Crown Infernal

The Sound of my Breaking Heart

Anachronism roolz, so consider this an A.U.
Category: P.—? W.,T.A.B.O.A.P.* - a tag for Deride and Bonk 'er

Summary: Daniel hears something he wasn't meant to.
Jack isn't as dumb as he likes to make out.

Grateful thanks to MOrgan for de-Britting this. 8-)

NOTE 1: At 'Connotations' last year, it came out that some people need warnings about song lyrics. ::rolls eyes:: Ok, so there a few lines embedded in this fic., but it really doesn't matter if you don't know the songs as, like poetry, they stand alone quite happily. If you do know the songs (and like them) just think of it as a bonus. {G}

NOTE 2: In the middle of writing this, the earth moved. Literally!!!
So by popular request, I've marked the point when the earthquake happened.

*Plot—? Well, There's A Bit Of A Plot. ;-)

He'd done his part in welcoming the dignitaries. Now he headed back to the lab., heart in mouth. He'd almost reached the threshold when he heard Jack's voice asking testily what was going on. He stopped - didn't quite know why.

"We're not zatarcs," Sam replied, emotional intensity packing her voice. When Jack asked how she knew, her tone shifted to exultation. "The machine thinks we have false memories, but we don't. We were lying!"

Jack denied it. Naturally.

Sam took an exasperated breath. "Ok. You left something out." Again, Jack protested against her assertion, but she persisted, "Sir, when you wouldn't leave me, are you sure there wasn't something else that you're not admitting?"

He felt Sam was trying to put words into Jack's mouth. Jack seemed to have no inkling about where she was trying to lead him, so she had to give him a very hefty clue. "Something neither one of us can admit given our working relationship, our military ranks?" Daniel could imagine her nodding encouragement.

There was a long pause while Jack processed the idea. He must have hit her wavelength, finally, as she underlined the concept. "Sir, we weren't telling the whole truth, and that's why the machine thinks our memories are false."

Reinforcement, he wondered? Jack still sounded skeptical.

"Retest him," Sam said.

So Anise was there too. A slight pause then, "What were you feeling?" the Tok'ra woman asked.

Jack answered, haltingly. "Like... someone who was about... to die."

"Sir." Sam's voice was urgent, compelling.

Jack sounded more he was having teeth pulled. "I didn't leave... because I'd have rather died myself... than lose Carter."

Anise asked why.

"Because I care about her. A lot more than I'm supposed to..."

Out in the corridor, he caught his breath. Felt suddenly cold. From the inside out. Empty. A hollow man.

"Sir... None of this has to leave this room," came the voice of conspiracy. Yet she'd left the door open. If not... What?

"We're ok with that?" Jack sounded less than convinced.

"Yes, Sir." Oh yes, Sam was ok with that. More than ok. He'd heard enough.

Turned on his heel and walked away. Took the elevator to the surface. Signed out. Unseeing, unthinking, unfeeling, he crossed the parking lot to his car. Didn't pay any attention to the dark clouds gathering. So much lighter than his mood anyway. Got in and drove off.

Couldn't understand why he felt so shell-shocked. Couldn't understand himself. He'd lost people before. His parents. God, that had been so awful. Beyond awful. Beyond description.

He'd lost Nick, his only known relative. Not dead no, but as good as. He'd survived that. Survived all the foster 'carers' he'd suffered. Not that they were all bad but there were some...

And he'd lost Sha're. Lost her twice. Once to slavery and once to death. He'd survived those horrors too.

So why now? Why had this hit him so hard? It wasn't like Jack loved him. So far as Jack was concerned, they were just good friends. Achingly close for Daniel. But that was all they were. Only friends. To Jack.

So was the rest of the team - just Jack's friends. Until now.

Now Jack had admitted that, so far as Sam was concerned, they were more that just good friends. Ok, Jack hadn't used the 'L' word per se. Couldn't, under the circumstances, but as good as.

So Sam was more than a friend to Jack. There could only be room for two in that relationship. So, in a way he'd lost Sam as a friend too. Where once they were equals in Jack's regard, now they... weren't.

He supposed they would carry on as usual. Still treat him as a friend, but he'd be on the outside looking in. He hadn't really lost anything.

Yes, he had. While Jack was unattached there was hope. It was hope which had died. He was grieving for that loss... How pathetic was that? Living on the hope of something that was never going to happen...

The sound of car horns jerked him out of his reverie. He'd just run a red light. No red and blue flashing lights though... Not that he cared much for that. Wouldn't do to harm an innocent however.

Needed something to distract him from the desolate thoughts cascading through his mind... Flicked the button on the CD player. Middle of 'Back to Bedlam.' The singer was ex-military. Had walked the walk. Didn't just talk the talk.

