Pausing just before the front door, he glanced up at the sky and checked the position of Orion. He nodded to himself; it was still early enough to bother the old fart so he stepped up and knocked on the door. And knocked. And knocked. And....
"This had better be...." Jack's words stopped dead as he opened the door, his mental processes temporarily halted by the identity of his visitor.
"It's about time," he said sarcastically. "Going to invite me in?"
"What are you doing here?" Jack asked.
"We need to talk," he said, walking boldly past Jack and into the living room. He plopped down on the couch and looked back expectantly. Jack stared at the open door for a minute, as if wishing he could go back in time and not open it.
"Isn't it a little late for you to be out?" Jack asked as he reluctantly joined his clone in the living room.
"Please. Oh. Let me guess--Daniel's here," he said before making a dismissive gesture. "Don't worry about him. He'll find other ways to amuse himself."
"Excuse me?" Jack said, his voice chilly.
"Hey. I know," he said. "Deal with it."
"What do you want?" Jack asked sharply.
"I have to go somewhere else."
"No," he said, disgusted.
"Another city?" Jack asked.
"Because it's too fucking weird here."
"Hey. Watch the language," Jack said, finally taking a seat in the easy chair across from his younger self.
"Because your mom wouldn't let you swear when you were fifteen?" he taunted.
"My mom doesn't let me swear now," Jack shot back.
"I hate that," Jack muttered.
"So do I," he said. "Which is my point. I can't have any kind of life here because you've already had it."
"So make your own life."
He and Jack both looked up, startled by Daniel's voice. Daniel crossed the living room to the fireplace. He leaned against it, watching both Jack and his clone.
"I can't," he insisted.
"Why not?" Jack asked.
"Well, for starters, I'm too 'young' to go out and make any kind of life. I'm in high school, for chrissake."
"You wanted to go," Jack said.
"I thought it might be fun." He slumped back into the couch cushions. "It sucks."
"You're bored," Daniel guessed.
"Among other things."
"Well, we could probably arrange to get you admitted to college," Daniel suggested, glancing at Jack for confirmation that Jack didn't seem to be entirely comfortable giving.
"Slightly better, maybe," he admitted. "Except for the fact that I'll be the jailbait then and still left with no sexual outlet."
Jack and Daniel both stared at him, disconcerted by the implications of his statement. Daniel tried to stammer out some kind of comment but seemed to have been rendered speechless.
"Wait a minute," Jack said. "This is all 'cause you're horny? Hey--little news flash for ya. Teenagers are always horny. You'll just have to suffer through it."
"You don't get it, do you?" he asked.
"I'm not just horny. I have teenage hormones, and a fifty-year-old's knowledge and experience."
"I'm not fifty," Jack said quickly. "Not yet."
"Jack," Daniel chided softly before turning to the boy. "So, okay--in one sense you have far more experience than the average fifteen year old. But that doesn't have to be a negative. You could use that knowledge to build better, more mature relationships than most teenage boys are capable of."
"Oh, for crying out loud, Daniel," he snapped. Daniel frowned, disconcerted at hearing Jack's words coming out of...mini-Jack. "First of all--mostly gay here. I can't have any relationship unless I want to end up the poster boy for bashing. And second--I don't want a relationship. I wanna fuck."
"Hey!" Jack snapped. "The fact is you're just going to have to suppress your baser urges until you're older."
"Ha! Like you ever did."
Jack's face heated under Daniel's questioning look.
"Daniel, would you excuse us. Please?" Jack asked. Daniel walked away but the look on his face said he'd taken the comment to heart.
"And you," Jack said, turning to him. "You know the situation. You're just going to have to deal."
"Screw that," he said.
"Look, I'm...you're...we're bi. So just hang with the girls for a while. That's what I did."
"But at least you were only fifteen, too. I have the tastes of a middle-aged bisexual colonel," he argued. "Like I want to date some Britney wannabe."
"Where are you going?" Jack asked when he stepped into his bedroom to find Daniel gathering up his keys and wallet and shoving them back into his pockets.
"Um...home?" Daniel said.
"Well, he's staying, right?"
"So you really want him to know that we, uh...that we're spending time in your bedroom?" Daniel asked. "Together?"
"Daniel, he already knows."
"Oh. Right. I guess he would, wouldn't he?" Daniel said, more to himself than Jack. "Still, this is different."
A startled huff of air burst from Daniel's lungs as Jack swung him around and pinned him against the closed door.
"Daniel," Jack groaned into Daniel's neck.
