Faith

by The Grrrl

Title: Faith

Author: The Grrrl

Author's email: thegrrrl2002@gmail.com

Author's URL: http://thegrrrl2002.slashcity.org/

Archive: Ask first.

Fandom: Stargate SG-1

Pairing: Jack/Daniel

Rating: PG

Summary: Sequel to Hope

Notes: Jack takes descended Daniel home. Things heat up from there.

"General," I said as I entered Hammond's office.

"What can I do for you, Colonel?"

It was late, and the general looked exhausted, but happy, too. Probably much like the rest of us. We had brought Daniel back through the gate in the wee hours of the morning, but Hammond had been there, waiting for us, along with nearly all of the base personnel.

"I was thinking that instead of Daniel staying on base overnight, maybe it would be better to have him—"

"Stay with you?" The general nodded. "I was thinking just that very same thing. Fraiser and MacKenzie did say that the more familiar places he sees, the better. Plus, as cozy as the VIP suites are, I think he'd be more comfortable in a real home."

"Excellent idea, sir," I said, saluting him smartly.

His lip quirked in a little grin, and then he got up and waved me out the door. "Now go take Dr. Jackson home. You all could use some sleep."

"That goes for you too, sir." Hammond had been fighting off the NID and the Pentagon all day, trying to keep things sane around the base. And he more or less succeeded, although Daniel was still looking pretty fried, coming face to face with a life he couldn't remember.

"Good night, Colonel."

I left and headed down to the living quarters to retrieve Daniel. I had no doubts left at all that it was really him. Fraiser had kept him in the infirmary for hours, doing god knows what to the poor guy, but in the end she didn't find anything to suggest that he wasn't exactly who we thought he was.

Daniel at least got a little peek at his old office and was instantly fascinated by all the dusty old crap in it. I pretended not to get jealous as he and Jonas chattered away about ancient scripts and pictographs. Because it was one of the few times during the day when I saw him that he didn't look lost and confused, and for that much I was grateful. So I guarded the perimeter, keeping MacKenzie at bay as long as I could, but eventually Daniel had to be dragged away from the office in order to spend hours on end locked up with the damn quack.

He got pretty quiet after that, only picking at his food in the commissary, smiling vaguely at the rest of us while we chatted about this and that. We were ordered not to tell him what had happened, although the quack said it was okay to talk about everyday stuff that had gone on with the team. It turned out there was nothing physically wrong with his brain, thank god. At least nothing Fraiser could detect that might be blocking his memories, so we all hoped that with time it would all come back to him.

I reached the door of his suite, and when I knocked he opened it immediately. His eyes lit up when he saw that it was me and I felt a guilty pang of pleasure.

"Hey, Dannyboy, wanna blow this joint?" I asked.

"What?" He blinked. "I can leave?"

"Hell yeah. We'll stop for some dinner, then you can spend the night at my place." I tried not to think of being alone with him, of how it felt to kiss him, to touch him. Because I decided I wasn't going to do that again, not at least until he was whole again, and knew exactly who I was. "How's that sound?"

"Good. Great. Thank you, Jack." He looked relieved. "I wanted—you know—it's just better when I'm with you," he told me earnestly.

Sweet.

***

He stood in the middle of my living room, yawning, as he looked the place over. "Want coffee or anything?" I asked.

"Oh, god no," he answered, hand on his stomach. "I'm—all that food—it's different than what I'm used to."

"Nothing like a good shot of grease and salt to do your body good," I said. I had decided that comfort food was needed, for me as much as for him, and burgers and fries at the local diner fit the bill nicely. As did a big honkin' slice of cherry pie.

He smiled a little, fingering the brightly colored wool blanket lying across the back of the couch. "I'm not sure Dr. Fraiser would agree."

Yeah, well…Fraiser and I don't usually agree on much." I watched as he examined the blanket. "I suppose you'll be wanting that back," I said.

"Oh—this is mine? It looks native American…Navajo," he mused, "recent, though." His brows rose as he eyed me speculatively. "You kept it? Kept my blanket?"

"Hey, it gets cold here in the winter, and it was a perfectly good blanket." I shrugged.

He nodded at that, but his little sideways glance told me he didn't believe a word of it. "Oh. I see."

He drifted over to the window, touching the curtains, lifting them to look out at the quiet street, up at the night sky. "It's nice here," he said, letting the curtain drop. "Very quiet."

"You had an apartment downtown," I explained. "Nice little place. But not nearly big enough for a packrat like you." I remembered all too well the painful process of sorting through his belongings. Long, silent days, punctuated only by the sound of Carter's sniffles. The guy had way too damn much stuff.

I watched him now as he headed to the fireplace, picking up the picture of Charlie that I had on the mantel. He looked it over carefully, then looked at me.

"Charlie," I explained as I joined him. "My son. He died, shit, almost eight years ago." Hard to believe so much time had passed. Funny how that happens.

