A Sudden Blow   

                                                                                                                                                By:  Kylie Lee   



CATEGORY:  Episode Related

SEASON/SPOILERS:  Season 9 “Icon” and “Ethon”








"What's up?" Daniel Jackson asked, a little out of breath. He'd run all the way down from his office when he'd gotten Sergeant Walter Harriman's urgent page.


"Incoming wormhole from Tegalus." Harriman sounded businesslike.


Daniel blinked. Tegalus? Before he could react, Cameron Mitchell, seated next to Harriman, spoke. "A Jared Kane is requesting to be let through--says he needs to speak to you and it's urgent." His drawl indicated that he had decided to play

it cool.


"On radio," Harriman said.


Fast. This was all happening way too fast. "Jared, this is Daniel." He shouldn't have said that. Jared would never make a mistake like that. He'd call Daniel "Dr. Jackson," the formality creating distance between them when they were in

public. But if Jared was calling, something had to be up. "What's wrong?"


Jared's voice sounded familiar, even over the distance of light-years plus a year. "Dr. Jackson, I have very little time. I've gained access to the Stargate without my government's authorization. Please allow me to come through. I am

alone, and unarmed."


"Open the iris," Mitchell commanded at Daniel's nod, and Harriman obeyed. The blue glow of the Stargate filled the embarkation room.


"Okay, Jared, it's safe to come through," Daniel Jackson told the man on the other side of the Stargate, even as the armed men in the embarkation room raised their weapons.


"Let's get down there." Mitchell got up in a smooth, easy movement and held the door for him. "Jared Kane," he said as they clattered down the stairs. "Got any idea why he's calling?"


"No." Daniel stopped abruptly when Mitchell caught his shoulder.


"Nothing you need to tell me, Jackson?" Mitchell said, bending down so he could keep his voice low.


"Cam, you know there's nothing," Daniel said. "That was a year ago--more than a year ago. It's over." Over? It never really was--whatever there had been between him and Jared Kane. He shook off Mitchell's hand and started back down. Funny

how he'd just assumed Mitchell was talking about Daniel and Jared personally, the fact that they'd been lovers for a few weeks--it had only been a few weeks--a year ago on Tegalus. Only then did it occur to him to think that maybe Mitchell wondered whether he needed to know something practical about Tegalus, some insight or intel that Mitchell could use. "We need to hurry. If he's calling, something's going down. Something bad."


They entered the embarkation room just as Jared came through the Stargate, heartbreakingly familiar, wearing a leather jacket and a bag slung across his chest. Daniel felt his presence like a sudden blow. Was it the unfinished business between them? Or was it just the magnetic attraction between them? They'd felt it when they first laid eyes on each other, the offworld visitor and the efficient aide to the Rand Protectorate's leader. Daniel felt it now, even though Mitchell stood right beside him.


Daniel had been right. Jared's--Kane's--eyes flickered to Daniel's face and he said, "Dr. Jackson."


A year ago, when Daniel had walked with Samantha Carter and Teal'c through the Stargate to set foot on Tegalus, the introductions hadn't been formal. They'd been communicating through the MALP, after all, and they knew each other's names

and voices. As they were herded to a place where they could talk, Daniel had fallen into step with an unsmiling, sharp-looking man who voiced his opinions freely: Commander Gareth's aide, Jared Kane, the man who got things done. He'd been the one Sam had talked to to coordinate their first meeting. He'd been the one who spoke practically of places to stay, items to place on an agenda, security protocols. Gareth had spoken in vaguer terms of friendship, understanding, and sharing of resources.


Kane didn't trust them. Gareth, ever the smooth politician, withheld judgment for now.


Kane and Daniel walked silently next to each other, listening to Sam and Gareth talk business. Daniel watched them, because Kane pulled at him in a way he didn't want to acknowledge. He'd sensed Kane's intensity ever since he'd come through the Stargate. It was as if their eyes sought each other, then met, and just like that, they knew, but of course that wasn't the case.


