"Harry! ...What the fuck are you doing here?"
"Nice to see you too, Jack. Y' know, your welcome could do with a little work."
"I was in the neighbourhood so I thought I'd drop in and see an old friend. You weren't here so I let myself in. Hope you don't mind? Oh, and thanks for the beer by the way."
Maybourne, comfortably settled on a couch in the living room, flashed a smug grin and saluted Colonel O'Neill with the nearly empty beer bottle. O'Neill scowled at his unwelcome visitor.
He'd just returned from a particularly uncomfortable mission to the Alpha site, refereeing what looked like becoming a free for all between the Jaffa and the Tok'ra, and sorting out an ashrak on the side.
Since Doctor Daniel Jackson had... passed on, ascended, not-died, whatever, he was even less inclined to socialize, becoming surly and withdrawn.
"Okay, say what you want to say and get out."
"Still hurts, huh?"
"That he could leave you."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Jack asked sharply as Harry hit a still raw nerve.
"Doctor Jackson died. End of story."
"That's not what I heard."
"Oh, come on, Jack. You know me. Intel. is my speciality."
"Yeah? And what you don't know, you make up."
"Unkind, Jack. And no, I just read the reports. An alien concept to you, I know."
"Your mission to P4X-636 for one."
"The one to Velona?"
Harry looked surprised.
"Jesus, Harry, you know I'm not really that stupid," Jack growled.
"And we both know that Doctor Jackson - what's the word? Ascended... Right?"
Jack was silent.
"Who knows," Maybourne smiled, gesticulating around with the now empty beer bottle, "maybe he's right here, right now..."
"So what do you want, Harry?" Jack asked, eager to be rid of his visitor.
"Oh yeah," Harry replied, reaching inside his jacket and pulling out a package, "I brought you a gift - a little souvenir, if you will."
Jack gave him a look askance, not sure what Harry was up to, but certain that he wasn't going to like it.
"Take it, Jack. It's not booby-trapped. And sit down would ya? I'm getting a crick in my neck looking up at you."
Jack sat down on the other couch and held out an unwilling hand.
"What is it?" he asked, holding it as if Harry had just handed him a dead rat.
"It's a compilation of surveillance tapes recorded at Doctor Jackson's apartment during the summer of 1999 - transferred on to CD."
Jack couldn't stop a slight tremor from running through his hand. He almost dropped the padded envelope . His first instinct was to yank the smug bastard out of his seat and throttle him. He'd be within his rights, but... He needed to know exactly what Harry knew - and who else knew it too. So, he resorted to his favourite dumb persona for the moment.
"Surveillance? Doctor Jackson?"
"Yeah. When he resigned after his wife died, my people were a little concerned about security, given his level of knowledge of the Stargate program and his state of mind."
"You seriously thought Daniel was a security risk?" he asked, laying the envelope, unopened, on the coffee table.
"Me personally? Nah. Anyway, I was charged with the job of keeping an eye on Dr. Jackson. I had bugs all over the place, Jack - in the 'phones, in the kitchen, in the living room. ... In the bedroom..."
The itch to strangle Harry was getting stronger. He tried to remember the time frame. When had the closeness between them become admitted as love? He couldn't be sure. He did remember the screaming match they'd had at the loft after Daniel's encounter with Linea - or Ke'ra as Daniel insisted on calling her. Finally, Daniel had snarkily accused him of acting like a jealous lover, and he'd flung out of there in a rage. When he'd cooled off, he'd called Daniel and apologized, said they needed to talk.
He remembered that talk - long talk. They'd met up in Bear Creek Regional Park and walked for miles in the rain. At some point, they'd joined hands as they walked. There'd been no one else in sight for miles around. He remembered the first kiss - a bittersweet memory now...
"You kind of zoned out for the minute there."
"So how long did this surveillance last?"
"Not long, only a couple of weeks"
That would be until before their return from Netu.
