Word count: 14,095
Summary: When an injury sidelines Daniel from active duty he finds something else in life that he thought he'd never have.
Author's Notes: This is AU in so far that although it takes place towards the very end of Season 8, Janet Fraiser is still alive. Sorry if that bothers anyone but I loved Janet and prefer to keep her in my little universe.
His breath whispered in and out, molasses slow, through a throat that burned like fire. His heart pounded, keeping time with the throbbing in his head, even as he watched the slow pulse of his blood drip out on the concrete floor of their prison.
A hand grasped his chin, forcing his eyes open with the pain of it, even as he fought with rapidly dwindling strength to pull away.
“Daniel!” Jack’s voice was uncompromising, steely. “You’re going to hang on. I am not leaving here with you in a bodybag. You understand me?”
He almost laughed out loud at that, tried to, in fact, but the mere exhalation made blood bubble from his mouth, and he choked.
Gasping for air, he felt himself pulled forward, arms warm around his ribs and back, his face over a broad shoulder. A hand patted between his shoulderblades, its rhythm just short of frantic. He coughed, inhaled, and finally managed to grab a gasping breath of air.
Slumping finally in exhaustion, he was laid gently down across Jack’s legs as soft fingers carded comfort through his hair.
He dreamed then, of home and safety, of being pain-free and safe. From time to time cold shook him awake and then Jack would haul him up to sit against his side, sharing his own body-warmth with him, reassuring him that rescue was on its way and telling him he just had to hang on till then because Jack wasn’t going to let him go. Not this time, not without a fight. He knew somewhere in the deepest part of himself that it was true. Jack would take on heaven and hell and drag him back if Daniel showed any sign of giving up, of yielding to death. He didn’t want to, but oblivion kept tugging at him, trying to pull him under and sometimes he couldn’t help but give into its siren call and let it release him from the pain and fear.
“Daniel.” The voice was insistent and he dragged his reluctant eyelids open. Everything looked blurred and he had to blink to clear his vision. “There you are,” the voice said.
“Jack?” Daniel got the word out through a mouth that felt parched and sore.
“Here, I’m here, Daniel.” The voice came from his right and Daniel turned his head, Jack’s form gradually coming into focus.
The air where he was now was cooler, with an antiseptic smell to it. He hurt, it seemed, all over but the worse pain came from his leg, which throbbed viciously. “Home?” Daniel asked, trying to push the pain aside. He needed to know what had happened but he had no memory of anything beyond passing out in the dungeon and waking up here.
“Yes, you’re home,” the first voice said and Daniel turned his head again and saw Janet Fraiser’s smiling face.
“How?” he asked.
“It’s a long story,” Jack said, patting his shoulder gently. “How about we wait till you’re more rested.”
“Good idea,” Janet said. “Daniel, I want to give you some morphine to help you sleep but first there are a couple of people who want to see you. Do you feel up to that?”
“Okay,” Daniel said.
Janet nodded toward the door and Sam walked in, Teal’c close behind her.
“Hey, Daniel, I’m so glad you’re awake.” Sam kissed his forehead softly.
“Not for long,” Janet said, brandishing a syringe.
“It is good to see you will recover,” Teal’c said.
“You got us out,” Daniel replied. “Thank you.” He looked at Jack, who was sporting a bandage around his hand. “You’re all right?”
“I’m not the one in an infirmary bed,” Jack said. “The Atarians weren’t mad at me.”
“I don’t remember everything...”
“That’s probably for the best for now,” Janet interjected. She slid the needle into his IV port and smiled down at him. “Get some sleep.”
He felt the rush of the narcotic minutes later and fought to hold his eyes open. “Jack... I’m sorry...”
“Nothing to be sorry for,” he heard Jack say as the drug pulled him down into oblivion again.
The next time he woke it was dim, the only illumination coming from the light above his bed.
“Hey, how ya feeling?”
Daniel turned his head and saw Jack leaning forward from the chair he’d been sitting in earlier.
“You still here?” he asked.
“Obviously.” Jack pressed the button on the control and raised the head of the bed a little. “Need anything?”
“Um...” Daniel wiggled his toes. No pain there but when he tried to maneuver onto his side, agony clawed its way up his left leg and all the way into his gut. He gasped, flopping back into his previous position, feeling sweat bead instantly on his upper lip and brow. “Shit!”
“Yeah. You probably shouldn’t do that for a while.” Jack’s tone was laconic but he was on his feet, a finger pressed to the call bell, the other hand on Daniel’s shoulder.
Daniel closed his eyes against the agony, his fingers clenching tightly in the sheets. A hand covered his and he opened his eyes to see Jack watching him, worry etched on his face. “I’m okay,” he managed to grit out between clenched teeth.
“I know,” Jack said. He pulled a tissue from the box on the bedside table and blotted Daniel’s forehead with it, his fingers lingering to rub a brief caress.
“I’m sorry, Dr. Jackson, we’re really busy tonight,” the nurse said as she entered the room, a tray in her hands. “I’m just going to give you some morphine and then I’ll check your dressing so you can get some rest.”
“I’ll just wait outside,” Jack said.
“It’s fine. I don’t mind if you stay,” Daniel replied quickly, unable to hold back the desperation tingeing his voice. He wanted… needed Jack to stay. He wasn’t sure why, knew it probably had something to do with what had happened on the planet but he couldn’t give voice to it more specifically than asking him to do it.
“Okay,” Jack replied agreeably and sat back down in the chair. He’d moved his hand away from Daniel’s when the nurse came in but Daniel could still feel it there, its warmth and caring etched into his own cold skin.
