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Alpha Males 5

family matters

Summary: Daniel finally gets what he always wanted. But will he get to keep it? ECHW strikes again *mwahahaha*. Thanks to Joy for support, humour and checks. Wouldn't have got through this without you dear.

"Danny? Have you got everything sorted?"

"Oh, hi Jack. Yeah. The last things are heading through this morning. Can't believe that we're finally moving over there."

Jack comes over to me and gives me a hug. Makes a change. He must want something.

I'm at my desk, sitting at my computer and trying to figure out the last minute logistics of the last transfer of personnel and equipment to Alpha. Hmm, that's nice. His strong fingers are massaging my neck and loosening some of the knots.

"Daniel," he drawls out and I know he either definitely wants something or I'm not going to like what he says.

"Jack," I reply. Message received and understood, Jack.

"We have a position unfilled at the Alpha site - a pretty important one."

I turn my head to look up at him. He's grinning.

"Which one?"

"Padre. We need one, Danny. There's gonna be lots of people out there. Some of them are going to be religious. Got to cater for them too."

"Fair enough, but if you want it like here you'll have to get a couple - to deal with the different religions."

"Yeah, well, what often happens in overseas postings, which I guess is what you'd call Alpha in this case, is that you'll have the one and he'll be the sort who can adapt. He'd have to be open to the other religions, you know. Tolerant. Yeah, that's it. Interested too. Has to know the different prayers and all that."

"Jack, what are you getting at?"

"Well, I've been talking to George about this. He says that he'd already checked up with the department that posts the chaplains and they've not got one spare. Given that this posting is a military one, solitary by nature, it's felt that an open-minded Catholic priest will be the best for the job. You know, 'cause they don't have a wife and kids to support. Not like the Protestant ones, or the rabbis..."

"I get the picture, Jack. So, why are you telling me this?"

"Oh, well, it's just we're going to have to recruit from the civilian clergy."

I smack my head on the desk. I know where this is going.

"Jack, why don't you just rename the whole project SG O'Neill and be done with it?"

He sniggers.

"Come on, Danny, who better?"

He's got a point. Patrick would be perfect. He can deal with pretty much anything. I know that as far as other religions go he's knowledgeable and tolerant. One of his best pals in Chicago is a rabbi - in fact the two of them often arrange stuff between their congregations. And of course, he's more accepting of 'alternate lifestyles' than a lot of other people, clergy or not.

"When's he coming?" I ask.

"Ah, we have to go and recruit him. George has been given permission for us to go and tell him about the project - on the understanding that someone who can't break a confessional secret even on pain of death would keep something like this a secret easily. Mom's coming with. The three of us are going home, Danny. We'll meet up with Bride and the guys too. You can go to that restaurant if you like. I'm sure that Q will love the food. Tally is looking forward to it already."

"When are we going?"

"This evening. Don't worry, we're going commercial. Let's go now, we've got to pack. I'm sure the last lot of stuff will get over to Alpha without you."

Far too much has got over there without me. We've only been back from the UK for a month. Still, we've worked solidly for that month, I could do with a break.

//I'd like to meet Jack's family. They sound like interesting people, Daniel.//

{Oh, they are. Bride's an up-and-coming Mom. Reuben's great. Pat's a wonderful brother to me as well as Jack. Mad though - the whole lot of them. Completely barking.}

//So you fit in well then?//


So, here I am again. Thirty thousand feet. I'm not nervous though, I'm letting Qabil take over. I'm in the middle seat, Mom's by the window and Jack gets the aisle seat - which is a pain, 'cause my legs are longer than his.

"So, Mom," Q says, "what will we do when we arrive?"

She looks at us and it dawns on her who's talking. She grins at Q calling her Mom.

"Well, darling, we're going to stay at Bridie and Reuben's place. Now the kids have all left home they've got the room. It'll be fun. I'm sure that Emily and David will come over at some time, I can't wait to see my great granddaughter again. They grow up so quickly these days. Four years old and she's already reading. Katherine's a smart one, that's for sure."

"Takes after her gran," Jack says with a grin.

He's not wrong. Bridie's as sharp as anything. Wish we could land, I'm getting bored. There's never anything to do. I've seen the film on offer and it wasn't a good one to put on. Who wants to watch Airport '77 while on a plane for God's sake? Not tactful.

At last! We're down. And that was the worst landing I have ever had the misfortune to experience. It made the crash landing on Ravanna seem as smooth as a baby's bottom. Even Jack went white as a sheet. There's an announcement.

"Ladies and Gentlemen. Please remain seated until Captain Calamity and his co-pilot the Bronco Kid have brought us screeching to a halt. You may unfasten your seat belts as soon as the tyre smoke clears. May we suggest that you look under your seat for the baggage you stowed in the overhead locker, as undoubtedly it won't be there now. Please be careful as you pick your way through the wreckage towards the exit. Thank you for flying Kangaroo Air - the cabin crew will attend you as soon as we've peeled ourselves off the ceiling and patched up our broken bones."

Ah. Don't think the stewardess was too chuffed about that landing either. We taxi in and a shaken steward opens the door, only to discover that the staircase isn't there. It's about twenty feet to one side. No, I'm not jumping down, that's for sure.

We wait - patiently believe it or not - for the mess to be sorted out and finally, we get to disembark. Jack says nothing to the co-pilot who has been sent out to see us off. He just looks at him and shakes his head. Mom's in front of me. She puts her hand on the poor guy, who's as shaken as the rest of us.

"Tell me," she says to him. "Did we land, or were we shot down?"

I am so glad we're at Bridie's. If I get Danny on a plane ever again it will be a fucking miracle.

"It was awful," he's complaining to Bride. "I'm sure that when Jack crashed that time it wasn't so bad."

"Hey, I didn't crash. I fricking was shot down. I ejected."

"I'll bet you did," Mom sniggers.

She's good.

Daniel and I are going to meet up with Pat tomorrow in private, but all of us are going out to his favourite restaurant tonight. He could do with something familiar and comforting after that awful flight.

Jihan greets us all as if the entire family are long-lost friends. Abia's there too tonight and Daniel hugs her and chats, and generally we have a wonderful time. It's so easy to lose sight of what we fight for - especially as Daniel and I don't have (or want) children of our own. Their kids are here, giggling in the background. The baby is growing up fast - and the boys are run ragged keeping up with her demands. Talk about spoilt rotten. But she's cute, so she's getting away with murder. She's come over to us and demanded that Daniel holds her on his lap. The big sap has caved, of course. He's good with kids, as long as they're someone else's. Nobody could replace Charlie for me, so I've never wanted another child. I know his reasons for not wanting them too - it's just too painful. Doesn't mean we can't enjoy other people's though. We've got an entire world of children to protect. It's one hell of a job, but it's one that's worth doing.

Jihan tells her she shouldn't bother the customers. We all complain that we're not just customers and that she and the boys are welcome to stay with us. The boys are sweet and polite - a lot like their dad. The baby, however, is Abia mark 2. Whoo boy, is she ever. Gorgeous and knows it. What the hell, she may as well make the most of it.

"So, why do you two want to talk to me?" Pat asks.

"We'll tell you tomorrow, Pat," I answer. "This place is a bit public. We've got a proposal for you."

"You gonna make me an offer I can't refuse?" Pat jokes.

His Brando's as bad as mine. There's going to be no getting away from us for Daniel if Pat comes with. We arrange a time and place to talk the next day before we leave the restaurant. Then we head back to Bridie's place and off to bed. It's late and I could do with the rest.

I guess I'm taking my time coming to bed. Daniel's already there.

"What's up, Jack?"

"Oh, nothing, just thinking."

"What about?"

"I'm having second thoughts about asking Pat to do this. It could be dangerous. He's never been trained to fight."

"Neither was I, Jack. Pat's much better at taking care of himself than I was when we first went through. He's bigger and stronger and he boxes too. He's a tough guy."

"True. But I doubt he could kill."

"He'd find it no more difficult than I do. Jack, Pat's a protector, just like you. I know I tease you O'Neills about mother-henning, but it's what you are - it's who you are. I think that if push came to shove, Pat would kill to protect the innocent. He'd find it hard to live with afterwards, that's for sure, but he'd never be able to live with himself if he let the innocent die. Besides, it's not as if we're putting him in a combat role. He's going to be sheltered in the mountain. We'll have sufficient safeguards to protect him and the others. Tell me, would you feel this bad if it was an anonymous priest we were recruiting?"

I concede the point. I'm just worried about my brother.

[I like Pat, Jack. He seems to be a jovial character.]

(Oh, he is that, all right. He's a good guy. He may turn us down yet, though I don't think so.)


(Curiosity is inherent among humans. I believe it's what forced us to evolve. In the O'Neills, it's endemic. We can't not know what's going on. If we dangle the right carrot in front of him, he'll likely come.)

I climb into bed and snuggle with Daniel. We've been doing a lot of this recently and it's worrying me.

"Danny? Do you mind that we just snuggle? I mean, I know how horny you are on a permanent basis. It can't be easy on you."

"Have I complained?" he asks, a little hurt in his voice if I'm honest.

"No, no, of course not. I just want to know."

"Jack, I love you, okay? It's you and me, all the way. Sure, I love making out with you. Of course I do. But if you're not in the mood, so what? Don't you ever feel bad for that. I don't. Feel like a little kissing?"

I can manage that, I guess. Such a hardship - not. He's good at this.

We're at Pat's place - the rectory connected to his church. I'm still nervous about asking him this, but as Daniel said, who else could I ask? He hands us a coffee each and then sits down.

"So, Jack, are you going to tell me what this is all about or do I have to beat you up to find out what it is?"

Daniel sniggers into his coffee. He knows that Pat could take me if he wanted to.

"This isn't going to be easy, Pat. I can't tell you everything; as you know, what we do is highly classified. However, we have an opening for a chaplain and we want you to fill it. It's an overseas posting, sort of, so we need someone who can attend to all of the people there. We only have the capacity for the one post. Apart from services, the main job will be pastoral care. The majority of people there will be scientists - civilians like Danny. Or not like Danny 'cause nobody is, but civvies anyway. You'll probably find that most of them aren't overly religious either. But they will need someone to talk to."

"Why me?"

"Loads of reasons. One, fairly obviously, you've got no wife and kids. And yeah, I know that applies to all Catholic priests. Uh, um, well, I trust you, Pat. Even though we'll be doing everything we can to keep the base safe, there is no guarantee that it will never come under attack. It's not likely to happen, we have numerous safeguards in place, but there is always that possibility. I need someone there that can keep a cool head. I know you, Pat, and I know you'd do that. Mom's going to be there some of the time, too. I'm in charge of the base, it's why I got the promotion. They needed a general there. The whole premise of the base is Daniel's idea. He's going to be heading up the anthropology department there. Sam and Janet will head their departments there too."

"Where is it, Jack?"

"This is the difficult bit, Pat, and the bit that you're sworn to secrecy about, okay? I'm talking confessional here."

"You've got it, Jack. You know I'd never break a confidence."

"Yeah, I know... It's on another planet."

We wait for him to stop laughing. Then he looks at us and his face looks stunned.

"You're not joking, are you?"

Daniel takes over for me, thank goodness.

"Pat, we're deadly serious. We can't tell you too many details at the moment, but we travel to other planets as part of our job. This base, it's going to end up the first colony. It's like Earth, but the whole base is inside a mountain. You'll be able to go up to the surface though and walk around. The atmosphere and gravity are identical to Earth's. Well, there's a tiny bit more oxygen in the air - no pollution either, but apart from that, it's the same. No spacesuits or anything." Danny smiles at that and Pat relaxes slightly.

