Come What May

“I’m beat,” Jack muttered, opening his locker.

“Jack, we didn’t go anywhere today,” Daniel said bemused.

“I know.  I was stuck at my desk all day filling out reports and authorizing this, that and the other.  I’m exhausted.”

“Had to think too much?” Daniel winced with sympathy.

“You got it.”

“Tonight’s your big night out with the guys, isn’t it?” Daniel queried, peeling off his T-shirt.

“That’s another thing.  Who picks a Wednesday night to go out drinking and carousing,” Jack grumbled.  Man, look at those pecs!

“Carousing?” Daniel asked. 

“Just a strip club,” Jack said dismissively.  “No big deal.”

“If you say so,” Daniel said, sitting down to take off his boots.  Strip club?

“I’d invite you, but I don’t think you’d like it,” Jack said.

“What, naked women?” Daniel asked.

“No, the guys.” 

“Naked men?”

“No, the guys I’m going with,” Jack said hastily.  “They’re kind of jerks.”

“So why do you hang out with them?” Daniel queried.

“I’m not hanging.  It’s just they’ve been after me for awhile now, and, well, it seemed the time,” Jack shrugged.

“A Wednesday night,” Daniel said dubiously.

“Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do,” Jack said sagely.

“Ri-ight.  Well, don’t stay out too late.  Your inbox will no doubt be over-flowing tomorrow,” Daniel said.

“Gee, thanks.  What are you up to tonight?” Jack asked, hanging his jacket up.

“Oh, a little of this, a little of that,” Daniel said.  No doubt thinking about you ogling naked women. 

“You’re still working on that translation, aren’t you?” Jack asked with a note of disapproval.

“I find it…stimulating,” Daniel smiled.

You probably do, too,” Jack muttered.  Well, I find you stimulating which is why I’m out of here before those pants come off.  “Have fun,” Jack said, closing his locker.

“You, too,” Daniel replied watching Jack leave.  “A strip club,” he pondered with a frown.  “Damn.”

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

Daniel closed his book with a loud snap. He’d read the same page over and over and still had no idea what it said.   Strip club?  He couldn’t concentrate; he had to know, and he had to know now.  Draining his coffee in one swallow, he pushed up from his desk.

“Come what may,” he muttered.   “After all, what’s the worse that could happen?  On second thought, don’t think about that.”

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

“Hi, Daniel.  What’s up?” Sam asked brightly as Daniel entered her lab.

“Hey, Sam,” he replied, gazing around the room.

“Yoo hoo, I’m over here,” Sam sing-songed, waving her hand.

Daniel flushed slightly and smiled.  “Sorry, I was just looking.”

“For what?”

“Oh … time,” Daniel shrugged, thrusting his hands into his pockets.

“Time?” Sam frowned. 

“To work up the courage,” Daniel replied. 

“Courage?”

“Okay,” Daniel said, exhaling deeply, “there’s no easy way to say this so —”

“Oh, God, you’re leaving us!” Sam cried in horror, standing up, sending her chair spinning behind her.

“What?  No.  No, no, no, I–”

“You’re sick,” she exclaimed.

“No,” Daniel said, shaking his head.  Oh, crap. This seemed like a good idea at the time. “Sam,” he said, lowering his voice, “I have to ask you something and it’s kind of personal.” 

Sam visibly relaxed, relieved that nothing was wrong with her friend.  “Of course, Daniel.”

“It’s very personal,” Daniel amended.

“You can ask me anything, you know that,” she said, touching his arm affectionately.

Daniel smiled.  He did know that and it gave him the courage he needed.  “Okay,” he said, nodding and chewing his bottom lip.  “Sam, are you and Jack involved?”  There, he said it, and his voice didn’t even squeak.  Much.

“Involved?” Sam said warily.

“Yeah, um, involved,” Daniel repeated, feeling the moment slipping from his grasp.  “Here, uh, maybe you should sit down,” he said, retrieving her chair.

Sam sat in the chair, clearly taken aback by the question.

“Wow, um, that is personal,” she stammered.

“I’m sorry, Sam, but I need to know,” Daniel entreated.

“You know the regulations, Daniel, about fraternization, especially with a superior,” Sam explained, “but that’s not answering your question, is it?”

“No,” Daniel said softly.

“Are you concerned about me or the colonel?” Sam asked, stalling to organize her thoughts.

“Me, actually,” Daniel replied quietly.

Sam looked at her friend’s anxious blue eyes.  Although puzzled, she would answer him, just to get that worried look out of his eyes.

“Okay,” she said, sitting up straight, her thoughts now somewhat cohesive.  “I love the colonel dearly, as I love you and Teal’c,” she added quickly.  “The colonel and I, as for being involved, well …” she frowned.  “I think there was something … once.”

“You think?” Daniel pressed, searching for a more conclusive answer.

“It’s hard to explain,” said.  “For awhile there, I thought there was a spark between us.  He seemed to pay a little more attention to me, if you know what I mean, but in truth, it was just harmless flirtation.”

