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"How We Laugh the Day Away"

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"Oh, shit," Carter said.

"Car-ter! Not a good word."

Daniel looked around, moving only his eyes. "Um, this isn't the gateroom."

"No, it sure isn't," Carter said, leaving Daniel and the colonel on the stone steps with their singsongs of disbelief, and striding toward what should have been a DHD.

"Oh, shit," she said again, with feeling, and didn't even add, "Sorry, sir." They should have been standing on the familiar metal ramp inside the mountain, on Earth, the destination she had dialed. But they weren't on Earth, weren't anywhere she recognized, and that was bad enough. Where an off-planet DHD should have squatted, there was a windswept plinth.

Oh, oh shit. Shit.

Daniel and O'Neill hesitantly descended the steps. A plain, slightly rolling. Grass. Clouds. Twilight.

The colonel said, "This wouldn't have anything to do with that thunderstorm we were in such a hurry to avoid, back at the research station, now, would it?"

"I don't know, sir." Carter was looking around as if their present location was a personal affront.

Daniel had moved a little away, was frowning up at the gate. "I've never seen any of these symbols before."

O'Neill demanded, "Carter, where are we?"

Carter met Daniel's eyes, and there was no trace of irony as she spoke Daniel's trademark line. "I have no idea."

~~~

They camped by the dark, cold gate for two full days, and Daniel copied all the symbols, and Carter fumed and helped him. Then O'Neill gave up and marched them off, looking for a river, a shoreline, a city. The stars were strange.

~~~

"But this is not acceptable." Moro was worried, not angry. He came around the council table, bumping an empty chair in his haste, and gripped Jack's shoulder. "She must be under someone's protection; if not yours or Jackson's, then, mine! Someone's!"

Carter rolled her eyes. "Moro. Please. I'm used to looking out for myself."

Their patron peered at Carter where she stood behind Jack, and folded his arms, rumpling velvet. "You know I have no wish to impose our customs on you where it's unnecessary, but please consider my position. I'm already on the verge of alienating several of my vassals, not to mention the priests, because of my hospitality to you."

O'Neill made a calming gesture. "I know, I know, and believe me; we're grateful. It's just that these decisions are very personal where we come from. Not something rulers get involved in."

Moro glared.

Daniel weighed in. "Well, we certainly don't want to put your position in jeopardy any more than we have already. We're very grateful for all the help you've given us these past few weeks. Could we, perhaps, have a moment?"

Moro's face softened at the prospect of a negotiated solution. Surely these stubborn Tau'ri could be made to understand. He had already pushed hard at the limits of what his religion should allow. "Of course."

He left the three of them alone in the grand, dusty room. Carter watched the orange light slanting through the clerestory windows, watched the floating motes, and silently cursed the place, cursed their bad luck, cursed the time, slipping away, slipping away, with no one to help them, no one to understand. They would have been declared MIA long since; Hammond would be stretching policy for them, as he always did, but his options were even more limited than usual this time. She knew that, and accepted it. But she wondered if Teal'c had resigned yet, as he had when the three of them had been captured by Hathor. Even if he had, even if he was raging through the galaxy, an avenging army of one, there was no way he could save them this time. Because no one had the least fucking clue where they were.

She ran her fingers through her hair, hating the rut her mind leaped to, as she stared up at the carved ceiling. She ran over the sequence of events since that lightning strike had zapped them here. She had tried, she really had, to focus on the interesting parts of the mission; to make lemonade the way Daniel and the colonel always did -- she'd tried to focus on the civilization, on the amazement of finding a new world, one probably not even on the list of Ancient destinations Jack had given them. She had tried to look on the bright side. But so much time was going by; so much wasted time... She started. Daniel was speaking her name, touching her arm.

"Sam. Look. I could marry you. Pretend to marry you."

She glared. "What?!"

"Look, it's an easy solution. Only the three of us will know it's a subterfuge. We're in each other's hip pockets all the time anyway; this will solve things with Moro's people, and then when we get home, it won't create new problems for you and Jack."

