"Here!" Daniel called breathlessly as he ran back to
Jack. "I've got something to bandage it with."
"My shirt," Daniel said, tearing at the fabric of
his SGC issue t-shirt. "What's left of it anyway."
"It won't help," Jack said glumly. He held out his
hand to show Daniel.
"We just need to get more pressure on it."
"That's not going to be enough."
"It'll stop. Eventually," Daniel said stubbornly.
"You know what we have to do," Jack said with dull
"Daniel, under other circumstances, I'd agree. Try the
bandage, try more pressure. But we don't have a friendly neighborhood infirmary
with a fresh supply of blood," Jack said sharply. "Under these
circumstances, I can't afford to keep bleeding like a stuck pig."
"It's only been fifteen minutes," Daniel argued.
"Yeah, and how much do you think I've lost already?"
Jack said. Granted, it wasn't a huge amount of blood, Jack wasn't in any danger
of actually bleeding to death, but in their current circumstances he couldn't
afford to compromise his health in any way. "Daniel...."
"All right," Daniel said, closing his eyes and
taking a sharp breath. Jack allowed Daniel to help him up and back to the
cabin, holding a wad of Daniel's shirt against his hand. Jack slumped to the
ground next to the fire and watched Daniel retrieve the knife. Daniel stood
staring at the blade unhappily.
"Daniel," Jack prompted. "Right," Daniel
said tightly. He held the blade in the fire, continuing to stare at it.
"I'd do it myself but I'm kind of a wuss when it comes to
pain," Jack said. He tried to smile. "Betcha didn't know that, did
"Never would've guessed," Daniel said quietly.
"Just...do it quick, okay?"
"As quick as I can," Daniel promised with a small,
"Good. 'Cause I don't want to end up screaming like a
girly man here," Jack said, swallowing against sudden nausea.
"Too bad we don't have a bullet for you to bite on,"
"If I had a bullet I'd think of better ways to use
it," Jack retorted.
"Not without a gun."
"I'd figure out how to build a...Argh!"
Jack tried to suppress his cry as Daniel took advantage of his
momentary distraction to bring the heated blade to bear on the wound. Jack bit
his lip and stamped his foot against the dusty ground. He tried to hold his arm
still while Daniel applied the flat of the blade, trying to stop the bleeding
without causing any additional injury.
"There. I think that's it."
"Ah, fuck me, that hurts," Jack growled. He
cradled the hand to his chest, but refused to look at it. Feeling was bad
enoughseeing would have to wait a while before he'd be up to it.
Jack looked over, irate, ready to blast Daniel for asking such
a blatantly stupid question, but the words died when he saw Daniel's face.
Daniel was composed, his hand steady as he calmly cleaned the knife. But he was
white as a ghost under his tan.
"I'm going to go get some fresh water," Daniel said,
ignoring Jack. "I'll only be a few minutes."
Jack lay back down on the ground, silently venting his fury on
the nameless fates who'd brought him here, and at his own carelessness. His
hand throbbed where it rested against his chest, but he suspected that this was
one time when the old saw 'this'll hurt me more than it'll hurt you' might
apply. Jack had trusted implicitly that Daniel would do what had to be done,
would do whatever Jack needed him to do. But he hadn't fully realized just how
difficult it would be for Daniel to do it.
"Hey, thanks," Jack managed to grit out when Daniel
returned a few minutes later. Daniel grimaced as he knelt down, carefully
holding a cup with hands that now shook faintly in a delayed reaction.
"You may want to hold off on thanking me until you've
seen the results."
"No, Daniel, I'm serious," Jack said, gripping
Daniel's knee with his uninjured hand. Daniel raised his eyes to meet Jack's.
"I really didn't want to have to do that myself. So...thanks."
"Sure," Daniel said with a tight nod. "Just
don't ever ask me to do it again."
"Not if I can help it," Jack agreed fervently.
"Uh...what are you doing?"
"Even with the.... It's still bleeding a little bit,"
Daniel explained, tearing the rest of his shirt into strips. "It needs to
be bandaged. We have to keep it clean."
