Summary: Rewriting my own past for Daniel. What if a certain someone was still alive? Would Daniel have stayed at the SGC so long? Many thanks to Joy for the encouragement, hand holding and beta.
Daniel wasn't impressed by Jack's new friend. Or rather, his old friend from his special ops days that had just been seconded to the SGC. Jack had - reluctantly it seemed - introduced him to his team and was currently not being at his most pleasant. Colonel Gregory Walker had leered at Sam, treated Teal'c coolly and all but laughed at Jack for having, horror of horrors, a 'civilian scientist' as well.
In the cafeteria later on, Walker had made some remarks about Daniel's alleged sexuality, out loud and in front of other teams. Sam and Teal'c had bristled, Daniel had just shaken his head in disgust, but Jack had actually sniggered. That had earned him fierce looks from the Jaffa and the major, but the look he had got from Daniel shook Jack to the core. It was one of disappointment. Out loud though, Daniel had said,
"And what would it matter?"
Walker had gone on to make some lewd remarks, hiding them under the pretext of it being a joke. Sam had excused herself, so angry with this so-called officer that she wanted to smack him. Teal'c had risen and stared Walker down. Jack had, eventually, stepped in.
"So, Greg, how do you explain his wife, ex-girlfriends and the like?" he asked.
Again, Walker just tried to bluff his way, saying that he had only been teasing. Daniel looked at him as if he was something that he had stepped in and asked again.
"What would it matter?"
"What do you mean?" Walker replied, now on the back foot.
"If I were gay. What would it matter to you? You don't honestly think I'd be interested in you, do you?"
"What do you mean?" Walker repeated.
"Well," Daniel sneered, "I'm no expert in these matters, but I'm sure that there are many men on this base with finer... attributes." He looked Walker up and down, shook his head when he saw his ass and said, "I'm sure there must be. It couldn't be difficult."
Some of the members of the other teams had to fight down sniggers of their own. The teams currently in the room were ones that knew Daniel well and liked him. Daniel nodded at Jack slightly, still saddened by the behaviour of the man that had once been his best friend and left, head held high, Teal'c by his side. The Jaffa shot Walker and O'Neill a glance that said they had better improve or he would have words later. Jack had the sense to take the look to heart.
"Are you all right, Daniel Jackson?" Teal'c asked as they walked back to Daniel's office.
"I'm fine, Teal'c."
"I have noticed on many occasions that you will say that you are fine, when in fact you are anything but fine. What is it that disturbs you?"
"I'm not disturbed, Teal'c, I'm just very, very tired. I need a change of scenery."
Teal'c studied him for a moment before replying, "The grey of the SGC is enough to tire anyone. Perhaps we could redecorate your office?"
Daniel laughed a little and then squeezed Teal'c's arm.
"Thanks, Teal'c, I needed that. I think, however, I'm going to go somewhere else. For a break."
"Where do you have in mind?" Teal'c asked, curious now as to Daniel's thoughts of what would constitute a break.
"Egypt," Daniel sighed, "I want to go home."
Daniel talked to Hammond and tried to hand in his resignation.
"Why?" Hammond kept asking.
"I'm tired, sir, that's all. I've had enough of saving the world. I want to go home."
It always came back to this. He needed a break. He was homesick. "The Welsh have a word for it," he explained. "Hiraeth. It means homesickness - but then it means a lot more. It's an overwhelming longing, a need to be somewhere that means everything to you. I have to go home, General, to know that what I've been fighting for is worth it."
"Does this have anything to do with what happened in the cafeteria earlier, son?" Hammond asked gently. "I heard about it and I've spoken to him. It will not happen again. Was that it?" he repeated.
"Lord, no. I've been dealing with morons like that for years, sir. No, this has been a long-time coming."
"Do me a favour, Daniel," Hammond pleaded. "Just take a sabbatical. Six months. How does that sound? You might feel that you want to come back then. Don't leave us though, please."
Daniel sighed, smiled and then agreed. Hammond said that he would inform the Colonel, but Daniel asked that he say nothing until he'd had a chance to talk to him. Hammond agreed, then Daniel stood up, shook his hand, thanked him and left. Hammond sighed and got on the phone to Major Davis at the Pentagon. Between them they conspired to smooth Daniel's path in whatever he decided to do. They both knew that he needed the break that he had asked for.
Daniel tried to see Jack a number of times.
"Jack, can I talk to you?" he'd asked after knocking on Jack's office door. He wasn't surprised to see him holed up with his old friend.
"Can it wait?" Jack had asked irritably. He was ashamed of his previous behaviour and as per his normal tendency, took it straight back out on Daniel.
"Not for long," Daniel said with a shrug and left before Jack could say any more.
He called Sam, Teal'c and Jan into his office and told them of his decision. The two women promptly hugged him and tried to hide the tears that threatened. Teal'c looked sad but wished him well. Internally, the quiet Jaffa was surprised that he had waited so long. He asked them not to say anything to anyone, he wanted to tell Jack himself.
He tried again, this time getting a "Shut up, Daniel," as he did. The third, and final time that he was prepared to tell him, he was just ignored, Jack finally looking up at him from his paperwork and said, "I'm busy, Daniel. What do you want that is so important it can't wait?"
Daniel's patience ended and he turned on his heel and walked out of the office without saying a word.
His personal effects had been boxed up and taken to his car. Teal'c and Sam were going with him to help him move them to his apartment but after that, he had no idea what he was going to do. All he knew was that he wanted to go home.
They stayed that evening, drank some wine, shed a few tears at what they had lost and then finally went home, leaving Daniel alone. He went to bed, sad and lonely, but determined that things would get better from then on.
Daniel got off the plane at Cairo airport and headed straight out to the taxi rank. He had put all of his personal possessions into storage back at the Springs, sold his furniture and given up the lease on the apartment.
"Cairo Museum," he said to the taxi driver in Arabic, getting a warm smile from the local man. He settled back into the seat and watched the sights of his hometown go by.
Jack was stunned. He had turned up for the next mission briefing after a week's stand down and discovered that Daniel wasn't there. He railed for a while about him being late, neither Sam nor Teal'c feeling inclined to let him in on what was going on. Hammond, however, wasn't feeling quite as petty.
"Dr. Jackson has taken a sabbatical," he announced. "He will likely be gone for six months. He asked to be the one to tell you, Colonel. I take it he didn't manage to find the time?" His voice was full of suspicion, knowing full well that Daniel would have tried. Jack said nothing, still in shock that Daniel had actually upped stakes and gone. He'd left him. He looked at his team members and saw that neither of them would look at him. He had so fucked everything up.
After a most uncomfortable briefing, a military linguist being assigned to the team to take Daniel's place, Jack followed Sam and Teal'c back to her lab.
"So, why didn't you tell me?" he demanded.
Sam wanted to yell at him and Teal'c picked up on that. Not wanting her to get into trouble he spoke himself.
"Daniel Jackson asked that we say nothing. He attempted to tell you on three separate occasions, O'Neill, but you shut him out each time. If you were not interested enough in him to listen to his own explanation, why would you be interested in second-hand information?"
Jack was furious, yelled at Teal'c, but got a stony face as a reply.
"Why the fuck did he leave?" he demanded.
"Permission to speak freely?" Sam growled. She had had enough.
"One-time only offer," Jack snarled back.
"He was sick to death of being treated like a hanger-on," she snapped. "He was constantly being picked on, humiliated in public, ignored, told to 'shut up'. And what happened in the cafeteria was despicable. You used to be his best friend. He still has no idea why you hate him now."
If Jack was shocked before, he was way worse now. All he could do was say quietly and in a plaintive voice, "Never. I never hated him. Never."
Teal'c stared at him before answering, "You did not give Daniel Jackson any reason to believe that you were his friend, O'Neill. Ever since I was forced to kill Shau're, you have been distant and withdrawn from him. He did not believe you cared for him then. He could not come to me, as I had been the one to end Shau're's life. He did not blame me, but he did not feel that he could talk to me about her either as it would cause me pain. He needed you, as a friend, as someone who would understand his pain, and you rejected him out of hand. Your rejection was not enough for you though, was it? You felt the need to make things worse for him, to push him further away and hurt him more. You shouted at him, blamed him when things went wrong, ignored him, told him to 'shut up' in public, need I go on?"
Jack looked at him with pain in his own eyes, the realisation of what he had done to Daniel hit him hard. Teal'c, however, did go on.
"On top of all of this, you felt the need to pretend that you wanted to initiate a relationship with Major Carter. It was as if you were saying that he could no longer be your friend. It was wrong, O'Neill, and now we are all paying the price for your absurd behaviour. I fear that the entire planet may pay this price too. Without Daniel Jackson at the SGC we could well be in danger."
Jack got angry and paced around the room.
"Where has he gone?" he demanded. "This is so typical of him. Things don't go his way and he has a fucking tantrum. I'll go and drag the little shit back!"
Sam and Teal'c looked at him in disgust and refused to answer. He could stew for a while longer. The day he admitted that he had been in the wrong and stopped blaming Daniel for everything would be the day that they would tell him. Teal'c left the room and headed to see Hammond, Sam doing the same to go and see Janet. They clued them in on their decision to keep Daniel's location a secret for now.
Daniel nervously walked into the museum. He hadn't been there in a long time and wasn't even sure if he would be welcomed by the one person he was looking for. He collared a museum assistant and asked in Arabic, "Is Doctor Faisal el Haroun here?"
The assistant smiled and said that he was in his office. Daniel asked if it would be all right to visit him, explaining that they were old friends and he wanted to surprise him. The assistant beckoned Daniel to follow him and took him behind the scenes and to an imposing door.
"In here," he said with a smile.
Daniel fingered the strap of his rucksack nervously before plucking up the courage and knocking. A terse "Enter" came through the door and he opened it.
At a desk covered in papers and artefacts sat a man in his forties. He had black hair, with a hint of grey highlighting his temples, and beautiful lightly-bronzed skin, typical of the Egyptian tone. Daniel caught his breath as he saw him again and waited for him to look up. He coughed quietly and the man raised his head.
He was out of his seat in a flash and around the desk as quickly as he could possibly go. Daniel dropped his rucksack off his back and the two men held each other tightly, as if they didn't want to let go.
"Daniel," Faisal murmured, "it is so good to see you. Look at you, you look gorgeous."
"Could say the same about you, Fai. The years have been kind to you. Like a fine wine, you've improved with age. I've missed you so much."
"I know, babe, I know. I've missed you too," Faisal replied, whispering in his ear, not wanting to relinquish his hold as if he was afraid that Daniel would slip out of his grasp once again.
"Sorry to drop in unannounced," Daniel apologised, "but I had a sudden urge to come home. I've missed you, missed this place so much that it's been hurting. I've taken a sabbatical," he explained, "had to. Wanted to quit but the boss wouldn't let me. He told me to take a break."
"What have you been doing, Dan?" asked Faisal from somewhere in the vicinity of his neck.
Daniel giggled. "Can't tell you Fai. What the fuck are you doing? We're in your office!"
"Home, now, come and live with me."
Daniel burst out laughing. "Don't beat about the bush, will you? Just come out and tell me what you've got in mind."
"You're not with anyone?" Faisal asked, finally pulling back and staring into Daniel's eyes. Daniel was lost, as he always had been, in the darkest, deepest, sexiest eyes he'd ever know.
"No," he replied, his own blue eyes twinkling. "You?"
"Nuh huh. Nobody ever compares well to the hottest linguist on campus," Faisal chuckled. "Come on, I was about ready to go home anyway. Let's get you sorted, shall we?"
Shaking his head with laughter, Daniel picked up his rucksack and followed Faisal, who quickly grabbed his jacket and keys and locked up. They left the museum, got into Faisal's car, pretty much without a word, and Daniel endured Faisal's driving back to his house. It was one of those whitewashed houses with a flat roof where they could sit and watch the world go by. However, they didn't really want the world to know what they had in mind.
The door was closed firmly, and without a sound Faisal took Daniel by the hand and led him upstairs and to the bedroom. For the first time in years, their lips met and they fell on each other in frantic, long missed passion. Clothes fell off without a care and they dropped onto the bed, not really thinking about what they were doing. There was no time to make love, to do the things they had both dreamed of since they had stopped seeing each other. It was just too damned intense. Faisal found himself on his back at one point, Daniel on top of him, kissing him frantically and furiously, taking his breath away. Hips clashed, Faisal wrapped his legs around Daniel's back, digging his heels into Daniel's buttocks, urging him to grind faster, harder, just make him come. Daniel lost the ability to concentrate on more than one thing at a time and broke the kiss, dropping his head into Faisal's neck. Faisal felt the hot breath against his skin and the sensation of the panting heat drove him out of his mind. He came hard, screaming Daniel's name, sending Daniel into a frenzy. He snapped his head back and howled his lover's name as he, too, climaxed energetically. Not a sound other than a quiet moan came from either man as they held each other tightly.
Finally, they got their breath back and regained some strength. Daniel looked into Faisal's eyes. "I never, ever, stopped loving you," he whispered.
Faisal smiled, "I am the same, my Daniel. You have always held my heart. I'm so glad you've come home to me."
Back at the SGC, things weren't going well. Jack was still mad as hell. The new linguist, Captain Lisa Anthony, was good at her job, but she wasn't Daniel. Sam did what she could to make her feel comfortable on the team, knowing that it wasn't her fault that Daniel had left. Teal'c was polite and respectful. Jack only spoke to her when he had to. Missions came and went, some going well, some not so well, but there was no joy, no excitement in new discoveries. The team was just going through the motions. Jack didn't socialise with his team anymore, he shut them all out. Occasionally he'd spend time with his other friend Walker, but there was no real warmth between the men. But he still couldn't bring himself to face the truth about his feelings and that he just, plain, missed Daniel.