“Harmless flirtation?” Daniel repeated, looking worried.

“Yes, like you and Janet do all the time,” Sam said.

“We do?  I do?” Daniel asked, clearly flummoxed by the assertion.  Me and Janet?  The needle queen?

“It’s human nature, Daniel.  You know that,” Sam smiled.  “It’s healthy as long as no one gets hurt.  Everyone does it at one time or another.  Even you and the colonel.”

“Me and Jack?” Daniel said, his eyes wide.

“You two are the worst,” Sam laughed.  “If you weren’t the same sex everyone would think you’re married, the way you go at each other.”

Daniel stared, open-mouthed, words failing him.

“It’s nothing to be alarmed about, Daniel,” Sam said, concerned with his shocked appearance.  “I mean, it’s not like … oh, my God,” she said, her eyes widening in stunned comprehension.

Daniel closed his eyes, lowered his head and tried to shrink into himself.  This was a bad idea.  This was a bad idea. 

“Daniel?”

Daniel looked up at the touch on his arm and into bright, blue eyes shining with tears.

“You love him,” Sam whispered.  “You’re in love with him,” she clarified.

Daniel swallowed hard and nodded.  “I think so.”

“Oh, Daniel,” she smiled, and jumped out of her chair to hug him tight.

Daniel wrapped his arms around her, grateful for her affection, and needing it now more than ever.

“You’re not upset?” he asked.

“Why should I be?  I may feel sorry for you,” she laughed, “but I’m not upset.”

“So, you’re okay with the whole guy/guy thing?” Daniel asked..

“I know the military can be pig-headed, Daniel, but give me some credit.  It all makes perfect sense,” she murmured, releasing Daniel and stepping back.  “You and the colonel have always had something special.”

“You think?” Daniel asked, needing the confirmation.

“You even talk like him,” she laughed.

Daniel smiled, but it was half-hearted.

“You don’t know how he feels, do you?” Sam asked gently.

“You know Jack,” Daniel shrugged.

Obviously, not as well as I thought, Sam pondered, wincing at memories of her flirtatious behaviour.

“You must have some idea,” she insisted.

“I just…we seem to have a really good time together.  He relaxes and opens up, and I just…” Daniel shrugged.  “I want to be with him.  I want to be there for him.  Sometimes…” Daniel flushed and looked away.

“Sometimes?” Sam prodded.

Daniel looked back sheepishly.  “Sometimes, I’ve noticed him, uh, watching me.”

“He always watches you,” Sam frowned.  “He’s a CO.”

“In the shower?”

“In the…oh…” Sam’s eyes widened and she blushed.

“Too much information?” Daniel suggested.

“Wow, I just had a visual,” Sam murmured, as she tried to banish the image of two extremely attractive teammates naked.

“Sam?”

“I’m okay.  Whew, a little head rush there,” she said fanning herself.

“Do we look good together?” Daniel grinned.

Sam’s face reddened further.  “Isn’t there someone else you should be talking to?” she asked evasively.

“Jack,” Daniel said, breathing out slowly.

“I’m sure he’d like to know, if he doesn’t know already.”

“Has he ever said anything to you?” Daniel asked, delaying the inevitable.

“It’s not really something he’d talk to me about, besides, I didn’t have a clue, “ she smiled, “so, even if he did say something, it’s unlikely I’d pick up on it.”

“No, I guess not,” Daniel muttered.

“Have you talked to Teal’c?  He and the colonel spend a lot of time together,” she suggested.

“Are you trying to make me jealous?” Daniel teased.

Sam laughed and shook her head.   “I do know the colonel cares deeply for you, and he trusts you implicitly, whether you believe it or not.”

“The same can be said for you and Teal’c.”

“Maybe, but there’s always been something different between you two,” Sam said enigmatically.

“Different?”

“Special,” she said smiling.

Daniel blushed and looked away.

“It’s true.  You’re special to all of us, Daniel, but there’s something extraordinary between you and the colonel.  I felt it even on that first trip to Abydos.”

“Really?”

“Really.  Now, stop stalling and go talk to him,” she said, giving him a playful nudge.

“Can’t I hang out here a little longer?”

“No, but I expect a full report later.  I’ll even put on a fresh pot,” Sam grinned.

                                                ********

Jack sat down at his desk with a groan.  His head throbbed and his mouth felt like a litter box. A dirty litter box. 

“That’s it, that’s the last ‘night out with the guys’,” he groaned.   “And if one more person asks me whether I’m boinking Carter, I’ll implode!”  He sat back and sighed.  “I guess it does have its advantages, but hell, Carter?  I’m her boss, for crying out loud.”