Daniel's eyes widened. "Oh—I—uh—sorry."

I patted his shoulder. "It's okay."

Daniel gently put the picture back in its place, lips pursed thoughtfully. His fingers touched the back of the carved wooden duck from Cassie, lingering for a moment before he picked up the photo beside it. It was from one of Fraiser's barbecues, of Carter, Teal'c, Daniel, and me. It was one of my favorites. Carter was smiling at the camera, looking pretty in a flowery, almost girly kind of shirt. Teal'c face was nearly hidden by the brim of a baseball cap, but it was clear that he was also gazing solemnly at whoever was taking the picture. Daniel and I, though, were looking at each other. Daniel looked disgusted, and me, smug. I remembered making some stupid, inane joke. Just to get a rise out of him, of course.

Daniel ran his finger across the picture, smudging the glass. "I don't know who that is," he said. "Everyone else knows. But I don't." He sounded so tired. Defeated.

"It's gonna be okay, Daniel." I didn't know what else to tell him. Because maybe he'd remember, maybe he wouldn't. But at least he was back with us, alive and well.

He put the picture back and turned towards me. "Will it be okay?" he asked.

I nodded. He studied my face, as if he'd find the answer there, then reached out, touching my hair. His fingertips moved across my temple, brushing against my forehead and down along my nose. I stood still, barely breathing, fascinated by the sensation of his fingers on my skin, his touch gentle and soothing. His fingers reached my lips, tracing the outline. When he moved in closer, with his eyes on my lips I still couldn't move, couldn't turn away from him. Then his fingers slid away and he was kissing me, his lips pressing against mine in a sweet, gentle kiss that tasted of french fries and salt. I licked the salt away and he sighed, sliding his hands up along my arms, leaning into me. My arms went around his waist and then we were really kissing.

I was lost in him, lost in the feel of his wet, warm mouth, the slow swipe of his tongue, his hands on my body. I easily convinced myself that this was okay, that kissing Daniel wasn't wrong. Because I needed him. And maybe he needed me, whoever I was to him.

When we broke off the kiss he relaxed against me, tucking his head into my neck, kissing and licking my skin. I could feel the swell of his growing erection pressing into my thigh, and I realized I was hard too.

"Danny," I said, reluctantly disengaging myself.

He grunted in disappointment. "Jack," he complained, blinking sleepily at me.

"Bedtime." When he smiled, I added quickly, "Alone."

"Why?"

I took his face in my hands. "Because you have no idea who I really am."

"Yes I do. You're an complete ass."

"Ah!" I exclaimed, patting his cheeks, "and you want to sleep with me?"

He looked thoughtful. "I guess I really don't know what I'm doing," he said dryly. "I must have lost my mind. Oh—wait, I really did, didn't I?"

I kissed him for that one. Because I could. Because I had missed him so much. Then sent him off to bed, in the spare room, and congratulated myself for my incredible self-restraint.

I was exhausted, physically and emotionally. I stripped down and literally fell into my bed, but sleep was slow in coming. I could still feel the sensation of having Daniel in my arms. I was overjoyed to have him back, but afraid of what was going happen when his memories returned. And even still, a small part of me was waiting for something horrible to happen, that it wasn't really him after all, or that he would get yanked back, or, hell, god knows what. Because Daniel being returned to me was simply amazing, and I was always suspicious of such good fortune.

I woke, startled, several hours later, thinking of course, of Daniel. I had been dreaming of him—he was wrapped in bandages, dying in Fraiser's infirmary. Again. I had been trying to find a way to say goodbye, trying to find the right words to tell him what he meant to me. The dream had been so real, so frighteningly real that I felt icy despair deep in my gut. I sat up, disgusted with myself, scrubbing my hands through my hair, telling myself that he was fine, it was just a stupid dream, that Daniel was alive and well and right here in my house. Telling myself that I didn't need to go to him.

But I was on my feet before I knew it, padding down the hall to the spare bedroom, carefully opening the door, wincing at squeaky hinges.

Even though it was still dark I could see Daniel lying there on the bed, on his back, one arm tucked under the pillow, the other, resting across his chest. He was sleeping peacefully, and the sight filled me with wonder. I just stood, watching his chest rise and fall, watching him in the night like some creepy stalker. But I was unable to leave, unable to take my eyes off of him, because there he was, not dying, not wrapped up in bandages, not saying goodbye to me. Not waiting patiently to die.

Suddenly he took a deep breath. His eyes opened and he looked straight at me. I was caught.

"Jack?" he croaked.

"Sorry," I whispered, turning to leave.

"Jack, come here," he said, voice muzzy from sleep.

And I obeyed. "Didn't mean to wake you." I said. "Just wanted to—to check on you."

"It's okay," he said. "Really. I'm awake." He sat up and turned on the lamp beside the bed. He was naked from the waist up, his nipples dark in that wide expanse of smooth skin. "Sit," he commanded, and I sat, on the far edge of the bed. "Are you all right, Jack?"

