What was Always There, by JoaG and DebA

Someone was nibbling at the juncture where his jaw met his throat. Daniel turned his head slightly to allow better access. Sweet sensations coursed through his body, and he sighed sleepily, contented. A hand almost hesitatingly touched his thigh, and slowly inched its way up towards Daniel’s tightening groin.

Still half asleep, he moaned slightly, wanting more. There was a hockey game playing in the background, and he heard from afar the excited sounds of the commentator announcing a goal. Daniel knew that he was safe; the background noise was one that he was very familiar with.

The mouth moved from his jaw and slowly made its way across his cheek. As soft lips touched his own, Daniel raised his hand to caress his lover’s face. He tasted beer, and somehow it felt right.

The sensation of stubble against his questing fingers did more to wake him than the slow seduction his best friend was performing on him. Daniel’s eyes flew open as he pulled back, alarmed and startled.

“Jack, what the hell do you think you’re doing?” he exclaimed as he threw himself off the couch where he’d fallen asleep. Jack seemed to be nearly as surprised as he was, and Daniel wondered for a moment whether Jack had been sleeping and acting out a dream.

“Shit, Daniel, I’m sorry. I…” Jack’s eyes turned away from him. “I’m sorry,” he said in a low voice.

Daniel had evidently dozed off on Jack’s couch, but why had Jack… how could Jack have… did Jack usually think of kissing him? It had felt nice. Great, actually. He licked his lips as he thought back at the sensation of Jack’s mouth against his. He looked at Jack, and noticed his eyes staring at his own mouth.

But Jack was a man, how could he want this, how could Daniel want this? God he was so confused. His safe haven here with Jack had suddenly become a place filled with doubts and uncertainties. He was a little angry now that Jack had raised these feelings inside of him. He hadn’t been touched that way since Shau’re… how could he *not* react? Uncomfortable in his now too tight pants and embarrassed that he had responded to his friend’s touch, Daniel had one thought only in his mind. Escape.

“I gotta go,” Daniel said as he turned on his heel and picked up his jacket off the banister as he hurried past Jack. As he walked out the door, he heard his friend’s voice calling him. He ignored him, slamming the door behind him.

He almost ran to his car and threw himself behind the wheel. Daniel drove off in a screech of tires and smoke which was uncharacteristic of the usually careful driver.

- - - - -

God, what had he been thinking? How the hell had this happened? One moment Daniel was kissing him and the next, he was running away from him. Daniel... Daniel, God he was so sorry. Jack had loved him for the longest time, he hadn’t even been aware of it. This feeling inside was, at least he thought, just friendship. A very close friendship. He didn't even know when all that had changed.

Jack walked away from the window where he’d been hoping to see Daniel drive back to the house. He sat down dejectedly onto the couch. He’d thought about it some over the last few months. Jack thought that he’d started looking at Daniel differently sometime after Sha’re gave birth to that snakehead’s baby. Or maybe, maybe...it was after that Zatarc thing. He’d had feelings for Carter also, but when he’d thought about it later, he realized that he’d had feelings for the entire team. He cared more about everyone than he knew he should.

Jack eyed the empty bottles of beer, debating whether he should try and get drunk tonight. He got up and picked up the empties, deciding that alcohol wouldn’t solve his problems. He’d tried that after Charlie had died, it hadn’t numbed the pain, just prolonged it.

Maybe… God, he didn't know! One thing he was sure of, though, was that after Teal'c killed Amonet to save Daniel, when Daniel had cried broken heartedly in his arms that night, he’d known that his feelings for Daniel were different than just teammate and friend. He’d grieved with him. Felt the pain of his loss, knowing the pain of losing someone you loved so dearly. He had wanted to take it all away, take the burden of pain from him and yet, Jack knew he couldn't. Jack had held Daniel as he’d cried. He’d stood beside him at the funeral, and had known then that he wanted to stand beside him for the rest of his life, in whatever capacity Daniel would allow him.

But he had stayed away, kept those feelings hidden. Daniel had needed a friend, and Jack still wasn't 100% sure what those feelings were. And was he sure now? He wished he knew. He was so confused; he’d never even looked at a man in this light before.

He’d seen Daniel’s face when he’d given Shau’re’s baby back to that alien Mother Nature being a few days ago. Known that Daniel had done the right thing, but had seen how shattered his friend had been when he’d had to give up the last link to his dead wife. That was mainly the reason he’d invited the younger man over tonight, he’d wanted him to relax, get him away from the work that he’d buried himself in. He’d been surprised when Daniel had actually agreed to come, and like some young teenager on his first date, Jack had excitedly planned their evening together.

He picked up the phone, debating whether to phone Daniel. He began dialing the number then hung the phone up before completing the call. He wanted so badly to explain, but… what was he going to say?

Jack walked around the house like a zombie, turning off the lights, locking up the doors and windows. He walked into the bathroom and stripped, quickly and methodically, leaving his clothes lying on the tiled floor as he stepped into the shower.

Damn, what had he done? Stupid, Stupid, Stupid! He pounded his fist on the wall as he thought that he should have stopped Daniel from leaving and sat him down to talk. Jack had been nearly as shocked as Daniel to have woken up and found him in his arms, kissing him back just as eagerly. The difference was that Jack had been harbouring feelings of love towards Daniel for months now, and Daniel… well, he’d thought Jack was straight. Hell, Jack had thought he was straight too.

Now what was he going to do? They had a mission briefing in the morning and he’d have to face Daniel without them discussing what he’d done. Without a chance for Jack to apologize. Without a chance to explain.


Maybe Jack could get up early, go over to Daniel’s place. Or maybe he should wait until they got back. Jack just knew that when Daniel saw him again, he’d be looking at Jack differently. Damn, what had he done? He had probably just lost his best friend.

- - - - - -

Daniel should have had no trouble falling asleep that night. He’d been dead tired, and had half expected to spend the night in Jack’s spare bed. Ever since they’d found Kheb and Shau’re’s son, Daniel had been working himself hard, hoping to fall into bed in exhaustion. It was only these past few nights that he’d been able to sleep without nightmares. Jack had invited him over for an evening of relaxation and Daniel had accepted, with gratitude.

Instead, it was three in the morning and he’d been tossing and turning ever since he’d gone to bed. He’d stomped into the apartment and had paced the floor, alternating between cursing Jack and berating himself for having lost a good friend. He had half expected Jack to come banging on his door, or at the least, have phoned him.

He was hurt that Jack hadn’t even tried to explain, that he hadn’t come looking for Daniel to try and fix things. Finally Daniel had stepped into a hot shower and had forced himself to calm down and try to relax, but to no avail.

Turning onto his back, Daniel brought a finger to his mouth and traced the edges of his lips, remembering the feel of Jack kissing him. Daniel groaned as he felt his groin tighten and swell at the memory, and he turned onto his side, slamming his fist into the pillow in frustration. This was Jack! This was his best friend that Daniel was getting a hard on over.

This had never happened before. He had never thought of Jack in that way… had he? Sure he was always happiest when in Jack’s company, even when Jack was annoying the shit out of him, although he’d never admit it to him. But to physically want a man, to crave his touch, need his caress… And suddenly Daniel realized that he had. He craved Jack’s approval, and had always turned to him first when he was sick or in trouble. He cared for Jack.

With that revelation in mind, Daniel wondered what it would feel like to touch Jack. What would another man’s penis feel like in his hands? Daniel moaned as he pictured Jack’s lips closing on his own, Jack’s hands on his body, moving to his cock, stroking… his mouth coming down, his tongue flicking onto the tip of his penis… licking, nibbling.

Daniel threw himself off the bed and almost ran to the shower, turning it on full force. He stepped into the stream without removing his clothes, gasping as the cold water took his breath away. He leaned his head against the tiles, warmer against his skin than the cold liquid streaming down his body.

He was sick. He was perverted. Why had Jack done this to him? Daniel had never been sexually attracted to another man, so why now? Why Jack? Why was Jack attracted to Daniel? Had Daniel done something, given Jack wrong vibes?

In the midst of his confusion, Daniel became aware of a niggling thought in the back of his mind. Relief. Relief that Jack wasn’t interested in Sam, and acknowledgement that he had been jealous of Jack’s attention to Sam. Oh God, but Daniel felt like a first class heel. What was he supposed to do now? How could he face Jack in the morning? Not only was he angry at Jack, he was embarrassed that he was lusting after his best friend.

Shivering, Daniel turned off the shower with numb fingers. He pulled his sodden clothes off his frozen body, almost slipping in the tub when his uncoordinated movements pulled him off balance.

Wrapping a towel around his hips, he padded to the bedroom for dry clothes. Knowing he wouldn’t be able to sleep, Daniel decided to brew some coffee and make an early start to the SGC.

- - - - - -

*Daniel’s late again. Can’t that man ever be on time?* Jack stood there watching Carter and Teal’c make last minute checks of their equipment, thinking how Daniel had avoided looking at him this morning at the briefing table.

Daniel had just sat there and stared at his file, doing his best to not let his emotions seep into the room. His archaeologist had stood and reviewed the data and potential prospects for this planet, the whole time meeting everyone’s eyes but his teamleader’s. *His archaeologist ... groan … I better never let Daniel hear me call him that or I’m so dead.* Daniel had studiously ignored him and had only spoken directly to Jack when he had asked a question. The answer short and to the point, producing a few puzzled glances from the other participants.

Jack didn’t know how much of the tension Carter and Teal’c had noticed but the General was worried and had called him on it.

“Colonel, is there anything you need to discuss prior to the mission?”

“No sir, nothing that I know of, looks routine to me.”

“Maybe I should be a little more direct then, Colonel. What is going on between you and Dr. Jackson?”

At that point a little buzz of panic had run through Jack. *Did Hammond know?*

“I’m not sure what you’re referring to sir.” That had come out smoother then he could have anticipated.

“I sense a little tension in the ranks, Jack. Have you and Dr. Jackson had a disagreement?”

“Nothing I can’t handle, sir.”

“Well, you must not be handling it. Dr. Jackson was wound tighter than one of my guitar strings this morning. I’m worried about sending him on this mission. I don’t want anything interfering which might put the team in danger.”