Their arms bumped, and Daniel felt it through his entire body. After that accidental, unacknowledged touch, he found himself hyperaware of Kane's wiry body. Kane was shorter than him, with light eyes and hair. His uniform had silver ribbon and buttons where Gareth's had gold. Kane called him "Dr. Jackson," and Daniel called him "Kane" because nobody had told him a title to use.


"A tour," Kane had suggested when the first round of sit-down talks were over, and Daniel said, "Of course," even as Sam said, "Later--I have to talk to Commander Gareth," and Teal'c, ever wary, said, "I will remain with Colonel Carter." Sam gave him a meaningful look as they left, and Daniel understood that he was to get what he could out of Kane and report back.


"I'll try to get you a tour of the city," Kane said as they headed down a corridor, alarmingly littered with tall heaps of sandbags. "This way to the power juncture. There are some wonderful gardens nearby. My wife and I were lucky enough to get an apartment adjoining them."




"It's a bit of a nature reserve, with paths," Kane continued. "Very beautiful. I don't want you think it's all underground bunkers."

"I'd love to see it. And if you can make it to Earth--well, we have gardens too.


Before her death, my wife was something of a gardener."


"Ah," Kane said noncommittally. "Stand down, soldier," he ordered, and a young man with a weapon stood aside. "Through here to the power generator, Dr. Jackson. I'm sure it's not up to your level of technology, but..."


Daniel followed him in and said all the right things. The important information had been given. "It's not just men," they had told each other. And the existence of a wife meant that Kane wasn't asking anything of Daniel. They'd laid it out. It had been a while since Daniel had danced this dance, but he found he remembered the steps. The tension and interest were all signaled and reciprocated: Kane's hand lingering on his back as he directed Daniel around a corner; Kane's eyes searching his face; Daniel's hand on Kane's arm for longer than was polite. They were little signals, but Daniel didn't think he was misreading them.


Kane said, "Just through here, Dr. Jackson," and Daniel followed him through an anonymous door, one like all the other doors. Kane shut and locked it behind them. He took off his sidearm and laid it by the door. And then he turned to Daniel, unsmiling, that compact body focused. "Daniel," he said. "You know what I'm asking."


"Yes," Daniel said, stepping into Jared's arms. "Jared. The answer is yes."


It was rushed and desperate. They didn't undress. They ended up on the floor, pants undone and open, and used their mouths on each other. Daniel took off the belt of Jared's uniform jacket so he could unbutton it and reach underneath. The feel of Jared's body straining against his aroused him so profoundly that he could think of nothing but touch. "Don't stop, Daniel," Jared said fiercely, and Daniel said, "Yes. Jared. Yes." His orgasm took him somewhere else. He imagined Jared's did too, as Jared shuddered and came in his mouth--somewhere far away from his wife, waiting at home in their apartment.


Their hasty coming together didn't release them. Daniel had thought it might--that it might be like scratching an itch, and then they'd be able to look at each other and say, "It's all right now." Instead, it made it worse. Daniel had to force himself to focus. Each day, SG-1 met with Rand's leadership. Each day, Daniel and Jared called each other "Kane" and "Dr. Jackson" and tried not to look at each other with hot eyes. They were careful. Nobody knew--not Gareth, not Sam, and certainly not Jared's wife, the woman who didn't quite exist.


Daniel never met Leda. He became aware of her slowly, and then she had somehow always existed. He floated in a sea of pain punctuated by periods of black unconsciousness. When he awoke, barely aware of what was around him, she was

there, a presence with hands that pressed wet cloths against his cheeks. She held bedpans and changed the sheets with him still in the bed. She impersonally bathed him with tepid water. Her competent hands and soothing voice made him think that she was old. He imagined her as a professional nurse, someone who had seen it all and wasn't fazed by anything.


And then when he woke up, when the pain receded and he could think of his friends, the Stargate, and getting home, she took the bandages off his eyes and turned into beautiful Leda. She couldn't have been more than twenty-five. The gray hair he'd imagined was instead long, fair, and curly. She was the first thing he saw when he could see again. He was at her family's house in the country, she gave him to understand, and all he could think of was the bunker and the attack. He'd been in the bunker with Commander Gareth, and the Caledonians had launched an attack.