As he drove, his consciousness drifted between the music and those black thoughts. Hardly noticed as the impending storm splattered its introductory drops on the windscreen.

'...I've heard what they say, but I'm not here for trouble.
It's more than just words: it's just tears and rain...'

Rain. He turned on the wipers. Found the view ahead was still blurry. Shook his head to clear his eyes. A stray tear slid from one eye corner and down the side of his face. Should pull himself together. Must pull himself together. Just wanted to be home. Spared a thought for the family of a lost innocent. Slowed down a tad.

A little knot of traffic up ahead meant he had to concentrate, blanking out the music for a while. The next track he picked up on began with a melancholy intro in a minor key. Echoed his mood. He dipped in and out of it as traffic permitted.

'...Do you see the truth through all their lies...?'
I do now - 'no foundation,' right? '

...I have seen birth...'
Three times. Check. '

...I have seen death...'
Many times. Check. '

...Lived to see a lover's final breath...'
Sha're. He sighed. Check.

'...I have seen fear...'
Too fucking often. Check.

'...I have seen faith...'
Yes, you trusted me once, didn't you?
When you got the Ancients database uploaded into your brain... '

...Seen the look of anger on your face...'
Every fucking time I don't go along with the military mind-set! Check.

Almost before he realized, he was pulling into the parking lot outside his apartment block.

'...And if you want to talk about it anymore,
Lie here on the floor and cry on my shoulder,
I'm a friend...'

Daniel gave a derisive snort. 'A friend?' Yeah, right. He killed the engine. Paid no attention to the icy rain that almost soaked him to the skin between the car and the entrance to the apartments, and sent chilly trickles down the back of his neck as he keyed in the entry code.

Back in his apartment, he toed his shoes off. Sloughed off his jacket. Dumped it on the floor. Wandered over to the drinks cabinet. Took out a tumbler and the aged bottle of single malt. He'd been keeping that for a special occasion. Specifically the occasion when he and Jack finally became an item. No point in keeping it any longer.

Once the dignitaries had done and the Tok'ra had been seen off the premises, Jack thought it would be a good idea to treat his team to dinner in the evening. It would be partly to celebrate a successful conclusion to the treaty with the Tok'ra - and that they were all still alive and in full possession of all major organs - and partly a sort of consolatory dinner. Sam, he knew, was distressed about the loss of her friend, Martouf. Teal'c had taken her off to his room for a little peaceful meditation.

He went in search of Daniel first therefore. He hadn't seen him for a while and, as Daniel had played a key role in brokering the treaty, he should go and congratulate him. He drew a blank at Daniel's office. Further inquiries revealed that he hadn't been seen since he first welcomed Supreme High Councilor Persus to Earth.

Lt. Buchanan commented that Dr. Jackson had been extremely concerned about the procedure Colonel O'Neill was to undergo. He was going to see how things were going - if a better option had been found - as soon as possible. Jack's first thought was that Daniel had been waylaid and sent elsewhere. Maybe he was unaware that he and Sam were off the hook. But surely someone must have told him by now? So where was he?

Jack wondered why a cold, heavy weight had taken up residence in the pit of his stomach. He should be feeling elated - relieved at least - yet he felt ill at ease, his emotions on edge. There was a sudden sense that he needed to be elsewhere. And now. But where?

He reviewed his recent investigations. Daniel had been bouncing between his duties to Earth and to his team. He was concerned - no, extremely concerned - about what had nearly happened to himself, but hadn't. Probably didn't know that he and Sam were off the hook. Was still worrying needlessly. He drew a sharp breath. 'He and Sam...' No!

Jack grabbed the nearest 'phone and called the surface. As he waited for a response, his words to Anise circling round his brain: I care about her. A lot more than I'm supposed to... I care about her. A lot more than I'm supposed to... I care about her. A lot more than I'm supposed to...

Finally, a response. Yes, Dr. Jackson had signed out. When? Two and a half hours ago. Shit! The timing fitted. Thanked the guard and hung up.

So where would he have gone? Thought about it on the way to his office. Home was most likely? He pulled out his 'cell and speed-dialed Daniel's home 'phone. It was engaged. Must be home and safe. He was building a mountain out of a molehill. So why was that heavy roiling sensation still twisting his gut?

Did a little paper-work but his mind kept wandering back to Daniel. Called him again. Still engaged. Tried his 'cell too. Wasn't sure why. It rang. He let it ring for several minutes. No reply. Tried home again. Still engaged. Or off the hook? The bad feeling kept on building. It was no use, he'd have to see for himself. Changed hurriedly into civvies and headed for the elevator.