"Sure, I'm fine, I'm great, I'm just dandy." His face was puffy from sleep and his hair stuck up every which way. He looked beautiful. This was so wrong, this was dangerous, to be sitting on Daniel's bed at night only in my boxers and a tee-shirt, and Daniel's smooth, naked chest in front of me. It wasn't as though I hadn't seen him like this in the past, hell, I looked at that body every chance I got. But now, after everything that had happened, my defenses were just gone, totally blown away.

He cocked his head expectantly, wide eyes unfettered by his glasses. "What is it?"

God, I had missed him so much. "It's funny, Daniel, after you were—gone," I told him. "I'd be at the base and would swear I'd see you, out of the corner of my eye, and I'd turn to tell you something," I shook my head. "And of course it wasn't you, it would just be someone around your size, or just a shadow, or—or god knows what. Just a figment of my imagination, I guess. But just for that split second—I'd forget—" Which was why, I supposed, I refused to believe that it was really him there with me in Baal's prison.

"Jack." He leaned forward. "I understand. But I'm real. I'm here."

The sheets slipped back. He was only wearing his boxers, and I caught a glimpse of a nicely muscled thigh.

"I know, I'm just being—" I said, with an embarrassed wave of my hand, not knowing where to look, my eyes drawn to his chest, his stomach, those eyes. "But I just had to make sure—"

"Make sure I'm for real?" he asked. He pushed the sheets off completely and crawled closer. Too close. "Feel me, Jack. Feel how real I am." He kneeled next to me, picked up my hand and pressed it to the center of his naked chest. "Can you feel me?"

I felt him, all right. Felt his body, warm and alive against my hand. Felt him right down to my damn toes.

"Daniel," I murmured. "Please—this is not a good idea—" I tugged to pull my hand away, but he only pressed it harder against his body.

"So am I real, Jack?" he asked, as if he really needed to know. "Tell me—"

I spread out my fingers, feeling how his chest moved with each breath, feeling his heart beat. "You're real. This time, you're real."

He still didn't let go of my hand. Instead he pushed it down on his body, sliding against his chest, his stomach, and then my hand was touching the soft cotton of his boxers, moving over his groin. I felt his cock swell and as I closed my fingers over the hard length his eyes grew wide, whispering, "Jesus, Jack."

My own heart was pounding. I was sitting there on the bed with Daniel's cock in my hand, my own erection tenting the front of my boxers, doing exactly what I swore I wouldn't do. But I suppose I knew all along it would come to this, that we would go down this path. "Daniel, are you sure this is what you want?"

He tightened his hand around mine, looked down at his groin and then back up at me. "What do you think?"

"You know what I mean," I growled.

"Yes," he said, gazing steadily at me. "This is what I want, Jack. You're what I want."

I squeezed his cock again and his hips moved this time, pushing himself into my hand. Daniel's mouth opened and then shut again without saying anything. Instead he let go of my hand, gripped the waistband of his boxers and pulled them down over his hips, sitting back to get them off. And then he was naked. Shit, my Daniel, naked right there in front of me, leaning back on his arms, hungry, watching me, waiting for me, his cock thick and heavy, laying against his stomach.

This was a Daniel I had never seen before, and the sight of him took my breath away. I touched him again, because I had to make sure he was still real. I started with his feet, then worked my way up his lightly furred legs, over the hard bone of his shins, to his knees, where I pushed and spread his legs apart. I touched his thighs, stroking those long, lean muscles, dragged my fingers along the inside of his thighs, and listened to him whimper as his balls drew up. He was real, all right. So god damned real.

With a groan, Daniel reached for me, tugging on my shirt, pulling me up to kiss him. Our mouths came together and I kissed him hard, sucking on his tongue as his hands clenched my shirt. I trailed kisses along his cheek, ran my tongue along the outside of his ear, felt him shiver beneath me, felt his dick pushing into my leg.

I forgot about my worries that this was wrong, that I was taking advantage of him when he was vulnerable. Because he was right there with me, moaning, tugging at my shirt, humping my leg as I sucked on his neck. He was real, he was alive, he had come back to me. And I was alive too, for the first time in long while.

And he was making trouble for me. He kept trying to take off my shirt as I tried to get my mouth on as much of him as possible. I pushed his arms away so I could suck on his collarbone, pushed them away again so I could lick the little hollow at the base of his throat. Then I finally got one of those sweet nipples into my mouth, sucking hard. He groaned my name, arching his back, pushing into my mouth.

"Jack—Jack, oh, god," he gasped. "Jack—harder—that's it—"

I used my teeth and he cried out louder, in a way that made it clear I was doing it right. I pushed him flat on his back and moved to the other nub of flesh, sucking on it, biting it gently. He wrapped a long leg around me and I stroked his thigh, reaching around to get my hand on his ass. He rubbed his cock along any part of my body that he could, all the while still grabbing at my shirt, making little frustrated sounds.

