Summary: Oma communicates, Daniel pouts, Jacks just confused, but alls right in the end.
Thanks to sideburns for winning me in the Moonridge auction and gracefully accepting my meager offering. Hope you liked it, woman.
The "Ds" are Daniel POV and "Js" are Jacks. Other than that its short enough to be self-explanatory. Thanks to Lyn as always!
Theres that little voice in my head again -- the one that keeps saying "I could be at the conference if Jacks favorite hadnt needed to play Aunt Perfect and go to Knotts Berry Farm, of all places" -- and thats quickly followed by another perennial favorite: "what the fuck else did I expect?"
When did it ever come down to a choice between me and Sam that Jack not pick Sam? The better question is when will I learn or maybe the best question is what the hell am I still doing here? Well, apart from saving the universe, but right now, missing the small part of the universe I actually want to be occupying, i.e. the speaking podium at the American Archaeological Society where Id be -- admittedly not telling about the fascinating discoveries on PSR-548 but at least playing archaeological front man for the Air Force, which is better than nothing well not being at said podium or said conference frankly, the universe can just go hang itself.
Which makes it not the time I should be cooped in a small briefing room with the object of my current non-affections i.e. one certain Jack "Rat-bastard" ONeill.
The other little voice in my head the reasonable one would like to point out that it was a last minute request and Sam did have her family vacation planned for months but, right now, in the complex battle-to-the-death of thoughts occupying my cranium
I could just say that unreason is winning.
Under normal circumstances you would have jumped at the chance to go off-world, but talk about shitty timing a man had to have his priorities. Besides, you never were exactly the best choice for this diplomacy stuff.
"Look, Carter will be back tomorrow and shes got that dewy-eyed thing going and dont tell me she doesnt use it."
"Only on you, Jack," comes a disgruntled mumble from the archaeological corner of the table, but you dont have time to worry about whatever the hell has happened to team dynamics since the-powers-that-be decided you were the power-that-is at least around the mountain.
"Yes, well, as much as I normally like the idea of getting off my comfy butt and gating to pre-industrial, rainy planets with lots of trees, Im afraid Ive got responsibilities."
"And this has nothing to do with the Stanley Cup playoffs being on " drawls Daniel, who clearly has a bug of some kind up his ass. Youve probably forgotten to sign his requisition memo for those Siberian bristle brushes again.
"I didnt say that," you amend, "and I didnt just say that," you amend again. "In fact, I didnt say anything but no."
"Just no," repeats Daniel, but it sounds more snarky than questioning.
Tealc, you now notice, has clearly been practicing for his upcoming Wimbledon viewership, his head turning to follow the banter in sharp, short swivels. Daniel. You. Daniel. You. Daniel. You.
Of course, if he looked at an innocent tennis ball like that itd probably explode.
"Fine," you relent under the glare, "you just have to have the extraordinary diplomatic skills of old Jack here, then Ill go."
Daniels nose wrinkles. "Its not so much the diplomatic skills, Jack. Its the title. They want to negotiate with an individual of high rank and short of calling General Hammond back from the Pentagon--"
"Fine, I got it. You dont want me. You want my stars star," you correct, peering down at an epaulet, one eye closed. "Like I said: you want me? You got me."
Daniels already to his feet, one hand scooping up his briefing papers. "Nobody wants you, Jack. We just got stuck with you."
You better go find those requisition forms before Daniel pulls out the really painful vocabulary usually something about your flat, Air Force-issued ass.
Even if it was Jack, and even if he truly deserved it, I knew Id just gone too far.
If the heart is open
Then the leopard is naked
Great and now the little voices in my head are starting to sound just like Oma.
"What did I tell you, Daniel?" You make a sweeping gesture toward the rain-soaked pines. "Lets all go have a Molson, eh?"
"Perhaps the Ancients were attempting to recreate on many planets the most fertile climates on their homeworld, ONeill," offers Tealc, sounding more grave and reasonable than the situation deserves.
"So they picked Saskatchewan?"
Carter snorts at least someone appreciates your jokes. Daniel gives her the fish-eye for it, too: that squinty, one-eyed, cock of the head thing he does when he really cant believe his ears.
"I saw that, Daniel."
