A MAN MOST UNFORTUNATE  BY PHOENIXE
Slash:  Jack and Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves sex.
Rating: NC-17
Category: Established Relationship, Angst, Episode Tag for Point of View
Season/Spoilers: Season 3
Synopsis: A kiss witnessed through the quantum mirror convinces Daniel he's keeping Jack from his 'true love'.  Jack determines to convince him otherwise.
Warnings: Nada
Length:  87 Kb  Posted to the net 12 May 05

Notes:  Believe it or not, this wee tale goes waaaay back to early 2000, first written shortly after I crossed over the great Slash Divide for a slash zine that never happened. It's one of the very first slash stories I wrote.  I knocked out the original version, sent it out and for the next year and a half forgot about it.  When Chance was looking for submissions for her zine 'The Other Side' I remembered it again, dug it out, dusted it off, was promptly horrified, and did a fair amount of necessary rewriting before submitting it.  Chance was gracious enough to accept it, it debuted in her zine, and in this incarnation the story won a Sizzler Award.  When the zine timed out a year later  I included the story in the first Six Pack and then the year after that, it was featured in the Reprise.  I was tidying up my desk this morning, came across some pages of the Reprise I'd printed out and realised it's been a year since the zine was originally published.  Now, I never intended to release any of the stories in the Reprise to the net, but the more I looked at this puppy I said to myself, oh, why the hell not.  I figure it's more than done its time in zine limbo, why not let it fly, be free.  And yeah, I really like it, and I hope it'll find a few more people who maybe haven't seen it yet and will appreciate it. I think it's the best one from the Reprise, and I hope you enjoy.  


 

Well, that was - weird.

Not quite as creepy as kissing my sister - if I had one, that is - but close.  Still, it had to be done, there really wasn't any other way to make the point, and from the look on her face, it did the trick.

She gets it.  Finally.  All it took was one little kiss.

"You're really not him, are you?"  Doctor Carter/O'Neill's voice is very small and sad, and she looks up at me with big, wounded blue eyes full of hurt and the quickly fading gasps of her last, faint hope.  Ever since she first saw me she's been trying to keep the other dead me alive by clinging to a ghost of flesh and blood.  Hoping there was still something of him she could reach and have in me.

"No, I'm not," I answer her gently, but I'm not going to lie to her either.  I might look like him, Doctor, but that's as far as it goes.  I'm not her Jack.  Not that guy.  Never will be.  Never could be.  Don't want to be.  Was never, ever meant to be. 

Kinda figured that before, but now - now I know for sure. 

So does she.

Maybe it's mean of me to want us both to be absolutely clear on this, but that's the way I feel.  I could have left it alone, left her with something, even if it is a lie.  I could have.   What could it hurt to let her cling to her little illusion?  No skin off my ass, it's not like we're ever going to see each other again.  But I can't let her leave thinking she might have had even a snowball's chance in hell with me. Why?  Good question. I can barely explain it myself, it's got something to do with 'order'.  Making sure everything's right with the universe.  The way it should be. 

Oh God, meaning of life stuff.  Crap, I can't believe I just said that. I think Daniel's starting to rub off on me.  Not as often as I'd like him to, but - never mind that right now, Jack, stay on topic.

The problem is though, a lot of what's not ever going to be happening between me and Doctor C - or any C's, for that matter, has everything to do with what has happened between me and Doctor J.  Letting Carter's pissy twin lock lips with me for a few seconds has suddenly brought everything into perspective.  For both of us.

This whole 'another me with Carter' thing has been like a burr up my butt ever since Daniel let the engagement out of the bag after returning from his unscheduled side-trip to Dimension Weird.  Even though even back then I knew I wanted Daniel like I've never wanted anything in my life.  And even after he made all my wildest hopes and dreams come true, every once in a while I look at Carter and that creepy what if feeling starts crawling around in my brain. 

Messing with my head.

I don't even want to tell you what having to deal with Mrs O'Neill wearing Carter's face in my face has been doing to me.  Not to mention the added complication of having her latch onto me like I was going to rise to the occasion and her expectations and fill in for the Jack she's lost.  Let's just say I wasn't exactly broken-hearted when it turned out they couldn't stay.  Frankly, taking on an entire mountain full of Jaffa scared me less than the prospect of having two Carters on my hands full time - one weirding me out because she was mistaking me for her dead husband and the other getting weirder because she was wondering what her other self has that she doesn't and what the other Jack saw in the other her that I - um - don't and what Carter Two was getting while she…

Crap. Never mind.  Hurts my brain too much to think about it.

But oh yeah, that whole scenario sounded like a barrel of laughs to me.

Be that as it may, it's all over now.  I won't be losing any more sleep wondering about 'what if'.  Or why things went the way they did on the other side of the mirror, even.  Or if I missed my turn and headed down the wrong fork in the road on this side. 

It all came clear with one little kiss. 

Now I know.

