Category: Slash, Romance, Holiday, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Season: 1, 2, and 7 - Valentine's Day
Size: 33kb, short story
Written: October 25-27, November 1,8, 2003 Revised: February 2-3, 2005, April 18, September 8,10-11,27, 2006
Summary: What story can a simple song tell? When Jack asks Daniel to play the piano for him, he finds out the answer to that question.
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
1) I did my best not to confuse anyone, but if the musical terms leave you wondering, you can go to this site for quick and simple definitions: http://www.contracosta.cc.ca.us/music/terms.html
2) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
3) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better: Drdjlover, Mama Beast, Linda, Claudia, QuinGem!
--February 14, 1998
“Doing anything special tonight, Colonel?” Sam asked casually from where she stood at the head of the bench that separated the aisle of the locker room in two.
“Tonight? Why Carter, need a date or something?” Jack retorted as he prepared to leave so that Sam could change into her civvies privately.
Smiling, Sam answered, “Actually, I have a date.”
“Good for you, Captain.”
“Thank you Sir,” Sam responded, her cheeks turning rosy as her CO smirked.
“Goodnight,” Jack spoke as he headed for the doorway.
“Night, Colonel,” the blonde responded as she moved forward to her locker.
Wandering around his country-style house two hours later, Jack tried to think of something to do. He picked up the television remote, then put it back down; then he looked at the stereo, thinking about turning it on, but then he shook his head, dismissing the idea. It was Valentine's Day, and he had nowhere to go and no one to be with. He hated the day -- too many memories of happy times turned bad.
~I wonder what you're doing tonight, Sara,~ Jack wondered silently. ~Let her go, O'Neill. Move on.~
As he glanced out the window and up at the twinkling stars that highlighted the night sky, an idea popped into Jack's head. He smiled, grabbed his black leather jacket, and exited the house.
Daniel was spending his evening enthralled in research. Several books were scattered around his sofa and coffee table, some open, others stacked one atop another. He had a legal-size pad, full of notes and scribbles, atop the table. His pencil was currently lodged behind his ear, the only place Daniel knew he wouldn't lose it as he maneuvered his research materials around to suit his current train of thought.
The archaeologist's latest cup of coffee was off to the right, next to a larger reference book, and on the edge of the table was a bowl of Chex Mix and a Twinkie wrapper.
The young man was dressed in tan pajamas and his brown robe, along with matching slippers. Engrossed in his research, it wasn't until he heard Jack's yell that he realized someone, specifically Jack O'Neill, had been banging on his door.
“Jack?” Daniel asked before he even opened the door.
“You look comfortable, Daniel,” Jack spoke. He didn't wait for an invitation, choosing to quickly brush by his friend and enter the apartment before the younger man had a chance to gather his wits. ~I didn't think he'd have anything important to do tonight.~
“Jack, what are you doing here?”
“Rescuing you,” Jack smirked. ~And myself, but you don't need to know that.~
“Excuse me?” the younger man questioned, his eyebrows arching.
Daniel closed the door and walked a few steps forward, automatically folding his arms across his chest.
“I thought you might be bored,” Jack explained, looking down at the messy work area his friend was using. ~He does need rescuing.~ Looking back up, he suggested, “Let's go to a movie.”
“Bored?” Pointing to his books and notes, Daniel replied, “As you can see, I'm not bored. I...I'm working,” he said as he slid his hands into the robe's large pockets.
“All work and no play makes Daniel a dull boy. Get dressed,” the older man commanded.
“I can help you, if you like,” Jack cajoled.
Daniel glared, then responded, “I don't need you to help me get dressed.”
“Good,” Jack responded, clapping his hands together one time with a small smile on his face. “Hurry, or we'll be late.”
“Late,” Daniel groaned, realizing that he had lost the battle. His friend was bored, and, as usually happened, he would have to pay the price. ~I wonder who he bugged before me. The man needs a hobby!~
Reluctantly, Daniel headed for his bedroom where he changed into a long sleeve brown plaid shirt with brown pants and brown shoes. It was cold out, so he decided he'd take his brown coat with him, too. It was the same brown one Jack had given him when he'd first returned from Abydos. It was old, but it performed its function to Daniel's satisfaction.
