It had been an odd night of insomnia. Daniel hadn't been working. He went to bed at a reasonable time for once – completely uncaffeinated – and totally failed to feel the slightest bit sleepy. So he gave up around two in the morning, and went outside to get some air. It was a warm night. The waning gibbous moon was high in the sky. The stars were glowing, despite some light pollution. After years of second and third watches, it shouldn't be a big deal to walk through the streets of Colorado Springs looking at the stars, but home is beautiful, too, and Daniel stepped in a few holes and bumped into a few car bumpers staring up at the midnight blue velvet of Earth's starry night sky.
Then he got a crick in his neck and so instead of staring up at home's stars, he decided he might as well run on the Earth for a while. Something he actually preferred to do only extra-terrestrially, but really needed to do here, if he wanted to keep winning in the run-for-the-Gate marathons and the make-it-to-the-DHD-first sprints. He ran at an easy jog, stopping at an all night convenience store for a couple of bottles of water after about fifteen minutes. Then he just ran.
Definitely an odd night, because running was weirdly almost the same as resting. Very meditative, until dawn started to grey the sky, and Daniel started to wake up, and at the end of his long, easy run, he decided to see how fast he could get to nowhere, and he raced the sun, running all out, as fast and as hard as he could.
He and the sun made it to the same hilltop at the same moment. The sun's disc kissed the horizon, and Daniel stopped to watch and catch his breath, then sweaty and suddenly exhausted, realizing he had been out for hours and hadn't slept in a day, he walked slowly down the hill, farther still from where he started, enjoying the rising breeze and the painted orange and red of the sun on the broken clouds scudding in. His weather sense said rain today, though he couldn't smell it in the summer humid air yet.
He came across the little park unexpectedly.
It was tiny, with no swings or slides, hardly more than a large open grassy space with a few benches. More of a scenic overlook than a park, really, but the view was wonderful, the sunrise over mountain peaks. He could forget how beautiful Earth was, sometimes, in the midst of the war. It was good to remember how important the fight was –what he was fighting for.
Daniel was amused to see a few local yogis out, saluting the sun. He remembered that from his days at UCLA. He'd done his share of yoga in his sordid youth, though the habits of early rising and careful eating it required meant that he was never found it that attractive and eventually he gave up on it. Not to mention the way yoga tended to attract the most annoying new age wackos, who mixed pyramids and astrology and the Kamasutras. He wondered if yoga in the 1990's still was wrapped up in that, even in the heart of Air Force country. Possibly it was worse here in the trend-following heartland, he thought, though he supposed he was probably being unfair to Colorado.
Anyway, as he sat slumped, collapsed on the park bench, his odd insomniac activities finally catching up to him, sipping the last of his water, wishing for coffee, it wasn't terrible to watch them - quiet, beautiful movement in the clear light of dawn.
The nearest man knealt on his mat in hero's pose, facing the dawn, with the setting moon, and coincidentally Daniel, behind him. His palms were open to the sky, in a mudra for wisdom and openness. Slowly he raised his arms to the side, lifting them over his head and interweaving his fingers, pressing his palms upwards, stretching his wrists and opening his shoulders.
He released his fingers and returned to the open-palmed mudra.
Then again, his raised his arms, interlacing his fingers again. Again he returned to simple hero's pose.
Daniel began to feel the flow of the vinyasa, as the man now rose on his knees, flexing his feet, and rotated his arms, first one, then the other, over and back, pressing his palms into his heels, lifting his chest, opening his heart to the sky, his head falling back.
Daniel startled as he suddenly recognized him.
When the hell did Jack O'Neill start doing yoga?
Not recently, Daniel realized, as Jack deepened the pose, his arms descended all the way, his head resting on the ground, chest rising and falling in long easy breaths, then he raised up again to kneeling, hands to namaste.
The image was so out of place, Daniel was stuck there on the bench, staring. He realized his mouth had fallen open. He shut it.
Jack lifted his torso on his arms and shifted his feet into a cross-legged position in front of him, then reclined back in to boat. He held the posture for a long pause, then folded up onto himself, balancing on his hips and pulling his knees in to his chest, before unfolding again and lowering himself all the way to the ground.
He continued his back bending, placing his hands by his head and his feet by his sitz bones. He pressed up strongly into a full wheel, rising up onto his toes, then planting his feet fully as he walked his hands in.
He gently lowered himself to the ground and rested quietly, knees bent and resting against each other, one hand on his belly and one on his heart.
As he lay there, a woman walked up to him. She said something quiet that Daniel couldn't hear, dropping a day pack onto the ground and placing a paper cup of coffee next to it, then sitting next to Jack, easy in half-lotus, hands coming to rest on her knees. Jack sat up and bent forward deeply over straight, extended legs, relaxing forward by degrees until his hands were clasped together around the soles of his feet. If she was meditating, she was cheating. Daniel saw her smile as she watched Jack through slitted eyes.
