“Jack, are you going to come and lie down?”
Daniel smiled wryly. Jack was looking out over the shore, watching as the panga took Izel back to the mainland. His lover had fought him tooth and nail, insisting that he didn’t need the hospital; that a doctor would be a stupid idea.
“It’s just stomach flu, Danny,” he had repeated over and over until Daniel sighed deeply and gave in. Jack did seem to be a little better and Izel’s tea was keeping the actual vomiting at bay, although Daniel was inclined to think that Jack’s nausea was still roiling around his belly. He took a long lingering look his eyes lingered on Jack’s back. He was dressed in his preferred vacation clothes; white linen shirt, unbuttoned to expose his chest; fine cotton tie waist trousers hanging low on his hips, the cuffs turned up to expose long, sexy feet and narrow ankles. Daniel could see from the drape of the cotton over his ass that Jack was going commando and the realization made Daniel’s mouth go dry with lust. He shook his head. There was no way they would be doing anything but some gentle making out for the next day at least. He wanted to be sure that Jack was on the mend before he’d let them get into anything more strenuous. He did, however, have something he wanted to talk to Jack about.
He lounged back on the Adirondack chair and smiled as Jack turned, treating him to the breathtaking view of his tanned chest and arms against the pale shirt.
“Come and talk to me, Jack.”
Jack winced and gave a little frown.
“Danny,” he groaned, “can’t we just go to bed, have a little fun?” Jack illustrated his request by straddling Daniel’s legs and leaning over him, ghosting kisses across his forehead and cheekbones. Daniel was seriously tempted until he saw the tremors in Jack’s forearms as he held himself away from Daniel.
“Jack, I think the spirit is willing…” He pressed against Jack’s shoulders and made him stand. Daniel followed him, smiling gently at the look of disappointment on Jack’s face.
“Yeah, I suppose you’re right,” Jack agreed reluctantly. He was sick of feeling…well, sick. His stomach still felt precarious at best, although the herb tea was keeping the worst of it at bay. He still couldn’t imagine eating anything but the lightest meal and the thought of alcohol had shivers running down his back. He was disappointed that this leave was being hijacked by his body and his psyche. He was still freaked by the hallucination he’d had; but that was all it was, he had decided. A temperature induced hallucination, easily explained by the effects of this damn stomach flu.
Daniel saw the disappointment ghost across his lover’s face. It would be so easy to give in, take him to bed and make love to him. But despite allowing Jack to talk him around about going back to the mainland, Daniel was determined that Jack would rest and recoup.
“Why don’t we get in the soaking pool? It’s shaded there and we could just enjoy the heat without worrying about sunburn.” Daniel turned and slipped off his cotton shorts and muscle top, revealing acres of tanned skin. Jack made a little appreciative noise in the back of his throat and Daniel threw him a grin over his shoulder as he stepped down into the blissfully cool water of the pool.
Within seconds Jack was undressed and sinking up to his neck in the water, his head resting against Daniel’s shoulder, his arms and legs floating serenely just under the surface. Daniel wiggled a little to get his back and ass settled on the broad seat that ran around the pool, allowing him to sink to shoulder height under the rippling water. He flung one arm along the tiled edge and the other hooked under Jack’s armpit and over onto his chest, snuggling him closely, enjoying the feeling of Jack’s muscled back against his broad chest.
“How’s your stomach?” he asked when they had been drowsing quietly for a few minutes.
“Still not settled,” Jack replied honestly. “I think I’d like some more of Izel’s tea…but not yet. Can we just stay like this for a while?” Jack turned his head and kissed the patch of bare flesh he could reach, making Daniel shiver a little.
“Of course,” Daniel’s fingers drew lazy circles over and through Jacks chest hair, teasing the darkened fuzz into interesting whorls. Jack was relaxing into sleep and whilst it would probably do him good, Daniel thought it was not a good idea out here in the pool. While he had Jack so pliant though, it was an ideal opportunity to ask the question that had been burning in his mind since he had found out about Jack and Simon. He knew Jack would be pissed with him, but he just needed to know.
