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Settled Down 5

flying high

Summary: Daniel has to fly - and you know how much he loves that, don't you? Contains bigotry, but it's not too bad.
Notes: I have never been to California. All my references are from research. Any mistakes are therefore Yahoo's. Blame them.


"No. No, non, niet, nein, nage, nee, abso-fucking-lutely not. Not no way, not no how. No. Did I say no?"

"Aw, come on Daniel, it'll be fun."

"No, it won't. It will be terrifying. I'm not going Jack."

"Please," Jack's whining like a five year-old now. The answer's still 'no' though.

"Jack. When I got the damn thing it was on the understanding that it would make 'YOU' happy. Not me. I never had any intention of going anywhere near the thing let alone up in it. Now, I think I've been more than reasonable. I've not complained once when you've suddenly cancelled plans I've made just so that you can go and look at it. I've even driven you there, brought you food when you've been there all day and stood there like a fucking lemon passing you spanners and God knows what else. That is the end of it Jack. It is done. My participation in the entire project is now over."

"But DAN-iel, it's the maiden flight since she passed her checks and got her certificate. I don't want anyone else there with me."

"Jack, Jack, Jack, dearest Jack, you don't get to have me there with you," I say as sweetly and gently as I can. "You know how I feel about flying. You know what it does to me. Please Jack, don't ask this of me." I'll beg if you want me to and it'll be even uglier than your pleading.

I think I may have had more faith in the machine if he hadn't called it 'Albatross'. I'm not sure why he called it that, but I think he saw my bank statement or the loan agreement. Ouch. Still, he's been happy - till now.

"So, how else are we going to get to California?"

"What? What do you mean 'how else are we going to get to California?' Why on earth would we want to go there? Jack - what have you signed me up for now?"

"Joe's wedding. Come on, I told you a couple of days ago. You know, when we were in bed, you got out the chocolate sauce, I found the handcuffs - woo hoo time."

"And you expect me to remember ANYTHING from then?"

"I asked, you agreed, what can I say?"

"JACK! I'd have agreed to having my fucking legs chopped off if I was in that position. I seem to just about remember screaming 'harder, faster, fuck me now you bastard', but after that the entire night is a bit of a blur."

"Yeah, it was pretty good, wasn't it?"

"Pretty good? It was fucking fantastic. Want a repeat performance?"

"Later. You're trying to distract me again, Daniel." Of course I am. California! Huh! He knows I hate flying.

"Jack, when's the wedding?"

"Saturday."

"This Saturday?"

"Oh yeah. Don't worry, we've got the week off from Thursday. Mom told me when we got back from that, eh hem, extended visit to the Planet of the Grapes."

No wonder I didn't know what was going on. That was one hell of a trip, and I use the term advisedly. The inhabitants served wine with everything. Absolutely everything. Wine doesn't normally get me too drunk but even Teal'c was ratted. It took us two days of sleeping off the effects at the SGC before our blood/alcohol levels were down enough for us to be driven home. Come to think of it, it took us three days to find the stargate. And we ended up on the wrong planet on the way home. I, er, misdialled. I was pissed. So were the others, but they still managed to blame me. It may have helped if the natives hadn't refilled all of our water bottles with yet more wine. And of course, there was no fresh water supply handy. Mind, that new planet we found was very pretty. Sandy beaches, palm trees, warm water... I digress.

"Jack, why don't we fly commercial?"

"Because I want to take the Albatross. She needs to be flown, Daniel. Please, do it for me, huh?"

"Absolutely not."


I have no idea how I ever let myself get talked into these things. I've taken my happy pills. Twice. It's only 6 a.m. and I'm still feeling nervous.

"Dammit Daniel, I'm a pilot. I do this for a living. Don't you trust me?"

"Sure Jack, I trust you. I just don't trust anything with wings. Even birds give me the willies."

Aw fuck, this is it. He's bundled the luggage in and now I'm being strong-armed into the passenger seat.

"Do your seat belt up, Daniel," he instructs.

"Oh? Are we going to drive on the freeway instead then? That could be fun. Every time we get to a hold-up you could speed up and hop over the traffic. I think I could just about cope with flying at twenty feet."

Oh, oh, he's taxiing and I'm feeling sick. He's done his pre-flight checks so now it's time for mine.

Oh great, now he does his 'Captain O'Neill' thing.

"Good morning and welcome to Albatross Air, the safest way to travel. For your information, we will be cruising at an altitude of 11,000 ft and at an air speed of 80 mph. We will be descending twice to refuel and take a rest, so if you wish to throw up, kindly leave it till we're on solid ground."

"Fuck off O'Neill," I grouch. Shi-it. He's taken off. I've left my stomach behind and we're going uuuup!


Daniel's as white as a sheet, poor love. He's also complaining that we're going to have to land and take off a couple more times.

"Better than running out of fuel, Daniel," I tell him.

"I thought you had extra fuel tanks so that your range would be increased."

"Yeah, we didn't have time to fit them though. Sorry about that."

"You mean I'm flying in an unfinished plane?" He's desperately trying to keep calm but failing miserably.

"Daniel, would I do something like that to you?"

"Yes, you would."

"Well, I haven't. The checks this baby had to go through were very thorough. Dammit Daniel, I'm a professional pilot. I don't get into planes that aren't safe."

"You got into the death glider," he snipes.

"Yeah, well, that was different. We didn't know about the homing device. Anyone coulda made that mistake."


He's giving me the silent treatment. Four hours it's gone on. Four freakin' hours of nothing. I'd even put up with a grouch from him.

Time to land. I've already arranged with the small airfields on the way for food and fuel, so I radio in to tell them I'm on time and preparing to come down. I get a cheerful greeting and down we go.

He's stopped shaking now. That landing was as smooth as a baby's butt if I say so myself. We're at a small airfield in the vicinity of Nowheresville just off the I-70. Daniel's confused about that.

"Jack? Why didn't we just drive? I mean, if you're following the roads to find your way there."

"Daniel, it's quite normal. Look, these main roads are usually fairly straight, right?"

"Right," he sounds dubious.

"Well, if you want to go from point A to point B, you go the quickest way and that's usually the straightest way, right?"

"Right," again the doubt.

"So, you follow the Interstate. Simple. It's common practise, honest."

I think this place must be a family concern. There's some bustling grandma who's fussing over us and virtually forcing us into her rest area. Daniel's dozy. He's taken his pills, they're working too. He's not really with it.

"What's up with your friend, dear?" she asks.

"He hates flying. Don't worry about it, he's always like this when we fly."

How long is he going to be in the toilets? Hell, I think I'll have to go and find him. Fuck. He's on the floor and out cold.

Great, I'll have to go and get help. Just how many of those pills did he take? I get one of the mechanics to give me a hand and we lift him off the floor. He's still breathing, thank God. Oh, now he's on his feet and snoring. Oh brother. We get him back to the plane and strap him in. I go back to the cafeteria (a bit of a generous description that) and get some food to go. They fill our thermos with coffee too. I think Daniel's going to need it later. Time to go again.


Time to land again and he's still sleeping. He's probably going to be bouncing around tonight. This is so going to fuck up his sleeping pattern again. We haven't long got over that patch that he went through around the time of the Furling thing either.

Okay, I do a repeat performance. Refuel and refill the food and coffee. I've been eating and drinking even if he hasn't. Oh, I need to take a leak too. Back to the Albatross and something's missing. Daniel. Where the fuck is he?

Great. Fricking marvellous. I've got this entire trip timed so I get to the final airstrip before nightfall and he disappears.

Ah, there he is, drinking some coffee.

"Daniel, come on, I've got food and coffee in the plane. Are you all right?"

"Um, Jack? Where are we?"

"At the second airfield Daniel. You fell asleep at the first one. Come on, back aboard now please or we'll have to stay here all night."

He's quivering as I take hold of him and steer him back to the plane.

"Look, Daniel, if you want you can fly commercial back, okay? Let's just get there now, huh? It should only be another three hours."

"Three hours? Oh God."

He's quite limp as I buckle him up. I shouldn't have asked him to do this. I can see some major sucking up in my future. That could be interesting.

"Daniel? Why don't you tell me about that civilisation you want to visit on our next trip through the gate? You know, the one you said reminded you of the Carthaginians when you saw the UAV film."

He looks at me a little suspiciously but decides that I'm a captive audience. I'm not sure if he knows it but I can listen and blank him out at the same time. It's a gift. I think I'm due a lecture anyway, it'll make him happy and take his mind off the flying.

Actually, I'm having the time of my life. F15s might be fast and all, but this is wonderful. And the Albatross handles like a dream, responsive and forgiving. Yeah, I like that.

"FUCKINGHELLJACKWHATTHEHELLWASTHAT?"

