Picket Fences

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 - March 24-31, 2004
Spoilers:  Chimera; minor ones for: Singularity, Out of Mind, Jolinar's Memories, Summit
Size:  93kb
Written:  March 23-27,29, April 12-13, 2007
Summary:  Jack isn't happy when Daniel spends several nights alone in his new home; neither is Daniel, whose sleep has been nothing but restless.
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), “House of Walls,” “Dinner at Seven,” “They Don't Understand,” “Odyssey of the Mind,” “Turnabout Danny,” and “Delusions of Love”
4) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Melissa, Sara, Linda, Jodi, Claudia!

Picket Fences
by Orrymain

“Daniel, are you nuts?” Jack asked as he buttoned his white shirt.

“No, I am *not* nuts, although being married to you might make some people think I am a little ... off my rocker,” Daniel replied with a smirk.

“Hey!”

Thinking back to Jack's question, Daniel answered, “Yeah, maybe I am a little nuts.”  The archaeologist chuckled, walked to his lover, and, taking hold of his hands, said, “But, I love you, and you know I'm right.”

“Why?  *Why* can't I stay here tonight?” Jack whined, staring at his feet and, for all intents and purposes, looking like a petulant child.  “For that matter, why can't you just come home?” the older man questioned harshly.  “It's almost 4 a.m., for crying out loud.”

“The people in this neighborhood need to know who lives here,” Daniel explained patiently.  Seeing his lover's look of consternation, he put his hand on Jack's chest and continued, “Babe, I don't like this 'game' we have to play, you know that, but we still don't want to attract attention, right?”

“Daniel ...”

“Listen to me, Jack.  Over the last few days, the neighbors have seen you, Sam, and Teal'c helping me to move my stuff in.  Now, it wouldn't be that unusual for someone to stay over late at night during a move, but we need to establish that I'm ... and remain calm, please, that I'm the homeowner here, and we need to give the impression that I live here alone.”  Daniel ignored Jack's incredulous look and continued, “After a few nights, I can come back home, and then we can do some switching around, let them know it's normal for you and your truck to be in my driveway.”

“It's because of that Hill dame,” Jack's Mr. Jealousy quipped, a snide expression on his face as he thought about Marie Hill, one of the nurses at the SGC who had a long-term crush on the congenial archaeologist.

Daniel rolled his eyes and said, “I prefer your brown eyes to your green ones, Jack, but you do have a point about Marie.  She expects to see the place.  After all, it was her suggestion to buy this house in the first place, and she lives nearby.  She, uh, mentioned something about bringing over a casserole, but I don't know which night.  Look, Jack, if she shows up and you're here, then you're my best friend, here having dinner, but ...”

“I get it, Daniel,” Jack groaned, turning around to pick up his black leather jacket.

“Babe, please understand,” Daniel pleaded as he stood, dressed only in the white, undershirt and jeans that he'd just slipped on.  “I'm not going to be staying here very often, and Marie is bound to notice that my car isn't here, either.  Hopefully, she'll think I still spend all night at the SGC, but, if every time I'm here, you're here, too ... I just don't want her getting more suspicious than she may already be.”

“I just don't like the idea of being separated, not when we're here and not ... away,” Jack spoke about their off-world missions.

“I feel the same way.  Look, all I'm saying is that we still have to play this stupid game.  Just ... just let me get the groundwork laid out with the neighbors and more importantly, Marie; then we'll be back to normal,” Daniel stated.  He added softly, “This is just a house, you know; my home is with you.”

Slipping on his jacket and adjusting it to his liking, Jack nodded.  He let out a sigh as he put his hands on his hips and looked around the living room that currently housed the three-quarter-sized bed Daniel had just purchased.  He sat down on the edge of the bed and nodded again.  For the last couple of hours, he had been making love to his husband on that same bed.  Jack stroked his hand over the comforter and allowed his mind to perform an instant replay.

“Jack?” Daniel asked, seeing his soulmate sitting with his eyes closed and what could only be described as a sappy smile on his face.  He couldn't help but smile, too, but without being sure what his lover was thinking, he called out, “Babe?”  His voice had been a bit lighter and he leaned his body over to the right a bit as he tried to make eye contact with Jack while speaking.  “Jack, are you in there?”

Jack's smile faded, and he sighed again before taking Daniel's hand in his and saying, with a hint of an ultimatum in his tone, “Three days, Danny, and then you're coming home.  Agreed?”

Not wanting to argue at such a ridiculous time of the morning, Daniel ignored Jack's tone, ~This time,~ and agreed, “Okay, Jack.  Besides, there's, uh, nothing to say we can't ... you know ... before I come here to sleep,” he pointed out as he grinned, his eyes alight in anticipation of seductive afternoons and evenings at their home.

Seeing his Love's expression, Jack's smile returned.

“Sweet!” the older man exclaimed, standing up and slapping his thighs enthusiastically.  ~I can do this,~ he assured himself.  “See you at the Mountain.”

The lovers kissed for several minutes, and then Jack headed for home to spend some time with their beagles and eat breakfast.

Locking the door after his husband's departure, Daniel rested his head against the door and yawned.  He lay back down on the bed, not bothering to remove his jeans or pull the covers over him.  His mind used the warmth from his and Jack's love to keep him nice and toasty.

====

“Oh, man, what was that?” Daniel questioned as he jolted up out of bed.  ~That was ... odd.~  He yawned, taking in his surroundings.  “Jack?”  He groaned, remembering that he had sent his husband home after they'd made love.  “I know I slept, but ... I feel so ... tired.”

The archaeologist stretched, went to the bathroom, and stepped into the shower. As he lathered his body in white foam, he yawned again.  He knew Jack hadn't left until 4 a.m. and, as such, he hadn't been asleep for long, but he still couldn't figure out why he felt this tired.

Suddenly, Daniel's eyes popped open, and he froze; his right hand stopped its scrubbing movements, and the soap he had been holding dropped to the wet bottom of the bathtub.

“I dreamt about ... Sarah?” the stunned man asked himself, referring to his ex-girlfriend, Sarah Gardner, who was now the unfortunate host to Osiris.  ~Weird dream.  Everything was a bit ... off.~  He shrugged.  “That was ... oddddddddd,” he thought, a yawn drawing out his last word.  ~Never mind.~

The naked man bent over, shower droplets caressing his back and buttocks as he picked up the bar of soap and continued his shower, yawning every minute or so.

====

Yanwing yet again, as he'd been doing from the moment he'd awakened, Daniel interrupted Sam's ramblings, commenting, “I had the weirdest dream last night.”  The two were walking down the corridor of the SGC, the archaeologist's hands in his pockets.  ~Why can't I stop yawning?  Mmm, probably because I had a late night.  Totally worth it, though,~ he thought smiling inwardly.

“About what?” the major asked.

Turning his attention back to Sam, Daniel answered, “Uh, working with Sarah back in Chicago, even before the Stargate Program.”

“How is that weird?” Sam asked.  ~I've dreamed about my ex-boyfriends a lot; of course, they're usually dead.  Don't go there, Samantha.~

The weary archaeologist answered, “Uh … things were all mixed up, my hair was different … you know.”

As they reached the elevator, Daniel turned his back to the wall, and Sam pushed the button, saying, “Well, no offense, Daniel, but it's not like you don't have some issues to work out.”

“Oh, yeah,” Daniel concurred, knowing she was referring to some nasty times in recent months:  his abduction and torture in January, the whole 'undercover' fiasco where Daniel thought Jack was cheating on him in February, and the whole stalker scenario that had left him blind for a couple a days earlier in the month.  ~Life's good now though.  Okay, maybe I still feel guilty about Sha're, I mean, Sarah.  Crap!~

“Maybe you should talk to someone,” Sam suggested.

“I thought I was,” Daniel replied.

Hearing the elevator doors opening, Daniel turned around and noticed Jack was standing inside.

Surprised, Sam called out, “Colonel.”

~I don't want to fight about staying at the house again; I'm too tired to fight,~ Daniel thought, avoiding his husband's face completely.

“Carter,” Jack acknowledged.

Daniel yawned and motioned in a different direction, saying, “Coffee.”

“Talk to you later, okay?” Sam said to her friend, who walked off towards the commissary, dragging his feet.

**Hello to you, too, Daniel,** Jack communicated, staring at the direction his lover had left in.  Then he looked at his second-in-command, who began to hum.  ~And why does she want to talk to Danny later?  What is she hiding?~

**Tired, Babe.  Need coffee.  Later.**

**Danny, she's humming.  Carter is humming,** Jack stated mentally.

**Pete:  new boyfriend,** Daniel relayed.

**Our Pete?** Jack asked.

**He's not ours, Jack, and he doesn't know, and actually, we didn't really do anything; it was a ... a fluke; just a coincidence, really.  It's ...**

**Danny, you're rambling in your head, and it's giving me a headache.**

**Sorry.  Just don't say anything,** Daniel instructed.

“What's his name?” Jack asked.

Surprised at the question, Sam began, “Now, why would ...”

“Humming,” Jack answered succinctly.  ~At least, that's all you need to know.  I ordered you to get a life, Carter, and you're going to get one.~

**Jack, don't get cocky,** Daniel retaliated, having heard Jack's thoughts.

**Drink your coffee; I'm teasing Carter,** Jack responded.  A few moments later, he added, **Danny, she's acting weird.**

**So are you.  Just go with it, Babe.**

**I did.  I talked about quarks,** Jack stated as he left his 2IC and headed towards his office.

**Quarks?  You've been watching the Discovery Channel too much.  Crap, I'm tired.**

**Missed me?** Jack smirked, breaking out into a smile as he walked toward his destination.  He had to admit, he was feeling pretty tired, too, after their late night.  ~So totally worth it, though.~  He continued on his way, glaring at a female airman who had given him the once over, thinking his smile had been for her.  ~Taken, Honey, but you shouldn't have too much trouble.  You look like a young Mary Steenburgen.~

**Mary Steenburgen?**

**Danny, I ... General.**

Daniel chuckled as he finished his third cup of coffee.  Obviously, his lover had just been confronted by the general, thus ending their conversation for the moment.  He yawned, shaking his head at his weariness.

====

“Danny, I thought we were gonna make sweet music together,” Jack said, putting his left arm around his lover's waist as the two sat on the patio steps in the backyard of their home.

Daniel tossed the ball, smiling as Bijou and Katie, their energetic beagles, both gave chase.

“Jack, Iiiii ... <yawn> ... really too tired.”

“Are you sure you're okay?  I've never known you to react this hard to missing out on a few hours of sleep,” Jack inquired, a little concerned.

