He'd been aware of what was going on, of course, even if he had no idea what it meant - Teal'c was many things but hard to notice wasn't one of them. Difficult to ignore, certainly, but never hard to notice.
Whenever he thought about it, Daniel knew the fact that Teal'c often seemed to be watching him lately ought to have unnerved him but instead he'd come to find the idea of Teal'c always being around, always being on guard, to be an odd source of comfort. That was a concept he found hard to grasp, considering the way they'd first met and just how Teal'c had been involved in what had happened with Sha're.
The first time Teal'c had tried to apologise for his part in that, when the wound was still raw, he'd barely begun to speak before Daniel found himself moving towards the door. Grief and rage warred inside him, regardless of any principles he might have formerly held, in reaction to those formal words of regret - he just couldn't hear them. In the end it had taken four attempts before Daniel had been able to hear Teal'c out.
Still, against all the odds Teal'c was turning out to be a constant in his life, someone he could always rely on. And Daniel knew he was likely to need as many of those as he could get, all things considered.
There was so much he missed about his life with Sha're, things that friendships, no matter how strong or how much Daniel might value them, couldn't provide. He missed the casual closeness, the sense of being wanted and needed for himself and not just for the knowledge in his head. And he missed the sex.
Sha're had never been the most accomplished of lovers but she had been enthusiastic and whole-hearted about the whole idea, both qualities for which Daniel couldn't fault her. Finding himself alone once more, with only his own hand for comfort, he felt he'd gone from feast to famine, having successfully forgotten just what it was like to starve that way after the debacle that was his relationship with Sarah Gardner.
Life was what it was, though. And at least he did have friends, people he could rely on through thick and thin, even if those friends had been ones that Daniel would never have expected to call by that name. If familiarity didn't breed contempt, it bred acceptance and understanding. Understanding of the impossible position Teal'c had found himself in, slave to a tyrant with the power of life and death over him in such an intimate fashion. This was indeed friendship, in the unlikeliest of places.
It was always Teal'c.
Destiny seemed to be laughing up its sleeve at Daniel and making Teal'c a bitplayer in every twist and turn of his ill-starred pursuit of Sha're. It couldn't be Jack, who he'd trusted with his life even when he didn't know the man, or Sam, who'd empathise with Sha're from her own traumatic experience as a host. It had to be Teal'c, strong and stoic as he watched Sha're leave once more, knowing she bore Apophis' child, a child who could save or damn them all.
He'd walked away from the other man as soon as the wormhole had shut down, shrugging off Teal'c's arm like it weighed nothing, meant nothing. He couldn't bear the warmth and strength of it, the solidity of Teal'c's chest pressed against his back as he'd waited what seemed a lifetime for the woman he'd once loved to save or betray them both. She'd looked right at them, looked at him and then looked away, keeping silent at the cost of leaving once more with her tormentor. Daniel could read that in Sha're's eyes, in her very posture as she'd walked into the wormhole, hand resting with apparent affection on the arm of Apophis.
He couldn't think about that, not now. His every waking nightmare, the worst he could imagine for Sha're, made flesh in the few halting sentences they had been able to share. Her embrace had almost burned him with its intensity, its sense of futility and hopelessness. She didn't expect to survive the birth of this harsesis she bore. She hoped not to. Daniel couldn't find it in himself to condemn that wish, even if it meant there was no future for the two of them. If there had ever been a future once Sha're had been taken. He'd never thought that far ahead since doing so had seemed too dangerous to risk.
"We should return to the SGC."
Teal'c's voice, a quiet rumble of words, startled Daniel into remembering he wasn't alone. That Teal'c had been there, silent at his back once more as he'd stared at the quiescent Stargate and wondered just what future there was. For any of them.
He hadn't answered but the sound of the chevrons engaging told Daniel any answer would have been unnecessary. Where else was there for him to go but back to the SGC?
"I give you my word that we will find her," Teal'c said, as Daniel moved to a safe distance from the Stargate. "And the child."
He couldn't answer that promise for a moment, knowing that Teal'c didn't need to hear the words he'd probably speak now. Daniel knew he already shouldered the blame for choosing Sha're in the first place. Under those stoic fašades, the Jaffa were big on responsibility and honour - ironic, really, when you considered that those they served had none to speak of.
"I know," Daniel said, finally, as he watched the surface of the wormhole ripple into life.
His head still spun a little.
In hindsight, Daniel wasn't sure whether that was the after-effects of the ribbon device or the trip through time and space Sha're had taken him on - either way, he didn't know which way was up any more. He'd participated in her funeral rites, watching the woman he loved buried in the sands of her homeworld, and then discovered that it had all been an illusion.
