Because You're Mine

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Romance, Missing Scene/Epilogue, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  7 - September 7, 2003
Spoilers:  Avenger 2.0, The First Ones
Size:  26kb, ficlet
Written:  August 9-10, 2003  Revised: September 26-28, 2004  Revised Again:  August 10, September 10,12,15,27, 2006
Summary:  Daniel tries to convince Jack that Felger isn't such a bad guy; memories of Robert Rothman ensue.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
2) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my past fics, “Unas, Go Home”
3) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  QuinGem, Claudia, Sue, Linda, Drdjlover!

Because You're Mine
by Orrymain

Jack and Daniel walked through the door of their suburban home, the two still in the middle of a somewhat heated discussion that had begun several hours earlier at the SGC.

“I tell ya, Danny, that Felger is definitely playing with a short deck,” Jack opined as he put his keys in his pocket and flipped on the lights in the living room.

“Jack, he's just ... enthusiastic about his work, that's all,” Daniel commented, setting the mail down on the server that was against the wall without even looking at it.

“No, Daniel, he's careless,” the older man maintained as he faced his lover with his hands resting on his hips.  “Two-thirds of the SGC could have been stranded all across the galaxy because of that wacky virus, and you could have drowned on that planet.”

Daniel sighed, “It wasn't his fault, Jack.  Sam said Ba'al rewrote the program.  You know that.  You were at the briefing.”

“She's probably covering up for him.”

“Jack!” Daniel exclaimed.  He frowned in frustration, not even noticing when his arms moved into the all-too-familiar self-hug pose that had long been associated with the younger man's insecurities and abandonment issues.  “You know Sam wouldn't do that.”

Jack laughed, knowing his soulmate was right and Sam would never do such a thing.  He took off his jacket, threw it onto the back of the sofa, and headed towards the kitchen to grab a beer from the refrigerator.

“Wanna beer?” Jack called out.

“No, thanks,” Daniel answered as he walked over to the aquarium to check on his fish.  Noticing the feeder was running low, he refilled it while listening to Jack.  “Give him a break, Jack.”

With a beer bottle in his right hand, Jack remarked, “I still say he's got a few marbles loose.  Carter said he has this mini-Stargate with little SG-unit figurines in his apartment.  Now tell me that's normal, Daniel.”

“Jack ...”

“Wait,” Jack said, putting up his left hand to stop Daniel's words.  Putting his beer on the counter, he walked over to the aquarium, put his arms around his lover, and kissed him.  “Just had to do that, and tell you that I love you.”

“In the middle of an argument?” Daniel asked as his hands rubbed gently against Jack's lower back.

“Especially in the middle of an argument.”  They both smiled and kissed again, just wanting to affirm that they could argue without it threatening their very happy relationship.  “Now, carry on, Doctor Jackson.  You were about to refute my statement.”

~I don't believe him,~ Daniel sighed in frustration.  Jack could be so exasperating sometimes, fighting one second, kissing him the next, and back to the fighting with the next tick of the clock.  ~But ... geez, I love him.~

“Did I win?” Jack asked since his verbal sparring partner hadn't said anything in the last two minutes.  Feeling pretty pleased with himself, he walked over and picked up his beer, taking a sip.  ~This stuff is great.  Whoever invented beer should be a billionaire.  Hmm, maybe they are.~

“Yes,” Daniel answered.  With a sly grin, he added, “You have me.”

Jack grinned, saying, “You're right, Love.  That makes me a sure winner.”

“But, uh, no, you haven't won the argument.  You're condemning Felger because he's a scientist and ...”

“I'm condemning him because he's a fruitcake, Daniel.  He keeps getting us into trouble,” Jack stated.

“For the fifteenth time, this wasn't his fault.  I ... Jack, just cut the guy some slack.  He has some great ideas.  He's just ... a little unsure about himself.  He's smart, but he doesn't feel like he fits in.  He's a little clumsy and ...”

