East of Eden
a Stargate SG-1/Stargate Atlantis crossover
by dirty diana
mad beta love to skripka. Blame to kelly girl. As usual.
The three of them are caught just before dawn, crossing the border from Utah into Wyoming. It is embarrassing, mostly, tripped up by intelligence that had traveled through the network too slowly to be of any use. Jack took out two soldiers before they knocked him to the ground.
"You know him, don't you?"
Some ask out of a morbid curiosity. With others, it is a flat, carefully worded insinuation.
"Used to," Jack will answer quietly. Sometimes he pretends not to hear the question.
It is a shock to realise that Daniel looks the same. Cool and real, blue eyes dark and squinting slightly from lack of rest. Daniel would, Jack thinks, still be working too hard.
"Why is he tied up?"
The soldier who has pushed Jack through the doorway, on his knees, snaps to attention. "I thought you would like the prisoner secure, sir."
Daniel sighs. Almost sighs, one finger touched briefly to his lip. Jack recognises that look. Daniel hasn't changed at all. "I'll ask again," he said slowly. "Why is he tied up?"
This time, the solider misses only one beat. "Would you like me to untie him, sir?"
"If you don't mind." Daniel swings his stare around to Jack, assessing him, tired and cut and bruised. "You're not going to try to kill me again, are you, Jack?"
"Not for at least another minute," Jack says.
Daniel laughs, his tongue brushing the curve of his lips. "No," he says softly. "I don't think you will."
This is the beginning. Another beginning, bearing a startling resemblance to the last one, time looping around him. Jack is unaware of how much the hunger of the last week has gnawed his insides, until Daniel knocks on the door, just ahead of the servant carrying dinner, two full trays of streak, fries, pie.
Jack doesn't answer. He won't move.
"You have to eat," Daniel says.
He does, but not in front of Daniel. Not right away. "Where are they?" he asks.
"Who?" Daniel asks, and he has honestly forgotten, before Jack's cold, hurt glare reminds him. "Oh. Your friends. They're gone, Jack. Don't worry about them."
There is silence.
"Are you going to ask me to tell you what you want to know?" Jack asks him, finally.
"Why?" Daniel's hands toy with the seams of his pockets, leaning against the wall. Daniel, moving while thinking, things that are the same. "Would you tell me?"
"No. Wait, let me think." Jack waits a beat, surveying the tray laid out in front of him. Four kinds of pie. "Definitely no."
Daniel nods, and then smiles. Jack wishes that he wouldn't do that. "Let's skip that stage, then." He reaches for the door. "I'll leave you to your dinner."
The day guard has a name, something long and Russian-sounding that Jack will never remember. The night guard has a name too.
"This is Major Sheppard," Daniel explains quietly, from inside the doorway. "His job is to keep an eye on you."
Jack looks up. He studies Sheppard in just a glance, as the younger man stands neatly to attention. Jack doesn't respond.
"I've seen his record," Daniel adds. His tongue brushes his mouth as he speaks. "It's quite impressive. He's pretty good at shooting things. I think he might even like it. Do you, Major?"
Major Sheppard has green eyes, ones that don't tell anything. "Depends," he murmurs quietly.
It's a month before Daniel lets him have a TV, and magazines, to help pass the days. Last time it was two months, and Jack doesn't know if this was a step up or a step down.
It's hard to watch TV, though, when he knows that everything on the screen is a lie. A perfect hand-painted world, drawn by the TV reporters, leaving out small insignificant details. Like the part about the ruthless dictator.
He goes through the magazines quickly, and then glances up at the door.
"Where are you from, Sheppard?"
"California, sir." They all still call him that, every single one of the kids here. With the flat, patient drawl of the well-trained, each of them missing the irony.
Jack nods. "I took a vacation to Yosemite once. Good fishing."
"Not that part of California, sir."
Jack frowned. "No fishing?"
"So, what did you do for fun?"
"Surf, mostly." Sheppard smiles suddenly, and that's the first time that his expression has changed in days. His bright eyes are startling in the near darkness.
Jack didn't notice when dusk fell. He turns on a light.
"I never tried that," Jack says.
"Maybe you should."
Jack watches Sheppard, still standing to attention even as the words flow. He is, Jack is sure, not nearly as stupid as he pretends to be. Jack nods, and sits back. "Maybe I will."
He can ask Daniel.
"The last time I let you out, Jack, you ran away."
"Mistake," Jack says, and he knows it's not clear which part of the botched escape attempt he's referring to.
"Well. Yes." Daniel's fingers stroke Jack's bare back.
Jack tried to kill him once. Here, right after. Daniel was naked, breathless, sticky with Jack on the inside of his thighs. Jack's bare hands pressed into Daniel's neck, his thumbs feeling the steady pulse of his arteries, his fingers feeling for the bone of Daniel's spine, searching for the leverage he needed to snap it in two.
It would only have taken one moment, a quick burst of pressure.
He wasn't fast enough.
