Daniel's quandary. He couldn't afford to fuck this up. Hammond
had always done his best for Daniel. Screwing up a valuable treaty
because he didn't like the way the locals were eyeing him was no thanks
for the general's kindness and generosity.
There was no help likely from
his other teammates. Sam was trapped with the Most Noble Devid himself,
grimly smiling while enduring a breast fixation as pervasive and blatant
as Jack's. SG-1's glorious leader was currently broadening his repertoire
with a thorough inspection of the recumbent female's icy ass.
After admiring the craftsmanship
of the first crystal cup, Daniel had yielded to the pleading 'Yes?', taken
one sip of the fruity concoction he'd accepted in the interests of diplomacy
and the alcohol had fried his tonsils. He'd made a show of appreciatively
sipping the rest and tipped it neatly into the nearest ornamental flower
display during the Shrevans' First Quarter Obeisance to the east.
Daniel had disposed of one crystal
cupful each to south, west and north. Unless he gained some ground
on his wheezing but determined pursuer here, who he suspected was the Most
Noble Devid's oldest daughter, he was going to be raising a toast to the
After a brief moment to consider
his tactical options, Daniel bolted into the garden. If nothing else,
his unexpected absence would force either Jack or the Most Noble Devid
to stop admiring breasts. He hoped the latter. He could tell
Sam every Shrevan woman with a pulse was hitting on him and she would not,
for example, call him a dog and make lewd tweed jokes.
Daniel made it safely onto the
lovely mosaic terrace, using every scrap of cover from the palms, ferns
and fragrant orchids, to rapidly traverse the velvety lawn towards the
outer terrace that overlooked the sea, glittering eerily below in the moonlight.
He leaned against the balustrade and caught his breath.
Daniel suppressed a groan and
turned to smile at the beaming - Tulla, was it? - bearing down on him like
a galleon in full sail. She had lovely eyes, Daniel remembered, and
was rather…large. "Daniel, please," he offered politely as she took
his proffered hand and kept it.
"Dann-yel," Tulla beamed at
him. She hefted the crystal cup. "Yes?" she asked anxiously.
Dear God, no-oo. The stuff
"My pleasure," Daniel accepted
the cup graciously, toasting her with it. Her blinding smile - which
was also lovely - broadened as she stepped closer, and then died as Jack
shot out onto the terrace urgently calling Daniel's name. "Over here!"
Daniel called back with heartfelt gratitude.
He was slightly taken aback
to see Jack sprint across the grass.
"Daniel!" Jack snapped as he
loomed up at Daniel's side. "Don't you think you've had enough?"
Was that a trick question?
Tulla stiffened alarmingly at
Jack's tone. "Col-nell Jack?" she asked with marked coldness, tightening
her grip on Daniel's hand enough to make him whimper.
"I'll just finish this one,"
he suggested placidly, trying to smooth Tulla's ruffled feathers enough
to restore the circulation to his fingers.
"THIS one? How many have
you had?" Jack demanded.
Ow! Could she talk WITHOUT
squeezing? The tears in his eyes weren't joy, here.
Dann-yel had a pissy princess
on his left and a contrary colonel on his right. He decided to split
the difference and lie to Tulla now and tell Jack the truth later.
Not that he had any right to get on Daniel's case for drinking on duty.
Daniel hadn't, and anyway, Jack had been looking at hooters and asses all
night. He wasn't exactly attacking from the moral high ground.
"This one makes five," Daniel
Daniel jumped as Jack snatched
the cup from him, tipped the contents on the ground and muscled his way
between him and Tulla. Daniel didn't have a clue what he'd done to
tick Jack off this time. Until his colonel let him in on it, he was
just going to stand here trying to massage some feeling back in his hand
and enjoy the view, distractingly clad in dress blues.
Not that his colonel was his
"Oops!" Jack snapped in a cutting
tone Daniel had last heard him use to Ke'ra.
Although Jack acted like Daniel
was his archaeologist the whole damn time.
"Pth'rok'sone!" Tulla snarled,
turning on her heel to march back towards the Orangery and presumably Daddy.
"Pth-thingie?" Jack prompted.
Off the cuff translation?
Fuck off and die, Tau'ri scum.
"Not good," Daniel said gently.
He jumped back in surprise as Jack whirled and grabbed his shoulders urgently,
hauling him right up close to - um - look at him.
Thank god he didn't have X-ray
"We've got to get you back to
the Infirmary. God knows what that alien goo-goo juice did to you,"
Jack said anxiously.
Daniel blinked at him hard,
his glasses slipping down his nose. He blushed furiously as Jack
automatically reached out and pushed them back up, not even noticing the
intimacy, Daniel realised bitterly.
"Goo-goo juice?" he asked coolly,
making ineffectual attempts to shake Jack's hands - broad, capable hands
Daniel dreamed of touching his skin after he'd jerked himself off to sleep
- from his shoulders.
"The local equivalent of Rohypnol-cum-Viagra
from what Carter just heard, and you've been tossing that shit back all
"What?" Daniel asked incredulously.
Those women were trying to drug him into having sex with them? "That's…that…I…"
he sputtered helplessly. Suddenly his bizarre social climbing through
the noble ranks of the Shrevans made sense. They thought he'd withstood
four shots of this poison without it doing whatever it was supposed to
be doing to him, which must make him pretty studly by anyone's reckoning.
