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Coming Out 2


Summary: Other points of view. The first mission after Coming Out, and beyond. Contains body piercings and tight leather trousers - Whoo momma. Many thanks to Julia, my Beta reader, whose sense of grammar is far better than mine. All mistakes, however, are mine, not hers, and I bear the ultimate responsibility for any cock-ups, in canon or otherwise

There is a knock on the door and it has taken me from my kel'no'reem. I bid the visitor enter and see that it is my team. I greet them and they sit on my floor. It is apparent that they wish to speak to me of a matter of great importance. O'Neill is looking at Daniel Jackson in a different manner to his normal way of late. His eyes are far softer, more gentle and also happier than I have seen before. Major Carter is looking a little nervous, although I am unsure why. It is only when I look into the eyes of Daniel Jackson do I realise. He is in love. I knew of his feelings for O'Neill years ago, and I was made to promise on pain of death never to reveal them to the object of his affections. It is my thought that these feelings have not only been aired but have been reciprocated. I am happy for him. However, I am still waiting for them to speak to me.

Daniel Jackson is nudged by O'Neill, I fear our leader is once again leaving the talking to the youngest member of the team.

"Hi Teal'c. Er, how are you?"

"I am well, Daniel Jackson. How are you?"

"Fine, fine. Look, I'll cut to the chase."

"That would probably be wise."

"Jack and I have decided to start a relationship and we were wondering if you would still be okay about being on the same team as us."

"I have known of your orientation for years, Daniel Jackson, and I have never been uncomfortable in your presence. I doubt that having two of you on the team would make any difference." He gives me a nervous laugh at that.

"I didn't mean that, Teal'c. Look, there are rules about relationships between team members."

"I am aware of your unjust 'don't ask, don't tell' rules. They are of no consequence."

"Yeah, no, I didn't mean that. Some people feel that if two members of a team are having a relationship then it will affect the team dynamics. Do you fear that that will happen?"

"I do not. I have been aware of your feelings for O'Neill for years, I doubt that you will act any differently towards me than before."

"Thanks Teal'c. I won't, neither will Jack, you have our word."

"That is enough."

"Er, Teal'c. That 'don't ask, don't tell' thing?" O'Neill finally addresses me.

"As I said, it is a rule of no consequence. Nobody will find out about you from me. You have my word."

"Thank you Teal'c, your word is more than enough for me." O'Neill smiles at me and makes to stand up, as do the others.

"O'Neill, I wish to speak to you alone."

"Er, okay, see you two guys at the briefing."

Daniel Jackson and Major Carter say their goodbyes and leave the two of us alone.

"You will make sure that you treat Daniel Jackson well, O'Neill, or else I will be forced to kill you. I would regret that."

"As would I, Teal'c, as would I. I promise. Nothing will make me treat him badly. I've loved him for so long, but I didn't know about him so I didn't want to get any closer than we were. It was hard being in love with him, believing that he would never, could never, feel the same way."

"He was in a similar position and yet he treated you well."

"I know, I was a complete shit and I am sorry. I've apologised to him and he's okay about it, he understands. Hang on, you knew? Why didn't you tell me?"

"He made me promise not to. I keep my promises. He believed that you would hate him if you found out how he felt. He feared your disapproval, your disgust. He only wanted your respect."

"He always had that, Teal'c. Poor kid, I know exactly how he felt; I felt the same. By the way, do you know who he was seeing recently? He's definitely been seeing other people."

"Has he not told you who it was?"

"No, the little sod's holding out on me."

"I cannot say. It is enough for you to know that it was not serious and that he loves you and only you. Were you not his age once?"

"Sure, but I was married. Okay, before I met Sara I did play the field. You couldn't tell me which gender?"

"No, I could not. I was not privy to that information."

We speak of more inconsequential things and then O'Neill thanks me for my discretion again and departs. The briefing will be interesting.

The guys are going to have to work on the discretion thing. The Colonel - must remember to call him that today - is in a benevolent mood. People are talking. There are rumours that he's either killed Simmons, retiring, found out some deep, dark secret of the General's and/or got laid. Better quash the last one. Think the secret one's the least harmful. Trouble is Daniel's positively glowing. I've never seen him look so happy. I'm glad, but I'm also afraid for him, for them. They stand to lose so much.

The briefing's going well, they're doing their best not to look too much at each other. Oh, oh, Daniel wants time to visit a ruin that the UAV has spotted and the Colonel isn't too sure.

"Give me a good reason to visit it, Daniel, and I'll okay it, with the General's permission of course."

Hammond's nodding. Good, I don't think he's spotted anything yet.

"Jack, if I knew what it was I wouldn't necessarily ask to go and see it. The point is it's a ruined building within walking distance of the gate. It could be anything."

"It could be dangerous. Not to mention that the mineral deposits are in the opposite direction."

Time to speak up.

"Colonel, if I may. There is no apparent habitation near the gate and no obvious sign of Goa'uld activity. The minerals seem to be things that we want that the Goa'uld don't tend to; trinium, gold, that sort of thing, no naquada. What if Teal'c and I do the mineral survey and you and Daniel check out the building. Just a suggestion of course, Sir." That way Daniel doesn't pout in the briefing and his beloved Jack doesn't go to pieces in front of the General. He shoots me a 'thank you' glance.

"Ok-ay," he drawls, "we'll go, check out the surroundings. If, if mind you, it seems to be clear, we'll do that. However, the mineral surveys take precedence. Got that Daniel?"

Daniel gives him a huge grin. "Got it."

"If that's all right with you, Sir," the Colonel adds, looking at the General. He's shellshocked and so he smiles, agreeing with the Colonel's assessment. I think he's glad that they aren't fighting anymore and is afraid to ask what caused the change of heart.

We're dismissed and all head off to Daniel's office - largest coffee pot.

"Thanks, Sam," Daniel whispers to me as we go.

"S'okay, that building may be useful. Just be careful."

We reach his office and I shut the door. "Colonel," I say as Daniel hands out the ready-made coffee, "I think you're going to have to act a bit grumpier. People are starting to talk. And you, Daniel, are looking radiant. The rumours are already starting to fly. Not about you two, but it won't take long for people to put two and two together. I think you'll have to have a fight now and then, just to put people off the scent."

Daniel grins, "Thanks, Sam. Didn't think we'd done anything obvious."

"No, not obvious, just suspicious. Be careful, guys. And when we're on the planet and you two are together, alone, please concentrate on the job."

The Colonel replies, "Don't worry on that score, Carter, I know if I let my guard down, you two or Daniel could get hurt. No way I'm doing that."

Daniel adds, "What he said."

I'm glad, they understand the importance of what I said and don't object.

We're heading for out pre-mission check. Daniel and I walk together, whispering and joking. If there are going to be any rumours of relationships, it's going to be between us. Janet whispers something to them and gets a serious nod from them both. She looks mad and Daniel's trying to calm her down. Wish I could go over to her, but one of the other doctors is seeing to me. They'll say something, or not, when we get off-world. The check-up's over quickly and we head off to kit up. The guys are laughing and joking about something innocuous. My heart's bleeding for them. They've both found what they were looking for in life and they can't tell the whole world. It's so unfair.

On the ramp now. I don't know how Daniel does it. We all kitted up together, so how the hell is he late? I think he does it on purpose. Ah, here he is.

"Glad you could join us Dr. Jackson," says the Colonel with the straightest face that he can muster.

"Oh, that's all right, Colonel. Thanks for waiting." His face is so innocent that I want to laugh. I've known for a long time that the baby face thing is an act, Jack's only just figured it out. This is going to be good. Is he going to play along or will he call his bluff?

"Anytime, Doctor, we live to serve the civilian population as it is. If there is anything else we can do for you, please, don't hesitate to ask." Hell, the Colonel needs to work on his sarcasm, he's getting too obvious.

"Oh! Thanks. Don't suppose you could carry my pack for me, could you? The straps chafe my shoulders something awful."

I don't believe what he just said. Jack's looking fit to burst. Thank God, the wormhole has been established. The General gives the go-ahead, we wave and head up the ramp.

I'm going to kill him. I can't believe that he said that. Perhaps I'll kiss him instead. Whatever. We fall out of the gate and crack up.

"Dammit Daniel, what the fuck am I going to do with you?"

"Think that's the idea, Jack."


Hell, don't know what I am going to do with him. Never loved anyone this much. Apart from Charlie, but that was way different.

Teal'c and I do a quick recce, nothing obvious, so hopefully things will go according to plan. For once. Carter's asking me something.

"Colonel, what did Janet say? I saw her looking serious." Hell, I don't know what to say. I send a quick S.O.S. out with my eyes to Daniel. Thank God we are so simpatico, he understands.

"You know we have the six-monthly physical coming up next month, don't you?" he asks Sam. Sure she does, Janet always does it, and what Janet does, Sam knows about.


"Well, apparently there's been a new directive. A couple of outside doctors, Pentagon people, are going to come down and do them. Going to do the whole base at the same time. Janet's furious. She thinks it's a reflection on her abilities. I tried to tell her that it was just more red tape, typical Pentagon bureaucracy, but she's really hurt. She's also trying to tell all the gay guys on the base to lay off the sex for a couple of weeks. She always hides any knowledge of someone's sexuality but she doesn't trust the outsiders to do the same. It could be one of the reasons that they are coming down, to find out what they can't ask. Some of the NID-types would love there to be a scandal at the SGC, especially now Simmons has gone down."

Sam's gone a bit pink at that. Not sure if it's out of embarrassment or fury. No, if it were fury she'd be foaming at the mouth and she's not doing that.

Teal'c asks, "So, does that mean that the two of you are going to have to be kept apart for the next few weeks?"

Now it's my turn to blush. Daniel's so cool about sex talk. "Nah," he's saying, "we'll just have to be a bit more inventive, that's all. Don't worry, Jack, I have some ideas." Fuck, I'm doing a beetroot impression, Teal'c's eyebrows are making him look like he's gotten hair and Sam is mirroring me in colour. Daniel's doing his innocent look again. He's starting towards the ruin.

"Coming, Jack?" he says, like he hasn't just embarrassed the hell out of me.

