Daniel had asked to come home with him, tonight. It was impossible for Jack to say no.
Not many people knew that Jack O'Neill had been an altar boy. Fewer still would have believed that at one point he'd contemplated the priesthood. Most Catholic boys of his generation had thought about it, but then they found out about girls and sex. Jack had found sex and girls younger than many boys, but somewhere in the back of his mind he knew that going to Mass filled an emptiness that nothing else could.
He'd read the reports. Daniel's had described a tense, drawn out, and successful negotiation. Colonel Edwards had described the single most frightening thing Jack could imagine. As an officer, the idea of kneeling before a potential enemy with no weapons made his blood run cold. Even worse was that Colonel Edwards hadn't listened to Daniel in the first place. Jack thought that he wouldn't have let the situation get that far. On the other hand, it hadn't been a man under his command found crucified.
He'd been sixteen when the transportation exposition came to Minneapolis. There'd been a class trip. That weekend both the Blue Angels and the British paratroop unit the Red Devils had appeared. Jack had been transfixed by the daring of both the pilots and the paratroopers.
At seventeen, he knew that a choice was looming. He spoke seriously to several of the priests in his parish. The old ones were frightened of Vatican II, and the young ones tried to encourage his vocation. He knew that loving sex didn't preclude being a priest. It would be the temptation that he fought every day, but at seventeen that had seemed heroic.
Jack remembered praying for a sign. His best friend enlisted in the Marines at the end of his junior year. By the time Jack's senior year began, Jimmy had been killed in Viet Nam along with the rest of his platoon. He'd stood by Mrs. Marsh as the flag was handed to her and knew that he had to join the military -- to be an officer who could make certain that someone like Jimmy wouldn't be killed in his first month of active service.
He'd gone ROTC, and the first time he soloed an airplane he'd been certain that this was the best life could offer. He was home.
For the life of him, Jack couldn't remember when he'd lost his faith. Somewhere between watching the first man under his command die and taking up smoking, he'd seen one horror too many and stopped believing.
So here they were heading to his house. Jack knew that the anger was probably coming off of him in sheets. Completely irrational of course, but all he could think of was how easily Daniel kneeling with his head bent could have ended with his head severed from his body. He kept flashing back to the head of Daniel's robot, but this time, instead of wires, all the cross-sections from his high school anatomy book were there. Would Daniel have had the time to re-ascend? Would he have been allowed to? Dammit, Daniel had been trying to preserve lives and cultures, and -- there was that anger again.
Jack could remember the moment faith had come back to him. Sara was a good Catholic girl. At her insistence he'd attended pre-Cana classes and gone to confession before their wedding. Kneeling beside her, their hands clasped together as the base Priest said the blessing over them, Jack had felt a small stillness inside himself, like a seed opening to warmth. Their wedding night had filled him with deep joy. And five years later when he'd held Charlie for the first time, a light flashed before his eyes. In that small moment he'd known how Moses felt when he first saw the burning bush.
Special Ops paid better than regular Air Force, and he was good at it -- a better provider for his family, a greater hero for his country. Four months as a POW had bent him a little, but Charlie's arms around his neck at the airport and kissing his beautiful wife made it all seem like a test of faith. He'd been so certain he'd passed.
The nightmares had worn Sara down, and the assignments had gotten to Jack. Every marriage had rough patches, and military marriages had more than most. They'd be fine. They were fine. Until the sound of a single shot had obliterated his belief -- in God, in Sara, in their marriage, and in himself. The light that had brightened him had gone leaving a deeper darkness than he'd thought possible.
Months of despair, days of contemplation, a moment of clarity -- a bullet to his brain would take him out of this misery. He wouldn't join Charlie; there was nothing to join. There was no light, no life, no joy. Two young officers had knocked on the door and recalled him to active service.
The funniest thing to him at the time was that all they'd done was give him a better form of suicide; one that would give Sara full benefits.
This weird project with all the civilians had needed his protection. When Dr. Jackson had found the star map that helped him make the connection, Jack had immediately called in General West. The briefing had nearly been a comedy of errors. No one fit into a military structure less than Daniel Jackson, but in spite of having lived more of his life in the military than out of it at the time they'd met, Jack found himself identifying with the troubles that Daniel was having making himself understood. He'd stood in that briefing room and smiled. A small root had chipped into the mortar of the walls that Jack had built around himself.
Seven years ago -- hell, four years ago, -- Daniel would have had his back pressed against the door recoiling from the emotions he felt boiling off Jack. But two years of condescension and indifference on Jack's part, plus a year as an ascended being had left Daniel strong.
It didn't matter that Sara left, or that he might like a little more beer than was good for him. Jack was human again. Long nights on the roof of his new house showed him at least one other world where humans had settled. He wondered why he'd never tried for the space program instead of Special Ops.
Then that dickhead, Major Samuels, had pulled him back to the Stargate. Looking back now, the fact that he'd never left Colorado Springs should have told him something. The Stargate was nearby. It was the reason he'd stayed.
