After asking directions, Daniel arrived in the mess hall, narrowly escaping a rundown by a team of Marines on their way out.
"Sorry, Doctor Jackson."
"Excuse me, Doctor Jackson."
Daniel put on a smile and nodded, not remembering their names, though their faces were looking a little more familiar, especially the one with the Colonel's wings. Reynolds. That was his name.
As he walked toward the end of the buffet line, Daniel thought about the look on Jonas' face before he'd gone through the event horizon. He felt a little guilty having lied to Jonas about his memory returning, but standing there in his office and then in the gateroom, he'd wanted the man to feel better.
It had been so important to Jonas that Daniel have his life back, so Daniel had humored him. Jonas hadn't bought it, that much had been clear, but Daniel gave the man credit for going along. It was too bad that Jonas had to leave. They'd made a good team and Jonas was a nice guy.
Not that the others weren't nice to him but there was an element of standoffishness that had never come from Jonas. Daniel intuited that it had nothing to do with his coming back from the dead but more to do with the past. He wished he would remember. Perhaps it was simply his death, but whatever it was, the strange tension in the air whenever he was around SG-1 was starting to grate on his nerves.
Grabbing a tray and moving down the line, Daniel found that as he did so, he did it without thinking, without making an active decision. So, glass, napkins, coffee mug, fill glass with orange juice. Ignore dessert case----way too many choices. Dinner----don't decide, just let the cook server do it. Thrust out the tray, get pot roast, gravy, potatoes, corn. Fill mug with coffee, fix coffee with milk and sugar, then turn and scan the room to find... SG-1.
Habit, ingrained, and the sense memory was there without any effort to retrieve it. He'd been experiencing that for weeks. While the actual memory wasn't there, there was automation. Sometimes he felt like he was sleepwalking. Perhaps Oma had purposely arranged his memory access that way? He couldn’t answer the question, never mind the fact that he didn’t even remember her.
It was another aggravation to add to his rapidly growing list. All he was doing, from sunrise to sunset, was running on a set of theories, and operating on supposition and theory—bad practice as that was—seemed to be his way. “His way” apparently included amnesia, which forced him to operate on supposition and theory. If he analyzed that too much, he was certain he’d start bleeding from his ears.
"Daniel!" Sam called, and Daniel found himself both relieved she was calling him over and surprised he was being invited. She'd been somewhat aloof around him since he'd come home; she was taking his amnesia harder than Jack was. No, that wasn’t right. She was taking it differently, not harder. Sam had been acting hurt. Jack had been acting offended. And Teal'c ... well, Teal'c didn't push or act in any way that would make Daniel feel bad, which Daniel very much appreciated.
"Hey," he said, walking up to the table. Sam and Teal’c sat on one side of the four--man table, which left Daniel to sit at Jack's right. He glanced at Jack carefully, waiting for Jack to invite him to sit down.
Jack gave him a double look. "What?"
"It's okay if I sit down, right?"
All three members of SG-1 frowned in confusion.
"Yeah, why wouldn't it be?" Jack asked, scowling now----and mostly because Daniel figured the man hated it when people (or just himself) did things that confused him. The man liked to know everything and be aware of everything around him. When someone (like him) challenged his reality, Jack grew annoyed. Daniel still didn't understand why he'd never backed Jack's play in the past----if what Jack had told him was true. Daniel also had a funny feeling that Jack liked to lie to people on purpose, just to see how smart they were in figuring out the truth. It did tend to explain the dumbass and sexist routines.
Daniel sat down, leaving his dinner on his tray. "Not important."
Sam waved her spoon at him. "Daniel, I wouldn't have called you over if I didn't want you to join us."
"I know," Daniel said automatically----something else that felt familiar to say. "It's just that it was you doing the asking, not Jack or Teal'c, so ..." He glanced sideways, catching Jack shaking his head, a slight grin on his lips. "What?" he asked him.
Jack looked at Sam, pointing his knife—another gesture that seemed familiar to Daniel—and Daniel just knew he was about to say something sarcastic. Some men passed behind him and slapped him on the back or shoulder. He’d received a lot of that lately but it still startled him.
"Nice to have you back, Doctor Jackson," one man said. The other echoed his statement, then several tables over, some men and women turned around and nodded at him, some voicing the same sentiment. Again, Daniel nodded, this time adding, "Thank you," to the list so he didn't sound rude.
He'd been back at the SGC for three weeks and this sort of thing was still going on. It was as if people were verifying that he wasn't going anywhere or he wasn't a figment of their imaginations. Daniel really couldn't blame them. The weirdest shit happened around here, judging from the mission reports he’d been reading. He hoped his memory of a few of those never came back. Ever.
When the greetings were done, Daniel took a deep breath and forked some potatoes into his mouth so he wouldn't have to acknowledge anyone. Well, except those at his table. Who were now staring at him. Shit.
"What?" he asked with his mouth full.
"That bother you?" Jack asked, making a conducting gesture with his fork.
Daniel swallowed and followed it with coffee. "It'd probably help if I remembered their names."
Sam gave him a hopeful look. "It'll come back. Just give it time."
Daniel jogged his brows and shrugged. "That I have."
"At least you remembered my name finally," Jack said with a touch of sarcasm.
Daniel twisted a returning smile. "I called you Jim on purpose."
Sam choked off a laugh and Teal'c stared between them with a smile on his own lips. Jack simply stared at him with that same look Daniel received at the briefing table.
"Why?" Jack drawled.
"Because," Daniel drawled back, “you were teasing me and I teased back. Seemed like the thing to do."
Jack's brows went up a notch. "Why's that?"
With another shrug, Daniel said, "Just seems like a comfortable thing to do."
Jack couldn't seem to come up with an answer for that and during the ensuing silence, Daniel decided to continue to tease Jack. "So how's your blood sugar, Teal'c?"
Sam choked off another laugh, mostly out of surprise, as Teal'c said, "My blood sugar is fine, Daniel Jackson."
"Daniel, I was kidding back there," Jack rasped.
"I know," Daniel answered, not looking at him as he grinned.
Teal'c then added, "I do not have a blood sugar problem, O'Neill."
Jack gave him a look of exasperation, making Sam grin at Daniel. "Teal'c, I was kidding."
To Daniel, Teal'c looked smug. He wondered then if Teal'c always did that to Jack—if the entire conversation of tease and tease back was the way they related. He didn't know for sure, but it felt—again—familiar. He had yet to see them talking seriously during a mission, so he had nothing to compare it with. It was obvious that there was deep friendship there.
"Daniel, you wanna join me in the lab when we're done?" Sam asked around a mouthful of dessert.
"Sure." He didn’t have anything specific to do with his time. He didn't even have any studying to do and his job hadn't been given back to him, despite the patch on his fatigue shirt. "I won't be in the way or anything?"
"No, not at all," she answered.
When Daniel glanced at Jack, he saw something like regret and disappointment on the man's face. When he started to ask what that was about, it was too late, the look was gone. And a split second after that, Jack was rising from the table. "Well, you kids have fun. I'm off for some fun with paperwork, then home. If I don't see you before, have a good weekend.”
Sam wished him the same, as did Teal'c, but Daniel could only mutter a drawled, "Yeah," because Jack's sudden departure caught him by surprise. After Jack left the mess hall, Daniel asked, "What'd I say?"
Sam winced, looking apologetic. "Oops."
Frustration was returning. "Would someone please clue me in here?"
The two exchanged glances, then Teal'c opened up first, though he wasn't all that helpful. "You and O'Neill used to share Friday evenings at his home."
Daniel's eyebrows went up for yet another surprise. "We did?"
Sam nodded encouragingly. "Yeah, pizza, beer and whatever movie the Colonel wanted to torture you with. Although you switched off, where one Friday the movie would be your choice and the next, it'd be his."
"So ... was he gonna ask me?"
