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Settled Down

forget me not

Summary: Okay, let's see. This is the first of a new series, but it's set after Coming Out and Out and About - so read them first or it won't make much sense. It's their second anniversary of getting together, so I'm guessing this series will be their third year. So, time for some new memories - or not.

Our second anniversary.

Two years since I had the guts to tell him how I felt and how I am. Two years since he stunned me by telling me the same. So much has happened in those two years. We've moved in together, got married - and not in that order; changed our names, changed the law, defeated the System Lords - a task that proved easier though just as painful as getting the stupid 'don't ask' rules amended. And now, he's sitting here across the kitchen table as we drink coffee, chatting away as we do. We've had a wonderful meal in the most romantic restaurant in town, openly celebrating us being together and surviving for this long. In life as well as as a couple.

And now he's looking at me with a passion, a need even. His bright-blue eyes darkening with desire. Oh yes. Gonna give him whatever he wants tonight.

He stands up and puts his mug in the sink, taking my cold coffee from me, grinning at it, then taking me by the hand and leading me to the bedroom. Whatever he wants tonight he'll get, because if he wants it then so do I. I determined when we got together, that whatever it took to make him happy would make me happy. I've worked at making him happy. It's not been easy. We've fought, nearly broken up occasionally because of the passion of our fights, but always, always, we've made up and got back together because of one thing. Life would not be worth living if we had to live it apart. As a result of all this work, I'm happier than I ever have been in a relationship. I've got more back for having put more in. It's been worth it.

I didn't think that Jack would let me go on this dig. He always tells me just how much he hates it when I'm not with him. He's in a bit of a quandary, poor love. He wants to let me do what I love to do, but he doesn't want us to be apart. He can't come here and be in charge of a military team, it would be a waste of his talents. He is the second in command of the SGC after all. Not a position to be taken lightly. He's only going to go through the gate if he has to while I'm here. Me coming to quiet, uninhabited planets, where the only occupants are the SG members and long-dead humans, is one thing. Him going off somewhere where he could be killed without me is something else. If he dies, I die. No two ways about it. I've done the grieving thing too often. I couldn't go through it again.

I've been thinking. There's a surprise. I often wonder what it would have been like between Jack and myself if we'd got together from the beginning, learning to love each other without the baggage. Would we have been so good together? Probably not.

This has been fun here. We've only been here a week, but we've discovered a people who are connected with the mysterious inhabitants of the Indus valley that left us that still uncracked writing system back on Earth. We're hoping to find some key, something that will help us in the effort to decipher that long gone language.

Nothing yet, but we've only scratched the surface. Nyan's acting as my assistant on this one. It's not the same without Robert; he understood me and my work methods. Even after all these years Nyan still hasn't quite figured me out. He does try hard though.

The gate's opening. Not a scheduled check-in. We scatter, hunkering down while the military element take up defensive positions. There shouldn't be a Goa'uld coming through, this place has been abandoned for hundreds of years. No signs of any recent visitation.

A noise crackles through the airwaves. Thank God. It's the General. We all relax and go back to work as Major Christodoulos, one of the Aussies that have been assigned to baby-sit us, chats to him. Uh oh, I don't like the look of this.

"Dr. J, you'd better grab your things. You're needed back at the SGC asap."

"You know why?"

"Sorry Doc, that's all I've got for you."

My heart stops. It's something about Jack. I know it is. I run to my tent and grab my stuff as quickly as I can. The Major has already dialled out and sent the code for me. A quick yell of 'thanks' and 'goodbye' and I dive into the waiting wormhole.

I've emerged to a frankly worried-looking General.

"Dr. Jackson, thank you for coming back so quickly."

"General, what's wrong? It's Jack, isn't it?"

"I'm afraid so. He and the rest of your team went on what was supposed to be a standard meet and greet. Frankly, I think that Jack was bored. They took Lieutenant Bronowski with them as interpreter. It was meant to be a training run for the Lieutenant."

I know him, he's pretty good. Hang on, what the fuck was Jack doing going through the gate without me? There's no such thing as a milk run, not for us.

"What happened, General?"

"We're not entirely sure. There are no apparent physical injuries on any of them. The Lieutenant is unconscious, in a coma. Major Carter is catatonic, as is Teal'c. Jack is..." words obviously fail him. My blood runs cold. I just run to the infirmary as fast as I can.

He's lying on a bed, screaming the place down, restrained by leather straps. Damn, no wonder he's screaming. He's terrified of being restrained like that. Too many bad memories. I walk over as calmly as I can.

"Jan, why have you restrained him?" I ask as quietly as I can, reaching out to Jack. She may have answered but I don't hear her.

I'm shocked by the cold look I get from him.

"Who the fuck are you?" he asks.

"I'm Daniel, Jack. You and I are, um, friends."

"You? You and me? Why would I be friends with such a geek?"

Why indeed?

"Colonel!" Janet snaps. "You don't mean that. Don't listen to him Daniel, he's obviously confused."

"Yes he does, Jan. Well, the first time we met it was 'dweeb' that he called me, but he does mean it. He obviously doesn't remember me or anyone else here. Can I untie him please? I'm sure he's not going to start beating anyone up."

This is not easy. I'm trying to show him that I'm calm and unruffled. I want to cry and throw up. I can't.

She lets me, the SF at the door gets his gun out, showing Jack that he means business.

"Jack. I know you're confused and probably scared right now. Amnesia would do that to you. Please, I need you to trust me. Look at me Jack!" I order.

Orders. He can follow them. I stare into his eyes, eyes I know so well. The look I get back is one of complete nescience. He doesn't know me.

"Will you trust me, Jack? Please? I won't hurt you or allow you to be hurt. You have my word. You have a lot more than that, but you don't know that right now. If you let me help you, maybe we can find out what happened. If we can find that out then maybe we can reverse it. Will you let me help you?"

Just for a moment, the briefest of moments, I saw something in his eyes, like the memories of us trying to escape. Then the blankness and coldness returns. He does, however, grudgingly say he doesn't have much of a choice. I put my hand out to help him off the bed, squeezing his in mine as I pull him up. He pulls his hand back as if he's been stung.

"What the fuck do you think you're doing?" he barks.

"Oh, of course, you wouldn't remember. It's okay, Jack. This may be hard for you to accept, but the law has been changed and everyone knows about you and your sexuality. It's not a secret and it's not a problem. You're the second in command of this facility and you're loved by pretty much all of us. Don't feel embarrassed or ashamed. There's no need to hide anything."

He says nothing, but his eyes have gone even colder than before, and I think I've just dropped in his already low estimation. I think he's also more confused and upset than before. A look close to hate has just been flashed at me, his mouth forming a sneer as he looks me up and down. Fuck.

"Come on, we've got some visiting to do," I tell him. I must drop in and see Teal'c and Sam, see how they're doing. He's being really bitchy and snarky as we go.

First Teal'c. Trouble is he's in a pretty deep state of kel'no'reem.

"What's he doing?" the harsh voice cuts the air behind me. I push him out of the room and explain.

"Teal'c needs to meditate to survive. He's not from Earth, Jack, he's not human."

"You're shitting me!" he says, trying not to laugh. "What is it with this place?"

I have an idea.

"Jack. Take your jacket off for a moment please, I need to see your left arm."


Dammit, why can't he just do as I ask?

"Just do it, will you? Please!"

I'm trying not to get cross, but he's been rude and obtuse since I walked into the infirmary.

He reluctantly takes his jacket off and then his shirt. It's him. It's my Jack. At least I'm as sure as I can be. He's shocked by the tattoo on his arm. I take my jacket and shirt off and show him my tattoo.

"This symbol here is the cuneiform for the nearest sound to J, and this one is the nearest equivalent to D. For Jack and Daniel," I add quietly.

He snorts, "Me and you? Now I know there's something wrong here. How could I be with you?"

"How indeed? I don't know Jack. All I do know is that for the last seven or so years you and I have been friends, the best of friends. And a week ago we celebrated our second anniversary of getting together. I'm sorry if I don't live up to your expectations of a life partner, but there you go."

"Sara. I mean what happened to Sara? Last I knew I was married."

Oops, think I got the wrong end of the stick there.

"Oh. I'm sorry to tell you that you split up. Oh my God. Jack? What's the last thing you remember?"

This is important, even seeing Sam isn't this important. Sorry Sam.

He's gone quiet. Remembering.

"Sitting on Charlie's bed. I was looking at my gun." His voice is no louder than a whisper. I finish for him.

"You were thinking about eating it, weren't you? You thought that it would be the right thing to do, to punish you for what happened to Charlie. It took him away from you, it should take you, too. I'm right, aren't I?"

"How do you know that?" he's stunned. He's never told anyone that. Not even Sara.

"You told me Jack. I've been there for you, for your nightmares. You've been there for mine. I know you don't know me, and you are probably wondering what you even see in me. I'm sure I have no idea what you do see in me. But the fact is that I love you. You, when you know me, love me."

Oh boy. I don't know why but I'm beginning to believe this Daniel. I shouldn't. He's not exactly my first choice of friend, but he seems so sincere, so guileless. Why would he make something up like this? It doesn't make any sense. And he seems to be so relaxed about being gay and in a military base. Even if they have changed the law, human nature is still human nature. I'm not happy at being 'out', that's for sure. Not gonna been seen as gay or bi or whatever here. How will I ever get any respect?

Oh. That airman just snapped to attention as I walked passed him and saluted. Perhaps I do get respect. He greeted the geek too. "Dr. J", that's what he called him. Smiled even when he said it and wasn't being sneaky or snarky about it. What is it with this place?

I'm following to visit this 'Sam', whoever he is. He must be important because Daniel seems to be upset at the prospect of him being hurt.

Oh. It's a 'her' not a 'him'. Pretty too.

"Who is she?" I ask him, probably not too gently but to be frank I'm afraid. Not knowing what is going on is fucking scary.

"Major Samantha Carter, your second in command and friend. She and I are like brother and sister."

"Well, she wouldn't be your girlfriend, would she?" I ask with a snort.

He just sighs and shakes his head.

"Sam. Sammy. Come on, angel, it's me, Daniel. I need you to tell me what happened. Please, Sam, wake up for me." He's begging her to snap out of whatever state she's in. Must have been bad if it made me forget, what was it, the last seven or so years? That's a lot of things to forget.

Nothing from her, she's just staring at the wall. There's a guy in here with her, not in US uniform. I recognise that. He's a Brit? What's he doing here?

"Ed, please call me, anytime, night or day, when she snaps out of it. If you need me, well, I'll have my phone and my pager on me at all times. Call me, I'll come running." Daniel puts his hand on this 'Ed's' shoulder and then ushers me out of the room.

"Come on, my office," he says. I get the feeling that a refusal isn't going to go down well. This geek doesn't strike me as being someone that will take 'no' for an answer.

This room feels comfortable, though it shouldn't. It's full of old stuff. It's not the room of a soldier, that's for sure, but then the extra-long hair of this guy and the glasses tell me that that he's some sort of scientist.

"Jack, sit down before you fall down." There's almost an air of defeat in his voice. Then he snaps his head up and his chin juts out, defying me to make something of it. I sit.

"So much has happened over the past eight years, Jack. I'm not going to tell you everything, I don't know about these things but I think it would be better if you slowly remembered them. However, some essentials. You do know who you are, don't you?"

"Colonel Jonathan O'Neill, USAF," I reply, trying to sound as laconic as possible, but I doubt that this is coming over like that to him. He gives me the impression that hiding anything or lying to him will be a waste of my breath and time. He won't lie to me either. Don't know how I know that, I just do.

"Of course, just checking," he laughs but there's no humour in his voice. "I'm Doctor Daniel Jackson. Or rather, O'Neill-Jackson. You are Jonathan Jackson-O'Neill. Don't look at me like that Jack," he warns.

"Like what?" I scowl.

"Like I'm something you trod in. I know you. I know you better than you know you. I know you're confused, probably scared and desperate to be out there shooting the shit out of something until you can figure out what's going on. You hate surprises, you hate not being in full control of any situation. You need to protect and to lead and you can't deal with the fact that the long-haired geek may possibly be in a better position to deal with things than you are. So, cut the crap, Jack. You have to trust me. I could no more harm you than I could cut my own arm off. Actually, I'd find it much easier to do the latter."

