The Cosmic Joker

First Published: Jan 17, 2004
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Jack/Daniel
Word Count: 6,679

Notes: First person, present tense narrative from Jack's POV - set in season 7 - remastered

Summary: Someone, or something is screwing with Jack's personal life. Call it 'fate', call it 'karma' or call it the 'cosmic joker', Jack is going to find out what's doing it, but more importantly, why.


Hello, I’m Jack O’Neill, and I think I might be nuts.

Either that, or someone or something is screwing with my personal life and whoever it is, he has a damned weird sense of humour!

Recently, I've been leaning towards the whole 'cosmic joker' theory. I mean, let’s face it, if you're gonna mess with people's heads, might as well do it on a cosmic scale, right? Now that I'm aware of it, I'm gonna start paying more attention; gather some evidence of his existence before deciding what to do about it.

In fact, I already have some evidence, and it’s probably going to shock you so brace yourselves:

Exhibit A
I want Daniel’s ass, and by that, I do not mean his donkey.

I’ve always known Daniel is a nice looking guy. I can appreciate how his sessions in the gym with Teal'c and me are having an impact on his physique. You notice shit like that about your friends, and that’s perfectly okay.

But I’ve been noticing other things too, like the amazing colour of his eyes, and the smell of his hair. His fucking hair for crying out loud! What's that all about?

I find myself giving in more, trying to do nice things for him, trying to make him smile. That smile is worth its weight in gold, you know? Only thing is, the extra attention seems to be freaking him out. He's been looking at me as if I’m an alien or something.

And okay. I admit it. I’ve been checking out his ass.

Hey! It's a nice ass, tight and firm, filling out his BDU's just right. I figured I might be a little envious of the tightness of that ass, but as it turns out, I was actually just thinking about fondling it.

In very short order, I’ve gone from horrified shock to horrified acceptance. After all, there’s nothing I can do about it, right? And it's not like his is the first guy's ass I've looked at.

Yeah, didn’t see that coming did ya?

I’ve looked plenty. Just looked. Figured I would get over it one day. Seems I might be wrong about that. So, I’ve decided to sit back and see where it takes me.

 

Exhibit B
Butterfingers – I’m not usually that clumsy.

I've invited him over for beer and pizza. It's been a while and I miss it. I need to know that we're still okay, and that all the bad feelings between us have finally gone. The year before he left us, Daniel and I had drifted apart. Still don't know what went wrong.

So I open the front door and there he is. Standing on my porch, hands stuffed into his jeans pockets, hair freshly washed, eyes sparkling behind the glasses. He takes my breath away sometimes, but I try not to show it.

I smile and step aside to let him come in. We go into the living room and he picks up my bottle of Coors, examining the label dubiously.

"Relax," I say, reaching down the side of the sofa and flourishing my little surprise, "I know you don't really like beer. I got you some wine."

He stares at the bottle in my hand, clearly taken aback. He’s shocked that I would think to do such a thing.

"Wine?" he asks, sitting down hard. I find the corkscrew and get to work.

"Yeah, a nice 'fruity' claret. At least that's how the guy at the wine shop described it." I tug the cork out and reach for a glass. "It's all just grape juice to me. There ya go.... oops!"

I can't believe it, but I just spilled the wine all over him. Maybe it was a bad idea to drink so much before he even arrived. “Sorry!"

It seems the cosmic joker theory just gained new credence. Daniel stares down at the huge red patch spreading over the front of his shirt and jeans and onto my sofa with an almost detached air. It has to be cold, and uncomfortable. I grab a towel and start swiping at the slowly spreading mark. He bats my hand away, blushing furiously.

"I'm all right. It's fine, Jack, really... don't fuss," he pleads, trying to tug the cloth out of my hands. I'm bright red with embarrassment. First I soak him in wine, now I'm groping his crotch. How pre-pubescent can I get?

"That's gonna stain. Get 'em off."

His eyebrows come together in a cute little frown that makes my heart race.

"Pardon?" he croaks.