So many things had happened. Daniel had lost his wife, but not once had he questioned Teal'c's loyalty to Jack and later to the Stargate project. When Teal'c -- the man who'd chosen Shau're as a vessel for Ammonet -- had killed both the evil and the vessel, the first words Daniel spoke were "You did the right thing." Then he began looking for his dead wife's child.
If he were completely honest with himself, Jack had known exactly what Bra'tac meant when he removed his shoes in that little courtyard. An ineffable feeling of holiness had washed over him like a balm. For a minute he'd been taken back to that moment as a boy when he'd rung the bell as the priest elevated the host.
But the look of awe on Daniel's face had grated across Jack. It was visceral; Jack resisted everything that Daniel said. Daniel belonged there. Jack knew that Daniel belonged and began a strategic withdrawal from him.
Who was Jack kidding? Daniel had always been the stronger of them. This new Daniel was just looking at Jack with kindness.
Fuck it. Jack didn't want kindness; he wanted a soul soothing, paint blistering argument. Maybe then the two of them could find some new equilibrium.
Until Daniel saved a whole world by killing himself, Jack hadn't realized what he'd done or why he'd done it. Listening to the man with whom he'd shared the deepest friendship of his life give a stark recitation of the stages to his death had shamed him. Daniel was coping by understanding the facts and preparing himself. There was so much that Jack regretted -- things that he'd done and things that he'd left undone -- the words of the general confession came back to him in a flood, but all he'd said was "I'm bad at this."
He'd been blinded by the forgiveness in Daniel's smile, and the quiet reply of "Yes, you are."
At that moment, Jack had said his first real prayer since Charlie's death. He remembered Kheb. He prayed that his friend's passing would be easy. The moment of grace had come. Jack had been permitted to say goodbye before giving the order which ended his friend's pain.
Jack had been right. Daniel belonged with Oma Desala. The funny thing was that Daniel thought Jack belonged with her too. Daniel had offered to help him rise up to his level. When he'd finally been rescued, Daniel stood by his bed until he was well.
It was Jack's fault that the angel fell back to earth. He'd pushed his friend too hard -- no, that wasn't right. He'd never been able to push Daniel. Whatever Daniel did was because his personal morality had demanded it. Daniel had been sent back.
Jack couldn't help but be glad.
Jack pulled into his parking spot and looked over at Daniel. A half-smile was all it took. Jack's anger vanished.
I was asleep, but my heart was awake.
They'd barely gotten the front door closed when Daniel reached forward to cup his face. Jack closed his eyes and leaned into the touch. A soft kiss was bestowed on his forehead.
"I know, Jack. I know."
Let me see your face.
Let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.
Confusion washed over Jack. It must have shown, because that half-smile was back. Jack looked straight into Daniel's eyes and then took the hand that was being offered.
The bewilderment lasted only for a moment. Daniel was taking Jack up the stairs to his bedroom. They crossed the threshold still holding hands.
"I can't promise that I'll never put my life in danger again. You know that. But I got all of us out alive. I'll always do my best to do that, Jack. Always."
Jack barely heard the words; he kept looking at the hand holding his. He looked into Daniel's face, then leaned forward very slowly and kissed Daniel's cheek.
This time it was a full smile. One of the slightly goofy looking grins that Daniel so rarely got. There hadn't been much to smile about in his life, but he could smile at Jack.
Jack kissed his other cheek. Daniel kissed his mouth, a gentle kiss filled with peace.
Their progress to the bed was achingly slow. Jack found himself removing his clothes while Daniel looked at him with such tenderness that it made his fingers shake.
A hand slid up his shoulders and pulled Jack close to the still fully clothed Daniel. Warm, full lips pressed into his with a fervor that shouldn't have shocked him -- he'd seen Daniel in love before -- but did because this time Daniel was making it clear that all this love was Jack's.
His mouth is sweetness
yes, he is altogether lovely
When he opened his eyes, he saw Daniel before him his jaw working like he was trying to capture the flicker of Jack's lips.
Jack framed Daniel's face with his hands and pulled Daniel back into an ever deepening kiss.
There was no question that Daniel was amused. After Jack unbuttoned Daniel's waistband, there was no question that he was aroused, either.
Daniel allowed himself to be arranged on the bed. His head and shoulders rested on piled pillows; his sumptuous body bare to Jack's gaze. Jack knelt beside the bed and kissed those luxurious lips again.
You are all beautiful, my love.
There is no spot on you.
His fingers trailed unhurriedly across smooth skin, stroking Daniel's face, massaging his calves, before tracing the muscle patterns on the broad chest. Jack was delighted by little noises as he not quite tickled Daniel.
Jack quieted for a moment before brushing his lips over the grand sweep of forehead. He then kissed a spot just under Daniel's navel. As he stretched himself between sturdy legs, Jack nipped each shoulder in turn before mouthing his way down to the little nubs pinking through the sparse hair.
As he began to suckle, Daniel's hands cradled the back of his head and held him there. Jack could feel Daniel's hard length jabbing into his belly every time Daniel arched his spine to demand more sensation. Jack rubbed his cheek against Daniel's ribcage reveling in the feel of the hair and skin. He stopped, mesmerized by the heartbeat under his ear, and he shook remembering Daniel's horrible deathbed.
