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Jack managed to hold his tongue during the debriefing. Carter and Daniel discussed the simple solution to the Enkaran's problem with the Gadmeer ship, and Jack kept to the facts. He was straightforward, exact, emotionless. He refused to think about giving the order to detonate the naquadah reactor while Daniel was on the ship. He wasn't going to think about it. Not now and not later.

Hammond stood up. "SG-1, you are dismissed."

Jack shot up out of his chair and stood at Daniel's elbow. "Daniel? A word?" Jack said evenly. Okay, maybe he was thinking about it. A little.

Daniel shut his folder. "Yeah, Jack?" He flinched when he looked up at Jack, then leaned back in the chair, licking his lips.

This was not a conversation to have on base. At least not ten feet from Hammond's office.

"Hockey, beer, company," Jack grunted, laying off the Scary Colonel Routine. "You game?"

Daniel's eyes darted back and forth. He was obviously trying to come up with a reason to get out of it.

Jack crossed his arms and looked down his nose at Daniel. "Daniel, if you say you have to translate or catalogue something I'm going to take whatever it is and pitch it through the 'gate."

Daniel swallowed, visibly. The point was made—Daniel wasn't getting out of this.

"O-okay. Just, uh." Daniel held up his folder and tapped it. He held it in front of him, like it would ward Jack away. Jack stepped back, allowing Daniel this concession.

Jack let Daniel get to the door before calling him back. "You need a couple minutes, or can I tag along?"

Daniel licked his lips and narrowed his eyes. Jack was too tense—Daniel picked up on it. Apparently he was determined not to play Jack's game. Daniel shrugged. "I just need to drop this off." He walked out the door like it didn't matter what Jack did at all. Except Jack's actions did matter. Oh, what Jack did was whole bunches of matter. And Daniel was going to understand that.

* * *

Daniel had agreed to ride with Jack after Jack stared him down for a full, very silent minute. Some of Daniel's confidence had waned; it couldn't have fit Jack's plans better.

Daniel repetitively locked and unlocked the door. It kept him busy and kept Jack's nerves brittle. He finally looked up, surprise etching his face: they weren't anywhere near Jack's house.

"Uh, Jack? Did you move?" Daniel looked over his shoulder.

"No." Jack steered the truck with one hand, resting the other on his knee.

"Then is there a reason that we're—" Daniel held up a fist and opened it, flattening his palm. "—here?"

"Yes." Jack made another right turn, this time on to a forested dirt road. Daniel would recognize the surroundings. It was sort of their "meeting ground."

Jack pulled over and cut the engine. The moon was full, so he shut off the lights, too. Daniel scratched at his knee through his jeans. His soap—a strong sandalwood—permeated the quiet cab. Jack kept his hands on the steering wheel. He finally let himself envision it—Daniel on the ship, standing next to Lotan, the explosion going off in his face, and then—nothing. No more Daniel, just—boom.

"Why?"

Daniel's fingers stilled. He blinked a few times. "Why what?"

"You knew we were going to blow it and you went back." Jack's hands tightened on the steering wheel. "You are so stupid."

Daniel's eyebrows rocketed above his glasses. "I'm sorry. I thought I solved the problem—reasonably."

Jack snorted. "Yeah. You fixed all the problems. Made everybody happy." He slapped the steering wheel.

"Okay. Maybe there's one problem I didn't solve." Daniel folded his arms across his chest. "Meaning your issue."

"My issue?" Jack embraced his issue. He picked his issue up, tucked it in his pocket, and fed it little bits of chocolate. "What does that mean?"

"I don't know!" Daniel unbuckled his seat belt and got out of the car. "You're insane, you know that?" He slammed the door.

Jack followed him out of the car, keeping the engine between them. "Yeah. But that's not my 'issue.'" He sneered around Daniel's word.

"No, it just augments your problem," Daniel muttered. He took a few steps off into the darkness.

Jack took a deep breath and focused on his offensive. "You didn't listen to me. You ignored my command."

