Believe in Miracles

“All right, it’s okay.  We knew this might happen,” I reassure Daniel.  “Stay with it.” 

I know he didn’t want to shut off the mirror for fear of losing our place, and, of course, we did.  I also know he’ll find the right dimension so we can get the hell home.  There’s not a shadow of a doubt in my mind, and I hope he senses that trust.  I know I question a lot of what he does and says, but he takes these bizarre leaps sometimes that just leave me shaking my head.  I’m too schooled in Special Ops to trust anyone implicitly, but Daniel comes close; damn close.  I pat him on the shoulder.  “Do your thing.”

I don’t like leaving him here alone, but we have to help Doctor Carter contact the Asgard.  Dr. Carter.  Seeing that long hair was a shock, but finding out she and the Jack O’Neill in her dimension were married?  Crap, I still get shivers.  I like Carter a lot, but I can’t imagine myself married to her.  Not in my wildest dreams.  I’d go nuts, whacko, certifiable.  Daniel, on the other hand.  In my dreams, I know, but I don’t have a problem with the idea of living out my days with Daniel.  He’s just so damn companionable and loveable, and when he’s naked, well, he takes my breath away.  I think I’ve always been bisexual, but being in the military, hetero’s the way to go, and I did love Sara.  Hell, I still do.  I was never unfaithful to her.  I was never even tempted by anyone of either sex.  At least, not until Daniel returned from Abydos, by which time Sara and I had already gone our separate ways, thanks to me, my cowardice and my insensitivity.  Daniel.  I had never seen anyone look so bereft or in need of love as Daniel Jackson after Sha’re was cruelly ripped from his life.  He pulled out of it though, and he’s determined to find her and save her, or die trying.  And I’m determined to help him find her and save her, or die trying.  Okay, enough with the dying crap; we have to get this show on the road.

These alternate realities creep me out, but I have to admit, working with Kawalsky again feels damn good.  He didn’t deserve what happened to him in my reality.  Damn snakes.  He was a good man and I miss him.  I considered him my best friend even though we hardly knew each other.  He didn’t even know I had a kid, for crying out loud.  That Special Ops stuff again: don’t get too close, and don’t let anyone get close to you.  They never taught us about Daniel Jacksons in Special Ops.  I can’t believe I was telling him about Charlie, let alone his death, just days after meeting him.  But that’s Daniel.  You can’t help but trust him.  Speaking of Daniel, why the hell are there never Daniel Jacksons in these alternate realities?  I know he’s unique, but still.  The thought makes me smile.  There’s only one in these multitude of universes and he’s in mine.  What are the odds?  Still, it’d be cool to see a reality where my alter ego and Daniel are getting it on, if just to see Daniel’s reaction.  Or, maybe not.  Ignorance is bliss.  This way I can still fantasize.

Crap, Kawalsky can be just as irritating in this reality.  Me and Carter looking good together?  Puhleeze.  I shake my head and get on with the task at hand.  There, that should do it.  Transformer’s on line.  Teal’c and Carter, this reality’s Carter, should be able to dial up the Asgard.  God, I hope they’re friendly in this world.  If this works we’ve got Daniel to thank.  Again.  He should be covered in medals by now.  Crap, all my kids should be.  Hell of a team.  These other universes don’t know what they’re missing.

“Okay, Kawalsky, let’s see if Daniel found my universe.”

“You know, I never thought you’d have a civilian on your team, Jack, but Jackson’s okay,” Kawalsky says.

“You warmed up to him in my world, too,” I smile.

“Yeah, about that,” he says tentatively.  “How exactly did I die?”

I’ve been waiting for this.

“How else?” I say.  “You died a hero.”

“Ignorance is bliss?” he guesses.

“You got it.  You’re alive in this universe, Kawalsky, and that’s the one that counts.  See that you stay that way.”

“Yes, sir,” he grins, giving me a sharp salute.

“Come on,” I say, clapping him on the back, “Let’s go.”

                                                ******

I’m getting a bad feeling here.  I know this door wasn’t closed when we left.  Damn it, Daniel, you better be okay in there.  I look at Kawalsky and he feels it, too.  God, I hate this.  I signal to Kawalsky and together we enter the room, our weapons drawn.  Oh, shit.  Nightmares are made of this.  Daniel’s on his knees, hands behind his head, and way too many Jaffa pointing their damn staff weapons at him.  And which son-of-a-bitch hit him in the face?  Ah, Jesus, he’s got that ‘I’m sorry, I screwed up look.’

“Lower your weapons or we will kill him.”

I know you will, you bastard, and you’d make sure every damn one of your guys fired, too.

“Colonel?”

I’m working here, Kawalsky.  I still have my weapon aimed, not because I’m toying with the idea of going down in a blaze of glory, but because I don’t want these bastards to know how special their prisoner is to me.

“Yeah, we should do that,” I drawl, and we lower our weapons.

“Jaffa, kree!”

Daniel’s hauled to his feet and I make eye contact with him briefly before I’m muscled down the corridor by two Jaffa.  He looks pissed.  That’s good.  Hell of a lot better than that guilty look.

Two guess where they’re taking us and the first one doesn’t count.  Yeah, there he is: the golden boy himself.  What’s with the beard thing in this universe?  Crap, they’ve done a number on Hammond in this world.  Just as tough a nut to crack here as in ours by the looks of him.  That’s comforting.

Apophis looks as confused as hell.  Doesn’t understand why I’m here or what’s going on with Teal’c.  Ten to one I got killed in this universe by their Teal’c.  I think I should have a talk with the big guy when we get home.  Oh, what a surprise: snakeboy wants answers.

“He knows,” I say, gesturing to Daniel.  Now, why the hell did I just do that?  Direct his attention to Daniel?  Because he can talk, that’s why.  Time is what we need here.  If the Asgard are going to pull our asses out of this fire, we have to give ourselves as much time as possible.

Daniel gives me a startled look, but he’s giving it his best shot and trying to explain the concept of alternate realities.  Apophis isn’t buying any of it.  I’ve got a bad feeling about this.  Someone is going to pay.

Teal’c said the only reality of consequence is our own, and I keep telling myself that while Hammond lies there dead.  Kawalsky doesn’t have that luxury.  That was his Hammond and his friend.

Apophis is losing patience.  Big surprise.

“Tell me where you come from!”

“From an alternate reality!” Daniel insists.

“One in which you’re dead,” I add with a self-satisfied sneer.