"In a minute," I stammer and blush again when I realise what I have just said. Carter cracks up.

"If that's all it takes you should find someone else, Daniel."

Daniel's laughing his head off. Teal'c actually smiles. I'm groaning. "Daniel, is life always going to be like this with you?"

"You'd better believe it, flyboy. Never a dull moment, I promise." Then, despite what we promised the others, he comes over and lands a huge kiss on me. I think, I hope, Sam and Teal'c are watching out for nasties in the undergrowth, because if they look anywhere near my groin they're going to see just what Daniel does to me. We finally break the kiss and I have to tell him off.

"Daniel! Not on duty. You know the rules."

"Sorry, Jack, couldn't help myself. You looked so cute."

"Let me get this straight, all three of you. One. I am not allowing my sex life to be the subject of discussion. Two. Reminder, Daniel, no nookie off-world or on the base. Three. I am so not fucking cute!"

Big mouth butts in.

"I beg to differ Jack. One. Your sex life is mine too, and I don't care if it's up for discussion, among the team only, of course. Two. I remember the rule, but that was only a kiss, not full-on, hard-core, naked passion. Three. You so are fucking cute. Especially when you blush."

I yell, he runs. Tell Carter to head off to the mineral survey site and check in every thirty minutes, then I'm off after him like a scalded whippet. Even with a pack on, the kid can outrun me. Hell. Where's he gone? I know he's heading to the ruin but I can't see him. Got his tracks. They're closer together, he's slowed down. He might run faster than me but I have more stamina, obviously. Ah, there he is, sitting on a rock. Fuck, he's not even sweating.

"Thought I'd wait for you to catch up," he says, his eyes twinkling mischievously.

"Dammit Daniel, don't run away like that, you could have gotten hurt."

"I was running because I thought I was going to get hurt. You looked murderous." Oh God, the little boy look.

"Daniel, I won't hurt you, you know that. Don't you trust me?"

"Yeah, Jack, I do. I trust you, but I don't always know if I should trust the Colonel. He can take you over sometimes and he scares me. You can get so cold then. When it's you, off-duty Jack, there's no one I trust more, no one I have ever trusted more. It's just that when you're the Colonel," he waves his hand, not really knowing how to put it. I think I do.

"It's like I don't care?"

"No, not that, exactly. I think it's just the blindly following orders thing. That scares me. You've done stuff, Jack, stuff I know you're not proud of. I've been there for your nightmares too. I don't recognise you when you're screaming so venomously. Sorry."

"Shit, Daniel. I didn't know. Don't be sorry, you have every right to be scared of that side of me. I thought I'd buried him, you know. You changed me, that day on Abydos. You made me see that blindly following orders isn't always the way to go. You made me think before I act. It's one of the reasons I love you so much."

He gives me a shy smile, stands up and puts his hand out to me. I take it, and we walk in silence for a couple of hours, the rest of the way to the ruin, broken only by the check-ins from Carter and Teal'c.

Hope I haven't just fucked things up with Jack. I behaved badly and I know it. He just brings out my playful side. I am going to have to be more careful. Nice to walk hand-in-hand though. We'll never be allowed to do that on Earth. Won't ever do it in front of the others either, not off-world, wouldn't be right. But this world seems uninhabited, at least around here and the others are elsewhere, having a good time doing the survey it seems. We've finally reached the ruin and it looks interesting.

Oh shit, darkness is starting to fall. How in hell's name did the techs get that one wrong? They're supposed to monitor the length of day for us before we set out. Jack would never have split us up overnight, and I, for once, wouldn't have argued. He's calling them, telling them to find a defensible and safe spot and make camp immediately. I'm looking for somewhere for us too. If we only have one exposed side, we should be much safer. Ah, in this corner. If we pitch the tent diagonally we'll only have to watch out the front. I look over the wall and nearly throw up. There's a sheer drop down a cliff, hundreds of feet. At least it means nothing is likely to come up from behind us.

We've pitched the tent and lit a fire. Jack's doing stuff with the MREs, trying to make them remotely edible. They all taste like chicken anyway. With all the technology we have, you'd think the US Military would have devised something recognisable. It's cold and we're sitting by the fire. Jack puts his arm around me - for warmth, he says. I've got much better ways of warming him up, but I'd better wait until we get home. He says we should split the night in two, not much point in waking up only to go back to sleep and then wake up again in a couple of hours. It makes sense. I volunteer to do the first watch, I can never sleep this early anyway. He agrees and goes to get into the tent. I pull my journal out and start to write in it. Before he gets in the sleeping bag he calls,

"What, no goodnight kiss, Daniel?"

"Didn't think it would be a good idea, Jack," I reply sadly. He comes back out, pulls me into a warm hug.

"Daniel, I wasn't really mad at you, you've got to know that. I love you. Don't forget it. Never forget it." Then he kisses my cheek and turns to head into the tent. A madness takes over me and I grab his arm, yank him back and kiss him hard.

"Never forget that I love you either," I say. I can feel a fury in my heart, fury that I'll never be able to shout it out. I love Jack O'Neill. I tell him more. "Jack, I'm sorry for the way I behaved today, I have no excuse. I won't do it again, I promise."

He's smiling, he kisses my forehead. "'S'okay Daniel, it's okay. All forgiven. Now, let me go to sleep or I won't wake for my watch."

We hug once more and he goes in. As soon as his head hits the pillow he's out for the count. Don't know how he can do that, I can't. It takes me ages to sleep, especially in a tent. Some nights I don't sleep at all, just pretend to.

I'm writing my journal in cuneiform now. Started yesterday. Don't ever want anyone to know what I'm writing about him, and there's not many people on Earth that can read it. Every time I have ever mentioned how I feel for him in the past I have always written like this. I'll protect him in whatever way I can. I'm just writing my version of today's events. Wonder how they would tie in with the others' versions?

Nothing to see out here, no moon orbiting this planet, so apart from the fire there is no light. I put my night vision glasses on to look around. No, nothing to see, so I'll just think. Think of how things got to how we are now.

Thinking back I can't believe that I put up with his crap for so long. I think it really got bad when I had the appendicitis. He asked to see my scar, he looked so loving at that moment. I know he was teasing but he even asked me to go fishing with him. He never asks me to go fishing. Teal'c yes, Sam too, but never me. Know why now, of course, but it used to hurt.

Then he came back from their extended trip off-world. Nine days I had to wait around. Nine fucking days not knowing if they had made it or not. For some reason, those nine were worse than the hundred he spent with Laira. There was nothing I could do. Then he came home. It all went to hell at that time, he was so wrapped up in Sam. I hadn't stepped foot inside his house from then until a few months ago. He pushed me away, acted like he just put up with me. God, he even asked me to kill him! There were military people there, all of them better qualified than me to push the button, to end their lives, but he begged me to do it. How could he? Perhaps he thought that I didn't care anymore. I took solace elsewhere for a while, but I can't tell him that. Don't ask, don't tell applies to everyone in the military. He can't ask and I sure as hell won't tell. Not dropping 'him' in it. Nothing came of it. We were together for a good few months but decided that a long-distance relationship wasn't going to work and that we should be 'just good friends'. And he is one.

Did I do anything to make Jack hate me? I don't know, I don't think so.

That stupid zaytarc thing. He loved Sam more than he should. I should fucking well hope so. The four of us used to be so close that we would all die rather than leave the others. Didn't the fact that Teal'c and I stayed at the entrance of the ship mean anything to him? Sam told me what she said. It was pretty much the same. She never said she was in love with him or anything, said it was a military thing, that teams shouldn't get that close. She said that if it had been me there, she'd have been crying her eyes out. Same here. I love her so much, my big sister. Never had a sister before, but if I had, I think, no I know, I'd want one like her. We share everything, our hopes, dreams, fears, loves. Jack hasn't seen us at our worst. A huge bowl of ice cream, sappy film, lots of wine and a sofa. Oh, and a couple of boxes of tissues. Drama queens, that's what we are. I turned to her after Jack rejected me, leaned on her even more. I must make sure that I do nothing to push her away.

And what of Teal'c? If it hadn't been for him and Sam I'd have left the SGC a long time ago. Certainly wanted to be away from Jack. It was so hard thinking he hated me. Teal'c's been my rock these last few years, weighed down by the guilt of removing Shau're from my life as he is. I've forgiven him over and over. One of these days he may start to believe me. After his brainwashing by Apophis he said some terrible things about Shau're and how he enjoyed killing her. Remembering that he had said that nearly finished him. Sam came to me in my office after I had heard that and she found me sobbing my heart out. I felt so guilty. I wanted to kill him where he was for that. She held me, helped me put it into perspective. I was so embarrassed, showing weakness like that in front of a major. She wouldn't say that though, and I know she's never told anyone either.

Teal'c's tried to make it up to me, even though I tell him not to. All I want is for him to be my friend. He's promised me that he will be till the day he dies. That is enough for me.

Still waiting for Jack to say it's been a horrible mistake. He's promised that it's only me from now on, but then he once told me that we were best friends and then figuratively kicked me in the guts. How long before he gets fed up of me and passes me on, hands me back, drops me like a hot cake?

Oh God, the sun's coming up and I'm sitting here sniffing. It's only been four hours. Typical, just about to get Jack up for his watch too and now it's too light for me to sleep. The sun comes up as quickly as it goes down. Hell, I've drunk an entire pot of coffee. Better make some more and then wake him up. He's going to be pissed that I haven't slept. Can't now, got a buzz. Coffee's brewing, better get him up. I wonder how I'll get him up and keep him sweet? Got to keep him happy or he'll send me away. Oh yeah, I've got an idea.

I can creep too, Mr. 'I'm a trained killer' O'Neill. Nice and quiet, unzip the sleeping bag. Wonder if I'll get his pants down before he wakes? Probably not. Staying low down though, got a broken nose once when I tried to surprise him out of his sleep. His fly's undone. Heh heh, cover me, I'm going in.

JESUS H CHRIST! DANIEL! What the fuck are you doing? What a way to wake up. I must have been sleeping heavily, he managed to open the bag and get my dick out without me noticing. Little Jack's obviously in on the plot because by the feel of it, they've both been at it longer than my brain has. He's grabbing my butt, not letting me pull away. Oh, I get it. He's pulling me in a rhythm. He wants me to fuck his mouth! I haven't woken up yet! Oh God, I have to give him what he wants, I can't stop. Brain is going... to... musshh.

