|Slash:||Jack and Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves sex.|
|Category:||Challenge. Established Relationship.|
|Synopsis:||SG-1, new planet, sand, runes, Jack and Daniel.|
|Warnings:||None, nada, zlich.|
"Oh, look, Jack, a desert. Lots and lots of sand for you to play in," Daniel said as SG-1 stepped through the 'Gate onto P3J-271.
"Had a bowl of Lucky Charms this morning, did we, Daniel?" Jack retorted as he slipped on his sunglasses.
Adjusting his clip-ons, Daniel moved to Jack's side. With a grin, he said, "Prunes, actually. You should try them, Jack."
Teal'c stepped to Jack's other side and said, "I had Cream of Wheat this morning. I understand that it provides a good start."
Puzzled, Jack gazed over at Daniel, who lowered his glasses to stare back and waggle his eyebrows. At that moment, Sam came up to Daniel's side and said, "Hey, I had scrambled eggs, toast, the works. Winnie was on duty this morning."
Jack tore his gaze from Daniel's mobile eyebrows to look at his 2IC. "Winnie? How come no one told me this? I could have her buttermilk pancakes--"
"You should have had prunes, Jack. You need prunes."
"Daniel, I do not need prunes. What I needed was Winnie's buttermilk pancakes. And if you'd been on time this morning, I could have had them."
"Wait, the lack of pancakes was my fault?" Daniel asked, his expression showing his incredulity at the very idea.
"Daniel," Jack said as he gazed out over the barren planet, "everythings your fault. Always."
"Sorry, I'd forgotten for a moment."
Still staring at the unwelcoming landscape, Jack waggled a finger. "Just make sure you don't forget again."
All four members sighed as they remained on the pedestal that housed the 'Gate. A slight breeze blew over the sand, but it was not cooling.
"So. How far is this building again, Carter?"
"According to the UAV, it's in a direct line from this point. And I mean a direct line. We point the compass north, and keep going. It should be visible in less than an hour."
Jack nodded, then said smartly, "Well, let's go, kids. We've got another so-called temple to find."
SG-1 stepped down and headed out.
Twenty minutes later, Daniel sped up enough to come abreast of Jack.
"Jack, notice anything odd about this sand?"
Without missing a step, Jack said, "You mean other than it being hot and a yucky beige?"
"Well, yeah, other than that."
Daniel reached out and placed his hand on Jack's arm, effectively stopping his forward movement. "Jack, look at it."
Jack looked. Shrugged. "Okay, I've looked. It's still hot and it's still a yucky beige."
Daniel frowned. "Uh, Jack? Beige? Beige?"
"Ya gotta problem with beige?"
By now, both Carter and Teal'c had stopped and were listening, Carter fighting back a grin.
"I have a problem with you using the word. Yucky brown, yes, but yucky beige?"
"So you don't have a problem with me using yucky, only beige?"
"Hey, a man needs to know these things. If me using the word beige bothers you, I wouldn't dream of using it again. Which means that I've looked at the sand and it's still hot and but now it's a yucky brown."
Since he was wearing the clip-ons, Daniel didn't bother to roll his eyes, Jack wouldn't have seen the gesture anyway. Instead, he chose to get back to business.
"Jack, the sand is flat. Everywhere. Flat, flat, flat."
Daniel made a knocking gesture in the air near Jack's head. "He-llo? Deserts aren't flat, Jack. There should be dunes, small hills, drifts, that kind of thing. But this sand is just--"
"Let me guess; flat?"
"No, really, Jack?" Daniel said sarcastically. "This sand is flat? You've got to be kidding?"
Jack stuck out his tongue, then turned to Carter. "Major?"
Sam pursed her lips, then said, "I would have to agree with Daniel, Sir. The sand is most definitely--"
"Flat?" Teal'c added helpfully.
"Exactly the word I was looking for, Teal'c. Thank you," Sam said in her best Major voice.
