Love Song #3
a Stargate SG-1 story
by dirty diana
Named after the Meshell Ndegeocello song that I had on endless loop while I wrote this. Beta'd by Inalasahl, bless her patient heart.
It was raining on P5X-267. It had been raining since SG-1's arrival, four days ago. They had three hours of walking left to take them back to the stargate, maybe four over the damp and rocky terrain. Jack O'Neill was already starting to daydream about tonight's hockey game, about cold beer and dry socks.
"So, what was it like?" Sam was asking Daniel. Jack rolled his eyes, and partially tuned out both his scientists as he picked his way through the mud.
"Like being drunk," Daniel was explaining now, "except...deeper than that. Like dreaming, maybe."
"Hallucinations," Sam said.
Daniel nodded. "But much more intense than what I was expecting. They were so real, I could almost touch them. And it was all drawn from my memories. Things that could have been real."
"That's just great," Jack called from behind them. "The government spends billions of dollars sending us through the gate so that you can get stoned."
Daniel glanced back at him, giving him an impatient glare over the rim of his glasses. "Jack," he said, in a tone that suggested he had explained this part already, "the kints'u ritual is very important to the people of this planet. They use it to talk to their ancestors, to seek advice. It's customary for a young man to undergo the ritual to learn the name of his future bride, or to..."
Sam coughed gently to distract them both, as Jack looked away and made a show of not listening. "What did you see, Daniel?" she asked.
"Oh." Daniel was quiet suddenly. "I saw...all sorts of things."
Jack glanced at him, and the uncomfortable tone he'd heard in Daniel's voice was confirmed by the embarrassed blush on his face. "You get advice from your ancestors?" he asked him. "Know who you're going to marry?"
Daniel glared again. "I did see my parents," he admitted hesitantly. "If that counts."
Sam stopped walking a moment. "Really? What did they say?"
"Keep moving, Major," Jack told her, as he almost fell on top of her. "Did you see anything else?" He was curious now.
"Other stuff," Daniel answered vaguely. "It'll be in my report. You can read all about it."
"Right," Jack answered. He'd never read through one of Daniel's reports, and Daniel knew it. He stepped in a puddle, kicking muddy water up over the back of Carter's BDUs, and she turned to glare at him. He smiled back at her. "Don't suppose you had a vision about whether it ever stops raining on this stupid planet? Daniel?"
Abruptly, Daniel had stopped moving. He was staring distractedly into the distance.
Great, Jack thought. He had probably seen some rocks that he wanted to go examine a bit closer.
He said, "Whatever it is, we don't have time. We're due back at the gate."
"Daniel Jackson," Teal'c prompted, but there was still no response.
"Daniel," Jack said again, his tone slightly softer now. "Danny, what's up?"
Now he turned, eyes wide and uncertain, as if surprised by something.
Jack cocked his head slightly to the side, studying him worriedly. "You okay?"
Daniel breathed heavily, and nodded. "Yeah."
"So we're just standing here getting wetter for no reason?"
"Sorry," Daniel said softly, and started walking again.
There was no conversation for almost half-an-hour. Daniel was still spooked, he could tell that much. But by what, Jack didn't know. He left one hand on his weapon as he marched along, humming tunelessly underneath his breath. "So Carter," he said suddenly, "if you could sit in a room for three days and have government-sponsored hallucinations, who would you want to talk to?"
She didn't miss a beat. "My mother, sir."
Of course, Jack thought. Maybe they weren't drunk enough to be playing this game.
He was working out how to apologise without actually apologising when Daniel screamed, and spun around. In one jerky movement his gun was pulled from his belt, and he aimed it at Jack with both hands. Black metal vibrated between trembling fingers.
"Daniel?" Jack had drawn his own pistol, almost without noticing, slipping into automatic pilot. "Carter?"
"I don't sense a Goa'uld presence," Sam said from somewhere behind him. "It's Daniel, sir."
"Okay. So why is he pointing a gun at me? Daniel?"
"Jack?" The whispered voice was distant, as if radioed from space, and then the nine mil fell out of his hands, tumbling to the wet ground.
Sam moved to pick it up immediately. Jack hadn't lowered his own weapon, watching the other man cautiously, still wound to strike. "Yeah. What's going on?"
"Um, nothing," Daniel answered hazily, then fell to his hands and knees and threw up in the mud.
They propped him up in a shelter, a small oasis of dryness created by an overhanging cliff. Daniel sat on a large mossy rock, sipping at his canteen to rinse his mouth. Teal'c and Sam watched him worriedly.
"Jack, can I talk to you a moment?" he asked hoarsely.