Jack simply had no interest in Carter.  Well, maybe a little at one time.  No, he had no interest in his second, but Daniel … that was something altogether different.  He’d been thinking about Daniel Jackson a lot lately.  In fact, he couldn’t stop thinking about him.  They’d been friends for years, but somewhere along the way, Jack’s view of his friend changed.  He didn’t know when really, or even why.  He didn’t know whether it was too many shared tents and late night talks, or too many bedside vigils and the gut-wrenching anxiety of losing his best friend, but something tipped the balance.  Jack smiled.  Early morning erections were nothing new to Jack O’Neill, but that first one that coincided with his dream about him and Daniel engaged in carnal bliss?  Now, that was a real eye-opener.  His initial reaction was shock, followed by embarrassment, curiosity, and then ‘what the hell, who’s it going to hurt?’  His dreams continued and the eroticism intensified.  Awake, he could make himself come with very little effort.  All he had to do was picture Daniel.  Nowhere did disgust or the ick factor come into play and that really got Jack’s grey matter humming.  It was exciting for awhile, having an imaginary lover at his beck and call.  But, ultimately, that’s all it was: imaginary.  Daniel wasn’t interested in him, so why was the thought of sex with Daniel so appealing?  Maybe he was just sexually frustrated?  It had been a long time since he’d had sex with anyone.  Hence a night out with the boys at a strip club.  A night out that did nothing to alleviate his feelings for Daniel.  All those shapely bare butts and breasts did nothing for his libido.  No, he needed Daniel for that.

Jack groaned and popped another aspirin.

Goddamnit, I have to stop thinking like this.  What the hell would Daniel think? What would Daniel think? Jack thought, pondering his own question.  Freaked out?  Amused?  Concerned?  All of the above?

“Hi, Jack.”

Hi, Jack?

“Jack?  Jack!”

“Ow, not so loud,” Jack hissed, motioning Daniel into his office and trying to get his brain back into gear.

“Sorry,” Daniel whispered.  “Night out with the guys went well?”

“Peachy.  You should’ve come so you could’ve dragged me away at a decent hour.”

“You didn’t invite me,” Daniel said.

“I didn’t?” Jack frowned

 “No.”

“Oh.”   Of course you didn’t, you idiot.  You were trying to forget Daniel and get turned on by women, remember? “Well, you’re lucky,” Jack said, reaching for his bottle of aspirin then remembering he’d just taken some.  “So, what’s up?” he asked, willing his headache to stop thundering in his skull and naked images of Daniel to vanish from his mind.

“This might not be the best time,” Daniel said.  “You look a little … ragged.”

Jack looked up at his friend and saw a myriad of emotions in the beloved face.  He looked worried, nervous, concerned, and damn kissable.  Crap, I’ve got it bad. 

“I’m fine, Daniel.  Sit,” he said, motioning to the chair.  As wretched as he felt, Daniel was like a breath of fresh air, and if he could help his friend with something, so much the better.

“Okay,” Daniel said, sitting down hesitantly.

“Everything okay?”  Jack asked, concerned with Daniel’s demeanour.

“There’s something I need to know.  It’s… it’s personal,” Daniel said apologetically.

Personal?  Crap, I hate…My God, could he mean…only in your dreams, O’Neill.

“Great.  I love personal stuff,” Jack smiled, hoping to put Daniel at ease, as well as himself.  “Let’s hear it.”

“Okay.  Well, I was just talking to Sam and…”

Oh, God.  Not you, too?

“And this really isn’t  a good time,” Daniel finished as Jack’s look darkened, “but then I don’t know what would be a good time, and if I don’t say anything now, I never will, so I’m just going to say it, or ask it,” he frowned.

“Daniel,” Jack said wearily, his headache pounding fiercely.

“Um, okay,” Daniel said, taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly.  “Are you … I mean, well, have you ever … do you—”

“Never in a million years,” Jack grumbled.

“Wh-what?”

“Not even if we were the last two people on the damn planet,” Jack said, looking Daniel squarely in the eyes. “And frankly, I thought you knew me better than that.  I’ll say this once, and I don’t want to have to say it again:  There has never been anything between us and there will never be anything between us.  Zip.  Nada.  Bupkus.  Is that clear?  Ouch!” Jack grimaced as the klaxons sounded heralding Walter Harriman’s announcement: “Unauthorized off-world activation!  Repeat, unauthorized off-world activation!”

“Can this day get any worse?” Jack muttered, pushing back from his desk.

“No, I don’t think it can,” Daniel whispered, his life shattering before him.

Jack looked at Daniel strangely, then shook his head.  Daniel was one person he could never figure out and now was not the time.

“Let’s go,” he said, clapping Daniel on the back.

Daniel flinched at the touch, hurt that Jack could just carry on as if nothing happened, but he turned and followed Jack like he’d done hundreds of times before. 

                                                ***********

Sam and Teal’c were already crowded around Walter’s monitor when Jack and Daniel entered.

“What have we got, sir?” Jack inquired.

“It’s the Tok’ra,” General Hammond replied.

“Maybe it’s my father,” Sam said, looking up to acknowledge the two men.  “He usually …” her voice broke off as he saw Daniel’s face.

“He usually what?” Jack asked impatiently.

Daniel shook his head quickly, his eyes imploring Sam to act normal.

“He, um, usually likes to surprise me,” she finished, tearing her eyes away from Daniel.

“Open the iris,” Hammond ordered.