"An aphrodisiac, Daniel," Jack
explained in his 'patient' paternal voice, patting Daniel consolingly.
"Carter figures the effects are being delayed or somehow negated by your
antihistamine meds. Only you," he sighed.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
Daniel demanded indignantly, his body treacherously yielding as Jack took
advantage of his confusion and stood with his hands resting at Daniel's
waist. Daniel's heart was in his throat, his brain was in his shorts
and his tongue was hanging out his mouth. Instead of doing the decent
thing - i.e., dropping to his knees and blowing Daniel's brain out his
ears - Jack just stood there doing the goddamned good friend thing.
Just like always.
"Sweet and nice gets you stoned,
Daniel," Jack said impatiently. "And then it gets you laid," he added
unforgivably as he grabbed Daniel's hand and tried to pull him along.
He was in love with a first-class
shit, Daniel thought wearily. He was in love with the kind of shit
who could look at ice-sculpted hooters all night because it was irresistibly
funny. Without ever meaning to, Jack could cut Daniel into little
aching pieces with a look. A look that never really saw who Daniel
was or what he wanted.
"I'd better get you back before
you start humping the table legs," Jack muttered.
It hadn't even crossed Jack's
mind his beloved best bud wanted to hump him through the wall every time
he laid eyes on him, Viagraed up or not. Daniel was always up where
Jack was concerned! He wondered whether Jack had ever figured out
his dear old parents had to have done it at least once, if he couldn't
even face the fact his archaeologist did it and in fact loved doing it.
If Jack ever had to face the fact his archaeologist wanted to do him, he'd
probably drop on the spot. Which begged the question. What
exactly was he to Jack? Eunuch Boy?
Right after that insulting realisation,
it also occurred to him that Jack had just assumed he'd done this damned
stupid thing despite his track record with mind-altering substances of
every kind. Including Jack's tuna casserole.
Jack had leaped to the wrong
conclusion and barrelled in as always to rescue Daniel, his closest friend
and confidant. It hadn't even crossed his mind to check with Daniel
if he needed rescuing. Zero to impossibly pissy and overprotective
in sixty seconds. Or less. He had no objectivity at all where
Daniel was concerned. He didn't even notice that he hadn't freed
Daniel's hand, even though Daniel had emphatically not budged an inch.
He was not about to allow Jack
to drag him by the hand back to the Stargate like a naughty child.
Daniel had to tug his hand away.
This was why - exactly why Jack
O'Neill was his dearest friend, and not his lover.
They were going to Minnesota
in two days' time. Fishing. Though he'd die at the stake before
admitting it, Daniel knew his friend well enough to know that Jack was
happy and excited, looking forward to having Daniel's undivided attention
in his most favourite place in the world. Daniel was dreading it.
The last time they'd been up at the cabin, he'd tumbled into that big bed
with Jack and not given it a moment's thought. Now he wanted to lick
the sweat from Jack's shoulder as they made love.
It was maddening to have the
man so close to him, closer to him than to anyone else in the history of
ever, to have Jack loving him and needing him so much as a friend he would
never, could never, fall in love with him and be his lover.
Daniel couldn't stand it.
He loved Jack too, and he would never, could never hurt him.
He found it easy to hurt himself.
Easier every day.
He really could not stand this.
For once, he…he wouldn't.
Just once he wanted to have who and what he needed. He wouldn't get
to keep Jack. He never did. The need would be worse, after,
but he was used to that.
Daniel stretched up and kissed
Jack full on the lips, the whole thing lasting about a nanosecond and embarrassingly
short on porno content of any kind. To be fair, despite extensive
reading and some terrifying online research, this was Daniel's first time
kissing a man. He'd done okay. He'd managed to hit Jack's lips
first time out. More or less.
It was nice, if…brief.
Jack's mouth was firm, warm and mobile. Surprisingly strong and…and
he wanted to kiss again, so badly. To have Jack kiss him back, more…
Jack's eyes narrowed with intense,
wicked amusement, but that was about it. "You are SO going to hate
yourself in the morning, Dannyboy," he enunciated each word crisply.
He shook his head in fond exasperation and took Daniel's shoulders firmly.
Daniel clasped his arms around
Jack's neck and stretched up to kiss him again, flickering his tongue over
Jack's lips, cataloguing the taste and texture of a pleasure he would never
have again. Jack's mouth opened to him - surprise, probably - and
Daniel fell into him, drowning in the silky rasp of tongue on tongue.
Jack's fingers clenched bruisingly on his shoulders but his mouth was gentle
and he didn't push Daniel away.
Jack's whole body was tense
and oddly still while Daniel burrowed closer, the reality of being this
close overwhelming him. Jack was like a slab of granite, every inch
of him long, lean and impossibly hard. Daniel was aroused by the
explosive strength of the man, contained by the familiar, subtle rhythms
of friendship and protectiveness.
He was truly lost as Jack's
lips moved over his, hands sliding down to lock in the small of his back,
the balustrade digging painfully into his ribs as Jack exerted his strength,
his weight pinning Daniel.
It wasn't until Jack's tongue
pushed aggressively into Daniel's mouth that he realised he was no longer
alone in his single-minded passion. Jack was angling his lips to
deepen the kiss, the gentle, accepting stroking of a few moments before
now a profoundly sensuous pulsing of tongues, straining lips and clashing
Daniel completely embarrassed
himself by moaning, mostly incredulous disbelief rather than passion, and
found himself trying to…well, climb inside Jack. He was plastered
to the man so close and so hard he rocked him back on his feet. He
moaned again and hooked his leg around Jack, who went still again as Daniel's
erection rubbed against his groin. He moaned too when Daniel suckled
on his tongue.
