Because You Loved Me

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Drama, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  7 - December 3-6, 2003
Spoilers:  None
Size:  45kb
Written:  October 25-27, November 1,3,8, 2003  Revised:  January 31, 2005, April 18, September 8,19-20, October 2-3,7,11, 2006
Summary:  Just back from their honeymoon, Jack and Daniel face their first separation, and neither is happy about it.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:
1) Hanky warning, so I've been told!
2) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
3) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fic(s), “Wish Upon a Star,” “Falling Star,” and “Heart and Soul”
4) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Mama Beast, Tina, Starshadow, Claudia, QuinGem, Linda!

Because You Loved Me
by Orrymain

====
--December 3, 2003 6:12 a.m.
====

“Be back in four days.”

“I wish ...” Daniel began, then sighed as he nestled his head against Jack's right shoulder, his heart saddened because his lover was leaving.

Jack had no choice in the decision, but that wasn't making it any easier on the newlyweds.

This would be their first separation since their November wedding, and it was hitting both of them hard.  They had only been back to work at the SGC for two days when Jack had received his orders to fly to Washington, D.C.

“I know, Love.  I wish ... too,” Jack sighed, his arms holding his husband close.  “What timing,” he lamented.

Being their first Christmas together as a married couple, Jack and Daniel wanted all of December to be full of holiday merriment.  They'd wanted the festivities to begin with a jaunt to the woods to get a tree, taking their beagles, Bijou and Katie, with them for the outing.  They'd then spend the weekend decorating the tree and house, both inside and outside.

Now, unfortunately, Jack wouldn't be home until early Sunday morning, and General George Hammond had insisted on getting a report as soon as Jack returned.  Their plans had been totally squashed.

“I tried, Danny,” Jack sighed again.

“I know you did, Babe.  It could be worse,” Daniel commented, knowing that oftentimes his lover's trips out of town sometimes lasted up to a week.

Jack had tried every argument he could think of, but lost every single one.  His expertise in covert activities made him an essential participant in a Pentagon operations meeting.  Besides, he had just returned from several weeks off and didn't have much of a leg to stand on when it came to trying to get out of the orders.

Thus, the newlyweds had spent the night before cuddling in front of the fire, holding each other.  They had anticipated making passionate love, but, instead, the two found themselves simply holding onto each other, not wanting to let go.

Jack and Daniel had kissed and touched the night away as they had remained nestled together as one, cooing their love into the other's ear, speaking words of love that most people at the SGC would think was pure fiction.  The Goa'uld could never imagine the feared Colonel O'Neill and the snarky genius Daniel Jackson whispering sweet nothings as they held hands and hugged each other close.

“We'll make up for it,” Jack promised, placing a kiss on his spouse's head.  ~But it won't be the same as what we had planned.~

“I know we will,” Daniel replied as steadily as he could.  ~But it's still not the same as spending this weekend together, doing what we had planned.~

Each silently bemoaning their fate while thinking similar thoughts about their impending separation and how they felt about it, the husbands continued to caress each other as the morning broke.

====

The dark of the night still looming overhead, an airman took Jack's bags in hand at the front door and was handily dismissed by the Air Force colonel, who wanted a few more minutes to say goodbye to his husband.

“I'll be out in a few minutes,” Jack barked.  Closing the door, he held his Heart tugged close against him, hating what he had to do next.  After a minute, with a kiss to Daniel's forehead, he uttered the fateful words, “I have to go now, Danny.”

“I know,” the linguist replied, though he didn't move.  ~I hate this.~

Jack caught his lover's hand that was caressing the warm material of his dress blues, brought it up to his mouth, and kissed it.  He shifted to face Daniel, although he hated ending their closeness.

With a final kiss, a touch on his cheek, a sorrowful look into Daniel's alluring blue eyes, Jack backed out of the house.  The door remained open as Daniel slowly walked towards it.  His arms were crossed, and a single tear was falling down his right cheek.

“Sometimes I hate the Air Force,” Jack stated just loud enough so that Daniel could hear.

“Me, too.”

Out of time and options, Jack turned and quickly walked to the staff car.

Daniel watched, not closing the door until two minutes after the vehicle had disappeared from his sight.  With a heavy heart, he went back to their bedroom and got ready to go to the SGC, where he planned to lose himself in artifact after artifact for the next four days.