"Daniel. These people will take this seriously! Besides..." She didn't, couldn't, bring up Sha're. Why should it always have to be Daniel that these things happened to? Lord have mercy.

Daniel persisted. "Can we tell him we're working on it? Doing it our way, but working on it?"

O'Neill's mouth turned down in that reluctant agreement thing he did. "I don't like it, but it's certainly better than him insisting on trying to hook you up with one of his minions, or god forbid, himself."

"Well, there is that." Carter stared into space again. Of all the worlds she'd seen, so few had escaped the shitty situation of women on earth. Why? Why did it have to be this way? She shook herself. This was not about her. This was about maintaining good relations with these people so that they could continue to have the leisure and the space to figure out that totally unique gate and get themselves home. There had to be a way to decode the symbols, and to either find the missing DHD or come up with a power source.

She glared at Daniel, even though she wasn't mad. "Yeah. Call Moro in. Tell him we're working something out."

She hated this fucking planet. So much.

~~~

In the dark, Sam dragged herself into the bedroom she shared with Daniel, not bothering to find a taper. The city had had something like natural gas lighting, fed through underground conduit, just like 19th-century Earth, Daniel said, but here in this seaside village, where they'd moved because of the enormous monastery library, things were more primitive. She'd worked longer than Daniel had at their research today. He'd been looking at history, she'd been looking at astronomy, now that she'd learned their notation system for math. Daniel had come home before dark to weed the garden they'd inherited, and to feed the dog. Jack was gone again; working out his part of a deal he'd made to add to their small but growing stockpile of wire. Jack was threatening to apprentice himself to the blacksmith in the next village. He was also getting in plenty of fishing, which was not an idle pastime, not here.

Sam pulled off some of her clothes and threw herself down in the bed beside Daniel, having learned, by now, that he wouldn't care if she jostled him. Sometimes he woke up and talked to her when she came to bed late; sometimes he silently held her hand for a while before he fell asleep again.

He seemed to not mind sleeping with her, not at all. Often, in the morning when she woke, she'd find him snuggled up to her, but he always apologized in this totally gentlemanly way that she found endearing. He was always hard in the mornings, too, which was why, she supposed, the apologies, and that was a bit disturbing, but in a good way. They never talked about that.

He stirred now as she reached out in the homespun- and lavender-scented dark and found his shoulder.

"Sam," he said, his voice clogged, and he put his hand over hers. "Any breakthroughs to report?"

"Not so much," she said. "Father Kala dropped in, and he was none too happy about finding me there alone tonight, but I faked it and told him you'd just left and I was right behind you."

"Good save," he said, and squeezed her hand. She huffed out her breath, relaxing. Daniel was just so ... so nice to her. She squeezed his warm hand in return. She smiled. They'd been married now for a whole two weeks, after stringing out their engagement a lot longer than Moro had liked. Moving to the village had been a relief; the people in Moro's entourage wanted to make a big deal out of the marriage, out of what they saw as this romantic breakthrough for the exotic doomed aliens. It was wearying and stupid. But to the village, they could be more like an old married couple -- nothing new except the fact of their presence, nothing to explain except their desire for trade and for study. Moro's patronage protected them, but they wanted to be left alone to work.

Still, everyone here was nosy, like Jack had reminded her small-town people always were. So there were appearances. Jack had the big soft bench in the main room, and she and Daniel had this.

Jesus. They had to find a way to get home.

Daniel's breathing evened out. She wished she could fall asleep as easily as he did. It was weirdly comforting, having him to sleep with while they were living this strange, in-between existence. They'd been here now for nearly two Earth months, by her reckoning. They were getting closer to finding out what had happened to the DHD, Daniel said, as he studied military histories, but they were no closer to understanding where they were, exactly, in the galaxy, or even if -- and she SO did not want this to be true -- they had ended up in a different galaxy altogether. None of the stars were familiar. None. Sam would have killed for the tools that would have allowed her to carry out some spectrum analyses, to try to figure out which stars they were seeing. There was talk of a city that had a telescope, but it was across the ocean, in another country where Kala's evangelizing monks had visited and been rebuffed.