Daniel on the other hand was enjoying the hell out of himself. Faisal had managed to get him into the museum, helping to translate new findings and plan new digs for the following season. Something caught Daniel's eye and he strolled into Faisal's office one morning, his head in a book and with some papers in his hand.
"Daniel?" Faisal looked up with an amused expression. "What is it?"
"I think we should go here," Daniel said, his voice distracted and distant. Faisal knew that look and his curiosity was piqued.
"What is it?" he repeated.
"Look. This is a journal of an Arab trader, it's a couple of hundred years old. Most of his writings are about what he traded and where, but he made it into a sort of diary too. He's describing a stop in the desert, north-west of Abu Simbel, outside the normal dig areas. He's talking about a small pyramid, Faisal. It's not on the map of known pyramids. Look."
He put out the map that he had which indicated all of the previously found pyramids and burial sites. Then he showed him the book, which not only contained writings, but a sketch. Faisal pored over the script and understood why Daniel was so interested. The trader had said that the pyramid was only partially visible, a sandstorm having blown up the previous night and cleared one side of it. At a guess, it was back under the sand.
"We should go, Fai, see if we can find it."
"I can't authorise an expedition, Daniel, we're at the end of the year's funding as it is. If it's been there for millennia it will be there in a couple of years' time too."
"Faisal," Daniel drawled, "I think we should. Come on, you and me, we can take some time off, do this ourselves. If we find anything we can report back to the Museum. If not, we'll save the Museum the cost of funding what is at best a difficult expedition. How about it?"
Faisal looked into Daniel's eyes and sighed. He'd never been able to turn him down, which was how they'd got together in the first place. Daniel had been far too young, in his eyes, to enter into a relationship with him, but Daniel as a sixteen year-old, wasn't like others his age. Faisal had been twenty-six, far more worldly wise - as he thought - than the young man. He'd been there, seen it, worn the freaking tee shirt. But then along came Daniel and the young man had pursued him until he'd given in. And Faisal had fallen head over heels in love. Every time Daniel wanted something, all he had to do was look into Faisal's eyes and plead and Faisal was toast. They both knew it. Faisal also knew that at thirty-seven, Daniel still had the ability to get what he wanted from his lover. He sighed again.
"What am I going to do with you, Daniel?" he groaned.
"Oh, well, I've got some very good ideas about that," Daniel purred, "but in the meantime, can we do this? Please?"
"Wait here." Faisal got up and left his office, and a Daniel who had a huge grin on his face.
'Yeah, still got the touch,' he thought to himself.
A week later and the men were in the desert. Somehow, Faisal had managed to get a couple of weeks off to do an exploratory mission. It wasn't going to be a dig, just a mooch around to see if it would be worth coming back with a whole team in the future. Daniel was happy with this, knowing just how long digs in the real world (as he thought of the non-SGC side of the planet) took to fund and organise. At least his curiosity would be assuaged. If they couldn't find the place now, they knew that they'd need more sophisticated equipment - and that it would be too far under the sand to dig out by hand.
There had been a series of major sandstorms in the area and Daniel was unsure as to whether this would be useful to them or not. The pyramid had been uncovered by one previously, but further storms had obviously hidden it again. Perhaps his luck would hold and this time they'd have a clue.
They followed the trader's map, heading north from Abu Simbel on camels, as that was what the trader had done. That way they'd be able to have some idea about timing. The trader had been specific that he had travelled a day and a half, following a detailed trail. The trail was still there, though in more modern times it had become obscured. Then they knew they'd have to head off it, slightly west and further into the desert. They camped out under the stars, snuggling together against the chill of the desert night inside a doubled-up sleeping bag.
"It's not easy to make out in the bag," Daniel complained getting a laugh from Faisal.
"Is that all you think about, Daniel?" he teased.
"Well, duh. I'm a guy. Of course I do. Besides, I'm naked, you're naked, we're plastered to each other, there's no one else around, what else am I going to think about?"
He wriggled until he was lying underneath Faisal, pulling the older and slightly smaller man closer to him.
"Love you, you know," he murmured. "Always fucking did. When you came home, and I went to Oxford, I figured I'd never want to love anyone again. I missed you so much, Fai."
Faisal didn't know how to answer that so he kissed him instead. He thought for a while and then asked, "Didn't you find someone there?"
"Oh yes, you'd have loved him, Fai. He's gorgeous, fun, wonderful and I loved him, still love him too and will till I die... but he wasn't you, would never be you. I had a couple of lovers at Chicago too, but I didn't love them really. The only other person I've ever loved as much as I love you was my wife. You'd have loved her too."
"Daniel, you know what I'm like with women," Faisal groaned.
"Yeah, I didn't mean like that. You'd have been a big brother to her, trust me on this one. She was a lot like you; feisty, funny, smart... beautiful," he reached up and stroked Faisal's face for a moment before turning his head and looking away, squeezing his eyes together and letting a few tears escape.
"Daniel? Oh God, Daniel, don't cry. I know you loved her, that you will always love her. I'm sure I'd have loved her too. I certainly approve of her, you know. She sounded amazing. Any woman that could capture your heart must have been incredible."
Faisal rolled to one side and hugged Daniel hard, and for the first time since she had died, Daniel cried. His heartbreaking sobs threatened to set Faisal off, he so wanted to take away the pain that his lover was suffering. Somehow, he knew that there was a lot more to the story than Daniel either could or would tell him. He didn't push though, knowing also that that wouldn't be a good idea right now.
Daniel turned his face to meet Faisal's and then caught his lips with his own. He kissed the older man passionately, not stopping till he'd run out of breath.
"Fuck me, Fai," he demanded. "Please, I need it, need you. Take the pain away please."
Faisal's heart sank. He knew what Daniel wanted, what he needed right now, and it always pained him to do this. But he also knew that he had to do it. He unzipped the bag, grabbed his kit and got out what he would need, then set to work to take Daniel's mind off the pain.
Daniel was silent when Faisal entered him, not making any of his more normal loving and demanding sounds, just accepting the presence of his lover and wanting him to hurt him. Faisal did as he was asked, just fucking him, not making love. Daniel used to get like this when they were together the first time - usually after nightmares about his parents' death. It hurt Faisal to do that then, it hurt him now. But he knew that the hurt that Daniel was going through was much, much worse and that this would help him sleep.
He ground into him, fucking him into the floor. The only indication that he had that Daniel had come was the contractions around his cock from the muscles in Daniel's anus. He made no sound. It forced Faisal to come and then he pulled out and pulled the silently weeping younger man into his arms, zipped up the sleeping bags and then rocked him gently till he fell asleep. He watched over Daniel for a while and was astounded to hear some strange words from him. They sounded like Ancient Egyptian, but they were different, the inflections were all wrong. Where on earth had Daniel learned that? And why was it such a natural language to him that he dreamt in it? Faisal thought he'd never find out the answer to that.
He'd learned that Daniel had lived in Colorado and he'd worked for the USAF. And that was it. A little, covert, investigation showed that a number of archaeologists and linguists now gave Colorado Springs as their address. What was going on? Ah well, he'd find out or not, but he certainly wouldn't find out while Daniel was asleep.
The next morning, they awoke and failed to mention the night before. Daniel wanted to put it behind him and Faisal was happy to let him do that. He hated seeing him so upset. They got dressed and breakfasted and then spent half a day trekking out across the desert. When they arrived at the place mentioned by the trader, there was nothing apparent there. However, one of the dunes had a slightly different shape from the others, more triangular.
"There," Daniel pointed and they dismounted the camels, hauled off their supplies, set up their tent and bed, gave some food to the beasts and then walked over to the dune.
They tried moving some sand near the top, but as they pulled the dry sand, it collapsed from the sides and back into the hole they were creating.
"Damn," Daniel spat. "How are we going to do this, Faisal?"
"I thought you were the one with the ideas?" Faisal returned. He was hot and bothered, the afternoon sun far too hot to work in. He insisted that they took a break and they sat and drank from their flasks.
"This is it, Fai, I know it is," Daniel insisted.
"I'm pretty sure it is, Daniel. Perhaps we should ask for a proper dig team?"
Daniel was almost certain that Faisal was right, but he didn't want to give up just yet.
He got up and strolled around the top of the dune. Then he disappeared over the other side.
"Dan? Daniel! Where are you?" Faisal's voice was full of panic.
"Down here!" The muffled sound came from the bottom of the other, leeward side. "I've found it."
"Are you all right?"
"I'm fine. Come on down, be careful. The sand is thin here. I slid down the side."
Faisal chuckled to himself. That was such a Daniel thing to do. As instructed, he carefully picked his way down and found a very excited Daniel nearly bouncing around at the bottom.
"See! See! Told you!" he exclaimed. Then he looked shyly at his lover. "I'm fine," he assured him. "You might need to kiss my bruised ass later though," he added with a grin.
"Oh, I think I can manage that," Faisal replied with a leer.
"Jack, come on. What's gotten into you?" Greg Walker paced around the kitchen at Jack's house.
"Whatd'ya mean?" Jack demanded.
"You're like a bear with a sore head," Walker said. "Ever since that damned civilian fucked off somewhere," he added with a sneer. "What, are you missing a little bedtime entertainment?"
Jack grabbed him and pinned him to the tall refrigerator.
"Don't you fucking talk like that about him, ya hear? You speak of him with respect or not at all!"
"Jeez, Jack, don't have a cow. Come on, pal, what is he to you anyway?"
Jack let Walker go and stalked off.
"Jack, I'm sorry, buddy. Forget I said it, will ya?"
Jack pinned him with his eyes - they had taken on a look of coal, they were so dark with anger.
"Daniel never was my lover, Greg," he said coldly. "He was my friend. He saved my life on numerous occasions. He's the bravest man I have ever met in my life. If you don't stop talking about him I'll make sure you never talk about anyone ever again. Capiche?"
"Okay, okay. So he's taboo. Fine. Shit, Jack. I don't know what to say to you. You don't want a buddy..."
"I don't do that anymore," Jack snapped. "I haven't needed that since I met Sara."
"Fine. You don't seem to want a friend either. What do you want?"
Jack sighed. He looked out of the window. He wanted Daniel home, that was what. He wanted to hold him close and never let him go. If he had done that before then maybe, just maybe, Daniel would still be there. All he could say, though, was, "I want to be left alone." He didn't even look back when the other man walked out of the house.
"Oh crap!" Daniel had cleared off the middle part on the side of the pyramid that was exposed. Most of it had been clear anyway, the recent sandstorm doing the hard work for him. He found the entrance and wasn't sure if he was glad that that side had been exposed or not. Not when he saw what was written there.
"Daniel? What's wrong?" Faisal came over to him and looked at the writings on the pillars either side of the stone slab that blocked the doorway. His eyes opened wide. "Daniel? That's Linear A. What's that doing here? That shouldn't be here. The dates are all wrong. Linear A didn't appear till 1700 BCE - and we're in the south, for heaven's sake. This is all wrong, all wrong."
"Actually, the script is a lot older than we think, babe."
"I want to tell you everything, Fai, I really do. Suffice it to say I can read it."
"You've cracked Linear A? And why haven't you told anyone? It's been fifty years since Ventris cracked B and we still only have half a clue as to the meanings. Have you cracked any other languages that I should know about?"
Daniel gave a sad smile. "Um, nothing I can tell you about, hun. I wish I could. Hell. I'm going to have to call my boss. Last time I was here there was a mess."
"You were in Egypt? When? Why didn't you come to see me?"
"Calm down, Fai. Look, all I can tell you is that I work for the Air Force - the US Air Force. My work is secret but good. I'm part... I was part of a field unit. I was also head of the Anth Department. Linear A is a spoken language, but not somewhere you will ever get to know about."
"Dan? Aw hell, we're not talking your wilder theories, are we?"
Daniel said nothing. He couldn't. Instead he turned to the script and read it out loud.
"WHOA! Stop there!" Faisal shouted. "Sanakht? He was before Zoser and Imhotep. How could this say that?"
"Faisal, babe, let me finish and then let's argue over how something that shouldn't be here actually is here and is right in front of us? Please?"
Faisal grinned. "Please, go ahead Dr. Jackson."
"Hmm. Not a bad one for an old guy either, if I say so myself."
Daniel snorted and put his hands out to his lover. "Come here," he murmured. "Babe, I so want to tell you what I know. I'm going to have to call my base though. This pyramid potentially contains something extremely dangerous."
"A creature," Daniel said thoughtfully. "I can't tell you anything about it - yet. I'll work on getting permission, okay? But I'll need your help to get permission to open it up. We cannot let those that do not know what is in here to open it. Or else we could let loose something terrible. I can tell you that these creatures killed my Shau're. And Sarah, my ex-girlfriend (he really didn't want to tell him about Osiris just yet) and Robert Rothman, one of my other friends from Chicago. I'm not making this up babe, honestly."
"I'm not sure whether to be comforted by this information or not, Dan," Faisal replied seriously. "I mean, I'm glad to know something, but it's a case of a little information not doing any good."
"Believe me, you'd feel worse if you knew the whole story. I need to be the one to open this, Fai. I can deal with the creature - I know what the creature is and how to kill it. Let me finish translating first, please."
