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A Meeting of Minds

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Some missions were easy, some were hard, and some went to hell in a handbasket, becoming a royal pain in the ass, reflected Colonel Jack O'Neill, leader of the Stargate SGC-1 team. Crouched in the bushes, he scanned for enemy movement and checked the position of his three team members.

The trip to PKF-452 started routinely. The mobile unit was sent through the Stargate, sending back recon intel that the planet was inhabited and technologically advanced. Always eager to find possible allies in their fight against the Goa'uld, General Hammond authorized an immediate mission. Refreshed from their last trip by a few days of R&R, SGC-1 drew the 'lucky' assignment.

Unfortunately, the mobile had failed to indicate the civil war in process. At least, it appeared to be a civil war to Jack. The area around the Stargate itself was deserted, so the team had taken off through the woods on a fast pace toward the closest civilization. They had covered a good distance from their easy access back to Earth when the first hostiles had surrounded them. Basically humanoid, but smaller than people of Earth, the hostiles were unreceptive to the conversational attempts of the team's civilian scientist, Daniel Jackson. Taken aback by this threatening attitude, Jack signaled for his team to casually back away.

"I see we've crashed the wrong party," the colonel said smiling broadly. "We'll butt out. Thanks for everything. Keep in touch." The ploy's failure provoked one of the hostiles into shooting Daniel. The scientist's body jerked spasmodically as energy rays slammed him to the ground. He twisted madly for a few moments as its flaming white energy dissipated. Instinctively Jack and Sam returned fire while Teal'c grabbed Daniel and all four retreated.

Keeping low and using bushes for camouflage, the team avoided two other patrols who thankfully instead found each other and opened fire. One group of combatants wore blue uniforms while the other wore green, but both carried the same type of energy weapon which left Daniel dazed and confused. The team managed to quietly avoid that conflict before stopping for a quick break.

"We need to move out again. Sam, is Daniel okay?" Jack asked Major Samantha Carter, who was trying to check the extent of Daniel's injuries.

"I can move. I can walk. My right arm took the worst. I don't think I can shoot," Daniel replied before Sam could respond.

"Just drop to the ground if we have trouble. Okay, folks, let's move. Stay low and slow." Jack moved off stealthily in the lead, with Sam and Daniel in the middle. Teal'c, the former Jaffa guard who had turned against his Goa'uld master to assist Earth in its battle against the parasitic aliens, brought up the rear.

Halfway back to the Stargate, their luck ran out again. A group of the aliens in green rose silently from concealment to encircle them. The two groups faced off, with Jack, Teal'c and Sam instinctively searching for a weakness in the circle. The green-clad aliens appeared about as friendly as their brethren in blue, keeping weapons raised while the leader demanded something in an angry voice. Jack glanced at Daniel, who started calmly through a litany of Earth welcoming phrases, hoping to hit some language connection. Many of the planets visited by the SGC teams through the instantaneous transportation of the Stargate had been settled by people removed from Earth centuries ago. With his extensive knowledge of languages, Daniel could usually find a common ground. Of course, Jack mused wryly, the first time he can't the aliens happen to be fighting each other and aren't interested in chatting up allies.

Jack studied his captors; the tenseness of their arm muscles indicated to him that this encounter was about to end as unpleasantly as the first. Just as the lead alien appeared ready to open fire, a figure dropped from the trees. His dark brown cloak had allowed him to blend into the dark green of the trees. The brightness of his weapon was impossible to hide, though, as a pure energy wand sliced the alien into two. With a backwards flip and another swift swinging blow, he eliminated another two aliens with a dazzling speed. Sam, Teal'c and Jack fired quickly, taking care of the remainder.

"Well, that works for me. Everyone okay?" Jack received quick nods of assent from his team. The alien paused in front of Jack, lowering his weapon and turning it off so the green glow shrank and vanished. He was not an inhabitant of the planet, unless two different species had originated there. Taller than Jack, with long brown hair and a short beard, wearing a cream-colored tunic with dark brown breeches and boots, he appeared entirely human. Another alien stumbled from the bushes, wearing a similar outfit but with cream breeches and brown boots. Daniel stepped forward and began his litany of greetings, faltering over the words.

Unable to distinguish any meaningful phrases, Qui-Gon let Daniel continue to speak while wrapping an arm around his padawan. Obi-Wan was doubled over, clutching his stomach, exhausted by the sheer effort of staying on his feet. "Can you understand what he's saying, Master?"

"I think he's their version of a protocol droid. How are you feeling?"

"I'll be fine, Master. I apologize for my slowness--and for getting shot." Obi-Wan muttered with a rueful smile.

"Stop apologizing, padawan. It's hardly your fault that the Kalistans decided to be so aggressive toward their mediators once talks broke down. I just wish we could find some safe place so I can help heal you."

Sam leaned towards Jack. "It looks like the smaller one got zapped even worse than Daniel."

"Hey, the enemy of my enemy is my friend--works for me." Jack shrugged.

Qui-Gon Jinn faced Daniel and gestured at himself, repeating his own name, then pointed at Obi-Wan, saying, "Obi-Wan Kenobi."

Daniel duplicated the gesture, introducing himself, Jack, Teal'c, and Sam.

"Okay, introductions over, folks. Let's move out. Daniel, why don't you and Obi-Wan help each other along? He looks like he needs someone to keep him on his feet," Jack smiled at Qui-Gon and gestured in the direction of the Stargate. "Safety Earth home Stargate, c'mon little doggies," he rumbled.

