Slash:  Jack and Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves sex.
Rating: NC-17.
Category: First Time.  Angst, H/C. Drama.  Alternate Reality.
Season/Spoilers: Season 2.  Spoilers for Stargate the Move. Serpent's Grasp/Serpent's Lair.  Sequel to Doppelganger. 
Synopsis: The Alternate SG-1 bring the Doppelganger home.
Warnings: Intense emotional situations.  References to character deaths which have occurred previous to the events of this story.
Length:  125  Kb  Originally completed in 2000.


"I love you."

Stunned beyond words – not moving, staring. Not believing what he was hearing.

He'd turned to see Daniel standing in front of the closed door of his room. Hadn't even heard him come in. They were moments from leaving, about to embark on the more-than-slightly-mad mission to save the Earth that had come about as a result of the stubborn, implacable insistence of the man who was looking at him with the same focussed determination which had caused him to agree to this insanity in the first place.

"I know this is probably the worst time in the world to say this to you," Daniel continued, not a particle of fear or hesitation in his eyes or in his voice. "But we both know what we are about to do, and what it could mean. Worst time or not, it's the only time. One or both of us might die tonight. I won't let that happen, without letting you know. I love you."

Then he was gone. Out the door, down the hall – gone. Without giving him a chance to think, to comprehend, to answer. Without giving him a chance to even know what his answer would have been.

He hadn't known. Not until the moment when he'd heard the terrible cry from the corridor. Heard Daniel scream his name, heard the sounds of gunfire. Then - no sounds at all.

By the time he had reached Daniel the light was already dying in his eyes. It was already too late. No time for words, no time for anything. But to hold what was left, catch Daniel's last breath in his mouth as he kissed him for the first time – and the last. Watching the spark that was Daniel flicker and go out as what was always somehow understood but never before realized became the largest, most important truth his mind could hold.

I love you too.

Too late. Daniel was gone. Never hearing the words. Never knowing. Never understanding he was loved – had always been loved - the way he had hoped.

It wasn't until he was standing in the gate room, in the midst of the meaningless applause and the shouts of 'hail the conquering heroes', seeing the enormity of his loss echoed in the haunted eyes of his remaining teammates he had remembered – the sarcophagus.

Too late. Too late. He'd saved an entire world at the cost of all of his.

Somehow they had gone on. Banded fiercely together by the power of the love they all still held for the man who was no longer with them, they'd dealt with losing him by going on for him. The three who were left had closed their ranks, suffering no one else to walk with them, allowing no one else to try and replace him. Alone together, apart as one, bonded inseparable and belonging to no one else but each other. Until now.

They had him back. This was all that mattered. Jack knew Sam and Teal'c were as united with him in this as they had been in everything else. The terrible void existing in their midst all these months was filled. Daniel was alive. He was back. No one was ever going to take him from them again. It didn't matter what they had to do - what they had to say. They would have all stood before the last throne of judgement and brazenly lied to the Almighty Himself if that was what it took - to slip this one by him.

Who said you never got a second chance? When there it was, right beside him, just waiting for the last of the red tape to be dealt with. Waiting for him to bring him back where he belonged.

Daniel was sitting in 'his' chair in the infirmary, leaning up against him, his eyes closed, his face pale. He was quiet now, but it was plain from his slumped posture and the weariness weighing down his body he was a long way from recovered from the mental effects of his ordeal in the strange place where he had been given back to them. Jack stood strongly beside his friend, his hand tightening possessively around his shoulders, imparting comfort and claiming at the same time. As soon as Janet got back with his meds and her last minute instructions, he was taking Daniel home.

It hadn't been easy to get here, but they were almost in the clear. Jack realized with no small measure of gratitude he owed this miracle as much to Sam and Teal'c's determination as he did his own. They'd hung together as never before through the daunting gauntlet of officialdom that had been Daniel's rite of passage back into the 'officially sanctioned' world of the living.

Tests and evaluations and debriefings and official inquiry boards, - they had waded through it all and come out the other side - triumphant. In short – the powers that be – bought it.

As painful as it was to watch the effects of what had been done to Daniel, his evident mental distress only helped to support the story. Hard to deny he was alive, hard to refute the irrefutable medical evidence he was exactly who he appeared to be, even harder to ignore, due to the state he was in, the proof something terrible had happened to him, which further corroborated the 'story'.

Janet finally came bustling back into the room, a warm smile on her face. She pressed a bottle of pills into Jack's hand as she reached his side.

"These are pretty strong, Colonel. Make sure he takes them if he needs them. The headaches shouldn't last much longer. He needs a lot of rest and the environment should as stress-free as possible. Dr McKenzie will get back to me when he has Daniel's first appointment scheduled. I'll let you know. Barring any further problems or complications which I know you will tell me about immediately, I'll expect to see Daniel back here in a week so we can check on his progress."

She leaned down and planted a fond kiss on the top of Daniel's head. Which earned her a shy, wan smile from the man at his side. "It's so good to have you back, Daniel," she told him with soft and warm earnestness. "Take good care of him, sir."