"Jesus," Jack muttered, all sorts of wonderful images
springing to mind. The topper was Daniel having to amputate Jack's hand because
he'd developed gangrene.
"Not going to happen," Daniel said grimly. Jack
looked up, momentarily surprised. Then he realized that Daniel had probably
seen enough on digs and in his time at the S.G.C. to know what could happen to
open wounds. "Heredrink some of this."
"What?" Jack said, accepting the cup with his
uninjured hand. He sniffed warily at the liquid. "Gooberry juice?"
"I think it has some analgesic properties. Maybe even acts
as a mild sedative."
"It seems to help when I get headaches," Daniel said
with a shrug. Jack glared at him. Daniel hadn't said anything about headaches.
"I probably need a new prescription," Daniel
explained, pointing at his glasses.
"Why didn't you say something?"
"What would be the point?"
Daniel pulled the leather tie from his hair and dropped it on
the ground next to his bed. He scrubbed his fingers across his scalp, roughly
combing out the snarls.
"Why don't you let me cut it?" Jack asked, and not
for the first time.
"Why does it bother you so much?" Daniel countered.
"It doesn't. It's just...doesn't it get in your way?"
"Not if I keep it tied back," Daniel said logically.
Of course, it had been a pain in the ass until it grew long enough to tie back,
but he preferred the temporary annoyance to having to cut his hair all the
"Doesn't it feel weird?" Jack asked, crossing the
couple of feet between them and tugging the sun streaked strands of hair.
"At first," Daniel admitted. "I'm used to it
Daniel turned his head toward Jack as Jack continued to finger
his hair. Daniel waited, curious, watching Jack's face in the low glow coming
through the door from the campfire. Jack's hand slid down from his hair until
it lay flat against Daniel's bare chest.
"I'm not sure," Jack said, brushing his hand along
Daniel's smooth skin. Daniel trapped Jack's hand beneath his, stilling the
movement but keeping it firmly against his body.
"This shouldn't be just...." Daniel bit off the rest
of what he was going to say. After all, he'd been hoping for this. He was in
love with Jack and Jack was looking for sex. So was Daniel going to say no? Was
he going to let any high moral or ethical concepts get in the way of hot,
sweaty sex? Sex with Jack? Like hell he was.
Daniel sighed. He'd been good. He'd waited nearly eight months.
Hell, he'd actually waited years. Daniel had forced his feet along the
high road and consistently refrained from saying or doing anything that might
soothe his own desires. He'd waited for Jack to reach this point under his own
"Daniel." Jack was looking at him. Quiet, somber
and, Daniel suddenly realized, understanding.
"Why did you think I wouldn't jerk off in front of
you?" Jack asked.
"You're shy?" Daniel suggested, knowing even as he
said it that that couldn't possibly be right.
"I've lived in barracks. I've lived in tents. I've lived
in fucking foxholes, Daniel."
"What's your point?"
"I'm not shy. It's just that, in your case...."
"You were afraid of my reaction."
"No, actually, I was afraid of mine."
"Yours?" Daniel said. Suddenly he jabbed Jack hard
in the chest and pulled away. "Are you telling me that you wanted...? And
you made me wait eight months?"
"I waited three months on Edora," Jack said calmly.
"Three months before I accepted that I wasn't going home. And thenta
dathere you were."
"So? Three months, six months, a year: why wait at
"Daniel, listen to me. If there was any realistic chance
of rescue we wouldn't be having this conversation at all."
"Because we couldn't," Jack said firmly.
"Don't ask, don't tell?"
"That's part of it. There's also the fact that you're my
teammate. There are rules against fraternization, and I happen to think they're
"Couldn't you have at least talked to me? Told me that
you were interested?" Daniel asked.
"What would be the point?"
"So I'd know. God, Jack, I've been in love with
you for years. It would've been nice to at least know that...."
"That wouldn't have been fair to you," Jack said.
"What? Oh...." Understanding hit like a ton of
bricks. Daniel was in love with Jack, had just admitted to that. But Jack
wasn't. Jack thought Daniel was attractive and was open minded enough to
consider having sex with him, but he didn't love Daniel. Not that way.
