DUET PART ONE
WHILE I WASN'T
LOOKING†† BY PHOENIX E
Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves
season.† No spoilers.
||An off world
incident.† Bad argument.† Now Jack's afraid
Originally written early 2000 and published in Event
Horizon.† This versions somewhat resembles that
one, but I've made some changes.
to find him.
having a really bad day.† Bad, BAD day, neither one of
us shoulda left the house this morning never mind gone
through that goddamned gate.† Bad day, even worse mission,
and now here we are, back home again, finally free to go
home but that ain't gonna happen
any time soon, at least not the two of us going home together.
luck, Daniel's way too pissed at me for that.† So now
that Hammond's happy and Janet's happy I'm free to go after
my distinctly unhappy archaeologist.† Who made like Danno
and booked for parts unknown the second we were cut loose.
mission?† Seek and grovel.† Fortunately I don't have
far to look; Security says Daniel hasn't signed out yet so
he's gone to ground right here underground.† He might
have run but he didn't run far.† That's a good sign,
right?† I hope it's a good sign.† He's figuring I'd
come after him and he wants me to, so he didn't run too far so
I wouldn't have that far to go.† To come after him, that
actually made sense.† Or I'm just too far gone to tell.
but good sign.† God, I hope so. Yeah, I know I already
said that but I'm still hopin'.† I'll hold that happy thought
as I head up to his office. That's where he's most likely
to be so if I find him there I'll know for sure he wants
to be found.
at least I hope that's what it means.
I am in so much trouble. We've had disagreements
before - crap, sometimes it seems like if we're not screwing
we're scrapping.† Sometimes scrapping while we're
screwing. Anyway, it always seems to be one or the other.†
We frequently don't see eye to eye but this...
this was so bad. I don't think I've ever seen him so angry,
ever since I've known him. The look on his face cut me
deep and the knife's still hacking pieces out of my soul.†
I just wish I knew what we were really fighting about.†
I know what happened, what I had to do, what he said. I
was there for the whole thing, after all.† it's not like
we haven't played this particular scene out before, and
both gotten pretty upset with each other in the bargain
but this time it's different.† Something's not right.†
I can't help thinking there was more going on, that it
wasn't just about a bunch of squiggles.
on a wall.† I can't believe we're all over because of†
chicken scratches on a wall.† No way, that can't be
right,† not going to happen.† I have to find him,
have to fix this.† I will fix this, make him
understand he's got it all wrong.
I enjoyed having to rain all over your parade back there,
Daniel?† Think again -† it killed me to have to do
that to you.† To have to make you leave something that
was such a big deal to you.† I saw the way you looked at
that place.† I know how much it meant to you - what you
found on those walls and what you thought you could learn
from all that gobbledegook.† More 'meaning of life' stuff.†
I got that.
it. I get a lot more about what matters to you then you
think I do.† If it matters to you then it matters to me,
but here's my thing† -† you matter more.† More than a
thousand wonders on a thousand worlds in a thousand galaxies
- there isnít anything out there thatís worth more than
you, whether you see it that way or not.† I know I hurt
you when I took it all away from you and† it might even
mean youíll hate me for the rest of your life but you know
what, at least you get to have it.† The rest of your life,
that is.† You're alive and to keep you that way Iíd go
and do the same dammed thing all over again in a heartbeat.
you donít see things the same way - this Ďmeaning of lifeí
stuff is more important to you than - than you,
even. You get a whiff of some weird-ass alien 'this might
contain all the secrets of existence' motherlode and all
your usually finely honed and pretty damned impressive
survival instincts go right out the frigging window. Which
leaves me stuck with the entirely thankless task of having
to save your shapely ass for you fighting you all the while
I'm trying to do it. But hey, saving you in spite of yourself
seems to be my lot in life.† It's a job I'm more than willing
to take on - and take all the heat for doing it so I get
to keep you in my life.
is the second time Iíve had to pull you kicking and screaming
out of what to you was paradise.† Yeah, I'm a military
jerk and everything else you let me have it with all the
back to the gate, guilty as charged but you know what,
Dannyboy, you're not the only one who can do this 'meaning
of life' stuff.† Only thing is, what counts in my book
as being right up there on a cosmic level - way different
than the what gets your blood pumping.