It was so hard to keep his eyes on the road. They kept stealing away from what they were supposed to be looking at, sneaking over to glance covertly at the quiet man sitting slumped in the seat beside him. His head was thrown back against the headrest, his eyes closed, long dark lashes starkly black against his pale skin. Hair so long, so soft, spilling almost wantonly across his forehead…

Jack tore his eyes away from Daniel, locking them back on the road. He tightened his hands on the steering wheel, using the tactile reminder of the hard, unyielding substance composing the object as a focus for anything else but the feelings welling up within him.

Daniel had said, "I love you" those long months ago. His Daniel. He had to remember, for the sake of the man who was with him now; those words had never been spoken between them. For although he was unquestionably 'Daniel' – he wasn't…

Jack looked at him. Couldn't help it. Those words, which he remembered and Daniel now didn't, were the only 'difference' of consequence. In every other way – no difference. No difference… Especially in the way he felt every time he looked at him.

The mere sight of him was enough to release the floodgates of joy. Spontaneous, blossoming, wondrous, consuming happiness burned within him filling him with a ridiculous euphoria, and all Daniel had to do was walk into the room. Just show up.

What made it even more ridiculous was how long it had taken him to clue into what it was.

Hell – he'd been around. He'd been in love before. He'd had his share of relationships. Even been married. Been there, done that, lost the T-shirt in the settlement. No babe in the woods here.

Love was nice, but it was also a hell of a lot of work. As were relationships. Most of the time – a big pain in the butt. Almost always ultimately – disappointing.

Oh, things would start out great. You know, the sparks, the excitement, the curiosity. The whole rollercoaster thing.

First, you can't get enough of each other, and neither of you can do wrong. Then, a little time goes by, you start cooling down a bit, and you start seeing things you never saw before. Probably were always there, you were just too busy looking through the rose coloured glasses to notice.

Yeah, she's great and all, but… The 'buts'. First there's only one or two. That little habit she has of – clicking her fingernails. At first it was cute. Now, it's a little irritating. Funny, you never noticed before, but that thing she does with her hair is a little – strange. The list of 'buts' just keeps getting longer and longer, until you get to the point where it seems the 'buts' are all there are and you wonder what the hell it was you ever saw in her in the first place.

To be fair, by this time she's seeing a few things about you that leave her less than charmed. You don't talk as much. You don't touch as much. The other stuff – well that's pretty much once in a blue moon as well and usually used as a 'reward' or – or a weapon. You start 'negotiating.' Compromising. Trying to placate, appease, satisfy, where once you just enjoyed each other. What once was fun suddenly becomes work.

Hell, he already had a job. Was probably the main reason why he no longer had a wife. Was never very good at moonlighting.

This was 'love' the way Jack O'Neill had come to understand it. Then Daniel Jackson had walked into his life and turned everything he thought he knew about everything upside down and on its ear.

Daniel had scared the crap out of him, right from the beginning. All that animosity, antagonism, bravado – just stupid, dumb fear. Of Daniel – the one person in the world who had never, ever, at any time in his life, ever meant him anything but good. All the people he'd ever known, everything he'd done, he'd never had anyone look at him the way Daniel did. Look at him and see right through him.

Daniel was on to him, right from the very start. No where to go, no where to hide, every time those divine, omniscient blue eyes looked at him he felt this – thrill - quivering deep inside him, like nothing he had ever felt before. Joy. Simple, pure, selfless, complete, consuming, utter – joy.

He'd tried fighting it. Pushing it away by trying to push the cause of it away. Till he figured out how stupid it was. Trying to stop feeling good for the first time in his life just because he didn't understand why he was feeling good was like cutting his nose off to spite his face. As the cliché went.

What made Daniel different from everyone else he'd ever known was the way he saw him as well. Just the way he was – the whole enchilada. No 'buts'. Daniel just was – what he was. Not that he was perfect, he had his quirks, just like everybody else. But they were part of what he was, part of what made him – Daniel. Which was – okay. Hell – more than okay. Daniel was the best. Difficult to explain how that made a difference. But it certainly did.

Sure, they had their differences of opinion. Fought tooth and nail, like cats and dogs, more than once and at great length. But nothing that had ever passed between them had been more than either one of them could handle. Especially after Jack discovered Daniel's secret.

It was like magic to watch, even more incredible to do. Daniel could be wound up tighter than seven Sundays, so cranked he was hopping around the room shooting fire out his butt and all Jack had to do was grab a hold of him and not let go. Sometimes a hand was enough, sometimes it took the application of a little more surface area, but whatever it took, it never failed. All he had to do was touch Daniel long enough and he calmed down. Might take awhile, but it happened. The effect it had on him was pretty satisfying as well.

It was very rare that anybody 'won' one of their arguments. Almost always a draw. But what a blessed stalemate…

Jack had just accepted this extraordinary state of affairs as something 'special' that came with the territory of having Daniel in his life. He never questioned it, never doubted it, never examined it. It just was what it was, it made him feel good, and it filled him in ways he had never experienced with anyone else.

It also made it quite unnecessary for him to look for anything else.

During the long bitter months following Daniel's death Jack realized there were two reasons why he'd never seen it for what it was until too late.

The first reason was obvious. Hard to miss the fact Daniel was a man. So was he for that matter. What he believed himself to be placed how he saw things within certain parameters that hitherto hadn't allowed him to think – outside the lines. To allow for certain other possibilities. Not that he was terribly averse to the idea, just had never occurred to him before that it would ever be… necessary.