Jack had panicked a little then. What should he tell Hammond? He had gone back to the rules of command for this one. “It’s my fault sir, nothing serious and I thought to make amends on this mission and get things worked out. I would have sooner but it only came to a head last night.”

General Hammond had given Jack a concerned look, not quite believing him. But the General had let it go and now here he was waiting for Daniel to make an appearance.

Just then, containment doors opened to admit Daniel. He walked in as he worked at tightening the straps of his backpack. Jack could see the scientist mumbling to himself, not quite hearing what was being said. Standing back, he found it hard not to admire Daniel’s mouth. Sensuous, full, his mind wondered what they would look like all bruised and swollen, in the throws of passion. *Don’t even go there, O’Neill.*

Shaking himself out of that daydream, Jack snarked at Daniel, “Late again, Jackson. Can’t you ever be on time?” He knew he was taking his frustrations out on the one person who didn’t deserve it. In truth, it was all he could do not to show his love for Daniel, with his exquisite muscular definition, long legs, and the most beautiful and intelligent blue eyes now shining with anger and resentment.

“I ‘was’ on time, Jack. The General asked to see me for a few minutes before we left. I was with ‘him’.”

Jack felt that rush of panic come back. Turning, he yelled for Davis to dial it up so Daniel couldn’t see the fear and terror suddenly running through him.

As the gate started to turn, Jack saw Carter and Teal’c looking at Daniel, most likely wondering why the general would ask to see him so close to SG1’s embarkation time. But Daniel obviously wasn’t going to say anymore. In fact he had moved away, standing next to Teal’c.

The gate engaged and the wormhole bloomed to life. With that, the General gave SG1 the go. As Teal’c and Carter started up the ramp, Jack gave Daniel one last glance and saw him staring at him, with a strange look in his eye. What was that? Pain? Misery? Worry? Puzzlement? Hunger? Lust? Love? *Yeah right, O’Neill. Keep dreaming. Lust and love will never be a part of it after I fucked this up so royally.*

- - - - - -

Daniel was standing on top of a crumbling stone wall trying to get a rubbing of some eroded bits of writing etched on a piece of broken obelisk. The ruins he was currently exploring were set at the edge of a fast flowing river which Sam figured was glacier melt. Daniel had concluded that the glacier was probably the reason why the inhabitants had abandoned this place a thousand years ago, give or take a hundred years.

Frigid water splashed his legs occasionally as it bounced off the large rocks in the river. Not fifty feet downriver, the water churned angrily as rocks turned the current into rapids. From Daniel’s vantage point, he could see dark storm clouds on the horizon. They were probably in for a doozy of a storm in an hour or so.

Daniel couldn’t keep his eyes off of Jack, and he was having trouble keeping his mind on his work. His friend was talking with Sam at the moment, and Daniel took advantage of his distraction. He raked his eyes over the tall, wiry frame, finally coming to a stop on the man’s lips. With a flush of heat, he recalled what it had felt like when those lips had been locked with his own.

When Jack turned his head to stare at Daniel, he quickly turned back to his work in embarrassment, hoping to hide the fact that he was getting hard just at the memory of a kiss. He looked at the partial etching he had made, half heartedly trying to finish it.

He heard Jack’s footsteps coming towards him, and he steadfastly continued his work, ignoring his commanding officer and friend. He turned his body away from Jack, trying to hide the telltale tenting of his pants.

“You almost done?” Jack asked, stopping to lean against the wall. Daniel heard bits of stones falling as Jack moved to set his butt against the barrier.

“Just about. Maybe two more minutes,” Daniel said in what sounded like a confident and calm voice. Just the sound of Jack’s voice was sending shivers down his spine. What was wrong with him? How could things have changed so quickly? Daniel was anxious to get this mission over with so that he could sit down with Jack and talk. He knew one thing for certain; he wanted to taste this man’s lips once more.

“Sooo, did Hammond have anything interesting to say,” Jack asked in a bored tone. Daniel froze in his work, thinking that maybe Jack was more worried about what Daniel had told the general than what had occurred between them last night.

Finished with his tracing, Daniel began rolling up the papers with a little more force than warranted. “Don’t worry, I told the general that I was still upset about Shau’re. You don’t have to worry about your job.”

“Daniel, that’s not what I….” Daniel finally looked up at his friend’s face, and saw those beautiful chocolate-coloured eyes looking at him full of emotions. Jack looked away uncomfortably.

Daniel swallowed audibly, realizing that he’d hurt his feelings. “Jack,” he started, seeing the older man look at him once more. He stared into his eyes, his gaze returning once more to Jack’s mouth before he was able to continue. “We have to talk about what happened last night,” he said softly.

“Yeah, about that. I’m really sorry, Daniel. I guess I had one too many beers and I…”

“Damn it, Jack,” Daniel spat as he realized his friend was going to try and bury the whole incident beneath the proverbial carpet with the pretext of being drunk when Daniel was pretty sure Jack had been half asleep, same as he. As he squatted in order to place a hand beneath him for support before jumping off the wall, a piece of crumbling mortar slipped beneath his foot and Daniel toppled backwards. The shock of the cold water caused him to gasp involuntarily as he went under. The next thing Daniel knew, he was fighting the urge to cough as he fought to get his head above the water.

- - - - - -

“Shit! Daniel!” Jack yelled as he saw the archaeologist slip off the rocks and tumble down into the water. Scrambling over, he tried to grab him but missed, not being close enough.

Yelling for Carter and Teal’c, he saw Daniel go under, water rushing by, heading for the boulders in the middle of the river. Running along the river bank, he could only watch helplessly as he saw Daniel struggle to the surface only to hit the rocks, the left side of his body slammed against them by the force of the water.

Jack ran along the bank, trying to track Daniel as the water pushed him further away. His heart sank as he saw his friend quickly disappear around a bend a hundred yards further down river. Losing sight of Daniel, he felt a fear grip him. *Oh, God, Oh, God.* A moan slipped out as he realized he may have lost the most important person in his life.

*No, I can’t accept that!* Jack gave himself a mental shake and shifted into Colonel mode.

“Carter, get to the gate and tell Hammond what’s happened. Request an S&R team for back up. Teal’c and I’ll head down river and look for Daniel. Once he gets past the rapids, he won’t be moving quite as fast. Hopefully we will catch up with him there. Once Search and Rescue arrives, double time it. We need to get him out of the water as soon as possible. It’s ice cold and he’ll be hypothermic.”

Teal’c and Carter glanced at each other, grim looks on their faces. They both knew that in all likelihood Daniel was probably already dead, drowned. But... 'they' would not give up on him. ‘Jack’ would not give up on him. Daniel had cheated death more than once. Maybe, just maybe, he could again.

Turning, Carter started for the gate on the run. “Check in every 30 minutes.” Jack yelled at the retreating figure.

Jack heard a faint “Yes Sir!” as he turned back to the river.

“Let’s go, Teal’c.” Jack started off, jogging along the river bank, looking for signs of Daniel, yet knowing he wouldn’t see any for a while. *Just need to get around the bend, then we’ll have to slow down and start looking more closely.*

Fear and frustration only multiplied as Jack and Teal’c came to the bend in the river. Jack could see in the distance that the river split into two legs. Continuing down, carefully checking both sides of the river, coming to the 'Y' ten minutes later.

“T, we’re going to have to split up here. I’ll take the right leg, you wait here for Carter. When she and the rescue team arrive with their equipment, get to the other side and take the left leg. I don’t want to wait. Every minute counts here.” They both knew what the outcome of this could be; neither mentioned it, not needing to. “Check in every 30.”

Jack continued along the river bank. *I may have lost him, when I was just getting up the courage to tell him. Don’t do this Daniel. Just be alive... just be alive!*

- - - - - -

Jack continued his wild dash along the riverbank, eyes peeled for any sign of Daniel. The light was dimming, and Jack was aware of thunder rumbling in the distance. He hoped that if Daniel had made it into this leg of the river, he would wash up on this side so Jack wouldn’t end up losing precious time swimming across to the other shore. The current was still very fast, interlaced with hidden rocks as the various swirls and eddies in the water were testament to. He winced internally when he remembered Daniel hitting those rocks, hard.

Jack was forced to slow down slightly as the sand beneath his feet became strewn with rocks. A small cliff rose up on his right, and Jack was forced to circumvent large boulders which had fallen off the rock face over the years. As he ran, he knew that he was risking a sprained or broken ankle. He finally spotted something dark lying half in and out of the water. Hoping that it was Daniel and not a washed up log, he increased his pace. As he neared, he could make out arms and legs. He flicked his radio on, gasping to Teal’c that he had found Daniel. He heard Teal’c’s ‘understood’ through a haze of breathless gasps and pounding blood, interspersed with the booming sound of thunder. Jack realized belatedly that the storm that had been threatening earlier was actually upon him.

Daniel lay on his stomach where he’d managed to pull his upper torso out of the water. Checking for a pulse with a shaking hand and finding one, Jack breathed a sigh of relief. Reaching for his radio again, he contacted Teal’c, letting the rest of SG1 know that Daniel was alive.

Receiving another ‘Understood’ from Teal’c, Jack continued his check, not surprised to feel his friend’s chilled skin beneath his fingers. Daniel wasn’t shivering and that scared him, hypothermia being so dangerous.

*God, he’s so cold. OK, OK get a grip, you knew he would be hypothermic. He’s alive that’s what’s important.* Jack’s fear was almost overpowering, but he reined it in. Daniel needed him and he needed him to be cool and calm.

Starting at his shoulders and head, Jack began a systematic check for broken bones. As he did so, he noticed Daniel was wheezing badly. *Man oh man, how much water can one archaeologist inhale and still live? At least he ‘is’ still alive.* Jack gave a silent prayer of thanks to the powers that be.