In the second elevator, it occurred to him that if his hunch was right, he might need a key. Inwardly cursing, he went back down again to requisition the key to apartment 8-3. Returned to the elevator. Paced up and down, willing it to travel faster. Reached the surface. Signed out.

Raced through the rain to the parking lot. Burned rubber. Hit the beginning of the rush hour. Patience frayed. Unraveled. Hit the horn several times. Got fingers in response. Finally reached Daniel's. His car was there. Pulled in beside it.

Didn't bother calling up to gain admittance. Knew the code well enough. Paced around the elevator. Found himself outside 8-3. Knocked. No response. Knocked louder, anxiety rocketing. Still no response.

Fumbled the key into the lock. Turned it and pushed the door open. Met resistance. Pushed more gently and peered inside. Damp jacket in a rumpled heap. Reached down, moved it, went in.

Took in the scene. Nearly empty bottle of whiskey - Daniel's best - on the coffee table. Glass laid on its side on the floor, contents staining the pale carpet. Stretched out legs on the floor, visible on other side of the sofa.

"Shit." Barely voiced.

Ran round the sofa. Daniel, once sitting on the floor and leaning back against the sofa, now slumped sideways. Unconscious. Went down on hands and knees. Felt for a pulse. Slow but there. Skin cold. A little clammy.

"Daniel, what the fuck are you playing at?" Tone soft. Gentle. Concerned.

No response. Removed Daniel's glasses and set them down on the coffee table. Stroked his cheek as he reached to check his airway. Clear. Breathing? Slow but not dangerously so. Sigh of relief. Slight mumbling from Daniel. Unintelligible. Not completely out of it then. What to do? Call Janet? Could open up a whole can of worms. Probably would. Vision of MacKenzie. Awkward questions - unanswerable questions...

Thought back to that pastoral tutorial in college. Lethal dose? For an average person - a bottle and a half of spirits drunk over a short period. It hadn't been long, but Daniel was well short of that amount - certainly wasn't average. Checked around. No bottles in the bins. No sign of medical drug consumption. He should be in the clear so long as Jack watched over him.

What next? Place in recovery position in case of vomiting. More mumbling but no resistance. And? Oh yes. Risk of hypothermia, so keep warm. Brought the comforter from Daniel's bed. Pushed the sofa out of the way. Lay down behind Daniel to give him more warmth and covered them both. Came the waiting.

Daniel lay for five hours without moving which worried Jack more each time the little carriage clock chimed the hour. It was the stillness. But Daniel was breathing, occasionally muttering. Apparently 'normal' yet far from it.

Eventually, Jack had to take a leak. Wasn't gone more than a minute or two. Daniel was still looking pale when he returned, but there was more. He knelt to look at his patient. His face was wet where tears had trickled. When enough had gathered, they dripped on the carpet.

Jack was about to wipe them away when Daniel muttered something. Couldn't quite make it out. Sounded like 'It's my dreams you take...' Then he lapsed back into silence and immobility. Jack ran his hand over the tracks of his tears, wiped them away. Was it his imagination? Did Daniel's head lean into his touch? Probably not.

He crawled back under the comforter and shuffled up to his... team mate... again. Felt Daniel shiver. But he wasn't cold now. Daniel shivered again. No. Not a shiver. A shudder. Jack wrapped his arm around his shoulder and pulled him closer. He seemed to be sleeping more normally now, with little twitches and snuffles.

A couple of hours later, Daniel woke up. Struggled to stand, hampered by the comforter. Left it in an untidy trail behind him as he headed for the bathroom. Didn't notice Jack who was lightly dozing. Jack blinked awake as Daniel disappeared into the bathroom. Got up and sat on the sofa to await Daniel's return.

He was still very bleary when he came back into the living room. Noticed the comforter on the floor. Looked puzzled, as if trying to remember how it had gotten there. Walked carefully around it. Made unsteady tracks towards the drinks cabinet. Pulled out another bottle.

"Don't you think you've had enough already?" Voice low. Caring.

Daniel jumped. Spun round. Juggled with the bottle. Nearly fell over. Stared at Jack in shock, turning pale like he was seeing a ghost. Or was hallucinating.

Jack patted the sofa seat beside him. "Come and sit down," he said, compassion tempered with firmness. "I think we need to talk."

"Nothing to talk about."

Took in the bleak look, the dead eyes. Needed to tread carefully. "I think there is, so put the bottle back and come here. Please..."

Hesitation for a moment, then compliance. Like an automaton, Daniel replaced the brandy bottle, trudged across the room and sat where Jack had indicated. Sighed mournfully. The sound of a heart breaking.

