Category: Slash, Angst, Drama, Missing Scene/Epilogue, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Season: 5 - October 9-12, 2001
Spoilers: The Fifth Man, Ascension (minor)
Written: July 22-23,26, 2003 Tweaked: November 8, 2003 Revised: January 10,14,31, 2005, May 9,15-17, July 9, 2007
Summary: Jack and Daniel go through a difficult time, especially after Paul Davis arrives in town. After Jack gets drunk and Daniel doesn't come home, will they ever be able to find their way to each other again?
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
1) Used with the author's permission, reference to the characters of Christa and Jacob Svenson are from the wonderful story “New Year's Resolution” by Brenda and ELG which is located at BunnyFic.com -- http://bunnyfic.com/Brenda_ELG/New_Years_Resolution.htm
2) The Patrick Swayze quote is from his interview on “The Barbara Walters Special” in 1988.
3) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
4) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better: QuinGem, Drdjlover, Linda, Claudia!
Jack climbed hurriedly up onto the roof deck, carrying a six-pack of
beer in one hand and enough anger to wrestle the Incredible Hulk and
win in the other. The Air Force colonel sulked his way over to
his favorite spot near his telescope and slowly sank down to the floor
of the wooden decking.
~Where's my beer? Ah, there it is~
Under his breath, Jack muttered nonsensical sounds that were more like grunts than words, and then he opened the first beer. He took two swigs before muttering some more.
“Stubborn, obstinate, pig-headed scientist. Who the blazes does he think he is?” Jack shouted, inwardly glad that he didn't have any neighbors close enough to hear his bellowing. After another swig of beer, he angrily added, “Idiotic, stupid, hardheaded, selfish ...”
Jack swore under his breath and took yet another drink from the bottle before he continued with his string of verbal assaults.
“Crazy, unfeeling, inflexible, contrary, stubborn ...” The silver-gray haired man paused. “I already said stubborn, didn't I?” he asked the stars that were scattered throughout the partly cloudy sky. “Well, he is; he's twice as stubborn as anyone else I know,” he proclaimed confidently.
With a surge of pent-up frustration, Jack took his unfinished beer and threw it against the front railing of the deck, watching the glass shatter and the liquid drip down the posts. He remained frozen for a few minutes, just staring at the wreckage on the deck, then slowly reached for another beer. Opening it, he sipped the brew casually with less force than the first. Lowering his drink so that it dangled at the end of his hand, he let out a mighty grunt, his anger spewing within him, twisting his insides into knots.
The name had been spat out violently, almost as if it were a profanity. Jack leaned his head against the house and looked up at the night.
~Last quarter of the moon,~ the amateur astronomer observed. ~Still enough light to see.~ He closed his eyes as he remembered other moonlit nights on the deck, just he and his lover. He reveled momentarily in the vision of moonlight dancing in Daniel's hair, but, ultimately, the quiet of the night that surrounded him broke the illusion, and the vision faded. ~Like us -- we're fading,~ he lamented as he took another drink from the brown bottle.
A few minutes later, the lonely man spoke again, this time in a soft whisper.
With the collar of his jacket flapping lightly from the wind blowing against him, Jack shook his head against the wall as he recalled his 'discussion' with his partner three nights before. On that evening, he had planned a quiet, romantic night in front of the fireplace for the two of them. He'd gone by Daniel's office to make sure he was about through for the day.
Recently, events at the SGC had kept their time together much too brief for Jack's liking, with Daniel having to put in a great deal of overtime to meet the demands being placed on the Archaeology Department. Upon discovering that his soulmate was far from being through for the day, Jack, instead of managing to lure his partner home, had found himself embroiled in a rapidly heated argument.
“Jack, don't you think you're overreacting?” the archaeologist asked when confronted by the angry colonel.
“No, Daniel, I'm not. You've been working on those translations for two weeks, and before that you were on that dig with SG-11, and before that there was the mess with Simmons when Carter was dating that alien,” Jack barked.
“She wasn't dating him, Jack.”
“I don't care what she was doing,” Jack stated harshly. “The point is we haven't had any time together since we went Jell-O wrestling with Teal'c, and that's not even close to what I have in mind for tonight, so close the books, and let's go home ... now.”
Daniel sighed as he looked at his worktable, covered with photographs, notes, and reference books.
“I'd like to, Jack, but I can't. The Hamerians have only agreed to let us have access to the ruins for a couple of months ...”
“Months?” Jack interjected incredulously. Walking forward two steps, he asked, “Daniel, you aren't seriously telling me you plan to be locked up in your office at the SGC for months? *Tell me* you aren't saying that, Daniel.”
“Jack ...” Daniel began, evading his lover's gaze.
“I know you, Daniel, and I can read you like a book. I'm right, aren't I? You're going to hunker down here and forget what the sun looks like, aren't you?” Not getting a response, Jack lurched forward and shouted, “Aren't you?” as the veins in his neck bulged.
The expression on the archaeologist's face along with Daniel's tight hold on himself told Jack that he was exactly right. Daniel was planning on putting every waking moment into the translations, and, odds were, it was going to take every day, and night, the Hamerians gave them.
“No, Daniel. You have an entire department at your disposal. Use them! You are the head of the unit, and you can delegate, so delegate!” the colonel ordered, his voice loud and commanding.
The older man was beyond anger, bordering on furious, and Daniel knew their 'discussion' could easily get out of hand. If he didn't contain it soon, they were both going to say things they'd regret later. The problem was, he couldn't give in, and he knew that trying to make Jack understand what was at stake with the Hamerians would be like fighting an oil fire with gasoline.
“Jack, calm down. The department is overloaded with work. The SGC keeps increasing the number of teams we have going off-world, but the money handlers keep forgetting they need the scientists, too, so we're status quo with what we had two years ago even though the number of missions has tripled. Someone has to do the work to validate the discoveries and try to find the mysteries of the places we visit, and, as you pointed out, I'm the leader of this area, so it's my responsibility,” Daniel argued as calmly as he could.
