Lighting My World

Author: Orrymain
Category: Slash, Angst, Drama, H/C, Missing Scene/Epilogue, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  NC-17
Season:  4
Spoilers:  The Light, minor ones for Need, Small Victories, The Other Side, Divide and Conquer, The First Ones, Scorched Earth, Beneath the Surface, The Curse, Absolute Power, Window of Opportunity
Size:  44kb
Written:  June 1, December 19-20,26, 2004, January 3,9 2005
Summary:  Can you get back what you thought was lost?  Or was anything ever really lost at all?  Jack and Daniel struggle to answer these questions after the events of “The Light” transpire.
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) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  QuinGem, Drdjlover, Claudia, Linda, Sue, Pepi, Ali!

Lighting My World
by Orrymain

~It's a freakin' nightmare.~

Daniel stood, staring out at the beach that lay beyond the Goa'uld pleasure palace where he, Jack, and Sam would be staying for at least three weeks.  It was a vacation of sorts, forced upon the three while the effects of the palace's powerful drug-like light drained from their bodies.

The archaeologist watched Jack sitting on the sand in the distance.  He looked small, as if the weight of the world were on his shoulders.

~What happened?  How did things get so messed up?  What the heck was I saying on the balcony?~

With his arms folded across his chest, Daniel slowly walked to the spot where Jack sat.  The older man sat with his arms outstretched, hands hanging loosely over the tops of his partially drawn-up knees.  He felt Daniel's presence, and without any greeting, said simply, “Danny, I thought we worked all that stuff out.”

“I did, too,” the younger man said as he sat down next to Jack, making sure their shoulders touched, something they always did when wanting to show support and closeness.

“Then what's wrong?”

“I don't know.”

Jack shook his head as he stared out at the rolling waters.  Softly, he asked, “What ... went away?  I don't understand.”

~This IS a nightmare,~ Daniel thought, his mind going back to those critical minutes on the balcony.  He hadn't remembered them at first, after his near-death experience, but now, it was all back with a crystal clarity.

//Flashback//
“Daniel?”

Daniel put the phone down on the counter and looked around his apartment in a daze.  The caller hadn't even registered in his mind.  It could have been anyone, and the fact that it had been Sam on the line didn't make any difference.  He was despondent; everything seemed hopeless.

~It doesn't matter.  We'll never be able to be free.  There will always be something keeping us from showing the world our love.  Why fight it?  I've lost everything I've ever cared about.  I'll lose him eventually, too.~

For a while, he ambled around his apartment.  It was full of artifacts and things from the past.  Searchingly, his eyes wandered the bookcases full of items, and then they roamed the walls, looking at the various items hung there for view.

~Where's my present?  Where's the sign that someone matters to me, and I matter to him?  Nowhere; there's nothing.  We can't take the chance of being discovered.  We have to lie; we always lie.  No photographs; no mementos except those we keep locked away.  No one knows.  What's the point?  Why can't we be free?~

He walked into his bedroom, staring at the bed.  He closed his eyes for one moment, trying to feel the body heat generated by their unions on the bed.

~Fireworks.  When he's here, and we're making love, it's like the fourth of July; we're exploding with excitement.  We ... light up our world with love.  I'm alive ... when he's here.~

Suddenly, the warmth dissipated, and in its place was a deathly chill.

~He'll leave.  I'm not allowed to be happy.  It won't be long now.  He was mad at me in Hammond's office.  He didn't support me.  He's ... I'm just nothing but a pain in the ... mikta to him.~

Daniel returned to the living room.  He saw the phone on the counter, but he was so deep into his loneliness that it didn't sink in that the phone was off the hook.

~Why hurt?  Why live like this?  Why not do all of us a favor?  No one will miss me, not even ... him.~

He crossed the floor to his balcony and opened the door.  His bare feet didn't even register the cold of the cement as he stepped from the living room onto the balcony platform.

~No reason to stay: none.  Lost my parents.  Nightmares: too many nightmares.  Sha're.  She shouldn't have loved me.  Jack.  He'll leave me.  I'm ... too needy.  He'll go away.  Hurts.  Love hurts.~

Daniel's hands grasped the railing.

~So easy: so easy to end it all.  Be at peace; I want peace.  Tired of the game.  Zatarcs.  Screw the zatarcs.  Everyone watches them.  Sam.  *She* wants him.  I know the truth.  He probably wants her, too.  He kissed her.  He didn't have to, but he did.~

Daniel replayed the difficulties of the last few months in his mind.  It had begun when he had almost died from appendicitis, which meant that SG-1 had gone on a perilous mission without him.

~I was useless.  All I could do was stand around and worry, and I ... I ... I felt left out.  Gawd, what a selfish thing to feel.~

Not only did they almost die on that mission, but not long afterwards, he had been forced to give the order that would have resulted in Jack's (and Teal'c's) death.  That had been hard on him, very hard.

