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The phone rang from somewhere on the floor, Jack's hand came around over the bed. He found the ringing object and gradually held it against his ear after pressing the answer button. “What?” he groggily began to listen to the person on the other end.

“Sorry to wake you sir” of course it was Sam, she just had the perfect timing. “Teal'c is back, it looks like we have a problem”

“I knew it” Jack shifted in the bed “All right, I'll be there as soon as I can” when Jack shifted again, he half expected Daniel to be on the other side of him; then he remembered where the archaeologist was, or rather, wasn't. Then the reality of what had happened, what he'd done came crashing down on him like a ton of bricks. “Crap” he got up slowly, the guilt tightening in his chest. He moved to the side as a woman sleepily hugged him. A woman, he'd slept with another person; Daniel had been gone a week.

“What was that?” she asked, at first he couldn't speak from a dry mouth. But he'd play it cool for now, but figured she could tell that what they did was a regret. Truth was, they got along really well, they fit, in a way. Kerry knew Jack was sort of in the middle of unsure grieving over losing Daniel to the replicators; but Jack suspected she knew there was more between them then just friendship. She had probably figured it out by the subtle ways that Jack had spoken of him at their meeting points. Them sleeping together was a consoling....thing, Jack was torn in a way he had no idea what he was doing; Daniel would so not believe him. If he was even coming back this time, and wasn't that the sore reality?

“Trouble in Jaffa land” he heard her groan of dismay “Gotta go, sorry” he bends down and kisses her, 'why did I just do that?' Jack thought, screaming inside his head. He simply then left the bed, and began to start getting ready.

 

Jack stared at his papers on his office desk, Daniel had been on his mind the whole day. Who knew where the guy was, he could be alone somewhere-in pain-or worse....and what had he done? He looked up as there was a knock on his door. “How's Colonel Carter's father?” and there was the icing on the cake, Sam's dad was dying, Jacob had been like family. But when Sam had come to talk to him, he had this suspicion that Sam's feelings for him ran deeper. But that wasn't the issue here, the issue was that he'd slept with the woman standing in front of him. He'd betrayed the only person he ever truly loved; with the exception of Sara.

“It doesn't look good”

“I'm sorry to hear that”

He watched as Kerry closed the door, he slowly put down his pen. “Closing the door”

“Yeah, deeply symbolic”

“Really?”

“Look, Jack, we're good together...”

“Kerry, I may have-”

“I know, I know you regretted it”

“It's not that-well, yeh...but, you have to understand”

“I do, and I know it's not Colonel Carter that's the problem, I know you were kind of grieving....for Doctor Jackson”

Oh yeah, she knew all right, crap!

“Look, he's my best friend-”

“I know it's more then that, I'm not that naïve Jack”

“Not so subtle huh?”

“No, not really; as much as it annoys me, I know you love him, and I'd hate to stand in the way of that. We were good together, but you love him, and I suspect you've been together a long time”

Jack was silent for moment “Five years”

“Right, and judging by what you've told me, you don't believe he's really dead, do you? I know that shouldn't matter, I was just curious”

“He's a resourceful fella”

“Then can I ask you something? Is the air force the only thing truly standing in the way? Of you two really being together, you know...rules and regulations, DADT”

“And you know what I should do?”

“What you both should do, retire”

“Again?”

“If you really love each other, as much as I think you do-”

“Well given the state of the whole Anubis thing on our hands, it's sort of a bad time”

“Its just a thought”

Jack nods at her, truth be told, they were good together, but Daniel- he and Daniel were perfect. But he may have just screwed that all up.

“I really hope he comes back” Kerry smiled and then left the room.

“Me too” Jack said to a then empty room, when Daniel came home, he was going to come clean with everything, and hoped beyond hope that Daniel forgave him, if he did- he was going to retire for good, to be with Daniel- openly.

….....................................................

