It was uncomfortable rather than life-threatening. Not that being trapped in a place about the size of O'Neill's closet was good for their long-term health prospects, but they were reasonably confident of being rescued before they ran out of air, food, water, or even before either one of them urgently needed to go to the bathroom. Which was lucky because going to the bathroom wasn't really an option in a place this small. O'Neill was feeling like one of those ships that got squeezed into bottles; not to mention feeling glad he'd peed behind a tree ten minutes before they'd fallen through the floor. But most of all he was feeling Daniel more or less sitting in his lap.
It wasn't something Daniel could help. They'd been standing very close when the floor had given out. O'Neill had been reading that clay tablet over Daniel's shoulder; well looking at the picture anyway. Daniel had been having a bit of a problem deciphering it. He'd said, "Jack, take a look at this, will you?"
O'Neill had only been a couple of feet away anyway, but he'd stepped up behind him to have a look and got a noseful of Daniel's shampoo. The same brand Sara used. Something he hadn't smelt in…a long time now. Daniel must have changed his brand and inadvertently bought O'Neill a whole inhalation of memories in the process. He'd still been gasping from that sensory shock of remembrance, when Daniel had angled the flashlight onto the red clay tablet and given a little 'Oh' sound.
"What?" O'Neill had still been reverberating from that scent. Unable to stop himself inhaling it greedily; confused by the way it was now wrapped around a whole different set of odors: Daniel odors; aftershave and sweat, and the inevitable caffeine bouquet.
"It's okay, I see what it is now."
The note of embarrassment in Daniel's voice had snagged his attention and he'd peered at it. Now that Daniel had it turned around the right way and dusted off, it was obviously a raised carving; two people…scratch that, two human males…interacting.
"It must be some kind of fertility ritual." Daniel still sounded a little embarrassed. "You can go back to what you were doing now."
"What? I don't get to look at the dirty pictures but you do?" O'Neill had reached across to take it from him but Daniel had hung onto it.
"Jack, it’s just an artifact."
"Well, it's a damned sight more interesting than your artifacts usually are."
Daniel had half turned to glare at him. "They're both…male."
"So?" O'Neill had returned Daniel's glare with a challenging one of his own, not sure why he was making such a big deal out of this but feeling stubborn.
"So, I wouldn't have thought that would…" Daniel had lost his nerve halfway through the sentence, presumably the steely look in O'Neill's eye or the remembrance that this wasn't something you joked about in the military permeating his brain.
O'Neill had found himself holding Daniel's gaze. "Well, there are a lot of things you don't know about me, Daniel."
The silence should have hung there dramatic and weighty, but unfortunately that was the moment when the apparently solid flagstone they'd been standing on had opened beneath them like a trapdoor without so much as a by-your-leave.
Luckily for both of them it hadn't been too much of a drop and the landing had been onto soft earth, but the way the flagstone had clicked back into place above them had carried a note of forbidding finality.
They had spent the obligatory time yelling until Carter and Teal'c came and yelled back at them. The flagstone had proven impervious to fiddling, banging, and blasting with a staff weapon. Daniel had clambered clumsily onto O'Neill's shoulders – doing O'Neill's back and knees no good at all in the process – and attempted to push it up from underneath but that had proven fruitless as well. After some shouted consultations it had been decided that Carter and Teal'c would return to the SGC to get some hydraulic equipment while O'Neill and Teal'c made themselves comfortable in the closet space and talked amongst themselves.
The problem was really their legs. O'Neill decided that he and Daniel were both too tall. He also thought it was ridiculous that someone two whole inches shorter than him should have legs every bit as long as his own. Even with his legs pulled up, Daniel was having to shift back against him. Every time he did that O'Neill got another noseful of Daniel's shampoo; Sara's shampoo; and he was finding having someone's rear shoved into his groin at the same time as his senses were being flooded with his wife's scent more than disconcerting.
Daniel shifted uncomfortably. "Ow. What is that?"
O'Neill coughed. "It's my sidearm." He breathed in again, Daniel's hair almost tickling his nose, closing his eyes as the memories flooded through him. Sara, warm and loving in his arms, her head on his chest, her fingers toying with his chest hair, her fingers walking a trail down his body to his…
He shifted himself, voice hoarse. "What do you miss the most?"