As he tried to make sense of it all, Daniel told himself that it was understandable if he felt nothing but anger towards the man who hadn't waited long enough. Those words had already ripped from him once; Daniel remembered them but he couldn't be sure whether he'd ever spoken them in reality.
It had only been when the circle was complete, when Sha're had come to him again, that he'd realised how wrong he was. In the split second Teal'c had been given to make a decision, he'd been faced with an impossible task - kill Sha're or risk Daniel's own life. There was no right choice, no matter how Daniel had snarled at the Jaffa that he should have waited. He couldn't blame Teal'c and Sha're had made that abundantly clear.
Not that this would stop Teal'c from blaming himself once more - a further burden to add to those he already carried - if his past behaviour was anything to go by. At the moment he was deciding discretion was the better part of valour, giving them both the space to breathe, and for that Daniel was more than grateful.
It couldn't last, though. The tension between them, strung out like the finest of wires, was pulling taut and would soon give way under the inexorable pressure of them being forced together by their circumstances.
Though he'd talked his way out of the infirmary, a promise to Janet Fraiser that he wouldn't leave the base the only way he'd managed it, Daniel was limited to a slow circuit of a bunkroom, his office and the messhall. It was almost torturous, considering that all he really wanted was to go home and be alone. Maybe that way he could begin to come to terms with all that had happened, and all that would never happen now.
When the door to his office opened, Daniel was almost glad of the respite, even though he knew who it was likely to be. There was still only so much time he could spend staring at concrete walls, or pretending to engross himself in the detritus of a hundred off-world missions when his heart wasn't really in it.
Teal'c didn't come in; he just stood in the doorway as if he'd grown there. "May I enter?" he asked, one hand braced on the edge of the door as if in preparation for an expected rejection.
"Come on in," Daniel said, pushing his chair back from the desk. Was that relief that flickered momentarily across Teal'c's usually hard-to-read face? Daniel resolved to hear this apology first time around, sparing both of them the trouble they'd gone through before. He could be sensible this time and save them both some hardship. "I've been expecting you."
Teal'c closed the door, then crossed to stand before Daniel, hands behind his back as if in preparation to present a report to a superior. He was staring at an undefined spot on the grey concrete wall, a place where Daniel knew there was nothing to look at.
"You can sit, if you like," Daniel said. Teal'c didn't loom, exactly, but his presence was still overwhelming in the confines of the office.
"I may not," Teal'c replied. After a brief moment, he sank gracefully to his knees instead, head bowed. "I do not ask for your forgiveness, DanielJackson, but come to offer you restitution for my actions."
"Restitution?" Daniel echoed. "Get up, Teal'c. This is unnecessary." He rose from the chair, fingers of one hand hooking under Teal'c's arm to try and raise him, but without success - he might as well have been attempting to move Cheyenne Mountain itself.
"I gave you my word that we would rescue Sha're and instead I was responsible for her death." Daniel let go, sinking back into the chair as Teal'c continued to speak. "I must therefore make amends for my actions. Jaffa custom demands it."
Daniel studied Teal'c's bowed head for a moment, as the Jaffa knelt there, unmoving.
"What kind of 'making amends' are we talking about here?" he asked, before the silence grew too heavy. "I can't make sense of everything that happened, Teal'c, not yet, but Sha're told me to forgive you. And I do."
"It is only fitting that I make redress for all that can never be again."
"I don't... oh." The only movement Teal'c had made as Daniel had tried to argue with him was to raise his head. Almost against his will, Daniel saw the contradictions there in Teal'c's expression - his face was emotionless but his eyes were anything but. Teal'c's eyes held an unspoken promise, if Daniel was prepared to accept it, with all its implications. "I don't think I can let you do that."
"The offer is mine to make, but I know that I must allow you time to consider what I have said." Teal'c rose as gracefully as he had knelt, then stood for a moment before where Daniel still sat and inclined his head in the slightest of nods. "I shall expect your answer in due course."
When the door had closed behind his visitor, Daniel let out a low whistle. He couldn't deny that the offer had come as something of a surprise - Teal'c had never let on that the Jaffa had that kind of reparative view before, but it made a kind of odd sense. There was probably a specific period of time attached to it as well, or some way to decide when sufficient compensation had been received. And it certainly didn't look as though Teal'c begrudged the offer - anything but, if the heated look Teal'c had given him was anything to go by.
Daniel shook his head, as if to clear the thoughts from his mind, thoughts of just what it was Teal'c was offering to do for him. Though he'd felt safe with the other man, relied on him in ways he'd never expected he would be able to do when you considered how they'd first met, he couldn't take advantage of Teal'c this way.
