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Lost In Translation

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Right, so he’d thought this out. This was not a knee jerk reaction in any way, shape or form. As he had sat in his dark house and shook in a delayed reaction, the night after the mission, Jack had promised himself that he would sleep on this decision; that he would only act on his gut instinct after careful consideration. So all of yesterday he had thought, considered, risk assessed and generally bored himself to tears. Hell he’d even written lists of pros and cons in an effort to be mature about this – Daniel would have been impressed if he’d known.

So after as much soul searching as he could stomach he had come to the conclusion that it was professional and social suicide to tell his best friend... his straight best friend...his team mate and very straight best friend that he was in love with him. It was madness, it was lunacy and it was something he had to do as soon as he humanly could. Jack had showered, dressed and driven to Daniel’s place on autopilot, his mind spinning with predictions on his reception, of potential opening lines, of how Daniel’s mouth would drop open so softly when he told him and all the possibilities that could engender. He had been so involved in these musings that he was stunned to find himself outside Daniel’s apartment building at 5 o’clock on a Saturday morning.

Daniel opened the door to find Jack presenting him with a warm paper bag, the delicious scent of fresh rolls escaping tantalisingly into the hall of his home. Jack pushed the bag into Daniel’s hands as he stalked past him into the apartment.

“Jack...er...hi!” he managed as he pushed his front door closed with his back, his hands being otherwise occupied with the warm bakery products.

“Saw your light was on, knew you were up,” Jack smiled as if that explained why he was here, in Daniel’s home at...Daniel checked his watch...5.38 am.

“So, breakfast?” Jack continued, trying not to look as if he was staring. Daniel was obviously fresh out of the shower, his hair was still damp and he was dressed in ripped, washed out jeans that looked as if only experience still held them together. He had on a gunmetal grey tight ribbed T-shirt and his feet were bare. Daniel had unwittingly made Jack’s task a tiny bit easier; Jack thought he might skip the rolls and just eat Daniel instead.

“Is everything OK?” Daniel asked into the slightly uncomfortable silence that fell between them while Jack desperately looked everywhere but at him.

“Fine, everything’s fine,” Jack reassured his friend. He walked into the kitchen in search of the coffee he could smell, followed closely by a bewildered archaeologist.

“Actually Jack, I was...”

“Working?” Jack yelped in outrage.

“Yeah,” Daniel admitted, glancing sheepishly at his open laptop and pile of books that sat on the kitchen counter.

“Jesus, Daniel! Do you ever stop?” Jack accused the younger man.

“Well, yes but I just couldn’t...”

“Sleep?” Jack supplied helpfully. “Me neither,” he added without waiting for Daniel’s response. Jack took a seat on the opposite side of the counter to Daniel’s space and smiled his thanks when Daniel set him up with coffee, butter, a plate and a knife.

“So, is there something I can help you with?” Daniel enquired sitting down to his books again.

“No, no, just, you know...passing,” Jack replied gesturing wildly with his knife.

“Passing,” Daniel echoed flatly and gave Jack a sceptical look. “At half past five on a Saturday morning.”

“Yep!” Jack didn’t look up from the roll he was massacring, letting Daniels sarcastic tone slide. “You carry on,” he told Daniel.

Daniel bit into a sweet roll and chewed thoughtfully for a few moments but Jack didn’t seem to want to explain his presence and Daniel didn’t want to scare him off with endless questions. God knows, Jack came round so rarely anymore. Daniel decided to wait him out and turned back to his translation. Quickly absorbed in his work, Daniel didn’t notice when Jack refilled his coffee for him or even when he absentmindedly snagged the last roll out of the older man’s fingers.

“Is that where you hide?” Jack finally said, his voice quiet, so as not to startle the intent archaeologist.

“Hmmmmm?” Daniel distractedly replied, turning his face towards Jack but not taking his eyes from the screen.

“I said, is that where you hide?” Jack asked louder, his finger tapping on Daniel’s open books. As if waking, Daniel blinked at Jack and asked, confused,

“Hide? From what?”

“You know, life stuff,” Jack said casually, but his dark eyes betrayed a vested interest in the exchange. He kept his hand on the book, something that Daniel found himself surprised to feel disconcerted about. Jack was so rarely tactile with him anymore; even this small gesture was enough to rattle him. Had things become so broken between them?

“Oh...err...no. I do this because it’s my job and because I enjoy it.” Daniel futzed with the last piece of bread, popping it into his mouth before, with a final glance at Jack, he flicked the page over in his reference book.

“At half past five...” Jack continued.

“Well, I was awake anyway...”

“On a Saturday morning...”

“And it’s urgently needed for...” Daniel surreptitiously covered the planet designation on the sheet in front of him, but it was too late for Jack’s observant gaze.

