Daniel watched with frustration as his arm was encased to mid-bicep. It’d take a while to heal and he knew he’d be gone for a while. Right now, that was fine by him. He also had a feeling that it would be just fine with Jack, too.
Despite his anger, Daniel was torn between wanting to help and wanting to leave Jack be. He knew what was bothering the man–at least originally. The anniversary of Charlie’s death. A few days before, Jack had said he’d wanted to be alone for a while and so Daniel had respected his wish, even if he’d been disappointed. They’d had plans; a ritual they performed together every year. But after coming to work yesterday, Jack’s demeanor toward him had been rude and today, he’d been downright disrespectful and sometimes mean. Whatever was wrong, it wasn’t just Charlie, and Jack’s actions had finally succeeded in pushing Daniel away.
Daniel was trying to keep his anger at bay, to hold off the worst of it until he had a chance to talk to Jack about had happened. But, the problem was, he hadn’t seen him since the gateroom. Jack hadn’t even come to check on him in the infirmary, something he would have done before today.
While Daniel could understand having to run a sweep of the base, Jack would not have done so and left an injured and unarmed civilian, much less a teammate, sitting on the floor of the gateroom. It wasn’t like him; wasn’t like him at all. The situation was so fucked up that Daniel had no idea if they were even friends anymore, much less lovers. And right now, at this moment, he didn’t have the energy to do anything about it.
Jack and his actions weren’t the only problem Daniel had. There was Sam, too. That scientist’s single-mindedness of hers could get on anyone’s nerves and it had finally gotten on his. But, he’d talk to her about it some other time. Right now, it was just too much effort. Being pissed off at Jack took way too much energy. He suddenly winced and his attention returned to his arm.
“Did I hurt you?” Lieutenant Walters asked, pausing as the last bit of plaster tape was smoothed on.
“Not from your movements, no. I just got a nasty twinge.”
Walters nodded. “It’ll be like that for a while, I think, but Doctor Fraiser will give you all the details as well as the ‘scripts for it.”
Daniel sighed heavily. “I’m sure, including how much stand-down I’m going to get.”
With a look of sympathy, the corpsman gathered his things and tossed them into the waste disposal. “You’re good to go, Doctor. Have a seat back in the main infirmary and the Doctor should be along shortly.”
Daniel made his way back to the main ward, and the bed he’d been using. He pushed his jacket aside and sat down, hoping Janet would be there soon. With luck and speedy healing, he could get back to whatever passed for normal around here inside of three weeks. Daniel sighed again. It was going to be a long forced vacation. He brought his left hand up to pinch the bridge of his nose just as Janet walked in. She regarded him carefully as he looked up.
“So, Jan, how long do I get to sit at home?”
“Six weeks, I’m afraid.”
She nodded solemnly. “It’s a bad fracture, Daniel, and I’d actually consider it a break. Any harsh or strenuous movement by you and it will become a break. That cast won’t protect you completely.”
“Have you plenty of work to take home?”
“Jan, I can work here.”
She nodded once. “Yes, you can, but I’m putting you on half-days.”
“Jan,” he complained.
She pointed to both hands. “How can you get any work done on the computer?”
Daniel rolled his eyes. “Okay, typing one-handed isn’t exactly a good thing. May as well take the time to brush up on what the archaeological community has been up to. Been meaning to do that but I never seem to have the time.”
“Just remember that you’ll need your strength to heal, so you can’t pull any all-nighters or live the way you have been. That means food three times a day, exercise, and sleep.”
Daniel looked disgusted.
“I know how you feel, Daniel. I had my hand – my right hand – in a cast once.”
She nodded and lowered her voice. “Med school. Some asshole decided that he was threatened by my higher grades so he slammed a door on my hand.”
“How the hell did he manage that without you giving him the ol’ grab to the groin?”
She smirked. “It was one of those college pranks. The fire alarm was pulled in my building. When I went to the stair door, he tried to shut it from the other side. I pushed back, believing there was a real fire. But at the last moment, he yanked my hand through the door, held it against the frame, and slammed the heavy door on it.”
Daniel’s mouth dropped. “Please tell me you got back at him.”
Janet smiled. “I did. I learned to write with my left hand and finished all of my assignments on time and with high marks. Bastard finished well below me.”
Daniel gave her a wide smile, then winced once more. Janet immediately went into her mother hen mode. “Here,” she said, handing him a prescription paper. “Three prescriptions. One to keep away infection, one to keep your muscles relaxed, and one to keep the pain down.” Daniel rolled his eyes. “Now I know you’d rather stay off the pain meds, but trust me. You’ll need them so you can sleep and heal properly.”
“It’s not the pain relief I object to, Janet. At the moment, I could really use one. But it’s the muddled mind effect they have on me. I can’t read like that.”
She nodded again, giving him an understanding look. “Want someone to help you change before you leave?” she asked as she set an orthopedic cane on the bed.
“Um, no, that’s okay. I can manage with one arm.” He frowned at the cane. “What’s that for?”
He gave her a speculative look.
“Okay, you don’t actually need it, but if people see a cane, they’ll get the hell out of your way and you really…I mean really don’t want to bump that cast. Got me?”
“Gotcha. So, when can I leave?”
“Another half hour. I want to make sure the cast is setting properly. Lieutenant Walters will be in to check on it.”
“Okay.” He flexed his hand. “It’s a good thing that damned Jeep has an automatic transmission.”
“You could always wait until I get off work, which is…” and she looked at her watch. “In an hour. I can pick you up in your office or the cafeteria.”
Daniel shook his head. “I have errands to run, Jan, and I don’t need or want a chauffeur. Besides, you have Cass to get home to.” The truth was, he had only one errand to run before going home.
“Okay, but if you change your mind, the offer’s open.” She noticed the lines and tired circles under his eyes. “You okay?”
He shook his head.
She pursed her lips, knowing why he felt like crap. For herself, she was feeling guilty. “I’m sorry I didn’t stick up for you earlier when I was bandaging your scalp. What he said simply took me by surprise.”
“S’okay,” he shrugged.
“No, it isn’t. I should’ve said something.”
“Yes, Janet, it is. You’re a Major, he’s a Colonel.”
“Yes, but that shouldn’t have stopped me from telling him that he was out of line.” She frowned, her voice low but angry in tone. “That behavior was inexcusable, Daniel, and I should have said something.”
“Yes, it was, but Jack’s not himself and there’s a reason behind his mood.” Even now, with his anger, he couldn’t disparage him completely.
“I don’t give a damn,” she said softly, though the anger was quite apparent now. “You did not deserve to be spoken to that way.” She moved over then and took a look at the butterfly tape on the back of his head. “So can you tell me what his problem is or was?”
Daniel winced–on purpose. “Could you get me some ibuprofen, Janet. I can’t tolerate this anymore.”
Noticing how he wouldn’t explain Jack’s actions, she left it alone for the moment and went to retrieve the pills. When she returned, she handed him a cup of water and two pills.
“I’ll need more than two, Janet.”
“Those are 600’s.”