Glancing in the mirror, Daniel shook his head, thinking, ~Guess it's my night for brown.~ He took a final look, then sighed. “Maybe gray would be better. Jack sure looks good in that gray shirt. The blue line across the shoulder gives it a nice look, and it goes great with his black pants.~ He frowned and brought his right hand up to his chin. ~Jackson, when you start critiquing another man's wardrobe, you've definitely been hitting the books too much. Maybe this movie isn't such a bad idea, after all.~
Meanwhile, Jack paced the apartment, playing with the various trinkets that lined Daniel's shelves. He found himself thinking how good Daniel looked in his pajamas and robe, but he quickly shook it off, dismissing his thoughts as a by-product of his boredom.
~You're definitely bored, O'Neill, if you're thinking about Daniel's wardrobe and dressing habits, though I think blue is more his color than ...~ Jack shook his head, wondering if he was losing his mind. ~Geez, O'Neill, get a grip.~
“Okay, Jack, I'm ready,” Daniel called out as he emerged from the hallway, holding his coat.
Jack was grateful Daniel had interrupted his thinking; it was giving him a headache. He began to speak when he stopped, his eyes inexplicably drawn to the piano. It occurred to him that he had never heard his friend play, nor, for that matter, even talk about music; yet, the piano had almost been the first thing Daniel had purchased upon moving into his loft apartment.
“Danny, play something,” Jack urged as he nodded towards the instrument.
“Ah, no, I don't think so,” Daniel said, walking parallel to the counter that separated the kitchen from the living room.
“Come on,” Jack coaxed. “It's not there to be a decoration. Play it.”
“I'm really not very good, Jack.”
~He has to be good.~ Jack flashed one of his best Irish smiles, his eyes shining in anticipation as he requested, “Play for me, Daniel. Please.”
~Gawd! Look at him,~ Daniel thought as he drew a deep breath. He hated playing for others, but there was something about his friend Jack that he just couldn't hide from, or say no to. Albeit a bit hesitantly, he placed his jacket onto the sofa and took his seat on the piano bench. ~Why am I doing this?~
The amateur pianist sat there for a minute, getting comfortable, until he finally placed his hands on the white keys. He closed his eyes, trying to pretend Jack wasn't standing a few feet away. Letting his mind guide him, Daniel drifted, and then, he began to play an adagio paced piece, the pace slow and melody soft, almost to the edge of being melancholy.
~Seems lonely; kinda empty,~ Jack thought.
The piece was a haunting musical interlude, but Daniel played it well, never missing a note. All too soon, not more than two minutes later, it was over. He took a huge breath and slowly moved his hands off the keys, relieved it was over. Still, he remained seated on the piano bench, as if separating himself slowly from the instrument.
“Just ends, doesn't it?” the older man asked curiously.
Daniel shrugged as he evaded Jack's question. He got up, walked to the sofa , and put on his jacket.
“That was great, Daniel,” Jack praised, realizing his friend wasn't going to expound much on the music he'd just played. “You're full of surprises.”
“It's ... just a tune, that's all,” Daniel responded, dismissing both his ability and the merits of the song.
“What's it called?”
“I don't know. It ... doesn't have a name. Come on, Jack, let's go,” Daniel urged, wanting to leave the music behind him.
Jack briefly considered continuing the discussion, but opted to follow Daniel out the door, especially since the younger man had already exited the apartment.
~I guess he doesn't want to talk about it,~ Jack determined. ~You're good, Danny. Maybe you'll play for me again sometime.~
--February 14, 1999
Jack and Daniel had celebrated their first Valentine's Day together as a romantic couple at Daniel's apartment. By mutual agreement, they'd exchanged only small gifts, a couple of chocolate truffles and a deluxe pen for Daniel, his favorite beer and a western novel for Jack.
“Can't go wrong with beer,” Jack laughed, highly amused at the gifts they'd exchanged.
“We shouldn't have agreed to a limit, ” Daniel sighed as he leaned into Jack's shoulder.
The couple was snuggled together on the sofa, just enjoying being together.
“I know,” Jack agreed. “Geez, Danny, I've given better gifts to strangers. At least, that's how it feels.”