“I'm fine, I think,” Daniel chuckled.  “Maybe it's just one of those cases where no sleep would've been better than a little sleep.  That dream was just really weird.”  He glanced at his watch, then said, “Jack ...”

“Go on, Angel.  Get your beauty sleep,” the older man said with an understanding smile.

“I love you.”

“I love you, too,” Jack replied as he began a gentle kiss.

A few minutes later, Daniel left to spend the night at his new house.  He was planning on going straight to bed, hoping to feel refreshed in the morning.

~Well, as refreshed as I can be without my comfy Jack pillow.~

====

“Jack, put it down -- *now*!”

“Grouchy,” Jack muttered as he put down the tiny black statue that had been found by SG-7 a few days earlier.

“I am *not* grouchy.  I'm just tired of you treating artifacts like they're toys.  They aren't, and you should ...”  Daniel sighed, tossing down his pen and leaning back in his chair.  He saw the innocent, unsuspecting face of his husband and sighed again.  “I'm sorry, Jack.”  With a big yawn, he confessed, “I had another dream last night.”

“I wondered about that,” the older man replied.  “Danny, I thought you had that guilt thing all taken care of,” he said, sitting down on the edge of his lover's desk, twisting his body to the side so that they could face each other as they talked.

“I did, too; at least, I thought I did.  Sha're's been ... gone a long time now, and Sarah ...”

“... is still out there,” Jack completed for his lover.  “You almost saved her once.”

“Maybe I should have tried harder at the summit,” the archaeologist speculated, thinking back on the time a few years ago when he'd attended a summit of the System Lords, pretending to be the servant of Lord Yu.  Osiris had unexpectedly shown up at the meeting, and Daniel had tried, in vain, to capture him and rescue Sarah.  “She didn't deserve to have her life changed because I decided I had to go to Professor Jordan's funeral.”

“Daniel, that's not what happened, and you know it.  The snake would have taken control of her whether or not you were there.”

“I guess, but I ...”

“... feel guilty.”

Daniel sighed, “Dumb, right?”

Jack smiled, a sweet expression that spoke of love, and replied, “Not dumb, Danny, but not right, either.  It wasn't your fault.”  After a moment, he stood up, walked around the desk, and whispered, “Look, tonight we'll go to the house, and I'll give you one of my famous ...”

Daniel grinned as he interjected, “The O'Neill Family Rub Down?”

“Yeah,” Jack nodded.  “I'll have you sleeping like a baby, then I'll take off.”

“Thanks.”

Smiling again, Jack nodded, then said, “Briefing's at 1415.”

“I'll be there,” Daniel replied, giving his lover a tender smile before Jack left the office.

====

That afternoon, Sam and Daniel stood in the gate room chatting about Daniel's latest dream as they waited for Jack and Teal'c to join them.  Daniel yawned again, and Sam put her hand on his upper arm and rubbed gently, a pleasant smile on her face as she spoke.  Daniel smiled in response, though he was too tired to be too animated with his gratitude for her support.

The blonde suggested quietly, “Maybe you should try some warm milk.”

“Old wives' tale?” Daniel questioned.

Her hand still on Daniel's arm, Sam's expression was loving as she said, “Couldn't hurt.”

“Carter, Daniel, keeping secrets?” Jack asked brusquely as he and Teal'c joined them at the base of the ramp.

“No, Sir, we were just talking about ...”

“... Milk,” Daniel said.

“SG-1, you have a 'go',” Hammond spoke over the tannoy.

“Move out!” Jack barked, his voice causing Daniel's head to snap back slightly.  ~She'd better stop touching him.~

~I'm awake now,~ the archaeologist thought as he walked up the ramp for a short visit with Tup'lo on The Land of Light.

====

Upon leaving the SGC, both Jack and Daniel headed for their home.  Having gotten over his brief bout of jealousy and then having tabled his huge need and desire for his husband, Jack had cooked the younger man dinner.  Over the meal, Daniel told his lover the full details of the latest dream, and then the couple had played with the beagles for a while, prior to the younger man having returned to the new house.  Jack had arrived discreetly about an hour later and followed through on his earlier promise, giving his lover one of his best massages ever.

“Sweet dreams, Angel,” the colonel spoke, placing a sweet kiss on his lover's lips before exiting the house at 10 p.m.  ~He'll sleep like a baby and be as good as new tomorrow,~ he thought as he locked the front door and walked to his truck.  ~And then we'll ... down, O'Neill,~ he told himself, getting overly excited at the wrong time.  ~Tomorrow, Danny!~

====

~Shibatwray!~ Daniel cursed as he jolted up out of bed for the third night in a row.  “What the crap is going on?”  The archaeologist rubbed his head, desperately trying to squeeze out the ache.  He looked over at the clock, seeing it was 7 a.m.  ~It can't be.  I feel like I just went to sleep, but I'm ... exhausted,~ he thought, yawning at the end of his statement.

Remembering he had an 8:30 a.m. meeting scheduled at the Mountain, the yawning man stood, his toes curling as they came in contact with the new carpet.  He stretched, his arms going high into the air, his back arching as he tried to wake up his muscles.  Rubbing the small of his back for a moment, Daniel walked to the kitchen and put on the Arabian Mocha coffee blend that Jack had brought over during the initial move.

Still yawning, Daniel made his way into the small bathroom, sliding off the sweatpants he had slept in.  Then he removed the white undershirt, his hands sliding along his chest as he lifted the garment over his head.  How he wished the wispy movement had been Jack's hands roaming his body.  A couple of minutes later, he turned on the shower, waiting for it to warm up before getting under the water.  Unfortunately, he didn't quite wait long enough, and he cringed as the cool water made contact with his skin.

~My timing is off,~ Daniel thought as he braced himself until the water heated up to his liking.  ~Better,~ he sighed as he tilted his head back, letting the falling water massage the crook of his neck.  ~We need to install a better spray release,~ he decided a minute later as he turned around, letting his backside take in the full force of the water.

Daniel took hold of the soap and the body sponge, then made sure to release plenty of soap.  He always liked a good lather.  Perhaps it stemmed from spending so much time in the dirt and then enjoying the process of getting clean.  He really didn't know why he preferred to shower that way, but he did.

~Probably the same reason I like bubble baths, too -- Jack,~ Daniel mused contentedly, a small smile appearing on his face as he ran the sponge down his long right arm, then back up on the underside.  He repeated the process on his other arm, pausing a bit longer on his elbow.  ~It's dirty.  What did I get into yesterday?  Don't want to think about it,~ he decided as he continued on with his shower.

As he ran the sponge against his inner thighs, Daniel suddenly bolted upright, his eyes blinking several times.  He just realized he'd had yet another dream.

The scholar's first dream had dealt with his meeting Sarah as they studied under Professor Jordan at the University of Chicago.  The second dream had focused on their becoming better acquainted and their first 'date' at a coffee shop.  Now, in his latest dream, Sarah had suddenly handed Daniel a tablet, claiming it had been found during a recent expedition in Morocco.  Studying it, the linguist had recognized the writing, claiming that Medieval Latin was a derivative of the unknown language.

~Why would I dream that?  That never happened.  This doesn't make any sense,~ Daniel sighed, frowning as he completed his shower and prepared to go to Cheyenne Mountain.  ~And why am I so tired after getting so much sleep?~

====

“Daniel, I'm sorry, but you'll have to tell me about it tonight,” Jack spoke into the phone during an uncharacteristic phone call with his lover.  Both men were in their offices, trying to figure out a time to meet.  “Hammond's sending me to P89-R22 with SG-3.”

“Is it dangerous?”

“No more than usual.  Don't worry, I'll wear my Superman cape under my BDUs,” the colonel chuckled.

“Very funny, Jack,” Daniel replied with a mock giggle.  “I'm gonna ... go get some ... <yawn> ... coffee.”

Jack chuckled, “Stop watching the Spice Channel.”

“Jack!”

“I'll be back in five,” Jack stated.

“Minutes?” Daniel asked hopefully.

“Hours,” Jack corrected, slightly amused and gratified by the tone in his soulmate's voice.

“Ooooo...<yawn>...kay,” Daniel sighed.  Smiling, he added, “I have a mental image of you in a Superman outfit to keep me going, anyway.”

“Goodbye, Daniel, and *eat* something!” the older man ordered.

“Bye, Jack!” Daniel replied as chirpily as he could before hanging up the phone and heading for the nearest coffee supply he could find.  ~Coffee.  Lots and lots of coffee.~

====

~WHAT IS SHE DOING?~ Jack shouted in his head.

The colonel's mission had been delayed by a half-hour, and he had intended to join his lover in the commissary; that is, until Hammond stopped him just as he had been about to go through the entrance.  It had been his misfortune, though, to have looked inside the mess hall just in time to see Sam's physical display of support.  Fortunately for Daniel, Jack's Mr. Jealousy didn't have a chance to wreak havoc since General Hammond was demanding his attention.

As he was walking away down the corridor, Jack suddenly realized that Daniel had been slumped over the table with his head down.

~I hope he's okay,~ the concerned lover thought.  **Angel, are you all right?**

**Jack?  I thought you were leaving.**

**Yeah, I am.  Just a slight delay.  I was going to join you, but Hammond needs me,** Jack informed his Love.

**I have dibbs,** the younger man mused.

**Always.  You didn't answer my question,** Jack reminded.  **Are you okay?**

Daniel replied, **Of course.  I'm just ... <yawn> ... tired.**

**Danny, I can hear you yawning in your head.  Danny?  You still there?**

**Sorry, Sam's rubbing my back; it's kinda soothing,** the archaeologist replied sleepily.

For a second, Daniel was sure he heard Jack growling in his head, but decided he must have heard wrong.

~I'll get her.  Somewhere cold and miserable will do,~ Jack decreed, reviewing the various cold and lonely stations where he could have Sam transferred to.

“Colonel, do I have your attention?” Hammond snapped.

“Yes, Sir,” Jack responded, working hard to find the question he knew had just been asked.  “What was the question?”

“Colonel ...”

Jack groaned inwardly as he continued on towards the major general's office, but added one more message to his weary husband -- **EAT!**

--

In the commissary, Daniel sighed, “This makes no sense.”

“Maybe you should eat something,” Sam suggested, her plate of pancakes not the least bit appealing to the coffee-lusting archaeologist.

Daniel lifted his head to look unconvincingly at the blonde and asked, “Did I mention in the dream, the table was written in Ancient, and in the dream, I could read Ancient?”

Sam responded, “Well, that's not so odd considering you can also do that when you're awake.”

