Summary: When footage emerges of Jack and Daniel in an intimate situation of which they have no memory, they must figure out where it came from, who sent it, and why.
Info: Written for the jackdanielpromptfic A Dip In The Pool Promptathon from the prompt "A video surfaces showing Jack and Daniel having an unambiguous PDA moment—but they're not a couple, and have no memory of ever having done anything resembling what's on the footage." Beta'd by eilidh17.
If he wasn't in such a state of surprise, Jack would be half-hard in his pants. In the armchair across from him in his den, Daniel's expression speaks of a similar state to his own. Not that Daniel is actively wanting to look in Jack's direction right now.
Frozen on Jack's television is the accumulation of all Jack's wants and desires these past few years. A line of static dances over the image of himself and Daniel in what could only be called an embrace. His body is curled around Daniel's, his arm wrapped around a shoulder, hand caressing strands of hair. They are standing so close, Daniel's head rests upon Jack's shoulder, and Jack's face is turned into Daniel's neck. Jack, staring at the screen before him, can feel the heat from video Daniel on his lips, and taste the sweet saltiness of the skin there.
"There's more, but you get the idea." General Hammond holds the remote in his hand. "Gentlemen, for now, we can assume that this is not the original copy of the video. I am not entirely sure who sent it to me, nor what their purpose in doing so is. However, due to the nature of the footage, I can only assume their motives will soon become apparent."
Jack watches Daniel blinking hard out of the corner of his eye, still speechless. Jack knows he will be the one to square things with the general. "I didn't do it... sir."
"We," a breathless voice from across the room interjects.
"Yes, we. We didn't... that's not us." Jack points forcefully at the television, wincing as his eyes meet with the vision once again.
George exhales and closes his eyes. "Jack, you know I would never... I didn't come here to ask you that. But if we can rule you out, we can start work on figuring out how this footage exists."
"Blackmail." Daniel's one word sentences are already becoming old hat.
"It's the obvious choice. NID, any one of a handful of other government agencies who want their share of the Stargate program, though I am not sure who could create video like this in such detail with our likeness... are those books?" Daniel asks, actually moving from his upright, ramrod, hands-in-lap position, to lean towards the screen. "Is that...?"
"Yes, Doctor Jackson, it appears this footage was pulled or is supposed to appear as though it is from a security camera in the Old Colorado City Library," Hammond finishes as his eyebrows knit together.
"Library nookie? Sweet," Jack mutters under his breath. "And isn't that a bit of a cliché? For Daniel, I mean." Jack frowns, looking over to Daniel's wide-eyed expression. Jack knows he probably shouldn't be needling Daniel right now, and he is relieved when Daniel sighs, not taking the bait.
"Look, we know that isn't us us," Jack gestures between himself and Daniel, "and I hate to say it, but maybe we should get checked out, just Frasier? Make sure there's no alien mind-whammies at play, missing time, etcetera. I noticed there's no time stamp on that footage, but we look quite... recent."
"I'll make the arrangements, Colonel. This is on a strictly need to know basis while we figure out what the hell's going on."
Daniel nods slightly, bugging out of the conversation once more.
"We appreciate that, General."
"Well, from what I can tell, and given the tests I have performed, while not knowing what exactly I am supposed to be looking for, I can only conclude that your are both yourselves." Frasier's clipped tone belay her façade of casual indifference.
"Thanks, Doc!" Jack is already jumping off his infirmary bed, eager to be out of the room and not have his true spirits upon hearing the news on display. He isn't even entirely sure what they are yet.
Behind him Daniel rises more sedately. "Good to know." He nods to Frasier, sliding his glasses back into place.
Jack takes a few deep breaths to slow his heart from the knock on his door. He knows it is Daniel. Few people know where his office is and he likes it that way. "S'open!" Jack calls out with only the slightest crack in his voice. In front of him on the desk is an unread file. Unread because Jack can focus only on the ink and paper, not so much with the words.
"Hey." Daniel pops his head around the door.
"Hey," Jack replies, forcing a polite grin.
"I thought I might come and... this is weird."
"It wasn't us."
"Maybe I should..."
"Get in here."
Daniel slides himself and the folder he's holding through the small opening in the doorway, and steps into Jack's dimly lit office. "I've been thinking..."
"But of course!" Jack sits back in his chair, arms stretching, hands coming to rest behind his head.
Ignoring Jack's display, Daniel continues, "Maybe there are more clues in the footage that may tell us what is going on."
Jack's heart leaps into his throat. "Clues?" he chokes out. It's a fucking black and white pixelated painting of his most private thoughts splashed across his TV set on a Friday night; by his commanding officer no less, and with the object of said thoughts sitting across from him in the room.
"I understand if this is all just a little disconcerting..."
"No... well, maybe."
Daniel pierces Jack with a stare Jack thinks might be part question, part fear. Now that is disconcerting.
"Not by what we... they... were doing per se..." Jack finds himself struggling for the right words, wanting to address whatever it is that Daniel might be fearful of –pleasedon'tletitbeme—but unable to completely reveal why he feels so affected.
"But by the fact that it wasn't us?"
"Seeing yourself doing things that you wouldn't normally do..." Daniel's tone spoke of some slow release timing to his finding the answer, like he is figuring out some ancient puzzle, talking it through in a way which explains it to another person, but also allows him to see it in such a way in his own mind.
"Yeah, I think so." Jack stares down at his file again. "I know we've had robot doubles, and I had to watch Teal'c strut around like he owned my ass when he occupied it, and his shaving my head would have made things weirder..."