"You shouldn't be drinking alone - not like this."

Daniel shrugged. "No one else."

"Sure there is. You have lots of friends... Me for one."

"You're my— 'friend?'" Skeptical. Almost a sneer.

"Oh yes."

"It's not enough." Almost inaudible.

"What do you want...? Need?"

"Something I can't have."

"Can't? Sure about that?"

A nod. "Belongs to someone else."

"What's that?"

Your love. Didn't say it. Couldn't. Couldn't trespass into their relationship. Let the silence speak for him.

"You could be wrong." Took Daniel's shoulders. Turned him to face him. Daniel looked down. Away from the source of pain.

"I think you should go, Jack."

"Go. Go where?"

"Back to..." Couldn't say it. Couldn't say her name.

"I think you're working under a gross misapprehension."

Mute shake of the head.

"You heard something you weren't supposed to, didn't you?" Pulled Daniel into a hug. Daniel pushed him away. Didn't say anything.

"Daniel, what I said, I could have said about any member of S.G.-1 with equal truth. I'm closer to all of you than I should be."

Daniel looked at him then. "You're lying!" Anger blazed in his eyes. A remnant of the whiskey.

Jack mentally took a step back. Didn't want to push things the wrong way. Far enough out of kilter already. Settled for simple truth. "I'm not lying."

The anger, swift to rise, faded faster. Head drooped again, but Jack hadn't missed the welling tears. Decided to seize the moment.

"There's only one person I want in that way— one person in all the world I could commit to. It isn't Carter."

"No?" Puzzled look. "Who?"

Soft sappy look. "You, silly."

"M-me?" Uncertain.

"Yes you. And only you." A look of hope warring with disbelief. "No...."

"Yes. You." Wrapped a hand around his neck. Pulled Daniel close. Gentle kiss. Good for starters. Let him get used to the idea.

A sniff. A choked back sob. Not the desired effect.

"What's the matter?"

"All the whiskey's gone." Head resting on Jack's shoulder, body shuddering, distressed. Odd.


"And I was saving it..."

"For us?"

Another sniff and a nod. A chuckle from Jack. "I'll buy you another— whatever the cost."

"Won't be the same."

"Well there's still a little drop left." Bracing tone.

"I guess that's yours then. If you really mean it..."

Jack stood. Went over to the coffee table. Picked up the bottle. "To us!" Took a swig. "Mm. Good stuff! What?"

Daniel open-mouthed. A mutter. "Respect...?"

"Sorry? You want some?"

"No." Hand raised against the very idea. "Not feeling so good actually. What time is it?"

Jack looks at his watch. "Twelve fifteen."

Daniel's face scrunched in thought. "Morning or evening?"

Jack sighed. "Just after midnight. I think you need to sleep off the hangover."


"But first, I'll fix you Jack's patent pick-me-up."

Jack went through into the kitchen. Came back. Handed the tumbler to Daniel. "Sip it slowly."

Daniel took it with a suspicious look. "Orange juice?"

"Not just orange juice. That's to replace the vitamin C the alcohol destroyed. It also has a little sugar and a little salt mixed in to re-balance your electrolytes. Or... something." A vague hand gesture. "You'd have to ask the Doc. about that."

Daniel's face fell, eyes widened. "You didn't— "

"Call Fraiser? No, I didn't, though I think I really should have."

"I'm glad you didn't."

"Yeah well, I was afraid she might feel obliged to refer you to MacKenzie after this little... episode."

Daniel looked at the tumbled comforter. "So it was you who— "

"Tucked you up and kept you warm? Yeah."

Tears threatened again. "I dreamed I had your arms around me."

"Maybe it wasn't a dream. You roused a little when I went to the bathroom."

"Ah." Daniel pondered that. "Then I dreamed you'd gone away and I felt cold again."

"But I came back."

"Yeah." Whispered. "Thank you."

"Daniel, what the— " hell were you playing at? Caught the words before they escaped. Fear at what might have happened, concern for Daniel's state of mind, and anger at what Daniel had put him through, all swirled around in his mind. Needed to get a grip. Not Daniel's fault really. Mostly his. Add guilt to the mix. Begin again. Gently.

"Daniel, what did you think you were doing? You could've ki— You could've died. Was that what you were trying to do?"

"No! I don't know... Maybe... Didn't care really. Just wanted it to end... "

"Wanted what to end?"

"The pain... Loneliness... Hopelessness... Heartache... " A pause. "Despair... "

"And hearing me say— Was the final straw...?"

"Something like that."

Jack didn't reply. Felt that Daniel needed space. Gave him the silence in which to think.

