Summary: Their addiction for each other is expressed in different ways but it turns both Jack and Daniel into liars
"You can't do that!"
"Yes I can, Daniel and I will."
Jack and Daniel stood toe-to-toe and eyeball-to-eyeball in the middle of a native village on P3X228. Carter and Teal'c were witnessing yet another potential stand off between the two men.
"Sir?" Carter interjected nervously.
Jack paused for a moment, never taking his eyes from his team archaeologist and then with a dismissive gesture of his hands he broke contact, gathering the other members of his team, to stand in a huddle.
"Report, major," snapped O'Neill, addressing his 2IC.
"There appears to be no technology of any significance, sir."
He nodded and looked at Teal'c for his assessment.
"There is a group of natives carrying offensive weapons, O'Neill. They are amassing behind that building." The big Jaffa inclined his head towards a large stone structure with dark blue roof tiles.
"What kind of weapons, Teal'c?"
"Mainly spears. Several are carrying sling shots and some have blow pipes."
Jack pursed his lips, thought hard and made the decision.
Meanwhile, Daniel stood alone, separated from his team mates by just a few feet and by a stomach churning, knot-filled mile of hurt and confusion. He felt sure they could salvage this mission if only Jack would listen to him. Instead the USAF officer had shot down his argument and refused to accept his take on the situation. Dropping his head for a moment, Daniel thought.
"Daniel! Grab your stuff, we're outta here," Jack barked as he tapped Teal'c on the arm. Carter shouldered her P90 and covered her colleagues whilst they made ready for a swift departure.
"Jack, we can do this. We don't have to leave right now." Daniel tried one more time to persuade his team leader to reconsider his decision.
"We're faced with a hostile situation here, Daniel. I don't want any more arguments. We're leaving."
"Fer cryin' out loud, just do as you're told for once!"
"I resent that, Jack..."
"I don't care Daniel, we're at the top of their list and you're at the bottom of mine. We go before they turn us into pincushions."
"We can do this. I can do this."
"I don't believe I'm hearing this. Teal'c? When you've finished blasting them, you have my permission to shoot Daniel."
"O'Neill, I do not think you mean what you say."
"No, you're right, I don't. Shoot Daniel first and then blast the bad guys!" Staring at the archaeologist, Jack picked up his backpack and turned away.
Daniel remained where he was, his cheeks flushed with anger and humiliation. His first thought was to just punch Jack's lights out, his second was why he wanted him at all. The man drove him crazy but he still liked him, wanted him, fanaticised about him. Right now however, Daniel just wanted to kill him.
At that moment, Daniel heard something whistle past his shoulder and looking back saw a cloud of dust and dirt advancing on his position.
"Jack! Look out we've got company," Daniel yelled as he started to run backwards. Turning he made for his friends and together, they sprinted towards the Gate.
Daniel took his usual position by the DHD to dial up their escape route. The others laid down cover fire as the archaeologist waited impatiently for each glyph to engage.
"Keep it low," ordered Jack, wanting to avoid leaving a pile of bodies on yet another new planet.
As the wormhole burst into life the four leaped up the steps to sanctuary, still being harried by stones and rocks, poisonous darts and sharp spears. Carter went through quickly followed by Teal'c. Daniel was next and as he stood on the top-most step he hesitated, wanting to make sure that Jack was right behind him.
"Go Daniel, just go!" O'Neill shouted as his feet hit the first step.
Daniel turned to go but something made his stop to look at Jack again. To his horror, he saw a large smooth stone strike Jack on the head and he crumpled in a heap, sprawling across the steps.
Quickly, Daniel grabbed Jack under his arms, turned the unconscious and bleeding man onto his back and dragged him up the last two steps and through the Gate.
As slowly as Jack opened his eyes he closed them again quickly. The bright overhead lights generated an acute stabbing pain in his head. He groaned loudly as the stabbing pain was joined by a pulsating thud. He felt a cool hand on his forehead and knew somehow that it was a woman's touch.
"Colonel? How are you feeling?"
Colonel? Who's she talking to?
"Jack, you're safe now. You took a knock to the head."
Who in hell's name is that?
"Sir, open your eyes for me," the woman's voice coaxed gently.
Slowly, Jack opened his eyes again and blinking, he saw a sea of blurred faces.
"I can't see too well," he croaked.
"That's okay, sir. You've got a concussion. Your vision will come back, just give it some time."
"Why do you keep calling me sir?"
"Wait, Daniel. Do you know where you are, colonel?"
"I guess I'm in a hospital bed. Colonel?"
"Do you know where your hospital bed is?"
"Well, duh! A hospital."
"What's you name?"
"My name? You're asking me my name?"
"Yes, I am. What is it?"
Doctor Fraiser wasn't sure if he knew that or whether he'd just repeated what Daniel called him.
"No, it's not. It's George," she said waiting to see if he was going to correct her.
"Ah, right. I knew that."
