The Invitation

“What is troubling you, Daniel Jackson?”

The question startles me and I give my passenger a sharp glance.

“What?”

“You are drumming your fingers restlessly,” Teal’c said.  “I have observed this to be a common trait in Tau’ri who are agitated.  O’Neill does it often.”

I look at my fingers gripping the steering wheel and will them to remain still.

“It’s just the traffic,” I mutter with a quick smile.

Teal’c raises his eyebrow and slowly turns his head in every direction to observe the traffic.

“There is only one other car in the intersection, Daniel Jackson.”

“Damn rush hour,” I quip.

“Indeed,” he replies.

A person can say a lot with one word and Teal’c is a master.  He’s basically telling me I’m lying, and he may or may not let me get away with it.

“I guess I’m just a little nervous,” I admit, feeling obligated to give him something.

“About going to O’Neill’s?” he inquires.

“Stupid, huh?” I shrug.  “It’s not like the three of us haven’t gotten together before, right?”

“Indeed.”

There’s that damn word again.

“I mean, guys do it all the time,” I say as I proceed through the green light.  “I just haven’t done it in a while; quite awhile, actually, but I need to do this.”

“You are going to tell O’Neill.  This is good.”

“W-what?  Tell him what?” I ask, sparing him an uneasy glance.

“That you are in love with him,” Teal’c replies placidly.

“What?” I cry, inadvertently slamming on the brakes and jerking both of us in our seatbelts.  I try not to hear squealing brakes or notice Teal’c bracing himself with one hand on the dashboard.  Instead, I stare at him in shock.

“Perhaps we should pull off the road, Daniel Jackson,” Teal’c suggests as angry honking assails our ears.

“Um, yeah, good idea,” I murmur, waving apologetically to the irate driver behind me as I pull over.

My hands are trembling and my pulse is racing, but they have nothing to do with almost getting rear-ended.

“Are you all right, Daniel Jackson?”

“Yes, um, sorry about that,” I mumble.

“Perhaps my timing could have been better,” Teal’c concedes.

“They say timing is everything,” I say with a half-hearted smile.  “Oh, God,” I add, resting my forehead on the steering wheel.

“Forgive me if I have upset you, Daniel Jackson.  It was not my intention.”

“No, no, no,” I assure him as I sit up.  “You didn’t upset me.  You just, um, surprised me.”

“You did not think I would notice your attraction to O’Neill?” Teal’c asks.

“Something like that,” I shrug.

He raises one eyebrow and I wonder who else has noticed.

“Oh, God,” I repeat as I lower my head to the steering wheel again.

“I have upset you,” Teal’c states, remorse in his voice.

“No,” I reiterate, massaging my forehead on the wheel.  “I just don’t know what to do.”

“You must tell O’Neill how you feel.”

“I must?” I query, sitting up.  “Why?  So he can throw me off the team, or break my face?”

“You are being unreasonable.  O’Neill would do neither of those things,” Teal’c replies with reproach.

“Maybe, maybe not,” I say dismissively.  “The point is, Jack is a very private man, and for another man to suddenly come out, so to speak,” as I flash him a weak smile, “and declare he loves him … well, it’s just not done.”

“It is not another man, it is you, Daniel Jackson,” Teal’c reasons.

Damn, and Jack calls me stubborn.

I open my mouth to try to explain, but I close it and shake my head.  I can’t explain something I don’t understand myself, although Jack would say, It’s never stopped you before.

“How long have you known?” I ask quietly.  There’s no point in denying the fact.

“I was not certain until Edora,” Teal’c replies.

“Edora?” I murmur in surprise.  “That-that was years ago.”

“Indeed.  You have tried my patience greatly, Daniel Jackson.”

I smile at the glint of humor in my friend’s dark eyes.

“Uh, thank you for your patience.”

“You are welcome,” Teal’c intones quietly.

“Edora,” I whisper.  “Teal’c, even I didn’t … no, that’s not true.  I just didn’t understand what I was feeling. 

“Love takes many guises and can be most elusive,” Teal’c explains.

“Can’t argue with that,” I sigh.  “Has, uh, Jack ever said anything about me and, um, you know, him?” I ask trying not to squeak.

“He has not.”

“Oh,” I reply, dejected.  If I had an idea of how Jack would react, things would be a hell of a lot easier.

“As you say, O’Neill is a very private man, but whatever his feelings, you must reveal yours,” Teal’c insists.

“There’s that ‘must’ again,” I sigh.

“You owe this to yourself, and to O’Neill,” Teal’c states.

I lick my lips and nod.  “Yeah, maybe,” I concede.

My cell phone rings, startling me, but I snatch it up, grateful for the distraction.  I check the caller ID.

“It’s Jack,” I murmur.

“Are you not going to answer it, Daniel Jackson?”

I give my head a mental shake and answer the phone.

“Hello?  Hi, Jack.  Yeah, we’ve just run into a little traffic,” I say, looking warily at Teal’c who merely cocks an eyebrow.  “Uh, sure, we can stop there.  What would you like?  My choice?  Sure, okay.  Yeah, we’ll see you in a bit.  Okay, bye.”

I frown as I put the phone down.

“Jack wants us to stop and pick up something for dessert.  He said to pick up whatever I liked.”

“That does not sound like O’Neill,” Teal’c observes.

“No, it doesn’t,” I say, my frown deepening.  “Jack is quite particular with his desserts.”

“Perhaps he is testing your compatibility as a mate,” Teal’c reasons.

“A mate?” I choke.  “Teal’c, you’re reading way too much into this.”

“Perhaps,” he replies with that irritating knowing look he gets.  He sits back, closes his eyes, and thus ends the conversation.

“Mate,” I mutter, shaking my head as I start the car.  “It’s only dessert for crying out loud.”  I wince as the well-known phrase slips out of my mouth.  I sneak a glance at Teal’c and see his mouth twitch slightly upwards.  Damn, busted.

                                                *********

“Daniel, Teal’c,” Jack says in greeting.  “What’d you get?” he asks, grabbing the bag from my hands.

“Um—”

“White chocolate cheesecake with raspberries?” he says, his eyes widening.

“I, uh, thought—”

“A man after my own heart!” he enthuses, patting me on the shoulder.  “Well done, Danny boy!”

“You’re, um, welcome,” I mumble, trying not to blush.  A man after his own heart?  God, Jack, if you had any idea.

“Okay, you can come in,” Jack grins, ushering us inside.  “I’ll just put this puppy in the fridge for now.”

“O’Neill is very pleased with your choice,” Teal’c murmurs in my ear.

“Think I passed the test?” I whisper, feeling a little giddy with my success.

“We shall see,” Teal’c replies.

