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Maybe I'm Amazed

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Jack stepped carefully over the decomposing fall leaves that now blanketed the seldom-used trails behind his cabin. Everything around him was brown, yellow, red, and orange, with a smattering of green from the few evergreens. In the natural stillness, he picked up a sound and stopped, adjusting the rifle slung over his right shoulder. For a moment, he thought what he was doing was a little ludicrous. What was he doing out here? How the hell did this fishing trip to the cabin with Daniel end up as a hunt through the woods? An adult version of hide and seek? A purer version of The Most Dangerous Game?

Maybe it was the paintball set Daniel had given him for his birthday. He'd always wanted to try that.

Maybe it was being reminded about that fishing trip they never took. Perfect timing. They'd been given a four-day standdown. Now October, it was really too late for fishing, but a trip to the cabin still applied.

Maybe it was the way Daniel looked in black and red plaid flannel with the cream-colored long-john shirt underneath. Maybe it was the blue jeans and black Timberland's. Maybe the dark grey lamb's wool coat. Maybe the fingerless leather gloves and the dark brown knit cap. Maybe all of it; the whole package. Jack found it refreshingly non-geeky. Daniel looked more masculine somehow. Not that he wasn't. It was just ... more.

He almost matched Jack, in fact. Not so much in color but in style: Olive green plaid, black long-john shirt, brown Timberlands, tan dockers, dark brown suede and wool coat he wore during the winter, his well-worn fingerless gloves and old black knit cap. The only real difference was the reason why Jack wore his cap: salt and pepper hair was too easily distinguishable this time of year--and too easy a target for Daniel to find.

In his right peripheral vision, Jack caught a flash of red that nature couldn't create; he instantly crouched and pivoted on heel and toe, rifle coming up; it even had a scope. Taking perhaps a second to zero in, Jack gritted his teeth with frustration. The bit of red was gone. Goddammit. Daniel was proving to be just as adept at evasion as he was at translating alien languages. Maybe it was all the years as a member of SG-1. Maybe he'd always had this talent and only now did Jack notice.

The snap of a twig came from behind and Jack swiveled on a knee, his rifle automatically coming up to train on the source. Daniel stood in the center of the trail, about ten yards away. He hesitated, then took aim and fired his yellow pellet. Jack filed away that moment as he ducked and rolled, returning fire. His red pellet hit the trail but Daniel had already escaped.

Jack rose to a knee out of the pile of leaves and mulch he'd dived into and took stock of the situation. There was nothing. Silence. Daniel was proving to be an aggravating opponent. The score was 3-2 in a best of 7 and Daniel was in the lead. However, Jack was determined to get the next two scores and win the game.

Movement and sound to his right. Running feet and the sweep of leaves. Jack spun, got to his feet, and ran in that direction, pausing behind trees, regardless of how thin they were. They were still obstacles. Trouble was, Daniel used the same tactic.

Grey and blue flickered off to the left, twenty yards away. Jack grinned, took aim, and fired at the copse of bushes.

"Shit!" Daniel cussed as he sprinted away, widening Jack's expression into a smile.

They were now tied.

Their agreed rule was a thirty-second waiting period after a score so they could regroup and lose each other again. Jack hunkered down as he moved off the main trail and onto a secondary. It would take him back to the main in a wide circle. The only problem was that he was now down-hill, but it couldn't be helped. He couldn't circle around behind Daniel without being seen. The bushes and trees up there were sparser and with less leaves. Coverage sucked. It could be why Daniel was avoiding it, too.

Winding around, Jack stealthily made it back to the main trail and knelt on one knee behind a wide, aged oak. It was good cover, and even better for an ambush. As long as Daniel came down the trail and not up it. A rustle of leaves broke the silence; it came from up the main trail, perhaps thirty feet to his right. Jack pressed his back against the trunk and held his rifle in front of him, muzzle pointed at the sky. With one hand on the rifle barrel and the other on the trigger, he slowed his breathing and waited.

Cautious steps approached. Without his training and experience, Jack would never have discerned them. Muscles tensing, he slowly lowered his rifle, pointing the muzzle toward the secondary trail, expecting Daniel to take that route. Though, if he were Daniel, he'd suspect that the oak could be the ambush spot and he'd walk past it on the main trail, rifle aimed.

A crunch of leaves just then; he was closer. Silence again and he could just imagine the grimace on Daniel's face for making that obvious noise. Holding his breath, Jack readied himself for the attack. But this would be close quarters; open space and less than ten feet away without available cover. It would result in double elimination shots. Under those circumstances, another agreed rule stated that a disarming was the only response. Jack moved his finger off the trigger and gripped the butt instead.

