Be My Valentine
Category: Slash, Humor, Drama, Romance, Holiday, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Season: Beyond the Series - February 14, 2011
Written: August 4-6,8-9,11-13,24, October 15,24,28, 2005
Summary: Jack and Daniel, along with their guest, Alex Dennison, attend an eventful Valentine's Day party at Janet's.
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) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fics, “Beach Blanket Blond” and “The Last Mission”
4) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better: Robert, QuinGem, Claudia, Linda, Patti, Heather!
Be My Valentine
“Be good!” Daniel admonished the brood as they gathered to go with the
“Jonny, give me Bogey,” Jack said, holding out his hand.
“But Bogey will miss me,” the little boy argued.
“You're only going to Aunt Sara's for one night. Hand him over,” Jack insisted, wiggling his fingers expectantly.
Having no choice, Jonny reluctantly relinquished Bogey to his father.
“I miss you, Bogey,” Jonny told the lizard.
“Let's go, children,” Sara said. “Choose your car!”
With eleven children to collect, both Sara and Mark had come to pick up the Jackson-O'Neill children. Mark had the week off, and the couple had agreed to take the children for the night even though it was Valentine's Day. Once everyone was asleep, the couple would have a toast and do a bit of snuggling.
As they were going on a belated Valentine's day trip to Mexico the next evening, Sara and Mark would be dropping off their own children, Angela and Madeline, along with the J-O brood the next day. The Wilson girls would be staying with the Jackson-O'Neills until their parents returned the following Sunday. Essentially, this gave Jack and Daniel twenty-four hours to enjoy a private Valentine's Day celebration, beginning with a party being held at Janet Fraiser's home.
With the children safely gone, the lovers walked back inside their house and made out for about thirty minutes before showering and dressing for the party.
“The Doc sure was insistent on us being there,” Jack observed as he buttoned up his new burgundy silk shirt, loving the lustful looks he was getting from his husband as he did so.
“She said she's celebrating life,” Daniel commented, trying to hide his wanton leers. ~Not even time for a quickie,~ he silently lamented.
“What's that supposed to mean?” Jack asked, glancing in the mirror to make sure he looked okay. He groaned at the spike of hair that stood up on his head. ~That will never go away.~
“I have no idea,” Daniel responded, “but she's a full colonel now, and she said that her research project has been successfully completed.”
“Yeah, she's been working hard on that for a couple of years.”
Daniel shrugged as he commented, “I still don't understand it, but it's a medical thingie.”
“Thingie?” Jack chuckled at his husband's choice of words. “Is that a technical term?”
“Anyway,” Daniel said, ignoring Jack's interruption. “She's been, uh, smiling a lot lately. Have you noticed?”
“As a matter of fact, I have,” Jack agreed. “I just don't know what it means.”
“Maybe she's, uh, happy,” Daniel suggested as he moved up behind his lover and embraced him. “You're so sexy, and gawd, how I want you when you're dressed in burgundy.”
“You just want my color,” Jack teased in reference to Daniel's love of burgundy. He turned around for a tender kiss and then said, “We'd better go.”
The lovers headed for the front door, stopping to say goodbye to the dogs and giving them a little treat.
“Happy Valentine's Day, Girls!” Jack called out as the beagles devoured their treats and then ran to the warmth of their deluxe doghouse.
“They're happy,” Daniel commented as the two moved to their front door.
As had happened only a month earlier, just as Jack opened the door, there, standing in front of him with his right hand raised, preparing to knock, was Alex Dennison, the designer of their renovated home who was now a friend as well.
“Alex, we can't go on meeting like this,” Jack joked.
Alex chuckled and said, “I was in the neighborhood and thought I'd stop by. Actually, I'm in town for a couple of days to check on some projects, but everyone I've tried to reach tonight is gone. Uh, looks like you two are going out.”
“Hi, Alex,” Daniel said, extending out his hand in greeting. “Actually, we're going to Janet's. You remember Doctor Fraiser? She was here at Thanksgiving.”
“The energetic redhead that kept threatening everyone with large needles,” Alex commented.
“That's the Doc,” Jack said, nodding.
“Well, I don't want to keep you. I just don't understand why none of my business contacts are answering the phone,” the designer stated.
“Maybe they have dates,” Jack suggested as he and Daniel walked out of the house and locked the door.
“All of them?” Alex asked.
“Well, it is Valentine's Day,” Daniel pointed out. “Of course, I know a lot ...”
“Valentine's Day,” Alex sighed. Shaking his head in disbelief, he added, “I didn't make the connection between the day and the date.”
**Didn't make the connection?** Jack silently relayed to his partner. **This guy needs to get out more!**
“Alex, why don't you come with us? Janet won't mind,” Daniel assured.
“No, I couldn't do that,” Alex replied. “I'm sure she doesn't need a gate crasher.”
Jack coughed at the term, earning him a glare from Daniel, but then said, “Alex, I promise you, the Doc is a gem. She's used to *gate* crashers. Come on,” Jack insisted, ushering the well-dressed young man into the SUV.
**So much for using the Silver Fox,** Daniel sighed, hating the missed opportunity to drive his slinky sports car that reminded him of Jack.
“Are you sure she won't mind? I can always work on some perspectives ...” Alex began, his mind already putting together a design for a new client's foyer.
“Perspectives?” Jack balked. “Alex, you're young. It's Valentine's Day, and that means party time. Let's go!”
With that, Jack put the vehicle in drive and headed for Janet's home.
“General, Daniel, come on in,” Janet greeted as she opened the door wide to allow the entrance of the latest party arrivals.
“Doc, you remember Alex Dennison?” Jack asked.
“The master designer,” Janet remarked with a smile. “Of course, I do.”
“It's a pleasure to see you again, Doctor Fraiser. I ...” Alex began.
“It's Janet,” the spunky redhead interrupted.
Alex nodded and politely stated, “I hope you don't mind my coming.”
“Janet, Alex came by just as we were leaving. We invited him to the party since he didn't have any other plans,” Daniel explained.
“He's worried about being a *gate* crasher, Doc,” Jack smirked, earning him glares from both Daniel and Janet, along with a confused glance from Alex.
“No such worries here,” Janet said warmly. “Besides, I've been thinking about doing some remodeling of my own. Alex, would it be possible to make an appointment to discuss it?”
“Of course,” Alex grinned, his entire demeanor seeming to come to life. He whipped out his business card, presenting it with a flourish to Janet. “I'm out of town frequently working on a project in Florida, but I'm here for a day or two at least every two weeks. Now, about your house, what did you have in mind?”
Alex had walked a foot or two away, his eyes already surveying the structure and decor in place.
