There were clouds covering the sky: large, billowy clouds which had a technical name that meant they looked like large cotton balls spilled across the floor of the sky. Daniel knew the names for them in a dozen languages, but the English technical term escaped him. They were cloud-watching clouds, the kind you found pictures in on long, hot days spent doing nothing but lying in the grass and thinking deep thoughts. Popsicles, or ice cream. Baseball, or swimming. Stay where you were, or move a fraction of an inch to get away from the ant trail. Philosophical thoughts.

Daniel knew he must look ridiculous, now, staring at the clouds as though they were written with an ancient script, whispering the secrets of a strange world. He must look silly, agape at the sky like a five year old who has never looked up before. But he couldn't help himself. Couldn't drag his eyes away because the sky is just... Well, he could describe it in a couple dozen languages. Find twenty words for the colour blue, another twenty three for the word majestic. But all he could really think, was, clouds.


He's been hanging around with Jack too much, he thought. He ought to be able to come up with more than 'wow', but honestly, he can't. Maybe it's because he really wasn't thinking much of anything at all. That's Jack's fault. It's almost always Jack's fault, nowadays. Any time Daniel finds himself doing something he's never noticed himself do before, or doing something for entirely new reasons, or -- god help him -- passing up the chance to do something he loves, to do something else which is positively insane, it's Jack's fault.

Jack doesn't seem to notice. Or care -- he just grins and laughs and claps Daniel on the shoulder and says thank you. Bounces a little when Daniel gives in, and offers him the warmth of his eyes and embraces.

Yeah, it's difficult to say no to him. Daniel doesn't really try anymore. Not unless it's just to tease him, then it's easy as breathing. Wheedle Jack into staying at the base for one more hour so Daniel can study something, whine about the hockey game that's on television at the same time as a documentary he's seen before but wants to see again. Or when Jack wants to go eat dinner at Justin's Grill. Daniel says no, easily. He never means it. But he says it, just to watch Jack squirm, trying to think of ways to convince Daniel or decide if it's something Daniel really wants and he shouldn't press.

Like today, when Jack was all fired up to whip through this mission, a quick layover to a planet SG-7 and SG-15 and SG-2 had all visited before. Nothing new to learn, no crises to solve, just a stop in to say hi as requested by the local community. They'd been left alone by Mother Earth for too many centuries, they wanted the assurance someone remembered. So SGC sent a new team in every few months, to stop in and see how things were. Exchange gossip and recipes, Daniel had said, like the scattered ranch homes in the old United States West. Contact so rare and precious, and all you really needed was to stop by for supper and chat.

Jack had started rolling his eyes halfway through Daniel's remarks, and Daniel had been tempted to continue. He'd thought up a nice analogy for the way society in the 1800s had formed the society of today, but Jack had just grabbed his arm and said they were going, already, and didn't Daniel have something else he needed to occupy his prep-time with?

When they'd arrived on PRX-175, Jack had been direct with their orders. Visit the locals, and head on back. They had another mission lined up for two days forward, and Jack thought that first contact mission required a bit more attention. He'd argued earlier that any team other than theirs could make this trip, but the General had explained. Every team took it in rotation. Their number was up, so off they'd go. Be nice, Jack, and be polite.

Daniel had suggested that Jack stay behind and let Daniel and Teal'c make the trip. Sam was neutral, didn't mind going, had work to do if she stayed. At Daniel's suggestion, Jack had taken no time at all to grumble that he would go.

Which brought Daniel to this spot. Pack and jacket discarded on the ground, staring at the clouds. Large, fluffy, almost white clouds. The barest hint of rain in them, casting grey streaks through the white fluff. Sam and Teal'c were in town, talking with whomever wanted to share stories. Jack was kneeling at Daniel's feet, probably watching Daniel watch the clouds. Possibly not, Daniel amended. Jack's hand had just moved from where it had lain on his leg, just above the ankle. Daniel had been teasing him -- again -- saying he deserved a footrub for putting up with everything Jack had done to him the day before.

Jack had barely begun to sputter his protest, when he'd merely acquired an evil look on his face, and told Daniel to lie down. Alone, in the open field, Daniel had quickly done so.

Jack hadn't, of course, removed Daniel's boots. He'd given them a swat, each, then sat back on his heels as Daniel discovered the sky was filled with clouds. Daniel wasn't sure how long he'd been lying here, staring. A few minutes? More? Large and soft enough that he wanted to reach out and touch them, wrap himself in thick white cotton and feel the cool air on his face.

"It makes me wish that I could fly."

Suddenly Jack was lying on top of him. Daniel blinked, and stared at him in confusion -- which was not allayed by Jack's pressing his lips to Daniel's. Daniel let Jack kiss him, before carefully putting his hands on Jack's chest and giving a slight push.

Jack gave him a frown. "Couldn't help it. You looked so--"

"Jack, what are you doing?" Daniel asked, casually, a bit scoldingly.

