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Out and About 6

sun, sea, sand and something or other

Summary: It's Christmas and Daniel finds out just what Jack's been planning. So, how much trouble can he get into? Remember this is Daniel and SG-1 we're talking about. Contains a tiny bit of consensual tying up (all in good fun folks, I don't do the nasties as you know by now)

I HATE Christmas shopping. Elbows in ribs, kicked shins, tackled by old age pensioners for the last bit of wrapping paper in the mall and losing to them. Nah, I really should do it earlier. Like in January or something. Or NEVER! Grrr.

Never mind, it's done. It must be as a result of the last few weeks but I've gone nuts and pretty much bankrupted myself, but what the hell. Mom's done well, she's gotten a year's membership of the local health club, full of masseurs and aromatherapists and the like. Think I might join myself. Janet and Sam have a trip to a local chocolate factory, with all the chocs they can eat when they get there. Ed's got a large selection of beers from micro-breweries. Cassie - well, I've spoilt her rotten. I've arranged a session with one of the beauty salons in town. She's getting a voucher which she can spend on a hairdo, makeover and God knows what else, not to mention I conspired with Sam and the others and she's getting a whole new wardrobe to go with her new look. Well, she is growing up. Teal'c is going to be the recipient of a DVD player, Jack's picking out a whole load of films that he and the others are going to buy. George has got shares in a rodeo company; Jack's family, well, let's say they've got tons of stuff winging their way to Chicago. Paul and Josh have a subscription to a wine company, getting deliveries every month.

And there's Jack. Oh boy, I hope I got this one right. I sounded out Sam, ferreted out Ferretti's opinion, and grilled George. I needed a pilot's view on this one. I'm praying he's gonna like it. It's costing me an arm and a leg. Probably will if it all goes wrong. Just as well I don't have to pay any rent or anything now, and Jack's house is all paid for. I have enough money for this - as long as I keep my job. I'd better behave from now on.

Jack, on the other hand, is being as sneaky as ever. There have been the phone calls, trips out into town and 'I know something you don't' grins when he gets back. If I don't find out what's going on soon I'm going to go spare.

"Hiya!" he says as he walks through the door, looking particularly pleased with himself. Don't know why, we have to go back to work tomorrow. It's been a funny old week, recovering from the battles and the trip to Chicago. Steven phoned me, he's decided not to take me up on the job offer. Can't say I'm sorry, but he seemed a lot more friendly than he was, so hopefully we'll keep in contact. That would be nice. It's much better having friends than enemies.

"What have you been up to?" I ask as I go over to him, only to get pulled close to him and kissed senseless. He has been up to something. "Have you been drinking?" I detected a distinct tang of beer on his tongue.

"Just a beer. Been over to see the lovebirds," he says. Ah, Sam and Ed. And he didn't invite me? What is going on?

"Damn!" he says. "I forgot to get coffee when I was out."

"Jack! That's what you went out for." I'm cross, he knows how much I need that. I grab my keys and jacket and storm out of the house.

"He's gone," I call out. Carter, Ed and Mom appear from the back door.

"Quick," Carter says. "We've got to get this done now. He's going to kill you, you know," she adds.

I do know. He hates flying. And he's going on a trip.

We rush upstairs and pull out the suitcases. All the new clothes I've bought and hidden from him are quickly packed, along with his prescription sunglasses, allergy stuff and my favourite bandanas. Before he comes home we get the suitcase into the trunk of Carter's car. My suitcase follows and then we all sit down in the living room, drinking tea and generally finishing off the organising before he gets home. We get Ed to make the tea, he can't stand the way we make it.

"Janet said that Cassie is going nuts with excitement," Sam says. "The dog's going to stay with the Ferrettis till we get back, I think he's going to enjoy himself. Lou's dog gets on well with him."

This is going to be so good. I can't wait to see Danny's face. I know he's going to complain that he's got too much work to do, but he needs this. Hell, we all need this.

"Are you sure that George doesn't mind you coming without him, Mom?" I ask her.

"He wanted to come but he thought he'd cramp your style," she teases. "Anyway, he has a lot to do. Your adventure has changed the parameters somewhat at work. He's working closely with Jacob to find out which Goa'uld are likely to try to take the place of the System Lords. He's sent a number of teams into different places to find things out."

"Don't tell Daniel that, please, he'll think we should be there doing our bit."

"I know. Don't worry, Jack. It's about time the other teams got some of the glory. You can't keep it all for yourselves."

Huh. They can have the glory, we just don't like being left out of things.

"Is Teal'c ready?" I ask Sam.

"Oh yeah, Janet's picking him up about now. She'll meet us at the airport."

I hear his key in the door. It's showtime!

"Oh, hi," he says as he sees us waiting for him. "What's going on?" He looks very suspicious.

I nod at the others, we're good to go.

"Come with us," Mom orders. He has his 'deer in the headlights' look but does what he's told. I grab our keys and a few other things, lock up the house and we all pile into Sam's car.

Mom's in the front, Carter's driving. I think that Daniel's relieved. Mom's driving is nearly as offensive as mine. Meanwhile, he's squashed in-between Ed and myself in the back.

"Where are we going?" he asks suspiciously, trying to stifle a yawn. I crushed up a couple of his travel tablets and put them in his coffee before I left for Carter's when he was wrapping the last of his gifts. They take a while to work. Wonder what he's got for me?

"The airport," I say. This is why he's between Ed and myself. He can't get out now.


"We're going on a little trip, Daniel. All of us."


"Wait and see, dear," Mom calls.

"But Mom," he whines. He's got this seven year-old kid thing off pat with her. Unfortunately for him, Mom's heard it all before, three times with her own and three times with her grandkids. Charlie was really good at it and she never cracked with him.

"Now, now, Daniel. Be patient," she scolds, her tone of voice tells him to 'shut up or I'll come back there and tan your hide, my boy'. She would too, never held back with me. Huh.

The airport isn't far from us and it's set with the backdrop of Pike's Peak. Looks good today, lots of clear blue skies. Perfect flying weather.

"First stop, check-in," I say and we head over to the desk. We have to fly to LA first. An hour or so in the air there and then change flights and airlines. It'll keep him on his toes. He'd better be okay about this, if I'd wanted to do this cheaper we'd have had to have gone via Salt Lake City first. Three different planes. I think that the extra expense is worth it though. It's costing me over a thousand dollars each return ticket. Glad the others are paying their own way - what with the accommodations at the other end and all. Nearly needed to remortgage. But it's gonna be worth it. After all that's gone on, I want to indulge him. We're all feeling this way at the moment. What's the point in saving up when you don't even know if you'll be alive tomorrow?

Janet, Teal'c and Cassie are here. George has arranged that Teal'c gets an official identity for trips away from the mountain. Murray Hammond (Teal'c chose the surname, George was tickled pink) gets to go on holiday. This is why Janet has to come. If anything happened to him, she'd have to take care of him. We wanted her to come anyway.

"Jack, are you going to tell me now?" Daniel's asking - again.

"We're going to fly to LA for now. Please Daniel. It's a surprise for you. Will you let us do this please? It will make us happy."

He softens at that. "Okay," he says and catches hold of my hand and gives it a squeeze. I guess he's all right now. The tranquillisers must be kicking in.

We hand over the luggage, get our tickets sorted and head off to the departure lounge.

"I wish I'd known," he says. "I'd have brought a book to read on the flight."

"Don't worry, we'll keep you occupied, I promise."

I wish he wouldn't do things like this to me, but I know he means well, so I'm keeping quiet for now. He says we're going to LA first. Where on from there? Mexico maybe? Or are we driving out somewhere? Cassie's with us, perhaps we're going to that Disney place. I do hope not. Days of enforced smiling does not appeal. We've bagged the wing seats. Fortunately the plane is only half-full. All of SG-1 have long legs. We need to stretch out. Twelve seats between eight of us. That should do nicely. We sprawl and talk across the aisle, effectively putting off anyone else wanting to sit anywhere near us. For once, I am not sorry. We've saved this damn planet too often to count. It's only fair we get a break once in a while.

"I take it you arranged vacation time?" I ask Jack.

"Yep! All sorted. We need it Daniel. You need it, I need it. We have to get away, show 'Murray' over there a bit more of life."

I agree. Poor Teal'c has spent most of his life on Earth either up at the mountain or at one of our places. He's seen a bit of the US, but very little.

Cassie loves flying and she's babbling about just how good it is.

"Um, Cassie, darling, change the subject please." Janet nods over to me. I know, I know, I'm as white as a sheet.

"Daniel? You're afraid?"

She deserves an explanation.

"My foster parents were killed in a plane crash, Cass. I hate flying."

She comes across and sits next to me and grabs hold of my hand. No spurious sympathy, no patronising, she's just there with me. Despite the hormones, she's a good kid.

I think a little game to kill the time would help. As usual, I don't tell them that's what we're doing, they have to guess.

"Is a beauty parlour a place where women curl up and dye?"

I get the usual clubbed seal looks until Sam twigs. She's the one with the nearest sense of humour to mine so she tends to pick up on my thought processes first.

"Is a mosquito an insect that makes you like flies better?"

"Toothache - pain that drives you to extraction." Ouch! Trust Janet to come up with that one.

"Polaroids - what Eskimos get from sitting on the ice." Jack - who else?

Cassie's got the giggles and comes up with a good one. "A stick - a boomerang that didn't come back."

Ed thinks we're nuts but says "An egotist - someone Me deep in conversation."

Mom chimes in, "A gossip - someone who won't tell a lie if the truth will hurt more." Double ouch.

We look at Teal'c. He sits quietly for a moment and then says, "A yawn is an honest opinion openly expressed." Nice.

We've arrived in LA. Haven't been here for some time. It's a nice day but we're not leaving the terminal, we have another flight, apparently. Oh dear. Jack says we have an hour to wait before the flight goes. He shepherds us off to the other airline check-in desk. I'm trying to find out where we're going but Teal'c is standing in front of me and I have four females harassing me so I can't move. This is getting frustrating. ID cards are handed over without me even getting to the desk properly. The lady at the check-in asks to see my face and I manage to get it around Teal'c and I finally see our destination on the display. Honolulu! Wow! Jack's face is a picture. I guess mine must be too. He comes back to me and says, "Early Christmas present, Spacemonkey. Ten days in Maui in an hotel on the beach."

I'm silenced by this, my mouth is opening and closing but nothing is coming out. I settle for giving him a big hug for now.

"Sorry you have to fly, Danny, but it would have taken us our entire break to drive here and sail there."

"'Sokay, Jack, wow, thanks. I'll be okay, promise."

We go to the departure lounge and he gets me a coffee. "I gave you your pills before, you didn't know it at the time. Sorry about that, but I didn't want to give the game away till the last minute."

I forgive him, of course I do.

"You've wanted to go there since the episode with Urgo, haven't you?" I ask.

"Yeah, but I wanted a break and you need one, and you hate the cold, so I didn't think you'd want to go to Minnesota somehow."

"You know me so well," I say with a grin.

A cry goes up across the lounge.

"Mary? Mary O'Neill? What are you doing here?"

"Martha, I could say the same about you. I'm going to Maui. My son is taking me," Mom says proudly. "Come here, boys, this is Martha Dubois, from the Mother's Union back in Chicago. Have you met my son?" she asks the woman. 'Martha' comes over to meet us halfway. She's about 4' 10" and Mom's age. Though she's trying to look about forty and failing miserably.

"Martha, this is my youngest son, Jack, he's a colonel in the Air Force. And this," she points to me, "is my newest acquisition." She winks at me as she says it, "Dr. Daniel O'Neill-Jackson. He's an archaeologist."

Martha does a double take at my surname. I extend my hand and she takes it warily.

"Pleased to meet you Mrs. Dubois," I say.

"Charmed, I'm sure," she replies.

Jack does the unthinkable and holds my hand as he greets her. Her eyes are popping out. Mom's going on about how 'her boys' insisted on her moving to the Springs and how we're taking her on holiday and treating her so well. We're desperately trying not to laugh at Mom's exaggerations.

"Mom," I say. "I think our flight's going soon, we'd better go."

"Of course, of course. Never a dull moment these days. Well, good to see you again, Martha. Say 'hello' to the ladies at the Senior Citizen's Centre, won't you?" Mom's voice is ringing loudly through the lounge and Martha looks like she wants to kill her.

And we go, leaving a goldfish standing in our wake. As soon as we're out of sight Mom cracks, signalling the chance for us to laugh at last.

"Mom, you're incorrigible," Jack admonishes her.

"Where do you think you got it from, Jonathan?" She giggles and heads off to the gate.

