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It.  Was.  Real.

On the second day of his 3-day downtime with the rest of the team, Daniel wished he was back at work, figuring out something hard or even in the middle of a firefight where you don't have to think.  It would be the only way, maybe, to kill the incessant thoughts in his head: he was romantically attracted to Jack O'Neill.  It was a realization he had come to, that had been forced into existence, thanks to what that damn man had done in the gateroom: hugging him tight and calling him Spacemonkey.

Daniel stood beside his bed, the low light of his Moroccan-themed lamp coloring him in a reddish glow.  As he removed his watch, he examined the scene repeatedly.  It had been the first time Jack had ever touched him, aside from a hand on the shoulder or a pat on the back.  And he couldn't rid himself of the Moment Replay.  The feel of Jack's warmth, the tightness of his embrace, and ... the smell of him.  It had been real.

If Jack had had time to think, maybe he wouldn't have done it.  But the emotional reaction to seeing him alive had overridden his usual stoicism.  Which meant that Jack cared about him.  But to what extent?  It didn't matter.  What mattered were Daniel's newly realized, and accepted, feelings.

So now, what had happened to him after replaying that scene with Jack?  He couldn't stop thinking about him.  And every time he did, a warmth spread throughout his body.  It never faded.  It was just as real and true as the first time he'd replayed the scene in order to narrow down the nagging, unfettered feelings.  First came the realization that he'd liked the feeling that Jack's hug had given him.  Second, he wanted more of it.

It meant: he was attracted to Colonel Jack O'Neill.

The realization had shocked him, just as it did now.  He couldn't be attracted to him.  Not to him.  Jack stood for a lot of things Daniel didn't like that were all balled into one big mess: a military man whose gentle side only appeared around children.

But his feelings were there.  It had nothing to do with the long-missed intimacy with a man; the yearning that craved a man like Jack, despite all the warning signals from rationality.  It was because ... well, because Jack was Jack.  It wasn't rational.  But since when was desire rational?

Daniel ran a hand over his bare chest, stopping over his heart, fingers brushing the nipple below and to the left.  It hardened, which tightened, then dimpled the skin with goosebumps.  He shivered and closed his eyes.

"No, you idiot.  You can't go there.  You can't.  You'll only suffer from the denial, from the absence."  And he knew that he could never, ever tell Jack.  The rejection would be epic, given how straight the man was.  Daniel didn't have proof, but the fear of rejection ruled his head.

A buzzing noise diverted his attention and he picked up his phone.  He snorted with a derisive eye roll.  It was Jack.  Of course it was.  He withheld the urge to scream at the universe.

"Hey," he said, answering.

"Whatcha doin'?"

Daniel withheld the second snort.  "Getting ready for bed.  What're you doing?"

"Same.  But I'm not sleepy.  And I'm bored."

Daniel grinned, and if Jack had seen it, he'd have recognized the sardonic tone of it.  He sat down and plumped the two pillows before stacking them and reclining against them.  "I'll just bet you'd like nothing more than to be in a firefight."  There came a pause.  "Jack?"

"How do you do that?"

A treacherous part of Daniel's brain went to a place he didn't want to go.  He nearly growled the question.  "Do what?"

"Read my mind."

"It's called coincidence."

"Not in my universe, Daniel.  It's called spooky."

"Great," Daniel mumbled.  "Another put-down."

"What did you say?"

"Never mind," Daniel sighed.  "You're bored so you called me?  Teal'c or Sam not available?"

"What's that supposed to mean?  Why are you picking a fight?"

"You already did.  Am I supposed to ignore you when you do that?"

"I wasn't picking a fight."

"Spooky.  You called my coincidental thought spooky."

"And you took it wrong, as usual."

"And you did it again.  'As usual'?"

Another pause.  "Huh.  Guess I did.  I'm sorry, Daniel.  I'm just ..."

Daniel's grin was colored with sadness and regret.  Jack rarely apologized.  How the hell could he love someone that cruel?  Because the cruelty wasn't down deep.  It was a defense mechanism.  Taking all those psych classes in college paid off at the worst of times.  "Bored?"


"I'm sorry, too.  Maybe it's a defensive reflex.  I'll try to ignore your jibes in the future."

