Happy Places

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Drama, Romance, Missing Scene/Epilogue, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  7 - August 1-3, 2003
Spoilers:  Enemy Mine
Size:  53kb
Written:  December 25-29, 2007, January 1,4-5,7,16-18, 2008
Summary:  Things aren't always happy for Jack and Daniel, but somehow, they always end up getting there.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) Sometimes, Jack and Daniel speak almost telepathically.  Their “silent” words to each other are indicated by asterisks instead of quotes, such as **Jack, we can't.**
2) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
3) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fic(s), “They Don't Understand”
4) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Lissa, Jodi, Keri, Carol, Linda, Claudia!

Happy Places
by Orrymain

“Mining camps aren't exactly my favorite places,” Daniel said as he took possession of his Beretta in the armory.

“Colonel Edwards requested our help, Daniel,” Jack responded, nodding in thanks to the airman who handed him his P-90 weapon.

“I will take my staff weapon,” Teal'c stated.  The personnel staffing the armory were never sure which weapon the Jaffa would choose to take off-world these days.  “Where is MajorCarter?”

“Oh, uh, Sam's overhauling ... she's working on ... uh,” Daniel stammered with his right hand clasping the top of his holster.

“She's playing with her doohickeys,” Jack interjected, not really knowing what the major was doing, but knowing that until it was completed, she'd be missing any SG-1 missions that came up, including this one.

“Where is it we are going?” Teal'c inquired.

“P3X-403,” Daniel answered.  “It's a survey camp; they're hoping to find naquadah.”

“Edwards is probably just getting a little squirrely,” Jack mused.

“Why?” Daniel asked.

“He's been stuck there for three months, Daniel.  He's probably ready for a change of scenery,” Jack answered.  “Okay, let's hit it,” he ordered, leading his teammates to the gate room.

====

“That way,” Jack announced as the wormhole that he, Daniel, and Teal'c had just stepped through disappeared.

The three walked towards the command post, each taking in their surroundings.

“Jack, exactly why did Colonel Edwards ask for our help?”

“Something about a missing man; the report was sketchy,” Jack answered.

“Why not ask for SG-3?” the archaeologist wondered.

The colonel looked over at his lover and said, “You really don't want to be here.”

“It's just ... there's this artifact that SG-11 brought back from their last mission,” Daniel admitted.

“Maybe you'll get lucky and find some toys to play with here,” Jack teased behind his serious expression.

“Toys?” Daniel groused.

“Rocks, trinkets, ancient whatchamacallits,” the older man continued to tease as the group walked forward.

Daniel groaned and looked away, shaking his head.  He was about to make a comeback when he heard his soulmate call out to the man in charge of operations on the planet.

“Edwards,” Jack acknowledged.

Just as the man was about to respond, Lieutenant Menard ran over to the group, saluting his commanding officer and saying out of breath, “Colonel Edwards?”

As Menard handed over a report to Edwards, Jack cleaned his sunglasses.

“I'm glad you're here, Jack,” Edwards welcomed.  “We're not trained for search and rescue, and Ritter's been missing now for three hours.”

“I assume he's got a compass and a radio?” the silver-haired colonel responded.

Major Lorne replied, “The planet has peculiar electromagnetic properties which make a compass useless and severely limits the range of our radios.”

“He's a good man, and we need him back, especially now we think we may have discovered a significant deposit of naquadah,” Edwards stated.

“How significant?” Teal'c inquired.

“Well, we won't know that until we complete our analysis,” Lorne answered.

“The Pentagon wants battle cruisers and F-302s.  We find the rocks,” Edwards asserted.

“And we find the rock ... finders,” Jack said dryly, causing his lover to look at him questioningly.

“There you have it.  Um, Major Lorne will show you where Ritter was last seen,” Edwards stated.

“Yes, Sir,” Lorne acknowledged.  To Jack, he requested, “If you'll follow me?”

As the group began to head away, a crate covered by a canvas caught the archaeologist's attention.  Protruding from beneath the tarp were some objects that looked out of place to him for a command post.  He stared at the men walking ahead of him and then again at the crate, his curiosity causing him to pause.

“What's this?” Daniel asked as he began to slowly pull back the cover.

Lorne walked over a bit hesitantly, raising his hand to briefly rub his face.  He looked a little like a guilty man having been caught committing a crime, but who was going to deny all culpability.

“Artifacts?” Daniel asked in a deceptively calm voice.

Jack's 'Daniel alarm' began to chime.  It wasn't the one signaling a life or death crisis for his lover, but the one that said his archaeologist was about to do battle with the military, and the military was going to lose.  He hastened his pace to be near the younger man and make sure things didn't escalate too badly.

“Yes,” the major said, confirming the objects were artifacts.

“You found all this and you ... you didn't contact me?” Daniel questioned incredulously as the two men faced off.

“We were going to,” Lorne claimed, trying to hold his ground as best he could.

~Keep calm; give him a chance,~ Daniel told himself as he licked his lips.  “They've been moved,” he challenged, his displeasure obvious.

~Oh, this isn't good,~ Jack thought.  ~Moving Danny's toys is risky to a major's health.~

“Well, they were in the way,” Lorne argued, his view of artifacts clearly not one of value.

~Okay, time to save Lorne's life,~ Jack thought, seeing the dangerous glint in his soulmate's eyes.  “Daniel.”  He stepped forward and paused for a moment as he clasped a hand on his Love's shoulder and kept it there firmly.  “Go to your happy place.”

**My *happy* place?  Do you see these things?**

Not only was his lover yelling in his mind, but Jack saw the equally unhappy expression on his as he again looked at the artifacts.  He gave Lorne a subtle gesture of his head to suggest he move away, but the major didn't seem to get the hint and just stood there looking a bit bewildered.  Daniel, however, was seething inside, and Jack knew it.  He patted his soulmate's shoulder while shooting a stronger glance of warning to Lorne, followed by an urgent sounding, “Go!”