Jack sat up again and folded his knees in, also sitting easy in half lotus, hands again assuming the open-palmed mudra, rather than the Jnana Mudra adopted by the woman.
Jack folded his hands in Namaste and bowed to her in the classic greeting.
"So, IHOP?" he asked.
The woman smiled and rolled her eyes.
"Perhaps you should ask him," she said, nodding to Daniel.
Jack turned. The surprise on his face was almost comical. Probably a near mirror image of Daniel's earlier expression.
"Hello, Daniel," he drawled, recovering quickly.
"Daniel?!" the woman said, jumping to her feet and walking over. "Well, well. I never thought I would have the pleasure!" she said, extending her hand.
"Neither did I," Jack agreed, getting up to follow her. "What brings you here, Daniel?" As he sauntered over, he stripped off the sweat-drenched sun-yellow tank he had been wearing, replacing it with a plain blue t-shirt. He dropped an arm around the woman's shoulders as Daniel took her hand.
"Uh. I was running, believe it or not."
"Daniel," Jack said, drawing the syllables out, pausing meaningfully. "You are about, oh, ten klicks from your house."
"Well, I started…" Daniel began, then realized he had left without putting on his watch. He half stood and tilted his head so he could see Jack's, "…about four hours ago."
"Well," the woman said, slipping out from under Jack's arm and going back for her bag as Jack gave Daniel a suspicious, slightly squinty glare, "then you clearly need this more than he does."
She grinned at Jack as she handed Daniel the hot paper cup of – mmmmm he could smell it, really, really good Kona, black, just the way Jack liked it.
Daniel took the first sip without the slightest twinge of guilt or regret. He grinned at Jack, too.
"Okay," Jack grumbled. "Now we're really going to IHOP."
"I brought breakfast, too," the woman continued, speaking to Daniel, not Jack. "I will concede to Jack's atrocious eating habits on certain points, such as coffee, but I refuse to go to that disgusting diner and watch him bloat himself with animal products."
She went over and sat down on Jack's mat. She dumped a bunch of sealed containers out onto the ground. Daniel followed Jack over, and sat down next to her while Jack towered over them, then dropped to the ground next to her with a sigh.
"No IHOP, then?" he said wistfully.
"Oh, you love it when I feed you," she said, shoving him in the shoulder. "But you have to share today. Daniel gets yours."
"Here," she said, passing a bowl to Daniel. "Homemade soy yogurt, toasted almond cereal, and strawberries. With another concession to Jack. White sugar on them."
"Jack," Daniel whispered, sotto voce, "I think you're dating Dharma."
"Nah. Her name's Sunya," Jack said, taking the entire container of strawberries before Daniel could get any and starting to eat them with his fingers. When Sunya tried to take the bowl back, he just held it out of reach until she gave up and ate her yogurt and cereal without fruit. She didn't seem too put out about it, just lingered over a bite of her breakfast, sucking the spoon thoughtfully and watching Daniel eat.
Jack sat between them, eyes tracking first one, then the other, apprehensively waiting to see who would make the first conversational gambit.
"This is delicious," Daniel said, a little self-consciously. Because it really was. "I haven't had yogurt like this since… well, for years. I love it when it's fresh and warm, right out of the pot."
She smiled and nodded graciously.
"So," she said, stirring her yogurt absently while staring at him. "Who are you, Daniel?"
He looked over at Jack.
"Um. What has Jack told you about me?"
She smiled softly, as at a fond memory.
"You are a name he let slip once, and refused to ever discuss again," she said.
He looked back and forth between them. Jack with one eyebrow arched, otherwise giving nothing away. Sunya sucking her spoon again, looking expectant.
"I think I'm a guy who ran too far on no sleep and who is now completely out of his depth."
"Sounds like every day," Jack muttered. Sunya gave him a mildly disapproving look, then smiled at Daniel.
"I like that. You didn't reflexively identify yourself by your job."
"Daniel's a guy I work with," Jack filled in, clearly just to be contrary.
"Ah. Deep space radio telemetry," Sunya said with a knowing nod. "Where you hide under Cheyenne Mountain for weeks at a time and say you are away on work related assignments but yet never need a ride to or from the airport." Another disapproving look at Jack, this one slightly moreso.
"Sometimes we get caught up in the work," Daniel said lamely. He never had to make excuses to anyone about his absences, so he had never really thought up a good reason.
"You don't strike me as military," Sunya said.
"Civilian consultant," Jack said.
"Oh, really? And what do you consult about?" Sunya asked.
"I'm an archaeologist and a linguist," Daniel said.
