My eyes snap open.
Ow. That hurts.
But not as much as the noise. Loud. Very loud noise.
"Oh my God--turn that damn thing off!"
Oh. Ow. More loud noise. I fling my arm in the general direction of the bedside table. Surprisingly my hand actually hits the alarm clock and blessed silence falls. For a whole 30 seconds.
"Ow! Ow! Shit!"
Forcing a few functional brain cells into gear I manage to scare up a thought. Phone. Ah. Pick up the phone and it'll stop making noise.
Damn. Phone still making noise.
"Are you okay?"
"Dead," I groan. Maybe. Possibly. Ow. No, just wishful thinking.
"You are such a lightweight." Sam sounds amused. And superior. And distinctly non-hung over.
"Not." Oh, no! Can't feel my...oops, no, there it is. "Time?"
"In the morning?" Wow--three words in a row.
"Yes, Daniel. It's morning."
"That's barbaric," I complain. "This is part of your evil plot to get my parking space, isn't it?"
"No," Sam laughs. "This is part of my evil plot to get you to loosen up. Speaking of which...."
My body goes cold and clammy. It could just be the hangover. Or it could be some as yet alcohol-hazed memory of doing something spectacularly stupid.
"I don't want to know, do I?"
"Well, I'm curious about something you said," Sam says coyly.
And? The suspense is killing me. Or will, if the hangover doesn't do me in first.
"Tell me, Daniel. Did you have any naughty little dreams last night?" Sam asks. "Something involving dog tags and whipped cream?"
"Uh, Sam, I think you're great, you know that, but...."
Christ! What was that crap Sam poured down my throat?
"Not me," Sam laughs. "Last time I checked my eyes were blue, not brown. And I'm definitely not packing a 'sidearm' in my BVDs."
Oh. Oh, God. Oh, God oh god ohgodoh....
"Daniel?" Sam shouts into the phone. "Daniel, calm down. You're hyperventilating."
"Daniel, are you okay?"
"Trying to decide whether to vomit first or go straight to passing out," I choke out.
"Just don't do both at the same time. It's dangerous."
"Appreciate the advice. Thanks for calling." I toss the phone down, cutting off Sam's voice in mid-yelp.
"Hey, Daniel. How's the hangover?"
Sam plops down on the corner of my desk. I throw my arms out in a panicked attempt to protect my work. And my coffee.
"Better actually. Not that you care," I grumble, giving Sam a dirty look. I mean--I expect this from Jack but Sam knows better. She, however, just smiles with perky innocence.
"Did you really?" she asks.
"Really what?" I'm in no mood for obtuse.
"Upchuck," Sam asks casually.
"Maybe I should just let you read my diary and we can dispense with all this time consuming conversation," I say testily, fixing my eyes on the computer screen in front of me.
"You could just say 'shut up'," Sam suggests. And get Rambo Sam? I don't think so.
"Did you want something?"
"Just wondering if you're going to do anything about your little problem," she tells me. Yeah. My "little" problem measures 6-2 and carries a P90. "You have to tell him, Daniel."
"No, I don't," I say firmly. "I can't."
"This is going to eat you up," Sam says sympathetically.
"That's exactly why I can't tell him," I insist, finally looking at her. "If I tell Jack then we'll both be miserable. At least this way I'm the only one suffering."
"Do you really think he'd react that badly?"
"Let's just say I don't think we'd be riding off into the sunset and living happily ever after."
"Well, no," Sam agrees readily. "But that doesn't mean he'd be upset. If you want, I could kind of feel him out on the subject. You know--see how he feels about homosexuality in general."
That is such a bad idea. Besides, I'm the only one who should be feeling him out. Up. In.
"Sam, I didn't tell you about my feelings so that you could do something about it. I told you because...."
Truth is--the only reason I told Sam was a fairly crappy mission followed by a stupendously bad bottle of wine. Or two. Could've been three but I'm pretty sure that would've exceeded the fatal dosage. However, waking up this morning in a cold sweat was only partly due to the excessive amount of alcohol I'd consumed.
I trust Sam with my life--literally--but I would never have told her about my feelings for Jack if I'd been in my right mind. Naughty dreams? Yeah sure you betcha. I'd been groin deep in drunken and unrequited lust. Of course I had naughty dreams. Unfortunately I have only vague memories of them. But I woke up not only with the hangover of the century but firmly glued to my sheets.
This was something Sam did not need to know.
"Sam, you can't say anything about it any more than I can," I remind her firmly. "Jack's friendship means too much to me."
"I don't think you're giving the colonel enough credit. He's not going to throw years of friendship away just because you're interested and he's not," Sam says with assurance.
"He might not intend to but that's what would happen," I explain. "Jack needs...space. He sets perimeters. He doesn't let anyone get in too close."
"Except you," she counters.
"At first...yeah," I admit. Sam's raised eyebrow teases. "Not that close. Still, maybe it was too close." Sam gives me a sisterly pat on the shoulder.
I'm not sure why Jack and I clicked so strongly. We just had that indefinable connection you sometimes make with a person. And I mean as friends. I developed deeper feelings for Jack over time but the friendship was first and foremost.
"Eventually Jack backed off, though."
"I noticed," Sam admits.
That's not a surprise. It's been kind of hard to miss. Somewhere along the line our friendship had become too intense for Jack, the boundaries between us too tenuous for his comfort. All I know for certain is that he started putting up walls. I'm not even sure exactly when it started, but he'd already retreated behind some pretty impressive barricades by the time he, Sam, and Teal'c returned from their enforced vacation after ditching Thor's ship in the ocean.
"And if Jack had problems with our friendship being too close, how do you think he'd react to finding out about this? No, he'd lock himself up tighter than the crown, um, jewels," I stammer. Sam snickers.
"I wasn't thinking that!" I protest. Yes, I was. Crown jewels. Family jewels. Fuck. Sam continues to leer knowingly at me.
"Shut up, Sam."
"Din din time, Daniel," Jack calls as he and Teal'c walk into my office a few hours later.
"Not hungry," I say sharply.
"Geez, what's with the lights?" Jack asks as he looks around the dimly lit room. "You on some conservation kick?"
"It's not that dark," I say irritably.
"Perhaps Daniel Jackson was meditating," Teal'c suggests.
"No, I wasn't," I snap.
"Perhaps Daniel Jackson needs to meditate," Teal'c adds. Jack hits the light switch and marches over to stare at me.
"You're hung over," Jack hoots gleefully. He leans in for a closer look. "Holy cow, Daniel, I haven't seen you this bad since we killed Apophis. The first time."
"Could you please gloat a little more quietly?"
"What did you get into last night?" Jack asks.
"Um...wine. It was white. I think. Black label."
"You were drinking that hooch Carter bootlegs?" Jack is aghast. "For crying out loud, Daniel. Are you insane?"
I think the answer to that would be a resounding "Yes".
"That's wine in only the loosest definition of the word," Jack continues. "As in there might be a grape involved in some point of the process. They brew that crap in stills made from old car radiators and Jethro's dirty socks!"
"Well, that would explain the taste in my mouth," I say dryly.
"That was extremely unwise," Teal'c observes.
Tell me something I don't know. Teal'c's expression is disapproving, but Jack is downright eager he drags a chair over and plants himself next to me.
"So spill," Jack commands.
"You're nuts when you're drunk. I want to know what you did," Jack says expectantly.
"I don't remember," I admit sullenly.
"Oh, this has got to be good." Jack is salivating at the prospect. "Come on, if you can't share mortal humiliation with your friends, who can you share it with?"
"I really don't remember." I don't. Not all of it. Whether it's alcoholic brain death or repression I can't say for certain.
"Perhaps Major Carter's memory was not so severely impaired," Teal'c says.
"Yeah, good idea. Go bother Sam," I say, shooing them both away like flies. Suddenly it occurs to me that that's not such a good idea.
"Daniel? You're not looking so good." Jack's still smiling but his eyes hold some genuine concern. Suddenly an image from my dream last night comes rushing back. No whipped cream, but the dog tags play a prominent role. And even I know dog tags weren't meant to be worn there. I drop my head into my hands with a groan.
"You want to go see Fraiser?" Jack asks gently.
"She'll just stick a needle in my butt," I say, turning my head just far enough to the side so that I can sneak a look at Jack.
"Seems to be the cure for everything around here," Jack agrees. He leans over closer, a conspiratorial gleam in his eye. He just wants to share a joke with his good friend. He has no idea that the feel of his breath tickling my ear has rallied my lethargic blood cells and sent them diving below the waist.
"Personally, I think Doc's just got a thing for my butt," Jack says in a stage whisper.
She ain't the only one.
48 four hours later and I'm fit for duty again. No more throbbing eyeballs, no gastric revolts. My mind is fully functional and coherent. Everything in working order. Except for one problem. One pesky, little problem. I can't seem to get my mind off of Jack.
Evidently the rotgut Sam poisoned me with has burned out some small but key section of my brain. That little internal kill switch. The part that's supposed to stop the random stupidity floating around my brain from getting out. Although, come to think of it, that switch obviously wasn't functioning too well before. It did let me go drinking with Sam.
Granted, I've always thought about Jack a lot. And I've been more distracted by thoughts of Jack lately than in times past, but not obsessively. It's been something my mind turns to when otherwise idle. Not anymore. Now I have to tear my thoughts away from Jack by force.
Like now. I'm sitting in the briefing room and watching Jack doodle around the edges of his mission report. I'm absolutely transfixed. And it's not what he's doodling. Other than his brief encounter with the knowledge of the Ancients, during which he actually drew a sort of intergalactic power booster, Jack's doodles are just doodles.
No, it's the hands. I'm fascinated by Jack's hands. Strong, capable hands. Long fingers. Wished they'd doodle me.
In an effort to distract myself I slide my hand over sideways and elongate a couple of the lines he's drawn. I place an 'X' in the middle and sit back to await his reaction. Jack's expression doesn't change noticeably, but I can see the competitive gleam ignite in his eyes. He casually scrawls an 'O' and from that point on it's every man for himself. We're tied after the first four games. The fifth game is going down to the wire when a voice penetrates the Jack-fog my brain is floating in.
