'The Drake Equation' by Eos

Part 3

Jack didn't have to step fully inside to know Daniel was there. His breathing was harsh, too noisy. Jack moved quickly to kneel by Daniel's pallet. He felt the heat radiating from Daniel's body even without touching him.

"Fuck, Daniel," Jack muttered. Daniel shifted restlessly and started to cough, a wet sound. "Fuck, fuck, Daniel fuck."

"Mmm no, sick," Daniel mumbled, stirring restlessly but unable or unwilling to open his eyes.

"I know, I know," Jack said in a soothing tone, trying to coax him into quieting down again. He left Daniel on the pallet while he tossed a couple of skins outside. It was noticeably cooler outside of the cabin, and Jack knew he was going to need any help he could get to bring Daniel's temperature down.

"Daniel?" Jack approached Daniel quietly, not wanting to startle him. When Daniel didn't respond, Jack gently felt his forehead.

"Goddamnit," Jack snarled to himself.

Getting Daniel to the river was an exercise in determination. Even with Jack's right arm firmly wrapped around Daniel's waist and his left hand pulling Daniel's arm across his own shoulders, Daniel could barely support his own weight. Finally Jack had them both in the water. The shock of the cool water roused Daniel briefly, just enough to set off a coughing jag. Jack sat against the bank cradling Daniel against him, keeping him as low in the water as he could. Jack periodically used his hand to scoop up the cool water and pour it over Daniel's head and pat it against his face. Jack shivered a little. It wasn't unbearably cold, not cold enough that either of them was in any real danger of hypothermia, but it was cold. And wet.

"Only for you, Daniel," Jack said gruffly. He ran his fingers through Daniel's damp hair, pulling the long strands away from his face. "Only for you."

Jack hurried back to the stream, trying not to spill the bowl of berry juice he carried. Daniel had slept fitfully in his arms for most of the night, his fever abating somewhat as dawn drew near. Jack had taken the opportunity to get them both out of the water and dried off. Gambling that Daniel would be safe for a few minutes alone, he'd run back to the cabin for juice and blankets.

"Daniel?" Jack pulled Daniel into semi-sitting position. "Come on, wake up, Daniel."

"Jack?" Daniel asked, the continued congestion in his lungs obvious by the wet sound of his breathing.

"Yeah. Sit up here. You need to drink something or you'll get dehydrated."

"What's wrong?" Daniel asked. He started to cough.

"Fucking pneumonia," Jack muttered as he grasped Daniel firmly against his chest. "Come on, Daniel. Sit up here and breathe, damn it."

Daniel continued to cough weakly, too enervated by the infection and fever to be able to effectively clear his lungs. Jack just held him, rocking them both slightly back and forth. When the spasms lessened, Jack grabbed the cup and held it to Daniel's lips. Daniel sipped some of the liquid but soon sagged back against Jack.

"'nough," Daniel muttered. "Tired."

"Just a little more," Jack coaxed.

"No. Wanna lie down."

"You can't lie down, Daniel. Just sit here with me and drink some more."

"Tired," Daniel repeated.

"Tough. You have to sit here with me."


"Yep. That's me. And I'm going to keep on being a prick until you're better...because the alternative is not acceptable."

Jack glanced over at Daniel, sleeping heavily on his pallet. The fever had broken three days earlier, and Daniel had done little but sleep since then. His lungs were still congested, and he had a tendency to go on coughing jags that scared Jack, but his condition had definitely improved.

Jack let his eyes fall back on Daniel's journal. He didn't feel particularly guilty for reading it. After all, Daniel had written it in the hope that someone, someday, would read about their adventures. More and more it seemed that the odds were that Jack was the only person who would ever have that opportunity. He flipped the pages at random, skimming through fragments of Daniel's thoughts.

I miss Sam and Teal'c. Not that I'd want them stranded. But what if they are? What if they were kidnapped by the Djouma, too? I haven't had the heart to mention the possibility. Not that I need to. I'm sure Jack considered the possibility even before I did, but he insists that they're back at the S.G.C. trying to find us and giving hell to anyone who gets in their way. The cabin's not much to look at, but it's home. And it's not the worst one I've lived in by far. Jack caught a lizard-duck today. Ugly bastard. The duck, that is—not Jack. Tastes like chicken.

Jack's eyes were arrested by a few words at the top of one page.

