Summary: Yet another Season 6 fix after me saying I'd have nothing to do with it. Bad DM. No deaths though, or ascensions or anything dumb like that. The boys reminisce and remember visits to the cabin in Minnesota. Mega thanks to Joy for handholding, cheerleading and the beta.
"Why am I really here, Jack?"
"Well, duh, Daniel. Don'tcha think it's because I love you?"
Daniel sat down with a bump on the little wooden pier that stretched into the pond by the side of Jack's cabin. No, their cabin as Jack had once insisted.
"Say that again," he said slowly.
"Oh, for crying out loud, you must have known it, Daniel," Jack's exasperated voice rang out. Then, shaking himself and reminding himself of why he was now retired and living at the cabin, he sat down next to Daniel and said, "I love you, Daniel. It's why we're here. It's why we've been through what we've been through. It's why I'm never going to leave you."
"Not very erudite for a linguist," Jack teased, his voice full of patience and love though.
"You've never told me before."
"I don't suppose I have, have I? You haven't ever told me, either."
"I was afraid."
"Frightening you off, I guess. It's always been easier to pretend that I didn't mean that much to you. Especially these last couple of years."
"I understand. And I'm sorry, Daniel. I got so afraid."
"I know. Me too."
Daniel lay back, basking in the warm summer rays. "Do you remember the first time we came here together?"
"I'll never forget it as long as I live," Jack replied with a smile, lying back to join Daniel and then pulling him into his arms. "It was one of the most important things that's ever happened to me."
Daniel rewarded him with a big smile, the one that only Jack ever got to see. Then he kissed his cheek and snuggled in closer, fidgeting till he was in his most favourite place in the universe. Head on Jack's chest, Jack's arms wrapped around him, the warmth of the sun blanketing them, they lay quietly, remembering.
"I thought I'd lost you," Jack said, looking at the long-haired younger man who was currently sitting on the pier, dangling his bare feet in the cool water.
"I thought you'd left me," Daniel replied. He looked up, shading his eyes as the summer sun glared down. In the shadow he saw his best friend; tall, strong, sandy-brown hair and piercing brown eyes, currently standing about six feet away from him. He patted the pier to his side and Jack sat next to him.
"I'm sorry, Daniel, I thought you were..."
"Hush, Jack, it's okay. It's all over. I'm okay, you're okay, we're both together again."
"I know." But Jack's voice was subdued, almost as if he was afraid to say what he really meant. Daniel reached out and put his arm over Jack's shoulder.
"He told me that he'd made you think I was dead," he said quietly. "He had been hurting so much, Jack. Hurting for so long that he was desperate. I understand how he felt."
"Yeah, I guess you do," Jack was slightly more confident now, just a little, but Daniel's touch was reassuring, telling him that they really were okay. He put his own arm around his friend and shimmied in as close as he could get. Daniel lay his head on Jack's shoulder.
"I'm never going to get her back, am I?"
"Probably not," Jack replied honestly, "but it doesn't mean we'll stop trying. I promised you we'd find her, Daniel. One way or the other, we will."
"But if I did get her back, would we ever be able to return to how things were?"
"I have no idea. I guess it depends on what happens between now and then, doesn't it?"
Daniel sighed in agreement. "I don't have millennia, Jack. I just don't. I don't want to be alone for the rest of my life. What if it takes me thirty years? I'll be in my sixties. She'll still look like a teenager."
"How old is she?" Jack asked.
"Oh, in Earth terms, she's about nineteen," Daniel replied.
"Cradle snatcher," Jack sniggered.
"Hardly. She was given to me, remember? I wouldn't have chosen to be with her otherwise."
"Granted. But you love her, you always will."
"That is so true. She's amazing, you know? Whip smart, funny... did I tell you about the time she played that practical joke on Skarra and Kasuf?"
"No. Go on, what did she do?"
"It was so funny. Skarra and the men had been having a go at me, saying that I spent too much time with the women and that I'd become one if I wasn't careful. Well, that night, she left our tent and headed off to theirs. She took out all their clothes, and replaced them with women's clothes. The next morning, she sneaked into the tent and as they got up and took off their sleeping robes, she grabbed them from behind - they hadn't seen her in there - and she sneaked out under the back of the tent flap. Next thing we knew there were indignant cries and Skarra was sent out of the tent wearing one of Shau're's dresses to find their clothes."
Jack howled with laughter at the image in his mind, Daniel laughing too at his memory. Then something struck Jack. He was the only person that Daniel ever shared those stories with - as Daniel was the only person that ever heard about Charlie. It was at that moment more than at any other that he realised just what Daniel meant to him. The sudden halt to Jack's laughter alerted Daniel to the fact that something was going on in Jack's head.
"Jack? What's wrong?"
"Nothing's wrong, Daniel. Nothing at all." He smiled warmly. Then he leaned over and kissed Daniel gently on the lips. "You don't have to be alone, Daniel."
"Jack," Daniel whispered back. "Your job, what if we're..."
"Shh, babe," the equally quiet reply. "Just here, okay? Just us. You're right, we can't be together in the Springs. But you shouldn't be alone and I don't want to be alone either."
"Buddies?" Daniel screwed his face up at the thought.
"Never!" Jack's reply was vehement. "Not like that, Daniel. Never like that. You mean way too much to me. And if we find her, you know you won't have to deal with it alone. We'll deal with it together - however it turns out."
"Together? Hmm, I like that thought."
"So, you okay with this?" Jack asked, a little unsure now that he was analysing the situation.
"C'mere," Daniel replied, "and I'll let you know just how okay I am."
He pulled him close and started to kiss him. As before it was gentle, but this time more and more pressure was applied until they broke apart, gasping for breath.
"So, I take it you really are okay with it," Jack sniggered. "Um, I've got to ask, Daniel..."
"Oh yeah," Jack replied, sucking his breath through his teeth.
"Good. So, you won't mind if I do this, then, will you." It was a statement, not a question. But before Jack could reply with a question (as in 'do what?'), Daniel leaned into him and pushed him on his back, kissing his face all over. Jack went to join in, but Daniel shook his head gently with a smile. "Let me," he murmured.
Jack knew that Daniel had to do this, to retake control, and that this moment would define their relationship. No CO and subordinate; no Colonel and Doctor - just Jack and Daniel. And he was more than okay with it.
His shirt was undone, he wasn't sure at what point Daniel had done this but he noticed it, especially when he felt Daniel's lips on his right nipple, suckling gently, soaking him and then pulling back and blowing cool air on him. He gasped with pleasure making Daniel grin. Oh yeah, he had been with guys before, but never so tenderly. He'd fucked. He'd been fucked. He liked that too. Daniel was making love to him though and he loved it. By the time he'd stopped shivering from the attention his chest was getting, Daniel had his jeans unzipped and his cock exposed. Jack let out a low, hungry moan as he felt the hot hand of his lover firmly grasp his dick and slowly stroke, all the while kissing his neck and face, nibbling his ear, telling him that he'd never regret being with Daniel for as long as he lived. He was more sure of that than he was of his own name at that moment.
"Daniel, please," he begged as Daniel backed off for what seemed like the hundredth time. That earned him a sultry grin. 'Since when did Daniel do sultry?' he thought. Then he stopped thinking as Daniel swung his legs so that he lay along the pier, nestled himself between Jack's thighs and went down.
"Jack? What are you thinking of?" Daniel asked as he looked up at Jack's face.
"That first time, you and me, you down there," Jack snorted looking at his groin.
"Are you angling for a repeat performance?"