"So since the past speaks to you, some people think the aliens will talk to you, too," Sunya said. She sounded pleased. Daniel couldn't help but smile back.
"Something like that," he said.
"If aliens are going to talk to anybody, it'll be Daniel," Jack agreed.
There was a long pause. Daniel felt awkward. Jack wasn't helping and Sunya seemed to have run out of questions. She had gone back to quietly watching, this time staring a Jack, who was just finishing off the strawberries.
Daniel figured it was probably his turn to ask some questions, but he was reluctant to pry, as Jack had never mentioned this woman to him. He was just going to ask something neutral and predictable, like maybe, what do you do? When Sunya gave him a blinding smile.
"Well, Daniel, I'm so pleased I had a chance to meet you. I have been eaten up with curiosity and jealousy for months, and it's good to finally know."
She leaned over and kissed a slightly surprised Jack. It began almost chastely, but the kiss deepened until they were plundering each other, Jack's hands tangled in her hair, her knuckles almost white where she was clinging to his shoulders.
Daniel looked away, bring to bear all his skills living in societies with no privacy and little thought for it. Except that he had been living alone for some time now, and they were making out right there.
Sunya broke off the kiss, delicately licking first Jack's lips, then her own.
"Too sweet," she murmured, "Goodbye, Jack."
Then she rose gracefully from where she had nearly crawled into Jack's lap and turned and walked away, down the path up to where the cars were parked, leaving Jack and Daniel both blinking after her in surprise.
Jack scrambled up and went after her, catching her at the edge of the little tree-circled clearing. Their conversation was brief, quiet and intense and then Sunya continued down the path, leaving Jack standing barefoot in the grass, looking more than a little peeved.
Daniel started cleaning up the picnic and had it all stowed away in Sunya's bag by the time Jack walked back over. He rolled up his mat in silence, and Daniel followed him to the truck with Sunya's bag over his shoulder. There was no sign of her in the parking lot.
"Sorry?" Daniel offered, as Jack backed out of the parking space.
"She adopted the name 'Sunya,'" Jack replied. "It was never going to end well."
Daniel nodded. Sunya meant 'zero' or 'nothing.' A woman who chose that name was on a path to unity with the vastness of the universe.
"I guess so. But I don't understand why it chose not to end well this morning over breakfast," he rambled before his sleep-deprived brain caught up with his mouth and he realized he might not have said the most tactful thing. "Sorry," he finished lamely. "How long were you guys dating?"
"About a year," Jack said. He sounded resigned. "Thai massage. Have you ever had Thai massage, Daniel? And she has the coolest, weird stuff in her kitchen."
Jack pulled into the parking lot of the International House of Pancakes.
"I don't know if I can stay conscious long enough for them to bring us food, Jack," Daniel said.
"You ate my breakfast and caused my very hot, very flexible, very creative girlfriend to dump me. You will suffer while I have my farmer's omelet. I'll even buy you one. The protein will bring your brain back online for a while longer."
Daniel grunted and unbuckled his seatbelt.
"How did you meet her, anyway?" Daniel asked him, staring blearily at the row of syrup bottles on their table and wondering not for the first time in his life when they were going to develop an intravenous delivery system for coffee. He was drinking it as fast as the temperature would allow.
"In the park," Jack replied. He was building a fort with Sweet-n-Low packets.
"In the park? Yoga pickup? Very mod, Jack. And not very you. At least, I wouldn't think so. And since when do you do yoga, anyway?" He echoed his earlier reaction, again with the sleep-deprived rambling. Usually Daniel did better than this.
"Since a physical therapist recommended it in the early '80's. I find I appreciate it more and more the older I get. Joints aren't what they used to be. Five klick sprints aren't either. Shut your mouth, Daniel, the flies will get in…"
Jack smirked at Daniel's gawping expression. Daniel snapped his mouth shut and glared at his friend. Jack grabbed the artificial sweetener from the next table and started roofing his fort.
"Well, I guess you wouldn't have done it because it was trendy," Daniel's tired brain supplied an image of a whole menacing Special Ops squad doing pilates in black body armor and smirked a little before he returned to being annoyed. "How, exactly, have I known you for five years and never realized this about you?" he demanded.
Jack shrugged and smiled at the waitress as she brought him his plate. She eyed his fort with disapproval, then smiled in response to Jack's mischievous grin.
"I'll put them away," Jack volunteered.
"You'd better," she said, "Or no more coffee for your friend, there."
She winked at Daniel as she left.
Daniel plowed into his own omelet and they were quiet for a while as they got down to some serious eating. Yes, Jack was right. The protein had an immediate impact, and the need to faceplant directly in to the eggs lost some of its urgency.