~Why did they make me give the order?  Why couldn't they see that I love him?  Why couldn't I tell them?  I *hate* 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'.~

Then there was the disturbing situation when the Tok'ra used a device to uncover instances of Goa'uld brainwashing.  This zatarc episode resulted in a hoard of rumors about Jack and Sam.  It helped the game, Sam being the decoy for Jack and Daniel, drawing attention away from them.

~The leers; the innuendo; the gossip.  I have to live with that everyday, with acting like I mean nothing to him, and she means everything.  Maybe she does.  Maybe I'm the fool.  If he really cared, he'd fix this.  He's good at fixing things; he'd ... find a way.  He doesn't care.  I'm fooling myself.  He's just ... humoring me until he can work his way into her bed.  Yeah, that's it.~

So much more had happened.  He'd made a new friend -- Chaka, only Chaka was an Unas who had originally considered the archaeologist a sacrifice in some Unas coming of age ritual.  Daniel had known he was intended to be 'dinner' for the creatures in the cave.  He'd lost one of the few people at the SGC who actually was a real friend -- Robert Rothman.  To make it worse, Jack had been the one to pull the trigger, not that he had had a choice since Robert had been infested by a Goa'uld at the time.

The need to make heartbreaking decisions evened out a bit on the new Enkaran home world when the planet was in the process of being terraformed by a race seeking out a new home.  Daniel had worked so hard to find the alternative Jack asked for, one that would allow both the terraformers and the Enkarans to survive.  When it was over, Daniel had been on the alien ship that was to have been blown up by a bomb Sam had made, and it was Jack who had pressed the button, triggering the explosion. Daniel had survived by a matter of seconds, and good luck.

~I should have known then.  Jack pushed the button.  I came in last to a world of strangers.  Sam sure was eager.  She wants him, and he wants her.  I'm last ... again.~

They had survived that only to have their minds erased by a civilization that kept half their world thinking they were fighting an ice age.  The workers were unknowing slaves, working to provide power for the government that lived in the domed city above.  Once again, as if the Fates were taunting Daniel, Jack had been paired with Sam, stamped with false memories that hinted of a deeper relationship between the two.

~She's his destiny; not me.  I'm a footnote in his roadmap of love.  Our love has slipped away because he ... because he ... he ... never loved me.  It's gone, isn't it?~

That was only the first part of the year, as Daniel replayed it.  He couldn't forget the big fight that he and Jack had over Daniel's going to Chicago alone for Doctor Jordan's funeral.  It had been the first time either of them had used their relationship as a threat in an argument, and Daniel had been the one to do it.  They got through it, and the things that happened after, including the return of Shifu and Daniel's dream in which he blew up Moscow.

It hadn't been easy to realize that he was capable of being evil, of turning on the people he loved when faced with absolute power, but he had.  Even though it had been illusory and not real, it had felt realistic enough for Daniel to still be feeling guilty over his actions in the dream. He felt like he had betrayed Jack and everyone else on Earth, and as a result, Daniel was still trying to forget the powerful and frightening dream the young boy had given him.

~He hates me; that's it.  He knows what I'm capable of.  It's my dark side, the real me.  He's afraid I'll be that person.  That's it.  He's going to leave me, and I don't blame him.  I'm useless; I'm whiny; and ... I'm just a fill-in for his real love, Sam.  I'm in their way.  Love has gone away, or it never existed.  Maybe we're just marking time.  Gawd, we'll never get back what we had because ... we never had anything, did we?~

Now, a colleague, Barber, had taken his own life by running into the vortex as the Stargate opened, and Daniel was frustrated that he hadn't had success in getting the alien device he had brought back with him to work.

~It's not worth it.  I'm a failure.  Everything I do falls apart.~

He climbed over the railing, slipping but still retaining a grip on the bar. He breathed heavily as he looked out over the city.

The young man's mind was racing with jumbled thoughts and emotions, very little of which truly made sense.  Images of recent nightmares flashed through his mind in random order, bringing with them fears, doubts, and paranoia about everything and everyone in Daniel's life.

He had never known a confusion like this.  He couldn't think, not logically, and yet, his mind wouldn't process that fact -- that he was lost in a new kind of nightmare, one that was filling him with an unhealthy combination of despair, anger, unrest, jealousy, self-doubt, and loneliness.

~Just ... let go.  Let go, and it will all be over.  Peace.  But Jack ... want Jack.  No, he'll leave.  Go away.  He wants Sam.~

Then he heard Jack's voice, seemingly coming from out of nowhere.  He felt his lover, standing at the patio door.

~Calm.  Why is there a calm here all of a sudden?  Oh ... he's here, but he'll go away.~

“Daniel?  What are you doing out here?”

Seconds ticked away before the young man responded.

“None of it means anything.”  ~You'll just go away.  It hurts.  Don't want it to hurt anymore.  The calm is only temporary.~

Jack stepped down onto the balcony, but still stayed by the door, not wanting to frighten his lover.

“Uh ... Daniel, wh...why don't you come inside here?”

“I tried.  It just ... it goes away.”  ~Love goes away, just like you will.~

Jack's voice was desperate, but steady as he spoke with as much confidence as he could muster, “Okay.  Well, we'll, uh, we'll get it back.”