"Uh huh. I was thinking it's about time I repaid you."
Jack pushed Daniel onto his back and repeated Daniel's actions of all those years before. He kissed and touched and stroked and licked. But now he had much more experience in 'Danielspeak', knowing just what those little moans and groans meant; knowing just which bits warmed Daniel up and which bits sent him out of his mind. By the time Jack had reached his goal Daniel was moaning in several different languages, cursing him and loving him in equal measure. With a huge grin on his face, Jack took Daniel in his mouth and gave back all the love that Daniel had given him. He started up around the head, slowly taking him down, centimetre by centimetre, licking and sucking gently while his hands stroked and touched, building Daniel up till he was going insane. Jack very nearly stopped when he thought that. It was not a subtle thought. Fortunately, Daniel didn't seem to notice his hesitation so Jack continued until he got his reward.
Daniel's voice was powerful enough to scare the local wildlife for about a half mile around. Licking his lips, Jack made his way back up Daniel's body, finding himself gathered into the younger man's arms and hugged closely.
"God, Jack, I love you so fucking much," he gasped.
"Love you too, Daniel. Always did. Always will."
Jack watched as Daniel slept that night. Another bout of frantic lovemaking had exhausted him. No, that wasn't true. Daniel was already exhausted, it was why they were there. But, he thought to himself, it hadn't helped. Or perhaps it had. He knew that Daniel's sleep was always easier if he'd had sex.
The bright moonlight broke through the curtains, highlighting Daniel's face. He looked so peaceful that it amazed Jack. He'd also been amazed back in the beginning as to how easily Daniel had accepted him in his life, till Daniel had explained that to the Abydonians, it was the norm for the men to have male lovers while staying true to their women. It was just a matter of perspective. After all, he couldn't get another man pregnant - and the procreation of children was seen as an almost sacred duty there. But given their limited resources, the numbers of kids they could support were few, and what with no contraception beyond abstinence, it was seen as a good idea for 'the guys to play' as it were. Jack hadn't asked if Daniel had done that there, but he had the feeling that he hadn't.
Daniel turned over and was smiling in his sleep. It was a stark contrast to their second visit to the cabin. They had decided right in the beginning that they would retreat to the cabin whenever things got too bad for them back at work, to give them a chance to let their hair down and be together. They already knew each other well enough to know that any troubles could be overcome if they let the other in. Talking in the confines of their own homes wasn't easy. They needed the open air and the freedom that came with it. Their second trip had unfortunately been all too soon after their first one.
"I'm not going to talk about it, Jack," Daniel yelled after Jack pushed him yet again.
"Daniel, you need to. Look at me, please. This is me! Jack! Not some sniggering grunt. I've fucking been there, you know. I know what it's like. Let me in, Daniel. Please don't shut me out."
Daniel turned and saw the pain in Jack's face.
"She drugged me and raped me, Jack. Made me..." his whole body shook, "...made me father those godforsaken creatures. I'll never forgive her for what she did to you, either. If I'd been stronger, fought her off, she wouldn't have done it." His voice had trailed to a whisper by now and Jack took his cue, grabbing him and pulling him close.
"Daniel, we all succumbed to that stuff. All of us. Well, the men anyway. It's not your fault. Hammond agreed to you talking to her before he was under her spell. And besides, what else would we do? She knew about the gate, Daniel. She had to be dealt with."
Daniel looked into his eyes and stared hard for a few minutes, as if he was looking for an answer. Then, out of the blue, he said, "I want you, Jack."
"You got me."
"No, I mean, I want you to fuck me."
"Now. You have a problem with this?"
"No, not as such. But we've not gone that far yet. I wasn't sure you'd want to."
"What, especially not now?"
Jack shifted a little uncomfortably.
"I guess I kinda thought you'd want to take control."
Daniel grinned and then kissed Jack softly.
"Oh, I will, Jack, I will. I'm a very pushy bottom."
"You are?" Jack's eyes lit up, as much in delight as in surprise.
"Yasureyoubetcha. C'mon. Or don't you want me?"
Daniel was doing his sultry thing again and Jack realised that he was completely and utterly lost in him. He wanted to make this fun though, not to allow her to come into their bedroom. So, utilising his years of experience at being really sneaky, he pulled out of Daniel's grip and then suddenly grabbed him, slung him over his shoulder and ran to the bedroom, Daniel yelling and laughing at the same time.
Jack dropped him on the bed, bouncing him on the double mattress and then landing on top of him. They tussled and kissed and laughed, playing for an age as they struggled to undress each other. Jack nuzzled into Daniel's neck, growling and making him giggle. But when his hand got to Daniel's groin, he felt the younger man freeze. Jack stopped.
"Daniel? It's okay, we don't have to do a damned thing you don't want."
"Yes, yes we do," Daniel whispered.
"No, Daniel. You and me, it's about us, friends, lovers. It's not about making each other do anything. I couldn't, babe, I couldn't hurt you."
"You won't hurt me."
"Not physically, no."
"I'm not going to break, Jack. I'm tougher than I look."
Jack smiled, kissing Daniel's forehead gently.
"You're the toughest man I've ever met, Daniel Jackson. C'mon, under the covers, I feel in need of a cuddle for a while."
Daniel had acquiesced, Jack remembered, but they had made love later. True to his word, Daniel was a very pushy bottom and Jack had had to work really hard. Not that he minded at all.
Jack snuggled under the covers and dropped off to sleep. Dreams, fragments of memories, assailed him all night and he was still exhausted when he awoke.
"Jack? What's up, babe?" Daniel handed him a coffee and sat on the side of the bed.
"Bad night," Jack admitted. "Thinking of all the things that have happened, how often I've nearly lost you, that sort of thing."
"It's not going to happen anymore, Jack. We've done it - survived - we're so out of there."
"Thank God for that," Jack grinned.
"Thank Oma, anyway," came the sniggered reply. "Do you want to talk about it?"
"It's hard to pinpoint what it was, Daniel. It was just bits, ya know?"
"What set it off?"
"Not sure. I guess my brain is trying to put things into perspective."
Daniel understood and then stood up, gazing out of the window.
"Do you remember the first time we came here in winter?" he asked.
Jack stood up too and moved behind him, slipping his arms around Daniel's waist. He rested his chin on Daniel's shoulder and looked out of the window at what Daniel was observing. Just some birds playing on the ground, battling for a worm or something. He snorted gently and cast his mind back.
"I can't believe you're making me come here in winter, Jack! Especially now. You've not completely recovered from your injuries. I'd have thought you'd have wanted to go somewhere warm after freezing your nuts off in Antarctica."
Jack shut him up with a kiss. When they broke for air, he noticed that Daniel's eyes were sparkling with unshed tears.
"I wanted to yell at them, tell them not to give up. That they couldn't stop looking for you, Jack. I wanted to tell them everything. Scream that my lover was somewhere and that I needed you to come home. I couldn't say a word, Jack. Not a fucking word. I think Hammond might have wondered something but I don't think I clued him into us."
"He wouldn't say anything anyway," Jack replied with a grin. "You're his blue-eyed boy, Daniel. What you want, you'll get."
Daniel snorted. "I thought I was your blue-eyed boy, Jack. And boy ? Surely you've had ample proof that I'm not a boy."
"Whoo ya, my ass can bear witness to that one," Jack teased, still holding Daniel close and not letting go. "Anyway, c'mon, let's get everything unloaded and the fires started. You're right, I do want warmth, but I figured that you'd be more use than a tropical sun. You gonna snuggle with your old man tonight?"
