"Daniel, Carter and Fraiser?" Colonel Jack O'Neill said incredulously. "With all due respect, General. What the hell were you thinking? Sir," Jack added hastily.
General George Hammond sighed, totally prepared for his colonel's outburst but was always hopeful that one day Jack may surprise him.
"Are you saying, Colonel O'Neill, that Major Carter and Doctors Jackson and Fraiser are not capable of successfully undertaking a covert operation?"
"Carter, yes, but Fraiser? She's a doctor for crying out loud. She hasn't seen field experience in God knows how long. And Daniel? Daniel's...he's..." Jack's voice trailed off.
"A civilian, Colonel? Isn't that the argument I put forth four years ago when you insisted that Dr. Jackson be a part of SG-1?" Hammond asked in a measured tone.
Jack's shoulders visibly sagged under the general's scrutiny. "Yes, sir. But-," Jack gestured helplessly with his hands.
"But Dr. Jackson's different," Hammond finished.
Jack looked long and hard into Hammond's steady, blue eyes. "Yes. He is."
"Dr. Jackson has accumulated an impressive record of field time...dangerous field time."
Jack flinched at the word and the general had no trouble reading the guilt in Jack's eyes and posture.
"Dr. Jackson is fine, Jack," Hammond explained kindly.
"If I hadn't thrown the damn phone away," Jack muttered disparagingly.
"Excuse me?" Hammond asked.
"You threw away the cellular phone that I specifically requested Teal'c take
with you on your trip?" Hammond asked dangerously.
"Daniel didn't mention that?" Jack asked weakly.
"No, he did not."
Damn it, Daniel. Don't cover for me.
"Wait a minute," Jack said suddenly, straightening up. "Does that mean you didn't even try to contact me?"
"That's exactly what it means, Colonel O'Neill."
Jack stared open-mouthed at Hammond. "You send half of my team, my team, into a dangerous, life-threatening encounter with a friggin' snake, and you didn't even think to call me?" Jack asked accusingly.
"For your information, Colonel O'Neill," Hammond said in a low, even voice. "They are all, including you, under my command. Is that understood?"
"I know you're angry, son, and before you jump down my throat again, which I strongly advise against," Hammond said, standing up and squaring off with Jack, "I didn't call you because, one, action had to be taken immediately, and two, you were in dire need of some time off. Dr. Jackson obviously had to go. Major Carter was more than capable of providing backup, and Dr. Fraiser was required for her medical expertise of both humans and Goa'uld."
"Yes, sir," Jack agreed quietly.
"Colonel," Hammond said patiently. "I know you feel responsible for your team and that's highly commendable, but you are not responsible for Dr. Jackson's latest injury. This is not the first time that he has been hurt while outside of your authority."
Jack looked up, prepared to respond, but shook his head instead, and looked back at the floor. "I should have been there. I should have been with him."
Jack raised his eyes and Hammond was surprised by the depth of pain he saw.
"What if he had been killed? Or taken as a host?" God, Daniel. I'd never forgive myself. You'd never know how I feel; what you really mean to me.
"Colonel, you can't watch him 24 hours a day. If Dr. Jackson's presence on SG-1 is becoming a liability I will have him reassigned, immediately if need be."
"No!" Jack said horrified. "He's not a liability. He never has been," Jack insisted.
Hammond studied the tightly wound officer in front of him. Jack's emotions were too raw, too close to the surface. He knew O'Neill and Jackson were best friends but he had noticed a distancing between them lately. For some time, actually, when he thought about it. There was something more going on here.
"Have you seen Dr. Jackson since you arrived back?"
"No," Jack said guiltily.
"Go and see him, Colonel. That's an order."
"Yes, sir," Jack said hollowly. "General?"
"I apologize for my behaviour. Your decision was sound, as always."
"Oh, Colonel?" Hammond called, stopping Jack at the door.
"We will discuss the phone incident at another time," Hammond promised.
