Summary: Post-The Light
…blinded by the light…
Jack eyed the last two FREDs carrying of a week’s worth of supplies as they came through the gate. He looked down at the medical insignia on the side of the second FRED and sighed. Blood draws and vitals to take every three days, taken back by hand when they’d all have to return to the base, temporarily, to take PET scans and EEG readings. Oh joy.
He walked over to the MALP’s video camera. “All received, sir.”
“Very good, Colonel. We’ll make contact this time tomorrow for check-in.”
Contact was broken and the gate shut off. Jack turned and watched as Sam and Teal’c, with Loren’s help, guided the FREDs to one side of the main room to unpack. When Jack looked to his right, Daniel was no longer standing behind him. He frowned, looked around, and spotted Daniel far across the room. He was sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall, and seemed to be reading his notebook. Aside from needing a shave, Daniel looked very tired. He was also rubbing his right temple.
Jack moved over to the medical FRED and pulled down the small door to one of the side compartments. As Janet had told him, there sat the acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin. Jack picked out a handful of ibuprofen packets, closed the compartment, walked over to where he’d set down his gear, and picked up his canteen. Making his way over to Daniel, he held out the packets and his canteen.
Daniel looked up, his eyes squinting as he winced. He focused on the items Jack held in his hand and tried to give the man a smile as thanks. He took half the packets and the canteen, and after opening the packets, tossed the pills into his mouth and took a few long drinks from the canteen. As he handed it back, he shook the container, realizing that he’d drunk most of the water.
“Not a problem. We have ten ten-gallon barrels of water. I’ll just refill.”
Daniel nodded – gingerly – and looked over at Sam, Teal’c and Loren. Setting his book down, he started to get up, Jack immediately held out his hand for Daniel to take, so he did.
“Want some help with that stuff?” Daniel asked.
“I think we can handle it, Daniel. Why don’t you go crash in your room.”
“I’ll be fine, Jack. Just give the pills time to work.”
“Then go lay down until they start working.”
“Daniel, please don’t make me give you an order.”
Daniel gave him an irritated look, and it increased as Jack placed a hand on his back and guided him to one of the four bedrooms on the second floor. Jack would have had his team sharing two rooms, but as each room had only one bed…well, Jack knew they couldn’t. Though they shared a tent on missions, this was different. He and Daniel sharing a bed was just too dangerous. Jack knew there was a chance that he might inadvertently roll over during the night and slip his arms and legs around Daniel, or vice-versa. Just as they did at home. Having Sam and Teal’c find out about them, especially that way…well, it was too risky. He didn’t think that either of them would react badly, but one could never tell. It would also put himself and Daniel in a position to explain and Jack didn’t believe his relationship with Daniel needed explaining. Or defending.
As for Loren, he’d stay in his room, or he’d share with Teal’c. Teal’c had made that arrangement, to Jack’s pleasant surprise, and Loren seemed rather happy about it. Teal’c had appointed himself as Loren’s interim guardian until they got back to Earth and though Jack had been relieved, he felt a bit guilty. Loren probably accepted Teal’c because of Jack’s leadership position. It wasn’t that Jack didn’t think he could be a temporary father-figure to Loren, but truthfully, Jack didn’t want the extra responsibility. He had all of them to look after, as per usual.
Despite how much Jack wanted to treat this like a vacation, it wasn’t. A prison was a prison, and this was now an enforced mission. For the time being, they couldn’t leave the building or walk along the beach for longer than two minutes without bringing on a case of pissiness. Maintaining security around the stargate was also going to be impossible. There was no way to defend themselves, and guarding it would be a complete waste of time. All they could do was hide – and hope that no Goa’uld would come knocking. Though no one had come through the gate (except for themselves) during the five years that Loren had been there alone, one could never be sure.
Right now, it was waiting the impossible three weeks (hopefully less) to get back to normal. In the meantime, Jack knew there were things that he needed to discuss with Daniel. He wasn’t looking forward to talking about it or bringing it up but it was better to get the head stuff worked out before they went home. They had the privacy…more or less. Jack knew that Daniel wasn’t up to talking about it, either. Give the man something else to talk about and you couldn’t shut him up – well, almost – but ask Daniel to talk about something that scared him, something that was hidden deep…
Jack could actually understand that, especially this latest thing. Suicide. He could get how suicide could take over a person’s thoughts and feelings but there was no reason behind what had happened to Daniel. Not that he could see, and he desperately needed to see.
Daniel felt the irritation rising inside him as Jack escorted him into his room. Jack’s hand hadn’t left his back and it was driving him nuts. He hadn’t been intimate with Jack for nearly two weeks and now…it looked as if he couldn’t be for another three. When Jack’s hand slid down his back in a comforting gesture, Daniel stepped away quickly, removing the touch.
Jack frowned. “What?”
“Don’t what?” Jack asked, but then it hit him how long they’d been apart. Not a long time for others, but for them, an eternity. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be,” Daniel shrugged as he walked to the chair next to the bed and sat down. “It’s just…” He paused, not knowing how to tell Jack that what he wanted more than anything was for Jack to put his arms around him and hold him. His emotions were still raw from what had happened and though he thought he’d finally gotten them under control, with the help from that fucking chemical, having Jack touch him brought his need to the fore. Then there was shame and embarrassment of that damned balcony scene. Could he get anymore Harlequin than that, for fuck’s sake? Not for the first time, Daniel cursed his ability to remember everything.
Jack startled him by squatting in front of him. Daniel frowned and looked at Jack’s knees, getting distracted.
“Um, how’re your knees?” he asking, avoiding.
Jack cocked his head to one side. “Fine, for now. Will you talk to me later?”
Daniel sighed and gave Jack a tired smile. He looked into Jack’s worried brown eyes and felt the irritation slipping away. “God, why do you have to be so…?”
Jack let the corner of his mouth twitch with light humour. “What?”
Jack let the smile grow. “I know. Backatcha, you know.”
Daniel closed his eyes and sighed. “I need…” he started before he bit off what he was going to say.
Jack touched his knee.
Slowly, Jack removed his hand and assumed a guilty, sad look. “Sorry.”
“No, don’t be, it’s just that, if you do that I don’t know that I can…”
“I really need you to lie down with me,” Daniel whispered so quietly that Jack only just caught the words.
Jack nodded. “Me, too.”
Daniel cleared his throat. “I don’t mean sex but that’d be nice.”
“I know, Daniel.”
Daniel finally looked at him. His eyes again squinted because of the headache. Despite the warnings, Jack touched his face, his hair, and stood up. “Get some rest, Daniel. We have plenty of time to get things unpacked.”
Daniel nodded and watched as Jack went to the door. He wanted to say so much, but this damned headache…
“Try to get some rest. I’ll be back later.”
Reluctantly, Jack walked out, closing the door half-way. He took a deep breath and walked downstairs.
Daniel removed his half-laced boots and lay down. Placing an arm over his eyes to shut out the light, he took deep breaths, trying to will away the headache that throbbed.
He wanted Jack so much right then. He felt…clingy, and he knew why. Leftover feelings from that damned withdrawal. Why did he, of all people, have to have the withdrawal take over his insecurities? From what he understood, SG-5 had chosen to get into fights. Why’d he have to go the maudlin, self-pitying route? He remembered yelling at Hammond and then yelling at Jack when he’d stormed off and gone home. Jack had been pissed with him and he hadn’t blamed him, but just why the fuck hadn’t Jack seen that he hadn’t been behaving rationally?
Daniel sighed. He couldn’t place any blame on Jack but it still pissed him off. Jack knew him better than that. Or was Jack simply pissed off with him for being with another team? Daniel knew Jack still didn’t understand why he needed to be away from the combat for a while. From the killing and the incessant danger.
Daniel snorted to himself. Seems as if being away from SG-1 was no different, but he had to stay away for a little while longer. SG-5 had died, but at least it wasn’t his fault. At least, he hadn’t killed…or gotten anyone else killed.
