‘Awww, crap! I thought this dream stuff was all done with. Yet, here I am back at Gramp’s lake. The old man is nowhere to be seen. In fact the lake looks strangely deserted. Not only are there no people, but there’s no bugs, no Loons, no fish. It’s silent as the grave and just as creepy.
Oh, but wait. There’s someone on the far shore. A kid I think.
“Hey, kid. Where is everyone?”
The kid stands up and starts to make his way around the water towards me, picking his way around the shore. I can’t tell from way over here, but seems like he’s hurt his leg or something ‘cause he’s stumbling on every third or fourth step.
“S’okay, buddy. Stay where you are. I’ll come to you.”
I know he heard me; I saw him shake his head. Funny he almost looks like a dog with a tick in his ear. All that shaggy hair and…
Shit, Shit, SHIT, Crap, Fuck and SHIT.
Now he’s a little bit closer, I know who this is. He’s the kid from the beach and my other dreams of Eagle Lake. But that means…Oh, Danny, babe. This can’t be you. Please, God, tell me this didn’t really happen to you.
As he takes the turn of the lake to walk towards me I can see he’s bleeding from his nose and ears. His hands are still tied with that wicked ligature, the skin around it raw and leaking fluids. His clothes are dirty and they don’t fit him properly, his feet are bare and he’s so thin.
“Come here, Danny. Let me help you.”
He’s looking at me with those big, blue eyes and, Jesus, how could I not have recognized him before. This skinny, vulnerable teen in front of me is so obviously Daniel. He’s been beaten and tied. He looks half-starved and filthy. He’s stopped about 20 feet away from me now. The kid’s trembling like a leaf and looks about ready to fall over, but Jesus, the look in his eyes. He’s accusing me of something; I can feel the weight of guilt resting on me like a physical hurt. His gaze is taking no prisoners.
“Please, tell me what to do. Let me make this right.”
I know I can’t do it – this has already happened, but there has to be a reason why I’m being shown this. Ebenezer Scrooge had nothing on me. I’m not seeing my own ghosts of the past – instead I’m being visited by Daniel’s.
“Please, don’t let him forget me.”
The boy’s voice is weak and tremulous. He can hardly hold himself upright and he’s swaying so much it seems just a breath from me would topple him over. But it’s like I’m held back by the force of his will. He’s daring me to try to touch him and I don’t want to cause him anymore pain.
“Tell him…” The kid’s coughing and there’s blood spraying from his mouth.
“Please…Please…” I’m begging now and I feel no shame in it. I just need to stop this horror movie playing in front of me.
“No!” He grinds out, his face getting paler and paler. “Tell him it’s time for malo kopač to be put to rest. He has to remember me…Make him remember me…”
He slumps to the ground and I’m screaming and crying and trying to crawl to him, but he won’t let me loose, just looks up at me with those crystal blue eyes. And just for a moment, I see hope there amongst the cold despair and I know I can’t make him wait much longer.
With a sharp inhale of breath Jack bolted from the bed and found himself standing in the middle of the bedroom, shaking like a leaf and bathed in sweat. His stomach roiled and bucked and he knew if he moved a muscle he would throw up where he stood. Desperate to control the nausea he flicked his gaze around the room, trying to ascertain whether Daniel was still in there with him. Then he remembered Simon coming to collect his archaeologist in the early hours so they could hike to the Viking burial site on the far side of the estate. Daniel had kissed Jack sweetly, said goodbye and whispered for him to go back to sleep.
Jack sank back down on the bed shivering slightly as the sweat began to cool on his skin. He ran a shaking hand over his face and sighed. He had to get Daniel back to Mexico so they could put this nightmare – literally – to rest.
A noise made Jack look up to find Mac standing in the doorway looking concerned.
“Och, Mast hold ier Jonny. I thought the devil was after ye, the noise ye were making.” The old man walked over to Jack and placed a cool hand on his shoulder. “Are ye alright, laddie?”
