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Cross Purposes

Summary: What happens when the SGC and the Legacy meet?
My first attempt at a crossover. I usually avoid these like the plague, but I was fascinated by the similarities between the two shows. And as they're both set around the same time, both deal with saving the world from strange creatures and both have incredibly hot anthropologists with similar histories - well, I was tempted! Many thanks to Joy for the beta - as ever. Oh, and for those of you that don't believe in love at first sight... my hub and I have been together 16 years and we knew the minute we met (we were practically engaged by day 2). And, 4 kids later, I'm still nuts about him, but don't tell him that. (Let's update this. As of Jan 2008, it's been over 21 years and it gets better as time goes on!)

"Uh, General, before we get this briefing underway, would you mind if I brought another thing to your attention, please?" Daniel asked as the team sat around the table.

"Go ahead Doctor," Hammond smiled back, knowing that Daniel wouldn't change the topic of the briefing without good reason.

"Right, well, er there's a lecture tonight at the U. It's going to be given by a Dr. Derek Rayne. I really think I should attend it."

Jack moaned. How on earth could a boring old lecture be more important than a mission?

"Jack," Daniel scolded, "please let me finish."

Jack rested his head on the table and waved his hand in a 'go on' manner.

"Thank you so much," Daniel drawled and then returned to the matter in hand. "Dr. Rayne is a highly intelligent man. Ever since I was notified by the society which is hosting the lecture, I have been looking into his background. He holds two PhDs..."

"So do you, Daniel," Jack interrupted, then mouthed a 'sorry' at him.

"Two PhDs in biological anthropology and theology, and is known to have a significant talent in linguistics. He works for the Luna Foundation - the philanthropic society that often underwrites the costs of archaeological expeditions. Although I know this about him, I found it very hard to discover anything else. He's very quiet, academically." Daniel had found himself distinctly drawn to this man for some reason and had desperately tried to find out as much as he could about him.

"Like someone else I know," Jack muttered.

Daniel ignored him and carried on. "The lecture he's giving tonight is on Babylonian history - specifically the religious structures of the time. It's rumoured that he has in his possession some cuneiform tablets which talk of 'monsters from the deep'."

Jack's head snapped up. Sam and Teal'c looked over at Daniel, Sam grinning when she saw his face.

"Yes, Jack, there's a connection with Nem and Omorocca."

Jack cursed under his breath. He had come so close to losing Daniel back then that even the mention of Oannes or Nem made his blood run cold.

Jack shifted about uncomfortably on the plastic chairs in the lecture hall. Daniel was wrapped up in the lecture, rapidly taking notes as Dr. Rayne talked his way through a mountain of slides. They were there rather than on another planet because Hammond had given in to Daniel's wishes - as Jack had known he probably would. Daniel had been withdrawn recently, and anything that caught his imagination was to be encouraged. It was to be expected that after his wife died that Daniel would be upset, but this was over a year down the line and there was no sign that he was even beginning to get over it. Jack was confused. Shau're had been gone a lot longer, in reality, and Daniel had been a lot lighter-hearted when they were looking for her. And now her son was gone too, with the promise that one day he and Daniel may meet again. Daniel knew that Shifu was in the best possible hands, being loved and cared for, so why didn't he smile anymore? Why had he stopped coming over to see Jack off duty? And why, Jack wondered, had he let him pull away?

He was shaken out of his reverie by the sound of clapping. The lecture was over. He made to stand up, but Daniel put his hand on Jack's arm in an unspoken order to stay put. Daniel hadn't taken his eye off the lecturer the whole time, as if he was studying him closely. What could he find out just by looking at the man?

Jack noticed that there was a younger man, standing to one side of him. He looked tough. Clean-shaven, close-cropped hair - a distinct military air to him. The good doctor spoke softly to him and they both started to pack up the equipment.

As the last of the audience filed out of the room, Daniel stood and headed to the front.

"Dr. Rayne?" he called out, "your slides - um, I'm sorry to say, but in two of them, the artefacts were fakes."

Derek Rayne turned to look at the young man that imparted that piece of information and smiled. Nick Boyle had stiffened at the upstart's accusation and was ready to jump to his mentor's assistance. He saw Jack standing behind Daniel, his own body language threatening a permanent case of death to anyone that so much as laid a finger on his best friend.

"I know," Derek said softly, "I put them in there to see if anyone would be smart enough to work it out. The differences were subtle." He smiled broadly at Daniel, who found himself smiling as much in return.

Daniel put his hand out to the older man.

"Daniel Jackson," he said by way of introduction. "Colonel Jack O'Neill," he nodded back at Jack.

"Pleased to meet you both," Derek returned. "This is my associate, Nick Boyle. Air Force, Colonel?" he asked Jack.

"Yes," Jack replied carefully, looking at Nick, his eyebrows raised in question.

"Ex-military," Nick supplied, "SEAL"

"Well, I'm sure you guys will have a lot to talk about," Daniel put in. "Dr. Rayne, would you care to join me for dinner? I'd love to talk about your lecture tonight, I found your interpretation of the theological structure most fascinating."

"I'd like that very much, er, Mr. J.."

"Doctor," Jack snapped.

"Jack, behave," Daniel admonished with a smile. "Call me Daniel, please."

"Derek," Derek replied. "Nick, could you take care of things for me please? I'll see you back at the hotel later."

"Jack, I'll see you at work... tomorrow," Daniel added before Jack could invite himself along.

He could see that Jack was about to interfere so he added, "I'm sure we'll bore the pants off you if you come with us. I know there's a game you wanted to watch, why don't you do that, eh?" He tipped his head to one side and gave Jack his, 'please, for me' look. Jack sighed and melted. This Dr. Rayne fellow - academic just like Danny. How dangerous could he be?

It was only when Daniel disappeared out of the room that Jack realised what he had just thought. Daniel was an academic and look how dangerous he could be. He turned to the other man who was still in the room.

"Your friend, is he okay?" he glared.

"What do you mean?" Nick stared back at him.

"Daniel's one of these people that doesn't see trouble coming till it smacks him in the face. Is he safe with your friend?"

"I'm not sure what you're implying, but Derek lives in his own head most of the time. He's not a man to be crossed, but he's a good man. Always does the right thing."

Jack sighed. Oh God, the two of them sounded too alike for any good to come of it.

"Do you think we should keep an eye on them?" Nick asked carefully.

"Might be a good idea," Jack replied. He helped Nick to pack away the rest of the things and then they quickly went after their friends.

"They're following us," Derek said as the two men walked down the street.

"Oh, I know," Daniel said, laughing as he did. "Jack doesn't trust me to tie my own shoelaces."

"How is it you two work together?"

"I'm a linguist, mainly, I, er, work for the Air Force; translating, interpreting, that sort of thing. Can't really go into it, I'm sorry."

"That's okay, I can't really talk about everything that I do either," Derek replied, getting a curious glance from the younger man.

They reached the restaurant which Daniel had chosen as it was one of his favourites. A quiet place, the tables set apart from each other so that it was possible to talk without needing to raise your voice; or, for that matter, to drop to a whisper to keep some things secret. Dim lighting was augmented by candlelight and classical music played quietly in the background.

The waiter came to show them to a seat and greeted Daniel warmly. Daniel responded in French, the native language of the waiter, Derek also joining in the brief conversation. Daniel's eyes twinkled as they spoke the foreign tongue. It would seem they had some languages in common.

"Do you know," he said, still in French, "if Jack comes in and listens in to our conversation, it will drive him insane if we, er, 'forget' to speak in English?"

"Would you 'forget'?"

"Oh yes, I do, frequently. It's not my first language."

"Nor mine. What language did you speak as a child?"

"Oh, well, Egyptian Arabic, along with French and German - I grew up in Egypt among nannies and foreign archaeologists," he said laughing. "My father would speak English to me, but my mother would often speak in Dutch."

Derek was very surprised by this.

"Your mother? She's Dutch?"

"Half - her father. Her mother was Belgian, from the French side. Typical American, I guess," he added with a chuckle. "You?"

"I was brought up in Amsterdam," Derek laughed, swapping to Dutch as he spoke.

Daniel picked up and carried on where he was headed, reasoning that they could be understood by the waiters if they spoke French or English, but that it was pretty unlikely that anyone would understand them now.

They chatted easily, swapping bits of information about past life, academic interests and so on. Daniel realised that he hadn't laughed so much in a long time, and he was really enjoying the older man's company. They couldn't take their eyes off each other as they spoke and joked over commonly held misconceptions about historical characters and the like. Finally, over dessert he plucked up the courage and asked a question that he'd been wanting to ask all night.

"Derek, are you flirting with me?" His eyes glistened in the candlelight as he smiled at him.

"Well, that would depend, Daniel."

"On what?"

"Oh, on whether it is working or not. If you say 'no, it's not,' then I'm just being this friendly because I'm always this way."

"And if it is?" Daniel asked, but the shy look that accompanied the question belied how he was really feeling. And Derek knew it.

"Then I'd say, most definitely."

"It is."

"Then I'm flirting. And you? All that interest in me?"

"Hey, I am interested in you. Very interested in fact. This poses a problem, you know. Jack is outside - watching from the street. He thinks that I haven't noticed him. If you and I go off to, for example, my place for a coffee, he's going to follow, and after a while he's likely to come banging on my door. Do you think you could cope with that?"

"Oh, I think so. Nick's with him. He'll follow me too. Though Nick does seem to have greater faith in my abilities than Jack does in yours. Do you often give him cause to worry?"

"The nature of our work gives him cause to worry. And don't ask, I'm not telling."

"I wouldn't dream of it. Daniel, I'm guessing that I'm not the first guy you've, er, flirted with?"

"Oh no, definitely not. You?"

"Do I look innocent?"

"Butter wouldn't melt," Daniel laughed. "If you're wondering, Jack doesn't know. Nick?"

"No, he doesn't either. They're both going to have a shock, aren't they?"

"You could say that. Come on, let's go. Let me pay and we'll go and surprise them."

"Hey, let me pay my way," Derek complained.

"Uh huh, my town, I asked you out. It became a date," Daniel insisted with a grin.

"Tomorrow, I take you out," Derek added, making Daniel smile a little coyly. Tomorrow? There was hope yet.

He had really got to like the man over the last couple of hours. There was something genuine about him, and Daniel knew that he was safe. Derek was feeling pretty much the same way about Daniel by now. They'd talked for hours over dinner, making the food last and exchanging information freely and easily. Neither man trusted others readily, though they were both friendly by nature. Daniel liked to give others the benefit of the doubt, but absolute trust and the certain knowledge that someone wouldn't hurt him wasn't something he had in others very often. Jack had earned it very quickly during their first mission. Daniel knew then that Jack wouldn't ever hurt him deliberately - at least not without good cause. His trust in Sam took a while - in Teal'c a good while longer. But he had come to trust them. What was it about Derek that made him so relaxed? Why should he know that this man was exactly as he appeared?

As they walked down the street to get a cab - Daniel had come in Jack's car earlier - they continued their conversation in Dutch. Jack and Nick followed them discreetly (they thought); cold, hungry and miserable from waiting outside the restaurant for over two hours.

"They're still with us," Derek sighed.

"I know," Daniel agreed. He felt a bit naughty.

"Derek, would you object strongly if I were to put my hand on your back?"

"No, not strongly," Derek laughed. He felt the palm of Daniel's hand on the small of his back and became a little startled, stopping dead in the street. Flashes of Daniel's past and memories hit him, and his heart broke for all the pain that Daniel had gone through.

"Derek, Derek, snap out of it, are you okay?" Daniel was worried, he had his hands on Derek's shoulders now, they were facing each other.

Derek shook his head violently.

"I'm sorry," he said, "I have some explaining to do. Not here - not in company. I think you and I need to talk."

He was shaking with the sights that he had seen, unable to determine whether he was seeing the past, present or future. Daniel had died? Was going to die? In so many ways? What on earth was going on?

Daniel was very concerned by the reaction that Derek was showing and pulled him into a hug. He felt the older man relax against him and then pull away.

"I'm okay. Sorry, Daniel."

"Hey, it's okay. Come on, let's go to my place. We can talk there."

They sat opposite each other, as they had done at the restaurant. This time, coffee mugs in hand, they spoke of things that they couldn't elsewhere.

"Don't worry," Daniel said, "this place gets swept for bugs regularly."

He had put some music on to mask their voices to the neighbours too.

"I take it you're not talking cockroaches?" Derek teased.

"Derek, talk, now. What was all that about in the street?"

"Um, Daniel, do you believe that the supernatural actually exists?" Derek asked, doubting that the analytical mind of his new friend would accept the possibility.

"Derek, I told you I can't go into details about my work, but I deal with weird shit on a daily basis. The supernatural would come as light relief. As to belief? Let's just say I'm open to the possibilities of pretty much anything happening."

"Good, that will make my explanation a little easier. I'm psychic. I see things about people. When you touched me earlier I saw things about you - strange things. Your parents. You told me they were dead, but you didn't tell me that they were crushed by a large stone, it looked like it was in a museum. Your wife - you said she was Egyptian. She was very beautiful, wasn't she? Long, black, wavy hair - she wore light-brown robes. But then she looked like a queen, covered in many colours and jewels. You've died, haven't you? More than once I think."

Daniel was stunned by the revelation, and amazed by how accurate it was. He stood up and walked around the table. Derek stood and looked him in the eye, studying his reactions.

"Wow, yes, all of that is true. I wish I could tell you more, Derek, I really do, but my life - all of my life for the last six years has been classified. You shouldn't really even be here with me," he added sadly.

"Then why am I here?"

"I like you - a lot. I never, ever, take to someone as quickly as I have done with you. I want to be with you. There's something about you that makes me want to trust you. I know, Derek. I just know I have to be with you now. I don't know why though."

"Apart from my obvious good humour, great looks and excessive charm?"

Daniel cracked up laughing and fell into Derek's arms.

"Apart from that, of course," he murmured, stroking the older man's cheek as he said it.

Jack was pacing up and down in the street below Daniel's apartment. The living room light was on, he could see, but he had no idea what was happening between the men. His gut was telling him that whatever it was, he wasn't going to like it. Seeing Daniel hug Derek earlier had thrown him into a state of confusion. Daniel never hugged anyone. He'd fall into a hug that Jack offered but he wouldn't ever offer one. He looked at Nick and nodded towards the building. The two men had talked a lot over the last couple of hours and an element of trust had built up between them. Jack knew that Nick only wanted to protect Derek, as Nick knew that Jack was psychopathically protective where Daniel was concerned.