Turning to face him, Janet laughed, “What I had in mind was making an appointment to discuss it next week. Right now, I'm thinking martini. Would you like one?”
“Thank you,” Alex said absently, continuing to mentally redesign Janet's house.
Jack and Daniel chuckled. Jack walked up to Alex, placing his hand at the young man's back as he said, “Drink and be merry, Alex; it's Valentine's Day.”
“Right,” Alex said. “Do you know if Janet prefers modern or more traditional looks?”
“Yes,” Jack answered. Seeing Sam and Pete, he said, “Ah, the newlyweds. Excuse me, Alex.”
Jack moved away with Daniel on his heels. The younger man looked back at Alex, smiling.
~Gawd, sometimes he reminds me of me; uh, the old me. All work and no play.~
“It's a great house, Alex, but it needs some work, and Gorgeous, here, and I ...”
“Pete!” Sam admonished for the tenth time that night, preferring her husband refer to her by name, meaning 'Sam' and not 'Gorgeous'. Still, she couldn't help but revel in her husband's affection. ~He makes me feel so special.~
“Sorry, Honey,” Pete laughed mischievously. “Anyway, we want to add another room or two.”
“I'd be happy to take a look,” Alex offered, whipping out another business card.
“One thing, we're not exactly in the Jackson-O'Neill's tax bracket, if you, uh, get my drift,” Pete said, though he had a smile on his face.
“That's not a problem, Pete,” Alex assured. “I'm sure we can come to an agreement.”
“Actually, Alex, I'd like to do some of it myself,” Pete proudly announced.
Alex was surprised and cocked his head slightly as he asked, “Are you in the architecture or design business?”
“No, I'm in the arrest and jail biz,” Pete quipped, a smirk on his face.
“He's a police detective,” Sam answered, her hands on her husband's right arm.
“Oh, I see,” Alex responded.
“And he's great with his hands,” Sam added.
“Please, Sam, not here,” Pete smirked.
“Pete!” Sam said, rolling her eyes, but unable to contain a slight reddening of her cheeks.
Alex chuckled, happy when Pete finally explained his construction background.
“Pete, I already have some ideas, but I do need to see the place first.”
“We'll call,” Sam advised the designer.
“Tell me about your place,” Alex requested at the same time.
Just then, Daniel walked over, having eavesdropped a little on the conversation.
“Hey, Guys, how's it going?” the archaeologist asked.
“It's a great party,” Sam answered. “Daniel, how did Lulu's dance show go?”
“Oh, Sam, she was adorable. We were so proud of her,” Daniel answered, referring to an informal recital that Lulu's dance class had done for the children's parents. “And it had the bonus effect of encouraging Noa to learn more about ballet.”
“She's a tapper,” Pete said with a smile.
“Yeah, she is,” Daniel acknowledged, “but she said she wants to be able to do better at ballet, too.”
“You and Jack did a nice job turning that spare room into a dance studio,” Alex commented. He turned back to Sam and Pete. “The proper utilization of space can be trying for some. What kind of space were you two hoping to achieve with your remodeling?”
Sam gave a closed smile, and Pete patted her hand gently.
“Alex, I see some friends we haven't talked to yet,” Pete stated evasively. “We'll give you a call about the house next week.”
“We're looking forward to your input,” Sam agreed as she smiled politely.
Alex sighed as he watched the couple walk away.
“So, Alex, how do you like being in Florida so much? I mean, uh, who knew you'd be there for over a year,” Daniel commented.
“Not even Byron,” Alex responded. “One project led to another. It's really come in handy for my homework,” the young designer said mysteriously.
“Homework?” a surprised Daniel asked, trying to relate Alex's comment to any previous conversation he could recall. The archaeologist gave a blank stare and a shrug. ~Nope, no clue what he's talking about.~
Smiling, Alex explained, “The University of Miami School of Architecture has a fast track program for people with degrees in related fields. It's a two year program, but they are letting me go a little faster.”
“Define a 'little' faster,” Daniel smirked.
“They give me a project, and I turn it in as soon as I get it done,” Alex answered casually.
“So how close are you to finishing?” Daniel inquired. “I, uh, know something about fast track education myself.”
“I researched what was available in Florida before I left and signed up online. I turned my first project in the day I showed up on campus,” Alex chuckled with pride. “Knocked their socks off, too. I'm waiting for grades of my last two projects and my thesis. Then I get to sit for my exams, and after that ...”
“Do you get to the beach much?” Daniel interrupted.
“The beach?” Alex asked, as if he'd never heard the word before.
“Uh, yeah, sandy place, lots of sun, swimming suits, lifeguards, the ocean ... sunburns?”
“Yes, of course,” Alex responded. “As a matter of fact, I was there about three weeks ago.”
“Oh,” Daniel smiled, eager to hear more.
“Small project, designing a newer Coast Guard station for ...”
“Alex, um ... I'll be right back. Excuse me,” Daniel said, wondering how he could get Alex to have some fun as he walked away to get a refill.
“Teal'c, don't tell me you've started drinking after all these years,” Jack said, noticing the Jaffa holding a drink in his hands.
“I do not consume alcoholic liquids, O'Neill. This is baja.”
“Baja, as in Baja, California?” Jack asked inquisitively.
Tilting his head slightly, Teal'c ignored the statement and answered, “Baja as in baja. It is a beverage consumed on Chulak.”
“We're not on Chulak,” Jack pointed out.
“That is so,” the Jaffa responded flatly.
“So you BYOB'd tonight,” Jack chuckled. Seeing the confused expression on his friend's face, Jack explained, “BYOB is an acronym for 'bring your own bottle'.”
“I see. I did not BYOB. DoctorFraiser enjoys baja.”
“She does?” Jack asked, surprised.
“She does,” Teal'c answered straightforwardly.
“That's good to know, Teal'c.” Jack took a drink of his beer. “Seen Ishta recently?”
“No,” Teal'c responded.
“Going to?” Jack pried.
“It is doubtful,” the Jaffa answered simply.
“Hey, Babe,” Daniel said, smiling as he leaned in for a quick kiss.
Jack put his arm around his husband's waist and smiled.
“DanielJackson, I would like to surprise ChenoaJacksonO'Neill with thirty flavors on Thursday,” Teal'c said.
“Thirty flavors?” a confused Daniel asked.
“I think he means Baskin-Robbins,” Jack interpreted.
“Oh,” Daniel replied.
“Would you bring the Princess here so that I may surprise her?” Teal'c asked.
“Here, as in ... here?” Daniel said, looking around Janet's house.
“DoctorFraiser has given her consent to use her home for a tea party and thirty flavors.”
“That's thirty-one flavors, Teal'c,” Jack corrected.