Daniel smirks in response.
"But this is a little more..."
Jack knows Daniel was staring at him again. "Hey, it's not like I'm the only one, you're here too..." Jack slips a few of the still photographs made from the recording out of Daniel's folder. "Well, not you you..." he ignores the two men in the picture, looking at their surroundings, edges of the film, anything, before coming back to the figures, casually dressed, not out of place in a library, taken from early in the video, before anything... unambiguous occurred. "Though I have never seen anyone else wear that dashing plaid number..." Jack's fingertip taps the image of not!Daniel.
Daniel frowns, sliding the photo out from beneath Jack's fingers, and rotating it so that he can study the image closely himself. "The last time I wore that... Jack! Those aliens; they mimicked our appearances, they knew our thoughts..."
"Those devices are scheduled to be shipped to Area 51..."
"That library is on the way to Peterson. Those aliens flew to Washington chasing Sam, what if they...?"
"We need to see Hammond."
"You think those aliens took a slight detour on their way to recapture an enemy to hang out at a public library and do... this?" George's tone suggests he is finding this a little far-fetched.
"Sir, I was at that library doing research on Kheb right before that mission. Maybe there was something in the mind-copying device that made him want to go there, I honestly couldn't tell you. As for the rest..." Daniel's shrug emphasised his deliberate, blank expression.
"Maybe they were exchanging long protein strings..." Jack's murmur is met with silent incomprehension.
"I think we can set that matter aside for now," Hammond says, glancing sideways at Jack briefly, "and focus on who would send this footage to myself in particular, and why."
"Well think about it, who would have the jurisdiction and foresight to happen across something like this?" Daniel's manner suggests he may have some idea. Perhaps the same idea Jack had been forming since coming to know of the tape's existence.
"That is a strong theory, Doctor Jackson, but what I don't understand is why Colonel Maybourne would send this to me?"
"We saved his ass from the fire as much as he saved ours, sir," Jack concludes. "He ignored procedure, but came through for us in the end, and we didn't report him, so... I'm just saying, I can imagine someone like Maybourne not wanting to owe any favours. Maybe he was just doing a little clean up, on the side."
"Ok, I will follow up on some leads and see if I can corroborate these events. However, the matter of this tape remains between us, understood?" Hammond stands, readying to leave this long night behind.
"Yes, sir," both Jack and Daniel reply.
Hammond bids the men a good weekend as he retreats to his office, not wanting to witness their exiting together.
The whiskey burns his throat as much as the sharp blinding light from the sunrise burns his eyes.
"I've been thinking..." Daniel starts.
No retort this time. Jack sits with a soft smile, letting the liquor numb the coming blows.
"Why what?" Jack is bone tired, and if Daniel is going to start playing games, Jack is going to fall asleep on him, big affirmation of lifestyle or no.
"Why were they... I don't know, compelled to do what they... did?"
"Who says they were compelled? Maybe they were just horny?" Dammit Jack, you chicken shit, just let him get to whichever logical conclusion he is going to so you can either die in the flames of your own embarrassment or maybe have a small chance at happily ever after. Preferably the later, but more likely the former.
"I didn't see any footage of alien Hammond and alien Frasier having it off."
Jack stands as his sip of whiskey catches in his throat causing him to cough. "Thanks, for that image."
"You're welcome." Daniel smiles, rising also to pat him on the back and grab at a few Kleenex for the mess.
"So, where would our alien selves have gotten it into their linked-up minds to go fool around in a library?" Jack knows Daniel is moving this along. Jack is almost dead on his feet, and now woozy from the alcohol, lack of sleep, and the odd shots of adrenaline shooting through his system. Daniel isn't helping by standing close and being so damn supportive, patting his back and bending slightly to maintain eye contact.
"Where my affections lie and their relation to the effects of mind-linking alien technology is not a subject for your inquisitiveness."
"This is not some morbid sense of curiosity or attempt to subvert your privacy, Jack, I honestly need to know if this is a two-way thing, that both of those aliens felt what I, potentially we feel, and had the impulse to act upon it." Daniel pauses trying to sense Jack's following. He sighs, "Or maybe they were just fucking gay aliens."
"Big fucking coincidence they ended up linked to us then, isn't it?"
Daniel stills his hand on Jack's back. "You're not messing with me?"
"Are you messing with me?"
"Of course not, why didn't you say anything?"
"Oh, for one; you were married!"
"Why are we shouting?" Daniel's voice returns to a normal volume.
"Because that's what we..." Jack's voice lowers to match, "do..."
Daniel steps forward, holding Jack's face gently, and just as reverently places a chaste kiss, a slide of soft dry lips, against Jack's mouth. Jack offers no resistance, so Daniel moves in again, light presses of skin, learning Jack to his touch.
Jack responds slowly; fatigued, crashing. Daniel wraps an arm around Jack, holding him up, his other arm sliding from Jack's back and into his hair. An oddly mirrored pose from the one he witnessed them play out on his television, in this very room, only last night.
Another press of mouths, a gentle lick at the corner. Daniel presses his head to Jack's, temple to temple. "I'd hate to presume anything," Daniel's breath tickle's Jack's ear, and Jack can't help letting out a bemused sound. "Because miscommunication and alien mind whammies are a bitch, but I'd very much like to go to bed now."
"You're with me," Jack's reply is slightly slurred, but his caress of Daniel's cheek with his own is message enough.
Saturday night after take out and toothpaste, Jack tastes that sweet saltiness.