DUET PART TWO
NOT WITHOUT ME†† BY PHOENIX
Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves
Season.† No Spoilers.
Incident.† Same argument.† Daniel makes a
discovery and some future plans.
Originally written early 2000 and first published
in Event Horizon.† This version somewhat resembles
the original.† I've made changes.†
I think I really do want to die.† That's the only
explanation that makes sense of some of the really stupid and
reckless things I do. Wait, I don't mean that the way it
sounds.† I don't mean I want to die - not
consciously - 'cause I don't. Really, I don't. I'm not crazy.†
Well, not that kind of crazy, anyway.† But there has to
be something wrong with me all the same, some strange and
slightly twisted part of me that thinks going out in a
blaze of glory would be a more desirable option than facing
the future - the terrifying maybes still theoretically,
potentially stretching in front of me waiting to happen
all over me if I hang around long enough to give them their
shot. Yeah, on some bizarre level of my consciousness getting
myself blasted to smithereens is a perfectly logical alternative
to bearing the burden of† living and dealing with the
consequences of my thoughtless recklessness. Way† easier
than having to do things† like what I have to do now.
Jack after what I've just said to him.
know if I can. I must be insane, I canít believe some of
the things I said. And for what - because of what?† Stuff
on a wall.† God, what was I thinking?
be such a single-minded shit at times; the shortcomings
of narrowness of vision.† The price I pay for my focus.†
I canít see past the end of my nose sometimes, or any
farther than the next line of gibberish on the latest wall
that just might be the one with all the answers.† I
canít get my eyes off the details long enough to be able to
see the big picture. Canít seem to understand there is
more going on around me than what I happen to be so fascinated
with at the moment.† Heís far more patient with me than
I deserve.† And how do I repay him?† By biting the
hand trying to save me from myself.
Jack.† The things I do to him without meaning to -† without
even being aware I'm doing it.† I† get so damned caught
up and lost in it all, sometimes I even forget heís there.†
Heís always there anyway, even though so much of what I
know and care about makes him feel like the proverbial
he doesn't try to bluff his way through† -† heís so
cute, the way his eyes glaze over and he looks like he wants
to pump several rounds into his head while he's standing
there pretending heís actually following what I'm saying.†
He gives me this look, sometimes, when I take one of my
all too frequent trips on the Tangent Express.† Next stop
Non-Sequiter Junction for connecting trains to Too Much
Information Station.† He tries to keep up.† He really does.†
But I know I make him feel stupid sometimes.† Hell - I
make him feel stupid a lot.
shouldn't. God, he really shouldn't.† I'm the stupid one.†
Geek, dweeb, four-eyed moron.† Pick one. All this - this
stuff I have crammed into this
space occupied by the loosely associated collection of
grey cells I laughingly call a brain. What use is all of
it, really?† What's the point of knowing how to speak twenty
three different languages and counting† if there's no one
to talk to? What's the point of everything I know if it
canít help me make sense of anything that's happened to
me? Heís the smart one.† He knows what really matters.††
He knows about life.† He knows about† me.
He really does.† He knows everything about me.† What
I think, feel, like, want, believe. How to calm me down and
wind me up.† Oh God, no one knows how to make me crazy
like Jack does!† He knows my favourite colour, my shoe
size, how I like my coffee, what I had for breakfast two
weeks ago Sunday.† He knows† how much I really hate
it when I canít find whatever the hell it was I had in
my hand a minute ago and† put down somewhere - who†
knows where, I sure don't -† and now I need it, of course
I can't find it. I hate that, but guess what, he knows exactly
where it is.† He knows.† He knows me backwards and
forwards, inside and outside and as far as that goes he could
probably draw a map of very single freckle, mole, and scar
on my entire body.† God knows heís spent enough time
memorizing their locations.
to talk about focus? Iíll tell you about focus.† Heís
studied me with the same single-minded dedication I've devoted
to my passion for the written word.† In his chosen field
of study he's been an equally successful scholar. Jack
has achieved the dubious distinction of becoming the worldís
foremost authority on Daniel Jackson.† What he knows
about me would scare me shitless if it wasn't so damned
comforting.† Sometimes I think he knows me better than I
know myself.† He answers questions before I ask them,
brings me things before I even know I need them, always
seems to be there when I least expect him to be but most
need him to be, and is the only person in the world who
can find me when I most need to be found.†† I have few
secrets from Jack.† Whether I want it to be that way or
not.† If it's about me, Jack will find it out.
like heís part of me.† A separate entity, and yet not.†
A unique being and yet also an incarnate extension of my
projected wants, needs and desires wearing another skin,
seemingly existing for the sole reason of being there for
me.† To do everything I want, even if I don't know I want
it yet and and to be everything I need, even if I don't
know how to ask for it.† He knows everything, gives me
everything.† I donít deserve it.††
I fought it, Jack and you.† Fought everything you wanted
to be and do for me for a long time.† Just like I'm fighting
you right now, trying to pull away from your hands on me,
from your very touch. For the same, stupid reason I've
always tried to hold you off, and turn away from everything
you want to give me.
it.†† That makes a lot of sense, doesnít it?† Believe me,
it gets worse.
as I craved your friendship and so much more, I tried to
keep myself from liking it too much.† Wanting - needing
it too much.† Itís not your fault.† You've done nothing
wrong.† Itís not you.† Itís me.† Itís all
because of what always happens when I get too close.