Ten minutes later and Daniel was floating, warmer and more comfortable than he could remember being in a while. He forced his sleep-heavy eyes to stay open and asked Jack bluntly, “What’s wrong with my leg?”
“Aah, you should probably ask the doc about that,” Jack replied slowly, his eyelids lowering. A muscle twitched in his jaw though, giving away the tension he was refusing to give away with his eyes.
“I’m asking you,” Daniel retorted, an edge of demand steeling his voice.
“Um, you know I don’t know all the medical terms-“
“Jack, what happened on that planet? What’s wrong with my leg?”
“Your leg is broken in several places.” The voice came from the doorway and Daniel turned his head to see Janet standing there. She walked across to his bed and smiled down at him, sympathy in her eyes. “To put it bluntly, your femur, tibia and fibula were shattered. We’ve pinned them as much as possible, removed bone chips and sutured and tied off broken blood vessels but we can’t repair the nerve damage, Daniel. I’m sorry.”
Daniel managed to pull in a slow and steady breath then turned back to look at Jack. “What happened on the planet?”
Jack looked across him to Fraiser. “You should tell him,” Daniel heard her say. “He needs to know, otherwise he’ll drive himself crazy trying to remember.”
“Jack...” Daniel’s voice was barely a whisper now.
Janet gripped his hand briefly. “If you need anything at all, you know how to find me,” she said.
Daniel nodded distractedly, his eyes still focused on Jack’s face.
Jack waited till Fraiser left, her heels clicking away on the floor outside till they could no longer be heard. “Like I told you,” he began, “the Atarians weren’t mad at me...”
“And another fine day on old P2X344,” Jack intoned, stepping off the platform leading down from the Stargate. “Everyone got their to-do list for the day?”
“Yes, sir,” Carter said, grinning at Daniel. “Daniel’s here to speak to the Atarians regarding giving us some of their Naquadah in return for some good old-fashioned Earth medicine and technology, I’m here to check out the Naquadah, Teal’c’s here to watch our sixes, and you’re here because you’re in charge... sir.”
“Got it in one… or four, Carter.” Jack put his sunglasses on and adjusted his cap then pointed toward the village they could see in the distance. “Shall we?”
Daniel smiled as he hefted his backpack higher on his back. It looked like they had a fair walk to the village. On a brighter note, he doubted they’d need weapons on this visit. It promised to be, in Jack’s words, a walk in the park. A little pow-wow around a supper table, toasts and agreements exchanged while Sam checked out the Naquadah then home for a well-deserved three day downtime.
They made it to the village in good time and stood in what seemed to be the village hub or square, looking around. They’d expected to be met here by the village elders and Daniel was surprised to see the streets completely devoid of people.
“This is odd,” Jack said. “Daniel, you sure you got the time right? Nothing more embarrassing than rocking up to the party a day late and a present short.”
“I’m sure,” Daniel replied. He turned quickly as he caught sight of movement from the corner of his eye. “Someone’s hiding over there,” he said quietly.
“Uh huh.” Jack nodded. “Let’s fan out, people. See if we can find someone to tell us what’s going on.” He motioned Daniel to stay with him and they headed towards the hut where Daniel had seen someone moving while Teal’c and Carter moved toward the opposite end of the square.
A foot or so away, Daniel heard scuffling and he picked up the pace, signaling Jack to cut around the opposite corner and come through from the back.
Jack disappeared and Daniel moved into position, standing close up against the wall, gun poking just around the edge of the wall. He saw a man cowering against the back wall of the hut then Jack rounding the corner. The man looked towards Jack then turned, eyes wide as a deer in the headlights, and ran straight into Daniel.
“Hey, slow down,” Jack said from behind him. He took a step back, weapon still raised and pointed at their quarry till Daniel had searched the man and announced he was unarmed.
“You should not have come back,” the man said, his face sheened in sweat.
Daniel moved around in front of him and Jack cursed as he got between the man and Jack’s gun. “Daniel, move away.”
“You’re Keir? We met you briefly the first time we were here. Jack, this is Keir. He’s the man in charge of the mining operation.” Daniel frowned down at Jack’s rifle and pushed the barrel away with the tip of a finger.
Sighing, Jack let the barrel drop and snapped the safety back on. “Keir? What’s going on? Where is everyone?”
Keir paled, his hands twisting nervously together. “Most of the others have already been taken. I hid when the Jaffa came. I- I-“ he swallowed hard and Jack looked up to see Carter and Teal’c walking toward them.
“Go on,” Daniel urged. “It’s okay. We’re friends.”
“He is Jaffa, like the ones who told my people to go through the chappa’ai.”
“He is Jaffa,” Daniel replied reassuringly, “but he is not like them. He is a friend of ours, of the Tau’ri. He will help us help your people.”
Teal’c arched an inquiring eyebrow as he and Carter reached them but did not respond beyond a graceful bow of his head in acknowledgment of Daniel’s words.
“Whose Jaffa were these?” Daniel asked.
“Our God’s,” Keir replied hesitantly. “Outsiders are not permitted to know His name or anything about Him. He could strike me dead right now just for talking about Him to you."
“Nobody’s doing any striking dead today,” Jack said, slapping Keir on the shoulder. “Daniel? Any idea which snakeheaded creepo we’re dealing with here?”
Daniel shook his head. “When we were here last time I didn’t see any signs of Goa’uld habitation – no temples, writings, shrines... I guess if the people are forbidden to speak about him anything like that is kept underground, hidden from prying eyes.”