The colonel glanced at Sam and Teal'c, and then nodded. "Sure." Once they were alone, Jack sat down beside him. "What's up?"
"The ceremony," Daniel began, and then stopped, lost for words for once.
"Yeah, what about it?" Jack squinted at him "Is that what's making you sick?"
He shook his head. "I don't think I'm sick. Not exactly. But the ceremony...the wine, and the chanting, the meditation, I think it pulls thoughts from your subconscious. Memories, or desires, or fears, or a combination of all three. It takes them and makes them seem real."
"Memories like your parents." Jack prodded.
He nodded. "Yes, my parents were there. But not just them. Sha're was there. So were you. And we were..." He stopped.
"You, me and Sha're were what?"
"No, not Sha're. You and I..."
"Yes, Sha're." Daniel sighed at Jack's lack of understanding, which seemed unfair to Jack when Daniel wasn't saying anything. "But she was there, before, not later. She wasn't there when I dreamed that you and I were..."
"Daniel." Jack was losing patience. "Were what?"
The word fell to the ground in front of him, heavy and dangerous. Jack watched as Daniel widened the space between them, probably not even aware that he was doing it, shuffling backwards on the rock like a nervous animal.
Jack dropped tense fists to his side, searching for a safe thought. "That was in your subconscious?" he asked dimly.
"But Daniel, you're not even..."
A vaguely amused smile played on Daniel's mouth. "I'm not?"
"No, you're not. There was Sha're. And Ke'ra. And..."
"Exceptions," Daniel said quietly.
"Are you sure?"
"Jack." Daniel was quickly losing fear, going from amusement to blunt annoyance. He pressed his lips together tightly. "Why would I not be sure? Anyway, as much fun as I'm having explaining my sexuality to you, that's not the point."
"Not the point," Jack repeated slowly. He wondered for a moment if he was the one who'd taken the drugs. Daniel's being gay wasn't the point? Daniel's subconscious wanting to make out with him wasn't the point? "I'll bite. What's the point?"
"It's still happening," he said.
"What is? The kissing?"
"No. I mean, yes. I mean, all of it. I'm still in the kints'u state. I'm still experiencing the dreams, and I'm having a bit of trouble distinguishing them from..."
"That's what that freak out was about back there?"
Daniel nodded nervously. "I've been doing my best to control it. But I thought I better tell you that in case, I do anything else, you know."
Jack shook his head.
"Anything else weird."
"Weird, like pointing a gun at me?"
"Yes, weird like that," Daniel agreed patiently. "Or like trying to kiss you."
"Oh." Jack stared at the mud on his boots. "That would be weird. But it's okay, Daniel. It's not like I haven't watched you lose your mind before."
Daniel paused. "Right."
"Not that I think that you're losing your mind now," Jack clarified. "But don't worry. I won't take any of your wackiness personally. And I won't let you do anything too embarrassing." Beat. "Unless it's really funny."
"I knew I could count on you, Jack," Daniel said dryly. But his expression was relieved, his face relaxing for the first time since he'd started speaking.
He took Daniel's gun and his knife. Just in case. Then he told Sam and Teal'c what was going on.
"Fuck." Jack picked up the nearest rock and flung it into the bushes, crushing leaves and twigs with a satisfying sound. "I should never have let him join that fucking alien freak show."
"But one of us had to participate, Sir," Sam told him honestly. "Otherwise, we would never have gotten those people to trust us."
"It was Daniel Jackson himself who volunteered to take part," Teal'c pointed out.
"Yeah. Daniel's always volunteering for this kind of crap. Major, remind me to get him to stop that."
"We can return to the village," Teal'c was saying now. "Perhaps they have an antidote."
Jack glanced up at the sky, where a pale pink sun was setting behind the rain clouds, and shook his head. "It's almost dark. We would have to make camp and take him back tomorrow. Better we get him to the infirmary, and Doc Frasier can take a look at him right away. Hey, Daniel!" He raised his voice on the last sentence.
Across the clearing, Daniel glanced up.
"We're moving out. Can you walk?"
The archaeologist blinked at him patiently. "Yes, Jack. None of my limbs happen to be broken."
"Off your ass, then," Jack said, and once again they trudged through the mud.
By the time they stepped through the wormhole, Daniel barely recognised anyone around him. He was nervous and anxious, almost frantic. Janet took one look at him and filled him with sedatives, and then the team watched worriedly as he slept.
"There's a foreign chemical in his blood stream," Janet told them, "but it's nothing that I recognise."
"Any other symptoms besides the hallucinations?" General Hammond asked her.
"He's got a slightly increased heart rate, but that's it as far as I can tell." She sighed. "I'm not really sure what to do. It could help if I could analyse whatever it is that he took."