"Damn it, Jack—will you—oh god that's good," his hands went lax for a moment, "—get this thing—" His knee bumped me in the ribs as he struggled awkwardly.

Finally I yanked the damn shirt off over my head, our arms getting tangled. "There, okay?" I barked.

He threw it on the floor, grinning. He reached for me but I backed away, sliding down between his legs. "Scoot up, I'm falling off here," I told him, and he did so eagerly, his smile growing wider with anticipation.

I licked his navel and he let out a surprised gasp of a giggle. I sucked on his hip, traced the raised skin of his appendicitis scar with my tongue, then moved further down and, whoa, there was his cock, twitching, eager and damp at the tip and as real as the rest of him. But first I nuzzled his pubic hair, the dark curls tickling my nose as I breathed in his scent, and when I rubbed my cheek along the length of his shaft his fingers touched my scalp and he moaned in delight. I licked the crease of his thigh, then pushed his legs back and licked his balls, the wrinkled skin feeling strange on my tongue. It had been so long, so many years since I had been with a man this way. But there are some things you never forget, and I seemed to be doing it right, because Daniel lifted his legs to his chest and let out sweet breathy little moans that went straight to my own throbbing groin. I licked and mouthed him, and his desperate cries were music to my ears. Finally I ran my tongue up along the underside of his penis, tasting the salty, bitter liquid at the tip.

His legs came down on either side of me, and I sucked him deep into my mouth. His moans became deep and throaty, and I moaned too, from the sheer pleasure of sucking on Daniel's cock. I encouraged him to move, to rock his hips, letting him fuck my mouth, sucking hard, running my tongue along the tip, doing everything I could think of to make it good for him, better than he had ever had before. Even though, for him, there weren't any 'befores'. Soon his breathing came in short little gasps and his hips trembled, he was getting close, straining into my mouth and I was humming in anticipation.

"Oh, god, Jack—I'm—I'm," he gasped out. I sucked hard, his body spasmed and with a strangled cry he came, long and hard, spilling into my mouth.

I swallowed every drop and then held him in my mouth after he finished, feeling his little twitchy aftershocks, listening to him whisper, even though I couldn't make out the words. His fingers caressed my head, ruffling my hair. Finally I let his softening penis slide out of my mouth, kissed his thighs and sat up. He was a vision, lying there, legs splayed, limp with pleasure, a little smile playing on his lips, hair all damp and ruffled. He looked so content, and I felt ridiculously pleased with myself, like I had just invented the damn orgasm or something.

He opened one eye and peered at me, then reached out to me. I took his hand and laid down next to him. He pressed up against me and kissed me, slow, sloppy kisses that made my face wet and I liked that just fine. "Mmm," he sighed. "Nice." His voice was deep and mellow, incredibly sexy.

I held his slightly damp body close to mine. His hand slid down my back and I felt almost embarrassed to be with him, my ragged old body pressed up against this smooth skinned beauty.

"Have you ever done this before, Daniel?" I asked without thinking, then groaned in dismay. "Never mind, sorry—"

He just smiled against my face. "I have no idea."

"It was a dumb question—ah," His hand found my ass, and his fingers brushed against my anus. Maybe he did know what he was doing, after all.

"You like that?" he teased, pressing harder.

I was so achingly hard. I wanted him to fuck me. For the first time in my life I wanted someone to fuck me. Which was something I would never let anyone do before. "Oh yeah," I groaned. "I like that. Like it a lot."

He pulled my boxers off and laid down next to me again, facing me, watching me as he ran his hand possessively along my body, rubbing my stomach, playing with my nipples, smiling when I gasped. "This is what I wanted to do to you, when I first met you," he said. "I didn't know you, but somehow I did. And I wanted to touch you." His hand encircled my cock. "Wanted you to touch me. The way you looked at me—your eyes told me everything about the two of us."

I listened to his soft words as he squeezed my cock, and it felt so god damned good. I pushed against his hand and he began to work his fist up and down the length of my shaft. I watched his hand, those long fingers holding me, watched him rub his thumb along the head of my cock, his touch so sure and confident. He was still talking, and I closed my eyes and let the words float over me, his voice caressing me as I thrust into his capable hand. He told me the craziest shit—that I was beautiful, so lovely, that he couldn't stop staring at me when he saw me. That he wanted me, that he must have always wanted me. That my cock was the sweetest thing he had ever seen, and wanted to hear me my voice, wanted me to cry out his name.

His hand was burning me. His words were so gentle and soft but I was hard and on fire from the sweet touch of his hand, and the intense pleasure began spiraling up inside me. He pumped me faster and I was falling, calling out for Daniel. I got a little scared, because I was losing it—I had forgotten what it was like, or maybe it had just never been like this before. I was losing control, the sensation was so intense—I knew I was gripping his shoulder too hard, my fingers digging into his flesh, into his solid, real flesh, but I couldn't help myself, couldn't stop. I cried out his name over and over until a powerful surge crashed through me and I came and came, my balls clenching hard as they pumped and I spilled all over his hand and stomach.