I turn away, trying to feign nonchalance here.

"Shirt… pants… off! Quick, and I'll throw them in the washer."

As I take the damp cloth back into the kitchen, I hear the rasp of his zipper and I walk a little faster.

So, I'm standing here, trying to pretend that I'm absorbed in selecting another bottle of beer from the fridge, when he taps me on the shoulder and I turn around. He's holding out the wine soaked clothes, and as I take them, I notice that they're still warm from his body heat. I can't meet his eyes. I don't allow myself the luxury of looking at him; I just flee for the laundry room.

 

Exhibit C
Daniel looks good in blue, just not when its caused by hypothermia.

"Jack?"

"In here, Danny," I shout. He appears at the door, arms wrapped round his waist, shivering slightly at the chill. Personally, I find the cold a welcome distraction. It helps to focus me on something other than my best friend's legs.

"You couldn't lend me something to wear, could you?" he asks hesitantly. "It's getting a little ch…ch…chilly."

I am such an ignorant shit! Its early fall, the days are still quite warm, but the nights are cold enough to make you shiver. I should have made sure he was comfortable before I booked on him. Some friend I am!

"Help yourself to whatever you find in my bedroom. I'll be finished in a minute." I turn back to the dryer and start pulling out an armful of sheets.

I take my time, folding the linen carefully before venturing out. I wanna give him plenty time to make himself decent. He's in the living room when I emerge, standing in front of the fireplace, trying to stir the dying embers back to life with the poker.

He had a whole closet to choose from, and what did he pick? Naturally, the tightest t-shirt I own. I used to like the thing, until it got too small, but I hate to throw things out, so it was lurking at the bottom of one of my drawers. He must have searched for stuff that looked like it didn't get worn any more.

Very considerate. Very fucking considerate.

And those sweat pants! I sleep in them, for cryin' out loud. They're my jerk-off pants! Good thing I just washed them! Damn, but they look better on him. The soft jersey material of the pants clings to those long legs, hug his ass, caresses his...

Crap! I am so screwed!

 

Exhibit D
He also looks good wet. I need to start packing a water pistol.

Well, Daniel's gone and I'm cleaning up the kitchen before calling it a night. We managed to get through a fair amount of alcohol, but he still insisted on going home rather than crash here. I didn't push him. Its gonna take time to get things back to the way they were.

It's been well over a year since Daniel stayed over. To tell the truth, I was a little relieved when he called a cab. I need time to process these new feelings before we get that close again. I can't imagine how I would react if, in the morning, we ended up in the bathroom at the same time.

It used to happen all the time in the old days. I would be showering, and he'd come in for a piss, then he would start shaving or brushing his teeth, and we would have a conversation over the roar of the water. All perfectly natural and above board. Can't see me handling it that well these days, though.

I finish in the kitchen, make sure the fire is safe and head off to lock the front door. I'm about to fix the chain when there's someone banging on the door and I nearly jump out of my skin. I click on the front porch light and peer outside. Damn! I throw open the door and stare at the bedraggled, windswept creature standing there, shivering.

"Didn't you just leave?" I ask, watching little rivulets of rainwater pour down his cheeks. I peer around him to where the cab driver is waiting and give him a wave. He waves back and drives off. The sound of Daniel's teeth chattering together brings me back to the situation at hand.

"I seem to have f..f..f.. forgotten my k...k...k...keys." He says.

I reach for his arm, pulling him inside the house. "Dammit, Daniel. Get in here. You're soaking wet. Again."

He's shaking like crazy, and I realize that he doesn't have his coat on. The sweatpants and t- shirt are plastered against his body, his nipples poking through the wet material in a very distracting manner. I drag my eyes away and look behind me at the coat stand. When he left here it wasn't raining, and obviously neither one of us noticed that he had forgotten his coat. Then again, we had both had more than a fair bit to drink.

"I’d already w..w..walked a few miles before I f...f...found a cab," he stutters, wrapping his arms tightly round his chest in an effort to stop shaking. The rain only came on ten minutes ago, so at least he wasn't out in it for too long. I sigh and push him towards the bathroom.

