GOING DOWN PART THREE  BY PHOENIXE
Slash:  Jack and Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves sex.
Rating: R
Category: Angst, First Time, Humour
Season/Spoilers: Pick one.  Any time after season 3  Itty bitty spoiler for Shades of Grey
Synopsis: Jack and Daniel go head to head on the playing field in an alien arena.  One of them is going down!
Warnings: :Language.  Skin.  Lots and lots of skin.
Length:  222 Kb  Originally completed Mar 07. Posted here 1 Sep  08  

Story Notes: This story was originally written as a response to a monthly challenge on Pepe's list from a loooong, long time ago.  We were supposed to pick a story title from the issued list and this is the one I chose.  The month during which the challenge was issued came and went, and the story languished on my hard drive, unfinished.  That is until I dusted it off and whipped it into shape for Chance and the memorial zine I put together for her well over a year ago.  I had her very much in mind while I was writing it. I hope I did her justice; pretty sure she would have gotten a kick out of it.  I think this is my ultimate Jack and Daniel naked story, and not in the way one usually thinks of them being together in the altogether.  Certainly what I do to Daniel, well, read it and find out.  Heh.  This story also contains what I personally feel is the funniest line I've ever written. Still cracks me up every time I see it.  Anyone who wants to venture a guess which one, ask me and see if you're right!  Oh yeah, and those of you who have seen the 'In Our Hearts' version, there is a new scene in this story, just after the gateroom scene.  Enjoy!


I turn, and look up, understanding at last why everybody on the field, nay, everyone in this whole stinking arena is staring wide-eyed and slack-jawed at that huge, honkin’ screen, and what’s all over it, in full colour…

Daniel.

There he is, up there, coasting across the finish line, it hasn’t even clicked in yet he’s made it, even though he’s well across he keeps on chugging, doesn’t throttle back one iota until the light show blowing its wad to celebrate his accomplishment clues him in he’s done it, and of course, the hysterical cheers from the crowd…

There he goes, he’s figured it out, he’s the winner, he’s da man!  Slowing down now, he’s stopped running, but oh my, the show, it would seem, is far from over.

Oh yeah, he’s definitely the man of the hour and he’s so proud of himself, doing an energetic happy dance on the spot there, yeah, you did it, you beat me, Daniel, fair and square, enjoy it while you can, myself, at this moment I really don’t minding losing, in this particular context, the consolation prize is…well, this is one of those times when you win, even if you lose.  Not complaining at all. Nope, not me. This…is quite a show.

Unbelievable…

Daniel, well, he’s incredibly…he’s having a really good time, hooping and hollering and skipping about in excited circles, executing a spectacularly energetic victory fandango at the moment, evidently he’s quite thrilled with…winning, and we’re all getting hard, really hard up close and personal visual confirmation of how…thrilled…he is.   Really hard.  Oh my God, just look at him, my heart’s about to stop, he’s whooping it up, bouncing and bounding around like an insane maniac, he’s really, really excited, and I’d like to be as happy for him and with him, only problem is the poor schmuck is so jazzed, he doesn’t realize…oh God, it hasn’t hit him yet he’s completely, absolutely, utterly naked and every bounce, flounce, twist, wiggle, jiggle, totally on display all over those damned mega screens. 

Yeah, there’s Daniel all over, nude as the David de Milo. Not a stitch on him.  Nope, not a one.

Well, he can’t have, can he, on account of I’ve currently got custody of his skirt.

Oh my God.

I wish the totally buck-naked thing, bad as it is, was the worst of it, but alas, we’re not getting off that easy and neither is Daniel.  I said he was jazzed, right, which he certainly, evidently is, and if the vigorous victory jig he’s currently executing wasn’t enough of a visual clue, there’s more. The extremely graphic and priaptic proof is not simply in the bouncing.  Oh, no, if only.  Lord help me, I hope the kiddies’ eyes are covered, because the crowd is getting a lot more than they probably expected, certainly way more than their money’s worth today, and believe me, they are being appropriately vocally grateful.  Oh God, not that a naked and bouncing Daniel isn’t a delightfully delectable spectacle in himself, but the icing on the cupcake is the enormous boner he’s saluting the stands with. Oh my God, that puppy is...well, there are no words.

I’ve no doubt it’s a thing of beauty, more than impressive when it’s simply to scale, but blown up, in excruciating close-up, several hundred feet high – or should that be…long…

Well, what can you say about a hard-on the size of the Cleopatra’s Needle except…

Yep, that is definitely one major erection.  Wow…you could poke George Washington’s eye out with that thing and still have enough left over for Lincoln .

Holy shit I’ve still got what’s left of his dignity in my hot little hands and I’d better make tracks and get it to him  – like now, if I run really, really fast I might make it before he comes down and – and clues in… crap, if he actually sees himself, like that, and realizes everyone else has…too…

Kill me, kill me, he’s gonna kill me.

I thought I was running flat out before, hell, now I’m moving so fast I’m breaking the sound barrier here.  Gotta make it, gotta make it, gotta…

The crowd has gone quiet, there’s this solemn, reverent hush reigning over the arena, and I’m suspecting the whole salacious lot of 'em are getting happily mesmerized watching Daniel’s HD naughty bits bob and wave at them. Pervs! But hey, on second thought, can’t say I blame them, it definitely qualifies as a religious experience in my book!

