|For a few weeks, they tried to carry on as
normal, as if the last year hadn't ever happened.
But it had. And on the morning of Daniel's return to active duty the tension finally snapped.
They sat at the briefing table and as General Hammond proceeded to give them a 'go' on the latest mission everyone looked at their newly-descended archaeologist.
He was dressed in civilian clothes. He wasn't rising to join his old team.
"Daniel?" Sam glanced him, then at the General who frowned at her.
"Major, is there a problem?"
"Sir, I was expecting Daniel to be coming with us."
That was when Jack chose to step in. "I believe what Carter's trying to say is that we'd hoped Daniel could rejoin SG1 now he's back...."
"...not to say that we don't want to keep Jonas too...."
"Don't we?" Jack shrugged, somehow managed to look completely innocent of what he'd just implied. Or not. Depending on how well you knew him.
"Jack...." Daniel tried to step in.
"Don't start, Daniel."
"General, Daniel was here first."
"Jack, Jonas is now your fourth team member, in case you hadn't noticed."
"General Hammond, it's... it's okay."
"No it's not okay, Geeky Guy! General, I want my archaeologist back!"
Daniel managed to silence all of them. He was on his feet, leaning on the table, palms flat on the surface, Jack's stolen old brown leather jacket falling over his hands.
The sight distracted Jack for just a moment but it allowed Daniel to get the upper hand.
"Who the hell do you think you're talking to, Jack?! I'm not a kid! Believe it or not I do get a say in what happens to me now. Just cos I'm back on Earth doesn't mean I'm instantly back under your command or your thumb!"
Jack's eyes widened. Dropping his own hands onto the table with a dead 'thump', he roared in response. "Under my thumb?! Dammit, Daniel, you never, never followed a single order I gave you!"
"Didn't stop you trying, did it, Jack?"
"I was your commanding officer! Do you even know what that means?!"
"It doesn't mean following you blindly! I have a mind of my own, a brain..."
"So where was that brain when you dived through that window on Kalona?!"
"I saved an ENTIRE world!"
"Yeah?! Been there, DONE that!"
"That's the problem with you, Jack! You've been there and done... every damn thing!"
Daniel turned and stalked out of the room. Furious, Jack stormed around the table and followed him.
"Don't you dare walk away from me, you... you ass!"
Two SFs dived out of the way as Daniel stopped in his tracks and spun on his heels. Jack did the same, hanging back several feet. Ass? Where the hell had that come from?
"Yeah! Every time I try to talk to you, you walk away from me."
"I walk away?!"
"Jeez, Jack...." Shaking his head, Daniel started off again toward the elevator. The doors were just closing when a booted foot insinuated itself between the two planes of metal.
Daniel dropped his body back against the wall of the elevator and sighed dramatically. "More insults?"
"You don't get to walk away this time."
Jack stepped determinedly into the elevator and the doors closed. It started to move, heading up slowly to the surface.
"Your problem? You're always running from things!"
"Not things, Jack. You."
"Why?! Why the hell won't you talk to me?!"
"Me? Talk to you?? That's a joke! Since when have I been the one who's incapable of a serious conversation?!"
"Not to mention not being in touch with any emotion that doesn't involve killing!"
"Nah, come on, Jack! Tell me! Tell me why, when I was DYING, you told me that you admired me?"
Whatever words were ready to be fired next stuck in Jack's throat. There was no answer. And a second later, he wasn't able to speak anyway.
~ ~ ~
"We should argue more often."
"Argue? More a full scale verbal fight that could be heard down in the gate room."
Jack thought about that for a moment, turning his head to breathe in the scent of his new... boyfriend?
"You were the one who jumped me in the elevator."
"I had to find a way to stop you shouting."
"Could have told me to shut up?"
"That never works."
Daniel smiled to himself. He didn't have to see the expression on Jack's face to know it was there. He felt the man next to him move and a gentle kiss pressed to the top of his head. Not much about the morning had been gentle. But it had been what they'd both needed. The love was there between them, they just had to work through all the other emotions to reach it.
"Ya know... this wasn't just... it's... I'd like it to be...."
"Yeah." Jack nodded, chin in Daniel's mussed hair. "If you'll... I mean, if you...."
"Quit finishing my sentences! Jeez, if we're like this after five hours of being a couple, what will we be like after 40 years?"
"Couple? 40 years?" Daniel laughed softly. Maybe it hadn't taken too long to uncover the love that was there.
"Would have been longer if you'd jumped me earlier. Like... a couple of years earlier."
Daniel turned in the crook of Jack's arm, leaning up on one elbow. Piercing blue eyes met melted chocolate. "You wanted Sam."
Jack bent his arm to hug Daniel closer, fingers playing over the taut muscles of his lover's back. "I thought I did."
"We all thought you did. Including Sam. Until the Za'tarc incident."
Jack's gaze slid out from under the one trying to read his soul. "It was a mistake."
"No, you don't."
Outside, the sun was just starting to set.
Jack should have been off-world right now, trailing over sand dunes or tracking through unfriendly undergrowth. Instead, he'd gone AWOL.