"Go take a hot shower, I'll make some coffee."

"T..t...th...th..ancks, Jack," he answers, squelching up the hallway. I wait until he's in the bathroom before I try to mop up some of the muddy footprints.

 

Exhibit E
Note to self – check woodwork for termites

"Jack?"

"Huh?" I'm having a great dream, and in it, that soft voice is whispering in my ear, and I can feel hands roaming over my...

"Jack there's something wrong with the bed."

Damn. Dream over. I crack open one eye and see his face hovering over me, pale in the moonlight, and looking a little worried.

"S'rong with it?" I croak, wishing I could burrow back under the covers and go back to the nice dream place.

"Well, it sort of collapsed. I rolled over and it... collapsed."

I get to my feet, banging into the walls as I try to locate the door. Daniel steps aside and I go check out the mystery in my guest bedroom.

Okay, yeah, the bed has given up the ghost. No-one has slept in for well over a year. And the last time Daniel was here, now that I remember, he did say the creaking noises kept him awake. The bed was sort of an heirloom, passed down to me from my grandfather. The legs have collapsed, and there are a couple of springs sticking out of the mattress.

Well, he can't sleep on that bed, for sure. I pull the covers off and stagger to the living room, Daniel hot on my heels.

I stare at the couch in confusion, still half asleep. Where the hell are the cushions? Then I remember the wine incident. I washed the cushions and put them in the laundry room to dry. Oops. He can't sleep on the sofa either!

I summarily decide that if I ever get my hands on the cosmic joker, whoever he is, I'm gonna fucking kill him. Daniel is standing in front of the now cold fireplace, staring down at the rug.

"Really Jack, its fine. I can sleep here. On the rug. I'll be fine."

"Daniel, it's freezing. I don't have any more wood to build another fire."

"Just... is your heating on? You could crank up the furnace. I'm fine. Really."

I dump the armful of bedding on the floor and reach for the thermostat on the wall. I push the lever up and listen for the familiar sound of the furnace kicking on. Nada! I tap it thoughtfully. Up, down, up, down. Nothing! A quick check of the gauge on my furnace reveals that I'm out of oil, and they charge a fortune to deliver at this time of the night, and by the time they got here, we would both have turned into little icicles anyway.

Obviously, he can't sleep out in the living room either. You know that just leaves my bed, don't you? At least this way, we won't freeze to death but fuck - it's soooo clichéd! He must wonder if I'm doing it on purpose!

“I sleep on the right,” I growl, and head for my room without waiting to see if he will follow.

He follows.

 

Exhibit F
The old ‘trapped in an elevator’ cliché

I swear, someone is doing this on purpose. Spilled wine, forgotten keys, broken beds, all on the same night? My suspicious nature has been piqued, and now I'm actively looking for trouble.

So when it happens, I'm not in the slightest bit surprised.

"You would think that a facility like this would have a more efficient backup generator," Daniel whines, voice pitched a little higher than usual. I lean back against the elevator wall and sigh.

Hey, I'm not happy about this either! I was on my way to the commissary to grab up the last piece of cherry pie. Right now, Teal'c is probably eating my pie. I decide that I hate him, and I hate this elevator. "Yeah well, when we get out of here, I'll bust Carter down to second lieutenant, how does that sound?"

"Why do you assume it has to be Sam's fault?" He's got both hands pressed against the doors, ear to the metal, listening for sounds of our impending rescue. The emergency battery light casts an eerie red glow over everything, and makes Daniel's eyes look a little... wild.

"Daniel, when the gate goes 'boom' and all the power on the base goes down, it’s always Carter's fault." I'm trying to make a joke, but Daniel is a wreck. He's hugging himself again. If this dammed elevator was a bit bigger, I think he might actually start pacing. I know it’s frustrating, being trapped here and all. I suddenly wonder, is it possible that Daniel might be a little claustrophobic?