"I'm going to do a lot more than snuggle if you're up to it." Daniel's voice dropped to his sexy, husky tone and it sent shivers all the way to Jack's groin.
"I think I can be persuaded," came the reply, Jack's patented lecherous grin making Daniel laugh.
They broke off, Daniel ran outside and brought in the luggage and food that they'd brought up. "Shall I put the fresh stuff in the fridge or just outside?" he yelled.
"Outside," Jack replied. "It's colder out there than in the fridge at the moment. Get the generator going, will ya?"
They bustled about, getting everything in, getting under each other's feet and bickering as they did. Eventually, the generator was on, the fires lit and the cabin slowly became warm and cosy. Daniel fixed some hot food, Jack got out some blankets and dropped some cushions on the floor in front of the fire. They sat, watching the flames as they ate, close as they could comfortably get to each other. When they finished, Daniel ran the dishes into the kitchen and then returned to Jack's side. Jack was in a light cast at that time, more of a nuisance than anything else.
It would still be a good few weeks before he was fit for duty and Hammond had asked that Daniel take him away - as much for his mental health as anything. Daniel, of course, was happy to help. He spent the next weeks reassuring Jack that they were together again and just fine. The night-times were the worst though, Daniel using his body heat to communicate to Jack that he was no longer in his icy tomb, that he was safe and in bed with his lover. Favourite at that time was Jack's insistence that they 'start a fire by rubbing two sticks together', his new code for making love.
Over breakfast, Jack was still quiet, his mind casting back to other breakfasts that they'd had there. Daniel studied Jack's face closer for a while, deciding what to do and what to say. Jack was absently eating his food and looked almost surprised to see his plate empty. Without a word, Daniel cleared the dishes and put them to soak in the sink, then he took Jack by the hand and led him back to the bedroom.
Still no words were spoken, Daniel taking the lead, kissing Jack, undressing him all the while, then as soon as he'd removed his own clothes he lay down, pulling Jack with him. He took his time, mapping Jack's scars, kissing away the hurts, lingering on the ones Jack had got since he met Daniel. Jack let out a low moan, his sheer need to get off starting to outweigh the pleasure he was getting. Daniel picked up on this and nudged Jack's legs apart, laid in-between them and over Jack's body. Jack hissed when he felt the contact of cock by cock, his hips involuntarily jerking up to meet Daniel's coming down. Closer, they wanted to get into each other's skin. Daniel reached to the pillow and got the lube, put a little on his hand and then put his hand between them as he pulled away slightly to give himself the room.
A growl came from Jack's throat as Daniel's warm hand grasped both cocks, stroking them and using the lube to add to the pleasure. Then Daniel grinned.
"Can you get on your knees, Jack?"
Confused, and not a little put out, Jack complied, kneeling up on the bed. Daniel did the same and then captured Jack's lips with his own. He motioned to Jack to straighten up, and when he did, Daniel went back to work. Still kissing, lips wandering over each other's faces and necks, Daniel stroked them together, holding both dicks in his one hand. It was incredible, the sensations they got as they were both able to explore and caress were wonderful. More low groans, followed by Jack burying his head in Daniel's neck, panting hard, trying to hold off the inevitable. Daniel copied his actions, and the feeling of hot, panting breath on Jack's neck sent him over the edge. That in turn took Daniel to his climax. Both men bit into the other's neck as they came.
When they'd stopped shuddering, Jack flopped on his back, wincing as his knees reminded him of just how old they were, even if the rest of Jack's body didn't believe it.
"Jack? Have I hurt you?"
"No, babe. It's just the knees."
Daniel lay next to him and stroked Jack's face.
"We'll get you sorted before winter, Jack. We can't afford for you to be incapacitated while we're snowed under. We have lots of work to do to get this place really comfortable."
"We've done lots of work, Daniel. We've got a couple of extra rooms, solar panels so we don't have to rely on that noisy generator... what more do you want?"
"More to the point, a jacuzzi. Big enough for two."
"Jack, listen. You know that you'll need the physiotherapy after your operation. And living out here is going to make it difficult to get to sessions, especially when the weather turns bad. It's hard enough getting up here in the fall, what with all the leaves on the road. You also know that hot water helps when you do the exercises."
"Ah! So this has everything to do with my knees and nothing to do with the fact that you love making out in the bath?"
"I never said that. But while your knees are a primary factor in my idea, making out is fun. So, shall we?"
"We'll need to extend the bathroom."
"The joys of log cabins, Jack. You said it yourself. Extending and adding are much easier. We'll go into town today. You can go to the hospital and make an appointment to see the knee guy."
"You know, the doctor that will fix you."
"I should have you fixed," Jack muttered, but he couldn't help but smile. Daniel's blue eyes were dancing and it was the most relaxed he'd seen his lover in a long time. "Ach, what you want, you get. That's my problem with you. I've always been too damned indulgent."
Daniel looked indignant at that and made blustering comments that he'd had to fight for every concession. But there was no animosity in his words. They were both too tired to fight anymore. In the end he settled for a harrumph.
"When I'm at the hospital, you go and see those guys that did the other extensions. Tell them what we want."
Jack went to the hospital later that day and arranged an appointment with the orthopaedic surgeon. While he was there, his mind wandered, thinking of other times, waiting at Daniel's infirmary bed, sometimes not knowing whether he'd live or die. He quickly shut down on that train of thought, it was just too painful to think like that, especially in public. He found he could have an appointment a week later, left the hospital and headed over to the cabin builder's yard.
Daniel was there, discussing the extension with the designer they had working there. Daniel had told them why they needed it, citing Jack's knees as a reason to persuade them to take on the job as soon as possible. His persuasive manner had them agreeing to start work within two weeks. Jack watched, quietly smiling as he observed Daniel's gentle voice having its usual effect.
Daniel sensed he was being watched and he turned to look. He saw Jack and smiled warmly at him.
"Hey, Jack. Do you have an appointment?"
"Next Wednesday," Jack grinned as he spoke. No one but Jack ever had that smile aimed at them.
"I can have the design drawn up and the quote done by then," the man behind the desk spoke, breaking into their concentration.
Daniel turned back to him and grinned. "Thanks. I'll come back while he's at the hospital. Now, off to the bathroom shop that's down the road. Let's see if they have one or if we have to go elsewhere."
They thanked the designer and left, walking slowly side by side down the footpath. Daniel felt a shiver of delight when Jack caught his hand and squeezed it, then not letting go, they continued their walk.
The bathroom shop held many delightful and some seriously over-the-top suites. Daniel collared an assistant and discovered that they did indeed have jacuzzis of many types. There were ordinary baths with the jets in the side and back, corner baths which were smaller but deeper, and finally, what Daniel was looking for. Something big enough for four. Jack's mouth twitched when he saw the size of the thing, but Daniel's face told him to hush and he'd explain later. So he said nothing.
They discussed price, the plumbing, delivery and fitting, explaining that the extension would have to be built first. The shop owner was delighted to sell this particular tub, it was huge and not everyone wanted one that size. He'd been afraid he'd get left with it unsold. He was even more pleased when Daniel insisted that they get a new shower to go with it, the one at the cabin being a bit old and a touch unreliable when it came to heating the water. Jack just let Daniel go for it, agreeing to the old bath being ripped out, a new shower unit being put in, a new toilet and sink to match, the works. It was going to cost them a small fortune, but as Daniel pointed out, they had the money, they may as well spend it and make the cabin perfect. Jack had sold his house in the Springs and had his pension for them to live on, and Daniel had five years of not spending much of his salary, so money wasn't really a problem.