Daniel tried to focus on the Stargate, but he could feel dark eyes on him.  He turned to the side to see Teal’c watching him, his eyes full of concern.  He flashed a half-hearted smile then looked back to see Jacob Carter step out of the event horizon and onto the ramp.

                                                **********

“I’ll go,” Daniel said, looking at General Hammond.

“We’ll go,” Jack corrected.

Daniel looked at Jack in confusion.  After the debacle in Jack’s office he thought he’d be only too glad to get rid of him for awhile.

Jack frowned at Daniel’s puzzled expression, but before he could say anything, Jacob spoke.

“Jack, I’ve already explained the Gadis Stargate isn’t working, and I have room for only one passenger, and no offence, but I’d rather have Daniel.”

Jack scowled and turned to Hammond.

“General, I don’t want Daniel going anywhere without backup.”

“I concur, General Hammond,” Teal’c said.

“I’m afraid I agree with the colonel, Dad,” Sam apologized.  “I think Teal’c or I should go as well.”

“What?” Jack exclaimed.  “What am I?  Chopped liver?”

“I appreciate everyone’s concern for my welfare, but Jacob and Selmak are all the back up I’ll need,” Daniel insisted, directing his words to Hammond and studiously avoiding Jack’s dark eyes.  He did appreciate Jack’s concern, even though his present behaviour confused the hell out of him.  He needed to distance himself from Jack, and the sooner, the better.  He knew it wasn’t Jack’s fault he wasn’t interested in him.  Hell, he knew it was a long shot Jack would even be interested in another male, but he hadn’t foreseen being shut down so quickly or so vehemently. 

“Your concerns are duly noted,” Hammond said.  “Jacob, what are the risks with Dr. Jackson going to meet these folks?”

“Nothing beyond the ordinary risks of space travel,” Jacob explained.  “The Tok’ra have an excellent rapport with the Gadis—”

“What have they been smoking?” Jack muttered.

“Colonel,” Hammond warned.

“Come on, sir.  We don’t know anything about them,” Jack said.  “You can’t foresee everything,” he said.

“No, you can’t,” Daniel agreed quietly, “but that doesn’t mean you wrap yourself up in a cocoon, either.  Some things are worth the risk, even if they end in total disaster,” he concluded, looking at Jack sadly.

Jack’s brow creased further as he looked at Daniel.  I must be missing something.  Is he talking about me and Carter?  He glanced at his second and inwardly flinched at the hostility in her eyes.  What the hell?  Does she know what I said to him?  How could she?  If it’s that damn women’s intuition thing, I’m a dead man.

“This mission won’t end in disaster, Daniel, I assure you,” Jacob said.  “The Gadis are just as enthusiastic about the discovery of Ancient manuscripts and architecture as we are, and they’re even more excited to have the opportunity to meet you.”

“And this is supposed to make us trust them?” Jack huffed.

“No, but you’re supposed to trust me,” Jacob replied.

“And me,” Daniel added.

Jack stared at both of them and shook his head.  “Am I the only one who thinks this is a bad idea?”

“I am not comfortable with Daniel Jackson going on this mission alone,” Teal’c intoned.

“Thank you!  Finally, a voice of reason,” Jack exclaimed.

“However, I do trust Jacob Carter not to expose Daniel Jackson to danger,” Teal’c added.

“Thank you, Teal’c,” Jacob acknowledged.

“I agree with Teal’c, sir,” Sam said, earning a traitorous glare from her CO.  “I over-reacted.  This is a wonderful opportunity for Daniel, and he’s earned it.”

“General—”

 “I understand your concern, Colonel O’Neill,” Hammond interrupted, “but I will authorize this mission.  Now, Jacob, how do we proceed?”

Jack slumped in his chair.  What the hell is going on with everyone?

 

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

Daniel returned to his office immediately after the briefing.  He had a lot of packing to do.  More importantly, he wanted to be alone, something he didn’t hold out much hope for.  Minutes later, there was a gentle knock on the door and Sam poked her head in.

“Hi, can I come in?”

Daniel smiled to himself as he looked up.  “Sure, Sam.  Just close the door, okay?”

Sam nodded and closed the door behind her.

“I guess you’re wondering what Jack said?” Daniel guessed.

“I take it things didn’t go too well,” Sam said awkwardly.

“He was blunt, I’ll give him that,” Daniel said, “so I guess that’s good,” he shrugged, flashing a quick smile that made Sam want to cry.

“How blunt?” she asked, biting her lip.

“Oh, things like, ‘Never in a millions years’ and ‘not even if we were the last two people on the damn planet’.  You know, blunt.”

“He actually said that?” Sam asked in alarm.

“Oh yes, and just to drive the point home, he said, and I quote, ‘There has never been and there will never be anything between us.  Zip.  Nada.  Bupkus.’”

“Daniel, I don’t know what to say,” Sam said helplessly.

“It’s okay, Sam.  It was stupid of me to even think … God, I don’t know what I was thinking,” Daniel lamented, shaking his head.

