Summary: Post-Divide and Conquer
It had been two days since Martouf’s death and Daniel thought that things would have calmed down just a little, but they hadn’t. He stood in Sam’s lab, watching her move from one table to the other, refusing to look at him, her father, or Teal’c…who hovered behind her desk, silent and watchful. Daniel looked over at him frequently, partly for support and partly from worry. He knew his friend was disturbed by Sam’s behavior; as he was.
“Dad, I told you, I have work to do.”
“Sam, you’re not pulling that on me. I know better.” Jacob took the tools out of her hand and she made a clucking noise and scowled at him.
“Sam, he’s right,” Daniel told her gently. “You need to join him on Vorash. It would be better than what you’re doing.”
“Butt out, Daniel. I don’t remember asking for your opinion.” She snatched her tools from Jacob’s hands and walked quickly to another table, determined to brush them off.
“Sam, that was out of line,” Jacob admonished.
“I don’t remember asking for your opinion, either. Now…all of you…get out of my lab and leave me alone. I have work to do.”
No one budged. Sam seemed to have forgotten that she was dealing with men more notoriously stubborn than herself.
Keeping his eyes trained on Sam, Daniel asked Jacob and Teal’c, “Could you guys excuse us for a moment, please?” He then turned to look at them. “Just for a minute?”
Sam refused to acknowledge his words and went about double-checking the specifications for the reactor on her lab table – specifications she’d already double-checked a week before.
Jacob and Teal’c stared at Sam, then nodded to Daniel before heading for the door. “I’ll be right outside,” Jacob said softly.
“As will I,” Teal’c followed, his voice filled with tension. The recent loss of Shau’nac made him more than sympathetic; Sam was his friend, his teammate, and he hated to see her in pain.
Daniel nodded back and as soon as the door was closed, he went over to her and grabbed her by the arm. She scowled at him in surprise as she tried, and failed, to remove his grip.
“Sam, you listen to me. Holing up in your office is not going to help you or any of us. You know that we need you. Don’t let this consume you.”
She tried to wrench free again, and failed again. “Don’t tell me what to do, Daniel. I can handle this and I will. I don’t need to go anywhere to do that. All I need is my work.”
Daniel knew that the only way he could reach her now was through her friendship for him since it had become obvious that reaching her through her professionalism wasn’t an option. Her temporary anger with him would be worth it if it would end up helping her.
“Did I wallow in my grief when Shau’re died?” Daniel asked pointedly.
She ground her jaw stubbornly and fixed him with an icy stare. “Yes.” It was the wrong thing to say and she knew it, but she said it anyway.
“No I didn’t, Sam. You didn’t let me; Jack didn’t let me; and Teal’c didn’t let me. You gave me some time, then you ganged up on me in small ways, not letting me hide away. You came to the funeral, even though I told you not to. Didn’t you?”
She looked away from him. He pulled at her arm, squeezing it gently, forcing her to look at him.
“What’s your point?” she asked, finally yanking free of his grip.
He stared at her, then spoke a bit quieter. “It helped. I never told you that, but your caring helped. That’s all I’m trying to do here.” He didn’t bother telling her that it was Jack who had finally pulled him from his grief, but she had helped. “I care, Sam. I know you cared for Martouf. You still care, and as Sam, not Jolinar, and I hate to see you hurting like this.” As he spoke, he could see her wrestling with the grief, trying valiantly not to break down and cry. He knew his words were affecting her more than she was letting herself show. He didn’t want to make her cry, but it was better for her if she did. Not those restrained tears that she’d shed in the gateroom, but honest tears of mourning and loss.
He took her into his arms and the moment he tightened his arms around her, her face wrinkled up into a mask of grief and she cried softly into his shoulder. “Go with your father back to Vorash,” he whispered. “Put Martouf to rest. You know the grief won’t go away completely, but going to Vorash will help. If you don’t go, it will eat at you and so will the guilt. You know as well as I do, that kind of thing doesn’t do any good.” His words sunk in and after a minute, she sniffed then hugged him hard. She didn’t say anything and she didn’t have to. The hug said it all.
Before Jacob and Teal’c returned, Sam pulled away and gave him a very serious look. He could see something else was bothering her, and after nearly four years, it didn’t take him long to figure out what that look meant: guilt. What on Earth should she be feeling guilty about?
“What? You’ve no reason to feel guilty.”
She made that clucking sound again. “God, I hate it when you do that. It’s like reading my mind or something.”
“Sorry, but I know that look. I know you can’t help feeling guilty. I know I would, but I mean, you shouldn’t. You had to do what you did.”
She winced. “It’s not that.”
He eyed her, not sure if he should believe that.
“There’s something else that happened that can’t go into the mission report because it could be misinterpreted and…well…it’s a bit embarrassing.”
Daniel was taken aback as he’d heard nothing…then it dawned on him. “You mean the reason why you and Jack were suddenly cleared? I’ve been waiting to hear about it but I haven’t had a moment with Jack all damned day. Last…yesterday, he didn’t say anything either…and neither did you, Sam.”
“No,” she admitted. “We agreed what was said would stay in that iso room, but I’ve been thinking about it and I don’t think that you should be excluded.”
Daniel started to get bit irritated and his emotion was aimed at Jack, not Sam. He hated the keeping of secrets more than the secret itself and it started to nag at him – just whose idea it was to keep things from him. He had to know.
“So, was it you or Jack that decided to keep mum about this?”
He let out a slow breath, succeeding in not appearing relieved, then gave her a careful look. “Because you were embarrassed?” She sort of nodded. “Okay, so what happened?” When she winced again, reluctant to talk, he pushed. “Sam…?”
“Well, um, I’m still a bit weirded out about it so maybe it’d be better if Colonel O’Neill told you.”
“Sam…” he sighed impatiently. “I’ll get it from Jack, I’m sure, but tell me your side of it.” When she hesitated again, his eyes widened. “It can’t be that bad…can it?”
“No, Daniel, it’s not…bad. It’s just that…well, it’s embarrassing. Remember those tiny feelings I have for him? You know, those ones I rarely think about except during life or death situations?”
“Yeah,” he drawled, fearing what she was going to say.
“Well, the zatarc magnified them. It misinterpreted our memories on Apophis’ ship – when we were trapped at the forceshield – because there were…feelings attached. When we were trapped at the forceshield.”
“So, it discovered the feelings of…love…and twisted them?” he asked gently. He didn’t want to ask and didn’t blame her one bit for being embarrassed. Sam preferred to keep her feelings close to the vest.