Can't think, can't move, can't speak. I know what his tongue can do to me, but he just keeps reminding me how versatile it is. Love you Daniel, now tell me what that was all about.

I get it. Short night, he's not going to get any sleep. Didn't exactly get much in the way of sleep last night, either. We kept waking each other up for, well... you know. So now, he doesn't want me to get mad. Oh, and he's wired. Fresh coffee brewing means he drunk an entire pot to himself, and the way he makes it, it gets stronger the longer it sits. He must have more caffeine running through him than a Starbuck's branch at breakfast time. Hell, he's bouncing. Who the fuck does he think he is? Tigger? I call him that and don't even get a dirty look. He must be sickening for something. I tell him off, gently, for going down on me. Not off-world, remember. His eyes dart around. Fuck, fuck, fuck, he's doing the startled look again. Don't know if it's fear or he's just hyper from the coffee. Crap, he's apologising, saying that perhaps this isn't a good idea after all.

"Daniel? What's not a good idea?"

"You, me, us, the SGC, the team. Can't separate us, this. Can't stop loving you, Jack, no matter how many times I tried. It's gonna hurt Jack, it's really gonna hurt and this time I won't be able to pick up the pieces."

He's sniffing, trying not to cry. What brought this on? Surely not a gentle admonition.

"Daniel, what's wrong? Come on, babe, I'm not mad with you." I go over to him, to put an arm around him but he just jumps away.

"No, but you will be. You always get mad at me. You'll get rid of me when you've had enough, I know, it always happens."

"Not gonna happen, Daniel. Nothing will make me send you away, I promise. Why do you think I'd do something like that."

"You used to be my friend, my best friend. You made me kill you, made me press the button. Not the others, me. You pushed me away, told me you didn't like me, it was all a sham. You said you lied, but you never said you really were my friend. You, you... never mind."

"I mind Daniel, let's get this out in the open. I've got to convince you now or I never will."

"You hated me. Why? What had I done to make you hate me? Was it because I gave the order to kill you?"

Can't believe I'm hearing this. Tears coming now, not his, mine.

"Never hated you Daniel, it was just me being stupid. Oh God, I am so sorry."

Know what this is now. No sleep, too much coffee, too much time to think, to analyse. Had so much crap over the years that he's waiting for the catch, for the other shoe to drop. Thinks I'll be like those foster parents that sent him away because he was too clever for them and they couldn't cope. Thinks I'll be like Nick and finally reject him.

"There's no catch, Daniel. I. Love. You. Get it? I'm not leaving, not gonna send you away. I'll leave the Air Force before I leave you. I get mad at everyone, you know, not just you. Sorry about the killing me thing, I didn't trust anyone else to do it. I knew that you wouldn't want me or Teal'c to suffer, didn't trust them. I trusted you. I know you can't trust me completely, you say you do, but I know you can't. Give me a chance, Daniel, please. Let me rebuild the basis of the trust you once gave me. I won't let you down again. You can kill me for real if I do."

"No point, if you die, I die. Don't want that yet."

"Neither do I babe, neither do I." Now he lets me hold him, his head hits my shoulder and I can feel my neck getting a bit wet. Don't let go, I won't let him go, rules or no rules. He needs to get past this. If he's ever going to completely trust me, I can't let him go now. Feel him sobbing, shit, he's starting me off too. Perhaps we both need this, to put the last couple of years behind us. It's all my fault, I tell him. He says no, it's his fault. Crap, Daniel, that's total crap. I fell in love with him and screwed up. I push his tear-stained face away from me so he can see mine.

"Daniel, please listen to me. I know what you've lost in the past, I know you're afraid that you'll lose me again. If I could kiss you and make it better I would, I promise. It's not going to be that easy, I know, but I want to try. I've lost too, I know how it feels. I'm scared that you'll get fed up of me, want someone younger."

"God, Jack, NO! Never! It's you, only you. Love you, Jack, only you."

"What can I do to make you trust me, Daniel?"

"Kiss me?"

I laugh, his eyes are childlike, but I know he lost his innocence, his na´vetÚ a long time ago. I just give in, kiss him as gently and as sweetly as I can, letting my actions speak the words that my mouth can't. He's hungry for me, pulling me closer, it's like he wants to wear me as a second skin. If he only knew how much I wanted to wear him, a Danny-suit. Can't leave any marks in our clothes, any trace of our love, it would be too obvious back at the medical. Have to do something for him though, give back what he gave me this morning, remind him just how much I care. I push him softly till he's on his back, open his pants and do unto him as he did unto me.

He's bucking, his hips are writhing. It's taking all of my mind-control techniques not to allow myself to get mad and just take him. No, this is for Daniel only. He's calling my name, moaning it, his hands are on my head, his long fingers are trying to tangle themselves in my short hair. Perhaps I'll grow it a little, just for him. Getting louder now, not long, he's nearly there. His movements are becoming harder, faster, more desperate. He needs this release or else he's going to go insane. Come on Daniel, come for me, now.

"OhGodohGodohGodI'mcomingnow!" he's screaming at me. As he does, he yells my name so loud that he scares a flock of birds in some trees about 500 yards away. Wow, he's got a powerful voice. He's asking me if I need him to do anything, I say no, I need to take a leak though. Trust him to think of me. He's laughing now, giggles punctuating his apologies. He says that he's sorry for being a jerk, for getting over-emotional. Too much coffee does that to him sometimes. I kiss him, tell him he's okay and that I love him and we're okay, and that I really, really, have to take a leak.

He lets me go, making breakfast as I head for the trees. I find a Kleenex in my jacket and make ready while I jerk off. His cries pushed me beyond my tolerance. Won't let him know that though. Take a leak, clean up, zip up and head back. Breakfast is ready. There's a stream nearby and we wash before eating. He's looking happier now, more relaxed. Carter calls in as we start to eat. They got all the samples they needed so they're heading our way. Don't let Daniel drink any more coffee at breakfast, even though he gives me his puppy eyes. No, Daniel, enough is enough. He pretends to sulk as he eats and tells me what he thinks the ruin is.

"From the outside, I'd say it's some sort of outpost. It's very defensible in its location, has a fresh water supply within the grounds and is large enough to hold a small garrison."

Have to agree with his initial thoughts. They make perfect sense. There's only one part of the ruin still standing. Daniel makes me put on my helmet before going in, hard hat area and all that. He ties a bandana on before putting his on too. Has he any idea how sexy he looks in a bandana?

We go into the standing area and are immediately disappointed. Nothing, nada, zip, zilch. He just shrugs and says that that's what archaeology is like. Not loads of Tutenkhamun's tombs, but lots of, 'oh dear, is that all?'. He'll just record the building and try to figure out more when we get home. Amazing. If it were me doing his job I'd be wanting the big find every time I set out, but not him. Apparently not any real archaeologist. Sure, they'd love one, but to them, the 'big one' isn't necessarily gold and riches but a site which explains more about an ancient civilisation than they already knew. Writing is Daniel's gold, I should have known that a long time ago. Gonna learn about his work, want to understand what it is that fascinates him so. He's learned about mine. Built himself up to look like a soldier, learned to shoot straight, even got himself signed off on a P-90. He's hardened himself for me. God Daniel, I'm so sorry, I didn't know what I was doing to you.

Teal'c and I hear a lot of laughter as we walk towards the ruin. The guys are coming towards us, smiling as they see us. Oops, I think I saw them holding hands briefly. They quickly pulled away as they saw us though, obviously they're trying to make up for yesterday. Wonder what they got up to last night? Nah, Sam, don't go there. That's their business, not mine. Though the thought of having those two hot and sweaty in my bed really does something for me. Wow, didn't know I was such a slut. Maybe one day I'll get drunk enough, and get them drunk enough...

"Good morning Daniel, Colonel," I shout out, probably a bit too enthusiastically.

"Morning, Carter," grunts the Colonel.

"Hey Sam. You guys all right?" Daniel's smiling fit to burst. If anything, he looks happier than yesterday. I really do wonder what went on last night?

The Colonel fills us in on what they found. Nothing, apparently, so we're going straight home.

"Daniel needs to get to bed."

Teal'c's eyebrows hit the roof and I let out a snigger.

"Get your minds out of the gutter. He didn't sleep last night 'cause he was on first watch and the sun came up before it was time to switch. Not to mention he drank an entire pot of his extra-strong coffee so he's more wired than the National Grid." He grins indulgently at Daniel who's gotten a goofy smile on his face.

"Come on, Tigger, let's get you home to bed."

"Tigger?" I just had to ask, didn't I?

"You should have seen him bouncing around the ruin this morning."

Duh? After an entire pot of his extra strong and no sleep? You should see him after a forty-eight-hour stint at the SGC. Hell, I'm no better. I can't count the number of times that we have worked together on some alien artifact, pulling allnighters, drinking more coffee than is strictly necessary and living on chocolate bars. The rest of the base knows to stay out of our way then, they're a) likely to get their heads bitten off, b) probably going to get knocked flying by a manic archaeologist and a psychotic astrophysicist who are charging down the hall, looking for their next caffeine fix or c) both of the above. And some people think that Daniel's sweet. They've never tried to come between him and his coffee.

I think the funniest thing I saw at the base was a stand-off between Janet and Daniel. He needed some more coffee to keep him going. A translation was urgent; life-threateningly urgent. He'd been on the go for thirty-six hours having just come back from a particularly gruelling mission. And she made the big mistake of trying to stop him.

Oh boy, was she surprised.

It was in the early days, not long after she had joined us. Just like everyone else who didn't know him well, she thought that Dr. Daniel Jackson was a sweetheart. He is. As long as he has sufficient coffee in him to keep him awake. Janet swears like a trooper. She was a med student for chrissakes. They swear, drink, take drugs, do everything you don't expect them to do. Not to mention she's a major in the Air Force. She thought she'd heard everything.

