Part Four

Slash:  Jack and Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves sex.
Rating: R.
Category: First Time, Angst.  Drama.  Episode Tag.
Season/Spoilers: Season 3.  A Major re-telling of 'Shades of Grey'.
Synopsis: Shades of Grey from the perspective of one of the members of SG-1 who was left in the dark.
Warnings: None
Length:   560 Kb  I haven't been able to track down an original Part 0 for this one (it's old!)  but it was written some time in early 2001.  I think.


'Shades of Grey' from another perspective.

Home again.  Just me.  Me and my stuff and my fishies and my beer and my jammies.  Nice jammies.  Very nice.  No slippers, no socks.  Just jammies.  Nice jammies. Purrrrpple.

Oooops! Oh, look at that.  Shit, now they've got beer on them.   Damn. All wet now.  Smelly. Messy.  Mustn't be messy. No messes.  Off - take 'em off.  Damned buttons.  Damned messes. Don't make a mess, Daniel, don't make waves.  No messes. There, that's better. Beer.  Have more beer.

Ick.  Hate beer.  Drinking it anyway.  This is about EFFECT, not enjoyment.

Whoah. Plenty effected.  Uh, a-ffected.  Whatever.  Beer number four.  Shooting for six.  Don't think I'm gonna make it.

"What do you think, Jack, can I drink all six?  Jack?"

Oh, I forgot. He's a fish.  He can't talk.  Jack hates my fishies. Don't know why, they never did anything to him.  Says they're dumb.  Not dumb.  Jack hates 'em.  So I named the biggest one after him.  He hates him the most.  Wants to buy me a cat just to feed him to it. It to him.  Something gets eaten, anyway.  Then he'd feed the cat to something else. All part of the food chain.  Like beer.

This is nice.  Sitting on my floor. With my beer. Talking to my fish.  Named Jack. This is fun.  I could get used to this.  Might even get to like beer.  After a few hundred bottles.  Jack would like that.  The other one, not the fish.

Nope.  Not supposed to be doing this.  No thinking about Jack.  Nope.  Nope.  No Jack.  Jack all gone.  Gone bye bye.  Think of something else.  Grey guys.  Gobs and gobs of greasy grey guys. Kick 'em all to the moon.  Every last one of them, boom, to the moon.  Boom.  Moon.  Hey, that rhymes.  Sorta.  Boom.  There goes anther one.  Boom.  Oops, there goes the beer.  Another mess.


What's that sound?  There it is again. This place got an echo?  Loud, like pounding.  Yelling.  Daniel?  Hey, that's me.  Who's yelling?

"Daniel!  Daniel, I know you're in there!  Are you all right?  DANNY!   OPEN THE FUCKING DOOR!"

Oh my, language.  Mrs. Fitzsimmons isn't going to like that.  Open the door? That's a joke.  Can't even if I wanted to. Don't know where it is right now.

Stop yelling.  Go away.  Nothing to see here.  Just fishies and beer.

Jack?  Where did you come from?

I'm not seeing too clearly right now, but that's definitely Jack.  Standing over me with a look on his face I've never seen before. Looks half-crazy.  Nutso.  Crackers, bonzo, flipped his lid -

"Daniel, for god's sake, you scared the CRAP out of me!  Why didn't you open the door?  Jesus Christ, you're - you're drunk!

He's kneeling beside me.  Now that his face is closer, I can see him more clearly.  Not as blurry.  More certain of what I'm seeing.

Doesn't look mad any more.  Looks worried.  Puts a hand on my arm, then reaches out and tries to take the bottle from my hand.

"My beer!"  I protest as I hug it tightly to me.  I need it.  Get your own.

He smiles at me like I'm twelve, and shakes his head.  "I think you've had enough, Dannyboy.  You're drunk."

That's the second time he's said that.  He is mistaken.  I am so far beyond drunk I am practically sublime.

"That's where you're wrong," I declare loftily as I clutch my bottle to my chest.  "I am not DRUNK!  I am PIXILATED."

He blinks as I inadvertently spray him.  Serves him right for being in my face.  His eyes, so close.  I can actually see them, now.  So warm, so dark, like big, brown, limpid pools.  Limpid.  I said limpid.  It's a cliché, but there it is.

"…..Pontificated, obfuscated, marinated, intoxicated, noshed, sloshed, potted, besotted - "

No, wait, that's not right.  That's - that's something...something else...

"Whatever you are, Danny, I think you've had enough."

His eyes are so toasty and warm, as warm as his voice. Like chocolate.  Nice, hot chocolate.  Velvety.  Sweet. Soothing.  No nutritional value whatsoever.

I think I just made a joke but I don't care.  All I want to do is look at him and feel everything he is seeping into me. Way down deep inside...  I haven't seen him in such a long time and I've missed him so much.  Missed his eyes and his nose and his mouth, the way it kinda quirks, there, in the corner, when he smiles, like that.  Yeah, just - just like that.  Missed that.  Nice smile.  Warm.  Like he is.    He's so nice and...warm, and - and safe, and all of a sudden I'm tired and I feel cold.  So cold, tired.  I want to melt and close my eyes and get warm in him and just let go...