"Oh." Well, what does he expect? I haven't anything to add to this. I'm beginning to wonder if this is some sort of brainwashing, mind-control thing.

"And before you think that you are under some sort of mind-control, you're not." What? Can he read my mind or something?

"I can read your face, Jack. I'm not sure what I can do to persuade you of this, but you're not being brainwashed. How about this? Currently, you are threat-assessing. Looking for a way out of this. You're thinking that you'll stick with me and learn as much as you can before getting the hell out of here. It won't help, by the way, you've got amnesia, you're not being held by enemy forces. Something personal, let me see. Your favourite colour is blue. Your favourite music is opera, especially La Traviata. You love to watch ice hockey and play street hockey. Your ideal night in is a night in front of the TV, watching a game, with a greasy pizza and beer for refreshment. Do you want me to tell you your favourite sexual position? Because I can."

"Um no, I'd say you sound like you know me pretty well." Has he been bugging my house or something?

"Actually, we'd probably disagree on that seeing as I introduced you to it. You prefer to sleep on the left side of the bed. You don't get that, by the way, I do. When you shower, you wash from top to bottom. Hair first and then down. You never fail to start shaving on your right cheek. When you dress, it's boxers, socks, T and then pants and sweater or shirt, in that order. You dress to the right more often than not. You detest modern music with a passion. Anything later than the early eighties is anathema to you. Along with strawberry-flavoured ice cream - unless I make it - though you love fresh strawberries. You pretend to hate vegetables, but you'll eat anything I put in front of you as long as you don't have to cook it. You do the washing up because you have a cleaning fetish. The house has to be spick and span, just in case you have to go away. You cannot abide coming back to a messy house. You love your telescope, sitting on the roof of the house grants you a serenity you cannot get at work."

He does seem to know me. Though, "Got you there, I don't have a telescope."

"Oh, you must have got your first one after you left me on Abydos."

"Abydos? Isn't that in Egypt? And another thing, I don't leave anyone behind. Ever."

"First point. Yes, there is an Abydos in Egypt, but I'm talking about a different place. Ah, ah, ah, I'll explain that to you in a minute. And second point, you had no choice. It was to save thousands of lives and I wanted to remain with my new wife."

"Your wife? I thought you were gay."

"Same as you, Jack, same as you. You've left me behind a few times since, but none of them were your fault."

"I couldn't do that," I insist. "Not after..."

"Not after Frank Cromwell left you behind and it cost you four months in an Iraqi cell."

"How do you know about that?"

I slam him up against the wall. Nobody should know about that. It was a secret. He doesn't blink. He's not afraid of me. He should be, I can kill him. He knows it too, I can see it in his eyes. But he's not afraid.

"Jack, put me down, please," he requests. Yeah, requests. So calm. I drop him and wipe my hands on the sides of this strange uniform I have on. It's like it's mine, but not mine.

"I know you, remember? I have clearance that is almost as high as yours. I'm in charge of the anthropology department at this project. You and I have been on the same team since the first mission. I've been there for your nightmares, Jack. I know things you never told the doctors, about the beatings, the fact you were chained to a radiator. The things they made you do. The abuses, physical and mental. Grovelling to find the water they spilled on the floor in front of you when your tongue was so swollen you thought you'd die of thirst. At one point you were so desperate you thought you'd talk, tell them whatever they wanted just so that they'd stop with the torture. You didn't talk though. They enforced a heroin addiction on you. There was a time you'd do anything to get a fix. It took you months to clean up after that. You have a complete abhorrence of hard drugs now."

How does he know? I must have told him. I never told Sara this, so why would I tell him?

"You told me to make me tell you things. I've been tortured too, Jack. Captured, held, beaten, raped, addicted. I've been there and done it. I understand better than you could imagine."

His voice is quiet, not wanting to, but being forced to relive those times in his head. He shouldn't have to, not this gentle soul. Hell, where did that come from?

Poor Jack. He's so afraid, so confused. I don't know what I'm going to do. The stargate. I'll tell him about it. Just the basics.

"Jack. This is going to be even harder to believe than the fact that you could love someone such as me." Was there a look of sadness or pity in his eyes then? "But, here goes. You, me, Sam Carter and Teal'c, we're a team. A strange team, but a team none the less. We're called..."

"SG-1," he interrupts. "The team, it's called SG-1." A light has gone on, just for a moment, and then the shutters descend again.

"Good, good! You're making progress, Jack. Wow. Yeah, you're right. We're called SG-1. We go through a device called a stargate and travel to other planets."

"Now I know you're shitting me. It's impossible."

"Hell. Now you're going to ask me to explain things in words of two syllables or less. Do me a favour, Jack. Your 'me colonel, me dumb' routine doesn't wash with me, okay? I know you, remember. You think. Constantly. You have a Master's degree in English Lit, specialising in mediaeval English. So why you didn't help me that time with the first Unas I don't know. You're considering starting a PhD, by the way. You also know about astronomy, whether you remember it or not at the moment. You understand more about astrophysics than I do. I'm an archaeologist not a physicist. Ask Sam how it works when she wakes up, please. All I know is it's got something to do with wormholes."

"Event horizon," he snaps.

"Yes, Jack, we step through them. I have no idea how it works though."

"Languages, you speak lots of languages."

"Yes, yes I do. This is great Jack," I'm getting a tad overexcited here. "Perhaps this is going to be temporary after all."

"I fucking hope so," he says. "And you need a hair cut."

I laugh at that, it's an in-joke between us. Though I doubt he understands the significance of it.

"You're right. I do. I'll go see the marine's barber straight away," I add, hoping he'll get that part of the joke too. He doesn't, just grunts. Damn, he's being nearly as awkward as he was back on Abydos. Of course he is, Daniel, the last thing he remembers is being suicidal for chrissake. Oh God. And Sara's left him and he's just found out the fact that he's been outed and he's publicly got a boyfriend. He's probably going to want to kill himself.

"Jack, come here," I say, standing back up and walking towards him. Maybe a little tactile reassurance will help.

He's nervous as he walks the two steps towards me. I put my hands out to his shoulders and pull him to me. He's got his 'fight or flight' look in his eyes.

I pull him closer to me, even closer. Then I kiss him. Gently but firmly, not letting him get away for the minute. Perhaps this will trigger some memories.

I pick myself back up off the floor and scramble to the door in time to see him heading off down the corridor. Fuck. That didn't go as well as I'd hoped. And I'm probably going to have a black eye or a bruised cheek to go with it.

Alarms are going off. Aw hell, what's he doing now?

I run towards the noise. He's trying to wrestle a gun from someone.

"JACK! Jack, please, stop it. You'll only get yourself hurt or killed. Please. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have done that. Please, come with me."

Confusion in his eyes, fear, the unknown terrifying him to his very core. I have to get through to him now or it will be too late.

"Jack, come with me. I'm sorry. Truly I am. I won't do it again if you don't want me to. I know you're confused. Let me explain some more, okay? How about we go to your office?"

I've got closer to him and stepped between him and SF with the gun. I don't know about him but I'm crapping myself here. I've never been more afraid.

Fuck. He's got the gun.

"Stand back. I'm warning ya, I'll shoot if I have to. I want answers." I can feel the gun pointing into my stomach.

"I know, Jack, and I'm trying to give you them. I also know that you can kill me. You taught me how to kill a long time ago. And to be frank, if you don't snap out of this and start to remember us you may as well shoot me now. I've lost too much, Jack. I can't go on without you."

That seems to jolt him. "No Danny, you don't want to die," he says. Danny?

"You're right, Jack. When I've got you by my side I don't want to die. But if you walk away from me now, you may as well be pulling the trigger because the first thing I'm going to do is get a gun and blow my fucking head off! Are you coming with me or not?"

Okay, okay, I know I'm sounding fraught. It's because I FUCKING AM!

His shoulders drop, his head quickly follows. The SF grabs his gun back and goes to restrain him.

"NO! Don't!" I order. "He won't do that again. You have my assurance. You won't, will you Jack?"

"No, I won't," he says quietly. "My word," he adds.

"That's all I need, Jack. You don't go back on your word, ever. Come with me, please. There's someone you should meet."

I head to 'my' office. This Daniel's more of an enigma than I first thought. He seemed so weak, but then so determined. And now? He stepped in front of an armed man, someone he apparently knows could kill him without a second thought. He's either extremely brave or foolish. I don't think it's the latter, he doesn't strike me as a fool. If what he says is true, I'm beginning to see what I see in him. Sure, he's a babe, don't think I hadn't noticed. Those eyes under the glasses are the bluest I've ever seen. His body, well, it's too well-covered to make a judgement at the moment, but when he showed me the tattoo on his arm I could see that he was a lot stronger and better built than he at first appeared. And oy, the kiss. Not for long, but it was good. What possessed me to hit him like that? Conditioned response, I guess. He's said the law is changed, I hope it is. But there's more than just the physical. There's love, compassion. It's in his eyes, his very soul. I think he's going to be my best chance of finding out what's going on around here.

"Come on in, Jack," he says as we get to a door. There's a sign on it.


I look at it for a moment. His lips are twitching towards a smile. I run my fingers over the unfamiliar language. Hang on, that's Latin, isn't it? What the fuck does it mean? It's been a long time since college. Cave. Caveat Emptor - let the buyer beware. Beware. That's it. Tribunum. Tribune. Militaris doesn't take a genius. Beware of the military tribune. Military tribune? Oh!

"Beware of the colonel?" I ask him, and I'm rewarded with a smile that takes over his face.

"Birthday present from the marines a couple of years ago," he says.


I walk through the door and Daniel points me at a chair. Then he picks up the phone.

"We're in his office. Do you want to come down?... See you in a couple of minutes then."

"Who's coming?" I ask.

"It's okay, it's someone you know well, Jack."

"Look, I'm sorry for hitting you earlier. I kinda freaked, I guess."

"It's okay, I know. I shouldn't have kissed you. It's just that I thought it may jog some memories, that's all. I'm sorry."

"Don't be. I overreacted. You and me, we're serious aren't we?"

"Yes Jack. I know that for me this is the last relationship I'll ever have. You always tell me the same thing and you've never given me reason to doubt it either. I need you to hold on to this, Jack. Remember it. I love you. I will always love you. It's more than a shame that you can't and probably will never feel this way about me again, but I can't switch off my feelings for you."

"Why can't I? If I could fall for you once?"

"Jack, the events that brought us to that point have happened - gone. They'll never come back. Look at you. You're a hero, a soldier, fighter pilot. I'm a bookworm, an archaeologist. You'll never look at me the way you did."

Aw crap, I can hear his heart breaking from here. Somehow I think he's got it wrong.

"Daniel, give me a chance, please. I want to remember. And if a guy like you can learn to love a broken down old crock like me..."

"Dammit Jack, how many times have I got to tell you? You're not old!" He pulls himself up sharp. "Of course, Pavlovian response there, sorry. It's just you're always putting yourself down. You shouldn't, you know. You're a good man Jack."

"Hey," I put my hand out and touch his face. For a moment he leans into the touch, and it feels so right. Then he snaps himself out of it and pulls back.

"Sorry," he mutters. "More habits, I guess."

"I'm the one that touched you, Daniel. Why do I get the feeling that you're always putting yourself down too? Did I do something to you? Did I hurt you?"

He can't look me in the eye as he lies through his teeth. "No, Jack, you didn't." I fucking did and now I know it. And I'm doing it again.

Oh boy. That can't be.

"Mom? What are you doing here?"

"Well, I'm glad to know that you remember me, Jonathan. Sit down, boy, you and I have a lot of talking to do. Daniel, darling, do you want to stay?" She's really gentle with him, stroking his face as she talks.

", Mom, it's okay. It would probably be b.better if you two talk alone." Mom? Hell, we are serious.

"Daniel," she growls at him, "don't let this upset you so much, son. We'll have it sorted out in no time. You'll get your Jack back, I promise. Go and get yourself a coffee. And a shower. You didn't clean up when you were recalled, did you?"

I snigger as he looks ashamed. I hadn't wanted to say anything, but he's covered in mud. He looks at the floor and shuffles his feet.

