PAST DUES BY PHOENIX
Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves
||Small Spoilers for FIAD, Threshold.
||On the evening
before his birthday, Daniel makes a life-changing
decision. And then, Jack happens.
||None except it's
really, REALLY angsty at the beginning. Oh yeah,
and the very possible suckage alert!
This story was originally published to the net
7 July 02.
Notes: Extremely late entry for
the Friday night Birthday Challenge. I tried to
get it done in time I really did. Three weeks later
this is the best I can do. Sorry. I've
been extremely depressed lately so I decided to
go with it instead of fighting it. I'm totally
stunned I've actually been able to finish a story
although less than satisfied with the results.
Ah well, it's always something isn't it. The scenario
I'm postulating in the beginning of this tale seems
unhappily plausible to me given the way I've been
watching things develop in the latter part of the
fifth season. I hope I've made a strong enough
case for Daniel's state of mind 'cause Lord knows
I'M bummed out by what I'm seeing!
written the date without thinking, but as soon as I finish
my eyes are drawn to the stark, black symbols defacing
the white expanse I'm peering at, and what they make me
remember - what it means arrests all intention and stills
my hand. Freezes it there, on the spot. Impossible to
move the pen from the point where it completed its last,
finishing stroke on the pristine, empty page.
to bridge that gap, to continue with my pre-programmed,
customary actions, to make myself write and recount the
details of this particular day, which I've just realised
happens to be the last day of my most recently completed
year of emptiness, loss and regret. I can't make myself
signify this fact in black and white - dignify the occasion
through the ritualistic recapitulation of the day's events
- of THIS day in particular - what's the point? I mean,
what is there to say, really?
year of my life down the tubes. Yippee. Who wants
to make a big deal of that?
that's for sure.
exactly have I done since this time last year? Not much.
Only lived through another year of one step forward, five
steps back. Another year of being alone. Three
hundred and sixty five hard, unhappy days of so much lost, so
very little found, too much surrendered for scant gain,
day after day of piled regrets and sorrows. This day being
simply the last one in a whole bunch more of the same where
so much could have been and yet again, never was.
about tomorrow? Good question. I only wish the
answer wasn't so inevitable. Or depressing.
no reason to expect when tomorrow dawns on the first morning
of next cyclical round, as another year of my life starts
ticking out and down that anything will be any different.
it be? Why should it be? When has it ever been?
that's not fair. It's also not entirely correct, either.
Your whole, entire, complete, total life hasn't ABSOLUTELY
sucked. It's just been the last three years that have
really bit the big one.
So beautiful, so unique, so precious. The beginning of
my end. Sometimes I think in finally leaving she took not
only what was essentially good in my life but also what
future good I could have ever hoped for, achieved or enjoyed.
As if in some weird way she was the keeper of all my chances
for happiness, not only as long as she was alive, but for
all the rest of my life without her.
Daniel, now you're REALLY starting to get strange; it sounds
like you're blaming Sha'uri for the sorry state your
life is in but I'm not, not really - that's not what I'm
saying, not what I mean. I know it doesn't make any
sense for me to think or feel this way, but I can't help,
not when it was Sha'uri's death where all this started.
Or ended. I don't know which, and maybe it doesn't really
matter because in the end the result is the same no matter
how you look at it.
gone. Now it's all gone. Not all at once, not dramatically,
not in a way noticeable enough to have sounded an alarm,
alerted me, made me sit up, take notice, do something to
stop it, maybe. I don't know what I could have done but
if only I'd seen, if only I'd….
Two of the most pointless words in the English language.
Right up there with 'I'm sorry'. I guess I'll never know
if clueing in sooner would have made a difference. If
I could have stopped it from happening. Stopped him…
pretty melodramatic here and someone on the outside looking
in probably wouldn't get what I'm going on about but that's
okay. Most of the time I don't get it myself and I'm the
one living it. I mean, to look at me and where I'm at
for thirty six years of living - it's not that it's all
bad, it's not. It's just - nothing's GOOD. I realise
that seems like a contradiction in terms but even at the
best of times the truth tends to be contrary. And reality
bites. I probably 'have' more now than I've ever had in
my life of absolutely everything anyone would think any
person would need to be happy, and yet with everything
I DO have, for want of that one little, teeny weeny itsy
bitsy thing I don't…
selfish, not greedy; I don't have to have it all for
everything to be wonderful. I don't even have to have MUCH.
I'm not ASKING for much. At least, I don't think so.
Just one thing. One little thing. Maybe not so
little, I realise, but still, not all that much to ask and
it's everything to me. Without it, for everything I have
- everything I see, feel, know, experience, the very essence
and quality of life itself - it's flat, empty, shallow.
Bereft of meaning. Joyless.
Just like me.
whoa, slow down a minute geekboy, that's over the top,
even for you. You don't do this - I - I don't do this
- the 'boo hoo, woe is me' stuff, that's not my style.
What's the point? It doesn't change a damned thing and
it sure doesn't help you get through the day. I never
would have made it this far if I'd let myself get pulled
into the self-pity maelstrom so I never did, never let
myself go there. Now's not the time to start breaking
the discipline of a lifetime.
take a page from my own survival manual and put this whole
pointless train of thought aside. Stop thinking and just
get on with my customary daily recap. Finish the journal
entry I started. Start the journal entry I've dated.
Yup, that's what I should do, all right.
But I can't. It's not because nothing worthy of being
recorded for posterity happened to me today, nothing like
that. As a matter of fact I have quite a tale to tell,
a reason to celebrate to boot, but even with all of the
stuff I've got to go on about I can't bring myself to start
with making this blank page staring at me a little less…empty.
write about today. Just…I just can't. What's the point?
Yeah, sure, I made a discovery today that could unlock
a mystery that's been puzzling me for six months and I
should be happy about that, excited, triumphant - but I'm
not. What I learned today is huge, monumental, could be
a major breakthrough but ultimately the only emotion I
can muster about the whole thing is a big, fat 'so WHAT'?
no damned fun when the only one who knows - or cares -
about what floats your boat is you. Not for someone like
me, anyway. The thrill of discovery lasts about thirty
seconds and after that…
it's just not enough. Not when I want - not when I wish…
Littlefield once told me something I didn't understand,
even when I thought I did. He shared with me a little
snippet of profundity I didn't fully appreciate at the
time but now has become the mocking description and definition
of my entire life. The simple, pithy truth of my existence.
you learn or discover or experience or know means nothing
if you can't share it. Even if those weren't his exact
words, that's the gist of it and you know what, he was
absolutely right. Nothing means ANYTHING - has any POINT
if you can't share it. Not to him, and as I have subsequently
discovered, the solitary 'Eureka' experience doesn't mean
diddley to me either. Sharing meaning IS my meaning.
The whole point of why I want to learn everything about
everything. Why I go out there isn't just about what I can
learn, it's as much about what the act of learning can
enable me to do. Impart. Pass it on. Disseminate.
Share. Discovery and revelation MUST be followed by
education and enlightenment or the whole darned process - what
you're ultimately doing it all for - what good is it?
I discovered today, although it's important, it's also
utterly pointless, it has no meaning for me, brings me
no joy because no one cares about it but me. That's not
enough. I want - oh God, what I want…
to share. And not just with anyone, I'm not screwed up
enough, I have to be selective too - I want to share it
with him. I want what I want to MEAN something to him.
I - I want to mean something to him.
why don't I mean anything to him any more? Why did she
take him too, when she left me forever?
oops, now I've gone and done it, slipped up, it's out in
the open, this isn't about being melancholy over being
misunderstood about scratching in the dirt stuff no one
gets but me, this is about him. Him not getting me. Not
just when it comes to the scratching in the dirt stuff,
but about everything there once was between us and now
is gone, and stuff I foolishly hoped WOULD one day be between
us, but it goes without saying if he won't take my calls
any more he certainly…well, none of THAT will be happening
either. Ever. But that's neither here, nor there.
right now I wish I wasn't. Here, that is.
all about him. It's always about him, everything is about
him, always has been, and if I can't have his attention,
his affection, even a particle of his interest, then everything
else I do, with or without him…
point to it at all. No point to anything. So I'm
back to where I started. Staring at the blank page of my
journal with the dumb date on top. Pointless. Me,
my whole damned day, my entire existence up to this moment
of gawking at a page I refuse to write on about my stupid,
pointless day because - what's the point?
more, if all of this wasn't sad enough I've got a stack
of journals back on Earth filled with pages describing
the pointless events of the last three hundred and sixty
four pointless days of the last pointless year of my pointless
life and even if I leave this page blank it won't stop
the whole, tedious, pointless thing from perpetuating itself.