He doubled that prayer when he didn’t feel any fractures on his quick pass over Daniel’s body. But he knew he would feel much better when Daniel was awake and moving. Pulling Daniel’s shirt up, he could see the black and blue marks of bruises riddling the left side his back, starting at his shoulder and continuing down. Although he wouldn’t know their full extent until he got these wet clothes off Daniel, Jack knew the injuries went further down than he could see at this time. He was hoping that he didn’t have any hidden breaks, such as a broken rib. Jack shivered at this thought. *Won’t know until he is awake. Might as well not borrow trouble.*

He did find an area on Daniel’s left flank, below the belt line which was bleeding profusely. Pulling his knife from its sheath, Jack cut away the torn patch of pants around the bleeding site. There was a jagged tear, only three inches long but from the looks of it, very deep. *Most likely from hitting the rocks. Damn, Daniel, come on, buddy. Wake up.* Jack knew he needed to get Daniel out of this water and warmed up. The rumbling of the thunder was getting closer.

Grasping him firmly beneath the arms, Jack pulled Daniel out of the frigid water. He moaned at the movement, the sound eliciting a harsh coughing fit. Daniel attempted to curl up on his side, hissing in pain.

“It’s okay, let it out,” Jack said soothingly when Daniel began to vomit the water he had ingested in his trip down the river. He half supported Daniel on his lap as the man heaved and gagged and coughed. Thunder crashed loudly and the sky was ripped open by bright flashes of lightening. Jack looked around worriedly for shelter, wanting to get them both under some kind of cover before the storm hit. When the semi-conscious man finally finished, he lay limply against Jack, breathing harshly, eyes closed.

Spotting what he was looking for several hundred feet down the shore, Jack thanked whatever gods that were looking down on them.

“Come on, Danny,” Jack coaxed as he pulled his friend into a seated position.

“J’ck?” he asked weakly, his eyes fluttering open.

“Yeah,” Jack replied as another loud clap of thunder drowned out his words. He felt Daniel jump under his hands, startled by the sound.

“Can you walk? We need to get to shelter before the storm hits. Just a little way, okay?”

Daniel nodded his head, bringing his feet up under him in an attempt to stand. Moaning in pain, he managed to stand with Jack’s help.

They made their way down the river, Jack half supporting Daniel to their promised shelter. Daniel stumbled drunkenly, barely able to stay upright. The precarious footing on the large slippery rocks didn’t help them any. It was a miracle that they managed to make it to the opening in the rock wall without slipping and falling.

Hoping that no creatures were holed up in the cave, Jack nevertheless freed a hand and pulled the safety off his gun. Awkwardly holding it in one hand, he pointed the barrel into the cave as they made their way inside. A quick glance showed no danger inside the cave. Settling Daniel down beside the entrance, he took his jacket off and covered him with it. His friend hadn’t spoken since saying his name. Jack knew that he had to get him warmed up, and fast. Daniel was lying limply on the floor, breath still wheezing in his lungs. Jack placed a hand on Daniel’s cheek, and to his relief, Daniel opened his eyes and looked at Jack.

“Cold,” Daniel said plaintively.

“I know,” Jack replied as he caressed Daniel’s cheek with his thumb. Another crash of thunder followed by an almost immediate flash of lightening reminded Jack of Daniel’s need to get warm. He dashed outside and grabbed an armload of driftwood. He managed to make two more trips before the rain came crashing down on them.

- - - - - -

“Jack?” Jack pulled Daniel closer to his body. He was seated with his back up against the wall of the cave. He had hauled Daniel into a sitting position to help with his breathing, and give him body to body contact in an attempt to warm him.

“You’re awake!” The relief was evident in Jack’s voice.

“So cccold.” Jack could feel the shivers and shudders running through the archaeologist’s body. Tucking the blanket in tighter around his friend, Jack desperately hoped for the storm to end quickly. He needed to get Daniel into Fraiser’s care sooner rather than later.

After ascertaining that the cave was free of unwanted occupants, Jack had assisted Daniel further into the cave away from the entrance. Breaking out his emergency blanket, he’d covered the archaeologist and had set about warming up their surroundings. Outside the storm raged furiously, shafts of lightening illuminating the cavern in a stark white light, the cold humidity contributing to Daniel’s discomfort. Jack could see the trembling of Daniel’s body even as he built a fire, and he was scared. Hypothermia was extremely dangerous.

*I got to get this fire going.* Jack felt a little sense of desperation. Tamping it down and taking a deep breath, he worked quickly, making a fire to help warm his friend.

Lighting the kindling with waterproof matches, the sticks and grass he had gathered quickly caught fire. Feeding more kindling, the flames grew, allowing Jack to soon add some of the larger pieces of driftwood. Jack thanked whatever God that was looking out for them that the wood was dry enough to burn.

Once the fire was going and not in danger of dying out, Jack set about taking care of Daniel.

“OK, buddy. Let’s get you warmed up. Help me move you over here closer to the fire.” Jack had made a pallet of some dry grasses strewn about the cave.

Daniel was stuporous and not fully alert. Moving him to the makeshift bed proved to be difficult. But Jack managed and once his friend was settled, he made quick work of Daniel’s clothes, stripping him and re-covering him with the blanket.

Laying out Daniel’s clothes near the fire, Jack had hopes they would dry quickly. Daniel would be warmer if he could get him redressd in dry clothes. Climbing under the blanket, Jack pulled the other man into his arms adding his own warmth, tucking the blanket around them both.

Daniel instinctively huddled close to Jack, as if trying to climb inside him, in an attempt to get warm. “Jjjck? Wwhere are wwwe?” Daniel seemed confused and his teeth were chattering.

“We’re in a cave a few yards from where I pulled you out of the river.” Jack massaged and rubbed Daniel’s bare back and arms, trying to speed up the warming process.

Daniel groaned. “What is it, buddy?” Jack’s concern went up another notch at the moaning coming from the archaeologist.

“Hurts, Jjjck.”

“Where, Daniel? Where does it hurt?” Jack asked but he had a pretty good idea where the pain was coming from.

“Everywhere.” Daniel moaned again. Jack only had the basics in his med kit. Carter had the drugs. But he knew that even if he did have some Morphine with him, Daniel wouldn’t be getting any right away. Jack knew he needed to get him warmer before any other interventions could be undertaken.

“I know. Help will be here soon.” Pulling Daniel’s head down to his shoulder, he held on tight. “Sleep Daniel, I’ll be right here.”

“Colonel O’Neill, this is Carter, come in.” Looking at his watch, O’Neill noticed that almost fortyfive minutes has passed since he had dragged Daniel free of the river. And he hadn’t contacted his team again since that initial message to Teal’c.

“Here, Carter. What’s your location?” Jack thumbed his radio and then brushed his friend’s hair back off his face, feeling his skin, making note of just how cold he still was. Reaching across he added more wood to the fire, keeping it blazing for Daniel.

“Sir, we’re where the river splits. We have managed to get the S&R team back to this side of the river but the storm has increased in intensity. The water has risen in a couple of spots and we’re going to have to wait until the storm passes before we move on. We’ve taken shelter. Can you give us your location, sir?”

“Understood, Carter. We’re in a cave, about three miles downstream from where you are, twenty yards uphill from the river.”

“Sir, how’s Daniel?”

“Alive, Carter, but in trouble. Just get here as soon as you can. Check in every 2 hours. O’Neill out.”

“Yes sir, every two. Carter out.” He heard the anxiety in Sam’s voice as his 2IC signed off. Jack felt the fear, which he had set aside while he tended to Daniel, come creeping back.

Sometime later he had noted that Daniel had begun to wheeze again, and badly. Lifting Daniel into a sitting position, Jack had moved in behind him. Daniel’s breathing, although still not good, seemed easier sitting up. Jack continued to add much needed warmth.

“So cold.” The jostling caused by the position change woke Daniel.

“I know, Space Monkey, but you’re warming up. Stay snuggled in here, you’ll be warmer soon, I promise.” Jack rubbed and stroked Daniel’s arms and chest, attempting to warm him. Daniel didn’t say anything else. He was asleep again.

- - - - - -

Daniel woke up suddenly in a paroxysm of coughing. Instinctively trying to push away from the warm nest he was enveloped in, sudden agony flared along his back and hip, causing him to gasp in pain and further inciting the coughing spell. He could hear his lungs wheezing each time he struggled for breath. Every time he coughed, his head pounded in pain.

“Easy, easy.” Jack’s voice sounded nearby, at once reassuring him that he wasn’t alone and that someone was there to help him. An arm wrapped around his chest, holding him steady. Finally he managed to clear his lungs of mucus and water, allowing him to breathe a little easier. He could feel sweat trickling down his face and back, but he was too exhausted to wipe it away.

His lungs burned every time he inhaled, his throat was raw from coughing. He lay limply against Jack, trying to remember what had happened to them. His whole left side throbbed, totally out of synch with the pounding in his head.

“You still with me?” Jack asked softly, his breath tickling the hair by his ear. Daniel nodded weakly before answering.

“Yeah,” he croaked. The arm that was wrapped around his middle was removed, and he felt Jack shift beneath him and fiddle with something off to the side. A moment later, he felt a nudge on his lips.

“Try a little water,” Jack coaxed. Daniel opened his mouth, gratefully swallowing the sips of liquid. The canteen was taken away before Daniel was satisfied, but he knew that there must be a reason why. Either there were low on water or Jack felt that his system couldn’t take in vast quantities of liquid at the moment. He licked his lips, trying to gather every little drop.

“You still cold?” Jack asked, his warm hands snaking under the blanket and rubbing the chilled skin of his chest. He nodded, feeling uncomfortably cold… not enough to cause shivers but enough to prevent him from feeling relaxed. The question brought back a sudden memory of feeling intensely cold. Water! He’d fallen into the river. His last clear recollection was a glimpse of Jack running alongside the shore before he’d been painfully slammed against something hard. From that moment everything was a blur, being left with only impressions of choking on water and feeling numbingly cold.

A bright flash of light seeped through his closed eyelids, followed closely by a loud crash of thunder. Now aware of the storm, he could hear the pounding of the rain outside. He opened his eyes reluctantly, noting that they were inside some kind of small cave. Turning his head slightly to the side, he could see a cheerful fire which burned nearby, and which lent warmth and light to the damp cave.