Jack withered under the unspoken reprimand and responded stiffly, "Of course, sir." Looking forward to it, you betcha.
Dr. Daniel Jackson leaned forward in his chair and placed his elbows on the desk. Resting his head in his hands, he rubbed vainly at the persistent headache. He looked up tiredly at the knock on his door. Jack stood awkwardly in the doorway.Took your sweet time, Jack.
"Hey," Jack said lamely.
"Hey," Daniel responded, sitting back with a sigh, closing his eyes.
"Head still hurt?" Jack asked as he moved closer into the room.
"Yeah," Daniel replied, scrunching his eyes as another wave of pain washed over him. "You'd think I'd build up an immunity, or something," he laughed mirthlessly.
"Doc can't do anything?"
"The usual," Daniel shrugged. "Aspirin, plenty of fluids, i.e. water, and rest."
"Are you doing any of those?" Jack asked sceptically.
"Does it really matter?"
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Jack asked alarmed. "Of course it matters." It sure as hell matters to me.
Jack paced the room. There was so much he wanted to say, needed to say, but he didn't know how. More importantly, he was scared. Scared of his feelings for Daniel, and scared of Daniel's reaction to those feelings.
"Look, I'm sorry about the phone."
"It's not the first time you've hung up on me," Daniel said simply.
"Well, that too, but I mean for throwing it away."
"You threw the phone away?"
"For crying out loud! You didn't try to call me, either?"
"Why would I, Jack?" Daniel contested hotly, bolting to his feet. "So I could hear you hang up on me again? Or, if you did listen, to hear you say 'What the hell are you trying to do, Daniel? You're not a soldier; you'll get your stupid ass shot off! You think you're some freakin' Indiana Jones?'"
"No, you look, Jack!" The words were barely out of his mouth when Daniel felt the heat rise in his cheeks and his heart pound. He knew instantly, from Jack's reaction, that he, too, recognized the words and the tone. The same words he spat out to Jack in the mine when he was under the influence of the sarcophagus. The colour drained from Daniel's face and he felt sick to his stomach. He turned away, ashamed and humiliated.
"I'm sorry," he whispered hoarsely. Daniel hugged himself, steeling himself for the sound of Jack's angry and rapid departure. No movement; no retort. Maybe, I haven't screwed up entirely, he thought hopefully. He sat back down, and bowed his head.
Jack stared at the shell of his once vibrant friend. God, Daniel. This is all my fault. I've done this to you. He wanted to physically shake Daniel out of the stupor he had fallen into, then he wanted to wrap his arms around him and apologize over and over again for not being there. For not protecting him. For being an ass for so many months. He wanted to gaze into those amazing blue eyes and lose himself in their brightness. He wanted to cover those wonderfully mobile lips with his own. He wanted to feel those elegant, agile fingers caressing his body. He wanted to feel Daniel's hard, lean body and bury his...Whoa, Jack! What the hell are you thinking? Jack jerked himself out of his fantasy, his heart racing and his palms sweating. Crap, this can't be happening.
"Jack?" Daniel repeated for the second time.
"Huh?" Jack responded dazedly.
"I said, 'how was the fishing?'" Daniel reiterated, concern in his voice and in his eyes.
Oh God Danny. Don't look at me like that.
"It was great," he said briskly. "Hated to leave." The most miserable three days of my life. Surprised Teal'c didn't use me as bait.
"Good," Daniel said, not quite convinced. What did Teal'c say? 'It was not me O'Neill wished to be with.' Sam turned you down again, did she? "You needed a break. You more than earned it."
"We've all earned time off," Jack said.
"Sure put mine to good use, didn't I?" Daniel said ruefully. "Introduced another Goa'uld into the universe; injured one friend and lost another." Daniel's voice choked on the last words and Jack's heart ached for his friend. Carter had told him about Sara, an incredibly beautiful woman who shared a history with Daniel, a likely intimate history.
