Category: Slash, Drama, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Season: 7 - June 24-27, 2003 - (Flashback to June 26-27, 1999)
Spoilers: Minor references to several episodes from S1-S7
Written: August 10-19,22,-25 2003 Revised: January 26, July 28, August 22, 2005, February 28, September 10, October 28-31, November 1,11,22-28, 2006, January 1-2, 2007 Revised for consistency: February 21, 2007 Revised for timeline: March 26, April 1-2,14-15, 2008
Summary: Jack and Daniel celebrate their fifth anniversary together as lovers and life partners!
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
1) Sometimes, Jack and Daniel speak almost telepathically. Their “silent” words to each other are indicated by asterisks instead of quotes, such as **Jack, we can't.**
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: Judy, Linda, Lissa!
“Hey, Love, I gotta go,” Jack spoke softly.
“J'ck?” Daniel mumbled as he struggled to wake up. “Time?”
“Five in the morning, and the taxi's waiting, as they say. I love you, Danny.”
Jack kissed his sleepy lover, relishing the softness of his lips and the taste of his mouth. Automatically, Daniel's arms raised, encircling his Love's neck. When the older man tried to pull himself upright, his lover's arms were like a barrier, pulling him back down. The younger man's lips wanted more, his tongue yearning to mingle with Jack's for a while longer.
“Danny ... mmmmmf...Dan...mmmmmf.” Jack surrendered for a couple more minutes. The clock was ticking, though; while he hated to stop, he knew he had to. “I'm sorry, Angel. I wish I didn't have to go, especially this week, but I don't have a choice.”
Jack's right hand was caressing Daniel's cheek as he sat on the bed and was partially leaning over him.
Daniel's left hand was palming the dress blue jacket Jack was wearing. He loved Jack in uniform, dressed to the nines, but the joy of the sight was hindered by the reality of the moment.
Jack was leaving town for four days, four very long days that also included four lonely nights, and it was more than just the days and nights themselves. He was going to miss their anniversary, their five-year celebration of their love. Just thinking about it made Daniel misty-eyed. Except for asking the time when he was awakened, he still hadn't said a word as he lay motionless on the bed, except for his caressing hand on Jack's blue uniform.
The Air Force colonel had tried everything he could think of to get out of this trip, but unless he wanted to retire now, he was stuck. The trek wasn't even one of those covert secret things, but, rather, was some silly Pentagon matter haggling over budgets and procedures that Senator Kinsey had orchestrated.
“Jack, I ...” Daniel sighed. He wanted to go with his colonel. They had talked about it for quite a while the night before, but he wasn't any happier now than he was then about the logic of having to stay behind. Not wanting to whine, he said simply, “I wish I was going with you.”
“Daniel, you've seen the schedule. It's jam packed. We wouldn't have more than twenty minutes together, and that would be surrounded by stuffed shirts and idiots like Kinsey. I couldn't even touch you, and that would kill both of us.”
“Yes, but ...” Daniel began, though his words mixed in with his lover's as Jack continued talking.
“Besides, you've been planning that training and research seminar for the Marines for months. You postpone it now, and who knows how long it will be before they'd agree to reschedule. They didn't want to do it in the first place,” the colonel reminded, knowing that part of his lover's stress at work in recent times had been due to personnel not always acting with proper respect towards the civilians and scientific aspects of their missions.
Daniel didn't say a word, nor did he move a muscle, except for his hand caressing the jacket. A minute passed in nothing but silence.
“I don't want to go, you know,” Jack stated with a hint of exasperation in his tone.
“I ... I know,” Daniel reluctantly admitted.
“Do you?” Jack challenged. “You don't sound so sure. You really think I'd rather spend four days with a bunch of buffoons pinching pennies and guidelines instead of being here with you, doing this?” he asked, leaning over and kissing his sad soulmate tenderly.
“No, I guess not,” the younger man replied softly. “I'm sorry, Jack. You'd better go. You'll be late,” he sighed with a tone that was resigned.
His Heart's sadness broke Jack's heart.
“Go, Jack. It's what you have to do,” Daniel stated, accepting their fate.
As firmly as he could, the older man intoned, “I love you, Danny, love you more than life. You know that.”
Daniel smiled shyly, but his eyes were still full of regret at the impending parting. When Jack kissed him one more time, Daniel didn't hold on or cling, which he had done during all of their previous kisses. He'd lost the battle, and he knew it.
“I'll call you when I can. I need to hear your beautiful voice,” Jack told his lover as he smiled.
“Okay, Jack,” Daniel responded dispassionately.
Jack was angry, not at Daniel, but at the Fates for interfering. They had made plans, and now the government had ruined it all. Reluctantly, Jack began to move back. He glided his hand down Daniel's cheek, across the comforter until he found the younger man's right hand. He squeezed it gently and brought it up to his lips, kissing the palm as his lover watched, never losing eye contact with him.
The Air Force colonel stood, made sure he was presentable to the outside world, grabbed the briefcase he had placed in an armchair by the door, and headed down the stairs. Just as he reached the door, he heard a shout.
Turning, Jack was pounced on by his beautiful lover, who devoured his mouth and kept Jack from breathing for as long as he could.
“I love you, Jack, love you so much,” Daniel spoke desperately.
Jack smiled. Those were the words he'd been waiting to hear. He wrapped his arms around his Heart, kissed him again, and then held him tightly in his arms.
“You're my life, Angel. I miss you already,” Jack said from the deepest part of his soul.
“Love you; need you so much it drives me crazy. I ... It scares me, y'know?” Daniel spoke softly.
“I know, Love,” Jack responded, understanding his lover's comment because he felt the exact same way. He wished they had more time, but they didn't. “Danny, I ...”
“I know,” Daniel interjected, cutting off his soulmate's words. As cheerfully as he could manage, he said, “Be safe; call me.”
“I will,” the older man promised.
With a final kiss and recheck of his uniform, Jack slipped out the door and into the Air Force vehicle waiting at the edge of the driveway.
Daniel watched until the car drove away, then turned and went back to bed, though he wouldn't go back to sleep.
~How am I supposed to sleep without my ... pillow,~ the archaeologist lamented as he tossed and turned the night away.
That afternoon, Daniel presented his seminar and was pleased that the program had gone off without a hitch, in spite of the hesitant Marines, who still cared more about their P-90 weapons than understanding how to keep a dig site secured or what to look for when they unexpectedly came upon ruins.
Periodically throughout that the day, and again during the morning of the next day, Sam had dropped by Daniel's office quite a bit to check on him. Then she and Teal'c had returned to Tagrea with SG-9 to help with the repairs on the damaged Prometheus that was currently stranded on the alien world and to attend a state dinner.
At home, the young man began a new project, something he had considered for a long time -- a diary of lessons learned from being Jack and Daniel, in love while hiding in plain sight. The project was still in the thinking stage, and he hadn't decided yet if he was going to share it with his lover. Missing Jack as he did, though, he needed something to focus on.
In the nation's capital, Jack was bored stiff, but, following orders, Major Paul Davis was riding herd over him in D.C., making sure he didn't skip out on any meetings. The colonel had managed to call Daniel a few times, but their conversations were short, and someone else always seemed to be hovering over one of them. As a result, they had to be more formal than they wanted to.
~I wish I could disappear until this week was over,~ Daniel thought as he lay in bed, trying to sleep. **I know you can't hear me across the country, but I love you, Jack.**
On the East Coast, Jack, too, lie restlessly in bed, thinking, ~I wish I could shoot these idiots. I need a time machine, or something, to get this blasted week over with.~ He switched positions, not able to get comfortable. **Crap, Danny, I know this silent thing doesn't work when we're so far apart, but I love you, Angel, so friggin' much.**
His knees drawn up to his chest, Daniel sat on the roof deck looking out at the dark sky. Leaning against the wall of the house with his arms stretched out before him, and his hands dangling free over his knees, rubbing them occasionally, the sad man sighed, his whole soul aching to be reunited with his true love.
The archaeologist had given up on sleep for a while. The bed was so empty without his lover, so he'd come up to the roof in search of some sort of peace.
Jack had been gone for two days, and tomorrow was their anniversary. A while ago, the lovers had planned a weekend getaway to a little spot out in the middle of nowhere. Daniel couldn't even remember the name of the small town, but it was quiet, and they could have enjoyed being together without ringing phones or friendly neighbors wanting to say 'hello'. This type of special alone time was always cherished by the soulmates, who otherwise tended to live busy and oftentimes hectic lives.
His heart full of love for Jack, Daniel ached to touch his lover or even to hear his voice without having to censor every word. He hung his head, leaning forward to touch his chin against his knees. He was about as miserable as he had been in years.
~I could do some research on ...~ the archaeologist began, not finishing his thought. ~Maybe I should watch that documentary that I taped.~ A minute later, wishing he could see his Love, he pondered, ~I wonder if the Concorde will ever fly domestically.~
With a sigh, Daniel slowly climbed down the ladder, locked up the house, and went to bed. It was 11:25 p.m.
Snoring softly, Daniel was disturbed by a sound and mumbled, “Go 'way; sleeping.”
Still, the ringing continued, going on and on. It just wouldn't stop. Finally, the realization that the annoying noise was the phone sang in. With a start, the archaeologist sat up. He looked at the clock, realizing that it was two in the morning. Quickly, he reached out for the phone, his sleepy brain chanting an urgent plea.