Jack could see Daniel bite back his first response. Instead, Daniel took a deep breath.

"You asked for options. I gave you an option."

"No." Jack came around the truck and jabbed Daniel in the chest. "You put yourself in danger." He could hear the fear creeping into his voice. He tried to keep it out of his eyes.

"Sometimes that happens!" Daniel swatted Jack's hand away. "I was willing to make that sacrifice."

"Well I wasn't!" That wasn't what he was supposed to say. Daniel didn't even look surprised—he should have. Jack hadn't said anything like that since—it had been a long time. Damn it, Daniel should have been surprised.

Jack shook his head and tried to focus again. "What I mean—"

Daniel held up a hand.

They waited. They stared. They breathed.

Daniel was focusing on Jack's words. Jack could see them replaying in Daniel's head, telling Daniel all he needed to know about Jack's state of mind, laying all of Jack naked before him. Not part of Jack's plan. An off-balance Daniel was a safe Daniel. A focused Daniel was not.

Jack needed to distract him, but he couldn't make his mouth move.

"You had to make that call," Daniel whispered. He leaned over and touched their foreheads together. It was a much too intimate gesture. Jack flinched at first, but then leaned into the contact. "We were doing our jobs."

Jack pursed his lips. "Our. Jobs." The words sounded awkward, loaded, explosive.

"You didn't—" Daniel didn't finish his sentence—wouldn't finish his sentence. They both knew the next words in that sentence were "kill me." And saying those words just might kill one of them. Or force Jack to kill Daniel for being so melodramatic.

"No." Jack rocked back on his heels and turned. "I ordered Carter to do it." He cringed. He'd brought it up to break the moment, but it was true. He put that on Carter. Yes, he had made the decision, but he made her carry it out. And that—that was unforgivable.

"Then why are we having this conversation?" Daniel was right behind him. "I mean, shouldn't you be talking to Sam?" Daniel rested his hand on Jack's shoulder blade. His hand felt so hot.

Jack just shook his head. Carter understood. She was following orders. His orders sucked and they weren't something that would have been easy to live with, but they were orders. Carter would rationalize that. In ten years, maybe twenty—after she'd had plenty of time to think about it—she would have hated Jack, but for the time being she would have understood.

He felt Daniel nod, knew he licked his lips, too.

"You think I don't understand?"

Jack finally looked over his shoulder. "You don't."

"It was an order. You made the call. She did it." Daniel stepped forward, shifted his hand, wrapping his arm around Jack. It was an embrace in which someone could surrender. "I understand." He smiled lightly. "I may not agree with it, but I understand."

Jack spun. "How can you do that?" He wanted to strangle Daniel but settled for digging his nails into his own palms.

Daniel blinked. He held his hand like it had been burned.

"I—I—" What the hell was Jack trying to say? He looked up and connected with Daniel's eyes. Those accursed blue eyes that saw so much more than Jack ever did.

Jack gritted his teeth and forced himself to say it: "I killed you." His voice cracked. Daniel was his best friend but he wasn't supposed to know how much this decision had ripped Jack apart.

And Daniel wasn't supposed to take it like this. Not this easy.

Jack pushed Daniel, hard. "I killed you!"

Daniel stumbled, but regained his balance. "If you didn't notice, I'm kind of alive." He stepped toward Jack again. "And you did what you had to—given the circumstances."

"Damn it, Daniel!" Jack closed the distance, standing with their chests inches apart. He breathed heavily, thickly. He breathed in through his nose to steady himself and almost choked on Daniel.

Jack pushed him again, harder this time. Daniel stumbled, this time falling back, catching himself with his hands. "Hit me! Fight me!"

"Jack. I'm okay." Daniel kept his eyes on Jack, while he maneuvered to push himself up.

Jack grabbed his arms and hauled Daniel to his feet. "You might not have been. You might—I gave the order." Jack tightened his grip on Daniel's biceps. He growled.

Daniel blinked once, not nervous, just—deliberate. Daniel was steady and Jack was falling apart at the seams. Since when did that happen?