"It's a time-honoured technique of dealing with archaeologists who look adorable."

Daniel had to fight to control his grin. He managed to scowl at Jack. "I don't think this is a good idea."

Jack blinked. Didn't move off him, Daniel noted, but he was at least not actively kissing him. "Why not?"

"Well, we're on PRX-175," Daniel began.

"Yes, we are."

"Which means we're on-duty," Daniel continued, a little sorry he'd already come to his conclusion. He'd had no chance to make Jack's eyes go crossed.

"Aha! But we aren't on duty." Jack held up one hand, which meant he'd had to rest most of his body weight on Daniel. Daniel was used to it, but it brought Jack's face that much closer to his.

"How do you figure that?"

"We've accomplished our mission, haven't we? We came, we saw, we said hi. That's it. We could go home now, if Sam and Teal'c weren't in town hobnobbing with the locals."


"Kowtowing?" Jack offered.

"No, you had it right the first time. I just meant... um. I forgot." Daniel's train of thought had been derailed by fingers running through his hair.

"I wish I'd known about this years ago. You know how much grief I'd have saved myself? Who knew you had a 'off' switch?"

Daniel didn't reply. Jack was still running his fingers through Daniel's hair, ever so lightly giving him a scalp massage. He heard a smug "ha", then he was kissed, again.

He managed to push against Jack's chest once more, and for some reason Jack moved away.


"We're not really going to--"

"Course not," Jack answered. For a second his voice became more formal, totally business. "We're sorta on-duty." Then it dropped into a friendly, leering tone. "Doesn't mean we can't lie here and make out, does it?"

Daniel grinned. "Depends."

There was a pause, then Jack was leaning up a bit, and stared down at him with an expression of mild distrust. "If you say there's an unknown alien standing behind me, waiting to kidnap us..."

"No. I just meant -- do you mind being rained on?"

What that, the first light drops fell. Daniel grinned as one hit his glasses. It was light, barely a mist, and judging by the colour of the clouds it would be little more.

"Actually," Jack said as he leaned down one more time. "I don't." He kissed Daniel again, and Daniel wrapped his arms around Jack and held him there. Jack made a decent umbrella, as things stood -- or laid, and being kissed on a warm day in the grass seemed like... like... another opportunity to say 'wow'.

Luckily Daniel's tongue was busy so he didn't have to embarrass himself by actually doing so. Jack would have to stop kissing him long enough to laugh at him -- Daniel realized that in order for Jack to hear him say it they'd have to have stopped kissing anyway.

"Hey," Jack said.

Daniel focused on Jack, and wondered why he'd stopped. "Um?"

"You're thinking too hard."

Daniel stared at him for a second. "I'm what?"

"You," Jack kissed him once, lightly, "are," another kiss, "thinking," another kiss, which Daniel prolonged for almost two seconds, by grabbing Jack's lower lip between his teeth. Jack retrieved it, and continued. "Too," one more kiss, and Daniel was grinning too much to stop him from saying, "hard."

"How can you tell how hard I'm thinking?" He wasn't going to try denying it, until he knew what Jack's argument was going to be. Especially since they apparently weren't going to stop kissing, to discuss the matter.

Jack finished the next short kiss, and said, "Because I can always tell when you're thinking."

When the next kiss ended, Daniel asked, "Oh, you can, can you?"

Another kiss, a bit longer this time as Daniel ran his tongue across the tip of Jack's tongue. He felt Jack shiver, before he pulled his head up and said, "Yes. I can always tell."

This time Jack's tongue ran lightly across the top of Daniel's, and Daniel let his mouth drop open, allowing Jack to do anything he liked. Running across his tongue, underneath, along the inside of his lip, tugging at him with a tease, flicking his tongue against Daniel's before it went away completely. It took Daniel a moment to relocate his counter-argument. "How can you always tell?"

Jack surprised him, by giving him another light, closed-mouth kiss. Daniel was disappointed, but didn't let much more than a simple pout show how he felt. Jack just said, "Because."

And there was another kiss. When it broke, Daniel frowned. "That's not a reason."

One more kiss. "I know."

Daniel grinned as Jack kissed him again, then asked, "Because why? Or how, actually?"

Another kiss, long and slow, and Daniel let his tongue roam Jack's mouth. Warm and inviting, like this was one more home he had to come back to, every time he wanted. "Because you're awake." Jack grinned.


"Ah-ah!" Jack stopped him, and gave him a quick kiss, then another. "No talking until I've had my kiss."

Daniel let Jack kiss him, then said, "I thought I was the one being kissed."

Jack kissed him one more time, then he shook his head. "Can't be. I'm on top."

Daniel scowled at him, let Jack kiss him, then said, "Jack, sometimes your logic-- oh, hell with it." He pulled Jack down, holding his head in both hands, and kissed him.