It's strange, the little things that come back to you. Tiny, insignificant details, barely noticed at the time, that rear up and prompt a flood of memories, welcome or unwelcome. Or maybe not so strange considering all my adult life has been an obsession with the small, otherwise insignificant things that others disregard and throw away, or lose. Hours of digging through midden heaps in the desert, sifting and sifting again, finding small potsherds, smaller fragments of bone, down to the smallest grain of pollen - a tiny thing that can open great vistas of information about the way that the dead and long forgotten dealt with the minutiae of their lives. Such fascination in extrapolating so much from such a little thing; I guess the care and regard for the importance of little things was the main legacy that my parents left me.
There was a butterfly in the room the morning after the first night. I had just woken up, surprised and disorientated, but smiling from the remnants of some forgotten dream, wondering why I couldn't turn over, in what appeared to be a golden room, flooded with warm yellow light. I was on Abydos again, waking to another glorious desert sunrise, Sha'uri curled against me and draped over me, waking as I had woken a hundred times before. As I shook the remnants of sleep from my brain, I remember I felt genuine shock at what was pinning me down, the weight of the grey head curled over my shoulder and puffing soft, warm breaths into the side of my neck, the arm draped over my stomach so solid and muscular and so...male...and the long leg resting between my thighs. Christ - Jack..! No, couldn't be, I was still asleep and dreaming, surely...we had woken up tangled together many times, off-world, and passed it off with a laugh and a joke, but never before like this...so intimate, and so... naked!
I remember lying there, frowning, for what seemed like an age, as the events of the previous evening came filtering back, the details sneaking into my mind as I pieced the puzzle together. The bar, as we celebrated the completion of a mission where, for once, nobody had been hurt, either on the team or off. The camaraderie, the banter, the jokes and comments flying as we all three gradually got a little tipsy on good beer and better company, while Teal'c looked on with that slight softening of expression that tells those who know him well that he is laughing on the inside.
Staggering slightly down the street together, arms linked, me between Sam and Jack, Teal'c shepherding us towards Jack's truck and taking the keys, Jack all the while cracking jokes about Duffman and designated drivers. The journey home, the three of us piled in a tangled heap in the back in a haze of friendship and self-congratulation. Jack's insistence that we all crash at his place, and Sam's laughing refusal. Something along the lines of having something pressing to attend to at home and Jack's rejoinder about control freaks and ironing, and all four of us giggling helplessly as though it was the funniest joke in the world... and then sudden, stone-cold sobriety as he and I got into his house, Jack locked the door, then leaned forward, cupping the back of my head in his hand and kissed me.
Oh my God! He kissed me, gently at first, then with an increasing urgency as I stifled my initial surprise and kissed him back. My arms snaking around his waist and pulling him towards me, my hands taking on a life of their own, skimming up and down his back, then scrabbling to get under his shirt, to feel him warm and smooth under my touch. His hands roaming through my hair, down my back and cupping my ass, making my cock twitch and swell, pulling me towards him so that I could feel the growing bulge in his own pants.
He pulled back then, and looked at me, with a look in his eyes that I will remember forever, passion and warmth, longing and uncertainty mixed, and said just one word... "Daniel..?"
I held his gaze for a long moment, and I think he read his answer there, but to be sure, I leaned into him and mumbled against his mouth, "Yes, Jack. Please."
There was no great finesse there, just two people who couldn't get naked enough, quickly enough, or touch enough, or explore enough, or find enough control to make it last. A raw, animal coupling, fuelled by lust, urgent need and long years of denial, all overlaid with a kind of desperation, but tempered with snatches of laughter when nothing seemed to quite fit, and surprise at unexpected planes and angularities. And afterwards a certain awkwardness as the enormity of what we had just done sank in, tinged with the rueful, unspoken acknowledgement that such a desperate rush to completion was not what either of us would have chosen. But all the while, lying wrapped in each other's arms, content.
So now, what? Lying in bed on a golden morning, expecting my wife and finding... my best friend. Or, maybe, my ex-best friend now - who knew? Or my lover? Fuck-buddy? Momentary aberration? A convenient scratch for an inconvenient itch? No commitment, no involvement - not an interaction, just a transaction? It dawned on me then, with a slow and growing certainty, that only one of those would do - that I did, in point of fact, love this guy, was IN love with this guy, and had been for a while. And it didn't seem at all strange, just...inevitable. With that thought came another, and another - God, what if he didn't feel the same? How could I live with that? What if he DID feel the same? How could we both live with THAT?