Jack looked up into the worried face and painted a less than convincing smile on his face.
“I’m fine, Mac, just a bit of a recurring nightmare. Nothing a cup of Maddy’s coffee and some toast won’t fix.”
“Well, the coffee I can do,” Mac replied with a smile, “but the toast may have to wait. Master Daniel has sent a message from the burial site.”
Jack felt his stomach lurch, and this time not as a result of his dream. “Oh, yeah?”
Mac nodded. “I am to tell ye that he has found something interesting to do with a good friend of yours.”
Jack groaned, now he knew this was bad news. “Did he say anything else?”
“Well,” Mac continued, “He said to mention a place ye had visited called Cimmeria and that ye should get up there as quickly as possible.”
“Oh, crap.” Jack groaned as he stood and walked to the bathroom. “How long a walk is this site, Mac?” he asked with a pained grimace. The thought of traipsing for hours through a forest of trees was too much like his work-a-day life. Granted, the lack of Jaffa patrols and hostile indigenous populations was a bonus, but nevertheless…
“Ah, now I think that Tam may have something that will put a smile on yer face, Jonny. Get yersel dressed and I’ll make sure he’s ready for ye.”
A quick shower and a scalding cup of coffee later and Jack was standing in the huge entrance way of the castle, dressed in chino’s and a leather jacket, looking out onto the sweeping drive. The sound of a two stroke engine made him look over to his left and the sight that met his eyes caused a huge grin to split his face. Tam rode up to the doorway on a sleek, black ATV. The four-wheeler bounced over the grassy verge on its heavy suspension and Jack couldn’t wait to get his hands on the sporty vehicle.
“Have ye ridden one of these before, Master Jonny,” Tam asked, unclipping his motorcycle helmet.
Jack nodded, “Yeah, but not one as swanky as this.”
“Ah, no. This is the Lairds new toy. In fact he’s not ridden her yet so ye are honored that he’s letting ye have first try on her.”
Jack’s smile refused to go away and he eagerly took the helmet from Tam and pulled it on his head.
“It has GPS,” Tam pointed to the readout on the dash. “I’ve put in the co-ordinates that Master Daniel phoned through so ye’ll get straight to them. It’s easier as the crow flies, across the 40 acre field over yon, although I would skirt around the pine forest – a few too many roots and fallen branches to be safe riding through there.” Tam indicated which way Jack should head and with a hearty slap on Tam’s back Jack gunned the engine and raced off in a spray of gravel.
By the time Jack reached the burial site the exhilaration of the ride across the estate had burned off his dark mood. As he crested the hill over looking the area indicated by the co-ordinates he found himself looking down on a broad grassy area surrounded on three sides by dense Douglas fir forest. In the centre a large hillock rose from the flat land around it. The mound was covered in grass and looked like one of the illustrations Jack had seen in Daniel’s text books. The distinctive figures of his lover and the Laird were just emerging from a dark cleft cut into the side of the hill. They both looked up as he began his descent down the other side of the rise and rode towards them. Daniel raised his hand and waved an excited greeting.
‘Well, something’s got Daniel all excited,’ Jack thought and couldn’t help the swell of anticipation. An excited Danny often meant a horny Danny and that was something to be savored.
It wasn’t until he had pulled to a stop and was taking off the helmet and clipping it onto the handlebars of the off-road vehicle that he remembered Daniel’s message.
‘Cimmeria…Crap!’ Jack thought sourly. Could there really be another Thor’s Hammer, right here in the wilds of the Scottish Highlands? It all seemed too convenient, but Jack knew that coincidence often followed both him and Daniel around, even though usually it was on other planets than their own.
Daniel’s excited voice broke through Jack’s thoughts and he looked over to see Daniel striding towards him. He looked both excited and concerned at the same time, his eyes flashing and his hands already in motion. He waited until he was right next to Jack, however, to begin talking and it was that more than anything else that clued Jack in to how much trouble they could be in.