“Look. Teal’c,” I say, my voice low, “if you see me start to flounder, or, you know, really lose it …”

“I will endeavour to rescue you, Daniel Jackson,” he promises.

“Thanks.”

“What the hell are you two doing still in the doorway?” Jack grouses.

“Nothing,” I reply quickly.  “Just wiping our feet.  I see you just cut the grass.”

“Yeah.  If you’d been any earlier you’d have caught me in the shower,” Jack retorts.

“Smells good,” I say, trying unsuccessfully to not to think about Jack naked in the shower.

“What, me?” Jack replies.

“No, no, the grass,” I stammer.  “Fresh cut grass.  It always smells, uh, good.  Like, um, fresh cut grass,” I murmur, my voice fading.

“But I stink?” Jack queries.

“No!  God, no.  I mean—”

“Daniel, you are such a maroon,” Jack laughs.  “Get your asses in here.”

“Maroon, Daniel Jackson?” Teal’c inquires as he closes the door behind us.

“It’s from a Bugs Bunny cartoon.  I’ll explain later.  That’s if I survive this evening,” I mutter.

What’ll you have?  Beer, wine, coolers, pop?  I’ve got that citrus sparkling water you like, T.”

“That will be fine, O’Neill,” Teal’c acknowledges as we enter the kitchen.

“Coming right up.  Daniel?” Jack queries as he unscrews the cap off Teal’c’s drink.

“A, uh, cider sounds nice,” I say.

“Pear or apple?”

“Pear, please,” I reply gazing around the kitchen.  “Speaking of good smells, I think I’ve died and gone to heaven.”

“Thanks,” Jack grins.  “It’s been a while since I’ve done something like this.”

“What’s all here?” I ask, reaching for the nearest pot.

“Outta there!” Jack warns, brandishing a wooden spoon.

I grin and pull back my hand.  “You know me, Jack.  I like to touch.”

“Just keep your fingers to yourself for awhile,” he says.

I glance quickly at Teal’c and wonder if he picked up the innuendo in Jack’s words, or more correctly, the innuendo I hoped I heard in Jack’s words.  His face is as stoic as ever.  Damn, he picked it up.

I jerk back as a cracker bearing a piece of cheese is thrust in front of my mouth.

“Eat,” Jack orders.

I obediently open my mouth and Jack pops the morsel in.  I chew and look at him in surprise.

“Goat cheese?”

“Yeah,” he grins.  “You like it, don’t you?”

“Yes,” I say, swallowing.  “I love it.  I just didn’t think you would.”

“It’s not my favorite,” Jack admits, biting into his own cheese and cracker, “but I thought you’d like it.”

“It’s great,” I enthuse, reaching for another one.  My heart swells with affection at his kindness and generosity.

“Teal’c, what do you think?” Jack asks.

“It is not processed cheese,” Teal’c replies, chewing thoughtfully.

“Thank God for that,” Jack and I respond at the same time.  We look at each other and grin.

I take another piece of cheese and cracker, but I can’t stop my eyes from wandering to the simmering pots and casserole dishes.

“Okay,” Jack says, indulging me, “There’s falafel, cous cous, lamb, beef, assorted vegetables, and some fish,” Jack says.

“It reminds me of bazaars in Cairo with my parents,” I muse.  “Minus the noise, animal and body odors, of course.”

“Damn, I knew I shouldn’t have showered,” Jack mutters.

I laugh and feel very much at ease.  Maybe I will be able to tell Jack how I feel if we get some time alone.  I’m sure Teal’c would oblige us since he’s waited years for me to say something.  Years.  My God, has it been years?  I’ve loved Jack for years; Sam and Teal’c, too.  But in love?

“Earth to Daniel,” a voice sing-songs in my ear.

“What?” I say, feeling a bit dazed.

“You’re beaming out on us,” Jack teases.  “Back in Cairo again?”

“Uh, no, I was just, uh, thinking,” I frown.

“Well, that’s one for the calendar,” Jack laughs.  “Come on,” he says, throwing his arm around my shoulder, “let’s all go outside.”

I tense slightly at the touch, more from surprise than anything else.  I want to reciprocate, but I make a concerted effort to keep both hands clasped around my cider.  I do glance at Teal’c, however, and smile.

Teal’c gives me an imperceptible nod of his head: pleased that I am pleased.

I feel the loss immediately as Jack removes his arm to open the back door, but the feeling of goodwill is still very much in evidence.

                                                ***********

We talk about missions, sports, television, and women.

“Speaking of women,” Jack says, “do you think Carter’s been acting a bit strange?”

Strange?” I say.  “Strange, how?”

“You know,” Jack shrugs.

Teal’c and I look at each other perplexed.

“Oh, come on,” Jack grouses, “do I have to spell it out?”

“Perhaps you should, O’Neill.”

“Crap,” Jack sighs.  “Okay, but don’t laugh, all right?”

“Of course not,” I assure him.  God, he’s so cute when he’s flustered.

“Then why are you smirking?”

“I’m not.  I’m, uh, stifling a belch,” I explain.

Jack rolls his eyes, but doesn’t press me further.  He looks around as if afraid of being overheard, leans forward and whispers, “I think she likes me.”

“What?” I cry, stunned as I feel my hopes irrevocably dashed.  Sam?  God, I can’t compete with Sam.  She’s-she’s a woman!

“Are you talking sexually, O’Neill?” Teal’c asks, getting right to the heart of the matter.

“Jeez, T, keep your voice down,” Jack hisses, glancing over his shoulder.

I stare at both of them.  Their voices seem far away and there’s a ringing in my ears.  I can’t see them.

“Daniel?  Daniel!”

“Daniel Jackson.”

I feel strong hands shaking me.  I hear their voices, but I can’t see anything.

“I can’t see,” I mumble.

“It’s okay.  Just put your head down,” Jack soothes, gently pushing my head down.  “You just fainted.  You’ll be okay.”

Fainted?  God, how embarrassing.

“Teal’c, can you get some water?”

I listen to Jack’s words, taking heart in the care they inveigh.  I don’t want to think about Jack and Sam.  His hand is rubbing soothing circles on my back.  I feel like an idiot.

“Forgot what a cheap date you were,” he murmurs, kneading the back of my neck.  “You probably haven’t eaten anything, have you?”

“Cheese and crackers,” I mutter.

“What am I going to do with you?” he sighs wistfully.

At least I hope it’s wistful.  It could just as well be a “Why the hell do I always end up with the headcases” sigh.

“Better?” Jack asks.

“Yes.  Um, you won’t tell anyone I fainted, will you?”

He studies me intently and I resist the urge to squirm.

“Maybe I should have Fraiser check you out,” he says with a concerned frown.