"Calm down Daniel, it was just a bit of turbulence, okay? It's over now. Aw shit - sick bag's in front of you."

He's hurling like there's no tomorrow. I hand him a second bag - and a third. Dammit, he's really ill now. Two more hours to go.

I tell him to take a drink, I've got some bottled water in here. He's sipping it, but I can see his hands shaking as he puts the bottle to his mouth. What was I thinking, bringing him here like this? I owe him big time.

He's fallen asleep again. Best thing really. It could be fun trying to wake him up when we get there. What he doesn't know is that the airstrip we're landing at is on the land owned by Joe's girlfriend's family. They're rich. Stinking rich. Old money from out East mixed with new money made from Silicon Valley and Napa Valley. I'm just glad he was sleeping as we turned off the road and flew over Death Valley. Though at least Daniel would feel at home down there, all hot and dry. Sheesh. I don't know how he does it. Fair-skinned people like him usually burn like mad in the hot sun. He goes pink but then bronze and stays that way. And it makes him look like a god. Woof.

Finally, we're there. The Albatross was a darling. Somehow though I think he's going to head to San Francisco and fly commercial back. It's a hell of a lot quicker.

"Come on Daniel, we're here. Aw, wake up babe, please. I've got coffee, lots of lovely coffee."

"We're down?" Old grog-features is actually coming round as I wave the cup under his nose. Who needs smelling salts when you've got Java?

"No more flying for a few days Daniel, we're here."

"Thank God for that. Gimme." Nope, his linguistic skills haven't improved yet.

A truck is coming to meet us. I open the side window and the guy in it yells at me to taxi towards the end of the field. A couple more craft will be coming for the wedding. I park her up and unload the baggage - oh, and Daniel who still looks like seven shades of shit.

The guy in the truck comes over to us.

"You must be Jack," he yells. "I'm Andrew, Eleanor's brother."

We shake, Daniel's still physically shaking but he manages to grasp his hand.

"Daniel," he says. "Friend of the family."

Daniel, Daniel, Daniel you haven't grasped the fundamental fact that you are family, have you? Ah well, you soon will.

Andrew helps us with our stuff and we pile into the truck. He's looking a bit awkward.

"Joe said you'd be coming with your partner. Um, where is she?"

"Right here," I drawl, looking at Daniel who still looks like he wants to hurl. "He's not feeling too good at the moment, flying does this to him. He's happier on a camel."

Andrew looks surprised to say the least. Unhappy would be a better word. Seems like I need to have a word with that nephew of mine. Rotten sod probably 'forgot' to mention the fact that my partner's a man. Heh heh heh, this could be fun.

"Oh," Andrew replies. "Well, um, okay."

Daniel sort of wakes up. "Is this going to be a problem?" he asks, raising one eyebrow which is normally a prelude to him getting mad.

"Oh no, no, I'm sure it won't be. It's just, er..."

"Your parents are a bit old-fashioned?" I prompt.

"Yeah, something like that," he growls.

Fucking great, that's all we need. A family bust-up. Ah well, it wouldn't be a wedding without one. Joe's completely taken with Daniel - I'd have to keep an eye on that but fortunately Daniel seemed to retreat into his world of oblivion when we got together. He hasn't got a clue how many people lust after him, even straight guys. Whatever, I can't see Joe getting married unless we are here for him. Besides, he and I get on really well, always have done. He was a brilliant older cousin to Charlie and I became particularly close to him after Charlie died.


Jack's mind is elsewhere. He's thinking about Charlie, I guess. He usually does when he looks like this. I wonder what triggered that line of thought off? I put my hand on his arm and he looks at me and smiles. Comfort offered and acknowledged without a word being spoken. We thought we'd be really upset when we lost the telepathic link, but it dawned on us quickly that we didn't need it. We already know what the other one is thinking or feeling. Actual words aren't necessary or sometimes even wanted. After all, what could I have said to him just now?

Oh my God - Jack said this place was a farm. It's not. It's a vineyard. It's fucking huge. The house looks like an hotel it's so big. Damn, I'm glad I brought my new Armani suit, the one that I got just before the fuck up with the new General (the blood's come out, thank God). It's not going to look out of place here. My jeans, however, probably are. Or not. Andrew's wearing some. There's hope for me yet.

We pull up at the front of the would-be stately home and we fall out of the truck. Jeez, they've got staff! Our stuff is being taken from the truck to God knows where and we're being ushered indoors. Andrew's having a quiet word with one of the guys with the luggage and I can see a few raised eyebrows. Jack has defiantly grabbed my hand though, so I'm not letting go. I still feel a bit rough to tell the truth.

"Uncle Jack! Daniel! I'm so glad you came!"

Thank heavens for that - a friendly face or two, Eleanor's here too. Jack's beaming at his nephew and getting the shit hugged out of him. Oof, me too.

"Hey Joe, Elly, how're things?"

"Wonderful. We're so happy you could make it," Elly replies.

Aw, isn't that sweet, they look so happy together.

"Um, Joe, Elly, is there going to be a problem with the two of us being here? Your brother didn't seem to be overly impressed that Daniel's my partner."

Elly shrugs. "Tough if it is. Look, I wanted you two to come, Joe wanted you two to come, it's our wedding. Mama and Papa are just going to have to live with it. If you have any problems, let me know. Come on in, the rest of the family are in here." Mama and Papa? Oh God, she really is posh.

Great, the O'Neill clan are here. Or rather the O'Neill/Lowenstein clan. I don't think I'm going to have an intact rib left. Patrick's here, Bridie, Reuben, Em, David, baby Katherine's in bed already, and of course, Mom. Reuben's dad, Saul, is here too. We met him and Elly last year at a family get-together in Chicago. Nice guy. Got over the shock of Jack and me pretty quickly.

Ah ha, the elusive in-laws. Whoo boy, Elly's parents are snobs of the highest order I can tell. Ah well, you don't get brought up by nannies and not know how to behave with people like that. Not to mention my three years at Oxford taught me a thing or two. This could be fun.

Elly's doing the introductions.

"Mama, Papa, this is Colonel Jack O'Neill, Joe's uncle, and Dr. Daniel Jackson, his other half," she grins at me as she says that and gives me a gentle nudge in the ribs. If I'd known I was going to be attacked I'd have worn a Kevlar jacket.

"Pleased to meet you," Jack says as he shakes their hands. "Eleanor is a wonderful young lady, Joseph couldn't have chosen anyone better. We all adore her."

Nice, Jack, really smooth. Elly's blushing.

My turn. "Mr. and Mrs. Miller, I'm happy to meet you at last. We heard a lot about you at the family get-together last year."

Mrs. Miller's looking at me as if I'm something the cat dragged in. Oh dear. However, she's doing her best.

"Dr. Jackson. What are you a doctor of?"

"Um, well, one is linguistics and the other is archaeology. Basically I study ancient languages."

That piqued her interest.

"I suppose you speak a few different languages then, do you?"

"Yes, how many was it at the last count, Jack?"

"Thirty-two if you count the different dialects as separate languages," he says proudly. Heh, heh, her eyes are popping out of her head. Then Jack ruins the moment, "It's just a pity he forgets how to speak in English sometimes."

"Jack, I never forget, you just don't always understand what I'm saying," I counter.

He shrugs, "Translate it into Latin then."

We're being watched by the Millers. They have no idea that we're toning down our bickering for them. This is positively restrained. The rest of the family are waiting for some outburst or other. They're not going to get it though, we're going to behave ourselves. For now.

"As we are all here, dinner can now be served. How about we say twenty minutes? That will give you time to get changed," she says as she looks at what we're wearing. Oh God, Mrs. Miller's gone on the offensive. Ah well, I can be a lot more offensive. I haven't eaten all day and I'm feeling sick.

She hustles out and I grab Elly. "Changed? Into what? A frog?"

She giggles. "Have you brought a suit apart from the wedding one?"

"Yes, thank God. Dark-blue, will that do?"

"It will be fine. Daniel, just relax, everything's going to be okay. Come on, I'll show you to your rooms."

ROOMS?

"Um, Elly? Rooms? Plural?"

"Oh, en suite that's all. Don't worry."

Phew, I thought they were going to separate us.

We trawl our way up the endless stairs and follow Elly to what turn out to be separate bedrooms after all. Jack's not happy. I'm not happy. For goodness sake, this is the twenty-first century. Jack's MOTHER has accepted me, his freaking BROTHER has accepted me, and if Father O'Neill can do that surely those with no religious investment can. I shouldn't get so het up but after everything we've been through - and we still get snide comments up at the base from time to time - Jack and I are particularly sensitive to bigots.

Elly's upset. We're trying to calm her. She's yelling for her mother. Of course, Mama comes running in time to see me cuddling her precious daughter.

"DR. JACKSON! What are you doing to my little girl?"