Jesus. Or whoever.

Sam laid her cheek against Daniel's hand and counted up the days again.

You know, a little voice said to her, you've got about four good weeks until you can't trust the shot any more. And you are a married woman now, after all.

It wasn't the first time that particular voice had piped up. She rolled her eyes. She wondered at the part of herself that seemed to think getting some, and from her dear old friend Daniel, was such a great idea. She was tired, and aggravated, and horny, and lonely, and, well, the idea had a certain practical appeal. Think about it. Here was Daniel; right here, in bed with her, always helping out, accommodating, busting his ass every day, so goddamn nice, so goddamn smart. They worked together like a hand in a glove, she and Daniel. Always had. Since their wedding, he'd kissed her, ironically, cheerfully, publicly, but it seemed that nothing was going to happen in bed unless she made it clear that it was all right.

Now just wait a minute. Nothing was going to happen? Who said anything SHOULD happen? Who said I WANTED anything to happen?

Four weeks, the voice said smugly. She scrunched closer, until she could feel Daniel's warm breath on her cheek. Not so long, really, until the hormone injections that suppressed her ovulation wore off.

"Daniel," she said, and nudged his face with hers.

"Mm," he said.

She was distantly, objectively amazed that yes, she was really going to invite this. She had a pretty good idea that he wouldn't say no, and she truly felt that honestly? It wouldn't be such a bad idea. She didn't pursue the logical reasons for her assertion. She had some, though. She did. Really.

"Daniel," she said again, and pressed her mouth to his, not even trying to be subtle about it. Pressed her mouth to his warm, sour lips, and tilted her head and gently gave him her tongue.

He stirred and pulled her closer, almost by instinct, it felt like. God, this was wonderful. A wonderful, wet kiss. What a thing to have to go without. They kissed, a little awkwardly, then easier. Yeah, they both knew how to do this.

"Sam," he said to her, breathless. She wanted to press against him, see if she'd made him hard. "Are you sure this is a good idea?"

She didn't answer. She covered his mouth again and held him tight, and oh, yeah. Apparently she would do.

If this is the definition of comfort sex, I'll take it, she thought later, when she'd wrapped her legs over his knees and pressed his scratchy face down into her neck and urged him on until he was moving in her rhythmically, not pounding, not fucking, just good and deep and careful. So very Daniel.

Oh, Daniel. Oh my god.

She didn't come, but she got tears in her eyes, and she wouldn't let him move off after he came. She loved his weight. He'd moaned a little as he got close to the edge, and he'd held her tight with a grip that hadn't eased yet.

He'd asked about birth control, right before the moment of no return, when he was holding himself carefully over her and they were naked and rubbing together, all this accomplished by touch, under the forgiving blanket of darkness. He'd accepted her brief answer about the shots, and after that he had no more hesitation. It was easy. It was good.

Now, all barriers down, all damage done, she felt him, all of him, heavy on her, wrapped around her, still deep inside her. She was fiercely glad she'd pushed this, and that he'd thought it was okay. She had no idea what it meant, what the implications were, and found she didn't fucking care. Here they were, and this was sweet, and she had no regrets. She hoped he wouldn't have any either.

After a while he lifted his head. "Sam... You didn't-- Shouldn't I--"

"Shh. I'm fine. Maybe next time," she said, not wanting to talk, but glad that he offered. Yeah, he's a gentleman. She petted the back of his head. His hair was getting longer. It grew more quickly than Jack's, and he was letting it go, while Jack had found someone to cut his. Daniel accepted her petting and her waving him off and let his head rest next to her ear again. "I'm not sorry we did this. I hope you aren't, either."

"No," he said, and raised up on his elbows and kissed her. "I mean, after all. We are married." The laughter in his voice brought tears to her eyes again.

"It was great, actually. Thank you."

"Well, I know it can be greater for you. And --" he assumed a courtly tone -- "don't thank me. Thank you," he said, and kissed her again.

After a while he eased out of her and gathered her close and they slept like that, face to face, twined together, and Sam slept deeply, better than she had since they'd gotten stranded here. In the morning, she woke up after Daniel had already risen and started cooking, and she stretched and smiled. She was left with that comfortable, scratched-itch feeling between her legs, and, also, the bittersweet remnants of the old dream, the old familiar dream of Jack.