“I’m fine, really,” I insist, helping myself to more cheese and crackers.  “You know me and alcohol.”

He nods doubtfully, but pats me on the shoulder.   “Okay, I’ll check on dinner.”

I watch him leave, but I feel Teal’c’s eyes on me.  I look up, and sure enough, he’s watching me intently.  There’s no point in trying to mislead him.

“Sam,” I mumble.  “I didn’t expect that.”

“Major Carter is not a threat to you and O’Neill, Daniel Jackson,” he says solemnly.

Me and O’Neill.  I like the sound of that. It implies something, but the sad fact is, there is nothing to imply.

“You do not believe me.”

“Teal’c, he didn’t exactly seem upset about the idea that Sam may be interested in him,” I explain.

“Indeed, but I have observed that Tau’ri often intimate one thing, but mean something else.”

“Teal’c, can you come here for a minute?”

We both turn to see Jack standing in the doorway.  I look at Teal’c.  He bows his head and takes his leave.

“Great,” I sigh.  “Alone with my thoughts.”

                                                ********

Whatever they’re doing in there, I wish they’d hurry up because my imagination is not doing me any favors.  I keep wondering if Jack suspects something and he’s grilling Teal’c.  Now that would be a disaster.  But then, if he doesn’t suspect something, how in the hell do I tell him I’m attracted to him? God, I hate this.

“Daniel, how’s your drink?”

I jump and turn to see Jack in the doorway.  He seems to be amused at my reaction.

“I’m fine.  I think I’ll just stick to water,” I add with a rueful smile.

“Be out in a sec,” he replies and disappears back inside.

Okay, that didn’t seem too bad.  He’s still being a good host.  It was probably just some food-related thing Jack needed Teal’c for.  It’s a stretch, but it’s better than the alternative of ‘What the hell’s up with Daniel?’  Maybe Teal’c will tell me.  After all, he’s got a vested interest in this; the poor guy’s been waiting years for me to make a move on Jack.  God, that sounds awful; I sound like a predator.

Here comes Teal’c.  Maybe … no, not getting any clues from that face.  I think he smiled though.  It’s hard to tell sometimes.  And here comes Jack.

“Here, try this stuff T’s drinking.  More pizzazz than plain water,” Jack says, holding out a glass.

“Thank you,” I say, as I reach out for the glass. 

Jack’s holding the glass in such a way that I can’t avoid touching his fingers.  My mind races again.  Did he do it intentionally?  Is he trying to tell me something?  My eyes flash up to meet his and just as quickly flash away.  God, I’m hopeless.

“Dinner will be ready in thirty minutes.  Think you can last?” Jack asks.

“I’ll do my best,” I reply.

“You always do.”

He says it casually, but the words impact me with an almost physical force.  I look up again and his expression is warm.  I don’t know what he sees in mine; gratitude, I hope, because that’s what I feel.

Jack smiles, nods, and then starts talking to Teal’c about reality shows.

I try to show an interest in the conversation, but my opinion of reality shows is less than favorable.  Instead, I watch Jack. 

There are a lot of lines in Jack’s face; a lot more than when I first met him.  We’ve all got more lines.  They look good on Jack.  I know I’ve been the cause of some of them, and I am sorry for that.  I don’t intentionally drive him nuts.  Well, not always.

“So, what do you think, Daniel?”

Damn.  I knew this would happen.  I can’t pretend I know what he’s talking about.

“Sorry, I wasn’t listening,” I apologize.

“No kidding,” Jack grins.  “That’s okay.  I was just wondering what you thought of the new reality show where people are sent to live inside the Great Pyramids?”

“The Great Pyramids?  They can’t do that!” I cry indignantly.  “That’s … that’s…”

“Easy, easy,” Jack soothes.  “I was just joking.”

“Joking?” I frown.  “That wasn’t very funny, Jack.”

“I don’t know.  Teal’c looks pretty amused.”

I look at Teal’c who looks at Jack with a raised eyebrow.

“Forgive me, O’Neill, but I was not listening to you, either.”

I chuckle at Jack’s look of affront, and Teal’c gives me a conspiratorial nod.

“Okay, I guess I deserved that,” Jack mutters good-naturedly.  “Shall we eat?”

                                                **********

“Dinner was incredible,” I enthuse, as I help Jack load the dishwasher.  “I can’t remember when I tasted such delicious food.”

“Daniel, you’re embarrassing me.  So, what was your favorite?”

“I loved it all,” I smile, taking another sip of Egyptian wine.

“You sure you’re okay with that stuff?” Jack asks, gesturing to my wine glass.

“Oh, yeah, I’m fine.  Teal’c can …”.  I stop and stare at Jack, chagrined.

“Teal’c can drive?” Jack guesses.

“It, uh, seemed like a good idea at the time,” I frown.  “Here, you better finish this,” I say, holding out the glass.

“Keep it.  I can drive you guys home,” he says dismissively.

“Jack, I’m sorry.  I—”

“Daniel, it’s okay, really,” Jack insists, his hands firmly on my shoulders.  “I’m just glad you’re having a good time.  You are having a good time, aren’t you?”

“Jack, I’m having a great time.” 

The words come out softer than I intend, almost intimate, and I swallow nervously.

I can’t describe the way Jack is looking at me.  It’s almost like he’s afraid.  Not afraid in a bad way, but the look you get when you’re afraid something you wanted for a long time is within your grasp, but you’re afraid it’s not real.  Listen to me.  I’m talking about myself, not Jack.

“Good,” Jack says.  “Good.”

Teal’c comes in and rescues us both from an awkward situation.

“Major Carter will be arriving within the hour,” he announces.

“What?” we both ask; me in alarm, Jack in surprise.

“Indeed.  I called her for a ride.  I had forgotten my promise to assist her on a project this evening, and I did not want to shorten your evening, Daniel Jackson.”

Teal’c’s dark gaze pierces me and I read the truth in his eyes: he’s leaving to give me and Jack privacy.  I shake my head slightly, but he merely smiles and bows his head.  He’s telling me I’m ready for this.  I’m afraid to look at Jack.

“That settles it then,” Jack says, clapping me on the back.  “You’re staying the night.”

I look at Jack in surprise.

“You’re in no condition to drive and it saves me a trip,” Jack explains reasonably.  “It’ll be like old times,” he adds with a grin.

“I-I can call a cab,” I protest weakly.

“Daniel, I’m inviting you to stay.  I want you to stay.”

Jack’s eyes and voice are warm and caring.  I feel the absurd urge to cry and I blink quickly.

“Thank you,” I whisper.  “I’d like to stay.”

