Daniel walked quickly away from the breakfast table, trying not to show how upset he was. How could Jack have betrayed him after all his declarations of love? 'Forever', that's what Jack had told him on many occasions. So why had he felt the need to fool around with Sam?
Because there were no consequences, that was why. If Daniel hadn't been so adept in reading Jack, he might have mistaken that smirk for one that meant he had played some sort of weird joke on Sam. But knowing Jack as he did, Daniel could see the sexual undertones, and he had known instantly what Jack had done.
And with that smirk, Jack had broken his heart.
He reached the elevator and pressed the button urgently. Looking back over his shoulder, he could see Jack further down the corridor. Even from that distance, Daniel could see the guilt on the older man's face. But whether it was guilt at his actions or at the fact that Daniel knew, the linguist wasn't sure. And he wasn't going to stick around to find out.
The doors finally opened and Daniel quickly got in. He saw Jack speed up as the doors started to close but knew that the colonel wouldn't make it in time. Wrapping his arms around himself, he stared sadly at Jack until the doors blocked the view.
Jack cursed as the lift doors closed before he could get to them. He really needed to talk to Danel and set things straight. He knew that he had hurt the linguist badly - the expression in those blue eyes had torn at his heart - and he was cursing himself for being such an idiot. How could he have done that to Daniel?
It had all started with that zatarc-detector. He had finally had to acknowledge how much he cared about Carter and that had got him thinking about how far those feelings went. Carter was an attractive woman, and he wouldn't have been male if he hadn't fantasised about her when they had first met. However, those fantasies had been short-lived because he knew that it was wrong to think about his 2IC that way. And, although he hadn't realised it at the time, Daniel had occupied much of his thoughts anyway. But after the zatarc thing, he had got to thinking about it again. Were his feelings towards Carter sexual? He hadn't thought so but doubts had lingered. So when the opportunity had arisen to test that out without anyone being the wiser, he had taken it. He had kissed Carter. And he discovered that although it had been nice, it wasn't anywhere as good as when he kissed Daniel.
When Daniel had asked him a few minutes earlier about what he had done in the loops, Jack hadn't even thought about his response. He had sat there and smirked at Carter, enjoying the confusion on her face. But he had forgotten how well Daniel could read him and as soon as the linguist had taken off, he knew he had made a big mistake. How could he have been such an idiot, not only to give Daniel a hint of what he had done but to actually kiss Carter in the first place? He knew how insecure Daniel was about being loved and yet Jack had willingly cheated on him. And Daniel now knew it. How stupid could he get?
A few minutes later, Jack arrived at the surface. An inquiry to one of the guards confirmed that Daniel had left the Mountain, and a check of the car-park indicated that the linguist had completely left the base. Jack cursed himself again. He had just stuffed up the best thing that had ever happened to him because he had wanted to see what he was missing.
Jack went back into the base to get his car keys. He needed to find Daniel soon before the damage became irreparable.
The park was quiet at this time of day. Daniel sat on one of the park benches and stared into the distance. His arms were wrapped around his chest, trying to hold himself together. The fact that he was still in uniform had escaped his notice but there was no-one around to see it anyway.
Jack had lied to him. Jack had told him that he was the only one he was in love with but that obviously wasn't true - why else would he have fooled around with Sam? Jack had been quite attentive lately - wasn't that a sign of impending desertion? Daniel had just put it down to his lover being overly cautious after being kidnapped by Makepeace but perhaps he was wrong. Perhaps Jack had decided that he had fallen out of love and the smirk had been his way of telling Daniel it was over.
No, that wasn't Jack's style. If it was over, he would just say so. Maybe he had been afraid, though, of what Daniel might do when told the relationship was over. Daniel was certain that he would have to leave the SGC; there was no way he would be able to work with Jack after what they had shared together. And he wouldn't be able to watch Jack and Sam together; that would be too painful. He would have to leave and find a dig somewhere that he could work on while he slowly died from heartbreak. It sounded melodramatic but it was true. He couldn't imagine a life without Jack now.
Daniel thought back to the romantic dinner they had shared in Denver two weeks ago after the zatarc debacle. It had been perfect. Jack had been very attentive and romantic, and Daniel had loved him even more for it. Maybe it had been too perfect. Maybe the past few months, the happiness he had felt, had been too good to be true. He had come to expect that from life.
Of course, he was jumping to conclusions. Jack might have just meant for that smirk to wind Sam up and see what her reaction was. Jack might still be in love with him but somehow Daniel didn't think he was wrong. Jack had cheated on him. Maybe it was something he had done wrong. Maybe Jack thought that their sex life was getting boring, or that Daniel wasn't adventurous enough in bed. Daniel had always tried anything Jack had suggested except when it came to being tied up. Perhaps Sam didn't have that hang-up.
He bit his lip hard when that image came to mind, the pain in his heart threatening to overwhelm him. No, he couldn't think about that. That was just... wrong. Forcing the tears back, he got himself under control again. This was a public place; he was not going to cry here. In fact, he was not going to cry at all. He wasn't going to give Jack the satisfaction.
It was an hour before Jack finally tracked his archaeologist down. He had tried a number of Daniel's favourite haunts first and then had remembered about the park. Quietly, he approached the still figure on the bench, uncertain of what he was going to say now that he was here. How did one apologise for hurting the one they loved so deeply?
He was only a few feet away when he heard the hoarse voice say, "Go away, Jack." He heard the misery behind the words and berated himself again. "I'm sorry, Danny."
