Wish Upon a Star

Author: Orrymain
Author Email: marciastudley1@comcast.net   (Feedback welcome)
Author Website:  http://orrymain.raikiri.net/fanfichome.html
Category: Slash, Angst, Missing Scene/Epilogue, Romance, First Time
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  2 - late June 1998
Spoilers:  Within the Serpent's Grasp, The Serpent's Lair, and minor ones for Fire and Water, Solitudes,Torment of Tantalus, Cold Lazarus
Size:  48kb
Written:  August 10-26, 2003  Revised:  October 9, 2003  Revised with betas:  July 30, August 3-4, October 1,4,12, 2004, January 12, 2005
Summary:  Jack gets his biggest wish - Daniel!
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:
1) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
2) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my past fics, “Waiting”.  It is also part of the “Falling in Love” series which includes “The Cycle of Life” and “Frozen in Time.”  The follow-up fic to this is “Feeling Our Way” which picks up where this one ends.
3) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  QuinGem, Drdjlover, Claudia, Brandy, Sue, Linda, Pepi!

Wish Upon a Star
by Orrymain

“They're coming!  They're coming,” Daniel warned Jack, reaching out and grabbing desperately onto his best friend.

His look was anguished, and as he gasped for air, and the pain of the staff weapon caused his body to burn, Daniel stared at his best friend, pleading with his eyes for Jack to understand.

--

Since then, life had been extremely difficult for Daniel and the members of SG-1.  The archaeologist had gone through the quantum mirror to an alternate reality, one dangerously close to his own true existence; and yet, there had been one very scary difference in that reality from Daniel's own world: the Goa'uld had launched an all-out attack on Earth and had, in fact, succeeded in conquering the planet.

As Daniel had run up the ramp to escape the destruction of the SGC, the Teal'c of that reality fired his staff weapon, wounding the young man in the arm.  It was only moments later that Jack, Sam, and the Teal'c of his reality found Daniel injured as he lay near the unusual mirror.

In the days that followed, Daniel had tried desperately to convince SG-1 and General Hammond of the danger to Earth, that the Goa'uld were planning an attack on their planet, and Earth’s only chance of survival lay in using the information Daniel had brought back from the alternate universe.  While wanting to believe him, they had been skeptical of the alternate reality theory, even though they were unable to explain the staff blast injury otherwise.

Not long after the incident, Senator Kinsey had managed to initiate the shutdown of the entire Stargate project, having referred to it as a Pandora's box.  It was then that SG-1 had made a fateful decision.  Daniel hadn't stopped trying to get his teammates to believe him, and finally he posed a simple question to Jack that turned the tide.

“Let me ask you something, Jack: if we don't go through now, and the Goa'uld do attack later, how are you going to feel?”

Jack had stared at his friend, totally in shock over the question.  He hadn't known what to say, but yet, he couldn't escape the inquiry.  

~I want to believe you, Danny, but it doesn't make sense.  An alternate reality?  A place that's like us, but isn't us?~

He stood, turned around, facing away from his teammates, and brought his hands to his head in frustration.

~Daniel!  For crying out loud, that wasn't a fair question.  I feel like we're in a friggin' sci-fi movie: alternate realities, quantum mirrors, me a General.  Now that's a joke.  None of it makes sense.  Okay, O'Neill, forget the crap.  What are you sure of?~  It had only taken a moment for Jack to answer that question in his mind.  ~Daniel.  I'm sure of Daniel, even if I don't have the faintest idea what he's saying, even if it sounds crazy, I ... I believe in Daniel.~

With that last thought, Jack's decision had been made, and a moment later, he responded, “I would feel like an idiot.”  He had paused and looked at the archaeologist, knowing now that no matter how crazy it all had sounded, he couldn't risk not believing his friend, the man whose theories and ideas about the pyramids had been thought crazy but were true.  “We go,” he had stated definitively to Daniel.

The four teammates had then gated to the coordinates Daniel brought back with him from the alternate reality.  He had believed that it would lead them to a planet where the Goa'uld offensive would be launched, but instead, SG-1 realized they had transported aboard a Goa'uld mother ship.

Everything that had occurred after that had been like a nightmare.  Klorel, the Goa'uld son of Apophis who was infesting the body of Skaa'ra (who was not only Daniel's brother-in-law, but a surrogate son to Jack as well), had tried to kill Daniel with the ribbon device, forcing Jack to fire.  The Air Force colonel was certain he had killed Klorel, and thus, his young friend.  It wasn't until later that Jack had learned that Teal'c's mentor, Bra'tac, had put Klorel into a sarcophagus to keep him alive.

A while later, the team had been blinded by a Goa'uld weapon and captured.  It had been Daniel's darkest moment, the young man full of despair.  He had never been so despondent before, but now he felt like not only were they going to die, but they, no, he, had failed Earth, and everyone would fall prey to the parasitical vermin called the Goa'uld.

“It isn't dark.  We're blind, and we failed,” he had said with the voice of a broken man.

~I wish he wouldn't do that.  We need to be positive here.~  Instantly, Jack had tried to reassure his friend, wishing they were sitting closer together.  There were times when Jack really hated the limits that military propriety imposed on him.  “All right, take it easy, Daniel.  We've been in worse situations than this.”