But Daniel couldn't deny that his thoughts had run astray on occasion - at times, Teal'c's physical proximity hadn't helped with that. He might get teased about having a girl on every planet but Daniel's interests in that area weren't quite as predictable as Jack might like to think they were.
He'd consider the offer, but there had to be a way to turn Teal'c down - a way that satisfied the ritual offer he'd made but didn't embarrass either of them. Still, the image of Teal'c on his knees stuck with him, whether he liked it or not.
Teal'c didn't speak of his offer again, though Daniel felt he was the subject of even more scrutiny than usual and he wondered how long a grace period he might have to decide what to do.
He couldn't help thinking about what it might be like to be with Teal'c that way and once the thought had crossed his mind, Daniel found it hard to dislodge. It would crop up at the most inconvenient times, making him wonder how it was that everyone else on the base hadn't figured out what he was thinking about. Because he really was thinking about it, though he told himself that was for Teal'c's benefit, at least, and that Teal'c deserved a sensible response to what had clearly been a heartfelt offer.
Not that life, and his part in the SGC, gave Daniel much chance to consider such matters with the seriousness they deserved but that could come as no surprise to either of them. It seemed as though everyone they meet wanted to mess with their brains, whether it was Apophis in disguise or Urgo wanting them to be on his side, to the point where Daniel wasn't completely sure if his thoughts were solely his own any more. And then there'd been that whole 'alien invasion' thing, which had left him feeling more than a little disorientated in other ways, as well as wondering just what Sam had got up to while she looked like him and whether people realised what was going on.
Maybe he needed a fresh perspective on the question at hand. Daniel pondered that possibility as he ate breakfast that morning, chewing on over-cooked bacon as he waited for the rest of his team to come in to work. Teal'c was here already, of course, since he rarely left the base without one or other members of SG-1, but he was busy catching up with Bra'tac. The bacon was even more tasteless than usual in Daniel's mouth as he considered what Bra'tac had told them about the very real possibility that they had somehow found where the Harsesis was. Could this mission really be the end of that particular journey?
It seemed impossible that they could close this chapter of Daniel's life - he concentrated on swallowing the mouthful rather than allow himself to get carried away with that possibility. They'd come so close with Sha're before, only to have his hopes dashed, so there was no way he intended to put himself through that again for her baby.
"May I be seated?" Bra'tac's voice was unexpected, but welcome, as it broke into his thoughts and Daniel gestured to the seat on the opposite side of the table as he finally swallowed the recalcitrant mouthful.
"It's good to see you, Bra'tac," he said, smiling in response when the craggy Jaffa's face broke into a smile of pleasure at his words. For all his bluff exterior, Bra'tac was a kindly man who clearly loved Teal'c like a son and who had come to have respect for those he worked with. "I'd suggest you avoid the bacon."
"I have already eaten," Bra'tac said, resting an arm on the table as he leaned forward. "It is not for that purpose I sought you out, DanielJackson." Daniel put down his fork, pushed the now-empty plate away from him and picked up his coffee mug. If there was one thing to be said for the coffee here, it could get rid of the taste of anything. "Teal'c tells me he has made a proposal to you, one which you have not yet accepted."
"Maybe we should continue this conversation in my office," Daniel said, getting up. He didn't want to be the one who had to try and explain the philosophy of 'don't ask, don't tell' and the nuances of American views on sexuality to a man more than four times his age.
"As you wish," Bra'tac said, following him out of the commissary.
When they'd reached Daniel's office and the door was firmly closed, Daniel indicated one of the chairs he kept for visitors. The Jaffa sat, his penetrating gaze still as sharp as the first day they'd met him, no matter what he might say about his impending dotage.
"It's true, Teal'c said something to me about about restitution," Daniel said. They were due offworld in a couple of hours, but there was something about this subject that told him he wanted to get it cleared up long before Jack O'Neill was on the base and in possible earshot.
"It was unexpected," Bra'tac said. Daniel somehow doubted there was little about Teal'c that Bra'tac didn't know, considering the length of time they'd known one another. "I do not know of such an offer being made for many years. Indeed, I cannot recall another within my lifetime."
"Teal'c made it sound commonplace," Daniel said, once he could get the words out past his struggle to understand this revelation. He wasn't sure whether to be annoyed or surprised and settled in the end for a little of both. "It's not a completely alien concept to many cultures."
"And once such an offer would indeed have been a common matter, before the demand of the Goa'uld for absolute loyalty took precedence over all else." Bra'tac looked pensive for a moment. "I am not sure what this means," he continued. "Though Teal'c holds you in high esteem, of that I have no doubt, and he blames himself for the death of your wife."
"More than I blame him. He had no choice."