The squinty, cock of the head thing turns on you, but, hey, you have to protect the only member of the team that still seems to be on your side.
The woman has no shame. Okay, not that there wasnt a time I might have given Jacks lame humor a smile -- well, a half-smile, but she has no shame.
If the hearth has cooled
You have only to look to the window
And this Zen aphorism thing, its getting really, really annoying.
"Im all yours, Fishbringer. One USAF-certified general with which to negotiate."
"Feshbarona," hisses Daniel into your right ear. "You do this on purpose, Jack. I know this. Not even you could be this dumb."
Ouch. You should have told him you ordered the damn brushes.
"Hey, Im here, arent I? Im making nice with the semi-primitives, wearing my chiefly well they look like fluorescent cowrie shells but still chiefly bracelets and Im daubed in my ceremonial face paint. And," you add, getting an even more perplexed and crankier look from Daniel, "I ordered your brushes."
All this for the sake of what Carter swears is the mother lode to end all mother lodes of naquada. And at this point, it better be.
"Whatever," you continue, louder, ignoring the frown of annoyance on your archaeologists face, "point is, Im here and youre here and the day is young."
"They now have to go make a sacrifice, Jack. I told you this in the briefing."
Your face scrunches. "Like I was listening?"
When Daniel hisses, he really hisses.
"Okay, sacrifice, right. Well, Fishbaron," you wave a dismissing hand, "you go make your sacrifice and Ill just go open my e-mail or something."
"Come on, Carter."
I find my lips moving in a twisted parody of the order, which Jack catches me at and raises an eyebrow. That my attitude needs adjustment is apparently not lost on either of us. Guess Im still smarting from the conference-thing, on top of the cozy Jack-and-Sam-thing, which I ought to be used to by now.
"Lets walk a perimeter."
"Sir," Sam looks over the cover of her laptop, "I really want to work on these field equations."
"Fine," grumbles Jack, looking in your direction before dismissing you, "Tealc?"
Tealc glances at you then shakes his head. "I believe I shall remain with DanielJackson, ONeill. I do not feel you shall come to any harm."
"Fine, said the ant," Jack mutters, "Ill just do it myself."
The tick of the clock
Moves ungoverned by the stretch of the spring
Okay, Im pretty sure that one isnt true in Newtonian physics, which makes it even more annoying.
The peak of the tent is hidden in the dark of the planets night, but its still looking upwards, although, actually, ascension puts you beyond cardinal directions. "Look, Oma, if you have something to say, why dont you just come out and say it?"
If the branch furls in the absence of the breeze
"I am not listening." I stick my fingers in my ears to support the point. "Not listening!"
"Daniel?" The voice that makes it through my fingertip plugs is soft, which makes it somewhere between midnight and three: Sams watch. "Are you okay? I thought you said something."
"Dreaming," I explain a bit too sharply.
"All right." The tent flap rustles closed.
"Daniel," you greet, "youve looked better." Because, really, he has looked better. Dark, purplish half-circles shade the skin under his eyes and even the mandatory coffee isnt seeming to improve the situation.
"Didnt get much sleep."
You try nodding sagely and, as this is accepted, you hunker down companionably next to him and pour your own cup. The thing about you and Daniel is that its better if you dont talk. Talking, like bright light, just leads to the revelation of all kinds of wrinkles in the mask of your friendship. So what if hes still more geek than soldier, so what if youre no geek at all, youre still companionable. If theres no talking.
Unfortunately, no-talking and Daniel, even a tired and drooping Daniel, is like lox without a bagel.
"So, Jack, who are you taking to the session today?"
"Thought Id take Carter."
"Big surprise there," he mumbles.
"Tealcs acting weird," you conclude, "and Im sure youve got some old thing you want to play with Carter makes sense."
"Sure," he gulps down the rest of his coffee and gets, a bit stiffly, to his feet, "see ya, Jack. Ive got old things to play with."
"See," you brighten, "I knew that."
Carter settles in at your shoulder like the good second she still can be. Youre not sure whats up with any of the old gang lately, but at least shes not either snarking at you or sending the Tealc-glare-of-death your way at every opportunity, so you decide its safe enough to ask.