As I let Doc Carter go I become suddenly aware we've had an audience.  Carter and Daniel have been checking out the good-bye action from the other side of the mirror.  Carter's got a look on her face somewhere between envy and she's just seem something making her sick to her stomach, like getting an eyeful of her Dad making out or something.  Oh boy.  Never a dull moment.  Whatever.  Carter - squared - isn't my biggest concern at the moment.  They're both all grown up; they're going to have to work this out for themselves.  Lord knows I've got enough on my plate trying to sort my own shit out.  The only person I want to make sure is okay with all of this is Daniel.

Daniel's not even looking at me; his eyes are tracking Doctor Carter as she moves away from me, wiping the tears from her eyes.  All I can say is if he was capable of ripping the heart right out of his chest and handing it to her, that's what he'd do.  His mouth tightens with sorrow as he watches her for a few seconds longer, and then those searching, compassionate eyes flick briefly over to our Carter.

Oh no, Daniel - don't go there.  Don't.

I haven't said a word but he heard me just the same.  Like that's never happened before. He turns his head and his gaze drills into me, locking, looking deep without revealing what he's thinking.

I take a step forward, heading for the mirror, for him, but the second I start to move so does he.  Away from me, out of my sight like he can't bear to be where he once was. I slam my palm on the cold metal surface, feel the weird tingle taking me back where I belong but by the time I make it to the other side he's already gone.

He manages to stay one step ahead of me through the whole post mission procedural dance and he's long left the mountain by the time I'm free to decamp.  I don't see his car when I swing past his building and I'm too damned tired and frankly bewildered to go chasing all over the Springs after him, so I head home, hoping he'll be there when I arrive.

I know he won't be, but I can hope, can't I?

The house is dark and empty when I walk through the door.  I hate the way it feels now, when he isn't here.  Not home - just a place where I hang my hat and grump around in my underwear if I haven't got anything else better to do.  Which used to happen a lot. 

Before Daniel. 

Even after all the years I was married I never felt lost being here on my own before Daniel. Sara never lived here, she didn't fill any of these spaces, I never had to cope with trying to live around a vacuum that had never existed.  This was just a house - a place.  As empty and cold as I was.  I guess you could say in that respect, I was right at home.   My place and me were truly made for each other.  That is, until Daniel walked through this door, straight into my heart and brought everything inside these walls to life. 

Including me.

Now I can barely stand to be here without him. Especially not knowing for sure when he's coming back.  Or - or if.

No, I'm definitely not going there.  He'll be back.  He just needs do whatever it is he needs to do.  One thing I've learned, when it comes to Daniel, you have to be patient.  You can't rush the boy, definitely can't crowd him and you sure as shit can't make him do anything he doesn't want to do, or before he's damned well ready to do it.

So I'll just chill, grab something to eat, take advantage of an unobstructed opportunity to watch some trash on the tube without having to put up with the sighs, the rolling eyes and the waspish asides about my taste in entertainment.  Yep, full and undisputed custody of the TV remote.  It'll be fun.

Crap.  Who am I kidding?

The TV stays off, who cares about dinner, but the beer is good and cold as I sit on my ass all by my lonesome and contemplate the latest state of my universe.  With particular focus on how fast what seems certain can change and just how insecure I'm still really feeling about everything that's recently happened between Daniel and me.

I don't actually think he's regretting his decision to become my lover, well, not – not really, but I'm shocked just how much the possibility frightens me - and how very real it is to me.  Hell, I'm still trying to understand how he was able to forgive me enough for getting him committed to make what we have now possible in the first place.  By rights he shouldn't be giving me the time of day and he's given me so much more.  I honestly don't know what I'd do if he left me.  And yet I still can't get my head around the fact he's actually mine.

And now he's out there, somewhere, wrestling with the angsty whatever that's no doubt got his shorts in huge, honking square knots.  I don't know what, not for sure, got an idea, but there's so many other things it could be and should be; him almost getting killed - again - for one thing.  Oh great!  Good one, O'Neill, you just had to start thinking about that particular terrifying little slice of your own personal hell, playing out right in front of you  -

Crap, I keep thinking like this I'm going to freak myself right out of my skull.  He'll be back.  It'll be fine.  I just need more beer.

Lots more.


 

What the hell? Why am I on the couch?  Crap, I must have dozed off.  Something woke me up - what?

Keys.  Someone's messing with keys at the front door.  Having a hard time finding the right one from the sounds of it.  Daniel!  Daniel's home.  What time is it?   One-thirty?  Holy fuck, it's one-thirty?  Where the hell has he been?

I'm on my feet and heading for the stairs as Daniel pushes the front door open.  He's barely gotten it closed before the words come out of my mouth.

"Where the hell have you been?"  I challenge him a little harshly. "I've been worried sick!"

Okay, that's a big, fat fib, I was sound asleep, but I'm awake now.  I was worried before, that much is true, and I'm definitely still concerned, not only by how long he's been out there on his own whatevering but also by how indifferent he seems to be to my less than subtle employment of the guilt card.  Hey, I'm not above using it if it'll get him to give but right now he's so not buying what I'm selling.

"Hi Jack," Daniel says absently, not really looking at me as he lets his jacket dribble down his arms and onto the floor.  He frigging does this all the time, I guess they didn't have coat hooks on Abydos or something, or maybe they just didn't have coats and normally this would be getting under my skin, just a tad, I mean would it kill him to take like, two seconds to hang the damned thing up -

"Nice to see you too," Daniel continues in the same slightly out of it tone of voice, giving me the willies and pulling me back on topic at the same time.  "Nowhere special.  Driving around.  Thinking.   And no, you weren't."

