He could see it now, here in this ephemeral dream world. Rotating slowly above the calm lake, basking in glorious moonlight as it danced with its reflection. Hypnotic movements that served to draw his eye and make the magic of the still night chime through his blood.
After a time it paused for a moment, as though it were becoming aware of his dreamy contemplation. Phantom eyes, laced with a childlike curiosity, seemed to gaze gently into his soul. To his shame, it found the loneliness so easily, lying there just beneath the surface. Humiliated by the revelation, he shied away, turning his back on the ethereal beauty to protect his fragile heart.
Then slowly silver warmth, as soft as a lover's caress, began to snake around him. Once more he found himself staring into the soft animal-like eyes of the graceful creature. Wisps as soft as eiderdown settled around him, enveloping him and comforting his weary spirit.
But they did not stay and so neither did the peace they brought. Slowly the creature drifted away, causing an infinite sadness to flow through him at the loss of the mild touch.
"Come to me..."
The words floated into his mind.
"Come to me and we shall dance under the stars..."
Daniel woke abruptly, his eyes wild and his heart racing. Pausing only long enough to pull on his boots, he scrambled from the tent. Jack looked around from his watch with surprise.
"Everything okay, Daniel?" he said quietly, not wanting to disturb their slumbering team-mates. A small frown crinkled Jack's forehead as he took in Daniel's rumpled t-shirt and shorts. The younger man's turbulent eyes and pale face were highlighted in the full moonlight.
"Just...call of nature..." Daniel mumbled, running a hand through his hair, wondering if Jack could hear the hammering of his heart. Apparently not, since Jack relaxed slightly and waved a nonchalant hand at the tree line a few yards away.
"Okay," Jack said as he moved to stretch his aching legs. Daniel blinked at him for a moment and then began to make his way towards the trees. He had only taken a few paces when Jack called to him, making him stop and turn. "Oh and Daniel, you might need this." Daniel fumbled the flashlight that Jack threw to him. Then without another word Daniel turned and fled into the dark forest.
Tough coarse branches pulled as his exposed arms and legs as he charged through the trees. Every time he looked up he could see a ghostly wisp darting between the trees up ahead. Teasing him onwards, urging him to keep pace. Then suddenly the trees parted and he skidded to halt by the water's edge.
Here it was, the lake from his dreams. Daniel looked around and then gasped as out of the water rose the creature, twisting with a gentle grace. Crystal droplets fell silently from its ghostly body until it came to rest above the water.
"You came to me." The voice was so clear that it almost pained his ears, yet Daniel would never be able to say what language the creature spoke. It was if its communication transcended the need for language.
"You called to me." His own voice sounded clumsy.
"No, Daniel. It was you who called to me. In your dreams your soul cried out."
He stared at the creature as it floated effortlessly out towards the middle of the dark lake.
"Who are you? What are you?"
"I am Luna. Now come. Dance with me."
Luna. The word dredged up textbook references to the name that seemed so clinically abhorrent in the presence of such majestic beauty.
"Come dance with me."
All thoughts finally fled as Daniel shrugged out of his clothes and stepped away from the trees and into the cool water.
Jack cursed under his breath as he followed the blazon trail Daniel had left in his wake. His flashlight bobbed from the ground to the trees ahead as he hastily pursued his way-ward anthropologist. God knows he loved the man but sometimes he just wanted to strangle him.
When Daniel had not returned within a few minutes, Jack had quietly woken Teal'c to take his watch. Despite the hushed tones of the two men, Carter had also woken as her sixth sense for trouble kicked in. Jack had convinced the two of them to give him precisely one hour to find Daniel. If he had not returned by that time and they could not raise him on the radio, they were to break camp and head for the 'Gate.
Jack swore as a branch smacked him in the face. "Goddamnit Daniel..." he muttered, trying to ignore the clamping fist of fear around his heart.
A few minutes later, something caught his attention, a strange glow seemed to emanate through the trees up ahead. Hurrying forward, Jack tightened the grip on his P-90. As he broke through the last of the trees, the sight that greeted him made his mouth go dry.
