Summary: Post-Crystal Skull
Jack found Daniel sitting in his car, again, but instead of looking forlorn, he was staring at his hand, flexing it. This time, Jack made enough noise as not to startle him.
Daniel looked over. “Hey.”
“Hey,” Jack answered, trying to gauge Daniel’s mood. He’d been quiet, more so than usual when in one of his contemplative phases. As for Jack, he was far from contemplative. In fact, he wanted to get as far away from contemplative as possible. This latest mission had put another scare into him, and a few more gray hairs on his head. Hairs that Daniel constantly contradicted were not grey, but silver. Jack smiled inwardly at the memory as he tried to affect nonchalance. “Doing anything?”
“No…well, other than sitting here, staring at my hand,” he answered quietly then made a point of putting one hand on the steering wheel and the other on the ignition, turning the engine over.
“Feel like company?”
“Um…okay. Not up to talking much at the moment.” His answer belied the relief he felt at Jack’s question.
“Well, there’s a shock,” Jack teased, trying a smile.
Daniel rolled his eyes at him, though he managed a tiny grin. He couldn’t be annoyed with Jack if he tried, and that was the problem. He wanted be annoyed. He wanted to be pissed. Instead, he felt numb.
“Fancy coming over and tying one on?”
Daniel couldn’t help but grin wider. Jack actually said ‘fancy’. “I’m getting a sense of deja vu. And don’t we need to be at work in the morning?”
“No, we have tomorrow off to rest up from that meow radiation thing.” He made Daniel laugh out loud then, which is exactly what Jack was trying for.
“Okay, Jack. I’ll meet you there.”
“Cool.” He reached out and patted Daniel’s shoulder and started to walk away but stopped as Sam and Teal’c came round the corner, walking toward them. “Damn,” he said to himself, then lifted his head in greeting. “Hey. What’re you two up to?”
“Well, we were wondering…”
“We are wondering if the two of you would join us down at O’Malley’s for steak.”
Jack’s stomach answered for him and he patted it. “Seems like the li’l fella has spoken. Daniel?”
“What? Oh, yeah, um sure…”
With that, Sam and Teal’c headed for her car and Jack went to his truck. Daniel sat there for a minute, not the least bit interested in going to O’Malley’s, even if he did like the food and even if he did like spending time with his friends, his teammates. Right now, he simply wasn’t in the mood. It would probably help if he could at least feel something other than extreme loneliness and isolation. Hopefully, this would pass.
Sitting down at a table for four, they ordered the usual and while waiting, Sam and Teal’c noticed that Daniel was rather quiet, more so than usual.
“What did it feel like, Daniel Jackson?” Teal’c suddenly asked.
Daniel blinked in surprise. Sam and Jack looked like they were going to ask the same question, but it seemed Teal’c had just beaten them to it. “You mean, being out of phase?”
Daniel quickly wondered if he should tell them the whole truth, or just part of it. He hadn’t yet made up his mind when he found himself talking about it. “I don’t know. I felt normal, sort of, except I wasn’t hungry, thirsty, or tired. You guys would have noticed the same thing, had you been out of phase as long as I was. I felt a rather intense feeling of…” he said, pausing, deciding. “An intense loneliness. None of you could see or hear me. It made me think of my childhood after my parents died. The sad kid whom no one would talk to because they don’t know what to say so they ignored him instead.”
His friends were equally surprised by his admission. They looked at him as if he’d grown three heads, and though all three seemed to want to speak at once, the only words that flowed were from Jack.
“Only because the right people weren’t around, Daniel,” Jack told him. “Someone like myself or Sara would have spoken to you, taken you in.”
Daniel gave him an appreciative smile. “Thanks, Jack. I know there are some good sorts out there. I just wasn’t lucky enough to run into them. Made good friends though, a few years later. That helped. Anyway, as I was saying, even though I had this lonely feeling, not once did I get bored. I could have. I mean, I couldn’t actually do anything but watch and listen.”
“I still can’t figure out why we didn’t fall through the floor,” Sam commented.
“Tell me about it,” Daniel nodded with grin.
Jack was forming a mischievous grin. When Daniel looked at him, he gave a double-take.
Jack’s grin increased and he bit at his lip before taking a sip from his beer. “Watching and listening, huh? Who were you watching and who were you listening to?”
Daniel snorted. Leave it to Jack to focus on the more amusing aspects of what had happened.
Sam and Teal’c suddenly gave Daniel interested stares, their expressions almost as mischievous. “Daniel?” Sam asked.
Daniel sighed. “Well, I visited Hammond, as you know. I also went into Teal’c’s room to tell him ‘thank you’ for coming back to get that skull, because if he hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to come home, and therefore, talk to my grandfather.”
Teal’c was staring at Daniel and his eyes grew wide. “During my kel-no-reem, Daniel Jackson?”
Daniel smiled, knowingly, and nodded. Teal’c inclined his head, then his expression became calmer. “That is good to know. I thought that maybe I was sensing something that wasn’t there.”
“Sorry, Teal’c. It was me. Oh, and I’m sorry for intruding, by the way. I needed to be around you guys.”
“That is understandable, Daniel Jackson. There is no need to apologize.”
“Teal’c? Daniel?” Jack asked, irritated at being out of loop and wanting an explanation.
“Um, when I went to see Teal’c, I was sitting in front of him, speaking to him as he meditated. Suddenly his eyes flew open…”
“I sensed a presence,” Teal’c continued, “And asked if anyone was there.”
Daniel nodded. “I kept trying to get him to hear me but…he couldn’t. Then he walked right through me. That was the second time he’d done that.”
Jack nodded, remembering part of Daniel’s report. “The first time being on the planet.”
“Right.” Daniel went quiet for a moment because not long after that incident he’d started to think he was dead. The others, having read his account of everything, seemed to sense his discomfort. Before anything else could be said, dinner was served, so they dug in, occasionally talking about the ‘big fella’ they saw (as Jack code-named the alien). Halfway through the meal, Daniel found himself, again, questioned about what he’d seen and heard…that hadn’t gone into his report.
