THE NEED TO KNOW BY BIBLIO


Slash:
Jack and Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves sex.
Rating: PG-13.
Category: First Time. Humour.  Romance.
Season/Spoilers: Season 5.  No Spoilers.
Synopsis: Just your average ho-hum testosterone-fuelled pissing contest, in which both guys get regrettably hot under the collar.
Warnings: A little bad language and some appropriated Willowisms.
Length: 90 Kb.


“I do beg your pardon! I failed to grasp that your ‘vacation’ was in point of fact meant to be from me,” Jack snarled, shaking his head vigorously. Which reminded him… “Did I mention the water in my ear?”

“Including this time? Four times in…“ Daniel glanced theatrically at his watch, “…six minutes. A personal best.”

“I’m sorry it’s pissing down out there. Still. I’m sorry about the flash-fucking-flood. I’m sorry your goddamn ruins are under eighteen feet of something we’re assuming is water because it’s moving slightly faster than the ground.” Jack had no idea how many feet of what was, in the loosest possible sense, water the ruins were under but it sounded good. “Most of all, I’m sorry we’re stuck on this side of the River Wild in a fucking command tent-cum-library and the fucking Stargate is on the other side, and here’s me without my ark,” he enunciated with withering clarity.

“You forgot to mention most of the food and clothing supplies were on FRED this time around,” Daniel pointed out helpfully, trying very hard to look as if he were seeing a single word on the open pages of the book he was hiding his hard-on behind. This was almost impossible to make look convincing while Jack was peeling his clinging black T-shirt from his distractingly glistening rain-dewed body with agonising deliberation. Daniel swallowed hard and glanced up fleetingly to Jack’s oblivious face. Jack’s eyes had a definite sparkle. Temper, mostly, but the overall effect was making Daniel’s heart beat sickeningly fast. “You also left out your raging resentment of the fact we can see FRED from here.” He was quite proud of his more or less steady diction and coherence.

“You’re alliterating again. Stop,” Jack ordered briskly, tugging his T-shirt over his head and looking round for something he could safely drip on. He had ‘first edition’, ‘priceless’, ‘only copy in existence’ and a whole load of other antiquarian crap ringing in his wringing ears so he settled for balling up the sodden T-shirt and throwing it at Daniel, who dropped his book, flushing and futilely fumbling for…shit, shit, shit, Daniel had him doing it now.

“You know," Daniel remarked, "your inspirational leadership in times of trial and tribulation is a true testimony to the training the…“

“One more Peter fucking Piper and I’m shooting you dead,” Jack snarled.

“Pierre Au Pipeau a ramassé un picotin de poivrons marinés; Un picotin de poivrons mariné Pierre Au Pipeau a ramassé; Si Pierre Au Pipeau a ramassé un picotin de poivrons marinés; Ou est le picotin de poivrons marinés que Pierre Au Pipeau a ramassé?” Daniel murmured sweetly, not looking up from his safely retrieved, repositioned reading…um, from the book. With some effort, he kept his face serene, aware the suspicion level on the military side of the tent had just topped out around rampant, with a soupçon of homicidal, paranoia.

“Would you kindly repeat that?” Jack enquired cuttingly.

“Pedro Piper escogio un bejuco de ajises conpuesto. Un bejuco de ajis conpuesto Pedro Piper esogio. Si Pedro Piper escogio un bejuco de ajis conpuesto Donde esta el bejuco de ajis conpuesto que Pedro Piper escogio!” Daniel supplied obligingly, unable to suppress a slight smirk or refrain from watching hopefully for Jack’s reaction.

Jack’s tirade died unspoken as Daniel shot an odd look up from under his lashes. Very – odd. The only word Jack’s slightly staggered mind could come up with was 'steamy'. Steamy in a decidedly flirty way. He decided he was mistaken. He must have been. No way was Daniel flirting with him. No way. None. Uh uh. Not happ… crap! There it was again! It suddenly struck Jack he was in a tiny, steamy tent, stripping, getting tiny, steamy, stripping looks from his best friend, who hadn’t had any in like, four years. Years.

A prudent man would slap his sodden jacket right back on, get some distance, and make like see no evil.

Uncertain of quite what game it was Daniel thought he was playing here, Jack decided to get naked and see how many Daniel-buttons he could push. After four years of this intense and continually changing, endlessly evolving, whatever-it-was that was always going on between them, he was getting a little jaded on the torture front.

And the very next goddamn time Daniel chose to alliterate and irritate, Jack would quite definitely abbreviate. Obliterate. Annihilate. Pick one.

He always welcomed the opportunity to master new and interesting buttons, because these days Daniel seemed to be mastering a lot of Jack-buttons and pushing them relentlessly. This messed with the natural order of this whatever-it-was between them. Whatever it was.

It certainly wasn’t Jack’s definition of friendship, which was fairly pragmatic. What he had with Carter and Teal’c, that was friendship. Do anything for them, sure, you betcha, didn’t have to spend much time with them. Was always pleased to see them, and just as pleased to see them go. They were friends in the intense kill and die for you in the field sense, in the easygoing friends at work sense, but neither of them ever made it past this wall he'd learned the hard way to keep between work and home.

Only Daniel got the full meal deal, got to truly hang out Chez O’Neill. Only Daniel would figure hanging out entitled him to Jack’s attention, which apparently in Daniel’s mind went hand in glove with custody of Jack’s TV remote. Stuff like that was exactly why Jack didn’t know what this whatever-it-was…was. Sara never messed with the remote. Maybe Sara had indulged him, but it would never have occurred to her to switch off the TV to just talk. About stuff. Not even anything important. Just stuff. Daniel expected to spend time with Jack, not Jack’s TV, so Jack set the VCR and talked. About stuff. He didn’t have a clue what that meant, what it said about him. About Sara. About Daniel. About… About goddamn time he quit working on a migraine and got this road on the show.

Jack thought complacently a surprise surgical strip-strike would help keep Wonder Boy on his toes, keep him sharp. Alert. Off-balance. An off-balance Daniel wouldn’t be so quick to mess with a man’s remote. Or his mind.

He was slightly hampered by his combat boots, which no force on Earth could remove in a way even a guy who hadn’t had any in four years could find sexy, but given where Daniel was currently clutching ‘Deconstructing demotic something something’, all white knuckles and apparently raging hormones, if Jack was starting to look good, Jack figured he could get away with madly hopping on one foot and Daniel would fantasise the boa regardless. Snake, not feather. Jack had standards. He cared enough to send his very best, especially if it annoyed the crap out of Daniel, who couldn’t call him on it without ‘fessing up he was looking in the first place. Then, of course, he would have to own up on the why, which had Jack beat at this moment in time.

Win, win.

And if Daniel didn’t sneer at his socks, which had both found religion, it wasn’t just the last gasp of crazed lust from a near defunct libido, it was love.

Whatever. It was fun. Way more fun than going with his gut and shooting Daniel for being maddeningly calm when Jack was going nuts, ‘cause this way he got to annoy Daniel to destruction and he still got Daniel to cook afterwards.

