The planet was irresistible to the SGC, and to SG-1 in particular. The M.A.L.P. and UAV showed a quiet, peaceful planet with scattered vegetation, a few trees (this was especially promising for Colonel O'Neill), a cloudless blue sky, temperatures in the low seventies, and absolutely no life signs. But the planet also had some very odd mineral and energy readings that drew Major Carter like a moth to flame. It also had exactly one - lone -building. A building that flickered and enticed another moth, this one an archaeologist and linguist.
Very few trees, strange alluring readings, and a tempting building. A planet made for SG-1.
October 20, 2001
"Now this is what I call a nice planet, kids," Jack said as he stood on the small hill that held the 'Gate for P3X-599.
"Yes, sir," Sam agreed as she checked the numbers on the scientific doodad in her hand, a doodad Jack actually knew the name of, but he'd die before he'd let anyone know that.
"Where's that building again?"
"North of us, sir," she said as she aimed the 'doodad' straight ahead. "These readings really are strange, Colonel. I'm registering an odd electro--"
"Is it dangerous, Carter? Because if it's not, and you're not about to tell me the measurements are due to a Goa'uld mother ship, then I'm not worried."
She smiled and said, "No, Colonel, it's not dangerous, nor is it interfering with any of our equipment, but it is strange."
"I have every confidence that you'll get to the bottom of it, Carter. Now let's get to that building before Daniel over there busts a gut."
Daniel, hearing Jack's words, looked down at his stomach. Suddenly his face scrunched up in pain and he started to moan. Clutching at his chest, he groaned out piteously, "Arrrrgh," then fell to his knees, head down, as horrible sounds of pain continued to come from his throat.
"DANIEL!" Jack yelled as he rushed to Daniel's side, followed closely by Teal'c and Carter.
The moans stopped and slowly Daniel's head lifted. Blue eyes shining with mirth met concerned brown ones. "It's too late," Daniel said, barely suppressing a grin. "My gut's busted."
Jack swiped a hand over his face, then said, "You are so going to pay for that, Daniel." He leaned in closer until his nose was mere inches from Daniel's and said in a voice full of promised retribution, "And you won't know when I'm going to strike. Payback will be a bitch."
Daniel rose easily and readjusted his pack. "Yeah, yeah. And since when do you get payback rights when THIS was my payback for the chocolate incident two weeks ago?"
Jack waggled a finger at Daniel and said, "Because you have to announce that it's a payback, fool. Everyone knows that."
"Jack, if someone has to announce a payback, then where's the payback?"
"Daniel, I don't make up the rules, I just play by them. Take your complaint to Hoyle. Now, can we get to that building? There's a hockey game with my name on it."
"Isn't there always?" Daniel said as he started off.
"Well, isn't this nifty," Jack said as he stared up at the dark, almost forbidding building. "It looked a lot better from the viewing screen at the SGC."
Daniel was already studying a large column with strange letters carved into it, so Jack walked over to stand behind him. Peering over Daniel's shoulder, he said, "Why are the writings you find always so weird? Just once I'd love to find a building with English written all over it."
Running his fingers over the symbols, Daniel said, "May I recommend the Lincoln monument in Washington, D.C.?"
"David Letterman, watch out, here comes Daniel Jackson."
"Umph," was the only response from Daniel, so Jack walked over to Carter.
"So, whatcha got?"
"Sir, the readings are the strongest right here. It's almost as if the energy I'm registering is emanating from this building."
"That can't be good," Jack noted.
"Or very good. I need to go inside, sir." Even as she said it, she was stepping up to the large stone door, her hand already moving toward the square stone that evidently served as a door knob.
As her fingers touched the door, Daniel yelled out, "NO, SAM!"
Fingers still on the strange knob, Sam said, "Daniel? I'm just opening the door."
"Well, don't. This column appears to be a warning, a very severe warning--"
"Would that be like an 'Eat all your vegetables or no television' warning, or a 'touch that and you're dead meat' kind of warning?" Jack asked.
"If I'm even partially right, we're talking very dead meat."
"Sir," Sam interrupted, "these readings are off the charts and this is important. Very. If we can find the source - this could be better than Naquada. And to be honest, there's nothing here to indicate any danger. But give me a few more minutes and I can determine if there is any kind of trap... or something."
"Okay, you've got ten. Daniel, see if you can be a bit more specific, all right?"
Daniel was already deep in trying to do just that.
"Colonel, there's nothing here but this odd energy I can't even label, but Teal'c and I have been all over this place and I don't think there's any danger."
Jack glanced over at Daniel, who was still working on the column. "Daniel?"
"I haven't been able to decipher enough yet to tell why the warning, or what could happen, but I can tell you that this is," he read from his notes, "the Hall of Eous." He looked up and cocked his head expectantly.
"Eous? Am I supposed to know what that means?"
"Well, Eous, or eous phoros, means morning star or dawn, or as used in Latin, god of light--"
"God of light? As in... false god of light?"
Daniel shook his head and said, "I don't think this is Goa'uld, Jack. The writing isn't."
"Actually, sir, it sounds kind of promising." She looked past Jack to Daniel, and asked, "Does that word... phoros... have any relation to phosphorus?"
Daniel nodded. "The original Greek word was "phosphoros" meaning 'bringer of light' and is believed to be an ancient name for the planet Venus. There are also references in Christianity--"
Jack cut him off with a wave of his hand and said impatiently, "Is that good, Carter?"
"Could be very good. These readings don't indicate any phosphorus, but if there's another substance similar, and as powerful as the measurements indicate, this--"
"Could be what we need to dazzle the NID? Surprise the Pentagon? Delight the President? Make Hammond happy?"
Smiling, Sam answered, "I won't know until--"
"Until we go in. Right. After you, Major Carter."
"Jack, I really don't think we should. Eous has other meanings--"
Carter was back up the steps and opening the door as Daniel spoke. The sound of stone scraping on stone cut him off. Jack moved up to join Carter and Teal'c, and with flashlights on, all three entered. Daniel closed his eyes and muttered disgustedly, "Daniel can't touch anything, but hey, no problemo for Sam..."
He followed them inside, all the while chastising himself for being so childish.
"Carter... it's empty. There's nothing here," Jack said as he pivoted around in a complete circle, flashlight playing against the walls and ceiling.
Sam frowned at the meter in her hand. "Sir, the energy readings are... gone."
"Well, isn't that just dandy."
Teal'c looked at the walls, and said, "O'Neill, I would suggest we turn off the lights."
Before the Jaffa could answer, Carter said, "Of course," and immediately clicked off her flashlight. Jack shrugged and shut his off, as did Teal'c.
Nothing happened, other than an eerie light playing over the floor. Jack turned, scowled, and said, "Daniel?"
"Oh. Sorry." He clicked it off - and it was like daylight.