"What?" Daniel half turned his head.
He saw Daniel falter, eyelashes flicker as his eyes closed in pain, then he opened his eyes again. "What do you miss?"
"Oh…I don't know. Coming home to find someone there waiting for me. Eating meals I haven't had to order in or cook myself. Spilling something before you set out for work in the morning and when you come home it's been cleaned up. Having dirty socks get magically turned into clean ones in a drawer and I didn't have to do it myself. Running out of beer, forgetting to buy more, and knowing I'm going to have to do without, then finding she remembered for me. All those little acts of consideration that prove she was thinking about you even when you weren't there. The kind of sex that's comfortable, you know? No pressure. Just something you do, not this big performance. Not having to explain who you are, what you do, what you like. Talking afterwards, taking the piss out of ourselves because we used to be swing from the light-fittings and now we're missionary position then snoring and what the hell happened to us…?"
He could feel the smile hurting his face because those memories were so sweet and so good. All that love was still there. They had been so damned good together. They'd been such a unit; unbeatable; unbreakable. But life had beaten and broken them. Or perhaps he'd done it all by himself. The loss of her; the loss of that life as well as the loss of Charlie could still overwhelm him sometimes if he let it. With the strangely-altered scent of her in his nostrils, that short fine hair against his mouth, that wasn't hers, and never would be hers again, he felt longing and sorrow twist inside him. Sara was the past now and he could see no way to ever find the things she represented in the present.
There was a long silence from Daniel, so long that O'Neill stopped thinking about how much he was hurting inside and wondered if he'd hurt Daniel. He rested his hands on Daniel's upper arms gently, leaning forward the half an inch necessary to breathe into his ear. "Are you okay?"
"I miss being held." It came out in a rush. O'Neill saw his face in profile, one of those smiles Daniel offered up to pacify the gods, apology and plea combined. "I miss being touched, being comforted, being the person someone else needed more than anyone else in the world. I miss the scent of her. The way she always knew when I was lonely, sometimes when I didn't even know it myself. When the shadows got long and I'd feel the weight of the sky pressing down on me. When I'd feel so small and find myself thinking about how easy it would be for me to be alone again if I lost her. She'd come and find me and hold me, and I never knew how she knew…"
O'Neill could hear the tears Daniel was determined not to shed. He swallowed and rubbed Daniel's upper arms gently, a light pressure. "Yeah, I miss that too. I miss being known better than I know myself. I miss being called on being a jerk. I miss her putting her arms around me when I didn't even know that was what I needed."
"I get so lonely." Daniel said it quietly, an admission he seemed ashamed of. "Just so lonely for…being touched, being held. I really miss that."
"And sex." O'Neill sighed the word. "I miss the sex."
"Oh god yes."
O'Neill couldn't help breathing in his scent again. Sara's scent was fading now; he knew the shampoo was the same, but her soap had been different than Daniel's. He wondered how different his skin would taste. He could feel the warmth of it, that body pressing back against his; hard and muscled where hers had been soft and curved. He wondered if Daniel tasted of the coffee he smelt of.
"There ought to be a way to…" Daniel broke off and shook his head.
O'Neill inhaled again. It was turning him on, that was the honest truth. Daniel's scent was turning him on and now they'd started talking about sex he couldn't think about anything else.
Daniel cleared his throat. "It's just that it sounds as if we miss some of the same…" He shook his head. "Never mind."
O'Neill leant forward and closed his eyes, snuffling in behind Daniel's left ear and then inhaling deeply. God, he smelt good.
Daniel gave a soft sound and pushed back against him. O'Neill found his arms going around Daniel's chest to hold him steady as he breathed him in again, that short hair was so soft against his cheek. He had to taste this skin, had to. He let his tongue flicker across the base of Daniel's lobeless ear and felt that shiver go right through him. That was a gasp; a flexing of the body against his in response.
He licked across the ear this time, tasting skin. Daniel tasted of soap and shampoo, of salt and warmth, and yes, there was a faint flavor of caffeine.