“Sooo…You and Simon.”
“Daniel,” Jack’s voice carried a warning and was laced with resignation as if he had known this was coming, but hoped to dodge this particular bullet until another day. “Please don’t do this now.”
Daniel tightened his arm around Jack’s chest, worried that if he gave him the chance he would get out of the pool and Daniel’s opportunity would be lost. “If not now, then when. You know everything about me, Jack. It’s all there in my file. Everything I’ve ever done, my childhood, every lover I’ve ever had. You know it all.” Daniel sighed deeply.
“I’ll arrange for you to see my file,” Jack replied gruffly.
“What? I imagine there’s nothing in there but black marker.” Daniel said, trying to keep his irritation at bay. “I work in the most secret facility on the planet and you still think I don’t have enough clearance to know about all those Special Ops missions. I know Simon isn’t mentioned there either, not as your lover, because otherwise we wouldn’t be sitting here now. Your career would have been over before it even started.”
Jack rubbed a wet hand over his face. As soon as Daniel had found those pictures in Simon’s album he had known they’d end up having this conversation. Jack had hoped that, just this once, Daniel would have left it alone. He snorted quietly. ‘Yeah, like that would ever happen.’ He resigned himself to having to haul some of the darkness out of the strongbox he’d locked it into all those years ago. He knew he really did owe this to Daniel; he just wasn’t sure what his reaction would be.
“So,” Jack drawled as he tried to fight the impulse to surge out of the water and run. “What do you want to know?”
He felt Daniel relax infinitesimally and then there was a long silence. Jack could imagine the face Daniel was pulling, his eyes slightly scrunched as he formulated his first question. He wished that, just this once, Daniel could be spontaneous. Making him wait was making him nervous, which was transmuting into a kind of anger that Jack could feel brewing in his gut, making his stomach churn: What he wouldn’t give for a cup of Izel’s tea right now.
“You told me you weren’t doing Black Ops assignments when you first met Simon, but you inferred that wasn’t the case for long. Did you go on assignment together?” Daniel was determined to find out what it was about that time that meant Jack could be so cavalier about his relationship with Simon.
Jack swallowed hard. Trust Daniel to excavate down to the very bottom, delving in amongst the dirtiest part of his career. Once an archaeologist…
“We only actually did one Black Ops mission while we were together. In fact it was that operation that got Simon sent back to Britain.” Jack felt an icy cold clutch around his heart. Apart from his official report only he and Simon knew what had happened on that mission. Could he do this? Could he tell Daniel, his idealistic, humanitarian lover what he had been part of that day and still keep his heart? He turned in Daniel’s arms to face him. He needed to see his eyes; needed to know if love turned to disgust. He tried to kneel, but the tiled floor cut into his skin and he knew it would be too uncomfortable. “Can we get in the hammock, Danny? If I’m going to do this I need to see you properly.”
Daniel nodded, understanding what Jack was saying. “Nothing you tell me will stop me from loving you,” he reassured as they both left the pool and padded through the house, dripping and naked, up the steps and into the loft.
Jack wasn’t so sure about that, but knew that if he refused to talk to Daniel about this he was risking the most important relationship he’d ever had. He could see how much Daniel was hurting, how angry he was that their relationship was so deeply undercover. Jack hoped he could make him understand why it had been different then; that he could make Daniel see why he avoided talking about it.
They rolled into the double hammock side by side. Daniel entwined the fingers of one hand with Jack’s and waited as the older man composed himself.
“About seven months after Simon joined my flight we were called into the base CO’s office.” Jack grimaced. “I really thought they were on to us and that this was it. We were going to be court-martialed, drummed out of the service, maybe even jailed. Si just laughed at me, told me not to be a ‘wazzock’. He was always willing to see the up-side.” Jack shook his head, remembering. “Anyway, he was right and our CO actually gave us an assignment. Well, he didn’t give us direct orders but asked if we’d take it.”
Daniel frowned quizzically, “Didn’t think the Air Force ever asked, just ordered.”