Daniel closed his eyes tightly. He should have known that Jack would find him but he hadn't expected it to be so soon. "What exactly are you sorry for? Cheating on me or getting caught?" he asked, knowing that he probably wouldn't like the answer.
"For being a total idiot." Jack came around the bench to stand in front of Daniel but the linguist wouldn't look at him. Despite his bad knees, Jack crouched down in front of Daniel in the hopes that the young man would open his eyes. He rested his hands on Daniel's knees. "For hurting you."
The contact burned through the material of Daniel's trousers and seared his skin. He refused to look at Jack as he stated, "You cheated on me." The words came out more calmly than he had expected.
"Danny, look at me." Jack hated that he couldn't see the linguist's eyes. "Look at me," he repeated more insistently when the younger man didn't obey. When Daniel reluctantly opened his eyes and looked at him, Jack almost closed his. He didn't want to see just how badly Daniel was hurting yet he had to; it was all his fault. "It was only a kiss, I swear."
Daniel broke eye contact as soon as Jack said 'kiss'. It was true! Jack had cheated on him! As the hurt washed through him, he bit his lip so hard that it started bleeding.
"It was a stupid thing to do, I know," Jack continued, pained by the distress he had caused. He rubbed his hands gently up and down Daniel's thighs, not even aware he was doing so. "But when you mentioned that there were no consequences, I just-"
"It's my fault?!" Daniel was shocked out of his hurt. "You-you kissed Sam and it's my fault?!"
"No, I-" How could he explain it? "I wanted to see what the other O'Neills saw in their Carters," he said half-truthfully.
"Did you find out?" Daniel had to know.
"No." Jack reached up to touch the bleeding lip briefly before the linguist moved his head away. "They must have seen something that I'm not." Or maybe he was seeing someone who they didn't.
Daniel didn't know what to say to that. He could hear the truth in Jack's voice but he was still unsure.
"I love you, Daniel," Jack continued in a low voice, not wanting his words to travel any further than his lover's ears. "I never meant to hurt you."
"Then you shouldn't have done it in the first place," Daniel pointed out.
"I know, I'm sorry." Jack dropped his gaze for a few seconds, contrite. "I really am."
Daniel shook his head. "How can I trust you now?"
"I will never do it again," the older man promised.
"That's what you said last time." It was just like Laira all over again. "And you wouldn't have told me, would you?"
Jack paused before he said in a low voice, "No. Because it didn't mean anything to me," he added upon seeing Daniel withdraw from him.
"That makes me feel so much better," Daniel said dryly. He was sure Sam wouldn't appreciate knowing that either.
"I don't know what else to say." Jack shifted awkwardly as his knees began to protest. His heart clenched in fear as he waited to see whether Daniel would forgive him. He didn't know what he would do if the linguist didn't.
Daniel sighed. He didn't know what Jack should say to make it better either. He wasn't entirely convinced that it wasn't because of him. "Did I do something wrong?" he asked quietly.
Jack couldn't work out what he was talking about for a moment. Then he understood. "No, baby, you didn't." How could Daniel think that? Actually, he knew how - because Daniel still wasn't confident about his ability to hold onto Jack.
Looking around, Daniel was glad that there was no-one in sight. The fact that Jack was kneeling in front of him was pretty damning by itself but if anyone had heard that endearment... Focusing back on Jack, he asked, "Why then?"
"Because I'm an idiot," Jack repeated. He shifted to sit on the bench beside his lover, and rubbed his aching knees. "Forgive me?"
Daniel remained silent for a few seconds, sorting out his feelings. He wanted to forgive Jack but he had been hurt too many times to do so straight away. And how could he be sure that Jack wouldn't do something like this again?
"I didn't sleep with her; it was just a kiss!"
"That's no excuse, Jack!" Daniel got up and started to walk away from the older man. It was still a betrayal.
"Daniel, wait!" Jack caught up with him. "Please?"
"I can't, Jack. Not right now." He needed some time.
Jack watched Daniel walk away from him. Why was Daniel being so stubborn about this? It had only been a kiss!
'And how would you feel if Daniel kissed someone else?' his subconscious asked him.
'Yeah, yeah, I get your point'. Jack would be angry and hurt that Daniel had felt the need to kiss someone else. So maybe he could understand why Daniel couldn't forgive him immediately.
He watched Daniel until the linguist was out of sight, and then he returned to the bench. He needed to do some thinking himself.
As Daniel walked towards his car, he hoped that Jack would follow him, would keep trying to convince him to forgive him. But after a minute, Daniel knew that Jack wasn't going to do that, and he was disappointed that his lover hadn't made the effort. He ignored the fact that he had told Jack that he had needed some time; Jack should know by now when he needed to persist.
He got into the car, his heart heavy. This was the first major problem they had encountered in their relationship so far - Euronda didn't count because that wasn't personal - and he was having some problems with it. Problems with his problems; he laughed mirthlessly at the irony of it. Except infidelity was no laughing matter. Jack had kissed Sam - of all the women there, why had he chosen her? Now he would be wondering if Jack was thinking about her when he was with Daniel. How could he live with that suspicion?
Deciding to head back to his apartment, Daniel started the car and drove off. He kept thinking about Jack's words though, that the kiss hadn't meant anything. Why do it then? The fact that he could without any consequences was just an excuse, as was the reason about seeing what the other O'Neills found attractive in their Sams. There had to be another reason but Daniel wasn't sure he wanted to know what it was.
The loud car horn was all the warning he had before something rammed into the side of his car and everything went black...