There they were, in the corridor, Daniel bouncing off the walls trying to get to the commissary or my lab for more coffee. Janet was blocking his way, telling him that he'd had enough and he really should go to bed. He hit the roof. Janet actually blushed. In all the years I have known her, she has never blushed except then. He had a "fucking translation to fucking do and if he didn't fucking do it people were going to fucking die and did she want that on her fucking conscience?" There was a lot more to it than that, but that was pretty much the gist of it. He ranted for about five minutes and for the first and only time in her career at the SGC, Janet backed down.

She tried to get her own back on him at the next medical check by sticking her fingers up his ass with cold lube. He just shook his head (she told me later) and said, "Janet, honey, that's not the worst thing I've had stuck up my ass by a long way. Do your worst." That's when she and I found out he's bisexual. Somehow, I don't know how, they made up. You couldn't get a cigarette paper between the three of us now, and God help anyone who tried.

Major Carter is smiling to herself as we walk to the Chaapa'ai. I wonder what she is thinking about? I must discover what O'Neill means by the nickname 'Tigger'. I fear it is going to be one which is added to the long list of 'endearments' that Daniel Jackson has suffered. He does not seem to be upset by this one, so perhaps it is kind. I also fear that he is going to drop before we reach the gate, even though we should be there before long. His coffee kick would appear to be wearing off. He is getting quieter and O'Neill is concerned.

"Daniel, you okay?"

"Yeahsureyoubetcha." I can see that he is forcing himself to stand more upright, his eyes are brightening but it is a front.

"You want to rest for a minute?" O'Neill tries again.

"No, 'salright Jack, let's go home, huh?"

Somehow, we make it to the gate and Daniel Jackson dials home. Major Carter sends the code and we all step through.

General Hammond is in the gate room. This is unusual if we do not have injuries or have not been missing. We have neither. His face is serious, this cannot be good.

"Colonel O'Neill. Glad to have you back. Did it go well?"

"We went, we got bored, we came home. Same old same old. One thing though Sir, someone fu, er, scre, er messed up the day length thing. We ended up being separated overnight as a result. Teal'c did their watch," I nod that I am fine, "but Daniel here ended up doing ours and it was an allnighter because the night was only four hours' long. I am so not happy about that. So, when we've had our medical and shower, I'd really like permission to take him home 'cause he's gonna drop any moment."

"I'm afraid I can't allow that Colonel. Something has come up and Dr. Jackson's skills are needed. Why don't you take him to the infirmary now and then to his quarters on the base. Hopefully he'll be better after a nap."

I think that O'Neill is going to 'give the game away' as far as his relationship is concerned, he looks ready to explode. I intervene.

"General Hammond. Daniel Jackson has had little or no sleep in the past forty-eight hours. I also understand that he was very, er, busy during his brief downtime after the last mission. Not to mention that it was a particularly harrowing mission that we were on. I do not believe that a nap will be sufficient."

Daniel Jackson has just underlined my point by passing out in the corridor. I pick him up and carry him to the infirmary.

That makes a change, SG-1 has come home, on time and with no injuries. I saw Sam as soon as she came in and told her that Cassie called last night. She's really enjoying her stay with my parents and she sends her love to the team. We're catching up on the news when Teal'c comes in carrying Daniel who's out cold. Jack's dogging his footsteps. No surprise there then.

"What on earth has happened here?"

"Don't get your panties in a bunch, Doc," O'Neill drawls, "he's only passed out 'cause he's tired. The General wants him up and ready for action asap, but I think he could do with a good sleep." He fills me in on the details and I agree with him. I call the General and tell him that Dr. Jackson needs to sleep until his body tells him it is time to wake up. I check out the men, pass them as fit and send them out of the infirmary to get cleaned up. As usual, Jack is reluctant to leave Daniel, but I promise to stay with him. There's no one sick here at the moment. I can do my paperwork at his bedside.

As I sit and watch over him, I think back to the times that I've been here. They call him Dr. Nine Lives, among other things, but I think he's gotten more than that. He bounces back like a rubber ball. Sam told me that Jack's new nickname for him is Tigger. I think it's apt, though he's way smarter than that. I don't know how he does it. One day, after coming back from the dead - yet again - he told me it's all a matter of having something or someone to come back for. At the time, he was still looking for Shau're, so he couldn't allow himself to die. After she was gone I was afraid that he would give up. Then he had to look for the boy, so that gave me hope. Once they had been to Kheb though, I was really worried. The tension was building between him and Jack. Nothing too obvious, just little things, here and there. It got worse after the Asgard ship episode. We seemed to lose Daniel for a while. He would disappear for long weekends, never telling us where he was going. I got a little hint once, I asked him if he would come over to see Cassie and he said he was going away. I asked where and he said "don't ask 'cause I won't tell." I know he had a male lover at the time. I'd love to know who it was, but Daniel's too much of a gentleman to kiss and tell. Pity, I'd like to know who it was that could keep Daniel at the SGC when things were going to hell in a hand-basket. I'd like to thank him.

It was only after we nearly lost Teal'c and Jack in that death glider that things started improving. Daniel had stopped seeing whoever it was and Jack tried his best to be friends with him again. I'm so happy that they've finally found each other. I'll kill Jack if he ever hurts him again.

He's back in the infirmary, ready to take my place and watch over his lover. He asks how he is and I tell him that he's fine, that Jack's assessment was spot on. What we cannot tell the General is that we both think that he's emotionally exhausted. The last couple of years have been very hard on him. He lost his wife for good, effectively lost her son, the one that he would have brought up on his own, as his own, and very nearly lost his best friends too. Hooking up with Jack has literally been the release he needed. All of the tension in him has just let go, I think. Now, his brain needs a while to let him physically catch up with his emotions.

He's a hard man, stronger than any of us really; braver too. We all acknowledge that, but he still thinks that we see him as a weak and feeble civilian. He couldn't be more wrong. I was horrified when I found out that he was working out, building up his muscles, and spending lots of time on the range, learning to fire the big guns so to speak. Daniel's weapon of choice is a zat gun because it doesn't have to kill. I think that he thought that if he became a soldier, Jack would want to be with him again. That is just so sad. I hope that we'll get our Daniel back now; the happy, easy-going, okay caffeine-addicted grouch that is Dr. Daniel Jackson.

It's been six hours and he doesn't show any signs of waking. Jack's fallen asleep in his chair. It was funny when Teal'c brought Daniel in. He didn't ask where to put him, he just took him to his bed. I keep a sign above it, the Daniel Jackson Bed. It started as a joke way back when. He was always in here with one injury or another. One day, I was looking for somewhere to put him, the infirmary was really busy. He looked over at this bed and it was already occupied by a blood stained marine.

"Oy!" he yelled, "that's my bed!"

So it became his bed. Whenever SG-1 are off-world, unless we really are full to capacity, I never allow this bed to be used. Or the chair next to it, because that's Jack's chair. The one that he always sits in when Daniel's hurt. He only allows Daniel's entourage to use it. Sam, Teal'c if he decides to sit, Hammond, Ferretti, Nyan and me. That's it. No matter how long I'll know them, I will never figure out how come Daniel and Ferretti got to be such good friends. Apparently Louis wanted to kill him on the first mission. Nobody really knows what happened there, only the three of them and they aren't telling. Perhaps it's for the best. I just know that Ferretti guards Daniel like he's the Crown Jewels and won't let anyone badmouth him.

Oh, he's waking up. I go over to him to check him out, gently telling him off for being so tired. He groans and I stroke his face. I am so not going to argue with him about coffee.

Jack's smiling at him, then tells him that when he's eaten and got showered and changed he has to see the General. Why do I get the feeling that I'm going to need to keep Daniel's bed clear?

I am not looking forward to this briefing. I not only have to give Jack some bad news but I have to ask Daniel to work with the Tok'ra again. After that slave thing, I don't know if he will say yes.

Here they come. He's looking more refreshed now. Jack was right, there was no way Daniel could have gone through this till now. What Daniel doesn't know, at least yet, is that Jack and I went for a stroll up top while he was sleeping. Jack had something to tell me and you could have knocked me down with a feather.

"George, look, I'm talking to you, not the General now, okay? 'Cause if you're not okay with that I can't say what I think I need to."

"Jack, you know me. George knows lots of stuff that the General doesn't, and the other way around. I sometimes feel like I am two people if you know what I mean."

"You don't know just how apt that is. Look, I'm guessing you know about Daniel, you know, his er orientation?"

"Of course, it was something that was found out when a background check was run. It wasn't deemed important, his brain is what we want. It was, however, deemed sensible to keep it quiet, to protect our investment so to speak."

"Good, I take it you're okay with it too?"

"Of course I am. Daniel's a fine man, I'm proud to call him my friend Jack. Who he sleeps with is none of my concern. Why? Don't tell me you've only just found out and it's a problem for you?"

"No, well, yes, I've only just found out, the day we got back from that disastrous last mission. It's not a problem, not in the slightest. And yet, it could be. Ah shit, I'd better come out with it. He's not the only one, George. Something you won't find on my record is that I'm bisexual too."

He looked at me, waiting for me to go nuts and grinning when I didn't.

"Daniel found out, guessed that night. Then he told me. We got mad with ourselves for not telling each other before. I've been in love with him for a long time, George, he feels the same about me. We're together now, nothing is going to come between us. I guess what I'm asking from you is some grace time. If you hear anything, give me an out please, let me retire again. I'd happily go through a court-martial rather than lose Daniel, but he'd never forgive himself. Would you do that for me please?"

"Of course. It's something I'd do for any of the gay soldiers under my command. There's quite a few, you know. Do Sam and Teal'c know?"

"Yes, told them straight off. They're okay with it, not a problem. They know we won't let them down."

I know that, I've known for a long time that they were in love with each other, even if they didn't. I'm hoping all of the tension of the last couple of years will go now.

Daniel's smiling at me as he drinks his coffee. Perhaps Jack has told him after all. No matter, he'll find out sometime.

"How are you feeling Dr. Jackson?"

"Much better now, sorry about that." He's looking a bit sheepish.

"Not to worry, you're here now. First thing, before the Tok'ra join us, I have some news. The Russians will be sending a few teams to work here. Dr. Markov will head their science team. Fortunately, Colonel Zhukov will not be heading the military teams. A Colonel Andropov will be doing that." I wait for the complaint from Jack and I am surprised when I don't get it. He's resting his head on the table and waving his hand dismissively. Daniel's grinning, I think he's pleased.

