|Slash:||Jack and Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves sex.|
|Category:||Angst. Drama. Hurt/Comfort.|
|Season/Spoilers:||Season 4. No particular spoilers.|
|Synopsis:||An off-world crisis makes someone think seriously about the costs of patience.|
|Warnings:||Contains some graphic scenes.|
Well, it wasn't exactly exciting, but at least no one was shooting at them.
O'Neill drifted from his oasis of brightness, glancing briefly over the shoulders of his pair of scientists, and sparing a look for Teal'c, who was examining some detail of the rock wall deeper in the cave. Carter was in the process of sealing up yet another of her little glass bottles, reciting its wonderfully fascinating description for Daniel, who dutifully transcribed her words onto a sticky white label. Presumably he knew how to spell whatever it was she was saying; sometimes Jack thought she just made the words up out of thin air. He was sure that some of what was coming out of her mouth was contained in no dictionary on Earth.
"That's the last vial, Sam." Daniel was busily shuffling the little cylinders of glass around in their custom built (and probably ridiculously expensive) case, sliding the final bottle into the perfectly fitting slot he created.
"Okay, well, I think we've got enough here. This looks pretty promising; I'm pretty sure there's a fairly decent concentration of naquadah ore running through here."
"So, can we go?" Naquadah or not, standing (or pacing) guard while Carter and Daniel grubbed around in the dirt was not exactly stimulating; Jack could hear the showers back at the mountain whispering his name.
"Major Carter!" Teal'c's deep voice echoed impressively within the vault of the cave. "I believe there is more evidence of the ore you seek in these walls."
Carter stood and arched her back in relief. Keeping her feet planted, she twisted around to peer into the depths of the chamber, still stretching. "Look worthwhile?"
"Indeed. This appears to be darker than the deposits you have been examining. Also, the vein is deeper."
"Okay, let me take a look." Gathering her field records, she moved to the Jaffa's side, examining the portion of wall illuminated by his flashlight.
"Sam, the case is full; there aren't any more sample vials."
"This looks pretty significant, Daniel. I think we'd better sample it."
"Can't you just, you know, dump out some of the thingies you've already filled to make room for more samples? Or I could give you my hanky; you could just wrap some up."
She gave him a mock scolding look. "No, Sir, as you know perfectly well. If we dump any of the used vials, they'll still be contaminated by the discarded samples. And I don't think we need to deprive you of your handkerchief."
"Yeah, I suppose you're right. Daniel might need to borrow it to blow his nose."
"Jaaack." Daniel's long-suffering admonition teased a grin onto O'Neill's mouth. He'd fulfilled his duty by giving Daniel as much grief as possible about the unusual degree of allergy trouble he'd suffered in the dusty environs of the cave. The sneezing and sniffling were pretty uncharacteristic these days. He'd seemed to have pretty well beaten his life-long affliction into submission, with the help of Doc Fraiser's magic drugs. Ah, well. Occasional backsliding couldn't really be held against him.
"There's another sample case back on the MALP. If you think we should sample Teal'c's deposit, I'll be glad to go get it."
Damn. Nipped at the post. He'd meant to offer. One look at the slightly smug eagerness on Daniel's face told him that the archaeologist had the same ulterior motive he did-an hour or so out of the cave in the bright sunshine.
Carter was silent for a moment, running her fingers across the promising rock formation.
"Okay; thanks, Daniel. I really think we need to sample this. Actually just bring back a half dozen or so vials; a few samples should show the geologists what we've got here. I'll do the descriptions and plan where I want to sample while you're gone; we should be able to take the actual samples quickly enough that the colonel can get to that shower he's been daydreaming about only an hour or so late."
"Hey!" Jack scowled. Daniel's quiet choke of laughter and the upward inflection of Teal'c's mouth advertised how transparent he was to his team. "A bit of respect here!"
Carter grinned and turned back to her rock wall, conferring quietly with Teal'c. Daniel stood and stretched, then moved into the light from the cave entrance. Jack's breath caught for a moment; he made no effort to resist the urge to follow the other man out into the sunshine, catch his sleeve, and pull him to the side, out of the line of sight from the interior.
"Jack!" Daniel whispered. "Not here!"
"Just for a moment; god, you have no idea how beautiful you were in that beam of light!" Trapping Daniel against the cliff side, he ducked close to steal a tiny kiss.
"We agreed, Jack! Two days, and you've already forgotten?"
Jack buried his face in the curve of a shoulder, muffling his small laugh against the side of Daniel's neck. "You are just way too irresistible."
Daniel's firm push forced him a few inches back. Long fingers brushed gently over his cheek. For a moment, the two just smiled at each other-then Daniel shoved against his chest a second time, separating them.
"You're kind of irresistible at times yourself, but not here. Now go back in there and watch over Sam and Teal'c while I go get those vials. Every moment's delay is another minute longer before we make it back to your place, right?" Despite the firmness of his words, Daniel's mouth pouted a bit with regret.
Jack could feel the pout on his own lips. He watched as Daniel jogged off toward the Stargate, admiring the prize he'd finally had the guts to go after. Then, sighing, he turned back to the cave.
Jack again leaned against the side of the cave's entrance. The soft voices-alto and bass-lulled him into drowsiness. Absently, he tried to estimate the time required for Daniel's trip. Maybe twenty minutes to jog to the 'Gate, another five to scuffle around, locating and extracting a few of the little glass bottles. Another few moments to grab a cool drink from the big thermos of water they carried on the MALP; maybe he'd snatch a moment or two to wash the grime off his face and out of his suffering nose. Then another twenty minutes to trot back to the cave. Daniel was conscientious; pleasant as it was to be out of the cave, he wouldn't tarry.
Jack felt his lips curve upward at the mental image of those rivulets of water running down the planes of Daniel's face, diverting over those perfect cheekbones. The weekend had barely offered enough time for them to make a beginning; he was absurdly eager to explore the possibilities of what they'd created. He found himself looking for workable schemes to manage some private shower time with his archaeologist, once they got back through the gate. Must be some errand Teal'c just had to take care of immediately. Could Daniel be tempted to risk a bit of cuddling in the SGC locker room?
Yawning happily and laughing slightly at his adolescent daydreams, he turned back into the cave's interior, drifting toward the pair communing in the nether regions of the vault.
Abruptly, his languor evaporated. What the hell was that? A sort of tension in the air; still, but shivery.
"Sir? Did you...?"
"Yeah, Carter. Any idea what..."
He broke off as dust and grit began to drift down from overhead.
"O'Neill! Leave the cave! Quickly!"
Teal'c's shouted warning coincided with that most betraying of natural phenomena. Earthquake!
The floor of the cave shifted beneath his feet, throwing him to the ground. Desperately, he lurched back to his feet, twisting around to check the status of his team. He was just in time to see Teal'c literally heave Carter off her feet and bodily throw her away from the disintegrating cave wall. Her outraged cry was supported by the inimitable groan of shifting, grinding rock.