As they unpacked some of the items on the medical FRED, Jack kept returning to the questions for why Daniel was on that damned balcony. Daniel had started talking about how it all goes away. Jack hadn’t known what to say because he had no idea what Daniel had been talking about, so he’d tried to humour him. He’d actually thought that Daniel had been drunk. But when Daniel turned his head and called his name, looking scared and confused, Jack had known then that Daniel was sober and that something else had been dreadfully wrong.
By the time they’d made it to the base, Daniel had needed help to stand. Jack had been a bit embarrassed, knowing that to everyone else, it had probably looked as if Daniel were indeed drunk. But when they’d made it to the infirmary, and Daniel had slipped from his grasp and onto the floor, it had been apparent to the SFs following, and to Janet and her staff, that Daniel had been nowhere near drunk. He’d fallen unconscious and hadn’t woken after that.
Jack hadn’t wanted to leave him, either, but the answers were on the damned planet so he’d left his friend, his lover, lying in the infirmary, hooked up to every machine Janet had…or so it seemed.
Then the coma…and the flatlining.
Jack picked up a box of cotton balls to place with the other blood-drawing equipment and found his hand shaking. He set the box down quickly and made a fist, ordering his nerves to calm. But they wouldn’t.
Sitting down on one of the strange backless chairs that decorated the walls of the main room, he leaned on his knees, clenching and unclenching both fists.
Sam and Teal’c noticed and walked over.
“Sir? Are you okay?” she asked.
Teal’c picked up a blood pressure cuff but Jack waved him off. “I’ll be fine. It’s not my blood pressure. Just…return to whatever it was you were doing.”
Sam and Teal’c frowned at each other…and did not do as their leader told them. They stayed put, and in fact, dragged two more backless chairs over. They sat down in front of him, waiting.
Jack eyed them irritably. “What did I just say?”
“You appear to need an ear, O’Neill,” Teal’c said, his voice just slightly tightened with emotion.
Jack tried not to scowl. “Where’d you pick that up?”
“I have my own ears with which to hear, O’Neill.”
Sam tried not to smile at that and mostly succeeded, especially after Jack gave her a scolding look.
“Yeah, well, there’s nothing to hear, Teal’c.”
“I think there is. We almost lost Daniel Jackson. I believe you are upset…” and he added in a softer tone, “as are we all.”
Jack looked from Teal’c to Sam and sighed. Yes, they were upset, so he wasn’t alone. But they didn’t love Daniel, well, not like he did. They weren’t sleeping with him, either. The absent thought sent a strange surge of jealousy through him.
“I know that, Teal’c.”
“Is there something else about Daniel’s condition that we should know, sir?” Sam asked carefully. She knew there was and hoped Jack would enlighten them. Getting the man to talk was about as easy as pulling teeth from a gorilla.
Jack shook his head. “Why?”
Sam started to answer but paused, frustrated. She looked at Teal’c and he bowed his head in return.
“Doctor Fraiser was unusually protective of Daniel Jackson after you brought him in from his apartment. Did something happen, O’Neill?”
Jack winced. Neither Sam nor Teal’c knew about the balcony. Only Fraiser knew about that…and then Hammond. He didn’t want to say what had happened, but maybe they had a right to know. Maybe they knew of a reason that he didn’t for Daniel being out on that balcony.
“When I went to his apartment, Daniel was getting ready to jump from his balcony.”
Sam’s jaw dropped and Teal’c’s sat up straighter, his back stiffening. Both their eyes widened.
Jack nodded when they didn’t say anything. “If I’d arrived any later than I did…” He swallowed and looked down at his hands. “I don’t know why the withdrawal effected him like that. Barber wasn’t suicidal.”
Sam blinked. “But sir, he ran at the gate.”
“Yes, Carter, he did, but why? Remember how Daniel had that need to get back here?”
Sam hadn’t seen that, but she’d heard. Teal’c inclined his head. “I remember.”
“Well,” Jack went on, “Barber wasn’t thinking straight. He didn’t wait for the gate to open. He just ran because he had that need to get back here. The members of his team got into fights because they needed to get back here. But Daniel? We sent him home…and me…I was pissed off with him. He went home and went from being pissed off to depressed to suicidal. I have no idea why. I didn’t stay with him. I should have. I’m only glad that I got there when I did or…” He stopped himself before he would reveal too much of his real feelings.
Teal’c took a deep breath. “Daniel Jackson is an extremely caring individual.”
Jack nodded, but wondered what the point was.
“But he does not care for himself as he does for others. He also bears much guilt, O’Neill. I think we are all aware of this.” Jack and Sam both nodded. “It may be that his guilt was magnified by the withdrawal, and his sense of isolation drove him to thoughts of suicide.”
“Isolation?” Jack asked.
“He has always been alone, O’Neill. I believe he needs the company of others more than he will admit.”
“More than any of us will admit to, Teal’c,” Sam said quietly.
Jack was about to respond to that when he caught Loren hovering at the edge of the room, afraid to interrupt. Apparently the kid wasn’t as distracted by Carter’s laptop video games as Carter thought he would be. Or perhaps the kid simply wanted company. Ironic. And yet, not so ironic. Jack stood up. “We’ll talk about this later, guys. Right now, I think we have other things we could be doing.”
Over the next several days, much to Jack’s frustration, Daniel hadn’t talked to Jack about what was on his mind. In fact, all he’d ever say was how it sucked not being able to have Jack close. These were things Jack already knew, too, so Daniel knew he was sounding a bit repetitive. He couldn’t tell Jack what had been wrong because he simply couldn’t figure out what the hell had exactly driven him to the balcony. He only knew that he’d felt depressed and desolate. It hadn’t been anything specific, either. It hadn’t been Shau’re or his parents. It hadn’t been any of the feelings that he’d been ashamed of from Shifu’s dream.
Daniel had waited, hoping that the light would dawn and he’d figure it out. But there had been, and still was, nothing. He had wanted to talk to Jack about it but as there simply wasn’t anything to discuss, he said nothing. Daniel was now beginning to feel guilty about that, and with a little over a week left stuck on this godforsaken planet, he really should say…something. Tell Jack something.
He stared at the ocean as he sat outside on the front steps to the palace, hoping that maybe the movement of the waves would focus his mind. A noise came from behind and he glanced over his shoulder. Jack, Teal’c, Sam, and Loren.
They were all now to the point where they could sit just outside the palace with no real harm coming to them. Two days ago, Sam had begun to take short five minute walks with Teal’c and Loren. Their absence had not had any side-effects so things were looking up. It also seemed as if it was time for that walk again, and judging from Jack’s face, he’d waited long enough for their talk.
“Hey guys,” he said quietly.
“Hey,” Sam and Jack said together. To his left, Jack sat down next to him on the wide steps; to his right, Sam sat. Teal’c and Loren sat down on the steps in front of them and Teal’c turned slightly to look at him.
It was apparent that Sam and Teal’c hadn’t liked his silence any more than Jack, although they didn’t know why he was silent so…
“What’s going on?” he asked slowly.
“Do you guys want me to…?” Loren asked, pointing inside as he sensed a personal talk coming.
“No, it’s okay,” Daniel told him, gesturing that he stay put. He looked at Jack. “Well?”
“Sam and Teal’c…” Jack began, but paused.
“The day our supplies got here and you went to lie down?” Sam started.
“I told them what happened, Daniel.”
Daniel winced and looked down at the hands between his knees. “Oh.”
“Can you talk about it now?” Sam asked.
“You don’t have to,” Jack told him, sending daggers at Sam who shot them back.
With a long sigh, Daniel said, “I’ve been trying to figure out what drove me to that balcony but nothing substantial is there. I mean, I remember it; all of it. I remember my feelings. I remember talking to Jack. I remember suddenly realizing that I was on the balcony edge. But I don’t know what brought on the despair or the thoughts of suicide. I just…don’t know.” He looked to his left, glancing in Jack’s eyes before focusing on the man’s folded hands. “I thought I could remember, Jack. But it seems that there wasn’t anything specific. I wasn’t thinking of my parents or Shau’re or you…guys.” He swallowed, realizing that he nearly blew it there. “It wasn’t Sarah or…anyone. I just felt…”
“Isolated?” Jack asked, glancing quickly at Teal’c.