Daniel did and was stunned. The writing was in both Linear A and hieroglyphs, each language adorning a different side of the door.
"Sanakht, at the behest of his greatest god ordered the son of Ptah to build this pyramid to house the god Geb, to protect the peoples of Egypt, both Upper and Lower. May the gods curse anyone that opens the door and looses the terror within."
"Wow. That's what the glyphs say, more or less. I could argue a little on semantics, your translation could do with a touch of brushing up..." Faisal teased Daniel, getting a raised eyebrow in return.
"You want polished, you wait. That's what it means though. Hang on, wasn't Imhotep the son of Ptah - or at least wasn't he supposed to be?"
"So was Nefertem, Daniel. What has mythology got to do with it anyway? You know they don't mean it." Faisal was getting a little impatient.
"Ah. I really need to phone my boss."
"Fine, go ahead. Do it. And when you do, get permission to explain everything to me or else I'm going to go straight to the Department of Antiquities and I'm going to create hell."
Faisal was pretty cross now. Daniel knew he could get him out of the mood quickly enough but figured he'd let him stomp for a bit. Besides, Faisal in one of those moods was very sexy.
Daniel got his satellite phone out of his kitbag and a GPS. He got the location of the pyramid and phoned the General.
"General Hammond, please... It's Dr. Jackson... Thank you."
"General?" Faisal mouthed. "You going up in the world?"
"Something like that," replied Daniel with a grin.
Jack was in front of the General - again. He hadn't done anything wrong as such, it was just his attitude in doing the right thing needed adjusting. Right in the middle of a particularly inventive diatribe (from the General) the phone rang.
"Yes? Who is it? Put him on!"
Jack stood up and pointed at the door in question. Hammond pointed firmly back at the seat. He sat back down.
"Dr. Jackson. Good to hear from you. Are you well?"
Jack's ears pricked up. Daniel? At least he was alive - that was something. He'd been gone for a few months now and Jack hadn't been that convinced that he'd make it that far.
"You've discovered what? A pre-Zoser pyramid?" Hammond looked a little confused - unaware that the Zoser pyramid was considered the first. "Congratulations. Does this mean you will be needing more time?"
Jack's heart sank. All he had to do was get through a few more months and Daniel would be back - but now...
"You want what? You think you've found a Goa'uld?... Name it. I can have whatever personnel and equipment you choose with you in forty-eight hours. Will that do?... It will? Good... One other thing, eh?"
There was always 'one other thing'.
"Are you sure this Doctor El Haroun will keep his mouth shut?... I'll look into it. In the meantime, tell him only the basics, no mission details... I'll put my secretary back on to you, give her the requirements... You too, Daniel. You too. Take care and don't open that pyramid until we get there."
He transferred Daniel's call and then picked up the red phone.
"Get me the President, this is General Hammond speaking. We may have a diplomatic incident."
"A Goa'uld? What on earth is one of those, Daniel?"
"Ah. Okay - I just got permission to tell you the basics. Let's go in the tent and get out of the sun, shall we? I'm hungry and thirsty and this is going to be a long story."
Faisal followed him into the large tent and sat on the edge of the bed while Daniel handed out the water and rations. They ate them quickly and in virtual silence as Daniel gathered his thoughts. Faisal knew to say nothing so as not to break his train of thought.
"It's a long story, Faisal, as I said. And you're not going to believe a word of it. But, nothing I tell you will be a lie, you have my word. I will not tell you everything, but what I do tell you will be true."
"Dan, I always know when you're lying. I know you've not lied to me yet, though you've only told me half-truths. I'm guessing it was out of necessity. Come here. I don't know about you, but I'm tired and fancy a lie down. Why don't we..." he pointed to the pillows and Daniel got his meaning. He took off his boots and stuffed his socks inside to prevent scorpions from getting in them and then lay on the air-bed they'd brought.
Daniel began his tale of the stargate, weaving the mythology in with the facts, explaining how he had deciphered the symbols and how they'd gone to Abydos and met Ra. Faisal, the student of Egyptian history and, if truth be told, a man drawn to his racial past rather than the current religious/political climate, was enraptured with the story.
"And so, we're here," Daniel concluded a good while later. "And in there could be a Goa'uld. I'm not letting you anywhere near it. I've lost far too many to the snakes, I'm not losing you too."
Faisal remained quiet. Then he realised that Daniel had actually finished and wasn't just pausing for effect.
"I'll be fine, Daniel," he said.
Daniel flipped around and pinned him to the bed.
"You listen to me, and you listen to me good, Faisal. You will do as I tell you when we are in there. You will not go anywhere I don't give you permission to go. Haven't you been listening? I've been there. I've done it. I've killed the bastards! I will NOT let them hurt you. They took my baby, Fai, my beautiful Shau're. We only had a year. Only a fucking YEAR! I am NOT letting them take you."
"Will they? Would they really want me, Daniel? Surely you would be more valuable."
Daniel paused and then said, "Yes. But my friends, the ones who are the most likely to be sent here, are under strict instructions to kill me if I get taken. It's not a decision we undertook lightly. But it's one which we all agree on. I will not let it happen to you. If it did, I'd die. It's that simple. I've lost too many people to go on without you. Please," he begged, his eyes full of unshed tears, "please Fai. Promise me you'll do as I say. Promise me you'll keep safe. No matter what you think is going on in there, you'll keep safe."
Faisal stared into Daniel's wet eyes and then promised.
Forty-eight hours later, Jack, Sam, Teal'c and Janet found themselves at Abu Simbel. The General had organised everything and a Land Rover was waiting for them, filled with sufficient supplies for a week's stay. They had no idea how long they'd need to be there. The archaeological equipment was loaded up and they set off to the co-ordinates sent by Daniel.
The girls chattered, excited to see their friend again. Teal'c had a look of calm assurance that all would soon be well again. And Jack? Jack just wanted to get there. He had to see Daniel again.
They finally found the place, well off the beaten track and over dune upon dune. They saw the camels and the tent first, then, rounding yet another dune, they saw the front of the pyramid. Thousands of years of sandstorms covering and uncovering it had worn off the smooth facing, leaving the stepped appearance similar to Zoser's tomb. But on the exposed side was an obvious doorway. It was the leeward side, the side least covered by the sand and the area around the door still had patches of the once white facing - now sandy-brown to match the rest of it. But it was still imposing - and fortunately, Jack thought, shut. Daniel hadn't succumbed to temptation and opened it.
It was afternoon and hot - very hot - and there was no sign of either Daniel or Faisal. Jack stopped the Land Rover near to the bored-looking camels, noticing the food bags for them nearby, and they disembarked. Jack asked that Teal'c look around, Sam and Janet headed straight to the water supplies, and Jack... Jack headed to the tent, figuring that the guys would be hiding from the sun.
"Daniel!" he called as he got to the entrance and then walked in. He stopped dead. Daniel was there all right, naked, and in the arms of another, also naked, man.
"Jack? What the fuck are you doing here?" Daniel demanded, struggling to sit up.
"You called the General, he sent us. Carter and the Doc are here - Teal'c too. Surely you realised that we'd be here?"
"I asked for SG-11," Daniel said petulantly. He looked at Faisal and grinned. In Arabic he said, "The shit is about to hit the fan." He'd explained a bit of why he'd needed the sabbatical - how he couldn't stand being the object of derision or the butt of Jack's temper anymore.
He stood up, glorious in his nakedness and not in the least perturbed that Jack had found him like that. Faisal stayed on the bed for a moment and then got up and joined him. Without a word, he grabbed his flowing djellaba and threw it on. Daniel pulled on a pair of cotton trousers - without underwear - and then a shirt which he temporarily left undone. Then he pulled on a boonie to keep the sun off his head, grabbed the sun-block and covered his remaining bare skin.
He strode out of the tent, virtually ignoring Jack, and marched over to the girls.
"Sam, Janet, I thought you said you'd never come back," he teased as he clipped his shades onto his glasses before putting them back on.
"Daniel!" The squeal came from them both and they flung themselves into his arms, laughing as they did. He wrapped his arms around their waists and hugged them.
"Not too much of that," he complained, "it's too damned hot. Are you guys okay?"
"Better for seeing you," Sam said before poking him in the arm. "Missed ya."
"What she said," Janet added.
"Missed you two too. Where's Teal'c?"
"Looking around," Sam replied quietly. Jack was standing at the entrance to the tent, dumbfounded by the lack of greeting from Daniel.
Faisal had noticed that too.
"What do you expect?" he asked the stricken colonel. "You treat him like shit, you'll get it flung back in your face. I've known Daniel a lot longer than you - and, I suspect, I know him a lot better than you too. You hurt him. You are no longer his friend."
Faisal strolled out and saw, to his amusement, Daniel being greeted by the big guy. Teal'c was getting emotional - at least for him. He put his hand out to Daniel, and when it was taken, he pulled him into a hug. Daniel was laughing and hugging him back, speaking a language that Faisal had no recognition of. This must be his alien friend, he thought.
"Daniel, are you going to introduce me?" he called out. Daniel rushed over to him and took him by the hand, pulling Faisal towards the girls, and now Teal'c who had joined them.
"Dr. Faisal el Haroun, this is Major Doctor Samantha Carter, Major Doctor Janet Frasier - and Teal'c."
"I am pleased to meet you at last," Faisal said. "I've heard a lot about you in the last two days. Daniel says you are his best friends."
"We are," Sam said in reply. "We've heard about you - at least Jan and I have," she giggled.
"Sam?" Daniel was confused.
"You were drunk, Daniel," Janet said with a teasing tone.
"Oh, I didn't, did I?" he asked with a groan.
"Oh, you did," Janet confirmed, her wickedest laugh punctuating her reply.
"Did what?" Jack's voice seemed to come from nowhere.
"Nothing," Daniel replied coldly. "Did you bring what I asked for?" he addressed the women again.
"Yes, Daniel," they chorused. But underneath the light tone, they were both concerned by his brushing Jack off so much.
"Um, Daniel, can I have a word, please?" Janet said. "It's a doctor thing," she added, taking him by the hand and away from the others.
"Jan?" he asked as they got out of hearing distance. "What's up?"
"Why are you being so cold to Jack?" she asked quietly. "He's come here wanting to be your friend again."
The mirthless laughter that Daniel dissolved into cut her deeply.
"I mean it, Daniel. He's not been eating as he did since you left. He's probably not been sleeping so well either. He's as miserable as sin. Please, Daniel, give him a chance."
"So he can, what? Tell me to 'shut up'? Shout at me? Cut me off when I'm explaining something? I don't think so, Jan. I've had enough of him. Surely his new best friend can cheer him up?"
"They don't speak that often," Jan replied calmly. "I think they had a fight."
"I wonder whose fault that was," Daniel put in, not a little spitefully. He was feeling very angry that Jack had suddenly turned up again. He was making a life with Faisal, he was very happy with him, and this prick, this card-carrying bastard had to come. To what? Spoil it for him? Daniel wasn't going to let that happen.
He walked back over to the Land Rover and to Faisal.
"I'll put some coffee on," he said to him, and then kissed his lover's cheek before heading back to the tent to do as he said.
After a quiet discussion they decided that they'd wait till the morning to try to open the pyramid. More of the front needed clearing off and now, with the tools to hand, it could be done much more quickly. Daniel and Faisal prepared the equipment they'd need in the cool of the evening so they could get straight to it in the morning. The others set up tents, the girls sharing one, the men having one each. Jack was desperate to talk to Daniel, but he found it hard to get him alone. Daniel, meanwhile, was desperate to not talk to Jack.
Janet watched the interaction - or lack of it - and decided on direct action herself. She took Faisal by the hand and led him off away from the others.
"We need to talk about Daniel," she said.
"I guessed. It's about him and Jack, isn't it?"
"Yes. You have to understand something, Faisal. Once, they were closer than any two people I have ever seen. For some reason, nobody knows why, Jack suddenly changed. One day they were as thick as thieves, the next day it was like Daniel didn't exist. Daniel fought back, tried to understand what had happened. He never found out. None of us have ever found out. We're not sure if even Jack knows why. But, what we do know is that being apart from Daniel is killing him. Slowly, but surely, he's dying. Inside there's nothing left. He never laughs anymore, rarely smiles. He eats enough to keep him alive but he often has to be nagged to do it. He needs Daniel in his life."
"You want me to feel sorry for him?" Faisal asked incredulously. "Have you any idea what state Daniel was in when he came to me? He was a wreck, Janet. After a few days with me I managed to get some of what he had been through out of him. He'd lost his wife and then his best friend. He couldn't cope. If he hadn't had you, Sam and Teal'c I think he'd have killed himself. I'm grateful that you were there for him. But don't expect me to encourage him to go to Jack. He's back in my life after a long time away. I love him with all my heart. I've got him back. I'm not letting him go."
"I don't expect you to. But encourage him to talk to Jack, please. They need to get whatever it is between them out in the open. Then maybe they can move on with their lives. This is eating Daniel up, Faisal, and you know it. Help me to help them, please. Surely it would be better for your relationship too?"
Faisal grunted in agreement, he could see the logic behind Janet's statement. But he was afraid too. He didn't want to lose Daniel again.
In bed that night, Daniel having gone defiantly holding Faisal's hand in front of Jack, Faisal pulled him close and spoke.
"You should talk to him," he said.
Daniel glared back. "He can go back where he came from. I want nothing more to do with him, Fai. That is over and done with."