"How do you get there? Surely it takes years to travel."

"Um, well, given NASA's current state it would. Let's just say we have ways of travelling very quickly. In fact, we're going to be commuting."


"Sure. At least we should be home on the weekends," I tell him. "You can be home in minutes. I can't go into details yet, but if you say yes, we'll take you to Cheyenne Mountain and clear across the galaxy."

"Sheesh, Jack, if I didn't know you better I'd say you were having me on. I must admit, I'm intrigued. But what about my parishioners? I'm not sure that I can leave them. Can you tell me one thing?"

"Name it and I'll answer if I can."

"Are there aliens involved in this? I'm sure you're dealing with technology that's far in advance of Earth tech if you can cross the galaxy in minutes."

"Yes," Danny says carefully. "Um, would you like to meet one?"

"Meet one?"

"Yes. He's called Qabil and he's very friendly. I'd better tell you that there are good and bad aliens out there. He's one of the good guys."

"Where is he?" Pat's looking around as if there's an invisible alien somewhere. Sort of. That doesn't make sense, does it? Who the fuck am I trying to talk to?


(Could be. Just ignore me. I'm off again.)

[I'd noticed.]

Daniel bows his head and then raises it. His eyes flash gold and Qabil's voice comes out of him.

Hello, Patrick. I'm Qabil. I am Tok'ra - as Daniel says, one of the good guys.

Daniel's face grins as he talks and Qabil explains a little more.

Daniel saved my life recently. My previous host had been tortured beyond my capability to heal him. If Daniel had not offered himself as a host, I would have died. This information, by the way, is so secret that even people involved in the project do not know it. We fear that elements in your government would want to take us. Please, whether you take this posting or not, Daniel's life is at stake. This has to be kept a secret.

"Of course," Pat tells him. "I'd never do anything to hurt him. Can you not survive without a host?"

No. Survival outside a host's body is extremely limited. I'd have to be kept in very specific conditions. It is not a good way to live. I am a sentient being, Patrick, however, my level of sentience is determined by the self-awareness of the host. If, for example, I was inside a monkey, I'd be a smart monkey, but nothing else.

Danny takes over.

"Of course, even in some humans, Tok'ra can be no more than a smart monkey." He starts giggling. "Sorry, you should have heard what Q just said to that."

"Daniel," Pat is still stunned by this. "You're okay with this? Having an alien in your head?"

"Yes. I wouldn't have done it for any other Tok'ra - well, Selmac, I suppose, she's okay, and, um, Talnet. But no, I've got a fundamental problem with it which will become apparent if you say 'yes'. It's only Qabil. His previous host was a good friend of mine."

"Jack? Are you all right about this?" Pat asks me.

Jack is fine with it, Tally answers. I am Talnet, Qabil's mate. My host was also beyond repair and Jack offered himself to me. You must understand that this is only temporary, until we find suitable hosts. We have been together only a couple of months. I love Jack dearly, but our ways must part. Qabil and I are field operatives. Jack and Daniel are no longer working in the field and they are loyal to the project. Our goals are the same - to make the galaxy a safe place to live and to remove the threat of the Goa'uld.

"Um, don't ask," Daniel puts in before Pat can say anything. "We'll tell you if you agree. We have told you far too much as it is, Pat. We should go, let you think about this. We know it's a lot for you to take in all at once. We've had a heck of a long time to get used to all of it. We want you to get involved, Pat, but this has to be voluntary."

Daniel and I stand up. Pat's still a bit shaken about this. I think he needs to talk to Mom.

"Pat, do you want me to ask Mom to come over? I'm sure she can help you get some perspective on this."

"No, I'm sure I can deal with it. How do I know I can trust you now though? You're not yourselves anymore."

"We're not. We're more than we were. I guess it's up to you, Pat. But you know George, he's our boss and he trusts us like this. He's one of the few people to know. We're trusting you to keep this quiet. We weren't kidding, our lives are at stake here."

He nods, tells me he'll let me know as soon as he can and we leave. Poor guy, he's knocked sideways. I think I'll ask Mom to come over anyway.

We haven't heard from him yet and we're flying back home tomorrow. I hope that he says yes. Daniel's taking his time in the bathroom tonight. Wonder what's up? Ah. There he is. He's looking a bit flushed.

"Danny? You okay?"

"Sure. Why wouldn't I be?"

"No reason. Just longer than normal in the bathroom, that's all. I was wondering if yesterday's spices were fighting back."

He smiles, kisses my cheek and heads off to bed laughing.

Well, that's one mystery solved. I can smell him in here. He's been jerking off. Can't say I blame him. I've not been very forthcoming recently.

[Why is that, Jack?]

(Not sure, Talnet. I'm crazy about him, you know that. I just can't face having sex at the moment.)

[Are you afraid of something?]

(Not as far as I am aware, no.)

[Then this is another mystery to be solved.]


// Yes, Daniel?//

{Has Jack gone off me?}

//Why do you say that?//

{He doesn't want me anymore. I don't mind him not wanting sex, you know, it's just he's shutting me out and I don't know why. Is he fed up of me?}

//I don't think so, Daniel. He still looks at you the same way, I'm sure he still desires you too. It's probably because we are with you.//

{I doubt that, Qabil. It didn't stop him before. Perhaps I'm getting too old for him? I'll be forty soon. Maybe he wants someone younger than me?}

//Daniel! Stop it! He doesn't want anyone else, I'm sure of that. Come on, snap out of that mood. It's depressing the hell out of me.//


//Not half as much as you will be if you don't get out of this fugue.//

Jack's getting into bed. Do I even try to snuggle with him tonight? Does he want me to? Oh God, this is hard. Why can't he just tell me?

//Ask him.//

{I can't.}

//Why not?//

{Because I'm afraid of what he'll say.}

"Um, night then Jack."

"G'night Danny."

{See, he doesn't want to even kiss me goodnight. Oh God, what have I done?}

//You haven't done a thing, Daniel.//

{What haven't I done then?}

//Right, this is silly. I'm going to sort this out.//

{Don't you dare!}



"No, it's me, Qabil."

"Oh, what can I do for you?"

"Tell me what the hell is going on?"

"Whatd'ya mean?"

"When was the last time you just got into bed and didn't even give Daniel a kiss goodnight?"

"What? Is that what you want?"

"Not me, him. Shut up, Daniel, I'm talking. Sorry about that, he's giving me hell here. He's worried sick that you don't want him anymore."

"He said not having sex didn't bother him."

"That doesn't. But you're shutting him out, Jack. What's wrong?"


"Crap. Even I think there's something wrong. He thinks he's done something to upset you."

"He hasn't!"

"Well, what is it?"

"Nothing! How many times have I got to tell you?"

"It's not me you've got to convince."

"Let me speak to him."

"He doesn't want to talk. He's cross with me now."

"Oh, for crying out loud, Daniel, will you please come out and talk to me?"

I look hard at him, I can tell that Daniel's back in control. He looks scared. CRAP!

"Danny? What's up?"

"N.n.nothing, Jack, it's okay. Just Q.q.qabil going on one, you n.n.know what he's like."

Fuck. He's stammering. He only does that when he's really upset. He's trying to shut himself down again.

"Dammit, Danny, will you calm down, please. Love ya, okay? I'm just tired, that's all. You haven't done a damned thing wrong. I'm just worried about Pat, uptight about the move. You know how it is."

"I know," he replies quietly. He's not convinced.

[Hold him, Jack. I think that's what he wants.]

(Yeah, I should have done that earlier.)

"Come here, will ya?"

I pull him into my arms, he's as tight as a drum. Shit, what have I been doing to him?

"Hey, I'm sorry, Daniel, I've not been paying much attention to you recently, have I?"

"It's okay, Jack, I understand. You're busy. You've got a lot on your plate. Don't worry about it. Qabil's just going off bang, that's all."

Yeah, right, and my name's Dorothy.

"It's not okay, Daniel. The whole project isn't worth as much as you are to me. You should know that by now."

"I do, honestly."

I pull him as close as I can get him and kiss his head. I think I'm going to have to do something special for him soon.

"Still love you, you know. More than life itself," I whisper.

"Me too, Jack. You've got to know that. Can't live without you."

Jesus H Christ, I can hear his freaking heart breaking.

"Same here, Danny. Can't breathe without you near me. Let's get some sleep, eh? Forget about this, shall we? Not letting you go, not ever."

"Good," he murmurs into my chest. "Don't want to go anywhere without you."

He's asleep. The sun's just risen and it's peeking in through the curtains. It catches his hair and makes it look quite red. Suits his morning temperament, that's for sure. I can't figure this out. I love him so fucking much, and I want him - God, do I want him - but I can't face making love to him at the moment and I don't know why.

[Jack, do you have to think such deep thoughts so early in the morning?]

(Go back to sleep, Tally, I think I need to figure this one out myself.)

[Jack, while I'm with you, you don't have to figure anything out yourself. I think you're afraid of getting older. I think you are afraid that he's going to want someone younger. His libido is, shall we say, active. You're comparing yourself to him and finding yourself wanting.]

(Is that it? You really think that?)

[I do. And I think you're afraid that when I leave you, you will not have the ability to keep up with him and satisfy him.]



(So? What do I do?)

[Jack. Do I really need to tell you how silly this is? Daniel loves you enough to die with you. Don't you think you can give him enough credit to accept that you being that much older than him is going to affect your, er, rejuvenation abilities?]

(I guess so. But he really, really, loves to have sex.)

[So do you. But Daniel loves to be held even more. Or hadn't you noticed? He wasn't upset by you not wanting to make love to him. He was scared beyond belief that you were going to leave him because you wouldn't hold him or kiss him goodnight. That means so much more to him. For a smart man, Jack, you are a fool sometimes. Just 'go with the flow'. Love him and the rest will come. He'll accept making love to you as and when you want to, as long as you show him you love him in other ways. You could well be right, that he makes love as much and as well as he does because he wants to keep you. Take that as a compliment, Jack, and return it. Show the world how much you love him and the rest will fall into place.]

She's right. I'm an idiot. It's gonna change as of now. Daniel's going to get a wake-up call he's not anticipating, that's for sure. It will go with the one I've just had. Let me see, where am I going to start first? The kitchen. I'm getting him a coffee. I want him in a good mood to start with.

I sneak out of bed and go down the stairs. Reuben's already up.

"Hey, Reub, how's it going?"

"Fine Jack. Off to work in a minute."

"That's early."

"I know. I've got a breakfast meeting. It's a pain in the ass, but that's business for you. Taking a coffee up to his Lordship?"

"You know it. Wouldn't want to face Daniel without one in the morning. I'd never survive the encounter. Have a good one, and I'll see you when we can get up here next."

"Say goodbye to Daniel and Mom for me, will you? I don't think they'd appreciate me waking them for this."

"Will do. Take care, buddy."

I really like Reuben. Always have done. One of nature's good guys. Up the stairs and into the bedroom. No Daniel? This isn't normal. He must have needed to take a leak. I get back into bed and wait for him. He's taking his time. Perhaps those spices are affecting him now.

Finally. He's here. And looking exactly the same as he did last night. This time his eyelashes are wet and his eyes are a bit red.

"Daniel? What's up? You look like you've been crying."

"No. Washed my face, that's all. You brought me coffee?" He sounds surprised.

"Of course. Here. Thought we could have a quiet hour or so in bed before Mom and Bride get up. Just saw Reuben off to work."

"W.w.what? You want to...?"

"Um, well, that was the idea. You don't have to, we could just snuggle for a while if you like. Here, drink your coffee before it gets cold."