I slide down the wall and land on my butt with a soft thump. "Sit down Danny. They'll break us out in no time. You'll see."

"Do they even know we're in here?" he frets. "The elevator shafts aren't airtight are they? Jack, how long have we been in here?" Okay, that had a definite edge of hysteria to it.

I check my watch. It's been a very long ten minutes. And it feels like the temperature is dropping already. Instead of answering him, I try for diversionary tactics. "Relax, Danny. We'll freeze to death before we suffocate."

Oops. I guess that was the wrong thing to say. The look he gives me could strip the gunmetal grey paint off the wall. I'm sure it won't be that long. Assuming they know where we are, and can get their hands on an acetylene torch quick smart. We’re fine. We can always huddle together for warmth. God, give me strength!

He slides down the wall beside me, blowing on his hands and rubbing them together. I would offer to stick them between my thighs to warm them up, but he's been working on that right hook. I don't want to have to pay a big dentist bill right now.

Damn, he looks miserable. He glances at me sideways. "I seem to have spent the last few days in a constant state of hypothermia," he grins, trying to put a brave face on it. His eyelashes are batting madly and even in the frigid confines of our elevator prison, I begin to melt.

"Get over here," I tell him, sliding my arm round him and pulling him in close, just like I did last night in bed. He'd gone absolutely rigid then, (and not in a good way) for a moment before relaxing into the embrace. I'd barely moved all night, hardly able to believe I had finally gotten Daniel Jackson into my bed. Of course he'd spoiled the fantasy by snoring louder than a freight train and farting on my leg, but I can forgive that. He is a guy after all.

Now he leans his head on my shoulder and I can feel him shivering despite our clothes. I hug him closer, and I tell myself we're just two guys trying to preserve body heat in a survival situation. Except that the little puffs of warm air from his breathing are tickling my neck, and I'm getting uncomfortably hard, hoping against hope that he doesn't notice.

"Thanks, Jack," he murmurs into my neck.

"Don't fall asleep, Danny," I whisper, but he's already a goner. I can let him sleep for a while. It's not really that cold yet. And it feels so damned good having him leaning against me.

An hour later Siler's smiling face pokes down through the perfectly circular hole he has just cut in the roof. Daniel and I are still huddled in the corner of the elevator, with our arms wrapped tightly around each other. Siler is grinning like the asshole he is, as he tosses a gray scratchy Air Force issue blanket down to us.

"Won't be long now, Sir," he assures me. Daniel snags the blanket and pulls it over us, snuggling his freezing cold nose against my neck. Oh yeah, better watch out, cosmic joker. Your ass is so mine!

 

Exhibit G
There's a light over at the Frankenstein Place.

I'm sure we're being watched. It isn't just paranoia, I can feel it. Someone out there is manipulating us like pawns in a cosmic game of chess. I happen to like chess, it's a game of tactics and strategy, what's not to like? But I prefer to be the one doing the manipulating.

I think I can see where this is going. Every time Daniel comes near me, I flinch, waiting for the next disaster to force us into each other's arms. I don't mind the arms part; it's the other stuff I don't like. The disasters.

Three whole days go by, and nothing bad happens. I'm not buying it. The cosmic joker is trying to lull me into a false sense of security, and then WHAM! The Asgard will beam us up to their ship stark naked, or acid rain will dissolve our uniforms, or there will be an unseasonable heat wave and we'll be forced to strip. One way or another, Daniel and I are gonna end up nekkid. I'm sure of it.

We're in my truck, driving home from the mountain. It's dark and cold, and the rain is lashing down. I know there's something screwy going on. I'm waiting for it, ready to pick up the gauntlet, face the challenge, and resist any temptation laid in my path. Okay, now my mind is supplying helpful images of me 'laying' Daniel on my path.

And that's when it happens!

There's absolutely no reason for my truck to break down. I just got it back from the shop yesterday. And yet... it does.