“Why'd we do it?” Daniel wondered. ~It was a mistake; I want to give you things. I've never really had anyone to give things to before.~
“Scared?” Jack responded. ~I don't want to scare you off by showering you with everything I'd like to give you.~
Daniel had nodded. It was still new, this loving relationship between the two very different men. They had fallen in love in a world where same-sex relationships created controversy; yet, here they were, contented and blissful in each other's tender hold.
“No more limits, Love. Next year, I'm spoiling you rotten,” Jack pledged. ~I shouldn't have let you talk me into it this year, either.~
“I ... I hope we ...” Daniel's voice trailed off. ~I hope we're together next year.~
Jack had always spoken so confidently about their future, but Daniel wasn't as sure about anything but today. Being happy was a relatively new feeling for him, and he still felt guilty about his wife, Sha're, who was out there somewhere, still living under the influence of a Goa'uld parasite. Yet, he loved Jack completely, and, almost in spite of himself, he realized his fleeting moments of happiness were increasing.
For the first time in his life, Daniel had wanted to do more for Valentine's Day, but he had felt awkward about being part of a giving couple. He didn't want their relationship to focus on money in any way, and, after all, they were two men. Presents meant more to women, especially on a romantic day like this one; at least, that's what the archaeologist had told himself.
So, when Jack had first brought up how they would celebrate the occasion, Daniel mentioned the gift issue and suggested a dollar limit. He wasn't sure who came up with the ten dollar maximum, but now, wished they hadn't.
~It was dumb. Okay, Jackson, you know the truth. It was your idea. You didn't want to do anything outlandish or crazy; you're a man; men don't get gushy about Valentine's Day. Yeah ... right. That's why you spent two hours picking out gifts and then put them back. Dumb, dumb, dumb!~
Both men hated their choices of gifts, not that they hadn't been appreciated or enjoyed by the recipients, but it just wasn't what they would have truly done if they hadn't been so nervous about being in love and sharing a Valentine's Day that was full of sentiment.
“There's nothing wrong with giving gifts, Danny,” Jack opined.
“I know. I'm sorry, Jack. It was my idea,” Daniel replied, taking the blame.
Jack placed a kiss on his lover's cheek, reminding him that, “I went along with the decision. We're still getting used to this.”
Daniel turned his head to face Jack, smiling as he confided, “The funny thing is, it was never really strange. The first time: Jack, it was an adjustment, but ...” he paused, shrugging as his words trailed off.
Jack kissed his Love's forehead in support and responded, “Images, generalities, stereotypes -- Danny, we need to be us, whatever that is. No more doing something or not doing something because we're afraid how it looks.” When the younger man chuckled, he queried, “What?”
Shyly, Daniel answered, “We like romance. All day long we fight the Goa'uld, and now, we're here like this. Who'd ever believe it?”
“I can't imagine anything better,” the older man answered softly.
“Me, either,” Daniel agreed. ~Don't leave me, Jack. I want more.~
“Danny, how about we ...” Jack began, raising his eyebrows a few times suggestively.
Daniel smiled and softly replied, “Yes.”
The lovers stood, sharing a kiss by the sofa, and then retired to Daniel's bedroom, where they made love and fell asleep, warm and at peace as they happily held on to each other.
At 4:15 a.m., Jack woke, put on the forest green robe Daniel had left out for him, and visited the bathroom. He stood by the bed for a minute, smiling at the beauty of his lover, before going to the kitchen and taking a beer out of the refrigerator. Taking his time, he ambled over to the sofa, settling down and enjoying the calm he felt inside while he sipped his beverage. Then, once again, he became focused on the piano, remembering the piece Daniel had played for him the year before.
“Jack, is everything okay?” Daniel asked as he yawned, his demeanor groggy as he sat next to his partner.
“Fine,” Jack assured. “Just woke up and decided to stretch.”
“You're sitting and drinking a beer at ... at ... what time is it, Jack?”
Knowing his lover was not a morning person, Jack chuckled, “You don't want to know, Danny.”
“That bad?” Daniel asked, yawning yet again.
Jack kissed Daniel's shaggy hair, his fingers running through it, and requested, “Danny, play for me.”
“The piano,” the older man answered, motioning over towards the piano with his head.
