TANGENT / INTERSECTION PART ONE BY BIBLIO AND PHOENIXE


Slash:
Jack and Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves sex.
Rating: NC-17.
Category: Angst.  Drama.  Episode Related.  First Time.  Romance.
Season/Spoilers: Season 3.  A tag scene for "Dead Man Switch".
Synopsis: With Jack near death and all pretence stripped away, will he and Daniel admit at last they're on the same path and move on together?
Warnings: This story has had a chequered history.  It was one of our first collaborations and was published in a zine way back when.  We then revived it for Phee's JackDaniel Six Pack #1 and re-wrote much of it.  It's one of the few early stories I actually really like and Phee has a soft spot for it as well.  Be kind :)
Length: 151 Kb.  Download a printer-friendly PDF version of the story


Jack

What is it I see in his eyes? Not the same feeling I've seen reflected shamefully in my own eyes so often over these past months. Not cool, calculating distance.

I guess that whole 'colleagues not friends' riff isn't entirely successful if you're not both in on the act.

Can't push someone away if they won't let go.

He'll never let go. Never quit. Never back down. Never act out.

He's a better man than me. It's past time I faced that. Faced him. Daniel.

His eyes are alight, his lips trembling. He's keeping his back to the others until he gets his reaction under control. I don’t fault Daniel for that because I'm the only one who can see into his eyes right now and I'm getting the works. His face is never still, it's always vital, mobile, every fleeting expression written plain for those who care to see. I mean, he talks with his whole body, his hands and his eyes expressing every thought, every feeling. Now, though, it's more. Much, much more. Daniel - he's alight. I can't think of another word for this, for the joy blazing from him.

He takes my breath away. It chokes me some days, watching Daniel. Wanting him. I know I can't have him. I know that. It's eating me alive, this limbo. This needing and not having. Sometimes, when he looks at me, when he forgets, when he needs to be near and I can't get him away from me, it hurts. It feels like this, like being on the brink, more death in me than life.

What is it with me? Why do I do this to myself? To him. I have to suffocate literally before I can see myself, before I can know my own soul?

God help me, I'm in love with this man and it's killing me. I can't deny it. I can't gut it out. I need Daniel. I need him. It wasn't until I was dying I knew how much. It all got burned away. A veritable crucible. There wasn't anything left but clarity. Fighting for every breath focuses a man's mind like nothing else can. Jesus, I knew the feeling, the burn in my chest, the weight, my mind leaden and dull.

I fight though. I fight hard and dirty until I can't fight any more. I have to be stopped, I have to have it taken away. I've been taken to this place. The life I've lived, I know it well. It's part of me. It's loss.

I made my peace with loving Daniel.

I didn't expect to live.

I was dying and Daniel was everything.

I'm fucked if I know what to do with that. This look on Daniel's face. He looks like I feel, like it hurts him to be in his skin and whole when he knows he's broken inside. I never knew he loved me too.

Everything hurts and this man is all I am. I have to reach out, just for a moment. Let myself touch his arm. I can't believe how hard it is to do this simple thing.

"Hi." I'd say more, say something, but it hurts me to breathe. "Hey."

His face melts into tentative softness, he knows I don't have the words even if I had the breath, all I can do is look at him. Maybe it's enough. His eyes are drowned, incredulous. I'm hurting him again but I think it's a good hurting. Clean. I've got nothing else to give.

I'm only aware of everyone else on the periphery, but generals and snakes seem to fill up every available space, getting in my face like they've a right to it. I can't manage to stand to attention for Jacob, but I can manage a tad less slouched as I reluctantly drag my eyes from Daniel.

"Thanks for stoppin' by," I wheeze laconically, every word an effort.

Daniel is still looking at me, still smiling but with an edge to him now, like he's about climbing out of that perfect skin.

Jacob grins. "What the hell. I was in the neighbourhood. You need a lift home?"

He's...What? Oh. Jacob. Still talking.

"Yes, Sir. Thank you."

Jacob nods, smacks me on the leg, which translates for guy-talk for 'glad you made it'. Whatever.

I was supposed to be dead and now I'm not I have this whole other problem. A very dear problem I don't know what to do with. I've been sweet on Daniel since I met him. Real sweet. I guess he knows what he means to me. How can he not? He and I, we're different. I'm different, with him. Stronger. Daniel brings out everything I have inside, the sometimes unsuspected good right along with the everyday ugly.

He takes it all, accepts everything I am.

Is he ready for my hands on his skin? Am I? I want to fuck my little brother, I want to take him slow, stroking into him everything I feel and can't find words for. I love him, though, and it's hard for me not to see this as anything but another loss. Sex is too cheap a trade for the certainty of Daniel's affection. I hope he understands that.

Hell, I need him to understand everything, get us both straightened out because right now I know nothing.

Carter is up there somewhere, giving me a smile, pleased I didn't buy the farm, but still managing the kind of detachment Daniel can't find on a good day. I've got her shins in my sights but anything else takes effort.

Teal'c is snapping off his helmet strap, letting it fall. He kind of bemused, in his stoic minimalist way. Guess we both must have nearly blinked and missed the nanosecond of tender concern Daniel lavished on him before he yelled out were alright.

Nothing personal, big guy. He just ain't in love with you. But you know that now, I think.

Daniel is looking at me and I'm looking at him and - and I'm scared shitless. Weird how living is always harder than dying. I drop my own eyes for a second, I need a second, something, my composure is gone with the wind. I try hard for dignity but that's too much like distance and I - I'm smiling up at him.

I was dying for Chrissake, I let it all go, it's out. I'm in love with him and I'm naked. Raw. There isn't an off-switch I can throw just because we have an audience.

Feeling like I'm reaching into a fire, I hold out my hand to him. I can't do this on my own and I don't mean getting off my ass and on my feet. I need him to be there but Daniel is - he's already more than meeting me half-way.

I'm sick with relief, my head swimming as he pulls me up. I keep hold of his hand longer than I should. Daniel is in no hurry to let go, but then he's never worried about how things look, just about what they are. These private moments have been few and far between for a while now. I used to make time for them, for Daniel. It bothers my newly active conscience to see he'll take me any way he can get me these days.