"What would you have done?" Daniel asked him, later, genuinely curious. "Gotten dressed? Walked out past the guards? Left the building? Where would you have gone, Jack? There's nowhere left."
Nowhere at all.
"Why the ocean?" Daniel's breath is warm. "I would have thought that you wanted to go fishing."
Jack can't think of anything he wants to do less than take Daniel to Minnesota. The parts of Minnesota that are still there.
The Canadian government had resisted Daniel's new world order.
"Like cutting your enemy's heart out with a scalpel," Daniel had explained. It turned out that, when it came to mass destruction, definitions of precision were relative.
"Cold?" Daniel asks him. "I can get you a blanket."
With the TV came a new couch, stretched along the length of the wall. Italian leather. Jack's known dirty holes in the ground that made him less uncomfortable.
Winter is on the way, says the weather girl. Jack can feel that in his knees and aching wrists. He flips the remote over in one hand. Tosses it into the air, catches it.
"Anything you want to watch?"
Sheppard smiles all the time now. Jack wonders if that should make him nervous. "No, sir."
"Sure? We get four hundred channels."
Sheppard pauses. "ESPN?"
Jack doesn't think that Daniel always realises when he's being too rough. He doesn't always realise it himself, not till he's walked into his room and the blood has rushed suddenly to his head, the floor spinning out from underneath him with distracting abruptness.
"Sir?" Sheppard's hand grips Jack's arm to steady him, and it's a moment before Jack waves him off. "Are you okay?"
"Fine," Jack says.
"The blonde one. You were fucking her?"
Jack's surprised by the memory, creeping on him out of nowhere. He's surprised that Daniel wants to know. "No," he says.
Daniel's expression tightens. He shakes his head. "I hate that, Jack."
"When you lie to me."
"What made you think..."
"Something about the way that she asked for you. Right before she..." Daniel pauses, and then sighs. "I don't do anything I don't have to do. You know that, don't you?"
"I've heard the speech before, yeah." Jack turns his head away.
Daniel pulls him in anyway, with deep, hard kisses and rough fingers.
"I hate it when you lie to me, Jack," he says.
He always has.
The first time that he escaped, the very first time, he had to kill the guard outside his door. Jack still remembers the sound of that shot, bouncing down the empty hallway, rocking him into motion.
Daniel moved the guards inside after that, gave them M-16s and permission to shoot to kill.
It gets so Jack doesn't remember the feeling of being alone. He rests his hands flat on the cool clean countertop of the bathroom, a gleaming marble floor prison with no windows. He studies his reflection in the mirror.
He wonders when he started to look that old. He's still thinking of a way out of here.
Sheppard marks the time by football Sundays. It's a month before Jack realises that he's doing it too.
"They'll never come back," John says. "The Tampa defense is iron tight."
"There's plenty of time left on the clock," Jack says, and turns up the volume.
It takes him another beat to see Daniel, standing in the doorway, Jack's senses slowing down as winter sets in.
"Jack," Daniel says quietly, and it's a question, cutting past the sound of the announcer's voice.
Jack gets up and follows him out of the room.
"That's what I'm doing," Daniel whispers in his ear. "Making the world safer for football."
"You don't like football," Jack says.
Daniel smiles gently, his fingers pulling slightly on Jack's skin in the dip of his back. "Didn't think you did either."
"Nothing else on."
"NHL season will start soon."
And of course Daniel knows that, from years of watching the games in Jack's living room, half-watching with his glasses pushed up on his nose and a pile of journals open on his lap. Jack didn't know he'd been paying attention.
"I made that possible too," Daniel murmurs. "I made all of this possible. This."
Jack lets Daniel kiss him, inhaling the scent of Daniel that hasn't changed at all.
"Not a lot of Russians in the NHL this year," Jack says, and feels Daniel's fingers pressing in. Bruising, and then relaxing.
"I made it safe for us," he says.
They fuck in total darkness. Jack knows Daniel by now, knows every angle of him without looking.
He closes his eyes.
"At ease, Major." He almost shouts it, out of habit.
Amazingly, it works. Sheppard steps back, but not far enough to let Jack fall. "You sure you're okay?"
"Yes." Jack inhales, desperate for oxygen. "This isn't exactly what it looks like."
"I'm sure you don't do anything that you don't gotta do, sir."
Jack nods. He's not sure if that's right.
It's the day guard that tells Daniel, the next time.
"Are you okay?"
"Do you care?"
"Jack." Daniel sounds insulted, tongue flicking across his mouth as he holds back his next thought.
"I'm just saying." It hurts to breath, suddenly, but Jack won't show it. "If you care so much, you could let me go."
"The last time that I let you go, you ruined some of my most carefully laid plans."
"I'm sorry," Daniel adds. "That escape plan was ingenious, it really was. But not foolproof."
He watches Jack carefully, then reached for the phone. "I'll get the doctor up here."
The doctor comes immediately. He writes Jack's vitals down in his fie, and prescribes some drugs. Painkillers, and a lot of them.