Tomorrow will dawn, odds are the day commemorating my natal
debut on Planet Earth is going to come and go in an equally
insignificant fashion except I'll be a year older but no
happier and the whole pointless process will just continue
to proceed…without a point.
as it always has. Everything exactly the same. Nothing
changing, just…this. Nothing. That is, unless…
now that I've so definitively delineated the situation
I feel SO much better. All I can say is it's a damned
good thing I'm not the suicidal type or right now I'd be
seriously worried about me.
for concern. Move on, folks, nothing to see here. I
might be pathetic, but I'm not stupid. Just crazy.
Crazy about him.
soft laugher wafts through the still night air, infiltrating
the illusion of my isolation. And it is an illusion for
although I feel like I'm alone and have been kinda acting
that way I'm really not. The gang's all here. My
'family'. My 'friends'. Hah, that's a hot one.
briefly tried to ignore them, blot them from my awareness
so I won't have to be reminded of yet ANOTHER sad facet
of my current reality but that doesn't mean they're not
still here. Yeah, they're here. Los tres amigos. The
charter members of the SG-1 mutual appreciation society.
Archaeologists need not apply. They're here all right,
but they're not with me.
is in the positioning. I sat down first, found a nice,
cozy spot beside the campfire and waited to see how things
would play out. Once again, surprise, surprise, they followed
true to form, fell into their new, customary alignment.
Followed his lead.
they sit, on the other side of the fire. The three of them.
As far away from me as HE could get. Them against me.
Because HE turned away from me, and took them with him.
fair, it's been a long time coming to this, and I know
- Sam and Teal'c - they don't mean to hurt me. I don't
believe they even understand how things have changed.
The incremental attenuating of the bonds between us has
been so subtle - the shift so gradual, they don't understand
how fundamentally the team dynamic - our gestalt - has
altered. They only know they've grown closer to Jack which
is good - GREAT for them and three quarters of the team
but what they don't - or won't let themselves see - the
more he's turned to them - they're reaping the bounty of
the attention, focus and affection he once reserved exclusively
won't let me get even the slightest taste of. I don't
know why. I don't know why he's shut me out and turned
away but I do know when it started happening.
The day he helped me bury Sha'uri. We laid her to rest
in the sand and then he turned to me, gave me a look I'm
still trying to understand then walked away without a word.
been walking away ever since. Never stopping, never
relenting, never looking back. Gone. All of it
gone. The affection, the friendship, the camaraderie,
concern. His tolerance, understanding, patience,
solicitude. The touches, the brushes, the gestures, the
warm melting smiles. The hugs. Oh God, the hugs…
All withdrawn and as far away from me as he is right now. Even
though I can see him sitting there, plain as day. With
become so caught up in visually devouring him I've quite
forgotten about the mocking whiteness resting on my lap.
I keep my head down, pretending to be absorbed in the act
of non-writing, but all the while I'm covertly looking,
covetously watching each movement, smile, glance, gesture
- absorbing every aspect of the happy, comfortable tableau
in front of me I'm not a part of, even though it's all
unfolding before my envious eyes, only a few feet away.
I observe him intensely, like this is the last time I'll
ever see him and something about that idea starts something
else whirling in my head. A bold, bizarre, insane, inchoate
notion begins niggling at my consciousness, fighting to
coalesce, become concrete, struggling to get my attention.
its damndest to impel me to action…
I - I couldn't do that! Could I?
just look at them. They look so happy. So much like they
all belong together. Sam. Sam's smiling. Good - it's
good to see her smile. We've been through some pretty
rough times in the past few months. She hasn't been smiling
a lot, lately. I've missed her smile. Nice.
It's nice. Teal'c…looks good. Mellow, content,
more at peace with himself. We almost lost him - came so
close. It was hard for him to trust himself, to believe we
trusted him after Apophis turned him against us. Jack
helped him through a lot of that. He's been a big help to both
of them. Really, he's been swell with all of SG-1 except
me. Jack's been there for them, done them both a lot of
good. That's good too. It is. I want them to be happy.
All of them. I love them all, love them so much, but most
of all, love…I love…
Daniel - what's up, zoning out of our zip code or just
not so gentle jibe startles me as it strikes, stinging
deep. Hurts, it hurts so much and all of a sudden I can't
stand his callous dismissal for another second. I won't
let it go on. Last time, this is the LAST time he'll hurt
me. No more. It ends here and it ends now.
my feet so abruptly my journal tumbles from my lap unheeded
to the ground. I don't look at it, don't care what happens
to it, for I've suddenly realised I no longer need it.
It doesn't matter. Leave it where it is. Leave it
lie. Just - leave it.
to go," I blurt out, as I look at all of them for the
last time. I do. I must. Hafta, gotta.
I can't live another moment like this. Not like this.
I can't continue. This - this can't continue. There
has to be more to life than the everything these people
used to be to me that's no longer here for me…here. There
has to be SOMETHING else out there - something other than
never find it sitting here. Only one way - one way to
save myself. Go. I have to go. Go, go, go!
calling," I mumble at Jack without looking at him.
None of them, I won't look at any of them as I turn away.
"I'll be right back."
hold your breath.
SG-1. Ciao, babies. Don't wait up for me. That light
in the window, thing? Forget about it.
you would bother, that is, but I can allow myself this
one last delusion, can't I?
is pounding in my chest, I'm afire with the notion of escape,
every muscle in my body screaming with the need to run
but I hold it in, force myself to stroll casually out of
the soft, cozy, lying halo of light emitted by the campfire.
I make myself play it cool until I know they can't see
me. 'Til it's dark enough to make a break for the gate,
just in case.
follow me, they might. Might try and stop me. No way,
I'm on my feet, made up my mind, made the break, on my
way, I'm doing this, no way I'm stopping, turning back,
looking back, chickening out.
darker out here than I realised and my, a flashlight would
come in handy right about now, but you know what, I don't
happen to have one with me at the moment. Why, you ask?
It's a rather embarrassing answer, but the truth is I took
off without thinking and left it behind at the campsite.
Damn, that was a stupid thing to do, Daniel! Really, you
think so? If that's the case I should introduce you to
a man named Jack O'Neill, I have a feeling you'd hit it
off right away, you have so much in common. You both think
here's me flouncing off into the forest in the dark without
a flashlight. Oh well, I've got no choice now, I can't
go back for it, it's too risky, I guess I'll just have
to stumble on as best I can.
do this, I just have to take my time and tread carefully.
Watch where I put my feet. I want to run but I force myself
to keep it to a steady but cautious pace. Enthusiastically
bounding through the bushes might get me there faster but
I don't want to gallop madly into a tree. It's not that
far to the gate. I can make it. Calm, stay calm.
Don't rush things. One step at a time, every step carrying
me away from him - I mean them toward - something better.
At the very least, something new. Or something that will
put finally put this empty ache inside me to rest forever.