“Um, well, kinda,” she began, then chickened out slightly. “You know that we all care for each other more than we’re supposed to as a front-line unit?”
Daniel rolled his eyes. “I know. Stupid idea, that. I mean, to me, it only makes things better, not worse.”
She shrugged, as she was able to see both sides of that issue. “Maybe. Anyway, when I was caught on the other side of the forceshield, and Jaffa were coming down the hall, Colonel O’Neill wouldn’t leave me.”
Daniel nodded fervently. “He wouldn’t unless he had no choice and all of us know that. So?”
“So, we were standing there, staring at each other, unwilling to see the other die…and well, my feelings for him showed up right then. I didn’t even realize this was the cause of the false reading on that damned zatarc machine until Janet was putting me under and my mind kept replaying that scene over and over again. I got scared. Then all I saw was Colonel O’Neill walking down the hall to get brainscanned, or whatever. Anyway, I was suddenly aware of my feelings and I had to stop Janet. When we went under the zatarc, I didn’t know what the hell to say at first, because my feelings weren’t, well, something you can put into words, you know?” Daniel nodded that he understood. She suddenly focused in front of her at some distant point.
“So…I’m standing there, on Apophis’ ship, staring at him, begging him to leave me because I didn’t want him to die, but he wouldn’t and he got this panicked look as soon as he read my face, and I knew he wouldn’t leave, either. It was clear as day. Neither of us asked ourselves why we wouldn’t leave, but…we knew. We cared…way too much. Love is the word I would use, but only in front of you.” Daniel gave her a look of surprise and she shrugged. “I don’t think it’s the same kind of love as romantic love, but it’s there, you know? Anyway, because I didn’t admit those feelings to a room full of people, and had actually buried the memory. That stupid zatarc,” she said, spitting the word, “misread things and said that, for all intents and purposes, we were lying.”
“That you care about each other?” Daniel frowned, thinking about going with her to Vorash and taking a baseball bat to that damn machine. “Sam, I know you both do. We all do. But why be embarrassed and hide it from me?”
“Because, well, when Colonel O’Neill was questioned, he was forced to admit to caring about me more than he was supposed to.”
“Yeah…and?” he said, prompting her for more. She shrugged her shoulders, indicating that she had told him everything. He sighed, wondering if that’s all it was because if so, Sam was worrying over nothing…at least, from his point of view. Although…that wording Jack used could be misconstrued by anyone else in the room. “So, that’s what he said, word for word?”
“And you said?”
“I didn’t want him to die because I care deeply for him.”
He took a long breath. “As we all do. But you meant more, didn’t you?”
She winced and then reluctantly nodded. “Thought I’d kept that tightly under control. Fucking zatarc.”
Daniel nodded, making a disgusted grunt. “Okay, so you wanted to do damage control by keeping what was said secret? I get that. Don’t ask, don’t tell, and all that stupid shit.”
She shrugged again. “Well, it’s there for a reason but…anyway, the point is, we really shouldn’t have kept you out of it. Especially since Teal’c was in the room.”
Daniel gave her a look of surprise, then remembered why Jack was originally in the room, and that Teal’c had been his guard. “Okay, so Teal’c didn’t leave. Who else was witness, other than Freya and Teal’c?”
“Janet, of course. She escorted me there.”
“Right.” Then suddenly a tiny smile creased the lines around Daniel’s mouth. On Daniel, it was a smile not usually seen on his face – one of revenge.
“What?” Sam asked.
He snorted. “Um, Freya. I think her ego got torpedoed.”
“What do you mean?” she snapped. She sounded defensive and he lost his smile.
“Um, I’ll tell you that part in a minute but something else just occurred to me.” He suddenly wondered what would have happened had he been in Sam’s place behind that forceshield? The ramifications would have been disastrous. He quickly tried to think of something else to tell her, and…it didn’t take long.
Should he tell her everything he was thinking or just creatively edit? At the look of avoidance covering her face, he felt that twinge of irritation he’d been feeling begin to grow. As a result, he just decided to go for it and let the chips fall.
“You know how I feel for…” and he inclined his head without saying Jack’s name. She nodded, knowingly. “Okay, well, did you not want to tell me because you thought my feelings would get hurt, or maybe that I’d take what was said wrong and that I’d be…jealous?”
Her look of surprise instantly changed to a guilty one. “I don’t know. I just thought…you know. Unrequited stuff…yadda.”
Daniel couldn’t help but get even more irritated, even if he understood. “He’s my friend, Sam. He always will be.” If she only knew.
“I know, I’m sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it, Sam,” and at his words, she relaxed. She nudged him as he looked as if he had more to say. “What, something else?”
“I was just thinking that if I’d been the one on the other side of that forceshield, that maybe Jack’s answers would still have been the same, just interpreted differently. However, mine would have been…revealing. No room for misinterpretation.”
Sam squeezed her eyes shut, at first, hearing only the latter part of what he’d said. “Shit, that would’ve been bad.” She realized how that sounded and squeezed his arm. “I’m sure he would have been okay with it, Daniel. Really.”
He choked down the increasing irritation and the growing need to tell her just how okay Jack would be with it…just how okay he was with it. “Maybe.”
She frowned suddenly as she took in the rest of what he’d said. “Wait a minute, what do you mean, Colonel O’Neill’s answers would have been the same?”
Daniel found her more defensive. What did that mean? That she wanted Jack to have something for her? Shit, that couldn’t be right. Okay, maybe privately, but she was too different from him, too married to her work. A woman, yes, but she was one that didn’t care for sappy stuff or that stereotypical feminine crap – except for the fact that she wore pink, which actually looked good on her. Sam didn’t let on-the-job jealousies interfere with her work either, so where the hell was this defensiveness coming from? Think, Daniel, think. Time for some creative damage control.
“They would have been the same, meaning he cares too much. I’m his best friend, remember? You know, that part about loving your best friend?”
“Oh.” She was very embarrassed, shocked at herself for reacting emotionally. She didn’t know what else to say.
Frankly, neither did Daniel…but he remembered what he was going to tell her…about Freya. He pondered whether or not it was a good idea to say anything now. A part of himself (one he wanted to smack the shit out of at the present moment) wanted to judge her reaction. If she became jealous, that would indeed tell him that she was feeling more for Jack than she’d admitted. Would it help matters? Maybe, maybe not. But he had to know.