The other thing that had caused him to 'miss it' was his mistaken notion he had ever really been in love or even knew what love was. He'd engaged in something purporting to pass for it, which was mostly a complicated and ultimately futile exercise in 'I'll give you what you want unless I can get what I want from you without too much trouble." Which was mostly about emotionalism fueled by an illusion fed by fear of loneliness and wanting to get a little something from someone who was willing to play the game for a little while. Someone who was, for all the sound and fury, as much of a stranger to him as he was to her. And always stayed that way…

Everything he'd ever done in the name of 'love' had always only ever been about him. Until Daniel.

Daniel was all he thought about. From the very beginning. Sounded silly and impossibly adolescent to admit it to himself so blatantly - but there you are. Who was he, what was he, how could he be so…. What was he thinking, what was he feeling, what could he do to get closer, to understand, to know, to comprehend. What was this, who was this man, what was it about him that was so – compelling? So frightening. So unique.

No Jack in there at all. All Daniel. The more he let go of Jack and all his fears, insecurities and hang-ups and let the space inside that used to be packed tight with 'Jackcrap' be filled up with Daniel the better he felt. The more he wanted to do more. Be. Achieve. Become. For Daniel, and the other people around him. Daniel in his world made it a better place. Daniel inside him – made him a better man.

However, not until the moment he lost him did Jack understand. That joy, that feeling of contentment, that inner well of rightness with all that looked, felt and acted like Daniel - what it had been all along - was love. True, absolute, total, complete, unconditional. The real deal. For the first time in his life, he KNEW what love really was. That he could even for a second have believed he'd known this before…

If he hadn't been lucky enough once to have it without even knowing what the hell he had – he'd just hit the jackpot again.

You don't get second chances. Lightning doesn't strike in the same place twice. Dead is dead and gone is gone. You snooze, you lose.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Someone up there liked him. Who knew, go figure. Daniel was back, and he had him. Not going to throw this second chance away. All he had to do was figure out how to find out how Daniel felt about him.

Hadn't noticed he was looking at him again until he realized with a small shock Daniel's eyes were open, and he was looking back. Those azure eyes swam with a bright something reaching out and wrapping warm, golden bands of affection around his heart. Whatever came down, finding out where Daniel's heart was at was not going to be unpleasant.

"Jack," he said softly, that one word carrying enough melting compulsion to make him want to do something really stupid like – say it back.

"Home sweet home, Daniel," Jack smiled at the man beside him as he turned the Jeep into the drive, pulling in beside Sam's car. Guess she and Teal'c would've had enough time to throw a few things together for the welcome home party. Just the four of them.

Jack turned off the vehicle and jumped out. Daniel didn't move, he was just staring at the house, a strange expression on his face. Puzzled, Jack walked over to the passenger side and opened the door.

"Hey Danny, what's wrong? We're home. Thought you would be glad to see the place."

Daniel looked at him, a confused look haunting his eyes. He held a hand out to Jack, plainly looking to him to help him out. Which he was more than happy to do.

Daniel stood at his side, still looking at the house. "I – I live here? With you? Live here?"

Jack put an arm around him to steady him. "Yeah, you came to stay with me when you had no where to go when you first got here from Abydos and just never – left. Remember - when we came back from Chulak without seeing Sha'uri? You were pretty cut up when Teal'c told us what had happened to her. Which was pretty much to be expected. Not easy to hear your wife had almost been made into a host and then killed by Apophis when the snake rejected her – geez Danny! What's the matter?"

Daniel's legs had started to buckle – he would have fallen if Jack hadn't caught him. His blue eyes were deeply distressed as they looked at him with unbelieving horror.

"Dead? Sha'uri's dead? Dead?"

Shit! This must be one of those 'differences' Merlin had been talking about. Best be gentle here.

Daniel was leaning up against him for support, breathing heavily with distress. Not caring who looked or saw, knowing only the good it would do, Jack began to stroke his cheek soothingly as he said gently, "Easy, Danny. She's been gone for well over a year. Not your fault. We did everything we could. You did everything you could."

"Why did I think – why did I think she was still alive?" Daniel's voice was barely a whisper, but he was calming.

"Brains must have gotten scrambled by those bastards even more than we figured. Doc said it was probably going to be a long time before things started getting clearer. But that's okay. You've got time. You've got friends."

He paused slightly before continuing, emphasizing his next words by stroking his thumb across Daniel's cheek in a deliberate caress.

"You've got me."

Daniel closed his eyes and nodded his head slightly. Not exactly a yes, but not a no either. Okay, he could deal with it.

"Come on now, let's get you into the house. Sam and Teal'c are waiting for us. Sam said she was going to bake you a cake. House is still standing, so far so good …"



This was exquisite torture. To have Daniel home, at last, here, with him, looking so….oh god how was he going to do this. How could he keep himself from looking like a lovesick teenager? How could he get through the next minute without – touching Daniel? How could he get Sam and Teal'c to go home?

That wasn't fair. They loved Daniel too. Had missed him as much, mourned him as deeply. Were as happy to have him back. Needed to be with him as much as he did.