But the funny thing about sleep-deprivation was that sometimes the reduction in the usual mental filters and self-censorship lead to interesting moments of revelation. As he ate, he free-associated, their meeting with Sunya playing over in his head.
"Why was she jealous of me? She said you never said anything about me," Daniel wondered.
"She said…" Daniel began before Jack interrupted him.
"Daniel," he said warningly.
"Don't 'Daniel' me," Daniel replied back testily. "She said I was a name you 'let slip.' Just when, exactly, did my name slip out?"
Jack sat back, arms crossing over his chest.
"Not your business, Daniel."
And he was right. It wasn't Daniel's business.
Jack took him home, and Daniel collapsed in his bed and dreamed about Jack O'Neill, gracefully saluting the sun, with the moon at his back.
Jack sauntered into the conference room. He took the empty seat by Teal'c, instead of the one by Daniel. He opened the brief and began reading Sam's background materials.
"Hey, Jack," he prompted meaningfully.
"Good morning, Daniel," Jack drawled, and continued reading the file.
Teal'c turned his calm, serious gaze on Daniel and raised one eyebrow.
Because clearly Jack wasn't talking to him.
Daniel didn't get that at all. They were fine at breakfast on Saturday morning. He didn't get why Jack would be mad at him.
Then Sam walked in and General Hammond appeared from his office precisely at 0900 and if everyone noticed Jack being excessively professional and attentive during a brief about weather patterns and mining potential on P3-whatever, Jack got away from the room too fast for anybody to ask him about it.
There were whispered rumors in the mess at lunch that the Colonel had spent the morning burying his aide, Lieutenant Miller, under an avalanche of paperwork.
Daniel was very confused.
- To get rid of your passions is not Nirvana; to look upon them as no matter of yours, that is nirvana.
The naquadah scouting mission wasn't scheduled until the following Monday. It was almost like a vacation, living like a normal person for a whole week – a person who could go home, cook dinner, and sleep in his own bed, without being on down time for an injury.
On Friday, Daniel decided to go by Sammy's Organics on the way home, pick up a few more interesting things to cook for dinner over the weekend than frozen pot pies. It was a relief in a way to be spending a normal weekend away from work and work colleagues. On the other hand, it was a little disconcerting. Nobody had even asked what he was going to do for the weekend. Sam was working with Dr. Lee on that gadget from P3W-451. Teal'c had something with some new Marines and Daniel was pretty sure one of the guys must have already pissed Teal'c off. The Jaffa had a decidedly wicked gleam in his eye when Daniel asked him if he was going to be okay for the weekend. Jack had been in meetings all day, but was already gone when Daniel stopped by his office on the way out.
A whole week of Jack shunning him. He couldn't remember the last time Jack held a grudge against him for a whole week. It was hard not to feel guilty. Sunya must have meant a lot more to Jack than he had let on.
He blinked a few times when he realized he was in line behind her.
"Sunya?" he asked.
She looked up from the latest issue of Utne Reader and smiled at him, though it seemed to him the smile didn't go all the way to her eyes.
"Hello, Daniel," she replied, "How are you?"
"Fine! Uh. Surprised to see you? Can we talk?" he blurted.
"Well, that's charmingly direct," she said with a low, possibly forced, laugh. "Of course. I was planning to stop for coffee." She grimaced and made what-can-you-do hand gesture. "Jack was a bad influence."
"Ya think?" Daniel was pleased when she laughed, and the smile seemed real, this time.
She bought her Utne Reader and quorn fillets, and Daniel bought his broccoli rabe and organic spicy Italian sausage.
By the time he caught her in the café, she had two mugs for them, and a pastry for Daniel.
"Thanks, but you should have let me," he protested.
"What can I tell you, Daniel?" she asked. Though she looked relaxed, she was sitting back in her chair, arms crossed loosely, coffee untouched.
Calm, but not open, Daniel decided.
"Jack's unhappy about what happened Saturday," he began. "Saturday morning, he was weirdly resigned about it, but on Monday he was… upset."
"I notice you don't mention Sunday," she said.
"I didn't see him again until Monday morning," he replied, trying not to sound defensive. "Look, I couldn't help but notice the coincidence of your meeting me and breaking it off with Jack. Not to mention that he's not talking to me right now. Is there any chance you could fill in some blanks?"
"No," she said simply.
"That's it? No?" he said mildly. "Did Jack mention to you that I am… No is not the answer I was looking for."
"What are you looking for, Daniel?" she asked quietly, holding his eyes with hers. "What were you looking for in the park?"
"Nothing," Daniel replied, trying to match her calm, matter-of-fact tone. "I was practically sleep-walking by the time I got there. It was chance."
"And yet," she murmured, taking a sip of her coffee.