He's blushing a little. I know what this is. The last time we made love in the morning was when we were in the UK. He wasn't expecting me to want to. So, he's gone and done something about it. I wonder just how well he and his right hand have been getting along recently? His empty mug goes back on the side table and now he's eyeing me suspiciously. I have so fucked this up.

"Danny, come here, love."

He comes to me and I wrap my arms around him. He's not even attempting to kiss me. I can't blame him. I've hardly kissed him in a month and then he's nearly always had to initiate it. No wonder he's so worried.

I kiss his head and it jerks up, his eyes wide open in shock.

"I've been an idiot, Daniel, and I'm so sorry. Love you so much, ya know? I'm afraid I can't give you what I thought you wanted. I missed sight of what you really want. Forgive me?"

"Nothing to forgive, Jack. Love you too, honestly. Whatever you want, it's okay with me."

"I know. Same here. I'm getting older, not as fit as I once was. Can't really keep up with you."

"You don't have to do anything for me, Jack."

"You're wrong. I do." He tries to intervene but I'm not going to let him. "I have to tell you and show you that I love you, Daniel. I haven't been doing that. I'm really sorry about that. It's going to change, I promise."

I kiss his head again and this time he smiles.

I've been so afraid that he didn't want me anymore. I think I know what this is all about now. Silly man, he doesn't have to make love to me to show that he loves me. This is enough for me. As long as he doesn't mind me sneaking off to the bathroom every so often. I can't help having rampant hormones. It's his fault, he turns me on. It's a shame that I don't seem to do that for him anymore. Perhaps I need to do something to change that?

"Jack? What do you like?"


"What is it about someone that, um, turns you on? Is there anything I can do - you know, change something about me or something? What have I done that has stopped you wanting me?"

"NOTHING! Jeez, Danny, nothing, okay?"


Crap. He's not going to tell me. There must be something. He seemed to change overnight. Perhaps my hair is too long again? I'll get it cut as soon as we get back. He likes me when I wear those leather pants. Maybe I should wear them? And the jacket, he always used to like me in that. I've been in my airforce overalls so much recently. No wonder he doesn't want me anymore. I've got to do something about this.

"Daniel, you're thinking, I can tell. What's going on in your head?"


"Danny, come on, this is me you're talking to. I know when you're thinking."

"It's nothing, honestly. Don't worry about it, Jack."

"I am worried. Of course I'm worried. When you start thinking, I start worrying. What's going on in your head?"

Damn and blast, Qabil's taking over again. No, don't say anything, please.

"Daniel thinks you don't find him attractive anymore, Jack, and he's wondering what it will take to change your mind."

{YOU RAT! I told you not to say a thing.}

//And how is Jack supposed to be able to reassure you otherwise?//

{He'll lie!}

"Danny? You really think that? Oh for crying out loud. You're fucking gorgeous, don't change a thing, please. Love you as you are, ya know."


"Don't listen to Qabil, Jack, he's doing it again."

"Yeah, right. Will you listen to me, Daniel? It's not you - it's me. I'm the idiot here, don't you compound my stupidity by acting on it. There's nothing wrong with you. I love you, and I sure as hell am attracted to you. I just haven't felt like doing anything about it recently. Wait till we get home. I'll show you there, when we have some freedom to make some noise, okay?"


Jack's on the phone to Pat. We still don't know whether he's going to take the post or not. We fly home this afternoon - something I am not looking forward to at all. Same freaking airline as on the way up. If we have the same pilot I'm parachuting the hell out of it. Ah, he's put the phone down.

"He's agreed to talk a bit more. It's a nice day, so he suggested we meet in the park near his church. I said I'd be there in an hour. Do you want to come?"

"Sure, don't mind. Would you rather spend some time on your own with him?"

"No. Danny, I want you to come with me, I just don't want to force you into something you don't want to do. If you wanted to go off and do something else, then fine."

"I've got nothing in mind. I'll come if you want."

"Good. Dammit, Danny, you're as jumpy as a freaking wallaby today."


"Stop apologising, will ya? Still love ya. Still love me?"

"Of course I do! What do I have to do to prove it?" Will he ever believe me?

"Jeez, Daniel, I was joking. I know you do, okay?"



"Well, what do you expect? You've cut me off, frozen me out. Sure you've said you know you're doing it but I still don't really understand why. I thought you were fed up of me, Jack. I've been waiting for you to say it's over. I've tried to do the right thing by you, but whenever I do what you want me to do, you get suspicious. Not to mention I can't even go out with my friends because you get so fucking jealous."

"I don't!"

"YOU DO! The minute I get in I get the third degree. Where did I go? Who did I go with? What did I do?"

"I'm interested!"

"Ha! 'Interested' questions aren't barked at people. You think I'm running off with others all the time. You don't trust me at all. Tell me, Jack, when was the last time I went anywhere with a single person? Eh? You can't. I only ever go out with a number of people because I know you wouldn't believe that I hadn't been having an affair with whoever I'd go out with. I'd love to be able to go out and just chat with Gareth. I haven't seen him on his own since he got here. But I daren't, because I know you wouldn't believe that it was innocent and only as friends. I haven't been out to dinner with Paul in ages because you don't trust me. I put up with this because I love you, and my reward? You don't believe me."

Crap, crap, FUCK! I have so fucked this up it's unbelievable. He's stormed off now, heading up to our room. No, not now Mom!

"Jack, what's going on? I heard you two shouting at each other."

"Not now, I've got to talk to him before it's too late. Please, let me go, Mom."

"Fine, talk to him, then you're talking to me, my boy."

Whatever. I've got to sort this out with Daniel once and for all.

Fuck, he's packing his stuff. Just throwing it in the case. Aw hell, he's crying.

"Daniel, stop, please. I'm sorry, so fucking sorry. Didn't mean for this to happen, honestly. Love you."

"You might love me, Jack, but you don't trust me."

"Dammit, I do trust you. It's everyone else I don't trust. Don't you get it? I can't believe that I've got someone as wonderful as you and I'm scared someone will take you away from me. I know you won't walk. It's me, Danny, not you. Honest. Come here, please."

I reach out to him, he looks so unsure of himself. I should be ashamed of myself. I am ashamed of myself. How could I do this to him? I know what he needs and why he needs it and I haven't been giving it to him. Aw Danny, don't get so upset. We can work this out, I promise.

"Can we?" he sniffs into my neck.

"Sure we can. Look, if we can get over all the shitty things I did to you in the past, can't we get over a misunderstanding?"

"Is that what this is?"

"Of course it is. I misunderstood what you wanted from me, that's all. And I'm sorry, okay? I know I keep saying that to you and I'm going to try to improve so I don't have to say it anymore. Love you so much it hurts. I hate seeing you like this."

I lay one of my best kisses on him. If this doesn't tell him that I love him, nothing will.

Hell, there's a knock on the door. Bet anything it's Mom. Not stopping kissing him though.

"Er, boys? Can I come in?."

She gets a muffled 'yes' from us both and comes into the room.

"Isn't that sweet? Glad to see you've made up. Okay, Jack, you can put him down now... Er, Jack, we need to talk son... JONATHAN CONOR O'NEILL PUT HIM DOWN THIS INSTANT!"

Okay, okay.

"Spoilsport," Danny mutters into my neck.

"Whatd'ya want, Mom?"

"I wanted to know if I could come with you to see Patrick this morning. Maybe I could help persuade him? I need to know now, or else I'm going shopping with Bridie."

"Oh. Yeah, sure Mom, come with. That would be good." Told her last night that Pat knows about Tally and he's worried about the whole thing.

"Right, I'll tell Bridie. When are we going?"

"About ten minutes, Mom. And Mom?"

"Yes son?"

"Shut the door, would ya? Thanks."

I carry on where I left of, pulling Danny to the bed and laying us down on it. I'm not breaking off this kiss for anything now. Shi-it, he's hard. So am I. I'm gonna do something about this - got to get over this mental block I seem to have got. That's it, pull his shirt up, unzip us both. It's got to be quick and nothing more than a bump and grind, but that doesn't matter. He's got to know that I still want him.

"See Danny? Still want ya," I whisper.

"God, yes, please, Jack, harder, now."

Whatever you want, baby.

"Don't *pant* call *ugh* me *yes* BABY *God!*"

I think that worked.

We're in the park. The sun's out, we're sitting on the grass and looking a tad incongruous, but what the fuck? Mom is eating an ice cream; her son, the priest, is happily eating one too, sitting right next to her. Her other son, the gay general with an alien in his head, is lying on the grass with his genius SO/partner/lover/husband - delete as per personal taste - snuggled into him so much that you can't tell where one starts and the other ends. Dunno, but that strikes me as odd. If Danny holds me any tighter I'm going to have to get Tally to fix my ribs.

[A small price to pay, Jack.]

(You're telling me. I'm not letting go, if you hadn't noticed. God, Tally, I nearly lost him there. How could I have been so stupid?)

[It comes with practise, Jack.]


"So, Pat, have you decided whether to come with us or not?" Mom asks.

"I'm certainly interested, Mom. It sounds fascinating and a real challenge."

"Oh that it is, son, that it is. This is the best thing I've done in years. I'm having a great time there. Come on, Patrick, you'll love it. How many other priests get a chance to work on other planets?" she whispers.

"It would help if I could talk to my boss about it," he says quietly.

I snigger. "You can. You just can't tell any human about it."

He kicks me, but I can't be asked to move out of his way. I'm enjoying snuggling with my teddy bear too much.

"Pat," my teddy bear says, "you know me by now. You know I couldn't get involved in anything bad, don't you? We'd never ask you to do something that went against your conscience, if that's what you're worried about. In fact, we've often gone against orders and followed our consciences. We try to do the right thing, Pat. We want to protect and free people. Sometimes, for us, that involves doing some damned distasteful things, but we only do it if it's for the greater good. You know Jack, you know he couldn't do the wrong thing. We need you, Pat. I doubt anyone else would fit in better there. You're sensible and sensitive. We need someone who can be a shoulder to cry on, a good ear to talk to, but at the same time will give good, solid advice along with the comfort. Having Mom there is great. A lot of us don't trust the base shrinks, but we will talk to her. Having you there will add to that. Jack's loved, you know, and trusted. So is Mom. Having another O'Neill there will add to a sense of stability and continuity."

I give him a kiss on the head for that one.

"Look at you two," Pat teases. "Still wrapped up in each other, aren't you?"

"Never letting him go," I tell him earnestly. No frigging way. Come too close on too many occasions to losing him. Can't live without him.

"I'll come," Pat says suddenly. "I'll do it. It will take a while until they can find someone to replace me here. How am I going to explain this?"

"Don't worry about that, Pat, someone from the Pentagon will come and help you tell the Bishop or whoever it is you have to tell. They'll explain that you've been recruited to the services. Your actual details will remain secret, but officially you'll be posted to Cheyenne Mountain, so any mail or whatever that needs forwarding can either go there or to our house. Believe me, the Pentagon are good at that sort of thing."

He snorts at that. I think he believes me.

We made it back to the Springs without a repeat performance of that first flight - thank God. I am so not looking forward to flying without Qabil. It's Jack's birthday this weekend and I'm stumped as to what to do.

//We could go to his cabin for a few days? I must admit to being intrigued about it.//

{You are? Why?}

//This pond with no fish. Why would he want to fish somewhere where there are no fish?//

{Jack swears that there are fish there. He also says that it's not the catching of the fish that is important, but the act of fishing itself.}


{Buggered if I know. I think he says that because he's a lousy fisherman.}

So, a trip to the cabin? I think I can cope with that. First of all, a couple of phone calls to make.

"Sam? Hi, angel. I need your help..."

