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Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Summary: A hypothetical story - what if they dumped the damned law? How would it affect people? A tale of bigotry, tolerance, paperwork and communication. Thanks, as ever, to the wonderful Joy for the beta and loads of military info. I really couldn't have written it without her.

"I can't believe they changed the fucking law."

It was the first thing SG-1 heard as they headed into the cafeteria for breakfast together before they headed off for leave. They'd had back-to-back missions for a few months and apart from being exhausted, they had missed out on the news that had been blazed across the TVs and newspapers across the land.

"What law is that, airman?" Jack demanded.

"Don't ask, Sir." The airman blushed a little. He hadn't heard the officer coming in behind him in the line.

"I'm asking," he replied with a grunt.

"No, Sir, the don't ask, don't tell law. They changed it." Jack could see that the man wanted to say more, so he decided to allow him the rope with which to hang himself.

"Go on," he encouraged, "tell me what you think."

The airman couldn't believe his ears at his permission to speak freely, so he said, "They're letting queers in the armed forces, Sir. Can you believe it? They'll be wanting us to paint the place pink next."

Some of his friends sniggered, and completely failed to see the dangerous look that Jack was currently getting on his face. Jack's team, however, didn't.

"They are already in the military, airman," Jack pointed out.

The airman continued. "Dare say we'll have to make allowances now, won't we?"

"And what sort of allowances would they be, airman?" he growled.

The airman's friends suddenly picked up on Jack's demeanour, but the idiot carried on with his rant.

"Oh, you know, 'married' quarters for gays - or will that be 'significant other' quarters?" He laughed at his own joke and then ground to a halt as he realised that the entire cafeteria had gone quiet.

"Let me point something out to you, airman. If this change of law is as you say it is, you will not see it as an excuse to harass, harangue or otherwise abuse any personnel here that choose to come out. Civilian or military. I do not tolerate bullying of any sort at any time. Do I make myself clear?"

"Sir, yes Sir!"

"Good. Now, get lost and shut the fuck up."

The other personnel were shocked. Jack may swear, but he had never sworn at a subordinate. It wasn't done. The strength of his feelings were immediately apparent by that one word. SG-1 automatically closed ranks, surrounding him to help him calm down. They all knew why he felt the way he did. Nobody else there really had a clue, stupid rumours not withstanding.

"I'm going to see Hammond," he said.

"I'm coming with," Daniel said quietly. "I need to know if this it true, Jack. I have staff to look after too."

They looked at the others and Sam and Teal'c said they'd also like to accompany them. The four abandoned any idea of eating together at that moment and headed up to see the General.

Jack knocked on Hammond's door and they were granted leave to enter. They were greeted by a harassed-looking General as they went in.

"Sir? Is everything all right?" Sam asked worriedly.

"Yes, of course, Major. It's just this law change."

"Why didn't you tell us when we returned? We had to find this out from an obnoxious airman in the cafeteria. That's what we've come to see you about... " Jack interrupted. "Is it true?"

"Finally," Hammond said with a touch of relief and then he explained. "While you have been busy off-world, there were a couple of scandals that came to light. An old friend of mine, a general on the JCS, announced to the world at large that he was gay. On top of which there was a... damn, I don't have any words strong enough to describe my disgust at it... let's say it was a very nasty incident at an Army barracks. One poor man is in hospital in a coma, another committed suicide. The newspapers got hold of it, the country was in uproar as a result. To say that most of the brass were spitting tacks was an understatement. Anyway, to cut a very long story short, they did it - pushed the whole thing and got the law changed. Thank God. If I'm looking frazzled it's because I've had to deal with a few resignations. Some of the more hard-line bigots didn't want to stay in the Air Force if homosexuals were allowed in. I let them go and didn't let the door hit them on the backside on their way out, I can tell you. Personal feelings aside, we meet alien cultures who have different ways of looking at life, and some of them are radically different from our own. We can't afford to have bigots here of any sort, not and expect to make alliances anyway."

"So it's safe for the gay military personnel to come out at last?" Daniel asked carefully, not looking at Jack.

"Yes, son. And it's safe for the civilians to do so too," Hammond added with a grin. Jack and Daniel couldn't look at each other - they were so ingrained at hiding their relationship, even from people they were sure that knew about them, they couldn't do it.

"It won't be safe," Daniel added quietly. "Not for civilians. Probably not for the military either."

The others turned to look at him.

"A change in the law does not reflect a change in attitude, Sir. If a civilian were to suddenly come out, he may find himself on the wrong side of a beating. Not that there's a right side, but you know what I mean."

They did. And on what should have been a joyous occasion, they were left with heavy hearts. The General had one more thing to say though.

"Perhaps," he said carefully, "if enough high profile couples came out, it would set examples for others to follow. And maybe if there were enough couples here, or enough single people with the courage to come out, the remaining bigots on the base would find themselves outnumbered? I've done what I can to weed them out, but I know that some people keep their prejudices close, so it's not over yet."

Sam and Teal'c sent a glance to the General and he nodded to them to leave. He wanted to speak to Jack and Daniel alone. They remained seated, waiting for the inevitable. Not one word had been said during this exchange.

"How long have you two been together?" Hammond asked quietly - inwardly relieved that he was now allowed to do this and no official harm could come to the men.

"Three years," Jack admitted.

"That long? I only guessed about eighteen months ago, when you started fighting a lot," he laughed back.

Jack and Daniel grinned at him. They'd always assumed he knew, or would guess at some point. And they'd always had faith that he'd be okay with it too, as long as it didn't interfere with their jobs.

"We weren't fighting over that," Daniel said, "it was other stuff. But hopefully now, if the pressure's off us, we'll fight less. We've never let our relationship get in the way of the team, Sir."

"I know, if it had I'd have done something about it. I've always taken the fraternisation rules far more seriously than the damned law. You've saved the world a few times, gentlemen and I figured we owed you some latitude. I take it the others know?"

"From the beginning," Jack replied, less unsure of himself and the whole thing now. "We told them and gave them the option. We could have split up the team, or I'd have retired. It was their choice to keep us together. And we left it their choice to keep the team as it was. If my decisions had ever started to hurt the team, if I was too distracted, they had the option to tell me and I'd have quit on the spot."

"So tell me, I heard about the zaytarc thing, Jack. You cared about her more than you should?" Hammond's voice was gentle and curious.

"I love her, Sir. She's my friend and the best damned second I've ever had. She's also Daniel's big sister. He'd have killed me if I'd left her behind," he joked. "I couldn't have left any of them, not a single one. They're my family. We're all we've got, Sir. I know I'm criticised for being too close to them, but it's our determination to save each other, to keep us all alive, that's done this 'saved the world again' thing. We're the only team with all its original members, after all, and we were the first team formed. I guess I got something right."