"I beg your pardon? I'm trying to comfort her because she's upset, that's all." Oh great, the rest of the family are here. Mrs. Miller seems to have ignored the fact the Elly's arms are wrapped around me. However, Eleanor speaks.

"He is, leave him alone! How could you Mama? I asked you to accept them but no, you couldn't could you? You just had to do this to embarrass the hell out of me. Jack, Daniel, I'm so sorry."

"Hey Elly, it's okay, don't worry about it," Jack says quietly to her, stroking her arm. "We can always go get a room in the nearest town."

"No you don't, you're staying here," she cries out. She's still clinging to me though. Ah good, here's Joe. I send out a silent 'rescue me' plea to him and he takes her from me and hugs her instead.

Mom's on the warpath. Oh shit.

"Mrs. Miller!" Mom's voice is as cutting as one of those Japanese knives. "Do you have a problem with my boys?"

"Of course not!" Mrs. Hoity-toity is back on her high horse. "There must have been a misunderstanding, that's all. This was not the arrangement. I'm sure we can settle this quietly and reasonably."

Elly ushers us into the one room and closes the door behind us. Hell, she's recovered from the tears quickly. Devious sod.

"Sorry about that, guys, Mama can be such a pig at times. You got off lightly, honestly."

"So that little display?" Jack asks.

"It got what we wanted, didn't it?" she answers with a grin.

"Welcome to the family," Jack says. "I know you're going to be a Lowenstein, but you're an O'Neill at heart."

Don't I know it.


Mrs. Miller is trying to ignore what went on earlier and is being 'interested' over dinner. Mind, Daniel in the Armani suit is enough to get anyone interested.

"Dr. Jackson, I understand you work with Colonel O'Neill. What does an archaeologist do for the Air Force?"

This is where Daniel's new idea has come in very handy. He's devised a fantastic cover for all the civilian scientists working at the base.

"It's a cultural database. It was realised that the cultures of Earth are many and varied. Music, for example, is perceived differently across the world. There are different scales, the standard tuning of the Western tradition, the pentatonic scale, the harmonics, the Oriental scales, et cetera. When the very real possibility of losing this heritage to either natural or man-made disaster was acknowledged, an international team got together to collate as much of the information as possible. I head the team of linguists, archaeologists, historians, anthropologists, musicologists and other so-called 'soft sciences'. Two friends of ours head the 'hard sciences'. Sam, or rather Dr. Samantha Carter who's an Air Force major heads up the physicists, mathematicians and engineers, and Major Dr. Janet Frasier heads up the medical and biochemistry departments. We're cataloguing everything, from the history of the world through the biological diversity and up to and including the latest information technology. We're keeping the information somewhere safe so that should the worst happen we won't lose anything."

"That sounds at once fascinating and terrifying. Are you expecting the Apocalypse at any time soon?" A nervous laugh from her.

"Of course not, but we want to be prepared just in case. Our work takes us all over the world. We're trying to protect things. For example, when the Taliban destroyed the Buddha statues in Afghanistan they were lost to the world forever. Now of course we can't store actual statues or works of art, but we're trying to record them on film for posterity. Everything is being digitally stored."

There's a lot of truth in what Daniel's saying, which is why the lie works so well. What we're trying to do is just that, record Earth science and culture, but mainly so that we can use the information to exchange with other alien cultures. If we have it all to hand then it makes the exchanges easier. There was a culture that SG-17 met that were music mad. They had some medical technology that we wanted. A settlement was negotiated where they got copies of our music, instruments on which to play it and teachers to teach them our way of notation and how to play the instruments. They were thrilled to bits. Hence the musicologists that Daniel was talking about.

"Incredible. But I don't understand how Mrs. O'Neill is involved," she's looking at Mom.

I grin as Daniel answers, "That's because Dr. O'Neill is a psychologist. You must understand that at our base there are many extremely intelligent people. We are also under a great deal of pressure as we have millennia of works to catalogue before we can even start on the twentieth century which was one of the most productive in history. When you are talking of people with extreme IQs you can often get, um, how should I put this, sensitive natures?"

"Psycho," I add. "Daniel's one of the worst."

"I'm not. You can't call me sensitive or psychotic."

"Daniel, you are, especially if you don't get decent coffee."

"But that's criminal. Can you believe they serve freeze-dried?" He gives off a dramatic shudder making my family laugh. They know what he's like now.

"Daniel has the highest IQ there," I say by way of explanation. "It's off the scale. Being a high genius though does make him hard to handle at times."

"Not if I get my own way," he replies with a twinkle in his eye.

"Spoilt brat," I tease.

"Blame my nannies," he says. Oh, that got a reaction.

"Nannies?" Oh great, Mrs. M now has him pegged as a rich boy.

"My parents were Egyptologists, we lived in Cairo. I couldn't spend all my time as a child crawling through tombs, so they needed someone to look after me. I didn't mind, my ayah loved me to pieces and I loved her too. Her family were mine until I came over here."

Aw, he's looking really sad now. I think he misses those times.

"You were brought up in Egypt? You should be used to the heat out here then."

"Actually I find California just about warm enough. I prefer Nevada or Mexico, places like that. The desert is harsh but I love the heat."

"Lizard," I say and that gets me a shy smile as he reacts to one of his nicknames. "We have to have the heating on high at home or he doesn't get out of bed. Cold-blooded creature."

He just shrugs.

"You must find Colorado very difficult in winter then." OHMYGOD! Mr. Miller speaks!

Daniel just shivers. "Very," he says.

Dinner's over and I'm shattered. We make our excuses, and to the Millers' horror and our family's amusement, Daniel grabs my hand as we leave the room. It's not as if we're gonna be making out, I'm too tired.

"How are you coping, Jack?"

"Tired, Daniel, just very tired, it's been a long day for me. You dealt with them really well by the way. I think if I'd said anything I'd have yelled. Can't we ever get a break?"

"I know, I know hun. Come on, let's get ready and crash, huh?"

That's one of the things I love about him, he has such good ideas.


"Good morning," Joe cries out as he comes into the room.

The two of us are in our usual morning state. Naked and sprawled over each other and only semiconscious.

"Gran sent me up with some coffee. She said Daniel wouldn't get up without it."

I giggle. Flashbacks to M'losa beckon. Daniel looks at me and growls. I think he knows what I'm thinking of.

"Thanks Joe. How was everything after we left last night?"

"Hysterical." He sits on the bed as we try to sit up and drink our coffee without exposing him to more of our bare bodies than is strictly necessary. He continues.

"Mrs. Miller tried to carry on as if nothing had happened. Mr. Miller said nothing - but that's not unusual. She could talk for America in the Olympics that woman," he shudders as he says it. I guess his mother-in-law isn't going to be one of his favourite people. Can't blame him, she makes Daniel seem quiet and uncommunicative.

"Anyway, somehow the conversation got onto you two and she asked Gran how she 'coped' with having a gay son. You could hear the quote marks when she said it. You could have heard a pin drop too. Uncle Pat was getting ready to say something, Mom was almost growling but Gran was magnificent. She put her in her place so quickly. She just looked at her and glared - and you know how well Gran glares." Boy, do we or what?

"'Mrs. Miller', she said, 'I love my son. I don't 'cope' with him or his sexuality. He is what he is and that's that. I accepted what he was when he was a teenager and I accepted Daniel as one of my own the day I met him. He's brave, resourceful and wonderful. I couldn't have chosen anyone better for Jack if I'd trawled the planet myself. I have never met two people who were better suited to be together than them.' After that the subject was dropped. I doubt you'll get any more hassle from her now."

Good on you, Mom. Daniel's actually grinning. Not bad on one cup of coffee. Joe goes and we snuggle for a bit.

"I always knew Mom was special," Daniel says.

"You're not wrong, Daniel. When I came out to her I was so scared, ya know?"

"Yeah, I know."

"She'd guessed, she knew Rick and she's no fool. Anyway, she came up to my room as I was going to bed one night and asked me straight out. I admitted it, I knew never to lie to her, it wasn't a life-expectancy-prolonging thing to do. She was so cool about it. Sat me down, talked to me, asked me why I thought I was gay, yadda, yadda. Then she made sure that I knew what I was doing, got me books and stuff on it, can you believe it?"

"It's Mom we're talking about, I can believe it."

"Apart from advising me to keep it secret from Dad she, well, encouraged me isn't the word, but she helped me out. Told me to be careful when I went to the Academy and all. Covered for me when I brought Josh home, that sort of thing."