====
--December 5, 2003 6:55 p.m.
====

Daniel had worked late the night before, not coming home until 10 p.m., and the only reason he had done so then was because of Bijou and Katie.  He would not let his need to lose himself in work because of  Jack's absence impede the love and care for the precious beagles that Jack and Daniel called their children.  So, on this night, he made sure he was home by seven to attend to the two canines.

“Hi, Girls.  How about a walk to the park?” the archaeologist asked upon greeting the dogs.

The answer was two excited beagles running to the cabinet where their harnesses were kept.  Daniel smiled, put on their dog sweaters and harnesses, and headed outside.  It was cool out, with small snowflakes floating through the night sky.

“Can't stay out here too long, Girls,” Daniel spoke as they ventured to the nearby park.

====

When Daniel and the beagles returned home, the lonesome linguist fixed himself some hot chocolate and sat down in Jack's roomy armchair.  He quickly found himself surrounded by Bijou and Katie, who nuzzled in as close to Daniel as they could get.

“Well, let me tell you about my day,” Daniel began to ramble.  “I made an interesting discovery about the writings on PR9-220.  They are like those we found on Micila, and once I figured that out, I was able to begin translating them, only then I realized the words didn't make any sense; but then I realized the words were names of people and places, so I think it's like a parable or something.  They communicate by associating people with events or places.  Of course, I don't know what the people did, and the places don't really mean much at this point, but, uh, well, it's progress.”

Daniel chuckled at his long-winded chatter, and then he sighed, missing his husband to the depths of despair.  He took a sip of his hot chocolate and let it warm his body, wishing the entire time that the warmth was coming from his lover.

When he finished his drink, Daniel moved to the sofa and lay down, staring up at the ceiling.  Moments later, the beagles jumped up, each finding a warm spot to snuggle with their owner.  Katie's choice was atop his abdomen, while Bijou chose to squish herself between the cushions and his chest.

“So how was your day?” the lonely man asked the girls as he looked down at them.

====

It was almost 9 p.m. when Bijou went into protective mode, standing with her tail pointed, her ears pricked and her face serious.  She jumped over Daniel and ran to the door, arriving there just as the door knocker began to bang against the wood structure.  Katie was on her six, sniffing the bottom of the door.

“Friend or foe?” Daniel asked as he approached the entranceway of the house.

Bijou woofed lightly, her tail wagging.  Katie agreed, backing up a few steps and sitting.

“Cool,” Daniel said, trusting his beagle's instincts totally and opening the door.

“Hey, Daniel,” Sam greeted with a smile, kneeling down to acknowledge Bijou and Katie for a moment.  “Hi, Bij.  Hey there, Katie.”

“Wow!” Daniel exclaimed without realizing it.  While he had seen his friend dressed up before, he couldn't recall seeing her look quite like this.  She was wearing a tight-fitting black-sequined, low-cut dress that accentuated her 'curves' nicely.  “Hot,” he observed, again without realizing it.

Sam blushed, shyly saying, “Um, thanks ... I guess.”

“Oh, sorry, Sam, I mean ... oh, you know what I mean.  You look great!” Daniel exclaimed with a cute, dimply smile.

“Thanks.”

“Come in,” Daniel said invitingly and then scooted aside.

“Actually, I can't.  I, ah ...” Sam stuttered as she motioned towards the street and the waiting car.

“Your boyfriend?” the archaeologist asked wryly, a sly smile on his face as he began to try and look around Sam to get a better look at the mysterious man.

Sam replied, “Yes, and don't start, Daniel.”  Putting her hand out against his chest, she sternly warned, “And you just *stay* right there.”

“You're no fun, Sam.”

Nodding, the female replied, “Yeah, well, I'm trying to keep this one alive for a while.”

“Sam,” Daniel lightly chastised.

“I know,” Sam responded.  “The reason I'm here is that I promised the colonel I'd bring this by at precisely 2100 hours.”

Sam extended her hand, a small, thin package, roughly five-by-five inches, clasped between her fingers.  Daniel took the package, flipping it around in his hands as he examined it.

“What is it?”

Sam shrugged, answering, “I'm only the messenger, and now that I've done my duty, I gotta go!”

“Thanks, Sam,” Daniel called out to his friend's fleeing back.  “Lucky guy,” he thought as he watched to make sure Sam safely entered the car and drove away with her mystery boyfriend.  ~But I'm even luckier.  I have Jack.~

After shutting the door and locking it, with Bijou and Katie on his heels, Daniel walked to the sofa and opened the package.  He didn't sit down, but simply stood at the edge of it, leaning against the arm of the couch.