Daniel beamed at him and took hold of his hand under the table, something that wasn't missed, but was overlooked by the General... just this once.

"You get lots of things right, Jack," he said quietly. "So, do we do this? Come out, I mean?"

"It's you that is going to be in the firing line, so to speak, Daniel," Hammond said gently. "Most of the grunts here are smart enough to be scared of Jack. However, very few are smart enough to be afraid of you. Only a handful of us really know you and appreciate your, er, talents."

"I won't allow Daniel to be endangered," Jack put in vehemently.

"I'm probably the safest civilian on the base, Jack. There have been rumours about us since the word go, and yes, I've had to deal with a few situations, but I've dealt with them without coming to harm." Daniel bit his tongue as he saw the reactions from Jack and George. He had never said anything.

"Don't worry, I can handle it. General, um, George?" He tested the water here, telling Hammond in that one word that he wanted to be 'personal' here and not official. George nodded. "Go on Daniel."

"Thanks. I've been more or less gay all my adult life. I've had to deal with harassment in many forms - including being hospitalised by a gang of thugs when I was nineteen. I was pretty skinny then, though I did manage to stick two of them in hospital too before they overpowered me," he added with a grin. Jack reached up and ruffled his hair for that.

"Jack, I hate it when you do that."

"Hmm, I know," he replied with a grin.

Daniel sighed with a smile and continued. "I can take care of myself. Fortunately, having you guys around helps."

"Specifically Teal'c?" Jack asked.

"No, specifically Janet," Daniel snorted, getting a laugh from Hammond as he said it. "You have no idea just how terrified the men are of her," he added in defence of his statement.

"Oh I have, Son, I have. Don't let on, but she's the only person here that scares the willies out of me."

Now Jack lost it. He had to admit that he'd rather face Hammond in a bad mood any day over Janet in one, but the thought of his commanding officer being afraid of the imp with the admittedly long needles made him laugh long and hard.

"I'll move in with Jack," Daniel finally said when Jack had regained some sort of composure. "We won't necessarily come out and say anything, the frat rules could be made to apply to us if someone got technical, but we won't hide anymore. And if anyone has a problem with it, then we'll deal with it - together. That is if you want this, Jack?" All of a sudden, he sounded a little unsure. "Is it such a good thing for the second-in-command of this base to be living with another man?"

"Are you afraid that they'll stop respecting him, Daniel?" George asked. Daniel nodded in reply.

"That's their problem, Danny," Jack stated vehemently. "I doubt it will be too much of a problem. If I get any hassle, we will at least be able to root out some more troublemakers."

George's already immense respect for these men grew. He knew, as they knew, that things could go either way from now on.

"Are you sure you want me to move in with you?" Daniel asked again while they entered Jack's house with Teal'c and Sam in tow. They'd decided to take their breakfast (now lunch) together there instead.

"Daniel, how many times have I told you? YES! I want you to move in here. Okay? Now, will you stop being such a worry wart and go and put some coffee on please? I'll dig some food out of the freezer. God only knows that if there was any fresh food here it's probably evolved into a new life-form."

Muttering to himself Jack headed down to the big freezer in the basement to retrieve some burgers and bread rolls. He figured nuking the rolls would have to do.

Daniel meanwhile giggled to himself as he headed to the coffee. He took one sniff of the ready-ground stuff and threw it in the bin with a sigh of disgust. Stale - yeuch. He found an unopened pack and refilled the coffee tin with it before putting water and grounds into the machine.

"Daniel? Why are you giggling?" Sam asked.

"Oh, I don't know," he sighed, still smiling. "Jack I guess. Being here with him, sometimes it seems so normal, other times we were so afraid of being caught, especially when the NID were snooping. But now - now we can be us. Trouble is, we've had to hide so long, I'm not sure what us is, are, um, you know. And I'm happy about it too. It's exciting. Oh, and I owe you this," he said, pulling Sam into a big hug and kissing her head fiercely. While holding her he reached out and took Teal'c's hand. "Thanks guys. We'd never have got through this without you. We owe you so much."

"What he said," Jack added as he entered the kitchen. He also reached out to Teal'c and then took Sam from Daniel's arms and hugged her too. "You guys made life so much easier for us. We really do owe you a great deal. And Daniel?"


"We've got the rest of our lives to figure out just what us is, are, well... you know."

Jack let Sam go and the next thing he knew Daniel had his arms wrapped tightly around him and he was being kissed soundly.

To cries of 'cut it out', they broke apart, laughing hard with sheer relief. Then they turned together and put the lunch on while the four of them chatted about moving Daniel in during their leave time.

Teal'c and Sam stayed for a few hours and then picked up on the fact that the guys really wanted to be alone. Daniel and Jack hadn't had time together - just them - for nearly two months, and the strain was beginning to show.

"Bed. NOW!"

"I love it when you get masterful," Jack teased.

Daniel growled and Jack took off up the stairs, closely followed by an extremely turned on lover.

They got to the bedroom and Daniel slammed the door shut behind him and leaned back against it panting hard.

"Undress," he said in a seductive voice and started to slowly strip himself.

Jack gulped as he saw the bare flesh start to appear and quickly removed his own clothes. He had ideas of his own of what to do, but figured he'd be just as happy letting Daniel get his own way. He'd never been disappointed yet.

Daniel, now as naked as Jack, stalked across the room and led him by the hand to the chest of drawers near the bed. He faced Jack away from him and standing to Jack's side put his mouth near Jack's ear.

"Hold onto the chest," he murmured in an erotic tone, "and don't let go, no matter what. Got it?"

"Yes, I won't," Jack hissed. He had no idea what Daniel had in mind but his cock was jumping at the thought of it - whatever it was.

Daniel made some noise behind him and he felt Daniel's presence before he had even touched him, and shivers ran down his spine.

"You want me?" Daniel asked huskily.

"Yes," Jack hissed. "I always want you."


He stopped talking and started trailing kisses down Jack's bare back, dragging his tongue the length of Jack's spine. Jack gasped when he felt the warm moist tongue push between the crack of his ass. Daniel grabbed hold of both cheeks and roughly pushed them apart, nudging Jack to spread his legs at the same time. Then, without more warning, he found Jack's entrance and pushed his tongue inside him. Jack howled with pleasure. He also wanted to drop to his hands and knees and get Daniel to fuck him, but he did as he had been told. Daniel didn't often take the lead in their lovemaking for some reason, even though Jack knew that the younger man was not impressed when he brought 'the Colonel' home and he'd give him hell if he tried to order Daniel to do anything. Most sessions were 'take it as it comes', the 'how' of what they'd do just happening. But when Daniel did do this, took the lead or planned something, Jack always did as he was told - and usually came screaming the place down.

He was starting to yell now. Daniel's finger was pushing inside him and battled with his tongue. The sensations of hard and soft, dry finger and warm wet tongue were driving Jack out of his mind.