"Gentlemen, anything to add?"
I freeze, panic stricken, at Hammond's question.
"No, sir. I think Carter pretty well covered it," Jack says, giving the general a casual glance and acting like he's been paying attention the entire time.
"Er, no," I stammer.
Sam looks across the table at me, her eyes narrowed and suspicious. I make a valiant attempt to ignore her probing look by studiously examining my notes. Of which there aren't any for the last quarter hour. I can't believe I spaced out during a briefing.
"Very well. You leave at 1430 hours," Hammond announces. He leaves the room, an aide already nipping at his heels. Sam and Teal'c gather their folders quietly and leave, too, without further ado. I just sit there, appalled by my own inattentiveness. Jack leans over, his shoulder nudging against mine as he places one more 'O'.
"Winner and still champion," he crows softly. I turn and stare blankly at him. "Daniel?"
"I completely missed the last 15 minutes of the briefing," I confess.
"And?" Jack says.
"I've never done that," I insist. Jack just shrugs as he straightens up and gets to his feet.
"So you're human." Jack grins suddenly and my heart literally does that ridiculous pitty-pat thing straight out of a romance novel. "I always suspected it," he teases.
"Irresponsibility is not a defining attribute of the human species," I protest. Jack frowns.
"What planet have you been living on?"
"So, Daniel. What are we looking at here?" Jack drawls.
"I'm not sure," I answer. "Yet."
Jack rolls his eyes and wanders up to the front wall. Well, what does he expect? We've been here less than half an hour. I can't isolate and identify a culture with only twenty minutes and one building to work with.
"It appears to have been an Asian based culture," I add helpfully.
"Which would explain why I'm getting the whole 'Two egg rolls with that order' vibe," Jack snipes. Vulgarian. Why couldn't he have gone with Sam to do the meteorological survey and left Teal'c with me? Aside from the fact that he knows Sam finds him just as annoying and she's more heavily armed than I am.
"Asia's a big place," Jack points out as he strolls back to the side wall I've been filming.
"Yes, I know. Cultures evolve over time. That often makes it a little difficult to pin down the originating civilization," I inform him. Sometimes the cultures we find on other worlds haven't changed appreciably and it's a fairly straightforward identification. But some worlds--like this one--have changed substantially. It becomes very difficult to pinpoint a specific place and/or time of origin.
"If I had to guess I'd say Japanese, 16th century," I theorize, throwing Jack a bone. As opposed to a boner which is what I really want to share. Oh, God, just shoot me now. This is impossible. I need to concentrate on my job and all I can think about is Jack's ass.
"Yes, I guess. I need a little time," I respond sharply. "Asia isn't my specialty."
"What are we paying you for?" Jack asks sarcastically.
I just growl at him and try to focus my attention on the paintings spaced at regular intervals along the walls. I know he's just trying to push my buttons--apparently this is the height of entertainment for him--but I'm already far more distracted than I can afford to be. The paintings really are amazing and they deserve proper study. They look like subtly hued watercolors...but they're painted directly onto the stone. I'd love to know how they've managed to stay so....
"Hurry it up there," Jack repeats. "I want to be out of here and back at the gate in 30."
"What? Why?" I protest, whirling around to face him again. "Hammond gave us 24 hours."
"Hammond didn't know this place creaks worse than my knees," Jack says. "The structure isn't stable." I look around the room, bewildered. I haven't heard anything but Jack's knees creaking.
"Nice pillars, though," Jack adds, bumping the toe of his boot against the base of a slender column.
I was trying to avoid any obvious phallic symbolism.
"Why are you kicking it if you think it's unstable?" I snap.
Jack studies me through narrowed eyes, petting his P90 for emphasis. I turn back to my wall, telling myself that my irritability is due to Jack's insistent ignorance and not to an incipient case of blue balls.
"I'm just saying--there's no point is risking our necks for nothing."
"It's not nothing, Jack."
"Daniel, nobody lives here anymore and all these pretty pictures aren't going to tell us squat about the Goa'uld," Jack says firmly, case most definitely closed in his book.
"Yes, I know that," I say, closing my eyes in what I know is a futile attempt to avoid a pounding headache. "And yes, I know that SG-1 is a field unit. I also know that our prime directive is to obtain the means to fight the Goa'uld. But do you have any idea of what opportunities like this mean to me?"
"Objective," Jack says.
"You said prime directive. SG-1 has a primary objective," Jack explains. "Captain Kirk had a prime directive."
"Jean-Luc," I say before the censor synapses kick in. Jack's left eyebrow climbs.
"Picard?" Jack asks in a scathing tone. "You're not a TNG guy, are you?"
"Kirk wears panty hose."
"Insults are the last refuge of the ignorant," Jack lectures as he goes back to kicking the phall...pillar.
"You would know."
"Meow," Jack sneers.
Meow my ass. I'd like nothing more than the opportunity to wipe that sneer off his face. I'd like to bring him up to speed real quick on just exactly how not ignorant I am. Do something about his ignorance while I'm at it. Christ, I need to get laid. I watch both of Jack's eyebrows shoot up and realize I actually voiced that last thought out loud.
"Interesting, Daniel. Thanks for sharing," Jack snorts in amusement. "But what the hell does it have to do with unstable structures?"
Um, let's see. Instability: my temper, my libido, my self control, and last but not least, my sanity.
"Shut up, Jack."
When Jack wakes up, I'm sitting at his bedside just as I have been every minute since our return. Jack's return was made in the horizontal and unconscious mode; mine was vertical...if slightly tilted. Jack stretches and groans before opening his eyes. He stares at me for a second before looking around the infirmary. After taking in his surroundings his gaze returns to me.
"What happened?" he sighs.
"The structure was unstable," I admit.
"Didn't I say that?" he asks testily.
"Yes, you did," I agree.
"Several times, in fact," he adds.
"Several times, yes."
"Uh huh," Jack grunts pointedly. He tries to shift position and grimaces as his back muscles spasm. I move to try and help him get comfortable. Naturally, that's when Fraiser reappears.
"Dr. Jackson," she says as she moves briskly to settle Jack. "I think I told you to stay in bed, and I know I told you 'no physical exertion'."
"Daniel?" Jack asks. He seems to realize for the first time that I'm just a little out of uniform.
"It's no big deal," I mumble.
"How many fingers am I holding up?" Janet asks.
"It was a trick question," I complain as she turns to tuck Jack in.
"There was no trick to it, Dr. Jackson. Two fingers is two fingers."
"It was three," I argue, holding up three fingers...with the middle one prominently displayed. Jack's eyes widen in astonishment. Janet's head whips around to look at me.
"She cheats," I mutter, shrinking under the force of Janet's glare. Jack snorts in amusement.
I cannot believe I've sunk to this level.
"You must speak with O'Neill."
Teal'c's deep, soothing voice rumbles softly beside me. It's late, the lights are low, the infirmary's skeleton crew is off coffee-breaking, and I'm genuinely glad to have Teal'c here to talk to. Just not about this.
"That's not possible, Teal'c," I say quietly. Jack is sleeping soundly in the next bed, aided by large quantities of muscle relaxants, but I'm not going to take the chance that he might hear us.
"Did you not confess to Major Carter that your distractibility was the cause of the building's collapse?"
"No!" I hiss. I know everyone thinks I'm a guilt hound but that's taking it too far. "I did not cause the building to collapse. However, my lack of focus is the reason we were still in the building when it did collapse."
It wouldn't have been so bad, possibly even marginally excusable, if I'd been distracted by work, but I wasn't. I was still thinking about Jack's ass. Unbelievable. I'm not a teenager anymore. Hell, I wasn't this bad when I was a teenager!
"Still," Teal'c prods gently.
"I know," I say reluctantly. "It's getting dangerous. I'm getting dangerous."
"Then you will speak to him."
Teal'c is the very voice of reason. I just shake my head, unable to speak. I know what I have to do. I just don't want to do it. Teal'c waits patiently, giving me the time to reconsider my options. Unfortunately, I still come to only one realistic conclusion.
"I'm transferring off of SG-1," I tell him. An abrupt noise to my left causes my heart to race. Teal'c and I look quickly over at Jack. He squirms around a moment before settling down again without ever fully waking up.
"I do not wish you to leave SG-1," Teal'c says, returning his somber gaze to me.
"I don't wish it either," I admit. "But it's the only way."
"It is not the only way," Teal'c gently rebukes me.
"It's the...least damaging way."
"One of these days I'm actually going to understand what the hell you're saying," Jack says amiably, making himself right at home in my apartment. Typical. It hasn't been five minutes since Jack knocked--pounded--on my door and already I'm pissed. "And I'll probably drop dead from the shock."
"At least you're not in immediate danger."
"Bitchy," Jack comments. He casually takes an artifact from one of the bookshelves and strokes it. "Is it that time of the month already?"
"Wha...?" I sputter senselessly for a moment. "That's sexist!" As well as anatomically impossible.
"No, it's not. It would be sexist if I said that to Carter. True, but sexist," Jack explains. "With you it's just true."
"Did you want something or is this visit purely to share 'the world according to Jack'?" I ask, snatching the artifact from his hand and stalking back into my study.
"Want to tell me why you're leaving SG-1?" Jack's voice is low and calm...and too controlled.
"Leaving?" I stammer, as I turn back to look at him.
Damn. He was awake in the infirmary. He must have been because I haven't given Hammond my transfer request yet. I've been putting it off while SG-1 is on stand-down as a result of the run-in Jack and I had with the walls...and ceiling and floor and oh, yes, the pillars. I quickly run my conversation with Teal'c through my head, trying to remember exactly what else Jack might have heard. Jack just cocks a questioning eyebrow at me.
"Not leaving, exactly. I'm asking for a transfer to SG-7." It sounds lame even to my ears.
"Leaving, transferring--you won't be on SG-1. Care to share why?"
"It's simple really." It is, but telling Jack will only complicate matters. "I want to spend more time on research."
"You're lying," Jack says coldly.
"Am not!" I gasp. I am, but he can't possibly know that.