~Don't hang up; please don't hang up.~ Daniel begged as he brought the phone to his head. “Jack?”
A laugh was heard through the ear piece, asking, “Who else would be calling you in the middle of the night?”
“Oh, I don't know. Paul maybe,” Daniel quipped, chuckling softly when he heard Jack's groan. “Sorry, Babe, but you asked for it.”
“Danny, you are alone ... finally?” Jack asked hopefully, ignoring the barb.
“Why do you think I'm calling you at this ridiculous hour? I'm so friggin' tired of pretending, I could puke.”
“Eww ... please don't,” Daniel replied as he grimaced, his breathing still calming after having almost missed this prized phone call.
“Yeah, well you know what I mean. Every time I've tried to call you, someone walked in or ...”
“Jack?” Daniel interrupted, not wanting to waste time.
“We're ... alone now.”
Daniel could feel the smile on Jack's face through the phone. They didn't want to waste this precious time together by focusing on anything but each other.
“Geez, Danny, I've missed you so much. This place is crazy, nothing but bureaucrats. I just want to hold you and kiss you, and ... make love to you until we both can't sit for days,” Jack spoke seriously.
“Me, too, Jack. It's so quiet here. I miss you so much. I'm ... cold,” Daniel said in a needy but loving tone of voice.
“I'll warm you up when I get home,” Jack promised.
Daniel sighed contently, “I'm counting on it. I love you, Jack.”
“You sure? Thought maybe you had a colonel in every pyramid or something,” the older man teased.
“Jaaaack! Sometimes I just want to ...” Daniel trailed off, grunting at his lover's joke.
Jack laughed, “Want to what, Danny? I'm betting it's the same thing I want to do to you, right now, in fact,” Jack teased seductively.
“Don't start, or we'll both be in ... worse shape than we already are.”
“Love you, Danny. I wish I was there right now, looking into your beautiful blue eyes. I get lost in your eyes,” a very romantic Jack expressed tenderly. He heard only silence through the phone, but he knew what that meant. His lover was blushing. It was an incredible irony that Daniel was, in reality, a very shy person in spite of his intelligence, passion, and snarkiness. “Danny, stop blushing, and talk to me.”
Jack's red-faced soulmate chuckled, then apologized, saying, “Sorry, but for a supposedly hardened and intimidating colonel, you say the sweetest things.”
“Hardened would be the word for it. Yep, definitely hard,” Jack said truthfully.
With a sigh, the military man spoke reluctantly, “I have to go, Angel. I'm so sorry I'm not there, but I'll make it up to you, somehow.”
“It's not your fault, Jack,” Daniel replied, his right hand playing with the phone cord, twisting it in his fingers. “I'm glad you called. I love you.”
“Love you, La Mio Bello Stella Cadente, Always.”
“Caro Mio, Jack, forever,” Daniel replied, feeling warm inside at being Jack's beautiful falling star.
Silence loomed for what seemed like an eternity, neither man wanting to sever the connection. Their hearts were beating longingly, and their faces were solemn, hating the distance between them at the moment.
“Happy Anniversary, Danny.”
“Happy Anniversary, Jack.”
The sound of the phone call being disconnected made the archaeologist feel so alone again. He placed the phone back on the nightstand and then sprawled out over their king-size bed, holding Jack's pillow to his heart. His mind flooded with images of the man he loved, the man with the chocolate brown eyes and the silver-gray hair that made his knees weak.
The saddened archaeologist imagined Jack touching him, fondling his sensitive spots. His mind felt Jack inside him, thundering with passion until they exploded. He sensed their lingering kisses, the unity of their tongues as they explored as deep as they could go. He let his heart beat as two. How he missed the man who was truly his heart and soul.
It was three hours later before Daniel fell back to sleep, though there was nothing peaceful or restful about his slumber.
When the alarm buzzed at 8:15 a.m., Daniel quietly rose, took a shower, and went downstairs for breakfast. Not being hungry, he decided to have just a cup of coffee and an orange.
~It sure is lonely around here without Jack. Gawd, I used to like being alone,~ Daniel thought as he sipped his coffee. He sneered, making an ugly face. ~That's because everyone you knew was trying to beat you senseless or ... or worse,~ he recalled about painful memories in his past. ~Now, I have you, Jack, and ... now, I don't like being alone.~
His light breakfast concluded, the archaeologist headed to the SGC for a meeting with members of his department. He had rescheduled the gathering from next week to today to discuss procedures and relay the results of the seminar with the Marines.
Daniel wanted to keep his mind off of his absentee lover as much as possible, not that it was possible, but at least he might be distracted for awhile by focusing on the meeting. When it was over and his obligations at the Mountain finished for the day, he went to his apartment, put on a pair of old, tattered red sweats that actually had a hole in it, and spent the afternoon cleaning every inch of the place.
~Now what?~ the young man thought, looking around his apartment. ~Mail and a movie. That'll take a while.~ He looked over the guide and ordered a pay-per-view movie, 'Kangaroo Jack'. ~It might be dumb, but ... it has a good title,~ he mused.
With the movie on, Daniel sat on the sofa and sorted through the mail that had collected since his last trip to the building. Unfortunately, neither the movie nor the mail took as long as he would have liked, and the anguished lover found himself eager to get lost in something, anything, to keep his mind off of Jack.
~There must be something else I can do. Gawd.~
Feeling restless, Daniel went for an evening walk that turned into an occasional run. He walked when he was calm, but he ran when the memories of what he was missing began to be too noisy in his head.
~Wish I didn't think so much. Jack always says I think too much, and I ... Jack. Run, Jackson.~
One hour later, Daniel found himself in front of a local Starbuck's, so he went inside and ordered a cup of White Chocolate Mocha, which he drank slowly at a corner table.
~Shouldn't it be later than this?~ the lonely archaeologist asked himself when he checked his watch. He took another sip of his coffee, then glanced at the time again. ~Haven't I been here longer than this?~
It was a pattern Daniel repeated several times until, finally, it was dark outside, and his coffee was down to one last sip.
~Don't look,~ Daniel told himself, though he looked anyway. Sighing, he let his head go down to the tabletop. ~Time is moving too slowly. Maybe there's some cosmic ripple happening. I should call Sam and ...~ He raised his head, shaking it and taking a deep breath. ~Just go home, and go to bed.~
As he entered the loft, Daniel didn't even turn on a light. He walked to the bedroom and threw himself onto the bed, hoping to magically fall asleep quickly. Much to his disappointment, though, he tossed and turned, unable to get comfortable.
~This is ridiculous,~ Daniel whined inwardly. Forty minutes later, he finally got up, went to the living room, and spread himself out onto the sofa. ~Oh, for crying out loud!~
Another thirty minutes passed, and Daniel was still trying to get comfortable. He gave in to consciousness and sat up for a few minutes. Then he went over to the patio, unlocking and opening the patio door. He walked out onto the balcony, folding his arms as he looked at the skylight view of the Springs.
“Jack, I'm pathetic. It feels strange here. It's ... a place, not home,” Daniel said to the light summer breeze as it brushed against his skin. With a sigh, he turned around, having made a decision. Minutes later, he was back in his car. ~Home ... I just want to go home.”
That was Daniel's single thought -- ~Home. I want to go home~ -- as he drove the twenty minute distance from the apartment to the house he shared with Jack.
Pulling in the driveway, Daniel sat in his car for a minute, just looking at the cabinesque-style country home. How he loved it the small, uniquely built home.
~I remember the first time Jack brought me here. I thought it was so beautiful and peaceful, and it is. I ... felt something that night. My life was a mess, but this house had a ... a warmth to it.~ He laughed. ~The warmth is that lunatic colonel of mine. Gawd, I've fallen for him so hard. How did that happen?~
Not trying to answer his silent query, the archaeologist went inside and turned on a small light in the entranceway. Without hesitating, he walked straight through the living room, stopping at the patio door to stare out at the night he had just left behind. He glanced at the clock in the kitchen: 9:30 p.m. He could have sworn it was later.
~This has got to be the longest week of my life, and this the longest day ever.~
The lonely lover strolled outside to take in the late night air. It was chilly, but the stingy breeze served a purpose, making the young man feel alive when inside he felt dead without his lover.
Daniel walked the yard briefly,and then stood near the back fence, admiring the home. He took the scene in, painting it in his mind, like a giant snapshot, focusing on the country feel. Their house was like a breath of fresh air.
“Our house,” Daniel lamented softly, as he lowered himself to the ground, sitting Indian-style on the grass, facing the dimly lit interior of the living room.
Daniel closed his eyes for a moment, and the words 'our house' roared through his mind again, only it wasn't his voice; it was Jack's, from a time several years earlier. It had been, in fact, their first anniversary together as a couple. Daniel vividly replayed the night in his mind.
--June 26, 1999
Jack and Daniel had enjoyed a quiet dinner together earlier, before settling on the couch, snuggling and just enjoying the feel of being together. The Three Tenors sang their opera in the background, helping to set the tone for a nice, romantic evening. Both were feeling serene and happier than ever.