“From a planet we visited seven months ago...”

“Yes, I’m that far behind...”

“With no population, no mineral resources and minimal evidence of recent human activity...”

“Just because it’s uninhabited, doesn’t mean...”

“And that we signed off as not strategically useful and not to be flagged for further study four months ago,” Jack finished, calmly sitting and watching Daniel’s reactions. Daniel snapped his jaw tightly shut, drew in a deep breath and sighed it out through his nose.

“Am I going to be allowed to finish one of my sentences today?” he asked Jack, leaning back from his work and crossing his arms over his chest.

Jack sat back too and took a good long look at Daniel. He had years of experience with reading him now and he knew that the younger man was teetering between amused and pissy. Jack prided himself on being able to predict Daniel’s reactions before he opened his mouth, his every expression and gesture had eloquence few people possessed, even with words. Of course, Jack wasn’t totally sure that no one else expressed themselves as visually as Daniel did, he never watched anyone quite as closely as he did his team linguist. With a wry smile, Jack gestured that Daniel was free to continue.

“Look Jack, I know why you are here,” Daniel began in a quiet, weary voice. “Before we start the lecture, let me just say that I knew the risks and I thought the Gadmeer were worth it. I was sure...well, not sure but I had a strong feeling that Lotan could be reasoned with if we could get him to think...”

Daniel was in full flow, his voice rising in volume and his words tumbling over each other; his research grant pitch voice as Jack liked to think of it.

“Because I do,” Jack quietly said, cutting the younger man off instantly. Jack stared into his mug as he swirled his coffee dregs around and around.

“Do what?” Daniel asked cautiously.

“Hide. Behind the military thing, you know, big bad Colonel O’Neill? From the life stuff,” Jack admitted.

“You have life stuff?” Daniel sounded surprised. Jack raised his eyes briefly to Daniel’s face, before going back to his dreg swirling. There was no humour in his glance, just resignation.

“Yeah! Shocker, eh?” Jack’s voice sounded tired.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply...”Daniel began, regretting his glib behaviour. Jack shrugged and shook his head as Daniel stumbled into a silent dead-end. Daniel waited a moment to see if Jack was going to say more before he took their dirty breakfast plates away to the sink. He didn’t want to push, he was sure his facetious remark had stopped Jack from telling him something important and he didn’t know how to undo it.

Daniel poured a couple of glasses of juice from the refrigerator and turned back to the counter with a cheery,

“So...” but Jack wasn’t there. Stepping back into the hall he frowned at the still closed front door, before padding down the steps into the living room. Jack was standing by the windows. He stared over the rooftops watching the play of colours in the morning sky. Daniel was struck by how lost Jack seemed this morning; he knew that something had happened to make Jack seek out his company, let alone at daybreak.

Placing the cold glasses on the table by the sofa, Daniel stood, hands in pockets, his shoulders hunched.

“Do you want to talk..I mean to me?” Daniel asked finally. “We used to be able to help each other with ... life stuff.”

Daniel thought of the evenings they used to spend, when it all got too much for one man to stand. Often they would talk, controlled and rational, other times they would just sit in silent companionship, another presence to help them keep it together. And once or twice they wept, as memories of losses became too vivid, the raw agony of it having to be released and exorcised until they would fall into empty sleep knowing that a friend was watching over them.

It had begun the night Daniel had returned from Abydos and Jack had taken him home when no one else had remembered he was there. He had found talking to Jack almost easy, which had come as a surprise to Daniel who had never before found talking through a personal problem to be either simple or beneficial. But Jack’s solid reassuring presence grounded Daniel and for months they had given and taken comfort when things had got bad – because they had got bad.

Daniel didn’t think he could have survived that first month without Sha’uri unless Jack had been there to catch him. And then, as Daniel had begun to get his emotions under control, the crystalline entity that had made a carbon copy of Charlie had impacted on Jack’s life, breaking open wounds too recent to be called scars. As Jack had struggled to regain the fragile balance his life had become since his son’s death, Daniel had tried to provide the kind of support that Jack had given him. At first Daniel had been scared to see the older man fall apart so spectacularly. Jack was his rock, if he wasn’t solid enough for Daniel to anchor himself to then what could save Daniel from drowning? During the night that followed and as the spark had slowly returned to Jack’s haunted eyes, Daniel had come to realise that Jack saw him in the same way; a place to hang on when the swell threatened to overwhelm him and Daniel had been amazed and humbled. Moreover, it had made him want to be that person for Jack.