"Come on, Danny, let's get you to bed so you can sleep this off.  Give me the bottle now, that's a good boy."

Not a good boy.  Not.  I've been bad. Very bad.  Have to be worse.  He's not supposed to be here.  Not any more.  Have to make him go away.

"No!"  I snap at him.  "Leave me alone.  I'm fine.  Fine.  Go home, Jack. Just - go home."

He flinches slightly at my words, pulls away in reaction to my rejection.  I have to look away from him.  I don't want to see how much I've hurt him yet again.

"I'll see you to bed, first," he says quietly.  "Then I'll go.  I don't want you stumbling around here in the state you're in, hurting yourself. "

"Don't need your help!"  I protest as he starts to pull me up.  I haven't got the strength or coordination to resist him.  It must be the beer; my body is betraying me, leaning into him, accepting his nearness, his support.  Letting him hold me.

I'm getting desperate.  Have to make him go away.  Even though the thought of losing the comfort of his presence is making me shriek inside.

"I'm fine!"  I protest as I make myself push out at him.  Push him away, I have to push....  "Don't wanna go to bed and even if I did, don't need you to tuck me in!"

He sighs and tries to quiet my growing struggles.  "Easy Danny, take it easy.  It's me.  Don't do this.  I'm just trying to help.  Let me take care of you."

Take care of me.  Huh, that's a good one.  NOW he wants to take care of me.  Where were you when Makepeace had me up against a tree offering to make a man out of me?

His hands are clutching me tightly, fingers biting into my flesh, almost hurting.  His face, flushed red with anger, eyes hard and cold.

Not warm now.

"Makepeace?"  he cries.  "What about Makepeace?  What the hell are you talking about, Daniel?  What did that bastard DO to you?"

Did I say that out loud?  Whoah.  Must have.  He's mad now.  Mad at Makepeace.  Not good enough.  Want him mad at me.

"What do YOU care?" I throw back at him.  "You were too busy with your PALS.  Your NEW pals.  Your old pals weren't good enough for you.  Not good enough for your little grey buddies.  We're STUPID.  We can't be trusted to keep a secret.  Only Jack.  Just Jack.  Good 'ole JACK. Everybody's PAL."

He sighs, lets his grip relax.  He's looking at me sadly, now.  Still holding on to me but not hurting.  Not on the outside, anyway.

"It wasn't like that, Danny.  I swear to you.  You don't understand."

I'm not pretending now. I'm really angry.  Hadn't meant to be, but I care about him, and what they made him do just wasn't right.

"I understand plenty," I grumble as I resume trying to break out his embrace.  "I'm not STUPID.  No matter what the Asgard think.  I worked it out before Hammond told us their stupid conditions.  They had no right - no right to make you go it alone.  We're a team.  We've ALWAYS been a team.  Always watch each other's backs.  Team - right Jack?  What you're always saying.  Nobody's alone, not anymore.  All for one.  One for all.  Go team!  We should have been there with you. That's what we do for each other.  Not fair of those greasy grey guys to tell us we couldn't."

I'm feeling fairly indignant here.  Feel like getting out my list and going down on it - uh, down it.  Jack should take a seat.  Get comfortable.  This is going to take a while.  It's a long list and I'm just getting started.

Jack's got a funny look on his face.  Don't get it.  Haven't told a joke.

"Come to bed, Danny," he says gently as he starts to try to lead me out of my living room.  "We'll talk about all of this tomorrow.  Later. When you're not...pixilated."

Oh no you don't, Jack O'Neill.  I might be obfuscated, but I'm not obtuse.  Just don't ask me to spell it.   You're hiding something from me and you're gonna spill it.  Yeah, that's right.  Spill it.  I must be sobering up.  Or adapting to my current condition.

"Not going to bed!"  I insist as I give my arm a heroic jerk and actually manage to break his grip.  I pivot about in his grasp, glaring about the room.  "Phone.  Where's the phone?  Wanna talk to George.  Gonna give him a piece of my mind.  Write a letter to the Asgard.  Give them what for, too."

Jack grabs me again, spins me around, making my head and stomach do a rather nauseating roll. I have no choice, I have to lean against him, rest my head on his shoulder while I try to get my brain to stop sloshing around in my skull.

His arms around me, holding me firmly.  Warm lips close to my ear whisper gently, sadly.

"Hammond lied."


"Hammond lied," he repeats.  A little louder this time.  I DID hear right.  "He thought it would be easier on me, easier on you, if he said the Asgard were the ones who set the conditions."

I feel cold again.  Really cold.

"Not the Asgard?"  I say into his shoulder.

"No," he answers, his voice flat.  His arms tighten around me as if he's bracing me for a blow.  "It was me.  My choice.  I'm the one who wanted all of you out of it.  All of my kids.  But mostly - you. To protect you.  I wanted to keep you safe.  Didn't want any of it to touch you - Danny, I - JE-SUS!"

He howls as my knee comes up and connects with his crotch.  With a vengeance.  Crumples and drops like a stone to the floor where he lies at my feet, gulping and clutching himself.