Jack began to walk away, extending his hand out for his archaeologist to stay, especially when his lover was communicating in strong, non-verbal language that he wasn't a happy camper.

**See, Danny.  I was right,** Jack communicated.

**Right?** the younger man questioned in a loud, mental response.

**You found toys to play with,** the older man quipped.  “It'll be okay,” he tried to assure as he gave the unamused younger man a final look before focusing straight ahead.  ~Ouch,~ he groaned silently from the Marine-like reply that he received back.  ~Note to self: keep Lorne away until Daniel calms down.~

~They moved them.  After all these years, they *moved* the artifacts.  I've trained them, over and over again, and they just don't care,~ Daniel thought angrily as he stared at the uncovered objects he'd discovered.  He looked up towards the men who were leaving.  **My happy place?** he asked again.

**You have toys to play with, Danny: your happy place,** Jack responded as he disappeared from sight.

~Right,~ Daniel sighed.  ~I'll just stay here with my ... toys.~  He took a breath as he grouped, and then began to look over the items, evaluating each and trying to ascertain if any of them had been damaged while being moved.  ~This looks okay,~ he opined about the first item he studied.

====

A while later, Jack and the searchers found the area where Ritter had been working.  Unfortunately, there weren't any tracks showing what direction he might have gone in.  Lorne speculated that Ritter could have been placing markers and gotten lost.  However, they'd sent up flares so that Ritter could have gotten his bearings, if that had been the case.  Now, no one knew what to think.

Meanwhile, at the camp, Daniel suddenly caught sight of something potentially disturbing.

~Uh oh.  Is that ... oh, I hope not, but ... it is,~ the archaeologist thought a bit later about something he'd found in the artifacts.  ~So why would this be here?~ he pondered as he worried about what the item could mean.

After a closer look at the object, Daniel contacted Jack over the radio, telling him that there was something he needed to see back at the camp.

Leaving Teal'c to continue the search, the colonel returned to camp.

~At least, he's calmer now,~ Jack thought as he walked, wondering what his lover could have found that could be so important.

====

“Whaddaya got?” Jack asked, removing his sunglasses as he approached his archaeologist.

Standing in front of the crate, Daniel answered, “Well, mostly mining equipment; could be several hundred years old.  Hard to date it 'til I get back to the SGC.”  He held up a torture stick, similar to the ones that had been used on them by the man who had captured Chaka and taken him to another planet a few years earlier and asked, “Remember these?”

“Ever so fondly,” Jack responded mockingly having immediately recognized the item.

Daniel pointed the torture stick at the crate and began to press the stick against the container.  Jack, who was leaning on that same crate, immediately removed his hand to avoid the shock.  Instantly, an electrical charge arced.

Somewhat amazed, Daniel raised the pointy part of the weapon to his face and commented, “Still has power.”

“Just keeps goin' and goin',” Jack spoke sarcastically.  ~I prefer the Energizer Bunny to those things, though.~

“I want to show you the truly fascinating part.”  The younger man slid his hand across a long, heavy object, stating, “It's a yoke, capable of supporting or pulling great weight; evenly distributes the weight across the shoulders.  It predates the harness on Earth.”

“Fascinating, truly,” Jack responded dryly.  ~Let's get to the point, Danny, and I'm not talkin' about the edge of that stick, either.~

“Well, I was getting to the truly fascinating part.  It's ... it's too big; too heavy.”

“Meaning?”

“Meaning it wasn't made for a human being,” Daniel revealed.

“Who was it made for?” Jack asked curiously.

“Well, it's too small for a four-legged animal.  If I had to make a guess, based on what I know about the Goa'uld, I'd say it was made for an Unas.”

Letting out a huge, dreadful groan, Jack responded with a simple, “Oh.”

“Now, we know the Goa'uld used the Unas as slaves long before humans.  They're predominately cave dwellers, incredibly strong and capable of working in harsh environments: perfect labor for this kind of mining.”

“This day just gets better and better,” Jack groaned, letting out a big sigh before clicking his radio and informing Teal'c that Unas could be present on the planet.

When Jack ended his call, Daniel asked, “No luck finding the lieutenant?”

“No, not yet.  Danny, you're not going to make an issue of this, are you?” Jack asked about the artifacts.

“Not right now, but this is exactly what I've been battling against for years,” Daniel replied.  “All I'm asking for is a little respect.  This isn't a combat situation. They could have contacted the SGC, and we could have had a team out here within two hours.  One day of evaluation, and then we could have determined if it was okay to move the items or if there were more there.  We don't know what they missed, what's still ...”

“I get it,” Jack interrupted.  “We'll talk to Hammond after we find Ritter.”

“We?”

The older man sighed, “Daniel, you know how I feel about regulations, and I'm not always exactly thrilled by mandates concerning ... rocks, but I understand what you're trying to do.  Like you said, this wasn't a combat situation.  They had the time, and they simply chose to ignore their options.”

“Thank you,” Daniel acknowledged, pleased that he didn't have to fight Jack as well as the survey team.  He took a brief moment to avouch just how far they'd come together in appreciating the other's work and obligations, and it was good to know he could count on his lover's support in situations like these.  “Uh, but that doesn't change what we've discovered.”

“Where's Edwards?”

“In the mine, I think,” Daniel answered.

“Good luck,” Jack said.

“You aren't going to talk to him with me?”

Putting his hand on his lover's shoulder and keeping it there, Jack answered, “I think you can handle it.”  With a smile, he lowered his hand.  As his archaeologist turned and headed for the mine entrance, the colonel muttered, “Besides, he'll be arguing with me about it soon enough.”

Daniel turned around and asked, “What?”

“You aren't gonna accept a little 'no' from Edwards, right?” Jack asked knowingly.

Instead of a verbal confirmation, Daniel rolled his eyes, turned around, and continued to the mine.

“That's what I thought,” Jack sighed.

====

“Colonel, I need to talk to you,” Daniel said once he'd reached Edwards' location inside the mine.

“What is it, Doctor?” Edwards responded, his head bowed as he reviewed a report on the latest survey results in that area.