"I guess I've been walking along the edge for quite a while," Daniel said eventually. "We've been working together for years now. Sometimes, the things you said or did made me think you might just... You might just care for me in a... in a non-regulation way... But lately, you seemed to be... To be pulling away from me... It was like there was a chasm between us and it seemed to be getting wider. Deeper. When you humiliated me in front of Sam and Teal'c as well as the Eurondans—

Jack nearly jumped in to defend himself - had been under tremendous pressure - was tense as a... a tense thing - had apologized. Then he took back control of himself. Like he shoulda done then... Dropped his head in shame.

"— Well, I nearly gave up hope then that we could ever have anything more than friendship—"

"And you wondered if we still had that?"


"And when you heard... what I said..."

"I knew any hope I had was gone. Dead. Irrevocably, irretrievably... dead..."

Jack coughed, trying to hide something not far from a sob. That he had given the dearest thing in his life so much pain! You always hurt the one you love. He took the empty glass from Daniel's hand.

"Come on, let's get you into bed." Daniel shot him a sharp look. Winced as his head swam.

"And no, I'm not going to take advantage of you." Was that a look of disappointment? "It wouldn't be fair."

Daniel opened his mouth.

"No Daniel. Not this time."

"Sleep with me then?"

"I was planning on it."

"Good. I don't... I don't want to be alone." Voice fading into little-boy-lost pathos.

Heartstrings thrumming, Jack guided him into the bedroom, picking up the comforter en route. Got Daniel settled under it then crawled in behind him. Wrapped his arms around him.

"Mm, that's nice...... " Daniel murmured sleepily.

Woke up, nose twitching.

Jack had left Daniel to sleep in for a couple of hours in the morning. Now, with percolating coffee sending out its wake-up call, he open the curtains a little - just enough to let in daylight, not enough to dazzle Daniel.

"How're you feeling?" he asked.

Daniel thought about it. "Better." Slight wry smile. "Better than I was anyway."

"Good. I rang the S.G.C. Told Hammond you weren't well. A bug, probably, plus you'd been pushing yourself hard on that damn' treaty. He's assigned S.G.-1 forty-eight hours down time. Seems Fraiser's not too happy about Carter either."

"Sam? How come?"

"Ah. You must've left before— Before it all happened."

"Before all what happened?"

Jack sighed. "It turned out there was a... zatarc on the base," he said, feeling little inclination for his usual deliberate 'mishearings.' There was a time for humor and this wasn't it. "It was Martouf."

"Martouf? No!"

"Unfortunately yes. And Carter had to shoot him. It was bad. Very bad. Then they took his body away so that... so that... that fucking Anise could dissect his brain!"

"Oh god! Poor Sam. She must be devastated." Daniel couldn't help feeling sorry for her in spite of everything. Or maybe because of it?

"Yes she is. Janet has her in the infirmary so she's not going to be on her own at home. She had her under mild sedation overnight to make sure she got some sleep. Janet also thinks I should go in to visit her. Apparently, Carter's... um... Carter's kind of... expecting me."

"Are you going to?" Daniel asked, feeling a bit of a heel for wanting Jack to stay.

"Not today, no. Maybe tomorrow. I feel bad about it, but I don't want to encourage her to think there's more between us than friendship— a very close friendship, sure, but nothing more. Besides, there are things you and I need to talk about first."

"Oh." Daniel looked down, chewing his lip. It occurred to him that, as he soared heavenward from his self-made hell, somewhere along the line he'd passed Sam going in the opposite direction.

"No, Daniel."


"It's not your fault that I don't feel for Carter what she thinks... would like to think that I do. You haven't stolen me from her. I was never hers and never would be, even if we two had never met. And it sure as hell wasn't your fault she had to shoot Martouf. He asked her to. Pretty much."

"Maybe if I'd been there— If I hadn't taken off in such hurry, I could've... I don't know. Done something."

"There was nothing anyone could've done at that point. Don't beat yourself up about it. Come and get some breakfast."

After they'd cleared away the belated breakfast things, Jack made more coffee for a slightly less belated mid-morning drink, and joined Daniel in the living room. For a while, they sat in silence - a not-quite-comfortable silence - sipping their coffee. Mostly, they were staring, glassy-eyed, into the middle distance, each alone with his thoughts. Occasionally one would glance covertly at the other then quickly look away again. Eventually, inevitably, the covert glances coincided. Both took a breath and let it out as a sigh.

"Guess this is it, then?" Daniel said.

"Guess so," Jack agreed.

"So, this talk...?"

"Yeah. We have to work out where we go from here. It isn't going to be easy."

"No," Daniel agreed.