Okay, okay, run, O’Neill, you can make it, you can do it, aw crap.

Too late.

As I come galloping up on him it’s painfully obvious Daniel is no longer bouncing.  Nope, he’s not moving at all, not making any effort to cover himself either, he’s standing ramrod stiff like he’s petrified in place, staring straight up, mouth gaping open, arms hanging slackly at his sides, eyes wide with dumb horror.  I didn’t think this was even possible but I swear, he’s got a total, full body blush going; he’s red from the roots of his hair to…

And oh yeah, he’s also visibly…wilting.

Rapidly.

But let’s not go there, don’t look, don’t look, eyes up, front, anywhere but…

“I got here as fast as I could!” I gasp, skidding to his side.  He doesn’t look my way, gives no sign he’s even aware of my presence while I stand dripping and wheezing beside him, bent over, trying to suck some air into my burning chest.  I may have broken something trying to get here so quick.

“Daniel,” I cough, hacking up a lung and straightening so I won’t keel over.  “You okay?”  Me, I’m fine. Seeing a few spots here, but I think I’ll live.

Yikes, I think the poor guy is in shock.  God, I hope his brain hasn’t shut down from embarrassment.  Can you be in a coma with your eyes wide open?  Maybe I’d better poke him or something, just to see if he’s still in there.

He still doesn’t move, and just as I’m starting to become seriously concerned, his vacant, shocked eyes finally swing my way.

“I’m…I’m…”

His mouth is moving, but the sounds are barely coming out.

“I know, I know,” I soothe, and thrust his skirt at him.  “I’m sorry.  I brought you this.”

Daniel glances down at the pathetic rag in my hand but doesn’t take it.  Come on, Daniel, work with me here.  I know you’re slightly stunned, and all, but the damage is…um…done, let’s just suit up and move on. 

Okay?

“It’s a bit sweaty.  Sorry about that too.”

“Jack,” he says again, louder this time, a glare gathering in his gaze, crowding out the shockiness with something a lot more…

Pissed.

“Jack, I’m naked.”  

Oh yeah, a whole lot of pissed.  Daniel is definitely re-entering the building and when he gets to the top floor my life is over.

“I know.” 

I’ll make it up to you somehow, I swear.  Don’t exactly know how yet, but…

“I’m naked, and it’s your fault.”

Oh boy, this is going south fast.  Really, really fast.  I can’t blame him for being mad at me, but it’s not like I did it on purpose.  He’s just…well, he’s not quite… right now, on account of…crap, Daniel, snap out of it, you’ve still got nothing on. 

“I know that too.  I said I’m sorry.  Are you gonna…”

I waggle the rag at him and he abruptly snatches it out of my hand.

“Well, you could say thank you,” I shrug.

Well, he could.

“Don’t start with me, he snarls, unfurling the skirt and swiftly wrapping it about his waist.  The moment he’s fully covered a mass moan of disappointment issues from the bleachers.  Daniel’s head snaps up, reacting to the sound.

“Don’t you start with me either!” he harangues the groaning masses, whirling about in an incensed circle finishing with him glaring full at me.

“You still here?” he snaps at me.  “I’ve certainly given them more than their money’s worth, what can I do for you?”

How’s that for gratitude.  I’m willing to make allowances for the embarrassment factor, but geez, he’s really working this.  I know I screwed up but I’m doing the best I can to make up to him.  Least he could do is meet me half-way.

“Come on, Daniel, it’s not so bad,” I cajole.

“How – how can you say that?” he throws his hands up in the air, a definite hysterical edge to his tone.

“I know the way it looks, but –“

I don’t get a chance to finish.

“You don’t get it, do you?” he snarls, stabbing me in the chest with his right index finger.  “Because of you I was – I was – in front of all those people!  They saw everything!

“Yeah, I know,” I reply calmly.  I gotta talk him down here, and fast, now he’s over the initial shock there’s a very real possibility he’s contemplating Jack-icide.

With extreme prejudice.

“Come on, Daniel, so a few million people saw you in your birthday suit,” I pat him on the shoulder.  “It’s not like you know any of them, or even have to see them again, once we get back to the SGC.”

“I know at least three of them,” he says in a low, ominous voice.

I really should leave logic to the experts.

“Daniel, what do you want me to say?” I entreat; putting everything I have into my best sincere face.  “Sorry?  I am, I really am, but it’s done, and I can’t change that.  I know it’s embarrassing, but being the SGC’s first interplanetary streaker, it’s not like it’s going to kill you, or anything.  Besides, it’s not all bad, look on the bright side.”

Daniel gapes at me like I’m insane.

“Bright side?” he sputters.  “What are you talking about what  - what – bright side?  Are you insane?”

“Sure there is, you won, didn't you?  You beat me, fair and…um… you beat me.  Isn’t that what you wanted?”

Daniel’s eyes narrow, and the venomous glare he broadsides me with would take out a peltac in orbit.  It hits hard, I actually stagger beneath the weight of the cold, dark hatred in his eyes.

“I am never speaking to you again,” he hisses, his face almost purple with rage.  “Never!”