He swallowed the huge things, grimacing, and handed her back the cup. She eyed him carefully and folded her arms. He glanced at her with annoyance. “Janet, don’t ask.”
“I have to. I won’t let his remarks slide by.”
His brows shot up. “You wrote them down in your log?”
“Yes, I did,” she told him slowly.
“Dammit, Janet. Please take them out of there. He didn’t mean what he said.”
“I don’t know that, Daniel. It sounded real to me. And it hurt you. I could see that very clearly. And why Sam didn’t say anything is beyond me.”
Daniel ground his jaw. “I think the both of them have been replaced by NID clones.”
Janet snorted and folded her arms. “Do you know what’s going on?”
“With Jack, yes. With Sam, no clue. Maybe when you see her, you can ask and clue me in later.”
Janet’s mouth dropped open. “Hasn’t she been in to see how you’re doing?”
He shook his head. “I haven’t seen anyone except you, Janet. And the med staff. I don’t expect to, either.”
In disbelief, Janet walked out into the corridor and looked both ways. When she returned, her frown of confusion changed to anger.
“No one’s come by? Not Teal’c? Not the Colonel?”
Daniel shook his head more emphatically, even if his head hurt doing it. “Doesn’t matter,” he said, shrugging it off.
“The hell it doesn’t. And the comment in my medical log stays.”
She was very serious. Daniel sighed again. “Janet…” he said, his voice tired and reflecting pain, “…yesterday was the anniversary of Charlie’s death.”
Janet paled and said a silent, “Oh.” After a moment, she found her voice. “I can understand his emotions, Daniel, but that in no way excuses his behavior. It was downright mean.”
“Daniel, when I was married, I had a miscarriage.”
Daniel’s head snapped up. “Wow…um, I’m sorry.”
She shook it off. “Point is, I was angry. Very angry. The person to blame was my ex, but I didn’t take the anger out on him, I took it out on myself, on my parents, on my friends. But even during all of that, I never once pushed them away. I can’t understand why the Colonel would do that–to you of all people.”
Daniel agreed but part of him wanted to protect Jack. “Janet–“
“If he apologizes, and I mean, really apologizes, then I’ll remove the entry. In the meantime,” she said, sticking her hands in her pockets, “I’ve got to go make rounds. After Lieutenant Walters checks on you, you can go home.”
“Did you tell the General about Jack?”
“No, I only noted it in my log.”
Daniel sighed with a touch of relief. “Thanks.”
“Would you tell the General…I’d normally say goodbye to him, but frankly, I don’t want to bother him. He has enough headaches to worry about.”
Janet only nodded. “You’re not a headache, Daniel. I’m already going to him to give my report, so I’ll be informing him about your medical stand-down. Now, after you’re released, get those prescriptions filled and go home. And Daniel, remember…no unnecessary movements.”
“Not a problem.” She started to turn but he stopped her. “Um, I need a bag for my arm so I can shower.”
She shook her head. “Lieutenant Walters will bring you one for your arm, Daniel, but you can’t shower until tomorrow.”
“Why?” he asked, exasperated. What the hell else could go wrong?
“I had to put fresh butterfly stitches on your scalp, remember?” she said, pointing to his head, “so you’ll have to wait until morning before you can shower.”
He closed his eyes. Good thing he’d be at home. He was going to stink to high heaven.
“The clean-up won’t take that long, sir. Carter and I have teams assigned in every possible place while we help out in the control room.”
“Carter says it’ll take a week for some things, two weeks for others. All I remember her saying is that the gate will dial. We can bring our people home.”
Hammond nodded as he stood from behind his desk. “As soon as the control room is ready, tell the Major that–” A knock at the door interrupted. “Come.”
Janet walked in, carrying a clipboard and some file folders. Jack nodded to her and frowned as he couldn’t miss the cold look she gave him.
“What can I do for you, Doctor?” Hammond asked.
“I’m here to give you the base medical report, sir.”
“Very well. Give me the summary and I’ll read your report in a few minutes.”
She nodded, already expecting this. She handed him a folder, then recited from memory. “Lieutenants Carlisle and Booth will be fine. Just minor scrapes and bruises. Sergeant Masters and Staff Sergeant Doyle will both be out for a week due to concussions. No other personnel involved in the firefights with the replicators are injured.”
“That’s good news, Doctor,” Hammond said, looking pleased. But his smile faded as he looked at Janet’s serious expression. “What else is there.”
“One more injury report, sir. Daniel. I’m afraid that–“
“I thought he just had a sprain?” Jack asked her, frowning.
She turned and looked up at him. “What brilliant piece of observation did you glean that from, Colonel?”
Jack blinked in surprise and so did Hammond.
“What’d I do?” he asked, almost snapping.
“I wouldn’t know, sir,” she lied, and turned back to Hammond. “Sir, Daniel will be on medical stand-down for six weeks.”
“What?” Jack asked loudly. Hammond shot him a reprimanding look and Jack backed off.
“Go ahead, Doctor. What’s the matter with our boy?”
“He has a severely fractured left ulna in his forearm. I’ve had him placed in a cast. The MRI done on his skull shows no swelling or concussion, but he is suffering from a severe headache due to the blow he took. I’ve replaced the butterfly stitches, as the first ones were for emergency treatment. He also has some pretty good contusions on his back from the impact with the bookcase in the iso room, but those will be healed long before his arm is.”
Hammond sent a mysterious look of irritation at Jack, but said nothing. “I know Doctor Jackson will go stir crazy, Doctor Fraiser. Is there any work he can do to compensate for the time it will take healing?”
She nodded. “He can perform his duties on a limited basis, sir. Because Daniel’s left hand is useless, he won’t be able to type up his reports as he normally would, and writing will be difficult, as well, because of the pain in his left arm. Which means he’ll be working half-days, depending on how his health goes. He says he’ll use this time to catch up on the research currently being conducted in the archaeological community.”
Hammond nodded curtly, clearly unhappy. “Thank you, Doctor.”
She nodded, and with the briefest glance to the base 2IC, she left the office, closing the door behind her. Not until she was out of sight and moving down the hall did she allow herself a smug smile.
Back in the office, Hammond was giving Jack a disapproving look. “Colonel, I thought you said he had a bruised wrist?”
Jack winced. “I thought that’s all it was, sir.”
With a heavy sigh, Hammond sat down, gestured at the chair behind Jack. “Have a seat, Jack.”
Reluctantly, Jack sat down. He didn’t want to talk about this. He knew his C.O. had noticed and hoped he’d let it slide, but he knew better. He himself wouldn’t let his own actions slide.
“What’s going on, Jack?”
“I’ve already ascertained that. Don’t think that I haven’t noticed your…shall we say…lack of appropriate behavior concerning Doctor Jackson.”
Jack ground his jaw. “I have no excuse for my behavior, sir.”
“Don’t give me that, Jack. Something is wrong.”
Jack was silent for a moment before answering. “It’s…Charlie, sir. Yesterday was the anniversary of his death.”
