Category: Slash, Mini-angst, Romance, Holiday, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Written: March 13-16, 2005 Revised: March 20, 2005
Summary: Jack wants to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in style, but will a fight with Daniel interrupt his plans?
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
1) Sometimes, Jack and Daniel speak almost telepathically. Their “silent” words to each other are indicated by asterisks instead of quotes, such as **Jack, we can't.**
2) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
3) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better: QuinGem, Kat, Claudia, Arawa, Tamara, Linda!
“Here's to a wet night and a dry morning,” Jack said, lifting his beer
bottle upwards to toast the stars.
It was March sixteenth, and tomorrow would be St. Patrick's Day. Being a good Irishman, Jack had a special night of celebration in store for himself and his lover.
“Me, darlin',” Jack said with a grin in between sips of the beer. He shook his head, knowing Daniel would probably kill him for the use of that endearment, but Jack was a happy man these days.
His love affair with Daniel was just under nine-months-old, and things were going swimmingly in Jack's view.
Since SG-1's schedule called for a mission in the morning and then regular duties after that until quitting time, Jack had spent the last few hours preparing his house.
~Geez, I did good.~
Jack reviewed his decorating scheme in his mind. He'd put green coverings over all the furniture in the living room, and even hung up some green panels over the patio door. He'd found a great deal on little leprechauns, and they were spread all over the house, as were shamrocks of all sizes and textures. He'd even purchased a crepe blarney stone for them to kiss.
He had his favorite holiday tape of the Irish Rovers singing all kinds of Irish tunes in the tape deck, plus a CD in the CD player of his favorite instrumental Irish tunes for when things shifted from playful to romantic.
The ham and cabbage were ready to cook, and the ingredients for Irish coffee - Irish whiskey, sugar, coffee, and whipped cream - were by the coffeemaker for when they got home.
On the chair in the master bedroom, he had laid out matching emerald green silk shirts for them to wear.
He'd already arranged for fresh flowers to be delivered to his house in the late afternoon (a variety of white lisianthus, Queen Ann's lace, white chrysanthemums, lilies, and Irish roses), and in the morning, Daniel would be receiving the Bear in Love Bouquet, only Jack had arranged for a little monkey to replace the bear. The monkey would be delivered in a basket with some green carnations, roses, and cheery daisies as its forest, along with some chocolate treats.
“Yeah, we're ready to go,” Jack said with a pleasing sigh. “This is going to be the best St. Paddy's Day ever.”
Jack glanced at his watch and then finished his beer. He climbed down the ladder, went inside the house, and locked up for the night. Then he went to the master bedroom and prepared for bed.
Several minutes later, as he lay in bed, he reached his left arm over to the empty spot in the large bed.
~I miss you.~ Jack then reached over and picked up the phone. ~You'd better answer.~
“Hello, Sexy Thang.”
“Daniel, why do you say that with such a question mark in your voice? Is there someone else who would be calling you a 'sexy thang'?”
“No, of course not. I just ... I mean, I was, uh ...”
“Time for bed, Danny, and I wish you were here.”
“I can't be there every night.”
“Yes, you can.”
“I'll stay tomorrow.”
“You bet your Lucky Charms you will.”
“Sometimes, Jack, you can be very infuriating.”
“I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
With a smile on his face, Jack put the phone back on the receiver.
“You're me darlin', Dannyboy, and tomorrow night, we're going to party as only the Irish can do.”
“Jack, don't,” Daniel said softly after his lover pinched him in the locker room.
Fortunately, they were alone as they were about to change out of their civvies in preparation for their mission. Still, Daniel didn't want to take any risks that might lead to their relationship being uncovered. He didn't want Jack to have to choose between his career or Daniel, even if Jack never seemed all that concerned about being caught.
“You're not wearing green. It's St. Pat's Day, y'know.”
“But I like pinching your six.”
“Jack ...” At that moment, Teal'c entered the locker room. **Behave, Jack.**
Jack gave his lover one of his patented Irish grins and continued to change into his green BDUs.