So their friendship had grown, the usual pizza and video nights, Daniel enduring hockey games and beer, Jack bitching though the Discovery Channel and trips to the fish store to replace Daniel’s ever-diminishing number of pets. It was even more precious to them both because of its unlikliness; the quiet cerebral peacemaker and the loud, larger than life career military man. They fought like cats and dogs and laughed together like loons. It had been easy, it had been good and it had become necessary to them both in a way neither of them had admitted. And then it was over.

Daniel wished he could put a finger on exactly when it had happened; that he could define the single moment when Jack had rescinded Daniel’s friendship privileges, because that is what it had felt like. Jack being stranded off world was where Daniel had felt the first chills. For three months they had worked to find a way back to Edora and when Jack had been brought home, he had been so relieved and happy, but something in his manner had kept Daniel at arms length. The NID sting that had followed, had rattled Daniel badly and despite Jack’s words offered to reassure Daniel of his continuing friendship, they had sounded as empty as Daniel had started to feel. Their fight on Euronda was just confirmation for Daniel of what he already knew, that Jack had moved on. Jack had gone from being Daniel’s rock to just a rock, cold, unyielding and uncommunicative. The looks, the smiles and the unspoken support that he had come to rely on were gone and Daniel was adrift again.

He had retreated into sarcasm and intellectual superiority and yes, he hid in his books. He never imagined that Jack withdrawing his friendship would hurt him so badly or rock him so profoundly. Daniel had many flaws but stupidity was not one of them. He had realised when his feelings for Jack had gone beyond best friends. He also knew that Jack loved him back in his way, not all Daniel needed or desired, but enough. He would never risk what he had with the older man, too much depended on it. He would never let Jack know, he was sure Jack would never reciprocate his feelings and he didn’t want him to feel uncomfortable around him. But Daniel never thought that Jack would so icily remove him from his life and relegate him to just a subordinate team member.

Time on time Daniel had replayed conversations in his head, looking for other reasons why Jack would drop him so hard and fast, but he invariably came to the same conclusion; Jack had discovered Daniels attraction to him and couldn’t distance himself quickly enough from the younger man.

Shock had quickly given way to anger and in short turn to sorrow. He missed Jack and although he was waspish to the point of being bitter at work, off base was a different story. Daniel had buried himself in his work to block out the nagging suspicion that Jack now actively disliked him. He could blame his weight loss and insomnia on his life long love of ancient languages consuming him, but in truth it was the fear that he had lost the love of his life that made it difficult to eat and impossible to sleep unless physical exhaustion caused him to pass out.

Jack turned to face Daniel, his expression unreadable in the shadow cast by the sun rising behind him.

“Talk,” Jack repeated inflectionless.

“Yeah, what do you have to lose?” Daniel smiled, his lips quirking to one side and his eyes crinkling in a way Jack hadn’t seen in such a long time.

“Maybe everything,’ Jack said quickly, swallowing past the lump in his throat that felt suspiciously heart shaped. Daniel frowned, pursed his lips and waited to see if Jack would continue.

“You know the talking thing, I was never really that good at it. Cost me my marriage and almost my sanity,” Jack began. Daniel very quietly let out the breath he hadn’t realised he was holding and nodded.

“It’s not that I don’t think this stuff, it’s just that whole expressing yourself thing is kind of hard for me. That’s why being around you is good for me – you can talk enough for the both of us.” A sparkle of humour glittered in Jack’s eyes, defying the shadows.

“Thanks,” Daniel muttered dryly, returning the hint of a smile he guessed was on Jack’s face.

“I miss that...you know...since we’ve been spending less time together,” Jack continued after a quiet moment. He cleared his throat and shifted his weight from foot to foot.

“Miss you,” he clarified.

Again Daniel stayed silent, he couldn’t seem to phrase a sentence that wouldn’t incriminate him. Jack could be going anywhere with this, anywhere at all from a peace offering to wanting him off the team. Daniel needed more information before he could feel safe enough to speak.

Jack kept sneaking glances at Daniel, betraying his unease. When Daniel didn’t reply, Jack took a step towards him as if compelled. He pushed his hands in his pockets, unconsciously duplicating Daniel’s stance.

“So,’ Jack began, taking a deep breath. “I wondered if we might try and...you know...fix this. You being so smart and all. I mean, what’s the point of all those years of study if...” Jack trailed off as he took in Daniel’s stillness.

“Can you tell me why it started?” Daniel asked more sharply than he had intended. What was this? Daniel was cornered and still had no idea what Jack wanted from him. Jack wouldn’t meet his eyes.

“Probably not, that’s why I thought you with all your communication skills might be a good place to start.”

Daniel just shook his head, unable to fathom where Jack wanted to go.

“You know,” Jack elaborated, “Reading between the lines, non-verbal communication, working stuff out – it’s what you do.”

“Okaaaaaaay,” Daniel agreed quietly, “Where do I start?”

