Summary: Post-Beneath the Surface
…scratch and sniff…
Daniel was pissed off. He hadn’t been this pissed off with Jack since…well, never. The closest he’d come was that damned planet with the painted plant people…and that insufferable NID sting. But right now, he was nearly in a rage. And he had to leave the mountain as soon as possible.
The part of his mind he refused to listen to told him that he was being irrational. However, the part that was in control – his deep insecurity – overrode everything else. All he could see was betrayal. If Jack wanted Sam, then he could fucking have her. To hell with him and to hell with her.
He signed the leave request – vacation request – in front of him, then made his way down to Hammond’s office. He’d had to fight the urge to hand in a transfer request as well. He wasn’t running. No way. In fact, all he could think about was how much enjoyment he’d get out of becoming a thorn in both their sides. If they wanted him gone, they’d have to make him leave.
Turning the corner at top of the stairs, he found Hammond’s secretary and handed her the sheet of paper. She looked at it curiously. “Do you wish to speak to the General, Doctor?”
“No, it’s not nec–” His words were cut off as Jack exited Hammond’s office with the General right behind. Jack caught the alarming amount of fire in Daniel’s eyes, aimed directly at him, and he frowned. ‘What the hell did he do?’ he asked himself. Other than giving Daniel a cut lip, that is.
“Something I can do for you, Doctor Jackson?” Hammond asked.
“I’m requesting some time off, sir.”
“Colonel O’Neill has just asked for extended time off for his team, Doctor Jackson. It’s not necessary. You’re all on downtime until all of your memories come back and you’ve had the chance to recuperate.”
“How much downtime, sir? I’ve requested two weeks.”
“That’s how long Colonel O’Neill requested, Doctor Jackson. Unless you want to use up your accrued vacation.”
“No, if you’re allowing us time, sir, I’ll take it. Thank you very much, sir. Excuse me.”
“Have a good rest, Doctor Jackson.”
“Thank you, sir.”
Daniel took the form back from Hammond’s secretary, then stepped purposely around Jack – who was standing in his way – and left back down the corridor. Hammond didn’t fail to notice the tension in Daniel’s shoulders, nor the stress lines around his eyes. Neither did Jack.
“Thank you, sir,” Jack said tiredly.
“You’re welcome, Jack. Now go home and get some rest.”
Teal’c had been allowed off-world – and Carter…well, she was set to disappear to San Diego. Jack had to have one teensy little talk with her before she left. Then, he had to go after Daniel. He had some repairing to do and it didn’t look like it was going to be easy. He hadn’t meant to pick on Daniel. After all, he hadn’t been himself. He thought that Daniel would understand that, but apparently he didn’t. It wasn’t going to be an easy evening, or maybe even an easy night, depending on how difficult Daniel was going to be – and how much he’d end up pissing Jack off in return.
Sam stuffed a notebook into her satchel then zipped it closed. She was already in her civilian clothes. She looked up from her lab table as she heard the knock and finding Jack standing there made her tense up. She’d had a feeling Jack was going to be coming by. This wasn’t something she’d been looking forward to, but she supposed it had to be done before she left. Hopefully, Jack would agree with her and they could part as friends, teammates. If not, things would be difficult.
“We need to talk, Carter.”
“I know, sir.”
Jack closed the door, then sat down on a stool next to her table. Sam sat down on another stool and faced him. “Sir, about what happened on the planet…”
Jack held up a finger. “Nothing happened, Carter.”
“Not physically, but emotionally, something did. I’ve thought about it and I think we need to clear the air.”
Jack shook his head. He didn’t want to hear this. “If you’re going to say you have feelings, Carter, I don’t wanna hear that.”
Sam ground her jaw. “And if you’re going to say that you have feelings, I can’t hear that, either.”
Jack frowned. “I thought you were relieved when I said I had feelings?”
“I thought I was.”
“I think I was feeling rather confused. I thought that my feelings were…well, romantic. But they weren’t, sir.”
Jack sighed in relief. “Neither were mine, Carter.”
The relief was now shared. “So, what was that then?” she asked.
Jack took a deep breath, then waved his hand between them. “I’ll assume you’ve given this as much thought as I have?”
“I don’t know, sir, but I have given it a lot of thought.”
Jack grinned. “Okay, well, d’you mind if I give you my take?”
Sam shook her head. “Knock yourself out, sir.”
“Okay, here’s the thing in a nutshell. We’re teammates,” he said, gesturing between them. “We’re friends. As such, we care about each other. The only difference is that we just don’t care about each other…you know…romantically.” He paused, raising his brows.
She took the hint and nodded in agreement. “Yes, sir.”
Jack’s brows rose higher, wanting to make sure he understood her correctly.
She shook her head. “No, sir, not romantically. I’ll…admit…” and she had to withhold a smile when his eyes widened, “that maybe…maybe…there was something, but…no, no romantic feelings, sir.”
“Me, either, Carter.”
They each suddenly blew out breaths in relief, then had to keep from laughing – out of internal embarrassment.
“Okay, so, add to that the physical appearance thing…” and without saying it, he looked for her to get his meaning.