“So, Daniel… Cimmeria?” Jack asked, quietly, aware that Simon was standing at the entrance to what looked like a grass covered mound. “We talking Thor’s Hammer here?”
“Not so far,” Daniel answered, “But there is something you need to see.”
“Do I need to call the mountain?” Jack queried, slipping easily into colonel mode as he loped along easily by the side of his lover towards the entrance to the mound.
“Eventually,” Daniel conceded. “I think we may have to talk to the general about getting Simon cleared, too. He’s too canny to let us pull the Top Secret bull shit and until I get inside…”
Jack’s hackles began to rise as a feeling of foreboding came over him. “Inside what, Daniel,” he growled.
Rather than answer him Daniel took hold of his arm and dragged him over to the mound where Simon stood waiting, a look of excited expectation on his face. “I’m taking it this has something to do with Deep Space Telemetry,” he commented wryly and then gave a bark of laughter at the glare Jack threw his way.
“Perhaps you should stay out here, Si,” Jack began, but was cut off by a snort from the Laird.
“My land, Jack,” Simon said belligerently. “And anyway I’ve already been in there and seen how excited your archaeologist got over the runes on the wall. I know there’s something amazing going on. What I need to know now is whether you’re going to let me in on it.”
Jack gave a frustrated shout and then, hustled by the other man, followed Daniel into the excavated mound.
He was surprised at how deep the tunnel went and looked over at Daniel for an explanation. “I know you haven’t cleared all this in a couple of hours.”
Daniel grinned, his eyes sparkling with excitement. “The original excavation was done in the 30’s by Simon’s grandfather, the first Earl,” he explained. “But they had to stop when they got to the back wall. They tried all kinds of tools but couldn’t break through,” Daniel explained. “I was a little disappointed when I got here as this looked more like a Bronze-age barrow – like The Devils Humps in West Sussex – than a Viking site,” he continued. “But when I got to the end of the tunnel I could see why they’d got confused by the evidence.”
The dark maw was lit by heavy duty lamps strung on the ceiling of the tunnel and Jack could make out the chugging hum of a generator somewhere nearby. The walls were shored up with evenly spaced props, and here and there was evidence of small falls of earth from the roof. About 50 yards in they came to a dead end. The wall was made of a dull gray substance that had the look of granite, etched with patterns which looked very familiar. Jack shot a scowl in Daniel’s direction who gave him a wry smile back. Several odd lumps and dips made the whole thing look scarred and pitted. Jack slid his penknife from his jeans pocket and rapped it on the surface. The dull clink told him the surface was not stone but metal, although it didn’t sound hollow. He took a step back to speak to Daniel and as he did his hand brushed one of the larger protrusions. With a faint hiss and click a small hatch opened to one side of the wall and a white egg shaped object slid smoothly out.
“Oh crap,” Jack breathed and looked over at Simon, who was watching, wide eyed. “Asgard?” he breathed quietly to Daniel as he palmed the communication device, trying hard not to telegraph his discomfort to de’Vere.
“Asgard.” Daniel agreed with a nod and a shrug.
Before either man could make another move the familiar flash of a transport beam illuminated the tunnel. Jack would have laughed at Simon’s, “Bloody Nora” if he hadn’t been distracted by the appearance of a small gray figure directly in front of him.
“O’Neill,” the alien intoned, with as much surprise as was possible in the clipped tones of an Asgard speaking English.
“Thor! Well, buddy, this is a surprise,” Jack replied, realizing it was too late to keep Simon out of the loop.
“I was not aware that you were visiting this part of your world, O’Neill. I thought you were in Mexico.” Thor blinked his eyes twice and inclined his head.
Jack didn’t even think to question why Thor would know his whereabouts. He’d long since come to terms with the fact that the Asgard had a deep interest in him and seemed to keep tabs on him at all times.
