Mostly Skipping Over Moebius.
… if I’m alive and well, will you be there holding my hand…
Jack cracked open his eyes, squinting at the sliver of sunlight through the blinds. He really needed to get curtains for the cabin, but he didn’t come up here that often. Damn things would get musty and Jack really hated that smell. Like something dead.
He heard a raspy groan behind him and turned his head, finally realizing why he’d awoken. Daniel was sitting up, arms around his knees, forehead resting there. Shit.
“Nightmare?” he asked, sitting up and reaching over to rub Daniel’s back.
“Yeah.” Daniel turned his head, keeping it on his knees. He squinted against the soft light through the blinds and Jack knew then that Daniel didn’t just have a nightmare, he had a headache.
“C’mere,” he said unnecessarily as he moved over, settling behind Daniel. Jack rubbed his hands together briskly and placed them on tense, spasming muscles. “Damn. Bad one?” Daniel only nodded as Jack began to massage his head and neck.
Not thirty seconds in, Daniel melted under his touch, needing the de-stress of his muscles along with the comfort offered. “Thanks.”
“Not a problem,” Jack said as he gently worked the knots loose. “This’d be easier if I had a massage table.”
Daniel found a grin. “But then I’d never leave and neither of us would ever get any work done.”
“Ah, but then Magic Fingers here would cure all ails, so I would be getting my work done.” Daniel laughed softly and Jack made a tsking noise. “Stop that. You’ll tighten up them muscles.”
Daniel laughed again. “Them muscles.”
“Ah.” Daniel could just see Jack smiling at him. But he obeyed. Ten minutes later, the room filled only with breathing, and Daniel felt the hammer in his temples ease away. Finally, Jack pulled him back against him as he leaned into the pillows and headboard. “Thanks,” he repeated.
“Wanna talk about it?”
“I didn’t wake you, did I?” Daniel avoided.
“No,” Jack nudged, “but somehow I knew something was wrong.”
“You always seem to.”
“Call it instinctive learning. Did you yell or cuss or something?”
“I don’t think so, but I don’t remember when I talk in my sleep, even in the nightmares.”
They both paused, letting the room grow quiet. “I don’t hear Sam or Teal’c,” Jack said.
“Well, they haven’t knocked so I guess they didn’t hear me if I did yell in my sleep. You’d think you would have first, anyway.”
“Maybe, but sometimes, I sleep like the dead. Maybe it’s age.”
“Maybe it’s being relaxed,” Daniel offered. Jack squeezed him gratefully. “Besides, Teal’c wouldn’t say anything till morning because of the privacy issue and since he doesn’t kel-no-reem anymore, he might actually be asleep. By the way, you need to put more rugs down in the front room. Sam was complaining about her back.”
“She’s slept on hard ground, how could she complain?”
“Hardwood flooring isn’t hard-packed earth, Jack.”
“Good point. Got some stuff packed in the shed, so I’ll haul it out.”
“She’ll appreciate that.”
“So… wanna talk about it?”
Jack nudged him again. “The reason we’re awake.”
“Maybe I felt like sex in the middle of the night,” Daniel hedged. Again.
Daniel sat forward, gingerly moving so he didn’t squash Jack’s balls, or legs for that matter. He moved to the right to lie down and Jack scooted down to join him. Daniel offered him a smile, but it wasn’t reaching his eyes. “Was dreaming about Oma.”
“And Sam’s replicator double.”
Jack grimaced and stretched an arm around him. “Damn, you don’t go halfway, do you?”
Daniel sighed, burrowing his face in the warmth of Jack’s neck, inhaling the special odor of him. “Right now, sex doesn’t sound like a bad idea.”
“Daniel,” Jack chided softly. “You’ve never talked about what happened.”
“It might help.”
“You want to know.”
Jack hugged him tightly. “No shit, Daniel. What happens to you bothers me. I was trying very hard that week you were gone.”
“I’m sorry,” Daniel mumbled.
“Don’t. Not your fault. The only one I got angry at was Carter. She wanted me to accept that you were gone.”
“She just worries about you.”