Daniel considers this and says, "My mom, my foster mom, was great about it too. I told her about my crush on my gym teacher. I was so miserable, really upset all the time. She thought I was being bullied at school and she came thundering into my room and demanded to know what was upsetting me. Anyway, I spilled. I was only fourteen, I didn't really have a clue what I was feeling. She helped me put it in perspective, telling me that having a crush on a teacher was normal and not making any deal about it being a male teacher, either. When I dated some girls she ignored the subject, I think she thought I was going to change my mind or something, but she never made me feel bad about it. Back then lots of people thought - some uneducated people still think - that you could pick and choose your sexuality, or that you could be convinced to be one thing or the other. She wasn't like that at all, but I think she was a little na´ve regarding how it worked. But it didn't matter; it didn't change anything between us and she still loved me and told me so. Some of the guys I've known couldn't tell their parents at all. Just too scared. That's so sad."

"Yeah, it is. Not everyone is lucky enough to have moms like ours. I wish your mom was still around, I'd have loved to have met her."

"She was a harridan. Brilliant though."

"What do you think your real parents would have thought about it?"

"I doubt they'd have been bothered, given the lifestyle they lived. Probably be more bothered that you are a colonel than a guy. Come on, we'd better get up."

"Part of me is."

"So it is. Tough, you'd better get the rest up too. I think we should make an appearance downstairs, and the usual goofy look you get when you've just been screaming from the rafters probably won't go down well here."

"Goofy?"

Bastard just grins and runs to the bathroom.


The wedding's tomorrow. I don't know if I'm going to last. Mrs. M's a pain in the mik'ta. Her shrill voice, falsely posh, is cutting through the air, directing the erection of a large marquee in one of the gardens. They have one hell of a view here, but I think it's wasted on them. I have no idea how Elly turned out to be so nice, the rest of the family are awful. Andrew's almost bearable but he's not impressed by us; Mr. Miller is, well, I'd say quiet but I guess he's henpecked. I'd feel sorry for him but he only has himself to blame. If he put her in her place once in a while...

Talking of erections...

"Whatcha thinking about?" Jack asks as he shimmies up behind me, slips his arms around my waist and rests his chin on my shoulder. I'm looking out at the vineyards.

"Just wondering how long these grapes would last on, er, you know where," I murmur. He knows.

"Not long. How much did we drink, Daniel?"

"I have no idea. I got so drunk on day one that I lost all track of time."

"You got us lost too."

"You're not going to let me forget that, are you? At least I took us somewhere nice. It took you three days to get us back to the first gate," I whisper the last word. "It was only six hours' walk from the settlement."

"That, my dear Daniel, takes great skill, judgement and leadership qualities."

Filthy looks come my way as I howl with laughter at that. He's so funny sometimes. Tough, they can suck it up. If Jack's lucky I might do that for him too.

"Fancy a nap?" he asks, a case of great minds thinking alike. Or is that two minds and but a single thought between us? Whatever; his patented leer is patently obvious to me.

"Sounds good. I could do with getting my, eh hem, head down," I reply, giving him the old batted eyelashes. I know what that does to him.

He gives me a filthy, filthy look.

"So could I."

Oh yes. Can't wait. Maths never was my strongest subject but I always have a particular fondness for a certain number.

"Where are you going, boys?" Mom asks.

"We're still recovering from yesterday Mom. Not getting any younger. Thought we'd have a nap before lunch."

She looks at us and decides we're lying through our teeth, I can tell. Somehow we get away with it. For now.

Oof. Jack has slammed me up against the door and he's kissing the crap out of me. I'm not complaining - I don't have enough breath to.

"Jack," I wheeze, "bed."

"I like your thinking Dr. Jackson."

"Colonel O'Neill, you're a slut."

"Yasureyoubetcha."

Woo hoo, clothes have hit the deck faster than Jack, Teal'c and I did when Sam offered to cook.

Jack lays on the bed and so am I, the other way around - mwahaha.

I am not hanging around. We have no idea how much time we have so I'm going for it. Not so much going down as going up and down. I love doing this - it's the only thing that keeps us both quiet. I can't scream with his dick in my mouth, can I? I'm not going to last long - no way. Having to keep quiet adds to the eroticism of the moment. Quiet moans are coming from Jack, oh and me too. Can't keep completely silent, this is too good.

I can feel Jack, he's nearly ready. Me too. Like the feedback loop when we were connected, knowing he's coming is pushing me on and knowing that I'm close is getting to him. Ohgodyes.

"Daniel," he's panting. "C'mere."

I crawl up the bed and get under the sheet that he's holding out for me.

"That was amazing," I tell him.

"You're not wrong."

"Of course I'm not, genius remember?"

A little giggle from him and we both fall aslee...


"Boys? Are you awake?"

Oh God it's Mom. And we're both still naked and in bed.

"We are now Mom," Jack yells and she comes in.

Jack hasn't let go of me though, he's holding me tight against his chest. Hmm, could just doze off again right here.

"Daniel, don't go back to sleep," Mom orders. Grrr. "I came up to tell you we're having lunch on the lawn. Some lawn. It's the size of a football field. Anyway, you'd better get dressed. Don't put your jeans on, there's good boys."

"MOM! What's gotten into you? I'm a couple of years shy of FIFTY and Daniel's thirty-nine. We're not boys."

"I'm seventy-three dear, you are boys to me. Hell, I'm old enough to be your mother."

Jack throws a pillow at her as she laughs it up.

"Daniel? You know what I said about meeting your moms?"

"Uh huh," I nod.

"I take it back. If they were as bad as mine I don't want to know."


Mom was right. The lawn is massive. Glad I don't have to mow it, that's all.

"Ah, Dr. Jackson, Colonel O'Neill, I'm glad you could join us. Finally." Shit, that woman's here again.

"Yes, sorry about that. Our job takes us to many different places. We often suffer from jet lag," I explain. Jet lag, wormhole lag, it's just a matter of interpretation. "I'm afraid that Jack and I have learned from bitter experience that we need to take a nap whenever the mood hits. If we don't the consequences aren't pretty."

"Ending up face down in a bowl of soup isn't a fun way to spend an afternoon," Jack adds.

Thank you Jack.

"I've been hearing a few stories about you, Dr. Jackson. You received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for acts of conspicuous bravery? Not the sort of thing you'd expect from an archaeologist."

I'm about to answer but Jack does instead.

"That's because Daniel isn't just an archaeologist."

"Oh. Could you explain?" Damn woman, can't she shut up? She's like a terrier worrying a rat. Or is that the other way around. Whatever. However Jack does his thing.

"Well, I could, but then I'd have to shoot you."

That shut her up. Way hey! Oh God, it didn't last. She's laughing nervously.

"Surely not."

"Mrs. Miller," I say before Jack can butt in again, "what Jack and I do in the service of our country is highly classified. What I told you about my job is true. It's only part of my job. Very few people know what we do. Even the President doesn't know everything." Well, it's not as if he'd hear about some of the antics we get up to. "Jack wasn't kidding. Suffice it to say we serve our country loyally."

And SHUT UP!

I think the death threat might be working. Jack's family are pretty cool about it. They're used to him working on classified stuff.

"Daniel?" Bridie's asking. "What did you get Jack for his birthday in the end?"

Oh yes, I spent ages finding the perfect present.

"Some books. I finally decided on Chaucer in the original mediaeval English and a couple of leather-bound volumes of Virgil and Livy." And thank you for changing the subject sis.

"Oh, which translation was that?" Mrs. Mouth is interested now.

"No translation, they are in Latin. Jack speaks it fluently. Along with middle-English. That's what he got his masters degree in. He learned Latin fairly recently and did it very quickly too." I'm very proud of his achievements.

"Oh, that doesn't sound like the sort of thing one would expect from an air force colonel."

"Jack isn't just any old air force colonel," I say with a grin. "He's very special."

Aw, I get the sweetest look from him for that.

We're picking our way through the lunch stuff. Quite nice this, we're actually having a picnic on the lawn. The weather is glorious so why not? Elly and Joe are completely wrapped up in each other, Em and David are too. Jack is playing with Katherine. She's three now and having great fun with her Great Uncle Jack. Mom's handing me a banana. FUCK! She's doing it again. Jack looks over at me and Mom throws one at him too. How does she know these things? Did she visit the Furlings too? She's trying not to laugh.

"Witch," I call her and she sniggers.

Pat calls me over and we chat. I'm a lot more comfortable with him now, he's completely cool about Jack and me.

"So, when are you two going to do the civil ceremony thing?" he teases me.

"We have. Two years ago nearly. Not in this country though. Where do you think we got the tattoos from?"

"Oh! So that's where. Is everything okay between you two, are you happy? Mom said you'd had a few problems recently."

"Very happy thank you. Our problems weren't our fault. We sorted them."

"What happened?"

"Um, I can't tell you much but Jack lost his memory for about eight years. He completely forgot me."

"That must have been hard for you," he's very concerned.

"It wasn't easy, but he's got them all back now. He fought hard to come back to me."