The moment seemed to stretch endlessly and perversely, Jack grew irritated. Why wasn't Daniel moving? What the hell was he waiting for? On the heels of the second question, Daniel appeared, spinning toward him, rifle raised and eyes down the barrel, aimed for the kill. He was less than seven feet away.

Seeing Daniel like that, Jack was filled with a fierce brand of pride. Sure, he'd seen Daniel hold a P-90 like that, but never aimed at him, and he'd never seen that concentrated look, usually reserved for ancient puzzles, behind a rifle scope. A warmth spread through him. It was briefly sexual; a passing recognition; the kind you'd give some attractive stranger you saw on the street.

Jack watched Daniel shift his gaze to the way he was holding his rifle and changed his grip accordingly. Taking a few steps sideways down the inclined path, he seemed prepared to fight, but as Jack pushed away from the tree and came toward him, he suddenly knew that Daniel had no intention of fighting. He was going to run, get some distance, and be in range for a fair shot.

No frickin' way. Jack launched at him, gun butt raised, and to his astonishment, Daniel was actually prepared. He took several rapid steps sideways, then skidded to a halt, raising the butt of his weapon. Jack was already moving, and moving downhill, so they were going to collide no matter what Daniel did. But then a weird thing happened just before Jack reached him. Daniel's bracing foot wobbled on its edge and he lost his balance. They were both going down.

Action turned to slow-motion. Jack could have stopped himself, could have redirected and rolled to the side, creating the distance needed for his own kill shot. But he ignored the desire and exchanged it for the stronger need to tackle. He dove at Daniel and in so doing, put him on his back. Thinking quickly to avoid crushing Daniel with falling weight, he braced a gloved palm and wet knee on the ground. It didn't prevent them from following the flow of gravity, however, and they skidded down the narrow, sloped trail, coming to rest at a mound created by unexposed tree roots.

Jack braced his hands on either side of Daniel's head, rifle still in his right. Daniel held his, too. Again, stalemate. He stared down into his friend's face, into those blue, endlessly calculating eyes. In the crisp cold air and the contrasting colors of his clothes, they seemed brighter. His pupils dilated slightly as he awarded him one of those mildly-amused smiles.

Jack smiled back crookedly and thought of the little fact he'd filed away. "Why didn't you shoot when you had the chance?" He could tell Daniel knew what moment he was referring to, but that expression flitted away and was replaced by a failed look of innocence.

"When was that?" he asked.

And then Daniel moved under him. It was just a little, as if he was uncomfortable and needed to move off some rock or sharp twig. But it changed everything. Everything. The air wasn't so cold then, and neither was the wispy visible breath they expelled. It seemed to add to the moment when Jack realized that Daniel wasn't a good-looking man. He was handsome. There was more to it than that. Some marked valuation he couldn't put into words.

"That won't work," he replied. The words sounded mechanical and staged, as though by speaking, he could ignore that he was lying on top of Daniel and hadn't made an effort to move. It didn't work but he could pretend. For a second.

"What won't?" Daniel asked.

Daniel was doing it too. The words and tone didn't match the searching and assessing in his eyes. What was he feeling? Had his own movement caused the same awareness, the same break in the standard monotony of their friendship? Jack lowered his head. It was just a fraction of an inch but it was enough for two things to happen. He had suddenly acknowledged to himself that he wanted to kiss him. And Daniel's eyes widened slightly, enough to know it too.

"That innocent act," Jack said, moving another fraction of an inch.

Daniel opened his mouth to respond, but instead, there was only an increase in his breathing in response to Jack's fractional move. He could feel it through his clothes. Daniel was either apprehensive or excited. Maybe it was the latter, though he was pretty good at masking fear. Or maybe Jack was fooling himself into thinking Daniel was feeling the same.

Maybe not. Daniel's gaze moved briefly to Jack's mouth, then back to his eyes. Searching again. Jack knew the look. He was deciding now. The assessment was done. It was annoying, but only because for the first time in his life, Jack hadn't assessed. He'd simply accepted. When the hell did this stupidity kick in? Was it just because it was Daniel?

Maybe. Yes. He trusted him, and trusted in that trust. Though Daniel may question like a typical scientist, in the end, he would do what he'd felt was the correct thing to do. It didn't always correspond with whatever Jack wanted of him, but maybe this time it did.

Jack lowered another fraction. His own breathing began to match Daniel's.

"Stop it," Daniel said, swallowing.