One way or the other.
pray I'm actually headed in the right direction. Making
for the gate instead of the opposite direction or even
worse, not running around in circles. Funny how everything
looks so much different in the dark. Dammit, Daniel, just
keep going and whatever you do don't screw this up!
not to make too much noise as I bumble through the underbrush,
straining my senses for even the slightest sounds of anyone
following me. I can't hear anything but my own
thrashing, crashing and heavy breathing. Good, that's
good. The longer they think I'm off in the flora taking a leak
the better. Pretty soon I'll have put enough distance
between us it won't matter if someone decides I've been
gone too long and tries to find me. They won't have time
to reach me won't be able to stop me -
GoddAMMIT! Root! That was a close one. Nearly
tripped on the stupid thing and went face first. Slow DOWN,
Daniel! This ground is so damned rough and uneven, it'd
be just like me to fall into a hole and break an ankle or
something. Then I'd have to sit and scream for someone
to carry me back to camp. So much for dignity.
that'd be good. Getting toted back to the SGC, slung over
Teal'c's shoulders like a sack of stupid, useless archaeologist
because I was a brainless twit, took off without my flashlight
and fell into something. Or off something. Where the HELL
is that gate? Why are things always so much further away
in the dark?
through a particularly thick patch of tangled vines and
branches and burst into the open so abruptly I almost fall
over. There it is, only a few hundred yards away, my
point of departure. And hopefully the eventual end to
looms over the moon-kissed clearing, a huge, hulking donut
gleaming dully in the darkness. Its alien, eerie shadow
sprawls hungrily beyond it, blanketing the swelling mound
of the DHD in inky obscurity making it look like a squatting,
mutant mushroom. I sprint silently towards it, giddy
with excitement and fear, feeling like I'm floating over
the damp, dark grass.
but fling myself on the waiting device and sprawl extravagantly
across its inscrutable surface, embracing it as fervently
as I would a lover. If I had one. Nope, sorry, no one
wants the position, so how about you?
for me, baby. Show me a good time. You know you want
got this strange thing going, the gate and me. It's hard
to explain, but from the moment I called her by name for
the first time in five thousand years - let's just say
in exchange for showing me how to turn her on she's wanted
to have a say in where her light leads me. She hasn't
always been kind, but she's never ceased to be compelling.
also the one thing in my life I've never EVER been able
to say no to. Or walk away from.
is until…but, that's not true now. I can do this. I
can leave him. He walked first, now it's my turn. My turn
to leave, hopefully to start living again.
him… Life, without my reason for living. If
Military Intelligence is an oxymoron well, this is an even
as it may, for the sake of the rest of my life it had better
myself up from the cool smoothness of the DHD, bracing
myself over it on arms shaking with anticipation, intoxication
and a dash of terror for seasoning. The clearing is empty,
still, complacent with mystery. The only sounds are the
arcane rustlings of a slight breeze flirting with the leaves
overhead - and loud panting. The last bit, the heavy
breathing part - that would be me. Not a soul is stirring,
not even a mouse. Presuming they even HAVE mice on this
planet, I dunno, I'm not a xenobiologist. But that's not
important right now. What is, is I'm ALONE.
shit, I'm gonna get away with this! My audacity is bubbling
inside me, absurd inebriation making me want to giggle.
This is…impulsive, even for me, yeah, I know that, I've
got to be out of my head to even think of going through
with this, but the whole 'completely off the wall' aspect
of the enterprise is what appeals to me the most.
just plain nuts, but then, so am I. I'm here, aren't I?
Case and point.
I'm here. I'm here. So - now what?
I had to ask, didn't I?
now the IDEA of leaving, starting anew has been so compelling
- so overwhelming I haven't really thought about the actual
ramifications of what I'm contemplating.
now I've done it. If I'd stayed with feeling and reacting
everything would have been fine. But oh no, not me, I
had to go and start THINKING again. Damn. Cold, dull old
reason abruptly and inconveniently starts trying to reassert
itself. With a vengeance. I hate it when this
happens because now that my brain is kicking in the first
thing it's telling me is I'm out of my tiny little mind.
the HELL am I doing, what am I thinking? This is absolutely
it's insane. I don't have a clue where I'm going, what
I'm going to do when I get there, no plan other than -
dialling something up and jumping through. Woo. Just
going? But where? Where the hell am I going? I have
no idea. Not a blessed clue. My mind's a blank.
I must have hundreds of gate addresses crammed into my head
and right now I can't think - can't remember a single one.
I don't know where I want to go, I only know I want to.
thought this through, haven't planned, just got this damned,
fool notion in my head and here I am. Freaking out all
over the DHD. I don't have any supplies, no food other
than a couple of energy bars stuffed in my vest. Canteen?
Nope, that's back at the camp, took it off my belt when
I sat down. Great. No food, no water, we've already established
I don't have a flashlight but - look what's come along
for the ride without me even realising it. My GDO.
Still velcroed to my wrist. Well what do you know about
that? Proof positive I've learned SOMETHING over the course
of the past five years. Lose your cool, lose your mind,
lose your bearings, lose your dignity but whatever you
do, don't lose your GDO!
one thing's for sure I'm not going to need this puppy where
I'm going. As a matter of fact, I should ditch it.
Yeah, that's what I should do. What better way to
literally burn the bridge, to show my commitment to my
decision, to absolutely ensure I can't change my mind and
renege on my own resolution -
be my excitement over my impending adventure making me
so shaky. It's just a stupid strip of velcro securing
the device but my fingers are so clumsy, it seems to take
an eternity before I can manage to pry the ends apart and
rip the damned thing from my wrist. I hold it in my hand
and stare at it for a second, contemplating hurling it
into the blackness as far as I can but that's a bit over
the top. Besides it might look like a TV remote with delusions
of grandeur but it is a valuable piece of equipment. Not
to mention if there was even the slightest chance it could
be found by someone who could use it against us…
just toss it away I should leave it where they can find
it, just to be on the safe side. Yeah, Jack will look
after it and make sure it gets back to Earth, safe and
place my GDO on the far upper surface of the DHD where
they can't possibly miss seeing it and then it's back to
so we know what we don't have, what do we have? Pockets,
let's start going through the pockets and inventorying
got my hat, oh yeah, don't leave home without it, my gun,
my knife, my radio, un huh, fabulous, that's gonna be useful.
Nice to know I can not only talk to myself but share the
experience with no one for miles. Clip on shades. Don't
need 'em right now but who knows what the weather on the
other side is going to be like. It might be dark here,
but it could be the middle of the afternoon - wherever.
I'm sure somewhere, it is. Sunscreen? Damn, this stuff
is EVERYWHERE. Six ammo clips. A Band-Aid. A note
book - but oh my god, here we go, this is clever - and typical
- no pen. Nope that would be back at the camp as well,
with my journal. Matches AND a lighter, well, what do
you know about that. Semper paratus, yep, that's me,
all right. What else, what else…nothing else. What?
That's IT? Goddammit, I don't believe this, I can't even
run away right.
back up, let's not panic here, maybe this isn't the best
executed operation in the world and Jack would be laughing
his ass off at me if he could see me now, Doctor Jumping
off into the wild black yonder without a clue, but maybe
the whole thing isn't as stupid as it seems. Just maybe…
it's the sanest thing I've ever done.
it looks crazy to be contemplating doing this given my
current state of complete, absolute and utter unprepared-ness,
but what the hey, it's not like I haven't done stupider
things in my life and managed to muddle my way through
- I have, just can't think of any right now, but I have
- anyway, whatever, the point being - as nuts as this sounds,
as unprepared as I seem to be - you know what, I don't
care. I'm doing it. It might be nuts but it still feels
right. Don't ask me why, I honestly can't tell you but
I feel - I feel like going - moving - doing SOMETHING -
it's the right thing to do. And today, the day before a
new year of my life is about to commence, this is the time
to do it. New day, new year, new life, hey, it makes sense.
Sort of. Why are you looking at me like that, I'm sure
in some reality Jerry Springer makes sense too, so why
can't this? Besides, what do I really have to lose?
I don't care what it looks like I'm going. If I
can't have what's behind me all I know - it doesn't make any
sense to try and live another day of a life that's a lie.
I don't know where I'm going but I do know I can't go back.
I can't. Not back to more of what just I've run from.
go back. Impossible. Ergo, I have to go forward. I've
got no plan, no provisions, I'm contemplating sallying
forth into the cold, cruel universe armed with practically
nothing more than hope and chutzpah. But that doesn't
matter, I have to go. So I guess what it all means is
I'll have to take the rest of my life on faith. Hey, it's
worked before. It's not like I've never taken a step
into the unknown having no clue what was waiting for me
on the other side. Now, I won't say every time I've done
so it's all turned out for the best because if that was
true I wouldn't be where I am right now but while it hasn't
always worked out, so far, nothing I've done has killed
not permanently, anyway.