“It wasn’t stupid, Daniel, and the colonel had no right saying those things,” she said angrily.

“You’re wrong, Sam.  He had every right.  I just didn’t think … I just didn’t think he’d react so badly,” Daniel said, his voice hitching.

“Daniel—”

“Sam, thank you for coming, but I’d like to be alone right now.  Please?”

Sam nodded, her eyes shimmering with tears for her friend’s pain.  “Okay.”  She desperately wanted to hug Daniel, but she knew she wouldn’t be able to hold back her tears.  “I’ll see you later.”

“Sure,” Daniel said, and quickly returned to the task at hand.  Please, Sam, go.  He didn’t look up until the door closed and then the tears came.

“Damn,” he muttered, swiping at his eyes, “and damn you, Jack.”

                                                *********

Jack winced at the loud knock on his door.  “Come in,” he sighed. 

“Sir, how could you?” Sam exclaimed, closing the door none too gently.

“How could I what, Carter?” Jack asked, looking up tiredly.

“Say those things to Daniel.  He—”

“He told you?  Damn it, he had no business saying anything to you.” 

“No business?” Sam said in shock.  “Daniel’s my friend.”

“What’s that got to do with it?”

“How can you be so insensitive?” Sam asked in shock.

“Look, Carter, it was nothing personal,” Jack said, waving his hand listlessly.

“Nothing personal?  He tells you he loves you and—”

“What?” Jack interjected, sitting up straight.

“He tells you he …” Sam faltered at the look on Jack’s face.  Oh, God, he doesn’t know.  “He. … he, um, what did he say to you, sir?” she asked, clearing her throat.

“Daniel loves me?” Jack whispered.  Oh, crap.  What the hell have I done?

“Permission to sit, sir,” Sam squeaked.

Jack waved to the chair, his mind running a mile a minute.  Shit.  What did I say?  Think, think.  Not if we were the last two people … oh, double shit.

Sam sat down heavily.  “Oh, God.  Daniel’s going to kill me.”

“You think you’ve got problems,” Jack mumbled.

Silence stretched out between them as they grappled with their private dilemmas.  Sam frowned and looked up.

“Colonel, if you didn’t think Daniel was talking about himself and you, who did you think he was talking about?”

“What?” Jack said distracted.  “Oh, ah, well, that’s the funny part,” he said, scratching the back of his neck, willing the klaxons to sound, or the damn phone to ring.

“Yes?”

“You’re gonna love this, Carter,” Jack laughed half-heartedly.  “I thought he was talking about you and me.  Isn’t that a kicker?”

Sam stared, “I’m not laughing, sir.  ‘Not if we were the last two people on the damn planet?’  Assuming, of course, I wanted anything to do with you.”

Ouch. 

“You don’t understand, Carter.  What—”

“’Zip.  Nada.  Bupkus.’  Oh, I’d say that’s pretty understandable, sir,” she said.

“Oy,” Jack muttered, pounding his head on his desk.

“Feel better, sir.  Perhaps I could help?”

“Ah, no, thank you,” Jack said, sitting up and eyeing his second warily.  A sharp knock on the door diverted his attention.  Now, I get an interruption.

“Come in!”

Initially, Jack was surprised to see Teal’c, but then he decided he had no clue what was going on under his nose and Teal’c was probably here to pound some sense into him.

“O’Neill,” Teal’c, said sombrely.  “Major Carter,” he said with a gentle nod.

Oh, yeah, he’s pissed.

“T, pull up a chair.”

“I will stand, O’Neill.”

Yeah, more imposing that way, big guy.  “What’s on your mind?”  Besides tearing me limb from limb.

“Daniel Jackson is preparing to embark on a mission with Major Carter’s father.  I do not believe his emotional state is conducive to this mission.”

“Carter, something wrong with your Dad?” Jack asked.

“I am speaking of Daniel Jackson, as you well know, O’Neill,” Teal’c said coolly.

“Worth a try,” Jack muttered.  “Look, Daniel and I had a misunderstanding.  I’ll—”

“A misunderstanding!” Sam cried.  “Sir, you ripped his–”

“Carter!” Jack snapped.

Sam stiffened, but held her tongue.  She’d gotten away with far more than she should have as it was.

 “Everybody just calm down,” Jack said, his voice softening.  “I’ll talk to Daniel and clear this mess up.  Teal’c, come with me,” he said, standing up.  “I need you to stand guard while I talk to Daniel.  I don’t want any interruptions.”

                                                *******

Jack hurried down the hall.  He was a man on a mission, but he didn’t have a clue what he was going to say to Daniel.  He couldn’t wrap his mind around the possibility that Daniel loved him.  Carter said he did, but Jack wasn’t ready to believe it.  It was just too good to be true.  He also couldn’t stop thinking of the flippant remarks he had thrown at Daniel and the horribly misconstrued meaning of those ill-chosen words.  Damn, damn,damn.

He suddenly stopped, his head too full of emotions to see straight.

“O’Neill.”

There was concern in Teal’c’s deep timbre and Jack felt a rush of gratitude.