does it for me, Daniel?† Total no-brainer. You.† Just you,
it's all about you. What gives my life meaning isn't
somewhere Ďout thereí over the rainbow, written on the
wall of some crumbly alien building, buried in the ground
or locked up in a blinking light-show puzzle which might
take several lifetimes to sort out.† For me Ďmeaning of
lifeí is a pair of blue eyes leading into a certain
archaeologists soul. Whenever I want to know what it is that
makes everything Iíll ever try to do in this life damned
well worth the effort all I have to do is look in your
eyes and I get all the answers and reasons and inspiration
do anything in the world for you, Danny, anything but let
you throw yourself away.† I don't care if it's for the
answer to every question the human race has been asking
since the beginning of time you don't get to trade your
life for it.† End of story, and that's my bottom
line, sunshine.† I'm not giving you up and and I'm not
letting you go.
how to put your foot down, Jack, you're pretty cocky when
it's just you, your ego and an empty corridor, tough guy.†
Daniel's office is just around the bend.† Let's see if
you're feeling so damned sure of yourself when you have
to face the wrath of Doctor 'Mad at the Universe and most
especially honked off with obstinate, insensitive colonels'.
we are at Daniel's door. It's closed, but - aha, not locked.†
Another good sign.† He didn't leave the mountain so he
he wanted me to find him, he holed up but he's doing it
here, the first place I'd logically look for him, so -
so he's mad at me but he's† not hiding and now -
no locked door.† He could have locked me out, could have,
but he didn't. Didn't lock me out.† Good, that's good.
That's gotta mean something, right?
I guess I should stop sweating all over the wrong side
of his door, go in† and see if he's actually in his office.†
I'm gonna feel pretty stupid if he isn't.
him.† Oh boy.† Now what?
Heís here.† Iím so shit scared.† All of a sudden
I'm hearing every ugly thing we both said, remembering the
whole sad scenario with the nauseating clarity of a really
bad movie playing over and over in my head.† And me with
no popcorn. I can see it all in sickening Scare-o-colour
- the way his face lit up when he saw the building - all
that stuff on the walls, he was glowing like he'd died
and found the promised land† - sometimes he looks that
way - at meÖ
the other look, the bad one, when I had to take it all
away from him.
was I supposed to do, Danny?† Just what was I supposed
to do?† I know you didn't have time to record any of it,
even, but those green guys weren't taking any prisoners.†
We almost lost you as it was.† Thereís just no reasoning
you sometimes.† Yet, if I have any hope at all of fixing
this, thatís exactly what I have to do.† It would be
easier if I could stop shaking and focus.† I'd rather
face a whole passel of System Lords with whoopee cushions
and feathers than have to do thisÖ talking stuffÖ.
if it was any colder in this room Iíd be spitting icicles.†
Jesus, is he pissed.† Christ, am I scared.
we are, the pair of us, me standing here like a doofus
holding up the other side of his door, and him,† sitting
there with his back to me, giving me the cold shoulder
along with the silent treatment, just a few feet away,
only across the room, but he might as well be across the
universe.† He knows I'm here but he's not letting on.†
Not moving, not turning around, and worst of all, not saying
a word.† Oh momma, you could cut the air in here with a
chainsaw.† All the times I've wished he would stop talking,
now the silence scares me.† Say something, Danny.† Anything.†
Call me a name.† Tell me to get out.† Throw me a
bone; give me somewhere to start.
this is fun.† Not.
here.† On my feet but nothingís coming to mind. So,
what now, Jack?† Youíre here, heís here.† What
there go my brainsÖ.
believe what you do to me, Daniel. I'm so knocked out,
just being in the same room with you I can barely stand.†
My heartís pounding, head swimming and all I can see is
your† back.† Itís crazy itís nuts, how you can get to me
like this but I donít care. Yes I do.† I care so much
it scares me sometimes.† Oh hell, freaks the freaking
crap out of me most of the time.
now, because...because of what happened out there - everything
- everything we have - or had - it could all be over.
fucking terrified I can't see straight. I want him like
crazy, right here, right now, everywhere, all the time,
can't be without him, won't - won't be without him and
I'm so afraid - so damned scared heíll never let me touch
him again, donít understand why he let me touch him in
the first place, it was all so good, so right, so strong
between us and yet now - I don't get it, don't understand
-† how did something so wonderful suddenly get so fragile?
is mush.† I'm standing here gawping and shaking and trying
to think of something to say - rooting around in my brain
for the words that will somehow reach him.
a laugh!† Me say something intelligent?† I can barely
manage that on a good day and right now, the state I'm in,
I couldnít talk my way out of wet paper bag.† I can
barely string two coherent thoughts together never mind making
anything in my head come out of my mouth in any way that
would make a shred of sense.
are where he shines.† He can say stuffÖ well it just takes
my breath away sometimes what he knows.† When it comes
to sounding off Iím only good when Iím drunk or mad or
not giving a shit and then the crap that comes outta my
cut my tongue out sometimes.† If they gave out an award
for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time Iíd be a shoe-in
to take the sucker home.† And you know what, if I had a
nickel for every stupid thing Iíve ever said to him Iíd
have a shit-load of nickels and still be saying
stupid things to him.
appropriate verbal expression in a pinch is not my strong
suit.† However, if you wanna talk the whole 'actions
speak louder than words' thing -† different story.