It was then that I noticed the butterfly, up in one corner of the window, flashes of orange-red as it beat its wings in a panicky tattoo against the glass, trying to get out into the fresh new day - oh, great! Clichéd or what? I'd probably helped screw up the best friendship I'd ever had, and now even metaphors were biting me in the ass!
"Hey!" I looked down to meet a pair of warm, brown eyes regarding me steadily.
"Hey, yourself. Umm...did you sleep well? Uhh.. I was just getting up. I really need to go to the bathroom...get cleaned up...I'm gonna make some coffee, want some? You got any food in? After coffee, I could really use a solid breakfast."
I hadn't had time to sort through my thoughts, to come to terms with the idea of loving this man; I was babbling, I could hear myself, as I struggled to get disentangled from the sheets, from Jack.
"Bathroom is good...don't take too long, I really need to pee as well. And coffee? Maybe later," came the lazy reply as Jack rolled away from me, stretched and yawned hugely. I scuttled out of the room, there was no other word for it, after snagging my glasses from the nightstand and my shorts from the floor at the side of the bed, and dived for sanctuary. Short-lived sanctuary.
"Daniel! Wanna hustle in there? I REALLY need to pee now!"
"Oh, yeah, Jack...sorry...I'll be as quick as I can...guess the shower will have to wait, huh?"
"You'd better believe it, I don't have that long."
A couple of quick swipes with the washcloth over the stickiest sections of my anatomy would have to do for now then. It didn't take long - not nearly long enough - and then I had to open the door. Jack was standing outside: I went left, he went right. I went right, he went left, and we ended up doing an absurd little dance right there in the hallway. The embarrassment quotient notched up a little higher.
"Daniel, as much as I would love to dance with you under any other circumstances, I really, REALLY need to use the bathroom. Now."
"Uhh...sorry... you go round me. I'll just...ummm...kitchen.... coffee." And I bolted again.
Where were my pants? I really needed the protection of pants if matters were going to proceed with any semblance of dignity - ah, there, just inside the bedroom door. I hopped into them on my way to the kitchen, feeling a little bit more secure with every tooth of the zipper. But, oh God, now what? Christ, this was awkward...how best to extricate ourselves from the situation, distance ourselves from it? How could we possibly explain this away, even between ourselves? And how possible would it be to carry on as if nothing had happened? This was bound to change everything, and probably for the very much worse. I leaned, stiff-armed, against the kitchen counter, my knuckles white where they curled over its edge. Stupid, stupid...!
Two arms snaked round my waist, a warm chest pressed against my naked back, and a bristly face burrowed into my neck. "Whatcha doin'?"
I must have jumped about a foot off the ground - I hadn't heard him coming - and spun round, breaking his grip. He took a couple of steps back from me.
"Jeez, Daniel, are you always this jumpy in the morning? I know you have this true love thing going with caffeine, but really..."
"No, not generally, but then I don't generally wake up in bed, with my best friend, naked as the day I was born. No, I think I can safely say that this is a first for me, and as such, I have a perfect right to be startled when said friend sneaks up on me and..."
"..and takes me totally by surprise when I'm in the middle of..." "Daniel!"
"...in the middle of trying to make some coffee and bring some semblance of order to my thoughts! God knows, I've got plenty of..."
"DANIEL! I'm sorry. I didn't mean to spook you. And you think way too much. DOING is better."
I looked at him suspiciously, trying to read the expression on his face. "Doing what, exactly?"
"Well doing..." He broke off as he took in the expression on my face, then gamely struggled on, "Ya know... oh jeez, Daniel..."
His head dropped down and he seemed to be studying something on the floor with great interest. Reflexively, I looked down as well. Nothing of any great importance there, certainly nothing to warrant such close attention.
"It's just...I thought... oh hell! Look Daniel, I know last night was not the greatest sex you've probably ever had. I've never...with a guy...well, not like that... not when it mattered... but I thought...ya know.... you might want to try it again? I mean..."
He was floundering. Badly. I had never seen him so off-balance before, and I wondered why. I stayed silent, but my head came up, I crossed my arms and I just looked at him.