"Of course, Mom. I'll see you as soon as I'm done. Sorry."

"And stop apologising," she orders as he heads out of the door.

She comes over to me and hugs me, kisses my head and then smacks it.

"What in God's name have you done now, Jonathan?" she demands.

I can't deal with this. I've lost him. What on earth am I going to do now? Shower, yes, that'll help. Oh God. Last proper shower I had, Jack and me in the warm water. He washed my hair, then soaped my back, going down on his knees and then on me. I grow hard at the memory, the heat of his mouth engulfing my cock, the feel of his tongue as it stroked and sucked. The shock of his finger as it entered my ass, probing, searching out my prostate like a heat-seeking missile.

I need this release, there's no one else here, but I keep one hand clamped across my mouth as I stroke harder and harder. Eventually it's too much, I let go, muffling my cry of Jack's name. Oh God, oh God, what is going to happen now? He's never going to want me. I've collapsed on the floor, the water washing away my pain.

Cold. The water's going cold. I'd better get out before I catch my death. I can't die yet. Need to find out what's going on with Jack. After - well, I'll just wait and see. If he doesn't remember me or if he does and he changes his mind about wanting me then...

Dressed now. Perhaps I will visit the barber. Can't keep going around with wet hair dripping down my back. A quick trip down the hall, see if he's free. There's so many soldiers on base we have a full-time barber here. He's good too, doesn't just do shaved heads.

"Dr. Jackson, haven't seen you in here for a while. What can I do for you?"

That's better. A haircut, changed into clean clothes and coffee down my throat. I'm getting funny looks off people. They must've heard about Jack. I'm tired, I want to go home, but I can't leave him. I've checked with Janet and she thinks that taking him home might be a good idea. Sam's still unresponsive, I tried talking to her but there was nothing there. Teal'c's in the deepest state of kel'no'reem that I've ever seen him in. I've left the medical staff with strict instructions to call me the minute there's a change in their situations. Ed's sleeping in the chair next to Sam. He won't leave her.

Back to the lion's den. A knock on his door and Mom's voice bids me enter.

"Daniel, darling, look at you," she says. What? "Your hair, where's it all gone?"

"It needed cutting," I mumble.

"So short?"

"Mom, I'm not Samson, you know. I haven't lost my strength with it."

Just with Jack, that's all. He's staring at me, not saying a word. "Do you want to go home, Jack?" I ask him.

"Yeah, might be a good idea," he mutters.

I'd better tell him now, I guess. "You do realise that I live there too, don't you? If you want, I'll look for somewhere else to live tomorrow."

"No, it's okay Daniel. I'm sure that we can work something out," he says gently. What has Mom been saying to him?

Home. That's got an empty ring to it. We walk through the door. He doesn't know this place, he only got it after Sara left him. I show him around. He recognises some of his things but he's not very comfortable. I take him up onto the roof.

"See, your telescope," I tell him.

I watch him as he runs his fingers over the scope, searching out for something familiar but there's no sense of knowing there at all.

I go back indoors and pull some food out of the freezer. I have no idea what it is. I just throw it into the microwave to defrost.

I'm so tired. Where am I going to sleep? Better make sure the spare bed's made. I head upstairs and pull out some clean sheets. I make up the bed as quickly as I can. How am I going to sleep in here? It's hard enough sleeping apart from him at work, but to know he's in the next room...

Night clothes. I'd better get some. Ah.

"Jack? Dinner will be ready soon," I say. He's looking at the framed picture of the two of us, the one from the calendar. He's running his finger along the outline of our bodies.

"It was near Charlie's birthday when that was taken," I explain as he touches the tears on our cheeks.

"You really do love me, don't you?" he asks as he looks up at me, a real tear trickling down his face.

"Of course, Jack."

I want to take him in my arms but I can't. I told him, promised him I wouldn't touch him again.

"I love you, don't I? This picture, we couldn't look like that if we didn't, could we?"

"You do and we couldn't."

"Oh God, Daniel, I'm so sorry. There are things, feelings, sometimes I look at you and there's something there. But," he looks back down at the picture, "I don't remember. I wish I did, I really wish I did. Will you give me the time to remember, please?"

"Jack, look at me Jack." He looks up. "I'll give you whatever you want. You've already given me everything I could ever desire. I'll do whatever it takes to help you, I promise."

A watery smile. "I know. That's one of the things I do know. You will help me."

I can't sleep. I've been in here for ages, tossing and turning. What's that? A noise. Better get up and have a look. There's a light on in the kitchen.

"Jack? Is that you?"

"Sorry, did I wake you?" a contrite voice comes up the stairs.

I head down to find out what's going on.

"Couldn't sleep," he says sheepishly.

"Me either. Jack, we're not used to it. You may not remember this, but we've hardly spent a night apart in two years. Not to mention the nights that we've shared a tent over the last seven years. Come on, let's go to bed, huh?"

I'm pushing it here, but I put out my hand. He reaches up and takes it. Perhaps he's going to be okay about this after all. Maybe, just maybe, he'll want me again.

I lead him up to our room and get into bed, beckoning to him to join me. He gets in and I pull him into my arms. He tenses for a moment and then relaxes.

"This is it, isn't it? This is how we sleep? Wrapped up in each other like this."

"Yes Jack," I try to stifle a yawn and fail. "Never apart if we can help it. We spent too long apart, hate it now. Night, hun."

Oops, didn't mean to call him that. He just sniggers though.

"Night, Danny." Hmm, love that.

Well, that's something I don't remember waking up to since the Academy. I wonder what happened to Josh? In the meantime I've got an erection poking me in the leg. What do I do normally? Duh. I'm a guy, I can guess. Ah well, his matches mine. Guess my body remembers him even if I don't. Wish I did. This feels so right, like I shouldn't be anywhere else.

God, what am I going to do? Nah, I can't do that. At the moment it wouldn't be anything more than a buddy-fuck and I'm not going to do that to Daniel. He was so kind to me yesterday and after what Mom told me about him I'm going to treat him with a load more respect than that. He's been through so much, poor kid. Kid. Doesn't look so much like one now. I wonder what possessed him to have his hair cut so short? I know I teased him about his long hair, but that seemed to be the right thing to say. He didn't think I was serious did he? Mom said he was stubborn, only does what he wants to do. Would he have his hair cut short just because I teased him?

I've managed to sneak out. There's a noise downstairs. Hell, I've got no gun. I won't have one in the house now, apparently. Wish I hadn't had one before. I'll never forgive myself that one. Daniel told me over dinner last night that I haven't forgiven or forgotten, but I've accepted it and learned to live with the pain. I'll have to try to do that all over again.

"Mom? What are you doing in here?"

"Coffee," she replies cryptically. "Daniel needs his coffee in the morning. Figured you wouldn't know that. Don't try to wake him without it, he's worse than the proverbial bear if you do. He may look like a mild-mannered sweetheart but that's only after sufficient caffeine. He'll bite your head off if you go up there without a cup in your hand."

"That bad, eh?" I ask laughing at the thought of a bad-tempered Daniel.

"Worse. Trust me on that one son. He has a physical addiction to the stuff. Gets very noisy if he gets instant by the way, you must make sure it's the real thing. Get it wrong and you'll have a headache all day."

Wow. There's more to this guy than meets the eye.

"And I put up with this?" I ask, a little incredulously.

"He's worth it, Jack, he really is. I think so, Bridie thinks so, Patrick thinks so."

"Patrick knows?" Wow, I was never going to tell Pat about me. Of course, when I was with Sara it wasn't an issue.

"You told him, not long after you two got together. Like I said, Jack, he's worth it. Even his staff will tell you that one. He yells at them a lot but they're pretty devoted to him nonetheless. You won't get a more loyal friend than him."

High praise from Mom. High praise indeed.

"So this is how to wake him then?" I ask as I take the coffee she gives me.

"Oh, it's one of the things," she laughs, "but I don't know what else you two get up to I'm sure."

I'm sure too. Not.

So, coffee and sex. Sounds like a good way to wake up. He'll have to settle for just the coffee this morning though.

"Hey, Daniel, time to wake up. I've got coffee."

Spiky hair and sharp blue eyes appear from under the cover.

"Gimme," he grunts. Mom wasn't wrong. I don't think I do want to face him without a peace offering. Don't think I'd survive the encounter.

"So," I ask, "is this how I normally get you up?"

He looks me in the eye and screws his face up. He's obviously trying to decide how much information should come my way.

"To be honest, it's the first part. Usually it's followed by either a morning quickie or a long slow fuck - depending on what time it is and whether we have to go to work or not. I prefer the latter myself."

"Mom's downstairs, she told me about the coffee."

"She knows me too well."

"About the other bit..."

"Jack! Don't. Look, I know this is odd for you. Don't feel that you have to force yourself into a routine that you don't want. I don't want you to do anything because you feel you should or you pity me or something like that. Okay? The coffee will do."

"Fair enough. I wasn't going to suggest anything yet. Look Daniel, somehow I know that I love you, okay? I just don't feel it yet. I will. I know I will. I'm not going to do anything till I do. It wouldn't be right."

He's smiling at me, a warm, friendly smile. Damn. I think I'm going to fall in love with him pretty soon.

"That's one of the things I love about you, Jack. You always try to do the right thing."

I do? Since when? I always follow orders.

"Daniel? May I kiss you?" What possessed me to ask that?

"Are you sure, Jack?" he's almost pulling back from me. I must have hurt him badly yesterday.

"Yes, I think I need to." That falling in love thing? I think it's happening right about now.

That's enough for him. I think he'd let me fuck him if I said I needed to. He's put his coffee down and scooted back over to me. He's letting me lead, not wanting to scare me off again. Oh boy, he can kiss. Boy, can he kiss. Chastely at first, but I'm getting into this. Closer, harder, more needy on both sides. I'm pushing him to lie down, my hands seem to have a life of their own, they know this body, know which bits respond to touch. I'm as hard as nails, so is he. I pull back and look into his eyes. They're almost black with desire. Mine must be the same. I don't think I'm gonna keep my promise, I don't think he wants me to. The time for thinking is past.

"Do you want this?" I manage to croak.

"God, yes please Jack, need this, need you, love you, please."

I won't fuck him, I can't, not yet. We restrict ourselves to skin on skin, rubbing, touching, more kissing. I smother our cries by firmly locking my mouth to his. This feels so right. Dammit, I belong here, I know I do.

He's crying, sobbing his heart out.

"Sorry, sorry, sorry, shouldn't have done that, needed it, God I needed you Jack. Love you."

"I'm sorry Daniel, I know, I shouldn't have either. I needed it too. It was right though, felt so right, like I belonged there."

"You do, you do, Jack. Mine, you're mine."

I know I am now, and I'm gonna fight to come back to him. I tell him, I promise I will. I'll keep that promise.

There's a yell from the bathroom so I scramble out of bed, pull my boxers back on and run. Jack's staring at the mirror.

"Jack? Are you okay? What's wrong?"

"Jack? Son, what's the matter?" Mom's come charging up the stairs with a remarkable speed for someone her age.

"Grey? I've gone grey?" His eyes are wide open as he turns to look at us. Then his face screws up in annoyance as both Mom and I crack up.

"What's so freakin' funny? I've gone grey!"

*howl* "Oh Jack, I thought something was wrong." *snort*

Mom and I hold on to each other as we slide to the floor laughing our heads off. The bastard scared the crap out of us over grey hair? He's starting to laugh now, seeing the funny side of it and joining us on the floor. I put my hand out to him and he grabs it, pulling me into his arms.

"Sorry, didn't mean to scare you," he gets out in-between gasps.

"'Sokay, Jack, no matter. 'Sides, it's silver, not grey." I've finally managed to calm down a bit. "I spent years getting it like this," I tease, stroking his hair. "It's very sexy."

"Distinguished," adds Mom.

"Hot," I say with determination. He's not going to go through this 'old crock' thing with me again.

He's blushing. Not sure if the embarrassment is caused by his overreaction or my comments. Maybe it's both. I can feel the electricity between us. It was there earlier when he brought the coffee, it's here again now. He can feel it too, I know he can. Hell, I think Mom can feel it.