Alarmed, the doctor thought she recognised amnesia.
"Okay people, I want everyone out. My patient needs his rest," she ordered, deeply concerned at Jack's responses.
When the infirmary was empty, Janet came back to the colonel's bedside.
"Do you remember what happened to you?"
Jack thought for a moment and then shook his head slowly.
"No, I haven't got a clue."
"Do you know who you are?"
"No, colonel. Your name is Jack O'Neill and you are an officer in the United States Air Force."
"I am? Cool."
"Tell me what you do remember," Janet asked as she checked Jack's pulse again.
"I'm not sure. The guy that man that was here just now, the one with the glasses...he seems familiar but I'm not sure. Do I know him?"
Janet smiled and plumped Jack's pillows.
"Lay back and rest now. I'll be back to run some more tests later."
The diminutive doctor patted Jack's arm and left.
Closing his eyes, Jack began to realise just how worried he was. What if he couldn't remember who he was? Hell, he couldn't even remember where he lived.
"I've run a battery of tests, general and physically the colonel is fine. He's got some abrasions and contusions but otherwise he's all right. However, it's been three days now and he still hasn't regained his memory. I might have to call in Psyche Services if he doesn't recover soon."
Leaning his forearms on the table, Daniel held up his pen. "Is that really necessary?" he asked. "I mean, if we could all spend some time together maybe that would help. We could stay with him at his place for a while and he'd be surrounded by his own things." Raising his eyebrows and glancing between the doctor and Hammond, he reiterated his point. "It might help."
Janet smiled. She was very fond of Daniel and although she liked him very much she often wished that he wasn't such a regular resident in her infirmary. It made a change for him to be sat at the colonel's bedside instead of the other way around.
The remaining members of SG-1 and General Hammond were all looking at her expectantly. Raising her eyebrows she nodded.
"Okay, I'll discharge the colonel today. I'm going to give you seven days. If he hasn't made significant progress by then he'll come back to the SGC and I'll refer him. I want daily reports and if there are any problems at all, of any kind, I want to be the first to hear about it. General?"
Although Janet's orders were sacrosanct in all things medical, she needed General Hammond's agreement to release the rest of SG-1 for that length of time.
Sighing, Hammond agreed, clearly concerned for Jack O'Neill, his 2IC and one of the best officers under his command.
As they filed out of the briefing room, Janet hung back and touching Daniel's arm indicated that he should remain.
"Take a seat, Daniel. There's something I need to talk to you about."
"What is it?"
"Sit down, please."
"That's okay, just tell me."
"No. I think you need to sit down first for what I'm going to tell you."
Frowning, Daniel sat down, as did the doctor. She took his hand and looked into his stunningly blue eyes.
"It's about the colonel. I feel I should warn you that spending a week with him at close quarters could bring its own problems."
Slowly Daniel's eyebrows reached his hairline.
"How?" he asked nervously.
"Daniel, this is between you and me and it's off the record. The colonel believes he's got a relationship with you."
"Well, he has. We've been friends for a long time."
"I don't think he means that kind of relationship."
"Oh. Are you saying Jack thinks he's gay?"
"I'm just saying that the colonel keeps asking about you and not in terms of your missions together. He's been asking some very personal questions about you."
Biting at his bottom lip, Daniel could feel himself blushing. It was always something he'd wanted, a relationship with Jack, that went a lot further than friendship but he'd always figured Jack was straight and in any case, he was also convinced that Jack didn't like him all that much.
"Do you think you'll be able to deal with it? I can cancel the colonel's discharge papers right now."
"No, it'll be fine. I'm sure he's just confused."
"If you're sure then?" Janet smiled, patting the back of his hand and rising from her seat.
She knew that confusion went right alongside concussion and with any luck, things would settle pretty quickly for the colonel once he was away from the mountain and in his own place, with his friends.
"Here it is Jack, your place."
"Nice," Jack smiled as he stood in the entrance hall next to Daniel. "It's very...tidy." Jack continued and as he caught sight of the huge framed poster of Earth he grinned. "I like this."
"We got it cleaned up for you, sir," Carter explained.
The group shepherded Jack around the house, carefully trying to gauge if there was any hint of recognition.
As they sat around the kitchen table drinking coffee, Sam talked about the last barbeque that Jack had hosted.
"It was great fun. You are so good at grilling steaks, sir."
"Indeed," Teal'c confirmed approvingly.
"Show me where," Jack asked, suddenly standing to peer out of the kitchen window.
They all trooped outside to the garden and Jack's custom-built grill. The weather was grey and cold; they were on the seasonal cusp between autumn and winter.
"The Japanese maple looks good," Jack noted, smiling at the crimson leaves. "How can I remember what that's called but I can't remember who I am or what I do?"
His three companions felt for him as they witnessed the frustration on Jack's face.
"Give it time, O'Neill. We are here to help you," said Teal'c softly.
