Trouble in Paradise

Author: Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Humor, Angst, H/C, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  NC-17
Season:  4/5
Spoilers:  The First Commandment, Exodus (both minor)
Size:  147kb
Written:  November 27-30, December 1,7-8, 2003, January 16-17,22,24, 2004  Tweaked for correction only:  September 7, 2006  Revised:  February 23, March 11, 2007 Revised for consistency:  January 30-31, 2007  Tweaked:  March 20, 2007
Summary:  On the fluffy side, there is sex, sex, and more sex!  On the serious side, Jack frets about Daniel being more of a soldier than a scholar; and the lovers take a time out while on a mission which has hefty consequences.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  This was a whim; all in fun.  I don't have anything to do with them legally!
Notes:  
1) Sometimes, Jack and Daniel speak almost telepathically.  Their “silent” words to each other are indicated by asterisks instead of quotes, such as **Jack, we can't.**
2) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
3) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Drdjlover, Charlotte, Starshadow, Claudia, Jodi, Linda!

Trouble in Paradise
by Orrymain

Jack paced angrily in front of General Hammond's desk, trying desperately to remember he was talking to the major general and not to his friend, George.  SG-1 had come off of three grueling back-to-back missions, and they were tired.

They had battled the Goa'uld in intense face-offs that had resulted in four Marine deaths, and those of countless Jaffa and two civilians.

What's more, Jack was upset that his lover was starting to act more like a soldier than an archaeologist, making sarcastic cracks such as “Rambo time” and “You translate it; I have to go kick some butt.”

General Hammond had just informed Jack that there was no time for SG-1 to take a break.  The war with the Goa'uld was on high, and the demands on the SGC to defend the planet and their allies had increased.  With two teams grounded due to injuries and illnesses, SG-1 would have to “gut it out.”

“General, I understand the problem, but all I'm asking for is forty-eight hours.”

“And I wish I could give them to you, Colonel, but I can't.”

“Sir, we need ...” Jack began, stopping abruptly when the general rose and approached him.

With a bit of a huff, Hammond asked, “Colonel, are you reporting any member of your team as being unfit?”

Jack fidgeted, but straightened as his superior officer stared him down.

“No, Sir,” Jack answered.  “SG-1 is fit and ready to go.”

“Then you have your orders, Colonel.  Dismissed.”

“Yes, Sir.”

With an uncharacteristic though quick salute, Jack left the general's office.

====

“Carter, how long will it take you to get your doo-dads to do ... whatever it is they do?”

“About thirty-six hours minimum, Sir, and very possibly longer.  The Yuland sun is, well, for a lack of a better word, temperamental.  It's unlike anything we've ever run across before.”

“How long, Major?” Jack asked abruptly.

Sam flinched as she answered, “At least two days ...”  Sighing at resignation from the stare her CO gave her, she amended, “three days, Sir, and by then, we should have everything we need.”

“Teal'c, are you sure you can handle all that equipment?  I can try to get Hammond to requisition someone ...”

“That will not be necessary, O'Neill.  MajorCarter and I do not require any assistance,” Teal'c responded.

“Okay, that leaves you and me, Daniel, for fun in the sun on good ole P2 ... uh ...,” Jack looked to Daniel to fill in the planetary designation for him as the younger man so often had in the past.

“P something or another,” Daniel responded, adding, “just another P for planet, Jack.”

Jack didn't like that response.  Daniel was as good as he was now at being snarky, maybe even better, but it wasn't Daniel's essence, and Jack was deeply disturbed.  His lover needed some time away, and Jack was frustrated that he hadn't been able to get Daniel what he needed.

“Yeah, well, we'll do the basic recon, scout as far as we can, and wait for Carter and Teal'c to join us.”

“Teal'c, I'll meet you in an hour.  I need to do a recalibration before we go to Yuland,” Sam said.

“Can I be of service, MajorCarter?”

“Actually, yes.  Thank you, Teal'c.”  Turning to Jack and Daniel, Sam said, “We'll see you on P2J-995 as soon as we can, Sir.”

Sam and Teal'c exited Jack's office where they had met for the result of Jack's meeting with Hammond.  Jack shut the door, turned off the security camera, and walked over to his lover who had moved to a corner where he was staring at some of Jack's memorabilia that sat on some shelves.

“I'm sorry, Danny.  I tried.”

Daniel shrugged, saying, “At least there's no Jaffa on the planet.  We'd better go.  P-whatever-it-is is waiting for us.”

After his lover exited Jack's office, Jack sighed, ~P-whatever-it-is?  Oh, Danny, what are we doing to you?~

====

P2J-995 was believed to be an unpopulated planet, one rich in valuable resources to the Tau'ri.  Its location in the universe also made it one of strategic importance, so SG-1's mission was to scout the planet more closely with the ultimate goal being to claim the planet as an Earth province and possibly build both power and research stations there.

Jack and Daniel had walked in virtual silence for two hours.  The air temperature was a warm 84 degrees.  There was plenty of plant life present, including Jack's favorites -- trees, mostly ones resembling the great Redwoods of the Pacific Northwest.

The lovers had seen many small to medium sized animals, similar to squirrels and deer.  None had been threatening and for the most part, the creatures ignored their human visitors.  Several varieties of birds flew overhead as well.

The land was mostly flat, ideal for building.  The large trees were in patches of forest-like areas.  The only downside thus far was the humidity, which was a bit taxing on the explorers as they ventured down a long patch of meadowland.

Eventually, Jack and Daniel came to a large river.  The water temperature was a cool but tolerable 66 degrees, and warmer in the sunlit portions.  The waters appeared calm.

Daniel removed his boots and socks and, after rolling up his pant legs, sat along the edge of the river, putting his feet in.  He let out a pleasing sound as his feet splashed in playfulness.

“This feels so good,” Daniel sighed, as if being pampered at a spa.

“Wish we had time to stay longer, but we need to keep going,” Jack told his lover.

“No,” the weary archaeologist responded immediately.

“No?” Jack asked in surprise.

Flatly, Daniel stated, “No, Jack.  I'm not going anywhere, not for a while.”

“Daniel, this is a huge planet.  We have a lot of ground to cover before Carter and Teal'c meet up with us,” the colonel explained.

“We have three days, Jack, and I'm tired,” Daniel said in reply.

Jack was tired, too, but he also had orders, and as much as he wished he could indulge Daniel's desires, he couldn't.

“Come on, Danny.  Time to go,” Jack intoned, leaning over to pat Daniel on the back and then moving onward, away from the stream.

Jack expected Daniel to say something sarcastic, but then get with the program.  He was surprised when Daniel got up, as anticipated, but instead of putting his socks and boots back on, he took off his vest and equipment, and unbuttoned his green jacket.

“Daniel, I just told you that we don't have time for this,” Jack stated sternly as his P-90 hung low in his hands.

“Then you go on ahead, and I'll catch up later,” Daniel suggested.
                                          
Frustrated, Jack replied, “We're on a strange planet, and you know there's no way in Netu that I'm leaving you here alone.”

“Good,” Daniel smiled, tossing his jacket to the ground and lifting his black short sleeve tee shirt over his head.

Jack's heart fluttered.  There was nothing more sexy in the world than Daniel Jackson naked, and soon, Daniel was going to be exactly that.  Jack wanted to play, to go along, but the colonel was insistent that he remain strong and in control.

“Daniel, stop that.  We have our orders.”

“No, Jack.  You have *your* orders.  I'm going swimming.  You can join me, or you can keep going.”

“Danny ...”

“Jack,” Daniel's smile left his face and he stared intently at his lover, “I'm tired.  I mean I'm really tired.  I've killed and maimed more than I care to think about in the last two weeks.  I want a time out, and if Hammond won't give it to us, then I'll just have to take it my own way.  I'm sorry.  I don't mean to ignore your precious orders, but I *am* going swimming.”

Jack ran his fingers through his hair as he did a three-hundred-sixty degree turn looking all around the area they had stopped in.  When he got back to focusing on Daniel, his eyes widened, and he couldn't stop the smile that had come to his face when he saw the most beautiful sight in the world -- his Daniel, who was now completely naked, wearing a seductive grin, and his body was bearing what might be called an open invitation to Jack.

With a low, sultry voice, Daniel said, “Now, I could take care of this,” he waved a hand towards his eager and hardened shaft, “myself, or ...”

“Or,” Jack said softly.

“Or,” Daniel repeated.

Jack shook his head in amazement.  The colonel needed to say “no,” but two weeks of battles meant two weeks of barely touching Daniel, and with Daniel's body begging for attention, Jack's own body was bulging to help.

“Geez, Danny,” Jack said.

“Have fun, Jack,” Daniel said as he dived into the water.

Jack took a breath, then stated, “What you do to me, Doctor Jackson,” before reluctantly putting down his weapon and disrobing.

Daniel watched with a grin as Jack swam out to the middle of the river to join his lover.  It was warm where they treaded water, the sunlight dancing off Daniel's shiny brown hair.

“This is crazy, Danny.  Hammond is going to have my hide.”

“So am I,” Daniel said, as he put his arms around Jack's neck and kissed him.

Both moaned from their kiss.  It had been way too long, and their bodies ached to be one.  They kissed over and over, their lips not wanting to part from the other's, their tongues gliding over and under and all around each other's.  Their desire grew with each soft moan, and each connection of their lips.

Jack's hands reached down to Daniel's rear, stroking his lover's butt cheeks for a few moments.  He pulled Daniel closer to him.

Daniel moaned, his hands keeping Jack's head pressed to him, his fingers beginning to roam from the fine strands of Jack's silver-gray hair to Jack's back.

Their kisses continued as their hands glided along each other's bodies, touching and fondling.  Their legs were kicking to keep them in their place, the water soothing their achy bodies.

Their lengths rubbed together, like two pieces of wood starting a raging fire.

“Want you, Jack, so much,” Daniel crooned into Jack's mouth between kisses.

Jack's arms were wrapped around Daniel's waist, making sure to keep him close as the water flowed.  He moved his right hand down to Daniel's shaft and began to stroke it gently.

Daniel quivered, his forehead leaning against Jack's left shoulder, as the older man intensified his actions, his fingers walking along his lover's shaft, applying pressure as he moved, pushing, kneading, and stroking, the water adding a sensuous element.  

The younger man was moaning contently at Jack's efforts, his hands pressed against Jack's back to keep him as still as possible.  He needed this, wanted this desperately.  His weariness from all the fighting had threatened to take over. He needed Jack to ground him, to keep him sane, to remind him there was life out there, and life was Jack.

Daniel knew he should be reciprocating.  Jack's body was in need of attention as well, but for once, Daniel decided he would be selfish.  He was so lost in Jack's touch, the pulsating vibrations reviving him for the first time in two weeks, that he wanted to enjoy every second, to hold on to Jack, and just be loved.  He would take care of Jack soon, but right now, the sun beating down on them, his body silly putty in Jack's hands.  He only wanted to feel the moment.

“Jack,” Daniel chanted in rhythm to Jack's motions, “Love you, so ... so much.”

Seconds later, Daniel erupted into Jack's hand within the river water. “Oh, gawd,” he uttered, his entire body leaning against his lover.  It felt like the entire world had moved, the waters rumbling with his release.

“Love you, Danny,” Jack spoke softly, now caressing Daniel's back, his chin snuggling against Daniel's nape.

“Gawd, I needed that.  Thank you, Love,” Daniel sighed, as he continued to rest against Jack who happily held the young man as they treaded the water together.

When Daniel finally moved, he looked deep into his love's eyes and repeated, “I love you, Jack.”

“Oh yeah?  Well ...”

Jack did a small shrug and had a cocky look of, 'So, prove it', his own length desperate for Daniel's talented hands.

“Hmmm ... I think I know how to take care of that,” Daniel teased.

“You *think*?”

“Well, there are any number of methods,” Daniel spoke, his right hand running up and down Jack's left cheek.  “I mean, there's the ...”

“Daniel!”

Daniel chuckled, “Sorry, Love, I know ...”

“No, Daniel move.  NOW!”

“What?” Daniel asked, seeing that his Love had suddenly gone into alert mode.

“Gawd, we don't have time.  HOLD ON TO ME,” Jack shouted, the waters quickly becoming deafening.

Daniel looked behind him, terror appearing in his eyes.  Heading towards them was a huge wave.  It had come out of nowhere.  The peaceful waters had turned to a rapid, powerful force in a matter of seconds.  It was like a tsunami, the huge tidal wave threatening to drown the two lovers.

“DANIEL ... DANNY, I LOVE YOU,” Jack shouted as Daniel looked back in shock.  “I LOVE YOU, DANNY.”

Before Daniel could speak, the wave hit.  Daniel's arms were glued to Jack's neck while Jack's were closed as securely as possible around Daniel's waist.  The mighty wave carried the two with it as it moved at a swift pace.  The two struggled to hang on to each other, afraid to let go, that if they were separated, they might never find each other again.

But within a couple of minutes, the force of the huge mound of water began to separate the two.

“JACK!” Daniel called out after his hands had been forced loose from Jack's neck and shoulders.

“HANG ON!” Jack shouted, fighting with all his might not to let Daniel be swept away from his hold, but the wave was beating against him, like a whip slapping against his hands and knuckles.

Jack's face was tight as he fought the will of the torrential waters, and Daniel was furiously fighting to regain his hold on Jack, but every time he would make progress, the waters would pound against his chest, driving him back.

With the last wave, Daniel gulped down a volume of water.  He feared drowning in those seconds, but managed to cough up the excess, still fighting to stay with Jack.

The two men were tiring, and the tsunami showed no signs of stopping.  Amazingly, Jack was somehow still holding on to Daniel.

As brown eyes met blue, and time stood still for a moment, both Jack and Daniel mouthed, “I love you,” and then the world went black for both men.

====

~Hard.  Something hard.  Uncomfortable.  Sore.  Dark.  Fingers moving.  Head hurts.  Wet.  So cold.  Cold.  Jack?~  Daniel blinked, his mind finally registering all the sensations he had awoken to.  He pushed up, calling out for his lover, “Jack?”

“JACK?” Daniel shouted again, his eyes focusing on his surroundings.  He had awoken on a bed of rock, up against a damp meadow.  The waters were still flowing, but it was calm again.  Birds were chirping, the sun still shining down.

Daniel felt liquid dripping.  Looking down, he saw the cuts on his body, blood draining from the open wounds.  It was a strange sensation.  He didn't yet feel pain, only fear, fear for Jack.

“JACK?  WHERE ARE YOU?  JACK, ANSWER ME!”

Daniel spun himself around, desperately looking for a sign, any sign of his best friend turned lover.  But the sudden motion caused him to become dizzy, and he fell to the ground, anguish attempting to overtake him.

“Jack,” Daniel cried softly.

Daniel felt truly lost.  He had no clue where he was.  He had no equipment, and he was naked as the proverbial jaybird.  Blood was staining his pale body, and he felt weak from the loss.  He looked for something to help, but only the meadow was present.

“Jack.  I love you.  I'm so sorry.  It's my fault.  Again ... gawd, it's always my fault.”

Daniel collapsed to the ground, lost in his pain, and passed out.

====

Hours later, Daniel awoke again.  The bleeding had stopped, the dried blood marking his bare body like some art deco painting.  His body ached now from the soreness of his muscles, but he didn't feel as weak as he had before.

“JACK?” Daniel called out again, but as before, there was no answer.

Standing up, the archaeologist walked to the edge of the water.  He had no clue where to look, no idea how far the large wave had carried him, or when he and Jack had been separated.  The days on the planet were long, almost thirty-two Earth hours of daylight alone.

Jack and Daniel had walked almost five hours when they came across the river, and they had been in the water for roughly a half-hour when the tsunami hit.  Daniel figured he had to have been unconscious a few hours, but he had nothing to gage it on.

The planet's sun rose and set in the exact same place.  It didn't travel at a different pace than the planet so there was no way to judge the progress of the day with anything other than a watch, and Daniel had taken his off before he got into the water.

“I'm such an idiot,” the anguished man said out loud.

Daniel searched the meadow, went further down the river, and then swam to the other side, searching the land there before moving back up the river and checking the area across from where he had first come to. There was no sign of Jack.  He sighed, knowing that the only sign he could find was Jack's body, since Jack had been as naked as he when they were swept away.

====

Daniel traveled some more, checking the land, then swimming to the other side and surveying the land there.  He repeated the process -- checking the land, then swimming to the other side, checking that area, going further upstream and restarting the progress.  Hours passed.  Daniel was exhausted, alone, and frightened for Jack.

The young man's heart and soul were crying as he rested.  His scratched knees were  drawn up against his chest, his elbows on them, as his head leaned into his palms.  Daniel replayed the day in his mind, and he became agitated, knowing it was all his fault.  None of it would have happened had he followed orders, but, no, he had to take a break, lure Jack into the water, and then selfishly let Jack pleasure him without returning the 'favor'.