“Perhaps you are attempting to reveal something to yourself,” Teal'c suggested, his plate stacked with scrambled eggs and toast.

“Like …” Daniel prodded sleepily.

“Like something from your past.  Daniel, you're very insightful.  Maybe Oma made you aware of something that you haven't remembered,” Sam suggested.

“Such as your prior vision of Bra'tac and Rya'c in danger,” the Jaffa put forth.

“It wasn't a vision, Teal'c, it was a dream -- one great big, gigantic, and really weird dream,” Daniel spoke about the shared dream he and Jack had once had about Daniel ascending to another plane of existence to join Oma and the Others.  From time to time things from the dream had come true, and each time it happened, it was always a little unnerving.  He'd mentioned the dream briefly to Sam and Teal'c sometime after they'd actually met Jonas Quinn, who had been a central figure in the dream about ascension.  “I'd remember something like this, wouldn't I?”

Sam noted, “The tablet sounds a lot like the one you found when you were on Abydos.”

“That was to lead to the Lost City of the Ancients,” Teal'c added.

“But didn't,” the archaeologist pointed out.  “You think that somehow I know the location of the Lost City, and I just don't remember?”

The Jaffa suggested, “If you have the dream again, perhaps you should translate the tablet.”

Daniel looked at Teal'c, then at Sam, who nodded her agreement.  Looking back at the Jaffa, he just rolled his eyes and let his head drop back down onto his arms.

“Sure, I'll do that,” the linguist groaned.  “I guess it could be Oma; maybe when she was sick and ... I'm too tired to figure it out.”

====

“Jack, I *have* to get some sleep,” Daniel argued that evening as he made his now-routine visit to his home that he shared with Jack and the beagles.

“Daniel ...”

“Please don't make this difficult.  One more night, and then you can come over and stay with me.  We'll ... make up for lost ... <yawn> ... time,” the younger man insisted.

“Swell,” Jack responded, not happy with the lack of interaction with his spouse during the last few days.  Their plans for hanky panky had been derailed day-after-day by the archaeologist's unusual fatigue.  Of course, all of this made Jack's Mr. Jealousy very suspicious of the numerous moments of closeness he'd witnessed between Daniel and Sam.  ~I hope you like minus eighty degrees, Carter,~ he groused as he watched his lover drive away for yet another night's separation.

====

“Jack, you don't need to be jealous,” Daniel spoke over the phone the next morning.

“Jealous?” Jack responded harshly.  “I'm *just* your best friend.  Why should I care whose casseroles you let melt in your mouth or whose hands you let walk all over your body?”

“Walk all over my body?” Daniel echoed quietly, shaking his head at the odd comment.  “Jack, I had another dream, and I'm more exhausted than I've ever been in my entire life.  I'm going to hang up now, down a entire carafe of coffee, and take a shower.  Then I have a meeting with Sam to ...”  Daniel blinked. “Jack?”  He stared at the phone.  “Jack, are you ...”  He heard the click and then the dial tone as the call ended.  “... there?”  Sighing, he flopped back onto the bed and lamented, “Right.”

====

At midday, while comparing notes on a scientific find SG-4 had brought back from their last mission, Sam and Daniel detoured into a conversation about Pete Shanahan.

“Where are you going?” Daniel asked about Sam's date for the evening.

“No clue,” the blonde shrugged with a smile, but I'm supposed to dress up, and, Daniel,” she leaned in close to her friend, “I plan to knock his socks off.”

“I know you will,” Daniel opined, yawning once again.

“I really like him, Daniel.  He's different from anyone else I've ever dated,” Sam said softly as she stood up straight again.

“Sounds like there's real potential,” Daniel replied with a small smile and bright eyes.

“Daniel, the thing is, I'm not sure I know anymore how to deal with ... real potential,” Sam admitted, gulping as she lowered her head slightly and then leaned over her worktable, her arms resting on top of a big diagram of some mechanical device that the archaeologist didn't recognize.

“Sam, Pete's not your first romance.  What about ... <yawn> ... mystery man?” Daniel asked about the boyfriend Sam had been dating for quite a while prior to meeting Pete.

“He was nice, and we had a good time, but he didn't make me feel like this, like ... like ...”

“All gooey inside?” Daniel questioned knowingly, leaning over the table a bit, too, and smiling as he nudged her slightly with his right elbow.

“Gooey?  I'm an Air Force major, Daniel.  I'm not supposed to get gooey,” Sam stated.

“Gooey's good, Sam,” Daniel opined, his smile highlighting his dimples.

“Daniel,” the blonde giggled, nudging him back.

“Daniel!” Jack called out, not impressed to find Daniel in Sam's lab and even less happy to see them sitting so closely together.

“Hey, Jack.  We were just talking about you,” Daniel said, straightening up and smiling at his lover.  “I was looking for you earlier.”

“I'll bet you were,” Jack snapped.

“Uh, if you two will excuse me, I need to talk with Sergeant Siler about this,” Sam said, picking up the large diagram and walking towards the door.

“Carter, I have two words for you,” Jack whispered as she passed.

“Sir?”

“Weather station,” the colonel stated, doing a mock shiver.

“Sir?” Sam questioned, having no clue as to what her commanding officer meant.

“See ya later, Sam,” Daniel interrupted, walking over to Jack and signalling with a slight tilt of his head that the major should move onward.

Sam shrugged, then walked out.

“Daniel ...”

“Jack, I'm too tired to argue.  We'll argue later.  Right now, I ... <yawn> ... need coffee.”

“Daniel ...”

“If you want to argue with me, you'll ... <yawn> ... have to follow me to the commissary,” Daniel said, walking out of the lab and leaving his husband behind.

Jack made a face as he looked over at the worktable where Daniel and Sam had been chatting so cozily upon his entrance.

“*Remote* weather station,” the colonel whined as he turned and walked out, jogging a few steps to catch up with the younger man.

====

Before going home that evening, Daniel decided to exhaust himself with a workout in the exercise room in the hopes of finally getting a good night's sleep.  Teal'c joined him, and the two began talking about his dreams and the significance of the tablet.

“Originally, I thought the tablet was talking about spiritual guidance, but I was wrong,” Daniel said as he continued his workout.  “I think it's a map.”

“To where, DanielJackson?” Teal'c inquired, lifting very heavily weighted barbells with what appeared to be very little effort.

“To ... a city, Teal'c.  I think it's supposed to be the Lost City, but, in my dream, I don't, uh, know that ... yet,” Daniel answered.  “But it might be something else, too.”  After a minute, he continued, “You see, in my dream, I know what the tablet is supposed to say; I just can't seem to finish translating it.”

After placing the barbell in its stand, Teal'c sat up and supposed, “Perhaps the location of the Lost City was not the answer you were searching for in your mind after all.  Since I now require sleep, I have developed an interest in the concept of dreams.  There is much research to study on the matter.”

The Jaffa continued on to suggest that Daniel's dream might relate to his failure to save Sarah.

~The guilt thing,~ Daniel lamented as he listened.

“Most often, dreams are merely the mind's way of dealing with desires that cannot be fulfilled,” Teal'c put forth.

“Oh.  So, basically, I'm destined to never get a good night's sleep again,” Daniel sighed.

Teal'c replied, “Knowing your past experiences, DanielJackson, I do not know how you have slept well before now.”

“Thank you, Teal'c.  This conversation has been disturbing on many levels,” Daniel said, putting on his glasses and leaving the room.  ~I *so* didn't need that conversation.  Where's Jack?~

====

“Jack, if you're going to argue with me again, then I'm going to leave right now.  It's that, or you can sit here and snuggle with me for a while, but I am going back to the house for another night.  So, it's fight, and I'm gone right this second, or it's snuggle, and we can enjoy just being together for a little while.  What's your choice?” Daniel asked as the couple sat on the sofa in their living room, their beagles happily chewing on bones on the floor in front of them.

“You drive a hard bargain, Danny,” Jack said, putting his arm around his lover.

“I assume you're choosing ...”

“Snuggle,” Jack responded definitively.

“Good choice,” Daniel sighed as he leaned his head against his soulmate.

For the next couple of hours, the couple sat peacefully, just relaxing, listening to an Opera and playing with their beagles.

After that, Daniel went to the house, leaving Jack grumbling quietly to himself, especially when Daniel's last words to him had been, “I wonder how Sam's date is going.  She was really going to dress up for it.  Hot!”

Growling, Jack tried to lose himself in a videotaped episode of “The Simpsons.”

====

Later that night, after giving up on various distractions that didn't distract him in the least, Jack was mumbling sweet murders over his second-in-command's continual need to touch his husband.  That day it had seemed like every time he turned around, Sam was touching Daniel, and Jack was fuming as a result.  He had managed to suppress his jealousy and insecurity while Daniel had been in his arms, but now that his husband had left for his newly purchased house, Jack's mind was replaying every moment of the day that he had seen Sam and Daniel together.

Though, over the years, the majority of rumors at the SGC had been about Jack and Sam, with a few about Jack and Daniel, there had also been those who talked about the science twins and how cute they were together.

“Science twins -- grrrr,” Jack grunted as he got under the covers and tried to sleep.  He tossed and turned, desperately trying to get comfortable.  “Some twins,” he spat, smacking his lips together as he ventured off into dreamland.

//Jack's Dream//
“Sam!  Sam!  I've got it!” Daniel exclaimed enthusiastically as he entered Sam's lab at the SGC.

Sam grinned and said, “Baby, you have the cutest dimples.  I just love it when you get all excited like this.”

Daniel blushed and replied, “And I just love it when you wear that black tank uniform.  When did they become standard issue?”

“When I decided I wanted to turn you on.  Is it working?”

“Big time,” Daniel said, dropping his papers that he had brought into the room with him and kissing the blonde until they gasped for air.

“Oh, Baby, I love you.”

“I love you, Brainy Boo,” Daniel replied, giving the woman another kiss.

“Honey, is that really *that* exciting, or can we ...”

“Nothing is more exciting than endless sex with you,” Daniel spoke, kissing her again.

“Danikins, the door.”

“Who cares!”

Sam and Daniel fell down to the floor, making passionate love beneath her work table, not caring if anyone saw, including the security cameras that were rolling.

--

“Pay up, Siler,” Sergeant Davis demanded, sticking out his hand, palm up.

Siler took out a twenty dollar bill and slapped it into Davis' hand as he stated, “I was sure they'd go home this time.”

“Never,” Davis laughed.  “Oh, and you owe me another ten.”

“Why?”

“She's totally naked,” Davis pointed out, nodding to the monitor.