Keir was nodding his head. “In the caves above the town,” he said. “That is where we worship our God.”
“You sure you don’t want to tell us his name?” Jack asked hopefully.
Keir shook his head fearfully.
“Twenty questions? Animal, vegetable, mineral?” Jack sighed as Keir shook his head again. “Daniel, let’s you and I take a trip to the caves. Carter, you and Teal’c stay here, check in with base every 4 hours as per standing orders. We’ll check in with you by radio every two.”
Carter nodded. “Yes, sir.”
Jack turned and looked up at the hills surrounding the town. “Oy,” he muttered, bending down to rub at knees that seemed to be aching in anticipation of the climb. “Let’s go, Daniel.”
Jack crested the last hill before the cave and looked around. He almost expected to see a nun burst out of the nearest stand of trees, singing her cloistered little heart out. He shook himself mentally then turned to give Daniel a hand up the slope.
Keir was bounding ahead of them like a mountain goat and had already reached the entrance to the cave. He stood there now, one hand extended in invitation as if beckoning them into the biggest carny show on earth.
They made their way up to him and waited as he explained that what they were about to see was very secret.
“Yeah, you told us that already,” Jack said impatiently as he stepped inside.
It was dark and Jack switched on his flashlight and swung the beam around, illuminating the inside of the cavern.
“Oh my god!” Daniel shoved past him, his own flashlight out and focused on an altar that stood against the back wall of the cave. “Jack, this is incredible.”
“Somehow I just knew you were gonna say that,” Jack remarked, joining Daniel at the altar.
“I don’t mean incredible in a good way,” Daniel said, frowning, his fingers tracing lightly over the carvings on the altar. “This wording is Celtic in origin. I should have realized as soon as I heard Keir’s name.”
Jack shrugged, not getting it.
Daniel pointed at a picture etched into the wood of the altar. “This is Dis Pater, the Celtic god of the underworld.”
“Ah, dispatcher.” Jack nodded. It was becoming clearer now and he wasn’t sure he liked where it was heading.
“Well, that’s where the word originated probably. Jack,” Daniel turned to face him. “We need to get out of here. Now! If this world worshipped Dis Pater, it’s only a matter of time before he comes back for more souls...”
“Meaning us.” Jack turned to Keir. “We need to leave and you should really come with us, unless you want to go where your people went and I’m telling you now it’s not a good place.” He headed out of the cave. “Let’s go, Daniel.” He reached up to key his radio then stilled his hand as the nose end of a zat came into view. “Ah crap,” he muttered as it discharged, spewing a bolt of blue light into his chest.
Jack woke with a start, jolting up to a sitting position then wishing he hadn’t as a thundering headache made itself known in his temples. He bent his head to his upraised knees, forcing down the incipient nausea that threatened. After several long minutes, he was able to raise his head and look around his prison. What he saw didn’t give him much hope of making it out under his own steam any time soon.
The walls and door were made of what seemed to be inches-thick roughly-hewn rock, similar to the walls of the cave he and Daniel- ‘Oh god, Daniel!’
Jack made it to hands and knees then stood up shakily, looking around the cell. There was no sign of Daniel, just the four walls of the cell, and in one corner, an earthenware jug, a mug, and a plate with what looked like bread on it.
He stumbled over to the door and beat on it with his fists, yelling at the top of his lungs. “Hey, anybody out there? Where the hell is my friend?”
Several minutes of banging and shouting brought no response and eventually he gave into the strain it was placing on his still-weakened body and walked across to the jug and picked it up. Sniffing the contents carefully, he deduced it was just water and drank a long draught straight from the jug. His thirst slaked for now, he looked at the bread but then realized he had no idea how long he’d have to make it last so he left it on the dish and walked back to the door instead. He raised his fist to start the noise again when a voice from the other side stopped him.
“Move away from the door and sit down against the far wall!” it ordered.
Figuring that obeying at least gave him a chance of surviving long enough to find out what the hell was going on, Jack did as he was told. He’d barely sat down when the door was shoved open and two burly men carrying a third slighter figure between them, entered the cell. The man being carried was dumped unceremoniously on the floor to land in a crumpled heap almost at Jack’s feet then the other two backed cautiously out of the door and slammed it again.
The man groaned and Jack hurried across and knelt on the dirty ground at his side. He rolled the man to his back, biting back a curse as he saw Daniel’s bruised and battered face. “God, Daniel, what the hell have they done to you,” he muttered.
Daniel blinked, his gaze unfocused. “Jack,” he whispered. “Hurts. Leg hurts.”
Jack ran a hand down Daniel’s left leg, cringing as he felt the obvious deformity of the bone beneath the hideously swollen flesh. “Jesus.” He ran a soothing hand over Daniel’s forehead, noticing, with no small measure of relief that Daniel appeared to be unconscious again. Fury raged through him at the torture Daniel had been subjected to and rising to his feet, he stormed back across to the door of the cell and hammered on it. “What the hell did he do to you?” he shouted. “He was trying to help your people. Damn it, he needs a doctor. If he dies, so help me, Dis Pater will be the least of your worries.”
“Colonel?” The voice was hesitant and hushed.
“Keir? What the hell is going on here?” Jack asked, his own voice lowered but still tinged with anger.
“They punished Dr. Jackson for touching the altar. It is the punishment set out in the book of our God,” Keir whispered. “They beat me too but Dr. Jackson told them that Dis Pater was a false god and for that he was punished even more severely,” Keir whispered.
