knocked again. It was late - terribly late. Almost midnight.
your pantyhose on!" the familiar, aggravated voice sounded. Jack
opened the door with his customary 'bite me!' caution, leaning his body
into the edge of it to stare at Daniel. He had a look on his face
eloquent of 'only you'.
come in?" Daniel asked nervously.
nodded and stepped away from the door, wary and watchful. "Something
bothering you?" he asked right out.
Daniel noted Jack seemed surprised by the admission. "I'm sorry -
it's late," he muttered disjointedly. "I had to talk to you."
Jack ordered, herding Daniel first down into the living room and then onto
nervously at the edge of the cushion, Daniel was aware of his knees bouncing.
Nerves. He rubbed his thigh, trying to steady himself, then found
he couldn't stop.
Jack invited as he took his customary chair.
was muted, just a soft glow from the lamps and the reassuring domesticity
of the fire. Daniel was honestly glad of the heat. "I found
something," he announced without preamble. "It was tucked into one
of my books. I don't use this particular volume often - I found a
newer Latin dictionary that was much more…"
really matter," Daniel said hastily. "I needed the older book tonight,
to check a fairly obscure reference. I found this." He pulled
the letter out of his jacket pocket, his fingers trembling. "It's
you a letter?" Jack seemed amused, settling back in his chair, ready to
let Daniel entertain him with his latest flight of whimsy. "Any indication
how many beers I'd had before I penned this epistle?"
Daniel countered tersely. "An alien language in your mind.
That of the Ancients."
was years ago," Jack hooted, rolling his eyes.
a lot, but this is the point of the letter," Daniel went on as if Jack
hadn't spoken, determined to get through this. "'I wanted to thank
you…'" he quoted.
actually going to read it out to me?" Jack interrupted, eyeing Daniel in
mild disbelief. "A three year-old letter? It's not exactly
breaking news, Daniel."
to me!" Daniel flared, startling Jack. "'For not leaving me alone,'"
he read on determinedly. "'More than that, I guess. For telling
the general you wouldn't leave me. Fighting for me. Trying
now on, I'm sticking to a two-beer limit," Jack interrupted again, rolling
Jack contradicted definitely, grinning. "Yes, I was."
didn't know if it was because he was shaken to start with, or if it was
just Jack's smug 'get a life, Daniel, get a clue' look, but he clumsily
scanned down to the end of the letter, the words dancing and blurring.
"'I didn't know whether it was better for you to know or not but I do know
how important the truth is to you.'" Daniel took a deliberate, steadying
breath. "'The truth here is that I'm in love with you,'" he
mouth dropped open.
You! I mean - you meant you were - um - in love with me." Three
years. Daniel could scarcely comprehend…Jack wrote this three years
ago. "Is it…" He couldn't bring himself to ask. His tongue
felt as if it was glued to the roof of his mouth. He was very close
Jack scrubbed at his eyes, then shoved impatient fingers through his tufted
hair. "Shit," he complained bitterly.
understood. In a way, he did. Jack and he had both lost their
wives. Daniel felt the same pull to Jack, the same connection that
he knew Jack felt to him. Loneliness…Jack was at his most vulnerable
when he wrote this, wholly without defences in his isolation. Daniel
wasn't - he wasn't angry. Not at all. Shocked. Sorrowful.
He would never have knowingly hurt Jack. Never.
is important to me," he said gently. "You were right about that."
sure what the truth was here, if he came tonight looking for confirmation
or absolution of his shameful naïveté.
you," Jack retorted. He was relaxing, looking at Daniel with a hint
of challenge in his eyes. "So?" he asked softly, already past the
shock, moving swiftly, surely on to dealing with it.
reluctantly admired Jack's flair for this. In some ways he believed
he was more resilient than Jack, but his feelings seemed to go deeper.
He was hit harder and longer. Never fully recovered. In this
instance - well, he was hardly experienced at this sort of thing.
"If you're asking how I feel…" he glanced at Jack uncertainly.
"I-I can understand…" Daniel was horrified at the thought of seeming
patronising, ridiculously finding himself looking to Jack for reassurance.
"I know how much you loved Sara, how much you missed her. Your family,"
he added delicately, sensitive about encroaching more than he had already
on Jack's privacy. "You and I - we - we were together almost
every waking moment."
close. They'd always been close. Jack had chosen Daniel as
the one he could talk to, confide in. In the earliest days away from
Sha'uri, Daniel had been sure only of Jack. He'd learned to trust
Sam quickly, Teal'c pragmatically, in a way that had grown over time with
both of them. With Jack it was instinctual.
had at times felt an attraction to Jack, a desire to be closer. It
had never disturbed him. That some-times awareness of Jack as a sexual
being - it had felt very natural to him. Reassuring, in a way.
He'd been glad that his own sexuality hadn't wholly atrophied in the drive
of his work. Of course, Jack had clearly had a sexual relationship
with the Edoran woman, Laira. And last year, Daniel had become aware
- well - there was Sam too.
keep Daniel's own occasional - wondering - in perspective.
Daniel apologised sincerely, miserably conscious of overreacting badly.
"I was just - it was the shock. I'd never hurt you, Jack - not knowingly,
not willingly." He sighed deeply, slumping into the embrace of the
couch. All his nervous energy was burned out and Daniel was exhausted.
"Maybe I shouldn't have come," he murmured, looking up at Jack. "I
should have been more considerate. Dredging up ancient history…"
Jack bit off the word, swallowing whatever else he'd been about to say
in gritted teeth.
certainty that he knew what this was, that they were fine, was struck away
by the bleak pain in Jack's eyes. "Jack?" he gasped, a clammy chill
of shock sweeping his body.
not supposed to be having this conversation," Jack said slowly. "Not
until I'm off the team." He shrugged. "Flying a desk if my
knee doesn't crap out on me. Retired if it does."