Jack turned back to Daniel. "Daniel, it would seem that we have consensus. This sand is flat. Alert the media."
Daniel gave a little "humph" sound, then bent at the knees and ran his hand over the sand. "Guys, this sand really feels strange. And I mean -- strange."
"Like, oh, say -- flat?"
"Jack, I'm serious here."
Carter immediately knelt down and let her fingers dig in. "My God, this is strange, Colonel. I've never felt anything like it."
"So it doesn't feel like sand?"
"No, well, yes, but strange sand. It's very smooth, not grainy and -- and--"
"Shallow," Daniel finished for her.
"Okay, so we have flat, and now shallow, sand. Uh, guys, anyone care to tell me how sand can be shallow? I mean, people, yes. Like Lieutenant Joseph. Could there be anyone more shallow? And of course, pools have shallow ends, and--"
Daniel looked up. "Jack, we get it. And by shallow, I meant that this layer of sand is really thin. Hard ground below."
"Oh. That kind of shallow," Jack mused.
"Yes, Jack, that kind of shallow."
Jack took off his sunglasses. "And the significance of flat, shallow sand would be?"
Daniel, his brow furrowed, looked over at Sam. She shrugged helplessly. He glanced back up at Jack. "Well, I don't actually know that yet, but--"
"So until we do know, what say we keep walking? Unless you think flat and shallow sand could be dangerous, Daniel?"
When no answer seemed to be forthcoming, Jack wiggled his finger. Daniel and Sam rose, brushed themselves off and SG-1 went back to walking. But three members were treated to the mutterings of the fourth.
"Well, flat, shallow sand could be dangerous, I mean, how the hell am I supposed to know one way or the other? I'm just the archaeologist here, but it is weird--"
"Well, would you lookee there. We seem to have found what we're looking for. Daniel," Jack turned to his archaeologist, "go to town, buddy. Do your thing, get cracking, solve the riddle--"
Jack looked past Daniel to Carter. "Can he say that to me, Carter?"
"I'm thinking -- yes, Sir, he can."
One eyebrow rising, Daniel said, "Teal'c, tell Jack to can it."
"Can it, O'Neill," Teal'c said, in a perfect imitation of Daniel.
"Now, Sir, I know Teal'c can say that to you."
"What I want to know is, since when did Teal'c start doing what Daniel told him to do. That's what I want to know."
"I have always done as DanielJackson has requested, O'Neill. However, I'm at a loss as to why and what he wishes you to can."
Ducking his head, Daniel made a little motion with his finger. "I think I'll just take a look at, you know, that," he said, pointing at the building.
"DANIEL, OVER HERE!"
Jack looked up from his spot on the flat, shallow sand and watched as Daniel came out of what they were all calling the temple and headed for Sam. Since that was what Sam and Daniel did, namely call out to each other when they discovered stuff, Jack stayed put. But he listened as Daniel disappeared around the corner of the building. He heard some mumbling, then--
That got Jack up. He moved quickly to where his 2IC and his archaeologist were standing, both bent at the waist and looking hard at something their bodies blocked from his view.
"Can you read it?" Sam was asking.
"None of this looks even remotely familiar to anything I've ever seen."
"Okay, kids," Jack interrupted, "time to show and tell."
Carter stepped back and allowed Jack to see the object of interest. He moved closer.
"Gee, it seems to be a post. With writing," Jack observed. "Writing that you, Daniel, can't read. What are the odds?"
"Jack, this could be important."
"Oh, like I haven't heard that before. Anything interesting inside our little temple that matches this? Anything to show us that the Goa'uld have been here? Or that there's anything of importance here? Besides flat and shallow sand, that is. And of course, this marvelous post."
"Well," Daniel said, as if he hadn't just been insulted, "this would appear to be actual script writing, while inside, I've found all four walls covered with runes. At a quick glance, I'd say they're not related."
"Not related?" Jack asked. "Meaning what, Daniel?"