"You should talk to him," Faisal insisted, putting a finger to Daniel's lips to stop him interrupting. "It would do you good to find out why he was like that with you. All I've seen today is a very quiet man who is hurting badly. The pain in his face when you ignore him is strong, Dan. He loves you. Aht!" Daniel was about to speak. "My turn. You can have a tantrum later. He loves you. You love him. I know this. Don't you think that I'm giving up on you, Daniel, I'm not. You are mine. You have come home to me and I am not giving you up without a fight. But you should at least try to be his friend again." He looked at Daniel with a grin. "You can have your say if you want."
Daniel poked him in the ribs. "I do not have fuckin' tantrums, Faisal."
Faisal sniggered and pulled him closer. He made no comment on Daniel's lack of response. Instead, he kissed his head and ordered his lover to sleep.
Daniel rolled his eyes, but did as he was told. In many ways, Faisal had been a big brother or father figure to him as well as a lover. Daniel wouldn't be bossed about by him, but he would listen to him and accept the older man's wisdom. He thought on what Faisal had said and then shut his eyes, sliding down the bed till he could rest his head on Faisal's chest. The second he felt Daniel's head on his chest, Faisal smiled and held him closer still.
The next morning, Daniel didn't go out of his way to ignore Jack, but Jack held back, not wanting to antagonise him. The other four ended up conspiring to get them to talk, but somehow they didn't manage to pull it off.
Daniel was studying the glyphs yet again, trying to work out the way in. Having cleared as much sand away as they could, all the glyphs (in both scripts) that they though were likely to be there had been uncovered and had to be translated. They could manhandle the door open, he thought... if they had enough men to do it. But, he was sure that there was Goa'uld tech at work here and that there was a simpler way in. All he had to do - as he'd been trying since he'd found it - was work out what that way was. Teal'c appeared by his side and looked at the symbols without a word. Daniel felt comforted by the presence of his friend. After a short while in companionable silence, Teal'c said, "I have missed your company, Daniel Jackson. The SGC is not the same without you. When will you return home?"
Daniel turned and smiled sadly at him.
"I've missed you too, Teal'c. You and the girls and Cassie... but I can't return to the SGC. I just can't. I'm happy here with Faisal. I've missed him so much, you know? The ache I felt when we first split up never went away. I've got him back and I'm never going to leave him again. I just couldn't go on without him anymore."
"I understand," Teal'c replied kindly. "However, could Dr. El Haroun not come to work with us?"
"And take him to the Springs?" Daniel snorted. "He found Harvard cold enough. I doubt he'd appreciate the six-month winters we seem to have there."
"The winters are not so long," Teal'c retorted with a twitch of a grin.
"No, but they seem like it. Especially when you are used to a hundred degrees plus. Even summer seems cold to me sometimes. It would be worse for him. Besides, he has a great job, a wonderful position. He is doing what he loves to do. I couldn't ask him to give it all up for me."
"But you are prepared to give up your life's work for him, Daniel," Teal'c pointed out gently. "You know that a lot of the work you will do here will have falsehoods attached to it. That you will have to perpetuate the myth that has become established fact and that you will have to ignore what you know to be true. You also know that you will never have the same standing as Dr. El Haroun in your circles, that you will only be seen as his assistant. It is a great come down for someone who is held in such high regard among us."
Daniel grinned. "You know what, Teal'c? I don't care. I'm with him, that's all that matters to me. I couldn't care less whether I'm known for anything or not. I don't want fame or even care about other people's respect anymore. All I care about is being with Faisal."
"Indeed," replied Teal'c, inwardly smiling. "And is it not perhaps the case that Dr. El Haroun would be just as willing to change positions with you? That he would be just as happy at your side?"
Daniel chuckled. He had missed Teal'c desperately.
"I'll talk to him," he conceded.
"Good. I do believe that it would be for the best."
"I won't come back to SG-1 though," Daniel added.
"Perhaps," Teal'c replied thoughtfully, "but at least you would be there. Earth needs you there, Daniel. Your friends need you too. We wish you to come home."
Daniel didn't have an answer for that so he just smiled at Teal'c and nodded.
Faisal, meanwhile, took Jack to one side.
"You need to speak to him," he said bluntly.
"I know. But he doesn't want to speak to me."
"Try again," came the order. "Daniel is stubborn. But he can be worn down. If you really want to be his friend again, if you have real feelings for him, you will keep trying. He will rebuff your advances, most likely. You have to keep trying. Ignore the fact that he's trying to hurt you. You've hurt him badly, he will want you to feel at least some of the pain that he's been feeling, to make you understand what you've done to him."
"I do understand," Jack replied quietly. "I do."
"Do you?" Faisal asked, surprisingly gently. He had got a good look at Jack and he'd picked up on Janet's description of a man in despair. "During the last few months I have held him through countless nightmares. In virtually every one, your name was the one he called out to. Sometimes he was crying out because he was afraid for you. Other times, he was afraid of you."
Jack's eyes opened wide in shock. He was about to say something but Faisal put his finger up.
"The rest of the time, he was afraid because you were leaving him. You love him, don't you?"
Jack's mouth opened, nothing came out for a moment, then he regrouped. He realised suddenly that if he was to be honest to Daniel, he would have to be honest to his friends.
"Are you in love with him?"
"I don't know. Possibly. Probably. Yes. Definitely. It doesn't matter. He's not in love with me."
"He was. He was very much in love with you. You are a fool, O'Neill. You threw away your chance with him. He will never trust you enough now. Besides, I am very much in love with him. You will not take him away from me. You will, however, go and try to talk to him and become his friend again. This is not negotiable."
Jack sat down on the dune with a bump. He wasn't used to being ordered around by civilians that weren't Daniel. Not to mention the revelation about Daniel's feelings for him. He'd have to be even more careful from now on.
"Did he say anything?" he asked.
"No. He didn't have to. I know Daniel, Jack," Faisal told him softly. "I've known him since he was sixteen years old. We were together a long time. Nobody knows him like me. He's tough, determined, a pain in the neck at times. He's also the most devoted and loyal friend anyone could be blessed with. But when he's had enough, he's a very dangerous enemy. Nobody is more dangerous than Daniel."
Jack nodded. He'd seen what damage Daniel could do with a few words. He'd known just what Faisal was talking about - it was something he'd mused about for a long time. Just how dangerous would Daniel be if he lost his moral grounding? Jack shook himself. It was not something that he wanted to find out. He knew that Daniel had had a dream of some sort dealing with that question when that Harcesis kid had turned up, and that Daniel had been shaken to his very core. But Daniel hadn't offered any information, and Jack was being a crap friend at the time so he hadn't asked.
He stood up, walked to the tomb entrance and up to Daniel's side.
"Daniel, we need to talk, please," he said quietly, almost apologetically.
Daniel turned and looked at him, ready to rebuff him. Then he saw Faisal, Janet and Sam in the background, all mentally urging him to speak to Jack.
"Fine. Not here."
He marched off to the main tent. The sun was high and he needed to cool off anyway. Jack followed without a word, gasping when he entered the tent. Daniel had quickly stripped off his shirt and was currently taking a drink, the water being alternately poured into his mouth and over his tipped-back head.
"So, speak," Daniel ordered.
"I'm sorry, Daniel," Jack began. He sat on a chair and looked at his feet. "I was a jerk and I'm sorry. Please come home. We need you. I need you. I won't be like that again, I promise."
"Why do you want me there? You didn't when I was there. You shut me up and shut me out. You made a point of being 'best friends' with everybody but me. As far as I could see, the only thing that had changed with me was that I had just lost my wife. I fucking needed you, Jack. But instead of letting me come to you, or you coming to me, you pushed me away. Then, when I was too fucking stupid to get the message, you made it worse. Why didn't you just tell me you hated me from the start and be done with it?"
Jack shook his head, vigorously. "I never hated you, Daniel, never. I'm so fucking sorry. I'm a screw-up and I know it and if I could turn the clock back, I would. I was afraid."
"Getting too close, I guess."
"What? What the fuck do you mean, Jack? By the time Shau're was dead we were already too fucking close!"
Daniel's voice was raised. He was furious, but not so angry with Jack that he could kill him. Jack knew that and was grateful. When Daniel's voice went cold and quiet - that would be when Jack got scared.
He stood up and looked Daniel in the eye.
"I'd fallen in love with you, Daniel," he said quietly, but defiantly, sticking his chin out and straightening his back to stand almost to attention. "I'd fallen in love with you and no longer had Shau're to hide behind. I'm sorry," he apologised again.
Jack picked himself up off the floor, nursing the side of his face in his hands. Damn, he'd forgotten that Daniel possessed a mean right hook.
Daniel, meanwhile, had grabbed his shirt and stormed out of the tent. He didn't know what to do now. He didn't know how to feel. Faisal had been right, Daniel did love Jack. He'd never stopped. He didn't know how to stop loving anyone. It was why he'd never stopped loving Faisal. Never. He couldn't and he wouldn't leave Faisal. No way. Jack wasn't getting him, it wasn't going to happen. No way. He wanted his friends back, he wanted to be alone. He wanted to be loved but loving hurt and now he didn't know what to feel or how to feel. Tears of confusion and frustration pricked his eyes, but he ruthlessly blinked them back. He wasn't going to allow the bastard to see him crying. It wasn't over him anyway, was it? Was it? Oh GOD! What the fuck was he going to do?
A noise behind him made him snap his head around. If it was Jack he was going to hit him again, only harder.
It wasn't, it was Faisal.
"I take it that didn't go so well, Dan," he said with a small grin.
Daniel shook out his right hand and then rubbed his knuckles.
"Oh, I don't know, I think it went okay," he retorted with his own small smile. "I'm not leaving you, Fai."
"You'd better not," Faisal replied, sitting down in the sand next to him, hugging him close. "I love you, Daniel," he whispered against his mouth.
"Oh God, babe. Love you so fucking much."
He leaned in closer and they kissed, softly at first. Their arms wrapped around each other, they lay back in the sand, kissing more intensely as the moments went on.
Jack watched from the top of the dune, his heart sinking as he saw the passion with which Daniel was kissing Faisal. The younger man had rolled his lover onto his back and they were touching each other, hands hungry for contact.
"Fuckin' idiot," he complained to himself. "You could have been there."
"Yes, you could have."
Jack jumped a mile.
"Fuck, Teal'c, don't creep up on a guy."
"Why not? Your reaction was most amusing."
Jack did a double take, ending up with a big grin.
"We should leave them, O'Neill. I fear that they may not stop what they have started."
Daniel and Faisal were now getting more and more frantic in their actions. Part of Jack wanted to watch, to add the images to his fantasy 'database', but he knew that he shouldn't.
He followed Teal'c down the other side of the dune and they headed back to the girls.
Daniel and Faisal reappeared a bit later, looking a little sheepish. They hadn't meant to make out, it had just happened. Then Faisal had lectured Daniel about letting Jack be his friend again.
He will do his best, Daniel, he had said. He won't turn down this chance if you give it to him.
He says he's in love with me.
Are you still in love with him?
It had been Daniel's turn to do the double take, but then he realised that Faisal could read him like a book.
Not as much as I am with you, Faisal. I told you I'm not leaving you, I'm sticking to that. You have to understand this, babe, I mean it. I will go wherever you go. I can't leave you.
Is it because of our previous friendship? Is it because you feel a loyalty to me?
Daniel had shaken his head. Yes and no. Of course I'm loyal to you, you know that. And of course our previous relationship has a little to do with it. But don't think that that is it, Fai, it's not. I'm crazy about you, old man.
Faisal had winced with a grin at Daniel's use of his old nickname for him. He'd called him that when they were first together all those years ago.
Faisal. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, don't you see? If you leave me now, I'll die - pure and simple. My heart would snap in two. Please don't leave me. Please don't think that I'd run back to Jack if you were to 'step out of the way'. I wouldn't. And I'd be so miserable. Say you're not leaving me.
Daniel's entreaties nearly broke Faisal. All he could do was reassure him that he'd stay with him as long as he lived.
Putting that behind them they returned to the translations and wondering just how they were going to get in. Dusk was starting to fall, Jack headed off to cook the evening meal, but he'd only got about fifty feet away when there was a cry from Daniel.
He turned on his heels and ran towards Daniel as quickly as the sand would allow.
"What does it say?"
"Well, it doesn't say 'press here to enter'," Daniel replied with a snort. The others looked at him in exasperation, thinking that he was saying it to wind Jack up again, but Jack just laughed.
"So? What does it say?" he asked.
"It's a bit complex," came the distracted reply, "but it talks of doorways and the entrance to the Fields of Peace - heaven, in our terms. I think that by pressing these... glyphs... here..." his voice became stilted as he stretched his fingers to the correct glyphs.
"Whoa! Hang on, Daniel," Jack cautioned.
Daniel snapped his head around, ready to have a go at Jack. Before he could though, Jack put one finger to his lips.
"Let's wait until morning. You've told me in the past that you prefer to use mirrors to light the inside of dark tombs so as to not damage any writings with artificial light, right?" He waited for, and got an acknowledging nod. "So. It's too dark now, or soon will be. If Geb is in there," Daniel was surprised by the fact that Jack was using the snake's correct name, but he kept his shock hidden, "we'll need to have as much as we can going for us, right?" Again, the nod in return. "So let's wait. We can get ourselves prepared properly. It's to be safe, Daniel."
Not once in Jack's speech had his voice become snarky or domineering, so Daniel acquiesced.
"Okay. Tomorrow. But don't think you're going to take over, Jack. You have no idea what's going to be in there. Faisal and I will have much more of a clue than you. Even we don't know for certain, but we'll have a better idea."