~A whole year. Don't let it end,~ Daniel thought as he felt Jack's lips against his head as it rested against the older man's shoulder. ~Love him so much.~
~My Danny; my Angel. I hope he's ready for my present. I'm afraid of pushing him, but this, being here together, holding each other, loving ... and geez, I love him: this is all I've ever wanted. Don't run, Danny. I love you so much.~
The air was full of love. It had been the perfect evening thus far, and both hope the magic of the night would continue on to the morning, and beyond.
“Gift time,” Jack finally announced.
Raising his head to look at his lover, Daniel responded, “I thought we weren't going to exchange gifts, Jack.”
Daniel's words had been spoken with amusement, fully aware that their agreement not to buy gifts was doomed to fail from the start.
Jack laughed, “Are you trying to tell me you didn't get me anything?”
Daniel sighed, but it was a happy release, admitting, “No, I'm as romantic as you are. Be right back.”
Jack watched as his lover went to the entranceway. He heard the hallway closet open. Chuckling, he got up and headed in the opposite direction, to the study.
“Be right back, too,” the older man stated.
Back in the living room and seated on the sofa, Daniel smiled when he saw his partner return a minute later with a couple of bags in his hands.
“We *are* saps, Jack.”
“Ninety-nine point forty-four percent pure, Danny!” the colonel agreed. ~And I wouldn't have it any other way.~
“Jack, it's a beautiful night. Why don't we take this stuff up to the roof deck? We can ... snuggle while we open.”
“That's my Snuggle Bunny,” Jack replied, chuckling lightly.
~Nicknames.~ Daniel shook his head and did a mock shiver of his body. Then he said, “I'm not sure what's worse ... that or ... or ...”
“You'll always be my Space Monkey, Daniel.”
Daniel wanted to protest, but when he looked in Jack's eyes, he saw such love and caring that he couldn't.
Carefully, the couple carried their gifts to the roof and settled onto the deck. Even though Jack always had chairs available to sit in, most of the time, the two preferred to nestle together against the wall, keeping each other warm.
“Shall we take turns, like a grab bag?” Daniel suggested.
“Sure, Love. You go first.”
One by one, Jack and Daniel went through a bundle of gifts, each laughing and cherishing their surprises.
“You'd think it was Christmas, Danny,” Jack laughed at one point.
“You mean it's not?” Daniel chuckled.
“Christmas in June; that works,” the older man mused.
“I thought it was Christmas in July.”
“We march to our own drummer, Dannyboy. Open the next one,” Jack demanded lovingly.
It took a while, their gift opening interrupted by bouts of kissing, fondling, and even stargazing, but, at last, they were coming to the end of their summertime gift fest.
“Wow, Jack, this is great. Thank you, Love,” Daniel spoke gratefully, after which he kissed his lover, a reward for a bottle of 1959 Chateau Beychevelle from St. Julien.
Earlier in the year, the lovers had gone to a wine tasting event in Denver. While there, they sampled the St. Juliens, and Daniel had raved about its qualities. It was rare and very expensive, but, to Jack, the expense had been worth every penny, just to see the shine in Daniel's eyes when he pulling it out of the bag just now.
“You're turn,” Daniel instructed softly, his eyes still focused on the wine that had captured his taste buds.
Jack reached into Daniel's box and came out with an envelope, which prompted his lover to get a case of the giggles.
“Daniel, you're giggling,” Jack accused lovingly.
“Not,” Daniel argued, unable to keep himself from smiling.
“So what if I am?” Daniel asked, about ready to admit defeat.
“Nothing; love you lots,” Jack chuckled in delight as he reached out to caress Daniel's cheek. After a gentle kiss, he commented, “I swear, Danny, if I get any happier, I may explode.”
Daniel grinned. Jack was happy because of him, and it was all so overwhelming for him to realize that he could have that kind of effect on another person, especially the man who owned his heart.
“Open it,” Daniel instructed.
Doing as told, Jack pulled out a computer printed card which had been designed to look just like a Monopoly “Get Out of Jail Free” card, only instead of the Jailer on the card, there was an image of Daniel, holding a pointer, aimed at a chalk board. On the card, instead of “Get Out of Jail,” the words “Get Out of Lecture” had been imprinted. In small print, were the words:
“This entitles the bearer to get out of one full scale Daniel Jackson lecture without fear of repercussion. Use with care.”
“This entitles the bearer to get out of one full scale Daniel Jackson lecture without fear of repercussion. Use with care.”
As Jack burst into laughter, Daniel followed suit, slowing his chuckles long enough to advise, “Use it wisely, Babe. It's only good once, so you'd better make it count.”
“And what are you going to say to Hammond when I present my card?”
“I'll think of something,” the younger man smirked confidently.
“Geez, Danny.” Both men were still laughing when Jack encouraged his lover to open the next gift. “Go on, Angel; open the last one.”
“'Angel'?” Daniel questioned shyly. “You, uh, called me that at Christmas when we decorated the tree.”
Smiling, Jack caressed his lover's cheek as he spoke, “You *are* my angel, Danny: my guardian angel who gives me life, laughter, hope, and love. I'd be dead if it weren't for you -- my beautiful Angel,” he swooned sappily.
Daniel's eyes were misty as he whispered, “Jack.”
“Better open that last one, or we may get too distracted,” the older man teased, though his voice was equally soft and quiet.
Passion was building between the two lovers, and both knew they'd soon be in their bed, grounding themselves to each other. It would be their ultimate gift to the other, the gift of themselves.
Finally, Daniel opened the box and smiled brightly as he exclaimed, “Wow, Jack. I love it!”
As Daniel felt the smooth velvet of the midnight blue robe Jack had purchased, the gift giver stood up, and, grabbing Daniel's hand, pulled him up, too.
“Here, put it on,” Jack said, unbuttoning his lover's royal blue silk shirt. ~Danny looks gorgeous in blue. Heck, he looks gorgeous in, or out, of anything.~
Jack kissed Daniel as he slid off the shirt, his arms wrapping around the younger man, whose hands were pressed against his back, pulling them together. Each was trying to get into the other's skin.
“We're not gonna last much longer.”
“I know,” Daniel acknowledged as he moved his right hand to rub gingerly against Jack's cheek. “Love you, Jack; love you so darn much.”
Daniel practically pounced on Jack, even though they were already joined together like glue. His lips devoured Jack's, his tongue frolicking wildly in his mouth. When they came up for air, they leaned their foreheads together.
“Can't live without you, Danny.”
“You don't need to.”
Jack reached down and picked up the robe, then helped Daniel put it on. He stood for a moment, admiring his purchase, and then he got lost in the beauty of his lover. He ran his hand along the smooth velvet material, and once again embraced the man who made his heart full of good things.
“Perfect fit,” Jack stated with pride.
“Yes, we are,” Daniel replied as he smiled. After a moment, he pointed to one of the bags. “You have one more gift, Jack.”
The couple remained standing as Jack reached in and pulled out the last box, opening it. He chuckled as he examined the gift.
“A model airplane?”
With a slight cock of his head, Daniel explained, “Well, you can put it together, if you want, but it's ... symbolic. I ... opened it, and put something else inside.”
Jack looked at Daniel quizzically, wondering what he could have up his sexy sleeve. He removed the lid, immediately noticing that it held the various parts required to put the model plane together.
~A key?~ Jack asked himself.
In addition to the key, there were two small figurines. One was dressed in military attire, complete with sunglasses, causing Jack to chuckle lightly, but it was the sight of the other figure that truly amused the colonel. The second figure wore a suit and wire rim glasses. He held a tiny clipboard with a piece of paper on it that said, 'Flight Plan'. Also inside the plane was a miniature picnic basket.
Shyly, the archaeologist stated, “It's all representative of us.”
“I sorta figured that out; I'm just not sure what it means,” Jack responded.
“Well, the model plane is, of course, a plane, and the little guys are ...”
“... us,” Jack and Daniel said together.
Daniel smiled even more shyly than before, his dimples unmistakably adorable. He'd never done anything this bold in his life, but there was a first time for everything. This was a first, and it was a first he worked hard to follow through with, though many times he'd doubted himself and had almost thrown out the unique present.
“Yes, and here's the flight plan. I don't know anything about that, of course, but you do, and the basket is the picnic basket we take with us.”
“So where are we having this symbolic picnic?” Jack inquired curiously.
“Utah, near Bryce Canyon. I found the perfect place for a picnic,” Daniel informed his lover.
“Long way to go for a picnic. How do we get there?”
“Jack ... the plane,” Daniel stated, nodding at the model.
“It's a tiny plane, Daniel. I don't think we'd fit,” the older man chuckled as he stared at the parts in the box.
~Spit it out, Jackson,~ the archaeologist encouraged himself. ~It's too late to backtrack now. Just ... just say it.~ Taking a breath first to get up his courage, he stated, “I, uh ... I ... I ... rented one.”
~He did what?~ Jack's eyes grew wide with surprise, his face long from disbelief, as he asked, “Danny, do you know what it costs to rent a plane?”
“As a matter of fact, I do, Jack, because as I just told you, I rented one. You can fly us there and back,” Daniel stated, trying to stay firm and not let his nervous stomach get the better of him. ~Maybe he doesn't want to go away with me in a plane. Maybe he ... gawd, Jackson, stop being paranoid. Maybe I'm not being paranoid. Maybe ...~
As Daniel worked hard to quell his growing doubts, Jack was stunned, even overwhelmed by the gesture. He'd always wanted to take Daniel flying, but the opportunity had never presented itself before. Sure, they'd been in space, and they'd traveled through the Stargate, but there was nothing like soaring through the skies in a modest plane built for two. He ached to share that feeling with Daniel. It was the perfect gift.
