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The Long Walk

Chapter Text


Chapter 1

Kansas Planet


"Looks like Kansas to me." Jack O'Neill shrugged as he passed the FRED and the MALP, absently patting the metallic surfaces of the expensive equipment. He put on his sunglasses, to shield his eyes from the bright light of the midday sun, and walked over to Daniel, who was reading some obscure inscriptions on a large stone obelisk near the gate.

"That the 'Welcome to Kansas' sign?"

Daniel Jackson frowned and moved his lips silently to a text only he was able to read and understand. Then he mumbled, "No, actually it's more the 'Welcome, Nirrti, whom we worship and treasure, who gives us youth and strength' sign."


The younger man heaved a silent sigh. "Yeah. That."

"O-kay." Jack rubbed his hands and turned to face their company, Doctor Ginger Menkins. The slender brunette looked around in awe for a moment, her gray eyes sparkling with amazement as she descended the stony steps by the gate to join them.

"I never imagined other planets would be so Earth-like," she said.

Daniel gave her an encouraging smile and explained, "It's not unusual. Lots of them are."

"Yes, theoretically I know. But still... like Major Carter pointed out at the briefing, it looks like North America."

"Trees," Jack said, close to whining. "Lotsa trees. Peachy."

"You don't sound happy about that, Colonel," Menkins observed.

Daniel shrugged. "Jack doesn't like trees. Yet, he spends all his vacation somewhere in the Minnesota wilderness at a cabin, fishing in a pond with no fish."

"Aht! That's different. There are no Jaffa in my Minnesota woods," Jack replied as they steered the FRED down a winding path leading them over a wide meadow into the woods.

Jack waited for the snarky remark he'd expect from Daniel, but it never came. His archaeologist just walked on and ignored him.

O'Neill tried to recall what Carter had told them about Kansas planet, as he had nicknamed it right after he had seen the first pics the MALP had sent through. At the briefing Carter had provided them with all the information they needed. They were to investigate several ruins near the gate where Nirrti had once resided. She had abandoned this world a long time ago for unknown reasons.

On a first contact mission SG-2 had come across some doohickey that made the scientists at the SGC drool. Area 51 had gotten wind of it, and that's why they were dragging Doctor Menkins along.

This mission was giving O'Neill a headache. He felt his jaw twitch at the memory of the briefing. Even Daniel had been on the same page with him. Which wasn't the case often lately.

Hammond hadn't been a happy camper either, when he'd clued them in about their orders...


... The picture on the screen in the briefing room switched to show the inside of a building, and they were looking at something that resembled a shower. At least, to Jack, it did. There was something installed in the wall that looked like a shower head and underneath he could make out two buttons, a green one and a red one.

"We assume this is technology used by Nirrti. But the civilian consultant of SG-2 wasn't able to read all the instructions, or get it to work," Carter said.

"Your mission is to investigate this device further and figure out if you are able to make it work. If you can, uninstall it, bring it through. If that's not possible, destroy it ," General Hammond informed them.

"Destroy it? Why?" Doctor Menkins interrupted, bewildered. She brushed a strand of mouse-brown hair out of her face.

"If we aren't able to obtain the device, nobody else should. We are aware it might be a very dangerous piece of technology." Hammond didn't even blink as he returned Menkins's stare.

"But maybe we should set up a long-term laboratory there and get a team of scientists on the planet to study it further," the woman argued.

I’m afraid it’s a budget issue, Doctor Menkins. I'm not authorized to decide whether or not we can afford to send a group of scientists through long-term. But I'm holding that thought in consideration,“ Hammond said.

"What exactly are we looking at?" Jack asked, wanting to stay focused on their mission.

"We don't know for sure yet,” Daniel said.SG-2's anthropologist assumes it alters DNA. But the Goa'uld writings weren't familiar to him, so he's not sure. We think its purpose was to help Nirrti create the perfect host."

"That's nasty," Jack commented.

"Yes, but it'll be even more nasty if it falls into the wrong hands. Besides, maybe we can learn something from technology like that," Carter piped up, scientific glee in her eyes.

"We should blow up whatever we find there," Jack grumbled. "Playing around with DNA is a big one."

"Jack's right," Daniel said, his voice laced with concern.

Well, hello, that was a shocker. "I am?" Jack raised an eyebrow.

Daniel shrugged. "Yes. It's dangerous. Even you should be able to figure that out."

"Oh, thank you, Daniel. Shall we celebrate?"