"Some more news, Colonel. The Pentagon advised the President to tell the Canadians and the British about the gate. The Canadians because of NORAD and the fact that they know that something weird goes on down here, even if they're too polite to come and ask. The British, well, they already knew about the gate."

"How did they know?" asked Jack, even knowing the answer. Daniel laughs out loud. He doesn't do that often enough.

"Ever heard of MI6 Jack? Of course they knew, but they're our closest allies so they didn't say anything. And if they knew, it's a fair bet the Canadians and probably the Australians and New Zealanders did too. Not to mention the fact that there's forty-odd other countries in their Commonwealth. They may have shared the information with some of them. Personally, I think it's great. If they're getting involved we'll be better funded, have a wider choice of experts, scientific and military, so fighting the Goa'uld with a united Earth will be a lot easier. Didn't you say you admired the SAS, Jack?"

"If they're coming, things are going to get lively." Jack's laughing now - Daniel's infectious. I think Dr. Frasier should prescribe a dose of Daniel laughing to anyone who's depressed.

I think I'll wait until they get back to tell him that the SAS among others are actually on their way right now. They're sending a number of teams to us. Ah, Jacob is here, things may start to get rough.

I'm glad it's Jacob here, he's the only Tok'ra that Jack remotely trusts. I wonder what he wants of me. I'm not going to be a slave again, that was just too demeaning. No, I'll wait, listen and then tell him no.

"Daniel, Jack, good to see you again," he says as he walks in. Sam and Teal'c are following him in. Sam sits on my left side, Jack's on my right. Teal'c's next to him. The team, or should I say 'The Team' are here.

"Sorry to do this to you Daniel, but we need you. There's strong intelligence that there is information in a repository that we need. Unfortunately, the security systems are set so that anyone with naquada in their body will trigger the alarms. As you know, with the devastating attack we endured on our homeworld, we lost just about all the non-blended Tok'ra sympathisers that we can truly trust. We also need someone who can read Goa'uld."

My heart sinks, I doubt I'll be able to turn him down. With the Tok'ra so devastated they need all the help they can get.

"What information is there?"

"It's a renewed census. After the attacks we need to find out who's where and how powerful they are and soon. The Goa'uld got together in secret and collected the information. It is being held on a planet with no gate. I can get you there in the cloaked teltac but after that I cannot set foot on the planet. They chose it because the people there are known for their security systems. A kind of Swiss banking thing for data. We need you to get in, find the data crystal and get the hell out of there without getting caught. It won't be easy, in fact it will be very dangerous. I'd like Jack to go with you, but Sam and Teal'c can't, they'd set the alarms off as soon as they got down there. I can ring you down, but even that will be dangerous. My plan is to set the ship down about ten klicks from the repository, away from any of their observation devices. Then it will be up to you. A Tok'ra sympathiser managed to get a blueprint of the place to us a year ago, before he was captured and killed. How good that information is now, I just don't know."

I sit in silence and look at Jack. We both know that we have to do this, that the information will help us too.

"Okay, we'll go but on one condition."

"Name it."

"We get a copy of the data immediately we return to Earth and that you inform us as soon as you know of any changes in the situation."

"Fine, not a problem. It's better you know anyway. Selmac and I had a long chat recently. She's now head Tok'ra and has made the decision to work more closely with the Tauri. We'll both benefit from that."

So it's settled. Sam and Teal'c are not happy, but then again, neither are we. They insist on coming, even if it is only to stay on the ship. I look at Hammond and he catches my eye. He agrees, insisting we take along a large med kit and Sam's healing device, just in case.

I ask one more thing. "Dress, Jacob, what sort of dress is it? If we're going in undercover, we need to blend in."

Oh God, he's shifting about and blushing a bit. "Sorry Daniel, to tell you the truth you're going to look - how can I put this - gay?"

I laugh, starting Jack and the others off. Poor Jacob, he has no idea.

"Go on," I manage to get out, "tell me."

"Last time I saw some people from the planet they were wearing skintight black leather pants, silky tunic tops, usually in pinks or blues and leather vests. The leather isn't quite so bad, but those tops look like girls' blouses. Oh, and they wear earrings. Mainly stud-types, but some have numerous holes and wear dangly ones too. Oh yeah, long boots too, leather ones."

Jack's cracked up completely. "Oh dahling," he moans. "It's so you." I hit him.

"Laugh it out your ass, flyboy, you're going with me."

Sam has to be picked up off the floor, Hammond's laughing so much I'm worried for his heart, Teal'c is actually smiling, hell, I think I heard a laugh there, and Jacob is still none the wiser. I collect my composure.

"Jacob. Can you supply some of the clothes? Especially the tops, blue ones I think, pink's not really my colour." He nods with a grin. I continue, "I think I can muster up the rest of it from the shops. Let me go home, I'll be back in an hour or so. Come on Jack, we're going shopping."

I make my escape, Jack following a few minutes later. He'd told me that George knew about us so I know why he was laughing at least. I'm glad he knows.

At my place now, time to show Jack my wardrobe. Oh boy, is he going to get a surprise.

But first, a kiss. Hmm, maybe another one. Oh yeah, like that, like that a lot. Perhaps a little more? I push Jack onto my bed and I can feel that he's already hard. Clothes are coming off, I'm unbuttoning his shirt, kissing him as each one opens. It's off now, time for his pants. Little Jack's straining at the leash, I want him out of there and now. Finally, no more clothes on him. I peel mine off and he's watching me as I do, hungry for me. Good, I'm hungry for him too. More kisses, touches, he wants me to touch him, I have other ideas. We haven't got long so I get straight to the point. The lube's in my bedside table drawer and I get it out.

"Daniel, we can't, you know what Janet said."

"Jack, they already know about me. I want you, I need you inside me. Will you do that for me, please?"

"Only if I use a condom, Daniel. Not going to take any chances, okay?"

I dive for the drawer again and eagerly get out a condom. Jack's laughing again.

"Calm down Daniel. Have you been on the coffee again?"

"Trust me Jack, you're all the stimulation I need."

More kisses, moans, groans and finally a "for fuck's sake Daniel let's do it now or I won't be able to hold on."

I give him the lube and he starts, his long fingers getting me ready. I'm on my stomach, much as looking at him is nice it's not as comfortable. Ah, we have touchdown. Oh God that feels good, yeah, just there, more, please, harder Jack. Need to feel you, got to know you're there. Oh YES! Found the spot. His hand finds my prick, starts to work. Harder Jack, got to come now, please, make me.

I think Daniel wants to hurt, to feel alive. I know that one, so I do my best. Slamming as hard as I can, working him to a frenzy. I whisper to him, come for me Daniel, let go, come on, I want you to come for me babe. He screams JACK! and I feel him shooting over my hand. Oh God, gonna come now, can't hold on. YES! Love you Daniel, don't forget it. He tells me, love you Jack, loveyouloveyouloveyou. We collapse on the bed, holding each other tightly. Pre-mission ritual completed. Better get up.

We head for the shower, sharing it, playing in the streaming water. I love to make Daniel laugh and so I'm working on it. No sex, just fun. Oh, and lots of kisses. Have to be quick though, got to go shopping. Daniel says he has some of the stuff here. Wonder what?

He's diving into his wardrobe as I towel myself off. He's already gotten his boxers and socks on, wonder what he's going to come our wearing. Oh. My. God.

"Daniel, you can't go out looking like that!" He looks devastated, shit, I didn't mean anything bad by it.

"Wwwhat's wrong, doesn't it look all right?"

"ALL RIGHT?" I explode. "Daniel, you look fucking edible. You can't go out like that 'cause you're goin' to get eaten alive. C'm'ere," I put my hands out to him. Can't wait to get them on his ass. He's grinning now.

"Thank God for that. I thought you were going to say it looked awful. I keep getting looks when I wear it." Aw, he looks so cute when he bites his lip like that. Perhaps I should bite it for him.

"Daniel, you're not going to wear that to the SGC are you?"

Fuck, I know that look. Oh yeah, he's gonna wear it all right. What's he doing now? Earrings?

"Daniel, when the hell did you get your ears pierced?"

"When I was a kid. I let most of the holes heal up, just left a few." A few? How many did he have to start with?

"Oh, about eight in my ear."

"In your ear. Am I going to regret asking where else?" I do. He slips a ring thing through his right nipple and a stud through his belly button. Ouch.

"That's got to hurt."

"Not anymore. Did when I had them done. These two are more recent. Don't you like them?"

I don't know, to tell him the truth. Never been big on body piercings myself. I'll have to wait and see. Persuade him to at least take the nipple ring out, can't even look at it without wincing. Try an experiment. Oh yeah, like running my tongue over his navel stud. He can keep that. He likes me doing that too. So we go out with Daniel looking like a super model. He's even got contacts in. Didn't know he had those. Only for his downtime apparently. Doesn't like to look weak if he goes out looking like this, less likely to get beaten up. Shit. I really, really wish we'd had the guts to tell each other years ago.

We end up at the shop that he got his leather trousers from. It's a fetish shop. How on earth did he know about this place? Finds a pair for me. They're how fucking much? Daniel laughs, says he'll pay. It's worth it to see them on me, apparently. He finds two vests and two pairs of calf length boots. Nice boots, seem quite comfortable. Daniel tries to dare me to wear the trousers to the mountain. No way in hell, Daniel. It'll be bad enough Jacob and the guys seeing me in them, I'll never get any respect if I mince into the SGC in skintight leather. No, I'll stick to my trusty jeans and jacket, thanks. He WHAT? He only told them to put it on his account! Daniel and I are going to need to have a serious talk when we get home. I can see his face. He's already figured out what's going on in my head. We're walking to a what? Jewellers?

"So sue me, I like leather."

"I've never seen you in it before."

"Hmm, you wouldn't have ever either, if we hadn't got together that is."

"Since when have you had a thing for leather?"

He turns and looks at me and smiles broadly. "Since I fell in love with a certain USAF colonel, who happens to look drop-dead gorgeous in it," he whispers.

