He had been at his job for a thousand years now. It was often thankless work, but he did it willingly and he was damned good at his job. He plumbed the depths of the residents’ minds with exceptional skill. He was the director of their dreams and he loved his work. Whatever was there, be it on the surface or hidden became his, the nuances of every experience, every joy, every triumph, every moment of love, every fear, every tear shed in agony or grief, he exploited. He was particularly adept at delving into minds to find the fantasies and secret desires of each individual, the more twisted, forbidden or hidden the better. He had a job to do after all and he loved his work.
But, after a thousand years, it was beyond even his skill to find anything new in the minds of the residents. Strictly speaking he no longer needed to do his job, but that was his secret. When the four strangers were caught up in the chambers, he was overjoyed. Even after he discovered two of his new residents were not susceptible to his technology, he still had two minds to delve into and amuse his residents with. And what minds; such memories, experiences and thoughts. Each had lived and felt so much and the secrets they held … well, it was raw material he would not let go of lightly.
Delving into these two minds had shown him the obstinacy that existed within. After so long a span of time, the Keeper knew his residents most relished intense and violently emotional experiences and he sensed these two would not submit easily, so he decided to first give them a deeply and dearly held desire. A desire he was willing to fulfill in order to gain their cooperation.
SG1 returned from P7J-989, with the heady feeling of accomplishment after freeing the residents from their sterile chambers into their garden world. That two of their members had been tortured was not given a great deal of consideration; it was part of the job and nearly routine. Colonel O’Neill and Daniel were cleared by Doctor Fraiser, as there was no physical damage. She’d keep as close an eye on them as she could over the next few weeks to see if they required the services of Mackenzie, the base psychiatrist. Although knowing Daniel and Colonel O’Neill she doubted it would be necessary.
During the briefing it was noted that Daniel was uncharacteristically quiet and Jack was not displaying his usual sarcastic and charming persona. General Hammond, Sam and Teal’c chalked it up to the rather intense virtual reality they’d been subjected to. The memories the Keeper had ferreted out of their minds were among the most traumatic and vivid memories either man held. Daniel had been forced to witness the death of his parents and Jack had been forced to participate in the worst mission of his life, one in which teammates had been killed.
General Hammond dismissed them to write up their mission reports and gave them four days downtime. Teal’c made his way to his quarters in order to write his report, Sam headed to her lab with the same goal. Jack started for his office, hoping Daniel would leave him alone. The report was going to be difficult enough to write even without taking into account the lies he would soon be spinning. Lies by omission, but nevertheless, lies.
Daniel of course never did the guy thing and always had to push Jack that extra step. Damn it, Jack thought, can’t you for once let shit go? Jack so did not want to get into this, not now, not ever. He wanted to put it behind him and forget it ever happened. He’d been doing fine, controlling his feelings so no one but him knew what those feelings were, living quietly within his impossible dreams. He never meant for Daniel to know.
Daniel waited until they were in Jack’s office before speaking. “Jack, I think we have to talk about what happened.”
“No, Daniel, we don’t. All we have to do is write our reports, omit the part that Carter and Teal’c don’t seem to know about and get on with our lives,” Jack said, hoping Daniel would let it go for now.
“That’s not gonna make it go away, Jack”
“Look, Daniel, I just need a few days to come to grips with it. Is that okay?”
“Sure, Jack, whatever,” Daniel replied quietly. He’d thought if they could at least discuss what happened on P7J-989, they might be able to salvage their friendship. With a sense of futility, Daniel turned and went to his office. He wasn’t sure if Jack would be able to forgive him and Daniel wished he could forget about what happened. But, how do you even start to forget when you’d been given your most hidden and secret dream?
Once and once and once
Time flowed and moved
Once and once
Time stayed low, almost still
Like hours spent in attics
Leafing through photos
Once and once and once
Love drifted, floated
Through starless nights
Like old, unfaded memories
I was beyond mad after Daniel left. I wanted nothing more than to go back to 989 and strangle the Keeper. I was worried about what this would do to Daniel, to our friendship. I struggled every day to keep everything I felt for him inside. I never wanted to burden him with how I felt. It wasn’t Daniel’s fault I’d gone and fallen in love with him. He had enough on his plate and this wasn’t the first time I’d wanted something or someone, knowing I couldn’t have, couldn’t touch, and shouldn’t dream.
I knew Hammond, Carter, Teal’c and the doc thought it was reliving the mission that had my balls twisted. That mission could still get under my skin if I thought about it, but I’d put it in the past long ago. What I couldn’t handle was the reality the Keeper had given to just Daniel and me. He’d shown us a reality so beautiful it made me hurt just thinking about it now. And then it was taken away, gone. Except in my head and my heart.