“Daniel, enough already. You are entitled to a night off. One night, Daniel, that's all I'm asking,” Jack stated strongly.
“And as I've said, Jack, I want to; *believe me*, I want to, but the general wants a status report on the Hamerians by 10 a.m., and I also have to prepare for the meeting with Paul to review ...”
“Paul?” Jack questioned, suddenly standing a little straighter, his eyes widening from what he'd just heard. “Paul Davis? You have a *meet-ing* with Captain Davis tomorrow?”
“Jack, you're going to blow a fuse if you don't calm down. Yes, I have a meeting with *Major* Davis ...”
“No, Daniel, he'll be a captain by the time you see him,” Jack threatened.
“Sometimes, Jack, you can be a real pain in the mikta, and right now there isn't a bigger one in the entire universe.”
“Thank you, Daniel. I'll take that as a compliment, and I plan on showing you just how right you are tonight. Tonight, Doctor Jackson, as in *now*.”
Walking around his lover to get a book off another shelf, Daniel instructed, “Go home, Jack. Watch a hockey game or something, and I'll get there when I can, but it's probably going to be late. I haven't even started on the research I need for Pa...Major Davis.”
“And will you be home tonight?” Jack asked, almost as a challenge.
“Yes, Jack, later.”
“Later, Jack, as in la-ter,” Daniel answered as he carried his book to the worktable and continued his work, much to Jack's chagrin.
//End of Flashback//
Jack finished off his second beer, still reeling from the memory of the first of what had been a string of fights with his lover over the last few days. Okay, so he did overreact to the news of Major Davis' visit, but Jack wasn't happy that in the almost seventy-two hours since, the Pentagon liaison had spent more time with Jack's life partner than he had. Visions of supportive back pats and batting eyelashes danced in his mind.
Once again, Jack bellowed out a new string of adjectives to describe his current emotional state: “Frustrating, thoughtless, bull-headed ...” After another swig to finish off yet another brew, he sighed, “Why aren't you here, Danny?”
The now melancholic man began to open another beer. The chilling wind that slapped against his face did little to deter him from continuing his beer-fest on the roof deck. Instead, he recalled more arguments with his lover.
Daniel had come home that first night, only it hadn't actually been nighttime, but rather morning, 0200 to be exact; and he had left the house by 0700. He'd had his 'meeting' with Major Davis as scheduled in the afternoon, but it had run longer than expected, the meeting having stretched into dinner.
~Yeah, right. They had a *meet-ing*.~
Jack's jealousy was raging, and the beers weren't helping him to remain rational; but then, he hadn't been drinking when he lashed out at Daniel earlier that day about his meeting-turned-supper with Paul “he's just a friend” Davis. Just thinking about the man was making Jack surly.
~Why'd I have to see? Are you cheating on me? I need to believe you, Danny; I want to believe you, but ...~
Jack decided to have dinner at Guiseppe's Old Depot Restaurant. He and Daniel went there sometimes when they were in the mood for Italian food, and tonight he had a hankering for some baked manicotti. The lovers particularly liked the panoramic view of Pike's Peak they had if they sat in the North Track room. The large windows also allowed them to see several of the freight trains.
As Jack was being led towards into the North Track dining room, he heard laughter from around the corner.
~I know that laugh.~
After being seated, Jack stood and walked to the corner, glancing around the side. He was right. The laughter belonged to his lover.
Sitting at a table for two were Daniel and Paul Davis. They were laughing and sipping some wine. From Jack's vantage point, he couldn't see any signs of work being done. All he saw were two men, apparently having a great time.
~Right. You're having a ... *meet-ing*.~
Jack turned, hurrying out of the restaurant and headed home, home to the roof deck and, he hoped, ~getting plastered.~
//End of Flashback//
Beer wasn't taking Jack over the edge quickly enough. He wanted to forget, to totally lose the reality of the last few days, especially what he had seen with his own eyes of Guiseppe's. Slowly rising to his feet, he headed down the ladder and entered the living room. He opened the liquor cabinet, grabbing the first full bottle of whatever he could find.
The depressed man didn't care what the liquor was, only that the bottle was full so he could empty it single-handedly, ~or would that be single-mouthedly? Makes more sense. I'm drinking it, after all. I don't care; I just want to forget this mess.~
Jack wanted to get intoxicated as quickly as possible. He started to pick up a glass and then decided he really didn't need it. Already not thinking clearly, he swaggered his way back up to the roof deck. Returning to his previous spot, he sat down and proceeded on his mission to get drunk.
Two hours later, oblivious to the hour and the coldness of the night, Jack O'Neill passed out, still sitting in the same spot on the deck.
As the aired warmed, the early morning rays of sunlight woke Jack from his unconscious state.
~What the ...~
Realizing he must have spent the entire night outside, the man groaned in frustration. His neck ached, his arm was numb from having been placed in an uncomfortable position as he had apparently slumped over to his side during the night, and in front of him was an empty bottle of Jack Daniels, which brought his fuzzy mind clearly into focus.
Jack felt an emptiness that made him momentarily consider staying where he was.
~Maybe I'll just sit here and rot. Danny will find me in about a month when he finally comes home.~
A call of nature, however, forced Jack into foregoing his contemplating.
“Whoa, Mama,” Jack expressed as he started to get up. “Now I remember why I hate getting drunk.” Slowly, he forced his body to a standing position, temporarily bracing himself against the wall. “Geez, I hate hangovers.”
Carefully, Jack proceeded down the ladder, into the house, and up the stairs. He paused before he reached his, no their, bedroom, wondering if the man he had pined over all night would be there. Willing himself to move, he entered the room and stood motionless as he faced the empty and still-made bed. He sighed in despair, his body actually sagging as he realized Daniel hadn't been home.