Sorted. We're going on Friday morning and coming back on Tuesday. Hammond's swung us a long weekend off - citing the Chicago trip as work-related and in no way a vacation. Vacation. Ha! No matter what we do we rarely get a break. That trip to Maui was the last time we actually had a proper holiday. Ah well, as soon as this move is complete, maybe we can get some real time off. A whole two weeks would be wonderful. We could do with it. Got to do some shopping now and then it's work, work, and um, work.

Here goes. It's 5 a.m. on Friday morning. I'm sneaking out of bed - caffeine-free at the moment so that's got to be remedied. I packed our bags last night while Jack was in the bath. He was a bit miffed that I didn't want to join him. Hope he's over that stupid phase now. He scared me rigid over that, I don't mind saying. No matter what happens, no matter how much I know he loves me, I've always been waiting for him to get fed up of me and cut me loose. I guess what happened after Shau're's death didn't help. I want to get over that, I really do, but I've lost everyone that I ever loved this much and I'm so scared that I'll lose him.

"Whatcha doin' up this time of the morning Danny?"

JESUS H CHRIST! I'm gonna kill the bastard.

"How many times have I told you not to creep up on me?"

"Sorry. You looked lost in thought there."

"I was."

"Is everything okay?"

"Everything is fine. Except for the fact that my heart is currently composing a letter of resignation. It's had enough fucking shocks like that and it wants out."

Bastard's giggling.

"Get dressed, Jack, we're going away for the weekend."

"We are?"

"Yep. You, me, and - oh God - the Albatross."

"Jeez Danny, you really do love me."


"Jack, cut the crap and get dressed. I'll have breakfast ready in a minute."

"Are you going to tell me where we're going?"

"Over breakfast. Go, shoo, vamoose, get out of my kitchen. We'll talk in a minute, okay?"

He scoots and I get back to cooking the breakfast.

"So," he says while tucking into his bacon, "where are we going? You're gonna have to tell me unless you've been taking flying lessons and not told me."

As if.

"The cabin. It's all organised. I packed last night. There's groceries in the car. I finished by filling a cool box with stuff for the fridge this morning."

"Ah. We can't go there. She won't make it. I never got around to putting the extra fuel tanks on."

"Sorted. Sam and Ed did it the other day. I've had fuel delivered, she's all ready. There's some being delivered to the cabin tomorrow too, so we can fly back without refuelling elsewhere. I figured I'm less likely to freak if we don't have to keep landing."

"Have you done the checks that are needed?"

"I left that to Sam, Jack. She knows what she's doing. She informed me that we'll have sufficient fuel to get there and some left over too. She's left a logged flight plan for you in the plane. It's all sorted, Jack. All you have to do is fly us there. If you'd rather, we can go commercial?"

"No, no, I'd love to do this. Are you sure you're okay with it? I know how much you hate flying in her."

"I won't be conscious, Jack. Make the most of this. When Q goes, I'm not going up in her again."

He lets out a sigh to that, I think he knows I mean it. I try, honestly, but I get so sick when I fly. I don't mind going to the cabin at all - not one little bit. In fact, I love it. Love the peace and quiet and...

"Danny? You with me? Lost you there again."

"Jeez, Jack, can't a guy think once in a while? No, don't answer that."

"So? What have you got planned for the weekend?" he's asking, his eyes twinkling.

"That's for me to know, Jack. Don't even think about getting any ideas, I've got it all planned out and I don't want you screwing it up."

"Spoilsport," he mutters as he pours yet another coffee for me.

"Oh, there's going to be screwing, Jack darling, but everything is planned. Trust me?"

"Whoo ya."

"That was the best ever, thank you Daniel."

I wouldn't mind, but he's talking about the flight up. I'm throwing some food together. It's late now and we need to eat and then we can get some rest. Fortunately, we have a sinfully comfortable bed here with two soft mattresses that we sink into. I hate getting out of bed here.

"You're welcome, Jack. Is everything okay?"


Hmm, love this. Love the way he snuggles up behind me and - eep - bites my neck. Oh? So it's like that, is it, flyboy? Uh, huh, you're going to have to wait till I've finished in here. Then you get whatever you want.

"I do?"

"It's your birthday this weekend, isn't it?" I try out my huskier voice on him. Yep, I've still got it - thank goodness.

"I get to have whatever I want? Really?"

"Yes, of course. What do you want?" I'm thinking making love outdoors; maybe in the water? He loves to play in the water normally. Of course we have that bed, and the fireplace and hell, pretty much anywhere he wants, really.

"What I really want..."


"Really, really want..."

"Talk already!"

He sniggers. I'm not going to like this.

"I want to go fishing in a lake that's about half an hour's walk from here. You'll love it."

That's it. I give up. I've spent the entire week preparing this. I've even got the old seduction routines sorted in my head. Why do I fucking bother?

"Do what you want, Jack," I'm trying to keep the sigh out of my voice. "It's your birthday after all. We'll go fishing."


"Daniel, I was joking. Come on, cheer up. I'm not going to spoil a damned thing, I promise."

"No, it's okay, Jack. As I said, this is your weekend, if you want to go fishing, then that's what we'll do. I've brought some books to read while you do. It was pretty much a given that you'd want to do that. I even brought some bait for you, it's all in the old fridge outside. Just don't fish all the time, huh?"

He's turned back to dishing out the food. I'm going to have to keep reminding him that I meant what I said in Chicago, I think. Things did return to normal back home - and I did make him scream as I promised. Not a hardship for me at all. And seeing as we're out here, in the back of beyond, I think I can afford to let us get a bit louder if we want.

So, here's that sweet nape of his and it looks like it's due a kiss. Hmm, definitely. Let's slip my arms around his waist and snuggle in.

"Jack, do you want to eat or not?"

Stupid question.

"Put that down, Daniel. It's all cold, it will keep for a minute or thirty. I've got something else in mind."

"Now? Oh God, okay." I can hear a hitch in his voice. He's really getting with the programme here. A bit more nuzzling, a little licking, a kiss here and there and we're away. How did I ever live without this?

How far down my throat can his tongue go? I think I'm gonna find out. That far? Dear God it's never gone that far before. I'm going to give him something that he loves in a minute. He said we should eat, didn't he? Back him up against the wall. He's holding on so tight to me I can hardly move. Got to loosen his grip a little. Not removing my mouth just yet though. Removing his belt... right... about... now. Got it. And the flies. All done and down and so am I.

"Jack? Oh God, JACK!"

That's my name, don't wear it out.


You like this? What am I thinking? I know you like this. So do I as a matter of fact. That's it, baby, shimmy a little and we're motoring. He tastes so damned good. Love the smell on his skin. I can feel the sweat as it builds up - jeez this is so good. Move my eyes up to look at him. Wow. They're black. Absolutely black. No blue left whatsoever. It's gratifying that I can do that. He's doing what? OH! Okay, baby wants this, baby's gonna get it. That's expensive olive oil he's passing me. One finger, two fingers, three in rapid succession. I don't know how he does this but he gets so ready so quickly. He doesn't need me to prepare him the way he does me, but I hate to think I could hurt him. Not to mention he just loves getting fingered, for prep or not. And he's coming - and coming - and I'm gonna fucking drown in a minute. Haven't had to swallow so fast since Mom nearly caught me with a beer when I was fifteen.

That's it, Danny, on the floor for me. Hands and knees? Oh yes. Love this position. It seems perfunctory but it's so fucking erotic sometimes - especially when we're not on the bed. Slick me up and away to go. That's what you want, isn't it? A good, hard fuck, Daniel. I am not going to last like this, I can't, no way. How can I look at him, half-dressed, his pants round his ankles, his butt in the air begging me to go harder and faster and hold out? We're on the different languages now. I'm gonna-a-a-a-y-y-y-es!

"Oh God, Jack, *pant, wheeze, moan* that was incredible. *gasp* Love you so much *uuugh*."

"Yes." That's all I can say. I'll get my breath back, sometime this century I guess. I could die happy now.

We're still on the floor, panting like dogs in a heat wave and clinging on to each other for dear life. I look down, see two spent dicks and bare legs, pants round our ankles, shoes still on. Then I look at our bodies, shirts are a mess, collars up and askew and I start to giggle.


"Look at us," I gasp. He does and starts to laugh too. We look a complete mess. There's olive oil everywhere and my dick looks vaguely green with it. Laughs are turning into full-blown hysteria - we can't stop.

"What do we look like?" he pants.

"A mess, that's what. Come on, let's grab a shower and then we'll eat."

He's asleep, the morning light is framing his face and I'm falling in love with him all over again. I'm also getting so fucking sappy I think I'm gonna hurl. Coffee. I need to make coffee. Bastard got me addicted to the stuff too. Okay, coffee's on. What are we going to do today?

[I'd let Daniel take the lead this weekend, Jack. He needs to do this I think.]

(Yeah, you're right. I want to make him happy, honestly.)

[I know Jack, I know. I think you managed that last night. Three times if I remember rightly.]

(Er hem, yes. Thanks for that, I appreciate your help.)

[Help? Oh, I didn't do a thing, Jack. That was all you, your hormones and a horny Daniel.]

(It was? Wow. There's life in this old dog yet then.)

[*sigh* That's what I've been telling you all along, Jack, dear. You love him. You're very attracted to him. Why don't you just listen to your body for once?]

(Promise. I'm gonna do that from now on. I'm going to miss you Tally. I never thought that I could get on with a symbiote, but I'm so glad you're with me. I'm not sure we'd have got through this without you. Thank you.)

[You're more than welcome, and I think you would have anyway. The worst that would happen is that you'd split for a short while. I can't see you two living without each other. I'll miss you too, by the way. Still, there's nobody else suitable yet, we'll be together for a while longer.]

(I'm glad. Oh, coffee's made. I'll take him one.)

He's still sleeping. Not for much longer if I have my way.

"Danny? Come on, hun, time to wake up."

"Hnnng? What time is it?"

"Nine. Got you some coffee. You want?"

He gives me that 'duh?' look and sits up. I'll shimmy in with him I think. That's better.

"So, what do you have planned for today?" I ask as we finish up our drinks and snuggle back down under the covers.

"You can fish - for a while. I thought I'd spend the day lying on the grass watching your ass as you cast. Lovely view."

His face breaks into a filthy grin as he says that. Ok-ay, if that's what he wants.

"You're sure? You don't mind?"

"Uh huh. Love watching your ass, Jack, it gives me time to plan what I'm going to do to it."


"So, um, does this planning have anything scheduled for, shall we say, now?"

"If you're up for it?"

"Where you are concerned, of course I am."

"Give me a minute, I need to take a leak. Hold that thought, Jack."

I'm a-holdin', I'm a-holdin'.

That must be the quickest bathroom break in the history of bathrooms. Oof. He's launched himself at me. What's he got in mind?

"What would you like, Jack?" he's asking - so huskily it's gone straight to my groin.

"Anything, honestly. Just want you, babe, whatever you want. Please. Feel free."

"Then lie back and enjoy."

I think I'm going to. Oh God yes. Love this. This is going to be one of our long, slow make out sessions I can tell. Hope I can make it last. AARGH! Not gonna last if he does THAT! Oh Danny, what do you do to me?

I was right, the view is wonderful. The sun's out and reflecting on the still water, I'm lying on a blanket and reading (eh hem, yes, honestly) a book and Jack's ass is looking so tempting. Got to concentrate on this book. I'm gonna do it - any minute now. Oh fuck it, I can't. He's wearing his small denim cut-offs and nothing else. Hnng. Want him so much. Why am I so horny all the time? This can't be natural. I'll be forty in a matter of weeks. Forty year-old men can't be so permanently horny. Can they?