Daniel almost laughed in pain at the thought.

“You can't get it back.”  ~Why even try?  Get Sam.  Be happy.  What do you want with a geek anyway?~

“Whatever's wrong, we'll ... we'll fix it,” Jack pleaded.

Daniel hung his head in sadness, feeling overwhelmed by loss and gloom.

“You don't even know what I'm talking about.”  ~We're so different.~

“No.  No, I don't,” Jack admitted.  After a few moments, he spoke from his heart, something Daniel couldn't ignore.  “But come inside.”  **I love you.**

Jack's heartfelt plea awoke Daniel from the effect of the drug.  He turned to face the older man.  A lone tear ran down Daniel's left cheek.

~Love?  He ... loves me?  Wha...what?~  “Jack?”

“Yeah.”

In a flash, Jack was at Daniel's side, supporting him, physically and emotionally.
//End of Flashback//

“Maybe ... maybe we need a break.”

Jack looked at Daniel incredulously.

“Daniel, don't even go there.”

“It's just ... it's me, Jack.  Maybe I can't ...”

“Maybe you can't what?  Daniel, all you have to do is tell me what had you so spooked?  I still can't believe you climbed out on that balcony.”

“At the time, it seemed the thing to do.”

“Why?”

“I don't know.”

“That's not helping,” Jack said, taking a big breath at the same time.

Every time he closed his eyes, he saw Daniel out on the balcony about to let go.  It was a nightmare that stopped his heart from breathing and his lungs from taking in oxygen.

“What do you want from me, Jack?”

“Honesty.”

“I *am* being honest.”  Daniel shot up and turned to face his lover.  “I think we should take a break.”

Those were the last words he said as he turned and began to jog down the beach, leaving Jack alone to sulk.

Jack picked up a pile of sand in his hand.  He became entranced by it.  Then he spread his fingers apart slightly, and very slowly, the sand slipped through the spaces until all that was left was the residue.

~Everything slips through my fingers.  Sara.  I had her; I let her go.  No, I didn't let her go; I drove her away.  Charlie: my beautiful son.  I gave him the instrument that resulted in his death.  I might as well have pulled the trigger.  Daniel.  I took him away from his wife.  Who am I kidding?  I dragged him into this.  Why?  He's never gotten over her.  You're an idiot, O'Neill.  What the heck would Daniel want with you when he had Sha're?~

Jack's hand closed to a fist, and he banged it down into the sand.  He rose and jogged away, going the opposite direction from the one Daniel had taken.

====

“Daniel, where's the Colonel?” Sam asked when Daniel returned from his run on the beach.

“I don't know, Sam, and frankly, it's none of my business where Jack goes.”

The young man headed towards his room.

“Daniel?”  She sighed.  ~What now?~

====

Jack's mind was racing as he jogged the beach.  He kept remembering the nightmare of seeing his lover on the wrong side of the balcony railing.  He hadn't understood why Daniel was out there in the first place, but managed to focus on getting Daniel back onto the balcony.  He had breathed a big sigh of relief when Daniel had finally showed signs of recognizing him.

//Flashback//
Jack's heart was pounding with fear; he knew every word and every action had to be just right.  Daniel sounded so lost to him.

“You can't get it back,” Daniel said, a sorrow and longing in his voice.

~What does that mean?  Danny, what the blazes is going on?  Focus, O'Neill.  You have to talk him off of that ledge.~  “Whatever's wrong, we'll ... we'll fix it,” Jack pleaded.

“You don't even know what I'm talking about.”

~Geez, that's the truth.~  “No.  No, I don't,” Jack admitted.  He waited, trying to decide what was best to say, knowing that he couldn't afford to say the wrong thing.  After a few moments, he spoke from his heart, something Daniel couldn't ignore.  “But come inside.”  **I love you.**

The plea had awakened Daniel from the effect of the drug.  Slowly, he began to turn his head towards the door Jack stood near.

**I love you, Angel.**  ~Come on, Danny.  Listen to me.  Hear my heart; it beats for you, only for you.~

Jack saw the lone tear running down his soulmate's left cheek.  He had made contact.

“Jack?”

~Finally~  “Yeah.”  ~You nut!  What are you doing out here?~

Jack covered the distance that had been between himself and his lover in one step.  He immediately took hold of Daniel's left arm with his left hand, and began to pat Daniel's back and upper right arm supportively with his right hand, needing the connection.

Daniel was trembling, and Jack knew his lover was trying to understand why he was on the ledge of the balcony.

As for Jack, he just needed a moment or two to regain his composure from the disaster that had almost occurred.  His pats ceased after several moments, turning into a firm grip as he held Daniel securely.  Jack could breathe again, but now it was time to make sure Daniel got safely over the railing and back into the apartment.

“Okay, Love.  Let's take it slow.”

“Jack ...”

“Come on, Danny.  Step over, but take your time.”

Cautiously, and without ever letting go of the younger man, Jack helped Daniel over the railing and back onto the balcony.  Immediately, Daniel leaned into Jack's strong embrace.