"Meaning that maybe -- two different, well, you know, this wasn't written by whoever did the runes I've found inside."
"Ah, I see. So you can read the writings inside?"
Daniel straightened. "Well, no, not yet, but I'm close. A few more hours--"
"A few more hours? Of course, par for the course. Okay, you keep working and Teal'c, Carter and I will set up house for the night. Which, judging by the lowering of the sun, will be happening very shortly."
A fire was out of the question. No wood. No rocks. Not to mention that even with the absence of the sun, the temperatures had barely dropped. They wouldn't need a fire to keep warm on this planet. Nor did anyone desire a hot meal. Carter broke out a few cans of Daniel's stashed fruit, and some crackers. While she and Teal'c got the fruit open, Jack went into the temple after Daniel. He found him sitting cross-legged on the ground, one lone light illuminating the wall, and an open book on his lap.
Jack watched as Daniel's head moved from the book, then up to the wall, then back to the book. He had a pencil captured in his mouth, his even white teeth biting down on the yellow number two. For several moments, Jack contented himself with Danielwatching. Finally, with a feral grin, he slowly moved in, stealth his middle name.
"Jamk, dom'd eben thimk aboud id," Daniel warned around his pencil.
"Damn. I'm losing my touch," Jack said as he stopped his advancement.
Daniel took the implement from his mouth and said, "Nah. You just -- stink."
"Gee, how romantic, Daniel."
Grinning now, Daniel turned and looked up. "Well, it's a manly stink. Eau de Jack."
Jack walked the few paces left and reached down. He took the book from Daniel's lap, closed it, then gave Daniel's arm a little tug. Daniel rose easily.
"What a happy coincidence that Eau de Jack is one of your favorites." With that, Jack pushed Daniel against the wall and pressed his body into Daniel's.
Chuckling, Daniel said, "Well, it is a nice smell, Jack."
Jack nuzzled at his archaeologist's neck a bit, then murmured, "And it's a smell that gets you really hot--"
"In this case, Jack, it's P3J-271 that's responsible for getting me hot. But you just keep doing what you're doing and we'll see where this leads--"
"Ooh, I like the sound of that, Danny-boy."
"And of course," Daniel added, "I never fell for that 'not on the job' crap of yours anyway--"
Jack froze. Then he groaned and dropped his head onto Daniel's shoulder. "I hate you, Doctor Jackson."
Grinning, Daniel patted Jack's back a little too hard to be considered soothing. "Sorry, babe. But somebody has to keep you honest."
"You rat. And you could resign, like, right now, if you really loved me. Mind you, the resignation would be strictly temporary, but if you loved me--"
Daniel shook his head in feigned disgust. He moved his hand up to stroke the back of Jack's head, then brushed his lips against Jack's temple as he whispered, "I resign."
Jack lifted his head and found Daniel's lips. They kissed deep, then breathless, Jack pulled away just enough to murmur, "I knew you loved me. Do anything for me. You are so hooked."
"I think it's your modesty, Jack."
Jack nodded even as he started to pull Daniel's tee-shirt up. As skin became visible, Jack simply bent enough to attack the smooth expanse of flesh. As he moved, he pushed the shirt higher--
"Uh, Jack? We really don't have time--"
"Ssh, I'm letting you have your way with me."
"Oh. I -- see. Yes, well--" Daniel let his head drop back as he closed his eyes.
"They're still in there, Teal'c."
"I noticed that, Major. I suspect that O'Neill is allowing DanielJackson to complete his work."
"God, Jack," Daniel moaned as Jack's body rubbed deliciously against his.
Both men were hot and sweaty, their pants unzipped, and each with a hand inside the other's boxers. Their version of a quickie. So far, they'd been at it for twenty minutes.
"Do something, God damn it," Daniel hissed out.