Desperately, he reached for Carter, as the tumbling grit graduated to full fledged rocks. His own fierce shouts blended with the planet's agonized moans; shrill pain assaulted his arm; rocks pelted him in a hundred places.
Then silence. Darkness. Sharp pain in his arm, then his head... and oblivion.
The small, tinny voice was annoyingly persistent.
"Jack! Jack! Can you hear me? Oh, god! Jack! Sam! Teal'c!"
"Sh'ddup. 'M sleeping."
"Jack!" Something that sounded suspiciously like a sob. "Please, Jack! Answer me! You have to be alive!"
Alive? Of course he was alive. Nobody could hurt this much and not be alive. Who the hell was gnawing on his arm?
Cautiously, he tested various parts of his body. Pretty much everything seemed to work, other than his right arm. It was very unhappy about his attempt to move it. Broken, somewhere between the wrist and elbow. Ah, shit. That was his channel switching hand.
The voice was still begging for his attention. Radio.
He groped left-handed for the device on his shoulder.
"Hey, Daniel?" The weak scratchiness of his voice surprised him.
"Jack? Jack! Are you Okay?"
"Sam and Teal'c?"
"Haven't checked; hold on a bit."
Grunting at the discomfort, he rolled onto his left hip, cradling his complaining arm close to his body. A painful heave, and he had achieved a shaky vertical.
His flashlight was still tucked in its pocket on his vest. Awkward with his left hand, he fumbled it out and turned it on. Ah, damn. Carter lay unmoving against the front wall of the cave; the mouth of the chamber was completely occluded with rock and rubble.
But worst-Teal'c lay unconscious and half buried by the debris from that blasted naquadah-filled wall.
What the hell was he going to do about this?
"We got us some trouble here. Carter's out cold; Teal'c's bottom half is under a mountain of rock; and the rock fall has blocked off the entrance to the cave. Oh, and I'm about 95% sure that my right arm is broken. Yow! Make that pretty much 100% sure."
"I know that. I mean about the cave; not your arm. I'm right outside. Oh, god, Jack! What do we do?" Daniel's voice was high with incipient panic.
"First, we take a couple of deep breaths and calm down. Let me check these two out. You think about what we can do to clear that crap away so we can get out of this blasted cave. From the look in here, the rubble isn't too deep."
"From this side, I see a lot of dirt and debris, and a couple of really big boulders. I've been digging, but I haven't really made any impact. Jack, I can never move them!"
"I don't think we can dig out from this side, either. Especially if it's just one-armed me."
"Just calm down, Daniel. Let me see what the story is for Sam and Teal'c."
Still nursing his painful right arm, he scooted on his butt to Carter's side. Gently, awkwardly, he felt and prodded over her arms, legs and ribs. Careful exploration detected a bloody knot on the back right side of her head, probably more Teal'c's fault than the quake's. That was the only obvious damage he could find, but he had no way to check for possible neck or back injuries, or for internal damage. He brushed as much of the debris and dust as he could off of her face, then repeated his scooting maneuver to get to Teal'c.
This looked serious. From the lower chest down, and including his left arm, the Jaffa's body was trapped under a splintered slab of rock. He was unconscious, probably as a result of whatever had created that lump on his forehead, and his breathing was labored and shallow. It was impossible to tell how seriously he was injured, and the fact that the trapped part of his body included his belly, containing the Goa'uld larva which should be busily repairing whatever damage he'd suffered, suggested a potentially disastrous situation.
"Jack? Are you still there?"
"Sorry, Daniel. This really doesn't look so good. Teal'c is trapped under a big honkin' rock, and I haven't the vaguest idea about how to get him free."
"Jack... I've got a kind of idea. I need to go back to the 'Gate. If I can, I'll contact the SGC and ask for help. Please be careful-there could be aftershocks."
"Oh, now there's a cheerful thought. You be careful, too, Daniel. Being out in the open isn't any kind of guarantee of safety in a quake."
There was a small moment of silence.
"I love you, Jack." Whispered.
"You, too, Danny."
Stirring behind him brought his attention back to his Major. She moaned, then muttered irritably, brow furrowing in annoyance. Annoyance? Well, probably a fairly appropriate attitude, come to think of it.
"Carter? You back with us?"
More muttering. A hand flopped up to smack against her head.
"Rock. Gravity. Ouch."
"Quake. Take it real slow and easy, but check out your various arms and legs, Okay? I didn't find any real damage other than that egg on the back of your head, but you can tell better than I can."
She carefully tested out movement and feeling in her extremities, then puffed a big sigh of relief.
"Doesn't seem to be any serious damage, Sir. Other than the two ton woodpecker trying to escape from my head."
"Okay, let's see if we can get you vertical. We've got ourselves a big problem here, and I could use a bit of help."
With his left-handed help, she began to lever herself to a sitting position.
"Whoa!" Her face lost the little color it had managed to retain, and she lowered her head back to the floor. "Room's spinning!"
"Uh... yeah... I... I think..." Her voice faded as she slipped back into unconsciousness.
Damn. So the head injury was pretty bad. Probably a bad concussion at the least. Damn, damn.
Carefully, painfully, O'Neill eased himself out of his dusty jacket. For a moment, he indulged in the comfort of rocking himself, clutching the injured arm close. That had hurt like hell.
Forcing himself back to the task at hand, he clumsily folded the jacket into a roll, then did his best to tuck it around Carter's head, hoping that it would keep her from shifting around unnecessarily.
Then, maneuvering painfully around the several boulder-sized chunks of rock the cave floor had acquired, he shuffled back over to Teal'c, trying to assess the possibilities. A quick check revealed the welcome news that he was still alive-pulse was strong, though to Jack it seemed to be galloping pretty fast. But his breathing bothered Jack. It sounded like he was working hard for every cubic inch of air.
However, it really did look like the major problem was that one big rock slab. There didn't even seem to be an overwhelming amount of smaller debris complicating matters. But there was no way he was going to be able to shift that rock.
Discouraged, he rolled back over to lean gingerly against the wall between his two silent teammates. Not good.
A small sound beside him pulled O'Neill out of his unproductive reverie. Teal'c. Good. He was getting nowhere on his own; maybe the Jaffa would have some useful suggestions.
Gently, he tapped the other man's cheek. "Teal'c? You in there?"
"I am indeed, O'Neill. Though at this moment, I could prefer otherwise."
Teal'c rolled his head toward Jack, dark eyes glistening in the oblique glow of the flashlight.
"Major Carter?" His voice was uncharacteristically breathy.
Jack swiveled the torch around to reveal Carter's still supine body. She'd done a bit more muttering, half surfacing once or twice, but hadn't really regained consciousness again.
"She's got a heck of a whack on the head; I think a pretty bad concussion, maybe worse. But I think that's all. Thanks to you. She'd be right under all this junk if you hadn't tossed her away from the back of the cave. Of course, she might just wish you'd missed the wall."
He swept the flashlight along Teal'c's own trapped body.
"We've got ourselves another problem here. Can you tell whether you're seriously hurt anywhere under that rock? Can you feel all of your toes?"