“Hmmm,” Daniel expressed curiously.  He tossed the blue paper the package had been wrapped in aside and realized he was holding a single CD.  ~What's this?~

Attached to the item was a note with instructions.  It read:

La Mio Bello Stella Cadente,

I love you so much, and I hate that I'm not with you tonight.  Even though I'm not there, holding you, I want you to do something for me.

Right now, I want you to go upstairs and put on your blue silk pajamas and bring the blue quilt downstairs with you.  Then, get the girls comfy on their beanbag, and serve yourself a glass of the St. Julien's -- the good stuff: the 1959, and then I want you to make sure there's a fire in the fireplace.  When the fire takes hold, turn the lights down low.  Then, and only then, put the CD in the player.

After that, My Love, sit in our favorite spot in front of the fire and listen, and know that what you'll hear comes from deep within my soul.

I love you, my beautiful falling star.

J.

Daniel traced the words with his fingers and lamented, “Gawd, Jack, I miss you.”  He began to do as Jack asked, but hesitated for a moment, tempted to put the CD on right away.  “No, I have to wait,” he said to the beagles.

Jack had gone to such trouble, having Sam deliver the recording at a certain time.  There had to be a reason, so Daniel decided that he'd wait and do as directed.

====

“Funny, isn't it, Babe?  I'm finally following your orders, and you're not here to see it,” Daniel mused aloud a couple of minutes later as he changed into the silky pajamas that they had purchased two years ago.

Jack had gotten a burgundy pair and Daniel the blue.  They both had a thing about the feel of flannel on the other and had several pairs of the flannel nightwear.  By accident, though, the lovers had also discovered that silk seemed to do it for them, the soft delicacy of the fabric sending shivers through their spines and souls.

Barefoot, Daniel carried the blue quilt downstairs, placing it on the floor.  Next, he retrieved the St. Julien's and filled his goblet with the smooth red wine he loved.

Jack always made sure Daniel had the exclusive wine that they had discovered once at a wine tasting event in Denver.  Daniel had loved it, and since then, Jack had made sure there was always some in the house.  It wasn't always the best year's, but often, Jack had been able to get the better vintages from the late-fifties and early-sixties for his lover.

“You girls need anything?  Wanna go outside first?”  The two beagles answered by snuggling further into their beanbag.  “Okay, let's see what that sexy husband of mine has been up to.”

As he sat down in the spot where he and Jack so often cuddled in front of the fire, Daniel pressed 'play' on the remote control, not knowing what to expect from the CD he'd previously inserted into the player.  He listened intently to the spoken words, the sound of his lover's voice both soothing and painful as it made him miss Jack all the more.

La Mio Bello Stella Cadente,

I love you so much, so very much, and, geez, I miss you.  I know it's only been two days, but I swear, Angel, they've been the longest two days of my life.

I'm used to you being my warm blanket at night, to waking up to your blue eyes, to hearing you say my name.  Gawd, I miss that ... touching you, feeling you, hearing you.

My Precious Angel: how I cherish you and our life together.  You've made me so happy.  My lover: my forever and always lover.

Our wedding day was perfect because you were there.  You were so beautiful.  When you walked down the aisle, you took my breath away.  It's like I opened my eyes for the first time, and, when I did, you were there.

Being away from you now is breaking my heart, and, for crying out loud, it's for ... geez, the stuff they ... no, forget that.  I only want to think about you, and how lucky I am to have you.

You've filled up my life with love and happiness.  You took a snarly old bear and turned him into a teddy bear, who only wants to spend every second of every day snuggling with you.  I want ... What I'm trying to say is ... Ah, Angel, you know I'm bad with words.  I just love you so much.  I sound like a broken record, don't I?  Or should I say a broken CD?  Do CDs break?

Anyway, since our wedding, the one thing you've nagged, nagged, and nagged me even more about is ... well, you know ... the one thing I had never done until our wedding, and the one thing I swore I'd never do again, but I want you to have all of me, just as you've given me all of yourself, so you can stop nagging me now.

This is for you, La Mio Bello Stella Cadente.  To the moon and the stars and back again, I love you with all that I am and all I can ever be.

By the way, you owe me big time for this, and I intend to collect.  You have *no* idea what I had to go through to arrange this little session.  No, wait, scratch that.  You don't owe me; *I* owe you, forever and always, no matter how many miles, or stars, separate us.