“I hurt him, Teal’c.  God, it was the last thing I ever wanted to do,” he sighed.

“Daniel Jackson is leaving in two days.  You will fix this, O’Neill.”  It wasn’t a threat, merely a statement of fact.

Jack looked at Teal’c and nodded.  “I know, and I will.  I just don’t know how.”

“Do you love Daniel Jackson?”

“Yes,” Jack replied without hesitation.  The admission surprised him, and he looked guardedly at Teal’c. 

“Then all will be well, O’Neill,” Teal’c proclaimed.

Jack stared into his friend’s dark eyes.  Could it be fixed so easily?  Could Daniel forgive him?  Of course, he could.  He was Daniel.  Jack nodded and resumed his quest.

                                                ********

Daniel was making good progress in his packing in spite of Jack intruding into his thoughts every few seconds.  He doesn’t hate me.  He’s still my friend…I think.  It’s not like he humiliated me in front of everyone.  He seems to still care.  He didn’t want me to go without backup, or maybe he just doesn’t trust me? No, I know he trusts me.   Why did he have to be so damn cynical?  If he’s straight, he’s straight.  I can accept that, but to throw it back in my face like that.  God, how could I misread him so badly?

“Shit,” Daniel swore, swiping at his eyes.

                                                *********

Jack paused outside Daniel’s door and bowed his head.  He could do this.  He had to do this.  He looked over at Teal’c, stationed menacingly to the side.

“If it gets violent in there…”

“I will ignore it, O’Neill unless Daniel Jackson requires my assistance.”

“Right,” Jack nodded.  “Good.  Well, here goes.”

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

Daniel stiffened at the firm knock on the door.  That sounds like Jack, but surely he wouldn’t—

“Hey,” Jack said, opening the door and glancing in.  “Can I … can I come in?”

Daniel nodded, distracted by the uncharacteristic hesitation in Jack’s voice.

Jack nodded his thanks and closed the door.  His eyes roamed the room, acutely avoiding the blue gaze directed his way.  He scrubbed the back of his head then finally looked at Daniel.

“Ask me again,” he said.

“Excuse me?” Daniel replied with a frown.

“Ask me what you … you know, um, tried to ask me, uh, before,” Jack said awkwardly.

“Go to hell,” Daniel said, turning away, hurt and angry that Jack would even suggest it.

“Daniel, please,” Jack pleaded.

Daniel looked back, confused by Jack’s tone.

“Please,” Jack repeated softly.  “I didn’t understand.  I thought … I thought you were asking about something else.”

“Something else?”

“Yeah, me and Carter.”

Daniel’s eyes widened.  “You and Sam?”

“You have to understand, Daniel,” Jack entreated.  “All last night, that’s all I heard from the guys.  ‘You and Carter doing it yet?’  ‘What are you waiting for?’  ‘Screw regulations.  Everyone does it.’” Jack scowled.  “I come in today, my head’s killing me and then you came in and said you’d talked to Carter and, well, I totally screwed up as usual.”  Jack sighed and held out his hands in a helpless gesture.  “Please, Daniel, ask me what you were going to ask me, and I pray to God you still can.”

Daniel slowly put the book down he was holding, his mind whirling.  He has to know.  He wouldn’t ask if he didn’t know.  His heartbeat raced and he allowed himself to feel hope.  He licked his lips and looked at Jack, finding comfort and encouragement in the dark eyes.

“To be honest, I really don’t know what I was going to say or ask,” Daniel said softly, smiling slightly, “so I’ll ask you this:  do you think you could ever love me?”

“Yes.” Jack replied softly.

“Yes?” Daniel said, looking stunned.  “Does … does that mean…that you do?”

Jack’s eyes blurred with tears and he crossed the room in two strides, blindly reaching for Daniel.

“Yes.  God, yes,” he murmured, hugging Daniel to his chest.

Daniel’s arms tightened around Jack and he squeezed back his own tears.

“I’m so sorry,” Jack whispered.

“That you love me?” Daniel asked, smiling through his tears.

Jack chuckled and pulled back, his hands resting on Daniel’s shoulders.

“No,” he said gently, drinking in the sight of his friend.  “Maybe sorry for you,” he amended, smiling, “but I could never be sorry for loving you.  I will never be sorry for loving you,” he corrected.

Daniel’s eyes burned at Jack’s confirmation of love.  There were so many questions he wanted to ask.  If Jack loved him, how long had he loved him?  When was he going to say something?  Was he ever going to say something?

“I am sorry for the misunderstanding,” Jack said, reaching up and tenderly caressing the side of Daniel’s face, “and I’m sorry for not having the guts to say anything when I started having … feelings.”

Daniel reached up, clasped Jack’s fingers, and kissed them lightly.

Jack shivered at the touch and closed his eyes.  The emotions flooding through him made him dizzy.  This can’t be real.  This must be a dream.

“Jack.”

Jack couldn’t ignore the quiet summons and he opened his eyes.  Daniel was looking at him with such love and desire, his breath caught in his throat.  He felt Daniel’s hand wrap warmly around his neck and gently urge him forward.