"I am in some pain, but I do not believe I am significantly injured. Though I am trapped, the rock is not resting entirely upon my body."
"Your breathing doesn't sound too great."
"Yes... That is a problem. I am aware of some compression of my chest; it is difficult to draw breath."
"Ah... Not good?"
"I do not believe the symbiote is seriously damaged, but it is very agitated, and there is some pressure on the womb."
"Damn. I'll be honest, Teal'c. I haven't got any idea how to shift that slab of rock-especially without allowing it to drop right down on you once we get it dislodged. I guess wriggling yourself out isn't an option?"
"Unfortunately not. I appear to be securely wedged. O'Neill, you must return to the Stargate with Major Carter. Perhaps equipment can be brought from the SGC. But you must not delay; her injuries could be very serious."
"Ah... well, yeah, but there's a bit of a problem there. The cave entrance is blocked. Daniel's gone back to the 'Gate to see if he can get help. So for now, I guess we just twiddle our thumbs."
"Twiddle? I am not familiar with this activity."
Jack examined the dark face suspiciously; Teal'c's developing sense of humor had caught him out more than once.
"Then I guess I'm just gonna have to teach you how to do it, big guy. We have just about enough equipment to manage-I've got one arm in working order, and you've got one that isn't buried under a rockslide. That's two between us; that's enough."
Teal'c's smile told him that they were sharing a joke; it helped.
The dense stillness of the cave was oppressive. He'd turned off the flashlight to conserve the batteries. Carter's was available, but Teal'c's was probably a little metal and glass pancake. And he had no idea how long they would be confined in the dark.
Teal'c was still conscious and alert, though his breathing hadn't improved. Carter had begun to show real signs of rejoining the party. But it was still dark and depressing. And since they'd left the medical packs on the MALP-after all, the 'Gate was only a few minutes away-he didn't even have a couple of aspirin to subdue the biting pain in his forearm.
Not even the periodic small aftershocks had distracted him enough to keep his mind from obsessing on the probability that he'd end his life in a lightless hole in the ground. And without even the pleasure of Daniel's company to cheer him up.
Shit! Now that was a nasty thought. What was he doing, wishing this slow, agonizing death on Daniel?
Speak of the devil... The click of the radio provided welcome diversion from his morbid thoughts.
"Daniel! Nice to hear from you."
A tiny metallic chuckle tickled his ear. "Did you miss me?"
"Nah. Got Carter and Teal'c here to provide scintillating conversation, don't I? 'Course, Carter hasn't been exactly on top of things, but Teal'c has been doing his best to take up the slack."
"Yeah. Has unexpected talents as a conversationalist. So what's the story, Danny? You bringing help?"
For a moment, there was no reply.
"No. I contacted the SGC, but the quake seems to have shifted the gate or the DHD-I couldn't really tell. The wormhole wouldn't really stabilize-we had a very strange attempt at a conversation. I did manage to let them know what the situation is, but when they reestablished the wormhole from their end and tried to send equipment through, most of it didn't make it. There's no way they can risk sending a person through."
"So... Supposing we can actually get out of this hole in the ground, we've got another problem getting home, right?"
"I've been sort of trying not to think about that. I really do think I can get you out of the cave. Then maybe Sam can figure out how to fix the problem with the 'Gate."
Just how was he figuring to manage that? "Okay, one impossible task at a time; I get it. But I'm not sure just how much sense we're going to get out of Carter. She's not really with us just now."
"Damn... I'm on my way back now, but it's going to take a while; I have to go pretty slowly. Hang on, Jack."
"Gotcha, Danny. I'll buy you the best dinner in Colorado if you manage to get us back out in that sunshine. Take care, buddy."
"I'll hold you to that-and we have to go where I want to go, right?"
"You got it." Slowly?
'Slowly' was right. It had been more than an hour since Daniel's call. The Stargate was only 20 minutes' jog away. What the hell was the man doing?
Jack shook his left hand, trying to dispel the stinging of scraped and bruised fingers. He'd been working away at the fall in the cave's mouth, but hadn't made much of an impression. One handed and without any sort of digging implement, he was pretty ineffectual.
Finally! "Hey, Daniel. You take the scenic route?"
"I told you it would take some time. I'm right outside the cave entrance now. You guys still all right?"
"Holding on, but getting pretty damned tired of the dark."
"I hope I can do something about that. Jack, you need to move back from the debris in the cave mouth; I'm going to try to shift one of those big boulders, and there'll probably be some disturbance on your side."
How the hell did he think he could manage that?
"Okay, hang on. I need to move Carter away from the front wall."
He activated the flashlight and found himself gazing into slightly vague blue eyes.
"You compos mentis, Carter?"
"Pretty much, Sir. But I'm kind of afraid to get too adventurous, here."
"Right. Well, I assume you heard Daniel; we need to get you moved back away from that wall. Want to try sitting up again?"
She puffed her cheeks out, exhaling strongly. Then, with his help, she gradually achieved an upright position. Her face twisted for a moment, then relaxed.
"Okay. I think we're Okay."
"All right, now for the hard part. You still with us, big guy? Want some company?"
"Indeed, O'Neill." Teal'c's voice was getting a bit raspy and weak.
"Jack?" The small voice sounded beside his left ear.
"Hang in there, Daniel. We're working on it." Gently, he tilted Carter's head forward enough to feel carefully around the lump. She winced as he pressed carefully. He couldn't detect any movement or feeling of softness. And she did seem to be better. "Right. So how are you at scooting?"
She managed a tiny laugh. Then, leaning against his uninjured side, shoving with her feet, she slowly shifted across the cave floor, finally leaning against the rough wall near Teal'c's head. After a few seconds waiting for the fire in his arm to die, O'Neill crawled back to fetch his jacket, then used it to create a pad behind her shoulders, trying to keep her banged up head from resting too hard against the unyielding wall.
"Hi, Teal'c," she whispered, letting her eyes drift shut, and gingerly leaning back against the cushion of the jacket.
"Greetings, Major Carter. It is good to speak to you."
A faint laugh. "You mean, when I'm making sense, right?"
His lips curved at the corners. "Indeed, though your conversation is always welcome."
"Even when I'm babbling..."
Jack grinned in the dim light. "Especially when you're babbling."
"Oh, thanks, Sir."
"Gotcha, Danny. We're all clear."
"Okay, here goes. Cross your fingers."
For a moment, nothing. Then he felt a low vibration shiver through the rock, and dirt and small debris began to fitfully drift down the blockage at the cave's entrance. He became conscious of a low, grinding noise-a bit like an overstressed snowmobile. The cascade of rocks increased, the source centered in the upper part of the occluding detritus.
The small avalanche increased, then a startling shaft of light from high in the entrance dazzled his eyes. No way could he repress the cry of joy. "Yes!"
Carter's shaky voice echoed his. "Go, Daniel..."
O'Neill tapped the radio. "Hey, Danny! Great work!"
