Pendulum

"It's enough."
"No, it's not."
"Jack! Stop! We'll both end up dead if you stay here any longer."
"Don't say that." Jack pulled on the bandage he was wrapping around Daniel's left thigh, making sure it was good and tight. "Carter and Teal'c should be at the gate by now. They'll bring help."
"You hope. Radio silence, remember?"
"I don't generally forget my own orders," he said sharply, sitting back on his heels and picking up his P-90. "Besides, it's you they're after."
"Which is why leaving me behind makes perfect sense."
"It makes no sense at all, Daniel, and I can't believe you're even suggesting it. Yu has an agenda, and it all hinges on you. You being you, as in not--"
"Yu. I get the reference, Jack."
"Good! Saves me trying to make sense of it all. Now," he rose to his feet and held a hand down to Daniel, "do you think you can walk or do I need to fireman carry you all the way to the gate?"
Daniel took the offered hand and pulled himself up, forcing his weight down on his good leg. "You carry me? There's something I'd like to see."
"Yeah, well, wouldn't be the first time."
"It wouldn't?"
"Nope. I don't suppose you remember our little three week vacation in a pleasure palace by the sea?"
"Which year was that?"
"One of the later ones. Where are you at now?"
Daniel leaned into Jack, who wrapped his hands around Daniel's waist and slung his P-90 and pulled his Beretta from his leg holster. "I went mad and you locked me up."
"Succinct."
"Brevity is the core of your mission report writing."
Jack winced. "I prefer to call it a style. I'm the guy you want at your wedding. The one that keeps his speeches short."
"True, but did you really need to re-hash that old 'flakey' reference?"
"You remember that?"
"Oddly, yes."
"That's some selective memory you have there."
Daniel shrugged and shifted pressure to his left leg, testing his weight and finding it too painful. "It's all in the details," he said around a grimace.   "Just a pity you couldn't have padded out your reports with something like actual words that made sense."
"You want words, you read Carter's version of events. You want brevity, then Teal'c is your man. I fall somewhere in between. Probably more to the right than left."
"Sam being the left?"
"Yes," he replied, and then quickly added, "You know we had no choice, right?"
"When you locked me up?"
"Actually, it was MacKenzie who did the locking."
"You just signed off on me and handed me over."
"Daniel."
"I get it, Jack."
"Good. That's good."
"It's the sex that I don't quite understand."
Jack stilled and glanced sideways at Daniel, not willing to look him fully in the eyes. "S-sex?" he stammered out, like the word was caught in his throat. Maybe it was the timing or the clichéd mission of running for their lives while being hunted by Jaffa, but Jack couldn't think of a worse moment for Daniel to spring this particular memory on him in such blasé fashion.
"Sure you remember," Daniel said, as though he was rehashing some old story they'd both heard a million times. "Your place, in front of the fire. Cold floor. You could have put a blanket down or... something."
Jack turned away and pressed a palm to his forehead. There was no headache to rub away, not even a split second of doubt or confusion for him to battle with, because this particular memory was suddenly as fresh for him as it was now for Daniel. The problem he was wrestling with was more personal, because Daniel had just pulled him back to that moment in front of the fireplace, to the smell of Tamarack logs burning in the hearth and the sting of slate tiles on his knees as he held tightly onto Daniel and they rode out their first orgasm together. And to the words Daniel whispered into his ear as he came... Lost and found...
Then Kelowna had happened, and in the one moment of peace they had together, where the security cameras were turned off and the room was cleared, Daniel had apologized for letting them slip away. For letting Jack down.
Jack remembered there being a silence between them that felt wrong and unjust, as though he was supposed to offer up some absolution that would give Daniel a measure of peace before he died, but all he could do was twist words spoken so long ago in the light of a fire, and give them back... Found and lost...
"Yeah, well... it was a spontaneous kind of moment." Which it had been if he counted standard mission crap happening and half the team bedding down for a night or two in the infirmary. Usually it was Daniel on the receiving end of Fraiser's ministrations, but that time it had been Carter and Teal'c.