"Danny, gonna come babe, can't go on, too much," he gasped. He felt Daniel smile against his skin and then felt the finger push even further in. The whole effect of the different touches, coupled with Daniel stroking his prostate set his nerve endings on fire, and without his cock even being touched, he came long and hard, crying out Daniel's name at the top of his voice as he did. Then, with shaking legs, he collapsed onto the floor and into Daniel's waiting arms.

"Oh God Danny, my God that was intense - incredible. Love you so fucking much babe."

"Hmm, love you too, glad you enjoyed it," Daniel replied with a smug grin. "Bed? Think you need a lie down."

He stood up and pulled Jack up into his arms and gently guided him to the bed, the older man's legs still like jelly as he wobbled across the floor. Jack flopped onto the bed and pulled Daniel into his arms.

"Give me a minute, babe, and I'm going to make you howl at the moon," he murmured, holding Daniel tightly.

"No need."

"You came?"

"No. Just... aw crap... at the risk of sounding sappy, we can do this now, Jack. Just you and me. Lying here. No need to make the most of any time that we'll have together because I'm not going to be going back to the loft later. I'm moving in. Can't believe it's actually happening. This is enough for me for now. I'll get you to do something for me later though," he added with a grin.

Jack snorted, appreciating that Daniel would do that for him and not want something for himself - but appreciating the why behind it too. Their relationship had never been just about sex. Being with each other was the most important thing for them both. But as Daniel had said, their time together had been limited, so they made love at every opportunity. Sometimes they'd take the chance, spend the night together and spend the whole night making out. Other times would be fast and furious and frantic with scared passion, after a near miss or bad day at the office. He realised too that Daniel got a lot from getting Jack off and that in itself was enough for him.

That had been one of the biggest lessons that Daniel had ever taught Jack. Jack had had male partners before. But they had only ever been for sex and a bit of companionship when he was away from the base - that sort of thing. And then, the sex had been selfish, each guy only giving to get, being fucked if he had to be so that he'd be allowed to fuck the other later.

Then along came Daniel. He'd had relationships with men and women. Never one to do things casually, he poured his heart and soul into them. And he taught Jack that by giving in the relationship, you'd get so much more back. Not just in the day-to-day things, but in bed. The first time Jack had concentrated on making Daniel happy, worked at making him come hard, and only doing it for Daniel's pleasure and not his own, Jack had discovered that not only did Daniel scream himself hoarse, the resulting orgasm for Jack had been the most intense of his life. He'd stopped fucking, started making love and discovered a whole new appreciation for being on the bottom for once in his life. Because when Daniel did enter him, it felt like he was taken to a whole new plane of existence, that life and time outside them seemed to stop and the only thing that mattered was them.

As a result, Jack had never been happier in a relationship in his life. Only his time with Charlie was better - and neither man was stupid enough or heartless enough to bring that subject up. They talked about Charlie of course, Jack talked more to Daniel about his son than he had ever talked to anyone, but they wouldn't compare the times - as Daniel wouldn't compare his time with Shau're. She had been the only woman he had ever truly loved - with every fibre of his being. And when she was taken, he knew there and then he'd never love another woman again. When he and Jack got together, he found someone as lost and vulnerable as him when it came to matters of the heart. Together, they helped each other over the horrors of the past, and together they started to look forward to the future.

And now they could have one - officially. They were still stunned.

Jack had actually dozed off and Daniel watched over him, wriggling around until he could take Jack into his arms, holding him tight and not letting go.

Teal'c, Sam, Janet, Cassie and even the General came over to help Daniel move into Jack's house. Some work needed doing to store Daniel's more valuable artefacts properly and Jack willingly gave over his den for the purpose. Daniel turned it into a reading room/study with one of his couches, his desk and all his book shelves - a retreat for when Jack was watching yet more hockey on the TV.

They threw an impromptu party as the last item of furniture was moved in, though the place was still full of boxes and everyone kept tripping over things. The others were happy for the guys, as they watched them laughing and joking together, gently bickering and chiding as they argued over where things should go. None of the observers would ever say that they'd made a mistake.

All too soon, leave was up and they had to return to work. Jack and Daniel went in together for the first time as an open couple. They weren't holding hands or anything like that, just no longer hiding the fact that they were together. As a result, they were nervous, but happier than the guys on the security desk had ever seen before.

"I need to go to personnel," Daniel said on the way down in the elevator.

"Um, why?"

"Change of address and so on," Daniel prompted.

"Of course, yes. Sorry."

"Jack, it's going to be okay. Don't worry about it. Just hold your head up high and go about your business as normal. If anyone says anything, you can do something, remember? This is why George asked us to come out."

"I know, guess I am a bit worried, but not for me, Danny."

"I'll be fine. George is going to keep the camera on in my office for a while, just to make sure. If I go to the gym, I'll make sure I've got you or Teal'c with me, I understand the drill, Jack. I'm not afraid. Besides, don't you think I can take care of myself?"

"Of course you can, Danny, it's just I'd rather you didn't have to."

"I know, babe, I know."


"Sorry. I'll have to remember to bite my tongue again. Can't go around calling you that. Too long off work, I think."

"Heads up, the door's opening."

The elevator ground to a halt and Daniel got out. First thing, as he said, was to visit personnel.

"Morning," he said as he walked in.

"Dr. Jackson? To what do we owe this honour?" the clerk teased. She was actually very nice to him, always had been. His notorious overworking and forgetting to take his leave entitlement had given them lots to talk about over the years.

"Change of contact details and things. You know, phone number, address, I, um, I moved."

"Oh, tell me the new ones then." She grabbed a pad and he rattled off the details. A light bulb went off in her brain - she knew those details from somewhere.

"Dr. Jackson? I know this address... have you moved in with someone from the base?"

Again, the light and teasing tone.

"Oh yes," he said pleasantly, "Colonel O'Neill."

'And so it begins,' he thought as he left.

Jack headed straight to his office to face the mountain of paperwork that always seemed to accrue when he was on leave - he wasn't surprised to see just how much there was. With a sigh, and the realisation that they weren't going on a mission for a few days so he'd have to do it, he dived in and got on with it.

A few hours later there was a knock on the door.

"Enter," he called, relieved for the break. It was Lou Ferretti.


"Hey Lou, come on in, shut the door behind you. What can I do for you?"

"Can I talk to 'Jack'?" he asked - in other words he wanted to talk as his friend.

"Anytime, Lou, you know that. Out with it."

"Is it true? You and Daniel have moved in together?"

Lou grabbed a chair and sat facing backwards, resting his head on his hands which were on the chair back.

"Well, I haven't moved, but Daniel's moved in with me, yes."


"Lou! Come on, why do you think?"

"So, what's this? You guys been holding out till they changed the law or something?"