"Jared is away searching for survivors," Leda said. Jared. Daniel felt his body flare with heat. Jared Kane. "He should be back in a few days' time. I think it would be best if he answered your questions."


"Jared Kane....Yeah, I remember him." Oh, he remembered Jared--his intensity, his body, his touch. They had only known each other for a week. It seemed like forever. "He was in the bunker as well."


"My husband was chief aide to Commander Gareth."


"Husband. Was." The realization hit him like a sudden blow, followed by the realization that the political landscape had changed while he'd been injured and unconscious. Gareth was dead--that didn't surprise him--but the relief he felt at Jared's still being alive almost overwhelmed him. "My wife," Jared had said, and still Daniel had let Jared shut and lock the door behind them. Jared had laid his sidearm by the door, and they'd stepped together because nothing could have kept them apart. Jared hadn't mentioned her name.


Leda said, "He insisted I move here when the fighting reached the capital." Daniel remembered that Jared had lived in an apartment in the capital city. He'd lived there with Leda, of course, the wife who didn't exist--who hadn't existed until now. "He felt you would be safest in my care."


"Look, no offense, but I've really got to get back to my own world..." Daniel started, because he couldn't say, "Please find Jared. Please bring him to me." Jared had given him into the care of someone he trusted absolutely, and trust did not come easily to Jared. Daniel understood that there had been no choice.


He found he could look at her. He could talk to her, even enjoy her company. He could talk to her without thinking of him and Jared, entangled on the floor of the storeroom in the bunker, panting as they frantically took what needed. The unnamed wife turned into lonely, cool Leda, who single-handedly and competently took care of the big house. She found him clothes. Jared was smaller than Daniel, so she went into the attic and found casual clothes that fit, left over from some long-gone male relative, including a relaxed leather jacket that Daniel wore everywhere. He understood that she was lonely, and he felt her

growing attachment even as he felt it himself. He did stints in an outbuilding with a radio, trying to contact the SGC, hoping that if he just broadcast long enough, the Stargate would be open and they would hear him. He and Leda went for

long walks on the extensive grounds of the estate.


His wounds on his face and hands slowly healed. His eyes cleared. And they talked.


"My name?" Leda said, surprised, as she poured out the last of the tea. The remnants of breakfast lay on their plates: a savory fruit, which she'd cut up and fried; sausages; mildly spiced beans; toast with jam. "It's not very common. I was named after my maternal grandmother. It's an old-fashioned name, actually."


"Where I come from, the name is from a famous story--a myth." Daniel held up a hand to indicate he had enough tea, and Leda set the pot down, then resettled herself across from him. "Leda was a queen of Sparta. A god named Zeus took the

form of a swan--that's a really big, white bird with a long neck. He raped her while in that form, and she laid two eggs. Now, stories differ about who hatched out of the eggs, and stories differ about which of her children were her husband's and which were Zeus's. But most of stories agree that Helen of Troy hatched out of one of the eggs. Helen grew up to be a famous beauty." Daniel settled into the story as Leda listened politely. He felt like a teacher again. "She was kidnapped by Paris of Troy--well, accounts differ about that too. Some say she eloped with him. Anyway, Helen's husband, Menelaus, wasn't too happy about it, and he went after her, and he managed to get up a big coalition of people to help him. This resulted in a huge war--the Trojan War. Troy was under siege for ten years. The war was--uh--" Daniel calculated. "It was more than three thousand years ago. Nobody's quite sure when it was. In fact, scholars disagree on whether or not Troy actually existed. But the event had a huge impact on art and literature."


Leda smiled. "A woman raped by a bird? And she laid eggs?"


Daniel nodded. "It's the violence," he told Leda. "That's the point of the story. One violent action, Zeus's rape of Leda, leads in a roundabout way to untold violence, a lengthy war that engaged the entire region. Thousands, millions, maybe more, died."