"Jack, you'd better work hard at getting your memory back, son. I don't think my heart can take any more of this. Not to mention all the UST that's crackling between the two of you. Hell, I could light a fire from all those sparks."

"UST?" Jack asks.

"Unresolved sexual tension," she says calmly. "It's often used as a plot line in fiction. You know, between two characters that are attracted to each other but can't or won't admit it."

We're both blushing.

"Oh," she says, "not U, eh? Wow. I think I'm glad I wasn't here when you two got together first time around, I think I'd have fainted."

We let go of each other and somehow get up and head downstairs.

"Um Daniel, darling, are you going to get dressed this morning?" Mom's looking me up and down. Oops. I only have my boxers on. Well, at least they are on.

"Coffee, Mom, let me have more coffee. Then I can think and get dressed, okay?"

"Daniel, what are you doing with a Marine Corps badge tattooed on your thigh?"


"Ah? Is there something you should tell me?"

"It's okay, Jack. Um, I'm an honorary Jarhead. Got adopted a while back. Um, forty-eight-hour bender? Good enough for you?"

He nods. He's been there and done stupid things too.

"I've got a flying jacket," I offer hopefully. "The guys at the base gave it to me for my birthday last year."

"Oh. What did I get you?" Jack asks.

"It was wonderful," I say with a smile big enough to fill my face. "You took me to the mountains, we had a picnic, um, then went for a very expensive meal, oh, you bought me a stud too."


"Sure. Oh, I'll show it to you later, okay?"

"If you like," he's not sure what's going on. I can tell by his voice. Boy, is he gonna have a shock when he finds out his ear was pierced.

"I think I'd better go and get dressed," I say. I've finished my coffee and I'm feeling a little more awake. "Want to come and see the stud?" I ask him as innocently as I can.

"Go on, I'll make some breakfast," Mom says, shooing us out of the kitchen.

Jack meekly follows me out of the kitchen and up the stairs.

"Stud?" he asks again.

"Yes. A navel stud." I can't look at him as I go to my drawer and pull out the box. I open it and put it in before turning around.

"I bought that?" he enquires as he looks at the diamond. He can't take his eyes off it.

"Oh yes, you love it," I say moving a little closer to him.

"Why?" he whimpers.

"Lick it," I say quietly.

"Lick it?" To be fair to him, he's game for anything. He sits on the bed and I go over to him, his head dips and I feel his tongue tentatively touching the stud. Another swipe, more confident this time. More, pressing harder, his hands snake around my waist and pull me close. He can feel the effect this is having on me, I've gotten real hard, real quick. His breathing is getting harder, mine too. More intense touches, stroking my back. I want him again. Now.

He pulls back and looks up at me. I can feel my face, flushed with need for him. No matter that he doesn't remember me, I know he feels for me, and I know he wants me. The memories will come or not, our desire for each other hasn't gone away.

Mom spoils the moment by calling up that breakfast will be ready in a couple of minutes.

His hands drop down and I step back. My doubts resurface the second he lets go. I'd better get dressed.

"Have I got one of those?" he asks, his voice a little higher than normal.

"No, you hate having bits of you pierced."

"Stuff that," he says defiantly. "I have got to get me one of those if that's the effect it has on you. Wow. Hang on, how do I know I don't like having bits of me pierced?"

I'm giggling. Silly I know, but I am. I pull out one of the earrings that Cassandra gave me and pop it into my ear. I get out another and head over to him.

"Here," I murmur and slide it into his hole.

"I have a pierced ear? When did I get that?"

"When we started out together. It was for a mission, but you kept it because I like it."

"You do? Cool. I'll keep it then."

"Jack, you don't have to do anything you don't want to. If you've changed your mind about anything, you don't have to..." I let my voice trail, I don't really want to say what I'm afraid to.

"Daniel," he calls, but I can't look back. Again, more insistent this time, "Daniel! Look at me, please."

I turn around and look into his eyes. They're so warm and tender. Why must I feel so unsure? One moment I know he loves me and the next I'm so afraid.

"Daniel, I know I don't remember these things but I can tell you this for certain. I'm beginning to know why I love you, I'm beginning to understand that now. You and me, we can work this out, honestly we can. I'm not giving up on you, never. Got it? I know you don't want to give up on me."

"Never Jack, I couldn't, I wouldn't."

"I know that Daniel. I also think I'm falling in love with you. Maybe it's all over again for you, but for me it's the first time and it's wonderful. I can't believe how lucky I am, to have such a beautiful man wanting me, but I'm not looking that old gift horse in the mouth. I'm going to let myself fall, Daniel, because I know you're gonna catch me."

I'm back across that room so fast, grabbing hold of him and pulling him close to me.

"Always, Jack, I'm always here for you. It's not always hearts and roses between us, you know? I've got a filthy temper, so have you; we fight, nearly come to blows sometimes, but we always work it out. Don't give up on me, okay? I'll make it worth your while, I promise."

I don't let him answer, I just kiss the shit out of him instead.

We're back up at Cheyenne Mountain. The guards seem to know us well, we flash our IDs and we're waved through. These elevators could do with being a bit faster. How long does it have to take? Just as well this isn't an emergency, though Daniel's acting as if it is.

"You didn't tell me much about this Teal'c guy, who is he?"

"He used to be the leader of an enemy army, a general I suppose. Apophis was the Goa'uld, Teal'c was First Prime. He left everything to follow you on our first mission as SG-1."


"Because you asked him to. He saved our lives and the lives of many others, Jack. Gave up his home, his position, his wife and son just because he had faith that you could help him free his people. The Jaffa are slaves, Jack. They're victims of the Goa'uld as much as the humans are."

He told me about his wife last night. Poor thing. That photo is the only thing he has left of her. She was very beautiful. He looks up at me. He knows what I'm thinking about.

"Teal'c took her," he says, "and then he killed her to save my life. I've forgiven him, Jack. I don't want you to say anything that could upset him. You and he are like brothers. He's that close to me too."

Wow. I don't think I could have forgiven him for taking Sara and killing her, to save my life or not. The more I know about Daniel the more he amazes me.

We're there at his room. Daniel knocks on the door and a serious voice bids us enter.

"Daniel Jackson, O'Neill, it is good to see you."

"Same here, Teal'c," Daniel says. "How are you feeling now? When I last saw you, you were pretty deeply meditating."

"I am well, thank you. I needed to recover from the shock to my system."

"Do you remember what happened on the mission?" Daniel sounds a little desperate.

"I remember parts of it. We met the inhabitants. They were humanoid but not human. They were about seven feet tall, slender, blue-skinned. They did not speak. Lieutenant Bronowski tried to engage them in conversation but failed. Then they attacked him. Before I could retaliate, my staff weapon was knocked out of my hand. That is the last thing I remember."

"General Hammond says that you carried Bronowski through the gate and Sam and Jack dragged each other through. When you arrived you all blanked out. Sam's still catatonic, Bronowski's in a coma and Jack has lost his memory of everything since just before he joined the programme. Was anything said there, did any of you say anything?"

"I am unsure, Daniel, I will however endeavour to remember."

"Thank you Teal'c. Anything, a single word may be most useful."

We stand up and turn to leave. I get a flash of something.

"Rya'c," I say, "he's your son."

"He is indeed, O'Neill."

Daniel's smiling. "Jack seems to be remembering small things, but things that are most important to him. The first thing he remembered was SG-1. I'm hoping he'll remember the three of us better soon. But there are things about us that are coming back, so fingers crossed."

"I will keep my digits so positioned Daniel Jackson."

What? Daniel's laughing. Some sort of Jaffa joke? I always thought that a jaffa was an orange. Shows what I know.

"Come on, let's go to see Sam," he's calling as he heads off down the corridor.

"Daniel, Mom didn't say how long she's been here. How come she's involved in such a secret project?"

"Ooh boy, now that's a good question Jack. Okay, come on, mess hall first. I'll tell you over coffee."

Well that was interesting. They changed the law for us? Daniel and me? Wow.

"It was mainly for you, Jack. They couldn't fire me anyway, but I wouldn't stay without you. You and the Asgard are pretty close - at least to Thor, the Supreme Leader of the Asgard fleet. He insisted. The President and the Joint Chiefs had no option but to surrender and change the law."

"Why did we leave, Daniel?"

"I told you, we were caught."

"There's more to it, isn't there?"

"You can read me as well as ever Jack," he says with a humourless laugh. "I was beaten up, you got pissed off. You didn't want to stay if that could happen to me."

"And now? Do you have any trouble?"

"A couple of people have mouthed off to us both, but it's only a couple Jack. Most people here couldn't give a toss. Besides, since those guys that did it got sent to McMurdo at my request others are reluctant to take things beyond a snide remark here and there. And I can deal with those easily."

"I'll bet you can. What do you do? Insult them in different languages?"

"Sometimes, but usually in English but in a manner that means they have to go and look up the words to know what it is I've said. It takes the edge off things."

I hoot. This guy is smart. Whoo, another flash.

"You're a genius aren't you?"

"Well, I suppose so. I have a high IQ. I do stupid things though."

"Like me?" I tease. He thumps me.

"You are not stupid," he growls.

"I know, I was joking."

"Sorry Jack. It's just you play the dumb colonel routine so often I'm afraid you believe it. Ah, we're here."

That Ed guy is still here.

"Ed, go, shower, eat, I'll take over," Daniel orders. He nods and stumbles out of the room.

Daniel sits on the bed next to her and pulls her into his arms. Talking to her, trying to pull her out of whatever or wherever she is.

We've been here for ages. How are we going to get through to her?

What's he doing now? Singing? I know that song, Dedicated To The One I Love. He's rocking her as he sings it. As he sings the last line she starts to cry. Heart-rending sobs, no tears though. He pulls her closer, holding on to her as tightly as he can.

"Jack, go get Ed, or rather ask someone to find him and then come back. Oh, and ask someone to get Teal'c too, please."

I head for the door and flag down the nearest airman.

"Um Daniel? Who's Ed?"

"Sorry, of course, Major Ed Wilson, he's with the Royal Engineers."

I pass the information on and the airman scoots to get them.

"I'm hoping this will be the beginning of her waking up," he says.

"Your singing wasn't that bad," I say.

He just groans and sings again. Another Mamas and Papas thing, Dream a Little Dream. Damn, he sings beautifully.

I watch as she snuggles as closely as she can to him, looking up at his face. He's looking down at her and smiling as he sings. It is possible to see the tension in her just fading away as the lovely words come her way.

That female doctor comes in and grins as he continues the song.

"Aw Daniel, that was lovely," she says as he finishes. Then she crouches down in front of the Major, "Hey Sam, you feel like talking yet?"

Sam just snuggles closer into Daniel. Obviously not. I can't help it, I'm starting to feel a bit jealous of the attention she's getting.

"Come on Sammy, talk to me, please baby," he murmurs.

She looks up at him, I think she wants to talk, but she seems to be afraid. What the fuck happened to us? One thing though, the more I see him, the more I know he's genuine. I don't think that Daniel could be nasty to his friends and Sam here is definitely one of them.

"You'd better start singing again, honey," the doctor says. "It was getting through to her."

"No, I don't think that it would help anymore. I used to sing to her to help her sleep sometimes. Since Ed's been around though she hasn't needed that. How about bringing Cassie in Jan?"

Cassie? I know that...

"Cassandra. Our baby," I say.

Jan (was it that he called her?) gives me a huge grin. "That's it, Jack, Cassie. You and the others saved her, I adopted her. She's like your little girl."

"Not so little," Daniel laughs. "Fourteen with the hormones to go with it. But she's a good kid, Jack. My baby sister, Sam's too. You and Teal'c are like a pair of dads, Mom is gran and the General is grandpa. Janet's parents are her other ones. Her family were all killed. We're all she's got."

"We love her, don't we? She's special. Not from around here."

"Yes, Jack, we do and she is. She's from another planet, but she's human, just like us." I like this doctor, she's very kind. But scary. Definitely scary. There's something about her.

"Napoleon!" I cry, not knowing why.

Daniel cracks up, Janet's following suit though she's looking annoyed too.

"That's what you call Janet, Jack. Especially when she's in her bossy mood," Daniel explains in-between laughs.

"I don't get bossy," she says and bustles out of the room.