“And what, Daniel?” Jack asked as he sank down into his favorite armchair where he could enjoy his favorite hobby of 'Daniel-watching', especially as their disagreement had made Daniel's eyes and face light up with passion as he defended his colleague.  ~I wonder if I can get him to do a Danny dance.~

Quietly, the archaeologist stated, “He’s not all that different from the way I was when the program first started.”

“Daniel, he's not anything like you, not even on your worst, flakiest day ... um, forget I said anything about flaky.  You're not flaky; you're brilliant, intuitive, a true genius thinking outside the box, a giant among ...”

“Jack, you can stop now,” Daniel interrupted, giving his lover a look of warning.  “I'll let the flaky thing go, this time; I know it's just your condescending sarcasm coming out,” he snorted as he sat down on the arm of the couch, his arms again folded across his chest.

“The point is, Daniel, Felger is absolutely nothing like you, never has been, never will be.  Heck, even Rothman wasn't the geek Felger is.”

~Robert.~  Daniel blinked a couple of times, then stood and said, “I guess you're right, Jack.  I'm gonna go ... check the mail.”

Something about Daniel's tone of voice disturbed Jack.  He watched as his lover walked to the server, picked up their mail, and headed for the study.  He realized Daniel's shoulders had been slumped as he walked, and he had moved slowly, as if defeated.  There also was no real reason for Daniel to have left the room.

Concerned, Jack reviewed the conversation, trying to pinpoint where things had taken a wrong turn.  He sipped his beer, thinking hard about what they'd just gone through and talked about.  Then, the light dawned.

~You're an idiot, O'Neill!~  Jack mentally chided himself, shaking his head.  ~Sometimes I wonder why he hasn't shot me by now.  Compassion: that's it.  He's too compassionate,~ he thought as he left the beer on the side table and hurried to the study.  “Danny?”  He saw his lover on the sofa and paused, taking in the younger man's demeanor.  ~Trying to hide, Danny?  Look at you.  You look like your trying to be one with the sofa, hidden in the corner, wanting to escape notice.  Well ... I noticed.  Okay, I was a little slow, but O'Neill's on the job now.~

Jack ambled over to the sofa and sat down on Daniel's left, close enough for them to brush their shoulders against each other's.  His pulse slowed to a crawl, however, when his lover arose from the couch, mail in hand, and walked over to the desk without saying a word.

The archaeologist leafed through the letters methodically, never looking up.  He opened some, but others he placed in piles on the desk.  It was as if Daniel's world didn't go beyond the pieces of mail he held in his hand.

“Daniel ...”

Without looking at the silver-gray-haired man, Daniel calmly spoke,  “Jack, we got the cable bill.  I think they charged us twice for the basketball game.  I'll call them on Monday; and you got a letter from ...”

“Danny, enough with the mail,” Jack interrupted.  “Come here ... please,” he requested, motioning for his partner to return to his spot on the sofa.

Daniel hesitated, but after dropping the mail into a bin on the desktop, returned to the old but comfortable sofa and sat down next to Jack.

Running his hands back and forth on his thighs, Daniel stated, “Okay, I'm here.  What?”

“I want to apologize to you, Danny,” Jack said.

Daniel turned his head to look into Jack's eyes.  He hadn't expected to hear that.

“Jack, we had a little fight, but there's nothing for you to apologize for.  We ... we just disagree on Felger and ...”

“That's not what I'm apologizing about,” Jack interrupted.

“Oh,” Daniel stated, looking forward again.  He cocked his head slightly and asked, “Then, uh, why are you apologizing?”

“I'm apologizing because I realized just now that I don't think I ever said that to you, that I was sorry.”

“Jack, you say it all the time; after all, you're wrong all the time,” Daniel quipped, only his tone was more sour than he intended.  “Jack, I didn't mean it like that.  I'm trying to be funny, but I ... I guess I don't really feel ... funny.”

“It's okay, but hear me out, will ya?” Jack requested, placing his arm around his lover's tense shoulders.

“Fine,” Daniel agreed, moving his body away slightly so that his lover would get another message -- no touching.