"It's not your fault," Jack said automatically.
Daniel sighed. "I know. I just hate feeling helpless." He leaned forward and pressed a key on his keyboard. The marching Egyptian figures of his screensaver dissolved to a picture of a stunning young woman.
"That's Sara," he said softly.
Jack went around behind Daniel to view the screen.
"She's beautiful, Danny," he said quietly. What chance in hell do I have?
Haven't called me that in a long time, Jack; I've missed it. "Yes, she is. You're probably thinking 'not bad for a geek'."
"I've never thought that, Daniel," Jack said.
"Ah yes, I think the term was 'dweeb', if I remember correctly."
Which you always do, damn you.
"Look, I was an asshole back then. You know that."
"Yes, you were," Daniel said, a small smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.
"You do that on purpose don't you?" Jack said accusingly.
"What?" Daniel asked innocently.
"Remind me of that first time so I'll call myself a jerk or an ass."
Daniel smiled sweetly and said, "I just like to hear it now and then."
Jack grunted. "Well, as long as it's only now and then."
Daniel laughed softly and Jack's heart melted, again.
"So, you and Sara were...an item?" Jack asked.
"If you mean, passionately in love," Daniel said with a tired smile, "yes. At least, I thought we were."
"It ended badly?" Jack asked gently.
"It wasn't pleasant," Daniel admitted.
"Sorry. Want to talk about it?"
Daniel looked sharply up at Jack and bit off his flippant response when he saw the care and concern in Jack's eyes.
"Maybe another time," he answered.
Jack placed his hand firmly on Daniel's shoulder and squeezed. "Come on, I'll buy you something to eat," he offered.
You haven't touched me in a long time, either. Missed that even more. "Sure," Daniel said standing up.
"Whoa, easy there," Jack said grasping Daniel's shoulders in alarm as he swayed.
"Sorry," Daniel apologized. "Guess I got up a little too quickly."
"You want to sit down again?" Jack asked.
"No, no, I'm okay now. Thanks."
Jack nodded and reluctantly released his friend. "Any time."
Daniel reached back to rub the back of his neck.
"Jesus!" Jack exclaimed.
Daniel looked at Jack in alarm. "What?"
"Where the hell did you get those bruises on your neck?"
Daniel blushed and instinctively pulled his shirt collar up. "It's nothing," he mumbled.
"Like hell. Let me see." Jack reached up and gently pulled Daniel's collar away from his neck. "Christ, Danny," he whispered.
Jack gently traced the livid bruises with his fingers and Daniel closed his eyes. Oh God, this feels good; it feels too good. Jack's touch was gentle and pure, like a lover's caress, and it sent shivers down to his toenails.
"Did she do this?" Jack asked softly.
"Wha-?" Daniel stammered. "No, Osiris did," he replied, pulling away from Jack's touch. Jack's oh, so sweet and gentle touch. Can't let him see how much I need him. How much I've missed him.
"Does it hurt?" Jack asked, reluctantly lowering his hands.
"It's a little tender. I've had worse," Daniel shrugged.
"Want me to kiss it and make it better?" Did I just say that?
Daniel flashed Jack such a look of hurt and betrayal that it literally staggered the older man. Oh crap, he thinks I'm laughing at him.
"Daniel, I-," Jack's hurried explanation was cut off by the phone ringing. Crap!
Daniel grasped the phone like a life-line. "Hello? Yes, General he's here."
Daniel held the phone out to Jack.
Jack took the phone, allowing his fingers to brush lightly over Daniel's. Daniel didn't take the bait however, and refused to make eye contact.
"General?" Jack spoke into the phone.
"Just wanted to make sure you followed my orders, Colonel. Is everything going okay?" Hammond asked.
"There's…a lot of work to be done, sir." Jack confessed.
"I'll assume you are up to the task. Do the right thing, son."
