Our Daniel's heartfelt relief and
gratitude at finally reaching the
archaeological base camp evaporates faster
than the muzzle flash from a P-90 when he
gets his glasses back and the huddled heap
on the ground in front of the battered C.P.
tent grudgingly swims into recognisable
"Jack!" Daniel yelps instinctively, swinging
around to glower at me. "What the hell
have you done to Robert?"
"It wasn't me!" I protest loudly. I ask you!
Is that the face of a man I just snatched
from the jaws of death? He looks more pissed
now than when he thought we were getting
trigger happy on his Unas.
"It was I," Teal'c nobly, and somewhat
unexpectedly, sticks up for me.
"It was him!" I agree forcefully. It almost
was me but I don't think we should
get into that. Things are complicated enough
with Rothman trussed up like a silent movie
heroine tied to a railroad track. That and
the fact he's so pleased to see his buddy
Daniel alive and uneaten, it's brought a
sentimental glow to his eyes.
"Ha'taaka!" the snake in Rothman's head
spits in Teal'c's direction.
I guess it makes a change from shol'va for
the big guy.
Directing an aggrieved stare at me, Daniel
mutters darkly resentful recriminations –
not quite below his breath - from which
Teal'c's name is markedly absent.
I almost emptied a full clip into Rothman's
chest back there at Symbiote Central. Don't
ask me how, but my irate honey can tell.
Not that he's exactly my honey.
Close, but sadly no cigar yet.
Allegedly, getting pitifully hammered on
butterscotch schnapps a sadistic pint-sized
Secret Santa got me, and rolling around on
the rug in my den while Dorothy loudly ruby-slippered
her way up the yellow brick road doesn't
Daniel chalked our close encounter of the
finest kind up to alcohol poisoning and
bolted off-world when an impromptu re-match
against his washer-dryer conclusively proved
him wrong on New Years.
Personally, I think there's a limit to how
many times you can accidentally have
energetically ecstatic sex with a guy before
you have to admit there's something there.
I'm working on third time being the charm.
Daniel is working on a look that could kill
as he hunkers down in front of the snake in
"Careful, Daniel!" Carter snaps, reaching
out automatically to tug at his shoulder.
She gets protective. It annoys the crap out
of me that Daniel thinks it's cute
when she does it. I never get a smile
"Robert?" Daniel calls compassionately to
his dear departed friend. "I know you can
hear me. Just hang in there, okay? We'll get
you to the Tok'ra and have this thing out of
you in no time."
The thing responds with a torrent of
invective the only word I can pick out is
Teal'c, who appears to think this means him,
promptly obliges by triggering his trusty
staff weapon right in its face, then spits
something even ruder back.
"This is fascinating." Ignoring the curdling
insults being traded behind him, Daniel gets
arthritically to his feet and then almost
falls over them when they don't work for him
the way they're supposed to.
Carter purses her lips, ducks neatly under
his arm and offers herself up as a crutch.
Daniel gives her a distracted thank-you hug.
I don't like that woman.
"The Goa'uld symbiote doesn't recognise the
Tok'ra," Daniel informs us, his overactive
brain visibly sapping the very last of his
strength. "It doesn't even recognise Ra."
"It doesn't?" That ticks me off. I like
it when my reputation precedes me. Knowing
I've already whacked the Supreme Snake saves
time, effort and bullshit when I'm getting
down to finishing off the snake in front of
me. If not about me and the pain in its
mikta..."Then what was all that yakking
"Uh, Robert," Daniel replies distractedly,
"Rothman?" Huh? If that thing is bitching
about anyone, it should be me. I did
almost empty a whole clip into it. Famous
snake slayer or not, for that reason alone I
should be uppermost in what passes for its
mind. "What about him?"
"It's pissed because it didn't pick a better
host." Admitting this, Daniel isn't looking
any happier than the snake's apparently
defective host. "Has anyone seen his
"It can't heal him?" Carter blinks in
"In time, I guess," Daniel says slowly. "I
In other words, he doesn't know.
