Everything about the day was perfect, from the warm sunshine that sparkled in the gently flowing river, to the soft breeze whispering through the canopy of leaves, to the sweet scent of grass and moss crushed beneath their bare feet. Perfect, all of it, and best of all was being able to share it with Jack.
Daniel set down the book he was reading and shifted his gaze to the man in question, smiling fondly as he recalled his companion's childlike enthusiasm for the trip, up at dawn, bags packed and car loaded before Daniel had finished his first coffee of the day. Not that he could blame him. Six demanding missions in the last two months had taken their toll of the whole team, draining them to the point at which Dr Fraiser had exercised her medical authority and insisted to General Hammond that the whole team be stood down for not less than a week and forbidden to set foot on the base except in the most dire emergency. It was a measure of the general's own concern that he had agreed without argument.
Which was how Daniel came to be sitting here, watching Jack watching the water, his whole being concentrated on that tiny spot at which the fishing line breached the shimmering surface of the river. It was a long time since Daniel had seen such stillness in his lover. Even in sleep he seldom stayed still for long, his limbs twitching, fingers flexing as he fought his way through another dark dream. Often in these last few weeks he had awakened Daniel with a fearful cry as he relived some trauma from his past -near or distant, Daniel was never certain which. On those occasions Daniel would hold him close, the grey head resting against his shoulder, as he soothed him with gentle kisses and countered the painful images with what Jack had come to refer to as 'Daniel's One Thousand and One Abydonian Nights'.
Easing away from the trunk of the tree, he curled forward and wrapped his arms around his knees, resting his chin on them as he concentrated on the older man. They had been lovers now for more than a year, but it was only during these past five months that he had truly begun to know the man and not just the face he showed to the world. A warm feeling of contentment flowed through him as he remembered how often they curled together on the sofa in the home they now shared, watching the fire dancing in the hearth and trading two lifetimes worth of secrets, some silly and inconsequential, some filled with the horrors of war and loss that were washed away in tears which would never see the light of day. The nightmare of Jack's imprisonment in Iraq, the traumatic bouncing from one foster home to another that Daniel had endured in his youth, the desolation of Charlie's death that found it's echo in the death of Daniel's parents: they had shared it all and were the stronger for it.
His gaze drifted back to his lover and he sighed as he watched the play of muscle under the thin T-shirt as Jack pushed to his feet and stretched, easing out the cramps from sitting so still for so long. There was such strength there, even though the first flush of youth had long left him. Daily workouts, sparring with Teal'c and those long 'country strolls' off world had all combined to keep him at the peak of fitness, staving off the flabbiness and poor posture of middle age. Once in a while Daniel would awaken in the middle of the night to find Jack pacing out some problem that refused to let him rest, prowling their bedroom like a jungle cat. Daniel would say nothing, letting him work it through, content just to watch the way that gorgeous body moved through the moonlight. He knew every inch of it now, every muscle, every flaw, every erogenous zone; knew every scar, those gained during the time they had known each other and those about which he would never speak. One in particular frightened Daniel, not because it was any more severe than the others but because of what it implied. No more now than a thin silver line, it ran from the tip of his left hipbone, down, across his lower abdomen, ending with a sickening flourish in the wiry curls at the base of his cock. Jack had never explained it and Daniel had never asked - he didn't need to, the threat was implicit - but every time they made love he would touch his lips to the mark and thank the gods that the threat had not been carried out.
Thinking of Jack, naked, was making him hard and he wriggled his butt on the rug covered ground to get more comfortable. It didn't help. Only one thing would ease the delicious ache in his groin and he was grateful they had picked such a secluded spot on the river.
Setting the book carefully aside, he stood up and began to move towards Jack. Suddenly, a devilish impulse overtook him and he grinned. Why the hell not? he mused. It's not like anyone will see us... The decision made, he stripped off his own top and tossed it on the ground, following that by peeling down his shorts and kicking them aside. That done, he snagged two cans from the cooler and, wearing nothing but a pair of shades and a sweet smile, he sauntered down the mossy bank to Jack's side.
"Thought you might be ready for a beer," he said softly, sliding his arms beneath Jack's and around his chest, hugging him from behind. Pulled from his reverie, Jack turned his head and smiled.