And another pause.  "No.  Tell me when I do it.  It's reflexive, same as you."

"Huh.  Wanna talk about why you do that?"

"I'd say 'no', but aren't we already doing that?"

Daniel snorted openly.  "Yeah, we are.  Forget the question."  Jack snorted back, making Daniel's grin real.  There was a tempation to oink, and then it was gone.  "So ..."

"So ..."

An idea occurred.  Jack wanted to talk, or he wouldn't have called.  Which meant he really was bored.  Jack was not a phone person.  They were devices for phone calls and nothing more, and those calls had to have a purpose—something other than to pass the time chatting.  Boredom made Jack do or say attention-getting things so Daniel had to distract.  "What'd you do today?"

"Something weird."

Daniel almost laughed out loud but he swallowed against it.  He didn’t examine why.  "Like?"

"I've been going over 'spacemonkey.'  I mean, where in the hell did that come from?"

Daniel felt a blush rush over his upper body.  "Huh.  I've been wondering the same thing actually."


Daniel blurted, "Right?"

"So you were wondering why I said that, too?"

"Well, that and ..."


Daniel cleared his throat a few times.  "The, uh, the hug."

"The hug?  Seriously?"

"You don't touch people, Jack.  Or maybe it's just me.  A touch on the arm or a pat on the back doesn't really count because it takes only a second.  A hug is personal.  So it surprised me."

Pause.  Then Jack said, "Unbelievable.  You were dead, Daniel."

Daniel leaned back and stared at the ceiling, sighing.  "Yeah, but I was presumed dead with Nem, too.  And this time, there were more people around."

"That doesn't make sense," Jack argued.

"Sorry.  I meant that I was trying to figure out why."

"Huh.  So nothing about the nickname?"

"Other than wanting to know where the hell that came from, and you even said that you didn't know.  So the nickname was secondary to me.  Besides, you call me odd nicknames all the time.  The hug was different."  Jack was silent for more than five seconds.  Daniel waited.  After ten seconds, he asked, "What's wrong?"

"Now you got me thinking about it.  Because you're right.  You were dead before.  And maybe I resisted hugging you because I didn't want to get wet."

Daniel burst out a giggle before he cut it off by coughing and clearing his throat.  "That doesn't make sense, given that—"

"Actually it does, Daniel.  By the time we returned to the planet, we already knew you were alive.  The only unknown bit was having to find you."

Daniel frowned.  "You're right.  There's a difference there."

"That's a first."

"What?  Me saying you're right?"


"No, it isn't."

"Yes, it is."

"No, it isn't."

"Yes, it is."



"I don't recall the exact moments, but I remember saying it."  Another long pause.  Daniel frowned with suspicion.  "Jack.  What're you doing?"

"Getting my keys.  I'm coming over."

Daniel sat up straight.  "No, you're not.  It's late."

"Yes, I am.  I'm bored.  And we don't have to get up early."

Daniel hurried out of bed.  "Just what the hell are you going to do when you get here?"  He wanted to say, "Stay away from me until I get this feeling handled!"

"Talk.  See you in ten."

He hung up.  Daniel stared at the phone, his mouth dropping open.  Calling him back would do no good.  He doesn't answer the phone while he's driving.  Or getting to the truck and starting it up, either.  When Jack makes up his mind to do something, he does it, and screw the consequences.  But ... Jack doesn't chat.  Talk.  Have conversations, unless they're in a mission brief, a lecture—where he loves to argue—or in the field.

"What the hell are you doing, Jack?" he murmured, then looked at himself.  He was wearing nothing but pajama bottoms.  Thin ones.  He raised his hands to the waistband, thinking about trading them in for his sweats when he paused.  Keeping them on would do two things.

One, make Jack uncomfortable and he'd leave within ten minutes or tell him to go change, which Daniel would refuse.  And he'd tell him to go change because seeing the occasional outline of his dick would be awkward.  It had happened once before, though Daniel had been in his underwear and in the locker room.