I waver over him and look down, inspecting my handiwork.  Not a contrite bone in my body.

"Maybe you'll think twice, next time, when you feel an urge to 'protect' me coming on!"  I declaim and then step over him.

I've decided I need to get some air. Take a hike.  Clear my head.  Go somewhere Jack O'Neill ISN'T.

But first I have to find my shoes.  And the door.

This could be a problem.

Jack's still moaning loudly and cursing even louder.  He's taken my name in vain several times. Talk to the fish, the archaeologist ain't listening. I'm busy. Trying to find my jacket.  Given up on the shoes.

Better luck with the jacket.  Found one arm.  Just give me a sec, as soon as I get the other one I'm outta here.

I'm heading for the door when Jack grabs me again. Crap.  I guess I didn't knee him hard enough.  

He's come up from behind me, wrapping his arms around my chest. "Quit fooling around, Danny!"  he grates in my ear.  "Starting to lose my patience, here."

"What'll it take to get you off my back?" I snap at him as I ram an elbow into his stomach.  He emits a startled puff of air, but doesn't loosen his grip.

"More than you've got, Dannyboy," he hisses as he begins to haul me back into the apartment.  "You're not going anywhere in this condition except to bed.   Stop fighting me, you're gonna lose."

Wrong thing to say, Jack.

I've been pushed around, put upon, threatened, bullied, hauled about, made to heel just one too many times.  I'm done being everyone's whipping boy.  Even yours.

I stomp down hard on his instep, hard enough to make him loosen his hold, even though I'm not wearing shoes.  Then I bring my arms up swiftly under his to break his grip across my chest.

Element of surprise - working in my favour.  He doesn't think I'm capable of being this coordinated, the state I'm in, so I'm halfway to the door again before he recovers from his shock and comes after me once more.

Almost make it.  My hand is practically on the doorknob.  I'm yanked back again.  Jack's starting to piss me off.

I whirl around swinging. Not only do I miss him, but am almost carried to the floor with the force of the attempt. I'm totally humiliated to feel him catch me and stop me from falling over on my face.

We struggle, tussle, him trying to stop me, control me.  Me just trying to make him let go. We lurch down the hall, colliding with the walls. Burst into the living room, still flinging each other about. We bump into a shelf.  Something falls, crashes. BREAKS.  Bastard!  I swing at him again, hitting him this time.  He swears, his hold on my other arm relaxes, I jerk abruptly away from him.


"Danny!"  he cries, eyes wide with alarm.  I take another abrupt step back, only to feel the hard edge of the coffee table against the back of my legs.  Balance thrown, I'm flailing my arms wildly, trying not to go over.  He's reaching toward me, straining to catch my hand.

Not going to make it.

Falling over, can't stop myself.  Pain explodes in my brain as the back of my head hits....



……waking up...what?  Was I sleeping?  Was I - no.  Not - not  sleeping.  Jack...we were...and I...fell down, must have - did I hit my head?  Where…what's going on?  Sound - what's that - that AWFUL sound...

Jack?  That's - that's Jack!  Oh god, Jack!  Don't!

I've never understood why the first reaction one usually has to the tears of another is to try and make them stop.  I think I do, now.  It's not out of concern for the sufferer.  Not to comfort them.  It's to make that - that SOUND...stop.

Terrible sound.  The dreadful anthem of an overburdened heart.  Pain given form and expression.  Nothing anyone wants to hear.

Someone is holding me tightly.  I'm cradled in unrelenting arms, nestled against a chest heaving erratically beneath my cheek.  Being rocked almost compulsively as sorrow rains down around me.

Jack's lips move against the top of my head as he grips me with renewed ferocity, takes another shuddering breath and continues to brokenly reiterate, "Sorry, sorry, sorry…"

Jack...Jack's...crying.  Never.  Never cried before.  I've never seen him cry.  Not for anything.  Now, he's - because I -

God, what have I been doing?  Being an ass.  A drunken ass.  All that stuff we were fighting about - doesn't matter.  Not important.  Not if it does this to Jack.

I try to reach up to him, but evidently am yet a bit shy of recovering full motor control.  "Jack?"  I croak as my hand flops ineffectually at my side.

He hisses sharply in surprise, the hand cupped protectively about the back of my head trembles.


His voice is a wrenching mixture of joy and disbelief.  The too real vulnerability of the sound echoes sickly inside me.

"I thought I'd killed you," he says with horrible, fatalistic conviction.  Then sighs with shuddering grief once more as he draws me even closer into the full force of his relief.

"The way you fell - that sound, when your head - I thought you were dead. Only for a sec, 'til I got to you, but it was enough.  Oh God, enough - too much…."  

His face is so deeply buried in my hair I can barely hear the agonized confession. "You were lying there, so still, so pale -  broken -   Couldn't fix it.  Couldn't make him better.  Oh God, Danny if I'd hurt you too!."

I'm feeling a lot more lucid than I should be.  My head is remarkably clear for all I've just done to it.

Maybe the fall did me some good.  Knocked some sense into me.  Better late than never, I suppose.