"Without access to a sarcophagus, the
symbiote is dependent on its own
regenerative powers and asthma isn't some
mild infection it can just slough off,"
Daniel insists defensively. "It's dealing
with irritable, physically constricted
That's Rothman, alright.
And this is Daniel, so I know what's
"We should go now," Daniel announces
decisively. "Take Robert to the Stargate and
get him to the Tok'ra right away."
And this is me, so he should know
"No, Daniel. No. You're exhausted, beat up
and you were almost an Unas entree, Griff
took a staff weapon blast to the shoulder
and the rest of us ran our asses off. We're
not leaving more people behind here to
double-time it to the gate because the
damned snake is wheezy."
"Robert is --"
It's sad but true. He doesn't like me when
Teal'c, the suck-up, pats Rothman down and
comes up with the inhaler. He gets major
brownie points from a Carter-propelled
Daniel and somehow manages to get away with
practically shoving the inhaler down the
snake's unwilling throat when it huffs and
it puffs and he blows its house down.
I guess Rothman is cramping its godlike
style. Hard to pull off the studly sinister
omnipotence shtick when you sound like
Muttley from Wacky Races.
Naturally, this immediately has me thinking
of myself as Dick Dastardly. I get to enjoy
the thought of finally catching my Pigeon
for all of two seconds before my damned
Vulture Squadron hauls him off to the tent
he shared with Rothman and slakes her
maternal instinct on his quivering body.
With Samantha Carter standing over him
tapping a pissed foot and looking like
that, Daniel manages to gulp down some
food, meekly acquiesces to having his hands
and face washed, lies down like a good boy,
accepts the extra comfy blankey and tumbles
into the waiting arms of Mr. Sandman within
He's probably paralysed with horror because
she's stroking his hair and stuff.
I know I am.
I do not, I repeat, I do not like that
Teal'c, who's been conducting a hushed yet
vigorous interrogation of the snake in
Rothman's head, walks away from it with a
derisive sneer of discontent. "I do not
believe the Tok'ra will be interested in the
knowledge this Goa'uld possesses."
"It's been swimming around in a pond," I
point out reasonably. "Its ancestors swam
around in the same pond. Its vaunted genetic
memory is of swimming around in that pond.
Put it all together, you've got yourself a
snake hypno-sleep tape. Two minutes of pond
scum, puts you out like a light."
We look at the snake in Rothman's head. It's
not quite as vocal and annoying as the
Rothman in Rothman's head but all this
kree-ing 'til the cows come home gets old.
Our stoic Jaffa warrior is eyeing up the
other barracks tent and mentally placing his
"Griff snores, y'know," I comment idly, also
eyeing the tent, with its limited supply of
cots. "He farts too."
Teal'c is unmoved. "As do you."
"Maybe, maybe," I admit without rancour,
"but I didn't just scarf down three MRE
packs of barbecue beans topped off with
jalapeno spread to build up my strength."
Factoring this into the already complicated
sleeping arrangements, the two of us
pensively weigh our options.
"Actually, you can take the tent," I offer
generously, prudently deciding discretion is
the better part of odour. "I'll stay out
here and guard the prisoner. Take my chance
with the snake and the stinky monsters."
"I will remain also," Teal'c decides. He's
very good at being noble, but it doesn't
take much to see that the problems of one
digestively compromised major amounts to one
steep hill of beans in this crazy,
Thinking about it, I guess there aren't many
fates worse than being paralysed by a state
of Kel'No'Reem in a small tent with a keenly
heightened sense of smell and a flatulent
marine – or an Air Force colonel - for
Cool! I'll keep that in mind.
Since I'm not a total bastard and I'd put
money on Tok'ra Spice having Martouf's brain
mounted in a jar on her mantelpiece in her
cosy pied-a-tunnel on Vorash, I decide to
send Carter back to the SGC with our
casualties in tow.