Hah, so that's the way it's going to be, huh Dannyboy?  I'll see your Mother Hen routine and raise you my Space Cadet act?  You forget who you're dealing with, Bucko, I might not know everything but almost everything I do know is mostly about you.

"What could you possibly have to think about that would keep you out this late and are you calling me a liar?" I fire right back at him.

"Just…stuff, and yes, I am," he asserts, punctuating his point with a slight, defiant jut of his chin. "You know damned well you were sleeping when I came in."

"You trying to pick a fight with me?" Might as well find out now.

"No."  Daniel's voice is getting lower and he's looking and sounding more and more miserable with each passing second.  He's not playing with me - hasn't been since he walked through the door.  He's well and truly bugged.  But nowhere near being able to talk about it.  I push him he'll just clam up and close right down on me.  Time to change tactics.

"Why?" he asks slowly, the apprehension level in his voice impossible to miss.  "You wanna have one?"

"No."  I soften it right down, try to coax him into looking me in the eye.  Which he hasn't done once, yet.  "You?"

Daniel shrugs slightly, staring straight ahead, evidently finding the black night beyond the plate glass window of the door leading out to the deck extremely fascinating. Way more fascinating than me.  I know better than to take it personally. 

"No," he finally answers in a reluctant, quiet voice.

"Well, let's not have one then, shall we?"

"Okay," Daniel nods and stands there, staring, looking for all the world like his dog has just died.  Now as I happen to know he doesn't have one I also know that's not what's bugging him.  But that doesn't mean he sure couldn't use some cheering up and I'm ready to sign on for the detail.

"Daniel?"

"What?"

"Will you get the fuck over here and kiss me?" I grin at him as I open my arms wide to welcome him in.

"Okay," he mutters and ducks his head. He hunches his shoulders for a bit and sighs like he's still trying to make up his mind even though he's already agreed, then he starts shuffling toward me like a kid who just got caught out doing something he shouldn't and he's not too sure of his welcome.

Now, while I don't know for certain what's going on in that gorgeous head of his I'm thinking I wouldn't be too far out in left field guessing it had something to do with that damned kiss.  That's why as soon as my arms go around him and I crush him tightly to me I decide I'm going to see if another one can't finish off what the first one started.

Not quite 'hair of the dog', but you get the idea.

I kissed Doc Carter to make a point, and I did.  I'm kissing Daniel now for exactly the same reason.  And once again, it seems actions are speaking louder than words.  Or I've got the slickest lips in town.

Danny was barely with me when we started, but I'm nothing if not determined and I do good work, if I say so myself.  It isn't long before he's melting and sighing and kissing me back with deliciously wanton eagerness telling me his brain has officially switched off and he's now thinking with an entirely different portion of his anatomy. 

Yee har, I love it when Daniel gets with the program!

Oh yeah, he's hot.  He's smoking.  I've thrown him a different bone to chew on and the way he's sucking on my face he's far too busy being horny to be bummed out.

He's fallen for my cunning plan.  God, I'm good! Now before we both fall over in a lust-crazed heap on the carpet…

"Hey Danny," I leer into his ear before licking the shit out of it.  "You wanna fuck?"

"'Til it kills me," Daniel pants, hugging me fiercely.

"I'll drill you 'til you drop," I vow, ever eager to please.

"You're such a romantic," Daniel sighs, taking my hand and leading me toward the bedroom.

 


"Harder!"  Daniel roars, rocking back against me so unexpectedly he almost knocks me over. Holee shit, Daniel!  What's the rush?  I know what I said back there, but I didn't mean for him to take me so damned literally!  I was just kidding - but the way Daniel is grinding, slamming against me, howling - demanding  -

I'm a little freaked.

This caveman stuff, it's more my speed.  I'm a huge fan of hard, fast and horny and Danny's been only too happy to oblige me.  Danny, on the other hand likes to be fucked for a week; long, sweet and slow, which is more than fine by me. At least, that's the way we've always done it.

All of a sudden he's changed the rules without telling me and I'm a tad perturbed by his behaviour.  From the moment we hit the bedroom he's been insane, insatiable, barely recognisable.  I've never been this rough with him before - I'm trying my damndest not to be now, to rein it in, just a bit, but every time I try to slow things down, cool both our jets - oh Jesus, Jesus, Danny, take it easy!

"Fuck me!" he howls again.  "Do it!  Harder!  Harder!"

Oh God, oh God his urgency hits me and I hit back, my pelvis rocking forward like it's got a mind of its own, my hands clutching his hips hard.   I shudder, fighting the urge to give in to it - give him what he's screaming for but I'm still thrusting harder - faster - faster than I've ever - 

"Yes!" Daniel shrieks as my balls slap his ass.  "More!" he frantically demands, furiously wriggling and taking me in deeper.

"More!"