Jack made a growling noise. “I know. And… we should have told her about Kerry.”
Daniel pulled back, staring at him. “What do you mean?”
“She got all kinds of pissy when she saw Kerry in my office. Instead of the usual business first, she was protecting you by asking, ‘who was that’?”
Daniel grinned. “She can be tenacious.”
“Tell me about it,” Jack said testily. “She’s extremely stubborn, too stubborn. And too fucking picky. She broke up with Pete, you know.”
“I know, she told me.”
“She tell you why?”
Daniel hesitated, then said, “Because of the feelings she still carries for Martouf. For… you.”
Jack groaned and fell onto his back, hand on his forehead and over his eyes. “For cryin’ out loud. Jacob was telling her to be happy and she over-analyzed it.”
Daniel pushed up on his elbow and rubbed at the back of his neck as he thought about Sam and Pete. “It’s really better, in the long run.”
“Pete’s a nice guy but he’s not the guy for her. He’s too much a cop, she’s too much a Lieutenant Colonel. They’re both dominants.” Daniel then offered up a smirk. “It’s why it’d never work with you, either. You can’t stop calling her Carter and she can’t stop calling you sir.”
Jack peeked through his fingers and grinned sarcastically at Daniel. “There’s that.” He rolled back over, head propped in his hand. “If it weren’t for Teal’c’s dominant side, he’d be a good match for her.”
“Ishta would disagree.”
“Ishta isn’t available. Carter is.”
“Hmmmm. Well, let them work it out. Just… be aware of Sam’s feelings for you. They’re still there. And after Jacob’s death, she might be a little…”
“A little… what?”
“Clingy?” Daniel said, then cringed because it wasn’t the right word.
“Carter’s not clingy.”
“No, but she’s lost her father. And you… well, you behave like one, so… just sayin’.”
Jack made another face. They were both quiet, thinking of Sam, of Jacob. Daniel thought of Janet and how much he missed her. And he thought of the nightmare and the memories that seemed more like dreams than something real. “She killed me,” he blurted out.
“What?” Jack said, frowning.
“Sorry,” Daniel said. “I mean, Replicator Sam.” He laughed then, quietly, but with a lot of dark humor attached to it. “You’d have wigged, seeing what she used.”
Jack glowered at him and thumped his chest with two fingers. “Daniel, I’d have wigged because it was you.”
Daniel caught his fingers, freezing. Jack had hit the spot where the Replicator had stabbed him. “Right here.”
Daniel squeezed his eyes shut. “No, don’t. It’s okay.” He opened them and added, “Really. It’s okay. Just coincidence, Jack.”
Jack put his arm around him again and hugged him tightly. He couldn’t help the shudder of fear, or the fact that Daniel had died. Again. He owed Oma a huge favor. Huge. After some long, silent seconds, he said, “You stopped them, you know. You do know that, don’t you?”
Daniel shrugged. “Partly. I have memories of it, but they’re fractured and I can’t make heads or tails out of some of the images I get. But there are other things that are clear as a bell.” He cringed. “Like dying.”
“You’re gonna need a shrink,” Jack said with disgust.
“I have you,” Daniel shot back, grinning when Jack rolled his eyes.
“They do seem to get a kick out of sending you back naked.” Daniel started to snicker. “It wasn’t funny. I rush in there to greet you and you’re naked as a jay bird.”
Daniel snickered some more, then looked indignant. “Stop complaining. You weren’t the one who was naked. In front of a leering, appreciative Bra’tac.”
Jack grinned mischievously. “The man’s either gotta thing for you or he has an excellent sense of humor.”
“I’m thinking both.”
Not getting a rise out of him, Jack moved on. “I’m happy they left your memory intact.”
“Me, too. I don’t think you could handle me calling you Jim again.” At the skewering look Jack gave him, Daniel started to snigger again.
Jack cut off the laughter with a long, deep kiss. Pulling back with a sigh, he reach up and brushed at Daniel’s short hair. “I owe Oma, big time.”
“She didn’t do it. The Others did.”
Jack’s eyes went wide. “Why didn’t she do it?”