“Uh, sure, we can do that, but it'll have to be sometime after 1 p.m.,” Daniel commented.
Teal'c nodded his agreement just as Alex walked up.
“This is a great house,” Alex observed. “Typical of the period, but better than average construction; I wish I knew what Janet wanted to do.”
“Hello to you, too,” Jack teased.
Alex smiled, but continued, “I certainly can make lots of suggestions, but it would help if she'd answer a few questions.”
“I believe DoctorFraiser would like to modernize her accessories,” Teal'c stated.
“Oh, are you familiar with her desires?” Alex eagerly inquired.
Teal'c stared at Alex and asked, “Would you like some baja?”
“Baja?” Alex questioned, having never heard of the drink before.
“It is a drink from a faraway place,” Teal'c explained.
“Uh, sure,” Alex agreed. “Do you know if Janet prefers modern over traditional?”
As Alex and Teal'c walked away, the lovers each took deep breaths, small frowns appearing on their faces.
“Danny, did Teal'c just smile?” Jack asked.
“Yes, I think so,” Daniel answered. “Jack?”
“Yes, Love?” Jack asked.
“Do you think ...” the younger man began.
“No. Nah. Of course not,” Jack said, cutting off the question. “Let's dance.”
“I thought you'd never ask,” Daniel responded with a tender smile.
“This is refreshing,” Alex commented as he sipped his baja.
“Indeed,” Teal'c responded.
“Teal'c,” Janet called out, walking over to join the two. “Are you two enjoying the party?”
“Yes, it's very nice,” Alex answered. “Janet, Teal'c said you wanted to add on a new room.”
“Doc!” Jack interrupted as he and Daniel joined the group.
“Teal'c, let me, uh, try one of those ... bajas,” Daniel requested, his curiosity getting the best of him.
Jack continued, “You need to throw more of these shindigs.”
“Thank you, Sir.”
“Doc!” Jack chastised.
“Habits, Jack. Darn military beats it into us,” the SGC physician laughed.
“Thank you, Teal'c,” Daniel said as he took the glass from the Jaffa.
“Doc, who's that guy over by Peterson?” Jack asked.
Janet looked over where Jack was pointing and answered, “Oh, that's Tim Kasemets. He's dating Debra.”
“Oh,” Jack said as he conducted a silent evaluation of the man dating a member of Janet's staff.
“Janet,” Alex spoke again, “what did you want the room to be used for?”
“Tim's a ...” Janet had begun as she addressed Jack. Hearing Alex's words, she stopped, and asked, “Excuse me?”
Without a pause, Teal'c responded, “DoctorFraiser has decided to add a room for mediation and prayer.”
“She has?” Jack asked.
“She has?” Daniel inquired, lagging just a half-second behind his lover's words.
As Teal'c simply stared at them, Janet answered, “Yes, I have. I loved that quiet room you two did for the brood, and Teal'c has convinced me that it's important to take time to get in touch with our inner selves.”
“He has?” Daniel asked.
“He has?” Jack echoed, again a mere second splitting their words.
“He has,” Janet stated.
“That's a great idea, Janet,” Alex said. “I've done several rooms along that line. Colors, sounds, layers -- all are intensely important to create the ultimate centerpiece. Let me ask you some questions, and, Teal'c, can I have a refill?”
“As you wish,” the Jaffa responded.
For the next five minutes, Janet answered questions about the potential new room, until finally, she said, “Whoa, Alex. We're having a party. I really do want to talk with you about this, but not tonight. Tell me, what did you like best about Florida?”
“Uh, there was this amazing old house. The architecture of it was magnificent. In fact, I plan on copying some of the ideas for this mansion I'm doing for a new client. I thought I'd ...”
“Alex, have you met the Chandlers?” Janet interrupted, taking hold of the eager designer's arm. “Monica works at the Air Force hospital with me, and her husband, Kevin, is a teacher. You'll love them,” she said, glancing back at Jack, Daniel, and Teal'c while rolling her eyes in exasperation.
“He is devoted to his work,” Teal'c observed.
“It would seem so,” Daniel agreed. “Refill?” Daniel requested of the Jaffa, having already finished off his drink.
Jack looked at his lover incredulously, eventually asking, “It's that good?”
Daniel shrugged and answered, “Research.”
“Mmmm,” Daniel sighed as he and Jack shared a chocolate kiss, literally, the Godiva treat partially melting in both of their mouths.
“Aw, Danny, Love,” Jack said softly, covertly looking at the people mingling in the rest of the room. “Not that I'm complaining, but we're usually not so, so ...”
“Are you ashamed of me, General?” Daniel asked softly as his hands played with the collar of Jack's shirt, one finger toying with the tiny hairs at the back of his lover's neck.
Without escaping Daniel's hold, Jack leaned down, picked up another truffle and answered his lover by sharing another chocolate delight.
From the opposite corner of the room, Casey Hemmings smiled as he watched the married couple.
“They're having a good time,” Janet laughed as she joined the male nurse.
“Yes, they are, Doctor Fraiser.”
Janet groaned, “Casey, how many times do I have to remind you that at social functions, it's Janet.”
Casey laughed and nodded as he responded, “Yes, they are, *Janet*. I'm happy for them, but eleven kids?” Casey shuddered. “That's domestic bliss gone too far, in my book.”
“Maybe for some, but not for Jack and Daniel. Do you know, though, this is one of the few times I've seen them let loose like this? I mean, in their home, they're like this, and at occasions when it's just, uh ...” Janet hesitated, not sure how to continue.
“Their trusted circle,” Casey stated. “The people who know them and love them even though they're gay.”
“Careful! Don't use that word around them,” Janet quickly warned.
“I know,” Casey chuckled. “They don't like labels. I've heard the speech,” he added with a smile.
Janet sipped her Shirley Temple, then said, “They worry too much about ...” She paused, searching for the right words. Shaking her head, Janet continued, “They aren't concerned with what other people think per se, but, they don't like to push their choices on others in case; well ...” Janet stammered, still unable to find the right words.
“I understand. Daniel and I have talked some. Sure wish we could clone him,” Casey remarked.
“You and just about every woman who has ever passed through the SGC and more than a few of the men. He is adorable.” Looking around to see Jack's whereabouts, Janet whispered, “We don't want to let the general hear us talking like this.”
Casey laughed as he replied, “Janet, I've already been there. The general has a green streak that's bigger than this house.”
“Than the entire city,” Janet winced just thinking about it. “How about you, Casey,” Janet said, cozying up closer to the man. “Whatever happened to that young pilot you were so excited about?”