"Don't be daft, Lou. We've been together three years. Just had to hide out."

"So those rumours..."

"Lou, they've been around since the word go. Daniel and I have not been fucking like bunnies since then, as one of the rumours has it. No, we were friends for a couple of years first."

"I'm not going to ask if you're serious," Lou laughed quietly, "that would be pretty pointless. You're taking a big chance coming out like this."

"I know. Daniel's taking the biggest risk, I think. Are you okay with this, Lou?"

"Sure. It's not as if either of you are going to jump me, is it?"

Jack burst out laughing at that. Lou Ferretti had always been there for them, and he was one of Daniel's most loyal protectors.

"Just be careful you don't get people saying stuff about you, Lou. You know what it's like. Shit sticks."

"I know. I'll set the missus on anyone that says that. You guys surprised me, actually. Never paid any attention to scuttlebutt myself. I knew you were friends, but most people were saying that Daniel was gay purely because he prefers words to weapons. They said that you were nailing him from the beginning."

Jack snorted. "If only they knew. Daniel's bi - more gay than me, but I'm bi too. Always thought it was just buddy stuff, ya know? Then I met him. Fell for him - head over heels time. If people think that he's fucking me though, they'll kill him. If it's not mentioned, they may ignore it."

"That's why I came to see you. You want me to stamp on the rumours now?"

"Nope. We've come out, as it were, at the request of the General. What we want though is it to be normal. If the other gay people on the base see us two going about our normal everyday business without hassle, it might give them the courage to come out too. The more that do that, the less likely the hard-line bigots will get any backing to hurt them."

"I see - makes sense. I'll watch Daniel's back for you, Jack. My team will too. They all like him. I doubt he'll have any trouble from the science teams either - whether they're the military or civilian element. But some teams..."

"Yeah, I know. Appreciate it, Lou. Ah, lunchtime," he said as his watch beeped. "Said I'd meet him for it. You know what he's like, he forgets to eat if I don't remind him."

"Absent minded professor," Lou laughed.

"Oh yes," Jack replied with a sigh. "Thanks Lou, we knew we could count on you."

They headed out of Jack's office and to the elevator so that Jack could go to pick Daniel up.

"Watch your back, Jack," Lou said as the elevator door opened, "while we're worried about Daniel, someone might be wanting to have a go at you."

Jack smiled and nodded, put his hand on his friend's shoulder and then entered the lift.

"Knock, knock," Jack called as he leaned on the office doorpost. Daniel, as usual, had his head down in translation work and was completely oblivious to the world around him.

"Daniel," Jack tried again.

"Jack," the frustrated voice replied. "I'm busy, is it important?" He hadn't even looked up.

"Yes, Daniel. Now put that down, stand up and come with me."

Daniel sighed and put down his papers, leaned back in his chair and stretched. Perhaps he could do with a break anyway, he thought.

He stood up and turned to face Jack, who was pointing to his watch. Daniel gave him a puzzled look and then it dawned on him.

"Lunchtime already?"

"Well done, Dr. Jackson. I can see why you got all those qualifications."


"Hmm. Not a bad one by some people's reckoning," Jack teased. "Well? Are you coming?"

Daniel snorted but refrained from commenting. He headed out of his office instead. As they walked down the corridor, the voices of Teal'c and Sam could be heard around the corner.

"Guys! We were just coming to pick you up. Shall we go for that meal now?" Sam asked with a smile.

"Sounds good," Daniel replied and they carried on towards the cafeteria.

"Have you heard anything yet, Sam?" Daniel asked.

"Oh yeah, the rumour mill is working overtime. I've had a few people ask me if it's true."

"What have you said?" Jack asked carefully.

Equally cautiously she replied, "I've told them that it's true that Daniel's moved in with you. If they question further, I tell them that it's none of my business, or theirs."

"Thanks Sam," Daniel replied with a beaming smile. That was precisely what they wanted.

"What about you, Teal'c?" Jack asked.

"Nobody has questioned me," he answered.

"Nobody would dare," Sam sniggered.

They arrived at the cafeteria and entered the queue, which was mercifully short. They could all feel the looks aimed at them, but they ignored them and carried on as normal. That was the whole point about this. Normality. After a period of time, with the team acting as they usually did, Jack winding Daniel and Sam up, Daniel and Sam teasing each other and Jack, and Teal'c acting as referee, the other people in the cafeteria gave up watching and returned to their own meals and conversations.

"Well, that was..."

"Odd?" Daniel put in as Sam floundered for a word as they entered his office for a private conference.

"Yeah, odd," she agreed.

"What?" Jack asked. Teal'c also wanted to know what they meant.

"When we were in the cafeteria, people were staring at us - you guys in particular - as if they were expecting you to do something," she explained.

"Probably thought Jack was going to bend me over the table," Daniel snorted, causing Sam to blush, Jack to howl and Teal'c to twitch his mouth in amusement. "When they realised they weren't going to get an impromptu gay porno display, they lost interest," he added.

"Daniel!" Sam was laughing as she scolded him.

"Oh boy, life is going to get interesting from now on, isn't it?" Jack groaned.

"Ach, give it a week Jack and people will have found something else to talk about. You know what they're like," encouraged Daniel.

"Yeah, you're probably right. Time to get back to work, kids," he sighed nodding at the door so Sam and Teal'c would go.

"Good idea. See you later guys," Sam took the hint. Teal'c bade them goodbye and also left.

"Jack? Something wrong?"

"No. Just want you to be careful, Danny. I know you and what you're like with bullies. Don't bait them, okay?"

Daniel smiled, put his hand on Jack's arm and promised that he would do both - not bait them and be careful. Then Jack left and Daniel stuck his head back down.

Jack could have sworn that he heard some sniggers as he walked down the corridor from Daniel's office. He got to the end of it, moved around the corner, gave it a moment and then turned to look. Nothing. He figured he was getting paranoid.

Next morning, the guys were back in work, everyone was treating them normally and Daniel's suspicions were aroused. He had been expecting something to be said to him when he was on his own. God only knew he'd had enough comments before people knew for certain. So why not now? Surely he'd get at least one snide remark?

He arranged to meet the others in the gym mid-morning and decided to test a theory. Swapping his glasses for his contacts (just in case he did get into a fight), he left his office ten minutes before the designated meeting time, quickly made his way to the gym changing rooms which were empty when he got there. He breathed a sigh of relief that he would be on his own to get changed at least. He didn't fancy having to deal with bigots while nearly naked. He threw on his shorts and vest and started towards the gym.

As he got to the door, a group of airmen, ones he didn't know, came in.

"Well, look what we have here," one of them said. Daniel looked hard at him and realised that it was the big mouth from the cafeteria that had first imparted the news. "It's the Colonel's plaything," he continued.

Daniel said nothing, just stared at the man with a bored expression.