Neither of them answered. They simply looked sheepish, which immediately caused Daniel to experience conflicting emotions. One set for Jack, another for the two people across the table. With Sam and Teal'c, it was frustration. They weren't telling him what he needed to know. Just bits and pieces from a puzzle, and goddamn it, it was long past getting on his nerves.
With Jack, Daniel felt a deep, warm ache in his chest. What Sam said had sounded familiar but it was like trying to remember a word or image that was just out of reach. More aggravation, and this time, desperately so. This felt more intimate than everything else he'd been trying to remember, something shared only between himself and Jack. Wait …
Just Jack? It didn't exactly sound right, given what Daniel had remembered and seen of the man so far. Jack wasn't all that friendly----well, that wasn't precisely true. Jack was just a little close--vested, that's all and----
"Daniel?" Sam asked, jarring Daniel from his thoughts.
"Hmmm?" And realizing he'd spaced off in his own world, he returned a sheepish look. "Sorry."
"Did you regain a memory?" Teal'c asked.
"No, no. More a feeling than a memory."
"Really?" Sam asked.
"Yeah. Why, is it important?"
"It is for you," she shrugged, then abruptly set down her spoon and pushed to her feet. "Think I'll go work on my project. If you want to join me, feel free. See you later."
"Okay, thanks ." He watched her as she left a little hastily, then gave Teal'c a confused look. "Okay, now what did I say?"
Teal'c took his time answering, as he been doing since Daniel had met him. "I believe she may feel embarrassed."
"Goddammit,” Daniel said, sitting back with a disgusted jerk and dropping his fork. “What did I do?"
Teal'c gave him a warm smile. "Nothing, Daniel Jackson. You did nothing wrong."
"Okay, then do you know what the hell all that was about then?"
"Are you aware that it is Friday?”
Daniel blinked. Distantly spoken words came to him. They were Jack's. And, but, so, therefore… He focused but the memory revealed nothing more. “Apparently I'm not getting what that’s supposed to mean, Teal’c, so just tell me."
Teal'c suddenly shook his head and stood up, too. "It is probably best for you to remember on your own, Daniel Jackson."
Daniel sighed. Teal'c was doing it again. "Listen, I can appreciate you guys wanting me to remember on my own, but when you react to something I've said, where it's quite obvious that I have no clue whatsoever----"
"I apologize, Daniel Jackson."
"No, no," Daniel said, holding up hand. "Don't apologize. There's nothing to apologize for. Just tell me what I'm missing here?"
"I will tell you that it would mean a lot to both of them to be able to spend time with you, as it would mean much to myself as well. We have all missed you, though I believe O'Neill has missed you more than Major Carter or myself."
“Perhaps because I knew him longer?” Daniel asked, mostly to himself. He thought it over carefully as he remembered bits of the Abydos mission----bits that had suddenly come to him in the locker room a few days ago. And that had been an awkward scene with Jack, which was one reason why Daniel thought the Friday Night thing so ... odd.
"I believe so."
"But it's more than that," Daniel said, certain of it, as he rose from the table. He wasn't about to let Teal'c get away without answering him. As they left the mess hall, Teal'c was quiet, and Daniel considered that perhaps Teal'c was considering what he'd said----and whether or not to answer it.
As they turned a corner, Teal'c finally said, "Regarding your question, yes, I believe there is more to your relationship with O'Neill, and perhaps because you have known him longer. While both Major Carter and I have known you nearly as long, we were not with you during the first mission, which I understand lasted close to a month in duration."
"You became closely bonded during that time. Your friendship is far more personal than your friendship with myself or Major Carter."
Daniel stopped in the hallway, forcing personnel to go around them; he invited Teal'c through an open doorway to an empty office. "Wait a minute. What does that mean exactly? It can't be too personal, unless I did something hideous to him. Sometimes he acts like he'd prefer to smack me one."
"O'Neill is not used to sharing ... private emotion. He becomes, in human words, flustered. I have observed that when that happens, he feels uncomfortable."
"I've already figured out he cares, but what you're saying is that we were really good friends?"
"I would say closer than that, beginning with the bond created between you during that first mission. O'Neill is a warrior. When someone saves his life, he does not take that lightly."
"I know that, too, Teal'c. You don't take that lightly, either. But I’m getting the impression that this is more than that. What are you trying to tell me—that I need to guess what it is without exactly having to say it?" Teal'c didn't answer and that was an answer in itself. Daniel gave him a resigned look. "I take that to mean I need to find out from Jack."
Teal'c bowed his head in that single nod of his and Daniel rolled his eyes. "Right. Well, in the mean time, I guess I'll go see Sam. Then if Jack's in his office, I'll go see him and ask about movie torture night."
"That is a wise decision," Teal'c grinned.
Daniel gave him an annoyed look. "Just frickin’ tell me next time, Teal’c. And stop looking so smug because I’m getting annoyed."
"I am not feeling smug. I am pleased."
"Why?" Daniel asked, not sure he wanted to know at that point.
"Because hopefully this will mean that life will return to normal." At Daniel's smirk, he amended. "As normal as it is possible."
"In the meantime, I will walk with you to Major Carter's office as my quarters are in that direction."
"Okay," Daniel replied.
On the way, Daniel was greeted with nods and a few more "Welcome back"s. When he'd look at Teal'c afterward, his Jaffa friend would be grinning at his discomfort. Somehow, that was comforting.
At Sam's lab, Teal'c bowed slightly. "I wish you a good evening, Daniel Jackson."
It was at that point that Daniel had had enough. "Teal'c, why don't you just call me Daniel? Or Sam, Sam? I can understand higher ranked personnel but why us? We're teammates, and your friends. Why use both our names when Jack only gets ‘O'Neill’ most of the time?"
"While I consider you my friends, your names are worthy of respect at all times. I do, however, treat O'Neill differently because he is like a brother to me, not just a fellow warrior. That breeds a little more familiarity than it does with you. I am sorry if this offends----"
"No, no, it's not that. I rather thought it was the other way around, I'm afraid."
Teal'c stared at him, then bowed his head. "There is no offense, Daniel Jackson. Quite the opposite."
"Oh." Daniel couldn't think of an answer to that. He had a feeling, however, that asking Teal'c to explain that would take a while, so he made a mental note to ask later. "Okay."
Teal'c grinned again and bowed one more time. "Have a good evening, Daniel Jackson."
"You, too, Teal'c. Thanks."
After he left, Daniel pushed the comm buzzer on Sam's door. "Hi Sam, I’m here to annoy you."
"It's open," came the muted, shouted reply and Daniel entered and closed the door behind him. Sam was preoccupied as she worked ... on a motorcycle. A flash of memory attempted to come to him, but it didn't get through. All he knew was that Sam liked motorcycles and that this one was called an Indian.
"How long have you been working on this?" he asked, taking a stool behind her left shoulder. She was kneeling beside the partially--built machine, her hands smudged with grease and dirt as she turned a ratchet, tightening a screw. He understood what she was doing, knew the parts of the machine he recognized. At least that part of his memory didn’t have issues—like his ability to do math, to speak, walk, eat, etc.
"Well, this is my second one. The first one ... kinda got blown up in a lab accident. That was the last damn time I let Doctor Lee in here. This one I've been working on for about six months, off and on."
"When I get the time. It takes a while, which I don't really mind." She set down the tool and turned, sitting fully on her ass instead of her calves, and drew her knees up. "So..."
"So," he echoed. Daniel suddenly had no idea what to say. Well, that wasn't exactly true. What he had noticed since meeting Sam, again, was that she was like Jack and Teal’c—she wasn't forthcoming with personal chit--chat unless pushed, whether by her own curiosity or someone else's question. The question he had in mind might not gain him an answer though.
"What's on your mind?" she suddenly asked, watching his face.
"Noticed that already?"
"Makes sense. You have a million questions. But then, you always do. I do know you, Daniel, even if you don't remember me."