Jack hadn't remained in the park for too long. He had done all his thinking in five minutes and had come to one conclusion: he would do whatever it took to keep Daniel. Besides Charlie, Daniel was the most important thing in his life and to throw that away would be committing emotional suicide.
A sudden pain sliced through his body and he doubled over in agony. At first, he thought it was the idea of Daniel leaving him that was causing the pain but then he realised that it wasn't just his heart that was hurting, it was his body.
Jack sprinted for his car, his instincts telling him that Daniel was hurt. He didn't want to believe it but his instincts were rarely wrong. Something bad had just happened to Daniel.
It was ten long anxious minutes until he found out what. Traffic had slowed down to a crawl, and when Jack got close enough, he saw that the cars were being diverted around the scene of a car accident.
And one of the cars was Daniel's.
Jack managed to pull his car off to the side of the road while his heart and mind were busy screaming 'No, no, no!' This was not happening!
He stumbled out of the car and ran up to the accident scene. When he got close, a female ambulance officer got in his way and stopped him.
"I'm sorry, sir, but you can't go any further."
Tears burned in Jack's eyes as he was prevented from moving. He could clearly see the crumpled car, the passenger side completely crushed, and the other ambulance officers, who were carefully removing a body from the driver's side. It was Daniel. Daniel wasn't moving. Oh god! He couldn't be dead! That wasn't meant to happen!
Getting his brain into working order, Jack managed to get out, "The driver... he's my best friend. His name is Daniel." Jack's voice broke on the last word, grief threatening to overwhelm him. Daniel wasn't allowed to die, not while he was still mad at Jack.
The officer, Maria Estevez, noticed how upset the man was and relented. "Come with me."
Jack found himself being led over to where Daniel's still form was being placed on a stretcher. Fresh tears sprang to Jack's eyes when he saw how much blood there was. Please, God, no, he prayed. Please let him be alive! Jack reached out to touch Daniel's face, not quite believing that it was his lover lying there. "Danny," he whispered hoarsely. "I'm so sorry."
When they loaded Daniel into the ambulance, Jack got in as well. No-one protested, so he assumed that the officer had told her colleagues that it was alright. A thought crossed his mind about leaving his truck by the roadside but he figured he would just ring Carter when they reached the hopsital. She could then arrange to have it picked up. But that wasn't all that important right now. "He's alive, isn't he?" he looked up blindly to ask one of the officers. Surely they would have covered him up if he wasn't.
Maria looked at him with compassion. These two were more than friends and because of that, she took pity on him. "Yes, he is. He has severe concussion, bruising, and some lacerations to the face, but he'll be fine."
'He'll be fine'. Those words echoed round in Jack's head in time with his racing heart. He dropped his head to rest in his hands, the tiny bit of relief making tears prick at his eyes again. Daniel was going to be fine. He just had to be.
The trip was a blur for Jack, and he couldn't even remember entering the hospital. It was only when they wheeled Daniel away for x-rays that Jack realised where he was. Fumbling for his mobile phone, he shakily dialed Carter and filled her in on what had happened to Daniel. Then he sank slowly into a nearby chair and thought about Daniel.
The shy smile that was reserved only for him...
The way Daniel knew what Jack was thinking without anything being said...
A raised eyebrow when Jack was being an idiot...
The look in his eyes when they had first made love...
Leaning his head back against the wall, Jack lost himself in the memories.
Jack was shocked out of his thoughts by Carter's voice. Looking down the corridor, he saw his 2IC, Teal'c, Fraiser and Cassie all advancing towards him. Wiping the tears away from his eyes, he stood up to meet them. "Hey, guys." He winced when his voice broke on the words.
"How is he?" Sam asked, shocked to see the colonel so distraught. Disregarding the regulations, she put an arm around him in comfort and guided him so that he was sitting down again.
"I don't know. They took him away for x-rays and they haven't come back." Jack took a couple of deep breaths. He needed to get himself under control.
"I'll see what I can find out," Janet said gently, and headed off down the corridor.
Even though Cassie was now a teenager, she took advantage of her Uncle Jack being seated. She sat on his lap and put her arms around his neck. "Is Daniel going to be alright?"
"He's going to be fine," Jack said, putting his arms around Cassie and holding her close, gaining a measure of comfort from the contact. "He always is." And if he said it often enough, Daniel would be.
"What happened?" Sam had to ask. She hadn't seen either man since they had abruptly left earlier, and she couldn't help but wonder if this was somehow connected.
"I don't know. I was going to Daniel's apartment and then I saw the ambulances and his car..." Jack broke off as the tears threatened again. "It looked like someone ran into the side of his car."
"Oh, my god," Sam whispered. She unconsciously started to rub his back to try and soothe him.
Teal'c was distressed by this news although, he observed, nowhere near as upset as O'Neill. This was not a surprise. He had observed how close the two had become over the past few months and was pleased that this had occurred. However, he also knew that O'Neill had kissed MajorCarter. If O'Neill had hurt DanielJackson because of this, then he would suffer the wrath of Teal'c. "DanielJackson is strong, O'Neill. He will be fine."
Jack nodded, unable to say anything to that. He was thankful for the support.
When Fraiser came back, Jack went to stand up, then remembered that he had Cassie on his lap. "Anything?"
Fraiser listed the injuries that Jack already knew about, and added that Daniel had a broken forearm. But other than that, he was going to be fine. Jack slumped back in the chair, relief flooding through him. He knew Daniel wasn't out of the woods yet but if Fraiser wasn't worried, then he didn't need to be. For the moment anyway. "When can we see him?"