After all, Sam and Teal'c couldn't stay forever. After that – they had all night.

Whoa, Jack, hold the phone. Remember what you promised. Daniel's been through enough already. Let's not blow what's left of the poor guy's brains out with way too much way too soon. Have a chat with the little soldier and tell him to stand down. Mind over matter. Way too much matter. Jesus Daniel stop LOOKING at me like that…

Blue eyes shining with a fierce contentment lanced into his heart evoking answering flames of desire. Jack resisted the impulse to pick up his beer and pour it on his head. Probably wasn't exactly an Emily Post kinda thing to do. Neither was crawling up over and across the table burying his hands in that hair and pulling that mouth closer, just…diving…

Oh, this is REALLY helping! Jack mumbled something, got up from the table and fled into the kitchen. Just need a few minutes away to get a hold of himself. When all he really wanted was to get a hold of someone else.

DOWN boy! HEEL!!

"Hey, sir," Sam's voice sounded a bright, slight warning as she entered the kitchen. Heeding it and more than slightly grateful for her consideration, he straightened himself up immediately and turned to face her.

"How you doing, sir? She grinned at him. "Are you okay?"

She knows. Good enough friend to be concerned, an even better one not to let on.

"I'm fine, Sam," he lied through his teeth and she let him. "Just a little stress starting to catch up with me. Been a hell of a week, hasn't it?"

"You can say that again," she nodded. "So glad we made it, and Daniel is back home. Where he belongs. Wish he would eat something though. And he looks as if he can hardly keep himself up in that chair."

"It's those damned tranquilizers. Pack quite a wallop. But at least they are enabling him to stay calm enough to function. Sort of. He's still not great, but he's a lot better than he was…"

Sam looked away, not willing to delve too deeply into the memories of Daniel's first day in the infirmary. The screams, the terror, the horror in his eyes only sedation took away. They would probably never know what had happened to him simply because having him go where he would be able to tell them would hardly have been worth it. Better he should forget.

"Well, here's hoping he won't have to stay on them much longer," Jack continued. "He's got us to help him through it, and that's got to count for something."

"You know it does, sir," Sam finished fervently.

"Jack!" That was Daniel's voice, from the other room. Sounding more than a bit anxious.

"Still doesn't like it much when you're not there?" Sam asked softly.

Jack shook his head, took her lightly by the arm and walked both of them back to join the others.

Jack crossed immediately over to Daniel, flushing warmly at the way Daniel's entire face visibly brightened the moment he saw him. God, he'd walk a mile over broken glass on his hands for just that very look.

His hands cupped Daniel's shoulders as he leaned over him. "You okay?"

Daniel leaned his head back against his stomach, turning it into him to look up, the contact and the movement making Jack's own head swim.

"I can't sit here anymore," Daniel said slowly, the seeming effort of speaking them emphasizing his words. "Tired. Would the… couch… be okay?" He cast apologetic looks at Sam and Teal'c. "It's not the company, believe me. It's these damned pills. Hate pills…"

"Do not be concerned about us, DanielJackson," Teal'c's deep voice was charged with a level of emotion he very rarely allowed himself to express. "We are happy to be wherever you are most comfortable."

Damned tickled pink to be anywhere with you at all, Daniel. Jack held that happy thought as he helped Daniel to his feet and over to the couch, Sam and Teal'c in their wake.

Sam immediately slid down beside Daniel as Jack settled him in the middle of the couch, then backed away to allow the Jaffa to claim the other side. He contented himself with the armchair, sitting down and treating himself to a sight he never thought he would ever see again. All his kids back together again, one big, happy, happy family.

He wouldn't say it didn't get any better than this because he was sincerely hoping it certainly would.

Safe in the nurturing cocoon of affection that surrounded him, Daniel noticeably rallied. As Sam and Teal'c talked to him his eyes grew brighter, more alert, his face took on a little more colour.

Gradually his gaze began to wander across the room, taking in the objects surrounding him. Wonder touched his expression, blossoming into quiet gratitude as he finally saw what rested on the coffee table. Smiling with shy pleasure he reached forward to take one of the exquisitely carved, wooden jackal-headed pieces from the large board before him.

Daniel held it tightly as he looked across at Jack. "You've kept all my things, haven't you? Everything is still here. Like I never – left…"

Jack suddenly found the toe of his right shoe extremely fascinating. Damned fascinating. Had never realized before just how – fascinating - it was.

Okay. He could talk now. Bye shoe.

"You know how it is." He risked meeting Daniel's eyes. "Mission here, mission there. More time off world than on. So much to do. Just never got around to – getting rid of it."

Daniel smiled at him, not only allowing him the lie, but plainly loving him for it. Jack found himself wanting to dive headfirst into those eyes, not knowing what he'd done to deserve such a friend.

Daniel sighed, allowing himself to sink farther back into the couch. His eyes scanned the room around him and the people in it, at last coming to rest once again on the man across the room from him.

"Home," he said in a voice that was anything but tentative and uncertain. "This is home."

Not talking about the four walls here, are we Daniel?

They chatted amongst themselves for a little while longer, not saying anything particularly profound, but then not needing to either. After a brief interval Daniel took a deep breath and started to get up. He waved away any offers of assistance, and excused himself, saying he would be back in a moment. His progress was a little shaky, but he was making it. Good sign. Good sign.