“You just answered your own question, Janet,” Casey sighed dejectedly. “He was young, too young and not secure enough in his own choices. I'm so frickin' tired of those studs.” He shook his head despairingly and then looked back at Janet. “They're either experimenting or not sure enough about their own sexuality, or they think being gay is a banner to wave in front of people. I may not be as vocal about that label thing, but I don't need to participate in a demonstration to be proud, confident, and sure of who I am.”
“I'm sorry, Casey. I was hoping that it would work out for you,” Janet replied sympathetically.
“Yeah, so was I, but the Air Force was more important. He got scared and ran like there was no tomorrow. He's dating some Pamela Anderson wannabe now so he can brag to the boys,” Casey lamented.
“You'll find someone,” Janet responded assuredly.
“I hope so, but no more of these young guns without a clue. I'm through with them. I'd rather be alone than go through that fog again.” Casey sighed sadly, but then shook his head to ward off the sadness. “Enough about my lack of a love life. How's your daughter doing with that hunk of hers?”
Janet laughed, “Typical newlyweds. Last week they ...”
Casey listened to Janet's comments and as he did, his eyes drifted again to the emerald-eyed stranger he hadn't yet met.
~Hmmm. Now I could go for that. Man, oh, man, you are a bit of all right, Sir,~ the nurse thought as he drank in the sight of the six-foot-two, lean, well-defined man. ~Those eyes are something else! That razor-sharp mustache and beard in perfect alignment. Snappy dresser, too. Geez! I gotta think cold showers, that last woman someone tried to set me up with, uh, tetanus shots, vacation with my parents ...~
“BINGO!” Alex shouted out excitedly.
“Way to go, Alex!” Jack exclaimed.
“Now for your prize,” Janet said. “Go on!”
Alex smiled nervously. The winner of the Valentine's Day Bingo game got to kiss the person of his choice.
~Why'd I yell 'Bingo'?~ the anxious winner thought as he looked at the assembled party guests. Scanning the guests, he stopped at Monica Chandler, having enjoyed his conversation with her. Seeing Kevin's scowl, Alex moved on, trying not to be obvious. “Goodness,” Alex commented, not knowing what else to say.
“Don't be shy,” Sam encouraged.
**Gawd, I feel sorry him; he's so embarrassed, Jack.**
**He's a big boy, Danny.**
Alex turned around in a circle, noticing all the pretty faces -- Carol, Sue, Kelly, Monica, Sam, Janet, Handsome Stranger ...
~What?~ Alex shook his head. ~Get a grip, Alex. You've had too much to drink.~ With a smile, Alex walked to the party's host and gave Janet a chaste kiss. “Thank you for letting me crash your party, Janet.”
“Aw, Sweetie, you're welcome,” Janet said, patting Alex's back as they hugged quickly.
“I'm thinking I might surprise Sam with a trip to Europe,” Pete commented to Alex later in the evening while Sam was off chatting with Janet and some of the nurses from the SGC.
“Anywhere in particular?” the designer inquired.
“Maybe England or France. Ever been there?”
“Yes, both,” the designer admitted.
“Which is the best for a vacation when you want to get away from it all?” Pete excitedly asked.
“Ah, to be honest, Pete, I wasn't there on vacation. I went to England to meet with a CEO of a company who was redesigning a number of his buildings around the world.”
“You must have done *some* sightseeing,” Pete coaxed.
“I took in some buildings I'd always wanted to see. I didn't have time for anything else,” Alex confessed.
“What about France?”
“I was there for about two weeks,” Alex said, recalling the trip.
“And?” Pete prodded. “Come on, Alex. No one goes to France and stays inside a hotel.”
“No, of course not,” Alex agreed. “We saw the usual places, all very detailed and fascinating from an architectural point of view.”
“What's the most romantic? Maybe I should take Sam to Venice for a gondola ride. Ever done that?” the detective inquired hopefully.
“Once,” Alex admitted, having momentarily forgotten the trip to Italy.
“Bet you had a good time,” Pete said with a wink.
“Yes, I did,” Alex confirmed, nodding his head. “The design of the canal itself, and the homes along it, is most intriguing.”
~Is this guy for real?~ “Alex, I wasn't talking about the curves of the waterway. I was talking about the curves of your companion,” Pete said with a slight nod of his head.
“The waterways aren't curved at all,” Alex corrected. “Companion?” Alex saw Pete's look of 'tell all' and became wide-eyed. “Oh, no, you've misunderstood. I was in Italy with some associates. Our purpose was to study Italian architecture.”
“Oh.” Pete took a sip of his drink and decided to try again. After all, Alex was a world traveler. He had to have some ideas. Right? “Well, I'm not sold on Europe. Where would you suggest for a romantic getaway, some place off the beaten track?”
“The architecture of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain is incredible,” Alex responded. “It's one of the greatest masterpieces of Muslim design. It was built as a palace and fortress for the Moorish monarchs of Granada and is surrounded by a heavily fortified wall more than a mile in perimeter. It ...”
“Thanks, Alex,” Pete said, smiling. “Excuse me, I need to check up on my wife.”
“No problem,” Alex sighed as he turned to review Janet's home again. ~I talk too much.~
“Hmmm, uh, Fly Boy,” Daniel crooned as he blinked. “Would you be so kind as to, uh, get me another bala?”
“That's baja, Danny,” Jack corrected.
“That's what I said,” Daniel insisted.
“Of course, you did. Be right back, Love,” Jack said, placing a kiss on Daniel's cheek. “Uh, Hemmings ...”
Jack stared at the handsome man. Casey was six-feet-one with a lean physique. His wavy brown hair was as full today as it had been the first day Jack had met him, back in 1998 when Casey joined the medical staff at the SGC.
Naturally, Jack's Mr. Jealousy had immediately noticed the hazel-eyed man's interest in Daniel, though the archaeologist himself was totally clueless. It hadn't taken Jack long, though, to make sure Casey knew the score. It was something Jack had reinforced several times over the following weeks.
Then, right before Jack and Daniel had been set to retire in 2004, Daniel had been severely injured on what was supposed to be their last mission through the Stargate. Casey had been one of the staff assigned to Daniel as the archaeologist struggled to stay alive. In the process, Jack had seen Casey Hemmings in a whole new light.
The understanding and empathetic civilian nurse had answered questions, kept Jack updated, and helped the then-colonel to take care of his injured husband. Jack truly appreciated that and had never forgotten Casey's kindness and understanding during those nightmarish weeks.
Mr. Jealousy still surfaced when Casey was around, but it was different than before. In fact, it was more an obligatory habit, even a game, than anything else. Jack knew Casey would never make a move on Daniel now, and Casey knew that Jack knew that. It was an unspoken fact between the two men, who didn't even know each other all that well.
“I know, Jack. No touching, fondling ...” Casey teased.
“Hemmings!” Jack exclaimed.