"Look," he said, working even harder not to become exasperated, "I don't understand what I did. But whatever it was, it doesn't seem fair for you to hold it against him."
She sipped her coffee, one finger tracing circles on the table top. She seemed to be deep in thought, so Daniel watched the circles and waited.
"I don't feel comfortable talking about Jack when he's not here," she finally said.
Daniel frowned. He could hardly argue with that logic.
But she continued, "I don't mind talking about you, though." She held his eyes with a piercing stare.
"You should really consider what you want. I liked Jack. I enjoyed Jack's company. But I met you and I knew I wasn't in love with Jack, and I certainly am not going to stand between someone and their true love."
Daniel stared at her a bit stupidly. As he opened his mouth to protest, she waved him off.
"It was written all over you face that morning, whether you realize it or not. So. If you want to learning anything more, you'll have to talk to Jack."
She went back to sipping her coffee.
"He's good in bed, you know," she mused. "Creative. Considerate. Flexible."
Daniel felt his cheeks flushing.
"I thought you weren't going to talk about Jack," he commented wryly.
She smiled. "Sorry. I suppose it's the coffee going to my head. I have no tolerance for the stuff anymore."
She rose to her feet, setting her mug onto the table with a gentle finality.
"It's been lovely meeting you again, Daniel, but I really have to go." She reached out and rested her hand on his shoulder a moment, before pulling it back and pressing her hands together with a small bow. "Namaste," she said. Then she turned on her heel and walked away.
Work all night, sleep all day, the Daniel Jackson way.
He woke up in the mid-afternoon on Saturday to a revelation.
He lay in his bed and stared at the ceiling for a long time, enjoying the lazy feeling of just lying there, doing nothing, playing with an idea that he hadn't considered in a very long time.
Then he got up and booted his laptop and pulled up Amazon. He searched yoga DVDs and made a note of a couple of well-reviewed ones. Then he hopped in his car and drove the five minutes to Borders to pick them up, along with a ridiculously expensive mat.
He didn't own any clothes clingy enough anymore and there was nothing more annoying than your shirt flopping around while you were trying to do down dog. So he stood on his mat in just some running shorts and clicked play on his remote.
Standing forward bends were almost embarrassing, illustrating exactly how not-flexible he was in the hamstrings these days. But there was no one in the room to judge him, so he did the bent-knees variation several times until the vinyasa began to loosen him up and he could start to approximate the pose, though he couldn't reach behind his heels, or even get his palms flat on the floor, both of which he imagined Jack probably did with ease. He let himself smile at the thought that Jack was more flexible than he was. Which of course was true in some ways. Jack liked to play into the idea that he was a stubborn bastard for the same reasons he liked to pretend to be not-that-bright. The vinyasa flowed and as Daniel lifted into upward facing dog he reflected that his contemplations during the movement meditation should probably be less outwardly focused.
He enjoyed the differences he felt in his own body now, from the remembered abilities of his earlier yoga experience. He was less naturally flexible now, but he was also stronger in both his upper body and his legs. Chaturanga was a simple modification of the hundred pushups he did every day. He easily moved through the warrior sequence, maybe not sinking as deeply into the lunge of Virabhadrasana I, but shifting effortlessly and gracefully to Virabhadrasana II, and feeling the full, fierce intensity of the posture. His back-bending wasn't as graceful as Jack's as he reached back for Reverse Warrior, but the flow back though Warrior II and then the drop into extended side angle pose felt strong and elegant. He could appreciate the beauty and line of the pose in a way he had not before, more comfortable in his own physicality now than he ever had been back then. He dropped down into chaturanga and continued the flow with a joy and enthusiasm that he had not expected to feel when he thought he wanted to try this again.
Or maybe it was the other thing, his waking revelation, that was making him want to smile through the stretchy ache of his hamstrings and hips and groin. And he shouldn’t get ahead of himself. He smiled, but turned his attention back to his breath, returning his focus to ujjayi, the vinyasa and the postures.
Just because he wasn't a sunrise yoga kind of guy didn't mean he might not be able to appreciate some 3 pm yoga he thought, as he lay on his living room floor in the final posture, Savasana. He wondered if anyone had introduced Teal'c to yoga, or if there was a Jaffa version of it. Teal'c's katas with his staff weapon had a certain meditative flow. Daniel tried to clear his mind of clutter, focusing on the relaxation of his neck and forearms. Some things hadn't changed, and his inability to really unwind in the relaxation pose seemed to be one of them. Although, he supposed he should be more focused and thinking of nothing now instead of thinking about breakfast… lunch… whatever.
He rinsed off the sweat of the practice session in a hot shower. With a clear mind he decided that he didn't need to go see Jack today. Somehow, ever since waking up, just knowing had been enough.
- The master replies: That the mirror reflects a thing means that it always mirrors regardless of whether it is facing or not facing a thing.