~~~

They were quiet in bed, except when Jack was gone, and Jack was gone a lot, but Daniel wondered what Jack saw. It occurred to him that Jack might have thought they had started doing this on their wedding night, since they had been given as much privacy as people got around here, starting that day, for appearances' sake. Funny how it had never been important to Daniel to think about it until now -- what Jack thought about what was going on.

Jack could be very inscrutable. He'd teased them incessantly about being married as soon as he obliquely assured himself that it didn't bring up any bad memories for Daniel. So that had been fine; they all teased about it. Joking around was fine; it was much better than worrying about how slowly they were making progress toward getting out of here and getting home.

And after Daniel and Sam had actually made love in fact, nothing about Jack's demeanor, humor, or routine had changed. He came back with more wire and more information about metallurgy and electricity. Life went on. But then, either way, if he suspected, if he didn't, he would act the same, wouldn't he?

~~~

Daniel stirred, noticing that something had interrupted his focus, spiking into the rhythmic crash of the waves. The noise of the breakers, he'd found, worked even better than Teal'c's candles, better than watching one's breaths. The sun had moved. His left knee was quite hot now. He leaned and looked to his left, around the boulder. With the tide out, the promontory was higher and wider, a tumble of broken sandstone, full of hiding places and sunny ledges. Daniel had often surprised lizards here. He heard a scrabble of stones and something that sounded like whispering, and he leaned further, getting to his hands and knees.

Holy christ. In an alcove of rock, not twenty feet away, stood Jack, bare-chested, a neat bundle of clothes on the ground beside him. Clearly he'd come to bathe in the ocean, but he'd decided to do something else first. Daniel held his breath. His own stillness, lost in meditation for the last half hour or more, had meant Jack had not realized he was here, even with all Jack's training. Daniel was frozen, afraid to move, afraid to ... interrupt.

Jack's head was tilted back against the smooth rock, the early sun was on his face, and his worn fatigues were opened, pushed down to ride below the jut of his hipbones. He was methodically jerking himself, eyes closed, rocking with it a little. He whispered something Daniel didn't catch.

Daniel couldn't look away. Jack held himself right-handed, just the way Daniel used to do, before this, before he could seek a better, more companionable pleasure than this, with Sam, with her hands, with her body. Oh, but Daniel knew all about this, and he couldn't look away.

Jack held himself firmly, not too tightly, using friction on the head more than pressure or tugging. Daniel shouldn't know this, shouldn't see this. Daniel licked his lips, wondering if Jack would open his eyes and catch him. But Jack was oblivious, breathing faster now, his mouth falling open on silence, no longer whispering. His right hand stroked, and his other hand pressed flat against the rock at his side. Daniel could see the white outline of the pressure at each finger tip. Jack wore his dog tags, Daniel saw with a pang. Sam left hers in the drawer by the bed, with her GDO and her radio and, by night, her loaded Beretta.

Jack was close. His body was taut, his hand the only thing moving, urgent and fast. His dick was dark red. It was big. Daniel held his breath.

"Sam, oh, Sam," Jack murmured, and shot all over the ground in front of him, arcing white ribbons that sank into the sand. He held his dick, cupping it almost protectively, and his chest heaved and his head dropped forward. His eyes were still closed. Daniel, cold shock running down his back, a delayed reaction, rocked to his heels as silently as he knew how, and pressed himself into a crevice and prayed vehemently for secrecy. Soon he heard Jack's footsteps receding, and soon, a splash. He waited until Jack was washed and gone before he slowly collected his things and started back. They'd wonder where he'd been for so long, and Sam would have started breakfast without him, but it would be all right. He hoped.

Oh, Jack, he thought. This was a mistake. He tried to calm his breathing as he walked up the slope. He pressed his hand to the front of his loose trousers, willing his erection away. Oh, Jack.