“Um, about what I was going to say before? About Freya? You know, when you asked me what I was smiling about?”
“Yeah, what’s up?”
“When Jack was locked up, Freya went to visit him.”
Sam frowned. “Really? What for?”
“Apparently she wanted to apologize for Anise for causing the whole thing because she thought the mission to Apophis’ ship was to blame for you and Jack being zatarcs.”
Sam crinkled her nose in disgust. “Which we weren’t.”
“So…that was it?”
Daniel snorted. “No.”
Her eyes narrowed. “What else?”
“She wanted to thank him for saving her life, twice. Once on Vorash, the second time with Lieutenant Aster.”
She eyed him. “And?”
“Jack said she made a pass at him.”
Sam’s browline shot up and in a hard voice, asked loudly, “What?” and soon after, hushed her voice. “She did?”
Uh oh, Daniel thought to himself. “Yeah, she did.” He’d only heard that jealous tone in her voice a few times since he’d known and he was hearing it again.
Daniel snorted. “That’s what I thought.”
“Well, I was actually thinking, ‘what a bitch’.”
“Yeah, I thought that, too,” he added, nudging her arm and making her smile at their co-conspiratorial remarks. They were quiet again, then he added, “It’s not that I’m jealous or anything…”
“…and it’s not that I don’t want Jack with someone, just…”
“Not with her,” they finished simultaneously.
Daniel refrained from telling Sam about the other part – about Freya’s kissing Jack, and Anise’s supposedly ‘intellectual’ interest in him. He found both rather absurd; the former was funny in a sick sort of way, and the latter, rather creepy. Why was it that the cold, calculating ones found him so goddamn interesting?
Well, except for Shau’re, he amended to himself. Cold and calculating weren’t in the dictionary that made up the words that described her. Sam watched him smile and nudged him again.
He looked at her and smiled gently once more. “There’ll come a time when thinking of Martouf won’t hurt. In time, when you do think of him, you’ll smile.”
“Were you thinking of Shau’re just now?” she asked, slightly deflecting.
He gave her a sideways grin. “Yeah. I was starting to feel…well, never mind, but whenever I think of her now, I mostly can’t keep from smiling. I miss her, a lot, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was.”
“Difference here is that she was your wife, Daniel. Martouf was only my friend.”
“That doesn’t dismiss your feelings though.”
“No. No, it doesn’t.”
An hour later, General Hammond, Jack, Daniel, and Teal’c escorted Sam and her father to the gateroom. She was subdued but had purposely put on a false smile as she said goodbye for a few days. Her teammates and C.O. knew better but they let her pretend. Daniel leaned over and whispered in her ear and he got a smile out of her. After she and Jacob departed and the gate shut down, the men stood there silently for a moment, then slowly left the room.
“What’d you say?” Jack asked.
“I told her to play nice.” He paused. “And no killing of certain Tok’ra bimbos.”
“Damn,” Jack replied straight-faced, making Teal’c grin a little.
Hammond pretended to be annoyed. “What made Major Carter change her mind about going? She was fairly adamant before,” he asked as they paused at the doorway that led to the control room.
Teal’c looked over at Daniel, a certain amount of pride on his face. “It was Daniel Jackson, General Hammond. He convinced her to leave, and I for one would like to offer my thanks.” He bowed and Daniel smiled in wordless appreciation.
“What did you say, Doctor Jackson?” Hammond asked, and Jack’s expression looked to mirror the question.
“I only reminded her of a few times when she helped me, that’s all.”
Hammond touched his arm, knowing what Daniel referred to. “Well, thanks, son. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to wrap things up here. Why don’t you gentlemen take the rest of the day, plus tomorrow. We all need a break from this. I’ll expect reports on my desk come Thursday morning.”
‘Yes, sirs’ echoed as he left for his office via the control room. As the three men walked toward the elevator, Jack gave Daniel an admiring look, though Daniel could have sworn there was a bit of light sarcasm dwelling in there somewhere; Jack’s mainstay against serious subject matter.
“You never cease to amaze me.”
The familiar words gave Daniel a sense of déja vu. He thought for a moment then, when he remembered, he snorted, letting a tiny smile form.
“What?” Jack asked.
“What you just said. Reminded me of what you said to me after I delivered that baby on Argos.”
Teal’c merely smiled in remembrance, though he had no idea what the hidden meaning had been.
“You never cease to amaze me with all your talents.”
Jack had meant it, but hadn’t just been talking about Daniel’s delivery skills. As they stepped into the elevator, Teal’c punched the number for his floor, then turned to Daniel.
“Major Carter suggested that I speak with you about what transpired with the zatarc device. I agreed that you should not be…left out of the loop.”
“Oh, well, it’s okay, Teal’c, because we already talked,” and at Jack’s surprised expression, he gave him a small grin. He would never get over the tiny thrill he got in surprising Jack like that.
Jack cleared his throat. “I was planning on telling you,” Jack said in a quiet tone.
“Just not here.”
Teal’c’s floor came up quickly and he turned to regard them as the doors opened. “If my assistance is needed further, I will be in my quarters,” he intoned as he crossed the threshold.
“You sure you wouldn’t rather hang out or something?” Jack asked. Daniel wanted to smack him but somehow restrained himself.
Teal’c looked from Daniel to Jack and back again. “I am certain. I have things to do and you have things to discuss.”
“Oh…okay, g’night, Teal’c.”
Teal’c seemed to smirk as the elevator doors closed and Jack pursed his lips in thought. “You know, he’s getting good at that enigmatic sarcasm thing.”
Daniel smirked in the same manner as Teal’c, though after a moment, he grew somber again as the memories of Argos reminded him that he had nearly lost Jack.
“What?” Jack asked again as he noticed the emotional switch.
“Remembering the other stuff.”
The fact that Jack had slept with Kynthia – and hadn’t remembered a damn thing – was something he had been intensely embarrassed about. Both for sleeping with her and the memory loss. It was also something neither of them wanted dredged up again. Jack was silent for a moment, trying to think of something to cheer Daniel up, when he suddenly said, “You know, Kynthia assumed I was mad and upset because I’d never see Sara again.”
Daniel frowned in confusion. “How’d she know about Sara?”
“It came up in conversation…although I don’t think my ranting and raving could be considered conversation, but there were a few quiet…moments.”
