Of course, that didn't explain how the universe had conspired to get me into the situation I found myself in the first place. If there was no predestination, if everything was random and accidental, how come I was currently sitting in Daniel's office, wondering just what it would be like to run my hands across his ass? To stroke that soft skin at first, my palms sliding over the taut muscles that it covered, then maybe get to do something more?
If what I was going through now was punishment for something I'd done, either in this life or a previous one, then I'd have understood that a hell of a lot better. What could be worse than spending your time eyeing something you'll never have? It made me feel like a kid with his nose pressed to the toystore window, ogling everything in sight but knowing deep down it's someone else's battered truck as your present this year, if you're really lucky.
And, I mean, it wasn't as if I'd made a habit of thinking about other men's asses - hell, I barely gave my own much consideration except when the fibre-rich diet wasn't working like it should. I mean, I do think about asses and the men who have them, from time to time, but it's not like that's all I do, you know?
So why me? Why now? And why Daniel?
The object of my desire was a few feet away as I wondered about this, completely unaware of my consideration, currently bent over as he rooted about in the bottom of a cabinet for something or other.
He'd told me what he was looking for, but it was an odd foreign name, stuffed into the middle of a sentence that I hadn't really been listening to. I'd been more interested in the fact that Daniel seemed to be wearing fatigues that were a little too snug across the ass and thighs. He'd been working out a little more recently and it looked like he'd yet to get round to taking this into consideration when his clothing requisition went in.
"Jack, what are you doing?" Daniel's voice was oddly muffled, by the cabinet he currently had his head in, I guess.
Caught off guard, I answered without thinking. "Looking at your ass."
Ground, open up and swallow me now.
I heard a hollow thump from the rough direction of the cabinet. That had to have been Daniel's head hitting the shelf above the space where he was looking.
Daniel turned, backing out of the cabinet slowly. In fact, he turned like some kind of slow motion replay of himself, as if he didn't want to face what I'd just said. Hell, I didn't want to consider the possibility that I'd just admitted to checking out Daniel's ass, so why should he?
"Jack?" He looked concerned, puzzled, even a little worried, all sorts of emotions flitting across his face before I could categorise them. What he didn't look, or at least not yet, was pissed. But there was still time. "You were checking out my ass?"
I tried to grin, make a joke of it all. But I could tell he wasn't buying what I had to sell. No surprise there, since it's been a while since I could pull the wool over Daniel's eyes.
I looked away, feeling my face burn like it did when Mrs Trebicki caught me in the supply closet with Alison Younger in 8th Grade. That was the last time I could remember feeling so out of options, so much like I'd dug myself a hole I couldn't get out of. Hell, maybe I should just keep digging till I reached the other side of the planet? That felt like a much better option than dealing with Daniel right now.
I could see him out of the corner of my eye. Then I realised that if I turned my head a little more, I could see Daniel reflected in the glass door of one of the bookcases, check him out that way. Yep, there we go. Okay, now that's a familiar expression. Not pissed, but definitely thoughtful - the patented Daniel Jackson 'what the hell is going on here?' look.
I took a deep breath. Okay, maybe it was time to face the music. Could it be as bad as all that? I mean, it's pretty certain Daniel wasn't pissed with me, though what he was remained undecided.
"Jack?" So, I hadn't answered him last time he spoke to me - so sue me.
That just got me a glare. Or at least a sideswipe of one as I tried to determine the distance between me and the door and how much chance I had of making it there before Daniel could ask me anything really embarrassing.
"So," he said. I wondered if he saw the way I tensed up, ready to make my move, ready to get the hell out of Dodge. "How long?"
Too late. Cue embarrassing question #23. Is there a good answer for something like that? I mean, you can't get away with a simple 'yes' or 'no', there's no room for that, and whatever you say is going to be wrong, wrong, wrong.
I ran through the possible answers in my mind.
"About five minutes." What, do I have a death wish? Glib is so not the way to go.