Daniel blinked in surprise. He stared at Jack, then over at Teal’c. “Yeah, isolation. How did you know that? Have you felt anything or…?”
Jack shook his head and motioned at Teal’c. “Teal’c thought of it before I did.”
Daniel narrowed his eyes as he looked into Teal’c’s dark eyes. “How?”
Teal’c waited a few seconds before answering. “Your feelings and actions have often led you to oppose the actions of your teammates as well as that of the SGC.”
Daniel shrugged. “Yeah, well…what else is new.” His voice was dull and flat when he said it and he didn’t notice. But his teammates did and they exchanged glances.
“As a result of this, Daniel Jackson,” Teal’c went on carefully, “you have become isolated from us. I do not think this is a good thing even if I do understand your need to be our voice of reason. Military institutions do not always concede this need, yes?”
Daniel’s mouth dropped open, as did everyone else’s. “Um, yes, Teal’c,” he finally said.
Jack didn’t respond to Teal’c’s statement. What he said wasn’t news, but Daniel – as their voice of reason? Well, yes, that was one way to put it. Jack actually thought of Daniel as their conscience, their soul.
Sam nudged Daniel’s knee with her own. “We may not sometimes act like it, Daniel, but we are here.” She paused, then added in a quiet voice, “This may sound funny to you guys but I consider us a small family.”
Daniel looked sidelong at her and gave her a small smile. “A pretty dysfunctional one, if you ask me.”
She smiled widely at him and put her arm around his shoulders, pulling his head to hers. “Don’t die on me again, Daniel, or I’ll kick your butt.”
Silently, he nodded. At his left, he felt Jack’s presence, his heat, against his side, his leg. In front of him, he could see the intensity in Teal’c’s eyes. Both the men told him the same thing as Sam just had. It meant a lot, although Daniel knew it already from Jack.
More to Jack than the others, he said, “I’m sorry I scared you.”
Daniel felt Jack’s hand on his back, comforting him…and he wished for more. “Nothing to be sorry for, Danny,” Jack told him. Teal’c said the same thing, minus the ‘Danny’.
After a few silent moments, Sam asked, “Daniel…um…are you leaving SG-1?”
Daniel locked his gaze with hers. After a few moments, when he saw worrying expressions on both her and Teal’c’s faces, he glanced quickly at Jack before he answered. “No. I just need a break from the combat.”
“Did something happen to bring this about, Daniel Jackson?” Teal’c asked.
Daniel nodded. “Shifu’s dream.”
Teal’c and Sam looked from him to Jack. “Can you tell us about it?” Sam asked.
Daniel looked at Jack and took a deep breath. Jack rubbed his back again. “Only if you feel up to it, Daniel,” he told him. Daniel nodded and looked back at his two other teammates. Taking another deep breath, he told them an abbreviated and very edited version of what had happened in the dream. He told them how he’d changed…and how he had no problem with killing. Both of those things seemed to be happening in real life as well and he needed to step back and take a breath.
“Is that what you meant when you said you needed to find a new path?”
Daniel nodded. “Just for a little while, I need to be doing something else. With SG-1, doing what I do…I’m not really a part of anything. I’m not making a difference and I don’t feel that I belong or that I’m necess–” Daniel’s eyes widened and he finally got the reason for the suicidal thoughts brought on by the chemical withdrawal. “Um…wow.”
Teal’c touched his knee and Sam linked her arms around his and lay her head on his shoulder.
“You’re our soul, Daniel,” she said quietly.
Jack swallowed. He’d wanted to say so but had been afraid to. He was therefore very glad that Sam had said it instead.
Daniel couldn’t believe that they felt such a thing. He certainly didn’t. But it would give him things to think about before he returned to SG-1.
“Well, with that,” Sam said with a sigh, getting up, “it’s time for my walk.”
“We shall accompany you,” Teal’c said as he sent a fond look to Loren.
“Absolutely,” Loren replied, sounding relieved.
The boy looked a bit out of place and Daniel couldn’t help but ask, “Loren, how are you doing? Are you okay?”
“I’m okay,” he nodded automatically.
As Loren and Teal’c descended the two remaining steps with Sam directly behind, Sam turned to look at Daniel. “You are coming back to SG-1, right?”
“I hope so,” Daniel replied honestly.
She frowned. “Me, too.” She reluctantly turned away, joining Teal’c and Loren in the sand, heading toward the surf they preferred to walk along.
Daniel stared after them. “I think I made Loren nervous,” he said softly to Jack. “We shouldn’t have discussed this here, or at least in front of him.”
“He just feels a little left out, I think,” Jack replied just as softly.
“I know how he feels,” Daniel said suddenly.
Jack stood up and held his hand out. Daniel looked up at him. “C’mon.”
Jack sighed. “Trust me.”
“I do,” Daniel said without hesitation. He took Jack’s hand and after standing, he followed the man into the palace. He expected Jack to lead him to the kitchen but Jack led him to the light room instead. “Jack?” he said before turning to face his lover and best friend.
His eyes went wide with surprise when Jack slid his arm around his waist and pulled him against him. With his free arm crooking around the back of his head, Jack brought their lips together for one very deep kiss. Daniel moaned into Jack’s mouth as their tongues met and caressed hungrily. His hands grabbed and pulled at Jack’s shoulders, his dog tags.
Jack pulled back long enough to whisper, “I love you,” before diving his tongue back into Daniel’s mouth. Daniel again moaned his response to Jack, reveling in the first contact they’d allowed each other in a very long time. For a few more minutes, they kissed, taking in what they could of each other, but as their cocks throbbed and pained for release, they reluctantly let each other go. Daniel stood back, then took a deep breath as he licked his lips together.
“Damn, I missed that. Missed you.”
Daniel swallowed as their eyes reflected the intense emotion. He forced himself to look away as he chose a spot by the far wall and sat down on the floor, drawing his knees up slightly – or as much as he could with the raging hard-on he had. Jack joined him, and with shoulders and thighs touching, Jack picked up Daniel’s forefinger, locking it with his own. Daniel moved his fingers until all were interlocked and they were holding hands.
“From now on, when they go out for their walks…” Jack suggested in a whisper. Daniel smiled, and when his smile widened, Jack squeezed his fingers. “What?”
Daniel squeezed back. “That’s almost romantic, Jack.”
Jack groaned and dropped his head back against the wall. “Don’t say that.”
“What?” Daniel asked, his voice teasing even through the whisper. “We can’t be romantic?”
“Not here, Daniel,” Jack admonished, though his tone was light.
Daniel didn’t reply but he was still smiling, especially as their fingers were still clasped. Jack was being openly affectionate and Daniel appreciated it more than he would say at the moment. He’d wanted to steal moments between them, but he hadn’t dared. Mostly because he didn’t want the rejection. He knew why Jack would reject him, but it was that he didn’t want to hear Jack say ‘no’. So, he’d satisfied himself with the smiles and periodic ‘innocent’ touches.
“I can’t wait until we get home,” he said finally.
“Me, either,” Jack replied.
Daniel started to laugh.
“What?” Jack asked.
“You’re the king of minimal phrases today.”
Jack smiled back, smugly, not needing to reply. They sat in silence for another minute, their fingers loosely clasped, giving soft caresses. They knew they’d have to separate soon so the finger caresses became more firm, almost demanding.
Sam was feeling a bit better. In fact, she was feeling hopeful. There had been no adverse effects in staying away from the building this time and she wanted to tell Daniel and Jack. She heard soft laughter in the light room so she made her way there with Teal’c and Loren right behind.
She paused in the doorway and looked around, not seeing them at first. As she looked passed one of the pillars, she spied the two sitting, leaning against the left wall. They were sitting very close, but then they always did. Except…this time, they were holding hands.
She stared for about five seconds, her mouth dropping open. Jack and Daniel’s expressions were fond, happy…but it wasn’t what it looked like…was it? She looked at Teal’c for confirmation that it wasn’t but his intense gaze told her otherwise. Rats. She looked over her left shoulder at Loren and he was smiling at Jack and Daniel. She frowned, more in confusion than anything else. Before the guys could see them, she backed away, thankful for their bare feet, and pulled Teal’c and Loren with her.