“Dan—”

Incredibly soft lips hushed his words.  Jack moaned, opening his mouth willingly to Daniel’s questing tongue.  His own tongue jumped to life and plunged into the welcoming warmth and moistness Daniel offered.  The kiss did not last long, but neither man would forget it.

Jack pulled back slowly and stared into Daniel’s face.  He shook his head in stunned disbelief before crushing Daniel once again to his chest.

Daniel felt the first tell-tale tremor and squeezed Jack harder, eliciting a choke-filled sob from his friend.

“Crap,” Jack muttered as he buried his face in Daniel’s neck, hot tears rolling down his cheeks.

Daniel caressed Jack’s back as his own eyes shimmered with tears.

“I’ll get better, I promise,” Daniel murmured.

Jack’s tears abruptly stopped and he looked up into twinkling blue eyes.  He chuckled and rested his forehead on Daniel’s.  “God, Danny, I feel … I feel … hell, I don’t know what I feel.”

“In love?” Daniel suggested.

Jack straightened and looked into the most intelligent, compassionate and beautiful face he could imagine.

“I feel like a whole new world just opened up,” he said then smiled.  “Yeah, in love.”

Daniel returned the smile and punctuated it with a kiss, which Jack wholeheartedly returned.  The kiss deepened, and as their hands roamed, both men became acutely aware of each other’s burgeoning interest in this new experience.  Jack pulled back, breathless.

“This is….”

Daniel laughed gently and squirmed in his clothes.  “Yes, it is,” he added.

“We should …”

“Yeah,” Daniel agreed. 

“So, I guess you’re still going with Jacob, huh?” Jack said, straightening his jacket and adjusting himself.

“It would be kind of hard to back out now,” Daniel replied, glancing at his aborted packing  “It’s funny, a little while ago I was going to get away from you, but now I’ll be going to learn more about the Ancients.”

“Yippee,” Jack said unenthusiastically.

“The really odd thing is, I haven’t even left yet, but I can’t wait to get back and learn more about you,” Daniel said, wrapping his arms around Jack.

“Speaking of ancient,” Jack muttered.

“No, just pleasantly seasoned,” Daniel smiled, “and I’ll only be away for a couple of days.  You won’t forget me, will you?”

“Like that would ever happen,” Jack murmured before claiming Daniel’s mouth.

After a few pleasurable moments, Daniel pulled back and frowned.

“Something’s not right.”

“What do you mean?” Jack asked, afraid his dreams were going to come crashing down on him.

“Things don’t work out like this for us,” Daniel said.  “The phone hasn’t rung, no one’s knocked.  It’s not right.”

“Ah,” Jack said knowingly.  “Well, for one thing, your phone is disconnected.”

“It is?” Daniel said, glancing over at his phone.

“Pulled the plug myself,” Jack grinned.

“When did you do that?  I didn’t see you do that,” Daniel frowned.

“Special Ops,” Jack shrugged.

“Right,” Daniel said dubiously.  He glanced towards the door and smiled.  “Teal’c?”

“Who else?”  Jack smiled.  “Did you say anything to him about us?”

“No,” Daniel said, shaking his head, “but he knows, doesn’t he?”

“Oh, yeah,” Jack said.  “And Carter tore a strip off me,” he muttered.  “I tried to tell her it was just a huge misunderstanding, but—”

“Oh, God,” Daniel exclaimed, looking horrified.

“What?”

“If Sam talked to you, then she … she …”

“Knows I wouldn’t sleep with her if she was the last person on the damn planet?” Jack said with an arched eyebrow.

“Uh, yeah,” Daniel winced.

“Why do you think I let her take a strip off me,” Jack grinned.

“I should go and talk to her,” Daniel said.

“Don’t worry.  I’ll smooth things over with her,” Jack said.  “Besides, it’s not like it’s the first time I’ve had to remove my foot from my mouth,” he said dismissively.

“That’s true,” Daniel nodded safely.

“Thanks,” Jack huffed.  “By the way, why did you talk to Carter about us?”

“I didn’t.”

“You didn’t?  Then how did she—”

  She kind of guessed,” Daniel said.

“Kind of guessed?”

Daniel winced.  “Yeah, I um, asked her if you two were involved and—”

“For crying out loud, you did think it,” Jack groaned.

“No, no,” Daniel insisted.  “I knew you weren’t interested, but I wasn’t sure about Sam and I had to know.”

“And if she was interested?” Jack asked.

“Then things might have gotten ugly,” Daniel shrugged.  “Not that they didn’t,” he added, looking pointedly at Jack.

“Okay, never mind that,” Jack said quickly.  “So how did you know I wasn’t interested?” he asked evasively.

“Oh, come on, Jack.  You barely let the poor woman get two words out before you cut her off.”

“I do?” 

“You do.”

“Well, she does tend to go on, as do you, I might add,” Jack said.

“Why do you think I talk so fast?” Daniel grinned.  “I have to get it out before you tell me to shut up.”