Jack and I have become intimate. Physically. I don't apologize for that. Regardless of prevailing human 'morality', the fact is that we're stranded. Just the two of us. And I know for sure that neither of us took a vow of celibacy when we joined the S.G.C. It's a matter of convenience, or necessity.
At least for Jack it is.


"How are you feeling?" Jack set the journal aside and crawled over to Daniel's side. Daniel looked up from where he was huddled under a fur and smiled.

"Like I went ten rounds with an entire platoon of Jaffa," he admitted, his voice raspy and still congested.

"No fucking wonder," Jack snapped.

"What...?" Daniel started to ask, realizing that Jack was angry.

"I fucked up."


"I knew you were sick before I left."

"I was sneezing. I thought it was allergies," Daniel said with a dismissive shake of his head. "And it very well could've been. There wasn't any reason for you to stay."

"It wasn't just the sniffles and it wasn't allergies," Jack snapped at Daniel. "I should've hung around until I knew that for sure. Of course, it would've helped a whole bunch if those goddamn purple SOB's hadn't stranded us here without so much as a Tylenol."

"Doesn't matter. You handled it. I'm better."

"I didn't do a damn thing. The only reason you're better is because your body was strong enough to fight off the infection." Jack stared down at his hands before looking back at Daniel. "I don't want to be alone, Daniel."

"Neither do I," Daniel agreed. "But the fact is that we're going to get sick. We're going to get hurt. No matter how careful we are, it's going to happen."

"Fuck that," Jack muttered.

"We do the best we can," Daniel said, reaching out to catch Jack's hand in his own. "That's all we can do."

"What if it isn't enough?"

"It will be," Daniel said. "It has to be."

Daniel stood in front of Jack holding a small wooden bowl of the fat he used to fuel their stone lamp.


"It'll work just fine as lube," Daniel said simply, handing Jack the bowl.

"But...I thought we...."

"Nearly dying—again—made me rethink a few things. We don't know what'll happen tomorrow, or next month, or even an hour from now." Daniel paused, taking a deep breath and looking at Jack. "I know you'd prefer not to...."

"It wasn't a question of preference."

"It's okay. I know that you're not as...emotionally invested, but I don't care."

Screw shame. He and Jack were the only people on the planet and he loved Jack. What difference did it make if he revealed his weaknesses to the one man in the universe who was least likely to use the knowledge against him? "You won't be using me because I know what you want and I'm not expecting more."

"I would've been using you before," Jack said thoughtfully. "And it would've been wrong, whether you agreed or not."

Daniel frowned, trying to puzzle out the meaning behind Jack's words. "Would have?"

"Things change," Jack said with an attempt at a nonchalant shrug. "People change."

Daniel waited until Jack finally looked at him, concerned by Daniel's continued silence.

"Are you saying that you've changed?" Daniel asked. "That your feelings have changed?"

"Maybe." Jack grimaced, embarrassed. "Maybe the feelings haven't changed but I'm seeing them differently. Thing is—there's no point in pretending that we aren't already completely...together. Whether we fuck or not, we're already...."

"Part of each other?" Daniel asked. Jack nodded. "We always have been, to some extent."

"But this complicates things."

"What? Fucking?"



"Because we can't deny it any more."

"You mean you can't deny it," Daniel said gently.

"It's stupid, isn't it?" Jack said ruefully. "I mean, I've sucked your cock, for crying out loud."

"It's crossing a line," Daniel said, knowing how Jack's mind worked. "This is...."

"More," Jack agreed.

"That bothers you?"

"Sort of."

"We love each other. We always have," Daniel pointed out.

"But I couldn't," Jack said firmly. "It wasn't allowed."

"When did you realize that you did?" Daniel asked. He couldn't be angry. He knew Jack too well. Jack would have separated his feelings for Daniel. In one part was the love he had for his best friend. In another part was the sexual attraction. Those two parts would never have been allowed to intersect. It was only after being stranded where there were no extraneous rules to control his actions that he would've begun to fit the pieces together.

"No particular time. It just got harder to deny. Especially when...." Jack peered slyly at Daniel. "I realized that you were sneaking into the woods to watch me jerk off."

Daniel turned bright red. He hadn't done it often, and he'd been so careful, so stealthy. At least, he thought he had been.

"At first I told myself I was just letting you have your little thrill," Jack continued. "That I could let you have that since I couldn't give you anything more."

"It was more than a little thrill," Daniel said dryly.

"But the truth was I got off on it. I was out there jerking off so frequently because I got off on it."