"Your way or the doorway, eh?" Jack grinned.
"Got it in one."
"Fair enough. I bow down to your expertise. Just remember where mine lays."
Again, Daniel only nodded in reply, but that was all that Jack needed.
The others were stunned into silence. There was no bitching, no arguing, just acceptance of each other's point of view. This was not normal. Rather than question it, however, they followed them quietly back to camp.
The burner was on, the food was cooking, and they were all sitting in a circle around it.
"So, Daniel, tell us about Geb," Jack prompted.
"You really want to know?" Daniel replied, not a little suspiciously.
"Yes, or I wouldn't have asked. It might be necessary. You've more than proved that lot of myth has a basis in fact. I want to know what I'm letting my team in for when we go in there."
Daniel studied Jack's face for a moment and then told him the details.
"Geb was the 'earth' god - brother and husband of Nut, the sky goddess. In a number of texts it's said that he would hold the souls of the wicked so that they wouldn't ascend to heaven."
"They were made into hosts?" Sam asked.
"Guess it's possible. Think about it - if you're a power-mad snake, what better than an already corrupt host? One that wouldn't fight you all the way." His voice trailed off, thinking of how Shau're would have fought Amaunet.
"She fought her, Daniel. Kicking and screaming every single day," Jack announced.
The others looked in horror at his words... all except Teal'c who looked sad.
"Yes, she did. I'm sure of it. My baby gave that snake hell. It's comforting to know that Amaunet's last years were really bad ones."
There was complete silence around the camp. Only Jack reacted to that. Only he had known her. And only he had heard Daniel's stories of her. It was at this moment that Jack realised just how much he had hurt Daniel by turning away from him when she died. Only he could have comforted him.
A lone tear ran down Jack's cheek in response to this. Daniel saw it and stood up, put his hand out to Jack and then led him away from the others. When they were out of sight he allowed Jack to hold him close.
"I should have done this then," Jack's voice was choked with sobs. "I can never apologise enough for that. I was so afraid of letting you know how I felt, so fucking afraid, Danny."
Daniel said nothing. He was still angry with Jack, but at least he now was beginning to understand why Jack had behaved that way. He had a long way to go to forgive him though.
"I'm not leaving Faisal," he said quietly but defiantly.
"You don't have to. Come home, Daniel. Bring him with you. I'll take care of you, I promise."
"Forgive me if I have a hard time believing you, Jack. I'm not sure that I can."
"I'll prove it. You'll see. I'll prove it."
They stood for a little longer and then returned to the camp. Janet handed out the dishes of food.
"Ah, MRE stew. I've missed it so much," Daniel grimaced, getting a snort of laughter from his team and a raised eyebrow from Faisal.
"So, is there any more to this Geb?" Sam asked.
"Loads - and then not much. What I mean is that there are copious things written about him, his relationship with Nut, and Ra..."
"Whoa! Ra?" It was a name that would always get Jack's attention.
"Yes, Jack. Ra was the sun god - and when Geb married Nut without his permission he took offence and tried to separate them. Only Thoth's intervention allowed them to meet up for five days a year. I'm guessing that it was Ra that locked Geb up. Anyway, the one bit of very interesting information was that he was the one that was supposed to have given the uraeus to the pharaohs. This was a symbol of kingship in Egypt and it was represented by a cobra in an upright position. It could be worn as a head ornament or crown. The symbol was supposed to have protected the king and was - this is the interesting bit - an agent of his destructive powers. It was supposed to spit fire."
That really got Jack's attention.
"You're talking about that snake thing you see in the pictures?"
Daniel grinned. Jack knew a lot more about Egyptology than he usually liked to admit.
"You think it's a weapon?"
"Don't see why not, Jack. It could be a variant on the ribbon device. Think about it - the ribbon device is controlled by thought. Something that's worn on the head would probably be easier to control that way. The blast given by a ribbon device could at a stretch be seen as spitting fire. And if the uraeus was supposed to protect the wearer, it could contain a personal shield."
"Take knives in then," Jack stated. "If it is, we stand a better chance of getting to him."
They paused to eat, night was setting in and the temperature was dropping. Faisal made a pot of the thick Arab coffee that Daniel loved so much - watered down for the others. They held their tin mugs tightly, getting as much warmth from them as they could as it got colder and colder. Soon, it was too much.
"Bed, now," Faisal ordered. "There was no cloud cover at all today, it's going to seem like it's freezing. I suggest you all double up."
He took Daniel by the hand, they all said goodnight and they quickly got ready for bed.
Lying in the double sleeping bag, Faisal gently questioned Daniel on what had happened with Jack. He was told exactly what happened. Then Daniel asked him to work with him in the Springs.
"It's freezing there, but I'll keep you warm," Daniel teased softly. "Now you know about the gate, Fai, how can you return to standard theory? You'll know you're maintaining the misconceptions of the actual history."
Faisal acknowledged Daniel's arguments and promised that he'd think about it.
"Will you go back there?"
"Not without you, Fai. Told you, I'm not leaving you."
"You'd effectively lie just for me?"
"Sure. I'm not above a little dissembling when I have to. Besides, it's only the dates. I wouldn't want to tell people about the aliens, so I don't feel bad about keeping that quiet. It would only cause panic and hurt people."
"I'll think about it, then. You'd be the boss, wouldn't you?"
"Ah. Yes. I am - I was the anth head. However, I'm not sure that I'll have that position if I go back. Perhaps I can get the General to let us go and live on Abydos. You'd love it there."
"Sure! It's just like this place but they still worship the old gods. They're pretty old-fashioned."
"Would they have a problem with us?"
"God, no. Not at all. Like I said - old-fashioned, Fai. As in the traditional way of life."
"Oh! I get you. Did you have a lover there?"
"No. Shau're was enough for me. We were newly-weds. If I'd still been there though, probably. She'd have kicked me out and made me find one."
That made Faisal laugh.
Jack was in his tent nearby to theirs, listening into their conversation, picking up bits of it through the still of the desert air. He had never let on but Arabic was a language that he was more than familiar with. He relaxed when he heard the topic. If Faisal wanted to go there, at least it would mean that Daniel would return. He'd have to work on Faisal to do that.
He grinned when he heard Faisal laugh. Then smiled more when he heard Daniel join in. Then the laughs turned to low, hushed moans and he felt like he would go insane. He knew what was happening. He could see it in his mind. The words came in parts.
"Yes ... oh ... please Fai ... love ... more ... yes ... God!"
Jack's better humour evaporated as he tried to get to sleep with the image of Daniel being made love to in his mind.
They were up with the crack of dawn the next day, Jack coming into Daniel's tent laden with three mugs of coffee.
"Wakey, wakey, rise and shine," he cried out, getting the usual, ''ckoffJ'ck' that he'd missed. "I've got cof-fee," he added in a singsong voice.
"Gimme," came the grunt.
Daniel, with difficulty, extricated himself from Faisal's arm and wriggled to sit up. Jack swallowed down a moan when he saw that Daniel hadn't worn anything to bed that night. Putting his game face on, he handed the drinks to the men and sat down while they drunk it.
"Sorry it's not the stuff you brew, Daniel, but it should be enough to get you up to make some yourself."
Daniel actually grinned at him as he said that. "Thanks, Jack. It will do for a minute."
"I called Hammond last night," Jack said apropos of nothing. "He asked how you were and how the expedition was going."
Daniel cocked his head to one side and raised an eyebrow, his way of saying 'go on' to Jack without words. Faisal noticed that Jack saw it and carried on talking. He wondered just how much they could read each other.
"I told him what you'd found and that we were going to attempt to open it today. He said they'd spoken to the Egyptian Government and got permission to open it, as long as nothing leaves the country."
Jack gave a wry grin at that.
"We can't leave anything obviously alien," Daniel stated, rather unnecessarily. He turned to Faisal and added, "Most of the artefacts are not alien, they'll have been made here on Earth. But, some of the items, if this really is Geb's tomb, may well be truly alien. They cannot stay here. It's not safe."
Faisal shrugged in acceptance. He was usually vehemently opposed to anything leaving his country, but given the circumstances, it was probably for the best. As long as nothing earthly left Egypt, he could live with the decision.
Jack left them for a moment so they could get dressed in peace. They were taking a bit more time than he would have expected, so he went back in. He had some more information to impart before they started work. He was brought up short as he saw the two men, dressed, but wrapped in each other's arms and kissing so tenderly that it made Jack's heart ache.
They sensed his presence and pulled apart. Jack straightened his back and grinned.
"I've got more news for you, guys," he said. "Hammond's already working on getting Faisal clearance to work at the SGC. It will likely be a desk job, with the odd expedition with one of the geek teams."
He deliberately chose that word to annoy Daniel, and finding it succeeding, he ran hell for leather out of the tent, an enraged archaeologist on his tail. Laughing out loud he sprinted as best as he could across the sand, but Daniel was far more surefooted on the soft surface and he soon caught up with him, tackling him to the ground.
"Geek teams?" he cried out.
"I knew that would wind you up," Jack admitted.
"You know what happens when you say that, don't you?"
Jack moaned. Daniel was currently sitting on his thighs and pinning him to the floor. Quick as a flash, Daniel's hands found the spot that made Jack scream. Fingers poked at the bottom of Jack's ribs until the older man yelled out an apology. When Daniel let up, Jack sat up and grabbed him close, holding him tight as if he'd never let him go.
"I've missed you so fucking much," Jack sniffed. "I'll never be able to tell you how much."
"I know," Daniel soothed. "I know. I missed you too. But I meant what I said, Jack. I'm not leaving Fai, not now, not ever. You do accept that, don't you?"
Jack pulled back and stared Daniel in the eye.
"I have to, don't I? I'd rather have you there as a friend than not at all, Danny. I like Faisal, he's a nice guy. You two are much better suited to each other anyway. As long as he makes you happy, I'll be fine with him. He'd better not fuck up like I did though."
Daniel shook his head, laughing quietly. "He won't. Trust me on this one, Jack. He won't. Faisal's one of the steadiest, most reliable men I've ever known in my life."
He stood up and put his hand out to Jack, gratified when the older man took it. He hauled him up and they slowly walked back to camp together.
"He was a good influence on me when we first met," Daniel offered. Jack was surprised, he'd rarely heard much about Daniel's younger life.
"I was away from foster homes, sixteen, living at college in one of the dorms, younger than everyone else and wild. I was free, you know?"
Jack grinned. He knew.
"I had to go to the archaeology lab one day, I hadn't been there long, and I saw him. Twenty-six years old, the sexiest man I'd ever laid eyes on. I fell head over heels in love with him on the spot."
"You already knew you were gay?" Jack asked gently.
"Yeah. A guy in one of my foster homes snuck into my bed one night when I was fourteen. I didn't mind. We messed around for months, not doing much more than getting each other off. I was cool about it then, so when I really fell for Fai I knew it wasn't just something that would pass in a few days."
"How long were you guys together?"
"That's a long time when you're that young," Jack answered, astounded.
"Yeah. Told you. It wasn't just some kiddie puppy love thing on my part. I've never stopped loving him."
"Why didn't you go back to him before?"
"Just the way things worked out. The first couple of years, I was still hurting. He'd decided to come home when I'd been offered a scholarship to Oxford. He didn't want to come with me. I know why now, of course. Apart from the fact that he was homesick, he wanted to make sure that we were meant to be together."
"So, what happened then?" Jack sat on the edge of the dune, looking down on the others making breakfast. He figured they'd have a couple more minutes.
Daniel sat next to him.
"I messed around, played the field. Male, female, didn't give a shit. Just wanted to forget him. But I couldn't. Then I met a god," Daniel grinned. "Trouble was, he was straight."
"That could throw a damper in the works," Jack grinned.
"It did - for a while. We became the best of friends, and I fell for him big time. Told him, asked him out, he said yes - he was curious I guess. We were together until I got offered the post in Chicago about the same time that he was offered a job in the Gulf. Both of us were tempted to say no, but we didn't. We're still in touch, by the way," he smirked. "He's one of the few people I never stopped being in touch with. He went ballistic when I disappeared for that year. I had to phone him and speak to him as soon as I got back. It took some serious feather smoothing before he calmed down."
"Sounds like a nice guy."
"You'd love him. He's terminally insane. I've never laughed so much in my life." Daniel sighed and looked out across the desert, as if he'd be able to see into the past. "But even though I truly loved him, part of me was here, with Fai. I missed him so much. Even when I was on Abydos, I was thinking of him from time to time. He'd love it there, he'd have been so much better than me on that first mission. Though if he'd been the one to be given Shau're, heaven only knows what would have happened." Daniel chuckled to himself at the thought and then he stood up. "I think they're waiting for us."
Without looking to see whether Jack was following or not, he marched down the side of the dune and straight back into the camp. He sat next to Faisal who was currently eyeing up the military rations that he'd been given. He shook his head, went to their supplies and pulled out some flat bread and dates - not much, but it kept reasonably fresh for a while. They left their tinned rations till the end of an expedition. He handed some to Daniel, offered the others some but they declined, only Teal'c accepting a taste and liking what he was given. Little was being said, till Faisal spoke out.
"If I get the clearance, I'm going back with you, Daniel. I'm not staying here without you, and you're needed there."
"You are needed here, Faisal," Daniel interjected.
"Not as much. Nobody knows as much as you about the Goa'uld, apart from Teal'c. That's if I understand what I've been told so far?" he questioned the others and got a nod all around. "There are hundreds of people that can do my job, Dan. Only you can do your job. I'm coming with you."