A few weeks ago Daniel would've said sure and asked if Jack was going to buy dinner. Today, all Jack got was a blue pair of rolling eyes and an annoyed, "No, thanks."

Jack shrugged and listened to Hammond, who explained that if it was safe to bring Nirrti's toy home, it was going to Area 51. That's where Menkins had come from. According to her file, she had the rank of Captain, but preferred to be called Doctor. She was an expert in DNA analysis.

Doctor Menkins gathered her notes and raked a hand through her mousy hair, which left her looking like a tousled bird. "Ethical concerns are a very good thing. But sometimes we have to jump into cold water if we want to be successful in science. I'm sure Major Carter agrees with me. I can't see any ethical reasons that would prevent us from studying this device, even if we can't bring it home."

Carter looked uncomfortable when she replied, "I don't think we can ignore ethics when it comes to science. But off-world laboratory would be a possibility." With a look at Hammond, she added, "That's not up to me, of course, sir."

"And unfortunately it's not up to me either, Major - Doctor Menkins... We have to wait and see the results of SG-1s investigation. Based on that, I can make a request to allow further studies. I can't just set up a laboratory without approval from upstairs," Hammond ended the debate.

They were dismissed with the order to be ready to depart in two hours.

When Menkins had left the briefing room, Jack leaned back in his chair and gazed at the ceiling for a moment. "Why do we have to take her with us again, sir?"

Hammond smothered a smile, but Jack could see it lingering at the corners of his mouth. What? It had been a serious question. Well, almost. He knew he had no choice in this.

"I know how you feel about taking somebody with you who has no experience with gate travel, Colonel. But this planet doesn't appear to be dangerous, and Doctor Menkins is an expert in her field. Since we can't bring this technology home easily, we don't have another choice. Major Carter will assist her."

"Yes, sir," Carter said. "Janet knows Doctor Menkins's work and suggested I read a few of her articles. She's really good at what she does."

"So are you, Major," Jack argued.

Carter gave him a smile. "Thank you, sir. But I'm a quantum physicist. Doctor Menkins is a professor of genetics. Her expertise is DNS and DNA research. So, I'll figure out how it works - what makes it tick. And she'll figure out what it does. She's really good."

"Yeah. She just looks like the perfect geek. Even her hair fits," Jack grumbled.

"Sir?" Carter frowned.

"She looks like a..." Jack waved his hands over his head and shrugged.

"I know what you mean, sir." There was a chuckle in her voice as she rushed out.

Teal'c raised an eyebrow. "I am certain the phrase you were looking for was like a slaughtered chicken."

Jack gaped at him, and Daniel mumbled, "Plucked... um... it's plucked chicken. She looks like a plucked chicken... though I think she looks more like a plucked mouse."

"You don't pluck mice, Daniel," Jack grumbled.

Doctor Jackson pushed up his glasses and left the room, waving a hand back at them. "Whatever!"

Jack and the big guy walked down the stairway from the briefing room together. "Did you and DanielJackson not resolve your disagreements yet, O'Neill?"

"Yeah, well. You know me and Daniel. We never do, really," O'Neill joked it off as they headed down the corridor towards the elevator.

"I have the impression it is a different matter this time. I would be very displeased if your disagreements affect the way SG-1 functions. You should talk to DanielJackson," the Jaffa said solemnly. "And apologize for whatever harm you have inflicted on him."

Jack stopped in the middle of the hall while Teal'c walked on stoically. "Hey! Who said it's me who has to apologize for anything?"

When Teal'c didn't stop walking, Jack hurried and caught up with him at the elevator. "He screwed up on the Enkaran planet..."

"In fact, he did not. It was DanielJackson's actions that saved both the Enkarans and the Gadmeer from being destroyed."

"Yes. And he almost died!"

"Do we not always risk our lives on missions? DanielJackson made a choice, and it turned out to be the right one." Teal'c turned, his dark, deep eyes, looking right into Jack's soul as he added softly, "Do not underestimate him, O'Neill. He is not a child."

Jack almost laughed at that. No. Daniel wasn't a child. Definitely not. Yet... "He behaves like one sometimes. He doesn't listen, and I can't rely on him to follow my lead. If he gets better ideas, he's off doing his thing, without checking back with me!" He sounded defensive and didn't like it one bit. “After four years of being out there, he should know how the chain of command works.” It was lame. Jack knew it, and that fueled his anger even more.