"Oh," Sam said suddenly.
Jack glanced at her. "Major?"
"Well...I was just remembering something that Daniel said, before they started the kints'u. He was explaining to me what the elders had explained to him, and he said that the ritual usually lasted three to six days."
"Three to six..." Jack frowned. "He was in there for exactly three days."
"I know, sir."
"You saying you think that Daniel got the Reader's Digest version of their stupid ritual?"
Sam nodded, talking too fast, the way that she did when she was working something out. "He wasn't in long enough. That's why they lock them alone in that room, because of the strength of the hallucinations. But whatever he took..."
"...hasn't worn off yet." Janet finished her sentence. "It makes sense. And maybe his biochemistry is slightly different than that of the inhabitants on that planet."
"It took a little longer than normal to really kick in. That's why they thought it was safe to send him away. If he..."
"Whoa." Jack held up his hand. "The point, please. Somebody."
Janet shrugged, and looked down at Daniel's sleeping face. "I'd say he just has to wait. If this is day four, it should have worn off by day six."
Jack had a colour memory of Daniel's stricken face and pale lips, Daniel on his knees in the mud. "He has to go through two more days of this?"
"Yes. Even if it was a hallucinogen that I was familiar with, that's all I'd be able to suggest." Dr. Frasier sighed, and she looked sorry. "We'll keep him here, for observation. I can sedate him again if he starts to get out of control."
"All right," General Hammond spoke up. "We'll let Daniel wait it out. And in the meantime, I'll send SG-3 back to 267, see what they know about fixing this situation."
Jack grimaced. "It's kind of a mess there, sir. There's been days of rain. Last third of the way to the village, they'll be battling a mudslide."
"Uphill," Sam added, making a face as she remembered the trek.
"It could take days."
Hammond nodded. "I'll send them today. If our theory is wrong and Daniel doesn't snap out of this on his own, we'll need the help. Let me know if there's any change in his status."
One by one, they cleared out. Jack pulled up a chair beside the cubicle curtain.
"You don't have to stay," Janet said to him, but not unkindly. "We're keeping an eye on him."
"I know," Jack answered.
Hours passed slowly in the infirmary. Jack found something to read, yesterday's newspaper, and a couple of old issues of Sports Illustrated. Daniel was sleeping, eyes closed, but restless.
Jack had watched him lose his mind once before. It hadn't been that much fun.
Daniel mumbled something out loud, and turned over, coming awake against the pillow. A nurse walked by, glancing at him curiously.
Jack looked at her, looked around the infirmary, white and clean and cold. "Doc!" he called out.
Janet emerged from her office, still holding the ballpoint pen that she'd been writing with. "Jack?"
"You said...he's just waiting, right? For the stuff to wear off."
"Yes," she said.
"So he doesn't really need to do that here, does he? He could do that at home."
"Well," Janet answered slowly, "I prefer to keep an eye on him here. While he's having this much trouble distinguishing dreams from reality, he could be a danger to himself. Or to others around him."
Jack glanced back at Daniel, pale and still. He didn't look dangerous, Jack thought. He didn't look dangerous at all.
"So he just needs someone to watch him? That's it?"
"Yes, Jack." Janet looked at him. "You have anyone in mind?"
"Well, I can think of one person that would be perfect for the job."
"Sure." She nodded, and in her head she had already returned to her paperwork. "I'll release him, and you can take him out of here. I'll give you some sedatives, in case. But you have to promise to bring him straight back if he becomes more than you can handle."
"I can handle anything," Jack promised easily, and Janet sent a nurse to retrieve Daniel's street clothes.
He managed to coax Daniel out of the mountain, into Jack's car and then into Daniel's building. Daniel followed willingly along, all the while calling Jack by a name that he didn't recognise.
Amir, something like that. Samir. Jack wondered who that was, this guy hanging around in Daniel's subconscious that he'd never spoken of.
"Keys," Jack said helpfully. "You need to take out your keys. Are they in your pocket?"
Daniel stood, unmoving, in front of his apartment door.
"Daniel, concentrate." Jack used his deepest gruff colonel voice, as Daniel blinked at him uncomprehendingly. "Keys. Tiny metal things, we use them to open doors. Where are they?"
"Jack," Daniel whispered, his voice holding a note of amazement.
"Yes, that's my name. Very good. Daniel, where are your keys?"
Daniel didn't answer. But he wouldn't stop staring, bright-eyed, fascinated by Jack as if he had never seen him before.