Damn it!  Daniel’s down.  Couldn’t keep my stupid mouth shut.  Daniel tries to save us and I just piss off snakehead more.  Both Kawalsky and I yell at the bastard, and, oh, Christ, they’re going to zat him again.  If I throw myself on top of him I might absorb enough of the blast that it doesn’t kill him.  Before I can do just that, a Jaffa’s babbling to snakeboy and pointing at the radar screen.  While they’re preoccupied, Kawalsky and I help Daniel up.  He took quite a hit; he’s shaky, but he’s bouncing back.  That was damn close and by the looks of it, we may all die here.  Crap, I can’t keep him safe in any reality.  Apophis has his damn glowing hand up.  Okay, that’s different.  He’s just disappeared.

“I’m guessing—”

“Asgard,” Daniel says, finishing my thought.

“All right!  Now, we’re cookin’!” I exclaim.

                                                ******

I hate goodbyes, especially when the person you’re saying goodbye to wants you to be someone you’re not.  Teal’c and Daniel politely turn away and then I let Dr. Carter kiss me.  I kiss her back, or at least I try to.  She knows I don’t mean it, at least not in the way she wants me to mean it.  I just hope she hasn’t ruined her last real kiss with her husband.  God knows she’s going to punish herself enough over not using the mirror sooner.

 The Asgard brought this reality’s Hammond back to life.  I didn’t know they could do that.  Maybe they could’ve saved my other self if they’d known sooner.  If I’m wondering that, I’m sure  that’s all she’s thinking about.  That and all the people killed on this Earth.  Selfish as it is, I thank God it’s not my planet.  Actually, it’s more like thank Daniel.  If he hadn’t convinced me in another reality as well as our own, I probably wouldn’t be having this conversation with myself.  Okay, this is too weird.  Time to go home.

                                    *******

Doc’s patched up Daniel.  He’s going to have quite a bruise on his cheek.  I must have winced because he’s looking self-conscious.

“It looks worse than it is, Jack,” he says, fingering his bandage lightly.

“Sure it does,” I smile warmly.  “Did they do anything else to you?”  I ask, keeping my fingers crossed.

“No, I, uh, pretty much know when I’m outnumbered,” he says with a little self-deprecating smile that melts my heart and makes my gut tingle.  God, why is this man alone?  He’s not, you jackass; he has Sha’re..

“Come on, I’ll buy you some coffee,” I offer.  I’m not ready to let him out of my sight just yet.

He perks up immediately and literally bounces.  I laugh and lead him out of the infirmary, my hand resting on his shoulder.  We don’t really say much until we’re seated in a quiet corner.  I start.

“That was pretty weird watching Teal’c kill Teal’c,” I say.

“He didn’t even hesitate,” Daniel says with a frown.

“He gave him a chance to renounce Apophis,” I remind him.

“Yes, but … well, he didn’t even try to convince him otherwise,” Daniel insists.

“I guess he knows better than anyone how stubborn he can be,” I add with a shrug.

“I think it may also have something to do with the fact that the other Teal’c killed the O’Neill in their universe,” Daniel says.

“Maybe, but I think it’s a lot more than that.  He knows how driven he is, and dangerous,” I add.

Daniel nods and sips his coffee thoughtfully.  His eyes brighten and he looks up.

“The Sams certainly got alone fine,” he grins.

“Oy, too well,” I groan.  “Two Carters in one universe,” I shiver and Daniel laughs.

“So, Jack, how do you feel about Dr. Carter and you, uh, married?” he asks and then buries his face in his mug.

I must have shivered again because I see the corners of his eyes crinkle in amusement.

“Carter’s a sweet kid, but despite the fact that she’s military and my subordinate, she’s, well, Carter,” I explain with a frown.  “She lives and breathes science.”

“Well, they obviously had something in common in that reality,” Daniel presses.  “You were, uh, close in the other reality, too,” he adds with a definite mischievous twinkle in his eye.

Of course, I’m thinking that’s because there weren’t any Daniel Jacksons for me to fantasize over.  What I say is, “So, was the reality you were in much like the one we just left?”

He smiles at my obvious evasiveness.

“Pretty much, except Catherine was there and you were the general and Hammond was the colonel.  The Teal’c and Carter weren’t much different, and I was dead again,” he adds with a quick humorless grin.

“Yeah, why do you think that is?” I ask.

“I don’t know,” he shrugs.  “Probably suffocated from stale air in some forgotten catacomb.”

I nod grimly then say casually, “I think I know why I’m always dying.”

His eyebrows go up in anticipation.  “Why?”

“Because you’re not there to watch my back.”

He’s doing his fish-mouth thing and staring at me like I’ve grown another head.  Maybe I shouldn’t have said it, especially considering the ‘more than just friends’ way I’m feeling towards him right now, but, damn it, I still see him on his knees surrounded by people who wanted to kill him.  More importantly, I mean it and he’s got the right to know; he deserves to know.  I smile and shrug and that seems to break his stupor.  He blinks rapidly, stares down at his coffee and chews his bottom lip.

“Thank you,” he whispers.

My throat feels thick, but I nod and say, “It’s me that should be thanking you.”

Oh, crap.  I think he’s going to cry.   For that matter, so am I.

“More coffee?” I ask, standing up quickly and grasping his mug.

He nods and I quickly leave, giving us both a chance to get our emotions under control.  I don’t know if I’ve made things worse or not, but my gut tells me I’ve set something in motion, or maybe it’s my heart’s wishful thinking.  I know I’m important to Daniel and that’s an honor I don’t want to abuse, but if there’s a chance, if … crap, what am I thinking?  He’s married for crying out loud.  He’s got enough on his plate without his CO hitting on him.  I see Carter and Teal’c come in and I seize the opportunity.

“Guys, come and join us.  We’re just over there,” I say, pointing to Daniel in the corner table.  Coward, I say to myself, but this is for Daniel’s sake, and maybe to preserve my own ego.  It’s not like I’ve never been rejected before, but I don’t think I could deal with Daniel rejecting me.

                                                ************

Sha’re’s dead and I don’t have a clue what to say to Daniel.  It should be the simplest thing in the world to take him in my arms and just hold him.  Let him know he’s not alone and he never will be.  But I can’t do it. 

I didn’t hesitate to hug him after he pulled a gun on me two years ago, or last year when he came back from what I thought was certain death on Klorel’s ship.  I didn’t love him then.  I mean, I loved him, but I never had sexual feelings towards him.  Okay, that’s a damn lie.  I’ve already admitted being attracted to him when we came back from Abydos; I just denied those feelings.  They weren’t appropriate then and they’re definitely not appropriate now.  What I can do though is wheel him down to the morgue to see his wife.  God, Daniel, I am so sorry.  I’m sorry you lost the love of your life, and I’m sorry I can’t be the friend you need.

