J/D, No Relationship Yet
Daniel felt groggy as he approached wakefulness, which would have been normal except he felt drugged or hungover. He searched his memory, such as it was, for an answer while he reached up with his right hand to rub at his eyes. Instead of his bare hand, he felt silken fabric with it and frowned as he opened his eyes. His hand was slightly covered by frilly silk . . . and past that was a rich cerulean sleeve with elaborate three-inch pale gold embroidery at the cuff.
He looked down at himself.
He was wearing a knee-length coat with eight-inch cuffs, a cream-colored hip-length waistcoat with embroidered buttons whose design resembled a four-leaf clover. His shirt was cream with a long frilled collar and the aforementioned sleeve cuffs. He wore cream knee breeches with blue edging that included cream lacing, pale gold silk stockings, and buckled black leather shoes with stacked heels. Typical eighteenth-century wear for an upper-class gentleman. Including, he realized, linen underdrawers. He felt oddly naked. While draped with rich silk and linen clothing.
He idly wondered why the coat and breeches weren’t velvet as he pulled at the collar, which was of the “stand-up” design, and over it was the forerunner of the modern bow tie. It took more effort than it should have to unbutton the damn thing and once done, he felt he could breathe.
Daniel looked around him. He sat on a bench within a curtained alcove. Beside him on the bench was a gentleman’s cane, black with gold edging and straight. The top of the cane was a handle shaped like a swan. He examined it, automatically twisting and pulling to see if . . . yep. A sword cane.
Something pinched and stung behind his right ear and he reached up to find a sore spot . . . and felt ribbon ties. He was wearing something on his head. He pulled it off and stared at it. A coiffured wig. Rolling his eyes, he set the wig on the bench and stood up. Dizziness assailed him and he thrust out a hand to brace himself against the wall. Blood pressure issue? Not good.
After a few seconds, his balance returned to normal and he felt at the sore spot behind his ear again. It felt only slightly damp and he looked at his fingertip. Lightly stained with blood. Someone had drugged him.
What had he been doing? He searched his memory again. He’d been on P3C-111. They’d found . . . they’d . . . Jack! Sam! Teal’c! Where were they? He hurriedly stepped forward and out of the alcove. He was in a large hall. There was a curved staircase and overhead walkways. Cathedral ceiling beyond that. The roof looked about four stories high. He ran a finger over the wall attached to the alcove. Wood, and stained a rich, dark brown, or perhaps it was its normal color? What century could he accurately compare . . .
He shook his head. Now wasn’t the time. Put all of the notations in a room for examination later. First things first. Memory recall. Where had they been? Why had he been drugged unconscious? Why the hell was he wearing clothing from the 1780s? There was simply no way an alien culture would have the same clothing because they would have had the same history. That would only apply if the world they’d come to had been a . . .
Parallel universe. But either this world didn’t run along the same historical track or all of this was a recreation by the people who stored the mirror. But 1780? Why there? He should have these answers but couldn’t recall how they’d come to this world. Whatever the answer, he needed to get his bearings. Find out how he’d gotten here.
To his left was an ultra-wide corridor and past it looked like heavy double doors with a gothic tapered point. He headed there. On either side of him, decorating the walls of the hallway were small tables with oil lamps and what appeared to be oil-painted landscape paintings. He’d examine them later. When he reached the door, he found the knobs on both doors refused to turn, push, or pull to open. A single gothic door sat left and right. He tried them both and found them locked as well.
Returning to the great hall, he spotted two more left and right doors and empty space behind the staircase that presumably went to a backyard. He checked that first. Another gothic double door but it was made up of tall, rectangular glass panels. This door was unlocked, but past it was a type of covered sun porch encased in the same glass panels and another set of double doors. Locked. Daniel stared through the glass to the other side of the doorknob and didn’t see a key or a lock switch.
He returned to the hall to check the doors there. Locked. Which told him he was meant to go up the staircase to the second floor. Fine by him. It was the most logical choice. Maybe he could find the kitchen . . . if it wasn’t behind any of those locked internal doors.
At the top of the stairs, he found a long corridor that stretched to either side and the walkways overhead led to other rooms. Three per side to be exact. His mind deduced that they were arranged like bedrooms and he wouldn’t search them until all other avenues were exhausted.
Down the right-hand corridor at the top of the stairs lay a closed door. To his left, it led to a doorless room. He headed that way. Along the corridor were two more doors on his left. On his right, more windows. His mind supplied the name and type: trefoiled. Three tall, narrow gothic-pointed window sections forming one entire encasement window. The glass didn’t contain stained windows as he would’ve found on his Earth. It was just glass but with perhaps a bit of a blue tint.