This was an absolute necessity; they were eating indigenous foodstuffs that Daniel insisted on referring to as ‘seasonal vegetables’. Jack insisted vegetable alone was pushing it and refused to take his mind off the fact there were no snacks. The snacks were on FRED, along with the MREs. Flaunting themselves right in front of his eyes and completely beyond his reach.

Jack kicked his squelching boots free with a damp splat and noted with satisfaction Daniel was still trying to hide those shy, surreptitious sidelong glances. Jack attacked his belt vigorously, trying not to tip his hand too soon, not before he attacked his buttons anyway. Although for the buttons, attack was too strong a word. Languid was a good word. Languid was how fast a couple of fingers were easing the buttons down, then ghosting across to hook into his waistband and kind of stroking his BDUs down his thighs while he kept up the killing looks act.

Languid wasn’t any kind of word for Daniel’s breathing, though. Wheezing, maybe. Daniel was also blushing, and then as Jack’s BDUs pooled around his feet a little, okay, a lot quicker than expected - maybe shovelling down the salad stuff in lieu of food was paying off after all - Daniel’s widening eyes and dropping jaw confirmed a terrible truth.

Only a prick of the first magnitude would respond to a few shy, flirty looks from his bookish, studious friend, who didn’t get out at all, with a striptease, and regrettably, that was what Daniel was looking right at. Jack's prick, an ample, aggressive bulge under his shorts. Jack was giving Daniel a real eyeful, one even he couldn't manage to misinterpret.

Hel-lo. Where did the fuck did that come from?

Jack had no choice but to brazen out the most inconvenient boner he’d had in years and ignore the soft snuffs of astonishment from Daniel, who clearly hadn’t grasped he was supposed to be keeping his eyes front and centre in goddamn ‘Deconstructing demotic something something’ and ignoring Jack’s little - okay, huge problem ‘til it went the fuck away.

Shuddering away from all kinds of scary mental connections, Jack cringed reflexively from the 'f' word and told his mind it was not going there. Not to fucking. Not with Daniel sprawled on his sleeping bag looking like that, all big eyes and screaming subtext. No way. Jack’s mind was not going there. Not. No!

Unfortunately, it seemed like his prick got the casting vote.

Daniel took a deep breath and then found it hard to let go. He could barely believe Jack had just pulled the USAF version of the Dance of the Seven Veils, let alone gotten turned on by his appreciative audience of one. He couldn’t even begin to deal with the ramifications of Jack knowing he had an appreciative audience of one.

“Breathe, Daniel, for Chrissake,” Jack snapped testily as he turned away awkwardly and made his way very carefully over to his sleeping bag. He hesitated for a moment but the thought of damp shorts on top of a diamond-cutter on top of everything else that had fucked them over in the past two days was too damn much. He turned his back and shucked his shorts, daring Daniel to make something of it. “This is your fault,” he accused.

“My fault?” Daniel scowled at Jack’s back, not allowing all those long, lean, sleek…um, what was his point again? Oh. Yes. That. “I’m not the one shaking his tail all over the tent!” Toned, tanned, taut and t…

“And I’m not the one looking at it,” Jack said snidely. “Like what you see?” he asked dulcetly.

“Mmm,” Daniel sighed. Then he jerked upright. “No!” he snapped. “The only thing I’m looking at is my book,” he argued defensively.

“It’s upside down,” Jack lied fluently as he slipped with exquisite care into his sleeping bag. Goddamn Air Force issue piece of shit felt like sandpaper. Probably on purpose, he thought gloomily. Kind of obvious you’d been feeling frisky if you limped home with carpet burn and the only rug was probably on the C.O.’s head. He pillowed his head on his hands, gloating offensively as Daniel jerked the book instinctively and caught it in time to see Jack’s smirk and raise him a sneer. “Busted!” Jack sang out.

Daniel decided he’d die in the ditch outside before he’d let Jack win this one and decided to up the ante with a vengeance. He placed the book down with due care and consideration for its advanced age and fragility, tuned out Jack’s hoots of derision to an annoyingly persistent background buzz, much like the constant rain, then slid his jacket off and folded it with neat, economical movements. It took only a few minutes to remove his boots, by which time the buzz was demanding to know what the fuck he thought he was doing?

Daniel wrestled his T-shirt over his head. “I think I’m undressing,” he mumbled through a faceful of damp black jersey. Regrettably the rain had only intensified the humidity. The air was as hot and sullen as Jack, and Daniel wasn’t sure which was making him shiver. He unbuckled and unzipped without finesse, hitched up his hips and slid BDUs and shorts blessedly free. Strangling noises sleeping bag-wards suggested Jack had a visual lock on Daniel’s own rather pressing problem.

Daniel fleetingly glanced at Jack, decided he was damned if he was going to skulk in his sleeping bag as if he had anything to be ashamed of, and just lay down where he was.

Unfortunately, not being ashamed of being attracted to Jack wasn’t the same as not being embarrassed at being bare-ass naked right here in front of Jack with no suggestion of Jack getting anywhere near him with anything but homicide in mind, so he had to put up with the full body blush and the breathlessness.

“Have you ever been with a man?” Daniel asked before he could stop himself, glancing over to Jack, who was actively skulking in his sleeping bag, looking pained for obvious reasons.

“Have you?” Jack snapped.

“Almost,” Daniel said absently, wondering why Jack hadn’t answered his question.

“What?” Jack snapped, sitting bolt upright. “Who?” he demanded. “And stop doing that,” he said irritably. Daniel’s look of mild enquiry was maddening.

“What?” Daniel asked softly, glancing at Jack.

“That!" Jack stabbed a finger towards Daniel. "That flirty thing.” He regretted it the moment the words were out of his mouth and Daniel’s face shut down on him. He saw the flash of hurt and mortification as Daniel rolled onto his side, away from Jack. Way to go, O’Neill. Way to make the worst of a bad situation. Jesus, it wasn’t like he’d never checked Daniel out before. In fact, he was checking Daniel out right...“Shit,” he bleated.

“Jack? Are you okay?”

Daniel’s soft, concerned question caught Jack on the raw.

“Shit,” he said again.

Daniel rolled back to check on Jack, anxious now. “Jack?” he prompted.

“I was getting off on it,” Jack admitted weakly. “Turning you on. I got off on it. I’m still getting off and I nearly went off like a rocket when I got a good look at your ass just now.”

“Oh.”

“Oh? That’s all you have to say? I’m baring my soul here and all you can say is ‘oh’? Thanks for your sensitive counsel, Dr Jackson,” Jack fumed.

“What do you expect me to say?” Daniel snapped. “Two minutes ago you made me feel like shit just for - for looking. Idly looking,” he emphasised, “And now, just because you’re drooling over my ass you expect me to what? What? Haul it over there and climb in with you?”

Jack propped himself up on his elbows and took a swift, assessing look at the deal currently on the table and hopefully soon to be in the bag. Ni-ice. Daniel was working out. Should help with the making out. “Is that what you want?”

Whoah!

Hopefully?

Making out?

What the…What?

“Is that what you want?” Daniel riposted. “There’s no point undressing me with your eyes, Jack. Been there, done that, took off the damn T-shirt.”