“I still don't understand what happened” Sam began, sat in the briefing room with Jack, Teal'c and Bra'tac. “One minute Anubis is about to push the button that ends all life in the galaxy, and the next minute he's just....gone”

“Indeed, it is a great mystery” Teal'c replied

“One can only assume that he was vanquished by some beings, if not, why would he forfeit the weapon and his army?” Bra'tac said.

Sam looks straight at Jack, who becomes hopeful “You think?”

“I do”

“It's the only thing that would explain the self destruct not going off”

“Of what do you speak?” Bra'tac said

“O'Neill believes that Daniel Jackson maybe responsible” Teal'c stated

“No, wasn't me!” came a voice in the background, the four at the table looked at each other.

“Did anyone else hear that?” Jack said, his heart pounding a little faster, Sam nodded slowly.

“I'm in here!” they look then, toward the office; where the voice was coming from.

Jack smiled a little as he glanced back at the others. “That's Daniel!” Jack more or less got up and hopped toward the office. He almost jumps out of his skin as he reaches the doorway.

“No, wait, don't...come in”

Jack's eyes widen, there he was, his archaeologist, lying in a ball.....naked. “Ho! Hey there....um” Daniel glared at him, a look that told Jack not to say a word.

“Can you get me.....something?” it took all of Jack's will power to turn away from his naked returned lover. He moved from the doorway and decided to hell with it and grabbed the flag from the pole just outside the door, he awkwardly handed it to Daniel. Daniel then appeared through the doorway, his waist covered by the said flag. Sam's jaw drops a little and she looks away quickly, Daniel was more embarrassed then he had been the first time coming back.

Jack glanced at him, Daniel awkwardly glanced back and then Jack had to look away again. What the hell were the odds, of Daniel returning, in-his-office. Crap.

“It's uh....a long story” Daniel managed to stutter out.

…...............................................

Jack was pacing, how was he going to break this to Daniel? God he missed the man so much and what had he done? He didn't want to hurt him, but he couldn't live with the guilt. He paced in the living room, Daniel was going to be here soon; he had been in the middle of his medical examination when Jack left the base. This could go one of two ways, one: Daniel would get mad for a while, he'd yell, scream and curse him to high heavens, calm down and they'd talk it out, then Jack would wait until Daniel relented and forgave him, then announce his retirement. Two: Daniel would get mad, yell, scream and curse, he might even hit him, then storm out with the promise to have his things removed at a later date and Jack would never hold him again.

Jack breathed out shakily, although he was hopeful, he doubted Daniel would ever talk to him again.

Jack was startled by the front door opening and shutting. “Jack?” he heard Daniel's voice from the living room as he stood by the fire place. He couldn't move, frozen in place by that soft voice that was Daniel. Then he appeared at the archway, dressed in tight jeans and a black short sleeved top. Fuck. One look at Daniel made his blood boil, in more then one place. “There you are, didn't you hear me calling?” Speechless, Jack couldn't find his voice, throat gone dry, damn, why was this so hard? Oh, right, because he was probably going to lose the love of his life. “Jack? Are you ok?”

“Um, yeh, just....I missed you” Jack clenched a fist as Daniel smiled at him, an innocent sweet, fucking smile. Jack just wanted to shoot himself.

“I know” Daniel moved toward him “But I'm back now, I'm sorry, I wasn't given much of a choice”

'I was' Jack thought bitterly. 'You didn't, but I did'

Daniel appeared in front of Jack and took his hand, Jack could do nothing but allow his lover to lead him to their bedroom. They made it into the room, Jack mentally thanked himself for changing the damn bedding. He only registered what was happening when his back lightly hit the door as it shut, registering Daniel's lips on his, his hands across his chest. He couldn't let this happen, not until they'd spoken. “Daniel....wait”

“Can't....missed you” Jack screamed inside, he pushed at Daniel to gain some control.

“Daniel”

Daniel relented, staring at Jack as he continued to lay his hands at Jack's hips. “We really need to talk for a moment”

“Can it wait?” and Daniel went back to trying to ravish him, god dammit, nothing was wrong in Daniel's eyes. Yet.