Jack looked at the three strangers and felt an emotional bond with them. He was sure that what he felt was something based on time and shared experiences. This wasn't a new emotion; this was something old, well established. Drawing comfort from this knowledge he just wished he could remember how that bond had come about.
As Sam reached into a cupboard to find the pasta, Jack watched her intently. She was tall, slim, blonde and beautiful. He wondered if he'd ever had some kind of personal attachment to her. He knew he had with someone but was it her?
"Sarah!" he suddenly said out loud.
The three looked up quickly.
"Sarah? What about Sarah?" Daniel asked.
"I knew a Sarah. We were...together. Is that right?"
Sam nodded enthusiastically.
"Yes sir, that's right. You were married."
Jack stared into space. He'd remembered something important but where did it fit now?
Daniel disappeared into the living room and returned with a photograph of Jack, Sarah and Charlie. As soon as Jack saw it he grabbed it and held it to his chest groaning.
"Oh god! Charlie!"
Rocking back and forth he cried, his tears flowing freely. Sam and Daniel gathered around the distraught man, touching and hugging him while Teal'c stood close by offering his silent strength. The downside of remembering included painful events that he would now have to relive.
Later that evening after Jack had gone to bed exhausted by the nature of the revelations of Charlie's death and his break up with Sarah, the others sat in the living room in silence. They too appreciated the difficulties Jack was facing as his memory returned.
Sam got off the phone from speaking to Janet.
"She says that no matter how painful this is for him, it's still a good thing."
"Nodding, Daniel had to agree. "At least we can be here for him this time around."
"You were there for him the last time around weren't you?"
As Daniel looked confused, she went on.
"He told me once that when the two of you were on Abydos the first time, you helped him get his life back together. You've always been there for him Daniel, no matter what he's done or said to you."
Smiling weakly, Daniel sighed and leaned back against the sofa.
Jack overheard their conversation. He'd woken and wanted some water. On his way back to his room, he'd heard them talking. Abydos? Yes, he remembered how he and Daniel had killed Ra and how his friend had stood alongside him. What he couldn't remember what kind of relationship he'd had with Daniel or whether it was something he'd imagined. Maybe it was something he'd wanted but was unable to express. Shaking his head he went back to bed.
The next day Sam and Teal'c went grocery shopping, leaving Daniel alone with Jack.
"We work together, right?"
Putting down his book, Daniel studied his friend as he slowly paced the living room floor.
"Yes, we work together. We have done for quite a long time. Do you remember anything about it?"
"I remember explosions," Jack grinned, "and shooting stuff."
"Yes well, you do a lot of that."
"And you don't?"
"You, Jack, usually tend to shoot first and ask questions later and I prefer it the other way around. You and I have always had a difference of opinion about that. I prefer diplomacy and negotiation. Sometimes reasoning with a potential enemy can bring friendship and rewards."
Nodding, Jack thought for a while.
"We're friends? Did we have a good relationship?"
Daniel remained silent for a moment. What should he say? Tell the truth about their worsening relationship, about Jack's hurtful and negative attitude towards him or should he lie?
"We've always worked well together, Jack. We get on really well. We like each other."
Daniel's stomach lurched. What he'd said was a description of what he wanted not about the most recent reality of their relationship.
"I don't remember specific incidences except for Ra. I just remember feelings, emotions."
"What do your feelings tell you about us?" Daniel asked carefully. He could feel the guilt crawling all over him as he knew he hadn't told Jack everything but perhaps this could be a new beginning for both of them.
"I know whatever it is that I feel, it's strong. I just can't explain it."
"Don't worry, I'm sure it will all come back to you in time."
"I'm not worried. I'm remembering more each day. I get flashbacks. I'm in a dark place, tied and injured. I don't understand anything anyone is saying to me. It was a long time before I left that place."
"That sounds like when you were a POW. You were held in a prison in Iraq for four months."
"Crap! Yeah, I remember. Cromwell left me behind after an operation went belly up. Frank Cromwell, what ever happened to him?"
"He died when the wormhole was locked onto a black hole. He got sucked through."
"He was trying to save me, I know. Why is it all the things I'm remembering are bad?"
"I guess it's because they involve strong emotions, Jack."
"Yeah and it hurts like hell. I need some time, I'm gonna take a nap."
"Sure, go ahead. I'll be around if you need me."
"You're always around aren't you?"
"We're always there for one another, Jack."
They smiled at each other.
Still wracked with guilt, Daniel wondered whether he should tell Jack the whole truth about them.
As the afternoon passed into evening, Jack thought he would light the fire.
"Camp fires. We made a camp fire on PX8 972."
"We did indeed, O'Neill. Your memory is restored."
"Not entirely, Teal'c. I've still got some gaps that Daniel might be able to fill," Jack said glaring at the archaeologist before poking the newly lit fire.
Looking away, Daniel knew what Jack was getting at. Mentally sighing, he expected Jack to start sniping at any moment.