"Jack, you don't really want to risk everything just for some stress relief, do you?" Daniel protested despite the fact that he was turning his head to allow Jack the freedom to suck and bite along his neck.
"Given that my stress level is now even higher--you bet," Jack said. He nipped the skin on the top of Daniel's shoulder, provoking a startled gasp and then a groan. Jack unfastened his jeans and Daniel followed suit, wrapping his long fingers around both their cocks the minute they were free.
"Yes!" Jack growled.
"Shhh!" Daniel hissed. "He'll hear you."
Jack growled again, then fastened his mouth back on Daniel's shoulder as he wrapped his own hand around Daniel's, pumping harder, tighter, faster.... He sucked frantically at Daniel's skin, trying to contain his mounting desire. Just as he lost control Jack bit down and Daniel shuddered silently against him.
As soon as Jack was sure his legs could hold his full weight, he pulled back. Daniel looked at him with surprise, still gulping air into his lungs.
"I am capable of controlling my baser urges," Jack said despite the fact that the last few minutes might indicate otherwise.
"Did you when you were fifteen?" Daniel asked. He ran his fingers over the hickey that felt burned into his skin.
"I was fifteen. There's not much more on a boy's mind than sex, and not much in the way of self control," Jack admitted.
"They're normal feelings. Perfectly natural."
"I know. But he's got to put a lid on it for now."
Daniel remained silent, realizing that they were talking about two different people. Well, two different versions of the same person.
"Um...Daniel?" Jack said, calling him back from his mental meandering.
"Why are you doing this?" Daniel asked as the...kid 'accidentally' nudged Daniel's notes. It was beginning to grate on Daniel's nerves. He hadn't given it a second thought when Jack had phoned early, begging him to watch the clone while Jack went to the mountain and brought Hammond up to speed. Now he wished he'd let the answering machine pick up.
"Invading my space," Daniel said as he straightened the pages again.
"Just wanted to see if it's as easy to piss you off as my memories say it is," he said coolly. He sat down at O'Neill's computer to see if he'd added any new games.
"You know, I think I understand some of what you're going through," Daniel said sympathetically.
"Really. You ever been cloned?"
"No, not me personally." Daniel frowned. "At least, not that I know of."
"Do you know what it's like to have someone else's memories? Someone else's feelings?"
"Sort of. Close enough to know that it must be very difficult. But you have to try and make your own memories."
"I can't. I can't do the things I want to do, can't have the things I want to have because he already has them!"
"Well, there must be things Jack wanted to do but never had the chance," Daniel said. "Desires he had--that you have--that he never pursued."
"He hasn't told you, has he?" he said.
"Told me what?" Daniel asked. He quickly put up a hand. "No, on second thought, it's probably best if you don't answer that."
"Tough." He sat up straight in the chair, leaning forward slightly. "You know all those furtive fumblings? All those sweaty, secret mutual jerk-offs?"
"Stop," Daniel said, his voice cold. "Just stop right now."
"What did you think that was all about, Daniel?" he said, his voice taunting.
"What we...it's none of your business," Daniel said tightly, unconsciously rubbing the hickey hidden just under his shirt collar. He got to his feet and paced to the other side of the room. "You may have the knowledge but you don't have the right."
"He never really knew what it was all about either, you know," he continued casually. "Not until you went all glowy on him."
"I think Jack knows exactly what it's all about."
"This is Jack we're talking about," he interrupted. "He's not the sharpest knife in the drawer and you know it."
"He's not stupid," Daniel argued.
"Maybe not. Maybe just incredibly repressed. Because the thing is--he loves you. Which means I love you but I can't have you because he already does," he said bitterly.
"All right, putting aside the bizarre notion that Jack could be...in love...."
"He is. And I can't put it aside. That's the whole point, Daniel. I can't be with the one person I want to be with." He sat back, studying Daniel. "Unless you're willing to give me a try?"
"W-what?" Daniel stammered. "No."
"C'mon. I'm him. Just with working knees and more hormones than you can shake a stick at."
"You're not him."
"Oh, but I am. And I know how you like it, Daniel. I know exactly how hard, how long, how...."
"Stop it," Daniel hissed. "You are not Jack! You can't...."
"But I do," he pointed out. He took in Daniel's pale face, the wariness in his eyes. "I know everything about you that he does. I feel for you the way he does."
"You can't," Daniel repeated desperately.
"Which is exactly my point." He pretended to look at the computer for a moment before turning a challenging stare on Daniel. "At least I've got the guts to tell you the truth. Give me that tight little ass of yours and I'll tell you everything he won't."