Reaching the open doorway, Daniel found an enormous room filled with furnishings that matched the date of his wardrobe. Decorated tables, walled bookcases, and what looked like a piano or maybe an elaborate harpsichord. Beyond that, the far wall was made entirely of glass panels. At the top, perhaps three feet consisted of stained glass pictures. The rest was clear, with no color. Daniel crossed to it to look through. It suddenly occurred to him that it was nighttime. But hadn’t it been daytime when . . .
Daniel remembered. And he sighed with disdain as he closed his eyes, internally berating himself for his stupidity.
He and his teammates had found a great mansion. And in one of the rooms, Daniel touched what he’d thought was a floor harp covered with a thin piece of linen. It was the shape. Similar to the one from P4X-233 but more defined. The next thing he knew, he was in the same room but with an antique setting instead of the modern one they’d found. Before he could touch the mirror and return, he’d felt a heated sting at his neck.
And now, here he was. Dressed like a nobleman. Meant for some sort of game-playing.
“Daniel,” said Jack.
Daniel turned with relief, then grinned. Jack was wearing the old garb as well, except his coat was cut differently. And all of it was embroidered black silk. Not exactly eighteenth-century. More like a gothic Halloween party.
“Hey,” Daniel said, pointing at Jack’s attire, who took a few steps toward him. Daniel started toward him at the same time. “That . . . actually looks good on you.”
“Ditto,” Jack said. He narrowed his eyes. “But you’ve undone the collar. Most impolite.”
“What’re you talking about?” Daniel said rolling his eyes. “You know I don’t like collars that—”
He stopped talking. There was something subtly wrong with Jack. He couldn’t narrow down what it was. It was just there. It said, “I’m not your Jack.”
“Who are you?” Daniel asked.
Jack gave him a courtly bow. “Jonathan Jackson Patrick O’Neill, at your service. My friends call me Jack.”
“What do your enemies call you?” Daniel asked before he could stop himself and ask something more relevant.
Jack smiled at him, showing teeth. “Any number of vile things before they die.”
Daniel swallowed and took a step back.
Jack had long canines that came to a needle point.
“Oh shit,” Daniel whispered to himself. Out loud, he asked, “You changed my clothes. Why?” He wanted to ask something else but he’d get to it. He wasn’t sure he wanted to know the answer.
“Because that’s the style here. I don’t allow visitors to choose their own.”
“That’s kind of rude, Mister O’Neill,” Daniel said. “They’re visitors, not residents.”
Jack’s smile grew quite a bit vulpine. Maybe it was the mischief in his eyes. Or was it hunger? “Jack, please.”
“So far, Mister O’Neill, you haven’t behaved like a friend.” He gestured at the back of his neck, then at his clothing.
“I do apologize. I saw you and . . .” He seemed to lose his train of thought as he looked at the covered mirror in the corner.
“And?” Daniel asked. He didn’t want this man to come closer. He radiated danger. There was no malevolence to him but something told Daniel that the man wasn’t altogether rational. Where they were, how he’d kidnapped him like property.
Daniel berated himself again. Those were secondary conditions. The primary focus were those . . . fangs. Was this Jack lookalike a true vampire? An honest-to-goodness vampire?
What spooked Daniel more than that was the very real memory of roleplaying exactly this type of scenario. Being kidnapped by Jack who pretended to be a vampire, all because Daniel had a kink about being bitten. Not too hard. Not enough to cause searing pain or blood loss. Just enough to leave marks. When Jack had him close to orgasm, the bite would send him over.
With this true vampire, the fantasy desire would be replaced by true horror and the bite would, presumably, be lethal. That also presumed that the teeth were real. They looked real.
“I lost your other self a long time ago. This was a scenario he loved. The time period. The foreplay and sex games. Then one day . . .” He gestured at his mouth. “Both of us were bitten by a human creature and left to die. Daniel did. I didn’t. And I had to leave Earth because fifteen days later, these appeared.” Again, he gestured at his teeth. “I have been trying to find another to take his place.”
Jack walked closer and took a few steps to his right. Daniel countered to his own right and bumped into a table. “And?” he asked. “What would I or any number of other Daniels do here?”
“Be content to live out your life here. There are many long-dead cultures on this planet to keep you busy for millennia.”
Daniel blinked. Part of him was intrigued and aroused. Another part was horrified. “Why on Earth would I choose to become a vampire? Abandon daylight? Become a murderer just to live? Traveling to other worlds, killing innocent people?” He shook his head. “No. That will not happen.”
Jack closed his eyes and sighed. “You’re making assumptions. Many other Daniel’s have said the same thing.”
“Many?” Daniel asked, eyes widening.
“I am not part of the undead. I do not need to kill. I need only a small amount of blood to sustain me and it need not be human but that is preferable. I walk in the sun. I eat and drink regular food. Look at my skin? Am I a bloodless predator?”