Back at the cabin, Daniel explained that they'd need the really big tub for him to move his legs and exercise, but Jack wasn't totally convinced.
Another room that Daniel had insisted on them building was a storeroom to the side of the kitchen. Every time they went shopping for food (about once a week), they would buy tins and packet goods, ready for the winter snows. Doing it bit by bit made it easier to transport. They already had about a month's supply of food and things there.
They stocked up the woodshed, bought a spare tank for extra fuel for the generator (given that the solar panels on the roof wouldn't be collecting any light when they were buried under a couple of feet of snow, they knew they'd need it), and generally got themselves prepared.
Daniel's books and his personal possessions had taken up residence in the other spare room that they'd built. It contained many book shelves, a fireplace, a desk and a large sofa. Jack knew that during the long winter days, Daniel would likely spend a lot of time in there.
But for now, the weather was warm and dry so they spent as much time outdoors as possible. Jack had brought his telescope up, and Daniel had surprised him with a 'build it yourself observatory', which was basically a large garden shed with a moveable hole in the roof - or rather, there was a section of the roof which moved in any direction which had a hole in it in which the telescope sat. This way, Jack would be able to observe in the colder nights without freezing quite so much.
As they got ready for bed that night, Jack remembered a night when Daniel and he had gone onto his roof in the Springs and stargazed, beers in hand, trying to find some of the stars to which systems they'd been.
"Have we been to that one?" Daniel asked, pointing to a particularly bright star.
"Uh huh. That one though, that's where the Nox live," Jack indicated a dimmer star near to it.
"Love those guys," sighed Daniel.
There had been silence for a while till Jack spoke out.
"I want to get to the cabin as soon as possible, Daniel. I think we need to get away."
"You just want to get off," came the sniggered reply.
Jack reached over and ruffled his hair. "That too," he admitted. "But you know I'm right. That was a close one, Daniel."
"Too fuckin' close. And Spacemonkey? Where the fuck did that come from?"
"Damned if I know," Jack chuckled. "It just came out."
"Yeah, well it can go back in too. You call me that again and I'll tell the grunts some of the things you like to be called in bed."
"Got it in one, flyboy. So, you really want to go to the cabin?"
"I really, really want to go."
"Cool. We'll go tomorrow then. We've been given a week off as a reward for saving the world. Not much payback in my humble opinion, but it will have to do. So, what will we do when we get there?"
"I'm going to fuck your brains out." Jack's voice was cool, collected and tried to exude an air of menace. Unfortunately for him, Daniel cracked up laughing.
"Oh yeah? Who's to say I won't do that to you?"
"I'm counting on it."
"So, we return to the SGC fucked and brainless?"
"That's about right."
"Sounds like a plan to me."
Weeks later and Daniel was sitting at the side of Jack's hospital bed. He'd privately arranged his operation so that he could get in and done as quickly as possible. He understood Daniel's insistence at getting both knees sorted before winter set in, if so much as one of them had 'gone' on him when they were snowed in, it would have been awful for them.
Daniel watched as his lover dozed, still coming out of his anaesthetic-induced sleep. He'd not been given a general anaesthetic, but a strong local in each leg for the keyhole surgery, but he'd fallen asleep during the wait for the op, slept right through it, and was now currently going for the record in daytime naps. Daniel smiled, laughing quietly to himself as Jack softly snored.
"He's going to be in leg braces for a couple of days and then he has to be very careful not to stiffen up, so he'll need the continuous passive motion device working his legs every night for about two weeks," the nurse said as she came into the room.
"Yeah, that's going to annoy him, but it's for the best."
"How long have you two been together?" she asked with a smile.
"Oh, well, on and off, the last four, nearly five years."
"You look like you're happy together," came the genuinely warm opinion.
"We are," Daniel said. "Deliriously - though we don't usually admit it," he added with a grin.
"It says here he's a colonel," she said with curiosity looking at his chart as she prepared to give him the painkillers she knew he'd need before long, that anaesthetic was going to wear off very soon.
"He was. Retired now. Thank God."
"Keeping secret is a killer, isn't it?" she whispered conspiratorially.
"You'd know?" Daniel's equally quiet reply.
"Oh yeah. Doesn't pay to let people know too much."
"Your secret's safe," Daniel winked.
"Thanks. I'd say yours is with me, but I'm guessing that you don't want that anymore?"
"Oh no - no way. They can jump before we keep it a secret now. I love him, I want the world to know."
"They only have to look at you," she teased, "it's pretty obvious."
They both turned when Jack's croaky voice piped up, "Good. Like he said, I'm so not hiding anymore."
"Good for you." The nurse became emboldened and she offered Jack a very supportive smile. "You'll need someone to take care of you. I think he'll do," and she nodded at Daniel.
"Yeah, he'll do."
Daniel feigned indigence, but Jack was enjoying seeing his eyes twinkling.
"Knees are starting to hurt," Jack admitted.
The nurse gave him some painkillers. "Here, these are strong, they'll work fairly quickly. You'll be allowed home tomorrow on the understanding that you do precisely what your instructions say. You'll be given a printed list of things to do, appointments to come in for check-ups, physiotherapy and so on. You will comply," she added with a mock growl.
Jack looked at her and grinned.
"Nah, you've got a long way to go till you get as scary as Doc Frasier. Now she's one scary woman."
Daniel sniggered, remembering the times when she'd browbeaten Jack into behaving when everyone else had failed.
"You misbehave, Jack, and I'll call Jan to come up and see us. You don't want that, do you?"
The look of horror on Jack's face was enough to convince the nurse that Jack really would do as he was told.
"Jack, I'm okay, honestly."
Here we go again, Jack thought. How many times had they been in this position? Janet had threatened Jack with physical harm if he didn't get Daniel to open up.
"Daniel, you saw, repeatedly I might add, your parents getting killed. That has got to affect you."
"Whatd'ya mean, why?"
"Jack, do you honestly think that I don't replay that scene in my head day after day? I was more upset because Sam, then you and Teal'c had to see it."
Jack had no idea how to respond. But he knew precisely what Daniel meant. He lived that gunshot that took his Charlie away from him every day, and he had no idea how he'd feel if Daniel or the others had to see it. He was just grateful that the Gamekeeper hadn't chosen that time to keep his people entertained. Jack was pretty certain that reliving that scene in such extraordinary detail would send him totally insane. So how did Daniel cope?
"Jack?" Daniel could see that he was lost in his own memories. "Jack, it's all right. Come here, please."
He put his hands out to the now shaking Jack.
"If it had been that time for you, I'd have said 'to hell' with the regs. I'd have held you, taken care of you. I'm sure that Sam and Teal'c wouldn't say anything."
"Are you saying I should have been more..."
"NO! No. You know me, I'm not one for that sort of thing anyway. But I'm telling you that I'm here for you."
"Aw hell, Daniel, I know that. But don't you know that it's the same for me?"
"Sure, Jack, but it's okay, I keep telling you."
Jack didn't believe him, even though Daniel's arms were around him, Jack knew that he was shutting his emotions down, not wanting Jack to see him emotionally vulnerable.
"I need a drink," Jack growled.
"I'll get you a beer," the soothing reply.
"No, something stronger. And you too, I don't want to drink alone."
Daniel fetched the JD and two glasses, and they sat out on the deck, watching the summer sun descend as they slowly got very, very drunk.
"Did you have psych treatment when you were a kid?" Jack finally asked.
"Yeah," Daniel snorted. "They had to 'treat' me before I was suitable for placing - sort of like a naughty puppy. So, I went 'shrink wrapped'." He started to laugh hollowly, Jack joining in and soon they were both lying on their backs howling at the moon that wasn't there just yet.