Totally!† Give me something to do with my hands and Iím
guess we go with what we know. Not that I have any other
options at this point.
not going, Jack.
crap with a cherry on top.
standing here gasping and doing a fair guppy impersonation
when something makes him turn - see me - awwww, damn, look
at his face.† Oh Danny, not a happy face - can't have that.†
And I go.
bounded across the room and reached him before my brain
catches up with my body's urgent need to touch him. My
hands are on his shoulders before he can get away from
me.† He's still mad as hell at me, fighting my touch, trying
to pull away, but thatís not going to happen.
to get out of the chair but I hold him where he is, trapped
beneath my hands. His smouldering indignation and fury
streak up my arms and rocket through me as he bitterly
struggles to wriggle out of my clutches. It's not easy
to hold him down, he's strong, he's damned determined and
pissy as hell and it's not helping touching him is enough
to turn my knees to water. But I ride him out without giving
and hold him, his body rigid, implacable and unfriendly
beneath my fingers.
trembling.† Oh yeah, me too. I get over† it and get
busy massaging his shoulders, working the tense, corded
muscles, bunching as he bristles against my palms.† I
pull his head back until he's resting against me.† Heís
not fighting me now.† Not resisting, but it's more
resignation than compliance.† He's 'putting up' with me.†
Thinks he can sit through my touching untouched.†
working the shoulders, kneading the knotted, defiant muscles
firmly but gently.† Trying with every careful, deliberate
touch† not only to calm him down, but to communicate.†
My hands are all I've got to reach him with because being
capable of anything even remotely resembling verbal
communication - forget it.†† I couldnít speak now
if I tried.† So I fall back on letting my fingers do the
talking as I stroke my palms down the top of his shoulders to
his chest.† Smooth strokes, gentle, up and down, my hands
gliding across this beloved expanse I've travelled along
so many times, not just with hands. Caressing, adoring,
I pass my hands over him with careful reverence coming
from the place where the best of my love resides. Telling
him with each touch everything I want to say but can't
find the words for.
never meant to hurt you.† I only want to protect you.†
I'm sorry.† I say all of that and more with each gentle
motion, trying to tell him - why.† The only way I know
now, Iím delivering the frigging Gettysburg address.† Ten
fingers with a mission.† Boy is he listening!† I
guess itís not so much what you say, itís how you say it.†
You can keep the flowers; I work with the tools at hand.†
The ones at the ends of my wrists, to be precise.
gotta be wrong somehow, to love someone so much.† The fear
comes surging back up bringing with it the sweet pain of
how much he means to me. I watch him, rapt with wonder
as I stroke his throat; his head falls limply back, moving
languidly against my stomach, eyes closed,† his mouth falling
open as his chest heaves with a huge, contented sigh .†
His face flushed, cheeks glowing,† pulse racing beneath
my hand - God help me, he's so beautiful -† I could look
at him forever, the way he is right now.† Completely -
it always be like this; why can't we always be like
you! Why do you make me hurt you?† How can you expect me
to stand by and do nothing, let you get yourself killed
- for what?† A building?† Crap written on walls?†
Jesus, even I know thatís stupid! I know you thought you
could handle it.† You think you can talk to anyone; any
weird ass bug eyed monster and it will just roll over and
do what you want.† Funny thing, itís almost true...†
Almost - but damn it, almost isnít always.
guys werenít going to listen, Danny.† You have to trust
me on this.† Assessing threat.† Thatís my job.†
And I'm damned good at at.† That's how I got to be the
colonel.† They would have shot you down like a dog.†
Every time you make me do this, make me save you from
yourself, I wonder if this is going to be it.† The big
one - the time when you finally wonít forgive me for doing
my job and† keeping you safe.
so confused.† Everything is so clear on this side of the
gate. But when we go out there, the rules change.† Itís
not just you and me anymore.† Iím not just your friend.†
Your lover. Iím the guy in charge. Iím responsible for
your life, for the lives of everyone under my command.