Jack grabbed Daniel's arms lightly. “It really can't Daniel”

Daniel frowned then, his hands slowly sliding from Jack. “I'm getting a little worried here Jack, what's going on?” Jack took a breath, he hadn't realised his hands were shaking until Daniel reached for one. “Jack, your hands are shaking, are you ok? What is it?”

Jack bit his lip “Let's go into the living room”

Daniel's frown grew deeper, he'd never picture Jack for a fearful man. He shook his head as he stepped back a bit.

“Can we sit?” Daniel didn't have much choice but to follow as Jack sat down on the bed. Daniel sat himself down, with Jack on the right, his back to the door. And Daniel on the left, facing it. “I have somethings to tell you”

“Jack, your scaring me”

Jack gulped “Remember when I had those meetings with Kerri Johnson?”

“She was leading the investigation into the Goa'uld, something about the incident with the trust”

“Right, see....when you were....gone....we spoke about- stuff”

Daniel frowned “Are you trying to tell me they wanna transfer you? From the SGC?”

'I wish' Jack thought. “None of that, don't worry” 'Don't worry I said'

“Then what? Has something happened with the trust again? Are there more things found we didn't know about?”

“No, it's all good there”

Daniel frowned again “Gonna have to give me some sort of clue here Jack, I'm kind of out of guesses” it just showed how much faith Daniel had in him, the thought of him and Kerri never crossed his mind for a flitter of a second. Christ. Daniel was way too good for him.

“I was grieving....in a way, for you, Kerri- well she, was there, ya know? Offered advice and stuff”

“Does she know about us? She figured it out?”

“Yeh, she did, apparently I wasn't so subtle”

“Oh, well, she's not going to- you know, tell?”

“No, she's defiantly keeping it buttoned”

“Ok, so, that's ok....It's not like she spouted it around, we're still a secret, we still have our jobs”

Jack sighed, why did Daniel have to have so much faith? Damn him and his stupid faith. No, you can't get angry. “That's- not all”

“O-k”

“The last meeting, about a week after we thought you might be- you know” Daniel held his hand then, Jack couldn't help but grip it for a second. “Daniel....I let you down....”

“No, no you didn't, there was nothing you could have done-”

“I really need you to let me finish, I'm not talking about what happened to you, although I feel that I could have done something if I was with you”

“Sam and Teal'c were with me, they couldn't do anything-” Jack then glared at him “I'm gonna let you finish”

“Our last meeting, I don't know why, we decided it'd be best to have it at the cabin, encase ears were listening” Daniel nodded, Jack took that as a sign that he wasn't going to be interrupted this time. “I figured, since we were here, I made us a lunch; when the meeting side was over. That's when we got to talking about you, she could tell I was upset and angry over your absence....offered her comfort-”

Daniel was starting to panic, but he didn't want to jump to conclusions. His hand slipped from Jack's “Why don't I like where this is going?”

“Daniel....I- I was...”

“Did you kiss her?”

“Y-Yeh....”

Daniel in-took a breath, he looked away for a moment, “Was that it?” Daniel looked back at Jack. “Tell me that was all it was” Daniel's eyes searched Jack's for the answer; but he didn't have to search for long when Jack's guilt and sorrow was written all in them and on his face. Daniel breath an 'O' as he was slammed with the truth.

“Danny...” Daniel sat there, completely flabbergasted; he couldn't speak, couldn't move, heck, he could barely breath. “Daniel....say something”

Daniel swallowed dryly, he could feel his emotions bubbling to the surface. “You...slept with her...”

“Oh god, Daniel, I'm so sorry-”

Daniel snorted, “Sorry? That's it?”

“I don't know....I was an idiot, I was grieving- I didn't-”

“Grieving?” Daniel stood up, the anger flaring in his blue eyes. “That's your excuse? You fuck her and figured it'd be ok because you were fucking grieving for your may or may not be dead lover!?”