When Daniel rang the bell and no one answered, he walked around the back of the house. He didn't even pretend to himself that he wasn't hoping to find Jack on his east-facing back deck doing some sunrise yoga. In fact, he was so certain that Jack would be there that he hadn't even worried that the doorbell would wake him.
Jack was facing the sunrise – well, he would be if he were standing up. At that very moment he was in downward facing dog. As Daniel came around the corner of the house, Jack raised his left leg upward toward the sky, then began the vinyasa on one leg: first Plank, then Chaturanga, pushing forward into Upward Facing Dog, then returning to Down Dog, all while holding his left leg off the ground. He made it look easy, the weight on his arms bringing out the definition in his biceps and delts. His clinging orange tank was dark with sweat.
Daniel could hear the steady husky rhythm of Jack's breathing.
He stepped his right foot forward into a lunge that evolved into Warrior I. The arch of the backbend was beautiful, perfect from the heel of his back foot through his arms to his fingertips. Daniel was sure Jack must have seen him, but he continued his practice, shifting his weight onto his front leg, then shifting forward into Warrior III, then tipping forward further, letting his back leg float high into the air, bending his forehead to his ankle in a deep forward bend.
"Have you developed some kind of fetish or something, Daniel? It's not a spectator sport." Jack's voice, cross and breathless and upside down, startled Daniel so much that he jumped.
"It's not a sport," Daniel agreed. "It's art."
"Dammit, Daniel," Jack muttered and dropped back into a lunge. Then Jack was yanking his sliding door open and stalking back into the house.
Daniel sighed and followed him.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt."
"Daniel, it is fifteen minutes after 0600 on a fucking Saturday morning! Of course you meant to interrupt."
He was filling a glass of water from the tap. He took a few sips, then left the glass on the counter and took up cobbler's pose on the big rug in front of the fireplace, his back turned to Daniel.
"What do you want?" he asked, sounding less irritated and more resigned. He extended his legs to staff pose, then returned to cobbler's pose, intensifying the posture by pressing first one thigh, then the other. Then he took his toes in yogic toe lock and rounded his spine down over his feet, bringing his forehead almost to the floor.
Daniel's train of thought was derailed by this new exhibition of flexibility, and it didn't help when Jack shifted his leg position again, opening them and bending forward again, resting his forehead on his forearms.
"Daniel?" he prompted.
"Oh. Um…" Daniel paused to regroup. "Right. I've been thinking about what Sunya said and it's perfectly obvious you said my name in bed."
With the ujjayi breathing, Daniel couldn't tell for certain whether Jack sighed at the revelation.
"Daniel, if it's so obvious, why didn't we have this conversation at IHOP instead of during my 'me time,'" Jack asked conversationally.
Daniel chuckled self-deprecatingly.
"I think I've spent so long trying to sublimate the horrible crush I have on you that I was psychologically unable to come to the correct conclusion," Daniel said breezily, as if he weren't feeling a little faint, what with the way his heart was racing as he confessed to his four-year-old secret.
"But I was trying to think what would cause you to never mention me again after you said my name once. I mean, everybody I know has heard of you. We work together intensely, and you're one of my closest friends. Your name comes up. I figure it has to be the same for you. Yet here's this woman you spend a lot of time with and apparently my name did come up, but only once, which suggests it just slipped out and the rest of the time you were deliberately trying not to mention me. The only logical answer was that you accidentally called her by my name, and since the event obviously had a big impact on her, I figured you had to have called her 'Daniel' during sex."
Jack had resumed cobbler's pose, and then staff pose during this recitation. He tipped himself backwards into Boat, then slowly relaxed into a supine position.
"I don't talk about you, Daniel," he said. "I compartmentalize like I breathe. "
Daniel frowned and felt stupidly disappointed. Jack bent up his left knee and crossed his right ankle over it, pulling the bent knee into his chest and grasping his left shin.
"Fine," he answered, his hurt in his voice. "Tell me I'm wrong and you didn't call her my name in bed."
"I called her Daniel several times. Apparently I was 'chanting 'Daniel' like a mantra.' You're only wrong to think it means something." Jack released his legs to the floor and switched sides.
"So you compartmentalize like you breathe, but you call your lover by my name and I'm supposed to think it means nothing?"
"You are a midlife crisis I have no intention of having," Jack said calmly, releasing the stretch. His deep, raspy breathing continued in a regular, fluid flow. It made Daniel want to kick him.
Jack brought his feet together again, flat on the floor, knees bent, then let his legs fall open to the sides in reclined cobbler's pose. He lay a few moments with his eyes closed, then slowly and deliberately stretched his legs out. Savasana.