//Other forty year-old men don't live with Jack.//

{I know. It's hard.}


{Q! Behave. I'm trying to take my mind off Jack's ass - not think of what I want to do with it, him, I mean him. Want him so much, but I'm scared I'm going to drive him away again.}

//You won't. Trust me Daniel. Just go with the flow.//

{I'm trying to.}

//Yes, Daniel, you are very trying.//


"Jack? How's it going?"

"Wonderful. Thanks for organising this Daniel, I appreciate it."

"You're more than welcome. Sometimes a bit of peace and quiet is necessary. How about we try to grab a proper vacation when the move is complete?"

He's put his rod down and he's coming my way. Okay, I can do this. Hmm, yes, definitely. Want to kiss? So do I.

"I think," he says, kissing my neck as he does, "that would be a great idea. I'll arrange something as soon as I can. Got anywhere you want to go?"

"Not really. You choose. I'll be happy whatever you decide. But if you can avoid the cold, I'd appreciate it."

"Gotcha. Lizard."

Lots of kissing now, lots and lots and lots...


You want? Do we have to? I was enjoying that. Yeah, just the kissing for now. Save it for later. Whatd'ya mean 'typical'? Okay flyboy, you want, you get. Heh, heh, heh.

"So? What do you want?" That's it Daniel, try the husky voice again. It usually works.

"Come for a swim?"

"If you want, though you do realise that the water's so freaking cold this is likely to shrivel up and drop off, don't you?"

"*snort* Daniel! *snigger* What am I going to do with you?"

"I kinda asked that already. Whatever you want, Jack. Wherever you want it. However you want it. You've got it."


"That's the idea."

"DANIEL! Come onto me any harder and I'm gonna blow."

"Ooh goody."

He's lost it. He's now laughing his ass off and rolling around on the blanket. I can do that too. C'mere, flyboy, I've got something to show you.



"Oh boy. I, er, I've got one like that too."

"Show me."

"Will this do ya?"

"Depends on what you're going to do with it."

"How about this?"

"Eep. Yes, I'd say that would do nicely. A bit to the right and you've cracked it."

"Like this?"


"Want more?"

"Gimme. NOW!"

"Horny Danny."

"Stop fucking winding me up and start fucking me will ya?"

"Your wish is my command."

"It is?"

"Oh yes. Anything you want, baby."


"I love it when you get so masterful."


I got Daniel a good one this afternoon. Haven't laughed so much while I've been having sex in a long time. We're usually too caught up in the moment to enjoy a joke. It was great - wonderful in fact. Every time one of us seemed to get the upper hand the other one would cut in with some comment. We eventually got there - and there was a lot of the predicted screaming on both sides of the equation. Boy was there ever? If there was any wildlife in the area earlier, it was gone by the time we'd finished. Daniel was right, bringing me up here like this. We needed to get away, be ourselves, be as loud as we liked. It's doing us good.

He's humming to himself as he makes the dinner. He's not letting me in the kitchen on the grounds that I'm likely to distract him and then dinner will be ruined. I'm feeling as horny as a teenager though. Haven't felt like this in a month or so - not since he insisted on spending that day in bed. That was fun. I'm beginning to see a pattern here. When we give ourselves a chance to be us, the couple, Jack and Daniel - lovers/partners/yadda - rather than General O'Neill and Dr. Jackson, we get horny. More to the point, I get horny. He's always like that. As Millie once sighed - rampant. Still, I'm not complaining. I doubt either of us will be able to sit down in a hurry when we get home, but that's one of the joys of being Tok'ra. I get my ass fixed in double quick time.

I'm watching his ass now - and it's one sweet bit of his body. Never seen an ass that looked as good as his. Trouble is, every time I see it, I want a piece of it. I'm gonna get me one soon.

"How long before dinner's ready?"

"Oh, about forty minutes. I've nearly finished the preparation. Would you like to come and get a beer while we're waiting?"

Me turning that down is about as likely as Daniel turning down a coffee.

"So," I say, nuzzling his neck while he washes his hands, "what shall we do for the next forty minutes?"

"Oh, I don't know. Drink a beer, talk, play a game maybe?"

He's got that look in his eye. The one that says he's up to something.

"Game? What game?"

"How about chess? We could get a game started before dinner's ready and finish it up later."

"Chess?" HUH?

"Winner takes all."

Oh boy - I know what he means. Winner gets to choose what, when, where and how. And it's not going to be in the next forty minutes, that's for sure. We're talking slow burn, building us up till we're so freaking horny one of us pounces. I'm up for that.

(You gonna help me?)

[You're on, Jack]

He won't know what's hit him.

"Daniel. You know you always whup my ass when we play chess. We'll have to pick a game that both of us play to the same standard. To be fair, like."

"Of course, Jack. I'm game. What do you suggest?"


"Sure, Jack, if you want." Oh I want, Daniel. And you are so going down.

I call out as he pulls out the game, "The Latin version."

His eyes open wide, there's a big grin on his face. He thinks he's gonna win. Oh no, Danny Boy. I've been swotting up.

He's sweating now. We're only halfway through the game and it's pretty even all round. Back in the kitchen and serving up dinner. Sweet. That 'quondam' of mine on the triple word and getting all my seven tiles down, by sticking it next to 'puer' and turning it into 'puera' was a good one. He made some smartass comments about me having a 'one-time sex change' as a result, but what the hell. It got me back up on a par with him. He's definitely more nervous now than he was before. Wonder what else I can do before this is over?

Ha! Ha fucking ha! Bloody ha hahahahaha! I won! I wonIwonIwon!

"Calm down Jack, it doesn't do a guy of your advanced years much good to be running around, screaming and jumping over the furniture."


First time I've ever beaten him. I've come close - always give him a run for his money, the middle English version is always a tight one. But I've done it. O'Neill rules!

"So... now you've got me," he says seductively, running his finger down my chest. "What are you going to do with me?"

Why do I get the feeling I've been set up?

Poor Jack. If he knew I let him win he'd kill me. Never mind. His face is a picture right now. He's trying to work out if he did beat me fair and square.

"Come on Jack. You won. That last word was a killer. How on earth you pulled that one off I don't know. But still, you won. You win. Me. Don't you want to collect?"

"Oh God, Danny," he croaks. I love it when he goes like this, a slave to his gonads. Does a man proud to know he still has that effect.

We're still not going anywhere though.

"Jack? Don't you want me? We don't have to do a damned thing," I sigh, shrugging my shoulders. "If you want, we can play another game."

His eyes are black. I'm not sure he heard a word I said. I love him like this. In a minute he's going to go nutso. I just have to press the right buttons. And I can't lay another finger on him. I try the dipped head and the looking up through my eyelashes. I always think this looks dumb, but it seems to have a good effect on him. Yep, shallow breathing. Still hasn't moved though. Ok-ay, tough audience. I think he's afraid to let go, afraid that if he lost all control he'd hurt me. I have no idea what to do to get him to let go like that. I want him to lose control.

Let's try a little more temptation. Start by unbuttoning my shirt - slowly. He's watching my fingers, can't take his eyes off them. This is such a turn on it's unbelievable. That's it, my Jack, watch me. Four buttons now, his breathing's erratic. Open shirt, nothing underneath. I slide it off and his mouth opens. He wants. He's gonna get. All he has to do is take. So why is he still standing there? We're still in the living room, should take this to the bedroom really, but I don't want to break the mood. How about my belt? Oh yes, hun, you like that, don't you? My button? My flies? Whoo momma - I can feel the testosterone surge right now. Oh, I know what you want. You want me to do this, don't you? Touch myself like this? No underwear either. Didn't even pack any. I let out a little moan as I stroke and... Yes! Mission accomplished. He hasn't carried me to bed in ages.

Oof. Flat on my back on the bed. Oh yes, bring it on, flyboy - I can take anything you want to give. Let go, babe, just go with it. Damn, I knew he could strip fast but I hardly even saw him move this time. He's good at that. I'm still in my jeans. Not taking them off though, I'll leave that for him to do. Perhaps a little more persuasion? That's it, Jack, you're going to have to do something or I'll do it myself. You want that?

"You're being a tease, Daniel, and that's not nice."

"So? You want to make something of it, flyboy?"

"Gonna watch. Kinda enjoying the view here."

It's like that, is it? Ah well, you won the game, you get your reward. Mustn't show him that I feel a touch awkward about this, but I can do it. Ooh God, this is good. Want to get better. I stop, he's about to order me to carry on, but oh yes - the lube is it Daniel? Heh, heh, heh. May as well make this a really good session. Get myself ready and he won't have to bother. Won't take long either - not after getting laid this afternoon. I'm as ready as I'm going to be, time to let myself go.

"OhGodJack. Loveyousofuckingmuch. Wantyounowbabe. I'mgonnac-come."

I think that had the desired effect. My jeans are off and my feet are now locked around his neck. Whoo-ee. I'm getting so well laid.

"*pant* You're a fucking *moan* prick-teaser Danny *gasp*. Gonna teach you a lesson you *aargh* won't forget in a hurry."

He carries on like this I won't be able to sit down in a hurry that's for sure. Oh God this is so good. I've recovered? Damn, I thought I'd stopped doing that. Not complaining mind. Hell, he's coming and I'm not. No, don't want to be left like this.

Oh, he's not leaving me. Hmm, he has the best mouth. Especially when it's the-eh-re! Feels good, so good. Whoo ya!

"God, love you so much, Jack, so fucking much."

"I know, love you too Danny, love you more than anything."

"Morning Daniel."

"Hey, you okay?"

"Fine. How's your ass?"

"It's good. Don't worry about it. Can still take anything you want to give me. C'mere."

"In a minute. I've got coffee."

"I love you."

"Caffeine junkie."

"You know it. Happy birthday, by the way."

"Thanks. Okay, shift up. That's better. So. Whatcha got me?"

He is so predictable.

"You'll have to wait and see. I could give you a little something on account, if you like?"

"Sheesh, Danny. Later, okay? Snuggle now?"

"Sounds good to me. Hmm, love this."

"Love you."

Aw - what a sap. My sap. God, listen to me. And I accuse him of being a sap. I'm getting worse as I get older.

"Are you going to tell me now?"

"Huh - let me clear up the dishes and then you can have your prezzies, okay?"

"'Kay." Great, he's sulking now.

Finally, done. I'm leading him into the living room, "Sit!".

"What am I? A dog?"

"Woof. Stay, Rover, there's a good boy."

Got the parcels - he's going to have some fun here. I hope. Hnngg.

"This is from Mom," I tell him as I hand him the first one. He's ripping the paper off like a kid. He's forty-fucking-nine!

"Books? Oh my God. I'm glad we're up here, Danny."

I can't stop laughing. Just as well I wasn't handing these to him at a party at home. 'The older gay man's sex manual', 'Tantric gay sex in middle-age', 'Sexual positions for when your body isn't as young as it was', 'The art of gay loving in middle-age.'


He's as red as a beetroot. I knew he blushed but this one is going for the record. I can't breathe. Whoo boy, this blush is bottoming out around his toes.

"I'm going to kill her," he growls.

"Don't do that, Jack, read them. Maybe you can teach me some new tricks."

Oh boy, he's got me by the waist, pulling me down on him, now he's kissing the living daylights out of me. His hand! Oh boy ohboyohboyohboy. Yes, please. Love you Jack. OhmygodI'mgonna--whooee!

"I don't need any new tricks."

Could he look any more smug? I'm all messy now.

"You're going to have to wait till I've cleaned up before you get any more presents now, Jack," I tease. I think I'd better be quick. He's still got the knack, that's for sure.