Daniel smiled and turned over, dropping on to his back, catching Jack's hand and linking their fingers.
"Want to know what was actually going on that afternoon?"
"If you want to tell me." There was no challenge in the mellow voice. Daniel had always been able to lull them into a false sense of security.
Under any other circumstances, Jack would have definitely pleaded the fifth and told Daniel to let it alone. But lying here naked in his bed, with Daniel lying naked next to him, the room heated and scented by their desperate love-making, he figured he could explain. Just this once.
"Before the Za'tarc mess, before the armbands thing, in fact, before the Tok'ra started to mess with our lives in general..." he felt Daniel squeeze his fingers, "...Sam and I.... We got drunk one night. I dunno... some mission was a complete fuck up and we just... we ended up sleeping together." He waited for one of the hundreds of possible reactions from his new lover. He hadn't expected silence. "Daniel, bedroom etiquette? Your significant other is spilling his guts about the fact he's slept with a mutual friend. You're not supposed to fall asleep!"
Significant other? "I'm not asleep, Jack."
Jack thought about that for a moment before groaning. He moved to sit up, but Daniel held on to his hand and he couldn't get any purchase. Slapping his palm to his forehead he dropped back to the pillow.
"You knew, didn't ya?"
"Sam told me. The night after the Za'tarc thing. Bad enough that Martouf was dead but apparently your relieved look in lab didn't fill her with confidence about a future for the two of you. It took a couple of bottles of wine, a lot of chocolate and a long cuddle but around sunrise she told me everything. I realised, and I think she did too, that the deception the Za'tarc detector picked up in you wasn't anything to do with your feelings for her. And everything to do with what you'd shared being on your mind when you thought she was going to die on Apophis' ship."
Jack sighed. "I didn't want that all over the base. I certainly didn't want Jacob finding out. He'd damage me! As well as all that, I didn't know how you'd react. And I think the very fact that I was thinkin' that way started to make me wonder.... But you know me, Daniel. And everything was so busy...."
"A year and a half."
Daniel turned again, folded his arms and leaned his chin on Jack's chest. Jack enfolded him in a hug, combing his fingers through Daniel's hair and berating himself for getting so sappy about this man.
"Yeah, and then you left me."
"No choice, Jack. I was dying."
"Yeah, about that. What the *hell* made you jump through that window on Kalon..."
Leaning up, Daniel touched his mouth to Jack's. "No choice," he whispered before he moved away. "What was that Urgo said to us? Me or death."
"Death or me." Jack lifted his head and returned Daniel's kiss. "And obviously, when I said I admired you..."
"...you meant you respected me, appreciated me, revered me..."
"...loved you. I meant I loved you." He paused, then his tone lightened. "Still do, in fact."
"Well, that's good to know...."
With a grunt of something akin to 'ha!', Jack suddenly rolled them over, tucking Daniel beneath him as best he could. Newly descended, he may not have been using his body for more than a couple of weeks, but he'd clocked a load of hours in the gym in that time. Once he'd been able to walk, of course.
"Ah! No more talking, not for at least a couple of hours."
Daniel figured he could keep quiet for two hours. But that wasn't what Jack had in mind.
~ ~ ~
"Tell me what happened."
"With Nubby. And Oma. At the end."
Daniel really didn't want to think about it. He was lying in Jack's amazing bath, held in Jack's arms between Jack's strong legs and against Jack's hard body. This was heaven. It had nothing to do with light or knowledge or power and everything to do with physical sensation and one very strong emotion.
He wanted to talk about why a grown man - a Colonel in the US Air Force, ex-Special Ops - had sandalwood-scented tea light candles all over his bathroom. He wanted to talk about said Colonel's insistence that he - Daniel - didn't need to find an apartment. He had a home right here, just where Jack wanted and needed him.
But he didn't talk about either of those things.
"You told to cross the line. And I did. I'd done it before, but attacking Anubis...." Daniel closed his eyes, the memories still too raw.
"Did they hurt you?"
"I deserved it."
Instinctively Jack tightened his embrace, pressing his forehead against Daniel's wet hair. "No you didn't. You did the right thing."
A lot about Daniel had changed over the last twelve months. But the important things were the same. Silence meant those metal wheels were turning over and over in his head. Jack waited, relaxed into the weight and heat of his lover against him. Daniel would talk when he was ready.
It had been one hell of a surprise in the elevator. One second he'd been forming another line of his total unreasoned argument, the next he'd had Daniel's tongue in his mouth. A surprise, yes, but not an unwelcome one. He'd wrapped his arms around the other man before he could change his mind and returned the kiss with the same fervour with which he'd entered into their row.
"Doing the right thing would have been getting you out of Baal's place."
Jack could hear the apology and regret there. "You did."
"Teal'c, Sam and Jonas...."
"Don't think I don't know. I talked to them. They all came up with the same idea at the same time. Teal'c was in the middle of his Kel'no'reem, he says he woke from it suddenly, with the distinct impression that he wasn't alone."