"Stop what?" Jack asked, looking at his friend's face, starting from the stubble on his chin and around his mouth, to his cold-pinked cheeks and arched brows. Back to his eyes, he knew what Daniel ordered wasn't a no. It wasn't rejection. Daniel was afraid of change. Imagine that. Jack was usually the one to balk at it.

"Just ... stop."

Jack played for cheeky. It was always his best defense, even though it got him into trouble. He lowered a little more, relaxing his eyelids and staring now at Daniel's lips. "Stop me then," he said softly. Lower. Ever so slowly. He could feel the warmth of Daniel's breath against his mouth, above his upper lip and into his nostrils. He could smell him now. He'd been chewing on orange Tic-Tacs. Daniel tended to eat those things like candy.

Millimeters away now and Daniel wasn't stopping him. He was tilting his head, which made Jack's heart rate climb at the inevitability of this ... this thing. He couldn't back off, though he did consider doing just that. But he also hated backing off. It was like retreat or giving up, both of which Jack tended to avoid. He parted his lips just a little, keeping his eyes open until ...

They touched. Soft. Warm. A little sandpapery around the edges. Wet just under the purse of their lips. The heat of it spread, bypassing his neck to tease around his nipples before it wound around his back and zoomed straight down his spine to settle inside his balls. Only then did Jack realize that he lay between Daniel's legs, not merely on top of them.

His brain vetoed the attempt to imagine what Daniel's ... what he felt like. It redirected attention to his mouth instead. Opening further, he almost smiled when Daniel opened with him. Then he ventured his tongue out for exploration and when he met Daniel's, he found it cool and wet and sweet. With a silent moan that came out as a puffed breath through his nose, he pressed in, winding his tongue around Daniel's and into his mouth.

He'd always considered a French kiss to be akin to foreplay. The opening act of sex itself: entering someone's body, probing, stroking, tasting. A prelude and seduction, the hint of what else could be.

Jack wanted it to last, and he thought of that idiotic cliché about the juxtaposition of eternity and "not enough time". His desire increased when Daniel let out the slightest whisper of a moan, the breath through his nose warm against Jack's cheek. The next thing Jack felt were Daniel's fingers finding his. Linking together.

Jack separated his lips from Daniel's for a look in his eyes. The question was there, they were both thinking it. Want to do it again?

Yes. But maybe they shouldn't. Maybe Daniel's trepidation was valid. Had this kiss ruined everything? It didn't feel like it. But the boundary had been crossed; they couldn't go back. It wasn't like silently forgiving an argument or agreeing to forget some rather nasty words. They'd kissed. There really was no going back. Jack didn't mind. He pressed in once more, repeating the sequence: parted lips, warm skin, tongue searching and finding. Daniel responded, though he felt a little distracted to Jack. His tongue wasn't moving around his as much as it was before.

Just as Jack thought about pulling back to find out what was going on, Daniel moved his arm ... and the cold press of metal and plastic touched the edge of Jack's jaw. It was his rifle. And Jack had let go of his own.

This time he did pull away, just enough to give Daniel a measured look. "You're not serious," he said with disbelief. In the middle of this momentous change in their lives, Daniel was thinking about the game? What the hell?

Daniel smiled, the lines around his eyes wrinkling. "I win."

Jack's previous pride was momentarily replaced by competitiveness and the need for payback. But he stored it away for later. He was actually very pleased. "You devious little ..." he murmured for a frozen second before he struck, mashing their lips together.

Daniel tried to speak again, but Jack refused to let him, kissing him harder. His body began to respond in the age-old way; desire for the pleasure this would give and the greater need to drown in it until he could stand no more. There was the recognition that everything was new, that there would be awkward firsts, but the discoveries would erase them. He suddenly hated that there were so many clothes between them. But at the same time, he liked the challenge. The anticipation. The ...

Daniel reached up and touched his face, choking off Jack's thoughts. The palm that had previously held the rifle now cradled his jaw, the fingertips caressing his neck. His touch was sensual, even in the cold. Jack copied him; his face was cold but his body was warm and he slid an arm underneath.

Daniel arched, giving him room.

Jack nearly lost himself. Everything really was, quite literally, new.

There was only one problem. They had to separate, go back to the cabin. And then what? Maybe the break would make them think too much. Maybe he'd chicken out. Maybe Daniel would. It didn't matter about the boundary cross. They could still stop. Jack had done it before, years ago. He'd regretted it ever since. Not that he missed that person, but it was an experience and memory he would have liked to have ended on a happier note.