"Stay back, Jack." Daniel didn't bother with the radio, just shouted. "I haven't got it out, yet, and I don't really know which way things are going to fall. Keep out of the way."
"We're fine, Daniel. Just keep on doing whatever it is that you're doing. I'm seeing one hell of an expensive dinner in your near future!"
The overworked engine noise was louder, now. Grinding and rasping, abruptly accompanied by the deep rumbling of large, rolling rocks. The narrow beam of light widened into a full fledged, man sized shaft.
Daniel's triumphant shout was clearly audible. The complaining engine sounds stopped, and a moment later, the light was again partially occluded, this time by a much more welcome barrier.
For a few seconds Jack and Daniel just shared grins of compounded relief and happiness, Jack standing in the grimy dusk of the cave, Daniel lying against the rockfall, head poking through the roundish breach he'd created.
However, more practical concerns needed to be addressed. They were still a long way from dealing with that final difficulty of getting home through an unreliable Stargate.
Daniel wriggled through the small opening, and slid down the remaining slope of debris. Jack grasped him with his good hand, basking in a moment's physical acknowledgement of all of the worst case scenarios he'd been doing his best not to think about. Daniel gave him an awkward, careful hug.
"You okay?" The anxiety of the past few hours echoed in the tension of his voice.
"Now? Oh, yeah. We're nearly out of the soup, here. Care to tell me how you managed this?"
Daniel's self-deprecating little smile curled his mouth. "You mean, after I'd gotten over my attack of ineffectual panic?"
Carter's voice sounded from knee level. "Pretty understandable, under the circumstances, Daniel. I'll confess to a few moments of panic, myself."
"Anyway, I knew I couldn't move those two big rocks, and that it would take days to dig through the small stuff. So I went back to the 'Gate and brought the MALP. I used it to pull one of the boulders away. The only one I could get any purchase on was that high one."
Jack's smile stretched wider. So that's why it had taken so long. The MALP was tough, but would never win any speed competitions. "Nice work, Dr. Jackson."
"I concur, Daniel Jackson. Well done."
"Thanks, Teal'c." Daniel moved past Jack to crouch down next to the trapped man. His forehead creased in concern as he took in the difficulty of the situation. "Wow." He ran his fingers lightly over the offending rock slab. "How tightly trapped are you? No chance of just pulling you out?"
"I appear to be quite securely wedged, Daniel Jackson. And the rock is compressing my abdomen to some degree."
"Hmmm. So trying to pull you out will probably do even more damage. Damn."
"O'Neill, you and Daniel Jackson must return to assess the situation with the Stargate. You will not shift this stone without help."
"Teal'c, that's a last resort. No leaving anyone behind. Let us work on this. Carter's brain seems to be plugged back in, so we should have enough thinking power to work this out."
"No argument, Teal'c. We leave you only when we've run out of other options. For right now, we're going to get Carter out into the sun; but we'll be right back with you."
"You should remove Major Carter from this place-then return to the SGC if possible."
"Teal'c, have I ever told you how much I hate this martyr thing you seem so fond of? Listen carefully-no leaving anyone behind."
They stared each other down for a long moment; finally, Teal'c nodded reluctantly.
"Okay. Now let's see how good we are at scooting uphill, Carter."
Grimy face glistening with perspiration, Carter leaned limply against the cliff face, lifting her closed eyes toward the warmth of the sun. The extraction from the elevated exit had taken a severe toll on her fragile resources. She was dizzy, still a bit disoriented. And in a lot of pain. O'Neill again positioned his folded jacket behind her head as Daniel drizzled water onto Jack's thankfully sample-free handkerchief and wiped some of the dirt away. She opened weary eyes and smiled at them. One-handed, Jack shook out the blanket from the MALP's kit and tucked it around her. His broken arm was now immobilized and strapped close to his body. Didn't stop it from hurting like the blazes, of course.
"You just sit here and sip your daiquiri, Major. We'll be back after we figure out a way to shift a mountain, Okay?"
Carter's gaze dropped momentarily to the cup of water sitting on the ground beside her blanket-covered thigh.
"Seems to be a bit light on the lime, Sir. Not to mention the rum. And I was sure I specified 'on the rocks.'"
He grinned at her. "Guess you'll have to have a little chat with the bartender."
He gently gripped her shoulder for a moment, then stood.
"Okay, Daniel. Show me this miracle you jerry rigged."
He couldn't repress his smile as he looked over Daniel's efforts. Apparently, one of the few things he'd successfully acquired from the SGC was about a mile of tough nylon rope. He'd fashioned a harness out of the rope, wedged it around the boulder, then run the MALP's bulldog engine into the ground levering the rock out of its nest in the dirt and debris. Nice work.
"Well, Daniel. This is a great job; any ideas about dealing with Teal'c's little problem."
"I... I think we may be able to adapt this same setup, Jack. There's enough of that rock slab exposed near his head that we could get the ropes around it. And I've got enough rope that we could pass the harness through into the cave and haul from out here. But since he's underneath, we can't just drag that rock off-we'd kill him. We need to control the movement of the rock-keep it from dropping down on him or dragging across him."
"You could use some of the larger rocks on the cave floor to support the slab-cut down on the chances that the rock would dip lower and crush him."
They turned to look at Carter in surprise. She grinned and waved her 'daiquiri' in salute.
"Good idea, Carter."
"Yeah, but that's only part of the problem. When we move that slab, we need to control just where it moves-we can't just pull it off." Daniel cast his eyes around the edges of the small clearing, flicking over the various damage left by the quake.
"Wait... I've got an idea." He trotted over to the edge of the woods and began to wrestle with a small, uprooted tree. "Jack, can you help with this?"
"Holy... What, Daniel? You want to start a garden?"
Panting, Daniel continued his struggle. "... lever..."
Ah! Light bulb time. Jack moved to lend his questionable help, and finally they had the thing dragged over by the MALP. Then they spent a frustrating hour stripping the branches off as well as they could with their limited equipment. Finally, they had a relatively clean, fairly straight pole.
Once again nursing a scratched and abraded hand, Jack gazed dubiously at their prize. "I don't know, Danny. I don't think this thing is nearly strong enough to lift that rock."
"It doesn't have to be, Jack. We can lift the rock with the MALP and the rope harness; all this has to do is control the slab's movement. I think we can use one of those rocks that dropped onto the floor of the cave as a fulcrum, and just use the lever to direct where the thing moves."
"'Bout time one of these blasted trees did more than just hold up the scenery."
After another check on Carter, Jack followed Daniel back into the cave, slithering through the new entrance and sliding down the slope to the debris-strewn floor. Teal'c was enduring-stressed and sweaty, but hanging on. Of course, he didn't have a lot of choice.
Daniel wedged their two small flashlights into the wall of fallen rock, freeing their hands. As their eyes adjusted, the dim light was sufficient to give them a good look at their working materials. Chunks of rock littered the cave's floor-a wide variety of sizes and shapes. They should be able to find what they wanted. And there were a couple of pretty good sized possibilities for the fulcrum they needed.
