Summary: A casual question from an alien causes inner turmoil among the members of SG-1.
Each has a different perspective, and not always accurate, but it’s Jack and Daniel who unknowingly see eye to eye.
“Major,” came the familiar voice of Hammond behind Sam as she sat at the console in the Control Room of the SGC, typing rapidly. Normally, his voice sent a measure of comfort through her. This time, she winced and turned in her seat before standing. A guilty look crossed her face.
“When I said a day off for regrouping, I meant a day off. I don’t want to see you until the day after tomorrow. Go home. That’s an order.”
“Yes, sir,” she said, resisting the urge to let her shoulders sag. She gestured behind her. “Just a preliminary report, sir. I can finish it if—”
“Go. Home,” he said kindly.
After changing into her civvies, she traveled upward in the two separate elevators and reached the parking area within the mountain. Her mind was on autopilot, mentally finishing her mission report. As she climbed into her custom rebuilt Carmen Ghia with the sky blue paint job, Sam thought about the only “problem” with the recon mission to P2X-424 and she wasn’t sure how to describe it–if at all. Typically, there were very few times when a mission had a hiccup, and technically speaking, this latest one didn’t have one. It was just something that had been said by the shaman woman at the noon feast before they had returned home and maybe it should be left out of the report.
Lusciana had been her name. And she had a predilection for matchmaking. It had been amusing, watching her Mother Hen her flock of thirty at the circular banquet table and receiving winces and eyerolls. It had taken a few moments for the team to realize that some of the paired targets were same-sex, both male and female.
It had been a little awkward. In all of their seven years as a team, they had never been confronted–directly or indirectly—with this commonplace normality and as such, they had never known what Teal’c’s opinion was. And apparently, he didn’t exactly have a problem with it, but he was clearly uncomfortable.
“It is known,” was all he would offer as his answer to why he was frowning.
“You have a problem with it?” Daniel had asked.
“It is known,” Teal’c had replied.
“And?” Daniel pushed.
“Leave it alone,” Jack had ordered, and judging by the frown on his face, Daniel hadn’t liked his tone.
Sam winced as she recalled the hard silence that had come over them for the next few minutes.
Then Lusciana pointed at Jack and Daniel. “You are married?”
The stunned silence that had followed made the woman clear her throat. “You are offended?” she had asked, stunned herself but in a bit of an outrage. “This was not my intention.”
And Jack had repeated himself. “Leave it alone.”
Which told Sam that both he and Teal’c were homophobes. It meant that she and Daniel were the open ones. There’d be issues if they had to return to the planet because Jack did not like tension. In his opinion, it had to be settled. But given that he was one who had to settle it, things just might get like they had been on Euronda.
What a mess.
Sam turned her attention to her growling stomach and pulled out her phone. She hit the auto dial and Janet answered. “I’m starving, Jan. You have something cooking, or should I pick something up?”
“Um, pick up some salads. I’ve a pot roast in the oven and it’s not gonna be done for another two hours.”
“Done and done,” Sam said.
“We gonna talk about what happened on the mission?” Janet asked.
Again, Sam winced. “You noticed.”
“A bit,” Janet said slowly. “What the hell happened?”
Sam sighed. “I’ll tell you when I get there since I’m driving right now.”
“Bad?” Janet asked.
“Not bad. Just . . . I don’t know. SG-1 has a problem. Tell ya soon.”
They hung up and Sam spent the next half hour trying to figure out how to explain without making Jack and Teal’c sound like narrow-minded assholes. It was a problem.
Teal’c sat down in the Mess Hall with his dinner tray heavily laden with food. As he seasoned his meal, the frown that had covered his face during the mission returned. The shamanic woman, Lusciana, had done something impolitic. She had brought up a subject Teal’c had been thankful that SG-1 had never been forced to confront. Male relationships of a romantic nature. Or as the Jaffa en masse called it, “Sha’nek’bar.” Unspoken.
It happened. It wasn’t spoken of. And it typically went away or it was kept so private that those involved didn’t even speak of it to their chosen ones. Their culture was arranged to cultivate breeding partners, and singular relationships outside of that were taboo. While it was also natural for military men and women to seek out comfort, it wasn’t encouraged to the point of relationship status.