--

There was a second of silence, and then music began to play.  It was a Karaoke version of their wedding song, “Because You Loved Me,” the song Jack and Daniel had danced to during their reception.  At the celebration, Celine Dion's voice had filled the air over the speaker system, but then Daniel had been totally floored when Jack also began singing softly into his ear as they danced.  The older man was a surprisingly good singer, but it was a talent he had kept hidden, even from the younger man, until that special day in November.

Since their wedding, Daniel had longed to have his husband sing to him again; however, all of his attempts had failed miserably.  He had to admit that part of that was his fault for being too easily distracted by his lover's Irish charm and seductive ways.

Daniel's heart fluttered as he heard his husband’s voice singing their wedding song.  He could hear Jack’s love for him in every word.

~I am definitely luckier than Sam’s boyfriend,~ Daniel thought as tears of love fell from his eyes.

The archaeologist's heart was full of such love, and, at the same time, it ached from missing Jack.  He wanted him, to feel him against his body, so much.  He couldn't stop the tears that flowed as he listened to the words of love and devotion in their wedding song.  When the song faded to its conclusion, he was about to replay it when he heard Jack's voice again.

La Mio Bello Stella Cadente,

Don't touch that remote!  Not yet.

Angel, take a sip of your wine, a full sip, let it go down smoothly, slowly, the way it's meant to be tasted.  Do it for me, Love.  I'll wait.

Tears of love still running down his face, Daniel did as his husband asked as the music of their wedding song played softly in the background.  With perfect timing, Jack continued just as the proper savoring of the wine was completed.

Now, put the goblet down, and, for a moment, let the quilt fall to the floor.  Close your eyes, Love.  I want you to close your eyes and imagine I'm there with you, because I am, Angel.  I'm right there, beside you.

You are my heart and my soul, and where you are, is exactly where I am, so feel me, Angel.  My right arm is around your shoulder, caressing your back, making soft motions as I touch you with my essence.  My hand goes to your nape and massages it for a few moments as I lean over and kiss your beautiful, beautiful head.  My fingers never stop their movement.

Following his lover's instructions, Daniel concentrated on that wonderful voice and built up the feel and scent of his husband, finally managing to reach the place where Jack had led him, where they were together.  He could swear his soulmate was right beside him, just as close as the voice on the CD was as it continued to speak.

Then I pull you close, so close to me, Angel.  I want you so close that we are joined together.  Your head is snuggled into my shoulder: safe, loved, and warm.  I'll always protect you.  You'll always, *always* be safe with me.  No one hurts you and gets away with it.

I'm holding you, my arm dropping to your waist, tugging you even closer to me.  I want to touch you, Angel, so I'm lifting up your pajama top, and my fingers are massaging your skin, right there, at the base of your back.  My hand slips down for a moment to give you a tender tap on your six.  Then I rub and caress your smooth skin, pushing us as close together as I can.  Gawd, you feel so good.  I love you so friggin' much.

Lost in the words he was listening to, Daniel didn't even notice when he gasped and moaned his husband's name, although Bijou and Katie did.  The two beagles simply exchanged doggy grins and buried their noses back under their paws.

Feel me, Angel.  Feel my fingers on your body, my arm warm against your back.  Feel your head leaning against me, my face leaning into your silky hair.  Feel my left hand holding yours, our fingers entwined, our love flowing through them, electrifying us with sensations that we can't even describe.  Feel our wedding rings commingling, like we are doing.

We're warm in front of the fire.  We hear the crackling of the wood and watch the flames burn.  The girls are sound asleep, content, peaceful.  Our family is happy and together.

Now, Angel, take the quilt and lift it over us, so that as we nestle together, the quilt will keep us even warmer, protecting us from the chill of the night.  Keep your eyes closed, don't lose me.  Feel me, Love; let the quilt keep us warm.

La Mio Bello Stella Cadente, my beautiful falling star, always, my Angel, My Love, My Heart, My Soul, My Everything -- I love you, and I'm always with you.  You know I'm there.  Feel me; feel me so close that you're tingling, inside and out.  Hear my voice, listen to my song of love.  It's my heart and my soul, and both belong to you, only to you, forever to you ... La Mio Bello Stella Cadente.

I love you.

--

Though tears flowed down Daniel's cheeks, he could feel his soulmate just as surely as if Jack were there.  He played the CD over and over, never opening his eyes, feeling Jack, letting himself get lost in the sensations of his lover's voice and the memories of his touches.  He shivered from the imaginary connections of their bodies.  He obeyed every request, willingly succumbing to the lull of each loving commandment made on the recording.

“Love you so much, Jack,” Daniel choked out each and every time Jack sang their special song.