Daniel was miserable, but he couldn't give up.  He had to keep searching.  He prayed Jack was out there somewhere, alive, and if he was, he'd be counting on Daniel to find him.  He got up, and again felt dizzy.  He remembered he hadn't eaten all day, and with all the trauma to his body, and the energy he had expelled, he was now weakened.

The only thing Daniel was grateful for was the surprising lack of insects on the planet.  Otherwise, he was sure his body would already be ridden with bite after bite.  As it was, the prolonged exposure to the sun was beginning to burn his skin.

Daniel briefly considered waiting for nighttime to move forward, but if he did that, he would most likely not spot his lover, wherever Jack was.  He forced himself to continue his search, and as he did so, he now also looked for something to eat or nourish his body with.  Eating anything would be risky.  They hadn't done anything but preliminary testing of the conditions on the planet and some of the mineral tests that had excited the Pentagon.

Finally, Daniel saw a small grove of trees that looked like they had some kind of fruit hanging from them.  He veered away from the river long enough to take a look.  He picked one of the items off the tree and examined it.  It was green with a slimy skin, about two inches in diameter.  The skin had fuzz on it, and the “fruit” was soft.  When Daniel pushed on it, the item “squished,” orange colored liquid escaping onto his hand.

The young man was hungry, so he licked the juice cautiously.  It tasted good, like an orange actually.  Daniel took a bite, and it was pleasing, so he ate the green orange, and another, and then another.

Ten minutes later, Daniel sat by the river, calmly watching the sun dance off the water.  He put his feet in and realized it was soothing.  His feet hurt, and he wondered why.  He also wondered why he had no clothes, but it didn't matter, the sun felt good on his body, his mind not yet registering the beginnings of  the sunburn that would soon be very painful.

After a time, Daniel laid supine on the ground and closed his eyes.  For a moment, he thought there was something he should be doing, but since nothing came to mind, he assumed he must be wrong.  He relaxed, his right leg raised, curved at the knee, his hands behind his head.  He picked up a blade of the meadow grass and stuck it in his mouth just for fun.  It made for quite a picture, Daniel's nakedness sprawled along the meadow near the river.

====

About thirty minutes later, Daniel decided to go for a stroll.  It was, after all, a nice day.  He walked along the riverbed for a while, stopping to pick up another blade of the meadow grass to chew on.  He studied the birds, and whistled a tune he didn't realize he knew as he walked.  A bit later, he decided to go for a swim.

Daniel played happily in the water, spinning around creating splashes, seeing how high he could cause the water to go up.  He saw a frog and decided to mimic it, doing “the frog” upstream, croaking in mock unison with the creatures until laughter overcame him.  Then, he floated on his back for a while, keeping his eyes closed, letting the water carry him along its path for a time, which of course, carried him back down the way he had come.

The carefree man was happy to drift along, enjoying the massaging feel of the waters.  He felt content and peaceful.  Daniel yawned, and made a little noise as he drifted.

A couple of minutes later, Daniel was carried into something that disturbed his light rest on the water.  Instinctively, he tried to push it away without actually looking at it, but when he touched it, he realized it was a body.

Daniel righted himself to turn and look.  Then he screamed from the shock.  The water had carried him into a small cove of sand and rock where a body was wedged against the shore.  He studied the body for a moment, and slowly moved towards it.

Daniel put his hand on the man's forehead and felt warmth.  For a reason he couldn't understand, Daniel let his hand slide down the man's face, along his cheek, to his neck, and down his chest.  His breathing began to grow rapid, his eyes fluttering.

~I need to think ... to focus,~ he told himself as he reached for the man's wrist, finding a strong pulse.

Daniel freed the man from the cove and dragged him to the shore, being too weak to actually carry the man.  He sat next to the stranger.  Again, almost unconsciously, Daniel placed his hand on the man's forehead, gently caressing, his fingers moving to the strands of hair above the right earlobe, and then along the cheek.

Then, the man groaned, his head turning, a cough coming from his throat.  Slowly, the man focused on Daniel.

“Danny?” the man gasped.  “Are you okay, Love?”  It was Jack, but Daniel didn't recognize him.  Jack coughed again, staring at Daniel as if expecting an answer, “Danny?”

Daniel said nothing, just sat quietly -- watching, evaluating, studying.  He seemed to like to study things, including this stranger.

“Daniel, what's wrong?”  It was hard for Jack to breathe.  His head was pounding.  His arms and legs felt numb.  Suddenly, he coughed again and felt miserably cold.  “Danny?”

Jack struggled to move, but he couldn't, his body too weakened.  He didn't understand why Daniel was acting so strangely, and his concern heightened.

“Gawd, Danny.  Talk ... <cough> ... to me.  Please.”

Daniel pulled back, raising his knees to his chest and wrapping his arms around them.  He never took his eyes off the stranger as he rocked back and forth.  His motion continued for five minutes as the man continued to cough and labored hard to breathe.

As his motion continued, Daniel studied the man, piece by piece, beginning with the silver-gray hair.

~Sexy.  Love that hair.  So fine.  Made me tingle,~ Daniel thought, recalling his brief contact with it.

Daniel studied the man's eyebrows, thinking, “Character.  Pain,~ as he noticed the left eyebrow seemed to be marked, almost burned.  He took in the man's entire face, but found himself drawn to the mouth.  ~Bet he has a beautiful smile. Lips -- full.  What would it be like to ...~  Daniel stopped himself from that train of thought as he focused on the ears and smiled.  ~Soft, tender, want to nibble,” he thought, unable to keep his mind from going to places he didn't understand.

Daniel reviewed the man's neck for a long time, feeling drawn to it, the lines on the neck luring him to the man.

~Experienced, learned, life,~ Daniel thought.  All of sudden, he gasped as he focused on the man's chest, the sight of the bare torso taking his breath away.  He had to fight the urge to run his fingers through the stranger's chest hairs.  He wanted to touch, to play, to feel them.  ~Gawd, so sexy.  Want!  I want!~

Finally, Daniel allowed his eyes to move elsewhere, taking in the strong arms of the stranger.  He noticed lots of healed scars on them, and looking back, he saw many on the chest as well.

~Hurt?  How?  Survivor,~ Daniel thought as he stared onward.  He concentrated on the hands and found himself smiling.  ~Big.  Strong.  Calloused.  Hard worker.  Protector.  Safe.  Safe.  Warm.  Safe.~

Daniel blinked, the word “safe” wouldn't leave his mind when he looked at the hands.  He could tell some of the fingers had been broken.  There were scars there, too, but his mind continued to be filled with the word “safe” as if it were the only word in the universe to describe the man's hands.

Continuing his examination, Daniel glanced back up at the shoulders, again sensing that the man's body had endured much.  He studied the man's right shoulder, and then focused on the left.

~Strong.  Comfortable.  Comfortable?~ Daniel questioned himself.  He shrugged it off and continued his inventory of the stranger while still rocking himself in confusion.  His eyes smiled again at the hairy chest as he went to the abdomen. ~Powerful, toned, muscular, healthy.~

Then Daniel moved downward, his head turned from side to side as he studied the man's groin area.  He shivered, an eerie anticipation filling his body.  He actually quivered, flashes of being close to the man suddenly flooding his mind.

~Screams.  Pleasure.  Pain, but good pain.~  Daniel looked almost quizzically at the man as more words came to him.  ~More.  Stars.  Love.  So much love.~

Daniel blinked, his mind working faster than he could process.  He didn't know this man.  He put his hands over his ears and closed his eyes, trying to stop the overabundance of words shouting at him.  Finally, he calmed, and went back to his previous position, rocking again, studying the man, his gaze moving on to the thighs, then the knees.

~Rugged.  Hurt again.  Scars,~ Daniel thought.  Slowly, his eyes moved down to the feet.  ~Cute.  Big toe.  Big, big toe,~ he laughed.  ~Tickle.  Want to tickle.~  Then, as suddenly as he started, he stopped rocking.  He blinked and looked at the man, as if seeing him for the first time.  “JACK!”

Jack, who had been oblivious to Daniel's inventory of his naked body, turned his head towards him and said, “Danny, talk to me.”

“Gawd, Jack ... wha...what ... I don't,” Daniel looked around, frightened, nervous, and not understanding what was happening, or how he had been reunited with his lover.

Daniel was spooked.  So was Jack, but now that he had been out of the water a while, Jack was able to will his right hand to move atop Daniel's.  It was all Daniel needed to ground him to the present.  He had Jack, and that was all he ever needed.

“Jack, oh, gawd, the wave.  I'm so sorry.”

“No one's fault.  Weather happens on any planet.  Are you hurt?”

“Am I?  Oh gawd, listen to me.”  Daniel was furious at himself.  He closed his eyes and shouted at himself, ~Stop it!  Focus!~ and then he opened his eyes again, looking at his lover.  “We need to check you out.  What hurts?”

Jack smiled at Daniel, knowing his lover must have gone through a nightmarish time before they had been reunited.

“Actually, nothing,” Jack coughed.  “I'm sorta numb, Danny ... cold.”

Daniel noticed Jack had a few cuts on him, just like he did.  His lover was very warm to the touch, too, so he figured Jack probably had a fever.

“Danny, are you okay?” Jack asked, having noticed all the cuts and bruises on his lover.

“Yes, Love, just some cuts and bruises, just like you.  We ... match,” Daniel tried to tease as he leaned over for a small kiss.  “I love you, Jack.”

“Love you, too, Angel.”

“I don't know where we are.  I mean, how far down we came.  This river ... it goes on and on, Jack, and there's meadow on both sides.  It all looks the same.  The day is so long here.  I just don't know how far the wave carried us.”

“It's okay.  We're together now,” Jack said as he held Daniel's hand.

“We don't have any clothes, Jack, or any equipment, or any way of carrying anything.”

“We have water.”

Daniel nodded, staring at the river,  and commented, “It came on so suddenly.  There wasn't any warning.”

Jack replied, “Yes, there was.  There was a jolt, some kind of shaking.  We just didn't pay attention to it because ...”

Daniel let out a nervous laugh, interjecting, “Gawd, bad timing.”

“Well, for a minute there, I thought I'd done a really fantastic, blow, uh, make that hand job,” Jack smirked, never losing his sense of humor.

“Jaaaaack!”  Daniel blushed, shaking his head.  “Gawd, how can you do this to me when we're out here like this?”

“Because you're naked and beautiful, and ... <cough> ... what else am I going to think about?”

“You're incorrigible,” Daniel whined in jest.

“But you love me.”

“Heaven help me, someone has to, and just my luck, it's me.”  Daniel's heart melted, seeing his lover's wicked grin.  “I'm so glad you love me, too, Jack.  I need you.  You're my life.”

Jack squeezed his lover's hand and they shared a quiet moment of nonverbal communication.

“Danny, do you know why you were so out of it when I woke up?  You weren't yourself; didn't seem to know me.”

Daniel answered, “I don't remember, Jack.  I mean, I remember searching for you for a long time, and then ... I wasn't.  I was ... swimming and ... floating in the water.  I wasn't thinking about anything.  I don't ... I don't think I even knew who I was.”

“Maybe you have a concussion or a head injury.”

“No, I don't think so.  I was fine when I first woke up.  I don't know.  I ... can't remember.  It's like I was searching, and then floating, and then here, with you.”

“Okay, let's not think about that ... <cough> ... for a while.”

“Jack, you're so warm.  I think you have a fever,” Daniel said, caressing Jack's cheek.

“I'll be okay.  We just need to take inventory.  C'mon, Danny, what do we have and what do we need?”

“We have water.  We need clothes or something to stay warm in, but I haven't seen anything that could help, Jack.”

“What about food?”

“Food,” Daniel repeated, his face scrunching in thought.

“Danny?”

“Oranges.”

“There are oranges?” the older man asked.

“Green oranges.  I ... that's it!  It has to be.  There's a grove along the river with this fruit.  They're green, but they taste like oranges.  I was hungry.”

“How many?” Jack inquired.

“Three, I think, and then ... Jack, that's when I stopped searching.  I ...,” Daniel closed his eyes in regret.  “Jack, the fruit must have affected me somehow.  I was looking for you when I saw the grove.  I was so weak that I had to risk taking a bite.  It was good, so I ate some more.  And then everything is ... it's a big blur.  Gawd, Jack, we can't eat them.  We don't know how else the fruit might affect us.”

“Okay, we'll find something else,” the colonel determined.

“Yeah, but ... Jack, anything we find might affect us negatively.  We just don't know, and we can't take that chance.”

“We can last a while without food, Danny.  We stay by the river.  Carter and Teal'c will be here in two days.”

“Three days.  It's the still first day, and the days here are almost twice what we're used to, remember?”  Hearing his lover groan and then let out a nasty cough, Daniel asked, “Can you move, Love?”

Jack slowly sat up, answering, “Geez, I guess I'm lucky I didn't develop hypothermia.”

“I don't think the water was cold enough for that, Jack; the temperature is cooler now, though,” the archaeologist observed as he looked up towards the sky for a moment.

“Help me up, Angel,” Jack requested, reaching for his lover's arm.

With Daniel's help, Jack stood.  Together, they slowly they made their way upstream.  Jack's coughing increased as they traveled, and he was sweating more and more.  Daniel could also feel his lover's body heat rising.  He prayed they would find something to help them stay warm.

====

Hours passed as the couple walked.  Finally, the sun began to fade.  Night was finally coming.

“Jack?  The nights ... they're ...”

“Cold,” both said at the same time, their eyes focused deeply into each other's.

“There's nothing for a shelter, Jack.  Nothing, and you're exhausted.  We have to stop.”

Jack responded, “I can ... <cough> ... keep going a while longer.  The closer we get, the better off we'll be.  Maybe ... <cough> ... we'll find our stuff.”

“I have a feeling our stuff is on the other side of the planet.”

“Let's keep going, Danny, until we can't.”

====

Three hours later, the sun had totally disappeared, and the two moons of the planet were shining fully.  Jack and Daniel had stopped their trek twenty minutes earlier, Jack's coughing and exhaustion having taken their hold.  The two went to the nearest grove of trees, several yards away from the water.  It was a small grouping, mostly saplings.

“Something must have happened here.”

“Yeah, a tsunami,” Jack reminded wryly.

Daniel affirmed, “Yeah.  A very sudden tsunami.”

“You know, from now on, we really need to do more testing before we go camping,” Jack joked weakly.

Daniel had leaned back against a tree, positioning Jack on the ground, his head in Daniel's lap.  The younger man ran his hands through Jack's hair, and smiled as Jack looked up at him.

“You're so beautiful, Danny.  Gorgeous.”

Daniel rolled his eyes, claiming, “You always say that.”

“Because I always wanna get you ... <cough> ... naked, Love.”

“I'm naked now.”

“I noticed.  Sure wish ... <cough> ... I could ... <cough, cough> ... take advantage,” Jack opined.

“Me, too,” Daniel spoke softly.

“Don't be scared, Angel.  We're gonna be fine.”

“I think that's supposed to be my line,” Daniel spoke.

“Be my blanket, Danny.  I want to hold you.  Besides, it'll keep us warm.”

Daniel scooted down, taking his customary position on his Jack pillow, only this time, he made sure as much of his body as possible was covering Jack, to keep the warmth gathered to his love.  He kept his hands moving on Jack's body to keep the circulation flowing, the flesh cooling more with each minute that went by.

As Jack's hand moved along his back, Daniel suddenly heard himself say, “Ouch,” causing Jack to stop and look at him.

“Danny?”

“Sunburn, I think.  I'm okay, Jack.  Just don't go so low, okay?”

“I'll stop.”

“NO!  Gawd, don't.  I love your touch.  Just a little tender right there.  Please don't stop.”

“Okay, Angel,” Jack said, then coughed three times in a row.

The nights on P2J-995 were thankfully shorter than the long days, but still, they were longer than those on Earth, a frightening fourteen hours.  Daniel dreaded each hour and the risk the cool night air brought to his Jack pillow.

“I'll be right back, Jack.  I'm going to see if I can find something for a fire.”

“Don't go too far, Love.”

“You worry too much.”

“Nah, I just wanna watch your naked six,” the older man smirked.

“Jaaaack!”

“Kiss me, Love.”

Daniel obliged and then searched the nearby area, managing to find some twigs and larger sticks.  He carried them back to where Jack lay, and then worked on starting a fire.

“That's my favorite ... <cough> ... boy scout,” Jack laughed when the fire began.

Daniel returned to his lover's side, and rested his head on his Jack pillow, listening carefully to the powerful sound of Jack's heart that always made him feel safe and secure, no matter what their situation.

When Jack finally gave in to sleep, Daniel concentrated fully on keeping the warmth in his lover's body.  He didn't sleep for a second; instead, his hands were constantly rubbing, stroking, and caressing Jack's body.  He would not allow Jack to slip away during the night.

At last, the sun appeared, just as the fire was ebbing to nothing but embers.  Daniel was in the middle of a yawn when the sun hit Jack's eyes, the bright light causing the older man to awaken with a new round of coughing.