Scowling, Jack flopped back down. Daniel would be far more attractive if he’d shut the hell up and let his dick do the talking. “Jeez, if we start on this routine neither one of us is getting laid.” What? Why the fuck was he escalating this? Why couldn’t he stop this Pavlovian ‘fuck’ response to every glimpse of, well, Daniel.

“Who said anything about - about getting laid?” Daniel gasped. A private abstract attraction was getting way too public and too concrete for his piece of ass. Mind. Peace of mind! “I’m not that desperate,” he grumbled, trying not to think about concrete anything.

“Excuse me?” Jack snapped upright again, glaring. “Lest we forget who looked first, you were the one scoping me out, pal.” He bit down a crazy impulse to holler something like ‘I've still got all my own teeth’. No point looking more whipped than he apparently was.

“You were the one getting off on it,” Daniel curled his lip.

“You were the one doing the lap dance with ‘Deconstructing demotic something something’,” Jack sneered back, “Which means you were getting off first.” Which rankled. Daniel was supposed to be the sweet innocent. He wasn’t supposed to notice Jack scoping him out in their shared shower, but Jack was supposed to notice if Daniel was doing the scoping. Jack was not naïve. He was not in the least shocked to think Daniel had been scoping anyone, let alone him. He was not invested in keeping Daniel pure, alone and messing with his TV remote. Not in any way.

“I’m not the one who’s repressed,” Daniel said sweetly.

“Repressed? I’m not the one blushing like a schoolgirl,” Jack complained loudly to the tent at large.

“You just talk like one.”

“What?” Jack was slightly staggered by this unexpected accusation, but found it difficult to argue that his Buffy addiction was having no effect whatsoever on his vocabulary. He was too busy wigging out because the instant he made eye contact with Daniel, he embarrassed himself totally. His dick did the driving and his fascinated gaze immediately focused at groin height. Daniel went seven shades of red as he unmistakeably rose to the occasion and glared hatefully at Jack.

“We’re fighting the odds, here,” Jack confessed gloomily, unable to suppress a treacherous twitch of interest or tear his eyes away. “How almost was almost?” he asked weakly.

“Excuse me?” Daniel asked, quite bewildered by the lightning change of subject. He wasn’t at his best to start with, given he and Jack were lying there naked, aroused and apparently arguing about doing it. It wasn’t going to happen, whether they wanted it to or not. They were going to hit the ‘it has to be my sleeping bag’ pissing contest stage any minute and since neither of them would give an inch, or going by memory, six or seven…

“You said you’d ‘almost’ been with a guy,” Jack explained impatiently “How almost is almost?” He failed to suppress the slight twinge of jealous rage….er…twingeing through him. Clear through him. He hoisted up and scowled at Daniel, mind churning through the cast of usual suspects for suspicious sparkage. He couldn’t think of anyone Daniel had enough contact with to even approach this whatever-it-was between them, so that meant ‘almost’ was way back when. Before Daniel met Jack. Still didn’t make it in any way acceptable to Jack, but it was liveable. Maybe. Depended what the prick actually did, trying to seduce Daniel like that. He needed more facts before he could plan a proportional response. Like how old Daniel was at the time, something that couldn't be measured in merely chronological years. Daniel was a baby when Jack met him. He gritted his teeth on a burst of protective rage. Shit! Some pervert put the moves on Daniel when he was a kid? In college? Bastard!

“Jack?”

“Yeah, Daniel?” Jack responded to Daniel’s anxiety automatically, glancing across to where Daniel was propped on his elbow, facing him. Open mouthed. Bad image. Bad. “What?” he asked blankly, trying to get his mind off Daniel’s mouth.

“You’ve got that ‘he needs killin’ look on your face. Get over it. I can take care of myself, you know. I always could,” Daniel sniffed.

Jack stared at Daniel through narrowed eyes. Daniel could take care of himself on some levels, he had to acknowledge that. It was just that he also knew he could take care of Daniel better.

“I don’t know why you’re so shocked,” Daniel went on the offensive, disliking the knowing gleam in Jack’s eye. “The military is a simmering hot-bed of suppressed homo-eroticism from all reports.” Daniel waited until Jack got up a good head of steam about unspecified know-it-all-know-nothing civilians who weren’t getting enough themselves then took him out at the balls. “And from direct observation,” he observed placidly. The resultant tsunami of prehistoric possessive rage which swept over him was largely incoherent, and contained a number of violently expressed, unwarranted accusations about ‘that prick Davis’ and ‘Jack knew it!’ and some stuff about ‘sparkage’. Daniel grasped the main thrust of Jack’s argument, which was pretty much fuck observation when you could take direct action.

Daniel enjoyed the tirade thoroughly, rode it out unmoved until Jack was dwelling lovingly on the logistics of having the Air Force come up short - violently short - one pissant Pentagon pen-pushing Major and emphatically upped the ante again. “Sorry, Jack, sorry. Have to stop you there,” he apologised meekly. Jack glared at him suspiciously. “I thought you meant Walter Davis,” Daniel murmured dulcetly.

Jack’s jaw dropped gratifyingly and then he went alarmingly still. Even more alarmingly, he got up and stalked arrogantly over to plant himself in front of Daniel, legs braced and hands clenched on hips. “You’ll put my eye out with that thing,” Daniel grumbled, unable to drag his gaze away. He didn’t know what to do, he really didn’t. Jack was staring at him staring right back at Jack, and Jack was getting off on it. Again. His dick was erect and rosy, flushed and filling before Daniel’s eyes.

Daniel was mesmerised. More than anything in the world he just wanted to reach out, wanted to know what would happen. Daniel smiled wryly. He always wanted to know. Needed to know. Almost without his volition, his fingertips brushed Jack’s navel and ghosted down over the firm, furred skin, Jack’s muscles bunching reflexively.

Daniel was aware only of the steady susurration of rain on canvas, the soft gusts of quickening breath, coarse hair crisp against the pads of his fingers, and then the heat of Jack’s dick, velvety and hard, hardening, throbbing as the blood rushed, pulsing beneath his hand as he slid his fingers inquisitively down to the head. Jack gasped harshly, shuddering convulsively but not backing away. Not backing down. No, not Jack. Never.

Fascinated, Daniel stroked in delicate, deliberate circles, expecting yet still shocked to see the slowly beading evidence of his wilful stimulation. Instinctually, he leaned in and swiped his tongue, wanting to taste, to know. Bitter-sweet, cause and effect, for it dropped Jack to his knees, eyes wild, hands gripping Daniel’s shoulders hard enough to bruise. Daniel had to know, and it seemed Jack was with him on that.

“I want to have sex with you.”

“Daniel…“ Jack groaned.

“I want to have sex with you.”

“Dan…“

“I want,” Daniel sang out strongly. “I want,” he murmured, summoning up a smile for his own contradiction of confusion and certainty.

Jack’s eyes softened, warmed, no less intent, too complex for pity, too intense for sympathy. “I don’t do the fuck-buddy thing,” he said simply.

It wasn’t a non sequitur, Jack’s hands were hard at his shoulders urging him down onto his back, and Jack was with him, stretching out at his side, arms slipping under and over him, drawing him in close, enough to be together, obviously so, but not touching. It was curiously comforting, for the context.