====

A short time later, they were in a worse situation.  As their sight had begun to return, Jack led his team in escaping their captors.  They had continued on with their mission to stop the impending attack against Earth, but then, the world stopped for Jack O'Neill.  His heart literally stopped beating, and he was frozen in place as the worst possible thing had happened.

It had begun so simply.

“Let's go!  Daniel, watch our backs!” Jack had ordered as they engaged the aliens in battle.

Daniel had indeed covered their backs, doing a marvelous imitation of a young Rambo.  The shaggy-haired man with glasses, the 'geeky' archaeologist, had taken out oncoming Jaffa in the mother ship's corridors before taking a direct hit from a staff blast.  It was a mortal wound, and he knew it.

“Jack!” Daniel had cried out after killing two of the enemy.  He had continued his fight, killing the third Jaffa after collapsed onto the floor; and then, as life ebbed from his bloodied body, he longed to see his best friend, to say goodbye.  ~Gawd, Jack, no.  I'm ... I'm dead, Jack.  Hurry. Need to say goodbye.~

From inside the room, Jack had known something was terribly wrong when he heard the cry.

~Danny!  Nooooooooo!~

Having been stunned at the sight of his best friend sitting on the floor, blood oozing from his body, and the powerful weapons he had used to defeat the Jaffa still at his side, Jack's soul sank in disbelief.  He'd never had a friend like Daniel, someone with whom he could be himself with instead of Mister Military Might.  He had been full of despair as he willed himself to approach his dying friend.

~Danny, this can't be real.  It ... can't be.~

Daniel was indeed Jack's best friend, and yet, he was so much more than that.  To Jack, Daniel was his heart, his reason for living, but while Daniel knew Jack was in love with him, he hadn't yet returned those romantic feelings.  He did love Jack, but as his best friend and confidant.

Daniel had told Jack to leave him, pleading, “I'm dead anyway.”

“I am not leaving you here, Daniel.”  ~I can't.  How can I leave you here?  Don't you understand?~

Only Daniel's insistence that his teammates continue on with their mission had forced Jack away from the younger man.  He owed his best friend a successful end to their plans.  Then, at least, Daniel's death would have some meaning.  Jack hadn't cared about himself, but he cared about his friend.

~You saved the world, Danny.  I'll ... make sure we succeed.~

“I'll stay and watch your back,” Daniel had said, the words ripping Jack's heart out of his body.

The archaeologist had been all-but-dead, and they both knew it.  They had stared into each other's eyes, and while the moment had only lasted a few seconds, it was an eternity for both of them.  Jack had reached out with his left hand, placing it on Daniel's cheek in a gentle caress before pulling away and leaving his heart behind.

~This is for you, Danny.  For you.~

Jack had returned to Sam, Teal'c, and Bra'tac as they waited on the pel'tac of the mother ship.

“He's … staying behind,” Jack had said somberly, ignoring Sam's questioning look at why Daniel hadn't returned with him.

Moments later, SG-1, along with Bra'tac, had left Daniel behind to die alone on the huge ship so that they could finish their mission, transporting themselves to the other vessel that had been part of the attack fleet headed for Earth.  Originally, they'd believed that they, too, would die as they completed their mission aboard the second ship, but after having blown up the force field generator with a couple of grenades, they managed to escape in death gliders.  Although it had seemed to be a temporary reprieve only, given their limited oxygen supplies, it wasn't long until they were as rescued by the space shuttle Endeavor.

====

The crew of the Endeavor were ecstatic to have rescued the heroic team, and they were full of questions about what had gone on, but to their dismay, SG-1 was in pain and only wanted to be left alone with their grief during the ride home.

“Leave us alone,” Jack ordered sharply, not really intending to snap at the curious crew, but unable to do unable to prevent himself from doing so.

He found a corner on the tiny craft and shut himself off from everyone.  He knew that when they arrived back at the SGC, he would have to put on a show, like the good little CO he was, but on the shuttle, he needed time to mourn, to reflect silently on the man he loved.

~I'm sorry, Danny.  I never should have let you walk through the Stargate.  You were a civilian, an archaeologist; you had no business fighting a war with Goa'uld.  Never should have let you go through the Gate.~

Jack shook his head as his thoughts began to consume him.

~How do I go on?  I left you there, left you behind.  I don't leave people behind, especially not members of my team, especially not ... the man I love.  Crap, Danny, I don't know how to live with that, with leaving you.  I can still see your face, looking at me like that.~

The image was engraved in Jack's mind -- Daniel, propped up against a column, blood pouring down his chest from the staff wound.  He had been so brave and valiant in his fight, but at that moment, he looked as vulnerable as he had ever been.  Yet, there had been something else present that Jack couldn't decipher.  It was a moment he hadn't expected, a split moment in time when he had looked into Daniel's eyes and seen ... exactly what, he wasn't sure, and that was the moment Jack dwelled on now.

~Danny, what was that look?  I saw it.  It was ... different than before.  You love Sha're.  I know that, but I thought ... your eyes.  I thought I saw something there, something more than ... than our friendship.~

Jack buried his face in his hands, and then rubbed his hands hard against his forehead as if trying to press out the memory.  Suddenly, he got very angry at himself for even thinking about the look.

