Needs and Standards

Rating: PG-13

Jack woke up for good to the sound of birdsong coming through the open window and the feeling of the back of someone's hand stroking up his spine, just one time. The hand withdrew, and the bed lurched as--Daniel? Probably--got up.

Huh, Jack thought indistinctly. He blinked sleep out of his eyes and saw Carter, curled into a sliver of space between him and the edge of the bed, frowning in her sleep. No wonder, with her butt hanging off the edge like that. Damn bed's too small.


Well, Jack, on the plus side, there's no Air Force left to bring you up on charges.

The room was, thankfully, not spinning, though Jack definitely didn't trust it not to start. Rooms were like that the morning after, treacherous bastards that they were. Clearly, the better part of valor would be to stay put for now.

On the other hand, he really had to pee.

On the other other hand, the toilet was outside, and he really wasn't sure he could find it in daylight.

So, what, you're going to piss out the window?

Carter was still frowning, but she didn't show any signs of waking up. Jack edged himself backward a little, until he could roll over and get to his feet without disturbing her unduly.

Not a twitch. Jack considered trying to move her farther onto the bed--she looked like she was going to end up on the floor any minute--but somehow he didn't think she'd appreciate the disturbance. Plus, why cope now when you can put it off until later? No, definitely a better idea to let her lie.

He let himself out the front door into a Louisiana morning hovering somewhere between "humid" and "sopping wet." It was still early, judging by the sideways slant of the light, and if any of the neighbors were awake he couldn't see them. The outhouse was located up the hill; Jack trudged up, then back down, head pounding. He'd smelled much worse, actually, but he was still vaguely disappointed that Carter didn't have the whole town on a working sewer system. What was technological genius good for anyway, if it didn't get you hot and cold running water?

Well, other than dragging his ass cross-country, of course.

Jack came back in through the back, passing through the porch to the kitchen, where Daniel was sitting barefoot at the table. He looked up, then away. "There's still enough hot water for coffee, if you want it. Well, instant. I'm sure we'll get the espresso maker up and running any day now, though." He smiled to himself. "Cups over the sink."

"Thanks," Jack said, digging out a New Orleans commemorative mug with the name Zachary emblazoned on it. Sorry, Zack. Mine now. "You're still cooking off of Carter's camp stove? That's gotta get old."

"Oh, no, not actual food. Just for stuff like this. We've actually got a pretty good stockpile of the butane, but still, you don't want to waste it. Lot of grilling." Daniel drummed his fingers against the table, frowned at them as if they belonged to some other fidgety person, then stilled as he took another sip of coffee. "How's your head?"

"I'll live. What did you put in that stuff, anyway?"

"Alcohol." Jack stared Daniel down until he looked up and shrugged minutely. "Hey, you could've said no."

"Yeah, I suppose."

They sat there for a while. Daniel didn't seem to feel a need to add anything, so, okay, that was fine with Jack. What's a little drunken fooling around between friends, anyway? Right?


"Hey, so, breakfast?" Jack asked finally, breaking the silence. "Maybe a nice omelette? Little green pepper, some mushrooms, whip up some salsa..."


Daniel turned toward the bedroom, then back to Jack, who was wincing. "What was that?"

"Carter falling off the bed, probably."

There wasn't any further sound. Daniel looked at Jack, who spread his hands and leaned back. "I'm not going in there first and risking the hangover. It was your booze."

"Oh, thanks very much." Daniel got up, abandoning his coffee, and went down the short hallway to the bedroom, obviously trying very hard to be quiet. A moment later, Jack gave in to guilt and followed him, stopping in the doorway to the room. Daniel was sitting back on his heels between Jack and the bed, one hand resting on Carter's naked hip. "You okay?" he asked her.

Carter made a grumpy noise, got a hand under herself, then apparently thought better of the whole getting up idea and rolled onto her back instead, bringing up one arm to cover her eyes. Daniel's hand drifted across her thigh and came to rest low on her stomach, thumb stroking back and forth just under her bellybutton.

"Daniel," Carter asked carefully.


"Did I--"

Daniel cut her off. "Yes."

"--have sex," she said over the top of his reply.


"You don't even know what I was going to say," she whined.

"Whatever it is, I'm pretty sure the answer is yes."

"Fine. Did I have sex with a kumquat last night?" Carter said in an obviously irritated rush.

"Oh. Well then, no. So that's something," Daniel replied cheerfully.

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