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Summary: A spell in quarantine ends Daniel's isolation. Thanks be to Joy for the beta. You're a gem, dahlink

"I'm sorry, Daniel, but the place is filling up and you're going to have to share your room." Jan's apologetic voice rang through the air and Daniel opened one eye to see who was being brought in. He was surprised to see Major Davis.

Daniel was in quarantine. He'd come back through the gate sneezing fit to burst. Janet Frasier had a feeling that it wasn't his usual allergies causing it, a hunch that was confirmed when Sam and Jack started sneezing too. Wildfire had been declared, just in case the illness was serious, and the mountain was shut down. Those not needed to analyse the bug and help take care of the sufferers had been confined to other parts of the base as quickly as possible, getting them away from the source of the infection, or whatever it was. Jan still wasn't sure if it was a virus or something else, though if it was airborne, the separation probably wouldn't help in the recycled-air conditions of the base.

"Paul?" Daniel asked, his voice sounding like he was full of cold as his sinuses were stuffed up. "How did you get it?"

"Hey, Daniel," came the croaky reply, "I was in the gate control room when you got back. One of the security forces came up there for something or other, anyway, he must have picked up the bug because all of us that were in there are now sneezing too."

"Sorry about that," Daniel mumbled, still sneezing as he spoke. "I thought I'd picked up a pollen allergy or something - the planet was full of flowers. I wouldn't have come home if I'd known I was sick."

"It's not your fault," Paul soothed. "At least this is going to give me a couple of days off," he joked. "I can't see any of the JCS wanting me up there until this is cured, can you?"

Daniel laughed at Paul's reply. He knew that the Major was seriously overworked during a quiet time, let alone during a crisis.

"How many are down with the bug?" he asked.

"About forty at the last count," Paul replied with a sigh. "Poor Janet's rushed off her feet. Some of the medical staff have it, but I think she's been moving too fast for it to catch her. Anyone that doesn't have the bug is going around with masks on. They're starting to think it's airborne."

"That would explain why it's doing the rounds so quickly. It's not too bad, not much worse than a cold, though the sneezing is annoying as hell."

"I thought you'd be used to sneezing," Paul teased.

"Well, there is that," Daniel agreed, "but I freaking hate it when it's just allergies. My sinuses are bad enough normally, without the added bonus of some alien lurgy."

"Lurgy?" Paul laughed, before collapsing in a sneezing fit that threatened to dislodge his brain.

"Medical term," Daniel wheezed back.

When they had both regained some form of normal breathing, Daniel got out of bed and poured them both some water. He handed one to Paul and sat on his bed facing the Major. They were friends, had been since Paul had become the liaison. Occasionally they'd email each other with funny messages that they'd discovered, or URLs to sites not approved by the Pentagon; sometimes they'd go out to dinner or even to a play at the local theatre when Paul had finished work - but Daniel realised that they didn't really know each other that well at all. And he wanted to put that right.

"When's your birthday?" he suddenly asked Paul, who had gratefully accepted the water and copied Daniel in his seating position, now facing him.

"Excuse me?" He had been caught unawares by the question and he wanted to make sure that he was hearing him correctly.

"Your birthday," Daniel repeated. "It dawned on me that we've known each other for over two years and that I don't know when it is, or how old you are, or any number of other things about you, Paul. You know a lot more about me, it's all in my file and I know you do your homework, so, I think it's time to turn the tables. Talk, Major D., I want to know all about you."

Paul shrugged, it wasn't as if they had anything else to do. He put down his water and lay back on his bed and talked.

"Ok-ay, you're right, I do know the official facts about you, but I'd like to know more, too. So, I'll spill, but you have to after I've finished, okay?"

"Fair enough. Go on then, Mr. Politician, you've agreed to answer the question, but you haven't answered it yet. No more avoidance."

"What was the question again?" Paul teased.

"How old are you, Major, and when is your birthday?"

"That's two questions, Doctor. Which one do you want answered?"

"May I rephrase it?" Daniel replied with a chuckle, getting into the word game that Paul had suddenly started.

"You may, however that does not mean that I will be in a position to supply you with more information, rephrased or otherwise."

"Major Davis," Daniel intoned, his voice like one of the serious BBC news readers from the 1940s, "I should like to ask you, what is your date of birth?"

"Ah, that would be telling," Paul answered, then, finding his friend growling, he actually told him. "Okay, okay, September 19th 1966. Will that suffice?"

"Only if it's the correct answer," Daniel laughed, though inwardly he was pleased to know this detail. Something struck him. "It's your birthday in a few days, Paul. I really hope we're out of here in time for you to celebrate it."

Paul snorted. "Celebrate? You have got to be joking."

Daniel became serious. He looked up and at the camera in the room and let out a little sigh of relief when he saw that it had been turned off - undoubtedly Janet's doing, she knew how much he hated being spied on. He sat on Paul's bed and looked at him with concerned eyes, then he put his hand on Paul's arm.

"Paul? What's wrong?"

"Wrong? Nothing, Daniel." Paul sat up and they found themselves very close indeed. A certain 'spark' passed between them and they both were surprised by it.

Daniel tried to get the conversation back on track.

"So, why don't you celebrate your birthday?" he asked gently.

Paul rarely, if ever, wanted to explain himself, but he found Daniel's genuine interest and concern touching, so he told him.

"My family disowned me," he stated. "I come from a long line of Republican corporate lawyers. I detest lawyers, especially those involved in big business," he said with a hollow laugh. "They, of course, wanted me to join the family firm. I joined up instead. I'm also a Democrat. I couldn't be what I am and..." He bit his tongue, thinking he'd said too much. Daniel stared at him as if he was trying to read Paul's mind. Was he? Could he be too?

"Paul?" he whispered. "No one can hear us. If you want to tell me anything, know that your secret is safe with me, okay? I'm not going to push you to tell me a damned thing. And anything you do tell me will not leave this room. You have my word."

Paul knew that he did and that Daniel was safe, but some things were better left unsaid.

"Thanks, Daniel, I know I can trust you. Not here though, okay?"

"Okay. But tell me, you don't need family to celebrate your birthday, what about friends?"

Paul sighed again. "I don't usually allow myself to get close enough to have friends that would want to celebrate it with me, Daniel. It's not a good idea."

Daniel was a touch confused, but he shook himself and said, "I don't celebrate mine either. No family."

"Friends?" Paul prompted gently. Daniel just laughed.

"Maybe once. When I was at college," he finally said quietly.

"The Colonel? Major Carter? Teal'c?" Paul was astounded.

"Um, no. We were never on world the first three years," Daniel answered.

"This year?" again the coaxing from Paul.

Daniel shook his head. "Teal'c doesn't celebrate birthdays," he said. His voice sounded dour and his face was sad.

"Aren't you friends with the others anymore?"

"I guess," Daniel tried to sound casual.

Paul tried to hide his anger. He'd heard about the supposed friendship between O'Neill and Carter but hadn't believed the rumours. Was Daniel now saying that they were true?

"Daniel, are the others, um, how can I put this..."

"Not as far as I know," Daniel put in hurriedly. "Not that they'd tell me a damned thing anymore anyway. I'm just making up the numbers, Paul. I'm just the fourth on the team. We were family once, but since they got back off Thor's ship, I don't know them anymore. Sometimes I wonder if they were replaced by androids or something. They went off world my friends, and came back people that I didn't know."

Daniel was cross that he was feeling so maudlin, so he changed the subject.

"What's your favourite music?" he asked suddenly.

Paul hid his surprise at the change and answered.

"I like lots of things, depending on my mood. If I've had a hard day at the office I like classical music, something tuneful and peaceful. I'm not an opera fan at all, but certain pieces are just wonderful - the odd aria here and there. What about you?"

"I know what you mean," Daniel replied with a grin. "Soave sia il Vento - Mozart, Così Fan Tutte - if ever there's a piece of music that can be described as perfect, that's it."

Paul agreed wholeheartedly, that was one of his favourites too. "Have you heard Spiegle Im Spiegel, Arvo Pärt?"

"Oh God, yes, that's another perfect piece. That and Vaughan Williams, the Lark Ascending."