Relieved, but still panicked, Jack held Daniel so tightly that he knew Daniel could barely breathe and could probably feel the thumping of his heart.  He, himself, could hear it pounding within him.

“Danny, Love, what's the matter?”

Daniel said nothing, but his trembling turned into an intense shivering as his physical body gave in to the overwhelming intensity of the emotions flowing through him.

“Danny, I love you.  You're my life.  I need you.  You know that, don't you?”

Jack saw Daniel look up at his worried face.  He tried to change his expression, to show strength.  He wanted his soulmate to feel warmth and love; and he wanted to make sure Daniel knew he was safe.  As he gazed into Daniel's eyes, he saw that he had been successful.  It was in the eyes: Jack could always see Daniel's soul through his blue eyes.

“I love you, Jack,” he said, and then collapsed into unconsciousness.

“Danny?  Daniel?”  Jack looked around, lost and feeling helpless.  He hadn't gotten any answers, and now his heart was fading in his arms.  “Hang on, Love.”
//End of Flashback//

Jack stopped his running.  Breathing hard, he leaned over, placing his hands on his knees.

“I'm too old for this,” he gasped and sank to the ground.  “Danny, what's happened to us?  I came so close to losing you.  I stood there at your bedside and felt the life draining out of both of us, and then it almost did for real.  If I hadn't brought you back here to this ... palace, you would have died.  You're alive; you survived, but did we survive, too?”

Staring out at the ocean, Jack remembered Daniel's close call in the infirmary, how he had exhibited the same signs as SG-5, all of whom were now dead.  They'd rushed to the Stargate, believing that the only way to keep the archaeologist alive was to return him to the pleasure palace, and they were right.

“You were fine.  Once you woke up, you were fine ... so what's wrong?  What ... went wrong?”

//Flashback//
Jack placed Daniel on the ground, urging him to wake up.  He patted his cheeks and called his name.  Feeling a puff of air from his mouth, Jack took a breath of relief.  He looked out at the room they were in, wondering where Sam and Teal'c were, but only Loran, the teenage boy that lived there alone, was visible.  He quickly sent the boy in search of his wayward team members and then focused again on his lover, taking Daniel into his arms and rocking him back and forth.  He ran his right hand up and down Daniel’s back and placed his left hand on Daniel’s nape.

“I love you, Angel.  We have a forever to live.  You're so beautiful, Danny, and man, are you sexy.  You take my breath away.”

Daniel awoke to the sound of Jack's voice and the utterance of sweet nothings into his ear.  He knew they had to be alone.  As he focused, he realized they were back on the planet.

“Jack, what happened?  Why ... why are we back here?”

“Well, you just made at least another fifty or so of my hairs turn gray.”

“Why?  What happened?”  Jack just stared, but it was a look Daniel recognized.  “Gawd, I died, didn't I?”

“Again.  I'm going to run out of hairs, Danny; you have to stop this.”

“I'll, uh, try,” Daniel chuckled weakly.  “I feel so ... funny, Jack.”

“You'll be fine.  Where's that kid?”

“What kid?”

“Loran.  Danny, are you okay?”

“I'm ... fine.”

“Right.”  Jack didn't want to leave his lover alone, but he had to find his team and start finding some answers.  “We'll talk later, Love.  Right now, I need to find Sam and Teal'c, okay?”

Daniel nodded as Jack helped him to sit up.  He felt dizzy and immediately buried his head in his arms that lay folded across his knees as he tried to regain both his equilibrium and his strength.

“You sure you're okay?”

“I think I just need to ... readjust.  I died, remember?”

“Danny ... I love you.”

Weak and feeling unable to speak any more for now, Daniel only nodded.  Hesitantly, Jack went in search of Sam and Teal'c, finding them by the light that entranced all visitors to the palace.
//End of Flashback//

~You saved us again, Danny.  While we were stuck in limbo, you figured out what that device was and that we just needed to turn it off.  Yeah, I guess it was a little more complicated than that, but when you boil it down, that was it.  Fraiser did her analysis, and here we are, settled in for at least three weeks on this planet.  Why are we fighting?  Oh yeah, because you said we had lost something, and we can't get it back.  What, Danny?  What did we lose?  I thought we were fine.  I don't understand.~

Jack stood up and began to walk back to the palace, replaying the entire scenario in his mind, hoping to find the solution.

====

Jack knocked on the door to Daniel's room.

“Who is it?”

“Me.”

After a pause, the response came.

“Go away.”

Noticing the door was unlocked, Jack walked in anyway, closing the door behind him.

“I can't do that.  We have to talk about this, Daniel.”

“Talk about what?  It's over, Jack.  The nightmares never really go away.”

“You're wrong.  We just need to figure out why you haven't let go of them.”

“Me?  You're the one harping on this.”

“*You* were the one ready to take a header off the ledge, Daniel, not me, and I still don't know why.”

“Because you don't understand, Jack.  You *never* understand.  You want things to be the way you want them just because you want them that way.  Well, it takes two, Jack.”