~~~

Sam had been fine with leaving them alone. Daniel knew she would be. She had never had a problem with how close he and Jack were; had accepted their friendship from the beginning, way back when it had been Daniel who'd told her about Sarah, about Charlie. Sam never minded at all that Daniel and Jack had a relationship that predated her, and Daniel had a pretty good radar for jealousy. She would ask later, if she was still curious, what he'd needed to talk to Jack about tonight, and he could certainly tell her. If all went well, though, he wouldn't need to tell her. Jack would.

But he had to admit -- it felt so weird and paternal, doing something without her knowing about it. It was what he hated about this culture they'd fallen into; what he'd hated about Egypt once he was old enough to see how it was there for the women. It shouldn't be up to him what Sam did. But this was not about making choices for her. This was about... He wasn't sure he could articulate what it was about, exactly. But it was mostly about Jack not being lonely, he decided. That was what it was about.

He'd suggested the cookout thing, the watching the stars thing, something vaguely made up about a meteor shower. He realized too late that that might have been the wrong thing to say, because he didn't want to remind Jack of Laira. It had worked, even so.

After their meal, Jack and he sat and stared at the fire, one of them occasionally getting up to stir it or add another log. Blue watched them knowingly, until he fell asleep without even moving his head from his paws.

"Spill it," Jack said, finally.

"Am I that obvious?"

"Yes," and Jack smiled.

Daniel needed a deep breath. "Okay. I haven't asked Sam about this, but you must know I finally figured out that she married the wrong guy here. It was stupid of us to focus on the Air Force and not on what we were going to need right here and now."

Jack stared at him, distant and ominous.

Daniel stared right back and pressed on. "I mean, why were we so worried about the rules in a situation like this? It's you she would have preferred to be with, and I know you always kind of had a thing for her, too."

Jack had eased away from his cold stone face, but had assumed the receptive neutral expression that could mean anything: Thoughtfulness, defensiveness, hidden anger. "Daniel. Why are you bringing this up now? We've been here for weeks."

"It doesn't matter how long it's been. You should have married her, not me. So we need to go to Plan B. Because the current setup makes no sense. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's wonderful..." Jack's faced changed, and Daniel blushed and quickly changed tack. "Forget that. Here's what I'm saying: You definitely should talk to her, work something out with her. The neighbors won't know, and I'm certainly not the jealous type; at least, not if it's you. I've heard that in the next district, polygamy is legal, so that's an option, too, especially if we decide to abandon our research at the monastery and try to strike out and look for the people who have this legendary telescope."

Jack was frowning at him.

"We have no idea how long we'll be here, Jack. It could be -- a very long time. Being stranded here sucks. You know it, I know it. Why make it more miserable than it needs to be? We'll never really fit in here, we'll always be wanting to go, trying to go. So what."

Jack stirred and threw some twigs in the fire.

Daniel persisted. "Talk to her. Whatever you work out is fine with me. And I do mean whatever you work out."

Jack still didn't look at him. "She loves you, Daniel."

There was no reason to contradict that; it was true. But. Daniel shot right back: "She loves you more. She always has."