"Hey, it's not like you were sitting home alone on
Saturday nights, pining away over me," Jack said dryly.
"No, I wasn't," Daniel said belligerently, accepting
the out Jack offered him. And he'd slit his own throat before admitting that
most of his admittedly few partners had been older, dark eyed.... "And I
wouldn't have even if I'd known that you might be willing. Not as long as we
couldn't be together."
"You knowyou can keep up the pissy act or we can
get down to business." Jack grinned when Daniel just stared angrily at
him. "Either way is fine with me. I'm a sucker for a good floor
Daniel growled and gave Jack a push. Jack went down to the
pallet easily, desire slowly replacing the humor in his eyes.
"I'll give you a floor show, you smug bastard,"
Daniel said. He stood over Jack, straddling the bed. Slowly he undid his fly
and brought his cock out through the V of his pants. Jack's smile faded
completely as his eyes grew hungry.
"You get off on watching?" Daniel asked curiously as
he slid his pants down past his hips.
"I think I could," Jack said, sounding mildly
surprised. Grinning, Daniel shucked the pants the rest of the way off.
"Sit down," Jack ordered, grabbing Daniel and guiding
him to sit across Jack's groin.
"Um, Jack? You have to take your pants off for
that," Daniel said with amusement. He reached for Jack's fly.
"No," Jack said sharply, catching Daniel's hand.
"We can take care of each other, but we don't need to go that far."
"Okay." Daniel wanted it all. He'd fuck Jack six ways
to Sunday and take even more in return, but he wouldn't push Jack to go farther
than he was comfortable. They were friends. Daniel loved him and Jack...cared.
Daniel could live with that.
"Ahbastard!" Jack gasped as Daniel ground his
ass down against Jack's cloth covered crotch. Daniel just grinned and stroked
his own cock as he continued rubbing against Jack.
"You knowit's gonna get messy if you come in your
pants," Daniel pointed out.
"Oh, fuck, yeah," Jack conceded, although he didn't
really seem to care. Daniel gave him a questioning look. Jack shrugged, giving
Daniel permission to take the lead.
Daniel lifted up and quickly undid Jack's pants, pushing them
down to his knees. Then Daniel sat back down across Jack's thighs, bringing
their cocks together, Daniel's balls heavy against the base of Jack's cock.
Jack groaned in appreciation and reached for Daniel. Their hands entwined,
pulling and twisting until Daniel let out a groan that felt like it had been
dragged up from the very tip of his tailbone, right along with his orgasm.
When Daniel could force his eyes open again he looked down at
Jack. He appeared to be having the same trouble mastering control of his
"Um...that couldn't possibly be all mine," Daniel
said, running a finger through the puddles on Jack's chest.
"No, not all," Jack agreed.
"Okay, good." Daniel figured a Jack who had gotten
off was a happy Jack. And a happy Jack was one who would probably be up for
more of the same. Although...not right away. Daniel sagged forward, laying his
head on Jack's chest. "I'm just going to pass out for a while."
"Daniel, no," Jack grumbled.
"Oh, God, you're not a talker are you?" Daniel
groaned. Jack's answering laugh made Daniel's head bounce on his chest.
"Talking bad. Passing out good," Jack said, pushing
at Daniel. "But you're going to have to move."
"Whatcha doing?" Jack asked. He'd found Daniel
sitting behind the cabin after lunch, hunched over his field notebook.
"Duh," Jack said sarcastically. "About
"Everything that's happened to us since we gated to
"Don't forget the stuff about the
"They weren't people eaters," Daniel said,
exasperated. "They weren't even really purple. More of a lilac. Maybe
"I've got it. Or I'm getting it anyway. It's all here:
how they captured us while we were separated from Sam and Teal'c on P9S. How
they imprisoned us on their ship and questioned us for days. And how, when they
decided we didn't have any useful information, they tossed us overboard."
Daniel paused and stole a glance at Jack. "I'm also saying that the Djouma
weren't actively hostile...more just indifferent to the prospect of our
"Why are you protecting them?" Jack asked.