I love dies.† Okay.† I said it.† There it is.†
Oh God, Jack, donít touch me like that.† Itís not
fair.† I canít run when you do this to me.
hands - turning me into fire.† He knows he does this to
me.† Bastard.† He never fights fair.† He knows all he has
to do to turn me into a quivering puddle is get his hands
on me - as soon as he touches me I'm lost.† As lost as
I would be if he never touched me again.
right, Jack, I'm so sorry, God, you were right to get so
angry with me out there. I would have thrown my life away†
if you hadnít pulled me away from that place.† It seemed
like a good idea at the time, but things are looking a
lot different now. A whole lot different.† I saw the look
on your face just now, every bit as scared as you were
when that arrow came so close to me. Damn right you were
scared, both times for the same reason. You thought you
were going to lose me.† Thanks to my short-sighted stubbornness,
you very nearly did out there.† And now you're afraid you
brought me home only to lose me for real.
believe I've done this to you. Especially knowing - what
I know - how it feels... What's wrong with me, Jack, how
could I have been so thoughtless?† I must be crazy.† I
know I'm scared.† Not of you, you're the best thing that's
ever happened to me.† But that's really it, isn't it.†
That's what itís all about. That's why I do this stuff.
to get out before you're taken from me like everyone else
I've ever cared for. To 'leave' you before you die on me.
God, oh God, that it's it! I'm even crazier than I thought
This is selfish, so selfish of me, I know, but it's like
I can't help myself sometimes, because Jack, I donít know
if I can take another loss.† I'm not afraid to love you
but I'm terrified - terrified of losing you.† People love
me - they die. It keeps happening and I can't stop it.
I don't want to kill you too. I tried to keep you safe
by keeping away, but I couldnít. I should have walked away
and never looked back but I couldn't.† Even though I know
I shouldn't risk it I want to feel this bliss.† Your hands
exploring me, your mouth upon mine, your body pressed close,
beloved length heavy and heaving upon me, I wanted all
of it.† Still want it.† Want you.† Do you know how much
I want you?† What I'm risking because I want to love you?
love you, Jack OíNeill.† I've turned my back on those words
a thousand times, turned away from your eyes, knowing you
were watching me.† Youíre always watching me.† Always
there.† Strong, loyal, unflagging.† Unbelievable.†
I still can't take it in sometimes, after all the uncertainty
in my life - the changes, the losses, the loneliness,
rootlessness - having such an comforting anchor permanently
planted dead centre in the middle of my reality.† My Rock
of Gibraltar, answers to the name of Jack O'Neill.†
Always there, never failing, never leaving. So strong, so
comforting, so infinitely reassuring. You canít even begin
to know what that means to me.† What you mean to me.†
I fought accepting it but now I canít live without it.†
live without you and not even you can make me.
running because I donít love you, Jack.† I run because
I do.† I canít bury someone else I love, Jack.† I
canít and I wonít.
hard to stay away from him but in the end he won; his devotion
was stronger than my fear.† I went to him, my love for
him rising with the fire he calls forth in me with a mere
touch.† He lives to please me and in return I give myself
to him utterly with no restraint or regret whenever his
hands summon.† He can do with me as he pleases; I'm his
and his alone.† Who leads and who follows - what does it
matter when there are no boundaries, no line where one
ends and the other begins.† In the circle of love encompassing
us there is no beginning, no end only this.
from the chair and I'm on him; his eyes go wide with surprise
and lust as I† pin him to the wall and thrust myself into
him. Absolute shock in his expression as the rampant evidence
of my interest collides triumphantly† with his.†
Yeah, I've got a boner I could pole vault with, after the way
you've been working me, this surprises you exactly why,
Jack?† You ought to know better by now you play with fire
you get me damned hotÖ
to kiss on-duty lips trying hard to say no even though
it's killing them, yes, I know where we are, yep, it's
dangerous, know that too, but then - I like danger, I'm
reckless, I take chances that scare you like my heedlessness
scares you at the same time as it excites youÖ. like thisÖ.you
like this, necking and rubbing in my office, even though
we might get caught...kissing... kissing is good, kissing
is great,† that mouth, that mouth -† who knew something
so sarcastic and cutting could be so tender, warm and hungryÖ
what do you want, now, Jack, maybe some tongueÖ.what, nothing
to sayÖ.oh, I forgot, it's not polite to talk with your
for it, my tongue a† welcomed invader in familiar territory
as I thrust deep into his mouth and he gasps and grabs
my ass, squeezing me, pulling me in tighter, melding us
at groin level.† I canít help it, the rush makes me giddy
heís falling against me, I haven't got a clue who is holding
up whom, I'm† laughing and kissing and biting him,†
heís growling, shaking weíre both going to fallÖ.
