Stroke Of Midnight
by VampyrAlex

Pairing: Jack/Daniel
Category: First Time
Rating: PG

Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended, this story is strictly for fun, not profit.

Author's notes: Set during season 5. Spoilers for 'The Other Side', 'Scorched Earth' and 'Menace'. Beta'ed by Sherri, Antoinette and Alayne, who was kind enough to publish it in the SG anthology Sodality.

Summary: Daniel is tired of fighting with Jack.

The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve.
Lovers, to bed; 'tis almost fairy time.
~William Shakespeare, 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

Another day, another fight.

Daniel laid down on the bed with a sigh, too drained to even remove his clothing. Staring up at the ceiling, but not really seeing it, he thought back to their latest mission to planet PXC-538. It had been the same old, same old; another tree-covered world, another technologically advanced people... another monumental argument with Jack.

It seemed it was all the two of them did these days - argue. Over the Eurodans' genetic war, over the Enkaran and Gadmeer dispute of a planet, over Reese and her replicators, over the best way to obtain another race's military aid.

They had always butted heads, probably more often than they battled the Goa'uld, but lately it felt different. In the beginning it had simply been a case of disparate life philosophies, scientist versus soldier. But now it felt more personal, the words cut deeper, the wounds didn't heal as fast.

Sometimes it felt like he was behind the wheel of a speeding car, engine roaring, hurtling down the track towards a precipice, without being able to break or jump for safety. A trite analogy that seemed to fit his relationship with Jack perfectly. Because the clashes between them were getting worse, and one day there would be no turning back, no way to fix whatever was wrong. One of them would say or do something truly unforgivable to take them over the edge of that cliff.

Daniel understood part of the problem; Jack was a soldier, military to his most inner core, someone who had a very simplistic way of looking at the world around him. The poster child for the 'Just do it' ad, Jack always took the easy way out, no questions asked. Black or white, day or night, wrong or right, that was Colonel Jack O'Neill to a 'T'.

As for Daniel himself, he would never be able to follow that unilateral line of thought. For him there were always choices, alternatives, beliefs, emotions. For him there was always another way, another path, another solution. Life had a thousand shades of grey and you had to learn to shuffle through them to survive.

He flopped over onto his stomach, his eyes landing on the alarm clock; midnight. Anticipation coursed through him then, even as he took a deep breath to calm his racing heart. He rose from the bed and padded to the living room, not bothering to turn on the lights.

Looking out the window, he saw what he was searching for; Jack's truck, parked out front. It was always the same whenever they fought. Jack would drive up to Daniel's place, find a parking space and stay there for a timeless moment before he finally went home. He never came up, never called, never even mentioned this strange ritual. He just did it.

Daniel pressed his forehead against the cool glass, wondering what to do. Should he ignore it like he usually did? Or should he go down there and finally acknowledge the silent apology? The caring behind the unexpected rite? The unspoken truth?

He was donning his shoes almost before reaching a decision. Grabbing his keys, he rushed downstairs and out the door, stopping only when he was standing beside Jack's Ford. He knocked gently on the driver's side window, waiting until it was open to speak.

"Come inside," he whispered to Jack's profile.

A curt nod was his only answer and Daniel turned, knowing Jack would follow him.

Once back at the apartment he watched Jack pace the room, noting the fidgetiness, the fight or flight energy in his every movement.

"You want anything, coffee, beer?"

Jack shook his head, but still didn't utter a word. He looked so different from the man Daniel usually saw in their day-to-day dealings; for once there was no sarcasm, no quip, no humorous expression. Just a man stripped of his usual walls and defenses, trying to make sense of his inner turmoil.

"Jack?" Daniel murmured, unable to keep the worry from his voice.

"Fire and ice," Jack said, his own tone hushed.

Daniel frowned. "What?"

Jack finally stopped pacing, coming to stand very close to Daniel, their eyes locking. "You. Me," he explained. "We're like fire and ice."

Daniel swallowed nervously. "And that's bad?"

Jack tilted his head, regarding him carefully. "Can be. I don't get it. I try to shut you out, to keep you at arm's length, but you keep coming back, keep trusting me."

"I'm not entirely blameless here, Jack," Daniel acknowledged ruefully. "I've pushed you away on more than one occasion."

Jack nodded, his expression grim. "I don't understand you, Daniel. The way you think, the things you do, the way you keep giving of yourself, even at the risk of getting hurt... And sometimes I get so angry... because my life would be so much easier if I didn't care, if I didn't feel..." His words trailed off and he shook his head with a frown.

"I don't understand you either, sometimes," Daniel commented hoarsely. "And I get angry too. But what's the alternative, Jack? Keep on pretending we don't care? Keep on hurting each other? Because this tension between us is tearing us apart. We can't ignore it any longer. I can't keep..." He sighed, then decided to take the final step. "I... love you."

"Do you?" Jack asked, nonchalant.

"Isn't that what this is really about? Us loving each other?" Daniel countered softly.

A trembling hand came up and curved around his face, Jack's thumb caressing Daniel's cheek lightly, longingly. "Love your eyes," he whispered faintly. "So damn expressive..."

Daniel wasn't ready to give up so easily. "Jack, yes or no?"

Jack chuckled a little breathlessly. "Yes, Danny, I love you too. You know, this won't change anything," he added, closing the distance between them until his mouth hovered over Daniel's.

"No," Daniel agreed cheerfully, waiting for Jack's lips to meet his own.

"We'll still fight," Jack continued huskily.


"And we'll have to keep this to ourselves."


"And behave offworld."


"And be careful of..."

"Jack?" Daniel breathed.


"Kiss me?" he pleaded softly.

And Jack did, kissing him deeply and passionately, devouring him with a hunger Daniel had never felt before. Something incredibly strong and powerful flared between them and came alive, and Daniel knew they would be all right somehow. The future was certain to be a bumpy ride; they would still argue and disagree on just about everything, and they would have to hide their relationship from the world around them in order to survive. But now they had love to fall back on, and no matter how rough the journey, Daniel knew he wouldn't trade it for all the secrets in the universe.





Stargate SG-1