Silence fell again. "I think we have to tell Carter and Teal'c. It's only fair since it may affect them and they have a right to give their opinions," Jack said. "I'm not so sure," Daniel demurred.

Jack looked a question.

"I'm just going on how I felt when I thought you and Sam were an item - or about to be. It would've been a relationship that I had no place in. I suddenly felt like an outsider. Now, I think Teal'c would be cool with the whole idea of us being together..."

"He probably worked it out before we did," Jack said with a lopsided grin.

Daniel chuckled. "More than likely. Not much gets past him. But the thing is that Teal'c isn't looking for a closer relationship with either of us."

"Sure about that?" Jack grinned and got a scowl for his pains.

"Pretty sure. Ok, we've both been married, so marriage doesn't automatically mean someone's straight, but Teal'c's reaction to Shau'nac didn't suggest a close affection merely. There was real passion there. He would definitely have torn Tanith limb from limb if we'd let him."

"Well, wouldn't you do the same with Apophis?"

Daniel thought about it. "It's not the same thing. Yes, I want him dead, but that would be in repayment for all the people who've suffered at his hands, not just Sha're. And Skaara and Kasuf, of course. Then again, no. Even if I was physically capable of dismembering him, I wouldn't go that way. Teal'c would've been acting in hot blood. I wouldn't. Now, if Apophis killed you - perish the thought - then yes, I would tear him apart - or at least give it my best shot. What?"

"Sometimes you say the sweetest things."

Daniel scowled back at the sappy smile. "Typical military mind-set," he muttered. "But we're getting off the point. I was as far from cool with the idea of you and Sam being together as it's possible to get, because... Well, because I love you to the depth of my being. The thought of being cut off from being close to you forever— It nearly tore me apart, Jack."

Jack hung his head. "I'm sorry... so, so sorry... that I hurt you... so badly," he said haltingly.

"So you see why I don't think it's a good idea to tell the rest of the team? At least not right now? We don't know exactly what Sam's feelings are for you - or how strong. I suspect it may be a crush because - and I say this at the risk of massaging your already over-inflated ego - you're handsome and dashing..."

Jack's head came up at that, but there was no smugness in his expression. More surprise if anything. "I hope you're right," he said glumly, "um, about its being a crush."

"I think her feelings for Martouf were a lot stronger, given the closeness they had via Jolinar and Lantash, which is another reason to say nothing for the time being. To lose Martouf by her own hand is a terrible thing to happen. Then to find she's effectively lost you as a romantic partner too— well, I couldn't do it to her. I mean sure, truth and openness are highly desirable concepts, but we have to consider whether Sam would welcome them right now. We have to think about what's best for her. Sooner or later, she'll find someone else who'll love her back. Then, and only then, should we tell her about us."

"You make a very good case, though personally, I think she's closer to her work than anything!"

"Yes, but she's still human, and she must be feeling pretty fragile at the moment. I think that's a good reason for not adding to her distress."

Jack nodded. "So then what?"

"What do you want?"

"Well, at the moment, lunch would favorite."

Daniel rolled his eyes. "I meant about us."

"I know. But there's a lot to think about and we have a couple of days to do it in, and right now, I feel hungry. I'd suggest we go out for lunch, but you're allegedly suffering from a bug and sod's law says someone from the S.G.C. would see us, and even without D.A.D.T., we'd have some 'splainin' to do..."

"I guess I'm 'phoning for a pizza then..."

While they were waiting for the pizza to arrive, the 'phone rang. Jack answered it.

"Dr. Jackson's residence, Colonel O'Neill speaking... Oh, morning - er - afternoon, Dr. Fraiser ..... ..Yes.. ..... I'll be coming in tomorrow.. ... ..I rather not leave Daniel on his own.. ... ..Well, he's a little better.. ... ..But he might have a relapse.. ..... Er, no, I don't think that will be necessary.. ... ...Sorry, he's asleep at the moment and I don't want to wake him. He didn't get much sleep last night.. ... ..Ok, if his condition worsens, I let you know.. ... ..Bye - oh, and give Carter our best wishes. Tell her we're thinking of her.. ... ..Tomorrow ..... ..Yeah, bye now."

"So much for truth and openness," Daniel said after Jack had hung up.

"Ok, I agree that telling Carter about us is not in her best interest right now, but neither is encouraging her to think I'm so crazy in love with her that I'd come running if she broke a nail."

"Jack! This is hardly a broken finger nail!"

Jack drew an exasperated breath. "No, I'm not saying it is, nor am I intending to belittle what she's going through, but neither is she in a coma or on a respirator as you so often are. If she were, I'd be there for her like a shot. You know I would, but like I said before, if I stay away today and go tomorrow then I'm sending her the message that I'm treating her as a friend, not a lover."