Daniel frowned, confused, then berated himself for the third time. Why would Dracula be a real thing? Maybe the creature that . . . “Human creature, you said. What do you mean?”
“SG-1 gated to a world with an abundance of vampires. They had no interest in asking. They took. Several took too much. They are all dead now. I took my revenge.”
Daniel had no idea what to say to that.
“Several of you, Daniel, were willing to stay with me for a short time but they eventually left, returning to their own universe. They needed to go home. Will you stay?”
Daniel shook his head. “I’m not leaving my Jack, not even for a week with you.”
“Liar,” Jack said, smiling at him.
Daniel scowled. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Your Jack? C’mon, Daniel.”
Daniel’s eyes grew hot with outrage. “Yes, my Jack. We’re together. As in a couple. As in we’re fucking. I wouldn’t lie about that.”
Vampire Jack blinked a few times as if coming out from a fog. “You’re together? Like I was with my Daniel?”
Daniel frowned. “Yes. Why?”
“Because my other selves tend to be hetero through and through. He’s either still with Sara or he’s with Carter.” Vampire Jack shuddered. “Just no.” Looking back at Daniel, he half bowed. “I apologize for calling you a liar when I had no cause.”
“Oh but if you had a cause it would be all right,” Daniel stated rapidly and with heavy sarcasm.
“Of course,” Jack said, frowning back. He seemed to draw himself up to his six-foot-four inches making him seem all the taller somehow. He asked, “Will you give me an hour at least?”
Daniel swallowed. “I don’t think I could believably explain a vampire bite.”
Jack scowled. “Seems to me these people aren’t worth working for if they’d scoff at why you have a bite wound.”
Daniel flipped a sarcastic hand at him. “You’re used to the idea. Even in this universe. Mine? Not so much. You know how it goes. You walk into a real-life fairy tale and your first inclination is to prove it’s something other than the obvious.” Daniel gestured again. “Like I did with you.”
“A long way to say no. Are you resolved?”
Jack had grown darker somehow. Daniel wasn’t sure how he’d managed to do that. Or . . . maybe it was actually a shadow covering him? Daniel looked up at the ceiling, then around him. “Where’s that coming from?”
“Me. Answer the question.”
“Yes, I’m resolved. I’m not betraying my Jack. Once upon a time, you would have understood.”
“I do understand. It’s irrelevant.”
“Irrelevant?” Daniel asked, voice rising. “The hell it is.”
“Find the mirror,” Jack said coldly. “I’ll give you an hour. After that, you’re staying here for a while whether you like it or not.”
Daniel lost his temper. “Fuck you,” he snapped and went to the covered mirror and touched it. And nothing happened. He ran his hand over the surface and met strings. An actual harp. “Bastard,” he whispered, turning to Jack. “Where is it?”
“Find it. One hour.” Jack took a step toward him. His face grew angry, eyes filling with that rage Daniel recognized. Then the man’s lips curled upward in a wolf’s imitation and he growled, loud, deep, and menacing, “Run!”
The force of it made Daniel stumble backward into a small table, sending it toppling over . . .
And Daniel looked down at an old-fashioned container filled with what should’ve been face powder. Except tiny snakes were rushing out of it and blue-violet smoke expelled with them. It spread like an ocean wave after an earthquake, building up speed and mass.
In its wake, reality changed. The beautiful setting became old, rotten, color-bleached. The floor turned into peeling, flaking gray wood. The windows were stained with old rainwater, broken in several panes. The rug in the corridor was torn in places, colorless in many spots, and mold-ridden.
Daniel’s clothing was replaced with his BDU uniform. His bandana was missing. Presumably on the bench in that alcove.
Eyes widened in shock and encroaching terror, he turned to look at Jack. He was no longer Jack. Still wearing black. Still somewhat handsome. But he had long black hair which was matted and twisted into caricatures of what would’ve been Rastafarian on Earth. His clothing was ripped and stained with what was clearly blood and food bits. And his eyes were a dark red, like coals under ash. His fangs were still there, but a second shorter set appeared next to them. Saliva pooled around them and ran down the corners of his mouth.
“Run!” he snarled.
Daniel ran. How could he find the mirror? He ran down the stairs, rechecking the so-called locked door on the left. He found it open, making him wonder if all the other doors were open too. He ran to the front but found it locked still. To its right, he rechecked the door. Open. He went in and found himself in a type of kitchen. Sink, oven. Littered with debris that came through a broken window. The floor was over-dried and cracked. The sink and oven had rusted areas. Hadn’t been used in a long, long time.
The vampire had lied about needing food. What else was he lying about? Clearly, he had sophisticated hallucinogens at hand. All a game of illusion just to play with him.
Daniel heard a growling sound that seemed to permeate the walls and floor as he plunged through the far-open door and found another debris-littered room. Empty. Rinse, repeat in room after room, and always, that growling behind him. Growing ever closer. Ever closer.