"Oh dear, Jack, next exam and she won't warm up the lube, I can tell."

Oops, I think I may have said the wrong thing.

Ed's come back. Teal'c's following him in. Sam puts her arms out to Ed and he pulls her close, freeing Daniel.

"Call me if she starts talking or anything Ed, Teal'c, I'll come as soon as I can."

"Thanks, Daniel," Ed says with a sigh, and looking at me adds, "good luck."

Teal'c says, "I will also endeavour to assist Major Carter with her recuperation."

"I know, Teal'c, that's why I called for you," Daniel says. "Come on Jack, let's go learn a few more things, whatd'ya say?"

Sounds good to me.

This is strange. Sam doesn't seem to have lost her memory, neither has Teal'c. Bronowski's still out cold. We have no idea what's going on in his head. I'm taking Jack up to the control room. Maybe seeing the gate in action will trigger something. I'm starting to feel a lot more positive about the whole thing.

"General. How's things?" I ask.

"Ah, Doctor Jackson, Colonel O'Neill. You've saved me a job, I was just about to send for you. Jacob's coming, we're expecting him anytime now."

I look at Jack and he has no idea what's going on. He's looking at the door as if he's expecting someone to walk through it.

"Jack, over there," I point to the gate. "Jacob is General Carter, Sam's dad. He's also a host to a Tok'ra, remember? I told you a bit about them yesterday."

"Yes, of course. That's the gate then, is it? Doesn't look like it does much," he says, grumpily.

"Just wait and see, Jack. It's pretty amazing. Do yourself a favour though. When the gate starts to open, stay away from it. The backwash will only leave your feet in your boots and nothing else. It's deadly."

"And we go through it?"

"When it's settled it's safe. Trust me on this one, Jack. It's a thing of wonder."

The gate starts to engage and all of Jack's attention is riveted on it. I move closer to him and catch his hand in mine. He looks at me and gives me a tight smile, squeezing my hand as he does it. I think he appreciates the reassurance that things are normal.

Finally, the gate opens - and so does Jack's mouth.

"Wow," he says, "it's beautiful."

George chuckles, "That it is Colonel, that it is."

Jack's jaw drops even further when Jacob steps out of the event horizon. We go down to meet him.

"Jack, this is Jacob and Selmac," I say.

"Jack? What's wrong?" Jacob is shocked by the look of complete non-recognition from Jack.

"Jack has amnesia, Jacob," I tell him. "Can't remember the last eight years."

"Oh. I can see that might be a problem. Where's Sam?"

I lead him to the infirmary, explaining everything I know as I go. Jack's right by my side, not wanting to leave me at all.

Jacob goes in to see Sam. She's started crying again. Heaven only knows what's going on in her head. We stay for a while, but it's getting late and I want to take Jack home again. Jacob says he can stay for a day or so, things are pretty quiet on the galactic front at the moment. It's giving Ed a chance to go and sleep in a bed anyway. I leave Jacob with the 'call me or else' instruction and take Jack home.

Bedtime. This could be interesting after this morning. I shouldn't have let him do that, but it seemed to be so right. He hasn't left my side all day, fretting a bit if I was out of sight. I don't recognise him when he's like this. We're co-dependent on a good day, but this is ridiculous. Never mind, if it is what it takes to get him back, I'll have him glued to me.

"Will you sleep with me Daniel?" he's asking.

"I rather hoped I would," I reply. I get a huge smile in return.

We're ready, settled in under the covers. He's pulled me into his arms and we're spooning up to each other as we often do. I feel his breath on my neck and it's having the same effect it usually does.

"Um Jack? Much as I love this, it's, um, how can I put this..."

"Turning you on?" he says, the patented leer in his voice making me laugh.

"Yes. 'Fraid so."

"Good. I told you, I'm falling in love with you, Daniel, head over heels here."

I turn around to face him and discover that he has the same, er, predicament. I swallow, hard, unsure as to what my next move should be. I don't have to make one, he does. His mouth covers mine before I can say anything and I find my body reacting before my brain can engage. Oh stuff it. If this is what he wants, this is what he's going to get.

I push him onto his back, pulling his top off as he goes. Mine hits the floor as quickly. I don't know why I ever bother putting clothes on at night. They never stay on.

More kisses, not as frantic as this morning but even more passionate.

"God, I want you," he moans.

"You've got me, always did," I manage to reply before divesting us both of our remaining clothing. I'm going for it and going down.

"Jeez, give a guy some warning will ya?"

I look back up at him and grin, "What? And spoil the surprise? You want me to stop?"

"'Want' and 'stop' are not words that I think I'd ever use in the same sentence when applied to you or your actions, Dan."

"Danny if you must shorten my name, not Dan," I scold before going for it and getting an 'eep' in return. Followed closely by an 'Oh God, please,' not to mention the immortal 'for fuck's sake finish me will ya?' as I back off yet again. Will I? Won't I? Gonna make him beg. After I've made him scream. I push his legs further apart and slide down and in. I'm glad I'm a linguist, this tongue of mine is one strong muscle.


Yep, that never loses its appeal. Okay, I'll take pity on him. Back up and, um, down. Whoo boy, he's desperate. Okay, Jack, gonna let you now.

I scramble back up to him. I want to see his face close up. Nope, can't talk yet. I judge how good an experience he has by how long it takes him to talk again. Ooh boy, going for the record here. That must be the tenth time he's opened his mouth only to close it again.

"Marry me," I manage to pant eventually. "Please. Don't ever leave me Daniel. I mean it."

The bastard is laughing his ass off.

"Jack, oh my Jack, you are such a slut." He's laughing again. "Anyway, we are married. You and me, ceremony, three day party, the works. Where do you think we got the tattoos?"

"Good, I'm glad. Don't want you ever going off with anyone else, ya hear?"

"Not going anywhere, Jack, I promise. Love you, remember?"

"Yeah, I know. What do you want?"

"Want? What do you mean?"

"Daniel, what do you want me to do for you? You've just given me the most mind-blowing blow job in the history of sex and you must want something back."

Oh no, what have I said wrong now? He's pulled back from me and he's scowling, arms folded across his chest.

"You think I did that just to get something in return? What do you think I am?"

More to the point, what does that make me?

"I didn't mean it to come out like that, Daniel, come here, please." I pull him close and hug him, kissing his neck. "I want to do something for you, baby."



"Don't call me baby. Babe is okay, baby isn't. I have to put up with all the fucking kid talk at work. I am not six months old, I do not need to wear diapers and I certainly don't need to be bottle fed."

Shi-it, he's a bit tetchy. I guess I'd better make it up to him - quickly.

"Sorry," I croon, letting my tongue trail up his jaw and nibbling his ear.

"Jack, I can't get annoyed with you when you do that," he's moaning.

"Hmm, that's the idea. So? What do you like, Daniel? I don't know anymore, you'll have to tell me what you like."

A light goes on in his eyes. Why do I get the feeling that I've just bitten off more than I can chew?

"Oh Jack, it's simple, really simple. I love you. I love to just lie here while you take your time, exploring me, touching me, kissing me. I love it when your mouth covers mine, and then slides down and you take my prick in it. I love to feel the heat of your mouth around it and the strength of your tongue as it runs up and down the sides. I love it when you hold me down, cuff me to the bed, blindfold me, fuck me," his voice has dropped to a murmur.

Oh fuck. Never ask a linguist what he wants. I want him again. I'm forty-seven years old, apparently, and I've recovered already? I am never leaving this guy. Not ever.

Okay, I can make love to him, I can really do this. I know that I must be doing this regularly, 'cause there's no way I could ever leave this body alone, but it's been years since I remember doing it. Doesn't matter, I'm sure I can make this good for him.

Kissing first, I think, he said he likes this. And yes, he really seems to. So do I, he kisses like no one else. What was next on his list? Oh yes, I am so going down and if anyone ever tries to rescue this shot down pilot I'll fucking kill them. This is better than I ever remember it. God, he's so responsive. He moans and writhes and ohmyGod he's yelling. Jeez, Dr. Pottymouth, didn't think he knew those words. This is fun, I'm enjoying having this effect on him. He's calling my name, warning me I guess. Not gonna let up though. He took me, I'm taking him - all the way.

As I move back up his body he passes me a tube of lube.

"Please Jack, I want this," he's begging. Oh yes, I won't let you down. I want this too.

Oh this is so good. So hot, so tight, so fucking incredible. Don't care if I never get my memories back, I've decided I'm staying here, not gonna let him go. Still don't know what he sees in me but, "oh God" , I, "Shit", Don't, "Danny", CARE! "YES!"

"Hey Daniel, lookie here!" I call as a neighbour's dog comes bounding over to me as we head to the car to go back to work.

"Yeah. Jack, that's Bouncer, he lives a few doors down."

"Daniel, why aren't you coming to say hi? He's a lovely dog, aren't you old fella?" The daft mutt has dropped onto his back and his legs are straight up in the air. Guess he wants his tummy tickled.

"Jack. I don't know how to break this to you but..."

"Don't tell me you don't like dogs Daniel, 'cause that could put a severe strain on our relationship."

"No, no, no, love dogs, think they're great and I'd love to have one. Slight problem though. I'm allergic to them, severely, and if you come within five feet of me now you'll see what happens."


"Oh yeah, the original sneezing geek, me. Sorry. See why I can't believe that you want to stay with me? I mean, you're so strong, such a ..."

"Macho prick?"

"Yeah, but I was going to say action hero-type. But if the cap fits..." He's laughing at me as he says it. Hasn't lost his sense of humour either.

"You're a hero," I say to him, getting into the truck and opening the window. Maybe fresh air will help.

"Me? Why do you say that?" He's curious now, sticking his head out of his window though.

"You stepped in front of me with that gun the other day. A brave thing to do."

"Terminally stupid actually," he counters. "I know you, remember? I know you could have and would have killed me if you'd thought it necessary."

"That's why it was brave, Daniel. You knew that it could get you killed but you did it to stop me from getting killed. I'm guessing that this wasn't the only time you've done something like that."

He's quiet, not saying anything at first, then he says, "We've both watched out for each other, Jack, it's what we do."

I don't think I'll get any more out of him than that. So, I think I'll put my not inconsiderable experience in intelligence gathering to work and go and see the General. I'm gonna find out the truth about Daniel. There's so much more to him than meets the eye, that's for certain.

I'm still trying to figure out how come I've fallen so far and so fast for him. Sure, he's gorgeous and bright and compassionate and - what the fuck am I doing this for? It's freakin' obvious.

He's wheezing, tears are streaming down his face. As I'm driving I can see him looking for something.

"Tissue, Jack, have you got any?"

I pat down my jacket pockets. "No, sorry, try the glove compartment."

He's already in there, scrambling through it. Finally, found one of those travel packs. His hands are shaking as he tries to rip it open.

"Do you want me to stop the car, Daniel? Are you crying?"

"No, no, not crying, keep moving, fresh air, need it, please," he blurts out and then starts sneezing. Ah.

"I take it this is the allergic reaction you get?"

He nods. "Told you, violent reactions, just get us up there Jack, Jan will help. Forgot to take my antihistamines," he manages to get this out in-between sneezes. Poor guy, he's really suffering.

"So, how do we normally cope with this?"

Wow. I just got the sweetest smile for that. What did I say? Oh, 'we'. I guess he likes that.

"You stay away from me when you play with dogs, carry spare antihistamines and lots of tissues on you. Mainly because I'm a hopeless case and I keep forgetting."

"Probably because you have lots of more important things on your mind Daniel. I'm guessing that the way we work on the team is this; you do the talking, the figuring out and I take care of you, right?"

Another smile, "Something like that Jack, but there's more to it. You and Teal'c are the protectors on the team, though I've been signed off on a P90 - and while I'm not a crack shot, I usually hit what I'm aiming at. Sam is a crack shot, by the way. She's also got level three in hand-to-hand. She's deadly. Don't forget it."

I laugh at that, Daniel's eyes are not quite so red now, the cool breeze is helping to clear his nose and so there's laughter back in them. Cool, I like that.

"Sam is a genius. A doctor of astrophysics, brain like Hawkin or Einstein. She's also a fabulous engineer. She's the head of the physics/engineering department, by the way."