They chatted about music for ages, finding that they had almost identical tastes, and promised to tape copies of pieces that one had that the other didn't. The conversation moved onto food, drink, perfect nights in and out... and they realised just how much they had in common, though they did disagree on some things like sport. Daniel actually enjoyed hockey - street hockey though, not ice. Paul, however, enjoyed only equestrian sports.

Janet came in with a grin on her face.

"Good news, gentlemen," she said, "we think it's just a virulent cold. Hopefully, you'll be able to be out of here in a few days. We don't want to inflict it on the population at large so you'll have to wait until you've gotten over it. We've been studying the virus - having finally discovered that that is what it is - and it seems to be going through its cycle quickly. What we think is happening is that you're going to have this cold, pretty severely, but for a shorter length of time. Daniel, as you were the first one to get it, we'd like to monitor you most closely to chart its progress. I'll need to keep an eye on you, do tests and the like. If it's just a cold, you're going to feel lousy for a while, maybe get a little worse, but you shouldn't have more than cold symptoms."

Daniel groaned. With his normal sinus problems a cold could seem a lot worse to him than it would to others.

True to Janet's prediction, the cold only lasted a few days and they were released, but with the instructions that they were to go home and not return to work for three days, just to make sure that they weren't dehydrated from the virus' effects. The virus had taken a lot out of its victims and they were all exhausted.

Paul was forbidden to fly back to DC until Janet told him otherwise, mainly because of the fear of the dehydration effects of the virus, especially at high altitudes, still being with him. He needed to be in close contact with other SGC personnel, just in case, so couldn't go and stay in the motel that he usually stayed in. Daniel offered the use of his couch - in front of Hammond who had popped in, ostensibly to check something with Paul before he left, but really wanting to check up on the man he considered his foster son, not wanting to let on to Daniel that he was fussing too much. Paul looked at the General, who smiled in gratitude at the Doctor's offer, and accepted gratefully. One thing that Daniel had to do, though, was some shopping, especially for such things as Gatorade.

The two men then finally left the mountain, laughing and joking as they went. As they reached the car park, they saw Jack heading to his own car. Paul noticed that Daniel didn't even look at him, just went to his parking space and opened his car and the boot, so that Paul could put his kit inside it. As they were about to get in, Jack called out, "You off then, Daniel?"

Daniel looked at him in surprise. "Uh, yeah. Glad to be going. You?"

"Can't wait," replied Jack. "Do you want to come over to my place for a beer?"

Paul thought that he'd have to pick Daniel up off the floor, he looked that shocked.

"Thanks, but no. Paul's staying with me till he gets clearance to fly again. I'll see you when we get back to work."

With that, he got in his car and waited till Paul was in before starting her up and driving off in silence.

"Daniel? Are you all right?"

"Yeah, of course," Daniel replied, sounding distracted.

"Come on, Daniel, you can tell me anything, you know that," Paul said, throwing Daniel's assertion back at him.

"I know. It's nothing, Paul. It's just the first time he's invited me over since before his enforced stay off-world that time."

"Daniel, that was a year ago."

"I know." Daniel's voice was quiet and Paul suddenly felt his heart break for his friend.

They did the shopping as quickly as they could, both feeling very tired. Neither man wanted to be out longer than was necessary and though they were definitely feeling a lot better than before, the after-effects of this virus were very wearing.

At Daniel's loft, Paul settled in quickly. They unpacked the shopping and put it away, and, as it was starting to get late, Daniel headed into his bedroom to get some bedding for Paul. He'd told him which sofa pulled out to become a bed, but when he got into the room he laughed out loud. Paul was having difficulties and was puffing and panting as he tried to pull out the seat as he had been told. He looked back up at Daniel and grinned.

"If you can see I'm having problems, why don't you come and help me?" he complained.

Daniel smiled back and dropped the bedding on the floor. He moved across the room as quickly as he could and grabbed Paul's hand.

"Here," he said, showing him where the catch was to release the base, "move this."

Again, the spark that had flashed between them in the isolation room was there. This time, however, they were away from the mountain. Paul let out a gasp and looked into Daniel's eyes. He saw a hunger in them that he recognised all too well. He couldn't take a chance though, so he pulled his hand away and whispered a 'thank you' to Daniel.

Daniel got up and went to pick up the bedding, quickly running what he had seen, what he had felt, through his head. Paul's eyes were wide open, his pupils a bit dilated. Oh boy, he knew what that meant. What did he feel though? Paul was his friend, a good friend, someone he had got to know a lot more over the last few days. He liked Paul a lot. That was a given. Was he attracted to him? Well, what wasn't to like? Paul was good-looking, sweet, kind, funny, smart ... caring ... aw hell, he was attracted to him, more than attracted if he was honest with himself. The jump start his dick had just got was telling him that if nothing else was. Shit. This could complicate matters. He decided to let Paul take the driver's seat in this matter. After all, his career would be the one that went up in smoke if they got together and things went wrong. And he had no idea if Paul was gay or not. Well, he had an idea, but he couldn't ask for confirmation of his theory.

He dropped the bedding next to the sofa bed and looked at his friend. Paul was trying to make this seem normal, so Daniel, with an internal sigh, tried to do the same. He left Paul to make up the bed and headed into the kitchen to make them something to eat and drink. Nothing much, neither of them was that hungry, but they needed something decent after living on SGC food for four days, Daniel on MREs for two days before that too.

Paul sat opposite him at the table as they ate their simple but nutritional supper and drank juice - as per Janet's orders. Daniel couldn't get the fact that he was really into the idea that he fancied Paul out of his head. What he had no idea was how Paul felt about him. He couldn't ask, though, could he? Or could he?

"Paul, that first day we were in the infirmary, you said you couldn't tell me something there. About why you're a Democrat on principle, that it had something to do with what you were. Tell me, please. I doubt very much you could say anything that would turn me from you."

Paul didn't look at him. He couldn't look at him.

"I want to tell you, Daniel," he said quietly, "but I can't."

"Why not?" Daniel prompted gently.

"Daniel, we are friends, aren't we?" Paul asked, needing a little reassurance.

"Of course, Paul. I'd say that you're about the best friend I've got. Come on, it can't be that bad, can it? I mean, you didn't murder an old woman just because she voted Republican, did you?" he teased.

Paul snorted. Daniel always had a knack of making him laugh at the wrong - or was that the right moment?

He took a deep breath. "Daniel? Tell me something."


"What do you think of the 'don't ask' rule?"



"Okay. It's a start, I guess. There shouldn't be any restriction on anyone joining up. As far as I'm concerned, someone that is prepared to die in the service of their country should be afforded all the rights, privileges and respect due to those that protect the rest of us. I know that it was brought in as a halfway measure, at least they tried, made an effort to make things right. They've got rid of the stupid laws in other countries and it hasn't affected a damned thing, so why our country - supposedly the leading democracy in the world - can't get its collective head out of its ass on this one I don't know." Daniel stopped his tirade for a moment, realising that Paul had brightened a lot at his words. It dawned on him why Paul was asking, confirming his theory. He smiled. "Paul, I need to tell you something, something that cannot leave this apartment. Can I?"

"Of course, Daniel, you can tell me anything."

"I know," he replied with a smile. "I'm not straight, Paul. I'm bi - more gay than bi, but I do like women. I just prefer guys. Is this going to cause a problem between us?"

"Not in the slightest, Daniel," Paul added his own smile. "Not at all. You're not the only one. You can't say a thing at all and I know you won't, but I do need your promise."

"Paul," Daniel was around the table in a shot and pulling him up so that they would stand face to face. "No fucking way will anyone find out from me. I promise. I'm glad, by the way. I hate having to hide, not being able to tell anyone. Jack doesn't know, and he knows more about me than most others do. You can relax with me. Talk to me, tell me whatever bugs you, Paul, I won't let you down."

"That wasn't really ever in doubt, Daniel," Paul returned with a happy sigh.

They returned to their meal, talking a little more brightly. It was as if a weight had been lifted off them. Somehow, now, it didn't matter if they did get together or not. They had shared their most dangerous secret with each other, knew something about each other that no one else did and that meant a lot to them.