"Are," Jack insists. "Teal'c knows the real reason. Carter knows." There's the hint of a question in his voice and I nod dumbly. Jack's expression hardens. "But you won't tell me?"
"You wouldn't understand."
"I never do but that's never stopped you from telling me before," Jack snaps. God, I hate this. I want to preserve our friendship, not tear it apart. "How can I fix the problem if you won't tell me what it is?"
"It's not about you, Jack," I tell him. And that is the truth. "It's about me. I need to do this for me."
"I don't understand," Jack complains.
"I know. That's why I didn't bother you with it."
"I don't understand because you won't explain it to me."
"Jack, please. It's personal."
"Too personal for me?" Jack asks. I hear his unspoken resentment over the fact that it isn't too personal for Sam and Teal'c. "Damn it, Daniel. We've fought together, gone to hell together, even died together!"
Yes, but we've never loved together. And we never will. Jack is all about limits and boundaries. And I'm all about pushing the limits, eliminating boundaries. We're fundamentally incompatible.
"Jack, just trust me."
"Do you trust me?"
That's a trick question.
"I'm doing this as much for you as for me."
"Don't do me any favors, Daniel," Jack says, his tone caustic.
The next sound I hear is my front door slamming shut. And all I can do is hope that Jack hasn't slammed the door shut on our friendship as well.
"How did you ever stand that SOB?" McGill asks as he breezes into my office.
"Are there any other SOB's on SG-1?" McGill asks as he pulls up an empty chair. Another trick question. My life is full of them lately.
In a sadistic twist of fate, my position on SG-1 has been filled by a man named Tim McGill. A scrawny, 30ish anthropologist with a slightly receding hairline and an academic's myopic squint. A genuinely nice guy with an outrageous sense of humor. I like him. I also hate him. He's gay. I left SG-1 because I'm gay, and a gay man took my place.
Would someone just please draw up a list of all the brick walls I'm supposed to be banging my head against?
"He's got it bad for you, doesn't he?" McGill says casually as he slumps back in the chair. I stare at him, stunned. "Almost as bad as you've got it for him." Now I'm about one more shock away from needing CPR.
"I...wha...what the fuck?" I finally manage to blurt out. McGill looks at me, amusement brightening his hazel eyes. "You're...I don't know what you're talking about."
"Come on, Daniel. Don't kid a fellow fag." I'm out of my seat and at the door, closing it firmly and locking it before the words finish leaving McGill's mouth. He stares at me like I've lost my mind.
"Damn it, McGill. Ever heard of 'Don't ask, don't tell'?" I hiss angrily at him.
"You're a civilian," he says with a shrug. Figures. I suspect Tim came out of the closet the minute he was born.
"This is a military base and I'd rather not give some homophobic grunt a reason to pound me."
"Nah, you just want a good pounding by O'Neill," McGill teases. I drop back into my chair with a groan and put my head in my hands. "All right, don't get your shorts in a bunch. I won't say anything else. But I think it's ridiculous for the two of you to go around all repressed and bitter."
"Jack's straight," I tell my desk stiffly. And I'm not repressed. Maybe just a tad bitter.
"You sure?" McGill asks.
"You have no idea," I say, finally looking up. McGill offers a genuinely sympathetic smile.
"Well, in the meantime, if you need something to take your mind off of the flyboy, I've got a joystick you can practice on." Tim wiggles his eyebrows suggestively. He's no more familiar with subtle than he is with the closet. And despite the fact that I've always thought a ponytail was a good look for guys...he's just not my type. He's not Jack.
"Appealing as that is...."
"Say no more," he says good-naturedly, getting up to leave. "Just remember, if you need a little friendly help, you know where to come."
"You're disgusting. And that was a pathetic pun."
Then again, all puns are pathetic. It's the nature of the beast. I walk over to see Tim out. I unlock my office door to find Jack standing right outside, his hand reaching for the doorknob. I stop dead. McGill just nods to Jack as he squeezes between us to get out the door.
"If you need me just whistle, Daniel. You know how to whistle, don't you? Just pucker up and blow." With a devilish grin, McGill saunters off, drawing Jack's disbelieving eye with him.
"Daniel," Jack says slowly, trying to make sense of me, McGill, and a closed door. "He didn't, you know, bother you?"
"He offered," I admit.
"I said no. We're not compatible," I explain.
"Not compatible," Jack repeats. There's a note of relief in his voice that, God knows why, triggers this reckless, childish part of me that's been only loosely constrained lately.
"No," I say. "He doesn't want a relationship and I don't do casual."
I should not be doing this. In fact, I distinctly remember deciding to not do this a mere five minutes ago. And yet--here I am, sitting on the side of my bed--my big and way too empty bed--with my fly already open. I'm an intelligent, rational, mature man, for Christ's sake. I shouldn't be ruled by a boneless appendage with aspirations of world domination. Well, the world of Daniel Jackson anyway.
On the one hand, I might as well take care of business. This hand is being enthusiastically encouraged by my cock, which is hoping it will be enthusiastically encouraged by the hand in return. The problem is that indulging my dick tends to lead it to think that it should be getting more. And on a regular basis.
Which brings up the other hand because I know that if I give in to the siren call of my libido my mind will be on one person. The one person I can't afford to dwell on. Not with my cock in my hand.
Oh, what the hell--once more can't hurt. Can it? Facing up to the painful fact that I have less self discipline than my dick, I surrender to the inevitable. I strip down quickly and settle back against the pillows. I let my eyes close and move my hands slowly and firmly down my torso. I work at conjuring other imaginary lovers but they all insistently morph into a brown-eyed, silver haired, wise-cracking USAF colonel. There isn't any point in fighting this either.
Deep down I'm certain that Jack would be a gentle, thoughtful lover. But I'm desperate. And desperately horny. The take charge "give it to me now" fantasy Jack will dispense with the distraction a lot faster. I groan as one hand cups my balls and the other pulls firmly along my cock. My mind's eye sees Jack clearing Hammond's desk with a broad sweep of his arm. Why Hammond's desk--I don't know. Although it is a very comfy chair.
I "see" Jack bending me over the bared desktop, Jack plunging into my ass without further prelude. I moan as I "feel" Jack filling me and "see" Jack's ass muscles working as he thrusts into me over and over again. My breath catches in desperate, desirous gasps as I work my cock, my own hips rocking to Jack's rhythm.
"Jack," I choke out. I open my eyes to see the subject of my fantasy standing in the bedroom doorway. Seconds later an embarrassment-fueled wave of adrenalin seizes my balls and throws me over the edge. With tremors still shaking my body, my head drops back onto the pillow. My face reddens in humiliation as I fully comprehend the picture I'm presenting. I'm flat on my back with my legs spread wide, one hand clasped firmly around my dick, and semen splattered all over my belly.
Shoot me. Really. It would be a kindness.
"You know, a simple 'Hi, Jack' would have sufficed," Jack says, a stunned look on his face. I redden even further--if that's possible--and grab for the hand towel I'd set aside earlier for handy post-orgasmic clean up, trying to cover the worst of my shame.
"Maybe I should...or...." Jack stammers a moment before simply turning and leaving the room. I quickly roll off the bed and hurry into the bathroom.
I grab the rim of the sink. I don't need to look in the mirror to know my face is white with shock, the flush of humiliation having drained away. I begin to automatically clean myself, my mind racing as I try to get a handle on the events of the last few minutes.
And isn't it just like Jack to prevent me from enjoying even a few seconds of post-orgasmic relaxation? I mean, it's not like orgasms are a regular occurrence in my life lately. He couldn't have waited five minutes to humiliate me?
Hasn't he ever heard of knocking to begin with? Jack waltzed not just into my apartment but into my bedroom, for crying out loud. The man has no respect or consideration at all. Jack puts up fortifications like nobody's business but he doesn't hesitate to crash right through mine.
A cold stab of fear pierces my self righteous indignation because the "how" of my secret's discovery is really a secondary issue now. It's done. I need to concentrate on damage control now.
I finish cleaning up and grab a pair of jeans that are hanging from the doorknob. I take a deep breath while I tug them on. I quickly consider the chances of explaining this whole situation away. I might be able to get away with claiming that the moaned "Jack" was simply recognition of Jack's presence rather than an outgrowth of my sexual fantasy. I scour my brain trying to remember if I moaned, groaned, or gasped anything other incriminating words. And I wonder just how long Jack had been within hearing range to begin with.
I grit my teeth, square my shoulders and take another deep breath. I know Jack is still here. Jack is a lot of things but he's not a man to run away from any situation no matter how difficult or embarrassing it might be. No matter how much I may want him to.
"Have you ever heard of knocking?" I snap as I stomp into the living room. I'm aiming for intimidating but painfully aware I'm more likely coming off as simply petulant.
"I did. Apparently you didn't hear me," Jack snaps right back.
"So naturally you just let yourself in." I refuse to let the humiliated blush rising in my cheeks again stop me.
"The door was unlocked." Damn.
"And that gives you the right to intrude on my privacy?!?"
"I thought you might be in trouble," Jack argues.
"You mean your spidey sense was tingling?" I throw back sarcastically. Jack just stares at me for a second.
"Asshole," he mutters. It's the typical O'Neill response when he's caught without a suitably bitchy comeback.
"What if I'd been with a woman?" I persist.
"Well, I'm guessing she'd be pretty pissed about you calling her Jack."
Well, that answers one question. Jack knows I was fantasizing about him.
"For a guy who practically has 'Keep Out' tattooed on his forehead you show remarkably little consideration for the personal space of others."
"I don't do it to protect me, Daniel. I keep other people out to protect them." I stare at Jack, stunned not just by the insight but by the fact that he's willing to share it. He shrugs. "Sooner or later I'll fuck it up. It's inevitable. And like you've got room to talk, Mr. 'I'm fine' no matter what happens."
"I suck at relationships," I admit freely.
"It was kind of a shock," Jack admits in return.
"I'll bet," I say dryly.
"No," Jack protests. "Not like that. It was actually sort of...of...."
"A cheap thrill?" I ask sarcastically.
"Damn it, Daniel. Would you quit it?"