Jack pulled Daniel to lie on top of him and they stared into each other's eyes.
"I'm here for you, Daniel," Jack whispered, capturing Daniel's lips with his own. "Tell me what happened."
"You saw it."
"After, Daniel. How bad was it?"
Daniel grinned. "Believe me, Jack. You really don't want to know, and I don't want to remember that bit. Make me forget, huh?"
Jack studied him for a moment then said, "Yeah, I can do that for you."
Telling Daniel to stay put, he made it back to the cabin as quickly as he could without falling down. Damn, he thought, he'd be lucky to get it up tonight. He really shouldn't have had so much to drink. But he'd wanted to make Daniel talk, not that he'd got much out of him, but it was enough to know that Daniel had had a really lousy time of it back then and seriously wanted to forget it.
He grabbed a blanket, a towel and the lube and headed back out to the deck. Then he lay the blanket down and directed Daniel to lay on it. Not letting Daniel do a thing, he undressed him, not stopping till he was completely naked.
"You," he said in admiration as he quickly shucked his own clothes, "you are so fucking gorgeous, it's unreal."
"I'm unreal? Really?"
"Really, you're really unreal."
"So, if I'm not real," Daniel said, getting up onto his knees, "then I'm not really here," he moved closer to Jack and grabbed both of his now bare thighs, "and I'm not really doing this."
His mouth engulfed Jack's dick and he began to work his magic. Jack had to stop him or else his plan would go to hell.
"Daniel," he gasped, "stop. Or I won't be able to. You want me to take your mind off everything?"
"Oh yeah," Daniel pulled away with a filthy grin, answering Jack as huskily as he could. Jack nearly came there and then.
"Get on your hands and knees, Daniel. By the time I'm finished with you, you will have forgotten your name, book boy."
"Is that a threat or a promise?"
"Whatever works. Now, are you going to do it, or do I have to make you?"
Daniel grinned and his face issued the challenge. Jack growled and grabbed him, wrestling with him and knowing that Daniel was letting him win. He span Daniel around till he was laying flat on his stomach and held him down, becoming surprised when he heard Daniel's breath hitch.
"Like this, please," Daniel whispered. "Please, Jack, now!"
Jack grabbed the lube and covered himself, lined himself up and pushed in. He felt Daniel relax and was nearly undone by the low, satisfied moan that came from his lover.
"Do it, Jack, fuck me please," came his plea.
So Jack did. He kicked Daniel's legs apart, holding them out with his own until he felt Daniel's thigh muscles tighten against his. He lay his stomach along Daniel's back, using his weight to dominate the smaller man, then held Daniel's arms above his head. Then he started to thrust. Slowly at first, then building up his speed and depth. It wasn't easy, his knees hurt like hell as they took his weight, but he didn't care. All he wanted was to fuck Daniel into the next century - and that was what Daniel wanted too.
"Yes, Jack, more please. You won't hurt me, more," he begged.
Jack gave him everything he had, literally screwing him to the floor, making the wooden deck shudder with his movement. He pounded into him, not giving up, not giving in until he heard Daniel yell his name. He allowed himself to feel and poured into him, never thinking that he was going to stop.
Jack stopped dead when he saw Daniel's shoulders moving. He was silent, but Jack knew that he was crying. He pulled out and then pulled Daniel into his arms and held him tight.
"Let it out, Daniel, let it all out."
He rocked him gently as Daniel sobbed quietly.
"Was it bad, babe?"
"Fuckin' awful. I wouldn't speak for a couple of years. Couldn't. The last sound I made was screaming for my parents as they died. It was like I couldn't bring myself to say anything."
"Go on, babe, tell me."
"They thought I was stupid, put me in remedial classes, passed me from one 'special' home to another."
"I finally got into a really special home. It was an elderly couple, they were so patient with me. Spent time with me, cared for me."
"They sound lovely. What happened."
"I was with them for a year and then Mr. Simons had a stroke and they couldn't take care of me anymore."
"Aw crap. What happened then?"
"Went back to being passed from one place to another, till I got to my final set."
"Were they good?"
"The best. They really cared for me, loved me. Even their kids were great. Wanted me to be part of the family so they tried to adopt me."
"What went wrong?"
"On the way to get the adoption papers sorted, they were killed in a crash."
"For fuck's sake, Daniel? Don't you ever get a break?"
Daniel clammed up tightly and then Jack realised why. He pushed Daniel away and directed him to look into his eyes.
"You've got me, Daniel. You have to believe it. You've got me."
"But will I keep you?"
Jack didn't know the answer to that one. It depended on a hell of a lot. All he could say was, "For as long as it is humanly possible, Daniel, I promise."
Daniel said nothing more, but nodded and then put his head on Jack's chest.
They'd been home a week and Daniel was going slowly out of his mind. Jack had been doing the exercises that he'd been given, it being very difficult for him to get to town to see the physiotherapist to supervise him. Daniel had had to follow the instructions that he'd been given and he was doing it precisely. But he was also mothering Jack who was still on his crutches.
"Jack, will you please let me do this? You have to be very careful."
"I'm bored Daniel!"
"I know, hun, I know. Why don't you go and fish, eh?"
"I don't want to fish."
"You always want to fish."
"Not today. Let me help cook, huh?"
"NO! Now go, shoo, let me do it."
Jack stomped into the living room. Well, not stomp per se, more of a clunk with his crutches.
"Babe, you're doing really well. The jacuzzi is helping. You know the doc said that you'd come on in leaps and bounds, much better than he'd expected."
"Much better than any other 'man of my age'," Jack moaned.
Daniel bit down a snigger. He put the dinner on to cook and then went after his miserable lover.
"You're in wonderful shape, for a man of your age," he teased. "So good in fact that I'm impressed."
"You're impressed, huh?"
"Uh huh. I think you're very sexy."
"You do?" Jack was preening now. Then he caught the mischievous grin on Daniel's face. "You're kidding me."
"Oh no, definitely not. You turn me on, Jack O'Neill."
"I do? How much?"
"I didn't show you this morning?"
"Oh, only that much?"
Daniel feigned hurt, then he stood up and faced Jack, slowly unzipped his jeans and pushed them over his hips. Then he pulled his boxers down, revealing the fact that he'd got very hard, very quickly.
"Is that enough for you, Jack?" The husky, sexy voice returned.
Jack put his hands on Daniel's ass and pulled him close, then flicked his tongue out and licked the head of Daniel's cock. The low moan that Daniel gave when he did was enough for Jack and he went to town, sucking and licking, running his fingers down Daniel's ass crack, finding his hole and teasing him with his fingertips. Daniel watched hungrily as he saw Jack's head bobbing up and down, revelling in the touch and loving the feel of hot mouth on cock.
"Love you, Jack," he gasped, feeling Jack smile in return. Then he felt the suction move up a notch and stopped thinking. All he knew was Jack and all he could feel was Jack. And that was all he wanted.
A tightening in Daniel's balls, which Jack held in his left hand, was the indication that he was going to come any moment now. Jack relaxed his throat and swallowed Daniel to the hilt. That was enough to push him and he yelled Jack's name as he came.
Daniel's legs went and buckled underneath him. He dropped to the floor on his knees, pushed Jack back into his chair, ripped his jeans open and hungrily took him in his mouth. Still panting from his own orgasm, he desperately licked, sucked, slurped, and ran his hands over any bit of Jack he could. Jack hadn't seen Daniel so damned frantic in a long time.