Twenty minutes passed without a sign of him or any sounds from the part of the house into which he had gone. Jack looked across at Sam and Teal'c as all three of them started missing him about the same time.

"Damn – hope he didn't fall in," Jack quipped, concerned but not worried. "Daniel?" Jack raised his voice slightly so as to allow the hail to reach Daniel's hearing.

No answer. "Maybe he went into his room to go and lie down," Jack said to the others as he started to get to his feet. "I'll just go and check to see everything is okay. Won't be a minute."

Sam nodded and stood up as well. "Okay, I'll just start cleaning up over there."

"I will assist you, Captain Carter," Jack heard Teal'c say as he quickly left them behind and went to find Daniel.

Jack found Daniel in his room, sitting on the floor, leaning up against the bed, a large box beside him. The box Jack had put the things in he had brought back with him from Abydos. Forgotten it was there. Oh shit…

Daniel's eyes were tightly closed, his face set against giving into what was plainly churning within him. He held something in his arms, crushed to his chest. Jack recognized it immediately. It was one of the journals Daniel had kept during his year on Abydos.

Cursing himself for the fool he was, Jack swiftly crossed the room and dropped down beside his friend. Daniel's eyes opened as Jack's fingers brushed across his cheek.

"How did you get these?" Daniel asked softly.

"I went back to Abydos in your place. When the year was up. I figured you would have wanted me to. Someone had to tell Kasuf and Skaara you and Sha'uri weren't – going to be coming home."

"Skaara?" Daniel cried. " Skaara is all right? He's on Abydos? I – I don't understand!"

Daniel let the journal slip from his grasp, putting his hands up to his head as if he was suddenly in pain. Jack reached forward, trying to calm him by placing his hands on his arms.

"Skaara's fine, Daniel. Why wouldn't he be?"

"I don't know I don't know," Daniel moaned, still clutching his head. "I just know he shouldn't be on Abydos."

"Come here," Jack said firmly, just as firmly overcoming Daniel's slight resistance and drawing him into his arms. "Skaara is all right. He's on Abydos. He's always been on Abydos. He's changed a lot in the past year. Had to grow up far too fast. It was hard on him. He blamed himself for Sha'uri's abduction. Figured he could've made a difference if he hadn't come with us to the cartouche room and left her behind. When he heard you were both dead – he blamed himself for you as well. Because you wouldn't let him come with you when you left."

Daniel shook as he heard that, so Jack hastened to add what encouraging words he could.

"I stayed there for a couple of days. Spent a lot of time with Skaara. Told him and Kasuf all about you. How you'd done the best you could to try and save Sha'uri. Told them everything, Danny. All the great things you've done since leaving Abydos. How you had died saving our world. They were so proud of you, Danny. As they should have been. When I left, Skaara was better. At least he understood there was nothing he could have done to change what happened to either you or Sha'uri – any more than you could have saved her."

Daniel was lying very quietly against him, listening intently to every word. "Thank you for that," he said finally, in a small voice. I'll have to go back there, show them I'm okay. When I'm feeling a little better." He indicated the box with a small wave of his hand. "Kasuf gave you my things, didn't he?"

Jack nodded. "He said he thought I would want them. He was right. I read the journals. They were – all I had left of you. I hope you don't mind."

"No…" Daniel sighed deeply against him, his exhaled breath warm on his skin even through the fabric of his shirt. Daniel's arms wound around him, as his voice became even more troubled.

"I don't understand what is happening. Everything is so strange. I know this must be my room. My clothes are here – all my things are here – but I don't remember it. Sha'uri – Skaara – even Sam and Teal'c are different somehow. I don't know. I must be losing my mind. The only thing that isn't different – the only thing that is familiar – is you."

Before Jack could come up with anything to say Daniel suddenly pushed himself away from Jack's arms. He ran a hand through his hair, looked at Jack with stricken eyes and announced; "I'm really tired. I – just want to go to sleep now. Will you apologize to Sam and Teal'c for me? I don't want to be rude, but I just really need to go to bed now. Maybe all of this will make some sort of sense in the morning. You don't mind, do you Jack?"

Disappointing, but not unexpected. Jack smiled and patted him on the shoulder. "Anything you want, Danny. You know that."

Jack got to his feet, started to walk out of the room and then turned back. Daniel's head was lowered, and he was starting to unbutton his shirt. Jack hesitated, momentarily fascinated by the revelatory potential of the action.

"Ah, I'll see Sam and Teal'c out and then just check on you before turning in. If that's okay..."

Christ, O'Neill, what a stupid thing to say. He's not five! Good thing you didn't say 'want me to tuck you in?' Moron!

"'Kay" Daniel said absently, his head still lowered, his fingers still slowly working on the buttons of his shirt, pushing the next one free of the cloth that held it, causing the garment to gap open just a little wider, revealing the soft skin beneath…

Gulping, Jack whirled and fled from the room.

Long after Sam and Teal'c had gone Jack sat in the armchair in the living room, nervously rubbing his hands on his denim-covered thighs.

Even though every single nerve in his body screamed at him to go back to that room and the man in it, the prospect suddenly terrified him. Not because he didn't want to go to Daniel, but rather, because he did. He knew very well what he' said he would and wouldn't do, but what he didn't know was how much he could trust himself.

