TITLE: The Black Sheep

AUTHOR: Feli

EMAIL: author@sg1-place.de PAIRING: Jack/Daniel

RATING: PG-13 CATEGORY: Romance CONTENT WARNING: Slash SUMMARY: Jack invites Daniel up to his cabin for a reason. A surprise visitor is not part of his plan

STATUS: Complete

ARCHIVE: Area52 and Fanfiction.net, SG-1's Place (www.sg1-place.de)

DISCLAIMER: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. This story is for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The situations and original story are the property of the author. Not to be archived without permission of the author.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: Huge thanks to the wonderful MajorClanger for betaing this fic. She said that the ending was just fine because it left the door open for a sequel... ;-)
Daniel leaned back on his elbows with a contented sigh. The day was perfect. The sky competed with the water of the lake for the more brilliant blue, the sun's rays caressed his bare arms and legs as he sat on the deck and, most importantly, he had been invited to spend three days of downtime with his best friend Jack. Here at Jack's cabin. Alone.

Daniel turned his head lazily, as he heard Jack leave the cabin where he'd gone to change into more comfortable clothes after their long trip up from Colorado. Daniel's breath caught in his throat at the sight he was presented with. Instead of the baggy fisherman's pants and a silly hat he'd expected, Jack was wearing frayed cutoffs and an unbuttoned, short-sleeved shirt, revealing his lean, muscular chest and long, tanned legs.

Daniel could never understand where Jack got his tan from, considering he spent most of his time 30 levels deep inside a mountain. Inwardly cursing, Daniel had to admit that the sight could well be his undoing. How was he supposed to conceal the attraction and desire he felt for Jack, when his friend walked around like a model for healthy outdoor living?

For the 1000th time in the past two years Daniel asked himself why he'd had to fall in love with his best friend. His straight best friend. But like the 999 times before, there was no answer.

Jack came down the slope to the deck with two fishing rods in one hand and a bucket in the other. Grinning from ear to ear he let everything drop next to Daniel.

"So, Danny, ready to catch the biggest fish in the water?"

'Oh, I know which fish I would like to catch,' Daniel thought. Loudly he answered:

"Jack, there *are* no fish in this pond, we both know that."

"Aww, come on, Danny. Fishing's fun, believe me." Jack crouched down and made puppy dog eyes at his friend.

"Please!" he wheedled.

Daniel relented; not necessarily because of the soulful, chocolate eyes staring into his, but because he knew that Jack would soon launch into his notorious Homer Simpson impression if Daniel didn't give in.

-------------------

Once each man had settled down with a fishing rod in his hand, Jack closed his eyes and willed himself to relax. Daniel's face had been inscrutable when he'd seen Jack in his unusual clothing, and Jack was as unsure as ever about the rightness of his decision.

Yes, Jack knew that he wasn't unattractive, he'd had enough lovers - of both genders - to be assured about that. What he didn't know was what - if at all - Daniel thought about him *that* way. These three days were supposed to shed light on the question and on their way to the cabin Jack had thought it a great idea. But now the prospect of Daniel feeling no more than friendship towards him, and the risk of losing said friendship, loomed menacingly over Jack and he was afraid.

A forlorn sigh escaped Jack's lips, as he sat there weighing the pros and cons of the planned next step. The problem was, how could he go on to the next step if he wasn't even sure how his first step had worked? Jack was so caught up in his thoughts that he missed the concerned frown in Daniel's eyes, as the archeologist watched his friend.

"Jack?"

"Huh?"

"Jack, what's wrong?"

"Nothing! Why would you think something's wrong?" Jack asked with only a slight hint of panic in his voice. Had he already given too much away?

"Because you're sitting here staring out at the water and sighing."

"I'm not staring and sighing."

"Yes, you are."

"No, I'm not."

"Yes, you are!"

"No, I'm not!"

"Are too!"

"Not!"

"Are.."

"Ah!" Jack interrupted his friend, wagging his index finger in front of Daniel's face. "I was relaxing!"

Further debate was prevented by the sound of a car coming up the drive behind the cabin and the engine shutting off. Jack frowned, he certainly hadn't planned on any visitors. He answered Daniel's questioning look with a shrug of his shoulders.

"No idea, I haven't invited anyone else," he answered the unspoken question. Nevertheless he got up and slowly walked up to the back porch.

Daniel watched him strolling up the slope, the sight of the tall, lean form bringing back his earlier thoughts. He wished that, whoever it was currently coming around the corner of the cabin, would go away again *right* now. This was *his* chance to spend some time alone with Jack and maybe - hopefully - turn their friendship into something more.