Jack sighed. With one hand on Daniel's shoulder, to steady him, he reached a hand into Daniel's jacket, the left and then the right pocket. Coming up only with a candy bar wrapper and a couple of five dollar bills, Jack tried the inside of the jacket, finding a breast pocket inside the lining.
Janet hadn't been kidding. Daniel's heart was beating fast, restless underneath bones and skin. He was radiating warmth, disturbingly obedient and pliant underneath Jack's hands.
Jack found the key ring that he'd been looking for, and pushed opened the door.
He put Daniel to bed, pulled off shoes and tucked him underneath the covers. Daniel wouldn't stop talking, which was mildly reassuring to Jack, the familiar cadences of Daniel on a tangent about something. Jack didn't know the words, just picked up the short, clicky sounds of Abydossian.
Sha're, Jack thought. No wonder Daniel hadn't snapped out of this yet.
Then he settled himself on the couch, flipping through channels until he found The Tonight Show. He watched it through and was falling asleep to Conan's opening monologue, when Daniel's scream pulled him violently awake.
Jack moved fast, from the living room into Daniel's bedroom. Daniel had thrown off the blankets and leapt out of bed. He was screaming angrily at the empty room.
"Daniel," Jack said.
Daniel turned and launched himself like a bullet in Jack's direction. Jack managing to duck the attack, Daniel shouting threats in a mixture of English and Goa'uld.
"Daniel," Jack shouted back, but Daniel wasn't there, Daniel's own name bouncing off him like light off a mirror. Daniel tackled him again, bodies slamming together, with the uncomfortable crunch of muscle and bone as they tumbled to the floor.
Jack grunted as he landed shoulder-first against hardwood. "Daniel," he said again, dimly aware that he was talking to himself. Daniel's fingers dug into his skin, scratching and drawing blood as they wrestled.
Daniel was stronger than Jack had realised, stronger than he used to be. Whatever nightmare had a hold of him was dark and real, and it wasn't letting go. Jack struggled for breath, as Daniel's hands closed tight on his neck. He caught hold and twisted Daniel's left arm, as gently as he could, and then he had Daniel pinned to the floor, held by his wrists.
"Listen to me. I'm your friend. Jack? You like me. Sometimes. I'm not going to hurt you."
Blue eyes cleared, snapping back into focus with a click. "Jack."
"Yeah," Jack said in relief. "Welcome back to Planet Earth, Danny."
"Jack," Daniel whispered again, and kissed him.
It was a polite kiss, just the cool pressure of Daniel's mouth, lips to lips.
Then Daniel murmured something into his ear, the words unintelligible, but the meaning unmistakable. His breath was hot, and tickled against Jack's skin. Jack's own breath caught hard in his throat.
"Daniel," Jack said again, trying as gently as he could to release himself from Daniel's grasp.
Daniel's hands slipped hot over his body, across the seat of his pants, pulling Jack's body firmly against him.
Kissing, Daniel had said. Obviously, his subconscious had decided to kick it up a notch.
Jack's own subconscious didn't seem to be far behind.
"I knew I could count on you, Jack." Daniel's words played over in Jack's brain. He'd heard those words, and understood them pretty clearly. So what was he doing here?
That was the million dollar question, and Jack wasn't coming up with any possible answers that he liked.
Except that couldn't be right, because this was Daniel. And besides being extremely annoying, Daniel was a man, and people didn't just have exceptions, no matter what Daniel thought. You decided what you liked, and you stuck with it.
And Jack didn't like Daniel. He didn't like him at all, except that Daniel was kissing him again, and Jack was letting it happen. Daniel's tongue pressed against his own, sweet and wet.
Slowly, Jack raised himself up, keeping Daniel pinned to the floor with a knee pressed to his stomach, until he was sure that Daniel wasn't fighting back. Then he pulled Daniel onto his feet, and placed him back in his bed.
"Bedtime, Danny. You'll feel much better in the morning, trust me."
Daniel reached out towards him, taking hold of Jack's arm under one strong hand. "I want you," he whispered softly. "I want you so badly. Don't go."
And then Jack wasn't sure if he was pulled down, or if he stumbled. But he was in Daniel's bed, he was in bed with Daniel, trying to untangle himself and failing. Daniel's long limbs stretched out against him, as Daniel drew Jack closer. Hips rocking against him, the clearly recognisable pressure of Daniel against his thigh, Daniel's erection tight inside his pants.
The sensation sent a jolt through Jack that he couldn't name. "Whoa. Danny."
Daniel's fingers closed on the back of Jack's neck, at the top of his spine, pressure firm and inescapable, caressing gently. "They all leave. Please. Don't leave me."