As the three walked out, Sam walked in.
“Ten minutes, Carter,” Jack said.
Then he reached forward with his hand, and at the same time, Sam glanced over her shoulder to say, “I'll be there.” She blinked in surprise. ~Did I just see what I thought I saw?~
“Jack, I'm wearing green now!”
Sam chuckled as the door closed.
~Yes, I did. The colonel pinched Daniel's butt. I'd like a little of that myself,~ she thought about Daniel's derriere.
“Daniel, will you stop?” Jack requested.
The Air Force colonel was clearly agitated as they stepped through the Stargate into the gate room of the SGC.
“Stop what? Stop trying to get you to use your brain?”
“I *am* using my brain.”
“I'd have never guessed it.”
“Gentlemen, is there a problem?” General Hammond asked as he stood at the foot of the ramp.
“Yes, Sir,” Daniel challenged.
“Debriefing begins in five minutes,” Hammond ordered, wanting to get to the bottom of this disagreement as soon as possible.
“You're wrong, Daniel,” Jack said as they walked hurriedly to the locker room for a quick change of clothes.
“No, I'm not. Sometimes, Jack, you are so thick-headed.”
“I'm not thick anything.”
“No, I'm not.”
“Yes, you are.”
As so often happened when Jack and Daniel got like this, those in the corridors gave the two a wide berth. Some had learned by painful experience; others had just heard the stories; but no matter who they were, the SGC personnel, seeing the two engaged in their semi-heated exchange, stayed as far away from the walking pair as they could. Jack and Daniel, as always, were oblivious to anyone else even being around, including Sam and Teal'c who followed quietly, at a safe distance.
“We had to do it, Daniel.”
“No, we didn't, Jack,” Daniel argued as they entered the briefing room, Sam and Teal'c still staying several feet behind the two.
The arguing hadn't stopped, not even as they had changed from the green uniforms they had worn off-world into their blue BDUs. As the general entered, the two were still facing off.
“It was a rock!”
“It was a temple!”
“No, it wasn't.”
“So you're an archaeologist now?”
“Thank goodness, no, I'm not, but I know the difference between a rock and a temple.”
“Colonel,” Hammond said in a stern voice. “Sit down.” Seeing Daniel still standing and fidgeting, Hammond addressed him. “Doctor Jackson, take a seat.”
Daniel sighed in frustration. He didn't want to sit, but seeing Hammond's intense stare, he looked at his teammates and finally sat down.
“All right, Colonel, what happened?”
“The inhabitants of PJ9-842 asked for our help, Sir, and we gave it.”
“They didn't know what they were doing,” Daniel interjected.
“Daniel, it's *their* world.”
“But it was our responsibility to make sure they understood what they were doing, not just ... blow something up because it makes us look good.”
“They *asked* us to do it!”
“So you always do what you're asked?”
Jack gave his lover a death glare look, one that intimidated airmen quickly and frequently. Unfortunately for Jack, it never had that effect on Daniel, who just stared back.
“Well, is that what you're saying, Jack, that all someone has to do is ask, and you'll do it?”
“Of course not.”
“That's what you did.”
“I did not.”
“You did, too.”
“It was a rock!”
“No, Jack, it wasn't.”
“Oh, for crying out loud.”
“Gentlemen,” Hammond interrupted. “Can I please find out exactly what happened.
“We blew up a rock.”
“We blew up a temple.”
Hammond sighed, and looked to Sam.
“Captain Carter, what happened?” Hammond looked to Jack and Daniel. “Not a word, Gentlemen, until she's done.”
A bit nervously, Sam looked at her CO before beginning her report.
“Well, Sir, PJ9-842 is a world much like Earth. They're very humanlike in lifestyle, though it's a simpler world. They lack a lot of the technology that we have, but their energy sources and mineral resources far exceed what we have on Earth. From the testing Teal'c and I did, I'd estimate that some of the elements that are natural to the planet could be adapted to our own, and I think we could make some significant advances in both the medical field and in the efficiency of our energy sources.”