I’m too shocked to say anything and then, I lose my chance.  He gives me one more disgusted once-over then whirls, stalking away from me down the field, stiff-backed, head held high.  He doesn’t spare me the slightest backward glare, just keeps on stomping, making a bee-line for the gaggle of post-game well-wishers trotting up the field toward him, his cheering blue boys in the lead. When Daniel reaches them, his guys hoist him up on their shoulders and yelling and laughing, bear their victorious, albeit no longer naked, hero away.

I stand there and watch them go, Daniel’s words and the way he said them rolling around in my head.  Now, believe me, I’ve pissed Daniel off plenty, many times in the past, one of the things in life I’m truly good at, and this isn’t the first time he’s ever said this, or something very similar, to me.  Hell, if I had a nickel for every time Daniel has told me to fuck off and die, to get lost, he never wanted to see me again or any and all combinations of the above, I’d have a lot of freaking nickels, and Daniel still talking to me once he’d calmed down and apologized for going off the deep end on me.

This time, though…this time is different.

This time I think he really means it.


“Welcome back, SG-1!”  General Hammond’s cheery tones greet us upon stepping through the event horizon.  His huge grin falters when Daniel keeps on going, stomping moodily down the ramp and right on past him without giving him so much as a glare.

Lucky bastard.

“You have good news for me, Colonel, I hope,” Hammond says to me, after a quick, puzzled glance at Daniel, still stomping, making straight for the open blast doors, clearly intending to clear the gateroom ASAP.

“Yes, Sir, absolutely, Sir, the treaty is signed, sealed and delivered,” I promptly respond.  “Thanks to Daniel.”

Daniel stiffens and stops.  Dead.  He stands rooted, one step from the corridor, back straighter than a pool cue and I can see the hair on the back of his neck bristling from here but he doesn’t turn around.

Just because he’s not looking at any of us – okay, me, specifically, doesn’t mean he’s not listening.  Believe me, those angry ears are soaking in every word about to be spoken and I’m pretty sure my future, nay, my very life hinges on what gets said within the next few seconds.

Okay, guys, just this once, leave it alone. Please? Hammond will get the full, awful truth, all in good time, but we don’t need to go into too much detail at this particular juncture, especially not now, not while Daniel is still…so…unimpressed with just about everything and everybody but most especially me.  Cut me some slack, here, kids, let’s keep our mouths shut and let him go, give him some time to cool down, and me an opportunity to do some damage control once he has.  If he ever does.  Ye Gods, seriously hoping he does, but the way it’s looking at the moment I dunno.  I honest to god don’t know, and I don’t mind telling you, it’s scaring the crap out of me.

And so is he.

There’s a very real possibility he probably won’t settle for any conciliatory measures from me not involving me shooting myself, preferably in his presence with a gun he’s personally loaded and put in my hands for that express purpose, but a girl can try.

Oh oh.  If I thought I had problems before…

This smug, sly look slides across Carter’s face, and the big blue eyes shooting my way are way too bright and loaded with mischief.

Hell. My. Life. She’s. About. To. Make.

“Oh, yes, Sir, the Quaar were quite impressed with Daniel,” SG-1’s very own blonde Judas cheerily volunteers, throwing me an evil grin before flashing Hammond a megawatt, ingenuous smile.

Ack!  Sold down the river for a cheap laugh!  Oh well, at least I can count on the big guy not to -

“Indeed,” Jaffa Iscariot chimes in, effectively handing me the paddle I’m going to need for my impending trip further up shit creek.  “As we were preparing to depart their governing council were discussing an appropriate way to suitably honour him for his outstanding actions.  I believe they wish to declare him a national hero.”

Thanks, guys; I will remember this.

“Oh yeah,” Carter nods, her face a study in fake seriousness.  “Daniel definitely left his mark on the collective psyches of the Quaar.  His performance was…well, unique in the annals of sports history.  They can’t stop talking about it, and him.  I certainly saw a lot more of him than I was expecting.  It was extremely…inspirational.  A very impressive showing, wouldn’t you agree, Colonel?” She finishes, barely managing to suppress a giggle.

Daniel whips about, affixing me with a murderous stare.

What?  Why are you blaming me, I didn’t start this.  Not sayin’ a word, here. Nope, not me!  Lip...zipped.

“That is true,” Teal’c gravely nods. “DanielJackson’s image has been prominently featured in the news media and disseminated planet-wide.  Among the Quaar he is rapidly becoming… a…”

Teal’c pauses, as if he’s searching an elusive word or phrase he can’t quite get a hold of.

“House-hold word?”  Carter immediately supplies, and I don’t need the ear-to-ear grin to get she’s enjoying this way too much. 

Apparently she’s not the only one.

“Indeed,” Teal’c nods again.  “Thank you, Major Carter.”

“Yes, Sir, Daniel is quite the celebrity on P4B 814,” Carter gleefully continues, while Daniel’s furious eyes drill through me.  “He’s already been inducted into the Zot Hall of Fame. The Quaar can’t get enough of him.   He’s so popular there, we weren’t exactly sure the Quaar were going to let him come back with us.  Kinda touch and go, for a bit, what with the Dodg wanting to take him on a planet-wide tour, all the parties and receptions they wanted to throw for him, the requests for him to do talk show appearances, the product endorsement offers, a three picture movie deal, not to mention the five year contract – “

“The amount of local currency the Dodg proposed to secure DanielJackson’s agreement to continue to display his unique talents on the playing field was considerable,” Teal’c informs Hammond solemnly, with an elegant brow lift.