She’d wanted to clear her throat, to confront them, but no, now was not the time. Especially with Loren. Teal’c followed her outside, with Loren behind, confused as he looked back at the light room, then at his other two friends.
“What’s wrong?” he asked as they arrived on the steps. “They’re happy. Isn’t that okay?” He took in Sam’s frown and Teal’c’s stoic look and he was immediately upset. “Why are you angry?”
Teal’c looked at him in puzzlement. “Their being together does not bother you?”
Loren shook his head. “No, is it supposed to?”
“No, it is not, Loren,” Teal’c said, his face a bit kinder, “but the Tau’ri military have rules and regulations that forbid what they call fraternization. Holding hands is fraternization.”
“And they’ve obviously been ignoring those rules,” Sam said shortly as she sat down on the steps with a rude and angry plop.
“I don’t understand. Is showing love and affection bad on Earth?” Loren asked, worried.
“No, it’s not, Loren,” Sam told him, “but it’s not okay to show it like…like that…” she gestured at the building, “not when you’re in a combat team like ours, and it is especially not okay between men.”
“Why?” he asked.
Sam blinked at him. So did Teal’c.
“You don’t see that as wrong?” she asked slowly.
“No,” he said, smiling at her like she didn’t get a joke or something. “It’s just couple stuff, like on my home planet.”
She and Teal’c exchanged glances and she patted Loren’s shoulder. “We’ll explain more of this later, but for right now, this needs to be private. You know what private means?”
He rolled his eyes. “Yes. Grown up talk.” He sighed heavily and got up. “I’ll go play my video games while you guys worry about stuff that doesn’t need to be worried over.” He walked away, going inside.
Sam brought her knees to her chest, wrapping her arms around them, and resting her chin. She sighed heavily and continued to do so for a long, silent minute.
“You are upset,” Teal’c said finally.
“Well, aren’t you?” she asked, her voice indeed angry.
“Surprised and perhaps disappointed, but no, I am not angry.”
“I don’t see why not,” she said, letting her anger at Jack and Daniel build.
“We cannot talk to them if you are going to make them defensive with your anger. I suggest you calm down. Or go for another walk.”
Sam shot Teal’c an angry look. “Fine.”
She got up and went for another walk. Teal’c didn’t join her, but he moved out to the sand and watched her walk, making sure she came to no harm.
Jack heard a noise and released Daniel’s hand slowly. Loren came walking in.
“Hey, Loren,” he and Daniel said at the same time.
“Hey,” Loren said, half-waving nervously.
Daniel’s brow creased in wariness. “What’s the matter?”
“Um…Major Carter…um, Sam…well, we came in here a minute ago.” Jack and Daniel’s eyes widened as Loren pointed to their hands. “You were holding hands and now your not. They’re upset and I don’t know why.”
“Crap,” Jack said.
Daniel got to his feet first and helped Jack to his. Jack started to leave but Daniel placed a hand on his chest. “Take a few breaths, Jack. We can’t act defensively about this.”
Jack closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “I hate to say this, Daniel, but if Carter’s pissed off for any other reason than not being told that two family members were together, then either you’re leaving SG-1 or I am.”
As the two men started for the main door, Loren asked, “I suppose I have to stay in here and play video games?”
Jack and Daniel turned to him, finally realizing that Loren wasn’t bothered by the idea of their being together. “This doesn’t bother you?” Jack asked, gesturing at himself and Daniel.
Loren rolled his eyes. “No,” he drawled with impatience. “I do not get why it’s bothering them,” and he pointed outside. “It’s just couple stuff.”
Jack suddenly looked embarrassed but Daniel was grinning widely. It was the first time they’d heard, even from each other, that they were a couple.
“Well,” Jack said, clearing his throat, “since you sort of already understand this, then come on. Just don’t interrupt, okay?”
“Okay,” Loren said, smiling.
They walked outside and stood at the top of the steps, their arms folded. Straight ahead of them, standing in the surf, was Sam. Her pant legs were rolled up to her knees and she was kicking hard at the water. Teal’c stood next to her, occasionally catching her when she overbalanced. She was yelling, but the ocean noise prevented Jack and Daniel from hearing her clearly. When she looked up and saw Jack and Daniel standing outside on the steps, she strode purposely toward them. The closer she got, the more they saw how really pissed off she was. But more than that, Daniel saw that she looked hurt, not phobic. He relaxed. He hope Jack read her correctly, too.
“Why didn’t you say anything?” she shouted as she closed the distance. “Why didn’t you ever tell me? Tell us? How long’s this been going on anyway?”
Daniel wanted to answer, but Jack said in an undertone, “Don’t say anything. She’s not done yet.”
“You know she’s just mad mad right?” Daniel asked back.
They stopped talking…and backed up a few paces when Sam got right up in their faces. “Well?” she asked. Teal’c clasped his hands behind his back and stood next to her, waiting for their answer.
“You done yet?” Jack asked her. He could tell, just as Daniel hoped, that she wasn’t put off the idea of them being together. He relaxed a bit, but not too much. She was very mad. Her flashing eyes confirmed it.
“No,” she replied, and with both fists, punched them both in the shoulder.
“Ow! Carter!” Jack howled.
“Ow! Sam!” Daniel shouted.
Both glared at her, rubbing their shoulders, while she looked back, smug. Some of the anger within her diminished but she hated being lied to, or rather, that they kept something this big from her.
“Christ, Carter. Ease up on the weight lifting, will ya?” Jack told her, scowling as he massaged the muscle over his left shoulder. Daniel was massaging his right.
“You do realize that massaging it only makes it worse,” Teal’c told them. His tone and expression were equally smug. It appeared that he did not mind the revelation, but he looked just as disappointed as Sam, though less ticked off about it.
“Thanks, Teal’c,” Jack replied sarcastically.
Sam’s smug expression returned to a scowl. “You do know that you’re risking everything?” she said to Jack.
“I know that, Carter, but it was never an issue,” he said.
Daniel traded glances with Jack and realized that it hadn’t ever been an issue. He blinked. “Um, no. Jack’s right. We never really talked about it, either.”
The two of them exchanged glances again, wondering why they’d never considered the ramifications of their relationship. Well, it wasn’t true, they had. It was just that considering everything else, the risk wasn’t as important to them as life or death. Especially when weighed against the recent past.
That also seemed to settle into Sam’s mind and her tense body language lessened a bit. She sighed at them with disgust and sat down on the top step. Jack and Daniel managed to look suitably sheepish as they walked over and sat down on either side of her. Teal’c sat down in front of them, motioning Loren to come over next to him.
“Why didn’t you ever say anything?” she asked, looking directly at Daniel. “All those times we talked Daniel. You never said–“
“I couldn’t, Sam. It wasn’t for me to say, you know?”
She sighed heavily. “Okay, I get that, but I still feel betrayed. You guys don’t trust me. I thought you did.”
“Carter, trusting you was never an issue,” Jack told her. “Don’t ask, don’t tell. Your career is important to you. I couldn’t ask you to lie, and I’m still sorry you found out. I’d rather not put you through this pretense with us.”
She blinked at him, her anger showing. “I can lie with the best of them, sir.”
“Yes, Carter, you can, but that’s not the point. I didn’t want you to have to.”
She shook her head, disagreeing. Jack started to argue, but Daniel held up his hand to cut him off.
“Okay, Sam, now you know,” Daniel said slowly. “How do you feel – other than feeling that we don’t trust you, which isn’t true, by the way.”
She narrowed her eyes, not getting what Daniel meant. “Feel about what?”
“Us? You know the drill, Carter. Cover, lying, not turning us in,” Jack explained.
“Oh.” She frowned, thinking. “Frankly, that never occurred to me, sir.”
“Oh,” the men said together. “Teal’c?” Jack asked. “How about you?”
“I am not a member of your military.”
Jack sighed. “As a friend, Teal’c, how do you feel about this?”