Jack seemed very distracted
by Daniel's mouth and Daniel was always completely distracted by Jack's
ass and fair was fair, so he slid his shaking hands over it, stroking reverently,
ecstatically. Jack seemed to think fair was a damned fine plan too,
because a moment later his hands were clamped to Daniel's ass and the rubbing
Daniel was straining up into
the kiss as Jack thrust powerfully into his mouth; it was wild, out of
control, they were eating one another alive, lips grinding…
Jack was…Jack was with him…
"Sir!" Sam's shocked gasp had
Jack shoving Daniel away, hard.
He stumbled, didn't have time
to be hurt. Jack's face wrenched and his hand cupped roughly around
Daniel's nape, hauled him in close again to press his white face against
Jack's shoulder, Jack's arm tight around him. "Shh," Jack whispered.
"I'll take care of it, don't worry yourself. I've got you."
"Wh-whaa…" Daniel stammered,
shaken and stirred.
"They got Daniel good with that
shit, Carter," Jack announced calmly.
"Daniel? Are you okay?
Maybe I should…" Sam began anxiously.
"I should," Jack corrected her
flatly. "The Devid likes you and we NEED this treaty. Get back
in there and get him to sign on the dotted line. I'll take Daniel
back to the Infirmary, get him checked out."
A good friend. The best.
"Please, Carter. Let's
not make this any worse for Daniel than it already is," Jack asked with
unwonted gentleness, his hand, unseen by Sam, petting constant reassurance
against Daniel's nape and hair.
"Of course, Sir," Sam agreed
at once, sounding a little deflated.
"S-Sam," Daniel stammered.
"I'm here, Daniel, just trust
me okay?" Sam said gently. "No one has to - it was the drug," her
soft voice tightened to anger. "There may be side-effects," she told
Jack worriedly. "His meds."
"I'll take him now."
And that was that. Jack
had kissed him like he'd never been kissed before, food for dreams and
nightmares, and now his dearly loved friends were with him and he was their
Daniel again, weighed down by the burden of their needs and expectations.
"Thanks, Sam," Daniel muttered
hopelessly into the broad, comforting expanse of Jack's supporting shoulder.
Daniel needed more than friendship,
comfort and unswerving, unquestioning loyalty and support.
He needed love and passion,
a presence in his life and in his bed.
He needed Jack.
He needed himself.
He wasn't denying the battle.
He was losing.
The rest of the night passed
in a blur of anxious friends, kindness and discretion.
Jack could not have been more
supportive, sitting close at Daniel's side as Janet examined him, dismissing
the searing passion they'd shared with a joke about Daniel needing to get
out more if Jack was starting to look good. He got a lecture on sensitivity
from Janet, as he'd no doubt expected, and his own actions weren't questioned.
Everyone - Teal'c, Janet and
the general, all hovering - thought Jack had handled the situation well.
There was anger against the
Shrevans and wry acceptance that getting an archaeologist stoned enough
to plant one on his C.O. wasn't enough of a moral question for the Pentagon
to be warier of the people they were getting into bed with. Hammond's
comment provoked another joke from Jack and tension relieving laughter.
Everyone was glad Daniel was
Daniel wasn't okay. He
hadn't been for a long time, though he refused to let himself dwell on
that. It seemed he'd made his choice, unknowing, on his balcony.
He wasn't strong enough to walk away, it wasn't in him to take the easy
way out, to fall away from his problems, and when he'd come to the edge,
he'd chosen Jack.
He would always choose Jack.
He was in love.
With a man.
His commanding officer.
Jack loved him, but he would
always choose the Air Force.
It was getting harder for Daniel
to feel like more than the sum of his friends' expectations.
Sam returned from Shreve triumphant
and uncaring, rushing straight to Daniel's side. She dislodged Jack
and took his place, held Daniel's hand in hers, her arm hugging around
him, loving and gentle, assuring him without words that she understood,
she was there for him.
Daniel rested his cheek against
hers and Sam kissed him, clinging closer.
It was forgotten. Over.
Not to be held against him and Sam's fierce look to Jack suggested he better
not try any of his so-called jokes over this. Daniel was drugged.
Not responsible for his actions. End of story.
He didn't disagree. He
was given so much by these few people, now his family. It wasn't
their fault any more than it was his that it wasn't enough for him.
He did wonder at times how much
longer he could go on. Jack had never been happier with his performance
in the field; they'd never been closer professionally or personally.
Daniel had never lived less. Every day he died a little inside, from
wanting, needing, burning, and never, ever having.
It was just his luck.
Janet decided arbitrarily that
Daniel was exhausted and needed rest. Daniel was sick enough at heart
for his anxious friends to need no convincing. Jack, of course, refused
to budge, and Janet, of course, let him stay.
Daniel drowsed, comforted by
Jack's closeness, at the cusp of sleep a gentle hand smoothing over his
brow and the sound of his name, soft-spoken and infinitely regretful.