"Well, I'll be damned," Jack murmured. "How did you know, Teal'c?"
"I have seen Journey to the Center of the Earth many times."
Jack stared at him, then took two steps toward the center of the room.
"Uhm, Jack, I wouldn't go any further--"
It was too late for Jack to heed Daniel's warning. His foot landed and made a strange sound. He glanced down, spotted the off-colored floor panel, and said, "Damn, why do I always find the one panel--"
He got nor further as a beam of blue light from the ceiling blinked on. It circled Jack, concentrated on him for a few seconds, then moved to Carter. It remained a moment on her before moving to Teal'c. The blue light darkened, but finally slid over to the last person in the room; Daniel. As it played on him, it went pale blue, then... pure white. And it lingered... and lingered... and lingered.
"It's not going away," Daniel stated unnecessarily. "I hate it when strange beams of light do that."
The light blinked off.
Jack, a wary expression on his face, said, "Daniel... is that you?"
"No, I'm Elvis," Daniel answered dryly.
"Oh. So. Are grilled peanut sandwiches really that good?"
Daniel rolled his eyes.
Jack turned and faced Carter. "So, Major, got an explanation for me?"
She shrugged helplessly. "I think we were just scanned, sir."
"Yes, well," Jack said, worried. "I really don't like strange lights that scan, but at least this time, no one disappeared."
"May I help you?"
The voice came from behind them. All four members of SG-1 whirled to face the dark shape silhouetted in the doorway.
"Who... how the--"
"I am Eous, guardian of this planet, and in spite of trespassing, you appear to be no threat."
No one was surprised when Daniel stepped forward and said, "We're explorers from a place called Earth, and no, we pose no threat to you, Eous. I'm Daniel Jackson, and this," he pointed to Jack, "is Colonel O'Neill. Next to him is Major Samantha Carter, and the man next to you, pointing the non-threatening staff weapon, is Teal'c."
Eous grinned as he looked at Teal'c, and said, "You are a Jaffa, yet I sense that you are free and bound to no false god."
Teal'c's chin lifted proudly. "I am indeed free. I once served Apophis, but no longer."
"I am pleased to hear you say that." He turned back to Daniel and asked, "So you are explorers? You came through the Stargate then?"
"Okay, I'm officially impressed. He called it a Stargate. Refreshing," Jack muttered to Sam.
"I call it by its name, Colonel O'Neill."
"He heard you, sir."
Daniel moved toward the man and asked, "Why do you protect this planet, Eous?"
"I am the last of my people and this world is all that is left of them. Our history is contained in the soil, the trees, and this building, all that remains of a great civilization."
"You guard a planet for the trees?" Jack asked, dumbfounded.
"There is more, but I do not know you well enough... as yet, to share."
They still could not see the man clearly, thanks to the sun behind him, but he must have sensed that, because he moved into the room. Without the brightness at his back, his features were visible. He was as tall as Teal'c, but there the similarity ended.
Their host had jet black hair that hung straight down his back and almost to his waist. He had a widow's peak with a gray streak slightly to the left of it. His eyes were dark, but oddly inviting, his smile quick and broad, and while his skin was extremely pale, it wasn't unhealthy looking. He wore a white shirt and white billowing pants, and over it all, a black cape that flowed to the floor in folds of silk. Eous wore no jewelry of any kind, nor did his face have a single blemish or line. He appeared ageless.
Jack moved in front of Sam, then tugged at Daniel until he was back and away. Painting a smile on his face, he said, "If you know about the Jaffa and the false gods, namely the Goa'uld, then you should understand that we travel through the 'Gate in hopes of finding weapons to aid us in our fight. We have no other goal, and as you said, we pose no threat. If you can help us, we would be grateful."
Dark eyes flicked over to Daniel. "You have no other goal? Is this true... Daniel?"
Looking first at Jack, then at Eous, Daniel said, "We also strive to learn about other cultures, to--"
"But," Jack interrupted, "our primary purpose is finding allies and weapons to fight the Goa'uld."
A moment passed, then Eous said, "I see." He reached into the folds of his cape and brought out a small square bracelet. He slipped it onto his wrist, then said, "Master Teal'c, use your staff weapon on me."
It was said so simply that it took a moment for the man's words to penetrate the collective minds of SG-1. When it did, Daniel stepped forward, hand raised, and said, "Whoa--"
"You wish to find weapons, and you wish to find allies. I may be what you are looking for. I am tired of being alone, and would desire aligning myself with a new, young people. But I realize that we must both... prove... ourselves. Please, fire the weapon. You will do me no harm, I promise you."
Jack smiled, then said, "Knock yourself out, Teal'c."
Slowly Teal'c lifted the weapon, aimed it, then... fired.
The blast hit the air around Eous... and dissipated.
Eous smiled a half smile. "This is the personal defense version."
"I think... I'm beginning to like this guy," Jack said.
October 31, 2001
"Okay, Carter, I thought you had a handle on this," Jack complained from his spot in the control room.
"We thought we did too, sir."
"How long before you can get the 'Gate up and running again, Major?" Hammond asked.
"Sir, there's no way of telling. We keep having computer problems, electrical problems, the list goes on."
"Major, we have four teams off-world, all overdue."
Sam stared at the screen in front of her and sighed. "Yes, sir."
He placed his hand on her shoulder and added, "Do your best, Major."
Both men turned and started up the stairs when Davis said, "You might want to stay out of the elevators. They've become unpredictable, sir."
Hammond looked at Jack, who stared right back. They both sighed and continued on their way.
Daniel sat at his desk and pondered the last several days, then shook his head in disbelief. Eous now had a VIP room within the SGC, wandered the halls with Daniel as his guide - albeit with two SFS following a few feet behind - and spent hours looking and listening as he both learned and shared. Only problem was, Daniel thought, Eous didn't actually share a whole lot. To be fair, Hammond wasn't sharing all that much either, but still.
He glanced down at the pictures of the column from Eous' planet and sighed. Eight days back, and this was the first opportunity to study them again. He'd literally been at the beck and call of Eous, per the man's request, a request Hammond had been happy to comply with once he'd heard about the "nifty new bracelet".
And now the entire mountain was having very strange problems. Lights going out, doors locking, computers freezing, machinery simply not working, even the kitchen was having trouble. All very unsettling.
At least now, he'd managed a few precious moments of solitude. Not that Eous was demanding, on the contrary, he was quiet, gentle, his probing friendly and curious, as well as apparently heartfelt. And yet... something about the man rubbed him wrong. Unfortunately, he couldn't explain it, not that he hadn't tried. But his comments had fallen on deaf ears. Even Janet was on Eous' side. Of course, she'd done the complete physical on the man, pronounced him "Without Goa'uld', perfectly normal in every way", not to mention "An utterly charming man"... so maybe she had an excuse.
He turned to find Eous standing in his office doorway. So much for solitude.