At which point, O'Neill gave in to his primal urges. He leapt up, yanked Maybourne to his feet by his jacket and pulled his fist back. And stopped. Maybourne had made no attempt to defend himself. He just stood there wincing slightly in anticipation, as if accepting the promised retribution.
"You slimy bastard, Maybourne," O'Neill growled, shoving Harry back on to the couch and rubbing his hands together as if trying to remove the soil of contact. "So what did you come for really? Blackmail?"
"Jack..." Maybourne said reproachfully, "what do you take me for?"
"Oh please, where do I begin?"
"If I was interested in blackmail, don't you think I'd've done it a long time ago?"
Jack thought about it. It made his brain ache. If the authorities had gotten their hands on some of that footage, he'd be in Leavenworth right now. And Daniel? Well, he sure as hell wouldn't've ended up on Colona with its misbegotten citizens...
"So what is your game, Harry?" he asked, resuming his seat on the other couch.
"I told ya. I just brought you a gift."
"I wanted to give you a little time - a little space - to grow accustomed to I know it's not something you'll ever... 'get over'."
Jack met his eyes and noticed they were more watery than usual. Just for a moment, he wondered what sorrows lay in Harry's past, then he dropped his head.
"No," he whispered.
They were silent for some while, each sunk in his own private grief. Then Jack's eyes narrowed.
"You've been getting off on watching Danny and me, haven't you?"
Maybourne didn't reply.
"Can't deny you two were hot, Jack," he said at last.
"You sick bastard!"
"Hey, someone had to screen the footage. Be thankful it was me."
Jack thought about that - thought about Samuels, about Frank Simmons, about Kinsey. They just got slimier the higher up you went. Okay, Harry had put a foot wrong here and there, didn't have the same high ethical standards as Jack. High ethical standards? Hell, if he was honest, he wasn't all that squeaky clean, looking back. Maybe that was why he'd distanced himself from Harry; it was too much like looking at himself as he might've been given different circumstances.
Thinking on, Harry's aims had always been dedicated to the good of his country even if his methods had been... dubious. He probably saw himself as one of 'the good guys'. There were times when the moral high ground simply wasn't an option. Perhaps the more one was kept away from that lofty eminence, the more the dark side became acceptable - comfortable even. Not that Harry was looking all that comfortable right now.
"Any chance of another beer, Jack? Mouth's a little dry."
"'Kay. You know where they are. Get me one, too, while you're there."
A little displacement activity, Jack wondered? Harry took a while. While he was waiting, Jack thought about Harry, wondered what went through his mind as he went through the surveillance tapes, and what his motives were. Not entirely selfless, obviously.
When Harry returned with a couple of bottles of beer, it occurred to Jack that Harry's stated reason for his visit was to hand over probably-not-the-only-copy-of the surveillance footage. Yet he was still here. Jack didn't think he'd just come for the free beer. There had to be something more.
"What else do you want Harry?"
"Well, you've delivered the package, you've drunk my beer - correction, you're drinking my beer. You want me to take you out for dinner too?" Jack asked with heavy sarcasm.
"Thanks Jack," Harry replied, completely unfazed. "Is that a date?"
Jack stared at him.
"With you? Fuck no!"
Harry feigned disappointment.
"Wouldn't hurt. We could go Dutch if that's what's bothering you."
"What part of 'fuck no!' do you not understand, Harry?"
"Okay, so we can eat in. I'm easy."
Jack audibly ground his teeth. Harry was obviously playing to another of his strengths - winding up Jack O'Neill. Then the penny dropped. Once you cut through the fog of Harry's obfuscation, it was obvious. What was the usual hoped-for conclusion of dinner... a date... a night in...? Jack scowl segued into a knowing half-smile.
"Planning on staying for breakfast, Harry?" he asked, suddenly feeling that he'd regained control of the proceedings.
Harry aimed for a neutral expression but landed somewhere between shifty and flustered.
"What were you really after, Harry - a buddy fuck?"
"I'll take what I can get," he said, his face now open and what? Sad? Was he trying to play the pity card?