"Uh-yes, sir. I'll try." Jack hung up the phone slowly. What the hell was that? It's almost as if he...no way...he couldn't...hell, I didn't even know. Well, at least not that I would admit.
"Huh?" Crap, I did it again.
"Is everything all right? You look a little…dazed."
"No, everything's fine. Just hungry, I guess. Still up for that meal?" he asked hopefully.
"Sure. Let me just take a couple of aspirin first. Something's up with Jack. He's positively twitching.
"Maybe I'll take a couple myself," Jack said, rubbing at his own temple.
"Does Hammond have you working on something?" Daniel asked as he handed the pills and a glass of water to Jack.
"Sort of. To tell the truth, I'm not quite sure what he has in mind."
"Anything I can help with?" Daniel asked sincerely.
"You can always help, Daniel," Jack said, fixing Daniel with what he hoped was his best 'we're a team' look. "I'll let you know, okay?"
Jack and Daniel stood at opposite ends of the elevator, watching the levels slowly pass.
"I used to think this elevator was fast when I first came here," Daniel commented as they waited for the commissary level.
"I know what you mean," Jack said, tapping his fingers impatiently on the wall. Too close; he's too damn close.
"Would have been quicker to take the stairs."
"You're right," Jack said, beginning to pace.
"This isn't normal, is it?" Daniel asked.
"No, we should have reached the surface by now, never mind the commissary."
The elevator lurched sharply and both Jack and Daniel reached forward to steady each other.
"Whoa," Daniel said as the elevator settled. "Glad I hadn't eaten yet."
"Ditto," Jack said, turning to press buttons. "Uh, we're not moving, Daniel."
Daniel stepped forward and pressed some buttons as well. "We seem to be stuck between floors."
Jack picked up the emergency phone and waited for an answer.
"Well, it's about time! This is Colonel O'Neill. Dr. Jackson and I are stuck in this damn elevator. What the hell's going on?"
Daniel smiled and shook his head. Jack was ever the diplomat.
"Like we have anywhere else to go!" Jack hung up the phone with a bang.
Glad to see I'm not the only one he hangs up on."What's the problem?" Daniel asked, suppressing a smile.
"How the hell should I know? Some kid spouting techno-babble. Said to sit tight."
"Well," Daniel said lowering himself to the floor. "Might as well get comfortable."
"You seem awfully chipper," Jack groused.
"Nothing we can do about it. Might as well make the most of it," Daniel said matter-of-factly. This will probably be the most time we've spent together in months. I'll take what I can get.
Sighing dramatically, Jack slid down the wall and closed his eyes. Make the most of it. Okay, I can do that.Through slitted eyes, Jack observed his friend. Daniel's eyes were also closed. His head rested against the wall and his hands hung loosely over his drawn-up knees. Jack studied his young teammate's face. Small lines of pain furrowed Daniel's brow and Jack felt an overwhelming urge to caress or kiss them away. Giving himself a mental shake, Jack's gaze fell on the long, slender fingers and felt his skin begin to itch. Oh, this is not good. Talk. Talking's good.
"How was the funeral?" Oh, brilliant O'Neill. That's the best you can come up with?
Daniel cracked open one eye. "It was a funeral, Jack."
"Right. Well, how was it going back and seeing your...you know...colleagues and such."
"Truth is, I think I'd rather be zatted," Daniel said wearily before closing his eyes.
Jack laughed and then realized that Daniel was serious. Shit, it must have been hell for him. Think of something else, damnit.
"Carter said you darted Osiris while your brains were being fried. Said they wouldn't have gotten out alive without you."
Daniel shrugged. "I was lucky. Osiris had been asleep for thousands of years; he wasn't quite up to par."
Jack snorted. "He just didn't know who he was dealing with."
Daniel's eyes opened wide in surprise at Jack's compliment.
"What?" Jack said. "It's true. You're every snakehead's worst nightmare."