"Sam's finished with you?"
Smiling, Eous entered and stood on the other side of Daniel's worktable. "She is... quite unusual. She tried many different methods of... 'getting' information from me. I felt quite guilty in not succumbing. I also feel fortunate that her mind is busy with the electrical problems or I suspect I would truly be at her mercy."
"That's our Sam. Of course, one would wonder why you haven't been more... forthcoming."
"Actually, you're the reason..."
Daniel blinked behind the lenses of his glasses. "Excuse me? I'm the reason you haven't shared more?"
Eous looked down at the second chair and asked, "May I?"
He took the seat, then faced Daniel, eyes earnest and concerned. "I find you to be highly intelligent, intuitive, and with a bright, unique way of looking at things around you. I was not surprised to discover that you were the one who unlocked the secrets of the Stargate, nor was I surprised to discover that it was you who first came to understand that the Ancients built the system. And yet... I find that those you work with, spend your life with, hold little or no regard for you. I'm discovering that I am less than happy with the idea of sharing anything more with what you call the SGC."
Daniel was stunned. He sat back in his chair, his hands dropping to his lap. He couldn't even begin to know what to say.
"I have shocked you." Eous leaned forward, his dark eyes boring into Daniel. "Surely you see how they treat you? You are almost invisible here. Major Carter receives awards, medals, promotions, yet you receive no recognition at all. Teal'c, a man with a history that would get him jailed here, is also treated with honors, awards and recognition. Others are congratulated for work or ideas that you have generated, and yet, you stay. Your philosophy is dismissed on a regular basis and in spite of being proven correct time and again, you are continually doubted. How can I trust such a people, Daniel?"
"I... I... you... you have it all wrong. You just have it all wrong."
"Sir, we need to talk."
Jack looked up to find Sam standing in his doorway. He waved her in, then stood after catching the expression on her face. "What is it?"
"As you know, we've been trying to find the problem with our electrical system... among other things, and I've had my team covering the base trying to find the source of the interference--"
"Yes, sir. We've been measuring...."
Seeing the look in his eyes, she said quickly, "The bottom line is that even body temperatures were measured much like we search for heat signatures on other planets. Everyone registered normally and we found no anomalies until airman Gonzales happened to catch Daniel and... Eous."
"Give it to me, Carter," Jack said tersely.
"Eous didn't register at all, sir."
"I think we'd better go see Hammond."
"You're positive about those readings? It couldn't have been a malfunction with the equipment?"
"No, sir. Gonzales tested the meter and then took another reading while Daniel and Eous were in the cafeteria. Nothing registered at all, sir."
"Any ideas of the significance of this? Could he be some kind of machine?" Jack asked.
"No, sir. If he were a machine, there'd be energy readings of some kind. He doesn't register at all."
"So, what?" Hammond asked. "He doesn't exist?"
"Not in a manner we recognize, sir."
The General looked from one to the other, then said, "Suggestions?"
"Sir, it's altogether possible he's simply a life form that our equipment can't read."
"Isn't that impossible, Carter?" Jack asked.
"I... yes... yes, from all that we know. But he could be something outside our experience," she finished lamely. She wasn't Daniel, she couldn't just throw this stuff out there.
Jack looked back at Hammond and said, "I say we confront him, sir. Right now."
"Where is he?"
Carter cleared her throat and said, "With Daniel, sir."
Jack started edging toward the door as he said, "General?"
"Go. Confront. Take security with you."
"You don't understand anything, Eous."
"Then please, explain."
Daniel stood up and started to pace. "First of all... the 'Gate. I was simply the lucky one, all right? They would have opened it, hell, Sam would have got it opened once she'd been reassigned. I... they don't owe me anything for that, nothing. In fact, the only reason I'm still here is probably the fact that they do feel they owe something because I happened to be the one to open it. They let me go through the 'Gate for that reason. I should be desk bound. I sure as hell don't contribute anything worthwhile, and I've made more mistakes and nearly cost the lives of my teammates more times than I can count," his voice rose and his strides lengthened, "and my failures? Let me count them up for you--"
"Stop, Daniel. Stop now."
Daniel paused, turned, and stared open-mouthed at Jack, who stood just inside his office, Sam behind him. Jack walked all the way in and said, "Putting this ridiculous conversation aside for the moment, it seems we have a slight problem, Eous, and we're hoping you can help." At a nod from Eous, Jack said bluntly, "You seem to be rather unusual and we'd like to know why. Care to share?"
His voice was rock hard and Daniel almost took a step back from the man. He'd never heard Jack sound quite so... ruthless. He glanced over at Eous, who was smiling benignly.
"Unusual, Colonel? I hardly think so. But perhaps my time here is at an end. I've learned all that I need to and I'm ready to offer you and your general a proposition."
Jack's eyes narrowed. "What are you, Eous?"
"I am not anything you think, and I am more than you can imagine. Give me a chance to explain?"
Jack stepped aside, but made sure that his body was between Eous and Daniel. "Let it never be said we humans aren't willing to listen. The General is waiting in the briefing room." He made a sweeping gesture with his hand and added, "After you."
Smile still in place, Eous rose and walked out. He glanced at the added security, and his smile widened.
"Jack?" Daniel asked as he remained rooted to the spot.
Jack simply snagged his shirt and pulled.
Hammond was in his usual spot at the conference table, with Jack next to Daniel, Eous on the other side, Sam and Teal'c across the table. There were six SFS in the room, two at each exit and two standing behind their guest.
Eous looked at each individual, his glance lingering on Daniel. Finally he said, "Colonel O'Neill, you stated on my planet that you wished to find a means to protect your world from the Goa'uld. Am I correct?"
Shooting a sideways glance at Hammond, who nodded slightly, he said, "Yes."
"I have had a unique opportunity to observe you all, and I must say that I've been receiving mixed messages that leave me wondering what you really desire. For instance, I could present you with a defense system that would protect your entire planet against any possible Gou'ald attack, or any attack from outer space. But... I can also provide you with weapons. Would you turn such gifts down?"
Hammond leaned forward, his entire demeanor cautious. "We would be very interested in something that could defend against the Gou'ald," he said.
"We would also be interested in any weapons that would be able to penetrate the protective shields utilized by the Gou'ald."
Dark eyes flashed with understanding, then narrowed as Eous said, "I understand, but do you speak for this entire planet? For your own government? And is it only... defensive weapons you require? I could provide you with weapons of unimaginable destruction. You would fear no one... and nothing... whether here on Earth, or in space."
He stood, but at a move from the SF's, he remained by his chair as he said, "I would wonder... if you would be content with only a device that protects, and because I have this... concern, I find that I must ask you the following: If you could have only one item that I can offer - would you choose to protect your planet by use of a defensive shield, or would you choose weapons of destruction that could destroy your enemies - all of them? Which would it be?"