"Won't work, Harry," Jack said with a slight shake of his head, but Harry's attention appeared elsewhere, his eyes unfocussed. Jack wondered if he really was away with the fairies or if it was just his way of ignoring rejection.
"Harry? ...Harry!" Jack said, snapping his fingers.
"Huh? Oh. Sorry, Jack. So... wha'd'you say?" he asked with a tentative smile.
"That would be a no."
"Aw, come on Jack. It's been six months since Um... since you got any release, and they say that in the dark, all cats are gray."
"So what? I pretend you're Daniel?"
"I know what you like - and how you like it," Harry grinned encouragingly.
"Harry, you are not Daniel!"
"No. And you're not... " Harry said softly. A shadow seemed to cross his face. "But you look so much like him"
"Sixteen years ago, I was where you are now. I know you don't think much of me, Jack, but maybe if you'd known me back then..."
"We coulda had a threesome?" Jack asked flippantly.
He was taken aback by the anger that suddenly blazed in Harry's eyes. It melted away almost as quickly as it had appeared so that he almost wondered if he'd imagined it.
"Sorry, Harry. That was uncalled for."
"Yes it was. Sixteen years on and it still hurts, y'know. I was a different man then..."
"So why suggest this now? You been celibate all this time?"
"Noo," Harry said slowly. "It just seems like the right time. If you close your eyes, I can be like Daniel to you and you're so like So like he would've looked by now. We both have something to gain. Why not think about it? Over dinner...? I'll cook."
Harry busied himself in the kitchen while Jack sat back to watch Avalanche play Minnesota Wild in the Stanley Cup play-offs. He felt a little guilty, chilling out with a glass of European beer - another 'little gift' from his unwelcome guest. He knew that when he'd 'thought about it over dinner', the answer would still be no.
Harry turned out to be an excellent cook - no burgers and fries, nor yet pizza. The food left Jack feeling pleasantly relaxed and much inclined to see the funny side of things. He wasn't entirely certain what had gone into the meal. Of the ingredients that he could identify were some that he didn't remember buying. He didn't think he was suffering from premature senility which meant that Harry had planned this all very carefully in advance, and come prepared.
With phallus-aforethought Jack thought and giggled.
"Jack?" Harry asked with a hesitant smile.
Jack giggled again.
"Course I c'n take it!" he scoffed, adding, "and I take you too, Harry."
"Up the ass, Jack?"
Jack paused for a while, trying to think of an argument against it, but his brain seemed to have seized up.
"Yeah, why not?" he shrugged.
"Why not indeed..." Harry murmured with a satisfied smile.
Jack wasn't entirely certain about when and how he'd ended up naked and flat on his back on his bed - or why Harry was there too, naked below the waist and sporting an impressive boner.
For me, his ego suggested proudly, then a brain cell fired and he remembered that Harry had some tragic, but unexplained, loss in his past. Which brought back his own terrible memories...
What the fuck was he doing? Here. Alone. With Harry?
A soft familiar voice said, "It's all right, Jack. Go ahead. I don't mind. Really."
Jack looked around frantically for the source of the voice, but the soft light of the bedside lamp revealed nothing.
"What's the matter, Jack?" Harry asked, moving up to kneel between Jack's splayed legs.
"Did you hear that?"
"Nuh... nothing. Must've imagined it."
"No, I'm here, Jack. Really here. You just can't see me. Yet."
"Whuh...?" Jack grunted.
Then Harry shut down his higher reasoning powers by sucking his balls into his mouth and rolling them around with his tongue - a trick of Daniel's that drove him wild.
"You like that, don't you, Jack?" Harry said with a self-satisfied grin, as he straightened up.
He reached for the lube on the night stand and liberally coated his fingers.
"And this," he continued, sliding a slick finger along Jack's perineum then wriggling it inside in search of his happy button.
Jack gasped as he found it, then groaned loudly as Harry swallowed him smoothly in one and began sliding his tongue along and around Jack's dick, teasing and stimulating. No doubt about it, Harry had a very talented tongue. It had been many months since Jack had got laid - months during which he'd given little thought to sex, until recently - so Harry was right about him being ready for it.