~Okay, don't leap too far ahead,~ Daniel told himself.  “I was studying the artifacts your team ... moved,” he cleared his throat, his eyes darting downwards for a brief moment before looking again at the military man he was talking to, “and I found something that could indicate an alien lifeform being present on this planet.”

“There are no other lifeforms on this planet, Doctor.”

“No, see, it's a harness, well, actually, a yoke.  I've seen these in action.”

“So have I ... on a farm on Earth,” Edwards responded sarcastically, moving forward to check on another area being mined.

Daniel followed, calling out, “Colonel, this is serious.  This lifeform I'm talking about is very dangerous.”

For the next few minutes, the archaeologist tried to explain his concerns to the officer in charge of the planetary mission, but Edwards just wasn't listening.

“Look, you have to listen to me,” Daniel asserted strongly as he followed the colonel.

“Okay, let me get this straight,” Edwards began as he exited the mine and walked over to a table where maps and some communication equipment were located.  “You want me to delay this operation because you found some shoulder harness?”

Following behind closely, Daniel corrected, “Yoke, actually.  It's ...”

“That could be could be a hundred years old, built for a creature that probably disappeared or died off a long time ago,” Edwards said, stopping alongside Jack, who was at the table, studying some maps.

~Why isn't he getting how serious this is?~ Daniel pondered in frustration as he listened to his momentary adversary and folded his arms across his chest.  “It's not uncommon for Goa'uld to leave their slaves behind once they've lost interest in a planet.”

“We've been here for three months,” Edwards argued.  “We haven't seen or heard anything like what you describe.”

“Maybe that's the way they want it,” the archaeologist suggested.

A bit antagonistically, Edwards responded, “Look, Doctor, I've got the Pentagon breathing down my neck; I've gotta show some results ...”

Interrupting, Daniel implored, “Colonel, you don't understand.  Unas are territorial, and, when provoked, they can be extremely dangerous.”

Edwards turned to Jack, who had put down the report he'd been reading, and questioned with frustration, “Is he always like this?”

“Yeah, pretty much,” Jack answered straightforwardly.

Daniel sighed inwardly, pressing his crossed arms to his chest a little tighter and looking away at his lover's response.  This wasn't the time for Jack to play games; this was serious.

“If these things really are here, do you think they had anything to do with, uh, Ritter going missing?” Edwards questioned as he faced off against the archaeologist.

“Yes, I do.”

After a moment during which he just stared at the archaeologist, Edwards refused to shut down the operation.  Instead, he said they should bring in extra personnel to help secure the area.

“Colonel ...”

“Doctor, I don't have time for this,” Edwards said, turning his back on Daniel and preparing his 'call' to the SGC for more troops.

“Jack, did you have to be so dismissive?” Daniel challenged.

“Daniel,” Jack spoke, straightening and heading to a quieter area, knowing his lover would follow him.  “He asked me a question, and I answered it.  Are you trying to tell me that's *not* how you are?”

“I could have used your help,” Daniel responded.

“I'm giving you all the help I can; this isn't my call,” Jack stated.

While technically Jack might outrank Edwards, this was not his mission, and he couldn't overrule the man's decision without a very good reason.  Unfortunately, a belief in Daniel would not be accepted by those in Washington as a good enough reason.

“You know what we're up against.”

“I know what we *could* be up against,” the older man replied.  “We don't really have any proof the Unas are here.”  As Daniel arched his eyebrows, his expression accusing, Jack sighed, “Okay, so the odds are on your side, but ...”

“But until Lieutenant Ritter or someone else turns up dead, no one is going to listen to me.”  Seeing the truth of that in Jack's stare, the archaeologist responded, “Right,” and then turned and walked away.

“Daniel ...”

Turning around, but still moving forward, Daniel called out, “Sorry, *Colonel*, but I'm going to my happy place, away from you.”

Jack groaned, shaking his head and then heading over to wait for Edwards to return from making his 'phone call' to Earth.

====

“We need to talk,” Jack said, motioning for Edwards to follow him to a spot where they couldn't be overheard.  “Listen, Daniel can be a pain in the butt.  He gets overly passionate about things sometimes, but he knows his stuff.  He doesn't lead people on wild goose chases.”

“Jack, I'm not stopping the mining because of some harness.”

“Yoke,” Jack heard himself correct, sighing upon realizing he'd done so.

“This mission is crucial, and it's my team that's on the hook here.  You have no idea of the pressure they're applying; they want results.”

“Okay, but do yourself a favor.  When it's crunch time, trust Daniel,” Jack advised firmly, looking directly into the other man's eyes.  “He may drive you crazy, but not listening to him can prove fatal.”

“You're scarin' me, Jack,” Edwards responded mockingly, bringing his hand to pound against his chest and giving the other colonel a mock shudder before walking away.

~Well, that went well,~ Jack thought sarcastically.

====

“Daniel, they just brought Ritter's body back,” Jack informed his lover a bit later.  As the younger man nodded and proceeded to pass him, Jack spoke quietly, “I'm on your side here.”

“It would be nice if you'd show it,” Daniel replied without stopping.

“What happened?” Edwards inquired, just arriving at the area where the dead man's body had been placed.  “Oh, that's ugly.”

“His body was hung up, on display: a warning,” Teal'c stated.

“Warning for what?” Edwards asked incredulously.

“There were signs that place where Lieutenant Ritter was working is a forbidden ground,” Teal'c answered.

“Colonel Edwards,” Lieutenant Menard called out, pointing to the new arrivals from Earth.

“Good.”

A few minutes later, Ritter was sealed in a body bag and taken to the Stargate for transport by two airmen.

With everyone gathered around, Edwards called out, “All right!  I want extra ammo for everyone.  Keep your eyes open, and stay in radio contact.”

“What are you intending to do?” Daniel asked.

Walking towards the archaeologist, Edwards answered, “These things killed one of my men and strung him up like a scarecrow.”