It's my turn to smile now.

In the jewellers. Oh no, Daniel, I am not getting my ear pierced. He whispers, in Latin for fuck's sake, "It's for the mission, Jack, you have to. Just the one stud. When the mission's over, take it out and it will heal up. Promise." Fine talk coming from a guy with three earrings in one ear. Don't mind the studs so much, not sure about the ring thing.

"What sort of earring do you want?" the girl asks. How the fuck should I know? Daniel purrs, "Oh, he's a stud, most definitely." He picks one out, I shrug and she freezes my ear lobe. Daniel says it doesn't hurt. Liar.

While she's doing her thing, Daniel's looking at something, talking to the guy behind the counter. A few points and nods and Daniel's writing something down. When I ask him what he was talking about, his eyes just twinkle and he says to wait and see. Sometimes it's easier to deal with a Goa'uld.

Before we get out of the car, he slips his new vest on over his tight, white T-shirt. Jeez Daniel, could you try not to look so fucking sexy. Having a hard time as it is. Hard time what? he asks. I quickly grab his hand and put it on my groin. Oh, he gets it now. Just a hard time, that's all. Got to start thinking of horrible things, cold things, ugly things. What's the little shit doing now? Oh God, he's putting the boots on. No Daniel, please, not the boots.

"If I'm going for it, Jack, I'm going all the way with it, you know that. Never any half measures, me. A pal at Oxford called me an 'all or bugger all merchant'. He was right."

Was he ever. The guys on the security desk are having a hard time breathing. If he can do this to straight guys, guys like me stand no chance whatsoever. The thing is with Daniel, he's a guy, a real masculine, testosterone-filled, hard-bodied, hard-headed guy. He's not some macho prick, but he is so sure in his own masculinity that he comes across as being more of a man that any of the grunts on the base. The trouble is, he's beautiful. He's not handsome, in a rugged kind of way, he's actually beautiful, like Michaelanglo's David. So he attracts guys too, hitherto straight guys. I think they'd have one hell of a shock if they ever managed to pull him. He'd probably end up decking them if they tried to treat him like a woman. I won't do that, not ever. Couldn't do that to him. He's my guy.

We finally make it to the last elevator, I talk to him.

"Daniel? Could you do me one big favour please?"

"Anything Jack."

"Walk behind me, please." He's not wearing a jacket, I don't think I can take any more of looking at his ass without actually catching hold of it.

"How about to your side, I think I'd feel a bit vulnerable behind you."

"That'll do Daniel, just don't walk in front of me shaking your tush, please."

The git is laughing now.

Sam's there as the elevator door opens. Her mouth drops to the floor. Good, she'll never see my earring, she hasn't even noticed I'm there.

"Daniel! Oh my, you can't go around here looking that gorgeous, you'll never make it to the gate."

He laughs again, and slips his arm around her waist. He's drawn himself up to his full six feet now, no slouching. I don't think I have ever seen him look so confident. I groan, and they look at me, but I am keeping this thought to myself for now. It has just dawned on me that I am the luckiest man on Earth, hell in the universe. Have you seen my boyfriend?

I see Daniel as the elevator door opens. He looks like a god. It takes me a moment to stop drooling and put my tongue away. I've seen him naked and he looks so good like that, but this. This is amazing. Oh boy, going to have a hard time keeping the wolves from him now.

He slips his arm around my waist as we walk, and for a moment, I allow myself the luxury of pretending that he is mine. I know he loves me, but I also know that he's my little brother and that he's in love with Jack. But for a moment, the world can think he's mine.

I tell the Colonel that there's someone to meet him in the commissary. Daniel says "Oh good, I could do with a coffee." I try to steer him away from there, but he's set on it. Not going to keep a coffee-starved Daniel from his goal, I'd be toast in a minute. I just swallow, pull him closer to me and we go in.

"Well, as I live and breathe, John! It can't be you!" Jack's heading to one of the new guys from Britain. He didn't say what regiment he was with, but I'm guessing he must by SAS given Jack's history. They greet each other warmly, teasing the hell out of each other as they do.

"What's your Proddy butt doing on this side of the pond?" Jack asks, still holding onto the other guy's shoulders.

"Saving your Catholic arse, again, I'm guessing." The other guy, Colonel John McWilliams is apparently from Belfast. They obviously know each other well as I've never seen the Colonel look so happy to see anyone from outside the SGC before.

The teasing goes on for a moment then Jack introduces us.

"Colonel John McWilliams, meet half of my team. This is Major Samantha Carter; USAF pilot, doctor of astrophysics and all round smartass." I poke his shoulder with my finger as I salute the Colonel with my other hand. "I get no respect," Jack mutters. "Oh yeah and this guy, who doesn't usually look like this I hasten to add, is Doctor Daniel Jackson; archaeologist, anthropologist, multi-linguist, multiple PhD, genius and all round pain in the butt." Daniel grins and greets the Colonel with a handshake. Jack asks, "Where's the T man?" and a booming voice behind him says, "I am here O'Neill."

"John, this is Teal'c, the final and biggest member of our team. Teal'c's a Jaffa. Don't know if you've been briefed on them, they're usually the guys you want to shoot. Shoot him and I will be completely pissed with you." Teal'c nods his head and the Colonel grins.

He speaks, "I've got to ask, Jack. Your team, it's not a normal team I take it?" We fall about laughing, as do the rest of the old SGC members.

"You're not wrong, John, you're not wrong. We're SG-1, a first-contact team. We go in, do the meet and greet. Carter figures out if they've got any tech that we want, Teal'c scares the natives, Daniel talks to them and figures out who the hell they are and persuades them not to kill us, and I get them home. Like I said, a team."

"Fair enough. One more question. Well two actually. Dr. Jackson, Jack says you don't normally dress like this?"

"Not on duty," Daniel winks. "No, we're about to head off-world. I'm going undercover. Apparently they all dress like this there. Must be a strange planet. Can't wait to see what Jack looks like when he puts his stuff on. Oh, it's Daniel, by the way."

"What's the other question John?" the Colonel asks almost nervously.

"What the fuck are you doing wearing an earring Jack? Is there something you want to tell us." We laugh, the Colonel groans, shaking his head.

"No John, same mission. It's coming out as soon as I get back."

I ask Daniel. "You didn't have your ears pierced just for this mission did you?"

"Nah, legacy of a misspent youth," he says, sniggering at Jack. Must have missed something there. "Didn't know I was a punk, did you?"

Ferretti's in the room. His coffee hits the wall at that.

"Aw come on Daniel. I can't believe you were a punk. You, of all people."

"'Tis true, my friend," says Daniel with a sigh, "had lots more piercings too. Most of them have healed up though, thank God, you really don't want to see where they were." Jack's blushing, and covering it up with a coughing fit.

John McWilliams is laughing his head off. "And you lot are the first team? God help us all."

"Got news for you, Sir," calls Ferretti, "these are the elite ones. Saved this planet so often you wouldn't believe it."

Daniel goes to get his coffee, spending some time flirting with Mrs. Isaacs who's behind the counter. She must be sixty if she's a day, but she goes all giggly like a school girl when he flutters his eyelashes at her. He also gets the largest piece of chocolate cake I notice. Grrr. I'm getting a fork and going in. Launching an attack on his plate... Now!

Next thing I know I'm on Daniel's lap, lying across it and facing the floor.

"Now, Sam, you know that's not allowed. Need to keep my strength up, I'm a growing lad."

I turn my head up and look at him, pleading to be let up. He relents, sits me on his lap and feeds me a bit. Aw, still love him.

O'Neill and the new colonel are talking together over coffee, watching the young members of our team. I am sitting with them, drinking juice and listening to them.

"Hell, Jack, I thought you hated scientists."

"Ain't that the truth. These two are different. You'd never guess by looking at them, especially now, HEY DANIEL, PUT HER DOWN, YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE SHE'S BEEN. Sam's figured out ways to save not only this but other planets and individuals where top groups of scientists have failed. Built a particle accelerator single-handedly, she's seriously intelligent, you know? And Daniel, well..." his voice trails off. He takes a deep breath, I am intrigued as to what he will say about his younger lover.

"Daniel got the gate open. A group of the best brains failed to do it in two years, he did it on his own in two weeks, living on coffee and doughnuts. Then he not only saved my sorry ass, but an entire planet and liberated them from slavery. We wouldn't have come home from that first mission if it hadn't been for him. He saved this planet from invasion too, insisting that we listen to him and go with him. We actually disobeyed orders and risked court-martial just because we believed in him. If we hadn't, you'd either be dead or have a snake in your head or gut now. And it's not the only time he's done it. He's our conscience, always makes us do the right thing, no matter what our orders are. And he pushes Carter too. Carter says, 'this is impossible', he says 'why?', she tries to explain, he figures out something else, she listens, realises what he's saying - long before anyone else can - and goes and does the impossible. So, I indulge them, as does the General. They're special. Daniel has saved the team's lives on loads of occasions. On the first mission, when we couldn't stand each other, he actually jumped in front of a staff weapon and died instead of me. If Ra hadn't been fascinated by him and put him in a sarcophagus and brought him back, Earth would be toast. He's different, John, not like you, me, Teal'c here. We're warriors. Things are black and white to us, but to Daniel, they're every shade under the sun."

"Wow, you make him sound like he's some sort of paragon."

"Fuck that, you haven't seen him first thing in the morning before he's had at least three cups of coffee. He's got a foul mouth and can curse in around thirty languages. Wait till you see us fighting in the corridor. I've seen marines run for cover when he loses it. Shit, everyone runs for cover when he loses it. He's also got a problem with the Goa'uld. Snake-baiting is his favourite pastime. You should see him in action, they can be torturing him and he winds them up, cuts them down with his sharp tongue. I keep telling him, but, well," he looks sorrowfully at me, apologising with his eyes for bringing this up, "they took his wife. He doesn't care. If you want to know more, ask Ferretti over there. He was with us on the first mission. They're good buddies."

O'Neill stands up. "Playtime's over kids, time to go." He reaches down and takes his friend's hand. "Good to see you again John. We'll party when we get back. If we get back."

"Bad one?"