They took their topped-up juices into the living room and sat in comfort. Daniel put some music on the stereo, something that he knew Paul liked a lot since their conversation in the infirmary.

"Paul, can I ask you something?" he queried gently as he sat back down.

Paul was lounging on the armchair, his mind at peace and he was feeling totally relaxed.

"Sure, go ahead. Ask anything. I can't guarantee I can answer you, but I think that you should know that there is nothing that you can't ask now."

Daniel smiled. "Good. Same goes for you, Paul. Okay. Shit, this isn't easy. Right, I can ask this." He shifted a little uncomfortably in his chair and then said, "Are you attracted to me?"

Paul froze for a minute, gathered his thoughts and took his chance. "Yes," he said quietly. "Very. Is this going to be a problem? I mean, we're friends, great friends Daniel, and I don't want to spoil that. But, there's a lot about you that I'm attracted to. I think you're gorgeous," he got a shy smile from Daniel for that, "brilliant, funny, kind, generous ... basically you're everything that I want in a man. Don't think for one minute that I will let that get in the way of our friendship," he added hurriedly. "I've felt like this more or less since I met you."

"Wow," Daniel said, his eyes wide open. "I'm stunned. Pleased too, by the way."

Paul looked directly at him as he said that. "Daniel?"

Daniel took a deep breath, put his juice down, moved to the floor in front of Paul and knelt. He took Paul's hands in his and held them softly.

"Okay - confession time here. I've really, really, liked you since we met. You know that, you have to know that. I don't make friends easily, not real friends. You and I became good friends quickly, I knew at the beginning that I'd be comfortable with you. I also noticed that you are beautiful," he removed one hand and put it on Paul's face, gratified when the other man leant into the touch, "and you're smart, witty ... wonderful." He stroked Paul's cheek and smiled brightly and lovingly at him. "But, up until recently, my mind, my heart has been elsewhere. First Shau're, and then when I knew I'd lost her for good, I looked for someone else to love I guess. I fell for Jack, head over heels. Anyway," he said with a sigh, "I think he noticed. He shut me out. I got the message a while back and now I think that those feelings couldn't have been real. I didn't allow myself to look again. My heart had been broken twice in quick succession and I didn't want to get hurt again."

Paul murmured quiet words of understanding, stretching his own hand to Daniel's face in comfort. He knew that Daniel's 'confession' hadn't ended though, so he became silent, his eyes pleading with him to finish.

"You and I started spending more and more time together over the last few months and I noticed that I was missing you when you weren't here. I couldn't say anything, what with the stupid rules and all. I had no idea if you were straight, gay, or," he said with a grin, "a slut like me."

Paul laughed at that, giving Daniel the biggest smile he'd ever seen on him.

"Not a slut," he said, "I'm gay. But I can be very slutty when I want to."

It was Daniel's turn to laugh now, but he still needed to finish what he wanted to say.

"I realised when we were in the infirmary that I didn't know much about you, hence the questioning. It was only when you said the thing about your parents did I allow myself to hope that you were gay. Something else I realised while we were there, Paul, was that I was falling for you. I'm very attracted to you." Paul's eyes lit up at that. "I guess, I'm asking you out. I want more, Paul. If you don't though, if you don't want to take the chance for whatever reason, then that will be okay. I understand. You can't take any chances with your job. I won't be offended if you say 'no'. Disappointed, yes; offended, no. We will still be friends, okay?"

The only answer that Paul could give him was 'yes'.

"Paul? Is that a 'yes' to us being okay and good friends, or a 'yes' to you having a relationship with me?"

Paul grinned, leaned forward, whispered 'yes' again and then put his lips softly on Daniel's. They kissed so heartbreakingly tenderly for a few minutes that Daniel thought he'd want to cry. There was more love and passion in the butterfly kisses that they were placing on each other at this moment than he had experienced in total since he had lost his darling Shau're.

They broke apart and Paul yawned.

"Well, I didn't think that was boring at all," Daniel teased.

Paul groaned. "Daniel," he complained.

"Shh hun. Come on, bedtime. I'm tired too. Do you want to come and share with me? Or is that rushing things?"

"I think I'd like to share," Paul replied thoughtfully, "but to tell you the truth, I'm wiped. I just want to sleep."

"Me too. Let's go, get ready for bed. We'll leave all of this out here just in case we get someone turning up. It's highly unlikely," he added with a sigh and Paul noticed the hurt in Daniel's eyes.

"Dan?" he tested the water with the pet name, knowing that Daniel preferred his full name. He got another of those brilliant shy smiles back. "Don't your team come over?"

"Um, no. This is the first time someone else has been here since Jack hauled me off the balcony. And he didn't come over much before that. In fact, since my appendix burst, that's the only time he's been here."

"Damn that man," Paul spat, "I feel like kicking him - hard."

Daniel laughed. "Don't be daft, Paul. It's not worth the hassle. At least he and I don't fight that much these days."

"You don't?"

"No. You can't really fight if you're not talking, can you?"

They got ready for bed and Paul shifted down the bed a little and rested his head on Daniel's chest, loving it when he felt his strong arms wrap around him.

"Night hun," he whispered.

Daniel dropped a kiss on his head. "Night, babe."

Daniel woke Paul with a coffee, laughed as the younger man put his hands up to be hauled up and out of bed so that he could visit the bathroom, and then got back into bed while he waited for his return. A bleary-eyed Paul came back, got under the covers, and was about to try to go back to sleep when Daniel nudged him and handed him the coffee.

"Paul, it's past nine o'clock," he said with a grin.

Paul opened his eyes wider.

"Oh God, I haven't slept this late since college," he groaned.

"Yeah, well, that virus took a load out of us, Paul. You obviously needed the rest. Tell you what, we'll do nothing at all today, what do you say?"

"Do nothing? Nothing at all?" Paul queried, his lips curving up in a grin.

"Well," Daniel drawled, "I'm sure I can think of something to do, but I don't know what you'd think of it."

"I'm all ears, Dan," Paul sniggered.

"You are? That could be interesting."

"Go on, tell me. What do you have planned, oh genius?"

"How about..." he removed the coffee from Paul's hand, "we do this....." he kissed him softly, "and maybe this?" He kissed him again, increasing the pressure on Paul's lips. Paul opened his mouth willingly, inviting Daniel in. They lay back down and started to get more and more aroused by their actions. Daniel broke away.

"What do you think?" he asked with a smile.

"I think..." Paul said, drawing a finger down Daniel's bare chest, "that it is a wonderful idea. How about we do it again?"

"Oh, I think that can be arranged."

They renewed their contact eagerly and were soon desperately hard and wanting relief.

"Daniel, please," Paul begged, "do something, anything."

With a feral grin, Daniel stopped kissing and pushed the covers down the bed to give them freedom of movement. He pushed Paul on his back and started to kiss his neck, trailing his tongue down his chest. He paused to gently rasp Paul's nipples with his teeth, amused at the reaction he was getting. Paul was almost chanting his name in short gasps, pleading with Daniel to please get him off.

Daniel took pity on him and went down. Paul nearly screamed. The movement had been sudden, the hot, wet mouth engulfing his dick in one go. Daniel went to town, sucking and licking, taking Paul to the edge, bringing him back down time and time again. Paul cried out, beyond desperate now, needing to get off or he'd burst.

Daniel stopped, earning himself a stream of abuse and making him laugh.

"Sh babe," he crooned, "I'm not going to leave you hanging. No more teasing, I promise."

He opened his bedside drawer, took out the lube he'd bought the day before (praying that Paul didn't see him while he bought it on what he'd thought was the remote off-chance that this would happen), went back down and within moments Paul felt a cool, slick finger enter him. Daniel didn't know how long it had been for Paul so he was making sure that he was well prepared. Two fingers now, firmly fucking his lover, finally finding and hitting the spot and sending Paul into orbit. He came hard and long, crying out Daniel's name over and over again.

"Stop, please," he begged as Daniel continued to suck him hard, softening his touch as the sensitive organ also softened.