Then Daniel caught sight of the visitor and his heart constricted. It was a man, one of the most handsome men Daniel had ever seen. Maybe a few years younger than Jack, he was about as tall as Daniel with long legs clad in tight-fitting black jeans and sneakers. A white t-shirt snug to his muscular chest and set off the tan of his arms and hands. His face was framed by a soft mane of black hair, a little shorter than Daniel used to wear it during his first years at the SGC.

Jack's cry of joy interrupted Daniel's perusal of the handsome visitor and he watched in stunned shock as the stranger almost threw himself into Jack's arms, to end up being crushed in a tight embrace.

"Alex, oh my god, I can't believe it!"

Jack lifted the stranger, who was clearly no stranger to him, off the ground, trying to swing him around. Alex's shout of "Jack, no, I'm.." was cut off when his weight made Jack stumble backwards, toppling them both to the ground in a tangle of limbs. They rolled down the short slope and landed close to where Daniel was still staring in open-mouthed confusion.

"Jack, I can't believe you did that!" Alex gasped laughing, struggling to sit up.

Still lying on his back, Jack smiled up at him, a rare, open smile that lit up his face.

"You've worked out, haven't you?"

Alex flexed his muscles and grinned proudly. He shot Jack a look from under his eyelashes, a look Daniel couldn't quite identify.

"Yeah, well, for years I had to listen to you whining about me being too skinny, and all those dastardly bastards just waiting to have a go at a pretty boy like me," he said flippantly. But his eyes searched Jack's face, hesitantly, waiting for...something.

Daniel remained a silent bystander during their exchange, watching the two men closely, although there wasn't much to interpret in his opinion. The happy smile on Jack's face, the open way he hugged Alex to him once more, the indication in Alex's words that they'd known each other for a long time. All this, combined with the fact that Jack had never even mentioned Alex's name in the five years they'd been teammates - and friends! - all but screamed at Daniel that here was the answer to why Jack wasn't interested in him.

It wasn't because he was straight. It was because he already had a lover, a gorgeous looking man with a brilliant smile that held open admiration for Daniel's CO. Alex probably liked sports, beer and pizza, didn't care about museums and artifacts, and obviously even followed orders. After all he'd apparently gone out of his way to work on his body, become fit and strong, only to please Jack.

Because that was the look in his eyes. He was waiting for Jack to give his approval. And Jack did with a nod of his head, grasping Alex's shoulder firmly with his right hand.

"God, I've missed you!"

"I missed you, too!"

Daniel felt his heart shatter into a million small pieces at the love he saw reflected in both men's eyes.

He'd kept his feelings for Jack bottled up inside for years, adamantly admonishing himself that there could never and would never be a future for the two of them. But during the entire time he hadn't been able to douse the tiny flicker of hope that persisted within him. This flame had kept him comfort in those lonely nights spent lying next to Jack in their tent and in those even lonelier nights in his own bed.

This hope was the reason he had agreed to accompany Jack on this trip.

Jack chose this moment to perform the until then neglected introductions. With a huge grin he turned to Daniel and said:

"Daniel, this is Alex. Alex, this is my friend and teammate Daniel."

Alex clasped Daniel's automatically outstretched hand in his and shook it firmly. Through the haze of his tangled emotions Daniel heard him talk, something about 'pleasure meeting you' and 'has told me so much about you', but he didn't really listen. Instead his eyes were glued to Jack's face and the happy smile that seemed to have taken up permanent residence there.

He wanted to scream at the unfairness of it all. Why couldn't Jack have fallen in love with him? Why did he have to meet this Alex before he met Daniel? Why, why, why.

With effort Daniel pulled himself together mentally, he knew that now was not the time to give in to his disappointment and despair. So he plastered a polite smile on his face and forced himself to turn his attention back onto the other men.

"I'll get you something to drink, be right back," said Jack and after a clap on Alex's back jogged up to the cabin.

Alex sat down on the deck and waited for Daniel to do the same. Once Daniel had lowered himself to the ground as well, sitting stiffly and with the polite smile still frozen in place, Alex leaned forward.

"So, Daniel, it's great to finally meet you! Jack has told me so much about you, you're an archeologist, linguist and anthropologist, aren't you? And you've been working with Jack for how long, five years, isn't it?

Daniel knew from the open, friendly way Alex looked at him that the other man was only trying to start a conversation, but the realization of how much Jack had apparently told Alex about him - talked about Daniel to a man whose mere existence he'd never even mentioned to the archeologist - hurt more than Daniel had thought possible.

He saw a frown flicker through Alex's eyes as he remained stiff and unresponsive but then Alex obviously attributed his silence to his surprise visit.