“Anyway, my point is, I let her believe what she wanted. Truth was, I was thinking of you, not Sara. You and I had only been together the one time…” and at Daniel’s intense look, immediately amended that. “Okay, okay, a few times over two days,” and as Daniel bit the corner of his bottom lip, he went in for the teasing compliment. “A totally spontaneous and glorious two days.”
“Yeah,” Daniel said slowly as the elevator passed the 23rd floor. “It was.”
Jack noticed the somber mood still wasn’t leaving his friend and didn’t like it, so he nudged him with his arm. “You know, I seemed to have forgotten some of those talents. Care to refresh my memory when we leave here?”
Daniel’s mouth twitched. “I think that can be arranged, plus a few more things.”
As the doors opened for level 18, Daniel left the question unanswered as he crooked a smile and strode off toward his office to gather up his things. As they made for the gear-up room, they talked of trivial matters, such as what to have for dinner, what kind of dessert would be good, if anything was worth watching on TV, whether or not to watch a movie instead and if so, what kind. It was a welcome, if surreal, diversion from the sad mood that permeated the entire SGC, not to mention a perfectly innocent conversation to anyone that might have overheard it.
Finally heading to the surface, Daniel felt that sadness interrupting his thoughts and feelings, as it had been for the past two days. He had liked Martouf quite a bit and couldn’t help but feel the loss, though nowhere near as much as Sam. Martouf’s death brought his thoughts to the risks they all took. He didn’t want to lose Jack, ever, but he was well aware of the danger they all faced.
Jack sensed the mood in Daniel as he’d been fighting the same mood himself. It happened every time someone died. He hated it, and hated the after effects. He had learned to like Martouf, though he wasn’t sure he was good enough for Carter. Dismissing the thoughts, he had a more immediate problem: how to get Daniel to think of something else, anything else. “I’ll see you over at my house?” he asked, startling Daniel out of his own musings as they left the ground-level elevator.
Daniel nodded. “I’ll be there in about an hour.”
Jack hesitated, staring at him. “Daniel, stop thinking about it.”
Startled once more, Daniel frowned and looked back as he unlocked the driver’s door to his Jeep. “I…can’t help it,” then mumbled as he got into his vehicle, “and stop reading my mind. It’s very annoying.”
Jack let himself smile as he got into his truck. At least he could still distract Daniel. He planned on doing a much more thorough job of that later.
Since he had the time, Jack had decided to make dinner instead of ordering out, so he’d stopped at the store on the way home. He had showered, changed into jeans and tee, and was halfway through chopping the vegetables for the crock pot when Daniel knocked on the door. He used the tea towel to turn the doorknob and found Daniel dressed the same, carrying a bottle of bourbon whiskey.
“I figured we could use it,” Daniel said as he walked inside and shut the door.
“Good idea. I’m almost out anyway. Besides, it adds a real nice kick to the meat gr–“
His words were smothered with a kiss; a long deep, sensuous kiss as Daniel locked his arms around his neck, precariously dangling the bottle behind him. Instead of his hands, Daniel let his body do the caressing part for him and was pleased as Jack’s body responded. Jack wanted to respond further, but he had onion peel and juice on his hands and didn’t dare. It was proving to be one hell of an impediment. Finally, Jack had to push himself away, regretting that he’d started dinner so soon. But…he really was hungry.
“Come on. Help me fix dinner,” he requested after clearing his throat several times.
Daniel sighed dramatically. “What are we having? I mean, I smell…onion, of course,” as he followed Jack into the kitchen, his eyes resting leisurely on Jack’s ass.
“O’Neill pot roast.”
Daniel growled with hunger as he set the bottle down. He loved that meal. “With those baby–?”
Jack interrupted him by tossing the bag of baby carrots at him. “Here, make yourself useful. They’ll go in after the potatoes.”
Without a word, Daniel grabbed a colander, went to the sink, and began to clean the carrots. As he worked, he noticed that Jack had the TV on so the faint noise from Wheel of Fortune was drifting into the kitchen. The sound of the water running and the mixing sound from behind him as Jack stirred up a biscuit mix made Daniel relax. He had been feeling rather hyper, almost anxious, just before he’d arrived…but Jack almost always seemed to know just the right thing to do.
Unfortunately, Daniel wasn’t so relaxed that he forgot what else was on his mind. He wanted to get that stupid zatarc business out of the way before he could completely relax and enjoy the dinner Jack had planned. He didn’t need any long explanations; he just wanted a few answers, a few thoughts, and that would be that. Then they could drop it and move on.
“So, Sam told me what you two said in that iso room. That you care about her more than you’re supposed to; that she cares deeply for you.”
“Yeah,” Jack sighed, closing his eyes, hoping that Daniel would have left it alone for a while.
Daniel knew what Jack had meant by the way he’d answered and because of that, he clammed up. If Jack didn’t want to talk about it, he wouldn’t force him. He sighed to himself and didn’t say another word as he set the cleaned and drained carrots on the counter next to Jack, then grabbed a paper towel and dried his hands before reaching up into the cupboard for two glass tumblers for the JD-on-ice.
Jack watched as Daniel silently fixed the drinks and cursed himself for being an asshole. He had said he would talk, hadn’t he? Well, he knew Daniel well enough to know that if Daniel had the choice, he wouldn’t leave things unresolved. It wasn’t so much that Jack didn’t want to talk about it; he knew it was necessary. But, the thing was, he was very worried that Sam and Janet had misinterpreted what he’d said, and he didn’t want Daniel worrying about it, either by rehashing it over and over. What was the point? Daniel knew, so why couldn’t he let it be? Answer: because he was Daniel, and seeing Daniel closed off and uncommunicative was not an option.
When Daniel picked up his glass and started to leave, Jack held him back with a word. “Stay.”
Daniel paused and looked at him, his expression clear: I thought you didn’t want to talk about it?
Jack sighed, which said, No, but I said I would so let’s get this over with.
“You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to.”
“Daniel, the thing is, I…I’m embarrassed. I also have this nagging worry that Carter and Fraiser interpreted what I said in the wrong way.”
Daniel sighed heavily before taking a sip from his liquor, then grimaced a bit as the harsh liquid heated his throat. “Sam…I think, um, she didn’t say exactly but I’m fairly certain she’s got feelings for you.”
“Ya think?” Jack asked sarcastically, remembering what she’d said as she sat in iso room. “She now may think it’s the other way around now.”
Daniel began to lay out his thoughts. “I wanted to set her straight but…I didn’t know what to say exactly and thought it was better left for you. I know you care about her…a lot…and I know…well, that you are attracted to her,” then he shrugged, “but mostly because you told me.”