"Paul? Do you want me?" Daniel asked, not prepared to take anything that wasn't offered freely.

"God, yes," Paul hissed. He was too far out of it to complain, he suddenly thought.

"Turn over," Daniel instructed.

"You'll have to help. Numb. Don't think I can feel my legs," Paul moaned.

Daniel giggled and rolled him over, kissing the back of his neck and down his arms.

"So beautiful," he whispered into Paul's ear, "so fucking beautiful. I'm going to take good care of you, babe," he crooned.

Paul folded his arms and rested his head on them, "Go on, Daniel, I couldn't be more ready. I want this, want you so much."

That was enough for Daniel and he knelt in between Paul's legs, pushing them further apart until Paul felt his muscles stretch. Next thing he knew was Daniel laying over his back, and something large pressing at the entrance of his ass.


"Yes, do it."

"Tell me, Paul."

"Fuck me, Daniel," Paul growled, "just fuck me for heaven's sake." Then he let out a loud gasp as he felt the head of Daniel's dick inside him. Daniel rocked his hips, pushing in more and more with each small stroke until he was there, all the way in.

"Oh GOD, you feel so good, so hot. You are so incredible."

"Move, dammit," Paul demanded.

"Pushy," Daniel teased, but he did as he was told.

"You'd better believe it, hun," Paul replied with a grin, shifting up onto his knees and thrusting back to urge Daniel to do his bidding.

Daniel took his cue and moved, faster, harder, seemingly deeper with every thrust. He was stunned by the sensations long missed and couldn't hold on any longer.

"Oh god," he moaned, a siren-like sound building as he couldn't take any more and let himself go.

They collapsed panting onto the bed, Daniel pulling out carefully and then turning Paul to face him so he could kiss him. Frantically their lips met, clashing and battling, then quieting to gentle touches.

"Wow," Daniel said with a grin.

"Wow? And you're a linguist?"

"Hmm, wow. Just wait. When I get my brain cells back I'll think of something else."

Chuckling quietly they cuddled for a while, Paul just about having enough strength to pull the cover back over them. Predictably, they dropped off and napped.

That day was a day of exploration for them, finding out the places that made the other shudder, moan, get goosebumps and even scream. When Paul made love to Daniel for the first time he did it so tenderly that Daniel thought he would explode with the sheer emotion of it all. Things were going wonderfully. After a while though, and after a shared shower that had turned into yet another session of lovemaking, they decided that getting up and getting dressed would be a really good idea.

"I don't think I've had so much sex in a long time," Paul moaned as he sat gingerly.

"Tell me about it," Daniel replied with a snort. "Regrets?"

"None. None whatsoever, Daniel. I'm worried though."

"Paul? What is it, hun?"

"We have a couple more days like this, and then we have to go back to the real world. I have to go to Washington, you'll have to go out there," he waved his hand in the general direction of space. "How on earth are we going to have any sort of relationship?"

Daniel sighed. He'd been thinking just the same sort of thing.

"We'll just have to make the most of what time we do have. Look, Hammond knows we're friends, doesn't he? He was grateful that I'd offered the use of my couch to you. I doubt he'd say anything if you stayed here in future either. When we get back to work, I'll talk to him."

"Daniel?" Paul's eyes opened wide, not a little fear was in them.

"I'm not going to tell him about us! What do you think I am?"

Paul visibly relaxed and then prompted Daniel to continue.

"I'll tell him, conversationally, that we managed well with you here, that I really enjoyed having someone over. He knows how alone I am, Paul. He's actually talked to me about it. He knows what it's like to lose your wife. If I tell him that having you here has made me happy, I'm sure he'll be more than prepared to not look too closely at the reasons for us getting on. He's a good man, Paul. I know he's tolerant and accepting, and in no way homophobic."

"How do you know that?" Paul was very curious.

"Oh, we went to a planet where the different sexes live apart, only getting together to breed. They had some tech we were interested in trading for and they asked that only men go, and men that were 'together'. It was when Jack and I were friends and we pretended to be together to negotiate. We were so close then that we were able to pull it off."

"Did you have to share a bed?" Paul asked, wide-eyed.

"Yeah, we had to stay overnight. You won't have read any of the details, Paul. Jack's no homophobe, he was very relaxed when we were there, put his arm around my waist and that, there was no awkwardness at all. But, neither he nor the General thought that putting 'Colonel O'Neill happily fell into the role of Dr. Jackson's lover to accomplish the task' in the report would be a good idea."

Paul snorted at that, he could understand though.

"What was it like, sharing a bed with him?"

"Oh, we got ready, got to bed and went to sleep. I was still looking for Shau're then, Paul, being with him wasn't an issue. He and I have shared a tent for years - well, we used to."

"Don't you anymore?"

"Um, no." Daniel's voice dropped. Paul moved across to where he was sitting, took him by the hand and led him to the still open sofa bed. He pulled him to lie down and they lay there cuddling for a while.

"So, what happened?" Paul prompted gently.

"I was fed up, it was a few months after he had started acting like a jerk, it was the zay'tarc episode that finished it."

Paul shivered at the mention of that dreaded time.

"I took my own tent. I guess it was a statement as much as anything. The others were shocked - no matter how much we'd fought up till then, we'd always shared a two-man tent. It was easier, less kit to carry and all that. Sam had always had her own, as has Teal'c."

"What happened when you put it up?"

"There were stunned looks from Teal'c and Sam but Jack just shrugged. I knew then that our friendship was over. I tried so hard to get it back on track, but if Jack thought that I wanted to be with him then he probably saw it as a come-on. He doesn't want me as a friend, so that's it."

"You must have been terribly lonely," Paul sympathised.

"I'm used to it," Daniel sighed. "I've been alone all my life, Paul. My parents were more interested in their finds than in me. My foster parents and the care-givers in the orphanages were usually run ragged with others. I was so quiet that they often forgot I was there. I had friends at university, loved being there, it was the only time, along with Abydos, that I wasn't alone. But even then I was isolated, I was different, set apart..." Daniel's voice trailed off. He pulled himself together and said, his voice hardened, "It doesn't matter."

"It does matter, Dan, it does. Tell Hammond that I'll stay here when I'm down. I'm sure he'll be glad. I'm not going to let you be alone anymore."

Daniel kissed him hard, putting every ounce of passion that he felt for him into it.

"Damn, Paul, I think I'm falling in love with you," he hissed as they broke apart. "In fact, I'm pretty sure I am in love with you. I think I have been for a while, I just didn't know it."

"Love you," Paul whispered into Daniel's neck. "I fell for you so long ago. I never thought I'd hear that from you."

As with the previous night, they just slept when they went to bed. They were, in Daniel's words 'shagged out'. Daniel lay awake for a while, just watching over Paul, wondering just how he had got so lucky. His previous feeling of being alone had gone, but he was afraid that when Paul went back to DC, he'd get it back. He wanted to do something special to mark their time together and he had an idea. He quietly slipped out of bed, it wasn't very late, and got dressed. He wrapped some cotton around Paul's finger, removed it, left a note on the side table for Paul in case he woke up and then slipped out of the apartment and headed to the twenty-four hour shopping mall recently opened on the other side of town. He purchased some things and as quickly as he could safely go, he drove back to his loft. He checked that Paul was still asleep, and relieved that he was, he put part two of his plan into action before getting back into bed. He destroyed the note he'd left and then slipped carefully under the covers.


"Bathroom break," he whispered, nuzzling into Paul's neck.

He got a sleepy 'hmm' back and grinned as Paul seemed to be determined to wear Daniel to bed.

Daniel was awoken with a bump. Quite literally. Paul bounced onto him, his eyes lit up and a huge grin from ear to ear.

"Daniel! Dan! Babe, wake up, please!"


Daniel opened one eye and had to fight back the laugh that threatened to come out when he saw the childlike look on his lover's face.

"Oh God, I'll get you a coffee, maybe then you'll be in a position to explain yourself."

He did laugh when he heard a yell coming from the kitchen and forced himself to sit up. A few minutes later Paul came back, thrusting the mug of coffee under Daniel's nose.