Gesturing at himself, wide-eyed and wholly unnerved, Daniel couldn't fathom
it. "Three years!" Without saying a word?
Jack looked gravely at Daniel, unwontedly dignified. "You had a wife."
been gone for two years, Jack."
moved on, Daniel. You haven't even dated."
not…" Daniel paused, in his frustration unable to find the right
words. "That was me, Jack. It wasn't about Sha'uri. Not
wholly," he admitted honestly. "I needed some space in my life.
Something that was about me. There wasn't room for anyone else.
I didn't have the time, or the energy." Or the will to commit.
"What did you expect from me?" Daniel asked lamely, utterly bewildered
by Jack's reticence. "When you did - when we…"
Jack said simply. "You're fair enough to offer that."
Daniel didn't know what else to say. He'd suspected Jack was waiting,
but not for him. The sudden distance between Sam and Jack…Daniel
wasn't alone in believing the two of them were deliberately keeping their
personal and private lives strictly separate, more than that, they were
in denial. This shook everything he thought he knew. "I didn’t
know," he apologised in a rush of remorse. "I didn’t."
up from his chair, skirting the coffee table to reach down. Reaching
for the letter, Daniel thought, until Jack's hands closed on his shoulders
and drew him up. Then he thought Jack was going to hug him, as he
had so many times before. He didn't see what this was, didn't know
until Jack's hands were cupping his face, pulling him close. Jack's
stern mouth muffled Daniel's instinctive protest in a warm, easy kiss,
lips rubbing coaxingly over his.
didn't know what to do with his hands. He didn’t know what to do
with his mouth either, but it was easier to freak out over his hands, the
heels of which were currently braced on Jack's forearms, his fingers kind
of clenching on air. His mouth was just - forget it. Rigid.
Stiffly - God, it was easier to think of an appropriate adjective for the
way this kiss, his mouth - Jack's - felt than it was to allow himself to
was really very grateful to Jack for stopping kissing him when he did.
"Oh," he bleated, staggering when Jack leaned back, licking his lips dreamily.
Three years - four - felt terrifyingly real to him when he realised that
Jack had enjoyed kissing him, and was looking at him as if he'd like to
do it again. "Oh, don't!" Daniel pleaded when Jack leaned in, feeling
horrible when Jack looked hurt.
to him that as bad as he was at hugging, he seemed to have a knack for
hugging Jack, or maybe it was Jack who had a knack for hugging him, either
way, he would. Hug Jack. He did. He hugged Jack.
Well, sort of threw himself at Jack. Hurled. Jack fielded him
neatly, even though he did reel back a step or two before he got his balance,
then hugged Daniel right back, arms tightening with a certain amount of
enthusiasm to fold him into his body. Daniel's burning face met Jack's
broad wool-clad shoulder and stayed put. "Oh," he bleated again when
Jack's lips grazed his ear.
Jack sighed, worlds of affectionate frustration sounding.
bad kisser with stiff lips and inadequate vocabulary, Daniel thought.
What he said though, was 'oh'. Again.
to do it at least once," Jack explained reasonably.
patted him fondly. It was easier than - not - talking.
to do it again."
you're inexperienced," Jack said soothingly.
stiffened slightly. Except his lips. They were there already.
And his spine, which wasn't getting with the program at all. "That
was not what I said!" he complained into Jack's shoulder.
Jack agreed. "Just what you meant."
show?" Daniel was mortified.
and aah'ed consideringly. "It was nice."
like to do it again."
you know the answers, shout them out," Jack encouraged him.
found his spine and experimented optimistically with motor functions, stepping
back. Everything seemed to have resumed normal operation. More
or less. Except his mind, which was reeling.
Jack greeted him, gallantly 'not seeing' the blush Daniel could definitely
feel heating his cheeks like twin flame-throwers.
me," he commented intelligently. "You're in love with me and you
summation," Jack praised him, his lips quivering. "Now, say this
after me," he murmured persuasively. "'I want to go to bed with you'."
Daniel gulped noisily. Sex? God! No. "Do I?"
He didn't know. "I don't."
got time to think about it," Jack said sadly. "It could be years
before I retire."
you should go," Jack suggested. "I'm sorry, you know?"
wasn't sure how it happened, but one moment he was in Jack's arms trying
to think coherently about kissing and sex and the next Jack was pushing
him gently but firmly out his front door, leaving Jack alone with his pain.
Or - or
unhappily down the path, accidentally decapitating some of the flowers
as he stole looks over his shoulder towards the house. He couldn't
believe Jack would allow him to declare Jack's passionate love for him,
kiss him, turn his whole life upside down then toss him out on his rear.
what in hell just happened?
own humble opinion, Jack was the epitome of nobly borne suffering when
Daniel trotted into the gateroom, breathlessly and somewhat disjointedly
apologising for being late. He wasn't, but Jack felt pointing this
out would only cramp Daniel's style. Carter, on the other hand, was
late, and would get it in the neck when she deigned to make an appearance.
strode into the gateroom and took up his position on Jack's left.
"Where is Major Carter?" he asked.
the $64,000 question," Jack griped. All three of them turned to stare
as Carter bustled into the gateroom, looking very pink and flustered.