He closed his eyes, seeing the glow of the flames reflected on the back of his eyelids. His head slowly tilted to the side as he tried to relax and he felt Jack’s shoulder underneath his cheek. Jack’s breath puffed warmly against his ear.

“Think you can handle some soup?” Jack asked. “Something hot will help warm you up.”

Daniel really didn’t want anything to eat, the thought of food making his stomach a bit nauseous. Before he could answer, Jack shifted and slid out from beneath him, tucking the blanket around his now prone body. He lay on the cold hard stone floor, wrapped up like a mummy. He obediently swallowed the three Tylenol that Jack gave him, happy to have more water to wash it down with.

He watched sleepily as his friend puttered around the cave, putting some water on to heat. He saw Jack fiddle with some material that lay around the fire, which Daniel eventually realized were his clothes. Belatedly realizing that he was naked underneath the blanket, Daniel decided that he was just too tired to care. When the water was hot, Jack added the soup mix and returned to his side.

Daniel bit back a moan when the pain in his back and hip flared as Jack lifted him into a sitting position. Panting against the pain, he heard Jack apologize. He found himself in a half-seated position, his uninjured side leaning against Jack’s chest. His head lay against Jack’s shoulder as he stifled a cough. He wasn’t as warm and comfortable sitting this way, but he realized it was easier on Jack when his friend brought the cup of soup to his lips.

The hot liquid felt good, warming its way into his stomach. After several sips, he felt the chill begin to leave his body.

“How long?” Daniel asked, wanting to know how long they’d been in the cave.

“Just over three hours. You were hypothermic, Daniel. I think I got you out of that damned river just in time.”

“I remember … I was so cold.” He stopped talking as Jack offered him another sip of soup. His stomach eventually told him he’d had enough so he turned his face into Jack’s shoulder. He heard a snick as the cup was placed on the stone floor.

A hand lightly touched his face, skin warmed from holding the hot container. Another hand rested lightly on his thigh. Gentle strokes against his cheek and temple were intensely soothing. Daniel took pleasure from the caresses, realizing that this was one thing he missed in his life. This little bit of intimacy, having experienced it once with Sarah during the few months that they’d been lovers, and then once again during his year of marriage with Shau’re. Having been a loner most of his life, he hadn’t realized how much he’d craved the human touch, until now.

Jack had always been a tactile person, never afraid to touch or hug when he thought the other needed the comfort. It had at first surprised Daniel, but then he had begun to crave Jack’s attention or praise.

Jack’s hand on his thigh should have created a rise in him, and although it was disturbingly sensual, he was just too tired to think about sex. It was testament to how much he really cared for Jack that the touch didn’t embarrass him, this time. Plus the fact that he was lying naked against his best friend should have made him squirm, but the idea actually pleased him.

When Jack’s fingers stilled, Daniel raised a hand and placed it over Jack’s before his friend could move his hand away from his face. Daniel rubbed Jack’s fingers with his own, letting him know that he’d enjoyed the touch.

He was sorry he’d freaked last night when Jack had kissed him. He wished he’d stayed to talk to Jack, or that Jack had tried to speak to him after he’d stormed out.

Daniel jumped when Jack’s radio crackled. He heard Sam’s tinny voice coming over the speaker. He reluctantly released Jack’s fingers so that he could answer.

“Colonel, are you there?”

Jack shifted as he reached for the radio. “I’m here. What’s your situation?”

“We had to backtrack a bit, sir. We tried reaching you but the river rose too fast. We’re not going to be able to get to you until the water recedes a bit.”

Daniel felt Jack tense at her words.

“Understood, Major. How long?”

“Not before tomorrow morning. The storm looks like it’s almost over, but it’s too great a risk to try and attempt reaching you now.”

“Fine. Take cover, sit tight and contact me first thing in the morning.”

“Yes sir… Colonel, how’s Daniel?”

Jack’s hand squeezed his thigh gently. “He still needs medical attention, but… he’s better.”

“That’s good to hear. Tell him I said goodnight.”

“He heard you, Carter. We’ll be waiting for your wakeup call in the morning.”

As Jack leaned over to put the radio down, his face was right beside Daniel’s. Without thinking Daniel lifted his head slightly and brushed his lips against Jack’s. He remembered what it had felt when Jack had kissed him, and he knew he wanted to feel that again.

Staying awake was becoming increasingly difficult. He relaxed into Jack’s embrace and let himself slip away.

- - - - - -

Jack felt a jolt of surprise run through him as Daniel touched his lips, giving him a kiss. As the surprise gave way to confusion, he felt Daniel ease into sleep, leaving Jack with more questions than answers.

What the hell had just happened? Last night Daniel had gone ballistic and today he kisses him? Jack didn’t know what to make of it. Surely Daniel wasn’t fully aware of what he had just done?

Last night, Jack had made a mistake, unintentionally. In his dream, he and Daniel had been lying in front of the fireplace snuggling and kissing. He had awoken to an armful of outraged archaeologist whose shock had been quite evident. Just prior to Daniel’s outburst, they had both been quite involved in the kiss, Daniel returning what Jack had offered with fervour. Once fully awake, Daniel's confusion had been evident. He had reacted on a basic level, bolting from Jack's home.

So what was with the kiss just now? Was Daniel unaware of what he was doing, much like Jack had been last night? Or had he intended to kiss him just now? Was he having second thoughts?

‘Hell, I am.’ Jack had thought a lot about what had happened the night before. He had been having conflicting feelings about Daniel for a long time. Daniel had been his best friend. He wasn’t sure when he had started to pull away, frightened by what he was feeling but he couldn’t deny the fact that for a long time, he had been setting up barriers even Daniel had been having trouble getting around. His sarcasm, snarkiness, and withdrawal had put that distance between them, providing Jack with some protection. He knew now that he had been afraid of Daniel finding out what was going on inside his head and his heart, and also afraid of losing Daniel because of those feelings.

Now look at them. Where once they had been best friends, they had gotten to the point of only tolerating each other. Jack had lost him anyway and it was his own fault. None of it was Daniel’s doing. He knew he was responsible and he had to fix it.

He would not lose Daniel’s friendship without a fight. He and Daniel had to have a long talk, about a lot of things. If it meant that they could only be friends then, so be it. But first he had to get Daniel to Janet and the infirmary.

Jack looked down into his friend’s face, thankful he had found him. Daniel could have died in the river and would have never known how much this crotchety old Colonel loved him.

Placing a gentle kiss on Daniel’s forehead, Jack wrapped his arms a little tighter around the younger man’s chest. Pulling Daniel in a little closer and tucking the blanket around him, Jack leaned his head back against the cave wall and closed his eyes. He would try to rest for a while. As soon as Daniel was warm enough, he would have to tend to his wounds, but that would wait a little while. Setting his internal clock to wake himself in two hours, Jack let sleep pull him in, knowing that it was going to be a long night and he should rest while he could.

- - - - - -

“Daniel? Come on, buddy, relax. Settle down.”

Warm, too warm. Daniel felt like he was suffocating from the heat surrounding him. Trying to sit up, he was hit be a blinding flash of pain in his back. Groaning he fell back into the heat that he had been trying to escape. As he did, the pain eased off into an ache.

“Daniel? You awake?” Jack had awoken to his friend’s restlessness.


“Yeah, Danny. How you feeling?”

“Hot, need to sit up.” Daniel attempted to move into a sitting position, away from what he now realized was Jack. Their combined heat was too much, and he needed to cool down a little.

Jack moved out from behind his friend and helped Daniel lean up against the cave wall, using his rolled up jacket to cushion his head. Feeling his friend’s face he could tell a fever had set in. Pulling out another dose of Tylenol and a dose of Vicodin he found in his med kit, he sat next to Daniel and coaxed him into taking the pills. Even though Daniel had awakened, he seemed a little out of it. ‘Well, I guess fever and pain can do that to you.’

“Daniel, come on pal, drink some more water. That’s it, little sips. Good. Now a little more.” Jack worked for the next few minutes feeding Daniel water until he suddenly broke out into a coughing spasm.

As Daniel coughed uncontrollably, he could feel sharp jabs of pains throughout his body, causing him to try and catch his breath and force the coughing to stop. Jack could see tears appear in Daniel’s eyes as he supported him, mentally willing away the coughing spell. As the spasm subsided, Daniel groaned as he tried to catch his breath.

“How you doing there, buddy?” Jack wiped Daniel’s eyes with the edge of his own T-shirt.

“Hurts Jack, but easing a little now.”

“I know, pal. One of the pills I gave you is a Vicodin tablet. It should help in a little while. You’ve got quite a kaleidoscope of bruises covering your back from your trip downriver earlier. You’re liable to hurt for a while.” Jack reached up and felt

Daniel’s forehead again. “You’ve also got a fever. Hopefully the Tylenol will help.”

“In a few minutes, after the pain pill has had a little time to start working, I need to get you over on your right side, if you can tolerate it, and see what I can do for your back. You’ve got a couple of nasty cuts. Probably the source of your fever. Think

maybe you can handle that?” Jack looked closely at his friend’s face, noting the lines of strain the pain was causing.

“Sure, Jack. Whatever you say.” Daniel closed his eyes and tried to relax and allow the medications to do their work.

As he sat there, Jack had started to worry again about the likelihood of getting Daniel back to Earth quickly enough. The younger man was looking pale, with bright spots of fever evident on his cheeks and perspiration bathing his face. His eyes looked sunken against the pallor of his complexion. This, along with the renewed wheezing brought on by the coughing, set up a cold knot of fear in his belly. Jack was scared for Daniel and for himself. He didn’t want to lose his friend.

Jack felt his fear on several levels. Daniel deserved to live and be happy. He deserved to know that he had not lost Jack’s friendship. Jack also knew that selfishly he wanted Daniel to know how his feelings had changed to something different, something deeper.

Taking his bandanna out, Jack wet it with a little water and wiped his friend’s face and neck in an attempt to cool him. Daniel sighed, enjoying Jack’s ministrations. Deciding to take a chance, Jack took a deep breath. “Daniel, you awake?”

“Yeah.” Daniel’s voice was raspy from the coughing.