~I'm a jerk, Daniel.  You need proof?  Just look at me now.  You're dead, and here I am wishing you felt the same way I do about you.  I should be grieving.~  He leaned his head back against the wall, still shaking it in disbelief.  ~I'm done.  Going through the Stargate just doesn't seem worthwhile anymore.  I let you down.  I'm sorry, so sorry.~

Jack's heart ached, crying out for Daniel.  He clenched his fists tightly, as if crushing the world into pieces.  His soul filled with darkness as it drained of any warmth he had stored there since those early days on Abydos when he had met the shaggy-haired, soft-spoken archaeologist he had grown to love in a way that both frightened and exhilarated him.  He was so lost in his emotions, he never heard his 2IC approach.

“Sir?  What ... what happened to Daniel?”

Sam had tears in her eyes, her need to know about her friend consuming her.  She had a right to know, and Jack knew that, but he wasn't able to say the words yet.  He just couldn't, not when he was still fighting a host of demons within him.

It was all too painful.  His emotions were raw and so very strong.  He couldn't share them, not this pain.  He had thought he had died when Charlie had, but then he met Daniel, and somehow, Jack had learned to live again.  Now, Daniel was gone, too.  Life had ended again, just as suddenly as it had begun.

Jack couldn't think about anything.

~I'm not ready to play the friggin' brave military game.  I know my role and my duty, but not yet.  Not ready.  Need to ... mourn.  Leave me alone, Carter.  For the love of heaven, leave me alone.~

“Sir?  Daniel?” she asked again, her voice quivering.

~I know you loved him.  You two were close.  I ... I was jealous, Carter. You could lock yourself away with Daniel and prattle on all night.  It's not the prattling; it's just that excited look he gets from discovering something new.  I mean, it's the expression he ... got.~

“Colonel?  Are you all right?”

~Now that's a stupid question.  Geez, sorry, Carter.  I'm just not ready.  You have to let me prepare for the charade, to focus.  Not now.  I CAN'T ... not ... now.~

Shutting himself off, Jack stood up, looked Sam in the eye and said flatly, “He saved our lives, Carter, and then he died.”

The colonel walked away, saying nothing more during the long flight home.  He kept his distance from Sam, Teal'c, and Bra'tac, doing only the bare minimum of what he knew was required of him as the leader of SG-1.

====

“Sir, they're waiting in the gate room,” an airman stated as Jack led the survivors into the SGC.

“They?” Jack asked vacantly.

“General Hammond, several members of the senior staff, and ...”

Jack drowned out the rest of the comments.  He knew it was a reception committee, ready to cheer them for their great success, but it was a success that had come at too high of a price for Jack.  As they rode down to Level 28 in the elevator, he took a giant breath, forcing the colonel to stay in control for a little while longer.

~Let's get this over with.~

By the time the elevator doors opened, Jack had put on his game face and was prepared to play out the game, to be the hero, to flash the victory smile, to go along with the “but the cost was high” speeches, but when they were done, when the words that would never help had been spoken, Jack would be gone.  He was going to get as far away from the SGC, MP-5s, and the Goa'uld as he could get.  He had been through enough.  He had lost too much: he'd lost ... everything.

~It's what I have to do.  I left him behind: my friend; my best friend; my ... love.  I won't walk through the Stargate again, not without him.  It's over for me.  You saved the world, Danny, and now ... I'm ... leaving.~

Then a miracle happened.  Jack considered it nothing less than that -- a miracle of the highest level.

“SG-1, there's someone who would like to see you,” Hammond said, a smile breaking out on his face.

~Someone?~  His heart skipped several beats.  ~Hammond loves Daniel.  Why would he be so chipper?  Who is he ... no, it can't be, but please, let it be.~

Jack's throat had a lump in it.  After missing several beats, his heart literally stopped.  His eyes were moist.  His entire body was doing an internal flip-flop, wanting, hoping, begging, and pleading for a miracle to happen.  Why would Hammond look the way he did?  Why hadn't he asked about Daniel?

~I need him.  It's impossible.  I saw the blood.  He was dying.  It can't be, but please be him.~

The miracle happened, right in front of Jack's eyes.  Military personnel began to step aside, and from the back row, a man walked forward, tentatively, slowly.  Jack focused on the moving person, hoping desperately, but knowing he was in for the biggest disappointment of his life, but then ...

~It is ... oh, gawd, it is.~

Jack saw him, saw his heart walking towards him: alive, whole, healthy ... and looking only at him.

In that moment, the universe consisted of two people, and two people only -- Jack and Daniel.

Jack didn't care how it had happened, he only knew that God had given him the biggest blessing he could ever receive -- the blessing of Daniel Jackson, alive and well, walking towards him in the gate room of the SGC.

Not caring about rank or protocol, or even his image, the Air Force colonel rushed to Daniel, pulling him into an embrace.  In front of the Marines, Hammond, and everyone, Jack held Daniel close, a gigantic  smile of happiness on his face.  If people wanted to make something of it, let them.

~Screw 'em all.~  At that point, Jack cared only about the man he held in his arms.  ~He feels real.  I'm not hallucinating.  It's not a dream.  He's here.  Danny is here.~  “Space Monkey,” he said joyfully, ruffling the young man's hair.

Daniel had the biggest grin on his face that Jack had ever seen.  It was a silly, sloppy-looking expression highlighted by sparkling eyes that seemed to reach down deep into Jack's soul.  Jack had never seen such a grin or happy expression on Daniel ever.

The young man wasn't a smiler.  He had endured too much pain in his life, and while he did laugh, did smile on occasion, it was seldom bright and carefree like it was now, and he rarely shared any smiles in public.  To Jack's amazement, his friend also appeared to be speechless, standing near Jack, not saying a word, but just grinning.