A couple of hours later, when everyone had gone to bed, Daniel was up again. He couldn't sleep for worrying about Jack's newfound memory. Stretching out on the sofa, Daniel started reading his book.
"Jack! I didn't hear you come in."
"Sorry, just practising my stalking techniques," Jack laughed.
"So, you think your memory's back?"
"Pretty much but there's one thing that doesn't make sense."
"Yep and it's got everything to do with you."
"I don't think you were telling me everything."
"Janet did say we shouldn't tell you too much. You needed to remember for yourself. Learning our memories of your experiences doesn't count."
"I realise that, Daniel," Jack said, a slight snarkiness creeping into his voice. "Daniel, were we lovers?"
"I remember feelings about you; strong passionate feelings."
"About me?" Daniel asked, thinking back to Janet's warning.
"We spent time together, you said. We worked well together, you said. You said we liked each other."
"Yes, you're right. I did say that and it's true. But that's all. We're friends, Jack."
"No, we've never been lovers, I'm sorry."
"Oh. I was so sure."
"Sorry, Jack. I think you've got the wrong end of the stick."
"Yeah, I guess I have. I'm sorry too. I didn't mean to embarrass you by the way."
"It's okay, you haven't."
"I'm gonna...go back to bed."
"Sure. Night, Jack."
As Daniel sat alone in Jack's living room, watching the embers die in the fireplace, he felt nauseous. He could have lied to Jack and told him they were lovers. Jack wouldn't have known any different and by now he could have been lying in Jack's arms and making love to him. Depressed beyond all reason, Daniel sat with his head in his hands, the one and only opportunity to confess his feelings lost because he had been honest.
The next day Sam and Teal'c returned to the mountain. Jack and Daniel were scheduled to go back the day after.
The morning dawned bright and clear, cold but sunny. Jack was up early and as he was finishing his froot loops, Daniel staggered into the warmth of the kitchen in t-shirt and shorts.
"Hey, didja sleep well?" Jack grinned as he put his dish in the sink.
"Eventually," Daniel muttered. He still felt tired from a fitful night of tossing and turning.
"Well, I'm gonna do some work in the garden. Wanna come?"
"Later," Daniel yawned as he groped for the coffee.
"Please yourself but you're missing the best part of the day."
Daniel stood at the counter staring into his coffee. Raising his arm he waved without even looking at Jack.
Smiling, Jack put on his lumberjack coat and went outside. An hour or so later, Daniel joined him at the end of the garden as he raked up dead leaves and other debris from the autumn winds. They worked together gathering dead summer bedding and pruning the fruit trees. They stopped around lunchtime, more than ready for something to eat.
As they tucked into hot soup with fresh crusty bread, Daniel stared at Jack from across the table.
"I lied to you, Jack."
"We were lovers before your injury," blurted Daniel. Why did he say that? He wasn't planning to say it, it just came out of his mouth unbidden and he felt so stupid. Why had he said something so dishonest? He wished it was true but he knew the difference between fantasy and reality. Maybe he was just hoping that by confirming what Jack all ready thought, he could make the pain go away from the last twelve months.
"So why did you deny it, deny me as someone important to you? You denied we were an item, that we meant something to each other. Why?"
"I wanted you to remember for yourself, Jack and all the while you were unsure about us, how do you think that made me feel?" There it was again, that lie. Except that Daniel wondered whether they could mend their differences through this.
"It's all right, really. We can take our time. Once you get to know me again, you might change your mind."
Jack studied Daniel's face, his blue eyes and those very kissable lips, slightly pursed. Reaching across the table, he touched the back of Daniel's hand and smiled.
"C'mon, let's light a bonfire."
As the fire crackled in the fading afternoon light, Jack poked at it with a stick and threw on some more pruned and discarded twigs. Glancing at Daniel, who was collecting up the hand tools and rake from the bottom of the garden, Jack eyed him, his lust beginning to surface.
As they stood together upwind from the smoke, Jack glanced at Daniel.
"What was it like?"
"What was what like?"
"Us, together, in bed?"
Daniel should have known Jack would want details. He'd just thought that once the lie had been said, that Jack wouldn't go any further with it that he'd accept it and then he and Daniel could start from a different place. It hadn't occurred to him that Jack would want details. Damn!
"It was good," Daniel nodded, not daring to look at him.
"How good? Did I make the earth move for you?"
"Perhaps we should go in, it's getting dark and cold."
"The fire will keep us warm and don't avoid the subject, Daniel. You know I need to know these things."
"There's plenty of time for all that."
"How long?" the archaeologist echoed.
"Yeah, how long since we've been sharing a bed?"
"Not that long."
"Just how long is not that long?"
"A few weeks, we'd hardly got it together at all, actually," Daniel said desperately trying to hedge. He wanted to reduce the impact of his lie, diminish its strength and thereby, banish it from his and Jack's reality.
Jack knew Daniel was trying to avoid his questions; he just needed to know why.