"What, you kidding me?" I sally forth, trying for casual toss away and ending up sounding faltering.  "It'd take more than a bump on the head to do ME in."

"Yeah," Jack sniffs, still not giving an inch of the hold he has on me.  "Forgot how hard it was."

He starts to shake once more as release and reaction overwhelm him.  His arms quiver as another wave of pain sweeps through him.

"Lost you," he chokes.  "Thought I'd….thought  - "

The gasped expression of his anguish is soundless.  I can't stand it anymore.

"Hey..."  I try to reach him with my voice as I finally manage to make my hand work.   I pat him gently on the back to get him to listen to me.

"It's okay, Jack."

His hand curls in my hair, he crushes me savagely to him and begins to rock with an angry, almost obsessive rhythm.  His chest vibrates with the cruel sounds of self-hatred as the words come pouring out of him and into me.

"No it's NOT okay, Danny!  Stop trying to cover for me all the time - I've screwed up!  I've screwed it all up! Had to have it my own way, had to play God, Mister Shit Hot Protector who thinks he knows what's best for everyone and the truth is all he knows is how to screw up.  Every damned thing I touch - I hurt everyone I love, make it SO easy for them to hate me."

He's going to listen to me if it kills him.

"I don't hate you, Jack," I say loudly as I give him another pat on the back.  "I was a LITTLE angry with you, okay, but I don't hate you.  Not hate.  Never, never that."

He stops rocking, frozen in motion.  He's heard me. I say nothing as he holds me without moving, considering what I've told him.

"Well, you should," he finally answers in a worn, tired voice.  Sounding more like himself, finally, than he has since I came to.  "You should hate my guts for what I did and said to you."

"That's not what I was angry about, Jack."  I'm still feeling a little fuzzed by the beer, not to mention the bump on the head, and am finding it easier to focus my thoughts if I maintain the gently stroking motions my hand is making up and down Jack's back.

it seems to be soothing him as well.  I can feel the tension in his body starting to ease as my words and touch gradually coax the self-loathing out of him.

"I knew the whole thing was an act," I tell him. "The business on Tollana.  The 'bad boy O'Neill', shit at the SGC. The crap at your house.  I worked out what you were up to.  Even figured out why. Well, mostly, anyway.  Give me a little credit. You were just doing your job. I understood that. What I DON'T understand is why you didn't trust me enough to let me help you.  I thought we were better friends than that, Jack. Thought you had more confidence in me. I wouldn't have let you down.  But you didn't trust me enough to let me try."

He draws back from me abruptly.  His tear-stained, haggard face is shocked and he shakes his head in dismay as he makes his swift, defensive protestations.

"Aw, Danny!  You've got it all wrong. It wasn't like that! Wasn't because I didn't trust you.  No way. Trust you with my life."

"Then why didn't you let me back you up?" I press.  "If you knew I could do the job, why cut me out?"  Not letting this point go.  I can't.  Too much at stake here.  If I can't trust him not to put himself in this kind of needless danger again, I don't know what I'm going to do.

"I had to," he sighs with regret, but also complete candor. "This was nothing you could get involved in.  Had to keep you out of it.  For your sake.   Just the way it had to be."

I feel anger swelling up inside me again and struggle to control it. I don't want to lose my temper, don't want to shut him down with my ego-driven indignation.  I'm not entirely successful.  I see him flinch, imperceptibly, as he reads me as unerringly as only he can.

"I don't need you to shield me from danger, Jack.  I face it every time we walk through the gate together. Always have. You don't try and keep me under glass out there, don't seem to think I can't cut it as a member of SG-1 so why - "

"Not the same thing," he replies quickly, amputating the rest of my statement.   "The rules of that game are fair. Black and white. Straight up. You know them, accept them, can understand them.  They've been hard to take, but they haven't changed…..you.  Not like this could have.  I couldn't take the chance of that happening to you."

"I don't understand."

His eyes squeeze shut for a second as if he's in pain, and a gust of bitter laughter wrenches from him.   He cups my cheek with a trembling hand and when his eyes open once more they look down at me with aching tenderness.

"No, Danny, you don't understand, thank god you don't and I pray to god you never will.  I made that call to keep you from ever having to, and if you hate me for it, so be it.  I'll do whatever it takes to keep shit like that from touching you. It won't get you. Ever.  It won't change you.  Not as long as I'm alive to make damned sure it doesn't."

I can't speak.  I'm bewildered by his words and fascinated by the force and fervour of his emotion.  He's looking at me with the fire and passion of a man who's finally found a cause worth dying for.  And god help anyone who tries to stop him from doing it if he has to.  He's looking at me like I'm his personal Holy Grail.

Or simply his version of the meaning of life....

"I've just come home from taking a plunge into a cesspool, and it's gonna take a long time to get myself clear of the stench. That business out there was down and dirty, the people I had to rub elbows with - worse. They don't play nice, Daniel, and they don't play games someone like you would have a chance in. You go in into their arena and try to play fair and you get eaten alive. It's strictly survival of the slimiest.  No rules, no honour, no conscience, no quarter. You gotta trust me on this."