"Carter, whats up with Daniel?"
"I think he knows, sir."
While this may seem to be answering something, youre really unclear as to what that something might actually be.
"Knows about us," she clarifies unhelpfully.
"Knows what about us, Carter?"
"You know, sir," she says with a small, shy smile.
"Im not playing dumb here this time. I dont know. What does Daniel know about us?"
The small, shy smile grows into something a bit God help you like Pansy Franklin in third grade right before she wrestled you to the ground and planted a wet smacker on the side of your mouth and then kicked you in the shin for good measure.
"Carter," you warn, the smile wiping itself from her lips. "Dont do this to me. I dont want to have to hurt you. For Gods sake, Im your commanding officer. Im the last person you should " your hands wave almost frantically, " really, Carter, I just I just cant. And you cant either. You know that."
You were right about that dewy-eyed look from hell. Maybe if you just gave her some time alone. Besides, you have the Fish-guy and another subordinate to tend to and, fuck, maybe this somehow explains the whole Tealc thing as well, although youre not quite clear which side hes on
"Okay, Im getting the gist of this whole Jack-is-the-enemy thing thats going on and all I can say is, Daniel, are you nuts? Im no more interested in Carter than I would have been in Junior."
This nets a skeptically raised eyebrow.
"Okay, not true," you admit. "Id never be interested in Junior -- and Carter is attractive, but shes got this brainy thing going for her and Id be psycho in two days time just from listening to her. Never mind shed analyze everything you did."
"So youve thought about it," Daniel concludes, looking at you with a blue-laser gaze so piercing you feel your brain being read like a DVD.
"Im a guy, Daniel. Ive thought about practically everybody. What else is there to do in staff meetings? Doodle?"
"You so have not thought about everybody."
Your cheek twitches. "So have," you retort.
When the kettle is warm
It is not necessary that the cup be broken
Stop it. Stop it. Stop it; get your mind on something else, like
"Have you seen his hands," responds Jack.
Oh, this I do not want to contemplate and what could be worse than Siler?
"That guy down in the cafeteria with the hairnet, too?"
"You know his name?"
"I know everybodys name, Daniel. Its part of my job: commander-in-chief and everything."
"You have not thought about the guy with the hairnet."
Jack tenses, back going tight. "How do you know? Its not like youve had a hell of a lot to do with me since you de-glowed."
"I lost my memory, Jack," I point out.
"And I make one hell of a first impression," responds Jack petulantly.
So there was another hard right-hand turn into the ONeill zone.
"What has that got to do with anything?"
"You came back because of Carter, Daniel. You asked her if the two of you had a relationship."
I feel the blush creep across my cheeks. "She told you that?"
"Of course she told me that. Im her commanding officer. At least she still treats me like one, even if she seems to be going through some kind of schoolgirl period."
"Whats that supposed to mean?"
"Youre making your opinion of me quite clear, Daniel. And its making my job harder."
I can see Jack weighing how much to say.
"If you hate me so much, maybe you should go check out what theyre doing in Antarctica, because I dont think were solving anything here."
"Oh no, Im not leaving and youre not making me out to be the bad guy in all this." I cross my arms defiantly. "If youd just go ahead and screw Sam and get it out of your system or, maybe, make a life with her and get it into your system "
Jack practically jumps to his feet, spinning towards me and l almost take a step back before pride steps in and gets the better of me. "Shes my subordinate, you idiot! Ive done a lot of things but do you really think she or I would risk her career for a quick fuck?"
"You care about her."
"Of course I care about her even when she does her geeky technobabble shit just to show off how smart she is. I get to care about people, Daniel." Jack raises a hand to massage the tension in his neck. "Gah! I hate this shit. Do you want to know if I care about you, Daniel? Is that what this is all about? Do you really want to know?"
He must not have been expecting an answer, which was good because Im not sure I could let go of the anger I feel rooting me to the Canadian-like tundra of PV3-375 long enough to compose something.
"You want to know just how screwed I am, Daniel?"
Jack is right in my face, waving a finger.
"You want to know what I think most about in meetings? You really want to know? Cause what I think about is this"
Hands roughly grab the sides of my face and I wince, waiting for the blow because obviously Ive pushed Jack over some line so Im more than surprised when the kiss.. the kiss is forcefully pressed against my lips: solid, warm and passionate.