"Don't I get a say in this?" Daniel objected, but his eyes were twinkling a little.
"No. You do as I tell you, Daniel."
The others looked on in shock as Faisal made his pronouncement. Only Janet had the nerve to talk to Daniel like that.
"Oh, it's going to be like that, is it?" Daniel challenged.
"It is." Faisal nodded, then picked up his coffee and took a drink, casting a sly look through the corner of his eye at his lover.
"And what if I don't want to go back there?" Again, the challenge. The others were about to say something to encourage him to go home, but Jack raised his hand to quieten them. He'd seen something that they hadn't. Laughter in Daniel's eyes. It was something that he'd missed so much.
"Tough. You said you'd go with me. I'm going. You will come, young man."
Daniel's eyes opened wide. All he said was "Ayir," back. Faisal feigned shock. Daniel had used a word usually used by young men as an insult. He grabbed Daniel's food and put it down, then took hold of him and dragged him to the tent.
Teal'c, Sam and Janet were stunned. Jack fell about laughing.
"What's going on?" Sam demanded.
"Don't worry," came the calm reply. "They're fine, just winding each other up. I think that if Faisal gets cleared, and that's likely, Daniel's going to be coming home."
The others relaxed at those words, relaxing a lot more when they heard, "Oh... GOD FAI!" coming from the tent. That was followed by a few groans and then some laughter. Jack had been right.
"Okay, press here," Daniel said, pointing at some glyphs. Jack had his fingers on them and simultaneously pressed with Daniel on his glyphs. Daniel was right, it was the way to open the door. Faisal gasped in amazement as the door slid back as if it had been doing it every day, and not been left shut for millennia. At least they hoped that that was the case.
Daniel directed the others in what to do, where to place the mirrors to reflect the light inside the pyramid. After about twenty yards of careful steps round one corner and then another, they came to another door. This time it made Daniel grin.
"Look, Teal'c. No way could a Tauri open this one. It's the Goa'uld symbol for the symbiote."
"Indeed it is. Only someone bearing a symbiote can open it. Which is strange, if you consider it." Teal'c reached up to touch the mechanism to open the door.
"True," Daniel replied thoughtfully. "If it can only be opened by a Goa'uld or a Jaffa how would it keep Geb in if someone like Nut or Thoth came to release him? Or else... get out now, Teal'c! And you Sam. Move it!"
He hustled them out, grabbing Faisal as he went. They had got halfway when they heard a crash. Not stopping to look back, they ran the last few feet as quickly as they could.
"It was a trap, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c stated rather obviously. "Yet again your intuition has saved our lives. We have missed you."
Daniel smiled the broadest smile that Jack had seen in a very long time. He reached up and touched Teal'c on his arm.
"I've missed you too, Teal'c." Daniel regrouped and checked that everyone was all right, then he turned to head back inside.
"Where the hell do you think you're going?" Jack demanded.
"The dust has settled, Jack. I'm just going to stick my head in and check it out."
"Not without me, you're not. Teal'c, Carter, you sit this one out. Watch the door. If someone comes out and you don't recognise them, shoot 'em. If one of us comes out with glowing eyes, do the same. Doc, Faisal, stay with 'em."
"Um, no," Faisal argued. "You need someone to watch your back."
"And who's going to watch yours?" Daniel took Faisal by the hand and led him away from the pyramid. "I'll call you if it's safe, Fai, I promise. You won't miss out on anything. In the meantime, let us do this please. We know each other, we can predict how it will go between us. If you're there, you could get hurt - you could inadvertently get one of us hurt. Please, babe, just do as I ask for now. You promised me you'd keep safe, didn't you?"
Faisal muttered his agreement.
"There may be more booby traps, Daniel."
"I know, hun, I know. However, I don't need to communicate with Jack about it, we can read each other in an instant. We've been doing this for years now. Many missions on many different planets. Trust me, please?"
"Okay. But you keep in touch. If we don't hear from you every few minutes I'm coming in."
Daniel agreed, kissed Faisal on the cheek and then headed back inside. The first few mirrors were still standing but after that it got dark. The final ones they'd set up had broken. Daniel sighed when he realised that he'd have to use a torch after all.
"So, Daniel, what if this is covered with debris?" Jack asked when they were about to round the final corner.
"Let's just see, shall we?"
They got there and found that a beam had collapsed in front of the door. Daniel looked up and saw that it had been a false beam, there to look as if it was doing a job, but only there as a trap. He checked it over, it seemed to be the local sandstone.
"Damn. Not sure if the zat will get rid of this. Did Teal'c bring his staff weapon?"
"No. Didn't think we'd be able to sneak that in the country. It's a bit obvious," Jack replied with a grin.
Daniel snorted a laugh back at him. "We can't even get Teal'c in here to help move it out. It's too damned risky. What are we going to do, Jack?"
"Come on, out of here. Let's tell the others and see if they can come up with something."
Daniel radioed to say they were coming out and the two men set off to return to the camp.
"You and Faisal seemed to be enjoying your argument in the tent," Jack teased as they picked their way back.
Daniel flushed a little. "Um, yeah. He knows how to get around me."
"We'd noticed," Jack laughed as they reappeared in the daylight. He looked at Daniel and saw that he was blushing a bit and found he was enjoying teasing him once again. He'd missed their gentle interaction.
Daniel explained the problem and they all went into the big tent to get out of the sun and try to think of a way around the situation.
"Can we zat it?" Jack asked.
"Zat?" Faisal was confused.
"Um, a weapon," Daniel vaguely explained.
They discussed the possibilities and went all around the houses until Jack said, "You guys aren't going to like this, but you know me. I go on a mission, there are a few things that I take with me..."
"C4!" Sam said in delight.
"WHOA! Hold on, Jack," Daniel put in, a little predictably. "We want to get past a stone beam, not bring the whole thing down on top of us."
"I know. A small, shaped charge would do it. Come on, Daniel. You know I know what I'm doing with explosives. It will be very small, just enough to break the stone up into smaller pieces. Not so much a bang as a pffft." Jack grinned as he made his final pronouncement, getting a laugh from Daniel.
"A pffft? You can do a pffft?"
"Pffft - it will be a piece of cake."
"You can turn a rock into a piece of cake with a pffft? I'm impressed."
"You ain't seen nuttin' yet book boy."
"Well, you'd better get your ass in gear and go pffft, flyboy and really impress me."
The others looked on in amused bewilderment as the verbal tennis match played out. Given the animosity between them when they'd arrived, Jack and Daniel had seemed to have put it behind them already.
It appeared that way, but under the surface, Daniel was waiting for Jack to snap at him, and Jack was waiting for Daniel to walk out of his life for good.
"Daniel? Will Jack be able to do as he said?" asked a worried Faisal as Jack walked out of the tent to get what he wanted. "We can't afford any damage inside the pyramid."
"He will. Despite the teasing, Fai, Jack is an expert with C4. He'll mould the plastic into a shape which will deliver the energy of the blast in exactly the direction he wants. I've seen him do it. If you create the right shape, you don't need to use as much of the explosive to have the right effect as if you were using something like dynamite. It has an awesome destructive power, but it's actually very safe to work with. Jack won't let anyone get hurt, Fai, and he won't damage the room at all."
Reluctantly, Faisal allowed it. He still had the last say in what happened there, but he couldn't see what else they could do either. No way could non-SGC personnel be allowed inside that pyramid until it had been checked out. They'd likely get killed.
A little while later, Jack was calling out to Daniel to come with him as he marched up to the entry of the pyramid. Daniel took off after him as quickly as he could.
"Wait up Jack," he yelled as he ran towards him. "Don't you dare go in there without me!"
"Wouldn't dream of it, Daniel," Jack replied with a grin.
"Yup. C'mon, let's get in there and blow up some rocks!"
The evil glint in Jack's eye hit the buttons he'd set out to hit, and he quickly ducked when Daniel swiped his hand out at him.
"Just yankin' your chain, Danny," he said gently.
"Grrr - don't! Just let's get in there and plant this stuff, then we can get out before you blow it." Daniel's voice had a hint of exasperation mixed with a hint of desperation (along with the tiniest amount of query).
They got to the beam, Jack searching it for cracks and weaknesses. He found a couple and shaped some of the plastic, moulding it into the best shapes. Daniel constantly watched out for signs that another booby trap was about to be triggered, sighing with relief the moment he heard Jack announce that he had finished. They quickly made their way out and warned the others that they were about to blow it.
Despite Faisal's worries to the contrary, there wasn't so much a bang as a pop. Jack and Daniel went in first, then called Faisal and Janet, leaving Teal'c and Sam at the doorway, warily listening in and prepared to react at a moment's notice.
"Look, Fai," Daniel called as they finished clearing away the much smaller pieces of rock. He pointed out a series of glyphs that he hadn't noticed before.
"It's a warning," Faisal announced to the others who were listening in. "Telling us of dire consequences if we open the door. We'll bring Ra's wrath down on us."
"That'll be hard," Jack sneered, "seein' as we nuked him and all."
Faisal's eyes opened wide. Daniel's talk of the gate and the first mission had mentioned Ra, but not what they'd done to him.
"Don't ask, Fai. At least not yet. Wait till we get you installed at the SGC and then I'll be able to show you mission reports and the like."
Faisal said nothing out loud but mouthed the word 'nuke' at him in query, his eyebrows emphasising his curiosity. Daniel just gave him a secretive grin and carried on with the translation. Faisal shook himself and helped out, getting it done as quickly as they could.
"There are no obvious warnings," Faisal finally announced.
"Agreed," added Daniel. "I'm not seeing anything that sets my warning bells off either. However, we should still be extra cautious."
"Can you open the door?" Jack asked.
"Yes, I think so," came the distracted reply. Daniel's fingers quickly moved over the inscriptions and he stretched them out so that they pressed a few of the individual hieroglyphs. "Jack, get ready."
A shuddering noise rattled through the chamber that they were in, the ground shaking a little as if a mild tremor had hit. Then the barrier to the next room opened upwards.
"That's a bit too Indiana Jones for my liking, Danny," drawled Jack. "Just make sure you don't drop your boonie, will ya?"
Daniel flipped Jack the bird and went to step inside the next chamber. Jack put his hand on Daniel's shoulder and shook his head. 'Uh huh, Danny Boy, me first,' unspoken words but understood meaning. Daniel gave Jack a tight nod and let him go first.
"Stay here, Fai. Jan, sit on him if you have to. You only come in if I call you, 'kay?"
Faisal looked as if he was about to argue, but he caught himself and said nothing. Instead he looked Daniel in the eye and nodded, but when Daniel turned to leave he grabbed him by the shoulder and pulled him close.
"Be careful," he growled. "Don't make me come and rescue you."
Daniel snorted a bit, kissed his cheek and then hurried after Jack.
A little way into the dark chamber, which seemed to be a corridor of some sort, Jack said, "He's a bit protective of you, Daniel."
"And you weren't?"
"Never said I wasn't," Jack replied, wincing at the choice of the past tense. "The more I know him, the more I like him."
"Good. I'm glad, Jack. That means a lot to me."
"Daniel, are we okay?"
"Not yet, Jack. We're getting there, but it's going to take me a long time to trust you again."
"I know. You will be able to, I promise."
Daniel stopped in his tracks.
"Don't make promises, Jack. Just live it."
They continued their movements till they reached yet another door. As they had seen nothing out of the ordinary, Jack called up and gave Janet and Faisal permission to come after them. They arrived to find Daniel already trying to read the next set of glyphs.
"Dammit, it's like a puzzle!" he complained vociferously.
"Dan, calm down," Faisal's soothing words came back at him. "You love puzzles, remember? It's what you're good at. Now, what does it say?"
Jack and Janet noticed that under Faisal's gentle direction, Daniel's demeanour changed. Instead of being uptight and ready to blow, he was more his old academic self. Interested, fascinated, wanting to solve the puzzle before him.
"This one is going to take a while, Jack," his familiar 'distracted' tone warned.
"How about you film it and we work on it outside in the light, Daniel?"
"Hmm, yeah. Could you get the camera?"
Daniel hadn't taken his eyes off the glyphs which purely adorned one area of the door. Unlike before, where the glyphs had adorned the sides and pillars, this was in the centre. Daniel's gut feeling was that this was the final door. He also had the feeling that if he pressed the wrong glyphs he and maybe the others could get hurt.
Taking a chance, Jack asked that Sam be the one to bring the camera in. His own gut feeling was that as long as she or Teal'c didn't actually touch any of the glyphs they should be fine. She followed his instructions quickly and soon appeared, bringing a more powerful torch to light up the very dark room. As quickly as they could, they filmed all of the glyphs and headed back to camp.
Daniel didn't pause, but headed straight to his tent and booted up the laptop that he'd brought. He waited impatiently for it to start up muttering dire threats in the direction of Bill Gates if his Windows program didn't work faster.
Jack watched him from the entrance of the tent, knowing that despite his apparent obliviousness towards his surroundings, Daniel knew that he was there.
"Take your time, Daniel. There's no rush to get back to the SGC today."
Daniel's head snapped back as if he was going to say something to Jack, then he cocked his head, grinned and nodded, turning back to his computer which had finally reached the desktop. He downloaded the film, called Sam in to help him clear up the image and paced around while she did her work.
"OUT!" she shouted, knowing that he was going to annoy the hell out of her. "Go, get something to eat or something. I'll call you the minute it's done."