Further, the shamanic woman had forced an image into his mind that he would never have considered in many lifetimes. That of O’Neill and Daniel Jackson, together in the relationship sense. They were not of that persuasion. They had never given anyone the slightest idea that they were. Why had that woman assumed they had? Was she inventing relationships out of a perverse sense of boredom or had she seen something unknown to himself and Major Carter?
Teal’c did not like the . . . instability of the unknown. He was privately proud that SG-1 was a solid unit. They had their difficulties but they had moved past them and grown.
Now, there was this. Teal’c wanted to ask, to be comforted that all was as it should be, but he did not dare. What if he received an answer he most assuredly did not want to hear? He was suddenly hit with an image of his Master, Bra’tac, slapping him up the side of his head. He could hear his voice clearly.
“You are wasting your thoughts on matters that are settled. These couplings happen. Move your thoughts to matters more productive.”
Teal’c stabbed at the salad in its bowl and filled his mouth, chewing slowly and with tumultuous dedication as he ordered himself, Master is right. Do not dwell. You will otherwise require many hours of kel’no’reem to recenter your mind if you do not desist.
Dwelling or not, he needed to meditate, if only to get his mind . . .
What was the phrase O’Neill used for such a moment of disruption?
Out of the gutter.
“You are married?”
Both Daniel and Jack had assumed that she was asking if they were both married, that she was planning on matching them up with one of the lovely young ladies of the village. They each assumed this because of the slightly hopeful tone in the shaman woman’s voice. Or perhaps they were projecting, Daniel thought in retrospect. It hadn’t sounded like a conversational question. Also in retrospect, Daniel could actually smile at their own confusion.
“No,” Daniel said. “My wife died.”
“No,” Jack said. He wasn’t going to elaborate. These were strangers.
Lusciana had frowned and pointed both index fingers at them, then brought them together with an upraised brow. Were they married to each other?
“What?” both Jack and Daniel had asked, then immediately added, “No” while shaking their heads.
The looks on Sam’s and Teal’c’s faces had been priceless, though Daniel was certain that Teal’c’s expression was one of negativity while Sam had simply looked amused.
The thing was, ever since The Question, Daniel hadn’t gotten Jack out of his mind. He kept going to the place where romance had never been: being with Jack.
He might be for it if truth be told, but Jack was staunchly hetero and so there was, and had never been, any point in fantasizing. Except now he couldn’t stop thinking about him, about going there. It was such a turn-on that his face kept flushing hot whenever he let his imagination fly.
Standing at the kitchen sink, washing his dinner dishes, Daniel lingered there as he took the bull by the horns and examined his own desires with a Q & A.
Do I have an interest in men?
Duh. I dated men in college, long before it was accepted. And to be honest, it was one of two reasons that Sarah dumped me in Chicago. Because she was extremely homophobic and any idea that I had dated men in the past was abhorrent to her. The other reason was that I didn’t make time for her thanks to my obsession with my work. She had a valid case there, but not for the other reason. In fact, I would have ended things with her because of that irrational hatred.
Am I interested in Jack?
Yes and No.
First, get the obvious out of the way. He’s handsome. He’s brave. He has a quirky sense of humor. He shares a rebelliousness that’s oddly at war with his military training. He’ll fight like hell to protect those he sees as his responsibility.
Second, the yes-and-no contradiction.
- A) He’s a friend, and a difficult friend because of who and what I am: a civilian who prefers words, not firepower. I was made aware that I don’t back his play and I found that so horrifying that I’ve tried my best to correct it. To give him the benefit of the doubt. And I’ve tried my best to get him to return the favor. It’s working, albeit perhaps a bit grudgingly on his part.
- B) I never considered . . . no that’s wrong. I sort of, maybe, considered him as a romantic partner when I was on Abydos. I missed him. But eventually, that thinking had to go because it was pointless. Sure, fantasy is safe but it tends to get old when it can’t go anywhere. The point is that right now, IF he were to ask me out, I’d say yes. But it won’t happen. He’s hetero.