Since Jack was tired of leaving Daniel behind. It had been a long time since Jack had made a decision like that. He'd gone to rescue him—hell, last week—and he had sworn to never leave Daniel behind again, but when it came down to it, he had made the same decision all over again—for the good of the team he could sacrifice Daniel. There wasn't one promise he could keep with this man. Not one.

Jack's fingers ached from his hold on Daniel's arms. Daniel didn't even flinch. He just took the pain Jack was inflicting on him. He just took it, like he always did.

How could he just take it? Why on earth didn't he blame Jack? Why was he so understanding?

Jack shook him, pulling him closer. Their chests were touching. Daniel's eyes looked a little rattled from the shaking, but he was still calm.

Jack growled. Then he drew Daniel to him. He breathed on Daniel's lips and thought what he wanted to say—I'm not ready for you to be gone. He kissed Daniel, bruising their lips. Daniel tasted like coffee. Jack wanted coffee.

Daniel responded as normal, opening his mouth. He sucked Jack's tongue hard enough that Jack felt it in his knees. Daniel wrapped his arms around Jack's neck. His fingers gripped at the sides of Jack's head. Nails scratched into Jack's scalp; fingers gripped at his hair. It hurt. It was good.

Jack kept one hand on Daniel's arm and moved the other around his back, crushing him closer. The push moved Daniel forward a step, their groins touching. Jack's cock surged; Daniel was already hard—the man had a serious yen for debate. Jack rubbed up against Daniel, pushing against the hard flesh. Daniel moaned.

Jack tilted his head and breathed, "Daniel." Daniel felt so good against him.

Jack leaned his head back while Daniel leeched on to his neck. Daniel knew all of his weak spots. He knew exactly how much pressure to exert. He could be hard and insistent, sometimes biting and then other times soft, barely touching, making Jack insane. When Daniel was too gentle, Jack pushed him until Daniel did what Jack wanted.

If only Daniel was so easy to control on missions.

Daniel bit and sucked with abandoned. Jack's head was swimming. This was the only way to clear things.

"Fuck, Daniel," Jack hissed.

Daniel nodded. He tugged at the collar of Jack's t-shirt. He growled. "Can't reach farther." He licked and bit at the fabric.

Jack shoved Daniel back and then ripped off his leather jacket. Daniel's pupils dilated. He jumped on Jack again, pulling Jack's t-shirt up and running his hands and then his lips over Jack's chest.

Jack growled. He went straight for Daniel's belt, fighting with it; it had been awhile since he had removed someone else's—Daniel's—belt. He yanked it to one side, trying to free it, but only pulled Daniel away. Daniel stumbled, his mouth breaking off from Jack's skin. Daniel huffed.

"Shut up," Jack said. He attacked Daniel's belt with both hands and then went straight for the zipper.

Daniel leaned his head back, panting at the sky. "I should almost die more often."

Jack bit Daniel's shoulder harder than normal. Daniel moaned, for once missing Jack's acute pain. Maybe to Daniel this was just a fuck, but to Jack—Jack refused to think about what this was to him.

Daniel tugged at Jack's collar, trying to pull it over his head. He managed to get it up into Jack's mouth. Daniel laughed.

Jack mumbled around the fabric. He pulled his shirt off and flung it to the ground. "Don't laugh," Jack growled. "You think this is about happiness? About love?" Jack reached into Daniel's pants and grabbed his penis over his boxers. Jack swallowed. For Jack it kept going back to orders. Orders given, orders ignored. All the orders both of them should follow and didn't.

Daniel thrust up into Jack's hand. "I never said I loved you." He grunted and Jack squeezed harder.

"Neither did I," Jack growled. He tugged at Daniel's jeans, getting them partially down. Daniel nearly lost his balance, leaning heavily on Jack.

Both hands gripped Jack's shoulders. "What you said," Daniel panted, "or didn't say, doesn't affect how you feel."