“With me,” Jack squared his shoulders and looked directly at Daniel, who frowned slightly.

“What do you see?” Jack dared, shrugging his shoulders.

“Jaaaaaaack,” Daniel began.

“Come on Daniel. Look at me, what do you see?”

“I see Jack. Jeans, trainers, 6’ 2”, greying hair, T-shirt I left at your place last year and thought I’d lost,” Daniel sniped. His lack of direction was making him tense and Jack just turning up here and expecting...what? What did Jack expect? Daniel had retreated into his habitual mode of defence: sarcasm.

“And?” Jack prompted, tilting his head as Daniel contemplated him.

“And what? USAF Colonel. Good guy. Saves the world on a monthly basis. Likes include pizza, televised sports and Uma Thurman. Dislikes archaeology, aliens with divinity complexes and intense conversations.”

Jack smiled very gently, disarming Daniel still further. He was convinced that the punch line to this gag was due to bite him on the ass at any moment and he refused to be the straight man, in his own home, at this unhealthy hour of the morning.

“And?” Jack asked again, his soft, pleading tone caught Daniel unawares.

“My best friend,” Daniel blurted.

“Yep.”

“The guy who watches out for me.”

“Yep. And...”

“And would give his life for me.”

“In an instant, Daniel.” Jack took another step towards the younger man.

“Go on,” he encouraged.

“The guy who had been either shouting me down or ignoring me completely for the past 5 months; the guy who can’t stand to be in the same room as me for more than 10 minutes; the guy who avoids me because...” Daniel looked away from the pain in Jack’s eyes; it mirrored too closely the pain in his heart.

“Come on Daniel, you’re almost there,” Jack whispered roughly.

“...because he...” Daniel’s heart hammered in his chest, his throat so dry and tight, he could hardly get the words out. He looked back at Jack, meeting his open gaze, knowing that this was the turning point; this would be the defining action of any future friendship they might have. What did Jack want? For Daniel to admit he was in love with him? Why? How would that help?

“Look! It’s right in front of you Daniel,” Jack urged. He took another uncertain step forward, removed his hands from his pockets and held them slightly away from his body, palms turned towards Daniel in submission.

“...because he...”

“He loves you,” Jack admitted softly.

Daniel opened his mouth, then, thinking better of it, closed it again. He blinked a few times. He tried again to say something, anything to stop Jack looking at him like that, so open, so accepting – like Daniel could tell him anything and he would be safe. Daniels lips ghosted the shapes of words that wouldn’t come.

Any minute now, thought Jack, he’s going to...there it is! .

Daniel wrapped his arms tightly around himself. “Wh...” He cleared his throat “What? Sorry? Excuse me?” Daniel floundered.

“Love you, Daniel.” Jack risked another step. With Daniel so disarmed, Jack trusted that he would be able to judge any negative reaction to his revelation and get the hell out of Dodge before Daniel could recover sufficiently to do him any physical harm.

“As in my best friend, pals, buddies, amigos, chums...”

“Yep and nope,” Jack replied infuriatingly.

“As in...?”

“As in love, Daniel,” Jack clarified. “Love, as in can’t be without you, want to hug you and never let go, hearts and flowers, springtime walks, holding hands, candle lit dinners, love.” Hey, maybe he wasn’t so bad at this conversation stuff.

“Oh...love,” Daniel muttered, nodding absently. He thought of a translation for the word love in every language he knew, than he thought of all the synonyms for those words; anything to buy him some time before he had to think about what Jack had just said. The strange rushing noise in his ears was affecting his concentration and he was struggling with the Abydonian for devotion when Jack interrupted him.

“Sooooo? What do you think?” Jack asked, his nonchalant tone betrayed by the anxiety in his face and stance. He hadn’t expected Daniel to throw himself into his arms or anything, but this semi-catatonic silence had Jack’s guts tied in a hundred knots with a side order of ice.

“Why...” Daniel managed to utter.

“Why do I love you? You’ve got me!” Jack shrugged. “You’re annoying, way too smart to function in normal society, sarcastic, pompous... and those are your better qualities.” He had wanted to say something else, but Daniel was obviously freaking as it was and declarations about honesty, integrity, passion and a killer ass were probably more than enough to tip the pale young man to screaming the place down.

“Thank you, that’s not what I wanted to know,” Daniel continued with a tight mirthless smile. “Why are you telling me this now?”

“Because two days ago I primed a bomb I knew would kill you,” Jack explained, all the teasing and joking gone from his tone in an instant.

“You were protecting the Enkarrans – you did what you thought was right,” Daniel sighed wearily, unaware that his demeanour proved that he had been over this argument in his head a thousand times.