Oh God, Danny, Danny, take it easy, this is nuts, I don't want to hurt  - easy, love, easy - shitshitshit - he's completely lost it now, we're out of control, unstoppable, insatiable, rubbing, grinding, pounding together any second we're gonna spark, ignite, combust - incinerate -

Jesus Christ!

Crap, OhGodohGodohGod, what the fuck - where's the top of my head?  On the ceiling?  Wooo hooo, Momma! What a ride!  I think I passed out for a second there, still can't see straight.  I'm flat on my back on the mattress, not sure how I got here, not sure how I survived even - Daniel - where's Daniel?

Daniel?

"Daniel?"

No answer.  Well, if he's in the same state I am he probably can't talk yet. My arms and legs are sorta working again so I start groping about beside me in the area I think he should be, but I'm finding nothing but rumpled and ewww wet, sticky bedclothes and a rapidly cooling warm spot on the mattress where he's supposed to be…

What the fuck?  His side of the bed's empty!  Empty?  Daniel?

I'm finding this development rather alarming, given what just took place between us, so I'm up and out of the bed like a shot.  I have to find him, like now and make sure he's okay.  I know he was screaming at the top of his lungs for it and he seemed to be okay with - with what I just did to him but I shouldn't have - shouldn't have let it get out of hand.  Dammit, if I've hurt him…

He's not in the bedroom.  Fuck.

Bastard, I'm a bastard, bastard prick with legs.  Fuck, where is he?  Not in the bathroom.  Dammit!   Doofus!  They should cut my balls off and -

"DANIEL!"

Where is he, why won't he answer me?  I'm totally losing it, I didn't even notice if his clothes are still here or not, but he can't have gone, he didn't have time to - I wasn't out of it that long, at least I don't think -

"Daniel?"

Found him.

I'm so worried about him and so relieved to see him my first impulse is to leap across the room and hug the crap out him but it's stopped in its tracks, just like me, at the sight of him.

He's buck naked, sitting cross-legged on the floor in the darkness of the living room, all of the details of the room swallowed in shadow except the most important one.  Him.  There's a faint glimmer of moonlight bleeding in through the glass of the door to the deck, just enough to barely dilute the darkness but when it hits him, kisses all that white, receptive, smooth skin making it shine…

He's glowing dreamily, softly gleaming in the darkness, surrounded by a pale halo of fairy light. Like something surreal, a fey creature from another world.  Magical, enchanting.

He's sure cast a spell over me.  And I'm not getting free of it any time soon.  Not that I'm complaining, or anything.  Or putting up much of a fight.

He's holding something in his lap, his head bent down over it.  I can't make it out so I take a step forward.

"It didn't work," his voice sighs out through the stillness, stopping me again.

"Daniel, I'm - I'm sorry," my tongue is fumbling around the words, swelling and clumsy with the emotion clogging my throat.  "I didn't mean to hurt you - "

"Oh - oh no!"  Daniel's head snaps up and I can feel the honest, horrified concern in the eyes devouring me.  "Oh you didn't - not at all.  Nothing like that, Jack," he fervently assures me.  "I - you - you didn't hurt me. I - it was wonderful. You - you were wonderful."

Well, yeah, of course I was.  If I do say so myself.

"It just didn't work," he finishes sadly.

Okay, now I'm confused. So what else is new?

I brush it off, kick my butt down the stairs and I'm at his side in an instant, settling down beside him, taking the picture from his hands.

That's what it is, one of the photos from my mantle.  The one of the four of us.  Daniel left our bed after possibly the hottest sex we've ever had and instead of being cuddled up and comfortably comatose in my arms in that same bed he's out here, in the dark, in his birthday suit, staring at a family photo.

His family - the only one he's got.

I reach out to him, put my hand on his shoulder and he stiffens at my touch.  Almost pulls away, not quite, but so close.  He says I didn't hurt him and he's never lied to me but he's also never…

I'm scared again.  Real scared.

"Daniel, what's going on?"

He sighs heavily and slumps, melting into my touch, into me, taking away the taste of fear in my mouth.

"I wanted to stop thinking," he murmurs.  "Stop… " he frowns and hangs his head again.  "Just stop thinking.  But it didn't work.  I can't get her face out of my mind.  She's so sad and I feel so - I  - I wish…   I know how I would feel - if it was me - if I lost - "

I know what's wrong and it kills me he would still think - especially after what we just did - I'd want anyone else, even her, instead of him, that's not the way it is, I have to make him understand  -

"I'm sorry, Jack," he mournfully murmurs.  "I made a mistake.  I can see that now.  I shouldn't have - I'm in the way.  Not me.  It wasn't supposed to be me.  She loves you so much - "

Oh - woah!  Wait a minute!  Back up!  Me?  Not me, pal!  She loved a guy who might have had my face but that's as far as it goes.  Not me! Not no way, no how.  We've got nothing in common other than the fact we started out our lives as Jack O'Neill but after that he went his way and I went mine and I'm not him and - oh holy crap.  Finally buying a clue here.

Take the last train to Schmucksville, O'Neill, once again you missed the boat, not to mention the point.  Hello!  Daniel doesn't think I'm settling for him because I can't have Carter, he thinks I should be with Carter but I can't be.

Because I'm with him.