Thatís no joke to me Danny, and I wish you would stop
messing with me about it 'cause there are some things I
canít go soft on. You fight me on this, youíre gonna lose.†
Thatís the way it is.† I wonít let even you keep me
from doing what I have to do to get the job done and get
everybody home again in one piece.† Especially you.†
God, especially youÖ
care if you don't think you're worth it.† Even if you were
right, which you're not, I'm not losing anyone on my watch.†
It's like, a ton of paperwork.
that's not funny.† And now we're getting to what scares
me the most. If anything is ever going to come between
us, this is going to be what it is.† We both are what we
are. Thatís our greatest strength and our biggest problem.†
I love every curious, idealistic, impossible inch of you
but thatís not going to stop me from doing my job.† Which
means doing everything I can to keep you in one piece.†
It makes it so much easier to love you that way.
if it eventually means you hate me for it.
fight me, Daniel.† Iím on your side.
thatís it. Thatís the way.† Go with it.††
He's melting, falling, God - I love it when he gets like this.
Becomes this glorious, incandescent embodiment of pure desire,
shuddering, shaking, gasping, moaning - every sound and
movement showing me what I can do to him. Me and only me.†
That's half the rush, knowing I'm the only one who can
do this, gets to do this and will ever see it.† And the
rest of what makes it all so good - ah, just look at
him!† He's so† goddamned sensitive, so unbridled - so
responsive. My heart stops as he moves under my caress,
turning into the hand stroking his cheek, nuzzling my palm
with unconscious, unheeding abandon.† He takes my breath
away.† The way he makes me feel when he shows me how I
make him feel...
joking around once and called me ďMaestroĒ† - saying†
no one had ever Ďplayedí him the way I do.† I canít
take any credit, Danny.† Iím only as good as the
instrument. Working with the best here.† Forget your
heavenly choirs, touching him evokes a symphony of responses
would put a whole sky full of yodelling angels to shame.†
His moans, his cries, when he says my name like heís saying
it now, that smooth and mellow honey sweetness of his voice
even thicker, deeper and richer with arousal, that small
noise he makes in the back of his throat when I touch him
- there - like that, ah, there it is, Jesus just donít
let me die before I hear him scream my name just one more
the hell did this happen to me?† Exactly when did this
man get under my skin so bad I can barely see straight
when I'm with him and sure as shit can't live without him?
I had it all figured out, here, once upon a time.† Who
I was, exactly what I was, none of it was particularly
pretty and it sure didn't involve me letting anyone mean
anything to me ever again. Which
suited me just fine. This is me, this is what it is, take
it or leave it.† You donít like it, you can leave.† Or
bite me.† Your choice.
I knew where it was at, all right.† Only problem was, I
sure never counted on you showing up and messing it all
up for me, did I, Daniel?† Youíve been a blessed thorn
in my side from the day we met.† Shaking me up, calling
me on all my crap, showing me in a thousand different ways
how wrong I was about everything. Most of all, how wrong
I was about me.
the 'never letting anyone get close again' stuff, but everything,
including† the gate, the SGC, the team, rah rah rah the
whole - razzle dazzle letís all save the world thing -
I thought I knew why I came back, signed on and stayed
on for this pony ride but even thatís all changed.
know about that, do you? You really donít know.†
Thatís okay, it took me long enough to clue in myself.†
I never said I was smart.† Just tenacious.
to getting me is just as simple as I am -† all the roads
in Jack O'Neill's life lead straight to you. I came back
here, went through that gate again for you. Stayed on for
you.† Everything I've done since?† You guessed it, all
for you. if I'm nothing else I'm consistent.† You want
a higher purpose, knock yourself out.† Me? Iím just fine
with the one right here, breathing hard and turning into
nicely pleasured, purring putty in my hands.† I might not
be able to talk you under the table, love, but I do have
you get a load of me, here, Bucky the love-drunk colonel.†
Just about as goofy on this guy as they come.† I used to
laugh at schmucks like me and now I am one. Thank God!†
Whoíd ever have thought such a jaded, tired,
more-than-slightly-cranky curmudgeon like me could be so
complete changed.† Youíve more than rounded off a few
rough edges, Daniel; youíve almost completely remade the
man.† It hasnít killed me yet. Whaddya know about that.
they all laugh if they could see me now.† Jack OíNeill,
the original hard-ass.† Man of stone, heart of ice. The
one voted Ďmost likely to succeedí - at suicide.†
That Jack O'Neill, reduced to a gibbering puddle of
sentimental sap by a soft-eyed, idealistic, head-in-the-clouds,
hasnít-got-a-clue, too-smart-by-half, utterly gorgeous
- geek.† My geek.† Anyone else calls him that theyíll be
spitting out teeth for a month.† And then some.