So we're sitting here in absolute silence, the rain whipping against the windshield, half way down the mountain, and the wind howling though the trees on either side of the road. Daniel is not a happy camper. He keeps giving me little sideways looks.

"This is not my fault, you know," I tell him grimly. Like he's buying that one.

I try to phone Triple A, but the storm seems to be interfering with my cell, and I can't get a signal. Daniel's cell is back at his apartment charging, so unless I can figure out the problem, it looks like we're stuck here until it blows over.

"I think we passed a house a ways back with a light on," he says. Suddenly I'm thinking 'Rocky Horror Picture Show', and how he would look fucking great in fishnets and a Basque. I roll my tongue back up and stick it firmly in my mouth.

He's giving me that look again, the one that says he's worried about my sanity, and really wants to run away but feels that would somehow be disloyal.

Just then, lightning flashes, lighting up the interior of the cab. He's shivering again. Damn. "You wanna try walking back there?" I ask dubiously.

It's cold in here, but it’s freezing out there. And wet, did I mention the rain at all? And the wind? Trees whip all around us, and the rain hammers against the window.

He sighs. "I was thinking of sending you, actually."

I rummage around in the glove compartment until I find what I'm looking for. "Okay wise guy." I slap the flashlight into his hand. "Make yourself useful while I check it out."

His voice goes up an octave as I reach for the door handle. "You're insane! No way can you be seriously contemplating going outside in... in... this!" He waves his hand in the general direction of the storm raging beyond the windshield.

"Well, we can't sit here like a couple of idiots all night. If it's the fan belt, or something simple, then we might be able to fix it,” I reason.

He clicks the flashlight on, blinding me momentarily. His voice is dripping with sarcasm. "I suppose you did remember to top up the oil?" he asks, the little bastard throwing the other night's incident with the heating right back in my face again. Does he think I'm stupid? I told the mechanic to change the oil; I'm almost one hundred percent positive I did.

"Go on three." I say, reaching for the door again.

Less than five minutes later, we’re diving headlong back into the truck, breathing like we just ran a marathon. I slam the door closed and shake the rain out of my hair like a big old mutt. We couldn’t find anything wrong with the truck that we could see. Where the hell is Siler with his big wrench when you need him?

Daniel drags off his glasses and swipes a shaky hand over his eyes. In frustration, I try the ignition again and see a small yellow warning light flashing at me merrily before the thing refuses to start again.

Oh fuck! I'm gonna have to tell him.

I take a deep breath and admit that I forgot to put gas in the truck.

"You ass hole!" he says quietly. I give him a baleful look. Can't argue with that.

Then he's laughing, mercifully, manically, madly, and I have to join in. We're soaking wet, shaking with cold, stranded eight miles away from the base and laughing until our sides hurt.

Eventually I give my cell phone one last try. If I can get through to the base, maybe they can send someone out with a gallon of gas. I almost drop the phone in shock when it's answered.

Hallelujah, we're saved!

 

Exhibit H
You Tarzan, me Jane!

Fuck, we are so screwed! You know how much I hate trees right? Well, this time it's a hot, humid, steaming primordial jungle. Seems the tribesmen with the green and yellow face paint think we need to shed some clothes. Teal'c and Carter have no shame whatsoever. They're both down to their skivvies in no time, accepting the flowery leis and sarongs with huge smiles. Very nice; very native.

Except that the tribesmen have something a little different for Daniel and I. He spoke to them first, so they seem to think of him as someone special and they know I'm in charge so we get loincloths like the elders!

Tiny little buckskin fucking loincloths.

There is no WAY I'm getting my big ass into one of those. Daniel, on the other hand, is only too pleased to accommodate the grinning natives. He's undoing his fly, and I am so not going to look.

Oh well, when in Rome!

Now we're being led into a hut. It's really dark in here and I smack into the back of Daniel when he stops dead. My thighs brush against his legs and I'm having serious problems keeping the loincloth from tenting. He smells of sweat and rain and buckskin and I am so horny!