“That’s why you wanted the day off,” Hammond said with sad understanding. “I’m sorry the mission got in the way, Jack, but your personal feelings should not have interfered with your ability to command.”
“What gave you the impression that Daniel wasn’t seriously injured?”
“I don’t know, sir. For what it’s worth, I’m sorry.”
“So’m I, Jack. However, it doesn’t dismiss your actions.”
Hammond carefully regarded him, taking in the deep set lines between the brows, the sharp look of pain behind the eyes. “Take a few days, Jack. This mess can be cleaned up without your supervision. And do yourself and Doctor Jackson a favor.”
“Go talk to the man and apologize. Set things right before he comes back to work, though I shouldn’t have to tell you that, should I?”
“No, sir,” Jack replied as he stood up. “Is there anything else, sir?”
“No, Colonel. That’s all. Anything else I’ll get from Major Carter.”
“I’d like to finish helping Carter clean up in the control room.”
“Very well, but afterward, give yourself some downtime. That’s an order.”
“Yes, sir.” He moved to the door and paused. “Thank you, sir.”
Hammond gave him a short smile. “You’re welcome, Colonel.”
Daniel gritted his teeth as pulled off his boots and trousers. Next, with much effort, he pulled on his jeans. He hadn’t bothered to remove his t-shirt. The shirt he had worn to work two days ago was a button up and there was no way he was getting that on over the cast.
He sat down and looked glumly at his sneakers, wishing he’d thought to loosen them before toeing them off. With a determined sigh, he set one in his lap and went to work loosening the laces. This is what he got for not buying sneakers that closed with velcro, he thought sullenly. But in truth, he preferred laces and always would. Loosening the knot, then the laces, he set his shoe on the bench and attempted to slide his foot inside. The shoe slid off and tumbled to the floor, rolling end over end a few feet away. With a growl of impatience, he started to push off the bench when Teal’c walked in. Daniel paused and looked at him, then got up, retrieved his shoe, and sat back down.
“Hey, Teal’c,” he said, attempting some sort of friendly tone. The pain in his arm was quickly turning his mood more sour than it already was. As he looked up, Daniel could’ve sworn the Jaffa was actually fidgeting and frowned with concern for his friend as he tried once more to slip his foot into his shoe. When he failed a second time, and the shoe toppled to the floor once more, it was Teal’c who retrieved it. He knelt down silently in front of Daniel, prepared to help.
“That’s okay, Teal’c. I can do it myself,” he said, reaching for his shoe.
Teal’c held it away from him. “I am aware of that, Daniel Jackson. But you are injured. You would not hesitate to help, would you not?”
Daniel sighed and gestured. “No,” he drawled. “Go ahead.”
Teal’c unlaced the shoe and pulled the tongue up, holding the shoe at an angle for Daniel to slide his foot in. When Daniel’s foot was secured, Teal’c tied the laces and picked up the other shoe.
Daniel watched his friend carefully. There was a strange, uncomfortable silence as Teal’c helped him, almost as if Teal’c’s helping were a type of ritual. As he slid his right foot into the other shoe, Daniel became fairly certain of it. He wanted to ask, but didn’t, knowing that if Teal’c wanted to talk, he would.
When the laces were tied, he put his foot on the floor. “Thanks.”
“You are welcome.”
Teal’c still said nothing. Disappointed, Daniel stood up, grabbed his jacket off the hook in the back of his locker, draped it over his left arm, and locked up the locker. He gave Teal’c one more look as he grabbed his keys and access card from the bench, picked up his cane and headed for the door. “I’ll see you,” he said, passing his friend.
Teal’c reached out suddenly and placed his hand on Daniel’s left shoulder. “I apologize for my behavior, Daniel Jackson.”
Daniel frowned as he turned his head to look at him. “Why? You didn’t do anything wrong.”
“I did not visit you in the infirmary.”
“You were busy, Teal’c.”
“Maybe so, but…”
Daniel’s frown deepened. “What?”
“I do not wish to pry but I am concerned.”
Daniel gave him a fond look. “You mean you noticed Jack’s behavior?”
Teal’c inclined his head and nodded, once. “I am aware of the meaning behind the recent date, Daniel Jackson. I know that O’Neill is not himself.”
Daniel shrugged. “Yeah, well…maybe he’ll go back to normal. Whatever that is. Keep an eye on him, will you?”
Teal’c’s eyebrow went up. “Do you not plan to see him?”
Teal’c tilted his head slightly, looking a bit confused. “Have you not seen O’Neill?”
Daniel shook his head. “No. Not since last night–in the gateroom.”
“O’Neill did not escort you to the infirmary or bring you here?”
“No, he had a sweep of the base to run.”
His Jaffa friend frowned. “This is most disconcerting. I do not believe this is tolerable behavior.”
“Yeah, well, you and me both, Teal’c, but I can’t do anything about it. Only Jack can.”
“Is Major Carter aware of the significance of the recent date?”
“If she is, she’s said nothing to me.” He wanted to add that he hadn’t spoken to her, either, but kept quiet. Teal’c, however, read his expression correctly.
“You have not seen Major Carter, either?”
Daniel shook his head, not saying anything. He moved to the door and though he thought he’d be leaving Teal’c in the locker room, the Jaffa followed him.
“I will accompany you, Daniel Jackson.”
“Not necessary, Teal’c. I don’t need an escort.”
“Perhaps not, yet I am still concerned for your welfare and wish to see you safely to the next elevator.”
Daniel knew right away that Teal’c wasn’t offering physical help. It was more emotional support than anything and Teal’c’s presence, silent and attentive, bolstered Daniel.
As they rode the elevator, Teal’c suddenly asked, “Do you wish to unburden yourself, Daniel Jackson?”
Daniel grinned at how Teal’c put it. After a moment’s consideration, he shook his head. “I don’t know that it would do any good, Teal’c.”
“You are always telling me that humans feel better after they discuss whatever it is that is bothering them. Do you not feel this would benefit you as well?”
Daniel shrugged, wincing as a twinge of pain shot through his arm. “I think the only person I should talk to – or rather, that I need to talk to – is Jack. But I’m afraid he’s not talking to me. Frankly, Teal’c, the way I feel about him right at this moment, I don’t give a shit if he ever talks to me again.”
Hearing the words, Teal’c frowned. “I am dismayed to hear that, Daniel Jackson.”
Daniel nodded. “Well, I’m dismayed to say it.”
“Perhaps all you need is what I have heard termed as ‘an ear’. It may help you more than you realize.”
Daniel shook his head. “I don’t see how.”
Teal’c simply stared at him in that way he had, as if looking at a student who wasn’t cooperating. It sometimes worked on Daniel–as it did this time.
“Look, Teal’c, all I can say is that it seems that Jack no longer respects me or wants me around.”
“Do you believe this is what O’Neill wishes?”
“That’s how he’s made me feel. I’ll tell you something else.”
“What is that, Daniel Jackson?”
“It’s a very good thing that I’ll be away for six weeks,” Daniel said carefully, staring earnestly into Teal’c’s eyes, “because right now, I’m not sure I want to return to SG-1.”