Daniel gaped at Jack, stunned by the admission. Jack closed Daniel's mouth with a finger under his chin, then leaned in and kissed him slowly.

"B-b-but why didn't you...?" Daniel stammered when Jack eased off until their lips were just barely brushing together.

"Because there was still a chance of rescue. If we went home, I couldn't be with you. I thought it was better to wait than to start something we'd have to end if they came for us."

Jack deepened the pressure again, pushing his tongue into Daniel's mouth. Daniel moaned and sucked at Jack's tongue, working it as thoroughly as he would Jack's cock. Jack plunged his tongue deeper, forcing both of their jaws achingly wide.

"Want to eat you alive," Jack said huskily.

"Sounds like a plan," Daniel said. "Eat me, fuck me—do something, damn it."

"But are you sure this stuff will work? We can't take the chance of any...damage."

"It worked last time." Daniel froze, recognizing instantly what his lust fogged brain had revealed.

"Last time?" Jack asked.

"Remember the night we got a little soused on the googoo juice?" Daniel said reluctantly. Jack nodded, understanding beginning to dawn. "You, um, fucked me."

"You said you didn't remember anything," Jack accused.

"I didn't! But...you know how you can feel it the next morning? Or maybe you don't know. Well, I felt it."

"Jesus, Daniel, why didn't you tell me?"

"Because neither of us could remember anything and I don't know exactly why or how it happened. All I knew was that you didn't want that and I figured if you didn't remember anything that it was better left alone."

"But you...."

"I had no regrets for myself. Well, just one. We'd finally...and I couldn't remember it." Daniel looked at Jack, his expression a mix of embarrassment and shyness. "I thought that was the only chance I would ever have and I was...well, pissed off that I had no idea how it actually felt."

"So...ready to give it a second chance?"

"Thought you'd never ask."

"Um," Daniel said as he walked into the cabin.

"It's a table," Jack said.

"Um," Daniel said again. There really didn't seem to be anything more to say about the alleged table.

"It's my first attempt at making furniture," Jack said defensively.

"It's a nice thought," Daniel said. Somehow he knew that the small table was Jack's gift. Something he thought Daniel would like and use.

"Thought?" Jack sighed. "You're right. It sucks."

"No, it...." Daniel walked over and leaned over to study it more closely. He placed a hand on the surface and tried to jiggle it.

"It's sturdy," Jack said quickly. "May not be much to look at, but it's solid."

"Sure?" Daniel said doubtfully.


Daniel gazed at the table a moment longer then went to the corner of the cabin where he'd stored some woven grass mats. He found one close to the right size, about three feet square, and walked back to lay it over the top of the table. Daniel glanced over at Jack, trying to gauge his reaction.

"Looks a little better," Jack admitted.

"It just evens out the surface. I can see that you sanded down the roughness—I mean we won't get splinters or anything, but there's no way you could get the surface perfectly even," Daniel said. Jack just sighed again.

"It's nice," Daniel added.

"Damned by faint praise," Jack said sardonically.

"Jack," Daniel admonished. "It's nice. I'm impressed."

"But are you going to use it?"


"See," Jack said, shaking his finger at Daniel.



"In order to use the table we'll need chairs," Daniel pointed out.

"Right." Jack stared at the table. Then he groaned. "Chairs."

"I've been thinking," Daniel said as he stood up, squeezing the water from his hair.

"Wait!" Jack said, dropping the piece of wood he'd been grinding smooth with wet sand.

The forest crept right up to the waterline for most of the distance around the shore, but here, where the stream that ran near their cabin joined the lake, the trees hung back leaving a small beach. Daniel stood knee deep in the water, watching while Jack appeared to be waiting for...something.


"Sorry. Forgot that it's only Carter who makes things blow up when she thinks," Jack said, shaking off the air of expectation. He picked up the wood and resumed his polishing. "Go ahead."

"Why the hell did I fall in love with you?" Daniel asked with exasperation. He walked up onto the shore and sat down next to Jack. He rested his arms on his raised knees, letting the sun dry his skin.

"Beats me," Jack said amiably. "You're the genius; you figure it out."

"That'd take more brain power than even Sam has. However, the opposite...."

"You were thinking," Jack prompted before Daniel could start enumerating all the perfectly valid reasons why he shouldn't be in love with Jack.

"We're the Drake Equation."

"What?" Jack asked, turning to look at Daniel.

"You said that according to the equation this planet should be inhabited. Well, it is. We're here," Daniel said. "We're the proof."