I've made it. I've been lucky. So that's another thing
I've got. Luck. For whatever it's worth, for some
reason I certainly can't fathom, against all the odds I'm
still here. I don't know if that means anything or not
or if I can count on it to continue to carry me on through,
but so far, so good, so I'll take my chances and just go.
what I'll do, I'll stop thinking and go. I'll go. I'll
throw it all up to the fates. Cast myself into the unknown,
literally, and whatever happens to me on the other side
- that's the way it was meant to be. I'm just going to
put myself in the hands of whatever it is out there that's
been using me to make things turn out for everyone else.
Take the rest of my life on trust. If it still thinks
it can get a few more miles out of me and it has some use
for me it'll look after me. If not, well then, you know
what, it's been fun.
that's the plan. I'll trust my fate to Lady Gate. And
hope she still loves me, even a little. Here we go.
my hand down on one of the chevrons - not looking at which
one. The ensuing heavy, thunking 'chunk' sound so familiar
I hear it in my sleep tears through me like an alarm klaxon,
making me shake. That's what it is, it's the noise of
the gate groaning as it rouses itself, the sound so loud
and betraying in the dark silence making me shiver, causing
my chest to tighten, my eyes sting and blur. My hand isn't
shaking as I stretch across and slam it down on another
chevron - it's only my slight, temporary ocular dysfunction
making it look like it's trembling.
so slowly, taking an agonisingly long time to reach around
the huge, daunting surface of the DHD which seems to be
getting vaster and more difficult to span by the moment.
Two symbols are brightly glowing in the darkness, indecipherable
to me because my sight is smeared and wavering. I have
to find another chevron, dial the next one, come on, come
on, you've done this a million times before, this isn't
hard, pick a symbol, any symbol and get on with it already.
Dammit, it's getting difficult to force air in and out
of my lungs, and what's with this pain in my chest? I
haven't got time for this, I have to keep going. I don't
want to give them time to catch up with me.
for a minute, press my hand to my chest, try and massage
the ache away but it doesn't help. Then I have to rub
my arm across my eyes. They're burning. Must be my damned
allergies acting up again. That's it - that's why
it's so hard to breathe and I'm getting this huge lump in
my throat. Allergies. Stinking allergies.
to dialling, Daniel, reach out and touch another chevron.
Pick a key, any key, spin that wheel and see where we end
hand is wet - what - is it raining? I shake it to dash
away any drops of mysterious precipitation and then slam
it down for a third time. I WILL do this. I've made
up my mind, no backing out now. Although, to be honest,
I'm not so sure I really want to now, not really, not as
sure of myself as I was when I started dialling, not at
all, though - oh, I know I NEED to, know I've got no choice,
but it's not what I want.
Now I'm standing on the edge of the point of no return
all I can think of is not what's ahead, but what I'm leaving
behind. Them. I can't stop thinking about them. How
MUCH I love them and don't want to leave them -
want to do this I don't, but if I don't then I'm right
back where I started. Oh God, I feel like a hamster in
a wheel. Just going around and around and around and never
getting anywhere. Never.
it; I'm outta here.
I'm sorry, I love you, I do, I don't want to leave you,
but I'm going. I can't spend one more day loving you,
seeing you, wanting you and not having you. I can't.
I'm not that brave or that strong. I could have learned
to be content with your friendship if not your love, but
a life in your shadow with no hope of either? I'd rather
be dead and I don't want to die. Whatever's waiting for
me on the other side has to be better than the sum of the
sorrow of the last three years because nothing could be
worse than staying here with you and yet without you…
up. Just shut up and stop being so stupid. What does
it matter what you want? When has it ever mattered?
Just do what you have to do and stop snivelling. Get it
over with and get the fuck out of here.
blindly for the fourth chevron when I feel the gentle hand
fall firmly on my shoulder. Awwww…SHIT! Busted!
Slow, I've been too damned slow! Should have dialled
faster should have -
soft, calm voice sounds from behind me. Dammit, dammit,
DAMMIT! What is he - how does he ALWAYS - he must have
followed me, the BASTARD!
Months and months of not giving a damn and now, all of
a sudden he has to take an interest? Now, of all times?
Prick! How long was he standing there? Watching
me? I hope he got an eyeful and now he's had a chance to watch
me make a fool of myself he's good and happy. Yeah, I bet
the sight of the stupid geek slobbering all over the DHD
was a real laugh riot. Well if nothing else I'm sure he
wants to keep me around for my entertainment value. How
else is he going to get his kicks?
believe he FOLLOWED me!
are you doing here?" I fire back at him, trying to
shrug away from his touch. I have to get control of
myself, I don't want him to see me like this. I've got
some pride, I don't want him thinking ANY of this - what I'm
doing, the way I'm - I'm shaking and…well, I don't want
him thinking any of it has anything to do with him.
sighs and gently squeezes my shoulder, pulling back, ever
so slightly, like he's trying to ease me around to face
him. I don't want to - my face is wet, I don't want him
to see me while I'm still slightly…distraught.
my shoulder sharply to dislodge his hand but he doesn't
let go, so I try and take a quick step forward, out of
his reach, but I forget where I am and you see, there's
this big naquadah mushroom blocking my path so my not so
brilliant bid for freedom is abruptly terminated as I whack
my pelvis emphatically against the edge of the DHD.
Trapped like a rat between Jack and the DHD. This is not
working out the way I pictured it at all.
hisses sympathetically in response to my low grunt of -
well - discomfort. "Yikes, that's gotta hurt," he
murmurs kindly if not somewhat redundantly.
am I doing here?" Jack continues in a low, mild voice.
"I could ask you the same question. As a matter of fact,
I just did. For someone meaning to take a tinkle you
took off in the wrong direction, so I figured I'd tag along,
see what you were up to. Looks like it's a good thing
I did. So now we know what I'm doing here, it's your turn.
You haven't answered my question. What are you
does it look like?" I blurt out numbly.
Jack. Go away. Leave me with something, since you won't
let me leave.
you aren't dialling Earth, that's for sure," Jack
responds. Cool, calm, concerned even. Not a
confrontational nuance in his voice. That's a switch.
But as unusual as such consideration has been lately and in
spite of how much, how desperately I want it - it's so little,
after so many 'I don't cares' - God help me, I'm still
suspicious, leery of his unexpected interest, unwilling
to be taken in and duped by my own foolish desires.
afford to trust what I'm hearing. There's just been too
much - too much…
I mutter defiantly, breathing deeply, trying to make the
shaking stop. The hand clutching my shoulder burns where
he's touching me, my chest still hurts like there's this
burgeoning, live thing struggling inside me, aching to
escape. I can't let it out, not now, not in front of Jack.
I have to hold on, have to get a grip, make him let go
of me and go away, so I can pull it all together again,
and I can, I'll be able to if he leaves me alone.
do YOU care?" I snarl at him as meanly as I can
hand shakes as my rebuff hits, he's silent for a moment,
processing, and then he closes in behind me, crowding me
until there's barely a whisper between us. He leans into
me, reaches across me and picks up my GDO.
this?" he murmurs, backing off just enough to
enable me to start breathing again. Neither of us says
another word but I can feel him putting the pieces together
and know the instant he understands.
as he gets it, the tiny, startled 'woof' he emits as astonishment
pile-drives him in the solar plexus gusts past my ear and
his warm, moist breath heats the side of my neck.
were leaving me," he softly, tragically bleats, his voice
wounded and bleeding with stupefaction. He grips my
shoulder so hard it hurts, the bewilderment in his voice
cutting me to my soul.
is rocked with disbelief; he's rattled right down to his
boots. What he's just figured out - he can't take it in,
it's almost too much for him to comprehend I would actually
abandon him. Given the way he's treated me his dazed and
enormous astonishment is a colossal, egotistical irony
almost too much for me to bear.
left ME!" I howl, the truth shrieking out of me
with a primal savageness beyond my ability to suppress or
minimise for his sake. Why should I - why should I spare
him? I've never wanted to hurt him - to make him feel as
badly as I have but now - now his dumb, gaping incredulity
at the very notion I could 'betray' him - was he truly
THAT blind to how profoundly his accumulated and vigorous
rejections hurt ME?
really that oblivious to me he truly, honestly didn’t KNOW?
if I didn't love him so much I'd shoot him right on the
spot for the unbelievably complacent ARROGANCE! How could
he - I mean he saw me every SINGLE - I can't believe he
didn't have a -
Get off me you SHIT I've got places to go!