"Not for a while yet," Janet replied. "They're setting his arm right now. Also, it might be some time before he regains consciousness." She stood right in front of the colonel. "Are you alright, sir?" She could imagine what he was going through.
"No." The word escaped him before he could stop it. No, he wasn't alright. It was his fault that Daniel was hurt. All his protection of the linguist on and off-world hadn't prevented him from stuffing up, and now Daniel was paying the price. "Seeing the car and him, I..." he trailed off.
"I understand, sir," Janet said. This was so unexpected. "Cassie, honey, can you get Colonel O'Neill some coffee?" Janet needed to talk to the colonel without young ears around.
"Okay." Cassie recognised that tone of voice and obediently left the adults to talk about things they didn't want her to hear.
As soon as Cassie was out of earshot, Janet turned to the colonel. "Sir, did you and Daniel have an argument before he left today?"
Jack's head snapped up. How did she know? "Not exactly," he hedged. At the twin glares that he received from the women, he added, "It wasn't an argument exactly." They hadn't even exchanged words until he had reached the park.
"What was it about?" Sam queried. It had obviously been something pretty bad for the colonel to be this upset.
"It's personal, Carter." There was no way he was telling anyone what it had been about, although Teal'c would probably put two and two together.
Personal? The suspicions that Sam had had a few months ago came back to her. How personal was it? She thought about the look that the colonel had given her earlier and wondered whether Daniel had been jealous because of it. After all, there was an attraction between herself and the colonel, and if Daniel had feelings for him - and she suspected that he might - then it was possible that he had been jealous. If that was the case... how did the colonel know?
The four of them said nothing more until Cassie came back with the coffee. Then they all just sat and waited.
"You can see him now."
Jack was on his feet the second the doctor stopped speaking. The minutes had been dragging by, and he'd had way too much time to think about his actions. If Daniel took him back, he was never going to do anything to upset him ever again.
"He's still unconscious," the doctor warned, "but other than that, he's going to be fine."
'Fine.' The word that he hated hearing come out of Daniel's mouth was welcomed from everyone else. From his linguist, it meant he was hurting in some way; from others, it meant... well, it really meant the same thing but at least they would also tell him what was wrong. Jack strode ahead of the rest of the group so that he entered the room first. He stopped just inside the door, totally focused on the sight of Daniel lying there with wires connecting him to a couple of nearby machines. The young man's skin was pale, and his left forearm was encased in plaster and resting on a pillow. Jack forced himself to go closer until he could see the little cuts over Daniel's face from the shattered windscreen. There was also a bandage on the side of his head where, Jack assumed, it must have made contact with the side window.
Turning, Jack walked out of the room, almost running into Carter. He couldn't look at Daniel anymore because it was entirely his fault that this had happened. If the linguist hadn't been upset with Jack, then he wouldn't have been driving back to his apartment while upset, and then the other car wouldn't have hit him. Guilt brought tears to Jack's eyes; even if Daniel forgave him, Jack never would.
Without looking at Teal'c, Jack replied, "I'll be there in a minute, T."
"As you wish." Footsteps indicated that Teal'c had left.
Jack turned his head and looked at Daniel through the window. He would wait until the others had gone before he went back in there because he wasn't sure he could keep it together in front of them. Slumping against the wall, he slid down it until he was sitting on the floor, and then he tilted his head back to rest against the wall. Why did he always hurt the people he loved?
"Uncle Jack?" Cassie crouched down next to him, unsure of what to say. She hadn't liked seeing Daniel lying there so she had left the room to see where Jack was. It looked like his mind was far away. She sat down next to him and was surprised when he hugged her to his side.
"I'm fine, Cassie," Jack lied. He wouldn't be alright until Daniel was. Together they remained sitting there in silence until the others came out five minutes later.
"Sir?" Janet moved directly in front of the colonel and tried to get his attention. "Jack? Do you want to go in now?"
He supposed that he had better. Jack nodded and slowly stood up with Cassie's help. It was days like this that he felt every one of his forty-five years. Tuning everyone out, Jack slowly made his way back into Daniel's room. He didn't look at his lover, though, until he had sat in the chair close to the bed. It was only then that he allowed himself to look. The sight had tears coming to his eyes again. Daniel looked so pale, so fragile. And it was all Jack's fault. Well, technically, it was also Malaki's fault for setting that loop-machine off because then Jack wouldn't have had the chance to kiss Carter. And it was also Daniel's fault - possibly - for driving when upset. But no-one had forced Jack to kiss Carter or to smirk at her when the loops ended - that was entirely his choice. "Danny, I'm so sorry," he said softly, reaching out to tentatively stroke Daniel's left bicep.
Teal'c watched the warrior through the window. The grief O'Neill was showing was for more than just the accident. There had been an argument, that much Teal'c knew, and it was obvious that it had been very bad. It was equally obvious that it was something O'Neill had done which had caused the argument. Given the timing, Teal'c now believed that the scholar had discovered O'Neill's actions concerning MajorCarter, and had been rightly upset about it. That O'Neill was penitent for his behaviour was good; it would save Teal'c from maiming him... for the moment. His final decision would be made once he could judge just how much DanielJackson had been hurt emotionally.