As the other colonel continued his reply, Jack thought, ~Okay, round two: my geek versus the military.~  He walked slowly towards the verbally dueling men and then put his right foot on a small crate.  He leaned forward, resting his right elbow on his raised knee and bringing his right hand to his mouth as he listened, knowing that he'd have to intervene at some point.  ~Gonna get nasty,~ he thought as his lover pointed out that Edwards and his men might have unknowingly provoked the Unas, a claim Edwards refuted since they had no idea the aliens were even on the planet.

The archaeologist walked over to where an aerial photograph was mounted and explained, “If this mine extends as far as your estimates say, then this other entrance would be well within the tunnel network.  It's an alternate entrance to the same mine.  Now, it has to be something about this area, this mine.  They don't want us here.”

“The feeling's mutual,” Edwards spoke sarcastically.

~He isn't listening to me.~  Daniel looked over at his lover, a plea in his voice as he called out, “Jack?”

“Look, I know he can be a little ... but he's usually right about this stuff,” Jack said, though he knew he wouldn't make any progress since he'd basically already told Edwards that.

“My orders are to determine the potential of this site as a mining operation.  Until those orders are rescinded, I'm gonna do whatever it takes to ensure the safety of my people, so ... are you gonna help me secure this area, or not?” Edwards asked Jack antagonistically.

Straightening, Jack nodded his answer, glancing over at Daniel, who looked away, clearly frustrated.

“All right, let's go,” Edwards ordered, the personnel fanning out in their search.

====

“This is a mistake,” Daniel warned as he walked beside his soulmate.

While Daniel had no desire to take part in this ‘hunting party', he hoped if he was present when they encountered the Unas, he might be able to talk to them and avoid bloodshed on either side.

“It's his command, Daniel.”

“He's never encountered the Unas before.  He doesn't know what he's dealing with,” the younger man pointed out.

At that moment, gunfire erupted, putting a stop to any further debate.  Both men froze as they took in the sound and then broke into a run towards the direction of the continuing commotion.  It wasn't long before they were in the middle of the fray between the Unas and SG teams.

Although the Tau'ri weapons had managed to bring down some of the Unas, the aliens had brute strength on their side and were able to toss the SGC personnel around like dolls, the humans being thrown into trees or against the ground.

As Jack moved forward to join in the battle, the leader of the Unas darted out from behind a tree, slamming into him, actually lifting the colonel up into the air and spinning him around.

~Oh, crap!  What goes up, must come -- oh, for crying out loud -- down!  Argh~ the colonel groaned, grunting in pain as he slammed back down to the ground, jamming his arm.

Daniel reached the area just as the Unas towered over Jack, ready to finish him off.  With his Beretta drawn and pointed in the direction of the Unas, Daniel was ready and willing to kill the alien in order to protect his soulmate, but he hoped it wouldn't come to that.  He called out, speaking in Unas, pleading with him not to kill Jack.

The Unas was shocked to hear his language being spoken by Daniel.  He stared as the linguist repeated his plea in the language of the Unas.  The alien looked down at Jack, noting that while both of the humans had their weapon pointing at him, neither had fired.  Suddenly, the Unas called out, ordering his tribe to leave.

As the Unas pulled away their wounded and dead, Daniel called out, **Jack, are you okay?**

**Oh, I've been better.**

With the Unas moving away, Daniel ran towards his Love, but Jack pointed behind him, to where Menard was wounded on the ground, saying, “Help him!”  Realizing his lover might hesitate, he repeated, “Help him!”

Pulling himself to his feet, Jack watched as Daniel and Teal'c checked on the injured lieutenant.  Unfortunately, he also had to listen to Edwards, who hadn't learned a thing as yet.  Instead, he was arguing that they should pursue the Unas and kill them all, especially when the Unas were heard making loud sounds in the distance.

Jack gave an internal sigh as he listened to his lover explain that the sound was the Unas mourning their dead.  He knew Daniel was hoping that Edwards would realize the Unas were sentient beings with as much of a right to life as any human.

~Sorry, Danny, Edwards just doesn't get it,~ Jack thought in a combination of frustration and regret.

“This may be our best chance.  Come on, we're not just gonna let 'em get away, are we?” Edwards put forth excitedly.

“We're not gonna pursue an enemy into *unknown* terrain!” Jack argued back.

“Jack, you make it sound like they're capable of tactics, here,” the other colonel noted.

“We've had dealings with them before,” Daniel interjected, walking over to where Jack and Edwards were arguing.  “They're far more intelligent than you think.”

“I don't care!  They attacked us!” Edwards spat.

“Edwards, we're not goin' in,” Jack stated, ready to enforce his superior rank within the SGC and take charge.

Angrily, Edwards pointed at Jack and responded, “This is *my* command!  You are here at my request!”

Pleased his lover was being assertive and ready to take control, Daniel pointed out, “You're in charge of a mining operation.”

“Your standing orders no longer apply.  Now, let's take it back to SGC, and we'll figure it out there,” Jack ordered.

“Fine,” the clearly unhappy Edwards acknowledged.

**Thank you,** Daniel said as he and lover exchanged a somber look.

**I told you that I was on your side, Daniel, but this is his command.  I couldn't just storm in here and take over without cause.**

**And now you have it.**

Grimacing from his pain, Jack confirmed, **Oh, yeah.**

Daniel walked closer to his lover to help him back to the Stargate.

Leaning one arm over the younger man's shoulder, Jack said quietly, “You know, I could walk back without your help.”

“Yeah, but, this is your happy place,” Daniel smirked, glancing over at the older man for a split second and giving him a tiny smile.

Inwardly, Jack chuckled.  They were walking together, legitimately.  He put on a bit of a show to make his injury look a bit more severe than it was, but Daniel was right.  He was in his happy place: he was with his Daniel.

====

“Medic!” Daniel called out when he and his lover walked through the Stargate.

“I can walk,” Jack barked when a medical team approached hurriedly and began to place him on a stretcher.