Daniel crouched down by Teal'c's head, smiling gently into the other man's carefully controlled face.
"Hi, Teal'c. Sorry we left you for so long."
"Daniel Jackson. You have devised a solution?"
"We think so..."
As Daniel explained their plan, Jack began to use his feet to push some of the medium sized pieces of rock closer to the Jaffa's trapped body. Daniel began wedging the pieces in everywhere he could fit them under the edge of the slab that trapped their friend. They had access only to the outside edge of the rock; hopefully their lever would control the thing enough to prevent the inaccessible part from dropping and crushing him.
"Okay. Best we can do, I think." Jack slumped down on their chosen fulcrum. His arm was biting like a toothache. Idly, he wondered if this was what it felt like to have a root canal without Novocain.
He looked up into concerned blue eyes. From somewhere, he dredged up a smile.
"I'm fine, Daniel. Just running a bit low on the gas, here. And those aspirin aren't exactly really taking the edge off, ya know?"
"Come on-let's get you back out in the sunshine. I can do the rest in here."
His first impulse was to object. He hated to abdicate his control of the operation. But Daniel was right. As the only fully functional member of the team, he was the logical one to finish this job.
Wearily, Jack accepted Daniel's help to gain his feet, then crawled back up to the circle of light and outside. He dropped down to sit next to the opening, as Daniel slid down to the displaced boulder. After a few moments spent untangling and coiling his rope harness, he moved to the MALP. He crouched down, checking the amount of debris under the little workhorse's treads, then used the control to jimmy the vehicle into exactly the position he'd decided he needed.
"Looks good, Danny. Let's get this show on the road, okay?"
Daniel scrambled back up to him, dragging his rope contraption with him.
"You get to drive, Jack." He handed the control device to Jack and grinned. "Can you 'click' left handed?"
Jack smirked at him. "Smartass. Give me that thing."
As the remote was proffered, Jack stole a moment, diverting his reach to cup Daniel's dirty cheek. His expression softened to a proud, affectionate smile.
"You done good, Daniel. Really good."
Color flushed under the smudges on Daniel's face. He turned his head to drop a quick kiss on Jack's palm. Then he pulled Jack's hand away and pressed the device into his grasp.
"Stay up here so you can hear me if things don't go right, Okay?"
"Gotcha. Go to work, Dr. Jackson."
One last exchanged smile, and Daniel disappeared back into the darkness.
Bungee. That was her theory. And today she was collecting a fine body of new evidence in its support.
"Dr. Jackson, we need you to move away so we can set that arm."
Obediently, he moved to lean against the infirmary wall. Slipping into the space he'd vacated, Janet gently examined the appendage in question. O'Neill grinned dopily at her, then continued with his animated telling of the latest installment of the Continuing Adventures of the Intrepid SG-1, much to the amused delight of Feretti, the only other current occupant of the infirmary.
"Worked like a charm! That little machine just chugged away, and... OW-watch it! I'm attached to that! ...Daniel wielded his lever like a PBS demonstration, and... Bingo!..."
Feretti laughed from his bed across the room, clutching his left arm as the shaking of his body awoke his healing shoulder dislocation.
Smiling at the distinctly spacey tale, Janet stepped away to collect the supplies she needed. She turned back and sure enough, there he was again.
"Dr. Jackson, why don't you go check to make sure Teal'c is comfortable."
The Jaffa, once his trapped body had been freed, had turned out to be in reasonably good shape. And of course, the symbiote was now doing its huffy best to repair the bruises and scrapes. He should be up to keeping their clinging archaeologist under control long enough for her to set the colonel's arm.
Dr. Jackson lifted his gaze from the colonel's face to hers, then nodded and again moved to do as he was told. She heard the rumble of Teal'c's deep voice as he attempted to engage the distracted young man in conversation.
"All right, colonel. You're probably not going to like this much..."
Blithely grinning, he kept right on with his narrative. "The trip back to the 'Gate was smooth! We just draped Carter and Teal'c over the MALP... YOW! Hey! What the shit!..."
Janet's glance was mildly scolding. "I did warn you." She beckoned to Anders, standing ready with the plastering kit, then moved over to confer with Dr. Warner, who had been busily assessing Sam Carter's situation.
Anders' gentle voice came from behind her. "I'm sorry, Dr. Jackson. I need to take care of this."
"Okay." Soft reply, and yet another drift to the wall. Oh, yes. Bungee.
"Of course, we did have to pick the two of them up off the ground a couple of times-coupla aftershocks knocked 'em right back onto their keesters. Hey! Do you have to do that?"
"Yes, Colonel O'Neill."
Janet smiled to herself. That stuff had one hell of a kick. The colonel was flying high.
"Dr. Jackson, could you move a bit-I need to check that drip."
"I'm going to nominate that MALP for the SGC Hall of Fame. If we had one. Hey! That's a great idea!" Unwisely, he waved his arm enthusiastically, then yelped. Apparently he was a right-handed arm waver.
"Colonel, you need to hold that still until the plaster sets."
"Now you tell me..." He scowled at Anders, but the drug and the euphoria generated by the relief from the safe resolution of their adventure immediately quashed his annoyance. "Figured we were in for a bad time when we got to the 'Gate-that's really not the sort of thing our hero here is exactly up for fixing..."
"Hey, Danny. You were. A hero." Lovely, gentle voice. Hmmm.
"Dr. Jackson, could you move a bit? Thanks."
Janet smiled as she flashed her favorite penlight into Sam's still dazed eyes. Definitely connected by a very short bungee cord.
"Hey, Sam. How're you doing?"
"Head hurts. Really hurts."
"Yes, I'm guessing you've got yourself a pretty significant concussion, here. We'll know for sure after we look at those pretty pictures we took of the inside of your head. And you're definitely going to be my guest for a day or so. I need to keep an eye on you."
That earned her a big smile. "Suits me."
She grinned at Sam, then turned back to the other members of the team. Sure enough-Dr. Jackson was once again plastered as close to the colonel's side as possible.
"...but when we charged up the 'Gate, Whamo! Perfect connection! 'Bout time something went right."
Sam's tired voice joined O'Neill's. "I figure the 'Gate must have been slightly unseated in that big first quake. Shifted some of the power connections out of alignment. Then one of those aftershocks resettled it. Thank heaven."
"Yeah, our techno-miracle worker over there was definitely not among the entirely 'present,' if you know what I mean. We were pretty sunk if Daniel and I were going to have to fix the Stargate!"
More helpless laughter from Feretti.
With a parting grip on Sam's shoulder, Janet moved back toward the colonel's bed, snagging a chair from along the wall as she passed. She settled it along the left side of O'Neill's bed, close to his head, then gently grasped Dr. Jackson's shoulders, pivoted him around, and pushed him down.
"You can sit here now, Daniel. Let me take a look at your hands."
He looked up at her, biting his lower lip. "Thanks..." His blue eyes were wide and a bit unfocussed.
"You're suffering from a bit of reaction shock, Daniel. You'll be fine."