"Maybe it is you who needs to listen more closely, O'Neill. Or maybe this matter is not of work-related issues. Perhaps you and DanielJackson should search for the resolution elsewhere," Teal'c said as they stepped into the elevator.

Jack didn't want to go there. Yet, he heard himself ask, "What's it about then?"

"It is not I with whom you should be speaking, O'Neill," Teal'c replied.

Jack barely kept himself from banging his head against the control panel of the elevator. He so wanted to get out of here. He stared at the doors and let out a sigh of relief when they opened. "I'll see you later, T," he said as nonchalantly as he could and fled down the corridor towards... somewhere Teal'c wouldn't go. Like an empty storage room...

Instead, he found himself walking into Daniel's office. When did he press the button for this level?

Jack gazed around the room. Daniel wasn't here. Only his rocks and papers everywhere. Oh, and books, of course. Old ones, new ones... his computer screen blinked, telling him he had mail. O'Neill wondered why he felt like an intruder. He had spent more time in this office than in his own, and once upon a time it had felt like home.

He inhaled the smell of books, coffee and old stones.

Then he swiftly spun around and walked out, trying not to think how close the big fella had been to the truth, with what he said in the elevator.


Much can happen at the SGC in two hours. Teal'c got an emergency call from Bra'tac regarding the Jaffa rebellion, and Carter's assistance was needed by the Asgard, who were currently working on a weapon against those ugly repli-bugs. So it was just Jack and Daniel who met Doctor Menkins in the gate room.

Jack didn't feel good about this. He hated to have his team split, and the Asgard were way too close to the Replicators for his liking. But Thor had assured Hammond that SG-1's 2IC wouldn't get anywhere close to the enemy and that she should be back in the next 12 hours.

From Thor’s mouth to God’s ear then.

They were going to set up camp and take a first look at the DNA machine. Jack had requested to postpone the mission until Carter was back. Daniel had argued he could use the time working on the alien text, so that he'd have translated most of it by the time Carter would join them. Which meant Carter could go to work right away without having to wait for Daniel to translate. Unfortunately, it made sense to Jack, and Hammond had agreed.

If Carter got hold up, the SGC was going to send somebone else with the know-how to assist them. Still, Jack didn't feel good about it. If he'd had Teal'c with him at least, he'd feel a whole lot better...


...Daniel talked quietly to Doctor Menkins as they walked through the forest, following the FRED with their camping gear piled on. Jack zoned them out, his eyes skimming the dense forest surrounding them.

Yep, trees.

Pine trees, to be specific.

Jack had a foreshadowing of a very boring mission with trees, doohickeys, ramblings, and nothing for him to do but walk perimeters, keep watch, and eat MRE's. Maybe he could annoy Daniel a little. But even that wasn't as much fun as it used to be. Daniel didn't want to be annoyed anymore. He didn't even want to annoy Jack back.

Don't fuss about it, he snarled at himself. You were the one who wanted him to back off. Now you got your wish, so live with it.

They reached the ruins half an hour later. Once they had set up camp and perimeters, Daniel and Menkins wanted to go and play.

They crossed through a small group of pines and came out into a small clearing. The playground contained three old stone buildings, mostly semi-derelict, covered with some sort of ivy. The ruin in the middle, a high tower, seemed to be in the best condition. Daniel wandered around it while Menkins hurried inside, once Jack had checked to make sure there weren't any nasty surprises waiting for them in there. No people, no animals. Just cool air, semi-darkness and the smell of old stone and dust.

Daniel Jackson's happy place.

Said Daniel Jackson returned from his walk around the tower. "There are no writings on the outside of the building. It's made from limestone. Not that you want to know any of this..." He passed Jack and slipped through the small high door.

As it turned out, it was now Menkins's happy place, too. The two scientists were already rambling on about the writings they had found on the inside walls. Daniel said he was familiar with the particular Goa'uld dialect, even though it wasn't used very often. This tower had been a worship gathering place for the slaves.

"Nirrti promised them... a life to live over again? What does that mean?" Daniel mumbled to himself.

Menkins wandered along the walls. "There," she called out, "I found the device."

When O'Neill and Daniel reached her, she had climbed a high pedestal, huge enough for several humans to stand on. There were those two buttons in the wall Jack had seen on the pictures. Before Menkins could reach for them, he ordered her not to touch anything. He wasn’t taking any chances.

The woman turned and brushed a strand of brown hair out of her face. "If I don't touch it, I can't see if it works," she complained, her voice suspiciously whiny.