"I'm not surprised. You can't keep an O'Neill down," Pat grins.

"Thank God for that," I reply. And I mean it. And if there really is a God I want Him to know I am so grateful that He gave me my Jack back.


I could get used to this. The Millers have disappeared and are pretty much leaving us alone. Joe's left the house. He's not allowed to see Eleanor again until tomorrow, keeping with tradition and all. We dipped out on the bachelor party. Apparently he had it in San Francisco with his pals. He works up in Silicon Valley, one of the computer companies. He's doing okay for himself. Elly works with him there. His best pal is going to be his best man, so for the rest of us it's just a matter of resting up till tomorrow. And playing with Katherine too. She's a real little live wire. Just like Mom. God help us all, that's all I can say. Bridie's as proud as a peacock (or is that peahen?). Her brood is here and she's as happy as a pig in sh...

Shit. What's going on now? Daniel's across the lawn, almost out of view, but not quite. I'm across it as fast as I can go.

"Daniel? Are you okay?"

"I'm fine Jack. It would seem that some of Andrew's, er, friends, didn't believe than an archaeologist can take care of himself."

One 'friend' is now eating grass with Daniel's foot on his neck.

"Most archaeologists haven't been trained by a psychotic major and a doctor with a burr up her ass," I add helpfully.

"That's true, but I was thinking of all the combat I've seen, you know Jack, the silent killing and all. I could give you boys a demonstration on how to break someone's neck with your bare hands if you like?"

Funny that, they declined. Daniel removes his foot and the fool gets up. Nothing more is said as they slink off back to wherever it was they crawled out from.

"You sure you're okay?"

"Fine. Bunch of amateurs." He wipes his hands on the sides of his pants and stalks back to the house.

Dammit. When is this crap going to stop?

"Dr. Jackson? Is everything all right?"

Great, Madam Motor-mouth has turned up.

"Of course, Mrs. Miller, no problem at all. I have concluded my demonstration."

Damn, he's a cool one.

Mom is spitting feathers I can tell. Pat's back is up too. Bridie's getting ready to kill, and me? Next time I see one of Andrew's 'friends' I'm going to give him a demonstration of my own. I didn't see how this started but I sure as hell am going to finish it if I get the opportunity. I steer him indoors, I want to make sure he's okay.

Hell, he's not. As soon as we get in the bedroom he starts to shake.

"Daniel? Did they hurt you?"

"I've had worse, I'll live."

"Dammit Daniel, tell me now."

"I got punched, that's all. Seems they didn't want a faggot around the place. Not macho enough for them, I guess."

"You showed them though, didn't you?"

"Oh yes," he sighs, "I did. I just wish I didn't have to."

"I know. Come on, show me where you were hurt - ah, ah, ah - no arguments."

Another sigh and he lifts his shirt. Fuck, he's bruised across his ribs. He was hit more than once.

"Why didn't you yell?"

"It's a bit hard when someone's hand is over your mouth. They jumped me. As soon as I realised what was going on though I flattened the one that was holding me. The others backed off pretty quickly when I threatened to snap his neck. I think they believed I'd do it."

"You did good, Dr. J, real good. Bed, now, to sleep Daniel. You need to have a rest. Lock the door behind me and then get into bed. I'll call when I get back."

"Jack, don't cause any trouble, please. I don't want to spoil Elly and Joe's day."

"I won't, I promise. Now, go on, have a rest. I'll be back soon."

I kiss his cheek and wait outside the door till I hear a click. I should remember that tonight. I don't want us getting pounced on in the morning again. We were just too damned tired to notice the lock last night.

One thing I'm glad of is that Daniel seems to be sleeping irrespective of his long sleep yesterday. So I'm hoping he's not going to start his night prowling again. Fingers crossed anyway.

Ah, my victim.

"Mrs. Miller, a word please?"

"Colonel, how is Dr. Jackson? He looked a little pale."

"That's hardly surprising. Some of your son's acquaintances decided to beat him up. Fortunately Daniel's tough and has had lots of self-defence training. He's also very restrained. I am not. I take great exception when the man that I love more than life itself ends up looking like an Monet just to satisfy a couple of bigots. His ribs are intact, thank goodness."

"I'm so terribly sorry, honestly. I'm sure it won't happen again. I'll have words with Andrew, make sure that they never return - ever." She spits out that last word. I think she might mean it.

"You do that, Mrs. Miller. I doubt very much whether I could control my anger if I were to see them again."

It's her turn to look pale and she stalks off to find her son.

"Jack? Is Daniel all right?" It's my family. All of them. They are seething.

"He'll be fine. Don't say a word to Elly. I don't want to spoil tomorrow for her. When you see Mrs. Miller again, could you ask that dinner be sent up to our room. I want him to rest quietly till the morning."

Mom agrees and tells me to go up to him. Don't worry Mom, I'm on my way.

"Daniel? You awake?"

"I am now," he mutters as I hear him padding to the door.

He's in his sweats but nothing else. Ah fuck, Mrs. M's right behind me.

"Ah, Mrs. Miller, now you can see what happened."

The bruises have already started to come up on his chest. She goes visibly whiter and stammers an apology. Daniel just glares at her.

"That's what comes of intolerance," he says. "Not nice when it's on your own doorstep, is it?" and then he turns and goes into the room.

She tells me that she's spoken to Andrew and then she disappears. Thank God. I've got nothing against the rich and powerful as long as they're nice with it. She isn't.

Daniel's lying on the bed with his arms over his eyes. Why is it always him? Is it because he wears glasses? Do people think he doesn't look strong? Okay, his arms were covered at the time but he looks pretty muscular to me. I don't know. I just don't know. Anyway, they learned a lesson they'll never forget. Never piss off an archaeologist.

I lie next to him and pull him into my arms. We're not talking, nothing needs to be said. I think we've gone beyond finishing each other's sentences now, we just know what the other one will say at times like this.

I'll say, 'are you okay?', he'll say, 'I will be,' yadda, yadda. No need to speak.


Dinner was sent up at Jack's request. I'm glad, I couldn't face the Millers tonight. Elly's been told it's because we're still tired from work. I think she's buying it, but I'm not sure. She can't be unaware of her brother's attitude to us. Funnily enough he's not actually said anything directly. The more I think of it, the more I'm convinced it was he who was behind the 'two bedroom' farce when we got here. Mrs. Miller might be a pain but I can't see her going out of her way to cause a scene, somehow. Andrew, on the other hand, seems to be the cowardly sort who organises things like that behind people's backs.

Oh great, there's a knock on the door. It's Bridie, oh, and Pat.

"Just checking up on our little brothers," Bridie says as she barges in. Yeah, Bride, I heard you. Thanks.

"I'm fine," I tell her. "A little sore but I've had worse. Been beaten up by bigger pricks than them."

She gives me a gentle hug anyway. Aw, she's such a sweetie.

"Are you sure, Daniel?" Pat's asking.

"Honestly Pat, I'm fine. I just couldn't face 'her' tonight. I mean, what is she on?"

That gets a little giggle from them and we all start nattering. I like this. I'm sitting on the bed, Jack's next to me, his arm wrapped around me and hugging me close. Pat's on a chair next to us and Bridie's sitting at the foot of the bed. And we're talking about family stuff. I love the way they so automatically include me in the conversation. Trouble is they're talking about some people I haven't met.

"Oh Daniel, you'll have to meet Uncle Conor, he's a rascal," Bride's saying.

"Conor?" I look at Jack a little shyly. We sometimes use that name for him when we're playing our little games. He calls me Nick.

"I was named for him," Jack shrugs. "Bridie's right, he's a hell of a laugh. In his eighties now but irrepressible. He's Mom's uncle. Her dad's baby brother," he explains.

Oh, so he's one of the famous Flanagans, is he? I've heard about them but not met any yet. I can't wait though. Judging by the stories I've heard they're crazier than the O'Neills. And that's saying something. Mom had to get it from somewhere, I guess. Mind, given that I was named for my insane grandfather, who am I to have a go?

Pat's telling a story about him.

"So, there he was, in the Senior Citizen's club with Mrs. Danza on his lap, trying to look innocent, mind you. In walks Mom who hears a cry from the old woman and Uncle Conor calls out, 'When I said, "sit on my lap and we'll talk about the first thing that comes up," I didn't mean I wanted to talk about my hernia!'."

Now I know where Jack gets it from. Dirty old man that he is - heh, heh, heh.

Another knock, Mom this time.

"Joe's on the phone, boys. He wants you to meet him at the bar that he's staying at in town. You too, Pat. He also said something about insisting on Mr. Miller going too. I think you should go, let us girls stick together tonight. Just don't let him get too drunk, please. The wedding's pretty early."