"Not going to say anything, geek?" he goaded, completely missing the point about Daniel's physique. Some of his friends hadn't though and were trying to get him to back off.

Daniel looked him up and down, shook his head in disgust and headed for the door. Then the bigot made his mistake. He put his hand out to stop him.

Quick as a flash, Daniel had him pinned against a locker, one hand around his throat. He held him there for a moment then dropped him as if he were something the cat dragged in. He wiped his hands on the side of his shorts and walked out of the changing rooms without once ever having said a word. Well, he had promised not to bait anyone, hadn't he?

He was angry though - but he was also sure that this one airman would likely be the centre of any trouble that was caused on the base. He didn't know his name though, that was something he would have to find out. He walked into the gym and found that a few people were in there, some civilians, some military. It was pretty quiet for once.

"Hey Dr. J," one of the marines in there called out.

"Hi Andrew, how's things?"

"Fine. Luke said to say thanks for the info you got him for his project. It got him an 'A' grade."

"I'm happy to help, and he did all the hard work anyway. Congratulate him for me, will you?"

"Sure will. Are the rest of your team joining you today?" Andrew's voice was quieter now and he moved closer to Daniel.

"Yeah, should be here in a minute. Why?" Daniel wasn't worried about being attacked by this marine. They'd known each other for a few years now and they'd always got on.

"Did you see some flyboys heading for the lockers?"

"Yeah, I had to deal with one of them," Daniel added with a grin, putting his hand to his own neck to illustrate his point. "Why, he said something?"

"Mouthing off that he wasn't happy that the 2-IC was gay. It's true then? You two together?"

"We are," Daniel answered carefully. "Do you have a problem with it?"

"Nah," Andrew laughed. "C'mon. What difference does it make? I'd still rather have SG-1 out watching my ass in the field than any other team. Just watch your back, okay? That airman won't take on the old man, but he will make the mistake of trying to take you on. His buddies are tight with him, easily led if you get my drift."

Daniel beamed back at him.

"Thanks Andrew. I appreciate it. And I promise, when we're out there," he waved his hand, "I'll watch out for your ass - not watch it," then he whispered something to the marine making Andrew laugh out loud.

Jack and the others walked in at that moment and saw Daniel laughing it up with the marine. Jack inwardly breathed a sigh of relief. If the hard men of the base would still accept him, then there was hope.

"So, Danny, did you get a hard time at all today?" Jack asked as they entered their house, having left the discussion until they arrived.

Daniel took a deep breath and told Jack everything. Jack grinned at the tale of Daniel slamming the jerk against the locker, but underneath he was fuming - and afraid.

They ate their evening meal in comfortable quiet, watching the news and trying to catch up on life as it went on on Earth. There was some comeback over the don't ask law, but not much. What there was though wasn't pleasant to say the least. A couple of sailors had been beaten - though they were okay, just bruised. The culprits were currently awaiting court martial. The news was that only a comparative handful of service men and women had left as a result of the change.

"Good riddance to them," Jack snorted. "We don't want people like that in the forces anyway. If you accept bigotry of any sort it can lead to the acceptance of it in all forms. Much as we fight it, I know that we still have racists in the services. Every time we find one, they get clamped down on - hard - but they're still there. It's taken years to get the services more or less tolerant. If we have an intolerant fighting force, it can lead to atrocities committed in our country's name during war."

Daniel looked at him and smiled a very warm smile.

"What?" Jack asked.

"You sometimes wonder why I love you, don't you?" Daniel started. At Jack's agreement, he continued. "You also think that we're nothing alike. But we are, Jack, we are. One of the reasons - one of the many - is that you're a good man. You give a shit about everybody. Which is as it should be - but unfortunately, it all too often isn't. You see this whole change of law not as a concession, as the more narrow-minded people do, but as a complete shift of attitude, and one which is to the good. If people can learn to accept one area of society that they were previously uncomfortable with, they can learn to accept more and more. You see the bigger picture, Jack. And sometimes I don't always give you enough credit for that - and I'm sorry. I know I battle against your military mindset, as you battle against mine. But when it comes down to it, we're a lot more alike in our ways and what we want than people realise."

Jack grinned back and leaned close. Murmuring in a low, husky voice, he said, "Do we want the same thing now, Daniel?"

Daniel's skin was immediately covered in goosebumps as he heard the invitation. Oh yes, they were definitely on the same page.

Jack stood up and put out his hand. Daniel took it and stood up too, falling easily into Jack's arms. They remained where they were for a moment, just looking at each other, blue eyes meeting brown with equal warmth.

"Love you," Jack mouthed.

"Hmm, love you," Daniel replied with a grin. "Bed?"

"Shower?" Jack countered.

Daniel smiled even wider and led him upstairs.

Daniel entered his office the next morning with trepidation. He had no idea why, but his warning radar was letting him know that something wasn't right.

There was a box on the desk. He didn't open it, but called Jack on the phone to come. He had a bad feeling about it.

Jack came to the office as quickly as he could, wondering why Daniel would call him to come down. On the way he bumped into Teal'c.

"O'Neill, I received a call from Daniel, do you know what this is about?"

"No, none the wiser than you, Teal'c. If Daniel's worried about something though, it's usually worth investigating."

They hurried to the office and discovered Sam already in there, her head next to a box on Daniel's desk.

"Hi guys. Sorry about this. I found this box on my desk - I've got nothing on order. I guess I was wondering what it's likely to be."

"You did the right thing, Daniel," Jack soothed. "If you're not sure about anything, especially now, call in back-up."

Sam let out a strangled cry of surprise.

"It's making a funny noise," she said, "kinda like scratching."

Daniel sighed - he had a gut feeling that he knew what it was now. He wasn't disappointed when he opened the box. Inside it was a cage, and inside the cage was a gerbil.

Jack fumed, Sam too. Teal'c was confused. Daniel explained the significance and Teal'c got angry.

"Any idea who it's from?" Sam asked.

"Yeah, probably that loudmouth airman," Daniel replied. "However, there's no proof - just a note saying 'hope this helps'. Some people are sick," he added with a grimace.

"So, what do we do?" Jack asked, sitting on the couch and resting his head in his hands, trying to deal with this in his calm, Colonel O'Neill style - in other words, he wanted to go to the armoury, get out a zat and make the bastard disappear, but he wouldn't because his position wouldn't allow it.

"We get our own back," Daniel replied. "I have an idea. First thing, we need to find out his name. Don't do or say a word, Jack," he counselled, "let's make this jerk look like a jerk."

The others agreed and they discussed what they would do.

It didn't take Jack long to find out who the airman was, or where he was supposed to be. He relayed the information to Daniel, who, taking Teal'c with him to prevent any trouble, headed off to the firing range.

They booked out a couple of P90s to ostensibly practise with, and made their way to the range from the armoury.