He sighs deeply and strokes my cheek with sincere regret.  As if he's trying to mitigate the awfulness of the truth he is sharing with me.  He doesn't want to, but I asked for it.   And he's giving it to me.

"That rat-hole of thieves and traitors was no place for someone like you. And the people they worked for are even worse. Not getting their hands on you.  Never.  Me?" he shrugs.  "They can't do any worse to me than I've already done myself. With all the things I've seen and done I've sold my soul a hundred times over, so what difference does it make if I get it a little dirtier for the cause?  Figure walking by your side has helped me buy a little bit of it back.  I keep trying, anyway, 'cause you've shown me I've got something to fight for again. Some reason, finally, for being here."

"What are you talking about, Jack?"  I'm dismayed at what I'm hearing.  How can he see himself this way?  It's just not true!

 "You're better than all of them," I tell him firmly.

"Nice of you to say so," he sighs as his thumb moves gently across my cheek.

But that still doesn't make it true.  He doesn't put it words, but I can see it in his eyes.

"I don't just SAY so, it IS so!"  I'm so indignant on his behalf I'm starting to stutter.  "You - you're one of the - no - the bravest person I've ever known! And unselfish! You never hold back - never turn away! Never say no to anyone who needs you! You've helped save the world, more than once.  How many people can say that?"

He's smiling now, a wide, tremulous smile, so much affection in his expression it's warming me to the very centre of my being.

"Save the world.  Big deal. What's that?  My duty?  Go out there like a good colonel and give them hell for the flag, Uncle Sam, Mom and apple pie?    That's not enough, anymore. Not what I do it for.  The world can go to hell in a hand-basket and already has for all I care; I did it for you. YOU! You're what's worth putting myself on the line for. You're different from the rest of us.  You see things, know things.  What you 'are' has to be protected. And anyone who wants to mess with it is going to have to answer to me.  You're the only 'world' I'm fighting for, Danny.  All the rest of that 'rah rah' crap doesn't mean squat to me anymore without you."

His eyes are devouring me as he lays himself wide open.  I've never seen him more earnest, more serious.

More scared.

"I cut you out for your own good.  I can't explain it to you any other way, Danny. I just can't. I know you're angry with me because of it and I'm sorry for that, but not for what I did.   I'll do it again if I have to.  Whatever it takes to keep you being you. It's what I HAVE to do, in order - in order to be me.  I hope you can understand that.  And can forgive me."

His eyes hold me as he begs me to grant his request with every fibre of his being.  He knows what it means for both of us if I can't.  Or won't.

How - how can I not?  What can I say in the face of such honesty and devotion except -  I wish I'd known sooner.  I don't know whether to laugh or cry, he tried so hard, meant so well, thought he was doing the right thing, doesn't  know when he went out there, alone, without me, thinking me safe, fighting for them, for us - for me.

He doesn't know what went on at 'home' while he was gone.

Everything he was trying to protect me from - I was back here, alone, without him, right in the middle of it.  He doesn't know.  What I did.  For him.  What I WOULD have done.  For him.

That 'soul' of mine you think so highly of, Jack?  I'd sell it in a minute for you.

I think we almost made a terrible mistake.  I think we need to talk.  About a lot of things.  Talk…….   Maybe, maybe later.  Right now, I can't even think.  I keep looking up, into his eyes, seeing, seeing something new and yet familiar.   I know this look, this light.  Has a name, I KNOW this, can almost feel…..coming, coming close……

He laughs suddenly, with relief, as he reads the wonder in my expression.  A sheepish look overtakes his face.

"Listen to me going on about keeping you safe," he sighs.  "Look what I've done to your place. I've done more damage here than a horde of Jaffa.  I - I busted your door," he confesses.

I say nothing.

"Busted up some of your stuff. That vase you had over there isn't looking so good."

Oh God, I hope it wasn't the canopic jar.  "Oh, that old thing," I smile weakly as I force myself not to look.

"Busted the table up pretty good."  His voice is getting softer, as are his eyes. The warmth of his hand cupping my cheek...

"Busted up you."

"My own personal vandal," I blurt suddenly, not sure why. "Need a little havoc and destruction in the comfort of your own living room, no need to look any farther than Jack."

I'm teasing him a little, hoping to make him feel better.  That's right, that's why I'm babbling non sequiters in his face.  Not because I'm suddenly nervous, unsettled by the light in his eyes, and the strange fluttering feeling in my chest, moving in time to the gentle stroking of his fingers on my face.

When I'm nervous, I burble. Compulsively.  Open my mouth and out it comes.  The first flitting thought in my whirling brain sees its chance and takes flight.

"That is to say vandal as the term has come into common usage, meaning a person who deliberately damages property, not to be confused with the Vandals.  Vandals as in Vendsyssel, but you've got to be careful about that sort of place-name evidence.  And no, it's got nothing to do with the Vendel Period, so don't ask, not that you would.  Anyway, a bit of a blood-thirsty lot, the Vandals - if you go with Procopius, you might think they were the Goa'ulds of the time…. makes me wonder whether Belisarius was a Tok'ra -"

"Yadda," Jack says softly, his eyes shining.

