Nothing to Hide Behind

Pairing: Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson
 
Category: Season/Series 07, First Time, First Kiss, Christmas, Mistletoe, Fluff, Romance, Pining, Intoxication
 
Rating: NC17
 
Summary: Some things you can have, some things you can't. Some things you can't afford to turn down, and some things are worth everything to get.
 
Notes: Done for the intoxication challenge. I haven't heard from Signe yet, whether or not it's in or out *g*, but I figured I might entertain you guys while I'm waiting *g*
 
Thanks to all you guys on LJ who helped out. swtalmnd for giving me a swift kick in the a** and opening my eyes to an issue or two *g* and Nicci for pushing and prodding ^_^ -- you guys rule!

Sam slumped in the chair, watching her team mate with the utmost attention.

Daniel squirmed a little in his seat, curled up in the corner of the couch. They were currently alone in Jack's living room, both having opted for the heat of the crackling fire, while Jack was outside showing Teal'c his neighbor's outrageous Christmas lights. Daniel had seen it when he had arrived the previous day and he had to agree with Jack that the house looked a little... over-decorated.

Actually, Jack had wondered if they should make a bet out of it. He'd been sure that the house would crash under the weight of all the lights... or melt from the heat of all the light bulbs. Daniel had declined... he wasn't too sure that Jack wouldn't end up winning the bet.

"So it's nothing?" Sam asked, for the third time that day.

Daniel sighed deeply and gave up trying to dig himself deeper into the corner of the couch... he was there already. There was simply no way that the piece of furniture could be pushed or prodded into giving as much as a micron more.

"It's nothing, Sam." Daniel paused a moment, wondering if perhaps this was the right moment to get up and beat a hasty retreat to the kitchen under the excuse of getting another cup of coffee. Still, he should know better, because Sam wouldn't just let it go. Not that he could blame her. He wasn't too sure why, when she and Teal'c had arrived early in the morning, they'd found him and Jack occupying the same bed, even though Jack had a perfectly fine guest room.

"Would you tell me if it *was* something?" she asked, voice carefully neutral.

Daniel finally forced himself to look up and into her eyes. He frowned for a moment. "Are you laughing at me?" he asked, more than a little suspicious.

Sam coughed and averted her eyes for a moment.

"You *are*," Daniel groaned, finally relaxing a little.

"Can you blame me?" Sam asked with a laugh, her blue eyes sparkling with mirth.

"I had trouble sleeping, so I knocked on Jack's door, we ended up talking most of the night through..." Daniel shrugged. "Last time I checked it was near 3AM and I guess we ended up falling asleep at some point."

"Well, you looked very..." Sam pursed her lips, searching for the right words, clearly having some trouble. "Cute," she finally managed to get out, biting her lower lip and not doing a very good job of keeping a straight face.

Daniel rolled his eyes. He was unsure if he should feel insulted, or laugh along with Sam. "I think both Jack and I are a little too old to be considered... cute," he tried to defend himself.

"I swear, Daniel, if I'd had a camera along, I'd have taken a picture of the two of you just to prove it."

"I guess I was just afraid you might have... misunderstood it," Daniel explained, feeling his cheeks heat a little. Heck, he would have misunderstood it if he had found her and Jack wrapped up the way he and their CO had been that morning.

"Well, even if I had, I'm not allowed to ask, and you shouldn't tell," Sam grinned as she stood; heading for the kitchen to get the extra coffee that should have finished brewing by that point.

"Hey, you won't have to, because there's nothing *to* tell," Daniel said pointedly as he followed her, shivering as the door swung open to let Jack and Teal'c inside, a cold wind following them.

"Tell what?" Jack asked, catching the last of Daniel's words. He hung his coat and took Teal'c's as well, before turning back to Daniel and giving him a questioning look.

"Oh, um... nothing, Jack, nothing." Daniel hastily retreated to the kitchen, finding Sam with the coffee. Both Jack and Teal'c followed and though Jack's kitchen was fairly big, with four grown people out there, it felt a little cramped. With a sigh, Daniel took the cup that Sam offered him.

Jack tilted his head to the side. "Carter?"

"Sir?" Sam gave him his most innocent smile.

Narrowing his eyes, Jack looked from one to the other, then shrugged, muttering something about scientists under his breath before gesturing for Teal'c to follow him into the living room.

Daniel took a deep breath, but found himself face to face with their CO a moment later, as the man returned and stood still in front of him. Daniel blinked a couple of times, a little unsettled by the overbearing smile on Jack's face.

"What?" Daniel asked, beginning to feel completely ridiculous.

"You're standing in front of the fridge," Jack said with a grin.

Daniel frowned. "Oh," he said. "Sorry."

Jack didn't answer, merely took him by the shoulders and gently moved him out of the way before opening the fridge and taking out a beer for himself and a root beer for Teal'c. His grin not changing, Jack closed the fridge.

Daniel was about to ask he wasn't going to offer him a beer as well, although beer really wasn't his... thing.

"Ah!" Jack said the moment Daniel opened his mouth to ask. Putting the bottles on the table, Jack opened one of the cupboards and pulled out a bottle of red wine and handed it to Daniel. Without another word he picked the beer up again and disappeared into the living room, still with the same smile on his face.

Daniel blinked a couple of times, looked down at the bottle in his hands, then in the direction Jack had disappeared.

"Right, nothing there," Sam said, obviously trying to stay serious, though not succeeding very well.

"Even if there was anything, you can't ask, Sam," Daniel said, feeling uneasy as he threw her previous comment back at her. He was used to Jack having things around the house that were more to Daniel's liking than to his own. It had been like that even before Daniel's ascension. "I'm serious, Sam," Daniel assured her.

Sam stopped beside him, holding two glasses in her hand for the wine. The two of them looked into the living room, watching Jack explain something to Teal'c, waving his hands around. The big Jaffa was sitting in a chair, with what passed as a small, indulgent smile on his face.