When the young man finally opened his eyes to find himself alone after all, his heart seemed to break a little bit.  He sank down to the floor, half asleep as the fire roared; yet, his tears were still falling.  He hated himself for crying, but he was happy, truly happy for the first time in his life, and the reason for that was on the other side of the country.  He wanted him back.  He needed him, and that was the truth of it.  Being separated was causing him mental and physical pain.

A noise disturbed the reverent ache of Daniel's distress.

~Jack?~ Daniel immediately thought upon realizing that the noise was the ringing of the telephone.  He blinked as he gathered his wits from his partial slumber.  Glancing at the clock, he saw that it was only 10:05 p.m.  As fast as he could, he threw off the quilt and jumped up to reach the phone.  “Jack?” he asked anxiously.

“Hey!” Jack exclaimed.  “You know, it could have been anyone.”

“No, I ... I knew it was you.”

“You sound ...” Jack began, frowning as he deciphered the tone of his husband's voice and became aware of the truth.  “Angel, you've been crying.”

There was silence as Daniel returned to the fireplace and sat back down, reaching over to pull the quilt back over his shoulders.

Bijou and Katie looked up for a moment, just to make sure everything was okay.  Within seconds, Katie put her head back down to return to her slumber, but Bijou had gone into alert mode.  She was still in her beanbag, but she was listening, watching, for any danger that might be present.

“Danny, I love you.”

“I love you, too.  Thank you for the ... for ...”  Daniel could barely speak.  “Gawd, I'm a linguist, for crying out loud,” he choked out, his body shivering from the emotions that were filling him.

“It's okay.  Did you do everything I asked?” Jack questioned.

Daniel nodded, a small sniffle escaping from his throat, but he said nothing.

With a slight chuckle, Jack reminded, “Danny, I can't see you.”

“Oh ... sorry ... yes.”

Jack remarked, “I love those silk jammies, almost as much as the flannel ones.”

“Me, too,” the younger man agreed, then sighing unhappily.  ~Wish you were here.~

“You're beautiful, Danny.  Did you drink your wine?” the older man asked, hearing the sadness and wishing he could fix it.

“Yes, three glasses,” Daniel answered.  Hearing his husband chuckle, he asked, “What’s so funny?”

“I finally get you to follow my orders, and I’m not there to see it,” Jack replied, still chuckling slightly.

“I was thinking the same thing earlier,” Daniel admitted, laughter in his tone as well.

“Did you really drink three glasses of wine?” the military man inquired.

“Yes,” the archaeologist admitted.

Jack made a sound as he pondered the fact and muttered, “Oh, you aren't ...”

“Jack, I'm too sad to be drunk,” Daniel tried to muse softly.

“I don't want you to be sad,” the colonel responded.  ~That's the last thing I ever want.~

“I know.  I'm sorry, Jack.  I just ... miss you so much.  But ...”  Daniel hesitated, finally letting out his emotion, sniffling, “Gawd, Jack, it was so beautiful ...”

“Angel, don't, please don't,” Jack pleaded.  “Hey, what would you do if I were there, right now?”

Daniel smiled as he answered, “I'd kiss you; I'd kiss you until you couldn't breathe.”

“I don't know.  Sounds like an empty promise to me.”

“I'd do it.  I would,” the younger man vowed.

With a smirk his husband couldn't see, Jack asked, “Then why I am standing out here in the friggin' cold?”

Daniel's eyes opened wide.  His face turned towards the entranceway, and, in an instant, he had dropped the phone, stumbling over it as he stood up.  He tripped over the quilt he had flipped off his back, swearing as he picked himself up.  Bijou ran past him to the door, smiling, tail wagging, as if she had been in on the plan from the start.

The married man's heart was pounding, the beat and rhythm thundering as rapidly as his tears were flowing.  He flung open the door and saw his lover, grinning the Irish smile that melted him like butter on a hot stove.

“Well?” Jack asked, his arms outstretched.

Daniel jumped on him, his lips connecting with Jack's instantly, his tongue slipping into Jack's mouth, rubbing against his lover's.  True to his words, the kiss went on ... and on ... and on ... until, finally, Jack gasped, pulling back just slightly.

“Wow, Danny,” Jack spoke breathlessly.

Yet, the younger man didn't stop, starting a new round of kissing, his arms keeping Jack close to him as they draped around his neck.  Daniel's right hand gently massaged the back of Jack's head, playing with his silver-gray hair and bringing tingles to the older man's body.