"I've got two geniuses on my team? I don't even like scientists!"

"You don't, that's true Jack, but you love us. You've always called your team 'your kids', which is amusing as Teal'c is over a hundred years old."

Wow! He looks real good for it. We're here and I pull up in the parking space that Daniel points out to me. We get out of the car and he says,

"Jack. SG-1 is different, not like other teams. The only one of us you can order around is Sam. She will follow orders, but she's not afraid to tell you when she thinks you're wrong. Don't have a go at her if she does, it took me years to convince her that she should do what she knows to be right."

"You put her up to being disobedient? No, don't even answer that, I know it."

"Jack, I don't have a problem with orders per se. I do have a problem with blindly following orders that I know to be wrong. When we're out in the field, your job as you said is to protect us and bring us home. You've never failed to do your job. When you say something's an order, Teal'c and I will obey you because we know you never give orders that aren't necessary. We choose to follow you Jack. That's why you are in charge of us. None of us chooses to follow anyone else. I'll accompany other teams to digs, Sam will go where she's told. Teal'c sometimes goes out with other teams to train them in techniques for fighting Jaffa. But out of choice, as a team, you are our leader. That's something you must recognise now. If Sam is more with it this morning, she's going to be looking to you for decision making and leadership; Teal'c will need you to be yourself too."

"And you Daniel?"

"Jack, do you think you can love me?"

"I already know I do."

"Then that's all I need."

Jack's gone to see Hammond and I'm heading to the infirmary.

"Daniel? Are you okay?"

"Morning Jan *achoo*, allergies, forgot my tablets and Jack played with a dog."

"Daniel, what am I going to do with you?" she scolds as she hauls me to her office. She grabs some tablets and gives them to me.

"How are Teal'c and Sam, and how are you coping, Jan?"

"Sam's better, but still a ways to go yet. Teal'c's almost back to his normal self. He came home with us last night, wanted to spend some time with me and Cassie."

"Good, I'm glad. It must be nice for you to have someone there too."

"Wonderful, Daniel, and he's such a kind man. Nothing like my ex-husband, Teal'c treats me with respect. Sometimes a little too much, if you get my drift."

Typical Jan, she always makes me laugh. I pull her into my arms and hug her.

"He doesn't mind if I hug you, does he?" I ask, not wanting to take a chance of spoiling her new relationship.

"Honey, nothing and nobody's coming between me and my best friends, got it? I love Teal'c. I've loved him for a long time as a friend. Things are getting more interesting now, admittedly, but you and Sam are still my closest friends. He knows this and he won't want to come between us. He knows you're not gonna take me from him."

"That's good. I have no desire to piss off a large Jaffa."

"Sugar, Teal'c loves you so much he'd drop me first. He won't do anything to upset you. No, we'll be okay, but I guess we'll have to stop the kissing and canoodling."

"Now there's a shame," I whisper. "We haven't canoodled for a long time."

I leave her giggling and head off to see Sam. She's much more responsive today but not talking about the planet. Every time the place is mentioned she retreats back into her own little world. I guess we're going to have to see if Teal'c can remember anything. Bronowski's still unconscious. Jacob tried to wake him but nothing came of it. Current thinking is that they've had their brain chemistry interfered with. By whom, and for what reason, we're still none the wiser.

"Sam, hey angel, you okay?"

"Daniel!" Oof, she's flung herself into my arms. This is not like her. Sure we hug but she's never treated me or anyone else as if they're some sort of lifeline.

We chat for ages, but nothing of importance is said. Jacob's worried sick, I can tell by the look in his eyes. So are we all, frankly. Teal'c's made the best recovery, but even he has a blank part of his memory. We have no idea what's causing this. I think I'm going to see Mom. Maybe a psych's perspective will help me deal. I need to talk about Jack, but the one person I normally talk to isn't going to understand. It has to be Mom.

I knock on her office door and cautiously go in there. Damn. She's looking as worried as me. Perhaps I shouldn't bother her.

"Daniel, darling, come in please," she says as she sees me. "What's bothering you?"

"Oh, um, I just wanted to see how you were coping with all this?"

"Sit down, Daniel, and tell me the truth." What?

"I am. I'm worried about you."

"That's only part of it, though, isn't it? Look, Daniel, I'm doing fine. I know that my son has lost his memory of the last eight years but don't forget that I hardly saw him or knew him for the first seven of them. I'm not missing out particularly. Jack and I had a good talk. I told him about his dad, we talked about Charlie and Sara. We got things sorted and on the road to healing, but for you, this is as bad as losing him."

"Worse in one way, Mom. I've got him but I've lost him. He says he's falling in love with me. I hope he is. You didn't tell him to say that, did you?"

"Oh Daniel, of course I didn't. I told him that the two of you were joined at the hip, I told him that you were the best of friends and that he loved you more than he had ever loved anyone. What I told him to do was give you a chance. Give himself a chance. He wasn't as distressed at the thought of losing Sara as you would have thought, I think he's still hurting hard about Charlie. Of all the times to go back to, it would be then, wouldn't it?" she sighs as she talks. I know how she feels.

"So, what do I do, Mom? I can't stop loving him."

"Don't stop loving him Daniel. There's always the chance that he's going to start remembering things, you know."

"I know. But what if what he's feeling is just some sort of rebound thing?"

"That is a possibility I suppose, but somehow I doubt it. Daniel, the feelings he had for you were so strong, can you not accept that there is a chance that some of those feelings are leaking through whatever block is there? That this is the same love he felt for you a few days ago?"

"I guess so. I'm just scared, Mom, scared of losing him. The first thing he called me when he saw me was 'geek'. Not very complimentary. It was how I knew he couldn't remember me. He used to call me things like that, when we went on the first mission."

"Is that why you cut your hair?"

I say nothing, I can't lie to her. I just didn't want to go through all that again. It would be too painful. I needed him to take me seriously.

"Daniel, you poor thing, do you think so little of yourself?" She comes over to me and sits on the couch, pulling me down and resting my head on her lap.

"Bet you do this for all the boys," I tease as she strokes my hair.

"Only mine," she replies with a wicked glint in her eyes.

"So, how do I make sure he falls for me again, Mom? I've never been sure why he liked me to start with, so I don't know how to get him. It's ridiculous. I spent years trying to hide my feelings for him, not knowing he was doing the same. In all that time, and before that too, I never had any problems asking anyone out or seducing them or anything. But with the one person I know best I haven't got a clue. I don't want to drive him away."

"I doubt you could, sweetheart. Tell me, are you sleeping with him?"

I sit up in surprise, but she pulls me back down. She knows we've had sex since he's come back, so why the question?

"Yes, I am."

"Are you doing it because you're afraid he'll go if you don't?"

I'm outside Mom's office, just about to knock on the door. I've been finding out some stuff about Daniel and me and boy has he surprised me again.

I can hear muffled voices, it sounds like Daniel's in there. I press my head up against the door.

"Tell me, are you sleeping with him?" That's Mom.

"Yes, I am." Daniel.

"Are you doing it because you're afraid he'll go if you don't?"

Go on, Daniel, I'd like to know that too. No answer. Dammit, he is.

"No, yes, no, hell, I don't know Mom. I love him, I'm crazy about him, I want him - God do I want him - I need him. I want to sleep with him, okay? But it feels like I'm cheating on my Jack. I'm afraid. Afraid that I'll lose him, that he'll get fed up of me and walk, or send me away, just like... No, he promised me he'd never do that. But I'm afraid of it still. Every day since we got together I've been afraid I'd lose him."

"Has he ever given you any reason to feel like this?"

"Not since we got together, no."

What did I do to him before?

"Mom, if he gets his memory back, is he going to hate me for jumping straight into bed with him now?"

That's it, I've had enough of this. I let Mom answer but I am not going to let him kill himself over me.

"No Daniel, I think he'll be proud of you, the way you're dealing with this and helping him."

I open the door. I'm in a quandary. Do I pretend I heard nothing? I look at Daniel. He's jerked himself to stand up and he's looking everywhere but at me. Fuck.

"Daniel, I'm glad I caught you," I say, my best colonel's voice cutting through the air. "Why didn't you tell me about this? Why did you make me out to be the saviour of the day?"

I drop some mission reports on Mom's desk.

"Mom? Did you know that Daniel's a freakin' hero? That he's saved my life and countless others? That he's freakin' died to save my life! Daniel, you amaze me, you really do. You told me you thought I couldn't fall for you because I'm supposed to be some sort of hero. You - you - are the real hero. Jeez Daniel, I've been riveted to these reports. I can't believe some of the things you've done. Not because I don't think you would or could do them, but because you're still alive to talk to me about them and you didn't say a damned word. C'mere, now, and I'm not taking 'no' for an answer."

He comes tentatively to me, almost as if he's afraid of me. That fucking bruise I left on his face isn't helping I guess.

I put my arms out to him. I look at Mom, she nods towards the door and scoots, shutting it behind her. He's with me, but he isn't.

"Daniel, what did I do that makes you afraid of me?"

"N.n.not you, Jack, not afraid of you."

"You're afraid of something."

"Afraid you won't want me, you'll want to leave me, want someone stronger."

"Shi-it, Daniel, there isn't anyone stronger, is there? Look, I don't expect to understand everything that's going on or has gone on. I should be pining for Sara, but I'm not. Sure, I'm still cut up about Charlie, but I think I've managed to accept that all this time has gone past. There's only one emotion that has been cutting through my mental block. I love you. I knew that long before I even felt it, Daniel. I love you. Get it?"

"Got it," he says quietly and snuggles into me, resting his head on my shoulder.

"Good. Maybe I'll get my memories back. Maybe I won't. But in the meantime, I want to make more of them, and I want to do that with you. Do you want that?"

"Yes, Jack, I do. I want that very much."

This is one weird briefing. We're in the infirmary, some of us are standing, some are on chairs, some are on the bed. The General's here. Nice guy, friendly like, I'm guessing a father figure to Daniel the way they talk to each other. Mom's here, that doctor, Janet too. She looks like she's a lot of fun. Sam Carter and her father the alien, the other alien Teal'c and Sam's boyfriend Ed. Daniel's sitting on the bed with Sam and she's snuggled into him. Ed doesn't look at all jealous. I think he and I need to have a talk, there's more to this relationship than it appears, I'm sure.

"How about the memory recall devices Selmac?" Daniel's asking.

I'm watching Jacob Carter, his head bows for a moment and then he looks up. Whoo boy, what the fuck is that?

It may be possible to break through the mental block using it, Daniel, but I would have reservations about it. We really need to know more about the original problem first. I would be afraid of making things worse than they already are.

Daniel's looking at me.

"Jack? Are you all right?" He's handed Sam to Ed and he's over to me in moments, smiling as he comes.

"That's Selmac speaking, Jack. I know it sounds strange, but it's okay. Selmac, I hope you're not put out by this," he says as he turns to them.

Of course not, Daniel. I can imagine that this must be quite strange for Jack. Don't worry Jack, I'm quite friendly, most of the time.

Jacob's eyes are twinkling, he bows his head and it's his own voice that comes out next.

"Don't believe her, Jack, she can be a real dragon when she puts her mind to it."

The others are laughing, I guess the joke's passed me by. He continues,

"How about I do the talking? It'll make a change for me anyway." He cracks himself up and then says, "You should hear what she said about that."

They're all laughing again. They must know this alien pretty well.

"Are you okay with this? Having an alien inside you?" I ask him.

"It was strange, but I'm used to it now. Selmac saved my life, Jack, I was dying of cancer. Her host was dying and she needed a new one. The Tok'ra never take an unwilling host if they can help it, emergencies are the only excuse and then they leave as soon as they can. I'm happy with her, grown pretty fond of the old girl to tell the truth, but don't tell her that."

"So what's the difference between them and the, what was it you called them, Daniel?"

"The Goa'uld, Jack. The difference is that with the Tok'ra, the relationship is symbiotic - it's mutually beneficial and based on friendship. With the Goa'uld the host is no more than a vessel, something to be used. They don't let the host have any control over what happens or what's said, they just take. They're thieves, Jack. Selmac and Jacob understand why I could never become a willing host, but I also understand why people would choose to. You get many benefits from the relationship."

