For A Friend.....

"Relax, Jack...." Smiling softly, almost to himself, Daniel pressed his friend back against the pillows. "I promise I won't hurt you."

Jack eyed him sceptically. "Oh yeah? And... you expect me to believe that?"

The full lips pouted, blue eyes down-turned in dismay. "You don't trust me..." he murmured. "After all the time we've spent together, after all we've been through?"

"Daniel --"

But the anthropologist had turned away, staring at the little Mayan figure on top of the dresser. His shoulders slumped with the rejection and he swallowed audibly in the silent room. "If I was Teal'c you wouldn't refuse," he sighed.

A faint grumble of annoyance and Jack raised his hand to rub at his tired eyes. "Yeah, well, Teal'c's probably done this a lot more than you have. It's a way of life to him."

"It was a way of life for me, too, on Abydos."

Jack scoffed at that, too weary to hold his anger in. "You mean Sha're didn't do it for you? She did everything else..."

Anger blazed in the cerulean depths. "Let's leave my wife out of this, shall we?" he suggested, knowing from experience that it was one of the few things he and the colonel continued to disagree on. Then he pushed the surge of emotion aside and gave Jack's blanketed knee a gentle squeeze. "You know you need this, Jack, so why fight me on it?"

"I can do it myself...."

"With your arm in plaster? I don't think so." he scraped a distracted hand through his hair, long again now after their protracted mission on P9X-811. "I just want to help you feel better, Jack, that's all. It'll only take a few minutes." He licked his lips, a coyness he knew Jack could rarely resist. "Please?"

Watching him for a moment, Jack stretched out his good arm and rubbed at Daniel's shoulder. "Why is it so important to you?"

A sigh. A frown. An embarrassed wriggle of the broad shoulders. "Because I need to do something to - make it up to you."

"Make it....?" Jack's eyes widened as realisation hit home. "Oh for cryin' out loud, Danny! It wasn't your fault."

"Wasn't it?"

"No! How in the hell were you supposed to know what Nysmaya had in mind?"

"But it was obvious -- The moment he brought out the statue..."

"Oh, so now you can see through solid rock..." Jack snapped. "Danny it happened, and nothing you or I, or anyone else, could have done would have stopped it. So my arm got broken - I've had worse. At least we all got out of there alive... didn't we?"

Reluctantly, Daniel nodded. "Okay, so maybe it wasn't my fault," he conceded. "But I still want to help." He picked up the tube of gel, turning it over and over in his hands. "I know what I'm doing, Jack," he promised, then he gave a little gentle laugh. "I've been doing it since I was sixteen."

"Sixteen?" Jack repeated, startled at the confession. "How come?"

"When you're stuck out in the middle of nowhere you learn to - adapt. One of the men on my first solo dig taught me what to do. I made a real mess the first few times, but after a while I got the hang of it. It's really just a matter of going slow and using a light touch."

He could feel Jack's eyes on him, assessing him and he waited patiently, knowing there was no point in forcing Jack into this. It would only make them both nervous and the last thing he wanted was for Jack to get hurt again.

"Okay," the colonel said at last. "I guess it would make me feel more comfortable." He grinned when he heard Daniel's sigh of relief, and the tension between them dissipated with their shared laughter. "What do I have to do?"

"Nothing," Daniel replied. "Just relax and let me concentrate."

Shifting round on the bed, Daniel carefully turned down the sheet, his fingertips brushing the lightly tanned chest and sending a shiver through his companion. "Sorry," he murmured shyly, retrieving the towel he had placed on the night stand earlier and setting it within reach. Making himself more comfortable against Jack's bony hip, he picked up the tube of gel and flipped open the top, squeezing a generous amount into his palm.

"Ready?" he asked, gazing deep into the brown eyes.

Jack drew a deep breath to steady his racing pulse, blew it out in a tremulous sigh before nodding, slowly, once. "Let's do it," he said.

Pinning his most reassuring smile in place, at the same time calling on ever god that might be listening to guide his hands, Daniel cupped his palm against Jack's heavily stubbled cheek....

..... and reached towards the night stand for the cut-throat razor....


"Not bad," Jack conceded, tipping his head this way and that as he pered in the mirror Daniel held out for him. He rubbed his fingeres around his jawline, searching for the telltale sign of an unsteady hand, but there was none, not even the tiniest nick. "Not bad at all. Ever thought of going into busness?"

Daniel rolled his eyes and began packing away the razor.