Leda put her head in her hand and studied him across the table, a slight smile on her lips. "You think the situation parallels Rand and Caledonia. You arrived, and your coming through the Great Ring of Avedon was like a violent action that led in a roundabout way to untold violence." As she spoke, she spread her hands, illustrating a rush outward, violence spreading. "I say it again: you just kindled the fire. We--us--them--all of us have been the fuel. Any stray spark would have set it off. You must not blame yourself."


"No. I mean, yes, but that's not what I was thinking just now." Daniel slid his plate to the side and folded his arm on the table, earnest. He had to make her understand. SG-1 had begun the conflict by their arrival, and he was here to see what he could salvage of it. "See, why does it have to be violence? Why can't there be a single precipitating--even transforming--event of peace?"


Leda stared at him, momentarily speechless, and Daniel rushed on.


"Think about it. Instead of one person doing what between Rand and Caledonia is the obvious thing--attacking, or retaliating--why don't you do something unexpected? Why don't you say, 'Let's negotiate'?" Daniel leaned forward, holding her eyes. "Why don't you say, 'In a gesture of good faith, I will disarm'? Or 'We will share the Stargate equally'? Or--or why doesn't your leader--your new leader--say, 'I'll come over personally. I'll give you my parole. Let's talk.'"


"A precipitating event of peace," Leda said slowly. She dropped her eyes to her cup of tea and began turning it around as she considered.


Daniel nodded emphatically. He had struck her. He could tell. She was thinking. "Yes. A precipitating event of peace." A sudden blow. Let he and Jared's time together be that precipitating event. Let their betrayal of Leda by their lovemaking be salvaged. "An--an anti-Leda."


"They would crush us," Leda said simply. "They would see it as a sign of weakness. Rand would be lost."


"You sound so sure," Daniel said, thinking that he was lost--he and Jared.


"Oh, I am," she said. She caught his hand in hers, and he felt her longing. He didn't take his hand away, because her need was so great. "But you've made me think."




It had taken courage for Jared Kane to get through the Stargate to Earth. Daniel had the feeling that Kane had called in all his chips to gain access. He remembered Kane's entourage on Tegalus: he'd had armed men with him wherever he went, covering his back. They didn't follow Kane because they were paid to, or because it was their responsibility. The followed him because they wanted to. He engendered in them a fierce loyalty. To see Rand overrun by religious zealots, only to have to rebuild; and then to have it all happen again when the Priors came--well, it couldn't be easy for him. Now he came with stolen plans for an

orbital weapon, fear of genocide, and a request for help. After a year, he'd thought to come to Daniel.


Daniel remembered his promise to Kane, which he'd made right after they'd taken the bunker back and right before Daniel had gone back to Earth through the Stargate. He'd offered to come back and help them rebuild. Daniel felt responsible for precipitating the event that had led to so much death and destruction on Tegalus, for all that the two trigger-happy superpowers circled each other, poised to do battle. He wanted to make it right.


Now, he sat with Kane in the mess, the two of them finally alone. "They would crush us," he remembered Leda saying. The two sides could not reconcile. And now, after a year, he and Kane faced each other warily. "Kane, I...I have to ask: Leda," Daniel said.


Kane had been waiting for the question, Daniel realized. "Five months ago, while Rand was deciding whether to accept Origin or not, a disease swept through the country," Kane began, and Daniel knew what he was going to say. "Thousands became deathly ill. The Prior said those who believed and embraced the Ori would be cured. That's when people everywhere began accepting them as gods. We watched so many barter away their beliefs in exchange for their lives. But Leda, she...she refused to accept it."


"I am sorry," Daniel offered sincerely, thinking how like her it was. He was sorry--deeply sorry. She deserved better than to die as a pawn in a power struggle that pretended to be about salvation.


He and Kane had come together before he knew Leda as Leda. At the time, it hadn't been a betrayal. The betrayal came later, in her family's house.