                                                *****

Daniel’s got the hots for the Destroyer of Worlds and I’m so friggin’ jealous I disgust myself.  He just buried his wife a few months ago and he’s too damn vulnerable.  It’s only natural he’d respond to a beautiful young woman who treats him like he’s special, but I thought when he found out that she’s not Kira, but Linea, he’d snap out of it.  You’d think I’d learn.  If Daniel has a soft spot for anyone he’ll move mountains to help them.  And if I’m honest with myself, that’s one of the things that makes him so special.  Didn’t stop me from getting mad at him though when he pulled that crap on me about who in the world I’d trust most with my life.  ‘Don’t worry, I won’t be offended if you don’t pick me’.  He actually said that; almost like he was deliberately egging me on.  Maybe he was.  Maybe he’s pushing my buttons to get me to admit how I really feel about him because maybe he’s got feelings for me.  Yeah, right, and the Goa’uld are kind and gentle beings who just want to be loved.  Get a grip O’Neill.

The son-of-a-bitch stood in front of my gun.  Didn’t even hesitate.  Goddamn him.  Does he have any idea how close I came to shooting him?  Of course, it all worked out in the end: Kira is back being Kira.  No memory of her true identity; no memory of Daniel, either.  Not really.  Just a feeling of having known him.  Just goes to show that even brief exposure to Daniel can leave a lasting impression.  I smile at the thought, but I know Daniel’s torn up inside.  He’s feeling guilty about betraying Sha’re even though she’s dead and buried, and it doesn’t matter that it was only a kiss.

 It’s not fair.  The Destroyer of Worlds gets another chance at happiness.  Why the hell can’t Daniel?  Because he won’t let himself, that’s why.  He doesn’t feel he deserves it because he failed Sha’re.  He didn’t save her and he doesn’t know if her child is safe.  Her dying request, according to Daniel, was to make sure the boy was safe.  That was another opportunity I had to be there for Daniel, and I screwed up.  Well, that changes now.  I know he’s trying to find this mythical place, Kheb, and if he ever thinks he’s found it then I’m going to back him one hundred percent; wild goose chase or not.

Hard for me to help Daniel find Kheb when I get stuck on a freaking planet.  Over a hundred days on Edora and I still couldn’t get Daniel out of my mind, and believe me, I tried.  I was convinced I would never be rescued.  I would never get the chance to tell Daniel how I felt.  I’d blown it so I looked elsewhere for companionship.  Laira was more than willing to take me in and I let her.  Then the impossible happened: I heard Teal’c’s voice.  They found me.  I was going home.  I’m not proud of the way I acted.  Laira offered me a home.  Hell, she offered me herself and I accepted, but as soon as I realized I could go home again, adios, Laira.

When it actually came time for me to leave Edora, all the walls I thought I’d torn down regarding Daniel suddenly reappeared.  I was able to get away with a lot during that time.  People tip-toed around me and I let them.  They thought I missed Laira and the simple, uncomplicated life of Edora.  I did, but not nearly to the extent I allowed them to believe.  Daniel, of course, tried to make me feel better.  He said I had no reason to feel guilty and every right to reclaim my life.  Of course he’d say that.  Now if the shoe was on the other foot it would’ve been a whole different ball game.

So, how did I repay him?  I did an undercover stint for our allies which included telling Daniel our friendship was a joke with no real foundation.  I played my part well.  Very well.  I hurt him like hell.  I did some major sucking-up after that whole thing was over.  I eventually convinced Daniel that our friendship was strong and important to both of us.  And, naturally, he let me back in. 

                                                ******

Daniel did it.  He found Kheb and he found the boy, and then he let him go.  He did the right thing even though it’s tearing him up inside.  Oma Desala has powers we can’t even imagine.  If anyone can protect Sha’re’s son from the Goa’uld, she can.  Daniel knows that, but that won’t stop him from punishing himself.  That would be too un-Daniel-like. 

This whole mission has been pretty unsettling: those burned-out husks of Jaffa; that whole lighting the fire and levitating my gun thing with his mind.  I know now Daniel didn’t do any of that; it was Oma’s doing.  But at the time I really did think it was Daniel and it was unnerving.  I felt like I was losing him more than ever.  He was moving away from me to a place I could never follow.  Crap, it didn’t just unnerve me; it scared the shit out of me.  I was losing him.  That’s the bottom line.  I’d lose him and never know if we s could’ve been … more.  And I never will either at this rate.  Shit or get off the pot, O’Neill.

I shouldn’t be surprised to find Daniel here, staring at the Stargate.  I’ve certainly done my share of Stargate-gazing.

“Hey.”

“Hey, Jack,” he replies quietly.

I know I haven’t surprised him; he can see my reflection in the glass.

“You okay?” I query.

He continues to stare at the gate, but then he smiles and nods.

“I’m fine.  I was just thinking about all the worlds out there and all the different realities for each one.”

“Need some aspirin?” I ask.

He looks at me with what I can only describe as fond exasperation.  I love that look and I like to believe he reserves it just for me.  He turns back to the gate and says, “I never really thanked you.”

The words surprise me and I really don’t know what he’s talking about.

“For what?”  I ask.

“For believing in me about Kheb; for putting your weapons down.  That must have taken a great leap of faith,” he adds as he looks directly at me.

I don’t know what he’s doing, but I have the feeling if I say or do the wrong thing I’ll lose the opportunity to tell him how I feel.  I go for casual.

“Not really,” I shrug.  “Carter and Teal’c are trained to follow orders.”

I got him.  He frowns and opens his mouth to correct me, but he changes his mind and nods.

“Thanks,” he whispers.

I feel good.  I feel real good.  I press on.

“Speaking of alternate realties, do you remember what I said about why the Jack O’Neill’s always seemed to die?”

He turns away from me and I know he’s uncomfortable.

“Well?”  I prod.

“Of course I do,” he says quietly.

I don’t say anything.  I wait for him.

“You said they died because they didn’t have any Daniel Jacksons to watch their backs,” he says in a rush.

“That’s right.  Daniel, I trust you to watch my back, and Carter’s, and Teal’c’s, but sometimes I have trouble trusting you to watch your own.”

He gives me a strange look, kind of assessing, but oddly relieved.

“That’s fair enough,” he says, nodding to himself.

He’s looking at me like he’s waiting for something; waiting for me.  I’ll never get a better opportunity, but I can’t do it.  I can’t tell him how I feel because, to be honest, standing here looking at him, it’s the worst thing I could do.  I will not heap another load of emotional baggage onto his shoulders.  He’s barely holding up as it is.

“Do you want a lift home?” I ask.  “I’m heading out.”

“No, but thanks.  I still have some work to do.”

The answer doesn’t surprise me and I should probably just accept it, but I can’t.

“Daniel, whatever it is, it can wait.  You look ready to pass out.  I’ll drop you off and pick you up at 0700 tomorrow.”