One thing Jack could always count on was Daniel having something to say -- all the time.  He was a champion prattler, full of passion.  Words were Daniel's best friend in so many ways, but now, he seemed to have none.

~What does that mean, Danny?  Tell me.  Am I reading too much into this because ... I want you?~

As Daniel was embraced and greeted by others, Jack watched, never going far from him.

~I don't want to let you out of my sight.~

The two made eye contact several times, smiling whenever they did so.  Each time, Jack was sure he could see something he hadn't seen before.  He was afraid to hope, but he couldn't stop thinking about it.

~What's that look, Danny?  What was in that smile?  I've never seen you look at me like that before.  By the way, I love you.~

The unofficial celebration continued.  Jack stared at Hammond who had a tender smile on his face.  Jack nodded, and Hammond continued to smile, first at Jack, then at Daniel, and then back at Jack.

“Thank you, Sir,” Jack mouthed.

Hammond nodded and then engaged in a conversation with other personnel.  Jack shook his head.  He wasn't sure why he was thanking the major general; after all, he'd just pulled a fast one on Jack.  Hammond easily could have had the Endeavor crew tell SG-1 that Daniel was alive.  Jack snorted softly.

~No, we needed to realize what we almost lost and to remember an important lesson, one I rationalized my way into forgetting.  We don't leave anyone behind, not ever.  Maybe ... maybe Hammond was reminding me of that.~

Jack sighed, but he couldn't think about it any longer.  He had connected with Daniel again, and as they exchanged another smile, Jack realized that the darkness that had infested his soul earlier had fled.  All he felt now was love and joy that his best friend was alive.

====

Hammond eventually rounded up SG-1 for a short debriefing, just long enough to get the basic details.

“Well done, SG-1.  Doctor Jackson, welcome back.”

Sam's eyes were still misty as she looked at her friend.  She even reached over and put her hand on his arm.  He glanced at her and smiled nervously, not used to such affection.

“Indeed, DanielJackson, I am glad you are alive.”

Jack nodded, but was unable to speak.

“It's been a long few days,” Hammond said, stating the obvious.  “Take forty-eight hours, and we'll have a full debriefing at 0900 on Monday.  Dismissed.”

The team stood as Hammond exited the room.

“Daniel, tell me about ...” Sam said, grabbing Daniel's arm and leading him out of the briefing room and into the corridor.

“Are you all right, O'Neill?”

“Oh, yeah.  I'm just fine.  I have some paperwork to do, Teal'c.  I'll see you in a couple of days.”

Teal'c nodded and left Jack alone.  The colonel tapped his fingers on the long, hardwood table several times, and then he walked over to the large window that overlooked the gate room.  Jack stared at the Stargate, full of wonder.

~That thing is a miracle, and so are you, Danny.~

====

Thirty minutes later, Jack walked into the locker room and saw Daniel standing by his locker.  The archaeologist had already changed into his short-sleeve, maroon T-shirt and blue jeans.  Jack stood for a moment and just stared.

~You're the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, Daniel.  Your blue eyes: they're even bluer than the Stargate, and they shimmer with brightness.  Your smile makes me ... Stop, O'Neill.  Don't scare him.  You promised.  He's alive.  Focus on that.  Your best friend is alive.~

“Hey, Jack.”

Daniel smiled at the older man, a gleam in his eye.

“Hey, yourself.  Quite a day.”

Jack walked to his locker and began to change into his gray sweatshirt and blue jeans, his heart beating more steadily and his soul feeling lighter with each minute spent in Daniel’s company.  His mind was gradually accepting that it wasn't a dream, that Daniel was real and not an illusion, and that he was standing only a few feet away.

“Yeah, long day,” Daniel agreed, a slight strain in his voice, indicating that he had yet to adjust to the latest harrowing events SG-1 had been through.

When Jack finished changing, he noticed Daniel was sitting quietly on the bench in front of his locker, facing Jack.  Seeing Jack notice, the younger man smiled shyly, warming Jack's heart.

“Pizza?” Jack asked, a hopeful tone in his voice.  He really wanted, and needed, to spend time with his friend.

Daniel nodded, Jack put on his coat, and they headed for the elevators, walking in silence.

~What's going on, Danny?  You ... waited for me.  I didn't have to wrestle you to persuade you to come over for pizza, not that I normally have to, but usually we tease or banter, but not this time.  It was like you ... wanted me to, really wanted me to.  Geez, I have a headache.  Now we're in the elevator, and you're ... close, very close.  Not complaining, you understand, but Danny, what's that look in your eyes?~

They walked into the parking lot, and at the same time, both pulled out their keys to their vehicles.  They stood and looked at each other for a moment.

“Danny ...”

Jack looked off towards Daniel's car, then over to his truck, and back at Daniel.  It was silly, but he really didn't want to let Daniel out of his sight.

“Jack, would you mind?  I ... I really don't feel like ... I mean ...”

It seemed Daniel didn't want to be on his own either, and that was just fine with Jack.

“Come on, Danny.  Let's take my truck.”

Jack motioned for Daniel to follow, which he did, putting his keys back into his pocket.  They didn't talk about it any further.  Jack opened the truck, they got in, and drove to his house in peaceful quiet.

====

On the way to Jack's house, they stopped to pick up a pizza, and once at the house, they devoured the pizza fairly quickly.

