Jack sat on the edge of the sofa in the attic bedroom and watched as shadows passed across Daniels eyes like clouds on a windy day.
The last hour had been surreal. Jack shuddered as he remembered.
Only Izel’s surprisingly strong grip on his arm stopped him from moving in front of Daniel as the teenage phantom walked towards his younger lover.
“There is no danger, Mr. Jack,” she murmured quietly. “This is what has to be.”
Jack dragged his eyes from the figure sitting in the water and shook his head. Despite his feeling that this had to happen he couldn’t shake the need to protect Daniel from what was almost certainly an alien influence.
“You don’t understand,” he growled in frustration, “I can’t tell you why but this could be very dangerous – we don’t know what that…ghost…spirit…thing really is. It could harm Danny.”
“How could it harm him, Jack?” Her voice was firm and reassuring. “It is him.”
Jack gritted his teeth and was about to let his anger out at the small woman when, to his open mouthed amazement, the figure of the boy merged with Daniel and disappeared. With a sharp intake of breath Daniel pitched forward into the surf and lay still and seemingly lifeless on the beach. Jack was moving before he even realised and was hauling Daniel up and into his arms, falling back into the surf as Daniel’s dead weight lolled back in his arms. For a moment Jack was sure his lover wasn’t breathing but then he began to cough and splutter out the small amount of seawater he had inhaled.
“I’m here, Danny.”
“I have to tell you…I have to.”
The walk back to the beach house had been slow as Daniel’s feet seemed made of lead and Jack’d had to half support, half carry him into the house. Izel had suggested they make the slightly precarious trip upstairs. Jack hadn’t been sure why and had been about to argue with her when he saw the gentleness of her gaze on Daniel and realised she probably had more insight into what was going to happen next than he did. He’d pushed down his natural protective nature and decided to let this play out how it wanted.
Now he was sitting here, watching, as Daniel sat quietly on the bed, absently rubbing at his wrists. The silence had been so complete that Jack could barely hear the pounding of the surf over the thudding of his heart in his ears. Part of him didn’t want to know what his lover’s younger self had suffered. The idea that someone had treated any kid like that built a cold fist of anger in his gut that seemed to freeze him in place. A tiny voice in his head kept telling him he should be over there, supporting and loving his partner through whatever horrors he was remembering but he was unable to move, caught in the drift of emotions as they flowed across Daniel’s face.
“I was thirteen when I was fostered by Dikan Lisjak.”
The blood fell from Jack’s face and he let out a strangled cry. It couldn’t be…could it? Once again the firm squeeze of Izel’s hand on his arm was the only thing stopping Jack from shouting, throwing out the denial that it couldn’t be the same man; the man he fought and laughed and bled with. His eyes flicked across the Daniel but the other man had not moved; gave no indication that he’d even heard Jack’s outburst.
“They told me that Dikan and Zarah had been foster parents for two years and I was only their second placement. The other kid was a girl and she was two years older than me.” Daniel’s eyes filled suddenly and two fat tears ran down his cheeks, but his facial expression didn’t change.
“I was a difficult kid by then; angry, sad beyond belief and just too clever for my own well being. Zarah was a teacher at the local high school and the social worker told me they hoped she would be able to ‘deal with me’. It was summer break so I think the social worker hoped Zarah would settle me down before the next semester.” Daniel shook his head slightly and closed his eyes as more tears made their slow way across his face.
“I was introduced to Zarah. Dikan was out at work, she said, and the social worker just accepted it, pleased to be getting rid of another difficult case.” Once again Daniel ran his fingers around his wrist gingerly, seeming to feel the rawness that had been obvious around the phantom Danny’s bound wrists.
“Turned out that Zarah was, in fact, Dikan’s sister and she pretended to be his wife so that Child Services would place children in Dikan’s care. He paid her, I think, although the only time we ever saw her was when a case worker was due to visit. I learned quickly to keep your head down and not question anything. I’d just come from a group home where I got smacked around by the other kids most days. At first anywhere that wasn’t that place was OK with me, so I kept quiet and played along the first week when she made her statutory visit.”