"Hey, Daniel! This one goes in the record books!" Feretti was still laughing. "How many times does SG-1 come back through that 'Gate with everyone horizontal except Daniel Jackson?"
Dr. Jackson's head ducked down. O'Neill grinned at him and reached his left hand up to ruffle dirty hair.
"Hero..." he whispered.
Dr. Jackson's eyes lifted and met the colonel's. His mouth gradually relaxed into a small smile. Janet thought she saw a whole conversation exchanged without a word.
Dropping into a second chair, she gently lifted one of Dr. Jackson's long, elegant hands. Not much damage-a torn nail, various scrapes and cuts. She looked up to deliver her verdict, only to find that he wasn't paying the least attention to her. He and O'Neill were still communicating.
Smiling indulgently, she began cleaning, treating and bandaging.
He'd been anticipating this moment for way too long. Jack moaned as he sank gratefully into the softness of his sofa. He was feeling every one of those 40 plus years, and the Doc's first class joy juice was definitely wearing off.
Leaning his head back against the cushions, he swiveled it to the side to watch as Daniel drifted aimlessly around the room and finally settled by the glass patio door. He frowned as he watched the other man's arms wrap tightly around his middle-Daniel's patented self protective hug. He didn't see that much any more.
The solemn face turned in his direction.
Daniel's soft lips pursed, then he moved toward the couch. He dropped to his knees between Jack's sprawled thighs, gaze fixed intently on his face. Then his eyes clinched shut, and slowly, carefully, he lowered his head into Jack's lap.
Tenderly, Jack stroked the still dirty hair, then brushed his hand gently across a suspiciously damp cheek.
"Jack. You... I thought..."
"You didn't answer. I ran all the way back-but you didn't answer."
Daniel lifted his head, then reached out to brush the bruises along the side of Jack's face.
"I'm okay, Daniel. Just bruises and a busted wing. You heard the Doc."
He nodded, but didn't speak. Jack's hand drifted again over Daniel's tousled hair.
"All right, Daniel. Here's the plan. You get your heroic self into the shower. Things will look a lot better from behind a clean face."
Ah, good. Tiny smile.
"Then this old colonel is yearning for some horizontal time. And I could use a good rubdown. Any chance?"
Bigger smile. "Sounds like a plan."
Jack leaned down and kissed him as gently as he knew how. Nibbled a moment on that lush lower lip, then kissed again.
"Off you go. I'll be waiting."
Daniel looked up at him for another long moment, then nodded and stood, offering Jack a hand up before obediently trotting off to the bathroom.
Hmmm. Obediently. There'd been a lot too much of that from his Dannyboy in the last few hours. Daniel just didn't do obedient.
"Oooooh, that feels so damned good."
Jack buried his face in the pillows, stretching luxuriously under Daniel's gentle hands. The warm vanilla scent of the massage oil was soothing; the firm weight of Daniel's nude body straddling his thighs even more so.
Daniel's touch moved from his aching shoulders, down his back, to his butt. Careful, appreciative strokes pampered his skin. He felt Daniel bend over and drop a kiss on one cheek, before he shifted down and began working on the muscles of Jack's legs.
Jack shifted his cushioned right arm slightly, looking for that impossible, perfect position that would prevent its irritating twinges from spoiling the lovely haze of contentment Daniel was constructing around him.
The hands stilled.
"You okay, Jack? You want one of those pain killers?"
Jack frowned slightly against the pillow. He might be feeling relaxed and babied, but Daniel's tight voice revealed that he was still wrapped up in a tangle of overstressed nerves.
"'m fine, Danny." Carefully pulling his feet out from under Daniel's crouched body, and gingerly cradling his casted arm, Jack rolled over onto his back. He watched as Daniel scooted up beside him, then reached his left hand up to cradle the side of the other man's now clean head.
"C'mon, Daniel. Ease up, here. Everything worked out. We're fine. We're all fine, thanks to you."
Impossibly blue eyes regarded him somberly. A hesitant finger brushed down the length of the white plaster, then tangled itself around the swollen index finger which protruded from the end of the cast.
Daniel looked away for a moment, then carefully lowered his body onto the bed, stretched out beside Jack. Snuggling close, he wrapped his arm gently around Jack's torso and pillowed his head on the shoulder of Jack's good arm.
"I was afraid... I thought..." His breath was warm and moist against Jack's skin. He could feel the fine tremors shivering through Daniel's tense body.
"God, Daniel. You think I don't know that?"
"We only had two days. Two days-and I thought that was going to be all."
"Aw, Danny. C'mon... look at me."
Reluctantly, Daniel pulled away from him, propping himself on his elbow. They exchanged a long, commiserating look, then Daniel again lowered himself, and brushed his lips against Jack's. And again. Then, abruptly desperate, he leaned closer and deepened the kiss, opening his mouth to Jack's tongue.
Jack wrapped his left arm around Daniel's broad shoulders, doing his one-armed best to hold him tightly, to prolong the contact as much as possible.
Gasping, Daniel wrenched his lips away. A moment of panting, and he was back again, chewing delicately on Jack's lower lip, tickling the inside of his mouth with a darting tongue. Jack cooperated by letting that teasing tongue play wherever it wanted. He grasped the back of Daniel's head, keeping him as close as he could.
Finally, Daniel lifted himself up and gazed down into Jack's face. His eyes were bright with tears, but Jack knew he'd fight shedding them. For a man who was so comfortable with emotion, Daniel didn't cry nearly enough. Or at least, he didn't cry for the things he should.
Jack let his fingers run through Daniel's damp hair. So short now. Paradoxically, after giving the younger man so much grief about his flyaway mop, he missed it. Regretted having missed the opportunity to bury his fingers in all that lush silkiness.
One more soft kiss, then Daniel's hands busied themselves once again with the oil. Very gently, he massaged those poor swollen fingertips and the upper arm and shoulder above the cast. So careful was he that Jack didn't feel a single additional twinge of pain.
Then across the chest-a tongue flick and kiss awarded to each nipple along the way-to the left arm. Firm hands and fingers worked from Jack's own fingertips up the tired muscles of his arms, and over and around his shoulder.
Jack's eyes drifted closed as the pleasure flowed through his body. "Ah, shit, Daniel. Where the hell did you learn to do that?"
Daniel laughed quietly. "Are you using all that foul language to indicate approval, or to beg me to stop?"
"Now is not a good time to turn smartass on me, Dr. Jackson. You stop now, and you are not going to like the consequences!"
Another little laugh, then Daniel moved away.
"Don't worry; I'm not leaving. And you're supposed to be relaxing, not shooting off your mouth."
"Yessir. Relaxing, Sir."
Now the hands were working on his feet. Somehow, there was nothing quite as decadent as a foot massage, and he was getting the full treatment-including occasional delicate toe nibbles. And licks. And tiny kisses.
Who was making all that moaning noise?
Up from the feet to the calves, then the thighs. Hands soft, tender-sometimes barely touching the skin. More nibbling, licking and kissing. And nuzzling. Oooh, definitely approved of the nuzzling.