He took a deep breath and let it out again, still studying the floor, his shoes, a point on the wall just slightly to the right of my shoulder..
He scrubbed his hands through his hair and took another deep breath. "Daniel, I want to make love with you. Again. Properly, this time, no rush..." He tailed off as he risked a swift glance up at my face.
"Oh." 'Make love'? Not 'have sex'?
A small grin quirked one corner of his mouth, and his eyebrows went up. "Good 'oh', as in 'Bring it on, flyboy, let's see what you can do,' or..?"
"Have you thought about this? I mean, really THOUGHT about the whole thing, thought it right through, the possible repercussions...? Jack, if this ever got out, just this last night, it could mean your career. The Air Force isn't exactly renowned for being staffed by liberal thinkers, especially amongst the top brass. And what about SG1? What effect would this have on the whole team, if it came out that you and I are sleeping together? Or on the whole SGC for that matter?"
My mouth was putting up a spirited argument, but my brain wasn't really in it. All the while, scampering through my thoughts, I could hear, "Daniel. I want to make love with you ... make love.. with you.." And with the thought, a low, insistent ache deep in my belly, as the blood began to pool in my groin.
Jack sighed, and said with exaggerated patience, "Daniel, I'm a highly trained colonel in the US Air Force. Thinking things through is my JOB. If I didn't think things through, I'd have been dead long since, and probably you, and Sam, and Teal'c along with me. So, yes, I have thought this through, and I think it's worth it. YOU'RE worth it. What we could have is worth it - and I'm damn sure I want it! I will NEVER allow this to affect the team, or the SGC, and if it EVER does, I'll retire again, no question. It's not so hard, I've done it before."
I sucked in a breath to protest, but he was in full flow and talked me down.
"And as for "don't ask, don't tell"? Sure, it sucks, I know it, you know it, but it works. Even if it did come out, I'm betting that Hammond would go down to the wire for me to avoid a court martial. He owes us. Hell, EARTH owes us, big time."
Again I went to speak, and again there was no stopping the flow.
"And SG1 - well as far as I know, Teal'c would see nothing wrong in us pursuing a relationship. From what he's let slip to me in the locker room, these kinds of relationships are actively encouraged on Chulak. I'm aware that Carter would probably be less than thrilled, but I sure as hell trust her to be discreet, not for me, but for your sake, and for the sake of the team." I took another breath , but he flung up one of his hands and continued.
"Ack! Still my turn here! So as I see it, the only question remaining is whether or not YOU want it as well." He took a quick look downwards towards my groin and again there was the faint ghost of a grin playing around his lips. "I'm guessing here, but I'm fairly sure that your answer might be 'yes'."
He stepped forward again, deadly serious once more, and his hands came up to my shoulders. I could feel a very fine tremor running through his arms. He continued quietly, as earnest as I had ever heard him, looking directly into my eyes. "My only regret would be that we couldn't tell anybody, couldn't come right out up front about what we meant to each other, when all I really want to do would be to shout it from the rooftops." His eyes slid away from mine, his hands dropped from my shoulders and slid into his pockets and his interest once again seemed focused to one side of me.
"Oh!" I was staring at him, willing him to look up again, to look into my eyes again, so that I could gauge the truth of what he was saying.
"Now, that sounds like a good 'oh'?" There was the faintest of questions in his voice. His eyes finally came up to mine, and there it was again, that same expression, a touching mixture of want and... oh God!... fear. A part of my mind thought, inconsequentially, that I had seen this man afraid before, but never quite like this...
I must have hesitated a beat too long, trying to formulate an answer (though in my defence, it was difficult to think clearly with my heart slamming against my ribcage), because his shoulders slumped and he started to turn away.
"Jack.." He stopped, and I heard myself saying in a low, sexy voice that I had NEVER heard coming out of my mouth before, "Bring it on, flyboy, let's see what you can do..."
He turned back, a huge grin splitting his face. "Now, see, that's what I love about you, you always pay attention to detail, no matter what."
"Yeah, multitasking was always one of my strengths."
His eyebrows danced up and down. "Sounds promising!"
I reached out and took his face in my hands and pulled him towards me as his arms snaked out to encircle my waist and creep up my back, kneading and stroking as they went. I swiped my tongue across his lower lip, and delighted in the feel of him shivering against me.