“Stop arguing,” Daniel ordered.  **Be pampered while you can.**

**You're not the one doing the pampering,** Jack argued.

**Yet,** the younger man smirked, the expression in his eyes radiating seduction.

With a promise like that, Jack let himself be manhandled by the medical team and wheeled to the infirmary.  Though he felt it was over dramatic, Daniel's continued promises of a seductive night to come kept the colonel from complaining verbally. In fact, one of the nurses observed his contented smile while they made their way down the corridor and wondered what he could be thinking about.

====

“You'll be fine,” Doctor Warner spoke at the end of the exam.

“Of course, I'll be fine,” Jack scowled, now dressed in a white hospital gown.  ~It's my arm, not my ... whatever.~

“The nurse will affix a sling.  We'll keep you here for a day or two,” Warner said.

“It's just a tiny sprain.”

“Fracture: a small one that shouldn't cause you too much of a problem, but still a fracture,” Warner corrected, turning and leaving the area, not wanting to fight the man on the length of his stay in the infirmary.

As the nurse began to place the sling, Jack whined, “I'm not a toy to be wrapped.”

**You don't want to be my toy?  I could, uh, unwrap you when I get you home.** Daniel communicated covertly as he stood at the foot the bed, his arms folded across his chest.

**Yours, yes, this person's, no,** Jack replied, finally pushing the nurse away as he cringed in pain.

Just then, Sam walked in, going past the archaeologist to stand near the halfway point of the bed, and asked, “How's the arm?”

“Good.  How's the science project?”

“You mean my complete overhaul of the Gate diagnostic system?” Sam asked, a bit annoyed at the complicated task being made to sound like a high school science fair project.

“I guess that's what I mean,” Jack answered.  **Must not be going so well.**

“It's going well, Sir.  Thank you for asking,” the blonde answered.

**She's just sorry she missed the fun,** Daniel communicated.

**Me getting hurt is fun?** Jack challenged.

Totally ignoring his lover's question, Daniel asked, “Uh, if we go back to this planet, you're not coming with us, are you?”

Looking down at his sling and cognizant of Warner's orders, he responded, “It's doubtful.”

“Yeah.  That's too bad.  I was kinda hoping you'd take command of the mission,” Daniel answered.  As Jack stared at him, he noted, “Colonel Edwards has no experience dealing with the Unas.”

“Nor you,” Jack said.  **And you're the bigger challenge; of course, I like you big.**

Daniel shrugged, working hard not to blush in front of Sam.

**Look at you, you sexy thing,** Jack teased, knowing his lover was fighting becoming red-faced in front of Sam.

~Stay in control,~ the younger man encouraged himself, summoning all of his will power.  ~Just ... ignore him, like I could, like I'd ever want to,~ he mused.  **Jack, I'm worried about his attitude.**

Choosing to answer verbally, the colonel assured, “He's an okay guy, Daniel.  He's just under a lot of pressure.”

“Yeah, yeah.  I ... I guess I just spent a lot of time breaking you in.  I just didn't want to have to start with a new colonel,” Daniel quipped, noticing Sam's amused look at his comment.

“It’ll be fine,” Jack replied sarcastically.

The younger man nodded, smiled at Sam, and then headed for the doorway.  Hearing his lover call out, he turned around.

“Just try not to be,” Jack paused, searching for the right word, “sooo ...”

Seeing Jack's grimace, Daniel asked, “What?”

“Oh, you know,” Jack said as he leaned down.  **I love you; be careful.**

Daniel and Sam exchanged puzzled looks before the archaeologist turned and left the infirmary, sending out a private, **I love you, too,** to the man in the bed.  **Oh, and, Babe, when we get back, I'm going to ...**

Sam watched as her commanding officer rolled on his side and closed his eyes.  She looked toward the exit, seeing Daniel in the distance.  She looked back at Jack, who obviously wanted to sleep.  Looking around nervously, she sighed and smiled.

“I guess I'll go back to work.”  Sam looked over for a response from the injured man.  “Yep, that's what I'll do,” she said, glancing around the room and then exiting.

On the bed, Jack opened his eyes and looked at his midsection, ordering, ~Down, down, *down*.~  He grumbled, **That wasn't nice, Daniel.**

**And then I'm going to ...**

Hearing his lover's promises of sexual advances, Jack yanked the sheets over him, making sure they were covering up his lower half totally.  At this point in time, it just wouldn't be good to be caught with a protruding body part.

~Geez, I love him,~ Jack thought as he ignored the pain in his arm to focus on the love and promises from his soulmate instead.

====

“You did what?” Jack asked incredulously.

It was the next morning, and Jack had just learned that Daniel had gone off-world the night before to find Chaka and convince him to come first to Earth and then to 403 to help with the crisis.  Before embarking for the mining planet, the younger man had popped in for a quick visit, wanting to see how his lover was doing.  With caution, the wounded colonel looked over at the familiar Unas standing by the next bed and examining various utensils.

In shock, the colonel asked, “Are you out of your mind?”

“Jack, he's fine.  He's just ... looking things over.  We only have a minute, but I wanted to make sure you were okay.”

“I'm fine; you're the one who must have some kind of brain injury,” Jack argued, his voice attracting the attention of the Unas.  “We're just talking,” he said to the creature.

“Jack, General Vidrine ...”

“You know, I got a glimpse of him earlier,” Jack interrupted.  “Didn't he used to have a mustache?”

Daniel chuckled, “Well, he's a four-star now, so maybe facial hair protocol took over.”

“Mmmm,” Jack said, his eyes lowered as he nodded.  “Oh, sorry.  What were you saying?”

“Uh, General Vidrine wanted to send in the troops and take the naquadah forcibly. The only thing that would accomplish is getting a lot of people, and Unas, killed.”

“What about alternative sites?” Jack asked, keeping an eye on the curious alien standing nearby.

“I asked about that, but, apparently, this site is the only one meeting their production quotas,” Daniel sighed.  “Jack, Colonel Edwards thinks of the Unas as some kind of wild animals.  I'm hoping that by spending some time with Chaka, that he'll get a better understanding of the Unas ... and, well, I'm thinking Chaka can communicate with the Unas on the planet and be a sort of ... liaison.”