“Great.  You two go and sit down.  I’ll put some coffee on for Carter.  She can help us with the cheesecake, too.”

I return to the living-room in a euphoric daze.  Teal’c is close beside me and he rumbles in my ear. 

“You will be fine, Daniel Jackson.”

“Teal’c, is there something you know?”

“Only that there is nothing to fear from Major Carter.”

I wait for more, but that is all he divulges.

“Teal’c, I’m scared,” I admit.

Teal’c looks in the direction of the kitchen and then turns back to me.

“I do not believe you are alone in your fears, Daniel Jackson.”

I’m starting to feel overwhelmed again because what Teal’c is implying is big.

“I think I need to sit down,” I murmur.

I sit down with a thud and lower my head.  I have to relax.  The extra wine now feels like a really, really bad idea.

“Practice your breathing,” Teal’c says gently.

I’m trying Teal’c.  God, I can’t let Jack see me like this again.  I’ll never live it down.

“Daniel, are you all right?”

Oh, shit.

“I believe the Egyptian wine has caught up to Daniel Jackson,” Teal’c explains.

I hear Jack leave and I’m too mortified to sit up.  The next thing I know, a cool, damp cloth is placed across the back of my neck.

“Coffee will be ready soon,” Jack says quietly.

“I don’t know why this is happening,” I mutter, my voice full of misery.

Jack laughs gently and gives my back a quick rub.

“I probably should have investigated my Egyptian wines better.  I probably picked out rotgut.”

I snicker and lift my head.  His hand is still on me and I can’t believe how good it feels.

“The wine was delicious, Jack,” I assure him.  “I think I just overwhelmed my senses.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” Jack chuckles. 

His laughter lifts my spirits and I sit up.  “I think I’ll live.”

“You better.  I’ve had enough of the other to last several lifetimes,” he says quietly, as he pats me on the back and stands up.

I see a flicker of pain cross his features and my heart goes out to him.

“I’ll get the coffee,” he says, and then he’s gone.

I look at Teal’c.

“You have nothing to fear, Daniel Jackson.”

I swallow hard and remove the damp cloth from my neck.  I feel I should say something to Jack, but I don’t know what. 

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

I enter the kitchen and Jack’s back is to me.  I don’t think he can hear me over the noise of the dishwasher.  I hesitate in the doorway, unsure of myself.  God, everything used to be so easy.  I back out of the kitchen and pray he doesn’t turn around.  I return to the living-room and meet Teal’c’s inquiring gaze.

I shrug and flash a quick smile.  “He’ll be out soon.”

I look down at the washcloth clenched in my hand and I get a horrible feeling I may have dribbled water in the doorway.  I rush back and almost collide with Jack who miraculously saves the coffee from spilling.

“Jesus, Daniel, where the hell’s the fire?” he grouses.

“Sorry, I, uh, I was just returning the, um, cloth.”

“It doesn’t have an expiry date,” he mutters as he walks past me.

I sight and look down at the floor.  No water.  Well, that’s something.  I toss the cloth on the counter and wonder how the hell I’m going to survive the evening, never mind the night.

                                                ***********

“’night Carter, T.  Drive safely.”

“Always, sir.  Don’t stay up too late,” Sam teases, giving me a big grin.

“Simpsons marathon tonight,” Jack says to her with a wink.

“What?” I cry aghast.

Jack looks at me and shakes his head.  “Definite maroon.”

“A Bugs Bunny cartoon, Major Carter,” Teal’c explains helpfully.

“I’ve missed something, haven’t I?” Sam asks, her eyes twinkling.

“Don’t worry, Carter, so has Daniel,” Jack grins.

I frown and put on my best martyred look.  “You shouldn’t pick on the over-imbibed,” I chastise.

“But it’s so much fun,” Jack retorts.

“Goodnight, sir; Daniel,” Sam laughs.  “Enjoy the evening.”

“We will,” Jack replies.

“Goodnight, guys,” I say and look searchingly at Teal’c for some last second advice; I get a small smile and a solemn nod.  For Teal’c that could mean ‘go for the gusto’, or, ‘better you than me’, or any number of obscure things.   Hell, what am I doing here?

Jack closes the door and locks it.  I’m acutely aware that we are alone.  I can feel my skin itch and sweat forming on my back.

“How’s your coffee?”

I’m thankful for the question because it gives me something to focus on.  I look down at my mug, and my eyes widen in surprise.

“Empty,” I reply, puzzled.  I don’t remember drinking it all.

“Here, I’ll fill it up.”

I silently hand Jack my mug and as I do I raise my eyes to meet his.  His eyes are very dark; so dark I feel like I could fall into them and never hit bottom.  Unfathomable; it scares the hell out of me.

“Daniel, let go.”

I blink to break the spell.  I look down to see my fingers still clutching the mug that Jack’s trying to remove.

“Sorry,” I mutter awkwardly, blushing at my momentary lapse.

Jack doesn’t say anything.  He removes the mug from my hand and heads for the kitchen.  I sigh and give myself another mental shake.  I have got to get a grip.  I take the opportunity to go to the washroom and splash cold water on my face.  It helps a little.  I look at myself in the mirror, and I see one scared archaeologist.  What’s the worst that can happen?  Shit, better not think about that.

I return to the living-room to find Jack seated on the couch.  My steps falter a bit as I assess the situation.  Jack always sits in the chair and I sit on the couch.  Both coffees are on the table in front of him. 

“Thanks,” I say as I pick up my mug.  I don’t know where to sit so I wander over to the fireplace, sipping the coffee.  My eyes immediately go to the family photo of Jack, Sara, and Charlie.  I stare at it; I stare at her; Jack’s one true love.  Does he still love her?  I’m sure he does.

“No, and yes.”

The quiet words from behind me don’t startle me as much as I would have thought.  Neither does their meaning.

“You haven’t talked to her in years, but you still love her,” I say gently, my eyes still on the photo.

“Yeah,” Jack confirms.

“Why don’t you call her?”

“Because I still love her.”

The pain and sorrow in his voice cuts into my heart.  I turn and scan his face.  I shake my head at what I see.

“You still haven’t forgiven yourself,” I say gently.

He looks at me intently.  “Have you?”

I drop my gaze.  No, I haven’t forgiven myself for losing Sha’re.  We’ve been at this impasse before.  Some boundaries cannot be crossed.  Not yet.  I walk a few steps away, my back to Jack.

“Why am I here?”

“Because I invited you and you accepted,” Jack replies with barely a pause.

I close my eyes and sigh.  What did I expect, a declaration of love?

“You invited me and Teal’c,” I challenge, turning around to face him.

“Is there an unwritten law that says I can’t invite two friends to dinner?” Jack replies.