“Danny, what are you talking about?”

Daniel turned around.  His arms were folded across his chest, and he was hugging himself so hard that it was beginning to hurt.

“I ...”

Daniel shook his head, despair washing over his body.  Jack approached from behind.  He put his hands atop Daniel's as they pressed into the young's man's upper arms, completely encasing his lover with his own warmth and strength.

“Danny, what is it you think goes away?  It certainly isn't me.”

“Yet.”

Jack scowled, turning Daniel around to face him.

“Stop that, Daniel.  You know I love you.”

“Do I?”

“Yes!  Geez, what do you want from me?”

“Space.  We have a problem, Jack.  That much is clear, and you aren't helping by trying to ignore it.”

“The only problem we're having is your refusal to tell me what the blazes is wrong!”

Daniel pushed Jack away.

“You're what's wrong, Jack.  You and your stupid military.  I don't want any part of either of you.  Now leave me alone!”

Daniel ran out.

“Daniel!”

Jack followed him outside, each running by Teal'c who looked at them questioningly.  The Jaffa was there helping his teammates set up ‘house’ since they would be staying on the planet for a while.  Since his symbiote protected him from the effects of the light, Teal'c would be returning to Earth soon.

Jack called out again, pleading, “Daniel, stop!”

They were quite a ways from the palace when Daniel finally stopped abruptly.  He turned to face Jack and angrily spoke, “Jack, we're done.  Over and out.  I'm doing it before you can.  No more, Colonel.  Take your macho, your military bravado, and your ... big gun and ... and ... stuff it!”

Daniel ran off, heading in the same direction he had gone in before.  Jack sighed, shaking his head.

“Idiot archaeologist,” he mumbled, kicking a bunch of sand with his foot.  “Fine.  Who needs a ... geek anyway?”

====

Twenty minutes later, Jack left the solitude of the beach and returned to the palace.  He plopped down into a chair that the SGC had sent through, along with several other housing supplies and equipment so that SG-1 would at least be comfortable in their isolation.

Sam was seated at a table, working on a laptop computer, when she heard Jack's entrance.  She looked up and saw his desolate look.

“Is there anything I can do, Sir?”

“Yes, find Daniel and pound some sense into him.”  Jack looked around. “Is Teal'c still here?”

“No, he left a few minutes ago.”

“Lucky guy,” Jack sighed, bringing his hands together and then rubbing both palms against his face.  “It's a friggin' nightmare.”

“Sir, if I may, I'm not sure I understand what the problem is.”

Jack sighed again.

“It's all that rubbish Daniel said on his balcony.  It came from nowhere.”

“On the balcony?”

Jack spoke antagonistically as he responded, “Yes, Carter.  You know, when he almost went splat against the sidewalk.  He sputtered a bunch of nonsense about things that were over and done with, only apparently they're not.  He's holding out on me.”

“Sir,” Sam said, standing and walking a few feet towards her CO.  “The light is a drug.”

“So?”

“Like the sarcophagus on Shyla's planet.”

Jack looked up at her, a look of incredulous disbelief that she would bring up Shyla.  “Carter, what's your point?” he asked, his voice full of frustration.

Sam looked a bit wide-eyed at Jack.

“All I'm saying is that anything Daniel said on his balcony doesn't mean anything.”

“It doesn't?”

“The drug.  It was one giant high, and now he's coming down.  We all are.  All of our reactions, everything we've said for the last couple of days after being ... drugged ... doesn't mean anything.”

“It doesn't?” Jack asked again, only this time, the words were making more sense to him.  He sat forward in his chair, and repeated, “It doesn't.”

This time it was a statement and not a question.

“Colonel, the way this drug affects us is that it plays with our emotions, our deepest insecurities.  I'm sure that whatever either of you said or did since being exposed could be entirely explained away as ... well, as being a result of the hallucinogen.”

Jack stood, still processing Sam's words.

“We're fine.  There's nothing unsettled.  It's just that blasted light.”

“Exactly.”

Jack grinned.  He was so excited that he hurried the few steps towards his 2IC, put his hands on her uppers arms, and placed a chaste kiss on her cheek.

“Carter, you're a peach!”

“Sir?”

“Hey, that's a compliment,” he said, seeing her taut face.  She motioned with her head towards the door.  Jack turned and saw an expression of horror on Daniel's face as he stood, stunned, in the doorway.  “Danny.”

In a flash, Daniel took off, again returning to the beach.

“Oh, for crying out loud!”  Jack gave chase, following his lover onto the beach.  “Daniel, wait up,” Jack called out, but his lover was running, and running fast.  Finally, Jack used blackmail.  **I'm going to have a coronary, and it'll be all your fault.**  Seeing Daniel had stopped ahead in the distance, Jack slowed slightly.  “Danny ...”

“You got your way ... again!”

“Danny ...”

“Why can't you leave me alone?  Just ... LEAVE ME ALONE!”

Daniel started to run again, but this time, Jack tackled him to the ground.

“LEAVE ME ALONE, O'NEILL!” Daniel yelled as he struggled.