~I knew you wouldn't be here, but I was hoping.~ Jack shook his head at his disappointment. ~Dumb, O'Neill. If Danny had come home, he would have come up to the roof deck; at least, I think he would have. Oh, for crying out loud, I don't know what I think. All I know is that he's not here, and he should have been ... and my head hurts.~
Ignoring his pounding headache, Jack took care of business and then went into kitchen where he quickly observed that there wasn't any sign of fresh coffee, nor any remnants of nightly grinds. If he'd had any doubt, it was gone. Daniel had not been home.
~Danny,~ Jack's soul cried in despair at the separation he was feeling. He sat down at the table and put his head in his arms. ~Why do I love you so much? I'm just not good enough to hold you.~
A shower and breakfast later, Jack found himself back on the roof, cleaning up his mess from the night before. It was a diversionary tactic. Keeping himself busy, hangover or not, meant not thinking about the shambles his life was currently in. At least, that was the idea; unfortunately, it wasn't entirely working.
Having already picked up the pieces of glass that had fallen onto the yard, the colonel swept up the glass from the broken beer bottle that was on the roof deck, discarding the pieces, along with other empties, into a bucket. Then, he washed the beer and any other debris that had accumulated off the roof deck.
After that, Jack picked up the whiskey bottle that was next to his chair, and threw it into the bucket. As he watched, the bottle broke in two, a distinct crack emerging exactly between the words 'Jack' and 'Daniels'. The symbolism was too much for the supposed hard-nosed colonel, and he cried, giving into his knees and collapsing to the deck floor.
~Why, Danny? Why aren't I enough? Why are we over?~ All of a sudden, a sound from inside the house disturbed Jack from his ache. ~Oh, not so loud,~ he barked inwardly at the ringing phone. “GO AWAY!* he shouted as he sat up on his knees.
The phone continued to ring.
~Crap!~ Jack exclaimed, realizing the answering machine apparently wasn't on. The only way he was going to get rid of the caller was to answer the phone. Standing, he took a breath to try and regain his composure. Then he climbed down from the roof deck and entered the living room. “O'Neill,” he intoned sternly.
“Sir, are you all right?” Sam asked, concerned at her absent CO.
~Like I'd tell you. What the blazes do you want?~ Jack growled inwardly. “Carter, I'm fine, and why are you calling me?”
Stammering just slightly, the blonde answered, “Well ... I ... Sir, I'm sorry, but ... Sir, the briefing was scheduled ...”
~What the ...~ “What briefing, Carter?” the colonel barked. ~Oh, crap,~ he thought just a second later as he recalled his schedule for the day. “Oh, right. I'll be there in twenty.” ~Suck it up, O'Neill. Duty calls. Geez, I hate clichés.~
Jack hung up the phone, quickly gathered himself together, and headed for the SGC. By the time he arrived, his game face was on, his hangover under control, courtesy of his Special Ops training. After making a quick apology to the general, he pretended to listen to the facts being presented about the planet SG-1 was about to visit, but his attention was on the man who was sitting across from him, the man who had yet to look at him.
~Okay, Daniel, you want to play it that way, we will. I'm an expert at denial.~
Jack mentally toughened himself and then finally tuned in to the speaking Hammond.
One hour later, SG-1 was on P7S-441.
~More trees, just what I needed, especially after last night.~ Jack sulked as SG-1 walked through the ~tree-infested~ planet. Daniel still hadn't made eye contact with him, which both frustrated and angered Jack. ~What are you hiding, Danny?~
The next thing the team leader knew, he and Lieutenant Tyler were cut off from the rest of the team, having come under attack from a band of Jaffa. He had a duty to protect the trainee, as this was only the man's third mission with SG-1. The two would have to take cover and hope a rescue team would get through in time with reinforcements.
Time: it was passing too slowly for Jack O'Neill. Tyler was getting antsy, and the colonel knew something must have happened to slow the progress of the rescue.
“We don't leave our people behind. You should know that,” Jack reassured the doubting lieutenant before he went on his search for water.
As he checked the area, Jack's mind returned to what Tyler had asked him earlier -- “What if they never made it back?”
~They made it; they had to. Daniel is safe. He has to be,~ Jack tried to convince himself. He hadn't liked being separated from his lover during the mission, not that Daniel had been looking to him for any help. ~He doesn't need my help anymore; he's well trained. I know because I trained him.~
Still, there had been a large distance between the colonel and the archaeologist on this mission. They'd barely spoken ten words to each other, except to exchange a few random comments about the planet.
~I love him. I need you to be safe, Danny, even if ...~
Jack stopped thinking, returning his attention to his task at hand. He thought about Tyler, knowing his responsibility at the moment was to make sure that the young man survived.
~They got through. They'll be back,~ Jack resolved about his teammates.
Night fell, and after a strange conversation about Jaffa, Minnesota, and fishing, Jack was again lost in his thoughts of recent events. He convinced himself his lover was safely on Earth before again recounting their series of loud discords.
When all was said and done, Jack knew it came down to one thing. He missed his soulmate. He also knew Daniel wasn't cheating on him. Major Davis was a friend and a co-worker, but that was the extent of the younger man's interest in Davis. He was sure of it.
Jack also realized that Daniel shouldered a big responsibility. He was uniquely qualified to head the scientific community that resided at the SGC, and he also knew Daniel felt the obligation to come through, to solve all the problems that arose. The archaeologist had worked hard to overcome his professional struggles, and Jack was fully aware that failure was not an option for his scientifically-minded lover.
The Hamerians were just the latest civilization the Tau'ri had come across that may hold the key to the often dreamed of alien technology that would kick Goa'uld butt. It wasn't Daniel's fault that budget restraints had kept his department from growing enough to keep up with the demands, nor was it his fault that everyone expected him to have the answers.