"It doesn't really matter, does it?" Sam said, her voice low and warm. "What matters is, that things are back to normal..." she grinned and added as Daniel gave her a questioning look. "Or what passes for normal around here."

Daniel nodded. He thought he might see what she was getting at, but he wasn't entirely sure. Pushing the thoughts back, he drank the coffee Sam had just given him.

Sam held him back for a moment, and as if she knew what he was thinking about, she continued in the same low voice. "The Colonel wasn't the same while you were away and we were all... a little worried."

Daniel frowned. "When you say worried...?" He drained the cup and placed it by the sink.

"Hey, aren't you two gonna join us?" Jack's voice brought the two of them back to the present, and Daniel was slightly annoyed that Sam hadn't had a chance to explain her words. Surely his departure and return hadn't had such an impact on Jack. Daniel sat down on the couch, pulling up his sock clad feet and nestling into the corner, all the while watching his friend. The room was nice and warm from the fire and there was still a trace of fresh, frosty air from Jack as he dumped into the opposite corner of the couch.

Sam opened the bottle of wine, gave Daniel one glass and poured one for herself before setting the bottle on the table and sitting down in the other chair.

"Well, merry Christmas everyone," Jack said happily as he raised his beer. Taking a swig of it, he sat back, unconsciously mirroring Daniel's pose. "So, since we get a little time off from the SGC during Christmas, what are you guys gonna be doing?"

"I shall take the time to meet up with Master Bra'tac and Rya'c," Teal'c said solemnly.

"Working through the holidays, huh?" Jack asked.

"Our quest for freedom does not slow down for Tau'ri holidays," Teal'c said, a twinkle in his eyes, the only thing indicating his mirth.

Jack saluted him with his beer bottle. "But you're looking forward to seeing the two of them again," Jack stated with a grin.

"Indeed."

Daniel watched his friends. It was in some ways odd to be back among them, especially now that his memories had returned more or less one hundred percent. He still didn't remember his ascension, and from what Jack had let him know about the few times he'd shown up with any of them, *and* his memory of the Jaffa labor camp, he was actually silently grateful for his 'amnesia'. He wasn't entirely sure he wanted to remember what Jack had gone through at the hands of Baal. Even though Jack had joked about it, Daniel couldn't quite imagine being tortured to death and revived... over and over again. He still wondered what had kept him from helping Jack and even though he had no memory of it, he felt a little guilty all the same.

"Carter?" Jack's question brought Daniel's attention back to the living room.

"If no emergency comes up among the Tok'ra, I think my dad's coming home to celebrate Christmas with Marc's family and me." Sam looked happy at the prospects of a real family Christmas.

The thought made Daniel think about his own Christmas. His first Christmas back on Earth and... somehow the idea of spending it alone as he'd used to do didn't appeal to him too much. Well, mostly he had just ignored Christmas when he was home, simply having a quiet night in, with a glass of wine... Daniel looked down into the glass he was holding, quickly disguising his somber thoughts, taking a sip of the red liquid, then watched the light from the fire play against the glass and the redness of the wine.

"Helloooooooe, Earth to Dr. Jackson, where ever you are" Jack's voice, full of mirth and contentment, jolted Daniel back to reality.

"Wha'?" he blinked a couple of time, looking from one smiling friend to the other.

"Was it nice where you were?" Jack asked, giving him a small smile, brown eyes twinkling with laughter.

Daniel frowned, feeling a little lightheaded, though he'd hardly touched his wine. "Where I was?"

"Light years away, huh?" Jack's smile widened.

Daniel's mind finally decided to get with the present and he couldn't stop himself from laughing a little. "Yeah, light years." Taking another sip of the wine he gave Jack his full attention. "Was there something you wanted me for?"

Jack rolled his eyes, but nevertheless repeated his question. "And what are you doing for Christmas?"

Daniel shrugged, a little uneasy with the question for some reason. "Don't know. I'll probably just kick back and relax." Jack eyed him suspiciously. Daniel shook his head before the other man could say anything. "And no Jack, I'm not bringing home work." The look Jack gave him, told Daniel that he didn't quite believe him.

The thought of ...home. Well, his new apartment was nice, but it felt like an empty shell. It was full of the stuff that the SGC had taken into storage during his... ascension, but it still lacked something. Maybe if he finally stayed there for more than a few days at a time, it would start feeling a little more like home.

They continued their small talk and not until later, well after dinner, did Daniel realize that not at any point had Jack mentioned what *he* would be doing for Christmas.

Hours later they were all lounging lazily in the living room. "It's getting late, sir," Sam said with a grin as she got to her feet.

"Sure you don't need a taxi, Major?" Jack asked as he got to his feet as well.

Sam stood and blinked a few times. "That might not be such a bad idea."

Teal'c stood as well. "I shall drive, MajorCarter," he offered.

"If you're sure?" Jack asked.

Daniel got to his feet as well, giving her a hug and wishing her a merry Christmas.

"Well, Teal'c can drive me home, take the car to the Mountain and they can give my keys to Dad when he arrives." Sam gave Jack a sloppy salute. "Thank you for a nice day, sir."

Jack answered her smile and her salute with a less than crispy one of his own. Daniel couldn't help but chuckle at his friend, who was probably just as clearheaded as Daniel at the moment... Daniel had enjoyed it all, but he'd been drinking a lot more coffee than wine.

"Indeed, O'Neill. It has been most pleasant," said Teal'c, bowing his head, eyes twinkling with warmth.

"Take our best wishes to Master Bra'tac and Rya'c," Daniel said in a low voice as he shook hands with his friend.

"I shall, DanielJackson, and I hope you have an agreeable holiday and that I shall see you well-rested when we meet again."

Daniel grinned. He didn't mind that the others tended to joke about his insane work hours. They knew he loved his work and that he did similar things for a hobby, which lent him the image of being a complete and utter workaholic. Not that Daniel was arguing... he liked doing what he was doing.