Daniel looked down at his hands and waited for the answer... an answer he prayed would be the same as his had he been asked...
"Eous, we would choose the defensive shield, no question," Hammond said as he sat back.
"But," Jack interjected, "a few defensive weapons to protect us while 'Gating wouldn't be bad either."
Daniel felt the relief rush through him.
"I am surprised to hear that answer." He looked at each of them in turn, then said to Hammond, "Would you be pleased to hear that such a device would cost you no money, something I've come to realize you value highly? That it would cost you nothing?"
"You mean you want nothing in return?" Jack asked, his disbelief barely concealed.
"I didn't say that, Colonel. I said it would cost you nothing."
Daniel was suddenly reminded of the Devil and Daniel Webster. He felt as though they were all being sucked into a bargain none of them were equipped to meet. And speaking of the devil...
Slowly Eous turned to face him. "You've figured it out, haven't you, Daniel?" he said, his tone deceptively easy.
"I... yes, I think I have."
"Daniel? Care to share with the rest of us?" Jack asked, his eyes on Eous.
"It's something I tried to tell you on the planet. His name--"
Eous interrupted him with, "I have several names, Daniel." He faced Jack. "You have heard me called... Lucifer, for instance. Or perhaps you prefer... Satan? I am known by both and many more."
"Oh, fer crying out loud," Jack said, clearly disbelieving. "Trust me, buddy, we've seen the devil, been to Hell, and have the tee shirt and sunburn to prove it. I don't know what--"
"Jack, don't," Daniel warned. "I think that building was a--"
"Stop talking now, Daniel," Eous said softly.
Daniel froze - literally.
Jack, who'd gone to his feet when Eous had, now started to move, even as Teal'c, Carter, and Hammond jumped to their feet. The SF's converged, but Eous held up a warning hand. "He is unharmed. I've only stopped him from speaking or moving. I do not wish that he should interrupt what I'm about to... offer. I can control his body, but not his mind, so have no fear... or perhaps you should have a great deal."
The SF's looked to Hammond, who nodded slightly, indicating that for now, they should hold their place.
"I told you what I could offer, and I told you it would cost you nothing. I feel it is the least I can do considering that you, Major Carter, and you, Colonel O'Neill, freed me from my prison."
Seeing the surprised looks around the table, he nodded. "Oh, yes, even the devil can be imprisoned. It seems I overstepped my bounds a few centuries ago and--"
"Oh, let me guess," Jack said, his eyes now on the helpless Daniel, "God took umbrage and stuck you in that... whatever it was."
"You could say that, yes. Don't tell me you don't believe in God, Colonel? Surely if there exists the Devil, there must be what you call God. Evil can not stand alone, as Daniel could tell you. God is the yin to my yang, the left hand of my darkness, and I'm afraid I pissed her off royally."
"Her?" Carter asked, shocked.
"Surprised, eh?" Eous said with a truly wicked smile. "What can I say? But you all should have realized, really. Think about it. All that indecision? Contradictions? And can you have a male as the devil, yet not have a female for God? Classic battle, if you know what I mean. But now, I believe it is time to get to the proposition."
Eous moved back and as the SF's took threatening steps toward him, he simply waved his hand... and they disappeared. He stepped up to Daniel's side and rested his hand on the back of Daniel's neck. "I was instantly drawn to Daniel as you may have noticed in my prison. I lingered on him, drawing strength from him, feeling emotions for the first time in centuries." Noticing Jack's expression, Eous said, "You would gladly kill me right now if you could, would you not, Colonel?"
"Give me the chance to show you," Jack said in a voice so cold, so full of threat, that even Hammond winced.
"I don't think so. Besides, you will soon be very grateful to me... and to Daniel." He stepped away from Daniel and said, "I am willing to give you more than you could ever have dreamed of attaining." His eyes seemed to lighten, but no one was thrilled to see the color that suddenly ringed them... namely red.
"I'm sure you have all heard of my penchant for collecting souls so this should come as no surprise to you. I desire Daniel's soul. I could easily take his body, in fact, in the last days, as he has given in to sleep, I have--"
Jack nearly threw himself across the table as he yelled, "YOU BASTARD!" His body slid on the polished surface, but before he could reach Eous, he was lifted in the air where he hovered... before being thrown backward with a powerful surge. If not for Teal'c, who stepped behind him and cushioned him, Jack would have hit the wall with enough force to do serious damage.
"I will not allow another such maneuver, Colonel. Next time, you will die," Eous warned.
Teal'c held onto Jack in an effort to keep him safe, but Jack's eyes were dark slits that promised death to Eous if he had the chance.
"Now, as I was saying, or perhaps I should just get to the bottom line here. I want Daniel's soul, but can you imagine my surprise when I discovered that he'd given it away?"
For a moment, his words hung in the air, their meaning baffling SG-1 and General Hammond. Finally Sam stuttered out, "I... how... you can't... give your soul away."
"You are an expert in souls too, Major?" Eous asked. "Among your many other talents, perhaps? Although, I must admit, until meeting Daniel, I believed that a soul was impossible to give away to other than myself, and yet, that is exactly what Daniel has done."
"Shar'e," Jack whispered.
"No, Colonel, not the lovely and late Shar'e. He has given his soul to all of you. Each of you, to some extent, holds a part of it. General Hammond, you hold a small piece because you represent this project, and Daniel sees you almost as a father." His gaze moved to Sam. "And you, beautiful Samantha, in spite of your need to compete with him, a task that is, by the way, impossible, Daniel looks upon you as a beloved and brilliant sister. He loves you, is in awe of you, and even though he recognizes that he will never hold a place in the hearts of these men," he indicated Hammond, Teal'c and Jack, "equal to yours, he does not begrudge you. His love is strong and true and he believes himself your inferior.
"You, Teal'c, you hold a very special place in Daniel's heart, and the part of his soul that you possess is that of more than a brother. He admires you, trusts you, and all in spite of the fact that you not only took his wife, but chose her to be Apophis' queen. And then you committed the greatest sin against Daniel - you chose to save him over his wife. And yet, he forgave. Over and over again... he forgave, as he will always forgive. Although, one would assume a trespass must be committed in order to forgive, and Daniel has never felt that you trespassed, Teal'c. It was never a question of forgiveness for him. So you earned a piece of his soul."
For the second time, Eous placed his hand on the back of Daniel's neck even as he looked upon Jack. "And you, Colonel O'Neill, you own the largest part of Daniel's soul. You are the alpha and omega to him, but I seriously doubt that you were even remotely aware of this fact. Did you know that when all of you were under the influence of the Blood of Sokar - a man I greatly admired, by the way - that when Sam revisited her father, and Martouf his beloved Jolinar, and you, O'Neill, relived a moment with your son, Daniel's moment was with you? Did you know that? Have you ever noticed that you're the first name he speaks when in trouble? The first person he turns to? He would give anything for you, Jack O'Neill. Anything. If he still possessed his soul, he would gladly have given it to me to protect you or to give you what he believes is your heart's desire. That is how deep his love for you is, Jack."