We're here, we're finally here. Three hours or thereabouts to Honolulu and then a small plane to Maui and we're here. We have a villa, five bedrooms, on the edge of the beach, with its own swimming pool. Paradise. It's still low season for the next couple of weeks, but it should be warm enough. It's a lot warmer than the Springs, that's for sure. Ed and Sam have bagged one room, Mom has her own, Janet and Cassie are sharing a twin and Teal'c has his own room. He's disappointed that it doesn't have a magic fingers bed, I think. And Daniel and I have the most romantic view on the planet. Palm trees, facing the sunset, the ocean outside our window. Beautiful, truly beautiful.

He turns and smiles at me, the setting sun making his hair shine red. "Thank you, Jack, this is wonderful," he murmurs.

I put my hands out to him and he falls into my arms. "You are very welcome, Daniel. I'm happy you like it."

"Like it? I love it. I always wanted to come to the Hawaiian Islands. I knew someone from Maui at Harvard. She was such a nice and friendly person, you know? So warm, so different from the New Yorkers I'd known, all cynical and hard. She would tell me about the islands and the people. I fell in love with the idea of the place and now I'm here. It's perfect, Jack, absolutely perfect."

He shows me just how grateful he is by taking me to bed. Oh yes, it was worth every cent for this. An unhurried and gentle Daniel is a joy to behold.

Ugh. Morning. Or is it afternoon? To tell the truth I don't actually care. We must have spent an hour making love last night, slowly taking our time, exploring each other's bodies as if it was the first time we'd met. When we finally got down to it I came so hard I saw stars. I think I can still see a few. What is surprising me though is that Daniel's isn't here. He rarely gets up before me.

I stagger out of bed, my head is fuzzy with late nights, lots of travel and a touch of jet lag. You'd think we'd be immune to that with all the gate travel. Not a hope. And there's only three hours difference. I'm hungry, so I pull on some shorts and go off in search of food. Breakfast is being supplied, leaving us free to explore the island the rest of the day.

I find Daniel lying by the side of the pool on a lounger, Sam by his side on another. Janet, Cassie and Ed are in the pool, Mom and Teal'c are walking along the sand.

"Good morning campers!" I say. "It's a beautiful day."

"Hi Jack," Daniel looks up from under his sunglasses. I see he found everything. He's just wearing his cut-down denims and he's covered in sunblock. Sam is too, so I'm guessing the sibs covered each other up.

"Hey, put a T-shirt on, you don't want to burn. That's the trouble with you blondes, one whiff of sunshine and you go bright red."

"We're okay, Jack. It's only in the seventies, the sun's warm but not too hot yet. We'll cover up later, don't fuss so much. Here, have something to eat." He stands up and takes me by the hand to a table which is covered in breakfast things, lots and lots of fruit and coffee to drink. Daniel's pouring himself something else though.

"Buck's fizz," he says. "With real champagne." His eyes twinkle as he sips the tall glass, bubbles popping on the surface and tickling his lips.

"Try some?" he asks.

I nod, give a consenting grunt. But instead of pouring me a drink he takes a sip and then kisses me instead. Oh boy, I'm glad I've got my denims on, if I'd put my bathing trunks on everyone would know what effect he has on me.

I hear him put his glass on the table and then feel his arms go around me. Next thing I know we're being yelled at by the others and told to cut it out.

"Take it indoors, you two, you're putting me off my stroke," Janet orders.

We break apart and get something to eat instead.

This is the life, eating fruit, drinking buck's fizz and dangling my feet in a swimming pool in December. Looking out at the Pacific and the palm trees and lovely beaches. Pity real life beckons in nine days' time.

"This is what it's all about," Daniel says. "This is Earth at its best. Peaceful, stunning, clean, quiet, wonderful views," he's looking at me as he murmurs that last bit. Maybe we should take it indoors.

"O'Neill!" Damn, Teal'c's voice bellows across the courtyard.

"Good morning Murray," I call. There are staff around, gotta keep up the pretence.

He's come closer now. "What do you have planned for today?" he demands.

"Nothing, absolutely nothing. I fully intend to do an impersonation of a rock. I'm going to sit in the sun and anyone that wants to move me will have to do all the hard work themselves. What about you?"

"Dr. O'Neill and I are going to visit some of the local amenities."

"Look, T man, we're on holiday. Try to call us by our given names when we're here, huh? It will look strange to people if you call the women by their titles all the time. I thought that we were family now. Give it a go, whatd'ya say?"

"I will endeavour to do this if I have their permission. It would be impolite for me to do otherwise."

"You can call me Mary anytime you like, dear," Mom says. "In fact, I would prefer it. Actually, seeing as you are family, you can call me Mom if you want. I always wanted to have lots of children."

"I am in fact old enough to be your father," he tells her gently.

"I know. You don't have to rub it in. Damn, if I looked half as good as you when I was Jack's age I'd have been thrilled to bits."

"Mom, tell me about it," I say. "I'm less than half his age and look at me. Grey."

"Silver," Daniel puts in. "And you look very, very sexy." I see a swipe of his tongue over his lip, followed by him holding his bottom lip in his teeth and the fluttering eyelashes. Whoo Momma. How quickly can we get indoors?

Talking of Momma. "Jack? You're not going to spend the next nine days here, are you?"

"No Mom, just today. I need to lounge, to rest. You know how it is. I've been busy recently."

She buys that, mainly 'cause it's true. Cassie and Janet are ushered out of the pool, Mom and Teal'c are going to take them out somewhere. Ed and Sam have disappeared. Don't know where. Don't really care as long as they have fun and they're safe.

That leaves Danny and me. We go back to the sun-loungers, top each other's sunblock up and crash.

What a lovely day. We did absolutely nothing. Apart from lounge, cool off occasionally in the pool, rub sunblock in and took one quiet stroll on the beach. It was perfect. Unfortunately, the mob has returned. The weather is still glorious, so we're eating out in the courtyard, drinking something quite lethal and having a great time.

It's too early to go to bed, but Cassie's still too young to come out with us at night. Which is why Mom came. She's going to stay and keep her company while we go out. Danny and I go off to get changed, telling the others we'll meet them in the lounge of the hotel that this villa is part of.

He's just come out of the bathroom, dressed up and raring to go. And I now think I want to stay in.

"God, Danny, you look to die for." He does, he's in cream colour chinos with a pale-blue short-sleeved shirt opened at the neck. He's slipped in one of his earrings, the gold glistening when he turns his head. He's popped his contacts in too.

I pull him into my arms and we spend a good few minutes just kissing and holding each other. Love this, it's so intimate in a funny sort of way. Nothing said, I can just hear his breath and feel it on my neck.

He pulls back. "Come on, we promised we'd meet them. We don't have to stay out too late."

No, we don't. So, off we go and the gang are already waiting for us. Oh no, it's a sort of karaoke night with people either choosing to sing to a backing track or get the live band to play for them. I guess it depends on whether the band knows the tune requested or not. One guy has got up and he's singing something for his girlfriend.

"Oh," Janet sighs. "That's so romantic. I wish someone would sing to me."

Daniel's gotten an evil look on his face. He goes to the bar and they give him a pen and some paper. What is he doing?

Someone's torturing a lovely old ballad and I can see Daniel wincing as each note is missed. I'm tone deaf but even I know this is terrible. Polite applause - mainly tinged with relief when the screecher sits. Oh God, Daniel's heading over to the band. The guy at the piano gets up and moves and Daniel takes his place. I know he can play and I know he can sing, but what is he going to do?

"This is for Jan, with sincerest apologies to Billy Joel."

His fingers start to stroke the keys, I know that tune: "She's always a woman." It's one of my favourites. He's singing. Jan's blushing. Oh my God, he's changed the words.


She can kill with a smile
She can wound with her eyes
She can ruin your face and play hell with your thighs
and she makes you reveal what she's waiting to see,
then she laughs like a drain,
'cause that's 'Janet the Doctor' to me.


She can lead you to life
She can patch you and stitch you,
She can take out your blood and then she will fix you,
And she'll take what she wants, just as long as she's free,
To laugh in your face
and she'll always be 'Doctor' to me.


Oh, she takes care of us all
And she never gives up,
When we're dying or ill
Oh, and she's never put out,
When we're sick on the floor
She just gives us some pills.


She will promise you needles
She's wickedly evil
And she pulls off more stunts than old Evil Kneevil
But when you need a good doctor
She's there on the ward,
Bitching and cursing and always 'Ze Doktor' to me.


Oh, she takes care of us all
And she never gives up,
When we're dying or ill
Oh, and she's never put out,
When we're sick on the floor
She just gives us some pills.


She is frequently kind and then suddenly cruel,
She can do as she pleases, she's nobody's fool.
But she can't be convicted, 'cause she's our MD
'Sides lawyers run frightened from Janet, the Major,
who's always, 'My Doctor' to me.


Hysteria from us, loud applause from everyone else and Janet's gone as red as a strawberry. About time too. He comes back over to us and she gets up, whispers something to him as he bends down to her. He laughs. I only hope she wasn't threatening him. Then he kisses her hard and shuts her up completely.

"Do you mind him doing that?" Ed asks me.

"Not in the slightest. They've been like this since before we got together. I wouldn't dare try to come between them. I wouldn't try to come between him and Sam if I were you, either."

"I know that one, she warned me from the start. No matter how close she and I get, he's her little brother and that's that."

"You know it," I agree. I wouldn't dream of weaning the sibs off each other. It's not going to happen.

Jan enjoyed the teasing, but now I have to face the music - literally.

"Okay, Daniel, since when do you get up and sing and play and not blush. Not to mention the fact that you changed those words in a matter of minutes. Come on, explanation time."

Well, I suppose it won't hurt Jack to find out a bit more about me.

"When I was at Oxford I used to front a band. I'd play keyboards and sing. We used to play in local pubs for beer money."

"You're really good," Sam's saying. Gosh, I think I'm gonna blush - not.

"Thanks. We used to do it for fun. The lyric thing is an old trick. Sometimes we'd change the words to well-known songs at the request of people that knew us. We'd do it to embarrass mainly, but it was always in good part, you know? The better-known characters at the Uni all got assassinated by us at one time or another. Lots of the professors, deans, that sort of thing, sometimes the better-known sports stars."

"Gimme," Jan says and snatches the bit of paper that I wrote the words on. "I'm getting that framed," she jokes. "No one's ever done that for me before and I loved it. Thanks Daniel."

"You're welcome," I say with a grin. It makes me wonder just what I'm going to rewrite for Jack? He's looking a tad worried. I think I'll make him sweat.

"Come on, Danny, let's go, I'm getting a bit tired." I think he's also concerned that I might come up with something really awful about him. I might. There's plenty of time for me to do that.

We bid the others goodnight, getting teased something rotten when Jack puts his arm around my shoulder. So what? We're on holiday and I'll be damned if I'm hiding my relationship with him ever again.

We're strolling back to the villa along the beach. It's a bit of a detour, but no one's here and it's so peaceful.

"Love this," I say to him as I snuggle in a little closer.

"Yeah, good isn't it?" I can feel him smiling. I love it when he's so happy, he gets all mushy on me. We're close to the villa and there's a palm tree nearby. It leans a bit backwards along its lower trunk, probably bent by high Pacific winds. I lead him to it and push him gently against it.

"Danny? What do you have in mind?"

"Trust me, Jack?"

"Of course."

"Then shut your eyes and don't talk. Just listen."

I lay him along the trunk, he's standing but the tree is propping him up. He's shut his eyes and not saying a word. Now, what shall I do? Maybe a kiss to start with? I can distract him while my hands do something else. His belt is undone and I unzip his pants before he knows it. More kisses, his hands are holding me tight. I have a different idea now though. I take his arms and push them out behind him so they hold onto the trunk. Then I kneel down and slide his pants down. I thought as much, he's gone commando. Love his predictability at times, it comes in handy.


"Sh, babe, shut your eyes and don't make a single sound, no matter what, okay?"

A quiet whimper signals his agreement. I don't know how he's going to keep quiet when I get going, but he's going to have to.

I set to work, my tongue tracing the length of his dick. A gasp from above tells me he's okay with this. I can't make it last too long, we are out in the open and no matter how much we want it otherwise, it really would be bad for his career if we were caught. So I take him all quickly. He knows how important it is to keep quiet, so we can listen out for anyone approaching. The silence, only broken by the crashing waves, is incredibly erotic. He can't hold on, I don't want him to. I force the issue by stroking his perineum and playing with his balls. He lets go at the same time as a large wave breaks on the beach. He falls to the floor, grabs me and kisses me hard.

"God, Danny," he pants when he finally gets his breath back.

"Okay?" I ask.

"Okay? C'mere you," he pulls me close and kisses me hard. He starts to do something for me but I have something else in mind.

"Let's go back to the villa," I whisper. "I want you in our room."

He acquiesces, letting me take the lead tonight. To be fair, Jack will usually let me do that, I think he thinks it makes up for him ordering me around in the field.

We shut the door behind us as we enter our room. Our bed is large and extravagantly comfortable so I lead him there.