She did, smirking. “You’re not exactly hard to look at, sir.”
Jack cleared his throat. “Um, yeah, well…you’re not that hard on the eyes, either, Carter. So…anyway, I was thinking that maybe we confused those feelings for something more.” He held up his hand and ticked off on his fingers. “One, we knew each other. Two, we care. Three, we find the other attractive. I think that subconsciously, our real memories picked that up and ran with with it. Because we consciously didn’t think we…” Jack paused, frowning. Sam was gawking at him. “What?”
“That’s pretty deep, sir.”
Jack’s frown of confusion turned to irritation. “Just because I don’t say it, doesn’t mean I don’t think it. Now, can I continue?”
“Go ahead, sir,” Sam gestured, failing to contain a smirk.
Jack sighed, then frowned again. “Where was I? Oh, yeah, right. Because we consciously didn’t think we knew each other, we confused those real feelings–“
“Which aren’t feelings feelings,” she added.
“Right, we confused that with something deeper. You follow?”
“Okay…so my only question is…what was that exchange we had just before we left Brenna’s office? I thought I saw disappointment.”
“So did I, sir.”
“That’s what made me nervous, you know. I had no idea what that meant.”
“Me, either, sir, but as our memories started to come back in that last half hour, I think that when I called you ‘sir’, and when you called me ‘major’, the disappointment was that we weren’t what the other wanted.”
Jack looked doubtful, even if it made sense. “Are you sure about that?”
“Well, think about it. Neither of us has been in a relationship for a long time. Our feelings – our real ones – came back to us and the memory of what we shared on the planet was…disappointing. I want a relationship, sir, just…”
“Not with…” he went on, catching her train of thought.
“You,” they said together. They each breathed in a deep sigh of relief.
Sam knew she had feelings for Jack, but after this experience, she knew for certain that they didn’t go quite as deeply as she’d thought. Jack, on the other hand, was also relieved that she hadn’t picked up on his relationship with Daniel. Only his friendship.
“So…” Jack started, eyeing her carefully, “we’re okay then? Nothing to worry about?”
“We’re fine, sir,” Sam smiled. She stood up and grabbed her shoulder bag as well as her satchel.
“Good. Going to see Mark?”
Sam nodded. “Dad’s supposed to be joining me tomorrow. I think being around family will help me remember everything. Some things are still a bit fuzzy.”
“Well, hope you don’t get lost on the way to your brother’s, Carter.”
“I don’t think I’m that fuzzy, sir, but thanks. And thanks for getting the downtime approved.”
“I said I would, didn’t I?”
“Yes, sir, you did.”
“I also had Fraiser call up Hammond and back me up, so that helped.”
“Good call, sir.”
“Are you taking off for Minnesota then?”
“I don’t think so, Carter. I think I’m going to go find Daniel and attempt to make nice.”
Sam’s brow arched. “He’s still mad?”
“You haven’t seen him?” he asked, surprised.
Jack winced. “Dammit.”
Sam frowned. “What?”
“Nothing, Carter. I’ve got some wounds to fix, and some major sucking up to do, I think.” In more ways than one, he told himself.
Sam suddenly grimaced. “I see. You were pretty hard on him for nearly two weeks, sir.”
Jack winced again. “I know. He’s still got that tiny little cut on his lip.”
Sam winced that time. “So, you’re gonna go brave the lion’s den?”
Jack snorted. “That’s funny. Sort of a bit backwards, isn’t it? The lion going into Daniel’s den?”
She laughed, a teasing bit in her eyes. “Never thought of you as a lion, sir, but hey.”
“Hey,” Jack said, taking exception.
“No offense, sir, but with the eagles on your shoulders, well, lion doesn’t suit you. Bird of prey, on the other hand…”
Jack snorted, feeling rather pleased about the analogy.
“After you’ve straightened things out, give him my best, sir.”
“I will, Carter. I’ll see you in two weeks and hopefully, I’ll be in one piece.”
“Call me if you need back up, sir.”
“I can handle it. Have a good time, Carter.”
“You too, sir.”
Jack entered his bedroom, toweling his body dry. He sat down on the edge of his bed, pondering – as he had been since he’d arrived home. Jack remembered everything that had happened to him and his teammates in the last two weeks and he wished he didn’t. It made his stomach tighten, knowing how he’d treated Daniel. At first, Daniel had just been someone he didn’t know. Then that bitch Kegan had somehow got it into her head that Daniel needed a friend and Daniel, as Carlin, figured she’d somehow needed defending. Once she’d caught on to that, she’d used him as her champion. If he’d only remembered that he’d seen her kind before. The games people like her played when someone other than them was given special treatment. If Jack had only remembered that she had been playing a dangerous game, he’d not have fallen into the antagonistic trap.
For the first three days, he’d ignored Daniel and Daniel had ignored him. Then Jack had found Daniel watching him. At first, Jack had thought that it was because Kegan had turned him into a spy, but as Jack had taken it upon himself to watch back, he hadn’t seen a spy. He had seen a man filled with confusion and curiosity. Then three days later, Teal’c had had to pull him and Daniel apart after Kegan pulled her usual bullshit, refusing to give Sam her bread. Jack remembered wanting to break that woman’s neck. Jack had had an idea on why she had picked on Sam the way she had – jealousy. Her minor power trips had gotten Daniel and him into a few fights and he’d taken his anger and growing rage out on the lover he hadn’t even remembered.