Now, assuming I’m wrong, and it’s entirely possible, what if I’ve read him wrong? He does keep his inner thoughts close to the chest. He might have a desire for men but in the seven years I’ve known him, I’ve never seen any hint that he held a modicum of attraction for me. He’s shown a type of jealousy in the past, with Kyra, but it was a friendship possessiveness, not a romantic form of it. He was trying to protect me from my own stupidity—and it was utterly unnecessary because I wasn’t sleeping with the woman. I was attracted to her, but something held me back. I had lost Sha’re only a month before, but that wasn’t it.
Was it him? Was it because I didn’t want him thinking I wanted her? I didn’t; I was just . . . it had been a while. Normally I can keep my sexual feelings safely directed with self-play, but sometimes sexual desire can get in the way of . . .
Daniel, you’re rambling. Get back to the point.
Am I interested? Truly? Yes. Should I act on it?
Maybe. No. No. Risk ruining the professional relationship as working teammates just to go to bed with him? If he’d even go there, I mean? Sure, I can ask but . . .
Daniel set the washed plates in the strainer and dried his hands with a paper towel. He had a terrific urge to grab a bottle of Jim Beam and head to Jack’s. Ask. No harm, no foul. But he kept arguing point and counterpoint, dithering. He simply couldn’t make up his mind so the only answer was to distract himself with something else.
“You are married?”
Unknowingly, Jack was of a mind with Daniel. He sat in the living room, playing chess with himself while absently watching Monday Night Football, quizzing himself about feelings. He hated doing it. He preferred to just get things done, say what needed saying, and move on. But he kept hearing that damn question and he gave in.
Time to examine the guy thing.
So, think about the men he’d dated over the years. Not an accident. Not just a guy on a lark. There’d been three, to be exact. All in the Air Force, all with jobs far away. Safe. Since coming to work at the SGC for the second time, he hadn’t thought about men or sought out liaisons. He didn’t want to risk losing his job. Regs were regs.
But Daniel was . . . hot. Hotter lately thanks to Teal’c’s workout program. So, not safe. Even if Jack dared to go there, dared to ask. Why on Earth would they do anything? Why risk it all for a tumble in bed?
Because it wouldn’t just be a tumble with Daniel. It would be far too easy to fall in love with the stupid head. It made him dangerous. They’d gotten along better in the last year than in all the time before he’d died and come back. It was the effort Daniel made, to back his play, which then required equal effort on his part to make the proper judgment and trust him in return.
Jack felt his cheeks heat up, then a tingling that went from the palms of his hands to his groin when he thought of having sex with him. Which extended into living with him, marrying him, and then leaving the SGC because none of that was possible. They couldn’t have their cake and eat it too. Sometimes life just sucked.
Maybe a date. On the down-low? Just see what it would feel like.
No. It couldn’t possibly work.
Still. Grab a bite, invite him over, mix up some Jim Beam or something.
Dangerous. Too dangerous.
Jack was slightly startled when there came a soft, single-knuckle, four-count rap on his front door. He froze.
“Yeah?” he called out.
Daniel. He leaned around the door and held up a bottle of Jim Beam.
“Got time to chat?” he asked.
Summary: Having The Talk while getting interrupted with grave silliness.
Jack adopted his stoic expression as he sauntered into the kitchen to get the crystal tumblers. This occasion required “the good china,” albeit in metaphor. Daniel followed him and cracked open the bottle as Jack opened the fridge.
“7-Up, Club Soda, or just ice?”
“I’m a lightweight so 7-Up and ice please,” Daniel replied.
“Sounds good. I’ll do the Club Soda.”
Daniel’s stomach growled and he ruefully grinned as Jack stared at him. “I haven’t eaten since this morning.”
“Moron,” Jack kindly berated. “Isn’t something you should grow out of at some point?”
“You’d think,” Daniel said, nodding. “Feel like Chinese?”
“In a bit. Not quite hungry.”
After fixing their drinks, Daniel then followed Jack into the living room and upon seeing the chessboard, he gestured at it with his glass. “How about a game?” he said. “We can talk around it, I think.”
“Talk?” Jack asked.