~They do, though,~ Jack thought. ~We all rely on you to come up with the right words, to find the key to peace or the negotiation of the moment. We look to you, Danny,~ he sighed. With a regretful moan, he acknowledged, ~O'Neill, you're a pain in the mikta, and you'll be lucky if Daniel ever speaks to you again.~
Daylight came, and as his team member spoke to him now, Jack wondered if he was still dreaming.
“They were taking me to be dissected and studied,” Tyler revealed. “I managed to break free of my cell and damage the guidance system on the transport ship ...”
~Not a dream; maybe a nightmare,~ Jack thought as he listened to the alien known to him as Lieutenant Tyler.
Maybe his torment of losing Daniel had driven him over the edge, but before Jack could think about it much longer, the Jaffa attacked and quickly gained the upper hand. For a moment, Jack believed he would finally die, but just as suddenly, Sam, Teal'c, and Daniel arrived on the scene, killing the enemy.
~He's safe,~ Jack sighed. Though no words were exchanged between the two lovers, the older man noted that at least Daniel had looked at him. He was doing his own share of looking, and had they been in another place, he could have stood there for hours, watching his lover doing nothing but watching him. ~Have I lost you, Danny?~
Reminding himself that this was no time to stand around contemplating the mess of his life, Jack focused on the immediate problem they faced. SG-1 and 'Tyler' had to get off the planet. When they reached the Stargate, they found a large number of Jaffa guarding the Gate.
The colonel launched a plan to get more weaponry and ordered, “Okay, Daniel, you stay with Tyler; Carter, give him your zat; keep an eye out for patrols; stay out of trouble.”
Jack, Teal'c, and Sam left to get the weapons, leaving Daniel with the alien. When they returned, the archaeologist was lying on the ground.
~DANIEL!~ Jack shouted inwardly, closing the gap with his teammates.
Daniel started to come to, slowly and painfully sitting up. Jack wanted to reach out, and grab him, to hold him, but knew it wasn't the time or place, and besides, he wasn't sure Daniel would even accept any kind of support at all from him right now.
Instead, Jack settled for the lightest of touches just above Daniel's elbow, but quickly pulled away, sensing his own inability not to do more if he held on.
“Hey, where's Tyler?”
Sarcastically, Daniel answered, “You know, I would have asked him, but I was too busy being unconscious after he shot me with that zat you gave him, so ...”
~Uh oh -- pissy archaeologist,~ Jack thought, also taking note of the very angry look Daniel had given him. He wondered if his lover would ever forgive him. ~How was I supposed to know Tyler would do that?~ He sighed inwardly, ~Are you coming home, Danny?~
Refocusing on the business at hand, SG-1 battled the Jaffa successfully, rescuing their alien friend in the process. Afterwards, Tyler dialed up his home planet, his parting words being about meeting again some time in the future.
“Maybe then you can take me fishing,” Tyler said to Jack, referring back to one of their conversations when they'd been alone on the planet.
As Tyler disappeared through the event horizon, Jack turned and noticed Daniel staring at him, as if trying to figure something out.
Resisting the temptation to drag his lover aside and talk to him, Jack ordered, “Daniel, dial us home.”
The older man saw the archaeologist's brief hesitation before doing as asked, a moment when the two finally exchanged their first look in several days that wasn't totally full of anger. Too soon, the moment had ended, and Daniel dialed the Gate.
SG-1 met with General Hammond for what turned out to be one of their more unusual debriefings. When the session was concluded, Jack headed for his office to fulfill other duties and obligations. He and Daniel hadn't spoken privately, and they had shared just two looks during the meeting with Hammond.
Sometime later, his paperwork done, Jack decided to take the risk of going by Daniel's office.
~What can he do but tell me to get out?~ Jack asked himself as he entered the office. His heart sank quickly, though, when he discovered there was no sign of his lover in the room. ~Not even a goodbye?~
Resigned to not seeing the younger man, Jack changed his clothes and then headed to the parking level. As he reached the check-out point, he saw Sam chatting with one of the security guards.
“Headed home, Carter?”
“Yes, Sir. You?” the blonde asked.
“Where else would I be going?” Jack snapped.
“Well, Sir ...”
Sam was doing that stuttering thing she did occasionally when she was about to breach the standard CO/team member thing. Jack recognized the nervous flinch, the lowering of the eyes, and excessive movement of the hands.
~Might as well get over with,~ the colonel thought. He motioned for her to follow him away from the security gate, out of the hearing range of the guards and anyone else who might be leaving the facility. “Spit it out, Carter.”
“Yes, Sir. Is everything all right with you and Daniel? I mean, obviously, something is wrong. He's been so down lately, and while you were on 441 with Tyler, he seemed pretty detached.”
“Down? What are you talking about?” Jack questioned. ~She's off her rocker.~
“Depressed. You must have noticed ... Sir.”
“Carter, Daniel's practically been living in his office for weeks working on the Hamerian translations. How in Netu am I supposed to know he's depressed when he won't even come home?” Jack challenged, his anger flaring as he combed his fingers through his grayer-than-ever hair.
“Colonel,” Sam began. She paused, taking a careful look around to make sure they could not be overheard before continuing, “He's under a lot of pressure, but you know how he feels about you, and quite frankly, I think he's wondering why you haven't ... well ...”
“Sir, yes, Sir, I mean, Daniel is used to you playing mother hen, and even though he says he doesn't like it, well, he's ... he's used to it, and he'd never admit it, but he ... he counts on you to do it, to draw that line for him when he's too tired to draw it himself, and from the little he told me, you haven't been doing that the last few days, and, Sir, I think he's wondering why you haven't dragged him out of his office kicking and screaming ... Sir.” ~Gee, I sound like a rambling idiot!~
~That's not what he wants.~ Jack sighed, shook his head, and then gave a small laugh in mock amusement before clearing his mind enough to respond. “We had a fight, Carter. Actually, we've had several fights. I was ... wrong,” he said. Suddenly, he let out an amused but nervous laugh. ~Why is it so hard to say I was wrong when it is so obviously the truth?~
Jack began to drift, sorting through the memories of the recent days and trying to figure out what to do next, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he was still at the SGC and talking to one of his teammates.