One day, a year ago, during his convalescence, an armed guard had pressed him against the wall when he exited Leda's house. He'd come to understand that her family was wealthy. Despite this, Leda worked hard and uncomplainingly. Her perfect life, with her advantageous marriage to someone handsome and important whom she loved, hadn't turned out to be perfect, and still Leda faced it every day, but now, with Daniel there, she let her facade crumble. She trusted Daniel. She missed intimacy. Each day that went by brought them closer together as she opened herself to him. Daniel dreaded what would happen if she touched him, because he didn't know whether he could refuse her and her need. She was attracted to him, and despite himself, he found himself attracted to her. He tried to think of Jared and could only remember the fire between them. He couldn't think of the color of Jared's eyes.


And Daniel, held by the guard against the wall, looked up to see Jared, unsmiling as usual, trim in his uniform, as though nothing had changed, as though power hadn't just leaked out of a vacuum and his world hadn't collapsed. Daniel's heart stopped and he couldn't breathe. A sudden blow, seeing Jared so unexpectedly. He'd come home, to Leda--to Daniel. Daniel hadn't forgotten. He'd just pushed it aside. Jared's eyes met his, and of course he hadn't forgotten their color. No time had passed: it was as if Daniel had just walked through the Stargate, and he and Jared had looked at each other and known exactly what would happen. Daniel could hear it: the clang of the door shutting behind them, the heavy sound of the lock mechanism, the soft sound of Jared unbuckling his holstered sidearm.


When they'd talked, inside the house, the armed men alert even as Leda bustled around, handing out snacks, Jared had changed into casual clothes. It made Daniel see him differently. Although he looked more relaxed out of uniform, Jared was on edge. He hadn't found many survivors, and Soren, who had taken the bunker, was the presumptive leader of the Rand Protectorate, only it seemed he had no intention of protecting the people. They died of violence and disease. There wasn't enough food. Jared's decision to send them to the country had been a good one, because they were self-sufficient for food, and they were far away from the rioting and fighting. The old way--the old religion--had become the new way. Those who did not believe would perish. The deaths worked in Soren's favor, as did the chaos. No organized resistance could be built.


Jared's coming upset the balance of Daniel's and Leda's days. He destabilized them. Daniel knew that Jared suspected he and Leda of having an affair. But at night, when Jared came to Daniel's bedroom, with its polished wooden bed and the blue-and-white-striped bedding and the toile wallpaper, they didn't talk about that. They came together with the same desperation that had marked their encounters in the bunker's storeroom. Afterward, they would twine together and kiss and murmur, saying each other's names but meaning more than that, and sometimes the kissing escalated until they found themselves rocking together again, desperate for the ecstasy that only momentarily obliterated their need for each other.


Jared didn't come to Daniel every day, but whenever he did, he spent the night. When Daniel awoke and put his arm out, Jared was there. They slept close together, even entwined, because the bed was so small. It had been years since Daniel had shared a bed with someone all night. Jared would leave early in the morning, before anyone but the night guard walking the halls stirred. Daniel thought the guards knew--they had to. Completely professional, they said nothing. Leda didn't know. She and Jared had separate bedrooms, because Jared could be awakened at any time. It was for her convenience, of course. She didn't speak of it to Daniel. For the sake of propriety, her bedroom was on a different floor than Daniel's. It made it easier.


Daniel would go down to breakfast to find Jared sipping tea and talking with Leda. Leda fixed everybody breakfast. Sometimes one of the guards helped her. One time Jared, laughing, made an omelet to prove a point. They would all talk and scheme, Leda and Jared and Daniel and the guards, and Daniel and Jared would try to ignore each other, tamping back the desire that underlay talk of the weather or business. Leda would put her hand on Daniel's shoulder, casually, as she leaned down to place a plate in front of him, and Jared's eyes would flicker to her face, then to Daniel's, a question in his eyes that he never spoke aloud. One action, Jared's seduction of Daniel--or was it the other way around?--had led to this.


Nobody ever said anything. Jared never asked him about Leda. They had other things to do when they were together.