Eous allowed his words to penetrate, then said, "General Hammond, you shall have your weapons, and the shield of which I spoke. The NID will be neutralized, and Senator Kinsey's reputation destroyed. You will see the SGC become all that you believe it should be."
He turned to Teal'c. "Look there, my Jaffa friend." He pointed to glass of the observation window, and slowly a figure shimmered, wavered, and finally solidified.
"Shan'auc," Teal'c whispered.
"Yes, Teal'c. Shan'auc. And she can be yours again. Yours to love, to caress, to share a life for many years to come."
Eous caressed Daniel's neck with his index finger as he gazed upon Sam and said, "And lovely Samantha. Allow me to say... cold fusion and... quantum physics. Imagine being given the key to these two items. Imagine what you could do."
Finally he turned to Jack. "And for you, Colonel, I can give... your son. I can give you Charlie. Look there," he said as he pointed to the door of Hammond's office.
Charlie O'Neill stood framed in the door, a golden glow surrounding him. "Daddy," he said again, holding out his arms. "Can I come home with you?"
"Dear God," Jack breathed out as his eyes filled. Teal'c's arms tightened around his waist, but they were unnecessary, he couldn't have moved if he tried.
"All these things shall be yours, and all you need do is relinquish your piece of Daniel's soul. That's all. Simply say, 'It is yours, Eous', and all that I've promised, and that is before you now, will become real. Simply relinquish your claim on the part of Daniel's soul that you own."
Slowly Jack's gaze moved away from the vision that was his son, and came to rest on Daniel. At the sight that greeted him, Jack moaned deep and with a pain that brought everyone's attention to him, then to Daniel.
Daniel stood as he'd been standing since commanded by Eous to stop talking, blue eyes fixed on Jack. No pulse beat at his throat, he neither blinked nor twitched, but two tears had begun to track their way down his cheek.
"No," Jack said firmly. "What part of Daniel's soul I have, I shall keep and protect to the end of my days, and if given half the chance, will give him mine for safekeeping."
"No," Teal'c said just as firmly. "I would give that part of DanielJackson's soul that has been granted me - only to DanielJackson. And if I could, I would ensure the end of your days, Eous."
With a lift of her chin, Sam said, "NO. Just... no."
Hammond, a proud look in his eyes, said, "You have your answer, Eous, and it is no. There is nothing you have that we want... nothing." He glanced down the table at his people and added, "There is no doubt that we do not always understand Doctor Jackson, but that is our failing, not his. He sees variations on the theme of black and white, where we see only black and white. That which is strange and impossible for us, is normal and accepted for him. We can see beyond our own lives, but Daniel can see beyond the stars. We need him. You have no power here, Eous. And that which you want, you can never have nor possess."
Eous moved away from Daniel, and as he did, his body seemed to waver much like a mirage. Heat waves poured from his body and his face took on a strange orange tinge. Slowly his arms rose toward the ceiling.
Jack and Teal'c moved as one unit, rounding the table, Jack headed for Daniel, Teal'c for Eous. At the same moment, Daniel's body seemed to lose all muscle control and he started to fold like an accordion. Jack caught him easily just as Teal'c launched himself at Eous.
Teal'c hit something solid, yet invisible, and literally bounced back to land on the table. Eous turned toward Jack, who still had an arm full of Daniel. One hand reached out toward Jack and Eous smiled in anticipation.
"It is over, Eous," a calm musical voice announced.
Hammond, who'd been edging toward his office and his service revolver, stopped. Sam had been creeping toward Teal'c, and at the sound of the voice, she too stopped, looked over at Jack, and asked haltingly, "Where... who..."
From behind Eous, something started happening to the observation window. A soft white glow appeared in the center, and a split second later, it began to spread out until it finally separated itself. The glow seemed to have arms and legs, or at least... tendrils that looked like appendages. It hovered in the air several feet over their heads, then floated closer to Eous and paused.
Eous gazed up at it and said in an almost petulant voice, "I did not break our bargain, Oma. They freed me and this is now my playground."
A face seemed to appear in the luminescent white cloud. Wide eyes with long lashes looked down at them as two tendrils reached out for Daniel. One seemed to take on the form of a hand. Slowly 'she' brushed Daniel's cheek and said, "But you have broken our agreement, Lucifer. You attempted to take something that has not been offered. You have no powers unless invited to be a part of an individual. That too was our deal since you allowed a Gou'ald to ascend."
"You're never going to forgive me for that little... joke... are you?"
There was no answer as the blue eyes simply blinked back at him.
He waved his hand at everyone and said, still petulant, "They all could have said yes, Oma."
"But they didn't and now you try to take from them that which they've refused to give you. You injured Teal'c, and you have trespassed upon Daniel, who is protected by us."
Eous... or Lucifer, as Oma had called him, smiled smugly. "So what? I am free now and there is nothing you can do. I have not violated any rules of the Others and you have no power over me in this here and now."
"Do I not? Well, then, we shall see what can be done."
She turned her attention to Daniel, who was shaking his head like a bull who'd just gone ten rounds in the ring with a wild matador. "Daniel, can you hear me?"
Jack managed to get his friend to the chair. He helped him sit down and watched as Daniel took off his glasses and rubbed at his eyes. Finally he lifted his head and gazed up into the sweet and gentle eyes of Oma Desala. "I... I can hear you."
"You have the knowledge to send him back to the planet and prison where you found him, Daniel," she said cryptically.
"I... don't ...."
"You do, Daniel. You do."
"Oh, for crying out loud, just tell him what to do, or damn it, do it yourself."
Rubbing at his forehead, Daniel said, "I don't think she can. Do either, I mean." He put out a hand and fumbled until Jack took it... and held it. "Just give me a moment," he said as Jack's fingers tightened around his hand.
"Sure, Danny, sure. Take all the time you need. These little battles with devils and ascended whatevers are no biggie."
Daniel smiled wanly at that, then said, "I could really use my notes from the planet because I think the key is on the column I was taping..."
"ENOUGH!" Eous yelled out. "THIS IS MY WORLD NOW, OMA. YOU CAN DO NOTHING!"
The glow that was Oma simply brightened.
"DO NOT TRY ANYTHING, I KNOW THE RULES!"
Even as Eous commanded Oma to desist in her efforts to help, Daniel closed his eyes and mentally recalled the tape of the symbols on the column. Keeping his eyes closed, he reviewed his notes...
The symbols had been... a... had represented an event... and they'd been a warning, as he'd told Jack at the time. He grimaced as a headache made itself known, but he took a few calming breaths... and cocked his head. He could see... several symbols set apart now, and in quotes...