"You showered this morning," he murmured it into his ear and Daniel shivered again, violently, pleasurably, at O'Neill's breath against his skin. And oh god it was good to have his arms around the warm responsive body of someone he cared about again. He'd stopped picking up women in bars even though it had never, if he was honest, been difficult for him to get laid that way, because it didn't get him where he wanted to go these days. When he was eighteen, perhaps, anyone handy would have done. But now he wanted something more than a place to thrust his dick for the night; more than that orgasmic head and body rush. He wanted comfort. But he could only be comforted by the responses of someone he loved and who loved him in return. So he supposed that meant that what he really wanted was love.
He breathed on Daniel's ear a third time, and there it was again, that delicious shiver of response, that little gasp and flex of the spine, Daniel automatically shoving his rear a little harder against O'Neill's…sidearm.
The scariest thing was how unscary it was. It just felt natural; almost everyday. It had the same familiarity as kissing Sara, but this wasn't Sara, wasn't the woman who had plighted him her troth, taken his name, borne his child. This was his best friend; Sara and Daniel were supposed to occupy different compartments in his life, not slip seamlessly into the same…
Oh god now he was thinking of things slipping into things. Thinking about things slipping seamlessly into holes stretched and oiled to fit them was not a good idea right now. Not unless he was going to be able to convince Daniel his 'sidearm' was now a P-90.
"Daniel…" he breathed the name into that perfect lobeless ear before licking it experimentally again.
Daniel gave another convulsion. "Yes…?" It was something between a gasp and a whisper.
"Are you okay with…this?"
He sounded at once yearning and terrified and O'Neill automatically tightened his arms around him, pulling him in tight against his body, guts twisting with his need to armor Daniel from that loneliness he'd spoken of. He knew what Daniel had been going to say. Why should they be lonely apart when they could comfort and company for one another together? Why? Because they were friends and guys. Not husband and wife. Women had always filled that emptiness in their lives before and women were different. They offered different things; fulfilled different needs. They were…
Helpmate. Friend. Lover. Comfort. Conscience. Advisor. Protector. Someone to be kept safe; to keep you safe. Someone whose arms you could sob in if you had to; someone who trusted you enough to sob in yours in return. Someone you desired and trusted and wanted and needed. Someone you were so used to having as a part of your life you barely even noticed they were there any more. It was just that when they were gone there was this terrible echoing absence.
Fire blazing. Daniel screaming. That hollow place that could never be filled again. A light dying inside him.
"Can we do this?" He inhaled Daniel's scent again; the warm delicious coffee, soap, and shampoo banquet for the senses.
Daniel half turned his head and O'Neill saw a cheekbone, eyelashes, a mouth he felt a sudden urge to kiss. "What are we doing?"
Becoming everything to one another.
There had to be a way to phrase it that didn't sound sappy. But he didn't want to make it sound as if they were both so lonely they were ready to fuck anything either. He knew how hurt he would have felt if he'd honestly believed Daniel was so desperate for the comfort of touch or so sex starved that he was willing to seek out any port in a storm.
"Becoming more than just good friends, I guess."
"Yes." Daniel sounded breathless but he certainly didn't seem to have any doubts.
He breathed on Daniel's ear again, then gingerly nibbled at it. Daniel gasped and arched. God, he was so responsive. Like he'd been wanting this for a long time. Not at all like someone seeking any port in a storm.
O'Neill slipped his left hand up under Daniel's t-shirt and touched the smooth warmth of his skin. Daniel jumped again then gave another of those little shivering responses that made O'Neill's cock harden and swell hungrily in his pants. Daniel's skin was unexpectedly soft but the muscles underneath were hard and clearly defined. He felt an odd pride in the body he was touching. Daniel hadn't felt like this four years ago, he was sure. He'd been younger and softer. He couldn't have done this with that Daniel without feeling like a child molester.
"Oh god…" Daniel gasped it and his hand reached back blindly, snatching a handful of Jack's t-shirt, pulling him closer.
O'Neill reached for Daniel's left nipple, gingerly fingering it. The way Daniel's back arched and the nub immediately hardened under his touch send another spasm straight to his cock. He kissed the side of his neck, breath harsh and hot with mounting desire, then sucked on his lobeless ear, before plunging his tongue into it.