The word impels me into instant silence.  An almost Pavlovian response that's developed to a 'signal' Jack's had to give to me on more than one occasion due to a propensity I have for….. going off in all different directions. It means the same thing now as it always has.

You're drifting off topic.  Focus.

Come back to the point.


I look up into the face of the man who encompasses everything that makes MY life worth living, to see a single tear slipping down his cheek.  The only one I've actually witnessed, though I'm full of the memories of the passage of many others.  I reach up to wipe it from his face, as if in so doing I could take away the traces of everything that's hurt him.

His deep, enveloping eyes speak a silent, unmistakable question as he turns his head and brushes his lips against my palm.  The caress is sweet but electric, coursing through me as his aching but respectful gaze asks permission.

I move my hand along his face, curve it around his head until it rests upon the back of his neck, and give it.

He guides my head up toward him as his mouth descends to nestle into mine.

Love.  This is what love tastes like. Such a distant memory, but unforgettable, unmistakable.  What I saw in his eyes I now know from his lips as they tremble upon mine with hunger and exaltation.  I taste his reverence and relief, happiness and total wonder in finally being here with me, feeling me kissing him back in kind.

Jack loves me.  And - and I...

What was tender, sweetly tentative becomes deeper, stronger.  He responds to my welcome with increasingly ardour, moving inside my mouth with hotly questing intensity.  My head reels with a new kind of intoxication.  I'm falling swiftly under his spell, becoming quite drunk with his mouth, his smell, his breath, coming raggedly, swiftly into me, panting, filling me with life.  His life.

As he moans and murmurs my name I feel something inside me break free, something long hidden, almost forgotten, walled away in the part of me I thought would never live again.

The place locked away deep inside me, withholding the secret it guarded - even from me.  The part that loves him and has always loved him and knew this one, essential truth even though I didn't, now spills out of its sundered prison, filling all of me.

I...I love Jack.

I feel my head spinning with realization, joy and the sudden, urgent need to breathe.  The room spins, darkens, I feel as if I'm falling and clutch desperately at the support I know will never fail me.

"Oh Danny, easy there," Jack chides gently.  "Don't worry, I've got you.  Little too much all at once, huh?"

"I guess," I gasp, not quite able to open my eyes yet.  He holds me.  He waits.  I'm okay.  Jack's got me.

"Sorry?" he asks me when he knows I can see him. He doesn't say for what, but I know what he means.

"No way.  Never."  I smile up at him, and his shy, pleased grin is a sight I'm never going to forget.

"Gonna give me any grief about tucking you in for the night this time?"

"No," I shake my head and wish I hadn't.  "I surrender."

"I don't buy that for an second," he laughs as he helps me to my feet. "You might bow to the occasion but you'll never surrender."

How well you know me, Jack.

Better than I knew myself, it would seem.

We thread our way carefully through the battle-zone, and by the time we make it to my bedroom Jack is almost bearing my entire weight on his shoulders.  Too many late nights.  Too much worry.  Possible concussion.

Way too much beer.   I'm ready to crash and sleep for a week.

He sweeps back the quilt, slips my jacket off and gently lowers me to the waiting mattress.  I already have my arms around his neck and pull him swiftly down to me before he can move away.

"Don't go," I plead as I hug him tightly.

"Don't worry," he kisses me softly.  "As long as you'll have me, I'll stay."

"Okay. Tired.  Have to sleep, now."

"I know," he reassures me as he pulls the blankets over us, and settles my head on his chest.  "Sleep's good.  You sleep.  We'll both sleep. Everything's all right, now."

"All right," I echo with some difficulty.  Getting hard to think. To talk.  Too tired for anything but falling into the safety of the strong arms encircling me, feeling the heart beneath me beating its steady tattoo of fidelity.   I trust what it's telling me, let its strong, comforting rhythm soothe me into the first real sleep I've had in what feels like forever.


I surface slowly, painlessly, drifting languidly upward through a sea of serenity.  Attaining awareness by sweetly effortless increments.   The closer I draw to awakening the better I feel.  Safer, more secure, more certain the world I am approaching is one I truly wish to exist in.

For the first time in a long time I'd rather be awake then still dreaming. For what's waiting for me in reality is far better than anything I've ever dreamt.

Love carried me to sleep and now it receives me once more.  I come awake to the feeling of strong arms surrounding me and the almost forgotten sweet stirrings of my body to a touch it aches to feel.

Love.  Being loved.

I lie in Jack's arms without moving, drinking in the sensations.  Drown in the feeling of his hand moving slowly down my back, stroking me tenderly, touching but not intruding.  I bask in it, desire burgeoning within me as gently as the hand invoking it.

I should let him know I'm awake.  He's trembling with the need to touch me, and yet won't take the chance he's not free to.  After all, I was a little drunk last night.  And confused.  As far as he knows, I don't remember what happened. Or that we kissed, even.   He's probably afraid I'll wake up and look at him and say something like 'how much did I have to drink last night and what are you doing in my bed?'

Not as much as he wants to - or I want him to, for that matter, but no way he's going to press his luck until he's absolutely sure of his welcome.