Daniel looked over at the piano and yawned again before replying, “Uh, no, I don't think so, Jack. Let's go back to bed.”
“Please,” Jack requested, then kissed Daniel tenderly as part of his plea.
“No,” Daniel responded, holding firm, though his body was saying 'yes', only then he realized his body was answering a different question.
“Come on, Danny. You did it before.”
“Neighbors,” Daniel answered as an excuse.
“Bad excuse, My Love,” Jack responded. “I saw the Coopers from across the hall at the market two days ago, and they were getting ready to go on vacation for a week; Mrs. Harper is visiting relatives; you're on the top floor so there's no one above you; the space below is still being renovated; and, the apartment next door is still up for lease. No neighbors to disturb.”
“Jack, how do you do that? I don't even know my neighbors that well,” the archaeologist asked. ~What'd he do? Have the entire apartment checked out?~
“Special Ops, Danny, and where you are concerned, I pay attention,” Jack answered.
“Are you staking out my neighbors?” the younger man asked. ~Gawd, he did.~
“I do whatever I need to do to protect my family, and I make no apologies for that, Daniel. Don't ask me to,” the very serious sounding colonel stated.
Jack kissed his Love, his tongue dancing with Daniel's, and then he looked into the blue eyes he cherished so much, saying, “Yes, Danny, my family, and that would be you. I love you, just in case you didn't know that.”
“Me, too. I mean, I love you, Jack,” Daniel spoke, feeling warm inside from his partner's comments.
“I know. Now ... play for me.”
“Tired,” Daniel offered, hoping this excuse would work better than the last one.
“Please,” Jack requested and nibbled on the younger man's ear.
Daniel sighed, “Cheating.”
“Play for me,” Jack requested again just as he kissed Daniel's pulse point.
“Not fair,” Daniel accused.
“Play for me.”
Jack lay a small trail of kisses on Daniel's nape, licking in between the kisses, his hand snaking under Daniel's navy blue robe and caressing his lover's smooth skin.
“'Kay.” Daniel was mush in Jack's hands, unable to resist. ~Gawd, how does he do that?~
Almost on automatic, not even sure if he could find the piano, Daniel stood and made his way to the black piano bench. As he had done a year ago, he sat down and paused for a minute. He closed his eyes and placed his hands on the keys. Moments later, he began to play.
Jack recognized the tune. It was the same adagio piece -- very slow, lingering, sad, full of melancholy. Then, a touch of dissonance entered the composition as it went longer than the first time Jack had heard it. It was full of tension and unrest, and then, like it had last year, it just ended.
Daniel yawned and went back to his partner, nestling his head against Jack's shoulder. He loved the safety of Jack's body.
“What's it called, Danny?” Jack asked, referring to the song the younger man had just played on the piano.
“No name, just something I made up,” Daniel spoke, his eyelids fluttering close. ~Bed. Should be in bed.~
“It just ends, doesn't it?” Jack asked.
Mumbling for a moment, Daniel explained, “It's more of a middle.”
Jack pondered the information and inquired, “Shouldn't it have a beginning and an end?”
Daniel just shrugged and repeated his earlier request, saying, “Let's go back to bed, Jack. Tired; need my pillow,” he stated as he shifted closer to Jack for emphasis.
“Okie dokie, Space Monkey.”
Daniel was too tired to retaliate, but vowed to one day come up with a nickname that would make Jack flinch as much as Daniel did at being called a chimp in outer space.
--February 14, 2004
“Danny, why are we here?” Jack whined as Daniel led him into the apartment.
Daniel's apartment had been nothing more than a large storage closet for years. It would fool anyone checking for occupancy as it was still full of artifacts and books and had all the comforts of home. It was even full of non-perishable foods that once a year were given to food drives, then replenished again. What few knew, though, was that the items kept there were Daniel's least favorites. Anything that really mattered to him was at the home he shared with his husband; all the items, that is, except for one.
“I want to give you something, Jack. I told you that,” Daniel explained as he put his keys in his pocket.
“Yeah, I know, but it's Valentine's Day, and we have plans. I just don't see what this place has to do with anything.” ~This is not the day I want to be here; it reminds me of having to hide, and I hate hiding our love.~
“It's my apartment, Jack, and, like it or not, we still have to keep it and pretend it's doing something other than gathering dust.”