"Oh Jack," he kissed my face and I just laid there staring at the ceiling, panting and shaken, wondering if I'd ever be able to move again. Damn he was good.

"You're so—that was so—oh god," Daniel said.

"Oh yeah," I gasped. "That was." I pulled him over me, his solid body heavy on my chest and I loved him so much I thought my heart would break. "Thank you, Danny," I whispered in his ear.

He propped himself on an elbow and kissed the wetness from my eyes. He smiled at me, his eyes so warm and full of love and affection, for cranky old me, of all people. I had seen a lot of strange and wonderful things in my life, some of them even on other planets, but that look in Daniel's eyes right then was the most wonderful of all.

"How about it, Jack. Am I real enough for you?" he whispered, rubbing his face against mine, his whiskers scraping my cheek.

"Not sure," I mumbled. "Let's try that again."

"Mmm. Ready when you are." He kissed me, stretching sleepily. With a contented sigh rested his head on my shoulder, draping himself across my body, not seeming to care at all that were both more than a little sticky.

We lay together quietly for a time. I felt good, right down to my bones. So much better than I had in a long time, so much less than like some sort of walking raw wound. I didn't care if making love to him at that point was right or wrong. It felt right to me, and, after all, I told myself, it wasn't like I had ever been able to make Daniel do anything he didn't want to do in the first place.

I listened to his breathing, deep and steady, and thought that maybe he had fallen asleep. But a moment later he spoke.

"We really didn't do this before?" Daniel asked.

"Nope." I liked the way his breath tickled my chest hair when he spoke.

"Why not? Didn't I know—how could I not know how you felt about me?"

"I suppose I kept it wrapped up a little better before I—before you were gone," I told him. "Maybe you did know. Sometimes—sometimes I thought you did. But it was just safer that way."

He thought about that. "I feel safe now," he told me. "Safer than I ever remember feeling. Although, I guess that's not saying much, is it?" he added wryly.

I held him tighter. "It's saying a hell of a lot, Daniel." He may have lost himself, but somehow he managed to find me.

Waking up to find myself wrapped around Daniel was one of the most astonishing moments of my life, something I'd put right up there with Charlie being born. Come to think of it, Daniel being alive again was a re-birth of sorts, and that morning I felt almost as though I had been born again, too.

I watched as he woke up and stretched, turning in my arms to face me. I looked at his face, nervously looking for signs that he remembered something more, entertaining the silly notion that our lovemaking would somehow jumpstart his brain and bring the rest of him back to me. But he was the same Daniel as he had been the night before, tucked under the covers with me, bleary-eyed and groggy, smelling of sex and sweat.

Eyes half-closed, he draped a heavy leg over my hips, kissing me, his fingers toying with the hair on my chest.

"G'morning," I slurred against his lips.

He just grunted at me, tugging my hips closer, until his cock poked my belly.

"Daniel, it's 0700, and I've got to get your sweet little ass back on base," I warned. Because if we lingered any longer it would be very late when we got in.

He didn't say anything, just wiggled his warm, sleepy body against mine, kissing me again. I groaned and pushed him away, and he nearly went off the edge of the small bed.

"Jack," he complained, grabbing my hand, looking indignant.

"Whoa, sorry, Daniel—" I was laughing, "I forgot—small bed."

"Fine," he sulked. "I'm awake now." He deliberately tossed the bedcovers off of both of us, then stood, stretching again, in all his naked and erect glory. I stared shamelessly, and with a satisfied smirk he went off to shower. I watched him walk away, appreciating the view, then pulled myself out of bed to make coffee. I listened to the water run, and grinning to myself, thinking of how it felt to have Daniel's hands on me, of how good he tasted and smelled. By time I got to my own shower the water was lukewarm but I didn't mind one bit.

When I got back into the kitchen it was still a shock to see him sitting in my kitchen drinking coffee, sitting there just like he belonged. I sat at the table, putting on my socks.

"Thanks for the clothes," he said, plucking at the tee-shirt he was wearing.

"Pants fit okay?"

He looked at me over his glasses. "They're a little big, but they'll do."

Smartass. "Don't worry, we'll stop for breakfast on the way in. They'll be fine after that." At the look on his face I grew concerned. "What is it?" I asked.

He frowned, his mouth set in a straight line. "I don't want to go back there. To the base. I wish we could just stay here." He sighed. "It's just so overwhelming—so many people—they're all so glad to see me and I just don't know who any of them are." He put his coffee cup down with a thud.

Back to reality. "Listen, Daniel, if you want, I'll talk to the general, tell him you want some time away from the base to chill out."