A few moments before, Daniel had been close to orgasm so Jack had simply given a less than gentle tug at the younger man's balls. Now he was back to writhing, squeezing and moaning. Jack's cock was in heaven and so was Jack. He started stroking Daniel's cock again, his hand movement speeding up to match Daniel's. God, this was good.
Between moans and kisses, strokes and rubbing, Daniel came, Jack just managing to swallow Daniel's yell with a kiss. Even as Daniel entered the final throes of his orgasm, Jack came with a low groan.
Moments later, both men sank to the ground in a tangle of limbs. Daniel dropped his head on Jack's shoulder as Jack's arms came around him. With a shuddering breath, Daniel rasped out, "We have got to work on your idea of a quickie, Jack."
"I'll go out first," Jack said as he finished cleaning himself off and straightening his clothes.
"I just knew your background in Black Ops would pay off, Jack," Daniel said with a wicked grin.
"Oh, shut up," Jack said fondly. He headed out, giving Daniel a good view of his ass, which he wiggled enticingly.
"You jerk!" Daniel yelled after him.
Jack just laughed.
Jack took a deep breath just before stepping out onto the sand, then said cheerily, "Daniel's on his way. You know him and his runes."
Sam and Teal'c glanced up and nodded, then Teal'c held out a can of fruit. Jack took it, glad no one could clearly see his face.
Damn, this ground really was hard, Jack thought. He shifted again, trying to find a position that at least hinted at comfort. He'd have given anything if he and Daniel could have been sharing the same sleeping bag. Daniel was damn comfortable to sleep on.
Jack rolled over onto his left side. At this rate, he'd get no sleep before his turn at guard duty. He hear Sam get up and move to Daniel's side, then her soft whisper--
"Daniel, your turn."
"Your turn at sentry duty."
The soft rustle of Daniel's movement, then--
"Right, up. I'm up."
All Jack could think was how the hell had Daniel ever fallen asleep? The next thing Jack knew, Teal'c was waking him for his turn.
"Wha' tme izzit?"
"It is time for you to relieve me, O'Neill."
With a groan, Jack got up, picked up his canteen and slurped down some water. Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, Jack ambled over to Daniel's pack and rummaged inside until he found what he was looking for; a Hershey bar. Thank God for Daniel and his total disregard for military rations. He peeled down the wrapper, sat back down with his P-90 on his lap and happily munched away.
Daniel felt something strange. He lifted his head, sniffed, blinked, then fumbled for his glasses. He slipped them on, but the answer to whatever strangeness he was feeling remained elusive. He glanced around him, glad for the two full moons overhead. He could see Jack, seated a few feet away, and to Jack's right, Sam, sound asleep. He looked to his left and nodded to himself as his gaze took in the sleeping Teal'c.
O-kay, all was right with his world, so to speak. So what the heck was wrong? Daniel rose on his right arm and tried to concentrate. It wasn't the air, although it was somewhat cooler than when he'd been relieved by Teal'c. There were no odd smells, nor any weird sounds, if you didn't count Sam's gentle snoring. So what was wrong?
Then it happened. Under his hand.
Daniel jerked it away from the ground, then shot into a sitting position.
"Daniel? What's wrong?"
"The ground moved, Jack. The fucking ground moved!"
Jack was beside him in an instant. "What the hell are you talking about, Daniel?"
"Something woke me. I couldn't figure out what was wrong, then the ground moved."
"Okay, the ground moved. Where?"
"Where did it move to, or where did I feel it move?" Daniel asked, a puzzled 'I'm still asleep, don't test me, Jack' look on his face.
Huffing, Jack said, "Where did you feel it move, you doofus."
"Jack, I am not a--"
Daniel rolled his eyes, then glanced down and with some hesitation, placed his hand back onto the warm sand. "Here. I had my hand here. The ground -- just -- kind of -- shifted." Then he muttered, "And I'm not a doofus."
"Is it -- shifting now?"
Suddenly feeling like an idiot, Daniel shook his head. "No, no movement at all."
"Daniel, are you sure you weren't -- you know -- dreaming?"