“I just want to say I’m sorry about last night.” Jack looked down at his hands, not wanting to see the look of disgust in Daniel’s eyes.

“Jack, you have nothing to be sorry for, I should be apologizing for losing it instead of staying and talking about what happened.” The older man looked up at Daniel and saw the sincerity in his eyes. “Jack, do you suppose we could leave this conversation till after we get back to the SGC and I have had a few dozen needles stuck in me by Janet?”

“Sure, but one thing, Daniel…”

Daniel closed his eyes as if he was again slipping off to sleep. “What’s that, Jack?”

“I just wanted you to know, you are still my best friend and I love you.” With that statement, Daniel opened his eyes and stared at him.

Before Daniel could comment, Jack continued. “I also want you to know, that I am sorry for last night. Sorry for ‘how’ it happened but not sorry that it did happen. I’m glad I kissed you and I’m glad you kissed me earlier tonight.” Jack looked at Daniel closely to see if his friend remembered.

Daniel peered back for several seconds. Then, reaching over he grasped the older man’s hand and said, “So am I, Jack. So am I.” Pulling him in close, Daniel brought both hands up to Jack’s face. Leaning forward a little, he brushed his lips across the other man’s in a soft kiss. Leaning back against the wall again, the archaeologist gasped from the pain in his back. Closing his eyes, he willed sleep to come so he could escape the agony for a while.

Feeling Jack’s hand on his face, he leaned into it, seeking the comfort and solace he knew he could find there. With hope in his heart, he felt Jack pull him into his arms. “Sleep, Daniel. I’ll be here. Just sleep.”

Once Daniel had succumbed to the drugs and his fatigue, Jack gently laid the archaeologist on his right side, placing the backpack under his head. Pulling his medkit and some water over to him, he uncovered Daniel’s back and set about cleaning and bandaging his wounds. The laceration on his hip was the worst of them all. The bleeding had long since stopped but now the wound was reddened and inflamed. Jack shook his head realizing there was no telling what kind of bacteria was in the river water. The older man set about completing his task with grim determination.

It wasn’t until he was done that he realized Daniel hadn’t moved the entire time. He was hoping it was only a sign of exhaustion. Re-covering the archaeologist, Jack felt his forehead and realized his fever had subsided a bit. He was relieved to know the Tylenol seemed to be kicking in.

Moving to the fire, Jack saw that Daniel’s clothes were finally dry. Re-dressing him would be a good idea. As soon as he awakens, Jack thought, realizing there wasn’t anything else he could do at this time. Lying down next to his friend, he

pulled him into his arms, giving him something softer to lie on. This way, too, he would know immediately if Daniel got into trouble during the rest of the night.

- - - - - -

Falling, he was falling. Daniel jolted awake, his heart racing. He had been dreaming about the accident earlier. Falling into the river, over and over again, each time Jack reaching for him and not quite making it before he went under.

As awareness came to him, he realized that Jack was holding him in his arms. Daniel remembered that his friend had found him and they were sheltering in a cave. Feeling a bit groggy, he moved a little, testing his level of pain.

“You awake, pal?” Jack’s softly voiced question came to him.

“Um hmmmm.”

“How do you feel?”

“Sore, I hurt in places I didn’t even know I had.” Daniel could hear how rough his voice sounded. He remembered the coughing spells from earlier and knew he had gotten some of that river water in his lungs.

“I think the Tylenol has kicked in. Your fever doesn’t seem as high as earlier.”

“What time is it?”

“On Earth, I think it’s about 0900. Here though, there’s still a couple of hours till daylight.” Jack felt Daniel pull away and roll onto his back, seeking a change in position.

“How long have we been here?” Daniel still felt a little confused, even though he was starting to remember more about that ride down the river.

“Well, since I found you yesterday, a storm moved in and we had to take shelter in this cave. Sam, Teal’c and the S&R team are upriver, waiting for morning. They were unable to get to us because of the storm and the rising water. Now that the storm has moved out of the area, they should hopefully be able to get here in 30 - 45 minutes once it’s daylight.” Jack leaned up on his side next to his friend, and supporting himself on his elbow, reaching across him and placing another piece of wood to the fire.

“Are you warm enough, Danny?” Jack reached up and felt his friend’s forehead, brushing back his hair.

“I’m OK. The fire is nice. Jack, would you do something for me?”

“Sure, pal, what is it?”

“Kiss me again. I want to know that this thing is real and not my imagination.”

Jack smiled, hearing the quiver in Daniel’s voice, but happy he was asking.

“You sure?”

“Oh yeah, I’m sure. I need to know.”

With that, Jack leaned in, gazing into Daniel’s face, into his eyes. Watching for any signs of hesitation, the older man kissed his friend gently, sucking on his lower lip. A flood of warmth washed over Daniel. Returning the kiss, he felt Jack increase the pressure, seeking entrance with his tongue. Wanting more, Daniel opened his lips and allowed him in, deepening the kiss. Jack responded, feeling a love that he hadn’t felt in a long time.

Lying there side by side, the two friends drank each other in, savoring the taste and feel of each other. As the passion started to grow, Jack realized that Daniel was in no shape for anything vigorous. Leaning back, gentling the kiss, he pulled away a little, staring again into his new lover’s eyes.

Daniel felt Jack moving away and the loss resounded deep within him. Gazing back, Daniel knew at that moment, Jack wanted him, loved and cared for him. Smiling at his beloved, his heart swelled with joy.

Jack leaned back in and claimed his lips again, kissing, teasing and nibbling. Daniel returned the love and the kiss, reaching up and pulling Jack’s T-shirt from the waistband of his pants slowly. Slipping his hands up under the soft cotton, Daniel revelled in the feel of the other man’s skin. Brushing his fingertips across Jack’s nipples, he heard his lover’s breath catch. Smiling to himself, he realized that he, Daniel, was responsible for that catch, and for the flushed look on his friend’s face. Jack’s breathing was becoming ragged as Daniel sucked the invading tongue deeper into his mouth. He could taste the coffee Jack’d had earlier and something else, that something that was unique to his lover.

Breaking the kiss, Jack moved to Daniel’s neck and chest, tasting, teasing, exploring new territory. Latching on to one of Daniel’s nipples, he laved attention upon it, feeling Daniel’s breathing increase as he did so.

Suddenly, Daniel started to cough again, intermittently groaning because of the pain the hacking had brought on. Jack pulled back, realizing he had gone too far, reminding himself that his love was not ready for this activity yet. This would have to

wait until he had Daniel back home and he was recovered from his injuries.

“Oh Daniel, I’m sorry. That’s it babe, hold on.” Jack gently rubbed the archaeologist’s back as he lay on his side coughing. As the hacking subsided, Daniel tried to catch his breath, feeling sharp jabs of pain across his back. Cursing the powers that be, he realized that he was in no shape to do anything but lay there and try and breathe.

“No, no. I’m sorry. If I hadn’t blown up last night, we might have discovered this then.” Daniel’s breaths were punctuated by intermittent coughing spells.

Reaching for the canteen, Jack pulled his friend into a sitting position, offering him some water. Jack again prayed for the night to end so he could get Daniel home.

“How about we get you dressed? The team will be here in a couple of hours and I can’t have you flashing Carter, now can I?”

“Somehow, Jack, I’m sure she’s seen it all. I’m not worried about Sam and Teal’c. I just want to be presentable for Search and Rescue. Those boys are a stylish bunch.” Daniel chuckled.

Jack smiled and set about getting Daniel into his clothes. Daniel proved too weak to be able to help and he hindered Jack somewhat by periodically pulling him in for another kiss. Jack responded but held his passion in rein, knowing despite Daniel’s enthusiasm, he wasn’t able to do much.

If the truth were known, he was worried. Daniel was very weak, and his fever seemed to be returning. Before settling down to hold the archaeologist again, Jack dug out another dose of Tylenol and fed it to the younger man. Once done, he sat with his back against the wall of the cave, pulling Daniel between his legs supporting him. Wrapping his arms around his lover, he whispered into his ear. “Sleep, Daniel. I love you and I’ll keep you safe. Just sleep, my love, sleep.”

- - - - - -

Despite the Tylenol, Daniel’s fever continued to rise. Soon the sleeping man began shivering, curling up against Jack for warmth, his teeth chattering as he shuddered in Jack’s arms. Jack sat there helplessly, talking and soothing Daniel as he became restless. His breathing also continued to worsen, his coughing harsher.

He gave Daniel the last of their water, wishing that the sun would hurry up and rise. A few moments later, a bad coughing spell caused Daniel to vomit the bit of liquid he’d ingested. Jack gently wiped the sweat dripping down Daniel’s face from his exertions as Daniel tried to apologize.

“Shhh, it’s okay. Just relax and see if you can sleep. The sun will be up soon and we’ll have you on your way home in a flash.”

“J’ck?” he said after a moment.


“S’not a dream, is it? This is real?”

“Me, you? Yeah, this is real,” as he kissed Daniel’s damp temple.

Daniel’s lips curled in a slight smile as he snuggled up against Jack.

Sixty long minutes later, Jack noticed the cave entrance was no longer a grey splotch against a black background. Colour and light began to seep inside their shelter, and true to form, Carter’s voice sounded on the radio, informing him that the S&R team were on their way.

“How long?” Jack asked, cutting his words short as Daniel began to cough again. He’d hoped that they could shorten the time it would take to reach them.

“Forty minutes, maybe longer. The storm did a lot of damage, sir. It’s hard going.”

“Understood,” Jack said, disappointed. It would still be a while before they could get Daniel to Earth.

Jack sat there with his best friend and hopefully soon to be lover lying against him struggling for breath, watching the cave slowly brighten as the sun rose. Birds, or this world’s local equivalent, had begun to sing as the day evolved. He tried to let the sounds soothe him, but Daniel’s wheezing breaths worried him and his attention remained on the man in his arms.

Carter continued to give him updates on their progress and it was more than sixty minutes later when the rescue team finally made it into their cave. Jack gratefully allowed the medic accompanying them to look at Daniel, watching as he injected him with a broad spectrum antibiotic and set up an IV. Daniel was barely responsive now, his fever very high and exhausted by his coughing. They transferred Daniel into a wire stretcher, and with Teal’c at one end and Ferretti supporting the other, they made their slow and cautious way back to the Stargate.