“What?” Jack was snapped out of his flight of memory by Sam's call. “Sorry, Carter. I was thinking. Look, this Hamerian business is serious, and Daniel has a tough job. He needs our support, not our jea... our impatience. Truth is, though, I'm not sure Daniel even wants to see me right now. I said some pretty nasty things to him.”
“I'm sure Daniel will understand,” Sam spoke sympathetically. ~I know he wants to understand; he always does.~
“I hope so. Any idea where he took off to? I checked his office, but he wasn't there.”
“He left about an hour ago. He didn't say where he was going, but I just assumed ...”
“You know what they say, Carter, assumptions can be dangerous, but I hope this assumption is right. Goodnight,” Jack said, walking around the major and proceeding through the security check.
As he drove down the Mountain, Jack wondered how he could make this mess right. The couple's fights had been mostly his fault, a result of jealousy and a longing to be with the man he loved. Daniel was only doing his job, a very special job that few others could even attempt.
“Why couldn't I just be patient and understanding?” Jack asked aloud, silently wondering how he had missed Daniel's depression as well. ~Have I been so wrapped up in my own feelings that I forgot about Daniel's?~
The oftentimes stubborn man hoped to find the answer before he reached home.
Jack turned into his driveway, relieved to see Daniel's parked car. Entering the house, he took a deep breath and braced himself, not sure what state of mind his lover would be in. No matter what, Jack was determined not to get into another argument.
~It's all been my fault; don't let your ego or stubbornness drive him away. You need him, O'Neill. You love him.~
Looking around the living room, Jack found no trace of the man in question, nor could he smell the aroma of coffee that would normally be radiating through the kitchen and living area, if Daniel had only recently arrived home.
~He has to be here, though. His car is here,~ Jack surmised as he headed slowly up the stairs and then cautiously entered the bedroom.
“Hey, Jack,” Daniel greeted a tad shyly. “You'd probably rather be fishing with Tyler, but ...”
Daniel's voice trailed off to silence, his eyes averting from the older man's gaze as his insecurities won out. Though inwardly he may not have been confident, Jack would never have guessed. The younger man was sitting on the bed, leaning against the headboard, wearing nothing more than his birthday suit.
“Well, hello!” a very surprised Jack greeted. He had imagined several possible scenarios of what might happen when the two men were together again, but this wasn't one of them. ~This wasn't even in my top ten, not that I'm complaining, because I'm most definitely not.~
Not one to look a gift-Daniel in the mouth, Jack decided to go with the flow, letting a large grin cross his face as he walked to the bed and sat by his lover's side. He took his Love's left hand and cupped Daniel's cheek, gently turning the young man's face to look at him. With a smile, he caressed the newly-shaved skin.
Daniel closed his eyes at the touch, taking in the loving feeling that now flowed through him. He reached out to pull his soulmate in for their first kiss in a way too many days. The kiss grew in scope and passion, the two men becoming quickly lost in the sensation of each other.
There were no more words; none were needed or wanted. There was only the physical expression of a love the two men shared that was greater than anything they had ever known. Each took a turn, dominating the other, pushing, crushing, melding their bodies together. It was long and hard, and slow and burning.
The couple's passion consumed them as they ravished, devoured, and loved, over and over again until at last, they collapsed onto each other. They were incoherent and unable to move in their state of blissfulness, which suited them both as neither man had a desire to move even an inch away from the other.
Sleep came quickly, with the younger nuzzled into the older, each holding the other with protective arms. They were human blankets, voluntarily sewn together with their limbs.
Jack and Daniel had finally found their way home, to each other, at least with their bodies.
When morning came, Jack woke first, smiling at the still-tight grip Daniel had on him. His hold on Daniel was equally strong, as well.
“Ah, Danny,” Jack said softly, knowing his lover was still sound asleep. “If I could only find a way to tell you how much I love you. It hurts. Geez, I love you so much it actually hurts, and sometimes, it makes me crazy, and then I guess I do go crazy, and I take it out on you.”
Jack kissed the shiny hair of the man he held and loved so dearly. He began to slowly stroke Daniel's back with gentle, circular motions that spoke of love and longing just as his words were doing.
“I wouldn't know what to do without you. I just ... I wanted you so much that I thought I'd explode.” Jack let out a small laugh, then asked, “Who could have imagined this, Danny, that we'd be here like this?”
Jack paused his quiet dissertation just long enough to take a good look at Daniel, admiring his form and physique, and then declared softly, “You are beautiful, Daniel, so beautiful. I'll never let you go, not ever.”
“I love you, too, Jack.” Daniel responded quietly.
Those five words surprised the older man and told him that Daniel had just heard every word he had just said.
“Eavesdropper,” Jack teased.
“Sue me, and, uh, just for the record, I'm never letting you go, either,” Daniel promised, tightening his hold on the man who would always be his heart.
Jack placed yet another kiss on Daniel's hair and closed his eyes, both men letting the early morning light dissolve into the quiet of sleep.
The next time Jack woke, he could feel slender fingers softly caressing his chest and knew his partner was awake as well. Another smile graced his face. Neither man wanted to spoil the moment of their unity, each continuing to serve as a warm blanket for the other.
“I don't really want to move,” Daniel finally said, his voice low and hesitant.
“Me, either,” the older man admitted.
“But ...” the lovers spoke in unison.
Laughing, Jack added regretfully, “Can't argue when nature calls, Daniel.”
