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For Want of a Shoe

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Why hadn't he brought shoes, too? Daniel thought for the hundredth time. His hands shook as his fingers ran over the coarse, cracked leather of the stolen boot.

"Just do it, Daniel. Nothing is going to - shit…"

Jack's encouragement ended in a harsh gasp and a curse as Daniel levered the shoe off his foot.

Daniel took a deep breath and before either he or Jack could think the better of it, he took Jack's other booted foot and separated leather from bare skin.

Bare feet. Daniel couldn’t do bare feet. A bare sole touching the ground embodied vulnerability and confidence and trust. A bare foot in strong, caring hands could be the source of as much pure pleasure as any sexual encounter. Daniel had to stop giving out foot rubs to his dorm mates way back in his freshman year of college. It was bad enough to get an erection while massaging some tired young woman's feet. Impossible to pop a boner while helping out your roommate.

Jack's feet were a mess. Why hadn't Daniel thought of shoes? (One-hundred and one.) He had thought to bring clothes. When he walked through that C-4-twisted metal door, he had seen Jack wrapped in just a piece of rag and had felt oddly triumphant, to be able to take a whole fresh uniform that he had picked up from Jack's locker and hand it to the man. Then he had seen Jack's filthy, bare feet. No shoes.

As they ran through the cobbled, poorly-drained streets of the town, dodging the sewage-filled ruts and gutters, Jack had checked the feet of every guard and Jaffa they took out, finally settling on the only boots that remotely fit his naked feet.

And he had paid for it. His toes were a bloody mess, not even blistered, just stripped almost completely of skin. His heels were blistered, the largest blisters Daniel had ever seen, white all across the backs of Jack's feet, bloody and torn in places. Daniel held Jack's right foot by the ankle and calf.

Daniel had never so much as glanced at the colonel's bare feet. He couldn't. And when he looked up at the man he recognized the exact moment when, even though the hot, throbbing agony of the pain, Jack saw everything in Daniel's face.

The colonel swiveled on his ass to let his broken feet settle into the icy cold water of the stream.

There was a lot more swearing.

"I almost wonder if you would have been better off with no shoes at all," Daniel muttered, turning to rummage through his pack and consider what to do next. SG-1 had covered a full day's fast hike though thick brush from the gate to the town. Since he and Jack had run in exactly the opposite direction while making their escape, it was going to be no picnic getting back, even under the best of circumstances. They needed to get this done. They needed to keep moving.

"I'd rather have some superficial discomfort than a severe laceration to something important," Jack replied. He sounded calmer to Daniel, now that his feet were out of their bindings.

Well, Jack's feet weren't going back in there. Daniel silently drew his field knife from its sheath and carefully attacked the leather of the shoe's body, chopping the boot down to the sole.

"What have we got in the med pack?" Jack asked, turning his head to catch Daniel just applying his knife to the second boot.

"Daniel?" he asked, in the tone that said Daniel was having a really bad idea, and Jack as about to tell him allll about just how bad an idea it was.

"Trust me," Daniel said. He kept his eyes down. He couldn't look Jack in the face again.

He pushed through the med pack, pulling out the antibiotic ointment and the bandages. A little more shoving around and he found the roll of duct tape.

"Give me a foot," he ordered, still not looking at the colonel. A foot was presented, and Daniel lifted Jack's leg by the calf, guiding his foot to rest on Daniel's thigh. Daniel probably should have considered sitting differently. Cross-legged, with Jack sitting above him on the rock, there was no hiding Daniel's growing bulge, so close to Jack's damaged foot. Daniel ripped open a packet of sanitizer and concentrated on applying it to his hands.

Jack's foot. Bacitracin, neomycin, and polymyxin B. A careful, loose application of bandages around toes and heel. Jack sat though it stoically, not making a sound. Then Daniel took the piece of leather that had been the sole of one of the boots, and laid it against the bottom of Jack's foot.

"Oh, you are brilliant," Jack breathed as Daniel began winding the duct tape over and around the bandages and the leather, creating a makeshift shoe.

Jack plopped his other foot into Daniel's lap without hesitation.

Then they were up and moving again. Daniel couldn't get over how Jack didn't even limp, as if the pain were nothing and the goal superseded everything else.

Even as they fought their way through the undergrowth, it took a good mile for Daniel's erection to go down.

It didn't help that Jack's ass looked surprisingly hot in BDU's and Daniel could still feel the damp spot Jack's heel had made on the cloth brushing the inside of Daniel's thigh.

They finally staggered back into the gate room two days later. Jack's feet were in a terrible state by that time. Dr. Fraiser put them side-by-side in the infirmary and Daniel stared studiously into the middle distance as the doctor cut away Daniel's handiwork and revealed what Daniel imagined would be the bloody mess underneath.

"Well, you'll be out of the field for a while," she said tersely, as if two months of imprisonment in a dank hole and obvious malnourishment and the overlapping bruises of repeated beatings were fine, but the condition of Jack's feet were the real reason he would be on stand down.

"You're free to go, Dr. Jackson," Dr. Reimer informed him.

"Thanks," he said, and slipped off the edge of the examination table, hell-bent for the door.

Jack reached out and caught him by the wrist. Daniel's gaze went to Jack's hand, but no farther. Jack shook his arm, and Daniel finally raised his eyes to Jack's face again.

"Hey," Jack said. Instead of judgment or anger, all Daniel saw there was concern. "You did good, Daniel. Thanks."

Daniel nodded shakily and walked out.