Jack swallowed hard, questions and angry words fighting to get out of his closed throat. He wanted to know if this was the same man, but the words wouldn’t form; he was struck dumb by emotion.
“The other kid was Lizzie and she was so beautiful; big brown eyes and hair that curled around her face. She looked older than fourteen which was a bad thing for her because to everyone except for child services she was Dikan’s wife; a child bride, brought back from Croatia.”
Jack felt his stomach turn over as he remembered the conversations with Lisjack about the sweet girls in his home village and their pretty brown eyes. The photograph of the young wife he kept in his wallet. He was desperately trying to do the math in his head. If he was twenty-seven when he was on that op in the Middle East with Simon and Lisjack then it would have been just after young Danny was placed in his foster home. He felt some relief… it couldn’t be the same guy, he was sure of it. His wayward thoughts were brought back to Daniel as he continued to speak, his voice calm and strange; emotionless.
“Lizzie never spoke while I was there. I asked the social worker about it once but she just told me it was confidential. It was only after I’d been there a couple of weeks that I realised she shared his bed. Up till then he’d been OK with me – not kind but not cruel either. That changed when he overheard me asking her why she stayed. I wanted to know why she didn’t run. I was a clever kid; I knew what was going on. But she’d been there two years and I think he’d raped her nearly every day.” Danny’s eyes closed tightly and he seemed to struggle.
Jack tensed, ready to move to him but Izel shook her head and continued to watch, her calm exterior belied by the fierce flash of anger in her eyes.
The young man gave a deep sigh and then looked over at Jack, almost but not quite meeting his horrified gaze.
“Before I knew it I was on my back on the bed with a big KA-Bar against my throat. I could see how honed the blade was and the wrap around the handle was red white and blue with a red star – just like the Socialist Republic of Croatia flag.”
“Fuck.” Jack felt the word slip from his lips without his control. He knew that knife, had seen it cut through branches, clean nails and kill. Daniel looked up at him, gazing for the first time right into Jack’s eyes. He gave a terse nod and recognition that Jack had known this man, fought alongside him, flickered across his gaze. Daniel continued as if nothing had interrupted his story telling.
“He threatened me, told me he’d cut my throat in front of Lizzie if I even breathed a word to anyone about what was going on in the house. Then he tied my wrists and left me there on the bed while he had sex with Lizzie right next to me. When he’d finished he looked over at me and said, ‘keep your mouth shut malo kopač and I won’t hurt her.’” Daniel was beginning to shake with emotion now, his fingers twisting together. Suddenly he held out a shaking hand and looked beseechingly over at his older lover.
Jack was over to his lover in a heartbeat and pulling Daniel into his arms.
“OK, baby, I’m here, I’m here,” Jack whispered pressing his lips to his lover’s hair as heaving sobs racked Daniel’s body.
“A-a-after that,” Daniel continued, seeming desperate to rid himself of the whole story. “I was tied at the wrists all the time except for when there was a visit planned. Then he would take me to the bedroom and show me the knife and tell me in great detail how he would cut Lizzie. He bragged about how he knew a hundred ways to kill her and make it hurt. Then I’d be dressed in long sleeves to cover the marks on my wrists and Zarah would talk to the social workers while Dikan sat across the room just staring at me.” Daniel looked over at Izel who was almost vibrating with anger. “I never dared to say a word right now, I wish I had.”
Jack took Daniel’s chin gently in his hand and turned him to look into his eyes.
“Danny,” he began, not knowing how to frame his question. “How did…?”
“One night Dikan had some friends over to play Otvoreni Remi. It’s like…”
“Rummy,” Jack croaked out, disgusted. “I know that game.” Knew it because Lisjack had taught it to them one long cold night.