He'd never heard Daniel curse that way before, but he knew he deserved it.

“Please....can I explain?”

“Explain what!? How it happened? Because we all know that, or how about explain to me how the fuck I even crossed your mind when your tongue was down her throat!”

Jack stood up, even if it was to feel less threatened....? “Danny-”

“Don't you even! Don't you dare call me that! You don't get to use that name! You are not the victim here you son of a bitch!” Daniel's anger was clear, but Jack could see his eyes glistening. “How could you?”

“I don't- I didn't mean-”

“You didn't mean for it to happen? Is that what you were going to say? So what, it just happened on accident? She tripped and fell on your-” Daniel choked, he was welling, but he couldn't relent, he was pissed!

“Daniel, I love you--”

“Oh! Right! Good, well, glad we figured that out, wait, we did. Six years ago!”

“I love you” Jack grabbed Daniel's hand

“Don't touch me! Don't you fucking touch me!” Daniel stormed away from Jack clenching and un-clenching his fists, running them in his hair; anguish, pain, that's all he felt right now. “Why Jack! Why did you do it!?”

“There's....There's no reason, no excuse for what I did-”

“You don't get to play the guilt card either! I wanna know why!” Jack was silent, he didn't want to say anything else, it just seemed to get Daniel angrier. “Aside from the grieving you “apparently” were going through, was she good Jack?”

“No! Daniel! She means nothing to me!”

Daniel rolled his eyes, “I think I saw this in a soap once, don't expect the same ending, I won't come crawling back into your bed after she's been there”

“Please...Daniel, let's talk about this!”

Daniel glared and turned his back, facing the door. Then he laughed, and Jack was suddenly confused. “Oh! Right, I get it now....I'm still on the ship aren't I?”

“Daniel-”

“That's it, I'm still on the ship, I have to be; she's messing with my head” Daniel turned back. “Nice try, I almost fell for it”

Jack clenched his jaw, Daniel watched his expression; Jack shook his head slightly. He watched as Daniel finally realized that this was real. The hurt in Daniel's eyes clenched around his heart. Jack walked toward him, hands reaching for Daniel's. “I am so so sorry....”

Daniel frowned again, shoving Jack off “No! No! No! You think i'm just going to give in and forgive you? Just like that?” Daniel glared “You slept with her! In our bed! I was dying and you were- were, fuck!” Daniel couldn't even look at him, his eyes moistened, this couldn't be happening. “I could have understood if you'd slept with someone in the whole year I was gone, heck I might have been able to forgive you if you only kissed-”

“Daniel, what are you saying?” Daniel wasn't going to forgive him, he really had messed it up.

Daniel then turned around, facing Jack and the door once more. “That must have been it, that's your real excuse” Daniel's eyes glared darkly. “You've been with me for so long, so long with a man. You just needed that- that woman, a woman in your bed; and what better way to have that while said man was not- around” Daniel didn't realize what had happened until he found himself on the bed, his lip stinging; he could even taste the familiar metallic there. Jack had hit him, had actually punched him. Daniel's anger subsided, even if a little; he looked at Jack with shock more then anything.

“Shit....Daniel- I didn't....oh crap!” Jack moved to him but stopped as Daniel shuffled back a little. “I didn't mean to”

“That's coming a lot from you today” Daniel went back to angry, he moved off the bed, standing as far away from Jack as possible. Daniel winced when his tongue ran over the cut that was still bleeding.

“I want us to talk, I don't wanna lose you-”

“Should have thought of that before screwing around”

“You say that like I've done it before”

“How the hell do I know you haven't?” Jack clenched his fist and Daniel flinched for a second. Jack's guilt crashed down on him again. Daniel could tell Jack hadn't meant to hit him, but that really wasn't the issue here. “So you've done it the once and that just makes it ok?”

“No! Of course not!”

“Right”

“Daniel! It was a mistake, I can't take it back, I know that! There's no excuse for what I did!”

“You-slept-with- another- woman” Daniel gritted his teeth with every word

“So did you!”