"That much is certain," Bra'tac said. "But matters of the heart, as you know, are not always so easily explained." That was the Bra'tac Daniel had come to know and respect, enigmatic to the core. "I must prepare for our mission to Kheb," he continued, getting up from his seat. Bra'tac inclined his head in a slight bow, the conversation clearly over as far as he was concerned.
By the time Jack strolled into Daniel's office an hour later, Bra'tac had long since left to rejoin Teal'c in meditation before their mission. He'd also left Daniel with more questions than answers, not to mention a strongly held desire to get the truth of the situation out of Teal'c at the first available opportunity - unfortunately, that wasn't likely to be any time soon, regardless of the outcome of their mission.
As he waited at the foot of the ramp for the green light to be given, Daniel wondered just what Teal'c was up to. What had motivated him to make the offer he had and dig up some ancient Jaffa rite that had all but fallen into obscurity to do so? Did he really believe his actions, this unexpected offer, would make things better between them when Daniel himself didn't hold him accountable?
He knew somehow when Teal'c was there beside him, equally keen to be off, and that was no new ability on his part. He still didn't look round, though, even as he wondered just how much Bra'tac had told Teal'c of their conversation, choosing instead to concentrate on the spinning Stargate.
On the other side, all was green and lush and their surroundings were enough to distract Daniel from what had happened before and what might happen in the future. Even the sign the Jaffa had erected, warning fellow travellers of danger ahead, couldn't dampen his enthusiasm and his hope that this might be the place. Was Sha're's baby - the baby who didn't even have a name, unless his mother had given him one that Daniel didn't know of - really here?
Then they were approaching a courtyard; it was a place that seemed oddly familiar though Daniel had never been there before, and somehow he knew this was where he was meant to be.
Later, much later, Daniel stood for long minutes in the shower and let the water pound down on his bowed shoulders and lowered head, and wondered if it could ever have been different. At least here, at the base, he didn't have to worry about the water running cold and driving him from this place of relative solitude. He didn't have to think too much here, just concentrate on the pressure of the water on his back, then watch it swirl into the drain and away. If only he could let go of his thoughts so easily.
He'd done the right thing in letting Oma take the baby, he was sure of that, though he'd almost doubted that he should - they'd all come so far to find the Harsesis and Daniel wondered if he'd really had the right to make such a momentous decision without consulting the others. It wasn't his child, after all, even though Sha're had been his wife. In some ways, Daniel felt as though he'd started this all off.
If he hadn't opened the Stargate, maybe none of this would have happened; Daniel had found himself considering that possibility more than once. If he hadn't indulged his curiosity, Sha're wouldn't have been taken, he wouldn't have found himself back on Earth at a loose end once more, and there would have been no reason for him to be gadding around the universe in search of her.
What might have happened instead? Nobody could know, and it was foolish to blindly believe the best. Maybe everything would have worked out between him and Sha're, but maybe it wouldn't have. Instead, Daniel had found himself embroiled in what was probably a futile search, though he would admit this only to himself.
But it was too late for second-guessing now, and he was certain Jack would have something to say about anything Daniel did that he disagreed with. Not that Daniel could stay in here forever.
Reluctantly, he turned the shower off and padded towards the hook where he'd left his robe. Daniel had become used to the communal showers now, using them without a second thought though the experience had been strange when he'd first joined the SGC. His hair was still dripping and he ran his hand over it, dislodging the worst of the water.
Outside, in the changing rooms, he was still alone. Teal'c and Jack had showered much quicker than him, heading out to do whatever it was they did before the mandatory debriefing session, and Daniel couldn't find it in himself to miss either of them at the moment. As he opened his locker and searched for a towel, Daniel wondered how long it would be till Teal'c expected an answer to his offer and if there was some way he could put that decision off. He wasn't sure what answer he should give, what answer he wanted to give, and that ambivalence annoyed him.
"I observed on our last mission that you had not replenished your locker," Teal'c said, as if Daniel's thoughts had conjured him out of thin air. He was standing by the doorway, towel in hand, and held it out to Daniel as he spoke.
"Thanks, Teal'c," Daniel said, suddenly feeling a little uncertain, as he took the towel and returned to his locker. He knew Teal'c was observant, that the quietness of the man masked someone who was usually more than aware of his surroundings, but Teal'c's presence now unsettled him.
"I also wished to speak with you, DanielJackson," Teal'c continued. He hadn't moved from where he stood, just inside the doorway. "I believe you know what it is I wish to discuss." That wasn't a question but a statement and Daniel bought himself a little time by running the towel over his damp hair, conscious that the action made it stick up in a dozen directions. That wasn't something he'd ever thought about before, but suddenly he wondered what he looked like to Teal'c. Did Teal'c see him differently from how he was when they had first met? "Master Bra'tac tells me that he too spoke with you concerning this matter."