“It's okay, Babe,” Daniel assured.  “I'm here.”

“Danny?  Geez, I was hoping it was a nightmare.”

“I wish, but we made it through the night.”

Jack studied his love, observing, “Geez, Daniel, you didn't sleep at all, did you?”

“I had to keep you warm.”

“Dan...<cough> ...”

“Shh, Jack, please don't get upset.  You would have done the same thing, and you know it.  Don't waste  your energy on anger.  Gawd, please don't.”

Jack calmed as Daniel stroked his skin, and he nodded in agreement.

Then Daniel spoke, “We have to move.  We can't stay here.”

====

The pair walked on for hours until Jack collapsed, unconscious to the ground.

“Jack!”

Daniel was full of despair.  He couldn't recall ever feeling so helpless.  Jack was burning up with fever, and there was still nothing in sight that Daniel thought could help.  He held his soulmate's head in his lap as he tried to decide what to do.  He looked at the river as he felt Jack's burning skin.  He seemed hotter than before.

Ten minutes later, Jack felt even hotter.

Daniel grabbed Jack under the arms and pulled him as gently as he could to the river, which thankfully was only a few yards from where they had settled.  He eased Jack into him, their chests touching.  Slowly, he stepped into the river, hoping it wasn't a long step down.  He breathed a sigh of relief when he was able to carefully slide down into the water, the edge of the riverbed providing ground for him to support himself with.  He looked up to the skies, and said a soft, “Thank you” as he lowered Jack into the water.

The younger man held his lover to him, keeping him covered with the cool water from the neck down.  He caressed Jack's back, and then, for a while, he just held Jack in his arms, reveling in the feel of the man he adored with all his soul.

“I love you, Jack.  Why'd I do this to us?  Why?”

Daniel leaned his head against Jack's, making sure Jack was still safely above the water, and continued to hold him still for several minutes.  His mind drifted, going back to a happier time, a wonderful night just a few months ago in the middle of the Christmas season when the soulmates enjoyed a romantic weekend in their favorite hideaway -- Jack's house.

> //Flashback//
Up until this weekend, Jack and Daniel's attempts to have a completely quiet weekend together had been thwarted, either by someone or something.  It wasn't that they hadn't had time alone together, because they had.  Rather, their romantic evenings were often interrupted by friends or co-workers; sometimes, even the neighbors intruded on their private time.

This would Jack's and Daniel's weekend, though.  They were determined and had it planned down to the last detail.  They'd shut off the phone, hidden their pagers, and kept both the front and back blinds closed.  Jack had put a newspaper on the porch and some junk mail in the mailbox to give the appearance that they had already been gone a day.

In the wee hours of Saturday morning, both men had driven to the local airport, parking their vehicles there in order to make people believe they had gone out of town.  Covertly, they'd taken a cab back to Jack's.  They had kept all the lights off, lighting the rooms only with the flame of a fake fire log (to avoid smoke in the fireplace) and with candlelight.

The two had danced the night away to their favorite love songs.  Daniel loved to dance with Jack.  They fit so well together, like two pieces of a puzzle that formed a whole entity.  Then, they had cuddled in front of the fireplace, kissing and holding hands.

The lovers didn't speak one word about the people in their lives.  Talk of the SGC was forbidden.  During this weekend, the Goa'uld didn't exist and neither did the Air Force.  Rocks or artifacts by any other name were also forbidden.  By mutual agreement, the only allowed topic was that of Jack and Daniel, together and in love, in their nation of two.

Jack had talked a lot about their future together.  It was a future Daniel wanted desperately.  Still, with his past, he always dreaded the future.  As he gazed into the older man's eyes, though, and listened to him talk about it that night, Daniel had become immersed in the hope for their life together.  Jack had talked of forever, and Daniel had wanted so much to believe it would be a reality.
//End of Flashback//

~It was perfect,~ Daniel thought now.  Then he laughed, remembering one special moment, late that first night.  ~How'd you think of it, Babe?~

//Flashback//
“Got you something, Danny,” Jack announced with a smile.

“What?”

Jack produced a box, gift-wrapped with King Kong paper.

Daniel chuckled and, opening it, he found a collection of personalized Christmas ornaments.

“Jack?”

“Check them out, Love,” the older man requested.  “I had them made especially for you.”

The two sat in front of the fire as Daniel pulled out the ornaments one by one.

The first needed no explanation.  It was a monkey in a space suit that had made Daniel laugh out loud.

“My Space Monkey,” Jack expressed tenderly as he kissed Daniel on the temple, pleased that Daniel had laughed.

There was also a beautiful Angel, its wings wide and strong, a sensitive smile on its face.

“No halo?” Daniel questioned.

Jack responded, “You may be an angel, but I never said you were a saint.”

Daniel glared at Jack in mock anger for a moment, but then kissed him lovingly.

Next, there was a miniature Stargate with seven chevrons, all lighted.

“They'll think it's from 'Star Trek,” Jack mused about any outsiders who might see it.

“I guess whomever made this is part of that place we agreed not to talk about?”

“And we aren't going to.  Next,” Jack ordered.

Daniel was amazed when he saw the next one, a graduate wearing a blue robe, complete with a cap and tassel.  The graduate was holding three diplomas, causing Daniel to look at his partner quizzically.

“Hey, you know me, I'm full of surprises.  Besides, my friends are very talented,” Jack quipped.

The next one Daniel pulled out made him laugh.  The ornament was a coffee maker with a bag of Starbuck's Arabian Mocha coffee.

“This one was a must, Love,” Jack chuckled.

Daniel pulled out a bright star next.  It was large and sparkly, with some kind of shiny tin foil used to make it brighter than it would be normally.

“La Mio Bello Stella Cadente,” Jack whispered in his lover's ear.  “I'll always love you, always be grateful for that falling star, because you are, and always will be, my beautiful falling star.  Geez, I love you, Danny.”

Daniel managed to hold back the tears as he rested his head against Jack's shoulder.  He loved this man so much, and wondered how he got to be so lucky that Jack loved him, too.

Finally, there was a carefully sculpted ornament that did bring tears to Daniel's eyes -- a man, a woman, and a small boy on a camel.  The couple were Daniel's parents and he was the boy.

“Best time of year to remember,” Jack insisted as he kissed Daniel.

“Thank you, Jack,” Daniel uttered in a small voice, his heart swelling with love for the man holding him.

Then, the two put out the candles and went upstairs, where they reveled in a bubble bath for two.  Daniel sat contently against his lover's chest, loving the warm water that washed against their skin.  They teased and played with the bubbles.  It was wonderfully romantic, with only a handful of candles lighting the room.

Eventually, the bath lead to an all night love fest that was sweet, tender, and full of more love than most would ever know.
//End of Flashback//

In the water of the river on P2J-995, Daniel felt a tear escape.  That weekend had been so happy, and, now, Jack was barely alive.  Daniel kissed Jack's nape, and then pulled his lover out of the water, hopeful that it had cooled him enough to lower the fever.

Once again, Daniel made himself a blanket, his hands never lying still.

“I love you, Jack.  Don't leave me.  I'll die if you do.”

Daniel had been awake since he had come to after the tsunami.  Finally, against his will, sleep overtook him.

====

“Ow,” Daniel moaned as he opened his eyes.

It was still daylight, but as before, the young man had no clue how long he had been asleep.  Gently, he moved his body, the soreness powerful.  He groaned as he sat up, eventually realizing the sunburn on his body was causing the pain.

“Great,” Daniel moaned.  The only good thing was that his body had shielded his still unconscious lover.  “Glad I'm good for something,” he said dejectedly.

The archaeologist checked Jack carefully, and then stood and looked around, trying to reassess their situation.  In the end, Daniel knew that waiting would be disastrous.  His lover needed help.  The days were just too long to risk waiting for Sam and Teal'c, even though they had plenty of water.

Ignoring the pain of his body, Daniel focused on his motivation -- his Jack, his love, his forever.

“Come on, Love.  We have to go now,” Daniel leaned over and kissed his heart, “Love you so much, Jack.  Help me, okay?”

Daniel grunted as he raised his lover's body off the ground, grunting even louder as he tried to place his lover over his shoulder as gently as he could using the fireman's carry.

“Geez, Jack, you're going on a diet when we get home.  Of course, doesn't help that you're bigger than me, and no, I don't mean that because we both know the truth there, don't we, Silver Fox?”

Daniel took one difficult step at a time, desperately trying to ignore the sunburn that plagued his backside.  He worried about the sun beating down on Jack's back, but he had no choice but to move forward, grunting often as he moved.

Daniel was no weak link, and even though he had toned up quite a bit over the past year, he wasn't exactly Arnold Schwarzenegger, either.  It was his motivation -- to save his lover's life -- that kept him moving, setting aside the agony of his own burns, cuts, and exhaustion.

====

“Hey, Jack, how about we take a breather?” Daniel gasped, hours later.
 
The sun was finally moving down.  The second full thirty-two-hour day was ending.  Somehow, Daniel had carried his lover over miles, but his weakened body was finally demanding rest, and he was giving in, only because he feared dropping Jack and hurting him more than he already was.

Gently, Daniel laid Jack down on the soft grass, checking his vitals, pushing back his sweat-soaked hair, caressing his face and neck.

The young man was exhausted, and small motion by small motion, he moved his sore legs and body to lay next to Jack.  He considered going for firewood, but his muscles cried for rest, spasms threatening to overtake him if moved much more.  He had reached his limit.  He couldn't do anything more, for Jack or for himself.

With one more look at Jack's face, Daniel put his ear to Jack's chest and closed his eyes.  It was something he just had to do to find any kind of peace.

~Heartbeat ... still strong ... most beautiful sound in the universe.~  “I love you, Jack.”  Daniel took a breath, his eyes fighting to stay open, his head nestling into Jack's chest more comfortably.  He moved his left hand over Jack's body, finding his hand.  He took hold, thinking, ~Hands ... strong ... safe.~  He looked up one more time.  He was out of energy, out of solutions.

His voice raspy and his body tired, Daniel said one last, “I love you, Jack” and then lost his battle with the sandman.

====

~Soft, warm, comfortable,~ Daniel's mind thought.  He came into focus as he opened his eyes, a light causing him to blink.  “Jack?  JACK!”

“Quiet, Daniel, or you'll wake up the entire floor.”

Daniel finally centered his focus on the diminutive Janet Fraiser, SGC's favorite doctor and well known Little Napoleon.

“Jack?”

Janet smiled.  No matter what, when Daniel Jackson woke up from any trauma, he uttered the name of his best friend.  Usually, that best friend was sitting by his side, or sometimes, like now, lying in the next bed.

“Colonel O'Neill is fine, Daniel.”

Janet studied the machines attached to Daniel and took his vitals and did some general checking up on him now that he was awake as she spoke, “You're fine, Daniel.  None of your cuts were infected.  You have a few bruises that may be a little painful for a day or two, but then they'll go away.  I've applied some cream to your sunburn, and we'll put some more on later.  It may bother you for a bit, but there's no big worry there.  Otherwise, it's just the usual case of exhaustion.  All in all, you're doing fine.  I'm keeping you overnight, but will probably release you in the morning.”

Daniel just blinked, and Janet shook her head, “Did you hear anything I just said?”

“Yes.  I'm fine.”

“So's the colonel, Daniel.  He has a high fever, but he's responding to the antibiotics.  He has the same sunburn you do, but again, nothing much to worry about.  Like you, his cuts were minor.  There's a slight infection in one cut on his leg, but we've medicated it, and there's nothing to be alarmed about.  He won't wake up until tomorrow because I'm keeping him sedated, before he starts bellowing at my nurses.”

Daniel couldn't help but smile as he looked at his lover, but he had a need, something he couldn't share with Janet.  He stared at Jack, longing in his heart.

“Okay, so I've got a meeting with General Hammond and a few things to take care of.  You know the routine.  Oh, Sam and Teal'c have both been here.  Teal'c is kelno'reeming, and I made Sam go get some rest.  They'll be back soon, I'm sure.”

“Thanks, Janet,” Daniel said, still not having taken his eyes off of Jack.

Janet finished her notations on the chart and began to exit the infirmary, but suddenly she turned around, walking back to Daniel's bedside.

“Tell me the truth, Daniel.  Thirty seconds after I walk out that door, you're going to get up and march over to that bed, aren't you?” Janet asked, pointing towards Jack's bed.

“No,” Daniel answered meekly.

“No?” Janet questioned doubtfully, her eyebrows raised, expressing her disbelief.

“I ... I would have waited at least a minute,” Daniel admitted softly.

“That's what I thought.”  Janet turned and grabbed 'the chair', the comfortable one that was always by 'Daniel's bed'.  Jack always sat in it while waiting for Daniel to wake up from the trauma of the day.  She placed the chair by Jack's bed, then walked over to Daniel and said, “Come on.  I don't want you collapsing on the floor, and while you may think you're Mr. Tough Guy, you're still weak.”

Janet helped Daniel to the chair and made sure he was comfortably seated before reminding, “Thirty minutes, Daniel.  You have a half-hour to sit here with the colonel, and then if I have to, I'll give you a sedative myself.  Do you understand?”

Daniel nodded, and Janet smiled, assuring, “He'll be fine.  I promise,” before leaving the two men alone.

Daniel looked around, and took Jack's hand.  He wasn't worried about the contact.  Jack and Daniel had held each other's hands back when they were best friends and only best friends, but he needed to do something else, and that is what he was worried about.  He couldn't explain his need, but it was so strong within him.  He sat, holding his partner's hand, speaking silently to his lover, trying to fight the urge, knowing it would be disaster if anyone caught him doing what his heart desired, but about ten minutes later, Sam walked in.

“Daniel, you're awake!”

“Hey, Sam.”

“He's fine, you know.”

Daniel nodded, responding, “Sam, can you do me a favor?”

“Anything.  What do you need?”

“Watch the door?  Please.”

Sam stood up on her heels, a bit nervous.  She figured Daniel wanted to kiss Jack. She was slightly more at ease with their relationship now, but it still made her feel uneasy, and they rarely did anything in front of her to cause her embarrassment.

“Sure,” Sam agreed, walking to the door.  Looking into the hallway, she observed, “Yep, it's a hallway.  Nice gray monotone walls.”

At that moment, Daniel took care of his need.  He stood up and placed his ear to Jack's chest, desperate to hear the beating of a strong heart.  He closed his eyes as he listened.

~Jack,~ the young man sighed as he took in the solid rhythm.

After a minute, Sam became concerned that Daniel might have fallen.  Tentatively, she turned, surprised to see Daniel leaning over Jack, his head against her CO's chest.  He seemed so attentive.  She recognized the look of concentration on her friend's face.

When Daniel started to move, the blonde automatically turned back to the door, noting, “Yep, just those same old hallways, boring, boring, boring.”

“You can come back now, Sam.  Thanks.”

“Daniel, I ... um ... I mean you were so quiet ... I thought ... oh never mind.”

Daniel smiled, knowing Sam had watched him, and explained, “It makes me feel safe, listening to his heart.  I can't explain it.  It just does.”

Sam smiled, feeling pretty foolish for asking, and for assumptions.  She mentally chastised herself.

“So, Janet know you're up?” the major asked.

“She said I could sit with him for a half-hour,” the archaeologist confirmed.

“Oh, you're on the clock,” Sam spoke, getting only a nod from her friend whose eyes focused only on his lover.  “You know what?  I have a report to make.  I'll come back in a little while to check on you.”

“You don't have to go, Sam,” Daniel stated quietly.

“Yes, I do.  You make sure he knows you're here.  I'll be back.”

Daniel smiled a warm thanks, and Sam left the two lovers alone.

====
 
The next morning, Sam brought Daniel his clothes, saying, “Here you go, as requested.”

“Thanks, Sam,” Daniel said as he gently rose from the bed.

“Does it hurt much?”

“It's a sunburn.  Ouch,” the archaeologist exclaimed as he scooted off the bed.

“I guess that answers that.”

“Yeah.”

Daniel stared at Sam, who innocently looked back, until finally she hopped on her feet, “Oh, sorry,” she said, “I'll just go ... over here,” Sam walked toward the other part of the infirmary, leaving Daniel to dress.

“You know, it's not like I haven't seen ...”

“Sam!”

“Sorry,” Sam chuckled, amused at Daniel's shyness.

On missions, on more than one occasion, they had to dress or undress in front of each other.  Of course, that was business, and this wasn't.  She smiled, loving the brief blush that had come over Daniel's face.

“Okay.  So, Sam, what happened?  I mean, how'd you find us?” Daniel finally asked, being too concerned about Jack up until now to care about mission specifics.

“Teal'c and I were finished with the tests so we went to P2J-995 as scheduled and ...” Sam began.

“But you said it would take three days?” Daniel questioned.

“Three Earth days.”