Daniel was quiet, respecting the peace Jack should be trying to absorb from the final posture, waiting for Jack to exit the restorative pose.
Jack finally rolled over to his right side and sat up, folding his legs into a half Lotus. He sat a long time, and Daniel sat with him, waiting.
Finally, he stood.
"I'm going for a shower," he said. He arched an eyebrow and waited expectantly. Daniel could recognize a hint that he should leave. He didn't take it. Jack swore softly.
"Fine, if you're staying, make coffee." He disappeared into the bedroom.
Daniel made coffee.
Jack emerged in a pair of soft, faded jeans and a plain grey t-shirt, washed soft and silky. The hip hugging, boot-legged yoga pants and orange tank top were gone. Jack looked like Jack again, except that he was moving around the kitchen assembling a bowl of plain yogurt and granola to go with his coffee. He finally sat down and flipped through the paper, crunching down on his first bite of cereal.
"I'm the midlife crisis you're not having," Daniel snorted.
Jack flicked his gaze up from the sports page.
"Fraiser's been after me about my diet," he said. "She says I need calcium from sources other than ice cream and pizza cheese. Help yourself," he offered.
Daniel kept his seat.
"Can you really relax in Savasana?" he asked.
"Not while you're sitting there plotting our great gay romance," Jack muttered.
"Oh, please," Daniel said. "We've been doing the verbal lambada for years. I just thought it was my imagination."
"It was, Daniel. Guys get crushes on their squad leaders all the time. I know it when I see it."
"Oh, you mean like the crush Sam has on you?" Daniel asked pointedly, though he instantly regretted it, even before Jack fixed him with a hard cold glare. This wasn't Sam's fault, after all.
"Yeah. Exactly like Carter. Honestly, probably Teal'c, too. You're a handful, I'll give you guys that."
"But you want to…" Daniel started.
"Want to what?" Jack cut him off with a sigh. He took another bite of his breakfast and shoved the paper to the side. "Are we really going to have a serious conversation about this?"
Daniel raised his eyebrows.
"I thought that was pretty obviously why I'm here."
"That's not true. This conversation is not going the way I expected."
"Ah. You thought you would reveal your leap of logic and we'd spend the rest of the day sixty-nining in the bedroom?"
Daniel felt his face flush even as his dick perked up at the mention of one of Daniel's favorite activities.
"Why not?" Daniel asked. "Four years of foreplay, Jack. I think it's time to move on to the next level."
Jack's bowl was empty. He leaned back in his chair.
He pointed at Daniel. "Not gay," he said.
He pointed at his own chest. "Also not gay."
Daniel opened his mouth to object. Jack raised a finger.
"Aht!" he said, cutting him off.
And Daniel realized that talking was never going to win this argument for him.
He slammed his coffee mug on the table. The last few sips splashed out of the cup over his fingers. He was on his feet, and Jack was too, responding instinctively to Daniel's anger and aggression. As he moved around the table, Jack turned to watch him. Daniel caught him by the shirt and kissed him before he could think the better of it or Jack could get away.
He expected Jack to pull or push.
Instead, he caved.
What would have been a hot, hard, angry kiss became a hot, slick, passionate kiss. His grip on Daniel's wrist was crushingly painful. When he finally did push Daniel away, his eyes were wide, dark and wild. His face was flushed. His lips were wet.
"This is a mistake," he croaked, even as his fingers were tangling in Daniel's hair, dragging him back into another kiss.
"Maybe," Daniel agreed, "But I don’t care."
Jack was shoving him now, walking him backwards. Not that Daniel was resisting. He stumbled over his own feet.
"Quit pushing me," he tried to object, but Jack swallowed the words muttering, "Pot. Kettle." After a moment of vertigo Daniel found himself flat on his back on the floor with Jack perched on his thighs.
"Nice trick," Daniel laughed, a little giddy, but not even slightly winded from the tumble.
The giddy faded as Jack stared down at him.
Jack swallowed hard.
"Bad idea," he said. "Really, really bad idea." His hands were adrift, hovering between them. "I promised myself I would never do this. Not with a guy. Not with a subordinate. Not because I'm almost…"
"It's not a midlife crisis, Jack," Daniel said preemptively, reaching up to capture those drifting hands. "It's not hero worship." He brought Jack's hands to rest on his chest.
"Still not gay," Jack pointed out weakly.
"We'll work on it," Daniel said, as reassuringly and persuasively as he could.
"I could probably get up for that," Jack replied, not at all suggestively. He shut his eyes in obvious embarrassment at Daniel's responding grin. "OK. I did not just say that."
"You did," Daniel said. "Kiss me again."