“Well, while you two were temporarily down for the count,” and he pointed to Jack and Sam, “I was trying to get myself used to the fact that I could walk through bulkheads, which was very fucking weird…and scary. I was afraid that if I tried to go through the floor to the next level, I’d keep on going, so I ended up wasting loads of time waiting for someone to open the elevators. Found myself stuck on a few floors, standing around, waiting for the elevator to open back up.”
“Why didn’t you just stay in the elevator?” Jack asked.
“And do what? I’d already been riding the damn thing up and down, waiting for someone to get off on the right floor. I finally ended up back on level 19 so I stayed there until you guys sent the UAV. But before that, I was getting tired of people walking through me as I walked down the busier corridors so I kept making detours through office walls.”
“Must’ve felt as if you were a ghost,” Sam commented.
“For all intents and purposes, I was,” Daniel said, then paused. “Wait, remember in the lab, when you were just out of the infirmary and Janet was there? You were talking to Robert about what he’d discovered.”
“Yeah,” she said agreeing, wondering what he was getting at.
“Remember when Janet handed you that glass of water?”
Sam stopped chewing, her eyes growing wide. She swallowed quickly. “I felt a…shudder of some kind. Kind of like that saying about someone walking over your grave.”
Daniel nodded, pointing his fork at her. “I had actually been sitting on the desk, although don’t ask how. It was then that I suddenly wondered why I wasn’t hungry or thirsty. I thought that maybe I was dead and a real ghost. I jumped off the desk.”
“That was you?”
Daniel nodded. “It wasn’t your imagination.”
Sam nodded, her friends noting the look on her face as several ideas came into her mind at the same time. “Probably the left over effects of the muon radiation that allowed me to be sensitive to motion or objects not in the same phase as my own.”
“Probably. Still don’t know how I was able to sit or lean against solid matter yet be unable to open doors or climb stairs.”
Sam shook her head. “I don’t get that, either. I’ve been trying to figure that out so much it’s given me a headache.”
Daniel snorted. “You’re not the only one.”
“Guys!” Jack interrupted them, then looked at Daniel. “Daniel, you were going to tell us what sort of stuff you saw and heard that you wouldn’t put in the report, so ‘fess up.”
“Why are you so interested in that, sir?” Sam asked, grinning around a french fry.
“Because I’m curious, Carter.”
“If you say so, sir.”
He turned his attention back to Daniel. “Well?”
Daniel was hoping to be able to segue so far off the topic that the others would forget about it. Seemed that Jack wasn’t going to let it go. He took a deep breath then drained the remainder of the water in his glass.
“Well, once, I passed through this office, which I thought was empty, but I heard sounds coming from the storage closet. After listening a little longer, I realized that a couple were having sex in there. That was embarrassing.”
Sam and Teal’c smiled slightly, but Jack had a very filthy smirk on his face which he hid with his beer glass.
“So, that was it?” Sam asked.
“Um, no,” Daniel told her. “There was some similar stuff in a supply closet in another corridor and in an office on another floor.”
“Similar?” Jack asked.
“I’m not saying anymore about that.”
Jack gave him a nod, but his eyes said he’d be getting it out of him sooner or later.
“What else?” Jack finally asked.
Daniel grinned. “I caught a few people jerking off in bathrooms.”
Sam abruptly spat out the diet coke she’d been drinking, trying to stifle the crimson blush on her cheeks. “Jesus, Daniel. Warn me next time.” Fortunately, the coke had ended up dotting only her own plate.
“Sorry, Sam,” he said grinning a bit more broadly. “I said it that way on purpose. You’re so funny when you get flustered.”
“I’m not flustered,” and she gave him a ‘quit it’ stare, which he chose to leave unanswered.
“Anyway, let’s see…” He thought about it and suddenly had to refrain from laughing at one of the things. “I caught Sgt. Siler picking his nose.”
Jack laughed outright, then asked, “Just a little surveying or was he mining for gold?”
Seeing that Sam was trying to hold the laughter in, Daniel couldn’t resist and applied the visual: he stuck his index finger up his nose and moved it around dramatically.
Sam lost it more than she had before, spraying her entire plate with diet coke and Jack and Daniel fell about.
“Have a little steak with your soda, Carter,” Jack quipped after recovering, receiving a dirty glare in return. All that was missing was her flipping him the bird.
Teal’c found their behavior more amusing than the knowledge of Sgt. Siler picking his nose and he kept on eating, his grin showing in the crinkling of his eyes.
“So, Danny, what else?”
Daniel smiled over at Sam, who pointedly refrained from sipping on her soda, eating one of her fries instead. “Um, the nurse in the infirmary, Lt. Anderson, has a riding panty problem,” and made a gesture that made Sam snort knowingly. “Then there’s Janet…”
Everyone sat to attention, including Teal’c.
“In her office, behind her desk, she sits like a man.”
Teal’c didn’t get it, exactly.
Jack sat with wide eyes, then grinned evilly. Sam, on the other hand, just gave a nodding look of ‘so what’.
“I always had a feeling she was actually a man once.”
“No, you’re just seeing Napoleon.”
Sam snorted. “She does what I do. It’s relaxing. Janet’s in class B’s most of the time, too. Those uniforms are constricting. And someone needs to do away with those pumps.”
Daniel choked on his water, laughing. “Janet said once that she’d like to bury them in the skull of the asshole that designed them.”
“As every other military and civilian woman has said since the invention of the high heel.”
Jack and Daniel both nodded, trying to understand the point, even if they did like the ‘look’ of them.
“What else?” Sam asked.
Daniel went about explaining other nose-picking, butt-picking, underwear-pulling, pantyhose-straightening events, as well as a few more out-of-character things. Most of the things generated laughter or disgust. Then came a game of ‘what have you done when you thought no one was looking’. Throughout the discussion, they’d finished their meal and were now contemplating dessert when Sam suggested the thing Daniel had been dreading, especially as he hated saying no to her when she was in such a good mood.
“Hey, if you guys don’t mind, why don’t we have our dessert over a game or three of pool? Whaddya say?”