As they approached the door, Nick said, "Jack, should we really go in? Neither of them is mad, bad or dangerous. Derek fights for what is right, and if what you've told me about Daniel is true, so does he. Shouldn't we leave them to talk? How often does Daniel get to talk about his interests? I know that Derek doesn't get as much of a hearing as he could really do with. Do we have the right to interfere?"

Jack sighed and acquiesced, deciding that he would visit Daniel first thing in the morning instead.

Daniel leaned towards Derek and captured his lips with his own. Tentatively they explored each other, gently at first, the passion growing by the moment. He felt Derek's hands moving towards his shirt buttons and moved back slightly to allow him better access, never breaking the kiss.

Before long, both men were missing their shirts and hissed as their bare skin touched for the first time. Reluctantly, Derek pulled back.

"I'd better stop this, Daniel, or I won't be able to."

"Who says I want you to stop?"

"Slut," Derek teased softly, but his voice told Daniel that he didn't mean it.

"Hmm. Possibly. Look, Derek, I'm not in the habit of falling into bed with someone I've just met. Okay - I sort of got married like this - long story, don't ask - but I really don't do this. I want to do it with you, I want you in my bed. For some reason I feel like I've known you all my life. I can't explain it, but that's how I feel. I want you, Derek, and I want you now. Can you tell me you feel any differently?"

"No, I can't. Same here, Daniel. I'm not in the habit of doing this, it's been a long time since I even looked at a guy, but I want this too."

"Can't say it's been so long for me," Daniel replied, "I don't get much luck with women, they have a habit of dying on me."

"Me too. Two women, both dead. Obviously there've been more, not so serious, but there you go."

"My wife - dead," Daniel replied sadly, refraining from offering trite sympathy where it wasn't wanted, "my ex-girlfriend kidnapped and, er, missing. To be honest, I sort of know where she is and what state she's in. She's better off dead, and I don't say that lightly. And don't ask, it's got a lot to do with my job."

"Same here - my job killed them both. We have too much in common, Daniel, too many sad things. You saw your parents die, didn't you? I saw that from your eyes, didn't I?"

"Yes," Daniel whispered. "I was eight years old."

"I saw my father killed when I was fifteen. My mother's still alive, thank God - my sister too."

"You have a sister? I'd have loved one. Lots of foster siblings, but none of them are in contact with me. I guess I was never in one place long enough to make an impression."

Daniel sounded so matter-of-fact about this that Derek wondered just how much he'd had to put up with as a kid.

"I don't see my sister as often as I like. We're close, but she's a nun, so visiting isn't easy."

"Ah. Can't say I'm religious myself - something I suppose I can tell you is that I work against cults (Daniel thought that that would be a safe explanation), it puts me off religion. Besides, I grew up in a Muslim country and then over here by people of so many denominations, that to settle on one would be strange. Hey, I thought we were going to bed, not discussing comparative theology." His blue eyes twinkled as he said that, making Derek laugh.

"Lead on, MacDuff," Derek murmured and followed him into the bedroom.

Jack knocked on Daniel's door early the next morning. There was no answer immediately, but he knew that Daniel was a heavy sleeper and that he hated mornings with a passion. He tried again, but when there was still no answer after a couple of minutes he used his key.

"Daniel?" he called as he entered the loft. "Hey, Danny, are you up yet?"

He heard a muffled 'fuck' come from the bedroom and made his way into the kitchen to put some coffee on, reasoning that Daniel would be more amenable to his presence if he was bearing caffeine.

The bedroom door opened and Daniel staggered out, looking flushed and rumpled and wearing only a pair of boxers.

"Jack? What the fuck are you doing here?" he demanded.

"There was no answer when I knocked. I thought you'd need a lift up to the mountain, your car is still up there," he answered.

"Oh. No, I'm not going in today."

"Why not? We're scheduled to go out."

"Um, no, I called in about half an hour ago. Hammond agreed I could have time off to pursue other interests." Daniel stared at Jack for a moment and then took the offered coffee.

"Thanks," he mumbled into the mug, downed the drink, poured himself another and then yelled, "Derek, do you want a coffee?"

"Please," came the reply from the bedroom.

Jack's eyes opened wide but he said nothing, Daniel's glare threatening him.

He put some milk into the mug and headed back to the bedroom.

"Jack's here," he said, "I think he just figured us out. This isn't going to be pretty."

"You want me to go?"

"No, I want you to stay. I could do with the back-up," he added with a grin.

He kissed Derek's head, leaving the other man in bed and walked back out to the kitchen, still attached to his mug. Jack had often wondered if he would need to be surgically removed from it.

"What are you going to be doing then, Daniel?" Jack asked carefully, not really sure whether he wanted to know the answer or not.

"Derek has some cuneiform texts that need translating back at his place in San Francisco. I'm going with him. It's related to what we were talking about yesterday, Jack, so I'm doing this for work."

"And I thought you were coming to be with me," Derek teased as he stepped into the kitchen wearing only a pair of Daniel's sweats.

"That too," Daniel admitted with a smile.

Jack sat with a bump. What on earth?

"Jack," Daniel said, sitting opposite him, "are you okay?"

"Fine, I guess," he growled.

"Yeah, right," Daniel drawled, wondering just how to bring the subject up. He hadn't banked on Derek's typical straightforwardness.

"He's thinking that I seduced you, Daniel," he said with a grin, "just as you said he would."

"I'm not," Jack lied.

"Jack, come on, how innocent do you really think I am? These last five years? You really think I've been celibate all that time?"

"Bbbbut, I've never seen you with anyone, apart from, you know who," he said, not able to articulate Kera or Shyla's names.

"I never slept with either of them," Daniel said abruptly, taking a leaf out of Derek's book. "I haven't had a girlfriend since Shau're. Boyfriends, however..." he let his voice trail for a moment. "Why do you think you never heard about them?"

Jack rubbed his face in his hands and then looked up at Daniel. Derek said that he'd go and have a shower, giving them a time to talk in peace.

"Why didn't you tell me, Danny?" Jack's voice was strained.

"Look at you, you're freaking, Jack," Daniel offered as explanation. "Would you really have wanted to be my friend if you knew I happen to prefer sleeping with guys? Before you think it, I'm not easy, I don't go around picking strange guys up. I've had a significant relationship with someone recently, he's military so don't ask who he is. I'm not even telling you which branch. He wasn't my first either. There have been more men in my life than women. If you knew this, would you have shared a tent with me? A sleeping bag when things got cold?"

"Course I would Daniel. Look, what you're bi? So what? I've huddled with Carter when I needed to, where's the difference?"

Daniel screwed his face up, but heroically refrained from commenting that Sam had no way of fucking Jack in the way that he would do given half the chance.

"I thought you said you don't do casual, Daniel. You've only known this guy, what twelve hours now?"

"Agreed," Daniel replied, "but he's different. Can't explain it, Jack, I just know I want to be with him, okay? Have you any idea how good it is for me to be with someone that understands me? And not just in the way that you do, but in what I'm talking about? His take on history is similar to mine. To be honest, he'd be a godsend to me if we could recruit him, but I'm guessing that he has things he has to do on Earth," he whispered the last bit as he heard the noise of the shower stop.

"I'm going to San Francisco, Jack. I'm going to help him with the translation. I'm also going to have some fun. You're always telling me that I should have fun, so I'm taking your advice. I'll be back in about a week, I guess. Take Simon on the mission. He speaks the language."

"No, I'm not going without you, Daniel, I always get into trouble if I do that. I'll get Hammond to postpone it if I can. Do you want some company on this trip?"

"Jack, I'm going to be working, okay? Working on translating. And when I'm not doing that I fully intend being in bed. With Derek. What would you do?"

Jack sighed, resting his head in his hands and then stood up.

"I'd better go," he said quietly. "Call me if you need me," he added.

"I will, I promise. If I needed help I couldn't think of anyone I'd rather have around, Jack." He put his hand out and gently squeezed Jack's arm. "Jack? Are we okay?"

"Sure, why wouldn't we be?"

"Um, my recent outing?" Daniel replied with a shy grin.

"We're fine, Daniel, I promise. Have a good time, come back soon. I meant what I said - you need me, you call me, 'kay?"

"'Kay. Go easy on my staff, Jack," Daniel warned, but his voice was light and his eyes were sparkling. Jack grinned in return and Daniel decided to do something that he'd never done before. He put his arms out and pulled Jack into a hug.

"Jack, you're my best friend, the best friend I've ever had in my life. Don't think that this will change that fact, it won't. You come first, okay? If you need me, you call me, I'll come running. 'Kay?" he demanded, copying Jack's earlier insistence.

"'Kay," Jack replied before pulling out of the hug. "Be careful, Danny."

"Gotcha. See you when I get back, Jack."

Nick Boyle paced up and down in the hotel room. Derek had phoned the previous night and said he was staying over at Daniel's place, but Nick wanted to see his friend, to touch base with him. He'd recognised Derek's abrupt halt the previous night for what it was. What was it about this Daniel that would make him do that? His imagination was threatening to run riot when all of a sudden there was the noise of a key in the hotel bedroom door.

"Derek," he called out, surprised to see that he wasn't alone.

"Hi Nick. Daniel's coming back with us. He can help me with the translation of those artefacts. Not many people can read cuneiform, so I'll be glad of the assist."

"Yeah, sure," Nick looked at Daniel as he entered the room. He got a proper look at him for the first time. Same height as Derek, well-built - too well-built for his perception of the dotty academic picture that Jack had painted for him the night before. Good-looking, a more forceful character hiding behind his persona and his glasses perhaps? His ambush of Derek the night before had suggested as much.

"Did you and Jack get on well last night?" Daniel asked innocently.

"Yes, thanks. Nice guy," he drawled in reply.

"Nice? Jack? First time I've heard him called that. He's a great guy, but he's usually only nice to women and children. Gives me hell most of the time," Daniel replied with a grin.

Derek laughed as he headed into the bedroom to get changed and pack his things. Nick excused himself and followed Derek in.

"So?" Nick asked.

"So what?" Derek decided that playing dumb for a bit might be fun.

"What did you do last night?"

"Talked, a lot. Daniel speaks Dutch, it made a nice change from having to speak English all the time."

"Talked? All night?"

"Well, no, we drank coffee, slept," Derek desperately wanted to say 'spent half the night fucking' but somehow he thought that was too much information.

Nick wasn't sure that Derek was telling him the whole truth and that made him feel uneasy. When he'd got back to the hotel he'd called Alex back at the house and she'd done a background check on Daniel. Nothing had come up after his disappearance and that didn't help with his feeling of uncertainty. Jack had said that Daniel worked with him. Jack was special ops, he'd found out - or had been. What did spec ops want with an archaeologist? He bit down on his doubts. Derek was highly intuitive and he seemed to like, and more to the point trust this other man. If Derek could then Nick could try.

"Nice little place you've got here," Daniel drawled laconically at Derek as the helicopter landed in the garden to the house. 'Some house,' he thought to himself.

"It's not much," Derek snorted back, "but it's home."

Daniel let out a giggle as he grabbed his bags, soon finding another man there to take them off him. He relinquished control of them, except his laptop case which went pretty much everywhere with him.

"Come on, we'll get you settled in," Derek said as they made their way up the lawn, "and then you can have a look at the tablets."

Daniel's eyes sparkled at the thought of this. No matter how much he wanted to be here for Derek's sake, he really wanted to see the artefacts as well.

The look on his face made Derek laugh and he called out to him, "Artefact whore!" making Daniel laugh out loud and getting him funny looks from the others around them.

"You know it," he replied, "my love of artefacts comes second only to my love of caffeine."

He was shown up into a magnificent looking room, the bed was huge and imposing, as was the furniture around the walls.

He waited till they were left alone before he spoke again.

"Derek? Do you want to keep 'us' quiet? It's okay, I'm sort of used to it."

"No, don't you dare think that I'm ashamed or anything. I just don't want to rub the others' noses in it, that's all. If they find out, I have no problem with them knowing. After all, if you can come out to your best friend after all these years, I figure that I should be able to too. Come here, Daniel," he put his hands out and soon found himself with a large archaeologist in his arms.

They kissed for a while, their growing hardness resting against each other.

"Do you think we should have a nap?" Daniel asked, his eyes laughing as he did.

"I'd love to," Derek replied huskily, "but the others are expecting us downstairs. Come on, let's go and meet up with them. I'll come to you tonight, I promise. And I'm taking you to dinner in town. I know a very nice restaurant. Do you like Cajun?"

"Is the Pope Catholic?"

"I'll take that as a 'yes' then. Come on, I'll introduce you to the others. They're going to love you, I promise."

Daniel nearly snapped back 'like you?' at him, but he felt it would be far too soon to say something like that. On the way over to the house though, he'd thought about what it was that attracted him to Derek, and he found that the older man pretty much fulfilled his requirements in a partner. He was very intelligent, a multi-linguist, academic and funny. He seemed kind and gentle too - and Daniel had discovered the night before that he was a very attentive lover. Not to mention that he was attractive - extremely so - very sexy and strong. 'What's not to love?' he thought to himself.

As they approached the kitchen the men overheard Nick talking.

"I checked him out last night and found very little out about him. I've been given to understand that he works for the Air Force, but he's an archaeologist, so what gives?"

Derek scowled and was about to storm into the kitchen to give Nick a telling off, but Daniel caught his hand and pulled him back. He put his finger to his lips to 'hush' Derek and they listened in a little longer.

"Did you find anything out, Alex?"

"Uh, huh, nothing that you didn't already know, Nick. It's like he fell off the face of the earth six years ago. No papers published, nothing. But you say that Derek seems to trust him? He doesn't do that easily."

Derek had heard enough and he pushed the slightly ajar door wide open and the two of them strode in.

"You're right, Alex, I don't. I have my reasons, too," he said defiantly.

"I'm rather glad you didn't find anything out about me," Daniel said with a grin, "it would seem the guys in the Pentagon are doing their jobs. Let me guess, you were shut down pretty quickly?"

"Yes," Alex replied carefully.

"Good," he said gently. "I'm sorry, but my work is highly classified. It's good work, but not something that I can discuss without permission. If you'd been able to access anything, someone would have ended up with a bullet in their head. The security guy at the Pentagon for screwing up, and you for finding out. I'm extremely pleased you didn't get in, I wouldn't want you getting hurt." He gave her his shy smile and she grinned back at him, a little confused by him but warming quickly.