“She was busy fighting Anubis. That’s why he’s gone, Jack. It was nothing I did.”
Jack narrowed his eyes at Daniel, wondering just what the hell gave him this stupid idea that nothing he ever did helped. “That’s bullshit. You were there. You mattered. You caused what happened.”
“You don’t know that,” Daniel frowned.
“Yes, I do, and here’s how. They left Anubis alone all that time. Even with all his nasty intervention tricks. But then you show up and suddenly they take him down?”
“Not they. She. Oma did it.” He paused, then told Jack about the strange diner atmosphere, about waffles, about Oma and Anubis and the punishment she bore. “I don’t remember anything that happened after Oma and Anubis disappeared.”
“Is he dead?” Jack asked, hoping so.
“I don’t know. Really. I don’t have a clue. All I know is that she said she couldn’t kill him, but she could stop him. I don’t know what that means, but what it means for us is that he’s gone.” Daniel felt some intense sadness then. “And so’s she.”
There was really nothing more to say then, and without trying to, Daniel fell back to sleep.
Jack, however, remained awake. He had to tell Daniel about the decision he’d made and he knew it was going to upset him. Perhaps upset them all. For the next hour, he tried to figure out a way to tell Daniel first, but Daniel’s reaction would then tip off Sam and Teal’c, so maybe it was better to tell them all together?
No, Daniel would see it as lack of trust and intimacy. To nail him with such news as if he were just his commanding officer. Jack began to snooze as he gave up trying to iron out the problem. No matter what, they were going to be mad.
After breakfast, Jack walked up behind Daniel as he stood next to Sam at the kitchen sink. Touching his shoulder, he said, “Let’s go for a walk.”
He stepped out of the cabin and Daniel stared after him, then looked over his shoulder at Sam, at Teal’c beside her. They shrugged innocence. With a worried look, Daniel followed. He said nothing as he walked with Jack over the path to the south of the cabin, where it led to the trail into the woods.
Jack walked with his hands stuffed in his front pockets and it told Daniel that he was holding something back. When Jack felt relaxed, he stuck his hands in his back pockets.
After going a ways into the forest, Jack stopped at an overlook, a cliff face that looked out over a short valley of trees. He took a deep breath, felt the heat rising to his neck and face. He really didn’t want to have this conversation.
Daniel regarded him carefully, instinct sending alarm bells. “What’s wrong?”
“General Hammond’s offered me the job as head of Homeworld Security.”
A lead weight settled into Daniel’s legs never mind his stomach. He didn’t need to ask if Jack had taken it. He knew by this private conversation and Jack’s demeanor that he already had. And to be fair, it was a decision only Jack could make. It was his life.
And it meant he was leaving.
And leaving him.
Daniel didn’t want it to happen, Jack would get mad at him, but he felt his emotions start to shut down. The walls began to rebuild. “Congratulations,” he said, offering a smile that was sincerely felt. He leaned in, gave Jack a brief hug, then deliberately took a step back. Out of intimacy.
“Daniel, don’t–” Jack said, reaching for him.
“When do you report?” Daniel said, taking another step.
Jack couldn’t help but flinch. This was going better, and worse, than expected. “Ten days. End of next week.”
Daniel nodded, mind rapidly considering his own options. Time to move on. Yes, and study Atlantis like he’d been wanting to do for a year now. Perfect. “So who do I get permission from in order to get on the Daedalus? Sam says it’ll be ready to go in a few months.”
As irrational anger began to rise, Jack blinked at Daniel in confusion. “Excuse me?”
“Our threats are gone. There’re people around to do my job now and I could be of more help in Atlantis than here.”
“Are you out of your mind? With the wraith out there? I can’t send you–“
“Jack,” Daniel said softly. “From whom do I get permission?”
“You’re running away,” Jack said flatly.
Daniel sighed wearily. “And you’re not?”
“I’m not,” Jack protested. “The doc said my knees are history. I need to be where I can do the most good.”
“But you were,” Daniel protested back.
“As long as our enemies, like Baal, know I’m in charge, they might see us as a weak target because I was once tortured by him.”