Watching the taillights of Sam's car disappear in the distance, Daniel shivered in the cold air. It was getting late and he might as well get on his own way home. Silently he followed Jack into the house. A hand on his arm roused him from his own thoughts, and Daniel realized they were back in the living room.

"Sit down and get warm again," Jack told him, voice low and soft.

Daniel tried to focus, eyes glued to the hand on his arm. His shirt wasn't that thin, but he could feel the heat from Jack's hand like a brand, as if he'd been wearing nothing and Jack's hands were way above normal body temperature. "I should... I should get going," he said, after Jack had let go of him. He felt oddly ...bereft.

They hadn't at any point during the day even *mentioned* how they'd woken up. The thought made Daniel blush a little, but he hoped Jack might think it was merely the heat of the fire.

Jack had been on his way to the kitchen, probably to get them something warm to drink. He stopped and went back to stand in front of Daniel, brown eyes dark in the low lighting of the room.

"You've been drinking," he pointed out.

Daniel wasn't sure if he wanted to back away from Jack or get closer. The heat from the fire was nice, but it was nothing compared to the heat Daniel felt at the moment... from a different source. He wondered for a moment which would burn him the worst. Jack or the fire?

"I haven't had that much," Daniel objected, the words sounding unconvincing even to his own ears. He wanted to stay. He wanted to stay in the warm house where he wouldn't be alone. It didn't matter that he was practically sober, hadn't had more than a couple of glasses of wine during the entire day. He was more than fit enough to drive the car home.

Jack didn't say anything, his eyes gave nothing away. Something flickered across his face, but he had turned and gone for the kitchen before Daniel could examine it closer.

What could the harm be in staying over? He'd done that time and time again before his ascension, he'd done it after... It had been... a coincidence that he'd fallen asleep in Jack's bed and not the one in the spare bedroom. All he had to do tonight was stay in that bed... the spare one, the *spare* one, he told himself. There was no reason for him to think that what had happened the previous night would be repeated. Hell, nothing *had* happened the previous night. Apart from Daniel actually sleeping peacefully.

Daniel found himself sliding down to sit on the couch. He didn't need this, not now. He knew he had had feelings for Jack before he'd ascended... he had a suspicion that he'd harbored certain... feelings for him while actually ascended. Six years... seven if he counted his time on Abydos. That was how long he'd known Jack. *When* his feelings had changed, he had no idea, but he knew they'd grown and he'd put them away. It had been so much easier before, when he could tell himself that Jack was only interested in Sam. Now? The only thing Daniel picked up on between the two of his friends, was the kind of relationship that could only be described as family... not the kind of spark he thought he'd seen in the past.

No, the only spark, the only ...interest he was picking up now, was the same kind of warm happiness and interest he'd woken up to that morning. Maybe... maybe if Sam hadn't woken them, if they'd come to on their own... A moment later, Daniel wished he'd just gone on and driven home when he'd had the chance.

Jack wandered over from the kitchen door, a cup in each hand. His shirt had been tugged out of his pants, the top three buttons were undone and he looked tired, but happy. He handed over one cup and sat down with his own, right next to Daniel.

Daniel refused to turn his head to look at Jack. Any thoughts of a connection beyond friendship had been shot down as the dog tags around Jack's neck, dangling against his chest just under the shirt, had caught the light from the fire, winking to Daniel, reminding him that it would never be.

Daniel took a sip of his cup, realizing that it wasn't coffee as he'd suspected, but hot chocolate with something else, something a little sweeter under the chocolate taste. As he finally turned his head, he gave Jack a questioning look.

"A little Bailey's," Jack said with a grin. "Adds a little something extra."

Daniel found himself mirroring the grin without thinking about it. A thought hit him. "Jack, how the heck do you keep in such a good shape? You eat at least twice as much candy and sweet stuff as I do."

Jack put his cup on the coffee table and tugged his shirt up, revealing a nicely shaped belly. Wiry muscles and nothing more than a slight softness that age had to bring. Daniel took a deep breath, feeling heat flush his face, as his eyes slid over the naked skin.

Jack grinned mischievously, patting his bare belly. "Lots of workout, Daniel. I work it all off."

Daniel quickly turned his eyes to his own cup, swallowing hard. He should have gone home, he really should have... Maybe he was just more tired than he'd thought, because he was sure Jack wasn't coming on to him, flirting. He was just being... Jack. And he obviously felt at ease with Daniel around, enough to joke around. As long as Daniel kept telling himself that there was nothing *there*, he might be able to keep from acting like an idiot.

"You okay?" Jack was suddenly very close, leaning forward to catch Daniel's eye.

"Yeah... um, just a little tired, that's all," Daniel managed to get out.

"Yeah, we didn't get much sleep last night," Jack agreed with another wide grin. Wriggling his eyebrows he got to his feet and offered Daniel a hand up. "Good thing Carter didn't have a camera handy, huh?"

Daniel almost dropped his cup as he got to his feet. What the hell was Jack getting at? If he didn't know any better, he could have sworn that Jack... Daniel shook his head. He needed sleep and most of all; he needed to be alone, even if it would only be the narrow solitude of the guest room bed.

"Bedtime, huh?" Jack asked, stilling the cup in Daniel's hand, wrapping his own around it, trapping Daniel's fingers between the heat of his hand and the warmth of the cup itself. "Mind if I take the bathroom first?" he asked.

Daniel shook his head. It would give him a few precious minutes to get his erratic heartbeat back on track. "Go right ahead," he hurriedly said, as he realized they hadn't moved an inch since Jack had asked his question.

"I'll hurry up," Jack promised, patting Daniel's arm with his free hand, then letting go altogether.

Daniel let out a breath he hadn't even been aware of holding, once Jack turned away and walked out of the living room. Closing his eyes, Daniel refused to look at what he was letting get away. Heck, even if he *did* get 'it', he wouldn't know what to do with it. He had ideas... God, did he have ideas, but he'd only ever been with women. Sure, he'd noticed how good men *could* look, but what he felt around Jack was a lot more than mere physical attraction.