"So there!" rants Jack and I blink at his back mutely as he storms off back to camp, mutterings and me trailing in his wake.
"Were going, Carter."
"Sir?" she pauses as if she hadnt heard that correctly, frowning at you. Of course, the frown may have more to do with your earlier conversation. "The negotiations arent finished."
"Send a diplo team back. Theyve seen me. Hell, theyve painted me. Tell them I had important Earth-stuff I had to do."
"Sir, I dont think thats wise."
"Dont start with me, Carter," you warn, because youre starting to have doubts about the whole team concept thing, starting to think that planet alone with Maybourne was actually pleasant.
Okay, so, maybe I was wrong, maybe Id never gotten the whole, complicated Jack-Sam dynamic, never quite grasped the military mindset of how they were so close yet so far away from each other. Although, maybe, it was more a Jack-thing and Sams never completely understood it either: the whole pull-push of him.
Which is why shes standing exasperated, hands on hips, rain-dampened hair dripping in little spikes across her forehead as Jack stomps off to his tent.
"Did he ever kiss you?"
"What?" she asks, shocked.
Of course, that question might have deserved some exposition but I have a real sense that there isnt time right now.
"No," she huffs, "of course not."
"Thanks," I say with such sincerity that it makes her blink and I leave her there just gaping.
"Go away, Daniel."
You stuff another wad of clothes in another pocket and give the straining zipper a harsh tug.
"Changing spots, Jack. The naked leopard."
Okay, so that is definitely worrisome. The kiss hadnt been the best idea youve ever had but you hadnt thought it would unhinge a man whod been gated and near Goauld-ed and whatever the hell else Daniel been through over the years.
So you turn, looking worried. "Dannniel?"
But Daniel only looks bright-eyed and practically happy, which might be even more worrisome.
"I get it. I get what Oma was trying to tell me."
Daniel hunkers down in front of you, looking sincere. "Yeah, Ive been hearing these voices."
Oh Christ. "Voices, Danny, voices are never good."
"Not like schizophrenia, Jack, not this time. More like aphorisms."
"Youve been hearing," you venture, "aphorisms?"
"If the heart is open, then the leopard is naked. When the kettle is warm, it is not necessary that the cup be broken." He waves one hand dismissively and you follow it, hypnotized, as he concludes, "Something about a branch that I wouldnt let her finish."
Jack looks down suspiciously at the hand Ive now settled on his knee.
"So these aphorisms," he concludes, "theyre like old sayings."
"Its from the Greek apo delimit and horizein horizon. To delimit the horizon. Only they havent been making sense."
Jack twists his mouth, unconvinced. "And delimit the horizon does?"
"They make sense now."
But Ive lost Jack somewhere back in the Greek, "They do?"
I squeeze his knee to make my point clearer. "I think Oma was trying to tell me I was being an ass."
"Okay," accepts Jack, still looking puzzled. "Thats usually my job, but okay, you can be the ass this time."
This is, amazingly, somehow turning out better than you expected. Way better. And, well, frankly thats making you suspicious. Things particularly fuzzy, relationship type thingsjust dont get fixed. And if they do get fixed, they certainly dont stay that way.
"So, uh, Danny, now that were both asses, what do we do now?"
"Well," Daniel considers, looking a bit sympathetic, "I think theres some major stuff you need to clear up with Sam."
"Been there, done that," you sigh. Then a second thought overtakes you. "What about Tealc?"
"You think Tealc has a crush on you too? Geez, Jack, do you think everyone on the whole base wants you?"
You deflate just a little, its not that you thought but still youre still a good looking guy, right? So what if you only have eyes for a certain archaeologist doesnt mean other people dont have eyes for you.
"Tealc doesnt want me, Daniel. He looks more like he wants to pound me with his staff weapon. And," you hastily correct, "thats not a metaphor for anything else," your hands wave, " staff-y he might have. Hes been giving me the evil Jaffa eye lately."
"I might have been commiserating," Daniel admits.
"Commiserating?" you question.
"Okay, complaining. I might have said a few things about unfair treatment."