“They broke his fucking leg!” Jack said, his tone rising in anger.
“I am sorry. I tried to explain Dr. Jackson meant no harm but—“
“Yeah, okay. Keir, listen, we need to get out of here. If I don’t get Daniel back home he could lose his leg, he could die...”
Keir sighed heavily. “I cannot be seen to be helping you—“
“Keir!” Jack growled. “We were trying to help you. Daniel wanted to help you—″
“However, I could perhaps get a message to your friends if they have not already left through the Gate of the God,” Keir finished.
Jack looked back over his shoulder at Daniel then bent closer to the door. “Do it! Please, Keir. Do it.”
Somehow Keir had.
Jack had held Daniel through what seemed an endless night, willing him to stay alive, till rescue came.
As they’d carried Daniel back to the gate , Jack had stayed beside him, unable to keep from touching him, feeling as if his touch alone could keep Daniel from slipping away.
“So... that’s it,” Jack said.
“So it was my fault,” Daniel ground out bitterly.
“What?” Jack looked at Daniel in astonishment. “Daniel, you were the only one who got hurt-“
“The Atarians? Did we get them back or was everyone so focused on rescuing me from the mess I’d got us into that we just forgot about them?”
“They made their choice,” Jack said flatly. “They wanted to go with their false god and after what they did to you, I wasn’t disposed to waste my breath trying to talk them out of it. I’m just glad Keir helped us get out before they did.”
Daniel pointed at Jack’s bandaged hand. “You didn’t come off completely unscathed either,” he observed wearily.
“I got this from bashing my fist against the door of the cell we were locked in when they wouldn’t get a doctor for you,” Jack snapped back. “Jesus, Daniel, none of this is your fault. It was a mission that went sour. No more, no less. Not the first time it’s happened and it won’t be the last.”
Daniel gave a brief bitter smile as he looked down at his injured leg. “Could be for me,” he said softly.
“No!” Jack shook his head. “I don’t believe that. You just need to get some rest, have some physical therapy. In no time at all you’ll be back out there.”
Daniel closed his eyes. “Yeah,” he said tiredly. “Sure. Look, Jack, I’m exhausted. Would you mind leaving for a while? I could use some sleep.”
Jack stood up, patted his shoulder, held himself back from turning it into a caress. He nodded. “Get some sleep, Daniel. I’ll come by in the morning.”
“You don’t have to,” Daniel murmured. “I’ll be fine.”
“What if I want to?” Jack asked. “That be okay with you?”
Ten weeks later:
“I’m sorry, Daniel. I wish there was a better way of saying it but there’s no way I can give you clearance to be an active duty member of an exploration team right now. Maybe in a few months...”
Daniel raised shocked eyes to Janet’s face. “You mean, all the PT I went through, all the other surgeries were for nothing. Janet, come on, I worked my ass off to make myself fit for active duty-“
“I know, and I’m sorry. Your leg has recovered remarkably well considering how much damage was done, but Daniel, it’s not going to be as strong as it was for some time. You’ll have a limp for a while yet, not be able to move as quickly as you did before.” Janet gave him a hesitant smile. “I can’t allow you to go off-world right now. I’ve spoken to Colonel O’Neill and General Hammond and they agree-“
“You already spoke to Jack about this?” Daniel stormed to his feet, almost knocking his chair over. He grabbed at the desk for support as his bad leg threatened to give way beneath him.
“You should still be using crutches,” Janet said, rushing around to shore him up by anchoring a small hand around his bicep and holding him steady till he regained his equilibrium. She picked up the walking stick from where it had fallen and handed it to him.
“The cane’s bad enough,” he retorted, almost snatching it from her hand. “Sorry,” he said, belatedly realizing that none of this was her fault, that she’d done the best she could under the circumstances. “Jack knows you were going to tell me this?” he asked.
She nodded. “He tried to talk me out of it, Daniel, he really did. He still wants you on SG:1 but it’s too big a risk. If the team comes under fire and one or all of them have to hang back to wait for you-“
“I get it,” he replied, bitterness making his tone sharper than he meant it to be. “It’s fine, Janet. I know you did your best. I’ll speak to General Hammond about a desk job tomorrow.”
“Daniel, I really am sorry. I wish-“
“I know,” he said and he pulled her into a hug. “I’ll be fine, Janet.”
Janet walked him to the door of her office and opened it. "Major Jamison," she said brightly as if the emotion of the past few minutes had never happened. "Come in. You're here to get the results of your physical?"
"Yes, ma'am." Jamison nodded at Daniel and allowed him to exit before following the doctor into her office.
Daniel stood for a few seconds, unsure where to go or what to do. Then he limped out of the infirmary and headed for home. There wasn't really anywhere else he wanted to be.
The knock at the door was as expected as it was unwelcome. Daniel pulled himself up from the couch in an ungainly grab and push maneuver that left him unbalanced then grabbed for his cane and righted himself. He took a moment to catch his breath and center himself mentally then headed for the door and yanked it open roughly. “Jack,” he said.
“Daniel.” Jack slouched in the doorframe, a hand tucked into the pocket of his jeans, a raised hand obviously about to knock again.
‘Why are you here?” Daniel asked, stepping back almost unconsciously as if knowing that Jack was coming in no matter what he said.
“Oh, you know. Checking up on you,” Jack replied, sidling past him into the apartment.
“Making sure I haven’t slit my wrists in the bathtub because I can’t be an active member of the team anymore?” Daniel asked conversationally, following him in and through to the kitchen.