Then it occurs to me if I take Teal'c along,
there are likely to be more casualties.
From the anticipatory smirk on his face,
it's clearly occurred to him too. He gets
very pouty when I send him home with Carter.
I also try to send Daniel home with Carter,
but even when she, I, Teal'c, Coburn and a
woozy Griff – he's on the good drugs – point
out claw marks do count as injuries
sustained in the field, he refuses to accept
this makes him a casualty.
Carter, Teal'c and Coburn are inclined to be
bitter about this on the grounds he won't be
the one having a coronary on the gateroom
ramp trying to sneak his absence without
medical leave under Janet Fraiser's radar
while she's shining her pen thingie right in
his eyes. Griff gets a little weepy just
thinking about the ordeal to come and tries
to blame it on the morphine.
Daniel, the only one of us who isn’t scared
of Fraiser, has decided that whither Rothman
goeth, he goeth also, no matter how much it
pisseth me off.
I don't feel up to arguing.
After one nasal ha'shak too many, we finally
cracked, gagged the snake in Rothman's head
with some duct tape we found after a
frenzied search of the C.P. tent, and caught
some well-earned zees.
Daniel has questions about the Geneva
Convention and the humane treatment of
vocally aggravating, personality-challenged
I pointed out that extracting any bearded
man from a liberal application of duct tape
was wanton cruelty by anyone's standard.
Daniel was even more surprised than I was
when he looked for a comeback and couldn't
Jokingly asking if he was talking about
Rothman or the snake does not seem to have
helped matters for me. If Daniel's shoulder
was any colder during our escorted excursion
to the Tok'ra Tunnels, my lips would be
freezing to the ass I'm kissing.
Our arrival in the land of the snaked and
the home of the freak is greeted in state by
High Counsellor Per'sus and Anise, at least
three-quarters of whom definitely want it
doggy style with Daniel. The fourth is the
one who really scares me. She wants it with
"Dr. Jackson," Per'sus says warmly. "And
Shit on his shoe, what am I?
"What has brought you here?" Tok'ra Spice
asks suspiciously at the exact same time her
besotted leader wants to know what he can do
for Daniel. She purses her lips in just that
way Carter and Fraiser do.
It's not fair. Women have a natural
biological and physiological advantage that
helps them avoid abject anatomical
humiliation in these emotional situations.
They're not slaves to their dicks like me
"Well, it's, er, it's more what we can do
for you." Daniel boldly puts a Frisbee-like
spin on our metaphorical begging bowl. "An
unparalleled research opportunity into the
origins of the Goa'uld."
"Sounds intriguing," Anise admits, going
easier on us now Daniel is talking dirty.
"We've located a planet we believe to be the
original homeworld of all Goa'uld," Daniel
pitches rapidly, working his charm on the
crowd. The gang of four are intrigued by his
rakish new scar if nothing else. "Our
excavation has uncovered the skeletal
remains of prehistoric symbiotes, including
a queen. We've also found a population of
aboriginal Unas from which we deduce the
first hosts were taken and a series of
freshwater lakes inhabited by the current
generation of Goa'uld descendents."
Recognising my cue, I step back and do a
kind of a magician's lovely assistant 'Ta
Da!' thing with the trussed Rothman. "And
here's one we prepared earlier!"
"What proof do you offer for these claims?"
"Suck out the snake and you'll see," I
"I wouldn't put it quite like that myself,"
Daniel critiques dampeningly, "but Jack has
a point." He looks significantly at each of
our expectantly hovering hosts. "Do either
of you sense a presence within Dr. Rothman?"
This has them blinking and sniffing the air
like Griff's tentmates when they staggered
out into the camp this morning.
"I do not," Per'sus admits, exchanging a
thoughtful look with Anise.
"There's no naquadah present in the
symbiote's blood," Daniel entices them on.
"No evidence of it within the skeletal
remains we found. I don't know what you can
do with that knowledge of your species'
evolution but surely it's enough to justify
helping our friend?"