"What do I feel about it?" I ask him. He looks at me and screws his face up.

"Jack, I'm not going to answer that. You can't remember why you would feel one way or another can you? So, I dunno, it would be like me saying 'you support the Yankies', but you wouldn't know why you did - whether it was out of choice or familial loyalty or whatever. Do you see what I'm saying?"

"Sort of."

"Ok-ay, how about this. I've told you that you are friends with the people in this room. In fact, outside your blood family, we are your family. I've told you this and you accept it, right? Even though you have no recollection of anyone except Mom. Now, if I was to say you want to be a Tok'ra, you may accept that. If I was to say you'd rather die than be one, you'd accept that. You as you are don't have the baggage that you had a few days ago. It's giving you the chance to make your own mind up about things all over again. It's not my place to make your mind up for you. I told you about us for one reason only. We love you and we want you to know that. You have friends and family and we're going to help you through this because you need people you can trust. As for the rest, it's up to you how you feel. We'll be here for you as you make your choices, that's all."

"Wow, that was a pretty eloquent explanation, Daniel. I can see what you're saying too. Thanks, I appreciate that. By the way, I don't really support the Yankies, do I?"

He groans and hits me. I guess not then.

"So, much as that was interesting and useful, it hasn't really helped us much, has it?" Mom's asking.

"How about we go back to the planet, General?" Daniel's asking.

"ABSOLUTELY NOT!" "NO!" "WE CAN'T!" Sam, Teal'c and I yell at him.

"Wow," Janet says. "Remember last time we saw that, General?"

"Indeed I do, Doctor." He looks over to Daniel and says, "It was when you were left behind on Oannes, Daniel. At the suggestion that they return the three of them vehemently opposed such an action."

"Hang on," I interrupt, I don't remember this but no way I wouldn't go back to get him. "Sir, if I left Daniel, or anyone behind, which I find hard to believe anyway, why wouldn't I have gone back to retrieve him?"

"Colonel... Jack," his voice is quiet and calm, very paternal as he puts a hand on my arm. "I didn't give you that report to read yesterday. Perhaps you'd better come with me."

I follow him to his office. Why do I get the feeling I won't like this?

I'm worried. Jack has been gone for absolutely ages. We carried on talking in Sam's room for a while, but then dispersed, agreeing to meet up again when Jack and the General came back. I think I'd better head up to George's room and find out what's happening.

"Doctor Jackson, how is he?"

"Sir? I came here to look for him. What's happening?"

"Oh dear. He read the report and some others that I withheld from him yesterday," he puts the mission reports in front of me. He continues as I check out which ones they are, "And he wasn't very happy. I thought he was coming to see you, I was going to give him a little while before resuming the meeting."

"Okay, I'll go look for him. I think I may have an idea Sir, I'll work on it while I look."

"You do that, son, call me when you're ready."

His office - nope, not here. My office - nope, not here either. Damn, where is he? Gym, I'll try there. And yes, third time lucky. He's beating the crap out of a punch bag, with no boxing gloves on either. There are some marines in the room, obviously giving some new recruits lessons in dealing with Jaffa from the moves they're putting on them.

"Hey Dr. J. What's up with the old man? He's been beating seven shades of shit out of that bag for ages."

"Just found out something he doesn't like. Don't worry, I'll sort him out."

I hear a snort from one of the new guys. "Yeah, what's a dweeb like him going to do? Cry?"

A few sniggers from the other new guys until the older ones flatten them. "Shut the fuck up. Dr. J's one of us, treat him with respect or you'll have us to answer to." Yeah, you go guys.

I can see that Jack hasn't spotted me yet, either that or he's ignoring me. A punch is aimed at the bag and I take my life in my hands, swing my hand out and catch his fist in my palm. Ow, ow, ow, fucking ow, that hurt. How in hell's name did I pull that one off without screaming? Ah well, it had the desired effect, his head snapped around and he's seen me now.

"Come on Jack, time for a shower, I think," I say as I wrinkle my nose. Not gonna say just what effect his sweaty body has on me. Not in public anyway.

He follows me meekly out of the gym, and we leave the new marines with their mouths open and the old ones laughing their asses off. Seems I won't have any problems with the new batch either. Just wish it didn't have to hurt so much.

I help him get his vest off, his hands are bruised and bloody. He hasn't said anything yet. There are times when I'm really, really glad we've got private showers. I undress too and take him into the shower. This isn't for sex, this is to make sure that he gets through this.

Back out, I towel off quickly and get some clothes back on, then start on him. He's shivering, shock I think. It's got to be more than the report that's doing this.

I've got some pants on him and he's letting me slip a T over his head.

"Jack, it's time to talk to me now. Come on, babe, tell me what's wrong. Have I done something to upset you?" I don't think I have but that might snap him out of it. It does, his denial is vehement.

"NO! God no, Daniel, it's me, not you."

"Is it the thing about Oannes, Jack? That wasn't your fault, hun, you had no way of knowing I was still alive."

"I left you, Daniel, I left you to die."

"You didn't know, Jack. As far as you knew I was dead, burned to a cinder. There wasn't anything you could have done to rescue me if that had been true. Come on Jack, I never blamed you, I thought you'd got over it."

"I tried to retire," he says. "The General told me. I smashed a window on his car. Didn't want to go back through the gate without you. I left you on that ship to die too, didn't I?"

"Jack, we were all dead as far as we knew. We were trying to save the planet. You did what you had to do, you did the right thing."

"I keep leaving you Daniel. I left you in that padded room too."

"You were acting under medical advice, Jack. I'd really rather not talk about that, it still hurts to think back to that, but not because of you, I promise. You were the one that came for me, Jack, you believed that I'd figured things out and that I wasn't out of my skull. You, Jack."

"Daniel, why?"

"Um, why what?"

"Why do you love me?"

Whoo boy, go straight for the easy questions, why don't you? I sit next to him and put my arm around him and pull him close to me.

"Jack, there are more reasons for me loving you than I could ever begin to explain. You are a good man, Jack, a rare man. You do what you believe to be right. Now, you and I sometimes disagree what that is, but that doesn't matter. I could never respect someone that didn't do what they believed to be right. You are kind, gentle - a big marshmallow under all that bluster, but don't worry, your secret's safe with me," I tease and get a smile from him.

"You make me laugh, not many people can do that. You make me feel wanted, you make me feel safe. There are more reasons, for example the fact that you are one sexy man and I can't keep my hands off you, but if I tell you that your already overinflated ego might get a bit bigger." A chuckle now, good, I'm getting through to him.

"But I think that the biggest thing is that you're my best friend. You've always been there for me, Jack. I love you for that. If something happened to one of us that meant we could never have sex again, it wouldn't really matter. As long as we have each other, can live together, be best of friends, I'll be happy. How about you?"

He looks into my eyes, his beautiful brown ones darkening with passion but still soft with love.

"Daniel. Just never leave me, okay? I don't think I could go on without you. The rest of it will take care of itself."

Stuff the rules, I kiss him. Not too much, just briefly, but enough to tell him that I love him.

"Get a room you two," Ferretti's voice cuts through the air. He's obviously just got back with his team. We may have our own shower but we have to share the lockers. Damn.

"Ferretti? What are you doing here?" Jack demands.

"Jack, Lou's been here since the first mission. We're the only three left from it," I explain. Lou's face has screwed up into a frown.

"Daniel? What's wrong?"

"Jack's lost his memory, Lou, from just before the first mission. He's learning everything again."

"Damn, Jack, that's gotta be inconvenient," he says as he gets right up to us. He drops the teasing tone and adds, "Are you okay, Jack? You're not looking too happy."

"Just getting frustrated that's all, Lou," he replies.

I straighten out his hands and inspect his knuckles.

"Who did you take it out on?" Lou asks with a laugh and then he sees my face, all brightly-coloured. Damn.

"The punch bag, Lou. This is Jack we're talking about."

He buys that, I think. Jack's about to say something but I shoot him a look. He may not know me but he's quick on the uptake. He keeps his mouth shut.

"Hang on, Daniel, does this mean that Jack doesn't remember you? Shi-it, that's gotta hurt."

"It's okay, I'm getting through to him," I say, waggling my eyebrows in what I hope is a leering way. It makes them both laugh, so I think it worked.

"You have no idea," Jack moans. "Lou, can you honestly tell me that we let him through the gate? That's gotta be one of the dumbest things ever. He's a walking invitation to sin, for crying out loud."

Lou cracks up and points out that it was Jack that fought to have me on his team.

"Obviously didn't trust him with anyone else, Jack," he adds.

"Seems I did something right," Jack replies.

"Lots of things, Jack, lots of things. Come on, back to the infirmary. I want Jan to look at your hands and then we have a meeting to finish."

He stands up, surprised that he has his shoes on. So, I got him completely dressed, what of it?

"Daniel, one thing," Lou asks. "What's with the hair?"

"Finally found the time to get to the barber," I call back. That's all he's getting today.

I've just got it in the neck from Janet for punching the bag without gloves on. Okay, it was a pretty stupid thing to do, but I wasn't thinking straight. Daniel's rubbing the palm of one hand.

"Daniel? Did I hurt you?"

"Ooh, no, I'm fine," he replies.

"You're lying," I tell him. Nope Daniel, I obviously can't lie to you but I can see right through you too.

"I'm fine Jack, look." He holds his hand out, it's a bit red from where he's been rubbing it but nothing else. "It's a little sore," he admits.

"In which case I'm going to X-ray it," Janet says. "You'll have to get used to this, Colonel. When Daniel says he's fine, he's not. When he says he's a little sore he hurts like hell. If he's dying, he may possibly admit to being in pain. The only time he really complains is when he has one of those headaches."

"Those headaches?"

"Yeah, he gets two types of bad ones. One is when he crawls into a darkened room and the other one is when he spends all his time hurling. He's good at that, the Upchuck King of Cheyenne Mountain."

Daniel just mutters something under his breath and follows her quietly to the machine. I hope I haven't broken anything, I'm feeling bad enough about hitting him in the first place. Why didn't he tell anyone I hit his face? Must he cover for me? Oh God, he doesn't have to do that on a regular basis, does he? I don't hit him do I?

He comes back out and I sit him on a bed and make him look at me.

"Daniel, I'm gonna ask you something and you are going to answer me truthfully, okay? No covering for me."

He looks surprised but agrees.

"Do I hit you at home?"

"God NO! Never, Jack. What brought this on?"

"Your face, Daniel, you covered for me earlier."

"That was because you were afraid when you did it and you didn't know me or who I was. I made the mistake, Jack. If the roles had been reversed I might have decked you. Don't you think I could?"

"I'm pretty sure you could if you wanted to," I reply, but I don't think I've convinced him.

Oh. I'm now eating blanket. One of my arms is twisted behind me in the position that means if I move my neck will be broken. It happened fast. He's good at that.

"Now are you convinced?" he asks.

"Oh yeah," I blurt out, my voice is muffled by the blanket. "Definitely convinced." Phew, he's let me go.

I stand up and look at him. He's grinning.

"You taught me how to look after myself a long time ago, Jack. Trust me, if you'd been in the habit of hitting me I'd have hospitalised you. I don't like bullies. Neither do you. Okay?"

Oh yeah, it's okay.

"So, what's this idea of yours, Daniel?" I ask as we all sit around in the briefing room. I'm glad that his hand is fine, just sore, that's all.

Janet decided that Sam should be released and that normality should be assumed around her. Whatever normal is around here.

"Simple, I think we should ask Omorocca for help. I think she will if she can. I've visited with her since and she's always been happy to see me. They would appear to know about this sort of thing, maybe they can help."

"Daniel? Omorocca?" I ask. There's something familiar about that but I can't quite place it.

"She's on Oannes, Jack," he says quietly.

I am going to be perfectly reasonable about this. I am not going to go mad. I am going to sit here and remain calm. Am I fuck?

"WHAT?! You go there?"

"Of course, Jack. Haven't you read about Babylon yet?"

"Babylon? What the fu, er hell has ancient history got to do with this?"

He's smiling at me. "Jack, calm down. Babylon is the name of the planet where we met Omorocca. I took her home. She's a friend of ours."

"A friend? After what happened? Tell me!"