He gives me that assessing look again.

“Watching my back?” he asks.

He doesn’t sound angry or even annoyed.  Just … tired.

“I try,” I shrug with a smile.

“Okay,” he concedes, “I am pretty beat.”

                                    ******

I look over at Daniel slumped against the passenger door.  I hadn’t been driving fifteen minutes before he fell asleep.  I don’t know whether to be amused or insulted.  Neither, actually.  I feel flattered that he’s comfortable enough with me to just fall asleep.  He trusts me to get him where he’s going and in one piece.  It would be so easy to take him to my place and see that he gets to bed at a decent time.  It would be so easy if I didn’t want to get into bed with him.  I’m not even thinking sex right now.  I just hate the thought of Daniel being alone.  He doesn’t deserve it.  But then who said he deserves me?  I know I’m not good enough for Daniel.  I don’t know if anyone is.

I pull up in front of his apartment and put the truck in neutral.  It’s idling softly and I steal a few moments to watch Daniel.  When I feel that tingling in my gut I know it’s time to leave.

“We’re here,” I say.

Daniel doesn’t respond to my voice.  I lick my lips, lean over and give his arm a little shake.

“Hey, Danny, we’re here.”

“Wha-?”  He jerks awake and his eyes widen.  “Oh, I’m sorry, Jack.  Didn’t mean to fall asleep.”

“It’s okay.”

“I didn’t snore, did I?” he asks with a little frown of concern.

“No, and don’t worry, the drool will come out with Scotch Guard,” I say.

“Ass,” he mutters.

I grin and pat him on the arm.  “Get some sleep, Daniel.”

He gets out of the truck and pauses.  “Do you want to come in for some coffee or a drink?”

My mind screams, Yes!  “Thanks, but maybe another time.”

I can’t believe the traitorous words coming out of my mouth.  I like to think he looks disappointed, but it’s probably my imagination.

“Sure.  Thanks for the ride, Jack,” he says.

“Be ready at seven,” I warn.

“I will.  I may even be dressed,” he says as he smiles and closes the door.

It’s a damn good thing it’s dark because I’m picturing a sleepy, naked Daniel and I can feel my neck flushing.  I watch as he waves and walks away.

Crap.  I am such a coward.

                                                *****

What was I afraid of?  Daniel obviously wants this just as much as I do.  Oh, God, I can’t believe how good this feels.  How good he feels.  I gasp and moan in pleasure as he takes me into his mouth.  My fingers curl in his hair and I sit up.  I look down at myself and the sight of his head bobbing up and down as he sucks me hard.  His mouth is so hot and moist.  God, I love him.  I love what he does to me; how he makes me feel.  Oh, Christ, I’m going to come.

“Daniel,” I whisper between gritted teeth.  “Not now; it’s too soon.”

He responds by releasing my cock with a kiss and sliding up my body.  He takes my mouth in his and kisses me thoroughly while his slender fingers delve expertly into my ass.  Jesus, he’s going to fuck me.  I reach for his hard cock and slather his pre-cum up and down his shaft.  I moan into his mouth.  It’s too much.  I can’t hold it.  I cry out and my semen spurts over both of us.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry … ”  I jerk awake.  “Son-of-a-bitch!”  The same goddamn dream.  “Shit!”

I lie back, my arm flung across my eyes as the image and sensations fade, and my semen dries on my chest and thighs.  Hot tears leak out as I stifle a sob.

                                    ******

“What the hell have I done?”

“What?”  I look up at Daniel in surprise.  I didn’t even hear him come into my office.

“I must’ve done something to piss you off, but for the life of me I can’t think of what it is,” he says.

He’s got a fire in his eye that almost mesmerizes me with its intensity.

“Daniel, I don’t know what the hell—“

“Save it, Jack,” he retorts hotly.  “I’ve been walking around you on eggshells for months.  I can’t sneeze without you biting my head off.”

I feel my own hackles rise as I stand up, and I can’t stop the words that come out of my mouth.

“If you have a problem with my authority, Dr. Jackson, you’re more than welcome to file a complaint.”  Crap, did I just say that?

“It’s not your authority, Colonel, it’s your attitude,” Daniel replies evenly, not backing down an inch.

God, has it come to this?  Have I sunk so low that I drive the best friend I’ve ever had, or ever will have, away because I’m afraid of my feelings for him?  I’m afraid of his rejection. Of losing his respect?  News-flash, O’Neill: do you even have his respect?  Suddenly, I can’t look at him.  I look down at my desk, ashamed and at a loss for words.

“Jack?”

His whole tone changes.  I hear the concern and even fear.  I’m scaring him, and I so don’t deserve his concern.

“Jack, what’s wrong?”

I shake my head, but I manage to look at him.

“It’s not you, Daniel.  It’s never been you.  At least not the way you think,” I add.

He doesn’t know what I’m talking about, and I can’t tell him.  I smile briefly instead and glance away.

“Jack, what is it?  What’s wrong?”

He takes a step towards me and I instinctively back up.  He stops and cocks his head, his brow furrowed.

“Jack, are you afraid of me?”

His voice is an incredulous whisper and I realize how ridiculous I must look.  The thing is I am afraid of him, or more to the point, afraid of my feelings for him.  The phone rings and I couldn’t have timed it better myself.  I snatch it up.

“O’Neill.”

I can’t believe it.  Hammond wants to see me. 

“Yes, sir, I’m on my way.”

I hang up the phone and look at Daniel.

“That was Hammond.  I have to go,” I say as I rush past Daniel.

He snags my arm and he must feel my tension because he releases me immediately, but he doesn’t give up.

“We need to talk,” he says.

“There’s nothing to talk about,” I snap as I high-tail it to the door.

“Jack, let me help you.”

The genuine warmth in his voice stops me.  Damn.  I can’t leave him like this.  My shoulders sag and I turn around.

“Daniel, if you really want to help me then please, just leave me alone.”

I say it calmly and without resentment, but I’ve hurt him all the same.  He looks crushed.  It’s that same damned look he had when I told him our friendship had no foundation.  I hate myself for putting that look on his face, but I tell myself it’s the right thing to do.  I leave the room and don’t look back.

                                    ******

Two weeks later

“General, you wanted to see me?”

“Take a seat, Colonel.”

George hasn’t even looked at me.  This doesn’t bode well.  I sit down warily.  He’s staring at a form on his desk.  I recognize the form.  Worse, I recognize the writing.

“I received this, this morning,” he finally says, still not making eye contact.  “It’s a request from Dr. Jackson.”

“A request, sir?” I ask mildly while my mind is screaming, It’s not what you think!

He looks up and looks right through me.

“Colonel O’Neill, is there a problem with SG-1 I should know about?”

