|"Hey...." Jack's smile, when he opened
his eyes and saw the man crouched beside him, was the most
incredible sight Daniel had ever seen, as bright as the
stars outside. It said everything Daniel needed to
hear in that moment.
But it wasn't enough for Jack. Reaching out, he snagged Daniel's hand and held on to it like a lifeline.
"Jacob. Thank you." But the colonel couldn't take his eyes off his lover.
Now that they were safe, it started to occur to Daniel just how close they'd been, how fine they'd cut it. Any longer, any later, and all they'd have found would have been two ice-cold corpses.
Teal'c had stood with ease, his symbiote already well into the job of righting all the things that were wrong with him. It had mended him after much worse ordeals.
Jack tried to sit up.
"Shit... Danny...." Suddenly his head was on fire and his stomach was churning.
Turning on to one elbow, he threw up.
~ ~ ~
Despite everything he'd been through in the last twenty hours, opening his eyes was one of the most painful things he'd done recently. The little man hacking at his optic nerve with a pickaxe warned him against it, but he needed to know everyone was okay.
He was lying on his side on a raised platform in the small cargo bay of the Tok'ra's stolen Goa'uld scout ship. Someone had found him a pillow of sorts and had done the best they could with a couple of jackets as covers. He appreciated the effort.
But when he managed to get his eyes open, he wasn't sure he was actually awake.
Daniel was there as expected, sitting on the floor next the platform watching him with concern bright in his expressive eyes. Nothing surprising there.
But as far as Jack could make out he was wearing tight, gold-coloured pants with a matching silk shirt.
That couldn't be right, could it?
"Hey...." A gentle hand moved to stroke over his hair while warm fingers wrapped around his right hand where it lay against the cold metal floor of the platform. "How are you feeling?"
"Crappy." He paused before asking. "What's with... the costume?"
Daniel glanced down at his clothing before answering. "You threw up all over me, Jack. Not the most romantic of welcomes, but...."
Jack closed his eyes for a moment, his stomach threatening to once again betray him. And suddenly his short-term memory offered him a truly gross image. He groaned softly.
"Oh, Jeez... Danny, I'm sorry."
"Don't worry about it." Daniel kept up the soothing movement of his fingers over Jack's damp, sweat-damp, greying hair. "You're running a temperature, suffering from Hypoxemia.... Umm... the effects of carbon dioxide poisoning. But we'll be home soon. We've spoken to Janet and she says you'll be okay. You just need to take it easy."
Jack somehow didn't think that was going to be an issue. He really wasn't up to saving the Earth again right at that moment. Daniel's fingers in his hair were just perfect.
He let his eyes close, finding the strength to wrap his fingers over those loosely cradling his hand.
"Love you," he murmured, slipping back to sleep.
Daniel smiled; an expression of soul-deep relief. "Love you too, Jack."
In the cargo bay entrance, Carter felt her Dad's arm come around her shoulders. "I'm sorry, Sam."
She nodded. "Me too. But I guess...."
"...you'd known all along."
"Yeah." Turning, she ducked out from under Jacob's arm and headed back to the controls.
~ ~ ~
He'd been vaguely aware of a bumpy landing and some people trying to disturb his sleep, but when Jack next opened his eyes he found himself staring up at the much-hated sight of the Infirmary ceiling back at the SGC.
The first information his body relayed to him was that he only had one arm, but that the rest of him was comfortable and warm.
There was a quiet, regular bleeping coming from a monitor somewhere close by. And there was a louder sound. A wonderfully familiar, nasal snoring.
Turning his head cautiously Jack found Daniel seated beside him, arms crossed on the edge of the mattress, head down, fast asleep.
Jack smiled to himself as he realised what had happened to his left arm. It was tucked possessively somewhere under Daniel. That was okay.
He raised his right hand so he could see the monitor clip on the end of his finger, and found that the tickling sensation under his nose was explained by an oxygen tube running into each nostril. None of this was news. He'd lost count of the number of times he, Daniel or Carter had woken up in the infirmary, hooked up to Fraiser's expensive machines.
"Hi." He looked up to see the aforementioned doctor gazing down at him. "How are you feeling, Colonel?"