He shook his head. "No, no, it's probably better that I'm there." His face brightened. "Maybe I can spend some more time with Jonas, though—he had images of this temple—the writing—I think I can translate it." With a quirk of his brow he added, "He couldn't, you know."

I grinned at the sign of the familiar academic competitiveness coming out in him. Even without all his memories he was our Daniel, all right.

***

He was silent on the way home that evening, staring out the window, watching the trees fly past. His fingers drummed on his thigh, then reached for the dashboard. "It's cold in here."

"Turn the heat up," I offered.

"Supposed to be springtime, why is it so cold?" he complained as he fiddled with the levers.

I was plenty comfortable, but I knew Daniel hated the cold weather. "My little ward el sahara," I commented.

Daniel's head jerked toward me, and I could see the surprise on his face. I gave him an innocent smile, happy because this was the second time I got to surprise him with that line.

"Desert flower?" he asked, disbelief in his voice.

"Yeah," I said. "You always hated the cold."

He snorted, sinking deeper into his jacket.

It hadn't been a good day for him. He didn't get to play with Jonas as he wanted to. Instead Fraiser poked him some more, and then MacKenzie tried to get him to talk but apparently he refused. Can't say I blame him. Never been too fond of the guy myself, especially after he had been in such a hurry to stick Daniel in that padded cell way back when. He was also frustrated because he didn't remember anything more today. Yesterday little bits and pieces of things were coming to him, stuff that didn't make sense but still, it was something. But today, nadda. So far, at least. I didn't know whether to be disappointed or relieved. It was a little like having a live bomb on my hands.

When we got into the house he threw his jacket off and stalked around the room. "How about I start a fire?" I asked, more to give myself something to do.

He picked up the picture of us at the barbecue again, staring intently at it, then slammed it back on the shelf.

"Danny?" I asked gently.

He spun around to face me. "It's driving me crazy Jack. It's all right here," he thumping his forehead with the heel of his hand, "I can feel it. It's right here but it's just out of reach—I can't remember and it's making me crazy."

"Listen, I'm sure it sucks, sucks big time, but you have to stop it," I said. "Just don't—just stop thinking about it."

"Right Jack. I should just stop thinking about the fact that I don't know who I am, that I may never know—"

"Hey—" I interrupted, pointing my finger at him, "don't say that. You've been remembering little bits and pieces all along. You just gotta be patient." He was always so doggedly stubborn, never letting anything go until he figured it out.

"Fuck being patient. I'm sick of it. I'm sick of not knowing, of feeling like this—ahh." He hit his forehead again.

I hated when he did that. I grabbed his hand and held it. "Would you just stop it? Remember what that twit MacKenzie said," I reminded him. "You get yourself all wound up trying so hard, and that isn't helping. He may be an idiot but I think at least with that he's talkin' sense. So just stop—just stop thinking about it."

He rolled his eyes. "What, I'm supposed to just turn my brain off?"

"No," I said. "Or, yeah, I don't know—you're just trying too hard. So yeah, just turn your brain off and stop thinking, okay?"

"Make me," he said deliberately, curling his fingers around my hand so hard it hurt.

"Make you?"

"Make me think about something else," he demanded, taking off his glasses and throwing them onto the shelf. "Make me stop thinking completely." He kissed me, his lips hard and unyielding.

"Daniel, this isn't what I meant—"

He kissed me again, cutting off my words. So I pulled him into my arms and he thrust his tongue into my mouth, pushed his hips into mine, making me stumble backwards. He yanked me back against his body and I could feel that he was hard already. I envied his youth.

"Come on, Jack, I know you can do it," he growled into my ear, then bit my neck.

He grabbed my arm and pulled me to the bedroom and I didn't exactly resist. Make Daniel stop thinking? I knew I would end up not even being able to remember my own name once Daniel got his hands on me. We were halfway down my hallway when I stopped him.

"Wait, Daniel, this way—" I told him, yanking him back when he went past my room. "My bed's bigger."

He turned and put his hands on my chest, pushing me backward toward my bed. I stumbled again, and frustrated, took him firmly by the wrists and pulled his hands off my chest. "Jeeze, Daniel, just take it easy—"

He grinned and tried to free his hands, but I held on tightly, steering him onto my bed, shoving him down onto his back, laying over him, still holding his wrists. I felt a guilty rush of pleasure from the feeling of power it gave me, how it turned me on to have him writhing under me like that. I pushed his hands down above his head, and he wrapped his legs around me, trapping me against his body, his cock grinding against mine through our clothes.