"Come to think of itwhy are you even writing it down? It's not like
there's anyone here to read it. And I hate to point out what should be totally
obvious which is that you and I are not about to go forth, be fruitful and
"There's always a chance that someone will find the
journal, even if they're not in time to find us," Daniel said stubbornly.
He wasn't touching 'fruitful' with a ten foot pole.
Jack dropped his end of the log and stood, hands on hips, as
he surveyed the result of a couple of days' hard work. Daniel walked over from
the other end of the pile of logs to stand next to Jack.
"Not bad, eh?"
"Should be enough to make the cabin tall enough so that
we don't have to walk all stooped over," Daniel agreed. He wiped away the
sweat trickling along his temple, leaving behind a streak of dirt.
"A job well done by a couple of manly men," Jack
said with satisfaction.
"Stinky, sweaty, manly men," Daniel said wryly.
"Well, you know what stinky sweaty manly men do when they
finish a job?"
Jack grabbed him by the shoulders and planted a big, sloppy
kiss on his mouth. Daniel responded by licking at the sweat beading on Jack's
upper lip. Jack urged him to the ground, tugging at Daniel's pants as they went
"So...manly men do it in the woods?" Daniel teased
breathlessly as he tried to shove Jack's pants out of the way.
"It takes a true manly man to do it in the woods,"
Jack said. A snort of laughter escaped him.
"What?" Daniel asked as he lay back, trying to draw
Jack down with him. The evil grin on Jack's face gave him pause. Daniel's eyes
opened wide. "Oh, no. No, you don't."
"What?" Jack asked, trying for innocent and missing
by several decades.
"Sing one bar of the 'Lumberjack Song' and you'll be
handling your wood all alone."
Jack just snorted again, still resisting Daniel's attempts to
pull him up. He kissed his way down Daniel's sweaty torso, flicking his tongue,
snake-like, over his nipples and down his ribs.
"Uh...Jack?" Daniel asked uncertainly as Jack
continued moving down his body. Jack had been more than happy to participate in
mutual hand jobs and other mild variations on the simple friction theme, but
there were some things he didn't do. He'd never blown Daniel.
Jack looked up at him curiously.
"Are you...? Oh, God." Daniel curled up, digging his
hands into Jack's shoulders in order to prevent himself from grabbing Jack's
head and thrusting uncontrollably down his throat.
Jack experimented a little, drawing him deeper, then pulling
away. He rubbed his tongue roughly across the head and Daniel let out a choked
cry. Jack smiled to himself, letting long hidden memories guide his actions.
Daniel kneaded the muscles of Jack's shoulders, groaning and gasping until he
let out a shout and flooded Jack's mouth.
Jack crawled up Daniel's body, grinning smugly as he slumped
back on the ground, muttering incoherently. Jack kissed him deeply, making him
groan again at the taste of himself.
"I love the fact that you're so completely gone after
sex," Jack observed.
"Prick," Daniel mumbled with a smile. "Just give
me a sec and I'll get you."
"Er...no need," Jack admitted sheepishly. He held his
right hand, dripping with semen, in front of Daniel. "Kind of took care of
Daniel grasped Jack's hand and drew it to his mouth, licking
the fluid from first one finger, then the next. He felt Jack shiver against
him, and watched his eyes begin to darken again.
"Jesus, how do you do that?"
"Do what?" Daniel asked.
"Be...just be so fucking sexy."
"Me?" Daniel asked, stunned by the idea. He'd never
seen himself as sexy. Passionateyes. Absolutely. Daniel gave his all to
everything, sex was no exception. But...sexy? Sexy implied a certain attitude
that Daniel didn't see in himself.
"Yes, you," Jack said, amused.
"No," Daniel said. "Youyou're sexy. You're
"Macho?" Jack prompted.
"Confident. Almost arrogant," Daniel said
"There's a little swagger in your walk," Daniel said.
"You're hot and you know it."
"You're nuts," Jack said affectionately. Daniel drew
Jack's other hand up, studying it.
"Does it hurt?"