“Guess we were hungry.”

“Guess so,” Daniel quietly agreed, taking a sip of the beer Jack had given him as they ate at the counter between the kitchen and living room.

“Why don't we go up on the roof deck for a while?”

“Sure,” the younger man agreed.

Jack's roof deck was a haven for the two men.  It was where Jack often found peace after terrible nightmares.  On this night, going up to the deck had been the plan all along.  Both knew it, though neither had actually said it.

Under the starry sky, often with a gentle breeze caressing their faces, both Jack and Daniel felt free.  When they were on the roof deck, there was nothing but the moon and the stars to disturb their minds and spirits.

On this night, it was cold outside, but the crispness of the air made the two feel alive, and that was something each of them craved.  Daniel started to sit down in one of the two chairs Jack kept on the deck, but Jack tapped him on the forearm.

“Let's sit down here, Danny.”

Jack sat on deck floor, his back against the wall of the house.  Daniel shrugged and joined him.  Their shoulders brushed together often as they sat side by side.

The stars were shining brightly, the night clear.  It was perfect, picturesque even.

“Can't believe we were up there.  It looks so innocent, so new,” Jack said, his voice full of wonder.

“I know what you mean.  Never thought I'd be in outer space, not even in all our travel’s through the Stargate.”

“Danny ...”

“You had to go, Jack.”

Jack nodded.  He would never forget leaving Daniel behind, and he would never do it again.

~Never.~

The short debriefing had given Jack the answers to his question of how his miracle was alive.  Daniel had explained it.  Jack cringed as he replayed Daniel's words in his mind:

“I knew I was dying, but then I remembered the sarcophagus and managed to get to it.  I put myself inside, and fortunately, it worked.  There wasn't much time left when it opened, so I ran as fast as I could, dialed the alpha site, and then returned to the SGC.”

“Jack?”

Hearing his name pulled Jack from the nightmare playing in his mind.  He spoke with remorse and regret as he said, “I should have thought of it.  I shouldn't have left without you.”

“Jack, you had to.  You didn't have a choice.  I ... didn't think of the sarcophagus either, until ... after.”

Jack looked into Daniel's eyes.  It was there again, that look.  It had to be his imagination.

When Jack had been stranded with Sam in Antarctica, Daniel had flown with General Hammond and Teal'c to be with both his friends as they recovered.  It was then that he heard Jack's words, words of love ... for Daniel.

Back home in Colorado Springs, Daniel had finally told Jack he knew the truth.  In spite of that knowledge, their friendship had endured.  Jack had promised he'd never make Daniel feel uncomfortable, and he hadn't.  They were best friends, and neither wanted that to end.

Jack would never jeopardize his closeness with Daniel, not even now when Daniel's eyes seemed to be saying things that Jack desperately wanted to see.

“Danny ...”  It was all Jack seemed to be able to manage - Daniel's name.  Every time he had tried to say something intelligent, to move the conversation forward, to get past all the emotion, the only word that escaped his lips, was the soft name ... “Danny.”

A while later, Jack stood up and walked to the edge of the roof deck and looked up to the heavens at he twinkling stars.  It was getting late and colder, but Jack needed to be in the open.  His guilt at leaving Daniel on the Goa'uld ship was still overwhelming him.

At the same time, Jack's love for Daniel was swelling, and he couldn't say anything.  He wanted to hold him, but knew he couldn't.  Daniel loved Sha're.  Jack didn't have the right to be thinking like this.

~Get over it, O'Neill.  You're dreaming, and you can't afford that.~

Daniel rose and went to Jack's side.  He mirrored his friend's pose, looking up at the stars and admiring them in awe.  Minutes passed, but neither moved.  The chilly breeze was cutting into Daniel's smooth skin. Suddenly, his mind began to race with silent thoughts.

~I should go get a jacket, but ... no, I don't want to move.  I ... I want to stay here, by his side ... by Jack's side.~

Daniel felt safe with Jack.  He felt *more* with Jack.  Daniel's mind raced as he silently tried to work through his emotions.

~When did it get so complicated?  No, that's not the right question.  Gawd, when did everything suddenly become so clear, so simple?  Was it on Abydos?  Was it that moment on Ernest's Planet when your eyes told me that if I died, you would, too?  Maybe it was watching you with the crystalline entity version of Charlie.~

Daniel shivered as he continued to analyze his feelings for his best friend, the man who stood next to him, lost in his own thoughts.

~Maybe ... it was when you touched me on that freakin' mother ship.  You don't know what that touch did to me, Jack.  I wish you'd touch me again.  I wish you'd let me ... touch you.  I ... I want that, Jack.  How do I tell you that?  I'm scared.  What if you don't ... maybe ... you said you loved me, but I turned my back on that.  Jack, please tell me I didn't turn you away.  Do you still care?  Was that touch goodbye, or did it jolt your body like it did mine?~

====

Twenty minutes later, they were still standing under the stars, side by side in silence, both totally absorbed in their own thoughts and doubts as they scanned the heavens, when a falling star whooshed through the sky.

“Wow, look at that, Jack.  What an amazing sight.”  Daniel had turned to look at his best friend who had his eyes closed in deep concentration.  “Jack, are you okay?”

Jack opened his eyes and gazed at Daniel, a smile on his face.

“It was a falling star, Danny.  Don't you know what that means?”

