RITUALS BY PHOENIX
Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves
||Established Relationship. Angst,
Action/Adventure, Alternate Universe, Drama.
||Late Season Two/AU Universe Story
Five in the Doppelganger Series
||Companion Piece to 'Distraction'.
Daniel's thoughts the evening before returns to
active duty and what happens after he does.
||No one dies in this story but
references are made to a character death that has
already occurred. not a member of SG-1. No major
appliances are harmed during the course of this
story but one is scared bad.
Originally completed in 2000.
back through the gate tomorrow.
is picking at his food, avoiding my eyes. Either he is
trying not to see how excited I am, or trying not to let
me see how unhappy he is. We both knew this was coming.
I've been back on light duties for the past week and a
half. Been a good boy and gone to all my appointments.
It just all fell together. The doctors signed me off, a
destination came up that looked as if it was tailor-made
for an archaeologist, and coincidentally, SG-1 just happened
to get one back.
we are. Our last night together before we both go back
out there again. I can hardly wait. He looks like he would
– all the things we've talked about in the last two months,
we've never once talked about this. Funny – he's the one
who's the most responsible for my recovery. Guess you could
say it's mostly his fault I'm getting to do what I'll get
to do tomorrow. Somehow I don't think he'll appreciate
the irony so I think I'll pass on mentioning it.
for Jack, his patience and his willingness to listen to
me for hours on end I don't know if I'd have been able
to sort it all out so quickly. Figure out what is real,
let go of what is not. There are still some grey areas
in my understanding but between Jack and the dreams we're
filling in the gaps.
the images from the OTHER dreams, the strange ones I had
during the six month period I was in 'storage' surface,
but now I know they ARE only dreams – creations of a captive
mind wanting to live, events I experienced only in my head
and not actual memories of six months of life – I'm not
confused by them anymore.
very reassuring. The true memories of my life previous
to my 'death' are starting to come back. Again, Jack is
the one most responsible for helping me reclaim them. He
sat with me and recounted, in great detail, everything
that happened from the time we saw each other for the first
time the second time till I forced him to leave me behind
on Apophis' ship.
were… differences. At first. Some of the things he told
me, the way he said things went, were not the way I remembered
them. It upset me initially. Jack was wonderful. He would
just hug me and say, don't worry about it, it's all in
the past anyway, just focus on getting better now. He was
right. Getting worked up about it didn't do any good. So
I stopped worrying about it.
the dreams started. The good dreams. Night after night
I would dream the things Jack told me and it wasn't like
listening to something happening to someone else. I was
there, felt, saw, did, remembered. It felt good to remember.
Felt like finding myself again. The more Jack told me,
the more I dreamed, the better I felt. Still, there were
some things harder to accept than others.
the way he comforted me the first time I found out Sha'uri
was dead. The same way he was here for me when I learned
about it again. It was like living it all over a second
time. Hurt just as much. Except for this time, I had the
added consolation of his love. Guess I had it before as
well, just didn't know it as surely then as I do now.
don't understand why it happened. Why she had to be taken,
why she was killed, but it was done and done many months
long gone. Have to keep telling myself that, reminding
myself it was all over and done with long ago, no matter
what it feels like.
though it feels like it just happened, I've been a widower
for almost 2 years – oh god, longer than I was a husband
hard to take in that much time has passed when it seems
– it seems as if I have only just seen her, held her –
but - but – that's not possible, not possible, she's dead,
been dead all this time and yet – and yet – I was dead…
to stop thinking like this, have to let go of these phantoms.
Not real, never real, they're only going to mess me up
again if I try to examine them too closely. Don't want
that. Focus on what's real. Focus on Jack. Focus on the
living, those who remain. Somewhere out there in the stars
I have a family who thinks I am dead. Going to have to
do something about that soon. Soon, but not quite yet.
Only wish I could give Kasuf back a daughter as well as
a son. Hope only me will be enough for them.
need something to take my mind off this. I look at the
man across the table from me while I am in the middle of
taking a drink of water. Big mistake. Huge mistake. Jack's
been busy while I have been fugue-ing off into the blue.
playing with his food. Literally. He's lined up all his
peas and is using his fork to march them single file into
the enclosure he made with his mashed potatoes. Muttering
something under his breath I can't quite catch because
I am far too busy trying to avoid choking to death from
the water I inhaled rather than drank. I'm coughing, seeing
stars feeling a large, firm hand thumping me soundly on
the back while I'm trying to laugh, breathe, not die and
not fall off the chair.
a few minutes, but the coughing gradually gives way to
normal breathing patterns again. I am able to look up into
the anxious face hovering over me, trying not to laugh
at him as he says, "Okay, Hun?"
widen in surprise, as he realizes what he has just said.
I'm a little surprised myself. It seems we both have the
same thought at pretty much the same time.
crap," he says, anger flaring suddenly in his deep, dark
eyes. "Crap. I hate this. I just hate this."
exactly what he is upset about. I don't mind it as much
as he does. I don't 'need' to be acknowledged or legitimized.
I'm much more concerned about protecting him.
walking away from me, pacing angrily up and down. "It's
all going to change now, all going to have to be different.
We can't be the way we have been anymore. Gonna have to
watch what I say – even when we're alone. In case I slip
up… when we're not."
trying to find some way to show him I know what he's saying,
but I don't mind.
that's true. Getting in the habit of giving each other pet
names might not be a very good idea. Even casual, habitual
use of the of the 'L' word might be… unwise."
and from the look on his face I can see he's picked up
on the bantering tone of my voice.
yeah," he grins crookedly at me. "Mind you, it
almost might be worth it to see the look on Hammond's face if
I were to slip up in a briefing and say something to you
like, excuse me sweetheart, would you mind passing me a
take off my glasses, cross over to him and take him in
my arms. He's still not happy, but he's less upset than
he was before. I concentrate on trying to make him more
of the former than the latter.
some of the more conventional sentimental appellations
might not be too prudent, but in your case, you don't have
to abandon the concept entirely. If you are bound and determined
to call me names in public, you've already set some
at me like he has no idea what I am talking about.
no idea what you're talking about," he replies in a tone
attempting to convey completely unconvincing innocence.