Jack nodded, “Yeah. That’s true usually, but we weren’t in a Black Ops unit and this was a serious mission. Higher up had decided we were the best men for the job and so the mission was put to us.” Jack sighed, wishing now, as he had after that mission, that his sense of duty had not made him agree to it.
“It was Simon’s ability to work a camera that got him assigned. Infiltration and marksmanship were my special skills, so we made the ideal team. We were dropped into Iraq. The Gulf war was, to all intents and purposes, over but there were still Covert Ops going on. Everything was under the radar, but the government had lots of scores to settle and there was ongoing fear that certain factions were planning terrorism, which 9/11 eventually proved correct. There was a lab set up deep in enemy territory which was supposed to be manufacturing a dirty bomb. We were to go in, assassinate the lead scientist and bring back intel about the composition and manufacture of the weapon, then get back to our rendezvous point without being seen or captured.” Jack looked at Daniel’s hand, not really seeing it as his thumb swept across the prominent knuckles.
“So. Black Ops? That means no back up? Total deniability?” Daniel was reeling a little at the idea that Jack had been involved in something as heavy as assassination.
“Yep. If we fucked up there’d be no rescue, no mention of our mission in official reports. Hell, even the President doesn’t know everything I’ve done.” Jack snorted, but there was no humor in his eyes. “So we dropped on target and then had to wait for two days until the guy in charge came for a site visit. Our orders were to take him out as cleanly as possible. Most of the scientists were civilian and, although they were working on terrorist projects, we really weren’t targeting them. We found a cave just outside the boundary of the compound and holed up.” He looked up at Daniel, trying to gauge from his eyes and body language just how this story was being received. The younger man squeezed his hand and Jack recognized the unspoken request for him to carry on.
“So we waited. The guy arrived right on schedule, but he didn’t come alone. There was quite the retinue: several cars and trucks. We didn’t see who got out of them, we were too far away, but the mission had to go on so we adapted our plans. There were more people to get past, but the main target was still there. We had the plans of the compound memorized. I would find and eliminate the target, and then Simon would document the lab and any weapons. We couldn’t risk blowing the place up, as the Intel was a bit sketchy on what they were actually building.
“Well, you’re here, so obviously it was a successful mission,” Daniel remarked, wondering why Jack seemed so reticent to talk about it. Apart from the distasteful idea of Jack as an assassin, it was really no more or less than they did when going through the Stargate.
“Depends how you define success, Danny.” Jack’s eyes were gimlets, the reality of the outcome written all over his face.
Daniel knew that look; he had seen it on Jack’s face during the first mission to Abydos, when he had been preparing the nuke. “God, Jack,” Daniel breathed. “What happened?”
“Everything went like clockwork. We waited until evening prayers. Most of the workers went to pray in a building right over the other side of the compound. We found the target’s office and he was there alone. I got him with a single shot and it was all over in seconds. Simon found the records we were looking for and took his pictures. I let myself believe that it was all going to be OK.” Jack shuddered and closed his eyes as he allowed himself to run the sequence of events that had haunted him for years afterwards. “We didn’t realize that part of the retinue was the guy’s family. His wife had heard something and barged into the office. She took one look and was gone again, back into the compound. I couldn’t let her raise the alarm.” Jack felt Daniel go stiff against him and he knew what the younger man was thinking. “I wasn’t going to kill her, Danny. Just catch her and tie her up. Just to give us time to get away. There are Black Ops guys I know who wouldn’t have thought twice about shooting her, but I wasn’t one of them.” He needed Daniel to believe him, to see he wouldn’t have hurt the woman. He sought out Daniel’s eyes and saw only trust shining back at him. The relief he felt was almost palpable.
“I followed her out, leaving Simon to finish up. Suddenly there was screaming…Fuck!” Jack moved as if to get off the hammock, but Daniel caught him by the arm and dragged him back around. “Stay,” he ordered. “Sounds like it’s time this came out into the light.” Daniel stroked a thumb across his cheek. Jack took in a deep shuddering breath and leaned into Daniel’s welcoming body. Under any other circumstances this total skin to skin experience would have had Jack hard and panting within seconds. Right now it just felt like a safe harbor while Jack rode out the waves of grief and remorse flowing through his body.