“I want – I want you.”

Jack was smiling, ruefully, yes, but it was a real smile, which reached his eyes, still intent on Daniel. “If you’re trying to talk me into orgasm, I gotta tell you, it’s working,” he teased. “But I’m an old fashioned guy, I prefer the more interactive approach.”

His hand slipped between them and curled confidently around Daniel’s straining shaft, Daniel’s turn to shudder convulsively. Jack settled at once into a compelling rhythm, his hand heavy and too hard on Daniel, as strong, sure stroking segued into a soft squeeze and subtle pull at the head. Daniel’s touch on Jack was smooth, luxurious, a complex, languid counterpoint to Jack’s vital, assured motions.

They lay side by side, close, simply holding one another’s gaze, with an arm clasped loosely around the other’s shoulders as they sweated and strained. Jack’s touch on him slowed to smooth, sensuous, encompassing, just as his hand on Jack quickened and strengthened to vigour. No words were needed. They…knew.

Daniel was secure with this small, necessary distance between them. This was enough to know. Jack’s eyes were tender for all the glittering need, his mouth curved in a smile which held no irony. His hand on Daniel was huge, heavy and hard, calluses rasping at Daniel’s sensitised flesh, Jack’s touch gentling all the more to compensate. They each touched the same way, precise, controlled. Different needs, different practice, but they shared the skill regardless, and that too was comforting.

Daniel’s face was burning, mirrored in Jack’s flush. Sweat glistened, gathered and trickled at brow and throat. They were both panting, though they were both still. Daniel grimaced. Excitement more than exertion, obviously so. Jack O’Neill excited Daniel Jackson. Jack would store that gem away to be used against him when he least expected it.

The truth always cut a little, though Jack didn’t seem to care right now, his grip tightening imperatively around Daniel’s shoulders, fingers clenching hard, his leg thrown over Daniel’s, heavy and – possessive? Maybe so. Jack’s hand quickened on Daniel, and Daniel obligingly slowed his on Jack, realising Jack was close and wanted them to come together.

Daniel leaned in and rested his forehead against Jack’s, touched by the way his smile lit and Jack nuzzled back and his hand quickened again and Daniel knew nothing but the need and pleasure shuddering through him, lazy ripples sharpening to aching stabs as he arched soundlessly and came, satisfyingly sweet and slow, spilling into Jack’s waiting hand as Jack’s face twisted around a wrenching groan and his own semen splashed slick and hot over Daniel’s hand.

They stayed as they were, close, edging instinctively closer until they did touch the length of their shaking, sticky, sated selves, settling into an almost easy embrace.

“No,” Jack’s soft murmur eased into the long silence, “I’ve never been with a man.” He looked at Daniel’s wide, slumberous eyes, still pleasure-dazed, puzzling over that now. Jack hadn’t consciously decided to do anything, he’d just gone with his body’s flow and it had taken him to Daniel.

“I’m glad,” Daniel admitted honestly, and Jack’s smile lit again. “The almost wasn’t a good almost,” he offered quietly. “But I can take care of myself.”

Jack’s hand cupped Daniel’s nape and shook him a little. “I know it.” He waited until Daniel relaxed and was ready to launch in with a crack about still being the one to know better when Daniel’s rare, sweet smile punched his heart out. “May I kiss you?” He was embarrassed at his formality, at the grave tone that made something of this simple thing.

“Please,” Daniel invited just as gravely, lifting his face at once to kiss Jack.

Just a brushing of lips and a shared moment to process. Nothing simple about it. Somehow it was more than all that willing hands could accomplish, and Jack knew his instinct not to crowd Daniel had been correct, absolutely. This whatever-it-was, was just as complicated as their friendship, whatever that was. Jack reached in and brushed his mouth against Daniel’s, and Daniel met him and they stayed close, learning this new sensation of being kissed strong and hard by someone who knew what they were doing.

They both knew what they were doing, at least with each other, were doing more with every breath until Daniel moaned and his lips parted and Jack was falling into him with no desire to surface. Maybe ever. Daniel’s arms tightened around him urgently as he flirted his tongue eagerly with Jack’s in a simmering swoon of a kiss that made Jack’s senses swim, and God, he was hard against Daniel’s hip, and Daniel was hard against him, insinuating his thigh between Jack’s and rubbing, and the radio spat static and Carter’s voice was hissing his name.

Forfuckssake!

Jack couldn’t reach the fucking radio without freeing Daniel and though that really wasn’t an option, duty in the form of his 2IC was calling with an insane chirpiness that made him want to smack her. He scrabbled for the radio, cursing, and had to let go, knowing the moment he took his hands off Daniel, Daniel would start to think this through.

Daniel sat up at once, fumbling instinctively for his uniform as Jack answered Sam’s hail, and launched into a SitRep without wasting time on an exchange of pleasantries. He dressed methodically, hands barely shaking, half listening to half a conversation. Something about ropes and cradles and Jack fluently ordering Sam to hold her position until they’d packed the essentials, which was the two of them and the books and a looming argument right there. Jack would send the books first, to test the line to hold their weight. Daniel wanted to go first to test the line to hold the weight of the books. Jack was frowning at him already. He knew. They both knew. This was what they did. Who they were, how they were. It was just the odd dance they always did, always pushing, always needing to know.

“What did we do?” Daniel asked the moment Jack killed the transmission. He hadn’t meant to ask, it just came boiling out. To us, he meant.

“I don’t know,” Jack admitted sombrely, “But I let you switch off the TV,” he added roughly. “Y’know?”

Daniel was wise enough to know that was much, much more than the non sequitur it sounded.
 



Jack glared as Janet Fraiser bore down on him with saline on her mind.

“How could that possibly help?” he snapped. “I have water in my ear already.”

Janet shot him her patented 'trust me or else' look. “The water was filthy and possibly contaminated with animal and other wastes. I want this ear cleaned and I’m giving you a shot of broad spectrum antibiotics to combat any possible infection. Hold still.“

Like a good boy? Jack scowled as she tilted his head and warmth poured into his ear, and then she tilted his head the other way and dear God, all that crap was in his ear?

Jack winced and glanced self-consciously at Daniel, one Infirmary bed over, watching patiently. Jack didn’t think he was a vain man, God knows he hadn’t had anyone at home for long enough to look good for, but getting his ear syringed and all this crap gushing out right in front of a man he’d been seriously kissing not two hours ago was a tad rough on the ego.

The gush dried to a drizzle, then Janet leaned in with her penlight to inspect the damage and take swabs, and then the curtain whooshed shut and Jack had to take it up the ass from something that Janet lied every goddamn time would just be a scratch.

Same old, same old.
 



One bad joke about the rain in Spain was one bad joke too many for Daniel and for General Hammond, so Jack subsided after he gave his threat assessment, which was squat, muttering about a tough room. He slumped in his seat, watching Daniel filling in the general on just what they’d lost on sunny P7R-879 and do his familiar reasoned, reasonable dance for a slot in the schedule to try to get it back. Anybody’s schedule. Any slot.