“Oh yeah,” Sam vigorously nods.  “It was a lot of money.  Personally I don’t know how Daniel turned it down.    “Let me see,” she muses, ticking off each item on her fingers.  “The tour, the talk shows, movies, the endorsements, the contract, and…what else?”  She pauses, throwing a thoughtful look up at Teal’c.

“You have not mentioned the numerous individuals seeking to approach DanielJackson with matrimonial offers.”

 “Holy Hannah!”  Carter slaps her forehead.  “How could I have forgotten that, we were beating off potential suitors with sticks.”

“No one was harmed, Major Carter, although we had to be vigilant and strict in refusing the applicants access to DanielJackson, for his own protection, there were no actual sticks involved in the process,” Teal’c sternly admonishes.

“It’s just an expression, Teal’c,” she soothes.  “Nevertheless, as Teal’c was saying we had our hands pretty full screening Daniel from, oh, numerous amorous overtures, and as for the actual proposals, over a dozen, wasn’t it, Teal’c?”

“Fifteen,” the big guy deadpans.

“Sorry, it was hard to keep track. Some of them were even from women.”

“Indeed,” Teal’c announces.  Carter grabs his arm and viciously bites her lip.  “As I recall, the Dodg’s daughter was particularly insistent, as was his son.”

“Yeah, at one point I thought they were gonna kill each other,” Carter grimaces.  “It got pretty ugly.  They liked him, they really, really liked him,” she shrugs at Hammond .

Funny act, guys, a real barrel of laughs.  You should take it on the road; you’d be a hit.  For sure you’ve got Daniel rolling in the aisles.   Yeah, he’s downright hysterical with glee.  The whole time Hope and Crosby here have been getting their jollies at both our expenses he’s been roasting me raw with the double-dog damned eyes of doom, flushing and steaming, and by now he’s so worked up his face is about the colour of a stop sign.

Cut it out, will ya, why don’t you do the bug-eyes thing at them they’re the one’s who’ve been – I haven’t said anything, done… oh, I get it, that’s it, that’s why his toque is in such a twist, even though they’re the ones doing all the ribbing it’s still my fault because…

Okay, Daniel, now that’s really not fair, why do you think, now of all times they’d listen to me any more than you do?

“It is not inaccurate to state, due to his actions on behalf of the SGC during the successful conclusion of the negotiations, Daniel Jackson is much revered by the Quaar. Would you not agree, O’Neill?”

Oh no, you’re not dragging me into this. 

“Oh yes!” Carter quickly cuts in.  “Let’s not forget the colonel was a big help.  In fact, he’s pretty much the main reason for Daniel’s exposure.”

Hammond has been glancing uncertainly between the three of us, picking up on the not-so-subtle ambient tension in the room and rightly surmising, no doubt from what I’m not saying as much as what’s already come out of the mouths of the other two there’s a lot more going on here than has met the ear.  The distressed grunt Daniel makes on the heels of Carter’s last comment confirms his growing suspicions.

“I’ll be looking forward to your report,” Hammond cautiously ventures after a careful once-over of all of us. 

“We have pictures!”  Carter helpfully volunteers. 

Daniel squawks again.

“Debriefing in…” Hammond pauses, and glances thoughtfully back at Daniel.  “Three hours,” he finishes softly.  “Take some time, Doctor Jackson,” he says kindly.  “I’m sure whatever you have to tell me can keep until you’ve had a chance to…well, I don’t know, but whatever you need to do, take some time and do it first, son.”

Thank you, George; you’re a damned fine man.  You might not know what the story is, but you can see it’s going to be awhile before Daniel can face telling it.

Daniel drops his head.  “Thank you, Sir,” he mumbles.  “ I – I appreciate…  I’ll – I’ll be fine.”

Daniel flings one final killer glare at me over the top of his glasses, then spins on his heels and stalks away.  Hammond watches him go, then gives all of us the once-over again, his brow knitting with concern and…

Oh boy, I’m in for it now.

“Colonel,” he says sternly.  “My office.”

“Yes Sir,” I sigh, and slump down the ramp after him.

Peachy.  Just when you think things can’t possibly get any worse, they do.

Of course they do.

Oh well, look on the bright side, if Hammond kills me now I won’t have to worry about how I’m going to make this up to Daniel later.


Forty five minutes with Hammond , another 30 getting green-lit by Janet, fifteen minutes of procrastinating and playing with my yo-yo, yup, should do it.  Should be long enough.  Daniel’s had enough time to go from full boil to simmer.  I’ll take a chance and take him on; besides, I come armed with glad tidings guaranteed to earn me a foot in the door and an audience with His Royal Pissiness.

It’ll be good.  It’ll be fine.  As long as I’ve known him I’ve never known Daniel to hold a grudge into infinity.  At least, not against anyone who’s not got a snake in ‘em; and I definitely don’t got one of those.