“What you don’t know is that my next action was going to be to step into the wash of an opening wormhole,” Jack said simply. “What I realised, the second I pressed that button is that I can’t be without you. You save me from myself Daniel, on a daily basis. I need you to do that for me.”

“And the...tension between us lately is...?”

“My fault. When I realised what you were to me...well...I kind of freaked for a while. I thought I couldn’t be objective and do my job if I admitted to myself how important you are. Now I know I can only do my job knowing you are hounding my every step, making me think, stopping me from going overboard with the whole military objectives, acceptable losses thing. You see saving the planet is not all it’s cracked up to be, sure it’s a nice medal and a slap on the back, but it’s too abstract,” Jack admitted.

Daniel’s eyebrows raised in surprise as he mouthed the word “abstract?” But Jack was in full flow now: his previous declaration of verbal inadequacy forgotten as his heart did the talking.

“So I tried to scale it down a bit – America – I tried saving the world for Uncle Sam and then I met Kinsey and other slime bags of his ilk. So, the SGC, now that was worth saving, a collection of the bravest men and women I’ve ever met. But it’s just not personal enough, you know? I’m just not that noble. I needed something tangible. I needed something about which I cared so greatly that I could go out there and put it on the line day in, day out. And that’s when it hit me that I’ve been doing that all along. For you. I save the world, I fight, I struggle, I get battered all to hell and get back up and ask for more, for you Daniel. Because you are worth saving.”

Jack took another step towards Daniel, no more than 6 feet now separated them, 6 feet and one word from Daniel. Jack winced slightly as he saw the effects of his words on the pale skinned man. Daniel’s eyes were huge under his ruffled hair. His mouth had fallen slightly open, as Jack had imagined, but rather than looking sexy and eminently kissable, Daniel looked as if Jack’s CPR training was going to come in handy any minute now.

“You asked if I wanted to talk...” Jack said, slightly defensively.

“Well you said you found expressing yourself hard!” Daniel countered, suddenly reanimating, his brain catching up with the present.

“It was hard!” Jack stated.

“Well you wouldn’t know it. Jeez Jack, I couldn’t get a word in...”

“Bet that has never happened to you before.”

Daniel snorted and Jack smiled. It sounded like it had when things were good between them. Both men suddenly found the pattern on Daniel’s rug very absorbing.

“So, all this time you’ve been pushing me away, it’s not because you knew I’d fallen for you?” Daniel asked with a sheepish grin on his face.

“What?” Jack howled, his head jerking up, eyes wide. “No! You’ve fallen...WHAT?”

Daniel exchanged the sheepish grin for a sly one as he watched Jack struggle to speak, breathe and stay upright. The colonel’s cheeks ran from white through purple and settled on crimson as he raked his hands through his hair, leaving it standing in fetching tufts.

“Apoplexy is a good look on you,” Daniel observed mildly, quietly proud of the quick recollection of his scattered wits.

Jack composed himself with a titanic effort and the two men stood for a long moment, looking at each other in light of their recent fit of truthfulness. Wistful smiles and questioning glances passed between them until Jack raised a hand to gesture Daniel closer to him. Daniel complied with a wary grin and closed the gap still further; almost close enough to feel the heat coming off of Jack’s body.

“What now?” Daniel asked quietly, a challenge in his blue eyes.

With one last smile, Jack bridged the distance between them, snaking an arm around Daniel’s waist and gently touching his face with the other hand, he leaned in and softly placed his lips against Daniel’s. He closed his eyes, relishing this first, sweet kiss and let the sensations wash over him: how hard Daniel was, how solid, but also how soft and warm his lips were. He tasted of coffee and a subtle sweetness and smelled like citrus shampoo and soap. Jack moaned a little sigh against Daniel’s mouth and was thrilled when Daniel took advantage of this and tentatively touched his tongue against Jacks. He opened his eyes as he drew back for breath to find the sapphire of Daniel’s eyes calmly regarding him, challenging him to be freaked.

Always a man to respond to a dare, Jack deliberately skimmed his hand from Daniel’s waist to rest squarely over his denim-clad ass. Jack quirked an eyebrow at Daniel, returning the challenge. Daniel looked a little wild around the eyes, so Jack kissed him again, harder this time and gently squeezed, defying Daniel to stop him. Instead Daniel carded his fingers through Jack’s hair and slipped his other hand beneath Jack’s shirt to find the smooth line of his back.

At Daniel’s touch, Jack felt himself loosing the upper hand in this game of chicken. The sensation of Daniel’s strong, warm hands mapping the skin of his back and waist had a low hot tingle spreading from the pit of Jack’s stomach. Jack growled his approval and brought his other hand around to join his first on Daniel’s ass. Slowly, gently he pulled the archaeologist and adjusted his own stance until he was happy with the fit of the young man against him. Chest, belly, lips and hips met in a collision of hard and soft planes that seemed to have been made for just this purpose. Both men opened their eyes as their groins lined up, each feeling the evidence of the other’s desire. Their gazes locked, the initial shock instantaneously replaced by a new urgency in their kisses and touches.