it when I'm the happiest, suddenly all I can think about
is ĎHow long?í† How long can I have this before someone
or something takes it away from me?
could be the way it ended for both of us, right here, right
now, if I could know for sure when we go, we're both going
out together I'd be okay with the whole 'future' thing.†
I live in the moment, Jack. I canít allow myself to think
any further ahead than the immediate second beyond this
one.† Itís the only way I know how to cope, now.† The only
way I know how to get through life.†† Nothing exists
except right now.†† I canít think of the future.†
Itís too frightening, too uncertain.† I donít believe
in a Ďhappily ever afterí.† Not any more.† Too
much has happened.
look at the moment beyond this one because anything could
happen.† It could just as easily be something bad as
something good. I know itís a strange point of view for
someone you consider to be an optimist.† Well, I am an
optimist.† When it comes to everyone else but me, that
wonder where my Ďfocusí comes from, well itís the
Ďmomentí thing.† All I know I have for sure is what I
have right now.† All that exists, everything that's real
- the only thing I can count on is what's here and† now.†
Even Ďnowí is tenuous at best.† This cup of happiness
I'm holding† could be gone in an instant, so Iíd best
drink deep while I still have the chance.† And what
exactly do I have my hands on, right here, right now?
Jack.† You.† Oh, itís so much you.† Everything is Jack.
Jack, why did you take so long to come into my life?† Why
now, why not years and years ago?† You would have made
a difference -† kept so much of it away. Or at least made
it easier to bear. Why find me now, after a life that has
taken so much more than it's given, when what the turmoil
and tears have left so twisted through their passing† itís
hardly worthy of you? Thereís so little left of me that
hasnít been ruined and despoiled.† I'm like the picture
of Dorian Gray in reverse - smooth exterior, perfect face
but what it hidesÖ† Not such a pretty picture.† There
are things lurking within me that would give Jack the Ripper
nightmares, never mind the years of nocturnal suffering
they've graced me with.
first time in a long time I'm starting to believe there
might be an end to it. There's nothing either one of us
can do to change the past, but as all the 'now' we've spent
together starts mounting up I'm sleeping better than I
have in years.† Maybe in time...† That is, if we get to
have enough time and I stop trying to get myself† killed
before you do.
been making up just fine without either of us having to
say a word but I haven't been paying attention.† I've been
so wrapped up in my own selfish thoughts I haven't really
seen him since he walked through
my door, but now we're eye to eye, mouth to mouth, I can
feel the fear he's been trying to hide from me. I've hurt
him so badly, with everything I said I made him think I
was angry with him.†† Well, I was, but not for the
reason he thinks.† He did his job; he kept me safe. Thatís
why I lashed out at him - for saving me.† I didnít want
I do, oh Jack, I'm sorry.† Tell him, I have to tell him,
find the words that will exorcise the self-doubt haunting
his eyes.† I tell him the truth, the only truth I know,
he's the utter meaning of my life, nothing means more to
me than he does† -† not even how scared I am heíll be taken
from me.† Words are floating all around us and I haven't
got a clue what I'm saying but I have to be sure he knows,
so I tell him with my lips, my arms around him, I try to
talk to him the way he talks to me.
Heís crying.† Oh Jack, what have I done?
him tight,† kiss him again and his mouth answers, seeking,
sucking as if heís trying to draw me inside him to keep
me safe. To protect me.†† My saviour, my protector; his
arms around me promise a safe haven.†† Nothing will
hurt me as long as he draws breath.
say Ďwhat do you see in me?í† I answer with everything
I am.† Iíll stay, Jack.† I wonít run.† Iíll
stay as long as you're here, as long as you'll have me.†
You canít promise me we'll be together forever, but I can.
life we live is going to get one of us, sooner or later.†
Probably a lot sooner than later.† I'm not going anywhere
without you, and neither are you.† Not without me.
happens to you happens to me.† Iíll live for you, but I
wonít live without you.† Thatís the deal, Jack.† The
Fates get to cut two cords for the price of one.† I
promise you, you wonít die alone.
be right by your side, come what may.† From this world
into the next.
whatever else comes afterÖ
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