The press hounding was, well, hounding. Baskervillian hounding. Big Mama Thornton, Lieber and Stoller hounding.
Daniel had seen the insides and not the views of far too many upmarket hotels -- adjustable beds, adjustable pillows, adjustable toilets he'd always think of as Japanese despite being installed in just about every American home these days. But no adjustable Daniel.
He'd never seen the views. Windows closed. Drapes closed, or windows opaqued, or both. Jamming devices on, and every time with a prayer of thanks that he's getting old enough that his hearing doesn't register that tiny, high-pitched whine that used to accompany the damned things.
And yet. Jack. Sam. Always adjoining suites, always open doors. Good points, bad points. Sam threw a vase across the room the third time the newsies reassured the men of the world that she was an eligible catch, and unmarried.
"For the love of Pete, have these people never heard of a lesbian before?" Sam had yelled after the shattering vase had echoed through the rooms.
"Technically," Daniel had said, only his head around the door, "you're a Kinsey five."
"I have another vase here," Sam had said, icily, and Daniel, chuckling, had retreated.
* * *
Beijing, and the only reason this city hadn't succumbed, pleuritically, to the choking miasmata of cars, coal and the Gobi Desert, is ironically enough a piece of tech Atlantis had brought back because it looked like the toy of the year McKay's kid sister's kid had wanted. It had set off the environmental alarms at Midway on account of making the air too damn clean. So the Chinese used their IOA sway to install four of them on top of government buildings in Beijing, and claimed all the credit.
Until somebody had Wikileaked it, Baidu had picked it up, and Jack had been asked about it in a press conference. Shen Xiaoyi -- now a doting grandmother -- hadn't managed to squash the story in time.
But the hotel was nice, and the air was fresh, and Jack had looked entirely fuckable stretched out on the height-adjustable bed, awash in a sea of pillows and linens.
* * *
Wellington, New Zealand, and the Kiwis were crazy, hopped up and mellowed out on the local mix of coffee and kava. Jack had watched Daniel's eyes blink in his accessing...accessing Rolodex of languages when the Tongan channel had interviewed him. Wellington's as close as they can get to the dozens of Pacific island chains that the Asgard supercooled superconductor running off the north coasts of Antarctica and Greenland had saved from rising sea levels.
They were heroes nonetheless, and since Wellington was the headquarters of the Pacific Union, a small mob of people gathered outside their hotel with signs like Thank you Doctor Jackson and Saviors of Kiribati and Nauru is Grateful. There were so many of them that Jack, Daniel and Sam had to be helicoptered across the Cook Strait to the Kiwi airbase for their flight to Sydney.
* * *
The 3V cameras had started to get intrusive after the third week of the tour, so Jack had decided that they needed some time off. He'd called in a favor or twelve, and they'd materialized on a paradise island, which Daniel had later realized -- when someone had started talking Dhivehi, which had led to a forty-minute treatise on the register levels in the language and the unusual loanword CVC structure -- was in Maldives.
"A grateful nation, et cetera, et cetera," Jack had said, waving his arm at the spacious glass and timber bungalow. "And yes, Daniel, I made sure that there's wifi for your pad."
Daniel had broken out into a blissful smile. "You know, Jack, I'm glad I stocked up on lube before we left Paris, because if this had turned into another Rio..."
"Yeah, yeah, shut up, you loved the coconut oil."
"Okay, still here, still a lesbian," Sam had said, rolling her eyes, picking up her suitcase and claiming a room. "Jack, did you think to--oh, you are a damn genius. Bathing suit, here I come."
"Hey, Sam," Daniel had called, "there's an infinity pool out behind the kitchen."
"I am never leaving this place," Sam had called back.
* * *
Cairo had been mixed, mainly for Daniel. The city held too many memories, too many similarities, too many goddamn pyramids for any of them to be entirely happy, but Daniel, whose academic life had nearly ended in ridicule as a result of Cairo, had the most to remember.
They hadn't ventured out of the hotel, for that reason...and because Jack, ever a perverse political operator, had insisted on fucking Daniel in locally illegal ways for most of their stay. A journalist had even enquired as to whether Doctor Jackson had injured his leg, and if that was why he was limping.
* * *
Daniel could never remember whether the St Regis had been in Pretoria or Mexico City, the Ritz Carlton had been in Hong Kong or Moscow, or the Four Seasons had been in Amman or Jakarta. Once they'd returned home -- oh, and they'd had to move out to a place with land in Virginia, with actual honest-to-god security goons that Jack had hired, some of whom weren't even Jaffa -- he'd had to get a printout of their schedule so he could write the historical record.
Some things he'd left in -- Sam and Jana (who he still kept calling Colonel Myasishchev) falling for each other in Siberia, Jack falling over the bath in Madrid, Sam falling over Jack passed out from exhaustion on the floor in Asunción. Others he'd left out -- Sam and Jana's fight in Ottawa, Jack's pneumonia, his own quiet mental breakdown one night in Bangkok.
"You realize," Jack had said, one night in Virginia, rubbing Daniel's shoulders as he sat at the desk, "if you publish that thing, you'll have to do the press tour that goes with it."
Daniel had looked up, frowned, and said, "I was planning to bring you with me."
"Bangkok?" Jack had asked, quietly.
"Don't mind if I do," Daniel had replied, leaning up and kissing Jack.
"No, seriously, we're going to have a talk about this when you're not trying to fuck me," Jack had said as Daniel started to reach around and unbutton his pants.
* * *
The book, unsurprisingly, had taken over the world faster than the latest N7 game. The talk had ended up with Jack slamming doors and Daniel going quiet, and had been resolved by Daniel agreeing to let Jack make all the arrangements for the subsequent publicity tour.
"I want a damn island for this," Jack had said.