Our friend? Excuse me? What's this
'we' thing, pale face?
"We'll give up the amazing undetectable
symbiote and toss in the gate address for
free," I offer generously. "In case you want
to go fishing."
The clincher is a wide-eyed, melting look of
appeal from under Daniel's fluttering
eyelashes. Per'sus offers to take him off
and show him his treaty while Anise wants
him to observe the vacuuming procedure with
Daniel's shoulder may be cold but mine
clearly isn't. He promptly takes refuge
behind it, me and my trusty P-90. Then he
regretfully turns them down because I'm a
pain in the mikta who won't let him do
anything. Something like that.
With a less than diplomatic look at me and
my trigger finger, Per'sus goes off to do
whatever it is he does while Anise has the
guards drag the snake in Rothman's head off
to her lab.
"Go easy with the duct tape," I advise her
with a sympathetic wince. "The beard –
that's got to hurt."
I got it tangled in my pubic hair one time –
long story. Not pretty.
They stick us in the waiting room all these
tunnel complexes have, the one with the
fountains and the podiums we gather around
to make unreasonable demands like 'let us
Daniel, who didn't get enough exercise
yesterday, eyes me nervously and takes a
little stroll around the room. I stroll
right after him. He accelerates. I find my
game of Catch The Linguist funny for about
three circuits, then I cheat and catch him
in more or less the same way I caught him
with his laundry out.
"Want to go grab some dinner tonight?"
"I have plans."
"Plans? That's pretty socially impressive
for a guy who was on the menu himself until
last night. Where exactly were you planning
to go eat on 888?"
"The Unas have a special on symbiote heads."
Daniel grins reminiscently, his humanitarian
halo slipping for a moment. "Spit-roasted
and lightly tossed."
"I know what else is good lightly tossed."
Daniel knows too. "Should we be talking
about that here?" He glares around us
as if the walls have ears.
"No," I reply easily. "So, how about
"I can't," Daniel says lamely. "I have to,
er, Robert. Robert needs me."
"No, he doesn't. You've still got skin on
you and stuff. It's only bones he's got the
jones for. You're too recent."
"Maybe Robert could come with us," Daniel
suggests, wisely abandoning an untenable
"You'll have fun."
"I won't." Daniel won't let me.
"But he, er, he has this amazing effect on
"I've seen up close the effect he has on
people. People who include me. I'm not sure
sucking out the snake will be an
"Well, you're not a woman," Daniel snaps,
bristling in defence of his bud.
"A woman?" It's news to me Rothman is even
aware homo sapiens offers a choice of
"Honestly, Jack, you have to see it," Daniel
urges me. "Every time we go out, he – he
literally turns heads."
Daniel nods vigorously, exhibiting a certain
awe at this Svengali-like masculine
accomplishment. "If we take him with us, we
won't have to pay for a drink all night."
"What," I ask carefully as reality reels,
"happens when you go out alone?"
He doesn't even know why I'm asking.
Daniel's naïveté is as immutable as any law
of nature. When it's up against his
particular blind spot, chaos doesn't stand a
chance. Trying to convince him he's hot is
as easy as trying to convince one of his
fish that it's wet.
"Why are you going out with him
anyway?" I complain, feeling neglected and
ill-used. "Why not with me?"
"Robert isn’t trying to get in my pants."
"It's more accurate to say I'm not stopping
you getting out of them," I counter with
clear, confident recall of the precise
effect schnapps has on his otherwise sadly
"It's wrong," Daniel insists hurriedly.
"Freakishly wrong on every conceivable
Failing to come up with a convincing
rebuttal to this persuasive claim, Daniel's
embarrassed gaze drops. He makes it as far
down as my lips and has to bite his own.
Oh, yeah. Baby! He's lots and lots of
Daniel jerks forward before I can jerk back
and leaves me seeing stars. Not the
ones I intended.