Daniel nodded and ran a shaking finger along the deep frown lines between Jack’s eyes. “I was tied to the bottom of the bed as usual but I overheard Dikan telling them how his ‘little girlfriend’ was pregnant. They all laughed and told him what a dog he was and how they were all really proud of him. They were laughing and singing and drinking till the early hours and then he rolled into the bedroom.” Daniel was sobbing as he remembered the terrible scene. “She didn’t fight him; she just let him use her. I remember thinking she looked like one of those rag dolls all floppy and boneless. Eventually he rolled over and started to snore.”
Pressing his head into Jack’s shoulder, Daniel carried on, his voicing hitching with emotion. “After an hour Lizzie slid out of bed and went to the dresser where he kept the knife.” He held up his shaking hands, his wrists ringed with red where he had rubbed them over and over. “She cut through the ties and just looked at me. I was so afraid; I thought she was going to kill him.” He looked over at Jack and his eyes swam with tears. “I wanted her to kill him but I was so scared; scared that he would wake up and kill her, kill me. So I grabbed my coat and I ran. I had ten dollars that I had stashed in my shoes before I had moved in and I used it to buy a bus ticket. I ended up 200 miles away before the police picked me up.” Sitting up, Daniel gently pulled away from Jack and pressed his arms around himself, self hugging for all he was worth. “Later that night Lizzie killed herself; slit her wrists with his KA-Bar and then lay down on the floor of my bedroom and bled out, alone and silent. The police told me he’d accused me – said I had got her pregnant and then rejected her, that I’d run away when I found her dead on the floor. But one of the detectives was already suspicious and forensics tied the time of death to after I must have left the house to get as far away as I did. They didn’t even get me to make a statement. No one was interested in what I had to say, I was just a foster kid.” Daniel squeezed his eyes shut, as if to hide from the truth of his memories. “I managed to find out, by eavesdropping on a couple of conversations between my social worked and the police, that they did a DNA test on the foetus and found that it was Dikan’s child. By the time they had gathered enough evidence he had disappeared. Zarah said she didn’t know where he was and I’m guessing he took the first black op that came along. I’m think that’s something you know about, Jack?”
Jack nodded reluctantly. Dikan was an assassin, well known for wet work for several governments. His identity was kept under wraps, only divulged to the teams he worked with and even they were never sure if the name they were given was really his. Well it seemed like this time it was and Jack could well believe that information about his whereabouts would be buried, even if the rape of an under-aged girl was involved. He was too good an asset to lose and the life of a fifteen year old was nothing compared to the political gain of having someone like Lisjack on the payroll. Jack opened his mouth to say something – anything to explain what it was to be part of that dark, dangerous world, but Daniel pressed two shaking fingers against his lips and shook his head.
“I do need to hear it, Jack, but not right now, OK?”
Jack nodded, his jaw tight with tension. “So what happened to you then?”
Daniel gave a small, sad smile. “I’d only been there five weeks so they gave me a month of therapy and then a new placement. I lied about what I’d seen; told them he used to tie me to my bed at night. They asked me if he’d ever been sexual with me but I could honestly say no. I hid what happened from everyone – even myself it seems – because up until today I only had a vague recollection of that time. It was all shadow play. Now though… now I remember it all, every single minute and…” Daniel swallowed hard, breathing hard and leaning heavily against Jack’s chest. “…now I really wish I didn’t.”
Jack pulled his lover more firmly into his arms as if he could protect him from his memories and he could feel the tremors in Daniel’s muscles as he fought for control.
“Mr Daniel?” Izel’s quiet soft voice broke through the tension of the moment and bathed them both in warmth. Daniel lifted tired eyes to meet hers and she smiled at him. “Maybe you should have a soak in the tub…” She looked over at Jack and he felt the depth of her care and concern. “Mr Jack can help you and then you could perhaps come back up here and rest for a while. There will be time for more talk later.” She pressed her hand to Jack’s forearm and squeezed gently. “I will stay here tonight, so that someone can be awake at all times, in case Mr Daniel needs anything, yes?”
Jack was so grateful to the older woman he almost burst into tears. He had been wondering how he could possibly deal with Daniel’s needs when he was struggling with an anger so deep and hot and bitter that he thought he might explode. He nodded quickly and was graced with a sweet smile from Izel.