I didn't know how the Keeper managed to get Daniel to act as though he was into what was going on. Daniel acted exactly like he had in every fantasy I’d ever had about him. He was so loving and he wanted me as much as I wanted him. There was no struggle within him, as I knew there would be if I took my feelings to him.
The reality given to us felt completely different to me than reliving the mission had. It had felt timeless and achingly real. I don’t know how long we spent in that reality, it could have been mere moments, but it felt like a lifetime. Even now I could feel Daniel in my arms, hear his voice whispering words of love, of passion. I could still feel his lips against mine, taste him, feel his body moving beneath mine, feel him stroking into my body, see the love in his eyes.
It came with a price of course. If we played the Keeper’s little games for the entertainment of his residents, I could have that lifetime. I couldn’t do it though. Just couldn’t ask that of Daniel. Because it was my dream, not his. I knew it wasn’t real, but that’s not the way it felt, not on 989 and not here, back on Earth.
I thought a putting little distance between us would be the best thing to do. I could regain my equilibrium and put my fantasy of having Daniel behind me. I didn’t think distance would cure me of my love, but I needed the time to stuff it all back inside. Some distance would also give Daniel time to get over the shock of what I wanted from him. All in all, his mind was fucked over way worse than mine had been. Given enough time, I thought there was a good chance Daniel would forgive me.
I went and talked to George and convinced him to assign Daniel to a three week dig on some deserted planet where I knew he’d be safe and hopefully in his element and happy. All I had to say to him was that I felt Daniel needed some time to recover from the shock of seeing his parents killed in front of him over and over. Gotta hand it to George, he’d do just about anything to make Daniel happy. He’s an even bigger sap for the guy than I am.
I’ve got this loneliness
It whispers of
Things left undone
It screams of things
I feel this loneliness
Making me much too old
It reaches deep
To gather the most pain
I feel this loneliness
I was glad when General Hammond offered me a chance at an archeological dig. It would be good to actually do what I’d been trained for. The site was reminiscent of the Anasazi culture, a people we don’t know terribly much about. This looked like a good opportunity to expand our knowledge. The site had been abandoned for at least two hundred years with no clue as of yet where the population had gone. All the Anasazi sites on Earth had been similarly abandoned. There were many more artifacts on this deserted world however, that might help fill in some of the blanks.
It was also an opportunity for me to figure out what to do about Jack and the reality the Keeper had attempted to bribe me with. I knew Jack was mad at being forced into what was nothing more than one of my overly romantic fantasies. What I didn’t know was how the Keeper had fucked with Jack in order to get him to perform to my wishes.
When the Keeper told me I could have this reality if only I would cooperate with him for the amusement of his residents, I couldn’t do it. Staying in that reality would have been nice, but not at the expense of the freedom not only of Jack, Sam and Teal’c, but also of the residents.
I was feeling guilty too. And lonely. Which is what got me into trouble to begin with. I was used to being lonely. Even on Abydos where I had found love, I was lonely. After Sha’re was taken and I was back on Earth, loneliness nipped at my heels. Until Jack started to fill in all those empty places that had been inside me nearly my whole life. I didn’t mean to develop feelings for him and I wondered what Sha’re would think about it.
She knew I loved her but I didn’t think she’d approve of the lack of love in my life. Because she loved me, she’d want me to be happy. She lived each day passionately but fatalistically. I think if our positions were reversed, she’d have grieved and moved on. It was only in the deepest part of me that I acknowledged I might never get her back; it was a big universe.
There isn’t a moment I can go back to and say yes, that’s when it happened, that’s the moment I fell in love. My fall was slow and steady, it happened day by day and then it was just there. The realization that I loved Jack, was in love with him. He completed me and although I knew I could never have more than his friendship, it had been enough.
At least it had been enough before 989. I didn’t know how I could go back to being nothing more than Jack’s friend. The reality the Keeper had given me was everything I’d ever wanted. It made me see how things could be with Jack and I wanted it, all of it. The love, the sex, the companionship, the friendship, the end of loneliness, the peace I had felt at the end of each day falling asleep in his arms.
I had been on this planet with SG5 for nearly three weeks and every night, crawling exhausted into my sleeping bag, I craved Jack. I wanted his mouth and his hands and his strong arms wrapped around me. I wanted to make love to him and hear him tell me over and over how much he loved me, just like he had on 989. I was lonely without him, a deep, and all encompassing loneliness that made me ache.
I had been sending back regular reports to the SG1 on our progress with the site. The day before we were due to leave, we’d uncovered a large room that was covered in pictographs. General Hammond graciously gave me two more weeks in which to fully excavate and study the chamber. I thought if I could decipher the pictographs, it would go a long way in explaining the fate of the people who once dwelled here. It was while examining the walls that I remembered something the Keeper had said and I suddenly had hope.