He wanted the same thing here, only without the ending part. Maybe he was tired of being alone. Maybe he could make up for things past. Maybe he could--

"Jack," Daniel said, rolling him off and breaking the moment and their kiss.

"Don't say it," Jack said, sitting up with him.

Daniel stared, thumb brushing across his lips as if missing the contact there. Jack hoped so because he did. "It's cold," Daniel continued. "Let's go in."

Jack stared at him rebelliously. "I don't want to stop."

"I wasn't going to suggest it," Daniel said with a sober, penetrating look.

Satisfied, Jack swallowed as he stood up, holding out his hand to pull Daniel to his feet. "No analyses. No discussions. No examinations."

Daniel grinned at him. "Think we could have dinner?"

Jack relaxed a bit and his stomach rumbled with need, along with the rest of him. "Sounds like a plan."

. .

Jack had been thinking that things would be awkward when they went back to work. But that awkwardness didn't wait; it started during the walk back to the cabin. He kept glancing at Daniel. Daniel kept glancing at him. So many things were left unsaid but were quite clearly communicated in their eyes. I want you. There was no denying the feeling. Jack had been worried about it waning. But once inside the cozy, warm atmosphere of his cabin, he was faced with a contradiction. He'd been worried that Daniel would back out. But as he took off his coat, he found his attention riveted on Daniel as he too took off his coat. And his gloves, his boots, the red plaid shirt.

There came a newer awareness of Daniel that the kiss and body warmth hadn't considered. It made no sense. He'd seen him undress a thousand times. Seen him naked maybe no more than a dozen. The observations had been nothing more than trivial data, but now he was looking at him differently. Obsessively, possessively. He wanted that body. It was his, no one else's and no one should ever see it but him.

On the heels of that feeling there came this inexplicable flight response. He should stop this, now, before anything else happened. While he sat down on the couch and took off his boots, Jack imagined how that would go. He'd tell Daniel they couldn't go any further. Daniel would accept. Then they'd have a little awkward avoidance of the subject until time passed and things went back to the way they had always been. Back to loneliness. Back to arguing and the feeling that nothing was ever settled. Back to that invisible line and the locked-up, boxed-in thoughts they never dared look at.

Going into the kitchen, he thought, yes, he could do all that with no problem. Daniel would, too. They'd both earned masteries in repression and diversionary tactics. Things were easier that way. Avoidance. Ignorance. Self-subterfuge.

He grabbed the hotdogs, mustard, and potato salad out of the fridge and set them on the counter. Reaching for the buns in the breadbox, his subconscious suddenly assailed him with the sense memory of the sandpaper kisses. His upper lip and chin still pleasantly burned.

"You're thinking about forgetting what happened aren't you?" Daniel asked.

Jack sometimes wished Daniel didn't know him so well. "Are you?" he deferred. He didn't look at him. Not yet.

"Yeah," Daniel answered. Then his hand was on Jack's shoulder. Jack turned, slowly. His eyes caught a brown leaf remnant in Daniel's hair and without thinking, he reached up and plucked it out. He showed it to Daniel, as if he needed a reason to reach for his hair, though his palm now ached to do just that: reach in, thread his fingers through it, make a fist, pull his head back ...

He dropped the leaf remnant to the floor. Daniel's gaze followed briefly before he looked back up. "I don't want to."

Jack hated it, but he had no idea what Daniel meant. "Don't want to ... what?"

Daniel's lips quirked with the hint of a smile. "Stop."

Jack lowered his gaze to Daniel's lips, then his throat. "Ditto," he said quietly as he looked back into Daniel's eyes. He didn't move, didn't turn back and continue preparing the food. He felt stuck. Maybe he was waiting for Daniel to say something else, to establish that now that they had agreed not to back off, they could talk about something else. Or maybe he wasn't thinking about eating right now. Dinner, anyway.

Daniel swallowed and it took Jack a moment to realize that he was blushing. When Daniel blushed, his cheeks turned the slightest bit pink, but it was his chin and ears that went red. It was, dare he think it, adorable. Like a leftover bit from childhood. It made him look vulnerable, something that Daniel rarely was. He was always fighting, even when under the grip of a hand device. Hell, even now, a billion things reflected in his eyes, all of them arguing, debating, deliberating.

Jack wanted to stop it. To soothe, to erase, to comfort and reassure. He reached for him, hand moving toward the back of his neck. Daniel took a step, closing the distance, and it was he who threaded his fingers through Jack's hair.

"I'm not hungry right now," he said.