“I do not feel any differently, O’Neill. However, I am disappointed that you did not feel that you could trust me.”
Jack winced. “Sorry, Teal’c.”
“Teal’c, it isn’t a case of us not trusting you,” Daniel said carefully. “It’s ingrained in people within the military to hide this kind of relationship.”
“You are not military, Daniel Jackson, yet you felt the need to conceal your relationship.”
This time, Daniel winced. “Yeah, I did actually.”
“The concealment itself is not the issue,” Teal’c went on.
“It’s not?” Jack and Daniel replied together.
“It is not. It is the fact that you felt the need to maintain your deception.”
They frowned and for a moment, Teal’c thought the two appeared comical. Sam suddenly got up and walked down the steps. She stared out at the ocean, folding her arms. After a few silent seconds, she turned to face them, her eyes studying them.
“What?” Daniel asked warily.
Sam gestured between the two of them. “So…how long?”
“Have we…?” Daniel asked.
“Been together?” Jack finished.
Daniel and Jack exchanged another glance and they both swallowed nervously. “Um…” Daniel began, “Since we met Tupolo and the people of the Land of Light.”
Sam’s eyes widened and Teal’c tilted his head slightly in his version of surprise. “That long?” Sam asked.
“Yes,” Jack answered, drawing out the word.
Sam started to get angrier but suddenly found that she couldn’t. She opened her mouth, shut it, opened it again, and shut it once more. Images started to rattle through her mind. She was aware that her cheeks were pinking and had to turn around and face the ocean once more. Daniel grinned, finding it a bit amusing as he had a feeling he knew what was going through her mind. He looked at Jack and found his friend and lover looking a bit embarrassed. Jack saw the grin and gave him a dirty glare.
“Daniel…” he whispered.
“What?” Daniel mouthed, unable to hide his amusement.
Sam finally got her blush under control and firmly told herself not to imagine that again. At least, not here, in front of them. She turned back around, then gestured at them again. “So you’ve been…you know?”
Daniel and Jack’s jaws dropped open.
“Carter!” Jack frowned. “Did you and Martouf…Narim?” and he raised his eyebrows emphatically.
She held up her hand. “Okay, nevermind. Sorry.”
“Christ, Carter. We’re no different than everyone else. What you wanna know is private. I’m not kissing and telling.”
“You guys ki…um, sorry, stupid question,” she said, shaking her head. “Of course you do, and I so did not need that image, either.”
Daniel’s grin grew evil. “There were other images, Sam?” he teased.
Sam cheeks turned a vivid pink then.
“Daniel, stop it,” Jack whispered, but he was grinning.
“What?” Daniel asked, staring at Sam.
Sam turned away again, whispering, “Bastards.”
“What was that, Carter?” Jack asked.
“Nothing, sir,” she said, not turning to face him.
“Ah huh,” he said. He looked at Teal’c and his face sobered. “Teal’c?” he asked.
“O’Neill,” Teal’c replied, his face completely serious, but inside, he was amused. Ideas were forming inside his mind. Ideas about payback and teasing and ways to embarrass his two friends, although he was thinking more about Jack than Daniel.
Jack narrowed his eyes, not trusting Teal’c’s expression. “What’s on your mind, big guy?”
Teal’c inclined his head and though he wanted to grin, he kept his features stoic. “Before today, have you been intimate during our more relaxed missions?”
Jack and Daniel’s eyes widen. “What did I just tell, Carter, Teal’c?” Jack told him, his brows forming a frown.
“That is different, O’Neill. You were holding hands earlier. I would like to know if there have been other missions?”
Jack could see his point. “No, Teal’c. Never on a mission. And technically, we’re not on one right now. We’re just…”
“Offworld,” Daniel finished.
Jack shrugged, feeling a bit defensive. “Well, there’s that, but it’s not a mission.”
“No, not a mission,” Daniel agreed.
Teal’c allowed himself to smile and his two teammates’ eyes narrowed.
“Ha, ha, very funny, Teal’c.”
Teal’c looked back at Sam. She smiled at him. “Nice one, Teal’c.”
Jack pursed his lips. “Okay, so how long are we gonna be in the dog house?”
“Dog house?” Teal’c asked.
Jack groaned, and waved at Daniel. “You explain it to him. I’m too tired.”
Daniel rolled his eyes and began to explain. As he did, he realized from their friends’ expressions that he and Jack were going to be in the dog house for quite a while.
The following day, Daniel had had enough translating…especially since Jack and Teal’c decided to introduce Loren to the fine art of street hockey in one of the large den-like rooms. As the sky had cleared some, Daniel decided to take advantage of it. Putting aside the translating for a later time, he changed into the grey Air Force issue gym shorts, grabbed a towel amongst their supplies and went outside to the landing. Setting the towel onto the marble, he laid down, rested his interlocked fingers over his stomach, and closed his eyes.
Twenty minutes later, he heard a sigh of frustration and felt someone sit down next to him. He cracked open his left eye and found Sam sitting there, a bored and irritated look on her face.
“They making too much noise?” he asked, closing his eye.
“It’s damn distracting. I can’t work on my book.”
“Why do you think I’m out here?” he asked dryly. “I concentrate for shit while they’re in there so…”
Sam sighed. “Think I’ll join you. Back in a minute.”
Three minutes later, Sam returned. Daniel opened his eyes and sat up, taking an appreciative look over his friend as she placed her towel next to his and laid down. Sam now wore her AF green tank top and shorts and it was apparent that working out with him was paying off.
“You have more muscles than I do,” he told her as he laid back down and closed his eyes.
She elbowed him in the arm. “Not possible, Daniel. And you’re a lot beefier than when we first met four years ago.”
He cracked open his left eye again. “Beefier?”
Sam grinned and closed her eyes. “Yep. Beefier.”
Daniel closed his eye, smirking at the word. “I’m not beefy, Sam.”
“Yes, you are.”
“No, I’m not.”
“Are, too. And I bet the Colonel would agree with me.”
Daniel’s eyes popped open and he looked over at her in surprise, finding her eyes closed, but she was biting her lip to keep from laughing.
Growling at her, he laid his head back down and closed his eyes. “Very funny, Sam.”
They were quiet for a few moments until Sam started to giggle. Daniel tried to keep from smiling.
“What?” she asked, a laugh lilting the word.
“Sam, stop it.”
“I’m not doing anything.”
“No, but you’re thinking of something.”
“I am not.”
Daniel decided not to rise to any more baiting. Sam kept giggling, teasing him, but quit when she realized he wasn’t buying it anymore. She sighed and decided to soak in the sun’s rays. They were quiet for a while, when more serious thoughts entered her mind. She had some questions and tried to ignore them, but they kept nagging at her.
“What?” he asked, sensing the change in mood by her tone. He opened his eyes and looked over at her.
She looked over at him. “Are you okay?”
He frowned. “Yeah, I guess, why?” Her brows knotted, telling him that she was worried. “Sam, I’m fine. Why?”
She decided that maybe Daniel wouldn’t be comfortable talking about it and cursed herself for bringing it up. “Nevermind.”
“Sam,” he sighed, “you can’t just do that and expect me to forget it. What?”
She took a deep breath and let it out. “I’m just curious…about you and the Colonel.”
He frowned, not expecting that. “What about us?” When he saw her wince at the question, he turned on his side, facing her, and propped his head in his hand. “It really bothers you?” he asked worriedly.
She shook her head, then decided to mirror him as she turned on her side as well. “No, not you being together. Well, one, I don’t get it, but that doesn’t mean it bothers me.”
“Don’t get what? Guys liking guys?”
She shook her head. “That’s not really a problem. I like guys so I sort of get that.” He grinned at her and she pushed lightly at him with her fist. “What I mean is, I don’t get how the two of you…you’re so different, Daniel.”
“Ah,” he replied, getting it. He thought about it, then shook his head. “Truthfully, I don’t think we get it, either. We know we’re different. We argue all the time and sometimes get very pissed off. But…”
“I know. You love him anyway. I remember when you told me.”
He nodded. “It took a while to accept, you know.”