I'm hoping that the other presents are going to be a bit more staid. Oh, thank God, they are. Clothes and more 'normal' books and stuff. Phew. Don't think I'm ready for round two yet. My prezzie now.

"Here, from me. To help you when you start your thesis." He's got his doctoral idea accepted and he's going to be starting it soon. I'm so proud of him that I could burst.

"A MAC! An I Book! Wow, thanks Danny. My favourite colour too. C'mere, babe."

He likes it. I'm so relieved. He needed a new notebook, his laptop was so old we had to wipe off the chalk marks before he could put more info in.

Hmm, long, slow kissing session. I'll buy him another one if it gets me this. He's so gentle when we're like this, so sweet. Nothing like the guys at the base think.

"Danny? Why are you giggling?"

"Oh, just my stupid mind, you know how it goes off on tangents and things."

"What now?" he asks from the vicinity of my neck.

"Well, a couple of months back, I overheard some guys in the lockers. They were talking about us, and how you'd be the 'man of the house' and how I'd be on my knees for you every night, sticking my ass in the air."

"You would do that, given half a chance."

"Only when I'm not nailing you, oh light of my life."

"Natch. So, what did you say to them?"



"Jack, it doesn't hurt me to have people think that, does it? I couldn't give a flying fuck what they think. You know and I know what goes on between us. Our friends, I'm sure, know and they respect you and me. These morons haven't got a clue what it's like. If they thought for one moment that I'm as likely as you are to be on top they'd lose respect for you and probably want to beat the living shit out of me for having the audacity to do it."

He sighs, "You're right. Doesn't stop me wanting to announce to the world that I like it when you do that to me. Love it in fact. Coming to think of it, it's my turn, isn't it?"

"NOW? Come on, Jack. I need time to recover. I'm not as young as I once was. Later though, I promise. Where do you want it? In here in front of the fire? In the kitchen on the floor? In the shower against the tiles? Outside on the grass?"

"How about the bedroom on that lovely bed of ours?"


"PAH! It won't be. Besides, it's raining."

"You never made love in the rain, flyboy?" That is such a good idea.

"Uh huh. Daniel? Whatcha looking at me like that for? I thought you'd need some time? Oh crap, what have I let myself in for?"

What indeed?

We've been back home a week now and we've been working solidly. The last equipment and stores went over yesterday and we're starting to move the staff over now. It's chaos - but reasonably well-organised chaos at that. Daniel's over there trying to help organise the accommodations, getting people settled and so on, and I've just been called back to Earth to meet up with George.

I have no idea what this is all about. I guess I'll find out when I get into the briefing room, which will be about... now.

"Dan? What are you doing over here? Is something wrong?"

"Jack. Oh, sorry, General," Major Jackson replies, snapping off a nifty salute.

Before he can say anything more I stop him, "Oh for goodness sake, Dan, it's me. Come on, don't stand on ceremony."

He relaxes a little more and I take a look around the room. George and Mom are in here, as are two other people, a man and a woman, in their sixties I'd guess. Sort of familiar looking.

"Dan? What's going on?"

"Er, General Jack O'Neill, these are Drs. Mel and Claire Jackson - my parents."


"Um, pleased to meet you." Come on, Jack, stop stalling. "Why didn't you ask me to bring Daniel?" I ask, knowing the answer I guess.

"Sit down, Jack," Mom says. "Dan was explaining that his parents have been asked to work at their SGC now. Since meeting with us, and more specifically our Daniel, they've decided to implement a more thorough scientific base over there. We all know there could be a time when you two pop over to visit as you do, and we didn't want Daniel meeting with Mel and Claire out of the blue."

I get it. But whenever he meets them it's going to be a shock.

"Do you want me to bring him now? To explain things first? What?"

"I'd like us to talk first, if you don't mind," Dan's mom says.

"Sure. Why don't we go to Daniel's office? It's got a bigger coffee pot. He, um, got a new one for the Alpha Site. Can't go without the stuff." You're babbling, O'Neill. Stop it.

"I have to go back," Dan says. "Best I don't stay for now."

"You sure? You know he loves to see you."

"I know. I feel the same about him, but not this time. I'll see him as soon as, I promise."

He gives his mother a hug and shakes his father's hand. Pretty formal relationship. Then he turns to me and I pull him into a hug anyway. He's sorta grown on me.

"I'll take care of him," I tell him.

"I know you will."

"How's Paul?" I ask as he gets to the door. He just turns, grins, laughs and goes. I guess things are pretty good there.

The Jacksons follow me to Danny's office without a word. They look nervous about this. Mom asked if I wanted her there, but I think I'd cope with this better on my own. Later, maybe.

I shut the door and put some coffee on. I need some if no one else does. As soon as it's ready I hand it out.

"So, you know what I am to Daniel?" I ask.

"Oh, yes. Danny explained it before we came over. How are things between you?"

"Great. We just got back from a long weekend away at our cabin. We don't get enough time to ourselves, but still, we try. You've got to know, I love him more than life itself. I will not allow him to be hurt. He knows that you two are alive, but he also saw you die when he was eight years old. Then your father," I point at Claire, "abandoned him. I'm not sure how he's going to deal with this."

"My father is an old fool," she spits. "Got himself locked away."

"I know. I've met him. He was right, by the way. The Nick Ballard of this world is currently living among the giant white aliens. We can give you the address if you like."

She's stunned by this. I guess that Daniel hasn't mentioned this to Dan. Wonder why?

"We're going to have to be careful. Daniel's emotional state is precarious at best. I haven't helped in the past. I'm making up for that now, but I'm afraid that one more problem will push him over the edge. He's seen his parents killed, his foster parents were killed when he was fifteen, he was laughed out of the profession he loved for being right, his wife was kidnapped and killed by one of his best friends... I don't want to go on, but he's seen more than most people ever do. Somehow, he's ended up with the most wonderful, kind, caring and generous soul anywhere in the universe. He's got a temper, granted, but he's allowed that. No one's perfect."

"He's strong," his father says. "He'll cope."

"Yes, he's strong. But remember this, the death of my Daniel's parents triggered the split between our universes. You are the difference. Up until you made the decision to not go to the exhibition and stay in Egypt, you were his parents. He's your son. He's not someone else's son. He's yours. He saw you crushed to death. That's got to affect him. Up until now, the fact that you were alive was still just something he'd heard. A theory if you will. But, if you meet, it's going to be real. When he returned Shau're to Kasuf here - you did hear about her, didn't you? - good. When he returned her, she wasn't his wife. She'd never married him. I know it sounds like the differences are petty but they're not. He never knew that Shau're. He knew you."

"We understand," Mel replies. "We'll go by whatever he decides. Why don't you tell him we're here? If he wants to come and see us, then we want to see him. If he doesn't, if it's too painful, then we'll understand."

"I think he'll come, he's too curious not to. One thing I know he craves, and I hope you'll give him, is your approval."

"What?" Claire's astonished.

"He often wonders if you'd have been proud of him - especially as he had to go out there and kill. He knows you weren't happy about Dan joining up. He's a pacifist by nature, but he'll fight for what's right. Not to mention the fact that he's not married with kids and doing a normal job. Granted, I doubt anyone wants to have a son who's living with his male partner, and he won't expect you to jump through hoops over it..."

"That is not a problem to us, Jack," Claire interrupts. "We were surprised to find that our Daniel had joined up given that he's gay. That was the biggest shock, not his sexuality. We're over that now, though, we understand him and his reasons. We were a bit surprised to hear that your Daniel was married. Still, it's his choice. Whatever makes him happy suits us."

"Good. I'm glad. I'm warning you now, you hurt him, I'll do the killing. But if you can find it in your hearts to tell him you're proud of him... well, I'm sure that you can guess what it will mean to him."

"Given what we've heard of him already," Claire replies defiantly, "I couldn't be more proud. Especially as he did all of this on his own."

"Don't tell me, tell him. It will make a difference to him, I promise."

Oh crap, I can hear him outside.

"Mom, I need something from my office, please let me in there. What's going on?"

I wish she'd get out of my way.

"Daniel, darling, please. Just wait a minute."

The door opens. Jack? What are you doing there?

"Daniel, there's someone here to see you."

There is? Who? Oh God... No... It can't be...

"Mom? Dad? Is that you?" Crap. I'm shaking. Can't believe this.

"It's Dan's parents, Danny, he brought them over. They work with him now and he wanted you to meet. I was going to tell you before you met them."

Jack's holding onto me, Mom's on my other side. Dan's parents - my parents I guess - are standing on the other side of the room. She's got her hands out to me.

"Danny? It's me, Momma. Please baby, come to me."

Fuck it, I'm crying. She's holding me tightly in her arms. I've dreamed of this so often.

"God, I missed you so much."

"I know, my precious, I know. I'm so sorry about what happened to you. So sorry." She's kissing my head, stroking my back, just the way she used to when I was tiny. We weren't much for hugs, but I knew they loved me.

I can feel Dad's arms around me too now. Can't stop crying. Jeez. I got Shau're back and now them. And I don't know how I feel.

I manage to pull back and catch my breath.

"Jack, I want to go home. Can we?" I can't deal with this here.

"Of course, Danny. Whatever you want."

"Mom, Dad, will you come?" Will they even want to?

"Nothing would make us happier, son," Dad says.

I'm relieved. I also need to stop crying before I leave the room. Enough people around here think I'm a wuss as it is.

"Mom," I look at Jack's mother. "Will you come too?"

"If you're sure, darling, of course I will. Not going to stop loving you, you know, you're still my boy too."

"I know, I know. Need you there, Mom."

"Danny, wash your face, we'll go when you're ready," Jack says quietly.

He's right, I need to. Can't hide behind my glasses anymore.

{Qabil, could you take over for me for a minute, please? I need to calm down a bit.}



//Of course, Daniel. You retreat for a while, tell me when you're ready.//

I can see that Jack knows who's in control. He gives us a little nod to acknowledge it. Mom might have cottoned on, but of course my parents are clueless about it. Q's doing his job - pretending to be me. He's rather good at it. Sometimes I let him take over so that I can work on things in my own head. I'm going to miss him like mad when he goes. I never thought I'd feel that way. I don't want him to go.

//I don't want to leave you either, Daniel, but we have no choice in the matter. Both of us do equally important jobs. There are so few Tok'ra left we need to be out there.//

{I know. Don't worry, I'm not going to try to stop you. I'll just miss you when you're gone.}

//Me too.//

"Daniel? Are you all right, son?"

Oops, we went a bit quiet there.

"Sure, yes, well, er, explain things when we get home, okay?"

We made it home without any more mistakes. Thank goodness. Jack's put some more coffee on and we sit around the kitchen table.

"So, Danny," my Mom says, "what did you do? Dan says you stayed at university after Harvard - you did the same things there, didn't you?"

"Um, yes, I got my first doctorate there in linguistics. Then I spent three years at Oxford - I did an MA in anth there and taught for a while.."

Jack puts a coffee in front of me and says, "Among other things," and sniggers. I'll get him for that one.

"Yes, well, then I worked with Professor Jordan at the Institute and did my PhD in archaeology there."

"Wow. That's quite a feat. How old were you?" Dad's asking.

"Um, oh, twenty-six by the time I'd got my second one. I stayed there and worked with him after that till I was laughed out of the profession for daring to suggest that ancient cultures had contact with each other."

"How did you cope after that?" Mom asks, putting her hand on my arm.

"I was recruited the same night by Catherine - she was heading up the research team on the stargate."

"And he opened the gate in two weeks living on coffee and doughnuts," Jack laughs. "I first set eyes on him when he was correcting a translation done by his so-called equals. They weren't good enough to be in the same room as him."

Aw, he's such a sweetie.