"Not for food," Jack agreed, eyes fixed on Daniel's lips as he angled his head and went in for another kiss. This time, there was less between them. This time, Jack could feel the bulge in Daniel's jeans, could feel the hard muscle under his long-john shirt.

He ceased thinking about turning back, to forget and ignore. He took Daniel's hands from his hair and clasped one in his fingers as he broke the kiss and pulled him out of the kitchen. He let go as they crossed the living room, went down the hall, and entered his bedroom. Jack turned and backed up, locking his gaze with Daniel's and keeping it there as he quickly pulled off his shirts and dropped them to the floor.

Daniel copied him. They headed for the low bed with the thick, plush mattress and blankets, rarely taking their eyes off each other. Daniel's fingers were at his jeans, unzipping, and the sound made the backs of Jack's thighs tingle. He grabbed Daniel's hands and pulled them away, but instead of helping them off, he palmed his crotch, feeling his covered erection for the first time.

Daniel moaned and yanked him in for a hard kiss as they both knelt on the edge of the bed. Jack matched his feverish need and thrust his tongue into his mouth as he bent over, following Daniel as he eagerly laid back on the bed. His friend's fingers moved to his zipper, opening the dockers with frantic impatience. When the backs of his fingers skimmed over Jack's cock, he sucked in a breath through his nose and kissed him harder.

Daniel wasn't the only impatient one, he thought, and he took his hands in his and pinned them over his head. Kiss broken, they stared at each other as Jack thrust against him, dry-humping slowly and teasingly. Daniel inhaled unsteadily, the sound of lust making Jack thrust more slowly, moving them back and forth on the bed like a sleepy sea wave.

Daniel suddenly pulled his hands out of Jack's and placed them on his chest, caressing the hair there. "Pants off," he ordered.

Jack couldn't agree more. He knelt back, then moved off the bed and shucked his pants and briefs to the floor. Daniel did the same, though he stayed on his back. Kicking off his clothes, Jack grabbed them and threw them on top of his own. He knelt on the bed, his attention now focused on Daniel's cock and balls. His balls were shaven, like his own; his trimmed pubic hair more auburn. And ... it was really stupid but ... he thought his dick was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. Seriously. It was pretty. Not perfect, it was just a little shorter than his own, but the color went from gradual shades of reddish brown to tan, starting from the base to the wide, tapered head.

Jack's mouth watered. He looked into Daniel's eyes and found that he was under the same visual examination and his dick twitched in response. He wanted to say something snarky and sarcastic but decided to leave it for later. Instead, he moved over his body, intending to hover over him, to kiss and tease him again, but he needed to taste that cock before he brushed his own scent against it.

He dropped down, sliding one arm under his hips while he grasped the base of Daniel's cock with the other. Daniel hissed, fingers combing through his hair, and Jack deliberately looked up as he licked over the head, loving the way Daniel's mouth dropped open. Keeping that visual in his mind, he closed his eyes and sucked the head into his mouth. Daniel moaned, his body writhing under his touch, and Jack went to work, losing himself in the bobs and licks and sucks. By the time he moved down to his balls, Daniel's skin was beginning to dampen with sweat.

He probed the space between Daniel's balls and his rectum, loving the new sound Daniel made. Somewhere between a gasp and a groan. Jack wanted to hear more. Spreading his friend's ... his lover's ... legs, he pushed at his thighs, forcing his knees up. His asshole was the same reddish brown as his balls and base of his cock; a perfect dark rosette, begging for his tongue. Jack started at his perineum, tracing a wet line down to the sensitive puckered opening. He licked quickly, loving the deep spicy taste, then did it again and again.

Daniel was panting now, periodic moans breaking the monotonous sound. Until Jack wet his index finger and pushed the tip inside to the first knuckle.

"Oh god," Daniel groaned, arching his spine and throwing his head back.

Jack loved the sound. He wanted more, wanted a new one. Sliding his tongue upwards, he moved to his balls, taking each one into his mouth as he twisted and stroked with just the end of his finger. Daniel was loosening, but it wasn't enough. When he took his cock back into his mouth, he pushed the rest of his finger inside. Another gasp. Then Jack began to thrust with the same rhythm he used on his cock.

"Jack," Daniel whispered, hands grabbing at him, not putting in much effort. At least until his cock swelled. "No, stop," he said, pulling his hips back and his cock out of Jack's mouth, his finger out of his ass.

Jack smiled. "What's the matter?" he teased as he pushed up on his hands. "Did I almost make you--"

Daniel lunged, claiming his mouth as he turned them over, hands around his shoulders, undulating hips between his legs.