"But you were right. I should have torn the place apart. I know you would have done it for me. I was so damn scared, Jack, scared of losing what I had but equally scared of losing you. When you asked me to kill you.... You have to know I couldn't."
Jack swallowed around the lump in his throat. "I know."
"Oma warned me. She knew that I felt... more for you. She let me off. I guess I just pushed my luck too far."
"If it helps, I'm sorry."
"No. I mean... you don't have to be." Turning, forcing Jack to lift his head, Daniel smiled. "You were right. They're wrong. They're scared. They've been like that for so long they're scared to fight." He settled again, rubbing his hand absently over one muscled thigh where it wrapped over his own. "Oma believed I was the same. But sometimes violence is the only solution."
Jack smiled proudly. "My Danny. You've spent far too much time around me. I've corrupted you."
Daniel reached around and pinched Jack's nipple sharply. "Yeah, in more ways than one."
"Hey!" Jack batted the fingers from his flesh then grabbed the hand and raised it to his lips. With his lips against the wet palm, he murmured, "I love you, Daniel."
"You know, I'm really glad about that. It could all have gone really horribly wrong and I could have been lying in the infirmary right now with my balls in my throat."
"Whereas instead you got my balls in your throat."
Jack tried to peer around to see the expression he knew would be creased Daniel's features right at that moment.
The hesitation said it all. With a completely self-satisfied grin, Jack ran a lazy hand over Daniel's thigh, just under the water level. Curling his fingers, he slid them around over the hard muscles, nails brushing the soft skin of his lover's balls.
Soft, damp hair touched his shoulder as Daniel dropped his head back, eyes closing, lips parting. Jack let his gaze linger, remembering what that mouth was so skilfully doing only hours ago. He palmed Daniel's sated cock and felt it start to thicken and harden against his hand.
It had been a long time since Jack had had another man's dick in grasp and it had never been like this.
For so long he'd seen Daniel as a lost soul almost, in need of a colonel's over-bearing protection. And for a while Daniel had accepted it, needed it almost. But he'd grown up, he'd gone from being a geek to a man more than capable with a weapon and more than able to take care of himself. And instead of letting their relationship grow and mature with him, Jack had pulled back from it.
"Stop thinking so much." The beloved, lilted voice murmured to him.
"Yes, you are, Jack. I can feel the vibrations of the cogs turning." Daniel's voice quieted a little. "I'm here now. We've both made mistakes in the past. We'll make them again in the future. Difference is, we'll know we want to be together and we'll know where the anger's coming from."
Jack smoothed his thumb up the length of Daniel's cock and buried in his face in the damp hair. "Ya know, if I had to describe you in one word, it would be 'eloquent'."
Daniel's eyes remained closed. "If I had to describe you, it would be 'hot'."
Jack's body gave its own silent reply. "God, Daniel," he muttered, stroking his fisted hand the full length of his lover's erection, "I'm too old for this."
"It doesn't feel like it from where you're poking me in the back."
Laughing softly, Jack leaned forward. Daniel turned his head and met the kiss halfway, both pushing as deep as they could go at the awkward angle, tongue sliding across tongue, lips hard over teeth.
Jack tightened his hand, caressing Daniel intimately, back and forth, long, slow pulses of his wrist.
Daniel, in turn, shifted slightly, arching his back lifting his ass just a little to rub sensuously against Jack's interested cock. It was supposed to be something that would take time, but after all his worries as they'd lain sated in Jack's bed earlier, he wanted Jack's dick inside him now more than he'd ever wanted anything.
The images played in his mind, the imagined sensations, the pain and the pleasure merging to become overwhelming. He wanted Jack to be the only thing he could feel, the only person in the whole universe to him. He wanted Jack to bury himself inside him, the length of him pressing deep....
His climax took him by complete surprise. He muttered something intelligible that Jack liked to think was his name before coming hard and fast over the gripping hand that held him tight.
Jack chuckled quietly. "What were you thinking?"
"I was thinking of you in me."
Daniel smiled to himself. Not a moment of hesitation. They were beyond worrying about this change in their sexuality, in what it could mean for Jack's career. They wanted one another, loved one another. Everything else was incidental. Including the macho bullshit.
Taking it up the ass was just a way of getting closer to one another, of burying themselves in each other. It was a tempting thought.
Daniel unplastered himself from Jack's chest and moved a couple of inches over, turning his face into his lover's neck, licking the damp, stubbled skin there.
After long minutes of snuggling, of gentle touches and learning caresses, snatched kisses and tentative nips, Daniel finally spoke.
"About the 'Geeky Guy' thing...."
"The...? Oh. Yeah. Wrong. So... completely... wrong." Jack punctuated his apology with gentle bites to Daniel's ear lobe. "But I want you back on the team, Daniel. Not backing down on that."
Daniel sighed softly. "Can we talk about that later?"
His words sent a fission of fear down Jack's spine but he didn't push it. They'd pretended for too long that nothing had changed when everything had changed. Jack wasn't scared any more, he realised. He had Daniel back. He wouldn't let him go. Not now. Not ever.
"I won't leave you again."
They were going to have to seriously talk about this ESP thing....