"Sorry, Jack, but you walked in and watched me cum all over myself while yelling your name," I say, speaking firmly to the tribal mask on the wall just behind Jack's right ear. "You'll have to forgive me for being a little humiliated and a lot defensive."
"It was more of a moan," Jack says.
"My name," Jack explains. "It wasn't a yell. It was more of a...moan." Jack, acutely embarrassed, looks away, jamming his hands in his pockets.
"Oh, well, that's entirely different then."
"We should talk about this."
"I think what you should do is go," I say miserably. "I think I've already said more than enough for one day."
"I'm not freaked out by this," Jack insists quietly. "I just...I didn't know."
"You weren't supposed to know. Ever," I tell him. "And you wouldn't ever have known if you'd just bothered to knock!"
"Okay, could we just forget the door?" Jack says with an irritated growl. "How it happened doesn't matter now. Let's just deal with the fact that it happened."
"How?" I ask simply.
"I don't know," Jack admits.
"Well, you're the one who has to do the dealing," I point out.
"Me? Why me?"
"I already knew about this. I've dealt with it. And I can go back to dealing with it in a way that won't bother you or anyone else," I tell him simply. "You're the one who got the shock of his life and you're the one who's got to figure out how to handle it."
"We can. We can handle this," Jack says, not sounding entirely convinced.
"Not right now," I say. Jack glances uncertainly at the front door. "Please."
Jack hesitates another moment before nodding sharply. He pauses again in the open doorway and looks back at me. I shrug my shoulders and Jack nods again, once, before closing the door behind him.
I drop face down onto the couch with a groan. I can just imagine what will happen when Jack has had time to think about what he just saw. What a fuck up. Like that's news. Then again, maybe it is.
"D. Jackson, disgraced archaeologist and non-practicing homosexual, exposes long dormant artifact to military brass. Film at 11."
I look up cautiously as Jack sidles through the door. SG-1 has been off world for two days and, judging by Jack's damp hair, he must have come straight to my office after his post mission shower. Jack hesitates a moment before turning and closing the door. He turns back to me, back rigid, hands stuffed in pockets; he couldn't be more uncomfortable if he'd just been told he was pregnant with Apophis' love child.
"Daniel." He shuffles a few steps closer to my desk. "So, I was thinking."
"And?" This can't be good.
"And, well, I was just thinking that since everything was out in the open now you can come back to SG-1," Jack says rapidly.
"How do you figure that?"
"We all know," Jack says as if that explains everything. "Come on, Daniel. Working with McGill...it's unnerving."
"Unnerving?" Surely Jack isn't raising the specter of homophobia with me. Not now.
"Yeah. The guy is always on time, follows orders, doesn't babble endlessly about things I don't know about and don't care to know about. It's unnatural," Jack whines.
Tim? Punctual I can believe, but following orders?
"Nothing's changed, Jack." I pinch the bridge of my nose, fending off the headache that always follows frustration. Or Jack. Most days it's kind of a 'two for one' deal. Jack just blinks stupidly for a minute.
"Sure it has. You don't have to worry about keeping your secret...at least not around us. You can stop hiding."
"I can stop hiding but I can't stop wanting," I say bitterly. Jack's jaw drops, his lips moving soundlessly. What does he think this is?
"This isn't some adolescent infatuation, Jack. Nor is it just seeing some flyboy walking down the hall and thinking 'hey, nice ass'. This is you and me. As you yourself said, we've worked together and died together. I know you. I've lived and breathed you for years. I want you."
"Not just my ass?" Jack asks apprehensively.
"Not just," I agree. Jack's jaws meet with an audible click.
"Hey, Jackson, do you have...?" McGill stops short, still holding the doorknob when he realizes with whom I'm closeted. "Oh. Sorry. Er...should I come back later?"
"Yes," Jack says at the same time I say "No". McGill's gaze volleys between Jack and me warily.
"What do you need?" I prompt.
"Well, I'm not much on Middle Eastern cultures...." I nod impatiently. I know perfectly well that McGill's expertise is Mesoamerica. "Do you have any decent Hebrew references?"
"Inscriptions or...." Dare I ask?
"A living, breathing and apparently thriving population," McGill answers.
Isn't that just my luck? The Tsunami Egg Roll Emporium, as Jack had insisted on calling it, turned out to be exactly what Jack had predicted: lots of pretty pictures and very little information. And my first missions with SG-7 have been less than enlightening. McGill goes on his first mission with SG-1 and stumbles across something we've never seen before.
"Lots of people," Jack adds, eyeing McGill sourly, as if he blames Tim for the presence of an indigenous population. Which he probably does.
"How did you communicate?" I ask, trying to reign in my excitement.
"Said shalom a lot," Jack answers. "Threw in the occasional mazel tov." McGill's look tells me it's all too sadly true. Colonel O'Neill, the Anti-Diplomat, strikes again.
"What time period?" I ask, turning to survey my shelves. McGill just shrugs. Great.
"We haven't run across any Judaic cultures before," I comment, ignoring Jack's impatient grunt.
"Hey, who knows? Maybe we've just found one of the lost tribes of Israel," McGill says lightly.
"Daniel." My shoulders tense at Jack's soft call.
"Later, Jack," I respond without turning around.
"Later," he says after a moment's hesitation. I don't know if that's a promise. Or a threat.
It's getting to be a habit with Jack, this showing up at my door at his convenience. I know it won't do any good to ignore the insistent pounding. Sooner or later Jack will just kick the door in. Possibly even shoot out the lock. But in the meantime I get a decidedly childish pleasure out of thwarting him.
"Last warning, Daniel," Jack shouts, his voice carrying quite clearly through the door. "If this door isn't open in the next five seconds I'm going to stand out here and sing the entire libretto of La Boheme."
And probably not hit a single right note in the process. I shuffle to the door and open it reluctantly. Jack grins and barges right in.
"I knew you'd listen to reason," he says smugly.
"I just don't want my neighbors reporting me for human rights violations," I retort. A puzzled frown crosses his face. "I'm sure there's something in the Geneva Convention that prohibits torture by tone deaf shower singers."
"Bitchy." Jack pauses. "Has it been a month already?"
"I hate you," I announce as I drop back into my chair defiantly.
"Of course," Jack agrees amiably. "You just want to get into my shorts."
I freeze mid-snit. I know Jack's just teasing, not even really thinking about what he's saying, but sometimes he cuts a little too close to the bone...er.
"That's not funny," I say.
"Probably not," Jack concedes, sitting down on one end of the couch. "Look, I'm just trying--in my own special way--to tell you that I'm a long way from being bothered by this." Jack pauses, thoughtful. "Apparently I'm okay with it. Possibly more than okay."
"Really?" I ask, one eyebrow raised skeptically.
"Apparently," Jack repeats, sounding slightly baffled. "I mean--I saw you, and you, um, you know...and there was...." Jack stares down at his crotch as if expecting assistance from that direction. "Reaction," Jack concludes when his cock fails to speak up for itself.
"Jack," I sigh. "How long has it been since you got laid?" I throw up a hand to cut Jack's ego off at the pass. "I'm pretty damn sure it's been a while. You walked into a highly sexual situation. Reaction is to be expected. Normal even. It doesn't mean anything."
"Means something to me," Jack protests.
"Don't worry, Jack. You're still respectably straight."
"Respectable is open to debate," Jack says. "And I'm mostly straight."
"Mostly straight?" I gasp in disbelief. "Tell me, Jack. How can you be 'mostly' straight?"
"Because I am," Jack says stubbornly.
"You can't be 'mostly' straight," I say. "You're either straight or you're not. And you are."
"Don't tell me what I am," Jack says angrily. "And how do you explain yourself?"
"Me? What's to explain?" I snarl. "I'm gay."
"So...what? Sha're was just a convenient cover?"
"No!" I shout angrily. "I loved Sha're."
I'm this close to hauling off and decking Jack for the first time in our long and volatile friendship when I realize what he's really saying. I drop my clenched fist to my side and take a few deep breaths.
"I loved her. And you're right. I'm 'mostly' gay."
"So all I'm saying is there's some overlap," Jack explains awkwardly. "A little common ground."
"Meaning...meaning we could...you know...reach some sort of agreement."
"Agreement to what?" Even without the handicap of a hangover I'm not always up to translating Jack's ambiguous verbal offerings.
"Agreement to work something out between us. Like a relationship."
"We already have a relationship," I point out.
"You, me--we're already...." Jack waves his hand vaguely between us.
"In a relationship."
"As friends," I remind him.
"No," Jack says. "I mean--yes, we're friends. But we've always had this...you know."
"Work with me here, Daniel," Jack says, throwing his hands up in exasperation. "We're more intense than just friends." He studies my reaction. "Or maybe that's just me."
"I'm not disagreeing with you, Jack. I just don't understand how that leads to us having a 'relationship'."
"I'm saying we're halfway there already. Well, you're more than halfway and I'm open to the possibility."
"Have you ever been with a man before?" I ask.
"I experimented a little," Jack says, slightly flushed. "When I was younger."
"Those wild and crazy teen years."
"That's a long time ago, Jack," I say.
"I know it is. Thanks so much for reminding me."
"You haven't.... Nothing since then?"
"I'm career military, Daniel. And I was married." Jack reads my expression and hastens to explain. "It's not like I was pining away in the closet. Like I said--I'm mostly straight. Nine times out of ten I was more interested in a woman."
"And the tenth time?"
"I ignored it. Put it out of my mind and moved on."
"You can't do that to me."
"That 'thing' you do."
"Inappropriate sarcasm?" Jack asks after a moment of puzzled thought. "Or male bravado?"
"Argh!" Yeah, that was articulate, Daniel. "Putting up walls. Compartmentalizing. You know--that thing you do allegedly to protect others. I don't need protecting."
God, what am I saying? If there is ever a time when I do need protecting it's with Jack. I can't protect myself from my own inability to refuse him.
"You can't keep me at arm's length."
"It's never worked before," Jack agrees.
"And this isn't some 'try it, like it or return it' deal," I warn, getting up to pace the length of the living room. "I can't take that."