"Hey baby..." he greeted softly, reaching for Daniel's willing lips. The kiss was light, almost chaste, the angle too awkward to be maintained for long without the solidity of a bed beneath them. "Want me to stop?" he asked, gesturing to the fishing pole as they drew apart.
Daniel's murmured 'no' was muffled against Jack's skin as he clung to his lover's back and dipped his head to the sun-warmed neck. Content, Jack returned his attention to the river, one hand lifting to hold Daniel's hand over his heart.
The heat was building in Daniel's groin, delicious tingles spreading through every nerve, setting his pulse racing. Detaching his hand from his lover's grasp, he slid it down and up again, under the shirt this time, seeking and finding the tiny nub that lay buried in the silky pelt. His other hand pushed down, slipping beneath the waistband of Jack's pants. Like Daniel, the older man had chosen to go 'commando' for the day - Must have been a boy scout - and his shaft hung loose within the baggy jeans. Although already twitching with interest, Jack was still soft, a comfortable handful, as Daniel was only to willing to demonstrate. Jack's grunt of approval told him he was doing just fine.
Voice dripping with seduction, he whispered "Unzip your pants for me..." his tongue flicking lightly against Jack's ear, sending a shudder running through the older man.
Leaning back, Jack rubbed his face against Daniel's and asked softly "Why?"
Daniel wrapped his lips around the lobe and tugged on it, nipping it playfully with his teeth. "Because I think it's time I got to play with my favourite pole..." he grinned, knowing how Jack loved it when he talked 'dirty'. The effect, as predicted, was immediate. Jostling the fishing rod into his other hand, Jack yanked on the zipper and almost popped the button off in his haste, and between them they shoved the pants down to his knees. Free at last, the heavy shaft rose slowly to greet the sunlight, a sparkle of moisture already at its tip. Daniel sighed, content, and slipped his hand beneath it to capture the delicate spheres in their sac and squeeze them, rolling them gently in his fingers while the other hand closed around the lengthening 'pole'.
Gasping at the sudden assault, Jack dropped the tackle. "Ohh Daniel Jackson... I ever tell you how - how good you - Oh God!!!" his voice strained as Daniel ran the tip of his finger over the slick head, pausing to prod gently at the tiny slit, encouraging the pre-cum to flow. Breathless, Jack doubled forward around the point of contact, unaware that, by doing so, he had also pushed his ass backwards... straight onto Daniel's very hard, very ready erection and Daniel, hungry for his lover, responded in the only way he could, circling his hips slowly, working the tip of his cock between the smooth cheeks.
Time stopped, freezing all movement with it. Jack's hand reached back, searching, slapping against Daniel's hip and brushing over the bare skin. "Whaa -?" He pulled away, warm air flowing to fill the space between them as he shuffled around, his velvet gaze falling rapidly to the deeply flushed column of flesh.
"Whoa! Daniel - ?" He paused, swallowed, and then a bubble of delighted laughter burst on his lips. "Now I know why you suggested this place! Ahh, Danny..." He leaned back, his hands skimming over the smooth chest, brushing fingertips over the taut nipples and down, across the soft stomach, feather light as they stroked the shaft from base to tip before sliding under it to cradle it in his palm. Daniel caught his bottom lip between his teeth and a rich satisfied moan vibrated through him.
"Oh God," Jack breathed, voice catching in his throat "Look at you..."
"Look at us both," Daniel mirrored Jack's movements, taking hold of Jack once more and lining the two erections side by side. "Perfect match."
"Oh yeah... Here and... other places, too..." Jack told him. Moving back, he stepped out of his jeans, stripped off his shirt and let it fall. Kneeling on the grassy bank, he drew Daniel down beside him. The younger man went willingly, laying back in the strong arms, his lips already parting in expectation of the kiss. Taking the lead in their lovemaking was pretty evenly divided between them, but today he was content to let Jack set the pace, which he did with a tenderness that sapped the strength from Daniel's limbs and drove his mind to new heights of sensation.
The grass was warm beneath his back as he stretched out, arms flung back above his head, one leg bent at the knee to steady himself and allow Jack to reach him wherever he desired. The long body seemed to flow over him, touching him in all the places he wanted to be touched. He was stroked and petted, nipped and licked and kissed, from his eyelids to his toes and when that hungry mouth engulfed his weeping flesh he felt ready to fly apart or launch into orbit.