Siler groaned and handed over another ten dollars to his betting buddy.
//End of Jack's Dream//

“Betting buddy?” Jack mumbled into his pillow, still half asleep, his butt sticking up in the air as he fidgeted and tried to find a comfortable position.  “Naked?  In plain view?”  He turned over to face the other side, his head banging against the pillow.  “Baby, my foot.”

At the end of the bed, Bijou looked up at the muttering man, but as he seemed to have subsided back into sleep, she snuggled closer to her daughter and went back to sleep as well.

//Jack's Dream//
“I'm so glad we moved to our little house on the prairie,” Sam spoke.  She had long hair and was dressed in a pink halter top with a blue shirt that was tied just below her bust, leaving her well-toned midriff exposed.

“Me, too, Angel,” Daniel replied, leaning over for a kiss.  He had long, shaggy hair like when he'd first joined the Stargate Program.  He was wearing a white T-shirt and old, tight-fitting, faded jeans, just like Sam was.  Both outfits left little to the imagination and were making the pair's eyes bug out with want and lust.  “What's next?”

“We need to build the fence.”

“The posts are in the truck,” Daniel spoke.  “I'll get them.”

====

“Our little fixer upper is perfect,” Sam said, her arms around her husband as she leaned her head against his shoulder.

“It's a country paradise, Angel,” Daniel replied.

Sam and Daniel had spent the first few months of their married life restoring the home, and now it was done.  It had a fresh coat of paint, refinished furniture, new carpeting, a garden they'd created together, and their white picket fence that went all around the yard.

“So, what are you going to do today?” Sam asked.

“Study, if that's okay with you?” Daniel asked, a gleam in his eye.

“Of course, it is,” Sam replied with a smile.

“What about you, Angel?” Daniel asked.

“I'm going to can some tomatoes, make a pie, sew a new outfit, and knit some booties, blue ones,” Sam answered.

“Sounds great,” Daniel said, giving her a kiss and then heading for his study.  Suddenly, he stopped and turned around.  “Booties?”

“Booties!” Sam affirmed, nodding and grinning.

“Angel!” Daniel exclaimed, picking up his pregnant wife and turning around in a circle several times.  “I love you.”

“Not as much as I love you.”

“Yes, and more.”

“But I love you more.”

“Not as much as I ...”
//End of Jack's Dream//

“FRIGGIN' SHUT UP!” Jack yelled as he slammed his hand against the pillow.  He put his pillow over his face and shouted, “OH, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!”

Jack's yelling startled Bijou and Katie awake.  After looking at her mother, Katie jumped off the bed and left in search of a quieter place to sleep.  Bijou looked at Jack and settled her nose down on her paws, watching as he seemed to settle into sleep once more.

//Jack's Dream//
“Sammi, sit down,” Sam instructed the six-year-old blonde girl.  “Danny, you, too.”

“Yes, Mommy,” both children spoke.

“Mommy, do you know anything about Cygnus X-1?” Sammi asked.

“Of course, Sammi.  It's a black hole binary with a twenty-thirty-five black hole and an O9.7lab companion.”

“That's what I thought,” Sammi said.  “Told you,” she said to her twin brother.

“Well, at least I knew about X-ray bursts,” Danny rebutted.

“Tell me,” Daniel said as he walked in and gave his wife a kiss.  “Morning, Beautiful,” he greeted.

“Morning, Darling,” Sam replied as she placed the perfect breakfast on the table.

“Danny, tell me about X-ray bursts,” Daniel requested.

“Okay, Dad.  They're characterized by a rapid and dramatic increase in X-ray flux from an X-ray source, lasting about one second.  They can be seen from globular clusters, which are in the halo of our galaxy.”

“Very good, Son,” Daniel praised.  “Uh, you be sure and tell Uncle Jack all about that the next time he comes for a visit.”

Both Sammi and Danny snickered, knowing their surrogate uncle would bribe them with almost anything to stop their scientific ramblings.

“Maybe he'll buy us a each a new bicycle,” Sammi whispered to her brother.

“Yeah!” the little boy exclaimed, laughing and nodding confidently at the same time.

“Sam, will you have time to pick up my suit from the cleaners today?” the archaeologist asked casually.

“No problem, Darling.  Let's see, I have to take the children to the tutors, then go by the SGC and help Doctor Lee solve that plant problem, and then I have to figure out why the sun is dying on PR1-110.  After that, I have to help Felger create a new method of protecting the DHD from alien devices.  Then I'm going with SG-3 -- little Goa'uld problem.  I should be able to rescue the population by the end of lunch.”  She paused.  “I should be done with everything by three.  No problem,” she said, grinning.

“You're such a peach,” Daniel spoke lovingly, causing Sam to grin.
//End of Jack's Dream//

“Peach?” Jack groaned in his sleep.  “Sammi and Danny?”  Suddenly, he bolted upright, and, not noticing how close he had moved to the edge of the bed, promptly fell off onto the carpet.  He was face down, his nose 'one' with the rug.   “Uncle Jack?”  He groaned, adding, “This is gonna be a bad day.”  Closing his eyes again, he thought, ~It can't get any worse.  I'll just stay here.~

Up on the bed, Bijou moved so that she could keep an eye on the human, now sleeping on the floor.

//Jack's Dream//
Sam was dressed in a lovely blue gown, her figure beautifully accentuated by the garment.  Her smile was perfection, as was her perfectly combed long blonde hair that went down to the bottom of her back.  She was singing a happy song as she cleaned the house, fed the pets, and then cooked dinner.  Nothing got her down; of course, that might be because nothing ever went wrong.

Surrounding her was a group of chirping blue birds, each taking turns landing on her shoulder or resting on her hand when she talked to them.

Daniel came home from work, his eyes feasting on his beauty from the moment he laid eyes on her.

“What's for dinner?” the archaeologist asked after they kissed passionately, their moans causing the blue birds to become pink in color from their blushing.

“Nothing special: for a first course appetizer, petite parmesan baskets filled with a goat cheese mousse, along with mini fillo shells, filled with spicy chicken; then for the second course, a seafood salad with a zesty cocktail sauce served in a martini glass with a celery stick swizzle; then the third course is grapefruit mint sorbet; that's followed by the fourth course, some butternut squash soup with swirls of creme fraiche for garnish; then the fifth course, mesclun salad, tossed with a lemon vinaigrette and served over small uniquely stuffed Rigatoni pasta; then the sixth course, lobster tails, slowly poached in butter with a beautiful baked potato fan with parmesan cheese and bread crumbs, fresh snow peas and carrots, and some tomato rose garnish; then the seventh course is a small chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and homemade ice cream; and then, finally, lattes.  How does that sound?”

“Just as long as you didn't go to too much trouble, My Love,” Daniel answered.

“Oh, that just was just some little ole thing I threw together.  How was your day?” Sam asked.

“Solved another archaeological puzzle about the Mayans today,” the man advised.

“That's nice, Dear,” Sam replied.  “Let me get you your slippers.”  She snapped her fingers, and two of the birds left and returned with Daniel's slippers.  “Here you go.”

“Thank you, My Love,” Daniel responded.  “I just don't deserve you.”

“No, no, it's me who doesn't deserve you.  All I do is solve problems about space and time and keep up the house, but you're the real genius, Danny.”

“Sam, get rid of the birds.”

Sam grinned, snapped her fingers, and the birds flew the coop, leaving the soulmates to make love.  Sam began to remove her gown and ...
//End of Jack's Dream//

“NO!  NO!  NO!  Okay, I was wrong; it got worse,” Jack groaned, finally waking up and getting up off the floor.  He scowled at the thought of his dream.  “Stick a fork in it, Carter.  He's mine, and he's staying mine, even if I do lose my mind in the process.  That does it!”

====

Daniel's fingers worked the shampoo through the silky strands of his hair.  Once again, he'd had a disconcerting dream and had jumped up out of bed as if he'd been shot out of a canon.  Just like all the other nights, he had woken more tired than rested after supposedly getting a full eight-hours sleep.  Nothing made sense, and the only consistent thing about his weird dreams was that they were inconsistent and wrong.

As the young man began to rinse away the lather of the shampoo, his hands went up over his face.  He ran his fingers through his hair once again, trying to emulate the feel of Jack's hands.  He let his arms drop to his sides, the palms of his hands rubbing against his slender hips.

The water sprinkled down on Daniel's face, his eyes closed as he soaked in the drops like new rain.  It felt peaceful.  He thought of his spouse and how much he missed being at home with Jack. For just one moment, he drifted in a happy bliss. Then he heard her voice -- Sarah's.

“'The origin of doorways',” Sarah had spoken in his dream.

Daniel's eyes flipped open in an instant as he realized that Sarah had translated a part of the tablet.  It made sense.  It fit, but the woman's behavior didn't.  In the dream, they were celebrating their two-month anniversary as a couple, only in reality, that had not been what happened.  When Daniel had worked through the night, missing their celebration, Sarah had split up with him, moving her attentions back towards Steven Raynor.

“What the heck is ... <yawn> ... going on?” Daniel asked as he reached out and turned off the water.  He reached for a towel and began to dry his body, the white cotton towel gliding gracefully over his abdomen as the archaeologist remained deep in thought, trying to analyze the strange dream.  ~It was like she did that to keep me focused on the translation when I was ready to give up.  Why would I dream this?  This isn't ... guilt.  It can't be.~

Daniel draped the towel around his back, sliding it back and forth.  He lowered it slowly, the towel grazing his skin, absorbing the moisture from the shower.  The towel caressed the small of his back, then went lower.   He wiggled his hips slightly, doing a little dancing motion as he dried his buttocks.

~If only Jack were here,~ the archaeologist thought.  ~This would be driving him crazy.~

Sighing with regret that his husband wasn't in the vicinity, the naked man wrapped the towel around his waist, then reached over for a smaller towel, to dry his face.  Still damp and with the towel obscuring his vision, the archaeologist began to step out of the bathtub.

“Oh, no, I don't think so, Dannyboy!” Jack exclaimed with an animalistic quality.  He feasted hungry eyes on his husband as he ripped off his tan shirt and flipped it behind him.  “Enough is enough.”

“Jack?” Daniel called out in surprise, wondering if he was hallucinating now.  He lowered the smaller towel to chest level and took in the sight of his husband.  His hair was all mussed, he had on one black sock and one blue, and his clothes were all creased, including the tan shirt which had now joined Jack's shoes on the hall floor.  ~Wow!~  The look in Jack's eyes was a mixture of jealousy, exasperation, love and, oh, yeah, lust.  ~Wonder what got him all hot and bothered, not that I'm complaining, because I'm definitely *not* complaining.~

“I had myself one helluva night, Danny:  picket fences, blue birds, fifth grade questions I couldn't answer in fifth grade when I was in fifth grade, and Carter as Snow White.  No more,” Jack said.