From deep within
Too deep to touch
Turn me loose
From your love
Let me wander
Mountains and woods
Let me go
From your love
It had been raining on and off since Daniel left, the perfect weather for my mood. We went on a few routine missions and I stood around while Carter and Teal’c collected their samples. It gave me more time in which to brood over Daniel. The pain of missing him bit a little deeper every day and I was regretting my decision to talk General Hammond into sending him away. I could have kicked myself when three weeks turned into five.
I wanted to see him just to get it over with. I was desperate to know if he’d gotten over 989. I sure as hell hadn’t and I didn’t expect to anytime soon. Instead of just wishing and dreaming, I now had a reality of sorts to remember and compare to the rest of my empty life. And, god, it hurt. Knowing I couldn’t have Daniel I almost wished I didn’t love him. But, it’s hard once you know Daniel not to love him and I was as human as the next person.
Somehow, the five weeks passed and I managed not to alienate too many people and then Daniel was due home around 2100 hours, Earth time. Under normal circumstances I would’ve made it my business to be on hand to greet him, but I thought retreat the best strategy. I’d be seeing him soon enough and I didn’t want Daniel to think I’d been pining away for him, even though I had been.
It was just past midnight when he knocked on my door. I’d fallen asleep on the couch rather than going to bed because I kind of expected Daniel to come by. He wasn’t one to leave anything alone and after letting the situation stew for five weeks, I knew my house would be his first stop after being cleared by Fraiser and showering. I let him in not looking forward to the difficult conversation ahead. I’d already made up my mind though; if Daniel asked, I was going to be absolutely honest with him. Honesty was the only thing that might save our friendship.
“Hey, Daniel. Little late for a house call,” I said, looking at my watch, but ushering him in. I was still hoping to avoid the conversation if I could but my door would always be open to Daniel.
He came in, shutting the door behind him, pissed as hell. “How long, Jack?” he demanded.
Okay, we were gonna get right into it. I couldn’t even pretend I didn’t know what he was talking about. “The briefing, Daniel. The one with General West? When you came in with all those star charts falling out of your hands? That was the first time I wanted you. After we thought we lost you on Nem’s world, I realized it was something … more.” I’d promised honesty; I just prayed he could handle it.
“And you didn’t think you could tell me?” He was still pissed and I saw the beginning of hurt in his eyes.
“Well, no. You’ve had a few other things on your mind,” I told him, not wanting to bring up his missing wife. “What happened wasn’t real, Daniel,” I continued, wanting only to ease his mind.
“But that not the way it feels, Jack, is it?”
“No, not for me. It felt … feels, real.”
“It feels real for me too.”
Daniel, in one of his lightning fast changes of mood, his voice low and soft asked, “Do you think it’s possible to love more than one person at a time, Jack? I mean, given the circumstances, which I’ll admit are unusual.”
“I honestly don’t know, Daniel.” And I didn’t. I had no idea how I’d react. It had been over a year since Sha’re had been taken and every day that passed it seemed more unlikely we’d find her. There was no rulebook to guide us through any of this. How long was Daniel supposed to be alone before it was permissible for him to find happiness or love with someone else? I didn’t know and that’s mostly what kept me quiet, respect for him, his wife, his marriage. And then 989 happened and it just blew up in our faces.
“Do you remember what the Keeper told us, Jack? He told us that he’s the ‘Keeper of all that is and all that might be.’ All that might be, Jack. I don’t think he pulled that reality just from my mind, did he, Jack?”
“From your mind?” I asked stupidly. “I thought it was from mine.”
“Uh-uh, Jack. From both our minds,” he said, moving closer to me until he was one step away from being in my arms. I couldn’t let him take that last step when I saw the fear in his eyes, so I took it. Took the step and took him into my arms at the same time he took me into his. It was like coming home.
“Jack, I was happy in that reality, it was like I dreamed it could be,” he whispered and then all I knew was his kiss.
Mouths and lips and tongues, sliding and plunging, wet heat and chills and pleasure that racked my entire body. Our hands were everywhere, stroking and stripping off clothes. It felt almost familiar but the memories of what happened on 989 were nothing - - nothing, compared to the reality of Daniel’s sleek body moving beneath my hands.
We somehow made it to the couch and Daniel pulled me on top of him and I was between his legs, our bodies finding the rhythm we both needed. It had been too long for both of us and it was fast and hard, both of us too needy, too hungry for slow and tender.
There was the delicious slide of flesh on flesh, hands touching and mouths meeting and soon I was groaning into Daniel’s shoulder, shuddering and he was pushing urgently against me, until his body tensed and he came, his hands clenching at my back.
Still holding on to each other, I moved in for a sweet and gentle kiss, smoothing the hair from his brow. His hands were stroking my back and his touch now was almost hesitant.
“I want to sleep with you tonight, Jack. I don’t want to go home,” he said softly, defiantly.