Inside the room, Jack was unaware of Teal'c's scrutiny, so focused was he on Daniel. His fingers had made their way into the short brown hair, being very careful not to touch the bandage. Normally he loved touching Daniel but seeing him like this... Jack was thankful that the accident hadn't been worse, that Daniel hadn't died. Knowing that he was the cause, Jack would have followed him soon after. How could he have been so stupid? Jack looked at his unconscious lover; if Daniel took him back, he would never give him cause to doubt Jack's love again.
When Daniel awoke some time later, he didn't know where he was. Looking around him, he saw white walls, some windows, and a machine off to his right that was beeping. Turning his head slightly, he saw the heart monitor next to his bed and he assumed that he was in hospital and that he'd had some sort of accident. The question was, what?
Daniel turned to look the other way, the movement causing him a little bit of pain. He then realised that there were a lot of little aches and pains throughout his body. He couldn't remember getting them though.
A blurry shape was sitting in the nearby chair. Squinting, Daniel saw that it was Jack. His lover was seemingly fast asleep. Daniel's lips curved into a smile as he watched his lover sleep; it was nice to know that he was cared about. He debated for a few seconds whether to wake Jack up, not knowing how much sleep he'd had, then said, "Jack?"
The older man immediately awoke, disorientated for a couple of seconds, then he abruptly remembered where he was. "Danny?" He was surprised to see the linguist looking at him with love and concern; wasn't Daniel supposed to be mad at him?
"Hi." Daniel saw the confusion in Jack's eyes and wondered briefly what was wrong. "What happened?"
Jack got up and came to stand next to the bed. "You don't remember?"
Daniel carefully shook his head. "Last thing I remember is coming back from P4X-639 after stopping the loops."
Jack's heart skipped a beat. Daniel didn't remember! This was good. Although if it was only temporary, then it was bad because Daniel would get hurt all over again. But for the moment, Jack was glad of the reprieve. "You were going to the apartment when another car ran into yours."
"Well, that explains why I'm here," Daniel observed. He tried to lift his left arm towards Jack but found that he couldn't. Looking down, he saw it was encased in plaster. "Broken arm?"
"Yeah." Jack went around to the other side of the bed and threaded his fingers through Daniel's free hand. "You scared me, Danny."
"I'm sorry." He could just imagine what Jack had gone through.
A doctor and nurse bustled into the room and broke the moment. Jack moved away from the bed so that they could examine his linguist. He paid attention to what they did and said, especially the part about the short-term amnesia, which meant that Daniel couldn't remember anything from the past eighteen hours or so. The doctor said it might return soon or maybe not at all. Selfishly, Jack was hoping for the latter. This would grant Jack a second chance and this time he would not blow it.
That evening, Jack drove Daniel home. The linguist had been released from hospital on the proviso that someone kept an eye on him, and Jack had generously offered to do that. Once inside Jack's house, the colonel ushered the archaeologist to the couch and got him settled, then headed off to fix something to eat. He was going to pamper Daniel - being very careful not to overdo things and make his lover suspicious - making sure that Daniel felt loved. Then, maybe, when the younger man remembered what had led up to the accident, the impact might be lessened.
Daniel allowed Jack to fuss over him, partly because he was still a little spaced out but also because it was nice. He smiled indulgently when Jack came back to make sure that he was comfortable, knowing that the older man liked doing this for him. It wouldn't last; in a day or two, life would be back to normal and Jack would be complaining about having to do all the housework. Still, that was all part of being in a relationship.
Jack handed Daniel a plate with pizza on it, the meal being easy to eat with one hand. He then sat lengthwise on the couch, Daniel leaning back against his chest. "Comfy?"
"Very." If one didn't take into account the minor aches and pains. Daniel balanced the plate carefully on his stomach and then started eating. "My own full body pillow."
"At your service." Jack took a mouthful of his own pizza. Then Daniel's comment sank in. "Hey, are you saying I'm fat?"
"No." Daniel drew out the word. "Just... nicely padded," he continued innocently, enjoying the fact that Jack couldn't retaliate physically. "Comfortable."
"Excuse me?" He was not getting fat!
Daniel swallowed the mouthful of pizza then carefully reached behind him with his uninjured hand to draw Jack to him. "Just right." He touched his lips to Jack's in confirmation.
Jack resisted the urge to deepen the kiss. Daniel ever kissing him again had seemed extremely unlikely that morning... not to mention the fact that they hadn't made love in three months. Well, Daniel had because technically it was only two days ago for him. But Jack hadn't done the 'no consequences' thing with Daniel because frankly, his ego wanted the linguist to remember every single lovemaking session. And then there was the fact that he had almost lost his lover twice in one day...
Pulling away, his eyes gazing into the warm brown of his partner's, Daniel felt a little guilty. He knew what Jack wanted, could feel it pressing against him. "I'm sorry, Jack, I can't tonight."
"I know that." Jack kissed Daniel's forehead. "I'm not asking you to. I'm just happy that you're here with me."
"So am I, Jack." Daniel couldn't imagine anywhere else that he would rather be.
It had been a peaceful night, Daniel sleeping straight through courtesy of the painkillers. His body had stayed relatively still, subconsciously protecting the broken arm.
At 0900, Jack woke his lover up with a kiss. He had the day off after all the loops, so he would be able to spend it with the linguist. As Daniel groggily returned the kiss, Jack lightly ran his hand over the smooth bare chest, being careful of the new bruises. "Morning, Danny."
"Mm-hmm." Daniel lay there and enjoyed the wake-up call, not wanting to get up. The painkillers were beginning to wear off and aches were making themselves known all over his body.
"How are you feeling?"
"Sore. Kiss it better?" the young man asked, a small smile gracing his lips.