Then Teal’c had been gone for five days, and during that time, Jack had felt himself growing closer to Sam. But he had also felt something whenever he had looked at Daniel, or allowed himself to stare for a while. He had felt a warmth growing in his belly that he hadn’t been able to identify, and his dick would inevitably harden soon after. Jack remembered being confused because he’d never gotten that hard over Carter. Although in hindsight, he was very glad about that. She was a nice looking woman and he was bi-sexual. Without his memories, he’d been attracted to her.
Focus, he told himself. Stop avoiding. You know what’s wrong here. Jack sighed heavily, staring at the towel in his hands. If what he and Carter had talked about was true – and Jack thought it was – then why the hell hadn’t he and Daniel hit it off? After all, Daniel was the one he should have been drawn to, not Carter.
Jack couldn’t see the answer and it bothered him – a lot. He leaned over, resting his arms on his knees as he ran his fingers through his drying hair. “Fucking memory stamp shit,” he grumbled.
The words jogged his memory and he stilled, looking up. That’s it! What if that was the point of the memory stamp? They were given identities, and with them, personalities and false memories. That was it!
But Jack’s surge of optimism suddenly plummeted. Even as the second week had closed, something of their own personalities had been surfacing, so why the hell hadn’t he been drawn to Daniel then?
A sudden realization hit Jack between the eyes. “Shit. The truth is, Jack O’Neill, that you were drawn to Daniel.” There had been the moment where that steam had been blowing in Daniel’s face, making Daniel grimace. It had sparked some memory in Jack, and though it had been fleeting, he’d felt the need to help. He’d reached out and helped Daniel up, feeling more, but he hadn’t followed up on it. Jack knew why. It was that damned loyalty of his – something he’d developed for Carter first. It had gotten in the way, hadn’t it?
Jack sighed. That damned memory stamp had done such a number on him, on all of them. Although, Teal’c had recovered better than the rest of them, and Carter seemed to be okay. But him? Daniel? It would take Jack a while before he could put the past two weeks into proper perspective. Daniel could help…once he got Daniel to stop being mad at him, that is.
And why was that? Why was Daniel so mad anyway? He surely couldn’t be taking those fights personally…could he?
Jack pulled on his light blue jeans, then slipped on his forest green shirt – knowing that Daniel liked them both. He put on his loafers, then ran a brush through his hair. He thought about cologne, then nixed the idea. The scented soap was what Daniel loved, so that was enough. Jack grabbed his jacket and keys and headed out.
Daniel’s anger and feelings of betrayal surged and deepened every time he thought of the last two weeks. And since that’s all he could think about, he was nearing the point of rage. Every damned time he’d looked at Jack in that underground slavehold, he’d been watching Sam. Well, almost every time. Once he’d caught Jack looking at him. There were two reasons Daniel had been looking at Jack. One, his dreams. He hadn’t been able to figure out why a man he hadn’t ever met was in his dreams. Two, he had felt some strange sense of familiarity and the longer he stared at Jack, the stronger it became – but unfortunately, it hadn’t given him any other clues.
Daniel wished he hadn’t noticed Jack. Every time he had, there Jack was…watching Sam, hanging around Sam, sniffing after Sam. The sight of it had made him jealous and Daniel hadn’t known why. All he knew was that he was getting angrier with Jack – Jonah – by the day. Until Daniel had started to piece together fragments of his memories – memories that weren’t real. The feeling of being used had then taken over and that anger had been redirected. For a while.
But Daniel knew he’d been jealous, watching Jack look out for Sam. He’d had no idea why, either, but the feelings had been real. That jealousy had caused him to fight with Jack, and the last time – that had been Jack’s doing. All Daniel had wanted was to try and get Jack to let go of Kegan.
And speaking of Kegan – she’d pretended to be his friend, but he’d learned that her loyalty had depended solely on her ability to control. If you didn’t follow her lead, you weren’t her friend. Daniel sighed in sadness. He’d actually liked her, just not intimately. She’d tried though. Lord knows she’d tried.
Daniel stared down at the baking sheet. He’d been standing there long enough that the home fries had started to thaw. Seeing the temperature had been reached, he set them in the oven and turned on the timer.
He stared at it, then looked around his kitchen, not knowing what to do. The anger and grief he felt over losing Jack was consuming him. Right now, he really didn’t give a shit if he let it. He had two weeks to get this under control. He snorted derisively. Two weeks ruined his life. Now two weeks were supposed to fix it?
Well, they’d have to suffice. He grabbed the bottle of rum and went over to the mixer. He started it up again and remixed the half-n-half, raspberries, blackberries, and bananas. He then poured the rum in through the hold in the cover…and kept pouring until the rum brought the mixture up a quarter in volume. Stopping the machine, he took the top off, and took a sip. Yep. Nice and strong. He added the crushed ice he’d already made, remixed, then poured some of the drink into a large glass. He drank half of it down, refilled, then took another, smaller, drink.