“Danny, I ... I don't know what to say. I ...” Jack's voice trembled as his eyes watered. “It's the best gift.”
Relieved by the sincerity and emotion he was witnessing in his life partner, Daniel took the box and put it on the chair. Then he put his arms around the man who gave him the courage to take a risk like this, a risk that said just how much Daniel loved him and was trusting in their love.
“You keep telling me how beautiful it is up there, how close it is to the heavens, and how free it makes you feel. I want to know what that's like, Jack, with you.”
“I love you, Danny. I can't wait to take you flying.”
Their fires could no longer be extinguished, and, as quickly as they could, Jack and Daniel made their way to their bedroom, where they completed their celebration of their first year together.
“I love you,” each said to the other as they closed their eyes and fell asleep, feeling completely satiated by their lovemaking.
The next morning, Daniel awoke, surprised that he was alone. He put on his new robe, tying the sash around him, and went in search of his lover. He finally found him on the roof.
“Hey, what are you doing up here so early?” Jack asked from their favorite spot. He was leaning against the wall, looking out over the backyard. He raised his hand up, beckoning Daniel to take hold and sit with him, which the archaeologist did. “Are you okay, Love?”
“Ya...yikes,” Daniel exclaimed. Noting that his lover was giving him a puzzled look, he explained, “It's cold, Jack. I didn't think you'd be up here. I'm, ah ... well ...”
“Oh,” Jack laughed, realizing his sexy soulmate wasn't wearing anything under the robe. ~Just the way I like him -- all naked and beautiful,~ he smirked. “Come here, Angel.”
Jack scooted Daniel on top of him, their legs out stretched, Daniel's head lying back on his shoulder. He wrapped his arms around Daniel's waist, ignoring the sash and rubbing his partner's abdomen lovingly.
“Are you sure about this? I mean, I'm, uh, not exactly light,” the well-built younger man chuckled.
“Daniel, you're on top of me almost every night at some point. What's so different about this?”
“I guess you have a point.” Daniel wasn't going to argue. The roof deck was cold, but Jack's lap and legs were warm. “So, why are you up here at six a.m.?”
“Always asking questions,” Jack teased lightly just before he kissed Daniel's nape and leaned his chin on his shoulder. He sighed softly before answering, “Danny, I know we need to be careful, watch ourselves, what we do and say in public, and even where we live, but you're here most of the time, anyway. The neighbors are used to you. They don't think anything is odd about you being here. Geez, Danny, I think they like you better than they do me.”
Going full steam ahead with his speech, Jack requested, “Listen, okay? I need to get this out while I can.”
Daniel put his hands on Jack's, and they began caressing each other's hands, stroking and petting every crevice.
“Go ahead, Babe; I'm listening,” Daniel urged, feeling fairly secure in their relationship at the moment. ~It doesn't sound like he's breaking up with me or anything. Gawd, I don't think I could handle that.~
With a quick affirmative nod, the older man continued, “We're like a pencil and eraser to my, to *our* neighbors. They see me, they look for you, knowing you can't be far behind. If you aren't here, Danny, they ask about you, wondering if something is wrong. Mrs. Valissi thought you'd been in an accident or something a couple of weeks ago when you went with SG-11 for a week. She was beside herself, Danny. I had to promise her that you'd go see her when you got back, and I did, remember?”
“Yeah, she was ... concerned,” the archaeologist recalled, licking his lips as he recalled the large batch of chocolate walnut cookies she made for him the day he went to visit her.
“Danny, we have to do it carefully, but ... oh, for crying out loud, Daniel, I want you to move your fish in,” Jack requested, though he was so nervous and flustered that it sounded more like an order, than a loving wish.
“My fish?” a confused Daniel questioned, sensing his Love's anxiety.
“I was hoping it would be symbolic ...” Jack began, “... that maybe you'd start thinking about them as our fish, though I'm not feeding them for you or cleaning the tank; that's your fun, but I want them to be ours, just like this is our house.”
Daniel stopped breathing. He was sure of it. He had no pulse, no heartbeat. Everything stopped. Time ceased, and he'd just been frozen into an eternal limbo.
Daniel sat up slightly, looking back at the silver-gray-haired man.
“Jack, I ... I love you, but ... you ... we ... company. People come here, Jack. They'll see my ... I mean ...”
The uncertain scientist was having a hard time breathing. He hadn't expected this. He was happy Jack was saying what he thought Jack was saying, but it scared him, big time. He closed his eyes for a moment, then took a breath and continued.
“... our fish. Jack, they'd figure it out.”
“Let 'em,” Jack challenged forcefully. “I don't care, Danny. This is your house, as much as it's mine. I want you to feel comfortable, to have your things here.”
“What about the apartment?”
~You *are* mine. Did you hear yourself, Angel? You said 'the', not 'my' apartment. That's the first time, I think. I want you to say it more. I want you to believe it's just a place, that home is here. I need you.~ “Keep it. We still need to maintain the lie and play that blasted game sometimes. We can still go there on occasion to keep up the pretense, and when I'm in Washington, you can stay there, if you don't want to stay here. We'll keep it furnished with things you don't care about as much. Anyone going in there and seeing those rocks ...”
“Rocks,” Jack insisted sternly, though he was smiling. “They'll think you still live there, but I want your stuff here, the things that matter, because I want you here, Danny, all the time, in every way.”
Daniel relaxed back against Jack's body, not saying anything. He was breathing more easily now, but he wasn't sure his heart was back up to speed yet. He was scared. He was excited. He wanted this, and, at the same time, he wanted to run. This was the single, closest moment he'd ever had to knowing what pure happiness was.
The older man waited for a minute or two, but when Daniel didn't speak, he stated, “Okay, so, I've told you what I want, but maybe you aren't ready, yet.” Jack gulped, knowing this next part would be tough. “I know Sha're is still out there, and when we find her, things might change.”
Jack felt Daniel tense beneath his touch. He knew he needed to say this, even though he hated even thinking about what would happen when Daniel brought Sha're home.
“I don't want you to do anything you don't want to do, Daniel. I just want you to know that this is your home, too. It's how I think about this place now. It's our home, and I was sort of hoping you might think of it that way, too.”
Daniel still hadn't said anything and was very still in his life partner's arms. They sat in silence for a few minutes. Finally, Jack looked at Daniel and saw tears flowing down his cheeks.
“Ah, Danny, Angel. I didn't mean ...”
Daniel sat up and stopped Jack's worries with the biggest kiss he could handle. He turned and sat so he was sitting on his lover's lap, facing him, his arms around Jack's neck as they kissed.
“Thank you, Jack.”
“For what, Love?” Jack asked curiously.
“For ... our fish and ... and our home,” Daniel answered, his face full of love.
Jack lit up like a Christmas tree, his heart beating stronger and livelier than ever. The two lovers renewed their unity once again, up on the roof deck, in the early hours of the morning.
//End of Flashback//
Daniel sat quietly, a mixture of peacefulness from his remembrances and of sadness of his missing partner looming over him.
“Our house,” the archaeologist softly said again aloud.
The lonely scientist lay back against the lawn, looking at the darkened sky. The grass was cool, but it gave him a strange comfort that the bed in his apartment did not. Maybe he could pretend he was on a dig off-world and finally go to sleep. He stared up at the stars for what felt like an eternity. Slowly, his eyelids fluttered closed, and he drifted off to sleep.
An hour later, images began to flash through Daniel's sleeping mind. The montage started slowly and then built in intensity, making him more restless with each passing second in time
Jack walking through the Gate, leaving him on Abydos the first time.
Jack growing old, being left behind with Kynthia on Argos.
Jack possibly dead on Edora, as Daniel waited in vain in the gate room.
Jack walking through the Gate to Edora, leaving Daniel behind again.
Jack missing somewhere in the galaxy with Sam.
Jack disappearing with Teal'c on Cimmeria.
Jack pinned against the wall of the gate room by an alien device.
Jack walking to who knows where, the language of the Ancients having taken over his mind.
Jack screaming as a symbiote entered his neck on Hathor's Planet.
Jack giving the order to blow up the submarine being overrun by the Replicators.
Jack saying there wasn't much of a foundation to their friendship.
Jack telling him to shut up on Euronda.
Jack walking down the hall about to be a Tok'ra experiment with the zatarc device.
Jack pushing the button that would destroy the Gadmeer ship with Daniel aboard.
Jack lost in space with Teal'c in a death glider.
Jack throwing Teal'c's cell phone into the lake.
Jack being shot in the back by Simmons.
Jack having unending nightmares, lost in the abyss of his mind after having accepted a Tok'ra symbiote for a time and being subsequently 'body-napped' by the symbiote and then tortured by Ba'al.
Jack being turned into a mini-clone.
The images danced violently over and over again in Daniel's mind, becoming more and more vivid, causing his head to shake and his arms to flail slightly. He began to talk verbally as the images thundered within him - Edora, Euronda, Argos, the Ancients, Cimmeria, cell phones, zatarcs, bombs -- the pictures becoming a horror movie in his head.
“No, don't go, Jack.”
“General, we can't just leave him there.”
“Missing, I'm missing something.”
“Jack -- Love you, Jack.”