"Love at first sight?" my mom asks.

"No," we chorus. "Lust." All three parents laugh at that.

"But we couldn't stand each other to start with," I add. "We sort of grew on each other on Abydos."

"Yeah, well, jumping in front of a staff weapon blast like that, apart from the fact that it was extremely foolish, Spacemonkey, it made me kinda like you."

"Spacemonkey?" Dad asks.

"Don't ask. Old nickname. Bad nickname," I tell him.

"You love it," Jack grins. I'm glad he's here. It's making this a lot easier on me.

Daniel's still pretty jumpy around his parents, but that's excusable I guess. We're sitting in the living room and embarrassing the shit out of him. Mom and I are telling Mel and Claire all about his exploits and how brave he is.

"Mom," he complains. "Don't, please."

"Daniel, darling, it's all true."

"Still, do you have to tell them about that?"

I'm getting the feeling that they want to be on their own for a bit now.

"Mom, why don't you come with me and we'll go and pick up some takeout. Chinese okay for everyone?"

Claire and Mel agree and Daniel looks at me, half in relief and half-panicking.

[It's not as if you're leaving him on his own, is it?]

(Nah. I'm sure they'll be okay. They seem to be nice people.)

[I see where Daniel gets some of his personality from. Though it doesn't explain his more mercurial side.]

(That's Nick's fault, I guess. Daniel says he gets his flaky nature from him.)

[What a thing to inherit.]

"Do you think Daniel's going to cope with this?"

"Probably Mom, but it's hard to tell. He'll shut down on the outside. Q will help him sort things out."

"Did he and Talnet help when you two were fighting in Chicago?"

"Oh yes. Tally kicked my ass - again. I'm guessing that Q did the same to Danny. He kept popping out and telling me what was going on in Daniel's head, so I'm grateful for that."

"You're going to miss them, aren't you?"

"You have no idea, Mom, none at all."

Mom's gone home and Mel and Claire are staying the night, so I'd better go into the spare room and change the bed. Ah, Daniel's coming with.

"Um, I think I'd better hide some of Paul and Josh's stuff," he says, removing the tubes of lube from the bedside drawer. Yeah, I think he's right on that one.

"How are you coping?"

"Fine, no problems. Better than I was, that's for sure. Sorry about losing it earlier."

"What? Don't be silly, Daniel. Your parents come back from the dead after, what, thirty-one years? It's bound to knock you on your ass. I'm amazed you're coping as well as you are. I'm so proud of you, Dr. J."

"Thanks," aw, he's nuzzling into my neck. "Love you."

"Yeah, love you too. C'mon, let's go say goodnight to your folks and we'll go and snuggle for a bit, whatd'ya say?"

"I'd say that sounds wonderful."

"What did you talk about when I was picking up dinner?"

"Oh, everything and nothing, to tell the truth. They wanted to know what my childhood had been like, I didn't tell them too much though. I think Mom's going to have a guilt trip about it. Then we talked about the project. Still haven't told them about Qabil though. We talked about you, too."

"Me? What did you say?" I'm a bit worried.

"That you are the best thing that's ever happened to me."

Could I love this guy anymore?

"Was that it?"

"What, you want me to praise you even more?"

"No, silly. What else did you talk about?"

"Oh, um, home, you know, Cairo - the old place. Fatima, other people we knew. That sort of thing."

"Was it nice for you?"

"Yes, it was. I don't regret meeting them, if that's what you're worried about. They seem to be happy about how I've turned out. Told you they wouldn't be bothered about me being with you, didn't I?"

"Yes, you did. I like them. They're nice."

"I guess so. It's still pretty weird. I'm more inclined to call your mother Mom than my own. These really are my parents, aren't they? Not just some alternate version."

"As far as I can tell, yes, they are. Is that okay?"

"It's different from meeting Shau're. If she'd been married to Dan it would have been really hard for me. But as that hadn't happened, it was easier to see her as someone different. But these two, I knew them for the first eight years of my life, Jack. Them. It's... odd."

"I guess it is. Don't bottle anything up, Danny. You need to talk, talk to me, Mom, Q, whoever, but don't let anything eat you up inside. Please, babe, do that for me, will ya?"

"All right. Don't worry. Q's enough of a nag. Can't hide anything from him either."

"Good. Ya know, Q, for a snake, you're a good guy."

Why thank you Jack. For a rat, you're not too bad yourself.


Better get the coffee on. Who's that? Oh, it's Mel.

"Morning. Coffee's on, help yourself to whatever you want."

"Thanks Jack. Can we talk for a minute?"

"Um, sure, yeah, take a load off."

"How's Daniel coping with this?"

"Better than I expected, to tell the truth. He's had a number of shocks to his system recently, a couple of biggies. Nearly lost him a few months back - again. I had brown hair when we met, he's responsible for about 80% of the grey."

He laughs. I'm not joking.

"You're serious, aren't you?"

"Oh yes. He goes at things like a bull in a china shop. Wouldn't change him though, it's his sense of wonder that made going through the gate worthwhile. Still, doesn't mean that he can't scare me rigid. Trying to get onto the same page as him is a miracle sometimes. He talks me into doing stuff I'd never considered before."

"Like getting involved with him?"

"Ah, no. I'm bi, like Danny. It's not new to either of us. We've been together only for about three and a half years, though it seems like a lot longer sometimes. We've been friends for a long time, Mel. I love him dearly, more than life itself."

"That's obvious to anyone that sees you together. And apart. Are you usually this jumpy when he's not around, or is it just me?"

"No, I'm usually like this. Can't manage without him anymore. Used to be fine, but I guess we're so used to having each other around that it's like missing a limb when we're apart. Even being in a different room isn't easy sometimes. Can't explain it, but it's true. I wasn't this bad with my wife - and before you think otherwise I'd have died a hundred times over for Sara, no question. I still love her."

"Do you still see her?"

"Sure. She comes over sometimes. We don't go to her house, er, I'm not sure if she's told her husband about us. She might have, but that's up to her. She's welcome here whenever she wants to come. She and Danny get on like a house on fire."

"That must make things easier for you."

"It does, it does. Nothing makes me happier than having him happy, ya know? And the fact that he's happy around her, let's say that cake is well and truly iced."

There's a noise near the stairs.

"Danny? Whatcha doin' up?"

"What are you doing, Jack? Growing the freaking beans? Come on, I need that coffee."

"And I thought you could give it up anytime you wanted. You choose to drink it, remember."

If looks could kill I'd be dying from death by a thousand cuts. I pour him a mug and hand it to him, get a grunt, watch him down it and refill it for him.

"Hang on, Mel, one more cup and he'll start to be civil."

A malevolent blue eye glares at me over the top of his mug. I'm in deep doo doo.

Claire's down. I pour her the last mug and then put some more coffee on straight away. Aw, that's sweet, she's kissed him good morning - and miracle of miracles, he's smiling.

"How come you never smile at me in the mornings, Danny?"

The glare again. Hang on, there's more coffee on. I knew his caffeine habit taking him on. I was rather hoping that Q would have weaned him off it. No such luck.

"So, er, we have to go back to Alpha this morning. There's so much to do there. As you're not time-delineated, would you like to come with us and see the set-up? You could tell your Hammond about it when you get back," I suggest.

"We'd love that," Claire smiles. A grin from Danny as I hand him his third mug. Good, we're nearly there.

"Shall we go and sit in comfort?" I ask. Something tells me we're going to want to.

We head into the living room, Claire and Mel sit on the sofa next to each other. They're still pretty wrapped in each other, even after forty-plus years. It's sweet. I'm on my favourite armchair and Daniel's in his favourite place. On the floor, between my legs and resting his head on my thigh. Love this.

"You have a wonderful collection of pictures on the mantelpiece, boys, who are they all?"

Daniel gets up and wanders over. There are pictures of a lot of the people we've loved.

"This is us, the team. That's Teal'c. You know Sam, of course." He points to a pic taken out in the back garden a year ago. The four of us together. It's a good one. Sam's sitting on Daniel's lap on the ground, they're both laughing about something. I'm on Daniel's right, my arm around his neck. He's resting his head on my shoulder. Teal'c's on his other side and he's actually smiling. He has such a beautiful smile.

"This is Jack's family - I, um, I've been sort of adopted by them."

"I'm glad, Daniel," his Mom says.

"Do you mind?" he asks. "I mean, Jack's mother is mine now. She insisted I called her Mom the day we met. I've got so used to it that..."

"Daniel, I'm happy for you. It can't have been at all easy. Being passed from pillar to post like that - it doesn't bear thinking about. You've got family now and that means everything. You've just got a couple more parents if you want us."

"If? Of course I want you, Momma. I've missed you so much."

Aw crap.

His head lowers and raises and his eyes flash gold. Claire steps back in fear. Shit.

"Don't be afraid," Q's using Daniel's voice. "I'm Qabil, I am Tok'ra. I'm only with Daniel for a while. He's having a hard time with this so he's asked me to take over for a minute. He really is glad to have met you both, to be wanted by you. You cannot have any idea how much he wants that. It's just a bit much for him at the moment. Please, let him have a while to compose himself. He will return as soon as he is able."

"Jack?" Mel looks at me.

"It's okay, Mel. Q's right. He is Tok'ra. It was an emergency situation. We're not sorry either. He's been good for Daniel as Talnet it to me. Tally's Qabil's mate and she's in my head. Mom knows, my team knows and Hammond knows. It's a secret beyond that. Please, don't tell anyone."

"Okay, we won't. Can't say we're not stunned by this," he replies.

"No more than we were. Danny and I were consistently voted the two guys least likely to agree to this. But they were our friends and they'd have died otherwise."

"Would you like me to continue with the photographs?" Q asks. Claire nods dumbly. I think she's knocked over by the whole thing.

Qabil's taken over for me, I can't deal with this. I think I'm there then something sets me off again. I'll be fine - I will be.

He's looking at the photo of Faisal. Jack found it in one of my albums and had it framed for me last Christmas. It means a lot. It's next to one of Paul and Josh together. Mom and Dad seem to know Fai. Well, they would I guess. Dan told me that they were together, just as we were.

"Daniel? You were with Paul too?"

Okay, I can do this.

"Yes, only for about six months though. We're close friends now. Very close. Paul lives with Josh - that's him there. He's a senator - one of Jack's exes. Jack introduced them after we'd been together for a year."

"They look happy, it's surprising that you aren't together. Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean..."

"Mom, it's okay. Your Dan doesn't have Jack. Um, we were going through a pretty rough time of it, as friends. Paul helped me through it. I do love him, dearly, but nothing like I love Jack. Your Dan doesn't have a Jack, as I said. They've worked hard at staying together. If I didn't have my Jack I guess I'd have worked at it too. As it is, it's worked out nicely for the six of us. I'm happy for them. We're happy for them and they are for us. I see Paul at work a lot and he always makes me laugh."

"That he does, Danny," Jack says. He's come up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist, resting his head on my shoulder.

"That's Charlie, my little boy," he says, nodding at a lovely photo.

"What happened Jack? Does he live with his mother?"

"Um, no, Charlie died when he was ten. It was one of the reasons Sara and I split up. We couldn't hack it without him."

"Oh God, I'm so sorry. He looked like such a happy boy."

"He was. He was a good kid. I still miss him, even after ten years without him. Nobody'll ever take his place."

I turn myself around and hug Jack hard. Sometimes it's difficult for him to talk about Charlie, even now.

Mom and Dad are having fun here on Alpha. So am I to tell the truth. I've introduced them to the gang and the bunch of loonies are making the most of having them around, trying to embarrass the shit out of me. It's succeeding.