Obi-Wan flinched as Daniel followed Jack's instruction, wrapping his good left arm around Obi-Wan. "Master?" questioned the young apprentice.

"I think they have a safe place, a destination. It would be wise to go with them," was Qui-Gon's response.

The six continued on their return journey which fortunately, was uninterrupted. Qui-Gon blended well into the group, seeming to instinctively understand Jack's gestures as the team leader kept everyone moving. Before breaking onto the open ground around the Stargate, the four healthy members sank down and studied the open area. Daniel and Obi-Wan simply leaned against each other.

"Daniel, you up to dialing home?" At Daniel's silent nod, Jack gestured and all six slipped out of the forest, keeping their protective circle around the wounded. Dragging Obi-Wan, Daniel began dialing the symbols that would program the Stargate to send a wormhole tunnel to Earth. The swirling mass of energy exploded out of the mouth of the Stargate itself, before pulling back to form a watery, silver mirror. Daniel and Obi-Wan staggered through its surface, Daniel forcing Obi-Wan to make his first trip in this all-new method of transport. Sam and Teal'c quickly followed, with Jack and Qui-Gon stepping through last.

The Stargate room was in ordered chaos by the time Jack and Qui-Gon arrived. A group of soldiers were focused on them, common procedure even when the "all-clear" signal had been received from an arriving Stargate team. Since they were dedicated to fighting aliens who could take control of a person's mind and body, precautions were standard and rigorously enforced. Daniel and Obi-Wan had collapsed at the end of the ramp and the base's resident medic, Dr. Frasier, was examining them. General Hammond conversed quietly with Sam and Teal'c, hearing their preliminary report.

"General, Qui-Gon needs to eat. And bathe. They've been on the run for two days."

General Hammond turned at Daniel's insistent tone. "Okay, son. Let's just sort out who these people are and where they're from first."

"We are Jedi knights of the high Council in service to the Republic. We were attempting to negotiate a peace treaty on Kalistan. Please, we can explain everything but Qui-Gon needs attention." Daniel and Obi-Wan spoke in unison, Daniel's American tones blending with Obi-Wan's crisp, almost British accent.

The stocky General was taken aback at their plea, both men wearing identical expressions of concern.

Qui-Gon crossed the floor and knelt down, placing one hand lightly on each of the men's shoulders. //Let me in, Obi-Wan. Let me hear the words.// The words flooded quickly into his mind.

//No// thought Daniel //You're giving him more than English. He only needs English here.// Daniel concentrated the flow of information from mind to mind.

Moments later, Qui-Gon arose. "The importance here is their injuries. They should heal quickly from the Kalistan energy weapons, but they need rest."

"No, Master," Daniel and Obi-Wan responded. "You must be taken care of. Please General, food ..."

"Well, I can tell you one thing," Dr. Frasier broke in. "A restless patient is not a patient who heals well. I'm taking Daniel and our visitor to the infirmary. General, please take care of 'master' here so they can relax." The petite brunette assumed command, guiding her patients to stretchers and taking them out of the control room.

"That was telepathy -- you learned English telepathically, didn't you? But why did Daniel call you Master?"

The scientific eagerness in Sam's voice was interrupted by the General's terse, "You heard the Doctor. Lieutenant, please take Qui-Gon to the cafeteria. Find him a bath and some clean clothes. SGC-1, stow your gear and get some lunch. Debriefing is in an hour."

******

The General, Jack, Teal'c and Sam were seated around the conference table when the Lieutenant escorted in Qui-Gon, dressed in a clean blue jumpsuit. The General got straight to the point once Qui-Gon was seated. "I've heard about the mission and your meeting from my team. Now, you want to tell us what happened to Daniel?"

"My apprentice and I are Jedi. The Jedi are -- Daniel says think Zen warrior peacekeepers. We were mediating between rival factions on Kalistan when unfortunately, talks broke down. The Kalistans decided we were to blame for the crisis more than their years of bitter disputes. Our ship had left orbit for a supply run, so Obi-wan and I fled into the forest. Obi-Wan was shot by one of the Kalistan's weapons this morning, shortly before we met your team. They use an unusual type of energy weapon, which is extremely disruptive to the body's nerve centers."

"Including the brain?" Sam questioned.

"Yes, mental processes are often temporarily disrupted. Obi-Wan is my padawan, my apprentice. A Jedi knight and his padawan apprentice form a mind bond early in their training. It allows them to communicate, to instinctively know each other's moves in a battle. The bond can allow them to assist each other in a healing trance, but we have not been any place safe enough that I could help Obi-Wan. I can only assume that when Daniel helped Obi-Wan, his mental energy was disrupted and his shields were down. Somehow, Obi-Wan swamped into Daniel's mind."

"Swamped?" Sam interjected. "They exchanged personalities? Or Obi-Wan took over Daniel?"

"Neither precisely. You have to understand this is an unusual situation." Qui Gon hesitated and then continued, slowly. "Bonds are formed between masters and padawans or between lifemates, not with total strangers. Daniel's own injuries may have made him more susceptible. It appears that their minds are fully open to each other, each sharing the other's feelings and knowing the other's thoughts. It is this bond that makes Daniel so concerned with my welfare. My padawan is highly conscientious on my well-being."

"The energy weapons must disrupt the areas of the brain responsible for telepathy," Sam theorized. "Do you have any idea how to separate them?"