Despite his hating the idea, Daniel saw that Jack and Teal’c were up for it. He knew why, too. They, himself included, loved watching Sam play the balls off the boys who inevitably challenged her. It always started the same and ended the same. Sam and one her teammates would play, then the nearby regulars would challenge her. They would lose every time but they kept coming back for more, having that macho-driven need to beat “the woman”.
Though that was fun to watch, Daniel wasn’t in the mood to be around the neanderthals that frequented the bar. Every time he’d gone there, with his friends, they had always sent a few snide comments his way, and though he normally didn’t waste time in responding to them, he didn’t trust himself…not while this strange mood was on him.
Taking in Sam’s pleading, almost puppy-dog, look, he couldn’t say no. A pool table was free so after taking their desserts and drinks with them, they gathered in the corner of the bar by the row of pool tables. Daniel was relieved that some of the more annoying regulars weren’t there as he sat down at the square table nearby. He watched while Jack racked up the pool balls and Sam took her time in choosing her cue stick. For the next forty-five minutes, all three of her teammates played her one game each, losing with considerable grace.
With an amused smile on his face, Daniel went to relieve himself. When he returned, he found that the more annoying regulars had shown up, and the most annoying of them was talking to Sam, challenging her to some sort of game which probably included a wager. The man, or more accurately, the bully boy – named Matt – was slightly under her height, muscularly built with dark hair. He had this extremely irritating habit of throwing a condescending smile at him, and as Daniel walked back over to the table where Jack and Teal’c were sitting, the bastard proved himself predictable and shot him one.
Sam noticed and bristled, not wanting the guy to start anything this time. She and her teammates were having fun. Couldn’t they just do that without it getting spoiled? She walked over to Daniel and whispered in his ear.
“He’s going to ruin the whole evening. Wanna split?”
Daniel rolled his eyes. “No, just take his money. It’ll be worth it just to see that.”
“You’re sure? He seems to have had an early start drinking.”
When she returned, Matt was staring at Daniel, giving him yet another condescending glance.
Sam scowled at him. “Hey, I thought you wanted to play, not stare at my friend all night.”
Matt turned to her. “Who’s staring? Let’s play.”
Sam rolled her eyes, then smirked at Daniel knowingly. She set up the game while Daniel returned Matt’s looks with a smirk and sat down. Instead of letting it go, Matt walked up him, using the pool cue as a prop, leaning on it. “What’s that smirk for?”
Oh boy. Here we go. “Aren’t you supposed to be playing pool?” Daniel replied, catching Sam’s expression. Before Matt could respond, Sam purposely caught Matt’s attention by spinning her pool stick in her fingers like one of those toy windmills.
“You know what? How about we play for $200 instead of $100?” She really wanted to take him down, but not by taking his money.
“That confident?” he asked, losing his interest in Daniel.
Daniel sighed with relief, and could feel Jack and Teal’c’s anger as they sat behind him. It both irritated and comforted him. They were his back up, but at the same time, he didn’t want back up. He could take that guy…or he thought he could, anyway. He’d give it a shot, that’s for sure. Right now, the only thing that actually kept him from meeting the guy outside was the disappointment on Hammond’s face that he knew he’d see later…and the fact that he believed that fighting never solved anything. Most of the time, anyway.
Behind Daniel, Jack exchanged looks with Teal’c. Even though this was Daniel’s problem and Daniel would deal with it as he saw fit, Jack had to stomp on his urge to stand up with Teal’c and intimidate the guy out of the restaurant…if not the entire state.
Sitting quietly, with a few periodic comments to each other, the three men sat and watched Sam easily outplay the mouthy bastard. Draining his one and only glass of JackDaniels, Daniel got up, pondering a refill. Although Teal’c was drinking water, Daniel asked him and Jack if they wanted refills. They declined so he gave Sam a questioning look after she sank another ball in a pocket.
She started to answer but Matt interrupted. It was obvious that he was looking to provoke. “Hey, if she wants anythin’ to drink, I’ll get it.”
Sam walked past him, sneering at him slightly. “I don’t think so.” Daniel blinked at the man as if he were an insect, then looked at Sam, waiting for answer. “Thanks, Daniel, but I believe this one is my last,” she answered, showing increasing irritation as she pointedly looked at Matt just before sinking the last ball on the table.
Daniel smiled softly. “Well, in that case, I’ll just return my glass to the bar.”
“Hold up,” she said, and promptly drained the small amount left in her beer. “Would you take this with you?”
He smiled again and took the bottle. When he moved around the table toward the bar, Matt stepped in his way and shoved an empty bottle in his chest.
“Here, take mine, too.”
Daniel looked at him, rolled his eyes, then stepped back and to the side, easily moving around the guy without saying a word. He placed his glass and Sam’s bottle on the bar counter, then nodded to the bartender before going back to their table. Jack and Teal’c were already standing and Sam was getting her coat on…waiting for the drunk she’d just beaten to pay up.
Daniel walked to his chair and picked up his coat, frowning at the man as he heard Matt refusing to pay Sam her end of the wager. He cast a look at Matt’s buddies as they stood by another table, but they weren’t moving to interfere. Their expressions implied they were too embarrassed to look for a fight, for which Daniel was relieved. The night hadn’t been going that badly…until now.
“So, you’re not honoring the bet?” Sam asked with disdain.
“Please,” Matt replied derisively. “I let ya win.”
Sam’s brow went up, just as Daniel’s did. He walked up next to her, with Jack and Teal’c right behind.
“You let me win,” Sam repeated, sneering again at the man. “How lame is that? Can’t you just be a man and pay up?” She wanted to add, Oh, I forgot. You’re not a man, are you?
Her comment left the man floundering because if he said no, he’d be admitting he wasn’t a man. Daniel couldn’t help but smirk…which drew the attention away from Sam and onto him.
Matt flashed his own sneer at Daniel. “Whaddya smirkin’ at, loser?”