"Sam, let me wait. I'll be good."
"No, you won't. You'll bug the crap out of me."
"Missed you," he crooned.
She turned her head and smiled sweetly.
"Missed you too. Are you really coming home?" Her voice sounded like she couldn't believe it.
"If Fai comes, then yeah."
"Good. You and the Colonel seem to be getting on okay?"
"So far, so good. Not sure how long it's going to last, but there you go."
"Don't you trust him?"
"Not as far as I can throw him. But if Fai's going to be there, it won't be so bad. However, if it gets like that again, I'm coming back here for good."
"I understand," she replied quietly. "I'll do what I can to help, 'kay?"
"'Kay," he said, bending over and kissing her cheek.
"Now, get lost. I'll call you as soon as I'm done."
"Yeah, sure, you betcha!"
Hours later and various curses in multiple languages could be heard from the tent. Daniel kept thinking that he'd got it, but then the next glyph along would throw him.
"Dammit, Fai, it's not making any sense!"
"It's a puzzle, Daniel. It's not supposed to make any sense. How about we take a walk?"
"I don't want a walk!"
Faisal looked askance, then grinned. "So, you're going to throw a tantrum?" he goaded.
"I do NOT have fucking tantrums!" Daniel's eyes flashed angrily at his lover as he turned to glare at him. Seeing Faisal's laughing eyes though, he stopped. "Bastard. Stop it. I need to get this done, Fai. You could just help me, you know."
"Haven't I been?" he chuckled. Then he walked to Daniel, took his hand and pulled him to stand.
Holding him closely, he rubbed Daniel's back and shoulders and spoke softly to him.
"What's the panic, Daniel? There is no time delineation here. If I have to return to Cairo, I will go alone and make all the arrangements for us to go to America. You can stay here. I'm sure that your general will send you more supplies if you ask for them."
"Don't go," Daniel whispered. "Please, Fai, don't leave me."
"It would only be for a few days, until you've solved your puzzle. Then we can be together, my Daniel. I'm not leaving you. I'm never going to leave you again, I promise. I lost you once, I'm not going to go through the misery associated with losing you all over again. You have to trust me, baby."
"I trust you, Fai. It's just..."
"I walked on you once, you don't believe I won't do it again. I understand. But remember the circumstances back then, Daniel. Remember what it was like for us. We had to be sure, we had to know. I thought I was doing the right thing, and knowing what has happened since, I think I did do the right thing, no matter how painful."
"You did, Fai. I don't blame you for it. I understand."
"I never stopped thinking about you. Never settled with anyone again. No matter how insane you drove me, you were the only one for me, Daniel. So don't be afraid. The sooner I get back to Cairo, the sooner we can be together in America."
"I'm not going back without you, Fai. I'm going to Cairo too, and I'll wait for you before we go there. I'm not going back on my own."
"What are you afraid of?"
"Afraid? Nothing. I just don't want to go back without you, that's all." Daniel's voice trailed off, then he snapped back upright and said, "This is not getting the translation done or the puzzle figured out. Come on, perhaps you can trigger something else in my mind."
They headed back to the table and sat, poring over the pictures of the glyphs, arguing about the context and content.
Outside, Jack paced up and down till the others sat him down in the sand.
"Calm down, Colonel," Sam chided. "Daniel's working as quickly as he can."
"I know, I know." Jack dropped his head in his hands, resting his elbows on his drawn up knees.
"He will also return to the SGC with us, O'Neill. Surely that news pleases you?"
Jack looked up and gave a weak smile. "It pleases me greatly, Teal'c. I've missed him."
"As have we all. You must ensure that you return to your old friendship ways with him. He will not tolerate your past abuses."
"I know. I won't treat him like that again, I promise."
Janet sat next to him and put her hand on his shoulder, stroking him gently.
"Jack," she said quietly, "can we talk, please? It's something personal."
He turned his head slowly and looked at her, then nodded wordlessly. They stood up, announced that they were going for a walk and then took themselves out of earshot, sitting on top of a dune.
"How will you cope with him there?" she asked.
"How will you cope with Faisal there, Jack? I know you're in love with Daniel."
Jack said nothing, then grinned. He should have known she'd know.
"I'll cope. Having Daniel there as my friend is a damned sight better than not having him around at all. I like Faisal, he's a nice man. Kinda reminds me of Daniel in some ways."
"Funny that, I thought he reminded me of you," Janet teased. "The older man, taking care of him, making sure that he eats, sleeps, behaves..." Janet's voice broke off with a little giggle.
"Ack! Don't remind me. I know I used to be like that with him."
"So, how much does it hurt to see them together?"
Again, Jack dropped his head in his hands. "It broke my heart the minute I saw them in bed together. But, it's all my fault and I know it. I drove him back. And Faisal makes him happy. I really can live with that, Janet. Daniel means everything to me. If it takes Faisal to make him happy, to put that smile back on his face, then that's okay. Daniel's happy, so I'm happy."
Janet patted his thigh and stood up.
"Good. If you need to talk though, Jack, you know where I am."
"Thanks, Jan. You're a good friend."
"So, dare I ask?" Jack asked as they all sat eating their evening meal.
"No," Daniel groaned.
"What does it 'actually' say, Daniel?" asked Sam.
"That's just it, we can't agree on it. Look, some glyphs were phonetic, being written like letters of our alphabet. Whereas, others were pictographs. Unfortunately, a lot depends on the context as to what they mean. For example, 'khd' means to 'go north'. It also means to 'go downstream'. The two meanings are tied to the Nile, which flows northwards to the Med. But. Given the context that we're talking about, I think that 'khd' here means that it's the way to the afterlife."
"Daniel, how many times to I have to tell you, it's nothing to do with it!" Faisal objected.
"Fai, please, hear me out, will you? I've looked at every glyph. In and of themselves, they make sense but put them together as a whole and they don't. BUT. If you take a more vague 'sense' of what a word can mean, it tells me which glyphs to push."
"Vague?" Jack didn't like the sound of that.
"Vague!" Faisal agreed. "Too vague. And you say that if you get the wrong meaning it could trigger a booby trap?"
"It's my best guess, yes," Daniel nodded.
"So, why do you think that this ked word or whatever it is, is the clue?" Jack prompted. Past experience had taught him that Daniel's vague theories had a habit of being right.
"Okay," Daniel put his food down and stared at Jack. "Some glyphs talk of 'nejs' or the individual. There is also mention of doors, temples, prisons, god only knows what. Taken as individual sentences it says things like 'the man went downstream' and 'the priest prayed at the temple'. Nothing wrong with them as such, but put in the way they are, they are just sentences that have no connection to each other. But if you take the vaguest meanings for them, the man going downstream could mean that he had died, then the next sentence makes more sense as it stands in connection with it. Every sentence is like this - they talk of going, of being dead, of religious ceremonies. This is why I think that behind that door is where we'll find Geb - or at least his remains. My suspicion is that he's alive and in a sarc. Think about it. Ra was your typical snake. Geb pissed him off. So, he does what all predictable snakes do."
"Kill him off, do the revival in the sarc thing and then kill him again before locking him up there for good."
"Exactly!" Daniel stood up excitedly. He knew that Jack was getting there, almost understanding him. "Every other sentence either mentions death directly or gives us vague metaphors."
"Conjecture, Daniel, you're seeing what you want to see," Faisal interrupted.
"Maybe. But there had to be something there for it to trigger that thought," Daniel argued.
"If it's every other sentence, what happens if you read all the other sentences in order?" Sam asked thoughtfully.
Daniel took off and ran to the tent, grabbed the notepad on which he had written the translation and came back.
"Sam, you're a genius," he puffed when he sat back down. Then he read out every other sentence.
"The great god Ra." He ran his finger over the script that he had written in Arabic, mentally translating as he read it out. "Captured the lowly man. The god Geb. He was as nothing. The great one imprisoned the individual, or that could be the 'one'. The priest prayed at the temple. The door opened."
"I think that's it!" he suddenly cried. "There's a prayer here, right at the bottom. All I have to do is read it out and the door should open."
Faisal snatched the paper off him and read the prayer out in the traditional way of voicing the glyphs.
"No, Fai, it's not like that." Daniel took it back and reread it, the intonation was different, the sounds not quite the same as Faisal had said them. He looked confused.
"Oh, I spoke this language on Abydos, Fai. It's the language that they used to speak here, it's how it was pronounced. Similar but not the same. It took me a while to learn the inflections but this is how they were said. You'll have to just trust me on this one."
Faisal looked at him and grinned. "You have more in common with my people than I do, Daniel."
"No, Fai, just more practise. It's a beautiful language. When you come back with me, I'll teach it to you."
"Make sure you do," Faisal said, his voice becoming hard, back in his 'teacher' tone, making Daniel laugh at him.
"So, shall we?" Daniel asked as he stood back up and made his way back to the pyramid.
"Why don't we wait till morning, Danny?" Jack called out. "It's getting late."
"I will keep watch, O'Neill," Teal'c announced, not letting Daniel argue with him.
Daniel was about to object, but he gave in. He was feeling a little tired anyway. The morning would be good.
Faisal watched as his lover hurriedly stripped off his clothes, keeping to himself the wonder that he felt whenever he saw him. Daniel felt Faisal's eyes on him and slowly turned, now naked, to face him.
"Like what you see?" he murmured.
"It is the most beautiful sight," Faisal replied. His voice was light but there was no mistaking the sincerity of his words.
Daniel moved closer to him and then put his finger on Faisal's lips.
"Not a sound, babe."
He lifted Faisal's robe off him and raked the older man's still slim and tight body with his eyes.
"Stay there," Daniel whispered. "Don't move."
Daniel moved behind him and kissed his neck and then his shoulders. He trailed his lips down the back of his lover's arms and then over his shoulder blades. Working his way down Faisal's spine with his tongue, his hands started a slow, sensual journey up his legs, inside, outside, anywhere they could touch. He nudged Faisal's legs apart slightly as he dropped to his knees. He placed reverential kisses on Faisal's buttocks and then shuffled around on his knees till he was face-to-face with his goal.
He gave a preliminary lick of Faisal's hard shaft before nuzzling his groin, letting his face stroke the weeping cock. Faisal did his best to keep silent, but occasionally let out quiet gasps as Daniel worked. He hissed when he felt Daniel take first one, then the other sac into his mouth, bathing them with his spit. When the cooler air hit the wet balls he had to fight back a moan. Then, 'finally' in Faisal's mind, he saw and felt Daniel taking the head of his cock in his mouth.
It took all of Faisal's powers of self-control not to grab Daniel by the head and just fuck his mouth. Instead he let the younger man do what he knew he was so good at. Centimetre by centimetre, Daniel took more and more, licking, sucking, occasionally gently rasping the sensitive skin with his teeth as he knew Faisal loved.
"Dan, babe, please. Can't hold on," he gasped.
Daniel looked up through his eyelashes and his lips curved into a smile. That was Faisal's undoing and he came, pouring into Daniel's mouth.
Daniel caught him as his legs wobbled and pulled him down onto the sand.
"I love you so much," Faisal groaned when he finally got enough brain cells back.
"Prove it," Daniel challenged.
Faisal growled wildly, pushed Daniel onto his back and returned the favour. He laid kisses on him that would have tempted a eunuch, suckled and bit his neck, leaving bite marks in a trail from his ear to his shoulder. Moving down, he teased at Daniel's nipples, sucking and biting them till they stood hard and proud, then he continued down, and with a skill perfected over many years, took Daniel whole.
This time it was Daniel's turn to use all his self-control to keep quiet. He loved this, loved sucking and being sucked more than anything. And when Faisal swallowed him like this he lost all ability to think and was only able to react. He did his best to hold his hips down, but it wasn't easy. Faisal's talented mouth was working him like never before. It didn't take Daniel long, he gasped out a warning and then came to his own climax, violently spurting down Faisal's throat.
He became aware that Faisal was holding him in his arms, stroking his stomach and soothing him through his final shudders.
"Wow," was all he could say for the minute.
Mouth found mouth and they kissed deeply, sensuously and passionately till the chill of the night air forced them to stop and find their way to the sleeping bag.
"Night, Dan," Faisal said, taking Daniel into his arms and holding him tightly.
"Goodnight, Fai," came the sleepy reply. "Love you."
"I pray to the great one, the lord of the heavens and the earth. I pray to Ra, the one true god."
The words stuck in Daniel's throat, but to open the door he had to say them, and say them as if he meant them. To the others, it sounded like a beautiful chant or incantation, but to him it was a travesty.
"I pray to you to open the door, to let me in to carry on your works in your name."
He stood back, ushering the others out of the way, just in case.
"I pray that you will consider me worthy and allow me to continue your wondrous labour."
'Crap', he thought. 'It's all crap. "Wondrous labour" indeed. Fucking torture, that's what it is.'
"Give me leave, oh lord, and grant me passage to the next world."
There was a rumble, the ground shook in more violent tremors than had happened before. The barrier in front of them shuddered as it started to move, the mechanism grinding as it shifted the heavy block. Eventually it was open and they cautiously entered, leaving Janet and Faisal outside for the moment, just in case the door should start to shut. Hopefully, Faisal would remember the incantation and reopen the door.
As predicted, it was the central chamber and the last one. There was indeed a sarcophagus there.
Jack drew his gun as did Sam. They pointed them at the top of the sarcophagus before Jack nodded at Daniel to open it. Tentatively, he pushed the mechanism and it slid open the cover.