I think you do," I grin at him. "Let me just run down
the short list of 'endearments' you have bestowed upon me
in the past – that I can remember. Let me see: there's
'Dial Home Danny', the Excavator, Better-Late-Than-Never
Boy, Geek, Monkey Boy, the 'Doctor' series, the most notable
of those being - Doctor Dull, Doctor Deadly Dull, Doctor
Dweeb, and few other that escape me at the moment. Then
we have Kid Sominex, the Cairo Kid, the Are-You-Kidding-Me
Kid. Last but not least, my personal favorite – Plant Boy!"
NEVER called you Doctor Dweeb!"
okay, maybe once. Okay twice. Okay – stop looking at me
like that, half a dozen times, tops!"
it go. Had what I wanted. He was smiling at me again.
me in one of his huge bear hugs and I feel several ribs
groan in protest under the assault.
Dannyboy," he says into my ear, his voice breaking.
"You know, don't you? You know how I feel? You know what
I want to say? I hate that I can't. I hate having to hide
what I feel for you, what you mean to me. It isn't right.
It's just not right…"
his neck and he shivers slightly, pressing his face closer
all right, Jack. I know. You know. That's all that matters.
As for the rest of it, we'll find another way to say what
needs to be said. You'll see. As for right here, right
now, why don't you – show me?"
you would never ask," Jack growls as he grabs the back
of my neck, pulling my head around until my mouth is his.
I find myself unable to breathe again as quite another
type of obstruction occupies my oral cavity. What the hey,
breathing is overrated in certain circumstances…
so engrossed in Jack's enthusiastic plundering of my mouth
I am completely unaware of what his other hand is doing
to the front of my shirt until the buttons start to fly.
I manage to pull back from him enough to gasp, "Jack! That's
a new shirt!"
buy you another one," he mutters, licking my neck.
what you said the last time," I manage to get out, trying
to find his mouth again.
his hands are roaming over my bare chest, his breath hot
against my ear. It's getting hard to think. Okay, so it's
just getting… hard…
I said – this is a new shirt."
I'll buy you two for crying out loud, anyone ever tell you
you talk too much?"
thing I know he is slinging me over his shoulder and making
grunting noises as he bumps me down the hall toward the
Tarzan you definitely not Jane," he laughs as he throws
me on the bed.
again, he surprises me. But that's my colonel. Never predictable,
never one to be pinned down, slotted, completely by the
numbers or absolutely ever what you think he should be.
Given the direction foreplay had taken I was fully expecting
to be summarily ravaged, and not averse to the idea in
the slightest but instead he lies down beside me, looking
deeply into my eyes as he traces his fingers lightly across
my face. He spends many long minutes touching my face,
my hair, lightly stroking my mouth, my neck, caressing
me with his eyes as he carefully, deliberately caresses
me with his hands.
he makes love to me with the same reverent sweetness, gradually
fanning the poignant flame of desire into unbelievable
ecstasy. What his hands can do to me – what he can do to
me, at times it seems I cannot possibly survive the shivering,
screaming extremes of pleasure and sensation he brings
me so expertly to. I rise, die, fall…
is there to catch me. To hold me, to kiss the breath back
into my shuddering body, the safest, truest, most adored…
talking, we love well into the night. Tomorrow will bring
what it brings. We'll find a way not to let what has to
happen out there tarnish what we have right here and now.
he drops off to sleep Jack whispers to me, "Whatever goes
down, if they make me chose, there's no choice. You know
that, don't you?"
have to say it, Jack. I know.
way too. Goes without saying…
are you feeling, Daniel?"
at the sound of the deep, unfamiliar voice. I thought I
was alone here, in this exotic, beautiful, alien place.
Standing on the craggy top of a blood-red mountain, one
of many which form a far-reaching spine wending torturously
across this strange world as far as the eye can see. An
impossibly turquoise sky above me, a black, glassy sea
in the distance ahead of me, and at the foot of the mountain
range – the city…
have time to take it all in before the voice forces me
to turn. I find myself looking into the grey eyes of a
man I have never seen before and yet – there is something
familiar about him. He's slightly taller than I am, all
dressed in black, long silver hair, closely cropped white
beard. The face, something about the face…
are you feeling, Daniel?" He asked me that before. I
should probably answer him.
I reply, not understanding why he has asked me the question
in the first place. We've never met. Why should he care?
How does he know my name?
do I know you?" Might as well ask the obvious question.
With the way my memory has been, he might be an old friend
I just haven't gotten around to recalling yet.
he smiles warmly, in a way making me trust him instantly.
I might not know him but suddenly I want to. "But we have
met. You weren't exactly yourself, so don't feel bad if
you don't remember. For the moment it's enough to know
I know you."
makes about as much sense as everything else that has happened
to me in the last couple of months. I find myself borrowing
a page from Jack's book.
and walks up to my side, touching me on the arm, turning
me back toward the sight of the city beneath us.
isn't it?" he says, indicating the acres of sparking
spires and towers far beneath us with an expansive sweep
of his arm. "It's very old. Even by the standards you are
used to dealing in. Older than your race, older than your
planet, almost as old as time itself. It had a name once,
almost forgotten now. Do you want to know what it is?"
unable to speak. The sound of his voice is fascinating,
Means 'Home'. Among other things. Not too many people around
anymore who know that. Welcome to a very select society."
talking for several minutes. I turn what he has told me
over in my mind, knowing he is not done yet.
make more sense now, do they?" I knew he was going to
start speaking again but the sound of his voice still catches
me by surprise.
um – yeah…." I find myself stammering, not really
sure why. "W-w-w… how do you know… who – who ARE
his hand on my shoulder and gives it a reassuring squeeze.
"I did the best I could for you, but there was only so
much I could do without ultimately doing more harm than
good. I've been worried you wouldn't be able to make the
mental adjustment. Should have known better; you're one
stubborn son of a bitch no matter which version you are.
You've done remarkably well in an extremely short period
of time. That's good. That's good. You made it here like
you were supposed to, that means everything is …working.