“I walked into a blood bath. There were…God, Danny, there were three girls on the floor, all with their throats cut, not one of them older than 15. The woman was screaming at me, telling me that she had to kill them, that she wouldn’t let me defile them.” A lone tear escaped from Jack’s stricken eye, although Daniel wasn’t sure he was aware of it. “She was holding this big kitchen knife and her dress was covered in blood, her daughters’ blood, and she kept screaming that she had to do it, that she knew what we would do to them, how US soldiers raped and defiled the daughters of honest people who did them no wrong.” Jack squeezed his eyes tightly shut, as if to block out the sight. Daniel was cold with horror, both at the story and that he had forced Jack to remember this most terrible mission to salve his hurt, pride, and jealousy.
“That’s enough, Jack. Baby, please. You don’t have to tell me any more. It’s okay.” Jack was shaking with reaction and Daniel could feel the tension in Jack’s stomach muscles as he pressed tightly against him. If he hadn’t felt sick before he probably would now. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” Daniel crooned, desperate to relieve the awful bleakness in Jack’s voice.
But Jack had begun the story and was unable to stop. In fact, he wanted to tell it. He knew it had been eating away at him again since he’d seen Simon in DC. Daniel was right; he did deserve to know what his presence in that place had caused to happen. Whether he would be able to look him in the eye afterwards was another question, but not one he was willing to look for the answer to right now.
He continued, his voice more finely modulated, even detached. “I was about to grab her; get the knife off her when Simon came in. He should’ve secured the room, checked to see if the victims were still alive, but instead he just started taking pictures of those poor dead girls; snapping away with his fucking camera like it was some kind of sideshow. I lost it and yelled at him to secure the room – it was fucking SOP and he knew better than to take photos of that. If we’d have been captured, that film would have got us tortured and killed and the pictures used for propaganda. I took my eye off the mother for just a second to tell him to do his job and before I could stop her…She just took that knife and stuck it right in her chest, right to the hilt and there was nothing I could do, Danny. I could have disarmed her; I could have stopped her if he’d just done his fucking job.”
Jack was shaking in earnest now, although his skin didn’t feel cold and Daniel realized that it was reaction. “I’m just going to get a comforter to put over you, Jack. I’m coming straight back.” Daniel made to get out of the hammock, but was caught by the iron grip of Jack’s hand around his wrist.
“We got out of there and made our rendezvous,” Jack said quietly, his voice flat and emotionless. “I had to put it in my report. There were some guys who gave me hell about that; you always covered your buddy’s back, whatever went down. I know he thought of it as an account of what had happened. He always figured himself as some kind of historical artist; photography as a record of the world in all its horror and glory. But I could have stopped that last tragedy if he’d just done his job.” Jack’s voice was almost a whisper and Daniel pulled him close, trying to negate the worst of the tremors running through his body. “They hushed it all up of course; it was a Black Ops after all. But my report got him sent back to England. I loved him so much, but I hated him for being so stupid, so careless of his training and our safety as well as the life of that woman. We didn’t speak to each other again until I saw him in DC. I realized then I don’t hate him anymore.”
“But you still love him?” Daniel felt sick both in reaction to the story and to the implication that Jack might still feel something for this other man: This first love that had been so carefree of rules and regulations. How could he hope to fight against that, regardless of the history?
“Yeah,” The word was spoken so quietly that Daniel almost missed it. His stomach took a dive and he felt shards of ice make their way up his spine.
“Did you sleep with him in DC?” Daniel didn’t really want to hear the answer, but needed to know nevertheless.
“WHAT?!” Jack sprang out of the hammock, his face twisted in anger. “I just coughed up my guts for you here, gave you my darkest secret because you wouldn’t let it go and then all you can say is did I sleep with Simon?”