"I'm sorry for barging in on you guys like this but as you probably know I've been out of the country for the most part for the last six years and Jack and I rarely had the chance to see each other in that time."

"Well, actually...," Daniel said finally, his voice wooden with the force of emotion he was trying to hide, "...actually I did not know that."

"Oh."

"In fact," Daniel went on relentlessly, "Jack has never even mentioned you before!"

Alex looked shocked and a little hurt. Then his face cleared with understanding and he burst out laughing.

"He's never even *mentioned* me? Hehe, I know he considers me the black sheep in the family, being straight did kind of earn me that label, but I never thought he'd completely deny my existence."

His expression turned serious.

"On the other hand I can understand it. I mean, don't ask, don't tell is all very nice but I guess when it comes to homophobes in the military you can never be too careful."

The rest of his speech was lost on Daniel. Only one word reverberated through his mind:

*Family, family, family*

Daniel struggled to think beyond the pounding of blood in his head, struggled to put the pieces together. Finally he blurted out:

"FAMILY?"

Alex stopped his dissertation about the military's stance on homosexuality to throw Daniel a confused look. He took in the other man's flushed face, the wide eyes that looked at him with such a host of emotions flitting through them, the anxious, tense set of his shoulders and the hands balled into fists at his sides.

"Yes, of course. I'm Jack's youngest brother, surely you knew *that*?!"

Daniel wheezed with the sudden rush of air into his lungs. He hadn't been aware of holding his breath.

"His brother?" he croaked.

Alex nodded wordlessly, the curious look in his eyes giving way to understanding.

"Oh my. Daniel, I'm sorry, I can only imagine how the last ten minutes must have felt for you. I thought you knew that Jack has two brothers."

Daniel's reply was forestalled by the return of Jack and several bottles of beer.

"This really is a coincidence but I've actually found.."

Jack broke off when he saw himself confronted with a very angry archeologist.

"He's your brother!" Daniel accused, hands still balled into fists.

Jack gaped at him.

"Well, yes, of course. What did *you* think?"

Daniel blushed and swallowed down the retort on his tongue, when he realized the predicament he'd landed himself into. Why should it rile him so if Alex was Jack's brother or an old lover unless he himself were interested in Jack? Daniel could see the exact same question forming in Jack's eyes.

Just then the second implication of Alex's words hit home. He was considered the black sheep because he was straight?! Did this mean...was Jack...could Daniel hope...was there a chance...?

All the while Jack watched Daniel carefully, still not sure what had happened to bring on this outbreak. He saw the flushed face, saw Daniel's hand shaking as he combed it through his hair, completely disheveling it in the process. Patiently Jack waited for an answer.

Daniel finally managed to slow down the spinning of his head and took a couple of deep breaths to calm himself. Once he felt his voice was steady enough, he put on his most innocent face and remarked:

"You've never even mentioned him, that's all."

Jack regarded him critically, not buying Daniel's sudden casualness.

"Yes, I did. I told you about the time he crashed his motorbike and how concerned I was."

Daniel gave an outraged gasp.

"You never said you were talking about your brother! You just told me this story of some guy, I'm not even sure you told me his name!"

"Uhu," Jack said non-commitally. He took a step closer to his friend.

"Danny? Why does the news that Alex is my brother bother you so much?" he asked in a soft voice.

Daniel turned beet red, his earlier coolness dissolving as Jack stepped even closer. Neither man noticed the object of their discussion silently slipping away, back up to the cabin.

Daniel swallowed again, frantically searching for the right words that surely must be hidden somewhere in his brain. Yet he came up empty, his eyes widening in surprise at the unprecedented event.

Jack's heart soared at the sight. With a sudden clarity he understood, he *knew* what had Daniel so flustered. His doubts and uncertainty finally gone, he took the final step towards the archeologist.

"Daniel," he whispered, as he framed Daniel's face in his hands, brushing a strand of hair back behind his friend's ear in a tender caress. Daniel's eyes became impossibly wider and a surprised "Jack!?" escaped his lips, his breath ghosting across the other man's face.

Slowly Jack leaned in, giving Daniel a last chance to pull back, although his heart - and other, less noble parts of his body - screamed at him to grasp this chance and to under absolutely no circumstances let Daniel go.

But Daniel didn't pull back. His lids fluttered closed and he exhaled another soft breath. Then their lips met for the first time in a hesitant and tender kiss. Jack snug his arms around Daniel at the same time he felt Daniel's arms lock around his waist. They drew together as their kiss deepened, as lips parted to grant entrance and as tongues met to create a glorious, heady rush of feelings all through their bodies.

In the distance the sound of a car driving away from the cabin could be heard through the trees. But neither man heard.

FIN

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