Teal’c’s eyes widened. “I do not wish you to leave SG-1.”
Daniel swallowed. Before he could answer, though he had no idea what to say, the elevator doors opened. Getting out, Teal’c silently escorted Daniel to the next elevator. They said nothing. The light in Daniel’s eyes reflected his gratitude to his friend for listening and Teal’c felt relieved that he could help. He bowed his head once more as the elevator doors closed, separating them. Leaning against the back wall, Daniel closed his eyes as the pain in his arm started to throb. Teal’c was a good man, and had a very kind heart toward his friends. Except, he was also a fixer — a peacemaker. Daniel suddenly wished he’d kept silent.
Teal’c was not, as Jack would say, a happy camper. After having that talk with Daniel, and another with Janet, he set out on a mission. He spied Jack at the threshold of the control room dumping a bunch of Replicator chips into a cardboard box that Sergeant Siler was holding. Sam was a few feet away, checking over exposed wiring at the back of the computer console.
“O’Neill, Major Carter,” he said, approaching them, hands clasped behind his back.
“Hey, Teal’c,” they both said.
“I have great need to speak with both of you.”
Jack handed the box to Siler. “What about?”
“Privately,” he said firmly.
Jack frowned and exchanged glances with Sam. “Okay, my office.”
Entering the office a short distance from Hammond’s, Jack gave Teal’c a puzzled look as he closed the door and gestured for them to sit down.
Teal’c remained standing, his hands still clasped behind his back, his gaze fixed on Jack most of the time.
“Teal’c? Wanna have a seat?” he asked, sitting on the edge of his desk.
“I believe I will stand.”
Sam hesitated and sat down, trading glances with Jack, wondering what was wrong.
Teal’c looked at the two of them, unsure as to how to proceed, but he did know what he was going to say. Daniel may have told him that he was not going to resign, but his two teammates didn’t know that. Teal’c planned on using this information, as well as other information, as a means of confrontation. After all, it worked well with his young Jaffa apprentices, so it should work just as well with his teammates.
“I am greatly disturbed.”
“Okay,” Jack drawled. “What is it?”
“Daniel Jackson is considering resigning from SG-1.”
“What?” came the startled question from Jack and Sam as they both stood. Jack’s heart began to pound wildly as panic started to settle in. Was what he feared coming true or did he make this happen? Jack sat back down on his desk with a thump. Of course he’d made it come true. He’d pushed Daniel into it. What was that old saying? You made your bed, now you have to lie in it.
Teal’c felt a bit of smugness but it quickly changed to relief. At least they cared that much.
“Where is he, Teal’c?” Jack asked.
“He is on his way home, O’Neill.”
Jack sighed and covered his eyes. “What happened? How mad is he?”
“He is extremely angry, O’Neill. He would not elaborate on the reasons for his anger, yet I do believe you are mostly to blame.”
“Is he mad at me too?” Sam asked, puzzled.
Teal’c gave her a squared look. “He has said nothing, Major Carter. Yet I am forced to ask myself why neither of you checked on his welfare. I understand that we have our tasks to complete, but I have asked Doctor Fraiser and neither of you inquired after his health.”
Sam shook her head. “That’s not true. Janet was busy when I called earlier. A corpsman told me Daniel was getting an x-ray and told me to check back later. He didn’t know what Daniel’s condition was but Colonel O’Neill told me that Daniel had a sprained wrist.”
Jack winced. “I’m afraid I was wrong, Carter. I saw the Doc earlier when I was giving Hammond a run down on the repair work.”
“And?” she asked, hating it when she needed to pull the information out of him.
“And he’s going to be out six weeks.”
Sam practically blanched. “Six weeks? Why?”
Jack nodded. “Doc says he has a fractured arm.”
“What? Why didn’t you say anything?” she asked loudly, her eyes wide. She moved away from the chair, and away from Jack, pacing in the front of the room, her hands balled into tight fists.
She turned to look at him.
“I’m sorry,” he said, feeling defensive. “I didn’t think his injury was that bad. He sort of hid that.” But that wasn’t completely true. Jack’s sense of guilt began to grow.
“Not a fractured arm, sir. Truth is, you didn’t…”
“No, you’re going to say something, so get it out in the open.”
She crossed her arms and took a deep breath. “Okay…you didn’t think he was that injured because, in my opinion, you want to know. You were…an asshole…sir.” She swallowed, waiting for the reprimand, but when it didn’t come, she went on. “Remember what you said to him in the corridor?”
He flinched. “I remember.”
“I don’t say things like that to my friends, even when I’m mad at them. I was frankly startled by it. I didn’t say anything because of our situation at the time but…”
“I’m sorry, sir, but it was unbecoming an officer of your rank and position.” She paused, expecting him to reprimand her for that one, but again, it didn’t come.
Jack’s browline was up. “I know I was, Carter, and formally, I apologize. I was out of line. Just know that I plan to make it up to Daniel later.”
“It must be soon, O’Neill.”
“Why?” Jack asked, his panic rebuilding.
“He is currently under the impression that your relationship, both personal and professional, is at an end.”
Jack tensed and closed his eyes. “Dammit!”
“If you do not fix things, I fear that at the end of six weeks, he will leave. Not just you, O’Neill, but all of us.”
Jack opened his eyes and stared at his friend, hearing a warning in his voice that he always took seriously. “And?”
“I am aware of the reasons for your sadness and anger, yet I do not understand why you chose to alienate yourself from Daniel Jackson instead of depending on him as a source of strength.”
Jack folded his arms and shook his head. “I have no idea, either, Teal’c. My instinct is to run for cover, to protect my feelings. I’ve been that way most of my life. You understand that.”
“I do, O’Neill, but in relation to your…friendship…with Daniel Jackson, that judgment does not appear sound. While I was in the service of Apophis, I had to perform many distasteful tasks. When I could, I spoke of them to Drey’auc and looked to her for counsel and support. I would have expected you to do the same with Daniel Jackson, yet this does not seem to be the case.”
“No, Teal’c, that’s wrong. It is the case. I count on him. I…” Jack couldn’t finish the thought. Truth was, he hadn’t been as open with Daniel lately and cursed himself for his fears.
Sam looked back and forth between the two of them, suddenly feeling as if she were in a tennis match that had no rules. She had no idea what they were talking about and was getting sick and tired of it. It happened much too often. “Would either of you care to let me in on what you’re talking about, or is this another one of those ‘boys club only’ things? If so, I can always manage to find an all-female team.”
Jack hesitated in his answer so Teal’c informed her instead. “Two days ago was the anniversary of the death of Colonel O’Neill’s son.”
Sam’s eyes widened.
“I was planning on taking the day off,” Jack said, waving his hand in the air, “but you know how stuff goes around here. Plans get ruined all the time.”
Sam’s mouth dropped open. “Oh my God. It’s all my fault. Colonel, I’m s–“
“Don’t worry about it, Carter,” Jack interrupted. “You had no idea that I’d requested the day off. You’d asked to go to that planet ahead of schedule and I didn’t say no. I could have, as Hammond said it was my call.”