Means you're going to make it."
know what Jack feels like when I start shooting my mouth
off and talking over his head. Like trying to run through
quicksand. I must be staring because he chuckles, squeezes
my shoulder again and shakes his head.
worry about it, Daniel," he says. "It's not supposed
to make any sense. Not yet, anyway. Maybe a long time from
now but not quite yet. I just wanted to stop by to check
up on you. Also to tell you, if anything happens, if you
need me, all you have to do is come back to this place.
You'll know how. This is where you'll find me. Promise."
his hand away, takes a step back from me, raises his arm
in a salute.
seeing you, Brother."
gone, I cry out, feel as if I'm falling –
I wake up…
up abruptly in the bed, propelled by my startling insertion
back into full awareness. It's still dark. Clock says 4:15.
Groping in the bed beside me for Jack, I find only rumpled
emptiness. Oh dear. That's not a good sign. When Jack has
trouble sleeping there's only one reason.
around in the darkness until I find my pants and quickly
pull them on. I'm not nearly as comfortable strutting around
the house in the altogether as Jack is, especially as we
have been known to retire without pulling all the drapes.
Quite frequently, as a matter of fact. No point in taking
him in the kitchen, showered, shaved, dressed, doing the
dishes. Well, the dishes are in the water; he's playing
with it, playing with them. I clear my throat as I enter
the kitchen, letting him know I am behind him.
sneak up on Jack. Not unless I am prepared for the
consequences. He reacts first, asks questions later. Found
that out the hard way, not long after I first came home.
He still apologizes for having knocked me cold. If I didn't
know darn well it was my own stupid fault I might occasionally
make him feel guilty about it.
sleep?" I venture as I lean up against the counter.
gave me away?" he tosses back at me in a too-casual tone.
This isn't going to be an easy conversation. If it is even
going to happen at all. I have to find out if he wants
to talk, and if he does, what he wants me to know.
want me here right now, or should I go back to bed?"
much point now," Jack says lowly, rinsing off a plate,
putting it in the dish drain. "Just going to have to get
up again in another 45."
a 'yes' to me staying.
some help?" I ask, picking up the dishcloth.
as well, seeing as how you're here and all."
a 'yes' to talking. He'll get to what he wants to talk
about when he's ready. For now, we'll just stand here and
do the dishes.
almost finished before it finally comes. "So, I guess you're
pretty excited about today."
in lying to him. Can't, anyway. "Yes."
"That's – terse. Not exactly your style."
at his back. "I don't know what else to say that won't
first time since I got here he stops what he's doing and
looks at me.
are you talking about?" His voice is as confused as his
expression. I'm beginning to think maybe I've got this
wrong but I've already put it out there, so I have to explain.
past months have been wonderful. You've been wonderful.
You've done so much. I'm not ungrateful – I'm happy here,
but I'm also not… unhappy….to be going back out there.
I'm sorry if that seems cold. Not the way I mean it. It's
not you. It's me. Something in me needs something – out
there – almost as much…"
my voice trail away, a little frightened by his expression.
He's looking at me, almost as if he is suddenly afraid
of what he sees. Afraid, puzzled, disturbed, or a mixture
of all of the above. I'm feeling a little spooked myself,
not sure what I have said. Have to fix it somehow. My mind
races, trying to figure out what I've done while at the
same time I begin to experience a strange sense of – detachment
- almost as if I am suddenly looking at him from far away.
My mouth opens, words come out, I don't know where they
are coming from. They're coming out of me, but I'm not
as if I actually struck him. His face turns white with
shock, then flushes with anger. He lunges at me, grabbing
me by the upper arms, his wet hands struggling for a purchase
on my bare skin. He finds it, his fingers biting deeply
into my flesh as he shakes me violently, screaming.
did you SAY that? Don't say that! Don't! Not now! Not like
that! Not before…"
me up against the fridge, almost sobbing. I've never seen
him so scared. That's what it is. Blood-numbing, sheer,
quaking terror. I don't understand what he is so frightened
of, but I do know I have to get him to stop what he's doing
to me or I'm going to be unconscious before I can find
against him before he can shove me back the next time,
somehow managing to break his grip on my arms. I continue
to move into him, wrapping my arms around him, hoping my
embrace will somehow calm him. He slumps into me almost
immediately, as if my arms around him break the spell.
him tightly as he clutches me even tighter, his head buried
in my shoulder, his breathing fast, laboured, scared. He
struggles to hold it back, shove it back down, I feel him
tremble with the effort. He loses.
out at last, in such a small voice I almost don't hear
it. At last I understand how wrong I have been. I understand
what I have done.
stood there, just like that. Sounded just like that – said
that – then you – died…"
me, I've been such a fool. The last time we went through
that gate together he lost me. Now he has to take me through
again in a few short hours he's supposed to be jumping
for joy at the prospect? No wonder he's scared.
who's supposed to be so smart I can be pretty double dumb-ass
stupid at times.
shaking, mumbling over and over he's scared. I hold him,
suddenly I'm feeling it again. That strange distancing,
the numbing, must have hit my head on the back of the fridge
harder than I thought, but that hadn't happened yet when
I felt this way the first time and oh – this is interesting
– I'm talking again but it's not me talking. Mouth is
working, words are coming out I hope this isn't some strange
new indication I'm losing my marbles…
never left you, Jack, I've always been here. Never been far
away. Never will be far away. Never, never leave you…"
more, I can still hear my own voice in my ears but I'm
getting farther and farther away with each passing second.
Feel dizzy, everything's spinning, not quite sure how I
can talk and fall at the same time…
thing I know I'm lying on the floor, cradled in Jack's
arms. What is it with us, somehow we always end up on the
his hand brushing the hair back from my forehead, open
my eyes to see his face close to me, lined with concern,
his eyes brimming with guilt, worry and tears. When he
sees me looking at him he darts his gaze away momentarily,
then looks back at me, a sheepishly contrite grin pulling
at his mouth.
I smile back at him. "How we end up down here?"
ya think?" he answers tenderly. "You fell over. Came
along for the ride."
I could do, considering I'm the one who pushed you and
all." He grimaces and flinches before continuing.
ended up in worse places." I reach up and touch his
cheek. "However I got here, glad you're here too."
my hand and takes it away from his face, squeezing his
eyes shut as he does so. As his hand closes over the one
he has captured he laughs mirthlessly and says, "Christ,
Danny, if I don't stop slapping you around you're not going
to live long enough for the gate to even be an issue!"