Two, it would force himself to control the attraction, to force it down and lock it up.  If he kept doing it repeatedly, his body would get the hint.  Or his subconscious.  There had been a few times when Daniel had done something similar, although that had been to control his fear.  It had happened twice in the last year.  First, when he'd been grabbed by The Touched, and second when he'd found himself in the alternate universe.  Before now, there'd never been a reason to control his desire.  Not to this degree.

And still, embarrassment tried to take over and make him put on jeans.  He didn't want to be on display.  For that matter, embarrassment wanted him to put on a shirt, too.  In the end, he gave in to putting on sweatpants, sans shirt.  He was at home, and the only one to see how out of tone he still was would be Jack.  Granted, his opinion was the only one who counted, but if Jack wanted to tease him, no one else would hear.

He padded barefoot into the kitchen to put on a pot of coffee.  He wasn't giving Jack alcohol.  If he did that, he'd have to make him call a cab or spend the night, and he didn't have a spare bed.  Jack would have to take the couch.

And spending the night would kill any attempt at sleep.  It would take him forever knowing that once he fell asleep, he'd have dreams that would make things worse.

So, unless Jack demanded alcohol ...

Daniel paused, blinking rapidly.  That would be the way to get rid of him.  Deny the alcohol.  Just the notion made Daniel wince.  Wanting to get rid of his team leader felt like bad manners and rudeness.  But for fuck's sake.  He couldn't have the man stay the night.  Jack might call a cab, but that wasn't likely.  He didn't like being far from his truck.  The damn thing was new.  He might stay around for a few hours until he was sober and ...

A few hours.  Daniel closed his eyes.  Jesus.  He jumped when there was a rather loud knock at the door.  How the hell did he get to his apartment that fast?  Granted it wouldn't have taken long without much traffic, given it was after 10 p.m., but still.  It should have taken ...

Another knock.


With a heavy sigh, he went to the door and opened it.  "Why are you knocking hard?"  Then Daniel only half-heard Jack say, "Sorry, I was just in a hurry," as he came inside without being asked.  "It's raining, and windy."

What half-killed his hearing was the sudden, irrational wish for Jack to grab him and kiss him.  It was so strong that heat rose to his cheeks in a rare blush.  It happened because Jack was wearing a black tee and jeans that fit.  When not in uniform, Jack loved to wear ultra-comfortable baggy clothes so large he swam in them.  It was, Daniel always thought, a strange resistance against looking good to anyone.  If true, it was stupid.  Hadn't the man ever looked in the mirror?  Worse yet, Daniel could never ask.  He'd then be asked why he'd asked, and "I was just curious" wouldn't be believed.  Jack tended to be suspicious about motives when people asked personal questions, which was another reason he didn't like to chat.  Eventually, discussions about general or esoteric subjects turned personal.  Which made Jack's presence all the more mistifying.

During the abrupt introspection, Jack had said his name.  Maybe twice.  He was in the apartment now, at the top stair to the living room.  Staring at him.  Daniel shook his head as if to clear it of cobwebs.

"Sorry," Daniel said, gesturing at the living room as he began to walk forward.  "I was side-tracked."

Jack walked ahead of him, but wasn't looking where he was going.  He was, in fact, staring at what he was wearing.  The frown on his face was one of curiosity.  Daniel's heart began to speed up.

"About what?" Jack asked.

Daniel threw caution to the wind.  "What you're wearing."

Jack snorted.  "Right backatcha."

"I noticed," Daniel said, and adopted a frown as he headed into the kitchen.

"Got any beer?" Jack asked.

As if on cue.

Daniel then contradicted his earlier thoughts by retrieving a Heineken.  He then withheld it in one hand while holding out the other, palm up.  "Keys."

Jack's frown turned into a scowl of disapproval.  "I'm not planning to get drunk, Daniel."

"No, you're planning on driving.  So you're not gonna drive for another hour if you're having one beer.  For every additional beer, add an hour."

Jack stared at him for a few seconds, and after seeing that Daniel was serious, he said, "Fine.  I promise.  I promise I'll stay for an extra hour if I have another beer."

"And I'll have those keys, first."  Daniel made a 'give me' motion with his outstretched hand.

"I promised," Jack scowled.

"And alcohol will get rid of the promise."

"And this is me, Daniel."