"I nearly killed you!"
"But you didn't, Daniel. You didn't. You beat the withdrawal, you were stronger than it. I'm so proud of you."
"You should hate me," came the whisper.
"Hate you, Daniel? Jeez, I couldn't hate you. Never. No way babe. You mean way too much to me."
"You should." Then empty eyes looked into Jack's and Daniel said, "One day, Jack. One day you're going to have enough of me and push me away. One day you'll hate me."
"NEVER! No way! No fucking way, Daniel! Dammit, Daniel. The fact that you're my lover to one side, you're my best friend. How could you say that?"
Daniel looked away, then Jack saw his back straighten and he turned back, his face a mask of calm.
"Because everyone I lo...I care about goes. Everyone that's ever meant anything to me leaves. You will leave me."
"Daniel Jackson you listen to me good. I will NOT! I fucking need you! Don't you ever leave me!"
A flash of pain ran across Daniel's eyes. "I won't. I'll never leave you."
He seemed to need to prove it to Jack and he pushed him into the bedroom and showed him. First he sucked him off in the most breathtaking way he'd ever done, leaving Jack wondering if he'd had assistance to do it. Then he fucked him and fucked him so hard that Jack had had to hide a wince for a couple of days every time he sat. He had shown Jack just what he meant to him, and how much Daniel needed him.
Jack howled as he poured down Daniel's throat.
"OHmyfuckingGod!" he blurted as he caught a breathless Daniel and pulled him up for a kiss. "Jesus, Daniel, you're on fire. I love you so much."
"Is that what it takes to get declarations of love these days?" Daniel sniggered, still trying to catch his breath.
Jack laughed and held him close.
"Do I even need to tell you any more?"
"Nah, not really. But it's nice to be reminded."
"Then I'll remind you. Remind me to remind you every so often."
"Okay. Like that?"
"Oh yeah, that will do nicely."
"You sure you don't want me to tie a knot in your dick instead?"
Jack laughed out loud and then winced at the thought. Daniel noticed that he hadn't let him go either. That was okay by him too, he didn't want Jack to let him go.
Over dinner they talked of other trips up to the cabin, times when they'd had fun, some times were more harrowing, like after the time Jack really had died when taken over by the sentient bacteria. Daniel cleared up, Jack citing his bad knees as an excuse not to help, then when their dinner had gone down, Daniel ran the water into the jacuzzi, putting some 'healing' salts into the water. Jack wasn't convinced by their healing nature, but they made the water soft and smell nice.
In the tub, Daniel helped Jack move his leg against the pressure of the jetting water. Jack had to acknowledge that this really had been a good idea on Daniel's part. And he really loved being in the tub, naked, and with Daniel holding him tightly.
"Are you glad we live here?" Daniel asked him apropos of nothing.
"Glad? That's an understatement, Daniel. You mean everything to me, babe. More than my life, my home, my job, my reputation. It wouldn't really matter to me where I lived as long as I'm with you. But I'm glad it's here, where we can be on our own. We need this."
"You're right. We do. If ever I was to see Oma again, I'd want to thank her."
"Yeah. Me too."
They'd had many visits to the cabin. The one after Shau're's death being particularly traumatic. Only Jack had seen Daniel cry for her. Only Jack knew just how deep his pain ran. And then, after the visit to Kheb, came the dream.
He woke up with a start. All he knew was that he had to be with Daniel at that moment. It didn't matter that they were in the Springs, he didn't care. He had to see Daniel with his own eyes or he'd just die.
He threw some clothes on and grabbed his car keys. Before he knew it, he was at Daniel's apartment block. He had no recollection of the journey. He didn't wait for the elevator, just ran up the stairs taking two at a time. He banged on the door, forgetting that he had a key. When Daniel opened it, he saw that he had been awake for a while.
"You had the dream too, didn't you?" Daniel said to him as he opened it and ushered him in, leading him to the bedroom.
"You saw it, didn't you? You're going to die, Daniel."
"If I don't die, Jack, you will. That's not acceptable."
"Neither is you dying, Daniel. No fucking way. I'm NOT losing you."
"Shh, it's okay. It's not really dying, is it? Not if I can come back and help you."
"Haunt me more like."
"You didn't think I'd leave you alone, did you?" Daniel's eyes held a better humour than Jack's.
"Daniel, you're not going to die. I won't allow it. You can leave the SGC. I saw the co-ordinates on the mission briefing, the one before you're poisoned with the radiation. You don't have to go there. Please Daniel, I'm begging you."
"Only if you leave too, Jack."
"If I leave, you leave. If you're not prepared to do that, I'm going on that mission."
Jack grabbed Daniel and did something that they'd said they'd never do in Colorado. He kissed him. Then he pushed him onto the bed and they made love, rubbing against each other, turning each other over as they battled for position until they finally came, together. It seemed appropriate.
"We come together, we go together," Jack said with a grin.
Daniel pulled the cover over them and grabbed a handful of tissues to clean them up.
And so their break up started. Jack was afraid. Afraid to lose Daniel. Afraid to get too close. Afraid that he would die, that they would be found out, he'd lose his job and so wouldn't be there to stop Daniel going on that mission. And in the end, he lost Daniel. They fought, they split, Daniel found solace in the arms of another for a while. Till one day it was too close to call and he nearly lost Jack again, in the little craft slowly heading out of the solar system.
The other near misses hadn't affected him that badly. They'd been bad enough, but somehow Daniel knew that he'd get Jack back. But that was because they were together at that point, even if their relationship was strained. By the time Jack got into the ship, their relationship had been over for months. Jack's moronic display in going after Sam had killed it stone dead, which was why Daniel had found someone else. But when Daniel heard (second-hand) Jack's words, that he 'cared' for Sam, he knew that Sam was not competition. And when he found him gasping what could have been his last breath, Daniel realised that them not being together may have caused a change in what was to happen. He had to put that right. Slowly but surely they rebuilt their friendship, getting it back to the point where they needed each other again. But it took till Jack saw the headless android Daniel before they even kissed. They hadn't really got back together, just 'very' friendly.
It took months. Daniel, meanwhile, was getting more and more depressed. He needed Jack in his life, but he thought that Jack only wanted to be friends. Friends was better than nothing though, so he took what he could get. Jack was still afraid to be too close, knowing that as every day went past, the day the fateful briefing would be scheduled was getting closer. He missed the signs, Daniel's quiet withdrawal from everyone around him, including himself. He missed the long silences, the dearth of jokes and happy times, the fact that Daniel wasn't eating or sleeping properly. By the time the dreadful episode with Reece and the Replicators happened, Daniel was a shadow of his former self. He scared Jack rigid and Jack lashed out as he was wont to do. And Daniel barely reacted. And Jack missed that too.
Somehow, Daniel pulled himself together for their next trip out, some weeks down the line. Having the time off with his broken wrist had given him a chance to heal more than the bone. But there had been no trip to the cabin for over a year.
Daniel was still living on his nerves though, and then one day, when Jack was on a short leave and up at the cabin, a briefing packet was given to him for the following week. He saw the planetary designation, P9Y-4C3, and lost it completely.
This was it. Either he left the SGC, unsure if Jack would follow him, and if Jack didn't follow him, the dream they'd shared, the one that they knew was more than a dream, was in fact a prophesy, would come true. Jack would die at the hands of Baal. Many times over. He would lose his soul and then finally, when Baal was finished with him, he would kill him. Slowly.