Hammond was sympathetic just like Jack was sympathetic, but Hammond disappointed Daniel because he had to balance the books and military objectives came first, always, and Jack disappointed Daniel way more than he wanted to because he had to balance Daniel’s life against Daniel’s endless need to know. They both hated to do it, Hammond was doing it now, and they both felt like shit because Daniel nodded tightly and didn’t push it. Daniel had grown familiar with expedience.

Long practice, Jack thought gloomily.

He suppressed an impulse to lean on Hammond on Daniel’s behalf, knowing Daniel would resent it fiercely, knowing it was the worst possible answer to Daniel’s question about what they’d done to their friendship. The truth was, Jack didn’t know what they’d done or what the hell it would mean for them, but his gut told him compromise had to end where their private lives ended. Compromise killed, and it would hurt Daniel, who always cared about motives. Jack held his tongue because he didn’t want Daniel wondering if he’d caved because they’d had their hands on each other. And because he was hoping like hell Daniel would come home with him tonight, and stay.

He was glad he didn’t have time to brood on the why of it. There was just too much going on to wrestle any kind of sense or sanity out of it. The bare truth would make a hell of a mission report though. ‘After engaging in sexual relations with Dr. Jackson, Col. O’Neill’s operational status was compromised while he caught his breath, calmed the hell down and did some serious kissing. Col. O’Neill returned from P7R-879 a practicing homosexual; Dr. Jackson’s orientation remains unknown at this time. Medical addendum: Col. O’Neill was successfully treated to remove crap from his ear. He is however continuing to wig out big time.’

Carter and Teal’c both argued for a return visit to the planet, which softened Daniel a little, Carter gave Hammond chapter and verse on the exciting rescue, yadda yadda, then Hammond blessedly dismissed them for a long weekend. A subtle kindness to Daniel, time to preserve what little he had found before the heavens opened on them. The team walked out side by side, very casual, making for their locker room and the familiar end of shift ritual.

Jack was anything but casual, loping ahead, out of earshot of Carter’s chatter and Daniel’s disappointment, shucking his fatigues and plunging straight into his street clothes. He was ridiculously self-conscious, covered it by slipping back out the door to confer with Carter over her latest pet project, knowing it was a sure thing, she always had a project on the boil, didn’t hear one word in ten as he waited for Daniel to emerge. Just made encouraging noises that put a smile on Carter’s face, and waited to make a pass at Daniel right in front of everyone in the confusion of the changeover to ladies locker room, giving Daniel a graceful out if he wanted to take it.

Jack hoped like hell Daniel wouldn’t take it. Daniel didn’t do casual sex, of that he was certain, and Jack was counting on Daniel realising Jack didn’t either. They’d made love this afternoon, not an easy thing for either of them, and it meant something for both of them. It had to. Jack had accepted his social life had atrophied, there wasn’t the time and he hadn’t the energy to court a stranger. The only person he’d allowed into his private life was Daniel. Maybe Jack was nuts, but he’d worked harder and longer at Daniel Jackson and this friendship thing than he’d ever worked for anything that didn’t come easy in his life. He talked to Daniel, not easily and not well, but that alone was more than he’d been able to give Sara, and that had to mean something too.

Jack didn’t understand a damn thing except he wanted Daniel to come home with him about as much as he’d wanted anything. Daniel being a man was secondary to everything they’d shared and everything they were to each other, the only proof Jack had he hadn’t forgotten how to love, how to commit.

So he waited with Carter who was nothing so much as warm white noise to him, until Daniel and Teal’c emerged, said his goodnights as they chatted, Carter getting ready to go in and the rest of them to go away, and headed off down the hallway. He slowed his steps when he neared the turn, deliberately glancing back to find Daniel watching him, made eye contact for a brief, charged moment, then walked away.

Jack had done all he could not to obligate Daniel, to give him an easy out. Daniel would make his own decision. He always did.
 



Daniel draped his jacket more securely over his arm and knocked firmly, hand still raised when Jack pulled the door open. Jack’s smile was warm, ebulliently welcoming, and Daniel felt all the tension melt away. He wasn’t the only one to have gotten dressed up, so he wasn’t the only one who thought this was a date. Jack looked fabulous in faded, clinging denims, a loose grey-green short-sleeved shirt and bare feet. Daniel had never seen Jack barefoot before. He could only think it was a subtle, deliberate welcome.

“Hey,” Jack said casually, stepping back to let Daniel pass him. He closed the door behind them, followed Daniel down the stairs into the living room, staring Daniel over from head to toe. Then he shrugged ruefully. “Are you going to make me pay forever if I tell you that you look good enough to eat?” he asked wryly. “And don’t tell me those are words you never expected to hear from me, because I know I never expected to say them.” Daniel’s sartorial tastes had definitely improved. The black jeans and tee clung sinfully tight, enough to make the roof of Jack’s mouth go dry.

Daniel flushed but didn’t look away. “I want to stay,” he said clearly. “I won’t sit here all night wondering, Jack.” And worrying. “We’re out of our depth here, but we know each other well enough to be honest.” He took a deep steadying breath, acutely conscious of Jack’s unaccustomed, appropriate solemnity. “I want to make love and I want you to tell me now if you don’t. If you don’t want us to go on. If we stop now, we can get back from this, get back to what we were. Just friends.”

Jack nodded as if he understood, then his hand was firmly cupping Daniel’s nape, drawing him in close for a kiss that was anything but tentative. As kisses went, this one was pretty definite. Emphatic, even. Jack was a serious kisser, refusing to be rushed, his mouth strong against Daniel’s, lips firm and gently massaging as the kiss subtly shifted and their tongues twined.

Daniel was slightly embarrassed by how quickly his arms went around Jack and the soft snuff of laughter against his mouth indicated maybe he was holding on just a tad too tightly. He conscientiously eased up on the chokehold, dropping one hand to rest at Jack’s waist. Jack of course had to outdo him and drop both of his hands to Daniel’s hips, so Daniel slid his hand under the loose shirt and his curiously skimming fingers made Jack shiver.

Daniel was hard, pushing subtly into Jack, excruciatingly aware of an answering, inviting hardness and the lazy stroking of Jack’s thumbs, tracing the shape of his hips through suddenly constricting denim. He was unable to suppress his sigh of disappointment when Jack freed him at last and stepped back. He looked gratifyingly dazed, as dazed as Daniel felt, all smug eyes and Cheshire cat grin. “I brought a bag,” Daniel blurted out.

“I guarantee you won’t need it,” Jack promised softly, “but if it’ll make you feel better, go get it. Toss it on the bed,” he ordered casually, turning away.  "Spread your things around."

Daniel didn’t need to be asked twice. He darted over to the door as Jack headed towards the kitchen muttering something alarming about artists at work, and trotted out to his car. He was hoping he would need the bag. He had a very instructive book and the spoils of a triumphant haul of the drugstore which fulfilled most of the checklist from chapter two. Apparently, there wasn’t much two men could do together that timely and adequate lubrication couldn’t improve on, and Daniel liked to be prepared. Not that he was expecting – they hadn’t even done much in the way of touching, even. Jack might hate – god, he might hate – they might not. Not everyone did. Neither of them was very good at surrender, or even at opening themselves to another person. He’d just have to be patient, hope some day they’d want to be that close. Maybe a day when they’d figured out what the hell they were doing.