Daniel spun and walked quickly from the room.
"Aw, fuck it," he muttered, turning to the computer and pulling up Jack's internet connection.
"Where's Daniel?" Jack asked curtly.
"Around," he answered.
"I know that. He would never have left you here alone. But around where?"
"What did you do to him?"
"I didn't do anything to your precious Daniel." He gave Jack a sly, sideways look. "We just had a little talk."
"Stuff," he said.
"What kind of stuff?" Jack said, his patience all but gone.
"Just some things that needed to be said."
"Don't mess with Daniel," Jack said, shaking his finger at the boy. "He does not need your crap."
"Don't you mean your crap?"
"No, your crap," Jack said angrily. "All your 'poor little me I have no life' crap."
"I don't think my crap is really an issue for Daniel."
"I'm only going to tell you this once, so listen good," Jack said. "Hurt him and I'll make sure you don't ever have to worry about becoming a dirty old...young man."
"I can see the house from here," Daniel said immediately.
"I know," Jack said, taking a seat next to him on the park bench. "What happened?"
"Jack, he's right," Daniel said, still not looking at Jack. "He can't have any real kind of life here. We need to find another place for him."
"Well, Hammond's not real keen on that idea. There are security issues to consider."
"Security?" Daniel asked.
"The kid knows everything I know," Jack said, noting the way Daniel flinched at his words.
"But he's...he's you. In a sense. He won't give up anything."
"I know. But Hammond made the point that physically the kid isn't up to some of the experiences that I've gone through. If he got captured by the Goa'uld...." Jack shrugged. "It wouldn't be pretty."
"It never is," Daniel said. "And none of us is impervious to torture. We're all security risks to some extent."
"Yeah, I know. I guess he figures that a fifteen year old kid wouldn't really understand the stakes."
"He's not fifteen, Jack. Not mentally. He understands."
"Daniel?" Jack prodded, knowing he needed to find out what had happened between Daniel and his clone. Needed to know what had made Daniel so edgy.
"He can't stay here, Jack."
"What makes you think it'd be so different for him out there?"
"Because he wouldn't be surrounded by reminders of your life. Because out there he'd have opportunities that you never had. That you never even knew were possible," Daniel said. "He wouldn't be trapped by your needs and...and...."
"He can't escape the fact that he's you, Jack. Not as long as he stays here."
"Are you doing anything to solve our little problem?" he asked, taking a beer from the fridge.
"I presented your case to Hammond," Jack said, snatching the bottle from his hand. "It's out of my hands now."
"Hey!" he protested as Jack returned the beer to the fridge.
"You're too young," Jack said flatly.
"I'm as old as you are."
"Oh, blow it up someone else's nose," he said, reaching for the door handle.
"You've got teenage body," Jack said, planting his body in front of the fridge door. "Everything works, nothing hurts."
"So don't fuck it up."
"I'm touched by your concern," he said sarcastically.
"You know--you have an opportunity that no one else has ever had."
"To suffer from acne and Alzheimer's at the same time?"
"You can avoid making the same stupid mistakes everyone else does," Jack said. "Because you already know. You have the memories of just how badly you...I can screw up. Why would you want to repeat that?"
"I seem to have this contrary streak to my personality." He cocked a sarcastic eyebrow at Jack. "Can't imagine where I got that."
He briefly checked his watch again, and decided that he had time. O'Neill would catch up to him. Eventually. In fact, he'd let O'Neill find him. Eventually. But not until the prick had had plenty of time to stew. Besides, this was fun. How often did you get a chance to test your skills against...yourself?
Smiling smugly, he stepped out of the shadows. Time to make a house call on the good Doctor J. The house in question was quiet, only the dimmest of light showing through one window at the back of the house. He knew that light would be coming from the living room. The rest of the house was dark.
He ran across the moonlit yard, crouched over, his steps silent in the dewy grass. He fumbled briefly at the door, out of practice and used to having handy dandy USAF issued tools to work with. Once the lock was picked, he slipped into the kitchen, noting with satisfaction that he'd been right about the source of the light. Grinning triumphantly, he swaggered into the living room.
His face fell. Jack was sitting in a folding chair facing the kitchen door. Daniel stood on the other side of the room, his arms wrapped around his chest, an unreadable expression on his face.
"You didn't really think you could outsmart me, did you?" Jack asked.
"You're not exactly in the Carter class of brain power."
"And therefore, neither are you," Jack said with a nasty grin.
"Flattery will get you nowhere."