I keep our gazes locked as I slowly, deliberately, stroke my finger down his wrist and onto his palm. And again.
It's stupid and dangerous but I can't help myself. I need him to know, I need Daniel to begin to see me as clear as I finally see myself. I need more than that. He has to know I need everything.

He's mine.

Daniel's eyes widen, his fingers shaking in mine.
 


Daniel

He's alive! Oh my god, he's alive. Jack!

It was so close, though, way, way too close.

I don't ever want to come that close to losing you again, Jack.

We went through seven different kinds of hell to get to you, but none of that matters, I'd do it all again and then some, whatever it took.

Oh my God, we made it, we did it, he's alive. I'm so sick and shaken with relief I want to throw up. I can't believe he's actually here, right in front of me. Warm and breathing. Safe.

You ever scare me like this again, Jack O'Neill, I swear to God I'll kill you.

I'm also only just becoming aware I'm probably making a fool of myself. Galloping over to him, touching him - hell clamping on to him and clutching him like I'm never going to let go. Don't want to, couldn't right now even if he wanted me to. I have to hold on - have to feel he's really here, safe, and not still out there, sailing through space forever in a cold, airless coffin.

God, Jack, I'm so glad you're safe.

“Hi.”

One little word and I'm beyond hope. The second he looks at me, his eyes soft and welcoming and I'm losing it, not sure I can trust this, but I can't resist Jack. He can't help but see, he knows me too damned well and can read me even better so of course he can see, he knows, it's out there, screaming from all over me what I feel for him, but I don't care.

In one simple, unguarded second I've thrown away years of desperate concealment and subterfuge - blown every carefully constructed façade I've hidden from him behind, but I don't care. I don't. I've never been more grateful for anything in my life than having him here, all in one piece, breathing, alive, so damned alive, and looking like he can't believe it himself. He's drinking me in, his gaze so very warm and yet still confused like he's not quite entirely convinced he's really here as he melts me anew with a smile and a single word.

"Hey."

Hey yourself. I missed you, too. I guess you know that now, huh?

That and a whole lot more besides. I've well and truly blown my cover. Ooops.

Knowing I've come undone before him should be scaring me, and maybe once upon a time it would have. What am I saying, of course it would have, but now, holding it all back, hiding from him just seems - stupid. Was stupid - all those wasted years. What if he hadn't made it back? What if we hadn't been in time? Then he never would have…because I didn't…we didn't…

Life's too short for regrets. Too fleeting for the fearful. I'm not going to live like that any more. Not going to hide or hold back another second. I've lost too much already, had too many people I've loved taken from me.

I've lived so long being afraid to risk telling him I love him, but having the chance and never taking it? I'd rather go for it and take the risk then never know. Because never having from never daring is the worst cowardice of all.

Besides, unless I've got it wrong and I - I don't think I do, from what I am seeing in his eyes right now - I - I can hardly believe - he can't tear his eyes off me!

Jack is worth any risk to me but I think - I hope - the only thing I have to lose here is my loneliness.

Oh God, Jack. We almost blew it. Almost missed our chance. We've both been fools, but it's not too late to change everything for the better. For both of us.

He's afraid, I can tell. I know him too. He's frightened, yes, but he's not - there's no fight left in him, is there? That's the difference. That's what I'm seeing. He's - open. Accepting. It's all in his eyes, gentle and wondering on me. I - I'm in his eyes.

Is it any wonder I love him?

He rises to the occasion even though he's sprawling dazedly on his ass, making with the pleasantries with his patented O'Neill aplomb, a ready remark for every situation, even if it isn't always appropriate. He doesn't let anything slow him down or cramp his style, even when he's still so out on his feet he can hardly stand.

He's way ahead of me on points in the self-possession department; I can't think of a single thing to say, just like I can't seem to let go of him. Jack is leaning heavily against me as if he needs the support for a little while, his arm tight around my shoulders. I'm here now. I have him.

My friends want their piece of him and I'm suddenly, desperately wishing none of them were here right now. This is our time and they don't even see I need to be alone with Jack. I need to hold him, to feel him, cover him with kisses, I'm burning to tell him, tell him everything, show him just how much…

I need way more than I can have right now, it's their fault I can't have it and suddenly, I just can't stand it. Unanswerable need is an unbearable ache within me he somehow recognises and has to do something about. That's just the way he is.

His strong, callused hand is clenched convulsively around mine and suddenly there's this look. He isn't soft now, he's focused and glittering. Predatory. Hidden by the angle of my body, a gentle finger strokes slowly over the tracery of veins at my wrist, lingering warm on my palm. I don't have time to question, to doubt, my heart thuds painfully as Jack strokes deliberately again, a shock of excitement and desire coursing through me.

Jack feels my sudden tremor, his clasp on me tightening possessively.

I - I understand. I hear more than words can say. Jack is with me and he isn't letting go.
 


Jack

If Daniel lets go of me, I’ll be kissing the deck. Not exactly the kissing I have in mind.

I feel like shit. Got to get a grip here. Even breathing is getting to be an effort. My head!

“You bring the aspirin?” I demand in the general direction of my 2iC, who looks blankly back at me. I’m not kidding here, Carter! My head is splitting. I’m not gonna get the cure for what ails me, not while you're hanging here shootin' the breeze, so I need the friggin’ aspirin. Now. You’re kidding. You’ve got nothing? Who gives a shit what Doc Fraiser said about masking symptoms!

“So much for a dying man’s last wish, huh? Lucky I didn’t want a good steak dinner or anything. Seven and a half billion bucks a year, and the SGC can’t even spare twelve lousy cents for aspirin? Sweet.”

“Jack.”

That gentle murmur stops me in my tracks. I try to focus on his face. Recent near death experience no excuse for present rudeness, huh, Daniel?

My head hurts, kid. I’m bone weary. Old. I feel every minute I’ve lived weighing me down right now.

Went to the wire on this one.

Close. Too damn close. Came closer than I can bear to think about. Not getting this. Not getting you. Nobody but me to blame, either. Not your fault. Mine. All me.

“Sorry.”

It's so hard to - to - nothing is working. Help me out here, Daniel? Please. Need you. Brain pulsing in my skull here. Not sure I can hold on.