"Drink, wake up properly and explain yourself!" Paul ordered again.

Daniel downed the coffee as quickly as he could and then put his hands out to Paul, pulling him in closely.

"Tell me, what did you see?" he asked of Paul.

"Presents, Daniel, lots of presents. And when I looked in the refrigerator it was full of stuff that wasn't there yesterday.

"You sleep heavily," Daniel teased, knowing that he was only sleeping that heavily because of the after effects of the virus.


"Go get the presents, Paul, bring them in and I'll explain them."

Paul's idea of 'lots of presents' turned out to be three. One largish box, one medium sized and one very small. They were labelled 'open first' on the biggest and so on to the smallest. Paul hadn't yet opened them, though he had opened the card that came with them.

He knew that Daniel wouldn't do anything to drop him in it, so he appreciated the tactful wording on the card, should anyone else ever see it.

"To Paul, my best and most treasured friend. May our friendship last a lifetime. Happy Birthday, D"

On the surface, it was that from one close (and sappy) friend to another. But Paul read between the lines, knowing that Daniel's idea of friendship covered the fact of relationship now too. He was stunned.

He snuggled back under Daniel's arm and then kissed his cheek.

"The card," he said, then paused. Daniel said nothing. "Dan, I want us to last a lifetime too," he whispered.

That got him a huge smile and a kiss on the head.

"Go on," Daniel prompted, "open the first one."

As Paul carefully unwrapped the gift, Daniel explained. "I thought I should have got you a present for each year I've known you. I've known you now over three birthdays, this one included. So, the gifts should represent our friendship as it was, and as it is," he added quietly.

Paul burst out laughing. In the first box was a beautiful model of an F-15, highly-detailed and intricate.

"Not knowing you then, I'd have had to have used Jack as a guide for what to get a pilot. He loves his planes and has models everywhere. So, I figured you'd want one too." Daniel's eyes were twinkling with humour and Paul understood the gift for what it was. A gift from a friend to a friend, but one when they didn't yet know each other's tastes. He'd never kept models of planes, even though he was, as Daniel said, a pilot. However, this one would take pride of place in his living room.

"I love it," he said, his own eyes matching Daniel's. "You didn't have to do a damned thing, Dan," he added.

"I wanted to," Daniel replied simply and Paul nodded, knowing why Daniel had done this now. If the positions had been reversed, he'd have wanted to do something for Daniel.

"Open the next one," Daniel encouraged.

By the second year of their friendship, Daniel had come to know Paul's sense of humour and this gift reflected that. There were books, a set of paperbacks. Paul laughed again when he saw them and hugged Daniel hard.

"Oh Dan, I haven't read all of them. Thank you so much. And so appropriate, I think."

It was The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, all five books.

"Yeah, I thought so too. Just wait till you get to the last one, the Creator's message is a scream."

The final present was very small, the gift of a lover. Paul opened it with shaking hands. He saw a small jewellery box and opened it. There was a signet ring inside it. Gold with an onyx top, it had a serpent with its tail in its mouth, the symbol of eternity, inlaid in silver on the onyx.

"Oh Daniel, it's beautiful," Paul gasped.

"Hope to God it fits. I wrapped some cotton around your finger while you were sleeping and cut it to the length. Then I handed it to the jeweller and said I wanted that size."

Paul laughed at that, somehow seeing the whole episode in his mind.

"You did all of this last night, didn't you?" he asked in awe.

"Yeah, like I said, you sleep heavily. C'mere." He took the ring out of the box and showed Paul the inside. Again, it had to be a circumspect message in case anyone saw it. All it said was 'Always' and then a 'D' was engraved underneath.

Paul didn't know what to say when Daniel slipped it onto the little finger of his right hand. Instead he kissed him.

Paul wanted to thank Daniel but knew that words wouldn't be wanted. He decided that showing him would be better. What first? He had tasted Daniel the day before and loved it. Perhaps he should do that? Or maybe he should... oh yeah, that would be so good.

"Lie back, Dan," he purred, "I'm going to show you how much I love you and how grateful I am for the gifts."

"Paul? n.n.need," Daniel stammered as he felt a number of things at the same time, pushing his brain into sensory overload. He gave up talking and decided that a grateful Paul was a thing of beauty.

Paul's mouth was currently attached to his neck on the pulse point, gently sucking and running his tongue over the sensitive skin. If that wasn't enough, Paul's left hand was playing with a nipple whilst his right hand had slipped between Daniel's legs, his fingers currently drawing circles around Daniel's anus. He was straddling Daniel while doing this, strong thigh and back muscles stopping him from collapsing onto his lover. Paul moved his hips slightly and let his cock brush Daniel's, making him gasp.

He pulled back, getting a loud moan in reply.

"Hush, babe, I'm not going to stop. I'm going to drive you out of your mind," he promised.

"Short trip," Daniel gasped, which was a long sentence for him at the moment. His remaining marbles were currently in hiding lest they, too, be lost.

Paul snorted quietly at his reply and got Daniel to roll over. Daniel let out a low, sensual moan as he felt Paul's tongue start on his ear lobe and then make its way down to his neck. Gentle puffs of air were blown at strategic points and Paul could see the gooseflesh appear as a result. Then he started at the nape of Daniel's neck and kissed his way down his spine to accompanying groans, moans and 'OH GOD PAULs'.

By the time the gentle torturing had reached Daniel's backside, Paul had to stop himself from laughing at Daniel's responses. He grabbed Daniel's cheeks firmly, pushed them apart and with no warning stiffened his tongue and pushed the tip inside him. Daniel howled with pleasure.

Paul pulled back. "On your knees, babe," he ordered. Somehow, Daniel found the co-ordination to do it and Paul went back to work, pushing his tongue further and further in with each thrust. Daniel became more and more incoherent as he surrendered to Paul's whims, not really caring either. Paul was good at this.

Paul was enjoying the hell out of himself. Of all the acts, all the positions, this was favourite for him. There was something so intimate, so loving and yet so downright dirty about the act that it turned him on hard. The taste, the texture, the musky smell threatened to blow his mind. He knew that if he didn't want to come there and then he'd have to stop. He grabbed the lube and did something that Daniel had told him he could do the previous day. Again, giving no warning, he sheathed himself inside his lover in one stroke.

"OH fuck!" Daniel yelled, the pleasure and pain combined in such an act was overwhelming. "Fuck me HARD!" he growled and Paul complied. He ground into his lover, speeding up with every stroke till he built a steady, quick rhythm. He reached around to grab Daniel's dick but Daniel told him 'no'. Rather, he ordered him to keep away from it.

Paul loved the feeling of being inside Daniel. It had been a while since he'd had a male lover, Daniel had admitted the night before, and he was so tight and hot. It was like making love to a virgin in some ways, but one who obviously knew what he wanted. Daniel was a demanding and pushy guy, Paul thought, just like him. Oh boy, bedtime could become a battleground. But what the hell, it would be fun, that was for sure.

Paul stopped thinking, let himself feel and soon couldn't hold on anymore. He yelled at Daniel that he was coming and found himself letting go. He came hard, pulsing inside Daniel until he had no more left. Somehow, Daniel was still hard. Weakly, Paul withdrew and ordered Daniel onto his back. Still panting from his own orgasm he took Daniel's dick into his mouth. As he felt the hot, wet mouth enclose him, sucking hard, not letting up, Daniel was ready too. The gasps of breath on him pushed him over the edge and he, too, came hard.

"Oh God, Paul," he gulped, "you are fucking amazing, babe. Love you."

"Love you too," Paul panted and he crawled back up to the top of the bed, flopped down and rested his head on Daniel's chest. "Love you," he whispered again and fell into a deep sleep.

The rest of the day was spent as the one before, making the most of having the time together, talking, making love, teasing... by the time evening had come and gone, giving way to the night, they were both drunk on the champagne Paul had found in the fridge that morning. Daniel had bought some of the finest things for him, his favourite foods, some Belgian chocolates from a very expensive little shop in the mall and he had treated Paul like a king.

"Dan," Paul said as they lay in bed, still giggly and snugly, "that was the best birthday of my life. Thank you so much."