I can thrust him from me and make a mad bid to carry on
dialling he sunders me again, this time with a quiet, stark
admission as abject as the desperation in his delivery.
Daniel, I did," he admits in a voice overflowing with
sorrow and surrender. "I left you high and dry.
I thought it was for the best, I really did, but I guess I
for - what the hell is he talking about? What does that
mean? What? What? I don't understand - what's that got
to do with…
gotta understand," he continues with eerie calmness, like
he's giving directions or explaining how to change a tire.
"It had nothing to do with you - it was me. I…I'm
no damned good, Daniel. Trust me. You'd be much better
off if you'd never even met me. After the way I let you
down… I promised you we'd find her - I'd bring her home
to you and you believed me - trusted me. You shouldn't
have. I shouldn't have - I had no right to call myself
your friend, never mind… Well, just - never mind.
All I've been trying to do is shake you for your own good
but you're too damn stubborn to take a hint!"
is sputtering, spinning, frantically trying to get back
on the rails. I'm completely out to sea. I've unwillingly
witnessed this man turning into a stranger over the last
few years, watched him walk away from me and almost everything
he used to be, but even with the distance between us and
the expiration of our former camaraderie whatever he's
become - I still know which way he's going to jump and
exactly what he's going to do in every conceivable situation.
That is - at least, I thought I did. Let's just say based
on the sort of responses I've learned to expect from new
and not exactly improved Jack O'Neill - of all the possible
things I've been anticipating him doing and saying to me
right now, what's actually happening is definitely the
very LAST thing I was prepared for.
bad news, Danny," Jack sighs, sounding old and weary.
"Nothing but the pits for everyone who's gotten too close
to me. No one I've ever loved has been better for it.
Just ask my ex-wife if you don't believe me. Talk to
Skaara and ask him if he thinks making me his 'hero' was
such a smart thing after all, ask…"
voice abruptly chokes off and his fingers bite into the
muscles of my shoulders as he suddenly, savagely spits
his next sentence into the back of my neck.
didn't want you to become another casualty!" he snarls.
"I thought I was doing you a favour but all I've done is
mess it up again! All I'm good for - all I'm good at!
batters me, bewilders me. I can't cope with it right
now, it's too much. I need him to give me a moment, to
let me breathe, figure out what he's saying, what it means.
I'm trying to find the words to tell him to back off for
a bit, let me think, but nothing's coming out, there's
this huge knot in my throat I can't push anything past.
Danny, I'm so sorry," he pleads, his anger seemingly
evaporating as quickly as it chewed through us. "
It wasn't supposed to go down like this. You were supposed to
hate my guts and forget about me. Get a life, find
someone better. Better for you…kinder, someone who
wasn't - wasn't me. You weren't supposed to get hurt,
believe me I never, NEVER wanted - "
not making any sense - none. I have no idea what to
think or feel. Or what the hell is happening. He
seesaws from anger to grief with the insanity of a possessed
pendulum and I'm being tossed from side to side with him.
understand a word he's saying - the sounds are going into
my head and churning around but I haven't got a clue what
they mean. He might as well be speaking Swahili, but come
to think of it, if he was - I can get by in Swahili if
I have to but whatever he's saying - I'm not getting it.
And right now, with everything I went through to get this
far, this - it's all too much.
like I'm falling, folding in on myself, wish I could, just
let myself tumble forward and be sucked right into the
DHD. Absorbed, absolved, assimilated, beyond all sense,
thought and feeling. Oblivious…
awww, Danny - don't! Don't do this. Come on, will
ya, will ya just - just LOOK at me!" Jack urgently
entreats as he starts to whirl me around, and I haven't got
the heart or strength to resist him. I let him spin me,
like he always does, turns my world upside down, completely
on its ear and inside out, always, constantly, why should
now be any different. I couldn't work that wheel and make
my escape but Jack can spin me, he's got the knack, he
knows how to play me I'm nothing but a wheel going 'round
and 'round and 'round whichever way fickle fortune or the
man who holds the key to me twirls me.
Oh Jack, why are you here? Please don't pull me back
from this path to set me adrift yet again. Don't wind me
up and walk out on me. Please…have mercy…
He's standing close, so close, much closer than he's been
to me in as long as I can remember. I don't want to see
his face, don't want to get sucked in by the siren lies
waiting for me in those eyes that used to say so much,
were so warming, kind and understanding but lately, cold,
hard, closed and barred to me. I don't want to look, don't
want to see more of the same disappointment but his firm,
rough hand is cupping my cheek with a tenderness that makes
my heart ache, his thumb gently stroking across my skin,
coaxing, begging me to look at him. I'm weak - God help
me. I don't want to know but I can't - can't NOT know,
so I'm a fool.
face is a complex, arid tapestry of bleak comprehension
and self-blame, his eyes naked, blazing, wrenching sorrow.
I've seldom seen such anguish in the man before me; he
blinks rapidly, almost compulsively as his appalled gaze
rakes over every inch of my face. He says nothing, his
eyes sear me, absorbing what I can neither hide nor articulate,
flinching but not fleeing from the entire, sordid spectacle.
know if I can believe what's before me but oh, the hope
warms me even as it wrings my heart in two to see him so
- so much sadness in those deep, brown eyes devouring me
with the same unquenchable, aching hunger I've seen looking
back at me from my own mirror.
time I think about him.
something else. I see his shame, how terribly he's
twisting on the spit of his past decisions. Whatever he did
- for whatever reason he acted from the best of intentions.
No matter what it looked like he honestly thought he was
doing good. For me.
know. He really didn't know what he was doing to me.
Not because he didn't care enough to look, oh no, he cared,
he cared plenty; he just didn't understand what he was
seeing. The plea for forgiveness he doesn't believe he
deserves wings from his heart to mine, I get it, he didn't
mean it, didn't realise how deep the hurt went because
he didn't realise how it was - with me - about him, he
honest to god didn't know. Didn't know how much…but I think
he's starting to put it all together…
soaking in my bewildered misery and reeking with regret
he drinks me down to the last bitter dregs. Without sparing
himself a drop. He finally squeezes his eyes shut and
heaves a heavy, shuddering sigh as he gently, almost
hypnotically slides his palm across my jaw towards the back
of my skull. His eyes open once more, his melting,
regretful glance bathing me as his hand curls tenderly around
the nape of my neck, soothingly caressing my skin for a
brief moment leaving me breathless, aching and tingling
at the contact.
baby, what have I done to you?" he brokenly murmurs as he
draws me in, pulling me gently toward him until my head
is firmly cradled on his shoulder.
to his flame like the shameless, heedless, desperate moth
I am. Though it might mean my immolation, I'll risk it.
One glorious, consuming, blazing, taste of his brightness,
no matter how ephemeral or fleeting is worth trading a
lifetime for. I'd die for this, for him. And it's only
now, as his arm comes around me and fiercely clutches me
I understand I'm as good as dead without him.
don't know how this is happening and what it all means
but I'm numb, dumb and desperate for him. So starved for
even the smallest hint of the affection I need more than
oxygen - so long, I've been living so long without his
touch. I'll take as much of him as I can get for as long
as he'll let me. I have no shame and I'm not sorry.
god, I can't believe how GOOD it feels to wrap my arms
around him, to feel the strong muscles of his back working
beneath my splayed and greedy fingers, how intoxicating
his smell is as I burrow my face into the hollow of his
neck, seeking the warm, salt-kissed velvet of his throat.