With a gusty sigh, he set the tartar sauce and ketchup on the kitchen table, put the blender glass into the fridge, then sat down and waited for the fries to finish heating. He could have fried them, but he wasn’t in the mood to be spattered with oil.
Grabbing a magazine, he tried to read, but he found he couldn’t concentrate. With his emotions in turmoil, he knew he wouldn’t be able to focus on the work he’d brought home either, so he got up and went to the living room. Maybe a movie.
He surfed the movie channels and suddenly found a program on Showtime. A gay drama. After watching it for fifteen minutes, he was almost thinking it was worth watching, until the sex started. Heat suffused his body quickly and when his cock stiffened slightly, he changed the channel. Sighing, he took a long drink from his fruit and rum concoction and surfed the movie channels. There was nothing. He got up to look through his DVDs and spotted Jack’s copy of The Matrix, the one he hadn’t returned yet.
“What the fuck,” he said possessively and slipped the disc in the player. As it started to play, he found himself focusing on only the scenery. The dialogue didn’t catch his attention as it usually did. By the time Neo had his meeting with his employer, Daniel was thinking of all the times he and Jack had viewed the film. He lifted the remote to turn the movie off, but he couldn’t. He had to keep watching…and remembering. The good memories were now so bittersweet and he wanted to wallow in them. They were all he had left.
The oven timer buzzed and he got up, turning up the sound of the movie so he could listen to it in the kitchen as he dished up the only dinner that had sounded good. The thick slices of potatoes, known as ‘home fries’. Dumping them on a plate and grabbing up the tartar sauce and ketchup, he set them on the coffee table and plopped back down on the couch. He viewed his ‘dinner’ and laughed at himself.
“What a fucking joke,” he mumbled as he bit into a fry. “You’re back to being alone, Daniel. Time to get used to it all over again.”
When Trinity and Neo went to rescue Morpheus, Daniel was so engrossed that he was literally startled when someone knocked on the door. “Whoever you are, I’m not buying,” he called out.
“Daniel, it’s me. Open up.”
“Fuck off and die, Jack O’Neill,” Daniel mumbled. He turned down the sound of the movie, then got up and went to the door. He leaned his back against it instead of opening it. “What do you want?”
“Daniel, we need to talk. Please, open the door.”
“We have nothing to talk about, Jack. I think you’ve twisted the knife in pretty good.”
“But you’re wrong, Daniel. It’s not what you think. Please, open the door.”
Daniel ground his jaw and despite a loud voice in his head telling him to hit Jack the moment he opened the door – the same voice that also told him not to listen to what the man had to say – the voice in his heart argued otherwise. He had to give Jack one last say – if only so he could give Jack an earful in return.
He opened the door.
Jack looked at him and blinked. Despite how Jack knew Daniel must be feeling, he looked damn good. Even that cut on his lip was just a discoloration now. What added to it was that all Daniel wore were his layabout clothes. The grey shorts and tank top – his exercise clothes. The ones that so very clearly defined every muscle Daniel had.
Then Jack caught the icy, and very angry, expression in Daniel’s eyes. Daniel wasn’t just mad, Jack suddenly saw. He was furious. And there was hurt behind his eyes.
“Okay, door’s open. Talk.” Daniel didn’t fail to notice that Jack wore the pale blue jeans and that specific green shirt – his favorites. They seemed to only make him madder.
“May I come in?” Jack asked carefully, his eyes never leaving Daniel’s.
Daniel stared back, his gaze hardening. “Of course. Wouldn’t want this in public, now would we?” Daniel left the door open and walked away, returning to the living room. He shut the movie off, then turned back to Jack.
“What?” Jack asked, frowning in confusion as he hung up his jacket.
“That’s why you’re here, isn’t it?” Daniel replied, staring coldly.
Jack’s frown deepened. What the fuck was going on? “Daniel, what the hell are you talking about?” he asked, stepping down into the living room.
Daniel’s eyes narrowed. “You have no idea how badly I want to smack the crap out of you right now.”
“Daniel, I’m sorry for those times I hit you. If it makes you feel any better–“
Daniel’s jaw dropped. “Excuse me? You seriously think that’s…” He laughed derisively. Jack really didn’t give a shit, did he? “You self-absorbed, arrogant, egotistical sonofabitch. I don’t give a flying fuck that you hit me!”
Jack was further confused. “Then what the fuck is the…problem…” It suddenly dawned on him. Daniel remembered…and Daniel remembered wrong. What he saw…oh no. Jack rubbed his eyes. “Daniel, it’s not what you’re thinking.”
Daniel arched a brow. “Really? What am I thinking?”
“I’m not with Carter, Daniel.”
“Is that right? Well, what would you call leaving me for her? Slumming?”
“Daniel, listen to me,” Jack said slowly, telling himself not to get angry. “I’m not leaving you for Carter.”
“Well, you’re not fucking me and her, Jack. No switch-hitting allowed.”
Jack sighed with exasperation. “I’m not fucking Carter. I never was.”