“Problem, sir?”

“Colonel, if I wanted a parrot I’d purchase one.  Let me make it simple: is there a problem between you and Dr. Jackson?”

Crap.  Daniel’s requested to leave SG-1.  Damn it, this wasn’t supposed to happen.

“I’ll take your lack of response as a ‘yes’.  Dr. Jackson has requested a transfer and a leave of absence for personal reasons.  He never asks for anything so I felt compelled to grant his requests.”

I know I’m staring at the general like an idiot, but I can’t seem to wrap my mind around the fact that Daniel’s leaving.

“Colonel, is there anything you’d like to say?”

George’s request snaps me out of my stupor.

“How long, sir?  The, uh, leave of absence.”  I’m not even going to think about the transfer.

“Indefinite.”

“Indefinite?” I repeat dully.  Just like that.  Everything’s going along hunky-dory then, wham-o, a member of my team wants out.  Hunky-dory, my ass.  I should’ve seen this coming.   I’ve done everything but verbally tell Daniel to get the hell out of my life, for crying out loud.

“I want you to fix this, Colonel.  Whatever’s going on between you and Dr. Jackson, I want it resolved.”

“Yes, sir,” I murmur.

He’s angry; angry that I let things get this bad.  Who can blame him?

“Jack, I do not want to see SG-1 split up for any reason.”

I look up and his eyes are kind.  I’ve mess up royally, but he’s giving me the chance to fix things.

“Neither do I, sir,” I reply.

“Very well.  You’re dismissed.  I’m putting SG-1 on stand down until further notice.”

“Yes, General.  Thank you, sir.”

I walk out in a daze.  Daniel’s leaving.  I stop.  I don’t even know when he’s leaving.  Is it effective immediately?  Shit.  I turn to go back to Hammond’s office, but I’m already half way to Daniel’s.  I don’t even remember walking.

Daniel’s door is closed.  I stand there and I feel all the instincts kick in: back off; this is what he wants’ if he wants out then let him go; it’s all for the best.  This time I tell my instincts to shut the fuck up.  It’s because of them I’m in this damn mess.

I rap twice before opening the door.  I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t this:  Daniel surrounded by boxes.  It’s all wrong.  This isn’t a leave of absence; this is leaving for good.

Daniel looks up from the box he’s packing.

“Come to help?” he asks.

I don’t say anything.  I’m speechless.

“Why start now?” he mutters before concentrating once again on the open box before him.

I finally find my voice.

“Daniel, why are you doing this?”

He doesn’t give me the flippant, sarcastic answer that I deserve, but he cuts right to the chase.

“I think I’ve spent enough time here, don’t you?  I’m also doing what you requested: I’m leaving you alone.”

Crap, Daniel, you are so off the mark.  I stand there and stare at him.  He stares back expectantly then shakes his head and continues to pack.

“Daniel,” I mumble.

He ignores me and lowers a pile of books into the box.  He reaches for another pile.

“Daniel, stop.  Please,” I implore as I clasp his forearm.

 He stares at my hand and I know exactly what he’s thinking; it’s been a long time since I’ve touched him.  God, Danny, if you only knew about my dreams.

He looks up at me and I know I’ve only got one more chance.  If I blow this, Daniel’s out of my life.  I squeeze his arm and let go.  I swallow hard and lick my lips.

“Can we, uh, go somewhere to talk?” I ask.

“Talk?” he repeats.  “About what?  Am I not packing in the proper military way?  Are you pissed because I didn’t ask your permission?”

He’s angry and he has every right to be.  Time to go out on a limb.

“Can I come over tonight?  I’ll bring Chinese,” I say.

It’s just a flicker, but I see the wariness in his eyes.

“I promise I’ll explain everything.  My whole sorry ass behavior … everything,” I emphasize.  “I don’t deserve it, and I have no right to ask, but please, trust me.”

I don’t flinch from his intense blue eyes; I don’t dare.

“I trust you, Jack.”

He says it with such quiet conviction and I’m overwhelmed by how much I love him.  I also realize that his impending rejection, although painful, will not be belittling or demeaning.  He cares too much.  Also, it’s not in his nature.

“Seven?” I suggest.

“Okay,” he nods.  “Don’t worry about beer; I have plenty.”

He doesn’t say it; he doesn’t have to.  He’s got plenty of beer because his bastard of a friend never stops by to drink it.

“Good,” I say.  “So, you’ll stop with the packing?”

He looks at the boxes and shrugs.  “I guess it can wait.  I do have a report to finish.”

I smile and take what I can get.

“Okay, I’ll see you tonight,” I say and I leave his office.

                                                ***********

I didn’t think seven o’clock would ever come around and now that’s it five to seven I wonder where the hell the time went.  I’ve double and triple-checked the order.  I know there’s way too much food, but I wanted all of Daniel’s favorites.  I feel like I’m on a date for crying out loud.  Just because I’m about to tell my best friend I’m in love with him, but not to let it bother him, isn’t reason enough to be this nervous.  Right, and Maybourne would look good in a thong.  Crap, how do I get myself into these messes?  Okay, enough stalling.

“You’re punctual,” Daniel remarks as I enter his home.

“Didn’t want the food to get cold,” I reply, feeling as far from calm as possible.

“Sam and Teal’c coming to?” he asks, his eyes widening at the multitude of cartons in the box.

“They make great leftovers,” I shrug, desperate for a drink.  I need something to fiddle with.

“Help yourself to a beer.  I’ll have one, too.”

I look at him in surprise, but quickly retrieve the beers.

                                                ******

We ate like pigs.  Well, okay, I ate like a pig.  Probably some subconscious thing; if I eat I won’t have to talk.  Eating’s over, dishes are washed and put away, and Daniel’s making coffee.  I glance at my watch: eight thirty.  Crap, is that all?  God, I wish this night was over.

“Do you want beer or coffee?” he calls from the kitchen.

“How about both?” I reply.  I know I’ll drink the beer too damn fast and then I won’t have anything to fiddle with.

He comes back with two coffees and a beer.

“Thanks,” I say as he puts the beer down and hands me one of the mugs.

He sits across from me and waits.  Okay, show time.  Crap, I feel sick.

“So,” he says.

“So,” I respond and give a weak smile.  I take a large swallow of beer and place the bottle on the table.  I clasp my hands together and squeeze.  I can do this.  I glance up.  His eyes are doing that inscrutable thing, but he doesn’t look impatient; he’s not going to push.  I give another weak smile and look down at my hands.

“Where to begin?” I mumble.  “Okay, the reason I’ve been acting like a total shit for months is because I’ve had these, uh, feelings for a certain member of SG-1.”  I wince when I say it, but at least I said it.  Maybe this won’t be so hard after all.  There’s a long pause before Daniel says anything.