I just want to feel him, smell him, and be warmed by him
as long as I can, nothing more, I'll be good. Honest.
Just let me stay, for a little while longer so close to
you. Just a few moments more…
sorrow mingle and swells in my chest, bellowing for
expression, threatening to crack my ribs. I can't let it
go but I can't hold it back. Anguish roars within me, an
internal, dissonant wail I'm suddenly hearing on the outside,
a sound so distressing it makes me tremble and want to
slink away with shame.
growls and clutches me tighter, almost violently, hitching
my head even more firmly into the shelter of his shoulder.
The fingers strongly gripping the back of my skull tense
protectively and then begin to slowly, almost sensuously
card through my hair. Stroking, so fondly, gently…
baby, don't…don't…it's going to be okay, Gonna be
all right now. Promise. I promise," Jack
croons as he pets me and slowly rubs his cheek soothingly
against the side of my head. "I'll make this up to you
somehow, I'll get a grip, it'll be better. It will, you
don't have to… "
my eyes and give myself over to my swooning senses. I
have no defences left, no will to resist. I should be
regrouping, withdrawing, protecting, not letting him - ohhhhh
Jack, I've waited so very, very long and it feels so, so
so good. Like everything…everything…
There's no better word for what he's doing right now.
sorry, I'm so sorry."
nuzzling…yes…and - Oh! Small, astonishing
thrills of completely unexpected but oh, so welcome pleasure
ripple through me as his lips brush against my hair once, and
still holding me tight, stroking, nuzzling, now - now oh,
oh yes - more soft touches of his lips not quite kisses,
but…nice…face, side of face, oh, oh, ear - oh…ahhhh…do
that again…touching, and stroking he's still nuzzling and
murmuring soft, incoherent phrases I'm only now becoming
aware of because quite frankly what he's doing is definitely
- stimulating - certain parts of me and absolutely melting
others. Knees, knees turning to jell-o. Brain
going out window…or down my drawers…
definitely becoming gloriously confused, wonderfully muddled
and engorged - I mean gaged…oh, fuck it, I'm hornier than
a seven-headed unicorn and we're so closely pressed together
Jack can't help but be aware of my newly erupted rampancy…
he is, he doesn't seem to be having a problem with it.
Either that or he's playing dumb. Whatever, whatever,
this all feels so damned wonderful I'm not going to worry
about it. I still don't understand how this can be
happening but I'm not only not biting the hand that's petting
me I'm just going to go…go with the flow…
God, I'm so sorry," Jack's babbling in a brittle, aching
voice, his contrition hindered by the fact he can't seem
to keep his mouth off me so the breathless phrases are
compressed between apologetic brushes and hesitant, panicked
know…I know I can't…can't give her back to you…Danny,
I'm no prize…no substitute for her but I'll try…we'll work
on it…we will…whatever you need…anything, anything…you
just have to say - it'll be better…it will…you don't have
to - please, please - don't write me off, Danny. Don't
leave me - "
never, never. Leave? I must have been out of my
mind to even think -
done it again, haven't I?" Jack chokes as he mashes
his mouth against the side of my face, hotly panting into
my ear. "I've screwed everything up. I swear to god I
don't mean it to come out this way but even when I try to
do the right thing I still get it all wrong."
wash over me, blanketing me with sorrow. I hear them
with my heart, not as sounds, but waves of anguish and
desperate, unanswered longing pulling at me, pleading with
a force I can't resist. I no longer know what I'm doing,
blind compulsion and answering need make me respond
instinctively and immediately to the feel of his warm, racing
breath tickling my skin, his mouth hovering so close to
connection, seeking to impart comfort and assurance without
transmitting deeper, hidden desires. My lips are
hot, aching, all I know is that I have to FEEL him, meld with
his burning in order to answer him, assure him, make him
to make my move. Once again, I'm taking action. Taking
a crazy chance, going out on a limb, throwing myself at
my future without a net but this time, I'm slightly surer
of what awaits me.
pretty darned positive I'm not taking that much of a chance.
Whatever, whatever, it's now or never, I'm reckless,
intoxicated, aflame, nothing to lose and everything to gain.
for it, going for HIM.
puff of air cherishes my cheek, a harbinger of his intention.
His mouth is making toward my face again; he thinks he's
going to sneak a surreptitious peck on my brow by me but
I have other plans. I intend to offer him a whole new
target area for his mouth to obligingly meander into.
he can blink or back away I quickly swivel my head toward
him, causing his lips to skid across my cheek and land
on mine. Houston, we have full oral contact and just so
there will be no doubt this particular intimate interface
was intentional I hold him tightly by the waist, blatantly
rocking my hips forward as I boldly press my lips into
first, tentative touch he instantly freezes, his lips stiffly
pursed against mine, obstructive and unresponsive, his
eyes wide, wild and loaded with desperation as they lock.
The hand cradling the back of my head stills, clutches,
trembles but does not withdraw, nor does it let me move
my mouth an iota from its current position.
me knocking and while he's too astonished to let me in
quite yet - he's definitely thinking about it. I haven't
got it wrong, I know what he wants but the startled, completely
flummoxed terror in his eyes - I almost start snickering
uncontrollably at just how SHOCKED he is to see the 'uh
huh, you know it, I lust you backatcha squared' written
all over me.
It seems you didn't have a clue about this either. We've
got some talking to do in our mutual immediate futures
but right now…
wanna talk, wanna kiss. Come on, Jack, work with me here.
Don't be afraid I won't bite.
a volatile, electric holding pattern, panting, lips and
eyes meshed together, swaying to and fro in a delicious
stalemate neither one of us is backing away from but I
can see he's not quite ready to chance…violating… He's
knows what he sees but he's afraid to believe he can, yep,
it really is true, I not only know exactly what I'm doing
but I want him - oh it's not just him, I want too.
smell his fear, taste his desire, see his astonishment,
dumb hope and indecision, and feel how MUCH he wants as
I deliberately rub my thigh against his swelling crotch.
He shudders, startled and excited, immediately pressing
his pelvis forward, craving more contact. His eyelids flutter
madly and he moans my name hotly against my mouth, his
lust-laden breath flushing my skin and calling forth an
instantly spiking quickening of my own rate of respiration.
again and his eyes fly open, dark, glinting wells of desire
starting to subtly pool with the desperate fierceness of
what he wants but won't presume he can claim. He wants
- he needs, he doesn't dare ask, but he's about to get.
deliberately inhale him in, then after flicking out my
tongue to touch his lips I close my eyes.
a helpless moan of surrender rumbling in his chest, vibrating
through to my bones as he finally opens, permitting my
tongue to penetrate the barrier of his lips and slide happily
have time to enjoy the intoxicating sensations of sinking
into the torrid delights of Jack's mouth when I find myself
engaged in a serious battle of wills as to who exactly
is going to get to suck who's face off. Jack doesn't take
long to recover from the initial indecision leaving the
first move down to me. He's got a few moves of his own
and now the kissing has commenced he's not at all shy about
pressing his advantage and laying them on me.
ON me, for that matter.
growls hungrily as he advances, his hands grabbing, roaming,
hips thrusting and crowding me back, licking, nipping
- rubbing. He seems determined to devour the lower half
of my face and I'm hungrily attacking every inch of him
I can nibble, lick and orally explore with similar avidity.
We're doing a fair amount of clashing and clutching as
he continues to barrel into me until the backs of my thighs
bark against the DHD and the next thing I know I'm sprawled
across the device with my colonel enthusiastically plastered
all over me.
gloriously heavy, hot and heaving as he shivers and shimmies
uncontrollably all over me. I throw my head back as I
feel his teeth latch onto the side of my throat, the jolt
of pleasure the sweet pain evokes in me escaping in a shuddering
sigh which further incites him. I wrap my arms
around him and cling to him desperately as his face burrows
into my neck. He sweats, huffs and grunts
animalistically against my inflamed skin while he repeatedly
rams into me with helpless, compulsive urgency.
in my own equally desperate, swelling, consuming passion,
my entire reason for being entirely focussed in the man
I'm wound inextricably around, clamped to, glued to, my
tangled limbs holding him to me as he rides me and grinds
me brutally, wonderfully into the uneven surface beneath
my sliding, shifting body. The area between my shoulder
blades is going to bear the indelible imprint of the centre
crystal and somewhere on the periphery of my awareness
I hear the DHD clunk and the gate start to whine. Oops,
I guess we're not just drilling we're dialling as well.