~Fine, he says?~  Jack paused, wanting a moment to get back on track.  He removed his 'offending' arm from his lover's body since it was obvious Daniel wasn't wanting anything that physical at the moment.  When he was ready, he began again.  “Like I said, I'm sorry.  It's crazy, but I should have said it a long, long time ago.  Maybe we didn't want to talk about it much, but I think we should have.”

“Jack, I don't know what you're talking about.  No clue,” Daniel stated.  He shrugged, deciding he really didn't want to discuss anything in depth.  “You got the latest issue of National Geographic.  You'll love the cover, naked ...”

“Daniel ...”

“You have to do your neo-ritual.  We need popcorn.  I'll go ...”

“Daniel, stop it ... now,” Jack commanded, grabbing Daniel's arm and preventing him from getting up.  “You know what I'm talking about.  You need me to spell it out for you?  Fine.  Rothman.  I killed him, Daniel.  He was a good friend of yours, someone you worked with and respected, and I ... I killed him.  I didn't have a choice, but I'm still sorry for adding to that ocean of pain that is buried inside of you.”

“It wasn't your fault, Jack.  You didn't have a choice.”

~Wanna say that with a little more conviction, Daniel?~ Jack inwardly questioned.

Daniel's words had been automatic, spoken in monotone, reminding Jack of the familiar telephone recordings that say, 'the number you have dialed is no longer in service.'  It felt like Daniel had disconnected his number; Jack knew he had to restore the service quickly.

Jack agreed, “No, I didn't have a choice.  I wish I had.”

“So why are we talking about this now?”

“Because I'm an idiot,” Jack answered.

Daniel smirked, “Well, who am I to argue with a colonel?”

“Very funny, Jackson.”  Jack paused, observing his lover.  The wisecrack had been more free and unforced, making him believe that he was making some progress in the discussion.  ~Can't believe we haven't talked through this before.~  He knew honesty and sincerity would be the surest way of making progress.  His lover responded well to truth, no matter how hard it might be.  “Danny, you're right about Felger.  He just grates on my nerves, like Rothman did.  You know me and scientists.  All that prattling on about fossils and gizmos; most of the time, we just don't mix very well.”

“I'm a scientist, Jack.”

“That's different.”

“How?”

“How?” Jack echoed.  He smiled as he reached out and took hold of Daniel's hand, stroking with his thumb as he held it.  “Because you're *my* scientist; because I love you; because somehow in my darkest moment, when I thought the light was going out, it suddenly became brighter, and when I looked to see why, I discovered it was you, standing there, lighting my way back to life; because you're mine, Danny, for some crazy reason I'll never understand.”

Daniel turned to look Jack in the eye and graced his colonel with a small smile, but said nothing.

“You know, Rothman did the geek squad proud when that Unas dragged you away.  He hustled back to the SGC, and he insisted on going after you; said you were his friend, too.”

“Maybe he was already ...” Daniel began, wondering if his friend had already been taken over by the parasitic creatures the SGC were still fighting.

Jack shook his head, replying, “No, I don't think so.  It probably happened later.  There would have been no reason for a Goa'uld to act the way he was; besides, we know they can't pretend for long: not the way Rothman was behaving.  He wanted to bring you home, just like I did.  I'm just sorry the price for your safety was so darn high.”

“Me, too, Jack.”

Jack wasn't sure Daniel would allow what he wanted to do next.  While he was certain the line between them was being repaired, he wasn't sure he wouldn't still get a busy signal if he made the attempt.  Still, it was worth the risk.  Daniel both loved and relied on him, and it was up to Jack to restore service as soon as possible.  Jack smiled at how sure he was of that feeling and how warm it made him feel inside.  He brought Daniel's hand to his mouth, and kissed his palm.

Daniel had followed the movement of his hand as if he were detached from it.  With the pressing of his soulmate's lips against his palm, though, he felt better.  Slowly, his face loosened from its previously tightened expression, and a small smile appeared.

Jack released Daniel's hand, and again placed his arm around the younger man's shoulders.  Gently, he pulled Daniel into him.  He again felt his Love tense; it was a moment of anxiety for the older man as he waited to find out if their connection was back online or still out of order.