Finally, Daniel's head leaned forward against Jack's.  Their foreheads were united, a symbol of their love and foreverness.

“My Silver Fox,” was all Daniel could say as he took in the magic of the unexpected moment.

The couple were still on the front porch, their hands now on each other's waist.  Seconds later, they slipped into their favorite hold, Jack's arms wrapping around Daniel, caressing his back while Daniel's head rested against the older man's shoulder with Jack's chin snug to his lover's hair.

Neither spoke for a couple of minutes, needing the touch, the tactile sensation of the other, but then Jack felt Daniel shiver.  He looked down.

“Danny, no slippers!”

“You were keeping me warm ... remember?” Daniel asked, a shy smile on his face as he recalled the sensations the CD had brought forth within him.

“Come on,” Jack said, leading his shivering spouse into the house and back to the fireplace.  He spent a couple of minutes greeting Bijou and Katie, exchanging kisses and licks, and then he returned to Daniel, scooping him up into his arms.  With his fingertips, he tried to dry the tears, saying, “I hate it when you cry.”

“Being silly ... sorry,” Daniel sniffled.

“No, it's not the least bit silly.  I love you, Danny, and, heaven help me, I love that you love me so much that you cry when I'm gone; makes me pretty selfish,” Jack confided.

“Na-huh,” Daniel croaked, his body so close to Jack that the older man thought for a minute Daniel had literally found a way to get under his skin.  “How?  Four days ... you said ...”

Jack smiled, once again happy with himself for being the one and only expert in understanding the language of 'Daniel'.

“Yeah, well, short reprieve,” Jack spoke, his words not as enthusiastic as Daniel would have liked it to be.

“Short?” Daniel asked.  ~I'm not going to like this.~

Hesitantly, the colonel admitted, “Yeah, uh, I have to go back.”

“Jack.”  Daniel pulled away to look into his love's eyes.  “How long, Jack?” he asked sadly.

“Six hours; then the airman comes back, and I have to go again.”

When Jack saw the depths of his husband's love through Daniel's eyes upon hearing his words, he thought he might just dissolve on the spot.  The soulful eyes were speaking of such love that it was almost overwhelming.

“You came home ... just for six hours?” Daniel asked incredulously.

“I needed you,” Jack whispered.  “I've never needed anyone the way I need you, Danny.  I had to come.”

Daniel blinked, desperately trying not to be some stereotypical overly emotional spouse, but he knew Jack had managed a minor miracle.  The meeting in D.C. was at the request of the President of the United States, and, in fact, the President had been scheduled to sit in on part of it.  That's as much as Daniel knew, except that his Jack must have used up a lot of IOU's to get out of D.C. during the summit.

“I love you, love you so much.  Make love to me.  I don't want to waste a minute, not one,” Daniel pleaded.

“I love you, too, La Mio Bello Stella Cadente.”

“Caro Mio, My Silver Fox,” Daniel whispered in their language of love.

Jack had learned Italian years ago, right after they had become a couple, wanting to be able to speak with Daniel in another language, if others were around.  The first phrase he had learned, and the one that had become one of the symbols of their love, was the phrase that meant “my beautiful falling star.”  It referred to their first night together, when Jack had wished on a falling star that Daniel would love him, and Daniel had, changing both of their lives forever.

With their arms around each other's waist, the newlyweds headed upstairs to celebrate their brief reunion.

====

The next six hours were rich with love, passion, and tenderness as the Jackson-O'Neills blended their bodies together, over and over, pleasing each other in a variety of ways.  Afterwards, they shared a shower, one full of kisses and massaging touches as they washed each other.

Daniel fixed his lover spaghetti, a simple version, which they shared over a glass of wine.  They glanced sparingly at the clock, hating the passage of each second as it ticked towards 4 a.m. when Jack would have to leave.

The newlyweds returned upstairs, cuddling for a few brief minutes before Jack had to dress.

“I like this,” Daniel sighed as the two simply lay snuggled into each other.

“Such a simple thing, Danny,” Jack replied as he gazed into his lover's eyes.  “Touching and being touched.”

“We both spent a lot of time avoiding it,” Daniel commented.

“Never again, Space Monkey,” Jack promised with a smile.

All-too-soon for both of them, Jack and Daniel walked down the stairs, holding hands.  Jack was again dressed in his blue uniform, the one that made Daniel's heart flutter, and Daniel was back in his blue silk pajamas.