Jack arranges the bottles by size and colour, on top of the TV, and leaves them there.
He doesn't see Daniel for days. Something is happening, something he's sure that he doesn't want to know about.
"John. You want to watch football?"
"If you do, sir."
Jack almost smiles. The daytime guy has no sense of humour at all. "Know who's playing?"
"I think the Raiders should be on."
"You trying to die on me, Jack?"
It's dark out now, and that's the only thing that Jack really notices, beyond Daniel's blue eyes watching him and the sideways tilting room. "Back up plan."
"Feeling okay?" Daniel's voice is soft, his fingers too, resting concerned on Jack's wrist.
"You seem to have caught a pretty nasty virus while you were gone, Jack. What were you doing out there? I told you it wasn't safe."
Jack doesn't answer. He's drifting on the edge of his fever, back to a cramped basement outside Seattle, crowded and badly lit. A million miles from here, and a million scattered thoughts.
"It's all right," Daniel tells him. "I'm having the sarcophagus brought in from Area 51. You'll be better in no time."
That catches his attention. He stares at Daniel, faded in the half-light. "Where'd you get a sarcophagus?"
Daniel tilts his head slightly. He's proud of himself. "I traded the Tok'ra for it."
"Traded," Daniel repeats, frowning at the scepticism in Jack's voice. "The Tok'ra know a good deal when they see one, Jack. And they weren't exactly using it."
"There's a reason for that."
Daniel sighs. He looks tired, in the crease of his mouth, when he reaches over and kisses Jack. "Don't worry, Jack. I'm going to take care of you."
"Careful," Jack says. "I might be contagious."
"It's okay," Daniel says. "I'm having the sarcophagus flown in, remember?"
"How are you feeling, sir?"
"Good," Jack says, and he tastes the word for truth. He flexes his hands, tests his knees. No stiffness. The world is bright, his head dizzyingly clear. "What's on?"
"Avalanche versus the Rangers."
Jack brightens. "Really?"
"Really," Sheppard answers, with the trace of a smile. "Should just be starting."
"How'd you end up here, Major?"
"Shouldn't you be off...majoring? Somewhere?"
"Had a little incident," Sheppard says.
"Incident?" Jack repeats, and doesn't laugh. They could do this forever, two soldiers speaking in one-word sentences, meaning safely hidden under layers of fat.
"A little incident," Sheppard repeats. "In Somalia."
"Oh." Jack frowns. "Heard that was rough."
"You could say that," Sheppard answers, and then he's done talking about it, eyes locked on the television screen.
He's not the only one with demons, Jack thinks. But he's maybe the only one whose ghosts are taking over the planet.
He needs to move the television further from the couch, the hockey players bright dots leaving streaks of light like comet tails as they move across the screen.
The Avalanche win it in overtime.
"You feel better," Daniel whispers.
"I feel good," Jack says, and the word should taste bitter, but it doesn't. He arches his back, into Daniel's hands on his skin. Daniel pushes into him, and moans Jack's name in a shallow breath.
"I told you that you would," Daniel says, and then there's nothing else. Just Daniel, hard and warm inside Jack, demanding and taking as his fingers dig into Jack's thighs.
Daniel make him wait. Jack will never beg.
He comes with a whimper, over Daniel's fingers, as Daniel's body covers his and swallows him whole.
Next time, the fever sneaks up on him without warning.
Sheppard catches him before he quite hits the ground. There's something
familiar now, about Sheppard's blunt fingers on his arm. Jack inhales one hard
breath after another.
There is no moon outside his window tonight, the whole house draped in falling snow.
"Sir?" Sheppard asks gently. He's hesitating. He hasn't let go.
"No," Jack says.
Sheppard's just a kid.
It hasn't come to that.
Daniel comes immediately.
"Maybe I should just have it moved into you room."
"Nope," Jack says, with a strength that surprises him. It's cold inside the sarcophagus, sending chills all the way through him, a wrong kind of magic that scratches his skin.
Daniel falls out of Jack's vision while Jack is still struggling to his feet. There, and then gone.
"I'm going to take care of you, Jack," he murmurs, with his hand on Jack's arm, a gentle supporting weight promising everything.
He falls out of Jack's view without warning.
Only then does Jack realise that he heard the shot. Sheppard's fingers still brush the trigger of his rifle.
"I'm sorry, sir," he says, slowly, as if Jack might not understand. "We're a little ahead of schedule. But I have my orders. I couldn't let him put you back in there."
"You're..." Jack begins.
Sheppard's stare meets his. "Guess so."
"Incident in Somalia?" Jack asks.
"That was one of them. Sir, we kind of have to," Sheppard gestured with his gun towards the door, "Go."
Jack nods. He watches Daniel, on the floor. Blood drains from the wound in his side, pooling on the expensive carpet.
"Someone will put him in the box, sir," Sheppard says, and his voice is low, almost regretful. "Can you walk?"
"Yeah," Jack says.
He thinks he can.
Maybe they'll make it to Southern California.