“We were,” Daniel replied as he moved past Thor to hold out a hand to Simon, who had fallen on his butt when the alien had made his surprise appearance.
“Dr. Jackson. It is good to see you,” Thor intoned, “and you too, Lord de’Vere.”
Simon rubbed a hard over his eyes, hoping he could get the sight of a Roswell Gray appearing on his archeological dig out of his head. He was more than a little disappointed when it didn’t work.
“Jack…” he said weakly, as Daniel placed an arm around his shoulders and helped him back down onto the floor, his legs too wobbly to hold him.
“So, you know Simon,” Jack stated in a manner that seemed totally too blasé to the shaken Lord.
“He carries similar advanced genetic markers to you, although not so pronounced. WE are aware of all humans carrying the gene.” Thor blinked, and Jack thought the little alien looked smug, if that were possible.
“Of course you are,” Jack said wryly. With a big sigh he turned to his pale and shaken friend.
“Simon, meet Thor, Supreme Commander of the Asgard Fleet,” he announced in his best formal tone. However, his wide, cheeky grin spoiled the effect and Daniel rolled his eyes.
“Thor is an Asgard,” Daniel explained, “and yes, he looks like a Roswell Gray, because…well he is one.”
“A scout ship got into difficulties over Earth and the escape pod crashed at Roswell, New Mexico in ’47,” Jack explained patiently. “They were Asgard, like Thor here.”
“So the project you’re involved in is…” Simon croaked, still not quite believing his eyes.
“Not Deep Space Telemetry, no,” Daniel replied and looked over at Jack for guidance.
“I can’t say anymore right now, Si, but I would imagine there are some seriously large stacks of paperwork going to be coming your way very soon.” Jack sighed deeply. He couldn’t believe his work was encroaching so deeply into his private life. Nearly three decades of top-secret missions and he’d never had to divulge anything to friends or family. Now, within a few years he’d had to tell both Sara and Simon about the Stargate Program. Rubbing his hand across the back of his neck he turned to Thor.
“So is this why you were watching Simon?”
“We were not aware of this facility,” Thor replied as he walked quickly over to the wall and touched several of the runes in quick succession. With a quiet whoosh the wall slid away into the dirt around it, revealing a large oval room. Jack followed the small alien into the area, snorting at the sound of Simon’s “What the fucking hell, Daniel?” as it floated down the tunnel towards them.
Thor manipulated another of the control eggs lying on a console in the centre of the room. The whole area lit up with the familiar opalescent light of an Asgard facility. The back wall was completely taken up by a large view screen and there were streams of runes flowing in vertical lines down the right hand side. To the left and right were banks of keypads and the flat control pedestals, where more control eggs were ready to be used.
Daniel was now standing right behind Jack, with Simon bringing up the rear, not quite making it inside the room. Jack looked over at his friend and had to fight down a snigger.
“S’alright, Si. You can come in. He’s not going to assault you with his anal probe.”
Thor gave Jack a look that made Daniel grin. It was the closest thing to an eye roll the immobile face of the Asgard could manage.
“You are in no danger, Lord de’Vere,” the little alien said kindly. “This is merely an observation unit.”
“Observing what,” Daniel asked as he made a circuit of the room, running his fingers over the raised surfaces of the panels.
“The development of your race, Dr. Jackson.” Thor moved a pale blue egg across the panel in front of him and a pop-up opened on the larger view screen. Daniel’s face grew more and more amazed as images of the surrounding area in various eras of Earth’s history flashed up on the screen, accompanied by more of the ever-present Asgard runic script.
“But this…this is…” Daniel gasped.
“Take a breath, Danny,” Jack urged, grinning at the excitement that was making Daniel vibrate with energy.
“Jack, you have to understand, this is…this is…”
“Meaning of Life stuff?” Jack said softly, turning Daniel to face him and stroking gently down his cheek.