"Derek," he turned and flashed a reassuring smile at his lover, "would you introduce me, please?"

"Of course. Well, as you ladies already seem to know, this is Dr. Daniel Jackson. This is Alex Moreau, she was one of my anthropology students," he waved at the beautiful young woman that Daniel had just been talking to.

"Anth? One of my subjects. Perhaps we can talk shop later?" He reached out and shook her hand warmly, getting a much bigger smile in return.

"One of them?" The other woman spoke for the first time.

"Dr. Rachel Corrigan," Derek announced.

"Um, yes," Daniel replied, "my PhDs are in archaeology and linguistics but I did anthropology to Masters. Doctor?"

They shook hands briefly and Daniel gave a visible wince when she announced that she was a psychiatrist.

"You have a problem with me?" she asked.

"Nothing personal, I hasten to say," he said, "purely professional. Let's just say I've been on the wrong end of some extremely bad therapy - that wasn't needed." He added the last bit harshly, and then cursed himself. "Sorry, I get a bit uptight about that," he said, forcing himself to relax.

"What happened?" she asked.

Daniel didn't want to talk about it, but he felt that he should offer her an explanation.

"I was struck down with a virus," he said carefully, "I can't go into details about it. They diagnosed schizophrenia as a result. Trust me, being put in a rubber room and drugged up to my eyeballs isn't one of my favourite ways of spending my time. They wouldn't believe me when I got over the virus either. I was completely sane - well, as sane as I ever am - and being treated for a condition I didn't have. It drove me nuts."

"I'm sorry," she replied, obviously shaken by his mistreatment at the hands of her fellow professionals. "How did you get out?"

"I finally persuaded one of my friends that I wasn't nuts when another one of them got sick. If he hadn't believed me..." Daniel sat with a bump on a chair, still upset by the thought of that terrible time.

"I understand your dislike of my profession then. I hope you can overcome that with me?"

"Of course. Please, forgive me. I never meant to react like that, but that was among the worst times of my life. It's taking longer to shake it than I thought it would. I never meant to offend you, I promise."

Rachel assured him that she wasn't offended in the slightest.

Nick kept quiet throughout the whole exchange, his curiosity building over Daniel by the minute. There was a hell of a lot more to this man than met the eye.

After meeting with Derek's friends, Daniel was taken to the artefacts. They were a small group of largish fragments of tablet with writing on them. As if he was doing a jigsaw puzzle, Daniel quickly grouped them together, matching up broken edges as best he could. Following the quick mental translation he did he figured out that he only had about two thirds of that particular tablet. He also knew to what they referred because he had seen exactly the same thing a few years back.

"Derek?" he asked without looking up, "where did you find this?"

Derek looked over the book that he was studying.

"Off the coast of Kuwait, in the Gulf. Our people in Cairo had a marine archaeological 'dig' going on there. Something strange was there, they couldn't get close to investigate because the weather kept changing every time they got anywhere near the peculiarity."

"Peculiarity? What exactly was there? It's important, Derek, or I wouldn't ask."

Derek studied Daniel's face for a moment and made a decision.

"It was like there was a structure there. Only every time they tried to get close to investigate they had to leave and get back to the boat. They couldn't even describe the structure. It was odd."

"Odd?" Daniel's curiosity was more than piqued now.

"Yes. Not like anything they had ever seen on land. And it was too far out to have been something that had fallen into the water with land erosion or rising water levels. They found the fragments about a hundred yards away. Do you know what they say already?"

"Yes, sort of. They talk of Omorocca. She's mentioned in Budge," he replied carefully. "Are your people returning there?"

"Yes, we have another expedition set for a week from now."

"Don't go, Derek. Let me call my workplace. Please. I think we need to get involved in this. I'll try to get permission to explain as much as I can to you."

"Very well, I'll contact the Cairo house and tell them. Do you think you'll have any problems?"

"Getting permission to go, no. Getting permission to tell you - I really don't know. I'll try, that's all I can say. I'll need to call them on my cellphone. Can I get a good reception here?"

"Yes. Try the gardens, they're usually the best place. I'll meet you out there in a bit, okay?"

Daniel smiled and nodded and headed straight out through the French window and retrieved his cellphone from his pocket. He hit speed dial and waited to be put through to the General.

Derek, meanwhile, headed to his office. He moved through the hologram that protected the room and called up the Cairo house, asking them to postpone the planning of the expedition until he got back in touch. He couldn't explain why though and they weren't too happy. They did comply, however, when Derek promised to be back in touch as soon as he could.

Daniel spoke to the General.

"General Hammond, I have to go on this dig," he insisted. Having already explained what he'd discovered the General was inclined to let him go. But on one condition. His team came too.

"Sir, I have no objections to them coming along," Daniel replied, smiling at Derek as he came out to meet up with him. "I'll have to let Dr. Rayne in on why, however. He's most insistent on knowing why I need to be involved. As it's his people that have the permission to go there I really think it would be a good idea."

Derek screwed his face up in question. He hadn't said a word about knowing Daniel's work. Daniel winked at him and grinned, getting a much bigger smile in return.

"Thank you, Sir. I can assure you that the knowledge will go no further. Dr. Rayne is very good at keeping secrets."

Derek smothered a laugh at that.

"Yes, Sir. I'll expect to see them tomorrow. Thank you, General. You won't regret this."

He hung up and without thinking threw his arms around Derek's neck.

"I can tell you," he murmured, "but only you. You can't even tell your friends, I'm sorry. I wish..."

"Hey, you didn't have to do this for me," Derek replied, holding him closely as he did.

"I did. I know that we hardly know each other, but I feel like I've known you all my life. It's strange, but I want you to know this. It really must be kept to yourself. Promise me, Derek."

"I promise. Come on, let's walk, you can tell me as we go."

Nick watched the two men from the house, more confused than ever. They were walking with their arms around each other, hands comfortably resting on each other's waists as they strolled over the vast lawns.

Alex and Rachel came in.

"What are you looking at, Nick?" Alex asked.

"Look," he said and pointed at the two men. All three of them gasped as they saw Derek take Daniel's face in his hands and draw him into a kiss.

"Derek's gay?" Rachel asked stunned. "He never said a thing."

"Perhaps he didn't want us to know," Alex replied, stunned by this.

"If that was the case I doubt we'd be seeing this." They were sure that this wasn't a 'friends' kiss - the men were still locked together.

"I know he likes women," Alex added, a little guiltily.

"So, he's bisexual," Rachel shrugged. "It's not unknown. Or uncommon," she added.

"It's never been an issue," Nick put in thoughtfully, "that's why he's never said anything before. It's never needed to be said. In all the years we've known him, as far as we know he's never been out with a guy, right?" At the mute nods from the women confirming his statement, he continued, "So that's why he never said. This guy walks into his life, sweeps him off his feet and 'bam!' he's kicked open the closet door. Couldn't have been easy on him."

"What about Daniel?" Rachel asked.

"According to his friend, Jack, he's completely oblivious. But I'm guessing it's only an act. If you're asking did he set out to seduce Derek, I don't know. I guess we'll have to wait and see. Derek saw something last night. I was, er, watching them and when Daniel touched him he froze. If he's 'seen' Daniel, he understands him better than we do, that's for sure."

The men fell through the main door to the house, laughing and joking. The meal at the Cajun restaurant had indeed been everything that Derek had promised Daniel, and Daniel had enjoyed himself thoroughly. Having been talking shop all afternoon, they talked of everything 'but' when they went out. Childhood memories, college experiences, past loves. They told jokes in different languages, laughing out loud and turning the heads of the other diners there. They didn't notice though, they hardly noticed the food, great as it was. Daniel couldn't take his eyes from Derek's, losing himself in the warmth he saw in his hazel eyes. Derek found himself as smitten with Daniel's beautiful blue eyes.

I don't understand it, Daniel. Blue eyes are often cold, yours are the warmest I've ever seen.

It's the company I keep. You are warming me up from the inside, Derek.

Are you happy?

Yes, yes, I am. I don't usually settle down in someone's company as quickly as I have done with you. I'm normally much more circumspect, but I don't feel as though there's anything wrong.

I know what you mean. When we met it was as if I'd been waiting for you and there you were.

They made their way up the long stairs together and Derek followed Daniel into his bedroom. Before he realised what was going on, Daniel pushed him up against the door and kissed him hard.

"I've been wanting to do this all day," he whispered in the other man's ear, sending a shiver down his spine.

Then his hands found Derek's belt and undid it quickly, pushing the zip down and tugging at his pants till they dropped, exposing Derek's erection. He dropped to his knees and took him in his mouth, swiftly engulfing him and sucking hard. His hands roamed over Derek's thighs, massaging them firmly as his tongue ran up and down the weeping dick. Derek gasped as he felt the tip of Daniel's tongue running over the head, his fingers finding Daniel's hair and gently entwining themselves in it. Daniel pulled on his hips, inviting him to fuck his mouth. He couldn't believe how good this felt and gave himself over to the moment, allowing Daniel to do whatever he wanted. His climax hit him hard, Daniel swallowing everything he had to give, continuously sucking till Derek cried out and begged him to stop.

"No more, please, I can't take anymore," he moaned as he slid down the door and collapsed on the floor.

He pulled Daniel into his arms and kissed him hard.

"Daniel, oh God, you're incredible. What do you want me to do? Name it, please. I want it."

"I want you, please Derek, let me?"

"Anything, I want it too. Can we go to the bed though? I'm too old to make out on the floor."

Daniel chuckled and stood up, pulling Derek by the hand. He kissed him and they undressed each other, eventually laying on the bed, touching and stroking as their mouths connected once more. Daniel had come prepared for this. Derek had told him that it had been a very long time since he had made love to another man, so he brought all the things he'd need and put them in the bedside drawer.

"Are you sure, Derek? It's been a long time for you."

"I want this, Daniel, please. I know you won't hurt me."

"Oh, I promise. I'll be very gentle," he purred.

He rolled Derek till he lay on his stomach and then pulled some oil from the drawer. He rubbed it over his hands and then started to massage Derek's shoulders and arms, helping him to relax.

"You like?" he asked.

"Hmm," came the reply from the pillows.

Daniel let out a little laugh and slapped his butt, "Hey, don't go to sleep on me," he warned.

"Wouldn't dream of it. Do go on," Derek invited, laughing too.

Daniel poured some more oil on his hands and worked his way down Derek's back, feeling gratified as the other man's muscles softened to his touch. He didn't want to hurt him at all and wanted him completely at ease or he wasn't going to go through with this. He reached his buttocks and shuffled backwards. His hands pushed the cheeks apart and Derek yelped when he felt Daniel's tongue trail a long slow swipe down the middle. He did it again, Derek calling out,

"Oh God, Daniel, what are you doing?"

He stopped for a moment, "Don't you like it?"

"I love it."

"You've never had this before?"

"No, no, I haven't."

"Then lay back down and let me do it. You're going to really love what comes next, I promise."

Derek buried his head back in the pillow, suddenly grateful that he had when he let out an involuntary scream as Daniel's tongue entered him, slowly tongue-fucking him. He got hard again, not believing that this was possible so soon. Shudders ran down his body as the sensations filled him.

"Daniel, please, more, I need more," he begged.

"Okay, hun, you're going to get everything in a while. Just be patient."

"No, not patient, now!" he demanded, making Daniel laugh again.

"You want more, babe?" Daniel asked as he tentatively pushed a well-oiled finger inside him. "You're going to get more. You like this?"

He twisted his finger, hooking it, smiling at the groans of pleasure that came from the pillow. Two fingers, scissoring and stretching, three fingers opening, Derek thrusting back towards him.

"Please, Daniel, please," the moan became a mantra, Derek pleading with him to go all the way. He let out a satisfied gasp when he finally felt the fingers come out and the brief pain of entry as Daniel pushed inside him. Daniel stopped, lying on Derek's back, kissing his neck and ears, giving him time to adjust to the sensation.

"Are you okay, Derek? Does it hurt? Do you want me to move?"

"Yes," he hissed, "now."

Slowly but surely Daniel started to move, building up the speed and pressure. Derek pushed backwards, coming up onto his knees, holding himself up on his forearms, panting and moaning in equal measure.

"God, Derek, you're so hot, so tight, so fucking perfect. This is so good, so fucking good.

Daniel slipped his hand underneath and sought out Derek's cock, stroking hard and in time with his thrusts. He angled himself and started to aim for Derek's prostate, knowing he'd got there as Derek cried out in pleasure. A few well-timed and hard strokes had Derek spilling over his hand and Daniel coming hard inside him.

They collapsed on the bed, Daniel gently withdrawing from him.

"Derek, are you okay? Did I hurt you?"

"No, you didn't. I'm fine, wonderful. Fucking incredible in fact."

"Well, I do my best," Daniel grinned in mock humility, setting Derek off laughing. He pulled him hard into his arms.

"Daniel, I've never done this so fast in my life before, but I think I'm falling head over heels in love with you. It usually takes me a long time to feel this way, but not now."

"Same here, Derek. I'm pretty certain that I'm in love with you already. I think we should just go with the flow. I enjoy your company, you enjoy mine?" Daniel sounded a touch uncertain.

"I've enjoyed every second with you," Derek reassured. Daniel beamed back at him for that.

"Then let's have fun. Neither of us knows how this is going to work out between us, but I so want to be with you. Why don't we just do what we want for now?"

"A man with a plan," Derek murmured pulling him closer.

"You know it," Daniel replied sleepily, shutting his eyes as he rested against Derek's chest.

Derek had just enough strength to pull a cover over them and they fell asleep.

A helicopter landed on the lawn of the house and Nick rushed out to greet the occupants. Accompanied by kitbags, Jack, Sam, Janet Frasier and Teal'c descended and headed over to meet the young man.

"Nick!" Jack called over the noise of the now ascending chopper. "Good morning."

"Early morning, you must have been travelling overnight," Nick replied.

"Oh yes, more or less. As soon as we got the word that Daniel wanted us here. Do you know what this is about? We heard we'll have to go on some underwater dig or something."

Nick answered, "Derek and Daniel seem to think they've found something that they both need to investigate."

"Right," Jack drawled. "Nick Boyle, this is Major Sam Carter, Dr. Janet Frasier and Teal'c."

The four people greeted each other, Nick's eyebrow raised at the introduction to Teal'c, but he guessed he wouldn't get a better introduction than that.

"Is Daniel up yet?" Sam asked.

"No, haven't seen him or Derek yet," Nick answered carefully, Jack looking curiously at him. "They went out last night, came back late I think. I was already in bed."