Daniel locked his car, struck as he always was by the quiet at Jack’s place. It was probably typical of them that he lived in a loft in the heart of the city when he sought solitude and space, while Jack, who craved company, lived in a big house in the middle of nowhere. Neither of them was particularly good at running from what scared them. Daniel had no doubt they wouldn’t run from this. He turned and headed back up the path, trying not to think about all the ways they could stumble.

“Down the hall,” Jack called cheerfully as Daniel was closing the door behind him. “Pick a drawer, make some room and snoop away.”

Daniel tried to process the smell coming from the kitchen, but only got as far as not burnt before he reached the bedroom door. The bathroom was familiar territory, Jack’s eco-spot, full of spicy colours and cascading greenery in ethnic, ethical earthenware pots that probably cost the Earth. Jack had a lot of those touches in the house, even to simple things like coffee, which was Colombian, ethically grown by a small farmers’ co-operative and shockingly expensive. Same with fruit. Daniel had shopped for Jack odd times, when Jack was injured and wanted him around. Wanted to run him around, from his command post on the couch. Jack liked his fruit ethical too. Dolphin-friendly tuna was a given. Like so many things about his friend, Daniel had just accepted, only wishing Jack’s tolerance of all things ethnic extended to art and artefacts.

The bedroom was just as pared down and male-only as the rest of the house, the furniture the same dark oak, the same parquet floor, the same plants. Every room in the house was painted cream, and visible reminders of the Air Force intruded even here. Daniel dropped his bag down by the bureau and took a good look. There were fish on the walls, big, slightly scary prints. Daniel grinned. Books. Shelves and shelves of books and a large, comfortable reading chair with its own lamp. The chair of a serious reader. The bed sat to the right of the windows which met in the corner of the room, a wall of glass where the early morning sunshine would pool through the Venetian blinds. With an interesting, heavily carved linen chest standing at its foot, the bed was perfect, hospital corners, pillows smoothed, crisp cotton sheet turned down over the comforter, a rich, deep, earthy red. A lamp stood on the bureau, another on the bedside table.

This was the one place in the house to have clutter, to have touches personal to Jack, to show the man he was. The rest of the house only showed what he did. It fascinated Daniel to see that even in his own home, Jack kept up walls, kept a part of himself hidden, to be seen only here in this most personal of spaces. This was where Jack relaxed and was himself, perhaps the only place he could do that. Daniel felt privileged to be allowed in.

His own bedroom was the opposite. It was really the only space in his apartment he didn't wholly inhabit. His focus was elsewhere. It interested him to see that Jack didn't. His comfort level in this room was apparent, it was packed with toys and distractions. In this, as in most things, they were opposites.

Daniel opened the top drawer of the bureau and chuckled. The drawer was fitted out with one of those dividers, so each pair of socks had its place and was in its place. Daniel went straight to the bottom drawer, which instinct told him would be the crap drawer, where all the homeless odds and ends wound up. The drawer was full of crap, neatly boxed, so Daniel re-stacked the boxes and slid his own stuff into the space he cleared. Then he headed over to the closet with his clothes.

It was an odd little game, one which Jack obviously played very well. He was giving Daniel enough of an in to feel at home, subtly making it known he wanted Daniel to stay for the whole weekend, so he shouldn’t be living out of an overnight bag. At the same time, he wasn’t crowding, letting Daniel make his own space here and there, fit in around Jack. It was pleasingly subtle, and very Jack, who threat-assessed life, thinking his way through just as much as Daniel did, generating a reasoned, proportional response to every situation. Jack managed everything and kept his small, necessary distance from everyone.

Except with Daniel. It had taken him a long time to realise he was the only one Jack lost control with, the only one not to be outside those walls, the only one Jack allowed to be everywhere he shouldn’t be instead of in the compartment Jack assigned everyone else in his life. Longer still to begin to wonder why.

Daniel left the interesting stuff in the bag and the bag by the bed. The positioning of the bedside table suggested Jack slept on the right side of the bed, which was helpful. Daniel slept on the left, they should fit. They could fit. This wasn’t his bed, though, and he wasn’t certain it would become theirs. They hadn’t figured out where they were. Speculating on the future seemed presumptuous, maybe even dangerous. He shrugged it off and headed out to the kitchen, where Jack was a one-man culinary explosion in a confined space.

“Oh,” Daniel said weakly, surveying the carnage.

“Chicken,” Jack said, looking wounded. “Home fries and salad.”

“Smells good,” Daniel offered supportively. “Salad?” he asked involuntarily. He couldn’t suppress a grin as Jack looked cagey and refused to meet his eyes. He had no idea why Jack had this obsession over his weight, had a hard time accepting it was insecurity, but if Jack looked in the mirror and didn’t see the strong clean lines of his own body – Daniel shrugged. “Why all the bowls?” he asked carefully. And the pans, spoons, knives, whisks – two whisks?

“Vinaigrette,” Jack said defensively, as if it explained everything.

It did.

“And dessert.”

Daniel filled the sink with suds and methodically cleaned the mess, careful to keep out the artist’s way. He inspected some brown sludge lurking in the bottom of the last bowl. “Mud pie?” he asked weakly.

“Lemon meringue,” Jack corrected absently. He switched off the mixer. “Does this look peaked to you?”

Daniel was wrestling with the sludge, which had set to the approximate consistency of tarmac. “If it’s peaked you can turn it upside down and the mixture will cling to the…“ he heard a wet splat and a vehement curse, “ …spoon.” He turned to find Jack scraping the mixture from the bench back into the bowl.

“You’ve eaten worse,” Jack insisted defiantly as Daniel shook his head in mild disbelief. Jack held the refilled bowl up for inspection. “More of a trough,” he judged sadly. “And no cracks about peaking too soon,” he warned as he fired up the mixer again and whisked the mixture within an inch of its lives. He tested it on the back of a spoon this time and then spooned it on top of the lemon. Daniel wandered over and stood beside him as he first smoothed then peaked the meringue. “Pie,” he shrugged.

“Worth the effort,” Daniel said firmly.

They got busy, Daniel tossing the salad while Jack transported beer and warmed bread rolls to the table. Then Jack lifted out the chicken, which had been flash-fried then poached in white wine, herbs and garlic, and the home fries were huge and golden. Daniel had mixed feelings about the vinaigrette, which reminded him forcibly of the still soaking sludge bowl, and looked a little peaked all round to him, but he said nothing as Jack respectfully slid the pie into the oven.

“We – I had that in Barcelona,” Jack observed chattily of the vinaigrette as they headed out to the dining room with the plates. “At a street café. People spread it on bread. I asked how they made it.”

“It looks great,” Daniel lied without a tremor, gamely overlooking the fact you generally poured vinaigrette. He was touched by the effort Jack had gone to. His visits here were usually punctuated by beer, take out and arguments. Bare feet and lemon meringue pie were concrete signs of sea-change, unlooked for, but not unwelcome.