“Oh, gawd,” Daniel reacted as he sank to the bed in realization of his timing error.

“Daniel, tell me one thing you would have done differently if you had made the connection.”

Daniel thought, then answered, “I guess nothing.  But ... I don't know.  I should have realized.”

Sam continued, “We got there about two hours into the night, and found you and the colonel about three hours after that.”

“Gawd.”

“Daniel?”

“The tsunami.  We were about five hours away from the Stargate.  If you found us so quickly.  Sam, we never knew where we were.  It all looked the same, or maybe I just didn't ...”

“Daniel, you saved his life.  You said you carried him, and from what you said earlier to the general, you carried him for miles.”

“He needs to go on a diet,” Daniel responded in an attempt to shift the focus.

Sam knew what her friend was doing, and went and sat next to him on the bed.  Daniel was staring at Jack, who had yet to wake up.  She put her hand on Daniel's, causing him to look at her, “You saved his life, Daniel.  You did good.”

Daniel smiled and got up, picking up his jacket which he folded over his arms that he wrapped around himself as he approached Jack, but stopped short when he heard Janet walk in.

“Okay, Daniel, you're free.  Keep putting that lotion on your sunburn, and get some rest,” Janet ordered.

“So I'm free to go?” Daniel asked.

“Yes, you are,” Janet answered as she held a patient's chart to her chest.

“Anywhere I want?”

“Of course.”

“No restrictions?” the linguist inquired.

“Well, I think bungee jumping would be out of the question for a few days, and I would advise staying out of the Mojave Desert, but other than that, do whatever you want to, Daniel.”

Daniel smiled, putting his jacket on the back of 'the chair', and sitting down next to Jack's bed.

As Sam chuckled, Janet shook her head, saying, “I should have known!”

“You aren't going to kick him out?” the amused major asked about her friend's sly line of questioning that had preceded his movement over to Jack's bedside.

“Are you kidding?  I have a bet on this.”

“A bet?”

“Dinner with Marla.  She said he'd at least go home, or pretend to first.”  Janet gloated, “I said he'd never make it out of the infirmary.”

“Janet, that's horrible!”

“Hey, a girl has to eat,” Janet laughed as she walked to her office, glancing briefly at Daniel who was again holding Jack's hand.

====

Daniel had eaten a light lunch with Sam and Teal'c in the commissary, knowing if he hadn't, Janet would force feed him, but then he had returned to the infirmary and Jack's bedside.  Late in the afternoon, Janet had put some more lotion on Daniel's sunburn, and was about to check out for dinner when Jack began to make moaning noises.

“Jack,” Daniel stood up, still holding his lover's hand.

“Danny.  Danny,” Jack repeated over and over, still struggling for consciousness.

“Janet!” Daniel called out just in time to catch her.

Jack's head was turning from side to side, and he was trying to move his arms.

“Colonel!  Colonel O'Neill,” Janet spoke distinctly, trying to help Jack focus on her.

“Danny.  Where ...”

“I'm right here, Jack.”

Jack looked at Daniel and smiled, “Danny!”

“I'm here, and so's *Janet*,” Daniel spoke as he emphasized the doctor's name as a reminder to his lover that they weren't alone.

“Doc?”

“Welcome back, Colonel.  You're going to be just fine in a few days; and, before you ask, Daniel's fine, too.”

Jack smiled and swallowed, and then began to cough over and over.

“I'll be right back,” Janet said, hurrying to where she kept the medications.

While the physician was gone, Daniel continued to hold Jack's hand.  With his free hand, he gently massaged his lover's chest, hoping his touch would calm Jack's coughing spell.

“Don't worry, I was prepared.  It's acute bronchitis, perfectly normal, Daniel,” Janet informed the worried archeologist. “I'm giving him something for it now, and simple bed rest and an expectorant should take care of it by the end of the week.”

====

Three days later, Janet released Jack to Daniel's care, eagerly.  The acute bronchitis was easily handled at home, and Jack's fever had gone down quickly within the first day and a half.  The small infection had been successfully treated.

Janet thought, ~Now, if they could just find a cure for bellowing grizzly bears, I'd be happy.~  “Please, Daniel, take him home.  Get him *out* of my infirmary, but, please, bed rest.  He'll be fine if he behaves himself.”

“He's been a bear, hasn't he?” Daniel asked, a gleam in his eye, knowing that while Jack was never a good patient, he was a worse one when he was separated from him.  For the last few days, all they had been able to do was a bit of hand holding and sneak in one or two all-too-brief kisses.  ~Grizzly.~

Jack wanted to go home, and he knew all of Janet's buttons to push.  Of course, it was a fine balancing act, or Little Napoleon would seek her own revenge, and the vision of long needles being stuck into his butt was a major deterrent for the tough-as-nails colonel.

Finally, the couple left Cheyenne Mountain for Jack's country-styled home, a forty-minute drive from the complex.

====

“You think the general believed us, Jack?” Daniel asked as he drove the truck down the road that led in and out of the facility.

“I don't know.  It was a bit of a stretch,” Jack chuckled, thinking about their impromptu tale of how they lost their clothes.

“I'm sorry.  I should have thought of something quicker, but I was ...”

Jack placed his hand on Daniel's shoulder for a moment.  It was a gesture of support.

“I know, Love.  You were worried about me.”

Daniel nodded and spoke, “I didn't think about it, how funny it would look that we were both naked and had sunburns.  I should have, though.  It was embarrassing enough as it was.”

“It could have been worse.”

“Oh.  How?”

“We could have been conscious when they found us!”

Daniel laughed, “Yeah, I have to admit by the time I realized how Sam and Teal'c found us, it didn't really matter.  Jack?  Do you think Teal'c knows?  I mean ... Sam couldn't cover for us this time, and I didn't ask her, but ...”

Jack looked out the passenger window, watching people living their lives, driving to or from somewhere, a few walking, and even someone on a bicycle.  He wondered what their stories were, if any of them had “secret“ lives to hide, “Last thing I remember ... is just you.  So, where exactly were you when they found us?”

“Ah.”  Daniel stepped on the brake as the traffic light turned red.  He looked over at Jack and answered, “I was listening to your heartbeat.”

Jack reached over again, putting his palm to Daniel's cheek.  Daniel closed his eyes for a second, letting himself be lost in the pleasure of the touch.

“It doesn't matter, Danny.  If we're going to die, then it should be just how it was.”

“I don't regret it, Jack, and I know ... I mean, uh, I probably should be terribly embarrassed, but,” Daniel looked down the street before putting the truck in motion again as the light turned green, “maybe it's because I thought we were dead.  I just ... I wouldn't change that.  Like you said,” he spoke very softly, “that's how I want to die ... in your arms.”

“Danny, I love you.”

“That's why I'm not embarrassed.  I just wonder what Teal'c thought.”

“Well, you know the big guy, he doesn't think much about things he doesn't believe are his business.”

“We are his business, Jack, but you're right, he wouldn't ... obsess about it.”

“I don't think he thought about it anyway.”

“You don't?”

“Danny, at the very least, we're best friends.  He knows how close we are ... as friends.  I've held you before, so why not now?” Jack questioned.

Daniel chuckled slightly, “Yeah, I probably would have gravitated to you no matter what.  I always do, and I always will.”  When his lover burst into loud laughter, he asked, “What's so funny?”

“The spider planet.”

“Oh, gawd.  P9J-2WR -- don't remind me,” Daniel requested.

“But it's a perfect example.”

“That was embarrassing, Jack.”

Jack smirked, “I don't know, Love.  I rather liked it.”

“That's because you were in love with me and knew it and ...”

Jack smiled, interrupting, “Yeah, but you didn't know yet, so it is still the perfect example.”

“Those creatures were spooky.”

“They were spiders!” Jack exclaimed good-naturedly.

“They were big, huge gigantic squid-like spiders, Jack, and they looked at me funny,” Daniel argued lightly.

“Daniel, you grew up in caves.  Who would have thought a itty bitty spider would scare you!”

“I was not scared, and it was *not* tiny.  It ... sneaked up on me, caught me by surprise.”

Still laughing, Jack replied, “It was hysterical.  There you were talking a mile a minute about the ruins, and the next thing I knew you were in my arms, literally.”

“Can't you just erase that little memory from your brain?” Daniel requested hopefully.

“No way, Love!  The image of you actually jumping up into my arms is too priceless.  I'm just glad I had the MP-5 tucked away.”  Jack looked at Daniel, noticing he had grown more serious.  “Tell me.”

“It's just ... it scares me, Jack.”

“Don't worry.  Earth doesn't have any of those critters here.”

“No, not that, just ... how much I trust you.  I mean, gawd, Jack, I trusted you on Abydos, and you were ... suicidal.  I just ... I knew you'd make the right choice.  I felt it.  It's crazy.”

“I wonder,” Jack began as he drifted off into his silent thoughts.

“Jack?” Daniel asked softly.  “You wonder what?”

“Maybe that's the secret.  You trust me, Danny.  It makes me ... better somehow because I don't ever want to lose that.”

“I've trusted three people in my life, Jack, and two of them are dead.  Just ... stay alive and you won't lose anything.”

The two said nothing for a minute or two, and then Jack shook his head as he chuckled again, “You know, Angel, now that I think about it, the general did look a bit puzzled by that explanation.”

“Wouldn't you be?  Saying we were swept away by a tsunami and that our clothes were ripped off by the force of the waves was a real big stretch.  I mean, maybe a fluke for one of us, but both?”

Jack laughed, “It's a foreign land with unexpected weather conditions.  Who's to say it's not possible?”

“The general didn't get where he is by swallowing stories like that.  Do you think he ... knows?” Daniel asked.

“I think he thinks we went for a swim and got caught by the tsunami.  He doesn't think any more than that.”

“You sure?”

“He won't think about it, Daniel.  He can't afford to.  Guys ... goldbrick sometimes, and, certainly, I'm known for bucking the system when I feel like it.  It was a paradise at first glance.  What's so hard to believe about going swimming in paradise?”

“I guess you're right,” Daniel sighed.  He glanced at his lover and intoned, “I love you.”

“I love you, too, Angel!”

====

“Jack, don't argue with me, or I'll take you back to Little Napoleon.”

“You wouldn't dare!”

“No, I wouldn't, but please don't argue with me.  I was scared, Jack.”

Jack hugged his soulmate close, responding, “Okay, I'll go upstairs and be positively bored for a week, if that'll make you feel better.”

“It would.”

“I love you,” Jack said, releasing Daniel and heading upstairs, stopping half way up, “You are coming with me?”

“Be there in a minute.  I just need to check the mail.”

“Okay.”

====

“Hey!”

“Thought you'd never get up here,” the older man whined.

“It's only been fifteen minutes, Jack.”

“But I missed you.” Jack reached for Daniel's hand, requesting, “Cuddle with me, Danny.”

Happily, Daniel lay down next to his partner for the first time in days, resting his head on Jack's right shoulder, their hands connecting, caressing and massaging constantly as they enjoyed their reunion.

“You saved my life.  I haven't said thank you yet, so ... thank you.”

“I didn't do anything special,” the younger man lamented.  “It was my fault.  I had to go freakin' swimming.”

“Daniel, are you paying attention here?  That tsunami hit the entire area.  For all we know, being where we were might have saved our lives.  No guilt trips on this one, Love.  You saved my life.”  Jack became frustrated at his partner's dismissive shrug.  “Daniel, so help me ... Look at me.  Danny -- *look* at me.”

Daniel looked up, his eyes speaking of his vulnerability.

“You're a linguist.  I want you to listen very carefully, and hear the words.  *You*, Doctor Daniel Jackson, saved ... my ... life.  Comprehend?”

Daniel nodded shyly, and Jack shook his head, “Ah, Danny, why do you always sell yourself short?  For crying out loud, you picked me up and carried me.  Please don't tell me that was nothing.  I've carried you, I know it's not easy, and I never had to go that far.”

“Well, I must say that I think you should ...”

“Daniel, don't do that.  No jokes.  What you did took guts, courage, and a whole lot of brawn and determination.  You saved me, Danny, and I'm grateful.  Please don't diminish what you did.  Please.”

“I love you, Jack.  It was a selfish act because I can't live without you,” Daniel spoke.

“Ah, Danny,” Jack sighed and then kissed his lover's forehead as Daniel settled back down onto his chest.

“Do you have any idea how happy you've made me?  Geez, Daniel, you're my life, and I'm so friggin' happy that I don't know how to act most of the time.  You make me smile, Angel, inside and out.  Oh yeah, I'm a happy man, and it's all because of you.”

Daniel looked back up at Jack, gazing into his eyes as he said, “Jack, I ... I ... I love you.”  He put his head back down, his heart sad that he couldn't say what he wanted to.  ~Why is it so hard?~

“Someday ... someday, My Love, you're going to say those magic words, that you're finally happy, thoroughly, completely, utterly happy.  It's been my goal, you know ... my mission, to make you happy.  I've worked on it from the day we met.  I want to chase away all those demons from your childhood.”

Daniel moved his head a little, trying to nuzzle in even more to Jack's chest as he listened to his soulmate speak.

“I'm going to do it, Danny.  It's taking time, but I have all the time in the world.  We have forever.  One day, you're going to look at me, and tell me you're happy, too.  I mean really happy, in your gut happy.  I'm going to make you happy if it's the last thing I do.”

“Jack, I wish ... I mean ... gawd,” Daniel felt so inadequate, but Jack shifted so they were looking at each other again.

“Listen to me, Angel.  After the Keeper, I told the adult Daniel, the one who thinks he has to protect little Danny that he could go away, but I'm not naive, no matter how dumb I act.  Danny, we can't erase decades of feeling abandoned and unloved in a couple of years.  I know that, but I also know we have an eternity, and somewhere along the line, adult Daniel will take the hint.”

“Permanent walking papers?” Daniel asked, wanting so much for his lover's words to be true.

“Oh, yeah, and little Danny will know it's safe.”

“Safe with you,” Daniel spoke softly, his hand again holding Jack's.

“Yeah, that's the idea.”

“I can't wait.  I mean, I am safe with you.  It's just ...”

“I know,” Jack acknowledged.

“I'm happy sometimes.”

“I know that, too, but I want it all.  I want a happy Danny 24/7.”

“Me, too,” Daniel smiled, wishing he could just make the nightmares of his past life disappear.

The two continued to talk about more lighthearted topics for awhile.  It felt relaxing to be in each other's embrace, and neither were anxious to end it.  Then, the conversation turned back to the SGC and their current missions.

“I'm proud of you, Daniel.  I wish things were different, but I couldn't be prouder of how much you've learned.  You cover our six like an old pro.”

“I think I am an old pro now.”

“Truth is, you had it down that first year, but now, with the stuff I've taught you in the last couple of years, you're an expert.”

“Most of them still think I'm a geek,” Daniel said, referring to the Marines of the SGC.

“Do you care what those jarheads think?”

“No, not really, just sometimes, when they look at me, I wish they knew the truth.”

Jack kissed Daniel on the top of the head, “Yeah, well, we can make sure they know.”

“No, it's better this way.  The NID and Kinsey and all those idiots still think I'm nothing, too.  They underestimate me.  It gives me an advantage.”

“That's my thinking soldier,” Jack teased.

Daniel grew more quiet, as did Jack, full of regret along with his pride.

“Danny, you remember that crazy boyfriend of Carter's?”

“Crazy?” the younger man asked, searching his mind to try and figure out which person his lover was discussing.

Jack replied, “You know, that moron who thought he was a god like Apophis.”

“Jonas.”

“Yeah, him.  I've never forgotten when we left that planet.  You dialed us home, and there was this look on your face when the Stargate engaged.  It was a look full of wonder and awe, anticipation, excitement.  You were so beautiful.  I hate that we've taken that from you.  I hate it,” Jack reiterated a moment later and then moved to the other side of the bed and sat up.  He leaned forward, running his fingers through his hair and then putting his head in his hands.  His heart ached at what the SGC had done to Daniel's spirit.  ~Hate it to the max.~

Daniel moved across the bed, putting his arms around Jack's waist, “It's okay, Babe, really it is.”

“No, Daniel, it's not.  Everything we do now is ... spyville.  We're not trying to get the wicked witch anymore.  Instead, we're trying to get each other.  We stuck an MP-5 in your hands, and now you're a pro on a P-90.  Geez, Daniel, you load the thing faster than I can.  Don't you dare tell anyone that, either.”

“Your secret's safe with me, Love,” Daniel leaned his head against his lover's back, his hands snaking under Jack's shirt to gently make contact with the skin.

“I don't want you to be a soldier, dang it.  I want you to be you.  Crap, sometimes I hate the military,” Jack rose and began to pace.

Daniel hadn't realized that his lover was so aware of the change in their missions, and its effect on Daniel.  It had been hard.  Gone were the days of exploring new worlds, of trying to make new contacts for learning and cultural reasons. Now, the SGC's focus was on obtaining weapons, and defeating the Goa'uld; and on outdoing each other, the NID, Kinsey, and the SGC were always at odds.