Jack was sorely tempted to do that but refrained, knowing that they shouldn't have sex. He did, however, lean down to kiss the soft lips again. "Now?"
"A little better. More?"
"How about some coffee instead?" Jack offered, retrieving the cup from the bedside table.
Daniel awkwardly sat up, leaning against the bed-head so that he could drink his coffee.
Jack stood up and went to get the bottle of pills that the linguist had been given. Having experienced many broken bones himself, he knew that Daniel would need some relief from the pain. He quietly handed two pills to Daniel, who obediently put them in his mouth and swallowed them. Jack then sat down facing his partner and absently stroked the nearest leg.
"Are you okay?" Daniel asked, worried that Jack was so quiet.
"I'm fine," Jack replied a little too quickly. "Just thinking about yesterday."
"Don't." Daniel knew that Jack must have had a huge fright concerning the accident, and he didn't want his lover to dwell on it. He put the empty cup down and put his hand over Jack's. "That's an order."
The corner's of Jack's mouth twitched. "An order? Since when do you give orders?"
"I save them up for special occasions," Daniel replied. "So what are we going to do today?"
"You are going to take it easy and rest. I am going to mow the lawn, spend some time with you, do the laundry, spend time with you, wash the car... did I mention spend time with you?"
"What am I supposed to do all day?" Daniel complained half-heartedly. He hated it when he wasn't allowed to work, although he really didn't feel like doing anything today anyway.
"Veg out. Watch TV. Watch me," Jack suggested with a grin. "I'm sure you'll have visitors too, so that will fill in a couple of hours. But firstly, we need to get you dressed." Jack did not want Daniel entertaining only partially-clothed.
It took a lot longer than usual for Daniel to get dressed in a pair of sweats and a t-shirt, even with Jack's help. He was then assisted to the kitchen for breakfast, and then into the living room and onto the couch. Jack fussed over him, making sure that the younger man was comfortable. Then he popped a movie into the DVD player and turned the TV on.
"Indiana Jones?" Daniel questioned Jack's choice. He knew his partner loved those movies but he hadn't really taken to them. The first ten minutes of 'Raider's of the Lost Ark' had been enough to convince him that he didn't like the movies; no real archaeologist would ever behave the way Jones did.
"Give it another chance," Jack suggested. Give me another chance, he added silently. "You can criticise it all you like afterwards."
Daniel sighed. He would watch it if it made Jack happy. "Okay."
Jack leaned down to kiss the top of Daniel's head. "Good. I'll be outside if you need me."
Three hours later, Jack had done the lawn and the laundry, and had watched a fair amount of the movie as well. Daniel had finished the movie and he had actually liked it better than he thought despite all the obvious errors and over-the-top script. Janet had dropped in to see how he was doing, and had been pleased that Daniel was taking it easy. She had stayed for a while, then had to go back to the Mountain. And now that it was noon, Jack was preparing some sandwiches for lunch.
When the doorbell rang, Jack called to Daniel, "I'll get it!" He opened the door and found Carter and Teal'c standing there. "Hey."
"Hey. How's Daniel?" Sam wanted to know. It had been her idea to come out and visit.
"See for yourself; he's through there." Jack gestured to the living room. He closed the door behind them and followed them down just in time to see the blood drain from his linguist's face. "Danny?"
"Daniel?" Sam walked forward a couple of paces but stopped when she saw him draw back. What was wrong?
Daniel's eyes flicked back and forth between Jack and Sam, the memory of yesterday's discussion coming back to him at the sight of his friend. The person that Jack had kissed. Jack had betrayed him. That's what they had talked about before the accident. "You son of a bitch," he said softly, looking directly at Jack. Then he got up and walked outside.
"I will go," Teal'c said, physically preventing O'Neill from following the scholar. "You will make things worse."
Unfortunately, Jack couldn't disagree with that. Daniel obviously had remembered what had happened and would not want to speak to him. "Go then." He gestured to the door, then sat down heavily on one of the chairs.
"Colonel, what's going on?" Sam sat down opposite her CO. She had been hurt by Daniel's apparent rejection of her, and now she wanted to know what had caused him to do that.
"I stuffed up, Carter."
"The argument yesterday," she guessed.
"Yeah." Jack didn't look at her as he continued. "I did something I shouldn't have and he found out about it."
Holy Hannah! Had the colonel kissed Daniel? Maybe that's what Daniel was upset about. But if Daniel had feelings for the colonel, then he wouldn't be upset, would he? Wait... what if the colonel had kissed her? That might trigger jealousy in Daniel. "What did you do?" she had to ask.
Jack looked at her, incredulous that she had asked, but didn't answer. Then he looked out the window to where he could see Teal'c approaching Daniel. He sure hoped that Teal'c could talk Daniel into forgiving him.
Outside, Daniel wrapped his arms - well, his one good arm - around himself as he stared at the back fence. How could Jack have kissed Sam? He remembered the apology Jack had given him but he wasn't satisfied with that. It could have been worse, he knew, but underneath it all, the principle was the same.
"I don't want to talk about it, Teal'c." The pain was still too raw.
"As you wish." Teal'c made no move to leave.
Daniel waited for about ten seconds, then asked, "Did you know?" There was silence, and Daniel could imagine Teal'c's raised eyebrow. "That Jack kissed Sam?"
"I did. I did not approve."
"Did he tell you why he did it?"
"He did not." O'Neill had only informed him minutes before the act, leaving little time for conversation. The warrior had then avoided all questions on the subject.