Pulling himself from his thoughts, Daniel told himself to just forget it, as he went to the guest room to pull out the things he'd need for the night, getting ready to take over the bathroom as soon as Jack finished. Daniel tried to concentrate on what he was doing, telling himself to just shove all the feelings back down where he could ignore them. Extracting his sweat pants from his bag, he threw those and a t-shirt onto the bed before grabbing his toiletries, patiently waiting for Jack to come back out.

"All yours," Jack said, leaving the door of the bathroom open.

Daniel blinked once or twice, forcing himself forward and into the room, lightly closing the door behind him with a quiet 'thanks'. He took off his shirt, not wanting it to get wet as he quickly finished up for the night. He didn't linger too long in front of the mirror, having trouble meeting his own tired eyes in the reflection.

Taking a deep breath, Daniel slipped from the bathroom and into the hallway, turned off the lights and closed the door behind him. He was startled as he almost ran into Jack; the very little light escaping from Jack's open bedroom door deepening the shadows.

"Sorry," Daniel mumbled, as he made to take a step back, startled by his friend's sudden appearance. "Stop lurking in the dark hallway, Jack," he said as an afterthought, trying to lighten his own surprise.

Jack's hands landed heavily and warm on his shoulders, gently shaking him. Daniel gave him a small smile, and tried to turn away, but Jack's hold kept him in place. Swallowing hard Daniel looked up at him, trying to ignore that Jack had discarded his own shirt and was only wearing a pair of jeans.

The same mischief that Daniel had seen glimpses of all day, shone from the brown eyes, the thin lips twisted in a small, impish smile. "Ooh, I love Christmas," Jack whispered as he slowly leaned forward.

Daniel wondered what was going on, as he himself, slowly leaned backwards. He felt as one of Jack's hands slid behind his head to hold him steady and before he knew it, Jack's dry lips were pressed lightly against his.

Feeling a shiver run through his body, Daniel found himself incapable of thinking; all he could do was feel and react. His hand quickly skimmed up Jack's bare torso and neck, his fingers burying themselves in Jack's short hair and the tip of his tongue flickered against Jack's closed lips.

Everything felt like... short circuiting, like sticking your finger into a socket... hair standing on end, every little nerve burning and trails of heat and cold dancing up and down his spine. He may not be drunk, but his senses seemed like they'd been on a 24-hour drinking binge with the Marines.

For one moment Daniel felt the puff of air as Jack exhaled through his nose, giving a surprised 'oomph' against Daniel's lips. Then, suddenly, Daniel found himself standing alone in the dark hallway, staring at the closed door of Jack's bedroom.

Trying to draw in enough air, Daniel knew somewhere that he was hyperventilating. Jack had kissed him; Jack had... what had just happened? Daniel swallowed hard, but a moment later the door was torn open again, Jack stomping back out, eyes narrowed and cheeks burning, though whether with embarrassment or anger, Daniel wasn't quite sure.

"What was that?" he demanded, his voice low and controlled.

"I... I..." Daniel had no idea what to say to that.

"You *kissed* me," Jack went on, accusation evident in his tone.

Daniel shook his head, trying to clear it, feeling his own anger and confusion mingle for a moment. "*You* kissed *me*," he hissed defensively.

"A peck, I..." Jack's voice faltered, his hands gesturing wildly.

"What?!" Daniel's eyes widened. What the hell was *wrong* with this man? "You planted a big one on me, and you just expect me to do *nothing?"

"I thought..." Jack began, looking a little unsure as he pointed upwards, over Daniel's head. Even in the little light he could see the shadow of something hanging in the hallway. He swallowed hard as he realized what it was.

"Oh," was all Daniel could think of to say, as he pushed his glasses back into place, realizing they were slightly askew. Keeping his eyes on the floor, he shrugged.

They stood like that for a long time, neither of them looking at each other. "Why didn't you tell me?" Jack suddenly asked.

Daniel folded his arms over his chest, remembering just how little he was actually wearing. "Tell you what?" he asked, keeping his voice low, afraid it would break if he raised it even the slightest. If he was lucky maybe Jack would be all for forgetting it. Still, the lump of ice in his belly weighed heavier than it ever had, as Daniel tried to ignore his lips still tingling from their kiss.

Jack took a tentative step toward him, hand coming up as if to land on Daniel's shoulder again, yet a little hesitant. The hand detoured and two fingers slipped under Daniel's chin, lifting his head gently.

Daniel wanted nothing more than to pull away from the scalding touch, but he was mesmerized as Jack's thumb came up to lightly brush over his lower lip.

"That you felt this way."

Daniel kept his eyes closed, forcing his breathing to be even. "And what way would that be?" Daniel asked, petulantly. How could he have done something as stupid as what he'd just done? He was supposed to know Jack well enough to understand that he would do nothing like kiss Daniel unless it was in jest... He felt another shiver go through his body as Jack repeated the movement of his thumb, sliding it over Daniel's upper lip this time, continuing the motion, caressing his cheek as well.

Daniel finally found the energy to pull away from Jack, shaking his head. "Can we just forget this happened, please?"

"If that's what you want..." came the halting answer from Jack.

Daniel wanted to scream out loud, wanted to tell him that 'no' he didn't want to forget about it. Now that he'd had a small taste of something he'd wanted for so long, without having been able to put words too it before... Or never having allowed himself to put words to it... Daniel opened his eyes a little and noticed the light from the open doorway catching the dog tags. The flashing as they moved with every breath Jack took seemed to taunt Daniel. He wasn't stupid; he'd worked with the military for far too many years. "It doesn't matter what I want, Jack. It's not important."

Jack snorted, but didn't move. "If what you want isn't important, then what is?" he asked, his voice carefully neutral.

"What we do," Daniel said, not trying to elaborate on his cryptic answer.

Jack raised an eyebrow and slowly advanced on Daniel, making him back up until Daniel felt the wall behind him, the cool surface sending shivers down his bare back.

