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Confused Colonels, Disgruntled Archaeologists, and Other Problems of Temporal Distortions

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"I just mean, you could do anything you want without having to worry about . . . Jack?"

Jack was way ahead of Daniel on this one, already getting up to lock the door. It didn't happen every loop, but whenever Daniel mentioned the lack of consequences, Jack considered it as permission, encouragement, absolution, and collusion.

"Jack?" Daniel blinked behind his glasses, his mouth still parted in a question.

Jack ran his thumb over Daniel's cheek, Daniel's eyes following the movement. He stepped behind the desk, in between Daniel's legs, and leaned over, brushing his lips against Daniel's other cheek as he spoke. "Yes, Daniel?"

"What are you doing?" Daniel's voice was breathless already; it was so easy to turn him on when he was surrounded by artifacts.

"Nothing that will have consequences." Jack latched on to Daniel's earlobe and nibbled on the soft mound of flesh.

Daniel flinched away slightly, looking as if a chill was creeping up his spine. "Jack, the cameras," he hissed.

Jack rolled his eyes—they'd been over this. "Time loop, Daniel. In less than an hour this will never have happened." He pushed Daniel's shirt off his shoulder. "Enjoy it while you can remember it." Daniel's eyes darkened slightly, maybe mirroring Jack's own discontent at the prospect of yet another loop, but the look was lost in a moan the next second, quieted only by Jack's mouth pressing over Daniel's.

Daniel surged against Jack, seeming to acquiesce as his hands slipped to his belt. Jack helped him strip, running his hands over newly exposed flesh, still amazed every time he eased Daniel into doing this. With careful planning, maybe they'd be able to do this after the looping stopped . . . if they ever made the looping stop.

Jack's stomach lurched in response to the thought, but then Daniel's hands were at his waist. As Daniel unfastened Jack's pants, slowly pulling away clothes, Jack traced Daniel's unchangeable skin, cataloguing the cut on Daniel's rib that hadn't yet healed, the dark bruise the size of a quarter on his side. Jack kissed his neck, sucking until a red welt appeared. He frowned at it, knowing that this bruise wouldn't be one that Daniel carried with him into the next loop; it, along with everything else, would be reset, undone. He swallowed his sigh, shifting his thoughts to Daniel and the current motions of the tongue on Jack's nipple.

With pants around their ankles, Jack pushed Daniel up against the desk, bending him over so that Daniel's chest pressed against papers and alien languages, books on Latin, and ink. He ran his hands over Daniel's ass, prepping him slowly with the contents of a bottle of sunscreen Daniel had stashed in his top desk drawer. He kneaded the lotion into Daniel's skin, teasing at the opening until he heard a disgruntled "Jack." One finger, two, angling just enough to open Daniel and ease the pain that was to come. Jack kissed the knots in Daniel's spine, licking instead when his lips needed a break.

When Jack parted Daniel's cheeks, Daniel gripped the sides of his desk, jostling the stacks so that a folder slid off, scattering its contents over the floor like confetti. Daniel grunted and whined, but Jack gruffly said, "Time loop," and pushed inside, far slower than he wished to go. The next sound out of Daniel could hardly be described as protest.

Jack moved in short and fast strokes, knowing that the loop was close; he wanted them both to come. He changed his angle until he heard Daniel's uncontrolled gasp, so unlike the other pants and moans that were just meant to let Jack know he wasn't being hurt. Jack rammed in, hitting the same place over and over, grappling to the edge of the cliff himself so that he wouldn't come before Daniel.

"You like being fucked in front of your books?"

Daniel groaned and Jack could just see that his eyes were open, staring at his bookshelf. Daniel was probably reading the titles, thinking about how the language wrapped around his tongue the same way his ass was wrapped around Jack's cock. Jack chuckled under his breath, losing his rhythm for a moment. He doubled his efforts, the desk shaking as his hips slapped against Daniel's ass, Daniel's body shifting the desk so that they made a steady thumping sound. Everything on the desk swayed: the pens in the pen cup, Daniel's laptop, the ceramic pots, and the fertility statue Jack joked was more useful as a sundial.

"God, Jack."

Jack's body clenched at that and he couldn't hold on any longer. He slammed into Daniel, slipping over the edge so that when the statue tumbled over the desk, he barely heard it shatter. The rushing in his ears was so loud that for a second he worried they were looping already.

He came around slowly, his fingers unclenching from Daniel's hips, the nails sore from digging into skin. As Jack pulled away, Daniel groaned, his shoulders relaxed as though lying on his desk was more comfortable than his bed.