When my vision clears, I see that both the
boys are back in town, already arguing over
who had the most fascinating cultural
Daniel has the cachet of an impressively
animalistic kidnap but Rothman tries to edge
ahead on points with a vivid description of
the horror of being a helpless prisoner in
his own body while Teal'c rendered first
aid. Daniel's participation in a primordial
rite of passage pales into insignificance
before the bald spots where Rothman's beard
used to be before I duct-taped him.
Within minutes of the two of them getting
going, I don't have a date for dinner but
I miss his little snake already.
It's a long, long walk back to the Stargate.
On the first night back, Daniel and Rothman
have dinner together.
On the second and third nights back, they
work late on their immensely detailed report
On the fourth, they work on General Hammond
to let them go back to 888.
On the fifth, Daniel consoles himself with a
hefty new translation while Rothman gets all
bitter and mouthy about General Hammond not
letting them go back to 888.
On the sixth, they go see a movie with
Carter, Teal'c, Nyan and some new guy on the
Geek Squad called Lee.
On the seventh night, Jesus weeps, I crack,
go online and pathetically order myself a
copy of 'Mythology For Dummies' from
amazon.com, then call into Safeway to buy a
nice bottle of Chianti on my way downtown to
Daniel's place to make love, not war.
When I get there, Daniel opens the door and
smiles at me. "Hi, Jack," he says
cheerfully. "We were just talking about
I wish with all my dark heart I'd killed
Oddly, this turns out to be what Daniel and
Rothman are talking about. At least, all the
other me, my selves and I and what they – or
is it we? – did to Rothman.
"In how many other realities did Jack pull
the trigger before Teal'c did?" Daniel yells
out from the kitchen while he opens the
Chianti and finds glasses.
"In all the ones that make sense!" I yell
back, smiling unpleasantly at Daniel's
infuriatingly omnipresent and unconscious
wide receiver, permanently blocking whenever
I run out for a pass.
Rothman, who for some reason thinks I don't
like him, kind of grimaces back at me.
Daniel, trotting in and out of the kitchen
to pour Chianti for us and heap up the table
with cold meats, cheese and savoury snacks,
seems pleased we're getting along so well.
He drops into the chair next to mine and
beams at us both.
"Can I just clarify?" I ask, helping myself
to lean Black Angus roast beef. "You two
have exhausted every possible avenue of
anthropological, archaeological and
linguistic inquiry relating to the snakes
and the stinky monsters? To the extent
you're now putting down the alternate
"Pretty much." Daniel hospitably nudges the
hickory-smoked turkey my way. "It's
"It's tragic." I turn around and look right
at him. "You need to get laid."
Which he would be, if he didn't have Rothman
running interference. The most irritating
part of it all is Daniel isn't really using
Rothman for anything. He likes him.
Frustrating me into freezing my balls off in
the ice tray is just a bonus.
"Why didn't you shoot?" Rothman wants to
know. "I was trapped in the back of my own
mind, seeing all of this happen right in
front of my eyes but not able to do anything
but watch. Mostly the gun. That's a big gun.
A very big gun that you didn't fire at me."
He'd probably be better at the interference
thing if he knew what he was interfering
with. I can talk about Daniel getting laid
right in front of him and he doesn't bat an
eyelid. If he can't take a shovel to it, it
doesn't register. If people are too recent
for him, what does that make sex?
"Colonel O'Neill?" Rothman prompts. "Why
"God only knows!"
I know. The guy is charging towards me with
Teal'c's staff blazing, Griff is already
down, I'm next and I can't shoot him because
Daniel would hate me for not finding a way.
In every reality where Jack O'Neill can't
admit he's in love with Daniel Jackson,
Robert Rothman is dead.
In this reality, Daniel Jackson puts a
gentle, grateful hand on my thigh and gives
me a soft look that almost makes up for
Rothman gobbling down the chicken tenders
and pepper jack cheese.