"I'm flattered, Teal'c," Daniel began, "really, I am. But I'm not sure what it is you think this will accomplish. I already told you that I don't hold you responsible for what happened to Sha're."
Teal'c inclined his head, but Daniel could tell he wasn't convinced by that line of reasoning. While Daniel might not blame him, he obviously still blamed himself and that was proving a more difficult obstacle in repairing the equilibrium between the two of them. Daniel busied himself with searching for clean clothes in his locker and hoped that was an end to it.
"I must make a confession," Teal'c said. "While I do indeed consider myself responsible for the fate of your wife, I should not have misled you."
"Misled me?" Daniel asked, turning from the contemplation of his locker's contents to find Teal'c standing considerably nearer to him than he had been a moment ago. Almost too close, in fact, his solid presence all but trapping Daniel against the row of locker doors.
"Indeed. I have long desired the opportunity to express my admiration of you, DanielJackson," Teal'c continued.
He wasn't moving, or at least not until he had said his piece, that much was clear. Daniel found himself peering over Teal'c's shoulder uneasily - he kept expecting Jack to burst in and say that this was all some elaborate practical joke - but the expression on Teal'c's face drew his gaze back. Daniel remembered his own thoughts on the subject of Teal'c kneeling before him, the mental images that had plagued him in the weeks after Teal'c had made his offer, and wondered just how much of that was visible on his own face. Even if he didn't give anything away, Daniel felt his body begin to react to the closeness of the Jaffa, too aware that all that separated them was a thin towelling robe that would shortly be hiding nothing at all.
"I believe you are not averse to the idea," Teal'c continued. Daniel felt Teal'c's hand before even he realized Teal'c had moved, the broad fingers encircling Daniel's half-hard penis, which responded to the grasp with ardor even as the back of Daniel's head hit the locker doors with a resounding clang.
He should say something, he knew that, tell Teal'c he didn't want this but the truth of the matter was that he did. He wanted this more than he could admit. Daniel had wanted this since Teal'c had knelt before him, this and more, and maybe even before then if he was truthful with himself. The only sound that emerged from his mouth was a whimpering gasp, one that rose a little as Teal'c's hand began to move in earnest.
Teal'c was leaning into him now, one hand busy with Daniel's cock, the other planted solidly against the lockers by Daniel's head. The next gasp Daniel made was swallowed by Teal'c's mouth pressed hard to his. Daniel couldn't move, even if he'd wanted to, grabbing at handfuls of Teal'c's shirt as his hips bucked in a broken rhythm, each movement pulled from him by the Jaffa's skilled hand.
When Teal'c moved his head back finally, breaking off the kiss, the only word that could be used to describe his expression was 'smug'.
"You bet I'm not averse..." Daniel gasped, proud of his ability to even form understandable words.
He pulled Teal'c forward again, determined to wipe the smugness from his face, his other hand slipping down to slide between the two of them. He could feel Teal'c's own erection, pressing hard and hot against the button fly of his pants, heated despite the layers of cloth that separated their bodies. This was crazy, doing this here - the rational part of his brain knew that but that part wasn't in control right now. All Daniel knew was that he wanted to make Teal'c lose control as well, the way that he'd been dragged over the edge by the Jaffa when he'd least expected it.
It took a moment for him to realize what the sound was. "Hey!" a voice said from the corridor, all too familiar. The door handle rattled again.
"Fuck," Daniel gasped, and the combination of the shock of discovery and a final hard squeeze from Teal'c sent him over the edge. Teal'c stepped back abruptly, his expression now unreadable. That was Jack's voice, there was no mistaking it, and he knew that Teal'c recognised it as well. "Teal'c..."
"I believe," Teal'c said, "that you have yet to complete your ablutions, DanielJackson." He looked pointedly down at Daniel's groin, not that Daniel needed the reminder that he had just come all over Teal'c's hand. "Perhaps the locker room door has jammed," he continued, as Daniel headed quickly back towards the shower to wash away the evidence of their encounter.
By the time he emerged once more, robe securely fastened, Daniel found that it was Jack who waited for him.
"You took your time."
"I didn't realise it was a race," Daniel said without looking at Jack, as he picked up the towel he'd dropped when Teal'c had accosted him earlier.
He rubbed his hair again, glad that the towel hid his face because he wasn't sure he could hide his thoughts as easily as the man who'd apparently just left. Daniel knew he ought to be pensive right now, that Jack would expect him to be deep in thought as he wondered about where Oma might take Sha're's child, but all he could think of was what had just happened, what had almost happened next. What else might happen next, he wondered?