“Very well. I will go downstairs, turn on the bath and make a light meal. Come down when you are ready.” She smoothed away a tear that had fallen over Daniel’s cheek and pressed a kiss to his forehead.
Jack watched her leave the room and then turned to press his own kiss to his lover’s slightly chilled skin. “Danny…I don’t…I don’t know what you need, but whatever it is…I’ll try…” His mouth went dry as he struggled to deal with the enormity of Daniel’s story and how closely linked they had been all those years ago without ever knowing. Daniel pressed himself harder into Jack’s arms and gave a small nod. Jack wasn’t sure what Danny would need in the next few hours; really wasn’t sure he was going to be capable of offering anything like the care Daniel would need to deal with the revelations of the last few hours, but he was willing to try.
Two hours later Daniel had managed a soak in the bath, a few mouthfuls of toast and then dropped exhausted onto the bed. Jack watched him fall into a deep sleep before he asked Izel to stay with him.
Jack made his way down to the main living area and picked up the phone. His hand was shaking as he dialled a long remembered number and waited for a familiar voice to answer.
“This had better be important…”
“Si, it’s Jack.”
“About fucking time. One minute we’re laughing and joking and the next you disappear. Jonny, is everything OK?”
“Do you have any idea where Lisjack is? Is he still alive?”
“Dikan? Last I heard – which is about two years ago now – he was working for your lot out in Iraq. Jack, what’s going on? What’s this about?”
“Turns out…fuck…turns out just before he was sorted to our team for that South American drug cartel mission, he was foster father to a thirteen year old boy.”
“Foster father. Fuck they must have been desperate. He was one dangerous SOB. I wouldn’t want any kid spending time with him, let alone a kid with problems. How did you find this out Jonny?”
“It was Danny, Simon. My Danny. And he wasn’t the only one. Do you remember the photo of his wife?”
“I always thought he was lying about that. The girl in the picture always looked far too sweet to be married to a bastard like him. Are you telling me she was…shit, Jack! Who was she?”
“Her name was Lizzie. She was fostered by him and his sister who pretended to be married to him. Fuck, Si, he raped that kid for two years before Danny got there. When the social workers placed him there and Danny asked Lizzie why she didn’t run away, that Croatian piece of shit threatened him with that big ass KA-Bar he always carried…”
“The one with the fancy wrap?”
“The very same! Then he tied him to the bed and made him watch. For three fucking weeks…fuck, Fuck, FUCK! Then she heard him telling some slime-bag friends of his that she was pregnant, so she used Dikan’s knife to cut Danny free and he ran because he though she was going to kill the bastard. Then she slit her wrists…Christ, Simon, we laughed and played cards with that fucker while a little girl lay dead by her own hand and Danny was shunted off to another family.”
“Jack, calm down and think this through. What do you want to do? I know why you want to know where he is but, if I can find out for you, what are you going to do with the intel?”
“You never used to be dense, de’Vere. You know exactly what I’m going to do with any info I can get and the fucker will deserve every last bit of it.”
“OK…OK, listen. I agree he should be dealt with, but it doesn’t have to be you. You know he has connections that go very, very deep. You go after him and Danny could quite easily lose you.”
“We can’t just let this go, Si. He was raping a little girl for TWO FUCKING YEARS! He tied up and threatened Danny when he needed love and compassion. Don’t tell me I have to let this go. I may not be the twenty seven year old I was when I last saw him, but I’ve been chasing aliens on other planets for the last five years. I’ve seen and done things he could never imagine even in his fucked up mind. I have skills and access to weapons that leave no trace.”
“I know all that, Jack and you are more than capable of taking this fucker out, but he’s still an asset. You know how valuable he is. You try and take him on head to head and get caught… well even George Hammond couldn’t save you. You don’t want to do that to Daniel or to the programme. Earth needs you, Jack. Danny needs you.”