Jack groused, “Yeah, well, lately, you haven't let it gather much dust.”
Daniel rolled his eyes. Since the beginning of the year, when he wasn't being tortured or involved with some mission off-world, he had been coming over to the apartment as frequently as he could, working on his surprise.
Jack didn't understand why his lover was spending so much time at the loft, something that to him, was a symbol of the 'hide in plain sight' game they had to play. He was trying not to be jealous or worried that Daniel was trying to run away from him and their happy life together, but his spouse's sudden attachment to the apartment concerned him.
Daniel slid off his burgundy jacket and turned on all the lights. He walked to his sulking lover who was standing like the proverbial bump on a log near the kitchen. Putting his arms around Jack's neck, he leaned in for a kiss.
“I love you, Jack, love you more than anything,” the younger man intoned. “I wanted to do something special for you this year, and I had to do it here. You'll understand in a minute. Trust me.”
“I do, Danny,” Jack replied. “I just worry; always will.” He sighed, “I'm sorry, Angel, but I don't think I can change that.”
As his husband's hands held his waist, Daniel admitted, “Yeah, well ... to be honest, I don't think I want you too. Come on. Take off your jacket, and sit down. Get comfy.”
“Where are you going?” Jack asked, watching Daniel walk away from him after they reached the sofa.
“How can I get comfy if you aren't here by my side?” Jack griped, trying to imitate the younger man's patented pout.
Daniel grinned at the attempt and replied, “I'm always by your side, Babe ... always! Now be quiet and ... and listen. This is for you, just for you.”
Jack watched Daniel sit down at the piano and take a deep breath. This time, though, he didn't close his eyes. Instead, he looked at Jack and smiled. Then, Daniel began to play.
The colonel blinked a few times as his archaeologist began to play, and soon, he leaned forward, his hands clasped together as he digested the musical composition.
This time, the piece began differently. It opened with an allegro; it was light and brisk, bringing to mind fun and play -- happy times when life didn't have a care in the world. Then, though, the music slowed. Jack recognized this part. It was that same lonely piece he had first heard years ago, before he and Daniel were lovers.
Just as despondency was beginning to set in from the melancholy tones, the music transitioned again, back to something lively and free, and then changed to a scherzo movement, a wispy, playful, sprightly interlude that made Jack smile and recall growing up in Chicago and summers in Minnesota. He remembered his grandfather teaching him how to fish, his mother's look of pride when he graduated in the top one-percent of his class in high school, and his father's supportive talk when Jack enlisted in the Air Force.
This section went on for awhile, filling Jack with warmth. Jack studied Daniel's intensity as he played. His husband was focused on the ivory keys, his eyes lost in the piece, oftentimes closing, and his facial expression matching the emotion of the music he was playing.
Still happy in its melody, Jack's mind went to Sara and how beautiful she looked on their wedding day. He remembered feeling Charlie kick inside of her and being there the day he was born. He recalled with a huge grin the first time Charlie hit a home run playing baseball.
~That was my boy. Geez, I'll never forget the look on his face as he rounded the bases. He kept looking over at me, making sure I was watching. I couldn't wait for him to touch home plate, to pick him up and hug him. Good times; those were good times.~
Suddenly, the tone changed, and Jack's smile faded. The music became grave and melancholy again, the movement heavy in heart. Jack felt sad, alone, and abandoned as he was swept away by the piece. He glanced at Daniel and saw a tear running down his right cheek. Jack's heart ached as he took in the soulful song.
Then, the dissonance was back. It was loud and at a fast presto pace that seemed to increase with every second. In fact, the crescendo rose to a thunder inside Jack's soul.
~I know what this is. Life was over. No more home runs; no more anything.~
The older man recognized the hard beat, the anger, the rage, and the detachment that followed as Daniel's composition segued to a staccato section before quieting. It was a moment of separation and distance. His mind thought about the first Abydos mission. It had been meant to be his big finale in human existence, and it would have been, except that was when Jack met Daniel.