Kneeling over him, caging him within arms and legs, Jack reached down to plunder his mouth, feasting on his tongue like a starving man at his first meal. Between them the two columns of flesh batted together, driving them closer and closer to the edge.
"Top me..." Jack whispered, breath hot against the folds of Daniel's ear. He didn't wait for an answer but rolled onto his back, pulling Daniel with him. They moved together, wrapped in each others arms, sharing kisses, touching, tasting as the mood between them continued to build. It was the perfect conclusion to a perfect day....
Suddenly Jack cried out, not in lust but in pain, arching away from the ground.
"Whatthefuck? Ohgoddammit! Daniel!!"
"Jack?" He pulled away anxiously, searching the pain filled features.
"I think I've been bitten!" he spat. "Awww shit! That hurts...." He curled onto his right side to raise his ass cheek off the ground. "Please tell me they don't have snakes around here!"
At the word 'snake', Daniel's heart began to pound. What if it was? What if Jack had been bitten by something deadly? They were a good mile from the car and he knew for a fact that the mountains would disrupt the signal from his cell phone.
"Okay," he said, trying unsuccessfully to school the panic from his voice. "Let me look..." Kneeling beside him, he drew Jack over more and leaned across him, eyes darting around to make certain whatever had bitten his lover was long gone.
Blood. He swallowed the rising fear. A smear of it across the pale flesh, centring on what looked to be two puncture marks. Oh Sweet Jesus... Nooo...
"Daniel?" There was fear in Jack's voice now and Daniel could feel him trembling.
"Gimme a minute..." he murmured. Looking around for something with which to clean the injury, he spied Jack's T-shirt. Snagging it, he very carefully wiped the blood away. Two punctures: a sharp metallic pinpoint protruding from one... and a length of fishing line from the other.
He knew that laughter was probably inappropriate at that moment but, hard as he tried, he couldn't stop it as the relief washed through him.
"What?" Jack craned his head around, trying to see the source of his friend's amusement. "Danny!"
"I'm sorry Jack, but... Looks like you're kinda... hooked."
"Hooked?" Confusion, consternation. "I don't --"
Wiping the tears of mirth from his eyes, Daniel shook his head contritely. "I'm sorry, love, but... You've got a...a fishing hook... in your butt... I guess you... rolled onto it?"
The breath whooshed from Jack's body in a heartfelt sigh as he dropped his head to his arm. His face was turned away, but Daniel could see the stain of embarrassment stealing over his skin. Understandable. He was going to be as sore as hell and explaining it was going to make him the focus of so many jokes.
All at once his laughter faded as he realised how difficult this would be for Jack, given his position as team leader and Hammond's 2IC. Reaching out, he ran his fingers lightly through his lover's hair, more grey than brown now but as thick and silky as it had ever been.
"Sorry..." he murmured, leaning down and placing a soft kiss between Jack's shoulder blades. "That was mean of me to laugh."
A moment of hesitation before Jack turned his head and looked up at him. "Ya think?" he said, but his smile took the sting from the words. Jerking his head to indicate his injury, he winced, "Think you can fix me up?"
"You trust me?" Daniel asked, to which Jack replied earnestly "With my life..."
The blue eyes sparkled mischievously. "Ah... but do you trust me with that delectable ass of yours?" To emphasise the point , he ran his hand lightly over the smooth globes, warm and pink now from exposure to the sun. Unable to resist, he dipped his head and touched his lips to the top of the cleft, nuzzling the velvet skin there.
Jack groaned. "Danny... You're killin' me here! Please, just get the damn thing out and we can get back to what we were doing." He was right, of course, and Daniel felt a little stab of guilt at having delayed even this long.
"Okay, but first we need to get you into the shade. You think you can walk?"
"I'll juggle and whistle 'Dixie' if it'll get this thing out of my ass any quicker," Jack barked, bringing the smile back to his lover's face.
"Ah.. that won't be necessary, Jack. Walking will do fine."
With Jack limping and Daniel carrying the fishing tackle, they made their way back to the tree and settled Jack onto the blanket. There was a small first aid kit in Jack's fishing box, although the minimal contents - Band-Aids, gauze and medicated wipes - were hardly adequate for anything more than the most minor injury. Still, it was better than nothing, and he placed it carefully within reach and picked up Jack's canteen.