“Oh, sure, you close your eyes, and make a wish.  Is ... is that what you were doing?”

“Yeah, I guess so, but ... I think I was being selfish.”

“Selfish?  How?”

“Because I already got my biggest wish in the world.”

“What's that?”

“You,” Jack answered impulsively.  He startled at his honesty, and quickly worked on covering up its true meaning.  “I mean, I thought you were dead, Danny.  Leaving you on that friggin' ship killed me inside; and now, here you are, alive ... standing here, wowing at a falling star.”

Daniel looked back up at the stars, thinking about Jack's words.  Softly, almost hesitantly, he asked, “What did you wish for, Jack?”

“Danny, I ...”

“Please, Jack.  Tell me what you wished for.”  It was a moment of truth. ~Please, Jack, be honest.  Don't run from me.~

“You.”

“Oh ... but I'm ... I'm here, Jack.”

“I know, and I'm glad you are.”  Jack's heart was beating rapidly, his pulse racing.  The conversation was heading in a direction he hadn't anticipated, no matter how much he wanted it, and he did desperately want it.

“Sam wanted me to come over tonight, hang out.  She ... she was feeling guilty, I think.”

“I didn't tell Carter about ... y'know ... just said you weren't coming with us.  She probably thinks she should have asked more questions when we were still on the ship.”

Daniel nodded and looked down at the backyard for a moment.  Part of him wished he was a gopher so he could dig a hole, burrow himself into the lawn, and hide forever; but he'd come too far, and he wanted this.  He was amazed at just how much he wanted it now.

Tentatively, he stated, “Teal'c asked if I'd stay and teach him how to play chess.”

“Chess?”

Jack laughed quietly at the thought.

“He knows you and I play it all the time.  He wants to learn how to do everything.  He's very curious about Earth customs and activities.”

“Just don't teach him how to play gin.  It's still the only game I can beat you at.”

Daniel smiled.  He would never tell Jack the truth about that.  It's not that he let Jack win; he just usually let himself be distracted while they played, and if Jack won, that was just coincidence, and nothing more.

“General Hammond asked if I'd like to come to dinner and meet his granddaughters.”

“Danny?”

Jack was looking at his friend quizzically.  He wasn't quite sure why Daniel was cataloguing his various invitations for the evening.

“The point is, Jack, I'm ... here because I ... well, I ... I want to be here. It's comfortable, kinda like being ...”

“Home?” Jack asked hopefully.

A flash of fear ran through him at his boldness in uttering such a personal and intimate word only to dissipate when Daniel nodded.

The two again stood in silence for a couple of minutes.  Now, both of their minds were racing with silent hopes and dreams, and also with fears and doubts.
 
~Home?  Do you think of this as home, Danny?  Heaven knows it's more of a home when you're here.  You give it life and color.  I love this place, but when you're here, it ... sings.  Geez, I've turned poetic.  When did that happen?~

Jack was too paralyzed to move.  He knew what he wanted, but wasn't sure if Daniel was saying what he hoped he was saying, and Jack had promised his best friend not to put any pressure on him.

Daniel had seemed confused and unclear about his own feelings after Antarctica.  Jack was sure Daniel loved Sha're, and he knew the beautiful woman was still out there somewhere.  No, Daniel couldn't be saying what Jack was hoping he was.

Daniel kept eye contact with his friend and waited for Jack to make the next move.

~Come on, Jack.  Help me out here.~

Daniel smiled shyly, lowering his head for a moment until Jack asked, “Are you okay, Daniel?”

It was an opening.  The archaeologist had to chance it.  He hoped Jack would get the hidden message.

Looking out into the night sky, Daniel answered softly, “Actually ... I'm ... cold.”

“Cold?”  Another nod came from the younger man.  Jack's heart thundered, and his pulse throbbed.  His knees felt like Jell-O, sure to collapse at any moment.  “Danny?”  Daniel turned his head back towards Jack.  ~The look?  Is he really saying this?  Danny, what if I'm wrong?  But I have to take the chance.  I love you too much not to.~

Slowly, Jack took his left hand and placed his palm on Daniel's cheek.  Seeing the young man close his eyes, and hearing the contented sigh at the contact, Jack's heart skipped a beat in delight.  Daniel was reacting to his touch, and Jack himself was melting like butter at the sound of Daniel's low moan of pleasure.

“Danny.”

It was a statement, a question, a desire, a wish, and a thousand other things.

Daniel opened his misty eyes and blinked a few times.

“I'm ... cold, Jack.”

His voice trembled, but Jack wasn't sure if it was from the evening chill or a panicked mind.

“I ... may have a way to fix that.”

Jack's hand was still on his soon-to-be lover's cheek, caressing it now, tenderly, wantonly.

“I was hoping you might ... think of ... something.”

Jack smiled.  He let his hand glide to Daniel's arm, then to his waist, turning the young man to face him as he moved within Daniel's personal space.  They were close, their bodies brushing slightly.  Their eyes locked onto each other's, full of both expectation and fear.

Jack brought his other hand to Daniel's waist, and then tentatively wrapped them around him, giving Daniel a chance to back away if he wanted to, but the linguist held his ground, moving his own hands to the small of Jack's back.

More confident now, Jack pulled Daniel into him, leaning his chin against Daniel's shoulder.  Daniel was a little tense, but the longer the embrace lasted, the more relaxed he became.  Daniel lay his head on Jack's shoulder, enjoying the scent of this man he treasured.