Daniel was about to slip into his chair, took in the warmth of that easy half-smile Jack had been wearing since he’d opened the door, and excused himself for a moment. He headed off into Jack’s bedroom, kicked off his own shoes and padded back barefoot. Good call. Jack’s smile lit and Daniel smiled back and let himself relax into it.

They were both awkward, neither really comfortable with the other or the situation, but they were both trying. Still thinking their way through this. Daniel sliced into his chicken breast and tasted cautiously. “It’s good,” he praised, a little surprised. The meat was tender and the wine gave it the requisite oomph.

Jack grinned. “I’m a leg man myself.”

“I noticed,” Daniel teased, feeling a little breathless as Jack’s eyes darkened and the smile went wolfish on him. Being together took work, but it always had. Their friendship was effort, allowances, compromises. Worth it, well worth it, or they’d have given up long since. Making love had been the easiest thing they’d ever done, they’d flowed together, found and held a near-perfect balance.

“I don’t think we were just friends,” Jack announced suddenly. “I’ve been thinking,” he added self-consciously, at Daniel’s surprised look. “It happens to the best of us.”

“Tell me you stopped thinking and I’d be surprised,” Daniel said dryly.

“I did this afternoon,” Jack answered seriously. “Pushing your buttons was the last conscious decision I made in that tent. Everything else, I just went with the flow.” Jack noted Daniel’s jerk of recognition with quiet satisfaction “I still can’t get over how easy it was, you know? We should have been wigging out, two straight guys, colleagues, friends, just getting down and dirty out of the blue without a second’s thought or a moment’s hesitation. Just a minor pissing contest about who was scoping whose ass first, which was so…“

“Us,” Daniel supplied, chuckling as he tested out the fries under Jack’s complacent eye.

“You haven’t tried the vinaigrette,” Jack prompted.

“I don’t plan to,” Daniel admitted, grinning.

“Selfish bastard,” Jack grumbled amiably.

“You know it.”

“My point is, maybe this afternoon was right and the rest of it was, not wrong exactly, but – “ Jack looked to Daniel for help.

“Off-balance.”

“We’re both mutts,” Jack said solemnly.

“We just didn’t know it.”

Jack had difficulty meeting the candid gaze. “I’ve had my moments,” he muttered uneasily. Protectiveness was treading a fine line with homicidal jealousy in his case.

Daniel bit his lip and gave a quick nod. “Me too. And I did start looking first.”

“I was looking in the wrong place,” Jack admitted dryly, not missing Daniel’s thinning lips. “Enough said. All this talk is giving me a headache. Eat.”

They ate slowly, drank expensive imported beer, talking amiably of nothing in particular until Jack emerged with coffee and pie and they wandered out onto the deck to enjoy the last of the warm evening sunshine filtering through the trees.

Daniel slumped in his chair and stretched his feet out to balance on the rail, coffee safely clasped and resting on his chest within sipping distance. He took in the high fence, the hedge, the enveloping trees and let his curiosity take him.

“Security or privacy?” he asked.

“Both. The fence won’t stop anyone who needs to get in, but it’s high enough to be obvious,” Jack explained fluently. “I’ll see or hear anyone coming that way if I’m around. And I like to do yardwork nude,” he added straight faced.

“I noticed,” Daniel muttered absently. “Lovely…“ his hand described a perfect butt in the air, “...beds,” he added innocently, hiding his grin in the coffee as Jack’s face fell. Sucker. Daniel ate two pieces of pie, savoured his coffee and settled into an easy silence with Jack, something they could manage after four years, watching the sky streak and blaze with intense bursts of colour.

Eventually he realised Jack was watching him, eyes roaming restlessly the length of his body, and his own heart thudded. He’d declared his intentions boldly enough when he arrived, told Jack he wanted to make love, but he was shocked that a look from Jack was enough to set his pulse racing, to slam the blood down and get him hard. Just a look.

In celibacy he’d forgotten the intensity of connection.

He glanced at Jack again, and jumped up restlessly, striding out into the garden, away, into the trees at the lawn’s edge, the too-long grass whispering coolly over his feet. Walking off into the bedroom was too deliberate to be right. He wanted that wordless flow of arousal and balance and Jack was there.

Daniel turned and Jack closed the distance between them, Daniel stretching up and kissing Jack hard, harder, his hands poised awkwardly behind him until Jack opened to him and arms came around him and weight took him down into the long grass in a tangle of limbs and clashing mouths and shaking need. He was tearing at Jack’s clothes, battling against Jack’s hands on his until they found their balance and worked together, Daniel yanking off his T-shirt as Jack fumbled at his jeans, freeing his throbbing dick to the heat and chill of Jack and the setting sun.

He clumsily unbuttoned Jack’s shirt and shoved it backwards, cursing at the buttons on Jack’s jeans, cursing viciously at their tightness as he clawed them free and down. He kicked the jeans impatiently clear of them and threw his weight at Jack, tumbling him down onto his back, then he was on him, snarling with need, and God, Jack was so fine and so strong, what the hell was he worried about? He was lean, sleek muscle and breadth of bone, practiced hands and moist, silken welcome.

Warmth.

Warmth wrapping around Daniel, taking the edge of this wild, wild ride, gentling the fierce coupling to a rhythm no less intense and infinitely more satisfying. Jack sucking eagerly at Daniel’s passionately reaming tongue, arching powerfully into every thrust of Daniel’s body against his, hissing encouragement, hooking one leg over Daniel’s butt, heavy, holding, unmistakeably possessive, hands everywhere as Daniel drove relentlessly into him, into his waiting, wanting warmth.

Loving this way was too rough, too perfect. Grinding his dick into Jack’s shouldn’t be enough to electrify, to have his body thrum with power and pure aching pleasure, sharp, clean and quickening, God, he was shot right through and stilling, clenching and coming hard all over Jack, sobbing for air and respite in Jack’s willing mouth, eyes wide open as Jack’s face twisted and he came with that wrenching groan.

They clung together, shivering as their bodies cooled everywhere they didn’t touch, hands soothing and quietly inquisitive.

“Dr. Jackson and Mr. Hyde,” Jack complained to the garden.

Daniel grimaced, embarrassed, and Jack laughed.

“Is this a good time to point out my ass is in the ivy?” Jack joked jovially. “My bare ass? The ass you’ve been grinding into – mmmph.” Jack eagerly returned Daniel’s rapidly deepening kiss. Mmmission accomplished. Jack let his fingers stroke up into Daniel’s hair and make themselves at home. He felt a little sappy, but with Daniel doing his damndest to suck Jack’s tongue clean out of his mouth, he figured he could get away with it for a little while longer. God knows he was curious. They were coming up short on foreplay, but the end results – oh, Momma. Four years. Four years. His body hurt but good in a way he could hardly remember, in fact, he couldn’t remember ever letting go like that with a woman.

Daniel surfaced from the kiss, face burning as the blood rushed down. Jack looked as disconcerted as he’d ever seen him. “Sorry,” Daniel said apologetically as he got hard all over again.

“Mutt,” Jack accused, hoping like hell Daniel didn’t realise how flattered he was, and wondering how he could accommodate…

“Damn!”