"Kiss me," I say. He knows what I want now. A filthy grin comes my way as he quickly shucks his clothes and then removes mine. I'm not going to do a damn thing. It's up to him what he does, I don't care. All I want is Jack, and he'll make sure I get it in spades.

"Good morning guys," Janet calls as we emerge into the sunlight. Ugh, just as well I have my sunglasses with me.

Breakfast by the pool is such a civilised way to start the day, I think. Pity Colorado is too cold to even entertain the thought of eating outdoors in winter. Brrr, I shiver at the merest suggestion of it.

"You okay, Daniel?" Jack asks.

"Sure, just thinking how cold it is back home."

"Now you see, that's your problem, you think too much." Thanks Jack, I think. He pours me a coffee. I'll forgive him then.

"So, what's on the agenda today?" I ask.

"No agenda," he says. "It's up to everyone what they do. That's the idea of vacations Daniel, relaxation."

Huh. I know that. It's just sitting on the beach for ten days is a bit monotonous. We'll have to go and have a look around, I think. There's a cab service based at the hotel, so we can go into town if we want. I think we should go and explore.

"Daniel, that's what we do for a living. Explore," Jack complains.

"Jack, you can stay here if you want, but I'd like to go out, do some stuff."

A couple of harrumphs and sighs and he gives in. I wish he was this easy off-world.

So, we're dressed and ready to go. We've met up and we're heading to the main complex. There's a large courtyard with different things going on. Tennis courts to one side, a golf course or two available to guests, it's quite magnificent. Oh no, I shouldn't, but I don't think I can resist.

"Daniel? What now?" Jack knows the look that I must have plastered to my face.

There's a man holding court at an outdoor chess table. A long-suffering woman is standing next to him, as is a boy of about ten. I can guess that they must be his family and desperate to go elsewhere, but this guy is boasting to anyone that will listen about how good he is at chess.

"I was state champion for three years running," he booms. "I ended up retiring because I wanted to give the others a chance."

As if. Probably was taken to one side and asked to go away.

"Excuse me," I say. "Did I hear you say you play? I haven't had the chance to play in a while. I'd love a game if you're willing."

A groan goes up from behind me. Don't worry guys, I can play quickly.

"Well, sure thing," loudmouth says.

"Which state were you champion in?" I ask, already knowing the answer from his accent.

"Wyoming," he replies quietly. No wonder, not one of the more populous states.

"Oh," I say. "I live in Colorado these days. We're almost neighbours." He brightens up at that.

"My name is Kelvin Buckley, I'm a lawyer."

Oh dear.

"Daniel Jackson, linguist," I say as I hurriedly set the game up. I pick up two pieces in my hands and he chooses. He's white. A standard opening couple of moves and we're away.

"So Daniel, where did you play?"

"Oh, at college."

"Which one? I went to Yale myself." You would have, wouldn't you?

"Oh, um, Harvard, Oxford, The Oriental Institute," I say off-handedly. He's gone a little quiet.

"Oh? What did you study?"

"I did a Masters in anthropology at Oxford and PhDs in linguistics and archaeology at the others."

"Erp." I look up. Yes, he did say 'erp'. "A double PhD? Impressive."

"Not so, I should have completed the third at Oxford but I was offered the place at Chicago. Never mind. Maybe I'll finish it when I have the time." I can hear a few sniggers from behind me, the gang are trying not to laugh.

He's not a very imaginative player. Time to finish it. I up my speed, making moves immediately after he does. He tries to speed up himself but he's losing his concentration. At least he's stopped talking. And time for the killer move.

"Checkmate I believe."

He looks astounded at the board and then back up at me. I smile, stand up, put my hand out to him and thank him for the match. I look at his family. They look relieved. I think that he may stay away from the board now.

"I can't take you anywhere," Jack hisses.

"Oh, what have I done wrong now?" I ask, giving him my most innocent look. Sam cracks up.

"No, no, no, no, no, Daniel, you can't do that anymore. I know you too well. No more Dr. Sweet'n'Innocent Jackson. You are a cold, calculating, manipulative, ruthless bastard."

"Thank you."

"You're most welcome."

Ah fuck, allergies. I start sneezing like mad. Jack hands me a tissue from his pocket. He always remembers as I always forget.

"Did you take your antihistamines Daniel?" Janet asks sternly.

"Didn't think I was going to need them. There must be pollen or a dog around somewhere."

Jack hands me a couple of tablets from the packet he's gotten in his jacket.

"I picked them up before we left," he says with a shrug. He always brings some spare when we're on a mission too. I take them gratefully. It will take a while before they kick in.

That was a most pleasant morning. We went into the nearest town - and no, I can't pronounce it. We've also found a language that Daniel doesn't speak. Amazing.

We've found a lovely restaurant and we're eating outside. We've chosen a wide range of local dishes and tasting bits of them all. I could get used to this. The punch we're drinking is quite potent. Just as well we're not driving anywhere. I'm having a hard time keeping Cassie from it and aiming her at the soft drinks. Daniel's getting very giggly.

"Daniel? How much of this have you drunk?"

"Only a couple of glasses, Jack, honest. It's good," he adds as he pours himself another, sneezing as he does. Those tablets haven't kicked in yet. The drink quickly goes the way of the others. I call the waiter over and ask what's in it. Oh dear. Rum. Very strong rum. And lots of it.

We finish the meal and pay and decide to go for a stroll before heading back to the hotel. Where's Daniel? He's disappeared. We scatter to look for him and it's a good few minutes before Teal'c calls out that he's found him.

"Daniel," I say as calmly as I can. "Why are you climbing up a palm tree?"

"'Cause I couldn't find an oak," he says grinning like an idiot.

He reaches out to me, I step close and he kisses my forehead before pulling himself back up and going further up the tree.

"Daniel! Come down now!" Mom calls out.

"Oh no, you'll only tell me off," he replies, his voice sounding slurred but somehow childlike. He goes up as far as he can.

"D'ya like coconuts?"

"Um yes?" I answer, not really wanting to know why he asked.

Thwump! A coconut lands at my feet. "Got one for you!" he yells. More thuds as a few more coconuts come hurtling down. We run, not wanting one to land on our heads.

"Daniel! Stop that now and come down!" I insist. I can't believe that a few glasses of punch got him like this.

Oh no, the police have arrived.

Carter's trying to calm them down, the older cop comes over to me as I try to persuade the monkey down from the tree.

"He's with you?" the cop asks.

"To my regret," I say with a sigh.

"Is he drunk?"

"That's the only explanation, but I don't know how, he didn't drink that much. I've seen him put away a lot more."

"Is he on any medication?"

"Antihistamines, here look," I say as I pull the packet of tablets out of my jacket. I look at them. Oh. My. God. "I think I know what's going on," I announce in my colonel's voice. I wasn't really awake when I picked them up.

"Janet, look." I give her the packet of happy pills that he takes for his fear of flying. Then I hit my head slowly and rather painfully against the tree trunk.

"Whatcha doin' that for, Jack?" Monkey-boy says as he appears right next to me - hanging upside down by his legs. "Tha's silly. Silly, silly Jack. Tha's gotta hurt!"

Not as much as you're going to hurt me when you find out what I did, Danny.

I can hear Janet explaining the situation to the cop who is in danger of wetting himself. The younger guy that's with him, a rookie by the looks of him, wants to arrest Daniel for being drunk and disorderly. The older guy just shakes his head.

"It's not his fault," he says. "Come on, I think these guys can handle him. You all right if he gets a bit much?" he asks me.

"Sure, sure, I haven't spent nearly thirty years in the Air Force to not be able to handle a spaced-out civilian. Not to mention I've got three majors over there that can back me up."

The cop pats me on the back, wishes me luck and departs, dragging the other one with him.

"Ed?" I call out to him - he's currently laughing his head off at Daniel's antics.


"How fast can you run?"


"Faster than Carter?"

"A bit."


"Why oh?"

"Because Daniel can outrun any of us and he's heading that way!"

Somehow Daniel has headed out of the tree and down onto the beach. Mom and Cassie sit on a rock to watch the spectacle of the rest of us heading after the spaced Spacemonkey.

"Daniel stop will ya!" I pant. He's a constant few steps ahead of us, letting us get close, but not close enough. He's always out of reach.

What on earth is he doing now? His bandana has just come off and he's running fast and letting it wave in the air. A breeze has caught it and he's let it go.

"Look! A kite!" he says, laughing at it. I have no idea what's going on in that head of his but I think that whatever plot was there before has now gone. Completely. Totally and utterly. The boy's gone mad.

No Daniel, not the sea. Please no, I don't want to get wet and you're in no fit state to swim. Surfing? You want to go surfing? Now? Okay, I know you want to but hey, you're smashed Daniel. You go out there like this and you won't be coming back. Come on, home now. Let's go back to the hotel, huh?

"Poop! Jackie's a party pooper. No fun, I want fun, c'mon Jack. Please. Teal'c will play with me, won't you? He's my buddy. You're not!"

Why is it that this combination of happy pills and booze always turns him into an overgrown five year-old with the sense and sex drive of an eighteen year-old? I am not getting too close to him just yet, I know that look. It's the look that says 'come here and I'll fuck you to within an inch of your life'. Normally I 'come here', hell, I'll come wherever I am, but not now.

Teal'c meanwhile is sneaking around behind him, trying to distract him so that we can grab him. Some surfers are coming over to us. Perhaps they'll help us out.

"Hey bro, you gettin' any trouble from these dudes?"

Hell, do they really speak like this? And bro? Oh, of course. Daniel's current attire is a sleeveless T-shirt, denim cut-offs, shades and his still long, blond hair. His muscles are showing, the tattoo on his arm is out for the world to see, the one on his thigh is only half-covered, and he has a couple of earrings in. And he looks like a god. And a surfer. Dammit.

"They don' wanna let me have any fun," he's whining.

"And why is that, Daniel?" I ask, the voice of reason as he heads over to the 'sanctuary' of the surfers.

"'Cause you're no fun anymore," hell, he's pouting. I tell him.

"I don't pout," he retorts, poking his tongue out and then getting an evil look on his face.

"Danny, come on. Look guys," I say to his new 'friends', "I can see how you'd think he's a surfer, but he isn't. And we aren't his enemies either, honest. He's just got some medication mixed up, it was my fault, and now he's out of it."

"What? He's on a bad trip or something?" the lead surfer asks.

"Something like that. It's not his fault, it's mine, I picked up the wrong tablets. Then I let him drink rum. I've got to get him back to the hotel before he crashes and it won't be long before that happens."

The surfer isn't so sure that I'm telling the truth.

"Daniel isn't a surfer or a junkie, he's a freakin' archaeologist," I'm getting a touch desperate. I call in the big guns. Sam and Janet.

They head over to him.

"Man, you have some totally awesome babes," one guy says to Daniel. Daniel just giggles.

"Babes?" Carter says. Oh no.

"Carter, don't," I warn. She's scowling hard. Janet on the other hand is positively preening. Damn fool woman.

"Daniel, come on, sugar, time to go," she purrs.

Daniel's wavering. Janet's coming on to him like a pro. I'm gonna have to watch her.

"They're not mine," Daniel says, "not mine. Sammy's my sister, doesn't like being called a babe. She's a major - smart but dangerous. You'd better say sorry or she'll beat you up." He smiles like a moron as he says it. The beach bum apologises though and Carter backs down.

"If they aren't with you then who are you with?" one of them asks, obviously unable to believe that he's not with anyone.

"ME!" I shout, much to their surprise, and stomp over to him. "And you are coming back with me now, Daniel. You don't want me to get mad, do you?"

FUCK. Wrong thing to say - yet again. He's gone. Like a fucking whippet. I'm getting too old for this crap.

Teal'c was waiting for him though and tackles him. Daniel's down. And out. Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit. He must've hit his head on something 'cause he's out cold.

"Janet!" I call but she's already on her way.

"He's not bleeding but I'd say he's going to have a nice egg-sized lump on the back of his head."

"I am sorry, O'Neill," Teal'c announces.

"Not your fault, T, at least we can get him back now. Do we need to take him to the hospital?" I ask Jan. She shakes her head, doesn't think it's too serious. The surfers aren't too sure.

"Look guys," I say, "she's a doctor, okay? She knows these things. We'll just take him now."

Mutters from them, they're still not sure that we're the good guys. Thank heaven for mothers. Mom has just come strolling across the sand and she's taking over.

"What happened?" she asks and I tell her.

"Come on, let's get him back." She turns to the surfers. "Thank you for looking out for my baby boy," she says. "He's always getting himself into one fix or another. Don't you worry now, we'll take good care of him."

Teal'c picks him up and carries him in his arms, impressing the hell out of the surfers. Danny is obviously not a light man and Teal'c didn't even grunt once.