Of course he does, of course he does.  I've been so stupid - as usual  - Daniel - it's the way he is, what he is, the way he thinks, puts everyone else first - of course he'd see it this way!

And what he's seeing is he's selfishly seduced me from my right and destined path, and every moment he stays with me he's keeping me from knowing true love.

With Carter. 

Carter.  Hands up anyone who thinks this is a good idea!  Or could even get off the ground, even.  Possibly if I dressed up like a particle accelerator, whatever the fuck that is, I could hold her attention long enough to get in some close order drill, but she'd probably scream 'Colonel' at the crucial moment. When she wasn't trying to offer helpful suggestions about my technique or fight me for the stick.  Um, so to speak.

Frankly my balls are starting to shrivel at the mere thought of it.  All the more reason to put the boots to this crap right here and now.  I'm not into threesomes, and Carter in our bed, even only in spirit, is a complication and a mood-killer neither one of us needs.  Not to mention the boy looks like he's about thirty seconds from offering to do the right thing.

Giving me up for my own good.

Well, fuck that. I said before kissing Doc Carter cleared up things for me.  I think it's just about time I let Daniel in on a few hard truths.  No, not those ones, that's for later.  Once I've chased this damned, fool notion out of his head once and for all.

Put the boots to the sucker and stomped it flat.

I toss the picture aside and grab him but good.  He gives a soft snuffle of surprise as I squeeze him for a bit and then dip in for a nice, long, juicy kiss.

Ummmm yum!

"What was that for?" he murmurs, a tad dazed, once I let him up for air.

"What, I need a reason?"  I smile down at the vision sprawled panting across my lap.

"N - no," he frowns, snuggling into me in spite of himself.

"Did that feel like the kiss of a man who was settling for second best?"  I ask again, a little more forcefully this time.

"No."  The frown deepens, threatening to segue into a pout, and he's stopped snuggling.

"Good."  I keep going before he can get out the protest I can see gathering in his face.  "I want you to shut up and listen to me for a minute. Just - listen.  You know how much I hate this touchy feely crap and I want to make sure you get this the first time 'cause I sure don't want to have to explain this to you or talk about this ever again."

"I'm not dense!" he blusters.  "You don't have to speak to me like I'm three!"

"Talking!" I admonish his stormy face. " I distinctly said you're listening, here, not talking."

"Fine!"  Daniel bites back at me.  Definitely pouting now.

I ignore the attitude and get the show on the road.  The sooner we get through this, the sooner we can go back to bed.

"Just so we're clear.  You've got this idea in your head that just because we've come across two realities where my counterparts have gotten together with Carter it's some kind of weird-ass universal given this is the way it's supposed to be in all of them.  Somewhere out there it is written in stone Carter is The One for me.  Absolutely no exceptions or substitutes allowed.  That just about cover it?"

Daniel crosses his arms and glares up at me.

"Well, does it?"  I demand.

"I can't tell you," he shrugs with irritatingly persistent petulance.

"Why not?" I snarl at him.  He's absolutely impossible when he gets like this.  Fortunately for both of us I do the impossible every day.

"Because I'm not supposed to talk," he gloats right back up at me.

I poke him un-gently in the ribs and he yelps and gives me an elbow to the breadbasket.  Equally emphatically.  "Anyone ever tell you you're the most annoying little dick-head who ever lived?" I sneer at him.

"Frequently," he grins, "And while we're on the subject of dicks I'm looking at a bigger one right now."

I suppose I should state for the record he is not looking at my crotch.

"But yes," he admits grudgingly.  "What you just said.  You've pretty much nailed it."

I'd rather be nailing him, but that goes without saying.

"Good," I smirk at him.  "Just checking.  You can shut up again.  Now, talking strictly in terms of our reality, no matter what's going on through the looking glass, for starters there are oh, so many things wrong with your premise.  Mostly because it involves me with Carter.  Carter.  Our Carter.  Not any of those other Carters.  Ours.  You with me, here?"

"Jaaack," Daniel drawls, rolling his eyes.

"Yeah, I know, you're not dense," I wink at him.  "Gotcha. Back on topic. Me with Carter.  Let's just take a minute and think about this.  Picture me.  With Carter.  Me with Carter.  Carter, Daniel!  Work with me!  You know me, you know Carter.  Put the two of us together.  Now tell me, what's wrong with this picture?"

Daniel pauses for a moment and I can see he's doing it.  Thinking about it.  Rather diligently, bless him.  Giving it a good honest shot.  Then his eyes widen and he snorts.

"Quite a lot, actually," he sniggers. "I mean Sam wouldn't - that is to say she's - and you're just so - "

"Hey!"  I give him a little shake because he's starting to chuckle.  I sense I'm being insulted, here.

"I'm - I'm sorry, Jack," he tries to gulp down his amusement but he's not doing a very good job.  "I don't mean - I'm not saying - that is, there's nothing wrong with you, per se, it's just - when you really, really think about it - you and Sam, our Sam - makes about as much sense as - "

"Roller-skates on a Volkswagen?"  I offer, trying to be helpful. I don't want to be here all night, after all.  He nods, but he's still snickering.