"Are we keeping you, Major?" Jack enquired with awful politeness.
frowned at him, fixated on his mouth, glazed over and subsided, speechless,
blushing and confused, all of which only went to prove Jack should have
kissed him years ago.
sensing a kindred spirit, Carter sidled sympathetically up to Daniel to
commiserate about Jack being a mean bastard.
trying to eavesdrop, but a man could only watch a Stargate spin so many
times before he searched out more enthralling entertainment. One
of his kids had just muttered something about a date and it had better
goddamn not be Daniel. "A date with whom?" he prodded with robust
we know when?" Teal'c imperturbably interpolated, frowning forbiddingly
occurred to Jack that Daniel was very fond of Carter and a vague show of
concern for her would net Jack major brownie points in the sensitivity
stakes. "We worry about you," Jack informed Carter, making with the
supportive look. She and Daniel looked at one another, huddled closer
and eyed him with palpable suspicion. Jack looked to Teal'c for help.
Teal'c ably seconded him, radiating noble concern for his teammates.
keeping you, SG-1?" Hammond's voice echoed slightly tinny sarcasm right
round the gateroom over the PA system.
pick this up on the other side," Jack ordered. "Major," he added
unforgivably. Carter straightened right up and scowled at him.
Hey! Them's the breaks. What was the point of holding the rank
of colonel if he couldn't use it to annoy his subordinates and put them
on the spot whenever he felt like it? "You need advice about guys,
ask - guys!" Jack looked at the guys either side of him. "Okay,
ask me," he amended fair-mindedly.
am a guy," Teal'c complained as he marched up the ramp.
Daniel snapped, looking haughtily down his nose at Jack.
I needed advice?" Carter asked the event horizon.
Daniel pointed out helpfully, poised on the cusp of the kerwhoosh, looking
reproachfully at his alleged 'big sister' Sam.
from you, yes!" Carter snapped, "Advice from…" She caught Jack's
eye and prudently decided to hold that thought.
them both into the wormhole, waved cheerily at the general and stepped
lightly through. "Advice from…whom?" he boomed the instant he hit
balanced his staff weapon against his shoulder and looked at Carter with
grave, helpful interest. "We stand ready to assist, Major Carter."
He folded his arms across his chest.
nodded agreement, crossing his arms over his chest, looking supportive.
his P-90, which was harnessed to his chest. "Spill!" he ordered.
Carter looked distinctly hunted and resentful, but unfortunately she was
very fond of all of them…
Sam," Daniel coaxed.
ambled off down the neat trail leading from the gate to the walled town
the UAV had spotted. So far, no one was shooting at them and there
weren't many trees. Jack liked the place already.
an email," Carter confided at last, not looking at them.
made encouraging noises.
Neal," Daniel interjected informatively, raising his eyebrows significantly.
who?" The only Neal Jack knew that Carter might know was General…
in his tracks. Carter self-consciously avoided his eyes, going red,
futzing with her P-90 to cover. "Carter, you dog!" he gloated.
it's a bad idea," Carter blurted. "For my career," she added, low-voiced
like him?" Daniel asked gently, as usual striking right to the heart of
looked at her boots, her ears pinkening.
a good man," Jack observed honestly. "I like him."
General Kerrigan to be a worthy individual." The big guy nodded measured
approval at dear little Samantha. "He holds a position of honour
and responsibility, discharging his duties with great diligence."
sparkage," Jack pointed out after thinking about seeing the two of them
together, usually on the training exercises they ran with Kerrigan at the
chemistry," Daniel seconded sunnily. "I agree with Jack and Teal'c.
Kerrigan is nice, smart and interesting, you like him, he obviously likes
looked all girlie and conflicted for a moment. "He's a general."
Hold it right there, Carter!" Jack frowned at her. "Kerrigan
isn't your C.O., hell he isn't even in the same command! He's commandant
down there at the Air Force Academy. There's no question of favouritism
or undue influence. No problem in the regulations. No one would
think you were trying to break through the glass ceiling…" Carter looked
impressed at Jack's keen grasp of the minutiae of gender politics, smiling
at him approvingly. "…with stilettos and fishnets." For some
reason Carter's smile congealed.
who's met you, anyway," Daniel backed Jack up with commendable loyalty
and regrettable ambiguity.
you," Carter said tartly.
a skilled warrior, Major," Teal'c complimented her.
can have lots of interesting talks about…" Jack strove for something
interesting Carter could talk about. "Pool!" he suggested triumphantly.
and restoration of elderly motor vehicles."
knit," Daniel objected to Jack.
she can't cook either, but I think it's unkind to draw attention to that,
don't you?" Jack eyed Mr. Sensitive askance. "Hobbies make for enough
dinner conversation to see you through to dessert or paging yourself or
going out the bathroom window, whichever comes first." He turned
to his 2iC. "Guys like a well-rounded date," he informed her kindly.
Carter is indeed…"
Daniel hissed, sharply elbowing 'Teal'c is not Jaffa for tact' in the ribs.
out loud," Jack grumbled under his breath, hoping Carter hadn't picked
up on any unfortunate physiological connotations. "It's all that
swimming," he said helpfully. "And the gym. It does - things
- for the shoulders. And…" Jack gestured with his P-90 at no part
of Carter's anatomy in particular. "Stuff," he ended inadequately.
and Teal'c made with the 'what he said' eyebrows and vaguely positive noises.
reason, Carter looked deflated, which Jack didn't think was very nice of
her after that shower of compliments and moral support from the rest of
her loving teammates. She stomped off down the trail to take point
radiating enough potential for aggravated assault to make Jack feel heartily
sorry for any innocent indigenous types unlucky enough to stray across
fell back to cover their six, while Daniel tried to look like he was utterly
unaffected by the close proximity of any colonels who might have kissed
him last night. Within a very few steps the proximity was positively
intimate and Daniel was red to the roots of his hair.
a horrible urge to laugh. He could hardly believe he'd been so pitiful
he'd written Daniel a sappy love letter and to have the damned thing sitting
there for three years right in Daniel's office under both their noses was
hysterical. Momentary mortification aside, Jack wasn't the man to
look a gift epistle in the envelope.
or less told Daniel the truth the last night. Jack was (a) crazy
in love with Daniel - something which was weighing heavily on Daniel's
mind right now if those sweet, surreptitious little concerned looks he
was sneaking at Jack were anything to go by - and (b) insanely attracted
getting Daniel to reciprocate (a) would lead naturally to relief of (b)
with all despatch. Although, to be fair, he'd take (b) right now
if he could get it and work on (a) longer term.
forward to the mission?" he asked pleasantly, making a start.
that supposed to mean?" Daniel asked warily.