“Pretty much,” Jack replied. “Beer?” he asked, raising an interrogatory eyebrow.
“As in, do I want one or do I have some?” Daniel asked, limping to the fridge and pulling out two bottles. He tossed one to Jack then balanced himself against the counter and pulled the cap off his and took a long swallow while Jack leaned against the counter opposite and swigged at his own bottle.
“So... How ya been?” Jack asked. “It’s been quiet without you around.”
“That a good thing?” Daniel asked, wishing he’d kept the bitterness from his voice the moment the words were uttered.
Jack gulped down almost half the beer in a couple of swallows then set the bottle down on the counter. “Actually... no. It’s a bad thing,” he replied. “I’ve kinda... sorta... missed you. Missed-“ He slapped his hand against the counter behind him then walked across and stood in front of Daniel, keeping just enough space between them so Daniel could turn and walk away if he wanted to. “Dammit, Daniel,” Jack said, his voice rough as if the words were being dredged up his throat against his will, “I miss you. Is that okay?”
Daniel pushed down the emotion that was threatening to choke him and forced himself not to turn and walk away, forced himself to look directly into Jack’s eyes. “Yeah, that’s okay. I mean, I’m a missable guy.”
“Don’t joke about it,” Jack said, his voice still harsh. “It’s not remotely funny. You ending up riding a desk instead of being where you should be, with me... with us, the team. I should have stopped you the minute Keir told us about the cave. I know what happens when you get that look on your face, the one that says you’re going to do whatever the hell it takes to make sure the Goa’uld don’t enslave even one more person.”
“It’s the job, Jack,” Daniel replied softly. “You should know that better than anyone.”
“The job didn’t do this to you.” Jack pointed at Daniel’s leg, wrapped his hand around the cane in his hand and shook it. “Those people did this to you, those people you wanted to do nothing but save.”
Daniel’s eyes burned and he pulled the cane free of Jack’s hand and rested it against the counter. He rubbed a hand across his eyes. “I’m sorry,” he said. “It seemed like the right thing to do at the time.”
“So does this,” Jack said and then he leaned forward and fitted his lips over Daniel’s and kissed him, softly at first, then, when Daniel‘s mouth opened under his, more deeply, his tongue probing between Daniel’s lips and his hands coming up to cup Daniel’s head and pull him against him.
Daniel thought for all of a second about pulling away, asking Jack what the hell was going on but he’d wanted this for too long and here it was, here Jack was, right where Daniel had wanted him for as long as he could remember. So he leaned deeper into the kiss and returned it with all the pent up love he’d been hiding all these years.
Jack pulled back just when Daniel thought his legs might actually give way beneath him if he didn’t get some oxygen soon. He looked as breathless as Daniel felt. “Shit,” he murmured, “I didn’t know. God, Daniel, I never knew.”
Daniel shrugged and made to turn away but Jack caught his arm and pulled him back around.
“I thought it was just me,” Jack said and then his mouth was on Daniel’s again, pushing him back against the counter and holding him there, the weight of Jack’s body keeping him in place.
Daniel could feel Jack’s hardness through his jeans, echoing his own and he instinctively hunched forward, their hips grinding together.
Jack tore his mouth away long enough to mutter, “Christ!” then fell back against Daniel again as if he couldn’t get enough of him.
Daniel shuddered as Jack’s hand rubbed across his cock. He jerked his hips forward and then his lame leg went out from under him and he was falling. He felt Jack grab at his arm but that just threw off his center of balance and he skewed sideways, ending up like a loose-limbed doll, one arm gripped in Jack’s hand, his feet slithering away beneath him, his head cracking sharply against the corner of the counter.
“Jesus.” Jack was on his knees next to him and Daniel pulled away as a gentle hand gripped his shoulder, the other cupping his chin, tilting his head up. “Keep still. You hit your head. I just want to see if you’re hurt,” Jack said.
“I’m fine,” Daniel replied. He yanked his head away from Jack’s hand and pulled himself up from the floor. “Jack, just go home.”
“After this?” Jack waved a hand between them and Daniel became aware that he was still hard, his cock still wanting release.
“You don’t need to do this,” Daniel muttered, embarrassment heating his cheeks. “You don’t need to fuck me to keep me from doing something stupid.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Jack moved closer and then stopped, his eyes telegraphing hurt. “I thought you wanted this too.”
Daniel shook his head. “I don’t need a buddy fuck, Jack.”
“Good,” Jack said, his voice and eyes soft. He leaned forward and kissed Daniel gently, sweetly. “I don’t need one either. I need you. Please, Daniel, don’t pull away from me now. I never thought I’d have the guts to do this...”
Daniel looked into his eyes then reached out and pulled him forward, grabbing onto Jack’s shoulders with both hands as if he was a drowning man and Jack was the one thing that could keep him from going under. “Stay,” he murmured against Jack’s neck, “please, stay, Jack.”
Jack’s hand whispered softly down the curve of his back, his fingers dancing lightly over each notch in Daniel’s spine.
“Is your leg okay?” Jack asked, leaning forward, his breath warm against Daniel’s ear.
It had taken some maneuvering to find a position where Daniel’s leg didn’t go into spasm or shake uncontrollably. He was on his side now, cradled back against Jack’s chest, Jack’s hand insinuated between them doing wonderful things to Daniel’s skin.
“It’s fine,” he murmured back.
Jack pushed him forward a little so just his buttocks were resting in the cradle of Jack’s hips, Jack’s hardness poking insistently against his thigh.