Daniel had hoped that Teal'c might know, and was disappointed. "Do you think he loves her?"
Teal'c didn't need any time to think about that. "As a friend, I believe he does. However, he does not love her as he does you."
"Well, he's got a funny way of showing it." Daniel closed his eyes tightly against the flood of emotion inside him. "He said he wanted to know what the alternate Jacks saw in their Sams."
"That is possible," Teal'c admitted.
"What if he liked it better with her than with me?" the linguist asked softly.
"He did not. If he did, he would not be here now."
Daniel wasn't so sure about that. "He's always there for his team, Teal'c," he said in a flat voice.
"He is extremely remorseful of his actions. I do not believe he will ever do it again." The accident would have brought home the harsh reality of losing the young man.
"I wish I could believe that." Daniel turned to look up at the house. He could see Jack looking back at him and even from this distance, he could see the pain the older man was feeling. Was he being too hard on Jack and blowing this way out of proportion? After all, it was only a kiss.
"You need only believe in O'Neill."
The words struck Daniel hard; they were almost the same as what Teal'c had said just before they had got Jack back from Edora. And look what had happened after that.
"He will learn from his mistake," Teal'c continued.
"Yeah - don't get caught," Daniel tried to be flippant. He saw Teal'c's reproving look. "Sorry."
"O'Neill is not like the others who have hurt you. He needs you." Teal'c had observed this over the years. In fact, both men needed each other, although neither one would ever admit to it.
"Really?" Daniel hadn't thought about that before.
"Indeed. It is also important to him that you need him. Perhaps he was unsure of this and wished to test it."
Daniel gave this some thought. He remembered how much he had needed Jack after Sha're had been taken, how lost he had been. He had relied on Jack to guide him and to keep him safe. Now, though, the relationship had changed and he no longer needed that guidance. "He could have found another way."
"Indeed." When the scholar said nothing more, Teal'c strategically withdrew, leaving the young man to think. Upon entering the house, Teal'c found O'Neill still staring out the window at DanielJackson, and MajorCarter sitting nearby, confused and hurt. Without saying a word, Teal'c sat down on the couch and waited for O'Neill to speak.
Jack wanted to ask about Daniel but was too afraid to ask. He knew he would get the absolute truth from the Jaffa and he wasn't sure that he wanted it. There was also the small matter of Carter being there.
In the end, it was Sam who broke the silence. She didn't know what was going on and she needed to. "Is Daniel okay?"
"He will be fine," Teal'c replied.
More silence. Sam was sick of being kept in the dark. "Why is Daniel upset?" Neither man would meet her eyes. "Well?"
"I can't tell you, Carter," Jack stated.
"Yes, you can."
"No. I can't." Jack looked at her directly and saw understanding dawn in her eyes. "I really can't."
Sam was stunned. The colonel and Daniel? She had suspected about Daniel's feelings but hadn't had a clue about the colonel's, although in hindsight she should have known. "Oh."
"That about sums it up." Jack looked away again, his eyes immediately locking onto Daniel's pensive figure. What was Danny thinking about?
"They are, I believe the Earth word is, 'soul-mates'," Teal'c contributed, ignoring the glare that O'Neill sent him. "However, O'Neill does not always appreciate that fact."
"I'm well aware that I stuffed up, thank you, Teal'c." He did not want the conversation to continue and he tried to convey this to Teal'c through another glare.
Sam, however, missed the message. "What did you do?"
"Nothing I'm going to tell you about," Jack replied.
"You have hurt DanielJackson greatly," Teal'c continued. "Need I remind you of the consequences of such an action?"
"Do your worst, Teal'c." The Jaffa had made it clear before Edora that the consequences of not treating Daniel as he deserved would be very painful. But it wouldn't hurt as much as the knowledge of Daniel's pain did.
"Very well." Teal'c stood up and loomed over O'Neill. After a surreptitious glance out the window, he grabbed a fistful of O'Neill's shirt and hauled him to his feet. "This will be painful," he warned.
"Wait!" Sam became alarmed at the scene unfolding in front of her. "Teal'c, what are you going to do?" She couldn't let the Jaffa hurt the colonel... not without knowing why, anyway.
"I must teach O'Neill to value what he has got." He stared at the warrior, pleased that O'Neill was accepting his guilt in this matter. He drew back a fist ready to strike.
"Don't, Teal'c!" Daniel said urgently from the doorway. He had seen what was going on and had hurriedly made his way back to the house; he couldn't let his friend do this.
"It's alright, Daniel." Jack's eyes never left Teal'c's face, seeing the concern for the linguist written there.
"No, it's not. Violence is not going to solve this." Daniel moved forward and manoeuvred himself so that he was between Jack and Teal'c. He faced the Jaffa and stared at him until he released Jack. As Teal'c stepped back, Daniel moved away from Jack but made sure he remained between the two men. "Besides, if anyone is going to hit Jack, it should be me."
Teal'c inclined his head in recognition of that. He had not actually intended to strike O'Neill but he did not mention that.
There was an uncomfortable silence for a few seconds, then Sam stated, "I think we ought to go, Teal'c." The men needed to be alone to sort this out. And perhaps she might be able to find out from Teal'c just what the colonel had done.
"No, Sam, don't go. I'm sorry," Daniel apologised for his earlier behaviour. "I didn't mean to ignore you earlier."
"It's okay, I understand." She went over and awkwardly hugged him; she would need time to adjust to him and the colonel being lovers. "Give him hell."