There was something else, too.  For the first time during the nightmare of the past few weeks, Daniel felt at ease and, perhaps more importantly, he felt safe.  Jack was holding him, and somehow, it made everything better.  He wondered if he could persuade Jack to never let go, claiming it was therapeutic.

“Still cold?”

“No, getting ... warmer by the minute.”

“Me, too.”

They held on to each other, best friends on the verge of being lovers, preparing themselves for something destined to change both of their lives forever.

Jack pulled back from the embrace slightly so that he and Daniel could look into each other's eyes.  So much of their communication was nonverbal; so much of their bond was exhibited in double meanings, in saying one thing that really meant something else that only they could understand; and so much of their relationship was almost telepathic, their eyes saying what words couldn't.  Brown eyes that had been so patient looked into blue eyes that now shined with anticipation.

“Danny, are you sure?  I mean Sha're.  I told you: we'll find her, and ...”

Jack was silenced by two fingers of Daniel's right hand that rested gently against the silver-gray-haired man's lips.

Daniel found his courage.  He had to say what he wanted.  He couldn't risk Jack misunderstanding, not now.

“Shhh.  I want this, Jack.  I ... I want you.  Maybe it's wrong.  Maybe she won't understand.  I don't know ... maybe I don't understand, but I can't deny it any longer, and I ... I don't want to.  I thought you were dead, Jack.  Don't you get that?”

“What?”

“We didn't know, Jack.  I lived for you ... the ... the sarcophagus ... I was lying there, remembering how you touched me, and I knew then that I ... how I ...”

Daniel took a deep breath.  This was hard.  He was shaking, full of doubts, terrified the older man would change his mind but yet he, he still wanted and needed Jack in a way he was only just beginning to understand.

“I put myself in that thing because I wanted to see you again, to ... touch you the way you touched me.  And then I made it back through the Gate, but Jack, you were still out there.  I had saved myself, but lost you.  It ... it scared me.  I thought ...”

Daniel lowered his head, his eyes watery, his voice cracking from the emotions he had just shared.

“Touch me,  Danny.”

Daniel looked at Jack and saw the permission, the desire, the urging in his eyes.  He took his right hand and placed his palm on Jack's left cheek.  Jack smiled, raised his right hand, and mirrored Daniel's action, his palm now caressing Daniel's right cheek.

“Feels right.”

“That it does, Space Monkey.”

“Jack, that has got to be the most ridiculous name I've ever heard.”

“You want to argue or ...”

“Or ... what?”

“Or ... or ... this?”

Jack inched his face towards Daniel, finally brushing their lips together. It was quick and tentative.  Neither had ever done this with another man before.  Their hearts were beating faster than ever, but they were warm, so warm.

He pulled back for a few seconds to look into Daniel's eyes, and still seeing permission and desire, Jack's lips again met Daniel's, but this time he nibbled slightly at the other man's soft upper lip, then with his tongue licked the tender lips, urging them to part, which they did.

Jack's tongue made contact with Daniel's.  It was awkward at first, as they both got used to the strange sensation of kissing their best friend; but as the awkwardness lessened, the passion grew until finally they needed to come up for air.

When they did, Jack leaned his forehead on Daniel's.  It was a pose that would become second nature to them, one taken at quiet, intimate moments, their foreheads joined as their hearts would be.

“Jack, have you ever ... I mean, with another ... you know?”

“No, never.  You?”

“No.”

“Scared?”

“Yes.  No. Yes.  I don't know,” Daniel said with exasperation in his voice.

Jack placed a kiss on Daniel's nose and chuckled, “Yeah, me, too.”

It seemed a silly thing to do, but he realized he liked doing that.  In fact, right now, Jack was one very happy camper and was looking forward to trying out all sorts of 'silly' things with the younger man.

“So what now?  I mean, do you know ... how we ... you know?”

“Daniel, it's called sex, not 'you know'.”

Daniel blushed, and Jack couldn't help himself.   His genius was shyer than anyone could ever imagine, and it made Jack's heart sing to think Daniel wanted him.

Jack pulled Daniel back into him, and kissed him soundly, devouring the man's mouth.  Daniel flung his arms around Jack's neck, pulling him even closer, if that were possible.

~That was better.  Practice, O'Neill.  That's all we need.  Geez, I love him ... my ... *MY* Space Monkey.~

~Gawd, I like that.  It's a different feeling, kissing a man, but my heart feels different, too.  We need to do this more; become ... experts at it even.  Oh yes, I want to kiss ... my?  Gawd, I hope so ... I want to kiss *my* colonel some more ... lots more.~  “You didn't answer my question, Jack.  Maybe we need to do ... research.”

“Oh yeah, definitely ... lots and lots of research, Daniel, starting right here ...”

Jack kissed the pulse point on Daniel's neck causing the young man to let out a soft moan that made Jack smile knowing that sound was his, and only for him.

“Research ... I like ... that.”

“You haven't seen anything yet, Danny.”

“Seriously, Jack, I ... I'm not sure what or how ...”  ~I'm new at this.  I don't want to disappoint you.  I'm crazy to think I can make you happy, but ... I ... I want to make you happy, Jack.  I want that so much -- to learn everything about you and your ... gawd, your sexy body.  I want to explore you in every way possible.~

“It's okay, Love.”  Jack didn't realize what he had said until he saw Daniel's eyes widen.  “Danny, you know ... I love you.  I'd never do anything to hurt you.”