“Sam as ... Snow White?”  Daniel squinted, wondering if he had fallen asleep again and his dreams were becoming even weirder.  “Jack, what are you talking about?”

As he slid off the last of his clothing, Jack moved forward, stepping into the bathtub, which caused the younger man to automatically step backward, only to find his progress stopped by the tiled wall.  He brought up his hands to cup Daniel's face and then kissed his Love possessively.

Daniel melted, all thoughts of Sarah and weird dreams forgotten.  That kiss lead to another, bringing on yet more kisses that were even more passionate.

Jack's hands undid the towel around Daniel's waist, tossing it to the floor of the bathroom.  Reaching behind him, he turned on the shower, ignoring the temporary chill of the water until he was able to turn the hot water tap without removing his arm from around Daniel

“Love you so much, Danny; need you,” Jack whispered between kisses.

“Mmmmm,” Daniel replied, already lost in their passion, his fingers gliding down Jack's back.

Making love under the shower was one of the couple's favorite things to do, the droplets of water empowering their unity that much more.  After three days of abstinence, the soulmates were beyond ready, their lengths hardening as their bodies touched for the first time.  It was a joining of tender touches, erotic poses, and screams of ecstasy, one that left both spent and completely happy and satiated.

Feeling much more relaxed, Jack stepped out of the shower, reached for a towel and began to dry Daniel slowly, rubbing along his back and down his sides while speaking, “Angel, you can't go to sleep now.”

“Tired.”

“I know, but we have a briefing at 0930,” Jack stated regretfully as his husband leaned against him.

“Hooky,” the younger man suggested.

“Danny, we've used up our hooky days for a while,” the colonel replied, wishing they could stay home, but he knew there was a lot going on at the SGC today, and Hammond had already informed him that he'd be away part of the day and needed Jack to handle some things for him while he was gone.  “Don't you have a staff meeting today, too?” he asked, knowing that would prod the reluctant archaeologist from his sleeping mode.

“Oh, yeah, thanks ... I guess,” Daniel sighed, pulling back and yawning.  With a sappy smile, he looked at his lover and said, “Jack?”

“Yes, Angel?”

“I missed you -- lots!”

Jack chuckled, “I missed you, too.”

The lovers finally began to prepare for their workday, and, as they did so, Daniel asked, “Jack?  Picket fences?”

“I'm tellin' ya, Danny.  It was a nightmare.  Carter was dressed up like Donna Reed and ...”

“Who?” Daniel asked.

“Never mind,” the older man sighed.  “Let's just say she was hardly the model of the independent woman.”

“Oh,” Daniel expressed in confusion.

The younger man's confusion didn't last long, though.  By the time the lovers reached the Mountain, he'd heard every sordid detail of his husband's dream.

“Twins, huh?” Daniel questioned, trying not to chuckle.

“Sammi and Danny, little mini-yous,” Jack spoke, shivering afterwards.  “And those bluebirds.”

“It's all those Walt Disney movies you watch all the time,” Daniel theorized as he looked at Jack, who was driving them into work in his Ford F-350 truck.

“White picket fences, bordering the too-cute house, with Carter outdoing Emeril and Julia Child by leaps and bounds,” an amazed Jack remarked.  “*I* was Uncle Jack, and, Daniel, your children made sport by blackmailing me.”

“Uh, blackmailing?”

“Prattling.  The little things kept prattling, knowing I'd buy them a car or something,” Jack complained, while Daniel laughed.

“And she was always so touchy; I mean, touching you.  Geez, you had sex at the SGC with the doors open!”

“That one was a bit over the top, don't you think?” Daniel questioned with raised eyebrows.

“And you *were* over the top, over Carter's top and ...”

“Jack!”

“They weren't dreams, Danny, they were friggin' nightmares, the two of you all lovey dovey and sappy like that,” Jack stated with a frown.

“Dreams often exaggerate our fears,” Daniel spoke more seriously.

“I know,” Jack sighed.  “But you have to admit that Carter's had her hands all over you a lot lately.”

“No more than usual,” Daniel replied innocently.  Seeing Jack's glare, he gulped and added, “Ah, no, I mean, you're right, Jack.  She's been way too attentive ... lately.  It's probably just because of Pete.”

Daniel gave his love a tiny, somewhat insincere smile, causing the older man to growl for a moment.  The younger man couldn't help but chuckle.

“Daniel!”

“Babe, you do know you were overreacting?” Daniel asked.

“Distance does nothing to soothe ole Green Eyes,” Jack responded about his jealousy.

Shaking his head, Daniel chuckled, “Well, I hope ole Green Eyes has calmed down after we, ah ...” he smiled broadly, “you know.”

“Oh, yeah.  I *do* know.  If we hadn't, I'd be filling out transfer papers for Carter this morning,” the colonel commented.

“Jack!”

“I missed you, Danny.”

Daniel smiled again, wishing they could indulge in some more touching, but since they'd just driven through the first security gate, that wasn't feasible.

“I probably should have driven my car,” the archaeologist spoke.

“Not this morning,” Jack negated.  He looked at his husband and said, “I needed this, just us being ...”

“Normal?” Daniel asked.

“I'm not sure normal ever applies to us,” the older man remarked.

“You're right, especially with these crazy dreams I'm having.  They just don't make sense, Jack, and I'm not feeling *that* guilty.  Even if I were, it wouldn't explain the tablet.”

“We'll figure it out,” Jack said as he parked the truck.  “Have a good day, Love.”

“You, too,” Daniel said.

Sharing a last tender smile before returning to 'the game', Jack and Daniel communicated their love and then exited the truck.

====

Nighttime had fallen at Cheyenne Mountain.  Jack was in his office finishing up a report that had been due eight days ago, while Sam and Teal'c had dropped in to Daniel's lab to say goodnight to the archeologist before going home.  They had, however, become sidetracked by the subject of Daniel's odd dreams.

“The Sarah I'm dreaming about now is like, totally different from the real Sarah.  It's like she cares about my work as much as I do, like ... like she wants me to find the Lost City as much as I do,” Daniel remarked.

“Sounds like a normal male fantasy to me,” Sam quipped, earning her a wry look from the archaeologist.

“Did you not say that Sarah introduced the tablet to you during one of the dreams?” Teal'c questioned.

“Yeah,” Daniel confirmed.

A little more concerned, the Jaffa continued, “And that you feel that you have no control of the dreams.”

Daniel replied, “Yeah.”

“Teal'c?” Sam asked curiously.

“The Goa'uld possess the technology to explore one's memory,” Teal'c revealed.

“Hathor,” Daniel said as the painful memory surfaced.  It had been a number of years ago, but he still remembered vividly waking up in the SGC and being told it was 2077 and that his teammates were dead.  It had, in fact, turned out to be a rather elaborate scheme concocted by Hathor to obtain information, using holographic memory devices, from Jack, Sam, and himself about the state of the Goa'uld and their enemies.  “Isn't that special?” he asked sarcastically.

Sam bowed her head, shaking it as she asked, “Why didn't we think of this before?”

“The use of the memory device is not common.  We had no reason to assume that DanielJackson's dreams were not actual dreams,” Teal'c answered.

“We should have;  *I* should have.  Everything was so off about them,” Daniel sighed and tried to ignore the feeling of violation that he felt at knowing his mind had been manipulated by external forces.  “But that's why.  The dreams weren't dreams; they were ... holograms.”

“This is the same technology Martouf used on me when we went to Netu to rescue Dad,” Sam recollected.  She had mixed feelings about the memory device on that occasion.  It had been both emotionally and physically draining to recall Jolinar's experiences on Netu, but at least the information it had gleaned had helped them rescue her father.  “So, the device can be used for good purposes, too.”

“Teal'c, if it was a hologram, why was I asleep?” Daniel questioned.  “I mean, uh, with Hathor, we were all ... awake when they used the device.”

“And I was awake, too, when retrieving Jolinar's memories,” Sam put forth.

“The memory device was originally of Tok'ra origin.  The Goa'uld acquired it from them,” Teal'c stated.

“So, I guess they made a few upgrades,” Sam theorized.

“So, I was asleep?” Daniel asked, wanting to verify his suspicions.

“There is no reason to assume you were not,” Teal'c responded.

“And all of this means that ...” Sam began.

“... Osiris is here,” Daniel completed for her.  The whole thing was really disturbing.  To know that Osiris had been in his bedroom with him and he had not been aware of it was just creepy.  ~Jack is gonna freak.~

Sam put her hand on Daniel's arm and said, “I'll set up a meeting with General Hammond for the morning.”

“Should we not tell O'Neill about this?” Teal'c questioned.

“I'll ... tell him before I leave tonight,” Daniel said as the three left the archaeologist's office.  Turning back to Sam, he concluded, “I'll go with you to set up the briefing time.”

As the trio headed towards the elevators, Daniel suggested, “At least now I understand why she made herself look good.”

“SarahGardner did not have your best interests at heart, DanielJackson?” Teal'c inquired, reaching out to press the 'call' button and swiping his ID card through the security device.

“Sarah was ... she did her best, but the truth is that we were never really on the same page,” Daniel responded.  “She didn't deserve to end up as the host to a Goa'uld, though.  No one does.”

“I could think of a few,” Sam chuckled as the elevator doors opened, and the three walked inside.

“ColonelMaybourne,” Teal'c intoned.

“Rodney,” Sam teased.  “Well, maybe just for a day.”

====

“Let me get this straight,” Jack began, flipping his right hand into the air as he stood opposite his lover in his office.  He wanted to make sure this was as bad as he thought it was.  “Teal'c thinks Osiris is in your head?”

“It's not that simple,” Daniel answered with another yawn.  “Jack, we'll talk about everything at the briefing.  Sam's arranged it for ten, tomorrow morning.  I'd really like to go home and ...”

“Daniel,” Jack spoke sternly.  He walked into his lover's personal space and said, “It's not *home*, and, if you think I'm letting you go to that house and be a guinea pig for a Goa'uld without backup, you've lost your mind.  You can either ...”  He paused, seeing a couple of airmen talking just outside his office.  ~Okay, reword this.~  “Doctor Jackson, for your own safety, I would advise you to either stay at my house as my guest for the evening, or stay here in one of the VIP rooms.  What's your poison?”

Daniel glanced at the open door and saw the military personnel lingering nearby.  He really wanted to go home, but a part of him feared that Osiris might find him at the country-style home that he shared with his husband.