Daniel looks at my mouth and glazes over
There's a reason he keeps running. It's
because every time he stops, I catch him.
Daniel is still staring.
"Go play in traffic."
"Sure," Rothman agrees absently. "Either of
you wanted shrimp?"
"Really? Er, Daniel? You have any more
"I wonder what's happening in those other
realities?" Daniel asks reflectively.
I'm far more interested in events unfolding
in this reality. It appears to have escaped
Daniel's attention his hand is still
lingering right where he put it.
My tongue isn’t the only part of me trying
to hang out.
"Well," I reply, willing to beg and roll
over for Danny treats. "I bet I'm not having
dinner at your place, trying to work out if
making a joke about serving up Rothman's
liver with this nice Chianti is in
remarkably poor taste."
"We've got liver?" Rothman fingers the
"I bet you're all alone and miserable at
your place and I'm all alone and miserable
at my place, neither of us is talking, and
both of us have our hands where we can see
If Daniel could tear his eyes away from my
mouth, he'd see his hand – and mine – just
"I bet we wouldn't have a certain
discussion we keep starting and somehow
never get to finish. In all those other
realities, I'm sure you'd still be running,
but I'd be the loser letting you go."
"Oh," Daniel murmurs, his eyes getting all
tentative and questioning and velvety soft
"Rothman might be blessedly out of every
other Jack O'Neill's way, but just think
about this: so are you."
"Those sound like shitty realities to me,"
Rothman comments, applying himself with
gusto to the mustard potato salad in lieu of
the missing liver.
"I know where I'd rather be," I agree with
him, making a firm mental resolve this must
never happen again.
Feeling quite affectionate and thankful
towards me for not subtracting Rothman from
this reality, Daniel makes three in the in
the grateful stakes and then it occurs to
him he can make me. Obviously feeling bold
and wanton, and knowing he's dealing with a
dog, he starts with this little stroking
Rothman is fully occupied getting the rest
of the roast beef, the guacamole and the
Havarti cheese while the getting is good.
Hands and mouth bulging, he grunts a vague
acknowledgement at Daniel.
"Sure, help yourself," Daniel urges him
warmly. "There are boxes and stuff in the
kitchen." He can afford to be magnanimous.
He's starving, but he's planning to make a
meal of me. "Take anything you like. Take it
Rothman, who at least doesn't take this shit
personally, goes off to poke around in the
kitchen. Before Daniel's inquisitive fingers
can get really adventurous, he's back with
the saran wrap. Scooping up the food
platter, he gives it a neat turn in his hand
at regular intervals, expertly fanning out
the wrap to seal the entire thing.
Then he tosses off his topped-up glass of
Chianti and, taking Daniel at his word,
departs with the savouries and also the
He pauses at the door long enough to tell
Daniel he'll see him tomorrow at the opening
of the Myth And Tragedy exhibition at the
Fine Arts Centre.
I tell him he won't unless he's gunning to
be the tragedy.
He takes this well. He takes almost
everything I say to him well, mostly because
he doesn’t understand it even when he
He starts to go out.
Then he comes back in and takes a couple of
books he thinks he might want. Plus an apple
and a bunch of grapes from the fruit bowl he
passes along the way. Apparently deciding to
leave Daniel the furniture for now, he
finally exits with an emphatic slam.
Daniel instantly decides there's room on my
chair for two, scoots over to sit on me and
kisses me hard, and then soft, and then hard
I don't speak twenty-three languages but I'm
fluent in Daniel. This translates as: God,
you're sexy and I want you, I'm sorry for
being so stupid, and do we get to go to bed
I figure if I'm going to look wounded and
make him fuss over me and make it up to me
for a while, we might as well get
comfortable before he suffers for me.
Daniel takes me the short way to bed,
cutting through his bathroom. Then he looks
from his bed to me and back again.
It's that awkward moment of transition with
someone before you actually make it into
bed. You're not drunk, you weren't taken by
surprise, this is all deliberate and you
can’t blame anything but your own dick for
getting you into it.