“Okay,” he says slowly, “and this affects me, how?”

I look at him with a ‘well, isn’t it obvious?’ expression.

“Jack, you know how I feel about military regulations.  If you and Sam have … feelings for each other I’m okay with it.  What I’m not okay with is why you’ve been treating me like the enemy, acting like you can’t stand to be in the same room with me, and why is your mouth hanging open like that?”

I snap my mouth shut with an audible click.

“Carter?  Who said anything about Carter?”

Now it’s Daniel’s turn to gape.

“I just assumed, well, I mean you’re always trying to get her to go fishing; her and Teal’c.  Teal’c?  You have feelings for Teal’c?” he asks, his eyes as big as saucers.

“Jesus, Daniel, it’s not Teal’c.  I mean, of course I have feelings for Teal’c, but not … those feelings,” I explain, quickly guzzling my beer.

“Well, if it’s not Sam or Teal’c, then who—oh …”

He finally caught a ride on the clue bus and his eyes are platter size now.

“Oh,” he repeats, coloring a comely shade of red, and I swear to God he just drew his knees together.  Oh, crap.

“Daniel, I’m sorry, I don’t know how it happened,” I blurt out.

“You want to have sex with me?”

His voice is soft, incredulous, and scared.  Double crap.

“No, Daniel,” I sigh.  “I mean, if you did, then hell, yes, but I know you don’t want to, and now that I’ve actually said it, I can get past it.  I just want our friendship back on track again.  I miss our chess games and subjecting you to hockey.  I want that back.  That’s what’s important to me.  I just hope I haven’t screwed things up so bad that we can’t be friends,” I explain in a rush that impresses even me.

I don’t even know if he’s listening to me; he just looks shell-shocked.

“Daniel, say something.  Call me a selfish son-of-a-bitch if you want because that’s what I am.  I pushed you away because I was afraid of what I was feeling.  I thought if I distanced myself I’d … get over you.”

“And did you?”

I hold his gaze.  No more lies; I will not lie to this man.

“No,” I whisper.  “I didn’t even get over you while I was on Edora.”  I drop my gaze and reach for the coffee mug.  I wrap my hands around it and stare into the dark liquid.  “I don’t want you to leave SG-1, Daniel.  You’re too valuable a member and too good a friend, but if you can’t work with me knowing how I feel, I’ll transfer—”

“Your coffee’s cold.  I’ll get you another cup,” Daniel says.

His voice is soft and gentle, and oh, God, he pities me.  I allow him to take my mug, and I wonder again how I could have so royally screwed things up.  I feel my eyes burn and swipe at them blindly.  I feel like a pathetic old man and I briefly consider bolting.  I said what I came to say, but that’s what got me into this mess in the first place.  I can’t run from it any longer.

“Here.”

I look up and meet Daniel’s eyes.  I don’t see pity.  I see curiosity, sadness, regret, and maybe hope.  Daniel’s always had expressive eyes.  They can make you feel ten feet tall or six inches lower than a snake’s belly.  Right now, they’re making me feel welcome and that’s really confusing.

“Thanks,” I murmur, accepting the mug of coffee.

Daniel sits down, and maybe it’s just my imagination, but he seems almost relaxed.

“I guess I should thank you for being honest with me,” he says.  “I confess that’s not what I was expecting to hear.”

“I know,” I shrug, staring at my feet.  “Hell of a thing to dump on anyone.”  I wish I knew what he was thinking.

“So, I take it you’re bisexual?” he asks in a casual tone.

I glance up and he’s got his inscrutable face on again.

“Technically, yes, but I haven’t been with a man since I met Sara.”  The words come easily which surprises the hell out of me.  I think Daniel’s surprised, too, but in a pleased sort of way.

“Jack, do you remember that time, a number of months ago, when you found me staring at the Stargate?”

I’d never forget it.  I came so close to telling him how I felt.

“I remember,” I reply.  “You were thinking about all those other realities.”

“And all those other Jacks and Daniels, or lack thereof,” he adds with a smile.

“Because you weren’t there to watch my back,” I smile back.

He nods at the memory and then his brow furrows.

“Were you coming on to me then?”

I laugh and it’s the right thing to do because he’s smiling right along with me.

“No, Daniel, it was just the truth.  Although, I did almost tell you then.”

“I wish you had,” he says.

I feel my chest constrict with emotion.  I shake my head in a helpless gesture.

“We hadn’t talked like that for a long time.  I thought we were finally getting back on track, but now I know you didn’t know how to act around me,” he muses sadly.

“I’m sorry,” I say helplessly.

“I’ve missed you, Jack.”

“I’ve missed you, too,” I say, swallowing the lump in my throat.

He picks up his mug and gently swirls its contents. 

“When I was thinking about those other realities, I wondered if there was one out there where you and I were more than just friends,” he says softly.

He glances up at me, trying to gauge my reaction.  I must be gaping again because he smiles and looks back down at his coffee.

“You mean like the other me and Dr. Carter?” I ask, my heart beating faster.

“Something like that, except one where we both live,” he adds with a smile.

“And we’re happy?”

“Very happy.”

“Sweet,” I say, swallowing my coffee with difficulty.

“I’m not bisexual, Jack,” Daniel says quietly.

And that’s the clincher.  Pass Go and do not collect two hundred dollars, or whatever the hell—

“At least not technically,” he says before I can finish my thought.

Okay.  Tread softly.  I don’t know if he’s throwing me a bone or not, but this old dog is not going to screw this up.  I clear my throat.

“The first time I ever did anything with a guy, I was drunk and it was on a dare.  It was a hand job.  It was clumsy and over pretty damn quick, but I liked it,” I shrug.  “It wasn’t difficult to find willing partners.  Eventually, I got a lot more daring and it was exciting for awhile, but, well …”

“It was empty,” Daniel surmises accurately.

“Yeah,” I agree.  “It was just something to do to stop the loneliness for a little while.  It was a physical release, like going to the gym.  I was just going through the motions, so to speak.”

“And then you met Sara.”

“And she turned my life upside down,” I admit.  “I fell head over heels in love.  Then Charlie came along and things got even better.”

I drink the rest of my coffee.  “Anyway, you know the rest,” I murmur.  I don’t want to talk about Charlie’s death or what I did to Sara and myself. 

“After Sha’re died, something died inside of me,” Daniel says quietly.  “I never thought I’d smile or laugh again, never mind be happy again.  I certainly didn’t expect to ever love again.  You remember Kira?”  He looks at me and smiles.  “Of course you do.  She didn’t know me or anything at all about me, but … she liked me.”

Liked?  She wanted to make babies with him, for crying out loud.  I don’t say anything though, but I do smile indulgently.