"I guess," Daniel said, looking pensive. "So long as she doesn't interpret your being distant as your way of hiding your love for her from the rest of the S.G.C."

"Oh, for crying out loud! Look, if you feel up to it, we'll both go in together and take her some flowers and— Oy! Saved by the bell!"

They ate the pizza in companionable silence for the most part, but then reverted to their discussion of their future.

"So we're agreed that we keep our relationship strictly private?" Daniel began.

"It's probably safest all round, yes," Jack agreed.

"Then I think we need to lay some ground rules, not just to protect Sam, but to protect ourselves too, specifically you. It doesn't matter - much - if I get outed, but I am not losing you to military 'justice.'"

"If you get outed, then I'll probably be outed too by association."

"Quite. So you will in future refrain from calling me by any little pet names. 'Spacemonkey' in the 'Gate Room when we've all apparently come back from the dead, and everyone's hugging everyone else, is one thing. Calling me 'Angel Cakes' in the briefing room, or anything silly like that is something entirely other."

"Daniel, I would never do that!" Jack exclaimed indignantly.

"Not deliberately, no, nor on missions either, but... If you get into the habit of calling me 'babe' or 'honey,' or some such in private, then in the heat of a very tight moment, something might slip out - something we could regret for a very long time."

"Yeah, you're right. We can't afford to take the risk. And you can take that look off your face. I'm not that unreasonable!"

"Not always, no," Daniel agreed laconically.

Jack chuckled, then looked thoughtful. "I guess we'd better not have sleep-overs any more either - well, unless we have a team night and we look too smashed to drive home."

"Even then, we'd have to be very careful."

"Not much of a relationship, is it?" Jack observed morosely.

"I'll take what I can get," Daniel smiled. "Just knowing that you care about me— "

"Love you," Jack murmured.

" —Means all the world to me. I can live with that until we retire. And we can take holidays abroad where no one knows us. We don't have to say that we're going to the same place - or even say where we're going, come to that."

With that, they stood up and began clearing the dinner plates away. Jack was glad to hear Daniel humming as he pottered around the kitchen, loading the dishwasher, and making more coffee.

"What's that you're humming?" Jack asked as they wandered back into the living room. He put the two mugs on the coffee table and looked up at Daniel. The look on his face was both shy and seductive at the same time as he continued the song but softly singing the words, "'...down, down. Will you go down on me...'"

The effect on Jack was electric. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end, and erotic tingles chased each other along many neural pathways under the surface of his skin. His eyes widened and darken with lust and he gave a husky growl as he moved slowly and deliberately to Daniel. He wrapped his arms around him, then walked him slowly and irresistibly backwards all the way to his bedroom and to his bed, lowered him on to it and gently pushed him down.

"Jack...? Wh-what... what are you...doing?"

Jack already had Daniel's pants unfastened and was sliding both them and his boxers out of the way. As Jack nudged him further across the bed to make room for himself, Daniel smiled, remembering his sung question.

"Guess that would be a y-ye— hng..."

At which point his higher reasoning faculties shut down and he surrendered to the moment. Jack meanwhile indulged his own desires, burying his nose in Daniel's bushy curls and reveling in his scent - moved on to tickling his balls with the tip of his tongue before running his tongue up the length of Daniel's shaft and tasting the bead of pre-seminal fluid. Couldn't wait any longer then. Licked his lips and slid them around the head - took him into his mouth in one go. Hadn't lost the knack and Daniel appreciated his talents, though not in any articulate way.

Having brought Daniel off - and nearly come himself at the thought of what he was at - he contented himself by watching Daniel with rapt attention. Gone was the bleak, dead look. Now, he was lying back with eyes closed and a blissful smile in his face.

And Jack had put it there.

The earthquake hit at this point

After a lengthy silence, Daniel opened one eye a little, and looked back at him.

"Did I just die?" he murmured. "Because I'm pretty sure I just went to heaven..."

Jack gave a grim chuckle. "Not this time. Thank... whatever— " He made a random gesture aloft.

It occurred to Daniel that Jack had been left hanging - or maybe that was the wrong word given the bulge in his pants...

"Do me, Jack," he said softly. "Do me now and do me hard. I want to feel you inside me - to feel that we really do belong together."

"Of course we do. I don't have any doubts. Do you?"

"No but— I still want you in me. Now."

"I'm not doing you dry. I'll go get some lube."

"No need." Daniel nodded towards the night stand. "There's some in the top drawer."

"Daniel...?" Jack gave him a sideways look.