"Jack, I was wide awake."
"Well, everything seems fine now."
"Right." Then Daniel looked back up at Jack and said hopefully, "This is a good thing, right? The ground not moving?"
Jack smiled in the moonlight. "Yeah, Danny, the ground not moving is a good thing. It should only move when we make," he glanced over his shoulder to reassure himself that both Teal'c and Sam were still asleep, then dropped his voice and added, "love."
Daniel rolled his eyes. "Who knew you were such a romantic?"
Jack gave Daniel a gentle shove backward. "Go to sleep, Danny."
Daniel slid down and watched as Jack walked back to his post. He'd sleep, but he wouldn't be happy about it. As Jack sat back down, Daniel heard the muttered, "Are too a doofus."
"Am not," Daniel whispered as he grinned into his pillow.
The next morning, Daniel was up and at work in the temple before even Teal'c rose. Jack, bleary-eyed, waved to him as he said quietly, "Hurry up, I want to get the hell out of this place."
Two hours later, Sam and Teal'c were awake, Sam grumbling about trying to sleep on hard ground. Jack grinned at Sam's bedhead, then said, "Look, it maybe hot, but I'm betting we could both use some coffee right about now?" At Sam's less than enthusiastic response, he added, "Daniel's been in the temple for two hours. He's got to be almost finished. One whiff of coffee, even if it's instant, and maybe we can get him out here, Carter."
Sam immediately lit the sterno as Jack, hiding his grin, added water to the tin pot. A few minutes later, the heady aroma of coffee surrounded them. Sam checked her watch, then looked up at O'Neill and started counting down.
"Ten, nine, eight--"
Laughing, Jack joined her.
"---seven, six, five, four, three, two, one--"
Daniel walked out of the temple.
"Hey, do I smell--"
"Coffee?" Jack asked innocently.
"Oh, man, you guys made coffee?"
With a fond grin, Sam held out a cup. Daniel took it gratefully and a moment later, his satisfied moan told Jack he'd made the right decision, heat or no heat.
After Jack finished his, he said, "So, Daniel, how much more time before--"
"I've got most of it figured out, Jack."
"Care to enlighten us, Rune Boy?"
Daniel looked up from his coffee and frowned. "Rune Boy?"
"Daniel, what have you learned?" Jack asked patiently.
Daniel surreptitiously gave Jack the finger, then said, "Well, the temple was built by a people called the Mireyans. They'd hoped this planet would be their new home--"
"What happened to their own world, Daniel?" Sam asked.
Looking looked from Sam, to Jack, then to Teal'c, Daniel said fatalistically, "The Goa'uld happened."
"The snakeheads strike again," Jack said quietly. "So where are these Mireyans now? Why nothing but this temple?"
"Well, I guess you could say that this was built by what we'd call an advance group. They finished it, but--"
"The Goa'uld found them first?" Teal'c asked.
"No, I don't think so. While it's unclear exactly what did happen, it's obvious that they started to bring everyone through the gate, then, nothing. The runes just -- stop."
"What about the post with the other writing? Anything about that?"
Daniel shook his head. "Nope. Nothing. Which makes me think that yet another group found this planet and put up that post. I think -- it might be a warning."
"That doesn't sound good," Jack said with one raised eyebrow. "And warning us about what, Daniel?"
"How the heck should I know? Maybe they're warning us that the sand moves, or don't drink the water, or don't spit on the sand."
"Carter, give that man another cup of coffee, pronto," Jack ordered. "He's a wee bit touchy this morning."
Jack held up a hand. "Let me guess: Can it?"
Daniel touched his nose. "Got it in one."
"Man, I get no respect from you civilians," Jack whined.
"Yeah, yeah. Poor man. You have my sympathy - NOT."
"Well," Jack said, getting back to business, "It doesn't look as though this planet has anything to offer us, right?"
"I'm afraid not," Daniel affirmed.