"Coffee," Jack said, "I'll take him a coffee. He's hopeless in the mornings till then."

As he led them all into the kitchen he pulled Jack to one side.

"I don't think it would be a good idea," he whispered. "He, er..."

"Might not be alone? It's okay, I was at the loft yesterday morning. He, um, came out to me, I guess. Have they said anything?"

"No, but we saw them in the garden yesterday, they were, er, kissing," Nick replied, still in a whisper.

"It's okay, Nick. Give me a couple of coffees, I'll take them up to them. Show me which room though, will ya? I could get lost in this place for two weeks."

Nick grinned and took him into the kitchen, introduced everyone to Rachel and Alex who were sitting sleepily at the table attacking some toast. He poured some coffee and nodded to the door at Jack and they headed for the stairs.

"I can go in," Nick said.

"It's better it's me. They both know I know, and Daniel's not very comfortable around strangers, especially if he's in a vulnerable situation."

"He seems comfortable around Derek," Nick replied.

"Yes, but that's pretty odd. I've never seen him take to anyone so deeply - apart from his wife. And she's a long story," Jack laughed.

They reached the door, Jack knocked it and called out, "Daniel, you decent?"

He opened the door before he got a reply, took the coffees and headed in, kicking the door shut behind him.

"Wakey wakey," he called out and laughed when he saw a malevolent blue eye peering at him from under a cover. Daniel was still attached to Derek's chest and both men looked - well - thoroughly fucked.

"J'ck? Whatcha doin' here?"

"You rang, milord," Jack answered. "I've got coffee," he added.

"God, gimme," Daniel muttered, easing himself up from under Derek's protective arm.

"Here," Jack put both cups down on the table and sat on the side of the bed, pulling Daniel to sit up.

"Oh boy, if you guys wanted to keep quiet you've screwed up. Nick and the ladies saw you two necking on the lawn yesterday."

"So, it doesn't matter," Derek moaned as he too tried to sit up. "Thanks for the coffee, by the way." 'And thank you for being the one to bring it up', the unspoken words hung heavy in the room.

"Get up, get dressed. The guys are downstairs, Danny. I'm guessing it's out of the closet time for all of them. Don't worry about it, they'll be fine."

He ruffled Daniel's hair, got told to 'fuck off' by the irate archaeologist, laughed and headed out of the room.

"Is Daniel all right, Sir?" Sam asked as he went back into the kitchen.

"Jeez, Carter, he was only gone a day from your side. And I thought that I was the protective one where he's concerned."

Teal'c raised an eyebrow. "I believe that you would have to compete for that title, O'Neill. Dr. Frasier may well beat us all to that position."

"Uh huh, hun," Janet's lyrical voice broke through, "I just patch him up when you lot screw up."

"Well," Rachel said, "I won't be able to come with you on this little adventure. Kat's breaking up from school in two days for the holidays."

"Kat?" Janet asked.

"My daughter."

"How old is she?"


"Mine too. Cassandra. I adopted her a couple of years back - these guys rescued her when her family were killed. Cassie's going to stay with the General and his family while I'm away. He's kinda like a grampa to her anyway."

"We're all her family, Jan," Sam said.

"These guys became our family when my husband and son were killed," Rachel added.

Jack stiffened at that. "How old was he? Your son, I mean."

"Ten. Connor was a couple of years older than Kat when it happened. An accident," she added sadly.

"So was my son. Charlie," Jack gave her an empathic smile. "My middle name's Conor," he added. "You know, the more we learn about each other, the more we have in common."

"I do not believe that I will have much in common with anyone here, O'Neill," Teal'c said, his lips giving away a small grin.

"Oh, I don't know, Teal'c, you'd be surprised," Daniel's voice came from the doorway.

"Daniel Jackson. You are well." A statement as much as a question. The Legacy members studied Teal'c hard, finding that they couldn't understand this man at all.

"I've never been better. Thanks for coming, guys." He hugged Jan and Sam and grinned at the men, then he turned to Derek and raised an eyebrow in question. A grin in return told him that whatever he wanted to do, it was okay with him.

Daniel waved his empty mug at Derek, "Co-ff-ee," he crooned.

"Caffeine junkie," Derek complained, taking the mug and refilling it anyway. He handed the mug back to him and then rested his hand on his shoulder.

"Dank," he murmured as he felt the older man's fingers rub the muscles at the back of his neck, melting to the touch of his lover.

Sam opened her mouth and flapped her jaw, no sound coming out. Janet grinned, Teal'c raised an eyebrow and Jack sniggered. There was tension in the air, and Jack could almost feel battle lines being drawn between the two sides.

"Daniel," he said, "why don't you come and tell me and the guys about this dig you want to drag us to? I'm sure that Derek and the others here don't want to hear it all again. The garden looks nice, shall we?"

Daniel picked up on Jack's meaning straight away and agreed, standing up and giving a quiet nod to Derek to tell him he'd be fine. Then he left to talk to his team and Janet, leaving Derek to explain to his friends.

As the SGC members left Derek sat at the table and grinned.

"Okay, I know what questions you're thinking. Yes, I'm bi; no, he didn't take me over to the 'dark side'; no, he's not my first male lover, and I never mentioned it before because I didn't think it was necessary. Is it a problem?"

"No, no," they chorused. Rachel added, "Are you happy, Derek?"

"Very, thank you. I didn't expect this to happen, he didn't expect this to happen. We met, went for dinner to talk about my lecture and I fell for him in the first few minutes. He feels the same. We have a lot in common - more than either of us would want. I'm not going into personal details about him but we've both lost a lot in our lives and we understand each other. Our backgrounds are similar in many ways too."

"He sounds perfect for you," Rachel replied with a grin.

"Ah, perfection. I don't think so. He's already admitted to having a perfectly filthy temper, especially in the mornings before he's had enough coffee. No relationship is ever perfect. I think we can make a go of this though. Look, neither of us is unrealistic. The secret nature of both our lives means that we'll have great difficulty in taking this far. We both know it. So, we're going to have some fun while we can. Hope you guys aren't upset by this."

Again, they all said not. None of them wanted to deny Derek some joy in his life, and Daniel seemed to be making him happy.

Meanwhile, out on the lawn, Daniel was being interrogated, answering in a similar manner.

"Teal'c," Daniel asked first, "are you bothered by the fact that I prefer guys?"

"Not in the slightest, Daniel. I knew of your previous relationship and said nothing."

"You did? Oh. I thought we had been discreet."

"You were. I was observant. No one shall find out his identity from me. Do you remain friends?"

"We do, good friends. Thanks Teal'c, I know you'll protect him. Ladies, do you have a problem with me?"

Sam smacked him on the chest with the back of her hand.

"You bastard - you should have told me before. You didn't think I'd run screaming, did you?"

He pulled her into a hug, murmuring that he was sorry.

"It doesn't matter," she sighed, pulled back, smacked him a second time and told him not to do it again.

"Don't worry, bisexuality is my only hidden vice. Well, the only one you're ever going to find out about," he teased.

"So the leather fetish is going to remain a secret, is it Danny?" Jack teased.

"Damn, I should've known you'd guess that, flyboy," Daniel joked back. "Jan? You haven't said a word."

"I already sort of knew, Daniel. The tests I did some months back - you know, for the performance evals. I figured something was going on, but don't worry, I didn't say a word. You're a civvy, you can screw whomever you wish."

"Thanks Jan. It's not like that. He makes me happy, really happy. I know I've only just met him, I know all that, but..."

"Love at first sight, eh sugar?" Janet prompted.

"Yes, exactly," Daniel replied.

"Well, I for one am glad about that." The soft European tones of Derek's voice permeated the air. He had walked up to them quietly over the grass as soon as his friends had stopped questioning him.

"Me too," Daniel added shyly. Derek put his hand out and Daniel fell into a hug, resting his head on Derek's shoulder.

"I hate to break this up guys, but we've not talked about where we're going," Jack interjected.

"Of course, why don't we sit down?" Derek agreed.

They sat in a circle on the grass, Daniel leaning against Derek as they prepared to talk. Alex and Nick were beckoned from the kitchen where they were watching them and they came to join in.

"We have to go to Kuwait, Jack," Daniel said carefully. "Are you okay with this?"

Nobody else said a word. Jack stood up and he paced off. Daniel shot up and took off after him. Teal'c was about to go too when Sam told him to sit down.

"What's that all about?" Nick asked.

"Can't tell you much, but Jack was held by the Iraqis for four months," Sam replied, her face filling in the blanks.

Silence fell and they watched as Daniel helped Jack deal with this information. Teal'c was ready to jump up again, as were Nick and Derek when they saw them talking animatedly.

"No," Janet ordered. "If necessary I'll patch them up later. Leave them be. Anyone that tries to come in-between them now will likely end up in hospital. Jack's upset. Daniel is the only person on the planet that can deal with him. I mean this. Derek, you should know, taking Daniel on means taking Jack on too. They come as a pair. I've never seen two guys who are closer. I was going to say straight guys, but, well. Hell. Look, I don't have a problem with Daniel, none of us do. We love him dearly, okay? But Jack..."

"Daniel explained," Derek interrupted, knowing that Janet was floundering. "Their relationship is close. He told me, I have no worries about it. He told me that Jack is straight, there's no chance of there ever being anything more between them. Daniel loves Jack dearly, I'm guessing that Jack feels the same. I'm not jealous at all. I wouldn't dream of coming between them. But if Jack hurts Daniel, I'll kill him."

Nick and Alex were shocked by the vehemence of that statement, but the other three weren't.

"You would have to get in line, Dr. Rayne," Teal'c said. "We are all very protective to the youngest member of our team. Major Carter is like his sister."

"Too right," she replied. "Daniel's my baby brother. Anyone," she glared at Derek, "hurts him wakes up dead."

Derek nodded at her, understanding her position well.

"Just do yourself a favour and don't tell Daniel this," Janet laughed, "or you'll all regret it. He hates it when people get overprotective towards him. He's looked after himself pretty much since he was eight years old. He managed perfectly well before he joined us. Oh dear, here they go. No, don't. Leave them to fight if they have to. They won't take it any further than necessary."

Over on the other side of the lawn Jack was getting very upset.

"Jack, you don't have to go," Daniel soothed, "I just didn't want to ask anyone else. I can go on my own with Derek, if you want."

"WHAT??? NO! Dammit Daniel. What if that creature is still alive? Nem fucking tortured you!"

"It wasn't that bad, Jack, honest. Come on. I can cope. I don't want to bring back old hurts."

"Too fucking late. I know Daniel, I know why you asked for me and why you don't want me. You don't have to protect me."

"Oh, like you don't have to protect me? Get real Jack. Going there, it's going to be too close for comfort. I was uncertain about asking you to come with me because of this. I didn't want to not ask you because that would have got you angry. Dammit Jack, I can't fucking win with you, can I? Whatever I did here was going to be wrong. Do you think I can't take care of myself?"

"If you go without me you'll get hurt!"

"Well, thanks for that, Colonel, I'm so glad you have so much faith in my abilities!"

"Daniel, I didn't mean that!" But Daniel was already turning to stomp off. Jack grabbed his arm, Daniel turned around and punched him hard, sending him flying.

Derek and the others watched as the fight moved from the verbal to the physical. They wanted to try to break this up but Janet and Sam insisted that this be played out. They knew the men and knew that they wouldn't hurt each other much. It wasn't long before they were vindicated and the group watched as the two men, sitting on the grass by now, pulled each other into a hug, rocking back and forth and holding each other tightly.

"I believe we should go indoors," Teal'c said. "Neither man would appreciate an audience now."

As quietly as they could the group made their way into the kitchen and sat around the table.

"Do they often get like that?" Nick asked as they all sat nursing coffees.

"No, not usually so physical, but they fight a lot. They care - love each other I guess. Daniel stepped into the Colonel's life not long after his son died. Stuff happened I can't talk about, but Daniel saved his life a couple of times. They grew on each other." Sam sighed at the thoughts of the things that had happened over the last five years. She felt it unwise to mention the temporary estrangement between the two men. At least that was resolved now.

Out on the grass Daniel stood up and put his hand out to Jack, pulling him to stand upright.

"Are you going to be okay, Jack?" he asked.

"I will be, Danny. Sorry about that."

"Hey, what are friends for? I understand Jack, honestly I do. Come on, let's go in. I'll bet that Derek's people are wondering what in God's name that was all about."

"What's up with this place, Daniel? It doesn't feel like an archaeology department at a university or anything."

"I can't go into too many details Jack, but it's not what it appears. Do you trust me?"

"What sort of question is that? Of course I do. No one I trust more, Daniel."

Daniel smiled at him for that and said, "Then trust me when I say that these people can more than handle anything we throw at them. They deal with earthbound weird shit in the way that we deal with alien weird shit. They'll watch our backs. Derek will let them know that we'll watch theirs. He knows about the SGC, at least some of it. Hammond said I could tell him. Derek in return told me about his organisation. It's as secret as ours, but not government run. To tell the truth I think that both sides should get together and swap information. Derek's people have their ears to the ground on Earth. They could be dealing with alien stuff without them knowing about it. If we could have an exchange of information..." he let his voice trail off, knowing that Jack could see where this was going.

"I'll talk to Hammond when we get back," Jack promised quietly as they approached the door.

"Thanks Jack, it'll be for the best, I promise. Come on, time to face them."

Derek looked at Daniel as the two men walked into the kitchen. Daniel smiled a reassuring smile, telling him that he was fine. He walked straight over to his lover and kissed the top of his head.

"Hmm, do I smell fresh coffee?" he joked.

"Pot's over there, Daniel," Derek rejoined.

"Typical," Daniel laughed, "already the honeymoon's over."

"Eikel," Derek hooted.

"Nee, genie," Daniel countered.

That brought Derek up short. "Genius?"

"You have no idea," Jack answered for Daniel as he poured his coffee. "Freakin' freak," he teased.

"Off the scale IQ," Sam moaned. "Makes me look stupid sometimes."

"And that's coming from another freaking genius," Jack groaned. "I have to work with these two," he complained, looking for sympathy. "A female Hawkin and Champion the Wonder Boy over there." He failed to duck the clip that Daniel aimed at the back of his head for that one.

"And I have to work with the three of them," Teal'c added. "Two brilliant minds and O'Neill."

He left it at that, not explaining why working with Jack was so much of a problem, leaving Jack in a bad mood and the others laughing.

"What?" he yelled. "What's wrong with working with me?"