“Are they amenable to trade?”
“Yes, Sir. They agreed to allowing SG-7 to return in two weeks for further testing, and I also recommended that Doctor Fraiser send a special team to closely observe some of their use of medicines. They have some interesting treatments that seem to do some amazing things, General.”
“Now what about this,” Hammond paused a moment, looking at Jack, then Daniel, “whatever it was that was blown up?”
“Well, the Ahmans, as they call themselves, may have medical and natural resources that we don't, but their weaponry is no more advanced than, say, a gun from the eighteen-hundred's. They have projectile weapons that could be considered a rough form of a gun, but they don't have anything like C-4, at least not with the destructive capabilities of C-4; that is, they do have a type of dynamite, but it isn't strong enough to destroy something the size of this, uh, object.”
“Get to the point, Captain.”
“Arial, the leader of the Ahmans, at least in the province we visited, asked us if we could remove a large ...” Sam was about to say it was a large rock, but as she formed her words, she saw the look in Daniel's eyes. She cleared her throat and continued, using a different tactic. “It was a large object that was blocking an area where they wanted to erect new buildings. The, uh, r...object also separated the town from the river, meaning they had to go around it to reach the river. By removing the r...object, it has made their life easier and allowed them to continue their plans for growth.”
“So you destroyed this object?”
“Yes, Sir, we did,” Jack answered.
“But we didn't have a right to do that,” Daniel jumped in.
“Daniel, get over it already. It's their planet, their rock, and their decision. We only did what they asked us to do.”
“So if they asked us to destroy the next town, you would have done that?”
“Will you please use your common sense? We're not talking about a town! It was a *rock*.”
“Colonel,” Hammond chastised. “Doctor Jackson, why are you so sure this object was a temple when Colonel O'Neill says it was just a rock?”
“With all due respect, General, Colonel O'Neill is not a scientist, and ...”
**No, you're not. Just ... be quiet, Jack.**
**Daniel, it was a friggin' rock.**
“Doctor Jackson, continue, please,” Hammond said, interrupting the silent argument.
“The *temple* had writings on it.”
“No, it didn't.”
“Jack, how would you know if it did or didn't?” Daniel challenged.
“Because it didn't have any of those little squiggly things on it.”
“Oh, now that's very intelligent.”
“It was a granite rock, Daniel.”
“The so-called rock, General, had an unusual shape to it, and there was a pattern to the indentations and carvings on it.”
“Carvings? *What* carvings?” Jack bellowed in question.
“The little squiggly lines, Jack, that you wouldn't recognize from a ... a Mickey Mouse cartoon.”
“Colonel,” Hammond warned again. “Doctor Jackson, tell me more about this object. You mentioned the shape being unusual.”
“It was rectangular, perfectly, symmetrically rectangular, with no jagged edges.”
“It was a granite block of nothing.”
“Gawd, you can be so infuriating!”
“Colonel, I'd like to get through this debriefing before my youngest granddaughter graduates from high school.”
Hammond's glare was its most intense yet, and Jack knew the granddaughter in question was years away from graduation.
~Shut up, O'Neill, before you get court-martialed.~
Hammond nodded to Daniel, who continued.
“As I was saying, it looked more like a big box. I mean, uh, how many rectangular rocks have you seen out there? So, uh, anyway, I noticed some unusual marks on it. I know it's a long shot, but there was a pattern to them: one long, two short, another long, two more short, then a symbol of some type, and then it was repeated, but with different characters.”
Jack snorted, earning him glares from both Hammond and Daniel, but the colonel said nothing. Instead, he looked down at his notepad and began to draw some squiggles.
The argument went on. Hammond listened as Jack explained his rationale for using C-4 to disintegrate the rock, and he pointed out that after doing so, they didn't find anything but smaller pieces of rock. Daniel, however, maintained that they had destroyed something they didn't know enough about, and he was sure it was a temple of some kind.
