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
"Fuck, Daniel," Jack muttered. Daniel shifted
restlessly and started to cough, a wet sound. "Fuck, fuck, Daniel
"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
"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
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 isnot Jack. Tastes like chicken.
Jack's eyes were arrested by a few words at the top of one
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
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
"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 dyingagainmade 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
"I would've been using you before," Jack said
thoughtfully. "And it would've been wrong, whether you agreed or
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 isthere'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."
"Because we can't deny it any more."
"You mean you can't deny it," Daniel said
"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?"
"We love each other. We always have," Daniel pointed
"But I couldn't," Jack said firmly. "It wasn't
"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
"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
"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
"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
medo 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
"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
"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
"It's a nice thought," Daniel said. Somehow he knew
that the small table was Jack's gift. Something he thought Daniel would like
"Thought?" Jack sighed. "You're right. It
"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 roughnessI mean we won't get splinters or anything, but there's
no way you could get the surface perfectly even," Daniel said. Jack just
"It's nice," Daniel added.
"Damned by faint praise," Jack said sardonically.
"Jack," Daniel admonished. "It's nice. I'm
"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
"Right." Jack stared at the table. Then he groaned.
"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,
"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
"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
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
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.
"Owhang 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
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
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
"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
"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
"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
"Tomorrow," Jack whispered.
"Fishing," Jack gleefully reminded him. "All
"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 coursehow silly of me," Daniel said
dryly. Jack just chuckled, shifting slightly, pressing closer against Daniel's
"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...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 isI'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
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