Casey broke out into laughter and asked, “Would you like me to get Daniel's drink?”
“No, of course, he doesn't,” Daniel answered. “Do you, uh ...”
“Jack,” Jack groaned. “Remember me? Your *husband*!” Jack barked quietly. “It's a good thing I'm driving,” the designated driver of the couple said as he turned to get Daniel another baja. ~Wonder what's in that stuff?~
“He'll never change,” Daniel sighed.
Casey laughed and caught another glimpse of the stranger who seemed to be pacing the room, studying every nook and cranny of it.
“Daniel, do you know who that is?” Casey asked.
“Uh, yeah. His name is Alex Dennison. He's a top-notch designer for Archonics Ltd.”
“Knows his stuff, huh?”
“He did our house, the renovation. We're very happy with it,” Daniel commented.
“Married? Engaged? Seeing anyone? Gay?” Casey asked with a wanton smile.
Daniel laughed and answered, “No, no, not that I know of, and, uh, gawd, I have no idea.”
“He is,” Casey stated confidently. ~I sense it. Man, I hope I'm not wrong.~
“How, uh, do you know?” a tipsy Daniel inquired.
“I just do,” Casey answered, watching Alex closely. “How about an introduction?”
“Sure. Come on,” Daniel said, leading Casey to where Alex stood by the edge of the living room, near the kitchen. “Alex ...”
Alex turned and smiled happily, saying, “Daniel, do you know if Janet likes pink or mauve better? I have a crazy idea of what to do in this area if ...”
“No, I don't,” Daniel said, widening his eyes in disbelief that every single time Alex opened his mouth, something business related seemed to come out. ~He really is as bad as I was. We've got to help him. Hey, maybe Casey can.~ “Alex, I'd like you meet a friend of mine, Casey Hemmings. Casey, Alex Dennison.”
“It's a pleasure to meet you, Alex. I've been observing you observing the house,” Casey commented.
“It's a pleasure to meet you, too, Mister Hemmings,” Alex said as he shook Casey's hand, immediately noticing an odd feeling when their hands connected. “Are you in the military?”
~Hey, that's a non-designer question,~ Daniel silently cheered.
“I'm a nurse, but I do work at the Cheyenne Complex, for Janet Fraiser. She's a great lady.”
“Do you know her well?” Alex inquired, immediately sidetracked back into work mode.
“Hmm. I've worked with her for years. She's a good friend,” Casey acknowledged.
“Do you know if she prefers pink or mauve?”
~Spoke too soon,~ Daniel lamented silently, just as Jack approached.
“Here you go, Danny,” Jack said. “I thought for a minute you absconded with my husband, Casey.”
“And risk being drawn and quartered? No, thanks,” Casey smirked, noticing Jack restaking his claim on Daniel, and, as usual, getting no resistance from the smiling archaeologist as their hands wrapped around each other's waist. He looked at the designer. “Alex, have you ever gone windsurfing?”
“Windsurfing?” Alex echoed. “Actually, I have.”
“I love to windsurf. Where'd you hit the waves?”
“Maui,” Alex nonchalantly answered.
“Yeah? That is the greatest. Tell me about it,” Casey requested, expecting to hear an adventurer's tale.
“It was about three years ago. I had a client who wanted an outdoor feel to his house. He was a real sportsman. I had to learn to windsurf just to meet with him. We did some incredible things with waves in his house. There's this classic design that I was able to modify to make his bedroom appear to be the ocean. We ...”
Jack and Daniel exchanged a look, their bodies sagging slightly.
“Excuse us,” Jack spoke softly. “We're going to dance.”
“Again?” Daniel asked, smiling with anticipation.
“We're going to dance the night away,” Jack responded with a gleam in his eye.
“Gawd, I love you,” Daniel responded, enjoying every dance they did in front of others. They'd had to hide for so long, and one of the little things Daniel hated the most was being at a party and not being able to dance with his lover. “Dance with me until we're too tired to stand,” he whispered into Jack's ear.
“You have a deal,” Jack replied as they clung to each other as the music played.
“Go on, Carter!” Jack shouted.
“Shanahan,” Pete corrected lightheartedly. “You can do it, Sam. Yeah!”
Sam wiped her brow and urged on the next player, saying, “Take your time, Monica; that's the secret!”
“Way to go, Teal'c!” Skeet Warner cheered.
“No, don't drop it!” Carol warned.
The guests had divided into teams of four, playing Lover's Lifesavers. Having formed into lines, the goal was to pass a lifesaver from person to person using nothing but a toothpick until the toothpick had gone all the way down the line and back up.
“Oh, brother,” Sam droned. “Sir, you're supposed to transfer the lifesaver onto the toothpick, not help Daniel swallow it!”
Jack shrugged proudly as he held his lover, saying, “Sorry, Ca....rter-Shanahan, but he was too tempting to pass up.”
Their line had to start over from the beginning, only this time, Sam separated Jack and Daniel.
“Nothing personal, Sir.”
“Just watch those lips, Carter, and, you, too, Shanahan,” Jack warned since the Shanahans now sandwiched Daniel.
“Come on, Casey!” Janet cheered.
Flicking his tongue, Casey's eyes focused on Alex. Seductively, Alex extended his tongue, slowly pushing the lifesaver along. He noticed Alex was breathing heavier, and the designer's eyes were glued to Casey's.
~Oh, yeah, I definitely want some of this.~
Cheers broke out as one of the teams finished, winning the prize of a small box of chocolates each.
“CARTER!” Jack roared. “You can let go of my husband now.“
Janet laughed and mumbled, “That man will never change.”
As Jack and Daniel toasted each other, somewhat oblivious to the rest of the attendees at Janet's party, Casey walked over, shaking his head.
“Doesn't he stop talking business, ever?” Casey asked.
Jack scowled at the interruption, but looked over in the direction Casey was looking. Sure enough, Alex had managed to corner Janet again and was pointing out something about her ceiling.
“Apparently not,” Daniel responded dryly.
“I made the mistake of asking him about my house, no remodeling, just a design overhaul, something to give the place a more modern look.”
“And?” Jack prodded.
“And he went on for twenty minutes about colors, textures, and lighting. I'm interested.” Casey coughed and stared down, glancing over at Jack and Daniel tentatively. “Um, I mean I'm interested in his ideas, but I don't want to talk about them tonight.”
“Did you tell him?” Daniel asked.
“I tried, but then he saw Janet and excused himself. The man is intelligent; that's obvious, but as conversant as he is on current events and history, sooner or later, he ends up talking about design. He needs a life,” Casey lamented. “Well, Happy Valentine's Day, you two. I'll see you at the Mountain.”
“Goodnight, Casey,” Daniel replied.