“I can’t believe you’re up for another round already,” Daniel said but he wasn’t really complaining. They’d already sucked each other to completion in the kitchen before Jack had pulled him to his somewhat shaky feet and half-carried him to the bedroom and deposited him on the bed.
“Aren’t you?” Jack’s hand snaked around and captured his cock in a soft embrace, his thumb rubbing over the tip till Daniel groaned and thrust back against him.
“Do you want to fuck me?” Daniel asked, thinking as he did that it was what he wanted more than anything in the world right now but not wanting to push. Maybe Jack wasn’t into that. He didn’t really know what Jack was into, he suddenly realized. Hell, he hadn’t even known Jack was into guys, or into him for that matter. He pulled away from Jack and flopped over onto his back, rolling his head on the pillow to look into Jack’s face. “How long have you been gay?” he asked.
“You want to talk... now?” Jack asked incredulously. He sighed, lay down next to Daniel on his side, facing him.
Daniel just waited, reaching out a finger to trail it softly up and down Jack’s chest.
“I had an encounter in college,” Jack finally said. “It wasn’t exactly a relationship. We weren’t in love or anything but even after we split up and I dated women pretty much exclusively, even after I met Sara and we got married, I realized that there were some guys that I felt closer to than just as...” He trailed off.
“Friends,” Daniel supplied. “Kawalsky?” he asked.
“Yeah. Charlie was straight as they come though. I always wondered if that’s why I was so insistent on Sara and me naming our son after him. Sara wanted Tyler so we kinda met in the middle and called him Tyler Charles but he was always Charlie once he was born. I don’t think Sara ever guessed. Kowalsky was pretty much out of the picture by the time Charlie came along.”
Daniel leaned up and kissed Jack’s forehead. “I’m sorry you lost them all.”
“And yet if I hadn’t I wouldn’t be here with you,” Jack said, his eyes filled with what Daniel thought was recrimination for even thinking that.
Daniel lay back down and closed his eyes. “Seems like too much to lose just to have me,” he whispered.
“Yes, it was too much to lose.” Jack was on top of him now, his weight pressing Daniel down into the mattress, his still-hard cock branding heat against Daniel’s belly. “But I’d give up just about anything to keep you, Daniel, now that we’re here.”
“Why?” Daniel asked, the question making his throat ache with the yearning to hear what he needed.
“Because I love you,” Jack said, thrusting against him urgently. “I want you, Daniel.”
Daniel pushed up against him, bracing his weak leg against the mattress, gasping as pleasure raced along his veins. “Make love to me.”
There was a sweet pleasure to being here like this, Daniel decided, sitting on the edge of the bed, watching Jack sleep. He’d never really seen Jack like this, his face peaceful, a small smile playing around his lips as if the dream he was having was something pleasant. Daniel hoped it was. He almost dreaded Jack waking up and remembering what they’d done. Despite Jack’s assurances the night before, Daniel still couldn’t quite bring himself to believe it was all true. More than anything he feared Jack would wake up and declare it had all been a terrible mistake-
“Hey, what are you thinking so hard about?”
Daniel jumped, startled from his thoughts by Jack’s voice. He looked down into his warm brown eyes, into a face that held no recrimination or any evidence that anything had changed from the night before.
“You okay?” Jack’s hand was warm on his bare thigh, the fingers clenching reassuringly.
“Yeah,” Daniel finally managed to say.
“Wondering if I’d changed my mind while we slept,” Jack said, more a statement than a question. “I wondered the same thing when I woke up during the night and watched you sleep,” he added. “Whether you might have had a change of heart.”
Daniel shook his head, leaned down and tentatively kissed Jack’s mouth. “Never,” he whispered against his lips. “I won’t ever be sorry we did this. No matter what happens in the future.”
Jack pulled him in for a deeper kiss. “Ditto.” He looked at the clock. “Damn, I’m late. You should have woken me up.”
Daniel shrugged. “Sorry,” he offered though he really wasn’t. He’d loved sitting here just watching Jack, watching his *lover*... He gasped quickly at just thinking the word then shook his head. He was lost, he knew that.
Jack sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed, leaning forward to peck Daniel’s mouth. “I’ve gotta shower,” he said. “Any chance of breakfast?”
“Sure. Eggs and bacon?”
“Just toast will be fine. I’m late already.”
“I could come in the shower with you,” Daniel said, standing up, “save water, wash your back.” He flicked his eyes suggestively downward at Jack’s cock.
“Nothing I’d like better but-“ Jack said, standing up as well and leaning in to plant a soft peck on Daniel’s forehead.
“I know. You’re late. Go.” Daniel shoved him away then went to the kitchen and made toast and coffee and tried to keep his mind away from the sight of Jack’s ass as he’d sauntered away into the bathroom.
He was buttering toast when Jack’s arms crept around his waist from behind and a spearmint-scented kiss found its way onto the side of his neck. He turned in the circle of Jack’s arms, plate in hand and shoved it at him. “Sit, eat. I’ll pour the coffee.”
“I can get that,” Jack replied but he sat down at the table anyway and dug into the toast.
“So,” Daniel said, sitting opposite and pushing Jack’s filled mug over to him across the table.
“So,” Jack echoed, raising an interrogatory eyebrow at him.
“What happens now?” Daniel asked, knowing he sounded needy and unsure but having to ask just the same.
Daniel nodded and watched Jack over the rim of his cup as he sipped at the coffee.
“Do you want this?” Jack asked. “Because just in case you’re not sure and I didn’t make myself clear last night, I do.”