Sam continued to fill in the blanks for the major general, while Teal'c basically listened to his battling teammates.
Finally, Hammond dismissed the team, sending them home, and ordering Jack and Daniel to arrive at a peaceful resolution to their disagreement before returning to the SGC in two days. The team already had a scheduled downtime for the eighteenth, something Jack had been looking forward to, considering his original plans for him and Daniel that night.
Jack slammed his locker door shut and turned to face his lover.
“Are you going to let this go or not?”
“You were wrong, Jack.”
“It was a rock, Daniel.”
“Fine. Have a nice night,” Daniel said, walking by Jack and out of the locker room, an area both Sam and Teal'c had decided to steer clear of until they knew both Jack and Daniel were off the base.
“Daniel. DANIEL!” Jack started to follow the younger man out, but returned to the bench in front of his locker to grab his jacket. By the time he made it out into the corridor and gave chase, all he saw were the closing doors of the elevator Daniel had entered. “Scientists!”
Jack sank down into his favorite chair near the patio window, feeling angry and frustrated. His dissatisfaction at the day's events was heightened as he took in the holiday decorations.
~Stubborn geek. It was a blasted rock.~ Jack sat, looking around the living room. ~I am *not* running after him. I'm not; I'm not; I'm not!~
Two minutes later, Jack glanced at his watch.
~Just this one last time!~ He stood, put on his jacket, and headed for Daniel's apartment. ~Get real, O'Neill. You know with Danny there will never be a last time: dang sexy, adorable, frustrating, did I mention sexy archaeologist!~
~Why doesn't he latch the door? Grrrr!~
Jack entered Daniel's apartment, thinking how quiet it was. Looking around, he deduced his lover was in the bedroom, since he wasn't in the kitchen or living room. Slowly, Jack walked down the hallway until he stopped at the doorway to the bedroom.
“I see you got Paddy Monkey.”
“Paddy Monkey?” Daniel echoed, staring at the monkey he was holding in his hand. “Uh, yeah, it came this morning. I didn't have a chance to say anything at the Mountain. The plant is lovely, Jack.” He paused as he fidgeted with the stuffed animal. “Funny name.”
“I guess so,” Daniel said, tossing the stuffed animal onto the center of his bed. He stood up and folded his arms. “What do you want Jack?”
“Not tonight,” Daniel said firmly, deciding to take the conversation out of the bedroom and walking by Jack into the hallway.
Jack followed until the two were divided by a sofa and several feet. Daniel was again standing with his arms folded. His long hair hung a bit in front of his eyes until he pushed the strands back and resumed his position.
“Danny, do we have to keep arguing about a,” Jack paused, seeing Daniel's body stiffen, “about an object? It's over and done with. Let's move on.”
“Until it happens again. You don't get it, do you, Jack?”
Jack let out a breath and shook his head.
“I guess not. Explain it to me.”
“You totally ignored me, Jack. You made your decision without even giving my opinion a moment's thought. I'm the archaeologist. It's my responsibility to understand or learn about a culture's history; you shut the door on me.”
“Daniel, it was a rock.”
“No, it wasn't.”
“There was nothing but granite after we blew it up.”
“I'm not arguing that.”
“Then what are you arguing about?”
“You don't like that we have to take precious time on our missions now to evaluate the cultural aspect of an area or a people.”
“Daniel, you're the scientist; I'm the colonel. No, I don't like it, but that's the way it is.”
“And you let your personal bias influence your decision.”
“I did not.”
“Jack, open your eyes. You decided it was a rock. Anything I said meant nothing. I tried showing you the carvings. I tried discussing the temple's shape with you, but the truth is that you wanted to make a good impression on the people. They didn't even know what C-4 was, and you wanted to put on a show.” Daniel took a step forward and extended his arm out for a moment to highlight his next words. “Think, Jack. Who ever heard of a rectangular rock, unless that rock was made into that shape by people? Perfectly rectangular rocks just don't occur in nature.”