Slowly he mouthed them, sounding them out in his mind, trying to make sense of them, to "hear" them in his head...
Eous, seeing Daniel's lips moving, acted quickly, but Jack was faster. As Eous reached out for Daniel, Jack lunged at him. He wrapped his arms around the man and received the shock of his life. Eous laughed.
"Thank you, Colonel. I now have permission to do something I've wanted to do from the beginning, which was to end your miserable life."
Most of his brain occupied with the symbols in his mind's eye, Daniel nevertheless heard Eous. His eyes popped open and, heart pounding, he made his decision. This would take a leap of faith and, if he was wrong - Jack could die, but he had to do it.
Daniel stood up as Eous and Jack grappled, Eous' fingers straining to reach Jack's throat. Daniel faced their enemy and, out loud, tried the first word from the quoted section on the column.
The moment he heard the word pass his lips, an obscure memory from the vast resource that was his brain came to the fore. He lifted his right index finger and said the second word.
The air in the room changed and grew cold. Eous seemed unable to touch Jack, who, shocked, stepped back and out of Eous' grasp. Teal'c, who was now standing next to Sam, moved to his friend's side, as did Sam. Hammond moved cautiously around the table from the other end, his eyes not on Eous nor Oma, but on Daniel.
Above them all, Oma seemed to smile as she floated over to the observation window, passed through it... and disappeared.
Daniel never saw her go, so intent was he on the words he was saying, and the memory he was calling forth. He touched his right shoulder with his finger and said, "Veh-geburah." He then touched his left shoulder and said, "Veh-gedulah."
Jack watched, astounded, as Eous' mouth moved and his lips formed a violent and helpless, "NO!" From where he now stood, he could feel the power and energy around Daniel, but he could also see the strain in the fine lines of pain radiating out from the corner of his eyes, the grey tinge to his lips, and the shaking hands. Something drew him to Daniel's side, and he wasn't surprised that he didn't go alone. Teal'c, Sam, and General Hammond all followed him until they'd formed a protective half circle around Daniel.
The orange aura that had surrounded Eous began to fade as Daniel clasped his hands and intoned, "Le-Olam - Yod he vau he!" With those words, Daniel turned and face East, then South and said, "Adonai." He turned West and made a sound of pain as Eous took a halting and heavy step forward, his arms reaching out once again.
Jack, sensing a power play, did the only thing he could; he put his hand on Daniel's shoulder. A moment later, Teal'c and Sam did the same, with Hammond stepping up to Daniel's left side and placing his hand on Daniel's arm.
Daniel took a deep breath, and arms outstretched in the form of a cross, he repeated all that he'd said before.
"Ah-the, malkuth, veh-geburah, veh-gedulah --- Le-Olam - ADONAI!"
Jack blinked, then looked around the room. Frowning, he said, "Uh..."
"My thoughts exactly, O'Neill," Teal'c said from his... usual seat at the conference table.
Sam, mouth hanging open, noted that everything was exactly as it should be, including the four guards, who were back at their stations, albeit looking very confused. She gave a small shake of her head and said, "What just happened?"
Hammond looked over at their archaeologist and said, "Doctor Jackson, are you all right?"
Daniel's mouth opened, then shut, then he mumbled, "Headache. Have a headache." He turned to Jack and asked, "If I click my heels three times, can I go home now?"
Falling back on the only thing he was certain of at the moment, he quipped, "I don't know, Daniel, are you done playing around with the Wicked Warlock of the West?"
"Oh, yeah. I don't think he'll be bothering us anymore," Daniel said in a tired voice.
Hammond stood and said, "Well, let's just make sure of that, shall we? Major, may I suggest we remove P3X-599 from our databank?"
Standing, Sam nodded and said, "I'm on it, sir." She headed for the door, paused, turned, and said, "It really happened, didn't it?"
Jack, who'd also stood and was now next to Daniel, said, "Yeah, Carter, it did. And later... much later, we'll have a nice long talk about it and Daniel's place within the SGC, but for now, I think I'll get Doctor "I'm so free with my soul" Jackson, home." He glanced over at the general and added, "If that's all right with you, sir?"
"I'd have made it an order otherwise, Colonel."
That was enough for Jack. He put a hand under Daniel's elbow and his arm around the younger man's waist, and helped him stand. Hammond, seeing how weak Daniel appeared, said, "Perhaps a visit to Doctor Frasier first might be in order?"
Daniel waved a hand and said, "No, sir, that won't be necessary. All I need is a bed. My own."
"We're on our way, sir."
They all watched Jack help Daniel out, and once they were gone, Hammond dismissed security. Alone, the three remaining stared at each other in disbelief. Finally Teal'c broke the silence.
"I have seen much in my years, but I believe that today, I witnessed the true battle between good and evil."
"And we won," Carter said quietly.
Jack drove slowly down the mountain, his entire being aware of the man seated beside him. He had a dozen - no - two dozen - questions he wanted to ask, but he asked none. Daniel's body was screaming exhaustion.
"I think I get it now," Daniel suddenly said.
"Get what, Danny?"
"The meaning of life."
"What am I missing here? We bring home Lucifer himself, get a nice visit from Oma Desala, our favorite glowy being, you play spell caster and banish the guy, so how does all that translate to understanding the meaning of life?"
"Do you know what today is?" Daniel asked, not ready to deal with Jack and his ability to be obtuse.
"Hell, yeah. October thirty-first."
"Right. Halloween. It's Halloween, Jack."
He turned onto the highway that would take them into Colorado Springs, and asked, "So the meaning of life is about Halloween?"
Daniel chuckled and the sound was music to Jack's ears. "Well, I certainly thought so when I was growing up. Who could hate a day that meant free candy simply for saying three words?"
Traffic was light, which gave Jack a chance to sneak a look at his friend. Daniel seemed much more relaxed as he watched the passing scenery, so Jack asked, "Now that you get the meaning of life stuff, maybe you'd like to share?"
"I don't know if I can if you don't get it now, Jack. "
"Will saying 'trick or treat' help, 'cause I gotta tell ya, Daniel, I don't get it."
Smiling, Daniel shook his head.
"All right, then answer me this, Great Pumpkin." He ignored Daniel's snort. "Is Oma Desala God?"
"Was Eous the devil?" Daniel shot back.
"Come on, Danny, play fair. I don't give a shit if Eous was the devil, but what I do know, is that in all my forty some odd years, I was never as scared as I was today. The idea that Eous, or whoever he was, could take your soul, could take you from us, well, that's the meaning of life to me because without you... without you, I have no life."
Daniel stared at him, and Jack could feel the sudden tension flowing from his friend. He waited.
"Jack... Jack, you had the chance to... have Charlie back. Charlie, Jack. And all you had to do was give Eous something you didn't even know you had."
"Charlie's dead, Daniel. You're not. No contest."