“Yeah,” Daniel smiled back, his eyes appearing to shine an even more intense blue in the light of the console and screen, ”Yeah, Jack, Meaning of Life stuff.” The two men stared at each other for several moments, their love clear to anyone who was watching. Then Daniel leaned in and gave Jack a light, closed mouth kiss that rocked Jack back on his heels as sparks flowed through his nerve endings. Christ, Daniel in full flow was almost as good as sex.
“We have to be allowed to investigate this site, Thor,” Daniel demanded, as he turned away from his star struck lover.
“I am not able to leave this facility here now it is opened and we are aware of its existence.” Thor explained apologetically.
“But if you didn’t know it was here, how come you knew to…beam down.” Simon had made his way gingerly into the room and was trying to make sense of everything that had happened in the last ten minutes.
“This egg thing is a communicator, right, Thor?” Jack raised his eyebrows in question as he opened his hand and passed the object over to Simon.
“You are correct, O’Neill,” the Asgard answered with a slight nod of his head.
“I was? Yeah, yeah, I knew I was,” Jack preened.
“But, Thor,” Daniel interjected, his face pulled into an unhappy scowl. “Surely we should be allowed to have access to the data from this place. You don’t understand how important…”
“Of course, Dr. Jackson. I will have the data rendered into a form that is compatible with your technology at the SGC.”
“…this could be to our understanding…Oh…Oh, you will?” Daniel spluttered as he realized his impassioned plea was not necessary. “Well, thank you.” He looked over at Jack beseechingly, who first smiled and then held up his hands as he realized what the look on his lover’s face meant.
“Oh no, Daniel. We have two more weeks of leave left and I for one am going to spend it in Paradise.” He spluttered.
“Well, I could…” Daniel began, but shook his head and gave Jack a sheepish smile as he saw the look of hurt flashing across his beloved’s face. “Yeah, we need to go back to La Troza,” he agreed, moving over to Jack’s side and taking his hand.
“If I can be of any help to get you to Mexico,” Thor offered, “My ship the Sleipnir is in orbit. I will be happy to transport you back to your residence there.”
Jack sighed deeply. “I’d love nothing better, Thor ol’ buddy, but I have to report all this to General Hammond and also get Simon here cleared for all the stuff he’s already seen.”
“Would a holographic conference be acceptable to the general?” Thor asked.
Jack’s face brightened visibly. “Well, if you could see your way clear to doing…”
With a whirr and flash of light the three men found themselves on the bridge of Thor’s ship, the bright blue sphere of Earth looming large in the view screen.
“Oh, shittin’ fucking hell,” Simon moaned as he flopped once more onto the floor. “I can’t cope with all this.” He looked over at Daniel, his face a sickly pale green, lightly sheened with sweat. “Tell me the truth…Are we in space, Danny?”
Daniel gave him a fond smile. “Yes, Simon, we’re in space.” He crouched down beside the prostrate man and squeezed his shoulder comfortingly. “This is the bridge of Thor’s ship and we are in orbit around Earth.”
“But…but…how come no-one knows they’re here?”
“The shields hide my ship from your planet’s tracking stations, Lord de’Vere.”
“How does he know I’m a Lord,” Simon hissed over at Jack, “Do they have Debrett’s on Asgard World or something?”
Jack merely smirked in his direction and rocked on his heels, his hands pushed firmly into his pants pockets.
“Thor’s home world is called Othalla,” Daniel explained with a small frown in Jack’s direction. “And I would imagine there is very little Thor doesn’t know about the Earth, if anything.”
Thor had been manipulating the controls in front of him and turned back to Jack.
“If you would stand on the emitter station I will activate the link with the SGC. The general is in his office and alone so this would seem to be an opportune time to make contact.”
Jack did as he was told and stepped forward onto the silver disc on the floor. He quickly looked back over his shoulder? to make sure Daniel was not in line of sight. Although he wasn’t sure if anything other than his hologram would be seen by the general, they couldn’t risk being outed by accident.