Daniel walked to Jack, stopping his agonizing lover's pacing, “Jack, maybe things will change again, but if it doesn't, we'll make the best of it.  There's still a lot of good that we're doing.”

“We'll make the best of it?  Daniel, I'm the soldier.  I'm doing what I was trained to do, but you, you're supposed to be teaching and educating, and learning from those ancient ... rocks.”

“Artifacts,” Daniel corrected teasingly, causing Jack to finally smile a little.

“We've robbed you of your innocence, turned you into ... Rambo or something.  I don't like it, Danny.  I don't like it one bit.”

“Neither do I, but there's nothing we can do about it right now.  I just wish ...”

Daniel took a deep breath and leaned into Jack, who held him snugly.

“What, Angel?”

“I just wish that every now and then we could take a break, go somewhere just for a while.  Why can't we continue the battle and still learn about other races at the same time?  I know we have to fight.  I'm willing to do my share.  But every now and then, what's the harm?  We could still learn so much, but they just don't care anymore.  What's the use even thinking about it?”

After a pause, Jack questioned, “Daniel, have you ever thought about quitting?”

“Not ... seriously,” Daniel answered, a bit surprised by the question.  “Have you?”

“Sometimes, but I won't go as long as you're there.”

“Ditto.”

“So, what do you think?” Jack inquired.

Daniel sighed, “I think it's too soon for us to leave.  I just can't see us doing anything else yet.  Maybe some day, but not now.  Do you want to quit?”

Jack sighed and kissed Daniel on the lips, commenting, “You taste good.”

Daniel blushed, but instead of shying away, he leaned into Jack and kissed him even more passionately; then, he sighed a contented, “Ditto.”

“No, I don't want to quit yet, either,” Jack admitted.  “I just hate that you have to be a soldier.”

Daniel lured Jack back onto the bed.  They'd talked enough about the SGC and politics, so Daniel turned the topic to one they were both eager for ... the communication of their bodies, sharing kiss after kiss as they snuggled together on their king-sized bed.

====

Over the next few days, Daniel insisted Jack get plenty of bed rest, saying, “I want you healthy again, Jack.  I have plans for us.”

The promise of “plans” worked like a charm.  Jack had his grizzly bear moments, still not a stellar patient, but the year before, Jack had learned his lesson about being too overbearing.  Daniel had gone through a hellish weekend taking care of his injured lover, and Jack refused to put him through that again, so most of the time, when he started to bellow, he'd catch himself, and apologize.

Daniel saw the change in Jack, realized the efforts his partner was going through to not repeat the anxiety of the prior year.  Daniel's love grew even more.  He allowed himself to think about the future a little, to wonder if that magic day would come, when he could look at Jack and say that he was truly happy all the time, not just for scattered moments when he was in Jack's arms.  He wanted it, but the monsters of the past still lurked.  Until he could free himself from them, he knew it couldn't happen.  Regardless, he loved Jack O'Neill, more today than yesterday, as the song goes.

====

“Daniel, enough is enough.  I've been a good boy, and now I want to play, with you!” Jack teased seductively.

“Jack, we promised Janet ...” Daniel began.

“We always promise Janet,” Jack replied slyly, a twinkle in his eye.

“Gawd, if she ever knew,” the younger man shivered in jest, just thinking about the payback the spirited physician would try to get.

“I don't want to think about that, but it just proves, we know best.”

“Yeah, but someday, she might know best,” the genius responded wisely.

“Danny, I want you.”

“I want you, too.  You know that,” Daniel moved out of Jack's hold and reached for his coffee cup on the kitchen counter.

“Yeah, but you want your coffee more,” Jack teased.

Daniel laughed, putting the cup back down, “No, I just want you well.  Janet said you needed two more days.”

“Daniel, I'm fine,” Jack closed the gap between them, nibbling on his ear and slowly walking them away from his competition -- coffee.

“Jack, don't.  I can't think when you do that,” Daniel sighed contently.

“That's the idea,” Jack mused as he kissed Daniel, full of desire and want.

Daniel's hands wrapped around Jack's neck instantly, keeping Jack to him.  Their kisses singed with lust.

“Jack, we can't.  Janet ...”

“Forget Janet,” Jack urged as he kissed Daniel's nape, working his way along the neck.

Daniel raised his head, giving Jack room, his throat releasing soft moans of pleasure.  Jack's hands raised and cupped his lover's face as their lips touched again for several moist, hungered kisses, their tongues meeting, entangled in the taste of the other.

They sank to the floor, a few feet in front of the sofa.  Their hands were brushing the skin of the other, as they continued to devour each other's mouths.

“Jack,” Daniel gasped, trying one last time.  “We should wait.”

“No,” Jack insisted, kissing Daniel again.

“But, Jack, Janet said ...” Daniel had tried to move, twisting away from Jack, so that Jack was facing his back and Daniel the sofa.

Jack put his hands around Daniel, massaging his chest with kneading, powerful fingers, his hands slowly working their way lower, as he kissed his lover's nape.

“Oh, gawd!” Daniel exclaimed after Jack took another nibble on his ear, just as his hands reached inside Daniel's pants.  It was a cry of defeat, of happy defeat.  He wanted Jack, and he, too, was tired of waiting.  They'd always done things their way, and tonight would be no different.  ~Yes!~

Jack knew his lover had finally conceded, Daniel leaning back into Jack's hold.

“I love you,” Jack said as he unbuttoned Daniel's lavender shirt and pulled it off.

“Love you, too, you stubborn grizzly bear,” Daniel answered, turning his head to kiss his soulmate.

Jack took off his shirt as he kissed Daniel's back, moving his lips in a gentle flowing motion, licking the path between the kisses.

“Scoot up, Danny,” Jack directed, carefully pulling down his lover's black pants and white boxers to the floor, raising Daniel's knees to completely remove the garments.

Jack undid his own blue jeans and removed them and his boxers, flinching momentarily at the hardship on his knees, a hardship he was very willing to bear, especially since he was the one who had just seduced his soulmate into submission.

~“Geez, I love him for worrying about me so much,~ Jack thought as he leaned forward at last, once again wrapping his arms around the man who was his heart.

Jack caressed Daniel's chest and abdomen as he kissed the back of his neck and back.

Daniel loved the feel of Jack's hands on him, had missed it, and now craved the touch.  Jack's hands made him quiver in anticipation.  Daniel reached his arm back and pulled Jack's face to his wanting to kiss him.  Their kiss was long, wanton and full of pleasure.

“My Silver Fox,” Daniel crooned with emotion as he stared into Jack's eyes.

“Always yours,” Jack promised, then pressed his mouth against Daniel's again as his hands slithered down Daniel's sides, one of them working its way between their snug bodies.

Without warning, Jack placed a finger inside his lover, swishing it about gently, causing Daniel's head to lean against his as he relished the movement.  When he slipped his finger out, Daniel leaned backward, missing the motion.

“Want you so much,” Daniel gasped, just as Jack inserted two fingers, doing a scissoring movement along Daniel's insides that made Daniel moan.

“Love when you do that,” Jack said softly, “Love making you feel.”

“Gawd, want to feel you so friggin' much.  Jack,” Daniel called out, his voice a plea for Jack to hurry.

The lovers had waited too long for this moment to come, and Jack wanted to please his lover in multiple ways, determined to make this a special union of their bodies, a slow but powerful one, where every touch, every movement took both to the edge of oblivion.

Jack was glad they had finally learned to leave lube everywhere.  It was under the cushions, in their pockets, hidden in jars in the kitchen, on the bookshelves, under the sofa.  Jack had laughed when they got through with their own private Easter Egg hunt that, “We have enough lube to make the truck feel good!”

Three fingers made their way inside Daniel, twisting and turning, and toying with the younger man's prostate.  Daniel gasped, as he moved forward slightly, his hands on the sofa cushions.  He was ready for his love, eager to feel Jack's length inside him.

Slowly, Jack pushed into Daniel.  He waited, his hands massaging his lover's torso all over, his fingers playing with Daniel's smooth skin, still careful and gentle over the places where Daniel had been cut on the planet during the raging tsunami.

Feeling his lover had adjusted to him, Jack began to move gently, back and forth, “Love you so much,” he said with emotion.

Daniel spoke, “Jack, I missed you so much,” another moan escaping from the younger man as he talked.

“Love that, love making you make those sounds.  Only for me,” Jack said as his movements increased to a faster pace.  He leaned further over his soulmate, reaching around to stroke Daniel's shaft, working his lover at the same pace he was moving inside him.  ~Mine.~

Daniel angled himself a bit more as his hands held onto the sofa.  He wanted all of Jack, and he wanted him now.

Jack followed suit, driving harder and faster, making blistering contact after contact upon Daniel's prostate.

“Jack ... My Jack!” Daniel cried out.

“My Life, Danny,” Jack responded, the sweat beginning to pour from him onto Daniel's own sweating body.

Jack's movements had gone to a rapid pace, his own grunts competing with Daniel's cries from their lovemaking.  Jack's right hand continued to stroke, then press on Daniel's length, working it thoroughly.  Daniel was full of sensation from Jack's efforts.  He moved his hips to meet Jack's pounding thrusts, both crying out each other's names in unison.

The older man had made it last as long as he could.  His hand gave Daniel's length a powerful squeeze at the precise moment he made a last, deep lunge against Daniel's prostate.

“JACK!  GAWD ... JACK!”

Daniel came in Jack's hand, as Jack's release exploded inside the younger man.  Both quivered, as Jack's convulsing body leaned completely against Daniel's back.  Daniel was breathing hard, his head now tucked into his hands on the cushions.  He couldn't think.  He was lost in euphoria.

“Danny.  What you do to me,” Jack gasped, his hands still rubbing his lover's chest and stomach gently.

Jack placed more kisses on Daniel's back as both began to settle.  Jack moved off to the side, reaching for his lover as he urged, “Danny, come to me.”

Daniel was still lost, his breathing still hitching.  He looked at Jack, who smiled and tugged him close.

“My Angel,” Jack spoke as he held Daniel tightly, knowing he had succeeded in pleasuring Daniel the way he had wanted.

“Jack ... Jack,” was all Daniel could say.

Jack smiled, loving every nonsensical moment of Daniel's climax.  Sometimes, it took Daniel minutes before he could speak intelligently.  This looked to be one of those times, so Jack caressed his love, speaking with his heart more than anything else.

“Jack,” Daniel said a few minutes later.

“You back, Danny?”

“Geez, Jack.  I thought I'd died.”

“I love you.”

“Love you, too.  Janet is going to kill me.”

Jack laughed loudly, “You planning on telling her what we just did?”

“Gawd, no.  Don't even say that.”

“My genius.  You're still not firing on all cylinders, Dannyboy,” Jack commented.

“It's okay.  You'll cover my six,” Daniel replied with confidence.

Jack tugged Daniel to him even closer for a second, and placed another kiss on his sweaty hair, promising, “You can rely on that, Angel.”

“I do, Jack.”

====

Over the next two days, Jack refused to get any bed rest at all, other than his normal sleeping pattern, “I'm fine, Love.  Stop your worrying,” he had insisted.

Daniel had worried, though, not so much because Jack was up and about, but because he was acting like a kid, working all day long doing gardening work yesterday, and today, he had gone jogging for quite a while and then stayed outside working on the truck.  He had also gone over to Lou Ferretti's to work on the MonsterMobile, Lou's giant monster truck.

When Jack had returned, he had insisted that he and Daniel go for along walk.

“I'm tired of being locked in the house, Love.  Please, Danny,” Jack had asked with his best Irish grin, the one that always melted Daniel like butter in a hot frying pan.

All in all, Daniel worried it had been too much activity in too short a space of time.  Daniel's fears proved correct as during the early evening hours, Jack had begun to cough again.

“Don't say it, Daniel,” Jack had warned, moving away from his lover, refusing to let Daniel touch him.

“Jack, you're sick again and you know it.”

“I am not.  It was just ... <cough> ... a cough,” Jack said, refusing to give in.

Daniel moved towards him, but Jack backed away.

“Okay, Colonel, if you aren't sick, why won't you let me touch you?”

“Because ... because you might get ... ideas.”

Daniel rolled his eyes and then ordered, “Jack, go upstairs and get into bed *now*!”

“I don't take orders from my subordinates.”

“That's it, O'Neill.  In this household, we are equals, in case you've forgotten, but right now, if you must insist, consider this a mutiny,” Daniel's voice was rising in sharp increments, his eyes growing cold, and he moved towards Jack like a stalker seeking its prey, “AND YOU WILL MOVE, COLONEL, UP THOSE STAIRS AND INTO THAT BED ... NOW!”

Jack looked at Daniel, stunned.  He had never seen Daniel quite like this before.

“DID YOU HEAR ME, COLONEL O'NEILL?  I SAID MOVE!  SO MOVE IT, MOVE IT, MOVE IT ... BEFORE I PERSONALLY PICK YOU UP AND CARRY YOU UP THOSE FRIGGIN' STAIRS, AND,” Daniel was now nose to nose with Jack, “YOU KNOW I CAN DO IT ... NOW MOVE!”

Jack actually jumped from Daniel's intensity and then responded, “Geez, Danny, I only ...”

“I SAID MOVE IT!” Daniel barked loudly.

Jack backed off and hurriedly moved up the stairs, glancing over his shoulders at Daniel.  When he stopped for a moment, Daniel made a sudden, intimidating move towards the stairs, prompting Jack to startle, quickly moving into the bedroom, changing into his green flannel pajamas and getting into the bed, under the covers.

====

When Daniel came upstairs several minutes later, he laughed seeing Jack completely under the covers, with even his head buried.

“Jack, what are you doing?”

“Hiding from the monster who has taken possession of your gorgeous body.  He's scary,” Jack said from under the covers.

Still laughing, Daniel sat on the side of the bed, putting the contents he had brought upstairs with him on the nightstand.  He removed the comforter and sheets from atop Jack's head, “It's safe now.  The monster is gone.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I'm sure!”

Jack smiled, and started to sit up and say something, but Daniel put his hand on Jack's chest and pushed him back down.

Daniel spoke sharply, “But he can come back at a moment's notice if you don't behave and do *exactly* as I say.”

“You're a tyrant, Danny.”

“I love you, Jack.”

“No fair,” the older man whined.

“Jack.”  Daniel leaned over his lover, stared into his eyes for a moment, and then kissed him.  “I need you, Babe.  Please let me take care of you.”

“Double no fair,” Jack intoned softly, and then with a huff, released a gust of breath.  “Okay, I'm your patient.  Do what you must.”

“Janet's on her way over.”

“Daniel!”

“She'll give you an antibiotic, and you'll feel better ... and so will I.”

“You worry too much.”

“Maybe,” Daniel agreed quietly.  “I'll be right back,” he said, starting to get off the bed.

Quickly, Jack grabbed hold of his lover's arm and spoke, “I'm sorry, Danny.  I'll do what she says, okay?”

“I just ... I want that forever you keep talking about,” Daniel admitted, emotion fueling his words, his eyes misting.

“Geez, Danny, kiss me before I burst.”

Daniel smiled again, and the two engaged in a long round of kissing.

“You know, considering I'm sick, that probably wasn't smart,” Jack admitted.

“Try keeping me away.  If we're going to go, then this is how I want it to be,” Daniel replied.

“Together.  I promise you,” Jack assured.

Hearing a knock on the door, Daniel went downstairs, ready to face Little Napoleon.

====

“You two never listen to me,” Janet barked when she was through with her examination of Jack.

“So we're stubborn,” Jack responded.

“Stubborn, definitely, and might I add ...”

“Stupid?” Daniel stated.

“I wouldn't go that far, Daniel, but ...,” Janet paused as she finished writing out a prescription, “Here, get this filled, and Colonel, stay in bed, 48 hours minimum.”

“Yes, Warden.”

“Jack!”

“Sorry.”

“You will be, Colonel,” Janet asserted, her expression filling Jack with instant remorse.

“I'm not going to like my next post-mission exam, am I?” Jack questioned.

Janet smirked, and walked out of the bedroom whistling.

“Crap!” Jack exclaimed.  ~I should know better.~

Daniel laughed and followed Janet down the stairs.

“I assume you're staying here while the colonel recuperates?”

“Yes,” Daniel affirmed without hesitation.

“Daniel, I didn't know Colonel O'Neill had fish.  Are they similar to yours?”

“Um ... I guess you could say that,” Daniel answered hesitantly.

“I never would have guessed.  Oh well, I have to go.  Good luck keeping the colonel in check.”

“Thanks, Janet,” Daniel spoke.  Then, he stared at his fish, thinking, ~Close call.~

====

“She's going to make me miserable,” Jack opined about the diminutive doctor.

“Probably,” Daniel mused in agreement, though he was somewhat lost in thought.

“Danny, you've got that look.”

“She asked about my fish.”

“Our fish.”