And Jack melted. This was definitely new. Not just from Daniel--that was obvious--but for himself. He had rarely liked being topped, even when he was married, but this was different. It was the feel of Daniel's tongue in his mouth combined with his weight, his smell, and the way his cock rubbed against his own. Jack wrapped his legs around Daniel's and met his thrusts, losing himself in his sensual assault until Daniel pushed off and headed down.

He stopped first at his throat, kissing down the center, licking into the hollow before he zeroed in over each nipple, sucking, licking, and pulling between his teeth. It made the deep need in Jack's belly purr with delight, but it also made him aware that he'd forgotten to pay attention to Daniel's nipples. He'd remedy that before they fucked.

Before they fucked.

The thought echoed in his mind. His cock jumped at the imagined feel of being buried and surrounded by tight, hot muscle. Daniel's mouth was now over his abdomen, his hand around his cock, and still the images of fucking him flicked through Jack's mind. His soon-to-be acted upon fantasy didn't disappear until Daniel licked a stripe up the length of his dick and sucked the head into his mouth. Probing at the slit, he bobbed rapidly, and the wet heat was so good it stole up his spine and made Jack arch into him.

"Christ," he whispered, threading his fingers through Daniel's hair.

"Like that?" Daniel teased, his warm breath cooling behind his busy tongue.

Daniel talked during sex. Jack should have known.

Lifting his hips, he thrust at his mouth. "Shut up and suck me," he ordered breathlessly.

Daniel groaned with amusement around his cock, the vibration making Jack jerk with pleasure. He sucked him for a while, one hand caressing and rubbing his balls until finally, Daniel pushed his legs apart. He tongued wet designs over his perineum and sphincter muscles, probing into his asshole. Jack arched further, mouth slack, eyes open and fixed on the ceiling. The pleasure zipped through his balls, down his legs, and into his toes, making them curl. Then Daniel snuck a finger into him when Jack was expecting his tongue.

Jack sucked in a breath as Daniel moved back up and swallowed his cock, forcing a loud groan from his throat. He finger-fucked him so deeply, so intently, that nearly drove Jack off the proverbial cliff.

"No you don't," Jack said, pulling him off. Daniel swiftly moved up and dropped on top of him, kissing him passionately, claiming his mouth once more. Again, Jack thought of burying himself inside the body on top of him, and on the heels of that thought, he remembered that the only thing he had in his bedside drawer was lube. He groaned with disgust, forcing Daniel to break off and stare down at him with concern.

"What's the matter?"

"No condoms," Jack said, palming his face. "Fuck."

Daniel pulled his hand away and kissed him quickly. "I have some."

Jack blinked at him jealously. "When did you have time ... who have ..."

"They're sheer and have no spermicide. I don't use them for sex."

Now Jack was confused. "What the fuck do you use them for?"

Daniel grinned and pushed off him, then moved off the bed and left the room. Jack lay there, frowning, wondering where Daniel kept condoms. Then he remembered the black backpack that he took everywhere. He kept condoms in that?

Daniel returned, walking just a little hurriedly, one hand holding his erection to keep it from bobbing. He tossed about four condoms on the table, keeping one in his hand, as he got on the bed and straddled Jack's thighs. "They make great protection covers for dig tools," he said, tearing open the wrapper.

That actually made sense, Jack thought, but before Daniel could put the condom on, he stopped him. Daniel's expression turned puzzled until he pointed at the bedside drawer. "Lube."

The knowledge that he had some made Daniel swallow. "Really?"

"You don't?" Jack asked, arching a brow.

Daniel smiled and said nothing as he handed Jack the condom, then stretched across the bed and opened the drawer. When he had the lube in hand, Jack grabbed his hips and yanked him back, preventing him from closing the drawer. He pulled him into his arms and spooned against his back.

"Which way?" he whispered in Daniel's ear, snuffling his neck after.

Daniel reached behind to caress his neck as he turned his face to the side. "First time? Face to face."

Teasing him, Jack rubbed his cock over his ass, then slid between his thighs to rub over his balls. "Sure about that?"

Daniel moaned and clasped one of Jack's hips, trying to stop him from thrusting. "Yes. And please don't do that."

"Why?" Jack asked, not giving up on teasing.

Suddenly Daniel pulled free of him, pushing Jack away as he turned over and plopped on his back. With a sober, lustful look, he pulled Jack down on top of him. Hand behind his neck again, he said, "Because I wouldn't stop you if you kept going." He then spread his legs and raised his knees. Flicking open the lube cap, he placed the tube in Jack's free hand, then looped his arm around his neck.

"Fuck me," he said before kissing him deeply.