Day two. Day freakin' two and we already have an injury. There's another seven days before we ship out. Are we even going to survive it?

Ow, ow, ow, ow, OW! At least I'm not in the infirmary this time. My head hurts. A lot. What time is it? What day is it? Where am I? WHO the fuck am I? Do I care? Probably not, just want a painkiller and a coffee.

"Welcome back to the land of the living Daniel." It's Janet's voice. Where's Jack?

"Um Jan? What happened?"

"Ah, Jack happened. He picked up the wrong tablets, Daniel and you got drunk. You were completely spaced out, love. He's beating himself up about it."

"Good, it will save me a job."

"If you'd taken your antihistamines you wouldn't have gotten into the situation in the first place."

"Huh? I didn't know I'd need them. It's December, I don't usually."

"I know petal, but we're on Maui remember. It's a different climate. Come on, sit up, let me have a look at the bump on your head."

Bump? Oh no, what did I do this time? She tells me. I am going to kill him. Slowly and painfully.

"Police? Surfers? Oh God shoot me now."

Not to mention it's day three and morning. I missed all of last night.

"Come on, get up and eat and then I'll give you a painkiller, okay? By the way, I've taken all of your medication and I'll make sure you get the right things when necessary."

I thank her, there is a use for having a doctor as one of your closest friends. In the meantime...


She gives me her filthiest grin and lies down on the bed next to me.

"This is what I miss," she says. "Not the sex, the cuddles. Funny isn't it?"

"Not in the slightest babe, I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes Jack and I just lie and do nothing, just hold each other. No talking, no kissing or anything, just like this. Love it, you know, it tells me that he loves me more than any of the mind-blowing sex."

"Not that you complain about that, I'll bet."

"Oh no, definitely no complaints on that count. Damn, but he's good at that. But this is favourite, just cuddling. I used to do this with Shau're. At night, especially if we'd had a hard day, we'd just lie there and hold each other. It was nice."

She agrees, it's the best thing of all.

"Jack still can't believe that you love him, you know?"

"He can't? What on earth or any other fucking planet do I have to do to prove it?"

"I don't think he disbelieves you, honey, it's just he can't believe his luck that he's got you."

"It's me, I'm the lucky one. I've got Jack. Damn, I never thought that he felt this way, never. I went for so long basically seeking his approval, so afraid that he'd hate me, but then he told me that he was like me and I knew, I knew at that moment that he loved me. He wouldn't have told me otherwise."

"Do you want to know what I think?"

"Of course."

"I think that you two are the luckiest people on Earth. I don't think I've ever met two people of any gender or mix of sex who were more in love. Or more suited to each other for that matter."

"Aw, thanks Jan. Love you too, you know."

"I know. Just wish that I had someone that could love me the way you love Jack."

"Perhaps we can find you someone. Come on, let's go out and get something to eat."

We head out to the pool and find the others already there.

"Hi Danny," Jack's looking very sheepish. Aw. I'm going to be nice about the mix up. For now. He's got me a coffee so I give him a kiss good morning. He gives me a huge shit eating smile.

"Look Danny, I'm really sorry..."

I interrupt. "Jack, it's my fault, I should have taken my own tablets. Don't worry, no real harm done."

He looks relieved, if a touch sceptical. I retrieve a local paper from the table. The waiters have put it there so we can check out what's going on in the area. It's low season so nothing much. Don't really care, I want another quiet day. I do, however, find the personal ads.

"Hey Jan, c'mere. Let's find you someone, huh?"

She grins and pulls up a lounger. We sit next to each other and read the ads.

"Here's one for you, angel," I say and read it out with decryption comments from Jack and Jan.

"Man, fortyish," I say, - "Over fifty and looking for someone a damn sight younger," says Jack.

"Average looking and huggable;" - 'Ugly as sin and fat - not to mention odd appearances of extreme nasal and ear hair.'

"Sporty;" - 'sits in front of the TV all day watching ESPN.'

"Stable;" - 'once arrested for stalking but they couldn't get him for it.'

"Sensitive and spiritual;" - 'closet gay and likes fucking in cemeteries,'

"Okay, maybe he's not for you, Jan," I say, "how about this one?"

"Age: middling;" - 'Oh God, a throwback from the 13th century,'

"Sex: frequent;" - 'premature ejaculation a speciality and likes to think he has a sense of humour.'

"Educated;" - 'reads the headlines before the cartoon strip.'

"Thoughtful;" - 'apologises for farting.'

"Like to cuddle;" - 'Momma's boy.' I look a little guiltily at Jan for that but she can't catch my eye. She's blushing.

"Janet," ooh Teal'c's remembered to use her name. "Are you looking for a companion?"

"I don't really know, Teal'c," she says with a sigh. "I mean, I miss the company, you know?"

"I do indeed," he says sadly.

"Hey, T aren't you going to go and visit your family over Christmas?"

"I will, but Drayau'c and I are no longer married. I go to visit Rya'c. I understand Janet's need for companionship."

Oh, the poor thing. The three of us have been so happy recently that we forgot him. Damn. I'm going to make sure that we don't forget him from now on.

Another crashed out day and an evening in the hotel bar. Still, it beats snake-baiting hands down. I think I'm gonna do a song for Teal'c tonight. I rewrote a little song for him this afternoon. After a few drinks I make my way to the band and ask them for the use of the piano.

"I've got a song for Murray, one of my dearest friends, with more sincere apologies, this time to Lionel Ritchie," I announce as I start to play the tune 'Hello'. The gang laugh and Teal'c looks a little nervous. This is going to get him back for all the times he got me in the gym.


I've been alone with you inside my mind
And in my dreams I've kicked your butt, a thousand times
I sometimes see you pass my office door,
Hello, is it me you're looking for?


I can see it in your eyes
You want to get me in the gym
And drop me on my backside
Then rub my weakness in
'Cause you know just how to throw
and you know just how to bruise
And I want to show you one day, that you'll lose.


I long to see the sunlight in your hair
But you shave your head every day, so it's not fair
Sometimes I feel my muscles will explode
Hello? Must we really overload...


The weights with the extra discs
and add miles to the treadmill
Are you really such a sadist, or does Jack pay you to kill?
Tell me why must I go on
When I've lots of work to do
So let me hit the showers - 'Murray' do.


Hello, is it me you're looking for?
'Cause I wonder what goes on
In that closed off mind of yours
Are you really always serious, or is something amusing you?
Tell me how to make you laugh
For I haven't got a clue
And I aim to get just one smile... from you.


Applause but bewilderment from the audience, but the gang appreciate it. How Teal'c's gonna take it, I don't know.

Danny's surpassed himself this time. Teal'c actually smiled at that.

"Daniel, thank you," he says as Danny comes straight over to me and hides behind me. It's the least I can do after yesterday.

"Glad you liked it, um, Murray. I hope you realise it was meant in jest."

"I do." Daniel gets the nod from him and relaxes a little.

I wonder if we're going to get a repeat of night one? Him going down on me against the palm tree was one of the more unusual and erotic experiences of my life.

Uh oh, a woman is making her way over to us. She looks like one of those supermodels. Apparently attractive, but all skinny legs and no tits. She's aiming directly for Daniel like a Patriot missile. This could be amusing, he's definitely a tit and curve man - where women are concerned anyway.

"Hello," she drawls, extending a hand to him. I notice that her fingers are long and her nails are even longer. Daniel's polite, he tentatively grips it.

"My name's Rumor," she says. I'll bet it is.

"Daniel," he replies, not very warmly. She pushes it a bit.

"I was wondering, Daniel, if you'd like to come and have a drink with me?" She's flashing her perfect Osmond teeth. Ugh, it's awful. But you can't help looking, sorta like a car crash. We're all rubbernecking.

"Um thanks, but no thanks, I'm with my friends."

"Perhaps I didn't make myself clear?" she says, her tone a little more seductive - apparently.

"Oh, I think you did. But perhaps you've missed the point. Coming back to the villa Jack?" he asks as he stands up. He holds out his hand, I stand and take it and Ms. Rumor pisses off.

"Nice one Daniel," Sam sniggers.

"Not half as nice as it's going to be," he replies as he leads me out of the bar.

"I HATE that," he says. "I don't mind people trying to pick me up but I wish they'd take no for an answer."

"I wouldn't have," I say to him, pulling him close.

"Yes, you would have Jack. That's the difference between you and them," he spits that last word out. "You're decent, one of the good guys. You know when to push and when to back down. It's one of the things I love about you."

"One of them?"

"One of the many," he gives me a shy smile and I know I'm blushing.

"C'mon, let's get back to our room," I say.

"Got a better idea, how about we head to the hot tub by the pool? I asked one of the housekeepers to make sure it would be on tonight."

Oh yes, let's!

We quickly head back to our room, we really should put our trunks on just in case the others turn up. Huh. What is he doing in the bathroom?

"Come on Danny, I can't wait!"

"Go on, I'll be with you in a moment."

Okay, I head out of the door, yelling that I've got some towels for when we get out and I head to the tub. And it's HOT! Wow. Makes my skin tingle. Or is that just the thought of Daniel joining me? One more month and we'll be celebrating our second anniversary of being together. Can't wait. I've got a romantic dinner in the most expensive restaurant in the Springs planned. I keep wondering just how I got so lucky.

And he's here, looking as stunning as ever in his brief trunks. Whoo Momma, what a sight. And a bottle of champagne and one glass. Oh yes, this is going to be good. He opens the bottle, pours a glass, waiting till the bubbles go down before topping it up then he joins me in the water.

"Drink?" he asks. Oh yes. Please. He puts it to my lips and tips it so that I can drink. Does life get any better than this? I'm in a hot tub, in a wonderful villa on Maui, drinking champagne with the man of my dreams. I tell him what I thought and he says he thought the exact same thing.

"That's something that I love about you, Daniel, you're always so perceptive, knowing what I'm thinking."

"Sometimes," he agrees with a wicked grin. Little Jack also thinks that this is perfect, though he'd be just as happy without the champagne, hot tub, villa and Maui and settle for Daniel on his own.

"What am I thinking now?" I ask.

He looks around, and when he's sure we're not being watched he reaches into the water and what? Pulls his trunks off! Oh my.

"Jack," he whispers. "Fuck me, please."

"I haven't brought any lube out, Danny and you know I don't like to do it without. I won't hurt you."

"I know, it's all taken care of. What do you think I was doing in the bathroom?" I feel his hand on my dick and decide that Little Jack is most definitely up for this.

"On one condition, Daniel," I say.

"What's that?"

"That you do the same for me when we get back to our room?"

"Absolutely," he moans as I slide between his legs. Oh God, this is good. He's wrapped his legs around my back, leaning against the side of the tub. I slip into him quickly because he's so ready, the buoyancy of the water is helping hold him up. I grab his prick and work him with my strokes. This is incredible, the heat from the water is making everything feel more exciting. I push hard into him, his back arches, his head tips back and he nearly screams as he comes, sending me over the edge too. He almost bit through his lip trying to keep the noise down.

"Jack, oh God, Jack, that was fucking incredible."

"I'd just say incredible fucking myself," I tease.

"You would. Give me my trunks, I'd better get them back on."

"We won't need a shower," I say with a laugh.

"We won't? Better get you wet all over then."

AARGH! He's got his own back for yesterday, I'm soaked from head to toe. He is so gonna get his. Got to catch him first though. This is fun, wrestling in a hot tub. I can live with this. Maybe we can get one of our own?

"Hey guys!" Oops, it's the others. Hope they didn't see us at it.

"Hi, enjoy yourselves?"

"Oh yes. That super bitch found herself being turned down by a number of men. She ended up with this really dorky-looking guy who couldn't believe his luck."

"Poor man," Daniel sympathises. "Why don't you join us? We've got champagne, but you'll have to bring your own glasses," he says. I suppose they must. We go back to the seat at the edge of the tub and carry on drinking the champagne.

"You two look pretty wrapped up in each other," Janet observes as she slides into the water.

"That, my dear Janet, is because we are," replies Daniel with a wicked grin, earning himself a huge kiss from me.

"Cut it out," Sam calls as she gets in with Ed.

"Not a chance," I say. "We have to behave during the day. If you don't like it, go to bed." I get a kiss from Danny for that one. Yeah, I like being the colonel, it's fun.

I do notice that Teal'c is sitting with Janet. Interesting. He's finally gotten a chance to take his hat and T-shirt off. It's late and dark so no one can see him unless they're close up. And the villa is private.

"I do hope Junior isn't going to join us," I say.

"It will not, O'Neill. It does not like hot water."

"That's good to know," I reply, especially as Danny really gets disturbed by those things, even more than I do.

We spend a good while laughing and joking with the gang, and for once Daniel and I are as relaxed as we are at home. He's snuggled himself into my arms and is continually feeding me champagne. Yes, I definitely think I can get used to this.