"Ah, Dr. Jackson," the loudmouth, who had been identified as Airman Brocker, "you can fire a gun?" he teased.

Daniel looked at him and moved closer to him. "You'd be surprised at what I can do, Brocker," he said, letting the airman know that he knew who he was.

"I'm sure of that," Brocker replied. "So, how's things?"

"Oh fine, fine, thanks for asking. Someone generously left some food for my piranhas on my desk this morning, so that was nice. They so much prefer to eat live food, you know? Keeps them aggressive. Nothing worse than tame killers, is there? I much prefer to live dangerously, don't you?" He also lied through his teeth; his fish were angel fish.

Brocker and his friends looked faintly green. One of the guys had donated one of his kids' 'spare' baby gerbils for the vicious prank.

"You're going to feed a live gerbil to piranhas?" Brocker asked incredulously.

"I never said it was a gerbil," Daniel replied dangerously, and Brocker and his friends realised that they had been caught redhanded. Daniel made his way to a booth and loaded his P90, set it to rapid fire and promptly removed the head of the cardboard 'human' target.

The airmen left without another word.

The rest of the week passed without incident and SG-1 made the mistake of relaxing their guard. Brocker still avoided them whenever possible and the thought that the team was as deadly as they made out crossed his mind. He had no intention of being caught by any of them, especially Teal'c. But as the days wore on, his anger at looking stupid in front of his pals grew. They'd teased him mercilessly about being bested by an archaeologist and his pride was hurt. However, he knew that hurting Daniel would be a mistake. He had other plans.

Jack was going over the final preparation for the following day's mission in his office and was concentrating hard on some intel that he had received about it. There was the possibility that there was a Goa'uld on the planet and they were going there to find out who it was. They were going to work with the Tok'ra on it. While he studied a terrain map supplied by the Tok'ra, he didn't hear the barefoot man enter his office. Something made him sit up to look around though - whether it was the heartbeat of the intruder he didn't know, but he knew that he was not alone. In a flash, an arm was raised, something big came down, and before Jack could react his world went black.

Daniel was going to meet Jack for lunch, and for once he was on his way to pick him up, instead of the other way around. He reached Jack's door, was just about to do one of Jack's 'knock, knock,' jokes when he saw Jack on the floor, a hooded man standing over him, his hand raised and about to descend. In the hand was a thick bar of some sort. Daniel didn't stop to analyse it, but ran across the room before the attacker even knew he was there. He grabbed at the implement and wrestled it out of the attacker's hand before swinging it hard and connecting it with the man's ribs. There was a loud crack on impact and the attacker fell to the floor.

Daniel hit the alarm button on the side of the door before returning to Jack. He knelt by his side and checked him over quickly. He was still breathing, but his breathing was shallow and ragged. He checked his pulse, which was still strong and Daniel breathed a sigh of relief. The attacker let out a moan and made to stand up. Daniel was by his side and kicked him in the ribs again.

"You," he spat, "stay put or I will kill you. Understand?"

A groan was the only confirmation he got.

There was a noise at the doorway, SFs came running in and assessed the situation. They ripped the hood off the attacker, but Daniel didn't even look up. He knew who it would be. They dragged him off unceremoniously to the infirmary, ignoring his complaints about not being able to breathe properly. When he got there, he was handcuffed to the bed before anyone would even look at him.

A stretcher came for Jack, Janet coming with it. She cried out in shock when she saw the mess on Jack's face. Blood and bruises everywhere. She quickly felt around his face and realised that he had a broken jaw and nose, but she was almost certain that his skull was intact.

"Thank heaven for hard headed colonels," she sighed. She ordered a collar to be put on him before moving him though as she didn't know if the impacts would have damaged his neck.

"Thank heaven for a rumbling stomach," Daniel laughed without humour. "If I hadn't been hungry, Jan, I'd have been too late. He wanted to beat him to death."

Everyone there worked in stunned silence. They just couldn't believe what had happened. Daniel sat and watched without saying another word. Janet noticed this and realised that Daniel was quite possibly going into shock. At that moment, Sam and Teal'c came tearing through the door. Sam let out a cry of anguish and she ran to Daniel's side. Jack was now on the stretcher and being carried out. Teal'c cursed and swore revenge in his native tongue and everyone looked at him. Daniel just said, "I already did that."

Sam wrapped her arms around Daniel and helped him up.

"C'mon, let's get you to the infirmary," she said quietly, "and you can tell me all about it."

They sat together on a bed waiting to hear about Jack's injuries. He had been taken for a scan to make sure that there were no nasty surprises waiting for them before they would remove the collar. Daniel was shaking like a leaf now, the shock of the whole thing getting to him. Sam wrapped a blanket around him and send a nurse off to get some sweet tea.

"You saved him," she encouraged. "You were there when he needed you, Daniel. You haven't lost him."

He nodded dumbly, unable to answer. Then he found his tongue.

"It should have been me," he whispered. Sam smacked his arm hard and grabbed him fiercely.

"Don't you DARE say that," she growled. "It shouldn't have been ANYONE!"

He saw how upset she was and apologised but then he qualified it.

"I was the one that made the prick mad, not Jack," he pleaded his case. "It should have been me, don't you see? We didn't look to protect Jack, did we? We all assumed it would be me. We didn't look out for him. I didn't look out for him."

Teal'c had had enough of this.

"Daniel Jackson. Did you raise that iron bar and hit O'Neill with it?"


"Well then. It is not your fault. As Major Carter pointed out, no one should have been attacked. All the fault lies with the attacker and none with you."

Daniel sighed. He knew they were right, but he still felt like crap.

"There's good news and bad news," Janet sighed when they brought Jack into the side room that she allocated for him, his team in tow as she knew they would be.

"So, what's the news?" Daniel asked impatiently, then his face fell and he looked sheepishly at her in apology.

He sat by Jack's side, Sam sat at his other side and Teal'c stood at the foot of the bed. Janet grinned, knowing that they would stay like this as long as they were allowed to get away with it.

"No major fractures of his skull, and somehow, his neck absorbed the impacts and there's no fractures there. No internal bleeding either - he got lucky. That's the good news. The bad news is he has hairline skull fractures, a broken nose and his jaw will need wiring. Fortunately, the base oral surgeon was here, so there wasn't any need to call him in. Pictures were taken, and there is no damage to his teeth; no breaks or cracks. We've paged Dr. Warner and he's on his way. As soon as possible, we'll get him into the OR and set the bones in his face. You don't love him for his good looks, do you?" she gently teased Daniel.

Daniel looked over his glasses and narrowed his eyes dangerously. He took a quick look around the room and realised that it was only his closest friends with him. Then he grinned.

"No, not his looks. But I guess he's not going to be blowing me anytime soon, is he?"