Daniel clung to Jack, as if to let go would be to loose him. Jack enthusiastically welcomed Daniel into this hot, hungry mouth, curling and rasping his own tongue against Daniel’s as they fought to know every plane and curve of each other’s body in one fervent instant. All pretence of restraint gone, Jack locked his arms around the younger man and strove to get as much of himself touching as much of Daniel as he physically could. His head swam from lack of blood and oxygen and the soft tingle of arousal became an insistent screaming need. He nipped and sucked at Daniels restless tongue, wringing moans and needy shivers from him, until he felt strong, slim hands grasp his shoulders and press him away. Jack took a step back, chest heaving, his hands unsure what to do with themselves without 6 feet of willing, wanting archaeologist in them.

Daniel walked away from Jack, crossing the room, never taking his eyes from his confused, hurt expression.

“Is this real?” Daniel snapped, turning to face Jack squarely. His glasses sat at a rakish angle on his nose, his lips were rosy and swollen and to Jack he had never looked more fucking gorgeous.

“If that didn’t feel real to you, then I’m doing something wrong. Let me try again. ” Jack growled, moving toward Daniel purposefully. Daniel neatly sidestepped, putting the sofa between himself and the libidinous Colonel. Jack sniggered to himself thinking that Daniel could put an entire System Lord Convention between them and Jack would still be on him before Daniel’s lips had time to dry.

“You’re not going to turn out to be a robot on me are you? Or under the influence of an alien mind probe, or high on some off-world cocktail...”

“No Daniel, it’s really me,” Jack told the archaeologist who moved left when Jack went right.

“Or a clone...”

“Nothing but 100%, home grown O’Neill, Dannyboy,” Jack grinned and feinted left, then immediately dodged right, but still Daniel kept the sofa between them, eyeing the Colonel warily.

“And suddenly you’re OK with this?” Daniel’s playful demeanour dissipated as he asked the question and he stilled, watching Jack intently.

“Not suddenly and not this, Daniel,” Jack responded in kind. “I’ve loved you for a long time Daniel, you know that. It was just a small step to being in love with you, so small I didn’t realise I’d taken it until it smacked me upside the head when I was on Edora. I missed you so badly, I kind of lost it there for a while...” he trailed off and briefly closed his clouded eyes.

“And this? This guy thing?” Jack continued after a moment and at Daniel’s small nod, Jack shrugged his shoulders, “ It was a surprise, sure, but you’ve never stopped surprising me Daniel. I’ve never wondered about...how it would be...with other men...but I wonder how it will be with you.” The dark burn in Jack’s eyes returned as they raked with naked intensity over the young man hiding behind the sofa. Daniel licked his lips nervously; Jack’s frank admiration of him both unnerved him and excited him.

“Look, if you want some time to get used to this, to take it slow...” Jack said, but the low, gravel tone of his voice betrayed him.

Daniel smiled enigmatically. His eyes darted from Jack to his bedroom door, calculated the distance and hesitated and in doing so, was lost. Jack saw the flicker of indecision on his soon-to-be-lover’s face and reacted. He surged forward, one foot on the seat and one on the back of the sofa he leapt for Daniel, his arms closing on thin air as the young man anticipated his move and ran, hooting with laughter towards the door. But Jack was motivated and caught Daniel’s t-shirt as he reached the bedroom. Daniel twisted and ducked, wriggling out of his compromised clothing, leaving Jack with just the shirt and no prize. Jack growled, throwing the shirt aside.

“Sneaky little bastard,” Jack muttered and with a holler that sounded suspiciously to Daniel’s ears like a “Woo Hoo!” he launched himself bodily onto his archaeologist as Daniel reached the foot of his bed.

Daniel felt the air whoosh from his lungs and he landed face first into the pillows, his glasses knocked from his face and landing on the floor by the bed. Spitting out a mouthful of cotton, he groaned theatrically and tried to put his hands under him to lift Jack off his back. Jack quickly disabused him of this idea by holding him down and adjusting his knees so they lay on top of Daniels upturned palms, effectively pinning him to the mattress.

“Jack, get off – you’re heavy,” Daniel complained into the muffling fabric.

“Can’t hear you Daniel –speak up!”

“Get off of me, you weigh a ton! Did Janet mention this in your last full medical?” Daniel sniggered.

“Daniel, Daniel, Daniel,” Jack sighed, shaking his head. “That was a mistake – never piss off the one with the power when you are at his mercy.”