It took a while to get rid of Jack, though not long enough to stop Daniel feeling guilty about giving him the brush-off when it was clear that all he was trying to do was be a good friend. Between him and Sam, Daniel was sure he'd be driven crazy in short order - their attempts at being supportive, at giving him someone to talk to and a shoulder to cry on if necessary, were driving Daniel crazy when all he wanted was to be left alone. Still, he couldn't complain too much, because that would be uncharitable and he hoped he could be more gracious the next time their respective roles were reversed.
It wasn't his fault, after all, that all he could think about was Teal'c and what they'd just done. 'I just let Teal'c jerk me off in the locker room,' Daniel thought. 'Not that he was taking 'no' for an answer.' That was a little unfair, though, he decided - he was putting Teal'c into a role neither of them would be comfortable in, since he was certain the Jaffa would have backed off if Daniel hadn't proved a willing participant in that particular scenario.
Daniel found himself focussing on that experience, not on the supportive things Sam was saying over lunch, realising after silence had fallen between them that Sam was looking at him oddly.
"I know it has to be tough," Sam said. "I can't imagine what you're thinking right now." Daniel took a mouthful of coffee to hide the smile that threatened to derail any sympathy he'd be getting from Sam Carter in the near future. "But we'll get through this together."
Thoughts of the ways in which Teal'c might help him get through his frustration filled Daniel's brain as he nodded his understanding and thanks. He'd never realised what a fertile imagination he had, considering his most recent foray into sex with another guy had been an abortive relationship with Stephen Rayner back in his TA days. Stephen had, in more ways than one, been all talk.
"Thanks, Sam," Daniel said. "I just need some time alone, though."
A few minutes later, Sam took him at his word and left him there at the table, still pondering just what to do next. He had work to do, of course, but somehow Daniel didn't quite have the concentration for that which he usually prided himself on - not when visions of Jaffa were dancing through his brain. If anything he'd been worrying most about taking advantage of Teal'c, only to discover that the offer wasn't quite all it seemed. What they'd done had scared the hell out of him, but it had also made him think about Teal'c in a whole new way, just when he was starting to reconsider just who the other man was.
It came as no surprise to Daniel then that he found himself, just minutes later, standing in front of the door to the quarters Teal'c had made his own since early in his time with the SGC. They were still pretty much as grey and functional as any other of the rooms where visiting scientists or soldiers could find a bed for the night if they needed to, but somehow where Teal'c was concerned they seemed the right place for him to be. He wasn't too interested in accumulating 'stuff', after all, and his lack of security clearance meant he didn't leave the base and go up to the surface too often.
The other good thing about the quarters Teal'c had here, like so few rooms in the SGC, was the lack of a security camera. Jack had argued for that a while back, citing the special relationship Teal'c had with the SGC as a whole and SG-1 in particular, and the camera had been removed shortly afterwards, at Hammond's orders. Of course, anything going on in Teal'c's quarters was just as risky as doing anything elsewhere in the base, but that was a risk that Teal'c had apparently been okay with earlier on in the locker room so there was no reason to think he'd object too much now.
Still, Daniel found himself hesitating for a moment outside the door before he knocked. He had no reason to think Teal'c would refuse him anything he asked for, not if the earlier incident had been anything to go by, and he was half-hard already in anticipation. Still, it was dangerous and Daniel knew they needed to be absolutely sure they were both on the same page - he'd been there before, with relationships where he'd thought things were different than they had ultimately turned out to be.
Not that Teal'c was anything like Stephen, of course - the one thing about Teal'c that Daniel could count on was that he was utterly trustworthy and wouldn't say anything he didn't mean.
He knocked on the door, then turned the handle without waiting for a response as was his custom. It had been years since Daniel had waited for an invitation to enter Teal'c's quarters, since if the Jaffa was deep in kel no reem he wouldn't always hear the sound of someone at the door. Flickering candlelight as he pushed the door open told Daniel that he had indeed arrived when Teal'c was meditating, his friend still sitting calmly cross-legged in the middle of the room - Teal'c didn't respond to the sound of someone entering the room and Daniel crossed to sit opposite him, waiting for him to realise he was no longer alone.
Daniel enjoyed these moments, the chance to just sit and look at Teal'c this way, to look his fill and not feel embarrassed at studying the other man's body, the way his muscles curved beneath dark skin. Maybe he'd been kidding himself all along, pretending he didn't feel more for Teal'c than he actually did, and it had taken the Jaffa's offer to open his eyes to reality. If there was one thing he wanted, craved even, it was the chance to fulfill the fantasy that scenario in his office had prompted - it might look to anyone watching as if Teal'c was submitting to him but Daniel knew the truth of what was really going on. And if Teal'c was half as talented with his mouth as he was with his hands, they were both in for something special.