It was going to take a lot of work just to get into the primer.
peaceful explorers!" Daniel's customary 'hello, ignore the big, ugly guns,
we're not really going to hurt you no matter how bad the guy standing behind
me looks' speech reached its crescendo. He rushed on to introduce
his friends. He had it on the authority of "Silence of the Lambs"
that knowing a person's name made it harder to kill them, which was why
he always introduced Jack to the alien first. "This is Jack."
himself out, unenthusiastically lifting a single finger from the butt of
his P-90 in greeting.
smile lasted nanoseconds.
is Teal'c," Daniel gestured elegantly. Teal'c kindly came to his
rescue, amicably inclining his head in greeting.
Ghennehessere of the Seven Sisters." The lady in question inclined
her head right back, her brilliant smile widening.
to take this personally.
wasn't very good at subtext, but he sensed Sam's hostility might correlate
to a recent discussion about well-rounded dates and the fact she was standing
in front of a date who was as well-rounded as they came. Er - outside
of porn movies. "Um - S-Seven Sisters?" he enquired politely, sidling
between Ghennehessere and Sam's itching trigger finger.
had taught Daniel to be cautious. "In what capacity?" he asked promptly.
Sisters are guardians of Genizah."
Daniel turned excitedly to his teammates, none of whom were interested,
although Sam kindly gave it a try for his sake. "It's a Hebrew word.
It's been the custom for almost two thousand years in Rabbinic Judaism
to set aside a depository into which Hebrew texts could be consigned.
The root, of Persian origin, is attested not only in Hebrew and Aramaic
but also more widely in Semitics, with the meanings of hide, cover and
bury. In the rabbinic literature of the first few Christian centuries,
it carries similar senses and is used to describe special treasures stored
away by God, such as the Torah and the souls of the righteous!" Daniel
looked hopefully at Jack, who was gaping past him at Ghennehessere.
a LIBRARIAN?" Jack stuttered incredulously. "I thought she was the
her hand over Jack's mouth and muttered something about negotiable affection.
Teal'c finished for Jack, quirking a smug eyebrow. Jack high fived
him and peeled Sam off.
wish entry to Genizah?" Ghennehessere asked Daniel. "Are you a scholar
"I - have
a reputation, yes," Daniel replied cautiously, avoiding his teammates'
thrilled about the four of us going into the city," Jack warned him, low-voiced.
"CQB is a bastard."
over to his side. "Close Quarters Battle," she whispered.
isn't exactly visibly armed," Daniel observed after a brief moment of contemplation.
"Er - not that the embroidery isn't exquisite…"
Sam nodded agreement. "I'm curious to know how they got the stitching
into fabric that - filmy," she said brightly.
appearance does not please?" Ghennehessere asked, glancing down at her
narrow wisps of heavily embroidered, lightly looped and criss-crossed flame-coloured
silk. The air around her shimmered like a sultry heat haze, revealing
a small woman with mouse-coloured hair, grey eyes and a filthy grin.
She didn't seem in the least concerned that she was now being sighted down
the length of two raised gun barrels and a staff weapon. Daniel sensed
it took a LOT to shake Ghennehessere. Jack shrugged and relaxed a
hair when she made no aggressive moves whatsoever, simply looked them over
in the friendliest manner possible.
possibly her appearance.
dirty knee protruded from a pair of elderly pants, her feet were clad in
sandals that looked comfortable rather than stylish and the shirt appeared
to have abandoned all hope. It also appeared to have belonged to
someone closer to Teal'c's height than Ghennehessere's, only the fearsome
bundle of keys belted at her waist keeping it under control. "Then
you are beyond the lure of earthly pleasures." Ghennehessere's brow
wrinkled thoughtfully. "Thank the Goddess. It is tiring having
to eliminate the faithless," she confided.
Jack asked with a grin that suggested he'd decided to like her even if
she was an unlikely kick-ass something or other.
stuck out her hand suddenly, her palm upraised, glaring up at the sky.
"Goddess, not again! Give me strength to last 'til Quarter Day."
opened, the sudden torrential downpour battering them. When Ghennehessere
turned on her heel and ran like hell towards the forbidding gate they'd
been parked outside of for the past half-hour, the team followed.
They arrived breathless, steaming, shivering, and in Jack's case whining,
wedged into the lee of the gate.
technology doesn't operate the gate automatically?" Sam asked, startled.
teaches humility," Ghennehessere responded with a vehemence that suggested
the Goddess was talking out of her ass on this one. She plucked the
keys from her waist with the ease of long practice, pulling one clear of
the others to open a small door in the gate for them. Sam went through
first to sweep the area, calling back to let them know it was okay.
Teal'c went through with Ghennehessere, then Daniel followed with Jack.
locked the gate behind them and Daniel looked around interestedly.
Immediately before them was a sweep of velvety grass, starred with tiny
flowers of many pastel shades, dropping steeply away after a hundred yards
or so. What there wasn't, was a city.
from the height of the wall, there was something in here," Jack said after
a moment. "Something big."