He opens up my hand, presses the palm to his lips and holds
it there, his breath tickling my skin as he speaks again.
"I'm sorry I lost it."
sorry I didn't understand."
starting to grin again. "So, what we're saying is we're
both pretty sorry."
don't come any more pathetic," I return. We're just about
Jack says suddenly. "Screw this! Making myself sick to
my stomach here! Just shut up and kiss me!"
like this I know exactly why I love this man.
Daniel. Today would be good."
down my cup of coffee as I send my mental ritual 'I hate
mornings' chant out into the blue. Hate mornings. Hate
hate hate hate…
is by the door, leaning up against it, staring at the ceiling,
waiting for me to figure out my next move. Which could
take awhile – I've only had four cups of coffee. Caffeine
level isn't up nearly high enough to promote normal brain
functioning. We're late, my fault; I have no idea what
I need or where anything is. I stride out of the kitchen
and stand in the middle of the dining room staring helplessly
at me, sighs, pulls a face. "Keys are on the table beside
you, wallet is on the TV, briefcase is right here by the
door, glasses are on the top of your head, ass is going
to be on the end of my foot if you don't get moving!"
to procure all the necessary items in the least possible
span of time. Mission accomplished I am about to head out
the door when he puts a hand on my chest, stopping me.
do you think you're going without your damned jacket? Freezing
out there. You think I'm nursing you back to health after
you catch pneumonia, think again."
Right. Get it. Put it on. Finally ready.
his hands up in the air, lets out an enthusiastic and slightly
sarcastic "Hallelujah," and pushes me out the door
ahead of him. Figure I know just the way to start the day out
way, Jack, it is an erroneous misconception one can catch
pneumonia from becoming chilled."
cold and wet - ah, Jack, where are you going?"
in the house to get my gun. Isn't a court in the land that
will convict me."
going through the gate today. Me and my colonel. That is,
if he lets me live that long…
through the event horizon, not expecting the blast of heat
which nearly drives me to my knees. Whoa! I'm not exactly
unaccustomed to high temperatures but Abydos was never
like this! The air is so close and humid you can almost
swim through it. I can literally see the atmosphere around
me shimmering like a moving, moisture-laden curtain.
– hell, breathing even is going to be an interesting experience.
Especially for me; my largely sedentary life of the past
- well, technically eight months I guess if you want to
nit pick - means I'm really out of shape. Even for all
the indoor sports I have been engaging in recently.
only one on this side of the gate. The others are taking
their time. I can only imagine what is holding them up.
While I wait for them I take in my surroundings. The gate
is standing in a huge clearing in the jungle, at the far
end of a large, clear oval patch of ground completely surrounded
on all sides by rampant, wild green. The clearing extends
for at least five or six hundred yards in front of me.
idly how this can be. How this clearing can exist, why
the gate isn't overwhelmed by the jungle growth. It should
be, unless there is some unknown technology, some sort
of a force operating in the vicinity inhibiting plant growth
in the gate area, or – and this is probably the more likely
explanation – someone maintains the clearing. Cuts the
growth back on a regular basis.
would mean there are people in the area.
what I'm doing. I'm trying to distract myself. Keep myself
from thinking about Jack, worrying about the state he must
be in. He's not himself. What with fretting about me and
what might happen, and… everything else.
we talked about last night, how careful we know we have
to be, the precautions we have to take to monitor our words
and actions, all just went out the window. For one terrible
second before I left him I actually thought he was going
to kiss me. Thank God the only other people on the ramp
were Sam and Teal'c. After the show we just put on they
have to know what's going on. Man, I know what THAT means!
going to tease the crap out of me. At length, mercilessly,
with much gusto and relish. She can't do much to Jack;
rank does have its privileges, lucky bastard. However,
it's open season on the civilian archaeologist. Well, hope
she enjoys it while she can. I know where she lives…
the heck IS everyone – oh, Sam and Teal'c are coming through,
great, Sam is grinning from ear to ear, Teal'c looks
similarly… amused. I see the games have already begun.
as she sees me I can't help but notice there is one wicked
sparkle in those baby blues. Okay, Carter, bring it on.
You don't know who you're messing with. I've fended off
more slings and arrows than you could possibly dream of…
Teal'c in a broad motion I am clearly meant to see.
There's the other one! Oh Dan-niel! Yoo Hoo!"
she meant to skip over to my side but the oppressive heat
causes her to somewhat moderate the speed with which she
crap is it hot or what!" she grins as she reaches me.
is coming through the event horizon. Finally. Her back
is to the gate, but she sees my eyes shift, knows who I
am looking at, bares her teeth in a deeply satisfied smirk
as she leans close to me and starts softly chanting, "Daniel
and the Colonel, sitting in a tree…"
– S – "
me!" she taunts. Time to take her out.
my face completely dead pan and my tone dead serious as
I return in a very calm voice, "Well, I would, but you
have a bigger gun."
match. Jackson One, Carter Zero. King me. She chokes, rolls
her eyes and walks away from me, shaking her head, giggling
like a fiend. Teal'c is looking at both of us, a deeply
troubled expression on his face. Guess we lost him back
here comes Jack. He's got his pockets stuffed with counterfeit
bravado and a falsely casual smile crookedly pasted on
his face but he isn't fooling anyone, least of all me.
I had better stay ahead of him and away from him. I had
also best avoid making eye contact with him. I've seen
that look in those eyes often enough to know what he's
got on his mind, and it's not where we are and where we're
kids," he booms at us. "Let's get the heck on our
way and get the job done before we all liquefy. Who was the
damned genius who pulled us this lousy mission anyway?"
that would be you, sir," Carter replies, biting her lip,
not looking at him.
that just shows to go you I should never listen to myself.
Teal'c! Take point and make like a machete. Wagons Ho!"
to move up to the front to walk with Teal'c, leaving Carter
to keep pace with Jack. We haven't gone very far before
Teal'c asks me the question I have been expecting. Hoping
for actually. Definitely need a mental diversion. I can
feel Jack's eyes boring holes in my back. It's taking everything
I have to keep myself from running back to him.