“Hey Daniel, you decent?” I holler through his open office door and am immediately impeded from further proceeding by an unexpected obstacle looming in the doorway looking suspiciously like my Jaffa brother and my 2IC.  Neither of whom look incredibly happy to see me.

Whoa, whazup wid diz?

I stop.  We stare at each other.  Clearly, I wish to enter.  Clearly, they don’t seem to be clearing out of my way so I can.

“Carter?  Teal’c?”  I calmly address the stone-faced guardians of Daniel’s door. “Would you mind…” I make a shooing motion, gesturing to indicate they should maybe, like, get the hell out of my way!  

“Let me through, I wanna talk to Daniel!”

“Um, about that, Sir,” Carter begins, crossing her arms across her chest and glaring at me.

“I do not believe that would be wise, O’Neill,” Teal’c rumbles ominously.  “DanielJackson does not wish to speak to you.”

Is he kidding? He's kidding.  He has to be. Okay, I know Daniel was pretty pissed with me, but this is bordering on adolescent, even for him! Come on, big guy, we’re not in high school here, and we're all a little old to be playing keep away, so back off, let me through, I’ll give Daniel the good news and a snappy apology, he’ll forgive me and that’ll be that. 

Problem solved.  And nothing further to see here so get out the way, already!

“Is that Jack?” Daniel hollers from somewhere inside his office.  “Tell him to go away!”

“As I said, O’Neill,” Teal’c observes with a smug smile.  “DanielJackson does not wish to speak to you.  I believe it would be unwise to allow you entrance to his office at this time.”

“But I got news!” I whine.  

Crap, did I – did I just whine?

“Daniel already knows he doesn’t have to go to the briefing,” Carter sternly informs me, giving the glare more gas.  “General Hammond called him and told him he was excused.”

Well, crap, Hammond beat me to the punch.  There goes my ace in the door.  Not that I’d be getting a chance to use it, any time soon, even if he hadn’t, judging by the faces on the unwelcome wagon, here.

“He was just putting the finishing touches on his mission report,” Carter helpfully supplies.

Ewww.  Daniel’s mission report.  That’ll be a fun read.  Ack.

“After he has done so, he will be returning to his domicile,” her accomplice adds.

Home?  Daniel is going home?  Wait, that’s not good, if he leaves now that means…I have to talk to him, but I can’t, if he’s not here because I can’t leave yet, he may be excused from the debriefing but I’m not and I still have my report, dammit, it’s going to be hours before I get a chance to –

“Lemme through, I wanna talk to Daniel!”

I push forward, trying to shoulder past them.  Teal’c instantly responds, placing a large, hard hand on my chest which he then uses to gently but emphatically push me backward.  He’s holdin’ back, administering the Jaffa equivalent of a love tap, still, I’m sent staggering several steps in reverse all the same.

“We must insist you do not bother DanielJackson at this time.”

Yeah, I kinda got that from the shove.  Thanks for not caving my chest in, by the way.  Appreciate it.

“I know, I know, he doesn’t want to speak to me,” I snap.  “I'm officially in the dog house, I get it. Can't help noticing though, he doesn’t seem to have any problem talking to you!”

Teal’c smug smile grows even…smugger.  Carter gives him a sly glance before buttonholing me with the blue eyes of doom once more.

“We have apologized to DanielJackson for our previous ill-advised attempt at levity at his expense,” Teal’c explains.  “An apology he has fully accepted.”

Sure, gowan, rub it in.  Traitor. Daniel will forgive you, no problem, but apparently I’m gonna have to do a hell of a lot more grovelling than I was originally figuring to get back in his good books.  That is presuming you'll let me near him any time soon in order to do it!

“Oh yeah, and the fact we were able to prove, to his satisfaction, there was no photographic evidence of his…exposure, even though I said there was, that definitely helped,” Carter can't resist getting her own three cents in.

Carter’s gloating big time and having way too much fun in the bargain.  That no pictures thing?  Yeah, right, don’t you believe it! Daniel might have bought it, but me, I’m not so easily snowed.  I know she’s got a secret stash somewhere, and we’ll be getting to that, and her later but for now –

“Is he still here?” Daniel hollers again, his voice so cold he has to have icicle breath.  Not that I’m gonna get close enough to him to be able to tell.  

“Make him go away!”

“I think it would be wise if you left this place, O’Neill,” Teal’c booms.

Carter and Teal’c are instantly in motion, each one grabs an arm and I’m wheeled about and motored halfway down the corridor before I get I’m being Jaffa powered to the elevator.

“What – wait – wait a minute, I just want to talk to him – “ I weakly protest.  “We’re going in the wrong direction, by the way.”

“I’m sorry about this, Colonel but Daniel is really, really angry with you right now, and honestly I can’t say I blame him,” Carter scolds while she and Teal’c squire me further down the hall and away from Daniel.

“Carter, you know me you can’t believe – and Daniel surely can’t be thinking I did…what I did on purpose.  It was an accident.  A slip of the – it was an accident!” I bluster.  “I didn’t mean it!”

“Perhaps not,” Teal’c smoothly interjects.  “However, I do believe you were most sincere in your desire to triumph over DanielJackson no matter the cost.  He is acutely aware of the strategy you employed to undermine his efforts prior to the commencement of the contest.”