After supper, Jack lay sprawled on the couch and Daniel sat in an armchair opposite, reading.
"Don'tcha think we should do something?"
"Like what, Jack?"
Freezing mid-page, Daniel had to tell Jack the truth, that he'd lied and why but before he could take a breath to do that, Jack had rolled off the sofa and was standing between Daniel's legs as he remained seated. As Daniel looked up at him, his fingers started to tremble on the page. Jack planted his hands on either arm of the chair and leaned into him, his face just inches away from the archaeologist. Daniel pushed himself back into the chair trying to get some distance between them but Jack just leaned in even more.
"Let me kiss you, Daniel, I wanna know what I've been missing."
"This...this isn't such a good idea, Jack. I mean, you have no recollection of us together and I wouldn't want to take advantage."
Standing upright and stepping away from him, Jack held Daniel's gaze for a moment.
"Okay," he said nonchalantly and walked away into the kitchen. Daniel could only blink at how quickly Jack moved. Now Daniel felt guilty, guilty for lying and guilty for refusing Jack's approaches. Damn!
Hearing the sounds of crockery and cutlery being cleared away, Daniel joined Jack in the kitchen and they washed and dried the dishes and put them away in silence.
"I hope you weren't offended earlier," Daniel said as he made a fresh pot of coffee. "It wouldn't be right you know, to do anything when you don't really remember."
"You could always remind me, Daniel," Jack said grinning.
"Perhaps when you're more comfortable with the idea."
"Oh, I'm very comfortable with the idea," Jack added, waggling his eyebrows and grinning even more broadly.
Daniel knew he had to tell Jack the truth; he couldn't put it off any longer. Turning from the counter Daniel found himself in Jack's strong and encircling arms. As they stared at each other, neither daring to make the first move, the phone rang. Relaxing his embrace, Jack smiled and releasing Daniel went to answer it. Reeling from Jack's close proximity, Daniel felt as aroused as he could be and as guilty as hell. Damn again!
Taking the coffee into the living room he stared out of the window waiting for Jack to finish his call.
After a few moments Jack put down the receiver and joined Daniel. "That was Janet, just checkin' up on me."
"Jack, there's something I need to say to you."
"Aha, maybe it can wait until after."
"After you show me how you make my earth move."
"No! I mean, no, you should take it easy, Janet said you should rest."
"That was then and this is now," Jack growled, making a move towards him.
"I can't do this, Jack."
"What's the matter, gone off me?"
"I just need you to sit down and listen to me."
"C'mon, Danny," Jack crooned, "let's get down and dirty."
"Jack! Please, sit down."
Jack raised his hands palm upwards. "Oh-kay."
Staring into his coffee for a moment, Daniel looked at Jack earnestly as he sat down.
"You are not gay, Jack."
The response that Daniel was expecting never materialised and instead, Jack threw back his head and laughed loudly. Puzzled, Daniel frowned.
"You are such a fall-guy, Daniel!"
"What do you mean?" Daniel asked, losing his composure a little.
"Remember when I said I'd regained my memory pretty much? Well I regained all of it yesterday."
"You mean you've been stringing me along all this time?"
"No more than you have with me."
Plopping down on the sofa, Daniel just blinked at Jack and felt such a gamut of emotions he didn't know where to begin.
"Don'tcha think it's time we were honest with each other? You lied to me, I lied to you, that makes us even, so a little bit of the truth might go a long way right now."
Releasing the breath he hadn't noticed he'd been holding Daniel began to relax a little.
"So I guess I'm the emperor with no clothes on," muttered the archaeologist.
Jack could only grin at the picture forming in his mind of a naked and imperial Daniel. This was one time when Daniel could read Jack like a book and he flushed as he guessed what the other man was thinking and probably seeing as well.
"What's the truth and what's the lie, Daniel?" Jack asked earnestly, his expression becoming serious.
Daniel looked into Jack's deep brown eyes and saw genuine emotion there.
"Our relationship, friendship I mean," began Daniel, checking himself and realising he would have to be clear, specific and as unambiguous as possible. "Our friendship has been turbulent, with good times and bad ones. The past few months have been..." hesitating, he tried to find the right words.
"Bad," stated Jack, a tinge of guilt in his voice.
"Yes, bad," the archaeologist confirmed.
"Why do you think that is, Daniel?" Jack asked, having a pretty good idea for himself but wanting to defer to Daniel's take on the situation. He knew Daniel's skill with words and he wanted to hear the linguist vocalise what he knew in his heart of hearts. What would remain after this was the question why.
"I think we just stopped talking. We just argued and much as I tried, we were stuck, polarised. It was hard to find any common ground. We didn't seem to be able to meet in the middle."
Jack nodded in agreement. The other man's analysis of what was happening to them before Jack lost his memory was accurate so far.
"It was because I was acting like an asshole, Danny and I'm sorry."
"Why were you behaving like that, Jack? What had I done to upset you so much?"