“About us,” Daniel said.
Jack frowned slightly, about to disagree but he rubbed his lips together and the frown smoothed. “We can try that.”
Daniel nodded as he carefully picked up the chessboard and set it on the sofa.
“It’ll tip,” Jack warned.
“Cushions are rather stiff on this sofa, Jack,” he said, sitting. The board shook slightly but that was all. He gave Jack a smug look.
“Smartass,” Jack said, sitting on the other side. He fished out a coin from a pocket—a penny—and poised his fingers for a flip. “Heads, I’m white. Tails, you are.” Daniel nodded and Jack flipped the coin and slapped it over the back of his hand. Tails. “Damn.”
Daniel’s amusement continued. “If you want white, take white. I’m easy.”
“Thanks,” Jack said, a sarcastic note in his voice, and he was tempted to rise to the bait of Daniel’s double entendre. Focusing on resetting the game board, however, he lost interest.
Daniel snorted. “Wow. Who’re you and what did you do to Jack O’Neill?”
“Bite me,” Jack said, purposely using another double entendre.
“Maybe later,” Daniel said, not bothering to rise above the temptation.
Jack moved a pawn. “Shut yer yap and play.”
Daniel moved one of his. “We’re supposed to be yapping about us. Don’t back out on me.” Jack glowered at him, but it was one of his playful versions. “So. You think Lusciana knew what would happen by asking the question?”
“No idea. Is it important? In the scheme of things?”
“Maybe not. Could be she’s psychic.” Jack snorted and Daniel eyed him. “Think about it. The universe is not as lazy as we sometimes think.”
“Coincidence,” Daniel emphasized. “One or two excellent matches, coincidence is likely. But it’s no coincidence that she’s made perfect pairs out of everyone she’s matched. You saw how comfortable they were with each other. The couples, I mean.”
“How about because she’s an expert at human behavior and knows her people?”
Daniel jogged his brows and nodded once. “Point.”
“And it’s possible that you, too, have a point.”
Daniel smirked. “That’s twice now. Who are you and what have you done with Jack O’Neill?”
“And again, bite me,” Jack said, giving him a deeper glower.
Daniel grinned and moved his rook. Jack countered with a threatening-looking pawn, which Daniel snagged. “Check.”
Jack blinked, then probed his cheek with his tongue. “You moved too early.” He moved his queen. “Mate in three.” Daniel made a face and stared at the board. Pursing his lips, he moved his bishop. He was now in place to snag Jack’s king in two moves. Jack moved his queen. “Mate in two.”
Daniel again stared at the board in silence, this time for nearly five minutes. And the time stretched because he was suddenly aware of the very faint cologne or body spray or deodorant Jack was wearing.
“What’s keeping you?” Jack asked. “There’re only so many moves on the board.”
“There are currently twenty-six possible moves. And it’s taking me longer than usual because whatever cologne or spray or whatever you’re wearing is distracting me.”
Jack’s eyebrows rose. “That was from this morning. You can still smell it?”
Daniel’s brows rose in response. “This morning? Shame. I was hoping you’d worn it just for me.” Jack did something that Daniel rarely saw him do—and vice-versa. He laughed out loud. It made Daniel frown at him. “What? It’s that funny?”
Jack chuckled and sipped at his glass’s contents. “Yes and no. I mean, I didn’t intend to wear it but put it on as an afterthought.” Daniel winced. “The afterthought was you.”
Daniel smiled crookedly. “Oh. Thanks. I think.”
Jack returned the grin. “You’re welcome.” Pause. “Distracting, huh?”
Daniel’s grin turned just a tad reproachful. “Yes, you egomaniac.”
Jack adopted a mock-defensive scowl. “I am not an egomaniac. I’m just thoughtful.”
It was Daniel’s turn to laugh out loud, which Jack noticed and returned the same surprised look. “That’s rare. You laughing like that, I mean.”
“Ditto,” Daniel said, shrugging a shoulder.
Jack grunted. “I guess we don’t really have a lot of opportunity to guffaw all that much.”
Daniel nodded, then adopted a slight frown. “Which seems like something we need to change. Not just you and me but for everyone at the base. Basically, we need a few Deltas.”