Or Daniel could stay. And die. Or ascend, whatever it was called. That way, he could save Jack's life. Whether Jack loved him or not, Daniel loved Jack and he couldn't cope with the thought that Jack would get hurt because of him. It wouldn't really be because of him, but Daniel wasn't exactly thinking straight. He needed to push Jack to leave. And he had no idea what he was going to do.
Over and over again he ran his options through his confused mind. The more he thought, the more irrational he got. In the end, he figured that if he was really dead, Jack might take the hint and leave.
He calmly strode to the armoury, booked a handgun out to 'practise' with, and went to the targets. He took some shots, looking for the world as if he was going to just keep his eye in. The others in the room finally left. Daniel made sure that he had a final, live bullet in the chamber and then stared down the barrel of the gun.
The armoury sergeant chose that moment to walk in. The silence that had followed the others leaving surprised him. He hadn't seen Daniel leave and he wondered why there was no noise. What he saw chilled his blood.
Daniel was standing dejectedly, the gun pointing at his face, looking at it, not even seeing what was around him. As quick as a flash, the sergeant crossed the room, ready to knock the gun from Daniel's hand. Daniel caught the movement out of the corner of his eye and jumped. He dropped his hands and turned the gun away from him, but his finger had been on the trigger and he unintentionally fired. The bullet caught the sergeant in the shoulder from a short distance.
By the time the medical team got there, Daniel was out of it completely, curled into a ball in a corner, rocking himself, talking to himself in other languages, totally incoherent to everyone around him. It was as if his brain had gone into total meltdown.
Janet and the other doctors dealt with the sergeant, who fortunately, though badly injured, was alive and would recover. Then she made her way to Daniel and touched him on the shoulder. His head shot up and she was shocked to see how empty his eyes were.
"He's going to die. It's all my fault. He's going to die." He kept repeating this time and time again.
"No, Daniel. He's going to be fine. The bullet went straight through his shoulder. It's a mess but he'll be okay. I'm sure it was an accident."
"No no nonononononono! He's going to die! Don't you see? Jack's going to die and it's all my fault. If I'm dead he'll be okay."
Janet couldn't understand him, couldn't get him to tell her anything more. She barked at a medic to call Hammond to the infirmary and then she pulled Daniel to stand up. He wouldn't move though and fought anyone that came to him to get him to go. In the end, she sedated him, and he was carried on a stretcher.
"Doc," the sergeant croaked as he was being taken into theatre when they arrived at the infirmary. "He was going to eat the gun, I'm sure of it."
Janet's suspicions grew. She had no idea what had caused this, but she knew that Jack would have an idea.
Hammond appeared, she told him what had happened and he agreed to call Jack back to the SGC. But before he left, Daniel had overcome the mild sedation he'd been given and woken up. He started yelling out, begging someone to kill him. With tears in her eyes, she called Mental Health.
It had taken Jack an entire day to return to the SGC. He was hauled up to see Hammond and they told him what had happened. His blood ran cold.
"What would trigger this, Jack?" Hammond asked kindly when he saw the look of devastation on Jack's face.
"Briefing," he gasped, "what's the next briefing?"
"What's that got to do with it?" Hammond demanded, more confused than ever.
Pain flashed over Jack's eyes, tinged with anger. "Tell me!"
"Kelowna, it's one of the countries on the next planet."
"4C3?" Jack continued.
"Yes, how did you know?"
"Because Daniel was going to die there."
Without explaining further, he said, "General Hammond, I'm formally handing in my notice to retire. I'm sure that somewhere you've got a letter of resignation from Daniel too. Put today's date on it please."
"Are you going to tell me what this is all about?" Hammond was getting angry now.
"Soon, but I have to see Daniel first."
"He's in Mental Health."
Jack didn't wait to be dismissed, he got up and shot out of the door. Finding an airman, he told him to box up all of Daniel's personal possessions and put them in the back of Jack's truck, and then to do the same with his own. He ran to Daniel's office, found Daniel's keys and then got off base as quickly as he could. Then he drove Daniel's car to the 'asylum' as Daniel insisted on calling it, and ignoring the cries of the security guards that visiting times were over, he ran to reception.
"Where's Dr. Daniel Jackson? You have him admitted here."
"Just a minute, I'll call Dr. MacKenzie."
"Forget that!" Jack screamed. "Tell me now!"
Shaken, the receptionist stammered, "Room 49. Bbbbbut you can't go there without permission!"
Jack ran down the corridor. The last time Daniel had been there he had been in room 47. This must be one of those rubber rooms too.
His fears were confirmed when he saw the white walls through the glass in the door. The door was locked with a keypad the only way in. He looked through the glass and saw Daniel curled up into a ball in the corner.
"FUCK!" He looked around, then saw MacKenzie coming towards him.
"OPEN THIS DOOR NOW!" he yelled.
"Colonel, you are in no position to..."
"Shut the fuck up, MacKenzie. Open it now or I'll find someone that will. You do NOT get to keep him here."
"You cannot make that decision. The man tried to kill someone and he's suicidal."
"It was an accident, or haven't you asked the guy who was on the receiving end of the bullet? And locking him up in here is only going to make him worse. YOU didn't have to hold him through the screaming fucking nightmares he had after being here the last time!"
"He never said anything in his psychological sessions," MacKenzie retorted.
Jack was nearly hysterical.
"He doesn't trust you to wipe his ASS. He told me EVERYTHING."
Jack's face was menacing to say the least, and somehow, he faced MacKenzie down. The door was opened.
"Leave it open!" he demanded. Then he entered the room and was across it in moments. He scooped Daniel into his arms and rocked him.
"Hey, Daniel, it's all over now, it's all over. We're out of here, 'kay? I've quit. I've told Hammond you've quit. We're going home now."
He murmured this into Daniel's ear time and time again until he finally got a response from him.
"Yes, babe, I'm here."
"Jack, take it easy, please!"
"Daniel, it's been a month since the operation. The doc says I'm doing really well. Will you stop treating me like I'm going to break, please?"
"You're not going to break. But the doctor said you had to be careful, Jack. Exercise, yes. Walk, yes. Run and jump, NO!"
"I'm not going to run or jump. Honest." Jack tried the 'cute' look on Daniel and got an exasperated shake of the head in reply.
"We'll walk, Jack. No jogging. I know you want to get fit, but wrecking the good work isn't going to help."
"Fine! We'll take a walk then."
They strode off into the surrounding woodland, Jack loving it when Daniel took his hand and held it tightly. They stopped to enjoy the scenery, laughed at the antics of a bold squirrel and generally enjoyed themselves. But when they got back, Daniel froze. There was a car outside the cabin and it wasn't Jack's truck. Daniel's own car had been sold back in the Springs in the few weeks they'd had before moving to the wilderness.
"Who's there?" he asked quietly.
"I don't know. It's not one of our neighbours' cars, they all have four-wheel drive vehicles. Come on, let's go and see, shall we?"
They quietly approached the cabin and were surprised to see Teal'c. The big man smiled, then stood to one side and they saw Hammond, Sam and finally Janet.
"Nonononono!" Daniel stammered. "I'm not going back. Don't let them take me back, Jack. I'm not getting locked up again."
"Hush, Daniel, it's okay. I'm not going to let them, I promise you. Let's see what they want."
Jack's heart had sunk the moment Daniel reacted like that. It had taken him weeks to calm Daniel after what had in reality been a nervous breakdown. Weeks to get him to eat, to sleep properly, to not jump at the slightest sound. He was afraid of Daniel retreating back into his own world once again. Holding Daniel's hand tightly, he pulled him gently towards them.