Daniel frowned back.  "Fine."  He handed Jack the beer, then went into the living room and grabbed a small black remote.  He aimed it at the door and clicked.  The front door beeped, like a car alarm being set.

"What the hell?" Jack asked.

"Extra electronic security," Daniel replied and turned for the bedroom and shut the door behind him.

Jack called after him.  "Okay, one, that's gonna suck if the power goes out.  Two, aren't you having any?"

Daniel set the remote on top of a blade of his ceiling fan, then returned to the kitchen.  Jack was leaning against the counter by the fridge, sipping the beer.

"One, the lock is disabled during a blackout.  Two, I don't drink beer unless I have to, and I don't have to.  You know I don't like it."

"Why stock it?" Jack asked.

"In case someone, like you, comes over and wants a beer."  He started to pull out a kitchen chair so he could offer it to Jack.  He wanted the man to sit down.  His jeans were distracting.

"Got anything else?  I don't want to drink alone."

Daniel chewed at his lip and went to grab a Coke.  "I'll have this.  But alcohol?  No.  I'm not in the mood."  A hidden double entendre.  Alcohol might make him relax too much, which he couldn't allow.  He ran off at the mouth whenever he got buzzed, and given the subject matter slip at the door and the way Jack kept staring at his chest, things were already dicey.

"I'm not drinking alone, Daniel."

Jack gave him a look that was part request and part order.  It was the request part that tugged at him because the facial expression was that damn puppy dog look meant to reel him in.

"You know how I get when I'm even slightly buzzed," he said, throwing the puppy dog look right back at him.


Daniel wanted to smack him, but didn't.  It would've signaled to Jack that his puppy dog look won him over and at the moment, he didn't want Jack to win at anything.  Certainly not ...

Jack distracted his thoughts when he began searching cupboards and grinned in triumph when he found the bottle of Southern Comfort.  He took it out and raised the bottle.  "If you don't like getting buzzed, why get the stuff that's 100 proof?"

Daniel snatched it out of his hand with a scowl.  "I didn't say I didn't like getting buzzed.  I said you know how I get, but what I meant was that you make fun of me when I get that way."  He set the bottle on the counter with just a tad to much force, making Jack's brows rise.

"You're upset?"

"No, I'm ..." Daniel began, then quickly shut up.  Alcohol or no alcohol, he really wanted to tell the man what he was really feeling but he couldn't.  It wasn't just a fear of rejection.  Nor shame or embarrassment.  It was the fact that their friendship would be forever changed by it, and Daniel was pretty sure it would end it.  Being attracted to Jack hadn't ever been an issue before The Hug.  He had been aware of it from Day One, but it had been background noise that was easily dismissed.  The Hug had changed that.

Touch, in Daniel's well-grounded opinion, was what changed an irrelevant viewpoint into a relevant one.  It was like comparing the difference between seeing an artifact and touching it.  Examining it.  Like seeing anything compared to touching it.  You could see a brick wall and feel nothing.  But when you added touch, then the texture of it changed your view of that object.  From then on, whenever you read or heard the word brick, the associated sense memory came with it.  When it came to a person as that object, it was even more so.  And Daniel was a tactile sort of person.  His fingers twitched in a silent point of reference.

"You ...?" Jack prodded when five more silent seconds passed without finishing the sentence.

Daniel sighed, grabbed a Sprite from the fridge, poured a fingers' worth of the liqueur into a tumbler glass, then added ice and the soda before downing half the glass in one go.  Meanwhile, Jack stood there, eyes widening.

"Okay," Jack began and took a long pull from his beer.  "That," he said, pointing at Daniel's glass with the bottle, "is a serious contradiction.  And doing that also meant you felt you needed a drink."  He paused as Daniel adopted a chagrined expression, then a slow smile essayed across his face.  "What just happened?"

Daniel wanted his fear to evaporate, and for his mind to grasp at either a lie or a change of subject, and since nothing came to mind, he downed the rest of his drink and made another.  Jack's brows climbed higher.  He set the bottle down in the sink and got another tumbler down from the cupboard.  "Fix me one.  You're already four beers ahead of me."