“You're wrong,” Jack responded, refusing to admit, even to himself, that Daniel was right about the shape of the object.
“No, I, uh, I'm positive about this. You have these big honkin' weapons and materials that can destroy things. They're practically second nature to you, and anytime you can play soldier and show off, you're going to jump at it.”
“I wasn't playing at anything.”
“You can lie to yourself, Jack, but not to me. You disrespected my place on the team so you could play.”
“If that's what you think of me, Daniel, then you can stay here *alone* all night and sulk, if you want to. I don't have to listen to it.”
Jack headed for the door.
“I'm *not* sulking, Jack. I'm trying in vain to get you to open up that brain of yours and see that there are things out there that we don't understand. Didn't the Nox teach you anything?”
Jack turned and replied sarcastically, “Yeah, that we're too young.”
“And we are, and the more places we go, the more that becomes clear,” Daniel said, moving towards his lover. “Jack, why didn't you listen to me?”
“I *did* listen.”
“Well, if that's true, and my professional opinion meant nothing, then maybe I don't belong on SG-1 anymore.”
Jack just stared at the younger man. He started to say something twice, but nothing came out. Finally, he sighed.
“Danny, that's not what I want, and you know that.”
“Why? Because we're lovers? Jack, I know you don't respect what I do; I'm not even sure you respect me, but if I'm only along on these missions because of what we do under the sheets, then I don't want to be there; and the way you treated me today, that's how it made me feel.”
Jack was stunned and still not sure what to say. After a minute, Daniel nodded. He assumed that Jack's silence was a confirmation of the truth.
“I'm going to request a transfer tomorrow morning, and right now, I'm going for a walk.”
Daniel walked by Jack, their shoulders brushing just briefly as he moved to the door.
“Jack, don't. Look, it's not your fault. I'm used to being laughed at and ignored; I'm used to having to fight to be heard; I'm used to ... to ...” Daniel shook his head. “Goodbye, Jack.”
Daniel walked out the door, leaving Jack alone in the apartment, wondering how blowing up a rock had led to the disruption of his team and the ending of his romantic relationship.
Twenty minutes later, Daniel returned to his apartment. He knew Jack was gone because the truck wasn't in the parking area. For a while, he sat on the sofa, just staring at nothing, but then he decided to do some cleaning. Cleaning always distracted him from things he didn't want to think about.
He walked into his bedroom and saw the stuffed monkey sitting in between the two pillows at the head of the bed, a note affixed to it that read:
Don't do this. We need to talk. Please give us a chance. I love you.
Signed Sometimes Overbearing But Hopefully Still Loveable J.
Daniel smiled as he sat down on the bed and stared at the note on the monkey.
“Space Monkey: what a silly nickname. Gawd.”
Jack slammed his front door and walked into the kitchen for a beer. He looked around at the decorated house and laughed humorlessly.
“Happy St Patrick's day, Daniel.”
He was about to take a swig of his beer when his eyes caught sight of the wrapped Blarney Stone replica he'd found. He froze.
Discarding the bottle of beer, he picked up the package and stared at it. A feeling of dismay began to settle in the pit of his stomach as it started to dawn on him that perhaps Daniel was right.
He walked over to the phone and dialed Daniel's number.
Daniel heard the phone ringing, but didn't feel like answering it. He was surprised at how hurt he was that Jack really didn't seem to respect him.
~I don't know why I'm surprised. I know Jack doesn't respect scientists. To him, all we do is prattle.~
He heard the answering machine click in and then Jack's voice.
“Daniel, I'm sorry. I ... I'm sorry. I just want you to know that I do respect you, more than anyone I know, and ... crap! I'll call you later.”
Daniel dove for the phone and picked it up just in time to hear the dial tone. He looked at the phone for a moment and considered calling Jack back.