“Hmm?”

“I’m sorry. Really.” Daniel apologised earnestly, wriggling free of Jack’s comprehensive embrace. “I thought you were kidding about the ivy!”

“I was,” Jack frowned up at him.

“Leaves of three, Jack, leaves of three,” Daniel said solemnly. “You just didn’t let them be.” He got the hell out of the way as Jack howled and bolted.

Daniel decided discretion was no fun whatsoever and scrambled to snatch up his glasses, which he couldn’t remember taking off, and the clothes, and followed as Jack scrambled madly for the house and, presumably, the calamine lotion. “Ah, the rashness of sex in a garden,” Daniel called from the deck as Jack accelerated up the few stairs and around the corner to the bathroom.

“Fuck you!” Jack hollered.

“In your dreams, Blister Butt.”

“You’ll get yours, Plant Boy.”

“Already did, thanks,” Daniel said cheerfully as he hurled the clothes onto the couch. It was a little too much, too soon, to be naked, so he slid on his shirt, did up a button or two, and ambled into the bathroom in Jack's wake. The faucets were full on and Daniel sat himself in the obvious place to watch proceedings and assist. “No calamine?” he oozed sympathy as Jack’s frenzied search of the medicine cabinet revealed nothing. “How romantic. You. Me. The soft light of a new moon. The ice pack.”

“Baking soda,” Jack ordered coldly. “Kitchen. Cupboard under the sink. Now.”

“It annoys the crap out of me when you’re masterful,” Daniel said pleasantly, but he went regardless. He kind of had a vested interest in the ongoing health of the butt in question. He and the butt had plans for the weekend. He unearthed the baking soda and the calamine, together, which implied…oh, dear. Oh dear, oh dear.

Daniel strolled back into the bathroom grinning fiendishly, waving his spoils. Jack nearly knocked him on his ass in his haste to get the soda in the water and his butt in right behind it.

“So-o,” Daniel drawled, parking himself again. “You did do the entire Special Ops training programme, didn’t you? Didn’t miss any bits?” he asked anxiously. “I have to admit, I’m a little shaken here. My life is in those hands and your supposedly finely honed survival skills would embarrass the average Brownie.”

“I’m going to kill you,” Jack promised faithfully. “I'm going to drown you in this very tub the moment I’m out of it.”

“You can’t. You need me to rub in the lotion.”

“Ah, kiss my ass!” Jack snarled.

“I plan to.”
 



“This is weird,” Daniel complained, wriggling all of two inches before Jack’s grip tightened and hauled him back. Daniel ignored a lot of provocatively complacent sighing against the back of his neck, and yes, there they were, Jack’s fingers back in his hair, right on schedule.

Jack leaned in and rubbed Daniel’s arm gently. “Being in bed with a man? I know. It’s a kicker.”

“Personally, I’m holding on to the fact we’re both needy and desperate or we wouldn’t be doing this,” Daniel informed Jack solemnly.

“I never expected to wind up with an on-campus boyfriend myself,” Jack agreed gloomily. “Let alone Mr. Test Scores.”

“I’ve just been insulted, right?” Daniel politely sought clarification.

“Technically, twice,” Jack confirmed. “And I should have warned you I was a hugger.”

Daniel shifted and rolled to face Jack. “I’m not used to this. I haven’t shared my bed in so long I’ve forgotten how. I can handle the sex.” He flushed a little. “I love the sex,” he amended self-consciously, “but this…“ he rested his palm on Jack’s chest, dimly noting the dusting of fine hairs, “…us, together like this. I just don’t know.” When Jack reached cautiously for his hand, Daniel let him take it. They were - they were lovers now and he knew it was unfair to make Jack feel guilty about showing the affection they’d always shared as friends.

“I don’t just want this to be about the sex, however great it is,” Jack said quietly. “I’ve had this house for five years and you’re the first person who hasn’t slept on my couch. As a matter of fact, you’re the only person who’s slept on my couch. I separated the military from my life, Daniel, it was a deliberate choice. I learned there was nothing I could talk about at home, nothing I wanted Sara to know. I learned." He fell silent, not wanting to get into whatever this was, and then he smiled. "You’re the only one to blur those lines.”

Daniel turned his hand and twined his fingers through Jack’s. “You want me around.” It wasn’t a question.

“I want you around,” Jack said steadily. How needy and desperate was that? “I might even upgrade you to be my person blanky.”

“God gave us DVD and Buffy’s what you make of it,” Daniel sighed.

“Special boy,” Jack grinned, stroking his hand down Daniel’s back, making him shiver and hitch a little closer.

“You only want me to perform lewd and lascivious acts with the calamine lotion,” Daniel accused amiably.

“Five by five.”

Daniel took in the widening Wolfman Jack smile. “That wasn’t an offer,” he said tartly.

“Prick-tease.”
 



Daniel surfaced slowly from sleep to find himself in a hot, sweaty tangle with Jack, skin sliding over skin, hormones surging. He took a deep, shaken breath, glad to be alive for the first time in so long he'd forgotten what it felt like. Jack's heartbeat was steady and lulling beneath his cheek, loosely clasped arms warm against his back.

He lifted his head a little to look at Jack. Stare. He'd seen Jack sleep before, but not like this. Not with his face slack and easy. Not comfortable. Here in Jack's most private space, the trust of it shook him.

Somehow he couldn't see either of them blurting out Hallmark sentiments. He and Jack knew each other too well for that. They knew the best and the worst, brought out both those things in the other at times. It never seemed to matter all that much.

They could be in adamant opposition, Daniel resisting Jack's harsh, hurting words…for all the difficulties, the conflict, the occasional antagonism, they were there for each other. Nothing changed that. They would always find a way to reach common ground.

Always.

They always came together in the end.

Daniel would go crazy if he believed in fate. He wouldn't accept that he and Jack coming together like this was meant to be. He did feel it was right. The feeling was there, deep and filling him; a quiet content, an easing he'd needed too long. Jack felt the rightness of it too. They couldn't be this close, take this path if it wasn't real for both of them.

He smiled a little, brushing his lips over Jack's warm skin, feeling him stir.

"Hey," Jack said softly. "Looking for some action?" he asked hopefully, wide awake and moving before Daniel could answer him. He heaved up and rolled Daniel beneath him, pinning him easily to the bed, smirking as Daniel's dick filled against his. He gave his hips a wickedly hopeful little shimmy. "Me too."

"Are you freaked?" Daniel asked seriously.

"Completely," Jack said lightly. "I'm sticking with feeling. Feeling is easy. All kinds of feeling." He rocked luxuriously into Daniel, pleasurably jolting the strong, supple body beneath his. "Thinking makes my brain bleed."

"I don't want to think either," Daniel admitted, his fingers clenching hard on Jack's taut ass.

"You can't stop."

Daniel looked up at him seriously. "Make me," he invited softly, smiling as Jack's lazy smile turned feral beneath the tender eyes and they came together in a kiss.

They always found their way, they always came together. It was just how things were for them. How they had to be. Maybe they were choosing to be together, maybe they were bound to be. It didn't really matter.

They had trust and that was all they needed to know.

FINIS

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