"It wasn't you, it was me," Jack replied emphatically.
Watching him, Daniel remained silent, raising his eyebrows as a prompt for Jack to continue.
"I had some crap in my head that just wouldn't go away. Now it has," Jack finished triumphantly.
"It has?" Daniel echoed, not really sure what Jack was referring to.
"Yep. Everything's good now. I've got my memory back, my head is now outta my ass and I'm good," Jack smiled, standing up. "I'm gonna go to bed now," he announced, turning to leave the living room. Pausing, he twisted at the waist to glance over his shoulder. "You okay?"
"I'm fine, Jack, just fine," Daniel lied and Jack knew he wasn't telling the truth. Turning squarely to look at his team archaeologist and friend, Jack stared at him.
"Nothing, really, I'm fine," Daniel said brightly, feigning both that and a smile.
"If you're sure...I mean, we could talk some more if you want to."
"No, you're tired and it's late. I should really be getting to bed myself."
A silence grew and Daniel berated himself for missing a second opportunity to raise the real issue between them.
Jack knew it too and although Daniel's ability to talk the hind leg off a donkey was legendary, he wasn't doing that now. Jack liked things straight, he didn't like hidden agendas or unidentified undertows. Either he got to the point or a rift would develop between them, yet again. He knew this to be true; he'd spent the last twelve months watching their relationship crumble and it was all his doing. Recognising a second chance when he saw one, Jack knew it would be stupid, even selfish and dishonest if he didn't take it. The trouble was he and Daniel had become addicted to not recognising the situation and not dealing with it. Jack would have to go cold turkey; he'd done it before he could do it again only this time around he wasn't hooked on some nasty narcotic, this was different. His addiction was to Daniel, the kind of longing and need that reached to the bottom of his soul.
"Daniel, we do need to talk some more and we need to do it now."
Jack was right and Daniel knew it, it was now or never.
"Let's go back to the beginning shall we?" Jack said as he sat down again.
"Beginning? Beginning of what?" Daniel asked, wondering if the other man meant Abydos the first time.
"Where I asked you if we'd had a sexual relationship and you denied it, then changed your mind and said we had, then told me you were lying."
"Yeah, that," Jack grinned, leaning back on the sofa.
Deciding that this was the time for confessions, Daniel took a breath as he sat forward in the armchair, placing his book on the floor at his feet.
"I like you Jack, even though at times, I think you don't like me." Holding up his hand, Daniel staved off Jack's protests. "The thing is, I like you a lot and not in a good way."
"I mean, I like you in a..."
"Wanna have sex with me kinda way?" Jack offered, trying to move Daniel along and not giving him the chance to stall or backtrack.
"Um, yeah." Daniel's body tensed, waiting for Jack to assail him with verbal and/or physical abuse but the USAF officer remained quiet and attentive, an unnerving situation for Daniel, who despite this revelation, went on.
"When you lost your memory and you were asking questions about us, I thought I could tell you how I wanted it to be, instead of how it actually was but when it came to the crunch I couldn't. I had to be honest with you. When you asked if we were an 'item' I had to say no, even though I wanted to say yes."
"And then when it was mentioned again, I lied and told you we had a relationship because I wanted to test how well you're memory was working. I didn't expect you to go along with it, I should've known you'd try something like that," Daniel said, his voice trailing off.
"There were a couple of reasons why I went along with it, Daniel. I was pretty sure we didn't have that kind of relationship but I wanted to double check and besides, did it ever occur to you that maybe I wanted it too?"
"You did? I mean you do?"
Jack got up and took the one step to sit beside Daniel on the sofa.
"Yes, I mean it. I want what you want," Jack breathed, placing his hand on Daniel's very tentatively.
Staring at Jack's hand on his own, Daniel swallowed and looking back at him, the archaeologist wondered if his addiction to Jack would ever be cured or whether, as it seemed right now, he could enter into a relationship that would become both his lifeline and his addiction.
"We can't act on it, Jack," Daniel said quietly. "You can't act on it. What about the regulations?"
"I know, I've been thinking about that a lot. It's a hard one, Danny I won't deny it. I'd be breaking every damned rule there is."
"Shame you can't have selective memory loss," Daniel quipped bitterly. They'd got this far and for what? They couldn't go any further.
"We'd just have to be very, very careful. I've known other men do it and get away with it, so why not us?"
"Because we're not in ordinary jobs. Look, maybe we should just leave it. We've had our talk, aired some stuff, now we should stop at this point. Stop before it goes any further," Daniel said, withdrawing his hand from Jack's.
"And that's what you really want is it?"
"Well, no, of course not but I don't see any other choices."
"C'mon, Daniel. You're the guy who always comes up with other options. Don't bail on me now. Look, we've got twenty-four hours left before we go back to the mountain. Maybe we just need to work on it a little, think it through. Whaddya say?"
"Trouble is, Jack, I don't want to work on it or think it through. I already know what I want."