The way Daniel slammed his ass back into O'Neill's groin told him better than a telegram that Daniel really liked that. He tongued his ear thoroughly while Daniel whimpered and clutched at his clothes, trying to drag them off him.
O'Neill could feel himself swelling with excitement as those strangled little gasps and whimpers of Daniel's went straight to his groin, but it was still a shock when those long fingers burrowed down between them and began to unbutton him. He didn't need an invitation to reach around in front of Daniel and feel under his waistband.
Daniel leant his head back and O'Neill craned his neck to kiss him. He hadn't intended that. Kissing was such an intimacy and Daniel was a guy, but somehow Daniel's mouth was opening in invitation and his tongue was plunging right on in and god it tasted so good, better than anything he had ever tasted before. In fact with one taste of that soft warm mouth he wanted Daniel on the floor where he could kiss him properly, wanted to explore every inch of him. Wanted to be able to look into his eyes, damnit.
He tried to twist on top of him but there was no room. As they tried to change position, they bruised themselves on the walls. Swearing, O'Neill tugged at Daniel's buttons, at least trying to get to that aching cock so he could alleviate it, just as Daniel was doing the same thing for him.
He felt buttons being loosened, then jumped as suddenly there were long fingers touching his cock, wrapping themselves around it.
"Oh God, Danny…" He gasped it in shock and pleasure, trying to crane his neck to kiss him again, while with his left hand he fumbled at Daniel's buttons, trying to yank them free so he could return to favor.
When Daniel began to pump him, he jumped harder, body slamming into Daniel's. By the way Daniel groaned with frustrated longing, he knew how desperate the younger man must be, got an inkling, too, of what Daniel would be willing for him to do if there was more room.
He plunged his hand into Daniel's boxers and felt the thick already-weeping shaft straining in readiness. Wrapping his fingers around it in the same way Daniel had done, he began to pump him rhythmically.
"Oh God, Jack…"
They were like matching bookends, obviously, with same response to the same stimulus. As Daniel began to pump him harder, he increased his pace to match, wrapping his arm around the smooth silk of Daniel's chest to pull his upper body back while trying to leave enough space between his aching groin and Daniel's ass for Daniel's fingers to do their work. He had to hunch the left side of his body so Daniel's arm had freedom to move, the elbow jabbing him in the chest as Daniel pumped him. He twisted himself around as much as could, while trying to match his rhythm to Daniel's, amazed at how much he loved the feel of that slippery slick cock between his fingers, how much he wanted to taste it.
Usually when he jerked off he thought about women, but now with Daniel's scent in his nostrils, Daniel's hair against his mouth, he was fixated on the thought of that ass so close to his aching cock; imagining what it would be like to slide into that tight heat, to be pumping Daniel's cock while Daniel tightened around him, pushed back against him, asked him to thrust, trusted him to fuck him hard and deep and tender and hot. He ondered if Daniel was thinking the same thing or if Daniel was fantasizing this was Sha're or Shyla or Kira giving him a hand job. He wanted it to be him Daniel wanted. Needed it to be him.
O'Neill gasped it out, "Would you let me…?"
"Yes…" Daniel sounded as if he was in pain, body twisting up with building orgasm. "Yes. Anything…Everything…"
Abruptly not wanting this to be over too soon, O'Neill slowed his pumping and Daniel groaned. O'Neill rubbed his thumb over the tip of Daniel's cock, feeling the sticky wetness there, reaching around with his other hand to touch it, then putting it to his tongue to taste. Then he closed his fingers in Daniel's hair and pulled his head around so they could kiss, thrusting his tongue in deep so Daniel could taste his own precum on his tongue.