Jack pushed and Daniel fell, dragging Jack on top of him. Daniel rolled, pinning Jack to the ground. The dirt felt cold, good against Jack's back.

"Shut up," Jack whispered. "I don't want it to be about that." He ran his hand over Daniel's face. "I want to hate myself."

Daniel leaned over and kissed Jack softly. Daniel's lips were so full, pressed against Jack's mouth like—perfection.

"I don't hate you."

Jack opened his eyes. He hadn't even realized they were closed. Or that time had passed.

"You should." Jack held Daniel's gaze, one second hopeful, the next daring him to—to not hate Jack. Jack turned his head and coughed, speaking his excuses more to the night than to Daniel. "Among other things, I'm your CO. It's easier to hate your CO. You go for drinks with your team and bitch about him till you're all sober again."

"You think Sam, Teal'c, and I don't do that already?"

Jack smirked and stuck his tongue out at Daniel. He snaked his hand down and seized Daniel's penis again. "Shut up."

Daniel's breath hitched. Jack rubbed his thumb up and down Daniel's penis. He lightly touched the skin just around the head.

Daniel closed his eyes and shivered. "Not talking is good." He put both hands down, one on each side of Jack's head.

Jack slowly stroked his hand up and down Daniel's shaft. He turned his head to the left and licked at Daniel's arm. Jack grinned. He loved doing this to Daniel. Loved making Daniel squirm. In the quiet of his mind he could—sometimes—admit the truth. The reason they met out here and went at each other like horny teenagers had nothing to do with releasing tension.

Daniel's breathing grew heavy. His eyes fluttered and his arms shook with his weight, his lips moving in silent pleas. Daniel was just—Daniel. Beautiful, or some other sentimental crap was not going to cross Jack's mind.

Jack picked up the pace on the hand job. He swiped his thumb over the slit. Daniel gasped and almost collapsed on Jack. Jack stroked a few more times and then brushed the slit again. Daniel's mouth fell open and a gasp leaked out.

"This doesn't solve the problem." Daniel licked his lips, keeping his eyes closed. It was almost like he didn't realize he had spoken. Like he was thinking about it so hard that the words formed themselves.

Jack bit down, grinding his teeth. He pulled on Daniel's skin, only allowing the tiniest bit to actually slide through his hand. It was much rougher than the way Jack liked to be handled. It was the way Jack gripped Daniel when he couldn't strangle him.

"I had almost forgotten about my intense grief and self-loathing." Jack pulled hard enough on Daniel to elicit a strangled squeak. "Thanks."

Daniel opened his eyes, staring Jack down with cold blue orbs. "No." Apparently Daniel did realize he had spoken. Maybe he even meant to speak. "Thank you. Only time I get a decent hand job is when you're wracked with guilt."

Jack's hand actually stopped moving as he absorbed that one. He sometimes forgot that Daniel rivaled him in sarcasm and could be one mean little son of a bitch. And when Daniel wanted to be mean he could usually hone in on exactly the wrong thing to say. What a talented linguist.

Jack resumed the rough treatment on Daniel's cock. "Sorry your own hands aren't enough for you."

Daniel lunged at Jack. He kissed, sucked, and bit Jack's lips, his tongue darting in and out of Jack's mouth, licking everywhere. He chewed Jack's lower lip and licked Jack's bottom row of teeth. Jack never quite understood how Daniel licking his teeth could drive him so wild.

"Your hands are better," Daniel panted between kisses. "You're an idiot if you don't know that."

Jack pushed Daniel up with his free hand. "My hands are dirty. You're insane to even let me touch you."

Daniel growled. "Exactly. I let you touch me." Daniel leaned close to Jack's ear and whispered. "I'm really the one who's in charge. That's why I ignore your orders. They don't apply to me."

Jack surged up and flipped Daniel on to his back. Daniel's head smacked into the ground hard enough for a soft crack, but Jack quickly assessed that he was uninjured.