When he didn’t elaborate further, Sam nudged. “So…now what?”
“Now, I have a few days to get things fixed with Daniel or the General will have my ass. He’s already ticked off that Daniel’s out for six weeks.”
Sam blew out a harsh breath, then looked at Teal’c carefully. “He didn’t say he was mad at me?”
“He did not. However, I did get the impression that he is extremely disappointed that he hasn’t seen you.”
Sam nodded. “Soon as I’m done here, I’m going to see him.”
“That would not be wise, Major Carter,” Teal’c told her quietly.
“I believe O’Neill should speak with Daniel Jackson first.”
Sam chewed at her lip and looked over at Jack. “He’s right.”
Jack held up a hand to stall any further comment. “I know, Carter. I know. I screwed up.” He had no idea how he’d fix this but the thought of Daniel leaving…
It seemed ironic, or maybe it was fate. Either way, Jack had to do something.
Daniel walked across the thick carpet of grass and stopped at the grave. Kneeling down on one knee, the damp grass stained his light cargo pants dark. He leaned forward and laid the large bouquet of white roses at the foot of the rounded headstone. The name, carved in deep grooves, read, Tyler Charles O’Neill.
“Sorry I’m not here with your dad, Charlie. It’s just me this time.”
He stood up with a bit of difficulty, staring at the roses, yet not seeing them. His thoughts were filled with anger and loss.
Jack pulled into the parking space and shut off the motor. He had to talk to Charlie. If there was one way he could find the words to say to Daniel, then he knew talking to Charlie would help. He picked up the bouquet of red roses and got out of his truck, heading out over the rows, on the way to his son’s grave. As he approached, he spied the white roses and knew exactly who had left them. He whirled, looking around and found Daniel sitting on the park bench perhaps twenty yards away. Hesitant, he bent down, dropped the roses next to the others, then stuffed his hands in his coat pockets and made his way over to Daniel.
Daniel wasn’t surprised. He’d thought to rest before going home as his arm was throbbing like a sonofabitch, but here, like some taunting reminder of how the good things in his life never stayed for long, was Jack. Fate was a cruel bitch, he mused. He stood up, getting ready to leave, and opened his mouth to say just that as Jack approached. But as usual, Jack held up his hand to interrupt him. That was something that was also getting on his nerves, and hadn’t realized it until that moment.
“I know you’re pissed off at me, Daniel.”
“Jack, you have no idea how pissed off I am.”
Jack paused mid-step, trying to think of what to say to that. Instead of the appropriate response–whatever that was–he side-stepped. “Thanks for…” and he gestured at the roses.
“I’ve been leaving them every year, usually at your side,” Daniel told him, his eyes boring into Jack’s. “Though I think that has now come to a swift and unspectacular end.”
“Daniel…” Jack started, feeling guilty that their ritual had been broken.
Daniel ground his jaw, forcing himself to breathe slowly. “You wanna tell me why this year is worse than the others? Or why you’ve decided to push me away?”
Jack’s gaze rested on Daniel’s left arm, covered in a blue sling. His left hand, encased to the middle finger joints, stuck out over the end. He walked over and sat down on the bench, resting his forearms on his knees. He looked up at his friend and lover, hoping that was what he still was.
“I’m sorry, Daniel. I really am.”
Daniel took a deep breath through his nose. “Fine, you’re sorry. So what.”
Jack nodded. No reprieve then. Jack wished he could’ve had more time to figure out what to say. He cleared his throat. “Two days ago, I was late to work.”
“I know that, Jack. You didn’t tell me why, but I assumed it was because you’d been here,” he told him, nodding at the grave.
Jack looked across the short space of lawn, staring at Charlie’s headstone and the roses draped in front of it. “I was. And…I saw Sara.”
“As you do every year,” Daniel replied.
“You know she’s married again?”
“Yes, I know,” Daniel drawled, wishing Jack would stop fucking around and get to the point.
Jack turned his face away. “She’s pregnant,” he said abruptly.
At first, Daniel had no idea what to say to that. It wasn’t exactly a shock to hear but Jack’s voice was filled with anger and resentment. But after a silent minute, Daniel quietly asked, “Did you expect her to remain childless?”
“No,” Jack said tightly.
“So you feel betrayed somehow or…?”
Jack turned to him. “No,” he said, his dark eyes flashing. “We…you and I…we can’t ever have that.”
Daniel frowned, not understanding the contradiction–in fact, he was starting to get even more pissed off. “Jack, we’ve already had this discussion, remember? You said you never wanted another child.”
“Yes, I remember–“
“Have you changed your mind?” Daniel interrupted, a fear starting to stab at him.
“No, I haven’t. It’s just…” Jack replied quietly. He stood up and walked a few paces away, staring at the ground.
When Jack said nothing for a few long, interminable minutes, Daniel threw up his arm in a gesture of futility. “So, you’re pissed off because you no longer have a choice about children? Or is it that you can’t…as long as you stay with…me?” He spoke the last bit very slowly, and as he said the words, he felt both hot and cold, and a deep pit settled in his stomach.
Jack turned, looking startled. “No, that’s…that’s not…”
Daniel abruptly got up from the bench and started for his Jeep.
“Hey! Where’re you going?” Jack asked, walking after him.
“To get away from you. For good. Adios, muchacho. Go find your juevos and your babymaker.” Daniel was somehow angrier than he could ever remember being. Even that business with the memory stamp couldn’t compare to this. If he didn’t have a fucked up arm, he’d knock Jack on his ass.
“No, get your ass back here,” Jack said, hurrying his stride and grabbing Daniel’s left arm, pulling him back. Daniel swung round, his fist raised, clenched tightly. Jack’s eyes widened. “You want to hit me?”
“Yes,” Daniel said though clenched teeth. “How fucking dare you.”
Jack pointed. “You listen to me. It isn’t what you think.”
“Of course it is!” Daniel yelled at him. “You’re pissed off at me for taking a choice from you that I never made. Even though you said you don’t ever want another child.”
“That’s not it, dammit!”
“Bullshit. You’re pissed off at me for something I never did. I never took that choice from you. You did that all by yourself. Which made me the choiceless one. What if I’d changed my mind later on down the road?”
“What?” Daniel asked.
Jack didn’t answer. He couldn’t. It wouldn’t leave his throat; he couldn’t say the words.
Daniel didn’t understand and was frustrated with Jack more than he’d ever been. “If you’re not going to talk to me, fuck you, Jack.” He wrenched his arm free and began walking again. But he didn’t get very far before Jack had him again, in a much tighter grip than before. Daniel looked down at the hand holding his arm, then up into Jack’s eyes.
Jack flinched. Daniel’s eyes were so…ice cold with anger. “Daniel, don’t…don’t walk away, please.”
“Isn’t that what you want? You’ve been pushing me away and today you managed it.” Daniel had to swallow the bile he felt rising in his throat. Saying it out loud scared him to death.