I guess it's back to me to give him the opening he's looking for.

I'm still too drowsy to do much more than submit willingly to the incredible sensations surging through me, so I give him a low 'ummmm' of encouragement and press into him.   When his hand freezes, I moan again.  This time with disappointment.

He resumes stroking me with wordless intensity.  Still softly, slowly, gently, but the strokes get longer, start to range farther afield upon my tingling, hungry skin.

He starting to chart me in earnest.  Exactly what I had in mind.

Not just hands now.  Encouraged by my responses he's gotten bolder.  Warm, moist lips are exploring my neck, moving across my chest, excited by the evidence of my escalating receptivity. The hand on my back moves lower, slipping beneath the waistband of my pajamas as his tongue rasps hotly over my right nipple.

The intensity of the stimulation sheers through me with an unexpected jolt.   I've never been touched like this when I've loved before, never experienced this unsuspected, but exquisite pleasure. The shock of it makes me gasp, arch toward him and beg for more.

I don't have to ask twice.

Strong fingers cup my buttocks, then knead the flesh with delicious avidity.  He licks the nipple again before taking it in his teeth and gently nipping it. I'm so far gone in the resulting pleasure I'm naked without having a clue when and how I've been separated from my jammies.

I don't waste much time worrying about it.

The fire in my loins is becoming an unbearable ache as he begins to kiss an excruciatingly pleasurable path down the length of my torso.  Evidently enjoying what he is encountering as much as I am enjoying the journey.  His hand is making a simultaneously roundabout voyage around my hip, bound, I am hoping, for the Promised Land.

Not sure which traveler I'm rooting for to get there first.  Just so long as they don't take much longer.

His hand rests on my hip as he moves slowly over me, back up to take a long, lingering taste of my mouth.  He rubs his cheek against mine, his lips hover close to my ear, his hot breath banking my inner fire.

"Danny," he whispers, making my name sound like a prayer. "Are you...are you sure?"

I answer him the only way I can.  As I turn my face until our mouths mingle once more, I take his hand and place it firmly upon my equally firm ticket to paradise.

I can't make my total, absolute agreement with his intentions any plainer.  He gives a happy sigh and takes me at my word.

His tongue slips into my mouth as his fingers wrap around me.  I can't believe how exciting it is to be touched...like this...by someone else...again.   Not just anyone.  Him.  To feel HIM, holding me, exploring me while he's kissing me, chuckling softly at the way I'm moaning and thrashing. He nibbles my lower lip, licking it teasingly before diving down, sucking urgently, hotly, tongue thrusting, swirling, tasting his hand tightens and pumps and sends me jolting, writhing, higher, closer...

……over the edge into bliss.  Sobbing, screaming for him as I shudder uncontrollably with joy, my body wracked and singing with completion.  Not an end, but only the beginning.

He gathers me into his arms. I'm fainting, laughing, crying, and half-unconscious with the pleasure he's just given me.  He murmurs soothing syllables as he strokes my hair and pets me with infinite, supportive affection as I come back down.

"So are you gonna live?"  he chuckles lightly in response to signs I'm finally back.

"God, I hope so," I gasp.  "I think life just got a whole lot more interesting."

"I'm hoping," he says sincerely, as he gently kisses me.

"I think I'm ready to widen my realm of experience," I answer him with equal sincerity as I reach out and touch HIM for the first time.

Well, with my HAND, anyway.  I'm hoping what I've got in mind right now will go a long way toward making up for another way we 'connected' last night...

His eyes widen and he gasps as I feel his need, straining and twitching through his cloth covered crotch.  "Looks to me as if you have a problem," I tell him as I lick the side of his face and start loosening his belt.  "I think I have the solution."

"I'm all ears," he croaks as I lower his zipper and free him.

"Not from what I'm seeing," I reply and then lick my lips.


We have a busy morning, which spills well into the afternoon.  At least I think it's afternoon.  Sun's still up.  Could be afternoon.

Ah, who cares?  Not like I've got anywhere else I have to be.  Or anywhere else I'd rather be.

Jack heaves a deeply contented sigh and drops his hand on my head.  His fingers fumble absently with my hair as we lie quietly and completely entwined together.

Inside and out.

I'm feeling myself drifting back into a comfortably satiated languor when I become aware the man beside me is thinking about something.  I can't tell you how I know, I just do.

Jack's got something on his mind.  It's not much longer before I find out I'm right.

"So Daniel," he says quietly as he plays with my hair.  "You knew the whole thing was a put on.

"Yeah."  I think I know where this is going, but I'll wait for him to tell me.

"You knew I was faking."



"I know YOU, Jack."


He sounds rather pleased with this explanation and lapses into silence.  But he's not fooling me. He's not done yet.

"You knew I didn't mean what I said.  So you weren't mad at me, for saying it?"

"No." Oh dear, sounds like I'm not the only one who's connected a few dots.  Jack might go glassy-eyed when faced with the prospect of trying to grasp wormhole physics, but you can't fool him when it comes to people.

"Drew straws, Daniel?" he says lightly, but accusingly.