Daniel heaved a sigh of relief so great he almost choked on his coffee. “Yes,” he said finally, “I do and you did. I guess I was just worried you might have changed your mind.”
Jack reached across the table and grasped his hand firmly. “I haven’t,” he said. “We’ll need to fly under the radar but I’m not giving this up. I’ve waited too long to have what I want, Daniel.”
“Good.” Daniel swallowed hard and grinned through the burning of his eyes. “You better get to work. I’ll go in a half hour or so behind you.”
“Good plan, Dr. Jackson,” Jack said. He stood up and bent down, kissing the top of Daniel’s head gently. “See you tonight, honey.” Then he was gone.
They fell into something of a routine after that. Jack would almost always head to Daniel’s place when he got back from an off-world mission and Daniel would go to Jack’s for team nights just like always, as if he was still part of SG:1. Sam and Teal’c didn’t seem to find it odd that he did but the new guy, Mark Jamison, an archeologist/linguist who’d been seconded in to fill Daniel’s role certainly made it clear that he did. He never said or did anything overt. He probably knew Jack would have taken him off the team if he had but he cold-shouldered Daniel most of the time while bending over backwards to show him how close he’d become to Teal’c and Sam, even to Jack.
Jack had noteably never been fond of geeks but Jamison was tall and well-built, a former pro footballer who’d given it all up to serve God and country. Daniel knew Jack admired that about him and he couldn’t really blame him. When he wanted to be, Jamison was personable and charming, to everyone except Daniel.
Daniel held himself back from asking Jack the one thing he wanted to ask – how long were they going to keep their relationship undercover. Partly because he knew the answer – as long as Jack felt he could be useful to the Airforce and the SGC, partly because he didn't want to hear Jack say it. It was easier to just roll along, pretend that it didn’t matter if he couldn’t shout it from the rooftops, pretend it didn’t matter that he was no longer part of SG:1 because he still had the one thing he’d wanted ever since he’d first met Jack O’Neill. He had Jack’s heart, and Jack had his and he’d make himself content with that even if it killed him in the trying. There were days when he thought it might...
He was in his office when the klaxon went off and Walter’s voice came over the PA, asking for a medical team to go to the gateroom immediately. Daniel’s heart had felt as if it had dropped to his feet. SG:1 was the only team offworld as far as he knew.
He was hobbling for the elevator before he even had time to think about it. He went to punch in the gateroom level then decided to head straight for the infirmary. That way he’d be there when Jack and the others arrived. Even if Jack wasn’t injured, Daniel knew if one of the others had been Jack would follow the gurney there, to make sure they were okay.
The infirmary was quiet when Daniel walked through the doors. He was just about to heave a sigh of relief that it had all been a false alarm when the doors behind him flew back, slamming against the wall, and a gurney was pushed through at a run.
Daniel flattened himself against the wall to allow them through and tried to look through the horde of medical personnel surrounding the gurney. All he could see was a flash of a face as it went past though and he found himself following to the curtained off cubicle closest to the nurses station.
“Daniel!” A hand grabbed at his arm and he turned, seeing Sam standing behind him, her face white except for a thin trail of blood that trickled down her cheek from a small cut just below her eye.
“What happened? Where’s Jack... and Teal’c?” He stepped toward the curtains, intent on opening them but Sam tugged him back.
“Daniel, Jamison got hit by a staff weapon blast in the shoulder. It’s messy but not too bad. Teal’c’s okay. The Colonel-”
Daniel literally felt the color leach from his face and he grabbed one-handed at the bed next to him as his knees gave way.
“God, Daniel, are you okay?” Sam had him more firmly by the arm now, holding him up, though he noticed her hand was shaking.
“Jack?” He could barely get the name out through the dryness in his mouth.
“He’s fine. He’s in the debriefing with the General and Teal’c.”
Daniel pulled away from her and turned to face the wall, leaning his head against the coolness of it.
“Daniel?” Sam’s hand touched his shoulder and he looked at her, saw the moment when she read it all in his face. She gasped, her other hand coming up to cover her mouth, tears brightening her eyes. “Oh God,” she said. “I understand now.”
He watched as she left him and walked into the cubicle where they’d taken Jamison.
He went back to his office, knowing Jack would find him soon enough.
It was an hour later before Jack did. Daniel was trying to pretend he was working but he’d already caught himself alternately making stupid mistakes in the translation he was working on and staring blankly at his computer monitor. The sharp rap on the open door brought his attention back to the present rapidly and he nodded for Jack to come in.
Jack didn’t sit, just stood next to the desk, looking down at him, an impenetrable look in his dark eyes.
“How’s Jamison?” Daniel asked.
“He’s tough. He’ll be okay,” Jack replied.
“Unlike me,” Daniel said, rubbing unconsciously at his lame leg.
“There’s no comparison to be made,” Jack said quickly. “You’re the strongest person I’ve ever known where it counts. Not everyone has to be a marine, Daniel. You know that as well as I do.”
“Yeah, I do. Sorry. Pity parties for one are never fun. I’m sorry Jamison got hurt but-“
“I know,” Jack jumped in. “You’re glad it wasn’t me, just like I wished it hadn’t been you when we got back from Ataria.”
Daniel stood up and pushed his chair back, leaning in so he could lower his voice. “We need to talk... about Sam.” Jack’s eyebrows raised at that but he didn’t say anything. “Can you come to my place tonight? Around seven? I’ll cook,” he added, smiling a little.