"This could be cold..." he warned as he uncapped it and began dribbling it over the wound. It was and Jack flinched, scattering the droplets everywhere. Daniel bit his lip and tried not to notice how the water trickled over his skin and into the valley between the pale globes, following that down to the shadowed place between his lover's thighs. But it was the wrong time for such thoughts and he sighed as he returned to the task in hand.
"Jack," he asked suddenly "do you still use barbed hooks?"
"These were. Why?"
"Because we have another problem. The hook is still attached to the line and the line is still attached to the pole."
"Yeah? So cut it," Jack suggested.
"With what? There aren't any scissors in ... what could laughingly be described as your first aid kit."
Jack raised his head a little and scowled at him. "Try the knife?" he suggested, words weighted with a hint of sarcasm.
It was a fishing knife, old and worn, the blade, already specked with rust, bound to the shaft by twine. "Jack, this is an antique! I could infect the wound with it..."
"Not that one!" his lover sighed. "In the tray..."
The tension was starting to get to Daniel, drawing the muscles tight across his shoulders and banding his forehead in steel. Maybe it would be best just to cut the line high up, cover the wound and get him to the infirmary asap. Then he thought of Jack, arriving at the base kneeling on the back seat, his dignity swaying in the breeze, and he resigned himself to tackling the task as best he could.
Digging into the box, he found what he was looking for, a heavy, much used Swiss Army knife. "You're kidding me..." he muttered, peering back into the box and unobtrusively moving the contents around as if searching for something more.
"Daniel...?" The enquiring tone and the raised brow brought a blush to his cheeks. "Something else?"
"No. No I was just... Do you really use all this stuff?" he asked, lifting out a roll of duct tape and inspecting it in much the same way he would one his artefacts.
"Jack, there's things in here that have nothing whatsoever to do with fishing... I know you were a boy scout but don't you think this is pushing 'be prepared' a little?"
The brown eyes narrowed, frustration, pain and anger eating away at his patience. Reaching out awkwardly, he snatched the tape from Daniel's hand and tossed it back into the box, growling belligerently "Just get the fucking hook out, Daniel!"
Daniel worked quickly after that, cutting the line and easing the hook through the reddening flesh. Jack carried a little single shot bottle of scotch in his fishing box, for those times when the weather was against him, and Daniel used that to disinfect the wound before dressing it. The air hissed from between Jack's teeth and he squeezed his eyes shut, but gave no other sign that he was in pain.
"That's the best I can do," he said, packing the equipment back into the box. "How's it feel?"
Skewing round onto his good hip, Jack winced. "It's - uncomfortable, but I'll live." Suddenly he looked up, his eyes no longer clouded by pain and anger but bright with need. "At least now we can finish what we started," he observed, running his hand slowly up the inside of Daniel's thigh.
Shivering, Daniel looked away. He wanted it, needed the reassurance, but at the same time his conscience was pricking him that he would be taking unfair advantage. "You really should get some medical attention, Jack..." he said, but was abruptly silenced by two fingers across his lips.
"I will, I promise. As soon as we get home I'll call Janet and have her stop by the house with her doctor kit. But right now..." he stretched his hand to Daniel's face, stroking his thumb across the full bottom lip "... I need you, Danny."
It was a plea Daniel could not refuse and he smiled softly as he rubbed his face against the open palm. "In that case... you better take me," he offered lightly.
It was good - no, it was better than good, it was incredible. Lying there beneath the trees, watching the sunlight dapple through the branches and listening to the sound of Jack's voice murmuring nonsense in counterpoint to the bubbling of the river. Because of Jack's injury it was a gentler coupling than it might otherwise have been, but in a way that only served to increase their pleasure, the languid pace of their lovemaking blending seamlessly with the beauty of the afternoon and as Jack lifted them and carried them, together, over the edge, their mingled cries rose up to scatter the birds high in the branches above them...
Spiralling down, Jack rested in his arms, his face turned to the hollow of Daniel's throat, snoring softly. The day was coming to a close, soon it would be time to pack their things away and head for home - but not just yet. Caught in the magic that was Jack O'Neill, Daniel was content to lie there for a while longer, reflecting on how good his life had become, thanks to this man.
He tightened his hold, winning a grunt of protest at the sudden movement, and he laughed to himself. Smiling a drowsy smile, he kissed his lover's hair and closed his eyes, basking in the pleasure of the perfect end to a perfect day...