The moment you accept you are going
to do this and realise at the exact same
time you're both wearing too many clothes.
Before anything nice and interactive can
happen, you have to work out how to get out
of at least some of them.
"You owe me," I inform my honey, taking hold
of a double handful of his fine
green-striped shirt and pulling him in for a
"I bought a book for you."
"You did?" He lights up with innocent
pleasure and helps me with the buttons on my
shirt. "Jack, that's so cool. Which one?"
"Gimme a break, Daniel! I may have been
pitiful enough to buy the damned thing but I
still have enough pride not to tell you
about it. Not in detail." I intend to
collect on my due brownie points but that's
as far as my self-abasement goes.
"Oo-oh," Daniel drawls in apparent
recognition as some kind of cartoon
light-bulb goes off for him. "You know,
Jack," he says very gently, leaning in to
coax kisses over my always sluttily willing
mouth. "It's sweet of you, it really is, but
honestly, you shouldn't have worried. The
first couple of times weren't all that
"Huh?" I lean back, glaring irately as this
sinks in. "You think I bought a sex
book? You think I need a sex book?"
"No, I think you don't need a sex book."
"Because it's not all that bad?" I
"The, er, the vibrations helped." Daniel is
fighting – albeit not very hard – a tiny,
teasing grin. "The spin cycle."
"I don't need a sex book, a utility closet
or even a goddamned power tool!" I growl,
bouncing him down on the bed.
"Prove it!" he demands, happily clamping
arms and legs around me.
"You think I'm easy? You think all you have
to do is kiss me a couple of times, maybe
blow in my ear a little, and I'll put out?"
He looks at me consideringly. "Yes."
"Yeah, you're right." I tilt my chin,
presenting an ear to him.
"You want me to get that?" Daniel asks
He pulls me down and gives my ear lobe a
nibbling kiss. "Thank you," he whispers.
"No, thank you."
"For Robert, I mean. He's my friend."
"I'm your friend," I argue
instinctively. When I think about what I'm
saying here, I'm surprised at myself, that I
could let something so small sting me as
much as it does. I didn't think I could be
this jealous. "Carter's your friend,
Teal'c's your friend," I add quickly.
"It's not the same." Daniel shakes his head
He's thought about this. I wish he hadn't.
"Robert's been my friend for a long time,
Jack. Whatever you may think of him, he's
always been there for me. He looked out for
me when I spent every dime on books and on
financing digs. He understands me when I
talk. He never has to make allowances for me
or acts to me as if I should apologise to
him for feeling the way I do or loving the
things I do. I can't be too enthusiastic for
him to take. He feels the same."
"I guess that puts me in my place." Boy, I
really am this emotional pygmy. Is there no
end to my bullshit, I have to fool myself
"No. No, it doesn't." Daniel smiles
affectionately and blows in my ear. "You
"Jack, you're obsessing."
"Ah, blow it in my ear."
He does just that, and very nicely too, then
he decides we should be kissing, thoroughly
kissing, and take our own sweet time about
it. It's about more than lips and tongues,
teeth and enthused mutual tonsillectomies,
it's about Daniel finding he can do this. Do
me. He wants to do this. He wants me. He can
never be too enthusiastic about me and now
he's starting to be happy to show it.
I touch his face, getting intimate with him.
"What was with all the running?"
"I don't know," he sighs, licking my chin.
"It isn't obvious I'm nuts about you?"
"It isn't obvious my problem was maybe with
me and not with you?"
"Not obvious, no."
"Well, that's what the running was about, I
guess. Me. It was about me and not you."
"Why?" This is a perfectly reasonable and
possibly even innocent question, in my
opinion. Not an opinion Daniel shares. He
"You want everything, all the time, now."
"On a good day, I get it."