I do need Jack to protect me. I need him to say no because I know that I'm not strong enough to walk away. If Jack asks for just one night, if he wants to see how the other ten percent lives, I'll do it. I'll say yes.
"That's not my intention," Jack says earnestly. "But you gotta cut me some slack here, Daniel. I'm cool with this 'relationship' we have but the physical part...a lot of that is new to me. I can't make promises. But I'm interested."
"Interest is good," I say lamely.
I knew it. I can't deny him even though I think it is quite possibly the worst idea either of us has ever had. Even though I know I may well regret it for the rest of my life.
"You know, though, if we do this you can't come back to SG-1?" Jack adds softly.
Stupid question. I know "why not". But when I transferred to SG-7 I kept the idea in the back of my mind that in time I'd, well, get over Jack and be able to go back to my team. To my family.
"Lots of reasons. The main one being that I don't ever want to have to wonder if I made a bad decision in the field because I'm involved with a teammate."
"Is that really so different from whatever it is we have now?" I ask, sitting down next to him on the couch.
"Yes. Maybe." Jack shakes his head in frustration. "The point is if we're not on the same team it'll never be an issue."
"And if I say no to the relationship and come back to SG-1?"
"Nothing is ever easy with you, is it?" Jack complains.
"Life's a bitch," I agree. "And she's usually screwing me over."
"What do you want, Daniel?"
"And I'm willing to try." Jack puts his hand across my mouth before I can respond. "I want to try." As soon as he removes his hand I lean forward and kiss him. Not the deluxe version but enough to let him know what he's getting into.
"Well, that's all right," Jack says after a brief consideration.
"Hardly a ringing endorsement of my seductive skills," I snap. I pull back, my heart sinking.
"Wasn't meant to be an assessment of your puckerability," Jack retorts. "I was trying to judge my, um...."
"Freakability?" I suggest.
"Are you trying to seduce me?" Jack asks.
"I'm considering it," I say, eyes glued to Jack's lips.
"Then you have to shell out for dinner and a bottle of wine first. Good wine," Jack insists. "I'm not a cheap lay."
Jack is smug. And expensive. He wasn't kidding when he said he wasn't a cheap lay. Surf and turf at one of the Springs' better eating establishments. Good thing I make more money than he does. Although I have to admit it may be worth it just to watch the way the melted butter coats his lips.
"So," Jack says, noticing the way I'm eyeing him. "How long have you lusted after my body?"
"Your body? I don't know. Later," I say, distracted by my study of his mouth. "I fell in love with you first."
"But you do lust after my body, right?" Jack insists, sounding a bit crestfallen.
"Jack, I'm trying to tell you it's more than just physical. I have feelings for you, too."
"Daniel, I'm trying to tell you that I'm already there on the feelings. It's the physical I'm not sure about."
Who'd have ever thought it? Jack: strong on feelings and weak on action.
"Do you lust after my body?" I suspect I can answer that question myself, but I have to ask.
"I've, um, noticed it," he mumbles, reddening slightly.
"Before or after you watched me jerking off?"
Jack nearly chokes on his steak. I reach over and thump him on the back. "Careful. I paid good money for that meal and I don't want it going to waste."
"I'm touched by your concern," Jack says, still coughing and glaring at me. "Before."
"I noticed before. Just in a casual, friendly kind of way," he admits. "Wasn't until after your little exhibition that I started thinking about it differently."
"This isn't some 'I don't want it but I don't want anyone else to have it' thing, is it?" I need to know if Jack is here because he's genuinely interested in at least attempting a relationship or...or something else.
"Huh?" Jack says intelligently.
"If this is just because you're afraid I'll jump into McGill's bed...." Jack stiffens at the mention of McGill's name. And not in the good way. "Because I already told you--he's not interested in a relationship and I...."
"You don't do casual," Jack finishes. "I know. I got that. And no, I'm not here to heroically sacrifice myself to save you from Dr. McGill's den of iniquity."
Well, fuck. When he puts it that way it does sound ridiculous. Jack toys with his baked potato for a moment before continuing.
"Daniel, how long...?"
"I seem to have abandoned all semblance of sexual sanity after P3R-272."
At first I thought it was simply jealousy. I would've killed to be gifted with that kind of knowledge. I mean--we're talking about the Ancients here. Beings who built the stargate. Beings who are way way smarter than we are. Instead, Jack was the one lucky enough to receive the mother of all downloads. Not that he considered it lucky.
Turned out it wasn't jealousy, though. At least, not in the sense I thought it was. It was a protective feeling, much stronger than I'd felt for anyone in a long time. The unexpected intensity of that feeling made me face a few facts.
"P3R-272?" Jack questions. He only needs a second to recall the mission despite his frequent attempts to convince all and sundry that he is incapable of remembering the binary planetary designations. "That was a long time ago."
"Very long," I agree.
"Why that one?"
"I don't know," I say with a shrug, jabbing at my own potato. "I guess because you were vulnerable. You needed me. Needed my help."
"I needed your help before," Jack observes. "And since."
"Yes, but not willingly. It's always a fight with you."
"You know--I never felt scared once during all that," Jack confides.
"Really? I was scared shitless and it wasn't even my ass on the line."
"Yeah, but you're a lot more attached to that whole 'communicating' thing," Jack says dryly.
I pop the last bite of my stuffed pork chop into my mouth while I consider Jack's admission. Jack isn't too macho, or stupid, to feel fear under the appropriate circumstances. And I know he'd tell me the truth if he had been frightened.
"Maybe you weren't afraid because subconsciously you knew you had the information you needed to get help from the Asgaard."
"Or maybe I wasn't afraid because I knew you were there," Jack responds.
Well. What can I possibly say to that?
"How can you say something like that, feel that, and not see...?"
"Denial?" Jack suggests wryly. He wipes his mouth with his napkin and tosses it on his plate. "I don't know. It's just the way we are."
"Are you sure you're ready to change the way we are?" I ask. "It's a risk. There are no guarantees, for either of us, that this will work."
"That's my specialty, Daniel," Jack says with that cocky smile of his. "Following you as you go rushing in where angels fear to tread."
"Daniel, we're naked."
Brilliant observation, Jack.
"We're in bed."
Two for two. Will Jack be going for the hat trick?
"Shouldn't we be doing something?"
Apparently not. What's really sad is that this is the most two player action my bedroom has seen in longer than I care to remember.
"You're...uncomfortable," I observe. Okay, so Jack isn't the only one feeling the need to state the obvious.
"Well, I'm just not sure what you.... I mean, what do you want me to do?" Jack asks nervously.
"Exactly how much experience have you had?"
"Some," Jack insists. "A little." He makes a suggestive hand gesture to illustrate just how little. Great. Hand jobs.
"How do you feel about kissing?"
"Kissing? Love kissing," Jack says enthusiastically. "Oh. You mean kissing you."
I manage--barely--to refrain from smacking myself in the forehead. Or Jack.
"Christ, I suck."
"Not yet," I snap. And at the rate we're going, not ever.
"Well, you could give me hand here," Jack snaps back. A grin sneaks across my face as I lay there staring at the ceiling. After a second, Jack grins, too. "Come on, Daniel. Throw me a bone?"
"I don't want you to feel...," I begin.
"Daniel," Jack says curtly. "Naked. Bed. No action. This is not good for my ego." I flip the sheet aside so he can see the "bone" he's asking for. Jack's eyes widen. "Oh! Hey, that's impressive."
"Jesus, Jack, you are completely clueless."
"No, I'm not," Jack argues. "But that's making me feel better," he adds, waving at my dick.
"It is?" I ask with genuine surprise. To be honest, I figured he'd be moving so fast on his way out of the room he'd create a vacuum.
"Well, sure. For some strange reason I do it for you." Clueless. He really is.
"Unfortunately, I don't do it for you."
"I wouldn't say that," Jack says, cautiously peeking under his side of sheet. I lean over and take a peek, too.
"It's...a start," I say.
"Give it time," Jack says sounding reasonably confident. I decide to pass the time reviewing the basics. Jack seems to find the kissing more than adequate. Once he warms up to the whole idea, he even gets playful. That's just fine and dandy with me. Sex should be fun. And if it helps Jack to relax, then so much the better. I want him to enjoy this. I want him to enjoy it enough to want to do it again.
We wrestle around a bit. Jack puts up just enough resistance to let me know he isn't going to be completely passive, but otherwise he lets me guide him. Eventually I pull him to a sitting position. I sit between his outspread legs, facing him, and wrap my legs over his thighs and around his hips. Kissing again, I take both of our cocks in my hand.
"Interesting technique, Dr. Jackson," Jack breathes into my ear as he runs his hands along my spine.
"I thought you were a Boy Scout."
"Then you should already know all about rubbing two dicks together to start a fire," I say as I proceed to demonstrate.
"Stick, Daniel. Sticks," Jack says with a low chuckle.
"You saying I'm doing this wrong?" I ask innocently, bringing my other hand to join the first.
"Noooo...," Jack says shakily, dropping his head against my shoulder. "Just commenting on the use of non-traditional materials. Oh, fuck." Jack shudders delightfully as I discover just the right way to touch him. "Oh, yeah. Do that again and I guarantee there's a merit badge in it for you."
With a little encouragement Jack's cock has perked right up and joined the party. The sense of relief is almost sickening. I was concerned, terrified to be honest, that when it came time to put up or shut up, he'd question his willingness.
But then that's Jack all over. He'll argue the pants off of you, figuratively in most instances, but once he makes a decision he doesn't waste time second guessing himself. He just acts. Now it's up to me to make sure he doesn't regret acting. But, hey--no pressure there. Well, not much. We've both been celibate for so long that it isn't going to take any great skill to get us both off. I stroke firmly, rapidly, until Jack is wavering on the brink, clawing his hands into my shoulder blades.
I was prepared for almost anything from an O'Neill orgasm: growls, howls, or shouts. But he just makes these cute little gasps. I'm not going to tell him that, of course. He'd kill me if he knew I had described anything about him as cute. Then I'm torn from thought by the force of my own orgasm.