“Don't waste your breath,” Daniel muttered. “He won't listen.”

God, were all scientists like that?

“It's Major Carter's job to figure out how it works,” Jack reminded her, ignoring his bratty archaeologist.

“See? Told ya so,” Daniel sing-songed quietly.

“And what are we supposed to do until she gets here?” Menkins asked, annoyed.

“It's useless,” Daniel went on, wandering around, letting his flashlight illuminate the walls.

“Doctor Jackson can translate the writings and you can take notes... or whatever. Just stay away from the buttons," Jack ordered, trying not to grind his teeth.

Daniel gave him a dirty look. "Do you really think I should even dare go near it to read the text, Jack? "

"Yes, Daniel. Actually, I ordered you to. Reading. Not touching."

Giving a soft snort, Daniel joined Menkins on the pedestal and focused his flashlight on the writings above the two buttons. Jack watched the two of them for a moment. When the wall didn't swallow them and no white light beamed them away, he decided to stand guard outside. "Hey, you guys do your thing in here. I'll be outside. And Daniel – you don't touch those buttons."

Ignoring the incoherent mumbling from Daniel, Jack went out and walked around the cone-shaped building. Sometimes dealing with Daniel was like trying to reason with a puberty-driven teenager. Daniel was always just a tad too curious and alien-friendly. But it wasn't really that. Jack knew that his archaeologist was good at his job. Brilliant even. Following Doctor Jackson’s train of thought wasn’t always the easiest way to go, but it was often worth it. Nope, Jack wouldn't complain about anybody on his team when it came to the job.

But Daniel was stubborn and strong-headed. It wasn't easy to lead him. Frankly, Daniel was probably the only lower-in-rank-than-Jack person at the SGC without any qualms of disobeying Jack's orders - and getting away with it. Mostly. O'Neill didn't like that. But he had learned to live with it, and more importantly, had learned to trust Daniel. Because Daniel was special. And Daniel had saved his life back on Abydos. Daniel had taught him to think outside the box. Had taught him to be human again. It meant a lot. Daniel meant a lot. For more reasons than Jack was willing to admit, even to himself.

Lately it had gotten out of hand though. What had happened on the Enkaran planet had been the last straw that broke the camel's back.

Jack gritted his teeth as he remembered how close he had come to losing Daniel - again - during that mission. He had almost blown him up along with the Gadmeer ship, for cryin' out loud. Daniel was too important to put his life on the line like that. Jack O'Neill's life was too guilt-driven already to load more of that crap on his shoulders. No way was he going to kill Daniel Jackson - or any other member of his team. But especially not Daniel. Not even for a noble act like saving the population of a whole planet.

And yet... he would have done it.

For exactly that noble act. Because it was the right thing to do. Because Doctor-fucking-Jackson wouldn't have wanted it any other way. And Jack was trained to put the job first. Had to put the job first. Otherwise he'd be compromised. But it would have killed Jack along with Daniel. Would have killed parts of Jack he sometimes believed weren't even there anymore. And O'Neill would have hated himself for the rest of his life for doing it.

Of course Daniel didn't die. Got his head out of the sling as he always did. He'd made a deal between the Gadmeer and the Enkarans. Jackson had saved the day, again. The Enkarans had moved to their original home world, and the Gadmeer ship had continued terra-forming the planet.

Jack had been proud. And pissed.

Proud because Daniel had saved the day again. And holy crap, was he ever good at what he did.

Yet, Jack had been mad as hell. For far more than just the fact that Daniel had risked his life again and went against Jack's orders...

Things had been wrong between them for some time before the Enkaran mission.

Jack knew he should have put his foot down awhile ago. When they'd returned home from Enkara, he'd vowed to himself to talk some sense into Daniel, for god's sake. Despite all the crap that had had happened between them, they still had to work together. They couldn't take it out into the field with them. So, at the next best opportunity, he had forced Daniel to talk to him.

Okay, Daniel hadn't talked. Jack had talked. Well, yelled. He had yelled a lot. Some of the things he had said he was sorry for later. But mostly the yelling had been good, and the guilt in Daniel's eyes had been even better.

Oh, Mister I-am-rescuing-the-universe-even-if-I-die hadn't apologize or anything. No way. Daniel had listened to Jack's yelling and pacing and more yelling and then he'd just said he believed he had done the right thing and that Jack knew it, too.

But there had been guilt nevertheless, and on a very nasty level Jack had wanted to see that guilt. He had wanted to punish Daniel.