Daniel smiled, saying, “Well, then it's your turn to clean out the tank.”

“You want our fish dead or alive?” Jack asked seriously.

“I'll do it.”

“What did you tell her?”

Daniel answered, “Actually, she just wondered if your fish were anything like mine, and I told her they were ... like mine.”

“Someday, Angel.”

Daniel nodded and moved on, remarking, “I need to go get this filled.  Will you promise me you'll stay in bed?”

“I'll behave -- promise!” Jack said, crossing his heart a bit playfully.

Daniel saw an unusual sincerity in Jack's expression, though, so he left to run a couple of errands, feeling fairly confident Jack might just stay in bed.

As Jack heard the door close, he sighed and made himself a bit more comfortable in bed.

As the recovering man lay calmly on the bed, he thought, ~Angel, I love you and I won't do anything to make you worry like that.  I didn't know that you were that afraid.  I'm going to lay here and recover if it kills me!~

Jack cringed at the conflict in his thoughts and then rolled over on his side to try and go to sleep.

====

“I don't believe it!” Daniel exclaimed as he paced the bedroom.  “How in Netu could they be out of a friggin' antibiotic?”

“It happens.  C'mere, Angel, you're going to wear a hole in our carpet.”

Daniel sighed.  Apparently, there was an outbreak of flu in the Springs that had resulted in a run on the particular medication Janet had prescribed.

Laying down and settling into Jack's arms, Daniel whined, “I still can't believe it.  Let me call Janet, Jack, please.”

“They said they'd have some tomorrow, didn't they?”

Daniel tensed but nodded, and Jack remembered Daniel's fears, so he relented.

“Okay, call the Doc and see what she says,” the older man suggested.

Daniel looked up, explaining, “It's just ... your temp is up, Jack.”

“Call her.”

Daniel placed a quick kiss on his lover's lips and picked up the phone.

====

“Crap!”

“Hey, that's my word.  What's wrong?” the colonel questioned.

“She's on vacation; left at five,” Daniel bemoaned as he plopped back, landing on Jack's chest.

Jack chuckled, and ran his fingers through Daniel's hair repeatedly, “It'll be okay.”

“I worry too much.”

“I love you,” Jack fired back.

====

“You're so cute,” Jack laughed.  “Love your feet.  Let me see your feet, Danny.”

Daniel rolled his eyes.  His lover had a temperature of one-hundred-two degrees and was positively dippy in behavior.

“You can see my feet later.”

“Love you, Danny,” Jack laughed again, “Love your scrunchy nose.”

“I don't have a scrunchy nose, Babe,” Daniel replied.

“Scrunchy.  So sexy when you think hard.  Love watching you think.”

“Jack, the medication will be here soon, and then you'll feel better,” the archaeologist spoke as he caressed Jack's forehead, using a small damp cloth to cool him.

“Think for me.”

“What?” the younger man asked, having no clue what his life partner was saying.

“Wanna see you think!”

“Jack, don't be silly,” Daniel responded.

“Silly?  You're silly.”

“I don't think so, Babe.  Not the silly type.”

Jack thought, then pointed out, “Goofy.  You were silly with Goofy.”

“Oh, geez, Jack.  He picked me up,” Daniel responded, dismissing the reminder.

“You loved it.”

“It was ... fun,” Daniel admitted.

“Bugs Bunny.”

“Jack, we agreed not to talk about that.”

“But you were silly.”

“Jaaaack!”

“Silly and sexy and so cute.”

“I am not cute.”

“Cute as a button, a fuzzy button.”

“A fuzzy button?” Daniel asked quizzically.

“Seeeeeee!  You scrunched your nose because you were thinking,” Jack smirked, his fever reverting him to a small boy of maybe eight years old in Daniel's mind.

“You're incorrigible, O'Neill.”

“Big word from my genius.”  Moments later, Jack snickered, “Mine's bigger.”

“Jack, been there, done that.”

“You have a dirty mind, Daniel Jackson.  I wasn't thinking that.”

“Oh no?  Then what were you thinking?”

Jack squirmed, too sick to come up with a quick answer.  Daniel simply shook his head, and continued to try and soothe his very hot lover.

“I don't want to cool down, Danny.  I want to cool up,” Jack winked, pulling Daniel down for a sultry kiss.

“Jack, we can't, and we won't.  Geez, you've got a temperature.”

“I'm hot for you, Baby,” Jack said with an unusual flirty tone.

Daniel coughed, “Jack, calling me Baby is so *not* going to get you any action.”

“What will?” Jack perked.

“Jack, behave.  Just look at you, all sweaty and hot.”

“Oh, I'm hot all right; hot for you.  I want you.”

“You're out of your min...mmmmmph,” Jack was devouring Daniel's mouth, keeping his lover held down to him with gentle but firm arms against Daniel's back.

“Jack, geez.  You're mmmmph,” Daniel began.

Jack again silenced his lover with a kiss, and, when he was through, he sealed the deal, maneuvering his soulmate so that he could nibble on Daniel's ear, something that always sent Daniel to another plane of existence.

“Not again,” Daniel gasped, desperately trying to retain some calm.

After all, Jack was sick.  It was such a bad idea to make love with someone who wasn't in their right mind.  Then again, Daniel thought silently, when is Jack ever in his right mind?  The younger man suddenly realized he had already lost the ability to think logically, Jack's touches and nibbling had overtaken him.

Somehow, Daniel tried one more time to separate himself from Jack, but Jack held him, his lips strolling Daniel's neck, teasing, licking, kissing, and nibbling in rapid succession.

“Need you, Danny,” Jack said, suddenly serious.  “I want you inside me, Love.  It's been too long.  Danny, I ... gawd, I need you,” Jack beckoned.

The couple had made love, but it was Jack inside Daniel both times.  The last time for the reverse had been weeks earlier, before all the warring missions and the tsunami on P2J-995.  Daniel knew that need to feel Jack inside him.  It was torture, needing and wanting and not getting, but he still struggled with the decision.

“Angel ... my beautiful angel ... now, Danny, now,” Jack requested as his hands began to roam Daniel more freely as they kissed, and Daniel gave in again, making love to Jack was something he just couldn't refuse.

“I do all the work,” the young man insisted.  “You just ... lay there.”

Jack started to take off Daniel's shirt, but Daniel stopped him,  saying,“What did I just say?”

“I forgot,” Jack feigned.

“Right.  Don't ... move,” Daniel instructed as he leaned over to kiss his Love.  “Or Daniel will go away.”

“Want Danny.”

Daniel shook his head back and forth, responding, “Danny will ...”  Then, he stopped.  He could only joke so far.  His eyes grew deadly serious as he spoke, “Danny will never leave you, Jack.  Never.”

Though not thinking clearly, Jack did get what had just happened.  He reached up and caressed Daniel's cheek.

“I know, Angel.”  After a moment, Jack removed his hand, saying, “I'll be still as a ... a ... a ... help me, Danny.”

“Still as a church mouse.”

Jack smiled, “What an example to use.”

“First thing I thought of!  What can I say?”

“Nothing.  Aren't you supposed to be ... working?”

Daniel laughed, leaned in for a another kiss, then placed one finger in Jack's mouth, and spoke seductively, “Now ... don't ... move!”  He got up and swayed a bit around the room, very teasingly.  Then, standing in front of the bed, he wiggled his hips as he undid the button on his jeans and unzipped them.  “Don't move,” he reminded.

Jack was all eyes.  Daniel jokingly began to hum the vamp song as he took off his shirt, actually turning, and looking back over his shoulder at Jack before letting the shirt drop to the carpet and turning around to reveal his bare chest.

Jack swallowed hard as he thought to himself, “My genius is a striptease artist!  Who knew?  Gawd, I love him!”

Daniel slowly removed his pants and underwear, still wiggling  suggestively, flaunting his stuff at his soulmate.  Jack was afraid to move.  He didn't want anything to stop his Heart from continuing the show, but, all too soon, Daniel was back on the bed, straddling him.

Of course, this is what Jack ultimately wanted, but he had loved Daniel stripping. He silently vowed to get Daniel to do a full strip for him one day.  He didn't know how he would manage that feat, but Jack decided whatever he had to do, it would definitely be worth the effort!

Daniel continued his seductive slow tease, calmly unbuttoning each of the flannel pajama top's white buttons.

“Geez, Danny, normally you destroy my ...”

“Ut!  Ut!”  Daniel put his finger up, pointing at Jack with that “Now, hear me out” look, but he once again put his finger in Jack's mouth and leaned over so that his lips almost brushed against Jack.  “Shhhh,” was all he said.

Then Daniel moved his head slightly to the side and kissed his lover, both his tongue and his finger part of the erotic moment.

Jack's eyes were wide.  He decided he'd just be quiet and let Daniel do whatever Daniel wanted because whatever it was he was doing, Jack liked it ... a lot!

Daniel completed his task of unbuttoning the burgundy top.  He leaned in and kissed Jack's chest right in the center, and then his eyes locked onto Jack's, he let his hands move in small, circular motions.  It was a simple motion, but Daniel began to move forward in little lunging movements as his hands would press into whatever part of Jack's chest they were caressing.  All the while, Daniel's eyes were glued to Jack's.

Caress -- press and lunge -- Daniel wetted his lips -- a tender kiss on the lips and then a dancing waltz of their tongues ... and then the cycle began again ...

Gentle massage -- a deeper pressing and pinch with a more forceful lunging movement -- Daniel's tongue wrapped around his mouth, very slowly, and then he opened his mouth as if biting on something ... then he leaned forward again, and tasted Jack's lips ... and then another cycle began ...

Daniel actually moaned as his hands found what he knew was Jack's most erogenous area on his torso -- he pinched slightly, then pressed in and out, and then made a quick, powerful move forward as he squeezed  -- he flicked out his tongue, in and out, and then again, slowly moved it all over his lips, smacking them loudly afterwards.

The younger man put his finger in his mouth and ran it down his chest, noting that Jack followed every motion.  He brought the finger back up to his mouth and then put it in Jack's and leaned forward for another kiss.

Jack was finding it hard to breathe.  He was locked on to Daniel like a paperclip to a magnet, a willing, captive audience totally mesmerized.  Daniel kissed his love again, nibbling on Jack's lip, letting his tongue linger in Jack's mouth.

Daniel moved his hands to Jack's face, briefly cupping it, moving backwards and forwards.  As he continued the kiss, he moved his hands back to Jack's chest, once again doing the soft circling motions.  And then, he started the cycle over again, only this time, his hands went lower and lower down Jack's torso to his abdomen, Daniel's fingers working the ribcage area and snaking lower and lower, moving side to side along Jack's waistline.

As his hands moved, Daniel again locked eyes with Jack, capturing his lover's pupils as if taking a hostage.  Daniel's eyes were dark with lust of his own, focused on his lover, and only on Jack.  His hands slowly went under Jack's pajama bottoms for a moment, briefly touching Jack's bulging length.

Jack gasped, but never lost eye contact with Daniel.  Daniel's hands caressed just below the waist, and again he made a lunge forward, and wetted his lips, but this time, he did a surprise thrusting motion as he pressed against Jack's skin.

“Oh gawd ... Danny!” Jack panted his comment, having exploded with the thrust forward.

Daniel smiled as he leaned forward and kissed his lover.

“Gawd, Daniel,” Jack gasped again, “I'm all ... gawd ...”

“Shh,” Daniel repeated, kissing his heart.

Daniel placed another trail of kisses down Jack's chest, and then removed Jack's freshly marked flannel bottoms.  Grabbing the lube, just to be sure, he placed some on his fingers and gently entered one finger inside his love, then two, and finally three.

Jack was already gone, still floating from coming so unexpectedly a minute ago.  It was what Daniel wanted.  He didn't want to overtax his lover.

Daniel entered Jack, and gently began to move inside him.  His hands were on the bed on each side of Jack, holding on tighter as he began to move more quickly inside Jack.

“Danny,” Jack whispered as he closed his eyes, enjoying the wonder of his lover inside him.  “Wanted this ... too long, Danny ... it's been too long,” he encouraged, his hands going behind Daniel, pressing on the young man's buttocks, pushing forward.

Daniel's thrust were becoming more and more powerful, hitting against Jack's prostate with abounding precision.  Daniel grunted as his efforts took hold of his body, “Jack ... love you,” he gasped as he impaled himself into his lover deeper.

The younger man had hungered for this, too, but still, a part of him worried about his lover.  Daniel wanted to make it last, but he was too afraid, so he forced himself to reach the edge as soon as possible.  He raced onward, suddenly impacting Jack with masterful thrusts that had Jack shouting his name over and over until finally, Daniel blasted himself into Jack again, his orgasm causing him to spasm as he fell completely satiated onto Jack's chest.

“Jack ... alive ... good ... Janet ... dead ... love.”

Jack was still reeling from the unusual lovemaking session, but he couldn't help it.  He just loved Daniel's short-circuiting after sex.  He especially loved it because he knew there was no one else in the world who could translate Daniel's post-coital bliss comments but him.

“Yes, Angel, we're alive, and will be for a long time.  No, Janet won't kill us because she's not going to know we just had mind-blowing sex that was beyond good, Love.  It was fantabulous.  And yes, I love you, too, so friggin' much!”

Daniel settled against his love's chest, “Jack pillow -- comfy,” he whispered.

“Only for you, Danny.”

~Geez, I love this,~ Jack thought silently, as his breathing evened out.

A few minutes later, both were asleep, each holding the other tightly.

====

It was two hours later when Daniel awoke, “Oh gawd,” he said as he moved.

“Hey,” Jack said, his fingers carding through his soulmate's hair.  “I have to tell you, Danny, that was ... wow!”

“Oh, Jack,” Daniel sighed as he reached up to check Jack's temperature, and then suddenly frowned.

“What?”

“You feel ... normal,” Daniel commented.

“Doctor Daniel Jackson, the cure for what ails ya.”

“Jack!”

“I love you, Danny.  Thank you.  I needed you, so much.  I always do, but ... I don't know, I just ... really needed you.”

The two kissed again and ended up spending the rest of the day in bed together, snuggling, with the exception of retrieving that had been left in the mailbox since they hadn't heard the knock at the door during their lovemaking.

Jack's fever had magically disappeared.  Daniel thought it was freaky, but the older man continued to say that Daniel was his cure for anything.

“A dose of Daniel goes a long way,” Jack teased.

====

The next couple of weeks were back to normal, and normal to Jack wasn't acceptable.  Just like before P2J-995, mission after mission had found his lover serving as a soldier and not the archaeologist slash anthropologist slash linguist slash first contact explorer that he should be.

Daniel had saved Sam's life once, Teal'c's twice, and Jack's twice, as well.  He had killed and maimed in the name of Earth more times than Jack cared to think about, and there hadn't been one mission where Daniel could do what he was meant to be doing.

The push for weaponry or energy sources was the brunt of the action.  There was also lots going on with covert operations, things that had Daniel acting in ways that were contrary to his nature.

Jack was fuming.  Daniel was adapting too easily, out of resignation to his professional fate, and that made Jack even angrier.  He saw an acceptance in his lover's eyes more and more, and he saw less and less of that wonder and curiosity he loved so dearly.  It was as if the explorer had died, and Little Rambo had taken his place.

The colonel was determined to do something to return the explorer to his rightful place.  He had to remind Daniel of his reason for being, and he had to do it soon.  He would not let the soldier bury the scholar.  His decision made, he was willing to lay it all on the line.

====

“Carter, how goes the ...”  Jack paused, releasing a breath of air as he observed his second-in-command working with some equipment that looked like it belonged in a sci-fi movie.  He continued, “... whatever you're doing?”

“Fine, Sir.”

Jack fidgeted for a second, rubbing his hands together, and then stated, “Yeah, good.  Carter, I need a planet.”

“A planet, Sir?”

“Yeah.  A nice, boring planet.  One of those places where I'll be bored out of my skull.  I want to be so bored that I think tiddly winks is exciting.”  He saw a look of confusion on the blonde's face.  “Listen, ah, Daniel ... I want a place that he can get lost in, one of those places with ruins and zigernauts and ...”

“Ziggerats.”

“Whatever,” Jack replied calmly.  “You know what I mean.  Can you find me a nice, big, boring planet like that?”

“I think I can.”

“Good.  The sooner the better, but I know that stuff takes time, so take a week or two, but it's a priority,” Jack said, turning to exit.

“Sir, here you go,” Sam said, holding a folder in her hand.

Jack turned to see a pre-mission report fully prepared and ready to go and questioned, “Carter?”

“It will make you scream to get off the planet, Sir.  It's that boring.”

“Daniel will love it?”

“Daniel will forget you're there, Sir.”

“Well, let's not go overboard, Carter.”  As Sam chuckled, Jack asked, “When did you do this?”

“A week or two ago.”

“You've just been keeping this with your ... lipstick?”

“I knew sooner or later, Sir, you'd be ready to make a stand,” Sam revealed.