It wasn't until the third time
the flustered nurses told him he'd have to wait for Dr. Fraiser that Daniel
realised he was in isolation here. He had been so tied in knots over
the kiss he could barely remember Janet taking a blood sample. It
occurred to him that she would have found trace elements of whatever the
drug was, because he had drunk a little. Sam's theory about his antihistamines
ameliorating the effect would likely be accepted without question.
This morning's bloods would come back clear and Janet would release him,
and they would all chalk Shreve up to experience and move on.
Daniel wanted to bury it.
He should never have kissed Jack. Never. Tasting what they
could have if Jack would just let himself…if he could look at Daniel and
It wasn't fair on either of
them. Daniel had to let Jack off the hook. He decided he would
tell them he didn't remember anything and that would be that. As
buried as it could be.
A tap on the door made him look
up. He smiled involuntarily as Jack sauntered in, brightening a little.
"How are you feeling, Daniel?"
"Confused," Daniel admitted
"Yeah, about that, Danny…" Jack
Danny? Crap. Daniel
straightened up anxiously. It was always an indicator of Jack's state
of mind when 'Danny' slipped out.
"I'll understand if you don't
want to go fishing after - you know." Jack slouched over to slump
against the wall, his hands shoved deep in his pockets.
"No." Annoyance that he'd
brought this on himself made Daniel's tone sharper than it should have
been. "I don't know."
"I'm just saying, I understand
if you're - er - embarrassed," Jack gruffly suggested to the outstretched
toe of one of his boots.
Jack was embarrassed, certainly.
Daniel had been drugged.
Allegedly. What, exactly, was Jack's excuse for that kiss?
He needed to get out more?
"It's not your fault there aren't
any fish in the lake. I'll just pack a few more books than last time,"
Daniel said lightly. "You know. Make my own entertainment."
Jack scowled - he was sensitive
about the whole 'Pond With No Fish' thing - and then looked slightly alarmed.
A new and unfamiliar feeling
stole over Daniel, and his reaction was not what a sensitive, caring friend's
should be. The moment he realised Jack was a little afraid of him,
he was lost to a tide of sheer mischief.
"Quality time," Daniel suggested
blandly. "Working on the whole - friendship - thing," he murmured
dulcetly, eyes wide and innocent as he put edgy emphasis on 'friendship'.
"Dr. Fraiser may not clear you,"
Jack backtracked spinelessly.
Daniel straightened up.
"Don't you want me at the cabin, Jack?" he asked stiffly. "You just
have to say. In fact, if you didn't want me there, you didn't have to invite
me. I could have found something to do in my downtime." He
could write another paper that wouldn't get published or update his article
index or take in a wild trip to the Meso-American exhibition at the U.
Grout his kitchen. Something.
Jack winced. "It's not
that. I just thought…after last night…"
Jack couldn't say it!
A little distance from ecstatic mutual osculation and the supportive friend
of last night was squirming. Daniel had slept badly and probably
looked worse than he felt. It seemed as if Jack had put in a long
night too and he really had found no excuse for kissing Daniel.
Except that he'd wanted to,
and that was a place Col-nell Jack wasn't prepared to be.
Daniel was mad at Jack, and
hurt, but he'd also brought this down on himself so he was sticking to
his plan of letting Jack off the hook. When Janet appeared at his
door, smiling, Daniel launched into his amnesia routine.
"Your bloods are clear," Janet
told him lightly.
"Was I sick?" Daniel asked blankly.
"I remember drinking something…" He let it trail off, biting his
lip and looking anxious. "Did I pass out?"
"Yes!" Jack agreed before Janet
could open her mouth. She shot him a long, hard look.
"You were given a drug, Daniel,"
Janet said soothingly. "Major Carter was informed that there was
a risk to you and the colonel thought it best to bring you back to the
Infirmary to be checked out."
"The treaty?" Daniel prompted.
"Fine. Carter sealed the
deal," Jack said promptly. He glared meaningfully at Janet and she
"Colonel? A WORD."
Jack grimaced but followed her
out. Daniel heard a brief snatch of self-serving puerile Springerism
that annoyed the crap out of him. Jack didn't want him told for his
sake, poor sensitive Daniel…been through enough…you know how…
'You know how he is'!
"Morning, Sir! Janet.
How's Daniel?" Sam called brightly.
There was more muttering, the
three of them clearly forgetting the patient was neither deaf nor unconscious
and was, in fact, getting more impatient by the second.
Sam came in with Jack and Janet.
Daniel crossed his arms over his chest and scowled at them. "Am I
free to go?" he asked stiffly.
"Of course," Janet assured him.
"The vacation?" Sam asked, smiling
"That too," Janet said sweetly.
"It'll do you the world of good. And if you do start to remember
anything…well, the colonel is the best one to help you with that by all
Sam snorted explosively and
went very red.
Daniel glared at Jack.
"Really? Maybe he can take me through it all again blow by blow while
we're at the cabin."
Not surprisingly, Jack was left
without a word to say.
Daniel walked out companionably
She looked up at him as they
strolled along to the elevator. "What's on your mind, Daniel?"
"That narrows it down," Sam
agreed solemnly as she punched her floor.
"I need a change," Daniel said
slowly, realising it was true. He needed to change the way Jack saw
him. Failing that, he needed to change himself. "Maybe…maybe
I should get out more. Instead of…"
Sam smiled at him, her hand
touching his for a moment.
"People take one look at me
and think I'm a geek," Daniel confided in a rush.
"You like tweed, Daniel.