Ceramic crunched under Jack's boot as he stepped away. The statue was in shards, the prominent . . . sundial snapped clean off. "Sorry about that."

Daniel waved one tired hand, his face still mashed against the desk, slurring his words. "Time loop."

Less than five minutes, Jack thought. He pulled Daniel upright, kissing him soundly. He just wanted to keep kissing Daniel, forget about the time loop, just keep kissing Daniel over and over, letting the post-orgasm bliss wash away slowly. But he could feel the loop coming, like a tingle at the nape of his neck, as sure as Daniel's fingers on his cheek.

"Is it about to happen?" Daniel looked over his shoulder at the clock mounted high on the wall.

"Nearly," Jack whispered. He stroked Daniel's cheek, knowing that this time, when he looped, he wanted to be looking at Daniel already; maybe that would make it less jarring.

"This sucks, you know."

"Does it?" Jack tried to school the bite from his voice.

Daniel narrowed his eyes. "Yes, Jack. It sucks. For me, too."

Jack rolled his eyes, pushing away. "You won't remember this in two minutes. You will ask me a question—that I don't even hear—and you won't be the wiser. You won't remember the last two hundred loops, the last month of aggravating repetitiveness, having to explain why it is that I'm slightly more wacko than normal." Daniel's derisive snort spurred Jack on. "You aren't stuck in a bottle."

"I'm not?" Daniel shook his head, the flash from the time loop enveloping his features, but Jack still heard him say, "You don't get it."

* * *

"Anyway, I'm sorry, but that just happens to be how I feel about it. What do you think?" Daniel gestured, genuine concern on his face, but Jack heard the heat from the previous loop, the quiet betrayal ringing in his ears.

"I think you don't appreciate my situation," Jack growled, shoving away from the table. He dropped the spoon his hand was still stupidly clutching, and heard Carter ask, "What situation?" before the chatter in the cafeteria drowned out their voices.

What did Daniel know anyway? He'd never been stuck in a time loop before, a completely useless, tedious situation in which he couldn't affect a damn thing and just had to sit back and wait until someone else figured it out—because Latin lessons aside, it wasn't going to be Jack who figured this one out. Oh, no, even stuck like this he was still dependent on Daniel.

Jack scrubbed his face, some sense of rationality calming his mind: this wasn't Daniel's fault. Hell, this Daniel didn't even know why Jack was mad because, to this Daniel, yesterday hadn't happened. Or the previous loop. That thing in his office. Whatever!

A message sounded over the PA system: "Colonel O'Neill to the briefing room."

Jack mashed the heels of his hands into his eyes; he'd forgotten the stupid briefing. He snorted. How could he forget anything about this day?

After ambling up to the briefing room and receiving curious glances from the rest of SG-1, the briefing went as usual: Corona missions; magnets; oh, what a time loop; hey, it's SG-12; light in the eye; everyone finally catching up. Jack heaved an exhausted sigh when he caught Daniel in his office.

"Jack. I was just coming to look for you."

Jack nodded, slumping into a chair, most of his ire at Daniel siphoned off during the lengthy medical exam. He shifted uncomfortably on the stool. "I know, I know: four hundred pages of alien text. Daniel, I just want to not think about it, okay? Just, can we skip it? Please?"

Daniel settled his books on his desk. "Jack, I only have a few hours, just . . . just concentrate, okay? Work through this now and. . . ."

"And I can work through the next loop and the next one and the one after that?" Jack growled. "I'm exhausted, Daniel, okay? I can't . . . I can't do this." A notebook cushioned Jack's head, the open page sticking uncomfortably to his forehead.

"Uh. . . ." A chair scraped towards him. Daniel's hand awkwardly patted his shoulder.

Jack rolled his head, the page peeling away slowly. "Your ability to comfort me is astounding."

Daniel bristled, but held his tongue. "What do you expect me to do?"

Keeping his head down, Jack met Daniel's eyes, a slight curve to his mouth the only indication that he was thinking anything other than perfectly saintly thoughts.

"We're on base," Daniel hissed.

"Time. Loop," Jack snapped, head coming off the table. "How many times do I have to explain it?"

"This is the first time for me," Daniel snapped back. "You've probably explained it dozens of times, but, Jack, it's all new to me, okay? Everything."

"I know. Everything's always new to you." Jack let out a frustrated breath, reining in his temper. "Maybe I need to stay away from you this loop."