"Maybe I didn't want you to get me. Maybe I
didn't want things to change. Lines to
"The kind where I watch the History Channel
and you watch sports and The Simpsons. The
kind where I love to read, to spend rainy
afternoons in museums, to watch sci-fi
movies, to look at art, to sit in Garden Of
The Gods and watch the people go by. The
kind where I can eat dinner for breakfast
because a whole night passed me by and I was
so gone, so happy in my study I never knew
"Your choices, your time."
"The kind of lines where Robert is my friend
and you're my friend, where Robert doesn't
ask anything from me and you ask everything
and I want to give you everything."
Good to know he's got it about as bad for me
as I've got it for him.
"I don't want to change everything, Jack."
Daniel is half apologetic to me, half
defiant. "I don't want to give up all of
those things that I care about and bring me
pleasure. I don't want to always compromise
and give in. I want to be selfish sometimes.
I want to be alone sometimes. I want to be
moody or pissed or distracted or anything I
feel like being. I don't – I don't want all
my happiness, all my sense of who I am, to
be so dependent on one person. I'm so afraid
of that. Of investing so much of myself in
you and then losing you. And of losing
I can relate to that. He might not think it,
but I can. "Then why stop running?" I ask
"Because maybe a hockey game with you will
be more fun than a museum by myself. Because
for every episode of The Simpsons I have to
suffer through, there may be a history
special I can get you to sit through with
me. Because maybe we'll find a book we both
like even if it is only a sex book. A movie
we can love or hate or pull apart or laugh
at together. Maybe you'll sit with me and
watch the people go by. Maybe you'll bring
me dinner and make me eat it, make me think
I'm wasting time I could be spending with
you, more gone on you, happier with you,
than I've ever been."
I swear to god, if he makes me cry, I'm
killing him first.
"I love you, Jack," Daniel promises
passionately. "I love you very much."
"Tomorrow," I say huskily, trying to swallow
my treacherously sappy heart again. "That –
art – thing. Maybe I could, er, I could, you
know, come along."
"With Robert and me?" Daniel asks, his eyes
getting very wide.
I'm in actual physical pain when I give a
short, excruciated nod of surrender. "I have
plenty I could say about the tragedy of
mythology." I'm trying for a smile but I
know a rictus when I'm wearing one. "Three's
"Three's a crowd," Daniel retorts
unfeelingly. "How about we skip the
exhibition and go try out some of the things
in that sex book of yours?"
"How about we try some now?" I
counter-propose, willing to let him make it
up to me for being an insensitive bastard.
"You think I'm easy?" Daniel asks
indignantly. "You think all you have to do
is kiss me a couple of times and tell me you
love me, and I'll put out?"
"For love and lifelong commitment? For Me?
Youbetcha! You put out for schnapps,
Daniel bleats a very rude word at me.
He knows - and he definitely was hoping I
was so drunk I couldn't possibly know
- who laid the first tooth on him, and it
sure as shit wasn't some stinky Unas.
I feel sorry for me, my selves and I in all
those other realities. Every O'Neill who
blasted Robert Rothman out of his life and
figured it could've been worse, it could've
been someone he cared about who got snaked,
every single one of them will be eaten alive
when he learns far, far too late this one
mistake is going to cost him everything he
Those dumb-fuck loser O'Neills are never
going to hear just how deeply and
desperately their Daniel loves them or get
to wrestle him from under the pillow he's
trying to put himself out of his misery
They're never going to go try out the sex
books or know what it means for Daniel to be
able to do all of those other ordinary
lover-type things together.
They're never going to know how badly Daniel
wants and how scared and grateful he is to
have the chance to be one half of one
helluva unique whole.
They're never going to know what schnapps
and Jack O'Neill can do to Daniel Jackson.
Or what Daniel Jackson will willingly do for
Jack O'Neill for as long as and as hard as
it takes to be happy.
Every one of those O'Neills who pulled the
trigger on Robert Rothman killed the Daniel
Jackson I'm about to have.
All those long nights alone, they'll only
know what they're missing.
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