"Yi!" Hooo-lee shit! Mouth closing over the head of his cock. So relaxing was not apparently on the immediate agenda. One particular part of him was definitely getting the message.
"Jack." Whisper soft voice.
"Ah... Yeah, Daniel?" Was that him? Sounded like he was being strangled.
"Ummm." Nuzzling; kiss for each of his quivering balls. "Do you think... ah..."
Jack tilted his head up to look into Daniel's flaming face. "What, Danny?"
The blue eyes were suddenly shy, looking at him through those ridiculously long lashes.
"Umm..." Daniel ducked his gaze away. "Would you like... uh..."
Jack felt a grin trying to escape. Sometimes this man just delighted him beyond belief.
"You want something, buddy?"
Kisses now for his straining penis. Then Daniel straightened up and again met Jack's eyes. Though still blushing hotly, he was obviously very serious. Without looking away, he reached for the bottle of oil and poured some into his palm.
Jack was definitely beginning to see the picture. Daniel's oily hands began to caress Jack's aching penis, stroking firmly from base to glans, spreading oil liberally from end to end. And his cock was very ready to get with the agenda.
"Danny, do you think this is a good idea? You ever done it before?"
"Ah... is that 'Yes, this is a good idea'? and 'No, I've never done this before'?"
Mute nod, accompanied by continued activity of those stroking hands.
The other man quickly leaned forward and silenced him with his own mouth.
"Please, Jack," he whispered against Jack's lips. "Please... two days. Only two days..."
"Ah, Danny. You know this is going to hurt you, don't you?"
"Need it, Jack. Need it. Can't risk not having any more time."
Jack kissed him tenderly. "Okay, Sweetheart. And I'd be a damned liar if I said I didn't want you. You got any notion about how to do this with a three legged dog for a partner?"
Daniel licked along his jaw, nuzzled under his chin. Then he nodded. Taking a deep breath, he sat up again, and returned to his purposeful stroking of Jack's penis.
"You stay. I'll do it."
"Hold on a bit, Daniel. If you're determined, we need to do some preparation. C'mon, lie down here and cuddle a bit more."
Nothing loath, Daniel nestled back against Jack's side, licking along the older man's collarbone.
"Okay, help me out here. I need some of that oily stuff on my fingers."
Once again blushing fierily, Daniel backed off slightly, poured more of the sweet-smelling oil into his hand, then spread it slowly over the fingers of Jack's left hand.
Jack felt his mouth curve upward. Amazing. The man was making love to his damned fingers.
Turning his hand over, he caressed Daniel's palm with one finger, then reluctantly pulled away from those caressing hands. "That's enough. Now come back here and let me play a bit."
With a nervous little laugh, Daniel once again cuddled close, hand stroking tenderly across Jack's chest, pampering one nipple, then the other. Jack nudged the other body slightly on top of his own, reaching his functioning arm around to run his oily hand over a silken flank. His fingers searched briefly before sliding into the much-desired crease, teasing the small puckered entrance to Daniel's body.
Daniel caught his breath and shivered, ambushed by the unexpectedly exciting sensations. Jack suspected he'd never been touched like this. Too adventurous for a pair of innocents caught up in an unexpected marriage.
"Easy, now..." he whispered as he gently slid one oily fingertip through the tight sphincter. Daniel's body jerked slightly, his hand gripping, fingers digging into the muscle over Jack's ribs.
Jack stilled. "Okay?"
Daniel nodded tightly. "Mmmm. Just a bit surprising. Feels kind of strange."
"Well, I like that. Some testimonial, Dr. Jackson."
An honest-to-god giggle, and a kiss for Jack's mouth. As he felt Daniel's body relaxing, felt that petting hand again moving against his own skin, Jack began sliding his finger carefully in and out, setting a slow, steady rhythm.
"Mmmmm..." He felt Daniel's lips curve against his shoulder. "Now that feels terrific. Weird, but definitely terrific."
"Just the introduction, Danny. Just the introduction. Got a long way to go, here."
"So let's go..." Daniel began to rock his body in concert with Jack's pace. Jack felt the hard press of the other man's excited penis thrusting against his thigh, and his own breathing accelerated.
Laughing a bit breathlessly, he carefully added a second finger. Again, Daniel's body stiffened against him. This time he lay for several seconds, panting slightly, before tentatively beginning to move again.
"Yeah. Bit uncomfortable at first. But good. Good, now."
Jack began to thrust deeper into that hot channel, spreading and rotating his fingers. Daniel's eyes were closed, now; his lips moist and parted by his panting breaths. His hand drifted down Jack's stomach, heading for his neglected cock.
"Whoa, big guy. Take it a bit easy with the equipment. While the spirit might be more than willing, I'm afraid tonight there won't be any encores."
Daniel stilled for a moment, raising dazed, concerned eyes to meet Jack's gaze. "Ah... Damn, I forgot. Your arm..."
"...will survive just fine. But once is all I'm good for tonight, so if you want the Big Event, don't raise the curtain too early, all right?"
Daniel sat up, pulling away from Jack's hand. He gazed down into Jack's face, desire battling with concern. Then he screwed his eyes shut, obviously fighting with himself over pursuing his own needs at the cost of Jack's comfort.
"Hey, Danny. We're doin' fine. No guilt trips; I want to do this at least as much as you do. So I'm a bit dented. We are officially celebrating the fact that 'dented' isn't the same thing as 'dead,' right? So get that beautiful body back down here where I can reach it."
Daniel's eyes flicked open, and his quirky little grin curved his mouth. He lowered himself back down, chin on Jack's chest. "Ooooh, Ashley. Ah just loooove it when yoah masterful."
Jack laughed. "You idiot! C'mere. Seems to me we were in the middle of something, here."
Instead of stretching back out, Daniel sat up, carefully swung one leg over Jack's torso and settled his bottom over Jack's belly, holding most of his weight on his own knees. His smile stretched wider, and he leaned down to once again claim Jack's mouth.
Jack tenderly swept his palm over Daniel's hip, then slid his hand back toward that enticing little pucker. Daniel gasped into his mouth as he slipped one finger back in, stroked a couple of times, then added the second.
Daniel was again rocking with the rhythm of Jack's thrusting fingers. His eyelids drifted closed; he threw his head back, mouth gaping as his breathing quickened to rapid, shallow panting.
"Harder, Jack. More!"
"Easy, Danny." Jack was doing a bit of gasping himself. "You let me really hurt you, and I'll be too traumatized to ever try this again."
Daniel drooped his head down, sank his teeth into Jack's shoulder. Then he hissed as Jack added a third finger.
"Ah ha. You see?"
"Jack... Jack! Oh, jeez! Jack!"
He leaned down and rested his forehead against Jack's, eyes closed, body shaking, as Jack continued to gently work the three fingers in and out. Jack nudged upward, urging the other man's lips to meet his in a series of nipping, tender kisses.