“No…I…didn’t mean…” Jack stammered, getting paler.
“What did you mean? Did you mean those words to me?”
Jack looked down, his eyes ironically fixed on Daniel’s cast. “No.”
“Then where the hell did those words come from?” he rattled off quickly, “I thought you respected me but those words made it clear that you don’t.”
“Daniel, I was angry and afraid. I do respect you. I was just…” He still couldn’t say it.
Daniel knew that whatever it really was that was bothering Jack, he was having a hell of a hard time getting it out of him. He remembered what it had been like five years before. Trying to get Jack to talk was like pulling teeth. Now, Jack could talk, but only after he’d rehearsed what to say. As of right now, Jack was winging it. Though he could do that when talking in front of a crowd, like he had at the funeral for SG-17, he couldn’t do that about his feelings. He had to think about them first. Which was probably what he’d been planning to do at Charlie’s grave, wasn’t it?
“Can’t you just tell me, Jack? How can I judge whatever you’d say? I…love you, you idiot.”
Jack had been looking down but at the words, his head snapped up. “I’m…I pushed you away because…it’s not that I don’t want children. It’s not that I’ll change my mind. I’m afraid…”
“I’m afraid you’ll…”
Daniel blinked. “Forget what I said about changing my mind. I won’t.”
“But you could,” Jack replied as he stuffed his hands in his pockets.
Daniel still didn’t get it. “Jack, anything is possible, but I don’t think I’ll change my mind.”
There was a whistle in the air, accentuating the sudden silence. Then Jack said, in a voice so soft Daniel barely heard him. “That’s just it. You could change your mind.” Jack said very faintly.
Daniel couldn’t stop the small, sad laugh that escaped. “Is that why you pushed me away? Because you’re afraid I’ll change my mind and leave?”
Jack didn’t move or answer.
Daniel let out another short laugh. “Unbelievable,” he said, mostly to himself as he turned away. “It’s so nice to know you have such faith in me.”
Jack took his arm and forced Daniel to look at him. “It’s not that. I’m just afraid you’ll, that I won’t….”
Daniel shook his head. If Jack was going to say it, he’d better say it. “What?”
Daniel sighed. “Not stupid enough to keep you from leaving me.”
Jack blinked at him. “I’m not.”
“Jack…just say it.”
Schooling his features, Jack rattled off quickly, “Make you happy.”
Daniel’s mouth hung open longer that time. He hadn’t expected that, though truthfully, he didn’t know what to expect. Not any more. “So you’re making a pre-emptive strike? Forcing me to leave? That makes a lot of sense.”
Jack couldn’t answer him because the questions were mostly rhetorical. “Teal’c said you were thinking of leaving SG-1. Is that true?”
Daniel blinked in shock. Why would Teal’c tell him that? Unless he wanted to bring Jack to his senses. “He told you I was leaving?”
“He told me you were thinking about it.”
Daniel frowned. It confirmed Jack’s fears — and justified them, didn’t it?
“Are you?” Jack asked when Daniel didn’t reply.
Daniel saw the tightly held restraint reflected in Jack’s eyes. His body, too, seemed taut with tension, and as he stared, Daniel realized that Jack was holding his breath. He felt something inside him snap and the intense anger he’d been feel seemed to wash from him. His eyes misted and he tilted his head.
“I didn’t want to, Jack.”
Jack let out the breath he’d been holding. “I know.” He ran a hand through his hair, looking away for a moment, then cautiously returned his gaze. “I am sorry for all of this. Do you believe me?”
Daniel kept his eyes locked on Jack’s, and though he believed him, he was thinking of what else to say. He still felt the anger and figured that maybe some separation time would be good. “Yes, Jack, I believe you. I accept your apology.”
Jack nodded, relieved once more. The wind suddenly picked up a little, sending a chill over Daniel’s left arm. It seemed like a weird signal to him, though what kind he didn’t know.
“I should probably get home. You stay here, talk to Charlie, think about what you want to do about this…stuff. I’ll…see you.” He didn’t know why he said it like that, but part of him simply couldn’t say ‘tomorrow’ or ‘later’ because that implied a commitment…something he wasn’t exactly sure Jack wanted anymore, even if he was afraid Daniel would leave him. His legs felt leaden as he turned to go for the third time, but again, Jack wouldn’t let go of his arm. In fact, Jack surprised him by taking him gently into his arms, holding on as firmly as he dared without hurting him.
Daniel’s heart pounded in shock.
Jack was holding him. In public.
Okay, it was just a simple hug, but it was a huge risk.
It told Daniel everything and he closed his eyes and returned the hug with one arm. He wanted so badly to kiss him and if he was held any longer, he just might screw everything up and do that. He started to pull away but once more, but Jack still refused to let go.
“Stay,” Jack asked him, his eyes dark with emotion.
They looked at each other for a long moment and Daniel wondered just how he could ever truly leave this man. “Okay.” The intensity of Jack’s eyes was too much, sending bolts of hot need throughout his body. If Daniel didn’t walk away, he’d kiss him, but walking away was something he couldn’t do. Not at the moment. He suddenly thought of a compromise. “Help me sit down.”
“Grass is wet.”
Jack shrugged and helped Daniel sit down in front of the grave.
Daniel cocked his head to one side as he looked at the lettering on the stone. “We have some security issues to iron out, it seems.”
“I guess,” Jack winced, hating to hear it for various reasons.
Daniel took a deep breath. “We’ll talk about it at home. Okay?”
Jack felt his body relax and he swallowed, hard. “Okay.”
“Right now, I only want to hear about one thing.”
“What’s that?” Jack asked as he put his arm around Daniel’s shoulders.
“What’s your favorite memory of Charlie?”
Jack looked at him, puzzled. “You already know that, Daniel.”
“I want to hear it again.”
Jack smiled. “Okay.”
Six weeks later…
Daniel watched with pent up frustration as the cast was cut from his arm.
“There you go, Daniel,” Janet told him as she ran her latexed fingers over his arm. “Now, you get one more x-ray so we can double check and you’ll be good to go.”
“Thank god, Janet. I’m so sick of this–“
Daniel was cut off by the sound of Jack coming down the hall – he was speaking loudly.
“That’s it! I’ve so had it with those snakes.”
“Colonel, my dad isn’t a snake.”
“Leopards and spots, Carter.”
“Sir, that’s so not fair.”
“–thing,” Daniel finished. He and Janet exchanged smirks.
“Sounds like they’ve had a productive morning,” Janet quipped.
Jack, Sam, and Teal’c entered the infirmary together and Daniel’s smirk grew. “Jack, what’d you do to the Tok’ra now?” Jack’s face was a picture and he couldn’t help but spread his smirk into a smile.
“Very funny, Daniel,” Jack said with assumed annoyance, his eyes sliding over Daniel to settle on his arm. When he looked up into Daniel’s eyes, his look of annoyance changed to something else. Daniel knew exactly what it meant.
It had been a very lonely, very frustrating, six weeks.