"I intend to." He was not going to forgive Jack for this in a hurry. He assumed that Sam now knew about his relationship with Jack and could tell that she wasn't entirely comfortable with it; he hoped that she would eventually be able to accept it. "Thank you for coming over."
Sam drew back. "Are you going to be alright to stay here?"
"I'll be fine." He needed to work this through with Jack if they were going to continue on together. "I'll call you if I need help hiding the body." He gave her a quick smile.
Teal'c raised his eyebrow while Sam chuckled. Jack merely stared at Daniel in surprise. He waited until Daniel had shown the other two out before commenting on it though. "Planning on killing me then?"
"Only as a last resort," Daniel replied, sitting down on one of the chairs. There would be no harm in making Jack sweat a little.
Jack bit back a sarcastic, 'You and whose army?', remembering that he was supposed to be penitent. He got down on one knee in front of Daniel and took the linguist's right hand in his own. "I don't know what else to say except I really am sorry." Then he yelped and fell down, curling protectively around his groin. "Daniel!"
The archaeologist looked on without remorse after kicking Jack in a vulnerable place. It had just been too good an opportunity to pass up. Of course, it didn't solve anything but it certainly had made him feel better. "Oops," he said sweetly.
Eyeing Daniel suspiciously, Jack carefully sat up. He knew he had to watch what he said from now on because when Daniel was 'sweet', then Jack was on dangerous ground. "Okay, I deserved that."
"Yes, you did," Daniel agreed. "After all, you were hoping that I wouldn't remember anything, weren't you?"
Jack didn't answer that; he was in enough trouble as it was.
"You hurt me, Jack," Daniel stated. "You knew it would hurt me and yet you still did it. Why?"
"It seemed like a good idea at the time." The air got a little chillier and Jack cursed himself for not thinking first. "I don't know. By the end of the loops, I wasn't exactly thinking straight."
"On the contrary, that's exactly what you were thinking. Straight. Did you want to see if you were still attracted to women?"
"If that was the case, I wouldn't have picked Carter."
Daniel tilted his head to the side. "Why? She's attractive and a woman."
"I..." Jack broke off, knowing he had to phrase this the right way. "Let's just say that she's too familiar for that to work, okay?"
"Okay." Daniel could understand that. "So...?" he prompted.
Jack sighed. "I was confused. Carter said that I had feelings for her during that zatarc thing, or that I was hiding feelings or something. I needed to know if that was true." It sounded like a pathetic reason out loud.
That hurt Daniel because it indicated to him that Jack wasn't completely committed to him, despite all proclamations to the contrary. Jack should have known without having to 'test' it whether he had feelings for Sam. Then Daniel's brain caught up with something that Jack said. "She told you that you had feelings for her?"
"And you believed her?"
Jack stared back at Daniel, realisation dawning on him. All he had admitted to was that he cared more about her than he should. But that was true about all his team, not just Carter. He had totally misunderstood the whole thing. Her comment about military regs - it hadn't been about loving a person under his command, it had been about not being detached from the members of his team. He wasn't supposed to socialise with his team, yet he did, and because of it, he had become friends with them. "At the time, I did," he replied, ashamed of himself. How could he have jumped to such wrong conclusions? "I misunderstood."
"You thought she was in love with you."
Jack nodded. He had thought that at the time. "A part of me was flattered, and it went to my head." He risked kneeling in front of Daniel again. "Can you forgive me for being such an idiot?"
"I frequently do," Daniel stated dryly. "Never do anything like that again though, Jack, or I'll leave."
"I won't, love, I promise. You're the only person I want." Jack didn't know how he had managed to lose sight of that fact. He stood up, bringing Daniel with him, and held the younger man to him. Noticing how Daniel held himself stiffly, Jack commented, "I'm not out of the dog-house yet, am I?"
"Not completely." Daniel relented and leaned forward to kiss the older man. It would take a little while before he would be able to trust Jack completely again. "Remember the saying about sticks and stones?"
"Yeah?" Jack wondered how that was relevant.
"They can break my bones but only you can break my heart. And if you do it again, I'll shoot you. Understand?"
"Perfectly." The same held true for him. Jack pulled Daniel back in for a kiss, happy that he was being given a second chance. He would never run the risk of losing Daniel again.
Outside in the car, Teal'c and Sam sat watching the two men kissing. It had been purely by accident that they had discovered that the living room window let them see what was happening. Sam couldn't look away, drawn by morbid curiosity to watch them. She couldn't help feeling sorry for herself at the thought that she would never be able to be with either one of them, especially the colonel. But... "They're right together, aren't they?"
"They are," Teal'c replied. He turned his head to look at MajorCarter and saw a hint of sadness there. He placed a hand of comfort on her shoulder. "They are soul-mates."
"Yes." She could see that now, and wondered how she could have been so blind not to see it before.
Sam looked at Teal'c and saw compassion in his eyes; he knew what she was thinking. "I'll be fine."
Teal'c nodded; they would all be fine. After looking one last time at the two men framed by the window, Teal'c suggested, "MajorCarter, have you ever been Jello wrestling?"
"Perhaps this would be a good time to start."
Surprised but not unwilling, Sam started the car. She liked to eat Jello - maybe it would be fun to wrestle in it as well...
|Genres:||Angst, Drama, Established Relationship, Hurt/Comfort|
|Series:||Sticks and Stones|
|Summary:||Jack does something foolish and his relationship with Daniel hangs in the balance afterwards.|
Author's Chapter Notes:
Daniel gets hurt both physically and emotionally, and it's all Jack's fault.