I have to give him credit.  He’s maintaining his cool a lot better than I am.  I know I’m being an idiot, but I can’t seem to stop myself.  If I didn’t have my coffee mug clutched in my hand, my arms would be wrapped around my middle.

“No, but it put Sam in an awkward position coming here and seeing the rest of her team.  Why did you leave Sam out?”

“I admit, I didn’t plan on Carter showing up,” Jack says, “but she didn’t seem phased.  Why are you so bent out of shape?”

It’s a fair question, but I can’t answer so I turn and take a few steps away.  I’m screwing everything up.  This is where Teal’c is supposed to come and rescue me from my own stupidity.

“I guess this was a bad idea after all,” Jack sighs.

I turn to see him picking up the phone and my stomach lurches.

“What are you doing?” I ask, afraid I’m about to lose everything.

“I’m calling you a cab.”

“No, don’t!”  I cry. 

The words sound desperate to my ears so I can imagine what they must sound like to Jack: sheer panic.  He looks at me thoughtfully and places the phone down. 

I breathe a little easier, but the tension in the room is very thick.

“I’m sorry.  I’m not being a very good guest,” I murmur.

“Let me ask you something,” Jack says, leaning against the mantle.  “Why did you come here?”

The words that spring to my lips are ‘because you invited me,’ but I bite them down.  We’ve played this game before.

“Because I wanted to,” I say.  “Because we haven’t gotten together in a long time and I’ve missed it.”

Jack’s features visibly relax and I congratulate myself on being somewhat honest in my answer.

“I’ve missed it, too,” Jack confesses.  “To be honest, I didn’t think you would come by yourself so I invited Teal’c as well.  Good thing, considering all the food,” he adds ruefully.

“You just wanted me?” I ask incredulously.

“Does that make you uncomfortable?”

I lick my lips and put my coffee down before I spill it.  I make a concerted effort to put my hands in my pockets thereby averting the self-hug which is what I really want to do.

.”Okay, since we’re being honest,” I begin, “yes, it does make me uncomfortable, but in a good sort of way.”

“A good sort of way?” Jack queries, bemusement in his eyes.

“Sort of, you know, special,” I shrug, smiling self-consciously.

“You are special, Daniel.”

The words catch me off guard and before I know it, I am hugging myself.

“Um, this-this dinner.  The food, I mean.  You planned it just for me?” I ask, trying to sound normal.

“Pretty much,” he answers, nodding.

I feel absurdly pleased and honored.  I can’t suppress the grin that breaks out on my face.  I manage to unwrap my arms and I absently scratch the back of my head.

“No one’s done that for me since, well, since Sha’re.”

“Well, I haven’t done this for anyone since Sara,” Jack says quietly.

My heart jumps in my chest.  We are both talking about people we loved deeply.  Sha’re is gone, but Sara is still here.  Jack said he couldn’t go back to her because he still loves her which is Jackspeak for: ‘I’m not good enough, and I won’t put her through that hell again.’  Wait a minute.  Sara’s too good for him, but I’m not?  He admits he still loves her, but he knows he can never have her, but I’m here.  I’m second best?  And why the hell am I complaining?

“Daniel, don’t,” Jack says, shaking his head.

“Don’t what?” I ask, distracted.

“Analyze the crap out of everything.  I can practically see what’s going on in that over-sized brain of yours.  Believe it or not, I enjoy your company, at least for the most part.  I thought it would be nice to spend some time together; just the two of us.  Get that connection back again.”

“Oh,” I say, open-mouthed.

“Oh?  That’s it?  Just, ‘oh?’” Jack teases.

I suddenly wish Teal’c were still here because I feel totally out of my element.  Here I am hoping to tell Jack how I feel, but he turns the tables on me by practically saying I’m a substitute for Sara, and instead of leaping at the opportunity I feel annoyed because I’m second choice.  Now, it’s not even that; he just wants our friendship back on track.  God, I’m such an idiot.

“You’re doing it again.” Jack sing-songs.

I snap my mouth shut.  “What about Sam?” I blurt out.

“Carter?  What about Carter?”

“You said you think she’s, uh, interested in you,” I say, frowning.

“Oh, that,” he says, waving his hand.  “I was just curious to see how you’d react.  Didn’t expect you to faint.”

“I didn’t faint,” I protest weakly.

“No, you just passed out.”

“Look, if Teal’c said­­—”

“T didn’t say anything.  He didn’t have to.  Sure, I asked, but he said if I was that concerned I should ask you myself.  So, I’ll ask you.  Did that upset you?”

The sudden question catches me off guard, but I pull myself together to ask my own question.

“That depends.  Does she have feelings for you and do you have feelings for her?”

“Two questions.  That’s not fair,” Jack chastises with a smile, “but since I brought it up: does Carter have feelings for me?  Maybe.  She hasn’t really said anything, but that may be because I don’t let her.  I think she has me on a bit of a pedestal.  Go figure.  Now, do I have feelings for Carter?  I care about her, that’s for damn sure.  Do I have romantic feelings?  Not in the slightest, and it’s not because of military regulations either.  Your turn.”

Jack takes a sip of his coffee and grimaces.  “Cold,” he mutters.

I look down at my own forgotten mug.

“I’ll refill these,” Jack says, and before I know it, I’m alone in the room again.

My head is spinning.  I feel like I’m caught up on some roller coaster from hell and I just want to get off.  I sit down on the couch and lean forward to allow the blood to rush to my head.  I obviously sit like this longer than I plan because I feel the couch dip as Jack sits next to me.

“Here, while it’s still hot,” he says gently.

I glance sideways at the proffered mug.

“Thanks,” I murmur, as I take the mug and clasp both hands around it.  I sit up straight and take a grateful sip.

“I can still call a cab, or I can take you home myself,” Jack says.

“No,” I whisper, shaking my head.

“Okay.”

Jack sits back and I know the next move is up to me.  I take a deep swallow of coffee, savor the taste, and carefully place the mug down.

“You asked me if the thought of Sam liking you upset me,” I say, looking down at the mug.  “It did because I thought that meant I didn’t stand a chance.”

Jack doesn’t say anything right away, but then he groans.  “Oh, crap, I should’ve guessed.”

Heart in my mouth, I look at Jack.  “I’m sorry,” I whisper.

“Hell, don’t be sorry, Daniel.  You two were practically made for each other,” he says, waving me off.

“Wh-what?  You think I’m interested in Sam?”

“Aren’t you?” Jack asks in confusion.

“No, I thought you were.”

“Hell, no.  She’d drive me nuts,” Jack retorts.

“Oh,” I murmur and look away.

“Daniel?”