A dancing, glowing being seemed to hover above the water. And there, bathed in the pale light, was a gloriously naked Daniel. As he stood thigh deep in the obsidian coloured water, his exposed skin was luminous. Jack could not remember ever seeing such a soul stealing sight.
"Daniel..." he breathed.
Daniel turned to look over his shoulder, his sad face framed by the full moon that hung low in the sky behind him. At the strange look on Daniel's face, Jack shook his head.
"Daniel?" he questioned, panic evident in his eyes.
"Jack...." Daniel spoke slowly as if he were talking to Jack from another time, another place. "Jack...I have to go." Daniel took another step forward, the water lapping gently at the scratches on his thighs that were the only marring on his perfect skin.
For the first time, Jack looked across at the being.
"What ever you are doing stop it. Now." he snapped, bringing his P-90 up to bear.
"You can not harm me, Jack." The reply rippled over the lake, tinged with sadness. Jack noted with alarm that Daniel was still walking towards the alien creature.
"Stop it. NOW." He yelled.
"I can not Jack. Daniel needs me."
Jack's throat constricted in terror. "Let him go."
"Why Jack? You cannot ease his pain as I can. Be happy for your friend, for I will care for him for the rest of his days."
"NO!" Jack's yell echoed around the tree-encircled lake, shattering the serenity of the place. The need to act, to reach Daniel, overwhelmed him. As quickly as he could move, Jack toed out of his boots, dropped his P-90 and shed his jacket. With a snarl, he blundered into the water.
Jack expected the alien entity to try and hamper his approach to Daniel, but nothing happened. Within moments he had reached the other man, who was still steadily walking towards the alien.
"Daniel?" Jack said tentatively, closing a hand around Daniel's upper arm. The movement seemed to jolt Daniel to a stop, yet he did not turn to face his friend. "Whatcha doing Daniel?" he said softly.
Daniel shuddered underneath his touch, like a nervous colt trying to find its legs. "Please let me go Jack. I want to go."
"I don't think so Daniel," Jack said glaring up at the entity. The creature did nothing but look back almost impassively. "What have you done to him?" he growled.
"I have done nothing Jack, other than to try and answer Daniel's needs."
"What needs?" Jack exclaimed. "He has none. He has a family now. We are here for him. All of us - me, Sam, Teal'c." Jack grabbed Daniel's shoulder and turned him around, shaking him. "What needs Daniel? What else do you need? Tell me!"
Daniel looked up at Jack through his lashes, his eyes burning with an almost unholy light of desire.
"You. I need you."
Jack stared at Daniel for a moment in shock. Then his gaze flickered up to the glowing entity before settling back on Daniel.
"What have you done to him?" he demanded.
Before the creature could give an answer, he heard Daniel growl. Two strong hands curved around his neck as Daniel forcefully brought his lips to meet Jack's. Jack struggled briefly but seemed to be powerless as a wet naked Daniel ground their bodies together. After a moment, Daniel pushed him away.
"You wanted to know my needs, Jack? There are my needs. Now let me be." Daniel turned away from Jack, his face unreadable.
Jack's gaze travelled down - from the broad shoulders to the strong spine to the angular hips that sat above what just might the best ass in the whole of the Western World. He felt that he was looking at Daniel for the first time. Looking at him without all the trappings of the real world obscuring his view. Arousal spiked low in his stomach.
The being started to twirl gently again, as though waiting for some sign, but Jack barely noticed. Reaching out a shaking hand, he let his fingers gently settle on Daniel's waist. Daniel froze.
"If I take care of his needs," Jack said in an even voice to the entity. "Will you release him?"
"No Jack." The creature paused for a moment before continuing. "He will release himself."
"Daniel?" Jack stepped up behind him. Daniel could feel Jack's wet t-shirt and pants cling to the bare skin of his back and thighs and it sent a shiver through him.
"No Jack." His voice was thick with emotion. "This is not about 'saving' me. Not this time. This about what I...we...need. Not just now, but in the future."
Jack bent his head, allowing his lips to graze Daniel's left ear.