He groaned, and said, "Daniel..." way back in his throat in a tone that turned my insides to water, and then we were kissing in earnest. His tongue pressed between my lips, demanding, insistent, and I opened to him at the same time he did to me. Our tongues fought each other, lapped at each other, slipped and slid and twined over each other, as we clung together, hips canted so that our groins were in constant, delicious contact.
It was my turn to shiver as I felt my erection straining at my pants – his too - and he broke off and began kissing a hot, moist trail across my face, along my jaw and down my neck to the pulse point at the shoulder. My hands skimmed his shoulders and rubbed up and down his arms, while my mind dimly registered the strangeness of feeling hard muscle bunching beneath the skin as his arms tightened round me.
It was a fascinating contrast, his soft, warm skin covering that hardness. M hands began exploring further, sliding over his back and down towards the waistband of his pants, almost of their own volition, as I stood there cataloguing the feel of him, my knees weak from the intensity of the sensations assaulting my senses.
I'm not sure who suggested we head for the bedroom. I only remember us both sidling, crabwise, along the hall, kissing and touching everything within reach, desperate not to break the contact, until something hit the side of my legs and we both collapsed in a tangle of limbs on the unmade bed. I scrabbled at the fly of his pants, he at mine, and he cursed as he fumbled with the button. I was ahead on points here vis-à-vis manual dexterity – a hitherto unlooked for benefit of archaeological training - as I popped his button first shot, yanked the zipper down and slipped my hand down the back of his pants to feel the soft swell of his ass, then round to the front to feel his dick, springing hot and heavy into my hand.
My God, it felt wonderful, warm, velvety and solid, as I gently stroked it from root to tip. He shuddered, wrestled with my button with renewed energy, and gave a grunt of satisfaction as it finally gave way and we were able to kick off our clothes.
His hand formed a tight circle around my shaft, and he slowly stroked it up and down. I felt my balls tighten, and grasped his arm.
He looked at me, disappointment ready to cloud his eyes.
"Not yet," I gave a small, lopsided grin. "I won't be able to last long if you do that, and I really want this to last. Lie back, it's your turn right now."
For once, he did what he was told, with a slowly breaking grin. Lying back with his hands laced behind his head, he said, "Take me, I'm yours. You go, Danny!"
I did. Believe me, I did. Nibbling along his jawbone, my teeth rasped against the overnight growth of bristles - strange, but not unpleasant. His breath hitched as I reached his earlobe and worried at it with my teeth. Interesting, that was one to remember... I took my time there, licking and nibbling with my lips, until I was rewarded with a low groan.Working my way back down his throat to the hollow at his collarbone, I was unable to resist swiping up the small sheen of sweat there with my tongue, savouring the flavour.
From there, I trailed down his chest, rubbing my cheek in the springy greying hairs, wondering at the texture, so unexpected when all I had previously experienced of a chest was smooth softness and fullness, yet so unbelievably, perfectly right. And now, a small, brown nipple, oddly flat and hidden amongst the hair: Shau'ri had always enjoyed being suckled, and so did I. Curious to see if it worked the same for my guy, I soon had my answer when I teased the small nub with my teeth, making it harden and rise, hearing Jack hiss as his hips arched off the bed. Oh yeah, definitely hot-wired to the groin. His hands came down and tangled themselves in my hair, and he groaned my name as I kissed and licked one nipple while teasing the other with my thumb, my dick twitching and throbbing in response to every sound he made.
Further down, licking, nuzzling and nipping, cataloguing his reactions as I went: a tickly spot just under his ribs, a definite hotspot around his navel, another low down on his flank, to one side of his hip, that made him gasp and buck. And finally, the prize, lying hot and swollen against his belly, with a tiny bead of pre-come oozing from the slit. I shifted my position so that I could look up at Jack again as my tongue came out to lap at the head, tasting him for the first time, musky and salty and slightly bitter. He was lying on his back, with one arm flung across his eyes, his head twisting and turning on the pillow. I felt an odd sense of pride that I could make him lose himself like this, and swirling my tongue around the head, I savoured its softness and heat, then traced the thick vein on the underside with my tongue, down to its nest of springy hair and back again.