Unfortunately, as a result, I may never be able to look Jack in the face again. Unlike the beautiful physical and vocal gymnastics of orgasms in film and literature, I look like an epileptic frog. And sound like a sailor.
"Holy crap," Jack sighs as we both collapse, gasping, side by side on the bed. "What?" he demands when he sees my expression.
"Nothing," I mutter. He stares forcefully at me. "It's embarrassing. I look like...."
"You were out of control," Jack says with a self satisfied smile. I work to force my lazy, contented facial muscles into a scowl. "It's hot."
"Sha're used to say that, too." I didn't believe her either.
"Do you know why it's hot?" Jack asks.
"She said it was because it was the only time I ever let myself go. Gave up control."
"Yeah, okay, that works," Jack says after a second. I give him a gentle elbow in the ribs. "Come on--vanity isn't your thing."
"I'm not usually trying to seduce someone not only into my bed but into a whole new sexual identity," I point out.
"Don't sweat it," Jack says calmly. "So far, so good." Jack's ability to just 'go with the flow' is astounding. It's one of the reasons I love him. And, at times, one of the traits that make him so damn frustrating.
"You're really comfortable with who you are, aren't you?" I try to keep the envy out of my voice.
"What's not to love?" Jack responds glibly. Watching me out of the corner of his eye, Jack's expression sobers. "Yeah, I guess I am. Most of the time. Finally. You?"
"I guess. More than I used to be," I admit.
"See--give it another ten years or so and you'll be as comfortable in your skin as I am."
"You're comfortable in my skin?" I tease.
"I didn't say that," Jack argues.
"Did." I enjoy watching the lines in Jack's forehead deepen as he thinks over the conversation.
"Okay, but that's not what I meant. And you know it," he accuses. "Although being on your skin is not half bad."
"You're completely unflappable."
"Not quite," Jack yawns. "I've been flapped on occasion."
"I hate you."
"All part of the O'Neill charm. Resistance is futile."
"So? How's it going?"
McGill's voice startles me out of my concentration. I frown at him, perplexed by his question. He's been sitting right across the desk from me for the last two hours. He should know how it's going.
"Not this stuff," he says, waving dismissively at the pile of photographs and rough translations.
"This 'stuff' is the only thing I'm working on right now."
How can he be so dismissive? Okay, so the 'Lost Tribe' moniker was premature...and little sensational. But it's still the first undeniably Judaic culture we've ever found on another planet.
"Daniel," he sighs.
"I'm talking about you and the flyboy." My warning glare draws an exasperated shake of the head from McGill, but he gets up and closes the door.
"I don't know what you're talking about," I protest futilely as he retakes his seat. He can't know. Jack and I have been very careful in our public interactions.
"You may be fooling the chuckle heads around here, I'll admit. Hell, half of them think you and O'Neill have had some kind of falling out," McGill says.
True. Jack and I were already acting a little distant before we got together as a result of my infatuation and Jack's incognizance. Now, given our need to conceal our relationship, we may have gone too far. At times we appear to be barely civil with one another.
"They don't see because they aren't looking," Tim adds.
"And you are? Has it occurred to you that the only reason you 'see' something is because you want to?"
"Oh, please. You're glowing," McGill says with exasperation. "And the SOB is downright mellow."
"Mellow?" I ask incredulously. This is not a word one typically hears in reference to Jack. And I am not glowing. I haven't had nearly enough sex for that.
"He was whistling in the halls. And it was almost on key," McGill insists.
Okay...so Jack has been a little less irritable lately. Still, he's anything but mellow. He hasn't had enough sex for that, either.
One decided drawback to our being assigned to different teams is that half the time we're not even on the same planet, let alone the same bed. Jack's education has been slowed somewhat as a result. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes slow is good. And sometimes slow is just plain frustrating.
I shouldn't even be talking to McGill about this--I know that. In my defense, I haven't told him anything. He guessed. And he is the only sympathetic ear I have access to right now. Fortunately I've discovered that while McGill wouldn't know subtle if it bit him in the ass, he can keep his mouth shut.
"So when should I start packing my bags?" McGill asks.
"Now that the two of you have worked things out, I figured you'd be going back to SG-1."
"Um...no. I can't."
"What do you mean 'can't'?"
"It's complicated," I say. McGill snorts in disgust. "There are reasons, some very good reasons that teammates aren't supposed to get involved. And now that we.... I can't."
"Creeping Jesus, Daniel. You make everything difficult, don't you?"
"Jack said the same thing."
"Not as dumb as he looks then," McGill deduces.
"Never has been."
After Tim packs up and goes home, I decide to wander over to Sam's lab. We haven't had much chance to talk lately, not since the night I talked too much. Besides, I'd like to get back the book she borrowed. Come to think of it--I'm not sure why she needed one of my books. She'd better not be using it to calculate the flammability of some chemical she scraped up off world.
I'm only a few feet away from the lab door when the sound of Sam's voice makes me pause.
"No, Teal'c, I don't have anything against McGill," she says.
Hmm. This could be interesting. Curiosity may have killed the cat but it sure motivated the archaeologist. I step quietly closer to the wall and lean toward the door to listen.
"I mean he's a nice enough guy," Sam continues. "And he's got a real flair for knocking the colonel off balance, but it's not the same. We've been together for years, Teal'c. You, Colonel O'Neill, Daniel and me. Daniel and the colonel even longer. We belong together."
"We were a very good team," Teal'c agrees. "However, are not reassignments common in your military?"
"Of course," Sam says. "Two years and off you go to another posting. You get used to it. But the Stargate program is different. I thought we'd be together until the colonel retired."
"We can not always foresee the course of our own destinies," Teal'c replies. Silence greets this statement, and I can imagine the bemused look on Sam's face.
"No, we can't," she says slowly. There are a couple of muffled thumps. "If Daniel would just talk to the colonel instead of hiding."
Hey. Not hiding. Well, right now I am, but I'm not hiding anything from Jack. Not anymore.
"O'Neill is aware of the reason for Daniel Jackson's transfer."
"He is? He told you that?" Sam asks. "How did you get it out of him?"
"Apparently I am an incessant nag."
"You wore him down," Sam says with delight.
"To some small extent," Teal'c admits.
"And?" Sam prompts.
"O'Neill said little else, unfortunately. Just that he knew of Daniel Jackson's feelings."
"Then why is Daniel still with SG-7?" Sam asks frustration evident in her voice.
"I could not persuade O'Neill to discuss the matter further."
"We have to do something."
"Should we not leave it for the two of them to resolve?"
"You think they can resolve it?" Sam asks skeptically. "Because they're both mature, rational, sensitive men, right?"
I wait for Teal'c to answer. And wait. And wait. And...oh, come on, Teal'c.
"It is possible," Teal'c finally says.
"I'm going to talk to him," Sam says firmly.
"O'Neill?" Teal'c asks.
"No. Daniel's the only one the colonel let into his personal life," Sam says. "No, Daniel's the one I need to talk to."
Oops. No. Not a good idea.
"Daniel Jackson has not exactly been forthcoming himself."
Not unless you fill me with booze.
"He will be...when I get him drunk," Sam says with confidence.
Oh, no. No way. I learned my lesson.
Just then I hear the heavy thump of boots behind me in the corridor. I can't just stand here. It's too obvious that I'm eavesdropping. And there isn't anything that could persuade me to march into that lion's den--not with Sam and Teal'c as the lions. They'd be all over me and they wouldn't stop until they had answers. There's no choice but to turn and walk back down the corridor as if that's what I'd intended all along. I suppose I should just go home for the night.
Damn. I hate missing the good gossip. Especially when it's about me.
"You're supposed to be romancing me," Jack complains. "Wining and dining."
"I thought you liked fish."
"Fast food doesn't count," Jack says looking disdainfully at the brightly colored bag our lunch was packed in.
It's not my fault. Jack's the one on a tight schedule today. A greasy meal eaten in the front seat of my car was the only way to steal a little time together. I did find a vacant overlook on the way back to the SGC so the scenery, at least, is appealing.
"I have wined and dined you," I remind him.
"And, in turn, I put out," Jack points out. I duck my head to hide a grin. "You're not earning any merit badges with this." He eyes a crispy golden strip with suspicion. "What is this anyway?"
"It's either a fat French fry or a skinny fish stick."
Jack takes a hesitant bite. "Tastes like chicken," he scowls.
"You think everything tastes like chicken," I say, reaching for the offending tidbit.
"Hey!" Jack admonishes, pulling the strip out of my reach. "It's in my eco-ignorant convenient packaging which means it's mine." He glares at the rest of the food while he munches down the remainder of the chick/fish strip. "Everything in here is batter dipped and deep fried."
"Grease is good for you," I tell him, pausing to take a sip of my iced tea. Jack shoots me a disbelieving look. "Stops your knees from creaking during sex."
Jack stares at me for a second before the corner of his mouth twitches. He snorts softly as he turns to look out the window.
"You're in a much better mood when you're getting some," he observes.
"Moi?" I say archly. "I have it on good authority that you've been mellow."
"Am not!" Jack exclaims, outraged at the very idea.
"Actually...." I say hesitantly. Jack's expression sobers as he looks at me. His ability to read my emotions is comforting. "We need to talk."
Jack insisted that we couldn't tell anyone about us, not even Sam or Teal'c. I'm not comfortable with that. After Jack, the people I'm closest to are Sam and Teal'c. Cutting them out of the loop means I'm left with no one to talk to. Except McGill. And I think I'm going to keep Tim's knowledge of our relationship to myself for the time being. For Tim's sake.
"We haven't been together long enough to need to talk," Jack protests.
"Jack," I admonish gently. "I understand why we can't be on the same team. I don't like it--you know that--but I can live with it. But I really think we should tell Sam and Teal'c."
"No," Jack says flatly.
"Look, they both know about me already," I reason. "They don't seem to have any problem with it."
"That's you, Daniel. They wouldn't necessarily cut me the same slack," Jack says as he crumples up his empty wrappers and tosses them back into the carry out bag. "Carter's military. What she finds acceptable in a friend--a civilian--may not apply to a fellow officer and team commander."