Sam blushed, Teal'c looked amused, and when Janet got over the shock of what he said she screamed, "You're fucking insane!"

Daniel just smiled and turned back to his lover to watch over him.

Daniel was still sitting at Jack's side when he woke up. He'd had surgery, his jaw was indeed wired and he wasn't going to be eating solid food for quite some time. He would have grinned at seeing Daniel in the chair, sitting up but sleeping, but he couldn't.

He reached out and prodded him in the arm instead.

Daniel woke with a start and then smiled at Jack. "Hey," he said, reaching out and stroking his hair. "You scared me, you bastard."

Jack raised one eyebrow in reply, not wanting or able to speak just yet.

"I'll get Jan," Daniel carried on, "she said to call her when you woke. Don't go anywhere."

He stood up and went to leave, but Jack grabbed him and pulled him towards the bed.

"I know, babe," Daniel said with a smile, "I know. I'm not leaving. I'm safe now, so are you. The entire base was in uproar over this. Hammond went postal, the bastard that did it is in Leavenworth awaiting trial for attempted murder - we have the whole thing on security tape by the way, he's not going to get away with a thing - and everyone else is in shock. If there are any bigots left, they're going to keep their opinions to themselves from now on, because they'd get the crap kicked out of them by everyone else. Janet's made it known that anyone so much as making a single crack to any gay personnel will get it in the neck from her. More people have come out as a result of this, Jack. I know you're in pain, hun, and I would give anything to turn the clock back and stop it from happening, but some good has come of it."

Jack thought that he was glad about that, but he could also see the trouble in Daniel's eyes. He so wanted to reassure him that he was okay, that they were okay. He looked quizzically at Daniel and stroked Daniel's hand with his own. Daniel grinned.

"Yeah, still love you. Still love me?"

Jack narrowed his eyes, telling Daniel off for doubting him. He got another grin and Daniel leaned over and kissed his head.

Daniel was right. Hammond had indeed gone orbital about the whole attack - and when he had heard about the events preceding them, the team thought he was going to burst a blood vessel. He called a meeting of the entire SGC department heads and team leaders and explained his position thoroughly. They in turn gave their people hell and the whole base was well-aware of what would happen if there was any intolerance of any sort. Six more gay couples had come out, and some single gay people were allowing others to actually know it. It was taking a great deal of courage on their part, but the shock of the attack on the Colonel had bolstered their position.

Even after a week, Jack still wasn't talking very well, basically grunting through gritted teeth. Daniel stayed in the infirmary side room with him as much as he was able; Jan, for once, making allowances for visitors, knowing just how badly Daniel was affected by the whole thing.

"Dnny," Jack grunted, "go ho'e, slee'."

"And who's going to interpret you?" Daniel grinned. "I'm fine Jack. I'm just waiting for Janet to give us the okay for you to go home. I'll take a leave of absence and take care of you. Ah ah ah," he said before Jack could say anything, "you have a nasty head injury, Jack. I'm taking care of you." At the look in Jack's eyes he said, "I know you've had worse, babe, but I need to take care of you, 'kay?"

"Ds sis 'ean 'ou'll fuss?"

"Oh yeah. You'll be sick of me."


"I want that in writing. 'I, Jack O'Neill will never get sick of Daniel Jackson'," he laughed.

Jack grabbed his hand, pulled it close and then 'signed' Daniel's palm with his finger. Daniel grinned and kissed his head.

"You got me too, Jack. Sorry about this, but you're stuck with me for life."

Jack didn't need to say a thing, the look of relief and love in his eyes spoke volumes.

There was a knock at the door, it was Janet, followed by Hammond.

"Hey guys," Janet said, "do you want to go home?"

Jack's eyes lit up and Daniel smiled.

"'out ti'e."

Hammond looked at Jack and Daniel translated, "About time, he said."

"Just as well you two are near enough telepathic when it comes to communications between you," Hammond said kindly.

"That's nothing, General," Janet laughed, "you should have seen them the first couple of days when the Colonel wouldn't even make a sound. He only had to move an eyebrow and Daniel seemed to know exactly what he wanted."

"There's no secret to it," Daniel admitted, "just observation and knowing someone. I can usually do the same for Sam and Teal'c. Talking of which, where are they? They're usually here this time of day."

"They're outside. I've asked them to help move the Colonel home. I'm going to ask you to stay with him, Dr. Jackson," the General added, "he'll need someone to keep an eye on him, and we don't have any nurses to spare. Is this all right?"

Daniel beamed at him. "That's fine, Sir. I can work on translations at home without any trouble. It's not as if we're going out into the field for a month or so, is it?"

Jack looked at the General's face and then he nudged Daniel, cocked his eyebrow and moved his eye in the General's direction.

"General Hammond, is something wrong?" Daniel asked. Hammond laughed.

"You two just did the silent communication thing again, didn't you? Well, there's nothing wrong, but there is news. Airman Brocker was taken for a pre-trial hearing and when presented with the fact of the security tape, pleaded guilty straight away. You two will not need to testify. Basically, it's an open and shut case. We saw him do it, we caught him doing it and there's enough evidence to put him away for life. I just thought you'd want to know it."

"'anks genral," Jack got out.

"Yes, what he said," Daniel added with a wrinkled nose grin. "We appreciate that news a lot."

Hammond said his goodbyes and as soon as he left, Sam and Teal'c came in and they made the arrangements to take Jack home.

Weeks later, Daniel was at his wits end.

"Jack, you are going back to work tomorrow, will you please let me finish this translation before we go there? I don't want to have to explain that I couldn't do it because my pushy boyfriend kept nagging me to have lots of sex with him."

"It's good sex though, isn't it?" Jack teased.

Daniel snorted and said, "Yes, it is. But there was definitely an advantage to you getting your jaw wired. Now hush, go away. And when I'm done I'll come and make it up to you, okay?"

Jack harrumphed and dropped a kiss on Daniel's head before stalking out of the room they used as his office. Daniel sighed. He had nearly finished it after all, and he had been working very hard on it. He could do with a break he supposed.

He left his office and headed to where he knew Jack would be. To be fair, Jack hadn't been too bad throughout the terminal weeks of mothering he'd had to put up with. He'd taken his food through a straw until the wire had been removed and since then Daniel had been working hard to help him put some weight back on, feeding him lots of good, nourishing solid food, not a bowl of soup in sight. He was just about ready to return to work now and Daniel knew he'd be itching to get back out in the field. He'd had his paperwork sent to the house so that he could keep on top of it, not wanting to return to the usual mountainous state that it was after so much as a few days away, and he'd done it without too much grousing. So, Daniel thought, he needed to be rewarded for being so good. And Daniel knew precisely what he would like as a reward.

He found him slouched on the sofa, channel hopping to find a game. Daniel took the remote from him, switched the TV off, took him by the hand, and without a word led him upstairs.