Daniel grinned at Simon’s shocked reaction as General Hammond’s face appeared on a view screen that had materialized in the centre of the room, seeming to hang unsupported in the air.
“Can he see and hear us?” de’Vere asked sotto voce.
“No,” Daniel reassured him. “The disc Jack is standing on is a holo-emitter. His image is all the general is seeing.”
“Fuck, Daniel, this is so bloody Star Trek.”
“Welcome to my life,” Daniel chuckled.
“Colonel, what the hell is going on?” Hammond snapped, his face going an interesting shade of red. “I thought you were on leave.”
“Well, sir, I am…that is…” Jack stammered, realizing a little too late that he should have thought about his story before letting Thor beam his hologram directly into the general’s office.
“Where are you, Jack?” the general sighed resignedly. “I take it you are in the company of the Asgard.”
“Yes, sir.” Jack smiled his most winning smile and launched into an explanation of why he was not actually on Earth at that point in time. He was careful to skim around the details of his move from Mexico to Scotland, but made sure the general realized the gravity of the situation.
“So you see – when we discovered the underground base…”
“We?” George asked with a slight frown. “And this we would be you and Dr Jackson, right.”
Jack felt all the blood drain from his face and his heart began to race. He clenched his hands behind his back in a parody of parade rest. So this was it. Either he could deny that Daniel was there or he could face the likelihood of, at the very least, a dishonorable discharge.
Jack heard Daniel’s quiet gasp and then movement behind him as the younger man grasped his hand and squeezed it tightly. The relief of that one little bit of contact let him breathe again and he squeezed back before letting go.
“Dr Jackson?” He tried for nonchalant but thought it probably sounded choked.
“Jack,” the general sighed, shaking his head. “What kind of fool do you take me for? They don’t give stars to stupid men, although sometimes I do wonder…” George shrugged and continued. “I know, Jack – Do I need to say more?” Hammond raised his eyebrows and gave Jack a searching look.
Jack cleared his throat and looked a little shamefaced. “I don’t think you are a fool, sir. I just thought we’d been a little more…discrete. I’ll get Thor to beam me back there immediately.” Jack gave a small resigned nod and made to step back off the emitter, but the general hadn’t finished.
“You still have two weeks of leave left, Jack. Why would you need to come back here?”
Jack turned to look at Daniel and the expression on the older man’s face might have made Daniel laugh out loud if he had not been strung tight with anxiety.
“Jack…Jack…COLONEL O’NEILL!” The general’s face did not reflect the severity of his voice; in fact Daniel was sure the old man had a twinkle in his eye. As Jack turned back to make his holographic avatar face his CO he took a deep breath, hoping against hope that he had enough leniency stored up with the general to make the next few minutes bearable. He shouldn’t have been surprised that George knew about them; he’d had his doubts that they could keep this big a secret from their boss, but he had hoped it wouldn’t become an issue. Suddenly Jack found himself being pulled forcibly away from his place on the silver disc and to his horror being replaced by Simon.
“WHAT! Who the hell are you?” Hammond’s calm demeanour had been shattered and he stood quickly and leaned forwards on his desk. Jack covered his face with his hands and felt his gorge rise. What had merely been FUBAR was now turning into a grade A clusterfuck.
“I’m Air Vice Marshall Simon de’Vere, Third Earl of Granville and an old friend of Colonel O’Neill’s.” He began, his voice laden with authority and the slight arrogance borne of his aristocratic lineage. “The facility that I now know to be Asgard is on my land.”
Hammond was spluttering with rage. He took the secrecy of the program very seriously and yet here was a complete stranger, albeit a senior officer in the RAF, who was obviously on board Thor’s ship and privy to all kinds of classified data.
“Air Marshall, I’m sure you realize that your presence on board the Asgard ship is a serious breach of security and puts me and particularly Colonel O’Neill in a very difficult position.”