“Don’t do that, you’re not weak–“
“And I’ll recommend someone nastier. It’ll make their day.”
“Jack, that’s not a good reason.”
Jack’s eyes darkened with anger. “Wanna know what is? I’m sick of having Baal in my face. I want that motherfucker dead. I’m sick of watching you go through that wormhole, all of you, knowing I might be forced to make the decision to save your lives or end them.” Jack’s voice had grown quieter, more intense, as he talked, until he spoke in only a whisper.
“I thought I could handle it, Daniel,” Jack said, taking his own step back. “But it kills me inside to watch not just you but all of you go out there, knowing some of you may not return. I… can’t do it. I think it’s why General Hammond offered me the post. He knows I can do some good at Homeworld.”
Daniel felt the emotional heat move to his eyes and he turned away, rubbing them.
“Daniel–” Jack said, hands on his shoulders as he turned Daniel to face him.
Daniel took a deep breath and tried on a limp smile. “I’m sorry I snapped. I… figure if I can’t work with you, I should go where I’m needed.”
“You’re needed here,” Jack said defiantly.
Daniel shot him an argumentative smile. “Jack, don’t make me repeat myself.”
“Daniel, goddamn it, it’s just D.C.”
“And?” Daniel asked, angry again. He swallowed, pushing it down. “I’m glad for you. I really am. And I understand your reasons for needing to leave and… to end this.” He swallowed again as loss threatened to engulf him. Resolutely, he shoved it down and built those walls higher.
“I’m not ending it, Daniel,” Jack said with a shake of his lover’s shoulders. “It’s just going to be difficult for a while. If you go to Atlantis, it’ll be doubly hard. For both of us.”
To push away the panic that started to claim him, Daniel wrapped his arms around Jack’s neck and kissed him, deeply, passionately. Jack fiercely kissed him in return, growling into his mouth, making Daniel moan back. He felt Jack’s fingers at his jeans, opening them, freeing his cock. “Yes,” Daniel moaned, kissing him harder as he too reached down, preparing to drop to his knees.
Jack had other plans and stepped behind him, shoving their jeans off their hips before taking hold of Daniel’s dick and jerking him off; slow, then quicker, harder, with apologetic desperation.
Daniel reached behind to grab Jack’s neck, the other hand imprinting a palm onto his hip.
“You feel so good,” Jack whispered in his ear before he pushed between Daniel’s cheeks and entered him dry.
Daniel moaned, needing to spread open, but he liked this. Liked it dirty and spontaneous. Raw. “Fuck me,” he whispered back.
It didn’t take long for either of them and Jack pulled out when he felt his balls draw up. Turning Daniel around to watch him, he stroked himself twice and spilled over the dirt, grinning as Daniel hissed, “God, that’s hot.”
When Daniel took the head of his cock in his fist and stroked quickly, Jack whispered dirty encouragement. He further excited Daniel by rubbing his still-hard cock over the shaft, but in the process sent pleasure through his body. Small spurts of come spilled from him, smearing Daniel’s hot skin.
“Shit,” Daniel cursed, losing it at the sight of Jack coming again. He shot thickly over the translucent white streak Jack had left on the ground… and started to laugh. “Seeding the earth.”
Jack began to snigger. “Best kind.”
The seconds melted into minutes as they held onto each other in the afterglow, the forest quiet and comforting, helping them prepare to take whatever small risks they would until it was time to go their separate ways for a little while.
“Let’s go tell Sam and Teal’c,” Jack said, clearing his throat as he buttoned up Daniel, then himself.
“They’ll take it a little better than I did.” That sarcastic grin appeared on Jack’s face and Daniel’s heart ached. He’d miss that face so badly.
“Except I’m not having sex with them,” Jack told him, swiping at Daniel’s chin with two fingers. “I can only do so much.”
“I’d kick your ass anyway,” Daniel murmured blandly, hiding the panic that was growing.
“You’d try,” Jack said back, then pulled Daniel into his arms and kissed him deeply. “I’m sorry,” he said, breaking for air.
“Don’t. Let’s just make the most of it, like we always have, okay?”
Jack kissed him again, certain he’d do just that.