"Hopefully, once Obi-Wan has recovered his strength, I can help him restore his shields and block Daniel out of his mind. If I cannot, I may have to take Daniel and Obi-Wan to Coruscant, to the healers at the Jedi Temple.”

Qui-Gon was interrupted by Dr. Frasier's entry into the conference room. She sat at the table and launched into speech, aware that the health of her patients was of paramount importance to everyone in the room.

"As far as I can determine, both men should be fine. The weapons disrupted their nervous systems; with Daniel, it temporarily paralyzed his right arm and shoulder but he's almost better. Obi-Wan received a more direct shot so it seems to have fried systems all over his body, but he's healing at a fantastic rate. What I don't understand is what happened to their minds."

"We were just discussing that, doctor. What exactly are they doing?"

"They're finishing each other's sentences. Daniel will start to say - Do you remember? and Obi-Wan will finish - Oh yes, what a disaster of a prom night, I can't believe we wore that suit - it's almost eerie. It's like two old friends, or twins, reminiscing, except these two guys never met before today. Or more like someone reminiscing to himself."

"Qui-Gon thinks he can separate their minds when Obi-Wan is healthier, so at this point, there's nothing to do but wait and let them recover their strength."

Qui-Gon turned to face the door and seconds later Daniel walked in. Fixating on Qui-Gon, Daniel strode over to him as the Jedi Master rose from his seat and lightly placed his hands on Daniel's shoulders. "Daniel-Obi, are you ..." Qui-Gon's words were stifled as the shorter man slid his hands into Qui-Gon's long brown hair, forcibly tilted his head down, and sealed their lips together. Qui-Gon relaxed into the kiss, letting Daniel control its passion and depth as his tongue explored the wet recesses of Qui-Gon's mouth. Qui-Gon reciprocated, letting his tongue gently tease against Daniel's.

Teal'c raised one eyebrow as the other SGC members simply and openly gaped at the spectacle. After a long moment, Daniel jerked back and stared straight ahead, at Qui-Gon's neck. "I'm sorry, I don't ... coffee, I need coffee."

Daniel stumbled around Qui-Gon and headed toward the ever-present coffee pot in the corner of the room. Qui-Gon followed, his hands lightly dropping again on Daniel's shoulders, testing their tenseness. "Daniel-Obi, what has happened is both unique and unsettling. You should not be ashamed or embarrassed at any erratic action." He sent a soft brush of the Force into Daniel-Obi's mind, reaffirming his affection and friendship for his padawan and his growing respect for the scientist and other SGC members who had so diligently helped them escape danger.

"Well, anyway," Daniel said loudly, choosing both to ignore his unexpected actions and Qui-Gon's reassurances, "we've got a larger concern than what's happened to my mind. After all, it's not like my mind hasn't been taken over before or I haven’t been driven crazy before," he stated almost cheerfully, referring to earlier incidents when a dying scientist, Machello, had switched his mind into Daniel's body via an alien device. Daniel had later been imprisoned with schizophrenia because of hallucinations caused by another of Machello’s inventions. "The big question is - where is PKF-452? Is our PKF-452 their PKF-452?"

"What do you mean, Daniel? It's clearly identified on our star charts." Like most discussions involving hard science, Sam took the lead in asking questions.

"I'm in Obi-Wan's mind. I've absorbed so much -- I'm still sorting it out and still taking in even more of Obi's life, their culture, their worlds, the Jedi -- but one thing is clear. These people come from a galaxy totally different from ours. They have extensive space travel and interact with hundreds of worlds. Yet, they've never heard of Earth, the Goa'uld, or any of the other worlds we've explored. It's like we come from a different galaxy or an alternative universe which briefly connected through the Stargate."

"Is that true? You know nothing of us?" Sam questioned Qui-Gon, who casually shrugged his shoulders.

"I touched Daniel's mind long enough to absorb English, but not to learn any other facts. I know nothing of your planet or your fight, though I can tell a military installation when I see one," he replied.

"How different is your science, your technology? General, think what we could learn." Sam had an ever passionate curiosity for expanding her scientific knowledge.

"Since our guests will be here a while, why don't you spend time with Qui-Gon comparing scientific knowledge. Try to figure out how this connection through the Stargate worked. Explain more about the Goa'uld and see if he can give us any suggestions. Dr. Jackson, Dr. Frasier, you should return to the infirmary until Obi-Wan is well. Colonel, you need to write your official debriefing and I need to brief my superiors. Dismissed everyone."

Samantha rose from the table, "Janet, can I talk to you a second? Qui-Gon, I'll meet you in the science lab. Jack, will you show him?" The two women waited as the men filed out of the room, before collapsing into each other's arms in giggles.

"Oh, my."

"Oh, my, indeed," replied Sam. "I can't believe how sexy that was."

"Daniel kissed Qui-Gon like he was a man dying of thirst who just found a bottle of Chardonnay."

"Janet, I never knew you had such a lyrical turn of phrase." Sam grinned at the Doctor who had become one of her best friends in their years together on the Stargate project.

"Some things are just inspirational." The two women giggled again before silently agreeing it was time to compose themselves and left the conference room to perform their designated tasks.

******

Daniel slumped bonelessly on the medical bed next to Obi-Wan's, propping his head on one hand. Though he felt his presence, Obi-Wan remained motionless on the bed, eyes closed. "I can't believe you did that," he accused Daniel.

"It's what you wanted," the scientist pointed out. "I was just acting out your desire."

"Yes, but I've restrained myself for years."