"Of course. I can show you right now if you want," Daniel smiled, his confidence reasserting itself. If they were going to do anything they should do it now. If they weren't, they should walk away. Jack had given no hint of walking so Daniel made the decision for them. They would find a way to make it work.
"Daniel? You do know what you're saying don'tcha? You're proposing that you and me...that we get down and dirty, really dirty." Jack's face wore a mixture of expressions, two in fact, serious and seriously lustful.
Laughing softly, it was Daniel's turn to put his hand on Jack's. "Are you suggesting I don't know what really dirty means?"
"I was juss checkin' is all. Am I dealing with a..."
"No. Ah, am I dealing with a..."
"Good!" Daniel smiled, just a little relieved.
"It's been a while for me though, Danny. What about you?"
"Not so long, not really. I've not been idle, Jack."
"You haven't? I thought..."
"You thought that being a geek, I wouldn't want sex or even look for it."
"Pul-ease, Jack! I like sex, particularly with men. You?"
"I swing both ways if you must know."
"Really?" Daniel failed to hide his surprise.
"Hey! What's the look for?"
"I'm just a little surprised, that's all."
"You think because I have the reputation for being a hard-assed military type that I'd only be into women? Is that it?" Jack asked, his voice taking on an edge to it.
"I'm not judging you; it's just that you never gave any hints."
"Duh! I am in the military. Hints don't go down well."
"Except where you pushed me away. You couldn't make a positive move in my direction so you did the opposite."
"Nail on the head, Danny," Jack smiled and turning his hand palm up, wrapped his long fingers around the archaeologist's hand and squeezed it.
Carefully, Jack followed up by placing his face close to Daniel's. "Wanna do this?" he breathed, his gaze focussed on the Daniel's soft pouting lips. Daniel answered by licking his lips and moving closer still, kissed him. It was a chaste, gentle contact, a tentative enquiry and a precursor of their potential together. Drawing back, the archaeologist looked into Jack's velvet brown eyes, searching for any signal that he was unhappy with what Daniel had just done. Instead, he was met with brown eyes darkening to black and a low moan from deep in Jack's throat.
"Don't stop," the older man breathed, "that was good. More please."
This time their contact went much further than before and as Daniel felt Jack's tongue penetrate his mouth, his spirits soared. At last what he needed to feed his addiction was within his grasp and he knew he never wanted to be cured. The men lay down on the sofa together wrapped in each other's arms and kissed like there was no tomorrow.
When they broke for air, Jack looked at Daniel's kiss-bruised and swollen lips. They were moist and warm, soft and beckoning.
"How far do you want to go, Danny?"
"I don't know, well I do but it's up to you."
"So? Tell me, what do you want?"
"About how far I want to go, Jack? That's easy, I want to go all the way. What about you?"
"Same here, more than anything."
"Should we...? I mean do you want to...? We could..."
"Hey, for someone who speaks so many languages, Daniel," Jack grinned hauling himself and his team archaeologist up off the sofa. "I think its bedtime don't you?"
"Yes, of course but..."
"But? But what?"
"Nothing, it's nothing. I'll help you lock up if you want."
"Nah, that's okay, it's already done. Checked everything after we'd eaten. We can go straight up."
"Right, okay, we'll do that then."
Jack frowned, wondering what was suddenly making Daniel so tense and nervy. Choosing not to worry about it for the time being, he took Daniel's hand and led him slowly up the stairs to his bedroom, turning off the lights as they went. With only a side light on, illuminating just the bed, Jack and Daniel stood together looking at each other. Daniel's expression was one of deep concentration, like his mind was somewhere else and not where Jack would have it.
"What's the matter, Daniel?" Jack asked quietly.
"Through all of this, you haven't reacted the way I would have expected you to. I just find it a little...unusual."
Placing his hands on his hips, Jack looked at his friend, hoping that Daniel didn't really think he was a crass overbearing idiot. "What's so unusual about me, Daniel?" Jack asked, his lips tightening and his jaw set.
"You've been quite...well predatory," Daniel explained, biting his lower lip.
"I have?" Jack thought for a moment. "Daniel? Do you trust me? I mean really trust me?"
"Of course I do, absolutely," Daniel said quickly, nodding his head in confirmation. They'd been through so many dangerous and difficult situations together that Daniel didn't hesitate in his answer to Jack's question.
"Good. So if you trust me with your life you should trust me with your ass." As he said the words, a slow grin crept over Jack's lips and softened his eyes. "Trust me, Daniel. I wouldn't hurt you, ever."
"Prove it, Jack," Daniel smiled as he started to unbutton his shirt.
Jack remained where he was, just watching as the archaeologist began to strip. Leaving the last two buttons Daniel reached to unfasten the first cuff and Jack's hand darted out to grip his wrist. "Not yet," he growled and slowly pulled Daniel's shirt down off his shoulders effectively pinning his arms so that he couldn't move them.