"It's fine," Jack said, trying to pull his left hand
away. Daniel held firmly, gently testing the two fingers that now stayed
permanently clawed in toward the scar tissue that twisted across Jack's palm.
"Sorry," Daniel said, finally releasing the hand.
"For what?" Jack asked, puzzled.
"I screwed up," Daniel said, looking directly into
Jack's eyes. "There must be tendon damage."
"And what were you supposed to do about it?" Jack
"Maybe if I hadn't tried to cauterize it...."
"I asked you to," Jack reminded him.
"See what happens when I start listening to you?"
"It was the right choice," Jack said, giving Daniel
an exasperated look. "It healed, no infection, and it doesn't hurt. I'd
say that's a good outcome. And heyit's not like it's the first scar I've
Daniel jogged along the path, looking for Jack. Some of the
root vegetables he'd transplanted into a garden plot near the cabin had finally
taken and were starting to grow. The tubers required little care, and the
garden would save him the time and occasional frustration of wandering around
hunting for them in the wild. Not exactly front page news back on Earth, but
around here it was one small bit of civilization they hadn't had before.
A few high clouds swept across the sun. The momentary dimming
of the light acted like a hand waved in front of his face. Daniel reminded
himself that there was a reason he'd been heading in this direction, and
quickly covered the last few yards to Jack's homemade kiln. He walked around
the mound of earth that covered the curing pots and stopped short.
"What?" Jack asked, trying, unsuccessfully, to make
himself small and unnoticeable.
"Finally decided to go native?" Daniel said, smile
growing at the sight of Jack sitting on the ground...in a loincloth.
"The only natives I've seen around here are covered in
fur or scales."
"You know what I mean," Daniel said. Jack refused to
look at him, remaining hunched over the pictures he was drawing on the ground.
"It's hot work," Jack said, waving his left hand at
"You know that gives you no protection from animals and
"Fuck off, Jackson," Jack said mildly.
"What are you working on?" Daniel asked. He crouched
down beside Jack and studied the rough sketches Jack was making in the hard
packed dirt. Jack added a couple more lines with a small stick.
"Glider, actually," Jack said, sitting back so that
Daniel could see the drawing more clearly.
"Could you really make one?" Daniel asked, fascinated
by the idea.
"Doubt it," Jack said. He started to scratch out the
drawings but Daniel grabbed his hand.
"Why not? You're an engineer. You know aerodynamics. You
sure as hell know airplanes."
"On Earth it would be doable, but I'm used to working
with known materials," Jack explained. "I know the parameters of
metal and nylon, not wood and animal skins. Besides, what would be the point to
"Not around here. We'd have to take it up into the
mountains to find a good launch point, catch a thermal." Jack shook his
head. "No, it's not good for anything. I'm just goofing around."
"Nothing wrong with goofing around."
"There is when I've got more important things to do."
Jack stood up and scuffed out the pictures with his foot. "The pots should
"Okay," Daniel said with a shrug. He straightened
up, ready to return to the garden. "Oh, that reminds meI just
checked and the carrot things are finally growing."
"Yeah? Cool," Jack said with a pleased smile.
"I thought so," Daniel said, smiling back.
"Anyway, I'll let you get back to your...."
"Hey, give me a hand here," Jack said before Daniel
could leave. "You are the digger on this team."
"That didn't work when you tried to make me dig the
latrine either," Daniel said, but he accepted one of the wooden scoops and
bent to help Jack uncover the fired pots.
"Daniel?" Jack could remember Daniel giggling on only
a few occasions, and those were always when he was.... "You're
"S-so are you," Daniel said, sniggering.
"How?" Jack asked indignantly.
"I think maybe the gooberry juice has gone over,"
Daniel said, waving at the nearly empty bowl.
"Son of a bitch," Jack said with an expression of
such stunned disbelief that Daniel fell over, laughing helplessly.
Jack tried to ignore the way that Daniel's loincloth moved
and...molded to accommodate the occupying flesh. He started to think that maybe
their decision to go naked or semi-naked around home was a bad idea. It had
seemed reasonable at the time. They'd both seen everythingup close and
personal by that point. But Jack found that he was easily distracted.