“You see what I see?”

Sam nodded, remarking, “He's done everything asked of him and more, Sir, but he's not military; nor should he be.  It's time we catered to his needs for a while.”

Jack nodded, and tapped the report against his palm a few times and turned to leave, but he turned back to face his 2IC one more time.

“Thanks, Carter.”

“You're welcome.”

====

“Jack, I'm sorry, but you know the guidelines we're operating under now.  I would like to grant your request, but I can't.”

“General, SG-1 has been on multiple stressful missions in a row.  We're tired.  We need a break.”

“Colonel O'Neill, are you saying SG-1 is not fit for action?”

“No, Sir.”

“Then you'll proceed with your recon of P9J-119 as scheduled.”

“No, Sir.”

“Colonel O'Neill, are you refusing a direct order?”

“Yes, Sir.  General, I want this mission.  Look, Sir, we've saved this planet over and over again.  We've paid our dues, and we're willing to do it again, but right now, it's time for Earth to do something for us.”

“And what is it about,” Hammond asked, looking down at the proposed mission report for the planet's designation, “PR1-887 that is so fascinating?”

“Rocks, Sir,” Jack answered while he continued to stand at attention, something he didn't do all that often, but right now, it seemed the thing to do with the major general, who was also his friend.

General Hammond sighed, sat down in his chair, and ordered, “Okay, Jack, convince me, but I warn you, it's going to be a tough sale.”

“General, PR whatever, is full of ruins, temples, and ... well, you know, all that old stuff that makes Daniel go all crazy.  And, uh, rocks, Sir.  There's lots and lots of rocks there.”

“Is this mission for SG-1, or Doctor Jackson?”

“Daniel is SG-1, Sir,” Jack said with all sincerity.

~Sometimes I wish I *had* retired before accepting this assignment,~ Hammond lamented as he rifled through the report.  Then he reviewed the upcoming mission schedule for the next two months.  He shook his head, saying a bit apologetically, “I can't do it, Jack.  I would like to, but Kinsey is breathing down our necks.  We just can't spare our flagship team for an archaeological mission at this time.”

“Then, I'm sorry, Sir, but I resign.”

“Excuse me?”

“I resign, Sir,” Jack repeated, placing his official letter of resignation on the general's desk, “and I'm pretty sure Daniel will also be handing in his resignation.”

“Listen to me, Colonel,” Hammond stated as he stood up to face the man on the other side of his desk.  “I don't cotton well to blackmail.”

“Yes, Sir.  There's more, General,” Jack revealed, not really looking at the major general, but, rather, focusing straight ahead at the black horse statue that was on the shelf.  ~It would be cool to have that one day.  Make it a gift, George.~

“My patience is running very thin, Jack,” Hammond said as he glared at the facility's 2IC.

Jack never flinched, but simply headed to the door and opened it.

Hammond sighed as both Sam and Teal'c entered the office, both looking determined and a bit guilty.

Jack nodded toward the paper that contained his resignation that now sat on the general's desk.

“General Hammond, I regret to inform you,” Sam stated, standing at attention beside her CO, “that I've decided to follow Colonel O'Neill's suggestion to get a life.  I'm resigning, effective immediately.”  Sam pulled out her letter and put it next to Jack's on the desk.  ~Get a life?  Right.  Let's see if he buys that one.~

Hammond looked at Teal'c, who spoke on cue, “And I have decided my services would be more beneficial on Chulak.  I wish to return there through the Stargate immediately.”

Hammond stared at Jack, asking, “This is *that* important, Jack?”

“Yes, Sir.  I want Daniel to remember who he is.  He can fight with the best of them, General.  He's better at covering our six than most Marines, but, in his heart, he's not a soldier.  He's not military.  He deserves to do what he loves most, at least sometimes.”

Hammond stared at the three treasonous members of SG-1.  They were pulling a fast one.  Washington would have his head if the entire flagship team bailed on the SGC right now.  Besides, things would be too quiet for the major general without the unpredictable team there to drive him crazy.

“How long?”

Jack coughed, squeaking out, “Two weeks, Sir.”

“Jack!” Hammond exclaimed in exasperation.  “You don't want much, do you, Colonel?”

“I insist, Sir.”

Hammond tapped his pen on the desk as he stood, once again looking down at the scheduled missions.  He made some notations as SG-1 stood at attention, not saying a word.

The silence was palpable, and no one was certain exactly what was about to happen.

~At the next barbecue, I may just hogtie and grill Jack in the pit.~  Finally, Hammond sat back down and took hold of the letters of resignation, shaking his head at the same time.  “I don't take kindly to blackmail, Jack.  You do this again, and I'll let you walk out of here, all of you.  Is that understood?”

“Yes, Sir,” both Jack and Sam said at the same time.

“Three weeks, Colonel,” Hammond spoke as he made a note on the schedule.  “I'll give you three weeks to do whatever it is you need to do, but then I expect SG-1 to fulfill the responsibilities assigned to them without argument.  Agreed?”

“Agreed, Sir.”

“Very well,” Hammond acknowledged, handing the envelopes back to the mutinous crew.  “Dismissed.”

Sam and Teal'c walked out, happy to have gotten out of the office alive.  Jack was on their heels, but as he got to the door, the general called out his name.

“Yes, Sir?” the colonel asked after turning back to face his friend.

“Is it really that bad?” the general inquired quietly.

Thoughtfully, Jack answered, “Yes, Sir.  Don't you remember how he used to be, General?  I know we've taken that from him, but ...”

“Dismissed, Jack,” Hammond ordered, not wanting to think about how that look of awe and wonder had faded from his Head of Archaeology's face and eyes over the last year.

====

~I don't recall that designation.~  Daniel closed the dishwasher, turned it on, and then turned to Jack with shock on his face.  “We're going where?”

“PR1-887.  Nice little out of the way planet.  Seems Hammond thinks we need to do some exploring,” Jack stated as he turned, evading his lover's gaze.

“Exploring?  I haven't heard anything about this planet,” Daniel said as he followed his Love over towards the fish tank.  “Why would the general throw a mission like this into the mix?”

Jack shrugged, suggesting, “Don't look a gift Hammond in the mouth.”

“Jack!” Daniel called out suspiciously.  “What did you do?”

“What makes you think I did anything?” Jack asked, leaning forward innocently and saying, “Have any threes?  No?  Go fish, Fish.”

“Stop trying to distract me by letting your inner child out,” Daniel stated.  He paused, raising his eyebrows.  “Well, uh, actually, your inner child is always out, but, anyway, tell me about PR1-887.  What's there?”

Jack let out a fake cough, cocked his head, and answered nonchalantly, “Ah, you know, Daniel -- rocks, ruins, more rocks, temples.  Did I mention rocks?”

“Jack, what did you do?” Daniel asked again.

“I told Hammond we were due to go someplace that didn't feel like Iraq.”

“Jack, what ... did ... you ... do?” Daniel questioned more forcefully.

~He's too inquisitive for his own good,~ Jack thought.  He sighed, nodded, and then answered, “Resigned.”

“Jaaaack!”

“Well, it worked.”

Daniel was incredulous as he queried, “You resigned, and General Hammond gave in?”

“I think it was the Big Guy that made the difference,” Jack theorized as he walked away from the fish and sat down on the arm of the sofa.

“Teal'c?”

Jack nodded and elaborated, “SG-1 threatened to resign if we didn't get two weeks on PR1-887 to explore.”

“All of you?”  Daniel couldn't believe his ears, nor could he be certain of his lover's nod and that smirk on his face.  ~It must be true.~  “Wow.”  He turned, self-hugging, but then he turned back and said, “I thought you said it was a three week mission?”

With a grin, Jack answered, “I did.  Hammond loves you, too!  I demanded two.  He gave three.”

Daniel was totally taken aback as he verbalized, “Three weeks?”

Jack stood up and scooped his lover into his arms, saying, “Three weeks, and we're all going to help you.  Three weeks, Danny.  I don't know when we'll get to do it again, but we're going to do this.  I want you to do what you love most.  Maybe ... maybe ...”

Jack couldn't finish his thought, but Daniel knew what he meant.  Jack wanted Daniel to regain some of that wonder of the universe that had been buried by the battles.

Daniel kissed Jack and then said, “Thank you.  Thank you so much.”

“Happy anniversary, Danny,” Jack chuckled.

“Anni...” Daniel sighed.  “Jack.”

“Danny, I can't think of anything more fun then a fun-filled trip to ole P-whatever, watching you become orgasmic over a hard rock that isn't me,” Jack teased.

“We could just go for two weeks and be home in time,” Daniel suggested.

“Three weeks,” the older man insisted.  “We'll take a belated trip as soon as we can to celebrate our anniversary.”

Daniel smirked seductively, kissed his Heart, and pointed out, “We'll get to celebrate twice, Babe.”

The lovers were focused only each other's eyes.  Their desire was growing, and it would be a long three week drought, or not.  Both knew, but wouldn't admit, that they'd make love on the mission.  Three weeks was just way too long.  Besides, this mission would last beyond their June 26th anniversary.

“Three years,” Jack sighed happily.

“Seems like ...”

“Forever,” Jack completed when Daniel's voice faded.  “Hold that thought, Danny.  Forever is here and now.  It's us.  I love you.”

“I love you, too,” Daniel replied before sharing one more kiss with the man who made him believe in the possibility of forever, if not forever itself.

====

“Daniel, *now*!” Jack demanded.

“Jack, it'll be dark soon.  I need to study this while I can.  I think this section holds the key to this entire set of writings,” Daniel replied, refusing to budge from his position.

“It won't help you to know what it says if you drop dead from starvation,” Jack quipped.

“I am not going to die because I don't eat on command, Colonel,” Daniel replied.

“I'm not joking, Daniel.  I run this show, and I'm ordering you to pack it in for the night,” Jack ordered as he tapped on his P-90, which had become standard issue for the flagship team after the earlier run-ins with the Unas.

“NO!” Daniel shouted sternly, turning his back on Jack and returning his attention to the ruins.

~Snarky little ... well, not so little, guy,~ Jack thought.  “Doctor Jackson, either you come with me now or I'll physically pick you up and carry you to camp!”

Daniel turned, fuming, “You wouldn't dare!”

“Oh, yes, I would.  You have five minutes, *five*, Daniel, not ten, not twenty, *five*, that's one-two-three-four-*five* minutes,” Jack stated, holding out his right hand in a fist and then opening up each finger as he counted.  “And if you aren't at that campfire in five minutes, I'll be back, and it won't be for conversation!”

Jack turned and exited the small cave-like structure that Daniel had been working in.  As he ambled leisurely back to their camp, the leader of SG-1 whistled merrily.

====

“Colonel, do you want me to get him?”

“You, Major?” Jack smiled, answering, “No, I think I can handle it.”

It had become a routine on the planet.  Daniel had wanted to forget that his body had needs such as eating, drinking, and sleeping.

SG-1 was currently two weeks into the mission and, for the last two nights, Daniel had stayed up all night digging for artifacts in an area he had found near the cave he'd been studying.  It reminded him of a storage locker, as he had unearthed all kinds of items that seemed to date back centuries.

Jack had warned him on this third day of Daniel's impromptu dig that no matter what, he would be resting, if not sleeping, at the campsite by 2200 hours.  It was now thirty minutes after that, and Jack was ranting to Sam about his archaeologist ignoring his orders again.

“You're enjoying this, Sir,” Sam surmised with a smile.

“You think I'm having fun?”  When his 2IC smiled, Jack grinned, saying, “I'm going to go get him now, Carter.  Watch out.  He isn't going to be happy.”

“On the contrary, Colonel, I think Daniel is happier than he's been in a long time.”

Jack nodded, agreeing, “Me, too,” and then headed out to collect his lover.

====

When he arrived at the area, Jack stopped and watched for a few minutes.  Daniel's head was the only thing visible from the now six-foot by three-foot hole that the archaeologist and his teammates had dug over the last few days.

The team had erected lights over the area so it seemed almost like daylight.  Jack could clearly see the mounds of dirt and soot that seemed to be like make up on his lover.  Daniel's face and hands, and every other piece of skin that he could observe, were covered with dirt.

Daniel's bandana was half scooted off his head.  His jacket was thrown on the ground so that Daniel was wearing only the short-sleeve black tee that was standard issue for SG teams.

What truly had Jack's attention, however, were the eyes -- Daniel's eyes, focused and glued on his work.  The expression was strong and steady.  This was the Daniel he had known early on.  A man doing the work he cherished.  The passion was radiating from the younger man, and that filled Jack's heart with another kind of passion.

Jack's heart was singing.  It hadn't been easy to get this time for his lover, and he knew the general would be giving him grief about it for a long time to come.  He had pushed Hammond to the limit, but, to Jack, it was worth every moment of attrition he would have to make in the future.

Still, Daniel needed sleep.  Jack had given him two nights of indulgence.  Tonight, the younger man was going to at least pretend to be asleep.  Jack smiled, preparing for the battle that was about to begin.

Returning the lover to his inner being, the colonel walked with purpose to the edge of the hole Daniel was standing in.  His P-90 at the ready as always, Jack twisted his body, looking all around.  Of course, nothing of danger was in sight.  On PR1-887, there was nothing to set off his alarms, which was both a delight and a disappointment for the warrior.

“Oh, Danny,” Jack nearly sang.  “DANIEL!” he called out louder when Daniel hadn't responded.

“What?  Oh, hi, Jack,” Daniel greet as he held what looked like a saucer made of bronze in his hands.

“Hi.  Time to come home, Daniel.”

“Just a while longer, Jack.”

“Daniel, we talked about this.”

“We only have another week here.  I have things I need to do,” Daniel stated as he jumped out of the hole, taking the newly discovered relic to a table he had set up to the left of the hole.  He wrote some notes as he catalogued the piece.  “This is really fascinating.  Look at this artwork.  It's ... incredible.”

Jack smiled.  Daniel hadn't really been talking to him, but more to himself.  He let his lover finish his notes.  He wouldn't interrupt the thoughts.  These times had been too few for his archaeologist in the past year, and it was exactly why they were on the planet in the first place.  As soon as the younger man put down the pen and headed back to the hole, though, Jack moved in quickly, blocking off the path.

“Jack, *move*!” Daniel ordered.

“No.  Back to camp, Daniel.”

Daniel started to walk around the older man, but Jack reached his hand out, placing it on Daniel's abdomen.  Both flinched, their libidos taking them elsewhere for a moment.

“Whoa,” Jack exclaimed, looking away.  “We so don't need that right now.”

“No, we don't,” Daniel agreed, “not that I'm not ... I mean ... oh, you know what I mean.”

“Yes, I do, and just wait until we get home,” Jack intoned softly.

“Which will be way too soon.  I mean ... oh you know what I mean.  I have to get back to work.”

“Daniel, you need to sleep,” Jack insisted.

“Later.”

“Now!”

“No, Jack.”

“Yes, Daniel.”

“I'm not budging!”

“Oh, yes, you are!” the colonel exclaimed.  ~I'm not losing this battle.~

“Am not!”

“Are, too!”

“NOT!” Daniel shouted.

“TOO!” Jack shouted in reply.

Stubbornly, with his hands on his hips, Daniel stated, “I am in control of my own two feet, Colonel, and they aren't moving anywhere except back inside that ...”  His eyes opened wide with the realization of what was suddenly happening.  “Jack, what the ... JACK O'NEILL, PUT ME DOWN!”

Jack had flung Daniel over his shoulder, whistling as he walked back to the camp.

“JACK, I'M GOING TO KILL YOU.”

“Guns or knives?” Jack chuckled.

“What?” Daniel asked Jack's back.

“How are you going to kill me?  With guns or knives?  I just want to be able to plan,” the colonel chuckled as he continued to head for the camp.

Daniel groaned and then smiled sweetly, knowing Jack couldn't see him.  How he missed this, Jack's mother henning over research and not some Goa'uld stakeout. It had been far too long.

====

Teal'c was standing first watch at the camp and stared expressionless as Jack walked casually towards him.

As if it were the most natural thing in the world for him to be toting his archaeologist over his shoulder, Jack greeted, “Evening Teal'c.  Anything to worry about?”

“Nothing, O'Neill,” the Jaffa answered as his CO passed by.

“Hey, Teal'c,” Daniel called out, smiling and waving at their friend after Jack had completely walked by the rugged figure.

“DanielJackson,” Teal'c acknowledged with a nod, totally ignoring the fact that the man was flung over Jack's right shoulder.

Sam giggled as she saw her friends returning and thought, ~Those two are in heaven right now.~

As Jack and Daniel grew closer to the camp, Sam closed her eyes so they would think she was asleep.

Carefully, Jack put his lover down.

“Jack, that was embarrassing,” Daniel remarked now that he had his two feet planted firmly on the ground.

“I warned you.”

“Gawd, Jack,” Daniel whined, though he couldn't help but smile as he looked at his lover.