“It did?” she asked.
He nodded again. “Yes. I don’t think either of us wanted it. We were friends. Reluctantly. I saved Jack’s life on Abydos during that first mission, and I think that changed things a little.” He paused, thinking it over. “Well, sort of changed things. He respected me a little more, anyway. Took a while for him to like me, I think.”
“He didn’t at first?” she asked.
Daniel shook his head slowly. “Jack hated me. Couldn’t understand how a geeky scientist was allowed to go on the mission. And I just had to go through the gate.” He lowered his voice. “I was dying to go through that gate.”
Her eyes sparkled. “I can relate.” She paused when it appeared that he was remembering. “It was that bad?”
Daniel winced, wondering why he kept forgetting that she knew him well enough to judge his expressions. “At first, it was just me trying to keep Ferretti and Kowalsky from kicking my ass. They were pissed.”
She nodded. “I remember in the report how you couldn’t get them home like you thought.”
He rolled his eyes with frustration, mostly at himself. “I assumed there’d be something there to give me the point-of-origin code. I had no idea about the DHD. The one for the Abydos gate was hidden behind one of the walls in the Abydos pyramid’s gateroom. I didn’t find it until after Jack and his team went home. If it hadn’t been for Skaa’ra drawing the Abydos symbols on the wall, I’d never have made the connection.”
Sam disagreed. “That’s not true, Daniel. You’d have found the symbols eventually, or the DHD.”
Daniel shrugged. “Maybe.”
She waited a minute, looking at him, seeing the insecurity. “Why don’t you believe in yourself, in what you can do?”
He blinked at her. After a moment of thinking it over, he said, “That’s not it, Sam. I do believe in myself and my abilities. Problem is, I don’t think that I can ever do enough to make a difference. It’s one of the reasons I wanted reassignment for a while. So I can figure out exactly what it is that I can do while with SG-1 that can somehow make a difference.”
“You make a difference, Daniel. Trust me.”
He looked down at the towel, drawing an imaginary line. He couldn’t answer her because he didn’t feel like arguing. He didn’t believe he’d made a difference so far. Not enough of one to matter anyway.
She reached out and touched his forearm. “Sorry. Let’s change the subject. Just remember that I do respect you, Daniel. There’s no one I trust more than you, Colonel O’Neill, and Teal’c. Well, Janet, too. I just wish I could trust…”
“Who? General Hammond?” he asked intuitively.
She nodded guiltily.
“I understand that, Sam, more than you realize. Respect’s not an issue.”
“No,” she said immediately. He could tell that she was uncomfortable with talking about it.
“You don’t have to say anything, Sam. I understand the loyalty, but…” He took a deep breath. “Respect, undoubtedly, but I can only trust him partially. I know that sounds disloyal but it isn’t. It’s realistic. He’s in a hard position. Sort of between a rock and hard place. If he were in the field with us, the trust is automatic, you know?” She nodded with fervent agreement. “But as our commander…I can’t. Not completely.”
She frowned, almost angrily. “Daniel–“
“No, I don’t mean it unkindly, Sam. Hammond can’t ever find out about me and Jack and you know why. I can trust him, but only so far and I’m sure you can appreciate why.”
She let the frown disappear and sighed deeply. With reluctance, she nodded. “I guess it’s hard on you guys, isn’t it?”
Daniel dropped onto his back, bringing his hand to his face to pinch the bridge of his nose. “You have no idea.”
“Headache?” she asked.
“No,” he said, shaking his head. “I think maybe I do this by habit now. Sort of a pre-headache thing, expecting one.”
“Want to just stop talking then?” she asked, feeling bad.
He lifted his hand and looked at her, frowning. “No. It’s not that, Sam. I don’t mind talking. It’s just that I didn’t want to upset you with talking about Hammond and…well, whenever I have to remember how fucked up it is that Jack and I can’t be open about our relationship…it’s just that…it’s hard sometimes.”
She squeezed his arm, wishing she could help. He looked at her, appreciating her attempt to understand, even though he knew she never could. Still, it was a comfort to him that she was trying.
Their moment of silence was interrupted as Jack appeared in the doorway. Daniel looked up at him and it was then that Sam finally saw it. The love in Daniel’s eyes was unmistakable. She looked over her shoulder and saw her team leader and friend, hot and sweaty from the game he’d been playing. He was looking down at Daniel but she couldn’t see the same look in his eyes. She knew why, too. He was too well trained and kept his feelings well guarded. When she looked back at Daniel, she caught something else. Lust. It wasn’t in his eyes long, but she’d seen it.
As Daniel and Jack traded looks, she sat up just as Teal’c and Loren appeared in the door. She sensed an opportunity to help, even just a little. “C’mon, Teal’c, Loren. I need to take a walk.”
“But can’t we stay here, play some more?” Loren asked. Teal’c sensed something in Sam’s expression and quick as he was, he caught on.
“We cannot. I believe Daniel Jackson and O’Neill wish to talk privately.”
“Oh,” Loren said, eyeing the two men, whom he noticed looked a bit distracted.
“We shall walk off our exertions and make sure that we do not cramp our muscles,” Teal’c stated, his tone leaving no room for objections.
“My thoughts exactly,” Sam said as she got to her feet. “Guys, I think you can manage without us?”
“I think so,” Daniel told her absently. He couldn’t take his eyes off Jack. As Sam, Teal’c, and a reluctant Loren moved off toward the surf and sand, Daniel got to his feet.
“Hey,” Jack said, his breathing slowing slightly, though his heart was pounding now for a different reason.
“Hey,” Daniel replied. “Have fun?”
“I did, actually,” Jack replied, not really caring at the moment if he had or not. What he was enjoying more was the look of Daniel dressed only in his shorts. “You look…good.”
Daniel gave him a crooked smile. “So do you.”
Jack snorted with disbelief. “I doubt that. I’m sweaty and dirty and…Daniel?” he asked as Daniel took him by the arm and led him back inside.
Jack wondered where Daniel was leading him because they didn’t stop in the light room as they had the day before. Daniel led him toward the stairs, and though Jack didn’t slow down to stop Daniel, he was a bit worried.
“Um, Daniel, we can’t–“
“Shhhh,” was all Daniel said.
When they got to the top of the stairs and turned right, Daniel pulled Jack into his own room and shut the door.
“Yes, Jack. You’re sweaty and dirty and I fucking want you.”
Jack grinned and stepped away from Daniel. “We can’t.”
“No, but we can do other things that last between five and ten minutes,” and with that he moved forward, shoved Jack onto the bed, and as he laid over him, Daniel did his best to steal the air from Jack’s lungs. His hands went everywhere, firmly caressing muscle while his body – his groin – rubbed deliciously against him. All Jack could do was echo Daniel’s moans as their cocks stiffened quickly but he didn’t want to get too far.
“Daniel,” he said, breaking their kiss. “We can’t get too…” He inhaled sharply as Daniel rubbed his palm down the length of his obvious erection. “Dammit, Daniel.”
Daniel smiled. “I want you,” he said gruffly and moved his mouth down his throat as he pushed up Jack’s shirt.
Jack didn’t want him to stop, but he knew they had to. He went to grab Daniel’s shoulders to push him away, but his cock was now free of his trousers. Jack’s eyes widened, wondering how on Earth Daniel had managed that so fast. Then Daniel’s mouth and exquisite tongue were devouring the head of his cock. He groaned, running his hands through Daniel’s hair, lifting his hips up slightly as the shocks of pleasure coursed through him. He abruptly forgot the idea of stopping, arching for more as Daniel took his length into his mouth and began an earnest sucking. The rest of his shaft was being firmly massaged by Daniel’s hand, arching a bit as Daniel twisted the pumping motion. Daniel sucked harder, his tongue working furiously and the suddenness of it was too much.
“Jesus, Daniel,” he whispered as his body went rigid, shuddering as he came down his lover’s throat. Daniel looked very smug as he lay down next to him, and Jack felt the intense need to return the favor. He didn’t bother waiting to get through the pleasure his body was still reacting to. Turning, he pulled Daniel’s shorts down and took his cock into this mouth, repeating the same movements and hard sucking that Daniel had given him.
