Daniel leaned his head against the dank wall of his cell. He glanced over towards Jack, who was sitting across the dark room from him. Daniel still couldn’t quite believing that his friend was here or that the rescue mission had failed so badly.
“This is ridiculous,” Daniel pointed out.
Jack finally looked at him, “You mean that it took you that long to shave, yeah, that was ridiculous.”
“I got busy,” Daniel defended.
“You were starting to look like a wild man,” Jack teased.
Daniel gave him an annoyed look.
Jack shrugged, “Sam sent pictures.”
“Jack, you saw,” Daniel pointed out, “Remember you came, we talked, we ate.”
“Yeah,” Jack agreed, “but Sam’s pictures did the horror more justice.”
Deciding to ignore the subject Daniel made a face at Jack, then frowned, “I’m still not sure what we did wrong.”
“We?” Jack questioned.
Daniel blinked, not understanding what Jack was questioning. Jack shrugged and Daniel let it go, “Everything seemed to be going so well.”
“You mean SG-1,” Jack clarified.
“What else would I mean?”
“It’s interesting SG-1 back together,” Jack deflected, “I really thought the team was disbanded this time.”
“I don’t know who to blame more, Cam or Vala,” Daniel groaned.
Jack pushed to his feet, crossed to where Daniel was and eased himself back down to sit next to his friend. Daniel glanced over. Jack shrugged. Daniel smiled and shook his head.
“Maybe I should thank them,” Jack ventured.
“Thank them?” Daniel glared, “Vala ruined my going to Atlantis!”
“Do you think a fruit basket would be too much?”
Daniel’s frustration for having missed the Daedalus and anger at Vala for making him miss his ride to Atlantis faded slightly, “You really didn’t want me to go, did you?”
“Thought we already established that,” Jack commented.
“We had, but I really don’t understand why you’re so set against it,” Daniel said, “You’re my friend, you should want what’s best for me.”
“Nah, see I’m selfish,” Jack pointed out, “Who else am I going to call and annoy almost every day? Who else am I going to drag fishing with me?”
“Sam, Teal’c,” Daniel suggested, “And it’s not like you could never talk to me.”
“Never really been big on writing letters and I annoy them in different ways,” Jack pointed out.
Daniel raised his eyebrows.
“You’d be too far away,” Jack clarified, “and I talked to Weir about transferring, but she felt having a General on staff would undermined Sheppard’s authority.”
“You talk to Weir about moving to Atlantis just so we could hang out?”
Jack shrugged, “Hey, I admitted, I’m selfish.”
Daniel crossed his arms and glared.
“So, you guys really screwed this one up,” Jack pointed out, once again deflecting.
“We had a fair share of screw ups when you were leading the team,” Daniel pointed out.
“Yeah, but this one isn’t on me.”
“No,” Daniel agreed, “This time it’s probably my fault.”
“I’ll remind you of that later,” Jack promised.
“Thanks,” Daniel deadpanned.
“Welcome,” Jack grinned, before he prompted, “So first contact with the Bluntrens…”
“Didn’t you read the reports before you came to rescue us?” Daniel asked, “And how did…”
“I skimmed and put my foot down,” Jack interrupted.
“I really don’t see General Landry,” Daniel started, “just letting you…”
“You were being held against your will!” Jack stressed.
“It’s not the first time!” Daniel pointed out.
Jack glared, “So….”
They needed a change of subject, they needed to figure out how to get out of here Daniel surmised. Was that what Jack was doing, making him retrace his steps so he could figure out why the Bluntrens were holding them in the first place?
“They were welcoming,” Daniel said slowly attempting to recall details, “they seemed particularly interested in me.”
Daniel frowned, “I’m not really sure.”
Jack gave Daniel an expectant look, “So figure it out.”
“One of them commented that I was at odds with myself,” Daniel ventured, “That the path I was laying out for myself took me from my other half. I assumed they were talking about my wife.”
“That happened a long time ago,” Jack pointed out, “Maybe the path you laid out for yourself, but not the one you’re on now.”
Daniel raised his eyebrows.
“Just because I don’t like mumbo-jumbo doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally understand it,” Jack defended.
Daniel crossed his arms.
“Getting pouty?” Jack questioned with a smirk.
“I still miss her at times,” Daniel admitted, his hands falling into his lap. He stared down at them with a frown.
“That’s normal I think,” Jack commented voice full of faux mockery to hide the hurt that underlay it, “when it comes to a loss.”
Daniel leaned his head on Jack’s shoulder and closed his eyes understanding both of their losses and not wanting to discuss either.
“You’ve dated since then,” Jack pointed out.
“No one’s meant the same. The most important people in my life are you, Sam and Teal’c,” Daniel said.
“And Cassie,” Jack added, “We all love Cassie.”
“Yeah,” Daniel agreed.
They sat in silence a moment and Jack was about to prompt again when Daniel went on, “I mean they liked the rest of the team and they wanted to establish a relationship between our people.”
“Have they been visited by these Ori yet?” Jack prodded, “And how come they don’t seem effected by the Goa’uld?”
“No, and it we’re not really clear on that. It seems they have some advanced shielding technology,” Daniel answered, “It might have protected them from the Goa’uld. Sam wanted to learn more.”
“Well it works great,” Jack commented, “I didn’t know Marines could faint that fast.”