He was also right that Jack could almost imagine he was Daniel - so long as he kept his eyes closed... Not surprisingly, it wasn't too long until his come was pulsing down Harry's throat. He groaned aloud with pleasure but his heart was calling Daniel's name.
Harry gave Jack a little breathing space then tapped Jack's thigh and signaled him to lift his hips so he could wedge a pillow under him.
"My turn now," he said with a grin, "so spread 'em."
Harry slid one slippery thumb and then the other inside Jack, and spent a little time working on opening him up. Harry was very well endowed and so took care in preparing his lovers. He wanted them coming back for more...
Jack rested his hands on Harry's shoulders. And froze. Harry had been wearing a sweatshirt last time he looked, not a knitted sweater. Hadn't he...? He cracked open one eye, and met a pair of blue ones. Deep blue ones. He opened both eyes wide in amazement.
"Daniel?" ...he gasped.
The vision before him raised a finger to his lips, a mischievous smile twinkling in his eyes.
"Shhh," he said softly. "You didn't think I'd let you bottom for Harry as well, did you?"
"B-b-but what are you doing here?"
"That would be you, Jack," Daniel grinned.
"Wait! I thought you weren't allowed to interfere? Oh, oh. Don't tell me. You're consoling a friend, right?"
Daniel's smile broadened as he hefted Jack's legs up to rest on his shoulders, then pushed against Jack's ring.
"Not feeling consoled?" he asked as the head of his shaft popped inside.
"Hnnggg... Yessss... C-c-console me some more... mmm. Oh God, I've missed this Missed - ahh - mmmm - you even... mmm - more... Oh yeah, that's it... fuck me, Danny..."
At which point, Jack's vocal output was reduced to a series of appreciative moans, gasps, grunts and groans as he arched into Daniel's thrusts. His unexpected lover dug his fingers into his flesh to gain a purchase. Jack would have a few souvenir bruises that would probably last quite a while. Daniel was certainly corporeal - somehow.
The two bodies writhed and wrestled with each other extract every ounce of pleasure from the bizarre experience until neither could hold off any longer. Rhythmic spasms filled Jack as he came crying Daniel's name, his body milking every drop. For several minutes, the two laid together panting and totally blissed out.
At last they rolled apart, still breathing heavily. As brain function began to return, Jack looked to his partner a little nervously, wondering whom he'd see. Daniel was still there. A disturbing thought struck him.
"Daniel, I don't want to seem ungrateful but You just... possessed Harry... Still are possessing him. Aren't you?"
"I guess so," Daniel agreed unperturbed. "I didn't hear you complaining. Rather the opposite in fact."
"Hey, I'm not... complaining. It just doesn't seem your style." More like the goa'uld, actually, he thought but didn't say it.
"Yeah? Maybe my style's changed a little. You see things differently from this perspective."
"Does Oma know you're here?" Jack asked, wondering if she, if no one else, would rein in her not-so-little protégé. Not that she was all that bothered about clearing up her messes if all the incinerated bodies cluttering up Kheb were anything to go by.
"Not so far as I'm aware, no. I covered my tracks pretty well."
"You going to get into trouble for this? Get dragged off by your glowy tentacles?"
"Only if I get found out."
"Found out...? Daniel, what have you been doing?"
"Just a little research - doing my 'thing' you know. There is so much information out there that The Others never bother with Forgotten about its existence over the millennia, I suspect. That's how I found out how to do this."
"You're - um - you're not staying around - are you?" he asked, thinking he wasn't going to like the answer, whatever it was.
"Ah, not this time, no. I need to do a little more research," Daniel said with a confident smile.
Jack shivered slightly, and it had nothing to do with the temperature in the room. Daniel kissed him.
"Soon, lover," he said.