"Jack, please. Nem was just trying to find out what had happened to his wife, he'd been waiting thousands of years. I thought she was dead. The reference in Budge said so. Always said he was a useless bastard. Anyway, turns out she was just lost and confused and I took her home. I've visited them a couple of times, on my own. I'm perfectly safe with them. Honestly."

"You're telling me that you're happy to visit someone who tortured you?"

"It wasn't like that, Jack. You have to believe me. Hey, good stuff happened on Babylon, you know. We got the planetary defence stuff, partied, got married," he's teasing me now. His eyes are twinkling at me. He doesn't look bothered about going to this Oannes at all.

"Got a hangover to end all hangovers," a voice comes from behind me.

"Paul! What are you doing here?"

Paul? Who's he? Everyone seems to be pleased to see him, even the General. And what the fuck is he doing here?

"Josh? Is that you?"

"Who else would it be? Oh of course, you wouldn't remember, Jack. I'm a senator now, I work closely with Major Davis here, the liaison between the SGC and the Pentagon. Hasn't Daniel told you?"

"Sorry, I haven't," Daniel's saying. "I didn't want to tell Jack everything, I've been hoping he'd remember things if they were shocked out of him."

"You could have told me that," I complain.

"Um, Jack? If I had it wouldn't have worked."

Oh yes. He's got a point. Apparently Josh and 'Paul' (and I'm going to have to find out what he is to Daniel) have heard about us and come on 'official' business to make sure we're okay. Not that they're worried or anything.

I stand up and go across to Josh and I'm surprised when he pulls me into a hug.

"Are you okay, Jack? We've been worried since we heard."

"I'm fine, everybody's being really helpful," I reply, still stunned by his greeting of me. I guess this openness is taking me longer to get used to than I thought it would.

We go to sit, but he heads off to see Sam and Teal'c, making sure that they're all right too. Major Davis seems concerned about Daniel. They must be good friends.

More discussions about what should and could be done and it's finally agreed that Daniel will go to Oannes tomorrow. It's getting late so the General dismisses us and sends us home. Josh and the Major are coming with us, apparently.

That was fun. The four of us stopped off in a restaurant and had a meal before heading back home. Good food, good wine, good company. All in all, rather, um, good.

I'm not sure if Jack has clued into Josh and Paul's relationship yet but he's going to soon. We're all tired and I want to hit the sack if I'm going through the gate tomorrow.

"You two okay?" I ask as they head upstairs. Jack's doing a goldfish impersonation. They're going up holding hands. I'm trying not to laugh.

They call back that they're fine so I turn to Jack.

"Do you want me to sleep with you tonight?" I ask.

"Why wouldn't I?" he's pretty stunned by my question.

"Jack, I don't want to assume anything, okay? Thinking that I'm sharing your bed tonight is an assumption. I won't do that if I can help it. I dare say I'll do it by mistake a few times but I'll try not to. For you this is a new relationship. You don't know me at all. When you have a new relationship you don't always want to spend every waking moment with your partner. For me it's normal. I'm happy to be joined at the hip with you, but I don't want to assume that it's what you want."

He nods, understanding my position, then - oy - he kisses me.

"You can make one assumption Daniel. I want to be with you. No ifs, no buts, I know I want this."

"Good, then take me to bed, Colonel O'Neill, before I fall asleep on my feet."

He takes me by the hand and leads me upstairs. I feel a bit excited, just as I did when we first got together. This is fun.

We get changed quickly, there's a joking scramble for the bathroom which I let him win. Paul has just come out of the spare room looking thoroughly kissed. We're queuing up and waiting for Jack to finish. Finally he comes out and I scoot in, much to Paul's annoyance. I'm as quick as I can though and I'm back out before he's finished complaining. I kiss his cheek to say goodnight and then push Jack into the bedroom, to the accompanying laughter from Paul and Josh who had just joined them.

"Daniel? Are you going to explain that?"

"Jealous Jack?" I ask as I push him on the bed.

"Me? No, of course not. Well, maybe a bit. Come on, talk or I'll tickle you."

We scramble under the covers and I tell him.

"Paul and I were together for about six months. You introduced him to Josh, well they'd officially met but you 'introduced' them, if you get my drift. It was at the time that we left the SGC, a year ago now. They've been living together openly for about six months. Some of Josh's constituents kicked up a fuss that he hadn't declared himself to be gay when he was elected, but the overall public opinion was that he's a very good senator and stuff his orientation. Paul's a political animal, a Democrat like Josh. They're perfect for each other."

"So now, you two are..."

"Just good friends, Jack, honest. You have nothing to be jealous about. I love Paul as a friend, nothing more, okay? Just as you and Josh love each other as friends. Since his indoctrination into the stargate programme you and Josh have seen a lot of each other. I'm not worried, so don't be about Paul and me."

"I didn't think you were going to leave me for him, you know," he splutters indignantly. Hmm, I'll reserve judgement on that one.

"Jack, there's a little tradition that you and I have. Do you want to know about it?"

"Of course."

"Well, the night before a mission," I start to trace a pattern over his chest with my finger, "we always would let each other know just how much we love each other. Just in case. It's become a good luck thing. You don't have to carry on with this mmmfflll."

Perhaps he wants to. I can't tell him any more, his mouth is firmly clamped to mine and things are, um, firming up all round. Damn, he's good at that. Actually he's just good at everything. I break for some air.

"Shh, Daniel, you have to keep quiet, we've got guests," he says, his eyes sparkling and full of mischief. I can barely see them but the moon's bright tonight and we haven't shut the curtains so I can just about make them out. Besides, I know that tone of voice. I am going to get so well laid tonight. Come to think of it, it's his turn to get laid. I pull the lube out of the drawer and go down.

"I've got co-ff-ee," he's crooning as I force my eyes open.

"Oh God gimme," I just about make it to sit up when I smell that heavenly aroma.

He waits till I've drunk it then sticks a question on me.

"Daniel, I can't get used to how, um, openly affectionate you and I are at work. I can't see how that doesn't affect things there."

Oh God, philosophy on one cup of coffee? Ugh.

"Look Jack, you and I were best friends for years. Before we got together you'd touch me, hug me, be kind to me without ever feeling embarrassed. I don't like being touched by other people, I guess I never got used to it as a kid, but I never minded you doing it. It's who and what you are. You are an affectionate person. The grunts know you're not to be messed with, they know that you're only like it with women, kids and, um, me. I was never sure at first as to whether that was a compliment or an insult. All I know though is that I looked for it and missed it when it didn't happen.

"We went through a phase of not being particularly good friends at one time. I'm not going into that, it's over, passed, gone. As a result of it though you wanted to make it up to me and you've reverted to your friendlier ways. I'm glad, it makes me feel good. We're only like it in front of certain people. The gang, Lou, and some of the others that know and understand us. It's not as if we hold hands in the corridor or anything. And the day you start quoting Shakespeare to me in the gate room is the day I beat you up. Sappy I may be where you are concerned but I do have my dignity, you know."

He laughs at the image that conjures.

"I guess what I'm saying is this. When we got the law changed, it wasn't so we could paint the SGC pink - though that has happened to your office once. I'm not reminding you of that though, I want to live. Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yes. We just wanted to be able to live together and be together without censure. That's all. Everyone there knows how much we love each other. In fact they were as shocked as hell to find out that we hadn't been fucking like bunnies since the word go. It took us five years before we got together. I'd known you the previous year to that too. I don't want a PDA every time we walk into the mess, I don't want one at all in fact. I do want to be able to hold your hand if you're sick in the infirmary without worrying that you'd get arrested. Understand?"

"I think so, it's just I had to hide who and what I was for so long it's come as a shock that everyone's okay with it. The General, he doesn't mind, does he?"

"Not in the slightest. You told George about us from the word go. He helped protect us Jack. Oh, there's one other thing. Did Mom tell you about George and her?"

"What about them?" he's curious, I can tell.

"Ever since Mom moved down here they've been courting." I use the old-fashioned word because it describes them so well. George is courting Mom and she's having the time of her life.

"I'm okay with this?" he asks incredulously.

"Jack, George is perfect for her. He treats her like a queen, he's kind, gentle, respectful. He's a lonely widower and Mom's lonely since your dad died. He makes her happy. You and I know him to be the best man for her. You're not only okay with this, you're happy about it. I know I said I wouldn't tell you your opinions on things, but this is important. Mom's happy. Don't get mad and screw things up for her, okay?"

"Promise. He seems like a good guy. I won't say anything about it. Besides, if your trip today pans out, I may get my memory back and things will be back to normal."

"Yeah, you're right. OHMYGOD out of my way! I've got to get to work. I'm late. Damn Jack, did you have to start me on long discussions now?"

That's it, laugh it up flyboy. It's okay for you, you don't have a rep for being late.

I don't like this, I don't like this at all. He's been gone for hours. I can understand why Hammond wouldn't let me through the gate but I don't like the fact that he let him go on his own. He swears he's safe. Have I said that I don't like this?

The gate's dialling. This has got to be him. Please let him be okay.

"It's SG-1's signal, Sir, it's Dr. Jackson," the tech calls up.

I'm down and into the gate room as fast as I can go. I yell at the SFs to stand down, don't want any misunderstandings. What the fuck is that?

"Jack!" Daniel's calling as he strolls down the ramp. "This is Omorocca. Omorocca, you remember Jack, don't you?"

So this is the 'Cod'mother. Daniel warned me that fish jokes wouldn't be tolerated by him so I'll keep that one to myself. He's probably heard them all before.

"Jack," the creature from the deep speaks, "I must determine what has happened to you. This is not good. Not good at all."

Ya think?

Daniel and I accompany 'her' (?) as she leaves a wet trail as we go. Up to the infirmary, I think. I call to a grunt to find Sam and Teal'c too and meet us there.

Daniel and I sit on a bed - the fish prefers to stand - and we wait for the others.

"What do you remember?" it asks as it reaches out a hand to me.


Images, memories maybe, flashing across my mind. OhGodohGodohGod it hurts. My head... it's going to explode!

Jack is lying on the bed, screaming his head off, thrashing around. I have no idea what is going on.

"Omorocca, what is happening?" I beg.

"I am unsure. That should not have happened. I only wanted to see what was in his mind. I thought that I would have to take him with me to help him. This should not have happened."

"Yeah, you already said that. What should I do?" I'm getting desperate here.

"Try to calm him, perhaps I can see his mind if he is calmed."

Ok-ay, here goes nothing. I've taken my glasses off and I'm going to do something very, very stupid. I lay down next to him and pull him into my arms. Janet's shooed everyone that doesn't need to be here out. No need to make this a spectator sport. Only she, Teal'c, Sam and Omorocca are in here. Oh, and Mom and George. Ah well, they know us. It's not as if I'm going to strip him and fuck him or anything. Not yet anyway, I may if I get that desperate.

I hold him tight, pressing him hard to me. I must remember to thank him for making me work out. All those hours in the gym seem to have paid off. He's calming a bit.

"Jack, please, I'm here okay? It's me, Daniel, come on Jack, relax. We can't help you if you don't. Let it go Jack, I'm here, I've got you. I won't let you go."

Confused eyes peer at me. Cold, hard, absolutely terrified.

"You - you're dead," he says.

"Jack, where are you? Tell me now, where are you?"

"Another planet, Abydos, you just died."

Wow, whatever Omorocca did is triggering a very powerful memory for him.

"Not dead, Jack, I came back. It's okay. Try to relax. We're going to help you and get you out of here. Trust me Jack."

More screams, more thrashing, I'm having to hold him even tighter. OW! My ribs. One of his elbows just caught me hard.

"KAWALSKY!" Jack screams. Oh fuck.

"TEAL'C" I yell, "go and contact Thor - maybe he will know what to do. Sam, is your dad still here?"

"He's at my place, he went to call Mark with the web camera. He wanted to see the kids."

"Get him back quickly. Hurry, both of you."

I have an idea what's going on and it isn't going to be pretty.

"General, please, organise a VIP room. No cameras. Make sure that any weapons are out of the room. Then I'll take Jack there. I think he's going to want to go through this in private."

"Consider it done, son."

"Daniel, what's going on?"

"I think that Jack is about to relive the last seven years, Mom. This is not going to be much fun."