"Oh yeah, Jack, you think you do it," he hissed, "think you can hold me—"

"Damn straight." I captured his mouth, kissing him frantically while he struggled against me, moaning. I kissed his face, his eyes, his nose, and when he turned his head I sank my teeth into his exposed neck. He cried out and bucked, shoving against me, almost knocking me off of him. He wrenched one hand free, reached between us with it and yanked our shirts up. I heard something tear, but I was crazy with need, and when our stomachs crashed together, skin hitting skin, I lost my grip on his other wrist. I grabbed his shoulder, and wound one hand in his short hair, but his hands were moving, he was doing something—unbuckling my belt, grunting, biting my lip, then my hands were with his, struggling with our clothes. We finally managed to get our pants undone and half-off so that our cocks banged together as we drove against each other.

Then the world shifted and next thing I knew I was flat on my back, Daniel on top of me, pinning me down on the bed, his face triumphant. His hands grabbed my wrists, trying to hold me down but I moved quickly, twisting them free. I went for his ass, fingers digging in, pushing him against me. Our cocks were squeezed together between our bodies as we shoved roughly against each other. Our mouths came together and we kissed so hard my lips hurt, until we couldn't kiss anymore but just panted with our open mouths against each other's cheeks as we pushed and shoved our way to completion. Daniel came first, stiffening against me with an astonished cry, and at the shock of the warm wetness between us I went over the edge and came, my body wracked with pleasure, coming so hard it almost hurt.

"Oh my god," Daniel panted, his warm, sticky body collapsing on top of mine. "That was, um, you know—ahhh."

Mission accomplished. He wasn't thinking anymore, and neither was I.

"Uh, Danny—" I grunted later, when I could finally speak again. "As good as this feels, I think I need to breathe—"

"Ungh. Too bad." He didn't move, just poked his bristly chin further into my chest.

I put my arms around him and rolled so that we were on our sides, our arms still around each other. He grunted in annoyance. "I was comfortable."

"You were squashing me," I told him.

He wriggled, trying to get comfortable. "But now my arm is squashed." I lifted up to freed his arm, and he slipped his hand under my cheek, cupping my face.

We were a mess, still half-dressed, sweaty, our stomachs slick with come. My wrists were sore, I think my hip was bruised and my cock was feeling a little raw but I didn't care one bit because of the way Daniel was looking at me, with that little smile playing on his lips.

"What?" I asked.

"You're so beautiful."

I snorted. His brain obviously still wasn't working. "Right. You know, you're supposed to make with the sweet talk before sex, in order to lure me into bed."

"Oh," he nodded solemnly, "Okay. Forget I said anything, then." He pursed his lips thoughtfully. "What would it take to lure you into the shower with me?"

Apparently, very little.

***

I woke during the night, shivery and uneasy, covers in disarray. I reached for Daniel, feeling around for him, but he was gone. I tried to relax, tried to ignore my growing nervousness. Bathroom, I thought, he just went to the bathroom. I listened for the tell-tale flush of the toilet, water flowing through the pipes, anything. I thought maybe he just couldn't sleep and got up to read or something. So I listened and waited but heard nothing.

At last I threw the covers back and climbed out of bed. As I entered the hallway I saw a thin line of light showing under the closed bathroom door. I crept up to the door, listening, feeling again like a stalker. Still nothing. I was filled with foreboding.

"Daniel?" I asked. Nothing. I opened the door.

He there all right, was sitting on the floor, knees drawn up, his face in his hands. Even before he raised his head I suspected. And when did see lift his head, I saw his eyes I knew with gut-wrenching certainty. It was Daniel sitting there, on my bathroom rug, looking up at me. The real Daniel, memories and all.

He flashed me a shaky little smile, rubbing his hands on his knees. I eased myself down next to him, suddenly embarrassed that we were both stark naked. I was afraid to touch him, to even brush up against him.

"Sooo, Daniel," I said, for lack of anything better. "Welcome back."

"Jack." His eyes were wide, his expression puzzled. "Jack, it's all there—I remember everything. But I died. The last thing I remember before—before I came back is that I was dying."

"Yeah, you were. You sort of did." My voice caught, and I took a deep breath before continuing, trying to banish the image of him in that bed, bandaged up, from my mind. Then I realized just what his words meant. He still had no memory of ascending.

He was grabbing hold of my arm, his body bumping up against mine. "What-what-what happened? Why am I here? Why am I still alive?" His voice sounded stunned.

Call me a selfish shit but I was damn relieved that he was still willing to touch me, even in such a small way. "You don't remember anything past being sick? Nothing from the past year?"

His eyes grew even wider, and his brows twitched. "What? A year?" Then his eyes narrowed. "Jack, tell me. Now. What the hell happened to me?"

"You ascended."

Despite my fear and the seriousness of the situation I nearly laughed at the expression on his face.

"How the hell did I do that?" he asked, his voice climbing.

I shrugged. "Oma came to talk to you, I guess. All I know is that you asked me to let you," I swallowed hard because of the lump in my throat, "let you go. Then you did that floaty white squiggly thing and, well, you were gone."

He let go of my arm, and leaned his head back against the wall with a thump, closing his eyes. "Holy shit," he murmured. "I don't—I don't remember any of it."

