True Love, or Ship Happens

Quale

An episode tag, of sorts, for Divide and Conquer

“Oh, man. That was a close one.”

“What?” Daniel jumped at the sudden sound of a voice right next to him and blinked up at Jack O’Neill. Where the hell had he come from and how did someone who could be so noisy manage to move so quietly when it suited him? “What?” He glanced around his cluttered office. Both doors were currently closed. “Where did you come from?”

Jack frowned down at him, running a hand through tousled gray hair. He was dressed in civilian clothing: blue jeans and a rather nice, if rumpled, grayish polo shirt under a black leather jacket. “When’s the last time you got any sleep?” He didn’t wait for an answer. “Or ate anything, for that matter? You look like crap. For crying out loud! You’re like a little kid sometimes, Daniel!”

Daniel scowled right back at him, bemused, annoyed and a little touched. Sometimes Jack’s concern for his health and well-being could be a trifle overwhelming. He’d spent so many years on his own, unable to depend on anyone except himself. He’d had a brief interlude of happiness and stability with Sha’re and the Abydonians, but other than that, the little “family” of SG-1 was a relatively new experience for him. He reacted with a practiced form of denial. “I’m fine!”

“Really?” Jack’s eyes narrowed and he cocked his head to one side.

“Yes, really!” A smile tugged at the corners of Daniel’s mouth. Jack looked like a stray dog when he did that, just begging to be petted…or fed.

“I’ve been standing here next to your desk for five minutes, Daniel! You didn’t even notice.”

“You’re exaggerating.”

“Well, yeah, okay…but you didn’t hear me come in. Did you? And I even shut the door and locked it behind me!”

Daniel shrugged, waving a hand vaguely towards his computer screen. “I was working on a translation.”

“Didn’t Doc Fraiser tell you to go home when she released you from the infirmary?”

“Not exactly.” Daniel evaded the question with consummate skill. He wasn’t hurt, after all. He’d been knocked to the ground and bounced around a bit during all the excitement earlier, but he was just bruised. Fraiser had thought he should go home and rest because of the stress of the last few days, that’s all. And he’d rather work, thank you very much. Distraction was the order of the day… He glanced down at his watch. Uh, night. Jack had been busy with the general and the Tok’ra for hours, Sam was still sedated in the infirmary, and Teal’c was in his quarters performing kel-no-reem. Daniel hadn’t felt like going home alone.

Jack was looking at him with knowing eyes.

“What did you mean?” Daniel said, blushing and trying to change the subject away from himself. It was hell sometimes having someone know him so well. He knew he wasn’t going to win this argument, but he figured he didn’t have to make it easy for Jack.

“Huh?”

“When you came in and tried to scare the crap out of me. What did you mean? You said ‘that was a close one.’ ”

Jack hitched one hip up on Daniel’s desk, quirking an eyebrow—the sexy one with the scar in it. “That zantac thingie.”

“Zatarc,” Daniel corrected automatically.

“Yeah, that thing.”

“What about it?”

“It reads your feelings or something. Not just your memories. That’s why it thought me and Carter were zanaxes.”

“You’re doing that on purpose,” Daniel accused, refusing to be suckered into making the correction this time.

Jack grinned. “Yeah.”

“And?” Daniel prompted, trying to get them back on topic…again.

“And, apparently, I have feelings for Carter that I was repressing or something.”

“Huh?” Okay, that wasn’t funny. Daniel sat up straighter, trying not to glare.

“Yeah. You know…remember, I wouldn’t leave her behind when she got stuck behind that force field?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Well, that means I love her or something. I guess we’re an ‘item’ and we didn’t know it. I wasn’t admitting it, y’see, and once I did admit that I cared about her, the machine said I was okay.”

Daniel felt his eyebrows dancing around and desperately tried to control it. He knew Jack thought it was cute, but he didn’t want to get too distracted until they at least finished this bizarre conversation. And he was tired. Very, very tired, he realized. Jack was right, like always. He hadn’t slept in way too long. “Uh…am I missing something, Jack? Teal’c refused to leave you and Sam. Are you and Teal’c…?”

“Well,” Jack drawled, his eyes sparkling, “you refused to leave all three of us. Does that mean you and Teal’c…? And you and Sam…? Or would that be you, Teal’c and Sam?” He did a passable imitation of a pout. “The last thing I want to do is get involved in some weird Jaffa love triangle, but I’m feeling left out.”