Jack didn't answer. They sat there until the moon rose, and the fire died to coals, and then they went into the house, Daniel to slide into the warm bed next to his second wife, and Jack to lie down in his own solitary place by the hearth in the main room. The dog slept with him.

~~~

A few days went by. They were all working at harvesting and canning, in their own garden, as well as helping the neighbors with the shared plantings. Jack watched the other two and thought about it. He couldn't fucking believe it.

The agricultural flurry eased a bit, and Daniel said, "Hey, I'm gonna go back to the monastery tonight, do some more research." He raised his eyebrows and pointedly looked at Jack. "I'm gonna be there very late. Very late. Very very late. Don't wait up."

Jack glared. "I get it, Daniel. Could you be just a little more obvious?"

"Why, Jack, obvious about what? I'm just trying to communicate; tell you my plans."

"Sure you are," Jack said. He felt... not angry, exactly. He wasn't sure what he felt.

Daniel packed some bread and cheese and apple-like thingies and left before dinner. Jack and Carter ate together, tired and comfortable, the dog at their feet. Jack watched her in the lamplight. She was so beautiful; a fact he worked so hard at ignoring that he mostly had succeeded.

But now Daniel had pointed out to him, forcibly, that he didn't have to ignore it any more. They were outside the rules, and could be in that condition for quite a long time.

You're rationalizing, he told himself.

Hey. Do what you're good at.

Carter looked up at him and smiled just then, in that surprised way she had when she interrupted her own train of thought and discovered another friendly human being nearby. He let himself look at her, really see the woman his 2IC, his friend, inhabited. It felt odd. For so long, he'd maintained the discipline of seeing her and yet not seeing her gender. And on top of what the Air Force required, ever since she and Daniel had decided they could actually consummate this marriage, she was kind of off limits in another way that had nothing to do with regs. At least, his good-guy instincts told him that.

But Daniel had told him those good-guy instincts were cultural, and that the regs didn't apply any more, and that there was something more basic, more fundamental to be given-in to here.

He was used to believing what Daniel said. Should he believe this time?

Carter-- No. Sam. Was still smiling at him. Sam. Was her name Jackson now? He should ask. He licked his lips.

"Hey. Is your name Jackson now?"

She cocked her head and thought about it. "No, I don't think so. You know how in this culture they don't use last names; kind of like the people of Chulak. They give you a geographic feature or a village for a last name; it's linguistically the precursor to family names, is how Daniel explained it to me."

They were looking at each other intently. She probably knew something was up. Maybe Daniel had given her that same campfire speech. Jack wouldn't put it past him. It aggravated him that the two of them might scheme behind his back.

"I see no reason to change my name," she finished. She was smiling a Mona Lisa smile now, not her usual feisty grin. Sam was flirting with him, as she did from time to time back home, when she was feeling just a bit rebellious, or when they were in the wake of some typical death-defying shit they had pulled off.

"Daniel thinks you and I should get together," he blurted. Her face changed.

"He does?"

Well, this was a mistake. But he was in it now. All the way. "Yeah, he told me he thought I should have gone ahead and married you, instead of him."

"Well, it's too late to change that now," she said. She got up and started clearing the table. He got up and helped her. He felt the words banging at his lips, felt a vague, urgent pressure that there was something he might say. But he wasn't sure what it was.

He put a plate in the dish tub, and put his hand on her shoulder and opened his mouth, and what came out was: "I've always had a thing for you, Carter. You know that. You know we've tried hard to follow the regs, you and me, and we have followed them."

"I know, sir," she said. The "sir" sounded automatic again. She hadn't said it in weeks. She was still, looking into his eyes, holding the ragged end of the loaf of bread. He tightened his hand.

"Daniel's actually insisting that I should start something with you on the side."

"He is?" She put the bread back on the table. He dropped his hand, and she got busy again, stacking dishes, piling them into the tub.

"He said he wouldn't mind. He said that whatever you and I worked out was fine with him."

"Well, he could've said something to me about it." She turned away, and hefted the dishes to take them outside to the pump. He followed her. "I mean," she said, looking up at him as she squatted by the dish tub, watching him work the pump handle. "It does kinda involve me, doesn't it?"

"Yeah," he said, not looking at her. She was standing up. She was pulling on his arm, pulling him close. She was kissing him. He was kissing her back, having flashbacks to his goofy time loop, and he was holding her, sliding his arms around her. She gave, gave in, he felt it -- felt her lean on him, all slim strength and firmness. She tasted so good, of apples and wine and bread.

She leaned back.

"I think I can handle the both of you," she said, and she was smiling.

"Good," Jack said, and kissed her again.

~~~

"This is stupid, and uncomfortable, and ridiculous."

Sam pushed herself up, peeling her skin away from Jack's skin. She stood there looking down at him, hands on hips, naked and unconcerned. They had been lying on furs piled on the floor, between Jack's narrow sleeping bench and the fireplace. Lying there in the wonderful making out, foreplay, whatever you want to call it, stage. He'd been thinking about asking for a blow job. But now -- what the hell? She held her hand out.