I think we've just been told to go. Pat and Bridie hustle out, Mom makes a last minute fuss over me and then leaves us to get changed. She said she's going to tell Elly's dad that he's going. No mention of Andrew I notice. Well, tough shit. If his friends are there he's going to find out that you don't mess with the O'Neills. Or the O'Neill-Jacksons. Or the Lowensteins either. Reuben and David are already down at the bar, staying with Joe overnight, and they won't take any crap either. Reuben's dad is staying here, but given his age I don't think he's going to be coming with us tonight.

I've brought my 501s, the ones that Jack loves me in. I think I'll stick my tight black T on too. This combo never fails to turn him on. I love the way I can do that for him, it gives me a thrill. Just pop my sneakers on and I'm ready to go.

"Woof," I hear as he walks out of the bathroom.

"Howl," I reply. He's in his blue jeans and white T, and the leather jacket. Howl indeed. Just as well I brought my leather jacket then, isn't it?

"Woof, woof," he says as I slip it on.

Hmm, some serious necking time before Pat bangs on the door and opens it.

"Aw, cut it out, you two," he orders. "Time to go. Mr. M's ready and waiting. I think we'd better go now before he bottles out. Sheesh, you'd have thought that the thrill of it all would have worn off by now." He's laughing as he says it.

"Not a hope, Pat," Jack answers. "Not a hope in hell." Hmm, he nuzzles my neck a little more and then it's time to go.

We head off down the stairs and get a couple of wolf whistles.

"Mom! Cut it out," Jack cries out.

Can't take that woman anywhere.

We pile into the bar, Mr. M, who has asked that we call him Gerald now that we've gotten him away from 'she who must be obeyed', is a lot more talkative when he's on his own.

"Guys! Glad you came!" Joe's calling out to us.

Jack and I head to the bar to get some drinks in. Much as I hate it I'll have a beer. It'll last longer and I don't think that ordering wine would go down well in here, even though this is a wine-growing area. Calling this place a town is, well, an exaggeration. I'm not sure it's really big enough to be called a hamlet. There's a spit'n'sawdust bar-cum-motel (well, it's got a couple of rooms out the back), a gas station and that's just about it. I'm not sure that the road is on any map either.

We're having a great laugh, Gerald's actually quite nice, but when Joe goes to the bathroom he says,

"Daniel, I'm really very sorry for what happened earlier. I don't know what's got into that boy. His mother is a bit, um, old-fashioned I guess but I can promise you he wasn't brought up that way. I can't stomach intolerance of any sort. If you get so much as a snide remark, please tell me. I may not be the loudest voice there but he will listen to me. I have had words with him and I think he's taken them on board."

"Thank you Gerald. Jack and I have had to go through this quite a bit in the past, we're probably oversensitive to any bigotry as a result."

"Maybe so, but there is no excuse for what Andrew's so-called friends did. It can't have been easy for you, what with Jack being in the military and all. You must be so relieved that they've changed the law."

"It wasn't easy, but things have improved a lot. Funny thing is, most people at the base couldn't give a damn. Jack's a very popular CO. They'd walk barefoot over broken glass for him."

Jack smiles shyly at me for that. It's true though.

"Daniel's the only civilian that the military will listen to and take orders from," he says. "They trust him as much as they trust the General."

Damn, he's making me blush.

"Gerald, you're a really nice guy," Pat says. "But your wife is, how can I put this, um, forceful? Why do you put up with it? You don't strike me as being someone that can be easily walked over in business for example."

It's Gerald's turn to blush.

"It's my fault. When we were first married I was besotted. She was beautiful."

Joe's joined us again and he's listening in carefully. Wants to pick up some tips I guess.

"Anyway, I let her have whatever she wanted. Trouble was it didn't take long before she expected that; it didn't help that her parents had spoilt her. I just like a quiet life now. I have hassle at work, I have businesses to run, people to deal with, that sort of thing. When I get home I don't want any trouble. You know what I mean?"

Jack, Reuben, David and I look at each other and nod and mutter agreements. Joe and Pat are the only ones never married so they don't understand so readily. Gerald looks surprised at Jack and me.

"Both Jack and I were married," I explain. "Jack's ex-wife, Sara, she's really nice. She and I get on very well in fact. But she is a very strong woman."

Jack and Pat snigger at that. Oh yes, I'm hitting the nail on the head there.

"My wife, Shau're," I continue, "well, you didn't get tougher than her. She provoked the men in her tribe to rebel against the local warlord." I like using those terms, it keeps it simple.

"You started it, Daniel, you led the rebellion."

"I triggered it, maybe, but she was the one that encouraged the men. She was the one that picked up the gauntlet so to speak. We weren't together long but our marriage was interesting."

Gerald's really interested too, I can tell. "Tell me more, Daniel, she sounds fascinating."

"She was beautiful, wasn't she Jack?"

"Oh yes," he replies with a grin. "Absolutely."

"She was sweet, kind, generous and very, very brave. And she had a temper. Boy, did she have a temper. It didn't take me long to work out how to calm her down though."

"Oh?" Joe, David and Gerald are all ears. I guess that Bridie's not as bad as Reuben makes out.

"I'd pick her up, sling her over my shoulder and carry her off to our tent. Or anywhere we could have a bit of privacy."

My grin tells them exactly what happened next without me needing to say a word.

"You won arguments?" Gerald's amazed.

"Never. But she usually forgot what it was we were arguing about. You should try it out sometime."

"She'd kill me." He looks horrified.

"Not a chance. Even strong women like strong men, you know. Stand up for yourself once in a while. Remind her you're a man. I'm not saying beat her up or anything, far from it, bullying is wrong no matter who does it. Just be a little more assertive. I'd lay odds on you having a hell of a night if you did that tonight. When we get in, order her to bed. See what happens."

He's getting a wicked grin on his face. The alcohol's probably helping.

"What happened to your wife, Daniel? She doesn't sound like the sort of woman you'd want to leave."

I take a deep breath, I don't really want to answer. Jack picks up on it and answers for me.

"She was kidnapped and later killed," he says quietly.

"Oh crap," Gerald replies. "I'm so sorry Daniel, so very sorry."

Quite.

"Why did you split from your wife?" he asks Jack. Oh shit.

Jack calmly tells him.

"Our son died. We couldn't hack it after that."

"Oh Jack," Gerald replies. "I'm putting my foot in it tonight aren't I? I'm sorry to have brought that up. It must be hard for you."

"Don't sweat it," Jack says through gritted teeth. "You didn't know. Besides, I'll never forget Charlie, I don't stop talking about him."

"I love to hear about him," I say. "Jack's always got such terrific stories about him. I just wish I'd met him."

"How long have you two known each other?"

"Eight years more or less." I add more to explain us better to him. "We've been together about two and a half years. Best friends before that."

"You must have one hell of a relationship then," he realises.

"We do. We've both been through the mill and helped each other sort things out. We're very close and God help anyone that tries to come between us." Jack's voice is defiant as he says that. He's right. They'd need divine intervention.

Things are getting a bit maudlin so Jack and I get things going by telling about some of our exploits, put into Earth terms of course.

"You should have seen Daniel," Jack says as he tells about one of our more famed ones. "He was covered in a blue dye from head to foot. Stark naked and dancing around the camp fire. It was hysterical. Sam, my second, was helpless. She couldn't stop laughing."

"Jack, I was stoned," I add in my defence. It wasn't my fault.

"Out of your freakin' gourd, Daniel. I've never seen you so out of it, not even after one of your famous benders."

"Benders?" Gerald asks.

"Um yes, the marines adopted me a while back. Every so often we, er, disappear. I always get brought home though."

"After a couple of days and drunk out of your skull, often with interesting accompaniments," Jack smirks.

"I've only been tattooed once with them," I complain.

"Yes, but I still want to know where you got that parrot from. Nobody ever claimed it."

I have no idea. All I know is the freaking thing bit me. Frequently.


Well, things got interesting after a while tonight. Funny stories abounded and we were weak with laughter by the time the bar closed. Pat had some crackers about his parishioners. So much for not drinking too much. Gerald wasn't completely out of it so when Mrs. M started to have a go at him when we got back he yelled,

"Quiet woman. If I want to go out for a drink with the chaps I will and you won't stop me."

She was about to have another go when he did what Daniel suggested. He picked her up, slung her over his shoulder and carried her upstairs. She went very quiet after a minute or so, but when we went up to bed we kept hearing things like,

"Oh Gerald! Oh my God PLEASE! YES!"

So I'm guessing that Daniel's advice worked. Tomorrow could be interesting.


"Boys! Come on, time to wake up! I've got coffee!"

Okay, okay Mom, I'm getting up. I'd better put some sweats on before I open the door though. There, that's better.

"Isn't he awake yet?" Mom's asking as she looks over at Daniel. Duh. Stupid question.