Jack immersed himself in the kiss until need drove him to break off and sit back on his heels. Quickly sliding on the condom, he squirted a large glob of lube onto his fingers and spread it over Daniel's hole. He pushed one finger in slowly, hearing again that hiss, that swift intake of breath. He didn't need to ask if it hurt; going by the demand in Daniel's eyes, it clearly did not.

Daniel took his cock in hand and stroked himself. "I don't need the prep," he assured him.

Jack wasn't buying it. "Are you sure?"

Daniel let go of his cock and took hold of Jack's biceps. "Watch me," he said, blush returning to his face. "I want to look into your eyes."

When you enter me, Jack finished. With a hard swallow of need, he positioned the head of his cock and pushed. Eyes locked, he quickly wiped off his hand, then leaned onto his forearms and cradled the back of Daniel's head in his palms. His cockhead breached further, swallowed by his lover's body, and Daniel arched his head back, eyes still fixed on his.

"Yes," he whispered, then groaned as Jack eased completely into him.

He was hot and tight, just as Jack knew he would be. Daniel's pupils dilated and Jack took his first thrust. Unable to help it, he closed his eyes. Sweet Jesus, he felt good. Too good. "Dammit," he whispered, stopping his movement. He was afraid he'd come too soon. Daniel wasn't having it and took over. He thrust for him, pushing up and pulling down, guiding him into a slow, steady pace until Jack took the reins.

Jack thought about saying something, explaining why he'd balked, but could only stare into his eyes, watching the pleasure reflected there as Daniel's skin began to glisten. A sweat drop of his own rolled down between his shoulder blades, others between his cheeks and over his balls. It tickled for a moment, but the pleasure was keener, the motion sensual and needy. Once again, they moved like a sleepy surf.

Then Daniel sucked in a breath and his eyes widened. He was going to come. "Too soon."

Jack grinned crookedly. "Tell me about it."

"Then make it good," Daniel urged, increasing the speed of his strokes.

"Faster?" Jack asked.



"Yes," Daniel said, closing his eyes and tossing his head back. "Jack please."

"Shit," Jack said as he felt his balls draw up. Grabbing fistfuls of the bed over Daniel's head, he spread his knees and complied, slapping loudly against him. The friction built up quickly and he knew he could hold his orgasm back if he only shut his eyes. But he couldn't. He needed to see him, watch him come. "Daniel," he said, gritting his teeth as they rocked violently on the bed.

"Fuck me!" Daniel called out breathlessly as he threw his head back and came, asshole pulsing tightly around Jack's cock.

This time, Jack really lost it. Feeling the tightness increase and seeing the white streams of come, he thrust once, then jerked repeatedly against Daniel's ass as his climax exploded from him. The skin over his cock, balls, and ass ached as if they hurt, but it was pleasing and good and Jesus God he didn't want it to stop.

He fell on top of Daniel, gathering him in his arms as their orgasms waned. Breathing hard, Daniel threaded fingers through Jack's now-damp hair and kissed his cheek, nose, and mouth. Jack kissed him back, wanting to express so many things at that moment. He was overcome with a sense of peace he couldn't really explain. Maybe it was afterglow. Maybe it was Daniel.

When he pushed up and looked down, his stomach growled, making Daniel laugh.

"Yeah, me too," Daniel said as he rolled over and dumped Jack off him in the same manner he used out on the trail. Careful and considerate. Jack thought he could experience that for the rest of his life. Maybe he could.

. . .

Jack woke with the dawn. He lay motionless on his stomach, face half-buried in the pillow. For several blank seconds, it was just like every other morning at the cabin. There was a bit of a chill but not too bad; he snuggled down under the covers anyway, wishing he hadn't awoken. Then his senses returned. Touch and smell; heat under the blankets that didn't come from just his own body warmth. There was musk and dried clean sweat that didn't belong to him. He inhaled through his nose, taking it in, and opened his eyes as his memory broke through the fog of sleepiness.

Daniel lay on his back, head turned away. He wasn't snoring and Jack almost regretted being unable to tease him about it. But he'd much rather be able to sleep than tease. He slid his gaze over bare shoulder and upper chest, liking the pale tan. He compared the dry softness to the glistening sheen and rippling tension of last night. They'd had sex. More than once, and as fun and pleasurable as it was, it hadn't just been sex. Jack couldn't bring himself to mentally say the more intimate phrase. It denoted the crystal clear declaration of a romantic relationship.

Which they now had.