Daniel lifted up, his hips leaving the bed as his hands tightened into fists. “Yes, need you,” he whispered demandingly. A few minutes later, he was bucking sharply as Jack held onto him, crying out in short, voiceless whispers as his semen squirted liberally down Jack’s throat. His body wasn’t even through its tremors when Jack laid over him and kissed him passionately.
They rolled a bit, from side to side, trading places at to who was on top. In the end, Daniel ended up half on top of Jack, kissing him slowly before pulling his mouth away.
Jack brushed the wet strands of hair from Daniel’s face, looking into his sated eyes. “Feel better?”
Daniel smiled. “You?”
Jack smiled. “When we get home, I guarantee you we’ll feel a lot better.”
“Oh, I think we will. I have plans for this,” Daniel whispered as he grabbed Jack’s ass.
“I’m counting on it,” Jack grinned, kissing him quickly before pulling away and zipping up his pants.
As Daniel slid off the bed and rearranged his shorts, Jack noticed the mischievous grin on his lover’s face. “What?” he asked warily.
Daniel shoved playfully at him as they left the room. “Nothing bad. Is there any of that coke left that Hammond managed to send us?”
“I think so, why?”
Daniel paused halfway down the hall. “Our breath, remember.”
The corners of Jack’s lips twitched. “I was thinking of coffee but coke will work better.”
They made their way downstairs and opened up a bottle of room-temperature coke to share between them. After a moment, Daniel caught a question behind Jack’s eyes. He took a long drink from the coke bottle and passed it to Jack.
“Okay, Jack. What’s on your mind?”
Jack’s eyes sparkled as he drank. “I was just wondering what you and Carter were talking about.”
“Um, you and me.”
“Don’t tell me she wanted details, Daniel.”
Daniel started to laugh. “No, Jack. Not that.”
“She’s just curious as to how the two of us ever ended up together. She can’t see why were together. We’re so opposite.”
Jack shrugged and nodded. “I can see how she’d wonder. We didn’t exactly start off as friends, did we?”
“That’s what I told Sam.”
“What’d you say?” Jack asked, his guard going up automatically.
Daniel nodded at the light room and made his way over. He slid down the wall and sat, clasping his fingers together and rested his arms on his knees. Jack joined him, his eyes rarely leaving Daniel’s face.
“Daniel?” he prompted.
“That you hated me.”
Jack worked his jaw. “I didn’t hate you.”
“Close enough, Jack,” Daniel said as he took a sip from the coke Jack handed back to him.
Jack had already said he was sorry for his attitude and didn’t want to repeat it or it would start to lose its heartfelt meaning. He and Daniel also knew that Jack was a much different person back then. Jack wondered if Sam would know that by the report she’d said she studied.
“So, she thinks it’s weird that we’re together?”
Daniel shrugged. “Not weird. She just can’t see it. Doesn’t mean she’s not accepting it. You know how we’ve met couples and wonder how they can possibly be together?”
Jack nodded. “Some cou…ples…” He caught Daniel grinning. “That’s the second time in one day we’ve been referred to as a couple.”
They exchanged looks, both of them slightly embarrassed but bolstered by the word.
Jack cleared his throat. “So, think Teal’c is accepting us?”
“I think Teal’c would have accepted us just as long as it didn’t mess with our working relationship and friendship. Sam, too, come to that.”
“They have to wonder if any of my decisions have been based on our relationship.”
Daniel shook his head. “They will but they’ll see that our private relationship has no bearing on our working one. You still look out for all of us as our team leader.”
Jack pointed at the ceiling, looking chagrined. “Except what just happened.”
Daniel gave him a tolerant grin. “Yes, but you know perfectly well that this isn’t a normal op. We’re not on a mission. We’re…well, in medical isolation. And I wouldn’t have started anything if this had been a regular mission.”
Truth was, they never had messed around on a mission and never would. Jack was as sure of that as Daniel was. His thoughts brought him to remember their first time and he grinned.
“What are you thinking?” Daniel asked, his turn to be wary.
“Just remembering our first time.”
“Nothing. I was remembering. I was also thinking about what things would have been like if…”
“If?” Daniel asked warily.
“If you hadn’t started it,” Jack said, taking another drink as Daniel passed him the bottle.
“Me? I didn’t start anything. I thought that was us.”
“No, no. You definitely kissed me first.”
Daniel smirked at him. “Okay, but if I recall correctly, you didn’t push me away.”
Jack let that sideways grin show, the one that Daniel found extremely sexy. “Well, I really couldn’t. You were on top of me.”
“With your arms around me,” Daniel added, then pointed as Jack’s grin seemed to deepen. “Looking like that, I might add.”
“Like what?” Jack asked.
“That?” Daniel pointed. “That smug, sexy grin you get.”
Jack’s brows rose. “It’s sexy?”
“Oh yeah,” Daniel replied as he took back the bottle of coke and drank the little soda that remained.
Jack wanted so much to lean across and kiss Daniel, but he simply looked at him. After a moment, he said, “You have a few of your own looks, you know.”
Daniel looked at him in surprise. “Really?”
“Don’t play coy, Daniel. You know damn well what I mean.”
Daniel shook his head. “No, not with you. Everyone’s tastes are different. Care to be specific?”
“So you can pull those looks out on purpose? No way.”
“Oh, come on, Jack, don’t play that with me. You can’t tell me that you’re not going to pull that grin on me now, so fess up.”
Jack’s lips twitched as he succeeded in the small tease. “Okay, there’s that thing you do over your glasses.”
Daniel looked at him over the rim of his glasses. “What thing?”
“That,” Jack pointed, “and what’d I say about being coy.”
Daniel looked away, biting the corner of his lip. Jack pointed again. “That’s the other one.”
Again, Daniel looked surprised. “I just bit my lip, Jack. That’s not sexy.”
“It is to me,” he said, then corrected. “Well, it wasn’t at first, but you do it when you’re…you know…”
“Pleased?” Daniel asked, grinning mischievously as he bit at his bottom lip.
“In a manner of speaking, and stop that, will you?” Jack replied, hitting Daniel in the side of the knee.
Daniel only grinned and leaned against Jack’s shoulder. “Would you rather have me tell you what I plan to do to you when we get home?”
Jack’s cheeks flushed slightly and he closed his eyes. “Tough choice.”
Daniel grinned wickedly. “First, I plan on mapping a trail from your lips to your thighs.”
“With my tongue.”
Jack swallowed. “Your tongue.”
“Teeth will also be involved,” Daniel whispered seductively.
“Teeth,” Jack repeated.
“Oh yeah. Biting and nipping along your inner thighs. Then…fingers. Lubed fingers.”
“And my very hard cock slowly thrusting…in…and out…in…and out…in…and out. Slowly, then faster, in and out, in and out. Then harder. I’ll take your thighs over my arms and hold onto you firmly, watching you while my–“
“Hey, guys!” Sam said, interrupting, causing both Jack and Daniel to jump, startled. She winced, wondering what she’d interrupted as she took in the concentration on her teammates’ faces.
“Shit, Carter!” Jack said irritably as he refused to open his eyes. He quickly ordered himself back to a non-sexual frame of mind, reluctantly accepting that it was time, for now, to get back to…normal.
“Hey, Sam,” Daniel greeted, swallowing hard as he too told himself that their moment of intimacy was over with. “What’s going on?”
“Um, nothing much. We’re done with our walk but…” She looked at Jack, hesitating. “Sir, I’m sorry for interrupting…but I was wondering…” she asked.
Daniel looked up at her, squinting. “What’s wrong, Sam?”
She bit her lip. “Nothing’s wrong. I just…need to clear up some things.”
“Okay,” Daniel replied. “Have a seat.”
“Um, actually, I was kinda hoping that I could talk to the Colonel.”
Jack finally opened his eyes and looked up at her. Her expression was serious.
“You want me to go or…” Daniel asked, thumbing in the direction of the kitchen.
“Um, well, I thought that maybe the Colonel and I could take a walk outside?”