I do not understand why Captain Carter was so amused by
your comment. You were stating the obvious. She does indeed,
have a larger weapon."
and I have been having a variation of this conversation
for a long time. Almost as long as we have known each other.
Somewhere along the line I became his 'designated cultural
interpreter' and we have been carrying on trying to understand
our vastly different but equally fascinating worldviews
it has been as educational a process for me as it has been
for him. Teal'c looks at the things I assume I know with
completely different eyes, and as he shares what he sees
and understands with me I gain a different perspective
on that which I thought I was already familiar with. Sometimes
to discover, in the process, I really knew nothing at all
about what I thought I already knew. Getting your reality
rocked from time to time does not always have to be a negative
he's one of the few people I know who doesn't suddenly
remember they have something else to do whenever I start
talking. He's let me go on for ages about this that and
everything and even looks interested while he's doing it.
Sometimes I think he doesn't really need a lot of the
'explanations' he asks for. He is a frighteningly intelligent
man, and understands far more about us and our weird little
world than he lets on. I think he does it not because he
needs to hear my explanations, he does it just to give
me a chance to talk.
his reasons, I appreciate it.
that's bigger gun, Teal'c. Doesn't work quite as well if
you change it," I reply, launching happily into 'lecture
mode'. "The statement is true and therefore not funny if
you take it literally. However, in this instance, the humour
is derived from the use of the word 'gun' in a euphemistic
sense. We talked about this before, remember?"
yes," Teal'c nods. "The peculiarity of language
usage your species employs wherein a commonly used word or
phrase can have a completely different application and meaning
from the one generally understood when it is used in a
different context. Very imprecise and confusing."
funny!" I grin at him.
wish," Teal'c shrugs slightly, clearly conveying the fact
he is not convinced. "Therefore you are contending in
your statement the word 'gun' was used euphemistically,
not simply to mean your weapons. What then, is it a euphemism
a certain body part I have – and she doesn't."
if she does not have one how can hers be bigger?"
I am in way over my head here. Really not prepared to get
into double entendres, puns, or trying to explain the finer
points of sexual innuendo, gender issues, sexual orientation
and the concept of penis envy. Christ, did I miss anything?
Wasn't that funny a joke! Fortunately, Jack saves the day
for me, although I hardly think he's seeing it that way.
He's too busy staring at the tree trunk he has just walked
of us can quite believe it; he's equally astonished. Not
to mention completely humiliated. I watch him peel himself
off, dust himself down, attempt to toss off a flip comment
which only seems to make it worse.
there was something I could do but right now he's so angry
with himself he might take my head off for looking at him
sideways. I let him stalk by me to assume the place up
front with Teal'c, contenting myself with falling back
and walking with Sam. Maybe if he can't see me he'll be
able to wrestle the genie back down into the bottle. Euphemistically
okay for a little while. We trudge on for a bit longer,
the heat forcing us to make a brief stop to lose some layers.
I don't seem to be bothered by it as much as Jack and Sam.
Not really quite sure why, but the plain fact is I'm not
sweating as much, or having as much trouble breathing as
they are. We've still got a long way to go.
Sam stumble beside me and grab her arm to steady her. She
flashes me a grateful smile.
she grimaces. "Man, this is like trying to walk through
pea soup. This air is so thick I can't decide whether to
try to breathe it or chew it. Antarctica is starting to
look pretty good right now."
makes me laugh. "So, I guess you won't be taking that tropical
vacation anytime soon."
her hat off and swipes her forearm across her forehead.
"Hah! Next person who says ' let's go take a little walk
in the jungle it'll be fun' gets one right between the
eyes. Might not have a 'gun' but I sure know how to use
not touching THAT line with a ten foot pole." I expect
her to pick up on the remark immediately and shoot some
kind of off-colour comment right back at me. She doesn't.
Doesn't say anything. I glance over at her. She's looking
at me funny, with a soft fondness that takes me by surprise.
how are you doing, Daniel?" she asks quietly.
"You're looking good. He treating you okay?"
have to ask her to elaborate. We both know who 'he' is.
I respond, feeling myself start to flush at the mere thought
of him. A faint smile touches her lips and from the expression
on her face I realize I am a completely open book. She's
reading me cover to cover and there's not a damned thing
I can do about it. "Definitely okay. More than okay. So
say anymore. She flashes me an enormous, slightly tremulous
smile as she pats me on the arm.
all right, don't worry about it. You don't have to say.
I can tell just by looking at you. So good to see you like
this. You don't know how great it is to see you – happy.
If anyone deserves to be happy, Daniel, it's you."
her arm through mine and gives me a none-too-gentle hip
butt as she continues. "So let's see what we can do to
help you two 'adjust' so we all get to stay happy. If I
have to break in two replacement members for this team
I am going to be one extremely cranky captain."
can't have that," I laugh as I shove her back.
"You're even scarier cranky than Jack is."
She waves a disdainful hand in the air. "This from a man
who throws temper tantrums when he can't find HIS coffee
mug. Like it makes a difference what mug you drink it out
my mug," I return defensively. "It's mine. Don't
like using another one."
know," she chortles. "That's why I hide it on you
all the time…"
Jack shouts back at us. "You two kids behave! Christ,
can't take you anywhere! Don't make me come back there!"
Sam. Next to Jack, she's the person I most feel comfortable
with. In a lot of ways, she's easier to talk to. Couldn't
ask for a better friend. She just has this completely compassionate,
accepting way of looking at you. Always willing to listen,
always seems to know what to say, doesn't make me feel
like a freak because my IQ happens to be a few points higher
than my shoe size.
you, I'm sure she's been through her own experiences of
'let's pick on the smart kid.' The game doesn't go away
when all the players grow up. We certainly have that much
in common, although in her case, she had the added fun
of playing the gender variant version. With all its extra
little rules, complications, pressures and expectations.