“Cold. I'm cold, Jack.”
“Then, I'll just have to warm you up.”
Daniel's nightmare ceased as his dream Jack caressed his cheek and kissed his moist lips. He heard soft words of love and felt the warmth of his fantasy lover. The tender sensations of a string of sweet kisses along his neck enveloped him until finally his lips were brushing Dream Jack's once again.
The archaeologist flung his arms around his sleepy illusion and enjoyed the taste of his dream. He moved his hands to stroke his partner's silver-gray hair that he cherished so much. He loved the feel of the thin strands, and, now, he let the small hairs flow in between his fingers.
“Angel, I'm here. You're safe. I love you, Danny.”
~Dream Jack has a beautiful voice,~ Daniel thought as he was kissed again. ~I don't want to wake up. Love Dream Jack; he feels so good.~
The lonely young man hoped he wouldn't wake up for a long time, as his Dream Jack's tongue had just entered his mouth, toying with his own. Daniel liked it, and he liked it a lot. He felt a hand sliding down his torso, reaching under his red sweatshirt. The hand gently rubbed his abdomen while the kissing continued, and then the hand went lower, snaking under his sweatpants.
The touch caused Daniel to moan. His arousal grew. Then, like a light switch, his eyes flicked open for the first time since he had fallen asleep.
“J'ck?” The stunned archaeologist blinked several times, confusion on his face as he tried to discern reality from fiction. “Aren't I asleep? Jack?”
“Colonel Jack O'Neill, flesh and blood, reporting in for ... this,” Jack mused lightly and then kissed the younger man soundly, causing Daniel to moan erotically with desire. “Does that feel like a dream?”
Daniel was trembling, a combination of the night air, the dewy lawn, his nightmare, and the confusion of his mind. He didn't know if Jack was a dream or a reality.
~Angel, you've had a tough night, haven't you? You've missed me. Well, I've missed you, too, and it's time to stop missing and start some tactile therapy.~ Jack was still in his dress blues, but what was a uniform compared to comforting the man who made all his dreams come true? ~Nothing; it's just cloth.~
Jack lay on his side, next to Daniel, and whispered, “Happy Anniversary, Love,” as he stroked Daniel's cheek with his hand.
“You...you're really here? I'm not dreaming?”
“Nope, not dreaming, Danny.”
Daniel blinked a few more times and then pulled Jack over to him, so that Daniel was beneath him.
“Need you, Jack. Want you so much.”
“Want you, too. Let's go in the house.”
“No, Jack, now, please ... can't wait.”
“Danny ...” Daniel's strong hands kept Jack pressed against him as he devoured his lover's mouth. ~This is the craziest yet.~ They were in their own backyard, under darkened skies, but there was nothing to shield them. “Neighbors, Danny. They might hear. C'mon, Love.”
“Shhh, Jack. Can be quiet. Please, Jack. Want you so much now ... right now.”
~Crazy. I'm so crazy in love with this guy!~ Jack tossed caution to the wind, pulling down Daniel's sweatpants as they kissed, and their arousal exploded. ~No one will hear. Quiet; yeah, we'll be quiet.~
“Shhh. Quiet, Danny.”
As the stars shined brightly in the Colorado sky, Jack and Daniel released their passion, their hands speaking the magic of their physical desire, their bodies melding into one, each fighting the urge to shout their love as the climax of their pleasure jolted their bodies with waves of joy.
Jack collapsed onto Daniel and then rolled over to his right, his back now on the lawn, Daniel rolling with him so that he was now blanketing Jack.
The two men kissed and looked into each other's eyes, silently expressing an unending love for which there were no words. Daniel felt like he was in Heaven, a prayer answered.
With another kiss, Jack reached down and pulled Daniel's sweats back up.
Following that cue, Daniel made sure his Love's gorgeous, but now very-much-in-need-of-cleaning blue uniform covered the lower part of his body, but he didn't zip the pants, his hand lingering and rubbing his lover, going a little lower every few seconds.
“Danny, I can barely breathe as it is. I'm old. Give me time to recoup.”
The words were panted.
Daniel laughed; his breathing, too, was still evening out.
“Just ... teasing, Babe, and you're not old; you're ... ripe.”
“Ripe for you, Danny, just for you,” the older man crooned honestly.
Jack drew Daniel into the safety and security of his arms, kissing his silky hair as he rubbed his bare back. Jack's Air Force jacket had been removed, tossed to settle a few feet beyond the colonel's now bare feet. Daniel's sweatshirt was also tossed aside, but Jack wasn't sure where it was.
~Maybe it's in the flower bed,~ the silver-haired man thought. “Geez, what you do to me, Danny. You get me to do the craziest things in the craziest places, but I just can't say no. I don't even want to, and that scares me to death. Love you so friggin' much.”
Daniel smiled as his hand toyed with Jack's sweaty chest hairs. Jack's white shirt was probably wherever his sweatshirt was, but he really didn't care. He loved his Jack pillow, especially when it was wet with sweat from their love.
“Happy Anniversary, La Mio Bello Stella Cadente, my precious Angel,” Jack espoused, gushing with love and emotion. He felt so alive knowing Daniel loved him and wanted him. ~What would I ever do without him? Don't even go there, O'Neill.~
“Caro Mio, Jack. Love you so much. Happy Anniversary,” the younger man responded while at the same time wondering how his subconscious nightmares could ever doubt Jack when his heart was so full of love and happiness.
The satiated soulmates lay contently and peacefully for a few minutes longer, but then Jack's common sense took over, and he suggested, “Danny, Love, let's go to bed.”
Reluctantly, Daniel stood up and gave Jack a helping hand up. Their hands remained entwined as they started to walk towards the house.
“Jack, your uniform,” the archaeologist reminded as they reached the patio steps.
“We'll find it in the morning. It's cold out here,” Jack said, after looking back briefly and not seeing the blue uniform anywhere in his line of sight.
The lovers made their way to their bedroom, their arms wrapped around each other's waists as they walked.
“Want to take a shower?” Jack asked.
Daniel smiled and mischievously said, “Round two coming up,” as he led Jack to the warm spray of their shower.
Sometime later, round two having been a rousing watery success for them both, the lovers lay naked on their large bed, completely wrapped up in each other, beneath their powder blue comforter. Totally satiated, Daniel had his left leg hooked over Jack's, and Jack had one arm around him, caressing his lover's back. Daniel's head was in its customary position on his Jack pillow, his left hand over the older man's chest.
“Danny, that sounded like quite a nightmare you were having when I got home.” When his lover didn't respond, Jack kissed the younger man's dampened hair and moved his hand to finger through the silky brown strands before returning it to Daniel's back. He squeezed Daniel's hand, reveling in the strength of their touch. “Danny, I love you, and you'll never be able to get rid of me, not ever.”
“I know. It's just ... my mind -- sometimes it doesn't listen to my heart,” Daniel confided as he lifted his head and looked into his very real lover's eyes. “I love you, Jack, and I know we're forever. The nightmares only come when ...” He lowered his eyes and put his head on Jack's shoulder, nuzzling in against his soulmate's chin. He didn't know how to explain his nightmares, but he didn't need to. ~It's okay when he's here. I need him here.~
Jack understood completely. It was that same orphaned little boy who occasionally surfaced, waiting for the world to crash in on him, leaving him alone once again. It was almost a reflex action, Jack figured. Whenever he left town, especially during special times like this trip during their anniversary, the passed-around-foster-child Danny felt abandoned, even though adult Daniel knew better in his heart. The battle between the adult Daniel, who was Jack's partner and knew he was loved to the depths of his soul, and that small boy, who no one wanted or accepted, was lessening, but it still surfaced from time to time.
Adult Daniel was also the protector of the little boy Danny. Whenever it got tough, whenever doubts began to linger, the adult would protect the child from yet another hurt.
Jack was determined that one day he would permanently convince the protector, the adult Daniel, that he didn't need to protect the little boy. Jack wasn't ever going to go away. Fortunately, with each passing year, the abandonment issues decreased, and Daniel's nightmares about his past were less frequent.
In the beginning, they were almost a nightly ritual, but Jack smiled a little knowing that at least now, the nightmares only seemed to surface at times like these, when they were separated for longer periods of time, or right after some traumatic event. The important fact was that the nightmares were no longer the norm or the ritual, but were now the exceptions to their nightly slumber.
“Geez, I missed you, Daniel. Missed you so friggin' much I thought I'd die,” Jack confessed.
“Missed you, too,” Daniel replied, after which he placed a warm kiss on his soulmate's chest, his thumb caressing Jack's hand that held his. “Love you, Jack. I'm glad you're back. How ... how'd you do that anyway, or do I want to know?”
Jack chuckled at the younger man's suggestion he'd do something underhanded to come home early. Well, he almost had, but Daniel didn't need to know that.
“Actually, it was Kinsey. He got called away on some political nonsense somewhere, so the rest of the meetings were cancelled, and I made sure I got on the first plane out.”
“I was determined,” Jack spoke sternly, though with a slight hint of amusement.
“You mean you flaunted your wings.”
“I exercised my colonel-dom,” the older man smirked, as he recalled the poor captain who had to scramble to get him on the plane for fear of some punishment that he hadn't verbally been threatened with, but of which he was certain would come if he failed to get the colonel on the plane.
