The need to wrap his arms around Daniel matched the need that had him sleeping with a ragged, blue blanket until he was... three. Yeah. Three. Not five. Certainly not seven.
His security blanket. Familiar, beloved, smelling of him, because he kept it close, all day, all night, trailing it around with him wherever he went.
What he needed to keep the monsters in his room from coming out to play and kill.
He'd thought Daniel was dead. Dreaded the coming night.
So the people watching in the gate room, all ranks, all smiling, didn't stop him grabbing Daniel, warm, alive, smiling Daniel, and clutching him tight in a hug that went on too long.
Safe. Both of them. Safe.
"It's their custom, Jack." Daniel hissed the words out of a calmly smiling mouth, barely audible. "Don't make it into a big deal."
Jack grabbed Daniel's hand, not properly, a token loose hold, glaring at him. Big deal? Who said it was? He started the long walk across the courtyard to pay their respects to a king, giving Daniel's hand a swift tug that had Daniel faltering and then falling into step beside him, matching their strides so that all Jack had to think about -- because he was sure as hell not looking at the exotically dressed crowds lining the walls -- was that single point of contact.
Three steps and Daniel's hand twisted so that his palm was flat and solid against Jack's. Jack could feel the sweat and heat and the clutch of it. It felt real, reassuringly so in the dizzy heat of the jungle planet, the air laced thick with incense.
Six steps, and Jack laced their fingers together, just for something to do, then wiggled his free hastily, because that had hurt, dammit, someone's fingers wedged between his, and Daniel was all knuckles.
Fifteen, and Daniel's thumb was stroking the place where Jack's thumb joined his hand, where the skin was thin and flexible, and apparently connected to his dick, because the thin, stretched, stretching skin there seemed to appreciate the touch as if Daniel's thumb was rubbing slow, firm circles on it, and that was so not something he should be picturing right now.
They were too close to the throne for him to say a word to Daniel, and he didn't want to say one word, he wanted to say dozens, so he said nothing at all, contenting himself with a sneaky countering gambit of a finger curled, a nail scraped across a damp palm, and had Daniel just gasped?
By the time they were walking back to where Carter and Teal'c were waiting, their attention all on the crowd, Jack had felt the pulse in Daniel's wrist stutter and leap under the pressure of his middle finger, traced the bone and nail of every digit on Daniel's hand, imagining them deep in his mouth, lapped wet, bitten raw. He'd endured the tickling it took him an entire speech to realise was letters spelled out against his palm, resigned to a lecture later from Daniel that would inevitably contain a well-deserved 'obtuse' because even knowing that, he still couldn't make out what the hell Daniel was writing on his skin.
And he was past wondering why, when even he knows the hand-holding's not required on the return trip, neither of them are letting go.
"So there we were, stark naked in the gate room, and I plant one on you, right in front of everyone."
Daniel pushed his glasses up a little and gave Jack a sidelong glance as they walked down the corridor. Jack grinned back at him. "I woke up before Hammond could start spluttering."
"You dream about kissing me often?" He was vaguely curious, no more.
"First time," Jack assured him. "I'd have mentioned it."
"You know, people who recount their dreams --"
"Hey, I don't do it often! Don't usually remember them past the first cup of coffee..."
"Was there cheese involved?"
"It was a dream, Daniel. You can't taste in a dream."
Daniel sighed. "Before you went to bed," he clarified.
"Oh. Day-old Chinese."
They rounded a corner in silence and Daniel frowned, unable to just leave it. "Was I -- it, was it good?"
Daniel felt obscurely irritated. "You kissed me. Was it -- what was it like?"
That got him a shrug. "It was okay, I guess. Kind of sweet."
"I thought you said you couldn't taste anything."
Jack nudged him with his shoulder. "It was sweet, you idiot, not you. Well, yes, you, but not like that."
"'Sweet'?" Daniel pulled a face. "I don't think so."
"Yeah." Jack nodded earnestly. "You did this thing with your hand, sort of stroking... and your tongue, oh, yeah, that was nice."
Indignation and fascination met and warred. "I don't think I do anything special with my tongue when I kiss someone."
Jack looked smug. "In my dreams, you do."
"Describe it," Daniel demanded.
"I want to know what my dream tongue was doing to you!"
Jack stared down an approaching marine who was looking intrigued, and then elbowed Daniel hard. "Can you keep it down? Just a little? It was this licky, swirly sort of deal, okay? Kind of nice."
"I don't do anything like that," Daniel said definitely. "I'm sure someone would've mentioned it."
"Well, it's not like I knew that! I was just making it up as I went along." Jack came to a halt and glared at him. "Since when do you get to grade my dreams for accuracy?"
"Since when do you get to dream about me and get it all wrong?"
"Wrong? How can it be wrong? There isno wrong! It was a dream, for crying out loud!"
"For future reference, I kiss like this," Daniel told him tersely, grabbing Jack's shirt and hauling him close. Jack's lips parted in a startled protest allowing Daniel's tongue to slip past them and into the warmth of his mouth. Daniel conscientiously tried to make it a standard example of one of his kisses but he was curious...
Like this? Or that?
Jack relaxed suddenly, not cooperating exactly, but not fighting either, moving his lips to match the changing shape of Daniel's mouth but not returning the experimental jabs and darts of Daniel's tongue.
Daniel realised suddenly that he had a mouthful of spit, and not all of it was his, and broke away.
"Yes. Well. Like that."
Jack eyed him in silence, and then pulled out a twenty and tucked it into Daniel's jacket pocket.
"You win," he announced.
"Win?" Daniel followed the infinitesimal flick of Jack's eyes and gulped, taking care of the spit problem. The elevator doors a few yards away had opened and four pairs of eyes were wide, shocked, and focused on them.
As they took in the transfer of money, and Jack's words, the shock vanished, replaced with knowing, mostly hidden, smiles.
"What?" Jack told them brazenly, unruffled and unflappable. "Even I can't win 'em all."
There were a few chuckles and the four men headed off, leaving Daniel to turn horrified eyes on Jack. "Jack -- I'm sorry. I never thought --"
Jack patted his shoulder, smoothly extracting the twenty from Daniel's pocket. "I think my reputation will survive. But if I get Hammond on my ass about it, I'll hang you out to dry."
Even knowing he wouldn't didn't stop Daniel from giving him a withering look. "Thank you."
"Any time, Daniel, any time."
Daniel bit his lip. He knew he should just walk away, but -- "So..."
Jack sighed tolerantly. "I knew you'd do this."
"You want to know how you stack up to dream Daniel, don't you?"
It wasn't worth lying about. "Um. Yes."
"Tough. I don't kiss and tell."
Daniel stared at him open-mouthed. "What? How can that possibly apply here?"
"It just does."
"Fine! I'm going to dream about you!"
"Is that supposed to scare me?"
"I already did us naked! And for your information, you're getting a little pudgy!"
"I didn't mind."
"I didn't mind."
Ah-ha! Daniel pounced. "Because the kissing was so good?"
Jack tossed his head. "Maybe."
"The swirly thing, right?"
"I can't do that," Daniel said sadly.
"No," Jack agreed. "You really can't."
Daniel took a careful step backwards before he gave into the temptation to grab Jack again, this time to punch him.
"I'm going to my room, now. I'm going to forget we ever had this conversation, and deny everything if it ever comes up."
"You didn't suck."
It was said almost too quietly to hear. Daniel spun around as Jack stepped into the elevator and reached out to press the button. "Maybe you'll get lucky and I will tonight!" he snarled.
Jack frowned. "I meant..."
He'd meant... "Oh, God...."
He could still hear Jack snickering as the elevator doors closed.
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