“You can't do this on your own?”

“No, and, obviously, General Hammond supported me,” Daniel stated, smiling at Chaka.

“And he agreed to help?”

“Yes, he did,” Daniel affirmed with a nod as he continued to smile.

“Please tell me you took a team with you when you ...”  Jack groaned, knowing the answer.  “Daniel, you shouldn't have gone by yourself.”

“I'm a big boy, Jack.”

“Tell me about it.”

**I'll show you, later.**

Jack looked up at his lover, wanting to enjoy the seductive tease, but not being able to when he was so worried about his safety.

Daniel saw the concern and spoke passionately, “Jack, Colonel Edwards will fire first and ask questions later.  Nothing happened on that planet until we walked upon their forbidden ground.”  He paused and then repeated something he'd told Vidrine, Hammond, and Edwards earlier.  “We're the invaders.  We don't have to provoke them, and we don't have to kill them.  Chaka will help.”

“Are you sure?”

“Jack, he brokered a truce and has brought peace to that world he was taken to.  They live together now.  It's not perfect; sometimes, it gets a little shaky, but they haven't had any serious problems in over a year.  I think if he could manage to do that, he could act as a peaceful liaison between us and the Unas of P3X-403.”

“Watch your back, Daniel,” Jack warned.

“Are you okay?”

“You get back here safely, and I'll be perfect,” Jack spoke quietly.

“No problem,” Daniel assured.  He looked over at the alien and motioned for them to go.  “Bye, Jack.”

Jack watched Daniel and the Unas start to walk away.

“Chaka,” Jack called out.

The surprised Unas turned around, cocking his head at the human in the hospital bed and making an indistinct sound.

“Daniel, ka'nay.”

Chaka looked at Daniel and repeated, “Ka'nay,” which meant 'friend' in his language.

“Keep him safe,” Jack requested.  As Chaka nodded, the colonel added, “Aka,” thanking the Unas for his response.

Daniel grinned and asked, “When did you learn to speak Unas, Jack?”

“Get out of here,” Jack barked, retreating back into his crustier self.

**I'll be okay; I love you, Jack.**

**Love you, too, Danny.  Please come back to me safely.**

====

“Colonel, what are you doing up?” General Hammond asked several hours later when Jack suddenly walked into the control room.

After tossing and turning restlessly in the infirmary, the colonel had decided enough was enough.  Against Warner's orders, he had dressed and gone in search of information on his lover.

“This is nothing, General,” Jack said, dismissing his injury, even as he gently held his arm that was still secured in a sling.  “Any word on 403?”

“As a matter of fact, we're about to contact them,” Hammond stated, nodding at the technician to engage the Stargate.

“SGC to SG-1, report.”

“This is Teal'c,” the Jaffa responded over his radio.

Before Hammond could respond, Jack leaned over to speak into the microphone and called out, “Teal'c, where's Daniel?”

“O'Neill, you are well?”

“I'm fine; where's Daniel?”

“DanielJackson has gone with Chaka to meet with the Unas of this planet,” Teal'c reported.

“Alone?” Jack asked, alarmed.

“Chaka believed they would have better luck if they went alone and unarmed.”

“*Unarmed*?”

“That is correct, O'Neill.”

“How long have they been gone?” Jack asked, dreading the answer.

“Several hours.”

Jack didn't respond, but simply stood up straight, staring at the Stargate.  It was night now on the planet, and that made things even more treacherous.

“Teal'c, do you have any reason to believe Doctor Jackson is in danger?” Hammond questioned.

“I do not,” the Jaffa answered succinctly.

“Very well.  Keep us advised.  SGC out.”

“Sir, request permission ...” Jack began.

“Denied, Colonel.  Report back to the infirmary where I'm sure they still have a bed with your name on it.”

“But ...”

“Infirmary, Jack.  That's an order,” Hammond said sternly before turning and heading back to his office.

Unhappy, but not having much of an alternative at the moment, Jack did as ordered.

====

The next morning, Daniel and Chaka strode back into the camp and were immediately greeted by Major Lorne and Teal'c.  Talking rapidly, the archaeologist explained why the Unas had attacked the surveyors, revealing that the ground was sacred to the Unas.

“Most of their ancestors were worked to death by the Goa'uld while they were mining it.  They're scarred.  It's a wonder they didn't attack us the minute we set foot on this planet,” the archaeologist spoke a bit excitedly.

When Daniel paused slightly, Lorne jumped in, “Doctor, look we have ...”

Ignoring the other man's attempt to interrupt him, Daniel continued towards the command post while rapidly saying, “Now, I told 'em I'd speak to my superiors on their behalf.  Sacred burial grounds are protected on Earth from industrial development. I think that same rule should apply here.  We have to leave.”

With Daniel finally taking a breath, Lorne informed, “We got the results of the resonance scan.  The deposit is over three-hundred meters in length and almost completely solid.”

Lorne called up the survey results on the laptop for Daniel's review.

Edwards had entered the tented area just in time to hear the last part of the ongoing discussion and spoke, “Fifty-three-thousand metric tons.  We're not going anywhere.”

After a moment of contemplation, Daniel relied, “There has to be a compromise.  It's sacred ground, Colonel.”

“We need the naquadah, Doctor, to build our ships.  General Vidrine was quite clear on that, if you recall,” Edwards stated forcefully.

“Yes, but that was before we knew about the sacred ground,” the archaeologist said, unwilling to give up his stance and refusing to accept that the Unas' beliefs would just be ignored completely.

“It won't make a difference.  You heard his orders: deadly force was authorized.”

“Colonel ...”

“Those are my orders, Doctor,” Edwards said, walking away.

Daniel sighed and then immediately headed for the DHD to dial Earth.

“I need to speak with General Hammond,” the archaeologist informed the technician when his 'call' went through.

“One moment, Sir.”