"Pull another lame ass stunt like that and I'll wring your scrawny little neck myself," Jack said, thundering into the guest room, shoving him along in front.
"Would that make it murder? Or suicide?" he asked. "Or even a murder/suicide?"
"Is it even possible to be arrested for killing yourself?" he asked, flopping onto the bed.
"If you don't like my conversation you can just leave. Or better yet--let me leave."
"I'm trying," Jack said through clenched teeth.
"Try harder," he suggested. "I don't care how you do it--just get me out of here."
"Would you chill?" Jack said irritably. "I've explained this all to you...although I shouldn't have to. You know it's not that simple."
"I also know you aren't exactly busting your saggy butt for me. But if you won't do it for my benefit, then do it for your own."
"Mine?" Jack asked. "Okay. Granted--getting rid of you would greatly decrease the level of stress in my life, but other than that...."
"I'm a temptation."
"To what? Or...whom?"
"How do you figure that?" Jack asked.
"I'm you. Just younger. Stronger. More...potent."
"Stop right there," Jack warned.
"Truth hurts, doesn't it?" he sneered. "Face it--I can fuck Daniel six times a night if he wants it."
"I told you I'd kill you if you messed with Daniel," Jack said, his body rigid with anger.
"But what if Daniel wants me to mess with him?"
"He doesn't," Jack said firmly.
"Don't be so sure."
"Daniel has standards," Jack argued.
"He's hopeless over you," he scoffed. "How high could his standards be?"
"High enough to rule out sex with a minor."
"Except that Daniel, at least, understands that my 'youth' is just an illusion," he said.
"But you're not someone he wants to screw," Jack said.
"I'm you," he refuted calmly.
"Daniel...it's not just about sex for Daniel."
"Well, that's one more thing I can give him that you can't," he said, provoking a new frown from Jack. He leaned forward. Warily, Jack responded by drawing closer.
"I'll give him the why. I'll give him the truth; I'll tell him he's loved."
"You little son of a...," Jack sputtered.
"You'll only give him your dick," he said bluntly. He leaned forward and jabbed a finger in Jack's chest. "I'll give him my soul."
"Never happen," Jack said, looking shaken.
"But you'll never be sure, will you? Not as long as I'm around."
"Daniel," Jack said urgently.
"What?" Daniel looked around from his computer, confused by Jack's sudden unexpected appearance in his house.
"Jack?" Daniel stood up, puzzled by Jack's agitated state. "What's wrong?"
"Don't.... If...." Jack shook his head, frustrated, but when Daniel started to move toward him, Jack threw up a hand in warning. "Just...stay away from the clone."
"What?" Daniel's frown deepened. "Why?"
"Because?" Jack suggested. "Because I'm asking you to?"
"Daniel, just stay away."
"What do you think I'm going to do to him?" Daniel asked.
"Not you," Jack said. "It's what he'll try to do to you."
"He'll fuck with your head, Daniel. He's vengeful little prick and he will screw you over."
"He's you, Jack."
"You're wrong, you know," Daniel said quietly.
"Am I? Well, that'd be nothing new, would it?" he said, refusing to look up from his comic book. If they were going to 'ground' him in a VIP suite like some snotty brat, then he'd act that way. "What is it I'm wrong about this time?"
"About...." Daniel paused to clear his throat. "About Jack's feelings."
"Really?" He finally set the comic book down and looked at Daniel. "How do you know that?"
"Because I do."
"Hmm," he said noncommittally. "So why did I say that he had feelings?"
"Because you have some crazy idea that this will somehow persuade me to sleep with you," Daniel suggested.
"Wow. My seduction technique really sucks," he said dryly before returning to his comics.
"Look, just stop it, okay?"
"Um...." He looked up, his face twisted in concentration. Then he smiled maliciously. "No."
"Why are you doing this?" Daniel asked, growing frustrated.
"Because I can." He returned to the comic. "Think about it, Daniel. How did Jack know where to find me last night?"
"Because he's you?" Daniel said in a tone that suggested he thought that was obvious. "Or...you're him."
"Yes. And he knew I'd be going to you because that's what he'd do."
"Well, it's not like you have a lot of options out there. It's Jack, me or...."
"That's what he'd do if he were me and he didn't have to worry about regulations and chain of command and fraternization and all that other crap," he explained. "He'd go to you."
"If he didn't have to worry...?"
"He'd be there banging you through the floor," he agreed.
Daniel dropped his eyes, his lips tightening into a straight line.
"Of course, if you're a top man you could bang him...."