Jack pulled Daniel's jeans and boxers down and pushed his sweater and undershirt up over his eyes, leaving his arms trapped. He straddled Daniel, putting his weight on Daniel's thighs. He dug into Daniel's ribs with his fingers and raked his nails across the skin. He half-heard groans, moans, and something Jack almost recognized as a sob, but his mind barely connected that these sounds were coming from Daniel.

Jack pulled his fingers down Daniel's stomach, leaned over, and bit into the fleshy part at Daniel's side. That earned a gasp.

"Jack." Daniel turned the word into five syllables, getting louder as he drew it out. The increase in volume meant that Daniel was scared.

For the time being Jack didn't care.

Jack bit into Daniel's side again, this time with less intensity. He laved at the wound with his tongue, tasting the metallic blood that had pooled just under the skin. He inhaled: the sweat mingled with the chill air sent an electric jolt through Jack's body.

Daniel was a problem. Daniel never listened to Jack and because of it Jack almost had to kill him. Daniel was too independent; he didn't understand the mission; he was off in science-land fiddling with the rocks, with his head stuffed so far in a book he didn't comprehend that someone was holding a hand grenade to his ear. Jack panted, winded by his thoughts.

"You." Jack bit at Daniel's hip, pulling back enough to not gnaw on the protruding hipbone.

"Should." Jack fisted Daniel's cock and jerked a few times. Daniel half sat up, the muscles in his abdomen tightening.

"Obey." Jack engulfed the cock with no preamble. Daniel's gasp, long and obviously enough to keep him slack-jawed for a few minutes, was exactly what Jack wanted to hear. One thing Daniel didn't understand about Jack. Jack asked him to follow orders, and Daniel ignored them, but Jack could make him follow orders.

For a few silent seconds, Jack pulled on Daniel's cock, sliding up and down the shaft, coating it with saliva, not worrying about being gentle or neat. Daniel's pre-cum was sweet and Jack loved the taste of it—Daniel's natural way of encouraging Jack to keep doing this.

Daniel collapsed back to the ground. "This punishment," Daniel panted, "or a reward?" Jack could hear Daniel sucking his sweater into his mouth with each breath. It couldn't be easy to breathe that way. Probably not getting much air.

Jack filled his mouth with Daniel's cock and sucked for all he was worth. He kept up the suction, listening as Daniel's breathing became more and more labored.

Daniel struggled, trying to say Jack's name. His upper body became more violent, spasming like a beached fish. Daniel's motions were urgent in a way that Jack dimly knew had little to do with arousal. He bucked and his hips pushed Jack's shoulders, giving Jack enough warning to pull back unless he wanted to swallow Daniel's cock.

With Jack's weight off, Daniel settled down, but his breathing was still erratic. He panted and finally got the full word out, "Jack?"

The fear in Daniel's question finally clicked in Jack's mind. How could he do this to Daniel? Yeah, he was mad that Daniel didn't listen, but Jack had—Jack had done the thing that he shouldn't have done. Daniel shouldn't have to be afraid just because Jack was—if he admitted it—terrified.

Jack slowly laid his body over Daniel's. He ghosted his hands over Daniel's smooth skin. Daniel flinched a few times from the light touches, but his breathing was beginning to even out. Jack peppered kisses along Daniel's smooth torso. He ran his tongue down the middle of Daniel's chest. Daniel's breathing was even again, but Jack could still feel the tension in his body.

"You don't have to be afraid." Jack barely breathed the words over Daniel's nipples. The skin raised in goose flesh.

"I can't see." Daniel fumbled a little in his cloth prison, demonstrating that he was properly tangled.

Jack smiled into Daniel's flesh, pressing against the skin. He could feel Daniel's heartbeat. It was a little fast, but steady.

"Danny, you got to trust me."

Daniel huffed. "One might assume that I do—given my current position." Daniel undulated and managed to force Jack off his chest.

Jack ran his hand up Daniel's clothed arm. He gripped his wrist. "You trust me when we’re like this, yeah." He ran his hand back down Daniel's arm. He grabbed the sweater and shirt and freed Daniel, knocking Daniel's glasses askew. "You need to trust me out there, too."