Jack nodded as Casey walked away, and then Daniel giggled.
“Daniel, no more bajas for you,” Jack told his soulmate.
“Research, Babe,” Daniel argued. Then he took a breath as he stared at Alex. “For all we know about him, Jack, and the sadness in his life, we don't really know much about him; just numbers, statistics, his talent. You know what I mean?”
“What scares me is that I do,” Jack teased. More seriously, Jack said, “And I thought Carter needed a life.”
“Well, it's not really our business, is it?”
“No, Danny, it's not.”
Janet surveyed her guests chatting amiably, except for Alex who was checking his voice mail and text messages for the umpteenth time.
~He does look a bit more relaxed. Wish I'd planned another party game.~
As if on cue, Monica drained her glass, jumped up and went to the broom closet, extracting the broom.
“Leaving so soon?” Jack quipped, earning him a jab from his husband.
“EVERYBODY LIMBO!” Monica shouted at the top of her lungs.
Casey, who had just reached the door after saying his goodnights to some others, stopped and turned, intending to watch for a few minutes.
“No, you don't, Casey Hemmings,” Sue said, coming over and pulling the man towards the growing Limbo line. “No watchers here; everyone participates.”
“Okay, if you insist,” Casey laughed. “Hey, I'll hold the pole, um, broom,” he volunteered.
“As will I,” Teal'c nodded, taking the object from Kevin who had been holding it.
~Oh, boy, this is going to be good,~ Janet thought as she walked to her alphabetized rack of CDs.
As a gift, her new son-in-law, Dominic, had converted all of her records, cassettes, and eight-track tapes to CDs, creating a number of special discs. Sure enough, cross referenced under 'L' was:
'Limbo' - see 'party' - under 'party', the designated disc read, 'Bunny Hop, Conga, Limbo, and Macarena'.
~Bless you, Dom,~ Janet thought.
Monica had corralled several guests and pushed the coffee table back. The eager nurse was set to go first, twisting and contorting her body in preparation and almost falling over, making it obvious that not only would she not last long in the Limbo line, but also that she was not the designated driver for her carpool at the end of the party.
Janet started the music, and the Caribbean beat of the rhythmic game/competition/dance from the sixties filled the air.
“I am *so* not playing this game,” Jack whispered to his husband.
“Oh, yes, you are, Fllllly Boy, or they'll be nooooo flllllying for you tonight, if you, uh, get my drift,” Daniel said, as he moved to go under the broom.
“That's blackmail,” Jack called out.
Daniel looked over his shoulder and challenged, “So suuuuuue me!”
“You're turn, Teal'c,” Janet said.
Teal'c nodded and moved into position.
“*You* are going to do the Limbo?” Jack asked in surprise.
“Indeed,” Teal'c responded, quickly and smoothly completing his turn. “I believe it is your turn, O'Neill,” the Jaffa spoke as he went back to holding the broom with Casey, who had already taken his turn.
“I am ...” Jack saw Daniel's glare. “Ready to go,” Jack sighed, submitting to his lover's will.
“Whoo hoo, General!” Janet shouted.
“Show us your stuff, Doc,” Jack teased.
Dancing to the music, her arms upraised, Janet shimmied her hips and made her way under the broom. She ended up practically under Jack's nose when she stood up straight.
“General, I'll have you know that you couldn't handle my stuff.”
“Doc, I could ...”
“Whoa, there, Fly Boy,” Daniel said, sauntering in between the two. Daniel pushed Jack back a step or two and then did a quick one-eighty turn, almost falling back in the progress. “Find your own colonel, Colonel,” he told Janet with a sappily jealous smile.
“General,” Jack whispered in his lover's ear.
“She's not a general, Jack,” Daniel replied.
“No, but I am,” Jack smirked.
“What does that have to do with anything?” a slightly annoyed Daniel asked.
“Nothing, Love. Come on,” Jack said, putting his hands on Daniel's shoulders and steering him away.
“Chicken,” Janet teased as they walked away.
“Janet, it's Cassie,” Sam called out, holding the phone in her hand.
“On Valentine's Day?” Somewhat concerned, Janet motioned towards her bedroom, indicating to Sam she'd take the call in there. “Thanks, Sam.” In her bedroom, Janet picked up the phone. “Cass, is everything okay?”
“Wonderful, Mom. I only have a minute, but I wanted to call and wish you a 'Happy Valentine's Day' and tell you that I love you,” Cassandra answered cheerfully.
“Aw, Sweetie, I love you, too.”
Everybody made it through the first round, which amazed Kevin since his tipsy wife was barely able to stand up at the moment.
“This is cool,” said Casey as the next round began. “I've only done this once before. This is a really old dance.”
“You have no idea, CaseyHemmings,” Teal'c commented flatly.
“From the fifties, I guess,” Casey agreed, not really having any idea of the dance's history.
“Actually, the Limbo began as a funeral dance,” Daniel interjected. “In the Roman Catholic tradition, the, uh, word limbo is a place, also known as purgatory, where people's souls go if they are not good enough for Heaven for aren't bad enough for hell. Essentially, the souls are stuck 'in limbo' with no way out. When they first began doing the dance in Trinidad, they actually portrayed going down into the hold of a slave ship to depict being led off into slavery.”
“It's a slave dance?” one of the guests named Sue asked as she stood nearby.
“Well, yes. Some survived the trip on the slave ships, and some did not. For the length of their journey, those enslaved were in limbo, not knowing who would live or die,” Daniel explained.
“Go, baby, go!” Pete shouted from several feet away, cheering Sam on as she arched her back to make it through her next turn.
Daniel laughed as Sam made a funny face, his history lesson forgotten and over for the moment.
Tipsy Monica didn't make her second trip under the broom so she offered to relieve one of the broom holders.
“Go ahead, Casey,” Monica said.
“Uh, that's okay. How about taking Teal'c's place?” Casey suggested. He smiled as the woman shrugged and moved over and took the broom from the Jaffa. ~Sorry, but Alex is up again. Oh, yeah, baby. Let's see you thrust your hips under the broom, Handsome.~
“Dear, let me,” Kevin said, taking the broom from Monica after she had taken it from Teal'c. “You might drop it on someone's head,” he whispered to the woman who simply giggled in response.
As Alex made his way under the broom, holding his arms up and spreading his legs wide, jumping forward in short hops while passing under the Limbo broom with ease, Casey thought, ~He's loosened up a bit.~
Alex had rolled up his sleeves, revealing tanned, muscular forearms. His open shirt collar showed a wisp of black chest hair.
~Hope he lasts a couple more rounds,~ the male nurse thought. ~Or, you could collapse, and I could give you mouth-to-mouth!~
Over at the bar, Janet asked Teal'c if he had ever done the Limbo before.