And plaid," Sam chuckled. "That's all the ammunition they need right
"I was thinking…"
"I'll pick you up from your
lab at six," Sam interrupted ruthlessly. "I know you. If you
have time to think about it, you won't do it, and I think you should."
He couldn't agree more.
His left hand was starting to feel unloved and unwanted because it just
couldn't give him the quality time he was spending with his right hand.
"House rules. You don't
argue with what I pick and you buy me an expensive dinner," Sam ordered.
"And you have to wear what I bully you into buying and not hide it in your
"Deal!" Daniel called as she
got off at her floor. "Except the expensive dinner part."
"Wuss," Sam sneered, holding
up the shirt against him. She tilted his chin this way and that.
Daniel could honestly say his
skin tone was the last thing on his mind when he shopped for clothes.
He liked grey. It laundered well and it didn't matter if he forgot
and washed it with colours. It was grey to start with. "Purple?"
he protested carefully.
Sam grinned at him. "Which
one do you like?" she offered generously.
"Consumer choice? That's
a new shopping concept," Daniel marvelled.
Sam punched him, not gently.
"That one," Daniel pointed out
the best of a bad lot.
Sam's face lit up. "Good
choice," she praised extravagantly. "That teal colour - it's you.
Brings out your eyes. We'll take the black one too. To go with
"I'm not wearing them," Daniel
"You agreed to the deal," Sam
reminded him smugly.
"You never mentioned leather!"
"They bring out your ass," Sam
said blithely. She chuckled richly as Daniel blushed. "I let
you get that sweater. It's nice and long," she added innocently.
"It clings," Daniel corrected
"If you've got it, flaunt it,"
Sam said firmly. "I guarantee no one will call you a geek when you
swagger past in these pants," Sam tugged the offending item in the pile
of clothing draped over Daniel's arm. "And this." She held up the
shirts for inspection. "Or these."
"Slut is the word that will
jump to mind," Daniel bitched.
"I prefer 'available' and I
believe I expressed a preference earlier for expensive food," Sam prodded
him as she led him resistless to the clerk.
All the fight had gone out of
Daniel by the time she'd inflicted the black leather pants on him.
He already had skin tight black jeans, indigo jeans and cream chinos by
that point. Now he had a slinky black sweater, and three embarrassingly
skimpy shirts, including the pale blue one.
Sam stopped in her tracks.
She had apparently seen the promised land.
Daniel started eyeing the exit.
He took a fleeting glance at what had Sam mesmerised and froze. "No!"
"Yes," Sam breathed. "They're
"They're tighter than the ones
I've got!" Daniel bleated.
Sam took this calmly, fishing
the existing pants out of the pile and hanging them haphazardly in front
of some rather nice checked shirts…two-tone grey…while the Major was away…
"Don't you DARE!" Sam snarled
as she skimmed the rack rapidly and neatly extracted the pants in Daniel's
size. She lifted them up and looked at them lingeringly, smiling
sweetly. "Oh, yes!"
"Oh, no, Sam. No.
Daniel was still arguing fruitlessly
as the clerk totted up the staggering bill and packed Sam's spoils, which
she made him carry. She also graciously accepted Daniel's complementary
gift on his behalf after his emphatic refusal and he expected the worst
when she slid her arm through his and praised his cooking.
"You are NOT putting that muck
on my face!" he protested vigorously as Sam waved the complementary gift
"I can see right up your nose,"
Daniel said loudly.
"Quit your whining," Sam ordered,
circling her fingertips firmly over Daniel's temples. "You would
not believe the crap that is embedded in your epidermis," she muttered
darkly. "When was the last time you exfoliated? And I don't
mean picked leaves!"
"I'm a man." Daniel felt this
was a valid defence and was sticking to it.
Sam treated him with the feminine
contempt she clearly felt he deserved. "Don't use those granules,"
she ordered bossily. "This works much better, believe me. Rubbing
in the lotion this way lifts the dirt and grease particles, helps to rehydrate
the skin and relaxes you."
"It does?" Daniel asked with
unkind incredulity. "And if you hit me again you're on the salad,"
"What exactly is your regime?"
Sam asked, curious.
"I wash," Daniel offered, knowing
this would not be enough.
"And? What do you use?"
"Soap?" Daniel suggested uncertainly.
Sam was frowning. "Soap?"
she asked somewhat coldly. Her fingers stroked over his cheek.
"Soap," she echoed flatly, a definite scowl appearing. "I hate you."
Daniel grinned cheekily.
"You're older than me," he said kindly.
Sam's glare was sabotaged by
a fit of giggles.
Thinking the worst was over,
Daniel made the mistake of trying to sit up. Sam shoved his head
back down onto the cushion resting in her lap and leaned over him again,
wiping industriously over his face with a cottonball. She solemnly
held this up for inspection.
she ordered. "I bet you've never had a pimple in your life," she
observed bitterly. "O-kaay. We've exfoliated, now we cleanse."
Which meant more muck.
Then they toned, apparently, with some nice herb smelling liquid that made
his face tingle pleasantly, then they moisturised, though the 'they' was
pushing it a bit. Daniel's participation was limited to lying still
and not whining too much. Eventually Sam had done all she could
do to him short of applying full make-up, reluctantly let him up and made
him 'model' so she could admire her handiwork.
"Perfect," she gushed.
"Glowing?" Daniel snapped.
Not that he was the macho type per se, but glowing was going too far.