“General, I think it is probable that my country is well aware of your program. Is that the case?” Simon cocked an eyebrow and waited for Hammond’s considerable temper to recede. The general gave a curt nod and settled back down at his desk.
“And I’m already here on a space ship thousands of miles above the Earth; which is being flown by a Roswell Gray and I’m talking to you by hologram – which is so much Star Trek I can’t believe it.” Simon turned and winked at Jack who was watching the whole proceedings through his fingers, having slapped his hands over his eyes in the vain hope that if he couldn’t see the train-wreck approaching his career it wasn’t happening.
“I am afraid a functioning holo-deck such as on the Enterprise is still not available technology although our holo-scientists are engaged with the problem.” Thor’s slow eye blink could also have been a wink, but Daniel was not sure. A snort of laughter made its way past his lips and he had to look out at Earth below them to stop the somewhat hysterical laughter bubbling in his throat from bursting out of him.
“Oh, I’m so taking away your TV privileges,” Jack exclaimed as he gaped at Thor.
“So,” Simon continued, turning back to the general, “I think it’s a little too late for regrets or recriminations. There was nothing the colonel or Dr Jackson could have done to prevent me from being involved. It would seem the next logical step would be for you to check my security clearance and make arrangements for me to be fully read in. I’ll even give you my personal command code to make things move a little quicker. I also have no doubt you will want to send a team to look at what will be left of the facility below and whilst I’m sure you could eventually persuade my Government to give you access to my land it would be far easier if I was involved right from the start.”
For a moment it looked as though George was going to argue and Jack could see his tenure in the Air Force being cut short. However, after a minute or two the general huffed out an exasperated breath and rubbed his hand across his bald head.
“Very well. I’ll make that call, but I would ask that you talk to no one about this until I have contacted the Ministry of Defence and got your clearance sorted out. In fact…Colonel O’Neill…”
Jack took Simon’s place on the disc, giving him a glare as they passed which Simon countered with a cheeky but apologetic shrug.
Daniel watched Jack become the disciplined soldier he knew he really was, his trade mark slouch nowhere in sight as he stood rigidly to attention. He was really going all out to get back in the general’s good books and Daniel couldn’t blame him for that. As for their clandestine relationship; he was sure there would be more discussion on that before too long.
“It’ll be alright, Daniel.” Simon put a comforting hand on the young man’s shoulder and squeezed. “The old man is a teddy bear and he likes you both, I can tell.” When Daniel frowned uncertainly, Simon gave him a smile. “I’ve worked with the brass for years and now I’m one of them. You don’t get far if you don’t know how to read this kind of situation and your general is just going through the motions to keep Jack on his toes.”
Daniel sighed uncertainly. He knew George liked them both, but this situation was not run of the mill and the security breaches alone could get him and Jack in serious hot water regardless of the regs their relationship was breaking. He tried to be heartened that the general already knew about them and had not made any efforts to either dissuade them from being together or to sanction Jack for conduct unbecoming. Shaking himself he tuned back in to Jack’s conversation with the general.
“…and stay there until he has been cleared.”
“Yes, sir,” Jack replied, his tone resigned.
Daniel realized they were being ordered to stay put in Scotland until Simon could be read into the program and he knew Jack was disappointed about not being able to return to Mexico for another few days. Daniel couldn’t help feeling a little bit of relief, however. He knew there were things to be discussed, had recognized that Jack was not talking about the other, young, version of Daniel he had seen and that there was something dark waiting for him. Daniel shivered involuntarily. He couldn’t think of anything in his past life that would inspire Jack to be so concerned, but then he hadn’t remembered the other incidents either until Jack had told him about those dreams.
He was brought back to the proceedings by Simon brushing past him and once again displacing Jack from the holo-emitter. This time Jack made a grab for him, but Daniel held his lover back not wanting him to add a charge of assaulting a senior officer to their growing list of infractions.