The guy I think is the Chief squats down in the middle of the hut, and I get an eyeful. Then everyone is hunkering down on their heels, so I figure I'd better too. I know my knees are gonna just love this position!

The old guy is chattering away to Daniel, who looks like Hiawatha sitting there. I try not to stare, but let's face it, there isn't anything else in this hut that's remotely interesting to me.

After what seems like forever, Daniel gets to his feet, and gives me that look. The one that tells me that I'm really not going to like what he has to say. And oh boy, is he right.

"They want us to prove ourselves worthy of their friendship, Jack." His tone is apologetic and all sorts of nasty scenarios start to parade through my warped and twisted brain. But before I can get to the really interesting bits, he's bursting my bubble.

"We have to survive a night in the jungle...."

Is that all? We do that all the time. No problemo. Piece of cake.

"No tents, no sleeping bags, no supplies...."

Right, okay, not so easy. I would have liked to take along a canteen of water at the very least. But still, it could be worse.

"No weapons, no rations, no boots...."

No weapons? Oh, come on....

"... And we don't get our uniforms back either."

That is the last straw. They want me to spend the night in the jungle, with Tarzan there, in a skimpy little piece of fucking buckskin? I couldn't hide a postage stamp in this getup far less a raging hard-on!

But as usual, what choice do we have? It takes an hour to get to the clearing, our progress hampered by the blindfolds we have to wear. Everything goes unnaturally silent, and I push the rough material up a little. Yup, our guides have disappeared back into the trees and we're alone in a dank clearing, dripping frond-like branches catching in our hair. Somewhere nearby, I can hear a waterfall.

"Daniel, start collecting up some of that moss to use as a mattress, I'm gonna try to locate the fresh water."

He nods and off he goes, hips swaying, ass wriggling. The little shit is enjoying the crap out of this. It's all a big game to Danny. Me? Oh, I'm enjoying the view all right, but I have to stay alert to the dangers, too. We don't know what sort of predators are in this forest, and we have no weapons.

I watch him bend at the waist to scoop up an armful of moss and almost choke on my own tongue. The only predator Daniel has to worry about in the forest is the one currently gawping at him from the cover of a bush.

Me.

I shake the drool off my dog tags and focus on my mission.

 

Exhibit I
Can’t leave him alone for a minute

The waterfall was a bit farther away than I had originally thought. By the time I get back to the clearing, the shit has hit the fan yet again.

Daniel is backed up against a big old tree, as a massive shaggy wolf- like creature approaches, snarling and salivating, slowly bearing down on him. It's going to try to make a three-course dinner out of my archaeologist, and while I don't blame it at all, since I would love to snack on Daniel too, I really can't allow that, can I?

So. I quickly take stock of the situation. We've got no zats, no P90's, not even a frigging hunting knife. All I have is my bare hands.

Well, the Air Force taught me how to use them as deadly weapons, and before I can even think about what I'm doing, I launch myself at the slavering beast. The element of surprise is definitely in my favour as I wrestle the thing to the ground and lock my hands on either side of its snapping muzzle.

Fuck, it's a big bastard. Stronger than I imagined too. I feel a white hot pain as its claws tear across my shoulder. Damn, maybe taking on a clawed predator when I'm half naked was not such a great idea? I grit my teeth, swearing under my breath, and we're rolling about in the dirt, each trying to get the upper hand, or paw, or whatever. Its breath is hot and rancid, frothy drool drips onto my face and I want to gag. Finally I get my hands into the right position and there is a snap, like a gun going off. The beast falls to the ground, its head lying at an unnatural angle.

I look up into the bluest eyes I have ever seen. Daniel’s mouth is hanging open in shock.

"Wow, Jack! That was... wow!"

"If it bleeds, we cahn keel eet." I say in my best Arnie voice. He's looking like he might want to take a chunk out of my ass himself. I start to back away as his hand comes up to touch my shoulder. I wince. Damn, that hurt.