Uh oh.  Daniel has calmed down enough to figure it out.  I’m more than hooped, I’m doomed.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I lie.

“Winding Daniel up in the locker room!” Carter scoffs.  “Sir, you should be ashamed of yourself!”

Oh, now that's rich coming from the Queen of the Gateroom centre shot, you wanna talk pots and kettles here, explain to me how a little bit of pre-game ribbing is worse than what they did to him in front of Hammond, sorry, don’t quite get the distinction, but obviously I’m not the one who says who is and isn’t persona non grated here.  Daniel is the one with the deciding vote, and it seems like I’m being voted off the island.

“I am, I am, trust me, I am!”  I throw them both a ‘you know you love me’ look guaranteed to thaw even the hardest Jaffa heart.  For sure it will make Carter cave.   Never failed me before.

I know it’s fighting dirty, but they started it.

“Perhaps you believe this is true, but we are not convinced,” Teal’c informs me, while Carter summons the elevator with a decisive swipe. “We suggest much more reflection is required on your part before we can be assured you are truly contrite enough to speak to DanielJackson.“

What, you’re Jimminy Cricket now?  You get to make the ruling on the quality of my repentance?  What do I have to do to make your cut, wear a hair shirt, give myself a few lashes, manage a tear or two, is there gonna be a quiz?

“What do I have to do to make you believe me, take out a full page ad?”  I gape at them.  “How does skywriting grab ya?”

“We are not the ones you have to convince of your sincerity, O’Neill,” Teal’c says sadly.

Funny, that’s not what I’m hearing.

“We don’t think you really understand how much you…what you said to him, how you…” Carter starts, and then sighs unhappily.  “He’s really upset, Sir.  Really upset.  If you go in there now, try and make light of this, brush it off, like you always do, like we’ve let you, on more than one occasion…”

Hmmm, still a little sore about that whole undercover Tollan weapons sting operation thing, are we, Carter?  And here’s me thinking all these years those wounds were completely healed.

Wow, what other grudges have my team mates been secretly nursing against me and do I really want to know?

“Do you not think you have burned enough bridges with DanielJackson, O’Neill?”

“That’s buried, T.”

“I do not understand, O’Neill.”

“The expression, it’s buried your bridges, not burned.”

“I do not believe so.”

“Yeah, trust me, it’s buried.”

“You are mistaken, O’Neill.”

“No I’m not.”

“Yes, you are.”

“Are you sure?”

"I am certain."

“Sorry, Sir, but Teal’c is right, you’re wrong.  It’s burned your bridges, not buried.”

“Not buried?”

“No.”

“No.”

“Damn, I could have sworn it was – hey, wait a minute, where the hell are we going anyway, the briefing isn’t for another hour and    OW!  Carter!  Watch the nails!“


Daniel’s door.  Went through the briefing, managed to ditch my escort and finally made it.  I’m here, about to plead my case with ‘never-gonna-speak-to-you-again’ boy.  In the interim I’ve had some time, done some thinking, Teal’c and Carter, they may have had a point, what I did, what I said to him, maybe I let my ego run away with me, just a little bit.  It seemed so important at the time to come out on top, to show him, them I wasn’t…

Yanno, it would be mighty ironic if everything I did to him in an effort to prove I wasn’t over the hill resulted in everything being over period between Daniel and me.

No, it’s not going to come to that, it’s…it’s…

Nope, not gonna happen.  Daniel’s smart, once he’s cooled down, a lot, he’ll figure it out, he knows me, he knows how I think and he’ll realize where I was coming from.  I’m sure some common sense has penetrated that thick head of his and his brain is actually working again so all I have to do is talk to him and it’ll be fine.

He’ll cut me some slack.  We can’t talk about what went on back there, before…unless he talks to me, and…he will.  Eventually.

Now, the tricky part – getting a foot in the door.  That’s what these are for; my back up plan.  My never-fail door opener.  These little babies have never let me down.

Ever the optimist, I rap on Daniel’s door and wait.  Almost immediately, the door creaks open a crack. 

“Oh, it’s you,” Daniel snarls, then slams it in my face.

Oookay, not so good.  That common sense thing I was talking about?  Not seein’ it yet. Might have under-estimated the amount of time it took for Daniel’s brain to reboot.

Oh well, I’m here, might as well go all the way.  I can’t possibly get in any more shit than I’m already in.

Can I?

“Daniel?”  I address the door.  “Oh Daniel, let me in!”

“Go away! I’m not speaking to you, remember!” he stiffly informs me from the other side.

“I brung you something,” I patiently reply.

“Jack if you think you can buy your way out of this with a stupid…what is it?” the muffled voice suspiciously demands, after a brief pause.

“Open the door and find out.”

“Not a chance, slide it under and get lost.”

And he said he wasn’t talking to me!  Three whole sentences from Doctor Incommunicado.  Definitely making progress here. Sure, we’re not actually through the door, yet, but that is a mere technicality soon to be rectified.   Give me room and watch me work.

“Can’t.  They won’t fit.”

Well, they won’t. 

Silence.  He’s still there, on the other side, I can hear him breathing.  He’s thinking it over. 