Daniel blinked at him, preparing to argue, but he let it go—because Jack was right, damn him—and got out another Sprite.  After fixing the drink, he held it out and watched to see Jack's reaction.

Jack took a long drink, then licked his lips.  "Wow, that's sweet."

"Because it's a liqueur.  It's better with Yukon Jack, a Canadian version, but Southern Comfort was on sale."

Jack burst out laughing—the first one Daniel had seen since that mission with the alien hooch where Sam had gotten up on a table to dance—and followed it by finishing his drink.  Daniel made him another one.

"We're not downing this one," Daniel said, already feeling the swimmy buzz of the alcohol.  It made him want to keep talking.  "Let's go sit."  He went into the living room, expecting Jack to follow, and sat down on the sofa.  Out of habit, he sat in the center, and when Jack sat down, he didn't take the opposite couch.  He sat just to his left, his back against the corner.  The couch wasn't that long so Jack was way too close for safety.  Daniel got up and mirrored the way Jack was sitting, his back to the opposite corner.

"I don't have cooties, Daniel," Jack complained, an amused curve to his lips.

"No," Daniel said with a snort.  And the next bit came amazingly easy.  "But you tend to bring a leg up on the couch when you sit like that at home, so I'm giving you room."  The focused look Jack gave him made Daniel's spine weaken.  "What?  You do."

"Yeah, but ... I didn't realize that you paid attention to things like that."

"Like ...?" Daniel began.  "What?  You're mannerisms and behaviors?  I noticed, that's all.  If you haven't guessed, I do that."

Jack sighed through his nose.  "Yeah.  And I guess I should probably go."

He leaned forward, about to get up, but Daniel got to his feet fast, swaying for just a second, and moved to stand before him.  He held his hand out in a 'stop' gesture and held the other one out, palm up.

"Nope.  Give me your keys."

"Daniel, I can dr—" Jack began, scooting forward a little.

"You know better than that," Daniel countered chidingly.  "Keys."  Jack threw him a wicked little grin, which threw Daniel's brain into overload.  The look was sexy as hell.  The alcohol had been A Bad Idea.

And instead of getting mad, as Jack normally would have, he dug into his pocket, withdrew the keys, waggled his hand back and forth, and said, "Come get 'em."

Daniel's mouth dropped open in shock and Jack took that moment to roughly brush him aside, making him fall onto the couch, then got up and backed away a few steps.  "Here they are," he said, jangling the keys.

With his mouth still open in shock, Daniel lunged off the sofa and toward the front door.  He stopped and rested a hand on the door itself.  He swallowed.  "You're not driving, Jack."

Jack narrowed his eyes.  "Isn't that a little childish?"

Daniel snorted.  "No child stands their ground by standing in someone's way.  If I wanted to act like a child, I'd be going after your hand while saying, 'gimme it'!"

Jack grinned for a moment, but it faded to bare amusement.  "Okay, point.  But really?"

"You're not driving.  And I thought you were bored, wanted to talk.  Why leave all of a sudden?  Just because I accurately guessed one of your behaviors?"

Jack sighed and threw the keys overhand.  Daniel deftly caught them and realizing that he didn't have pockets, he came down into the living room, looking around while shooting glances at Jack.  The man was smirking, damn him.

"Guess you'll have to put on jeans in order to keep the keys."

"Nope," Daniel countered, and walked into his bedroom.  He shot Jack a shrewd look over his shoulder.

"What's that look for?" Jack called after him.

Once in the bedroom, he stashed the keys next to the security remote.  "You're not likely to come in here to look," he called back.  He rubbed the palms of both hands on his sweats.  Just imagining Jack in his bedroom, for whatever reason, gave him chills.  He wasn't certain what kind.  Dread or excitement?  He decided it was both.  And all the action was making him a little hard.  He'd have to change into jeans, but it would be painful.  Maybe that was what was needed to get him to calm down, but ...

"So," Jack said in the doorway.  Daniel jumped and spun around, eyes wide.  He sent Daniel a puzzled look at his reaction, then took a step in and looked around.  "So, do I get to go on a treasure hunt?"

Daniel's mouth had fallen open.  He snapped it shut.  "You're only here to contradict my assumption."  He pointed toward the hallway.  "Out."