hardly believe it myself sometimes.† How everything has
changed.† How much I've changed.† I can't get my head around
how much power a pair of blue eyes has over me.† God help
me, I'm fucking doomed if it should ever happen they turn
their glorious light away from me and God, oh God, don't
I just know it.
was smart I'd save myself, but it's way too late for that
now.† No point closing the barn door, horse is long gone.†
Giddy up.† Who am I kidding, I never had a chance from
the word go.† I was signed, sealed and sucker punched
right between the eyes the very first time he looked at me.†
And by the time I figured out what was going on the little
blue-eyed bugger had already slipped in the back door and
was camping out smack dab in the middle of my heart.† Snuck
right in my secret happy place when I wasn't looking.†
The battle was over before I even knew the ramparts were
surrender was the only logical course of action.† I'm
enough of a strategist to know when Iím beat and man enough
to admit it.† What's more I was never happier to discover
the better man had come out on top.
strictly speaking that's only true part of the time.† We
both give as good as we get.† So damned good...
regret, my only regret?† He deserves way more than stolen
moments behind closed doors. So many times I wish I could
let everyone know how wonderful he is.† How crazy he makes
me.† How much I love him.
as long as we both work for George and Uncle Sam that's
not going to happen. So, I settle for doing my best to
let him know.† Just like I'm telling him bigtime,
right now. Hard work, this.†† Oh yeah, a real chore.† Not
that I'm one to brag about my own handiwork or anything,
but what do we have here? One extremely relaxed and† aroused
archaeologist.† Well done Jack, heís practically
purring.†† I think my apology is definitely going
over well.† God, look at his faceÖ.
- I really, really want to -
how does he always know? Here's me thinking how much I
want to kiss him and suddenly there he is, out of the chair
and all over me before I've got chance to blink, pushing
me up against the wall, grinding his pelvis into me, mouth
locked to mine, consuming me, hands roaming up and down
my back - I canít think, canít breathe,† heís holding me
up now as shooting sparks of desire confuse already frankly
bewildered neural pathways and legs donít work so good
be doing this.† Not now, not here, but ohhhh, oh God, I
don't care!† He's too much, never enough, God,
that mouth, so sweet. His tongue scraping the back of my
throat practically, pulling me back with it into warm,
wet darkness,† I swallow my pride, what little is left
of it and I'm helpless, helpless my hands, clutching his
ass, kneading, crushing, pulling him into me as he gasps
and laughs and bites my bottom lipÖ
Iím going to die now.
roam across my jaw, tongue tracing a path to my neck, teeth
nipping, sending shocks of pleasure through me, somewhere
I hear him muttering...things.† Saying, something what
- what's he saying? He's sorry, he doesn't think sometimes,
didn't mean it, nothing matters more to him than me, is
that really true, I want to believe him, I hope so, not
always sure it could be true, does he really mean it -
does he -
know what Iím doing, donít know whatís happening.†
Suddenly heís cradling my head to his chest† stroking
the back of it and clutching me tight, saying its all right,
what's going on,† am I - oh, oh shit,† I am - Iím
crying.† Crying.† I didn't know I was that scared.†
I guess he didnít either, 'cause now he's kissing me once
more saying heíll try not to be so stupid and he won't ever
scare me like this again.
my face in his hands, makes me look at him. It's hard -†
face to face with such perfection with me being what I
am and all. How did I ever get so lucky?† What does he
see in me?† Looking into those amazing eyes so full of
love - I feel like a clown.† A rough, dumb boob.† He must
know what I'm thinking, because he starts† kissing me
again, ardently, covering my face with reassuring affirmations
of his affection. Actions speak louder than words?† Oh
Danny, donít I know itÖ
now he's telling me not only are we good, from now on we'll
only get better.
sweetness, his lips so soft against mine as he breathes
his love into me,† I'm not scared now, he holds my life
in his hands and he knows it, but it couldnít be safer.†
I couldnít be safer.† I protect him out there, but here,
just the two of us - heís the one who leads and knows.†
Who keeps us both safe.
mine, all mine now, signed sealed and forever.† That's
what he's telling me and I'm taking him at his word.† Every
panting syllable, every moist, sweet token of intent.†
sure how we got here but I've gone from thinking I had
nothing left to knowing I've got everything and more so
I'm not wasting time worrying abut the how, where, when
and why.† However, he seems to be having so much fun making
things up to me as soon as I get him home I plan to let
him keep right on doing me.
Daniel.† Yep, you bet, every day in every way, twice on
Sundays. It's a date, love.† As well as the promise of
On to Not Without Me