“I believe you’re the one who’s lost,” Daniel replied calmly. Jack and Teal’c moved around to Sam’s other side and in single file, the four of them made for the exit. With Daniel last, Matt was right behind him and he gave Daniel a sudden push on the shoulder.
“I’s talking to ya, ya wuss!”
Daniel stopped and turned slightly. Without responding to the man, he looked over at his buddies, giving them a ‘take care of your asshole friend’ look, before turning back around to join his teammates, who were waiting a few steps ahead. The looks on his friends’ faces told him that trouble was coming a millisecond before it did. He received another push in the back, this one causing him to lose his balance slightly. He stopped again and turned round.
“What is your problem?”
“You’re the problem. I ass’d a question and I wanna answer.”
“No, you’re drunk and you’re picking a fight with the wrong person.”
“Issat so, queer boy?”
Daniel narrowed his eyes in pretended confusion. “Is that supposed to goad me into doing something or…?”
“C’mon, you’re not even defendin’ yourself? You must be queer.”
Daniel smiled and Jack didn’t need to see it to know that Daniel was doing his ‘drunk man’ version of snake-baiting. “Do you always do that?”
Matt looked at him with real confusion. “What the fuck are ya talking about?”
“Attempt to piss off someone else just because you’re pissed off at the world, and drunk, like I said before?”
Matt didn’t know what to say so he said, “No. And what’s it to ya anyway?”
“Isn’t that my question?” Daniel asked, further confusing the man.
Sam bit her lips together, exercising considerable restraint to keep from laughing. Daniel shook his head and started to turn around when the man grabbed his coat at the shoulder.
“You don’t walk away that easy, queer.”
Daniel frowned, not bothering to take the man’s grasp from his coat. “Where do you come up with this stuff?”
“Ah, so ya are?”
Daniel smiled. “I’m sorry, only one question per drunk.”
Matt frowned, unable to remember what it was he wanted. “You’re walking away from a fight. Only pussies do that.”
“Really?” Daniel asked, still smiling, finding the man more than amusing. His adrenalin was up but in no way was he angry. He couldn’t be. Not at this stupid drunk who didn’t have enough sense to fill a specimen jar. Suddenly a large brown hand closed over Matt’s and slowly removed it from Daniel’s jacket, making Matt wince in pain. Daniel looked up and though he wanted to smile at Teal’c, he gave him a serious look instead. “Thanks.”
“You are welcome.”
“Who the fuck’s this? Your bodyguard?”
Daniel laughed outright at that. “No, just my friend.”
“Like I am,” Jack replied.
“And me,” Sam said. Their expressions were far from amused, however, like Teal’c’s. This time, Daniel didn’t mind their interference as it was clear the drunk wasn’t about to stand down. Matt’s friends had enough good sense to walk up just then and pull him away, but Matt had to get in one more remark.
“Only a pussy has others fight his battles for him.”
“That’s funny,” Daniel replied, beginning to turn around. “I wasn’t aware we were fighting.”
“If you weren’t such a goddamn fucking coward–“
“I don’t fight drunks. When you’re sober, then we’ll have another chat.”
Matt was going to say something else but it was too late as Daniel and his teammates had left the bar.
Jack slapped Daniel on the back as they reached the cashier station, then pulled the check out from his jacket for the waiting cashier. “The next time we come here, twenty bucks says that little prick doesn’t remember a thing.”
Daniel grinned at him. “I’ll take that bet.”
Grinning smugly, Jack paid the bill, then held the exit door open for his friends. “Next time, it’s someone else’s turn to pay for the meal.”
“I’ll get it,” Sam and Daniel said, then grinned at each other.
Sam handed her car keys to Teal’c. “I’ve only had two, but just in case, you drive.”
Teal’c bowed, a grin on his face. “Very well.”
Jack and Daniel paused, looking at each other. “Well,” Jack began, “on those grounds, neither of us is fit to drive as I’ve had two beers and you’ve had the one JD.”
Daniel grimaced. “I think we’ll manage. I doubt we’ll be running off any roads.”
Sam snorted at them as she and Teal’c waved and strode off to her car. Daniel turned to Jack, a big smirk on his face. “That was the best cover I’d seen her use in a while.”
Jack frowned. “What do you mean?” Then his eyes got wide and he jumped to an immediate conclusion. “You don’t mean…they’re not…are they?” he asked rapidly.
Daniel grinned. “No, Jack. Teal’c just loves driving her car.”
Jack snorted quietly. “Figures.”
Daniel hesitated, jiggling his keys in his hand before going to his jeep. “So, that offer still open?”
Jack gave him a small grin and stared at him for a moment before answering. Daniel gave him a wary look, making his grin widen. “How about we go park your Jeep at your apartment, then you come with me.”
Daniel knew Jack was up to something. He thought about arguing the point, but seeing as they had the next day off, he couldn’t think of a reason to argue. “Sure, okay, but I’m not much in the mood to get drunk.”
“That’s okay. Me, neither.”
Daniel started to reply, then thought better of it. He simply smiled and went over to his Jeep and started it up. Jack followed him home, tapping the steering wheel with anticipation as Daniel parked his vehicle and got into his truck.
“So, what’s on your mind, Jack?” he asked.
Jack’s grin grew mischievous. “Oh, the usual.”
Daniel didn’t respond to that, either. He knew Jack was up to something. Deciding to play the wait and see, as Jack would only toy with the answer anyway, Daniel absently watched the scenery go by…until he realized that Jack missed his turn off and they were heading toward the mountain.
“We’re just going someplace else. Want me to turn around and go back?”
“No, no, you’re fine. I’m just curious, that’s all.”
“So am I, actually.”
Daniel lifted a brow. “About?”
“You wanted that drunk to take a swing at you, didn’t you?”
Daniel bit at his lip. “What makes to think that?”
“You usually walk away without response, Daniel. Without…one…word. Not this time. It was as if you wanted him to start a fight. If so, why?”
Daniel stared out the window, then looked over at Jack briefly before looking out the window again. “I need to feel something. I feel…well, like I’m still a ghost. I don’t know why. I can see, taste, smell, touch, hear. But none of it seems real. I thought that maybe more intense emotions would help.”
