Righting the World

 

Staring blankly at the cursor pulsing accusingly at him from his empty computer screen,
Daniel Jackson sighed. The slow release of air had the unanticipated effect of relaxing the stress in his shoulders somewhat, which only made him realize how tired he was.

Or maybe fatigue wasn’t the problem.

He shoved away from his computer, slumping inelegantly in his chair. “Face it, Daniel,” he muttered to himself, “something’s still not right.” He snatched off his glasses and dug his fingertips into his tense brow.

He was immensely gratified, of course, that he’d been able to access enough of his ascended memories to save Bra’tac and Ry’ac, not to mention dozens of others, from their hell on Erebus. But that victory had failed to calm the nagging sensation that had plagued him for the past month. That nebulous ‘something’ he’d told Sam he couldn’t remember was still out there, unclaimed.

It had seemed obvious when he’d had those flashes of his friends in trouble that the sense of urgency he’d experienced had to do with them. But sitting here writing – or not writing – his report on their rescue, Daniel still felt unsettled.

From the corner of his eye, he caught sight of the small stack of red, pink and white envelopes gathered in his inbox. Valentines from his co-workers. He recalled the tradition of sending small messages of affection to friends and loved ones. However, his memories were no more personal than that.  He couldn’t remember if, since his wife’s death, he had given a Valentine to or received one from anyone whose devotion exceeded friendship.

He’d asked his team, of course, but they had been ordered not to reveal any missing details of his pre-ascended existence. He’d found it infuriating waiting for his life to come back in snatches of memory, but Janet had thought that preferable to one giant download of information.

Lurching upright, Daniel turned back to his desk and glared defiantly at the monitor, daring it to mock him further. A small growl of frustration split the otherwise quiet air as he hooked his coffee cup and brought it to his lips.

“Daniel Jackson.”

Turning automatically towards the hail, Daniel inadvertently dribbled some of the precious fluid down his chin. Several of the droplets plummeted to a messy end against the front of his tee shirt. Uttering a soft curse, he held the cup away from him and scrubbed a stiff palm across the bottom of his face.

“Teal’c. What’s up?” he inquired, offering a weak smile.

“I require your assistance.”

Daniel carefully settled his cup in its customary place amidst the books and papers that always seemed to accumulate on his desk. He shot an unfriendly look at his computer screen. “Is it important? Because I’m kinda busy with this report.”

“It is most urgent. Please hurry.” Without another word, Teal’c turned and moved away from the door.

Intrigued and alarmed in equal measure, Daniel rocketed from his seat and followed after the Jaffa. He found him waiting at the elevators, one large hand clamped against the door to hold it open. He yelped in surprise when, with a sweep of his arm, his friend bundled him into the waiting car. “What’s the emergency?” he gasped.

“It is not something that lends itself well to description,” Teal’c replied hastily and turned to face forward. The car dropped quickly, stopping at Level 25. Darting between the doors the moment they opened far enough to let him pass, Teal’c moved through the corridors with purpose. Nearly running to keep up with him, Daniel stayed right on his heels.

Rounding a corner, Teal’c stopped abruptly before one of the large metal doors. “It is in here,” he announced evenly.

Panting conspicuously, Daniel swiped a hand across the back of his neck. “Teal’c, these are your quarters. What the hell’s going on?”

“There is no time to explain.” In one fluid motion, Teal’c swiped his keycard through the lock, opened the door, and gently pushed Daniel across the threshold.

Daniel staggered forward. Without waiting until he’d fully regained his equilibrium, he spun toward the door just as the metal barrier snuffed out the light from the hallway. Cast in a muted orange glow, he grabbed for the doorknob, slightly alarmed to find it would not budge.

“Teal’c?” he called.

The hairs on the back of his neck stirred as his ears registered the softest whisper of sound from somewhere behind him. He turned slowly and peered into the gloom. The glimmer of a dozen candles threw menacing shadows on the wall, intensifying his anxiety when the sound repeated. Whirling, he snatched at the doorknob, pounding with his flattened hand.

“Teal’c!”

“Time was you’d call my name when you were feeling insecure.”

Daniel gasped. Wheeling, he stumbled against the door, his head swimming. “Jack? Are you trying to give me a heart attack?”

Jack swaggered out of the shadows, a calm, confident smile pulling at his features. Brown eyes locked to blue, he moved unerringly towards Daniel and did not slow until he was well within Daniel’s personal space.

Jack’s breath heated his neck; the minty scent of his toothpaste filled his nostrils. Their chests pressed together, and Daniel’s heart quickened briefly before matching its pace to the steady beat of Jack’s heart.

Leaning in, Jack touched his lips to Daniel’s, the kiss feather light. Daniel shuddered, his entire being stirring as though awakened from an endless sleep. Melting into the familiar contours of his lover’s body – for he knew instantly that Jack filled that place in his life – he deepened the kiss.

Encouraged, Jack slipped his tongue between Daniel’s lips. He grunted in surprise when Daniel latched on to it, drawing it further into his mouth. They kissed with fervor, hands clutching and kneading, until, after a few minutes, Jack backed away a step, panting for breath. Grinning, he reached up and righted Daniel’s glasses.

Daniel blinked languidly. “We’ve done this before.” It was statement not a question.

“Oh, yeah,” Jack breathed. Moving in again, he nuzzled a tiny earlobe.

“We’ve done this a lot. This… and more.”

Jack lurched back, his eyes wide. “You remember –”

“Everything,” Daniel confirmed and kissed him again. Pulling back, he canted a reproving brow. “Um, but, didn’t Janet forbid you from telling me anything about my past?”

“I didn’t say a word,” Jack grinned.

“Neither did Teal’c,” Daniel groaned a bit testily. “He said he needed my help then just led me down here. I was starting to wonder if we had another foothold situation when he locked the door. He might have saved my poor heart the stress.”

Jack spread a line of kisses along his jaw. “Well, I hope your heart has sufficiently recovered.”

“Oh, no,” Daniel panted. “It’s still beating a mile a minute.”

Searching his passion dampened features, Jack quirked a cocky grin.

Daniel narrowed his eyes at the smug display. “Why today?” he asked. “I’ve been back for months. You should have told me about this – about us – sooner.”

“Believe me, I wanted to. It’s been hell being this close and not being able to touch you. As for why today… Teal’c insisted. It’s Valentine’s Day.” He shrugged. “Who knew the Jaffa was a hopeless romantic?”

Daniel gazed over Jack’s shoulder to the flames that strongly flickered, each mirroring the blaze that burned in his heart for this man. A hand on his cheek drew his eyes back to his lover’s.

“Say you’ll be mine,” Jack whispered.

“Always.”

As he moved back into Jack’s strong embrace, Daniel breathed a thankful sigh. All was once again right with his world.

 

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