He knew without looking that he'd just succeeded in shocking his archaeologist.
Shocking him, but not shutting him up.
"But what? Did you really believe that any of us would give you over for that man's promises? That I'd give you over? Give up the piece of your soul that you gave me? Never, Daniel. Never. I meant what I said, and I know you could hear us."
Seeing Daniel's speechless state, he used it to ask again, "Is Oma God?"
"Jack, God is a name given something that... that appeared to be more than the early man could deal with. The fact that we've given that name a divinity and made him or her omnipotent is completely understandable. And let's face it, if you have a group of individuals with the kind of power the Ancients posses, wouldn't it make sense that you'd have their opposite? That someone would turn to--"
"If you say 'turn to the darker side', I may have to drop you at the corner and leave you there. And can't you ever just say no or yes?"
"Ha-ha, Daniel. But really - darker side? Come on."
"What else would you call it? Having all that power is a pretty heady experience, trust me, I know."
Daniel stared out the window and said quietly, "The dream Shifu gave me. I had all the power of the Gou'ald. All of it. I was invincible and I used it to literally take over the world. I had Teal'c killed and Sam jailed, and ultimately, you were forced to try and kill me to stop me. You failed."
"Holy shit. And you're just now telling me this?"
"No reason to tell you before. It meant nothing to anyone but me."
"I think you might have missed the purpose behind giving you that dream, Daniel. But we can come back to that later. Basically, we're saying that God is Oma, and Oma is good, but not a god, but Eous is Lucifer, and he's evil, but not the Devil and that's normal, and we don't listen to you enough, but when the chips were down--"
"You were there for me," Daniel finished for him.
"I... damn. I was going to say that you came through for us, like you always do."
Daniel gave a little guffaw-type of sound and said, "Yeah, right. And who mentioned anything about you guys not listening to me?"
"Me. If I'd let you spout off back on the planet, we wouldn't have almost lost you."
Daniel went back to looking out the window as he murmured, "No biggie."
"Big biggie, Daniel. Really big biggie."
They were silent for a few minutes, then Jack said, "I love you, you know. I don't know how I got here, or what you're going to do about it, but there it is."
"What I'm going to do about it?"
"Yeah. I offered you my soul earlier, now I'm offering my heart and other important body parts. Think of me as free candy and you don't even have to say 'trick or treat'."
Daniel gave him a kind of 'I don't believe you' look, then started laughing.
"Sheesh, what does it take these days to get a man to take your declarations of love seriously?" Jack groused.
"I have absolutely no response to that," Daniel managed to say between gasps of laughter.
"Romance is dead," Jack lamented.
Jack pulled up in front of Daniel's apartment building, surprised to find a place to park. He did a fine job of parallel parking, then shut off the engine and turned in his seat. "Well?" he asked. "You've stopped laughing, so maybe now you'd like to give me some kind of response to my... you know, my... spilling my guts all over my car."
"There's a U-Wash It place around the corner and down Livingston," Daniel offered helpfully, a glint in his eye that Jack hadn't seen for months.
"You're going to make this tough on me, aren't you?"
Nodding, Daniel opened the door and got out. He smiled harmlessly and started to walk into his building. Jack got out quickly, locked the doors, and hurried after him. He caught up to him just inside the lobby and followed him to, and into, the elevator. As it took them up to the eighth floor, Jack leaned against the wall and regarded his friend... and soon to be something more - he hoped. Daniel looked tired, but calm - almost happy, so Jack decided that further talking ... could wait. Besides, he was enjoying the simple act of watching Daniel.
They exited the elevator and walked the few steps to Daniel's door. Daniel already had his keys out and he quickly inserted the right one, turned it, and pushed the door open. With a happy sigh, he walked in, Jack right behind him. He tossed the keys onto the side table, took off his jacket and let it drop on another table as he walked up and into his living room. He waved at his kitchen and said, "Help yourself to anything, I'm going to bed."
Jack watched him open his bedroom door and walk in. Daniel didn't shut it. Jack smiled.
Help himself to anything?
He could do that.
Jack took off his jacket, laid it on the back of the couch, and followed Daniel into his room.
Sam stared at the 'Gate through the window in the control room. She'd just removed the planet from the database, and now she sat quietly contemplating heaven, hell, the SGC, and souls. Her body still and at peace for the first time in years, she smiled slightly at the scene below her. It was truly a miracle, all the events that led to the opening of the 'Gate and to all that the 'Gate had opened for Earth. For the first time... she admitted that she'd never have been the one to open it. Never. She seriously doubted now that it would have been opened in time to save Earth from Apophis, if not for Daniel.
She placed her hand over her heart and tried to feel the piece of Daniel that she possessed, and for a moment, she fancied that she could. Her smile widened. Sam suddenly remembered something she'd said to Jack when they'd first met...
"I'd like to think I've been preparing for this my whole life."
Sam realized now that all four of them had been preparing for the SGC their whole lives, none more so than Daniel. When she'd been working on the Stargate, before it had been the Stargate, it had been nothing more than a puzzle to solve. She'd never thought it could really be a portal to anything, other than perhaps... somewhere else on Earth, but she'd been absolutely certain that she'd be able to crack it. Sam felt a moment of shame when she remembered the moment she'd been told that some young archaeologist had done what she hadn't. She'd been stunned that a mere archaeologist could do what she, with all her science, could not. Her surprise had given way to a moment of real hate, followed quickly by jealousy, and finally envy. And in the secret recesses of her mind, she'd asked herself what kind of mind did this, "Doctor Jackson" have that could so easily have solved the mystery of the 'Gate?
It was altogether possible that she'd never overcome her initial jealousy, that it had, in fact, governed many of her disagreements with Daniel over the years.
She pushed herself away from the console and stood. It was time to go home. But soon... she and Daniel would talk.
Teal'c sat on the floor of his room surrounded by candles. He understood that this day was a day of celebration of the dead. A day when the spirits could rise and rule the Earth. DanielJackson had told him that four years ago. He thought it was strange then, and he thought it strange now, that a day that expected the dead to rise was celebrated by dressing up as Yoda and receiving free candy. And yet, it was entirely fitting that they should battle evil on this day. And even more fitting that the youngest, and still the most innocent among them, should do the fighting for them all.
Teal'c thought it strange that he carried something inside him that kept him alive and could protect him, yet the bit of Daniel's soul seemed so much more important, and he had no doubt that he carried a part of Daniel. He smiled as he slipped into a deep meditative state. His last conscious thought was that it seemed O'Neill finally understood.
"Yes, honey, I'll be home in time for taking you and your sister out, don't worry. And yes, I'll bring pizza and no, no onions. Give your sister a kiss for grandpa, and see you soon."
General Hammond hung up, but kept his hand on the phone. He had the distinct feeling that if not for Doctor Jackson, this Halloween would be vastly different - for everyone. And he meant more than the events of today.