They entered the bedroom and Daniel shut the door before leading him to the bed. He pushed Jack on to it and lay down next to him.

"Jack, I'm sorry," he started, putting his finger up against Jack's lips to stop him interrupting. "I know I've been fussing over you more than you wanted me to, and I know I've been a pain in the butt. So, you get to get your own back on me now. C'mere babe, be a pain in my butt, why don't you?"

Jack grinned, reached up and removed Daniel's glasses and carefully put them down on the side table, then he pushed him to lie on his back. He knew what Daniel was offering and he wanted to take the opportunity. Daniel wanted him to take the lead, to do whatever he wanted to do, to be in control for the first time in ages. Daniel was trusting him to not become 'the boss', but to be a guide... and Jack knew exactly how he was going to do this.

They kissed for the longest time, just touching and holding each other until they both knew it was time to take it further. Daniel let Jack undress them both, revelling in the kisses that Jack placed on his bare skin as every inch of it was revealed. He let out low moans and groans as Jack found the spots that stopped him thinking and he allowed himself the luxury of pure emotion. Jack knew that Daniel was a sensualist at the best of times, but that he also rarely allowed himself to feel because he had been too badly scarred in the past. Jack knew this and understood it because he was the same way himself - something that Daniel had worked out and something that Daniel had helped him work past. Now was the time for Daniel to also move on.

By the time they were both naked, Daniel was writhing around on the bed, desperate to get off. Jack remembered the day that Daniel had got him off without even touching him and wondered if he'd do that. Then he remembered what Jan told him that Daniel had said about him blowing him. That's what he'd do then. He hadn't gone down on Daniel since before the attack and that weeping cock looked so inviting.

With a feral grin attached to his face, Jack descended and swallowed him to the root. Daniel howled and nearly shot off the bed. Jack had to grab his hips and hold him down before he went back and took him in his mouth again. Incomprehensible utterings came from Daniel as he surrendered to the pure sensation of hot wet mouth on him, of Jack's tongue swiping up and down his shaft, of Jack's fingers creeping around to play and encourage and tease. Daniel also knew that Jack's jaw was still weak and that he wouldn't be able to keep this up for long so he completely let himself go and didn't hold back, coming hard and for a long time, forcing Jack to swallow quickly or be choked.

When he finished, Jack let him go and made his way up the bed, taking the time to kiss his body the whole way up, teasing Daniel's nipples with his teeth and causing the younger man to moan even more.

Again they kissed, starting out fairly frantically but gentling to the sweetest touches.

"Turn over," Jack murmured, making his request sound like a plea. Daniel complied happily, wanting whatever Jack wanted. He hissed as he felt Jack's lips on the nape of his neck, and let out more low groans of pleasure as he felt Jack's tongue trail down his spine. He nearly yelled when he felt Jack's tongue reach his ass, and wondered if Jack was going to return the favour for him - though he knew he was wiped, and that there was no way in hell he was getting the second coming - so soon anyway. Jack played for a while, teasing and licking until he himself could take no more and needed to get off.

"Pass me the lube, Danny," he whispered, and felt it being put into his hand. "On your knees, babe," he said, again his tone gentle and questioning, not wanting to force Daniel into a damned thing. Daniel, at this point however, would have happily taken orders and was almost on the point of giving them himself, but he shut down that line of thought quickly. This was Jack's turn to do as he pleased - and he hadn't done a thing that Daniel hadn't enjoyed so far, that was for sure.

He cried out with pleasure as he felt Jack pushing into him, sheathing himself in two strokes. He succumbed totally to the sensations and Jack was seriously getting off on the guttural sounds coming from his lover. He was trying to take this easy, but his own burning desire was taking over his remaining ability to restrain himself so he started to move harder and faster, trying hard to change his angle of 'attack' with every stroke to make it more interesting for Daniel. Judging by the howls coming from the pillow that Daniel had stuffed his face into, he was definitely succeeding. He was so amused by this that his own climax hit him by surprise and he collapsed on Daniel's back with the shock of it all.

They flopped down onto the bed and Jack held Daniel tightly.

"J'ck," the muffled voice came from the pillows.



With a snort, Jack gently withdrew and rolled over, pulling Daniel into his arms.

"Better now?" he asked.

"Oh ya," Daniel replied with a grin. "Breathing always helps."

He set Jack off sniggering and joined in, kisses interrupting the growing laughter.

"Love you, O'Neill."

"Love you too, Jackson. Pity we have to go and face everyone tomorrow, isn't it?"

"It will be fine, babe, I promise," Daniel soothed. "It will be fine."

They entered the mountain together with a certain amount of nervousness on both their parts, and were greeted by the security guards.

"Colonel, Doctor, good to see you back. Are you well, Sir?"

The smile on the face of the guard couldn't have been any more genuine and Jack smiled back.

"I'm fine, thank you. It's good to be back."

"You get any trouble, Sir, you call us. The guards are good and fragged about the whole thing. We'll sort out any trouble for you."

Jack's body language told Daniel he was about to go on the defensive, so he interrupted.

"Thank you, it's good to know we have friends here. It means a lot to us."

"Yes, Sir," the guard continued, oblivious to Jack's demeanour. "We mean that too, Sir. You just call."

Jack took Daniel's cue and thanked him warmly before they made their escape and got into the elevator. As it descended Jack said, "We're going to have a lot of that, aren't we?"

"Oh yes."

"Why was I annoyed?" Jack was a touch confused by his own reaction. Daniel understood, however.

"Jack, when I've been on the receiving end of crap and you've come to the rescue, you know I'm grateful, don't you?"

"Ye-es," Jack drawled.

"I really am. I'm also annoyed as hell because irrationally I think that you don't trust me to deal with it myself. I know you do, and that it's just you being protective, but I still feel like that."

Jack grunted - he knew what Daniel was getting at now. People cared about them both and were prepared to help them out. And it wasn't because they didn't trust them to do it themselves. It was because they gave a damn.

Daniel added, "Besides Jack, the guards and the others will probably feel like shit for letting you down, since it is their job to protect us."

They were welcomed back by everyone that saw them. Sam and Teal'c had been regular visitors at home, but they too were extremely glad that the men were back at work. After a quick team conference in the cafeteria (during which Jack had been interrupted many times by well-wishers) he headed back to his office. He discovered that the paperwork, while not quite Himalayan, certainly resembled the Alps and he sighed, shut the door behind him and set to it. They were going to be back on the active list in a few days' time, so he wanted, no needed, to get rid of it.

Hours later, his door opened and he turned around. Daniel was propping up the doorframe in Jack's favoured pose.

"Knock, knock," Daniel said.

"Lunch?" Jack asked.

Daniel nodded. "How's the paperwork, Jack?"

Jack just waved his hand over his desk, groaned and said, "Don't ask."