Jack caressed his lover's bare chest, following the path of his fingertips with soft slow kisses and feeling Daniel's torso expand as he breathed in, he took a nipple into his mouth and sucked. The experience of feeling exposed and vulnerable excited Daniel, he knew Jack was testing his trust, he understood how important it was to show Jack that he was just as trustworthy in this intimate situation as he was in the field.
Giving himself up to Jack's ministrations, Daniel closed his eyes for a moment, enjoying the exquisite attention that he had craved for so long. To his surprise, Daniel found Jack was gentle, sensitive and respectful. He didn't know why he should be surprised but somehow the perception of Jack as the hard-assed USAF colonel with the rough edges and the dead pan humour didn't fit with the reality of the man in front of him who was touching his body with soft caressing strokes and tender coaxing fingertips.
Jack, meanwhile, couldn't believe that he held Daniel at his mercy, that the younger man was about to give himself up to Jack's desires and that all his hopes and dreams, fantasies and emotions were now centred on the one man he'd always wanted.
Eventually, Jack unfastened the last few buttons on Daniel's shirt and he shrugged his arms and allowed the garment to drop to the floor. Soon after, Jack's shirt followed suit and within moments both men were gloriously naked.
"C'mon, Danny, I want skin on skin contact from head to toe. Lay down with me," Jack whispered, his voice hardly controlled, a slight quiver reverberating gently across Daniel's lips as Jack kissed him.
As they stretched out on the bed they engulfed each other in a close embrace and as Jack wanted, they pressed together, their warm bodies mirroring one another. Their gentleness with each other soon spiralled into passionate and lustful contact and Jack was first to slide his hand between them to feel Daniel's arousal. Wrapping his fingers one by one around the archaeologist's shaft, Jack's breath hitched as he quickly became aware of just how hard the man's cock was. Slowly pulling on his cock, Jack could also feel the moisture gathering at the slit and moving his thumb over the head, he spread the pearl of pre-seminal fluid, massaging it into Daniel's skin.
Daniel groaned loudly, rocking his hips and thrusting through Jack's grip. With his other hand, Jack cupped Daniel's balls, testing their weight and size. Palming them he continued to stroke Daniel's cock, twisting his hand to change the pressure points, squeezing and tempting Daniel's climax.
"It's too soon, Jack, not yet. I want you inside me, fucking me as I come."
Jack's only response was to moan as his cock jerked. "I don't have any lube, I'm sorry, I won't do this without it."
"Haven't you got anything else? Baby oil or something?"
"Oh yeah, there's some in the bathroom. Hang on, I'll get it."
As Jack rolled off the bed and headed towards the bathroom, Daniel turned his body to get an eyeful of his lover's butt and let out a low whistle. Smiling, Jack found what he was looking for and returned to Daniel's side as soon as he could. Smearing the oil over his fingers, Jack bade Daniel lay on his side and then spooning up against his back, he worked the fluid inside the cleft of Daniel's buttocks, teasing his asshole and making Daniel moan. Sliding in one long elegant finger, Jack moved it carefully, trying to assess his lover's reaction. Daniel arched his back and pushed back against Jack's penetration of him and after a few moments, Jack dared to plunge another finger in to join the first.
"That feels so good, Jack, sooooo good."
Encouraged, Jack continued to work Daniel's ass, stretching and releasing the muscle. When he thought Daniel was ready he withdrew his fingers and holding his cock at the base he angled it to rub against the rim, enjoying the heated sensation of the touch.
"Please, Jack, don't tease me. I'm close and I need you inside," the archaeologist pleaded.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, I'm sure. Please, push into me, fill me and fuck me."
Jack slid one arm along the bed to encircle Daniel's chest and with his free hand, guided his cock into his lover's body, hissing as he felt the heat and tightness envelop him. When he was fully inside he draped his arm over Daniel's waist and held his cock, stroking it in time with the movement of his hips. As his passion rose, Jack had to let go of Daniel, instead planting the flat of his hand on his abdomen as his thrusts increased in speed and power, sinking balls deep.
Whatever soft shoe shuffle he had with narcotics in his wild youth, Jack knew that Daniel was the only drug he would ever want; the man was both an elixir and his sustenance. Jack was hooked and loved it. As he pumped his cock high up inside, Daniel stroked himself and he felt the tightening of his balls as his pending orgasm swirled and gathered. Growling a warning to Jack, his hand jerked over his cock and with it Jack climaxed hard, emptying his load inside his lover.
"Danny! Oh fuck! I'm coming...I can't stop it, fuck, fuck, fuck!"
"Me too, me too. Fuck me hard, Jack."
The men climaxed together, Jack inside Daniel and Daniel through his fist. They had both wanted this for so long but only now, could they fully express their feelings. Only after Daniel had done the one thing that went against his true nature did they get to this point. Daniel had lied about his feelings, lied about their relationship and lied about the lie.
Their addiction for each other proved that it could turn a man into a liar and a liar into a lover.