Near the fireplace in the living room, Jack said goodbye to Bijou and Katie, saying, “You two take care of him for me.  He needs you!”  Two little woofs answered, making Jack smile.  He stood and walked over to his self-hugging lover and again embraced him.  “Those girls of ours have your brains.”

Daniel smiled as his hands caressed the blue Air Force jacket, loving the feel of the material and the way his husband looked in the formal uniform.

“Careful, Love.  No time,” the colonel spoke with regret.  “You can tear it off of me when I get home.”

“Promise?”

“On my honor,” Jack smirked lightly, wanting to break the tension of the goodbye a little.

Daniel sighed, “Jack, did you know you'd get to come home?”

“Nope,” Jack answered.  “I had to call in some favors.  Why?”

“Bij ... just the way she acted.”

Amazement in his eyes as he looked at the mama beagle, Jack confided, “Well, I admit that I told her that I was going to try.”

“It's crazy, Jack.  They can't possibly ...”

Daniel stopped, looking at their beagles as well.  He smiled, remembering the sometimes telepathic-like discussions he and Jack had shared from the beginning of their relationship.  He also remembered their dream, that crazy dream that he and Jack had shared once about ascending to another plane of existence.  He shrugged, suddenly aware that there was still a lot in the world that they didn't understand.

“Maybe ... maybe it's not so crazy, Jack.  The Nox said we were very young, and they're right.  We are, and maybe ... maybe they do know.”

Both Jack and Daniel were still looking at their beloved beagles, who seemed to have knowing smiles on their tiny faces.

“You might be right, Love,” Jack agreed, kissing Daniel's forehead and then taking a deep breath.

“I know; you have to go,” Daniel said in a small voice.

“Yes, but ...”

“But you'll be back.”

“Yes, and ...” Jack began.

“And, in the meantime, I'll listen to you sing to me, and I'll feel your hands, see your eyes,” Daniel's hands cupped Jack's face, “and I'll ... I'll feel you Jack, loving me, keeping me safe, and you'll feel me, because I'm part of you, too.”

“The best part of me, Danny.”

The lovers held each other close, shared a kiss, and then walked to the door.

“The airman is here,” Jack sighed as he looked out and saw the vehicle waiting in the driveway, the airman rubbing his forearms as he stood in wait by the car.  “He'll freeze to death if I don't get out there.”

“Caro Mio, My Love,” Daniel intoned, hating that the moment of separation had arrived.

“Love you, La Mio Bello Stella Cadente,” Jack replied.  He kissed Daniel's ring finger and then tasted his lips one more time.  “Feel me,” Jack requested as he slowly let go of his soulmate.

With another flash of the smile that filled Daniel's stomach with beautiful butterflies, Jack walked out the door.

Daniel went back to the fireplace.  He was both warm, from the last six hours and cold. from the absence that was so deafening.  He sank down into the sofa, wanting to feel happy.  He replayed the CD once, but the sadness of the separation was overwhelming him.  He felt thankful his husband had pulled off his miracle, but he wanted more, especially since Jack had another temporary duty assignment scheduled in a few days that would take him away again.

“It's not fair,” Daniel said to the air, not caring whether or not he sounded rational.

Suddenly, Bijou barked, drawing Daniel out of his self-imposed misery, and he heard the door open as Bijou flew past him, but then calmed.

“Jack?”

Daniel shot up as Jack reappeared in the house.

“Hurry up, Danny. Get dressed,” the colonel ordered.

“Wha...what?”

“Angel, no way in Netu am I leaving you.  I don't friggin' give a ... I just don't.  So, get dressed.  You're coming with me.”

Daniel's mouth was open, his eyes bright with love and hope at the words his lover was expressing.

“Danny, we don't have all day.  Give the girls a kiss, and go get dressed.  While you're doing that, I'll get Bij and Katie settled in their doghouse and make sure everything is okay.  MOVE!” Jack ordered with a huge smile on his face, jarring Daniel out of his stunned state.

“I love you,” the archaeologist told the canines, giving them hugs and kisses before running upstairs to dress.  “Jack, what do I ...?”

“Blue shirt, black pants, socks, Danny; don't forget socks!” Jack laughed.  He continued to chuckle at his wonderful genius as he attended to the girls, making sure their doghouse was secure and insulated.  He checked the dog feeder as well, ensuring there was plenty of food available.  As he patted them playfully, he asked, “You girls don't mind, do you?  I know it's cold out here, but you saw him.  Okay, okay, we don't need to tell him that I was doing the same sulking, moping thing, do we?  We'll be home in two days.  I'll call Cassie or Carter so you won't be alone all the time.  You two behave.  We love you.”