“I never thought you’d let politics get above justice, de’Vere. I can’t believe you think it’s OK to let that filth roam free just because he’s black ops poster boy when you know what he’s done. Seems like a few years behind a desk hasn’t just made you soft. You’re feeding into the bullshit we always fought against…”
“Just shut it now before you say something you’ll regret. I’m not saying something doesn’t need to be done. I’m saying it doesn’t have to be you, Jack, no matter how much it would feed your sense of justice to be the one to do it. I have some connections; deep cover operatives who owe me a favour or two. If, and I mean if, I can get a handle on where he is and what he’s doing, I can make things happen. But I won’t let you put yourself or Daniel in danger, not for revenge, Jonny. Do you hear what I’m saying?”
“Yeah…yeah I hear ya.”
“So leave this with me. I promise you something will be done. I’ll dig up the police files too and see what we can get from that.”
“Wait, are you saying Daniel’s lying? You didn’t see him, Simon. You have no idea how harrowing this was for him; hearing that name after all this time, facing up to memories that had been hidden for years…”
“Look, will you stop jumping all over me. I’m on your side…Danny’s side, OK? Of course I believe him. I just want as much intel as possible before I go to my contacts. They’re going to want to be sure that this is a righteous kill. They may be contractors but they’re not murderers. You know the score, Jonny. You’d want to be sure if I was contacting you, wouldn’t you?”
“Yeah, you’re right.”
“I know I am. And this way you have no direct contact and neither will I. You know despite the need for this outcome, Daniel is not going to want you to do anything that will put you in any danger. This way, if you want to, you can plausible deniability and I promise he’ll never hear anything from me. So will you leave this to me now? Can you let this go so you can be there for him, because if he’s only just remembering this then you can be fucking sure he’s going to need you.”
“Hey, I love you too, Jonny and I love that beautiful man of yours. If Lisjack did half of what Danny remembers then he deserves everything he’s going to get.”
“Just promise me you’ll let me know – when it’s done – I want to know that piece of scum is no longer part of the human race. I only wish we could give him to Teal’c. That’s the kind of vengeance I’d pay to see.”
“Yeah, I’m not sure whether I want to meet him or not. I’ve read some of your mission files and he is sounds like one scary bastard. I promise, Jack, you’ll be the second person to know after me. Now go and be with your guy. You have another week or so there right?
“Probably a week. There’s some stuff we should do.”
“Well leave this with me. Trust me, it’s the middle of the night here but in the morning it’ll get done asap. That bastard won’t be hurting any more kids.
“I trust you, Si. I always did.”
“Good. Now piss off and let me get back to my beautiful man, you cock-blocking fucker.”
Jack sat for half an hour after Simon hung up with the receiver still clutched in his hand, staring blankly as he tried to process all the angry, violent emotions that roiled around his head and gut. Simon was right; Daniel would need him over the next few days. He just hoped he was up to the job.
Daniel woke slowly for the second time that day, only this time there was no warm mouth or sweet fruit to ease his passage into wakefulness. His eyes were sore and gritty and he was loathe to open them; his throat felt raw, and his head thudded with the heavy press of an incipient headache. He moved experimentally and found his arms and legs ached as if he’d run for miles. The only pleasant sensation was the warm press of toned muscles against his back. He felt something unclench inside him as he relaxed into the gentle embrace of his lover. Although he knew intellectually that Jack would be there for him, the pain of the memories and the emotional turmoil they had churned up had left him feeling vulnerable and insecure. The fact that Jack was here, holding him, did more than any words could to reassure him that eventually everything would be alright.
“J…Jack,” he croaked.
He felt movement behind him and then he was turned gently to face his lover.
“Hey, Danny. Need a drink? Whadda you want? Juice? Water? Coffee?”
Daniel gave a small watery smile at the list. He really wanted coffee but thought it was a bad idea with the pounding in his head threatening to turn into a migraine. “Juice, please.”
Jack’s warm brown eyes crinkled as he smiled and placed a gentle kiss at the corner of Daniel’s mouth. “Izel is a mind reader as well as everything else. She brought up some iced guava juice about five minutes ago.”