“Jack,” Daniel chastised opening his eyes and moving to give him a glare, “They could be hurt.”
“So where are they? Where’s the rest of SG-1? Why did they put me in here with you and why did I have to come all this way?” Jack questioned rapidly in an annoyed voice.
“I don’t know!”
“Okay,” Jack nodded, before he rested his head on Daniel’s shoulder, “Wake me up when you figure it out.”
“Jack,” Daniel complained.
“I could use your help.” Daniel tried.
“Why? You were going to leave me and just go to another galaxy. I still don’t understand why I had to come all this way just to save you,” Jack complained.
“Great job saving me.”
“It’s the effort that counts,” Jack told him.
Daniel frowned, “Why did you come? It still doesn’t make sense. Who told you that I screwed up the ceremony and that they’d locked us up as retribution?”
“No one,” Jack admitted, “I knew you were in trouble so I put together a rescue mission. What else was I suppose to do?”
Daniel frowned, “No one told you?”
“Nope, no one.”
“Jack,” Daniel complained.
“What? Trying to rest here,” Jack pointed out.
“This is important,” Daniel said.
“Yeah?” Jack questioned sitting up, “Did ya figure it out?”
“You already have, haven’t you?” Daniel questioned.
Jack gave Daniel a look of disbelief, “Me?”
“If you hadn’t you’d be doing your best to get us out of here,” Daniel pointed out, “Instead we’re talking.”
“The ceremony,” Jack said, “what was it about?”
“Binding our two cultures in friendship, so that our alliance would be fruitful,” Daniel explained, “They insisted I had to perform it for them to even be able to send anyone to talk to Landry. I had Sam help me. They said I was to have my other half help me and I figured she’s the other half of the brains of our team but…”
They stared at each other a moment until Jack prompted, “But…”
“You,” Daniel said.
“You just had to come here no prompting?” Daniel questioned.
Jack shrugged, “Aliens love to mess with my head.”
“You’re supposed to be my other half?” Daniel glared.
“I think I’d prefer better half,” Jack told him.
“If there’s a better half to us then it me,” Daniel disagreed.
“We’ll get into specifics later,” Jack promised, “How do we do this ceremony and get everyone home?”
“Don’t you want to know why the Bluntrens would be so concerned with this?”
“Because they are a society centered around this other half business?” Jack guessed, “They watched too much Hedwig and the Angry Inch and got the wrong message? I really don’t care. I just want to get us out of here and our people to safety and if I have to perform a ceremony to do that then I will.”
Daniel frowned, “You’re in love with me?”
Daniel crossed his arms.
“Yes, have been for awhile and no there was never a good time,” Jack said, “Besides it’d probably come out and ruin my career.”
Daniel nodded, “You’re right, there never really was a good time and I thought it was just me.”
“Don’t think the Bluntrens care what we think,” Jack pointed out.
“So we what?” Daniel questioned, “Get the guard to realize we figured out why you’re here and then…”
“I think the real question is if we have to go on a date first or if we can just go back to your place,” Jack said.
“My place, we’ve waited long enough,” Daniel decided.
“Yeah,” Jack agreed.
Daniel nodded, “So how…”
Jack cut off Daniel’s question with his lips. Stunned by the sudden contact Daniel was silenced and kissed back for a moment.
“We should really figure out how to get out of here,” Daniel told Jack as he broke from the kiss.
“Wasn’t going to wait for that,” Jack told him.
Daniel’s eyes darted over Jack’s face, “You’re right, we really shouldn’t.”
Their lips met again. This time their tongues danced. Jack pulled Daniel closer as Daniel cupped his face. They…
The door to their cell opened.
They pulled apart.
“Hanlep,” Daniel greeted.
“You may complete the ceremony now,” Hanlep told them as his bright blue lips spread into a grin.
“Our people?” Jack demanded.
“Were allowed to return through the Stargate,” Hanlep told them, pausing at the unfamiliar word, “They were told you would return to them once the blasphemy you attempted to introduce to our ceremony was righted.”
“Hanlep, we didn’t really mean to…” Daniel started.
“Your Mitchell seemed highly offended,” Hanlep commented.
“He’s new,” Jack explained.
“So care to explain this ceremony in detail so I don’t blasphemy it?” Jack ventured.
The ceremony took two rather long hours to complete and they were both anxious to get back to the base by the time they returned through the Stargate. Having to report to General Landry that the Bluntrens were not so eager to extend their hand in friendship after SG-1’s failure to properly respect their beliefs was difficult, but Daniel took solace in the fact that the Bluntrens were willing to give their misunderstandings some consideration. Two more hours later they had debriefed and were just about done with a medical review to make sure there wouldn’t be lasting side effects when Sam walked in.
“Hi,” Jack greeted, “We were just about to leave. Maybe we can all hang out tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow sounds good,” Daniel agreed.
“Sir,” Sam said, “We’re still trying to figure out why the Bluntrens decided you were needed for the ceremony and how you knew to get to their planet.”
“Well you know those aliens always like having me around, just love messing with my head,” Jack attempted to tease, then off Sam’s look groaned, “This means more tests first, doesn’t it?”
It took five more hours to satisfy Sam’s curiosity and prove they weren’t under alien influence. By the time they managed to get to Daniel’s they decided that morning would come soon enough and fell into an exhausted sleep.