Ghennehessere agreed placidly. "The Goddess teaches caution as well
as humility. Many things are hidden."
fits with the meaning of 'Genizah'," Daniel agreed eagerly, backing up
from the shelter of the gatehouse to investigate the construction of the
ramparts. He was surprised to find there weren't any. This
was a wall. Literally.
your goddess?" Teal'c asked disapprovingly.
technology is similar to that of the Nox," Sam suggested. "I'd really
PLEASE get out of the rain!" Jack glared at them all. "You
remember the last time I got water in my ear?" Various sour faces
suggested Jack's loyal, loving teammates remembered this with perfect clarity.
wall isn't defensive," Daniel said to Ghennehessere. His friends
shut up and looked at him like he'd grown another head. "There are
no ramparts. No battlements," he explained.
too damned big to be decorative." Jack patted the cool obsidian stone
consideringly. "What gives? And the answer better not be the
goddess," he added crisply.
has its defences," Ghennehessere tossed out casually as she stuck her hand
out into the deluge pounding down outside. The wind was driving the
rain into the gatehouse. "The wall is not among them. It merely
serves to keep the unwary from our door long enough that we might reach
them. This place is not safe for any who do not walk with the Goddess."
She looked out at the rain, rolling her eyes. "We will run," she
Jack emphatically agreed.
pulled his glasses off and tucked them into his pocket, then raced down
the path after his friends. Sam was still on point, reaching the
edge of the drop first, reeling back in shock.
Hannah!" she gasped. "If there isn't a city, then what…"
Ghennehessere answered with simple pride.
wiped his face and stepped up to the edge of what seemed to be a ha-ha
of fairly epic proportions, Teal'c taking his shoulder in a firm grip as
he leaned forward. It was blurry, but if he squinted, he could still
make out some detail. There was a lake below them, a stone causeway
spanning from the mainland to an island about half a mile out. The
causeway connected to a second gate, more stark obsidian walls rising steeply
from it to encircle the island. From this vantage, Daniel could just
make out the peaks of roofs and towers. "That's a library?" he breathed,
refers to the Genizah," Teal'c explained to Ghennehessere while Daniel
ogled the promised land shamelessly. "Library is the word used by
Daniel is a linguist - a scholar of the written word," Sam explained to
their interested hostess, markedly more friendly now she wasn't faced with
spoken," Jack interjected. "Trust me on that. He's way, way…"
Jack held his hand above his head, making little chopping motions.
"Way up there on the spoken."
you are all the more welcome," Ghennehessere said happily to Daniel, heading
confidently on. A precipitous, winding path led down to the causeway.
followed Ghennehessere, Jack was steering, constantly turning his head
from snatching precious, longing glimpses of the library to the mundanity
of watching where his feet were supposed to go in order to ensure the rest
of him didn't unexpectedly go somewhere else.
they don't argue much about the fines round these parts," Jack said to
didn't care. He was in lust. He just wanted to get in there
and get tactile. "Can you tell us something about your collection?"
he asked Ghennehessere.
Ghennehessere answered pleasantly. "All is revealed at need."
Jack emphasised his point with an annoying little macho gesture involving
talk of our books," Ghennehessere told Daniel, completely failing to be
intimidated. "We have many volumes from this world."
Daniel queried, glancing at the island again.
has visited many worlds and found their histories pleasing, though some…"
Ghennehessere glanced frowningly at Sam and Teal'c. "Enslavement
by the false gods is a tale told by many."
about the Goa'uld?" Sam challenged.
that you carried one," Ghennehessere retorted. "That you," she nodded
at Teal'c, "carry one still. An infant."
Jaffa, born to serve the false gods until these…" he acknowledged his friends,
"came to my aid. We fight now for the freedom of both our peoples."
is a worthy goal," Ghennehessere approved. "A man may fear or worship
what he does not understand. I ask you: which is the slave?
The man whose body is owned by another but is free in his mind, or the
man who binds himself body and soul to the service of a master he chooses?"
should learn," Daniel interrupted. "It's only by understanding that
we're able to confront our fears and gain the necessary perspective to
free ourselves from them."
answer for one so young and lovely," Ghennehessere approved embarrassingly,
smiling. "You may call me Ghenn."
not," Jack retorted.
turned to scowl at him, which made it difficult to avoid the smug, knowing
smirks of his very interested so-called friends, who were looking him up
and down consideringly. Lovely? Jeez.
you may," Ghenn amended easily. She leaned close to Daniel as they
negotiated a sharp drop where the path turned abruptly in on itself.
"Your father is stern," she muttered.
and failed to suppress a snort of laughter. "Colonel doesn't mean
'father'," she pointed out, her voice shaking.
eyed Jack consideringly. "No? Someone should tell the colonel
ability to threat assess the library was hampered by being severely waterlogged
and Daniel being fetchingly damp and ruffled right at him. The whole
wet T-shirt thing was…well…it was the only thing dragging Jack's eyes -
and mind - from the way Daniel's BDUs were clinging to the shapely curve
of his ass. He was aware of Daniel and a lot of dark, forbidding
stone, a fire, Daniel, a few moth-eaten, vaguely Roman epic movie-looking
chairs scattered about, and Daniel.
linguist was poised at the foot of the vast, imposing flight of stairs
that rose above them to a gallery. Daniel was so eager to get up
those stairs and start fondling diverse volumes, he was positively quivering.
have any books on technology?" Carter asked oh-so-casually.
nodded vigorously, ambling over to a large, utilitarian library table set
at right angles to the fire. It was heaped with scrolls, books and
papers, in what struck Jack as organised chaos. Ghenn was able to
put her hand immediately on something buried in the heap, neatly extracted
it and spoke quietly into it. "I have called Eiliana, Scollen and
the others to attend us," she informed them. "They will bring clothing
and food. Genizah knows you now. All are welcome!" Ghenn beamed
knows us?" Jack asked slowly, frowning. He eyed the fire, decided
he'd get reasonable line of sight on Daniel's damp derriere, then sauntered
over to toast his rear.