Finally to bed, and it's my turn to get laid. I love it when Danny does this. He always treats me as if I was one of his relics, carefully cataloguing my scars, kissing each one in turn to take away the memory of the hurt that put them there before he gets to business. His linguist's tongue starts to speak the language that I am most familiar with now, as it licks and kisses bits of me that send me almost bouncing off the bed with delight.

"Don't tease," I hiss, so he goes for it, tensing his tongue and pushing it inside me. I have to pull a pillow over my face so that I don't wake the entire hotel up with my screams of pleasure.

"Daniel? What are you doing on your own on the beach?" Uh, oh, the girls are heading my way. I was just having a few minutes' peace and quiet under a palm tree.

"Just relaxing," I say. "Jack's gone into town, he's got something in mind, I think."

"Mind if we join you?" Janet asks.

"Of course, feel free." I wave my hand around in a 'help yourself' kinda way.

Sam hands me a drink - hope it's just juice. Good, it is.

"Is everything okay with you and Jack? It's not like you two not to be together."

"Everything is perfect, thank you, and contrary to popular belief we can be separated from time to time. We don't spend every waking minute together, you know."

"Hey, I didn't mean anything Mr. Grumpy."

"Sorry, had a little too much to drink last night, I'm feeling a touch delicate."

"Aw, poor baby," Sam comes over to me and snuggles up on one side of me. Jan does the same on the other. This is good. Two sexy women snuggled up with me under a palm tree on a beach on Maui. Hmm, this is good.

"I'm surprised you can sit," Jan says with a giggle, though she's shifting about a bit herself.

"Excuse me?" I'm a little concerned by her statement.

"Um, you and Jack, last night in the tub," Sam says trying to hide a snigger.

"Since when does kissing affect your ass?" I ask.

"Oh, I don't think you were kissing when we turned up first." Janet's teasing me. It takes a moment for what she's said to dawn on me.


They saw us. They fucking saw us. Or more appropriately, they saw us fucking. Oh dear.

"Jan? Sam? What exactly did you see?" I ask carefully.

"Oh, not too much," Janet says. The minx is coming out to play this morning I can tell. "We just saw you throw your head back, heard a controlled scream and saw Jack collapsing on you. Fortunately for you the guys were a few minutes behind us. It was pretty obvious Daniel."

"Oh. We didn't think anyone was around," I say quietly. I'm blushing. I'm just glad the girls are looking out to sea.

"We weren't when you started," Sam laughs. Ah well, it's done now, it's not as if they saw anything. Thank goodness.

"So? How are you sitting?" Janet asks. "The only time I ever did that I couldn't sit comfortably for days."

Sam does a double take. "You've done that?" she asks in awe.

"Sure thing, try anything once me," Jan replies.

"You were doing it wrong if it hurt that much," I say. Voice of experience here. Mind, my first lover was particularly good at it.

"So, how do you do it right?" Sam asks.

"You've never done it?" I ask her.

"God no, I'm not very adventurous," she says with a sigh.

"Oh. You should try it, it's fun," I tell her. "But until you're used to it, the key is preparation. Lots of it."

"How?" Oh God. What am I? A fucking sex manual? I know sex doesn't make me blush, but this is odd. And of course, Janet's laughing it up like a hyena on crack.

"Do you want to tell her, Janet? Seeing as you're the doctor and you speak from personal experience."

"Uh, uh, sweet cheeks, you're a doctor and you have way more experience in this than I do."

So I tell her. About lube, fingers, more lube and how to relax your muscles. Sam's bright-red and Janet's rolling around on the floor laughing her head off. I have a little something to get her with though.

"I'm surprised you can sit Jan," I say to her. "You and Teal'c seemed to be getting on particularly well last night."

Oh yes, it's her turn to blush, so I carry on, "By the way, dear, I'd stick to safe and boring sex with him. You try anything else you may never sit again. He's a big boy."

Sam's astounded. "Janet?! You and Teal'c?"

Jan mutters, "Well, why not? You two have got someone."

"Hey, we're not having a go, Jan, if it makes the two of you happy then go for it. Life's too short for 'should've beens' and 'I wish I'd dones'," I tell her. "Good luck, is what I say. Mind, I must admit, the thought of having sex with Teal'c just fills me with fear. I've seen him in the showers. If he's that big when he's relaxed..." I let my voice trail off and Janet giggles.

"He is a very big boy," she agrees.

"More than a mouthful I'll bet." I shouldn't have said that - I know I shouldn't have said that - but I couldn't resist.

"I wouldn't know," she replies. "I didn't get that far with him last night, but there's always tonight."

"Janet!" Oh boy, I think we're upsetting Sam's sensibilities. "You wouldn't do that, would you?"

"Sure, sugar, don't tell me you've never done that?"

"Never, um, taken it to its conclusion. The whole concept fills me with profound anxiety," she answers sadly.

"Why?" I ask.

"To be frank, I don't really know what I'm doing," she says, "and the whole thing about what you do at the end, you know?"

"What, spit or swallow?" Janet shrieks.

"Swallow, definitely swallow," I say serenely. "It's very insulting if you spit."

Jan howls and Sam doesn't know where to put herself so I pull her in a little closer.

"So that's what you do, is it Daniel?" Jan teases.

"Oh yes, most definitely," I reply.

"You do it?" Sam asks, horrified I think. "I thought you were talking about having it done."

"Of course I do, Sam. I'm beginning to think your concept of gay sex is a sugar-coated one of holding hands and kissing."

"No, of course not, it's just, in my experience guys don't like giving it, they just want to get it."

"In which case you've known the wrong guys. Don't tell me Ed's like that, 'cause if he is, I'm gonna have words with him."

"No, he's not, and don't Daniel, please. He's different from the others, he only wants to make me happy," she says with a sigh.

"In which case you should keep him," Jan says and I agree. He's a good guy, always there for her, never judging her and he understands that he can't come between us - and doesn't get jealous either.

"I think I'm going to," she says. "Seriously. I want to do things for him though, you know, make him happy."

"Well, I don't think there's a guy on the planet that wouldn't want someone going down on him," I say, the voice of authority. "Though I doubt he'd be happy if you didn't want to do it and you only did it out of some sense of duty," I add.

"Daniel? Can I ask you a personal question?"

"Isn't that what you two have been doing?"

"Oh yes, I suppose so. Do you like doing it? I mean, what do you get out of it?"

"Apart from a mouthful?" Janet howls.

"Jan!" Sam scolds and I laugh.

"It's a fair question," I say. "And the answer is that I love doing it. Love getting it too. It's intimate, it's the most intimate thing you can do Sam. When I do it for Jack his whole face changes. It goes from being, well, horny I guess, to..." I try to find the words, "'s almost a look of wonder. There isn't anything else like it. It's also a control thing I suppose."

"What, the control he's got over you?" she asks.

"No, you get me wrong. Look, everyone thinks that the guy getting screwed is the 'weaker' one, right? It's not true. The one on the receiving end actually controls how hard, fast, whatever, the other one does. It's the same for oral sex. It's not the guy who's getting it, it's the one who's giving it that controls how everything goes. He doesn't get to finish till I decide to let him. I can stop him easily if he starts to get out of control."


"I stop doing it. Simple. Drives him nuts sometimes, but we can spend an age making out as a result. And it's better when it does end. Most guys just want to have sex. All they can think about is getting there, you know?"

"You're not wrong," they chorus.

"Well, they've got it wrong. The more pleasure you give, the more you get in the end. Which is one of the reasons I like going down," I finish with a giggle.

"Is that all you do?" Janet asks with a smirk. This is getting a bit close to the mark.

"No, it's not," I answer cautiously, "but to be honest, there's lots of stuff we just won't do. Some things aren't for everyone."

"Oh no," she agrees, "I had to read about it at college. Some of the stuff that goes on... yeuch... just 'no', ya know?"

"Oh yes, I do. I may have my own kinks, Jan, but even I'm not that perverted."

Sam's confused, she has no idea what we're talking about. "Kinks?" she asks.

"Yeah, things that you really like doing, like making out outdoors, that sort of thing," I say.

"Oh." She gets a wicked grin, "Have you used those handcuffs yet?"

"Oh yes," I laugh, "that's my biggest one." It's funny, I'd never thought I'd admit that to anyone that wasn't a lover. "It's a control thing again, I guess, and a trust thing. Jack hates it with a passion though."

"Why?" they both ask. Well, it's not really a secret and I know they won't tell anyone but I make them promise anyway. They do, faithfully.

"You spend four months handcuffed to an Iraqi radiator and see how much you like it," I say sadly. Poor guy, he's nearly over it, but not quite.

"Oh shit!" Jan exclaims. "I knew and I didn't even think about it. Does he still get the nightmares?"

"Not so many now, usually after we've had a bad experience in the field. Then it can come back."

They shake their heads in sorrow.

"So, how did you persuade him to use them?" Janet asks. I know this isn't some sort of spurious enquiry either, it's medical concern.

"I asked him to use them on me, not him. Pleaded with him. Told him I trusted him implicitly. It's my way of showing it, I suppose. So he did. It was on my birthday. I must admit the blindfold was a neat twist."

"He blindfolded you? That must have been scary."

"Not really. I know Jack, he couldn't hurt me. He'd rather die. I know that for an absolute, unequivocal, undeniable fact. It was pretty incredible. I couldn't see what he was doing, and I couldn't touch him. I had to use my other senses to figure out what was going on. I don't think I've ever felt anything so intensely in my life."

"Have you ever tied him up?" Again, the concern on her voice. Sam's saying nothing. She loves Jack nearly as much as I do and she hates to see him hurt or upset.

"Once. I didn't use the cuffs. He offered to let me but I used silk ties instead, tying them in a bow which he could undo if he wanted to. I gave him an end to pull. I also insisted he promised to tell me to stop if he got scared. To be fair, he didn't, and I did what I could to make it good for him."

"Did it trigger any nightmares?"

"A couple of nights later. I won't do it again, I think. I've hidden the cuffs now."

"Won't you miss out?"

"Does it matter? I'm not with Jack for the sex, you know, I love him. If we never had sex again it wouldn't matter. I won't leave him. Never."

"No," Jan says quietly. "Somehow we all know that."

I have no idea what Daniel was talking about with the girls, but he's very quiet and attentive now. I went out this morning and booked a table in a restaurant that I liked the look of. Just the two of us. It will do us good, I think. I know we can do this in the Springs now, but we still play our relationship down a bit. That's mainly because Daniel doesn't want me to have any trouble with my subordinates at work. They all know we're together but we don't want to rub their faces in it. So tonight, we're going out. As a couple. Loud and proud. And anyone that doesn't like it can go fuck 'emselves.

"Danny? Is everything okay? You're very quiet."

"I'm fine, Jack. Nothing's wrong, I promise. I guess all the adrenaline that I usually run off has gone, that's all."

Maybe. Maybe not, but he's currently lying on the lounger next to mine, which we've pushed together, and snuggling up with me. This is nice. The others aren't saying anything either. What's wrong?

"Daniel, something's up," my voice has a warning note, tell me or else.

"Honestly, Jack, nothing's wrong at all. We were talking this morning and, this is going to sound stupid I know..."

"Go on," I encourage him. He's gone very quiet.

"Well, you know that I love you, right?"

I nod, of course I do.

"And I know it. It's just this morning it hit me how much I love you. I get like this sometimes, you should know this by now. It's not as if I forget I love you, it's just that occasionally I get stunned by the strength of my feelings. I suppose that sounds strange to you, doesn't it?"

"Oh no. You have no idea how often I've fallen in love with you."

He looks up at me, his eyes open wide in wonder. This could be one of those moments.

"Danny, we get comfortable with each other, used to each other, that's all. Sometimes you'll walk into a room, or you'll turn around and smile at me and it's like it's the first time I've seen you, ya know?"

"I know exactly," he sighs contentedly, snuggling even closer to me. "It's usually the mornings for me. Sometimes I wake before you and you're there and it's like I'm waking up that first morning all over again. I love it when that happens, it just throws me sometimes. I feel guilty for it."


"Not sure, to be honest. I think it's because I wonder if I wasn't feeling that strongly before, or if I'd been taking you for granted. I'd never want to do that. You will tell me if I do, won't you?" His eyes are pleading with me. I know Daniel. He's a strong man, harder than most people know, but he so needs to do and say the right thing that it's painful to watch sometimes.

"On one condition. You tell me if I do, okay?"

A smile. The smile - the one that stops my heart in its tracks. It's okay. I pull him as close as we can decently get in company and plant a kiss on his head.

"Jack! Daniel!" It's Cassie and she's heading this way.

"Hey Cass, are you enjoying your holiday?"

"Oh yeah, this is amazing. It's even better 'cause I should be at school. I can't wait to see my friends' faces when I get back with a tan."