After the visit to Charlie’s grave, they’d talked through the fears each other had, and along the way, discovered other issues that bothered them; things they’d taken in stride because of their jobs–supposedly accepting them and moving on–but found that huge resentments were building. One of them was the inability to have an open relationship. It wasn’t a resentment aimed at one another, but it appeared that it was going to be just that if they didn’t talk about it. So they had. Because of it, they’d discovered just exactly what they’d meant to each other.
That should have been a given, but it wasn’t. Each had been taking their friendship, and their sexual relationship, for granted. Daniel had been surprised. He’d found that there were things he’d wanted that a life with Jack, with the SGC, would not be able to give him. Not until Jack retired, which wasn’t going to be for a while.
While Jack was used to keeping his private feelings buttoned up and hidden, he too had been growing resentful, taking Daniel’s presence–and good nature–for granted. Subconsciously, he’d begun to push Daniel’s limits, testing to see if he’d bail. But he hadn’t. Despite Daniel’s anger at him, Jack found out that short of cheating on him, Daniel wouldn’t leave him. Because of it, Jack had come to realize just how much Daniel really loved him.
After a week’s worth of discussions, which Jack hated but knew were necessary, things were finally resolved. Though the fears were still there, as they wouldn’t dissolve overnight or a week, they’d finally come to terms with everything. Sitting at Daniel’s breakfast table, they were suddenly presented with one more problem. Albeit minor in the grand scheme of things, it was a huge problem to them. They couldn’t have sex. Not even make-up sex. Not for five more weeks.
Janet had warned Daniel that any–any–stressful movements could damage his arm, his healing. Daniel hadn’t thought that non-penetrative sex used that many muscles in the body. Or rather, affected muscles in the arm.
But he’d found out the hard way (pun intended). At first, going without was easy. The first week had gone unnoticed because of the pain and because of their discussions, but after they discovering they couldn’t, their desire for the other seemed to increase exponentially. As the second week wore on, Daniel discovered just how many muscles he used in his left arm, even when it wasn’t being used for anything. Jerking off with his right hand had proved too much, for it had affected his left arm. It was aggravating. They couldn’t even do that together, in front of each other. Jack had tried to touch him instead, but as Daniel’s body had reacted, painful twitches in his arm had become too distracting – and that had pretty much put a lid on any further erections.
It was frustration personified by week four. Daniel’s arm had been healing well and he could exercise mildly, but he didn’t want to take any chances. There were a lot of cold compresses as a result (the shower was toooooo cold).
Now, it was week six. And the cast was off. Daniel had a plan. The first part involved touching himself. The second part included the first part, only in front of Jack. Though six weeks of involuntary foreplay had driven them each insane with want, Daniel had no intention of getting rid of the teasing–now that it was voluntary.
And Jack…Jack had just given him that glance, that glance that meant everything. Normally, Janet, Teal’c and Sam’s presence would have kept any bodily reaction at bay, but it seemed that his body was having a rebellion against his mind. Skirmishes were turning into battles. Daniel, therefore, adjusted his seat on the bed, making sure that the long shirt he’d worn covered the…evidence. Jack knew it, too, the brat.
“So, Doc,” Jack said, stalking around the bed like a tiger waiting for the prey to show up. All that was missing was tall grass. “When’s Daniel getting sprung?”
“Pretty soon, Colonel,” she told him. “Just another half hour or so and he can go home.”
“Daniel, where the hell are you?” Jack called out, slamming the door and turning the bolt. He wanted to kill Daniel for escaping the SGC without telling him. Hammond had rotten timing. Jack had this whole seduction planned, and it was ‘supposed’ to have started on the ride home. He hung up his coat, straining his ears. Nothing. “Daniel?”
“In the bedroom, Jack,” Daniel called softly, his voice barely audible.
With a growl, Jack made his way down the hallway, stopping to peek into the bathroom (clear) before stepping into the bedroom doorway…to find Daniel standing in the center of the room, his back to the door.
Jack groaned. “Jesus.”
Daniel slowly looked over his right shoulder, his head dipped just a little.
Sultry. That was the only thing Jack could think of. Sultry. Daniel was personifying it with that look. Fuck.
Jack cleared his throat. “What’re you up to, Daniel?”
“A little physical therapy.”
Jack growled as he caught the movement of Daniel’s right arm. He began to unbutton his shirt as he started for his lover but Daniel stopped him.
“Stay right there, Jack.”
Jack halted, but didn’t stop the removal of his clothes.
Daniel turned slowly, letting go of his dick, and let Jack get a good look. Jack swallowed, staring at the hard, ruddy cock. His shirt dropped to the floor and he licked his lips as his fingers moved quickly to his jeans.
Daniel smiled and slid across the center of the bed, facing Jack. He grabbed a pillow and placed it under his head, then…
Spread his legs and took hold of his cock once more. He didn’t say anything, biting his lip as Jack watched him slowly move his hand, the glans hidden at every upsweep, only to be revealed like a striptease as his hand moved back down. He was so damned hard now; his dick filled to bursting, hot and leaking. He had only one planned use for his cock–for now–and had no intention of wasting it on a hand job.
Jack swallowed again as the last of his clothing came off. His eyes had been glued to Daniel’s hand, but they soon travelled over his body, looking over every inch of tanned muscle. Moving onto the bed in a panther-like crawl, he leaned down and purposely breathed hot air over the head of Daniel’s cock. He smiled as Daniel inhaled sharply, his hand shocked into pausing halfway down the shaft.
“Daniel,” Jack whispered, looking up into his eyes as he passed the tip of his tongue over his lips, looking ready to taste. Daniel’s left hand grabbed at the pillow for leverage–for something to clutch. His face was flushed, his own lips dark pink with arousal. He lifted his hips and Jack…pulled away.
Daniel groaned with approval.
Smiling, Jack moved up, his hands bracing his weight at either side of Daniel’s shoulders. He looked down between them and rocked his hips, forcing the head of his cock to brush over Daniel’s. He bit his own lip and closed his eyes as the pleasure shocks coursed through him. When he opened his eyes again, he found Daniel watching his face intently, the flush to his cheeks spreading to his throat.
“You’ve been a bad, bad boy,” Jack whispered, continuing his aching tease.
Daniel sent back a challenging look as he tilted his head back slightly and clutched his pillow with both hands. “Really,” he said, thrusting up to catch more of Jack’s ‘fly-bys’.
Jack so loved this seductive little shit. Dipping his head down, he passed the stiffened tip of his tongue lightly over Daniel’s nipples, enjoying the harsh little gasps he created. With a smile of intent, he captured one between his teeth and pulled, worrying the nub, causing Daniel to arch with him.
“Jack,” Daniel replied, the fingers of his left hand digging into the pillow while his right hand stretched out and grabbed the lube. “I’m going to fuck you,” he whispered, popping the top.
Jack smiled around the nipple and worried the hard, pink nub a little harder. Daniel gasped and followed it with a few quick pants. “Think so?” Jack asked, moving to the other nub and performing the same detailed torture.