Slowly, the couple released each other and proceeded to tend to their needs. They remained quiet as they showered individually and then dressed for the day. Daniel was finished first and headed downstairs to begin his daily coffee ritual.
When Jack followed a few minutes later, he found his lover, arms folded across his chest, staring out the patio doors at some birds flocking together on a tree. Quietly, but not so quiet as to startle the man who owned his heart, Jack approached and wrapped his arms around Daniel's waist, bowing his head slightly to kiss his lover on the side of his neck.
Daniel smiled and leaned back into Jack, placing his hands on Jack's as they held him.
Jack was loving their togetherness, but he also knew they couldn't just pretend the last couple of weeks hadn't happened.
“Danny, we need to talk.”
Surprisingly, though, the archaeologist replied, “Believe it or not, Jack, right now, I really don't want to talk about anything. I just ... I just want to stay here, like this, for a while.” Daniel gently rubbed Jack's hands as he spoke, trying to say with caring touches that he wasn't pushing Jack away. “Okay?”
“Sure, Danny, whatever you want,” Jack agreed, trying his best to sound supportive. ~Why doesn't he want to talk?~ he wondered, believing that a Daniel who didn't want to talk was a Daniel to be concerned about.
The lovers stood, not moving, just holding and touching, watching the birds in the trees, until the aroma of the brewing coffee began to call out to the younger man.
“Coffee's done,” Daniel said as he pulled out of Jack's hold and returned to the kitchen where he poured his first cup of the day.
The soulmates ate a quick breakfast and then went their separate ways for a while. Jack went out to pay their electric bill that Daniel had already prepared and left out on the entranceway table. The bill was on the verge of being late again, thanks to unscheduled off-world visits. When he returned home, the mail had arrived. It included the newest issue of 'Flight Journal' so he went outside and sat on the patio porch to read a few of the articles.
Looking at his watch a while later, Jack realized they still had a couple of hours before they had to leave for the Mountain. The team had a late arrival time, essentially giving them the morning off. He decided it was as good a time as any to attempt to get Daniel to talk about what had been going on between them. If he let it go, he knew it would only be harder to deal with later.
Jack found the younger man sitting on the bed in the spare room, the room once referred to as Daniel's room. He was on the edge of the bed, facing the dresser, leaning forward, his hands clasped together in front of him.
Daniel was so deep in thought that he never noticed Jack standing at the doorway, nor did he hear his lover approach and gently sit down next to him, not realizing Jack was there until he felt their shoulders touching, as was their norm when they sat side by side.
“Hey,” Daniel greeted in a near whisper.
“Hey,” Jack said equally softly, a small smile on his face.
The two looked into each other's eyes, and, for a moment, they simply stared as the silence surrounded them.
~Okay, it's up to me,~ Jack realized, knowing if they were going to talk, he was going to have to take the lead. Cautiously, he admitted, “I wasn't sure you'd be here when I got home last night. It's not easy for me to say this, but I was scared that I'd pull into a vacant driveway and walk into an empty house. I thought you might have decided to go to the apartment.”
“I thought about it, and I ... I was going to, I mean I had planned to come here and get a few things I needed and then go there, to the apartment,” Daniel said in a hesitant ramble.
Daniel turned away from Jack, his eyes now finding every loose thread in the carpet.
“I'm glad you didn't, but you should know that had you followed through on that little plan that I would have been right behind you. I'm not giving up on us, Daniel, not now, not ever.” Jack's heart fluttered with joy when he saw his Love's face brighten, a hint of a glimmer finally shining in Daniel's blue eyes. “We'll be okay, Danny. We just hit a bumpy patch of road, that's all.”
“Yeah, I know,” Daniel acknowledged reluctantly, risking a quick look at the older man before returning to the carpet.
“So, what made you change your mind and stay? I'm definitely not complaining here, but, geez, Danny, I was afraid you wouldn't even speak to me,” Jack chuckled slightly. “I certainly wasn't expecting to find you waiting for me like that.”
Daniel laughed, “Naked as a jaybird?”
“Naked as the most beautiful jaybird ever born,” Jack crooned into Daniel's ear, placing a lingering kiss on his nape. How he loved to kiss Daniel's neck, and ear, and ... ~heck, everywhere!~ “So, are you going to tell me why you changed your mind?”
“Christa and Jacob?” Jack laughed in gratitude.
Christa and Jacob Svenson were their elderly neighbors, and the couple had brought a breath of fresh air to the neighborhood from the moment they'd moved in across the street right before New Year's Day a few years before. The couple had figured out about Jack and Daniel almost immediately and were still only part of a very finite group who knew Jack and Daniel were hiding in plain sight.
Daniel explained, “When I got home and got out of my car, they were outside, bickering about something.”
“I'm going to guess Jacob picked up the wrong brand of coffee again,” Jack mused, remembering how the couple had argued about that before.
Daniel laughed, “Probably. Christa was picking some flowers, and Jacob was pruning the hedges. They were clipping and bickering at the same time. I couldn't hear what they were saying exactly, but, you know, you can tell when people are arguing. For a minute, I thought their argument was going to escalate; they got louder and more animated. I ... I thought about getting their attention, but I didn't. I just watched, unable to turn away, like some ... voyeur or something.”
“Remind me to check the bathroom for hidden cameras,” the older man joked.
“Sorry. Go on. What happened?”
“Nothing really except just when I thought it was getting out of hand, Jacob let out with this big laugh, and then so did Christa, and then he went over to her and gave her a kiss on the cheek, and they kept laughing. That's when they saw me. I didn't want to talk, though, so I just waved and hurried into the house. The next thing I knew, there was Christa, bringing us some of her roses.”
“Roses? I didn't notice any roses. Where are they?” Jack asked curiously.
“I put them in the study.”
“Roses in the study? Danny!” Jack objected lightly. “In my study?”
“The room needs something to cheer it up, Jack. We really need to get some new furniture and maybe new drapes, and ... and, we're getting off the subject.”