With a sigh, Daniel relaxed into his soulmate.  They turned their bodies so that the back of Daniel's head lay comfortably on Jack's shoulder and so that Jack could wrap his arms around his lover's waist.  He placed a kiss on Daniel's neck as his hands snaked under the young man's maroon shirt, caressing and rubbing his abdomen.

Jack kissed Daniel's silky hair, pleased his sexy lover had given in to the comfort of their unity.  Still, he needed to help his partner come back from the place his mind had taken him, a place that was dark, sad, and alone.

“Danny, tell me about Roth...Robert.”

“What?  Why?  I mean, you knew him, Jack,” Daniel responded, totally surprised to hear his lover's request.

“No, Daniel, I knew Rothman, the scientist who couldn't understand the crystal skull, the geek who got along better with dead people than the living.  I want you to tell me about Robert, your friend.”

“You ... you do?” Daniel questioned skeptically.

Leaning his cheek against Daniel's head, Jack asked, “Why is that such a surprise?”

“I ...”

“Talk to me, Angel.  Tell me about your friend,” Jack requested.

“You'll be bored.  You don't like ...”

“Danny,” Jack interrupted.  “I'm here.  I'm listening, and I want to know.  Trust me, if I didn't, I wouldn't have asked.  You knew Robert a long time.  Tell me about him ... please.”

Daniel gave a little nod, then took a breath before beginning the story of his friendship with a man Jack had never really liked, or so Daniel thought, anyway.

Jack spent the next two hours listening to Daniel tell tales about his friendship with Robert Rothman, how they met, worked together, and actually relaxed sometimes, doing 'common' things like going to the theater or bowling.

“Bowling?” Jack interrupted his lover.  “Danny, you bowl?”

In all their years together, Daniel had never told Jack that he knew how to bowl.  The older man had just assumed that his lover hadn't done any sports -- ever.  After all, Jack had taken Daniel to his first baseball, hockey, soccer, and football games.  He had considered the possibility that Daniel might have been interested in track and field, especially since Daniel liked to jog, but then, he remembered a conversation during the last Summer Olympics when his lover had said he had never participated in any type of track events.  So, the older man had deduced that outside of whatever Daniel had done as part of physical education courses in school, he had never participated in organized sports.

~You're full of surprises, Love.  Bowling, huh?  I'm going to remember that,~ Jack inwardly promised.

“Yes, sometimes, but not often, Jack,” Daniel confirmed.  “Neither one of us had much money to spare.  Bowling was cheap, especially late at night, and sometimes, believe it or not, we just wanted to get away from digs and artifacts.  We really didn't even know what we were doing at first.  We just walked in one night, watched a few games, and figured it out as we went along.”

“Hmmm,” Jack chuckled.  “What was your average?”

Daniel sighed, “I wasn't really very good, about two-thirty-five.”

If Jack had been drinking, he would have spit it out.  As it was, he nearly choked.

“Two-thirty-five, Daniel?” Jack echoed.  More emphatically, he said, “Two-*hundred*-thirty five?”  He let out a breath and asked, “And you don't think you were very good?”

“No.  I mean, Robert averaged two-eighty,” the archaeologist stated.  “We just did the best we could.”

“Two-eighty?” Jack asked, shaking his head in disbelief.  He looked at Daniel who was totally sincere, having no clue how good both he and Rothman were at the sport.  “Daniel, are you going to sit here and tell me you don't know how good those scores are?”

“Jack, the only times I ever went bowling was with Robert.  We got someone to teach us how to keep score, and, like I said, we just ... watched.  I guess we knew it was good, but we certainly never thought about it.  I haven't been bowling since then; I've never even watched it on TV.”  Daniel shifted a moment to look at Jack as he asked, “Do they show bowling on television?”

“Danny, you're my secret weapon.  I think it's time we started up a bowling league at the Mountain,” the colonel mused.  ~I could win some good money with my Danny ace in the hole.~

“It's been years, Jack.  I probably couldn't get the ball on the alley anymore,” Daniel commented, dismissing the notion.