"The pleasure was all mine," Daniel replied with a satisfied smile. "I'm going to treat you right, Major Davis, treat you better *hic* than you've ever been *burp* excuse me, treated before."

Paul burst out laughing at Daniel's display, Daniel joining in, the two men realising that they'd not laughed so easily in a long time. All of a sudden, Daniel became a little sad and Paul picked up on it.

"Dan? What's up hun?"

"Oh God, I'm sorry, Paul, so sorry. I shouldn't get like this."

"What is it? You can tell me anything."

"Shau're," Daniel whispered. "I miss her, Paul, so fucking much. It hurts." He pointed to his heart with unshed tears in his eyes. "We'd laugh like this, in bed, snuggling up and talking about the day. She'd tell me all the gossip in the town that she'd heard and we'd snigger our way through the evening. You'd have loved her, Paul, truly loved her. She was so special. My baby, you know?"

"I know, I know," Paul soothed. "I wish I'd met her. She must have been wonderful. It's easy to fall in love with you, Daniel, but I know you don't give your heart so readily or so completely. I wish I could bring her back for you."

"Then we wouldn't be together," Daniel said with a soft smile, fighting back the tears that still threatened to fall.

"True. But I love you, Daniel. I've loved you for a long time. And she made you happy, so if I could get her back for you it would make me happy. Don't you see?"

"Oh, Paul," there was a hitch in Daniel's voice as he realised just how much Paul did love him. To give someone up like that just so that they'd be happy... "Love you," was all he could say.

Paul returned to DC after another check up back at the SGC. The parting had to be done at the base, so they were both acting as friends only. It was painful, but the only way they could act.

"Thank you for your hospitality, Dr. Jackson," Paul said as he shook Daniel's hand. Secretly he rubbed his thumb against Daniel's wrist, telling him in his own way that he didn't want to go back.

"The pleasure was mine, Major Davis. Please, feel free to stay next time you are here. I enjoyed your company. It beats staring at bare walls, that's for sure."

He returned the stroke of the thumb and then let go. Paul looked at him for a moment longer, then nodded and left.

Jack observed the interaction. There was something he couldn't put his finger on. Daniel's game face was back on and he was giving nothing away. Jack had also heard Daniel's dig about the staring at the walls. He felt awful about it. He'd realised when he'd nearly lost Daniel over that balcony and then when his heart stopped because of that fucking light, that he no longer wanted to keep Daniel at arm's length. He'd done it out of terror to start with. Daniel's appendix had burst while they'd been out on a mission. While he was morphined up and being carried back to the gate, Daniel had muttered things about not wanting to be alone anymore. When he'd seen Jack next to him, he'd gestured to him to come close and whispered that he loved him. Jack had been scared witless.

His job, of course, was the main reason. If people thought that Daniel was in love with him, he thought that they'd infer from that that Jack was gay - a ridiculous notion, of course they wouldn't, but Jack's frightened brain had caught on to it as a valid reason for holding Daniel at bay. When they'd nearly lost him in the OR, Jack was even more determined to stay as emotionally detached as possible. Only the shock of the light addiction had brought Jack to his senses. Daniel hadn't said he was in love with him, only that he loved him. Something that people scared of their own impending death often said. And Daniel had been close to death. Janet told him later that Daniel's appendix was infected and peritonitis had set in. Only massive treatments of antibiotics helped, along with the surgery of course.

Jack had paid more attention to Sam as a result. At least the rumours about him were now heterosexual in nature. He could deal with that. It was not as if they'd done anything. Only when the zay'tarc incident happened had the true nature of his feelings come out. He cared about Sam. Cared. Of course he fucking cared. He cared about Teal'c for crissake! And Daniel. Oh God, he cared for Daniel too. Unfortunately, Daniel somehow heard about it and had gone off in a strop, taking his own tent on the next mission out. And Jack knew that he was too late to do anything about it.

When Daniel made the crack about staring at blank walls, his stomach had knotted. Just how alone was Daniel? Was he so alone that he craved the company of that... that... pen pusher?

"Daniel. You feeling better?" he asked. The shocked look that Daniel gave him cut him to the core. When had he last asked that?

"Um, yeah, Jack, much. You?"

"Sure. Didn't have it as bad as you. So, you ready for the off?"


"Yeah, ya know, the next mission."

"Oh! Um, you'll have to take another linguist, Jack. I'm off with SG-11. Don't you remember?"

"Why?" Jack was a bit annoyed at that.

"Er, um, my job, Jack. I'm an archaeologist remember. I'm going on a dig."

"Another one?" Jack's voice sounded his exasperation.

"Well, it's not as if I'm needed on SG-1 anymore, is it?" Daniel asked coldly and stormed off.

Jack followed him and demanded, "What is that supposed to mean?"

"You don't want me on the team. You shout at me, you ignore me, you put me down in front of others. Need I go on? I'm going to go with a team that wants me."

He slammed his office door shut, not allowing Jack to follow him in.

Jack stomped off down the corridor and to his office. There he shut his own door and sat at his desk. He ran Daniel's words through his mind and realised that Daniel was right. He had treated him like that. He wouldn't do it anymore. 'Yeah, right,' his brain said. 'Ooh, lookie here, there's a flying pig.'

Sometimes, Jack hated his brain.

"Our Daniel's dead."

The words cut Jack to the core. Our Daniel. They meant the android Daniel of course. Not their Daniel. The flesh and blood Daniel that had been his best friend. Would be again if Jack behaved and Daniel forgave him.

Seeing the android's head somehow made things worse. It was only the lack of blood that stopped Jack from losing it completely. After the mission was over, and the androids' remains had been taken back to Harlan, had the reality hit him. He had died, on more than one occasion. And if he died again, he'd die not knowing that Jack was sorry. That Jack loved him too. And missed him. Jack would tell him when he got back.

Daniel came back through the gate a few days later, his eyes looking up to the gate room. He saw Paul standing in there, his face neutral. He gave a small smile and greeted the General, who had a hovering SG-1 behind him. Or rather, Jack and Sam. He said 'hi' to Sam, nodded curtly at Jack and turned his back, making his way to the infirmary as quickly as he could. Sam tagged along.

"Where's Teal'c?" he asked.

"In the infirmary," Sam said in reply.

Daniel was brought up short.

"Why? What happened? Why wasn't I told? Fuck. I knew I wasn't part of the team anymore, but this isn't fair. Teal'c's my friend!"

"Hush, Daniel. He's all right. We got Cronus, and his mother ship," she said with a smirk. "Well, aren't you going to say anything?"

"What happened to Teal'c?"

"He was injured taking Cronus out. He'll be fine. Junior's taking care of him. As are Janet and the nurses of course. Daniel?" She was confused, surely he should be pleased. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," he spat coldly and marched into the infirmary and straight to Teal'c. When he was satisfied that his friend was okay, he submitted to the tests. Paul hadn't managed to get to see him yet and Daniel felt in the need of... what, he didn't know. Something. Anything. Just a look, a touch, something that would tell him that he was loved, was wanted. All the new relationship insecurities were haunting him as he blindly made his way to his office. When he arrived though, Paul was there.

"The cameras are off," Paul said quietly.

Daniel shut the door and fell into Paul's open arms.

"I was afraid," Daniel said.

"Of what?"

"That you wouldn't want me anymore, that you'd change your mind when we got back to work. Tell me I'm wrong, please," he pleaded. The shock of what had happened that day was overtaking his senses and his sense. He needed reassurance, he couldn't be alone anymore.

"I'm not leaving you, Dan," Paul said quietly.

Daniel's body relaxed and he buried his face in Paul's neck.

"Sorry," he murmured. "I missed you so much. I hated that dig. It should have been a good one, but all I could think about was you."

"We'll have to get used to that, Dan," Paul encouraged. "We have to get used to it. If we give the game away..." His voice trailed off. There was no need to say a thing. "I spoke to Hammond," he said quietly. "He asked how I'd enjoyed staying with you. I told him that I'd loved it, that we'd had a fun time. That I knew you hated being alone and that I hate it too."