Jack smiled remembering how Daniel had so quickly and easily solved the mystery of the Stargate. Sometimes, he wondered if that hadn't been the moment when he had fallen in love with this man, who on the surface was such a polar opposite of himself.
Daniel's music shifted again to two beautiful yet separate harmonies, one hand playing over the other. The piece became smooth, flowing as Daniel played, both hands working together, the sadness of the adagio and the anger of the dissonance now nothing but a memory.
It was almost like the two melodies had overlapped, becoming one. For a time, Daniel played it with vivace, the music spirited and bright. Jack recalled their romp at Pike's Peak, playtime with their precious beagles, riding the Matterhorn at Disneyland, and so many other good memories he had created with the pianist of his heart.
Next, the piece slowed slightly, the harmony taking root, as if finding a safe haven to call home. The tempo was steady and mezzo piano, or moderately soft. It was pleasing, content, and even happy.
Drawn to the tune, Jack rose and stood at the edge of the piano, lost in the music and the wonder of his lover, who was playing his soul for him now.
~This is what you've been doing, Danny -- composing this masterpiece, the musical story of our lives. It's why you've come to the apartment so often lately and why I had so many hours alone. It's beautiful; you're beautiful.~
The composition concluded with a strong chord, a festive end that promised joy and spoke of happiness.
Daniel pulled his hands back. He shivered slightly, more tears having escaped his eyes.
Jack walked to the bench, reached down, and took Daniel's hands, pulling his soulmate up to him. He kissed each hand and then each precious finger that had played so lovingly for him. When he was done, he gazed into his lover's eyes.
“Geez, how I love you,” Jack spoke softly, still holding Daniel's hands in his. “That was us. You with your parents, then that lonely boy when the world abandoned him. Me with my parents, growing up, then with Charlie; the pain of losing him, feeling dead inside, hating the world like I did.” Jack sighed softly. “And now us and our forever. It was us.”
It wasn't really a question, but Daniel nodded as Jack moved his hand to wipe away the tears with his thumb.
“Does it have a name, Angel?” Jack asked tenderly.
“Heart and Soul ... because that ... that's what you are, Jack. You're my heart and my soul,” Daniel emotionally answered.
The couple kissed, their lips pressing together softly, enjoying their closeness.
“I love you, Danny, love you so friggin' much, and that was ... I don't have the words to describe how that made me feel,” Jack intoned, pulling his Heart closer to him, his chin nuzzling into Daniel's shoulder, as he gave up trying to find the words to describe his emotions and settled for showing Daniel physically.
Jack held Daniel as tight as he could. He didn't know how to say what he felt, how to express his thoughts about this wonderful gift of song that his Love had just given him, so he just held on, praying he could say with his soul what he couldn't with words.
~Please hear me, Love -- hear my heart, and feel my soul. Please.~ A few seconds later, Jack heard a tiny sniffle coming from his life partner. “Danny?”
Jack pushed back to look at Daniel and saw his soulmate's tear ducts were operating at full speed.
“I heard you, Jack. I heard you.”
“I love you,” Jack spoke as he nodded, feeling a lump in his throat. He again held Daniel in his arms. Closing his eyes, he whispered, “Thank you. Thank you for the most wonderful Valentine's Day gift ever.”
Their celebration had only begun, but Jack knew he had just been given a most special gift, a piece of Daniel's soul he had only had a short glimpse of years before. The feelings were overwhelming, but they made him want to live, stay young, and face the world. He reaffirmed that as long as he had Daniel, he had everything that mattered.
“I love you, Danny,” Jack repeated, kissing his lover again a second later.
Carefully, Jack maneuvered their path to the bedroom, where they made another kind of harmony, the gentle and passionate entwining of their bodies.
Like the musical composition Daniel had written, the story of their lives played out in their lovemaking, from adagio and legato -- the slow and steady connecting of their bodies -- their personal crescendos swelled to fortissimo, loud and thundering, their grunts and groans of their work mingled with the hard and heavy movements inside and to each other, and finally, the rapid vivace of their orgasms that lead to the dolce of the final harmony, their post-coital bliss sweet and soft.
It was the music of their hearts and souls, the refrain of their unending love, and the melody of their lives. It was Jack and Daniel, lost in their nation of two, for time and all eternity.
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