Aah. He’s here, he’s with me.

“Sir? Sir?”

“Let me, Sam. Jack, come on. Drink. You’ll feel better, I promise.”

Don’t worry. Still with you. Drinking up right now, for you, like a good little colonel. Just a sip of water, but it hurts my throat like barbed wire. A kiss would make it slip down so sweetly.

Slip away.
 


 

Got my head in your lap, Daniel. I'm feeling better already. On a point of information, how’d I get down here? Not complaining, you understand. Just curious.

“Jack.”

Love your voice. Coaxing.

“Hurts.” Understating the obvious here.

Isn’t there anything you guys can do for me?

Aah. That thing - Oh God - that thing he’s doing to my temples, jeez. Fels so good.

“Indian head massage? Good idea, Daniel!”

Love. It’s love, Carter. You blind? Oh. Sorry. That’s me.

“I’ll – I’m going up front with Dad, I guess. You’ll stay with the colonel, Daniel?”

Yep. Not letting him up any time soon. Got fingers slipping through my hair here. Fingertips gently working my scalp. We’re pretty much set for the duration. Thanks for asking.

“Of course! He won’t fully come to until the blood flow to his brain is increased. It’ll take a while.”

It’ll take forever. Don’t want to be the one to break it to ya, Daniel, but that blood flow? Increasing all right. It just ain’t headed up.

“I will go with you, Major Carter. I am well. I wish to speak with Selmak.”

Twenty-four hours in the honeymoon suite at the cheap motel of your choice, my brother, plus your own body weight in quarters. With tact like that, you get your own magic fingers.

“Yell if you need us, Daniel.”

Not gonna happen, Carter. Dismissed. Move it on.

Alone at last. All perfectly innocent and above board. Had to kinda faint to get custody of this lap, but now it’s mine, I’m keeping it.

Just gonna lie here and enjoy the ride. Those talented fingers have a little more work before I can enjoy the view as well, but I’m getting better by the second.

Mmm.

Think we got some stroking going on here, Daniel. You supposed to be playing with the patient’s hair? I think not. You supposed to be kissing the patient’s brow so tenderly?

I can think of something softer you can kiss. Just aim a little lower.

“Daniel?”

The tiniest whisper. Softly, softly, catchy Spacemonkey.

“Jack! Welcome back.”

Good boy. Nice and quiet. My poor, used to be aching head.

I listen intently. We’re clear. I lift my hand, gesture for him to come closer. This would only work on Daniel. He will keep forgetting I’m Special Ops trained.

I snap open my eyes as he leans over me, reach up my hand, cup it around his head, and pull him down to meet me.

Kept you waiting long enough. One kiss to tell you, so clear even you can’t miss it.

The barest brushing of lips.

One kiss - just one.

I’m up, fast, hard, turning toward him as he rears back from me in shock. Catch him as he falls backwards. He lies supine in my arms, stunned, piercing me with his eyes. He’s wanting this, needing this. Afraid to take it. Gonna get it anyway.

I never take my eyes from his as I lift him toward me, now, now he’s sure of his welcome, his arm reaching up to cling desperately around my neck. I meet him halfway, take the beautiful mouth offered up to me so eagerly. I’m lost the moment his lips touch mine. That strange clarity lends a crisp edge to what was dulled by pain. My body is pounding, I'm sick and shaking but you're so sweet, Daniel. How can any man be so sweet?

You're everything.

He’s consumed by my kiss, offering himself up to my touch, trusting me. God, if I don’t do something, I’ll be tumbling him down to the deck beneath me, loving him. Damning the consequences. Can’t. I can’t.

I straighten instead, lifting him, setting him on his knees in front of me, crush him to me. Knowing he’s not afraid of my strength, knowing he’ll meet the force of my passion with his own. He can’t be still for a moment, hands urgent on me, his mouth raging against mine.

Madness. Not enough. Too much. Hard to breathe, have to - have to stop! I break free, set him back from me. His eyes are huge, drowned in emotion.

My thumb tenderly grazes his swollen lips.

One kiss to tell you, so clear even you can’t miss it, Daniel. One kiss to tell you I love you.
 


Daniel

"Let me, Sam."

She hovers, frowning, eyes narrowing as she takes in the sight of Jack in evident distress, his head resting heavily on my shoulder.

My shoulder, Sam. Deal with it. He's not looking to you. Not asking for you. Shoe's on the other foot, now.

Doesn't feel too shit hot, does it?

Believe me, I know.

I've enough of a shred of grace left to feel a faint pang of guilt as I glare at her and take the glass from her hand. I know I shouldn't be feeling as triumphant as I do, but I can't help letting a bit of it show as I take possession of what she clearly does not wish to surrender.

We aren't just talking about the glass, here.

I've had my moment, it was petty, I know, but it felt good. She's going to have to deal with this sudden reversal of fortune on her own time. I've got more important things to attend to right now. Jack needs help. He needs me. He wants me.

Omigawd, he wants…me. I mean, he didn't come right out and say so, after all, how could he? But he does. I know. He does.

Omigawd.

I turn my head away from her, turn to him as a sudden wave of violent emotion wells up in my throat. I don't want her to see how close I am to tears of disbelief and joy. I don't know how I'm able to babble my way through it, but somehow I manage mostly by keeping my attention fully on Jack, speaking gently and trying to comfort and assist him. Sam's not far away, though. Somewhere on the periphery of my complete and utter focus on Jack I'm dimly aware of the waves of her disbelieving annoyance impacting on the outer surface of the bubble of our oneness.

I hear you knocking, but you can't come in.

He takes a few sips of water at my urging, then makes a face and waves the glass away. I only just have time to set it hastily on the deck before his head slips off my shoulder, bound rapidly for my lap.

At least it would have been a faster trip than he'd probably have enjoyed if I hadn't caught him and cradled him gently the rest of the way down to the pillow of my thighs.

He sighs and murmurs something I can barely hear but knowing Jack, I'm guessing it's a complaint. Hurts, Jack? It still hurts? I'll do what I can. I wish it could be more.

You can't imagine how much I wish it could be more.