"Penny for your thoughts?" Daniel said, still
chuckling. "Um...except I'll have to owe you the penny 'cause I'm fresh
"I was just thinking that I'd like to get rid of that
loincloth," Jack said bluntly.
"Allow me," Daniel said, pulling the garment off and
tossing it in the general direction of the cabin door. He wiggled his ass and
said, "You're right. That's much better."
Jack pounced. He clamped Daniel's head between his hands and
tried to suck the tongue out of his mouth while humping vigorously against his
groin. When he pulled back for a breath, Daniel growled and yanked him back
down, wrapping his legs around Jack's.
"Get this fucking thing off," Daniel demanded,
tearing at Jack's own loincloth. Jack fumbled to help, wondering why he'd been
concerned about getting distracted. Wasn't that the whole point of becoming
'fuck buddies?' Alleviating the distraction? Except that they didn't fuck.
Daniel would, though. Daniel wanted to. Suddenly that seemed like an excellent
idea to Jack.
Daniel groaned as Jack's loincloth finally gave way. Daniel
grabbed Jack's ass and ground their cocks together almost painfully. The ache
deep in his belly was demanding satisfaction. He clawed Jack's skin, biting his
mouth, neck...anything he could reach until Jack pinned him to the ground and
shoved one of Daniel's legs up. Daniel grabbed behind his knee and pulled,
giving Jack access.
Jack gripped himself and started to push in. At the last second
a flicker of sanity stopped him; he realized he couldn't go in dry. He looked
around wildly, desperate for something that would function as a lubricant.
"Come on come on," Daniel chanted impatiently,
pulling at Jack. Jack spied the remnants of their dinner and figured animal fat
would have to do. He quickly rubbed some on his cock before entering Daniel
with a sharp push. Daniel cried out. Jack didn't know if it was a cry of
pleasure or of pain, but the part of his brain that was in control didn't care
too much one way or another.
Daniel bucked up against Jack, drawing him in. Between the
grease and the intoxicating effects of the juice, the pain of entry wasn't any
worse than Daniel had felt before. Daniel bucked wildly, fucking himself on
Jack and digging his fingers in hard enough to leave bruises.
Jack's head was spinning as he abandoned himself to the savage
rhythm. His mouth met Daniel's, knocking their teeth together and bruising
their lips. Too soon, Jack threw his head back, pistoning his hips harder and
harder. Daniel's incoherent shout sounded in his ear as warmth surged between
them. Jack gave a few more uncontrolled thrusts before shouting his own
satisfaction into the night.
"Fuuuuuuuuuck," Jack groaned. He pressed his hands
tightly against his head, trying to still the throbbing.
"Are you going to live?" Daniel asked softly. Jack
slit his eyes open and looked cautiously in the direction of the voice.
Daniel watched Jack carefully. His own head was pounding fit
to beat the band, which almost took his mind off the burning in his ass. Daniel
had absolutely no memory of what had happened, but the evidence was
unmistakable. He'd been fucked, and quite vigorously by the feel of it. The
problem was that Jack had indicated quite plainly that he didn't want things to
go that far between them. Daniel wasn't sure how Jack would feel about
it...assuming he even remembered. Actually, that was just one of the problems.
The other was that Daniel had finally gotten fucked by Jack, for the first and
possibly only time, and he couldn't remember it.
"Hangover?" Jack asked in a pained voice.
"Apparently," Daniel said, nodding.
"How?" Jack struggled to sit up without his head
"The juice, I think."
"The gooberry juice? I got so blitzed that I blacked out
from a fruit juice?" Jack said incredulously.
"Well, I told you before I thought it might have medicinal
qualities," Daniel said, noting the "blacked out" with a pang of
both regret and relief. "Evidently when it goes over it packs a
"Medicinal qualities?" Jack said skeptically. He
gratefully accepted a cup of water from Daniel and tried to rinse the fuzziness
from his mouth.
"I told you that it probably acts as a sedative or
analgesic," Daniel said.