"Qui-Gon didn't understand. He blamed our bond - "

"--that's what he said."

"He's always been honest ..." Daniel paused, remembering experiences that were not his own. "No, he hasn't been has he? A Master teaches a padawan, but he doesn't overwhelm him."

"Yes, Qui-Gon has kept things from me when he had to."

The two men rested quietly, sharing thoughts of times when Qui-Gon had held his silence. At first, when Obi-Wan was still a child, about adult concepts that would have been beyond his understanding. Then later, on diplomatic missions, on nuances of political maneuverings that required absolute discretion. Even now, he kept silence on Jedi secrets that only Knights and Masters were allowed.

Daniel pressed one hand to his forehead, rubbing. "I want him. I keep picturing his body, remembering his spirit. How can I want him so much? I've never been attracted to men."

"What about Jack?"

"Jack? Who said I was attracted to Jack?"

Obi-Wan raised his eyebrows quizzically at Daniel. "Oh. I don't have to say anything, do I. I love my wife." Daniel's statement was passionate.

"She's been lost to you for over two years, Daniel. Jack's here. He's the closest friend you've ever had in your life. You've risked your lives for each other time and again. Yes, you love Shau'ri, but you've also grown to love Jack deeply. It's only natural to need someone to love. We've been hiding from ourselves, we've buried the pain within, but we can't hide from each other. The bond makes us too vulnerable. I love Qui-Gon and you love Jack," Obi-Wan commented sadly.

Daniel was stunned by Obi-Wan's revelation of his unexpressed emotions, thinking of all the times he had relied on Jack, to save his life, his sanity, his soul. The scientist began to face the fact that Jack was becoming the center of his existence, Shau'ri a distant dream.

The door opened and Teal'c entered, stopping between their beds. "I came to see if I could help you with anything."

"No, Teal'c. Thank you. I think it's better if we remain alone until we can be divided."

Obi-Wan raised up on his elbows. "Teal'c, have I told you how much I appreciate you? You and the other Jaffa who have aided us against the Goa'uld give me hope that Shau'ri will be returned to me."

Teal'c nodded gravely, maintaining as always his detached air of calm concern. "And may I say also that you and the other members of the SGC have given me hope that my people will be freed from imprisonment to the false gods." His eyes flicked back and forth between Daniel and Obi-Wan. "I sincerely hope that the Jedi also may give us assistance in our fight. I will leave you two to heal."

"Are you going to tell everyone on this base every thought I might have had about them to embarrass me?"

"Kiss Qui-Gon again, and I might," Obi-Wan responded darkly.

The two men rested without speaking and let their minds drift. Daniel pictured highlights of his life: successes in school, close friends, loving parents. Obi-Wan shared the rigors and joys of the Jedi Academy, the intense satisfaction of successful missions. Then he guided Daniel through the maze of his own emotions, helping him admit his hidden desire for the Colonel.
Daniel had helped to save Jack's soul, long ago on Abydos, when the Colonel was ready to perform a suicide mission, so distraught with remorse over the death of his son. The two forged their own bond on that foreign soil, a bond which had been severed for a year when Daniel remained on Abydos, but then reforged and strengthened by their years of Stargate missions. Quiet peace reigned as Daniel confronted his feelings, allowing Obi-Wan to slip into a light trance, accelerating the healing of the nerveshock to his body.

//Obi-Wan//

//Yes, Master?//

//Daniel is right. We shouldn't have been able to contact these people. Major Carter and I are trying to determine how we arrived here. Taking you and Daniel to Coruscant to the Jedi healers may be risky. We may not be able to get Daniel back to Earth.//

//And if Daniel goes, Jack, Sam and Teal'c will go. They are a team.//

//I can break your mindbond with Daniel, but it would require our making love. Only by creating an intense physical bond could I push Daniel out of your mind. Our bond must be stronger to override this new creation.//

Obi-Wan hesitated, trying to get a sense of his Master's feelings toward this possibility. Qui-Gon could be infuriatingly difficult to read when he wished, excelling at renowned Jedi serenity. Then Obi-Wan thought of Daniel, who had only one brief year with his lover and who was now torn between clinging to a fantasy or moving to a new life. /Life's too short/ was a saying Obi plucked from Daniel's mind.

//I wish it, Master. Please.//

Qui-Gon sent a fiercely loving tendril of the Force around Obi-Wan, revealing his own desires and hunger. Obi-Wan breathed deeply, almost shocked, secretly delighted, at the power and passion of the images. Being several decades older, Qui-Gon had recognized his own sexual and emotional attraction to Obi-Wan even as the young man had begun to mature into adulthood, long before Obi-Wan had realized that his Master was truly the focus of his life.

//But I wish also that I could see a little of this world before we go. Daniel's memories are so real, so vivid.//

For the first time, Qui-Gon reached through Obi-Wan's mind and into Daniel's. Daniel sleepily accepted his intrusion, hearing their mental conversation but not interrupting. //They are a dedicated people with a mission. They would make fine Jedi. There - would you like that?// Qui-Gon thought to Obi-Wan, finding one of Daniel's recent experiences. //You should be tired, relaxed, happy. It will make the bonding easier.//

//We need Jack and Teal'c.// Daniel volunteered. //I don't think you could use the Jedi mind trick on Teal'c. The larvae Goa'uld he carries would make him difficult to control.//

//But Teal'c will follow Jack?//

//Yes.//

Obi-Wan's eyes opened and he sat on the bed, feeling refreshed and invigorated for the first time in two days. "Excuse me, nurse, could you ask Colonel O'Neill to come to the infirmary?"