Daniel turned and looked at Chaka.  There was a bond between the two, and both had learned much from the other.

“Doctor Jackson, we were getting worried,” Hammond called out.

Daniel turned back around and positioned himself in front of the MALP camera, with Chaka visible behind him.

“My meeting with the Unas went well, Sir.  Uh, they're reluctant to trust us, but I did manage to open up a line of communication.”

“How many of them are there?” Vidrine questioned.

“I only saw a medium-sized clan.  I can't be sure.  Why?” Daniel asked.  ~Dumb question, Jackson.  You know why.~

“We need to know if we're going to relocate them,” Vidrine answered.

“They'll never accept relocation, Sir.  They won't understand it.”

“Then it's your job to make them understand.  If you don't, we'll have to go in there with tranquillizers and capture them,” Vidrine spoke sternly.

“They're not animals,” Daniel muttered to himself as he glanced back at Chaka.  Firmly, he asserted, “Look, I'm pretty sure Chaka and I can accomplish something.  Just ... let me go talk to them again.”

“You have twenty-four hours to convince the Unas to come peacefully, or they'll be forcibly removed,” Hammond advised.

The archaeologist nodded in acknowledgement and switched off the camera.

“Chaka, let's go,” Daniel instructed.

“I will accompany you,” Teal'c stated, wanting to secure the safety of his teammate.

“No, Teal'c, we have to do this alone.  It's the only way,” Daniel sighed, looking at Chaka and then heading back to the place where they had met with the leader of the Unas on the planet.

====

“We have a couple of things to ... iron out here, Sir, but we should be back in a couple of hours,” Daniel reported as he looked into the camera that afternoon.

“Congratulations, Doctor,” Hammond acknowledged and then ended the transmission.  He looked back at Jack, who was standing quietly in the corner with a look of relief on his face.  Walking over to the man, he suggested, “Why don't you go home, Son, and get some rest.”

“I just may do that, Sir,” Jack replied with a happy smile.  ~Danny's okay; I can relax a little now.~

Hammond smiled and then headed to his office where General Vidrine was on the phone with the President.

====

Daniel opened the door to the home he shared with his lover and was surprised to find himself pulled in and nearly devoured by the older man.  Their lips were hungry for the other's, and their hands warmly caressed each other.

“Mmmm, your injury,” Daniel gasped as he pulled back.

“Daniel, you're kissing me, not messing around with my arm,” Jack pointed out.

“Yet,” Daniel spoke.  ~He seems to be okay; no grimacing or anything when he moved his arm just now.~

“Danny,” Jack said quietly, his hands cupping his lover's face, his thumbs caressing the skin that clearly needed a shave.  “You're okay.”  It wasn't a question.  He could see the satisfaction in the blue eyes that always expressed what was in his lover's soul.  “You did good.”

“General Hammond said you were there when I reported in.  Why didn't you wait for me?”

Jack smiled, his hands dropping down to take his Love's hands in his, and answered, “You worked a miracle, Danny, and the Brass was there to see it.  You stopped a war, saved lives.”

“You could have come to the briefing.”

“*You* did this, and *you* deserved all the credit.  It was your day,” Jack stated from his heart.  “I love you, and I'm so proud of you.”

“I love you, too.  How's your arm?”

“Hurts a little, but it *is* just a sprain.”

“But Doctor Warner ...”

“Was enjoying a power trip,” Jack spoke.  “I have a couple of days of light duty.  Come say hello to the girls, and then I want to hear all about it,” he said, leaning in for another kiss before the lovers walked outside to spend some time with their beagles, Bijou and Katie.

====

“So, what happened?” Jack asked as he brought his lover his dinner plate, which was filled with a variety of foods.  There were sausages wrapped in bacon, corn bread, celchiean, and a few Fritos.  “I want to hear all about it.”

“Celchiean?  Love it,” Daniel spoke, seeing Jack's own creation of chili and baked beans in celery sticks.

“Just for you,” Jack replied, giving his lover a kiss as he sat down at the table.

“Well, the leader of the Unas was Iron Shirt.  You know, I went in there thinking they were going to be ... annihilated if they didn't cooperate.  Jack, there were hundreds of them.”

“They were there all along?”

“Yes, and it wasn't until we invaded their territory that they attacked.  Then Lieutenant Woeste killed one of them; uh, long story short, there was a bone necklace that belonged to one of the Unas.  I think maybe he lost it during the battle, when you were hurt.  I wasn't sure any of us would get out of there alive at that point,” Daniel revealed, looking down at his place and sighing as he recalled the tense moment.

“But you did, Love, and no one else was hurt, right?”

Daniel smiled and took a bite of the creative celchiean before continuing, “Colonel Edwards was still acting like we were superior.  It reminded me of Kinsey, after we got back from 233.  Remember how arrogant he was?  'Let them come'?”

“Kinsey's more than arrogant,” Jack groaned while he buttered his cornbread.

“That's how Colonel Edwards was sounding.  'We're ready', he kept saying,” Daniel sighed.  “When I saw how many there were, I knew we didn't have time to get out.  It was bow down and ask for mercy, or die.”

“Bowing down isn't easy for a military man.”

“I know that, and I wasn't sure he'd go along,” Daniel stated.  Sighing, he acknowledged, “He didn't want to listen to me.  He was so cocky about our technology, insisting the aerial scans would have shown the presence of the Unas.  Gawd, they live underground, in caves.  They only wanted to be left alone.  It's like the Indians on Earth.”

“When we stole their land.”

“Same thing, different place, different time, but it's still pushing someone out of their home because we wanted it.”

“So, what's with the bow down and mercy bit?”

“Oh, well, Colonel Edwards finally figured out that we were outnumbered, and then he got a surprise,” Daniel explained.

“Which was?” Jack asked before taking a bite of his cornbread.

After swallowing one of the sausages, the archaeologist answered, “Iron Shirt gave us a chance.  He put himself at risk and walked to us, at the camp.”