Daniel's eyebrows rocketed. "Why?"

Jack crossed his arms, conceding this one point. "We kind of fought last time around. I'm—apparently—not quite ready to forgive you."

"What, what did we fight about?"

Jack hung his head; he hadn't wanted to talk. He wanted to snap at Daniel and then wander off, maybe hit a few more golf balls through the 'gate, or attack Fraiser with a pen light, maybe hit on Carter again. "I don't know, Daniel. You're just pissy, okay?"

"I'm pissy?"

"Just. . . ." Not another fight. Jack stood up so fast, the chair spun. "I'll see you next loop."

"No, you won't."

Jack paused at the door.

"Because it won't be me. Not the me that would remember this conversation, anyway. You've got another clean slate, Jack," Daniel said quietly. "You're pissed off at me for a fight, and I . . . I don't even know why I should be mad."

"You shouldn't," Jack growled.

"Jack, we had a fight. I'm sure I have every right to be pissed at you. As usual," Daniel muttered. Jack opened his mouth, but before he could speak, Daniel went on. "You know, you can say whatever horrible things you want to me—do whatever you like—but when this resets, I won't know a damn thing. You're free."

Jack snorted. "Free, huh?"

Daniel tilted his head, his eyes searching Jack like he could see into Jack's own memory, see the loops where Jack hadn't been quite so faithful, hiding in the women's locker room, kissing Carter, flirting with the nurses.

"We had sex, didn't we?"

Jack blushed. "Maybe. Once or twice." Daniel's stare leveled him. "Eleven times."

Daniel nodded briskly, the emotion in his eyes suddenly closed off, as if someone had snapped a light switch and his whole demeanor changed—Jack felt it.

"Daniel?"

He turned back to his desk, shuffling papers, picking up a file folder and a pen. "Go, Jack. Do . . . whatever it is you want. Like you said, I'll see you next loop."

"Daniel?" He stepped toward Daniel, but it was like hitting a wall, like Daniel had some strange power to make his emotions physical.

"Go, Jack." Tiredness seeped into Daniel's voice. "I . . . I don't want to see you right now."

Jack left without saying anything else; there wasn't much to say after that. Besides, Daniel was right. In another six hours, Jack would be off the hook and Daniel would have forgotten all about the fight.

* * *

Jack held his tongue during the next several loops, and he and Teal'c sat through their Latin lessons, dutifully reciting verbs. When Jack wasn't sparring with Daniel, he could almost admit that the repetitious lessons were soothing, helping to blend the days, and dull Jack's knowledge of exactly how long they'd been looping.

"The word abiceerum means to give up, not surrender," Jack said negligently.

"How many times have you, uh, we, been through this?" Daniel asked. He looked uncomfortable, somehow, but Jack couldn't quite place it.

Jack leaned his head back, sure they'd had this conversation before. "Too many times."

"At least one hundred fifty-six loops," Teal'c said from the chalkboard. "I began counting."

Jack slowly closed his eyes. "I really wish you wouldn't."

"I merely wish to be able to write an accurate report once this is all over, O'Neill." Teal'c carefully wrote "give up" under the line of alien text.

"But it reminds me of how many times we've been through this."

Daniel grimaced, collapsing onto the stool next to Jack. "Frustrating, huh?"

Jack telegraphed his sarcasm with a look.

"But," Daniel said, preparing to look on the bright side, "think of all the time you have now. You can literally try anything you want. Learn," Daniel held up one of the language books, "anything." He smiled, urging Jack to see the positives. "Do anything." His hand caressed Jack's thigh, his fingers teasing until Jack had to shift.

"Hey, Teal'c, let's take this loop off," Jack said, trying to keep his voice casual.

"O'Neill, we have almost completed—"

"Teal'c, I'm tired." Jack tore his gaze away from Daniel's fuck-me eyes, affecting a heavy sigh. "We'll finish next loop."

Teal'c bowed, said, "Very well," and left.

Daniel slid closer to Jack, licking his lips. One hand slipped up Jack's shirt while the other worked on his belt.

"Usually not so forward," Jack gasped, tilting his head to allow Daniel more space.

Daniel nipped at Jack's neck. "Do you have any idea how hot it is to listen to you translate?"

Jack pulled away, blinking. "You're turned on by Latin?"

"I'm turned on by you speaking Latin." Daniel wiggled his fingers into Jack's pants, hand gripping Jack's penis. "Come on, Jack, I'm sure you've fantasized about having sex in my office." He licked up Jack's neck.