"We love him really," Millie says, "even if he does drive us demented. It wasn't the same when he went to Chicago - Oxford suddenly became a much quieter place."

"Do tell," Mom says. Huh. I really don't want them to.

"Mom, don't you want to come and walk around up top?"

"Chicken," Andy howls.

"No, just giving Mom and Dad a chance to wander on a peaceful planet, that's all," I reply, as haughtily as I can. We book, to clucking noises. I'll get my own back.

"Watch it, Andy, or I'll give you the P45-023 translation."

He's gone quiet. That one is going to be a bastard to do.

"I love being the boss," I say as we approach the rings. Dad snorts at that one.

We appear outside and he says, "You do realise that Dan runs the anth department over in our universe, don't you?"

That would make him their boss. What a hoot! The Rascal is parked nearby. Now we've moved everything, including the gate, the ships can sit near us. Teal'c's down there, training up another bunch of glider pilots. I take them down to meet him.

"Teal'c! Come here a minute, would you?"

He wanders towards us. I've told my parents about him. I don't know if he knows about them though.

"Teal'c. These are Drs. Claire and Mel Jackson. My parents. Well, Dan's, but mine too."

His eyebrow goes skyward for a moment and then returns to its resting place.

"I am honoured to meet you," he says, inclining his head.

"We've heard a lot about you," Dad replies, a little quietly.

"Only good things," I add.

"What else could there be, Daniel?" Teal'c retorts. Since Shau're's gone home he's lightened a lot. I love this side of him.

"What else indeed?"

"You should be proud of your son, Drs. Jackson," he intones. "Daniel has saved Earth on many occasions. He is also one of the finest friends I have ever had in over a hundred years of life. He is, in fact, my brother."

That is one hell of a compliment.

"Oh, we are proud," Mom says with a smile. They are?

"Yes," Dad adds, "very proud. We couldn't have asked for anything more from a son. Not a thing."

Wow. They love me.

It's time for them to go. I'm heading over to their universe to see them off. We've made promises to visit each other - lots - and now we're at the mirror. Funny. This universe's SGC is O'Neill territory - over there it's becoming Jacksonville.

We step through, set the alarms off and wait for Dan to come. The SFs have come running, but they stood down as soon as they saw us. Ah, there he is.

"Hey, did you have a good trip?" he asks nervously.

"Wonderful, darling, thank you for taking us." Mom gives him a hug.

"Aw, Mom, not at work, please." The SFs are sniggering and he shoots them a glare. They've now stopped sniggering and they're heading back down the corridor.

"Not bad, Dan. Not quite as terrifying as one of Jack's glares, but you're getting there."

"It comes with practise," he snorts. "How's the old man?"

"Fine. He's great. Thanks, Dan. I appreciate you bringing Mom and Dad over. It's been good."

"A great excuse for you to come and visit a bit more often?"

"Oh yes. I think you'll have to warn the SFs they'll be seeing more of me."

Mom's giggling.

"Mom? What's up?"

"Look at you, like two peas in a pod. It's so strange, but somehow it seems right too. How do you two see each other?"

"Twins," we answer together and burst out laughing.

Mom and Dad want to leave us alone for a minute, I'm glad. I want to talk to him. We say our goodbyes - I've had more hugs off them in the last twenty-four hours than I did in years when I was a kid. I'm guessing that they've changed too. More promises to visit are made and then they leave us. Dan and I head back to the mirror.

"Thanks, Dan."

"How was it?"

"Emotional. Couldn't stop crying some of the time. They must think I'm a wuss."

"You are."

"I'm you, remember."

"Yeah, you are. Paul sends his love, by the way."

"Give him a kiss from me. Dan? Are you okay about sharing them?"

"Sure! It's great. Look, as you said, as we said, I think of you as a twin brother. We're family, Daniel. I always wanted a brother. I've got one. Life's pretty good at the moment."

"You're right. It is. Mind, Jack's real brother, Pat is joining the SGC soon - as chaplain to the Alpha site. He should be with us before long. I think I'm going to be a bit overwhelmed."

"What's he like?"

"A good guy - real big and protective brother-type. To me as much as to Jack."

"I'm glad for you. Come back soon."

"I will. You too, okay?"

Daniel's dealing with all of this much better than I thought he would. In fact he's really happy. Funny how things turn out. He's made me promise to let him visit as often as possible. As if I'd try to stop him. I think my mom was a little jealous - she's been more of a mother to him than his own ever was. He's still calling her Mom though, still turning to her when he needs her, so things aren't the way it could be. He likens it to being adopted as a kid and then meeting up with your original parents. Other people manage that, so he thinks he can. I hope so. So far, so good.

Everyone and everything is at the Alpha site. All except one and we're off to the surface now to get him. Daniel's by my side as we go up in the elevator.

"Hey, Danny? You okay? You're a bit quiet."

"Oh, sorry, Q was just telling me about the societal structure among the inhabitants of P34-9HR. Seems he's already been there a while back."

"Interesting." Huh?

"Fascinating in fact. They have a truly democratic lifestyle. Everyone votes as soon as they're deemed sensible enough to have reasoned opinions. That means that some children who are more emotionally developed get the vote before some adults who are deemed irresponsible. And every decision that is made by the council is voted on. People wake up, go to their communicators, check up the decisions of the previous day and vote electronically on it. Majority rule, but if there's a significant minority then the proposals are re-evaluated to make compromises."

"As I said, interesting. We're here!" Thank God. "And there he is. Pat! You made it. Come on, let's get you signed in and we'll take you to your doom."

The guards are doing a double take. Pat and I are very much alike, except he's bigger than me. Daniel's sniggering. We both give Pat a hug, sign him in and then take him to the elevator.

"Come on, are you going to explain things to me now?" he nags as we descend.

"Oh yes, you're going to get a long and boring explanation. I've booked Danny up to lecture you. Long and boring explanations are his speciality. OW!"

He didn't have to smack me.

We lead Pat off to what's left of Daniel's office. He has to have one over here too, because he never knows when he's going to be needed here. They've had to buy in duplicates of some books, but he's removed all the artefacts to Alpha. His office looks like a library now instead. The ever-present coffee pot is put on, we tell Pat to sit and Daniel starts.

"I guess I'd better start at the beginning. Many thousands of years ago an alien race known as the Ancients built something called the stargate network..."

I was called out of Daniel's explanation. Pity, I was enjoying it for once. Trying to listen with Pat's ears, as a newcomer. It would make a good book I think. We're going to take him over soon for his first trip through the gate. Can't wait to see his face when we get there. Mom's stopped doing the frozen thing now, she's been back and forth a lot, setting up an office over there. She's pretty cool for a mom.

More paperwork has been signed and I'm off to see Hammond.

"Jack! Come in, how's it going?"

"Danny's inducting Pat, the paperwork is all done, everything and everyone's moved. That's all she wrote, George."

"Well done. It's one hell of an achievement and in such a short space of time. I've done as you requested, by the way. You're right. Daniel could do with a proper holiday - you too if I'm not mistaken. As you wanted, your vacation starts three days before his birthday and for two weeks after that. Will that do you?"

"Perfect. Thanks George. I know it's close to the start of the operation out there, but I think that we'll all benefit from him and me having this."

"Have you got something in mind?"

"Oh yes. Something that Daniel has never done, something he's always wanted to do and something he never thought he would. But I'm not saying what it is, just yet. You'll all hear about it when the time comes. For now, I have to get him and Pat. Pat's got a service to perform over there. Not sure how many people there are religious, or what their religions are, but I'm sure that not one will turn down a request for a bit of protection from the Big Guy."

George chuckles and agrees. We both head out. He's coming with. There's going to be a big ceremony later in the week, with all the dignitaries and so on coming over, but this is going to be private. Just the Alpha residents and George. We decided back at the beginning that we'd keep close emotional contact with the SGC as well as working contact. It's important if both sides are going to work together well. I only hope that whatever general they get to run the SGC when George retires feels the same, or Alpha will likely break away. That is a very real danger and one we're working on the JCS to understand. I think they do. The Chief seemed to understand it. Fingers crossed.

Ha! Pat's in uniform. Well, the same coverall-type that Danny wears. He's got a kitbag along with his cases. I call up a passing airman to help us out and he takes the bags.

"You ready, bro?"

"As I'll ever be. I'm not sure I can take it all in yet. I know Daniel by now, and I know he won't lie to me, but it's so..."

"Unbelievable? I know. I do this, Pat, I've lived this life for nine years, and I don't believe half the shit I do. Come on, time to travel across the galaxy."

The gate is already open as we step up the ramp. He does what everyone does and touches the event horizon in wonder. I push him through.

Daniel snorts, "You are so gonna get it when we get through."

I know it. I'm also going to tell Pat that Daniel pushed him.

We step through, snigger as we see Pat sitting on the floor and looking for all the world as if he's been out in a snowstorm.

"You okay, bro?"

"You could have warned me, shrimp. I'll get you later."

"I'm shaking in my boots," I hoot. He can't take me, not when I've got Tally. Ha. Even Teal'c has a hard time at the moment.

We grab him, ring out, laugh at his even more shocked look and propel him down the corridor. Millie's near the rings, yelling at some tech.

"Aw crap, not another O'Neill. How many more?" she wails.

"Unless we can get my sister here, this should be it."

"And be grateful that we don't have any openings for web designers just yet," Danny says. "Believe me on this one."

We take Pat to his quarters and show him the chapel. He's stunned by the Tok'ra tunnels that we use and the blue shiny walls.

"Makes a change from gunmetal-grey," I tell him quietly.

"Damn, Jack, it's incredible. So beautiful. How can somewhere so comparatively small look like a cathedral? Thanks for bringing me into this."

"Don't thank me yet, give it a year. You might regret it."

"No. Somehow I know it's the best decision I've ever made."

We've left Pat to settle in, the service will be in an hour, so Jack and I are taking a walk up the mountain. It's a beautiful day, and there's a natural pathway which is becoming more and more pronounced as everyone decides that this is a favourite place to be.

"We've got a holiday booked, Danny," Jack tells me.

"Oh yes? Where? When? Do tell."

"A couple of days before your birthday. Not saying where, not just yet. It's gonna be a surprise."

"Aw, Jack, come on."

"Daniel, have I let you down before?"

"No, you haven't. I just hoped to have something to look forward to for once. You and I, we spring surprises on each other, and that's great fun. But for once I think that I'd like the anticipation. Does that make sense?"

"Does it ever. Of course. Come on, let's get to our spot and I'll tell you then."

We head up to a very private place we've found and sit down. A bit of necking later and he tells me. Oh boy. WOW!

"I've never done that, Jack, I've always wanted to do that. You get your very own tour guide too! A Nile cruise. Are we going all the way up?"

"Up to Aswan. Ten days on the river, Danny. You, me and the honeymoon suite on one of the most luxurious liners. Does that suit?"

Does it suit? Huh? That ranks up in the list of stupid questions like do I want coffee? Or sex. Hmm, come to think of it...

"Daniel, not here, someone might come."

"You are going to, now lay back, Jack and enjoy."

"Daniel! No, not here. Let's get back to our quarters-s-s-way-ha-ay. Oh fuck it, carry on. No, don't stop. Please babe, love you-u-yes. More please. Ohgodohgodohgod. What a mouth you've got on you. On me. Something like that. Christ Danny, suck any harder and you'll get what I had for dinner. Ooh! C'mere. I'm going to do that to you."

Like I'm going to put up a fight?

Crap. We have to go back. Still, loved making out on the mountain.

Something's wrong.

"Jack? Stop. Something's very wrong."

"What Danny?"


Oh God! What am I going to do? JACK! HOLD ON!