Oh boy, here we go.

"Oh, uh, well, I - I can explain, that."  I'd rather not, but I can.

"Geez - you were doing the Yearling!" he supplies excitedly, as if in a sudden fit of inspiration.

"I beg your pardon?"

"You know!" he says frowning, making a slightly impatient gesture.  "The kid with the orphaned deer he raises and then has to set free when it grows up and the thing won't go so he has to throw rocks at it and yell at it to drive it off and make it go away.  THAT deal.  You were doing that!"

Oh. That's an uncomfortable analogy.  Carrying an aspect to the scenario I hadn't considered at the time. The boy had to shoot the deer.  Had to deal it the fate he'd been trying to spare it by hurting it 'for it's own good.'

So much for good intentions.  And arrogant presumption.  Thinking you've got the right to make another's choices for them.  For their own good.  I can hardly claim the moral high ground here.  Just as guilty.  We're quite a pair, my Colonel and I.  Fighting over which one gets the right to fling themselves on the hand grenade first.  For the other's good.  Good intentions, but an ultimately futile effort.  On both sides.  Futile effort, waste of time, all it brought was hurt, for all our good intentions...

I've gone as far down this road as I want to at the moment. I linger any longer and he's going to know I'm thinking things I'd rather not get into right now.  Not now. Not when we're so newly happy, coming from a place of such recent, mutual fragility.

"Returning you to the wild?" I grin teasingly at him.  "I have to confess the idea has crossed my mind on more than one occasion - OW!"

"Next time it'll be the ass, not the head," he grumbles.  "Answer the question."

Yeah, it was something like that," I admit quietly.

"Okay," he nods as he resumes stroking my head.  "Now we're getting somewhere.  I'm guessing, however, you're not really into the idea of telling me why, right now."

"I can think of better things to do with our time, yeah."

The hand resting on my stomach moves down to rest atop my -

Oh my God!  I haven't thought about her in YEARS!

"But we'll get to it," he continues, unaware I've turned a mental corner and am trying desperately not to burst into laughter over what I've found lurking there.

"What?"  I say somewhat desperately.  I know he wants an answer but I don't know the question.

"I said, we'll get to it."  He raises his head so he can see my face.  "Right?"  Suspicion tinges his tone.

"Right."  Get to it - drawing straws.  We'll get to it.  Hopefully BEFORE he hears about 'not trusting his command.'

Can't wait for THAT one. Yeah, you're right, Jack, I've been biding my time, just waiting for the moment I could get you for Plant Boy, Spacemonkey, geek and a host of other 'endearments'.  If he doesn't buy it I can always fall back on pouting.

All's fair in love and war.

"Okay, what's so damned funny?"

"It's - it's nothing."  Shit, giggling now.  He'll never buy it.

"Why don't you let ME be the judge of that?"

Oh, what the hell.  Suppose I have to give him SOMETHING to hold over me.  Make him feel better about a LOT of things he's going to be hearing shortly……

"I was just thinking about Mrs. Smythe-Jones."

"There's a story goes with this, right?"

"Oh yeah.  Good one, too.  Oh my, that feels nice.  Uh, anyway, Mrs. Smythe-Jones was this rather British and eccentric woman my parents briefly engaged as a governess cum babysitter when I was five. She didn't last long, long story, but during the time I was entrusted to her severe loving care I was constantly harangued about the evils of the flesh and the particular fate which would await me as a consequence of playing with - as she quaintly put it - my Mortimer."

"Your WHAT?"

"My Mortimer.  What YOU'RE playing with right now."

"Ah," he grins.  "THAT old thing. OW!"

"Next time, I'll bite.  Anyway, I was just thinking.  I wonder what she'd think if she could see who's playing with my Mortimer now."

I look up at Jack in time to see the huge grin on his face.

"She'd probably be Mortified.  I know I wouldn't mind."

I have to kiss him.  Right before I give him everything else that's coming to him.

What a difference a day makes.  Yesterday, without him, everything was grey.    I thought I was doing the right thing when I denied him.

I was wrong.

He had other plans. Wouldn't accept my sacrifice.  The choice I had no right to make for him.  Everything grey has been banished by his brightness. And I can no more be without him, now, then he could be without me.

Nor will he ever be without me again.  We'll be talking about some choices he made on my behalf, well intentioned, but no more right than what I did - for him.  Somehow I don't think it'll take much convincing.  I think he 's figuring out the same thing I'm coming to.  I'm sure he is.  He's much smarter than he likes to let on.  Especially when it comes to what really matters.

Our power, our strength, our protection, everything we need.  It's here.  Right here.  The two of us, together. Not separate.  Not apart.  Together.  We almost missed it, came close to never even knowing it, but thank god, almost is not the same as never.

Maybe somewhere beyond these walls there are things seeking the dark and twisted paths.  Willing to do the unspeakable for their own contemptible purposes.  But together, we're stronger than all of it.  It can't touch us here, and it won't.  Together we'll walk through the valley of shadows, unscathed.

And god help anyone who tries to stop us.


Back to Part Three


PhoenixE, 2001-9.
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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