"I'm starting to remember but it comes in bits and pieces. What's on my mind right now is actually about my remembering."
And there it was. He could feel their friendship, deep within him, like a knowledge he didn't need to remember to know. Still, there was something else that needed to be said, as if he'd offended her somehow. The anger toward him hadn't been hard to miss, though she had hidden it pretty well. That in itself told him he did know her. The specific events of their lives didn't seem to matter. Till now.
"So what's up?" she asked.
She looked curious but Daniel had a feeling that curiosity would vanish, as would her openness, the moment he started asking her what was bothering her. Back on the planet, he’d asked her if there'd been anything between them and at the time, she'd answered no, that they were just really, really good friends. What did that mean? What did “really, really” entail? Sex? There'd definitely been something else she'd kept back. Even in his confused state, he'd seen it.
"Back on that planet, I asked you about us."
Sam gave him a hesitant, uncomfortable smile. "There was no 'us', Daniel."
Looking down at his hands, he said, "But there was something else. What does ‘really, really’ good friends mean? Were we having sex?"
Sam promptly looked away, blushing. "No! Oh my god! No, Daniel, we weren’t."
"Okay,” he said, frowning because it didn’t sound right. “Talk to me. There’s something else. You seem a bit mad at me. What for? For Dying?" He made a face. “That is still weird to say.”
Sam gave him a half smile as she shook her head. "It's not important."
"Don’t do that!” he said, pointing a finger at her. “Do you want to know why I asked if there was anything between us?"
Sam turned her head a little, enough so he could see her profile, but she still didn't look at him. "Yeah, that did kinda catch me off--guard."
Daniel felt something inside him; a certainty that he was on the right track, and for some reason, it engendered sadness, not excitement. Still, he had to keep going. "I asked because I remember the look you gave me when I first saw you in the market square. There was..." Daniel frowned, trying to find the right words. "Sorry, Sam, but you looked at me not just like finding a friend you thought was dead. You came up to me, tried to touch me like... you had a right to... if you see what I mean."
"It's embarrassing, Daniel."
"Yeah, I can see that. Look at me anyway." He paused, then tried to form a smile. "I promise not to judge." Surprising him, she laughed, but it was a painful, wistful sound that made Daniel regret bringing anything up at all and he was getting sick of that. He began to get up but she suddenly turned to face him and he sat back down.
“In order to know the answer to your question, you'd have to remember the day you died."
Daniel closed his eyes briefly. "Yeah... I've been kinda avoiding that, actually."
Nodding, she hugged her knees. "That day, in the iso room, I was kinda emotional. I said some things. You know how ... oh, well, maybe you don't. Look, after ... after you died, it just hit me really, really hard."
"You said that before," Daniel replied quietly.
"It's just that what I said is now making me feel ... weird. Because you're here and ..."
"Now you feel cornered? Trapped?"
"No, it's not."
She cringed, then said, "I thought that maybe I cared more about you than I was willing to admit. But I don't think that was it. I wasn't hiding anything when I said that there wasn't anything between us. I just don't know if there could have been simply because I'd never thought about it or said anything or ... well, shit, told you it was stupid."
Daniel reached out and touched her arm, frowning at her as she dismissed her feelings. He wondered if it was something she always did when she felt cornered. "Everybody second--guesses themselves. I've been doing it a lot lately, not knowing what's the right thing to say or feel, so I think I understand."
She breathed deeply, nodding again. "I guess that's all it is, having taken your leaving pretty hard."
"Is that why you're mad at me?" he asked, and she turned her head sharply, staring at him.
"Mad? No. What makes you think I'm mad?"
"Because I sense it," he said slowly. She frowned and started ask, but he said, "Even when you're smiling at me and being nice, I sense something else." Narrowing his eyes, he went with the feelings that were speaking to him in place of memories. "Jack said I visited him. He said I visited Teal'c, too. You never said if I visited you. Did I? Or are you mad that I didn’t?"
She shook her head firmly. "I felt left out. I was your friend, too."
“Are, Sam. Are my friend.” There was something she wasn't saying, and at first, he wanted to know whatever it was, but now, perhaps it was better if he didn’t. However, in the next moment, Sam decided otherwise.
"No, there's nothing more, Daniel. I just felt left out and maybe I am harboring some residual resentment. I’ll get over it."
Her expression told him she was sincere but he could also tell she was covering, just like she did when she disagreed with something Colonel O'Neill said ---- a little military fact Daniel had trouble remembering the purpose of. In his mind, if you had an opinion, you gave it, and if some people didn't like it, well that was too damn bad.
But the military was not a democracy, and Sam followed the rules. Especially her own guarded ones, and she did not talk about her personal feelings. That was something that Daniel suddenly knew. If he pushed, she'd retreat. If she wanted to talk, he'd have to let her come to him.
"Okay," he said after another moment of silence. "But if you ever wanna talk..."
"Okay, sure. I'm sorry, Daniel."
"For what?" he asked, frowning.
"I'm not really good at this. I talked with Teal’c after you died, and I tried to talk to the Colonel but he wasn’t interested. That’s about it." She gave him a sheepish smile as he got off the stool and knelt next to her, putting an arm around her shoulders and giving her half a hug. She stiffened under his touch for just a second, then practically melted into him. He held her like that, in silence, for more than a couple of minutes, waiting. It felt awkward, but still, it was nice to be able to show some affection, to touch. He hadn't realized he'd needed it until that moment.
Then Sam was clearing her throat, a sound of awkwardness, and he slowly let her go and moved far enough away to look at her. "Okay?" he asked.
"Yeah," she sighed. "You?"
"I think so," he said, giving her a smile. She smiled back, then suddenly pushed at him, touching his knee. "You should go and I should get back to my pet here."
"You need live animals for pets, Sam. Want the fish I inherited from Jonas?"
"You keep them," she said, rolling her eyes. "I'd only kill them. I overfed a goldfish when I was nine. The results were tragic."
Daniel snickered. "I can imagine. Then at least help me name them. We can think up names we know Jack would hate?"
She brightened. "That'd be fun. Except Kinsey. The fish would end up dead."
She grinned at him. “Tell you later."
There was silence then; a sudden, uncomfortable silence, and Daniel took his cue. “I’m going." He stood up, unnecessarily smoothing his fatigue shirt, and turned for the door.
"Yeah?" he asked, looking back.
She opened her mouth to say something, but whatever it was, she was fighting with it. Then the look on her face altered slightly and she smiled. "I'm glad you're home."
"Thanks, Sam," he answered, wanting to say he was too, but it was premature. Was he glad? Should he be? Shaking off the thoughts, he said, "If you wanna go somewhere, do something, um, just call me on the phone the General gave me. You have the number, right?"
She smiled. "Yeah, I got it saved on my phone."
"Okay," he said, rubbing the thighs of his trousers. Getting to the door, she stopped him once more.
"Are you gonna go see the Colonel?"
He narrowed his eyes again, this time completely confused. "I was. Why?" When she hesitated, a memory flashed. Nothing specific, nothing he could grab hold of and unfold like a letter. Just a picture of her and Jack huddled together in some sort of underground facility----and his mission reading allowed him to remember where: that Ice Age planet. It made him feel extremely uncomfortable. "You think it's a bad idea now?" he asked carefully.
"Um, well, no, it's just that with all the changes we've been through this past year, and the fact that your death was really hard on him whether he admits it or not ... it's just ... well, don't be surprised if he won't open up."
Daniel gave her a false smile, hating that he had to. "Oh. Okay. Good night, Sam."
"'Night, Daniel," she said, grinning more brightly as he left.
Walking down the corridor toward the elevator, Daniel felt a deep foreboding come over him. Why would she warn him off Jack, if that's what she was doing? It made no sense, especially after her words during dinner. Was she just being protective? Maybe. Had she lied? No, she had no way of knowing that Jack had already opened up to him. During that week of the mission prep for the assault on Anubis' ship, Jack had talked to him, so he was far from being closed--off.