"I think Jack's right; your hormones have gotten the best of you," Daniel said.
"He's a liar."
"Then...so are you."
"Were you ever this spiteful?" Daniel asked.
"Well, he's you. But I don't know this angry, bitter person," Daniel said, his brow creased as he tried to reconcile the two Jacks.
"The potential's there," Jack admitted, tossing his civvies into his locker. "You've seen it."
"Not...." Daniel shook his head. "Even then you weren't trying to hurt anyone else, just yourself. You're not deliberately cruel."
"Debatable. But then I never woke up one day to find out that I was only a copy. That everything I thought I knew about myself was a lie."
"Yeah, I guess that would be enough to make a guy angry."
"What?" Jack said after a few moments of watching an inner battle play out on Daniel's face.
"Something," Jack said, making a 'gimme' gesture.
"No, it's just...he's using you against me. Not so surprising, I know--I mean he knows me almost as well as I know myself. Because you know me...." Daniel's words trailed off.
"He said...." Daniel took a deep breath, staring intently into his locker. "He said you wanted more."
"More than just...stress relief."
"I'm gonna kill the little fucker," Jack said, his tone deliberately casual.
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because it would make things more complicated," Jack said, slamming his locker door shut.
"More complicated than screwing around with a male teammate?"
"Sir, I think we have to face the fact that we either send him off world, or he spends the rest of his life in lock-up," Jack said.
"Or worse, a lab rat at Area 51," Daniel said.
"I'm not sure that it's necessary for him to be confined, Jack," Hammond said.
"It is," Jack said with conviction. "He doesn't want to be here and he will do anything to get what he wants. Even expose the Stargate program if he thinks it's the only way."
"You're sure of that?"
"He's me," Jack said with a shrug.
"He has a right to a life," Daniel said. "I think we have an obligation to give it to him. On compassionate grounds if nothing else."
"Obligation?" Jack said, staring at Daniel. "I didn't ask for a mini-monster-me."
"He didn't either," Daniel reminded him quietly.
"Assuming I get the go ahead--where do we send him?" Hammond asked.
"Somewhere similar to Earth in terms of technological development," Daniel suggested.
"Well, that narrows the possibilities," Sam said. "Most Goa'uld controlled worlds are significantly behind us."
"And Tollana isn't an option anymore," Daniel said.
"Kelowna is not dissimilar to Earth, and I believe Jonas Quinn would be willing to assist," Teal'c suggested.
"Also not an option," Jack said bluntly.
"Does it have to be technologically similar?" Sam asked. "Because in all other respects, Edora might be a good choice."
"But you lived with them for three months and...."
"I said no," Jack repeated, quietly freaked by the thought of turning his junior double loose on the same planet with Laira.
"It would be...weird."
"What do you suggest?" Hammond asked Jack.
"Maybe we should just ask the Asgard to take care of him," Sam suggested. "They made him after all."
"I'm just not sure that we could count on them to take very good care of him," Daniel said.
"Yeah," Jack said ruefully. "Every time I start feeling all warm/fuzzy over Thor and his buddies, they go and do something that reminds me that they're really not the warm/fuzzy type."
"If the clone is dysfunctional, perhaps it would be for the best," Teal'c said.
"He's not dysfunctional," Daniel said quickly. "I think the fact that he's having difficulty is perfectly normal given the rather abnormal circumstances surrounding his existence."
"How can we be certain that he would adapt better on another world?" Teal'c asked.
Jack's sigh drew everyone's attention.
"Sir?" Sam prompted.
"He will," Jack said. "He'll adapt just fine."
"How can you be certain?" Hammond asked.
"Because he's me," Jack said reluctantly. "He's a survivor."
"Where would he want to go?" Daniel asked.
"Somewhere SG-1 hasn't been. The kid wants somewhere he won't be in my shadow, so let's send him to a world that SG-1 hasn't been to."
"Are you sure?"
"Could we not ask the clone?" Teal'c suggested. "He possesses all the information which O'Neill has, at least up to the point where he was created. Perhaps he knows of a suitable location."
"P7R-779." He watched with amusement as Hammond and SG-1 stared, taken aback by his quick decision.
"Are you sure, son?" Hammond asked.
"But...P7R is a good fifty years or more behind us technologically," Sam warned.
"In other words--no GameBoy," Jack said.
"Life on P7R is not easy," Teal'c said. "Long days and hard work are the norm."
"And you think I'm afraid of hard work?" he challenged. Teal'c looked from him to Jack and back again before subsiding into resolute silence.