“Daniel, shut up for a ...”

“SHUT UP?  BEEN THERE, DONE THAT!”

Managing to squirm out of Jack's hold, Daniel started to get up, but Jack grabbed him by the ankle, and he fell to the ground.

“Daniel, stop kicking.”

They struggled, wrestling in the sand.

“Let me go, Jack.”

Jack climbed onto his lover's body, straddling him.  Daniel was facing the sandy beach, his head turned to his left.

“Listen to me, Love.  It's the drug.”

“Your answer to everything -- drugs.”

“Daniel, for crying out loud, stop and think.  You know that's not what I meant.  Use your brain.  I admit, I haven't used the one I've got either.  The light, Daniel ... the light.  There's nothing wrong with us.  Nothing went away.  There's nothing to fix, Danny, because nothing's wrong.  You said it yourself ... we've been on a high, and now we're dropping to the pavement.  Do you hear me, Love?  There's nothing to fix.”

“Nothing?” Daniel asked softly as the logic began to sink in.

Jack hunched forward and placed a kiss on Daniel's neck.

“Nothing, Angel.  I love you.”

“It was the light; it made me think everything was messed up.”

“That's right,” Jack said, his hands now massaging Daniel's back.  Daniel was wearing a black wool sweater, and Jack's hands slipped underneath it to feel the smooth skin he loved so much.  “We've worked through our nightmares, Danny.  We've made mistakes, but we've already made them right.  There's nothing, absolutely nothing, wrong with either one of us.”

“I was going to jump ... for no reason.”

“Don't remind me,” Jack said, shuddering at the thought.  He pushed up the sweater and kissed the middle of Daniel's back, eliciting a moan from his lover.  “I love you.”

Jack's hands moved to slide underneath Daniel who arched slightly.  Jack began to caress the strong abdomen, feeling the firm muscles that now graced his lover's body.  Slowly, Jack pulled back onto his knees, pulling Daniel along with him.  Now, both sat on their knees in the sand.  Jack's hands roamed Daniel's chest.  He could tell Daniel was breathing harder, responding to his movements.  He was waiting to hear the magic words.  He needed Daniel; he wanted him, but Daniel had to be ready.

“I love you,” Jack said again, and then pulled the sweater over Daniel's head.

“Love you.  Gawd, I love you,” Daniel said, leaning his head back against Jack's shoulder.

“We don't have any problems, Angel.  It was that blasted light,” Jack said as his hands massaged his lover's pectorals.  “No problems.  Nothing to fix because we're not broken.”

They had to keep repeating it until both knew with a surety that the nightmare was just a bad dream, and now, together, they were waking up with their forever still intact.

“Not broken,” Daniel sighed as he was becoming lost in the sensations his lover was giving him.  Jack's hands lowered to Daniel's waist, undoing the belt buckle.  “Jack, you didn't go away.”

“I'll never go away.  We're forever, Danny,” Jack replied.  He unzipped Daniel's pants and pushed them down, doing the same with the younger man's boxers.  “Forever and always,” he whispered.

Daniel felt Jack place a kiss on each shoulder, and then Jack's cool hands touched his shaft and began to stroke.  Daniel moaned from the pleasure.  He raised his left hand to touch Jack's head.

“Jack.  My Jack.  You are ... mine.”

“And you're mine.”

Jack moved to lower the khaki pants and boxers he was wearing.  Maybe they should have gone somewhere else, found a cave or other place of shelter, but they needed each other now.  They were fixing the mysterious nothing that had made things appear to be so wrong.

Jack wet his fingers with saliva and inserted two of them inside his soulmate, moving them slowly.  He moved his fingers out then back in, which caused Daniel to moan again.

“I love it when you do that.”

“And I love when you do ... gawd,  yes, *that*,” Daniel responded as he reacted to Jack's touch to his insides.

Moments later, Jack's hands rubbed tightly against Daniel's hips as he inserted his shaft.  He waited just a moment and then began to slowly move, back and forth, slowly, letting the sensations build within them both.

Daniel's hand held on to Jack's head as his body glided with Jack's movements.

“Just ... the light,” Daniel gasped as Jack's length moved more forcefully inside him.

“Dang drug,” Jack replied.  “Want you ... so much,” Jack added.  His hands pressed against Daniel's pectorals and then worked back down to his hips.  The force of the thrusts caused Daniel to change his position, kneeling on all fours.  “Never ... leav...ing you, Danny.”

“Dang drug,” Daniel echoed Jack's earlier comment.  “Not ... leaving me.”

“Never.”

“Gawd, yes.  Faster ... make me ... yours,” Daniel challenged.

“Oh, you're mine, Love.”  Their union was growing in intensity as their bodies warmed from their actions, and the agony of the last couple days was replaced by their passion.  “Nothing to fix.”

“Only ... your ... slowness.  Get with it, O'Neill.”

Jack chuckled.

“You can ... be ... so de...manding sometimes.”

“Need to feel you ... all of ... you.”

“You got me.”