"If the colonel says anything,
just tell him you're knocked up," Sam advised him kindly, smirking broadly.
"You're a very demanding guest,"
Daniel grumbled as Sam shoved him bodily into the kitchen.
"I'm a lousy cook. I am
not a lousy eater though, which creates something of a skills gap."
She hitched her butt up to rest easily against the worktop. "What
are we having?" she asked eagerly.
"Rice and mushrooms," Daniel
"Oh. I could cook that,"
Daniel looked at her interestedly.
"I could!" Sam protested indignantly,
He decided to put her out of
her gastronomic misery. "With cream and white wine sauce flavoured
with balsamic vinegar and garlic, plus onions, peppers, and fresh vegetables."
Sam jumped up and hugged him
exuberantly. "I think I love you."
"Cupboard love," Daniel riposted
lightly, kissing her cheek.
Sam wandered around to the refrigerator
and helped herself to a cranberry juice. She'd been a guest here
often enough to know Daniel wanted her to feel at home. She was relaxed
tonight, wearing tight jeans and a sheer delicate blouse over a sleeveless
skimpy top. Sam was attractive, intelligent, loyal…one of the closest
and kindest friends Daniel ever had.
He had no idea why he had fallen
in love with Jack, but it didn't change the facts.
She was this relaxed with him,
chatting easily and inconsequentially, because she knew she was safe.
She had the respect of an equal and Daniel knew how much she valued the
fact he never made her conscious of her gender around him. It was
comfortable and easy, their friendship deepening over time to the point
they could be like this. Sam was a wicked tease, putting him through
a myriad of chick rituals he didn't get, airily claiming as a de facto
anthropologist he should be grateful she was letting him sidle under the
They understood one another
There was just no heat, no need,
as there was with Jack. Daniel never felt like he was jumping out
of his skin when Sam stood too close to him.
"Do you really want to go fishing?"
Sam asked with polite incredulity. She eyed the mushrooms waiting
to be chopped, sniffed and pointedly muttered about already having sung
for her supper.
"No," Daniel admitted.
"But I do want to laze in the shade of a tree and read for a week."
He needed the bittersweet sharpness of Jack's company, pushing him, challenging
him. Making him work. Both of them worked at their friendship.
There were times when they each seemed to need the other like a drug.
He and Jack couldn't be without one another, but they would never be together,
not in the way Daniel needed them to be.
"Teal'c said the colonel came
close to death a number of times during his stay," Sam grinned. "My
advice? Take a LOT of books. Good long books."
Good sex was what Daniel wanted.
Sex and closeness. Letting Jack inside his walls, losing himself
in heated skin and touch.
Sam's arms slipped around his
waist suddenly, startling him. She leaned her face into his shoulder.
"Sam?" Daniel asked anxiously,
trying to turn, to see her, but she tightened her grip.
"Just…ssh," Sam said shakily.
Daniel rested his hands over
her clasped ones, let her hold him.
"I worry for you," a small voice
confessed. "I'm glad you feel ready - that you're reaching out.
You've been so far away."
"I could say the same," Daniel
"I know," Sam whispered.
"But that's over now. I let myself…I shouldn't have, it was wrong
for me, and I've moved on. I - I've always been your friend."
Nothing had ever been acknowledged.
Only Daniel had been out in the cold. Not that he'd needed anyone
to tell him Sam and Jack had crossed the line. He was happy for Sam,
that she'd worked clear of her confusion and was getting on with her life.
Recently, she'd been reaching out too.
He was happier still that he
had never added to her confusion. One of Jack's team members in love
with him was bad enough, but two? All of them friends, each of them
loving the others, there for one another. It had felt so wrong to
have that distance between them all, hurt him more than he'd been prepared
for. They were all inside his walls, and he had no defence against
being hurt by any of them.
An impossible situation.
Sam was doing better than he.
Daniel had to move on too, because he couldn't go on like this, just functioning.
If it was never going to happen with Jack, it was time…past time he allowed
himself the potential to be with someone else. If he could get clear
of this, if he could know this was it for him, he and Jack would never
have more than this…he would have a chance to find someone else and be
with them honestly.
"You don't have to say it, Sam,"
Daniel said gently. "I know you're my friend."
"Just so long as you do!" Sam
said strongly, poking him in the back. She stepped away at last.
"Got anything to drink?" she asked, looking pointedly at the wine rack.
"You're driving," Daniel mentioned
"They have this great new invention.
It's called a taxi."
"Knock yourself out," Daniel
"What's the most expensive wine
you have?" Sam asked as she poked around, checking out the labels.
"The Far Niente is nice," Daniel
suggested as he roughly chopped his garlic. "It's a Napa Valley chardonnay."
"You're having some too," Sam
ordered, "if the colonel is flying you out to Welling City in a Piper Cub."
"J-3," Daniel corrected absently
as he sliced vegetables.
"Do you know the difference?"
Sam asked, laughing.
"Nope," Daniel admitted cheerfully.
"There is no difference.
The J-3 is a cub. A seaplane in this instance," Sam said lightly,
shaking her head reprovingly over his shocking ignorance of all things
aviation. "Don't forget to ask the colonel about the…er… provenance
of the craft," Sam hinted darkly, with noticeable satisfaction.
"Provenance?" Daniel asked,
slightly alarmed. Were planes old enough to have provenance?
Surely not. They were all new and…um…flew.