~If she doesn't already know,~ the younger man worried.

“Colonel O'Neill, thank you for the offer, but I have some work to do, so I think I'll stay on the base for the evening.”

Jack knew what his lover was thinking and nodded, mentally relaying, **I'll go check on the girls.  I'll be back.**

**Don't trust me?**

**Daniel, I trust you with my life, but I want to make sure you're safe.  Look, I'll play with the girls, get a couple of hours of sleep, then come back and make sure you get a few hours sleep, too.  You'll need to be sharp tomorrow, if we're gonna figure out how to fight Osiris.**

**Okay, Babe.  I love you.**  Daniel nodded, saying, “I'll see you later, Jack.”

“Yeah,” Jack nodded.  **I love you, too,** he added as he returned to his desk to submit the report he'd just finished as Daniel had entered his office.  ~Dang snakeheads.~

====

The next morning, SG-1 and General Hammond met in the briefing room and were discussing Daniel's dreams and Teal'c's theory.

“You're suggesting Osiris is here on Earth manipulating Doctor Jackson's dreams?” Hammond asked.

“We think it's possible, Sir,” Sam responded.

“Kinky!” Jack joked.

~I can't believe he just said that,~ Daniel thought, sending his lover a glare.  “She's looking for the location of the Lost City in my subconscious.  I'm sure of it now; and she's using the implanted image of an ancient tablet to ... to help me figure it out.”

Teal'c surmised, “Osiris can access Sarah's memories and use them to more easily gain DanielJackson's trust.”

~That's what Sarah thinks, anyway,~ Daniel thought about his one-time girlfriend.

“Well, how's she doing it?” the major general questioned.

Sam answered, “We're speculating that she's sneaking into Daniel's house at night and using some sort of modified memory device.”

Teal'c stated, “Anubis once probed Thor's mind, and, in doing so, they would have gained access to Asgard beaming technology.”

“That would certainly allow her to come and go undetected,” Daniel acknowledged.

“So, what do we do?” Jack asked as the discussion continued.  **Your mind is mine, along with the rest of you.**

**Kinky?  I can't believe you said it was kinky,** Daniel responded.

**She's screwing around with your dreams; that's kinky, Daniel.  If Sarah wasn't a Goa'uld, I'd have to shoot her,** Jack quipped as Teal'c said something about the Goa'uld interfacing any alien technologies with their own command devices.   ~I may just shoot her, anyway.~

**Gawd, you're incorrigible,** Daniel communicated while Sam talked about using a jamming device to prevent Osiris from escaping Daniel's house.

“You want to set up a trap,” Hammond deduced, his words snapping Jack and Daniel back to the briefing.

“Yes, but we don't want to spring it until after she's helped me remember the location of the Lost City,” Daniel stated.

“What?” Jack asked incredulously as he looked from the general to Daniel, his expression clearly one of concern and objection to the idea.  **Daniel are you completely out of your mind?**

“Look, no one wants to save Sarah more than I do, but ... I mean, I could know,” Daniel explained.  “I mean it could be there, somewhere in my subconscious.  We have to let her think that she's still operating without our knowledge, at least until I have the chance to try to finish this.”

“And how are we supposed to know when you know, if it's all happening in your head while you're sleeping?” Jack challenged.  **Danny, I don't like this.**

**We have to try,** the archaeologist insisted.  Finally, he verbalized, “I don't know?”

**You're out of your freakin' mind if you think I'm gonna let Osiris get a free ride through your mind,** Jack replied via their special way of talking.

“You'd better figure it out,” Hammond advised.  “We can't risk letting Osiris escape with that kind of information.  Keep me advised.  I'll be in my office.”

Jack and Sam stood as Hammond exited.  Then Jack put his hands on the edge of the conference table and stared at his lover.

“Jack, we'll figure it out.”

“We will?” Jack questioned.  He looked at Sam, who was still standing next to him.  “Carter?”

“Yes, Sir, we will,” the blonde replied confidently.

“How?” the colonel questioned.

Sam smiled and sat back down, saying nothing.

“Great plan,” Jack quipped as he sat down.  He sighed, “Okay, let's review.”

====

“Daniel, be careful,” Jack whispered as the two talked after their plan was devised.

The lovers were walking down the corridors, but they were speaking quietly, their voices halting for brief seconds whenever they passed by other personnel.

“Jack, I'll be fine.  She's not trying to hurt me,” Daniel said reassuringly.

“That's because she thinks you'll tell her what she wants to know.  What happens when you burst her bubble?” Jack asked pointedly.

Daniel paused, then answered thoughtfully, “At the summit, she didn't turn me in.  She could have killed me then, just like she could have killed me when she first escaped from Earth.”

“It's the blue eyes,” Jack sighed, shaking his head.  “We don't know what she'll do.”

“We never do,” Daniel replied.  Seconds passed as those blue eyes stared into Jack's chocolate brown ones.  “I need to ...”

“... go,” both men spoke together, reluctant to part.

“Jack, we came in the truck, so I'll get an airman to take me ho...to the house,” Daniel spoke.

“That'll work,” Jack agreed.

“Okay,” Daniel replied.  “Jack, don't worry.”

Leaning in closely as he covertly scanned the area, Jack replied, “Worry comes with loving you.  Be careful, Daniel.”

With that, Jack walked away, leaving his husband to tend to his part of the plan.

====

Jack entered Sam's lab to review the status of the plan.

By now, Daniel had arrived at his house with a team to set up video surveillance.  Both he and Jack were glad they hadn't put anything personal in the new place.  Instead, everything there was in perfect keeping with an archaeologist bachelor living there.  Teal'c was out buying donuts, an essential for any SG-1 stakeout.

Sam, meanwhile, was going over the special equipment they were taking, primarily a box of Goa'uld tranquilizer darts which they would be using to take down Osiris.  With Sergeant Siler's assistance, she'd already installed the jamming device in the surveillance van.  The major was confident that the jamming device would do its job, and that once Osiris was in Daniel's room, she wouldn't be able to leave.  They'd have to wait and see whether or not Daniel could get the needed information about the Lost City.

“Backup?” the colonel inquired.

Sam responded, “Local authorities have been ... notified, but we don't wanna do anything to alert Osiris.”

~Welcome to the neighborhood,~ Jack sighed inwardly as Sam closed the equipment case with the darts in them.  “How's Pete?”

Hesitantly, Sam responded, “You know how it is.  Usually, you don't let it bother you because you know that they couldn't cope with the truth anyway.”

Nodding, Jack agreed, “Usually.”

“I think he could have,” Sam opined.

After a moment, Jack asked, “Carter, why are you using the past tense?”

“He knows I'm lying to him.”

“Not buying the Deep Space Telemetry bit?” the colonel questioned.

Shaking her head, Sam affirmed, “Not for a minute, Sir.”

Jack stared intently at his second-in-command, wondering if she'd ask the question.  That's all she needed to do.  Pete had already been checked out; that had happened a long time ago.  He was confident that if she made the request of Hammond, that some kind of arrangement could be made to give Pete clearance, at least enough to show him that what Sam was doing was a matter of national security and had to remain confidential.  Part of him wanted to prod her into asking, but he knew that wouldn't be right.  The choice had to be Sam's.

“Well,” Jack expressed solemnly.

“Yeah,” Sam agreed.

Jack headed for the door, then turned back and said, “You know, Carter, sometimes things aren't as difficult as you think they are.”

“Sir?” Sam asked, confused.

“Faith, Carter.  Belief; want, too.  You have to want it enough to risk it, to take the chance.”

“What are you saying?” Sam inquired.

“*I'm* not saying anything,” Jack answered.  ~That's the best I can do, Carter.  Maybe if you can't figure it out, it shouldn't happen.~  “Let's move out.”

====

Inside his house, Daniel lay on his bed, atop the covers with his hands linked behind his head.  He took a deep breath.

~Here we go,~ the weary scientist thought.  

From his seat in the surveillance van, Jack could see his husband on the monitors and thought, ~Geez, you look gorgeous.  What I wouldn't give to just lie down beside you.~  After checking all the equipment *again*, he picked up the radio and spoke, “Hey, Daniel.  Daniel!  You sleeping yet?”

Sighing, Daniel replied sarcastically, “Yes, Jack.  I'm fast asleep.”  ~No pressure~.

After a few minutes of lying in the eerie silence, Daniel heard something that actually made him smile inside.

**Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling ...** Jack began.

**Jack?**

**... From glen to glen, and down the mountain side ...**

**Wow, Jack, you sing beautifully in your head.  It's like our wedding..**

**Just listen, and relax, Angel,** Jack requested.  He chuckled mildly at the notion of singing mentally.  He certainly didn't sing in a serious manner often, vocally or mentally.  ~Special occasion.~

**Mmmm,** Daniel agreed.

**The summer's gone, and all the flowers are dying.  'Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide, But come ye back when summer's in the meadow ...**  Jack continued to sing to Daniel through their special link, helping him to relax.  **Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow, 'Tis I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow ...**  He was worried about this mission and before he turned from Jack Jackson-O'Neill, loving husband, into Colonel O'Neill, Special Ops, he wanted to send all his love to his spouse.  **... If you'll not fail to tell me that you love me... Oh, Danny boy, Oh, Danny boy, I love you so.**

A few moments after Jack had finished his serenade to his husband, Teal'c held out the box of donuts in his direction.

The colonel looked them carefully as he asked, “Whadda you got there?”  ~No, my stomach is too full of butterflies to eat.~  “No, I'll pass,” he said, though immediately noticing the Jaffa's disappointment at Jack's refusal of a donut. ~Sorry, Big Guy, too nervous to eat.  I'll make it up to you, maybe a subscription to O magazine,~ he pondered, thinking of the magazine published by Oprah Winfrey.

Not long thereafter, Jack observed a flash of light on the monitor and advised, “Here we go,” as Osiris sat at the edge of Daniel's bed.

Sam intoned, “Activating frequency jamming.”

“Let's do it,” Jack ordered as he bolted out of his seat and ventured out  into the darkness of the night, with Teal'c following closely behind him.

====

Jack sighed as time passed.  He was getting frustrated again.  He was inside Daniel's house, waiting for the signal to go forward, but the signal was definitely not coming fast enough for him.  He couldn't stand the idea of a Goa'uld being within touching distance of his soulmate.  The fact that the Goa'uld occupied the body of Daniel's ex-girlfriend didn't help matters, either.  He was struggling desperately within himself not to try and communicate with his lover.  Although at this point he didn't much care if he jeopardized the discovery of the Lost City, he did care if he jeopardized Daniel's life.