~No, we can't say everything we need to over the phone.~
“Happy St. Patrick's Day, Colonel,” Mrs. Sophia Valissi called out to Jack as he walked down the street.
“And to you, too, Mrs. Valissi.”
He had tried to sound enthusiastic, but knew he had failed.
“Colonel, is something wrong?” the senior citizen asked as she walked from her porch to the sidewalk where Jack stood.
It was just four in the afternoon and, after phoning Daniel, Jack had decided to take a walk. He couldn't stand to be in his decorated home at the moment, and he'd needed to think.
“Where's Doctor Jackson today?” she asked perceptively.
“He's at his apartment, I guess.”
“He's a wonderful young man, so shy, but such a dear. He reminds me of my Evan a very long time ago.”
“Evan: your son, right?”
“Yes. He had some difficult times, but he's doing fine now. I see a lot of Evan in Daniel. I see a lot of Evan in you, too, Colonel.”
Jack nodded, not really knowing what his neighbor meant.
“Well, tell him to come down and see me soon. I'll bake him some of those cookies he loves so much.”
“I'll do that.”
“Good afternoon, Colonel.”
“Have a good evening, Mrs. V,” Jack said and then headed for his home, two houses down from hers.
Jack walked into the living room and stared in disbelief. He looked back towards the front door and then back at his fidgeting lover.
“Where's your car?”
“Is that all you have to say?” Daniel asked as he held one of the leprechauns in his hands.
“No, I have a lot to say.”
Daniel put the doll down on the coffee table, then explained, “I ran out of gas. My car's about a mile from here.”
“Daniel, you need a new car.”
“I like my car.”
“It's old; it's always in the shop.”
“I ran out of gas.”
Jack walked to Daniel until there was only a foot or two separating them.
“Danny, I'm sorry. We need to talk about what happened on the planet.”
“Yes, we do; that's why I'm here.”
“Is that the only reason?”
“That reason encompasses a lot of reasons. You, uh, really outdid yourself,” Daniel commented, looking at all the decorations.
“I have ...” Jack paused, suddenly realizing an aroma was filling the air. “You put on the ham.”
“I'm hungry.” He saw Jack's grin and knew what he was thinking. “Jack, don't assume that just because I put on the food, that, uh, I ... gawd.”
Jack scooped up his lover and kissed him soundly.
“We're going to talk, but can we do that again first, just to remind ourselves of what's at stake?”
“Okay,” Daniel said, after which the lovers kissed again. He wanted to kiss his sexy lover again. He needed to. Daniel was frightened. He didn't want to be used, which was a deep-seeded fear of his. The possibility that Jack was only with him for sex filled the young man with an anxiety he'd never felt before. As much as he didn't want that fear to be reality, neither did he want his love affair to end. What he really wanted was for the two to find a common ground, just as soon as they were through kissing. “Jack, I know that you aren't fond of scientists.”
“Present company very definitely excluded,” Jack interjected.
“The point is, you disregard what we're saying, just because we're saying it, and you have to stop that, Jack. As you like to point out, you're the leader of SG-1, and believe me, I don't want your job, but I do expect you to listen to me.”
“I did listen.”
Daniel's eyes bore deep into Jack's until finally Jack sighed. He turned and walked away, then turned back to face his soulmate.
“Okay, you're right. I saw a rock, and I wanted to seal the deal for the medicines and energy source.”
“But it wasn't necessary. They didn't say we had to destroy the temple in order to trade.”
Jack nodded; Daniel was right, again.
“I messed up.”
“You just need to give my opinions some consideration; sometimes, I actually know what I'm talking about.”
“It looked like a rock.”
“And I look like a geek.”
“Daniel, that's not fair.”
“You are a geek,” Jack said softly.
“And is that all I am?”
Jack shook his head and then took a deep breath.
“I did mess up. You're right, as much as I hate to admit that.”
“Why is that so hard?”
“It shouldn't be. Maybe it's me. Danny, I'm not used to sharing so much of my command.”