Jack gave him an unreadable look, then followed it with the Look that said, "I have mischief in mind."  "Could there be there another reason?"

Daniel let out a half-gasp, half-laugh, eyes widening.  "Ha, ha, that's funny.  Rephrase that."

"Why?" Jack asked.

Then to Daniel's dismay, he walked around him and sat on the bed, then laid back, resting on his elbows, feet on the floor.  He looked around, then patted the bed.  "Comfy."

The blush that rose over Daniel's chest and face was noticeable.  If this was anyone else, he'd take this action as flirting.  "You've had your fun," Daniel said, forcing his voice to act normal.  He turned on his heel and headed for the kitchen.  "Have fun," he called over his shoulder.  His inner self, while gibbering about Jack O'Neill being on his bed, said the buzz would only get worse if he didn't have something to eat.  And perhaps the sound of activity would get Jack into the kitchen.  Further alcohol was off the menu.

Now that Daniel thought it over, he was wrong about the alcohol.  He had believed it would help calm him down, but instead, it had only made things worse.  His feelings were far too close to the surface.  As for Jack, the man was acting out of character.  It was almost like flirting, but Jack didn't flirt with men, so it must be some sort of teasing, forcing Daniel to ...

As he retrieved bacon from the fridge, he froze.  Jack was teasing him in the same manner as a really close friend.  But they weren't close, not in the traditional sense.  Closeness had been forced upon them, as with Sam and Teal'c, because that was the inevitable result when missions devolved into combat.  Almost all their missions had.  They'd been forced to experience life and death situations together and that tended to bring people close.

Except, they weren't close.  Sure, Daniel knew Jack a lot better than he knew other people on the base.  But the same can be said for Sam.  Teal'c, a little less, and that was only because the Jaffa felt guilty about his part in Sha're's abduction and implantation, so he kept himself at arm's length.  It did not, however, mean that Daniel didn't know him.  Vice-versa, too.  If he had to think about it, he could list everything he knew about Sam and Teal'c, and a little more about Jack—although that was thanks to their shared mission to Abydos the first damn time.

With a sigh, Daniel tried to think of something to occupy his mind with while he began to assemble breakfast: bacon, hash browns, and an omelet.  Only it'd be for two, almost as if Jack had spent the night and ... the thought made him shudder and bark his shin against the fridge door.  He carefully retrieved the eggs from the fridge, limping just a bit before it leveled out.  He took out the electric griddle for the bacon, then put on a pair of disposable gloves before lining up strips.  He forced his mind to solve the linguistics puzzle from Heliopolis.  That fourth language.  It wouldn't do much good.  He didn't have a key—

"Whatcha doing?" Jack asked from the open entrance.

It made Daniel jump, but only slightly.  He threw Jack a mock scowl over his shoulder.  "Making breakfast," he said, turning to his task.  Then he remembered he needed to fix the coffee.  With a sigh, he rapidly put more bacon down.

"It's dinner time," he heard Jack say.  Closer.  Then the fridge opened and he retrieved a beer.

Daniel sighed.  "I think we've had enough alcohol, don't you?"

In his peripheral vision, he saw Jack pause.  "I'm not in the mood for soda and you don't have any coffee made."

Daniel almost smiled as he removed his gloves and tossed them in the bin.  "I was just going to make some.  Go watch TV or something."

"Why?" Jack drawled, stepping closer to look at the griddle.

"Okay, sit at the table.  Whatever you want while I fix breakfast dinner."

"Why are you fixing breakfast?  And what is it, anyway?"

Daniel could smell the mix of aftershave and alcohol.  It nearly made him hard and he imagined bolting from the kitchen to get in the shower and drench himself in ice-cold water.  Clothed, of course.  The idea made him want to snort but he stifled it just in time.  Quickly on the heels of that, the hormonal threat died down and he wrenched his mind back to business with a narrow eye at Jack.  "One, I'm hungry for breakfast, and two, bacon, hash browns, and cheese omelets."

Jack made a hungry sound.  "Now I am hungry.  Is—"

"Don't you dare say it," Daniel said, cutting him off.

"What?" Jack asked.