He began to grow desperate, thinking to smash a window and escape the house, but he had to find the mirror.
Unless . . .
He came to an abrupt halt in a small room. That too had been a lie. He was in his own universe. He’d been fooled into believing he’d touched a mirror and transferred over. Redressed for a fantasy that, truth be told, gave Daniel wistful ideas. Ones he might even explore with his Jack . . . if he could draw up the nerve without conjuring a queasy stomach.
The growling grew louder and he couldn’t suppress the fear. What would happen if he was caught and bitten? Daniel saw a door on the other side of the small room and rushed toward it. He twisted the knob and it took force to get it open. When it budged open he found it swollen with age. Throwing his shoulder against it, the door finally move several inches. He squeezed through . . .
And a hand grabbed his shoulder. Long nails gouged into his flesh and Daniel cried out.
“Mine,” said the vampire. Or werewolf. Or whatever it was.
Hot breath touched the back of his neck and Daniel screamed, “No!”
Fangs scratched his neck and he shoved with his feet and threw an elbow back at his attacker.
He saw Jack, Sam, and Teal’c rushing forward, mouths open and screaming something. Then there was the piercing, stinging pain of fangs sinking into his neck and he screamed in horror and rage.
Then . . . blackness.
. * . * . * .
“He’s coming around, Doc,” Jack said.
Daniel opened his eyes, then abruptly sat up, hand at his neck, eyes wide with terror.
“Easy, easy, easy,” Jack ordered him, hand on his shoulder. “You’re okay, Daniel. We got you here in time.”
“In time?” Daniel felt his neck. No bandage. No scratches. Nothing but an I.V. “I don’t understand. I thought . . .”
“You experienced a waking nightmare,” Janet said, adjusting his I.V.
“Caused by what?” Daniel asked. “I’ve never had a waking nightmare. Unless you count Freshman Philosophy.”
Jack grinned and ruffled his hair. “Back to normal.”
“More or less,” Daniel said, but his intuition was screaming at him that something was still wrong. “What happened?”
Janet said, “According to your teammates, your foot had been caught in a hole after you entered a dilapidated building covered in this choking ivy. Apparently, the ivy emitted a cloud of purple dust as a defense mechanism.”
“A means of attack to subdue a victim,” Teal’c said. “I have seen this creature before.”
“A plant?” Janet asked.
“Indeed. A sentient one. It feeds on the host by sucking it dry of all fluids. What is left is a desiccated husk.”
“Ugh,” Daniel said, wrapping his arms around himself.
“Indeed. Fortunately, they are easily killed.”
“So real,” Daniel said to himself.
“Hallucinations can be very powerful,” Janet said. “Now, get a little bit of rest and I’ll talk to you in a few hours. This counter-agent to standard hallucinogens should get you right as rain so you can go home. If it doesn’t, we’ll try a few others.” She looked at Teal’c. “Unless you can tell us where to find the plant that is the natural counter-agent.”
“The home of this plant is currently occupied by the Goa’uld. Tau’ri methods will have to suffice.”
“Think Bra’tac knows of other places?” Jack asked.
“It is possible.” Teal’c bowed and he and Sam left for the Control Room.
Jack remained behind, sitting beside his infirmary bed. They were alone in the ward. Jack gave him a sad smile while Daniel studied him. “Sorry I didn’t get there sooner.”
“Nothing you could’ve done.”
The hallucination had brought forth ideas and beliefs Daniel hadn’t been consciously aware of. Now that he was, he couldn’t stop thinking about them. One of which he could deal with right away.
“About that . . . offer . . . you made a few months ago.”
Jack made a face. “You made yourself perfectly clear ab—”
“Yes,” Daniel said flatly.
“—out how you felt . . .” Jack stared at him. “You mean, you’ve changed your mind?”
“Has anything changed?” Jack asked. “Your personal life? Your home? The regs? Your fears?”
“Everything,” Daniel said. He slowly relayed the ‘dream’ world he’d been in. “I was in a relationship with you. This creature wanted me to willingly give you up to stay with him and I said no. I kept saying no. I think we can both see what my subconscious was creating and working out.”
“Huh,” Jack said.
They studied each other for a long minute or three. “Dinner?” Jack asked.
“My place, 7:30?”
Jack patted his leg and stood. “Get some rest. Then we’ll see how it goes tonight.”
“I already know,” Daniel said. “Because I’ve been . . . shown the way.”
Jack ran his fingers through Daniel’s hair. “One day at a time, man.”
Daniel snorted. “I tend to go into things by jumping in with both feet.”
“I noticed,” Jack smirked.
“When it comes to you? I’m diving in and to hell with any consequences.”
And for a second, just a teensy percentage of a second, Daniel thought he saw fangs. He fervently hoped it was the leftover drug.