Jack nodded. “Okay. Guess you’re not going to tell me anything here.” He flicked a look over his shoulder at the camera in the corner of the ceiling then angled his body so he could give Daniel’s hand a quick squeeze. “See you tonight, Dr. Jackson,” he called over his shoulder as he left.
Daniel shut down his computer then paced the office for another ten minutes. Finally taking his courage in both hands, he went to find Sam.
She wasn’t in her lab but a couple of inquiries made of passing personnel got him the answer she was in the infirmary so he headed there, seeing her perched on a chair next to Jamison’s bed when he got there.
“How’s he doing?’ Daniel asked, walking up next to her.
Sam looked up and gave him a hesitant smile. “He’s just out of surgery, hasn’t woken up yet but Janet says he’ll be fine.”
“That’s good,” Daniel said. He meant it. Jamison might be a thorn in his side but after all he was only doing what the SGC demanded of him – his job – and Daniel shouldn’t really resent him for that. Wasn’t Jamison’s fault Daniel wasn't fit for the field after all. “Um, can I talk to you for a minute?”
Sam nodded and stood up. “Just outside, okay?” she asked, indicating the curtains with her head. “I don’t want him to wake up alone. He doesn’t have family and he’s part of the team,” she added apologetically.
Daniel thought back to all the times he’d woken in the infirmary to find Jack or Teal’c or Sam beside his bed and knew he couldn’t fault her for that. He nodded and drew her outside the cubicle then pulled the curtains softly across. He looked around and saw a nurse at the far end of the almost empty infirmary. She wasn’t close enough to overhear so he took his courage figuratively in both hands and asked, “You were really upset when I saw you here when Jamison was brought in. Why?”
She straightened up, looked him in the eyes and he knew she knew he didn’t mean upset over Jamison being hurt. Knew she knew just what he was getting at. She kept her voice low but her tone was direct. “You and the Colonel. You’re together, aren’t you?”
He almost sagged in relief at the words, at not having to come out and say it to her much as he’d always thought he wanted to shout it from the rooftops. Funny how it was different once the possibility of putting it into execution was upon him. “Yes,” he said, “we are. I know that’s probably a huge problem for you. I know how you feel about him and I’m sorry if we’ve hurt you-“
She shook her head, lifted a slender finger and placed it over his lips, shutting off the words. “I’m fine with it. Really,” she added at the skeptical lift of his eyebrows. “I’ve known for a long time he didn’t love me that way. Not the way I wanted him to, not the way I would have loved him back if I’d thought he did.”
“Would have?” he asked, hope tingeing his voice.
“I’m not an idiot, Daniel. Even I know there’s no point in loving someone who doesn’t want you.” She smiled at him. “I made my peace with my feelings about Jack O’Neill a while ago. Never told him because there didn’t seem any point to doing that. I figured he’d work it out, find someone else, the right someone else." She smiled more broadly. “He did. And I will too. I haven’t put myself on the spinster’s shelf yet.”
“And you shouldn’t,” he rushed to say, relief making him almost giddy. “There are so many guys who’d give their right arm to have Samantha Carter in love with them. Like... oh, what’s his name... McKay, that astrophysicist guy-“
She whacked his arm for that and he figured he deserved it. Then she reached up and grabbed him round the shoulders and pulled him in for a hug and a kiss on the cheek. “It’s fine, Daniel. I’m happy for you and for the Colonel.”
Pulling back, he smiled ruefully down at her. “Now we just have to tell Teal’c.”
In the end that had proven unnecessary. Daniel wondered whether there was anyone who didn’t know when Teal’c had simply nodded and observed that such a relationship was not unknown amongst his brothers in arms on Chulak. He wished merely for both his friends to be happy, he said, and he believed they would be so.
The only thing left now for Daniel to do was to let Jack know what he’d done. He worried about Jack’s reaction but felt sure he could convince him that it wasn’t like the whole base knew (at least he didn’t think they did) and that it looked like their closest friends had already guessed anyway. With that reasoning in mind, he was feeling a lot more relaxed when he left the SGC that night and made his way down to the parking level to collect his car.
Two days later he was attacked outside his apartment. The minute he heard his attacker muttering the words, “Fucking faggot,” as he kicked him, Daniel knew he couldn’t report it to the police. After all, he told himself, as he sat dizzily in a chair in front of his bedroom mirror and did his best to patch up the worst of his wounds, the only people who knew he was bisexual and currently in a homosexual relationship were at Cheyenne Mountain. No way Sam or Teal’c would have openly said anything but he guessed someone could have overheard when he told them.
Now all he had to do was call in sick and avoid Jack for a few days till the bruising faded. He groaned as his doorbell rang. Looking at the clock he knew who it would be. He thought about pretending he wasn’t home but knew Jack would have seen his car parked in the lot. So he quickly packed away the first aid kit and headed out to open the door.
“What the hell happened to you?” Jack asked as Daniel opened the door.
“Got mugged,” Daniel said indistinctly though lips that were swollen and bruised. He knew he looked as bad as he felt. He could feel each and every bruise throbbing, he’d seen his blackened eye in the mirror. In fact the only thing that gave him any satisfaction was his bruised and scraped knuckles that proved he’d at least tried to give as good as he got.
He’d spent the entire day since he’d been attacked with the word ‘faggot’ ringing through his head. It had been a pretty true assessment, he guessed, but it was an ugly word and one that didn’t begin to sum up who he was. Or who Jack was for that matter. Now he limped away, leaving Jack standing in the hallway and went into his bedroom, trying desperately to school his thoughts into coherence.