"What we do?" Jack asked, nearly a whisper. "Well, I don't know about you, but I'm doing this..." Before Daniel could react, Jack had leaned forward, pressing his lips lightly to Daniel's, the tip of his tongue sliding lightly over Daniel's lips, asking politely to be let in.

Daniel heard himself moan, but he pushed Jack back a little, lightheaded as if he wasn't getting enough oxygen to his mind. He looked down at his hand braced against Jack's chest, fingertips brushing lightly against the dog tags.

Jack braced his hands on either side of Daniel's head. "I'm sorry I reacted that way, Daniel... I just thought... I thought I was safe, that no matter how I felt about you, you'd either ignore it or not notice..." Looking down to see what it was Daniel was so fascinated with, he smiled and continued. "Like them?" he asked.

"No." Daniel shook his head. Slowly he curled his fingers around the body heated metal, feeling their weight in more ways than one. "They... dictate what you do, what you *have* to do." 'What you can't do,' seemed to hang unsaid in the air.

"One thing doesn't cancel out other options," Jack said, his breath whispering across Daniel's cheek.

"It cancels out what we're doing right now," Daniel whispered with a sigh, wishing Jack would put some distance between them. Daniel couldn't think with Jack as close as he was at the moment.

"Oh..." Jack moved a hand from the wall down to fold his fingers around Daniel's, pressing the metal of the tags into the flesh of his hand. Not enough to hurt, but enough to strengthen Daniel's beliefs that they shouldn't be doing this, reminding him why they'd be begging for trouble...

Daniel untangled his fingers from the hold, wondering what to say to get Jack to let him go. Jack, however, seemed to have other ideas. With a deep sigh, he pulled back and took Daniel by the elbow, maneuvering the man into the bedroom, where the lamp on the bedside table lent the room a soft light. He took Daniel by the shoulders and urged him to sit down on the bed.

Daniel reluctantly did, wondering what to expect from his friend now. He needed to get out of the place, at least out of the bedroom. As if it wasn't enough that he had Jack this close and knew he couldn't do anything that they wouldn't regret come morning. No, he also had the memory of how good it had been to wake up together that same morning. Still, he couldn't let Jack take it any further. They could get into a world of trouble if they were found out. It had all been safe when he'd thought it was only in his own mind, his imagination.

Jack paced back and forth for a moment, looking pensive, chewing on his lower lip. As Jack stopped in front of Daniel, it forced him to look up.

"So you're saying I'm not worth the risk?" Jack asked.

Daniel frowned. "Um... no..." he began.

"Then you're saying *you're* not worth the risk?" Jack's voice rose a little, though still very controlled.

"I didn't say that either," Daniel tried to put in.

Jack held up his hand, silencing Daniel. "Am I right when I say that you have a problem with me being military?"

"I wouldn't want to jeopardize your place with the SGC. What we do is far too important to risk it all because of a..."

"Fling?" Jack asked, his voice very neutral.

"It's not just a fling," Daniel answered before he could stop himself, feeling his cheeks heat up.

"Then basically what you *do* have a problem with are these?" Jack asked, pulling off his tags, dangling them in front of Daniel.

"With or without them, Jack. You're still who you are." Daniel shook his head, eyes following the dangling tags.

"Daniel, anyone ever tell you that you take things too seriously?"

Daniel frowned. "Not really."

"Anyone ever tell you that you need to lighten up and have some fun? That you can't say no to second and third chances?" Jack hid the tags in the palm of his hand, no metal visible, not even the chain.

"Um... no," Daniel shook his head. He looked at the hand Jack held out. The hand with the tags hung loosely by his side. Finally Daniel took the offered hand, letting Jack pull him to his feet.

"Well, you do and you can't," Jack said, letting go of his hand and before Daniel could stop him, Jack snatched the front of Daniel's jeans, pulled them out a little and dumped the tags, chain and all, into the confines of Daniel's boxers.

Daniel's eyes widened as the metal slid down along his body. Though the metal was still warm, it was slightly cooler than his own, almost feverish skin, the sensation making him shiver. It seemed to land just perfectly, the tags sliding down where thigh and hip met, while the chain draped itself over the base of his cock. Daniel had done what he could to ignore the semi-erect state he'd been in since he'd kissed Jack. Now, however, it was pure torture. Squirming, he tried to dislodge the tags -- without much success.

"Jack!"

Jack merely grinned and gave him a push, propelling him backwards, hard enough to land him on his back on the bed, the mattress bouncing him up and down a few times.

"Now what?" Daniel asked. He tried to keep his cool, crossing his arms over his chest. Whatever the hell Jack was up to, he wasn't going to play along. What he wanted and what he could have or... should *want* were very different things...

"Now?" Jack asked, eyes dark and so full of life it made Daniel's breath catch. "Now I go 'tag hunting." With that, Jack pounced on him, making Daniel squeak.

Finding himself trapped under six foot two of sinewy muscles, Daniel wasn't entirely sure of what to do. Jack, however, seemed to have no problem winging it. Strong fingers glided down Daniel's chest, as Jack sat back, straddling his thighs, keeping him firmly pinned to the bed.

Daniel shivered, then squirmed as Jack hit a particularly ticklish spot, just below his ribs.

Jack's eyebrows rose and his smile grew positively evil. "Ticklish?" he asked.

Daniel slowly shook his head, squashing the urge to bring his own arms in tight to protect his vulnerable spot.

Jack chuckled, leaned forward and slid Daniel's glasses off. He twisted just enough to deposit them on the bedside table. Every movement he made felt slightly intoxicating, sending jolts of guilty pleasure through Daniel. The problem was, the more he squirmed, the more the dog tags and chain slid against his sensitive skin and the more he was aware of Jack's weight on top of him.

Holding his hand still over Daniel's waist, Jack stretched his fingers, watching Daniel watching them as if they were a lethal weapon. Which they were, and Daniel hated being tickled. True, he'd rarely been subjected to it, but the few times it had happened, he'd hated it. At some point it would become painful and he really didn't feel like letting out the laughter he knew would precede the pain.