Jack looked confused. “What now?”
Daniel jogged his own brows. “Delta comes from the Greek letter and it’s used in anthropology, primarily in the hierarchy of animals, specifically wolves. The Delta is the one who creates play. They’re the class clown. They also get picked on a lot, but in retaliation, they instigate play by nipping gently at the heels of their packmates and its purpose is to diffuse tension. Sometimes it backfires and they’re given a painful nip by the Beta or Alpha. Doesn’t dissuade them in any way, of course. Just a gentle reproof to remind them not to go too far.”
Jack stared at him for a moment, then nodded. “Is that taught in Anthro school?”
“Not as a focus, but it’s used as a comparison in human communal structures.”
“Also known as?” Jack prompted with just a teaspoon of annoyance.
“Relationships. Societal, familial, friendship, romantic.”
“Gotcha. So we need a few Deltas at the SGC.”
Daniel nodded. “Siler fills that role on occasion.” Jack snorted. Daniel eyed him. “But we do have a class clown who, periodically, has the ability to change the tone in a room, who also gets nipped by the Alpha—in this case, Hammond—whenever he goes too far.”
“Who?” Jack asked, mystified.
Daniel smiled, showing his teeth. “You.” He then moved his queen. “Check Mate.”
“What?” Jack sputtered, staring at the board. “You cheated.”
“I did not.”
“I don’t remember . . .” Jack paused, stared at the board, then remembered that while they’d been talking, they’d made a few moves and Jack hadn’t paid much attention to them. “Damn.”
“Rematch?” Daniel offered.
“Give it a while. Later.”
“Okay.” He sat back and sipped at his nearly-empty glass.
“Here,” Jack said, and held out his hand. Daniel gave him his glass and Jack headed into the kitchen.
Daniel rubbed his stomach. “You hungry yet?”
“Yeah, getting there,” Jack said as he grabbed the club soda and 7-Up. But this time, he reached over the top of the fridge and opened the cupboard there. He pulled out a bottle of Jameson.
Daniel’s brows rose. “Huh.”
He startled Jack, who twitched. “Gah! Don’t do that.”
Daniel winced. “Sorry. Why haven’t we been drinking that?”
Jack winced in return. “Been saving it. And besides, you’re the one who bought the Jim Beam, remember? Seemed only polite to drink it.”
Daniel stared at him, brows wrinkling. “Jack, I bought that stuff a month ago.”
“Yeah, but you still bought it.”
Daniel dipped his head sideways, acknowledging the statement. “Fair point. So now it’s time for Jameson?”
“A little of both,” Jack said. He opened the bottle of Jim Beam and poured a finger into the glasses. “Mix those up. I’m getting the snifter glasses for the Jameson.”
“Ah. So it’s single malt sipping time?”
Jack grinned as he looked over his shoulder at Daniel while opening the doors to the top part of the kitchen hutch whose back braced the wall that separated the kitchen from the dining room. “Maybe I’m just trying to get you drunk.”
Daniel showed his teeth. “Won’t take much. I’m feeling it already from that first drink.”
“Cheap date,” Jack teased, grabbing the small dessert ‘snifters’ and walking back to set them on the counter.
Daniel didn’t respond. He was halfway to smiling when he caught movement to their right, like a shadow across the curtained window. Jack caught it too.
He returned to the kitchen hutch and pressed his fingers against a joint on the left side. It slid sideways to reveal a recessed section that held a narrow box. It too slid outward and popped open to reveal what it was: A gun case. He took the M17 Sig Sauer from the case and automatically glanced at the already-loaded magazine, then slid it into place and unlocked the safety.
“What’s the play?” Daniel asked.
“Caution. Find out who’s here. Click your phone. Mine’s in my back pocket and I’m not checking with a gun in my hand.”
Daniel reached into his own back pocket and felt for the power button. He pressed it three times. It was the SGC code for Alert: Condition Compromised! “Done.”
He followed Jack into the foyer just as two men in black tactical gear came through the back door and the front door opened to reveal a man in a suit and another guy in tactical gear. Both were aim sidearms at them while the men who’d come in from the back were carrying automatic rifles small enough to be sidearms.