"Hello," he said cautiously. "Um, to what do we owe the pleasure?" His voice let on that he wasn't sure how much of a pleasure it was going to be.
"Jack, Daniel," Hammond greeted them happily, "it's good to see you again. May we come in?"
"Sure, sure. Daniel, why don't you put some coffee on?"
His eyes urged Daniel to do as he asked. Their four friends were shocked by Daniel's quiet demeanour as he walked silently into the kitchen.
"How is he?" Janet asked quietly.
"He was fine," Jack snapped. "He hasn't been withdrawn for a couple of months. So why are you here? Why now?"
"We're worried," Sam said. "We've not heard from you. We wanted to come before but we knew that Daniel would need time to recover."
"He's not going back," Jack stated, making sure that they knew that this was not up for debate.
"He's needed there, Jack, and so are you."
"No, he's not going back. That's final. If you try to take him back you're signing a one-way ticket to the rubber room."
"We have things only he can read, Jack," Hammond said quietly. "Can't you persuade him?"
"I'm not going to try. Find someone else."
"There isn't anyone else."
"Tough. I promised him he'd never have to go back. It's only the knowledge that he's going to stay here that's keeping him going. I'm not joking guys, you try to make him do it, and you're going to kill him."
Daniel was taking longer than he expected so Jack told the others to stay put and then headed into the kitchen.
Daniel was looking out of the window, holding a knife in his hand.
"I'm not going."
"No. You're not going. They'd have to kill me to take you from me."
"If they take me I'll kill myself."
"I know. It's not going to happen."
Jack swept him into his arms, relaxing when Daniel dropped the knife.
"I know I fucked up before, Daniel, but I'm not going to do it again. I love you and I'm not letting you go."
"Love you too, I'm not leaving you."
Jack moved his face till he was able to capture Daniel's lips with his own. He kissed him tenderly and then broke it, holding him tighter than before.
He didn't see Hammond as he appeared in the doorway, or see him smile warmly at the sight. Hammond backed off silently and returned to the living area.
"We need to think of a way around our situation, folks. No way are they coming back."
The six sat around the fireplace. The summer was ending and the evenings were getting cooler. Daniel had composed himself, almost convinced that Jack would keep his promise.
"So, will you explain why all of this happened now?" Hammond asked gently.
"We had a dream, after Kheb," Daniel nearly whispered, his voice was that low. They had to strain to hear him. He stared into the fire, holding his coffee tightly, sitting on the floor in-between Jack's legs and only relaxing when he felt Jack's hands on his shoulders. "Oma came to us, told us that if I went to that place, I would die from radiation poisoning. I could ascend, be one of them. Then I would be in a position to help Jack. You see, sometime after that happened, he'd be captured by Baal, one of the System Lords. And he'd be tortured to death constantly, then revived in a sarc. I could help him through it. She showed what would happen if I didn't go there, if I didn't die. Jack would eventually die and not be revived. So you see? It had to be one of us."
"Or neither of you if you left," Sam added, understanding now. "Why didn't you tell us?"
"It was a dream, Carter," Jack explained. "Who'd have believed us? And then it would likely have got out."
"What would, O'Neill?" Teal'c asked.
"Us," Daniel said. "Jack and me. Questions would have been asked. Why us? Why would we share a dream even though we were in our own homes, why were we so close?"
Janet asked, "How long have you been together?"
"Since we got Daniel back from Oannes," Jack admitted to their surprise, but smiled at Daniel when he turned and looked at him, pleased when he got a shy smile back from his lover. "We split up not long after the dream. Knowing I might lose Daniel freaked me out. I couldn't do that. I couldn't handle it, knowing what was going to come. I was scared. And as a result I treated Daniel like shit and for that I'll never be able to apologise enough."
"You have, Jack, believe me, you have," Daniel soothed.
"But do you trust me now?"
Daniel stared into his eyes. "Yes."
A look of relief washed over Jack's face. That one word meant a lot to him. He put his arms over Daniel's body and hugged him tightly.
"You never showed it," Sam said, "not once. I had no idea."
"We came here," Jack explained. "Whenever we needed to be together, we came here. We wanted a relationship in the Springs, but we couldn't have one. Only here."
"We had to hide all the time," Daniel put in. "It was hard."
There was silence for a while then Daniel straightened his back. Jack was worried, this was Daniel's signal that he was going to bring up a subject he wasn't happy about.
"So, why are you here?" he asked, his voice hard. He was trying to hide the fact that he was still afraid.
"We need your help, Daniel," Hammond replied. "Now, I understand and accept that you don't want to come back, and I'm not going to try to take you there," he added hurriedly when he saw Daniel's face fall. "So, I was wondering, if it's all right with you, if you would accept a more long-distance solution?"
"Go on," Daniel prompted warily.
"You don't have a phone line up here, do you?"
"How about we get a secure one installed? It can run to the Air Force base in the valley below."
"That would be a hell of an undertaking," Jack said, curious now as to Hammond's plan.
"Maybe so, but the Air Force has a fine bunch of engineers. We'd put the cable underground to protect it from the snow. You could use it for normal calls too, if you'd want. But you could also use it for email. Major Carter here has convinced me that the line would be secure enough for secret information to travel over it." He looked at Sam, his eyes asking her to continue.
"We can set up a computer with encryption codes known only to it and the receiving one at the SGC," she said. "It would be safe enough. We can scan and email the things we need you to translate. We're stuck, Daniel. Only you can help us."
Daniel looked at Jack who nodded slightly.
"I suppose I could," Daniel answered. "But it's on one condition."
"Name it," Hammond said.
"You promise to never ask me to come and even visit that place. I'm not going there, never going through that gate again. And neither is Jack. We don't know when Baal was supposed to catch him. It wasn't necessarily soon after I was supposed to die."
Hammond agreed. He knew it was the only way that Daniel would agree to this, so he accepted the condition, promising in his wife's memory - something that Daniel knew was sacred to him - that he would never ask that of them.
Sam explained her thoughts on how it would be done, promising to keep disruption to them at a minimum. Eventually, it was getting late. They made 'leaving' noises but Jack insisted that they stay as driving in the dark wouldn't be a good idea. Daniel was much more relaxed now, so he happily showed them around, especially showing Teal'c the additions they'd made to the now much larger cabin. They loved 'his' room, the library. It had a beautiful view and walls full of books. They got their legs pulled when Sam saw the jacuzzi, but Daniel explained about Jack's operation and why they'd got it. Then finally, it was time for bed. The men offered their bed to the women to share, but they turned them down, saying that they'd sleep in Daniel's study. They found all the spare bedding that they had and put it out for them. Hammond bagged the sofa in the living room, Teal'c saying he'd meditate in front of the fire in lieu of candles.
As they went to bed, Jack wrapped his arm around Daniel's shoulder, pulling him into the bedroom and getting an 'aw, that's sweet' from the women. They groaned at them and then shut the door on their guests.
"Better behave tonight, Daniel," Jack murmured, getting a grin in return. "Are you really okay about this?" he asked in a more serious tone as they got under the covers, Daniel resting his head on Jack's chest.
"Yeah. It will give me something to do, I guess. As long as I don't have to go back there, Jack."
"You don't. I told you, didn't I?"
"Yes, you did."
"Love you, Daniel. I'm not letting you go." He dropped a kiss on Daniel's head, getting a muttered 'love you too' back and a kiss on his chest. He held Daniel tightly until he felt him relaxing and falling asleep. Then he allowed himself to drop off.
Outside the cabin, an ethereal light hovered near the bedroom window. If anyone had looked at it carefully, they may have seen a smile.