Sam is still standing over us, and now she's saying something to me I'm hardly aware of as I dare to touch the silvered head nestled so comfortably in my lap. I'm holding my breath, completely bowled over by my own audacity. Touching him, so blatantly - I - I - it feels like I'm doing something wrong and a thousand accusing eyes are fixed on me watching me commit a terrible transgression.

I'm not like him. Jack gives of himself in so many ways, especially the way he reaches out so freely, touches so easily. He's the one I've wanted to touch more than any other, and yet have found it so very, very hard to do.

Too scared to, I guess, Darned well scared too stupid to take the chance, close the gap, reach out, because I wanted it too much. And because I guess I always knew, what I'm discovering right now, if I'd let myself do it - if I'd touched? Oh Jack, you feel so good beneath my fingers. I can't believe how good it is, the spiking softness of your hair against my skin, the sheer, simple opportunity that's mine right now to stroke through it freely, to touch and rub. Just to touch you. I couldn't bring myself to touch you before and now I know why.

It just feels too good. Now I've done it. I've really done it - I've started something I can't stop. Touching. Touching you. I'm hooked, Jack. Having a little wouldn't have been enough. Isn't enough, I have to have it all. Have to have you.

Please go, Sam. Leave us in peace. Please. I'm sorry. I'm really sorry. I am. I know what you've hoped and I'm sorry. Can you be a friend, just for a little while, like we used to be, and let me have this? Let me have him? He's all I have. He's all I want. Can you find just a little bit of compassion and understand?

Thank God for Teal'c. He's sized up the situation in one and made his choice. Sam is getting the none too subtle nod her presence and services are no longer required in this particular situation. She still might not be too pleased about it, but she's got more sense than to argue with him.

With Teal'c, even a 'suggestion' is not optional. You see things his way, or be prepared for the consequences.

Thank you, my friend. I won't be forgetting this.

"Yell if you need us, Daniel," she calls loudly over her shoulder as Teal'c gently but firmly escorts her from the cargo deck, her mouth saying my name while her eyes are fixed on Jack. Teal'c gives me a parting look assuring me we will not be disturbed.

Once again, thank you, my large, loyal friend.
 


 

Jack's quiet now, breathing deeply, not making a sound. I'm wondering if he's fallen asleep. I know I've fallen. Completely under his spell, that is.

I'm mesmerised by the feel of him. Completely in the thrall of the sensations this intoxicating freedom to touch is firing in me. Jack feels so, so good. His hair, his skin. The weight of his head in my lap. His very nearness. After all this time not daring to do what I'm doing right now I'm almost giddy with opportunity. Giddy, and a bit reckless - I can't believe my own audacity as I lean forward and brush my lips against his brow.

I couldn't be feeling more bold or wanton if I'd stripped him buck naked first.

Oh. Oh my. Now there's an image.

My heart is swelling with joy, creating an unfamiliar ache inside me getting larger by the moment. I can't contain it, can't believe it, I feel as if I'm going to explode. Or break into hysterical laughter. Whatever would be the least embarrassing. The euphoric storm front is building in me, growing, it's getting hard to breathe, I'm….I'm…

"Daniel."

Oh God, he's awake. Jack's not asleep. He says my name so very softly, but I hear him. It wouldn't matter how far away he was, if he called out to me, if he needed me, I'd hear him. No matter what.

"Jack?" I quickly answer him but he shakes his head slightly, beckons me to come closer.

Anything, Jack. Anything. What do you need? What can I do? Just, just tell me. Whatever you want, what…

Oh God, oh God. He grabbed me! That sneaky bastard! Pulling me down to him and now we're - oh God, his mouth, lips - on mine - God!

Jack's kissing me! Wasn't expecting - not ready - too much too quickly ohmygod!

I'm so shocked, spooked and utterly undone by the unexpected, searing contact I don't even realise I've shied violently away from what I want the most until I feel myself falling over backwards. I wasn't any more prepared for my reaction to what I wasn't expecting than the original surprise and now I can't believe what's happening. By being so stupid and freaking like an uptight virgin I've made him think I don't want - when nothing could be farther from the truth I do, oh I do so want this, as much as I want him, I just hope he'll forgive me, hope I haven't completely blown it by pushing him away and oh great, if it wasn't all too ridiculously tragic already I'm going to top my personal worst record for being a complete idiot by knocking myself out on the deck, here.

Have you ever had one of those days? If not, you want this one? I'm hoping for a 'do-over' myself.

Oh, wait a minute, perhaps all is not lost, after all. I may just have gotten luckier than I deserve. On a lot of different levels. I forgot about Jack and his lightning reflexes. Jack's on the move practically the instant I rear my stupid head and he's going to save me in spite of myself. I'm a gibbering idiot, but he's got me. He catches me before I smack my head and split my skull open, holding me up, pulling me back toward him, toward those eyes and that mouth. Love that mouth. Want it. He wants to give it to me. Yep, no doubts about that at all. We're definitely on the same wavelength here.

We both want to get nasty with each other as quickly as possible.

I think I'm over my touch taboo - thing. Let's just see, shall we?

I grab him around the neck and pull him the rest of the way to me and the fierce, exultant joy struggling to burst out of my chest breaks free. I'm lost the second his mouth impacts with mine. Any hope I may have harboured of holding back or hiding any particle of the want and need I feel for him - gone with the wind. Along with my scruples, sanity, principles, fears, inhibitions, reservations, doubts.

I'm gasping, sobbing with eagerness, shaking with violent, rampaging desire. His lips crush against mine and I yield willingly, grinding my mouth against his like I'm trying to climb inside him. I'm pinned to the deck by his enthusiastic, bucking weight, writhing unashamedly beneath his groping, clutching hands as he roughly fondles me, tugs frantically at my shirt, and then…

Stops.

What? He's stopped kissing me, stopped touching me. He's starting to get up - leave me. No, no, don't! You can't back out on me, not now! Forget about that little false start thing, I'm good now, fine, if you couldn't tell by the way I was moaning and writhing you can take it from me I'm totally okay with everything we were doing, so okay I'm gonna combust if we don't get back to it. Full steam ahead, here Jack, go for it. Let's do it, do it, do it!