Teal'c explained, “On Chulak, it is called Dareemobal. It is a training exercise. I believe it was introduced to the Tau'ri when the Goa'uld first came to this planet.
“Really?” Janet asked, not quite sure if Teal'c was kidding. She hadn't been around for Daniel's discourse on the dance, either. “Show me,” Janet dared.
“As you wish,” Teal'c said, bowing his head.
The Jaffa joined the line just as Jack fell on his six and whined, “Oh, for crying out loud.”
“Take care of that, uh, six,” Daniel uncharacteristically called out as he then took another swig of baja.
“I don't think I've ever seen Jack and Daniel so free at a party before,” Sue whispered.
“I think it's great,” Kelly, another guest, responded.
“Me, too; they are a cute couple.” Sue giggled, “Did you see Daniel step between the general and Janet in the first round?”
Kelly laughed, “Priceless. They're normally more reserved.”
“Not tonight,” Sue chuckled, pointing over at Jack who was scooting Daniel's glasses up on his face since they were about to fall off.
The game continued until all the party goers, except for Daniel, Alex, and Teal'c had fallen out of the running. The broom was a mere three feet off the floor.
“How loooooow can you go?” Sue called out and then whistled as Daniel tried to move under the broom.
With a sigh, Daniel looked up from when he had fallen to the floor and answered, “Apparently, not low enough.”
“Awwwww,” all the females in the room sighed at the same time.
“Hey, back off!” Jack ordered, earning him nothing but laughter from the guests. Jack grumbled as he collected his lover from the carpeted floor. “From now on, you only go low for me,” Jack ordered.
Daniel chuckled and leaned in for a kiss.
“Okay, Alex, let her rip,” Janet encouraged.
~Yeah, baby, let her rip in my direction,~ Casey thought lustfully, savoring every wiggle of Alex's mid-section as the man successfully made the move under the broom ... well, almost. “Nice try, Alex,” Casey said. ~Pity.~
“Okay, Big Guy, if you can make it under, you're the champ,” Jack said, placing a supportive pat on the Jaffa's back.
“It is, as you say, O'Neill, a piece of cake,” Teal'c said with certainty.
Jack raised his eyebrows as he watched the confident alien slink under the broom.
“We have a winner!” Monica announced, throwing her arms around the surprised Jaffa.
“Dear, that's enough,” Kevin said, pulling his wife away from Teal'c.
Teal'c nodded to Kevin as the other guests moved in to congratulate him.
~What a shame. I could have watched Alex all night,~ Casey thought. ~Maybe I can ... nope, he's pulling out the cell phone. Give it up, Hemmings. This dude is all business, but what a hunky dude ... give it up!~
Saying another good-bye to Janet, Casey left the party.
“Are you sure, Mister Hanley? I could have the specs faxed to you in ... oh, yes, I know it's Valentine's Day ... Tomorrow afternoon would be fine, and, thank you for returning my call.”
“Nothing's wrong, I hope,” Janet said as she stood by Alex.
“No, of course not,” the designer replied.
“Then why are you frowning?” Janet asked.
“Am I? I don't mean to. Thank goodness everything will be back to business as usual tomorrow. Janet, I just came up with a way you can make this room more open. What would you think ...”
“Alex, come with me.” Janet grabbed the designer by the arm and led him over to the kitchen, out of earshot from the other guests. “Alex, please. This is a party. We're here to blow off steam, have some fun, let loose. It's a *party*. I'm very interested in your ideas for the house, but not tonight. Okay?”
Alex nodded and sighed, “My apologies, Janet, but when I see potential like I do here, my brain engages full speed ahead.”
“Let's see if we can slow it up a little,” Janet said with a smile, leading Alex back into the living room. “Have you met my daughter?”
“No, I haven't.”
Janet grabbed a photo of Cassandra taken a year or so ago in the backyard. The photo showed the back of the house in detail.
Alex looked at the photo and politely said, “She's lovely.” Then he noticed something by the window. “Janet, I know what you said, but I just got a fabulous idea on how we could redo the back of the house, perhaps with French doors and ...”
Janet groaned silently while pasting a smile on her face.
“Another baja, please,” Daniel requested.
After another tender kiss, Jack returned to Teal'c, who was tending bar, to get a baja refill for his lover.
Meanwhile, Daniel remained where he stood, watching Alex. He thought back to his conversation with Jack and how they agreed what Alex did was none of their business.
~On the other hand, Alex is a friend now. He needs a little ...~ Daniel burped, quickly covering his mouth, looking around in the hopes no one heard and grateful that, apparently, no one had. ~What was I saying, uh, make that thinking? Oh, yeah, Alex. He needs a nudge. Gawd, where would I be if Jack hadn't nudged me.~ Daniel wore a sloppy grin. ~Gonna let him 'nudge' me when we get home, too. Oh, yeah, right there.~ Suddenly, Daniel's eyes bugged out. ~Kinsey, the Goa'uld, cold showers, dinner with Vala ... ew, sick, gross ... that did it!~
His 'problem' handled, Daniel walked over to Alex and Janet.
“Daniel!” Janet exclaimed, her eyes begging for a reprieve from the designer's house talk.
“Daniel, Janet's house could be transformed into ...”
“Alex, I don't want a new house; just a new room and maybe a few enhancements, but I'd really like to talk about this next week and not tonight,” Janet restated.
“Uh, Alex, can I talk to you for a minute,” the somewhat inebriated archaeologist asked as a statement rather than a question, taking Alex by the elbow and leading him into the kitchen.
~These people do love this kitchen,~ the designer thought.
“Alex, uh, forgive me for butting in, but, well, Alex, get a freakin' life!” Daniel stated firmly.
Alex was stunned and quickly took a sip of his own latest baja drink to recover some composure.
“I have a life,” the man replied defensively.
“No, you don't; at least, it doesn't sound like it. Alex, there's more to life than just rocks,” Daniel stated bluntly.
“Rocks?” a confused Alex asked.
“Oops,” Daniel giggled. “I mean drawing on that little clipboard of yours -- design. You need to see the world,” Daniel said in a whisper.
“I *have* seen the world,” Alex boasted.
Daniel sighed, “And who were you with?”
“Clients, of course. I'm in demand,” the young man spoke with pride.
“Alex, this is a party, a Valentine's Day party, and you ended up here because you didn't know what to do with yourself when you couldn't work. You're supposed to party at a party, not ... not ... what was I saying?” Daniel asked, having suddenly lost his total train of thought.
“Daniel?” Jack asked, entering the kitchen just in time to see his lover almost fall down.
“Hey, Jack!” Daniel said, another sappy smile on his face and waving with his left hand.