Jack rolled his eyes as he paused in pressing the dough flat. “I have feelings, yes, but not the ones they think I mean, and even so, I’d never act on them.” He picked up his glass, leaving flour-dusted fingerprints, and took a large drink.
Daniel conceded that with a nod of his head, then added, “Unless you were shitfaced drunk or in a position to get away with something.”
Jack glared at him, knowing Daniel was kidding by the smirk. “Seriously, Daniel. I’m embarrassed about this whole thing but I can live with it. The one thing that scares the crap out of me is what if it had been you on the other side of that forceshield instead of Carter?”
Daniel nodded. “I thought of that, too. I told Sam that if I’d been in her place, you’d have reacted the same way. She wasn’t very thrilled.”
Jack couldn’t help it; he became more than a little irritated. He was a bit flattered that Carter was attracted to him, just as any man would be, he supposed. He also found that it bugged him that Daniel had interfered. Jack wasn’t proud of those feelings, but they were there anyway. Because of them, however, his response was unintentionally harsh.
“Crap. Why’d you have to say anything?”
Jack’s tone caused Daniel’s quietly stifled irritation to bloom into anger. What the hell had he done wrong…and why were they arguing all of a sudden? “I was trying to defuse her feelings, Jack!” he snapped back.
“What’s there to defuse? Just let her feel what she’s going to, okay?”
Daniel ground his jaw, exchanging hard glances with Jack for the longest time. He didn’t understand the sudden hostility and knew it had to be stress. Even so, he couldn’t do anything about the way he felt at the moment: he didn’t like Jack’s tone of voice, didn’t like him defending her, and didn’t want or need to be around him if he was going to snap at him for trying to help. “Fine.” He set his glass down and abruptly turned and left the kitchen.
Jack blinked, suddenly wondering what the fuck had possessed him to snap at Daniel that way. Why didn’t he thank Daniel for trying to defuse the situation? Hadn’t he just been thinking about that very thing? What the hell what wrong with him? Why didn’t he tell Daniel that Carter didn’t interest him? Why was he being argumentative and difficult? He took a deep breath, telling himself it was the stress of the last two days. That’s what it was. Then Jack heard the front door slam shut and he dropped the biscuit cutter and ran for the door.
Daniel was fuming. Things had been going okay until…until…fuck. He jammed his key into the door of the Jeep then spun, startled, as Jack’s hand clasped his shoulder.
“What the fuck do you want?” he asked in a quiet but very angry tone. “I got your message loud and clear, Jack.”
“No, you didn’t, now get your ass back in the house.”
“Why? So I can hear you pretend that you don’t want Sam? Not my idea of a fun night, Jack.” Daniel stared unblinking at his key, not understanding at all where that near-accusation had come from.
“What?” Jack exclaimed, not understanding, either. “You are such a…would you stop jumping to the wrong conclusions and get…in…the…fucking…house?”
He grabbed Daniel’s coat from him, then turned and went back to the door, then held out his hand, gesturing into the house. With an angry sigh, Daniel yanked the key out of the door lock and strolled past Jack and back into the house. When the door slammed behind him, he turned round, readying himself for things he didn’t want to hear. He had no idea why he let himself in for these things. He watched as Jack angrily hung up his coat, then came after him, giving him an itemized list while poking all five dusty fingers onto his chest.
“I’m saying this only once, Daniel, so listen carefully.”
The first prod of his fingers nudged Daniel backwards, away from the foyer. Daniel looked down, and despite his need to stop Jack from poking him in the chest, he didn’t. He also listened. Attentively.
“First, yes, I find her attractive. I’d be blind, stupid, and dead not to.”
The next prod pushed him into the short hall and Daniel’s eyes widened slightly.
“Second, yes, I care about her more than I’m supposed to, as a friend and as her commanding officer. Third, I’m a man, Daniel, who happens to like women as much as men, which means I can’t say I haven’t ever wondered about what it would be like to go to bed with her, even for a brief moment, but it doesn’t mean I’d ever want it to happen.”
Daniel was now backing up toward the kitchen and his eyes were widening even further.
“Fourth, I love you, not her. I want to fuck you, not her. You’re the one who turns me on, who gives me the biggest hard-ons I’ve ever had in my entire life, who makes me come like a fucking rocket, and you do it goddamn consistently. Last, but certainly not least, you’re an asshole to think that I want her more than you and you’re an asshole because I thought you knew me better than that.” Jack took a breath, then grabbed his glass and threw back the rest of the drink. His eyes never left Daniel’s.
They were now back in the kitchen…where they’d started. Daniel was dumbfounded with surprise. He was also, to his extreme embarrassment, blushing from Jack’s fervent admissions. All the anger he’d felt had drained by the time Jack had told him he loved him, and what remained was guilt. He realized now that he’d been jealous, plain and simple. He’d overreacted when Jack hadn’t said what he wanted him to say…that is, until he’d gotten Jack just as mad and forced it out of him.
He slowly picked up his own glass and took a drink, then watched as Jack quickly cut the rest of the biscuits, set them on the baking sheet and into the oven, then set the timer. The vegetables then went into the crock pot, and the lid was adjusted. With that done, Jack washed his hands and dried them, then turned and regarded him levelly.
The look was…well, Daniel felt all the blood in his body move south. He swallowed, and just as he was about to apologize, Jack startled him again by grabbing him, turning him about, and shoving him hard against the kitchen wall. He started to get angry and respond accordingly but Jack pinned his arms and kissed him so achingly deep that his teeth hurt. When they broke apart, slowly, Daniel somehow found the wherewithal to whisper his apology.
Jack acknowledged the apology with another long kiss, this one no less intense. When he broke away, he placed Daniel’s hand over his crotch. “Feel that?”
“Yes,” Daniel whispered. Goddamn, if Jack wasn’t as hard as stone. Jack moved his lover’s hand away and rubbed his erection firmly against him, eliciting a hiss from Daniel’s throat.
“Never in my life has anyone turned me on as fucking much as you,” Jack growled at him. “Don’t you ever doubt that.”
With a slow intake of air, Daniel whispered heated words. “The same goes for you, damn it. I want you…all the time. Especially now, when I get scared of losing you.” He didn’t elaborate, but he didn’t just mean losing Jack to death’s grip.