********

Late that night, Hammond roamed the halls, trying to check on the members of SGC-1 team with little success. Dr. Frasier reported that Daniel and Obi-Wan had felt well enough to leave the infirmary. Jack and Teal'c were nowhere to be found. Hammond finally located Sam in her science lab, talking eagerly to Qui-Gon; plates from the mess hall indicated they had worked through dinner.

"Major Carter. How is it going?"

"General, this is so exciting--Let me show you this. Qui-Gon has drawn a basic diagram of their galaxy." She rifled through numerous notes and papers on her desk, laying out a rough star chart. "The planets, the suns, they don't match any of the areas we've explored. It's like we 'jumped tracks' to a galaxy existing on a different plane."

"Have you a theory?"

"We think it may be connected to the Kalistan's energy weapons. They use a mineral found only on their planet. It's never been sold off-planet, so Qui-Gon has little information, but from his description, I think it was the unusual mineral that coated the Kalistan Stargate. I took a small sample but I haven't had a chance to run any tests."

"So somehow this mineral affects the operation of the Stargate and allows this 'track jumping'?"

"It's our working theory. We've also been discussing their science and technology. They are so advanced! We could learn so much from these people--the capabilities of androids alone are staggering, much less the sophistication of their space vessels."

"Are you sure it's safe to return to Kalistan? Will the Stargate always 'jump tracks'?"

Sam hesitated. "It would be a calculated risk, General. We have so little information."

"Write me a report and I'll review it. I'm not interested in sending people if we can't guarantee getting them back. I was trying to find Colonel O'Neill-do you know where he is?"

"No, General. I haven't seen him since the conference earlier."

Qui-Gon had quietly watched the two converse, but now his mind sought Obi-Wan. //Padawan, how are you?//

//Having a good time.// was the amused answer.

Qui-Gon could feel the trace of alcoholic disruption in his mental laughing. "He's at a vendor's called the Sidewalk Pizza," Qui-Gon offered, carefully pronouncing the unfamiliar name.

"Sidewalk Pizza? That's in town. How do you know where the Colonel is?" Hammond demanded.

"Obi-Wan, Daniel, and Teal'c are with him. They've been playing something called baseball with a group of locals. Would you like me to ask them to return?"

"Yes, Qui-Gon, I think you had better ask them to return. Now."

**********

General Hammond, Qui-Gon, and Sam were waiting when the four came out of the elevator. Teal'c was his normal stoic self, while Jack, Daniel, and Obi-Wan were slightly weaving and singing off-key. Hammond's abrupt "Colonel O'Neill! Doctor Jackson!" temporarily quieted the men under his command, but Obi-Wan gleefully stumbled forward, falling into his Master's arms.

"But I'm the only one who'll walk across the fire for you I'm the only one who'll drown in my desire for you..." Qui-Gon gave his apprentice an amused smile, recognizing the sheer truth of the words.

"Daniel, I just cannot believe you are such a huge Melissa Etheridge fan," Jack said, slurring. "Hey, Qui-Gon, want to stay here? This guy ...," he remarked, patting Obi-Wan on the back, " ... I could have this guy in the majors in six months. What an arm! And how he can hit a ball! Poetry!"

Hammond missed the significance of Obi-Wan's song but fully realized from Jack's rambling discourse the futility of rational discussion. The General paused in front of Jack. "We'll discuss this in the morning, Colonel. I don't expect this level of disobedience. What were you thinking, taking aliens out for baseball and pizza?"

"Umm," Jack tried to straighten his posture enough to come to attention but managed only a swaying imitation. "I thought we were going to discuss this in the morning?"

Exasperated by the uncharacteristic actions of his subordinates, the General muttered a disdainful snort and stalked off down the hallway. Jack slung an arm around Daniel. "Come on, buddy, let me help you to bed."

"I think you need more help than I do." Daniel would have denied it, but the sound escaping his mouth was virtually a giggle.

Jack pondered for a minute. "I can accept that. Hey, you can help me," he said, thumping Daniel on the chest. The two stumbled down the corridor as the rest headed toward their rooms.

************

Obi-Wan sprawled on the bed, stretching his arms and legs, smiling with delight. He thought of rising and undressing but no - his Master had said he would control the evening. Obi-Wan would follow his lead. But later ... they would have many nights and years together once they were completely united.

Qui-Gon entered and stopped at the foot of the bed, staring in wonder at the relaxed body of his padawan, who was finally about to become his life bond mate. Obi-Wan gazed back with serene sensuality and barely leashed desire. A quick flare of worry disrupted his enjoyment. "Daniel?" Obi-Wan asked.

"Daniel will be fine. I sent him a suggestion, as you recommended. The barriers will fall."

Obi-Wan smiled again. "Then I am yours, Master. Do with me as you will," he breathed, in a tone both passionate and slightly mocking.

Still standing, Qui-Gon slowly unzipped the jumpsuit, shrugging the top off his shoulders, appreciating his padawan's gaze roaming over the firm muscles of his chest. He raised one foot to the bed, pulling off his boot, keeping his actions leisurely. This night was too special to be rushed and he needed to retain control to successfully break Obi-Wan's bond with Daniel while forging their own even stronger. While removing his other boot, he began dropping his mental shields, showing Obi-Wan visions of his past. He drew out the moment, before sliding the legs of the jumpsuit off. Obi-Wan's eyes flared with an even more passionate desire, noting his Master's rising erection.