Daniel and Sam looked at each other and grinned, saying nothing because they knew that was the quickest way to wind Jack up.

"How's the translation coming on, Daniel?" Derek asked as he walked into the library.

"Fine, no problems. I should have it finished pretty soon in fact. I wish I got this much peace and quiet at the SGC."

"Come and work with us? You can always join our organisation, Daniel."

"That's very tempting, Derek. However, I have to go 'out there'," he waved his hands in the air. "Maybe when the threat has gone. Though there have been times when if I'd had somewhere else to go..."

The door to the library opened as Derek's finger's were rubbing Daniel's stiff neck. The men looked up and saw the four women coming in.

*"This does not look good, Daniel,"* Derek said in Dutch.

*"Oh, I don't know. Four beautiful women. Two of us. I think we can cope,"* Daniel retorted, causing Derek to laugh.

*"Why do I feel that the Spanish Inquisition is about to be re-enacted?"*

*"I wasn't expecting the Spanish Inquisition,"* Daniel joked.

*"Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition,"* he snorted.

The four women glared as the men fell about laughing at their own jokes.

"Daniel?" Sam called out.

"Daniel!" Janet snarled.

*"I'm going to have to behave," Daniel said worriedly, "Janet has access to bits of me most women don't know about."*

*"I'd say lucky man, but I'm not so sure," Derek sympathised. "I think I may be in trouble too. Rachel has access to my psyche."*

"Derek!" Rachel barked and the two men sniggered again.

"Why do I get the feeling that we're in trouble?"

"Because you are?" Alex threatened with a smile on her face.

"So," Daniel said, moving even closer to Derek for comfort.

"What?" Derek added.

"So what?" Daniel sniggered.

"Daniel! Stop it! It's bad enough having to watch the Jack Daniel's double act at work. We want answers from you two - and now!" Sam demanded.

"Sam, sweetheart, I'd give you answers, but I've got to know the question first."

"Forty-two?" asked Derek, receiving a back handed slap from Daniel as he did.

"Shh," he admonished and made Derek laugh even more.

"What do you want to know?" Daniel asked.

"Why didn't you tell us before?" Rachel demanded.

"We've only just got together," Derek replied, "we couldn't tell you before we met. Besides, we thought we'd explained everything."

"That was in front of the guys," Janet answered, not rising to the bait, "come on, spill."

"You're wondering why we're with each other and not chasing after you?" Daniel asked gently, getting guilty nods from the others. "Simple. Sam, Janet, I love you both dearly, you know that. You're my friends. I prefer men, always have done. I like women, I love men. Sorry, but that's the way it is for me. I didn't tell you before because I knew that if I got involved with a guy you'd be looking out to see who I was seeing. Given our circumstances I couldn't take a chance. I told you I was seeing someone, Janet knew I was."

"I think I know who he was," said Sam.

"Stop thinking Sam, I'm not telling. I know you wouldn't say a thing but you have to understand why I need to keep his identity a secret. Imagine you really knew who he was and you and I were chatting, even covertly about it. You know as well as I do that we get spied on occasionally. We could have inadvertently given our enemies information they could use against the whole project."

Sam nodded, finally getting over the hurt of the secret. Janet understood too. The three of them were very close, not leaving much between them secret. A mistake could have been made, leading to scandal and even the ruin of the SGC.

"As for me," Derek said to Rachel and Alex, "and as I told you before, I've not met a man I wanted to be with till now. Not since I met you all. I ask again, is it a problem?"

His friends came over to him and hugged him, telling him no. "I'm sorry," he said, "I would have mentioned it. But it wasn't necessary and there was never the right time. I prefer women as a rule, but I like being with men. When does one say in a friendship, 'oh, by the way, I'm bi.'?"

There was no answer to that.

They were due out the next morning, so they all retired early. Derek openly followed Daniel into his room this time, not caring what the others thought about it.

"The girls are okay about us," Daniel said carefully, "I'm pretty sure that Jack's okay. Teal'c's fine, but then I think I always knew he would be. Am I going to cause problems between you and Nick?"

"I don't think so. Nick's close to me, like a son, I guess. I'm old enough to be his father. I knew his father well. He'll cope. He's tough. It's not as if I've ever tried anything on with him. What about you and Jack? I know you love him. Daniel? Are you in love with him?"

Daniel turned and smiled sweetly at Derek. "No. I was once. It hurt so much, especially when Shau're died, I'd never felt so alone. But I got over it. He's my friend. The best damned friend I've ever had, but that's it. I'm in love with you. I'm more sure of that than I am of anything else."

In two strides Derek crossed the room and gathered him into his arms, kissing him hard.

"Ik hou van jou," he whispered.

"Je t'aime," Daniel replied.

Clothes flew off as they tried desperately to feel skin on skin, needing the contact as if to seal their pact. Finally, they found themselves undressed.

"Shower?" Derek hissed.

"Oh God, yes," Daniel answered and followed him to the bathroom. Derek put the water on and they stepped in, kissing as the hot water cascaded down their bodies.

"Derek, fuck me, please," Daniel pleaded.

"Face the wall," came the instruction and Daniel turned with a grin.

Derek grabbed the conditioner and proceeded to coat his fingers, but as Daniel felt the first finger about to breech him he said, "No, I don't need it. Just do it, please."

Surprised by this, Derek asked if Daniel was sure, but the growl he got in return encouraged him. He liberally coated his dick with the conditioner, shielding it from the falling water with his back.


"Now! Please, babe, please," came the desperate reply.

He positioned himself behind Daniel, knocking his legs apart slightly and then he pushed. He felt Daniel relaxing himself deliberately and gasped as he pushed against the tightness.

"Are you okay?" he demanded.

"Fantastic, please, push Derek, now! Hard!"

Still worried that he might be hurting his lover he pushed hard, thrusting as forcefully as he could. He moved his hand around to grab Daniel's cock, but he was told 'no'.

"No need, just do this," Daniel panted back.

He felt Derek angle himself, stabbing his prostate with every thrust.

"OhGodohGodohGodohGod," Daniel called out as Derek pushed as hard as he could.

"Dan, can't hold out."

"Come for me, comeoncomeformenow!"

A few more thrusts and Derek came hard, his final attack on the happy button sending Daniel over the edge, coming and screaming at the same time.

Derek collapsed onto Daniel's back, holding him tightly.

"Gott, Daniel, wow." He was lost for words, the intensity of the situation getting to him.

Daniel was still panting, trying to regain his breath.

"Derek, amazing," he gasped. "Bed, now, need to sleep."

A small chortle came from Derek at that. He grabbed a towel after turning the water off, rubbed them both down and led Daniel to bed.

"Did I hurt you?" he asked Daniel as they fell between the sheets.

"No, it's okay. I can take that, I like that," Daniel answered shyly.

"I'm not going to ask where you learned it."

"Good. Look, I've had a number of lovers, but not that many. Most of them were long-term, Derek. I'm not a slut - well, not much of one. I like to play," he added, drawing a finger down Derek's chest, "actually, I love to play, but only with people I'm comfortable with."


"Oh yes. I've never been more comfortable with anyone in my life. Not gonna play now, gonna sleep. I'm tired."

He wriggled down the bed a little and rested his head on Derek's chest, sighing happily when Derek put his arms around him and held him close. He fell asleep to the gentle strokes that Derek ran through his hair.

A loud knock on the door woke both men.

"Oh God, I'm going to kill Jack," Daniel announced, still sleepy. "Come in," he called after checking that they were both covered up.

They were surprised to see Sam peeking her head around the door.

"I've got coffee," she said.

"Come in, Sam," Daniel muttered.

Sam entered the room and put the coffee on the table. Daniel sat up and hugged her as she sat on the side of the bed.

"Thanks, Sam, is everything okay?"

"Sure, why wouldn't it be?"

"Oh, no reason," he replied, but the tone of his voice told her that he was curious.

Derek sat up carefully, thanked her for the coffee and pulled the covers a bit further up.

"Are you guys okay?" she asked quietly. "It couldn't have been easy on you, coming out to all of us like that."

"It was much easier than it could have been," Daniel answered, "you were all so accepting of it. Why were you so surprised about me, Sam? Surely you've heard the rumours about me at the base?"

"Daniel, you don't think I'd ever listen to them? They're just vicious lies. Most of them are about you and the Colonel, aren't they?"

"Yes," Daniel let out a huge sigh, "and none of them are true, either."

"I know, sweetie. It's okay, I'm fine about this. I was shocked, but that's just because I had no idea. I do love you, you know."

He hugged her again, told her that he loved her too and then she left them to get up.

"She's lovely, Daniel," Derek said, "why didn't you fall for her?"

"Good question. Sam's like my big sister, I told you I'd give anything to have one, didn't I? Well, for the first three years that we knew each other, I was looking for my wife. If we'd have fallen for each other, it would have been then I guess, but I was still too wrapped up in Shau're. Not to mention I'd sort of fallen for Jack by then too. He and I were so close. We went through a period of estrangement for a while after Shau're's death, partially my fault, partially his. We're okay now though. But by the time I'd got over all of that Sam had really become my big sister. I won't do anything to disrupt that relationship. Anything at all."

General Hammond had smoothed the path of the joint team when he had got a report from Jack about what Daniel had found. A transport was laid on, any equipment that Daniel requested too. One of the US Navy ships in the Gulf was going to provide a launch and cover for them as they dived. Derek was impressed by the sort of reaction that Daniel's requests could command.

Jack paced up and down the inside of the transport, impatiently waiting to get to the other end.

"What's up with him?" Alex called out to Daniel.

"He's a pilot, probably would rather be up front," Daniel yelled back over the noise of the plane.

Jack scowled at him.

"What's up, flyboy?" Daniel asked as he strolled over to Jack.

"Ach, nothing. It's a long trip."

"Is it a problem? Our destination?"

"Nah. I'll be fine, Danny. It's not as if we're going behind enemy lines, is it?"

"No, we're not. We're going to be spending a few days diving in the Persian Gulf, camping out under the stars and trying to avoid MREs like the plague. How does that sound?"

"Inviting," Jack snorted, and reached out to ruffle Daniel's hair.

"Ya know," Daniel imitated Jack's drawl, "I hate it when you do that."

"Yeah, I know."


"Whatd'ya know? I got me one of them too!"

Daniel punched his arm and went to sit back down with Derek, laughing as he went. Jack would be okay, he knew, but he'd have to stay close to him.

They finally arrived, exhausted by the long and slow journey and along with all of their equipment they disembarked at Ali Al Salem, a Kuwaiti Air Force base shared with the USAF and RAF. A large transport helicopter was waiting to take them the rest of the way. As Derek and Daniel supervised the transfer of equipment, Nick, Jack and Sam checked out the chopper.

"Can you fly one of these things?" Jack asked Nick.

"Sure, no probs," he grinned.

"Okay, I'll have words. No need to tie up a pilot, we'll see if we can borrow the chopper for the duration."

Nick looked astounded. "You think you can do that?"

"Why not?" Jack replied with a grin and headed off to see the base commander.

"Where's Jack going?" Daniel asked as he saw his friend disappear towards a prefab building.

"Gone to see if he can borrow this chopper," Nick answered with a grin. Daniel just shrugged and accepted him at his word.

When Jack came out he found Daniel chatting animatedly with one of the Kuwaiti airmen, talking about heaven only knew what. He laughed at the sight because Daniel's arms were flying as he was describing something in Arabic. The airman was laughing with him about whatever it was, and they were both loading the helicopter together.

"He always gets like that," Jack said to Derek as he appeared by his side. "So enthusiastic about stuff. It's been a long time since he's been able to do this. I'm glad he's getting the opportunity again. Is everything okay between you? Your revelation doesn't seem to have upset your friends."

"Everything's great. My friends are like you lot, pretty cool about stuff. I know that your acceptance of him has pleased Daniel most though. I'm glad too. Though I have no idea what's going to happen when all of this is over. We can't see each other very often if we stay in our jobs."

"Can you not leave yours? You could come and work for us, Derek. You wouldn't get bored. You wouldn't have to worry about Daniel either. I'd do my best to protect the both of you."

"Thanks, Jack, but I can't. I have responsibilities. I've fallen deeply in love with Daniel, but I fear that this is going to be so short a relationship."

"Do you want to make it work?"

"God, yes. I do. I'm sure that Daniel does too."

"Then you'll find a way. I'll do what I can to help."


Jack was stunned by the question.

"What do you mean?"

"It can't be easy for you to discover that the guy you've been sharing tents with all this time is to all intents and purposes, gay. Especially not in your line of work. If you're seen to help him, it could have terrible repercussions for you."

"Do you have an opening for an ex-Air Force Colonel with bad knees?" Jack joked. "Danny's more important to me than my job, Derek. I lost sight of that for a while. Never again."

"He's a lucky man to have a friend such as you, Jack. And yes, if it came to it, I'm sure that I could use you. In my book, experience counts for more than good knees. You and me, we're about the same age, right?"


"I think I still have a lot to offer. I'm sure you do too."

They arrived at the camp site midday local time the day after they left - they'd been travelling now, one way or another for thirty-six hours and they were all punch drunk. As quickly as they could they threw up some tents. The three women got a large one between them, Teal'c got a two-man one to himself so he could meditate. Nick agreed to share with Jack and Derek and Daniel finally got some time alone. Not that they were up to a damned thing. The second their heads hit the pillow they were out cold.

Daniel's sleep was rudely interrupted by a scream from Jack's tent. He was up and out of his own in a flash. Nick came staggering out of the tent he shared with Jack. Derek followed Daniel and discovered Nick who flopped down in the sand, quite bewildered by what was going on. He made sure that he was all right. The others came out to see what the noise was and Nick suddenly found himself being cosseted by Jan.

"O'Neill is having a nightmare," Teal'c announced quietly. "It is not surprising. Daniel Jackson will see to him. They should be left alone. O'Neill will not like it if he knows that we all heard him."

Derek looked in on Daniel though, worried for his safety. He saw him cradling Jack in his arms, gently rocking him back and forth.

*"Derek, go back to sleep. Take Nick in with you,"* Daniel whispered. *"I'll stay here with Jack, we'll be fine."*

Derek nodded and left them to it. Daniel lay down and pulled Jack as close as he could, given that it was still very hot outside and in the tent. He ripped his shirt off, removed Jack's too because he didn't want them to overheat. Then, as Jack felt the touch of skin on skin he opened his eyes.

"Shh, Jack, just a bit of a nightmare. Go back to sleep. I'm with you," Daniel whispered. He stroked his hair and felt Jack relax to his touch.