Multitasking? Hump your way across the universe?
be damned, there's only one place I want to get to right
now and it's got NOTHING to do with gate travel.
this feels so damned GOOD!
Danny, Danny, Danny, " Jack's laboured, barely audible
grunts penetrate my undulating euphoria. "Sorry -
sorry - I can't help myself - shouldn't - we shouldn't
be doing this - we should stop…now - oh GOD you feel so
good!" he moans as his body suddenly spasms and the rate
of his frantic rutting and ramming abruptly increases.
Oh, no Colonel, I don't THINK so!
both my hands in his jacket, wrap my legs around his waist
and draw him in so vehemently the air squeezes out of his
lungs in a long, protracted, ecstatic growl.
I breathlessly bleat between the kisses I'm plastering
all over his face. "Don't stop. I want this, I
want you, do it, do it, DO IT!"
completely gone in an 'almost, so damned close I'm almost
there' haze I'm babbling, urging him on, slamming up into
him as he rams into me when I feel his hard, demanding
hands holding my face, fingers digging into my flesh, seeking
to his call I force my eyes open to find his sweating,
earnest face inches from my own. He's still brutally bucking
into me, jolting us, bringing us both closer and closer
but he won't let go of my face, is forcing me to focus
on him, he wants something from me, needs to know…
are desperate tears glinting in his eyes as he spirals
closer and closer to the edge of bliss but he won't let
me look away; he holds my eyes, striving to bring me with
him as he's thrown joyfully screaming into the promised
land but he won't let either of us get there, not yet,
he still needs one thing from me, one -
me you'll never leave me!" Jack desperately grates out
from between clenched teeth as he thrusts and shudders.
His face and the muscles in his neck are beginning to twitch
and contort - he's close but he won't let it go until -
give me a reason and I won't," I cry, pulling his head
down until our mouths meet.
know if he's heard me or not, his eyes are rolling back
in his head and he's shaking, seizing and quivering like
he's about to fly apart. Three guttural grunts rapid-fire
out of him as his hips frantically pump into me in a final,
finishing flurry and then he collapses onto my chest, sobbing
my name and heaving with the violence of his release.
long behind him - witnessing the incredible wonder and
awe in his eyes the second his orgasm begins to tear through
him - there've been times I've wanted him so much the sound
of his voice was enough to…
got way more of him now than that and abruptly I'm just
as gone as he is. I can't think, can't move, can barely
breathe as waves and waves of pleasure and Jack's heavy,
quaking body pin me flat to the DHD. I think we managed
to dial a couple more chevrons in our mutual orgiastic
flailing but who cares?
I can actually coax movement out of the various parts of
my body which during the few moments previous have been
only very loosely associated I am not at all surprised
to discover my extremities are still wound around Jack
and are still holding him pretty darned close. Which is
probably just as well because even though he should be
recovering by now he's tightly clutching me and lightly
shivering as if he's caught a sudden chill in the wake
of the abrupt quenching of our mutual fevers.
where I am, letting him lie on me as long as he wants to,
moving only to lightly stroke his head as he so very recently
comforted and cradled me.
mean it?" he snuffles into my jacket after a few
moments. "What you said?"
I tell him gently as I press a kiss into his hair.
"I was only leaving because there seemed to be no point
to staying. No point - without…"
finish the sentence and from the way he bangs his forehead
into me and emits a barely distinguishable but heart-felt
want to hear it any more than I want to say it.
he lifts his head and looks at me. As I suspected, he's
not exactly dry-eyed, but he's definitely looking better.
And from the way his eyes light up as he takes me in, I
guess what he's seeing is looking okay to him as well.
a little bit more than okay. Detecting the beginnings
of a decided sappy smile doing its best to erupt all over
brushes the back of his hand across my cheek and then
sheepishly grimaces at me. "God, Danny, I almost
really blew it this time. I can't believe I drove you to
- you were that desperate - you were actually gonna do it
- bug out on us - on me?"
I reply quietly, suddenly ashamed to admit it. Even if
it was the truth, still, it hurts to recall it and see
pain and fear briefly flame in his eyes once more.
"I was. I would have. I had to. If you
hadn't followed me…"
Jack smiles, his face softening with endearing ruefulness
as he gently shakes his head and presses a soft kiss to
my lips. "Don't sweat it, baby," his eyes beam at me as
a fond, crooked smile quirks his face. "It wouldn't
have made a difference. I'd have come after you. I'd
have found you. There's nowhere in this entire universe
you could go I wouldn't find you."
I hear myself saying as my own eyes start getting a little
he solemnly nods as his fingers wipe away some moisture
from the outside corner of my eye. "You're stuck with
me," he murmurs as he swoops down to suck on my bottom
make that more like stuck TO you," I grimace as I'm
becoming aware of a certain situation happening below my belt
which is proving to be as uncomfortable as getting this
way was pleasurable.
makes me giggle. Jack grins and licks the side of my face.
Again with the giggling - what is this? I'm not three.
I don't - I don't…giggle!
Jack makes a face as he starts to shift off me.
"You and me both. This is definitely…uncomfortable."
He gives my hair an affectionate ruffle before extending
a hand to haul me up off the DHD after him. "It's been
a damned long time since I've gone off in my shorts and
I gotta tell you, it doesn't feel any hotter now than it
the opposite, actually," I smirk as we both try and shake
ourselves out a bit. It doesn't help.
chuckles, reaches out an affectionate hand and draws me
back into him again by the back of the neck. We stand
brow to brow, my hands lightly resting on his chest, reluctant
to break eye contact or move any further away from each
other than we are.
- are we good?" Jack ventures.
I softly assure him as I firmly hug him. "We'll
talk more later but for now, yeah, I'm okay if you're
okay," he affirms, affectionately rubbing his forehead
against mine. "But I'm okay with - that is, if you
want - I can do the talking thing…later…if you think we
need to," Jack awkwardly mumbles and then kisses me
tenderly on the cheek.
Jack, I think we need to. I've heard a few things
tonight which have me more than a bit concerned for you.
We need to talk about the way you see yourself and some
very strange notions you have about your relative worth.
We'll talk. All in good time.
I don't know about you but I'm really not crazy about standing
around here with this load in my shorts," Jack announces
after heaving a large, reluctant sigh. "It's not
that I want to break this up, but - ugh," he shudders
theatrically. "I hope you brought a change of
Jack, as a matter of fact I did. Although from the
decidedly calculating gleam in your eye I have a feeling I'm
the only one who's packing clean skivvies and what's more,
I'm further wondering if I might be defending them with
my life when we get back.
of getting back, I wonder how long we've been gone. Sam
and Teal'c -
I jerk my head up as I remember. "Sam and Teal'c,
they'll have - I mean, by now, surely they'll - what if
they've - "
Jack's voice is as soothing as the hand massaging the
back of my neck. "Carter and Teal'c are fine.
I told them not to expect us back right away."
did?" I blurt, a little confused.
he breathes as he nuzzles my cheek. "You
looked…upset. I said I was going to find out what was
going on so they shouldn't wait up for us and I'd check in in
an hour if we needed longer. To…talk."
did?" Now I'm even more confused. Touched,
Jack growls, a little defensively. "I may have been
acting like a shit but that didn't mean I WAS one. No
matter what it looked like I never once stopped CARING about
you Danny. I couldn't help myself. Couldn't stay
away from you either, I guess. It's a damned good thing
for both of us I'm a selfish bastard," he breathes into
my ear before taking the lobe delicately between his teeth.