"No, sleep, wanna sleep," comes from under the cover. Anybody would think that he hadn't slept much recently. Oh, I suppose I did keep him up for a while last night. And then there was the time he woke me up...

"Up and at 'em book boy." Hell, Mom's picking up on my sayings. "The wedding's in two hours. You need to be up and ready. Come on Daniel darling, open your eyes, there's a good lad."

"Mom? Ugh."

She's waving coffee near him and he's moving. I swear that caffeine has a magnetic attraction for him. Just move it around and his nose follows it and homes in until his mouth can attach itself to the mug. Whether the rest of him has anything to say in the matter though is something else. Oops, I'd better make sure the cover stays over him though, he's naked under there.

Heh, heh, heh, spiky-haired NeanderDan strikes again.

"Ugh." Yeah babe, got that.

"Whassup?"

"Wedding Daniel, remember?"

"Oh yeah. More?" He's waving the empty mug around and Mom laughs.

"Grab a shower, put some clothes on and breakfast will be waiting for you downstairs. Lots of coffee Daniel. Lots and lots."

"Good. Shower. Hmm. Okay."

I shoo Mom out and usher him into the shower. Shuck my pants and join him.

"Morning Daniel," I mutter into his neck, slipping my arms around his waist as I do.

"Hiya."

Oh boy. Getting more than one word at a time is going to be difficult. I wonder if I can wake him up without extra coffee?

Whoo ya, he's getting the point, in more way than one. His and mine. Tee hee. Come on baby, time to get up. And up. Whoo, and up.

"Oh God Jack, please, yeah, just like that."

It's amazing what a single hand can do for a guy, isn't it? I wonder how long he can keep going? Not very by the sound of it. That's it Daniel, give it up for me.

"Jack, please, now!"

A little harder, gentle bites of his neck and we have lift off!

"YES! Ohgodohgodohgod babe I love you, love you."

Hmm, I know. What's he up to now? Oh God. On his knees. The water's pouring over him. All I can see is the back of his head, his wet hair sticking to him, the drops running down his perfect skin. I can feel his hands, working my thighs, going up, grabbing my butt, pulling the cheeks apart. Shi-it, his tongue, ohfuckwhatishedoingnow? God I love you Daniel, love you so fucking much. I'm gonna-a-a-a YES! Whoo boy. Okay. We're awake. Very, very awake.

Kisses, wet, warm, wonderful kisses. We'd better get clean though, soap and shampoo and all. Much more fun when we clean each other. His chest is multicoloured - poor sod. I'm very careful when I soap him there.

We've dried, got dressed, though Daniel's seemed to have forgotten his shoes and socks again. I hope he remembers when he puts his suit on for the wedding later. Chinos and shirt now, sleeves rolled up to the elbows. Oh momma.

Downstairs now, oh no there's Mrs. M, bustling about the place like you wouldn't believe. What was that?

"Dorothy, would you come here please dear?"

"Of course Gerald, on my way."

Oh my God, Daniel's advice worked. It's horrible. She's giggling like a schoolgirl and FLIRTING with her husband. He's grinning like a Cheshire cat. Oh my, it's awful. I can't stop looking though. Like a pile up on the freeway. Just can't avert my eyes. Everybody's looking at them in disbelief. Especially Elly. She's looking over at us and grinning. I think she's twigged that we have something to do with this. Not me honest, it's all Daniel's fault. Andrew's skulking about in the background. I think, given what Gerald said later when he'd had more to drink, that if he doesn't improve his behaviour he's going to get cut off without a cent. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

"Here you are Daniel, coffee," Mom's calling. Aw, she's getting a hug from him and a kiss on the cheek.

"Where's mine Mom?" I call out.

"On the table, Jonathan, you're old enough to get your own."

And Daniel isn't? I dunno. For someone who constantly fights being called a kid he puts up with a hell of a lot happily if it comes from Mom. I'm not jealous though, of course I'm not. Just because he's her baby boy now. It means that I haven't got to put up with all the overbearing mothering from her. I'm not jealous. Not at all. Sniff.

"Sore loser," Daniel mutters as he comes over to the table to get yet more coffee.

"Bite me."

"I did, in the shower. Mind, you were crying out 'ooh more please' at the time, you might have missed it."

Bastard. But he's my bastard. Sigh.

Time's going on. Elly has been upstairs with the hairdresser for a while, people are sloping off, going to get dressed and ready for the big moment. Takes me back to my wedding.

"So," Daniel picks up on my mood. "Remind you of yours?"

"Oh yeah, I don't think I've ever been more nervous in my life. Apart from when I was waiting for Charlie to be born. Yeah, that would be the most nervous time, the wedding was pretty close. What about you?"

"I don't really remember. I sorta got married a couple of times. The first time I didn't even know it. When she came into the tent I don't know, I thought she was just 'comfort' or something. But later she told me that she was given as my bride. It was only after you lot went that we made it official. A five day party ensued. The actual ceremony was a bit of a blur, I was only just figuring out the language. Come to think of it, I can only really remember the hangover after."

"Only you Daniel, that could only happen to you. We should go back and see them. Haven't been there since just after our wedding."

"Oh yes. Don't remember that party on Abydos either. Since the rebellion they use any excuse for a party."

"Can't blame them. Overcoming thousands of years of slavery would do that to a society. Come on, time to get changed."


I think I have just died and gone to heaven. Daniel in any of the blue suits he's got, well, he's a walking invitation to sin. Daniel in his black suit - the 'old' Armani that he wore to the White House that time - whoo momma - I defy anyone not to want to get that suit off him. But Daniel in this suit. It's dove-grey. Cotton, light, a hint of pale-blue as he moves and the light catches it just so. The very pale-blue shirt and the deep-grey tie set it off beautifully. He's got his contacts in, his hair has grown back a bit since he got the severe cut back in February. It's not quite shoulder-length but it moves when he turns his head. I think I just fell head over heels in love again.

"Daniel," I manage to croak. "You look fucking edible. C'mere."

I can't resist. After the wedding I am so going to have him while he's in this suit. Mind, I'm in my dress blues. With the sunglasses. I don't think he minds somehow.

"Do we have to go down?" he pants. "I mean, you, me, bed - all day. Whatd'ya say?"

It's tempting, it's really tempting. I wish he hadn't said 'go down' though. When the others see him I'm sure they'd understand if we sneaked off; I doubt they'd forgive us though.

"Daniel? Jack? Are you ready?"

It's Pat. Damn. We have got to go. I double-check. Yep, he's got his shoes on. A quick kiss and we head out. Pat's in his dog collar. He's not conducting the wedding, though he's going to say a few words, give them a blessing. Trouble is, Joe's half-Catholic/half-Jewish and Elly's a mix of Protestant denominations; Episcopalian and Presbyterian I think, so a religious ceremony would have been plain confusing.

We go out and even Pat notices how good Daniel looks.

"You're going to have to keep him from the guests, Jack, he's going to be eaten alive," he whispers to me. Don't I know it.

"Jack! Daniel! Oh boys you look lovely."

Thanks Mom.

"Jack! Daniel! Ooh boy. I'm going to have to keep an eye on the womenfolk for you I can tell."

Yeah, yeah, we get the message Bride.

"Oh, Dr. Jackson, Colonel O'Neill, you look magnificent."

Um, thank you Mrs. Miller, you look lovely yourself.

I am so going to have to watch her. Ever since she got so well laid last night she's been twittering about like a teenager. Daniel's in deep trouble if I don't keep him close to me. Okay, it's a good excuse to hold his hand. I'm attaching myself to his side and I am not going anywhere.

We're in the garden. The weather's wonderful - well it is California in the summer, what do you expect? They've got the local civic dignitary up here to conduct the wedding. It's fantastic, the view across the valley is stunning. It's a terrific setting for the service.

I'm attached to Daniel's side and he's turning heads as predicted.

"Colonel O'Neill, you look magnificent in your uniform," comes a compliment from some woman - who she is I haven't the foggiest idea. Anyway, she's looking at me? Not Daniel? That makes a change.

"Um, thank you," I say. Daniel snatches my hand and glares at me gently and then smiles, licking his bottom lip and catching it in his teeth. She gets the message. Sorry madam, I'm his and only his.

"Jealous?" I hiss.

"You bet your tight ass I am," he growls back.

That is such a turn on. Oh God, I don't know how I'm going to survive this. I think I'm going to spontaneously combust. But what a way to go!

Some music is starting up. Oh, Elly's coming. She looks adorable, a really tasteful dress, ivory-coloured. It's long and quite demure. Good for her. No pandering to fashion, she's picked something that makes her look really pretty. Joe's face is a picture. I think he's just done the head over heels thing that I did when I saw Daniel in those sapphire-blue robes on Babylon. I nudge Daniel and he looks at him and grins. This is lovely.