“Give me the gun, Jack,” said the man in the suit. His brown hair was neatly cut, a high and tight do, with nearly invisible sideburns, setting off his hazel eyes and dark, expressively arched brows that always made him look arrogantly smug. They went with his high, sharp cheekbones that could cut silk. The nearly-black, grey pinstripe suit was expensive, so no longer with the CIA.
Jack knew him. Daniel didn’t. “Okay, A, not happening. B, what the fuck? And C, Daniel, this is Trent Townsend, CIA.”
“You really need to start storing two Sigs,” Daniel muttered.
“Yeah, we’ll discuss it later.”
“Jack, kinda not joking around here,” Townsend said, pulling the slide back on his sidearm. “Now give up the gun.”
“It’s O’Neill,” Jack said, “and no. I give up the gun, we die.”
“I didn’t come here to kill. I came to talk.”
“Still not getting the gun,” Jack said.
Jack watched as Townsend moved into the living room while . . . Goon A, the one by the front door, remained where he was and motioned toward the living room with his weapon. Goons B & C had spread out, with one by the front window and the other taking position by the fireplace. A standard spread for covering exits. Windows, doors.
“Move,” said Goon A.
They slowly moved into the living room and as one, Jack and Daniel put their backs to the deck-side windows. “Formerly of the CIA,” Daniel said to Jack. “Mercenaries?” He marked their appearances and made note of any distinguishing marks. He’d already picked up language clues from the guy in the suit. He wanted answers but this was Jack’s party. His job was to watch, listen, and learn.
“Yeah, my bet too.”
Townsend scowled at them both. “How the hell do you divine I’m not CIA?”
“Your haircut and suit,” Daniel said.
Jack gave him a brief, approving smirk.
“Your pretty boyfriend has a brain,” said Townsend.
Daniel snorted as Jack barked out a laugh. Both responses weren’t what Townsend was aiming to provoke. He expected military men to balk and get defensive. Lesser men would also get so defensive they’d puff up for a fight. But these two weren’t doing that. He didn’t think Jack would do it but his partner there looked too handsome, too boyish, too immature. He should’ve shrunk in on himself and looked to Jack for rescue, but he didn’t. Who was this guy?
“He thinks I’m pretty,” Daniel said, deadpan.
“Everyone thinks you’re pretty,” Jack said, mimicking the tone and expression.
Townsend glowered and came forward until he was three feet away, eyeing down the sight of his gun as he aimed it at Daniel’s face. “Should I shoot him in the cheek to mess that up?”
Jack waggled his gun. “And you die soon after. Townsend, what do you want?”
“I need you to get me something from Area 51.”
Both Jack and Daniel raised their brows.
“We don’t work at Area 51,” Jack said. “We don’t have any pull there, no standard I.D., no clearance. We don’t—”
Townsend fired his sidearm and the bullet went right past Daniel’s left ear. “Did I ask you if you had clearance?”
Jack leveled his gun at Townsend’s nose. Both he and Daniel said to Townsend at the same time, “You wanna point that elsewhere?”
“What, scared?” Townsend sneered at Daniel. To Jack, he asked, “Didn’t you teach this boy anything?”
Daniel felt his hackles rise. As they did, he also recalled Teal’c’s teaching.
“Do not react to whatever your opponent says. You may pretend to react but keep your mind balanced. As you do, observe how he stands. How he breathes. Center your sight to watch the whole while at the same time, look him in the eye. Make him think you are not a threat. Then when the time comes, move fast and disarm.”
Daniel recalled the endless hours at the gym, where Jack and Teal’c drilled into him basic combat moves. It took a thousand repetitions of a movement to make it a reflex and Daniel had a few of them down. One of them was disarming someone who had a gun within grabbing distance. The disarming moves differed depending on where the opponent stood, in front or behind.
At present, Townsend was in front, the gun at chin-level and perhaps thirty inches away. Well within reach.
Then came the warning in his head, with Teal’c and Jack taking turns being the hidden threat.