Daniel and Jack exchanged glances.
“Well…” Jack replied, pushing gingerly off the floor, “lead the way, Carter.” He looked down at Daniel. “We’ll continue this discussion later.”
Daniel only grinned and nodded but his attention was on Sam. “Is everything okay, Sam?” he asked, standing slowly.
She nodded. “It is. It’s just…” and she gestured between herself and Jack.
“Okay,” Daniel replied warily.
Jack gestured toward the door. “Carter.” He looked over his shoulder at Daniel, finding the frown that mirrored his own. Daniel shrugged, telling Jack that he didn’t have any idea what Sam wanted to talk about.
With further reluctance, Jack followed Sam outside and onto the sand. He shoved his hands in his pockets and walked at her left side. He was suddenly reminded of the walk they’d had just before they’d found the remains of Loren’s parents. That walk had been a bit enlightening. Jack had kept insisting on being called ‘sir’ and Sam had insisted that there wouldn’t have been a point to it anymore if they were permanently stuck on the planet.
Sam was thinking the same thing. She folded her arms in the self-hugging she’d adopted from Daniel. “Last time we took a walk together, we were just a bit on edge.”
“Just a bit,” Jack replied.
“The effects from that chemical are waning rapidly now. Do you feel that itching, that irritation?”
Jack slowed down, then stopped, frowning. “You know…I don’t.”
Sam stopped a few feet ahead of him, looking at him with an expression of curiosity. “That was one of things I wanted to tell you. We may get to go home sooner than we thought. But we’ll find out when we go home tomorrow for our scans.”
Jack nodded, eyeing her as they began to walk again, although a lot more slowly. “You could have said that inside, Carter. What’s up?”
Sam chewed on her lip. “I was thinking back to the time we spent on P3R-118…the ice planet…and the chat we had afterwards.”
Jack stopped walking and eyed Sam carefully. “I thought we cleared the air, Carter.”
She nodded in agreement. “We did, sir. But, you said you had feelings. I know you said that they weren’t the right sort of feelings and that made sense. But what I’m wondering now, sir, is…well, were your feelings about Daniel? Is that what you couldn’t say before? Did you…well, I hate to be petty, but, did you lie?”
With a deep sigh, Jack shook his head. “Okay, I’m gonna say this once, so don’t ever expect me to repeat it. Consider our situation and take stock in that.”
“Yes, sir,” she answered carefully, puzzled as to what he meant.
“Okay. One…you’re a beautiful woman, Carter. Any man, bisexual or straight, would find it extremely flattering to be intimate with you about any damned thing.”
Sam felt a flush rise to her cheeks. “Thank you, sir.”
“Two…when I said I remembered feeling feelings, I meant both you and Daniel. When we had that talk, I’m sorry I left things out and made it look like I was confused, but you know why I couldn’t tell you about Daniel.”
Sam sighed heavily. “Yes, sir, I know.”
“Third…I never meant to lead you on, Carter. If I did that, then I’m truly sorry.”
She studied his face for a moment, and finally nodded. “I understand, sir. Now. I know our memories were pretty much screwed back on that planet. But in thinking back over the last ten months or so, I’ve gotten a bit confused. There were times when I thought…”
“I know, Carter. But it wasn’t intentional. It was just…you know. My ego.” He flashed her his engaging sideways grin and she smiled back.
“I understand completely, sir.” She did, too, and was very glad. She may not really be interested in Jack, but she had been flattered by the attention.
“Yes, sir,” she replied, sticking her hands in her shorts pockets.
“Are you sure?” he asked, coming to a stop once more. He turned and walked toward the palace and Sam stepped into stride along with him.
“Yes, sir, I’m sure.”
They were silent for a few moments until Jack resumed walking again. “Okay, so that only leaves one question.”
“What’s that, sir?” she asked.
Jack stopped and faced her, his expression caring, mischievous. “When are you going to get a life?”
Sam smirked at him. “Soon as I can figure out how to have a relationship with someone without them dying on me.”
Jack looked at her more carefully. “Give it time, Carter.”
“I will, it’s just…frustrating.”
Jack grinned. “You could always switch sides, you know.”
Sam smirked at him and backhanded him across the arm. “Very funny but my bread’s not buttered that way.”
Jack grinned widely. “Got that from Fraiser, didn’t you?”
Sam bit her lip guiltily. “It does sound like Janet, doesn’t it?”
He nodded. They both sighed and walked toward the entrance to the palace. “Here’s a thought.”
Sam rolled her eyes. “Sir, the one thing I do not need you to be doing is match-making.”
Jack shrugged, trying to keep from smiling. “There’s Teal’c, you know.”
Sam’s jaw dropped. “Are you insane…sir?”
Jack didn’t hold his grin back this time. “No. I know for a fact that he cares about you.”
“So do you and Daniel. Doesn’t mean I have a chance.”
“Ah ha!” he said, his voice in obvious tease. “There’s something there.”
Sam rolled her eyes. “Sir, cease and desist, or I’ll have to resort to payback for keeping me in the dark.”
Jack’s grin altered slightly, reflecting annoyance. “You already did, Carter.”
Sam smiled widely as she took the steps inside, and under her breath, replied, “I thought so.”
Later that evening, after playing cards while eating what Sam euphemistically called her Academy stew, they retired for the night. Before Jack went to his room, he stopped off to see Daniel.
Daniel set down his book next to the camping lantern he had in his darkened room. “Hey.”
“Hey.” Jack shoved his hands in his pockets as he stood at the foot of the bed. “How are you doing?” he asked carefully.
“I’m fine,” Daniel replied warily, sensing that this visit from Jack wasn’t going to be a gentle tease before bedtime. “Why?”
Shuffling his feet, Jack said, “Well…I was kinda hoping that you’d be coming back to the team after we get home.”
Daniel looked down at his book, suddenly feeling guilty. He was feeling better, but it didn’t alter his feelings about what he should be doing with his life, although he was quite certain that he wanted Jack in it. “Jack, will you give me more time?”
Jack gave an impatient sigh. “How long?”
“A few more weeks. I really do need it to figure things out.”
“Weeks?” Jack asked, stunned. “Why? I’ve tried to understand, Daniel, but I just don’t get it.”
“I know, Jack, and I’m sorry.”
“I can’t help thinking that it’s something I did.”
Daniel scooted off the bed and went to him, taking Jack by the shoulders. “It’s nothing you did, Jack. Promise.”
“So it’s still that dream, making you think you’re not doing what you should be doing? For cryin’ out loud, Daniel…”
Daniel sighed with his own rising impatience. “Jack, all I can say is that…right now…I’ll be back. But I need time away. Especially after this…” he said, waving his hand in the air about them, “fucking fiasco. I’ve been thinking about that suicide attempt, too, and I’m pretty sure that it was just the chemical magnifying all of my self-doubts, throwing them into chaos. That damned dream was part of it, I’m almost certain of that.”
“Okay, that I get. But I still don’t get why you can’t come back.”
“The fighting, Jack. Remember that I said I needed a break from all the constant combat?”
“Yes, I remember.” He studied Daniel’s shadowed face. He’d forgotten that. How could he have forgotten that combat issue. Even military teams needed breaks in the combat missions or they’d burn out too quickly. Jack understood that much, and understood that Shifu’s dream may have been the catalyst that brought things to a head. Finally, he nodded. “But…I need you back on the team soon, Daniel.”
Daniel nodded, knowing that that was all the ‘begging’ he’d ever get from Jack. He gave Jack a soft kiss. “I’ll talk to you in the morning.”
Jack sighed in agreement and left Daniel’s room, closing the door. He went inside his own and laid down on the bed. He had a good feeling that Daniel would return to SG-1 but in the meantime, what was SG-1 going to do without a fourth member? He didn’t want to have someone assigned as a fill-in. None of Daniel’s fill-ins ever worked out. That either said something very negatively about the geeks in the SGC or it said something about Daniel’s invaluable place in it. As Jack drifted off to sleep, he hoped that Daniel’s separation from SG-1 wouldn’t last too long.