“No such word,” the linguist chuckled. ~I wonder who he threatened.~
“Is too -- just made it up,” Jack mused, smiling when he heard the wondrous sound of laughter escaping from his life partner's throat.
Jack thought Daniel's laughter was the most joyous sound he'd ever heard, second only to the moans of pleasure from when they made love. The light giggling sound made Jack's soul smile, knowing that he was the one who had brought that to Daniel.
Jack enjoyed the feel of his lover as they snuggled together in their bed. How he had missed this all week -- Daniel's smooth skin, the scent of his hair, the touch of his strong, tender hand in his.
The couple usually slept as they were now, and while they had laughed often at Daniel's term of him being the younger man's 'Jack pillow', for Jack, the most precious and comforting feeling in the world was falling asleep beneath his loving 'Daniel blanket', which warmed his heart and his soul and made him feel like he was the luckiest man alive.
~I *am* the luckiest man alive.~ Jack smiled again, secure in the knowledge that his Daniel blanket was only for him. “Danny, how did your seminar go?”
“Mmmm. Good. They actually listened; paid attention. I think it might have helped open the lines of communication a little.”
“Good. So no problems while I was gone?” Jack prodded.
“No. Jack?” Daniel said.
“Love you; missed you tons; but tired now. Go sleep,” Daniel ordered and then yawned.
Jack laughed. No one went from zero to sixty as fast as his Daniel, or crashed any quicker, either.
“Sorry I'm not better company,” Jack teased.
“Jaaaack. Didn't sleep much while you were gone. Sleepy now.”
Jack's heart melted as he sighed softly, “So much for a planned few minutes of teasing.” He didn't need it spelled out for him. Jack hadn't slept all that much himself, not when his better half was on the other side of the country. “Love you, Danny. Goodnight.” He placed a gentle kiss on Daniel's hair, still caressing his lover's back. ~My Angel.~
Soon, both men were sound asleep, their hands still entwined atop Jack's chest.
The next morning, Daniel awoke alone, and, for a moment, he was afraid Jack's return and their lovemaking had all been nothing but a lustful, needy dream.
~No, please, no.~
To his relief, Daniel began to smell the flavor of bacon and eggs, as well as the much-beloved aroma of coffee, filtering through the air. He went to the bathroom and, grabbing the first thing he could find, slipped on Jack's gray sweatpants that were on a chair. They were a little long, but fit pretty well otherwise. He didn't mind. He always felt a warmth from wearing anything of Jack's, as if Jack were touching him.
The archaeologist walked to the kitchen, barefoot and shirtless, and stopped at the counter, totally in awe of the sight he beheld. Jack was wearing his brown sweats, standing at the stove, scrambling the eggs. His silver-gray hair was mussed, and he was whistling. Like Daniel, the colonel was barefoot.
~Gawd, you're so sexy, and ... geez, Jack, you're so handsome.~ Daniel's heart fluttered to think that the wonder in front of him was all his, lock, stock, and barrel, as in throw away the key because, ~You're mine, mine, mine!~
Daniel grinned, a smile just not big enough to show how happy he was. Life was good; he was a lucky man. It had taken years to be secure in their forever, but at long last, it was beginning to truly feel like ... ~forever~.
Jack sensed his lover's presence. He turned his head to face Daniel, knowing his soulmate was just standing by the counter, watching him.
“Good morning, Sleepy Head, and what the heck are you staring at?” Jack asked, smiling as he put down the spatula and walked to the coffee maker to get Daniel his coffee. He knew what his partner was thinking, and it made his knees weak to think Daniel would look at him that way. ~I'm just me, but he seems to like my wares.~
“Poetry in motion,” Daniel answered.
Jack thought for a second he might have misunderstood Daniel's grin and look.
“You,” Daniel clarified with a lustful stare. “I love you so much, Jack, and you're all mine, and I'm never letting you go, not ever. You're ... a prisoner. I threw away the key.”
Daniel was positively glowing at Jack, so much so that the older man almost dropped the coffee mug he was now holding. Instead, he retained his composure and poured his lover a full cup of the Starbuck's blend he had prepared. Handing it to Daniel, he also placed a sweet kiss on his lips.
“A very willing prisoner, Angel. I'm yours forever,” Jack declared.
The two shared a glance of understanding, and then Jack went to the cupboards to gather the plates. He gave Daniel an extra bit of everything -- bacon, eggs, and hashed browns --- and sliced an orange to share with him, again, giving Daniel the largest piece. He knew his archaeologist probably hadn't eaten much while he was gone.
As he placed the plates on the table, the protective older man noticed his soulmate staring out at their backyard, his arms around his chest, not in a self-hug, but rubbing his arms to warm himself.
Jack approached and placed his hands on Daniel's shoulders, gently massaging his Love's broad shoulders and upper back. As the younger man moaned in pleasure from the contact, Jack slowly lowered his motions to the middle of Daniel's back, and then glided his arms around his waist. Daniel leaned into him, his head resting trustingly on Jack.
“Not anymore,” Daniel replied happily.
“Love you, Angel.”
“Love you, too ... Studmuffin,” using a nickname Daniel sometimes used during their lovemaking and then sometimes just to tease his lover. After all, he didn't think it was any worse than being called a space monkey. ~Nope, not worse at all.~
Jack laughed as he pulled away, swatting Daniel on the rear and saying, “Breakfast is served, Your Majesty. Come eat before it gets cold, and just so you know, I'm gonna get you for that Studmuffin comment.”
“Promises, promises,” Daniel chuckled as he turned around and began to head towards the kitchen.
“Only if you eat every bite.”
Daniel glared at him, debating whether or not to hassle Jack for that paternal comment, but opted to let it go. He was too happy Jack was back to argue about anything petty.
As he sat down at the table in the kitchen nook, he apologized, “Sorry about your uniform, Jack.”
Daniel had noticed Jack's dress jacket on the sofa. It showed definite signs of garden dirt and green grass. He also knew Jack's pants were in even worse shape after their late night tryst on the lawn.
“Just another victim of love,” Jack quipped, adding, “I'll take it by the cleaners tomorrow. I've got big plans for us today.”
Daniel looked at Jack, a disappointment in his eyes. He had plans, too, and they didn't include going anywhere.
“Plans?” the younger man questioned hesitantly.
“You. Me. Bed. Sex. Snuggling. Touching. Shower. Bed. Fondling. Sex. You know -- big, *big* plans ... all day.”
Daniel looked like a kid in a candy store, his grin wide and full of delight, and stated happily, “I love it when we're on the same page, Babe.”
The pair ate their breakfast and, true to their words, spent the day in bed, making love, snuggling, and reveling in the feel of each other. They left their bed only for a mid-day shower and, now, to make some turkey sandwiches because Jack's stomach started to growl.
In the kitchen, Jack prepared the sandwiches, grabbed some chips, a Pepsi for Daniel, and some Barq's Root Beer for himself, and was about to head for the bedroom when he noticed Daniel was again staring outside at their backyard.
Jack put the fixings down and embraced his lover. Daniel shivered and placed his hands atop Jack's.
“Cold?” Jack asked quietly.
Jack wondered what was so fascinating about their backyard, since this was the second time he'd found his lover looking outside like this, but he preferred to kiss Daniel's nape rather than question why he was staring.
“Mmmm,” Daniel sighed, still focused on the back of the yard where the lovers had risked being discovered the night before. “That was kinda crazy, wasn't it?”
“Crazy and fun, and I don't regret it for a minute. I have to admit I wasn't expecting to come home and find you sprawled out on the grass of our backyard,” Jack remarked.
“I ... missed you.”
Jack nibbled on the rim of Daniel's ear and placed another kiss on his nape before suggesting, “Let's go back upstairs and feast in our bed.”
Daniel turned around and chuckled, “On the food or ...”
“Both,” Jack responded with a seductive leer.
A few hours later, Jack disentangled himself from Daniel and got up.
“Where are you going?” Daniel protested.
“We, not me. Come on, Love, I want to show you something.”
The men put on their sweats, and Jack took Daniel's hand, entwining their fingers, and led him outside.
Daniel loved holding hands with Jack, and when they went on vacation, away from the Springs, they were more open in public, but Jack rarely did anything so overt in the front yard of their home. Yet, as Jack opened the door to the front yard and led his Love outside, his grip was still firm. Daniel had automatically tried to let go, but Jack just squeezed his hand and held on.
“Jack?” Daniel called out, nodding at their joined hands as they walked out the door.
“Ashamed of me, Danny?”
Daniel glared at such a silly question and responded, “No, of course not.”
Gently pressing his thumb against his soulmate's wrist as they held hands, Jack walked Daniel to the edge of the driveway and then turned him to face the house.
It was a quiet night in the neighborhood. The moon was almost full, the stars shining brightly. A slight breeze filled the air. Jack had turned on the porch light, illuminating the frame of the house.
“Like it?” the colonel asked.
Daniel gave his lover a strange look. He had no idea what Jack was up to, but he was nervous. They were on the edge of the sidewalk, in public view, in the Springs, and Jack was still holding his hand.
“Of course, I do. You know that,” Daniel reminded. ~I told him that the first time he ever brought me here. I love this place.~
“We could move, you know; buy a house, or a condo even, that's more your style. I mean this place was my idea of paradise when I bought it, but maybe you'd rather have something different,” Jack proposed.
