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Daniel can make any place beautiful—this, Jack knows with a deep and abiding certainty that exists bone-deep. The harsh glare of the desert sun, the dappled-dark shadows of forest-filtered light, the fake overbrightness of the SGC—Daniel drinks everything in and refracts it back with softness and brilliance. Jack thinks it would overwhelm his senses if he didn’t know how to categorically file it away in the back of his mind, to bury it beneath the wall of training and focus that years in the military have built.

Here, though, when he’s sprawled across Jack’s sheets in early dawn light so dim it nearly prohibits sight—here, he’s pure miracle. Here, he transforms the veritable wasteland of Jack’s bed. Here, sometimes for hours at a time, he almost makes Jack believe that he can transmute the empty, lonely years that stretch inexorably ahead.

It’s Jack’s favourite sight. It’s the only time he lets himself really look. Sometimes, when Daniel finally awakens and catches the blink of Jack’s eyes, he murmurs something vaguely comprehensible about the ungodly hour and rolls closer until skin is firmly pressed against skin. Sometimes, Daniel slowly comes to consciousness and just looks back for a few minutes, as if it’s Jack who’s worth looking at, until Jack can’t keep himself from breaking the silence with some deliberately inane comment. Sometimes, Daniel smiles and stretches a little, the golden expanse of his back and limbs smooth and unresistable, and, well, that always winds up going in a very certain direction.

Today he does the latter, and Jack feels the profound longing that he always feels for Daniel threaten to break through his own chest. It’s as if he can never get close enough, never get deep enough, just never get enough, period. He tries to hold himself back, sometimes, afraid that he’ll scare Daniel off with how all-encompassing that longing is.

He’s pretty sure Daniel sees right through him. That was always one of Daniel’s many talents. The fact that Daniel’s still here is something that Jack holds tightly within the depths of his heart. He doesn’t know how not to break it.

To distract himself he reaches out, and Daniel matches him as easily as he always does. Outside of this bed, things aren’t always so simple. Sometimes it feels like the entirety of the world, the expanse of the universe, wants to consume them. Wants to systematically dismantle them between work and duty and obligation. Here, he can forget about that as naturally as he knows his own name, or the address home, or the freckles on Daniel’s skin and the curve of his fingers.

Sometimes, Daniel talks with words—gentle expletives, emphatic commands, desperate entreaties. Jack’s name. Even when he doesn’t verbalize, he’s always talking. The arch of his back and the press of his calves and the brush of his nipples on Jack’s own chest—Jack reads them as easily as briefing reports. Jack takes them, pulls the impressions deep inside himself and tries to give them back act for act, touch for touch.

He wants to take everything Daniel will give him. He wants to give Daniel everything he has, if Daniel will take it. He tries to embed everything he feels within his own words and his own touches and just hopes like hell that Daniel will understand. Knows, objectively, that Daniel is the best translator he’s ever met.

He thinks it might be enough.