I'm trembling uncontrollably with thwarted desire and bitter disappointment I'm completely unable to conceal from him as Jack gently bats away my clutching hands and pulls me up to my knees. He draws me into a rib crushing embrace, seeking to comfort and console, I know this, I know he means well and he's sorry but right now his gentle explanations as to why we have to put the brakes on are the last thing I want to hear.

I'm shaking, I feel like I'm going to come apart. I hear what he's saying but I can't stop - don't want to, can't stop kissing him, touching him, trying to pull him closer. I want it all. To touch, taste, feel and I want to do it all now. Part of me understands what he's saying, why we can't, but I can't take it. Can't be logical. Don't want to be. I hate what has to be because of where we are and what we are but I'll try, God, Jack, I'll try, because you need me too.

Only for you. Just for you.

Not so easy, though to stuff the genie back into the bottle now the bastard's been uncorked and so have I. Jack gently pets me, trying to soothe the seething disappointment roiling inside me but I don't know if I can hold it back. Denied for so very long, my hidden, long repressed desires won't be so easily dismissed. They churn sullenly about inside me, a potent emotional cocktail threatening to spill over the sides of my secret well of sorrows like an unending scream which must be released or it will shatter me into a million pieces.

Losing it. I'm losing, Jack.

It's instinct that moves me away, I don't realise until I'm there, until all he has of me is my back. It's all I've had of him for so long now. I thought I was better than this. Stronger. I thought I could take it. I love him and he hurt me and it's so very hard to trust him now and he knows. Jack knows. I'm hurting him now but I'm frozen here, pinned to the deck by my own dead weight, harder to bear somehow than his.

I don't want him to see me like this. I just need a minute, Jack, please. Let me get my balance. I thought you were dead and I've been living in this fear for so long. We're moving too fast and I need - I really need that minute.

I desperately squeeze my eyes shut against them but it's too late, a couple of tears make a break for it and race down my face. My cheeks are burning with frustration and humiliation as Jack pulls me around to him and sees. His eyes wash over me, so tender and distressed, as he reaches up and flicks the salty traitors from my face.

"Hey," he coaxes with heart-rending compassion. "Just hang in there, okay? We'll get back to this later, when it's safe. When we've got lots of time. Promise. Hang in, Daniel. You can do that for me, can't you?"

For Jack, I can do anything. Hasn't that always been my problem?
 


Jack

So much in Daniel's eyes. God, those eyes. Blasting through every wall I’ve built to keep him out, keep him away. To keep me safe.

He’s learned to live with my carefully posed indifference. Fought me when I’ve been wrong, been so strong for us both. He’s held onto himself through all of it. Through the whole sorry, damnable mess I’ve made, he’s thought only of me.

Me. Me, who’s done nothing but hurt him, for the longest time.

Hurt him so damn much, I’ve made him weep for having me. He’s torn himself away from me, turning his back, shutting me out. Maybe I deserve it, I don't know. I'm past caring. I just can’t take it. I need this to be over, we both need an ending. A beginning.

I won’t allow this distance.

Too much of a reality check for me here. I see how well I’ve done my job, how much I’ve accomplished. Doesn’t even occur to you to come to me for comfort. Just got to get away from me. Fast. Perfectly executed learned response.

Guilt. Oh yes.

You could always turn to me. Always. Your friend was always here for you. Then your friend fell in love with you. I took even that from you. Too close for my comfort.

Not any more. You’ve just given yourself to me. Completely. I’m coming to claim what’s mine.

I spy movement in the doorway. Teal’c’s accusing gaze scorches across the cargo deck. Yeah, big guy. My fault. Fixing it right now. Don’t let the natives get restless on me, huh?

Good man. The best. Nothing getting past him, long as I need it. Long as Daniel needs me.

Got to take care of my own.

I’m over by his side, lifting him, he’s fighting me. I bring him safe into my arms anyway. Shudders wracking his body, his proud head hanging. Too much for him. One shock after another. Just too damn much. I kiss the silky hair so temptingly close, push his chin up. Face every private insecurity I’ve nurtured, in tear drowned eyes. His pain cuts me to the bone.

Ashamed? For Chrissake! Why, Daniel? Why? I’ve got those boots filled already.

Godawful shivering. He’s trembling under my touch. I can’t bear this, have to pull him so close he can feel my heart beating against his. See? Alive. My hand cups his head, settles him on my waiting shoulder.

I rock him like a hurt child. A soothing, wordless litany of comfort. I’m here. Safe. I’ve got you. Stroking his back, over and over. I’ll hold him as long as it takes.

“Sorry, I’m so sorry, Daniel. I’m with you. With you.”

I kiss his hair again.

“Llove you. I have for a long time now. My fault, this, only mine. Let me in, Daniel. Don’t freeze me out, here. I know I’ve got no right to ask. I understand. If you can’t bring yourself to trust me, not after all of this, I'll understand. Promise.”

That should fetch him. Not like I don’t mean every word, I damn well do, but what I mean is rarely what I say. If nothing else, the shock will bring him back to me.

“Hel-lo," I breathe when his chin tilts proudly and he's there.

Like he’s ever let me down. Jack needs reassurance, Daniel is there for him, huh? No question. I'm a lowlife bastard who made you cry, but what does that matter? Whatever Jack needs.

You’re a bright guy. There’s two of us in this bear hug and only one of us in tears. Work it out. You've to to learn to take a little, Daniel. I love to give and I can't keep sneaking it up on you like this.

I smile down at him, the best damn smile I’ve got in me. It hits him like a zat blast. I feel nothing but insufferable satisfaction and, regrettably, renewed desire.

My eyes shift over his shoulders for a moment, check out the action for’rard. Teal’c’s got everything well in hand up there.

The glasses have to go. Daniel has a travesty of a smile, wavering all over the place as he searches my eyes. He's had so many mixed signals, he’s not reading me so well these days. No, Daniel. I do not think you’re weak for crying. There’s no cause for shame or apology. None whatsodamnever.

You gettin’ this? Or I gotta embarrass us both, spell it out for ya?

I see something ease in him, but I sense a little positive reinforcement won’t hurt, and God, he’s so damn hot. If one kiss can do this to him, I can’t imagine what will happen when I make love with him.