He groaned again, and with a surge of excitement and love I watched the effort it took him not to thrust at me, just to lay still and relinquish control. Suddenly, licking was not enough, I wanted him in me, filling me, coming in me: I took him into my mouth again, my lips tightening, rolling him round with my tongue, moving my head slowly up and down the glorious length of his shaft.
"Daniel." It was hardly speech, just a low growl that made my loins ache. I looked up at him and saw that he was hitched up onto his elbows, his eyes dark and glittering with desire, watching intently as his cock slid in and out of my mouth. His face was flushed and a trickle of sweat was running down his neck. So beautiful. "Turn round for me, get your dick where I can reach it. I get to fuck your mouth, it's only fair you get to fuck mine."
Another surge of heat coursed through me as I scooted round to lie alongside him as he rolled onto his side, one knee bent. I mirrored his position, opening myself to him, as I slid my arm under his thigh. Watching as his head came closer, I gasped as he delicately lapped at my balls with his tongue, shuddering as he licked the length of my shaft, his tongue flattened against it, his eyes fixed on mine the whole time.
"Like that, baby? Want some more?"
My hand clenched on his ass as I managed to gasp out, "Yesss...", too far gone even to call him on his choice of endearment. Jack grinned at that, a hot, feral grin, and set to with a will, trailing his tongue up my length and swirling it round the tip of my weeping shaft as I turned back to him and plunged his cock back into my mouth.
His tongue was driving me mad, sending sparks of white-hot pleasure shooting through my body. I felt the pressure building, building, coiling hot and hard through my belly and thighs. He sensed it too, and opened his mouth to take me in, sucking hard once, twice...
We both moaned, and I felt the vibration thrumming against my heated flesh. It was too much, white light flashed behind my eyes. I barely had the presence of mind to let him go, and then I was coming, hard and long, as he wrapped his hand round the base of my shaft and milked me into his mouth.
I was still trembling from the aftershocks when he allowed me to slip out of his mouth and lay back, his head pillowed on my thigh.
I struggled to get some semblance of control over my breathing, we still had unfinished business to attend to. "Oh yeah, better than good," I managed, as I reached to take him in again. This time I sucked him in swift and hard, flicking the underside of his shaft with my tongue, humming my appreciation, my hand palming and caressing his balls. He gasped once, then cried out, "Jee-sus! Danny!" as his cock pulsed, spurting his semen into my mouth as fast as I could greedily swallow it down. I held him there in my mouth for long moments, enjoying the fullness and the feeling of completion, before I reluctantly allowed him to slide out, flaccid and quiescent.
Still trembling, this time with the enjoyment of his pleasure, I crawled back up the bed and snuggled into him, resting my head against his chest and tracing lazy patterns on his stomach, soothing and gentling him as his breathing evened out.
"Well, that was ... seismic." I felt a low chuckle rumble through his chest.
"See, now, that's the beauty of loving a linguist - always the mot juste."
I hitched myself up onto one elbow and looked down at him, lying there rosy, sleepy and self-satisfied, and cocked one eyebrow at him quizzically. "Uhh, 'loving'?"
"I know what I said."
"Oh." I paused to consider this. "Did you just say something about feelings? Did I just hear the 'L' word? Am I still sleeping, here?"
Jack reached up to pull me back down into the crook of his arm, pressed a kiss on the top of my head, and said softly, "Is that what it feels like to you? It doesn't to me. To me it feels like finally waking up..."
I don't know why this memory, of all the ones we share, should pop into my head just now, I only know that it does, pure and complete and perfect, in a lot less time than it takes to tell it. It angers me that it should, when I have so little time, when HE has so little time, but it also annoys me in the way that loose ends always do, and I HAVE to take a moment or two to puzzle out why. Ah, I have it now...orange-red flashes, the butterfly. Of course, the same colours that I have been watching on these damned monitors for what seems like half a lifetime now. And I am abruptly aware that Major Davis is still looking at me, waiting for an answer. Inwardly, I am praying to whatever gods there may be for a reprieve, but none is forthcoming, and I can taste my hopes and dreams crumbling into ashes on my tongue. I know I have to reply, know the reply I have to give for Jack's sake, but still, I feel physically sick when I hear the words coming out of my mouth.
"Okay, okay..." Goodbye, lover. God knows what I'll do without you. I'll never stop loving you, Jack.
"Fire on target.... 'Dallas' is firing torpedoes...."
On to 'Resolutions'
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