“I know,” Jack replied, his voice considerably calmer. “Me, too.” He kissed him again, then growled with dissatisfaction. “We don’t have time now, but later on–“
Daniel latched his teeth onto Jack’s pulse point, licking rapidly, causing Jack to growl again. “We have time…right now,” Daniel said, his voice rumbling in his chest. He spun them around so that Jack was now pressed firmly against the wall.
“Daniel,” Jack breathed as his excitement went through the stratosphere, “we only have ten minutes before the biscuits are done, then thirty or less after that for the dinner, then–“
“Later, yes, but I need you…now,” and he quickly opened his jeans, then went for Jack’s. Jack knew what he meant and didn’t argue as his own need soared. T-shirts were thrown onto the flour-dirty counter as pants dropped to their feet. Holding onto each other tightly, their breathing quickly became hoarse, ragged, desperate. Fingers reached for the other’s cock, stroking strong and swift even as they ground into each other. Their kisses became hungrier and more consuming as their free hands clasped hair or clamped down over buttocks. The sweat built up, as did the heat and tightness in their balls.
Jack didn’t think he was that close to coming…until Daniel whispered gruffly into his ear.
“To hell with dessert. I’m going to fuck you so hard later, I’m gonna make you scream.”
“God yes, Daniel,” Jack growled at him as his fingers fixed firmly onto the back of Daniel’s neck so that he could kiss him as he came. As his tongue coiled around Daniel’s, his thick semen shot over their fingers and across their chests. Daniel groaned in response and came before Jack’s orgasm was through.
Gasping and holding each other up, they buried their faces in one another’s shoulder, absently licking, kissing. Daniel suddenly lifted his face and rubbed his nose over Jack’s, making him smile.
“I never say this afterward…it’s just too sappy, but…I love you, Jack.”
Jack hugged him hard, rubbing their fluid into each other, making Daniel laugh and pretend to be grossed out. Daniel suddenly heard him whisper, “I love you back. Don’t ever forget it.”
Daniel pulled back and smiled as he nuzzled him. “Promise.”
“Now…the biscuits should be–“
The timer finished his sentence. Daniel snorted and grabbed several paper towels, wetting them down and cleaning himself up as Jack carefully removed the biscuits from the oven. Moving over to him, Daniel started to giggle as he caught the drying semen on the side of the hand that held the pan.
Without looking at him, Jack mumbled, “Cut it out, Daniel, or what’s on my hand goes on your share of the biscuits.” That only made Daniel laugh harder as he absently set the soiled paper towels on the counter and began to wipe Jack down with fresh ones. Jack yelled as the cold, wet towel hit his skin, making him struggle to set the baking sheet down. “Jesus, Daniel,” he yelped as the baking sheet hit the counter with a thud, making three biscuits jump off and roll down the countertop. Daniel barked out more laughter when Jack turned and grabbed both of his hands.
“Daniel! What if I’d dropped the damn pan?”
Daniel couldn’t answer. He was laughing too hard. Wondering what the hell was the matter with him, Jack turned to look at the part of the counter Daniel was staring at. One of the biscuits had rolled onto one of the soiled towels and was now resting comfortably, thank you very much. When he turned back, Daniel was laughing so hard that tears started to form. He was trying to speak but nothing intelligible was coming out of his mouth. Amazed that he hadn’t ever seen Daniel have an hysterical laughing fit, Jack couldn’t help but make things worse. He glowered, then pointed.
“That one’s yours,” he snapped. “And what the hell’s so goddamn funny, anyway?” The look and tone worked, making Daniel laugh all the harder. Like most laughter, especially Daniel’s (rare as it was), it was infectious. Jack was soon laughing with him as he tried to clean himself up and pull up his jeans. Unfortunately, he wasn’t doing a good enough job of either, and Daniel, whose jeans were barely up around his hips, finally slithered to the floor, unable to stand any longer as he gave into the fit. Jack tried to keep from succumbing but soon joined Daniel on the floor as he slid down the cabinet next to the oven.
After a few minutes, their laughter slowly died down. With sore muscles and a slight headache each, the two struggled to stand up. Their discomfort was a relief, not a hindrance, and as they took in their state of affairs, Daniel softly elbowed Jack in the ribs.
“Thanks. I needed that.”
“Which part? The argument, the sex, or the hysterical laughter?”
“All of it, I think.”
“Yeah, me too.”
They laughed a little, if somewhat shakily, then cleaned up properly and set the ‘good’ biscuits in the warmer. Jack shook the flour dust from their t-shirts, then tossed Daniel his before draping his own over the back of the dining chair. Daniel did the same after taking a look at the state of his t-shirt.
Refreshing their drinks, they sat down at the table to wait for dinner to be done, and Daniel sent Jack a tiny grin while several questions formed in his mind. Most of them were trivial, some important. He noticed that Jack appeared a little more relaxed, but there was still a bit of tension worrying about his edges.
“You look a little worried still.”
“Um, I did actually tell one more person what was said in that iso room.”
Daniel raised his right brow and started to ask, but then realized that the only other person Jack would have told would have been Hammond…and that was why he couldn’t find Jack when he’d gone to see Sam in her lab.
“So that’s where you were.”
“What did you tell him…exactly?”
It was Jack’s turn to clear his throat. “Well, I had to explain, again, why we never questioned Martouf–“
“That was the Tok’ra’s fault, Jack.”
“I know that, Daniel. So does Hammond, and trust me, he’s pissed at them. I then explained why we retested…and told him exactly what I said, and what Carter said, under that…zarc thing.”
“Anyway…” he drawled, “I told him. He knows our feelings aren’t romantic, that we care about each other…too much, and though having that confirmed didn’t make him happy, he was satisfied with the explanation.”
“So, is he going to do anything or…?”
Jack took a breath and held it before letting it out, a signal to Daniel that Jack wasn’t altogether sure. “Well, he’s not happy that it’s been…voiced…but it’s not exactly a case of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’. He knows that I care about my team a lot more than I’m supposed to. However, an investigation is underway about what happened and what was said won’t exactly be a secret anymore. We’ll have to make a report.”
“Yeah, but it’s no big deal. He said that a bit of creativity is needed on the interpretation of the facts.”
Daniel jogged his brow. “Well, let’s hope that the brass lets this slide.”
“After Hammond explains it to them, I think they will. Hammond, though…he’s a little worried now.”
“He doesn’t think you’ve got the hots for Sam, does he?”