“He took a chance on Edwards not blowing his head off,” Jack surmised.  “That was a big chance, Danny.  Why would he do that?”

“We have a common enemy,” Daniel explained.  “He understood that we wanted to work together and that we needed the naquadah to fight the Goa'uld.”  He paused and enjoyed another sausage, smiling at the taste.  “The hard part was getting Colonel Edwards to understand that we needed to show respect to Iron Shirt.”

“Bowing down.”

“You wouldn't have liked it, either, but I know you would have done it,” Daniel spoke, grinning at his lover.  “I knew that's all we had to do, though, just get down on our knees and submit, just for a few minutes; that was all.”

“You obviously made your point,” Jack stated, surmising that was the case since the story had a happy ending.

“It took me a minute to convince him that it was just the way their social order worked.  We look at everything as being confrontational, but the Unas, and many other races, don't.  They just needed to know that we weren't going to slaughter them,” Daniel noted.

“So ...” Jack prodded while eating some of his celchiean.

“So, we kneeled down, and Iron Shirt accepted the gesture.  Then we talked and came up with the solution; well, actually, Iron Shirt came up with the solution.”

“To mine the naquadah themselves,” Jack stated, having heard that part of the story when Daniel was reporting to Hammond.

“Yes,” Daniel confirmed with a nod.  “They're intelligent, Jack.  Gawd, I wish people would understand that.”

“I'm trying,” Jack replied.

“I know you are.  You learned Unas,” Daniel said with a smile.

“Bits and pieces,” Jack acknowledged.  “Danny, the Unas will never be my favorite race; I don't get them, but I understand that you do.”

“Don't you?” Daniel asked, getting an odd look from his lover.  “Jack, you could have killed Iron Shirt.”

“I could have?”

“He was the Unas who injured you, and he was the one I stopped from killing you.”

Jack dropped his fork and knife to his plate, resulting in a loud, clanging noise.  He stared at his lover in surprise.  He started to speak, but became a bit contemplative instead.

“Babe, you could have gotten off several rounds.  You waited.  You gave him a chance.”

“You were speaking all those funny words,” Jack responded, trying to make light of his decision.

“You can make that claim with General Hammond, but I saw you risk your life for an Unas, and not for the first time.  It's one of the reasons why I love you, because even if you claim you don't understand the Unas, or whatever race we're wrangling with at the moment, you give them a chance to prove themselves.  You see, I know you're not afraid to kill if you have to.  I think that gives you more power than you realize,” Daniel spoke thoughtfully as he stared straight into his Love's eyes.

Jack wasn't sure if he liked being analyzed in this way.  His lover was right, but admitting that was difficult.  There was a certain shield that he needed to keep in place when he was in the field.  Obviously, Daniel was seeing right through that armor.  Then again, Daniel always did, a fact that made Jack smile as he continued to listen to his lover talk.

“You're not afraid, and they sense that, too,” Daniel asserted.  “Iron Shirt saw that you could have killed him, but didn't.  You gave him a chance, without having a clue what was going to happen as a result.  At camp, today, Iron Shirt gave us a chance, not really knowing exactly what was going to happen there.  He wasn't afraid, either.”

“Daniel, are you comparing me to an Unas?”

“Uh, well, yes.”

Jack groaned as he shook his head and then focused on his meal again, as did Daniel.  For a couple of minutes, they enjoyed their somewhat unusual dinner.

“Colonel Edwards told me what you said about me,” the younger man said, referring to Jack's comment about him being a pain, but a pain that was well worth it.

“He did?” Jack said nervously.

“Hmm-mmm,” Daniel acknowledged with a smile.

“You gotta admit it, Danny.  You can be a pain in the ...”

“Yes, and I plan to, later, after dinner.”

“You've been just full of sexy smut the last couple of days,” Jack mused.

“I missed you last night,” Daniel admitted.

“Missed you, too,” Jack replied.  “So, I bet you're tired.”

“Not that tired,” Daniel said with a smile.  “But I am hungry.”

“After dinner then.”

“Count on it,” Daniel chuckled as he ate some of his cornbread.  With a smile, he added, “That's my real happy place, you know.”

“Huh?”

“You told me to go my happy place,” Daniel reminded, getting a nod from the older man.  “Where do you come up with this stuff?”

“It's ... magic,” Jack answered with a shrug.

“You said it was with my artifacts: my happy place.”

“You and your toys, Daniel,” Jack teased lightly before sipping some of his coffee.

“You're wrong.”

“What?” a surprised Jack responded.

Thoughtfully, the younger man revealed, “A couple of days ago, I spent a lot of time thinking about us, kinda replaying our history.”

“You did?”

“Yeah.  I was just strolling down memory lane,” Daniel said, not yet ready to tell his lover about his computer diary that he'd just begun.  “In thinking about everything we've been through, I can state that you are definitely wrong about my happy place because,” he reached over and took his lover's hand in his, squeezing it firmly, “it's with you, Jack.  You're my happy place.”

“Angel,” Jack replied softly, leaning over to share a kiss that tasted a bit like chili cornbread with a dab of cinnamon tossed in, a result of the cinnamon coffee they'd been drinking.

“But, uh, thank you, Babe, for stopping me from killing Major Lorne.”

“Revenge planned?” Jack teased as Daniel released his hand.

“I'm going to have him work with John Carpenter for a week, doing his leg work and helping to catalog several items that are backlogged in the storage area.”

“Oh, he'll love that,” Jack laughed, knowing that the civilian on his lover's staff was a stickler for detail and would drive Loren crazy with the history of the artifacts they catalogued.

“Hey, how's Sam's project coming along?” Daniel inquired.

“Almost done, I think.  Danny, Andy called; wants to schedule poker for Friday, if we can.”

“Okay.  Saw Tracey on my way out.  Did you know ...”

It was an odd world, one in which Jack and Daniel were fighting alien creatures one second and chitchatting about poker games the next.  Though strange to those outside of their nation of two, to the lovers, it was a paradise they wouldn't trade for anything in the universe.

~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~
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