“That's okay, Love,” Jack stated. He felt himself grin. This was the first time in days he felt safe in using that endearment with Daniel. ~He is My Love.~ Smiling reassuringly, he said, “What did the Little Wonder say?”
The younger man continued, “Christa asked if I had been out of town because she hadn't seen me during the week, and she said ... she said you looked like Jacob does when he's in the doghouse.”
“I hope that's a big house,” Jack chuckled, rubbing his lover's back in support for a moment.
“She asked if we'd come over for dinner tomorrow night. I think she knows that we've ...”
“... hit a little rough patch?”
Taking hold of his soulmate's hand, Jack said, “She wants to remind us what's important, Daniel. It's not coffee or sports, or even the Stargate, it's us. We're important, to each other. Did you tell her we'd be there?”
“I couldn't say no, Jack. I didn't have a prayer. When she left, she gave me one of her knowing smiles and told me not to worry, said you were just like Jacob.”
“Cute and adorable?” Jack questioned.
“Trying and aggravating!” Daniel answered dryly.
“But lovable, too, and worth the effort,” the younger man added, smiling when his lover smiled, too.
Daniel leaned over and kissed Jack, then answered, “Worth every frown.”
Seriously, Jack spoke, “I don't want to make you frown, Angel. I want to make you smile.”
“You do, Jack,” Daniel said as the two kissed several times.
Then Jack placed one hand on Daniel's cheek, and smiled as Daniel leaned into it.
“Danny, we're going to fight sometimes,” Jack stated. “I told you that years ago before we were ... us. Most couples fight, but we have to remember that at the end of the day, we're still us, and nothing else matters.” He paused for a moment as a thought occurred to him. “I remember watching one of those magazine shows once. That guy from that bouncer movie was on, you know, the dirty dancer guy ...”
Jack nodded and elaborated, “Yeah, he was talking about how he and his wife argue a lot. He said something I've never forgotten: 'Our fights are huge, but our love is huge'. I thought that was a pretty cool line and never forgot it, and now I'm glad because sometimes I think it defines who we are, too. We've never done anything halfway.”
“That's true,” Daniel concurred.
The older man continued, “What we feel for each other is so great that the highs are in the sky, and the lows, well, fortunately, we don't have them very often, but we wouldn't be human if we didn't falter some of the time. The point is, our love *is* huge, and no matter how much we fight, what we feel for each other will always be stronger.”
“Love conquers all?”
“Too simplistic?” Jack challenged.
Shaking his head, Daniel answered, “No, it's ... it's perfect, but I've ... Jack, I've always had trouble with the fighting thing.”
“I know, Angel. It's your history, the people who have left you behind, but those people aren't me. We may argue until we're hoarse, but then we'll make love until we can't breathe anymore. I love you, Danny. Always remember that,” Jack declared tenderly.
Smiling, Daniel replied, “I know, and I love you, too.”
The two men leaned in towards each other, their foreheads touching, their hands gliding their way over the other's body.
“I wish we didn't have to go back to the SGC today,” Daniel sighed.
“Me, too, but you have those translations to work on, and I have a stack of paperwork. No way to get out of that. Maybe tonight we can ...” Jack paused and pulled back slightly from his lover. ~No, his work is important. Space, O'Neill. Remember what you've learned.~
Daniel looked up trying to understand why Jack had put a little distance between them and was now lost in thought.
“Danny, I was wrong, and I need you to know that. The fights were my fault, and I'm sorry. I was jealous and being obnoxious. Crap, Daniel, I can't stand being away from you, and I let it build up. Then I took my frustration out on you, too. I'm sorry, Love, and I hope you can forgive me.”
Daniel smiled and brought his hand up to trace his lover's jaw line as he spoke, “Old cliché, Jack, but it takes two to fight, and you weren't totally wrong. I tend to think I have to solve the questions of the universe by myself. I ... I forget that I'm not very good at that when my own world is falling apart.”
“So, we're good to go?” Jack asked, his heart full of hope.
“Yes, Jack, we are,” the younger man affirmed, after which the two shared a tender kiss and a warm embrace.
“Let's go see Christa's flowers,” Jack suggested, standing.
“Okay,” Daniel agreed, standing up and taking hold of his soulmate's hand as they headed downstairs.
“So, Daniel, remodeling?”
“Only the study, at least for now,” the archaeologist answered. “I was thinking maybe tonight we could take some measurements and go over some ideas I have.”
“What about the translations? Don't you have to work on those?” Jack questioned.
“I'll be working on those every day for as long as possible until we can decipher the ruins, but Nyan has been working with me on it, and I think he can make some progress on his own tonight. Besides, like I said, Jack, you weren't totally wrong. I need to have a life, too, and ... and you are my life, so how about we work on those plans for the study tonight?”
“I love you, Doctor Jackson, you know that, don't you?” Jack asked as stopped their forward motion when they were just a third of the way down the stairs. He pulled Daniel into a long and hard kiss, one that wound up in a long bout of tongue wrestling. “Never forget that. I love you.”
“I would hope you wouldn't kiss someone like you just did if you didn't,” the younger man commented, a bit out of breath from their kisses.
“Only you, Danny, only you, but if you need to work late, I will understand. I won't like it, because I don't like being away from you, but I will understand,” the colonel promised.
Daniel gazed into his lover's eyes and felt warm inside seeing the sincerity there. That was all he really needed, to know his lover would support him.
“No, Love. It'll probably be later than normal, but I'll be home by eight at the latest, and that's a promise,” Daniel said.
“Okay,” Jack said as the two continued on down the stairs. Then he recalled what Sam had told him at the SGC with Sam the day before. Grinning, he added, “And if you aren't home by precisely eight, I promise you that I will personally go to your office and drag you away, kicking and screaming if necessary, even if I have to throw you over my shoulder and carry you out for all to see.”