“Always make note of all other threats,” Jack had explained. “If there’s more than one goon, you have to decide how big a threat they’ll be once you disarm one of them. But you’ll be armed at that point, so if the situation calls for it, kill. It’s self-preservation at this point. There’s no talking them down, Daniel, when they’re threatening your life. This isn’t a time for diplomacy. They need to be removed as a threat to your life or someone else’s.”
Daniel then recalled the earlier conversation about never backing Jack’s play. How in the past, time after time, he’d resisted the military action and tried for diplomacy even though their lives were in danger. And he’d made it worse nearly every time.
He’d told Jack he’d back his play from now on. And now here was a real-life test situation.
Jack said, “Are you always this big an asshole? Wait, scratch that. I forgot. You are.”
Townsend scowled. “I don’t give a shit what y—”
Daniel struck out with a knife hand to land a blow on the back of Townsend’s gun wrist, forcing the hand and gun to move outward. Then his other hand struck inward, landing a blow on the inner arm of the gun hand. The gun grip loosened and Daniel took it out of his hand, and turned it around, seating his hands on the gun by the trigger and by cradling it for stability. The sight was now aimed at Townsend’s nose.
“Uh, uh, uh,” Jack warned the Goon squad and jerked his chin at the front of the house. The cavalry had arrived.
Jack and Daniel stood outside next to the van brought by the Security Forces. Townsend and his men were sitting inside, handcuffed, glowering. Officer In Charge (OIC) Colonel Patrick Myers turned to Jack and asked, “What the hell did he want at Area 51?”
“No idea,” Jack said, eyeing Townsend as he did.
“Clone devices,” Townsend said. “Once they’ve successfully copied you, we could get to the ‘gate and go off-planet.”
“Like that’d happen,” Jack said.
He and Daniel watched Myers and his crew leave and as they did, Jack’s phone pinged. He pulled it out to look at who was calling. He winced and answered.
“Sir,” he said.
“Colonel, what the hell happened?”
“Targeted by ex-CIA. No idea how but one thing’s for certain. The 911 we have built into our phones worked like a charm.”
Hammond grunted at the end of the line. “You’ll need to come in an hour early for the debrief. 0800.”
Jack hung up. “We gotta be in at eight.”
Daniel nodded as he pulled out his own phone. “Chinese?”
They spread the take-out boxes on the dining table and sat down to eat. Jack kept eyeing Daniel and it was getting annoying. “Okay, what?” he asked. He brought the box of jumbo prawns to his nose and inhaled. “Yum,” he groaned.
“Um . . .” Jack began as he stabbed his chopsticks into his box of rice. “I have a confession to make.”
Daniel blinked a few times. “Confession? What?” He dipped a prawn into the sweet and sour sauce and took a bite. He groaned lustfully. “Yum.”
Jack slowly smiled. “You, disarming that dickhead. It was kinda hot.”
Daniel snorted air through his nose as he kept his mouth closed to finish chewing. Swallowing some hot tea with his food, he then said, “You can’t be serious. Really?”
Jack nodded. “Truth be told, it surprised the hell out of me.”
“You and Teal’c made damn sure—”
“No, not the moves, Daniel. My reaction. I mean, I expected you to do it and do it well. It was just . . . damn.”
Daniel felt himself blush. And at Jack’s raised brows, the blush deepened. “Don’t have a clue what to say.”
“I have a suggestion.”
Jack suddenly leaned over and took hold of Daniel’s free hand. He pulled slightly to make sure Daniel was fully listening. He then did something that surprised them both. He pulled Daniel forward and leaned in, bringing their lips together in a light kiss flavored with a mixture of sauces.
Daniel rubbed his lips together as Jack pulled away. “That was some statement.”
Jack nodded as he sat back. “Know what this means?”
Daniel blinked a few times and wished he would stop blushing. “What?”
“This is, however unintentional, our first date.”
“First kiss. First date.”
Daniel stared back at him, a slow smile of astonishment spreading on his face. “Holy crap, you’re a romantic.”
Jack gave him that sexy broad smile. “Yes, Daniel. I am.” He paused significantly and took his hand again. The second kiss was even better.