He couldn't remember wanting anyone so much – not in his whole life. But until he knew if the feeling was mutual he couldn't just…

Jesus, he was so weak…

Groaning, Jack got to his feet and walked back to Daniel's room. With any luck, Daniel would be asleep. So he could just, look in, as he had promised, and then get the hell out of there.

The room was dark and silent. From the doorway he could barely make out the still form of the man curled up beneath the comforter on the bed. Like a man in a waking dream he felt himself gliding forward into the room, walking in guilty silence, drawn toward Daniel by a force he could barely understand, never mind control. As he moved around the bed he tried not to notice the pile of discarded clothing lying in a heap on the floor where he had last seen Daniel sitting. Tried not to notice – and dismally failed.

Oh my! Under there… he was…

Reason suddenly briefly reasserted itself. Control came back. Jack stopped himself, was just about to turn and run like hell.


So much for control. Daniel's voice, saying his name, so full of unspoken pain, reached out and drew him the rest of the way to his side as surely as if Daniel had reached out and grabbed him by the – throat.

"I'm right here, Danny," Jack whispered, leaning over him. He couldn't see his face, couldn't see what was happening, didn't know what to do.

"Don't go," Daniel implored, grabbing his arm and seeking to settle the matter by swiftly turning and pulling Jack along with it, into the bed behind him.

Taken completely by surprise, Jack lost his balance and tumbled over on top of him. Daniel's only response was to grunt softly and hold onto his arm all the more implacably.

"Okay, okay," Jack said hastily, moving his weight off the man beneath him. "Ease up on the arm. I'll stay. Just let me get my shoes off at least."

Daniel wasn't letting go. Sighing, Jack managed to kick off his shoes. The rest of it was staying where it was. The more clothes he had on, the safer for everyone. His heart literally in his mouth, Jack slipped under the covers and felt Daniel immediately move into him. Clutching the arm he had captured tightly to his chest. His bare chest. That sorta kinda went with the whole bare rest of him.

Trying to calm himself Jack took a deep breath and got a lungful of the lush, earthy, entirely intoxicating scent of Daniel's hair. Reason going out the window, going into sensory overload mode now. Daniel sighed deeply, making Jack twitch with desire as his expanding chest moved under the hand that had been splayed over the smooth, warm skin.

…omigod it's going to be a long night…


For six months he'd burned, seared constantly beneath the fiery weight of the torch he'd carried, compelling and consuming him with no possibility of fulfillment. His love for Daniel had been a hopeless, desperate fantasy haunting his days and possessing his dreams.

How many times had he futilely dreamt of this moment knowing it could never come to pass? Knowing there was no possible way he would ever be able to have him in his arms? Hold him, smell him, feel his warmth and life beating straight into his bones?

Now he was here. What he could never hope to have lived, breathed and moved within his embrace. The once-stilled heart that held his captive beat frantically beneath his hand. The feel of the smooth, warm velvet skin of Daniel's chest triumphantly contradicted darker, redder memories.

Jack was surprised to discover he was at peace. Although every nerve in his body was thrumming and firing in frantic excitation, there was a calm eye in the fiery maelstrom of his mind in which everything which was and should be was suddenly – clear.

There was no more conflict, no more indecision. It was so simple. All he had to do was love him. If he did that he couldn't possibly do anything wrong.

Filled with the power of this knowledge, Jack laid his flaming cheek against the answering heat of Daniel's bare back, letting his hand gently move across his chest in the most unobtrusive of caresses. Wanting only to touch, he tried to relay the reality of his concern and devotion through slow, stroking fingers traced lingeringly and lovingly over the sensitive surface of the newly puckered, excited flesh they had discovered on their travels.

Daniel gasped, arching his back at the touch, his breath coming in shallow, ragged pants. Before Jack knew what was happening the man in his arms twisted quickly, turning to face him. Daniel grabbed two handfuls of Jack's shirt, buried his face in the hollow of Jack's throat, and suddenly began to shake.

Confused, dismayed, afraid he had frightened him, Jack hastened to embrace him in consolation while he whispered, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean… Don't worry. You're safe. Nothing will happen to you."

Daniel vehemently shook his head. "No – not that. Not your fault," he gasped. Daniel's trembling got worse. It wasn't until Jack felt the warm wetness on his skin that he realized what was happening.

"Ah Danny, don't," Jack soothed, his heart shredding. Not caring about anything anymore except somehow finding some way, any way to take Daniel's pain from him he began to kiss him on the top of his head. Trying to assuage the sobs becoming more audible he heard himself say, "How can I help? What can I do? Tell me, please tell me."

Daniel turned his face up to him in response to his entreaty.

"Make it go away," he moaned, his voice heavy with misery.

"Your wish is my command."

The willing slave to Daniel's every desire; Jack began to kiss his cheeks, letting his lips soak up the salty, precious moisture of Daniel's tears. Daniel shuddered with pleasure, moving his face slightly impatiently under the adoration of Jack's lips as he tried to turn his mouth into the one he craved.

Jack took his face in his hands, gently restraining him. "Not yet," he murmured, continuing to rain tender kisses upon Daniel's face, skirting his mouth. For the moment.