Turn away your eyes from me,
for they have overcome me.
Jack felt Daniel's hands pull at him. He nuzzled his way back up the strong -- and intact -- column of neck. When he reached Daniel's face he looked into it wonderingly and felt Daniel's legs wrap around his body, bringing him close.
His hands struck out on their own, sliding and stroking, kneading and knuckling all the pieces of Daniel that they could reach, and Daniel was writhing with the pleasure of it. Jack looked his fill and realized that he'd never thought of Daniel as sexual.
By night on my bed,
I sought him whom my soul loves.
I sought him, but I didn't find him.
Scratch that, if he were honest with himself, Jack would admit that he'd wanted sex with Daniel for a long time. Long hours with his right hand not thinking about anything but his own pleasure until a flash of blue eyes would spark across his brain and he'd erupt. How could he ever have thought that glimmer of blue came from anyone but Daniel? On some level, Jack had assumed that if -- and it was a huge if -- they ever got to this point, Daniel would need coaching and coaxing. After all, Daniel was a good little intellectual who read dead languages for fun.
At this moment, Jack was wondering what some of those essays by long dead men had been about because the man in his arms was neither inhibited nor wary. Daniel was demanding and warm and happy and loving and kissing him now.
They wrestled the kiss back and forth between them. The way it made their bodies rock created shocks of sensation and awareness of each other, of where they were, and of how much they cared.
Jack finally won the bout and pinned Daniel back on the pillows. Daniel traced the orbits of Jack's eyes with his thumbs and then pressed them in the middle of Jack's forehead. As his fingers went back to massage Jack's scalp, Jack bent his head.
He'd never felt this way before. It surprised him. Jack had always thought of himself as a loving man, but now he knew that he'd held himself back from it. Not just at the end with Sara, but with Charlie as well. Nothing in his life had prepared him for the searing heat through his heart that a simple touch from Daniel was giving him.
Jack kissed Daniel's forehead, the tip of his nose, and lightly brushed their lips together. Once again he began his exploration of the beloved body underneath his own. Every moan and sigh, every hitch or giggle was logged.
Nibbling at his earlobes made Daniel's cock twitch against Jack's belly. Jack pressed up on his hands and swept his gaze down the exquisite body stretched underneath him. His eyes softened with wonder.
Jack feinted toward the soft mouth, then swerved back down to the broad chest. He rubbed his face against the expanse and tongued his way down Daniel's treasure trail. Daniel's dripping cock anointed his chin.
He reached down and touched Daniel's erection for the first time.
Your mouth like the best wine,
that goes down smoothly for my beloved,
As Jack's tongue touched the fluid pooling at Daniel's slit, the hair rose on the back of his neck. He bowed his head and with closed eyes welcomed the weight of Daniel's glans on his tongue. He flicked his tongue around the head and pulled back to kiss the very tip. His lips trembled -- a little gout of precome quivered between them.
I am my beloved's.
His desire is toward me.
Jack opened wider and took as much of Daniel into his mouth as he could. He knew how good just plain rhythmic sucking felt to him, so suck he did. When his jaw ached with effort, he pulled back and covered the length in front of him with kisses.
He nosed his way into the dark thatch of pubic hair and back to the sensitive sac. Soft closed mouth kisses gave way to languorous licks, and he felt the weight of Daniel's balls resting heavy on his tongue. It took Jack a minute to realize that the groans he was hearing were his own.
A last kiss, a nuzzle into the pocket between the tender balls and the rigid cock, and Jack began to stroke his lips up and back along the sensitive ridge. Daniel was squirming under him; he felt Daniel's knees drape over his shoulders holding him in place. With a serene smile, he welcomed Daniel back into his mouth.
This time Jack moved his head up and down the shaft, his hips moving in the same rhythm to find friction from the bedspread underneath him. His arms were pinned, but Jack maneuvered one hand to cradle Daniel's balls. His fingers played over them and his suction increased. As Daniel's cock leapt for joy and begin to spurt, a white light seared through the top of Jack's head and tore him completely open -- to himself, to Daniel, to possibility.
His banner over me is love.
Daniel's warmth poured into him until he overflowed. Jack's mouth gaped open in orgasm, and he could feel a small stream of Daniel's ejaculate dribbling from one corner of his mouth. His tongue flickered out to catch it as the aftershocks wracked both their bodies.
Jack crawled up Daniel's body. He could admit to himself now that he'd fantasized about loving Daniel. Always there'd been an assumption underneath, that Daniel would need him for comfort and fulfillment. He'd thought that he'd be the strong one, the flight tower to Daniel's soaring spirit. Instead, Jack found himself embraced in strong arms, pillowed against a firm chest -- cherished. He felt a gentle kiss ruffle his hair.
Jack didn't even realize that he spoke. "This is my beloved, and this is my friend."
A whisper from Daniel answered him, "My beloved is mine and I am his."
Jack looked up sharply and met blessed blue eyes. With a smile he settled back against Daniel's chest. Jack's heartbeat deepened into sleep as he breathed "amen."
January 18 , 2004
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