Maybe that explains her secret life.
a study in contradictions, is our Sam. She has the biggest
heart in the world and the soul of an incorrigible prankster
lurking beneath the we're-all-business-totally-consummate-professional
brainpower isn't wasted simply on calculating planetary
shifts. Sam has pulled some spectacular stunts, a few the
stuff of legends, none of which have ever been laid at
her doorstep because when a list of the usual suspects
is drawn up no one ever thinks to put her on it. I know
all about her carefully concealed deviant streak because
I 'm the one who helps her.
at pulling the 'wide-eyed innocent' routine myself. Who
you, she doesn't know I know about the teddy bear in the
bottom drawer of her desk. Mister Boo. Hide my coffee mug,
will you? I think Mister Boo needs to see a bit more of
missed this. Missed it terribly. Enjoying being here, with
my friends. All of them. It has been such a long time since
we have been together like this. Such a long time, and
yet, it's as if it's been no time at all.
instant I feel the same pang of terrible disloyalty to
Jack I felt last night when I admitted to him I was anxious
to go back out into the world. As if somehow that was wrong.
Ungrateful. I'm not really sure where this is coming from.
Certainly not from Jack, although it's what I thought was
bothering him, until I found out the truth. When I did,
I felt ashamed. I realized how unworthy of him it was for
me to think he would think that way.
it. I found out what drove him from our bed last night
was not angst over having to share me with the outside
world but fear it would take me from him as it had once
before. Well, I have news for him. Nobody or nothing is
taking me anywhere except wherever he happens to be. Someone
very recently – can't quite remember who now – called me
a stubborn son of a bitch. Damned straight. I've got too
much to live for. Too much living to do. Someone special
to do all of it with.
as if Jack has won the battle. He's chatting animatedly
with Teal'c, occasionally turning back to aim comments
at Sam and me. Once or twice he has even felt sure enough
of himself to meet my eyes. Looks like the genie is stuffed
and corked, thank god for that! I feel similarly – in control.
We're going to be able to do this. The crisis has passed.
My mouth to the gods' ears. We reckon not with the Jackson
penchant for untimely discovery. Christ, was I born an
idiot or did I just become one through time and diligent
application? If at first you don't succeed in screwing
up, just ask Daniel. He'll get it right the very first
did was poke this big plant growing by the side of the
path and suddenly I've got a chest full of green goo. Oh
my goodness, look at this, my T-shirt seems to be disappearing.
Ah… this is starting to… hurt – Whoa!
don't just stand there STARING at it, doofus!
rushes to help me. Together we get what's left of the shirt
off me, and he splashes water from his canteen on my chest
to take care of the rest of the green stuff. He's trembling
as he runs his hands over my skin, checking to see if the
stuff has burned me. I'm not hurt, but I'm sure not okay.
Not anymore. One stupid little lapse of judgement and we
are both undone. His hands upon me inflame me, re-igniting
the spark of hot passion between us. I want him here -
now, I don't care who knows, who sees. He's just as lost,
his dark eyes wild as his mouth opens slightly, preparing
to meet with mine…
snaps up, eyes widen in alarm, hands jerk away from me
as he takes several stumbling steps backward. Bereft, my
body screaming for his touch, I clench my fists, striving
for control as he gulps and hurries away from me. No doubt
trying to come to terms with his own control issues.
come to our senses. Dammit. Oh well, at least it wasn't
as bad as it could have been. God only knows what would
have happened if the damned stuff had eaten through my
we're both still burning when we stop to rest a little
while later. I can feel his eyes on me, feel his hunger
reach across the distance between us. I know he's watching
me as I drink, wishing his hands were running over me instead
of the water from my canteen. I can't look at him. Don't
dare take the risk as much as I want to. If our eyes meet,
there won't be anything or anyone able to stop me from
going to him. Not him, not me. Probably not a good idea.
to be beating himself up five different ways from Sunday
right now. Wish I could see the look on his face. See it,
touch it, touch him. I must be crazy.
crazy about him. Strange place, strange time to feel this,
but I don't believe I've ever loved him more than I do
this very moment. Desire transforms me, empowers me, making
me more alive, aware, exultantly sensuous - ablaze. I feel
warm sunlight beating down upon me, heat dancing across
my skin, fire burning within me I feel – happy…
suddenly, blindingly happy. Happy to be alive, happy to
be here. It's such a strange new feeling. Happiness. It
bursts upon me with the force of divine revelation. This
is what it feels like to be happy.
I now suddenly feel as if something - terrible – has to
I really hate it when I'm right.
for that now, have to get out from under this thing. Just
as soon as I figure out how to breathe again…
is easier said than done considering I must have at least
three hundred pounds of dead, black weight pressing me
into the ground. Dead, hairless, gory, slick, slimy, rotund,
smelly – like being flattened by a bleeding walrus. With
five inch fangs and claws.
hear the sound of gunfire all around me. Along with ear-splitting
shrieks, screams and growls. My chest is on fire, burning
with the effort of trying to reclaim the air knocked out
of me by this thing. Have to get past it, have to get up.
We have to get out of here.
didn't have a good enough reason to try before, I just
got a brand new better one. Jack's in danger. Don't know
how, but I can 'see' the thing in the bushes directly in
front of him, crouching low, preparing to pounce on him.
I also can 'see' he doesn't see it. Don't worry about how
or why, Daniel, just get moving!
I wriggle free of the crushing bulk on top of me, drawing
my pistol as I heave myself desperately toward Jack. Everything
seems to happen simultaneously; I'm slamming him to the
ground, firing, it's leaping out at us, I fall on top of
him, trying to shield him as it sails over us screaming.
Still lying over Jack I turn, watching as it plummets to
the ground beside the one that landed on me. It's okay.
It's not moving, I got it.
pushing me back, scrambling to his feet, pulling me up
job!" he grunts as he squeezes my arm hard, just once.
That's all we have time for now. We're far from out of the
woods. Or the jungle, for that matter.
us a little over a half an hour to walk here. If Jack has
anything to say about it it's not even going to take us
half that time to hot foot it back. Don't think anyone
here has any plans on arguing with him. While Sam and I
cover our backs Teal'c uses his staff weapon to the blast
the path ahead of us while Jack strafes the trees overhead.
moment, the way is clear. I know this as a straight statement
of fact, and tell Jack bluntly I know. Which I do, but
god help me - I don't know how. He looks at me piercingly
for a small second, then amazingly, nods.
heard the man, let's book!" he yells. "Last one to
the gate is probably going to get eaten."
like snot. It keeps happening. It's like I have this picture
in my head of what is all around us telling me things we
need to know. Where the beasts are, how many there are
of them, how many more are racing in to join them off to
the left and behind as well. There are more of them on
the ground then there are in the trees. God, there has
to be almost a hundred of them. No, 125, to be precise.