Jack gave Daniel an exasperated look. “No, Daniel, he doesn’t think that. He was worried that my caring could become more, from either my side or Carter’s,” and he then gave Daniel a more careful look of scrutiny, “but I told him that neither Carter nor I would ever let that happen.”
Daniel cleared his throat as he returned the scrutiny, but didn’t answer.
“Daniel, if you’re thinking that I’m going to dump you for Carter–“
“No, I wasn’t.”
“Well, then…good. So…what are you thinking?”
Daniel’s brows went up in that manner he had when he wanted to say several things at once. It made Jack grin, though he stifled it soon after.
“What?” Jack asked.
And now the lip biting. Jack knew that Daniel wanted to talk about something uncomfortable. Jack sighed. “Let’s have it, Daniel.”
“I already told you that Sam cares more about you than you thought she did.”
“I know. The rest of what you said, albeit a bit vague, also started our fight.”
“Which ended well, I thought.”
Jack leered at him. “Not as well as it should have.”
Daniel gave the leer back. “No…but that will be remedied later.”
Jack smiled, then forced himself back to the issue. “As for Carter, you were going to say…what?”
“When I mentioned Anise…er, Freya–“
“Yeah, whatever…anyway, when I told Sam that Freya came on to you–“
“You told her that? For cryin’ out loud, Daniel…”
“Jack, she got…jealous.”
“Jealous?” Jack asked, startled.
Daniel nodded gravely. “Very.”
Jack shut his eyes. “Oh boy.”
“She tried to blow it off but I saw it before she could cover it up.”
“This is worse than I thought.”
“Maybe, maybe not. She tried to bury it, not acknowledge it. She has admitted things but she doesn’t seem comfortable with them. But…the feelings are there, whether she likes them or not.”
“Yeah, after the testing, she wasn’t all that comfortable about it. Same as me.”
“I didn’t want to press anything else as I was kind of hoping that maybe she and Teal’c would…”
Jack sat up. “You mean you weren’t kidding that one day after we’d gone out and she let him drive?”
“Well, I was just guessing…hoping, actually.”
Jack assumed a look of defeat and sat back, slouching. “Crap. Teal’c is, for all intents and purposes, on the rebound, and so is Carter.”
Daniel nodded, then brightened a bit. “Maybe this will get them together.”
Jack winced. “Maybe not. They’re both more stubborn than a pack of mules.”
“Pot and kettle, Jack,” Daniel smirked.
“And that makes you…?”
Daniel smirked again but didn’t answer. “So, anyway, I thought you should know about the jealousy bit.”
Jack rolled his eyes and took a deep breath. “Flattering, I guess, but I’m gonna have to nip that in the bud.” He paused to take a drink from his glass. “And talk to Fraiser. God knows what she’s thinking.”
“I’m gonna have to talk to Sam and see if I can’t put a stop to it on my end. Because she knows how I feel about you, I don’t want our friendship damaged over idiotic jealousies.”
Jack froze. “Jealousies? As in…plural? Which means…” and his ego jumped a bit, making him smile. “You are jealous, aren’t you?”
Daniel shifted slightly in his chair. He wanted to deny it, then wanted to admit it, but in the end, he said nothing. As Jack looked at him smugly, his features suddenly changed to a frown once more as he realized what else Daniel had said.
“Wait a minute…go back to that thing about her knowing how you feel about me.”
Daniel hesitated, momentarily confused. He could have sworn he’d already told Jack…or maybe he’d just been thinking about it. He took a deep breath and said in as matter-of-fact a tone as he could manage, “She knows how I feel about you.” He hoped he sounded calmer than he felt.
Jack’s reaction to the confirmation told Daniel that he hadn’t known, until now. “And she knows this because…?”
“Um, I told her–“
“Damn it, Daniel.”
“–while you were on Edora, but after we’d already reestablished contact and rescued you from the Machiavellian Princess–“
“Christ,” Jack exclaimed softly as his hand covered his eyes.
“–I’d already told her I was bi, and from…” Daniel paused and pursed his lips, realizing that Jack wasn’t listening to him anymore. He hated that. He really hated that. So, purposely going after Jack’s attention span, “…I told her that I was asexual and from the planet Mynok, but that my leaders insisted I mate with her anyway…”
“Gonna have to run damage control on this,” Jack mumbled to himself as he rubbed his temples.
“…so I came here to go forth and multiply, make like bunnies, fuck my head off…”
“Can’t believe that all this time, since Edora, she’s known and never said anything.”
“…so that Sam and I could populate the galaxy with small, green furry things that sort of look like road kill but are really alive, and they have these large steel-like lobster claws that will actually puncture tires…” Daniel continued, his lips curving into a wide grin at Jack’s expense, “…so running over these guys isn’t a really good idea, but mixed with a little olive oil and sautéed onion…” Daniel finished casually with a shrug, his hand waving a small circle in the air as if the last bit of his sentence was completely obvious.
“What?” Jack asked.
“I wonder if they’d taste like chicken.”
“What?” Jack asked louder, confused.
“What?” Daniel tossed back.
Jack saw the gleam in Daniel’s eyes and knew he’d been had for not listening. “Daniel.”
Daniel merely shook his head, laughing quietly. “You are so easy, O’Neill.”
Jack harrumphed and went back to the original topic. “I can’t believe she’s never said anything.”
“Jack…don’t ask, don’t tell, even with civilians.”
“I know that, but…ah crap.” He rubbed his temple again. “So you just up and told her?”
“Well…no. I was upset and worried and…possibly showing more emotion than I should have.”
Jack straightened. “What kind of emotion?”
Daniel suddenly wouldn’t look at him, and in a very small voice, said, “Um, maybe a little possessive jealousy.”
“Excuse me?” Jack asked slowly. More jealousy? Actually, that didn’t bother him. In fact, he was feeling a little warm.
“Jack, it’s not what you think and–“
“Oh yes, it is. You’ve been jealous of quite a bit, haven’t you?” His whole face was smiling now.
“Two times, Jack, not ‘quite a bit‘,” Daniel shot out defensively, though he found something oddly secure about Jack actually liking him to be jealous.
“You lied,” Jack teased.
“I did not!”
“You weren’t just talking to Sam to help her! You’re jealous and possessive and staking out your territory.” Jack started to laugh.
Daniel knew he’d trapped himself and his best course of action was to ignore Jack’s smug prodding and move on. It wasn’t exactly the wisest course. “Um, yeah, so anyway, Sam kept pressing me, so I finally got tired of dodging her and told her–“
“What?” He sighed with irritation. “Okay…fine…I was jealous and possessive. Can we move on now?”