Daniel adjusted his glasses. "I'm not the only one having trust issues." He crossed his arms over his chest.

Jack got up off Daniel and rested his ass on the ground. He pulled his knees up, loosely hugging them. "What." He arched one eyebrow.

Daniel shook his head. "You didn't even give me a chance."

"Excuse me?" Jack clenched his fingers. "No. You had a chance to negotiate with Lotan and he made it damn clear that he wasn't stopping."

Daniel sat up and faced Jack. "I just needed more time. Which I think I pointed out." Daniel turned, grabbed his sweater and shirt, and started untangling them. "I don't know why I let you drag me out here." He freed his undershirt and pulled it up his arms. "Every time you feel the least bit bad about yourself, you find me, drag me out, and we do this." Daniel pulled the shirt over his head. "Aren't you tired of it?"

Jack furrowed his brow. "No." Daniel was tired of it?

Daniel sighed. "Jack. What are we doing?"

The dirt around Jack's feet was suddenly intensely interesting.

Daniel came over to Jack on his knees. He grabbed Jack's chin and lifted until Jack was looking into his eyes. "We don't have to define it, but—I just want to understand."

Jack snorted. "Yeah, because understanding this is easier."

Daniel brushed his lips against Jack's. He pulled back and they stared at each other. Daniel's lips looked fucked—it was this pouty little downward tug Daniel did when he wasn't getting quite what he wanted; exactly what he did after he and Jack did whatever the hell it was they were doing now.

They both lunged into another kiss, this one more passionate and less refined. Noses bumped, Daniel's glasses were entirely knocked off his face, tongues were in and out of mouths, and when they finally pulled back, both of their mouths were covered in each other's saliva. They panted for a long, hard moment.

Jack's mouth was dry, but the words once again surfaced in his mind. He closed his mouth and let the saliva pool for a moment. He was certain some of it was Daniel's and not his.

"I'm not ready for you to leave."

Daniel leaned over and bumped their foreheads together. "I'm not either." Daniel stroked Jack's hair. It was a simple gesture, but something about it was incredibly intimate. Jack closed his eyes. "It wouldn't have been any different if it had been Teal'c on the ship, or Sam. Or you." Daniel stroked Jack's head and back. His touch was reaffirming, strengthening. Jack felt himself letting go. He leaned into Daniel and for the first time in a long time, he let himself go. He let Daniel protect him.

"You would have waited. You wouldn't have pressed the button." Jack gagged, opening his eyes.

"Probably." Daniel put his other arm around Jack and just held him. "Why does that bother you?"

Daniel's light covering of arm hair looked gold in the soft light of the full moon. Jack gripped Daniel's forearm; he was so soft. Daniel's eyes were clear and full of so much more understanding than Jack could fathom. And Jack didn't have any answers. At least no answers he wanted to vocalize. So Jack kissed him. He kissed him again, and again, and again. Jack didn't know if he could ever answer Daniel's question. He just—he wanted to kiss Daniel forever.

Daniel grabbed Jack's forearms and pushed back, forcing Jack to stop his assault. "Jack." The statement was accompanied by Daniel's stop-being-an-ass eyes.

"I don't want you to leave, isn't that enough?" Jack grunted.

"That is so far from answering my question it's not in the same galaxy."

Jack shook his head. "They're related." Daniel's white flesh flashed in Jack's peripheral vision. "You don't have pants."

"You kind of took them off."

"Yeah." Daniel's thigh was smooth and solid—he was all lean muscle.

"Do you remember doing that?"

Jack blinked and tilted his head. "Sort of?"

Daniel smiled that earth-shatteringly perfect smile that meant that for the moment he had everything he wanted. "It's kind of cold."

"Yeah?" Jack pressed in, slowly leaning Daniel back. He kissed Daniel softly. Daniel immediately responded, looping his arms around Jack's back. Jack opened his mouth and pulled in Daniel's tongue, gently massaging it with his own. They allowed the kisses to build in intensity, taking their time. This was neater than the fast, passionate kisses from before. There was a reverence to it. If Jack was drunk, crazy, or under the influence of some alien drug, he might have said that it was about love.