"Good, glad we're on the same page with this.  Carter and me make no sense at all.  Here."  I slip him a stern look.  "However, knowing you and I so do, you're still asking yourself if that's really the case, what's up the other mes?  How come they got together with Carter and it seems to work for them?"

Suddenly he's not laughing.  No matter how nuts me and Carter seem in this reality, it's mighty hard to argue with what he's seen.  Her and me has happened, one time more than him and me that we know of, and by at least one very personal, closely witnessed recent report, not only did it happen, but it worked.

Maybe better than him and me.  And that's what he's so worried about.

"Yeah, that," he says in a very quiet, sombre voice.

"Well okay," I snuggle him a little closer as I start to run my reasoning by him. "So we've had a peek into two realities were a Doctor Samantha Carter and a guy named Jack O'Neill were an item.  Those realities had that much in common.  They also had something else in common, a little something you seem to be forgetting. They were both glaringly short one you.  And if you don't think that makes a difference in the way things played out, guess again.  You've left your mark here, boyo, more ways than I can tell you, and not simply by being the main - hell the only reason, many, many times over we're both here having this conversation in the first place and we still have a damned planet to be having it on!  Which is more than those other Jacks can say."

"Technically they can't say anything at all," Daniel adds softly. Not a hint of humour in his expression. "They're dead."

"Yeah."  I give his arm a reassuring pat before continuing. He's bummed at the though of any me, even ones he's never met - being - what he said, and I have to admit thinking about it creeps me out as well.  It's weird enough grasping there are possibly gazillions of versions of you kicking around the universe and yet to know for certain the only ones you've come across are KIA.  Kinda makes you wonder how long your own luck is going to hold out.

"Let's talk about those other Carters and O'Neills," I try to inject a cheerier note in my voice. "Compare and contrast. Carter first. I only met one of them but Major Carter - Doctor Carter - whew, gotta tell ya, Daniel, not even close! You didn't spend nearly as much time with her as I did, so take my word for it, the woman has problems."

"Of course she did, Jack," Daniel retorts, a little scandalized.  "She'd just watched her world invaded, her husband die  - "

"Granted, granted," I nod. "She was hurting, with good reason, but the kind of person she was to begin with…    Our Carter must have kicked something to get where she is the Doctor didn't, because her twin has got major self-esteem issues thankfully missing in our major.  I don't know what her relationship was like with her Jack but if that guy was anything like the one you met - her being the way she is - I think he's probably the main reason.  In fact, I'd make book on it.  You with me so far?  Okay?"

"Okay," he nods, studying me intently as I press on. 

"So we're agreed the Doctor Carter parts of the equation - nothing like our Carter."

"No," Daniel frowns in agreement.  "The Doctor Carter I met - you're right. Definitely not like Sam.  I never could quite get used to hearing her say 'Goold' for starters. And she sure didn't like me much."

So I have to admit in one respect she was as smart as our Carter in that she knew a threat when she saw one, but I'll refrain from sharing that with Daniel.

And I'll just bet if things had been different and Daniel had been there a while longer General Jack would have warmed to him in no time.  He wouldn't have been able to help himself.  Believe me, I know.

"So that brings us to the other mes - what - why are you looking at me like that?"

He is, he's still listening with every cell in his body but he's got a doting, drippy gleam in his eye and a smile quirking at his mouth.

"I can't help it Jack, I'm just so impressed," he shrugs.  "I've never heard you do so much - so much  - "

"Talking?"  I flip a grin at him.

"Oh yeah," he nods vigorously.  "That.  All at once.  And it's so - so - " he waves a hand like he's searching for the words.

"Logical?"  I help him out.

"Oh, oh yeah!"

"Insightful?"

"Um hum - definitely that!"  More nodding, fanning and heavy breathing.

"And - dare I say it - "

"Oh yes, Jack, dare!  Please!"

"Sensitive?"  I finish with a grimace.

"Oh God, yes!" he moans dramatically and then falls back limply in my arms.

"Hah, hah, very funny," I snarl and thump him lightly on the chest.  "Will you stop fucking around and focus?  This is serious!  Right now we're missing out on some quality sack time, not to mention the possibility of sleep because you've got this bee in your bonnet about me and Carter and I want to make damned sure that puppy takes a hike and never comes calling again. To achieve this worthy goal I'm making a supreme, extraordinary effort, which I really hope you appreciate 'cause I wouldn't do this for just anyone, I'll have you know. I'm being sensitive, Daniel. Just for you.  I don't like it.  Don't make me do it again."

"I'm sorry," Daniel bites his bottom lip and does the puppy dog eyes thing up at me. Oh my, I gotta wrap this thing up fast.

Really, really fast.

"Where was I?" I croak, as Daniel swipes his tongue slowly over his lower lip and my dick abruptly decides it wants to salute.

"You were talking about yourself," Daniel blinks demurely, like he's completely oblivious to how much certain parts of me are abruptly expressing their appreciation.  Enthusiastically.

"Oh yeah.  Me.  And the other versions of me.  One you got to meet and he wasn't exactly Mr Sensitive and the other one we only got to hear about.  Now, if Doc Carter's Jack was anything like the general - and  I'm guessing he was and I'll get to why in a minute -  he was one hostile, unhappy fuck. Mad at the universe with a heart of stone, even being married to Carter. I know exactly the way he was, and so do you, 'cause I was him, when I met you.