Jack laughed at the exaggeration and said, “Oh, yes, you could.” After kissing Daniel's nape, he said, “I love you.  Go on.  Tell me more about your adventures with Robert.”

Daniel chuckled a bit at Jack's terminology, but he kept going, talking about Robert as Jack held him, still stroking and caressing his abdomen, and, from time to time, kissing his lover's neck.

In a different situation, Jack might have said that Daniel was prattling, so much so that he might have tuned out his lover, concentrating only on his scent and soft hair; but this was now.  While he wasn't oblivious to Daniel's intoxicating allure as he held him close, he heard every word the younger man spoke.  This was too important to make light of, so Jack listened carefully, asking questions when appropriate until, finally, silence came in a peaceful calm.

Daniel placed his hands on Jack's, stilling his life partner's movement on his torso.  He brought up one of Jack's calloused hands to his lips and kissed the palm, mirroring what Jack had done earlier to him.  He then brought the cherished appendage to his cheek and rubbed his face against the knuckles tenderly.  He sighed contentedly and leaned his head back onto Jack's strong shoulder.

After a few peaceful moments, Daniel spoke softly, “Thank you, Jack.”

“For what?”

“Asking.  Listening.  I guess I needed to remember for a while.  I'd almost forgotten.  When we got back from P3X-888, I was so focused on Chaka and getting my notes in order, I'm not sure I ever ...” Daniel began.

“Mourned?”

“Maybe,” Daniel answered.  “I don't know if it's not mourning or simply not remembering.  Everyone should be remembered, especially by people who were supposed to be their friends.”

“Supposed to be?” the older man asked incredulously.  “You're not about to do a guilt trip thing on me, are you?”

Daniel sighed, “I got him the job with SGC, and if I hadn't ...”

“And I let you go through the Stargate, not once, but twice when I had the power to stop you.  I could easily have overruled Catherine, and Hammond wasn't about to let you go anywhere without my okay,” the colonel pointed out, his voice firm and steady.

“You needed me,” Daniel said shyly, a small smile on his face.

“I've always needed you; always do need you, and always will, but you were full of crap that first day, and you know it,” Jack lovingly accused.

“But it worked.  You and Catherine fell for it,” the archaeologist lightly teased, a bit of pride present in his tone.

“It was those baby blue eyes, Danny.  Who can resist those eyes?”

Daniel responded, “Hmm ... Ra, Apophis, Cronos, Makepeace, Kinsey, Simmons ...”

“Ewwww, stop it, Danny, you're making me ill,” Jack said, cringing and making a nasty face.

“Sorry, Babe,” Daniel chuckled, a lightness now filling his soul instead of the darkness which had been there earlier.

Jack teased, “Besides, the only reason they didn't succumb to those lethal weapons of yours is because you were too busy being snarky with them.”

“Snarky?”

“Yes, Daniel, snarky,” Jack affirmed.  “Daring them to kill you ... again, and all that stuff.  One-quarter of my gray hair is strictly due to your snarkiness with the System Lords.”

“Makepeace, Kinsey, and Simmons aren't System Lords, Jack,” Daniel noted.

Jack snorted, “They might as well be.”

“Jack!”

Jack moved slightly, rearranging his willing archaeologist so that they were now leaning towards each other.  He placed his left hand on Daniel's cheek, pulling the two together until their lips met in a sweet tender kiss that ended with their foreheads touching as if one, with their hands entwined as they sat motionless, in the stillness of their love.

“Love you, Jack.”

Jack smiled, and as he found his lover's mouth, exploring and devouring every crevice and part of it with his tongue, he knew he'd never been happier than he was in this moment with Daniel.  Because with each moment, each minute, each hour of the day as the weeks and months turned into years, their love grew, and the more they loved, the happier he became.  He'd never understand why Daniel loved him, but he would forever be grateful that he did.

Daniel saw Jack's expression change, from a look of contentment to a big, happy grin.

“Why the big grin, Jack?”

“Just happy, Danny.”

Daniel smiled and asked, “Any particular reason why?”

“Because you're mine,” Jack replied softly just before he and Daniel made love in their nation of two.

~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~
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