Jack grinned at him in partial sympathy and partial understanding. “I think I’ve just the thing.”
Daniel didn’t get one further word of explanation. Though he knew Jack meant sex, which Daniel had no problem with whatsoever, it was Jack’s unknown destination that was driving him mad. Going up the mountain, Jack had taken another road, away from the Cheyenne Mountain tunnel entrance. As they travelled deeper into deep forest, Jack’s hand moved onto Daniel’s thigh, rubbing, teasing, and staying away from his cock.
“Feel that?” he asked, sending him a very serious look.
Both the look and his hand made Daniel very hard. It didn’t help that his erection was somewhat impeded by the fact that he needed to take a piss. “Yes, I feel that,” and he took Jack’s hand away slowly, torn between keeping it on his thigh and not wanting to make his painful erection any worse. “Unfortunately, Jack, I need to take a piss…soon.”
Jack nodded. “Me, too. Almost there.”
They both groaned as the truck hit a pothole. Though the truck’s shocks took most of the bounce, it still hurt. Finally, Jack pulled down a very short drive to what appeared to be a reserved camping ground.
“I didn’t know we were going camping,” Daniel said sarcastically.
“We’re not. I have this spot paid for during the entire camping season, just in case I want to go during a day off but can’t afford to take the time to fly to the cabin. There’s a campground sticker on the back bumper of my truck. It’ll keep the park rangers from interrupting.”
They got out of the truck and as Daniel found a place to relieve himself, Jack walked down the short drive and pulled the end of a chain out of one iron post and slid its thick iron pin through a ring on the second post. A sign hung from the center of the chain, which Daniel couldn’t read as it faced the wrong way.
“What’s that say?” he called out as he tucked himself back into his trousers.
Jack took that moment to take his piss and looked over his shoulder. “Occupied.”
Daniel snorted. “Well, that’s obvious. Unfortunately, we can’t stay long, Jack. No camping gear. I don’t have my meds and I don’t even have any–“
“Daniel, get back in the truck,” Jack asked quietly as he returned. Daniel smiled and didn’t question – yet – as they got back in the truck. He watched as Jack stretched behind their benchseat and retrieved a silver insulation tarp. He then pulled on a lever behind them and the back abruptly dropped down, flush with the short king cab seat behind them. Opening the door, he got out, taking the tarp with him.
Daniel’s excitement rose, taking in their newly made ‘bed’. He was momentarily confused when Jack left the truck, leaving his door open, but the confusion quickly evaporated when the tarp was thrown over the top of the truck and with a little shifting here and there, all of the windows were soon covered, including the windshield. Daniel’s excitement rose even further in anticipation as Jack dipped under the tarp on his side, got back in the truck, locked his door, and rolled his window down a crack.
He smiled at Daniel as he took off his coat. “Lock your door, then open the glove compartment.” His hand reached upward and quickly turned the dome light onto it’s low setting. There was just enough light and it set off a warm glow within the darkened cab.
Daniel removed his coat first, then did as Jack asked. Inside the glove compartment was a plastic bag, and inside it, a tube of lube and a travel pack of wipes. Daniel removed them and set them to the side of the makeshift bed.
“Nice thinking,” he said somewhat huskily, kicking off his shoes and unbuttoning his trousers even before thinking about his pullover shirt. He was a bit distracted as Jack was down to his shorts already. “Damn, but you strip fast.”
“You learn all kinds of handy and useful things in the military,” Jack replied as he reached out and swiftly took Daniel’s shirt off him, then pulled him in for a firm, hungry kiss, before going back to removing his own shorts.
Daniel grinned, wriggling out of his trousers and shorts as he stared at Jack’s now nude body. “For that kind of training, I’m grateful.”
“Oh…so am I,” Jack said with a knowing smile. Daniel tossed his shorts at him, then reached for his lover but Jack held up his hand. “Wait.” From a pocket at the back of the cab, he pulled out another insulation tarp, this one grey. “We should’ve put this down first but I had my mind on…other things.” Daniel grinned in response. “Now, this will let us move a little more…freely,” and he leered knowingly as he had Daniel help him spread it in place over the entire ‘bed’ surface. The side they placed down had a tackiness to it so it clung to the vinyl seats very well. The side that would be against their skin was like soft, short-napped velvet; it would accommodate a small amount of sliding.
Daniel ran his hands across the surface, liking the feel. “Nice, Jack. You come up with the most amazing tricks for camping gear.”
Jack grinned wickedly at him. “Not really, Daniel. These are sold in camping shops.”
Daniel smirked back as his hand slid across the surface toward Jack. “Yes, but were they for this use, I wonder?”
“Very likely, Daniel, now…c’mere.”
Daniel moved up alongside, his hands pulling their bodies together, searching out the warmth of his lover’s skin. Jack’s hand cradled his head as his mouth reached his for a much deeper and more passionate kiss. It was slow, languorous, and they took their time, despite where they were. As they lay on their sides, diagonal across the bed, their hands stroked and caressed, creating a tingling which turned to rough need as the sweat began to build. Jack rolled Daniel onto his back as his tongue twined around his, drinking in his taste, his desire, now knowing and sensing what Daniel wanted…what Daniel needed. His answer earlier told him: to be taken away from his feelings of isolation. He needed to feel real. Jack would make sure that he would, and with as much intensity as possible.
He broke their kiss and sought out the spot under his ear, the one he’d learned sent shivers through his lover’s body. As predicted, Daniel shuddered under the touch of his tongue as Jack eagerly teased the salty skin. He moved with precision, his tongue darting along the line of his throat, then downward, under a nipple, following the curvature of his pectoral muscle. Jack loved the musky scent of him and breathed in deeply as he tasted and stimulated the sensitive zone there. Daniel arched back, wanting more as his throat let loose a long, soft moan.
“Jack,” he breathed restlessly.