“No more bajas for you, and don't give me any crap about research,” Jack lovingly barked.
“DanielJackson,” Teal'c called out, entering the kitchen. “I fear you are mal-kesh.”
“Mal-kesh? I, uh, don't know that word,” Daniel confided.
“I'm guessing it means drunk,” Jack deduced.
“Jaf...” Teal'c stared at Alex. “My people do not get drunk, O'Neill,” Teal'c corrected.
“Okay, then what does mal-kesh mean?” Jack asked.
Teal'c faced Jack, answered the question with an indignant stare, and instructed, “Give DanielJackson this. It will help him, and AlexDennison as well.”
“I'm fine,” Alex said, finishing his drink and then reaching over and taking the drink Jack had brought in. After downing it, Alex said, “See?”
Moments later, Alex collapsed to the floor.
“Yes, Alex, we see,” Jack said, shaking his head at the man.
“Jack?” Daniel asked.
“Yes, Daniel?” Jack asked his lover who he was currently bracing up.
“Alex fawdown, go boom,” the woozy baja-drinker giggled.
“Thank you for telling me. I hadn't noticed,” Jack said dryly as he stopped Daniel from falling down again himself.
“Jack, what was in that stuff?” Daniel asked, smacking his lips together from the memory of the after taste.
The lovers were back at home, and Alex had just left for his condo. Teal'c's remedy tasted like glue, but had instantly sobered both Daniel and Alex, even if it had knocked Alex out for a minute. To be sure, Jack had made Alex pass a few equilibrium tests before letting him drive.
“You don't want to know,” Jack answered as he locked up the house.
“Jack, do you think Alex really forgot that today is Valentine's Day?”
“You mean yesterday. It's 0100,” Jack corrected. “To be honest, Danny, I'm not sure he ever knew it was Valentine's Day.”
The lovers sat on the sofa, snuggled together, each quickly joined by one of their beloved beagles.
“He had to know once upon a time,” Daniel commented absently while he patted Bijou.
~Did you?~ Jack sighed, answering, “Not since middle school, I'd guess.”
“I heard that, Jack,” Daniel spoke softly.
“I'm sorry, Angel. I didn't want to say it out loud, but ...”
“Don't apologize, Babe, because you're right,” Daniel confessed. “I knew the day existed, but it was far from what it is now. I worked through a lot of February fourteenths. It was just another day on the calendar. The thing is, Jack, I think Alex is the same way. I remember not being able to talk about anything but work, watching people walk away from me because I bored them. Gawd, I'd still be like him if it hadn't been for you.”
“Aw, Danny. I'd still be the same as I was if not for you. I was hiding behind my pain, too. Thank heavens I couldn't resist that forlorn puppy-dog look on your face that night at the SGC. I just had to make you laugh, and I the more I succeeded, the more I let go of my own pain. You helped me as much as I helped you,” Jack proclaimed, speaking from his soul.
Daniel blushed and nuzzled in closer to his Love as he rubbed Bijou's floppy ears.
“We don't have a right to interfere in Alex's life,” Daniel said, trying to convince himself more than his soulmate.
“He hasn't asked for our input, Angel,” Jack noted.
“It's just hard,” Daniel sighed. “I mean, he's me over a decade ago, and I know how miserable that is.”
“Danny, I don't think Alex is even aware that he's miserable, if he is. Once he got used to the party games, he really seemed to have some fun, but, I don't know, Angel; he was nervous, too,” the older man observed as he rubbed Katie's belly gently.
Daniel replied, “From what he has said, he's used to being around professionals in his industry or clients eager to get his opinion on what they need done. He's very social, Babe, except ... well, I think maybe sometimes he's not sure how to separate the party from the party that is work.”
Jack nodded, replying, “But he didn't ask us to save him.”
“I know, Jack, but, uh, well, I didn't ask you to save me, either. Thank you for ignoring my error of omission,” Daniel stated gratefully.
Jack smiled, realizing he had just about lost the low-key battle. His lover was already strategizing. He could feel it in his bones.
“Danny, I know you; you're already trying to figure out how to rescue Alex from something that he doesn't even realize is a problem.”
“Maybe he does, Jack, but ... but maybe he just hasn't admitted it.”
“You and princesses,” Jack sighed.
“Jack, he's not a princess,” Daniel scoffed.
“Are you saying he's a queen?” Jack snickered.
Ignoring his lover's silliness, Daniel observed, “Jack, I don't see Alex as anything but a nice guy who is a workaholic.”
More seriously, Jack replied, “Maybe, Love, but the concept is the same. You're about to jump in head first and try to rescue him.”
“I know, Love. He hasn't asked us,” Daniel acknowledged.
“No, he hasn't.”
“That's right; he hasn't,” Daniel said again.
“Just let me know what you want me to do,” Jack sighed, knowing it was a lost cause, his lover having just made Alex Dennison a 'cause'.
Daniel chuckled, saying, “Well, I think I'll meet Alex for breakfast or lunch sometime soon. Uh, I'll let you know what I want you to do and when.”
“You do that,” the older man said, smiling.
A moment later, Daniel asked, “Jack?”
“Be my Valentine,” the younger man crooned softly.
“Forever and always,” Jack promised as he smiled brightly.
“Forever and always,” Daniel agreed. “Let's go upstairs.”
“Okay, Girls, you're on your own,” Jack announced, not needing any further invitation from his husband.
“Woof!” the two dogs spoke, jumping off the lovers and trotting over to their beanbags.
Hand-in-hand, Jack and Daniel headed for the stairs, but then Daniel stopped and pulled Jack to him. Cupping his lover's face, Daniel said, “Thank you for loving me, for dancing with me at Janet's party, for kissing me, for everything, and especially for not being angry that I got drunk on bajas,” Daniel laughed softly.
“I love you, Angel.”
“Jack, let's, uh, go up on the roof deck and ...”
“It's cold,” Jack warned his soulmate.
“You'll warm me up,” Daniel said confidently. “And I'll warm you up,” he said while grabbing his husband's sexy six.
“A party for two?”
“Hot chocolate, strawberries ...”
“More truffles,” Jack added seductively.
“Let's,” Daniel urged, wanting to take advantage of being carefree in their home with all the children gone for the night.
The two lovers set out for their chilly adventure on their treasured roof deck. Neither were cold, the love from their nation of two keeping their bodies as well as their souls forever warm.
“Happy Valentine's Day, my beautiful Valentine,” Jack crooned as they made love.
“Happy Valentine's Day, My Sexy, Suave Silver Fox, and uh, gawd, don't stop,” Daniel gasped as their love roared and their bodies fused together under the heavenly stars in Colorado Springs.
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