“Daniel,” I start again, really giving it the gas.  “Come on, Daniel, let’s talk about this, you know I never meant…”

The door opens a crack, a hand shoots through, palm turned up expectantly.

“Give it to me,” the door demands.  “Then go.”

Okay, there’s my opening, better make the most of it.

“Here you go,” I say, and put the bouquet in his hand.

The hand withdraws; the door stays open.  I stand my ground and wait.  I could push on through, another time, another set of circumstances I probably would, but this situation…tricky.  Best to not push my luck.  Things could still go either way.  Patience, patience, must be patient, wait for it…

Roses?”  Daniel squeaks, peering around the door at me, deeply confused.  “You brought me roses?  Jack, why in the world would you bring me roses?”  He stares down at the huge bouquet of a dozen long-stemmed red roses, a dozen extremely expensive long-stemmed red roses, I might add, he’s clutching gingerly like they might evaporate in his face.

An interesting question, a fair one, and one, I must admit I don’t have a ready answer for.  I just…that is…

It seemed like the thing to do. 

“Always worked on Sara,” I blurt out, and then promptly want to swallow my tongue.

Daniel peers at me through narrowed eyes, a series of unreadable expressions using his face to have it out.  Something pretty heavy duty is racing through his brain a thousand miles a second, but I can’t get anything about what’s going on inside from what I’m seeing outside.

“Jack, that is so…weird,” Daniel murmurs, shaking his head and ambling back into his apartment.  I cannot help but notice he has done so without closing the door on me.

Looks like I’m in.

“Not so much,” I protest, shutting the door behind me and following him into the kitchen.  “I mean, you and me,” I wave a hand between us.  “There’s enough of a…that is, within this context, as gestures go, oddly enough, I don’t think it’s inappropriate.”

Honestly, I don’t.  Which should be, as Daniel has just said, weird, but, yanno, it’s not. 

Daniel doesn’t look at me while he gets a vase from the cupboard and takes it to the sink.

“Jack, Sara was your wife,” Daniel quietly observes, starting to fill the vase with water.

“Yeah?”  I blink innocently at his back.  “And, so, therefore?”

I know where he’s going with this.  As well as suddenly realizing where I’m coming from.

“Your wife, Jack,” he calmly continues, his movements slow, precise, deliberate while turning from the sink and putting the vase on the counter.  He starts unwrapping the roses, freeing them from the green paper and other floral trapping with exquisite care and then equally carefully selects one and places it in the vase.

“You used to bring your wife roses as…a peace offering, I’m guessing.”  It’s not really a question, he’s thinking out loud, not expecting an answer, but I’ll give it to him anyway.

“Yeah, I did.  When I really screwed up, big time,” I tell him, honestly.  “I feel it plenty, but I’m not very good at saying it.  Sorry, I mean.  She knew…whenever I brought her roses...I meant…well, they said it way better.”

“The florist must have loved to see you coming.”  He puts another long-stemmed beauty in the vase; fighting a losing battle to suppress the slight smile I see wrestling with his lips.

“Practically put two of his kids through college,” I shrug and give him a lame grin.

Sure, I screw up a lot; I’m not ashamed to admit it. Did it then; still doing it, obviously.   Sara, she understood, sort of, she got me, up to a point, for a while, but we both know how that turned out.  All the roses in the world couldn’t fix what losing Charlie broke between us.

Maybe this was a stupid idea after all. The whole notion was crazy; I’m crazy, for doing this, for thinking…

I don’t even know what the hell I’m thinking any more.

“Well, I just…” I take an awkward step backward.  “You’re right, it was a stupid thing to do, but I meant – “

I feel like an idiot and grin weakly at his still, serious face, his assessing eyes levelled full at me for the first time since I crossed his threshold.  “You know me, never engage brain before starting engine.  I – well, never mind, forget about it.  Forget about the whole thing.  Keep the roses, enjoy, I’ll just go.”

I’ve whirled and taken a couple of steps in preparation for switching into full-flight mode as soon as I’m clear of his line of sight.  I’ve gotta get out of here before I do something really stupid.  More stupid.  Anything else, period.

“Jack,” Daniel’s soft, entreating voice freezes me in mid-rout.   

“Wait.”

I hear him moving, coming toward me.  He stops, just behind me and I can feel him standing, close enough to touch and yet…not.

“I’m not your wife,” he murmurs, so close to my left ear he’s practically blowing in it.

I wish he’d stop saying that.  It’s obvious he’s not, and that’s not what I meant, when I…not the way I think of him, not wife, he couldn’t be, in the sense of Mr and Mrs Jack O’Neill, not wife but…

“And yet you thought, you wanted to make up with me and you thought, doing it like this, the way you made up with Sara, you thought...”

I don’t know what I was thinking.  Now I think he thinks I’m a nut case. He’s probably right.   I should get the hell out of here before both our opinions of my relative sanity or lack thereof are confirmed.

I’m poised to evacuate but Daniel beats me to the rush, putting a gentle hand on my shoulder holding me harder and faster to the spot than being stuck there with a vat of superglue. 

“Jack, what are you trying to tell me?” he asks gently, applying a little pressure to my shoulder, nudging me to about face and face him. “What are you really saying sorry for?”