"That's not really the way it works."

"So?" Daniel said with a shrug. "You wanted intelligent life on this planet. You've got it."

"You're a very strange man, Dr. Jackson."

"Which is probably all the explanation necessary for why I fell in love with you."

"Is that all you've got?" Jack taunted as Daniel thrust vigorously into him. "Come on ya long-haired, hippy geek."

"I'll show you geek," Daniel hissed, grabbing Jack's hips and moving more forcefully. Jack reached to either side, slapping and grabbing for a hold on the edge of the table, using it as leverage to push back. Their bodies collided again and again until, with only a brief creak as a warning, the table collapsed. They slammed to the floor. Jack's eyes and mouth went wide and he clenched convulsively around Daniel as his orgasm exploded between them.

Daniel growled and slammed into Jack several more times before losing all sense of himself. He lifted his head as soon as it stopped spinning and looked at Jack.

"You okay?" he asked, wondering if the sudden impact with the ground had hurt Jack.

"Think you gave me a heart attack," Jack wheezed. "What the fuck did you do?"

"Um...broke the table," Daniel said sheepishly.

"Broke the...?" Jack turned his head and realized they were on the floor, the table flat beneath his back. "You fucking animal!"

Daniel claimed Jack's mouth, laughing helplessly as he did. The look on Jack's face was priceless. Jack started to chuckle, too, moving his heavy limbs so that he could run his hands up and down Daniel's back. He yanked the tie from Daniel's hair and ran his fingers through the long strands. His ass spasmed a little around Daniel's softening cock when Daniel stretched contentedly under Jack's hands.

"Ow—hang on. Let me get out," Daniel said, lifting up on his elbows.

"I don't think you can. I think you may be permanently imbedded in there."

"That would be slightly inconvenient," Daniel said with a chuckle. He pulled back slowly.

"Ow," Jack said as Daniel slid free.

"Sorry. You okay?" Daniel asked. He slowly got to his feet and offered Jack a hand up.

"Fine," Jack said with a dismissive shake of the head. He looked back down at the table. "But...all my hard work."

"At least it's at a usable height now," Daniel observed.

Jack stood in the doorway and watched the day dawning bright and clear, just like it did most days. The weather wasn't always perfect. Some days it rained. Some days were hot, some were cool. But the weather had never been extreme, not even after all this time, and Jack was beginning to accept that they really were safe from any serious threat, climatic or otherwise.

He glanced back over his shoulder. Daniel was still sound asleep, sprawled bonelessly on his pallet, and half of Jack's, too. Jack walked over and crouched down next to him. Daniel slept on unaware. Jack brushed his forefinger along Daniel's cheek, his face too pale and lean for Jack's comfort. He still hadn't fully recovered from the pneumonia, his stamina not what it had been.

Daniel's journal was half hidden under his pillow. Jack picked it up and leafed through the pages. Daniel had run out of paper weeks ago. No matter how short he'd kept his entries, or how small he'd tried to write, he hadn't been able to avoid the inevitable. His anger at this one, small deprivation had seemed out of proportion given everything else that they had to do without, but Jack thought he might understand, at least a little. Daniel needed to communicate. The fact that the people he was trying to communicate with weren't now and might never be in a position to read his words didn't matter.

"What?" Daniel mumbled, rolling toward Jack.

"Morning," Jack said, setting the journal aside.


"Every twenty-two hours, just like clockwork."

Daniel's response was lost in a yawn.

"Go back to sleep."

"I'm up," Daniel said. He rubbed at his eyes but otherwise remained comfortably stretched out across his bed.

"No need...." "I'm up," Daniel insisted, finally opening his eyes to send a stern look up at Jack. "I'm fine."

"I know you are. I just thought we'd play hooky today."

"Hooky?" Daniel asked suspiciously.

"We bust our butts all day, every day. What's it going to hurt if we take a day off?"

"It won't work," Daniel said, smiling to take the sting out of his disbelief.

"It'll work," Jack insisted, hefting the handmade ball, taking its measure as carefully as if it were the going to be used as the first pitch in the World Series. Daniel threw up his hands in surrender and gestured for the ball. Grinning, Jack tossed it to him and settled his hands low on the bat.

Daniel had to admit, the ball was holding up much better than he'd expected. He was starting to hit his stride. He'd never been pitcher material at anything other than basic gym class level, but he got close enough to satisfy Jack.