"We had to get special permission to take you out, you know, and it's on the understanding you catch up with the work over the Christmas holidays," I hate to dampen her enthusiasm, but...

"I know, and I will, I promise. It's not as if it's particularly difficult or anything. So, what are we doing today?"

"I thought a hike, or there's that steam train that does the old sugar cane route, or..."

"Oh yes, come on, let's do that Jack!" Excitement from Cassie I can understand, but Danny? Okay, guess what we're doing.

The suggestion gets a groan from most of the others but they'll come anyway. Party poopers this is going to be fun.

And it was. We've just gotten back - absolutely exhausted. Danny and Cassie spent most of the day together, her little sister to his big brother, watching out for each other and generally complaining whenever us 'grown-ups' wanted to do something sensible. Like sit down and rest for a minute. I thought he said he'd run out of adrenaline! The singing conductor was a hoot and the scenery was to die for though. It was good, real good. After the trip we found somewhere to eat, generally crashed while the sibs (all three of them 'cause Sam got pulled along for the ride) went exploring. Daniel ended up a tree - again - but only to retrieve some little kid's ball. At least he came back down without running out on us.

We've got back in time to get changed and get out to the restaurant. Can't wait. Daniel's disappeared into the bathroom, getting changed in there, I think. I dunno, spend the best part of two years having hot and sweaty sex with a guy and he decides to become shy all of a sudden? Oh boy... Oh my God... Oh wow... O-kay.

"Danny, you look stunning," I say breathlessly as he emerges. He's slicked his hair back from his face. A single small earring is glistening in the light. And his clothes. Wow. Can't wait to get them off him. Carter packed his case while I was doing mine. She put his new suit in, the one she made him buy. It's a dark-blue, lightweight, beautifully cut to highlight his long legs and slim hips, the jacket casually draped over his shoulders framing his muscular form. He's wearing a pale-blue shirt and no tie. People here, while immaculately dressed, always go for the smart casual, or rather the casual smart in these circumstances. Extreme formality isn't seen particularly. And just as well, he looks drop-dead gorgeous.

He's popped his contacts in again. Now, I think he looks as sexy as hell in his glasses, but sometimes - wow. The blue of his eyes is enhanced by his clothes and I'm getting a chance to see them well. I can't help it, I'm across the room in a couple of strides and kissing the shit out of him. He breaks off, laughing at me.

"Jack," he scolds gently. "Wait till we get back, huh? We'll be late otherwise, because I have no intention of having a quickie tonight. I'm up for the long, drawn out, mind-blowing session. Whatd'ya say?"

Little Jack's up for it. Hell, he's up for anything, anytime, anywhere, where Danny's concerned. All I can do is whimper and nod.

"You look dead sexy," he purrs. What me? I'm in my black chinos, grey shirt and my black leather jacket. "Yeah, you. Have you any idea what you do to me when you wear these clothes?" I'm getting a pretty good idea 'cause it's sticking in my thigh right now.

"C'mon," I manage to squeak. "Gotta go."

"Let's have a look at you, boys," Mom calls as we pass her in the lounge. We stand for inspection. She straightens our collars, even though they were perfectly straight to start with, and kisses our cheeks.

"Mom" I complain. "I'm forty-seven and I'm an Air Force colonel. I don't need to be told to be home by midnight. I'm a big boy now."

"I'll say," Daniel adds with a smirk. It's not helping.

"Now, boys, you be good," Mom says, giving me a glare and Daniel, her blue-eyed baby boy who can do no wrong, a big smile. "Don't be late. Daniel, hold Jack's hand when you cross the road. You know he doesn't pay attention."

Cassie's cracked up. Hell, so have all the others, even Teal'c. Mothers. Huh.

"Ooh, goody," Daniel says in a kid's voice. "I get to hold your hand Jack!" He grabs it, pulls me to the door, skipping and swinging my arm as he goes. And people think that I am the lunatic on the team. They have no idea. I am in point of fact, the sane one. Even Teal'c is crazier than me.

The restaurant is perfect. Local cuisine, a friendly, relaxed atmosphere, candles on the tables, love it. The food is fantastic. Even Jack's enjoying it. I laughed as we sat. We were able to choose our own table, so he headed for one in the corner and took the seat facing the door. As he always does.

"Danny, why are you laughing?"

"You, you're so predictable."

"Me? What have I done now?" His voice was filled with a touch of exasperation.

"Tactical seating, risk assessment, the usual," I say and he shrugs, not knowing what I'm talking about. I elaborate, "You picked the table so that you can see first without being seen, you face the door so you can see who's coming in. You can survey the restaurant, watching virtually everyone in here without it being seen that you can do that. That sort of thing. It's so ingrained in you that you don't even know you're doing it."

"Oh. Does it annoy you?"

"Not in the slightest. It's part of who you are, the protector. I wouldn't have you any other way," I sigh. He relaxes a little at that.

"Now, you see, that's one of the things I like about you. You notice stuff like that. Other people might miss things, but you don't. It's part of your training, like risk assessment is part of mine, but it's also what you are. Interested. You're interested in things and in people and what makes them tick. I like that," he says with a grin, raising a glass of wine to me.

"Even when I'm annoying the hell out of the colonel in you and going off and exploring?"

"Even then, Danny. You wouldn't be you if you didn't do that. I love the look you get on your face when you've discovered something. I know you hate the fact that you look a lot younger than you really are and that we keep teasing you about it, but you always look like a kid at Christmas when you find out something new. It's sweet."

"Sweet?" I growl. I am not sweet. Ask my staff. They hate me - especially in the mornings and when I'm under pressure to translate something while getting everything else done too. Just ask them. They'll say, 'what, the bad-tempered bastard? He's over there, just follow the screaming noises and obscene language.'

"Sweet," he replies with a grin. Git.

I love this, just bantering over the meal. Mine's nice and spicy, Jack's is blander but still tasty he insists. I don't think we've ever been so relaxed as we eat out. I could get used to this. The waitress is coming over to take our plates and offer us the dessert menu. I quite fancy this banana and chocolate pudding. Sounds good.

"You two look happy," she says. I look up at her. Damn, she looks familiar.

"We are," I say. "Very. And the meal was delicious, thank you. Tell me, are you related to a lady called Alika? Hell, I can't remember her surname, it's been so long. She'd be about forty years old now." God, that's a depressing thought, she was only a couple of years older than me.

"My mom?"

"Did your mom go to Harvard to study languages?"

"Yeah, sure, that must be her, she's a translator."

"Wow! I thought you looked familiar. You're the spitting image of her. How is she?"

"She's fine. She's here too. This is our family restaurant. Pop does the running, but Mom helps out sometimes. Do you want to see her?"

"If she remembers me. Would you tell her that Daniel Jackson's here please? I'd love to see her again. We were great pals back then."

"Sure thing. I'll be back with your sweets as quick as." A flash of a huge smile and she disappears.

"This the lady you were telling me about Danny?"

"Yeah, good pal, lovely lady."

A cry goes up, "Daniel! Oh my God it's really you! You haven't changed a bit."

I stand up and turn around. Neither has she. She looks as beautiful now as she ever did. I pull her into my arms and give her a great big hug and a kiss on the cheek.

"Alika, you're as gorgeous as ever," I murmur.

"Ah go on, you big softy," she teases, gently punching my arm. A great big Hawaiian guy is hovering behind her. I let go reluctantly.

"This is my old man," she says, introducing him to me. "Kalani, this is Daniel. We studied together back at Harvard." He relaxes a little at that. Don't worry, I'm not after your lady, I promise.

"This is my..."

"You say 'old man' and I'll get you, Daniel," Jack warns as he stands up behind me.

"I was going to say 'better half', but now I'm not so sure." I grin at him and then turn back to Alika. I notice that Kalani is now very relaxed and excuses himself. Pressures of work and all that. Of course

We ask her to join us, her daughter brings her a drink over.

"I'm Makana," she introduces herself.

"I can't get over how much you look like your mom did when we first met. You can't be that old though."

"I'm fifteen," she says. Wow. Alika must have had her almost as soon as she got back. I knew she was getting married. Apparently she just works here in the evenings after she's done her homework. That doesn't surprise me, Alika was a serious student, I can't imagine her letting her offspring get away with anything.

We chat for ages, Jack's as captivated by her friendly nature as I was.

"Do you mind me asking something personal, Daniel?"

"Of course not," I reply, pretty sure of what's coming next.

"I thought you and Faisal were permanent, you know?"

"Nah, we drifted. He went home. He died not so long after, accident. We kept in touch till then though."

"Aw man, I'm sorry, bad news eh? He was a good guy."

"That he was. Since then, I've been around, done stuff, you know? Finally got to the Institute."

"Did you do the doctorates you wanted?"

"Never got around to finishing the anthropology one, but I got the linguistics and archaeology ones."

"Hang on, Danny, you set out to be a multiple PhD?" Jack is astounded.

"Sort of. It happened, but it was what I wanted. I wanted to study the subjects and you know me, can't stop until I know as much as I can about them. Seemed to be the right way to go."

"Oh." There's not much more he can say.

It's time to go, and I'm sorry to be leaving. Alika and I swap email addys, I'm definitely going to keep in touch with her. She was always such a good laugh and doesn't seem to have changed at all. Hugs and kisses all round as we leave. Yeah, definitely going to miss her.

We're strolling down the street, hand-in-hand. Wow, this is such a biggie. We don't do this at home, wouldn't really feel comfortable. We're not afraid to touch each other or be obviously together or anything but, well, it wouldn't be right. I start to laugh and Jack looks at me as if I've gone mad.

"It's nothing," I respond to his query. "Just very, very happy."

"Good," he says, his eyes lighting up. "That's what all this was about. We've had so little time to be ourselves. We needed this Danny, we really needed this. All too soon we'll be heading back out there, ya know? Fighting, meeting new people, making friends, making enemies, finding stuff - probably getting hurt. We needed time just to remember what it was all about, remind us what we're fighting for."

"You're right, of course you are, I think you should recommend a couple of weeks on Maui as a standard R & R for all SGC staff. Make it part of the remuneration package."

"Sounds like one of your best ideas yet, Dr. Jackson," he laughs.

Wouldn't be such a bad thing at all.

I don't believe it. It's day eight already. One more day and we're packing and heading out. Back home on day ten. Don't want to go back, but we have to. Have to go back through the gate. Don't want that at all.

"Jack? You okay son?"

"Oh hi Mom." She's coming over to where I'm laying on the sun lounger. My favourite place on this planet. "I'm fine, just the usual end of holiday blues, ya know?"

"Oh I do, Jack, I surely do. This has been wonderful. It's done you all the power of good. The worries of the world have been gone for the last week and it's been a joy to see."

"What about for you? Missing George?"

"Well, I'd be lying if I said no, but I wouldn't have swapped this for the world. It's been magnificent, darling. Thank you for bringing me here."

She leans over and kisses my forehead and then strokes my cheek. I feel myself snuggling up to her. What am I, a kid? Can't help it though. Moms are moms no matter how old you are. And yes, this was my Christmas present to her too. She's been so good to us, always there for us, well, she deserved it. Daniel and I talked about present-buying, how much we should spend, yadda, yadda, and we both said 'to hell with it'. We've been a hair's breadth from death so many times. What the fuck are we saving for anyway? I want to enjoy life while I'm still able to. So I'm going to. Danny and I are going to live from now on.

"Aw, look at that." It's Carter, followed closely by the Doc. Damn women - crazy fools; inseparable and dangerous.

"Shut up Carter, this is my mom you're talking about. You know how I feel about that," I warn. She puts her hands up in mock surrender and laughs at me. I get no respect.

"Where're Daniel and Cassie?" Mom's asking.

"Shopping," Janet answers. "Cassie wanted to go and get some gifts for her friends so he volunteered to take her."

"You threatened him with the examination to end all examinations if he didn't," Sam screeches. She would've too.

I hope they come back soon. I need my six foot teddy bear to snuggle up with. It always makes me laugh, people's perceptions of him are so way off the mark. Number one - oblivious. He can be, but he tends to use it as a defence mechanism. If he hasn't seen it, he doesn't have to deal with something uncomfortable. He knows how people look at him. He just doesn't care how they feel about him. He only wants me. Number two - sweet and innocent. Okay, I spent years falling for that one too. The boy's a damn fine actor. He hasn't been either sweet or innocent since the day his parents died. And given what little he's told me about his life with them, he was a real brat then. He knows how to act up when he wants to. Number three - fragile. Daniel's the hardest man I have ever met bar none - physically and mentally. How many times has he died? I've lost count. That should never grow old. Number four - for those that know him at work and therefore better than most - pissy. Oh yes. He can be. He can be the most ruthless, bad-tempered bastard that ever walked the face of the Earth or any other planet out there. And he's been pissy on quite a few. But I see something they don't. All I have to do is say I want a cuddle and I get my own live teddy bear. He clings to me, snuggles up - damn he'd purr if he was a cat. He's so pliant at times it's laughable.