I risk a quick glance back at Jack and he’s looking at me intently, his expression more of concern than anything else.  I smile and shrug in an attempt to cover up how awkward I feel.  He smiles in return and nods his head in a ‘go on’ fashion.  I chew my lower lip and look back at the mug to ground myself.

“I came here hoping I would have the courage to tell you something.  Something I’ve been feeling for even longer than I thought.”  My throat dries up, and I reach for my coffee only to see my fingers trembling.  I shut my eyes and clench my fist to stop the tremors.  I flinch when I feel Jack’s hand clasp my fist.

“It’s okay,” he soothes as he squeezes my still clenched fingers.  “Loosen up.”

I relax my fingers and release the mug.  I watch in awe as Jack threads his fingers through mine.

“Believe me, you’re not alone in this, Daniel.  I don’t make lamb casserole for just anyone.”

I smile and tighten my fingers, and my pulse races at his answering squeeze.  I finally get the courage to look at him.

:You were … trying to seduce me?” I ask softly.

“I’m a little rusty,” Jack murmurs, his thumb gently caressing the back of my hand.

I gaze at our hands, mesmerized by the sight.  I know if I don’t say it now I never will.  I swallow hard and look at him.

“I think I’m in love with you,” I whisper.

His whole face lights up like I’ve given him the best news in the world and then his eyes crinkle in amusement.  I know what’s coming.

“You think?” he says.

“Well, I guess it could be a reaction to the allergy pills Janet prescribed,” I murmur, frowning in thought.

“If that’s the case, you better get a life-time supply,” Jack says.

I look at Jack with a raised eyebrow, but his eyes are warm, inviting, and deadly serious.  He clears his throat.

“I don’t really know when it happened; a few years ago anyway.  Suddenly I found myself going to sleep and waking up thinking of you.  Not that I haven’t done that before,” he adds casually, “but it’s not usually in the carnal sense.” 

Carnal sense.  My mind reels at the words. 

“I was afraid of what I was feeling and then … you ascended.  I lost everything, and more than anything, I wished I had it to do all over again; I’d do it right and Kelowna would never happen.  Then you came home and … you seemed different.”

“Different?” I ask, aching to make him feel better.

“Yeah.  Happy … content.  I couldn’t say anything.  I couldn’t tell you how I felt; I didn’t want to upset you,” Jack confesses.

“Jack,” I whisper.

He looks so vulnerable; so lost; so desirable.  I feel the heat of his body and my stomach flutters.  I know if I think too much I won’t act.  The position is awkward, but I lean forward, close my eyes, and kiss him on the mouth.  I feel a gentle pressure in return and then sit back.

I open my eyes to see Jack licking his lips, tasting me.  His gaze is dark and hungry, and a shiver of fear passes through me.  I slowly lick my own lips and watch in fascination as his eyes go darker.  I twist in my seat and claim his lips. 

I don’t know who moved first, but suddenly our arms are around each other.  I feel my cock strain against my pants and my hips automatically thrust forward seeking contact.  I moan at the sensations flooding through me.  I feel Jack’s hardness and we groan simultaneously as our bodies rub together.  He pulls me down and I go willingly, straddling his lap, relishing in the delicious hardness of his arousal.

 “Jack,” I gasp as I writhe on top of him.  The mere feel of him sends jolts of ecstasy through my body.  I tongue him deep and hard and his body bucks beneath me.  I release his mouth as I feel my orgasm build.

“Oh, God, oh, God,” I moan.  My body is running on automatic; I thrust and grind.  My mind tells me I must be hurting him, but I can’t stop; the pressure building in my cock is almost unbearable. 

We thrust violently and cry out at the same time as our orgasms peak.  I bury my face in Jack’s neck, spurts of hot semen leaving my body.

“Jesus, Daniel,” Jack pants, his hand caressing my back.

I know I’m crushing Jack, but it still takes great effort to get up on my elbows to give him some relief.  I gaze down at him and he’s looking at me like I’m the most amazing thing he’s ever seen.  My heart swells at the love and adoration in his eyes.  I must be grinning like an idiot because he laughs and squeezes my ass.  I close my eyes and kiss him with tenderness and love. 

“There’s no ‘think’ about it,” I whisper.  “I love you.”

Jack’s eyes tear up and he crushes me to his chest.  “I love you, too,” he murmurs.

I feel my own tears well up and I roll to the side so I can see him properly.  He scoots back against the couch to give me some room.  We don’t say anything for a long while; we just hold and stroke each other.

“Daniel?”

“Hmm?”

“I don’t know about you, but I’m a little, uh, sticky.”

I chuckle and open my eyes.  “I know the feeling.”

“What say we ditch the clothes, throw ‘em in the wash, and hit the sack?” he suggests.

“You’re s slut,” I laugh.

“Yeah, but I’m not cheap.”

I laugh again, but I can tell by the worried look on Jack’s face that it doesn’t reach my eyes.

“Daniel?”

I unravel myself from Jack and sit up, avoiding his eyes.

“Daniel?” he says again, and I hear the fear.

“I’m sorry,” I murmur.  “It’s all happening kind of fast.  I never … I mean, I hoped, but I never …”

“It’s okay,” Jack soothes, sitting up and draping a comforting arm across my shoulders.  “It’s my fault; I shouldn’t have forced you to stay.”

“You didn’t force me, Jack.  Trust me, there’s nowhere I’d rather be.  It’s just, well, I’ve never been with a man before.  I’ve never even entertained the thought,” I admit with a self-deprecating shrug.

“And you think I have?” Jack asks.

“Haven’t you?”

“Hell, no.  Why would you think I have, and if you say because I’m so much older than you, you’re sleeping on the couch.”

“Is this our first fight?” I ask with a mischievous smile.

“Crap, Daniel, we fight all the time.  Oh, you mean our first fight as lovers,” he says with a knowing smile.

“Lovers,” I whisper in awe.

“Daniel, we don’t have to do anything.”

I look down at my lap and shift, grimacing as dried semen pulls on body hair.

“I think we already have, Jack,” I counter.

“You know what I mean,” he says, shaking me gently, “and to tell you the truth, I don’t think I’m ready to, you know,” he says, making jerking motions with his head.

“Go all the way?” I query with a small smile.

“Daniel, right now I’m just happy to hold you.”

“Me, too,” I confess.

We lean in and kiss for a very long time.

“But these clothes have got to go,” I gasp, squirming in discomfort.

“Come with me,” Jack smiles, as he disentangles himself and stands up, his hand outstretched.

I take his hand and our fingers intertwine tightly.  He pulls me to my feet and into his arms.

“Bedroom?” he breathes into my neck.

“Now,” I answer and blush at the urgency in my voice. 