For making Jack worry, for getting under Jack's skin so much, for making Jack almost kill him...

Jack had wanted to beat the crap out of him.

But of course he didn't. So he had hurt Daniel with words, drove them in like knives and hated himself for doing it.

Later that evening, Daniel had quietly walked out of Jack's house, and O'Neill had gotten drunk very fast while he'd tried not to think about the sadness in Daniel's eyes or the fact that things had gotten even worse.

They both tried to keep their problems low-key at the mountain. They were still talking to each other at lunch with Sam and T. Of course, they still worked together and when it came down to it, still trusted each other with their lives.

Sometimes they even bickered and bitched. Except it wasn't fun anymore because it got nasty a lot more often than usual. O'Neill knew T and Carter had noticed the tension between them, but hadn't said anything - until today.

Hell, T was right. It wasn't good for the team dynamic. Jack should talk to Daniel again about what had had happened on Enkara.

Nah, Jack thought gloomily, it's not that. T is right. It goes far deeper than that. But hell, Daniel can't pull stunts like that just because he's mad at me.

Jack wasn't good at talking about all that emotional crap. But it was the emotional crap they needed to talk about. Not Enkara. Not Daniel's stubbornness and insubordination. Or Jack's need to protect him even though he knew it wasn't always possible.

While he mulled all that over, O'Neill watched the sun set and the blue sky change into orange. It was quite a sight. He breathed in the smell of summer, trees, and the rich humus under his boots. There was grass, but the place around the buildings was stamped earth. Jack saw a pale crescent moon looming in the sky.

After he had circled the buildings twice, it was starting to get dark. Pulling off his sunglasses, because he wouldn't need them anymore, Jack walked back into the tower.

"Hey, kids. Let's head back to camp. It's getting dark," O'Neill told them as he was strolling across the hall. He didn't want to be in or around the ruins in the dark. Too much potential for somebody to hide and ambush them. He hadn't seen anybody in the area so far. That didn't mean nobody was there. He opted for being careful.

Daniel and Menkins were sitting on the pedestal, Daniel scribbling symbols into his journal while Menkins was holding the flashlight for him.

"I translated part of it," Daniel reported without looking up. "The writings say Nirrti chose people out of the midst of the worshipers and made them live their whole lives over again. She took the new ones... uh - at least that's what I think it says – with her and let them live in her palace on the other side of the mountains... umm... it doesn't say how the machine works. I have to read more of it and I also want to video tape the walls and investigate the other buildings."

"Not tonight though. Let's get some dinner, and then we'll have to go back to the gate do our check in," Jack ordered, giving Daniel and Menkins an extra glare before they could start arguing with him.

"Jack..." Daniel started.

"No." He spun around and marched out of the tower. It didn't take long for his persistent archaeologist to reach him and fall into step with him.

"We could come back after we’ve checked in. We have lights, and there's no potential danger looming anywhere. I might have most of it translated before Sam gets here...”



"It will still be here in the morning. That thingy doesn't look like something you can carry away in a backpack. Hammond gave us three days. Besides, it's already dark and I'm hungry," Jack snapped.

"Fine," Doctor Jackson snapped right back.


Neither Daniel nor Menkins talked much during dinner. Jack didn't try to lighten the mood with one of his bad jokes like he used to in earlier days. It didn't work anymore. Nowadays, if Daniel Jackson had snapped, he was giving O'Neill the cold shoulder.

After dinner they returned to the gate and reported home. The night was pitch black by now, and the moon didn't give much light. Carter was still with the Asgard, but it looked like she was going to be back on schedule to join them. They exchanged the usual reports and first impressions of the area before they were dismissed with the order to check in at oh nine hundred.

Back at camp, Menkins said her goodnight. She would take last watch and Daniel first. Jack sat down next to the younger man and poured himself coffee. "I still think we should just blow the place up," Jack muttered as he slapped his cap onto his head. With a sideways glance at Daniel, he added, "We really should celebrate the fact we agree on this. Doesn't happen too often lately."

"Yeah." Daniel gazed into his own coffee cup. The fire light reflected in his glasses.

"Hey, you sound pissed about that. Not happy we're on the same page for once?" Jack asked sarcastically.

Daniel didn't look at him, but his voice had lost all the anger from earlier when he replied, "No. Actually, I'd like it if we were on the same page more often. But that's not up to me." He got up and brushed some grass from his pants. "I'm walking perimeters. Good night, Jack." With that, Daniel vanished into the dark.