"Teal'c hasn't a good word to
say about Minnesota," Sam snorted, blithely ignoring his politely questioning
look as she uncorked the wine, sniffed ecstatically and headed into the
other room to fetch glasses. "'There is nothing of interest Welling
City," she intoned solemnly. "'There are no fish in this pond O'Neill
"I think Jack likes company
at the cabin because it's one more warm body for the mosquitoes to suck
"Apparently they didn't touch
him at all with a big juicy Jaffa on the hoof," Sam sniggered.
"Well, he's out of luck this
time," Daniel said crisply. "If I keep up with my totalitarian skincare
regime the poor little suckers will slide right off."
Sam thumped him.
"Ohmygod," Daniel whimpered,
cringing back as Jack hooted a greeting. He tossed his bag into the
back of the truck and crawled into the passenger seat. "Do you know
what time it is?"
"06:00," Jack said cheerfully.
"I hate you."
"The plane leaves at 08:45,
Daniel. We just have time to check in and grab some breakfast," Jack
told him heartlessly.
Daniel shuddered, flipped Jack
the bird when he ordered him to belt up, then slumped pathetically.
"Why are you wearing sunglasses?"
Jack asked as he pulled away.
"Must you?" Daniel whined.
Jack plucked off Daniel's glasses,
looked at him and laughed meanly. He tossed them back, laughing again
as Daniel fumbled for them.
"How much did you have to drink
"I have no idea," Daniel admitted
It couldn't have been ALL the
empty bottles. One at least had to have gone down the sink.
At least. The last thing he remembered was Sam drinking two-thirds
of the Far Niente, then announcing she didn't like it. From the heap
of bottles piled accusingly in the sink, they seemed to have conducted
an extensive tasting.
Things had happened.
Food had been cooked and apparently
eaten. He'd got out of his bed, so presumably at some point he had
climbed into it. His bag was packed, padlocked and neatly labelled.
Sam's voice was on his answering machine loudly singing 'It's raining men!
Hallelujah!' so he had to accept she'd made it home okay. The second
message on his machine was from Janet, warning him to drink at least two
litres of water today and promising a stern lecture on the evils of alcohol,
especially if it made Sam sing, so he amended his earlier assumption and
accepted that Sam had made it to Janet's home okay.
The fact he remembered none
of these events didn't trouble him at all. His head wasn't actually
hurting, it just felt like someone very large was standing on it.
As long as he didn't have to do anything stupid, like think, talk or move,
he would be fine.
"I'm planning to sleep all the
way to Minneapolis, then I'm taking my drugs before I get in the Piper-whatsit
with you," he announced unequivocally.
"Dramamine?" Jack asked innocently.
Jack laughed. "Jeez, you
find out I crashed ONCE!"
Daniel whimpered, clutching
his head defensively. "Noise."
"IF YOU INSIST. I WAS
TRYING TO BE SENSITIVE TO YOUR FRAGILE STATE BUT…"
Daniel snarled wordlessly.
It wasn't easy to tune Jack
out but Daniel did his best, planting his feet on the dash and crossing
his arms over his chest as he tried to convince his brain he really was
the right way up. He did vaguely wonder why Jack was so chatty.
In anyone else he would have put it down to nervousness, but when was Jack
ever nervous? Especially around him.
The kiss was in the past.
Over. Jack was off the hook, his confident heterosexuality about
as far from being on the ropes as it could get, unlike Daniel's, which
had thrown in the towel after three weeks of wet dreams about the small
of Jack's back, glimpsed briefly in the showers and tragically never forgotten.
Jack had nothing to worry about.
Daniel had plenty to worry about but didn't have the strength.
Maybe this inane chatter was
some form of serial archaeologist-torture, for which Jack reserved exclusive
rights. This was probably Jack-speak for 'how dare you get hammered
and not invite me?'.
As Peterson Field loomed up
at them, Daniel turned once more to Jack. "I hate you." He
felt better for clearing the air.
"I hate you more," Jack replied
Daniel followed where Jack led,
lumbering along with his bag banging awkwardly against his leg, way heavier
than he remembered, every nerve in his body jangling at the NOISE and his
gaze fixated on Jack's tight denim-clad rear, swaying taunting and untouchable
right in front of him.
Nothing new there. Clueless
They checked in and Daniel almost
checked out when Jack steered him towards breakfast and the rich-roasted
coffee scent hanging heavy in the air got him in touch with his dinner
again. Jack had the sense not to follow him into the mensroom, where
Daniel violently threw up and shivered abjectly on the floor beneath the
hand dryer for five minutes after dipping his whole head into a basin full
of cold water.
When he recovered the power
of speech, he fished out his cell phone, called Janet's house and informed
Sam via the answering machine he hated her too. Then he gave her,
Janet and Cass his love, metaphorically signed up for the Colorado Springs
Temperance League, and staggered out to face his colonel.
His colonel was shovelling down
bacon and eggs, but was saved from summary execution on the grounds of
being a complete shit only by the presence of two bottles of water, aspirin
and antacids, and best of all, toothpaste and toothbrush on Daniel's side
of the battered booth in the main concourse coffee shop. He addressed
his most pressing need and headed right back the way he came with toothpaste,
brush and water.
When he stumbled back to the
coffee shop, feeling about 3.5% more human, there was a mug of coffee and
a muffin waiting. Daniel sank into his seat, took his aspirin and
antacids - not quite what he needed but he appreciated the gesture - took
a sip of his coffee and felt a lot better. Maybe 5% human.