Daniel was wide eyed with shock at the vehemence of Jack’s reply. “You said…You said you still love him,” he stammered out. He saw the moment when Jack realized what he had said and how that one word would have sounded to his lover. Jack scrubbed his hand through his hair and pressed his thumb and forefinger into his eyes.
“Danny, I still love Sara, but that doesn’t mean I want to sleep with her.” He shook his head and walked back to the younger man who was lying frozen in the violently swinging hammock.
Stopping the movement, he slid back next to his lover and took his lover’s face in his hands. “Daniel, I love you. I’m IN love with you. I don’t want anyone else but you. Please believe me.” He pressed a gentle kiss to each of Daniel’s eyes and then molded their lips together. There was passion in the kiss, enough to light a small flame of arousal in Daniel. Suddenly he felt very foolish and very sorry for forcing Jack to make this confession. They had done and seen many things in their time together, some of which were truly awful, but they paled into insignificance against the horror of that experience: That a mother would kill her daughters…
“I love you, Jack.” Daniel breathed against Jack’s skin. “I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have pushed you for this. I don’t know why I’m so fucking jealous of Simon. I don’t feel that way at all about Sara.” He lifted his head to look into Jack’s eyes. There was a haunted look about them and Daniel wanted nothing more than to take that away. “I do trust you; although you probably find that hard to believe after my performance this afternoon.” He gave a little self-deprecating smile. Jack smoothed his thumbs over Daniel’s cheekbones, his hands clasped around his head in a tender embrace. He looked tired and more than a little exasperated.
“Oh, Danny,” he sighed. “Can we go to bed, please, just to sleep? I need to just lie next to you and be quiet for a little while, is that okay?”
Daniel nodded, still feeling mortified that he had made Jack open his soul so completely and for what? Without any more words they both made their way to the big king size bed and slid under cool sheets. Within only a few breaths Jack was asleep, cradled against Daniel’s chest, his arm flung possessively around his lover’s waist and their legs tangled together. Daniel listened to his deep, even breathing and watched as a tiny lizard made its way along the wall and into the thatched roof. Sleep evaded him as he tried to analyze everything Jack had said.
Daniel found himself going over and over his reasons for pushing Jack about all this. Simon was an ex-lover. Period. There was no reason for Daniel to be so overwhelmingly jealous of him. At first Daniel had wondered if it was because Simon was male. He’d known Jack was bi right from the beginning of their relationship and it had been obvious from their first time together that, although a little out of practice, Jack was not an innocent where gay sex was concerned. So Daniel had known all along there had been other men. He also knew that Jack still loved Sara. Not only as the mother of his child, but as the woman who had stood by him for many years, through his imprisonment in Iraq and the subsequent fallout on his return. Only the loss of Charlie and Jack’s inability to open up had forced a wedge between them that had eventually been insurmountable. Jack even saw her sometimes. They met to sign papers for the small scholarship Jack had set up with Charlie’s college fund. Jack had made her a co-signatory so that if anything happened to him the fund would still be available to their chosen students. They also went to the cemetery together, on Charlie’s birthday.
Daniel sighed and looked across at Jack. His face was relaxed in sleep and he was snoring gently. Why had he just put him through that? To ask this man; this wonderful, complex, irritating man, to tell him about that dark episode in his life. And to think that Jack had loved him enough, trusted him enough to be willing to let Daniel into a place Jack hardly ever went to himself. Daniel wanted to cry. He’d forced Jack to let him in and there was really no reason to. But despite that regret Daniel could still feel the slow burn of jealousy, crackling away under the surface. He had an insane urge to go down into the dining room, find all the albums and burn every picture of Jack and Simon. He wanted the other man to know what it felt like to have a love affair that was undocumented, unnoticed and undercover. Daniel was so sick of the secrecy. He was proud of Jack and all he had achieved in his career, but more than that he loved Jack with an overwhelming passion. His lover was everything; he filled the empty places that Daniel hadn’t realized were there until Jack had poured himself into every nook and cranny.