Finally, the team leader whispered into his microphone, “Carter!”

“She's still there, Sir,” the major reported from the van.

“How long do we wait?” Jack questioned.  ~I'm not liking this one bit.~

~Good question.~  Sam could see from the monitor that Daniel was still in REM sleep, and Osiris was still sitting on the side of the bed.  She shook her head and  responded, “I don't know.  Daniel must be getting close.”

Suddenly, just a couple of minutes later, Daniel jerked himself awake, startled to see Osiris standing over him, looking as deadly as she ever had.  In his last dream, Sarah had pushed him to proceed with the translation, but he had been stonewalled.  She'd insisted he was close, but he'd denied that.  When she had tried to argue that he was too close to the solution to stop, he knew it was over. He'd stared at her, saying, “I don't know.  I never knew.”

Osiris understood that she had been found out.  Her plan had failed, and Daniel was about to pay the price for that failure.

“How unfortunate for you,” the Goa'uld spoke, holding up the ribbon device and activating it.

Seeing this from her spot in the van, Sam called out, “Move in!  Move in!”

Jack moved swiftly and managed to fire one shot from his weapon.  Unfortunately, Osiris saw him and used the hand device to fling him back against the hallway wall.  He groaned from the impact and slid to the floor.

At that point, Osiris attempted to beam out, but the jamming device had done its job, and she was unable to beam away to safety.

Meanwhile, Teal'c had made his way from the back bedroom to confront Osiris.  He aimed his tranquilizer weapon at her, but she fired a hand weapon, pinning him in place.  Seeing this, Sam exited the van, afraid Osiris would escape on foot.  She was shocked to realize that Pete was on the scene, apparently having followed her.

“Pete, what are you ...” Sam began, though a shot from the Goa'uld's weapon prevented her from finishing her question.  Both she and Pete dived for cover as she ordered, “Get down!”

As the battle played out on the neighborhood street, Pete quickly became aware that some amazingly nasty things were going on, especially when Osiris used her personal shield to block Sam's fire from her zat weapon.

~Okay, this is not Deep Space Telemetry and ... shoot, I don't know what it is,~ the detective thought as he ducked yet another shot aimed towards the van.

Inside the house, both Jack and Daniel were recovering from the affects of the ribbon device.  Once Teal'c verified that both were okay, he headed outside.

Near the van, Pete jumped up and fired his automatic gun at the Goa'uld.

~This is so weird,~ Pete thought as he saw the personal shield glow with each impact, the bullets bouncing harmlessly off it.

“It's no use, Pete,” Sam called out.

Undaunted by what he'd seen or their situation, the detective responded, “Yeah, why is that?”  At that point, Osiris spotted the gas tank of the van, and Sarah's eyes glowed as an idea formed.  Seeing that, Pete's jaw dropped, and he commented, “Now, that is not normal.”

~Welcome to my world,~ Sam thought, seeing Osiris take aim and knowing the Goa'uld was about to fire.  Jumping out of the way, she shouted, “Look out!”

Sam and Pete ran from the van as Osiris fired, causing the van to explode.  The ensuing blast hurled both of them to the ground.  Pete covered Sam, instinctively wanting to protect her.

As Osiris stood, gloating, the sound of a dart was heard.  She'd been hit.  Turning, the Goa'uld saw Jack lowering his weapon.

~And, no, I don't feel guilty at all,~ Jack thought as he continued to keep the Goa'uld covered.

Osiris pulled the dart from her body and eventually collapsed.  Jack quickly moved forward, verifying she was out for the count.

“Clear!” Jack called out.  He looked across the street, seeing Sam and Pete.  ~Well, what do you know.~  “Carter?” he asked over his headset.

“It's Pete.  He needs an ambulance!” Sam replied through her own headset.  She looked down at her boyfriend and said, “Just hang in there, okay?”

Breathing heavily, the police detective responded, “Sam?  What just happened?”

Sam answered, “I promise, if you make it through this, I will explain everything.” She stared at the man, full of worry.  ~I don't want another dead boyfriend.~

“Deal,” Pete answered.

“I will, Pete.  I'll tell you the whole story, even if they court-martial me,” Sam said, tears in her eyes.  “Geez, I'm not supposed to cry.”

“Who told you that?”  The detective watched as Sam smiled, then laughed, her head going back.  “Sam?” Pete said, his hand clasping the blonde's.

“A long time ago, someone I admire and respect very much asked me the very same thing,” Sam explained, remembering the time when Cassandra had first been brought to Earth.  The young girl had almost died, and the then-captain had taken it hard.  Throughout it all, Daniel had been there for her, and when she'd commented about the inappropriateness of her tears, Daniel had asked her the exact same question with an honesty and sincerity that had pierced her heart.  Pete reminding her of such a tender and transitional moment in her life had to be a sign.  “You think I'd learn,” she said, smiling.

“I'll help ya, Gorgeous.”

“Oh, Pete,” Sam said, raising her right hand to wipe away some of her tears.  ~I'm not losing him, no matter what.~

--

Having heard the explosion, the neighbors were starting to come out of their houses, some still in their pajamas and slippers, tentatively making their way to the scene.  From the distant sound of sirens, it appeared that several had already called the police.

“Teal'c, make sure Osiris stays put,” Jack ordered as he patted his friend on the shoulder and returned to the house.  He saw his lover, sitting on the edge of the bed, leaning forward and pinching the bridge of his nose, trying to recover from his ordeal.  He wanted nothing more than to take the younger man in his arms and kiss him senseless, but he knew the surveillance cameras were still rolling.  Leaning against the doorframe, he called out quietly, “Daniel?”

“Jack, are you okay?” the archaeologist asked, his head popping up.

Walking to the bed, Jack sat down next to the younger man, making sure their shoulders were touching, and replied, “Yeah.”

“Sarah?”

Jack shrugged and answered, “That's up to the Tok'ra, I guess.  Osiris is making nice with the walkway right now.  Teal'c's standing guard.  Reinforcements will be here any minute.”

Daniel nodded, then yawned.

“Tonight you'll get a good night's sleep,” Jack promised, smiling.

“I hope so,” Daniel responded, finally looking into his Love's eyes.  “Jack, what am I going to tell the neighbors?”

Jack chuckled, “Not to mess with you?”

“Gawd,” Daniel chuckled lightly, putting his right hand to his temple where the memory device had been.  He picked it up from the bed and looked at it for a moment.  “Another present for Area 51,” he said, holding out the device.

“Headache?”

“Nail through the head thing,” Daniel acknowledged, using a term that Jack had used earlier in the year.

“I'll make it better tonight.”

“Counting on it,” the younger man said with a slight smile.

Jack stood, knowing he needed to return outside, and said, “You better get dressed.  Oh, and I think Pete's made the A-list.”

“Yeah?”

“He's outside.”

“What?”

“My guess is he's been tracking Carter, wanting to find out the truth.  He came through, and there's sparkage, Daniel; definitely sparkage.”

“How much did he see?”

“Plenty.  I'll see you outside,” Jack said, motioning towards the front yard.

Daniel nodded and slowly stood up.  His head hurt, but he was eager to get to the SGC for the debriefing.  Then he was going to go home and let himself be pampered by his husband.  He smiled, feeling good that he could now look forward to something like that.  There was a time when after a traumatic event like this he would have gotten lost in work or wallowed in the corner of his apartment, saying 'I'm fine' when he was anything but.

“I am fine, though,” Daniel spoke aloud, adding internally, ~because of my Silver Fox.~  **I love you, Jack.**

Outside, as he watched a team strapping Osiris to a gurney and then moving her into a secured Air Force ambulance, while another team tried to explain the night's events to the neighbors, without telling them anything, Jack replied, **I love you, too, Angel.**

====

“How's she doing?” Daniel asked Janet a few hours later, his eyes focused on the lone patient in this particular section of the infirmary.

During the debriefing, the Tok'ra had arrived and removed Osiris from Sarah's body, freeing her from the captivity she'd endured for the last few years.

“She's doing well.  I gave her a sedative,” Janet stated.  “I'm going to keep her out until morning, give her body time to adjust a little before she takes on the reality of her past.”

“Okay, I'll come by in the morning.  If anything changes, please let me know,” Daniel requested.

Nodding, Janet added, “I want you to get some rest tonight, too, Daniel.  You look exhausted.”

“Yeahsureyabetcha,” Daniel chimed as he left the infirmary, knowing that tonight he'd be with his husband.

====

Meanwhile, Jack was in Hammond's office, still discussing the events, when Sam tapped on the door.

“Major Carter, how is Detective Shanahan?” Hammond asked.

“He's doing fine, Sir,” Sam answered with a pleased smile.  She looked at her CO, suddenly remembering his words to her.  ~Now I understand.~

“Carter, do you want me to leave?”

“No, Sir,” Sam stated.  “I was just thinking about faith and belief.”  She turned to the general and said, “Sir, I have a request to make.”

Hammond responded, “Go ahead.”

Jack gave his second an encouraging smile and nod, after which Sam took a deep breath and stated her desire.

====

“Oh, hey, there!” Jack greeted a few minutes later, having returned to his office.  “How's the head?”

“Still hurts, a little, but even though I'm still exhausted, I feel a lot better,” Daniel replied, standing up now that his lover had returned.  “Jack.”

“I know.  You want to help her adjust,” Jack stated softly.

“You're not angry?”

“Do I have anything to be angry about?” the older man questioned as he walked closer to his soulmate.

“No, not a thing,” Daniel responded, shaking his head as he smiled sweetly.  “I'm not talking about anything radical, but I want to be there when she wakes up and maybe help her get settled when Janet releases her.”

“You think she'll go back to Chicago?”

Daniel pursed his lips, shrugging as he thought and then answered, “I have no idea.  I just want to make sure she's okay.”

“Purging the last remnants of guilt?” Jack questioned.

“Being a friend,” Daniel corrected.

Jack nodded, agreeing, “Whatever you need to do, within reason.”

“Don't worry.  There are no picket fences in this man's future,” Daniel chuckled, seeing Jack's suitably embarrassed expression.

“By the way, Carter did it,” Jack informed, smoothly changing the subject.

“And?”

“And Shanahan is about to get a big surprise,” Jack said.

“So are you ... in about an hour,” the younger man spoke alluringly.  He added, “And I think you'll like what I have in mind.”

The older man grinned, twisting around to watch as his lover walked out of the office.  He felt good.  His jealousy was something he had worked hard to control, and he was pretty sure it had only come out with Sam because of the separation from Daniel.  He wasn't jealous of Sam.  He felt secure, and he liked that feeling.