His features segued back into Harry's. He seemed to be sleeping peacefully. As he stared at Harry's face, a jumble of horrified thoughts flashed through Jack's mind. Maybe the Ascended weren't all that superior. Maybe this non-intervention crap was just a cover-up for laziness indifference certainly. And if the affairs of humans were beneath their concern, where did they draw the line between indifference to what humans did and indifference to using them for their own purposes?
Harry suddenly jerked awake.
"W-what happened?" he asked after looking around, a little disoriented.
"Erm, you - er... you passed out, Harry."
"Damn. Must've been good then. I've heard about that happening, but never actually experienced it before. Say, Jack, you look a little pale even in this light. Don't tell me - you were worried about me."
"Actually yes," Jack said, though not for the reason you think, he added mentally.
"Ah, sweet. You care!" Harry replied with his usual cocky grin.
"Sleep now, Harry."
Harry soon dozed off and slept like the proverbial log, unlike Jack. He slept fitfully, his sleep disturbed by nightmarish dreams in which various co-workers, when they turned to face him, had Daniel's face. Every time he woke up, he felt an urgent need to check up on Harry and make sure it really was him.
Hell! Never, ever thought I'd be glad of Harry's presence, he thought after the third time.
The next dream had him in Baal's fortress, stuck to the weblike wall panel again, and naked. Baal too, was wearing Daniel's face.
"Tell me how much you love me," he demanded.
"You know how much I love you," Jack protested.
"Not good enough. How much do you love me? You will tell me," Daniel/Baal said with the same confident smile he'd worn earlier.
His eyes were glowing - but with a bluish glow - as he sent globules of golden liquid hurtling towards him. Jack flinched, but felt nothing as is the way in dreams, nor did the golden drops leave any burning acid holes. He said nothing.
After a while, his tormentor came closer.
"My sweet love, it's honey Honey for my honey," he said, licking a swathe across his chest and one nipple which instantly stood to attention begging for more, though Jack willed it not to.
"Now, that's better. Your body speaks for you while you are silent. No, shush," he said, silencing him with a kiss as Jack opened his mouth to speak. "I shall punish you exquisitely for your obduracy - plunging my... 'blade'... into you again and again. For eternity. Sweet punishment!"
Jack woke abruptly, screaming, "No! No! No!"
"Well, yeah. Who'd you think it was?" Harry grunted, then took a long hard look at his companion. "Jeez, Jack, you look dreadful."
"Thanks! I'll... I'll be okay. Just gimme a moment."
"You could say," Jack said taking in deep breaths.
Harry looked at the bedside radio alarm.
"Well, it's nearly time we got up anyway. Is there room in your shower for two?"
"I really don't think that would be a good idea, Harry," Jack answered, looking around a little twitchily.
"Okay. I think you'd better go first then. I'll go start breakfast."
After they'd eaten, Harry collected his things together.
"I gotta go now, Jack. Got people following me."
"So that's really why you came, huh? You just wanted somewhere to hide out where no one would think to look for ya!"
"Not entirely, Jack. I was hoping you'd put out as well," Harry responded with an insouciant grin."
"You bastard! You played me for a slut?"
"No, actually. I'm... kinda fond of you. Like I said, you remind me of someone. As for the guys on my tail, they're a good way away yet. Got them chasing theirs," he laughed, "but if anyone comes asking"
"You were never here, Harry."
"Right. Thanks for a great evening."
"Well thank you for your... gift."
"You're welcome. Maybe we can do this again sometime?"
"I'd love to, Harry," Jack said, looking grim, "but seriously, it would be a very bad idea. In fact, it would be a very bad idea to come back to the Springs. You have more to lose than you know."
Harry gave him an appraising look.
"You're not kidding, are you?"
"No Harry, I'm not. Just try to remember this as a very pleasant one-off and you'll probably be fine. I hope."
"Well, now you're beginning to scare me"
"Good. Be scared. You might live longer."
"Ri-ight. You gonna be okay?"
"Who knows? Good luck, Harry. It's been... not too bad knowing you," Jack smiled.