"I am glad to be of such interest, DanielJackson," Teal'c said, without opening his eyes - Daniel saw his posture relax minutely, a sure sign he was leaving the trance state he found so easy to enter. "What do you require of me?"
Daniel found himself licking his lower lip, an unconscious movement that he suddenly became all too aware of when Teal'c opened his eyes, gaze clearly following the movement of Daniel's tongue.
"What did you think you were doing, Teal'c?" he asked. "In the locker room." As soon as the words emerged from his mouth, Daniel realised how idiotic they sounded and the expression on Teal'c's face told him that the Jaffa agreed with him. "Forget I said anything."
"I will endeavour to do so," Teal'c said, getting up from where he was sitting. He crossed over to where Daniel was still sitting and offered him a hand, half-pulling him up to his feet with apparent ease. "And you have yet to answer my question."
"Shouldn't that be my line?" Daniel asked, glancing at the door even as he tried to ignore the reaction his body had to the fact Teal'c was still holding his hand. "You should probably lock the door."
Teal'c raised an eyebrow, still looking somewhat more smug than Daniel wanted, and let go of Daniel's hand. When he turned from locking the door, Daniel was there, taking the initiative this time around. It was completely crazy but he couldn't help himself. Teal'c's mouth was hot, his skin warm and smooth under Daniel's questing hands, his erection hard against Daniel's hip. When he pulled back, Daniel was glad to see the smugness had abated a little.
"So," Daniel began, making himself take a step back. "I guess we should talk about this."
Teal'c made a frustrated sound and crossed the distance between them before Daniel could register a protest. His hands gripped the front of Daniel's shirt, pulling him forward suddenly until their mouths met again. This time when they separated, once Daniel had begun to peel Teal'c's fingers from the material of his clothes, he knew he probably looked like he'd been kissed within an inch of his life.
"What do you require of me, DanielJackson?" Teal'c asked again, and Daniel still had trouble forming the words to articulate his desire. He knew what he wanted, had probably known it from the moment Teal'c had knelt before him in his office, but saying it out loud was another matter altogether. "Or should I attempt to ascertain your wishes for myself?"
Daniel nodded, glad of the assistance as it felt like all the blood in his body was rushing towards his groin. He was hard, his erection pressing fervently against the constraining buttons of his fly, and the glance downwards in that direction that Teal'c gave as he spoke didn't help matters any.
"Is it something we have yet to experience together?" Teal'c brushed the fingers of one hand over Daniel's crotch, almost casually. Daniel nodded, pressing his lips together tightly to prevent an unmanly squeaking noise from emerging - he couldn't prevent his hips from jerking a little at the touch, though. "I believe that I can oblige you in this request," Teal'c continued, his tone thoughtful even as he sank gracefully to his knees once more. "Should this be what you require..."
His fingers were at work on Daniel's belt, slipping it loose, and then he turned his attentions to the buttons. It took all Daniel's willpower not to look down, to try and figure out some way of not losing control completely while what he had fantasised about took place right there in front of him. Whatever else he could do, he couldn't look down - just the sight of Teal'c on his knees, head bowed a little as he concentrated on freeing Daniel's erection from his BDU's would be enough to tip him over the edge prematurely.
And Daniel needed this, needed it desperately, far too much to miss out because he couldn't control himself. He wasn't a teenager any more, damnit.
"I..." Daniel swallowed as he felt the cool air of the room brush his heated cock, stared even harder at the featureless grey concrete in front of him. "Oh god, Teal'c."
He was close, so god damn close to the edge that even the slightest thing would tip him over. If Teal'c touched him, if Daniel even *thought* about that instead of long boring lectures from Jack about the importance of cleaning his sidearm and just what it was that went into field rations and why they were so vital to his survival offworld and how one day he'd thank Jack for this information...
Teal'c's hand was on his erection before he even realised, fingers wrapping tightly around the base of his cock and dragging Daniel back from the brink. He stole a look downwards, down at his friend kneeling in front of him, one dark hand wrapped round the reddish-pink of his erection, his fertile imagination tripping off into what would happen next.
"Would you..?" He couldn't even bring himself to say the words. "God, just suck me," Daniel blurted, finally, and felt his face flame with embarrassment.
Janet Fraiser had found him something when he got back from the mission, a rubber stress ball that Daniel turned over and over in his hands, squeezing it as if in reassurance that he was solid again, that the hours of being disembodied were over and he was back with them all. He'd headed up to the surface, Teal'c in tow, the fingers of one hand trailing lightly along the concrete walls of the corridors, the brushed steel of the elevator, the other clutching his gift.