Slowly, Daniel relaxed a bit, adjusting to the bulk invading his body. He swayed with the motion of the hand caressing his anus, tipping his head to rub his cheek against Jack's in the same rhythm.
One final, fierce kiss. Then Daniel forced himself to sit up, gazing hazily into his lover's dark eyes.
Jack tenderly eased his fingers free. "Be sure, Danny."
Sure. Sure, sure sure."
Still panting, Daniel lifted himself and moved back to crouch over Jack's thighs. Another palm's supply of oil was tenderly massaged into the hot skin of Jack's penis. Then Daniel lifted up again and positioned himself over Jack's groin.
Jack gazed up at the beautiful body poised over him. How the hell did he ever make enough karma points to earn this? He met the foggy blue eyes; reached up to stroke the smooth, sweaty chest. Then his hand joined Daniel's around his own cock, helping the other man adjust the position and direction.
"Easy, Daniel. Easy." Jack was having trouble catching enough breath to talk. "It's hard this way. Go slow." His words came out in short, jerky sentences. "Support yourself. Believe me, you are not..." gasp "...not ready for the whole deal."
A quick nod, then Daniel closed his eyes and gulped a big breath... and carefully lowered himself to meet Jack's eager cock.
"Ah!" Head thrown back as the head breached his body. Face twisted; mouth open and gasping at the pain. "Jack!"
"Easy, Danny! Easy!" Jack released his own cock to grab Daniel's flailing hand. "Too much? Dammit, don't hurt yourself!"
"Okay. Okay." His voice was jerky and breathless. "Just... just a minute..."
"Breathe, Daniel. Wait it out."
After a few seconds, Daniel's head dropped forward again, his breathing eased, and he opened his eyes to meet Jack's worried gaze. He managed a small, panting smile. "...better. 's better now."
A few more breaths and, gripping Jack's hand tightly, he began to carefully lower himself. It seemed to take hours, but finally, wondrously, his buttocks rested against Jack's groin. The price was high; his face and body were drenched, sweaty droplets beading the ends of his hair, running down his chest, slicking the clenched muscles of his arms. Two fat tears spilled from tightly closed eyes, streaking down ashen cheeks.
Jack moved his hand, still clenched in Daniel's, to the other man's taut belly, tenderly rubbing the backs of his knuckles over the slick skin. Gradually, the muscles of Daniel's body began to unlock. His breathing evened out; his eyes opened again. Then widened in amazed wonder.
"Jack! Ohmygod. OhmygodohmygodohmyGOD!" He began to rock, mimicking the pace of Jack's stroking hand. He was panting again, but Jack didn't think it had much to do with pain.
As he absorbed this evidence of his lover's joy, Jack felt his own smile widening as he finally allowed himself to give in to the ecstatic delight of feeling himself buried in that beloved body. Feeling Daniel moving against him, gripping his cock so tightly.
Time for a bit of reciprocity. Briefly cursing his one-handed limitations, Jack brought Daniel's hand to his lips and kissed it tenderly, then freed his fingers to reach for Daniel's neglected cock. It had wilted significantly, but was beginning to show renewed interest.
Panting, Daniel paused a moment, gazing into Jack's face with an expression of dazed adoration. He leaned over, grunting at the pressure/pain in his own body as the sheathed penis pushed against the base of his spine, and shared a searing kiss.
"Danny." Jack could hear more than a trace of mindless adoration in his own voice, and knew he was grinning foolishly as Daniel lifted his mouth away. "Oh, Danny."
Daniel rewarded his erudition with a smile of surpassing sweetness, and whispered back, "Oh, Jack."
"Shall we finish this together?"
Another dazzling smile; another loving kiss.
And they went the rest of the way together.
The late afternoon sun diffused through the sheer curtains, bathing the room in a red-gold glow. Jack's right arm, ignored in the euphoria of making love to Daniel, was definitely making itself known. And his left arm was rapidly losing any feeling, thanks to the weight of a certain deeply sleeping archaeologist. And his cock was suggesting that there were other biological activities for which it was perfectly designed-and that he'd better see to them very soon. And he didn't ever in his life remember feeling better or being happier. The glorious sunset perfectly complemented his mood.
However, he really did need to do something about that bladder thing.
Cautiously, he tried to extricate his trapped left arm. Daniel shifted slightly, then snuffled against Jack's skin. His eyes opened halfway, revealing wide black pupils circled by narrow blue rims. He swept his tongue over his beautiful pouting lower lip, then yawned.
Jack pulled his arm free, and chuckled softly at the disgruntled response. His Daniel did not wake easily.
"Hey." Jack smiled down at the sleepy face.
"Hey." Daniel smiled drowsily back, then shifted his body. His eyes widened sharply. "Ow!"
"Ahhh. Sorry about that." Jack couldn't stifle the happy grin.
Those oversized blue eyes stared at him, then the corners wrinkled as Daniel's mouth curved into a satisfied smile of his own. "Oh... Ow. Nice."
Jack laughed, then ducked close for a gentle kiss. He gave that wonderful mouth a tender nuzzle, then straightened with a groan.
"Jack?" Daniel sat up with a bit of alarm, then yelped, "OW!"
Jack chuckled again, and received a reproachful pout as a reward.
"Take it easy, Daniel. You stay here; I just need to use the little colonel's room. And I think that I'm now ready for one of Fraiser's magic little pills." He kissed Daniel again, then dragged his reluctant body out of the bed and down the hall.
When he returned from the bathroom, he found the bed made up with fresh sheets, and occupied by a very welcoming archaeologist, hands holding a glass of water and a little white pill.
Another kiss, then he obediently swallowed the pill and slid back into the bed. Daniel carefully snuggled close again, placing his head on the pillow beside Jack's.
With a happy sigh, Jack deliberately relaxed his body, muscle by muscle, waiting for the fuzziness of the pain medication to creep over his consciousness.
Barely audible, Daniel's voice ghosted in his ear. "I love you, Jack. Two days, two years, two lifetimes. Doesn't matter."
Jack turned and nuzzled the face next to his. "Doesn't matter. Love you, Daniel."
The soft silence wrapped around them. As he drifted toward sleep, Jack gradually became aware that his companion's head was no longer resting beside his. Dragging his eyes open, Jack turned to look up into a mildly scowling face, brows creased, mouth pursed a bit mutinously.
A moment of silence. "Sweetheart?"
Jack felt the laughter gurgling up from his gut. "God, Daniel! Do you focus or what? Was that or 'baby.' You can have your choice."
The mouth dropped open in outrage. Then the eyes squinted slightly.
"I have to choose?"
"Yup. I've got to have something gloppy to call you in the-you know-height of passion."
"Height of passion."
"Oooo-kay. Well, under the circumstances, I guess I'll take 'Sweetheart.'"
Still grinning, Jack let his eyes drift shut again. "Right. I admit I'm a bit partial to that one myself. Now sleep, Danny."
"All right." The head again nestled beside his. The whispered words followed Jack as he sank into sleep. "Love you... Doll Face."