"Yeah, but...whoa, momma, that's a hell of a kick,"
Jack said. He looked himself over carefully before doing the same to Daniel. He
was naked and, judging by the hickeys on Daniel's neck, they'd gotten a little
"You okay?" Jack asked.
"Me? Why?" Daniel asked nervously. After cleaning
himself, and then, very carefully, the still unconscious Jack, Daniel had
dressed in his loincloth. Fortunately it covered the most obvious evidence of
"Looks like we had some fun and games," Jack said,
gesturing at his own neck. Daniel quickly ran his fingers down his neck and
over his chest, wincing when he encountered a rather enthusiastic bite mark.
"I didn't break the skin, did I?" Jack asked with concern.
"No, just bruised. You've, uh, got a few, too,"
"Not surprising, I guess," Jack said ruefully. He
crawled over to Daniel and started checking him over. "But we have to be
careful. Human bites can be dangerous."
"I'm fine," Daniel insisted, trying to push Jack
"Are you sure?" Jack asked, still trying to examine
Daniel. "Jesus, Daniel, I'd never forgive myself if I...."
"You didn't," Daniel said with a fond smile. Jack
obviously didn't remember any more of the evening than Daniel did. He
apparently didn't have a sore ass to clue him in either, which was a mixed
blessing. Daniel would like nothing better than the opportunity to show Jack
just how good he could make it for him. But while Daniel had made it clear that
he'd be open to anal sex. Jack had very specifically said he wasn't. If Daniel
had had Jack the previous night, he'd feel guilty about taking something that
Jack hadn't offered.
"Whatever we got up to last night was mutual."
"You don't remember either?" Jack asked.
"Not really, no."
"Well, that was monumentally stupid," Jack said with
"We were drunk; stupid kind of goes with the
territory," Daniel pointed out. "Although, I wouldn't go so far as
"We were both out of commission, Daniel. What if we'd been
"By what?" Daniel asked incredulously.
"Er...those cougar things," Jack suggested. Daniel
rolled his eyes. The wild cats were carnivorous, probably their biggest
competitor for the smaller game. However, on the rare occasions they'd caught
sight of the stealthy felines, the cats had been far more inclined to run away
"No more fucking goo-goo juice," Jack said, climbing
painfully to his feet and heading off in search of the designated tree.
"I'd give my left nut for a UAV," Jack said with a
"Really?" Daniel asked with some alarm.
"At least we could explore some of the planet that
way," Jack said. He tossed a couple of gristly scraps from his dinner into
the fire and wiped his hands on the ground.
"You still think there might be other people somewhere out
there?" Daniel asked.
"It makes more sense than there not being anyone out
there," Jack said. It drove him nuts every time he stopped to think about
it. The idea that there could be people, even entire civilizations on the
planet, and that they would never know just because it was on the other side of
"A stargate?" Daniel asked.
"Maybe. Maybe not. That's actually not as important as
finding people," Jack said.
"I doubt they exist. If there were any kind of advanced
civilization they surely would've spread far enough across the planet that we'd
be able to detect some sign of their presence," Daniel said. He gestured
around them. "And surely someone would've settled here. It's the perfect
place to live."
"Exactly. It is perfect. So why isn't anyone
here?" The emptiness wore on Jack. The only reason he could think of for
such a hospitable planet to be deserted was that there was some as yet unknown
threat. And he was getting tired of always looking over his shoulder, waiting
for that threat to materialize.
"Well, I don't know what the actual odds are on...."
"The Drake equation."
"The Drake equation," Jack repeated. "It's used
to calculate the probability of finding life elsewhere in the universe. You
take the rate of formation of stars, number of stars with planetary systems,
the number of planets per solar system capable of supporting life,
"You were...spending a lot of time with Sam, weren't
you?" Daniel said.
"My point is that a planet like this should have
"Well, I don't think the theory works in reverse, but
either way it presupposes that life out here will be like life on Earth,"
"And doesn't take into account the activities of the
"No, it couldn't."
"Or the Asgard."
"Or the possibility of an intelligent life form being
dumped on a planet by passing purple-people-eaters," Daniel concluded.
Jack glared at him. "I'm just saying."