Jack's length pounded inside Daniel, thrust after thrust impaling against the younger man's prostrate.  The pace quickened as they moved together, Jack pushing into Daniel with all his might.  Sweat dripped from Jack's brow onto his soulmate's back.  Each lunge now came with a grunt and received a moan or gasp in response.  They didn't miss a beat.  Thrust --- Thrust --- Thrust.  Daniel's cries became louder as he urged his lover on.

“Make ... me ... yours,” he called out, wanting to be claimed, needing to be owned, desiring to feel that he was Jack's and no one else's -- ever.

Jack worked his lover harder, calling upon every muscle in his body to make each strike as powerful as possible as he hit his mark.  The barrage was lengthy as he staked his claim, his love, his Daniel.

“Mine,” he grunted as he exploded inside his lover, his release long and full.  He lay his head down on Daniel's back as they slid into the sandy floor.  “Mine.  Love ... you ... you ... always.”  They stayed connected for a minute or so until Jack withdrew, turning over to his back.  He brought Daniel to him, and for a moment, he simply held him.  “I love you, Angel.”

Daniel looked up at his lover.

“I love you, too.  I'm yours, and now I'm going to make you mine.”

“Take me, Danny.  Show me I belong to you, and only you.”

Daniel tore off Jack's shirt, wanting to feel the skin beneath.

“You belong to me,” he said boldly.

“Prove it,” Jack urged.

As Jack had done, Daniel set out to make his mark.  Jack's legs wrapped around Daniel's waist for grip as Daniel entered his Love.  Their eyes were locked on each other.  Their sweat-soaked bodies about to become even wetter.

“Mine, O'Neill,” Daniel said strongly as he began with three vigorous thrusts.

“Show me,” Jack challenged again.

Daniel groaned as his shaft continued its barrage.  His pace was even quicker than Jack's had been.

“Mine ... not ... leaving ... me ... noth...ing to fix,” he gasped as his length served as a hammer driving its nail into the wall that was Jack's prostate.  He worked at a frantic pace to take ownership of the man he was inside of.  “Just ... you,” he grunted.

Jack's hands clawed in the sand, the tiny pebbles seeping through his fingers.  His body arched as Daniel continued his assault of love and need, until finally, his eruption came as he cried out, “Mine” a final time.

Daniel fell into the welcome hold of his soulmate, their bodies convulsing in the blissful aftermath of a rigorous lovemaking session where both had reminded themselves, and each other, that they belonged together.

It wasn't all that often that they made love in the name of “Mine, mine, mine,” but sometimes, it was necessary, and this was truly one of those times.

“I love you, Danny.”

“Love you, too,” Daniel gasped.  Then his boldness, the domineering portion of his being ebbed, and in its stead came the tender, sweet, and vulnerable side of the archaeologist.  “Hold me, Jack.  Gawd, hold me, and don't let me go.”

Jack tightened his grip as Daniel burrowed into Jack's silver-gray chest hairs.

“Blasted light.  We almost lost ourselves, Danny.”

Daniel looked up at him.  All of sudden, he had tears in eyes, and his voice cracked as he spoke, “You fixed it, Jack.  You said you would, and you did.”

“No, Love.  *We* fixed it.  Danny ...”  They kissed, and their passion flared again as they rolled over on the sand, not coming to a stop for several feet.  When they did, Daniel was supine on his back with Jack looking down at him.  “You are my heart, Danny.  No more ledges for you.”

“I'll do my best to avoid them, Jack,” Daniel quipped with a smile.

“Danny, if I hadn't made it there in time, and you had …”

Jack couldn't finish his sentence.  Tears were falling from his eyes onto Daniel's cheeks, a result of endless images running rampant through his mind of Daniel falling to his death.  Jack had been plagued by the nightmarish daydreams since the moment he had found his lover on the balcony.

Daniel reached up and pulled Jack down for a long passionate kiss, saying with his lips and his heart what he couldn't say with words.

“I'm here, Jack,” he whispered in his quest to reassure Jack that he was there and alive, and that they belonged to each other, forever and always.  Daniel stared into Jack’s chocolate brown eyes, wiping away the last of Jack's tears.  “I love you, my Silver Fox.”

“I love you, too, Angel.”

Jack rested his head on Daniel's chest.

“My Danny.”

“My Jack.”

Together, they lay in truthfulness of their love for quite some time before they figured they should get back.

====

Later, as they dressed, Daniel suddenly looked up at his lover.  He had that same look of horror that he had had earlier.

“What?” Jack asked.

“Sam?”

“Ah, Danny.”  Jack walked over to his Love and scooped him into his arms.  “Carter is the one who reminded me that this whole mess is because of that alien doodad.  I didn't realize it until she pointed out that every action and reaction we've had recently has been because of that thing.”

“Oh.”

“Even the fights we've had on the beach were from the withdrawal.  Geez, we should have known better.”

“We ... we were too far out, weren't we?” Daniel said, suddenly knowing that even now they were too far from the palace.