I think I have the answer," Carter answered, starting to smile. "Every
library has a computer, right?"
Ghenn queried. "I do not know this word."
from the language of the Tau'ri," Teal'c offered. "A computer is
an electronic machine that carries out complex calculations, deals with
numerical data and with the storage and rapid retrieval of stored items
of information." He looked smugly gratified at Carter's glance of
if there was any subtle way to tactfully let General Kerrigan know Carter
totally got orgasmic on the techno talk.
is more," Ghenn said cheerfully.
Intelligence? A more sophisticated machine that can learn independently?"
Carter asked, getting interested. "Capable of - oh my!"
Jack seconded when he got a look at the new arrivals, sauntering down the
stairs. "Two of the Seven Sisters?" he demanded.
was laughing all over her face.
help but notice one of the 'Sisters' is a guy!" A tall, gorgeous,
naked guy oozing enough oomph to power a small city. That was bad
enough but Jack could hardly bring himself to look at the other naked Sister.
The gender was right, but everything else was totally ewwwwwy, including
the way Stud was looking at a woman old enough to be Teal'c's mom.
Disciples of the Goddess," Ghenn greeted them fondly.
'em where you can get 'em, huh?" Jack asked, faux-sympathetic. "Now
THIS is more like it!" Jack darted forward to relieve the bustling, rosy
cheeked dumpling of a Sister in a red velvet dress of her heavily burdened
tray of enticing goodies. There was something that looked like tea
and would probably taste like shit, but the nibbles more than made up for
it in his opinion. "And you are?" he cosily asked the apple-dumpling.
Nice to meet you! I'm Jack and why don't I help you with that?" Jack
offered happily. Tuyett looked up at him roguishly, handed him the
tray and pinched his ass in a slick sleight of hand that commanded his
this is Major Carter - you know Jack - and Teal'c," Daniel introduced them
perfunctorily as he homed in on Ghenn. "Genizah?" he prompted, looking
pointedly at the stairs.
and Scollen," Ghenn chided Daniel gently, turning him to her fellow disciples.
Jack had to admit Eiliana had a serenity that reminded him of the Nox,
a certain something in her eyes that made sudden sense of Scollen' s besottedness.
Hell, Jack had learned to think outside the box too. He realised
he was watching Daniel - again - glancing up to see Scollen look
at him knowingly. Jack found himself grinning.
Ghenn called gladly. "And this is…"
Jack blurted involuntarily, gawping at about seven feet of cadaverous retainer
walking funereally down the stairs, his arms draped with bright clothing.
Ghenn enunciated carefully, eyeing Jack in puzzlement.
humour is unique to himself," Teal'c commented.
helped herself to a fancy cake from the tray. "Goddess blessed is
the day Lokhail came to us!" she gloated, toasting Jack with the cake.
the cook?" Jack looked Tuyett over carefully. "That makes you?" he
of the Armies of the Goddess," Tuyett admitted cheerfully, hefting another
cake with a 'well if no one else wants it' look.
chuckled, bowing gracefully. "I live but to serve, O Great One,"
he said ironically.
the Army of the Goddess in its entirety?" Jack enquired politely.
Scollen purred, cat-satisfied.
have very advanced weapons technology," Carter interjected.
to admire her damnable persistence. She hadn't mentioned technology
as many times as Daniel had mentioned the books but was solidly gaining
last two Sisters are?" Daniel prompted, allowing himself to be extracted
from his soggy jacket by Lokhail, although he emerged from his T-shirt
a few moments after that blinking and disconcerted, grabbing instinctively
for his belt buckle as Lokhail closed in again.
to fight himself not to offer an assist.
and Crescy," Eiliana softly answered. "They are querulous and old
and will not make a journey to the Atrium without a new volume at the end
of it, and a rare one at that!" she said humorously.
old?" Jack asked Eiliana with exquisite courtesy and considerable disbelief,
keeping his eyes firmly above her jawline to avoid nightmare recall later.
require assistance, DanielJackson?" Teal'c's voice boomed.
yes, I think so!" Daniel called agitatedly as Lokhail cornered him behind
the library table. "Our culture has a nudity taboo!" he bleated,
beating at the housekeeper's hands.
looked at one another, radiating puzzlement. Ghenn shrugged, called
off Lokhail, who handed Daniel the clothing with a deeply reproachful look,
then the five of them politely turned away.
skirted the silent line, giving Lokhail a wide berth as he made it to the
relative safety of his soggy teammates, sorting and handing out clothes
to them. Jack got a really lovely creamy tunic with a sensible bosom.
He held it up against himself and swished a little.
Daniel said, his eyes gleaming with mischief.
butt does look big in that."
was eyeing Scollen' s buttocks thoughtfully. "My own culture is not
averse to nudity," he commented.
Jack vetoed flatly. Unless…he glanced at Daniel. No, he thought
regretfully. Not a chance in hell.
of SG-1 retreated to the four points of the compass, backs modestly turned
as they dispensed with their sodden fatigues and went native. They
were all dressed in similar pants and open-necked tunics, Carter in creams,
Teal'c in black and deep grey, Jack in chocolate and spice, Daniel in navy
his tunic sleeves up casually, Daniel caught Jack staring at him and blushed.