Make that 124 – another one bites the dust.
Jack about the new ones coming in from off to the left,
he pitches a grenade in the direction I indicate and that
stops them for the moment. Sam trips and falls, I break
stride, grab her and haul her back on her feet, pushing
her ahead. Jack yells, darts around Sam toward me and fires
at something behind me as Sam takes out the one who is
leaping at Teal'c's back while he is shooting the dark
horror charging him from the front. We're in the clear
again for a few feet more and continue to run like hell.
Jack and Sam are stumbling badly now, chests heaving with
the effort of running and trying to breathe in this impossible
heat and humidity. Teal'c and I aren't nearly as badly
affected; we both move to cover our teammates who are.
is supporting Sam by the time we break into the clear,
the Stargate only a few hundred yards in front of us. I
have Jack by the arm, steadying him as we turn and launch
a withering barrage of fire and our remaining grenades
into the jungle behind us. Sam and Teal'c are sprinting
for the DHD, almost there. Jack and I fire into the jungle
for a few more seconds, then turn and lope towards the
gate as we hear the familiar, welcome whine and whoosh.
face is bright red and streaming with sweat, his breathing
laboured and painful, he curses as he falters and falls
to his knees. Draping his arm over my shoulder I hoist
him up again; we're only halfway to the DHD when we hear
them behind us. I grab his MP-5 and tell him I'll watch
his back as he goes for it.
not happy about leaving me but he knows he isn't in any
condition to do much else but run for the gate. I'm still
okay – I can function. I'm the one who should stay and
cover. He nods, slaps me on the back and doggedly pushes
himself onward as I turn back the way we have come, keeping
the weapon leveled and ready for them as I back up after
him as swiftly as I can.
the DHD and stands there, pistol drawn, waiting for me.
Sam and Teal'c are lingering at the event horizon, not
wanting to leave without us. Teal'c is starting to look
more than a little worse for the wear, Sam is nearly out
on her feet with the heat and exertion. Jack waves at them
to get themselves gone. Scowling, Teal'c nods at Jack and
takes Sam through.
Jack's hand clutching my shoulder as I start to fire into
the howling, undulating black wave surging toward us. He's
holding onto me, leaning against me, firing with me as
we back toward the gate, up the stairs, toward the waiting
event horizon. We can't believe how fast these things can
move for their size; several of them have almost reached
the DHD. I think it's time to go.
know why, but in the split second just before we bail we
need to look at each other – and do. A heartbeat, nothing
more, then we leap.
spill out the other side and roll down the ramp I can hear
Jack yelling for them to close the iris, hear it close,
hear the dull metallic thuds of several large somethings
striking the barrier. A wave of heat rips through me and
suddenly I am covered in sweat, my limbs turn to water
and I am panting and heaving as if I have just run ten
hours non-stop through the Gobi Desert. I am thinking I
feel like Jack looks. Well, if it finally had to catch
up with me, I'm darned glad it waited till now.
we are, the four of us, sprawled all over the ramp, a sweatier,
smellier, sorrier looking sight as you have never seen.
Manage to push myself up to a sitting position and then
nearly fall back over again. Jack catches me, and props
me back up. We end up sitting back to back, looking around,
more than slightly stunned. I think Jack is the one who
starts laughing first. You'd really have to see all of
us to get the joke.
spectators gather. The General and Janet and her ministering
angels of mercy with other assorted SGC player extras.
Some things never change, thank goodness.
Jack says to the bald man with the stars on his collar
looking down at us with the concern on his face, " that
was just no fun at all. No way, no how. I've had fun before.
That – that definitely wasn't it. I gotta tell you, there
isn't a snowflake's chance in HELL we are going back there.
Could somebody get me a glass of water? With some ice?
Lots and lots of ice? While you're at it, get a round for
my friends here. Geez! Daniel – ah GAWD - is that you?
For crying out loud, what is that SMELL?"
cart us off to the infirmary, check us out, hose us down,
top us up a quart or two. Jack won't stay still. Not sure
where he is getting the energy. Must be some sort of residual
adrenaline high. He makes the rounds, talking to each of
us, joking, making like we've just come back from a stroll
in the park. He touches us a lot. Not out of character
for him in the slightest, he is well known in these parts
as a physically demonstrative man. Fortunate the precedent
has already been established for it gives him the ability
to be able to touch me as well, with everyone watching
what he is telling me as he cracks a joke, tousles my hair,
pats me on the cheek, calls me 'Danny the Giant-Killer'
– god, ANOTHER nickname - rubs my arm, thumps me on the
back. It's an ironically intimate exchange in full public
view, one we can totally get away with and one we both
need. If only to reassure each other we're both well and
all still feeling a little weak in the knees, but otherwise
don't seem to be any worse for the experience. Janet starts
making noises about keeping us overnight but Jack turns
on the charm and she relents, telling us to go home and
rest. Nothing strenuous. Who – us? The debrief is tabled
until the morning, we appear to be sprung, so we make tracks
before somebody changes their mind.
is very quiet on the drive home. Almost ominously so. I
know he has to be pretty tired. Feeling a little shagged
out myself. Still, I find myself wondering exactly what
happened back there. How I was able to 'see' all that stuff.
And wondering if Jack is wondering too. Maybe it's the
reason he's so quiet.
aren't you going to ask me?" I say finally.
you what?" he replies in a tone that says 'whatever it is
I really don't want to talk about it.'
Jack, I do. "How I knew those things were coming at us?"
"Figured it was just one of those things. I've seen it
before. Had it happen to me too. Danger and the survival
instinct. Sometimes it beefs up the radar. Comes in handy.
Came in handy. Nothing to get too bent out of shape about.
Whatever works and gets us home in one piece I'm all
it alone, studying his profile as he continues to drive.