"What did he say?" Daniel asked, not a little worried.

"He asked me that if it was all right with you, if I'd mind staying with you when I come down here. He doesn't want you to be alone, Dan. You were right, he understands."

Daniel caught Paul's face in his hands and pulled him to a kiss.

"Love you," he said earnestly.

"Love you," came the equally serious reply.

There was a knock on the door. It was Jack. He observed the now cooler demeanour of the two men. He'd seen that attitude before, they weren't fooling him. However, he wasn't allowed to ask, and they sure as hell weren't going to tell him. It didn't matter, he told himself. He'd gone there to start being Daniel's friend again and he was going to do that. And if that meant ignoring what he knew, he could do that. It's not as if Daniel wanted to be with him, was it?

"Um, Daniel. I need to talk to you."

Jack winced as he saw Daniel's body language. He was shutting himself down, getting himself ready for a huge disappointment, Jack thought. What disappointment? He ran the recent events through his head and it dawned on him. Carter had reported Daniel's words back to him. He was expecting to be thrown off the team.

"It's about the next mission. The Tok'ra have picked up on our latest acquisition really quickly and they want us to help. Not sure what with yet though. As soon as Teal'c's out of the infirmary we'll be out of here. Okay?"

Daniel's eyes opened wide - as much at Jack's friendly and gentle tone of voice as at the words. Slowly, he nodded.

"Are you sure, Jack?" he asked cautiously.

"Sure? Whatd'ya mean?"

"Do you want me with you? You don't seem to need me anymore."

Crap. Daniel was hurt. He could relate to that, having been in the same position when Daniel stole the showdown with Osiris.

"I could say the same about you, Danny," he replied softly. "You handled the snake in Egypt without me."

Daniel stared into Jack's eyes and, because he wanted to bury the hatchet, ignored the obvious fact that Jack had thrown the batteries from the cellphone and then nodded again.


"Day after tomorrow. Go home. Major Kennet's done the debrief. Write your notes up at home, Daniel, and hand them in when you come back. The T man will be up and about by then. Do you want to come for a beer at mine?"

"I'd, um," he looked briefly at Paul. "Can I get back to you on that, Jack?"

"Sure. Take your time. Enjoy."

With that, Jack left and Daniel stood with an open mouth.

"Dan?" Paul asked as the door shut.

"He knows." It was Paul's turn to do the goldfish impersonation.


"He knows me."

"How do you know... no, don't bother. I'm guessing you two still have that telepathy thing off pat."

"Apparently so," Daniel said. "Don't worry, he won't say anything. He thinks the law is dumb, doesn't make any sense to him. I know that's the case, Paul."

"Ok-ay," Paul drawled, "so how is that going to affect us?"

"Us? Not at all. Me. Now that's the tough one. He's being kind. I think he wants to be my friend again. When he said 'take your time', he meant it. I don't have to go to his for a beer now, he means anytime."

"Does he want to be with you?"

"I don't know. I don't think so. Besides, the point is moot. I don't want to be with him. Not like that."

"You want to be his friend?" Paul asked gently.

"Of course, Paul. I miss him so much. Having you around mitigates that somewhat," he said with a grin, "but my relationship with Jack is way different from the one I have with you. It was you I wanted when I was on the dig. It's you I want now. And I want you. Can you come home with me?"

"Sure. I've finished here and I've got a meeting that was hurriedly scheduled for the morning. I'm guessing it's with the Tok'ra given what the Colonel just said. Let's go."

Daniel slammed Paul against the door of his apartment, locking it quickly and then kissing him hard.

"Oh God," he moaned against Paul's mouth, "I've missed you. Missed this. Only a couple of days together and I need you so fucking much."

"Bed," Paul panted and they stumbled towards the bedroom, clothes flying off as they went. By the time they got there they were down to their underwear and that was quickly shed.

"Fuck me," Paul ordered. "I need to feel you, Dan."

As fast as he could go, Daniel found the lube and resumed his place on the bed.

"On your back," he said, "I need to see you."

Daniel knelt, Paul lifted his legs onto Daniel's thighs and wrapped them around his back. With only the minimum of prep, Daniel pushed inside his lover. He leaned forward to kiss him on one thrust, making him go deep and Paul howl with pleasure.

"DAN! So good."

Daniel pulled back, rotated his hips a little, not easy given the position they were in, and slammed back inside him. More howls accompanied every thrust, driving Daniel insane. The sheer relish with which Paul accepted him set his nerves tingling with excitement. With a few hard, demanding pushes, Paul came, grunting and growling as he came and came. The sight of Paul coming over their stomachs, not having been touched by either man's hands was enough for Daniel. The contractions of Paul's ass were just the icing on the cake. He was sucked dry.

He pulled out and Paul dropped to the bed. They rolled on the mattress, kissing frantically, till exhaustion overtook them and they gentled their touches till they fell asleep.

"Paul, come back to bed," Daniel moaned as Paul headed for the bathroom the next morning.

"I can't, hun, I've got to go. You know I have. Damn, I need a lift in. I'll call for a driver before I get my shower."

"Don't, I'll take you in," Daniel said, then he stumbled out of bed.

"Daniel, today's your day off."

"I'm not spending it here without you," Daniel murmured into Paul's neck as he wrapped his arms around his lover's waist and nested his dick against Paul's ass. "I'd rather be in my office, waiting for you to come to see me as soon as your meeting's done."

"I'm going to have to go back to DC as soon as it's done, babe," Paul whispered, putting his right hand behind him and grabbing Daniel's hair gently, running his fingers through it and caressing it.

"Love you," Daniel whispered back. "Want you."

"Again?" Paul snorted.

"Always, remember?"

"Hmm. Come on, I need a shower. So do you if you're going to the mountain."

"Sounds good, Major Davis," Daniel purred.

They hit the shower in double quick time and Paul pushed Daniel again the tiled wall. Then he dropped to the floor and sucked him expertly, not having much time to play he knew he couldn't draw this out as he wanted to. Time and again his head bobbed up and down and he urged Daniel's hips to move. Daniel saw the water as it ran down Paul's back and thought it was one of the most beautiful things he'd ever seen. That thought pushed him over the edge and he came calling Paul's name.

He fell on the floor, his legs jelly-like and simply unable to hold him anymore.

"Dan, are you all right?"

"Yes," he gasped, "fuck, Paul, you're good at that."

"Was that a compliment for what I just did, or an invitation to carry on?" Paul teased.

"Either, both, whatever! You want me, you got me. Just don't expect me to do a damned thing for at least half an hour."

Paul snorted and knelt behind Daniel, grabbed the ubiquitous conditioner, slathered it over his cock and set to work, pushing past the ring of muscle and waiting for Daniel to adjust for a moment. Then he pushed hard all the way in.

"Fuck me hard, babe, I want to feel you for a week," he demanded.

Paul knew what he meant. He had no idea what was going to happen in the next day or so, what their new mission would be, but he had a feeling that it would be dangerous. They both needed to hurt a bit, to hold on to the memories if Daniel got into trouble, was captured or something.

He literally pounded into Daniel, not holding back, going at it harder and faster than he had ever done in his life. He struck Daniel's prostate time and time again, causing a sooner than previously expected rejuvenation.

"Paul, please," he gasped, unable to take his hands off the floor as they were holding him up. Paul understood and removed one hand from Daniel's hip and moved it around, firmly grasping his cock as quickly as he could get it. He jerked him fast, in counterpoint to his own movements. He stroked down with every thrust in and up with every withdrawal. Daniel chanted his name over and over like a mantra and Paul found himself being drawn to the sound as if hypnotised. Daniel stiffened in his hand and spilled over him, taking Paul with him. He collapsed onto Daniel's back, as Daniel himself continued his collapse to the floor. They lay on the floor, half-in - half-out of the shower. Water continued to fall on their backs, more on Paul than on Daniel. He moved off him and knelt under the main stream and smacked Daniel on the butt.

"C'mon, back here," he told him wearily. "You've got to get cleaned up."

"Can't move," Daniel complained. "Bones gone. Only skin now. Help?"