Jack had also visited him in his quarters, fiddling with stuff as he walked around and talked, rarely looking at Daniel long enough to pose anything meaningful at him, but still, he'd talked. That might have been what Sam had meant, but Daniel now felt that it wasn't. Jack had said he'd missed him; had admitted that Jonas was a good man, and had said it without sarcasm, which—for some reason—was what Daniel had expected.
Jack had been friendly and open and hadn't really held back much, except memories, preferring that Daniel retrieve them on his own ... which, in retrospect, explained not inviting him tonight. But he hadn't felt closed off.
Stepping out and heading toward Jack's office, Daniel felt as if Sam and Teal’c were pushing him about Friday Nights with Jack. It made no sense whatsoever, but it was still a feeling. Why would they do that? Regaining normalcy, as Teal'c suggested?
No, it felt more than that. The grating on his nerves returned. Why the hell were they doing this to him? Couldn't they just tell him what the hell was going on and then let him decide? Why did everything have to be such a goddamned puzzle for him to solve? Had he liked it that way before? If so, he must've been mad. It didn't really matter though. It was apparently a puzzle he had to solve on his own, only Daniel had no idea how to solve this one.
Pigheadedness reared up at that point, and Daniel decided, fuck it. This was one puzzle he wasn't going to solve. He was simply going to make personal observations, gain a bit of knowledge to tuck away and keep for private use. Except it didn't feel right, and he hated that he didn't know why.
Finally at Jack's door, Daniel raised his hand ... and paused, holding back the knock. Perhaps it would be better to wait for Jack to say something about the Friday Night get-togethers. After all, Jack had been steering clear of any mention of the past, waiting for Daniel to bring it up first. Even if Sam and Teal'c had mentioned their movie night first, it was probably something best left for Jack to bring up again.
Feeling a wash of regret flow over him, Daniel dropped his fist and turned away, but he'd taken no more than a few steps when Jack's door opened.
He turned to see Jack locking up his office. "Hey," he said, trying to look casual.
"Were you coming to see me?" Jack asked.
"Well, yeah, but I ... well, chickened out, actually. Didn't want to bother you."
"Since when?" Jack asked with a grin that could only be described as disarming. He slapped Daniel on the shoulder and ushered him down the corridor beside him. "Teal'c came by anyway. Told me he'd spilled the beans about the Friday Nights and that I should stick around in case you came to ask."
"Right. Well ... " Daniel started as they entered the elevator.
"Well ... ?"
Thinking that Jack was going to ask him over, Daniel felt an inexplicable thrill rush through him, but when the man pushed level 18's button, the thrill vanished and was replaced with a sudden ache Daniel couldn't explain. Except that he realized just how much he'd wanted to spend some time with Jack; go off base, watch a movie, eat pizza. Be ... normal.
There was obviously more to it than that, something else he couldn't identify. Yet. He knew he was attracted to the man so that might be part of the reason for his disappointment, but Daniel easily dismissed it. Attraction didn't mean squat. There were a lot of people he was attracted to and Jack ... was Jack. Charming, magnetic, sex on a stick ...
Daniel shook off those thoughts, dismissing the very idea that it was a sexual reason, and started to bolster up the courage to ask if Jack wanted company----without it sounding like a come-on. The elevator was moving too goddamned fast. The readout now read 18 and the elevator stopped and opened. End of the line. Shit.
"Have a good night, Jack," he said, walking out, but turned in surprise when Jack stepped out right behind him. "Where are you going?"
"I thought you were interested in coming over?"
"I am. And I thought you were leaving?"
"Okay, I'm confused."
Jack smirked at him. "Your deduction skills are playing havoc with your assumption skills."
"What?" Daniel frowned.
"Walk, Daniel," Jack said, still grinning as he turned him around and pushed him toward the dead-end corridor where Daniel's quarters were.
"Gonna tuck me in, too, I suppose?"
He was taken by surprise when Jack shoved him in the back. "Don't be a wiseass, Daniel. I'm here to escort you since you don't have a pass yet. We'll get some of your clothes and things because the Friday Night get-togethers are sleepovers. I drink, you drink, and no one's taking a cab. So toothbrush, jammies, razor, yadda."
"Oh," Daniel frowned—at Jack, at himself. The excitement he knew he should have been feeling was covered with embarrassment. He'd assumed wrong. What else had he assumed wrong?
Inside his quarters, he grabbed the leather carry bag he'd gotten from Shamda's people and began filling it with a few clothes. Old ones, like jeans and sweats, things that Jack had kept for some unknown reason; and new ones, like briefs and t--shirts. Daniel hadn't yet figured out why Jack hadn't saved any of his shirts. "By the way, I'll be sleeping in my underwear. I don't like jammies."
"Well, that's one thing that hasn't changed then. And I was kidding, anyway."
"Oh. Jack?" Daniel asked as he kept packing, now grabbing his personal hygiene items.
When Daniel glanced at him, he found Jack watching his every move and it made him pause. It could’ve been a bit creepy if Daniel hadn’t felt that thrill sensation again. "What?" he asked.
"That's my question," Jack reminded him.
Daniel frowned, realizing that the idea of Jack watching his every move wiped out whatever he’d been about to say. “I forgot.”
"The question?" Jack prodded, grinning.
Daniel suddenly wanted to slap him one and had the strangest feeling it wasn't going to be the only time. "I forgot. So I’ll just move on. Why didn't you say something about Friday Nights at dinner?"
"Was waiting for you—“
“To remember,” they both said.
Daniel rolled his eyes. "I'm getting sick of that. I don't want you to wait for me to remember. Just tell me."
"See, here's the thing," Jack went on, losing his smile as he stuffed his hands in his pockets. "Maybe there are things you're not ready to remember, or don't want to. Fraiser said it might be better for you to access your memory on your own."
"She's wrong," Daniel said, dropping the bag on the bed and turning to face Jack squarely. He took a step closer to him and crossed his arms. "I have been in a state of confusion and terror since coming back. Things come back to me slowly but it's not all there yet. I need hints, at the very least, and I'd appreciate it if you didn't hold back from me. About anything. Got it?"
Jack stared back at him, and for a moment, he looked like he was going to reveal something important, but instead said, "Teal'c agrees with you. And okay, I agree with you, too, but Fraiser said there might be stuff you just forget and it would be cruel to tell you about it and have you feel guilty about never regaining that memory."
Daniel rolled his eyes at the ceiling. Anger was welling up in him. “She’s wrong.” He looked at Jack. “You’re wrong. Every damn person is wrong.” Daniel suddenly raised his voice. “You do not get to decide what I should or should not being feeling! Got it?” Daniel set his mouth in a grim line.
"That’s also what Teal’c said," Jack went on, looking embarrassed. "Teal'c's idea, by the way, about taking you home with me. New scenery and our regular routine would help to jog the old noggin."
Daniel sighed and closed his eyes, hating that he’d raised his voice. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to yell.”
“You have the right,” Jack said with a sheepish grin. “If I were you, I’d have punched someone by now.”
Daniel blurted out a laugh. "I’d get sent to the looney bin if I’d done that. Not saying I haven’t thought about doing it, though.” He grabbed his bag and threw it over his shoulder. "I need to get out of here. Let’s go."
"You have to change into civilian clothes, Daniel."
Daniel blinked. “Locker room? Hello? Besides, so do you.” They were out of his room and halfway down the hall when he asked, “And why is that, Jack? Don't military personnel wear their uniforms in the civilian world?"
"Yeah, but we’re a top secret program and there are rules about wearing your uniform offbase without the proper tags and patches. So, we change clothes and we’re outta here."
"I’ll have to leave on my OD t-shirt. You didn't leave me any shirts."
"You have t--shirts," Jack said, pointing at his bag.
"Yeah, but they're t--shirts.”