I should get the heck out of here, possibly my last chance for saving face, but I go with the nudge and turn, my head hanging.  We’re standing eye to eye, but I still can’t…meet his.  I’m not exactly sure what’s happening here, not sure what’s going through his head, what he’s trying to find out, why he’s called me back.

All I know for sure is I know absolutely nothing except, what happened out there, that brief, strange, wonderful moment with him under me, and how incredible it felt, every thrust, every touch, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it, or him, especially that split second when everything about him and me, and me and him, finally made sense.

While we were engaging in the almost X-rated horizontal mambo in the Quaar astrodome I got it, I really did, the whole buck and wing lah-di-dah Daniel and I have been doing around each other for years, I clued in what it means, what he means to me.  I can’t believe how stupid I’ve been.   All these years I might as well have been walking around with a bag on my head, to not have seen…

Well, that was then, now, I haven’t got a thing to hide behind; I’m as exposed as Daniel was during the ritual humiliation he was recently subjected to in the name of interplanetary diplomacy and good will.  I’m being stripped as surely and completely, laid as bare, soul or skin, not much difference from where I’m standing it hurts, God it hurts and I can’t stop it from happening any more than he could. 

I might know, for the first time in my life, maybe, what I want, I mean, really, really want, but that doesn’t mean…

It doesn’t mean squat.  Not unless he…he wants me back.

“What are you saying, Jack?”  Daniel prompts again, running his hand up my shoulder ‘til it’s curled around the back of my neck.  “Sorry?  Sorry for what?”

I can’t…I can’t… I want – want to tell him, I – I do, but…but...mouth opening, nothing coming out.

Crap.

“Sorry for turning your back on me because you couldn’t afford to look too closely?  Sorry for all the times you shut me up and down because you were afraid to listen?  Sorry for all years you’ve wasted lying to yourself, and me?”

I give a little nod to tell him he’s on the right track, but the talking thing?  Still can’t do it.  He rubs the back of my neck in acknowledgement, and his hand, resting there, feels so good and comforting.

“Took you long enough,” Daniel whispers, cupping my cheek in the palm of his other hand, using it to gently raise my head until our eyes meet.  His are glowing, like he has this quiet, constant fire burning inside him.  Been there, it’s always been there, I could have seen it, before now, if I’d looked closely and deeply enough and now, there’s no missing it, even someone as dense as me could make it out from clear across the room, the way he’s lifted the shutters and let it shine…

“I –  I…”  I inanely utter.

“Oh yeah, one thing,” he says with a slight shake of his head.  “You picked a hell of a place to buy a clue, O’Neill.”

“Uh…about that…” I try again, but those eyes, those incredible…eyes…

“And I really could have done without the whole…naked in front of the whole damned planet…thing,” he says huskily, moving closer, his body pressing into mine, mouth…hovering…

“Although, I have to admit…it was kind of…stimulating…”

“Ummmm,” I moan, putting my hands on his waist, rocking forward, feeling…  “Stimulating…”

Close, that warm, wet mouth, so close…killing me…  Our lips are like only a molecule apart and I close my eyes, trembling, aching for him to cross that small gap. 

What’s he waiting for, dying here! 

“Oh well, I don’t suppose it matters now,” he whispers.  “Sure, it was a pretty mean trick, Jack, really low, even for you, but I guess I can find it in my heart to forgive you.  It was an act of desperation, not that it did you any good, I still beat you…old man.”

Son of a bitch!  He’s messing with me!

My eyes fly open and Daniel twists quickly out of my grasp, dancing mockingly just out of reach.

“Who you calling old?” I snap and make a grab for him he easily evades.

“Oooh, waaay too slow, O’Neill,” he jeers, jigging around in a little circle, his eyes animated with mischievous glee.

I’m feeling pretty mischievous myself.  “Don’t kid yourself, kiddo,” I leer, taking a step forward, which he immediately mirrors, only backwards.  “You got lucky, that’s all.  There’s still more than enough snap in this old snake to take you down.”

“Promises, promises,” he taunts, grinning like a fiend.  “Talk is cheap. Care to put your mouth where you money is?”

“Sure!  C’mere and I’ll be happy to put you on your ass!”

“I don’t think so,” he shakes his head mockingly, starting to dance away from me again.  He’s gonna make a break for it, at least he’s gonna try, not that it’ll do him any good; I’ll be on him before he’s cleared the kitchen.  “You want this ass, you’re gonna have to work for it.  Catch me, if you can, and oh, for the record, about the stripping off thing, if that’s what it took to bring you down, I’d have done exactly the same thing to you!”

That does it, no more Mister Nice Guy!”

“You want stripping, I’ll show you stripping!”  I roar, and lunge at him, a split second after he commences a giggling gallop for the living room.  We hurtle through the apartment, sliding around the corner; I’m hot on his heels all the way.  He’s headed for the bedroom.  He’ll never make it there alive.

  “You are so going down!”  I yell, grabbing a handful of shirt, but before I can properly lock on and lift him off his feet he jerks free.

“Promise?” he throws over his shoulder before throwing himself through the open bedroom door.

Absolutely, you have my word on it you’ll have me on you. 

He may have won the first battle but I’m coming out on top in the end.  

Back to Part Two

FINIS

 




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