Jack gave him one of the widest smug grins he’d seen in a while. The cat-and-canary scenario loomed large.
“As I was saying, she then wanted to know why I never told her, et cetera, then asked me if I loved you.” He waited a moment for Jack to catch up because the man was obviously preoccupied in the basking glow of being the object of possessive jealousy. When Jack finally realized what Daniel had said, the smug grin faltered.
“She asked…how the hell did she…oh, the possessive jealousy thing.”
“I didn’t say yes but I didn’t deny it, either.”
Jack sighed, unsure if he should be relieved or not. As he brushed a hand over his face, he tried to backpeddle the conversation. “Okay, so…you think that because she has this…and you are…that it’ll ’cause some sort of rivalry thing?”
“I don’t really know. I’m just worried that it could. When she seemed jealous about Freya–“
“And that’s just too damn weird for words.”
“Tell me about it. You see, we’d been talking about why the two of you subconsciously lied during the testing, so in order to test the theory about jealousy–“
“You tested it?”
“Jeez, ever the scientist.”
“You do the same, only in battle field simulations.”
“Oh…yeah, you’re right. Never mind. You were saying?”
“Remember me telling you that I pointed out that you would have reacted the same way with me had I been on the other side of the forceshield instead of her?”
Jack nodded. “Yeah, and…?”
“That got her defensive, too. I didn’t dare tell her about the kiss.”
Jack sighed loudly. “Ughhhhh, no shit,” and rubbed his temple again.
“So…as I was going to say earlier before we got into that fight…”
Jack winced. “Sorry I jumped on you about that.”
Daniel grinned. “The yelling, I minded, the jumping, I didn’t.”
Jack grinned back. “So…go on.”
“Um, anyway, I attempted to make her feel better by telling her that you’d have reacted the same way because you’re my best friend and you do care more about me than you should as my team leader…which I then told her was a stupid rule–“
Jack shrugged. “Yadda. So, the whole point is that you wanted me to be aware. Okay. I am.” He waved his hand dismissively. “As to this whole thing…whatever it is…it won’t last long.”
“You’re sure about that?”
“Whatever she said to you earlier also has to be taken within her current frame of mind, too. You know, Martouf?”
“That’s true,” Daniel agreed.
“We both know her. She’s very married to her career and I don’t see her giving it up because of an attraction to her C.O., do you?”
Daniel shook his head, a bit of relief flooding him. “No, I don’t see that. Nor do I think you’d do that for her…or me, for that matter.”
Daniel thought of his words as a simple statement of fact; they hadn’t been meant to be a pause for thought. However, that’s exactly what they were doing…for Jack. In fact, the words made Jack panic just a little as they brought on another truckload of feelings.
“Well…I think it’s time to check on dinner.” He got up to do just that and picked up a knife to poke and prod at the meat. Daniel contemplated Jack’s sudden distraction, and as he thought about it, his own words came back to him. He winced, realizing what he’d said, and how it sounded.
Would either of them give up their careers for the other? Certainly, they loved each other and always would. That wasn’t in question. They were committed to keeping their relationship, and that commitment required that it be kept secret. But the operational word here was…commitment. Were they truly committed to one another? Answer, yes. But again, would they give up their careers just to be able to keep their relationship going?
Daniel had to admit to himself that their careers were too important. He loved Jack more than his own life and felt certain that Jack loved him just as much. But in the greater scheme of things, at least for now, their careers did come first, didn’t they?
He cursed himself for making Jack ponder such a serious subject. It wasn’t anything they’d ever been prepared to talk about because there wasn’t any need. They knew the truth of it. In fact, Martouf’s death was a good example of how much they were willing to risk for their jobs; jobs that were more important than their personal lives. Daniel then wondered what the crux would be; what would be the risk-all point? He didn’t know.
“Dinner’s done,” Jack said suddenly as he set the lid to the crock pot into the sink. His thoughts, more or less, ran the same river route as Daniel’s. If push came to shove, he would give up his career…he just wasn’t ready to, and that realization made him feel guilty.
Daniel watched Jack open the cupboard to get the plates. He got up and went to a kitchen drawer to get the silverware, then hesitated as he stood next to Jack. He didn’t want to say he was sorry for making them both think about something they weren’t ready to discuss, because…he wasn’t sorry. However unintentional his words were, it really was something they should talk about someday. Even so, he felt an apology was needed for the rotten timing.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to…you know, it’s not time to discuss that…and I…”
“It’s okay, Daniel. We really should discuss these things but…”
“Just…not now, okay?”
“Fine by me,” Daniel replied, relieved, and quickly switched the subject. “This smells good.”
Jack smiled. “It has a bourbon base to it.”
Daniel’s stomach growled in appreciation as he took a deep breath over the concoction. As the smell wafted throughout the kitchen, the two realized just how hungry they really were. Conversation ceased as they dished up, grabbed some buttered biscuits and iced water, and sat down to eat. Until after the meal, few words were spoken.
“This is good,” came from Daniel, followed by a mumbled thanks from Jack.
When dinner was finished and Daniel helped Jack wash and dry, he’d come to a few decisions. He wasn’t ready to tell them to Jack, but he had at least prepared himself for the future.
Jack, too, had reached a decision. Only one.
As Daniel dried one of the plates, Jack eyed him as he grabbed the spray nozzle to rinse the other one. He cleared his throat. “If it ever came down to a choice, Daniel,” he said carefully, “I would give the job up.”
Daniel didn’t drop his plate…but he did drop his jaw wide open. He didn’t say anything, but Jack saw the question in his eyes. He nodded, letting the corners of his mouth turn up as he brought two wet fingers up to close Daniel’s mouth. Jack didn’t say anything else and merely went back to cleaning the dish in his hands.
Daniel swallowed and set the dry plate into the cupboard. The blunt statement, and the realization that followed, hit him hard. He hadn’t expected that from Jack. All his internal arguments told him that for every answer to the question: “Would you give up your job?” was always met with a “providing that” or a “when the time comes”. Trouble was, those things could become effective tomorrow and if Daniel were forced to choose between Jack or the SGC, he knew his answer. So, it really was just a simple choice after all, wasn’t it?
“Me too,” he answered quietly.
Jack smiled, leaned over, as if for a kiss, and depressed the spray nozzle in Daniel’s direction.