The ceremony starts, the official is saying some nice words. He's getting to the impediment bit.

"If any of you have just cause as to why these people should not be joined in holy matrimony speak now or forever hold your peace."

I'm not sayin' a word.

WHATTHEFUCK? Oh God. It's a cellphone. DANIEL'S!

He's gone bright red. Apologises profusely and heads out of the area quickly. I'm going with.

"It's the base Jack, we have to get back. I don't fucking believe it. Hammond says he's going to send a chopper to the airstrip. It'll be there in half an hour. He'll send a pilot to bring the Albatross back later. I have no idea what's wrong."

I say nothing. What can I say? Fortunately, the ceremony seems to be a short one. Pat's saying his words. I give him the 'wind it up' signal and he cuts it as short as he can without sounding like it and the ceremony's over. Thank the Lord.

"Mom, that was the base. It's an emergency." She made her way to me as quickly as dignity would allow.

"Oh crap," she says. Mom? She's spent far too much time there I can tell.

Daniel's already headed up to the bedroom to pack our stuff, leaving me to apologise. And he's the diplomat.

"Elly, Joe, I'm so sorry about that. It's an emergency, we have to go. We wouldn't have had that damned phone on but it's required of us. I hope we didn't spoil it for you."

They assure us that they're going to laugh about it one day - when their hearts have stopped pounding - and I head back to the house pronto.


I don't believe it. I guess the universe is deciding that things have been going a little too well for us recently. Poor Elly. I'm not so worried about Joe, guys don't tend to get as upset as girls when their wedding plans are screwed. I can see some major butt kissing in my near future.

I've thrown on some jeans and a T-shirt. I don't want this suit to get dirty, it cost enough. I really am going to have to stop buying suits. I hate wearing them. However, Jack seems to have a thing about me in them so who am I to spoil his view?

Oh good, he's here.

"Fucking typical, isn't it?" he's demanding. Oh yes, it is.

I throw some jeans and a T to him and he quickly gets in them. I don't think I've ever packed so fast in my life. Not even the Washington trip had me moving this fast. As soon as we're done we grab our cases, the suit bags etc. and leg it downstairs. Oh no, it's 'her'.

"Mrs. Miller, I am so sorry about this. It's an emergency at our base. We have to get to the airstrip now, a chopper will pick us up very soon. Please, accept our apologies for the disturbance. I know the General wouldn't have called us unless there was a very good reason. He knew when the wedding was."

Oh God, I think she's enjoying this. She is, she's showing off in front of her friends. This is awful.

"Don't worry dear, I'm sure that it's very important," she's twittering. "Just make sure you take care of yourself, won't you?"

I don't believe this woman. From pseudo posh to babbling moron overnight. All it took was Gerald banging her brains out and she's turned into a simpering idiot. Ah well, at least she's happy. Looking at Gerald, I'd say so is he. My work here is done then.

Gerald is taking us to the airstrip. We say hurried goodbyes to the family, Mom says she'll come as soon as she can and we get into the truck.

"So Gerald, things seem to be um, quiet on the domestic front," Jack says as we head off down the track.

"Oh yes. Can't thank you enough Daniel. I won't go into details," (oh thank God for that!), "but suffice it to say she's a lot sweeter this morning. I think I'll have to do that again, just once in a while."

"It wouldn't pay to do it too often," I say. "It will lose its effect."

We pull up just in time to see a helicopter landing. We say goodbye, throw our cases in the Albatross, thank Gerald and pile in to the chopper. Jack hands his keys to some poor airman who's got the job of flying the Albatross back. He's passed on the flight plan so that he can refuel as he goes and we leave.

We're up in the air and all of a sudden Jack smacks his head.

"What's wrong?" I shout over the noise of the chopper.

"Sick bags!"

"Don't worry, for some reason I don't get sick in helicopters."

"No! The ones you threw up in the other day. I forgot to take them out when we landed. They're still in the Albatross."

Oh shit. It's been hot. Very, very hot. That poor airman. Jack cracks up, nearly wetting himself with laughter. I'm joining in and the others in here are looking at us as if we've gone completely mad.

We're at the nearest air base. How are we getting to Peterson?

Oh no. No way. No fucking way. I am not getting in one of those things. I haven't taken any happy pills and I'm stone cold sober. No Jack, I'm not going in it. I'd rather walk.

"Come on Daniel. It won't take us long in one of these. Get your flight suit on, it'll be okay I promise."

"Jack, please don't make me do this," I'm begging.

"Come on Daniel, you have to. Hammond wouldn't have arranged this if you didn't need to be there as soon as, would he?"

No, he wouldn't. He knows how much I hate flying. Doesn't mean I'm going to enjoy this though. They've got a couple of flight suits ready for us. Jack's checking up the flight plans. He's really good at remembering stuff like this - can't remember a shopping list to save his life though. Even when he writes it down he forgets stuff. Okay, I'm in it and shaking like a leaf. I'm trying to hide it. It's never a good idea to show how much you hate flying when surrounded by pilots.

"Not happy, eh, Sir?" It's one of the airmen - mechanic-type I think. There are a few here helping us up and in.

"Absolutely not," I agree. So much for hiding it.

"Can't blame you. Wouldn't get me in one of them either. I leave that to the flyboys."

"You fix them though, you must have faith in them," I counter, not really liking where this is going.

"Sure. They're safe. It's just the pilots - crazy." He shakes his head and walks off.

I am not looking forward to this. I know that this is what Jack loves to fly the most but still - I even hate jumbos. An F15 is just pushing my tolerance over the limit.

"Promise me Jack, promise me you won't do anything stupid up there," I'm pleading.

"Daniel, I promise. No dives, rolls or flying upside down. Straight up, across and down again. Trust me?"

All I can manage is a whimper. Aw, that's sweet, Jack's helping me get buckled into my - WHAT? EJECTOR SEAT? NO! NO WAY.

"Ah shut your whining Daniel, or I'll press the fucking button. It's not as if you haven't parachuted before, is it? Come on, let's get this done up tight."

*SLAP*

"Keep your frigging hands where I can see them, flyboy!"

Ah well, at least the other guys laughed.

"So Jack," I ask as were ascending. And ascending. And fucking ascending. "Just how high do these things fly?"

Oh God, I wish I hadn't asked. How high? 60,000 ft? No, I want my mommy.


I guess one of these things does have an advantage over the Albatross, no refuelling is necessary and we're in Peterson before my stomach has a chance to catch up with me. Damn, they really are fast. No time for nerves. I'm nerveless. Numb in fact. I'll wait till later to freak out and throw up.

There's a driver waiting, we head to the mountain still unaware of what the emergency is. We haven't had time to change out of our flight suits. I'm getting some funny looks as we head past the guards. Perhaps I should have taken my earring out. Oh well, time for that later I guess.

We leave the elevator, running to the briefing room where we've been told to go. Hammond's there, I can see the back of his head. It's quite distinguishable.

Who's that?

"Gentlemen, thank you for coming so quickly. I'm sorry to have spoiled a family occasion but as you can see we're time delineated here. These people just came through the gate. They found a quantum mirror and stepped through on Yu's old home world."

Of course, the Jaffa took the mirror we found that time when we met up with the other SG-1. I've got the dial. Our original mirror was destroyed years ago.

I look at our visitors and I'm surprised to say the least. There's a guy I don't recognise, and there are a couple I do.

"Kawalsky!" Jack cries. "Good to see you again. I take it they told you about our Kawalsky?"

"Hello Jack," he replies nodding, well, he is a colonel in this reality. "Um, Daniel?" he's talking to me.

I peel off my flight suit and they see me in my civvies. I'm guessing the longer hair is giving away the fact that I am not military. Why that should come as a surprise is patently obvious. Major Daniel Jackson is standing right in front of me.

"Hi Charlie," I reply, not taking my eyes off the Major.

Sam's come in, greets me with a hug before realising who's in front of me.

"Um, wow," she says.

"Why are you looking at me as if I've grown a second head?" he asks.

"You're Air Force," I say.

"Um, yes," he replies as if that is perfectly normal.

"Pilot?" I ask with a whimper.

"Of course."

Jack loses it. I kick him. Major Jackson looks horrified that I could do that to a colonel.

"Sam," I say, "sit on him. I'll deal with him later. Um, Daniel, this may come as a surprise to you but I'm guessing you won't meet many military versions of yourself if you go through the mirror again. We tend to remain civilian. It has its advantages," I add as I kick a howling Jack again.

I'm wondering just who their fourth is. And where.

"Who's your fourth?" Jack asks. See, it wasn't only me.

Hammond goes very quiet and heads off to open the door to call whoever it is in.

Oh fuck



Shau're.