He made a big production job out of retrieving and cleaning his glasses,
slipped them on, decided he was as dressed as he could get and called out
distractedly to Ghenn and the others that they were coming, ready or not.
that as a compliment. He also took the mangy roman epic chair next
to Daniel's, leaving them cosily knee to knee. Literally. It
was kind of nice to see Daniel nervous and stealing little looks at him
the whole time. Jack really hoped that meant Daniel was beginning
to see him differently. He hoped Daniel was thinking about him, wondering…
been a really long time since he last let himself hope. Loving Daniel
was mostly endurance, hanging grimly in there until he could ask for -
be - himself, Jack, not the colonel, not have Daniel worrying about how
they were supposed to work together if he couldn’t offer Jack the chance
How pathetic could one man get?
library talk ebbed and flowed, interspersed with snippets about the history
of each of the Seven Sisters. Ghenn didn't say much but listened
as the others chatted freely. They'd all travelled here from their
own worlds and all had stayed. Tuyett had apparently started out
as the Commander of someone else's Army but like the others, she was a
compulsive bibliophile. They were all in this for the meaning of
life stuff. Daniel thoroughly approved and Jack didn't disapprove.
None of the Sisters had their heads up their asses and if they could take
care of themselves, why the hell not have some fun?
wish to communicate with your leaders, yes?" Ghenn asked.
very particular about that, yes," Jack agreed solemnly.
is yours to access. All are welcomed, all are known," Ghenn said
happily. She handed him a small, sleek high-tech thingy, which Jack
accepted with aplomb. He'd talked into and at stupider things in
to establish a wormhole to communicate with our leader," Carter hinted
will provide," Eiliana replied placidly.
PLEASE look at the books now!"
looked at Daniel, who was practically exploding with impatience.
You go with Scollen and Eiliana," Jack ordered, feeling Carter would trade
a little bare skin for a crack at a weapons system.
I who impaled his head on a spike!" Tuyett exclaimed excitedly.
clapped his hand ritually across his chest in heartfelt Jaffa salute, bowing
his head humbly before Tuyett.
accompany Tuyettana'al'anor'mi'son'a'gon," Teal'c announced superbly.
him a very hard look. No one liked a smart-ass.
much to discuss about the pointed disposal of one's enemies," Teal'c went
yourselves out," Jack ordered stiffly.
attend the faithful in the Mandir," Ghenn said gloomily. The Blessed
Disciples of the Goddess made sympathetic noises.
Daniel supplied for the benefit of his friends. "Does that make you
the high priestess, Ghenn?"
Jack interrupted cheerfully, trying to focus his linguist on more immediate
priorities than Ghenn climbing into a pulpit. "You're with me."
was bouncy with excitement, Hammond was contactable and disposed to let
them play nice in hopes of getting to keep at least one of the sleek little
high-tech hand-held DHD's, the aliens were very nice, the food was good
and Daniel was bouncy. With excitement.
is incredible!" Daniel enthused, angling the screen of his particular high-tech
thingy so Jack could share the incredibleness of it all.
all the right noises about the niftiness of the interactive library map,
the interactive bit being the Genizah itself, which had whisked them from
the Atrium across the city-library in a sleek inertia-less transport pod,
a cross between a train and an elevator with plush, comfy seats, opened
the doors at the right stop and begun to navigate them to the right room,
a swirly symbol lighting in the wall ahead of them as they walked.
taken a left instead of the requested right and a different 'Not this way,
stupid, that way!' type spiky symbol had appeared. Genizah had very
sophisticated motion sensors. Carter was almost as drunk with possibility
you're going to make it," Jack commented with quiet confidence, noting
the hungry looks Daniel was casting each closed door they passed.
He wished Daniel was looking at him like that.
shook his head vigorously. "If I start browsing, I'm doomed."
He glanced at Jack self-consciously. "We don’t know how much time
we have here. Hammond could yank us back at any time or the Seven
Sisters could turn round and bite us in the ass." Daniel shrugged awkwardly,
looking unhappy. "It's happened before."
when Daniel really, really wanted something, Jack thought grimly.
"The only ass in danger round these parts is Eiliana's," he said emphatically.
brightened up. "I think they're great together."
Jack said agreeably.
great, yeah," he finished, grinning. "What are we looking for, anyway?"
referencing Heliopolis," Daniel breathed, his eyes glowing. "We're
here." He pointed at a door ahead of them. An arch of golden
light glowed above it.
Genizah knew a sucker when it saw one and was putting on a show for Daniel.
he moved ahead, going through the door first. He found himself in
a round room, a window straight ahead of him, tall but narrow, illuminating
a huge heavy wooden library table that stood in the middle of the black
and white tiled floor, which was quite a way down. There were two
mezzanine galleries, the one they were on and one below them, each running
right around the walls, though the bookcases stopped either side of the
window. There was a spiral staircase connecting each gallery down
from the door level to the floor level.
a gentle clatter to his right and realised Daniel had snuck past him.
By the time Jack got to the top rung of the staircase, Daniel was trotting
towards the window on the level below, staring at his handheld thingy.
When Jack stepped onto the mezzanine, Daniel was happily browsing the shelves,
gloating over regal bindings and crisp gold lettering.
I think there's far more to the Genizah than the library," Daniel announced,
stooping to check a lower shelf.
at Daniel's ass, leaning feebly against the railing for support.
it also contains artefacts and sacred…Ooooh!" Daniel hunkered down,
stroking the spine of a book with wondering, trembling fingers. He
looked up at Jack, wide-eyed, speechless and glowing, begging him to understand.
passion just fine. He did the moth to the flame thing, sat down with
his back against the railing and empathised his lovelorn ass off.
Daniel was easily coaxed to sit beside him, wanting to share the thrill,
balancing the book across their thighs so Jack held some of its weight,
looking at Jack and having to take a deep, calming breath before he dared
to open it.