Jack walked on one side of the litter, talking to Daniel whenever he’d rouse. The medic accompanied them on the other side, constantly checking on Daniel every ten minutes. The prone position they had to place Daniel in wasn’t conducive to his breathing, and he began coughing more than he had in the cave.

It was a long walk back and as the major had said, debris and broken trees blocked their way, forcing them to either circumvent or climb over the wreckage. The river was high and in some places they had to circle into the treeline to avoid the water. When they reached the spot where the river split in two, Jack saw the large inflatable boat on the edge of the shore that the S&R team had used to navigate their way across to the other side. Too bad the water was so rough, it would have been much faster to utilize it and get Daniel back to the ‘gate.

As the small party caring for Daniel continued on, the S&R team stopped and began the process of retrieving the boat. Carter continued on with them as their guard, and Jack knew that the other team would be following in their footsteps in a short while. He knew these men, knew how efficient they were.

Finally they came across the ruins where Daniel had made his unexpected plunge into the river. As they climbed over the stone wall, Jack saw the sodden sheets of paper that Daniel had been working with. They had been blown into a corner of the wall, now a useless white mound. As the others carried the stretcher away, Jack quickly knelt and picked up Daniel’s pack and other scattered pieces of Daniel’s supplies. He jogged to catch up to them, noting how tired he was.

They were nearly there. He could see the Stargate looming in the distance, and they all unconsciously sped up their pace. Carter dialled out as they waited impatiently, and as soon as the code was sent through, they stepped into the wormhole.

Fraiser was waiting for them at the bottom of the ramp. She examined Daniel quickly and ordered them on to the infirmary. Jack watched them whisk Daniel away as he stopped to speak to Hammond.

“He got a lungful of water and he’s pretty badly bruised,” he told the general in way of explanation.

“I see,” the man said, searching Jack’s face.

“He was perched up on a damned wall and he slipped. Damn it, sir, he fell into glacier melt. That water was so damned cold. A little bit longer in that river and he’d have…” Jack looked away, unable to say the words.

Jack felt a hand on his shoulder and he saw the general looking at him kindly. He inclined his head towards the door, saying, “You’d better get yourself to the infirmary, Jack. You don’t look that great yourself.”

“I’m just tired, sir. Tired and worried.”

“I know, we all are. We’ll debrief tomorrow morning. You get yourself checked out and rested up.”

“Yes sir,” Jack replied as he forced his tired feet towards the infirmary.

- - - - - -

Dr. Janet Fraiser looked at the monitor, making note of Daniel’s heart rate and blood pressure. Both were in, if not the normal range, at least an acceptable one, but she was worried.

When Daniel had arrived in the infirmary, he had a high fever and had been wheezing. She had placed him on high flow oxygen and started him on bronchodialators, steroids and antibiotics. It was still up in the air whether she would have to intubate him or not. She was hoping the medications would kick in and start to relieve the worst of his symptoms. Looking at his chest x-ray, it didn’t appear to be pneumonia, just severe bronchitis brought on by inadvertently inhaling some of the river water. He was lucky, fresh water pneumonia is a nasty thing to have. As it stood, he was still in trouble.

Once all this had been accomplished, she had accompanied him to MRI. She wanted a close look at his overall condition, to make sure there were no broken bones or hidden injuries. She hadn’t seen anything obvious, so she had sent him for a renal

angiogram because of the blood in his urine. The radiologist had assured her he only had bruising of the left kidney and wouldn’t need any surgical intervention. She had breathed a sigh of relief when she had heard that report. She didn’t want to have to put him through that with his lungs as bad as they were.

His blood count was low due to the severe bruising of his back, kidney and left leg. He had been bounced around on the rocks in the river by the force of the water and his back was covered in black and blue areas. She was giving him a transfusion, replacing much needed blood.

Checking his back, she had treated the lacerations, suturing those she could, dressing those she couldn’t, particularly the one on his left hip. It would have to be allowed to heal from the inside out. The wound was too deep and if she tried to close it after all this time, he would most likely develop a worse infection. The antibiotic given by the medic with S&R had started him on the road but he had a long way to go. She had cultured the wounds and the mucus from his lungs and was waiting for the lab reports. But that would take time. While waiting, she had started him on a triple antibiotic regimen, hoping that one would do the trick, if not all three.

Looking at her friend now, Janet saw that the nurses had him turned up on his right side to help avoid pressure on his back and left side. A rotational airbed had been sent for and would be here in a couple of hours. Once on that he would be able to lie on both sides without too much pain. The rotating action of the bed, with the continuous side to side turning would help with his respiratory status, too.

Walking over closer to Daniel, she reached out and brushed his hair back from his forehead.

“Jack?” Janet heard Daniel’s whispered question.

“No, Daniel. He’ll be here in a few minutes. How are you feeling? Any pain?”

Daniel shook his head a little and appeared to be drifting off again. “Just try to sleep, Daniel. I’ll send Jack in, it’ll be just a few more minutes.” Daniel was already asleep by the time she stepped away from the bed.

“Joe, I don’t want Dr. Jackson left alone at all. If you have to leave for anything, be sure to call someone.” Janet gave orders to the nurse who would be staying with Daniel the rest of the day.

“Yes, Maam.”

Janet took a deep breath and headed out of ICU for the briefing room. She had asked SG1 and the General to wait for her there, basically so that they stayed out of her and her staff’s hair while they tried to stabilize Daniel. They had complied and she was on the way there now to join them.

- - - - - -

Jack sat with his eyes closed and his head leaning back. He was exhausted and worried. He couldn’t lose Daniel now, after finally getting him back to the SGC. Janet would be here soon and then he could go and sit with his love, his heart. A cold knot of fear had settled in his chest.

Sam and Teal’c also were sitting at the table, worried, trying as he was to not race down to the infirmary and demand to know what was happening. No one had said anything. The silence echoed their fears for their friend.

Dr. Fraiser and General Hammond entered the room at the same time from opposite doors. Jack sat up, zeroing in on Janet.

“Doc, how is he?” Jack didn’t even wait for the General and Janet to sit down at the table.

But the General was just as eager to hear about Daniel so he didn’t reprimand the Colonel. In fact, he was glad to see that Jack seemed to be his old self again, with the concern he was used to seeing from his 2IC.

“Yes, Dr. Fraiser, please have a seat and fill us in.”

As SG1 sat rigid waiting for news, Janet cut right to the chase.

“Daniel is in critical condition. He has a severe bronchitis, which still could result in pneumonia. I haven’t had to intubate him yet but it remains a possibility.”

As Jack listened to Fraiser tick off Daniel’s various injuries, his heart plummeted. It felt like he hadn’t done enough, although he had done the best he could with what he’d had. He listened with fear gripping him as Janet continued.

“It could go either way at this point but the next 24 hours should tell us something. I wish I could give you better news. He’s getting the best medical care he could get anywhere. I have him being watched with one to one nursing care in the ICU and neither Dr. Warner nor I will be leaving the base until we’re sure he’s out of the woods. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Looking around the table, Janet could see the shock on everyone’s faces. She was a little shell shocked herself. She didn’t want to lose one of her closest friends. And Cassie would be devastated if Daniel died. She looked at the people who sat at this table and knew this was Daniel’s family. And he needed his family with him.

“Colonel, Daniel has already been asking for you. I want you to rest, but I will allow you to nap in the bed next to him. I want you to take advantage of that. You didn’t get much rest last night from what I can tell and I don’t need two patients.”

“That goes for you two, also.” Janet said looking at the two remaining members of SG1.

General Hammond spoke up. “Why don’t you all head on down there to the infirmary. I’ll be by to check on Daniel in a little while. Colonel, a moment before you leave.” The General waved the rest of SG1 and Dr. Fraiser out of the room and headed for his office, knowing Jack would follow.

“Sit down, Jack.” Waving his 2IC into a chair, Hammond sat down, hoping he would get a straight answer out of him.

“Jack, I’m not sure how to say this. You and Dr. Jackson have had your differences over the last few months and it seems that things have been deteriorating lately. What I’m trying to say, Jack, is I don’t want you down there in the infirmary, if it’ll upset Dr. Jackson and cause any setbacks in his recovery.”

Jack felt the wave of concern flowing off the General and he appreciated it. He knew the General cared deeply for Daniel and didn’t want to lose him. The older man had become a surrogate father to the archaeologist and this conversation was evidence of his level of distress. Despite his worry for Daniel, Jack felt a sense of relief knowing he could give Hammond good news on that front.

“General, Daniel and I had a lot of time in the cave waiting for the storm to pass. We talked out a lot of our problems and we mutually resolved our differences.” How do you tell a General you’re in love with your archaeologist?

“Is that so, Jack?” Hammond didn’t sound like he believed him.

“Yes sir. It was a series of misunderstandings all the way around. And last night, at a time when Daniel seemed a little better, we straightened things out. We’ve both missed each other a lot these last few months and when it came right down to it, our friendship outweighed everything.” Jack looked at the general and saw that he believed him after all.

“Well, son. then you better get down to the infirmary and see your friend.”

“Yes Sir.”

- - - - - -

Walking into the infirmary a few minutes later, Jack saw Sam and Teal’c standing at Daniel’s bedside. Sam was holding his hand and stoking his forehead. Teal’c had taken up a position at the bottom of the bed as if standing guard. The nurse, a

Lieutenant, Joe...something, was hanging a small bag of fluid and hooking it into Daniel’s IV line on the other side of the bed.

Walking over, Jack took Joe’s place as he moved away to give the Colonel space at Daniel’s side. Looking down at his love, he could see he was flushed with fever still, beads of perspiration dotting his face. Picking up a small cloth he spied on the bedside table, Jack wiped Daniel’s face and neck in small loving strokes, doing his best to work around the oxygen mask.

Daniel turned his face towards the movement and opened his eyes. Seeing Jack there, he smiled. Then looking around, he saw Sam and Teal’c also at his bedside.

“Hey guys.” Daniel’s voice sounded muffled behind the plastic mask.