"So?" Jack blinked, then shook his head and took Daniel's bag off his shoulder and pulled out a black t--shirt and a pair of old jeans and tossed them at him. "You can wear just a t--shirt, Daniel. It's not like you're going naked."
They got back into the elevator and headed to the locker room. Due to company, they didn’t continue the conversation until they were inside.
"And what about shoes?" Daniel asked as he stripped down.
"Wear your boots,” Jack said, pointing as he took off his uniform. “We'll go shopping tomorrow and get you a jacket, tennies, other stuff. You can pay be back later if you want."
"Okay, but doesn't the Air Force provide that stuff?" Daniel asked sarcastically as he removed his trousers.
"Yeah, but you like your civilian choices."
"Obviously," Daniel carped back, amused that Jack turned away when he pushed off his trousers. "Modesty, Jack? Shouldn't that be the other way around?"
"Nothing I haven't seen before," Jack replied, half over his shoulder, "but I was just giving you the privacy, not me."
"Jack, I was found naked in a field on the edge of a forest and walked around like that in front of a lot of people before someone decided to give me something to wear. I think my modesty has pretty much died."
Jack was grinning when he turned around, although Daniel had the decency to keep on his briefs. He knew damn well it was Jack's modesty, not his own, that was the issue here, but he let Jack pretend for about two more seconds before he started snickering.
"Okay, okay, it was for me,” Jack admitted with a growl. “I'm a prude."
"Modest, Jack. Not a prude. I read the mission that got my ass killed. If you were a prude, you wouldn't have called the Kelownans a bunch of narrow--minded, tight--fisted motherfuckers."
It was Jack's turn to snicker. "Point. Again."
Still, he turned away and Daniel could've sworn there was a blush there as he dressed. He couldn't laugh or make fun, however, because his nipples were hardening, even under the black t-shirt he pulled on. Since the room was just slightly cool, he could pretend that was the cause. The truth was that it was Jack's presence, and he had no idea if his feelings were out of loneliness or part of a memory.
If, and he stressed, if, it were a memory trying to surface, what did that mean exactly? That he'd had feelings for Jack? Or that the feelings had been returned?
It really didn't look good, either way. If his feelings had been, or were, one-sided, he was doomed to unrequited feelings. Not something he was looking forward to. If his feelings had been returned, there was no way the feelings could have been acted on, not with what he knew about Jack. He knew Jack disregarded some regulations, but he stuck to most of them and this one would have been a big one to violate.
So ... that meant forgetting about what he'd just learned and to move on. He could do that. He had to do----
"You're thinking too hard," Jack said.
"What?" Daniel asked, coming out of his own thoughts, and realized they were driving down the road, out of the mountain! He hadn't even paid attention to dressing, leaving, and getting into the truck. "Holy shit.”
“You do that, you know,” Jack said.
“Completely lose myself in thought like that?”
“Yeah,” Jack grinned. “I rarely let you get far enough where you don’t pay attention to what you’re doing or where you’re going.”
Daniel gave him a helpless shrug. "I do it a lot lately. I can't help it."
"Yeah, okay, I can understand that, I guess, but I mean this is a night off from that. Stop analyzing, stop measuring, stop trying to figure out things. Just go with it and have fun."
Daniel smirked and looked out the window. "I'll see what I can do."
"So ... you sure you ordered stuff I liked before?" Daniel asked as Jack handed him a beer. He stared at it, smelled it, and wrinkled his nose.
"Yes, Daniel," Jack answered sarcastically. Noticing Daniel's expression with the beer, he asked, "What?"
"I don't think I like beer."
Jack shook his head and turned away, opening a cupboard. "Damn. Was hoping I could retrain you." He offered Daniel a bottle of hard lemonade.
Daniel took it and twisted off the cap. He liked the smell better. "Retrain me, huh?"
"Yeah, I know," Jack replied with a shit-eating grin, "but a man can hope."
Daniel snickered as he followed him into the living room. "I thought we've already established I can't be retrained."
Jack eyed him as he sat down. "That sounded wrong coming from you."
"Yeah, over a year ago, you would have said something like, I'm not a dog, Jack. I can't be retrained."
"Funny," Daniel said, resisting the urge to laugh because it was funny. Jack was also right. It was the other thing he'd debated saying but the 'established' thing came out instead. Which also meant Jack knew him pretty damn well. And with the memory thing, he had the advantage. It was annoying as hell; Daniel had already learned that when Jack felt he had the advantage, he was one smug bastard. "So ... hard lemonade and pizza?"
"You had it before," Jack answered as he got up and went to the entertainment center under the TV.
Daniel drank some of the lemonade. "Mmm," he said, looking at the bottle afterward. “Nice.” When he caught Jack looking over his shoulder at him, he grumbled, "Shut up."
Jack shook his head and turned away. "Not saying anything."
"Whatever," Daniel smirked. When Jack's expression looked somewhat devious, his radar went up. "What're you up to?"
Jack pulled out a DVD case and waggled it. "It just occurred to me that I get to make you suffer twice. That is, if you don't remember the movie."
Daniel twisted his mouth instead of replying, since there was nothing he could think of that wouldn't be stating the obvious. Jack returned to the couch, remote in hand, started the DVD. It began with previews.
"What're we watching?" Daniel asked, giving Jack a suspicious look when the man toed off his shoes, propped his socked feet on the coffee table, and leaned back into the couch. He clasped his hands behind his head and grinned in that same devious way he had before, which only increased Daniel's suspicion. "Jack?"
"Hmmmm. I get the feeling that whenever you say that, I'm in trouble."
"Your memory isn't that far gone then," Jack said dryly.
"I'm starting to wish it was,” Daniel snarked back.
Silently chuckling, Jack stretched out, his free arm now draped across the back of the couch. Daniel suddenly had the feeling that they were on a date. He swallowed hard and purposely told himself not to move. He wasn't sitting at the opposite end of the couch; he sat just to the left of middle, with enough space between them for another person to sit down----and feel squashed----but not close enough to be invasive. Or too invasive.
The more Daniel thought about it, the more he realized that he'd sat where he was without thinking, and wondered if this was where he always sat. Should he ask about it? No. Crossing an ankle over a knee, Daniel scooted down a little, getting comfortable in the cushions, and sipped at his lemonade. He really was enjoying himself, despite the frustrating amnesia and the déjà vu feelings of familiarity. Being here, with Jack, felt odd, yet right somehow. Jack was his opposite but they both shared the same dry humor, and while Jack pretended to be annoyed with him sometimes, Daniel would find him just barely smiling about something he'd said. It felt, again, so damned normal.
When the movie finally started five minutes later, showing some sort of neo-classic arty version of hieroglyphs, Daniel suddenly remembered the film. The Mummy. The one with Brendan Fraser.
"You can't be serious," he said.
"You remember it then?" Jack asked, giving him that expectant look.
"I remember the movie. Not all it, but I know what it is, yeah."
"Just remember that it's make-believe, Daniel," Jack said in a soothing—and teasing—tone. "Just go with it."
Dropping his head back on the back of the couch, Daniel viewed the screen through half-lidded eyes. "God."
"It's fantasy, Daniel. It doesn't have to be accurate to be fun."
“What can I say,” Daniel said in a very dry tone. “I’m anal.”
Jack almost spit out his mouth full of beer and ended up choking instead. Daniel chuckled, understanding the double entendre. At least Jack was amused. A few minutes later, he could also see why Jack liked the film. Action, romance, snark, guns. What wasn't to like? If one ignored the blatant playing fast and loose with Egyptian facts, that is. Daniel knew he was a nitpicky academic so he pointedly refrained from criticism and enjoyed the film. It saved him from Jack's needling and teasing.
Twenty minutes passed and the pizza showed up. After getting some ice for his lemonade, he and Jack dug into the pizza, and watched the movie. When Jack started to nitpick, it was Daniel’s turn to choke on his beverage.