"Actually, we've done it here before."

Daniel pulled away with a disappointed "oh."

"I'm not complaining," Jack rushed to assure him. He rubbed Daniel's hand over his erection. "Really not complaining." Daniel's fingers fluttered, more uncertain than teasing. "Don't be shy." Jack chuckled under his breath, his mind a little loose at the edges; he never realized having sex on base would be so arousing. Sure, he'd thought of it idly while in the showers—oh, the showers, he'd have to save that one for later—but he'd never seriously considered it as a possibility. Daniel would say that he'd rationalized the eroticism or something, making it lose its appeal, but the truth was that it had never lost its appeal, Jack just never thought it would be possible—he never thought he'd have the opportunity.

No consequences, huh?

"Daniel, you may have considered that my current situation affords me certain graces—beyond just intellectual pursuits."

Daniel's glare could set the books on fire. "I think I just brought that up."

"Then I'm agreeing with you."

"Sex is involved; of course you're agreeing." A flicker of pressure around Jack's dick offset Daniel's petulance.

"Hey." Jack punctuated his exclamation with a kiss. His fingers met at the back of Daniel's scalp, gently kneading until Daniel's tongue flicked into his mouth and Daniel leaned into Jack's space. "We've fouled your office a few times, but haven't hit the rest of the base yet," Jack whispered. He kissed Daniel's neck, licking his way to the ear, then breathed lightly, hoping he enunciated properly. "Ergo apud me?"

Daniel gasped like Jack had just sucked on his cock. "Your office. Now." He kissed Jack roughly, hard enough to bruise. "You're evil, you know that?" Daniel pulled away suddenly, practically sprinting from the room.

Jack grinned, hastily zipping up his pants, leaving his jacket on Daniel's floor. There were some times when he didn't care about being evil.

* * *

Jack continued his quest to have sex in every room on base, but Daniel wasn't willing to play along every loop. It was baffling, really, because Daniel was the same—exactly the same—every loop, and yet he didn't always react the same. If Jack broached the subject after explaining the looping, Daniel sometimes would blow him off and sometimes would blow him. If Jack waited until they began their lessons, sometimes Daniel forced Jack to speak Latin and sometimes he forced Jack to . . . actually, he always forced Jack to speak Latin, the little language-slut. But Jack never knew which Daniel he was going to get and that . . . that was what kept it exciting.

Jack entered Daniel's office later than usual. "Hey. Teal'c and I agreed last loop that we needed to blow off some steam this time." He waggled his eyebrows. "So, you've just got me."

Daniel dropped his stack of photographs and notes. "I've been pulling together my notes for the last twenty minutes."

Jack waved him off. "They'll still be there tomorrow. For now," he grabbed Daniel's hand, pulling him out into the hall, "just come with me."

"Jack, what—" Jack's look halted Daniel's question, and the responding glint in his eye let Jack know which Daniel he had on his hands this loop. "You are seriously kinky, O'Neill."

"You haven't even heard what I'm planning."

"I don't need to hear it. I know you."

The gateroom was empty when they got there. After several times golfing through the 'gate, Jack knew exactly when the room would be both empty and unwatched. His late arrival at Daniel's office had been to ensure that the blast door would be down and it would take them several minutes to fix it—it had been so worth flirting with Carter a few loops before.

"Are we going offworld?" Daniel blinked up at the closed blast doors, and slowed, taking in the empty, echoing room. His eyes widened as he put it together.

Jack pulled him up the ramp, only stopping when they were directly under the Stargate. "Always knew you had a yen for this thing." He pushed Daniel up against the Stargate, one hand resting on the cold naquadah.

"Someone's going to catch us," Daniel whispered, eyes dilated.

Jack dropped to his knees, quickly opening Daniel's pants. "Of course someone is. That's why this turns you on so much." He pushed down BDUs and boxers, licking up Daniel's shaft, hands reaching around to Daniel's ass. They only had about twenty minutes, and there was so much Jack wanted to do with this orifice. Jack licked the head of Daniel's penis, closing his eyes and opening his mouth, inhaling the cold scent of the room with the warm scent of Daniel's body.

Fingers dipping into the crack of Daniel's ass, Jack sucked, his tongue flicking around the ridge of Daniel's penis, a tang just noticeable on the tip of his tongue. Daniel's hand smoothed over Jack's cheek, fingers digging into the sinew at his neck, a little too close to painful. Jack ran his index finger down until he passed over the puckered hole and then kept going, pressing into Daniel's balls, fondling them in one hand. Daniel shifted his legs wider, one hand reaching behind him to brace himself against the Stargate. Oh, the old girl was going to get a show today.