"Jack..." Daniel said, warning him, while not for one second taking his eyes off the fingers. Long fingers, strong and flexible, and dangerous, like the man they belonged to.

The moment Jack moved, Daniel tried to fight him, but it took mere seconds to reduce him to a squirming heap of long limbs. Whenever he seemed to move his own hands to intercept Jack's, he'd find himself outmaneuvered and Jack would strike elsewhere.

The laughter poured through him like a tidal wave, the exertion of it flooded his veins, only to be forced away by the euphoria the laughter brought with it. His lungs screamed for air, his mind seemed to float on pure oxygen and Daniel felt tears running down his cheeks. Heat seemed to focus in his groin as the blood rushed south, and Daniel couldn't remember having felt this high ever, and in some strange obscure way, happy.

Finally, just before the pleasure turned to pain, before his lungs burst from trying to draw in enough air, Jack leaned down, legs tangled with Daniel's and gently kissed away the tears that streaked his cheeks.

"I hate you," Daniel whispered weakly.

Jack didn't answer, merely nuzzled against Daniel's cheek.

"I hate laughing until I cry," he continued. "I hate how the salt stains the glasses."

"You're not wearing your glasses," Jack countered.

Daniel snorted. "I hate getting tickled."

"I love seeing you laugh," Jack mumbled, ignoring Daniel's complaints. "You never do the extremes," Jack continued.

"What do you mean?" Daniel asked, looking up at Jack, as the man leaned to the side, putting most of his weight on his elbow and lower arm. With the other hand, he traced invisible patterns across Daniel's chest.

"I only ever think I've seen you cry once or twice and you rarely smile, and I don't hear you laugh nearly as often as I'd like."

"Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within," mumbled Daniel to himself, blushing as he realized Jack had caught every single word and was watching Daniel with a soft and wondering smile.

It suddenly hit Daniel just exactly what he'd said. Pulling a corner of the tangled comforter on the bed up, he turned his head and hid his face against it. He really shouldn't have said that.

"Ah..." Jack said, his voice a low rumble as he leaned down to nuzzle Daniel's ear and bared neck. "So this..." he continued, flexing his thigh muscles against Daniel's crotch. "I'm glad this isn't just physical."

Daniel refused to answer that. Not that he had to, because the whimper that escaped him probably spoke volumes. The pressure that Jack was applying was driving him crazy and the chain rubbing against his cock wasn't exactly making matters easier.

"I still need to retrieve my 'tags," Jack whispered before he buried his face against Daniel's neck, kissing and nibbling and in general driving Daniel out of his mind. "If you'll let me... All you have to say is 'no'..."

Daniel fought to find his voice for a moment, then managed a croaked, "Yes..." and he was surprised at Jack's speed, as a moment later, Jack had pulled him around and he was being kissed within an inch of his life. Jack leaned over him a little more, his hand sliding from Daniel's chest and down, to rest lightly on Daniel's hip. As Jack pulled back a little, Daniel reached up and drew him down for another kiss. "Please... yes," he whispered, wondering if his blood really was beginning to boil, because it felt that way.

Jack's tongue pushed against his lips, and Daniel moaned, willingly letting him in and sucking on it, noting with wonder how it elicited the most wonderfully needy noises from Jack. Daniel's own hands seemed to have developed a mind of their own, exploring Jack's body, enjoying the feel of Jack's skin. He hesitated a little as his fingers hit the waistband of Jack's pants, but he was urged on, as Jack slowly rocked back and forth. It wasn't enough to bring either of them to their climax, but more than enough to drive Daniel crazy.

Daniel slipped his fingers down the back of Jack's pants, digging into taut muscles as he urged Jack to move a little faster, a little closer.

Breaking the kiss with a laugh, Jack leaned a little to the side to not put all his weight on Daniel, who blinked up at him, his vision not as impaired from the lack of glasses as from the dizziness of the spin he'd just taken.

"Impatient?" Jack asked, teasingly placing small kisses at the corners of Daniel's mouth.

Daniel forced his eyes open, not even aware that he'd closed them in the first place. He looked up into a soft smile, unable not to echo it. Then he frowned. As much as he was enjoying it, he had no idea where Jack expected it to go. How far... "I... um, how far are we going to take this?" Daniel finally managed to ask, his voice steadier than he'd thought it would be.

Jack raised an eyebrow and cocked his head to the side. "As far as you'll let me, as far as you *want* to go..." Jack's smile was replaced by a little worry. "Have you ever done any of this before?" he asked.

Daniel was amazed to find that he still had enough blood above waist to actually blush at that question. "I'm not a virgin," he said.

Jack snorted. "That's not what I asked," he grouched.

"I... um, no, I've never been with a man before." Daniel bit his lower lip.

Jack watched his mouth for a moment, then soothingly licked Daniel's lower lip. "That's all I needed to know, we'll figure out what you like on the way."

Daniel squirmed a little. "Is it a problem?" he asked.

"No, it just means we take things nice and slow," Jack answered before he leaned down to bury his face in Daniel's neck, sucking on the sensitive skin and making Daniel moan low in his throat.

Daniel's breathing picked up speed as Jack slowly pressed his thigh a little higher. He closed his eyes again as Jack's hand slid from its place on his hip, along the top of his jeans, to finally rest lightly against the button. He felt as Jack rubbed a finger against the metal, straying a little and caressing the warm skin of his belly.

"Daniel?"

Not opening his eyes, Daniel merely nodded. He didn't trust his own voice anymore, didn't trust himself to be coherent if he were to voice it. He sighed and felt his entire body tingle as Jack undid the button and slowly slid the zipper down, carefully pulling it upwards as to keep from adding extra pressure to where Daniel wanted him to.

Daniel willingly lifted his hips up as Jack slid the jeans down. He felt the shift in the mattress and felt bereft for a moment as the heat from Jack's body left his side. He willed himself to be calm as the jeans were pulled down and off his feet. A moment later he felt Jack lie down next to him again, bare legs tangling with his own.