Daniel slid off the bed, careful not to wake Jack. He moved to the veranda, leaned against the low wall and looked out to sea. This place was a perfect paradise and Jack had brought him here. But the voice in his head wouldn’t let him enjoy that knowledge. Hissing away in the back of his mind was the green-eyed monster, whispering Simon’s name; Simon’s beach house, Simon’s castle, Simon’s title, Simon, Simon, Simon…Overlaying it all was the self-recriminating voice telling him what a massive shit he was being.
Disgusted with himself Daniel decided he needed a drink; a big, stiff, alcoholic beverage that would burn his throat and warm his stomach because right now he didn’t like himself very much. Pausing only to slide on his shorts and take another look at his sleeping lover, he padded quietly across the loft and down the terracotta tiled steps in search of strong liquor.
‘Summertime, and the livin’ is easy. Fish are jumpin’…’ Nah, no fish jumpin, not in this pond anyhow. Come to think of it, I don’t recall ever catching anything here. Maybe if I’d kept a hold of the pole Gramps made me…but hey, water under the bridge now.
I’m doin’ that Lucy stuff old Ping-pong does again. Back here in Eagle Lake. Wonder if this is going to be another close encounter with the old man. I don’t know how it’s possible to love someone and hate someone so much at the same time. He was real bastard, too quick with his fist and his tongue. He would never just listen. He was right and that was the end of it. It didn’t matter how often I tried to tell him about the Air Force, he didn’t wanna know. Ah, well…
The pond is pretty quiet today. There’re usually kids all over; fishing, swimming, messing around. I think I might stretch my legs while I’m here, take a look around. Walk the perimeter. Ha! Daniel would love that. I even threat assess in my dreams. Well, laugh it up, book-boy. My training has saved your civilian ass on more than one occasion – and what a mighty fine ass it is, although that ass has also been the cause of many of my worst moments, too.
It really is too quiet around here. Even in my dreams you’d think I’d be seeing some of the people I knew back then. Why am I dreaming about places and events from my past, but not really people – well, apart from Gramps of course, the last time I was here.
Ah, now here we go. There’s a kid sitting just up ahead. Doesn’t look like he’s enjoying the sunshine too much though; long sleeved plaid shirt and crapped up jeans are not summer clothes, not where I come from.
He’s not looking up. His legs are pulled up, arms wrapped tightly round, and he has his head on his knees. He’s shivering and I can’t tell if he’s crying or cold. He can’t be cold. It’s got to be climbing eighty plus degrees.
‘Hey.’ I’m gonna try the soft and gentle approach. It works with dogs, and kids usually like me. ‘Whatchadoin?’
He’s turning his head now and I can see his eyes. Aww, crap. He’s obviously been crying for a while. Red rims and his face covered in tears and snot. He looks so miserable, it’s making me wanna cry, too. Those eyes look so haunted and so fucking OLD. God! I know him.
‘I know you. You were on the beach.’
He’s giving me such a pitiful look. And then, damn…He’s holding out his hands and they are tied with some kind of ligature and as he’s reaching out to me, the sleeves of his shirt are riding up and I can see he has bruises that look like they go right up his arms. His wrists are tied with a leather…It’s a shoelace, a leather shoelace and from the way the skin is broken he’s been tied like that for a while.
I’m trying to get enough spit in my mouth so I can talk to him, but I’m so fucking angry. Who would do this? He’s no more than thirteen although he could be younger. He’s so thin it’s hard to tell. He turns his head and his eyes are burning me. I’ve only met one other person who can do that with a glance and Daniel hasn’t done that to me in a long time. This kid has it down to a fine art. There’s pain and innocence and hate and fear all crowded into that one look. Part of me wants to gather him up and run away with him, but another part is afraid; afraid of what he can see because his eyes are burning a path into my soul and I’m sure there’s not a part of me safe from that laser stare.
I’m caught here like a deer in the headlights, not able to move. But now he’s moving; turning his upper body and reaching out his bound wrists to me. It’s almost like he’s begging, but I don’t believe this kid would ever do that. Something tells me he would rather die than back down. How does a kid get that kind of bravery? I want to cut him free, take those poor raw wrists and soothe them.