"Yes, Jack, from you. Youve practically been ignoring me ever since you got back. Right up to the kissing thing."
"Wasnt ignoring you then," you smirk.
Daniel runs a fingertip around his lips as if he can still feel the pressure there. "Nope. You think" he begins, looking around like theres something to see in the confines of your tent, "you think, maybe, we can get out of here?"
"Well, I was packing, Daniel."
"Oh. Well. Good," he concludes. "Guess I could too."
So now the evil-eye youre getting is from Sam and Tealc looks just a little mollified. Or at least as mollified as an ex-First Prime can look, but at least Daniel is practically ready to rush through the gate home where you and he can continue in surroundings that are a little more private.
Hey, who knew your day was going to turn out like this? Makes the Stanley Cup look like one of those dinky paper cone things from the water cooler.
Sam shoots you another evil glance but youre sure shell shake it off in a day or two. Siler will swing something shiny and naquada-powered in front of her eyes and shell have forgotten all about you. You know youre no match for things-techy. She knows it too.
"So, Jack " Daniel is in mid-sentence the moment you both slurp out of the gate, "your place or mine."
Youd always known Danny wasnt shy about what he wanted -- so this directness isnt so much a surprise as a warm, glowing sense of anticipation in the pit of your stomach that you havent had in well, you dont want to think the answer might be years.
"Briefing?" you remind.
"You are the briefing, Jack."
You turn back to a glowering Carter and a patient-looking Tealc whove stopped behind you. "Briefing tomorrow, kids. Been a long day, think we all should just head home."
It, you consider briefly, may be a bad thing that Carter is currently armed.
"Daniel," Jack greets me, still damp from the shower, Air Force-rough towel wrapped around his waist. He smells clean and slightly soapy and I want to do things to him that possibly shouldnt even be considered in a military base.
"Jack," I return in the same casual tone.
I notice hes a little shyer than usual, not flamboyantly dropping the towel like he usually does, and hes content with facing the interior of the locker, open doors flanking him on either side. Of course that leaves a well-toned ass for admiring. Unfortunately, military-trained, he can be completely covered head-to-toe in under thirty seconds.
"Ready?" he asks, stuffing the tail of his shirt in his khakis.
"Been ready for years," I murmur just under my breath.
Danny isnt shy, nope. Youd barely gotten through the front door when its locked behind you and youre pressed up against the wainscoting and subjected to a probing oral examination that would have made Loki proud. Why youre thinking about alien experimentation at a time like this is just another weird twist of your mind. Fortunately, Daniel moves on to your throat, finds a particularly sensitive spot right where at the curve where neck meets shoulder and you stop thinking at all.
Jack lets me take the lead which surprises me as Jack rarely lets me take the lead anywhere, but his bedroom is apparently not the same territory as something weve gated to. So his wiry body, the soft expanse of smooth back, his taut stomach and the straining cock beneath it are all mine to do with as I wish. And hes surprising tactile, calloused fingers running long and lean along my flank, palms cupping my ass, smoothing along my hips, wrapping along the length of my cock as I tremble from the thumbnail barely ghosting the head. I urge him to roll, come up on his knees and I rewrap my hand around his own cock, position myself, my other hand coaxing the opening of my goal.
He comes panting, sticky and hot over my hand and the muscles tighten around me and I am gone by the second pulse, collapsing across his back, chest heaving.
If the sun has reached her zenith--
Shut up, Oma. Not now.
So Sams okay and it was pretty much like you expected and by the time shed finished figuring out what kind of shiny, prettily-wired thing was causing those weird power fluctuations SG-3 found on that planet that rained frogs, shed basically forgotten all about you and had to be summoned twice to the staff meeting you called because she was having too much fun autopsying the thing.
And youre learning again that nobody knows what to do with a mans body like another man does particularly one who, as a curious adolescent, read every ancient tome on sexual technique he could get his grubby little hands on. Lets just say that your knowledge is growing by leaps and bounds.
Only problem is that that tendency to daydream in staff meetings has gotten kind of Danny-specific and with the guy sitting just down from you its even harder to concentrate on the mysteries of P-whatever-the-hell-it-is-this-week.
But, hey, weve all got to overcome something.