"Relax," Jack whispered. "There's nothing we *have* to do tonight, we'll just take things as they come." Firm lips pressed against Daniel's, and he in turn surrendered with a contented sigh.

Daniel drew a deep breath when Jack pulled back. His body felt as if it was floating and his veins seemed to be full of fire. "Easy for you to say," he gasped as Jack leaned over and latched onto his right nipple. "You're driving me crazy here."

Jack chuckled and shifted again. Daniel opened his eyes to watch Jack push his legs apart and sit down between them, watching Daniel with the utmost attention, smile grazing the otherwise serious expression. "I think we'll start out easy."

Daniel frowned. Jack shook his head and motioned with one hand. "Roll over," he said with a lewd grin. Something must've shown on Daniel's face because he immediately shook his head. "Nothing bad or extreme, don't worry," he assured.

Daniel took a deep breath as Jack got to his feet and turned towards the door. "Be right back," he promised. He stopped for a moment, turning back to look at Daniel and the flash of naked want in the dark eyes made Daniel draw in his breath... hard. "Consider the boxers... optional." With that he disappeared.

Daniel rolled over with a groan. He wondered for a moment if maybe he *should* get rid of the boxers and finally remove the damned dog tags. The option was taken away from him as he heard Jack returning to the room, softly closing the door behind him. Daniel buried his face in his arms, refusing to turn back around. Even after their initial fooling around a moment ago, he felt embarrassed with how little the boxers would hide. Still, he felt so high that he would take what Jack had to give him. Even if he did know what a bad idea it was, how much trouble it could get them into.

"Oh... the boxers stay on." Jack sounded a little disappointed as he moved onto the bed.

Daniel tried to control his breathing. "They're removable," Daniel muttered, before he could stop himself. He hoped for a moment that Jack hadn't heard him, but the chuckle that escaped Jack told him that he was sadly mistaken.

"Well, all in due time, then," Jack whispered, as he leaned in over Daniel, plastering his body against Daniel's back.

At first Daniel felt his entire body tense, but everything about Jack was so nicely familiar, even the touching. The only new thing was the nature of the touches. The tension seemed to drain away as Jack nuzzled his nape and began working his way down Daniel's back, his lips burning wherever they stopped to leave a little kiss, a little bite... By the time Jack reached the small of his back, Daniel was shivering with so many emotions he had no idea what to say if Jack asked him anything, wanted him to talk.

Jack, however, seemed to understand on some level, because he demanded nothing of Daniel, simply continued to make him relax. He even began humming tunelessly under his breath and Daniel flinched a little when slick fingers slid down over his shoulders. Not that it lasted more than a heartbeat or two, because at that point Jack was doing his best to melt every bone in Daniel's body.

Daniel sighed as Jack kneaded muscles he hadn't even been aware of being tight and wound up. He didn't even flinch when Jack's fingers tugged down his boxers, and cool air hit his sensitized skin. It was still like floating, so much more than any artificially induced high could ever hope to achieve.

Strong fingers cupped his ass and his eyes shot open when he felt the cheeks being pulled apart, lightly and cool air hit his opening. "Jack?" he asked, surprised of how drunken and raw his voice sounded.

"I'm not going to do what you think I'm about to and I'll stop anytime you ask me to," Jack said, voice calm and controlled.

"Oh... okay..." Daniel put his head back down on his arms, closing his eyes. It didn't however, last long before they shot open again, and he nearly scrambled forward, trying to get away from a sensation that shouldn't have been as good as it was. "Jack!"

The chuckle told him that Jack was more than just amused by his reaction. It sounded downright smug to him. "Relax, Daniel, it's good, I promise you."

Daniel forced himself to lie still. At least until Jack licked down over his tailbone and into the cleft again, tongue teasing over Daniel's opening. Daniel kept his eyes closed, moaning at every little touch. Daniel felt torn between the feeling of this being... wrong and dirty and the fact that it was so much better than it should be allowed to be.

Jack finally let up on the torture and leaned his body up over Daniel's again, and even through the haze he didn't miss how hard Jack was, the thin cotton of Jack's boxers the only barrier between them. It should have felt confining this way, but Daniel couldn't help letting out a sigh of pleasure as Jack licked against his neck.

"Trust me?" Jack whispered against his ear.

Daniel trusted Jack but not his own voice so he merely nodded. Jack slowly rolled him over, and gave him a little smile when Daniel finally managed to pry his eyes open. Moving forward, Jack kissed Daniel until he had no idea what was up and down anymore.

Breaking the kiss, Jack sat back and waved a small square package back and forth. "Wanna try this tonight, or do we wait?"

Daniel gave a small shrug. "I... I don't know." He really didn't know what it would be like, but on the other hand, he didn't want to say no, didn't want to *not* try it. The idea of being this intimate with Jack scared him, but then again, he couldn't deny the way it made him feel warm all over, made him ache for it. Besides, if he were to take a clue from his body, he *really* didn't want to say no.

"Hmmm, let's make a deal," Jack began, free hand sneaking across Daniel's hip, lifting up the dog tags and dropped them unceremoniously over the edge of the bed. "We try this and you tell me if it gets too much, 'kay?"

Daniel bit his lower lip, but then smiled and nodded. Jack grinned and sat down between Daniel's legs and wiped the massage oil off his hands, using a corner of the comforter. Daniel pointedly didn't look down at Jack's groin. He'd trust him, but this was all very new to him and at the moment he was so high strung that one look would either send him running or end their little session... prematurely. Closing his eyes he lay back and tried to relax. Still, he really didn't want to say no. So far everything Jack had done to him had felt so damned good. Daniel suspected that that might be the reason why he wasn't sure about it all. What if the whole thing was so good he couldn't get enough of it? Like a drug...

He quickly opened his eyes again when something wet swiped over the top of his cock, and he the strange sight of Jack actually licking across the slit. The movement and touch drew a deep groan from Daniel before he flopped back down.