As he glanced around his office, absorbed the trappings of his military life, he wondered how the small piece of Daniel Jackson that he possessed, affected him on a daily basis. Or did it? Was that piece simply there, like so many other pieces of people that must reside within him? He knew that the parts of his wife that he kept safe in his heart changed him each day. Her warmth and sweetness were with him always, as was her love. So what of the piece of Daniel he carried? How did it affect his daily life?
He suspected that he knew.
And now that he was aware of it - would he ever be able to ignore that part of Daniel again?
God, he hoped not.
General George Hammond began to put his day away in preparation for going home.
When Jack walked into Daniel's room, he found him seated on the edge of the bed, one shoe off and pulling off the other one. Daniel looked up and cocked his head.
"Get lost, Jack?"
Daniel went back to his shoe. Jack walked over and sat down beside him... and started taking off his shoes.
"A nap sounds like a great idea, you know?"
"Ah. So how do you feel about a shower first?"
"Sounds pretty damn good, actually."
Daniel nodded, got up, and headed for bathroom, pulling off his shirt as he went. He dropped it on a chair next to the window, and as he crossed the threshold into the bathroom, he started unzipping his pants.
Jack, wondering how long they could keep this up, shrugged, got up, and followed suit, leaving his shirt resting on top of Daniel's. He thought that was somehow fitting. With shaking hands, he started on his pants. When he entered the bathroom, Daniel was leaning into the shower, wearing only his white boxers... boxers that were currently stretched across a very tight, very firm, very nice ass. He was adjusting the water.
And speaking of adjusting... something.
Jack, in an attempt to look casual, lounged against the door... until Daniel stepped out of his boxers. Casual went the way of the Dodo.
"You... are," Jack cleared his throat, "aware that you're not alone, right?"
Daniel, looking very casual, turned easily and smiled. "Well, I did leave my glasses on the sink, but even without them, I'm a pretty aware kind of guy."
"Meaning that you know--"
Daniel stepped into the shower... and waited.
Jack found himself suddenly... nervous. Which given his age and experience... was odd.
Daniel smiled again. He cupped his hands under the water - then flicked them toward Jack.
Nervousness gone, and chest spattered with warm water, Jack narrowed his eyes, stepped out of his boxers and advanced on Daniel, who stood, arms at his side, eyes inviting, body relaxed.
Which brought Jack up short.
"You do know what you're getting yourself into, right?" he asked, suddenly nervous again.
"If I work this right - you - in about fifteen minutes," Daniel said easily.
"Hey, who says you get to top first time out?"
"You want to have that discussion now?" Daniel questioned as he ran his hand down his thigh.
"Hell no," Jack said as he jumped in next to Daniel.
Reaching around Jack, Daniel pulled the shower door closed and said, "Good."
As the door snicked shut, Daniel rested his hand on Jack's hip, maneuvered him under the water, then with his other hand, he cupped the back of Jack's head, brought him down the short distance to his mouth... and kissed him.
It was a sweet, wet, gentle kiss, and when Daniel was done, he murmured against Jack's lips, "I want your soul, as you have mine."
"I give it freely," Jack whispered back as his hand slid down Daniel's silky wet back.
Blue eyes suddenly full of mischief, Daniel gazed up at him and said, "And you promise not to roll your eyes when I'm lecturing? And not to shut me up when I have something to say?"
His own brown eyes full of mirth, Jack nodded and said, "And you promise not to run off without permission, to do as I ask after you've ascertained that my reasons are valid, and to let me top at least three days out of seven?"
Face split into a huge boyish grin, Daniel said, "I do."
"Then I pronounce us soul-swapped. And by the way, you have my heart too."
"Thank you," Daniel said simply.
This time it was Jack who did the kissing, deep satisfying kissing.
The water came down, warm and soothing as the two men became acquainted with each other's bodies. Finally, Daniel slid to his knees in front of Jack, placed his hands on Jack's thighs, the thumbs on the inner skin and stroking gently as he gazed up at Jack. Eyes dark with lust, he flicked his tongue out, teasing over the tip of Jack's already straining erection.
Jack, seeing Daniel like this, wet, beautiful, hair dark and plastered to his skull, eyes shining with passion and love, lips parted and centimeters from his needy cock, felt such an overwhelming sense of love that he knew he was forever changed.
Then Daniel's mouth closed around Jack's cock... and thought and reason left him.
"How did you know?"
Daniel, eyes closed, head on Jack's shoulder, said a sleepy, "Wha'?"
"How did you know what to say to get rid of Eous?"
"Hello? Tired... here?" Daniel said around a yawn. "Shouldn't you be dead-to-the-world too, by the way?"
"Hey, you did all the work, I just sort of had a couple of rather spectacular orgasms."
Daniel chuckled into Jack's neck, which made him think he might be ready for another spectacular orgasm. But first things first.
"Come on, tell me. I know you hadn't finished the translations, so... how?"
"It's hard to explain, Jack," Daniel finally answered. He rolled away and onto his back, then added, "How do I articulate what it is I do?"
"Okay, what was with all the hand-finger moves? Surely that wasn't on the column?"
"No, that came from memory."
Daniel rubbed his nose, scrunched his face up, and Jack thought he'd die. No one could do abstract like Daniel.
"See," Daniel said as he turned onto his side and propped his head on his hand, "you have to put all that you glean from what your translating, from the people you think you're reading, and formulate... not opinions exactly, but suppositions about them. In this case, once I'd understood that much of the writings were a warning, and that this whole section was in quotes and was very close to Latin, well, I kind of decided that it was like... like a containment... type... spell, and when Eous had you, I knew I had to try it, and as I said the first word, I remembered something from - well, it doesn't matter - but I put it all together, the hand signs, the words, and it was a version of a Latin containment spell and--"
Jack placed a hand gently over Daniel's mouth. Positioning himself over the younger man, he said, "Too bad you can't articulate what you do, Danny."
He could feel the smile under his palm so he removed his hand and quickly kissed the grin. As it ended, he lifted his head and gazed down on Daniel, and thought it was just about the most terrific view in the world. Laughing blue eyes gazing right back at him, that perfect nose, sexy lips... yep, best view in the... galaxy... any galaxy.
Wiggling beneath him, Daniel, grinning, said, "Since when do you bring your P-90 into bed with you, Jack?"
"I'll take that as a compliment. Care to help me clean it?"
Daniel rolled his eyes and said, "Sure, just get me a Brillo pad."
Jack grimaced and said, "Ouch."
Daniel brought up his hand and rested it against Jack's cheek. Voice low, soft, and full of awe, he said, "We're going to have fun together, aren't we?"
Dipping his head down until his mouth was almost touching Daniel's, he breathed out, "Oh, yeah."
"Happy Halloween, Jack."
"Right back atcha, Danny."
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