“Yes.  We always feel invulnerable, but we aren't.  We should map out how far it's safe, and then put up signs or barriers to remind us, at least until this stuff wears off some more.”

“I should have thought of that.”

“Daniel, this has been the toughest on you.  This little oversight was my fault.”

“How about we share the blame?”

Jack chuckled and then kissed his lover.  For a minute, they simply enjoyed the calm and the renewal of their forever.  Then, Jack felt a need to make sure Daniel understood one more very important fact.

“Danny, Carter is my 2IC; she's a darn good Major, and a good friend.  You are my world.  No, scratch that.  You're my universe.  You're the only one ... just you.”

“So, if ...” Daniel's hands rubbed up and down Jack's chest, “Sam's a peach, what am I?”

“The whooooooole enchilada; the supreme of my pizza; the grandest of all tacos; the loopiest ...”

“Jack, don't you dare compare me to Froot Loops.”  They laughed, then kissed tenderly.  Daniel placed his head on Jack's right shoulder, his head nuzzled into his soulmate's chin.  “I love this.”

“Me, too.  Danny, do you realize we have three weeks of this?  Three weeks to just love and ...”

“Be loved,” Daniel said.

“Yeah.”

“It's not so bad here, is it, Jack?”

“Not when I have you in my arms.”

“Sam wants to work on her book.”

“Teal'c brought her some new gizmo to play with, too.”

“So, all we have to worry about is Loran.”

“They sent a Playstation.”

“Good,” Daniel said softly as he gazed into Jack's eyes.  Again, they kissed.  “We really did work everything out already.”

“Yeah, we did.  That thing just reached down inside of us ...”

“Of me.  It played on my insecurities.”

“You know that now,” Jack said, as much as a question as it was a statement.

“I know that now.”

“I love you, Danny.”

“I love you, Jack.”

====

Jack and Daniel enjoyed their paid vacation on the beach near the palace.  They spent it touching, kissing, and loving each other, continually reassuring themselves that nothing goes away if they don't let it, and that they had nothing to get back because they hadn't lost a single, solitary thing.  They were in love, and their nation of two was alive and well; in fact, it was thriving as they devoured and ravished each other with their joy at being one heart and one soul.

It was the last day of their banishment from Earth.  Janet had one last test to do, and then they'd be allowed to return home.  They'd already packed up their equipment, and now Jack and Daniel went for one last walk on the beach.  They were dressed in their BDUs since they knew SGC personnel would be present upon their return.

Jack squeezed Daniel's hand as they walked, and Daniel leaned his head against Jack's shoulder.  They stopped and looked out over the ocean.

“It was a nice vacation,” Jack said.

“Making love two or three times a day?  Oh yeah, definitely a nice vacation.”

Jack looked at Daniel, a grin on his face.

“You're going to wear me out, Jackson.”

“We had a lot to make up for, Jack, and you weren't exactly complaining.”

“Never.  It was ... perfect,” Jack said as he leaned in for a kiss.

“Part of me wishes we didn't have to go back.  We've been ... free here. All we had to do was make sure Loran wasn't around, and Sam did a great job of making sure he was taken care of.  I miss not being able to do this at home.”

“We don't have an ocean in the Springs.”

“Smart mouth,” Daniel quipped, stealing a kiss from his lover.  “Jack,” Daniel said as he moved in front of Jack and raised his arms to go around his neck, “you light up my world; you're all the high I need; you're everything I want.  I ... I know I don't say it like I should, but I love you, O'Neill, and you did fix it, just like you promised on the balcony.”

“I'll always fix it.”  They kissed again.  “You ready?”

Daniel sighed as he sank back into Jack's embrace.  He faced the ocean.

“No, I'm not.  I want another day, Jack.  I want one more day of this.”

“Do you now?”

Daniel pulled back, and with all seriousness answered, “Yes.  I want another day, just one more.”

Jack smiled.  Because it was their last day, he was carrying a communication device so they could stay on top of what was happening.

“Carter?”

The static on the radio changed to a clear signal.

“Yes, Sir?”

“Plan B.  Can you handle it?”

Daniel heard Sam chuckle.

“Yes, Sir.  I've left the items you requested in the designated spot.  See you in twenty-four.”

“Carter, you're sure you can fend off the Doc?”

“Yes, Sir, I'm sure.  Gotta go, Colonel.  The Stargate's engaging.”

“Thanks, Carter.”  Jack grinned as he gazed at his lover.  “You're a real peach.”

Jack turned off the radio and put it back in his pocket.

“Jack, what did you do?”

“I wanted another day, too.  Carter's left us a care package -- special delivery.”

“Gawd, what?”

“You'll find out tonight.  It's just going to be you and me ... and the ocean ...”

“And?”

“Okay, Godiva and Starbuck's.”

“Gawd, I love you.”

“I love it when you say that.”

“I love it when you look at me like that.”

“I love when you grin and ...”

As the day progressed, the lovers spent it loving all the things they loved about each other.  They watched a final sunset and made love on the beach.  For Jack and Daniel, the pleasure of the palace was their being together, and that was something both were determined would last for an eternity.

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