Daniel wondered whether, on those nights when he slept alone, Jared shared a bed with his wife.




Negotiation, Daniel thought. He used to be so good at it. But of course, negotiation depended on the good faith of others. He thought that the SGC had done the right thing by contacting Rand, even as, to hedge their bets, they prepared the Prometheus for a trip. Sam had used the plans Kane had brought to craft a plan to blow up the Priors' orbital weapon, and Sam's plans were usually good.


Kane had reluctantly agreed to the idea of talking: he thought maybe Earth's intel on the Priors would make a good case. Daniel knew that he was relieved that Prometheus would be making the trip regardless--their backs were covered, and Kane's self-appointed mission would be completed no matter what. So they'd gone through the Stargate, expecting to be surrounded by armed guards, but expecting to be brought somewhere, maybe the familiar control room of the bunker or its conference room, to talk. Instead, they'd been thrown into cells. The armed guards had simply marched them out of the bunker, where the Stargate still resided, to a nearby anonymous building, taken them down in an elevator, and shoved them into cells. Nobody in power had bothered to meet them--not President Nadal, and not Commander Pernaux. Daniel wasn't surprised when someone called Jared "Senator Kane." Senator? No wonder he'd gotten access to the weapon's plans.


In their adjoining cells, Kane kept his back to Daniel. He didn't want to talk. All the other cells were empty. An armed guard sometimes stood at the end of the cell block, and sometimes didn't. Two days passed, with the silence between Daniel and Jared stretching. Commander Pernaux came by for a visit. He was convinced that both Daniel and Kane were Caledonian spies. He wanted names and intel. Daniel was sickened, but not surprised, to hear that Rand had used the orbital weapon to destroy Prometheus. How many people had crewed it? How many had died? Had Sam and Teal'c and Cam been aboard? Of course they had. They wouldn't leave Daniel behind.


"I don't know what to say," Kane said at long last, breaking the silence. "How to take it all back. I shouldn't have come to you."


I shouldn't have come to you. But he had, night after night. They'd taken off their clothes and devoured each other. Daniel paced, to dispel the memories and the image of Jared underneath him, panting. Daniel said, "Look, right now you just have to believe there are survivors." He said it because he himself had to believe it.


"Do you think that's really possible?" Kane asked unbelievingly.


"The Prometheus has beaming technology," Daniel explained. They had probably abandoned ship.


"Had beaming technology, whatever that is." Jared turned and sat on the low bunk.


"Look, the bottom line is that we can't lose focus of why we came back here in the first place. I mean, there has to be a way out of this. And I got the feeling that Pernaux was listening to us."


Jared interrupted gently. "Daniel."


Daniel rushed on. "Look. I know the history between Rand and Caledonia makes things seem impossible. But sometimes an outside perspective helps. In the past, I've found that the key to these types of disputes is to...to get both parties on an equal footing, to get the process of talking with each other going again."


"Do you ever give up?" Jared asked rhetorically.


"Not until I'm dead," Daniel said. "And sometimes not even then."


Jared stood and wrapped his hands around the bars, face to face with Daniel. "When I first saw you--" he began. "Do you remember? A year ago?"


"A sudden blow," Daniel murmured, inches away from him. The bars that separated them made it miles. Their meeting had been an event that had changed his life, because what was between them was so undeniably strong. And now another event, Jared's coming through the Stargate to ask for help, had cascaded into another series of events. Like Zeus's rape of Leda, that act had touched off a chain of events that no one could stop as more and more people were sucked in.


"A sudden blow," Jared repeated. "Yes. We walked beside each other. I was so aware of you. The way you moved. Your height."


"Jared." Daniel inhaled to speak. He had to cut Jared off.


Jared, anticipating him, spoke quickly. "I didn't trust you, but I wanted you. And I trusted Leda, but didn't want her. At least, I didn't think I did. The distance between us, between me and Leda--it had grown too vast. The deeper I got into my--my work, the greater the rift between us. I saw you, and she didn't matter. I didn't even try to stop myself. I didn't even think of her. Do you remember?" His voice had fallen into a whisper. "In the storeroom."