Jack nodded, stood up and rubbed his hands together. "Well, then, let's pack up and go home, kiddies."
To illustrate his point, Jack walked over, picked up the tin of now cooled water and made as though he were about to toss it over the sand. Daniel immediately said, "Jack, that might not be such a good--"
His words were too late. The water hit the sand and it became quickly apparent that water on sand was not a good thing. The liquid landed close to Daniel and the effect was almost instantaneous. The sand seemed to bubble and boil, and for a moment, Daniel couldn't move. By the time he did, it was too late.
The ground began to shift and slide and slither as the sand started to rise in strange, thin tendrils. Jack's eyes grew impossibly round even as he yelled, "DANIEL!"
The yell, like Daniel's decision to move, came too late. The very ground beneath him seemed to come alive as long strips of sand turned into tentacles, all of which wrapped themselves around Daniel's limbs.
"JACK!" Daniel yelled out before the tentacles took him down. He landed with a hard thud and began to struggle in earnest.
Jack moved forward, his hand already reaching for his knife. "TEAL'C, GIVE ME A HAND!"
The Jaffa nearly jumped to Jack's side, his own knife flashing in the sunlight. Sam started forward, but Jack, seeing her, yelled, "STAY BACK, CARTER!"
She did as ordered, and watched, stunned, as more tentacles appeared to wrap themselves around Jack's right leg. His arm came down, the knife slashing through the deadly, grasping thing. A thick, viscous fluid spewed forth and an eerie wailing filled the air. Teal'c continued to cut and slash, trying to free Daniel.
"SIR!" Sam yelled, unable to hide her panic, "THE SAND, IT'S -- SINKING!"
Jack tore his gaze from the tentacle that had wrapped its way around Daniel's neck, and looked quickly down. "DAMN IT!" he yelled in frustration. If they didn't get Daniel free, and NOW, the ground would take him. This was like battling quicksand.
"TEAL'C, CAN YOU REACH THE ONE AROUND DANIEL'S NECK?"
"I HAVE IT, O'NEILL!"
Sam watched both men wielding their knives, slashing and hacking, even as Daniel seemed to disappear from view. She couldn't handle it any longer. She pulled her own knife and jumped into the fray.
Just as she attacked a hard, dry tentacle that was pulling at Daniel's waist, Jack yelled out in pain. She whipped her head around to see that he was being dragged off. She changed her tactics and while Teal'c continued to try to free Daniel, she moved rapidly to her commanding officer.
The battle waged and just when Sam was convinced that they were losing both Daniel and Colonel O'Neill -- the ground stilled and the tentacles began to withdraw. Less than a minute later, Jack was left panting and sweating on his back, but free of whatever had held him. Trying to catch her breath, Sam wiped the sweat from her eyes and with some dread, turned her attention to Teal'c -- and Daniel. To her relief, Teal'c was pulling Daniel up and into his chest.
"Teal'c? Is he--"
"He is unconscious, but alive, Major. Colonel O'Neill?"
She looked back at Jack, who was struggling to sit up. "He's fine, Teal'c. I'm thinking we'd better get out of here before those -- things -- come back. Can we move Daniel?"
"I believe there are no broken bones, Major Carter. We should be safe in transporting him."
Sam turned her attention to Jack. "Sir? You okay?"
Coughing hard, Jack nodded. "I'm -- fine. Water wouldn't be bad right now, though." Then as an afterthought, he said, "On the other hand, maybe I'll just skip the water. And you're sure Daniel is--"
"He's fine, Sir. Just rest a moment while I get our gear together."
She moved quickly and efficiently, noting without surprise, that Jack, once he'd started breathing normally, had immediately moved to Daniel's side, albeit with some difficulty.
It only took Sam fifteen minutes to break camp, but in that time, Daniel regained consciousness.
"How ya feeling?" Jack asked, one hand resting lightly on Daniel's arm.