A few hours later Jack woke to find himself in Daniel's arms.


"Hey, you okay now?"


"Doozy. You smacked Nick a good one. Guess I'm gonna have to share with you while we're here, eh? He doesn't know how to avoid you in his sleep." Daniel gently teased Jack, still holding him tightly against him until he felt Jack relaxing again.

"It's okay, Jack, no one is going to say anything. No details were given to the others, but they know you were held prisoner. They understand. Come on, let's get up and get something to eat, eh? We've got work to plan for tomorrow. A couple of hours up, then sleep again and then we're at it seriously."

"Sure, okay, you lead the way, Danny."

Daniel let him go and got up, grabbing his shirt and slinging it over his shoulders he left Jack on his own.

Nick was already up and had a fire lit.

"Nick, are you all right?" Daniel asked quietly.

"Sure. Had a lot worse than that. Does he often get those?"

"Not so much nowadays, but I think the proximity of where we are triggered it. I should have shared with him, I'm sorry."

"Hey, it's okay. You and Derek aren't going to get much chance to be alone, are you? You should make the most of it. We'll be fine, I promise. Now I know what to expect, I'll be prepared. I'm a pretty light sleeper as it is."

"Thanks Nick, I appreciate it. Look, do yourself a favour. If he has another one, just get the hell out of the tent and call me straight away. When Jack has a nightmare he's in deep and only I can get him out of them. He returns the favour for me."

"You get them much?"

"Depends on what's going on - what's happened at work, that sort of thing. Jack's the only one that can get me out of them and I'm the only one that can do the same for him."

"Why? You're not lovers, are you?"

"No. Never have been. Just close. Too much shit in our lives, I guess. We understand each other."

"You're nothing alike."

"You'd be surprised. Jack and I are very alike in some ways - the ways that matter, that is. If he'd pursued an academic life, I guess he'd have been like me. Same if I'd been military. I think I'd have turned out a lot like him. Two halves of the same coin - that's what Sam and Teal'c call us. They're right."

They stopped talking as the others joined them. Jack sat on one side of Daniel, Derek on the other. Daniel grinned, thinking that he'd never felt either safer or more loved in his adult life. Not even being on Abydos compared to this.

"Why do you love the desert so much, Daniel?" Sam asked as she turned her collar up. The chill of the evening air was starting to get to them already.

"It's home to me, Sam. Even though we lived in Cairo, most of my younger childhood was actually spent in the desert. Valley of the Kings, Upper Egypt, the whole shooting match. And then, well, you know. That year I was happy. It's a hard life, but it's honest. There's no time for hiding your feelings, or dissembling or anything like that. You can't afford to miss out on any happiness either, so you learn to grab it with both hands. When you're living in cities or towns, it's easy to hide behind a fašade. You can't do that when you live among a small tribe. They get to know you far too well." Daniel grinned as he thought of his time on Abydos.

"We'll go and see Kasuf and Skaara soon," Jack promised. "It'll do you good."

"I'd like that. I miss them," he replied.

"Who are they?" Nick asked.

"Kasuf is my father-in-law, Skaara is his son, my wife's brother. There the 'in-law' bit is redundant. Kasuf is my father, Skaara my brother. It's a good relationship. Even now that I don't see them as often as I'd like, whenever I go home it's 'my good son Dan-yel' this, 'my brother Dan-yel' that. I like that a lot," Daniel added with a smile.

Jack ruffled his hair again and got poked in the arm for his trouble.

"Er, Nick, I'm sorry about hitting you," he offered the apology humbly to the younger man.

"It's fine, honestly. Nothing's broken. I'm taking Daniel's advice though. If you start up tonight, I'm heading out of the tent. Don't want to take any chances." Nick grinned as he answered that and Jack settled a little more.

"Jack? Would you rather I shared with you?" Daniel asked quietly.

"No, it's okay. Hopefully that will be the end of it. I don't get so many these days. You know that."

"Yeah, I know. You know where I am if you want me."

"This is all well and good," Derek put in, "but we really need to eat and then discuss what we're doing tomorrow."

Collective moans went up from the SGC members as a box of MREs was produced. Jack told them to shut their whining and prepared some.

"I'd offer you a choice of flavours," Jack announced as they were ready, "but as Daniel will attest, they all taste like chicken anyway. Especially the macaroni cheese."

Daniel sniggered, Sam and Teal'c joining in. The others realised that this was a very long running joke between them.

As they ate they talked about what they were going to do. The launch would turn up in the morning. Daniel suggested that he be the one to go down and see what was there. Nick and Alex were confused by this and Daniel kicked the sand with frustration.

"Dammit, Jack, can't we tell them? They'll keep the secret, I promise. They haven't told you about their work, have they?"

Jack had to agree that they hadn't. Daniel made a decision, he asked Derek first

*"Can I tell my team about the Legacy? They'll keep it a secret too, I promise. Then we can explain the SGC to Alex and Nick. It could be important, Derek, otherwise they could come across an alien technology and not realise it."*

*"I understand. Okay. But nobody must know that we've discussed this."*


The others looked at the lovers and were wondering what on earth they were discussing as they weren't speaking English.

"I need to tell you about our organisation," began Derek. He raised his hand to the others from the Legacy and calmed them. He was the Precept - his word was law in effect.

As briefly as he could, Derek explained about the secret organisation, and how it worked against the forces of evil on the planet. They were all stunned into silence by the end of the description. Daniel then took over and explained, equally briefly about the SGC.

"So you're saying you deal with aliens?" Nick laughed incredulously.

Teal's stood up and removed his hat. His tattoo shone in the firelight and the Legacy members gasped when he lifted his shirt. Alex let out a yelp as Junior stuck his ugly head out before popping back in to his pouch.

"Teal'c's an alien," Daniel said quietly. "His people were taken from Earth millennia ago and changed so that they could incubate the larval Goa'uld. The Goa'uld are evil - plain and simple. Teal'c on the other hand is on our side. Something for which Earth should be profoundly grateful. Without him, I doubt that Earth would have survived some of the attacks that we've been under."

"We have?" Alex asked.

"We have," Daniel assured her. "Alex, how many times has either Earth as a whole or a particular area been under threat, but your organisation has prevented disaster?"

"Countless times," she admitted.

"And nobody knows about it, do they?"

"No, not really," again, the admission.

"Same with us. You deal with earthbound evil. We deal with spacebound evil. That's the only difference between the two organisations. And the fact that we travel to other planets on a regular basis," he added with a grin. "Don't ask for details, please, you won't get them. We won't ask about your work either. Just accept that this is what each of us does and that we're all on the same side."

Derek slipped his arm around Daniel's shoulder and pulled him close, kissing his head as he did.

"I need to stretch my legs," he announced and Daniel stood up to join him.

"I think we need to discuss tactics for tomorrow. A grid pattern search I think?" Daniel launched into the minutiae of planning an underwater expedition - thanking whichever deity was necessary that he'd once trained to do marine archaeology as an extra course. He'd kept up with his diving whenever he'd been given the opportunity, though that was as rare as hen's teeth unfortunately.

The others watched, grinning as they saw Derek's arm wind its way around Daniel's waist. They heard Daniel laughing at something he said and they all laughed too, especially his friends.

"He means a lot to you, doesn't he?" Alex asked the SGC members.

"Daniel's very special," Sam replied. "He's been through so much, too much pain," she sighed sadly, "but he has never lost his sense of wonder. When we go out there," she waved her hand, "he never fails to find something to capture his imagination. The three of us are military and even though none of us are known for being, um, conventional, Daniel's the one that gives us the pleasure of exploration. He knows so much, but it's what he does with that knowledge that makes him special. He always tries to find the good in things. I don't know how he does it. None of us do. He's so forgiving..." she looked at Teal'c and caught her breath. "I'm sorry, Teal'c, I um..."

"That is all right, Major Carter. Daniel Jackson is a forgiving man. I have not deserved his forgiveness for what I did yet he offered it up freely."

Alex and Nick looked at Teal'c, wondering just what he had done, but before he could answer Daniel's voice called out to them.

"Hey guys, come on, we'd better get some rest. We're better off working early before the heat gets too much."

He was strolling back to camp looking thoroughly kissed and holding Derek's hand.

"Teal'c, um, I don't know how to say this, but you'd better stay on the beach tomorrow," Daniel said quietly, moving to sit by his friend. He put his hand on his arm before continuing. "If Omorocca is there she may be afraid if she sees you. We know what she's capable of and I don't want you, any of you, getting hurt. Will you do that for me please?"

"I will, Daniel," Teal'c replied gently. "I understand your concerns. I shall watch from the beach and be prepared to come to your assistance if necessary. Perhaps I can help in co-ordinating your search."

"Could you? That would be wonderful. I always feel better when you are watching over me," Daniel sighed. He squeezed Teal'c's shoulder and stood up, wished everyone goodnight and took Derek's hand again.

"Jack? Will you be okay?" he asked, his tone very concerned.

"I'll be fine, Danny. Go on, I'll see you in the morning." Jack smiled back at Daniel and watched him as he and Derek headed to their tent.

Before anyone could say a word Teal'c stood up.

"I too must retire," he said. "I will remain alert, O'Neill. There is no need to set up a watch."

"Thanks buddy, if you're sure."

"I am."

He strode to his tent and tried to settle down. He had never forgiven himself for taking Shau're, but this new man in Daniel's life seemed to be making him happy. Teal'c was pleased with this and determined to assist Daniel in whatever way he could to help his new relationship out.

"So, what happened?" Nick whispered.

"Teal'c took Daniel's wife," Jack replied equally quietly. "Um, they didn't know each other then, Teal'c was working for the other side at the time. He didn't want to be, but he had no choice. He was a slave. Then he had to kill her to save Daniel's life a few years later. He's never gotten over it."

"Daniel forgave him?" Alex hissed, stunned by this.

"Told you," Sam murmured, "nobody's like Daniel. He loves Teal'c like a brother. I doubt anyone else could have done that."

The more Alex and Nick heard about Daniel, the less worried they were about his effect on Derek. They were still both stunned by the revelations of his sexuality, but that really didn't matter. Derek had lost his lover and his son and then another lover, someone he was deeply in love with. If Daniel made him happy, then what difference did it make?

"How does Teal'c feel about Daniel now?" Nick asked Jack as they got into their tent.

"He dotes on him. Hell, we all do, he sort of makes people want to do that for him. Daniel hates that, but he puts up with it because it makes us happy to do it. You think I'm overprotective where Daniel's concerned. I've got nothing on Teal'c. Psychopathic doesn't even begin to cover it. I reckon the T man would take out an entire solar system to protect him."

"And you wouldn't?" Nick sniggered as he got into his sleeping bag.

"Nah. A planet maybe," Jack retorted with a grin.

"Does it bother you? You know, him and Derek?" Nick was curious about this. "It doesn't seem to."

"I was pissed that he hadn't told me before, I guess, but no, it doesn't upset me. The more I think of it, the less it surprises me. Daniel takes people as they come. He has no prejudice at all - apart from towards the Goa'uld, but that's who took his wife. They're the real bad guys out there, so that hatred is acceptable I guess. But apart from that, Daniel can't hate. I think he faced so much of it as a kid that he knows how much it hurts to be on the receiving end of it. He loves people to be happy. Now I think of it, I couldn't imagine him actually being straight."

"Is it going to be a problem when you share a tent, maybe a sleeping bag when you're on a mission."

"No. Of course not. We've done that for five years, Nick. If Daniel had wanted a piece of this old ass of mine I'm sure he'd have made a move on me by now."

Nick laughed and the two of them settled down to sleep.

They were grateful the next morning that the night had passed peacefully. The launch turned up - with the ship it came from only a few miles out to sea. The General had really done his job well, making sure that they had whatever back-up they required. Daniel was putting on his wet suit on the launch as they got close. Nick was going to join him on the dive. Jack remained with Teal'c on the beach - reasoning that if he'd wanted to get wet, he'd have joined the Navy in the first place. Sam, Derek and Alex were going to remain on the boat, passing messages via a rope to the divers. One tug and they'd surface, no questions asked.

Daniel and Nick flopped backwards over the edge of the boat and dived down towards their target. Daniel found a few more fragments of the tablet fairly quickly, and he put them in a bag that he'd taken down with him. He had marked out where he found it, sending up a line with a little receiver on it. That would fix the GPS signal and tell them exactly where under water it was for future reference. Daniel knew he couldn't do a proper 'dig' and the frustration grew as he had to quickly move from one spot to another. Marine archaeology was a specialist task at the best of times - and he knew that this wasn't one of those. They spotted something to one side. It was hard to make out. It looked like a building, but it kept disappearing as the water moved around it. It was almost as if it was phasing in and out of existence. They swam closer to it, but then an insistent tug told them that they had to return to the surface as quickly as they could.

They hadn't gone too far down, so returning at speed wasn't a problem - they wouldn't get the bends from it. As they broke water they saw thunder clouds rapidly approaching. Derek and one of the sailors hauled them over the side and the launch ran for the beach. They jumped off as they got into shallow water and the sailors promised to return if they were needed. As the boat moved out of sight, however, the thunder clouds broke up and they were saved from the camp getting drowned.

"Well, that was odd," Jack said as they all flopped on the beach. "We saw the clouds start to form when the GPS receiver broke the surface. Were you getting close?"

Daniel explained what they had seen and they all settled down to a discussion. Nothing was figured out, however, so they retreated for something to eat.

After lunch, Daniel and Derek worked on the new fragments. They fitted into the other ones that Derek had brought with them.

"Have you any idea what they are saying?" he asked Daniel.

"No, not yet. Well, I know the words, but they don't make much sense yet. They talk of the 'young of the egg.' Omorocca was meant to return to the 'egg' at night, but what the 'egg' is, I have no idea. Probably the building we saw. How on earth are we going to get to it?"

Daniel stretched his arms over the back of his head, pulling his spine tight to knock out some of the stiffened vertebrae. Derek saw this and immediately moved behind him and started to massage his neck.

"Hmm, you've got magic fingers," Daniel moaned.

"Wait till we get home, I'll treat you to a full body massage," Derek whispered in his ear. It made Daniel shiver with delight and he gave a reflex giggle.

He turned in his chair and rested his head on Derek's chest.

"We're not going to get much time to ourselves, are we?" he murmured.

"No, I doubt we will. So, we should make the most of what we get. Daniel, when you return to your workplace, I want us to continue. I know it will be hard, but we can make the time, can't we?"