"I remember," Daniel said neutrally, thinking of the way Jared had locked the door and then taken off his weapon before he'd turned to face Daniel.


Jared slid his hands up so their hands touched. Jared radiated a heat that Daniel could feel through the cold bars separating them. "Before you left, a year ago," Jared continued. "Leda spoke for you. I know you grew...close during your convalescence." He cleared his throat. "I said, 'I need to know: do you love him?'"


"And?" Daniel asked despite himself, when Jared stopped.


"She didn't answer my question. She said, 'I trust him.'"


"There was nothing between us," Daniel said. That wasn't quite true. He clarified. "Not like that. She was lonely. She wanted someone to talk to. She loved you. She just wanted to be close to you again, the way you were before, after you first got married."


"I know." Jared was too close. Daniel still felt the pull--a year later, and no time had passed. "After you were gone, after all of the--the upheaval, we reconciled. And I have you to thank for that. You gave me my passion back, and what you spoke of with Leda gave her her passion back." He reached through the bars and caressed Daniel's cheek. "Daniel, I trust you," he said, eyes searching Daniel's face. "It's why I came to you." He slid his hand from Daniel's cheek to his neck, and, holding Daniel's gaze, he brought Daniel's face down so he could kiss him.


It wasn't like before, and it was exactly like before. Jared tasted startlingly familiar. The heat that had always been between them rose, and Jared threaded his fingers in Daniel's hair as Daniel intertwined their fingers. Daniel thought of Cameron Mitchell, but he reached through the bars with his free hand so he could put his arm around Jared's waist and pull him closer. Jared shifted so as much of them as possible could touch. It escalated, so quickly that Daniel felt dizzy. Jared's scent, his touch, the way his teeth nibbled at Daniel's bottom lip--all of it drove him insane. Their mouths opened, and there was no going back. They leaned into each other, and Daniel felt himself grow hard.


He couldn't do this--whatever this was, wherever this was going. Daniel's voice sounded raw and low. "Jared, we have to stop. Please stop."


Jared didn't stop. Instead, Jared took his mouth the way Daniel knew Jared wanted to take Daniel's body: sensuous, scorching. Daniel moaned. He would make love with Jared Kane through the bars that separated them, and there would be nothing left of him. He would be incinerated like the crew of Prometheus.


Jared tore his mouth off Daniel's and pressed their foreheads together. "It's still there," he said hoarsely, fingers clutching at Daniel's hair.


"Oh, god, is it ever." Daniel loosened his grip on Jared. He needed distance. He tried to think of Cameron Mitchell. It wasn't like this with Cam.


Jared let go of Daniel regretfully. "I know you have someone else now," he said. "I didn't mean to--to--" He broke off. "I don't know what I meant."


"Jared, it took me months to get over you." Daniel's intense, low voice matched the knuckles that gleamed whitely in the light as he clenched a bar. "With you, it was never nothing. Never."


Before Jared could respond, the lights abruptly went out. "Something's happened," Jared said, stepping back from the bars--from Daniel--and looking up as if that would turn the lights back on.


"Nothing good," Daniel said grimly as they heard footsteps clattering. Someone was coming to get them. They'd know soon enough what happened.


He could hear Leda's voice. They would crush us.


A year ago, Daniel had said goodbye to Leda. It was the last time he would ever see her. Jared and his men were ready for their half of the plan: they would attack the bunker at a time coordinated with the SGC through coded radio signals. Sam, Teal'c, and fifteen men would come through the Stargate and take it from within. "Fifteen men," Jared had scoffed, but Daniel had reassured him: the men were the best at what they did. They were trained for ops just like this.


They stood in the courtyard of the beautiful country house, Leda's family's house, all of them armed. Daniel had watched as Jared went to Leda and took her hand. They didn't speak. Jared just smiled at her. Daniel could read that smile, just as Leda could. "I may never see you again," the smile said. "I'm sorry and I love you."