"Wait," Jack said, sitting up a little, though his feet were still propped. He pointed the remote, rewound a section, then hit 'pause'. "That's not right."
"What?" Daniel asked, puzzled. The scene had a few people using guns. Nothing out of the ordinary.
"Those rifles didn't exist during the time period of this movie."
Daniel burst out laughing, sitting forward to set his bottle down next to the half-empty box of pizza.
"What? I'm serious! That is just so wrong." Daniel only laughed more and Jack was grinning back, despite the annoyed sound of his words. "Well, it is."
"As you so eloquently put it, Jack, it's fantasy," Daniel said, still laughing as he sat back. "Go with it."
Jack crossed his arms over his chest and grumbled, but there was a smile around his eyes when Daniel looked at him, so Daniel knew that Jack wasn't serious. He was simply trying to make him laugh. The knowledge made Daniel feel warm. Everywhere.
At the end of the movie, Jack got up and placed another movie in the DVD player.
"What now?" Daniel asked as Jack went to get another beer.
Daniel snorted as he crossed his ankles and closed his eyes. "Figures," he said drolly, but he didn't mind. At all.
When Jack came back and sat down, propping his feet up once more, he looked at Daniel, then suddenly slapped his thigh. For a brief second, Daniel felt something familiar … and then it was gone. Shit.
"Take off your boots and stay awhile."
"I didn't want to presume," Daniel said; it was true. He may have been here many times before, but he didn't remember that yet and didn’t want to presume.
"Seriously, Jack. I didn’t want to presume since I don't remember what I used to do."
Jack thought that over and nodded. "Okay, fair enough. Now get the boots off and put your feet up."
Daniel grinned and obeyed. "Just don't get any ideas about my socks."
Jack didn't say a word but that grin said something and for the next five minutes, Daniel tried to figure out what it meant without the end result sounding dirty as hell. In the end, he gave up and didn’t care that he did. He was enjoying that look on Jack's face too much.
They finished the pizza during the first half of the movie, with Daniel groaning periodically over inaccuracies of history and Jack doing the same over weapons and stunts. Jack also repeated a sniffy comment on how Daniel remembered Egyptian history but not him.
And all the while, Jack was laughing.
Daniel found it familiar yet odd. Jack rarely laughed. Apparently, the same had been true of himself, but Daniel hadn't known that until he'd laughed outright at a few jokes over the last few weeks. And whenever Jack had been around, instead of laughing too, he'd be grinning ... and watching Daniel laugh instead. The only times Daniel had seen Jack laugh outright were at something unbelievable; something funny 'weird,' not funny 'amusing.'
"What?" Jack asked, when he caught Daniel staring.
"You're staring. What?"
"Oh, right," Daniel replied, embarrassed and rubbing absently at the top of his thigh, as if there was a crease in the jeans—there wasn't. "It wasn't anything bad," he explained. "You were laughing. It was nice to see."
Jack gave him a slow, close-lipped smile. "Backatcha. It's a nice thing to see." He took a sip from his third beer and returned his attention to the film, his left arm once more outstretched over the top of the couch.
As Daniel watched the film, he became aware of the musky scent coming from under Jack's arm. He inhaled slowly, taking it in. Feelings came up within him; they had nothing to do with new desire, but old. Familiar. All that really told him was that he'd been attracted to Jack before, that this attraction was nothing new. He couldn't help but wonder if Jack knew. The man certainly wasn't clueless, but how careful had Daniel been about his feelings?
Before he knew it, his thoughts were brought back to the here and now as the film ended. He got up and went to the bathroom while Jack tossed the empty pizza box, and it didn’t hit him till he was in the bathroom that he had known exactly where to go. He thought more and more about the things he did automatically, by body memory. His conscious mind may be temporarily blocked but there was nothing wrong with his subconscious. Maybe he need to meditate with Teal’c to find out how to unblock his consciousness.
When he returned, Jack handed him a fresh bottle before they sat back down.
As Jack went to his DVD collection, Daniel said, "You know, I didn't even ask where your bathroom was. I just found it without thinking about it." Jack looked over his shoulder and that charming grin was there, making Daniel feel warm again. He liked the way Jack's cheek wrinkled when he smiled.
"I noticed that."
"I've been thinking that if I don't force it or actively think about it, my memories will come back to me a lot quicker."
"Is it working?"
"Well," Daniel said with a small grimace. "Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I know what some things are, who some people are, but memories of events aren’t there yet. I need hints and scenery, which is why I keep asking you guys to tell me things and to stop playing your aggravating guessing games."
Jack only nodded, absently glancing at the stacks of DVDs for yet another torture film.
"So what'll it be now, Jack? Academic torture or are you plotting something new?"
Jack only grinned at him as he pressed the remote and sat down, propping his feet up once again. "Maybe your tastes have changed."
"Not that much apparently," Daniel responded, taking a drink from his glass. As he put his feet up next to Jack's, he laughed softly and tapped Jack's left foot with his right. "Your feet are bigger than mine."
Jack grinned and said, "Well, you know what they say about big feet."
Daniel coughed, though he wasn’t embarrassed. Given his sexual attraction, Jack had just surprised him. He glanced at Jack, then looked longer when he saw the expression on the man's face----it said said regret. Why? Daniel looked away so he wouldn't embarrass him, but he couldn't understand why that joke would bother Jack. It was just a sex joke, no big ...
What had happened a few times to Daniel since returning from the Ancients' planet, happened again. Without warning, Daniel found himself lost in the replay of a memory. Before, they had been ordinary memories. This one was far from ordinary. He stared at the empty area of carpet before Jack's entertainment center, and in the memory, he and Jack were wrestling in that spot, fighting over a beer bottle.
Laughter permeated the memory. They’d been laughing. Somehow, it was incongruous against the backdrop of amnesia. And suddenly, the memory was almost blinding. Feelings and sense memory flooded him with an intensity that overrode everything …
Jack had been threatening to dump the beer on his head if Daniel didn’t stop reciting an anthropological examination of a childhood fable. Jack had ended up on his back, even though he had control of the bottle, and Daniel had jerked at his hands, hard.
Beer had splashed onto Jack's face and Daniel had dropped his weight on top of him, pushing the bottle aside—a bottle they both still had a hold of—and he’d said, "You look good wet." It had been such a bold come-on, yet Jack had gawked at him for all of ten seconds before he'd yanked Daniel down into a deep, spine-melting kiss.
Hands had been everywhere afterword and there came the keen sense memory of Jack’s hand on his cock, stroking him, fingers searching over his ass cheeks followed by Jack’s tongue probing his back door. The memory was visceral and sweet and heady with lust. It had also been their first time. It hadn't been a one-off, either. It had been serious. Their relationship had been serious. Daniel didn't need to remember anything else to know that.
“Holy shit,” Daniel murmured. His eyes grew wide for a second, then returned to normal but dark with the lust memory; he was hard as hell, too. He turned to gaze upon Jack’s puzzled face.
"What?" Jack asked.
"I remember," he said.
"Remember what?" Jack asked, looking cautious.
"Something really important," Daniel said softly. "Why the hell didn't you tell me?"
"What?" Jack repeated, eyes widening.
"All this time, I thought it was just me."
Jack's eyes widened even more. "About what?" he asked. There seemed to be a plucked guitar string’s worth of tension in him, as if he’d spring at any moment.
Daniel wanted that so badly, and he spread his lips into a wide smile and slapped Jack's arm. "You asshole. We had a thing. Why couldn't you tell me? That’s not something a person changes their mind about, Jack."
Jack stared back at him, unblinking and frozen, and Daniel suddenly thought, What if he’s in a new relationship? What if he moved on? A lump of something hard fill his chest and made his stomach flutter.
"Um, what ... do you mean by thing?"