“Power? Hah!” Daniel hooted.

“It’s my job to look out for you Daniel, so just consider this a lesson – basic hostile diplomacy,” Jack cooed as he placed large warm hands on Daniel’s naked back. Daniel began to slide into the sensation of intimacy when Jack’s hands tensed and started to tickle him hard under the ribs. No matter how Daniel bucked and thrashed he could not unseat Jack or persuade him to stop the torture. Tears of helpless laughter pricked Daniel’s eyes and he knew how hot and sweaty he had become in the struggle to free himself. Only when Daniel became hoarse from shouting and laughing did Jack stop his onslaught and his hands stilled over Daniel’s spine.

Daniel wheezed, wiping his eyes and nose surreptitiously on the counterpane as his body recovered after Jack’s merciless treatment.

“Bastard,” he moaned petulantly at the smug Colonel.

“You have to learn some respect for the guy with all the cards Daniel,” Jack told him – only half joking. “Bad behaviour merits punishment. Let’s see how far good behaviour gets us.”

“Good behaviour?” Daniel asked warily.

“Say something nice,” Jack suggested leaning closer to the younger man’s ear.

“Well, you move much quicker than I anticipated,” Daniel offered with a chuckle. Jack paused, seeming to consider this, then began to rub gentle circles on Daniel’s flawless skin. Daniel let out a blissful sigh, letting all the muscles in his back relax.

“Hmmmm?” Jack asked.

“Ohhhhh yeah,” Daniel agreed. “And your reactions are as fast as ever.”

Jack moving his hands up to knead the muscles of Daniel’s neck and shoulders rewarded him. If it wasn’t for the uncomfortable tightness he now felt in his jeans, Daniel could have fallen asleep right there. He moaned, long and deep into the pillow, all the residual tension in his body groaned right on out with his appreciation.

“And you look so damn hot in your BDU’s,” Daniel ventured, always a quick study.

Jack’s hands traced a path to Daniel’s sides and he let the backs of his fingers trail so lightly up and down, Daniel thought his dick was going to explode from the exquisite teasing.

“And you’re P-90 is always the best maintained,” Daniel sighed, regretting the fact that due to all his blood rushing to his groin he couldn’t think up anything better. Jack didn’t seem to notice and began to press soft, whispering kisses up Daniel’s spine, sending the recipient demented with lust.

“And you’re always watching my six, Jack,” Daniel moaned. The kisses stopped abruptly and Jack’s hands stilled on the waistband of Daniel’s jeans.

“Playing dangerously, Dannyboy,” Jack murmured a quiet warning.

“And I love you too,” Daniel replied, just as quietly. He lifted his hips obligingly as Jack slid his hands round beneath Daniel. Jack’s breath ghosted over the nape of Daniel’s neck. As Jack’s hand slid possessively over the hot swell in Daniel’s jeans, the young man hissed his desire. The buttons came open easily at Jack’s touch and Daniel’s cock sprang free of the soft, peachy material.

Jack kissed his way back down Daniel’s vertebrae, gently tugging at the jeans until they were at Daniel’s knees. He finally released Daniel’s hands and got off the bed to pull the soft material from Daniel’s legs altogether. Daniel listened and guessed that Jack was using this moment to strip as soft material noises whispered to him, but he didn’t move or attempt to look. He felt Jack’s weight dip the bed behind him and then the warm solid weight he craved settled slowly over him, covering him, possessing him.

Jack licked and kissed across Daniel’s shoulder blades, wriggling to the side to slide a hot callused hand into the dip of Daniel’s back and up onto the swell of his ass.

“Daniel, I want...” Jack breathlessly groaned.

“Yes, do it,” Daniel commanded urgently.

Daniel was taken by surprise when Jack flipped him effortlessly onto his back and after a fast passionate kiss, scooted down his body and took Daniel’s rigid cock into his mouth. Daniel’s body almost left the bed entirely as Jack sucked greedily and he cried out in his effort to hold his body still as Jack’s demanding tongue swiped over and over the sweet point on the head of his length.

Jack pulled back, surging back up the bed to kiss Daniel’s face. He took Daniel roughly into his hand and picked up a brutal pace, gliding up and down Daniel’s saliva covered dick. Daniel’s sobs punctuated each jerk of Jack’s wrist as he strained towards release.

Jack sucked on the pulse points of Daniel’s neck, his hot breath bringing up the hairs on Daniel’s arms. Daniel could feel himself building up, no denying his imminent orgasm and gave himself over to it, feeling the sensation rise from his toes and sink from his lips to pool gloriously in his cock for the split second before he came. Daniel threw his head back into the pillows and screamed as the come pulsed from him, over and over in all consuming waves of ecstasy.