Daniel stared at Jack in disbelief. He still wasn't sure where this going, and he couldn't help but glance around to see if anyone was watching. Besides, he'd talked a lot about loving this little paradise. His heart began to beat faster, his nerves rattling at the now unpredictable future.
Finally, Daniel found his tongue and answered, “Jack, you know I love the house. It's beautiful, country, and simple, and it's just the right size. I ... love it, and my idea of paradise is anywhere that you are.”
Jack's heart sang with pride as he internalized, ~I do love this man!~ Still, he pressed on, asking, “Would you change anything, though? We could remodel, or add on? Maybe change the landscaping,” he asked a bit lightheartedly. “Aside from redecorating the study, everything is pretty much like it was when I moved in, except for the appliances we've had to replace.”
“Jack, I don't understand.”
“It's our house, Danny, not just mine, and I just want to make sure it's what you want, not just what I want.”
Somewhat exasperated and a whole lot scared, the archaeologist replied, “I ... Jack, I love the house. It's perfect the way it is.”
“You wouldn't change anything?”
Daniel refocused at the somewhat unique home. He had never really had a home before this place. He couldn't imagine ever leaving it. He hoped silently Jack didn't want to move. Suddenly, a sadness seemed to overwhelm him, replacing his fear.
~What if he wants to move. I ... I don't want to move. He's my home, but ... gawd.~
“Hey.” Jack tugged on Daniel's hand, sensing his partner had drifted somewhere dark. “Talk to me, Danny.”
“Do ... do you want to move, Jack?”
Jack saw something in Daniel's eyes that upset him. After a few moments, he realized what it was. Jack looked at the house and back at Daniel, and then he smiled reassuringly.
“No, Love, I don't,” the older man assured. “I've always liked this house. It's private, with a big backyard, but the house is kinda small. It always had what I needed, even with the strange architecture. Danny, I love this place, but I love you more, and I just wanted to make sure you were happy living here.”
“Jack, I ... it's my home. I don't want to leave it. I can't imagine living anywhere else, at least not now. I feel ...” Daniel's voice trailed off.
“... safe? Loved? Wanted?” Jack quizzed with a sappy smile.
Daniel smiled shyly. Jack wanted to kiss him, but he wasn't up to being quite that bold tonight, but he continued to caress the hand he held in his. For a minute, they just stared at each other.
Then Daniel said with a bit of alarm in his voice, “Jack,” his neck bobbing to indicate someone approaching.
It was Mrs. Sophia Valissi, their good friend and neighbor who lived one house down from theirs. Jack smiled, remembering his last conversation with her. It was the day before he left for Washington, and it had been an eye-opener.
The senior citizen was out for her evening speed walk and grinned seeing her favorite neighbors.
“Daniel! Jack! It's so good to see you two together. It seems like one of you is always gone lately,” the energetic woman spoke.
Daniel had tried to pull his hand from Jack's, but Jack just squeezed and held on, leaving the younger man gaping at him in disbelief.
~Maybe I'm still dreaming. Either that, or he's lost his mind,~ the archaeologist thought.
“Evening, Mrs. Valissi. You know, you really shouldn't be out this late, especially not someone so lovely as yourself,” Jack spoke with all the Irish charm in the world.
“Jack, you worry too much. Besides, I stay in the neighborhood, and you know how protective we all are of each other,” Mrs. Valissi spoke about the very watchful neighborhood. “No one intrudes, but we all watch,” she said with a twinkle in her eye.
Shaking his head, Jack maintained, “I still don't like it. You should at least have one of those panic alarms or a beeper or something.”
Waving her hand in front her, the neighbor dismissed the concern, exclaiming, “Fiddlesticks! You're just like my son; you worry about everything, and you don't need to, so stop your fretting.”
“Not in the rule book. Ask Daniel; I'm a master of worrying.”
Smiling, the woman asked, “So, how have you boys been? How was your trip to Washington?”
“Boring, and I'm glad to be home,” Jack responded, sounding as natural as ever.
“Daniel, come by the house tomorrow,” Mrs. Valissi requested. “I'll have a batch of chocolate walnut cookies with your name all over them waiting.”
“Yes, Ma'am. I mean, thank you. I'll ... I'll do that,” a still surprised Daniel responded, his hand still in his soulmate's.
“I'd better get going; need to make a few more laps before turning in. Who was it who said exercise was 'in'?”
Jack laughed, “I don't know, but maybe it's all in the kind of exercise you do.”
Daniel's surprised turned to a state of total shock. He was stunned. He had to have seen wrong. He could have sworn Jack just winked at Mrs. Valissi.
The lady returned the laugh, saying, “You just may be right, Jack. Sure wish I could 'exercise' the way I'd like to, but these old bones ...”
“No such thing as old, Mrs. V!”
As she started to jog in place, she responded, “I wish, I wish. You boys get some 'exercise', too; it's important, you know, especially after being separated for a few days.” Mrs. Valissi was grinning like a Cheshire cat. She added, “Don't forget to come by tomorrow, Daniel.”
“I ... I won't,” Daniel said almost in a whisper. ~Okay, I'm back in that padded cell, or ... or ... the Keeper has a new toy ... or ... or something.~
Daniel was certain he was still asleep; either that, or he had entered the Twilight Zone.
Jack's cheerful words drew Daniel from his contemplative attempt to figure out what was happening.
“Goodnight, Mrs. Valissi. Don't worry, I have some very specific exercises planned for Daniel this evening,” Jack announced, a bit too loudly for the younger man's liking.
“Jaaaaack!” Daniel finally exclaimed. As he looked at Jack, he saw a big grin, and when he looked at Mrs. Valissi, she was already down the block, but he could hear her laughter in the air. ~I'm still asleep. That's the only possible explanation for this.~
“She's a character, isn't she?” Jack asked cheerfully. In response, he saw only cold blue eyes staring at him. “Danny, are you okay?”
“No, I think I'm dead.”
Jack chuckled, “Come on, I still have something else to show you.”
Still holding Daniel's hand, Jack led the way through the house and into the backyard, to the edge of the garden in front of the fence, and, again, he turned Daniel to face the house. The living room was lighted. However, he had a problem. His lover wasn't looking at the house. He was staring at nothing, off somewhere inside himself.
It didn't take Jack long to figure out the problem. Once he did, he kicked himself internally. He had enjoyed himself immensely with Mrs. Valissi. He knew Daniel would have, too, except for one thing -- Jack hadn't remembered to tell him the news.
~Sometimes you are a jerk, O'Neill.~ Jack took a cleansing breath, again hoping for Daniel's forgiveness. “Danny, I'm sorry. I forgot to tell you.”
Daniel looked at him, eyes full of questions and confusion. He had no idea what was going on, and, while he felt secure with Jack, a part of him was scared again, too.
“Jack, you didn't ...”
“... retire? No, I promised you we'd stick it out a while longer, so we will. Danny, I saw Mrs. Valissi the day before I left for Washington. She had a busted pipe, and I fixed it for her. While I was there, her son called, and we started talking. Do you know much about her son?”
“Evan?” Daniel shook his head, saying softly, “She says I remind her of him, but I don't really know anything about him, except for his name.”
“He lives overseas ... with his *partner*,” Jack said, nodding with his final word.
“Partner,” Jack affirmed emphatically. “They're married and have been for years. Anyway, she was talking about him, and she said she hoped I didn't mind her getting personal, but that she knew we were together. Years of watching her son and his partner, she said.”
“So ... she knows about us?”
“I didn't see any reason to deny it, Daniel. I don't think I could ever lie about how I feel about you, not to someone like Mrs. V. I was going to tell you, but you were resting and then we got wrapped up in our trains. We got distracted, and I forgot until I saw her walking down the street just now,” Jack explained.
“You scared me, Jack,” the younger man confided.
“I know, and I'm sorry, Angel, but it felt so good just now, not to hide from someone we both know. At least, it felt good to me,” Jack revealed, a sober, yet content expression on his face.
“Me, too,” Daniel admitted softly, adding, “but if you forget to tell me something like that again, Jack, I just might have to shoot you.” He smiled, relief in his eyes. ~What a thing to forget to tell me,~ he lamented as gave his head a very quick shake.
Jack let go of his hand, preferring to take Daniel into his arms and kiss him soundly. The younger man leaned his chin into Jack's shoulder as both men embraced the other.
“I'm really sorry, Danny,” Jack repeated again. “I was having fun. As usual, I didn't think that you might worry I had retired or lost my mind ... or something.”
Daniel pulled back as he chuckled, “Or something.”
Jack loved this man and lectured himself internally, observing, ~Look at him, forgiving me for being a jerk ... again ... and all that love, there just for me. You're an idiot, O'Neill, but you are without a doubt the luckiest idiot in the universe.~
“So, Jack, why are we out here when we could be in our bed making love?”
“Patience, my falling star. All things in good time.” Jack pulled Daniel around to face the house again, his hand around the linguist's waist. “So it's perfect -- our house?”
Nodding, Daniel confirmed, “Yes, it's just right ... for us.”
“I was hoping you'd say that.”
Jack kissed Daniel on the temple and then leaned his head against Daniel's as the two looked into their living room.
“Jack, are you going to tell me what this is about or not?”
Releasing Daniel from his hold, Jack requested, “Stay right here,” and jogged into the house. When he returned, he was holding an envelope which he handed to Daniel.