Jack patted the beagles one final time before going inside the house, securing the doors and windows and then making sure the fire was completely out.

“Danny, we have to go,” Jack shouted up the stairs when he had completed his tasks.

Daniel flew down the stairs, landing in Jack's arms ... literally.

“Whoa, Space Monkey,” Jack chuckled just before devouring his lover's mouth.

Another kiss and contented sigh later, Daniel questioned, “Won't they wonder, Jack?”

“Do you care?”

Daniel shook his head.  The two men had done their time, and, if someone wanted to make something of it, tough.  He might ... no, he knew he'd regret it later, but right now, he didn't care.  He also knew that while a part of him might later regret their recklessness, a larger part of him would never and could never regret any time he spent with his husband, whatever the cost.  They kissed as they walked to the door.

Jack grabbed Daniel's coat, but didn't put it on him.  His eyes seemed to ask Daniel not to question it, so the young man didn't.  They got into the back seat of the car, and, taking care to appear perfectly natural, Jack lay out the coat so that it overlapped a part of both he and Daniel.  With a covert smile at his husband, Jack's hand took hold of his lover's, totally concealed by the coat.

Daniel smiled, looking out the window, the driver totally unaware that the two men were holding hands in the back seat.  Verbally, they didn't speak much during the ride to the military air base where they'd catch their flight to the nation's capitol, but their hands were saying volumes.

====

The airman put down the phone as he pulled up near the transport and spoke, “The plane's ready, Colonel.”

“Thank you, Airman,” Jack replied as he and Daniel got out of the car.  As they walked towards the plane, he whispered, “Forever and always, Angel.”

Daniel's smile lit up Jack's soul.  The older man knew he'd have to come up with a cover story for Daniel's presence by the time they arrived.  They'd also have to call General Hammond in the morning to explain Daniel's absence from the SGC, especially since the archaeologist had volunteered to work Saturday.  It was something he had done in an effort to keep himself busy while Jack would be gone.

Still, Jack knew he was doing the right thing, for Daniel, and for himself.  Every fiber of his being told him that he and Daniel should be together.  No assignment was more important than that one fact.

Just as the newlyweds reached the plane, Daniel hesitated, asking, “Are you sure?”

“What are they going to do, make me retire?” Jack chuckled.  More seriously, he replied, “They need us, and, Danny, I need you with me.  I know I'm supposed to be the tough one.  I know you probably think I came back because of the tears, but the truth is I couldn't concentrate without you there.  I thought of you every second.  Crap, Daniel, it hurt.  It friggin' hurt.  I mean my chest hurt, I just ... I thought I was having a heart attack or a stroke or ... or something.  I know it sounds odd, but ...”

“I know exactly what you mean, Jack, and it's not odd at all,” Daniel refuted.

Jack smiled and opined, “It's just too soon for us to be separated.  I need you there with me.  I love you so much.”

~Yep, I am definitely the luckiest man in the world,~ Daniel thought as he looked at his sexy Silver Fox.

Jack had never seen Daniel's smile so bright.  It confirmed that what he was doing was the right thing.  His physical pain had been real, and it had ended the moment he had held his spouse in his arms.  It had also started up again the very moment he had gotten into the Air Force vehicle after leaving Daniel behind at the house earlier in the evening.  The colonel didn't care whether anyone believed him or not, but he knew he was connected to his lover on so many levels that they might never fully understand their bonds.

The fact was that it was simply too soon for the newlyweds to be separated like this.  Unlike most of their trips apart, they hadn't been able to plan and adjust to the separation in advance.  They needed time, that's all; but, for now, Jack returned Daniel's blissful look.

They'd go to D.C., and somehow, Jack would explain Daniel's presence, which he knew wouldn't be too hard to do.  They'd make a weekend of it and maybe go to the Smithsonian.  He smiled, visualizing cuddling with his husband in the elephant barn at the National Zoo.

~Oh, yeah, Danny.  We're going to have a great time,~ Jack determined just as he heard someone shouting for them to hurry.  ~Hold your horses,~ he thought. “This may not be the weekend we originally planned, Danny, but ...”

“We'll be together,” both men spoke with happy voices and sparkling eyes.

Their hearts and souls sharing more than they could express verbally or physically at the moment, the two boarded the plane and headed for Washington, D.C., with no regrets or fear of what anyone might think, say, or do.  Their own personal nation of two was united, and no one would ever change that!

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