He looks concerned as he traces something on my skin. I try to get a look over my shoulder. Oh fuck, the wolf clawed me good. Several deep and bleeding gashes disappear out of my field of vision. Daniel gently turns me around and examines the wounds. "We need to get these cleaned up," he says softly. I'm trying not to react here, but the feel of those fingers on my skin...

We both hear the rustlings in the bushes at the same time. Probably these things hunt in packs, so by mutual consent, we hightail it up the nearest tree just as the rest of the wolf family shows up for dinner. Six of them all told, they sniff their fallen comrade's carcass, and growl their vows of vengeance up at us.

Daniel theorises that they won't try to climb the tree, and I really want to believe him, but I sure as hell won't be falling asleep anytime soon.

Daniel leans back against the trunk as we balance on a thick branch. He insists that I get comfortable between his legs. Oh man, that feels so good. I can lean back against his chest and the pain from my wounds almost fades into the background. He slips his arms around my waist and pulls me in tight.

"Go to sleep Jack, I've got your six," he whispers in my ear. I don't know how the hell I manage to stay still. I look up at the twinkling stars through the canopy above and smile.

Thanks, cosmic joker. That's one I owe ya!

 

Exhibit J
Hell of a time for an epiphany

Dawn is a noisy affair in the jungle. I stretch the kinks out of my spine and peer down into the clearing. Seems the pack got tired waiting for breakfast to fall out of the tree.

I try to sit upright, but it seems that I'm kinda stuck to Daniel. Ewww. My scabs and his skin have formed a bond. One sharp tug frees us, but I'm bleeding again. I know the smell of fresh blood might attract our friends back. Gotta get to the water.

By the time we make it to the waterfall, I'm feeling like shit. The gashes are burning hot now, which probably means they are infected. If we don't get back to the village soon, I could become delirious and that would slow us down a lot. Trouble is, I have no idea which direction the village is in.

Damn those blindfolds. If only Teal'c were here. That man could track a ghost through the fog!

Daniel wades out into the water, pulling me after him. Once we are out far enough, we slide under the cool water, and oh God that feels so fucking good. The burning dissipates, and I let myself float on the surface of the natural pool.

I can hear Daniel splashing, washing himself, and I let my mind take me where my body can't go....

In my mind's eye, I watch him. He's standing waist deep, arms raised over his head, fingers carding through his hair, water cascading down over smooth perfectly sculpted muscles. The cold water makes his nipples pucker and harden. Believe me, that's not the only thing that's hardening.

I duck under the water when he speaks from right behind me. "Let me clean those scratches, Jack."

I stand still, my body quivering whenever his fingers brush against my flesh. He thinks I'm cold, and promises to be quick, but I want this to go on forever.

It hits me then, in that sparkling pool with the sound of a waterfall drowning out all other sounds. I suddenly realize that I'm in love with him.

Well, fuck!

The attraction, I could cope with. I looked at his ass sometimes; I'd had fantasies; dreams - wet ones. It had been a bit of a buzz actually.

But this?

Love?

Oh, good Lord, this is a whole different ball game.

Is this where it's all been leading? Not some big cosmic joke after all, just a few nudges, some friendly tips and hints to help me wake up and smell the coffee?

I don't get the chance to ponder it further, because the wolf pack chooses that exact moment to make another appearance.

We manage to make it almost to the other side of the pool before the current grabs us, and then it's a roller coaster, white-water-rapids ride downstream. If I thought the wolf-beast did me some damage, then the rocks and debris in this torrent are likely ripping my skin right off. I hit something hard and unyielding and go under.

Fingers close in my hair, pulling me up, dragging my face out of the water. I force my eyes open and I see Daniel, one arm thrown across a huge log, the other holding me clear of the choking spray. I reach for the log, feel the rough bark scraping my already raw skin. God I can't actually have some left, can I?

Then everything goes black.

 

Exhibit K
He’s an angel and I’m a blabbermouth

I can hear birds squawking. The sun is warm on my face and I have the sensation that I'm floating.

Ouch! Oh, oh, ouch! Everything hurts. Even my eyelashes hurt!