"If you build me a world-class university library on it," Daniel had agreed, and Jack had spent two weeks leaving blueprints and architectural printouts around the house. Daniel was almost certain that Jack was making it up.
"You realize that I am not actually moving to an island with you," Daniel had pointed out when Jack had 3D printed a model of the Daniel Jackson Memorial Library, Tuvalu and put it on the kitchen counter.
"Aw, Daniel, don't you love me?" Jack had whined. Daniel had rolled his eyes and made scrambled eggs.
* * *
They'd compromised on San Francisco, with a place in Hawai'i for the breaks. Daniel realized with a start during contract negotations that he didn't care about tenure any more, that he was beyond tenure.
Jack had the Sonoma County house rebuilt from the ground up with help from what he called our little friends. Daniel didn't know whether there was a moon rocket under the pool, but he wouldn't have been surprised. The view, though, out to the cliffs of the Pacific, was incredible.
Daniel had insisted on a library, and on the multiple backups for all of his important stuff. Sam had helped with that, while Jana had given Jack some advice on mixing aesthetics and defense, landscaping and concrete.
They had spent hours -- days, it felt like -- picking out the bed. It was high, and plain, and the mattress was several thousand dollars of advanced memory foam. But it didn't feel like Atlantis. It didn't feel like the SGC. It didn't feel like a hotel, any of the hotels. It felt different. It felt like...home.
* * *
It turned out that Jack had been right to rebuild the house, that early morning when the walls went tumbling down. It wasn't lamb, ram or sheep horns that had begun to blow, nor trumpets that had begun to sound.
Reverend Joseph Sanderson had commanded the children to shout, the figurehead whose rhetoric was the culmination of fulmination about abomination from sea to shining See. And the mob, baying, with truck bombs, not torches, P90s, not pitchforks, had come over the hills.
* * *
Daniel hadn't slept well; he'd been in the library when Jack's feet thumped up the stairs.
"Daniel! Trouble! Let's go!"
His voice didn't have the 'let's go to the store' imperative. His words brought Daniel straight back to the present, the tone laden with meaning from their past.
The windows were closing on their automatic mechanisms, and the shutters dropping down like closing eyelids, the house going into a hibernation of sorts, hunkering down for the winter of discontent. Jack had one assault rifle slung over his shoulder and another in his hand, and thrust it at Daniel. He half-dragged Daniel down the stairs as the first explosion outside made the house shake.
"Jesus Christ," Daniel swore, and Jack snorted.
"Apparently, he's on their side. Basement, Daniel."
Jack and Daniel ran down the stairs, their bare feet slapping on the wooden stairs that led into the main basement, then through the back door behind the boiler room that led past a thick metal door that looked like the younger sibling of a bank vault. Past the vault door was another room that narrowed into a long corridor leading downwards. A set of lockers lined one wall.
"Boots, vests and go-bags in that locker," Jack called to him, and started turning a wheel that slowly, slowly winched the metal door closed. "We've got a little bit of time, but not much, I think. Carter's okay, they tried for her but Jana got them away, and Mitchell's family is half of North Carolina, so he managed to get clear."
Daniel shoved socks and then boots onto his feet and stuck the tac vest -- lighter than he remembered it -- over his sweater. "Ready."
"Grab a go bag," Jack said, the metal door closing with a comforting deep metallic clang, and, grabbing one himself, slapped a lightswitch and led Daniel at a run down the corridor. Dim red lights were flicking on in front of them as they ran, the floor sloping down steeper and steeper.
Jack held up a hand and they walked slowly towards a door set into the end of the corridor. He peered out through a small lens set in the door, then turned a wide lever, retracting deadbolts and pulling the door open.
The sound of a calm sea and the tang of salt washed into the corridor. Jack peered outside, and the distant sound of gunfire and explosions sounded as if it was a fair distance away. With the 'follow me' hand gesture they'd used so many times before, Jack led Daniel at a trot around a concrete path to a large set of hangar-sized doors set deep into the rock, the doors overhanging the water of the cove. After flashing the 'cover me' signal, Jack spent a few seconds working at the keypad before the door retracted inward and upward with a quiet rumble.
The path led into the hangar, and Daniel followed Jack in to what looked like a --
"Jack, is that a 302?" Daniel said, stunned.
"You really think I'd get permission to keep an F-302 in my house, Daniel? Get in."
"I think you wouldn't ask," Daniel muttered as Jack pulled open a small door in the side of the grey ship.
"Funny. No, it's a wing in ground jet. Russians developed 'em in the Cold War, called it an ekranoplan. Oh, whatever, Daniel, don't give me that look. Plane go fast, plane fly, we not die. Now close the door and siddown before the Deliverance crowd out there get through my security system."
Jack pressed a button and the unmistakeable sound of turbojet engines click-whooshed, the noise amplified inside the hangar-dock, Jack hit a button that made the plane drop into the water, and they started moving forwards.
"Buckle up," Jack said, "and if we die, Daniel? I love you so fucking much."
Daniel bit his lip and pulled the seatbelt tight as the plane rounded the corner of the cove and started to accelerate out into open water. The plane shook as it accelarated through the waves, until it reached a fair speed, then lifted up out of the water...and stayed there, just above sea level.
"Ground effect," Jack called as the noise of the water below them disappeared. "Like a cushion of air. Just need to pick up some speed and get some distance and we'll be airborne and in Vandenberg before you know it."
"And where then, Jack?" Daniel craned his head around and back. "I think we might have to claim on our homeowner's insurance. Did you get fire and flood?"
Jack snorted. "And the extra war coverage too."
"And where are we going after Vandenberg?" Daniel straightened up and looked at the sea as the plane rose.
"Second star to the right, and straight on 'til morning," Jack said.
Daniel sighed, rolled his eyes, and hit him.