What he is saying makes a certain amount of sense, but
I get the feeling he doesn't entirely believe the explanation
he has forwarded. I don't know why he wouldn't, but there
is a shadow of something else, a bare hint he has doubts.
However, whatever they are, he isn't inclined to share.
Maybe not now, but I can wait.
though I am expecting it he still manages to catch me by
surprise. I've barely closed the door behind us when he
is on me, hugging me fiercely for many long minutes. We
remain locked in the embrace then without warning he releases
me and sets himself to removing my jacket and shirt with
deliberate swiftness, his brow furrowed with concern and
by his intentions. Don't understand what he is doing. When
he has me down to bare skin he starts to look closely at
me, runs his hands over my chest, arms and back. There
is nothing sexual about his touch. If I had to find a word
to describe it, I would have to say – clinical. It's almost
as if he is examining me, checking – he's checking me over!
Making sure for himself I'm not hurt! I silently submit
to the exam, allowing him to fulfill his need to verify
for himself I am indeed unscathed.
as his brow slowly unknits, his features somewhat soften.
At last he seems to have settled it in his mind that no
harm has come to me. He nods, pats me on the cheek without
looking me in the eye, hands me back my shirt and jacket
and says in a remote voice as he turns away from me, "Tired.
Going to bed."
that's fine with me, really didn't feel like cooking anyway.
thirty seconds behind him. Find him sitting on the side
of the bed in the altogether, his head in his hands. Don't
know how he does it. Jack can get naked faster than any
human being on the planet. I swear he must be a closet
nudist or something, or possesses some strange, mutant
ability to repel clothing with a single thought; you blink
– they're off. Clothing-Optional-Man. Mind you, he's no
slouch at making me and my apparel part company either.
over to my side of the bed and stand there for a moment,
considering his back. "Don't feel like talking," he
says through his hands.
said anything about talking?" I reply as I begin to unzip
my pants. They hit the floor; I hit the bed, and move across
it toward him on my knees. He doesn't move, even when I
am pressed up behind him, my hands on his shoulders. "What's
the matter, Jack?" I say as I lean forward and kiss the
side of his neck. "Can't interest you in any non-verbal
on what you want to say," he sighs.
I thought I would start with this," I murmur as I run my
hands down his chest, moving them slowly up and down and
across in ever widening circles. He shivers and begins
to slump back against me.
I say just before kissing the mouth he is turning toward
me. "It's going to be a lengthy conversation. I have so
much more to say…"
myself up against him, letting him feel my own awakening
as I swarm my hands over his chest. He leans farther back,
allowing me to take more and more of his weight as my hands
move down, slowly touching, stroking, teasing, coaxing……
completely limp against me now, giving himself over to me.
Just like I planned. I lay him back on the bed and move
around him, kissing him all over his stomach, chest, arms,
neck, insistently claiming his mouth, tasting sorrow in
his response. Not to worry, he's going to be singing a
different tune before I'm done.
beneath me, moving up into my hand as I stroke his stomach,
moving my hand downward, bound for secret places. The soldier
is already standing to attention; I brush by it and he
moans wanting more but – no, not yet. Get to you later.
to massage his stomach with one hand while I take his balls
in the other, fondling them gently before reaching behind
them to softly stroke the sensitive skin between his legs.
Now you're talking!" he gasps.
if you know what you want to say," I grin as I move the
hand on his stomach over and wrap my fingers lightly around
his erection. He grunts in appreciation, a sound which
turns into something much lower and urgent as I tongue
the sensitive tip. I tease him a moment longer, he starts
to thrash about and swear. I'd say I've just about gotten
my point across.
Jack," I laugh, "What you say I run this up the
flagpole and see who salutes." I lick him from base to
tip and the swallow him whole from the other direction. He
screams, explodes, and I'd say more than gets my message while
I get his reaction. Yum.
created a monster. He's still shaking with the force of
his climax as he reaches down, grabs me and hurls me into
the mattress. He's pressing down on top of me, grinding
into me, kissing me like a man gone insane. It's my turn
to find myself at his mercy as he ruthlessly strips all
reason from me with his unstoppable, demanding passion.
are times when Jack can be the most gentle of lovers, touching
and exploring with sweetly incongruent tenderness. This
isn't one of those times.
is a force of nature, an unstable vortex of seething, raging
emotion, a tsunami that overwhelms me and breaks upon me
as he does. He clutches me, kisses me, shakes me, shakes
upon me, scalds me with hot tears, sears me with a white-hot
river of molten words and broken phrases. I don't know
what he's saying but it doesn't matter, what does matter
is – it's coming out of him. What was gnawing at him, twisting
in him, it's bursting forth, beyond his control. Out of
his hands as he loses himself in the rough act of love.
Losing himself, finding himself in finding me beneath him,
ever with him.
the intensity of his passion will incinerate me in an instant
and there's nothing I can do to save myself. I haven't
got a prayer.
long as I'm with him, I don't need one…
slaked, sweaty and now quite exhausted we lie in each other's
arms, almost too tired to breathe. He has me clasped to
his chest; as I'm dropping off to sleep I feel the low
rumble of his laughter tickling my cheek along with his
if you aren't really something," he says sleepily as he
hugs me tighter. "All that time I spent worrying about
you… shoulda been more worried about my own ass. You did
all right. You did fine. We all did…"
have been saying more but I was never to know…
about to go through the gate again. One more time, like
all the other times. Don't know what we will find on the
other side, but whatever it is, we'll all face it together,
the four of us, and somehow we'll find a way to all come
is pacing, waiting for me. Sam and Teal'c have already
gone through but he can't. Not yet. There is something
he has to do. He won't go through the gate until he does
it. I tease him about it sometimes, but he says it's just
something he has to do. To start out the mission right.
It's worked so far, doesn't want to jinx things.
you never know what might happen, and some things shouldn't
be left unsaid. Just in case.
up to him. He touches me on the arm, looks me deeply in
know, don't you?" he says in a low, serious voice.
I reply, equally seriously. "And you?"
He nods, satisfied. "We go?"
go," I echo as we start up the ramp together. And step
through into - come what may.
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