My gut reaction is to protest. But even I recognize that Sam has as many boundaries as Jack. She's as ruled and regimented, in some ways more so. Maybe because she was raised in a military family. I have to admit the possibility that she might not respond favorably to finding out that Jack and I are together.
"And Teal'c," Jack continues. "Well, I'm never sure how Teal'c will react to anything. And I have no idea of what Jaffa think about homosexuality. Do you?"
I shake my head. It's not exactly something that comes up in casual conversation.
"But they're our friends," I protest weakly. Jack gives me that "isn't he cute when he's clueless" look.
"They're also our coworkers. And quite honestly, I don't think they'd be as flexible with me as they are with you." Jack smiles ruefully. "Let's face it, Daniel. You've always defied definition. You don't fit into anyone's preconceived notion of anything."
"You say that like it's a bad thing."
Jack leans over and gives me a kiss that would fit anyone's definition of steamy.
"Not a bad thing," Jack says. "Not a bad thing at all." He sighs. "Daniel, I've retired before. I can do it again. But I'm not going to go looking for it."
Much as I hate to admit it, Jack's right. This isn't my call. He has so much more to lose. I won't willingly be responsible for sending his career up in flames. I won't be the means by which someone destroys his reputation.
"I just hate keeping secrets," I tell him.
"I know," he says consolingly as he glances at his watch.
"What?" I ask.
"I was just thinking," Jack says with a sly look. Uh oh. "We have ten minutes before we have to head back. Ever made out in the back seat of a car?"
"Yes, but...ten minutes?"
"I work fast," Jack promises. "When I have to."
"How long are you going to be gone?" I ask.
"Show me what you've got," I challenge as I climb into the back seat.
"Gentlemen, start your engines," Jack growls happily as he follows me.
I lift my eyes from my notebook. I have to squint through the glare of my desk lamp to see Sam standing just inside the door of my office, looking somewhat uncomfortable.
"Sam?" I say warily.
"Are you busy?" she asks.
"Er...actually, yes," I say, gesturing at the papers littering my desk. SG-1's mission bought me a three day reprieve. Now that they're back, Sam apparently is ready to go on the offensive. "Can it wait?"
"Well, I suppose...." Sam's words are abruptly cut off by General Hammond's entrance.
"Dr. Jackson," General Hammond doesn't even notice Sam until she greets him. "Oh, pardon me, Major. I didn't see you there." He looks back at me. "Am I interrupting anything?"
"No, sir," Sam says quickly. "Just visiting."
"Then I need a few minutes of Dr. Jackson's time, Major." Sam nods. "Alone, if you don't mind," Hammond prods.
"Oh. Sorry," Sam says, flushing slightly. "I'll catch you later, Daniel." I just wave. I allow myself a small sigh of relief. I'm sure Hammond's arrival has saved me from a conversation with Sam that I'm not ready to have. Saved me from lies I'm not ready to tell.
"What can I do for you, sir?"
"I was wondering if you were planning to return to SG-1 anytime soon." Hammond says. Apparently we're skipping the idle chit chat part of the conversation today.
"Er...no. I asked for a transfer to SG-7, not a temporary reassignment," I say, puzzled.
"In that case, I'm going to have to ask what your reasons are for the transfer."
So much for escaping difficult conversations.
"As I said in my request...."
"Yes, I know what you said in your official request," Hammond interrupts. "What I'd like to know now is what you didn't say." I remain silent, afraid to say anything that might confirm whatever suspicions the general may have. "Son, I understand your reluctance to put in writing anything that might reflect poorly on SG-1. But when personal issues start having repercussions for the operation of this facility, I need to know about it."
"General, sir, I...."
"Hear me out," Hammond says firmly. "It's apparent to anyone who bothered to look that SG-1's team dynamic has changed. Which brings me to the crux of the matter." Hammond takes a deep breath. "The military has rules and regulations regarding relationships within the chain of command and between team members."
"I'm well aware of those rules, sir," I tell him. Boy, am I ever.
"Those rules are in place for some very good reasons," Hammond continues, watching my reaction intently. "However, the human heart being somewhat ignorant of military regs, relationships do occur. A wise commander makes certain allowances."
"Very reasonable," I manage to force out.
"Hmmm..." Hammond just nods. "However, when a relationship starts to interfere with the team's ability to function, that same commander has to step in."
Oh boy. I just shake my head at Hammond, panicking internally.
"Daniel, I can sympathize with your desire to be discreet but if the relationship between Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter has...."
"Sam?" I blurt out. Hammond thinks Jack and Sam...? I'm almost giddy with relief. "Sir, I can assure you that Jack and Sam are not...they're not together." The general's look is skeptical. "I realize Jack is not exactly a by the book kind of guy, but he has too much respect for the chain of command--for you, and way too much respect for Sam to ever do something like that."
"And Sam--well...." I hesitate. Sam made a few rather soggy admissions of her own the night that I'd spilled my guts to her. I don't want to betray her trust by telling Hammond, but surely it's better than having him think that she is now, or ever would be, involved in an inappropriate relationship with Jack.
"Sam respects Jack. And she does care about him. But she told me it felt more like the crush she had on her high school English teacher than anything else."
"I see," Hammond says, looking faintly amused.
"Um...you won't mention this to Jack, will you? Jack may not be interested in pursuing Sam but that doesn't mean he wants to hear that she's not interested."
"The male ego is a fragile thing," Hammond agrees. "Are you sure, son? You want to stay with SG-7?"
"Trust me, General. I didn't leave SG-1 because I had any problem working with Jack or Sam. Or Teal'c for that matter." That's true. Not the whole truth, granted, but true in so far as it goes.
"All right then," he says reluctantly. "If that's what you want." Um.... No. But that's the way it has to be. "Fortunately Dr. McGill seems to be adapting to SG-1 fairly well."
"You mean Jack is adapting to Dr. McGill."
"That, too," Hammond says with a paternal smile.
"Jack will never go easy on any scientist, but he knows Tim is decent guy."
"Well, I can't say that I'm not disappointed that you won't be rejoining SG-1, but I do thank you for setting my mind at ease about that particular issue."
"My pleasure, sir."
Hammond gives me a friendly nod of the head before making his way out the door. I watch anxiously until I'm certain that the general is not only out the door but well down the hall before letting out a big sigh of relief. And one scary conversation is enough. I need to get busy and stay busy before Sam....
"Finished with the general?" Sam asks as she marches right in. Her manner suggests that she knew full well the general was gone. Crap.
"Yes, but now I really have to get back to work," I tell her, averting my eyes so she can't read the lie there.
"Just a few minutes?" she asks. "Come on, Daniel. We've hardly talked in...."
"Daniel!" Nyan bursts through the door with the bouncy enthusiasm only he seems to possess...no matter what Jack says about my alleged tendency to hop. Nyan's waving a sheet of paper excitedly. Sam turns a glare on him that would make an Unas think twice.
"Oh, hello, Major Carter," he says, freezing instantly.
"What is it, Nyan?" I ask, trying to divert his attention before Sam can intimidate him right out the door.
"This translation you asked me to work on--I found a stargate address."
"And?" Sam prompts sharply.
"It's not Earth's and it's not the address for M5R," Nyan answers.
"You need to have the computer check it against the Abydos cartouche and the list of addresses we got from the Ancients," I remind him gently.
"I did. It's not there."
"What?" Sam snaps. She grabs the sheet right out of Nyan's hand and stares at it. "Are you sure?"
"Positive." Nyan's voice wavers only a little as he stares wide-eyed at Sam. He quickly turns his attention back to a safer target--me. "Do you know what this could mean? I mean--I don't know what it means but it must mean something, right?"
"First I need to make sure it's really an unknown address," Sam interjects. "Then, assuming it is, I'll need to try to calculate its location."
Already lost in her own thoughts, Sam turns on her heel. Nyan watches in surprise as she marches out of the office without a backward glance. He turns his stunned gaze to me.
"I suggest you follow her," I advise him.
"Right," Nyan nods.
"Oh!" Nyan turns and hurries after Sam.
"Dr. Jackson." I look up from where I'm trying to stuff another notebook in my pack. Jack is leaning against the doorframe. Slouching, actually, in a studiously casual way.
"Colonel." It's been three days. I have to remind myself to stay cool. To not throw myself across the room and climb in Jack's BDUs with him. "How are you?"
"Oh, you know," Jack says vaguely. His tone is dry, bored sounding, but his eyes are warm and just a little hungry. I know the look on my own face is just this side of sappy. "You?"
"Fine. I, um...um...." Between the security camera and risk of someone walking in on us, there simply isn't any way to tell Jack "I missed you. I love you. I want to strip you naked and make you scream."
"Yeah," Jack says, a hint of mischief in his eyes. Chances are he's thinking pretty much the same things I am. "So I was thinking...if you don't have any big plans for the evening...."
"Er, I do," I say reluctantly. "Gating out in a couple of hours."
"What?" Jack says sharply. "I thought you weren't going to 779 until tomorrow?"
"Oh. We're not going to 779," I explain. "Apparently some sort of weather anomaly showed up in the latest probe data. Hammond decided to delay that mission indefinitely. In the meantime, he wants us to squeeze in the follow up to P7Y-004."
"I'm still not getting all my memos," Jack complains. He runs a hand through his hair, looking as frustrated as I feel. Our schedules are playing hell with our sex life. "How long?"
"Two days," I tell him with a helpless shrug. "With any luck I'll be back by this time Thursday."
"Thursday," Jack repeats. "Thursday. Okay...listen, there's a game Thursday evening. Why don't you come over as soon as you get back and we'll watch the game together?"
"A game?" I question. He'd better not be planning on watching a "game". Not a televised one anyway.
"Yes, Daniel. A game. We'll get pizza, watch the game, and...relax."
"Relaxing would be nice."
"Great! It's a.... I'll see you Thursday then."
"Thursday," I agree. And you bet your sweet ass it's a date.
"May we join you, Daniel Jackson?" My head snaps up, blinking as my eyes try to adjust to a new focal point.