"A thing, you know," Daniel replied, looking just off Jack's shoulder for a moment, replaying the memory in flashes. He looked back into Jack's eyes and was now acutely aware how hard his heart was pounding.
"You're remembering ... what kind of thing?" Jack asked.
"A thing thing, Jack."
"A thing thing?"
"We were lovers, Jack."
“Were we?” Jack said, though he suddenly and simply relaxed. It seemed to be out of relief. Without hesitation, Daniel seized the moment before it could change to something awkward. He knew Jack, even without the memories. After having observed him for a while, he knew that any hesitation on his part could make Jack retreat and that was unacceptable. Jack needed reassurance and for the first time in the weeks he'd been back at the SGC, Daniel put himself in Jack's place. How would he have acted?
Answer: Just as Jack had. Jack had to be sure because …
Daniel wasn't the same, not even with the burgeoning memories returning. Daniel knew he was different, judging by returning memories—bits of them anyway. He was more assured and self-confident. Assertive. While he’d been like that before, he’d been quieter about it. Not now.
Daniel folded a leg under him as he reached out with both hands and cupped Jack's ears, his thumbs framing his face. "We were," he said, pulling Jack in.
"Are you su—“ Jack began, with gentle sarcasm, but Daniel didn't let him finish. He brought their lips together and the first few seconds were firm, no--nonsense, reclaiming. It was only a few seconds before it turned hotter, hungrier. Passionate. There was no need to test the waters to see if it was real. He knew it was, and so did Jack when he sought Daniel's tongue for a deeper caressing kiss.
Jack moved his hands over his ribs, his waist, his back, and Daniel’s love and lust intensified. Oddly, he suddenly started to laugh through the kiss, which made Jack kiss him harder, but he couldn't stop the breathy noises through his nose, feeling relief at finally identifying what he'd felt between them: He was astonished that Jack had held back as long as he had without once giving anything away ... except for that look in the mess hall.
When Jack’s caresses turned fervent and he pushed his body against Daniel's, easing him onto his back, Daniel stopped laughing. He molded and caressed the muscles of Jack's back, sliding one hand between them to touch his chest, to feel the outline of muscle, the hard nubs of nipples under cotton.
Daniel lost all higher brain function when two things happened after that. The first was Jack moaning. The sound was deep and reverberating and Daniel felt it zero straight into his cock when Jack made the sound again—and in his ear.
The second thing was Jack moving his body slightly to the left, slipping his hand between them, and the moment he palmed the outline of Daniel's cock, his mouth latched onto the pulse point of Daniel’s throat … and bit down. There was no way Daniel could stop the gasp of excitement and the loud, needy moan that accompanied it. When Jack rubbed with his fingers, Daniel thrust against his hand and tightened his arms around him.
"Jack," he whispered. The way he said his name held all the giddiness of reunion and the reaffirmation of love.
"I missed you," Jack said, and that was the last coherent thing Daniel heard for the next five minutes.
Concentration now involved getting shirts off and jeans down. Jack wrapped his fingers around his cock, and he took Jack's in his own hand. Lying on their sides, they worked each other with frenzied need, kissing and biting, letting loose expressive grunts.
At the end, Daniel was amazed at how they mirrored each other, choking off groans with breathy gasps as they came in each other's hands. He was first, hips thrusting frantically as Jack pumped him hard and fast. Daniel tried to pay attention to what he was doing, but his orgasm took over and his hand went lax for a moment. Coming back to himself, he was glad to note that his hand was still around Jack's shaft; he went back to work, kissing him hard as he brought his lover to orgasm.
His lover. Sounded so damned funny to call Jack that, but boyfriend didn’t really appreciate the nuances of their union. Daniel smiled as Jack nuzzled his neck, breathing slowing down. “That was damned nice, but we can do better.”
Jack pulled back and stared at him. "You remember everything?"
Daniel shook his head. "Not everything. But as I said before, I remember enough."
Jack grinned at him, then pushed off with a groan and got to his feet, pulling Daniel up beside him. "Shower?"
"Sounds good," Daniel said, staring at the come on his fingers, then looking up into Jack's eyes, he purposely stuck a finger in his mouth and sucked. Jack grabbed it and pulled it away, and Daniel was going to protest, except Jack replaced the finger with his tongue. A kiss followed and afterward, Daniel felt warm and sweaty all over again.
As they shucked off their clothes and went down the hallway, Daniel asked, “Don't you want to shut off the movie?"
"Not really thinking about that just now," Jack replied as he turned on the shower. "It'll shut off by itself, anyway. All I'm interested in," he went on, giving Daniel a deliberately intense look, "is you."
Daniel had thought he'd seen that look before, in the briefing room. But no, he only thought he had. Jack had a couple of 'intense' expressions, where his eyes darkened and became dangerous, and Daniel had thought that they were reserved for his enemy. Till that moment. It sent a charge through his body that was unstoppable.
He kept that gaze as he stepped into the shower and wallowed under Jack's soapy hands as he washed his skin. There was a warmth deep inside that had nothing whatsoever to do with the hot water and everything to do with a re-ignition of his bodily function. His cock stirred with intense interest and all he wanted right then was to taste. He acted on that want, kissing Jack's mouth, and as the soap rinsed off, he followed it down his jaw, his throat, his chest.
"Damn," Jack breathed as Daniel latched onto a nipple while his hands took handfuls of his ass. "You did this before and now you're doing it again."
"Did what?" Daniel asked around the other nub.
"Making me hard. I'm supposed to be too old to get an erection so soon after an orgasm.”
"Really?" Daniel asked, partly out of absentmindedness. He was too busy making a new memory as he slowly but surely sank to his knees. Jack groaned and threaded his fingers through Daniel's hair, his eyes locked on Daniel's face.
"You're going to kill me."
Daniel smiled as he tongued the line of hair under Jack's navel. "I have no plans to kill you. Not this way anyway. I can manage several ... smaller deaths."
Jack snorted softly, blinking slowly. "Nice one."
Daniel gave Jack as seductive a look as he could manage. "I'm not kidding," he said, then took the head of Jack's cock in his mouth.
The taste and heavy weight of it suddenly furnished him with several memory images, disjointed and out of focus. But they were there. Elation and lust forced Daniel to take more of Jack in his mouth, sucking as he moved back and forth, encouraged as Jack's cock hardened considerably.
"Up," Jack said, pulling him off, kissing him once Daniel was on his feet. "We finish this in bed."
"Yes," Daniel whispered, uninterested in saying anything else.
Drying quickly after they rinsed, they made their way to the bedroom. Jack reached the bed first and lying on his back, he pulled Daniel over him. "I want to do everything, Daniel, but right now, I need you inside me."
It was all Daniel could do at that point not to spread Jack's legs open and do exactly as he wanted. But he needed this to go slow, and Jack very likely needed it too. Now was not exactly the time to stop and ask, "When's the last time you were fucked, Jack?" Daniel knew the answer: one year.
He touched and kissed, licking around the soft hairs of Jack’s chest, testing how hard he could bite as he took a nipple between his teeth and worried it slightly. Jack's reaction was to growl and encourage, and while Daniel busied himself, Jack suddenly pressed a bottle of lube in his hands.
Daniel coated his fingers and gently entered the tight hole. Aroused, Jack still stiffened his body in reaction, even though he drew his knees up. Daniel soothed him with kisses over his belly, around the straining shaft of his cock, until he felt Jack relax around his finger.
When he found Jack's prostate and rubbed, it literally surprised the hell out of Daniel when Jack bucked, ass muscles tightening around his fingers, skin becoming slick with sweat.
"Shit," Jack said, jaws clenching, hands grasping for Daniel's body, urging him up. "Now."
"I'm nowhere near done," Daniel protested, even as he laid over him, knees spread, cock slick with lube.
"For now, yes, you are," Jack told him, and took hold of the backs of his knees and opened.