“I’ve never … okay, once, but I was being an ass,” Jack said, remembering his less than stellar performance on Euronda.  “And why are we bickering and why are you laughing?”

“Sorry,” Daniel chuckled.  “Just something Sam said.  Now, what were we talking about?”

“Damned if I know,” Jack frowned.  “I think we started with packing, but got sidetracked.”

“Right.  Packing,” Daniel acknowledged, licking his lips.

“Don’t do that,” Jack said.

“What?”

“That lip thing.  It’s…disconcerting.”

“I’ll remember that,” Daniel said impishly.

“I’m sure you will,” Jack said, clearing his throat.   “Now, back to this mission.  I’m still not comfortable with you going alone,” he said seriously.

“I know,” Daniel said gently, “but I won’t be alone; Jacob and Selmak will be there.”

“It’s not the same,” Jack muttered.

“I don’t think things will ever be the same again,” Daniel said softly.

Jack looked at Daniel.  “No, I guess they won’t be.  Hammond’s going to have a cow,” he murmured.

“How do we do this?” Daniel asked.

“You’re not talking sex, are you?” Jack asked.

“No, Jack,” Daniel said, smiling.

Jack looked back at the door and shrugged.  “Well, Carter and Teal’c are on our side.  That’s a start.”

“A very good start,” Daniel affirmed.  “Sam seemed ecstatic.”

“Speak of the devil,” Jack said as he cocked his head.  “I think she’s trying to get past Teal’c.”

“Maybe we should,” Daniel said, gesturing to the door.

“You go first,” Jack said.

“Chicken,” Daniel laughed.

“All right, but give me a kiss for good luck.”

                                                ***********

“I am sorry, Major Carter.  O’Neill’s orders were no one was to disturb them.”

“I’m not ‘no one’, Teal’c,” Sam groused, “and I just want to make sure Daniel’s okay.”

“I have heard no disturbance which would indicate otherwise,” Teal’c said solemnly.

“Have you been listening?” Sam said, putting her ear to the door.

“Indeed, I have not,” Teal’c said, sounding offended.

“Just a thought,” Sam said, straightening with a guilty look.  “Do you mind if I wait with you?”

“I do not.  I will enjoy your company, Major Carter.”

“Thanks,” Sam said and leaned against the wall next to Teal’c.

Minutes later the door opened and Jack stepped out.

“Colonel,” Sam said, standing at attention.

“Carter,” Jack acknowledged.

“Is everything in order, O’Neill?” Teal’c inquired.

“We’ll see.  Would you two come in for a minute?”

“Of course, sir,” Sam said, glancing questioningly at Teal’c

Jack stepped back into Daniel’s office, followed closely by Sam and Teal’c.  He closed the door and cleared his throat.

“Daniel and I have something to say.”

Sam’s eyes were glued to Daniel’s shining blue ones.  She grinned in delight and understanding.

“Oh, my God,” she breathed.

“I am indeed pleased for you both,” Teal’c said, bowing.

“For crying out loud, we haven’t said anything yet,” Jack exclaimed.

“You don’t have to, sir,” Sam enthused.  “It’s written all over your faces.  Oh, Daniel,” she said, rushing to her friend and hugging him tight.

“Thanks, Sam, and I’m so sorry about the misunderstanding,” he murmured.

“It wasn’t your fault,” she said, squeezing him hard.

“Jack feels really bad about it,” he whispered.

Sam smiled and kissed Daniel on the cheek.  “Just for you,” she winked, as she turned and faced Jack who was looking decidedly unsure of himself.

“Colonel?” Sam said coolly.

“Major?” Jack replied warily.

“Permission to hug, sir,” she said, smiling and opening her arms.

Jack smiled and opened his arms wide, enveloping her in a warm embrace.

“Thanks, Carter,” he murmured.  “You know I didn’t mean what I said about, you know.  I mean, I meant it, uh, well, sort of.  If you were the last person of course I’d, you know, um …”

“Sir?” 

“Yeah?”

“Don’t talk.”

“Right,” Jack said, chuckling.

“Now, Teal’c and I will leave you two alone,” she said, stepping back and catching Teal’c’s eye.  “I’m sure you have a lot to, um, talk about,” she said, blushing.

“You don’t have to do that, Carter.  We do have some … ah, crap,” Jack finished as his teammates closed the door behind them.

“I think that went very well,” Daniel said, stepping up to stand beside Jack.

“Too well,” Jack murmured.

“What do you mean?” Daniel asked gently.

Jack looked into earnest blue eyes and smiled sadly.  “I’m afraid I’m going to wake up tomorrow and discover this has all been a dream.”

“Then I think I better be there beside you when you wake up,” Daniel said softly, curling his fingers around Jack’s.

Jack looked down at their hands and felt like his heart would burst.  Never in a million years did he believe he could ever feel so much love again.  He looked up and smiled

“Dr. Jackson, have I ever told you how much I love the way you think?”

“No, but it’s never too late to start,” Daniel replied, his eyes twinkling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.