Sam drops her tray and slides into the seat across from me. Teal'c sets his lunch down and takes the seat to my left. McGill claims the seat next to Sam. Jack gives me a brief nod as he grabs a chair from the next table and settles in at the head of our table between Sam and me.
"Where's SG-7?" Jack asks.
"Um...." I say vaguely, looking around the dining room. "I don't know. They were just here."
"Daniel," Jack mutters, rolling his eyes.
"Still going at it?" McGill asks, waving at the book and pad of paper in front of me.
"Er...yeah. I think I'm finally getting somewhere," I answer. "The language really isn't all that difficult, but I don't have any background in early Jewish culture."
"You're still ahead of me. Hebrew is completely outside my realm of expertise," McGill says. "I know a few words of Yiddish, but not the kind of words we'd want to use in a diplomatic situation though."
"No," I agree, giving Jack a disapproving look. Colonel "Shalom" just smirks at me.
"Perhaps you should rejoin SG-1 until this project is finished, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c suggests pointedly.
"That's a great idea, Daniel," Sam interjects before I can respond. "And really, it would be a lot more efficient if you just did it yourself."
"Feeling the love now," McGill mutters archly. Sam's mouth drops open as guilty red spots color her cheeks. "What they're trying to say, Daniel, is that what they want is for you to come back to SG-1, and for me to get lost. Right, Major?"
"Oh...no...well," Sam stammers.
"Yes," Teal'c says bluntly.
"Subtle, T," Jack says out of the corner of his mouth.
"And on that somewhat socially awkward note, I'll take my leave."
"Oh, sit down, McGill. You don't have to leave," Jack says curtly.
"Actually, I do," Tim says, glancing furtively across the room as he wraps his sandwich up in a napkin. "Lt. Waters just came in and I owe him fifty dollars."
"Waters isn't that good at poker," Jack says.
"No, he's not," McGill agrees with a sly grin. He sneaks out behind a group of chattering lab techs, leaving Jack with a puzzled expression.
"Don't ask," I advise Jack.
"And don't tell?" Sam says sharply.
"Problem, Carter?" Jack asks, his body immediately tensing. Sam jabs her fork into her jello for a moment before answering.
"I'm just wondering why, if you can get along with Dr. McGill, you can't get along with Daniel," Sam says, her voice low but forceful. "Daniel should be on SG-1."
Damn. I know what she's thinking. She knows Jack found out about my interest and she's come to the very reasonable, albeit very wrong, conclusion that I haven't returned to the fold because Jack has a problem with it. With me. Adding to the misconception is this air of distance Jack and I have been affecting at work.
"It was Daniel's choice, Carter."
"Sure, because he...you...." Sam sputters indignantly.
"Sam, it's okay," I hasten to reassure her. It's not, not completely. I'm not entirely reconciled to the idea of never being a member of SG-1 again. But if it's a choice between Jack and SG-1, well, then it's no choice.
"Jack's right. It was my decision to transfer to SG-7."
"You're happier with SG-7?" Sam asks, her eyes searching my face intently. I don't want to lie to Sam. I understand Jack's reasons--I do--but this would be so much easier if we could just tell Sam and Teal'c the truth. I throw a frustrated look at Jack. Sam, of course, misinterprets my expression.
"See!" she hisses.
"Major Carter, perhaps we do not have all the pertinent information," Teal'c interrupts. He's been studying Jack and me very closely. He seems to come to some sort of conclusion because he inclines his head slightly in Jack's direction before turning to look at Sam. "I believe we should leave this matter to O'Neill and Daniel Jackson."
"SG-7 is the right place for me," I say as firmly as I can. "Which is not to say that I don't miss you guys. I do. But we don't have to be strangers. We can still work together," I tell her, gesturing at the notes in front of me. "And we can still get together off-duty."
"Yes," Sam's expression brightens. "We haven't done that in ages, Daniel. How about tonight?"
"Um, I've got plans."
"With me," Jack volunteers, surprising me. I suppose his desire to reassure Sam has overridden his need to completely hide any hint of our relationship. He shrugs at my astonished expression. "We're still on, right? Pizza and hockey?"
Meaning pizza, hockey and sex.
"This time you're supplying the pizza," I say.
"I'm supplying the hockey."
Meaning Jack wants to go to his house.
"Fine, but I don't want to hear any complaints about the toppings."
"Daniel, chicken and potato pizza is not officially recognized Italian cuisine."
Meaning Jack is a reverse snob. Damn, I'm getting good at this translating thing.
"Neither is Spagetti-O's, but that's never stopped you."
"Spagetti-O's?" Sam gasps in horror.
"Hey, people who eat blue jello have no room to talk," Jack says with mock severity.
"Neither of you has any taste to speak of," Teal'c intones dryly.
I nearly manage to muffle my amusement at Teal'c's observation, but a small snort escapes me. Jack just grins at me. His expression is so atypically affectionate that Sam becomes confused. She looks at both of us, a growing frown of concentration wrinkling her brow.
Poor Sam. Teal'c may have a clue. At the very least he understands that it's a personal matter between Jack and me. But Sam...she's neither ignorant nor naïve but her mind just won't go there. Not about Jack. And for the time being I have to leave it that way.
I try to make myself at home in Jack's bed while he's in the bathroom. I've always felt comfortable in Jack's home, but I'm still getting used to the bed. It's smaller than mine, however I suspect that until recently it's been just as empty. Jack finally leaves the bathroom and dives in to join me, continuing his gliding movement until he's sprawled comfortably on top of me.
"So, I was thinking," he begins.
"You do realize those words strike fear into the hearts of man and Goa'uld alike?" I complain. Every time Jack thinks we get in deeper.
"Snakes don't have hearts," Jack says, affecting selective deafness again. "Anyway--when are we going to get to the main event?"
"Why not?" Jack counters. "You got some kind of schedule or something?"
"No." Well...not formally.
"Then let's get down and dirty," Jack says enthusiastically. Before I can muster a rebuttal Jack kisses me. He's figured out that kissing is an effective means of diverting me from my allegedly endless arguments.
"I'm ready," he insists when he deigns to return my tongue to me.
"Then we're going to need...." I say hesitantly. Jack leers theatrically as he slides a hand under my pillow and pulls out the lube.
"That," I admit. "Now get off me."
"Why?" Jack asks, wiggling a little, obviously delighted by the reaction he provokes.
"Because I need to, um, prepare myself."
"Oh." Jack's expression is priceless. "I thought...I mean I assumed it would be me."
Despite Jack's willingness to try everything I've suggested so far, I have been a little concerned about his reaction to the idea of anal penetration. His assumption is reassuring, but for my own peace of mind I'm going to delay his initiation just a little longer.
"I think this time it should be me," I tell him.
"You don't have to...."
"I know I don't have to," I say. "I want to. I happen to enjoy this. A lot. And I think you'll be more relaxed once you see how good it can be."
"I'm relaxed," Jack argues. His expression as he watches me slick my fingers up is less than mellow, though. "Besides, I need to get past it, you know?"
"You also need to get past the idea of sticking your dick up my ass," I say as I push two fingers in. Jack swallows hard.
"You know, when you say it that way it does sound less than appealing," Jack says. "And doesn't that hurt?"
"It's good. And it gets better."
I think Jack is capable of understanding the concept of a little pain and a whole lot of pleasure. I also think that now is not the time for that discussion.
"You're going to love this, Jack."
"I'm willing to be convinced," he challenges.
"Then get over here." As soon as he's kneeling between my legs, I sit up so I can coat his cock, squeezing firmly as I do.
"Think you got enough there?" he asks sarcastically once he's thoroughly lubricated.
"Ah, Jack," I soothe as I lie back, pulling him with me. "There's no fun like the fun two guys can have with a little trust and a lot of lube." I hook my legs over his shoulders and guide him.
"Just push in. Not all at once," I hasten to add, remembering who I'm dealing with. This is the man, after all, who can't understand why, if his speedometer goes up to 140 mph, he isn't allowed to drive that fast.
He complies, cautiously entering me, hissing in...surprise...shock...pleasure as he finds himself assailed by sensations a lot more intense than any he's felt for a while. He looks at me uncertainly.
"It's okay," I reassure him. I'm definitely feeling no pain here. "The door's open. You can come on in." Jack lets out a slightly shaky breath and rocks his hips until he's completely joined with me.
Fine tremors run through him as he comes to rest, nearly paralyzed by the intensity of feeling, both mental and physical. I understand. The first time--and this is, in many ways, our first time--is frightening and exciting and completely overwhelming. I pull him into a kiss, gentle and soothing. Once he relaxes a bit I push my ass back at him. Jack groans but reflexively rocks into me and that's all it takes. I'm a goner.
It's a good thing Jack doesn't seem to need any more guidance because the only instructions he gets from me from that point on are "harder", "faster", and the ever popular "Fuck me!" Which is kind of redundant when you think about it.
I push and pull and damn near claw my way onto him, into him, demanding more, taking everything he has and throwing everything I have at him in return. Jack shifts position slightly and the next surge starts a fire low in my gut, sends it burning through my veins. I babble, incoherent and demanding until..."oh, God! Jack."
I'm burned clean through, completely spent and barely able to do more than just hold on and remember to breathe as Jack works toward his own completion. Jack collapses, his head heavy against my chest, gasping my name. As his breathing eases he lifts his head and stares into my eyes.
Oh, God. Don't say anything. I don't want him to give voice to what I see in his eyes. It's too much and I'm too vulnerable. I can see it. I know it already. Anything more and I'll lose it. Jack has to do the guy thing and fall asleep or talk about the Super Bowl or something so I can do the guy thing and not fall apart.
After studying my face for a moment, Jack lowers his head and kisses me. It's a hungry, devouring kiss. Possessive in a way that fucking me wasn't. He's staking his claim. I am absolutely okay with that. I am his...just as he is mine. And not even Jack O'Neill can build a wall high enough or strong enough to deny that.
Jack gentles the kiss slowly, until his lips are barely touching mine. He pulls back slightly and a crooked, content smile emerges.
"So, Daniel," he says softly. "I was thinking...."
Testing The Limits
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