"Wha— ? Oh. No Jack. I haven't been active for a long time - years... It's just— I always keep some handy. Just in case I might... ever... need it... "

"Like the whiskey?"

Daniel gave snort of self mockery. "Yeah. How pathetic is that?"

"Not pathetic, Daniel, practical." Jack's brow furrowed, "Unless— "

"No Jack, it's not the same age as the whiskey!"

"Ah. Well then," Jack said, rapidly stripping off, "get those legs in the air and spread 'em!"

"Yessir, Colonel!"

Jack gave a grunt. "Wish you obeyed to my orders like that in the— Oh, never mind..."

The coffee was not hot by the time they returned via the bathroom and a languorous shower. It was not even lukewarm in fact. Daniel was inclined to drink it anyway. He was used to cold coffee - had drunk enough when he'd been so focused on the task in hand as to lose all track of time.

"No Daniel. I'll make some fresh," Jack said. He removed the mug from Daniel's unresisting hand, took it into the kitchen and tipped it and his own into the sink.

Daniel picked up the abandoned bottle of the cherished single malt and stared at the label for a long while. He smiled, eyes watering slightly. They had shared the whiskey, albeit not quite as he'd imagined, and they had consummated the relationship he thought they would never have. Shaking himself from his reverie, he took the bottle through into the bedroom and put it in the night stand. He would keep it as a souvenir of hope, and a reminder that sometimes, good things happened too.

He returned to the living room as Jack was coming through from the kitchen with fresh coffee.

"I've been thinking," Daniel said.


"You know what we said about not having sleep-overs and that sort of thing?"


"Can we maybe re-think it?"

Jack thought about it, but not for long - just long enough to recall being buried up to the balls in Daniel's ass. "Ok, shoot— Um... "

But Daniel ignored, or didn't notice the double entendre. "Well, in the first instance, people are used to us having sleep-overs and no one's said anything about it - passed comments, made innuendoes, that sort of thing."

"'Kay. Though you have to admit, we've usually had sleep-overs because one or both of us haven't been in a fit state to drive - or anything else, which is probably why it never came up."

Daniel gave a snort of laughter. "More's the pity!" he grinned and got a withering look in response. "Seriously though, if we suddenly stop - change our usual habits - that suggests something's changed."

"We might've had a major disagreement— "

"Or lovers' tiff..."


"Oh? Like we never argue?" Daniel chuckled. "The thing is, we've never bothered about our sleep-overs before, so if we change our behavior, someone's bound to notice and that someone will probably be the last person in the world we'd want to notice."

"You have a point there, I guess. So what are you suggesting?"

"We carry on as normal. We'll have 'team nights' - sometimes here, sometimes at your house - and now and again, we'll have a sleep-over. I suggest we only make love in my apartment though. We're high enough up not to have anyone looking in the window."

"Helicopter?" Jack suggested, and winced as sharp knuckles jabbed his arm.

"I really don't think that's likely to be a problem."

"Ok - better than nothing. I'll take what I can get," Jack agreed with a leer. "So what now?"

Daniel gave him a searing look of lust. "I suggest we just let the fire take our bodies and—"

He didn't get any further. Jack gave a hungry growl and dragged him back to bed.

The following afternoon, they went shopping. Jack bought the biggest box of Belgian chocolates that he could find and Daniel a huge bouquet of flowers. There were no red roses in it.

By the time they reached the infirmary, Sam was on her way out and fighting off Janet's insistence that she stay put.

"Honestly, Jan, I'd be better off working. I need something to take my mind off— Oh!"

"So sorry we weren't here sooner," Daniel said, giving her a brotherly pack on the cheek and handing her the flowers. "That was my fault."

"What he said," Jack agreed with lop-sided grin, and got a friendly punch on the arm from his... friend. "Hope these will go a little way to make amends?"

"Thank you, sir, Daniel." The tone was subdued. Disappointed.

Jack knew he should feel guilty, and he did - a little. But he couldn't give her what he didn't have to give. Never would have. It was better this way. Better than having the kind of hope Daniel had suffered with and which, in her case, could never be realized. He hoped that it was, as Daniel had suggested, just a 'schoolgirl crush' and that she would soon be able to move on and put the whole zatarc admission behind her.

As if she'd read his mind, she nodded. "I'll be ok." Then she was gone. Tomorrow would be just another day.

Fizz... Ting!

The song lyrics are from Cry from the album, Back to Bedlam and are ©James Blunt.

You can listen to the song by visiting:

and typing: 'cry james blunt' in the search box

Additional lines are from Tears and Rain, also from Back to Bedlam, and Annie, from the album, All the Lost Souls, also ©James Blunt.

The title is taken from I Really Want You from the latter album.

Crown Infernal