“Hey!” Daniel was offended. He wasn’t the cheating kind and he was a very monogamous sort of fellow. Much as he cared for his team mates—and he wouldn’t willingly leave them behind on a dangerous mission—there was only room for one lover in his life. One exasperating, sexy as hell, annoying…

“You started it.”

“Did not.”

“Did.”

“Didn’t.”

“You so did. Trying to pawn me off on Teal’c! It’s not my fault if you can’t handle both Sam and Teal’c!”

Daniel sighed loudly and stood up, glaring at Jack. “You’re trying to confuse me until I give up, give in, and come home with you, aren’t you?”

Jack shook his head. “You know me so well, Dr. Jackson.” He stood as well, wrapping his arms loosely around Daniel and kissing him gently on the tip of his nose. “You left out the best part, though.”

Daniel raised an eyebrow in silent query.

“Give up, give in, come home and put out,” Jack filled in the blanks with another quick kiss, this time on Daniel’s lips. His expression suddenly sobered as he pulled back. “I said ‘that was a close one,’ because what if they’d asked me how I felt about you? What could I have said?”

Daniel paled at the thought. “Or if they asked me how I felt about you?”

“Uh-huh.” Jack stroked the back of one hand down the side of Daniel’s face. “Could have been hard to explain.” He winked. “Then, again, it would have been even worse if they’d asked Teal’c how he felt about all of us. After all, he was the one who refused to leave any of us behind, right? He was the one who came through the stargate after us, even without the super powers of the armbands. It must be true love. Do Jaffa believe in polygamy?”

“You’re ruining the mood,” Daniel warned, trying not to smile.

Jack pinched him gently on the ass with a leer. “Can’t have that. You gonna come to bed like a good boy or am I going to have to annoy you some more?”

“I’m coming,” Daniel grumbled, reaching around Jack for the keys on his desk. “You know, you’re a really irritating bastard when you’re in love. Sam should dump you.”

“We could stop by the infirmary on our way out and you could tell her,” Jack suggested, following Daniel out the door and down the corridor towards the elevators to the surface.

Daniel shook his head. “You have no shame, Jack O’Neill.”

“I’m not the one involved in some weird Jaffa love triangle,” Jack pointed out as they entered the elevator. Luckily, they were alone in the car as it headed upwards so there was no one to witness their offbeat exchange. They stood against the back of the car, leaning on the wall, their shoulders just touching, their hands shoved into their pockets.

What could Daniel say to that, anyway? Jack obviously found the entire concept of Teal’c in a threesome with Daniel and Sam funny…or titillating. He was never quite sure what was going on in Jack’s head when he got in one of these quirky moods. Of course, it was obvious Jack’s main objective had been to get Daniel out of the mountain and home to bed. Preferably at the colonel’s home and in the colonel’s bed. Daniel didn’t really mind. He hadn’t wanted to be alone, anyway.

“Hell of a day,” Jack finally said, as they neared the surface.

That it was. “Janet had to give Sam a sedative,” Daniel said. They walked through the security checkpoints and headed through the parking lot towards Jack’s truck. “Martouf—”

“Daniel, don’t,” Jack interrupted, not looking at him or breaking stride. “Things are going to get serious enough in the morning. Tonight, you and I are going to get some well-earned rest.”

Daniel was quiet until they were in the truck and heading down the mountain, the lights of Colorado Springs blinking below them. “I thought I’d lost you,” he said, soberly. “I can’t believe you agreed to do that. To risk your life that way.”

“It’s a good thing I did or we never would have known the truth.”

Jack didn’t turn his attention from the road, but Daniel could see his jaw tightening. He must have been frightened out of his mind when he thought he was a zatarc, his mind and his will no longer under his own control. It must have been a worst case scenario for someone like Jack O’Neill. “Jack…you know I…?”

Jack nodded. “I know.” He finally glanced over at Daniel, raising that eyebrow. “Even if you are cheating on me with Teal’c.”

Daniel shook his head in exasperation and gave up for the night. If Jack wanted to keep things lighthearted, then that’s what they were going to do. If Jack wanted to be silly and try to wind him up, then he was going to grin and bear it. The past few days had been full of highs and lows and they were both beyond exhausted. He smiled indulgently at his colonel. It really must be “true love” because God knew he wouldn’t put up with this shit from anyone else. Besides, he knew once they got home, Jack would have more interesting things on his mind than aggravating his archeologist. He settled back in his seat and closed his eyes. He’d better get some rest while he could.


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