"Like a truck hit me. Anyone get the license number?" He started to sit up, but Jack placed a hand on the younger man's chest.
"Just stay put. Carter is packing up and we're going to try to get the hell out of here before anything else happens. In the meantime, relax and let me check you out."
With a wary eye on the sand around them, Daniel rested back against Teal'c's chest while Jack ran his hands over Daniel's arms and legs. His clothing was torn in several places, and both Jack and Teal'c could see the heavy bruising. Jack could sympathize, he had his own set of colorful markings forming on his legs.
"Sir, I think we'd better head out," Sam said as she dropped his, Daniel's and Teal'c packs at Jack's feet.
Jack nodded, then looked at Teal'c, who began to assist Daniel to his feet. Jack struggled up, moaning as he did so. Neither of them were in good shape.
"Sir, put your arm around my shoulders. I'll take your pack."
"Carter, I can make--"
"Sir, we'll move faster if you lean on me. Teal'c can take Daniel."
The "move faster" part convinced Jack. Two minutes later, Daniel, heavily supported by Teal'c, and Jack leaning on Carter, they started for the 'Gate.
By the time the pedestal was in sight, Daniel was barely conscious and Jack was gritting his teeth. Sam eased him down, while Teal'c continued to hold up a barely-aware Daniel. Sam quickly punched in the symbols and moments later, they were walking through.
On the other side, they were greeted in the usual manner, namely with Hammond yelling for medical personnel to "report to the 'Gate room, on the double!"
Jack, his eyes never leaving Daniel, let himself be led to a gurney, where he gratefully sank down, his legs having long since turned to rubber. Just as they started pushing him out, Hammond's face swam into view.
"Sir, SG-1 reporting. We ran into sand, more sand, and even more sand. Oh, and tentacles too. But I think I'll let Major Carter fill you in. I'm going to sleep now."
General Hammond shook his head helplessly and patted Jack's shoulder as the gurney was rolled out.
Both Jack and Daniel were badly bruised, Daniel more so, and Doctor Frasier decided to keep them both in bed for twenty-four hours. Sam and Teal'c had already checked in on their teammates, had the debriefing with Hammond, and were now long gone. Jack, no longer sleepy, gazed around the infirmary until he ended up looking at Daniel. He could see the bruising around Daniel's neck and wrists, and knew that the purple marks extended upward and across his chest, not to mention some real beauties on Daniel's legs. But hey, Jack thought, at least they were both alive and could go home tomorrow.
Daniel moaned lightly, then his eyes fluttered open. He blinked a few times, then turned his head toward Jack.
"Hey, buddy, you're in the infirmary. We're both okay. Janet's just keeping us overnight."
"Oh. Okay. That's good news. So I'm taking it that I didn't -- like -- imagine that whole tentacle thing?"
"'Fraid not, Daniel."
"So -- what happened? How did we get loose?"
Jack shrugged. "They just -- disappeared."
"Ah? That sounds like the kind of 'ah' that means you know what happened. Do you?"
"Well, I think so. It's the only thing that really makes sense. I mean, remember how I said the sand moved?"
"Unfortunately, yes, I remember that."
"Well, I'm thinking now that the planet is -- alive. A living being. Or something alive covers its surface. Anyway, we triggered it."
"Oh? And how did we do that?"
Daniel scratched his head and said thoughtfully, "You threw the water on the sand?"
"Oh, sure, blame me."
Daniel grinned. "Hey, I can't be responsible for everything, you know."
"I so disagree with that."
"So we get to go home tomorrow, eh?"
"Yep. Home. You and me. Together."
"Got a preference? Your place or mine?"
"Mine, definitely mine. I have a burning need to make love with you on my roof decking."
For a few moments, both men were silent, then Daniel said, "Remember how I said that I thought the writing on that post was a warning?"
"I think I've figured out what it said, Jack."
"Yeah. It said, 'Dangerous when wet'."
"I thought I was a doofus?"
"Daniel, to me, you are all things."