"Since we first met." It's probably the truth, if I let myself consider it, but honesty has its downside as well. Too pathetic, too... too needy. Next thing you know I'll be on Geraldo, one of the guests on 'Annoying Archaeologists and the Colonels Who Love Them'.
"It's just a one-off, Daniel, I promise it'll never happen again." Yeah, sure, and I got a bridge to sell you if you're interested.
"Since I noticed you checking out my ass." Okay, that one has a ring of truth about it too, except all it's likely to do is get Daniel flustered. And a flustered Daniel is not a good idea, not at the moment. He needs to keep his cool if we both want to survive this. We both need to.
None of those lines looked promising, so I decided to go with the relatively unvarnished truth. It was a strain to make the words come out, I had to clear my throat to be certain I could make any sound at all, but Daniel was still watching me, expectant.
"A while. Don't know quite when it started, but a while."
He turned away, as if the conversation was over, and I wondered if my jaw dropped open at his reaction. Lack of reaction. Whatever.
That's it, that's all I was going to get? I bared my soul for "I see"? I cocked my head to one side, that movement that Daniel once told me reminded him of his uncle's moth-eaten labrador wondering where the next cookie was coming from, and considered his response.
"You see?" Not what I'd expected, not by a long way. "And just what do you see, Daniel?"
Oh, very clever, Dr. Jackson. Play the colonel at his own game - avoid, mislead, deny. But you're messing with the wrong guy this time around. Daniel was sitting with his back to me by this stage, pretending to look at something on his desk, but I knew I still had his attention.
"Got to admit," I continued, my tone as bright and breezy as I could manage considering that I felt like the roof had fallen on my head only minutes ago. "I didn't have you pegged that way..."
I let the sentence trail off. Come on little fishy, got a nice big shiny hook with your name on it.
"What?" I grinned at the way his head snapped up as he realised what I said. So, he was listening after all. "What're you talking about?"
"Well, you're not acting like you're surprised at all. I'd expected some kind of protest, so what does that mean?"
Daniel looked at me as I say this, turning slowly on his chair to study me. Like I needed to be translated, like I'm written in some alien tongue no-one else can understand. He was certainly giving me just as much of an examination as if I was written in cuneiform or some other chicken scratch, those big blue eyes all over me. Not complaining here.
"And what, exactly, should I be protesting about, Jack?"
The words were snapped out, they came out of his mouth like bullets, and they had the same effect on me as live ammo whizzing past my head. I ducked and covered, mentally at least, looking for the opportunity to save my ass by a speedy retreat out of here.
Except I get the feeling nowhere's safe any more. Not since I opened my mouth earlier on and let Daniel into the biggest secret since who it was responsible for putting that Barney screensaver on his computer.
One fleeting glance from Daniel and all that self-preservation I've been doing seems like a waste of time. Now I realise I blundered into something, stumbling over the truth about who we are without knowing that I'd left the path we usually travelled. He might be the one wanting to translate me, but I don't need to do the same with him - I know that look, know that part of Daniel as if I've never known anything else.
He's turned away from me again, his back so straight I swear I can count every vertebra through his shirt. He might not want me to think he's nervous, but he is - to be honest, Daniel looks like he left nervous in the dust a few miles back. And it's that which will make this all okay. Because I can feel myself shaking too, anticipation and fear all rolled up tight together, making an ice-cold lump that lies low in my stomach.
With that realisation I square my shoulders and prepare to face the consequences of my actions. I might not know what brought me to this situation, but I sure as hell know how to deal with it now. How I probably could have dealt with it a long time ago, if I'd just realised Daniel was open to the possibility.
Suddenly the idea of karma doesn't seem so bad. If this is punishment for something I've done in a past life, then bring it on. Because it looks like Daniel's planning to kill me with kindness, if I give him the chance.
What a way to go.
Disclaimer : Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. This story is written for entertainment purposes only - no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story-line are the property of the author - not to be archived elsewhere without permission.