Jack sincerely hoped Daniel got all puppyish and bouncy like this for him.
what this is?" Daniel asked softly as he drank in the first page, the exquisitely
coloured hieroglyphs glowing against the creamy vellum. "The Book
of the Dead."
that guy Budge translated?" Jack answered, smiling. "The one you
don't know why they keep reprinting him?"
looked up at him, touched and delighted Jack remembered this small, important
thing, his smile from his heart. "It's beautiful," he breathed reverently.
Jack agreed, in all sincerity, looking at this sweet, beguiling guy he
was in love with, all lit up and glowing.
exciting," Daniel said in quite another voice. "Illuminated manuscripts
were copies of rare and fragile, usually far older, originals." He
looked up at the shelves, biting his lip. "I'd give anything to see
the Papyrus of Ani," he sighed, cradling the precious book to his chest.
Jack asked before he could stop himself.
jerked back to reality, stammering and hopelessly confused.
him from a tangled sentence, brushing his thumb over Daniel's lip.
Then Jack kissed him, slowly, tenderly, rubbing his lips over Daniel's,
persuading him from stiffness to startled pliancy. He pulled away,
looking searchingly at Daniel.
Daniel commented intelligently.
kissing Daniel again. He loved the way Daniel's mouth moved with
his, hesitant, curious, gentle. This was exactly what he hoped, that
Daniel was generous enough and open enough to give him a chance.
Daniel jumped when Jack pulled the book out from between them, his hand
following Jack's as he laid the book with due care on the floor behind
him. Then he slid his arms round Daniel, kissing him again, wanting
to hold him close and make this good for both of them.
was, he was as nervous as Daniel. Right now this meant a hell of
a lot more to Jack than it did to Daniel, whose major concern was probably
not hurting the feelings of a good friend who happened to be in love with
though, Daniel tentatively kissed him back, tasting his mouth, delicately
learning its contours. When Jack sucked on Daniel's lower lip, Daniel
sighed surrender of a sort, opening, allowing Jack's tongue to slip into
him, stroking gently. Jack didn't push it, he kept things warm and
easy, kept his arms loosely clasped around Daniel's back, very aware of
sudden, restive shifts and more shyness than he'd been expecting.
damned good when Daniel's hands slid up to rest on his shoulders.
He felt even better when Daniel's tongue flickered against his. Jack
returned the pressure, the two of them kissing more comfortably, their
tongues slipping easily over one another. It was still mostly about
curiosity, but it was damned good.
pulled away, Daniel's eyes were closed, his cheeks flushed. His tongue
flickered out to touch his lower lip, to taste Jack on him. When
he opened them at last, Daniel's eyes were dazed and brilliant. Jack
Daniel, folded him in, wrapped him close.
Daniel whispered, troubled. "I'm not sure I…"
Jack said fondly, stroking Daniel's hair. "Just let it be for now."
to my room," Daniel boldly invited.
Jack asked cautiously.
answered by embarrassed silence.
took a good look at Daniel's furiously flushed face, he guessed no, not
just to talk.
sat at the library table surrounded by rare, precious books and illuminated
manuscripts, his pen stuttering in his notebook, his heart pounding, his
mind skittering as Jack smiled at him. Jack hadn't stopped smiling
since he'd - they'd - kissed. "God!" Daniel tossed his pen down,
disgusted with his own distraction.
the page of the book he was perusing with neat, economical grace, still
me!" Daniel accused him.
to kiss you again," Jack responded smoothly.
erratic attention immediately focused on Jack's mouth.
staring at Jack's mobile mouth, Daniel sighed heavily.
Jack asked gravely, his mouth twitching.
cleared his throat and looked desperately at his book. "This is so
unfair," he said after a moment, with low-voiced shame at his childishness.
evident sympathy made Daniel look up.
was going to wait," Jack promised.
you," Daniel assured him after a moment. Oddly, he did. It
was the only explanation Daniel could come up with for him not having seen
any hints that Jack wanted him. None. He completely refused
to believe he was so naïve he could have missed a torch of the proportions
Jack seemed to be carrying for him.
okay to have second thoughts," Jack hinted, stealing looks over the top
of his book, some turgid treatise on the art of war.
knew Jack needed to narrow the field if he was to have a clue what he was
supposed to be having thoughts about and that was pretty much it for what
me coming to your room tonight."
Daniel winced at his gaucheness once again. "That." Not surprisingly,
Jack appeared to be expectantly awaiting more by way of an answer.
Daniel decided not to give one, at least, not one Jack could use against
him. At this point he didn't know why he'd blurted out that invitation.
Except that Jack was a good friend who was, unexpectedly, a really
great kisser. Really, really great. "Jack?"
Daniel slumped at the table, propping his chin on his hands.
too. "You do what?" he asked sympathetically.
it when you do that - thing - with the book," Daniel said sadly.
expression suggested he didn't have a clue what thing although he was pretty
sure which book.
at me over the top of it," Daniel confessed, horribly embarrassed and incurably
Jack observed with quiet satisfaction.
this was more compelling to Daniel than the kissing. Jack wasn't
at his ease, in fact, he seemed hyper-aware of Daniel, watching every move
he made with hungry eyes. The important thing though - Jack wasn't
pushing. Jack always pushed. Not this time. "This - chance
- is important to you, isn't it?" Daniel asked diffidently, plucking nervously
at his pen.
think I had to say this," Daniel said haltingly. "I thought you knew.
In case - I never knew!" He looked anxiously at Jack. "I do
l-love you. I do." He sat up, retrieved his pen and determinedly
re-read the sentence he'd been reading for half an hour.
to Part Two
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