I crack open one painfully swollen eye and there he is, looming over me like the Archangel Gabriel, come to take me to the Pearly Gates. His face is blocking out the sun, like some big solar eclipse. His features are in shadow, his hair caught in a golden corona of light.

Beautiful. Absolutely fucking beautiful.

"Who me?" he croaks.

Shit, I said that out loud, didn't I?

I struggle to sit up and find that I can't. Somehow, Daniel has managed to get me lying on the log and he's draped half over me, half in the water, holding on to both for dear life. I find I like having him pressed against me like this with his hand in my hair. I decide that he can leave it there as long as he wants.

"Jack, please. Try to stay conscious. I think we might be heading towards the village. We have to show them we survived."

I stare at him really hard. I didn't survive. I'm dead. He's an angel; I thought we had established that.

"An angel!!!?" he gasps.

Oh fuck, I did it again. Next thing I'll be telling him I love him. Whoa, don't even go there!

Suddenly there's movement and the sun blinds me again. He's moved away from the log. I can hear voices, people shouting and then a lot of splashing. Strong hands grab me and pull me out of the water. I try to focus on the person holding me upright.

Shit! Who would have thought that God would look a whole lot like Teal'c?

I pass out again.

 

Exhibit L
A little help from a friend

We're back in the hut.

Teal'c is doing his best to keep me upright, and I'm almost convinced that I'm still alive. The elders are very impressed with us, apparently. There's much drinking and feasting and back slapping, which, incidentally, nearly makes me throw up.

Daniel insisted on applying some antibacterial cream and a bandage the moment we got here, which was nice. I'll probably still lose my arm or the feeling down one side of my body, but hey, it felt great while it lasted!

The elders are passing round some kind of hallucinogenic tobacco product to smoke, and I'm declining on the grounds that I've seen enough weird shit to do me a lifetime.

Finally everyone starts to file out of the hut leaving us alone, and I let Daniel help me to my feet. He stands in front of me, a shy little smile playing with the corners of his mouth, which immediately makes me want to run my tongue over his lips. He takes a hesitant step towards me and the smile grows wider.

"That was the bravest, most amazing thing I have ever seen, Jack." His eyes are huge, the pupils so dilated that there's almost no blue showing. "The way you tackled that wolf and killed it with your bare hands, wearing nothing but a loincloth. God! That was such a turn on!" His chest is rising and falling in little panting breaths. "You were magnificent," he whispers.

Like I said before, I must be dead, because this cannot be happening. I'm absolutely mesmerised by those eyes, like a deer in the headlights, like a moth to the flame, like a lamb to the slaughter, I tilt my head and lean in. He meets me half way and our lips brush softly.

Holy Hannah!

BAM! Fireworks, violins, earthquakes. The whole shebang.

Okay, okay, not the place for this. Not the time. I pull back slowly, my eyes never leaving his flushed face.

"Isn't this a little… sudden?" I ask.

Not for me. I mean, for him. I want to know how long he's felt like this? Because you can't tell me that the sight of me going all 'primal' in an itsy bitsy leather loincloth is enough to turn a previously heterosexual male homosexual in the blink of an eye? My legs aren't that good.

Are they?

"Jack, I get the feeling something is throwing us together. Things have been a bit weird recently. And I've... uh, been attracted to you for... for a long time. Damn, I'm not making a very good job of this. I know that makes no sense but...."

I pull him close and kiss him again, releasing him very slowly. "It makes perfect sense to me," I assure him. And it does make sense now. All of it makes sense. I back towards the entrance, leading him by the hand.

As I step out into the cool night, I look up at the stars, twinkling like a million eyes gazing back down at me, and I can't help but smile. I have all the evidence I need now and silently I thank her.

Yes, her.

The cosmic joker is a woman, and one with a vested interest in the lives of two mortal men.

"Can't interfere, my ass!" I say to no one in particular.

I hear Daniel's soft laugh behind me then he whispers. "Yeah, Oma, we owe you one."

 

 

 

 

 

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