Daniel nodded in agreement to a raised eyebrow from Jack and his lover slipped off the bed and poured the sweet juice into a long glass. When he returned to the bedside he handed it over. Daniel downed it gratefully and then held the empty glass out.
“More?” Jack asked as he took it.
“No, thanks, not right now.” Daniel frowned and, moving gingerly he wriggled up the bed to sit with his back to the headboard.
“So I guess it’s time to talk, huh?” Jack looked down at his hands and gave a deep sigh.
“Jack, I realise you knew him…Lisjack…” Daniel was annoyed at the way his voice cracked on the hated name. He was an adult now; decades had passed since the events of that short period in his life. He had been ostracised by his profession, travelled thousands of light years to other planets; been killed and resurrected; got married and then become a widower; fought aliens and yet this one memory had the power to drag him back to the lost, frightened little boy he was then. He didn’t want to let the memories back in but the alien influence had obviously dug it out of his psyche for whatever reason and now he had to face it whether he wanted to or not. “But what he did, to Lizzie…to me…you couldn’t have known.”
Jack nodded but didn’t lift his head to meet Daniel’s gaze.
“Tell me,” Daniel said gently as he reached across the bed to lay his hand softly against Jack’s thigh. With a deep sigh Jack slid down onto the bed and arranged himself next to Daniel. If he wriggled around a little more than was really necessary then Daniel decided to ignore it. He realised that this was almost as difficult for Jack as Daniel’s revelation had been. Despite the closeness they had, as both friends and lovers, Jack’s time in special and black ops was a very closed book. Daniel doubted he had spoken about it to anyone outside the other members of the teams he had been a part of – and perhaps not even then.
“I only ever worked with him once,” Jack began. His eyes were still downcast and Daniel had to clench his fists to prevent himself from reaching out. Jack was vibrating with tension and Daniel knew it would take very little to make him fly off the handle.
“We… Simon and me…we were recruited for an op in South America. A major drug baron was reported to be supporting a pretty corrupt politician, hoping to get him into power, therefore putting the leader of the cartel in a very advantageous position and threatening the political stability of the area. Our job was to get in there and find concrete proof that the two were linked in some way.”
“Why a US team. Why not use internal intelligence networks?” Daniel was interested in the political implications, despite needing to hear the story Jack had to tell.
Jack gave a small, bitter smile. “We found out later that the last team sent into the area had been sent back out again after going missing for 3 months. They were all so traumatised and strung out on cocaine that their intel was useless.”
Daniel looked over at Jack, shocked that this new team had been sent in without this background information.
Jack nodded almost to himself. “Yep, we were sent in there thinking it was just a quick intelligence gathering exercise – except suddenly there is a new member of our team. Dikan appeared out of nowhere. None of the guys in the team had met him before but Si and I had been around the block a couple of times by that point and had heard a few rumours about a Croatian who was used for wet work, not just by the US but the Brits and the Japanese. Not much else got out about him except his weapon of choice.”
“KA-Bar with a Croatian flag handle wrap,” Daniel gritted out through clenched teeth. He knew the renewed memory of that particular knife would remain with him for a long time.
“You got it,” Jack growled. “Well, we spent about two weeks in some stinking hot jungle while I got Simon in and out of the cartel compound so he could do his stuff.” Jack drew his legs up and rested his forearms on his knees, letting his hands dangle down. He made a conscious effort to relax his fingers from the angry clench that was beginning to make them ache. “We thought that was it; that it was just intelligence gathering but Lisjack was very interested in the pictures and our thoughts on the layout of the compound. When the time came for us to get out of there he disappeared for about three hours and then was at the pickup point – cool as a cucumber. He was just his normal joking self but I remember the sleeves of his jungle camo’s were stiff with blood.” Jack shook his head. “No one even mentioned it.” He looked over at Daniel and he seemed to be waiting for the younger man’s reaction. Daniel just gazed calmly back. There was nothing in this revelation that made him love and respect Jack less but he realised Jack thought there might be.