"I don't completely hate you," he generously informed Jack.
Jack grunted acknowledgement
round a vast mouthful of waffle.
Jack was a good friend.
Daniel stuck to his plan like
crazy glue, and apparently also to Jack. He slept like a baby for
the full two hours to Minneapolis, surfacing as the pilot announced they
were about to land to find his head on Jack's shoulder and Jack's hands
in his lap. He completely embarrassed himself and prayed to any god
who might be listening that Jack didn't notice how hard he got, how fast.
He fumbled gracelessly to take the seatbelt from Jack and buckled up, his
fingers trembling and clumsy.
"Did I mention you've been snoring
in my ear for two hours?" Jack asked chattily.
"I'm not sorry."
"Still hate me?"
"You're okay," Daniel acknowledged
grudgingly. He slowly rocked his head from side to side, hoping some
of his vertebrae would get with the program and snap back to more or less
where they were supposed to be. "Uncomfortable, but okay."
Goddamned typical of his luck.
He had his face buried in Jack's throat for two hours and missed it all.
"Pipers have ejector seats,
you know," Jack said gently. "Loath though I am to part with your
"Pth-thingie," Daniel said crisply.
He smirked maddeningly as Jack scowled at him suspiciously, apparently
managing a reasonably accurate off-the-cuff translation of his own.
"Maybe I should have worked
out an itinerary," Jack mused. "Monday; fly out. Tuesday; Daniel
regains consciousness. Wednesday; tragically, Daniel regains the
power of speech. Thursday; kill Daniel. Friday; fly home."
Daniel drank the rest of his
water, then settled back to enjoy the sensation of his stomach climbing
out his ears as the plane plunged down to the runway. Jack praised
the smoothness of the descent, but Daniel's stomach wasn't fooled.
He was glad he'd bundled into
his favourite cream sweater. He still felt shivery and aching inside.
It wasn't every day he gave up on the love of his life. Was giving
up on love full-stop. It was past time to face the fact it was never
going to happen. He was just supposed to be alone, the perpetual
outsider, fulfilling himself through his work. He'd been lucky in
the past to be pulled out of that, first by Sarah, then by his Sha'uri.
Third time wasn't a charm.
Third time was charming, funny,
pissy, strong, stubbornly determined to the point of insanity and any number
of good things, except open to extreme possibility. Jack would never
look at Daniel and get hard, never lose himself in the desire to touch
and kiss and hold, to fuck or be fucked.
Daniel would have to get used
to living his life under glass; seeing, knowing, wanting and unable to
He followed Jack off the plane
without any repartee at all. Checked out, grabbed luggage, trailed
him through another featureless airport concourse. Stood staring
at nothing, guarding the luggage, the bag of muffins they'd acquired who
knew where or when, Jack's precious black pilot's bag and the aeronautical
maps while Jack signed for his Piper-Whatsit. Daniel followed Jack
some more, glad one of them knew where they were going as they navigated
the bowels of the airport, and eventually found himself by a small hangar
facing a plane that made his Volvo look spacious.
After some consideration, Daniel
decided interrogating Jack about the number of times he'd flown a plane
with skis was only going to lead to him spending the entire flight worrying
about Jack landing the plane with skis.
"You're dripping scepticism
all over the runway," Jack commented sarcastically as Daniel dissed his
baby without a word.
"One propeller?" Daniel asked
thoughtfully after staring at the plane for some time.
Jack grinned wolfishly.
"And no parachutes," he intoned in a voice of doom.
"Don't you have a sweatshirt
that colour?" Daniel asked, eyeing the schoolbus-yellow plane dubiously.
He was solidly planted on terra firma here and had no desire to trade up
for either aerial or, god forbid, aquatic.
"Makes it easier to spot if
we go down in the wilderness." Jack shot him another long suspicious
scowl, stowed his bag, Daniel's bag and then Daniel quite firmly.
Daniel looked out the cockpit
for some time. On the whole, he was glad his view for the entire
flight would be the nape of Jack's neck. "What's the provenance of
this craft?" he asked carefully, Sam's evil hints all too fresh in his
Jack turned from where he was
checking stuff on the plane to beam at him. "I'm glad you asked that,"
he said happily. "This is an antique seaplane, a true original, built
in nineteen thirty-eight," he added proudly, giving it a fond little pat.
"Nineteen thirty-" Daniel bleated
"Eight! They have these
in museums." Jack pointed at the headset, obviously intending to
continue to inflict his informative lecture on his for once captive audience.
"I'd rather not," the audience
declined politely for the sake of his sanity. "I'm going to sleep
now." Daniel had to bite down a near irresistible urge to make lame
jokes about sleeping with the fishes. It wouldn't be right.
There weren't any fish in Minnesota.
"Shocker!" Jack glanced at him,
then again. "Still feeling the after-effects of that crap on Shreve?"
Daniel bit his lip and nodded.
Jack patted his shoulder clumsily.
"Just a few more hours and you can kick back, forget about it," he promised
softly. "In the meantime, knock yourself out. Or allow me!"
he offered generously.
"I'll muddle through without
you beating the crap out of me, thank you."
Jack's face fell. "You're
determined to suck all the fun right out of my vacation."
"I thought that was what the
mosquitoes were for?" Daniel asked sweetly.
to part 2
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