Daniel snorted, not believing him. “Yeah, right. What were you doing on the planet? Pretending?”
“Nothing!” Jack replied, his voice rising. “Would you listen to me? We weren’t doing anything. I’m here to apologize for hitting you. I didn’t think I needed to be explaining to you that nothing was going on between me and Carter.”
“That’s a load of crap, Jack,” Daniel snapped as he walked around Jack, taking his drink with him to the kitchen for a refill.
“No, it’s not,” Jack answered crisply, following.
“I saw you two. You couldn’t be more together if you were married, for fuck’s sake.”
“We’re not together, Daniel!”
“Really?” Daniel asked icily. “Then would you mind explaining to me why you were sniffing round Sam like she was a bitch in heat and you were, are, the local early warning system?”
“That’s uncalled for!”
“Tough. It’s true enough. Truth hurts, Jack. I should know.”
Jack ground his teeth, his jaw flexing. He went from irritated to pissed off in two seconds. Before he could stop himself, he asked, “What’s the matter, Daniel? Jealous?” Right after he asked it, he knew he shouldn’t have said it, even though he saw it was true. Daniel was jealous. Insanely jealous. He gawped at his lover as Daniel’s eyes narrowed defensively.
“What do you think?”
“I think you’re jealous,” Jack told him, almost smugly, and then told himself that this wasn’t what he wanted to be doing. They were supposed to be making up and he was supposed to be apologizing. Where the hell had Daniel come up with…no, scratch that. Daniel was a born observer. He’d seen them together – noticed the looks, the exchanges. Even at the end before they’d left Brenna’s office.
Daniel snorted and shook his head as he turned away from him and opened the fridge. “You saw it, you went for it. I was conveniently forgotten.” He looked over his shoulder, fixing Jack with an icy stare. “How the fuck do you think that makes me feel?”
Jack took a step forward. “It wasn’t like that, Daniel.”
“How was she, Jack? Good? I hope so. I’d hate to think you made another mistake,” Daniel spat, twisting the words on purpose.
“Fuckin’ A, Daniel. You’re not a mistake and I’m NOT SCREWING CARTER!”
“Please. You had the time. You two were inseparable.”
“STOP IT! Listen to me!!” Jack shouted and grabbed Daniel’s arm. “We never were and never will be!”
Daniel yanked his arm free. “You are such a fucking liar.”
“I’m not. Would you just calm down so we can talk about this? My memory was suppressed, Daniel. I was drawn to her and didn’t know why.”
Daniel stared at him. He knew Jack wasn’t lying. Every fiber in his being told him that. But his anger – he didn’t know what to do with it and the only thing he could think of was to lash out. To give back to Jack what he’d made him feel; what he’d put him though. His jaw continued to grind as he reached into the fridge and grabbed the blender jar.
“So…what you’re saying is that you were messing round Sam like she’s the obvious choice and I’m just a layover, is that it?”
“Dammit, Daniel! That’s so unfair…and untrue!” Jack replied, his anger rising. Visions of Daniel and Kegan came into his mind and before he could censor himself… “And just what the fuck were you up to with that Kegan bitch?”
Daniel’s jaw dropped again. “Now who’s jealous!”
“You’re goddamned right! What were you doing?”
“Nothing, and don’t change the subject!”
“It has everything to do with the goddamned subject. What were you doing?”
“I never slept with her!”
“Well, I never slept with Carter!”
“No?” Daniel asked.
“Well, you would have.”
“Don’t growl at me. You would have.”
Jack grabbed the blender jar out of Daniel’s hand and set it on the counter. Some of the pale pink mixture splashed on his hand, but he paid no attention. Daniel, his eyes wide in shock, got another as Jack slammed him up against the wall, his fingers digging into his arms.
“You listen to me, you stubborn sonofabitch! I never fucked her and I never will!”
Daniel started to laugh at him – he couldn’t believe that Jack would ever be this adamant, and because of it, Daniel was beginning to believe him. Even though he sensed Jack was telling the truth, his heart hadn’t wanted to believe. And here was Jack, going all Neanderthal on him. Not wanting to admit it, Daniel liked it. He laughed again, embarrassed with himself and Jack took it wrong. It pissed him off even more.
“Is this now funny to you?”
“No. It’s something else. So nothing happened?”
“Nothing. Nada. Zilch.”
“No kisses? No body rubs, no not-so-innocent hand holdings? No fantasies, no wet dreams?”
“For cryin’ out loud!”
“I saw you two displaying those feelings–“
“THEY WEREN’T THE RIGHT FEELINGS!”
Daniel frowned. That wasn’t the answer he expected and it deflated some of his anger by making him think. “What’s that mean?”
Jack let go and stepped away from him. “It means that I was feeling…feelings. I told her that I was remembering feeling feelings. For her.”
“Yeah, tell me something I don’t–“
“They weren’t romantic, Daniel, and stop interrupting me!”
All Daniel heard was ‘not romantic’ and he became confused.
“That last night there, after the three of us talked, I stayed there with her. We talked…and that’s all we ever did. I told her I remembered a bald man. What I didn’t tell her was that I remembered sexual feelings…but they weren’t for her, Daniel.”