Daniel stood up and wrapped Derek in his arms, revelling in the feeling of Derek's own around him.

"We'd damn well better, babe, we really had better. I want this, you know, more than I thought I could want a relationship ever again. Love you," he whispered and then caught Derek's lips with his own.

They stood there for a while, kissing and holding each other tightly, till a giggle came from the doorway. It was all of the women and the three of them were laughing at the sight in front of them.

They broke their kiss, but stayed holding each other.

"What do you want, wenches," Daniel teased.

"Thought you'd like some help figuring things out," Sam replied. "It would seem that you have a firm grip on the situation."

"They would appear to have it all well in hand," Alex added with a snort.

Daniel shot a filthy look at Janet and said, "Don't you dare, Jan."

She replied with an innocent 'who, me?' look and made him laugh.

The men finally let each other go and Daniel let out a sigh.

"The only way I can see to break through is to get Nem here," he said.

"Who is Nem?" Alex asked - because although she had been told about the stargate, she knew nothing about the mission to Oannes.

"An alien we met - the same species that we think are involved here. He was looking for his mate, Omorocca when we met. I had to tell him that according to our records, she was dead. He had been looking for her for thousands of years."

"That is so sad," Alex replied.

"Yeah, it was," Daniel shrugged.

"Daniel, you can't go back there. Nem tortured you," Sam insisted.

"Oh, it wasn't that bad," he said casually, "I've had worse. Besides, he now knows what he wanted to know. And it wasn't really torture. Not like, well, you know," he added, not wanting to talk about Netu, but knowing the girls would understand.

"I think," Daniel said suddenly, breaking the silence that had descended, "I think I should go to Oannes and bring Nem back here. If the General can supply us with transport we should be able to do this secretly."

"The Colonel would never agree to you doing that," Sam blurted out.

"Doing what?" Jack's voice came from behind them. "What do you want to do now, Daniel?"

"Oh, go to Oannes and get Nem," Daniel replied, trying to keep his voice light.


"See, told ya," Sam put in.

"Jack, I'd be fine," Daniel argued. "Besides, we can't get anywhere near the structure. We need him. Please Jack, don't veto this. Let me go and talk to him. He won't hurt me, I promise."

"It's not your promise that will make the difference, Daniel," Jack tried to sound firm, but he could see Daniel's point. If they wanted to get to the bottom of this, they'd need Nem's help.

"How are we going to arrange it?" he asked quietly, getting himself a huge grin from Daniel.

"I should go," Daniel said. "You should stay here and watch the camp and keep an eye on the structure, just in case our proximity has triggered any changes. I'll take Teal'c with me, Jack, I'll be safe."

"Just the two of you? I want you to take an SG team, Daniel, no arguing on that one."

"Jack, listen. It won't be necessary. Nem could take out as many teams as we sent there, I'm sure. I want to go there as his friend, not as an enemy. No, the two of us will be enough."

"I'll come with you," Derek said. "I've had a lot of field experience, like Daniel. You know that now, Jack. Besides, I know as much about the Babylonian era as Daniel. If this Nem asks any questions, maybe we could answer them between us. Let's say it's my price for you to take the fragments, eh?" He gave Daniel a huge grin and Daniel laughed.

"Good idea. We'd need the fragments to help convince Nem that we were speaking the truth. What do you say, Jack?"

"I say that Hammond is going to have my hide for even suggesting this. And you, Derek, are going to get yourself a reputation as a shark."

"That suits," Derek replied with a shrug. "Couldn't care less what other people think of me, to tell the truth. As long as those that matter know what I'm really like, what difference does it make?"

Jack wandered off, muttering to himself about 'don't know how I ever let myself get roped into these things'. He headed to the tent they'd set up as a radio centre and contacted the SGC.

So it was that Daniel, Teal'c and Derek found themselves travelling back to Cheyenne - this time on a faster jet than the older, slower transport plane. It still took many hours though and it was the next day before they arrived, tired but excited back at the mountain. Daniel signed Derek in as they went through the gate. The General was a bit annoyed by the whole set-up, but he was also feeling indulgent towards Daniel, so he let the situation play out. One thing he knew from bitter experience was that Daniel was rarely wrong, so he decided to take him at his word that this was the best way to go. One thing he was not prepared to do, however, was to transport Nem across the world. He had a better idea.

"How far down inside the mountain do we have to travel, Daniel?" Derek asked as they changed elevators to go even further down.

"My office is level 18, but we're heading down to 27 to the briefing room to meet up with the General first. Depending on what he says is to where we go next."

They finally arrived at level 27 and stepped out of the elevator and the two SGC members escorted Derek to the briefing room. As promised, the General was there, and so was someone else.

"Jacob, Selmac, good to see you," Daniel exclaimed with a smile.

Derek somehow managed to remain calm as Selmac answered.

Daniel, it is good to see you well. Tell us about your latest mission. It sounds intriguing.

Daniel introduced Derek to the others and then they all sat and listened to Daniel's idea. Then the General spoke.

"I understand your desire and the need to bring Nem here, Doctor, but transporting Nem across the world is asking for trouble. Too many people could see him. This beach you are on. Is it close to any settlement?"

"No, we're miles away - perfect solitude to tell the truth. Which is why I felt comfortable about taking Nem there."

"Well, if Nem agrees to come, we have a more subtle idea for transport. Jacob will meet up with you at a prearranged rendezvous and take you there in the ship. That way we will expose Nem to as little of Earth as possible."

Daniel agreed that it was a good idea. Jacob gave him the gate address and told them that it would take him a day to arrive there. The General told Daniel that he could go home for the night and that they would leave for Oannes the next morning.

Teal'c left them, claiming need of kel'no'reem and Daniel took Derek to his office. Derek was surprised by the way the different airmen, marines and so on greeted Daniel, calling him 'Dr. J' or even Daniel - and usually smiling at him.

"Have they always been this friendly towards you?" he asked as they headed into the office.

"Um, no, it took them a while. Having Jack and Teal'c on my side has helped a lot."

Derek laughed and started to walk towards him, as if he was going to take him into his arms.

"Not here, Derek, security cameras. I'll explain outside."

Daniel collected the book that he had gone in there for and then they headed back up to the surface. Daniel's car was still there, so he drove them back to town.

"I have to be careful on the base, Derek. I don't care who knows about me. Jack's my friend though and..."

"I already got that. Not to mention that those who are friendly now might change their minds if they knew?"

"Exactly. I don't feel like getting beaten up, to tell the truth."

"Oh, Daniel, I feel for you. If you have enough of that sort of atmosphere, come and work with me. The Legacy will always have a place for you. With your knowledge and field experience, you'd be perfect for us."

"Thanks Derek, I may take you up on that one day, but not just yet. I couldn't settle to an earthbound job, not when I know what's going on out there. Just as you couldn't come and work with us, knowing what you do. I mean, I know that what you do is important, every bit as important as my job, but because I don't know the details it's easier for me to underestimate the scale of the problem and live more comfortably as a result. The same for you, I guess. It's why I haven't told you the whole story of what we do. You heard Selmac in the briefing," he got a grunt of acknowledgement, "well, Jacob, her host, is Sam's dad. He was dying and by joining with Selmac his life was saved. The Tok'ra are our allies - but they are the same genetically as the Goa'uld. The difference being they only share their lives with volunteers. The Goa'uld enslave people."

"Like Shau're," Derek replied in a whisper.

"Like Shau're," Daniel agreed. "We fight alongside the Tok'ra, Derek, but even now we only trust a few of their number, Jacob/Selmac being the top of that list. That was hard-won trust too. We have our reasons for it, ones I'm not going to go into. We have other allies, and other enemies out there. It's a constant job keeping this planet safe."

"Maybe one day you'll find the answer, Daniel. I have every faith that you will."

Derek was rewarded with a brilliant smile from his lover as he parked up his car.

"And I'll sleep a lot better knowing that you are protecting me on Earth, Derek," he answered quietly. It was a trite answer in some ways, but he meant every word of it.

They said nothing more, just headed up to Daniel's apartment and shut the door on the world.

"Bed, now," Derek ordered and Daniel was quick to respond. Clothes flew off as they made their way into the room, shirts and shoes gone by the time they reached the doorway, socks and pants by the time they hit the bed. They ripped their shorts off as they lay down and kissed frantically, the frustration of being unable to make love for the past few days telling in their new relationship.

Derek rolled Daniel onto his back and kissed his face, then his neck. He bit him beneath his collar line and branded him. "Mine," he growled.

"God, yes, Derek, yours," was all Daniel could say in reply.

More kisses were showered over Daniel, then Derek slid down and took him in his mouth causing Daniel to writhe around the bed. He felt a lubed finger enter him and he briefly wondered where Derek had got the lube from as he hadn't seen him grab it, but then he shut down the train of thought and just gave himself over to the sensations. This was favourite for him, being taken inside and out, his prostate stroked while his dick was being sucked expertly. He felt the hot, wet mouth engulf him, then Derek's tongue tighten around him, then loosen as he pulled away before diving back down to repeat the process. He couldn't hold back and came screaming Derek's name.

Before he had even started to come down off his high he felt his legs being raised and then Derek slipping inside him. He moaned with pleasure as he felt the man he loved moving inside him. He was still stunned by his strength of feeling for this man that he hardly knew, but he was comforted by the fact that he was convinced that this was right. He had been right about his feelings for Shau're after all, he knew he was every bit as right about Derek.

Derek watched the younger man thrash about on the bed as he moved inside him, rotating his hips to bring as much pleasure to him as possible. He was also amazed by his own strength of feelings, never having really fallen so hard and so fast before, but he too was comforted by the certain knowledge that this was right - that they belonged together. And he was determined to make it work.

Daniel threw his head back as Derek repeatedly hit his prostate, crying out in different languages that he loved Derek, wanted him, needed him. The sheer overwhelming passion in his voice sent Derek tumbling, coming hard inside his lover and collapsing on top of him.

Daniel grabbed hold of him and kissed him desperately.

"God, Derek, love you, love you so fucking much," he panted.

"Daniel," Derek croaked, "my Daniel." It was all he could say as tiredness took over and he shut his eyes, falling asleep in the strong arms of his lover.

Early the next morning they were back at the mountain, trying to act as if they were just good friends for Daniel's sake. It wasn't easy. They wanted to tease each other, exchanging banter. They found that the easiest thing was for them to speak in Dutch though, as they did not want to be understood. Daniel took Derek to the gear-up room. They were of a similar build, so he gave Derek one of his own BDU sets and then they got changed. They even shared the same shoe size, so Derek got Daniel's spare boots.

*"It looks good on you, Derek,"* Daniel grinned.

*"You look hot,"* Derek replied, trying to hide the lust in his voice.

Teal'c appeared and they all greeted each other and waited for him to get ready.

"We should go to the armoury," Teal'c said.

"No, I think we'll be safer if we go unarmed," Daniel replied. "Besides, Nem can take us out, armed or not. I got word that a MALP sent this morning saw nothing different from the last visit. Of course, it's up to you, Teal'c, but I'm going unarmed."

Teal'c studied Daniel's face for a moment as if deciding on something, then he said, "Then so will I. But I do believe that the General will not be happy about this."

"You leave the General to me, Teal'c, just don't tell Jack we went in unarmed, he'll kill us."

"I will say nothing to him about it."

Teal'c looked at the men once more and then said, "Tell me, how will you continue your friendship after this mission is completed?"

"It won't be easy," Derek admitted, "but we'll do our best to find time. I'll come here as often as I can, Daniel can come to San Francisco even when I am working. He'll be very helpful I'm sure," he grinned.

"Typical, I get a few days off and I'll end up working," Daniel moaned, but the smile on his face belied his words.

Teal'c just said, "I wish you luck. You deserve happiness."

They thanked him and then headed down to the gate room.

As predicted, Hammond was there and wasn't happy about the lack of weaponry, but Daniel explained his reasoning so he let them go. Derek watched in wonder as the gate dialled up.

"No matter how eloquently you explained it, Daniel, seeing it in action is not as I imagined. What does it feel like to step through it?"

"Like the worst roller coaster you have ever been on, and you'll get frozen solid. You lose the worst effects after a few trips through, I guess your molecules get used to them," he added with a grin.

The gate had engaged and they were now standing in front of the event horizon. Teal'c had stepped through first and the two linguists were just about to go.

"Molecules?" Derek said wide-eyed.

Daniel laughed as he pushed him through before stepping into the wormhole himself.

He emerged to the volcanic planet to see Derek sitting on the floor, frost on his face and clothes and looking pretty green.

"You do this a lot?" he croaked.

"Oh yes, like I said, you get used to it. Come on, you're on another planet, Derek, look around you."

Derek shook himself, started to feel a little better and stood up, then he looked around. His mouth was open as he watched the gate disengage and got a full 360 degree view of Oannes.

"We have to get to the water," Daniel said. "I just hope Nem is here."

The three men headed to the sea in silence, Derek still trying to take in the sight. Then he said, "You're so blasÚ about this, Daniel. How many planets have you been on?"

"I have no idea. Hundreds. Nowhere near as many as Teal'c, but enough that it doesn't affect me very often. Occasionally we'll get to a planet which is so different from Earth that it takes our breath away. Quite literally if we're not careful. We even ended up on a moon like ours once, did the 'one small step' gags and all. Had to wear astronaut gear. But then, Derek, I've never met ghosts or spirits. At least not ones that you'd recognise. It's just what we do for a living."

Derek snorted and shook his head.

"But look at our offices, Daniel, they're not normal, are they?"

"Bugger normality," Daniel hooted, "that's boring."

"Teal'c, do you ever get impressed by your job or is it boring for you now?" Derek asked.

"There are times when even now I am impressed," Teal'c replied thoughtfully, "but that is normally caused by meeting extraordinary people rather than the scenery. It is not boring however. Even after over eighty years of gate travel, I am still learning and experiencing new things."

Derek was doubly impressed by Teal'c's statement - the fact that he was still interested and the sheer length of time that he had been travelling this way. Before he could reply though, they were at the water's edge.

Daniel stood and looked out, then he called Nem's name and they waited. Nem didn't look like he was going to turn up anytime soon, so they sat on the sand to wait. They had to give him a chance. Teal'c looked on approvingly as Derek wrapped his arm around Daniel and pulled him close, dropping a kiss on his forehead as he did. Daniel smiled back, and Teal'c pondered that he hadn't seen Daniel smile as brightly as that in a long time. It made him happy.