Daniel smiled. That's the nicest thing you've said to me in a long time. "We have kicked our share of snaky butt, haven't we?"
"Damn straight. But you dealt with Osiris all on your own." Because I was too damn busy feeling sorry for myself.
"He'll be back," Daniel said hollowly.
"We'll be ready," Jack vowed.
Daniel watched Jack absently pick at non-existent lint on his pants and felt a warm rush of affection for the battle-weary man.
"For what it's worth," Daniel said quietly. "I did try to call you."
Jack glanced up, opened his mouth to respond, and suddenly couldn't think of what to say. How could he express the relief he felt at Daniel's confession? How could he explain the odd mix of pride and joy he felt whenever Daniel 'needed' him. More to the point, how did he explain his shame and regret for not being there for Daniel?
"It's priceless," Jack finally uttered.
Daniel's eyebrows rose, surprised and unprepared for the reply. The intensity in Jack's dark eyes exhilarated yet unnerved him, and he looked away, confused. The overwhelming need to 'get back on track' with Jack was tearing him up inside.
Jack closed his eyes and lowered his head. Ah, Danny. You don't know where the hell I'm coming from, do you? Okay, cards on the table.
"This reminds me of that game," Jack said.
"You know, the one where you pick who you'd most like to be trapped with on a desert island."
"Ah, that game," Daniel said quietly. "Sorry to disappoint you."
Jack gazed levelly at Daniel, whose arms were now hugging his knees. Jack stood up, walked over, and slid down beside Daniel, their shoulders just touching.
"Hey," Jack said, nudging Daniel with his shoulder. Daniel hugged his knees harder in response.
"Daniel," Jack said insistently.
Daniel glanced sideways at Jack.
"I'm not disappointed."
Daniel swallowed hard and looked away, finding Jack's proximity intoxicating. Is it getting hot in here?
"I'm sorry, Daniel," Jack said softly.
Daniel's head jerked up and he looked uncertainly at Jack. Jack gave a half-smile and explained. "I'm sorry about your professor. I'm sorry about Sara and Steven. I'm sorry about the damn phone, and I'm sorry for being such an ass these last months."
"No, let me finish. I've been a real jerk. I've had these…feelings…for someone and I've taken it out on you."
Oh God, he does love Sam.
"Does this…person…share these feelings?" Daniel asked hesitantly.
"In my dreams," Jack said wistfully. "Seriously, I don't know. I doubt it. I sure as hell haven't given any signs."
"Hell, Jack, you've asked her to go fishing with you three times," Daniel said scrambling to his feet. "She's not an idiot!"
"It's not Carter!" Jack said defensively.
Daniel stared in disbelief. Just great. Someone else I can be jealous of.
"Argh! This isn't going well," Jack grumbled, scrubbing furiously at his hair. "Daniel," Jack sighed, as he got to his feet. "I meant what I said back in your office."
Daniel's mind replayed the scenario in his office. "You said a lot of things, Jack."
"I mean…about the…you know," Jack gestured towards Daniel's neck.
Daniel looked down at himself and then up at Jack, wide-eyed and confused. "You mean..."
Daniel blushed and studied the floor before looking back up at Jack. "Really?"
Jack walked up to Daniel and gently caressed the younger man's throat. "Really," he said huskily.
"Well, if you think…Oh God," Daniel gasped as Jack's lips brushed lightly against his neck.
"Better?" Jack murmured as he nuzzled his way down Daniel's throat.
"B-b-better. Oh! Much better," he panted as Jack's mouth worked its way up the other side of his neck. Daniel automatically wrapped his arms around Jack and staggered back against the wall. "God, Jack." His chest was heaving, and other parts of his body were also noticeably heaving. Daniel involuntarily thrust against Jack causing the older man to moan and pull back, his eyes glazed with desire.
"Do you know who it is, now?" he asked, pressing his own hardened cock into Daniel's.