Can’t wait.

I know I should behave myself, but given my track record, I think it would only confuse him more. My hands snake down and cup his butt, haul him closer. He's a perfect fit under my unmistakably possessive grasp.

He gives a little gasp. My smile turns wolfish.

Nope, not a concealed weapon down there, Daniel. Just pleased to see you.

There are easier ways to stop the man you love crying, but I’m a short, sharp, shock kinda guy. I move my hips against him, teasing a little, and, oh, yeah, my archaeologist is very pleased to see me too. Thrilled, in fact.

I lean in and slowly lick away the tears, lapping a warm trail up his cheek. He’s shaking again, a different kind of shaking this time. Stopped crying though. His face is working too hard on the blushing thing.

Shocker. Kinda figured out Daniel’s expectations of sex are a tad more Disney than mine. Yeah, kid. Pretty hard to ignore reality, when he’s alive and well and feeling you up.

I’m a bad man who’s got a good boy offering himself up on a plate, no questions asked. Whatever I need, want, desire. He’s there for me. He’s going to die when I get him home and into my bed, but, oh boy, what a way to come.

“Jack?”

I know what you want. You’re very welcome. We’re safe enough for now. A little overwhelmed here, I admit, but trust me, I won’t let this get away from us again. I’ll never put you in this position again. My word on it. Not secret, not ashamed, you understand, just private. Trust me.

Come on in.

Elegant fingers slide back into my hair, stroking, rolling the strands between curious fingertips. Touch as tentative as the shy smile that’s warming his eyes now.

Thank Christ. I haven’t blown it.

Come on, Daniel. Touch me. We both want it. That’s it, that’s the way. Just do what feels right.

Wondering fingers trace my jawline, feather light. Dance across my skin to my cheek, my eyes, my brow. My lips. I can be good. I can wait.

He’s closing in, eyes compelling me, his lips a breath from mine now. I can wait. His tongue slips out, delicately licks his luscious lower lip. Then licks mine. My breath catches. Such innocent, heart stopping sensuality.

Christ Almighty, why’d I wait so long? Months, I’ve wasted months. Time we'll never get back.

He whispers against my lips, “I love you, Jack.”

His kiss is unbearably poignant. I respond to his lead willingly, showing him how much I approve without overwhelming him. Just encourage him. A little. When he laughs against my mouth, okay, maybe, just maybe, I’m being a little too encouraging.

I know we’ve got to stop but I cannot bear to part from him, not when he needs me close, needs me so much. Screw dignity. I want to keep him right where he is too. I compromise and settle us side by side against the bulkhead, draping a chaste arm around his shoulders.

Nothing to see. Nothing I haven’t done before when one of my kids has needed it.

It's my lover and my best friend now who needs it, so I allow it when his hand slips up into mine, our fingers twining. I only smile when a weary head settles thankfully on my shoulder. How did he know? That’s just where I want him to be.

Teal’c. Making another circuit. His eyes linger on Daniel, not me. Teal’c isn’t one for effusive praise, but I see a measure of approval before the mask slips smoothly down and he turns again to his self-appointed task of guarding our privacy.

“Okay, Daniel?” I ask softly.

“Oh, yes, Jack, yes.” He sighs.

Almost home, Daniel. Been a long, hard journey for both of us, but it’s over now. I promise. It’s finished. We won’t be parted.
 


Daniel

I've heard you shouldn't keep everything locked up inside. It isn't healthy to repress, cram it all down under wraps without dealing with it, hoping to God it'll stay hidden down in the dumper where you've shoved it. It's a way of getting through the day, but not the best. Or so they say. I dunno, it's always worked for me.

That is, until today.

Is it possible to hit critical emotional mass? Possible to max out your bullshit threshold? I think I'm coming very close to seriously upsetting the internal cesspool 'cause I've got shit flying up and out at me from every conceivable direction and I'm drowning in it.

Lucky for me I've got a tether to sanity and right now he's holding on to me with both hands and a pair of damned strong and understanding arms.

Even being the twit I continue to be I'm fighting the good he's trying to do me. I never said I was smart. Everyone else does, but me, I know myself a lot better.

I can't help it, I know he wants to help me but the habits of a lifetime are hard to break. I'm just so damned mad at myself for coming so close to breaking down, right in front of him. Blubbing for God's sakes. I'm so close to the edge I'm getting a nose bleed.

It's embarrassing. I've learned to keep the important stuff, the stuff that really hurts, that can do me the most harm, carefully to myself and far away from where anyone could possibly see it or use it against me. I won't say I don't trust anyone, but it's pretty close actually. I realise the new understanding struggling to blossom between Jack and myself, for all the fact we're not alone means it needs to be tabled for a bit - also means some things are going to have to change. Me carrying on all on my own - I'm sure that's one of those things.

But even Jack can't expect me to throw away the learned behaviour of a lifetime and lean on him just because he's there, and he wants me too, but then again, he does have broad shoulders, and kind, very soothing hands.

Ah, what the hey, what could it hurt?

Those hands I was talking about, they're on my shoulders, their strong, persuasive fingers working firmly into my knotted muscles as they try and coax me into surrendering my distress . Giving it up, as it were. And once again, as stupid as it sounds, my immediate reaction is to resist. I can't help it, it's just the way I'm wired, the whole 'I'll go my way by myself' thing - I'd have no problem if our positions were reversed and Jack was the one who needed the shoulder. I'd give it gladly and so much more but this receiving stuff, it just goes against the grain to let anyone do anything for me.

So yeah, to my shame I try and shrug him off, and pull away. But Jack's not taking no for an answer, there's a shocker, when has he ever, he brushes aside my protests, easily ignores my struggles and swoops me up into an embrace so all encompassing it couldn't be escaped by a brace of Jaffa hell bent for Happy Hour.

So it goes without saying I'm pretty choiceless at the moment. He's gonna make me take him if it kills me.

I hate myself just a little bit more because even though he's hugging me like hell, murmuring to me quietly as he strokes my hair and kisses my head I can't stop shaking. At least now he's got me I'm not going to break down and weep, but I'm still not out of the woods yet. It's like some vast, thick wave of putrid sludge is oozing out of me. Toxic waste? Now there's a nice image.