He had been a completely devoted acolyte of Daniel for so long. No god ever had a more dedicated or impassioned follower. Now that he at last had his opportunity to worship at the shrine, he wasn't about to waste it in a too-soon-over mindless frenzy. Not the first time. Not with Daniel. Wasn't what he needed – far much less than Daniel deserved.

Jack was about to give a whole new meaning to the term 'religious rite'. Especially when it came to the form of the resulting 'revelation'. Daniel was about to get the top of his head blown off. Eventually.

Well, we each encounter god in our own ways.

Still kissing Daniel's face Jack gently pushed him until he was lying on his back. With infinite gentleness he restrained the arms fighting against the pressure, seeking to grab and clutch at him.

"No," he said firmly. "Be still. Let me do it. Just….let go."

Heeding him, trusting him, Daniel lay still almost immediately. Then, and only then, did Jack finally lower his mouth to the one waiting impatiently beneath.

At the first taste, the first plunge into the hot, sucking eagerness that was Daniel's mouth Jack almost forgot everything else, including 'the plan'. Everything except this mouth he desired for so long remembering, lips so mobile, expressive wanton, now tasting, sweet, warm, moving beneath, hot breath surging life into his lungs seeking wetness mingling with his, moist tongue invading oh Daniel so talented, its not just for talking…

Gasping Jack raised his head before he was completely lost. Can't go over the edge yet. There was so much more to do and discover.

Daniel moaned at his unexpected bereavement. Jack quickly leaned forward to nip the side of his neck as he whispered, "Patience!"

He expended a few brief seconds shucking his clothes, a scant eternity Daniel endured with as much grace as his condition allowed. Now much more suitably unattired, Jack set himself to the happy task of fulfilling his promise.

And what a chore it was! While the object of his devotion willing yielded himself up as a sacrifice upon the altar of Jack's adoration he began to slowly, deliberately claim what was his. Hands roamed hungrily, stroking, touching, discovering, fondling, mouth seeking, tongue avidly tasting, licking, teeth teasing, mapping the length and breadth of the beloved flesh laid before him, displayed, undefended and quivering all for his pleasure. A banquet of delights that moaned and shook and gasped and heaved beneath the slightest touch.

Daniel was completely lost, subsumed and awash in a consuming tidal wave of overwhelming sensation. Jack found himself not far behind him. Every sound Daniel made beneath his hands, every tremor of delight rippling through him as he was kissed and caressed fanned the bright flame of joy within Jack until it was a roaring inferno he was sure would utterly consume him.

Senses ablaze, mind inflamed, passion his only reason Jack stroked the sleek, heaving plane of Daniel's abdomen, his hand moving slowly downward, drawn like a magnet to the throbbing staff of Daniel's need, while his mouth closed once more upon the supple lips framing the warm, moist cavern of unutterable pleasure. He thrust his tongue eagerly into the welcoming sanctuary as he stroked the pulsing shaft he had discovered, gently at first, then with firmer, faster strokes. Responding to his intimate attentions Daniel began to gasp and whimper with ecstasy. Tears spilled from his eyes, he tried to flail his head helplessly on the pillow but was pinned by Jack's enveloping mouth, impaled by his thrusting tongue.

Nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. Nothing to do but claw desperately at the sheets, but even those useless handholds won't stop you from tumbling into the rapturous heights of pleasure…

Fall for me, Danny…

Suddenly Daniel - arching upward, screaming, sobbing warm life fluid spurting, shooting, trickling down his hand, through his fingers, own mind shrieking fire exploding in his loins, clasping Daniel to his chest still screaming, insane convulsing with ecstasy, his own cries mingling as beloved arms clutch him desperately, inseparable as the tide sweeps them both away….

… going down in flames to be resurrected by them once again. Jack awoke on fire, to discover Daniel kissing him avidly, swarming over him greedily, murmuring low words of love punctuated by licking and kissing and sucking BITING oh that was good, and Jesus what he could do with that mouth, hands weren't too bad either oh GOD well, letting someone else do all the work was good too…

Jack was reluctantly pulled from the warm place where he had been floating by a most enticing smell. Cooking. Something was cooking. What was that – bacon? He had bacon? Who knew?

Still feeling more than fuzzy he opened his eyes, for a moment confused by the surroundings. Where – oh. Daniel's room. He was in Daniel's bed. Daniel's bed! He sat up, looking beside him. No Daniel. That would explain the bacon.

He was suddenly startled by the sound of a warm chuckle. Looking up he saw Daniel standing in the doorway, washed, scrubbed, dressed, his face slightly flushed with indulgent delight as he looked fondly at the man blinking sleepily at him.

God, he was so beautiful…

"Well you're certainly a sight for sore eyes," Daniel laughed at him. "About time you woke up."

"Hey," Jack affected an offended tone. "Respect for the exhausted! I didn't get a lot of sleep last night. As you MAY recall."

"Oh, was that you?" Daniel replied archly.

"You're lucky you're all the way over there," Jack growled. "If you were closer I'd have to kiss that smirk right off your face."

"You could try," Daniel countered, his lips twitching provocatively. Jack felt certain parts of himself waking up rather more quickly than others. Jesus…

"You could come over here and save us both a lot of energy. Better put to better use."