“Jack, you wouldn't!” Daniel objected, though he couldn't contain himself from smiling. ~Stop! You're supposed to be angry that he'd do that.~
“Oh, yes, I would, so you just make sure you get your beautiful body home on time!”
“Yes, Sir,” Daniel mocked in an obedient tone as they entered the study and took in the beautiful roses.
“She does have a talent for growing these,” Jack spoke admiringly.
“Yes, she does,” Daniel agreed. “Jack, if you don't want them in here, we ...”
“Nah, they add some color, and I love the scent of roses.”
“You're just a romantic at heart,” Daniel replied lightheartedly.
“Yeah, but don't tell anyone,” Jack responded. “We'd better get to the Mountain.”
The two gathered their jackets and keys, stealing one more brief kiss before they opened the front door a couple of minutes later.
“You know, Jack, it also takes two to tango,” Daniel remarked with a seductive wink just before they walked outside.
“I do love the way you think, Dannyboy,” Jack replied as he locked the door, visions of ‘tangoing’ with his lover later that night dancing through his head. ~Oh, yeah, I do love the way he thinks!~
~Maybe a tango, a waltz, a little cha-cha-cha,~ Daniel thought. ~Gawd, I sound more like Jack everyday. Scary,~ he laughed as he reached his silver sports car.
“Danny?” Jack called out as he unlocked his Ford truck.
“I think we need to do something special for Christa and Jacob. We owe them a lot,” Jack opined.
Another smile hit Daniel's face, and he responded, “Yeah, Jack, we do. We can talk about that tonight, too.”
Two simultaneously mouthed 'I love you's' were silently uttered, and then Jack and Daniel headed for the Mountain, both happy and at peace again.
//Epilogue - A Note from Daniel's Personal Journal//
Jack is lying next to me on the bed, snoring lightly, but with a happy smile on his face, a smile I placed there from tonight's love fest, as My Colonel called it.
The last week has been pure torture. All the fights and time apart were pure torture, worse than anything the Goa'uld could dream up. I wish Jack would get it through his thick skull that not only do I not have time to look at anyone else (let alone do anything about it), but I don't want to look at another person, male or female.
He's it for me, My Jack, the complete package. I know what it's like to be in ecstasy, not just from sex, but from love, and that euphoric state comes from loving, and being loved by him. It's so overwhelming that it scares me, and, though I hate to admit it, sometimes, I want to run away from it, and go back to hiding inside of myself.
Yesterday, though, as I watched the Svensons, I realized that I couldn't hide inside, because Jack is there, in the very core of my being. But even so, I didn't want to run. If I had, I would have just gone to the apartment. Truth is, I didn't really need anything I didn't already have there. Coming here first was just an excuse to come home and find a reason to stay. Thankfully, I did.
Jack apologized again for being jealous and promised he wouldn't try and have Paul sent to some remote pothole in the universe, but I think I'd better keep an eye on the situation. My Love's eyes make the transition from chocolate brown to green without too much provocation.
Someday, I hope people understand who Jack really is. On P7S-441, he took a leap of faith in helping Tyler, an alien who had convinced us that he was part of our team. Jack makes decisions I never could, nor want to. His reputation in the military is that of some hard-nosed officer who mouths off and isn't afraid to kill you if you get on his bad side, or those of his teammates. They know he's tough, loud, confident, and won't take guff from anyone.
What they don't see, is the man inside, my marshmallow, who makes me feel like a treasured gem; the man who holds me to keep me safe, cries if I cry, hurts when I hurt, and despairs when occasionally it looks like our world might shatter.
Sometimes I wonder what people might think of My Jack and I, if they could look through some glass window and see the love we share, hear the whispers of our emotions, touch the fabric of our souls, and feel the connections that bind us.
The Svensons accepted my relationship with Jack from the beginning. Senior citizens born and raised in decades where same-sex relationships were the essence of sin and immorality. Yet, this wonderful couple saw our hearts, not our genders, and there's a part of me that wishes we could reach others who still see us as rejects of society or see what we do together as some sort of perversion or depraved act.
I won't let Jack jeopardize his career, but maybe one day, when he's retired or if the laws catch up with humanity, we can find a way to speak out. It's a scary thought. I don't know how we'd do it, how we could share our experiences when so much of what we do is classified, and if I'm honest, sharing intimate thoughts and feelings is not something I do easily; yet, maybe this ... cause, this need to dispel dark aged philosophies, is more important than protecting myself from a bit of discomfort.
I'm tired. It's been a long week. I'll have to talk to Jack some time about maybe making a diary of our lives and how we love in spite of the nightmares we've faced. He's as private as I am, but he's not afraid of standing up for what he believes in, either, so maybe we can help each other to find the courage to speak out, one way or the other. But first, we have to get the study in shape.
We're going shopping for some new furniture this weekend, though we haven't quite agreed on the accessories yet. He can try to persuade me all he wants with new ways of eating ice cream, but we aren't getting one of those jiggling girl paperweights for the desk. Sometimes, I wonder if My Colonel will ever grow up.
We also came up with a way to thank Christa and Jacob. They both like to sit outside and enjoy the comings and goings of the neighborhood, so we're going to get them one of those swinging benches, with just enough room for two so they can snuggle as they watch. We'll talk to them about it Saturday night at dinner and set a date to take them shopping with us.
Oops! Jack's snoring has stopped and his hand is ... Oh gawwww...
//End of Daniel's Personal Journal//
Jack and Daniel focused their love on each other once again. Though it meant being tired for another day and not finishing his journal entry for the night until later, Daniel didn't care. In truth, he was quite happy having his brain cells fried as his lover reminded him just how much was he loved and needed in every way imaginable. It wasn't the song of anger permeating between them any longer, but, rather, it was passion's song, and that was the best feeling ever for both of them.
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