I gulp and shiver as he gently gnaws and sucks.
Jack leaves off the ear and gives my cheek a fond lick.
"It's a good thing I'm a bastard. I tried to do the
whole walking away thing, but I couldn't. Couldn't let
you completely go, Daniel. If I'd left you
you didn't," I reply, although it isn't easy. "It's
okay. Don't - don't worry about it. That's
all behind us now." I want to tell him more, assure
him of my understanding but I'm having a hard time concentrating
on anything other than the large, callused hands tenderly
cupping my face, lifting it up to be kissed…
Danny," Jack smiles against my mouth. "By the
way, Happy Birthday."
right, it is - that is - it will be, but -
Jack," I mumble, feeling my face flush with pleasure.
Remembered, he actually remembered…" I appreciate the
thought, but you're a little premature. It's not
snorts as he hugs me so vehemently my ribs creak. "Who
gives a crap, close enough. Besides, how do you know it
isn't midnight already, where we are? Maybe not on
Earth, but here, why not? Who's to say it isn't your
day, right here, right now? I'll bet it's after midnight
somewhere out there so as far as I'm concerned, Happy
Birthday, Dannyboy. You gonna give me any lip about it?"
only this kind. The best kind.
ourselves in a few more moments of exploratory, enjoyable
but only modestly ardent kissing. We got a little carried
away earlier with finally having the chance to get what
we've both been wanting longer than either one of us would
be willing to admit to ourselves or each other, but that
was before and now is not the time to start something we
really can't finish.
we've got two team mates within screaming distance - literally
- and no real excuse not to exercise SOME self control.
reading my mind Jack gives a reluctant groan and peels
his mouth off mine. "We gotta knock this off," he
admits with a grimace signifying having to put a lid on us
is the last thing he wants to do. "I don't want to,
believe me, but we really should get back. Come
on," he grins at me and takes me by the hand.
"Let's head back and start celebrating your birthday
early." Jack frowns and waggles an 'ah, ah, get your mind
out of the gutter' finger at me in reaction to the salacious
grin I throw at him in response.
mind that," he fondly scolds me. "You know
what, come to think of it I don't have a cake for you back at
the camp and I don't sing so well and yeah, I guess you'll
have to wait 'til we get home for your present so maybe
this whole 'starting the celebration early' thing is a
bit of a bust after - "
got me a present?" I inquire hopefully, all the
more touched if it's true knowing he would have done so,
before, that is…
Danny, as a matter of fact, I did," he grins like a goon
at me and he's so damned pleased to have actual proof he's
been considerate without being reminded or goaded or shamed
into it I have to shake my head and look away or how much
I love him is going to make me start bawling or something
really stupid like that and that would be embarrassing.
Jack smiles smugly as he wraps a possessive arm securely
around my waist. "Got you a present. Yeah, I did.
Nice one. Really nice. One you can actually unwrap in
front of Carter and Teal'c."
takes a dramatic breath and leers at me. "That one
I bought. Then there's the other one I've been wanting
to give to you for years but the time's never been right.
That one, you're gonna have to wait until we're alone.
Really alone. At home with the door locked and the phone
off the hook and no one coming to look for us for days
kind of alone."
again, and from the doting, melting look in his eyes I'm
guessing I'm about to get kissed. Again.
"This gift is strictly your eyes only," he says shyly.
"That is, if you think I'll do."
scratch that. I'm not the one who's about to be kissed,
I lean in to tease his lips with the tip of my tongue.
"Consider yourself accepted. Does this mean you'll let
me finish an explanation from now on?"
real," he teases right back. "You wish. Just because
I'm crazy about you doesn't mean I've completely lost my
checking. There are some universal constants after all.
Jack O'Neill being the biggest one in my life. Thank
groans and gently grasps me by the upper arms, reluctantly
but deliberately pushing me away to break the contact.
"Ohhh, god, Daniel, we HAVE to stop now," he
shudders as he takes a deep breath.
you're right," I accede, every bit as reluctantly.
"We should go back."
" Jack places a light hand on the small of my back and
starts to steer me toward the slope we have to ascend to
return to the others. "When we get back, why don't
you tell me about that stone tablet you found today. You
know the one you were so - what?"
staring back at me, a puzzled expression on his face.
I realise I've stopped dead in my tracks and he's reacting
to what is very probably a look of compete and utter astonishment
on mine because that's pretty much the way I'm feeling.
I sputter. "You want to know about the tablet?
What? You're kidding right? Jack O'Neill has
actually ASKED me to enlighten him about my work? Wants
me to talk about it? Has volunteered to LISTEN to me
talk about it?" I start fanning my face and reeling
from side to side. "Quick, catch me I think I'm going
up," Jack barks playfully and gives me a gentle shove.
"All right, I had that coming. But no foolin'
Danny, I mean it. I really want to know. I might
not understand everything you do but you know what, if it
matters to you, hey, it matters to me."
those few, simple words Jack has just given me absolutely
everything I need to give my life meaning.
Happy Birthday indeed. Right now I'm looking at the best
birthday present I've ever received even if I don't get
to properly unwrap it until later.
I mean, seriously - WOW! It's just hit me. I've
got it all. Me. The one thing I really wanted, the
last thing I ever thought I could have. I - I -
just doesn't HAPPEN to me. It doesn't! I - I - I don't
know what to do!
quit or I'm going to start freaking out here and Jack might
get the wrong idea what the problem is. It's a strange
feeling this - happiness. I'd almost forgotten and it's
so - beyond what I've become accustomed to it's almost
frightening, but you know what? I could get used to it.
too. Why shouldn't I? After all, I'm entitled, just like
anyone else. It had to happen some day. If there's
any justice at all in the universe, and I believe there is,
no matter how it looks sometimes, sooner or later it had
to be my turn. I'm due. Long past due.
Jackson, come on down.
go," Jack urges, starting to pull me back the way we've
myself be willingly led. But not before I cast a fleeting,
parting glance at the other participant in these monumental
proceedings. My silent, shining lady glinting smugly in
the clearing behind us.
do you know, I was right after all. In a roundabout way.
I had to go to find out I could stay and once again, the
gate showed me the way.
that's awful. I should quit before I break into song.
a heartfelt thanks to the gate for throwing me back where
I belong. She still loves me after all. And so does Jack.
He didn't say the words but he does. He so does.
That one little thing I needed to make my life complete?
Got it. And thanks again for everything.
know what else? Tomorrow is going to be great. So is the
rest for my life for that matter. One amazing day after
before we go any further there's one teeny tiny thing….
I say softly as I fall into step beside him. "I've got
something to tell you and I want you to listen very carefully
because you're only getting one warning."
he ripostes, somewhat apprehensively.
me baby one more time and I WILL shoot you."
he crooks a rakish brow at me.
That's not good. Dead is definitely not good."
rather not have to."
rather you didn't."
this point a soul less conversant with the workings of
the mind of Jack O'Neill would think the conversation was
over and the problem dealt with but alas, I know better.
has not even begun to be annoying, bless him.
Jack nods thoughtfully, "So baby is out. I can live
with that. So how do you feel about sweetie?"
nuts about it, I have to say."
Jack shakes his head as we stride slowly up the hill.
"Making me work, here," he scowls. "Honey?
no and NO!" I shudder.
I have to call you SOMETHING!" he whines, clearly
a perfectly good name," I patiently explain. "DANNNN-iel.
You can call me that." I cast a sidelong glance at
him as he emits an unhappy humph. "Okay, okay if
you absolutely HAVE to be maudlin and revolting -"
I do, Daniel, I do," Jack gravely informs me.
occasionally!" I warn him. "If you must -
well, I don't mind Danny. From time to time. You're the
only one who gets to call me that, but don't overdo it!"
you'll shoot me."
got it, Flyboy."
an evil glint in Jack's eye telling me I'm in for a long,
exasperating, entirely wonderful association with this
incredibly wonderful, eternally frustrating man.
Jack fervently exclaims with far too much feeling.
I am so screwed! And god help me, I wouldn't have it any