Jack leaned down, hands pressing in to Daniel's chest, eyes wide open, like he had to see it to believe it. Daniel couldn't take the searching intensity of that stare, and let his own eyes drift shut as Jack tentatively tried touching Daniel's lips again. The kiss was light and experimental. Daniel sighed into it, opening enough to invite, but Jack was already moving and exploring, grazing his mouth over Daniel's jaw. Daniel realized belatedly that Jack had shaved in the shower. His skin was soft against Daniel's face and ear and neck. Jack was all over him, pressing him into the floor now, gently nuzzling his neck, breathing him in.
"Why do you always smell so good?" Jack muttered.
Daniel laughed. Plus, the snuffling tickled. He squirmed away from the tickling reflexively.
"You're crushing me, get off!" Daniel demanded, only laughing more, which just caused Jack to relax his arms and thighs and lower more weight onto him. It felt fantastic, especially the way it pressed Daniel's growing hard-on against Jack's nicely filled-out crotch.
"Not done sniffing you yet," Jack said. He ground down against him. "I may not be gay, but you could have been leading me around by my cock from the beginning, if you'd been a little less oblivious."
"Does that mean now…" Daniel started to ask.
"No," Jack said, a little sharply, then his mouth was back on Daniel's and Daniel decided not to let his worry about Jack's mixed emotions get in the way of enjoying this, now.
"Lucky for you I am gay," Daniel said when Jack began exploring the other side of Daniel's neck. Their hips were working together now. It was a slow grind, not really going anywhere, but definitely developing the heat and intensity.
Jack slowly pushed up on his elbows again, looking down at Daniel with obvious skepticism.
"Well, bi, anyway," Daniel amended. Jack's eyebrows just went up.
"It's amazing what people won't say to FBI investigators," Daniel said defensively.
"So, if I wanted, I could just…" Jack started, Daniel felt his dick twitch. He shuddered a little in response.
"Absolutely," Daniel agreed quickly. "You do know how…"
"Oh, absolutely," Jack said confidently. Daniel surged up against him, and Jack groaned in appreciation, but Daniel was still solidly pinned.
"It would be good to get the jeans off, anyway," Jack ruminated, not rushing to move.
"You could put those yoga pants back on, if you absolutely insist on clothed frottage," Daniel suggested. He tried twisting his hips and rolling. It didn't get him anywhere, but the shift brought new gasps from both men.
"So you've got the gay thing down, then?" Jack asked conversationally. Of course, Jack would be tease, Daniel thought, smiling in spite of his growing frustration. "You should take up yoga. It offers many benefits to sex. Ujjayi increases the intensity of orgasm. And I've got a few postures I could teach you…"
"You yoga guys use all the same pickup lines, you know that?" Daniel grunted. "You know, I met my very first boyfriend because he caught me ogling him while he was doing sun salutations. He used to fuck me in Sphinx. Let's take this to the mat and you can show me anything you want."
Jack's body went rigid, his response caught in his throat. His breath rushed out and his body shook. He collapsed on Daniel. Daniel could feel the damp heat seeping through the boundary of two layers of denim between them. He took Jack's weight, wrapping his arms around his friend, finally rolling them so that he was on top. Jack flapped a hand weakly against Daniel's arm.
"Just give me a second," Jack wheezed.
"I tried to…" Daniel began.
"Yeah, yeah," Jack replied, not letting him finish. "I didn't know you'd start with the…" Another loose hand flap against Daniel's arm.
"I'll keep that in mind," Daniel said, grinning. "Dirty yoga sex talk. Learn something new every day."
"Two words, Danny. Plow pose," Jack growled.
"Oooh. Nice. Keep it up," Daniel growled right back. Mindful of wet denim against delicate body parts, Daniel shifted his weight off Jack's dick, rubbing off against his hard, muscled thigh instead of his pelvis.
- Gradually, over time, we open on all levels. – Shiva Rea
Jack was moving through the bedroom in the grey, pre-dawn light. He pulled on a pair of tight, white spandex/cotton shorts. "I love the look on you," Daniel said appreciatively. Jack put a knee down on his side of the bed and leaned over to put a gentle kiss on the side of Daniel's mouth.
"Go back to sleep," Jack said softly. "I'll let you know when I'm going for my shower."
"You're not going to try to lure me out for partner yoga?" Daniel asked curiously. After all, Jack always hauled him out for the morning run, come hell or high water.
"Nah. You had more than enough workout last night. You'll be feeling that for a week."
Jack ran a finger along Daniel's temple, tucking an imaginary strand of hair behind Daniel's hear.
"I hope so," Daniel said, flexing his hips and thighs a bit, feeling the familiar stretch and burn of a good romp in the sack. Jack huffed a small laugh against Daniel's skin as he kissed him again. Daniel closed his eyes and happily started drifting back off to sleep. He felt the mattress shift as Jack left, padding soundlessly out in bare feet.