A low, guttural moan escaped Jack's lips. He closed his mouth, quickly, before he could make any more sounds that he didn't recognise. This wasn't him, and this wasn't Daniel, these were two people that Jack didn't know, locked together tight and breathing hard. There was no denying the pressure building between his own thighs, a warm insistent pull of pleasure.
"Don't leave me," Daniel whispered desperately. "Please, Jack."
"I won't," Jack told him, barely evading Daniel's mouth as Daniel reached to kiss him again, but distant eyes and a gentle sigh told him that Daniel hadn't heard.
"Don't leave me," Daniel whispered, still moving against him, hips thrusting. "I love you." And then his lips parted, a low moan escaping, and he went still and limp underneath Jack's fingers.
Jack froze and closed his eyes to shut out the image, the flush on Daniel's face. But the sound was still unmistakable, as Daniel's orgasm rocked them both, Daniel shook and trembled against Jack's skin, his too-fast heart thundering heavily between them.
"Jack," Daniel whispered breathlessly. "So good, Jack,"
As Daniel's grasp loosened, Jack untangled himself as quickly as he could. "You need to rest," he said, as he pulled Daniel's willing body underneath the covers. "Rest."
Jack hurried out of the bedroom. He had barely closed the bathroom door behind him, before his hand slipped into his pants, and he came, shaking violently, spurting hot between his own fingers.
When he went back into the bedroom, Daniel was fast asleep, with a peaceful smile on his face. Jack pulled the covers up over his shoulders, and left him.
He heard Daniel stirring in the bedroom, probably before Daniel was quite awake. "Morning," Jack said from the doorway. Not quite looking at him, but Daniel didn't seem to notice. "Well, afternoon, technically. How are you feeling?"
"Like I have the mother of all hangovers. What happened?"
"You went for one hell of a ride. You don't remember any of it?"
"No," Daniel said, frowning, searching for the memories at the back of his brain. "We were on P5X-267...there was the ceremony."
"Yeah." Jack forced himself to sit down on the bed, next to Daniel in tangled sheets. "Messed you up pretty good."
"Oh, God." Daniel blushed slightly, and Jack could see that bits of it were coming back to him now, sharp jagged bits of memory. "How long..."
"It's been about a day and a half since we came through the gate. It's Thursday."
Daniel said dazedly, "My shoulder hurts."
"You tried to strangle me."
"Oh." Daniel bit his lip. "Sorry."
"No problem," Jack said, but he wasn't off the hook.
"Is that all? What we talked about on 267, you would tell me if anything like that happened? Wouldn't you?"
Jack looked down. He had already made up his mind, last night, to lie. But that had been last night, before this moment, Daniel's bright eyes begging him simply for the truth.
"Jack." Daniel said pleadingly.
"You got a bit friendly," Jack admitted finally.
Daniel closed his eyes with a dark, embarrassed blush. "This is before I tried to hurt you?"
"Okay." Daniel nodded distantly, as the information processed. "And then what?"
"Jack." Daniel stared at him, and Jack realised with a shock that Daniel must feel exactly how he looked, disheveled, shirt buttons undone. That his body must feel warm still, used, that his come must be still damp on his skin. "Then what?"
"You were kind of...insistent. You had a small accident." Not that small, Jack thought, calling up a distinct memory, the rough feel of Daniel's cock against his thigh.
"God." Daniel's voice broke. "You must have been so...I'm sorry, Jack."
Jack fought the urge to comfort him with touch, to pull Daniel to him and smooth his disheveled hair. "Daniel, it's okay. We've seen each other in worse situations than this. It's why we're a team. Now, go take a shower. I'll put on some coffee and make you breakfast."
That seemed to pull Daniel out of his embarrassed fog, and into the present with a sceptical frown. "You will."
"Eggs and toast. I think even I can manage that without screwing up..." He stopped, as a slight green tint rose to Daniel's throat, "Maybe just toast?"
"Please," Daniel answered shakily. Jack left the room as quickly as he could.
Jack wasn't hungry. He made toast from the whole-wheat bread in Daniel's fridge, burnt almost black the way that Daniel liked it, Jack unable to remember how he knew that. He spread both pieces with butter and strawberry jam.
Daniel ate it in silence. Jack couldn't think of anything to say that might not make them both uncomfortable, so he didn't say anything at all.
"Are you sure you're okay?" Jack asked finally, watching Daniel place plate and cup in the sink. "I have a couple of errands..."
"No, of course," Daniel said quickly. "Go. You've looked after me for long enough."
"Are you sure?" Jack wanted to leave, but was unable to move.
"I'm sure. Jack?"
Jack could see the words forming on his tongue, willing him not to say it.
Jack nodded, once. Then he left.