Jack was swinging like his life depended on it, embarrassed when he missed and crowing when he managed to smack the ball any distance at all. His hair shimmered as the breeze combed through it and his eyes were alight. The unadulterated joy in his expression made Daniel feel good in ways he didn't think he'd ever know again. Which made it all the more crushing when the ball literally exploded on the next swing.

Jack stared, dumbfounded, as the scraps of hide and moss sprayed out from his bat. Daniel felt an instant of disappointment, and then began to laugh.

"You think that's funny?" Jack turned an outraged glare in his direction and started advancing on him.

"Um...yeah," Daniel admitted. "It just...bam!" Daniel started to step backwards as he gestured with his hands. "But the look on your face was the kicker."

"The look on my face as my dreams of playing in the World Series were vaporized?" Jack said, his bearing menacing as he caught up to Daniel, who was slowly edging away. "You found that funny?"

"Yes," Daniel said. "And what World Series? There are currently only two countries on this planet: Jack and Daniel."

"Well, prepare yourself 'cause Jacksonland is about to be invaded," Jack growled. Daniel only got two more steps in before Jack tackled him to the ground. Daniel laughed as Jack rolled him onto his back, sitting on his thighs as he unknotted the loincloth.

"Um, I thought we were going to play baseball," Daniel said, stretching out, rubbing against the tall grass crushed under his back.

"Trust me, I'm planning on getting to third base at least," Jack said with a leer.

Daniel sighed, relaxing into the sensation of Jack nibbling at the back of his neck. It was just one of Jack's weird mannerisms, one Daniel happened to like. Besides, after a vigorous session like they'd just had he didn't care what Jack did as long as it didn't require active participation on Daniel's part.

"Tomorrow," Jack whispered.


"Fishing," Jack gleefully reminded him. "All day."

"All day? We really don't need that much fish," Daniel complained.

"Daniel," Jack said with mocking, mournful tone. "When are you going to learn?"

"What?" "We won't be fish-ing all day. Just for a couple of hours," Jack explained. "Then we'll spend the rest of the day fish-ing."

"But of course—how silly of me," Daniel said dryly. Jack just chuckled, shifting slightly, pressing closer against Daniel's back.

"What do you miss the most?" Daniel asked suddenly. It was something he'd often wondered, but had never asked before because it seemed too painful and pointless to dream of lost comforts.

"I miss being in the loop." Jack smiled when Daniel turned his head to the side with a puzzled look. "Carter and Teal'c are still out there. I don't like not knowing what's going on. I worry. They've got a new leader, a new fourth.... I want to know how they are. It sounds weird but in a way we're...."

"Safer than they are?" Daniel asked. Jack nodded. "I know. We're stranded, just the two of us, light years from home with no food, no shelter, no medicine.... On the surface it seems like we're the ones in trouble, but we're fine. Sam and Teal'c could be.... They're still in the thick of the fight and they're in more danger than we are."

"How about you?" Jack asked, his breath tickling the back of Daniel's neck.

"I don't know," Daniel said, frowning. "There's a lot of things...but little things. Nothing important."

"Like what?"

"Like...coffee," Daniel admitted.

"Big surprise," Jack said dryly.

"No, I mean...it's not even really the coffee per se. It's being able to make coffee. Being able to smell it brewing while I shave. Warming my hands on the mug while I read the newspaper." Daniel paused. "That sounds silly, doesn't it?"

"Little things are important," Jack said. "It's the kind of stuff that makes you feel at home."

"I guess. Thing is—I'm missing it less as time goes by. If it weren't for worrying about Sam and Teal'c and the others, I wouldn't really care much whether we were found or not."

"I'd still like to go home, but it's not such a strong feeling anymore," Jack agreed.

"Does that mean we're giving up?"

"It means we're adapting. Nothing wrong with that."

Jack stilled suddenly. Before Daniel could ask the reason why, Jack put a finger to his lips and nodded toward the door. When he focused his attention, Daniel could hear something rustling through the undergrowth nearby.

Jack rolled off the pallet, reaching for their spears. He handed Daniel one, firming his grip on his own. Daniel scrambled to his feet, following Jack to the door and standing just inside the frame on the opposite side. Jack listened, his dark eyes trying to penetrate the deep night beyond the campfire. They'd never encountered a large predator during their long sojourn on the planet, but neither one of them was willing to take any chances. Besides, Daniel thought grimly, there was always the possibility that the Djouma had come back for them.

The sudden sharp crack of a branch breaking echoed through the stillness.

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