"Dan, babe, I'd love to. But I don't have much in the way of strength and besides, you're a big lump."

"I'm a what?" Daniel turned his head and looked at Paul with a mock growl before finally getting enough co-ordination to crawl back to him. Paul soon found himself nose to nose with Daniel.

"I'm a what?" he repeated.

"Big lump," Paul said with a chuckle. "Look at you. Six foot, built like an outhouse these days. I'm not calling you fat, babe, just, um..."

"A big lump?"

"Yeah. Good description. I'd have expected a linguist to come up with something as good as that."

"Nice weaselling, Mr. Machiavelli," Daniel replied with a grin. He kissed Paul softly and then reached around and slapped him back. "Up, come on, we have to get washed properly. And I need coffee."

"Now, there's a surprise."

It was Paul's biggest nightmare. Daniel was missing. To be more accurate, SG-1 were missing, along with Jacob and the mother ship. The Tok'ra said they were almost certain that they hadn't gone up with Apophis' fleet. They knew Cronus' ship's energy signature and hadn't seen any remnant of it. At the same time, they couldn't guarantee it. Paul had no idea.

He'd been sent back to the SGC to get an explanation for the JCS but he was none the wiser. All he could do was wait.

"They'll be back, Major," Hammond said, as much to comfort himself as to comfort Paul. "SG-1 are notorious for pulling rabbits out of hats."

Paul snorted quietly.

"I'm sure you're right, Sir," he replied.

"I miss him too," Hammond smiled and walked out of the room.

Three days. They'd been gone three whole days. Paul was afraid that he'd really give himself away soon. Daniel had better come home. He was so going to fuck Daniel stupid when he did to punish him for scaring the crap out of him.

"So, Daniel," Jack was sitting on the ledge underneath Cronus' chair-come-throne. "You and Major Davis. What's the story?"

"What? What do you mean?" Daniel snapped.

He was tired, worried sick about Teal'c and he was afraid that he'd never see Paul again.

"Aw, come on, Daniel, we're 125 years from home. Who am I going to tell? Besides, I don't care, okay?"

Daniel snorted at that.

"No, I didn't mean like that. Look, I know you're not supposed to say anything but I'm not stupid."

"I know, Jack."

"I meant that if you are with him, then I'm okay about it. I'm not going to say anything, even if we get back tomorrow. You have my word."

"I know," Daniel rewarded Jack with a small smile.

"I'm sorry, Danny," Jack told him after a few minutes' silence. "I've been a jerk and I know it. You scared me when your appendix burst. You said something while you were drugged and it scared me and I'm sorry I reacted like a fucking Neanderthal."

"What did I say?" Daniel was quiet but curious. He shifted his position on the floor so that he could look into Jack's eyes.

"You told me you loved me," Jack replied. "I got confused. I thought you meant you loved me. I just didn't think you meant it solely as a friend."

"I didn't," Daniel said. "I was in love with you. But I did, I do love you as a friend. I'm no longer in love with you, Jack, so you're okay. Don't go Neanderthal on me again, will you?"

"Crap." It was all Jack could say for a moment. He stood up and marched to the view screen. There was only so much interest in the corona of a star when you couldn't really see it properly, so he looked back. Daniel was sitting with his head in his hands.

"Crap!" Jack said again and he was back across the floor in a flash, sweeping Daniel into his arms and hugging him tightly.

"I'm not going to be such a prick again, Danny, you have to believe me. I'm sorry."

"So am I, Jack. I never meant to tell you. I knew then, I know now that you're not interested in me. It's okay, you know. I am in love - very much in love. I can't tell you who with though, but I'm sure you can guess."

He neatly circumvented the law and tacitly admitted his relationship. Then he hugged Jack back with a ferocity that Jack hadn't expected. It took his breath away.

"If we do get back tomorrow, Jack, don't tell him that you know. Please don't. You might scare him off."

"Is he likely to run?"

"No, I don't think so. We've not been together long, but we've known each other long enough to know that this is it."

"The biggie?"

"Oh yeah," Daniel looked at Jack, his eyes reddened with unshed tears.

"We'll get you back to him, I promise," Jack whispered and pulled him back into his arms tightly. "I fucking promise, Daniel. You're not going to be alone again, I promise."

Daniel knew then that Jack understood him, how he'd been, how he felt and just what Paul meant to him. He also knew that Jack wouldn't do anything to upset him - at least in that department. They'd undoubtedly butt heads again on more than one occasion.

"I do love you, Daniel," Jack murmured.

"I know," Daniel sighed and nestled into his friend's arms to wait out the endless tedium associated with being able to do nothing about fixing the ship.

They were back. Teal'c was in chains but they were back. It took every ounce of self control for Paul to not throw himself at Daniel in the gate room. SG-1 were sent off for a check up, Teal'c was locked up, and Paul had to wait again. He was every bit as impatient as he had been during their off world stay. At least Daniel was back, he told himself. But one thing worried him. Daniel and O'Neill were talking animatedly on the way to the infirmary. Daniel had looked at him, his eyes saying 'later', but apart from a very public 'hello, are you all right?' they'd not said anything.

Paul sneaked off to the security room and made sure that Daniel's camera was off. Then he made his way to Daniel's office, knowing that he'd turn up there soon.

He waited again, impatiently drumming his fingers on the desk. His own meetings had ended. The message they'd got back from the Tok'ra that Jacob had 'radioed' had told them everything he needed to know. He'd phoned in his report. As it was late, he'd been told to get back in the morning to make a full and proper report.

The door opened.

"Daniel." Paul didn't feel like he could say anything else.

Daniel shut the door and cast a glance at the camera.

"It's off, I checked," Paul told him.

Daniel relaxed a little, but still didn't say a word. He lifted a shaking hand to the now standing Paul and put it on his face so tenderly. Paul braced himself for the 'It's over, I'm with Jack' speech he subconsciously dreaded. Instead Daniel let his unshed tears fall.

"I didn't think I was going to see you again," he finally said and collapsed into Paul's waiting arms.

"I know," Paul got out, barely able to control his own emotions. Daniel wasn't crying, just overwhelmed. "I know, babe. I know." He said it over and over again, unable to say any more.

He felt Daniel's hot lips against his cheek, pressing and pressing, moving all over the one side of his face. He moaned a low, throaty moan. He'd been so afraid that he'd never feel this again. Eventually, lips found lips and they kissed, open-mouthed, tongues battling for possession of the other, hands holding so hard that they left small bruises.

When they broke for air they stood panting, looking at each other with lust darkened eyes.

"Do you have to stay?" Paul asked.

"Teal'c, I have to be here for Teal'c."

"You need rest, Dan. Come on, I'm free till morning. It's late. I'm taking you home. Teal'c will be here in the morning."

Daniel was tired, so he allowed Paul to gently lead him out of his office. They saw Jack in the hall.

"Gentlemen," he said formally. Then he moved closer. "Danny? Are you okay?"

"Tired. Going home," Daniel replied.

"Good." He stood back and winked at Daniel. In a louder voice. "Major Davis, how long are you staying?"

"I have to go back in the morning, Sir," Paul replied.

"Good. I have to stay here tonight. Daniel here is far too tired to drive. Would you do us a huge favour and drive him home? Make sure he rests, please, Major. Sit on him if you have to. I know he wants to stay with Teal'c but he's spent the last thirty-six hours awake."

"Of course, Sir. If that's all right with you, Dr. Jackson?"

Some SFs were walking past them and the men knew that they were listening into the conversation. After all, it never hurt to know what was going on.

"Sure. Whatever. Sofa bed's still there," Daniel replied wearily.

A slight nod of understanding could be seen if one looked at the SFs. Dr. J. was notorious for overworking and he did need to be told to sleep. Paul took him home.

Daniel really was tired. They kissed for a while as they lay in bed but as Daniel drifted off he muttered, "Missed you so much, Paul. Love you. Missed Jack before but he's back now. Said I won't be alone again. I won't. Got my best friend back. Got you. Never going to be alone again."

Paul smiled and stroked Daniel's back, crooning to him as he watched him finally give in to his exhaustion.

"Love you, too, Daniel. Always."