He needed time to think about that one. Rocking his head to one side he asked, "How long have we been here?"
"Just over four hours. It took Jacob twenty-two hours to get you home. Daniel was exhausted but we couldn't get him to leave, not even when Hammond made it an order."
"Twenty hours...." He tried to do the math but his brain wouldn't co-operate.
"Just rest, Colonel. Everyone's okay, including you. Once you're feeling better you can go home." She grinned. "And you can take your left arm with you. You're both in line for some R&R."
He watched her for a while as she busied herself around the infirmary before closing his eyes. Just for a few minutes.
~ ~ ~
Daniel was gently massaging some life back into Jack's hand when he next woke. Jack appreciated the extra effort that apparently meant Daniel touching each of the sleeping fingers to his lips, one by one.
The tubes had gone from his nose. The bleeping had ceased. Jack took that to mean he was off the monitors. Either that or he'd died and gone to heaven.
It never failed to amaze him just how sappy he and Daniel got when one of them was lying in this place.
"Thanks for saving my life."
Daniel just shrugged, looking away. Jack recognised the usual 'dealing with it' set to his lover's posture. He wanted to get home and get naked, let Daniel 'deal with it' in some hard sex, then later in gentle love-making. It was always easier to talk about these kind of things when Daniel was sprawled bonelessly over him, wrapped in his possessive embrace.
"Sorry I barfed over you. You go all the way out there to save my sorry ass and I thank you by...."
He shut up with a smile and was relieved to see it returned. "Shame you lost the gold silk outfit."
Rolling his eyes, Daniel tucked Jack's hand under his chin, still held tight in both his own. "Jacob found the wardrobe. Whichever Goa'uld they stole that ship from must have been very fond of gold. Everything! Even the leather...."
Jack's eyes widened. "The leather?"
"Don 't think about it, you'll over-exert yourself then Janet'll get mad."
It took a minute. "Quit teasing! I'm sick!"
"Actually, Colonel," Jack's head snapped around as Fraiser stepped up to his bedside, "you're fine. You can go home." He tried to pull his hand from Daniel's grip but had no luck. "I'm prescribing a week's downtime for all of SG1." She smiled sweetly. "Sam and Teal'c started their week yesterday."
Janet smiled conspiratorially at Daniel. "I'll give you both an extra day if you'll promise to behave."
Jack said he'd have to think about it.
~ ~ ~
He finally got his wish. A sated archaeologist lying wrapped over him as they lay in bed.
They'd barely stepped through the door when Daniel had had him up against the wall in the hall of his house.
Daniel had almost taken him there and then, but something had stopped him and Jack had found out what as they'd lain naked in bed after making love.
Jack had still been held inside his lover's body, when he'd realised the wetness on his chest was Daniel's tears. With a silent hitch, Jack started to cry too. Wrapped close to one another, completely alone together, they sobbed quietly, holding on for dear life.
Rain tapped persistently against the window behind the curtains. They very rarely closed them, but tonight Jack didn't want to see the stars.
"I kept thinking of you," he told Daniel softly after a long time. "Hearing your voice over the radio.... I just wanted to hold you."
"I wanted to be up there with you."
Jack tightened his arms around his lover. No use telling him no, that was the last thing Jack would have wanted. Daniel would have swapped places with Teal'c in a heartbeat.
"I didn't think I'd ever see you again."
Daniel scooted up Jack's taut body and touched a lingering kiss to his lover's lips.
"I didn't think about it. Couldn't think about it. I just...."
"You just saved my life." Jack could almost feel Daniel's hesitation. "What?" he asked gently.
"I had to find you. Had to bring you home."
"Dead or alive." Hooking one foot over Daniel's ankle, Jack brought them impossibly closer. "Don't ever leave me, Danny."
"You know I won't."
Jack knew, he just needed to hear it. "Not sleepy?" He asked eventually.
"No." Daniel shifted against his lover. His best friend. His team leader. "Jack.... No space flights for a while, okay?"
Lifting his head to press a kiss into damp, dark hair, Jack nodded. "Not for a while." His own fears were incredibly close to the surface. "Not for a long, long time."
As the sun rose, they finally slipped into sleep.