I feel the warm gust of his laughter and then he kisses my neck, sending a jolt of electricity straight down to my groin.

“Let’s wash up a little first,” he suggests.

                                                ********

I quickly take care of business in the guest bathroom.  I can’t believe how nervous and excited I feel.  I also can’t wait to tell Teal’c; I’m going to owe him big time.  I crumple up my pants and underwear, take them to the laundry room and toss them in the washer.  I smile at the sight of Jack’s clothes; he must have shed them on the way to his bedroom.

I feel strange padding around Jack’s house half-naked, but I feel doubly strange padding into Jack’s bedroom and getting into his bed completely naked.  I scoot under the covers, decide against lying down, and sit back against the headboard.  I take off my glasses and place them on the nightstand.  Lastly, I pull the covers up over my hips, clasp my hands together on my lap, and try not to twitch.

Jack finally comes out of the washroom and my mouth drops; he’s stark naked.  For some reason I wasn’t expecting that.

“You’re quick,” he grins.

I smile and shrug nonchalantly, but my heart is beating a staccato rhythm in my chest.  I swallow nervously as he approaches the bed.

“Perfect,” he says.

“What?” I ask in confusion.

“You’re not on my side of the bed,” he explains.  “Now I don’t have to wrestle you for it.”

“Oh.”  I glance at the empty place beside me and on impulse, slide over.  I smile up at him triumphantly.

Jack’s initial look of surprise gives way to a knowing smirk.

“Is that a challenge?” he asks.

“You want it, you take it,” I reply, feeling extremely wicked.

I watch him watching me.  His cock twitches and my skin prickles in anticipation, and, yes, there is still fear. 

“Oh, I want,” he whispers huskily.

My eyes on his face, I remove the covers from my lower body to reveal my already erect penis.

Jack doesn’t move.  He stares at me and I watch in fascination as his penis engorges.

“God, Daniel,” he whispers.

I look up with effort, shocked to see tears in his eyes.

“Jack?”

“You are so beautiful,” he murmurs.

I open my arms to him, offering myself.  Wordlessly, he slips into my arms and I wrap the sheets around us.

The skin on skin contact is exhilarating.  We moan in mutual pleasure as we explore each other’s body, delighting in new sensations.  I’m not used to being on the bottom and Jack is no lightweight.  I force him over and grind my groin into his.  His back arches, taking me with it, and I gasp at the feel of it.

It doesn’t take long for our bodies to become slick with sweat; we’re both putting out enough heat to raise the room temperature a few degrees.

During our wrestling we find a rhythm that takes us both by surprise.  I am not surprised, however, to find myself once again flat on my back.  I don’t fight it though because the jolts of pleasure coursing through me take up most of my concentration.  What little coherent thought I have left goes to pleasuring Jack as much as I can.  My body is reacting automatically to his thrusts which free my hands to caress his body.  We don’t talk, allowing our grunts and groans to speak for us.  We are both so close and the idea of us coming together seems so right.  Jack hitches in a breath and I’m a millisecond behind him.  We exhale together, our semen pulsing out between us.

I crush Jack further to me and my hips buck weakly against his.

Jack collapses on top of me and I grunt in response.

“God,” he murmurs, slipping off to the side, allowing me to breathe.  “You’re killing me, Daniel,” he whispers as he blindly reaches for my face.

“Ow,” I mutter as a finger pokes me in the eye.

“Sorry,” he says as his eyes snap open.  He leans over and kisses my eye.  “Better?”

“Mmm, better,” I purr, as I pull him to me and kiss him soundly.

We lie silently in each others arms, lost in our own thoughts.  I feel Jack twitch and I know he’s falling asleep.  I move slightly and his eyes flutter open.

“We should shower,” he mumbles.

“Yeah,” I reply, snuggling into his armpit.

“Yeah,” he whispers.

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

A few hours later, I wake up; Jack is snoring in my ear.  I grimace and give him a nudge.  He snuffles and rolls over.  I smile at the automatic response.  Sara trained him well.  I spoon up behind him and grin as he pushes his butt back into my groin.  I’m too spent to get physically aroused, and emotionally, I couldn’t get any higher; Jack’s in love with me.

“Goodnight, Jack,” I whisper, placing a tender kiss on his exposed shoulder.

“’night, Daniel.  Love you,” he replies sleepily.

“Love you, too,” I reply, giving him a little squeeze.

I absently curl my fingers in his chest hair while my mind tries to grapple with what we’ve done.  The implications are enormous.  This could affect our careers and our friendships.  Teal’c, I know, doesn’t have a problem, but Sam?  God, poor Sam.  What will she think?  What if she really does find Jack attractive?  This will kill her.

“Daniel, stop,” Jack’s muffled voice grunts.

“Sorry,” I say, removing my hand from his chest.

“Not that,” he mutters, reaching back, snagging my hand, and holding it to his chest.

“Everything will work out.  Trust me,” he says, patting my hand.

I sigh and relax into the warm comfort of his body.  “I always trust you.”

“Same here; now go to sleep,” he murmurs, squeezing my hand.

I close my eyes in utter contentment.

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

My nostrils twitch as I detect the tantalizing aroma of fresh-brewed coffee.  I frown slightly because it sure doesn’t smell like our normal off-world brand, or the base coffee.  I open my eyes to see Jack slowly waving a mug in my vicinity.  I blink the sleep out of my eyes.

“Jack?”

“Expecting someone else?” he asks, as he sits on the side of the bed. 

Bed?  Jack’s bed!  My eyes pop open as the previous night’s events hit me.

“Ah, I see you remember,” he teases.  “You gonna drink this?”

“Um, yes, thank you,” I say, sitting up.

I take the mug and enjoy a deep swallow.  “Good,” I murmur.

“Yes, you were.”

I peer over the rim of my mug.  He’s grinning and I feel my neck flush.

“You showered,” I accuse, finally noticed his sparkling and damp appearance.

“You were sleeping so soundly,” Jack shrugs.  “Didn’t have the heart to wake you.  Why, did you, uh, want to shower with me?”

“It crossed my mind.”

“Sweet.”

He cants his head to the side and regards me.

“What?” I ask, feeling strange.

“Can’t a guy just look?” he replies.  “Here, give me that.”

“Why?” I frown as he grasps my mug.

“Just let go, for crying out loud.”

I reluctantly release my grip and watch him as he places the coffee on the nightstand.

“Now what?” I ask.

“Now this,” he says, leaning down and sticking his tongue down my throat.

When he pulls back, I’m breathless.

“Better than coffee?” he asks, arching his eyebrows.

I lick my lips and swallow, catching my breath.  “I’m not sure; I think I need to try that again.”

“The things I do for you,” he mutters, claiming me once more.