Jack fiddled with the band of his sunglasses and looked up at the alien night sky. They had to fix this somehow. As soon as they were home, he would get Daniel over for dinner and talk some sense into him. Heck, he'd even apologize for some of the things he had thrown at Daniel that night after the Enkaran mission. First of all, he had to convince Daniel to come over, of course.

Jack missed spending his downtime with Daniel. They'd been good together. Nice chess games, nice dinners, watching TV, and sometimes they'd got drunk. Daniel had helped him in the yard, and Jack had helped Daniel refurbish his place when he had come back from the dead.... or from when they all had thought he had died on Nem's planet. Okay, that had happened once. Not the dead thing. But they had only given up on his apartment once.

Did he really miss hanging out with his archaeologist that much? Yeah, well, maybe. Not because there wasn't anybody else to hang out with. He liked playing cards with Lou or going to watch jello-wrestling with Teal'c. Team nights were swell, too. But being just with Daniel had been special. They'd clicked. Even when they'd been mad at each other they were still friends.

Carter once said they were like an old married couple.


Maybe they were too much alike on some levels and too different on others. They each cared for the other, but weren't able to really talk about their own feelings. They both were as stubborn as mules, not willing to yield an inch.

But they had also understood each other without too many words. Sometimes when Daniel had come over for hockey and pizza on Fridays, their usual comfortable non-talking would turn into actual talking about missions gone wrong, failures and guilt trips. It hadn't happened often. But it had happened. Sometimes it had been Jack who spilled his guts, and at other times it was Daniel. And the other one was quiet and listened. Sometimes they hugged, and sometimes they just sat there, staring into the fire or out into the garden. It was what they did. And it was good. Comfy.

Had been anyway.

Until they had screwed up their friendship. It had all been Daniel's fault, of course. Daniel with his lonely blue eyes and those long legs. Not to mention his ass. Daniel had the most gorgeous six Jack had ever watched. And he'd taken his eyeful at almost every opportunity. It had always been enough. Watching him. Being Daniel’s friend had been worth much more than throwing it all away for sex or getting a rejection.

O'Neill had never intended to really do anything about it. He couldn't. Had never even tried to find out if his best buddy felt the same...


...It came totally out of the blue when Daniel confessed to Jack that he liked him. Liked him a whole lot more than he was supposed to... And he had given Jack that special Daniel smile. That shy smile which showed Daniel's dimples and reached his eyes. The one that was really rare. Jack sat there and gazed at the pink tip of Daniel's tongue as it came out and licked those full lips nervously. He reached out a hand and slid off Daniel's glasses to see those eyes better.

Then Daniel blanched and stumbled out of the living room.

Jack went after him, to the bathroom, and handed Daniel a washcloth after he was done tossing his dinner. Daniel brushed his teeth, and Jack made a note to self to get a new toothbrush.

It was oh-so-much of a clichè, it almost hurt. Jack helping Daniel to get settled on the bed in the spare room, Daniel apologizing over and over again as he pulled O'Neill down with him and they landed in a heap on the bed covers. Daniel blushed and did that lip-licking thing again while spluttering, "Uh… sorry... ."

Jack told him it was okay, and then Daniel kissed him.

It was a sloppy kiss on the corner of Jack's mouth because the guy wasn't able to aim anymore. But Jack had a few beers himself and his guard was down... so he helped Daniel to aim better and get his tongue where it should be when kissing properly...

Daniel could kiss.

Jack had seen it once on Abydos when Shau're had kissed her Dan'yel goodbye. And he had wondered where the kid had learned to kiss like that. Had wondered for almost five years now...

It was pure bliss.

Earth shatteringly hot...


...They had stumbled into this whole relationship thing without giving a damn about regs, DADT, or anything else. Heaven, or whatever one would call it, had lasted seven days... then downtime had been over and with getting back to real life, reality had crashed down.

And there Jack had ended it. Not right away. But a couple of weeks later.

Jack poured the rest of his coffee into the fire and stood. Stretching his muscles, he decided it would be best to call it a night. He entered the tent he still shared with Daniel, pulled off his boots and cap, and crawled into his sleeping bag. While he was lying in the dark, he made a vow to himself. As soon as they were home, they'd have a nice, long talk. Yep. He missed Daniel. Being with Daniel. Being good with Daniel.

There had to be a way to get back to the friendship they had shared, if nothing else.

TBC with Ch 2 Thoughts and Conversations