"When did you become such a pessimist?"
"Realist," Daniel corrected. "I just don't
think you should drive yourself crazy worrying about something that may very
well not exist on this planet."
"I'm not driving myself crazy."
"Well, no. You were already crazy," Daniel agreed.
"Get over here."
"I've got an...urge."
"Well, why didn't you just say so? It's really not
necessary to start a fight phmmphgh...." Daniel's last words were
smothered by a kiss.
"Hi ho, hi...." Jack's cheerful if tuneless singing
was cut off by several sneezes. "Daniel?"
"Argh," Daniel spat, sneezing again.
"What's up?" Jack asked. He crouched down next to
Daniel, who was trying to pack a small sack in between rubbing his eyes and
"Nothing. I'll be ready...." Daniel was interrupted
by three quick sneezes in a row. "God damn it."
"What's wrong?" Jack asked.
"Nothing," Daniel insisted. He gave an angry sniff.
"Nothing a butt load of antihistamines wouldn't fix."
"Yes," Daniel said irritably, rubbing again at his
"You sure? It's not a cold or something?"
"I've had allergies all my life, Jack. I know what the
"Yeah, but we've been here for more than a year and you
haven't had any problem," Jack pointed out logically.
"Must be something that's just now started to bloom,"
Daniel said. "Either that or I've become sensitized to something that's
been here all along."
"Is there anything we can do?" Jack asked.
Daniel looked at him for moment, then sighed heavily.
"Not that I know of," he said, resigned. "Just
my fucking luck."
"It'll get better though, right?"
"If it's something new, something that's just started to
bloom and, hopefully, will die off soonthen, yes, it'll get better. But
if it's...." Daniel waved a hand vaguely at the vegetation surrounding
"You look miserable," Jack said, laying a comforting
hand on Daniel's shoulder.
"You have no idea." Daniel glanced at Jack, apology
written all over his face. "Think I'm going to have to punt this little
"I can wait."
"For how long?"
"I've got all the time in the world. It's not like it's
something that has to be done right now," Jack told him. "I can
"Go on," Daniel said, barely suppressing another
sneeze. "I'm just going to be whiny and bitchy and miserable anyway."
"And this would be a change?" Jack jumped back from
the slap Daniel aimed at his head, laughing. "You sure you'll be
"Whiny and bitchy," Daniel reminded him. "But
Jack eyed the sun's position, calculating just how late it
would be when he got back to the cabin. Not that the hour of his return
mattered; he'd stopped punching the clock around the time his life had been
hijacked by purple-people-eaters. But he was in the home stretch of his journey
now, and he didn't intend to stop until he got there.
His week long trek hadn't uncovered anything
earth...planet-shattering. No hidden civilization. No stargate. He had found a
nice cave that would function well as a secondary shelter. Knowing that he
would be heading straight back to the cabin, Jack had left a few things
behindsome dried food and a fur blanket. The supplies would be the start
of an emergency cache. Or maybe they could make the cave a sort of vacation
home. For a cave it was pretty decent. Dry, and there were no signs of any
recent animal habitation. And, if you were so inclined, you could climb a short
way up the rock face above the cave entrance to a natural ledge and claim the
best seat in the house for the double moonrise.
Jack's pace unconsciously accelerated as he drew closer to
home. During the days of his jaunt he'd come to realize just how much he
counted on Daniel's company. In truth he'd always counted on it, even in the
beginning, but hadn't been about to go there. He'd always been self-reliant,
self-contained, and he didn't need anyone, damn it. Not anymore.
Well, Jack knew who'd gotten the last laugh and it wasn't him.
Or maybe it was. Much of his life may have been stripped away, reduced to
essentials, but his needs were met and he was content. It wasn't such a bad way
to live. Not when he had Daniel to share the burden.
"Daniel?" Jack's high spirits sank as he entered the
clearing where the cabin sat. Something was definitely not right. He knelt down
on one knee, running his fingers through the ash of the campfire as he kept his
eyes fixed on the cabin door. The fire was not only out, the ashes were cold.
Fear tightened his chest as he approached the cabin door.
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