"Got to get Daniel into an alien Fort Knox, steal something and get out. Most people don't. Haven't told Daniel yet, nobody's ever has done it. Not and got out alive that is."

"So why?"

"Worth the risk. Besides, SG-1's got two mottos. One, we never leave anyone behind. Two, nothing's impossible. Not with Daniel and Sam on the team. Come on, don't want to tell you kids again."

Daniel Jackson and Major Carter get up, reluctantly, hold hands and skip over to us.

"Aw, Dad, we were having fun too." Daniel Jackson's eyes are twinkling as he says that. The two of them leave, laughing about something that O'Neill says back, then he leans over to McWilliams. "You'd never guess he's thirty-six and she's older, would you?" and shaking his head he bids me follow him and we leave.

We go to the infirmary for a pre-mission check. Dr. Frasier's eyes open wide as Daniel Jackson walks in.

"Oh my, don't you look so good, Daniel. Come here sugar, I'm going to eat you all up." The nurses seem angry about something, including some of the male ones. Daniel Jackson indulges her, sweeping her up into his arms and hugging her.

When he puts her down they get serious, she checks him out and they exchange a few quiet words. Dr. Frasier has a tear in her eye. I think he has just said goodbye to her. Neither he nor O'Neill expect to come back it would seem. As he leaves the room, she starts to cry, running into her office as she does.

Major Ferretti is in the corridor as we depart the infirmary. He and Daniel Jackson have their forearms locked together. I believe that he is saying goodbye to him too. Major Ferretti goes to O'Neill and salutes him, saying nothing. There is nothing to be said.

We pick up our packs and head for the gate room. Hammond is there and he and the SFs on guard have the same reaction to Daniel Jackson's outfit as everyone else. McWilliams and his team are also there, it must be so they can see the gate in action for the first time.

Jacob Carter awaits us. Daniel Jackson does what O'Neill calls a 'twirl'. "Will I do, Jacob?" Jacob Carter doesn't know where to look so Selmac takes over.

Daniel, you look perfect. Do you have a similar outfit for Jack?

"Oh hi, Selmac, yeah, very similar. Have you got the rest of the stuff?"

It is on the teltac. We should depart, it will take a few days to reach the planet.

"Glad I packed some extra coffee then."

The new recruits are shocked by the change in voice caused by Jacob Carter's symbiote, but they soon relax when they see the gentle interaction between Daniel and Selmac.

The gate opens, General Hammond salutes us, O'Neill and Major Carter salute back, I place my fist on my heart and bow, Daniel Jackson just nods. McWilliams calls his troops to attention. They snap to it as one, an impressive display. He salutes his friend and gets one in return. We turn around and walk together through the gate.

Daniel's quiet as we get onto the teltac so I take him to find somewhere to settle down. He says he wants to get changed into his BDUs, they're more comfortable I think. I dig them out for him, help him get the boots off. Fuck, he forgot to bring his other boots. Oh dear, it means I'll get to see his lovely toes for a couple of days. Down boy, can't think of sex at a time like this. He peels himself out of the pants, needing some help from me to do it. They're tighter than the ones he bought for me, thank God. I ask him how he usually gets out of them and he blushes. Don't ask, he says. I don't think I want to know.

Get him into his more comfortable clothes and we sit a while. He's still quiet and I'm getting worried.

"Daniel? What's wrong?"

He sighs, "Oh don't mind me Jack, just considering my lot in life."

"What do you mean, babe?"

"Every time I'm happy, settled, got a family and someone I love, something comes and takes it all away. We're not likely to come back from this, are we?"

"If I've got anything to do with it Daniel, we'll be back safe and sound. I'll watch your back, I promise."

"And how am I supposed to watch yours Jack? I've got to be running around, figuring out where the hell the damn data crystal is. I can't protect you Jack."

"That's not your job, Daniel."

"Maybe not, but I want to do it. Damn it Jack, I'm not going to let you die just so that I can live. I'm telling you now, either you make it back or I don't."

"Oh Daniel, same here. Both or none, right?"


I don't want him to die to protect me, but I understand how he feels. If he dies, I'm dying. I'm not leaving without him.

We curl up together, cuddling on the floor facing each other. Daniel's head is on my chest, I think the sound of my heartbeat is lulling him to sleep. It used to work for Charlie. I try to move a little, but his grip on me gets tighter. It's okay Daniel, just shifting my butt before it goes numb. Not going anywhere I promise. I kiss his head and he smiles.

Carter sticks her head around the door and she smiles when she sees us. I whisper a 'sh' to her and she nods, tiptoeing over to see me.

"Dad wants to talk to you," she whispers.

"Tell him later, can't leave, stuck," I whisper back. She nods again, puts her hand on my shoulder and leaves.

The door is ajar and I hear a muted exchange.

"Dad, you can't go in there, Daniel's sleeping."

"Sammy, I need to speak to Jack. Why won't he come out?"

"Er, he's stuck. Won't leave. You'll have to wait."

"Sammy, step aside."

"Dad, I can't, please, just wait. We've got a couple of days."

"Sam, I need to speak to him alone." I hear a little scuffle and then Jacob comes into the room.

"Holy Hannah Jack, what's going on?" Even though he whispers he's still loud and wakes Daniel.

"Ah shit. Jacob, can't you take telling? You've woken Daniel now. Carter?"


"Put some coffee on, will you."


I turn to Daniel who's blinking at me. He doesn't like to wear his contacts for long, they itch apparently. So they were taken out before and now he needs his glasses. I find them and put them on him.

"Thanks Jack."

"'Sokay buddy. Why don't you go and find Carter? Just follow your nose, she's making you some coffee."

He gets unsteadily to his feet and now I'm left to face Jacob.

"Jack? Is there something I should know?"

"No. You don't have to know anything. I'll tell you 'cause you're Sam's dad and no longer military. I am telling Jacob of the Tok'ra mind."

"I get it."

"Good. Simple. Daniel's my lover. Fairly recent thing, but there you are."

"Whoa. Didn't see that one coming. Thought you were both straight."

"Nah, both bi, always have been."

Gee, I am getting so fed up of telling people this. Think I'll take out an ad in the Goa'uld Gazette or the Tok'ra Telegraph, maybe the Asgard Advertiser and the Nox Nightly too. Colonel Jack O'Neill and Dr. Daniel Jackson of the Tauri and SG-1 are currently gay. Not to mention fucking like bunnies when given the opportunity. And the sex is fan-fucking-tastic by the way. Thanks for asking.

Unlike George, Jacob had no idea and his eyes are on stalks. He looks like one of those Loony Toons characters. I keep expecting the cartoon horn sound effect too.

"You? Shit Jack, I had no idea."

"That, Jacob, was the idea. Can sort of get me discharged you know. Don't worry, George knows. Says he'll give me the nod if it gets out and Daniel and I'll quit."

"Wow, sorry, just surprised. You serious?"

"You have to ask? Jake, Daniel's the first guy for me in years, since I left the Academy. The Air Force is, was, my life. He is now. It's that simple and easy for me. Nobody and nothing gets between us. And don't think of sending him down to that planet on his own. He won't go and I won't let him. We've got an agreement. Together - always. We both come back or..." I wave my hand.

"That's like a suicide pact Jack."

"No, it's a staying alive pact Jake. If something happened to him, I'd kill myself. I know that Daniel would do the same. We've both lost too much. This is it for both of us, last relationship. If this doesn't work out, we both know there'll never be anyone else. So, if one of us dies, the other has nothing to live for. He doesn't want me to die, so he's going to fight to live. Same for me. Like I said, staying alive pact."

He nods. I think he understands. His head bows.

Colonel O'Neill, I am happy that you have found such love. Both you and Daniel deserve it. I hope that you will have many happy years together.

You know, for a snake, she's okay.

I thank her and Jake and I get down to business.

We're heading home. Home. That's such an empty word at the moment. Dad and I have done all we can for them. Don't know what happened down there yet, neither of them has regained consciousness. All we know is that Daniel made it back to the teltac bleeding from an horrific head wound and dragging Jack with him. Ten klicks he did that for, we're pretty certain. They got the data crystal and Dad says it's the right one, so the mission objective has been accomplished. Jack's injuries are severe, he has broken bones, entry wounds that look like bullet holes and a couple of burns. Daniel's head looks like it's been beaten with a baseball bat. I think he's been stabbed by something too. He's also covered in burns, Dad says they're laser burns. We're guessing that they got in all right but triggered the alarms and had to fight their way out. We don't know how long Jack was able to hold out before succumbing to the severity of his injuries. How in hell's name did Daniel get him back? He collapsed as soon as he got to us. They've both lost a lot of blood.

We're putting down now on the nearest uninhabited planet with a gate. Teal'c's running like a madman to get medical help. Just have to wait now till it arrives. The guys somehow ended up holding each other's hands. How did they find each other? They're both on mattresses on the floor close together. I think they must have reached out despite not being with it. I'm going to have to break them apart, it'll ruin Jack if they're found like this. I shimmy myself into position and take their hands in mine. Daniel has one hand and Jack has the other. Don't know how we're going to figure out the logistics of this one but this is going to be how we go home. I'm not letting them go.

Janet's here and she lets out a cry. Dad's telling her that we managed to stop the bleeding and that the healing device cured the most superficial wounds, but they are still obviously in a bad way. Without the device I doubt they'd be alive now, but because of it, there's a good chance they'll recover sooner than they otherwise would. I hope.

Jan looks at me and I shake my head. Don't even ask Janet. She doesn't, working around me instead. The medics get the guys onto stretchers and Janet puts up some IV lines before we go. We're going to have to co-ordinate our movements. Slowly and carefully we pick our way to the gate. Dad's heading back to the Tok'ra base but he promises to come by with the data as soon as he can. I tell him I need him. He knows, he'll be quick, he has to be. He needs to see them for himself.

In the gate room now. Teal'c's telling the General what he knows. He nods, never taking his eyes of the two unconscious men. I have never seen him look more worried or upset. Colonel McWilliams is there. He tells me that Jack's a hard man, he'll be okay. He saw him much worse than this once and he bounced back. I have to believe him.