Daniel hadn't asked for Teal'c to accompany him, it had just happened. Though the Jaffa had a poker face a professional gambler would give his eye teeth for, Daniel could tell he'd been worried and was still a little on edge, so he didn't quarrel with the idea. The airman detailed to drive them dropped them off at the door of Daniel's building, then pulled away into traffic again as the two of them entered the foyer. Daniel found himself clutching Teal'c's sleeve with his free hand now as they headed upstairs, another source of comfort in what seemed like a new world.
Inside his apartment, it was all he could do to keep his hands off Teal'c - Daniel was pleased to see that the feeling was apparently mutual. He'd heard the almost-panic in Teal'c's voice when he'd sought Daniel in vain and knew what it meant. They both sought skin, direct contact with another human being even if that human being had been born thousands of light years from each other. There was reassurance in Teal'c's solidity, the seeming acres of smooth dark skin that covered his not insubstantial frame.
"Bedroom," Daniel said, the word just a whisper into Teal'c's ear.
The two of them moved as one, bodies still entwined and items of clothing dropping to mark their trail. Inside the room itself, Daniel soon found himself pinned to the bed by Teal'c's lower body as he methodically stripped Daniel's upper body and then his own. Then he was pinioned against the Jaffa's chest, one muscular arm pulling him back till all he could feel was the tension against his own, the other hand unbuttoning Daniel's trousers and pushing them down.
"I require something," Teal'c said, as he shifted their entwined position. Daniel reached out with one hand, pulled open the drawer of the bedside table and fumbled inside.
"Just do it," Daniel said, pushing up against Teal'c's embrace and taking his own weight on his forearms. Teal'c was a warm weight against his back, a more intense heat against the curve of Daniel's arse, the palm of one slick-fingered hand slipping along the line of Daniel's inner thigh. "Do it," he said. "I need to know I'm really here."
Teal'c's fingers were as talented as he'd thought they would be and Daniel found himself pressing back into their exploration, Teal'c's breath hot against his ear. It had been a while - longer than Daniel cared to think about - since he'd done this with anyone but he didn't care about that now. All he cared about was here and now, Teal'c's fingers and soon his cock, both of which would prove that Daniel was really back.
Afterwards the two of them lay sated on Daniel's bed, sheets tangled at their feet. Daniel found himself staring up at the ceiling, unexpectedly more awake than usual after sex. Not that he'd had much experience to compare this to - his abortive relationship with Stephen barely counted and apart from Sarah Gardner and Sha're, both of which had their problems, he'd not had all that much chance to provide himself with data for comparison.
"You should sleep, DanielJackson," Teal'c said quietly. Teal'c's arm lay across Daniel's chest, a comforting weight that anchored him to reality. "Is that not the advice one is supposed to offer when one's bedmate lies awake?"
"You know, Bra'tac told me before we went to Kheb that this ritual of yours isn't practiced much any more." He didn't move his head, not needing to see Teal'c's face to know his words were unexpected. "And you know I didn't need you to try and make up for what happened with Sha're." Daniel found himself smiling, amused by the oddness of it all - had he ever truly believed in Teal'c's offer, even before Bra'tac had all but given the game away?
"Would you have accepted me anyway?" Teal'c asked. His voice was still quiet, still the same smooth tone with which Daniel was so familiar, but there was something more to it. He sounded nervous, almost, unsure of himself and that was something that *wasn't* a familiar thing where the Jaffa was concerned. "I was uncertain."
"You couldn't know how I'd react." Daniel thought about that for a moment, thinking how he might have reacted before Sha're had come to him, telling him he needed to offer forgiveness instead of seeking revenge. Would he have done something different before then if Teal'c had made the same offer? Daniel didn't want to think so but he couldn't be sure. "I'm not sure what would have happened," he admitted, finally.
But that didn't matter now, after all of this. Teal'c had offered restitution, offered himself in recompense for the wrongs he believed he'd committed and Daniel had accepted him. No matter the motivation, the balance between them had been restored - in the end, that was all that counted for anything.
"I wish..." Teal'c's voice was stil quiet, the words trailing into nothingness, but Daniel didn't need to know what he planned to say.
"It doesn't matter," he said. Daniel turned into the half-embrace, moving under the encompassing arm till he faced Teal'c. "None of it matters, if we're okay."
"I was concerned," Teal'c said. "There is much that I wish to say to you." His arm tightened, pulling Daniel closer, until they were skin to skin once more, the heated curve of Teal'c's erection pressed against Daniel's stomach. "And do, of course."
"Talking can wait," Daniel replied, as he began to move against Teal'c. "If that's okay with you."