Jack reached out his left hand and caressed Daniel's cheek.  He wanted to do more, but Teal'c was too close, and their friend didn't know about their romantic involvement.

“Sleep, Danny.”

Jack and Daniel prepared for bed, Daniel taking some time to clean up since he was covered in dirt.  Several minutes later, they were side by side in separate sleeping bags.  Daniel rolled over on his left side to face his sexy soulmate.  Sam was only a few feet away, so they couldn't really talk verbally, but their eyes said plenty.

“Go to sleep, Daniel,” Jack finally said aloud.

Daniel closed his eyes.

**I love you, Angel.**

Smiling, the younger man replied, **Love you, too, Jack, so much!**

====

Their time on PR1-887 passed much too quickly for Daniel, who had done exactly as Jack had hoped -- gotten totally immersed and lost in the study of the peoples of this lost world.  More than once, Jack had been forced to drag Daniel out of the temples or away from the ruins to eat, and he had to forcibly make him sleep.

Jack and Teal'c had both been extremely bored, more so than ever, which was how Jack knew Daniel had to be having the time of his life.  The two had gone on pointless recon after pointless perimeter check, just to pretend they were doing something.

Sam did some routine testing of the soil and the atmosphere, but, most of the time, she had assisted Daniel.  The other two teammates had also helped the archaeologist at various points, but it had been Sam who spent the most time working with her science twin.

Jack, however, had never been far away for long.  He had indulged in large doses of Daniel watching, his heart full of love every time he had gotten a glimpse of Daniel working.  His lover was alive here, and Jack didn't regret a moment of his extreme boredom.

Finally, it had come to an end, and, actually, Daniel was ending it two days early.  He felt renewed and refreshed, and the reason for that was Jack O'Neill.  The archaeologist loved his artifacts, but there wasn't a single doubt in his mind that his most precious artifact was Jack.  What he wanted most now was a couple of days with his lover to celebrate their union, their forever.  They'd figure out a cover story, something to get them off base and free for a couple of days.  The young man was confident.

So, now, SG-1 had packed up boxes full of artifacts to take back to the SGC, and Daniel had plenty of notes and photos to go through, study, and review for months.  The Stargate had engaged, and Sam and Teal'c had already taken the MALP through, along with several boxes of relics they had helped Daniel unearth.

Daniel took a last look around and turned.  He felt a calm within him that he hadn't felt in a very long time.  Jack was looking at his lover, smiling.  When Daniel saw, he returned the smile, walked up to the older man, and kissed him.  It was a very long, hard kiss, his arms wrapping around Jack possessively.

“Good thing the MALP already went through,” Jack teased.

“Thank you, Jack, for all of this.  Gawd, I didn't know how much I needed it.  Was it really that bad for you?”

“Bad?  I was bored stiff.  It was worse than listening to Kinsey talk.  It was so bad ...”  Jack went on for a full minute, telling Daniel how bad it was, and then at the end, he softened.  “Bad?  It was Heaven, Danny.  I saw you smiling again, doing what you love most.  It was worth all the boredom in the world, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.”

“You're wrong, Jack.”

“Wrong?” Jack asked as he raised his eyebrows in surprise.

“I love it.  I love it a lot, but you are what I love most, just you.”

“Geez, Danny,” Jack said as they kissed again.  “We'd better get through that Gate.  They are going to wonder what we're doing.”

“I love you, Jack.”

“Love you, too, Space Monkey.”

“Jack!  I am not a monkey, and we are not in space, and just where the heck did you come up with that name, anyway?  I mean ...”

Jack laughed as Daniel ranted.  This was his Daniel, arguing about nicknames.  Life was good.

====

Upon returning to Earth, the lovers did manage to squeak away a couple of days for their anniversary celebration and then it was back to life at the SGC.

For SG-1, things returned to normal as they proceeded with their scheduled missions.  Though the missions weren't changing, Daniel managed to spend a lot of time studying the material collected on PR1-887.

The most difficult situation came right after the couple's anniversary trip, when Apophis used the sarcophagus to brainwash Teal'c, the Jaffa believing he was once again the System Lord's First Prime.  It had taken weeks to resolve the situation.

Amazingly, from time to time, SG-1 was given short, exploratory recons.  Jack refused to admit to more blackmail with the general, but Daniel suspected his lover had done something to get these quiet, peaceful missions thrown in with the rest, usually after some more grueling or taxing event had happened.

The team, as a whole, always came away more refreshed, and ready to go after their archaeological field trips, as Jack called them.  Daniel was convinced Jack was arranging them, but he had finally stopped pressing his lover about it.

One night, Jack and Daniel were relaxing on their roof deck, watching the stars.  They had spent some time reminiscing about their pasts, something they had agreed to do with a certain regularity after the incident with the Keeper.

On this particular evening, Daniel had shared the events of his sixth birthday, celebrated in Mexico.  He had Jack in stitches when he talked about how he was wrapped up in a giant pinata that looked like a camel.

Filled with memories of birthday parties, Jack then talked about Charlie's third birthday, when he and Sara had taken their son to Myrtle Beach in North Carolina. It was the first time Charlie had been to the ocean.

After their therapeutic sharing, both had gotten quiet, just savoring their cherished memories.  Jack was seated in one of the white deck chairs, while Daniel was facing him, seated on the deck against the railing.  Each had a beer in their hands, a few discards tossed along the deck.

All of a sudden, Jack let out a big sigh and asked, “Danny, when you were a little boy, did you ever daydream about anything?  You know, about going somewhere, or doing something?”

Daniel shrugged, answering, “No, not really.  Not that I can remember, anyway.  Did you?”

“Yeah.  I still daydream about it sometimes,” Jack answered, smiling as he looked off into the distance, his dream in his eyesight.

“Tell me.”

Letting himself drift a bit, Jack elaborated, “I've always dreamed of just taking off, drifting away out to sea, nice little sailboat or some small boat anyway.  I want to watch the sunsets and the sunrises, enjoy the feel of the wind against my skin.  Crazy as it sounds, I'd like to listen to the fish swimming, see some dolphins, just  be out on the ocean somewhere, floating along.”

“Wow.  Do you know how to do that?”

“Sure.  My grandfather was an expert seaman.  When I was a kid, he took me out a couple of times with some of the cousins and stuff, but he had a bigger boat.  Yeah, I know how.”

“Why haven't you done it?

“Oh, I've wanted to, but I don't know.  Lots of reasons.  Goes against that Air Force image -- the warrior who dreams of sunsets,” Jack mocked himself.  “And Sara never wanted to go, and, well, this daydream -- I want to share it.  Mr. Tough-Guy here always wanted to share those sunsets with someone.  What fun is it to be in nature by yourself?”

“I'm still surprised you never had a buddy from the service to share that with, like Kawalsky maybe.”

“Danny, you know the spiel.  Charlie never even knew Charlie was named after him,” the older man lamented.  “It just wasn't the type of stuff we macho-studs did.  We partied after missions, and then we parted.  The camaraderie was tied to the mission; that was the bond.”

“But Kawalsky was your best friend.”

Nodding, Jack acknowledged, “Yes, he was, but I'm not sure I ever really knew him, and I can tell you that he didn't know the real me.  He knew the image.”  He sat back in his chair, looking up at the sky.  “Daydreams.  Silly daydreams.  Wonder why I thought of that?”

“It's not silly, Jack.”

“Oh, for crying out loud, it's just a silly daydream, and, speaking of dreaming, I think I've had it.  You ready for bed?” Jack asked.

“No, not yet.  I'll be down soon though.”

“Okay.”  Jack stood and stretched for a minute.  Leaning over, he kissed his Love and spoke enticingly, “Hurry.  I miss you when you aren't in bed with me.”

“I won't be long,” the younger man promised.

Jack climbed down the ladder, leaving Daniel sipping the remainder of his beer.

“It's a nice daydream, Jack,” Daniel repeated as he closed his eyes, envisioning the seas.

====

“Yes, Doctor Jackson, what can I do for you?” General Hammond inquired, still holding the papers he'd been reviewing in his hands.

“You aren't going to like it, General, but I'm afraid I have to insist,” Daniel spoke honestly.

“Okay, Son, I'm listening.”

“Yes, Sir, well ...”  Daniel crossed his arms in front of him and bowed his head.  He licked his lip one time as he roped his courage back in.  “Three weeks.”

~Not again.~  General Hammond sat back in his chair, knowing his Head of Archaeology was about to make his life miserable.  “Excuse me?”

He blinked twice, but Daniel held firm, saying, “Three weeks.”

“Doctor Jackson, are you telling me that you want three weeks off?” Hammond questioned.

“Yes, General.”

“Go on, Doctor.  I'm sure there's more,” the unhappy major general prodded.

Daniel cleared his throat, nodded, and stated, “For me and Jack bo...both.”

“Doctor Jackson,” the general stated as he rose from his chair.  “I don't know what the blazes is going on with SG-1, primarily with you and Colonel O'Neill, but you two seem to think you can do anything you want *whenever* you want.  You barge in here, make demands, and, if the answer doesn't go your way, you threaten blackmail.  Well, Son, you better get out the employment ads, or you'd better have darn good blackmail material because I'm about at my limit!”

“I understand your position, Sir, but, uh,” Daniel began, pausing for a moment.  “General Hammond, all I can tell you is that Jack and I have given everything we have for the SGC, and the personal cost to each of us has been high.  I don't think I need to remind you of that.  We've done what's been asked of us, and more, at great risk to all of us on the team, many times.  I realize the tides have changed, that our goals and priorities are different now then from when the Program first began, but ... we do our duty, and we do it well.  All I'm asking for is a little time.”

“You had time on PR1-887.”

“That was for me,” the archaeologist acknowledged.

“And this time?”

“It's for Jack,” Daniel answered without hesitation.

Letting out a groan first, Hammond responded, “Son, Jack O'Neill is a veteran,  He's one tough cookie, and he can survive what most wouldn't have a prayer of living through.  He also has a vacation coming up in just a few months.  I think the colonel will be fine until then.”

“Excuse me, General, but ...”

“Son, I'm sorry,” the bald-headed man spoke.  “I gave in to Jack.  Don't expect me to do it again.”

Daniel sighed, walked to the door, and looked back at the general, who was sitting down again.

Hammond thought he had finally won a round, until Daniel opened the door, letting Sam and Teal'c in.  The general threw down the papers he had picked up onto his desk.

“I suppose you're resigning, Major, and you want to go back to Chulak, Teal'c?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Indeed,” Teal'c spoke at the same time as Sam.

“Doctor Jackson, who's in charge of this facility?” Hammond asked gruffly.

“You are,” Daniel answered with a nod.

“For a minute, I wasn't sure you knew,” Hammond quipped, causing Sam to let out a little chuckle.

“I'm ... sorry ... Sir,” the major apologized, a smirk still on her face.

Hammond shook his head as he tried to stare down his flagship team, but he knew it was hopeless.  The four members of SG-1 stuck together like glue.  There was nothing they wouldn't do for each other, and the general was well aware of that fact.

“Okay, Doctor Jackson, take your three weeks, and do whatever it is you intend to do with Colonel O'Neill.”

“Oh, I intend to, Sir,” Daniel replied happily.

Sam blushed at Daniel's response, and Teal'c looked at him with a questioning expression.

“Dismissed!” Hammond ordered, wanting to wake up from this second nightmare. ~Has to be a nightmare.~

====

“Okay, I give,” Jack said, looking around at the unusual location.  “Why are we at the marina, Daniel?”

“We're looking at boats.”

“I can see that, but why?” the older man inquired.

Daniel answered, “Because I don't know anything about boats, and you do.”

“Danny, I'm not buying a boat.  I have a nice little row boat at the cabin, and that's all I need,” Jack claimed.

“Not for the sea,” Daniel refuted.  Jumping ahead, he noted, “I was thinking this one or maybe that one, but like I said, I don't really know anything about boats.”

“Sea?  Daniel, what's gotten into you?”

Daniel looked at his lover and smiled as he explained, “We're ... going on a daydream, Jack, just you and me.”

Stunned, Jack stared at his soulmate, not knowing how to react.

“Pick a boat, Jack, so we can rent it, and you can teach me what I need to know.  We can take it out and practice or whatever, then buy whatever we need to buy, and ... go,” the younger man stated.

“Danny?”  Jack turned and stared at the boats.  His tone had been quiet and soft.  He ran his hands along side both of the boats Daniel had pointed out, and then looked back at his lover, saying again, “Danny?”

“We have three weeks, Jack, to watch sunrises and sunsets; that is ... if you want me to go with you.”

Jack laughed, “Gawd, Danny, you're my dream.  I want to go everywhere with you.  Are you serious?  Hammond wouldn't give us more time off.  He's still mad about ... crap, Danny, what did you do?”

With a smirk, the younger man replied, “The same thing you did, actually.”

“And it worked?” Jack questioned in disbelief.

“He wasn't very happy, well, actually, he wasn't happy at all, but ... we've got three weeks, Jack.”

“I knew there was a reason why I love you, Doctor Jackson.”

Daniel smiled, saying, “That's nice to know, Colonel O'Neill.”

“Actually, no doubt about it, to the moon and back even,” Jack stated happily.

“I should hope not; uh, I mean about ... the no doubt ... part,” Daniel said with a slight smile, knowing he was sounding a bit funny.

Jack chuckled and replied, “You're incredible.”

Daniel smiled shyly, but expounded, “I love you, and I want to make your dreams come true, the same way you make all of mine happen.  Jack, you do so much, and, well, I want to do this, for you, to make this daydream a reality.”

“You loving me, Angel -- that's my dream come true.”

The two were locked onto each other, eager to do more than stare, but a salesman brought them back to their surroundings.

Jack spent the next hour checking out the boats before he made a selection.  Later, he took Daniel out on the lake and taught him as much as he could.  They repeated various drills over and over.  He wouldn't take chances with his lover's life.  Until he was confident Daniel had mastered some of the more important tasks, he refused to go on to the next procedure.

====

The couple went out again the next day, and, as he'd done the day before, Jack put Daniel through his paces.

“An advantage of being in love with a genius,” Jack smirked.

“What?”

“You're a fast learner,” Jack observed with a sly smile.

The lovers bought all the necessary equipment and supplies and then hitched their rented boat to the truck.  They headed for the California coastline, where they set sail for a three week trip to wherever the waters took them.

====

Halfway through their shared 'daydream', the boat was anchored for the evening sunset.  With Daniel seated between his legs, lying against his chest, Jack was sitting back on the deck, his arms around his lover, their hands entwined.

“It's so beautiful out here, Danny.  It's exactly like I always dreamed,” Jack noted.

“It reminds me how small we are, Jack.  We're just ... specks against the majesty that's out there.”

“Beautiful specks,” Jack stated as he kissed Daniel's temple.  “Being out here,” he continued, “is like a renewal, like ... strength.”

“It is,” Daniel agreed.

“Yeah, but it's calm and peaceful, too.  There's no war, just the natural life.  The fish and the birds.  It's ... home,” Jack expressed serenely.

“Jack?”

“Hmmm?”

“Home.  You're home to me,” Daniel stated.  “Wherever you are, that's my home.”

Jack leaned his head against Daniel's, replying, “Geez, Danny, love you so dang much.  My beautiful falling star.  You're my home, too.”

The two sat quietly for a while.  They were loving their freedom and togetherness on the open sea.  It was an unexpected joy, to share this daydream of Jack's, and they were treasuring every minute of it.

“You know what we need, Daniel?”

“What?”

“Pirates, gold pieces, and a skull and cross bones!” Jack quipped.

Daniel laughed, “They'd make you walk the plank.”

“Now that sounds like fun!” the older man exclaimed.

“Maybe to you, but not to me,” Daniel chuckled.

“Chicken!”

“No, sharks,” Daniel corrected.

“There aren't any sharks out here,” Jack reminded.

“Oh, yes, there are,” the younger man refuted.  “I did my homework, Colonel, before making this daydream of yours come true.”

“I stand corrected.  Daniel ... *shark*!”

Jack's shout startled Daniel so that he moved forward in alarm, finally looking back at Jack and asking, “Where?”

Jack opened his mouth wide as he answered, “Here ... ready to eat you with my sharp,” he clicked his teeth a few times, “teeth.”  Though Daniel backed away, he lunged forward, pulling the younger man down.  “I vant to vite vour neck!”

“That's not a shark, that's a vampire,” Daniel laughed.

“Okay, I vant to suck your blood.”

“Sick, Jack.  You're sick.”

“Get with the program, Daniel,” Jack encouraged as he began to ravish his lover, Daniel moaning with pleasure from the fondling touches.

“Jack?”

“Yes, Angel?”

“I love vampire sharks!”

Jack smiled and went on to ravish his lover frequently during their special trip together.  The two were engrossed in their nation of two, each having given the other a special gift, gifts that would carry them over the rough spots.

Trouble in paradise?  Not for Jack and Daniel, who always made sure their paradise was found in the love of each other.

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