I pull him down on top of me so he can feel my hardness.

“Daniel, I just showered,” he protests weakly, wrapping his arms around me.

I slip my hand easily down the waist of his sweats.  I fondle his balls and moan at the feel of his cock swelling.

“I-I can shower again,” Jack pants, grasping my hard cock in his hand.

“Too many clothes,” I complain as I start yanking his pants down.

“Wait a sec,” Jack grunts, and in record time, he’s naked.

 He settles back on top of me, but I have other ideas.  I roll him over and straddle his hips.

“I’ve dreamt about this for a long time, Jack,” I say huskily.

He lies perfectly still, watching me with large, dark eyes.

I kiss him tenderly on the lips and then I proceed to kiss my way down his body.  I linger over each nipple which hardens instantly as I suck, nip, and pull.  I smooth my hands over his body as I kiss.  Everything is so new; I don’t know how much control I have.  I don’t know how much control Jack has, either.  I feel his hardness as he arches up against me; I hear the desperation in his moans.  I don’t want to blow this, so I better get on with business and blow Jack.  I slide down until I’m eye to eye, so to speak, with his penis.  God, what a difference a day can make.  Hopeless fantasy one day, unbelievable reality the next.  I grasp his rigid cock and hold it upright.  I glance up at Jack; he’s staring at me, breathing hard.

“Danny,” he says softly.

I smile, lick my lips, and then I go down on him.  I have no illusions about my ability to deep throat and gagging on my first attempt at a blow job is not high on my list of things to achieve.  I can comfortably accommodate two thirds of Jack’s length and that’s a good a place to start and judging by Jack’s death grip on my shoulders, he’s happy with that.  I taste his pre-cum and accidentally make a wet, slurpy sound which arouses me immensely.  I think Jack likes it, too because he’s trying to ram his cock up my throat.   I really wasn’t sure if I’d like this, but like it I do; a lot.  I lick, nip, suck, and slurp like there’s no tomorrow.  It’s just me and Jack; Jack and me.  Nothing else exists.  His ‘fresh from the shower’ smell is overshadowed by the musky smell of arousal.  My cock throbs for release and my own moans sound desperate.  Sorry, Jack, but I’m going to have to use you.  I adjust my position so I’m basically humping his leg while I’m doing him.  We’re so close; any second now.  Jack’s thrusting hips suddenly still and I hear a strangled cry.  His cock pulses and then I feel the first warm spurts of his semen.  Oh, my God; this is really happening.  I swallow greedily, but even so, the sensation surprises me and I feel some dribble out the side of my mouth.  The eroticism of it fuels my own orgasm; I cry    out and shoot my load all over Jack’s once clean lower body.  I collapse in a heap, but I make a feeble effort to grind my penis into Jack’s.

“Jesus, you’re not serious, are you?” Jack gasps.

I start to giggle and Jack grumbles and rolls me over.

“You’re damn lucky you got what you did,” he says, staring down at me.

I smile up at him and his eyes go very soft.  Almost with reverence, he gently fingers the side of my mouth.  I know he just noticed his come on my face.  He looks back at me and my breath catches in my throat; he’s looking at me with wonder and love, and I feel my eyes burn.

“Daniel,” he whispers, like it’s a benediction.

My tears leak out and he leans down and gently kisses them off my face.   He then kisses my lips.  I open my mouth to allow him to taste himself; we both moan in pleasure and deepen our kiss.  Soon, he pulls back and rolls to his side.  We both grimace at the stickiness as our bodies pull apart.

“Um, about that shower?” I suggest.

“In a minute,” Jack replies.  “Let’s just lie here for awhile.”

I smile and snuggle in tight.  I’d be content to lie here forever.

“You look like the cat that got the cream,” Jack teases.

“I did,” I reply, arching my eyebrows and licking my lips.

“That’s not what I mean,” he scowls, blushing.

I snicker and burrow into his side.

“Damn,” he murmurs.

“What?”

“I have to pee and the coffee pot’s still on.”

I groan and roll away.

Jack scrambles out of bed and I follow suit.

“Uh, Daniel.  As much as I love you, I’d rather do this on my own,” Jack says.

“Relax, I’m just going to turn off the coffee pot,” I laugh.  And give Teal’c a quick call.

“Well, put something on, for crying out loud; it’s daylight and the curtains are open.”

“Oh, right,” I reply, looking down at my nudity.  “Do you mind if I wear your robe?”

“Crap, Daniel,” he mutters.  “After what we just did?”

I frown, not sure if that’s a yes or a no.

“I would very much like you to wear my robe,” Jack sighs, seeing my uncertainty.  “And no, I don’t have a fetish.  At least, not about that.”

My eyes widen and he ruffles my hair.  “I really gotta go.”

I smile and pad down the hallway.

“Hey, Daniel!”

I stop halfway and turn to see Jack grinning in the doorway.

“Yes?”

“Tell Teal’c, thanks from me, too.  And don’t dawdle,” he adds before disappearing from view.

I shake my head at my dismal attempt at subterfuge.  “I won’t,” I call out.

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

A few minutes later, I’m back in bed.

“So, what did the big guy say?” Jack asks, slipping his arms around me.

“He’s pretty pleased with himself.”

“Not as pleased as me,” Jack murmurs, caressing me.

I pull back and look at him in bemusement.

“Didn’t know I was such a sap, did you?” he grins.

“It’s a pleasant surprise,” I acknowledge, sinking back into his embrace.

“Yeah, well you’ll find I’m full of it,” Jack murmurs.

“Hell, I’ve know that since the day I met you,” I retort.

“I mean full of surprises, you nimrod.”

“That, too,” I smile and kiss him fully on the lips.

“Mmm, this really is happening, isn’t it?” he asks softly after I release him.

“You and I are lovers,” I whisper in awe, running my finger down his jaw.

“Lovers and best friends,” Jack corrects, catching my hand and kissing my palm.

I don’t say anything and he looks up, his eyes twinkling.  “Surprised again?”

“No, blessed,” I whisper.

“Oh, no, Danny.  I’m the one who’s blessed,” Jack says as he clasps me to his chest.  “And damned if I know why,” he adds, burying his face in my hair.

Tears of joy trickle down my face and I bask in our love for each other.  We’ve taken our relationship to a whole new level, and I’m not naïve enough to believe we won’t face hardship or even heartache with our decision.  I often feared my life had no meaning; I served no purpose.  Oma DeSala presented me with the opportunity to rectify that.  Or, so I thought.  Coming back … no, coming home taught me I always had both, and being here in Jack’s arms confirms that in a way words could never.

“I love you,” Jack whispers.

I smile; except for those words.

“I love you, too.”

 

 

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.