"Your turn," Qui-Gon said huskily, leaning forward to remove Obi-Wan's borrowed socks and sneakers. Crawling up the bed, he straddled Obi-Wan's hips, pulling on Obi-Wan's arms and with a Force assist, lifting his torso off the bed so he could tug the t-shirt over his head. Obi-Wan kept his muscles deliberately loose, arching his body languidly against his Master. Not disappointing him, the older Jedi took the opportunity of their touching torsos for an intense kiss before pushing Obi-Wan back to the bed. His fingers lingered over the unbuttoning Obi-Wan's jeans, sliding one finger lightly over the growing erection revealing itself underneath. Obi-Wan raised his hips so the jeans could be slid off.

Staring at the delectable body in front of him, Qui-Gon called upon the Force. As his eyes admired the pale skin and firm muscles, he opened his mind to Obi-Wan, sharing his life. Slowly Qui-Gon laid on the bed, his head propped on one hand. Tracing one ear idly with his finger, he shared remembrances of Master Bellota, who used to grab the Jedi students by their ears to enforce discipline. Obi-Wan smiled with a wince, remembering the many times his own ear had been almost yanked off.

Qui-Gon kissed the padawan's broad forehead, pressing more kisses down the length of his nose, visualizing his first mission. On a lingering kiss, he shared the memory of his first kiss with a young woman. //As awkward and as exciting as my first kiss// thought Obi-Wan, sending back images of his first experience while appreciating the softness of his Master's lips. The kaleidoscope of images thrilled Obi-Wan: scenes of Qui-Gon's youth at the Jedi Academy, Masters they had both learned from, academic challenges and the occasional frustrations of youth, his own Master/padawan relationship with the diminutive Yoda.

In turn, Obi-Wan sent back his own memories. Qui-Gon already shared many of them, but now they were colored with Obi-Wan's own emotional reactions and every past occurrence was seen with a new perspective.

Hands drifted over their bodies, reveling in finding areas of sensitivity. Obi-Wan was ticklish at the bend of his waist, while Qui-Gon gasped in delight at the soft tongue in his belly button. A gentle kiss on the bend of the elbow was as important as the drift of a mouth over a penis. The memory of a crack of the bat, sliding into home, the taste of dark beer and garlic pizza in Obi-Wan's mouth excited Qui-Gon as much as the fingers digging into the firmness of his buttocks. Arms, legs, knees, torso, all were explored and learned so that each knew the other's body even better than his own. Memories, loves, thoughts, opinions were shared and cherished. The two souls merged more deeply than their flesh as Qui-Gon inexorably dispelled Daniel from Obi-Wan's mind. And in the end, there was only Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, Master and Padawan, filling each other's senses, absorbed into every pore of their bodies and hearts.

***********

Daniel and Jack practically fell into Jack's room, tripping over each other's feet. They wound up with Daniel sitting on the bed, Jack kneeling in front of him. "Okay buddy, let's get you undressed." Jack pulled off one of his pal's shoes as Daniel tried to think.

"Um no, we're in your room. I'm supposed to help you undress."

"Oh. Okay," Jack said cheerfully. He started to rise and collapsed backwards, lying on the floor, feet falling one on each side of Daniel, laughing hysterically. Daniel stared down at the Colonel, his mind functioning at last, aided by Qui-Gon's Force thought. He lowered himself from the bed to his knees between Jack's spread legs. Continuing in gravity's general direction, he leaned forward to cover O'Neill's body, ending Jack's laughter by fastening their lips together. His elbows on the floor, the scientist slid his hands into Jack's silvered hair.

Daniel poured his soul into the kiss, expressing his love with the exploration of his tongue in Jack's warm mouth, sampling the wondrous flavor. Finally, he raised his head, praying that he hadn't destroyed the most important friendship in his life. The two were quiet, barely breathing, as Daniel waited for Jack's reaction, which seemed ominously slow in coming.

Calmly, Jack removed Daniel's glasses. "We were undressing you." He levered his body forward into Daniel's as he placed the frames onto the nightstand. Jackson savored the oddly sensual vulnerability of being less able to see. He recognized the erotic quality of having another gently strip his glasses from him.

Jack slowly rolled so Daniel was beneath him. Daniel's body went with Jack's, no space between them. Daniel's weight had been lifted from Jack by his elbows on the floor, but Jack's full weight engulfed Daniel, chest to chest, rising erections touching through the fabric of their jeans. Jack gave Daniel's declaration back to him in full force, kissing with desperation and desire, his hips gradually rotating against Daniel's.

Daniel tugged Jack's t-shirt out of his jeans and up his torso, breaking the kiss long enough to yank it over his head. With delight, his hands explored Jack's solid back, the hardness of his shoulder blades, the length of his spine, before shifting to Jack's front. His thumbs circled Jack's nipples, causing them to peak tautly.

Feeling left behind, Jack rose up, dragging Daniel with him so the two men were half-sitting. He returned the favor of wrenching off Daniel's t-shirt, ripping one side in his haste. Hands fumbled with the zippers on each other's jeans. They stood in unison, each concentrating so fiercely on removing the other's jeans that they bumped heads. For once, Daniel won a fight and wound up sitting on the floor, Jack's jeans around their owner's ankles. He grasped Jack's penis, stilling for a second.

"Oh god, Daniel, don't stop now," Jack gasped.