Daniel ground his jaw, a feeling of complete embarrassment starting to come over him. He looked away and went to the counter to refill his glass.
Jack watched him, feeling his anger subside a bit. “Those feelings were for you.”
“Me?” Daniel asked, sounding doubtful though he knew Jack was telling the truth.
“You’re not the only one. It was fucking confusing,” Daniel said, remembering one of his dreams, the dream where he and Jack were having sex in front of the event horizon. Daniel remembered waking up with a raging hard-on. Kegan had known and she’d wanted to help but…Daniel had gotten up from his cot to take care of it.
“That’s so encouraging,” Jack replied sarcastically.
“Not what I meant.”
“Then what do you mean?”
“I didn’t know you, but I had these feelings every time I got around you. I wanted to touch, to feel, but…I confused them with anger because you had all this anger toward me. I didn’t know what the hell I’d done. I thought you hated me.”
“It was the place I hated, Daniel. Not you.”
“No, but you didn’t hesitate in punching me when I got in the way, did you?”
Jack made a growling noise in his throat. “You didn’t have a problem in defending yourself.”
Daniel turned to him. “It’s not my nature to be antagonistic, but it is in yours.”
“What’s that mean? You grabbed me first that last time!”
“Well, you grabbed Kegan’s arm!”
“You were defending her. I was only defending Carter.”
“So it’s that alpha male protector thing, I suppose.”
“You had it too, Daniel.”
Daniel turned back to the drink mix and poured a little into his glass. “Maybe.”
“No maybe’s, Daniel.”
“So, what the fuck made you think I was screwing Kegan? Were you watching me?”
Daniel looked over at him. “Why? I thought you weren’t interested?”
“I never said that. I was just…interested in Carter.”
“Fucking asshole, I knew it!” Daniel snapped and turned away. He drank the contents of his glass in one go, then refilled it with the remaining mix.
“No, damn it. It was the memory stamp. What do you remember? Any real feelings toward me? Did your ‘new’ personality want to fuck me or fuck Kegan? Think about it?”
Daniel shook his head. “I already have.” He hadn’t had any sexual feelings. Toward anyone. Until his dreams about ‘Jonah’ started to make him come alive. “I never thought that way about anyone…except you. But apparently, even subconsciously, you wanted Sam, not me.”
Daniel started to turn away but Jack grabbed him his arm. “No, don’t you walk away!”
“Let go!” Daniel shouted, wrenching his arm free. Without thinking about it, he threw the remaining contents of his glass into Jack’s face. Jack let go and stumbled back, wiping the liquor concoction out of his eyes before it could burn. He smelled the rum and fruit and licked his lips. Then his eyes started to burn anyway.
“Shit, Jack, I’m sorry,” Daniel said, breaking his paralysis. He turned on the tap and held out his hand for Jack to wash his face.
Jack bent over slightly, wiping his eyes, his face. He straightened, then stared at Daniel. “I can’t believe you did that, you bastard,” and suddenly grabbed Daniel, making him drop the glass, then spun them both around and shoved his lover against the wall once again. “Here, have it back, Daniel,” he growled and rubbed his sticky, coated hands over Daniel’s face and hair. Daniel’s hands came up defensively, and he tried turning his face away, first one direction, then the other.
“Stop it!” he yelled back. It didn’t occur to him to push Jack away. Why wasn’t he? He opened his eyes when Jack stopped smearing the stuff over his skin and found Jack staring at him. He swallowed and felt himself hardening quickly. Very quickly.
Jack stared back, feeling intensely aroused. He licked his lips, tasting the rum, fruit, and cream. “Nice,” he whispered, his breathing increasing as he moved his eyes down Daniel’s face to his mouth. He licked his lips again.
“Like that, huh?” Daniel asked breathlessly. His eyes couldn’t leave Jack’s face, his mouth.
“Yes,” Jack replied quietly, then struck, locking his mouth over Daniel’s and plunging his tongue between Daniel’s open lips. He moaned and his need for Daniel took precedence over everything else.
Daniel kissed him back, hard, feeling the need to crawl inside his lover. His hands were everywhere, kneading, massaging, caressing – the urge to feel that had been so strong on the planet suffused him now. He quickly opened Jack’s jeans and plunged his hand inside. Part of the sticky liquor mixture pulled a hair and Jack hissed, breaking their kiss.
“Sorry,” Daniel breathed, removing his hand slowly.
Jack stared into his eyes for a long moment, then took Daniel by the hand and led him to the bathroom. Without a word, they stripped. The sight of the other’s erection seemed to make each of them harder. Jack turned on the shower, then stepped inside. He held out his hand.