He was vaguely aware of Jack holding him, being crushed to the older mans broad chest, then gently laid back on his chest and stomach as Jack slipped from his side and settled his weight squarely between Daniel’s thighs. Daniel regained his consciousness fully as Jack began to press kisses to the small of his back and run sticky wet fingers between the cheeks of Daniel’s ass. He sighed a little as Jack slid a cool finger into Daniel easily. Jack, realising that Daniel was as ready as he was, hooked his strong arms around Daniel’s waist, hefting Daniel slightly up onto his knees and positioned himself to enter Daniel.

“Do me Jack,” Daniel murmured, sated and sleepy but needing this belonging, needing to be fully Jack’s, body and soul. As Jack entered him, so sweetly, Daniel realised that his own come was easing Jack’s progress into him. Daniel held his breath, expecting to feel some pain even in the relaxed and willing state he was in, but as Jack’s single-minded glide into his body filled him, he felt only heat and fullness and a soul deep sense of rightness. He exhaled as Jack’s head dipped briefly and rested on his back, his cock buried all the way inside Daniel.

“God, Daniel, that feels incredible. You are perfect, beautiful,” Jack whispered reverently. Jack’s words made Daniel’s flagging erection twitch with renewed interest. Stretching languidly, the young man shimmied his hips a little, accustoming himself to the sensation of Jack inside him. Very cautiously he tensed his muscles around Jack’s cock, eliciting a pleasing intake of breath.

Jack withdrew a little, then as gently, pressed back into his lover’s body. Daniel hummed in a way that Jack could only interpret as pleasure and emboldened by his love’s encouragement he began to thrust a slow, deep rhythm, sweet and almost lazy. Daniel felt his arousal grow again, the sensations making him feel almost drugged, still high as he was from his first climax. Jack shifted his knees in closer to Daniel’s body, steadying his hands on Daniel’s hips. Jack’s dick at this new angle began to glide a gentle pressure inside Daniel that had him moaning and his cock rising again inexorably. The slow sweet coiling of pleasure spiralled out from Daniel’s groin like warmth, which spread through every inch of his body until it was almost an ache. Jack murmured whispered words of endearment, how beautiful he was, how much he was loved all the while rhythmically stroking into Daniel, never breaking the pace he had set himself although it was costing him IQ points to hang on. His body screamed his desire at him, demanding sweet release, but Jack kept a vice like grip on his need, waiting for Daniel to catch him up.

Daniel found it becoming harder and harder to stay propped on his knees, the intense sensations of Jack’s loving depriving him of coherent thought. The realisation that he was close to coming again took Daniel by surprise, he had never had an orgasm teased from his body like this, so slow and deep, like a growing swell rather than a crashing wave.

“Jack, oh my God, I’m gonna.... I’m gonna...Jack!” Daniel warned his patient lover who did not need to be told twice. Jack dug bruising fingers into Daniel’s hips, and powered forward from his knees into the tight, hot constriction of Daniel’s ass, almost vicious now his lover’s readiness had been assured. Daniel felt the moment of release come upon him like the rumble of thunder rather than the lightening of his earlier climax. His stomach flipped over and his balls tightened as his cock began to pulse ribbons of wet heat into the crushed cotton sheets. Jack felt the moment of his lovers release as Daniel’s muscles spasmed around his dick, sending Jack’s tenuous control tumbling as he shot hot stabs of come deep into the trembling younger man. Daniel felt the first wave of Jack’s orgasm hit his prostate and let the sweet darkness claim him.

Jack smiled into Daniel’s eyes when the archaeologist finally awoke three hours later. Daniel sleepily returned the smile and Jack watched for reality to kick in. The older man put a hand behind Daniel’s head as his eyes widened and his lips parted in a soft “oh” of shock. Jack pulled him in for a kiss, which sorted out the “oh” but not the wide eyes.

“It’s OK, Daniel,” Jack assured the dumbstruck linguist.

“But...” Daniel began, going stiff in Jack’s arms.

“I know,” Jack said simply, refusing to let Daniel pull away from him.

“But...”

“I know that too,” Jack said sweeping heavy warm strokes down Daniel’s back until he felt him relax and melt back into their embrace.

“Later,” Jack stated in a tone that said he was brooking no arguments on this one. They lay together blissfully unaware of the sweaty rumpled sheets that reeked of sex. Jack pressed soft kisses on Daniel’s bleary eyes from time to time and Daniel stroked light fingers along Jack’s ribs, enthralled at the play of his muscles when he stretched across to kiss him.

“So,” Jack growled after a few silent minutes of mutual adoration. Daniel looked up into his lover’s eyes at the sultry tone of his voice and smiled knowingly.

“Breakfast?” Jack enquired.

Fin