“Hmmm?” his lover replied as his lips took the nipple finally and suckled, hard. His hands roughly molded and caressed his thighs, teasing Daniel as they stayed away from his groin. Daniel’s breath hitched as Jack suckled hard on the other nipple, pulling this time with his teeth, sending shivers through him. His teeth then grazed down the pectoral line and the ridge of a rib.
“Jack, I need you,” Daniel managed, barely, as Jack’s tongue made a fine trail down his abdomen and circled his navel. With the tip, he teased the sensitive flesh inside. Gasping, Daniel pulled Jack’s head up. “I need you.”
“I know, Daniel. And you need to feel. I’m going to make sure that you do.”
Daniel let out a breathy moan then as Jack curled his body so that his mouth could seek out the skin of inner thigh. His tongue found the underside of his balls, and Daniel tightened his fingers as they combed through Jack’s hair.
“Please,” he whispered.
“Not yet,” Jack breathed, just before moving up to swiftly take his cock into his mouth. Daniel gasped, closing his eyes and writhing under Jack’s definitive touch. His strong fingers held Daniel’s buttocks still while his mouth and tongue drove Daniel insane with pleasure. When he began to suck, Daniel jerked, and more pre-come warned Jack that his lover would come soon. As if on cue, Daniel pulled Jack’s attentions from his cock.
“Now, Jack. I need you…now.”
Jack heard the crackling of the plastic bag, then the opening of the tube. Daniel pulled Jack back up alongside, then squirted the lube onto his fingers and his cock.
“Not too much, Jack,” Daniel warned. “If you play,” and he stressed the word purposely, making Jack bite his lip as Daniel’s fingers squeezed his shaft while he applied the lube, “you’ll bring me off and lose the chance of me coming with you inside me. I don’t want that. I need to feel you inside me when I come. Understand?”
“Perfectly,” Jack replied as his fingers slipped down past Daniel’s perineum, rubbing delicately before doing the same to his rectum. He moved his fingertips in circles, stimulating the ring of muscle. Daniel brought Jack’s mouth to his in a frenzied kiss, moaning down his throat as his tongue busily wrestled with Jack’s. Jack returned the fervent kiss with interest, sliding his free arm under Daniel’s neck to hold him still while his fingers entered his body. Daniel brought an arm around Jack’s neck, pulling him in for a deeper kiss as Jack’s fingers opened him. He spread his legs, pulling Jack on top of him and rocked his hips upward. Jack accommodated him, keeping his fingers inside, moving them slowly, making sure he didn’t tease as he normally did.
Daniel gasped, breaking the kiss. “Fuck me,” he whispered harshly, bringing his knees up as he stroked his lover’s cock very firmly.
Jack hissed. “Damn it, Daniel, are you trying to make me come right now?”
“No, I’m trying to get you inside me,” he said forcefully as he slid a hand down the small of Jack’s back and over his buttocks and sliding his middle finger between the cleft. “Now, Jack. I need to feel that cock of yours inside me.”
Jack growled as he removed his fingers, then positioned his cock, rubbing against the entrance, stimulating himself as well as Daniel. Spreading his knees wide, he guided the head of his cock into his lover, listening to both his own and Daniel’s soft groans as it breached the tight flesh. Putting his weight on his forearms, he slid his hands under Daniel’s shoulders and again held him still as he sheathed himself in that wondrous heat: like hand in glove, a perfect fit.
Daniel bit his lip and closed his eyes, his hands moving up and down Jack’s glistening back as his lover sank completely within. He finally let out the breath he’d been holding, moaning as he exhaled. “God, you feel good,” he whispered.
Jack lowered his body, rocking slightly, enough to rub his belly against Daniel’s cock; enough to brush nipple against nipple; enough for their tongues to taste and their lips to close around each other’s.
Daniel rocked his own hips upward, already adjusting and needing to feel that friction of heat. “Daniel,” Jack warned, but Daniel kept rocking upward.
“I need it,” he breathed. “I need you.” He arched his head back as Jack rolled his hips, thrusting in short, easy movements, creating an hypnotic rhythm. “Yes, Jack,” he cried out softly. “Yes.” Jack’s heat, alive and full within him, felt glorious. He wanted more. He needed more. He hadn’t realized he’d whispered the word until Jack began to move a little more, creating a stronger, harder rhythm. Daniel opened his eyes and stared into Jack’s brown depths, loving that look, that amazing, pleasure-drugged look that Jack got just as he began to sweat fully. Still needing more, he pulled his knees to his chest but it didn’t seem enough. When his feet brushed against the ceiling of the cab, he knew what he wanted. He raised his knees high as he raised his ass to meet Jack’s thrusts, then he planted the soles of his feet against the roof and used them as leverage as he thrust up, hard.
“Daniel!” Jack growled with lust as Daniel’s thrust rocked his balls. Daniel could see the lust rising in his face and knew that all Jack needed was his permission. He should know by now that he always had it.
He thrust upward with every one of Jack’s strokes, watching, feeling, needing more. “Let go, Jack. Let go,” and for emphasis, he pushed up rapidly, and as hard as he could manage.
“Danny,” Jack gasped, kissing him hard as he trusted Daniel in allowing him to let go. Thrusting harder, he couldn’t help but smile as he watched Daniel’s face transform. Daniel’s mouth dropped open, his eyes bright and wide, staring into his face, unable to speak as he received the even, measured pounding. Short high-pitched gasps escaped his throat and soon became rapid pants as his desire climbed higher. Daniel knew he wouldn’t last much longer.
Jack felt one of Daniel’s strong, long-fingered hands leave his back to caress his chest, tweaking at his nipples, before sliding downward to grasp his own cock. Jack leaned down again, snaking his tongue across Daniel’s lips, encouraging his lover’s tongue to meet his own.
“It’s time…I think,” Jack panted breathlessly, feeling a few drops of sweat drop from his throat to blend with Daniel’s.
“Yes,” Daniel replied, his voice ragged and pleading. “Yes. Fuck me harder. Make me come.”
Jack angled his hips and drove relentlessly, playing his lover’s gland like a musical instrument. Quite suddenly, Daniel gasped loudly, desperately, feeling Jack drawing the powerful orgasm from him. He increased the speed of his own hand, tightening the strokes, and he abruptly arched, throwing head back, his eyes shutting tight. He cried out wordlessly as his release shook him, sparking violent tremors throughout his body.