"Thank god, though, I'm not him any more, because of you. You made all the difference for me, Daniel, and that's something only you could do. You're the one who helped me be me, not that screwed up bastard I used to be. Those guys didn't have you to do that for them, so they never became me.  Neither of those Carters was with me they were with him. What?"

Daniel's got this slightly dazed expression on his face.  I can't believe it's because he's not following me, he's more than smart enough to keep up.

"Um, sorry," he shakes his head and gives me a sheepish look.  "What you were saying there, I was just having a really strange 'It's a Wonderful Life' kind of moment.

"Hold the popcorn?" I tease.

"Something like that," he grins.

"You call me Clarence and I'm decking you."

"No chance of that," he snickers.  "There's no way anyone would mistake you for an angel, least of all me!"

"Hardee har har, you through?"  He nods and smirks at my sour face.  "Now we've got that all sorted, you with me so far?"

"Oh yeah," he sighs and bats those big, blue eyes at me.  He is.  He really is.  Goddammit, I'm one lucky fuck.

"Back to the Jacks.  Those guys never got to meet Daniel Jackson or have him in their life.  One thing I can tell you for sure, if they had, Samantha Carter, military or no, wouldn't have had a snowball's chance in hell of getting to first base with either one of them.  I'm telling you the truth, Daniel, and believe me, I should know."

Daniel still doesn't look entirely convinced but that's fine.  I'm only just getting warmed up, here.  He's not the only one who's been thinking very hard about this particular universal conundrum and I've had the benefit of osculatory evidence to turn my theory into a proof.

Doctor Carter says she and her Jack O'Neill were married," I press blithely onward in the face of his indulgent scepticism.   "Says they were happy.  Aside from the fact we only have her word on this, it still doesn't change the fact the guy never knew what he was missing.  And because he never met the Daniel Jackson of his reality he had to settle for second best."

His eyes go wide at that one.  Hah!  Score!  I've got him on the ropes, now, just a little more yakking and I'll have him reassured and we can go back to bed where we belong and get all nice and warm and snugly and hopefully sweaty again if I play my cards right.

"You know what was going through my mind while I was kissing Doctor Carter?"  I tell him honestly, giving it my all.  "Somewhere out there is a Jack O'Neill who will never meet Daniel Jackson.  Never know him, never know what it means to be his friend, never be the best man he can be as a result.   Even while this Jack O'Neill is kissing whoever he is kissing thinking this is as good as it will ever be, he's never, ever going to know what good really is.  Never.  Never, Danny.  I can't help but feel sorry for the poor bastard, wherever he is.  He's got to be the most unfortunate man in the universe.  A most unfortunate man.  I pity him, but at the same time I thank God I'm not him. 'Cause I got lucky in the universal draw and I got you.  No one better, Danny.  Not for Jack O'Neill.  You're what was meant to be, for me.  No one else."

Daniel's looking up at me with that - that look.  The one that makes me feel a thousand feet tall and like I could do absolutely anything and I want to, just for him, so he'll never stop looking at me - just like this.

A languid smile blooms across his face.  "Jack," he ventures shyly.  "That's - that's…nice.  It - it really is.  I don't know what to say."

Hold that thought, baby, 'cause I'm not done ringing your chimes yet.  I figure as long as I'm already having to do the sensitive thing, I might as well do it good and proper.  Besides, if you were looking at what I'm looking at right now you'd know how much he's worth it.

One over the top, hugely sentimental, no foolin' God's honest truth this is the way I really feel admission coming up, here.

"I've never loved anyone the way I love you, and I never knew it better than when I kissed the woman some other me married.  I don't care if a thousand other Jack O'Neills in a thousand other realities have married a thousand other Carters, doesn't change the fact I know Daniel Jackson is the one Jack O'Neill is always meant to be with."

And…Touchdown!  Oh yeah, definitely worth it!

"Wow," Daniel gasps, his face aching with such happiness it almost hurts to look at him.  "You've never - I never knew - "

No, I haven't.  Not come right out and said, not like this.  I should have.  I should have my butt kicked from here to Timbuktu and back again for leaving even the slightest particle of doubt in his mind he wasn't loved with everything I've got.  Maybe if I had, he wouldn't have felt -

So, okay I didn't, but I have now and he knows.  That's all that matters, after all.

I lean forward, closing the gap between us 'til our lips are almost touching.  "Now, this is the last I want to hear about any crap about me and Carter.  Carter is on her own.  She's going to have to find her own guy.  Sure, she deserves to be happy.  Some day, I'm sure she will be.  But it sure'n hell won't be with me, nor was it ever supposed to be.  You see, Danny, I'm one of the lucky ones.  I got to meet Daniel Jackson.  I got to play on the first team.  No substitutions required.  I didn't have to settle for something which might be okay, but will never be as good as it can get.  Will never be - the best."

"You really believe that," Daniel's breath is sweet and hot against my mouth.

"Course I do!"  I risk a gentle nibble on that lush lower lip.  "Don't you?"