Daniel blinked, did he hear that right? “Excuse me?”

“I heard about your little rough and tumble with your female captive, back on Prometheus; who knew you liked that”

Daniel realized Jack was talking about Vala, the woman that transported everyone on the ship to another, she had held him captive. Jack had read the report, what the hell had led him to think he had even- the kiss, Daniel had stated that she had tried to kiss him; knowing Jack would read it. “How fucking dare you, your dangling false accusations over my head now? Did you even read the report!?”

“I read enough”

“Why didn't you say something! If you had read the rest, I pushed her off the second her lips were on mine! And the second I did she headbutted me in the face; did you not wonder why by body was bruised when I returned? So you won't think anything when I come home after fighting with whoever as long as it's a male? But you jump to conclusions when there's a female involved? Your a real piece of work Jack”

“Daniel-”

“I have to get out of here”

“No, wait”

“Nothing you say can mend this Jack! It's not the same as the last time” Jack knew Daniel was talking about their little break when the whole reece situation happened. Jack grabbed for Daniel's arm. “Get off! Get off me!” Daniel stormed out of the bedroom, he was seething now, but his tears were falling too.

“Daniel! You can't just- you can't-” Jack couldn't contain his own emotions anymore either

Daniel grabbed his keys from the bowl “I'll be back for my stuff later”

“Don't!” Jack desperately grabbed Daniel by both hands. “I love you...” Daniel clenched his jaw. Jack leaned forward and kissed him. Daniel let him, but he didn't kiss back, he just let him, tears falling down his cheeks. Jack pulled back after realizing his kiss wasn't being reciprocated. “Daniel....”

Daniel swallowed the tearful lump in his throat, “Goodbye Jack...” Daniel yanked his hands back and flung open the door. He moved across the wintry path that had started to become white with the smallest of flakes.

“Daniel! You can't do this!”

“Watch me”

Jack almost slipped on the path going after Daniel, it had sure turned cold all of a sudden. “You shouldn't drive in this state!”

“Bite me Jack! Better yet, go bite Kerri Johnson!” Jack winced as Daniel slammed his car door shut. He'd lost the argument, he'd lost him, Daniel didn't want anything to do with him, he could see it as plain as day in the man's hurtful and angry blue eyes. Jack just watched him back out of the driveway and out of his sights, out of his life. He stood there, with no clue what to do with himself; just one hand in his pocket; fiddling with a small square shaped box.

Daniel wiped angrily at the tears falling from his face, he turned left onto the main road. It had started to snow a few minutes ago, Daniel wasn't stupid, he was angry, upset, but he wouldn't be stupid. He took the necessary precautions, drove slowly and had his wipers on their maximum setting. He wiped at more tears, his fists clenching around the wheel.

As Daniel took another turn off, his wipers got stuck half way up his wind screen. “You've got to be kidding me” Daniel smacked on the dashboard a couple of times, the wipers continued at their fast pace. Daniel breathed a sigh, He should have stopped at the motel a few miles back, when it had just begun to snow. Daniel bit his lip, he then winced, he'd forgotten about that. He wasn't sure what hurt more, the cut on his lip, who put it there or his broken damned heart by said person responsible for said cut. The snow became heavier, the wipers became stuck again, too cold to do it's job.

Daniel smacked the dashboard again, the wipers moved and Daniel's eyes widened. The next thing he heard was a screech of a horn and the blinding light of another car's head lights. Daniel swerved the car, jolting to the left, it skidded sideways and smashed against the oncoming truck from the other side. The car flipped over into the air and came back down with a load crack, stopping a few feet from the road into a ditch.

Pain, that was all he could think about, pain everywhere. He couldn't feel anything, his body; he gasped, trying to breath, he couldn't breath. He tried to open his eyes, tried to see, something....anything, he couldn't move. His vision darkened and all he could think about was the man he left behind, as his name, the last thing that passed on his lips as his eyes closed. “Jack.....”