“Daniel,” Jack whispered as his body trembled, consumed by the exquisite heat of his lover. His lips and teeth latched onto that available throat and sucked hard, a perfectly timed reaction to the tight flesh that gripped his cock, squeezing spasmodically, ripping his climax from him. He froze his thrusts, his body going rigid through the tremors as he felt his semen spurt long and hard inside Daniel’s body. The liquid bathed the muscle covering the gland and Daniel shook with the added stimulation.
They stayed motionless for a while, trapped in the heightened afterglow, afraid to move, afraid it would cease. When they were reminded once again where they were, and were without the luxury of being able to snuggle under blankets on a soft bed, they relaxed into each others arms, languishing for a moment in the humid warmth before the air around them cooled with their skin.
Jack pulled from his lover’s body, groaning as he did so, and sat up, grabbing the towelettes from the plastic bag to clean up them both. Daniel took some of the towelettes, helping, cleaning Jack as Jack cleaned him. Depositing the used towelettes into the bag, Daniel then raised a hand to Jack’s cheek, caressing softly.
“You’re so welcome.” He leaned down and kissed him softly. “Now, lets go home and do this all over again, only on a much better surface.”
“I don’t know. I rather liked this one,” Daniel replied, stretching out his body, almost writhing seductively. Jack growled deep in his throat.
“Come on. The longer we stay here, the colder it’ll get.”
Daniel groaned. “You’re right. I’m also hungry again.”
Jack smirked as he handed Daniel his shorts. Daniel caught the expression and smacked him across the arm.
“For food, Jack. Food. Don’t you have one of those emergency pizzas in the freezer?”
Jack growled louder at his lover as his hunger was forced to the surface. “You’re right, and damn you for reminding me.”
Daniel laughed mischievously as he got dressed.
The two of them reclined in bed, freshly washed, though their fingers were now stained with tomato sauce as they ravenously ate up one of the better brands of frozen pizza.
Guffawing with satisfaction, Daniel let out a rather loud belch after drinking down half a glass of water. Jack followed suit, only with beer, not water.
“So, you feeling any better? Over all of it, I mean?”
Daniel gave him a crooked smile. “Yes,” then leaned over and stole a slightly greasy kiss from his lover. “Thanks.”
“I aim to please.”
Daniel laughed. “You aim to be annoying, you mean.”
“Your aim is higher.”
Through another mouthful of pizza, Daniel laughed, nodding, then added, “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome. Anything else I can do?”
“Surprise me,” he said, placing a smidgen of tomato sauce onto his dick.
Jack swallowed his mouthful of pizza, followed it with the rest of his beer, then leered at Daniel as he laid himself over his lover’s thighs.
“This isn’t much of a surprise, Daniel,” he murmured as he bent down and licked the tomato sauce off his skin.
Daniel inhaled softly through his nose at the touch of Jack’s tongue. He swallowed quickly, careful not to choke. “No, that’s not, I’ll admit.”
“Maybe this is,” Jack told him, a devious look in his eye as his tongue ran over the head of his lover’s cock. That wasn’t what Jack meant, however.
Daniel’s eyes widened as he felt two very greasy fingers slide easily between his buttocks.
Two weeks later…
Daniel lay on the floor of his office with Jack at his side. Daniel’s face grimaced through the pain that shot through him as he doubled into a fetal position. “FUCK!” he screamed. Jack’s own face grimaced in sympathy and fear, wondering what the hell was going on. All he could do was cushion Daniel’s head on his lap to keep him from slamming his head into the concrete floor as the tremendous pain lanced through his body. “FUCK!” Daniel screamed again.
“Janet’s on her way,” Jack told him, somehow keeping himself from petting Daniel’s hair in comfort.
Janet and her corpsmen were suddenly there, putting Daniel onto the gurney with Jack’s help. Janet felt around his abdomen as they wheeled him toward the elevator and Daniel howled in pain as his arm flung out, almost hitting her. “Fuckin’ Christ, Janet!”
“I’m sorry, Daniel, I had to be sure,” and she looked at Jack. “It’s his appendix. It may have burst but I’m hoping it’s just inflamed.”
Jack went white, knowing those things could be fatal if the poison leaked into the system. As they rode upward, Janet tried to get Daniel to listen to her questions.
“Daniel, you had to have had pain before this. Warnings. When was the last abdominal pain?”
“This morning. None worthy of mention before yesterday, Jan, I swear. I thought it was just gas, something I ate.”
All conversation, except orders from Janet, ceased as they wheeled him toward surgery. Jack stood nervous and afraid outside the surgery doors. When Sam, Teal’c, and General Hammond showed up, he quickly told them what happened. Hammond returned to his office, distracting himself by trying to figure out what to do with SG-1’s schedule, while the rest of SG-1 sat in the nearby ward, waiting for word.
Four stressful, frustrating hours later, Janet showed up with a look of tired relief on her face. It put SG-1 somewhat at ease.
“He’ll be fine. Dr. Warner removed Daniel’s appendix without incident and he’s recovering right now from the anesthesia. He’ll be in ICU for a twelve to twenty-four hour post-operative watch to make sure he doesn’t have any residual infections, then we’ll move him into a ward room. For now, plenty of bed rest and, unfortunately, a coffee-free diet for the next week.” She grinned a little bit as the three people in front of her heard that news and groaned.
“And no, you can’t sneak him some coffee-flavored ice cream.”
“Damn, doc,” Jack replied, knowing how Daniel would be without his coffee…and having to lie about in bed with nothing to do.
She touched his arm, seeing the careworn look in his eyes. “He’ll be fine in a few weeks’ time, sir.”
“Can we see him?” Jack asked.
“In about six hours or so, Colonel, after he’s been transferred from post-op to one of the ICU rooms. So, I advise you all to go get some rest.”