“What's this?” the younger man inquired, turning the envelope upside down and then back again.
“Open it,” Jack instructed as he wore a hopeful grin.
Daniel saw a bit of nervousness in Jack, who flinched slightly as he opened the envelope.
~My man of mystery and intrigue,~ Daniel mused silently. Seeing the contents, his mouth opened, though nothing came out for a moment. Finally, he called out, “Jack?”
“Our house, Daniel. All the way.”
Daniel stared at the new deed to Jack's, no, to their house. The deed had both their names on it, as joint tenants with right to survivorship.
“Jack ... I ... but ... Jack,” the linguist stammered.
Jack cupped Daniel's face and intoned softly, “I love you Daniel, and it's forever. Everything I have is yours.”
Daniel blinked several times; and his breathing hitched. He wasn't sure how to react. He felt so many things at the moment, all of them good, though some of the emotions were confusing, too.
Jack leaned in and kissed his lover, prompting Daniel to put his arms around Jack, still holding the deed in his hand.
“Danny, I've wanted to do this for a long time, but there was always some reason not to, and I didn't want you to feel like you were trapped,” the older man stated.
Daniel jerked back and stared daggers at Jack, asking, “Trapped? Jack, what does it take to convince you?”
“I'm convinced, Danny. That's what this,” Jack looked at the deed, “is all about.”
Calming, Daniel inquired, “What about a paper trail, Jack?”
Firmly, Jack answered, “I don't care. Look, you're my best friend, right?”
“Yes,” Daniel affirmed.
“And the truth is, you're all I have. I don't have any other family. Right?” Jack asked, waiting for Daniel's affirmative nod before continuing. “So, it's logical. I'm not a spring chicken anymore. I'm taking care of things, and I want my best friend to have my house if something happens to me.”
The daggers in the archaeologist's eyes were back as he replied, “We agreed, Jack.”
“I know, Angel, I know,” Jack acknowledged, though he didn't want to talk about that, their agreement that they were all or nothing, both alive, or both something he didn't want to even let enter his mind right now. No, Jack didn't want to think about that right now, so he forged ahead. “It works both ways, Danny, if something unforeseen happens to either of us.”
“Then you have to let me buy it, Jack; I mean, half of it,” Daniel responded.
Jack shook his head, insisting, “Daniel, this is my anniversary present to you. I don't want your money; I just want you.”
“You've had me for years, Jack.”
“Best years of my life, too.”
“Jack, I'm serious ... about the ... our house. You have to let me ... invest in it ... something,” Daniel insisted.
“Invest in me,” Jack chimed with a smile. “The house was paid for a long time ago. What would I do with the money, except spend it on you?”
Daniel stared at the property title some more. He didn't know to what to say to Jack. He was full of emotions -- love, desire, fear, gratitude, love -- it always came back to love.
“Danny.” Jack placed one hand underneath Daniel's chin, raising his head to face him. “You know what I said about Mrs. Valissi's son and his partner?”
Daniel's eyes grew misty as he almost inaudibly answered, “Yes.”
“I wish we could do that and be free and open for the world to see. I want to do that, Danny, just as soon as we hang up the zats. Do you?” Jack questioned emotionally.
Misty blue eyes looked into misty chocolate brown eyes and, again, almost inaudibly, Daniel answered, “Yes.”
Jack kissed him and drew Daniel into a tight embrace, saying, “There are some papers I want you to sign tomorrow to finalize things.”
“The house?” Daniel asked as he lay his head against Jack's shoulder.
“Yes, and other things. Estate stuff. I want it all legal, Daniel. Don't,” Jack ordered lovingly as he felt Daniel tense again. “Danny, remember, you're my best friend, and I have no one else. Besides, I just don't care if they find out anymore. I don't, and I'm sorry if that upsets you. I'm not going to do anything to flaunt it, but I want our life in order.” After a moment, he took an audible breath and pleaded, “Please, Danny. Let me do this.”
Daniel relaxed as Jack continued to hold him and finally agreed, “Okay, Jack.” There was a short pause, and then he called out, “Jack?”
“So ... I get half the truck then?”
Jack pulled back, looked into the mischievous eyes of his soulmate, and answered, “Our house, our bed, our money, but I draw the line at *my* truck.”
“Hog,” Daniel accused.
The lovers leaned their foreheads together, as their hands joined between their hearts, both holding a piece of the deed.
“Screw the truck. Paint it pink, if you want; just as long as we can be here like this,” Jack spoke softly, meaning every word of it.
“I'd like to see you drive up to the SGC in a pink truck,” Daniel chuckled.
“No problem. I can deal. I'll just make sure I have a prime seat when you drive up in your lavender car,” Jack retaliated.
“Ouch!” Daniel expressed painfully. “I love you, Jack.”
“Love you, too, Danny.”
With eyes of deep desire, Daniel reminded, “I ... um ... haven't given you your anniversary present yet.”
Sincerity flowing from him, Jack responded, “You're here, aren't you? You're all the present I need.”
“I think I need ... unwrapping.”
“Oh ... I'm pretty good at unwrapping archaeologists. In fact, I'm a bit of an expert,” Jack expressed smugly.
Nodding, Jack affirmed, “I have quite a reputation.”
“And just how many archaeologists have you unwrapped, Colonel O'Neill?” Daniel asked playfully.
“Just one, the only one.”
“Hey, what did you get me?” Jack suddenly asked, a bit more seriously. “I know you, and you're as sappy as I am, if not worse.”
Daniel's answer came amid a series of sweet, tender kisses.
“Hmmm ... <kiss> ... I got you ... <kiss> ... a new CD deck ... <kiss> ... for the truck ... <kiss> ... and tickets to that monster ... <kiss> ... truck thing you wanted to go ... <kiss> ... to so badly, and ... <kiss>... a brown silk ... <kiss> ... hopefully a tad too tight ... <kiss> ... shirt.”
“Too tight, eh?”
“Hmm-mmm ... so it will ... <kiss> ... highlight your ... <kiss> ... beautiful ... <kiss> ... chest.”
“You're the beautiful one, Danny,” Jack insisted between kiss attacks.
“Nah-uh ... <kiss> ... you're so beautiful, Jack ... <kiss> ... perfect ... <kiss> ... sexy ... <kiss> ... Love you so much.”
The two paused, gazing into each other's eyes, and then Jack pledged, “Love you, too. You happy, Danny, I mean ... really happy?”
Daniel looked out at the house, his house, for real now. He felt the deed in his hand, the commitment of forever in its words. He thought about the smile Jack had on his face as they chatted with Mrs. Valissi, even though at the time it confused him so much. Then, he looked into those smiling chocolate brown eyes of his lover and answered firmly, without the slightest bit of reservation in his voice.
“Happy doesn't even cover it, Jack. Yes, I'm happy. I'm ... at peace. I love you and our life, even if it's not everything we want it to be yet, but, Babe, you are so much more than I ever imagined, and you make me happier than I ever thought I could be. Yes, Jack, I'm happy. Are you?”
Thoughtfully, Jack answered, “I thought happiness died with Charlie, but it didn't, because of you. Ah, Danny, what you do to me. I love you so much, and I am such a sappy happy man because of it.”
Daniel engaged Jack in another kiss, this one more passionate than the sweet kisses of a few minutes before. Their tongues danced together as they explored each other's mouths, and their hands pushed each other together, their arousal growing. The sparks from their closeness sent embers burning within both of them.
“Jack, I think ... <kiss> ... maybe it's time ... <kiss> ... you unwrapped ... <kiss> ... me ... <kiss> ... again.”
“I love it ... <kiss> ... when we're ... <kiss> ... on the ... <kiss> ... same page.”
Jack slid his arm behind Daniel's back and pressed him on towards their living room. As they got there, Daniel chuckled slightly.
“What's so funny?” the older man inquired, even though his mind was more on the unwrapping than the chuckling.
“Are we engaged?” Daniel laughed.
Jack laughed, “Danny, Love, I think we've been engaged from the day we met.”
The colonel locked the patio door and turned out the lights, and then, taking Daniel's hand, they headed upstairs.
As they walked into the bedroom, Daniel supposed, “Actually, I think it was your dowry that sealed the deal.”
Jack pondered the remark, but came up empty, so he asked, “Okay, I'll bite. What dowry?”
“Oh, yes, definitely, you will bite,” Daniel practically moaned in Jack's ear, causing Jack's skin to get goose bumps of anticipation. “But the Kleenex did it.”
Jack laughed at the memory of the box of Kleenex he had sent to Daniel, who was living on Abydos at the time. It had been transported through the Stargate, Jack sending a message only a few would understand.
“How could I turn you down after you sent me the perfect gift?” the archaeologist asked.
“You're the perfect gift,” Jack responded. “Thank you for giving yourself to me.”
“You're wrong, Jack. The perfect gift is you, and I ... thank you for loving me the way you do.”
“Easiest thing in the world to do.”
Once again, Daniel requested, “Unwrap me, Jack. I want you so much.”
“Happy Anniversary, Angel ... mmmmmmmmmph.”
Jack proceeded to unwrap his archaeologist, and it led to a wondrous conclusion of their anniversary celebration. Life was changing for the couple, and it was all for the better, especially since Daniel now felt even more secure than ever. Jack and Daniel's nation of two had grown again, much to their pleasure and joy.
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