He might have said that.

Daniel absently brought one hand back to scratch his neck. For a brief moment Jack's entire world existed in Daniel's long fingers moving against those taut muscles. Daniel's muscles tasted bitter from his soap. Inches from the skin they smelled like sandalwood and underneath that heavy smell was something else—a smell that Jack associated with books, the dark, and Daniel.

Jack kissed along Daniel's exposed throat, mentally cursing the fact that Daniel had partially dressed. The groan from Daniel probably meant that he was cursing the same fact. He tasted the skin, lightly licking up to Daniel's jaw. Salt with a slight bitterness; Jack wouldn't enjoy it in any other scenario.

Jack momentarily forgot about reverence and gripped Daniel's undershirt, gripping as much of the fabric as possible. Daniel arched into the touch, opening his mouth to release a soft sigh. Jack unclenched his fingers and moved down to Daniel's skin, pushing up the fabric and grabbing just above Daniel's hip.

"Lips." Daniel's voice was dry and cracked. Jack couldn’t deny such need.

The kissing became sloppy again—desperate, needy, perfect clumsiness. Daniel's hands held Jack tight against his mouth. Breathing was difficult, but Jack was pretty sure that Daniel was just as good as oxygen.

Jack ran his nails over Daniel's skin, making his way to Daniel's groin. He teased the coarse hair, tangling his fingers a bit. Daniel's clawed into Jack's back.

"Jack. Wasn't asking for—"

Jack ran his fingers along Daniel's penis. "I know." He kissed Daniel. "I need this, too."

Daniel nodded.

Jack loosely gripped Daniel's penis and gave a few languid strokes. Daniel's penis twitched, fully hard. Daniel leaned up, licking Jack's neck, sucking. He paused every few moments to gasp. Jack picked up the pace.

Daniel pushed up into each stroke. He panted, whimpered, blindly kissed Jack's face and lips. His fingers raked across Jack's back. Jack knew there would be marks. That thought just made him pump faster, harder.

Jack listened for the moan that let him know he was taking too long. The gasp that preceded Daniel's open-mouthed descent into bliss. Jack figured he was about ten strokes away from hearing it.

Ten: slow and squeezing tightly. Jack pulled on Daniel's skin, giving him the rough treatment he liked. Jack bit Daniel's lip to accentuate the sharp pain that Daniel moaned into.

Nine: slow again, this time gentle. It was exactly what Daniel didn't want at the moment—it was what they both needed.

Eight: all the way up and all the way down in a fraction of a second. Daniel gasped into Jack's mouth, momentarily taken by surprise.

Seven: another fast one, and Daniel moaned again, loud and pleased.

Six: slow, but gentle. Daniel thrust a few quick times. "Friction," he grunted. Jack tongue-fucked Daniel's mouth, reaching in quick and deep.

Five, four, three: all hard and in rapid succession. Judging by Daniel's mouth hanging open and the heavy breathing, Jack figured Daniel's active brain cells now numbered his own.

Two: slow, slow, so very fucking slow. Jack sucked on Daniel's lower lip, tugging on it to mimic the hand job. Jack needed to give this to Daniel. He needed to make Daniel quiver with need, sob Jack's name, and understand how much it killed Jack to say that it was okay for Daniel to die.

Jack opened his mouth and his breath hitched in his throat. He blinked away blurred vision. In a moment of perfect clarity Jack understood that Daniel knew. He knew everything about Jack and he would never let on because Jack wanted to be impenetrable and Daniel was willing to let Jack keep that façade.

Daniel grabbed the sides of Jack's face and pulled him down for a kiss. He snaked his tongue along Jack's lower lip and then kissed and licked from his jaw line up to his ear. Daniel sucked on the earlobe, nibbling and biting in a way that made Jack see spots. Daniel moved down Jack's neck, pausing to suck and nibble. Jack absently worried about hickeys, but that thought was sucked out of his mind.