“Jack, I don't want your command, but it sure would be nice to have your respect, and barring that, to at least have you seriously consider what I say before you blow something up just because it's there.”
“You know something, Danny? If I'm completely honest, I think maybe I feel a little threatened.”
“By what?” Daniel asked tenderly, his curiosity and even surprise evident by the bewilderment in his tone.
Jack smiled and let out a little snort.
“Look at you, standing there, demanding my respect, saying that sometimes you're right; geez, Danny, haven't you noticed that most of the time, you are right? It makes me question my own ability to make decisions sometimes. Aside from you, being in command, being the leader, has defined who I am for a long time.”
“That's deep, Jack,” Daniel said with a small smile.
“Yeah, I hope I don't fall in.”
“If you do, I'll save you,” Daniel said softly, his eyes speaking of love and devotion.
“Always.” Daniel closed the gap that was between them. “Jack, I'll say it again, and please understand, I mean this. I don't want your command; I don't want to make the decisions you do; I don't know the military, and I'll probably never understand why the military does what they do. Can't you just hear me out when we disagree, or at least, postpone non-critical choices until you've consulted with someone else?”
“I don't need to consult with anyone else.”
“Then listen to me when I tell you that a ... a rock is a temple.”
“Was it really?” Jack asked earnestly.
“Yes, Jack, or at least some kind of, I don't know, maybe a portal, or a message center. What I know is that it wasn't just a rock, that there was a pattern to the carvings on it, and that based on some of those symbols, I do believe it was some type of religious object.”
“And I blew it up.”
“Yes, and now, we'll never know what the secrets of that temple were, and even sadder, neither will the Ahmans.”
“I am sorry.”
“I don't want you to be sorry; I want you to promise me that it won't happen again.”
Jack sighed, guilt finally making its way through his defensive barrier.
“Danny, did you take pictures?”
Daniel shook his head, and with regret in his tone, said, “Remember, Jack, you ...”
“Bellowed and told you to get out of the way so I could ...”
“Blow it up,” both men said in unison.
“Danny, I promise you that I'll try to listen better, think more, and not assume that a rock is a rock.” Jack moved his right hand to caress Daniel's cheek. “I believe in you, Danny, and I believe in us. I'm glad you came home.”
“It was the monkey.”
“Not the note?” Jack asked, trying to act perturbed.
“Besides, I was hungry, and my refrigerator is bare, and I knew you'd have food. I didn't know you'd done all this.”
“Only for you.”
“For me?” Daniel asked.
“You know what you are for me, Danny?”
“You're positively jammy!”
“Lucky. You're my lucky charm, and my reason for living in this crazy, mixed up world. Hey, did you see the coffee?”
“Ah, yes,” Daniel sounded dubious. “Green coffee?”
“It's a must.” They stared into each other's eyes. “I love you.”
“I love you, too, Jack.”
The lovers kissed, their hands roaming the other's backs.
“Are we okay now?” Jack asked.
“We're okay, but ... don't forget, Jack. This is important.”
“I know. Hey, we have work to do,” Jack said, deciding it was time to get into the spirit of the Irish holiday.
“We need to build a leprechaun trap.”
Daniel laughed and said, “You're out of your mind.”
“Danny, if we can trap one of the little guys, he'll have to turn over his pot o' gold.”
“Jack, come on.”
“Get with the plan, Love. I have all the supplies over here. Those little guys are crafty, you know.”
“I figure we could make a box, lure the leprechaun in with some golden coins, like these,” Jack said with a smile, holding up a few candies wrapped in gold.
Daniel chuckled, watching his lover. The clouds had gone, and he felt alive again.
“Do you even know about leprechauns, for real I mean?”
“Do you?” Jack challenged, sure that Daniel probably knew very little on this subject.
“Actually, Jack, leprechauns are two-feet-tall make-believe fairies; uh, usually, they are old men and wear these little cocked hats and aprons; they're the shoemakers for the fairies. According to legend, if you catch one, you can force him to tell you where he hides his gold. Of course, I'm not sure a box with a candy coin is going to do it.”