Daniel's eyes swept over the beloved face in front of him. His gaze settled on the mouth, the slightly parted lips, and he was lost. Placing his hand on the side of Jack's face, Daniel leaned in to gently brush Jack's lips with his own. Startled by the softness, he moaned and grasped the back of Jack's head, deepening the kiss. Jack readily compiled, offering encouragement with his tongue. Daniel responded wholeheartedly and explored the inside of Jack's mouth with the thoroughness of a delicate excavation, eliciting sounds of pleasure from both men. Jack groaned and pulled back, his eyes memorizing every detail of the face held between his hands. Suddenly, he wrapped his arms around Daniel, engulfing him in his embrace. "God, I've missed you," he whispered.
"Jack?" Daniel said.
Jack squeezed harder and Daniel felt a definite wetness on his neck. He tried pulling back from Jack but found himself being held even tighter.
"Jack? Look at me. Please." Hearing the concern in Daniel's voice, he reluctantly loosened his embrace and stepped back. Daniel's eyes widened at the tears sliding down Jack's cheeks.
Jack shrugged and gave a shaky smile. "This is what you do to me, Daniel. Every time you go missing; every time you get hurt; every time you're on another team; I'm afraid I'll never see you again. I love you, Daniel, and it's killing me."
"Jack," Daniel said wonderingly, gently brushing away the tears. "I love you too, but I thought…I never…I-"
"It's okay," Jack said, clasping Daniel's hand and kissing the palm. "You probably have a lot of questions, and I will answer them the best I can."
"But not now," Daniel stated, leaning in for another searing kiss.
"Mmm, definitely not now," Oh God, Danny. How can you feel and taste so good?
A vague sensation of motion caused Daniel to open his eyes just a crack. They opened wider as the elevator door swished open to reveal Teal'c, a rather bemused Teal'c, standing in the doorway. Daniel tried to speak, his tongue still deeply buried in Jack's mouth.
"J-ack," he gasped, attempting to pull back.
"Hmmm?" Jack growled into his throat, not letting him get away.
"Jack…Teal'c," he managed to say.
"Mmm, don't want Teal'c, want you."
"I am wounded, O'Neill," a resonant voice sounded.
Daniel felt Jack stiffen and held his breath as Jack finally came up for air.
"Teal'c?" he said, still gazing into Daniel's crystal blue eyes.
Jack kissed Daniel gently on the nose and turned, one arm still clasped tightly around his shoulders.
Daniel's eyes misted with tears at Jack's action. He was afraid that Jack would fling him away at being discovered but instead, he held on to him possessively.
"So, the elevator's working," Jack said.
"It is indeed. General Hammond requested that I inform both you and Daniel Jackson that you are dismissed for the rest of the day. You are to go home and …'discuss things'."
That lovable bastard does know!
"That's good. That sound okay to you, Daniel?"
"I haven't got a problem with that," Daniel admitted, still dazed by recent events.
"Teal'c, do you have a problem with this?" Jack asked indicating him and Daniel.
"On the contrary, I am relieved," Teal'c stated, as he reached in and pressed the button for the surface.
"Relieved? How so?" Jack asked.
"Perhaps now you will have no need to request my presence on another fishing trip, and our missions can get back to the way they should be," Teal'c stated solemnly with a small glint in his eye as the door closed.
Jack looked at Daniel and asked, "Did he just call me an ass?"
Daniel snickered. "Yes, I think he did, and a fine ass it is, too," he said throatily as he firmly grasped Jack's buttocks, thrusting his tongue down Jack's mouth.
Jack moaned in pleasure. I've died and gone to heaven.
|Genres:||Angst, First Time|
|Summary:||After Daniel's encounter with Osiris, Jack finally makes his feelings known.
Author's Chapter Notes:
This is a response to Ali's 'First Kiss' challenge and my first dip into the genre. Sincere thanks to betas, Jmas and Lems.