Jack sped up the hand job and heard Daniel's delicious moan. Daniel dropped his mouth open, his jaw working to open wider, wider. Hot breath hit Jack's shoulder in hard pants. Daniel's penis jerked, shooting cum over Jack's hand. Jack continued to pump, milking out the very last drops. The corners of Daniel's mouth tugged up into a sated smile. Jack couldn't help but lean over and kiss his nose.

The laughter came out of Daniel's eyes in crinkles. Jack kissed the crinkles.

Daniel licked his lips. "You need?"

Jack shook his head. He still had a hard-on in need, but something subtle had shifted—he just wanted this to be about Daniel.

Jack slowly pulled away, dropping a few closed-mouth kisses. He rubbed his thumb over Daniel's right eyebrow. He didn't get to touch him there often because of Daniel's glasses. It was unexplored.

Daniel's mouth tugged up into a smile. "What are you doing?" The question was whispered, which was just perfect.

"Just, ah." Jack was not going to be sentimental. "Nothing."

Daniel nodded, nuzzling Jack's neck briefly.

"I'm glad you're alive," Jack whispered.

Daniel blinked and looked over Jack's shoulder. "You know, I, uh, didn't."

Jack nodded and hefted himself off of Daniel. "About that. Yeah. Me too." Jack held a hand out to Daniel and helped him up. They dropped hands quickly.

"I do listen to you." Daniel bent over and pulled up his boxers and jeans.

Jack smiled as he picked up his shirt and slipped it on. He and Daniel avoided the other's eyes as they fumbled apologies. "I trust you."

"I know." Daniel stepped into Jack's personal space. "You have—difficult—decisions to make. And I don't always make those decisions any easier." Jack snorted. "I may not always be on board, but…"

Jack pulled him into a hug. "Danny."

Daniel kissed his cheek. "So, was there an actual invitation for beer and hockey or is that now just the code for sex?"

Jack smacked Daniel's ass as they turned towards the truck. He snatched up his jacket and fished in the pocket for his keys.

"One of these days we're doing this on a bed." Daniel rubbed his ass.

Jack reached for the door handle. He grinned, but it didn't reach his eyes. "Next time you almost die?"

Daniel looked at him over the cab. "Maybe before then?"

The smile deepened. "I'd like that."

They both climbed into the cab and Jack started the engine. As Jack navigated the dirt road, he considered all that had happened. He and Daniel had said a lot tonight, most of it was subtext, but what wasn't in their relationship? They would have some issues to discuss, things to work out, more subjects to dance around. And Jack was strangely looking forward to every session of bickering to come. He couldn't wait to get started.

He waited until he pulled out on to the main road.

"Danny."

"Mmm?" Daniel turned from the window. Moonlight filtered across Daniel's features, reflecting off his glasses and obscuring his eyes. Jack needed to see his eyes.

"I've been thinking—come here." Jack reached a hand over and pulled Daniel closer, stealing a quick kiss. Daniel shyly smiled and stayed leaned over. Perfect.

"Danny," Jack started again, "In a fight to the death, who would win—astronauts or cavemen?"

"What?" Daniel's rapid blinking was priceless.

Jack kept his tone curious, but inside he was laughing. "Astronauts or cavemen? Simple question."

Daniel covered his eyes with one hand. "That's what you've been thinking about."

Jack smirked. Daniel knew him well enough to know that wasn't what he'd been thinking about. "Sure. I mean, if the astronauts had weapons it could be a different story."

"If the astronauts had weapons?" Daniel sputtered for a moment. "Jack, you are a unique asset to mankind."

Jack flashed a grin. "Thank you." He turned left towards his house and settled his right arm behind Daniel's headrest. "Now answer the question."

Daniel shifted his eyes to the window and ground out, "Astronauts."

Jack grinned. Oh yeah, this was going to be a fun argument. And knowing Daniel's fervor for debate, they might be testing out the bed sooner than they thought.