He felt Daniel spasm against him, the hard pumping of his own cock momentarily falter, skip a beat; felt desire gasped into his mouth, sweet and desperate, then Daniel was tearing his head away. "Gonna…have to…god, Jack…want you…all of you…"
The realization that Daniel was every bit as turned on as him; wanted this; wanted all of it; wanted O'Neill to fuck him, was thinking about O'Neill fucking him hard and deep and tender and hot with every pump of his skillful fingers, was too much. As Daniel pumped him once, twice, thrice, O'Neill felt the orgasm burst from the soles of his feet to the top of his skull and convulsed hard against Daniel, slamming into him, crushing Daniel's hand between his semen covered loins and Daniel's back; at the same moment he felt Daniel arch and jerk; hot fluid spraying all over his hand as Daniel groaned out what was undoubtedly "Jack…"
They slumped against the wall to their right, panting, sweaty and sticky, still automatically stroking one another. O'Neill kissed the back of Daniel's neck, feeling the kind of fierce desire and tenderness he hadn't known in years. He wanted to experiment; roam; explore; touch every thing; kiss every inch; slide his fingers deep inside him then slide his cock in deeper; wanted to fuck him hard and slow and soft and sweet; every way Daniel wanted it; every way that would make him gasp and convulse and groan out that ecstatic wonderful 'Jack…' sound. But most of all he wanted to lie there in the same bed; wanted to wrap his arms around him and feel Daniel's arms wrapped around him; wanted to wake up and know Daniel was the warmth beside him. Wanted to kiss him and feel Daniel respond; wanted to look into his eyes and see the love there he was feeling.
He kissed him behind the ear again. "Daniel."
Daniel turned his head, body still heaving. "Yes?"
"Can we do this again sometime?"
Daniel snatched another breath. "Sure. When?"
O'Neill licked his lips. "I was thinking…maybe tonight?"
"Sure." Daniel nodded, brisk and businesslike. "Tonight's good for me."
"And then…?" Daniel had gone very still, like someone poised for something unwelcome.
O'Neill nuzzled in behind his ear again, inhaling that scent, feeling the soft warm skin against his face. He kissed his ear very gently. "And then perhaps we can do it again…Maybe every night, forever, until the end of time…?"
There was a tiny pause before Daniel said. "Actually, that's good for me too." He turned his head to look at O'Neill, twisting around uncomfortably so they could make eye contact at last. He looked mussed, sweaty, shocked and happy all at once. "That's very good for me."
O'Neill reached up and put his hands to both sides of Daniel's face then kissed him tenderly on the lips. "Me too."
The footsteps on the floor above them sounded like a herd of rhinoceroses.
"We should have you out of there in about five minutes."
O'Neill nuzzled in against Daniel's face again, kissing him on the end of the nose. "That should be long enough."
"For us to button each other back up again without being able to see what we're doing."
Daniel ducked his head down and O'Neill knew he was smiling. "We could do it ourselves."
"I've been there and done that." O'Neill nuzzled the back of his neck, kissing the short hairs there. "I like this way better."
He felt Daniel's fingers gently pushing his cock back inside his briefs, giving it a loving stroke as they did so as though it was a favorite pet, and then they were fumbling at his buttons. He rocked himself against Daniel's warm body, reaching around him to push Daniel's flaccid cock back into his boxers and button him back up. As he did up each button he dropped another kiss on the back of his neck, wriggling with pleasure as Daniel's unexpectedly deft fingers expertly secured each of his fly buttons.
"This wasn't just a comfort thing for you, was it…?" There was a hint of doubt in Daniel's voice.
O'Neill kissed the back of his neck again. "No. This wasn't just about comfort. Not for me. What about you?"
"Oh," Daniel ducked his head again. "I've been wanting this for a long time."
Daniel twisted his head round. "Wanting you, Jack."
O'Neill nuzzled behind his ear again, loving the way Daniel shivered when he did like that; like fine crystal in a breeze.
The sound of the hydraulic equipment sounded deafening but efficient. O'Neill figured they only had minutes before their closet space was opened like a can of sardines.
"What was it for you?" Daniel sounded hesitant, but strong. Steeling himself for the answer but ready to take what he was given.
What was it for him? The answers to a thousand questions he hadn't known he was asking. Finally the right place to be and the right person to be there with. Too mushy. Not his style.
Instead he kissed him again gently, breathing on the back of his neck for the pleasure of feeling Daniel shiver. With the last button done up, he wrapped his arms around him and pulled him back against him, holding him close, and warm, whispering it into his ear so he wouldn't miss a word even as they began to lever the flagstone open and let in the light.
"It was like coming home, Daniel. It was like finally coming home."