“I don’t think that’s gonna be much of a problem, Daniel,” I replied, easing us up off the couch and into my bedroom. I put him into my bed and got a washcloth to wash our drying semen from our bodies and climbed in next to him.
When he was in my arms again, I could feel his erection pressing into me. Smiling, I put him on his back and reached into the nightstand drawer for the lubricant I kept there. I made sure Daniel saw it; I wanted him to know where this was going.
“Let me, Daniel. I’ve wanted to touch you like this for a long time,” I said, asking for permission.
‘”Just love me, Jack. Love me and don’t stop.”
He was asking for more than sex and giving that to him was suddenly the easiest thing I knew.
I wanted to make this sweet and slow but already my hands were trembling. I threaded my fingers through his hair cupping his head and planted small tender kisses on his face. I reached for his mouth and traced his lips with my tongue. He opened for me, giving me the sweetest kiss I had ever received. I moved on to his neck, nipping softly, licking away any small pain I might have caused.
I continued down his body, kissing, nipping and licking until I reached his nipples. I went from one to the other, suckling the small buds into my mouth, laving them, scraping my tongue against the hardened points. Daniel’s small sounds of pleasure became whimpers and I kissed my way down.
I grabbed a pillow and Daniel, always with me, shifted and put it under him, bending his knees and spreading his legs. Kneeling between his legs, I bent to taste him, licking my way up from his heavy balls, to the tip of his hard cock.
Opening the lube, I began to prepare Daniel. I didn’t know if he had any experience, but I was assuming he hadn’t. Grateful now for a misspent youth, I knew what needed to be done in order to make this good for Daniel.
Daniel’s whole body was telling me to hurry. He was writhing and fisting the sheets, flushed and sweating, those delicious whimpers going straight to my cock, which was hard enough to pound nails.
Starting with one finger, I carefully entered him, waiting to see his reaction. He gave a little wiggle and I took that as permission to explore a bit. Gently pushing in and out, he seemed to like it just fine. Two fingers seemed to work even better, especially when I brushed his prostate.
Moaning and arching off the bed, he asked, “God, Jack, what was that?”
“Proof that god’s a woman with a sense of humor, “ I told him, chuckling. “Also the reason we’re gonna switch places next time.”
I took his cock in my mouth and went for three fingers, moving in and out in sync with my mouth. Daniel’s whimpers had turned to moans and I couldn’t wait any longer. I needed to be inside of him.
When I withdrew my fingers and my mouth, Daniel practically snarled at me. “Easy, Daniel, I’m not going anywhere.” I was flattered that it was me doing this to him, making him give himself up to passion, that I could do this to him, that he wanted me to.
I entered him slowly, rocking steadily into him. He opened to me with no hesitation, taking me all the way in. I dove in for a kiss, trying not to move until Daniel was ready.
Daniel anchored his hands on my hips and began pushing up gently and slowly. Wanting him to enjoy this to the fullest, I twisted my hips, angling just so, in order to scrape at his prostate.
His moans now ratcheted up a few degrees and he started to thrust up against me in earnest, trying to feel that scrape with every push. I was more than happy to accommodate him. I lengthened my strokes, pulling nearly all the way out and then slamming back into him.
Needing to see his eyes, I focused and found him looking intently at my face. Leave it to Daniel; he’s always one step ahead of me. His eyes were reflecting my love and he’d never looked more beautiful to me.
“So good, Jack. I’m close,” he panted.
“Let go for me, Daniel,” I groaned.
As Daniel’s whole body trembled and strained, I reached down to grasp his throbbing cock and he came, head thrown back and sobbing my name.
Feeling Daniel pulse and clench around me, seeing him lose control like that didn’t so much push me off the edge I’d been on as shove me. My hips stuttered frantically against him and I fell long and hard, feeling it in every inch of my body.
Dredging up the last of my strength, I carefully withdrew, gathered Daniel to me and rolled us to our sides. Caressing his face, I let him see everything I felt, everything I was. “I love you, Daniel.”
I didn’t expect him to say the words. He didn’t really need to. I knew how difficult this was for him and I could see how he felt. It was all there, in his face and in his eyes, but he surprised me.
“Love you too, Jack.”
Brushing his lips softly against mine, he said goodnight and was soon sleeping in my arms.
I held Daniel close to me and for the first time since he’d knocked at my door, I heard the rain pounding on the roof. Until Daniel had come home and come to me, the rain had made everything I was feeling feel worse. Now, all I could think about was how it made everything seem cozy. I guess it’s all in how you look at it. I was finally seeing with Daniel at my side.
|Genres:||Character Study, First Time, Hurt/Comfort, Missing Scene/Episode-Related, Romance|
|Warnings:||Adult Themes, Sexual Situations|
|Summary:||The aftermath of a virtual reality experience the Keeper used in an attempt to bribe Jack and Daniel.|
Spoiler for The Gamekeeper