“General, if I might make a suggestion.” Simon oozed charm and Daniel winced. George Hammond had been around the block a few times and was not one to be drawn in by schmooze.
“de’Vere?” The general looked wary and faintly amused.
“I don’t know if you realized, but I have a very big estate here in Scotland and there just happens to be one of the finest whiskey distilleries in the Highlands right on my land. My grandfather laid down a couple of oak barrels the day I was born and I am now 52 years old.” He raised an eyebrow at the general whose eyes were now twinkling with humor.
“If you could get away for a couple of days perhaps you could be my ‘guard’ until my clearance comes through. I’d appreciate your views on the bottle of my grandsire’s legacy that is currently residing on my sideboard. You’d be very welcome.”
The smile that graced the general’s face made Jack’s insides unclench. He turned and grabbed Daniel by the shoulders, pulling him into a huge embrace.
“It’s going to be OK, Danny,” he breathed into the younger man’s ear and Daniel couldn’t help but hug him back. Jack’s relief was contagious and Daniel realized that he’d been just as concerned.
“Very well, I do have leave booked for this weekend actually. I was going to fly out to see my daughter tonight, but I can rearrange that if Thor would be willing to beam me to your property in a couple of hours?” Hammond agreed.
Thor inclined his head regally and Simon relayed that to the general.
“Alright, that’s good. Then Colonel O’Neill and Dr Jackson are free to return to Mexico?” he asked respectfully.
“As long as you remain with Thor until I can be beamed over there, yes.” Hammond replied.
“Thank you, Major General. My command code is Alpha November Charlie Niner Niner Omega. That should get you straight to the right people. I will await your arrival.” Simon deadpanned.
“I look forward to meeting you in person Air Vice Marshall,” Hammond said respectfully and then picked up the phone on his desk, effectively terminating the holo-conference.
Simon stepped back off the holo-disc and turned a huge beaming smile on the two men behind him who were still clinging to each other.
“There, all sorted,” he said smugly. “You have a couple of hours to get your stuff packed and to say goodbye to everyone back at the castle and then Thor here will beam you back to the beach house.” Simon looked questioningly at the alien.
Thor inclined his head once again. “I will be happy to return O’Neill and Dr Jackson to Mexico.”
“Tell them I’ve got to meet someone and will be returning in a couple of hours with a guest. That’ll give Mac enough time to prepare a room for your general.”
Daniel watched warily as Jack let go of him and turned stony faced to his ex-lover. He saw Simon pale a little as the full force of Jack’s anger was turned on him. Jack moved towards the Lord and it was obvious that it took everything the other man had for him not to take a step back. Daniel saw Simon brace in preparation for the blow he was sure was coming his way, although Daniel knew better. Jack was just as vicious with his tongue as he was with his fists and rarely resorted to physical violence.
Suddenly the cold angry look on Jack’s face gave way to a beaming grin.
“You fucking son of a bitch. You’ve got balls of steel I’ll give you that.” Jack gave Simon a playful punch on the shoulder that rocked him back on his heels a little. Then he pulled him into a bear hug and whispered, “Thanks” into his ear. Simon just nodded and smiled over Jack’s shoulder at Daniel.
“Just look after him, OK?” he asked with a grin and Daniel nodded, smiling back broadly.
“Thor, old buddy.” Jack turned to the little gray alien, “it’s been a blast but I think it’s time we got this show on the road.” He delved in his pocket and brought out the white egg shaped communicator. “Can I use this?”
“Yes, O’Neill. Just tap it twice and I will beam you back here to make your farewell to Lord de’Vere.”
Jack nodded and grinned cheekily at Thor.
“Two to beam down, Scotty.”
Daniel looked incredulously at Jack as the familiar white light enveloped them both. His mouth dropped open as the last thing he heard was the Asgard reply in his familiar clipped tones.
“Aye, Aye, Captain.”