“Hey Daniel, how you feeling?’ Sam asked the question on everyone’s mind.

“Fine, Janet and Joe seem to be taking good care of me.” Daniel was hoarse from all the coughing.

“Any pain?” Jack had to ask, wanting to hear Daniel again, make that connection, reassure himself his friend was still alive.

“Nah, floating here.” Just that small conversation seemed to exhaust him. Daniel closed his eyes, feeling the fatigue. Before he allowed himself to drift towards sleep, he opened his eyes one more time and looked at his team, zeroing in on Jack. “Stay?”

“We’re not going anywhere, pal.” Jack answered for them all, as Daniel closed his eyes in exhaustion, knowing the young man’s request had been targeted at him.

Pulling up chairs, they all sat down, holding vigil, worry and fear ruling their thoughts, their emotions. Jack latched onto Daniel’s hand and continued to wipe perspiration from the young man’s face and chest.

As Janet watched from the door of the ICU, she could see that the old Jack was back. The Jack that, above all else, cared for his team and in particular, one errant archaeologist. Despite her worry, she smiled. She knew the extra added factor that had pulled the various team members of SG1 back from the brink so many times, was back. Daniel would recover; Jack, Sam and Teal’c were too damn stubborn to let him die.

- - - - - -

Falling, falling! Scrambling for the rocks, he tried to latch onto some purchase to prevent his fall, but the rocks just crumbled in his hands. Jack, help me, help me, I can’t see you, help me!

“Daniel, wake up. Come on. Daniel, it’s OK, I got you, buddy.” Daniel came awake to Jack’s voice, the feel of his body being held. Opening his eyes, he saw the lights were low and he realized Jack was sitting next to him, holding him, rocking him, calling him back from that dark place in his mind.

Dream, he had been having a nightmare about the accident. Relaxing into Jack’s arms, he let himself feel the comfort of his embrace wash over him. He revelled in Jack’s scent, which, he suddenly realized, he could smell. Bringing his hand to his face he only felt the thin plastic of nasal oxygen. The mask was gone.

“You awake?” Jack whispered his question, continuing to rock him.

Nodding, he made no attempt to move. He liked it here in Jack’s arms.

“You, OK?” Jack asked him quietly. He again nodded knowing it would mean that Jack would most likely lay him back down.

But all he heard was, “Sleep, babe, just sleep,” softly whispered in his ear. Closing his eyes he felt a prickling of tears there as he realized Jack would continue to hold him, keeping him safe. He allowed his exhaustion to claim him.

- - - - - -

Once he was sure Daniel had finally fallen asleep, Jack gently laid him back against his pillow. Covering him, he brushed his love’s hair back from him face.

“O’Neill.” Jack felt Teal’c at his side, but continued to stroke Daniel’s hair, knowing the Jaffa would never question it.

“Daniel has had a nightmare?” At that Jack looked at the man standing next to him, surprise in his eyes. Teal’c rarely called Daniel by only his first name.

“Yes, but he’s back to sleep now.” Daniel had slowly improved during the last few hours. Up until then, the medical staff along with SG1’s help had fought a constant battle to keep the archaeologist’s temperature from raging out of control. Along with that there had been two incidents when Janet had nearly intubated him but medications, a devoted medical team and SG1 had pulled him back from the edge.

SG1 had been taking turns napping in the bed next to Daniel’s, being right there whenever a crisis had arisen. While one slept the others held Daniel’s hand, bathed the perspiration from him, talked to him and basically let him know he was loved and needed. Let him know that dying was just all around unacceptable.

It was 0300 now and Daniel had not had a crisis since 2200. Janet was sleeping in her office, last checking on the archaeologist an hour ago. At that time, she had been cautiously optimistic. Jack was hopeful that the worst was over.

As Jeannie, the night nurse came in to hang more antibiotics, Jack and Teal’c stepped away from the bed. As the nurse worked, Jack walked over to the coffee pot and poured himself a cup, not offering Teal’c one, knowing he didn’t partake.

“O’Neill, it is a good thing you do.”

“What’s that, Teal’c?” Jack watched as the nurse did her checks and changed Daniel’s gown which had become damp from the exertions of his nightmare.

“Returning Daniel’s friendship once more. He will be well, I know this. Do not pull away again.” Jack turned to look at the Jaffa, seeing that he knew more then he let on. Nodding to the man, Jack agreed.

“I would have your solemn oath on this, your oath as a friend, your oath as a warrior. I will not allow you to hurt him again.”

Grasping forearms, Jack said. “You have my oath, Teal’c. On my honor as your friend and brother in arms!”

- - - - - -

Daniel woke up slowly, his mind still a little foggy from Janet’s drugs, but his body feeling almost human again. He was able to take a breath and not feel like he had a heavy weight against his chest. His hip ached a little, but nowhere near the amount of pain that he had been in earlier. He stretched gently, testing his body, and found that he could move with a minimum of discomfort.

As he became a little more alert, he was aware of the sound of breathing beside him. He turned his head towards the noise and forced his eyes open. To his surprise, he saw that Jack had fallen asleep on the chair beside him, his head pillowed on one arm beside Daniel. He tried to raise his hand to stroke Jack’s cheek, but was confused when he found that he couldn’t move it. Raising his head, he saw that Jack’s fingers were entwined with his own, effectively trapping his hand on the bed.

He smiled, realizing that it hadn’t all been a dream. Jack had really kissed him… or had it been the other way around? Either way, he knew that he cared for Jack. A lot. As he stared at his sleeping visage beside him, Daniel knew that he wanted to see that beloved face every morning when he woke.

He turned onto his side with a slight hiss of discomfort, and raised his other hand to Jack’s cheek. He felt the rough stubble beneath his fingers, and gently caressed the beloved features. He ran shaky fingers along his jaw and cupped his cheek. He remembered the feel of Jack’s mouth on his as he stared at it, and licked he his lips, wishing he could take the chance and kiss Jack awake.

Jack’s mouth twisted into a smile, and said, “You’re awake.” Daniel raised his eyes and saw that Jack’s chocolate brown eyes were open, watching him.

“So’re you,” Daniel replied with a smile of his own.

“How are you feeling,” Jack asked as he sat up, after stifling a groan at what must have been a stiff back and neck protesting their latest contortions. Jack let go of Daniel’s hand to pass his fingers through his hair. Daniel missed the contact, and tried to sit up to distract himself.

“Better, actually. Thirsty.” As Daniel’s stomach growled, he laughed. “Hungry.”

Jack smiled as he rang for the nurse, raising the head of Daniel’s bed. He poured Daniel a glass of water, allowing him a couple of small sips. Daniel smiled his thanks.

“You’re looking a lot better too,” Jack commented. Daniel was beginning to feel a little embarrassed at Jack’s scrutiny. He was amazed at how weak he felt.

“How long have you been here?” Daniel asked. He could remember waking up to the feeling of suffocation at one time or another. Throughout his ordeal, he knew that Jack or the other members of their team had been with him.

“Most of the two and a half days you’ve been here. You’ve been asleep for nearly twenty four hours now.”

“No wonder you look terrible,” Daniel blurted, realizing now why Jack looked pale and had dark smudges underneath his eyes.

“Love you too, Dannyboy,” Jack said in a low voice as he saw the nurse on duty approaching the bed.

Daniel grinned back, hoping that Janet would be releasing him soon as he saw the look of love shining in Jack’s eyes.

- - - - - -

Daniel lay in bed watching Jack sleeping beside him. It was still very early morning, the sun was just beginning to rise, and the gentle light shone on the face of his soon to be lover.

Two days. Janet had kept Daniel in the infirmary for another two days before releasing him to Jack’s care. Jack had taken him home, and Daniel had been nervous throughout the drive down the mountain. This would be the first time that the two of them would be together since they’d kissed in the cave. Daniel wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but it certainly hadn’t been him falling asleep on the couch within minutes of their arrival.

He’d woken up, Jack had fed him, and he’d been so exhausted that he’d climbed into bed and slept the rest of the day. He’d gotten up to eat supper, and then had curled up on the couch beside Jack. They’d watched some TV and Daniel had fallen asleep once more, only to be woken up to be urged into bed.

That had been yesterday, and this morning Daniel was feeling much stronger, probably due to his day-long snooze. He lay on his side facing Jack, wondering if Jack had spent time watching him sleep. He tentatively put a hand out onto his bare shoulder, feeling the soft, warm skin. Curiously, he brought his hand along Jack’s shoulder and across to his chest. He watched the older man’s face, waiting for a reaction. As his hands continued their exploration, they came across Jack’s chest hairs. He stopped and revelled in the texture, so different from his own bare chest. He gently ran his hand up and down, enjoying the feel.

“Daniel,” Jack growled softly.

“Mmmmm?” he answered.

“You be wanting to start something here?”

Daniel pulled his hand back and looked away, unsure of himself. “Um, only if you… I mean… I’m sorry, I woke you, didn’t I?”

Daniel’s hand was grasped and returned to the spot it had been caressing, Jack’s hand remaining closed over it.

“Don’t stop,” Jack said. “I kinda like being woken this way. Much better than an alarm clock.” He was staring intently at Daniel, his eyes darkened with growing hunger. Daniel continued to stroke, moving to a nipple. Jack gasped as Daniel pinched it gently, and his cock twitched at the sound, knowing that he had elicited this response from Jack.

Jack shifted and raised himself over Daniel. He placed both hands on either side of Daniel’s head on the pillow and slowly lowered his mouth to his. A tentative touch of Jack’s tongue against his teeth had Daniel opening his mouth, inviting him in. He sucked him in, his own tongue welcoming enthusiastically.

Jack shifted to his side and Daniel felt one hand slide underneath his tee shirt, questing along his ribs, sending shivers down his spine and straight to his groin. He moaned as his hand continued to caress, and he gasped as Jack found his nipple. Releasing his mouth, Jack kissed his way down Daniel’s chest, and began teasing the little bud. Daniel panted as he enjoyed the sensations coursing through his body.

The slight exertions caused him to cough and suddenly Jack stopped. He raised his head in confusion, and saw Jack’s worried face.