“I guess what I’m trying to say is she made me realize that I still had something to offer.  I could touch someone, make a difference in their life, and maybe even love again.”

Hell, Danny, I could’ve told you that.  Damn it, I should’ve told him that.

“I know you didn’t like her, and maybe I resented you a little,” he says, “but intuitively I knew you were worried about me.”

He looks at me a little embarrassed and I feel my heart swell.  I can’t believe how much I love this man.

“But you still thought I was an asshole,” I tease, trying to lighten the mood.

“Pretty much,” he replies with that shy smile that makes me go all soft inside.

“I was probably a little jealous, too,” I confess.

He looks at me assessingly, and I mentally kick myself.  He’s said he’s not bisexual.  Okay, so he said ‘technically’ he wasn’t, but that doesn’t mean he’s—

“I have thought about you and me together … in this reality,” he says hesitantly.

Holy crap!  I know I’m doing my village idiot impersonation again.  I clear my throat.

“You mean together as in, um …”

“Naked, sweaty and doing it?” he suggests.

“Um, well, kind of,” I stammer.

“That surprises you?” he asks seriously.

“Hell, yes, it surprises me,” I almost yelp in response.  Damn, is it hot in here?

“Why?  Because I was married or because I seem to have a thing for alien women?”

“No,” I retort.  “Well, there is that, but mostly because you …” The words stick in my throat, but I have to say them.  “Because you deserve a hell of a lot better,” I finish quietly.

He’s studying me again and I wonder how he got to have this power over me.  I feel … unworthy.  He stands up and walks over to the mantle.  There’s a picture of Sha’re there; a duplicate of the one in his office.  He picks it up, caresses the picture, and then gently puts it back.  I feel my eyes sting and I blink away the tears.  He wraps his arms around himself and turns to me.

“Jack, why did you hug me in the storeroom?”

I don’t have to ask what he’s talking about; it’s something I’ll never forget.

“Because you were hurting,” I reply without hesitation, “and more than anything, I wanted to take that hurt away.”

“And the Space Monkey hug?” he asks with a raised eyebrow.

“I was so damned glad to see you alive.”

He nods and worries at his bottom lip.  I feel my heart racing.

“Those two hugs have gotten me through a lot of bad times,” he says softly.  “When things get really bad, I take refuge in those memories.  They make me feel safe and wanted.”  He looks back at his wife’s photo and says sadly,   “I’ll never really feel her arms around me again.”

But I’m still here.  What are you waiting for, O’Neill, a written invitation?

“I sound pretty needy, don’t I?” he shrugs, looking back at me.

“No,” I whisper.  I don’t remember moving, but the next thing I know I’ve got my arms around him and I’m holding him tight.  There’s nothing sexual about it.  I just want him to know he is loved and he is wanted.  I feel his arms go around me and we just hang on to each other.

“I guess I have three hugs now,” he murmurs into my neck and damned if I don’t start to cry.  It’s not much, but I can’t disguise it.

“Jack?”

“I’m okay,” I mumble.

He pulls back, his hands resting on my shoulders, and peers into my face.

“Big, macho colonel, huh?” I joke, sniffing loudly.

He smiles and gently brushes his fingers down my cheek.  I close my eyes as he does this, and I can’t express the joy I feel.  The love.

“What are we going to do, Jack?”

I open my eyes and look into his. 

“I don’t want to lose you, Daniel.  I want you on SG-1, and I want you as my friend.”

“Not as your lover?” he asks.

I smile and shake my head.

“I’m too old to believe in miracles.  I just want to earn your respect again,” I say.

“You have,” he smiles, “assuming you ever lost it.”

“You’re letting me off way too easy,” I say.

“I guess I have a soft spot for you,” he replies.

I wrap my arms around him again and hold him to me.

“I’m sorry for being such an ass.  If it’s any consolation, Carter and Teal’c think I’m the biggest jerk going,” I murmur into his neck.

His arms tighten in response, but I feel a little chuckle and I smile.

“Do you want to kiss me?” he asks quietly.

I loosen my embrace and pull back to study his face.  I leave my hands on his shoulders.  The combination of seriousness, uncertainty, and shyness on his face fills me with a warm glow.

“Do you want me to?” I whisper.

He blinks rapidly and swallows.  I know he’s nervous as hell, but he’s not alone.  Not by a long shot.

“I-I don’t know if I’ll be any good,” he answers hesitantly.

Oh, Danny, you can’t be anything but good.

“Daniel, I would very much like to kiss you, but only if you want me to,” I say sincerely.

His eyes are shining and if I wasn’t in love with him before, I’m hopelessly in love with him now.

“I want you to,” he whispers.

I don’t need to be told twice.  I lick my lips and lean in.  He closes his eyes and I close mine.  I kiss him gently, just a light pressure on the lips, and pull back.  He opens his eyes.

“Is that it?”

I laugh and ask, “Do I get another shot?”

In reply, he closes his eyes and lifts his head slightly.  I go for broke.  I cup one hand around the back of his head and wrap my other around his waist.  I pull him in close and press my lips firmly on his.  I ease back and then move in again.  His arms go around me hesitantly, but the response encourages me.  I open my mouth and probe his with my tongue.  His mouth opens willingly and I think I moaned like a starving man who’s suddenly presented with more food than he could ever eat.  I can’t believe I’m really kissing Daniel, and wonder of wonders, he’s kissing me back.  His tongue is tentative at first, but soon he’s plundering my mouth with just as much enthusiasm as me.  I feel my cock harden and I back away slightly.  I don’t’ want to freak him out.  Daniel’s having none of that though and he pulls me back.  Oh, God, he’s hard.  I pull back slightly.

“Daniel,” I murmur.

“It’s not my sidearm, I swear,” he whispers breathlessly in my ear.

I chuckle and look into his sparkling blue eyes.  God, he looks so happy.  Stunned and happy, and I put that look in his eyes. 

“Always believe in miracles,” he whispers.

I claim his mouth again.  I feel my brain turn to mush as our mouths and groins move in unison, but all good things must come to an end, and I don’t want things to go too far; it’s too soon.  We step back, both breathing heavily.  Daniel’s looking flushed and besotted.

“That was … wow,” he pants.

That’s my linguist.  I smile and lower my arms.

“Yes, it was,” I agree.

“So, I was okay?” he asks with a worried frown.

“Jesus, Daniel, you left your tongue print on my tonsils,” I laugh.  “You were … amazing.”

He‘s pleased, but he still looks uncertain.

“I, um, didn’t think I’d react that fast,” he says, subtly adjusting his briefs.