Daniel was cleared for duty three days later, and SG-1 gated out again almost immediately. The mission was uneventful, the planet hot and dry. Jack watched Daniel crawl over weathered stone artefacts with his brush and chisel. It was a reassuring sight to Jack, his world back to normal.
Back to normal, except that Daniel and Jack weren't really talking to each other. Daniel was being exceedingly polite, which made Jack nervous all over, every word a pleading apology which cut Jack through to the inside. It made him crankier than usual, spitting orders at Daniel in a loud, cracked voice.
Sam and Teal'c had both noticed the tension. That was obvious. But they didn't really know what to make of it, and so they kept quiet.
"Jack!" Daniel called down. "I need help. Could you..."
Jack shouted back, "Teal'c can help you."
Daniel froze, a pale perfect statue, outlined by the sun. "Jack," he said, and it was a question.
"Teal'c will do it," Jack told him again, and didn't move. He squinted against the sun, pulling down his sunglasses, trying hard to ignore his dull, rising headache.
Daniel showed up at his door on their next day off, a Sunday. On a regular off day he might have invited Daniel over, for beer and pizza and a movie selection that they would have spent longer arguing over than actually watching. But he hadn't invited Daniel today, and he was surprised to see him.
Jack let him in, taking his jacket. "You want coffee?"
"No," Daniel answered uncomfortably. "I'm fine."
"I'll make you coffee," Jack said, and disappeared into the kitchen.
When he returned, he found Daniel perched on the edge of his couch, blinking nervously behind his glasses. "Okay," Jack said, handing him the mug, trying not to flinch as their fingers touched. He sat down, careful to leave enough space between them on the couch, enough space to hold back the danger.
"I just wanted you to be the first to know. I'm going to ask General Hammond for a transfer. Out of SG-1."
"What?" Jack's voice was louder than he'd meant it to be.
Daniel spread his hands apart, empty, a sigh and a shrug. "Well, I've tried, Jack. I've tried to be friends again, and I've tried staying out of your way as much as I can, except for on missions, where obviously I can't. And obviously you're still uncomfortable around me, and so I think the best thing for both of us would be to stop working together. Then maybe..."
Jack slammed the coffee down on the table without meaning to, drops of steaming liquid spilling over his fingers and onto the wood surface. "No."
"Well, I don't know what else to do. To fix this. I am just so sorry..."
"Daniel, shut up."
Daniel blinked in wounded surprise. "Jack, I am. I don't know how else to say it, and I don't know what else to do. I'm sorry that..."
"I said shut up." He was shouting, the knot of frustration released with a bang inside him. "Just shut up. You don't have anything to apologise for. I'm the one who should be begging you to forgive me."
"I don't understand," he whispered.
"No, you don't understand. You don't have a clue, Daniel. Just how do you think I felt in your bed? How do you think I felt when you were high as a kite and crawling all over me like a goddamn slut?"
Daniel paled visibly, bright blue eyes the only marks of colour in his face. "Disgusted, revolted..."
"Turned on." Jack spat out the words like a curse.
Daniel pressed his lips tightly together. He was shaking. "What?"
"You fucking heard me."
"I heard you," Daniel agreed, literal as always despite the shock that reverberated through his body. "But I don't think that I understand."
"You understand just fine. You asked me to help you. You asked me to help you be stronger than that alien acid trip, and instead I let you crawl all over me and beg me to touch you. And I wanted to, I wanted to so bad I could hardly breathe."
"Will you listen for once? Listen to what I'm telling you. You asked me to help you. And instead I came this close to tearing all your clothes and fucking you st..." Jack choked on the last word, his throat closing, out of air.
Daniel was staring at him, expression cool and soft, without understanding. "You could have," he said slowly. "I wanted you to."
"Daniel, you didn't want me to. You didn't even know what day it was."
"You didn't want to. Not like that."
"Jack, I'm so sorry."
His frustration was turning into darkly coloured anger, and still Daniel didn't seem to understand. Jack said, "If you apologise to me one more time..." And then he stopped there, because he didn't know what.
Daniel let out a sharp breath of air, like he'd been punched in the stomach. "Jack."
"Daniel." The sound of his name cracking loud, like a warning shot.
"I don't really know what to do now." Daniel sighed, and pushed his glasses up, lost. "I don't know what to do."
"You could start by not asking for a transfer."
"Okay." He spoke slowly, still shell-shocked. "If you're sure."
"I'm sure. If anyone goes anywhere, it should be me."
"No. Don't do that."
"I'll see you back at the base, then," Jack said, and it was Daniel's cue to leave.