Without a word, Daniel took it and stepped in. As he watched Jack duck his head under the spray, Daniel heard his heart pounding – loudly. Embarrassment and guilt for making the biggest of all assumptions assailed him. Jack’s eyes were closed so he couldn’t see the slight flush over Daniel’s cheeks and for that, Daniel was thankful. He fought to control it, to make sure it wouldn’t increase, but as he soaped up his hands and ran them over Jack’s chest, the need to feel and touch seemed to consume him again, causing his cheeks to flush for a different reason. Suddenly the hurt he’d experienced came flooding back. He thought he’d lost Jack. The intensity of his reaction had surprised him. He knew he’d loved Jack. That wasn’t the issue. What bothered him was how viciously he attacked when hurt. He knew he was capable of it. His past lovers were proof of that. Shame now mixed with guilt.
Jack opened his eyes as he felt the soapy hands on his chest. He found Daniel lost in thought and took his lover’s hands gently in his own. He forced Daniel to look in his eyes.
“You have to understand something, Daniel.”
“That would be?”
“You’re it for me. No one else. Ever.”
For the third time that late afternoon, Daniel’s jaw dropped. He knew – or thought he did – that Jack loved him. Jack saying that just now told Daniel that he hadn’t really ever believed that Jack’s love for him was permanent. None of the loves in his life ever were.
“No,” Jack interrupted as he turned them, letting Daniel duck under the water, which he did so quickly so he could keep his eyes on Jack. “No buts, Daniel. This is it.”
“Daniel…later. We’ll talk about this later. Right now…” He swallowed, then looked down and took Daniel’s slightly softened cock in his hand. Daniel hissed and grabbed at Jack’s shoulders. Jack stroked once, twice, then more, watching Daniel close his eyes and give himself over to his touch. But Jack had no intention of stopping there. He grabbed the tube of lube off the corner caddy.
Daniel opened his eyes halfway, giving Jack an intense look of need and desire. “I want you.”
Jack turned him around slowly, then slicked his cock with the lube. When he started to prep Daniel, Daniel pulled away.
Jack hesitated, but he knew what this meant. He wanted it, too. He maneuvered Daniel to face the back wall, then grabbed his hips and pushed his feet apart. Rubbing the head of his cock over Daniel’s sphincter, he produced a demanding groan from his lover’s throat.
“Jack,” Daniel said as he reached back and put his hand over Jack’s.
“Impatient,” Jack whispered just as pushed past the initial resistance and slid slowly, deeply inside.
Daniel closed his eyes and dropped his head back. “Yes.” Jack felt so goddamned good.
Jack waited, breathing slowly, ordering himself not to come from the sensation of being inside his lover. He realized he hadn’t been with Daniel in over two weeks. Now, here they were. At last. He closed his arms over Daniel’s chest, holding tightly as he kissed and sucked over the top of his shoulders. “Yes,” he whispered, then thrust – hard.
Daniel gasped out a cry. “Yes.”
“Yes,” Jack whispered, repeating. Another thrust, then another, and another. He swiveled his hips, angling, then thrust harder.
“Ah God, yes!” Daniel replied as his gland was touched.
Jack reached down with one hand, took Daniel’s cock in his ready palm and tightened his fingers about the hot shaft. He squeezed, then stroked, timing his hand with his thrusts. Daniel felt so damn good and shudders ran through Jack every time he moved. Daniel’s breaths were coming in shorter gasps and pants, matching his own.
“Close, Daniel,” he whispered suddenly, feeling his balls tighten.
Daniel reached down moved Jack’s hand from his cock. He started to stroke himself, quickly, urgently. “Hard and fast.”
Jack agreed and grabbed Daniel’s waist, holding on tightly, almost digging his fingers into Daniel’s skin as he spread his legs and thrust home. Harder, faster, again and again. It was there, that heat – the heat Daniel always brought him. He tossed his head back and howled as he came, slamming hard once more into his lover. He could hear Daniel’s strangled gasps as he came soon after, then felt the tightening of his muscles as they squeezed the rest of Jack’s orgasm from his body.
Minutes went by as they allowed only the sound of their breathing and the falling water to fill the silence. Daniel pulled away, then turned around, pulling Jack into a long kiss.
Nothing else was said. They would wait. They washed, dried, then padded their way to the kitchen, clothed only in towels about their waists.
Daniel took a look at the mess on the wall and the floor. “Shit.” He bit his lip, looked at Jack, then left for the hall’s utility closet. As he cleaned up, Jack disappeared for a few moments. He was rinsing and squeezing the sponge mop clean when Jack returned.
“Where’d you go?” Daniel asked.
“To put our clothes in the wash.”
Daniel nodded with embarrassment. “Right.”
Jack gave him a gentle smile, then walked up behind him and slid his arms around his waist. “I hate to say it, Daniel, but…”
Daniel sighed. “I know. You liked seeing me insanely jealous.”
“I didn’t think you had it in you.”
“Oh, it’s in there, alright. I can be downright mean.”
“I know,” Jack replied and he felt Daniel wince. “I could have gone without ever hearing that anger, but don’t feel bad. You’re only human.”
Jack smiled against his neck, reminded of an old joke between them. “Yes. Like me.”
“Are you going to explain to me what–“
“Let’s just wait till we’ve cleaned up first, okay? Then I can have your undivided attention.”
“So,” Jack said, opening the fridge. “That stuff was yummy. Can we make some more?”
Daniel snorted. “Bottom shelf, Jack. You’ll have to make more crushed ice, too.”