"I think they're just trying to make the point that life on P7R is not what you're used to," Daniel said.
"You mean it's not what he's used to," he said, jerking his thumb at Jack. "Me--I've been alive less than six months. I'm not 'used' to anything."
Hammond looked at Jack.
"I've got no objections," Jack said, ready to wash his hands of this whole disturbing chapter of his life. Two Jack O'Neills on one planet was one Jack too many.
"We'll have to ask the inhabitants," Daniel said.
"So ask," he said. "The worst they can do is say no."
"Very well. SG-1, you have a go to P7R-779 in two hours."
"Not him," he said quickly, pointing at Jack.
"But how will we know if this place is suitable?" Hammond asked.
"I already know everything I need to know from the mission reports," he said. "And I'll trust Daniel's assessment."
Daniel's head popped up, his eyes glancing nervously from Jack to the clone.
"He knows me well enough," he continued.
"If that's the way you want it," Hammond said. "It's your life."
"Not yet, but we're getting there."
"You'd better be damn sure."
He looked up, let his eyes run up and down Jack, leaning against the door, and shrugged.
"Sure I'm sure."
"Because we won't be giving you a GDO," Jack continued.
"I figured," he said. "Gonna lock the address out of the dialing computer, too?"
"No," Jack said slowly. "Why would we?"
"I don't know," he said with a casual shrug. "Just thought maybe you'd want to make sure Daniel can't follow me."
"Who knows," he said, goading Jack. "A couple of years from now I'll be legal in anyone's eyes, and if you still have your head up your ass...."
"In your dreams, junior fly-boy."
"No, that would be in your dreams, idiot," he said. "But I assume you didn't come down here to impress me once again with the shallowness of your intellect."
"Our intellect. And no, I didn't. You ship out at 0500 tomorrow. Be ready."
"I've been ready," he said sharply. "You've been the one holding things up."
Jack turned to go, but couldn't quite tear himself away without knowing.
"Two key selling points," he said. "One--they have a fairly flexible social organization. Which means that while you're here settling for the occasional grope with Daniel and dreaming of more--I'll be living the dream."
"And the second point?" Jack asked.
"They've never heard of Colonel Jack O'Neill."
"Yesterday you said he told you about.... Did you tell him what you wanted?" Jack asked aggressively.
"I didn't need to. He knew." Daniel paused, closing his front door behind Jack. "You know."
"I'm supposed to better than this," Jack said bitterly, turning away from Daniel. "I'm supposed to have more respect for the uniform. I'm supposed to be more dedicated to obeying the regs."
"I'm supposed to have more self control," Jack said, turning back to meet Daniel's eyes, his own face drawn in lines of anger and desire.
"Oh," Daniel said softly, understanding.
"But...haven't you already crossed the line?"
"Probably." Jack sighed, his shoulders slumping. "Definitely."
"What do you want to do?"
"Want to do? Or should do?"
"Want," Daniel said firmly.
"I want...I want to do this."
Jack drew Daniel into his arms and kissed him. So long and so deep that his jaw ached and still he tried to go deeper.
"And then I want to do this."
Jack sank to his knees, tugging Daniel's shirt out of his pants and brushing light kisses across his torso while he unfastened his fly.
"Jack," Daniel whispered, his hand going to cup Jack's head where he nuzzled his lower belly.
"I want," Jack breathed against his skin.
"You going to be okay here?"
He tore his eyes away from the two moons just setting and stared at Daniel, then past Daniel's left shoulder to Jack, waiting in the distance and watching them both closely.
"Why wouldn't I be? No Goa'uld to fight, lots of fish to catch, and best of all--no Colonel Asshole."
"I think you'd find he's not such a bad guy when you get to know him," Daniel said.
"I'll leave that to you," he said. Daniel's shy, almost imperceptible smile and Jack's lower than usual grouch factor were the only clues he needed. "I'll leave him to you, though God knows why you'd want him."
"It was all an act, wasn't it?"
"What was?" he asked, giving Daniel a cocky look even though he knew it couldn't be seen behind his sunglasses.
"The come-ons, the threats," Daniel said. "The general aggravation."
"Yeah, I think."
"If that's what you want to believe." He leaned toward Daniel and dropped his voice. "Don't think for a minute I wouldn't still fuck you--right now, right here--if he hadn't gotten there first."
He turned and started walking across the field toward the town, scuffing along, making puffs of dust swirl around his feet.
His head jerked around, surprised by Daniel's use of his name.
"Hey, who needs luck when you're good," he said. Then he smiled.
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