"Aliens made us do it?" Daniel asked, but Jack could hear the double meaning behind Daniel's attempt at levity.
"Cliché, but, hey, if it works for you."
"You initiated it."
There was no denying the truth. Jack had seen an opportunity, had seized upon a moment of weakness and fatigue where Daniel's defenses were down, and taken a chance that a few fleeting touches and well placed suggestions might lead to something more. "And you wasted no time in signing up for the cause."
"That would be the...?"
Jack waved his Beretta back and forth between them. "You and me. The 'us' cause."
"Right." Daniel drew a long breath. "So, we... I mean.... There was more than once, right?"
Jack's heart sank at the impossible notion that Daniel could remember this one time, but not the rest, when they collectively amounted to the sum of their relationship. "I thought you remembered?"
"I remember the cold floor and the hot fire."
"You nearly got your ass burned."
Daniel chuckled lightly. "Hence the memory."
"Yes," Jack said after a moment, when he was sure he could answer with something quippy and not the diatribe of one-sided conversations he had held with himself in private for the last year or more. "More than once. A lot more than once."
"Good."
"What? You're okay with this?"
"Why wouldn't I be?" Daniel asked, in a tone that told Jack he was much more comfortable with his emotions at this moment than Jack was. "I remember feeling relieved. I wanted what you were offering. It's a good memory."
Jack's own relief was palpable, the knot of tension in his chest was slowly uncoiling. "Yeah, well, we made a few of those along the way."
"To cancel out the bad?"
"Plenty of those, too, though we weren't usually the ones responsible for making them."
"Sometimes we were."
"So, you do remember?"
"No, not really, but I don't believe we were totally blameless for some of the bad stuff that happened to us, to the team."
"Yeah," Jack said. "We've screwed up a few times. And some of those times I've been a total bastard. I'm so sorry, Daniel."
"It takes two."
"We're not going to tango now, are we? My knees, your thigh..."
"Ah, no."
"So.. we're...?"
"We're good. I'm hoping we can still be us."
"As in you and me?"
"Yeah. Unless you've moved on. In which case--"
"No!" Jack said a little too loudly and in a slightly panicked voice, before whispering, "No. There's no one else. I couldn't. I--"
"Jack." Daniel placed a hand on his shoulder and squeezed down hard, and Jack suddenly wished he could see his face more clearly.
He missed the love that Daniel used to radiate in a single stolen look, and wanted it back more than he had ever admitted even to himself. "Us would be good. Really good. Assuming we can get out of here."
Daniel nodded, indicating the way ahead. "We really should..."
"Move."
Their slow three-legged procession through the slowly-thinning forest came to an abrupt halt when Daniel found himself pulled to the right and behind a large tree.
"What?" he mouthed, watching Jack raise his Beretta up to almost eye-level.
"Movement. Ahead. Two-o-clock."
Without his glasses, which he had lost hours ago in the initial attack by a squad of Yu's Jaffa, Daniel had no hope of seeing much past the end of his nose, especially not in the dark.
"Get down!" Jack snapped, and all but shoved him to the ground, causing Daniel to bite down hard on his bottom lip to avoid screaming out in pain from the staff wound to his leg.
There was a heartbeat of silence, in which Daniel started to wonder if Jack was imagining seeing movement, until a staff blast ripped into a tree about ten feet away, briefly lighting up the area around them. By then, Jack had pressed his Beretta into Daniel's hand and taken up his P-90 again. He was about to fire, but was cut short when a blast of automatic weapons fire followed hot on the tail of the staff weapon.
"Screw radio silence!" Jack thumbed the comm on his radio and hissed, "Carter!"
"Sir!"
"Tell me that was you trying to kill us."
"Sorry, sir. We tried to aim off mark just in case it was you."
"As in?"
"You, sir... not Yu."
"Ah!"
"How's Daniel?"
"Oh, busy being annoyed because we locked him up."
"Sir?"
"Forget it, Carter. Long story. So... back-up?"
"SG's 3 and 7 in tow."
"Excellent!" He turned to Daniel and helped him to his feet, pulling him in close. "I think I've had enough of us being lost."

The End

 

plans from the tiny piece of my mind I still controlled, I was learning.
“Kheb.”

 

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