“You want more, Jack, you get to help make it.”
“I always want more.”
Drinks made, fries reheated, they sat on couch, still clad only in their towels and discussed what had happened to them. Jack told Daniel his idea about the memory stamping, how it probably overrode their normal feelings.
Surprised he hadn’t thought of it, Daniel agreed with Jack’s assessment. He frowned though, feeling guilty and ashamed that he’d let his feelings of jealousy cloud his judgment.
“No, Jack. If I hadn’t been so…possessive…I would have come to the same conclusion. You’re right. That memory stamp technology is purposely designed to make people believe they’re someone else, that they lived where they lived for a reason, that they had no other life than what they were programmed to believe. Like us.”
“But Carter also believed that because our brain whatever…”
“Right, that our brain chemistry wasn’t like those people on the planet’s. She didn’t think that up on her own, either. Brenna is the one who told her.”
Daniel sighed and nodded. “Guess she would know, wouldn’t she?” he replied, his voice filled with resentment and anger. The anger now placed where it rightly belonged.
“She was part of the problem, but at least she redeemed herself.”
“I think she honestly didn’t know about us, about others.”
“She knew, Daniel. But to her credit, she started to rebel.”
“Guilt is sometimes a good thing.”
“It is. It was for us…except…”
Daniel rolled his eyes, though not at Jack. At himself. “I know. I jumped to a huge conclusion, didn’t I?”
Jack reached over and twined his fingers through Daniel’s. “You gated.”
Daniel snorted, glanced at Jack quickly, then took a sip from his drink. “So, will my saying sorry help?”
Jack set his glass on the coffee table, then took Daniel’s chin in his hand and turned his face toward him. Daniel felt the wet cold from the glass and it made him shiver, goosebumps rising over his skin.
“It depends,” Jack told him, his dark eyes intense and serious.
Daniel stared back. “On?”
“On whether or not you believe that I have no interest in Carter. Now or ever.”
Daniel studied his lover, the expression in his deep brown eyes. “I believe. I know why I didn’t though. Why it was so easy for me to believe you’d chosen her after we got home.”
Jack’s eyes darkened with emotion. “Daniel…”
“It’s our history. Or rather, your history. With her. I guess it ate at me and I never really allowed myself to think about it.”
“There was only ever mild attraction, Daniel. Nothing more. I never had any desire to take her to bed.”
“Ever?” Daniel asked, his doubt returning.
“Daniel…” Jack said tiredly. “Why ask these questions when you know the answers already?”
Daniel winced, then nodded reluctantly as he looked away. “You’re male, you’re bisexual. You can’t help the fact that you have the odd fleeting fantasy.”
Jack tugged on Daniel’s chin, making Daniel return his gaze. “Had, Daniel. Had.”
Daniel gazed back.
“When will you believe?” Jack asked.
Again Daniel studied him. The sincerity in Jack’s eyes was there – easy to read, easy to see. “I believe you. I think it’s only this long-developed fear of abandonment in me that keeps interfering.”
It was Jack’s turn to study Daniel; his serious expression, reflected in his amazingly beautiful blue eyes, darkened by the slightly dilated pupils. “Guess we’ll both have to work on getting rid of it.”
“Sometimes, it’s not such a bad thing, Jack.”
“I agree, but when it comes to believing whether I love you or not, then it is a bad thing.”
They were quiet for a minute.
“You don’t really believe I had anything going with Kegan, do you?” Daniel suddenly asked.
Jack raised a brow, then took Daniel’s glass out of his hand and pushed Daniel onto his back.
Daniel let a smile form at the corners of his mouth. “Jack?”
“We’ll talk about that later.”
“No, Daniel. The answer is no.”
“Okay, good, ’cause…”
Jack halted Daniel’s words as he pushed open the towel. “We’ll talk about that later. First things first,” and he then tipped the glass and spilled a few drops of the drink over Daniel’s semi-flaccid cock.
“Jack! That’s fucking cold!” Daniel yelled, trying to draw back, but Jack’s body held his legs down, preventing him from moving.
Jack quickly set the glass down, then looked up at Daniel with a very predatory gleam in his eye. “I can fix that,” he replied in a deep, sensual tone just as his tongue moved over the shaft and glans, licking up the warming, sticky liquid. Daniel moaned and clutched his fingers into the sofa cushions as the heat from Jack’s tongue sent sparks through his body.
“Jack,” he said, his breathing increasing. He looked down, then swallowed convulsively as Jack smiled ‘that smile’, then took the head of his cock into his mouth. “Oh God.” Daniel became lost in the myriad of feelings and touches, all of them from Jack. At Jack’s urging, he thrust upward again and again, then came thickly down his lover’s throat.
When Jack withdrew, Daniel proceeded to return the pleasure. When he thrust a finger inside Jack’s body, he sucked eagerly and quickly – encouraging, cajoling. It worked well; Jack came and came hard. As Daniel drank Jack’s come down his throat, Jack clutched at his hair, calling his name repeatedly. It was at that strange time that Daniel became certain; certain that Jack would never willingly leave him. Ever.