The next two missions were better, in that Daniel had stopped being so brutally polite to him. And they were worse, in that Daniel was barely talking to him at all.
If Daniel didn't know what to do, he wasn't the only one. Every time Jack spoke to him, he jumped as if he'd been hit. And it made Jack louder, rougher than usual, trying to coax a reaction out of Daniel that wasn't there.
"O'Neill," Teal'c said to him finally, under the shade of a tent on a planet that was hotter than the last, "I do not know what is troubling you. But it seems unfair to take it out on Daniel Jackson."
Jack sighed. "I'll take that under advisement, Teal'c."
The Jaffa nodded, once, and then left him alone.
It was fair advice, but there was one thing that Teal'c hadn't considered. What was bothering Jack was Daniel Jackson.
Daniel's attitude was making it worse. Off-world, on the base, he was shy, hurt, radiating vulnerability. Vulnerability and fear. Not fear of his colonel, Jack didn't think, but in fact he didn't know, and that thought was rough, and it stung.
Whatever Daniel was afraid of, Jack should have been able to take care of it. That was his job. But instead he just watched Daniel work, hands on his P-90, clinging to metal and feeling useless.
He wasn't surprised this time, when he opened his front door and found Daniel on his porch. He didn't offer coffee, barely reacted as he let him in. Jack was expecting a lecture, and knew that he deserved it.
Instead Daniel paced his living room floor. Jack just waited, leaning against the walls, flexing his fingers restlessly.
Abruptly Daniel's movements came to a stop, in front of him. Anxiousness played all over the smooth, worried lines of his face, as he searched for words. "I told you that I didn't know what to do," he began.
"Right," Jack said.
"Well, I've decided."
"Okay. What do..."
He was interrupted by Daniel taking hold of his face, his fingers pressed warm on each cheek, and kissing him gently. "No. That's..." Jack is lost, lost for words. "That's a bad idea."
"Oh." Daniel's face fell, as he let go of Jack suddenly. "Of course. It was stupid of me, not to realise that you would change your mind. I'm sorry."
"Daniel." Roughly Jack grabbed hold of his wrist to pull him back, fingers pressing meanly into Daniel's skin. "I really need you to stop apologising to me."
Daniel breathed out, though his mouth. "Okay."
"That's not what I meant."
"You don't want to do this, Daniel, not with me."
"Because it wouldn't be any good!" Jack was shouting now, without meaning to. "It wouldn't be any good. I can't take you anywhere. You can't tell anyone."
A wry smile floated across Daniel's mouth. "You want to take me out, Jack?"
"Sure," Jack returned his dazed, bittersweet gaze. "We could do whatever you like to do. You know, archaeologist stuff. Dig holes in the ground and stuff." He shook his head, the smile fading. "Except that, you know. We can't. Don't ask, don't tell, don't even fucking think about it."
Daniel nodded dimly, his hand reaching up again, to touch the warm metal chain of Jack's dog tags, inside the collar of his shirt. "Believe it or not, Jack, I had noticed that you're in the military."
"And you still think you can."
"I know I can." Daniel tilted his head to one side, as if he was trying to translate the look on Jack's face. "Unless you really have changed your mind, and you're just trying to let me down gently."
Jack grinned. "Does that sound like me?"
"Not really," Daniel said, and then Jack kissed him. Kissing him hard, like he might never kiss him again, until Daniel drew back with fevered breaths. "Jack."
Jack pulled back immediately. "Too fast?"
"Yes. Three years is much too fast." Daniel's hands moved restlessly against him. "Kiss me again.
So Jack did, pulling Daniel to him, the both of them crushed against the wall, clinging to each other. Their mouths were slick and honest, their bodies too warm, as his body pushed urgently against him. "Tell me what you want," he whispered.
"Well, I don't know." Jack's mouth found his one more time, couldn't stop tasting him. "You're the one with all the dirty dreams. Why don't you tell me what you want?"
"Oh." Daniel's hot gaze met his, eyes on fire with understanding. "I dreamt...I wanted to taste you. I wanted to taste you all over and touch your whole body. I wanted to get down on my knees and suck your cock. Suck you hard, and taste your come in my mouth." Daniel broke off, breathless. "Is that what you wanted to know?"
Jack moaned a wordless reply in the affirmative. He pressed himself against Daniel, Daniel talking himself back into the dream, Daniel so hot and so hard that he was trembling underneath Jack's hands.
"I dreamt we were kissing. Just kissing, almost forever, and you felt so good in my mouth. You made me hard, just like that. And then I..." Daniel's hands had pushed underneath his shirt, hot where Jack felt sharp and cool and alive. "And then I fucked you, I was inside you, and you were so good. And I fucked you so hard and long, and you screamed for it." Daniel was flushed in the face, breathless. "That's what I dreamt about, Jack."