"Sorry," I gulp against his chest.

"For what?" he returns in a soothing, yet slightly scolding voice as he starts to rock me with an effective and confident regularity telling me he's done this before. I feel the remedy beginning to subtly take effect as the gentle motion he's creating starts working on my shakes. It's true it helps, but not nearly as much as the words coming in a steady stream from the man holding me closer and dearer than anyone else I know.

Lips nuzzle the top of my head as he tells me he's sorry. For what he's done, for what he's never done and should have done. What I'm hearing is deeply distressing; he evidently thinks he's hurt me somehow and it isn't true, well, okay, we've had a bit of a rough patch recently, but that doesn't have anything to do with what's happening between us at the moment or the stupid way I've been acting, even. None of it is his fault and I don't want him thinking he's to blame. I don't want to be responsible for causing him pain in any way.

Self-hatred for my sake is the last thing I want to bring him to and I try and tell him so. And then he stills every protest I'm trying to mount on his behalf with two simple words.

"Love you."

Suddenly nothing else…matters.
 


 

I love him too, so damned much it hurts. That sounds ridiculously sappy, but it also happens to be true. He renders me utterly speechless as he wipes the last, lingering traces of tears from my face with deliberate, intimate tenderness and I have to look away. I'm embarrassed again, this time by the magnitude of my own emotion. I love him so much it scares me. Yet, I can't back away from it, any more than I can stop myself from touching him.

He seems to instinctively understand how much I have to feel him and thankfully, doesn't seem to mind. It's an uncontrollable compulsion, like his face has suddenly become specifically magnetic, an irresistible attractor to my hands, and other, other parts of me that hunger for contact just as desperately.

He has the most beautiful mouth. I'm shaking again, this time with quaking need as I run my tongue slowly across his lower lip and then press forward to complete the circuit.

"I love you, Jack."

Chemistry, physics, I sucked at science. However, I'm expecting my biology grade is going to soar as I don't seem to be sucking at sucking his face off.

Contemplating sucking other things has my mind definitely plummeting south. As he moves against me once more to remind me I'm not the only one expanding my horizons.

That's quite a flagpole you're packing there, Jack. I shiver with a jolt of delicious pleasure as I think about him firmly planting his standard in virgin territory. I claim this ass in the name of Jack O'Neill?

Well, we are peaceful explorers, after all, so why not? His tongue circles lazily about mine and we both give ourselves over to a few more secretive moments of the only kind of mutual discovery our current situation will allow.

Every sweet second carries within it the promise the adventure is far from over.
 


 

"Daniel? Ride's over, Daniel. Wakey-wakey. It's time to go home."

What? Where? Oh. The teltak. We're still on the teltak. In the cargo bay. Jack. I fell asleep by his side, my head on his shoulder. His arm is around me, supporting me. Why - what happened?

Oh, oh wait a minute. Before I - we were - that is, at least, I think we were. I - I hope!

Oh God, tell me I didn't dream the whole thing! Please tell me it really happened. This isn't another one of the sick, cosmic jokes the universe is so fond of springing on me, it really did happen, I didn't just dream Jack holding me, kissing me, letting me touch his face, his hair, kiss his eyes, his lips. Loved me. He said he loved me, I heard him say it. I know I did. It all felt so real. It can't have been only a dream. I'll die if it was all a dream.

I can feel my breath coming in panicked gusts as the terror of uncertainty seizes me. We've stopped. The others are coming. No time now to find out the truth, but even if there was how would I ask - how can I?

"Not a dream, Daniel," Jack breathes into my ear as he quickly nuzzles it. "Take it easy, it's okay."

I don't know how he knew, but I want to cover him with kisses of gratitude for what he's just done. I regretfully realise I'm going to have to restrain these generous impulses just a little longer until we can both adjourn to a more mutually convenient venue. As fast as time, circumstances and the SGC will allow.

The look in his eyes as he helps me to my feet tells me I'm going to be naked the instant his front door closes. I don't have a problem with that. Nope, not me. More to the point, I'm so okay with it I hope the shock of discovering the extent of my agreement with any and every possible physical agenda he might be secretly harbouring doesn't kill him.

I have plans.
 


Jack

I hate to wake him when he’s resting so peacefully, but I know Daniel better than I know myself sometimes. I want him to have a few moments of privacy before he has to face the world, want to be sure he’s going to make it through all the usual post-mission hoopla. He’s ridden out one hell of a storm.

"Daniel? Ride's over, Daniel. Wakey-wakey. Time to go home."

He lifts his head slowly, shakes it a little, goes through the usual ‘where what who’ you get used to off world. A little ’Jack!’ moment in there too, as he stiffens and his eyes fly to mine. When you’re right you’re right. Nought to panic in sixty seconds. I've got less than that to squeeze in a little reassurance.

"Not a dream, Daniel," I breathe into an ear so perfect my lips are making contact before I can stop myself. "Take it easy, it's okay."

I’m on my feet in one smooth movement, reaching down to help Daniel up. His look of gratitude as he slips his hands into mine is one I meet with a look of my own, one I know barely touches this raging all-consuming need in me.

All for you, Daniel. Only for you. Denied you so long, denied myself. You’ll know it’s real when I’m buried inside you.

Teal’c joins us as Jacob touches down on the same runway we left - Jesus, less than a day ago. Ignoring me completely, he strides over to Daniel. I sense I’m in the way. Short of knocking me on my ass on the way past, the big guy couldn’t make it more obvious.

My brother reaches out confidently, his huge hands settling on Daniel’s shoulders. Teal’c’s massive strength makes Daniel’s slender form appear almost fragile. Appearances deceive. Daniel is strong in ways I’ve never equalled.

“All is well with you, Daniel?”

What exactly do you think I’ve been doing to him in here? Er - apart from making him cry, that is. Nothing else went on! Panic is a perfectly ordinary - Daniel? Hey! That’s DanielJackson to you!

Daniel glances at me, then he lowers his eyes. There’s a sultry little pout playing about his lips as he says demurely, “I will be.” Another sidelong glance to me, up through his lashes.

“If you are not, O’Neill will answer to me.”