Daniel kissed him hard as his hand blindly lined up his cock. He pushed, then pushed again, and again, and each time Jack bore down until Daniel was almost completely inside him. Gasping as he broke the kiss, Daniel nuzzled his face, cheek to cheek, and whispered, "Jesus."
"Goddamn, I really missed you," Jack whispered back, then clamped his hands on Daniel's hips and started up the motions.
"Jack," Daniel hissed, the friction too good. He wouldn’t last at this rate. “Slow down.”
"Now," Jack replied softly, biting at his throat. "Fuck me."
"Oh shit," Daniel whispered, beginning to thrust. It was too good and yet there was nothing in the world that would make him stop. Jack was hot and tight and felt so ... his. All Daniel could do was breathe and thrust, breathe and thrust. He wasn't even aware that his eyes were half-lidded as he dropped his head down. The pleasure was acute and too fucking good to last as he moved in the rhythm Jack set. "You feel so goddamn good."
"You look ... " Jack started to say, but stopped.
“What?” Daniel asked, keeping up their rhythmic dance, gripping the sheets, feeling the sweat build up between them.
"Nothing. You'll have me committed if I say it."
Daniel grinned at him, though his face winced repeatly with the hard edge of lust. "Say it."
Jack hesitated, staring up at him, and as Daniel stared into his flushed and sweaty face, all he could think of was, "Beautiful."
"What?" Jack asked, surprised.
"The way you look. It's the only word that fits."
Jack laughed a little. "That's exactly what I was thinking about you."
"What?" Daniel asked, his turn to be surprised.
"Hot, shiny with sweat, lips puffy, cheeks and neck flushed, eyes dark, unable to stay open for long," and Jack suddenly grabbed him and pulled him down for a hot, rough kiss. When he let him go, his voice was ragged and harsh. "Fuck me hard," he said and kissed Daniel again, the force mirroring what he wanted.
Curving one hand around Jack's neck and anchoring the other to the bed sheets, Daniel spread his knees and checked his strength as he slammed his hips against his lover's ass and plunged his cock deep inside. He did it again and again, establishing a new rhythm. It was amazing to feel his balls slapping against him, to see Jack's cock ruddy and thick, sliding through Jack's hand as he stroked himself.
Unfortunately, the result had his balls drawing up, that wonderful heat rising quickly. "Oh fuck. Jack?”
"Faster," Jack hissed, pulling Daniel’s hips with his altered rhythm. "Faster, Daniel. Faster."
Grabbing Daniel by his hair with one hand while the other pumped his cock with furious need, Jack locked his gaze on Daniel's and Daniel couldn't, wouldn’t, look away. He stared into those enigmatic, seductive eyes and did exactly what Jack wanted. It felt so good and he didn't want it to end, but Jack had other plans, especially when he shouted, "Come for me. Now, Daniel. Come—for—oh fuck—“
He was beautiful, Daniel thought. Jack tossed his head back, a choked sound escaping him as he came. The look of it was all Daniel needed and he followed hard, wildly pumping over Jack's belly as he emptied his balls into him. He kept thrusting until there was nothing left from either of them, and then he slowed down, his body undulating with a slow, barely moving rhythm that had more to do with comfort and soothing than anything else.
When Daniel gently rolled off, Jack surprised him once again when he wrapped his arms around him and kept him close, nuzzling the crook of his neck. Jack then kissed him, softly, the cooling sweat sticking their lips together. Licking them, Daniel looked around, then grinned.
"Forgot some water," he said, but Jack grinned.
"In the drawer."
Groaning and leaning over him, Daniel opened the bedside table and found a bottle of water. "Boy scout," he half-accused, but was grateful. Watching Jack drink, Daniel gave into the urge to lick his Adam's apple as it moved up and down, making Jack frown at him with amusement.
“You’re weird,” Jack said.
Daniel laughed softly and pulled away, dropping his head on the pillow. "Were we always like this?" he asked, and regretted it when Jack gave him a strange look. "Sorry."
"No, don't be. And the answer is not always. I prefer this. Before, you ... "
If Jack's expression was anything to go by, he had the awful feeling that he wasn't as loving after sex as he felt he should've been. "I wasn't all that snuggly after sex?”
Jack gave him a shrug and Daniel decided he didn't like it. He leaned his body in and snuggled.
"Things change." He pulled Jack tightly against him and tangled their legs together. "This time, for the better."
After breakfast, Daniel debated whether or not to broach the subject of Sam. He’d been wondering whether or not Jack had turned to her after he died, and there seemed to something backing that up when he’d talked to her. Should he ask? Was it even necessary? It could be, if it was unfinished business. Jack suddenly came up behind him as he stood at the sink washing up dishes, and wrapped his arms around him.
"Spit it out, Daniel."
Jack's voice was next to his ear and it sent a wave of desire down his spine. Daniel sighed with something like happiness and turned his head a little to kiss his cheek. "I don't know if I should bring this up."
"You changing your mind then?" Jack asked, body going stiff against him in all the wrong ways and Daniel quickly turned in his arms, finding a careful mask of non-emotion.
Daniel gave Jack the most loving look he could show. "No, Jack," he said carefully. "Never. Clear?"
Jack let out a breath. "Clear."
Daniel saw the look in his eyes, one that reflected his own. With a deep sigh, he said, "I don't want to ruin the morning but ... It’s about Sam."
The right side of Jack's face twitched in a fleeting grimace, the one he affected when the subject was something he'd just as soon avoid.
"Go ahead,” Jack sighed.
"Are you aware of her feelings?"
With a sigh, Jack nodded. "Yeah."
"Are they returned? I wouldn't be surprised, Jack. Or blame you. I was gone."
Jack sighed. "Not like that. I care about her. A lot, actually. But I never let my feelings go further, not while she’s under my command."
"I'm under your command."
"You’re different. I told her once that I'd always care, but that I didn't want to go further."
Daniel frowned this time, puzzled. "Did she and Teal'c know about us then?"
Jack nodded. "They had to, sooner or later. That'll come back to you."
Daniel absently nodded, thinking over the conversation with her.
"That's my question."
"Oh, right, sorry."
Jack waited. "Well?"
“I just want to know if anything happened."
"What?" Jack asked, his brows knotting. "Where’d you get that idea?"
Jack suddenly grinned at him as he squeezed Daniel's ass. "No reason for it.”
Daniel wiggled his ass at Jack, making him laugh and hold him tighter. The sound permeated his spine and he suddenly blurted out, “I love you.”
Jack gave him a very specific look and Daniel knew damn well it was a look he'd never tire of seeing. "What?" he asked needlessly.
Jack hugged him hard. “Ditto,” he said.
“Jack,” Daniel chided, turning in his arms. “Don’t say that. If you aren’t ready to say that, then don’t. I’m okay with it.”
Jack’s cheeks seemed to flush uncharacteristically. “You never said it before.”
Daniel sighed. “No. Neither did you. I did love you, you know. I just couldn’t say it.”
“Maybe we weren’t ready?” Jack just nodded, so Daniel said, “Maybe we are now.”
“Maybe,” Jack said, then cleared his throat. “Up for some kitchen sex?"
Daniel burst out laughing. “Is that gonna be the new way to avoid talking about something awkward?”
“Maybe,” Jack grinned crookedly. He leaned in and rested his forehead against Daniel’s as he cupped Daniel’s groin.
"Shouldn't we pace it?" Daniel teased, opening his jeans anyway.
"At the risk of drowning in clichés,” Jack said, “let’s just say I want to make up for lost time. Or how about no time like the present? Seize the day?"
Daniel laughed again and grabbed hold of Jack’s shoulders when he eased to his knees and took Daniel's briefs and jeans down with him. Daniel inhaled sharply. "How're your knees?"
Jack pulled back and eyed him carefully. "You'll give out before my knees do, Daniel. Now hand me the oil to your right."
Daniel followed the request, then earned himself a brand new memory as he found out with amazing clarity just how right Jack was.