Daniel was next. He couldn't say "I'm sorry and I love you" either, even though he was sorry, and in a way, despite what he and Jared shared, he did love her. Instead, he said, "If this works..."


"You'll be going home," Leda said immediately.


"Leda..." he said, because so much remained unsaid. Again and again, she had been close to telling him how she felt--he'd known it. And she had never said it, even though her husband had grown distant. She had grown cold in response. Daniel's presence had thawed her. He had reminded her that she was a woman.


"No," she said firmly. "Go."


He turned, and he saw Jared watching them. He stared at Daniel for a long moment before he turned. Betrayal yawned between them: Leda and Daniel, Daniel and Jared, Leda and Jared.


None of that mattered now. It was time. Negotiations had failed; he had failed. It was time to repay violence with violence. It was time for him to go home.




"Rough day," Cam said.


"Rough day," Daniel agreed. They'd said that in Daniel's office, toasting the day with soft drinks before Cam had followed him home, then followed him upstairs to the bedroom. Cam had done his best to make him forget for an hour or so.


There had been no bodies at the memorial service, of course. Cam had carried news of Colonel Pendergast's death to his family. It was important to let them know that he had died in service to his country. A sudden blow, Daniel thought, thinking of Pendergast's wife. He'd never met her, but he imagined she grabbed the side of the door. In his imagination, she had long, fair, curly hair like Leda's. He imagined that she said, "Oh, no. No."


"You okay, Jackson?" Cam asked, idly stroking Daniel's chest.


Daniel adjusted the sheet. "I don't know," he said honestly. "I mean, I knew that Jared and I could never--could never have anything together. Other planets--you know." He left the rest of it unspoken. It was one thing to know they could never be together, and it was another to know he was dead. He didn't see how Jared Kane could have survived. They couldn't make contact through the Stargate. They'd send the Daedalus by on its way back from Atlantis to check on everybody, but Rand and Caledonia had finally discovered what weapons of mass destruction could do.


Cam's face looked closed in. "Yeah," he said noncommittally.


Daniel tried to put it into words. "It was just so...intense. Like nothing mattered but what we--what we felt. We'd come together and it would annihilate me."


Cam nuzzled the side of Daniel's face. His voice was light. "So...I'm guessing the sex was incredible."


Daniel smiled at the memory. "Oh, yeah," he said. "Yeah." He remembered each time, from the frantic, furtive blow job in the bunker's supply room that had started it all to the slow, hours-long lovemaking in the guest bedroom of the estate house, late, late at night, with Leda asleep in her bedroom on the floor above.


"I know it took you a while to get over it," Cam said after a while. The unspoken question hung there: Was he over it? Was he over Jared Kane?


Daniel let Cam take his hand. "Don't take this the wrong way," he started.


"Oh-oh, no," Cam interrupted. "Stop right there. Nothing good ever comes after 'don't take this the wrong way.'"


Daniel continued doggedly. "With you, it's not this huge, all-encompassing need. I don't lose--I don't lose myself. I'm still there. And it's--it's fun."


"Fun," Cam repeated, raising his eyebrows. "I think I'm insulted. Wait. I know I'm insulted."


Daniel hastened to explain. "It's not this desperate, tragic thing. We aren't hurting anybody by being together. We--we can be silly. Like with the lube."


"I swear to god that was an accident," Cam said immediately, and Daniel smiled. "Fun is good," Cam offered. "And you being you is very good." Cam came up on an elbow so he could loom over Daniel. "Listen, if you want to be alone, I can go," he offered. "It's okay. I don't mind. I'm not, like, insane with jealousy or anything like that. Well, that's not true. I guess I am kind of jealous. But the guy is dead, and you had something important with him. I get that. Anyway. Just--let me know. I can go."


Daniel considered. "No," he said at last. "I wish you'd stay."


"You're sure."




"Okay." Cam settled in, and Daniel shut off the light.


Later that night, half-awake, Daniel reached out, and there he was: Cameron Mitchell, in bed beside him.



                                                                                  ** The End ** 


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