“There no right or wrong way in this, Daniel,” I assure him.  I sense the awkwardness about to begin.  Daniel not only just kissed his first, and if there is a God, only man, but he also just kissed his CO.

“I should probably go,” I say.  “It’s getting late.”

I won’t flatter myself and say he looks disappointed.  In fact, he looks relieved.

“Yeah, I, uh, need to get an early start tomorrow, what with the packing and all,” he says.

“What?” I cry in dismay.

“What?”

“You’re still leaving after what we just … did?” I ask incredulously.

He looks confused as hell which isn’t helping matters.

“Why would you care?” he asks.

“Why would I care?  Damn it, Daniel, weren’t you listening to anything I said?  I mean, why did you kiss me like that if you still plan on leaving SG-1?”

“What?”

“What?”  Okay, now I’m really confused.

“Who said I was leaving SG-1?”

“Hammond did,” I say.  Now, try calling the general a liar.

He’s shaking his head and looking at me like I just fell of the turnip truck.

“What exactly did he say?” Daniel asks, his brow furrowed in that cute little way he has.

“He said you requested a transfer and a leave of absence,” I add, daring him to deny it.

“Well, yes, I did,” he conceded, “but I think he left out the pertinent details.”

Oh, great.  He’s got that little, ‘I know something you don’t know’ quirk to his lips.

“What pertinent details?” I ask, narrowing my eyes.

“Well, you know that empty office down the hall from me?  The large, empty office?”

“Yes,” I reply, starting to feel like an idiot.

“I requested a transfer from my current office to that one,” he explains, trying very hard not to grin, bless his heart.

“I see,” I reply coolly.  Damn you, George.  You used me.

“What about the leave of absence?” I inquire, my eyebrows raised.  That strikes a nerve.

He looks at me sadly.

“Ah, well, that was to get away from you,” he admits.  “I thought that if I was gone for awhile you might, uh, miss me.”

Aw, hell, Daniel.  I step forwards and hug him like there’s no tomorrow.

“Um, I can cancel the leave of absence if you like,” he croaks, as I squeeze the breath out of him.

“I would like that very much,” I whisper.

We separate and both of us have moist eyes.

“Would you like a hand with the packing?” I offer.

I see a flicker of horror in his eyes which makes me laugh.

“I promise I’ll only touch the books and the files.”

“Oh, okay,” he nods in relief.  “I think that will work.”

“But first, I have to see Hammond and give him a wet sloppy kiss on his loveable bald head,” I grin.

“And I have to cancel my leave of absence,” Daniel says.

“Now that we’ve cleared that up, I really should go,” I say.

“Thanks for coming over, Jack.”

I almost reply, ‘thanks for having me’, but it’s too flippant, and Daniel is sincere.

“I’m sorry it took me so long, Daniel.  There’s no excuse,” I apologize, shaking my head.

“I’m just glad you got there in the end even if you did need a push from the general.”

“So am I,” I assure him with a smile.

I pick up my jacket and shrug into it.  I glance at him sideways.

“So, this new office.  How big is it?”

“Big enough for a couch,” Daniel says with a small smile.

I stare at him, not sure if he’s implying something or not.  His reddening cheeks confirm my hopes.

“Sweet.”

“Goodnight, Jack,” he grins as he escorts me to the door.

I give him a short, but intense kiss which he readily reciprocates.

“Goodnight, Daniel,”

I hate to leave, but I know it’s the right thing to do.  Daniel’s world, and mine, has just been turned upside down, and as eager as I am to explore this new side of our relationship, I’m not going to push.

“Hey, Jack.”

I turn and Daniel’s standing in the doorway, a mischievous smile on his face.

“Yeah?”

“The couch could even be a sofa bed.”  At a loss for words I just stare as he smiles sweetly and closes the door.

I grin and shake my head.  I won’t push, but if push comes to shove, I can’t be held responsible for my actions. 

I feel like I’m walking on air as I head down the stairs.  My mind is reeling at the recent turn of events, and I know I should be scared to death.  I probably will be once the shock wears off, but right now I feel good … damn good.  Daniel loves me.  No, Daniel loves me and is in love with me.  An annoying part of my mind is saying, Are you sure?  Maybe he’s just experimenting, but I don’t give it much credence.  Daniel does not use people, plain and simple.  If he offers his love, it’s a given that it’s genuine and it’s forever.  Forever.  My knees suddenly start to shake and I sit down before I fall down.  The enormity of what Daniel and I are about to undertake has just hit me.  It’s not just our lives that will change.  Teal’c and Carter are a part of our family, too; a very important part.  Not to mention, Hammond, Fraiser, Cassie, and the whole damn SGC.  This is big.  Crap.  So much for my feeling of euphoria.  I close my eyes and take a deep breath and an image of Daniel pops instantly into my head.  This is followed immediately by images of both of us; some x-rated, but most of them just images of us hanging out and living together.  My eyes fill with tears; there is nothing, or no one, I want more in the universe then Daniel.  Whatever it takes, I will make this work.

“I promise you, Daniel, there will be no regrets,” I whisper.

I know I said I’d leave him alone until tomorrow, but now I’m not so sure.  What is he thinking?  What is he thinking I’m thinking?  Crap, I knew this would happen.  I scramble to my feet and run back up the stairs.

                                                ***********

“Jack?”

He’s surprised to see me and maybe a little wary.  Who can blame him?

“Hey, Daniel.  There’s something I need to say.”

I see it immediately in his eyes, and in his face: he thinks I’m here to tell him it’s all a big mistake.

“I love you,” I blurt out.  “I … I just wanted you to know that.”

He looks stunned, but the look of apprehension is replaced with relief which makes me feel on top of the world.

“I thought that maybe, you know …” His voice trails off.

“No.  No way, Daniel,” I smile as I shake my head.  “I love you, and I’m in love with you.”

Never in a million years did I think I could say those words so casually and yet mean them with all my heart and soul.

“I love you, too, Jack,” he says quietly.

He steps towards me and then hesitates.  He glances down the hallway.

I reach forward and crush him to me.  I don’t care if every damn tenant on his floor sees us; I will never be ashamed of our love.

“I’m sorry I wasted so much time,” I apologize again.

“You’re worth the wait,” he replies as his arms wrap around me.

I squeeze him tighter.  I do not deserve him.  I release my hold just enough to find his mouth, and I kiss him tenderly but thoroughly.

“I really will go now,” I say and kiss him on the nose.

:Um, come back any time,” Daniel replies, looking adorably besotted.

“I will,” I promise, and I lean in for one more kiss.  Tomorrow is a long time to wait.

 

The end

 

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Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Stargate (II) Productions, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. This story is for entertainment purposes only and no money exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. This is a parody for entertainment purposes only. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author. This story may not be posted anywhere without the consent of the author.