One morning we were in work, he was screaming at some idiot for using the unforgivable - Budge - as a reference work. Really going to town on the poor bastard. I walked into the lab and started laughing. He turned and yelled at me, calling me all the thoughtless idiots he could think of - and he can think of quite a few. I couldn't help myself. That morning, we'd woken up early, spent ages making long, slow, passionate love, and then he'd curled up next to me and hugged me, stroked me, virtually crooned at me. Told me in all the languages he knows how much he loved me. And there he was, scaring the pants off a guy who was actually bigger than Teal'c. That's my Danny. A man of contradictions.

They've been gone for hours and frankly I'm getting worried. Even more so now that Carter's on her cellphone and looking angry.

"That little git!" She screams as she hangs up. "Janet! Cassie's gotten Daniel arrested."

Oh fuck. What on earth now?

We're all up, grabbing decent clothes and heading out to the cab rank as quickly as we can make it. We virtually hijack two of the cabs and order them to take us straight to the police station. I charge through the door first and demand to know what's going on.

Oh my God. It turns out that he and Cassie had a disagreement. She was being chatted up by some teenager, Daniel took exception to it, Cassie yelled back, someone thought that Daniel was trying to kidnap her or something. Cassie's disappeared and Daniel's currently doing his nut in a cell. They're keeping him here because they're afraid he's going to kill someone with the mood he's in. I leave Janet to explain the relationship and get a cop to take me to him. He's yelling in Abydonian. I know that language well - at least to recognise it. He's scared. Not for himself but for Cassie.

"Shh, Danny, we're here. Come on, Jan's getting this sorted out at the desk. We're all here."

"You don't understand Jack. I didn't like the look of that lout. Not one bit. I'm afraid for her."

"It's going to be okay," I tell him, starting to get scared too to be honest. "We'll go find her as soon as we can get you out of here."

"Dammit Jack, don't wait. Get out there and look. We were in a gift shop on the main street. I have no idea where she's gone. I'm afraid I lost my temper. I was worried for her. God, they must have thought that I'm some sort of sicko. I tried to explain, but they wouldn't listen."

"It would have helped if you'd spoken English," a voice comes from behind me.

"Yeah, well he forgets when he gets worked up," I say, "it's not his first language. We need to find Cassie," I insist.

"What relationship are you to her?" he asks, obviously trying to corroborate Jan's story.

"Look, it's quite simple. Cassandra's family were killed. We're part of the team that rescued her, the rest are out there. Janet - Dr. Frasier, is a close friend of ours and she adopted her. We're like family. Daniel is like her older brother, okay? Not blood, but we're family. The only family she's got. And we love her dearly. And, before you get any ideas about Danny looking after her and there being something odd, he and me, we're together okay?"

He gets the picture. Daniel is let out. A quick thank you and we're out of there as rapidly as we can reasonably go.

We separate, and head off in pairs, though Mom joins with Teal'c and Jan. We go through every shop on the street, then we head to the bars. Cassie looks a lot older than she really is. Damn those hormones. How much trouble is she in? Probably nowhere near as much as she's going to be in when we find her.

This must be the third bar Danny and I have visited. He follows a hunch and we head outside. She's there, the lout is all over her and she's trying to push him away. I let Daniel handle it for now.

"Cassandra Frasier," his best teacher's voice rings through the air. "I am so disappointed in you. It's time to go, NOW!"

She's looking a little sheepish, but there's an air of desperation surrounding her. She knows she's done wrong, but she also knows that she has to come now or she's going to be doing something she doesn't want to do with this youth. She makes a move and the jerk pushes her back.

"You don't have to go with him," he says. "What is he? Your father?"

", my big brother," she says. That does get the yob a little concerned. Cassie looks at me and I nod slightly. She's not quite up there with the team dynamics but she's a smart kid.

"That's my dad," she says, pointing to me.

I loom. I do my best ever impersonation of Teal'c. Then I move slightly towards them. Young male bravado is trying to rear its ugly head but Daniel cuts it off at the pass by stepping deliberately into his face.

"Get away from my baby sister now, or I will knock your teeth so far down your throat you'll have to stick your hand up your ass to bite your nails. Get it?"

"Got it!" the spotty teenager quakes.

"Good." Daniel's never been calmer, or more dangerous, in his life. And this idiot has finally bought a clue. I honestly think that Daniel was going to kill him.

Cassie's a smart kid. She quickly plays the 'my hero' card and cries, flinging herself into Daniel's arms. Unfortunately for her, he's not stupid either.

"It's over now, Cass," he says quietly. "Let's go find your mom and gran, huh? They're worried sick about you. Not to mention Sam and the others.

She's gone white, she's shaking like a leaf. Oh. She's thrown up. Not surprising really.

I can't stop shaking. Partly through anger, but mostly through fear. I'm sitting on our bed back at the villa, cold, so cold. Jack's given me a blanket but I'm still cold.

"Shh, Danny, it's just shock," he says, trying to get me to drink some tea.

Don't want tea, wanna get smashed. I nearly lost her. We nearly lost our baby. Fuck it! I can't even be trusted around a teenager. Just as well I didn't have any of my own, they wouldn't have survived the first few days. How stupid can I get?

Oh God, Janet's here. She probably wants to kill me. I wouldn't blame her.

" s.sorry J.jan, I tried, honest, I tried," I stammer.

"I know, Daniel, you got her back for me. Thank you."

"L.lost her, I did, stupid. S.sorry."

"Daniel!" she snaps at me. "Look at me!"

I look up. She's not angry with me? I'd be furious.

"Cassandra told me what happened. She's sorry for causing all the trouble, especially for you. It's hormones, Daniel, honest. She was enjoying being picked up by an older boy and she lost the ability to think straight. Trust me, it happens. I know you did your best to protect her."

"Not enough," I say. At least I've stopped stammering now.

"C'mere you," she says and pulls me into a big hug.

"Thought you'd hate me. Nearly lost her, Jan. I'm so sorry."

"I know, Daniel, and it's all over now. And no, I don't hate you, I'm not even annoyed with you. I'm plenty furious with her and myself though."

"Why you?"

"I made you take her, I should've done it myself. I just wanted a day off. Dammit. It's my fault if it's anyone's."

"No! You shouldn't think that. I wanted to spend time with her. I don't spend nearly enough time with her. I wanted to just be there, you know? Me and her, be her big brother again. I was glad to be with her. She just doesn't seem to want to have a pretend brother around anymore. Perhaps she's too old for it now."

"Not true!" Cassie's at the door. "Not true!" she calls again as she runs across the room and flings herself at me. "I need you, Daniel, honestly. I'm so sorry, I acted like an idiot. I won't do it again, I promise. Don't stop seeing me, please," she's begging.

I pull her close and hug her hard. Not giving up on her. Just hope she doesn't want to give up on me.

Poor thing. She's just cried herself to sleep in my arms. It's been a hard lesson for her to learn. Sometimes adults really do know best. It's one most teenagers go through. When I was her age I was with my great foster parents, really happy, but I was struggling even then with my sexuality, not knowing just who it was I liked. It was then that I had that crush on my gym teacher. Fourteen is a killer age. My foster mom was brilliant. I told her. I actually told her how I felt about him. He was really nice to me, not like some of the other teachers. They hated overachievers, not really knowing how to treat me. But he was great. I was good at gymnastics, not too bad at other sports but not wonderful, but he was a real inspiration. Trouble was it made the gym lessons hell. Didn't help that he was an absolute drop-dead gorgeous guy. Mom helped me deal with it and get over it. She wasn't in the slightest bit disappointed with me. I think she thought I'd grow out of it (the crush, that is), but she never, ever, made me feel like my sexual orientation was a phase I was going through.

I've picked her up and I'm carrying her to bed. Teal'c offered to take her from me, but I think I'll sleep better knowing she's safe and sound and in her bed. As soon as I put her down Jan hugs me and then shoos me out so that she can get her comfortable.

"Want to go for a drink, Daniel?" Jack asks. No, to be honest, I just want to stay in our room and go to bed. I'm shattered.

It's our last full day and we've all decided to stay here. I don't think that anyone wants to leave the sanctuary of the villa after yesterday. I, for one, do not want another run-in with the local PD. Though to be fair, they were pretty understanding once they realised the situation. Nope, I'm staying put, curled up on the lounger, topping up my tan for the last time before we head back to chilly Colorado. Or not. The sky has just gone black and the heavens have opened. Ah well, we've had great weather up till now. This rain though just about describes our mood. The one thing that's cheering us up is that we haven't been called back to work once. Makes a change. Mom's spoken to George and she said that everything is pretty quiet on the snake front at the moment, so thank goodness for small mercies. So, what are we going to do instead?

There are some board games. I suggest Scrabble. And they agree. On one condition. That I play against the seven of them. Two trays, seven against me. No fair, I say. Perfectly fair, they reply. I insist on having one person on my side, so I get Jack. Of course. They always seem to forget he was an English major. I'm not as daft as they look.

Scores are pretty even so far, we're about halfway through the game. We get our tiles and Jack giggles. We've gotten a Z, Q, T, O, R, A, and U. At least we have the U. I let him put the tiles down. QUATORZ and finishes on an E from EMPIRE (one of Ed's words funnily enough.) And we got the Q on the triple word. Seven letters used, so fifty bonus.

"That's 128," Sam - the scorer - says. Jack and I knock together our bottles of beer and grin.

"That looks foreign," Mom says.

"It's a score in the game of piquet," Jack answers her primly. "Four aces, kings, queens, knaves or tens. It scores fourteen." He pronounces the last bit with an air of finality and the others have to agree when the resident dictionary also says the same thing.

The rest of the game is pretty much a formality. We won. Now they know why I wanted Jack on my side. They all refuse to play again. Huh.

Jack finds a hockey game on the TV, so we sit, drink, eat and generally snuggle for a while. I have no idea who's playing, I'm spending far too much time exploring Jack's neck.

"Cut it out," he hisses. "I'm gonna miss the game."

I kiss the spot on his neck. "Who's playing?" I murmur.

"I have no idea," he says with a sigh. Then he stands up and takes me by the hand and we sneak off to our room.

I open the French window.

"Danny, it's chucking it down. Shut the window, huh?"

"Come here, Jack," I reply, and he comes over to me, standing behind me and slipping his arms around my waist he rests his chin on my shoulder.

"When you live in the desert, you learn to appreciate rain," I say. "The smell is what gets me, how clean everything is after the rain has stopped. I love to make love in the rain. Or just indoors when it's raining. There's something about it, something very erotic."

Jack lets go of me and heads to the bedroom door. What have I said wrong this time? Oh, nothing. He's just locked it.

"C'mere Daniel," he says as he heads to the bed. Oh yes, coming here, honest.

We lay down, kissing and touching and quietly undressing each other, the only noise the rainfall punctuated by shouts or laughs from the others in the living room. Do they know what we're doing? I don't really care anymore. They know, they accept, they understand. I have to be with him. He has to be with me. And we have to make the most of every peaceful moment we get because it might be our last one alive. Not a nice thought, but realistic.

Jack slips his belt from his jeans and comes back up to me. Oh my. I think I know what's coming next.

"On your knees, Daniel," he orders. Yes Sir, Colonel Sir. Most definitely following orders. If he wants to play, who am I to argue?

I get on my knees and he slips the belt around my wrists, binding my hands together and then leading me to the bedstead.

"You okay with this, Danny?" he asks me.

Do bears shit in the woods? Is the Pope Catholic?

"Of course I'm all right with this, Jack. I love you. I trust you. Have fun, please. Do whatever you want to me. I love it when you get like this."

"I'll take that as a 'yes' then," he says with a grin. "No shouting, Daniel, not a sound. The others are out there, imagine they're listening in, 'cause knowing them they probably are."

I suppress a snigger. He's right, the perverts probably are, and the window's wide open. So. Not a single sound will pass my lips. I can do this, keep quiet. I know how. Not a word. Not a single murmur. No utterance, cry, ululation, howl, yell, whoop or bark (bark?!) will come out. I will not descend into vociferousness. I will remain passive, quiet, silent, mute, aphonic, as quiet as the grave.


Perhaps not.

"Danny!" he hisses. "Quiet!"

"Jack, how the fuck can I be quiet when you are doing THAT with your tongue. I'm sure that's illegal in at least half the states in the US, and probably most of the rest of the world. Except Western Europe, but they're funny like that. You want me to be quiet then don't do that."

"Didn't you like it?"

"Jack, I freaking loved it, but not here."

"Oh, okay," he says with a snigger. Bastard.

"What on earth were you two doing?" Jan whispers at me as I pour myself a drink in the lounge.

"Us? Nothing!" I whisper back, trying to look as innocent as possible.