He was hovering near him and it was distracting.  "You know.  'Is it ready yet?'  It'll be ready when it's ready, but I have to make coffee first."  He risked a longer look at Jack, telegraphing annoyance, as he filled the carafe.  "Go sit down somewhere."  Daniel imagined Jack grinning at him.

"Why?" Jack drawled again.

"Oh never mind," Daniel muttered.  He'd almost said, 'Because you're making me nervous.'  That would have required an explanation and he'd have had to lie.  It wasn't something he wasn't comfortable with, and the truth was somewhere he couldn't go.

"Can I help?"

Daniel frowned slightly as he closed the lid of the reservoir, turned on the machine, and pushed it back in its place against the wall.  "Um," he said, turning.  He looked at the eggs, thought of the hash browns, and pictured the two of them working around each other.  Way too close.  And he needed to not be smelling that aftershave.  "No.  Not enough room," he said, then enunciated, "Go sit down."  He turned to get a mixing bowl from one of the under-counter cupboards.

"Hell with it," Jack said softly.

Alarmed at the unknown tone, Daniel straightened and turned.  "What ..." he began, but lost his voice.

Jack closed the distance between them in two steps, took the bowl from his hand, set it on the counter behind him, then slid his hand around his waist.

Daniel's eyes widened and he blurted out, "No, no, you can't do--what the—" but Jack wrapped his free arm around his neck, locking him in as he pulled Daniel's mouth to his.  Daniel sucked in a breath through his nose and told himself to push Jack away, but his body was very warm, and his mouth was warmer.  He tried to speak, but then Jack parted his lips.  At that point, Daniel sucked in a deeper breath as he opened to him.

He turned to face him, telling caution to go fuck itself, and slid both hands up Jack's back, clutching to pull him closer as he hardened the kiss.  Jack surprised him by pausing the kiss long enough to mumble, "I knew it."  As contrary as Daniel could be, a huge part of him wanted to stop to interrogate him over the statement, but the larger, smarter part of him said it could wait.  Jack smelled good.  He tasted even better, and his tongue, both warm and cool, was intoxicating.  The feel of it all had Daniel getting hard in an instant and panic started to intrude with stupid questions.

The biggest one was, "Where could this go?"

Part of him wanted to be in the bedroom.  He wanted all of his clothes off.  Wanted all of Jack's clothes off.  He needed to feel all of him, his naked skin, matching chest to chest, groin to groin, twining legs together.  Jack was rubbing against him now, pushing his ass against the edge of the counter.  Daniel was about to break away and lead him to the bedroom but ...

Jack did it first, just not the bedroom part.  His lips were reddened as he moved away just enough to look at him fully.  His cheeks were flushed, and not out of an embarrassed blush.  Daniel blurted out something else, bypassing all annoying rationalizations.

"Please don't tell me this was a mistake and you've changed your mind."  To his relief, Jack shook his head.

The man brushed a thumb over his bottom lip while looking at Daniel's, then down his body, and finally ending with a heated gaze into his eyes.  "Taking a pause to make sure that this is where you want to go, and that we need to be naked and on your bed."

Daniel swallowed hard, his mouth somehow quivering with need.  His mouth.  The rest of him was catching up.  "Yes."  He took Jack's hand and led him into the bedroom.  He watched the man begin to disrobe as he shut the door and just stared.  Drinking him in.  He started to remove his own clothes and heard himself say, "All the way?"

Jack paused, pants halfway down.  He froze, looking up.  "Well, yeah.  You want to take this only to a certain point?"  He straightened, pulling his trousers back up.

"No, no," Daniel said, stepping out of his own.  He closed the few feet between them and helped Jack removed his trousers while he kept their eyes locked.  "I don't generally get undressed just to 'make out'."  Jack's slow smile made his cock jump.  Then the man shocked him again by dropping to his knees to remove Daniel's briefs.

"God, yes," he said, staring at his cock, then roughly shoved Daniel onto the bed.  Off came his own briefs and Daniel stared right back.

