So, I'm playing a little hooky from writing the book. By, er, writing something else. *g*Compromised
He can't imagine this room empty. A coda to Endgame
"We thought we'd stop by." Daniel's carrying a paper bag from the liquor store. Carter's got the groceries; Teal'c has a case of beer balanced on his shoulder.
Jack knows when to get out of the way. "Okay."
His living room's not as clean as it used to be, back before Earth was his main theater of operations and he started going home two nights out of three. Stacks of papers piled up, one folder open on the floor, two-day-old pizza box holding down the reports from SG-8's latest mission. Teal'c gets the fire going while Carter and Daniel move the papers and the coffee table out of the way.
Tequila, salt and lime optional. Three shots down and they're still not talking, just there. Jack stretches out on the carpet and closes his eyes with the heels of his hands. The liquor's warm in his belly and the fire's warm on his skin. He made a mistake, or he choked; after fourteen hours on the merry-go-round of doubt, he's not even sure himself. Or maybe the worst possibility: maybe he did choose.
"I'm sorry," he says, sitting up, and finally looks Teal'c in the face. It's going to have to do for all three. Teal'c doesn't pretend not to understand; he inclines his head, slow majesty, forgiveness, and reaches out to take the hand Jack offers him. They're all looking at him, firelight on their faces, and Jack feels his throat going tight, tighter than the tequila can ease. He can't imagine this room empty.
Daniel puts his hand on theirs, and Sam draws them all in; with their breath on his lips and their foreheads against his, it's too close to justification. Too close to making any other choice impossible, even before Daniel's hand slides onto the back of his neck, his fingers twining there with Sam's.
It would be easy to blame the liquor. Or maybe Daniel: they couldn't pretend they weren't broken when he was gone, and where did that leave them when he came back? Even easier to blame the brass for promoting him, himself for letting them. Plenty of excuses every which way he looks, but the lines are there for a reason, and Jack knows it's his job to stop this. Then again, it was his job to give the Prometheus the go-ahead. It was his job to kill them.
Teal'c sits back, and first Jack thinks he's just been let off the hook, but no: he's just fucked up again, because Teal'c's taking off his shirt, and it's way too late to salvage anything like responsible behavior here. "Should we maybe talk about this?" he says anyway.
Daniel looks up from unbuttoning his own shirt and says, "No?" like that's the stupidest question he's ever heard and maybe Jack just meant it rhetorically, because he couldn't possibly be serious. So at least that's familiar; and Sam just smiles and leans in to kiss him.
"I've never been in an orgy before," he says, when she's done, but that's pretty much just for show; he's already unbuckling his belt.
Daniel pushes him down flat again. "I think it comes naturally."
And it does, even though the carpet isn't really thick enough and they stop partway through to move to the bed, which isn't really big enough. Jack has never liked having sex with someone he's not sure of, more paranoia than sensitivity, but still it's never been like this, almost too comfortable to be the first time. Even walking down the hallway together, naked; it demands some embarrassment, and he can't manage to call any up.
They aren't getting past the basics tonight; that would take pairing off, and none of them want that right now. Unspoken: the first time won't be the last; nothing is going to put these crumbling boundaries back into place. Time enough for every combination. For now, better to not even be sure whose mouth he's about to kiss, whose hand is sliding down his thigh; better to taste all of them, touch all of them, with Daniel breathing hard in his ear, Sam biting her lip to stay quiet for no good reason, Teal'c laughing, deep and completely unexpected.
Somewhere between the tides, Jack takes a moment to breathe, watching: Daniel and Sam still moving together, with purpose, Teal'c stroking her back. He's got no guilt left for this anymore; gone the moment he realized that he didn't feel any different about any of them. No more love than before, no more need; they're already so deep inside him there's no distance left to close.
The bed is still too small afterwards, and sticky, but they manage. It's nowhere near the worst place they've ever slept, and the only odd thing is not having to keep watch. Daniel winds up next to Teal'c on the bottom layer, and Jack can't even feel decently weird about that, because he's so fucking happy Daniel's gotten so strong, because that's part of the team's strength, his own strength, their safety. Anyway, Jack's comfortable. Daniel's heartbeat is steady under his cheek and Daniel's thighs are warm against his sides. Teal'c is heavy-lidded and smiling, no sign that he's even noticing Sam's weight; she's curled up on top of him and already looking thoughtful.
All of them a gift he doesn't deserve, and has no intention of returning.
"Carter, this is not a good time to start thinking," Jack says. "Wait for the rest of the team. We can all be awkward together in the morning."
"Yes, sir," she says, and he can hear the grin.
"We have a briefing at 0700 hours tomorrow," Teal'c says, that perfect deadpan cracking just a little for once. "Perhaps we should defer the awkwardness."
"Well, fine," Jack says. "Next week sometime." Daniel laces fingers into his hair and tugs gently.
Many thanks to terrio
, & cesperanza
for beta; and to laurakaye
for finding just the right word.
Feedback always much appreciated!