‘Want me to take those off kid?’ It’ll be just a few seconds work with my trusty ankle blade. Huh? Now I know I’m dreaming. No blade! I never – and I mean never – go anywhere without that blade. It’s even in my case at the beach house. But here? Shit, here I’m powerless to help this kid. If I try to pull that binding off it’ll tear the skin worse.
‘Hold on, buddy. I’m gonna go find someone, or something. I’ll get you out of there.’
I mean to move, but I just can’t. It’s like I’m frozen to the spot and now he’s saying something. It’s almost too quiet to hear.
‘My social worker’s coming tomorrow. How you gonna explain this?’ He’s pushing his wrists out towards me and there’s a sneer on his face. Everything about his voice and his mouth says contempt, but it’s a lie. He’s so scared, but he’s fighting and I just want to rip the head off whoever has made him like this.
I realize now that he’s not talking to me, his eyes are focused somewhere over my shoulder. I crane around to see who the bastard is, but I’m the only one here. Suddenly the fight’s all gone out of him and I’m watching as he crawls back into himself. He’s whispering something…need to get a little closer to hear…
‘One day it’ll all be over malo kopač. I’ll find where he hides it and then he won’t be able to hurt me ever again…Just one cut and it will all be over.’
He’s running his thumb across the raw skin of his wrist and I can’t look at him anymore. There’s a rock in my chest and I can hardly breathe. I don’t know how, but I’m sure he’s not talking about cutting that ligature…He wants…Oh, God…
Jack woke curled in a fetal ball on the edge of the bed. The tears that coursed down his face were hot and bitter. He wanted this to stop. These crazy dreams were tearing out his heart. They left him feeling sick and disorientated and he didn’t know if he was losing his mind or if he was so sick he was hallucinating.
Surging out of bed he stood in the middle of the room, feeling lost and totally bereft. He wanted to go back and save that kid, make the pain stop, but that was just stupid. It was just a dream; the culmination of his illness and the stress of what he had told Daniel earlier. He took a deep breath. Yeah, that was it. Remembering those little girls with their throats…well of course he was off-kilter. His subconscious was just dredging up those memories and mixing them with hallucinations caused by his sickness.
He had an overwhelming urge to find Daniel. He needed to hold him, wrap himself around that beloved body and never let go. He felt that if he didn’t hold on tight he would shake apart and shatter into a million pieces. Jack looked down at his shaking hands and snorted. ‘You’re a fucking head-case, O’Neill,’ he berated himself. ‘It’s lucky for you we’re not at the SGC or McKenzie would be dragging out a new white jacket for you to wear and a suite at the Nut House Hotel.’
Sinking back down on the bed Jack tried to get his scattered thoughts together. He should tell Daniel what was happening, they should go back to the Mountain and let Janet run him through her MRI scanner. He flopped back on the bed, holding his face in his hands. “I know what I should do,” he muttered to the room. “But then that would mean I’d have to face the fact I could be three fries short of a Happy Meal.” He was too scared and too stubborn to let this get the better of him. He’d been fighting most of his adult life and he’d faced far more frightening things than this through the Gate. He was Colonel Jack O’Neill, 2iC of Stargate Command not some little kid who cowered in a corner after a bad dream.
Gathering himself by force of will he stood and strode over to the balcony. Looking down he saw Daniel sitting on the lounge chair with a glass of amber liquid resting on his knee.
“Don’t suppose I could have one of those?” he asked, pleased when his voice didn’t waver.
Daniel looked up and his smile burned through Jack’s fear and left him feeling safe and loved. “Nah, ‘fraid not. There’s plenty of Izel’s tea though.”
“Okay, I’ll be right down.”
Jack made his way out of the loft and down to the dining room. The black mood was lifting and he felt himself growing calmer.
‘See, O’Neill,” he chided himself as he accepted a fragrant cup of tea and a tender kiss from his smiling lover, ‘Nothing that can’t be fixed with a cup of tea and a dose of Danny.’
malo kopač: little digger (Croatian)