“Yes,” Daniel replied, closing his eyes. “Just where you are,” he added. Before he opened his eyes, Jack’s lips were on his, spreading them open, forcing his tongue inside for an in-depth examination of his mouth. That exquisite tongue, tasting of coffee and something like cinnamon, ran behind his teeth, searching everything, mapping out his entire mouth. The soft palate was last as the tip of his tongue rubbed back and forth before changing to a more forceful tactic – fucking his mouth. Deep, penetrative thrusts and Daniel groaned into his lover’s mouth, half-aware of squeezing a healthy amount of lube all over his fingers.
Jack was aroused more than he ever thought possible. He wasn’t allowing himself to touch Daniel except for the passes from his cock and the mission he was on with his tongue. He was ready to move on to the next part of his quickly-altered plan, but Daniel put a stop to it when Jack felt lubed fingers suddenly rubbing back and forth along his perineum, making their way to the cleft of his ass, and the now-contracting ring there.
Daniel leered seductively at him, enjoying Jack’s reaction immensely as he rubbed three fingertips over the puckered entrance. “I’m going to fuck you so hard,” he told him, reaching with the other hand to pull on a nipple, twisting it between thumb and forefinger.
Jack’s eyes squeezed shut. “Jesuschrist,” he choked, stilling for a moment as an intense flash of heat shot down his spine, over the skin of his balls and settled on the back of his thighs.
After pinching and twisting the other nub, Daniel pushed up and brought his lips to the tingling nipple. He sucked hard as one fingertip pushed its way inside the hot, tight hole of his lover’s ass.
Jack let out a moan, keeping his eyes closed, enjoying the ride. Then his eyes opened in surprise as he felt Daniel’s knees spreading his thighs as they nestled securely behind them. A short gasp escaped as the finger that penetrated him dove deeper, and the length of his cock slid along the now-healed arm. Another finger joined the first, twisting, spreading, making him ready. Daniel’s free hand was suddenly grasping the back of his neck, pulling down as Daniel lifted up, capturing his lips in a searing kiss. Their tongues vied for control, trying to fuck the other’s mouth, but in the end, Daniel won. His fingers hit pay dirt and Jack forgot a few hundred things.
Removing his fingers and squeezing more lube onto his cock, Daniel tossed the tube aside and slicked himself up. Pulling back from his kiss, he whispered against Jack’s lips. “Time to take what’s mine.”
“Yes,” Jack hissed in response as Daniel pulled his hips down. Both arms held him securely as Daniel spread Jack’s knees wider and nudged his rectum with the head of his cock. “Daniel,” he breathed, his head arched back.
“I know,” Daniel told him, never taking his eyes from Jack’s face. Thrusting his hips upward, he inched his cock slowly inside, feeling the tight heat and groaning with Jack as he filled him. He never paused, never stopped, until he was fully sheathed. Daniel took in rapid, shallow breaths as Jack’s body surrounded his cock. “Good,” he gasped, “So good.”
Jack groaned agreement as he wrapped his arms under Daniel’s shoulders. He couldn’t believe how good this position was. His knees weren’t straining as they usually would. Daniel was taking his weight, keeping his hips off the bed, bracing with his feet to keep Jack’s ass nestled against his crotch and thighs. And the angle of Daniel’s cock…was perfect. Jack couldn’t stop shaking.
“More, Daniel,” he whispered.
Daniel swiped his tongue over the center of Jack’s throat. “More?” he asked, grinding his hips in small circles. “Like that?”
“Yes, more,” Jack breathed, shuddering. He lowered his head, pressing his lips to Daniel’s ear. “Fuck me.”
An exhalation of lust left Daniel as he breathed, “Yes,” and he pulled his hips back, making them both groan as the hard fullness of his cock moved in the wet heat. He slowly thrust forward and back, screwing Jack into oblivion.
Jack combed the fingers through Daniel’s hair and gripped tightly, pulling Daniel’s head back. “Faster,” he ordered.
Daniel smiled dangerously as he stared into Jack’s dark, smoldering eyes. “Yes, sir,” he said and thrust hard instead.
“Dammit, Daniel,” Jack growled, forcing Daniel to do it again. “Faster,” he said, his need an awful ache inside.
“Grab the bed, Jack,” Daniel warned as he clamped both hands onto the top of Jack’s hips.
Looking down into Daniel’s face, Jack gripped the sheets, his knuckles showing white. “Give it to me.”
With his eyes glued to Jack’s, Daniel held him securely, pulling back until his cockhead was the only part inside his lover, then with a hard, rough thrust, he rammed inside, quickly establishing a fervent, demanding rhythm.
“Yes, Daniel,” Jack whispered, peering intently into the darkened blue eyes.
Sweat built over their skin, highlighting taut, tension-filled muscles. Licking the salt from Jack’s throat, Daniel latched onto the pulse point, sucking lightly, grazing his teeth. He wanted to so badly to leave a mark. The lust and need rose through him and it was nearly overwhelming. Before he could succumb to it, he moved on, nipping along Jack’s throat.
“I want to mark you so much,” he whispered.
“Me, too,” Jack replied, his teeth pulling and worrying over Daniel’s ear.
Daniel’s hip rhythm increased, causing him to growl with a mixture of satisfaction and frustration. “I want to pound into you,” he gasped, wrapping his arms tightly around Jack’s waist.
“Do it,” Jack panted, spreading his legs as far as the tendons would stretch. “Do it.”
Daniel lifted his body further off the bed and slammed rapidly, smiling at the sound of skin slapping on skin. “Yes,” he said as he felt his balls slap hard, nearly stinging, as they fell repeatedly against Jack’s ass. He felt that familiar surge of heat and knew he couldn’t last much longer. Harder and harder, he slammed his body into Jack’s, waiting for the moment when Jack would…
“Close,” Jack whispered.
Daniel took the cue and wrapped the fingers of his right hand around Jack’s cock. He groaned at the heavy weight of it, stroking the hot, silky skin as he matched his rapid thrusts.
Jack choked out a cry as the acute pleasure travelled up the shaft of his cock. “Daniel,” he whispered repeatedly, and came hard, his body trembling with tension.
Normally, Jack’s muscles tightening around his cock brought Daniel off, but this time, it was the feel of the warm, thick semen shooting over his fingers. “Oh God,” Daniel cried, grabbing Jack’s neck and kissing him hard as his dick spasmed inside him.
Their bodies, slick with sweat, slid against the other, rubbing uncontrollably as the tremors took over. Moaning against each other’s necks, they kissed and tasted sweat, rapture, fulfillment.
“Jesus,” Jack breathed as he collapsed on top of Daniel.
Daniel moaned agreement as he held his lover tightly until their bodies cooled and the semen began to dry. Rolling them over, Daniel consumed Jack’s mouth, diving his tongue deeply. When he pulled back, he whispered, “I love you.”
Jack whispered it back and snuggled against Daniel’s body, letting himself doze lightly for a while. Somewhere in that time, he heard Daniel whisper, “Better.”
“Better,” Jack whispered back.