“I know.”  ~He called me ... Love.  I ... I like that ... a lot.~

“And you don't need to worry about ... research.  We'll figure it out as we go along; we'll research each other.”

“Explore,” Daniel said with a wicked grin.

“Oh yeah, peaceful explorers doing very long, detailed, peaceful explorations.”

Daniel made the first move this time and sought out Jack's lips.  He liked kissing Jack.  He felt tingly and more alive than he could ever remember feeling.

“I don't want to rush you, Danny.”

“I think we should start our research.”

A bit nervously, and yet wanting it more than anything else, Jack asked, “Bed?”

“Yes.”  Daniel saw Jack laugh suddenly.  He didn't know what that meant, and he began to doubt everything they had just said.  “What's so funny?” Daniel asked a bit hesitantly.

With an Irish grin, the older man answered, “I want to be your artifact.  I love to watch you, Daniel, the way you touch those rocks.  Your hands ... I've fantasized about you touching me the same way you touch those artifacts.”

“Fant...fantasize ... about me?”

Jack nodded and then answered, “I love you, Daniel.  I've wanted you for so long, but I never thought I'd get my wish, except in my fantasies.”

It was Daniel who smiled now.

“About being my artifact, I ... I think that could be arranged.”

Jack led Daniel towards the ladder when he felt the young man stop.  Still concerned he was rushing the younger man, Jack turned and spoke sincerely, “We don't have to, Danny.”

~Say it, Jackson.  He needs to hear the words.  I know it's hard, but you have to say it.  He ... he said it, so just ... take a breath, say the words, and tell him why you just hesitated, because it's not what he's thinking.  He's thinking I don't want him, but I do.  I do, Jack.~  “I ... I love you, Jack.  I know what I want, but are you ... sure?  I mean, the Air Force and ...”

Jack cut Daniel off with a kiss, silently thinking as he did so how easy it would be to get used to this new sensation.

“You come first, Danny -- always.  I've been empty inside.  You know how I was on Abydos the first time.  All that changed because of you. Nothing is more important than you, including the Air Force.”

“If they find out ...”

Daniel's voice was strained from emotion.  He wasn't used to people caring so much about him, certainly he'd never had anyone willing to risk their career just for him.  He was terrified that Jack would regret his decision, or maybe Daniel wouldn't be any good at making love with a man.  He was, he thought, a virgin in a sense.

“If they find out, we'll deal with it.  Key word there, Daniel, is 'we' ... assuming that's what you want.”  ~Sheez, what about Sha're?  He loves her.  It killed him when those snakeheads took her.  He's suffered so much: his parents, those crappy foster homes, and who knows what else he hasn't told me about ... yet.  Point is, when Sha're comes back, he'll want to go back to her.  I can't think about that.  He needs me to be strong.  I'll try, Danny.  I'm not good enough for you, not even sure I can satisfy you in bed, but I want you more than life, so ... I'm going to try and be everything you want me to be, and ... if ... no, when ... I promised we'd find her, so *when* she comes back, I'll ... I can't think about that.~

Jack swallowed hard from his internal conflict.  Clearly, both men were nervous and doubting their own worth to the other; and yet, their need for the other was increasing by the second.

Uncertainty crept into Daniel's eyes as he finally spoke again.

“They could court-martial you.”

“No, they won't.  I'd just retire again.  Danny, I meant what I said before; if you aren't ready, or if you changed your mind, it's ... okay.  I understand.  You ... could do better you know, a lot better.”

“JACK ... no!  That's not ...” Daniel was frustrated as he took a calming breath.  He knew he had to say the words again, no matter how hard it was for him.  “Jack, I love you. I want you.  I'm just afraid you'll regret it in the morning.”

Jack grinned at the three magical words, his soul welcoming the warmth of being loved by someone he had dreamed about for so long.

~You love me, Danny.~

“Daniel, I've been in love with you since Oannes.  You ... you know that.  I've had lots of time to digest it, debate it, go over all the pros and cons, and at the end of the day, the one thing I keep coming back to is ... you ... how beautiful you are, inside and out, and how you make me feel like I'm worth something again.  You ... geez, Danny, you put so much faith and trust in me.  I don't know why, but I'm glad you do.”

Jack took Daniel's hands in his; he loved the feeling of being able to touch the younger man freely.  He smiled and spoke with conviction as he said, “I know without a doubt, Daniel, that what I feel for you won't change, and if we do this, it's ... as forever as you want it to be.”

“For...forever?  Us?”

“I'd like to think so.  You and me, together, for always; it's what I want.”

“Me, too.  It'll just take some getting used to.  I'm ... I haven't had ...”

Jack leaned in and tenderly kissed Daniel again.  They were gaining confidence, each kiss more assured than the last.

“I know, but you do now.  You have me, Danny, for as long as you want me.”

“Let's go to bed, Jack.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

As Jack led Daniel to what he hoped would be their bedroom for the rest of time, he thanked the heavens and the stars for the blessing of Daniel Jackson.  He would keep his precious falling star safe forever; he'd never hurt him, and he vowed to kill anyone who tried to harm Daniel.

With one last look at the night sky as he locked the patio door, Jack whispered, “thank you” to that falling star.  From now on, he'd always wish upon a star, and his wish would always be Daniel -- safe, alive, and happy in his arms.

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