I sat there, feeling stupid, wanting to reach out to him, to hold him, to comfort him but I didn't know how. I was relieved to have him back, thankful the waiting was over, but I didn't know how he felt about me.

He opened his eyes and looked down at his body, then at mine, as if suddenly realizing we were both naked.

"So, Jack—" He gestured with his hand, waving it in my direction. "Why?"

"You shouldn't even have to ask, Daniel," I said gently. "I'm sorry, I know, I shouldn't have, but I just couldn't—you had been gone so long—I'm so sorry."

He shook his head. "No, Jack, don't. I was—we both—" He smiled a little, and I took that as a positive sign. Then it faltered. "Why did I come back?"

Shit. I knew he would get to that sooner or later. "I don't know, Daniel. Probably had something to do with your interfering…" My voice trailed off.

"What? What happened?"

"Abydos. You came to tell me that Anubis was planning an attack on Abydos, and we all tried to stop him, but we couldn't, you couldn't, and now—" I hesitated, but the sick look was already coming over his face.

"I failed. He destroyed Abydos, didn't he."

"Yes, Daniel he did. He was more powerful than any of us suspected. But they didn't die. Oma helped them. They all ascended."

"All of them?"

"Every last friggin' one." I hated the pained look in his eyes. "Listen, Danny, it's not—hey, you told me being ascended was a wonderful thing, the beginning of a journey, and you said you couldn't imagine being or doing anything else. You were happy, so you've got to realize, they are happy, too." I tried to sound convincing, I don't know if I was. It hurt me, too, to know what happened to them. That Skaara and all of them were gone, turned into some strange form of being that I couldn't begin to understand. Maybe they were in a better place, but I couldn't be sure.

"Oh god. This is all just—I need," Daniel looked around, then got to his feet. "I just need to get out of here, go for a walk, you know—"

He left the room and I went after him. It knew it was hitting him pretty hard and I also knew there was nothing I could do but let him work through it. So I helped him find his clothes, and then put on my robe and went to get his glasses while he got dressed.

I patted him on his back as he left, feeling completely helpless as he went out into the night without a word. He looked pretty damn freaked. I couldn't imagine how he felt, couldn't imagine what it would be like to have my whole life rushing back like that. All I knew was that I loved him, and that I was so afraid of losing him.

I wandered the house aimlessly afterward, not knowing what to do with myself. I sat on the couch, turned on the TV and flipped through the channels, but I just stared at the screen without seeing anything. I turned it off, threw the remote down and just sat, watching the clock. It was almost three a.m. Less than 20 minutes had passed.

I sat for a long time. Finally I roused myself, showered again and wandered into the bedroom to get dressed. I saw the rumpled bed and it stopped me cold. I didn't know if I would ever share that bed with Daniel again, and just that very thought hurt like a physical pain. Now that I had felt his body shuddering against mine, now that I had tasted his sweat and his come—how could I ever go back to the way it was before? I knew I should be happy that he was back, that he was complete again. I had hated seeing that lost, bewildered look in his eyes, hated watching him struggle, trying to remember.

I dressed slowly, moving as if underwater, then went into the kitchen.

About ten minutes later I heard the door open. I strolled into the living room to meet him, my heart pounding, but trying to be casual. He was hunched and shivering a little in the light jacket, his cheeks red from the night chill, and I wanted to hug him but I held back.

"Do I smell coffee?" he asked, unzipped his jacket.

"Yeah, I'll get you some," I answered, glad to have something to do other than stand there and stare at him like some pathetic old shit.

I went into the kitchen. As I took out a cup and poured the coffee I thought about how stupid I felt. I hated this, hated having my heart in someone else's hands. That was why I had kept him at arm's length all these years, because it was just too easy to get hurt. I was too old for this sort of thing. I was a soldier, an old soldier at that, and I really needed to just keep my life simple. And Daniel, well, I didn't know what the hell Daniel needed, and he probably didn't know either.

I was so lost in thought, leaning against the counter and staring into the cup of coffee I had just poured, that I didn't realize he had come up behind me until I felt his breath on my neck, his hand touching my shoulder.

"Daniel," I whispered in a voice too soft to hear. I tried again. "Daniel, I know—"

Then he leaned up against me, pressing his lips on my neck, and the tension left my body, just poured right out of me. I turned around, reaching for him. He took off his glasses and they landed on the counter with a clatter. He held me in his arms, or maybe I held him, who knows. It didn't matter. We hung onto each other, and I felt his body trembling.

"Daniel? You okay?" I asked, tightening my arms around him.

"No," he said, "But I will be. As long as you keep on holding me."

My heart flip-flopped. "I can do that," I told him.

When he pulled back he looked me in the eye, smiled suddenly and said, "I know you."

"Oh yeah?" I answered, smiling back at him.

"Yeah. You're that pain-in-the-ass old Colonel who loves me," he said.

And he kissed me.

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