"I've never done it - "

"It's a popsicle, for chrissake." Heartened by that concept, Daniel licked his lips and thought of popsicles. The firm hard tip, the tasty length, sucking his mouth up and down, licking off delicious drops. Daniel applied himself diligently to the task, quickly growing accustomed to the musky flavor in his mouth. Placing one hand on Jack's testicles, he rolled the soft sacs, his other hand massaging Jack's ass, exploring the dark crevice. Jack's senses overloaded and an orgasm tore through his body, filling Daniel's avaricious mouth.

Jack's lungs labored for breath as Daniel rested his head against Jack's thigh, astonished at both the passion and tenderness he felt for this man. While his own body still ached with unsatisfied desire, he felt he could live forever solely on the thought of the intense gratification he had given Jack.

"C'mon you," Jack said when he could speak, swinging Daniel up from the floor and dropping him on the bed. "Your turn."

O'Neill clambered aboard the bed, focusing his drunken mind to lucidity. This wasn't an evening to disavow tomorrow with, "Boy was I drunk last night. I don't remember a thing!" He'd had that done to him once and would not reject his friend the same way.

Jack teased Daniel with an unexpected love bite to the younger man's kneecap. The silliness elicited a gasping giggle from Jackson.

"Oh, you like that?" O'Neill nipped the other. "What about here? ...or here?" He targeted his assaults with his tongue prior to each light nibble. The military man kissed, licked, and tantalized his way along the scientist's inner thigh, savoring Daniel's soft flesh before taking him deeply in his mouth and returning the blinding orgasm in equal measure.

************

Jack and Daniel woke to the buzz of Jack's alarm. The shrill sound jolted them to awareness and they tried to sit up, but their arms and legs were too snarled. Jack disentangled himself from Daniel and leaped out of bed, yanking on sweatpants. "We did that, didn't we?" His intonation was classic O'Neill, but his eyebrows twice rose begging for confirmation.

Daniel didn't respond at first, gazing distantly at the ceiling. "Obi-Wan's gone."

"You okay?"

"I'll be fine. I feel like - myself. Will we be fine?" Daniel held his breath as he looked at Jack, daring to hope.

Jack choose his words carefully, walking a tightrope he wasn't ready to handle. "We'll be fine, Daniel. I don't know what we'll be, but we'll work it out." Pressing a hand to his aching head, he added, "Later."

***********

One of the earliest pieces of advice Jack had received in his military career was, "If you want to be an officer, don't let them see you sweat." Using his trademark flippancy, he had followed that advice faithfully, staying cool under fire, always being capable and taking command, and never ever showing when he was hung over. Thus, while Jack strode briskly down the hallways of the SGC, nodding crisply to other soldiers he was defiantly ignoring the tiny men with large hammers slamming holes inside his brain. Fresh from a shower that failed to be totally reviving, Daniel emerged from his room and shambled into step behind Jack. Not burdened with military doctrine, he looked positively green.

Jack paused briefly to groan before swinging wide the cafeteria doors and entering, Daniel still trailing. General Hammond had obviously received an even better piece of advice in his military career: "Feed the troops well and they'll follow you to hell." SGC had the best military cooks Jack had encountered in twenty years of service. The appetizing aromas of hot cooked breakfast wafted to the nostrils. The tiny men in his head seemed to take offense. Swallowing his gag reflex, he headed toward the buffet line and forced himself to collect eggs, jam and toast, and black coffee. Daniel bypassed the eggs and jam in favor of plain toast with his coffee, willing to be honest about his affliction.

Obi-Wan, and Qui-Gon were seated at the end of one long table. "So I put the syrup on the pancakes, but not the eggs, bacon or toast?"

"Right, pancakes only. And don't pour too much. Overly syrupy pancakes get too sodden. Hey, Jack, Daniel, sit down, join us," Obi-Wan called.

Jack slid next to Obi-Wan, who looked disgustingly chipper this morning. /Jedi must have a built-in hangover remover/ he decided. Qui-Gon studiously poured syrup, nodding hello to Daniel as he sat on his side of the table. Influenced in his selection by Daniel's taste buds, Obi-Wan had already polished off half a plate of food and continued tucking in, obviously starving. Qui-Gon was eating slower, having to decide whether he liked American breakfast cuisine.

"So, you guys feeling good this morning, huh? Obi-Wan, no little hangover? Not even a teensy bit?"

"I feel great, Jack. I've never slept so well or woken with such vigor." Obi-Wan gave Qui-Gon a faint mischievous smile.

"Colonel, Daniel, gentlemen," Hammond had followed behind his subordinates, noting Jack's determined briskness and Daniel's unsteady demeanor, and now sat down. "Shall we discuss what happened last night?" While his voice was commanding, his broaching a matter of discipline at the breakfast table clearly indicated he had thought about the matter over night and was inclined to let it drop. In this case, the hangover suffered by the two men was retribution enough.

"General, what happened wasn't Jack's fault," Daniel leaped to his friend's defense, piercing the mists fogging his brain.

"He was the senior officer and he released aliens from military facility and permitted them to make contact with civilians without authorization and absolutely no knowledge of what consequences might entail. How do you think that's not his fault, Doctor Jackson?" Hammond might be willing to forgive, but his fierce reputation required a little intimidation first.

"Qui-Gon, you must have salt and pepper on your eggs. Really improves the flavor." Seemingly oblivious to the interchange, Obi-Wan lifted a hand and waved. The salt and pepper shakers, sitting on the other end of the table, came sailing gently through the air and landed next to Qui-Gon's plate. Obi-Wan flashed Daniel a wicked grin.