Eventually, the men saw bubbles appearing on the surface of the water and they stood up. Daniel caught Derek's hand in his own and as soon as Derek saw Nem, he was glad for the reassurance.

Nem stared at them, Daniel greeted him by name, then Nem replied, "Daniel. You are well? You found your mate?"

"I found her, Nem, but she died."

"I am sorry, Daniel. I share your pain."

Daniel nodded, understanding his words fully. Derek was astounded by Daniel's gentle interaction with the strange creature in front of him. But time was pressing, they really had to get back to the others, so he nudged Daniel to explain why they were there.

"Nem, we have found something on Earth, something that I believe to be connected with Omorocca's visit there. A building of some sort under the water. We cannot get near it though, the weather closes in every time we get close. We found these fragments of writing nearby. Perhaps it will tell you something?"

They put Daniel's rucksack on the beach and pulled out the fragments for Nem to study.

"They mention the young of the egg, Nem. Did you have children there?"

"It is possible that Omorocca was preparing to spawn when she went there," he replied. "I had not given it thought."

"Nem, we'd like you to come with us. We have a ship waiting for us on another planet. A Tok'ra will fly us there. They are our allies in the fight against the Goa'uld. Have you met them?"

"I have heard of them. I thought they were a legend."

"No, the one that will meet us has joined with a friend of ours. Do you remember Sam? The woman that was here with me last time?"

"I do."

"Well, her father is Tok'ra now. He will take us to Earth. We have to keep your visit a secret, Nem. The politics of Earth are such that very few people know about the stargate. We do our best to protect the planet without the people knowing. This is why Jacob will take us. His ship can be cloaked so we can land nearby the 'egg' or whatever it is. Can you travel like this? You may be out of the water for over a day."

"I will need some things," Nem replied. He was unsure as to whether he should go, but to find out more about his mate, her possible offspring - well, the lure was too great. And after all of those years pining for her, he had gone past caring whether he lived or died. He may as well do this.

He returned to the water to retrieve some equipment for his own survival, and the others waited quietly on the beach.

"Derek? Are you okay?"

"Sure, sure, I mean, this last week has been pretty quiet. I've fallen head over heels in love, met three aliens, travelled around Earth, been shot through a wormhole, frozen to death and I'm standing on a different planet on the other side of the galaxy. What's so unusual in that?"

Daniel laughed and even Teal'c smiled a bit. He smiled more when he saw Daniel slide his arms around Derek's waist and rest his head on the older man's shoulders, then Derek's arms enveloped Daniel and they held each other tightly for a while.

Nem emerged from the sea, carrying a case of his own and they headed back to the gate. Derek was a little more prepared this time, but not much. He saw Daniel dialling up the DHD without a care and grinned inwardly. It all seemed so normal to the younger man.

They all stepped through the gate and onto the second new planet of the day. This one was more like a tropical rainforest, the gate in a clearing. The noise of birds and mammals - or this planet's equivalent - was deafening. The atmosphere was densely humid and they were glad to see the ship nearby.

"This is the ship?" Derek asked in amazement.

"This is only a teltac, a cargo vessel. It's fast, and it cloaks. Trust me, you don't want to see a hat'ak, the mother ships. They're big."

Derek took Daniel at his word and the three men and one fish got on the ship.

Derek did his best to remain cool as they took off, trying to look as if he did this sort of thing every day of his life, but when Jacob asked Daniel to take over the controls so he could help Nem settle in better and the two men found themselves alone, Derek all but burst.

*"You can fly one of these ships, Daniel?"*

Daniel laughed at his friend's attitude. *"Well, yes. There's nothing to it. Look, that's Goa'uld,"* he pointed to the display in front of him, *"all I have to do is read that and follow the instructions. It's not like one of Jack's F-15s or something. Besides, Jacob's programmed the whole flight path. According to this as soon as we're out of the system we're going to..."* the ship jolted and the viewing screen was filled with every shade from white through to the darkest-blue..."enter hyperspace,"* Daniel finished with a giggle.

*"Hyperspace. I thought that was something out of sci-fi stories."*

*"And travelling through a wormhole isn't?"* Daniel teased. *"Besides, I thought that ghosts and ghouls were things only found in horror stories until the other day."*

*"Welcome to my life,"* Derek muttered and then he pulled Daniel close and kissed him.

They broke apart when they heard a cough behind them. Daniel blushed a little at seeing Jacob standing there with Teal'c behind him, who was himself grinning quietly.

"Hi Jacob, is Nem settled in?" Daniel asked as innocently as he could.

"Um, yes, Daniel," Jacob answered carefully, trying not to laugh.

Teal'c felt an intervention was called for and offered to show Derek around the ship. He took the Jaffa up on the offer, leaving Daniel to face Jacob on his own.

"I didn't know..." Jacob said.

"That was the general idea, Jacob. The others have only just found out. If I hadn't met Derek, I doubt they would have found out either."

"You'll have to be careful on the base, Daniel. I'm sure that most people there are okay, but..."

"It's okay, Jacob, I know. I've been especially careful since I got there."

Jacob's eyebrows shot up at that, making Daniel smirk.

"I've always been bi, Jake, the guys know now and they're okay with it. What about you?"

"I've had gay friends all my career, Daniel. It sort of comes with the territory. You either cover for them or you beat them up... that's not my way of doing things. I just want you to be safe."

"Thanks. Derek means a lot to me, Jacob, I've never fallen so hard in my life. It's fun," he finished with his eyes twinkling.

Jacob laughed and then Selmac took over.

Daniel, it pleases us to see you so happy. You deserve this. But we worry too. I have seen Jacob's memories of people's attitudes. We would hate for something bad to happen to you. You do know that we are very fond of you?

"Thanks Selmac, the feeling's mutual. I'll be careful, I promise. I'll let you into a secret because I know you'll keep it. I saw someone attached to the SGC for a year. Nobody had a clue, not even Sam, and I tell her pretty much everything. I think I can keep my relationship with Derek even more secret. It's not going to be easy to see him, but I'm going to work at it."

If ever the two of you feel the need to escape, I'm sure we can help.

Daniel rewarded her with a huge smile and a thank you and then went to find his lover.

He discovered him in a room that was being given over to them for sleeping. Teal'c had gone off to another room to meditate and so they were left on their own.

"Everything okay?" Derek asked.

"Everything is wonderful," Daniel reassured and sat next to him. Their bags were there so he pulled out the water canister and a couple of ration bars.

"It's either these or MREs," he said, so Derek took the bar and ate it.

"What's going to happen when we get to Kuwait?" Derek asked as they lay down after eating.

Daniel snuggled into him, sighing happily when Derek's arms wrapped around him.

"I have no idea," he replied, "but it's going to be interesting, that's for sure. I'm positive we're doing the right thing. If nothing else it will give Nem a sense of closure. After all this time, he needs that."

Derek dropped a kiss on his head and then they both dozed off.

"Look, Derek, that's Saturn," Daniel called as they came out of hyperspace.

Derek stood, his mouth open with amazement.

"You've been here before, haven't you?" he said when he saw Daniel's 'been here, done that, worn the freaking T-shirt' look.

"Oh yes. It makes a change to be doing this though. Normally when we're up here it means we're up to our eyeballs in preventing some sort of planetary invasion or disaster. It's good to see the system so quiet. Though once we came rushing back here in a ship like this to rescue Teal'c and Jack."

Derek stood silently as Daniel gave him a quick rundown of the events. Then he laughed.

"You never cease to amaze me, Daniel," he murmured, pulling Daniel in for a cuddle.

"Ah, cut it out guys, will you?" Jacob teased as he came back to the controls. They were whizzing past the planet and then Jupiter and coming up to the asteroid belt so he wanted to be around just in case they needed to take over from the autopilot.

Derek and Daniel just smiled and let go of each other and returned to watching out of the window. After a while, Daniel pointed out Mars which was in the distance and then Earth. The moon was on the other side of the planet, so they didn't see more than its edge, given the angle they were approaching at.

"We'll be there in a few minutes," Jacob called, so Daniel ran off to alert Teal'c and Nem. By the time he returned they were inside the atmosphere. Jacob gulped as he saw a 747 bearing down on their position and deftly flew the teltac out of its path. Derek was as white as a sheet.

"Don't worry, Derek, Jacob was a general in the Air Force before he became Tok'ra," Daniel comforted. "He's better equipped to fly this thing here than the autopilot."

Jacob asked Daniel to use the scanner as they flew into the Gulf. Daniel knew what he was looking for, the scanner could detect the most minute particles of naquada, so they were looking for Sam. As soon as he found it, Jacob homed in and eventually set the ship down on the far side of the beach.

The door opened and they emerged, leaving Nem on the ship for the moment. Jack, Sam and Janet came to greet them happily, but Alex and Nick were stunned by the whole thing.

"A cloaked spaceship?" Nick finally managed to say.

"You'd never believe this but Daniel flew it," Derek replied.

Nick just shook his head. Then became even more astounded as Jacob swept Sam into his arms to hug her. When he put her down, Selmac greeted her.

Derek explained Jacob and Selmac to Nick and Alex and then introduced them.

I have heard a lot about you on our trip here, Selmac said, I am happy to meet you at last. But if you think I'm strange, wait till you meet Nem. That's one weird species, she joked.

The SGC members laughed, but Janet had never met Nem either, so she was on tenterhooks waiting for him. Daniel went inside.

"Nem, it's safe for you to come out. How are you feeling?"

"I am curious, Daniel. I have never been to your planet before. And I am unsure as to what I will find when I get into the water."

"You're not the only one. If you're up to it, perhaps we should just do it?"

"That would be acceptable."

They emerged from the ship, the others doing their best not to stare at Nem. He quickly headed to the water and then disappeared.

"So now?" Jack asked as he approached Daniel.

"Now, we wait, Jack," Daniel replied.

So they did. They all sat on the beach, staring out to sea, waiting and waiting for nearly an hour. Nobody said a word, but Derek caught Daniel's hand in his and gave it a little squeeze. They both knew that when this little adventure was over, it may be some time before they could see each other again and they were feeling sad. Jack noticed this, got up and headed to the radio tent. He was in there for quite a while before emerging with a pleased grin.

"Daniel? Could we take a walk, please?" he called.

Daniel shrugged, got up, and headed over to his friend.

"Jack? What's up?"

"I've been talking to the General, Danny. I said that I thought you were looking a bit peaky, and that you could do with a break. He's given us a couple of days to wrap this up if necessary and then you get a week's leave - a proper vacation. You're not allowed to even go back to debrief until it's over. I'm sorry it's not more, but..."

Daniel cut him off by giving him a hug.

"Thanks, Jack, I really appreciate that. Saying goodbye to Derek's going to be hard enough as it is. Having some time with him, well, it's going to lessen the blow a little. You're a good friend, Jack, the best."

Jack was going to answer, but a cry came up from the group. Nem was coming back to shore.

"Nem, what did you find?" Daniel called out.

Then he got his answer. Behind Nem was another of his species.

"Daniel," Nem's gasping voice called, "this is Mornem. She is the child of my mate. My child. She has had to live here since her mother was killed."

Nem's voice was filled with both joy at finding his daughter and despair at finding out that Omorocca really was dead. Daniel didn't know whether to be happy or sad for him. He settled on putting his hand on the fish-like creature's arm.

"Do you want to take her home?" he asked quietly.

"I do. Thank you, Daniel. I am sorry about your mate, but I hope that you too will find happiness."

"Thank you Nem, I think I have already done that," Daniel replied quietly.

"We should leave," Jacob said, "let's get you home."

Nem nodded and then cautioned everyone to leave the area as soon as they could. The team said their goodbyes to the various aliens, watched them disappear into the cloaked ship and then rushed to load up the helicopter with their tents and supplies. As they took off and started to fly back to the air base a call came from Alex who was looking back to the sea.

A massive waterspout shot out of the ocean and a hundred feet into the air, before gravity took over and the water collapsed back down.

"I guess that there's nothing left down there," Jack said.

"Probably not," Derek sighed, "but I'm sure that the Cairo house will want to come back and have a look. It won't hurt if they do."

Back in San Francisco the men made the most of Daniel's downtime. They went for meals, to the theatre, museums, all of the things that a holidaying couple would do. Then at night they made love, spinning their passion out and trying to make it last. Daniel got his full body massage from Derek and returned the favour, the two men thoroughly enjoying the experience. Neither of them wanted Daniel to go back to work.

On his last day, Daniel woke up early and just lay there, watching Derek sleep. He knew for sure now that he had been right about his feelings, about trusting him with his heart. And he was devastated that he was going to have to leave him.

Derek opened his eyes, knowing that he was being watched.

"Hey, you okay?" he asked quietly.

"Yeah, just thinking how much I'm going to miss you. Do you want us to continue, Derek? Or do you want this to be the equivalent of a holiday romance?"

"I want us, Daniel. You, me, together. I know we can't live together yet, but maybe one day we'll manage that. We can make this work, if you want it."

"Oh, I want it," Daniel sighed. "It's not going to be easy though."

"Nothing worth having ever is. I think we're worth the effort."

"So do I," Daniel replied and he pulled Derek close and held him tightly.

At breakfast, the others of the house talked quietly to them, not mentioning the fact of Daniel's departure. Daniel had been introduced to Kat on his return and the young girl had taken to him immediately. He found that she was very much like Cassie and liked her a lot too. The whole atmosphere at the breakfast table was sad.

After their meal, Daniel went back to his room - to Derek's room where all of his things had been moved on his return - and packed. Derek followed him up there and helped him with his things. Then he pulled him into his arms and held him tightly.

"We'll see each other soon, I promise," he whispered. Daniel turned to face him and smiled.

"We'd better."

They kissed, long and slow, not intending to take it further, just needing this last minute connection before Daniel was due to go and get his flight back to the Springs. They sighed impatiently as a knock came on the door. It was time.

Derek grabbed Daniel's bag and they headed out of the room and walked sadly down the stairs. As they got to the front door, Alex came rushing out of the control room.

"Daniel! Don't go! We've had word from the Cairo house. That thing you said to look out for? The glowing eyes and funny voice? One of their members has just come back from a dig where they found a sarcophagus in immaculate condition. They're holding him in the house because of what we told them. His eyes glowed and he's talking like Selmac! Not only that, he's calling himself Atum."

Daniel looked at Derek in amazement.

"You know what this is, don't you?" he gasped.

"A Goa'uld?" Derek replied.

"That too, but it means we get some more time together. Hang on, I've got a call to make," and with a giggle he got out his cellphone.