Jack chuckled. "Sorry, just had to have a little taste."

"Pervert," Daniel mumbled.

"Are you complaining?"

"Not at all," Daniel managed to get out.

"Good, hate to think I was doing something wrong..." Jack moved around a bit, but Daniel still refused to open his eyes. Still, he nearly hit the ceiling when Jack curled his fingers around Daniel's cock and deftly rolled the condom down.

"What? I thought..."

Jack grinned. "The thought crossed my mind, but as much as you may trust me, I'm not in nearly as much control as I'd like to at the moment." His features softened into a small smile. "I really don't want to end up hurting you just because I'm a little... overexited..." Jack lifted up until he was on all fours, looming over Daniel. Leaning down he placed a small kiss at the corner of Daniel's mouth. "I trust you a lot more than I trust myself right now," he admitted.

Daniel watched with surprise, as Jack without any warning simply pulled his own boxers down with one hand and kicked them off. With a small smile, Jack sat down, straddling Daniel's waist. This time Daniel couldn't take his eyes off the sight right in front of him. He even reached out for the flushed cock, but hesitated, hand in midair.

"'s okay, you can touch," Jack said with a smile.

Daniel ignored the way heat flushed his face and forced himself to reach out, curiously running the tip of his index finger from base to top, taking in the texture of the wiry and slightly dark blonde hair and looking at the drop of pearly white fluid that stuck to the tip. Before he could even stop to think, he brought the finger to his lips and licked at it, scrunching up his nose at the salty bitterness.

A groan from Jack drew his attention upwards again. Jack's eyes were, if possible, even darker, shadowed and his lips were lightly parted, breathing coming in pants.

Daniel reached up, wordlessly pulling Jack down and into a deep kiss. Every little part of his body seemed to be throbbing; every nerve seemed to be on fire. The kiss was messy and Daniel couldn't get enough of it. When they finally broke for a moment, Jack reached to the side, sat back and poured something out of a bottle into the palm of his own hand. He sat up on his knees and reached behind him, slowly preparing himself.

It wasn't necessary for Daniel to actually see it; it was more than enough for him to know what Jack was doing. And not for one second did Jack break their eye contact either. Daniel watched with rapt attention as Jack's tongue flickered out to wet his lips.

Daniel shook his head when his muddled mind finally caught up with things. "It won't fit," he warned.

Jack smirked down at him. "You're not *that* big," he said with a grin.

Daniel snorted and couldn't help feeling a little freer as laughter spilled out of him. "Are you complaining?" he asked, throwing Jack's own question back at him.

"Never," Jack answered easily, sliding back a little.

The touch to his cock when Jack reached behind him to wipe off the rest of the lube, was almost too much for Daniel to take. Daniel gasped and bit his lower lip as Jack slowly lowered himself. He covered his eyes with his hands as he felt tightness around the head of his cock, then it felt as if he couldn't get enough air as something seemed to give and he was surrounded by an intense and tight heat.

Daniel gripped at Jack's hips, his back arching almost off the bed. He wasn't even sure who was breathing loudest, but they both sounded as if they'd been running a marathon. Every movement Jack made, caused Daniel to mewl, to close his eyes then force them back up. Daniel wasn't sure for how long they kept it going, but at some point Jack grabbed his hands and pushed them towards his own crotch.

Biting his lower lip, Daniel reached for Jack's cock and tried to find enough brain cells to figure out how to do something as simple as curling his fingers around the heated flesh. At least his hand seemed to get the idea, as he experimentally pumped up and down a few times, groaning as Jack's rhythm faltered for a moment before picking up speed.

Daniel worked his hand up and down and closed his eyes, knowing that he wouldn't be able to hold back much longer if he kept looking at Jack. He was so intent on it that he was shocked back to reality when he felt the spasms in his hand and wet heat hit his chest and chin.

The shivers and muscle contractions cascading through the body above him almost made him scream out, as Jack clenched around his cock and the pressure and friction set off a chain reaction that made Daniel feel as if his body was being torn apart and put back together. Everything became a blur and the next time he opened his eyes, the room was had stopped spinning and he was nicely snuggled up with his head on Jack's chest. Somehow Jack had even managed to get the condom off and maneuvered them both under the sheets.

Daniel felt embarrassment rise a little. "I blacked out, didn't I?" he asked, voice low and he wasn't even entirely sure he wanted an answer to that.

A light rumbled chuckle ran through the chest under his ear. Daniel decided he liked that sound a *lot*. "I took it as a compliment," Jack answered.

"Oh..."

They lay in silence for a while and Daniel had almost drifted off when Jack spoke again. "Stay?"

Daniel tried to make sense of it. "What?"

Jack was quiet for a moment, then continued. "For Christmas...?"

Daniel took a deep breath and nuzzled against the fuzz of hair on Jack's chest. He could answer that question in so many ways that would ruin it all... "Take me in like a stray cat?"

"I'm a dog person," Jack argued, but his voice was a little lighter, less tense.

Daniel turned his head and licked a nipple, giving off his best impression of a purr.

Jack shivered and fingers dug into Daniel's hair, tilting his head up for a slow, sincere kiss. "I guess anyone could be convinced..." Jack muttered against Daniel's lips.

This time Daniel couldn't hold back his laughter. "Cats have a winsome personality, and always land on their feet... they have a mind of their own" he warned.

Jack pulled the sheets up close, cocooning them in their own little warm hideaway. "Like someone else I could mention," Jack mumbled before sharing another sweet kiss with Daniel.

Daniel didn't answer, merely made himself comfortable, scooted up a little to rest his head where Jack's shoulder and neck met. Without giving it too much thought, he wrapped his arms around Jack's torso and slid one leg up to possessively cross Jack's thighs. Jack had been right at times in the past, so maybe they were right taking a chance. Besides, Jack had made a point earlier. Who was he to turn down another chance to live, to actually live instead of just exist?

The End