Six hours later, almost to the minute, Jack sat at Daniel’s bedside, stressed and worried over what could have happened. It had been a while since Daniel’s life had been in any real danger and the intensity of it scared Jack more than he wanted to admit to. It wasn’t that he hadn’t had been worried and afraid for Daniel before this, but now, it was different. He found his feelings went a lot deeper and that scared him…mostly because he didn’t know what to do with them. As he’d waited for Daniel to get out of surgery, Jack kept having to mask his feelings, trying to push them away. He feared their release just as much as he feared Daniel’s death.
Lost in thought, Jack didn’t see Daniel open his eyes and blink to focus.
“Jack?” he croaked.
“Yeah,” Jack replied gruffly, then spoon-fed him a few ice chips.
“Where am I?” Daniel asked as a wave of queasiness gripped him.
“ICU. You had your appendix out.”
“Shit. I’m sorry.”
Jack was taken aback. “For what, Daniel?”
“I didn’t mean to scare you.
Jack tried to cover. “You didn’t.”
“Jack, I saw your face in my office.” Jack didn’t reply to that so Daniel went on. “I should’ve known that those intense pains I’d had weren’t just gas.”
“You should’ve said something.”
“I know. Janet’s going to have my hide now.”
Jack gave him a sympathy smile. “Yes. Dr. Fraiser’s going to put you on the rack as soon as you’re all healed up.”
Daniel smiled, wanting to laugh but the nausea and abdominal soreness wouldn’t let him. “Shouldn’t you be off getting your fourth?”
Jack shook his head. “Hammond’s put us all on leave until you’re better.”
“Yeah, no shit.”
“Huh. Figures. You’re finally on leave and I’m stuck in here. How sad is that?”
“Tell me about it. But don’t worry. In a week, you’ll be able to go home.”
“Jack, you’re not planning on hanging around for a week, are you?”
Jack shrugged. “Actually, I have some stuff to do at home I’ve been putting off.”
“Leave it. Go fishing or something.”
“Seriously?” he asked, not really wanting to go, but knowing damn well he’d be driven out of his mind by a cooped-up coffee-deprived Daniel.
He shrugged again. “I’ll give it some thought. I’ve got plenty of time.”
“You do that, Jack,” Daniel smirked, knowing him better than that, then gave him a wink. “Then tomorrow, or maybe the next day, get packed and ready to go, then come see me, ask me if I want to go with you, and I’ll pretend I do but I won’t be able to. Then…go ask Sam and Teal’c…or better yet, drag them with you. They need the fresh air, too. Deal?”
Jack eyed him dubiously. “It’ll have to be Sam. T’s gone to see Ry’ac.”
“Oh, okay, go see Sam, invite her fishing, she’ll say ‘no’—“
“Hey! How can you be sure she’ll say ‘no’?”
“She spends almost all her free time working on that naquada project, as if you hadn’t noticed.”
“Whenever she gets up to the evil scientist thingy in her lab, I tend to stay the hell out of the way.”
Daniel smirked. “Coward. Ask her anyway. Then–“
“Daniel, I’m not dragging her up to the cabin. People will–“
“People will not. They wouldn’t if you and I or you and Teal’c went up, would they?”
“Okay, maybe, but ask her anyway.”
One of Janet’s nurses came in to adjust his I.V. and check his vitals, then pressed the button to let loose some of his pain medication. All the while they remained quiet while she did her job so she smiled gratefully at them, then left.
“So, sponge baths,” Jack said, ignoring the previous topic.
Daniel levelled one of his sarcastic grins at him. “I’ll try not to enjoy myself. Or better yet, I’ll refrain from thinking of you while I have them…or it may prove embarrassing.”
Jack snorted through his nose as he shook his head. “Annoying bastard.”
Daniel yawned sleepily. “You know me so well.”
Jack fidgeted for a moment, unwilling to leave him, so he hooked a stool with his foot and sat down. Daniel yawned again, then regarded Jack steadily. He remembered one thing that had happened while he was out of phase that he hadn’t told Jack yet…for fear of embarrassing him, and possibly angering him for spying. But what he remembered had touched him, making him feel more secure about Jack’s feelings for him.
“There’s one thing about my travels out of phase that I didn’t tell you.”
Jack smiled, thinking of some other secret Daniel would tell. “What’s that?”
“Remember when you and Sam were at the elevator after having Teal’c escort Nick to his quarters?”
“Um, well, I hope you don’t get mad but I followed you to your office.”
“What? You did?” Jack didn’t seem particularly upset, just surprised.
“Yeah. I…um, I saw what you did…or rather, I heard what you said…actually, kind of both.”
Jack’s eyes widened. He’d forgotten. He’d stood by his desk, then took down the picture he’d taken of their team a while back. Touching the image of Daniel, he’d whispered, “I miss you, Daniel. We’ll find you. Promise.” He’d then put the picture back and had gone over to his office sofa and laid down.
Jack frowned, remembering the moment, then an embarrassed look stole across his face, as Daniel had suspected it would.
“Um, yeah. Thanks, Jack. It meant a lot.”
Jack nodded as his looked down at his hands. “No sweat. I suppose after that was when you saw Nick because I hadn’t been lying on my couch for more than twenty minutes when I got the call to the conference room.”
“Yeah, I felt guilty for seeing that…and I figured I’d leave you alone. Even if you didn’t know I was there.”
They were silent for a moment, then Jack told him, “It’s unfair, you know.”
Daniel blinked. “What?”
Jack looked at him seriously, then a slow smile spread across his face. “Watching me without me knowing you were there. Now I have to devise a way of returning the favor.”
Daniel smiled. “I can’t wait to see what you come up with.”
Jack smirked. “Let’s just hope I catch you doing more than picking your nose.”
Daniel started to laugh. “Ow!” he said, grimacing. “Don’t make me laugh. And I don’t pick my nose.”
Jack gave him that sarcastic look. “Daniel, everybody picks their nose. Just…don’t do it on my watch…if you know what I mean.”
“Jack, how will I know when not to…assuming I even pick my nose.”
“Well…that ought to be incentive then, shouldn’t it?”