~Hey, why am I still standing here?~ the colonel asked himself, hurrying out of his office and the SGC.

====

“Janet?” Daniel called out early the next morning, yawning as he spoke.  She chose to ignore the huge yawn emanating from her favorite archaeologist.  ~He looks ... refreshed, and that's as much as I want to think about.~

The redhead approached, a chart in her hand, and stated, “She'll probably wake up in an hour or so.”

“How long do you plan on keeping her here?” Daniel inquired.

“Well, physically, she's fine, but I think the Pentagon wants us to keep an eye on her for a few days before releasing her.  I haven't discussed it with the general yet, but I think we'll set her up in one of the VIP rooms until they clear her to leave.  Uh, I need to check on Detective Shanahan.”

“How's he doing?” the archaeologist asked as another yawn escaped his throat.

“Just fine,” Janet answered without hesitation.  Growing suspicious, she asked “Daniel, didn't you finally get some rest last night?”

Daniel grinned and said, “I got exactly what I needed last night, Janet.  Trust me.”  He blushed as he recalled the fast and furious, not to mention numerous, connections he'd made with his lover the night before.  It had been extremely erotic and sensuous, which had been exactly what both men had wanted and needed.  It hadn't been very romantic, but it had been completely pleasurable, and they'd done it over ... and over ... and over again.  ~Gawd, it was good.~

Seeing Daniel lost in his memories, Janet smiled to herself and advised, “Come back in an hour.”  Inwardly, she mused, ~I *knew* I didn't want to know.~  The Chief of Medicine turned around, heading for another part of the infirmary to check on Pete Shanahan.  ~Why'd I ask?~

“Thanks,” Daniel replied, smiling at the physician.  He glanced over at Sarah again and then headed for his office to do a bit of work before returning.  ~This is going to be difficult for her.~

====

“We're gonna get you through this,” Daniel assured Sarah shortly after she awoke.  He was holding her as she sat up, trying to soothe her fears.  “It'll take time, Sarah.”

“Will you help me, Daniel?” Sarah asked, a spark of hope in her eyes.

“I'll make sure you get settled,” Daniel spoke.  “You'll have support.”

“What about you?”

“I'll help you with your initial adjustments.”

“And that's it?” Sarah asked sharply, leaning back.

“Sarah, we weren't good together even when we were together,” Daniel pointed out.

“We could have been.”

“Maybe; I don't know, but I ... have a job to do here, and it's not over,” Daniel stated.

“It's not like you're with anyone else, Daniel,” Sarah said cuttingly, not liking the apparent rejection.

~Ah, if only you could understand, but understanding was never one of your strong suits, anyway.~  “I ... have a job to do here, and it's ... not over,” Daniel stated.

“I want to forget, Daniel,” Sarah said, looking away.

“Time,” Daniel replied.

“How is time going to make me forget what I've done?  How is it going to give me back the years I've lost?” Sarah spat.  Then she closed her eyes, shaking her head.  “I'm so sorry, Daniel.”

Daniel nodded and said, “We'll help you, Sarah.”

Sarah nodded, gratefully accepting the offer.

====

In another section of the infirmary, Pete smiled at the gift Sam had just given him -- a picture of the two of them dancing just a couple of nights before.  He smiled.

“I believe I lived up to my end of the bargain,” the detective said, his eyes asking for the promised explanation.

Not hesitating, Sam began, “What I'm about to tell you is classified under section 11-C-9 of the National Security Act.”  When she was done explaining, she waited.  ~Please, don't run.~

“Okay,” Pete responded.  “So, do I get to go through this Stargate?”

“Pete!”

The man chuckled, “Sure beats Deep Space Telemetry.”

Sam laughed, “Yes, it does.  Are you okay with it?”

“I'm okay with you, and if fighting aliens with glowing eyes and crazy, far out weapons is what you do, then it's what you do,” Pete responded.  He looked down, sheepishly adding, “Sam, I had you checked out.”

“I know,” Sam replied.  “When someone runs a check through a government source on any of us, we usually find out ... eventually.”

“You're not mad?” Pete asked, surprised.

“No.  I'm just gonna sue you for stalking me,” the major laughed as she reached out to take Pete's hand.  She was nervous, not used to showing this side of herself at Cheyenne Mountain.  “Pete, those old boyfriends ...”

“They really did die?” Pete asked.

Sam nodded, “Uh, they were ... humans from other planets.  I need you to live, Pete.”

“Deal.”

The blonde smiled, hoping she'd finally found that life that Jack O'Neill had been ordering her to get for years.

“Listen, if this is going to work, and I want us to work, the funny hours thing is gonna have to be okay, both ways,” Sam spoke.

“What are you trying to tell me?”

“Pete, I have to go.  I'm supposed to meet my father off-world.  Long story, but I have to leave in a couple of hours.  Janet will make sure you get home okay,” Sam stated.

“Leaving me already,” Pete quipped.  Noticing his girlfriend beginning to look concerned, he smiled reassuringly.  “Not a problem, Sam.  I'll be here, well, not here,” he said, using both hands to point downwards.  “But here, when you get back.”

“I'm counting on that, Pete,” Sam said, her blue eyes smiling with more hope than she'd had in a long, long time.

====

Daniel walked inside the home he cherished, knowing that for the first time in a week, he'd be able to stay.  He'd accomplished what he'd intended, perhaps a bit more forcefully than he had planned, but at least the neighbors knew who lived there. They also knew that Jack O'Neill was a good friend who would be spending time at the small house as well.

Of course, coming up with a cover story for the neighbors had been challenging, but an escaped mental patient trying to fight their way out of an imaginary hospital seemed to do the trick, since the only real civilian witness to the alien part of the battle had been Pete.  To the others, it was just a loud explosion and then a woman being strapped in and taken away on a stretcher.

From now on, Jack and Daniel would be able to just do routine visits to the house, performing maintenance and what not.  Daniel would probably stay there on occasion when Jack was out of town, just as he had done at the apartment.  He was very glad things were now back to normal.

As he walked into the living room, the archaeologist's smile grew.  The lights were dimmed, candles lined the mantle, and a warm fire was burning in the fireplace.  Sweet sounds of Kenny G were playing on the stereo, and a roomy comforter had been laid out on the floor for them to relax on.  The coffee table had been moved to a convenient location and on it was a tray of delights, from Godiva chocolates to juicy strawberries.   A bottle of 1959 St. Julien's Chateau Beychevelle, his favorite vintage, was sitting with two wine goblets, waiting to be served.

This was clearly going to be the romantic evening that their lovemaking of the night before hadn't been.  That's one of the things Daniel loved about his relationship with Jack.  Sex could be hard and powerful at times, and, yet, gentle and sweet when needed or desired.  Romance filled their lives just as much as their bodily needs and desires.

~And maybe more so,~ Daniel pondered.  ~I kinda like that.~  He smiled and called out, “Jack?”

Emerging from the kitchen a moment later was Jack, dressed in a turquoise, open V-neck, polyester shirt and loose white pants.  He was wearing his best Irish grin, too, highlighted by the cowlick of hair standing up at the back of his silver-gray hair.  He had on black slippers, with no socks.

“Commando?” Daniel squeaked, his mouth having gone dry after giving his lover a detailed review from top to bottom.

“Wanted to make it easy on us,” Jack replied seductively.  “Go change, Danny.  The steamed crab should be ready in about five minutes,” Jack stated.

“Be right back.”  Daniel took a quick shower and changed into his black turtleneck sweater.  He wore white pants, too.  He didn't bother with shoes of any kind, choosing to go barefoot.  Within minutes, he was walking into the kitchen.  “Can I help?”

“Oh, yeah!” Jack turned to face his husband, letting out a whistle of approval.  Then he grinned and asked, “Commando?”

“I wouldn't want anything to slow us down,” Daniel stated, grinning as he spoke.

Jack served up two plates and walked forward, kissing his Love and saying, “I like it.”

“What?” Daniel asked, confused since his lover had looked up and not down.

“You didn't comb your hair; gives it that ... unkempt look.”

Daniel chuckled, “You have funny quirks, Jackson-O'Neill.”

“Let's eat, Danny, then we can explore quirks and kinks,” Jack suggested.

“I like the sound of that,” Daniel agreed, sitting down at the elegantly prepared table in the dining nook.  “You really outdid yourself.”

“Grandma would've liked to see her good china put to use from time to time,” Jack said with a smile.

“Jack, where are the girls?” Daniel asked, suddenly realizing he hadn't seen his welcoming committee.

“With Mrs. Valissi for the night,” Jack answered, knowing that with the beagles on a trip of their own with their trusted and beloved neighbor, he and Daniel would be free to do plenty of exploring without the pitter patter of eight paws and tiny woofs interrupting.

“Good.  We'll have time then,” Daniel stated as he picked up his food and then took a bite.  “Mmm.  Good job, Babe.”

“Time for what, Danny?” Jack asked.  “And, thanks.”

“To build that picket fence,” Daniel teased.

Jack glared, and then the two men broke out into laughter.  Their eyes met, their gazes strong.  Blue eyes spoke of eternal love, and brown eyes talked of a never-ending forever.  It was a declaration of their nation of two.

After dinner, during which they fed each other bites of the crustacean delicacy, Daniel guided Jack by the hand and lowered him down on the comforter in front of the fire.  Having slowly divested his lover of his clothes and performed a teasing strip of his own attire, he snuggled up to Jack, ensuring as much of their bodies were touching as possible.

With his head resting on Jack's chest, listening to the strong heartbeat, Daniel softly spoke, “Do it again, Jack.”

“Do what, Love?” Jack asked, feeling totally relaxed and happy.

“Sing for me,” Daniel whispered back.

“I wouldn't do this for just anyone,” Jack teased as he rubbed his hand soothingly up and down Daniel's back.  Singing seriously was something he did rarely, even despite Daniel's many requests for him to sing, but they'd had a bad week, and he was feeling pliable.  After a short pause, he turned his body to face Daniel, bringing his hand up to stroke his soulmate's cheek, and said, “Your wish is my command, Angel.”  He stared deeply into his Heart's eyes and sang like he had at their wedding.  “Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling ...”

Only a few lines in, Jack's mischievous nature took over, and his musical rendering switched from serious to humorous.  It didn't matter, though, as before he was more than one line into the second verse, their love was sealed with another union of their bodies, one full of tenderness and gentle passion, something Jack and Daniel had in abundance for each other.

“Oh, Danny boy, oh, Danny boy, I love you so,” Jack sang as their nation of two swelled, in more ways than one.

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