Jack looked away and turned over, staring at the ceiling. He wanted to keep having sex. God, he'd really missed it. Sure, he could continue his five-fingered solo act, look for a one-night stand every once in a while, but that was what he settled for. Daniel wasn't that.

But would he be a problem? It would certainly be awkward for a few days, maybe a few weeks, as they figured out how to handle working together now that they were, well, more. Jack knew the awkwardness wouldn't last longer than that, even if they kept the intimacy going. Daniel was as pragmatic as he was; he didn't dwell on much except his understandable guilt over Shau're. Jack could relate.

But what about the rest? They were so different in many ways. Hell, they even thought differently. Jack preferred security; Daniel liked to search for the unexpected. Jack only thought about what was in front of him; Daniel dreamed and imagined. Jack liked crosswords; Daniel liked brain teasers. Jack liked burritos; Daniel liked sushi. Jack loved The Simpsons. Daniel ... okay, he liked them, too. He also loved chess. And both of them hated to leave things unfinished.

Jack knew he was making excuses, panicking just a little because what had happened between them was huge. It was easy to pick at the differences. Daniel was passionate, endlessly hungry, like himself, but he was too quick and fast. Well, no, that wasn't exactly correct. Daniel liked to take his time--as Jack did. The trouble was that he had the unfortunate ability to make his partner come too quickly. Jack had had to make Daniel pause more than a few times.

Then there was the fucking, but there they weren't so much different as complimenting opposites. Jack was a top; Daniel was a bottom. At least, Jack thought he was. He suddenly wondered if Daniel was a switch. Had he bottomed to please him? Would he want to top next? Jack was a bit wary. He didn't believe he'd mind, would probably enjoy it, but it had been such a very long time for him. It hadn't felt that way for Daniel.

Perversely, Jack felt that twinge of jealousy return. Who'd had him and when? He tried to push the jealousy away, knowing that Daniel would find it unappealing, but Jack had grown up to believe otherwise. In fact, he wouldn't feel right if Daniel wasn't jealous. The more Jack thought about it, the more he realized that he'd always been jealous. Of Skaara. Of Sarah. Of Kera. Hell, even Oma. Had he felt like this all these years? Maybe. Maybe Daniel felt the same. What if he did? All this time. What if he did? Jack wasn't the type to purposely make someone jealous, but he'd still like to know, to be the recipient. He'd have to test it. A casual remark should be enough. Any more than that and Daniel wouldn't bite. The man was too damn smart.

Why was he focusing on something so immature? Maybe it was just the idea of Daniel feeling possessive, to have Jack be the sole steady thing in his life, the one he could count on. Jack already was in many ways and it gave his ego a boost. Always had. So maybe this was more. This was important. Maybe it was ...



Daniel stirred, redirecting Jack's focus. He sleepily turned on his side, facing Jack, and reached for him. Jack took his hand and pulled it across his chest. Daniel unconsciously snuggled against him, face mashed into the pillow. Jack felt his dick against his thigh. He was half-hard. He was either having a good dream or he was about to wake up. Daniel lifted his chin, groaning as he stretched. Jack liked feeling the tension of muscles against his skin.

Daniel opened his eyelids slightly and let out a deep sigh. "Morning."

"Morning," Jack said back, watching him with a newer awareness. Yes, he loved him. He wanted to believe it was requited. Daniel wasn't someone who gave his heart away easily. Jack also didn't see Daniel as the casual sex type. But, he could be wrong. Then again, maybe he wasn't.

"I didn't shoot you because your back was to me," Daniel said suddenly, the words sleepily mumbled.

He was so weird sometimes, Jack thought. But he went with it anyway because life was never dull around him. "I would have," he baited.

Daniel closed his eyes and shook his head slightly. "No you wouldn't."

"Yes I would."

"No you wouldn't."

"Stop arguing with me," Jack grinned, and poked Daniel in the ribs with a finger. Daniel's eyes flew open as he quickly shied away, slapping at the offending hand. It told Jack he was ticklish there. And really, he couldn't help himself. No, he couldn't. He reached over, making a grabbing motion with his fingers against Daniel's ribs. And Daniel did something that surprised the hell out of him, something Jack had never seen him do. He laughed. Loud and high and completely unguarded.

It melted Jack's heart. It was the only way to describe it. He'd made Daniel laugh. Without warning, he dove over him, framing Daniel's head in his hands. Daniel started to block him until Jack pressed their lips together, then he relaxed into it, opening his mouth for more.

"Is it too soon to say I love you?" Daniel mumbled, eyes closing.

Amazed and pathetically happy about hearing the words, Jack smiled around the kiss. "No."