"Well, because of that," Daniel gestured to Obi-Wan's display, biting on his toast and hoping the dry taste would settle his stomach.

"Telekinesis? Your people are telekinetic?" Sam and Teal'c had joined the four and Jack ruefully mused that if the little men would just stop pounding, he might manage to notice people creeping up on him.

"It's not really telekinesis. They have control of living energy surrounding them -- they call it the Force. The Force can be used in many ways, including what we call telekinesis, telepathy, advanced healing and...mind control," Daniel said the last almost reluctantly, knowing it would clear Jack but concerned how Hammond would view the military ramifications.

"Mind control? These people are capable of mind control and you didn't see fit to mention that yesterday?"

"Well, yesterday, they weren't 'these people.' They were a part of me. I was a part of them. Mentioning use of the Force made as much sense as saying, 'Oh by the way, I study Egyptology' -- It was just something I knew I could do." Sips of coffee were spreading caffeine through his system, barely firing his mental synapses.

"Yesterday? Are you saying the bond is broken?"

"Yes, General," Qui-Gon inserted. "My apprentice and I were able to -- meditate -- deeply last night, tearing down the bond between Obi-Wan and Daniel by reinforcing our own student/teacher bond. The two men are separated and both should be fine."

"But I thought it was going to be a lot more complicated. You mentioned you may need the assistance of Jedi healers," Sam was disappointed at losing an excuse to travel to Coruscant.

"On reflection, I realized that if Obi-Wan was relaxed enough -- and thanks to the three of you, he was," Qui-Gon's gaze encompassing Jack, Daniel, and Teal'c, "I would be able to enter his mind and perform the necessary rituals myself."

//And you performed those rituals very well, Master// came Obi-Wan's impish thought.

//Behave, Padawan. Behave.//

"Besides, we still have a responsibility to the people of Kalistan," Qui-Gon continued without missing a beat. "Our ship should be in orbit now. From a place of safety on board, we might be able to convince the factions to resume negotiations. It is our duty as Jedi to at least make the attempt. Returning to Coruscant would lengthen the war."

"Then we'd better send you gentlemen back this morning," said the General, empathetically understanding a duty and obligation higher than oneself.

"General, can we...?"

Hammond cut off Sam's request. "No, Major. I've thought the issue over, and until you can run more tests on this mineral and determine the reliability of 'jumping tracks,' travel to PKF-452 is off-limits. We'll send a mobile unit with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan. With the video feed, we'll be able to tell if they successfully reach Kalistan and can contact their ship. We can teach them how to dial Earth and they can send the mobile back."

Qui-Gon nodded in agreement. "A most sensible plan, General. Thank you."

*****

In the Stargate room, the two Jedi were ready for departure in their own clothes, cleaned at the base's laundry. The huge Stargate device was circling. "Chevron 1 locked," reported a voice from the control room. Quick exchanges of good-bye ensued as the control room counted down the remainder of the chevrons.

Qui-Gon hugged Daniel, pressing the smaller man to him with affection. //Thank you. You have brought Obi-Wan and I together. I shall not forget you.//

"You're welcome. Living in Obi-Wan's mind, being a Jedi, remembering fighting draigons with you ... that was amazing. I shall cherish yesterday. I can't believe it was only a day."

//In your mind, it was a lifetime of memories.//

"I just wish I could recover from this hangover with the same speed."

"Some Jedi skills need to be learned and taught, not just remembered," Qui-Gon said dryly but comfortingly. He handed Daniel a ring, a simple band with a design etched on the front. "If your team does decide to travel to our universe, this will give you safe passage. It carries the seal of the Jedi and will be honored throughout the Republic."

Obi-Wan shook the General's hand. "General, I have felt Daniel's pain. I understand your battle. I will talk to the Jedi Council about assisting in your fight."

"Thank you, Obi-Wan. That would be most appreciated."

Sam handed Obi-Wan a signaling device, giving him a quick hug. "This will allow you to return."

"Yeah, come back and visit any time." Daniel and Obi-Wan embraced.

//Enjoy your life with Jack, my brother. If you are meant to find Shau'ri, you will.//

Chevron 7 locked, and the mobile unit began its steady ascent up the ramp and through the swirling vortex of the Stargate. With a last shaking of hands, the Jedi walked up the ramp and disappeared into their universe.

*********Epilogue: Two Days Later

Rushing to prepare for their next mission, Sam ran down the corridor toward the infirmary and bumped into Janet. “Janet, I’m glad I caught you. I wanted to give you this videotape before we leave.”

Janet read the label on the tape, ‘Confidential Medical Tape: Patient Jane Doe: Total Hysterectomy: Medical # 385038544.’ “Well, thank you, I think,” with a questioning inflection.

Sam leaned closer to Janet’s ear. “It’s a copy of the security camera recording from the conference room briefing with Qui-Gon and Daniel. I figured with that label, no one will ever accidentally play it.”

Janet’s eyes positively gleamed with anticipation. “Not – the kiss?”

Sam nodded her head gleefully. “I pulled the tape out of the VCR before it could be recorded over. Sorry - I'm keeping the original for myself.”

“Well, while you’re slogging through alien fields, I think I’ll go find some popcorn and enjoy my copy.”

With small waves, the two women separated, Sam to the excitement of exploration and Janet to the glorious comfort of her armchair and television.

The end