Jack slid up and down the shaft—sucking as he pulled off, swallowing as he went down—the only sounds in the gateroom dry pants and wet slurps. Daniel's fingers moved into Jack's hair, flexing with the rhythm, tugging the short hair when Daniel wanted faster, wanted now. Jack planted both hands on Daniel's hips, pushing him back and up against the 'gate. Daniel hissed as bare skin met cold metal and his fingers grew frantic, one briefly winding up in Jack's ear. Daniel tugged Jack up by the collar, penis unceremoniously popping from Jack's mouth as he awkwardly rose, grabbing Daniel for balance.

Daniel gripped Jack to him, locking their mouths together and fucking his tongue into Jack's mouth. His hips canted in the same desperate way, grinding against Jack's still fully dressed groin. There was a moment in which Jack could only hang on, one hand around Daniel's back, the other gripping the Stargate, like it wasn't just a superconductor for electrical energy.

Daniel broke away, gasping for air, and then stiffened, mouth hanging open wantonly as Jack held him through his orgasm. Daniel's eyes were closed, the surely unfocused gaze hidden behind creamy lids and long lashes. Jack kissed his eyebrow, felt him flinch, but he stayed good and relaxed, nicely prepared for the next step.

Jack slid to his knees again, taking Daniel's spent cock in his mouth, sucking the last of the come before flicking his tongue over the slit.

"You planned this."

Air seeped in between Jack's grin, he reached into his pocket, flicked open the cap on the lube, and answered Daniel with a slick finger.

"How many times," Daniel gasped, "have we done this?"

Jack sucked, drawing out a moan at the end of Daniel's question, finally pulling off long enough to say, "Haven't."

Daniel's hips suddenly straightened, the lazy pose snapped rigid. "This is new? I mean, for you?"

"Oh, yeah." Jack kissed Daniel's hips, trying to lure them back into their original relaxed, sultry position. He wiggled his finger, but received an aggravated tut for his efforts.

"But we've had sex before? I mean, during the loops." Daniel's tone had lost its breathlessness. Jack removed his finger, narrowing his eyes. "I mean—"

Some thing blossomed in Jack's mind. "You don't remember." Daniel's words, from several loops ago, sprang to Jack's mind. Jack was free, he'd said, a clean slate. Baptism by time loop, all his sins washed clean with no consequences. For having so much time on his hands, Jack was stupid not to spend a minute decoding what Daniel hadn't said.

Jack leaned back on his haunches, staring up at Daniel's passive face. Daniel was a clean slate, too. A slate clean of the knowledge and experiences Jack was accumulating. Jack finally understood why Daniel sometimes rejected him, what Daniel was sacrificing for him every time he consented.

"I'll tell you about it," he promised, laying his hands on his thighs. "After the looping stops, I'll tell you about all of it. And, and we don't need to, I mean, this was great," Jack gestured around the gateroom, feeling stupid as he heard his babble, but he finally understood. "But we don't need to go further. I mean, you won't remember," he whispered.

Daniel's face softened around his smile. "You get that, huh?"

Jack nodded, hesitating before saying, "Finally."

He stood up, shifting to a more comfortable position. "We'd better clear out."

"But what about," Daniel gestured toward Jack's crotch.

"Discipline," Jack replied with a tight grin. He grabbed Daniel's shirt from where it had landed on the railing, holding it while Daniel bent to retrieve his pants from his ankles. Daniel's ass bore delectable red fingerprints and a slight pattern that might have been from the Stargate. Mmm, the Stargate, Jack's mind drooled.

Daniel's sated smile turned skeptical, brow furrowing. "You're trying to figure out if we can swing this once we stop the looping."

"Can you blame me? That was just a blow job!"

Daniel's laugh, the first laugh Jack had heard in months, he realized, warmed the cold gateroom. Daniel cupped Jack's cheek, kissing him more tenderly than he had in a long, long time. "I promise that we'll figure this out."

Jack kissed Daniel's thumb and grinned. "Quis scit quid cras fiat?"

Daniel swallowed the surprise on his face, and smoothly answered, "You know exactly what tomorrow will bring."

"Yeah," Jack said, rubbing the back of his neck. "That's exactly what we need to fix."

Daniel started down the ramp, still buckling his belt. "Tired of having no consequences?"

Jack rolled his eyes. "Are you kidding? With you, there's always consequences."