"Oh." All these thoughts were brand-new ones for Jack, each word a tiny electric explosion in his brain. "So you want to..."
"Yes. But not right now. I don't think I can...I've wanted you for so long."
He ran his thumb along the ridge of Jack's lower lip, pushing gently into his mouth. Jack's lips parted, sucking the salty taste from his skin, gently scraping his teeth along the underside.
Daniel shuddered. Jack wondered at that, that Daniel had been carrying this around with him, this intense want that crackled as it escaped from his skin, and he'd never noticed.
Daniel's hand slipped away from his mouth.
"Anything else?" Jack asked.
"Yes. Jack...will you touch me? Please," he added.
Jack unbuttoned Daniel's shirt in a hurry, dropping it to the floor. Then he loosened his belt, hands hesitating only slightly over the zipper of his jeans. He'd seen Daniel in his skin before, but this was different, this was Daniel, naked and unafraid. Daniel leaned into him, as Jack's hands ran across his chest.
Daniel's skin was silk-soft, a hard contrast over sharp solid muscle. He had a sudden sense-memory, Daniel's arms holding him down on the floor. Jack shook. His hands ran across Daniel's chest, across his nipples, dark-pink knots underneath his fingers.
Jack slid a hand experimentally along the length of his cock. "Tell me if I'm doing it wrong."
"I will," Daniel assured him, then moaned. "Oh God."
"Oh God, like more, or oh God, like, stop?" Jack asked him.
"Oh God, like stop and I'll kill you."
Jack pulled again on Daniel's cock, long even strokes, watching as Daniel tilted his head backwards with a sigh. Jack's free hand reached around his back, unwilling to let any of Daniel's heat slip away from him. Daniel understood, leaned forward, his hands reaching underneath Jack's shirt. Jack's lips brushed his neck, and that was all, Daniel already balanced on the edge and breaking.
He moaned against Jack's ear, and came, shaking, underneath Jack's hands.
Then he pushed forward, kissing him, and Jack could feel the vibrations that still moved his body. With both hands, he undid the buttons on Jack's jeans.
"You don't have to," Jack told him, suddenly shy.
"I want to taste you," Daniel murmured, as he dropped to his knees and took Jack in his mouth. His hands moved up the inside of Jack's thighs, gently tickling. Jack groaned out loud, leaning back against the wall.
When he came it was loud, a blinding flash, Daniel's name sharp on his tongue. Jack gasped, struggling for breath, grinning slightly. "I told you I'd take you places, and here we are doing it up against my living room wall. Classy. Some first date."
Daniel smiled gently. "I can think of one place you can take me."
Jack couldn't remember the last time that there had been two people in his bedroom. But this wasn't awkward, this was comfortable, Daniel crawling into his bed like he'd always lived there.
Jack got in beside him, and ran light hands over Daniel's skin, memorising the lines of him. Daniel sighed gently, watching him, fingers against skin.
"Are you sure about this? Because, you're not..."
"Exception," Jack told him with certainty, and kissed him.
"Are you sure?"
"What about you?" Jack countered. "Are you sure? I hear I might be kinda difficult to get along with."
"You are. You're a pain in the ass."
Jack said, "I know you are, but what am I?" And then, "I'm probably too old for you, anyway."
"You're not that much older than me. My first boyfriend was..." he broke off. "We'll talk about that later."
"You bet we will." Jack paused, rewinding the conversation. "Is that what I am? Your boyfriend?"
"You want to be called something else?"
Jack thought about it. "No."
"So you're sure?" Daniel asked him again.
"The first time I went up in an F-15," Jack began, "I was pretty sure that I was going to throw up. Or die."
"But then, I didn't."
Daniel was smiling. "Are you telling me that being with me is like being in a plane designed to drop bombs on people and kill them?"
"It made more sense before I started saying it."
"No, it makes perfect sense." Daniel kissed him, salty and bitter and tasting of them both. "Jack-sense."
"I dreamed about other things too. Besides you. Things I never thought I'd see again."
"Yeah." Daniel stared at him absently. "You were there. You were there for all of it."
"I was there," Jack agreed, running a thumb over the curve of his chin. "Didn't think you were ever coming back." Stuck in Daniel's dreams forever, he really had thought about that. And Jack hadn't known if it would be good or bad.
Daniel nodded, and curled into him, skin to skin. Jack still hadn't made up his mind how he felt about this, cuddling with Daniel, when deep even breaths told him that Daniel was fast asleep.
The both of them slept through the night, without dreaming.