“It’s funny, you know,” Jack said quietly. “Each mission was like a little world unto itself. You either loved or hated the guys you were working with and only rarely did we ever talk about what we did. I never liked him, but I what he was – a dirty, dangerous killer. If you wanted to put a label to him then I suppose you would say a sociopath. Just the kind of person all those governments wanted to do their dirty work. I’ve killed. Fuck you’ve been there and seen me do it, but I never enjoyed it and I’ve always believed in the reasons for it, even when I’ve not been doing it to save myself or others: And every time – every time it stays with me. ” Jack’s face grew dark with anger. “But he was so blasé, so completely unaffected and now I know…know what he’d done to you and that poor little girl… We played cards with him and joked about his sweet, young wife from the village…Shit, Danny…” Jack dropped his head to his knees, not knowing whether to scream or cry.
“Jack…” Daniel pulled his lover into his arms and slid them back to lie face to face. “You couldn’t have known and anyway, by the time you met him Lizzie was already gone.” Daniel traced the frown lines on Jack’s forehead and continued to softly caress his jaw. “I know you are angry about this – God knows, if I could have kept this to myself I would have…” Daniel was taken aback by the flash of fierce denial in Jack’s eyes.
“You never, ever have to keep stuff from me, Danny,” Jack grated out, his throat thick with emotion. “I just want to…fuck it…that bastard…Ach!”
Daniel saw retribution burning in Jack’s eyes and knew he had to deflect Jack from a course of action that would put him face to face with Daniel’s childhood nemesis. He took in a breath and looked directly into Jack’s eyes. “I want you to promise me you won’t try to find him…to deal with him – even though I know you want to…fuck even though I know I’d want you to, if I’m honest. I just don’t want him to have the chance to hurt someone else I care about and I don’t want to have him always there between us.”
Jack’s heart sped up as he considered telling Daniel what he had already done, but he realised that Simon had been right. This way he only had to tell a small, white lie – a fudge, if you like – but he would still have the knowledge that Lisjack would not be around much longer to hurt anyone.
“As much as I want to, I won’t lay a hand on him, Danny.” Jack winced internally that he wasn’t being entirely honest but kept his face open, as he willed Daniel to believe the truth of the statement.
Daniel’s gaze bored into him for several seconds as he seemed to assess the veracity of Jack’s statement. Moments later Jack was relieved as his lover relaxed and snuggled into his side.
“You know we need to go back to the P4X-993, and soon,” he murmured tiredly.
Jack wasn’t surprised at the sudden change in the conversation. He had been thinking the same thing himself. All of this strange interlude in their lives could be explained by Daniel’s fever after visiting that planet and it was odds on there was some outside alien influence involved. Right now all Jack wanted was to keep his lover safe and for them to relax a little before they got back to the ‘real world’ of the SGC but the realist in him was aware they couldn’t hide away for much longer. He wasn’t looking forward to facing Hammond and Janet and having to explain why they didn’t report straight back to base at the first sign of a problem.
“Yeah, I know,” Jack sighed. “But we can have another week here at least – I think we deserve that.” Turning to pull Daniel into his arms he arranged the younger man half over him with his head pillowed on Jack’s chest.
“Do you think it’s over now?” Jack asked, a little plaintively.
Daniel didn’t have to ask what he meant. “Yeah, I think so.”
The unremitting tension of the last few hours had crept up on them both and they fell easily into a deep, quiet sleep; Daniel’s memories kept at bay by the strong arms of his lover around him; Jack’s anger soothed by the gentle puffs of Daniel’s breath against his neck.
Izel stood in the doorway and watched as they slept. The aura of presentiment she had felt around the two men had finally faded and she was sure they would not be troubled by the visions again. She had overheard Jack’s conversation with Simon de’Vere, and the heat of her desire for revenge against the monster who’d been so abusive had dissipated when she’d realised he was going to be ‘dealt’ with. With a serene expression she smiled at the thin, silent figure of a teenaged girl who stood at the foot of the bed. With a toss of brown curls the child took one last look at the sleeping men, nodded and then faded away.