The SGC is silent. Only the noise of people moving around breaks the peace. Nobody's talking except Janet. She's issuing orders, but her voice is subdued. She doesn't need to shout as she usually does. She's taken X-rays using the portable machine. Daniel's punctured a lung with a broken rib. We'd guessed he might have done that, his breathing was ragged. Other stuff, oh shit, broken skull. Not too bad, not life threatening, but needs an operation to fix the bone so it doesn't hurt his brain if it moves. Jack's not as badly off in some ways. Lost a lot of blood from the bullet holes or whatever they were, broken arm, broken leg. His cartilage in his knee is gone. Lost some skin on his face, probably where Daniel dragged him. He needs surgery but not as immediately as Daniel. The General's there, telling Janet to call in any specialist on the planet that she wants. He wants them fixed up. He really just wants them to live.

Dr. Warner comes crashing through the door. He's the surgeon, he can do pretty much all of what needs doing. Unlike in a normal hospital, our docs can't afford to specialise and leave it at that. Our general surgeon has to study as he goes. Barring the really tricky stuff, he copes with pretty much everything. Janet's the doc in charge of treatment and care. She's also an expert in alien virology now. A little on the job training goes a long way, she tells me. She also helps out in the theatre, learning what she can with every operation she assists in. There may come a day when she has to do something like this on her own. It would only take a lock down and an accident on base and she could be the one that has to cut open and dive in.

I hate the waiting. It's been hours. There's a steady stream of people coming to Jack's bed. It's the one next to Daniel's. There was a hairy moment when Jack started to moan. We thought he was coming round. The General was there at the bedside. I was still holding his hand. He started to say something, it wasn't clear at first, then it became obvious.

"Danny, no don't die, love you."

The General cleared the room. He didn't want anyone to hear him. He must know about them because he didn't even flinch. I've always respected him as a leader. I love him more now as a friend. I whisper to Jack, Daniel's going to be okay. You've got to pull through Jack, Daniel needs you. He loves you. Go back to sleep Jack, I'll wake you when he comes. Promise Jack, promise me you'll pull through.

I'm crying, can't stand this anymore. The General holds me, tells me to have a good cry. The boys will need me to be strong when they wake.

Daniel's in the ICU and Jack's in surgery. Janet's going to put them together in there, she's ordered that another bed be put next to Daniel's. Says it'll be easier to monitor them. Knows they need to be together, even when they're asleep.

It's been four days now. They're both still out. Jacob gave them another quick 'going over' with the healing device to help them get better quicker. He said it's not good for them to have the 'full blast', as it were, but with any luck we'll be talking days rather than weeks for some injuries, and weeks rather than months for others. I hope so, anyway.

I'm running the checks and watching over them as much as I can. The usual gang sit in there when the medical staff aren't there. Sam had to be sedated before she finally slept. Teal'c has taken to kel'no'reeming on the floor in the room. Major Ferretti and that new colonel have all visited. They all talk to the men, trying to bring them both around. Even that nice Major Davis came in. He asked to be alone with them. I could see him talking to Daniel through the window in the door. I think he was crying at one point, but he's one of those guys that can hide his emotions in public so when he came out he was as composed as he ever is. He thanked me for taking good care of them. I'm wondering if it was he that Daniel was seeing? Doesn't matter, I won't say. He obviously cares deeply for him so that makes him a good guy in my book.

There's a moan from Jack. He's trying to fight off the oxygen. Shh Jack, I'm here, I'll take it out. Relax and let me do it, please.

He's happier now, and breathing for himself. Funny thing is Daniel's not needed oxygen through a tube since yesterday. He tried pulling it out in his sleep, so I removed the tube. He didn't wake up though. Good, that's it Jack, open your eyes. His eyes are blinking, he's trying to focus.


"You're in the ICU, Colonel. Daniel's right next to you. He'll be okay too. Looks like you had a rough time."

I try to make my voice sound matter-of-fact, but it's hard. I just want to sweep him into my arms and cry. I give him some ice to suck on and his eyes thank me. It'll be a few minutes before he can say anything. He looks at his leg and arm and I can see he's annoyed. Don't worry, you'll be right as rain in a couple of months. His first word is painfully obvious.


I point and his eyes follow my finger. They close and he takes a deep breath. I give him a quick rundown of his injuries, leaving out the fact that we lost him once on the table. He calls out louder.

"Daniel, time to wake up."

I try to tell him it won't work, that Daniel will only come round when he's good and ready.

"Daniel, shift your lazy butt. There's coffee waiting."

I start to tell him off, no shouting in the ICU, but a moan from the other bed stops me in my tracks.

"'ck off J'ck. Sleepy."

I start to laugh out loud. They've done it again. In record time.

I stick my head out of the door, telling a nurse to get Sam and Teal'c. The news hits the SGC faster than I've ever heard any gossip spreading. It's like all of the lights have come back on after a long power outage on a cold dark night. People are smiling, I think I even heard cheers coming through the door. Daniel's opened his eyes now and they're trying to focus on Jack. Jack's smiling as best he can through the pain. They've got a long way to go yet, but the worst is over.

Boring. We're out of the ICU, Daniel's in his bed, I'm in the one next to it and it's boring. Want to go home now, been here for weeks. Can stay awake all day now, Daniel too. We're trying to persuade Janet to let us go home together. We'll take care of each other, promise. She shoos her staff out and says, 'no'. If she sends us home together, Daniel's rib will break again. She doesn't trust us to not have sex for a couple of weeks. As if we would... heh heh heh.

Daniel's doing the puppy eye thing.

"Oh Jan, we'll behave, promise. Don't feel like anything anyway and besides Jack's in plaster so he couldn't do anything and we just want to go home so will you please let us before we get even more bored and drive your staff loopy with all of our moans and groans and cries of 'bored'. Please?"

The fluttering gets her every time, Sam can drive us home. YES! Well done Daniel. Love you loads.

Hammond's here, wants a debrief now we're lucid. Tell him what we can. Got in, found the crystal. Had to be inventive with our lock-picking techniques. Failed, blew the door down with C4, grabbed the crystal and legged it. Security force came, Daniel got hit on the head, I got shot at with some bolt thingies and lasers. More painful things happened, not sure what, it's a bit blurry. Daniel says we got out somehow, left the stronghold. I don't remember anything more. He says we dragged ourselves into hiding and then headed back to the teltac. Guess there's more to it than that, 'cause I've gotten a busted leg and even I can't walk on one as badly broken as that. Carter said he dragged me to the ship. He says only for a while then mumbles that he carried me as far as he could. Fucking hell, that was heroic. The ship was ten kilometres from the stronghold. He says, so quietly that we strain to hear, "Had to avoid pursuit. Took longer than it should. Sorry Jack, should have got you back sooner."

WHAT? Daniel, you saved my sorry ass - again, I might add. Don't you dare fucking apologise, if anyone should say sorry it's me for passing out on you. He says no, I was injured. I don't believe that guy. If he was a soldier, a real one, he'd have more medals than his chest could carry. More Purple Hearts, distinguished service and bravery medals than anyone else has ever had. Hammond's telling him that he's proud of him, of both of us. Tells him that we're the only people to ever get out of there alive, to have done what we did. Then he stands up and salutes Daniel. It's his way of telling him how he feels. I think Daniel understands that he couldn't have been paid a higher compliment. He's blushing.

Damn, the grapevine works fast around here. Teal'c is pushing my wheelchair and Daniel's being escorted by Sam. We're being stopped and congratulated by everyone. Would you look at that? It's a grunt of marines, headed towards Daniel. They're patting him on the back, shaking his hand, telling him that they'll take him drinking when he's better. Hell's teeth, he's an honorary Jarhead and I never knew it. Turns out they made him one ages ago after a rescue mission we were on to save them. I'm laughing my ass off, but I don't think that Daniel's ever looked so pleased. Pity it took yet another act of immense bravery and determination before he finally realises that he's respected. He always was. Hope he remembers this when we're back.

"Jack!" Hey, it's John. He's been in to see us a few times and Daniel's been collecting some stories about me. I think John's guessed about our relationship, but he won't care. Like I said, he's a good guy.

"Jack, they weren't kidding about you lot were they? I heard that Daniel here was the original comeback kid but when I saw you two in the gate room, I was thinking it was black tie time."

"We call Daniel 'Tigger'. He bounces back so often." John laughs.

"You were right about your mottos too. No one was left behind, and mission impossible doesn't exist. Not for SG-1."

He stands upright and salutes the pair of us. I'd do it back but it's bad form to salute with your arm in plaster, besides I'd probably knock myself out. Daniel blushes and murmurs a thank you to John.

"Come on guys, I've got a hot date," I say.

Sam and Teal'c look at Daniel.

"Hockey game on the TV," he explains. Ah, the light dawns.

On the way home, Daniel asks Sam to take a small detour. We pull up outside the jewellers where I had my ear pierced. Fuck, the earrings have all gone. Wonder where Jan put them? Did she find his navel stud I wonder? He comes out with a small bag and won't tell me what's in it till we get home.

Ensconced on the couch now. Sam and Teal'c have gone. They helped us in, got us fed, changed and turned down the bed and left us alone. That feels so good. Daniel's mobile, though he still has to take it easy. He can't lift anything because of his ribs.

He hands me the bag. In it I find a couple of small boxes. The first one contains a pair of gold earrings, studs like the last one. He puts one in for me. Ouch! Oh, it shouldn't have come out so soon, the hole had started to heal. I tell him that's what I wanted and his eyes sparkle and he says that he thinks it looks really sexy on me. Okay, he'll win that one.

The second box contains a ring, a signet ring. It's got an engraving on the top of the Earth stargate symbol. It won't mean anything to outsiders and it's small so no one will see it. He takes it out of the box. Underneath the flat bit is another intricate engraving. It's D with a J running through it. He slips it onto the little finger on my left hand.

"This is the nearest finger to your wedding ring finger, Jack. We'll never be allowed to marry, but I want you to know that if we were, I'd want to marry you in a heartbeat."

I kiss him, hard, passionately, putting every ounce of love that I feel for him into it.

"Oh Daniel, I'd want that too. Love you, never forget."

"Love you. Won't forget."

As soon as I can do it, Daniel's getting a matching ring.