"Come on," she said.

"You're kidding," he said.

"I'm not," she said. "The bed's huge, it's comfortable, and who the fuck cares. You'd both probably like watching anyway."

Jack's eyes got big, but he took her hand and let her boost him up.

"Why darling. How have you concealed your taste for orgies from us for so long," Jack said, trying for a light tone. Daniel was in there. In their room. In their bed. What would Daniel be doing tonight, while Sam was out here with Jack? He let Sam pull him along, noticing how his heart sped up at the idea of what Daniel might be doing.

Of course. Reading. By candlelight. Daniel glanced up from the priceless book in his lap, one of the trove he'd cajoled out of the monks the night he had left them alone, the night he'd "worked late." Jack described it that way to himself. That night, Daniel had smirked at them when he'd found them lounging in front of the fire, mostly dressed, and had gone in to bed alone. No hurt feelings. No comments. And later, Sam had gone in there with him, and they'd all gone to sleep, and that was that.

They'd fallen into a sort of rhythm of ... sharing, on Sam's schedule. She was in charge. Some nights she stayed with Daniel, some nights she came to him. It seemed to be working. It was up to her, and Jack was glad when it was his turn. He'd adapted. Quickly. Enthusiastically, even.

But. This was a big change. This was... Jack didn't know what it was, what it would become. Sam took him through the door, and there was Daniel, in bed, awake, reading. He was shirtless and Jack tried not to look. Daniel was looking, though. At both of them. Jack's erection had flagged a little. He suppressed an urge to cover it.

"Hello?" Daniel said.

Sam was her most decisive self. "Move over. It's stupid for us to be out there on the floor, and you in here alone in this great big bed."

"Well, finally," Daniel said, and pushed the candle in its hinged holder to one side and carefully put the book in the bedside table's shelf. He pushed down the blankets and looked inviting. He was, indeed, naked under there.

"Finally?" Jack croaked.

"Whatever. It's still your night; I'm fine with that." Jack had to smile, because, well, they were both smiling at him, and. It was okay. Weird, unnerving, dangerous, but okay.

~~~

Jack tended to get hot and restless in the big bed. Sometimes it seemed too crowded and he would go out and sleep on his bench again, and the dog would follow him. Sometimes they made love to Sam, and sometimes they all just piled in together in there and slept like puppies, and as the weather broke and got colder, he found that more often, he wanted to stay.

It seemed to be working. But he wondered if Daniel had picked up on just how very much Jack didn't mind that they were all in bed together now. He wondered if Daniel could see how Jack sometimes caught his hand back from stroking Daniel's shoulders when Daniel was lying on top of Sam, moving in her, taking his turn. He wondered if Daniel saw how Jack looked at his body. He wondered if Daniel wondered why Jack had given in so easily to the sharing.

~~~

Daniel wondered if Jack ever saw how Daniel had to catch his hand back from petting Jack's skin, from ruffling his hair, from touching his erection the way Sam could, any time she wanted. He wondered if Sam would ever figure out that in a way, he had used her to get to Jack. It wasn't that cut and dried, of course; he loved Sam; he did. He shouldn't oversimplify. What he and Sam were doing, this marriage, (which was a real marriage, in his mind, as real as his marriage to Sha're) was practical, comforting, lovely and right. When they got home, if they got home, he would keep it, acknowledge it, if Sam wanted that. But sometimes it felt like he was using her. He tried not to dwell on it.

~~~

"Guys," Sam said, climbing over Jack, where he lay on his stomach, to fit herself between him and Daniel. Daniel, as always, was reading, despite the inadequate light and his broken glasses. "After my next period, which should start day after tomorrow, we're gonna have to change some things in bed. I really don't think we should risk my getting pregnant, and the shots are going to start wearing off. I probably have some more time, beyond this next menstrual cycle, I mean, but I hate to take any chances."

"You mean we're gonna have to get kinky?" Jack said, raising an eyebrow, looking at her, his chin on his folded hands. He had a really, really great ass. She never got tired of looking at it.

"Define kinky," Daniel said, and he had a look of suppressed excitement that made a warm sparkle start in Sam's groin.

God, these were great guys. How could she ever have hated this place? Well, except for the "might never get home" part. Except for that. And no indoor plumbing. And no mouthwash. And no extra ammo. Except for that.