"Ditto," he breathed, and held his hand out.  Jack took it and slowly moved over him as his eyes took him in, then grabbed the other hand as he lay over him.  They were crosswise on the bed and Daniel's calves were still off the bed.  He tightened his fingers in Jack's, using them as leverage to move further onto the bed.  Once done, Jack pinned them over his head as he found his lips again.  Their cocks rubbed together when Jack began to writhe, and suddenly it was all either of them could concentrate on.  Daniel pulled his hands free and grabbed hold of Jack's ass, rubbing frantically.

"Jesus," Jack whispered.  "Slow down or ..."

Daniel's eyes widened, his lust skyrocketing.  "Top drawer," he said, and as Jack pulled open the bed table and retrieved a tube of gel, Daniel turned on the bed to lay his head on a pillow.  "Hurry."

Jack eyed him with raised brows.  "This'll be over too fast," he said, applying the gel to himself, then settled between Daniel's opened, raised knees.  "You too?"

Daniel nodded mutely, and after getting a bit of gel over his anus, he yanked Jack on top him.  With an urgency that his inner self warned was too fast, he widened his legs and hooked a foot behind Jack's thigh.  Jack stared into his eyes as he rubbed the head of his cock against the opening.  Instead of pushing, he continued to rub while his free hand wrapped around Daniel's erection.  The stimulation combo was too much.

"No, no," Daniel breathed, and he pushed Jack's hand away and lifted a knee.  He studied Jack's dark, sensual eyes, his own squinting slightly with his breathing.  He began to gasp repeatedly when Jack started pushing in tiny movements.  Moans began on the exhale.  "Oh no, no," he managed, his climax arriving too soon.  "Shit, shit.  Jack, please—"

Jack pushed hard as he took Daniel's cock in hand again, holding him while his hips gyrated.  Daniel couldn't keep his gaze.  His eyes squeezed shut and he shuddered, body gripping Jack hard.  Jack groaned in response and moved his hips rapidly.  "Oh god, yes," Daniel managed, and threw his head back.  He relished in the feel of Jack inside him.  It extended and magnified the pleasure.  "Yes," he mouthed, then Jack kissed him, pushing him into the mattress while his own climax took over.

They were both shaking, but it was languorous, easing into afterglow, and it took a while before their breathing slowed.  Jack slid to his right and Daniel turned toward him and closed his eyes.




Breakfast in bed at midnight.  Daniel hadn't ever been so blissful.  They reclined against the throw pillows Daniel had retrieved from his sofas and Jack was seemingly done.  He pushed a tiny bit of leftover egg around his plate.  Clearly, he wasn't paying attention, lost in thought.

Daniel was no longer worried about what was on his mind.

"What do you see us doing in ten years?" Jack asked.

Daniel pursed his lips as he thought it over.  "Assuming a few factors, you'll be in charge of the base and SG-1 will be a three-man team.  I'll be going on missions without you."

"What about Hammond?"

"Well, the military tends to boot generals who're into their 60s, though that's going only by what I've noticed."  He smirked at the last word because his innocence about the military had pretty much disappeared.

"Cute.  But Hammond's only 58 and ... oh, right.  68.  But Daniel, a full general at 51?  Me?  C'mon.  Who in their right mind would put me in charge?"

Daniel lifted his brows, his expression clearly admonishing.  "Hammond and the people in his circle of influence.  That's saying something, Jack.  And frankly, you're the best choice out of any ignorant ass at the Pentagon."

"Thanks.  I think."

"I meant it as a compliment, believe it or not."

"I believe you."


"Sure.  Uh, Jack?"  He felt a flush of need.


"How're you feeling, energy-wise?"

"Jesus.  Seriously?"

"You're 41, not 61."

"And I have bad knees and arthritis an—"

"Your knees seemed fine a little while ago."

"Daniel, I ... what're you do ..."  Jack cleared his throat several times as Daniel moved down and went exploring.  "Okay, I think I've got some leftover energy.  But don't you think we should talk about how to go about ..."

Daniel knew how things would go.  And truthfully, knowing Jack as he did, it would take something extremely traumatic for Jack to suddenly change, and thus end, wherever their relationship was going.  And to think, he'd been afraid of this only five hours ago.

No, that wasn't right.  He'd been afraid of severe rejection.  And leave it to Jack O'Neill to disabuse him of his unfounded fear.