"I need you, Daniel." Jack pressed harder against him allowing Daniel, for the first time, to feel just how much he wanted him. Daniel groaned in response, tipping his head back to rest against Jack's shoulder, rubbing himself against the older man. The gesture broke the last of Jack's control. He dipped his head to allow his teeth and lips to start feasting with a savage passion on Daniel's neck. His arms encircled Daniel's waist, caressing the muscled skin beneath with an arousing possessiveness.
Daniel groaned loudly, struggling briefly in Jack's arms, trying to free himself to turn and kiss the other man. Steely strength held him in place until he settled once more. His only resistance being the teasing hands gently darting up and down Jack's strong thighs.
Jack's hands dipped lower, trailing down Daniel's thighs, until his outstretched fingers skimmed the water. Drawing his hands back up Daniel's taut quad muscles, he let the water run down the sensitive skin in tiny rivulets.
"Jack..." a low moan escaped. "Please..."
"Yes..." Jack hissed against his skin, peppering Daniel's shoulder with fierce kisses. He could feel the desire and need that threaded through his lover's body. His hand closed over Daniel, feeling the hot satin strength pulse against his palm. Daniel was gloriously hard as Jack's hand took up a slow aching rhythm.
Electricity sparked through Daniel's body as he arched into the touch. Jack's skilful hands were feeding the flames, overloading his senses. "More," he ordered, giving himself over to the greedy needs of his body as the exquisite tension built.
"Kiss me," came Jack's gruff reply. Daniel tilted his head back, twisting so that Jack's questing lips finally found his own. Without preamble, Jack's tongue probed his lips, demanding access. When Daniel's mouth opened beneath his own, he slid into the moist heat. A talented tongue wrapped around his for an instance before it began to skilfully duel with his own for dominance of the kiss.
They did not speak again until Daniel's triumphant shout filled the night as he came to completion. Jack's name echoed around, bouncing back in amplification from the wall of trees that surrounded them at the water's edge.
For the next few moments, Daniel leant against Jack. Both their chests labouring, causing the night air to be filled with puffs of moist breath. While he waited for Daniel to regain his composure, Jack simply held him tight. His hands gently running up and down Daniel's muscular arms, coaxing him back to the present. For now Jack ignored his own immediate need, there would time enough for that later.
Jack looked across to where the creature was still twirling gently with an almost satisfied air.
"Luna?" Daniel said breathlessly.
"You do not need me any more. You have Jack."
Daniel turned slowly and looked into Jack's face, seeing the love and desire written there for the first time.
"Yes," he said slowly, his gaze never leaving Jack's as he touched their foreheads together. "Yes I do."
Luna looked down on the two mortal beings and smiled. Then with a quicksilver laugh she circled them once before diving beneath the surface of the water and out of view.
For a moment, the world dimmed. The two men stood beneath the single full moon absorbed in holding each other, touching each other. Moonlight bathed them, as Daniel leant forward to gently claim a kiss from Jack.
"Luna. What was she?" Jack asked, as they broke apart.
"Shssh," Daniel placed a finger across Jack's lips. "Don't talk." he said as he interlaced his fingers gently with Jack's, pulling him close to his side. Slowly they made their way towards the bank. Daniel dressed in silence, feeling Jack's gaze upon him. Looking up as he laced his boot, he saw the simmering desire in those dark depths.
As Daniel stood, raking his hand through his hair, Jack radioed into Carter and Teal'c.
"What will you tell them?" Daniel asked.
"Nothing. Something." Jack shrugged as he wringed out a corner of his wet t-shirt.
Daniel turned to look over the now darkened vista of the lake. Jack's arm slid around his shoulders.
"Love you," he murmured into Daniel's ear. He watched the younger man's eyes slide shut. When they opened once more, he saw the same sentiment reflected in Daniel's eyes. Jack's hand closed around the other man's.
"Let's get back, Daniel. Warm tent, hot coffee."
"No heavenly was being with you, out there." Jack voice was low.
Daniel looked at him from the corner of his eye as they headed back into the forest.
"So next stop, Zion," he murmured.
Jack laughed and pulled him tighter to his side. "Yousurebetcha."
|Summary:||Daniel's encounter with a fae-like creature causes Jack to finally declare his feelings.