~~~

She was gasping, hoarse; overpowered by the orgasm, by the way they had double-teamed her, Jack's dick in her ass, Daniel's fingers, Daniel's tongue, and she had screamed and cried and knocked over the oil, and nobody minded, nobody cared. They held her, after, petted her, getting all tangled up in each other, all three of them, closer than ever.

She'd collapsed on her side, Jack still behind her, and she was between them, and there was something they exchanged that she couldn't parse, as high and crazy as they'd made her. A look, a touch. She waited as her breathing slowed, and held on to them both.

It was amazing, but not quite a surprise, when Daniel swallowed and said, looking straight at Jack, "Did you know, I'd like that, too, sometime. If you wouldn't ... mind."

Sam tried to lift her head, tried to comprehend what she was hearing, but she could barely move. She smiled though, finally catching her breath, because she heard them kissing, over her head. Definitely, another previously unbelievable first. And it's about frigging time, she thought.

She still couldn't speak, but her hands would move, and she stroked them, touched them, kept touching them, letting them know she was all right, fine with whatever, it was them, it was all of them, it was good.

~~~

Sometimes she would watch, and would touch herself without intent, because it was so fucking beautiful, how Daniel let Jack in, how Jack just went, drawn, compelled. They could pound each other harder than either of them ever let themselves pound her; they were awesome and frightening in their strength, in the unthinking violence of their passion.

It was so beautiful.

She thought about fitting this into home; which they still strived for with unabated urgency. When they got home, this would fit somehow. They would make it fit.

~~~

"Oh, Jesus," Daniel said, the first time they had him between them. "Oh, Jesus." He said that over and over, hardly stopping. He was harder than she'd ever felt him; filling her, mindless and driven. Toward the end it was blurry, a lot of yelling, hers and theirs, and she was glad the neighbors' cottages were so far away.

Jack came first, she thought. It was hard to say. Maybe him, maybe her. But nobody got left out, left behind. Ever.

~~~

Jack came home with a new coil of wire, and some clamps that he'd fabricated with Kidi, despite the guy's endless bitching and moaning about how he had no iron to spare from shoeing the horse-like creatures, and why would Jack insist on making something so stupid anyway. He came home, bearing the fruits of his labor, looking forward to some nookie, some serious down-time, and they were both waiting for him in the yard, pacing, talking, gesturing.

"Jack!" Sam said, running to him, alight. "Jack, we think we figured it out."

"Yeah?" he said. It was hard to believe.

"We know where we are," Daniel said, grasping his shoulders, kissing him in between sentences. "And we think we know how to get home."

~~~

They camped for a couple of weeks by the gate before a big enough storm came along. They, in fact, though it was a long shot, were able to use lightning, just as they had on Ernest's planet.

As the chevrons snapped open, one by one, Jack looked at them and wondered. He wondered.

~~~

"Oh my god," the general said, standing slack-jawed on the ramp, when the three of them appeared. "Oh my god."

"So: Who won the Stanley Cup?" Jack asked, cocky and alert in his shabby, motley clothes, not quite a uniform any more.

"The Canadiens, sir," came the disembodied voice from the control room.

"Rat bastards," Jack said. "Can you believe it?" He spread his hands, incredulous.

"I can't," Daniel said, and smiled, the full-wattage, broad smile, and turned for the infirmary before Hammond could order them to go.

"Better luck next time, sir," Carter said, and flashed her blue eyes at him as she brushed past, behind Daniel.

Hockey. Nothing but a heart-breaker. Maybe he should go back to following curling. He shook his head, and followed Carter.

~~~

Ha ha ha
Ho ho ho
And a couple of tra la la's
That's how we laugh the day away
In the merry old land of Oz.

end