“I’m fine,” Daniel answered, taking Jack’s head between his hands and pulling him up to him to devour his mouth again. He brought both hands down to Jack’s and began stroking the muscular back. As he reached the waistband of Jack’s sweats, he tensed slightly in anticipation of what they would be experiencing soon. Jack felt his tension, because he pulled away, looking at Daniel questioningly.

“Are you sure about this,” Jack asked him. Daniel arched his neck up and latched onto Jack’s mouth once more. After kissing him thoroughly for several seconds, he lowered his head back onto the pillow.

“I love you, Jack. I’ve never been more sure about anything in my life.” And Daniel knew as he said the words that he loved Jack with all his being. He’d loved Shau’re, but not with the intensity that he felt towards Jack. Maybe it was due to the friendship that they’d shared for the past few years. He didn’t know why and probably never would be able to explain it. But he did know that this man, this soldier, this friend, and most likely his soul mate, was the person he wished to share the rest of his life with.

The emotion overwhelmed him suddenly and he turned and laid his head into Jack’s shoulder, trying to gain control of himself. He was shaking, not only with physical need, but with the revelation that had just come to him. Jack’s arms tightened around him, seeming to know that Daniel needed a moment.

It wasn’t only the sex, and even though Daniel was anxious to get on with that particular part of their relationship, he knew that he had always loved Jack. He had thought that they simply had a wonderful friendship, and had been happy with that. But he realized now that this was what had been missing in his life; this was why he’d spent so many hours working late into the night because he had wanted so much more from Jack. Now, he snuggled into Jack’s chest, trying to get closer.

As Jack lay with the younger man in his arms, he could feel the vibrations echo through Daniel. At the same time, his own thoughts gave him a moment of pause. He had never done this before, and as far as he knew, Daniel hadn’t either, making love with a man. Oh, rumors always ran rampant. Mutual hand jobs with other soldiers for relieving stress in combat situations. Jack was sure that sort of thing did happen, not that soldiers were likely to admit it, that old ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ thing.

But for him, he had never participated in that activity. He had taken care of his own raging hormones when necessary. But now he suddenly found that he had love for Daniel. He reacted to him on so many levels, the physical side being only part of it. Jack didn’t have any answers about how or why, he just knew that his feelings for Daniel had gradually grown and blossomed from admiration and respect to friendship, and then to love. A love he hadn’t recognized for what it was until recently. A love he had almost lost.


“Yeah, Danny.” Daniel smiled. Jack hadn’t called him Danny in a very long time. He had missed it.

“Whatcha’ thinking about?”

“Ummmm, you, me. What we are about to become to each other. It’s a big step and this is very new to me and I suspect it is for you, too. I want this first time to be right for both of us and...”

Jack’s hesitation spoke volumes to Daniel. “You’re scared?”

Jack didn’t answer, just hugged the younger man closer to him.

“I’m scared too, Jack. This is as new for me as it is for you.” Daniel leaned in and kissed Jack on his neck, offering reassurance. “But we’ll get over it.” Grinning, Daniel gently kissed his lover.

Jack opened his mouth and let Daniel in again. As he did so, he realized he was letting him into his life and his heart, completely.

Deepening the kiss, Jack gently pushed Daniel back on the bed and made love to him with his eyes, his mouth and his soul. Jack explored with his hands, slowly undressing both of them. He also explored Daniel’s mouth, the flavors he found there enhancing the tingling which had begun in his own body.

Brushing his fingers along Daniel’s ribcage, Jack heard the archaeologist’s sharp intake of breath and then the moan that followed. Breaking the kiss, Jack licked his way down Daniel’s neck, again tasting.

Reaching Daniel’s chest, Jack latched onto one of his nipples, sucking and biting. Daniel moaned as blood rushed to all points south. His cock became rigid, standing at attention for his very own military man. As the thought crossed Daniel’s mind, he chuckled.

“Laughing? You’re laughing at me?” Jack sounded indignant but Daniel could see the grin on his face.

“I would never laugh at you, Jack. I think that was a chuckle.” Daniel returned the grin with another kiss.

Jack gentled the kiss and again moved down Daniel’s torso, experiencing and exploring. Daniel heard him murmur, “I’ll give you something to ‘chuckle’ about,” just before he felt Jack’s tongue start teasing the head of his cock. A warmth swept through him and as he felt a tingling starting at his toes, Daniel spread his legs, giving over to the sensations Jack was setting

up in him.

Jack felt Daniel reaching for him, touching his head, brushing his fingers through his hair. Releasing the dusky head, he licked the underside of his lover’s cock, seeing it twitch and feeling the trembling rush through Daniel. Stroking the area

behind the younger man’s balls with two fingers, he knew Daniel was near.

Knowing this would be a first for them both, he wanted to give Daniel a powerful orgasm. Hoping his little bit of research was about to pay off, Jack latched onto Daniel’s cock. Using his hand and his mouth he set up a pumping action, kissing, slurping, sucking at his lover’s groin. At the same time, he massaged Daniel’s sac. As he felt his lover’s trembling, he moved two fingers down massaging the tiny pucker he found there.

“Jack, oh baby, yes, right there.” Daniel growled at his lover. As he neared his peak, he could feel a familiar tingle and surge start at his toes and at his back. Moaning Jack’s name again as if in warning and trying not to thrust, the feelings converged, centering. As he reached his climax, he felt Jack slip a finger into him and massage the tight ring, just enough to add to the sensations assaulting him. The orgasm overtook him, shaking him to his core.

Jack had been ready for him, deciding earlier he would have the entire Daniel experience. Daniel pulsed out his orgasm and Jack drank him in, adding another flavor to know as Daniel. As the younger man’s tremors eased, Jack continued licking and tasting, drawing him out completely.

Daniel’s vision grayed as his orgasm eased. When he was once again aware of his surroundings, he found himself in Jack’s arms, being stroked and hugged.

“Hey, you back with me?” Jack’s voice was warm and had a slight quiver in it.

Um hmmm.” Daniel lay there revelling in having Jack’s arms around him. After a moment he leaned his head back, looking into warm brown eyes dark with desire. His own passion for his lover hadn’t eased and he kissed him, pulling Jack’s tongue into his mouth, savoring the flavors.

He realized that some of what he was tasting was himself. Except for a slight bitterness, it wasn’t unpleasant at all. Wanting to know Jack, know his textures, wanting to know the taste, Daniel broke the kiss and reached down and sucked on one of Jack’s nipples. Carding his fingers through the hair he felt there, Daniel could feel the trembling that had begun in the older man. Looking down he could see Jack’s cock laying heavy and thick against his abdomen.

As Daniel attempted to kneel up beside Jack, he was seized by a sharp pain in his hip. Groaning he fell back onto the bed beside his lover. Gasping he took deep breaths as he waited for the pain to pass.

“Daniel? Daniel? Come on, talk to me, Danny.” Nodding to Jack, to reassure him he was all right, Daniel continued to breathe deep, sensing the worst was over as the pain started to subside.

“I’m calling Janet.” Jack reached across his lover towards the phone. His hand was intercepted by Daniel’s as he stopped him.

“I’m fine, Jack. Janet said it would take a while for the bruising to fade and that wound on my hip to heal.” Daniel’s breathing eased into a more normal pattern. “I guess I just overdid it a little.”

“Yeah and it’s all my fault. I should have realized you weren’t up to anything too vigorous.” Jack felt his desire abate a little. “We have the rest of our lives to explore each other. When you’re up to it, we’ll continue. I have plans for you.” Jack smiled at Daniel, reining in his lust.

“Well, pain or not, I have plans for you too. I may not be able to be as vigorous, but I can love you. Lie back, Jack” Daniel used Jack’s ‘I’m the Colonel’ tone. Lying back, the older man just raised an eyebrow. Daniel dived in for another kiss, only feeling a slight discomfort.

Deepening the kiss, Daniel began to stroke Jack, learning the older man’s textures. Noting a hot spot or two as Jack gasped and making a mental note of them, Daniel reached down and took his lover’s thick cock in his hand. Starting slowly, he

stroked and massaged the tip, wanting to make this last. Kissing Jack again, he felt and heard the man’s gasp as Daniel abandoned the stroking and moved down to Jack’s thighs. Jack spread his legs encouraging Daniel to do whatever he wanted. Stroking up the inside of Jack’s thighs, he came to his lover’s balls. Grasping them, massaging them, he could hear moaning and encouragement coming from his friend and lover.

Moving back to Jack’s cock, he wrapped his fist around it and started with long, slow strokes, adding a twist at the end of a massage intermittently. Jack lay there moaning, thrashing his head back and forth on the pillow. Pulling Daniel in for a kiss, he had to break it as he gasped. The sensations he was feeling was overpowering him. He could feel the tingle in his lower back, pelvis and legs as he started to thrust in counterpoint to Daniel’s increased stroking. Just when he thought he couldn’t take anymore he gave one last powerful thrust and came, shooting ribbons over his belly and Daniel’s hand.

As he lay there coming down off his high, Daniel milked him as he stroked and kissed him, whispering words of love in his ear. As he relaxed into Daniel’s arms, he smiled, thankful that Daniel was here and that they were together.

- - - - - -

Daniel woke to the sensation of someone nibbling on his throat. A hand gently massaged his chest, one finger coming up to tease a nipple. With a happy sigh, Daniel turned towards his lover.

“Morning,” he murmured as Jack drew back to look at him. He raised a hand and gently caressed Jack’s smiling face as he responded in kind.

“This *is* much better than an alarm clock,” Daniel sighed as Jack resumed his explorations of Daniel’s body. “I could kinda get used to waking up like this.”

“Count on it,” Jack growled, as he replaced finger with lips and began sucking on Daniel’s nipple.

As Jack felt Daniel caressing him and making love to him, he returned it with fervour, knowing Daniel was where he belonged; in his arm, in his heart, in his life. And Jack was grateful to whatever power that watched over them. He felt a prickling of tears when he realized it had taken a near disaster for him to know he had always had what was already there.  


Authors' Comments:An April birthday fic written for our friends at Tok'ra Flats.


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