Inside was a man in king's clothes, an uraeus on his head. Daniel reached in to take it off him, thinking that this may be a weapon. As his hand nervously approached, the man grabbed him holding his wrist tightly.
"LET HIM GO!" Jack shouted, firing his handgun at the man. The bullets bounced harmlessly off him. Daniel had been right, the uraeus was indeed a shield. He prayed that he was wrong about it being a weapon. He wasn't. A blast of energy, glowing red, shot at Jack, sending him flying through the air and smashing into the wall.
"STOP IT!" Daniel screamed. "LEAVE HIM ALONE!"
He distracted the Goa'uld long enough and shuddered when he saw him turn to look at him. In Daniel's eyes, he was the image of Skarra.
"Who are you?" Daniel demanded.
"I am your lord Geb," came the reply.
"You are a Goa'uld," Daniel answered. "You are not a god, you are nothing but a parasite."
"You know of us?" Geb was 'fascinated' by Daniel. Daniel groaned. He knew that look. Ra had had it, Hathor had had it - God only knew which other snakes had been 'fascinated' by Daniel Jackson. It got boring after a while.
"Yeah. I've spent the last six years killing your kind," Daniel sneered. Then his face broke into a smile (hiding the fact that his wrist hurt like hell where Geb was grasping it). "We started with Ra, by the way. Thought you'd want to know that."
Geb tried to match Daniel's sneer, but somehow he didn't pull it off.
"YOU? You killed RA?"
"Oh yeah. Among others. You want a list?"
"Go ahead," Geb's voice was filled with amusement. "It will be good to know who will be out there, waiting for me." Still holding Daniel's wrist, he got himself out of the sarcophagus.
Daniel saw a little movement out of the corner of his eye. Janet and Faisal were at the door, wondering what was going on. Faisal's reaction to the scene was one of shock and Janet had to grab him to keep him still. Teal'c had moved silently behind Geb and Daniel knew now that he'd have to keep Geb well and truly occupied. If he didn't his friends and his lover would suffer - he couldn't bear the thought of that. Jack was still out cold, with Sam tending to him, knife in hand though and ready to attack if Geb hurt Daniel anymore than he was already doing.
"Well, let's see. We aided Apophis when he killed Heru'ur, not to mention we had a big hand in his disposal of Sokar. Of course, we've actually killed Cronus, Hathor, Seth..." his voice trailed off for a moment, then his back straightened and his voice hardened to steel. "Apophis and Amaunet." He stared into Geb's eyes, trying to keep the snake's attention on himself. "And of course, we've been instrumental in the downfall of a number of other snakes."
"Thank you," Geb said unconvincingly. "You have done me a great favour. Ra held me here for many years, torturing me, killing me... reviving me. Who are you?" Geb was seriously interested now, and totally oblivious to the threat that loomed large (six four and 220 lbs, anyway) behind him.
"We are Tok'ra," Daniel answered truthfully. Tok Ra - against Ra. Absolutely. Just because they didn't have the snakes in their heads didn't make them less than the so-called 'real' Tok'ra. Sam raised an eyebrow at that but didn't react otherwise. Teal'c, however, realised that Geb's peripheral attention was at an all-time low. His hand flashed out and the next thing Daniel knew was that he was laying on the floor in agony.
As Teal'c had thrust his knife into Geb's neck, Geb's reaction had been to fall forward. Unfortunately for Daniel, his wrist and arm ended up going in opposite directions as Geb's body twisted, taking him with him and landing on Daniel's arm. He let out a yell as the Goa'uld snapped his arm. Teal'c quickly grabbed the Goa'uld and pulled him off Daniel. Janet ran in and went straight to Daniel, checking out his arm while Teal'c pulled out his zat and quickly disposed of Geb for good after removing the uraeus to take back to the SGC.
"No, Jan, go to Jack," Daniel argued.
"Hush, let me do my job. I'll see to him in a minute. Damn, your wrist is snapped in half, Daniel."
"I know that, Janet. Please, see to Jack first."
With a sigh, she turned and checked out the still unconscious Jack.
"He's breathing steadily, his heart rate is good. He'll wake up with a nasty headache, maybe mild concussion, but I doubt it will be worse than that."
"Get him in the sarc, Teal'c," Daniel ordered, as Faisal moved behind him and helped him sit up.
Faisal watched as Teal'c lifted Jack and carried him to the sarcophagus, gently laying him in there before closing the lid.
"What's going on?" he asked Daniel as he cradled his lover in his arms.
"The sarc is a healing device, Fai. Jack will be out in a minute and fine."
"I'd say I wouldn't believe that but after what I've just seen, I'm not so sure."
Daniel gave Faisal a weak smile for that, but the pain in his arm was great.
"Hey, Jan, have you got anything for the pain?"
"How about going in the sarc too, Daniel?"
"Nuh huh, you know what will happen if I go in there."
"Daniel?" Faisal was confused. Surely a broken arm was worse than a comparatively small bump on the head.
"I, um, well, you can get addicted to the sarcophagus, Fai. It takes away your ability to distinguish between right and wrong. It basically takes away your soul."
"So why are you putting Jack in there?"
"It's okay for the odd use now and then, especially if it's fixing something. But too many uses..." He dropped his head and didn't say any more.
Janet moved closer to him and put her hand on his shoulder.
"Daniel, it won't affect you, not with one go."
"Can you guarantee it, Janet? Because as sure as hell, I'm not going through that withdrawal again."
"No," she sighed, "I can't. Best guess is you'd be okay with it. And with only one use, the effects would be minimal. You'd likely be grouchy at worst. No more so than when you haven't had enough coffee."
Her gentle teasing made him smile a little. He was going to answer, but the sound of the sarcophagus opening made everyone's heads turn.
Jack sat up with a smile on his face.
"Hey kids, have I missed anything?"
Three weeks later and Daniel was at his wits' end. They'd made it back to the Springs, found a house for them to live in together, and were now trying to open boxes and put things away on shelves that weren't even up yet. Jack had promised to help get the shelves up as the men hadn't had the time to do it yet, but he hadn't made it.
"Daniel, calm down. Come on, we can put them up ourselves."
"Fai, they're not here! I gave Jack the money. He was supposed to go and get them and then bring them all in his truck and then we'd get them up. But he's not here."
Faisal sighed, took Daniel by the hand and led him to the one room where everything was ready - the kitchen. He sat him on a stool by the breakfast bar and poured him a coffee.
"Here, drink that. I think that you're getting a little overwrought. I know you're frustrated with your arm in plaster, Dan, but you had the chance to do the miracle cure thing."
"I told you why, Fai..."
"I know, and I understand. But what it means is you have to be patient, Daniel."
Daniel inhaled the aroma of his favourite coffee and then took a sip.
"I know, I'm sorry hun, I don't mean to take it out on you. It's really really frustrating though. I mean, it's my right hand which means I can't even..."
"I can do that for you," sniggered Faisal.
"I was going to say 'write'," Daniel snapped.
"That's what I meant!"
"Yeah, right. I believe you," came the reply, but at least Daniel's eyes were a bit better-humoured.
He stood up and put his hands out to his lover. Faisal fell into his arms and they embraced, kissing deeply. Faisal's fingers started to undo Daniel's shirt, kissing his skin as it became exposed.
"Fai, Jack's due over here, he's late as it is. We can't."
"You want to."
"I always want to with you. But we can't."
"We can. He can wait."
Not taking no for an answer, Faisal undid Daniel's shirt all the way and then his jeans, grinning at the fact that his lover wasn't wearing his boxers. He lay kisses at the points that he knew would affect Daniel's judgement.
"PleaseFaiplease," Daniel babbled. "JussdoitforGod'ssakejussfuckmeplease."
"You want?" Faisal teased.
Daniel just growled in response.
"Bend over," came the instruction.
Faisal grabbed some cooking oil and lubed himself with it. He'd willingly undergone testing as soon as Daniel had come back into his life to prove that he was clean - not that Daniel hadn't believed him, but he'd felt the need to show to Daniel that his life without him had been 'uneventful'. As Daniel couldn't say that his life had been uneventful, he'd gone through it willingly and unconcerned too. The freedom given to them to play had resulted in some increasingly imaginative lovemaking. But for now, this was Faisal's way of distracting Daniel, taking his mind off everything.
He left Daniel's jeans on him, trapping him around the knees. Then he made him hold onto the breakfast bar with his good hand and bend, standing behind him and getting ready to push.
Trying to bite down on his laughter, Faisal pushed, sliding quickly and easily inside his love. He plastered his stomach against Daniel's bare back, then, annoyed by his own shirt, he pulled back, yanked it off and then enjoyed the thrill of skin on skin as he lay back.
Slowly, he pumped his hips.
"Okay?" he asked again.
"Hmm. More, Fai." Daniel sounded almost drowsy.
Faisal pulled right back, letting his body come all the way from Daniel. Then he slammed back in hard.
Again, and again, and again, with a level of control that surprised even himself, Faisal pulled out slowly, then moved slightly and then slammed back in. Daniel felt his cock jump with each thrust.
"LoveyouFailoveyou." More babbling, less coherence from Daniel. Faisal knew he wouldn't be long. He hadn't even touched Daniel yet, but couldn't resist. He reached around and took his cock in his hand and started to work him; short, sharp strokes in contrast to his long, deep, slow thrusts. He wasn't sure how he was managing the co-ordination, as it wasn't usually his strong point.
Soon, Daniel's back arched slightly and Faisal felt the warm, sticky liquid as it spilled over his hand. He gave a few more thrusts inside the spasming muscles and came himself.
"God, Daniel," he panted against his back. "I love you so much, my baby."
"Love you too," came the exhausted reply.
Faisal pulled out and Daniel shakily turned round to him.
"You okay now?"
"Yeah, I needed that. Thanks, Fai. That was amazing."
"I try," shrugged Faisal with false modesty.
Jack had been unable to take his eyes off the scene. He'd been about to deliver the shelves around the back of the house, having been delayed by a truck that wouldn't start, followed by traffic jams and heaven only knew what else. And there they were. Faisal, kissing Daniel, undressing him, then making love to him. Daniel moaning and thrashing his head around, then he was coming. Jack thought that he had never seen a more beautiful sight than Daniel's face at that moment. He picked the shelves back up and crept around the front of the house, away from the kitchen. When at the front door he paused for a minute or so, then knocked loudly, waiting till a slightly red-faced Daniel opened it.
"Sorry I'm late, had a bastard of a morning," he announced a little over-cheerfully. "Shall we?"
Daniel stepped back and let him in, just knowing that Jack had seen them. He gave a mental shrug. There was nothing he could do about that. And if nothing else, it would reinforce his relationship with Faisal in Jack's mind.
Sighing quietly, he followed Jack, steering him to the room that was going to be used as a library. They had a lot of work to do.
Yet another three weeks later and they were in Cheyenne Mountain. Daniel's wrist was finally out of its cast, and they'd settled down in their new home. They'd actually been working there for a week, Daniel resuming his old post as head of department, and his old position on SG-1. Captain Anthony had gladly stepped aside for him. She hadn't been sent to Egypt by Hammond because he'd hoped that with only his friends around him, Daniel may be persuaded to return. And besides, with the best linguist out there already, it would have been pointless.
Daniel was gearing up and getting ready for his first official mission in months.
"Hey Danny, you ready to go?" Jack was standing at the door to the gear up room, propping up the post and generally grinning from ear to ear.
"Yeah, just about. Just have to go back to the lab and issue a few last minute instructions."
"AHT! We're going to be shipping out in..."
"Fifteen minutes. I know, I know. Don't be late. Jeez, Jack, change the record already, will you?"
Also in the gear up room was Colonel Walker with his team. They pretty much ignored SG-1, all except Walker anyway. He couldn't take his eyes off Daniel and Jack, noticing the difference in their attitudes to each other.
Daniel grabbed his kitbag and slung it over his shoulder.
"Five minutes, Jack. I've got to do this or I'll come back to chaos."
"FIVE, Daniel," came the good-humoured growl.
"Yeah, yeah." Daniel scooted off and out of the room as quickly as he could go. Jack looked over to Walker and nodded, getting one in reply. Then he turned on his heel and followed Daniel. It was the only way he'd get him there on time.
He arrived at Daniel's lab in time to hear him cursing in about fifteen languages, before finally settling down with a single language rant at one poor individual. Jack stuck his head around the door in amusement and watched as Daniel bawled out some poor guy for using the unforgivable; Budge.
"Two minutes, Daniel," he called out, giving the poor man a reprieve.
"Okay, okay, I'm coming," Daniel snapped back, only to get his own attention distracted by Faisal's appearance at one of the doors to the lab.
"Hey, Daniel. We should go here," he said, his head in a folder.
"Look!" He pointed at a picture taken by a UAV. In it he could see the distinct shape of a pyramid, but made of grass and earth.
"We will, Fai, but not yet. SGs 5 and 11 are already up to their necks. We can't ask any other teams to babysit, they don't like it. I'll have a good look when I get back, okay?"
"C'mon, Dan," Faisal was turning on the charm. "How about a small, exploratory mission, huh?"
Daniel rolled his eyes, grinned, and not caring a bit who saw them, he kissed Faisal's cheek.
"I'll do what I can when I get back, I promise. A small, exploratory mission may be possible."
Faisal dropped a kiss back on Daniel's cheek, wished him good luck for his trip out, grinned as Jack grabbed hold of Daniel and hauled him bodily in the direction of the gate room.
"Yeah, still got the touch," he said to no one in particular and went back to work.