Thanks. Brothers, huh? How come I forgot nobody pushes your buttons quicker or meaner than family? I register a complaint.

“Am I in the room here?”

“Regrettably, yes. Your presence is not required at this point, O’Neill. I request you remove yourself, so I may converse with Daniel.”

Okay. I walked into that. He’s sneaking under my radar pretty good these days. And that’s Jackson. Jackson. DanielJackson. I gotta write that down?

I’m just about to retort when Daniel bats his eyes at me from over Teal’c’s shoulder.

“Please, Jack?”

Do you have any idea what that does to me?

“I’d like to thank Teal’c for…for…” Daniel hints broadly is obliquely that my presence is no longer required.

“It is my honour," Teal'c assures him superbly.

“Jack?”

I’ve got to get you to stop doing that, at least in public. Don't lick your lips that way. I mean it! You make me think of way too many ways to respond in kind. Most of them involving getting you naked ASAP. Like now…What?

“What? Oh.”

Smiling, too? Gimme a break here! What am I? Made of stone? Bad example. Maybe I should book for a while.

“I’ll go.”

I can’t actually think of anything to go for but I wave a vague hand suggests I've still got enough blood in my brain to actually function, and wander off towards the airlock.

“Jack.”

I turn back to see Daniel and Teal’c standing side by side, both with arms crossed over their chests and identically smug grins.

“Yeah?”

We hear unmistakable noises suggesting Jacob’s arrival is imminent, so of course my archaeologist chooses this exact moment to bat his eyes again. And blow me a kiss.

I turn to Jacob with relief.

“Can I get a ride back with you, Sir?”

Daniel isn’t a big one for belly laughs, but I hear a delicious chuckle that sends chills down my spine. I don’t have to look behind to know an eyebrow is being cocked at me right now.

When, exactly, did I lose control of this situation?

“Sure thing, Colonel. Brought you this far. I'll never live it down if we lose you on base.”

Ha ha. Sir. The best I can manage is a kind of sick smile.

“Head still hurting? Better get Doc Fraiser to check you out.”

Sure I will. Ole' Doc…

Fraiser?

Fraiser?

Jesus, Mary and Joseph. How could I forget!

“Coming, Sam? Now I’m here on Earth, how about I take a little vacation? Spend some time with my daughter?”

“That’d be great, Dad.”

I can’t relieve Daniel of the terrible burden of his virginity in the Infirmary. Can I? No. No! I promised. Myself. Never said…No. They got cameras. No.

I smile at Carter but it’s a solo effort.

Have I got fences to mend here? I was a little out of it for a while there. I she still steamed about the aspirin crack?

Carter walks past without so much as a glance in my direction.

More than the aspirin, huh? Guess it saves me taking out a full page ad in the Gazette about my new domestic arrangements. I feel a lot of Meaningful Talks looming up in my immediate future.

Maybe I should just hoof it back to base. I've got a choice of spontaneous combustion or a jeep ride colder than the plane ride I just took.
 


 

<>“I think I should keep you in for observation, colonel.”

‘I think I should’ is Doc Fraiser speak for ‘I am going to do this. Quit your whining. You still dressed?’

Daniel has been hovering protectively by my side. I’m aware of him deflating; God knows he’s been on the receiving end of that tone often enough.

Teal’c rises magnificently to the challenge. “May I suggest an alternative course of action? DanielJackson’s methods were most efficacious in dramatically increasing the supply of blood to Colonel O’Neill’s…”

Okay. I think I’m not the only one blushing here.

“…Brain.”

Bastard. He did that on purpose. You’ll get yours, Teal’c. Just you wait.

“Indian thing.” I supply helpfully.

“Indian head massage.” Daniel corrects. “It helped tremendously with the headache.”

“An excellent idea, Daniel. Treat the cause without masking the symptoms. Still, I…”

Teal’c’s grave voice slips smoothly under her guard, “Then may I suggest you release Colonel O’Neill to DanielJackson’s care? He has proven himself more than capable of meeting Colonel O’Neill’s needs.”

Is it warm in here?

While Fraiser is distracted I elbow Daniel in the ribs and hiss at absolutely minimal volume, “Do the eye thing! The look.”

Daniel looks absolutely blank so I bat my eyes at him. He brightens up, which is cute, but not any kind of material assistance in the current crisis.

“Just look pathetic!”

“What?”

“You want to sleep alone?”

This dire threat is all the motivation Daniel needs. He gives Janet the works with the big, soulful, pleading eyes, the pout, some crap about her writing stuff down for my care and feeding.

The Doc is made of stern stuff. Even Daniel’s best only works if he isn’t actually the patient. I think it’s working now. I get up.

“Colonel!”

Who, me? I'm fine. Just fine and dandy here. Just gonna…

“Jack.”

I sit back down. Did he just tell me to heel?

Heaving a tiny, wistful sigh he turns to me and says, “Catch you tomorrow, Jack. I guess I’ll just head back to my lab. I’ve been putting off translating those Mayan pictograms for far too long.”

I have a moment of panic before I pick up my cue. “Couple of hundred pages of print outs to get through, huh? Try not to work all night. Eat. That’s not supposed to be optional.”

The Doc’s eyes dwell thoughtfully on Daniel. If she keeps me, tonight she gets an unhappy colonel angsting all over the infirmary sharing his pain, and possibly an exhausted, malnourished archaeologist on her hands tomorrow.

Teal’c chimes in with perfect timing, “If supervision is required?”

Daniel says innocently, “I’d be more than happy!”

I guess he’s the only one who doesn’t realise Teal’c meant me. As we all carefully refrain from comment, I give a tiny shrug at the Doc. I’m not making any promises on the exhaustion, but I will feed him.

He shoots, he scores!

Home free. After a few more tests and those staggeringly detailed instructions. Daniel shamelessly abandons me to my fate and heads off to his office. He’s got a definite spring in his step, which I admire very much until the Doc takes ruthless advantage of my distraction and I find myself with a needle in my butt. 

On to Part Two

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Biblio, PhoenixE, babs, Brionhet, Darcy, Devra, Fabrisse, JoaG, Kalimyre, Marcia, Rowan and Sideburns, 2001-2008.
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