"I just wasn't sure.  I mean I - I didn't want to take the chance - oh, oh my - I was keeping you - keeping you from someone - someone - oh, um yeah - someone better - oh Jack, oh God, that's - that's good - "

"You really want to step aside and let Carter have me?"  I nibble some more.

"Uh…no.  Oh God, hell no!  Sam who?"

Sweet.  That's my boy.

He moans, low and deep in his chest, desire rumbling inside him and resonating in me.  Then he's surging up, moving into me, our mouths crushing in frantic agreement, a slippery, luscious lip-fest.

"You kissed her," Daniel lightly accuses as he abruptly bites my lip.

Aha, playing rough again, are we?  I can do rough.

"Bad, it was bad," I hook my fingers in his hair, pull his head back, bare his throat.

"Oh yeah?"  He shivers as I lower my head, take his skin between my teeth and suck.  "How - how bad?"

"Really bad," I mutter and then bite his neck again. Harder.  He groans and bucks in my arms.  He loves this.  So do I.  "Like kissing my sister."

"That - that's bad," he sucks in his breath as I lick the skin I've just teased.  "Um - Jack?"

"What?"  I mutter as I lick my way up his neck and start gnawing across his chin to his mouth.

"You don't - don't - oh God - that's good - don't have a sister."

"Well if I did - it would be like that.  Bad."

"Bad," he echoes breathlessly, fighting my hold, trying to turn his head toward the mouth making for his.

"Not like this."  I continue gnawing and licking and keeping him from meeting my advance until I'm ready to let him go.  He's starting to squirm and writhe in earnest, getting hotter and hotter the more he has to fight me.

"This?" he's barely able to grunt out he's breathing so hard.

"This."  I tell him as I finally release him and he turns his head blindly toward me, seeking my mouth.   "This is good."

Oh yeah, I'm feeling it, falling into it, the thrill of his lips merging with mine, the fire searing me at the slightest touch, the way such soft, urgent sweetness sings inside me like nothing else, no one else -

This is everything that's good to me.  So is he.

We kiss until it's either give or die and at last he laughs and clasps me around the neck.  Breaking the kiss and falling against me panting gently with soft, breathless chuckles.

"Okay, okay," he sighs.  "You've convinced me."

"That mean we're all done talking about this crap?"  I ask him hopefully.  "The bee has buzzed off and you're no longer persuaded you have to sign me over to Carter?"

"No way!  Sam can get her own colonel!"

I'm sure she will. Eventually. And as long as he doesn't mind playing second fiddle to a Stargate they'll get along swell.

"We're never going to mention this again?" Please, please, please, pretty please?

"Nope," he agrees firmly. 

Hallelujah!

Well, that's all I have, I'm happy, our bed is calling, my job is done here but he's suddenly wearing a little frown abruptly making me think my confidence we'd concluded was a tad premature. 

Oh good grief, what now?

"What?"  I whine.

"The kissing thing?  I forgive you." Daniel announces solemnly, a wicked gleam in his eye.  "It wasn't easy, but you are definitely forgiven."

Whaa?  Bite me, you little weasel!

"I am?"  I gape at him. "Is that so? Well, in that case, Doctor Jackson, I've just got one word for you."

"What's that?"  he queries cautiously, instantly suspicious of my tone, but far too late to save himself.

"STEAMROLLER!"  I hoot as I tumble him off my lap onto the floor and fling myself on top of him.  He's so shocked he just lies there and I'm actually able to roll off him and over him from side to side twice before he starts flailing and roaring.

"Get off me you lout!"  he hollers.

Lout?  Lout?  Oooh, that's a new one.  I like it!

"That's me I'm a lout, I'm a lout, I'm a lout-lout-lout!"  I yodel loudly and enthusiastically as I have a go at rolling over him again.

"You're also five years old, you fuck!" he fumes as he tries to fight me off.  Unsuccessfully. We keep on tussling on this carpet much longer we're both gonna have a wicked case of rug burn that's going to be interesting to explain but it's just so gosh darn much fun.

So maybe I am five. Guilty as charged but I don't know what he's complaining about, it's not like he didn't know that before.

The funny thing is, no matter how much he screams about how much I bug him - and believe me, I do - bug him, that is.  Constantly.  The funny thing is, he loves me anyway.  He really does, you know.  I can't explain it, but there you are.  I figure that makes me the luckiest lout in the universe.  A most fortunate man, all right.  Yup, that's me.  All you other poor bastards out there not so blessed, good luck with Carter and trust me, you're gonna need it.

So when she starts trying to explain wormhole physics to you again for the millionth time just smile and nod. Or shoot yourself.  Whatever works.  I'll think kind thoughts for you while Danny and I are making out.

And then again, maybe not.

FINIS




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Biblio, PhoenixE, babs, Brionhet, Darcy, Devra, Fabrisse, JoaG, Kalimyre, Marcia, Rowan and Sideburns, 2001-2008.
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Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Stargate Productions, Sci Fi Channel, Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. These stories are for entertainment purposes only. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author. These stories may not be posted elsewhere without the consent of the author. Copyright on images remains with the above named rightsholders.
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