She just grins and catches hold of my hand and shows me the red marks still around my wrists from the belt. Oops. I just shrug and smile. I'm saying nothing. I'm also going to keep the marks from Jack because he seemed to be having fun earlier and I don't want to put him off doing that again. Oh no. Definitely going to encourage him in that area. He's good at it.

We're all going to head to the restaurant in the hotel for dinner tonight. One last blast before we return home. Cassie's being very well-behaved and sticking to us like glue. Me especially. I don't mind one bit.

"You going to sing tonight, Daniel?" Sam asks.

"Not a hope," I reply. I've done enough of that.

"Aw, I was hoping you'd rewrite a song for me," she's teasing.

"Maybe when we get home," I say, "but I don't know which one I should use."

"Blue Eyes?" suggests Ed.

"Hard Headed Woman?" asks Jack, earning himself a punch from the hard handed woman next to him.

"Got it!" I say, but I'm not letting on. She'll just have to wait. There are complaints, of course.

"What about me?" Jack asks.

"What about you?" Mom replies.

"What song will you do for me?" he retorts with a loud sigh. I look him up and down for a minute and say,

"Hound Dog? The Wind Beneath My Wings? That would be appropriate; I could rename it 'The Gas Beneath the Sheets.' Heaven only knows you fart enough."

Cassie nearly screams at that one. What? It's true!

And that's it. We're home. We had a fabulous time, better than I could have imagined - apart from Daniel's little escapades. I think that boy's got a trouble magnet inside him. Back to work tomorrow and neither of us wants to go, but we have to. We've had far too much time off recently. It's not long before Christmas too. Daniel and I will work over Christmas, as will all those that don't have kids. It's only fair. The kids need their parents home for that day and we're happy to oblige. Similarly with all the other religions on the base: each festival gets covered by those of us not, or least affected by it. That way everyone gets a fair crack at the religious whip. Us godless heathens get New Year off so we can get as drunk as we like. It works a treat. So Christmas Eve is going to be our Christmas Day. Danny usually looks forward to it about as much as his birthday, but I think he's got something up his sleeve. He's being as secretive as I was about the trip to Maui.

"Wakey, wakey, rise and shine!" I call, waving the customary cup of coffee under his nose.

"'ckoffJ'ck," the customary reply.

"Come on, Daniel, got to go to work. Up and at 'em, book boy."

"Ugh." For a man of many languages his pre-caffeine vocabulary is distinctly limited.

I eventually persuade him to drink and get up. It's amazing. How does the six foot, spiky-haired, blurry-eyed Neanderthal turn into Daniel after coffee? I think there must be some alien factor at work here.

We finally arrive at the mountain and I'm pleased to see that everything seems normal. The guards are pleasant to Daniel but terse with me, his staff scatter as they see him approaching and the food in the commissary is inedible. Good. No alien incursions since we've been away then.

"Good morning, Colonel. Glad to have you back. How was your vacation?"

Damn, George seems happy today. Oh, of course, Mom's back. Snigger.

"Good morning to you, Sir. And thank you, it was wonderful. The weather was warm, the food was fantastic and the company companionable. What more could I ask for?"

"What more indeed?" he laughs and leads me to his office to give me a rundown on what's been happening. Not a lot apparently. Good. I like it like that. No surprises. I hate surprises.

The last few days have been as quiet as a library. I think I'm going to go insane. I want something to happen. Anything, even a surprise. But NO. Nothing's going on. What am I going to do? I've even done the paperwork that has built up while I've been away. I've hardly seen Daniel, he's been up to his eyeballs in translations. Even at home, he's been bringing them there. I hate it when he does that, but his batteries seem to be recharged which means he's back to his usual state of insomnia. If I manage to persuade him to come to bed and make out he does and then heads off to his office to finish his work after. The amount of times I've found him asleep with the keyboard imprinted on his cheek and drool over the laptop is nobody's business. So perfectly normal then. I knew living with Daniel wasn't going to be easy, but nothing really ever prepares you for living with a guy with an IQ as high as his.

It's Christmas Eve tomorrow. We have today and tomorrow off and then we're back on duty till New Year. We get January the first off and second off. I'm glad. Because if I know Daniel he'll spend most of the first with his head down the toilet and the second recovering.

Shopping today, getting all the food in for the meal tomorrow. Carter and Ed are coming over, as is Teal'c before he heads off to see Rya'c and Draya'uc. Mom and George will be here too - a real family day. Presents are wrapped. I wonder what Daniel's got for me? He's not letting on, just smirks whenever I ask him. He's a happy camper today, his precious Jaguar came back from the garage yesterday. He won't take it out yet though, says the salt on the roads will ruin the paint job. Can't say I blame him really, she's a beautiful thing. He just sat there in the driver's seat when she came home and made 'Brrrrooom' noises as he played with the steering wheel. Then he gave me his innocent 'What?' look when I cracked up.

"So, ya gonna tell me what you got me?" I ask for the ninth time.

"Jack, for the six hundred and fifty first time 'NO'. You'll have to wait and see." He slaps my hand as if I'm some sort of kid. Huh. No fair.

Woo hoo! It's Christmas! Technically Christmas Eve but for us it's Christmas Day and that means PRESENTS!

I rush downstairs and get the coffee on. Can't wait to find out what he's been up to recently. I know he's been up to something. Got to know, can't wait. Come on coffee maker, hurry up. Can't rush this. If I give him bad coffee he'll be in a really bad mood all day. We're eating Christmas dinner tonight so there's no rush to get the oven on. Everything was prepared yesterday. The turkey's stuffed, the potatoes are peeled and sitting in a bowl of water, nothing big needs to be done. Which is just as well. Good. Coffee's ready.


"Ja-ack, go away. Too early."

"Uh, uh, Danny, time to wake up."

"It's the crack of dawn," he moans.

"It's 0830," I reply.

"Exactly," he grumps and pulls the cover over his head.

"I've got coffee," I singsong. "Lovely freshly-ground, premium-blend, top-notch coffee."

"Ah fuck. Gimme."

Unfocused blue eyes appear to me from underneath those long lashes and I feel part of me waking up again. I wonder if he's up for a little exercise?

"Fuck off Jack, let me drink my coffee, will ya?"

Huh. I wait till the triple-strength caffeine kick hits him. Perhaps he's more amenable to it now?

"Feel like a morning quickie?" I ask as I nuzzle his neck.

"Way to go to turn a guy on," he moans. "And no, I don't. I need to take a leak."

Geez, what's frosting his cookies this morning? I follow him into the bathroom.

"How about a shower?"

He lifts his arm and sniffs his armpit.

"Yeah, you're right, I do need one."

"Want some company?" Okay - I'm begging here.

"Is this the only way I'm going to get you to calm down this morning?" he asks with a sigh, but his eyes are smiling.

"Yeahyeahyeahyeahyeah," I nod like a mad man.

"Ok-ay, c'mere Muttley." He beckons me with one of his long fingers. I follow him to the shower. He loses it.

"Jack, clothes?" Oh, yes, I'm still dressed. Damn him, one crooked finger and my IQ takes up residence in my gonads. I shuck them quickly. He's turned the water on and he's standing under it, tipping his head back and letting the water run down his body and over his hair. I'm feeling dizzy. Oh yes. breathe, dammit, you need to breathe.

I get into the shower and he wraps his arms around me, moaning into my ear, "What do you want, Jack? Just say the word."

Speak? He wants me to speak? I can't! I've lost all connections from my brain to my tongue! Hasn't he the slightest clue what he does to me? I manage a whimper.

"You'll have to do better than that Jack. Tell me and I'll do it."

Fuck. If he talks like that anymore he won't have to do anything. Somehow, I have no idea how, I tell him.

"Against the wall, Danny, spread them."

A filthy, filthy grin appears over his face as he turns away from me and spreads his legs, holding himself up by pushing his arms against the tiles. I reach out and grab a tube of lube from the bathroom cabinet. No foreplay is necessary, not wanted and not needed. We're both raring to go. I turn the water down a bit, same temperature but just less of the stuff for the moment, I need to see what I'm doing.

Fingers first, getting me a low moan from him. I fuck him with my fingers of my left hand (he loves being fingered as much as being fucked) while my right hand goes to work on his dick. More moans and groans. He's pushing back against my hand. "Let go, Danny, come for me," I whisper and he does on cue. My turn. How I've lasted this long I don't know. Love this, watching the water trickle down his back as I push into him. I follow his commands, slamming into him as fast and as hard as I can. He's responding to me hitting the sweet spot, crying out, not holding anything back. I can't hold on and I come hard, collapsing against his back with a war cry of "DA-NI-EL!"

He slowly turns around to face me, his strong arms holding me up as he does. I feel his renewed erection poking me in the thigh. Oh boy. I've gotta do something about that for him. So I do. Stuff the knee. I don't really need to walk again, do I?

Sam and Ed have arrived first. We're sitting in the kitchen drinking coffee. I can see Sam's really been corrupting Edward since he's gotten here. He doesn't drink half as much tea as he used to.

"God, you two, you've been together two years nearly and you still look like a couple on newlyweds," she says with a twinkle in her eye.

"That's 'cause they're getting plenty," Ed mutters.

"How do you know?" she almost screams, laughing at the same time.

"'Cause they're guys," he replies. She looks confused so I elaborate.

"Sam, when was the last time a guy said 'no' to you?"

"Um," she has to think. "Never."

"Precisely," Ed replies. I think she's got it. Danny's just grinning.

"Now do you see the attraction of living with another man, Ed?" he asks.

"Oh yes, figured that one out a while back." She thumps him, but he's smiling at her. Aw, they look so cute together.

Everybody's here. PRESENT TIME!

We're sitting around in the living room and passing things out. Apart from the crate of beer that he's gotten Ed and Teal'c's present, Daniel is only passing out envelopes to everyone. What has he done?

"Oh wow! Thanks Daniel!" Mom cries. Ah, I see why. She's going to enjoy that. Teal'c loves his DVD player and the films. George likes his rodeo company shares. The girls love the idea of the candy factory and Cassie's going nuts over the makeover and clothes she's getting.

I've been given a few parcels and some envelopes and a huge 'I know something you don't' grin from Daniel. Okay, what's going on. The parcels first.

"Wow!" A new flying jacket from Cassie and Janet. Mom's given all of the team large copies of the photos she took, nicely framed. Danny and I have gotten one of each other, and one of the two of us and the four of us between us. These are way cool. I open the envelope from Ed and Sam.

We owe you time and expertise.

That's all it says.

I open the one from George.

So do I.

From Teal'c,

As do I.


"Daniel, what on earth is going on?" I ask.

"Come on," he says. "Grab your coats, we're all going out."

Bewildered, I do as I'm told and we pile into a couple of cars. I have no idea what's going on. We drive for a while and end up at... Peterson? What are we doing here?

The cars pull up at a hangar on the side of the airfield and we all scramble out of the cars. Now I'm really confused. Daniel stands behind me.

"Jack, I'm going to cover your eyes for a minute. Don't be afraid, it's only me," he whispers.

I swallow and nod. Hate being blindfolded. I. WILL. NOT. SCREAM.

I trust him. I really trust him. Can't see. Don't like this at all. I can feel his hand holding mine, his other arm tightly around my waist. We're walking somewhere, inside the hangar by the sounds of the echoes of the footsteps.

"Okay, I'm going to take the blindfold off now," he says and light is restored.

"Merry Christmas Jack," he says as I catch my breath. A plane? In pieces?

"It's a kit plane, Jack," he says, "A single prop, turbo whatsit, with floats. I've checked out the flying range. You can take her to the lake in Minnesota as long as you keep fuel up there for the return trip. No more flying commercial. The time thing that Sam and the others promised is the help you're going to get to build her. Everything's there, all the bits you'll need, engine, instruments, everything. Do you like it?"

Aw love him, he's afraid he's gotten me the wrong thing. I'm just stunned, that's all.

"Like it? I LOVE IT! I've always wanted my own plane. Daniel, this is fucking incredible. Wow. Stunned here, totally out of it."

The relief on his face is clear to see. Oh boy. I pull him close and kiss him hard.

"Thank you Daniel, thank you so much. I never thought I'd get my own plane."

"Sorry it's a kit one," he murmurs. "Couldn't stretch to a new ready-built one."

"Babe, it's wonderful. I'll have loads of fun putting her together. The others know what they're doing, she'll have to go through endless tests to prove she's airworthy, so by the time I fly her you won't be able to tell the difference anyway. I don't suppose I'll be able to persuade you to come up in her with me, but I'm going to love flying her. I promise."

"It's a two-seater," he says, trying to sound casual, and failing. "If I take enough tranquillisers then maybe you'll get me up there."

Maybe I will. Maybe I won't, but it doesn't matter. Daniel understands me and my other love. He's not jealous. He's just something wonderful.