"Smooth talker," Daniel chuckled. "Later. I'm cooking right now."

"I'll say," Jack leered at him.

Daniel rolled his eyes at him. "Honestly, you're impossible. Why do I even bother trying to talk to you?"

"Because people look at you funny when you talk to yourself?" Jack grinned. He patted the spot on the bed beside him. "Don't be such a tease. C'mere."

"Stand down, Colonel, I told you I'm cooking breakfast. I just came up here to tell you it'll be ready soon. Go take a shower. I'm making waffles."

"No way! Blueberry? With that sprinkly stuff you put on them? Hey, I'm there!"

"Thought as much," Daniel sighed as he watched his friend and lover sweep back the covers, spring up from the bed and stride toward him in all his glory.

God, he was beautiful…

He didn't resist as Jack wrapped his arms around him and kissed him soundly.

"Did I tell you how much I missed your cooking?" he said huskily.

"Was that all you missed?" Daniel breathed, nibbling on his jaw.

"Not if I'd known how hot you are," Jack returned just before he devoured Daniel's mouth with his own.

Flushed and gasping, Daniel broke the kiss and pushed Jack away.

"Jesus, what are you trying to do, take out my tonsils? Go take a shower, you randy bastard! You want waffles, you're not going to get them if you keep kissing me like that."

Jack made a show of considering his options. "Oh boy, tough choice." He gave Daniel a peck on the cheek and then began to walk to the bathroom. "Definitely waffles."

"You sure know how to hurt a guy!" Daniel laughed.

"Stick around," Jack shot back at him. Plenty more where that came from."

"Don't I know it! Nice ass, Jack!

"I keep in shape. All those months chasing you. Going to shower now. Sure you don't want to come?"

"Did that last night. Thanks. Going to go waffle for a bit. Don't be too long. I'll try to keep it hot for you."

"Will you SHUT UP already! Now I have to take a COLD shower!"

Daniel laughed at him and began to walk back to the kitchen.

It wasn't until he had emerged from the shower slightly more aware than when he had gone in and was toweling himself off Jack realized what had just happened.

Daniel had been talking to him like his old self. Strong, bright-eyed, alert. Not a shadow or tremor in sight. Jack hurried to his room, quickly threw on some clothes and then rushed to the kitchen to make sure he hadn't been imagining things.

He crept up behind Daniel, threw his arms around his waist and almost got a spatula in the face.

"Don't DO that!" Daniel scolded as he twisted around in Jack's arms. "Sneaking up on a guy like that. Make NOISE or something."

"Okay." Jack started to growl into Daniel's ear.

"Sit DOWN!" Daniel brandished the spatula at him. "I mean it! I'm armed!"

"Oooh, tough guy," Jack shrugged and retreated. "Okay, I'm suitably cowed. When you start making with kitchen utensils you aren't fooling around. I'll behave."

"That'll be the day," Daniel snorted.

Jack was as good as his word, and the waffles were as good as he remembered. Jack waited until they had eaten, and were following the repast with a cup of Daniel's excellent coffee, which Jack had quite missed as well, before he asked the question.

"So, how are you?"

"How do I look?" Daniel returned.

"Good." Jack answered sincerely. No jokes, no fooling around. "Really good."

"That's pretty much how I feel. I woke up this morning, and I was just – okay. No shakes, no confusion, no headache, no feeling like I am going to split apart at the seams. And the best part – no pills!"

"You sure that's such a good idea?" Jack asked cautiously.

"Do I look like I need to take a tranquilizer?" Daniel said, posing the question honestly and not looking as if he resented Jack for making him ask it.

"Okay, whatever you say," Jack replied. "Still, it would make me feel better if we took a trip in to see the Doc. Just so she can take a look at you. I'm sure you're right, but I would just feel better…" he shrugged sheepishly. "What can I say? I worry."

"I know." Daniel reached across the table and patted his hand fondly. "I don't always say it because half the time I don't want to admit it, but I'm glad. I'm not always as tough as I let on."

"Figured that one out for myself," Jack grinned. "Hey, not just a pretty face, I'll have you know."

That one earned him a smile. Not that he would have needed it to feel happier than he already was. What he had ever done to deserve this he didn't know, but what he did know was he wasn't going to blow it and he wasn't going to waste it.

"You cooked. That means I wash the dishes. Right?"

"You know it."

"Just checking. But you always cook."

"You wanna cook?"

"Hell no, I'd kill us both!"

"Only if I was stupid enough to eat it."

Jack pulled a face at him and got up to commence his part of kitchen detail. Things were good. But then, he'd never doubted they would be. Daniel had been, and still was his friend. That they had added a new level to their friendship didn't change what already was between them, except to make it deeper.

He wouldn't be having any 'where is this going' kinds of conversations with Daniel. Completely unnecessary. 'This' was going exactly the same way they'd always been going. Wherever their road took them, side by side.

And whenever no one was looking – hand in hand.


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PhoenixE, 2000-9.
Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Stargate Productions, Sci Fi Channel, Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. These stories are for entertainment purposes only and no money exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author. These stories may not be posted elsewhere without the consent of the author. Copyright on images remains with the above named rightsholders.
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