“Oh ye of little faith. Come here and help me.”
Daniel smiled and went to the spot near the bookshelves where Jack had sat down on the carpet to create their leprechaun trap. It was silly and crazy, but Daniel was finally beginning to relax. Life wasn't perfect, but it sure was better than it was ten years ago when he was alone and struggling to find money to pay for digs, or for that matter, thirty minutes ago when he thought his life with Jack might be over.
Their leprechaun trap set, Jack and Daniel checked on the ham and started to prepare their side dishes.
“No corned beef?” Daniel asked.
“That's not Irish.”
“Oh,” Daniel responded and then took a sip of his coffee. “I thought it was. Are you sure?”
“It's totally an American thing. Did you know, Danny, that in Ireland, they used to not even like the color green?”
“They thought green was unlucky.”
“I guess it's like a lot of holidays. I mean, look how commercialized Christmas has become. Even with days like Easter or Valentine's Day, it's the size of the card or the bouquet, or where we go to dinner. No one thinks about why the holiday is a holiday. How many Americans, Jack, really know the story of Thanksgiving?”
Jack shook his head as he answered, “I'd bet good money that more don't than do. We think Pilgrims, Indians, and turkey. The accuracy of the day and the events leading up to it aren't even important these days. I have one for ya: Halloween. To kids, it's just a day to get candy. Why Halloween is Halloween isn't even thought about.”
“Maybe there's too much to remember anymore, but it seems to me that we should at least try to honor any holiday or special occasion as it was originally intended.”
“You're exactly right. There's nothing wrong with personalizing a holiday, but in our house, Love, we're gonna celebrate the way they do in Ireland.”
~Our house?~ Daniel smiled. ~Wow. He always talks like that. Makes me a little nervous. It sounds so ... permanent. I ... I like that, but I just don't, I mean, I ...~
“Danny, are you okay?”
“Just thinking about holidays.”
Jack smiled, then said, “Okay, I think we're set for a few minutes. I don't know about you, but I'm a little grungy; I'd like to take a quick shower.” Seeing Daniel's grin, Jack happily asked, “Care to join me?”
Daniel nodded, and the two went upstairs to the master bedroom.
“Jack, what are these?”
“I thought we'd wear green. It is St. Patrick's Day.”
“So do we,” Jack responded, holding out his hand.
“Something tells me this isn't going to be a quick shower.”
“Geez, I hope not.”
“What about the ham?” Daniel asked, not wanting it to overcook.
“I turned the heat down.”
The lovers disappeared into their bathroom, making love under the mists of the falling shower, something they loved doing.
“I love this shirt, Jack. Thank you,” Daniel said as he fastened the last button and tucked the shirt into his black pants.
“You're welcome. Geez, you're beautiful,” Jack said.
Daniel's arms went around Jack's neck. His fingers massaged gently along the base of the neck, and then he fixed Jack's collar for a moment.
“You're so sexy. Gawd, Jack, you turn me into Jell-O when you look at me like that.”
“I love Jell-O,” Jack replied, placing a lingering kiss on Daniel's lips that grew to a passionate, tongue-touching exchange of love.
The lovers embraced, each letting out a contented sigh, and then they finally went downstairs to finish cooking their dinner.
Later that evening, after finishing off their meal and enjoying some Irish whiskey, the lovers were sitting on the roof deck. Jack was leaning against the house, and Daniel was in front of him, leaning back to rest against Jack's shoulder. It was a nice night, though a bit chilly.
“Danny, we forgot something important.”
“Hold on; it's over here.”
Daniel leaned forward and scooted to his left so that Jack could stand.
“Whoa! That Irish whiskey really hits the spot.”
They were both a bit tipsy, but not so much that it impaired their actions or words much, yet.
Jack went to the corner of the roof deck and picked up a package he had placed there that morning.
“This is for you, Love.”
“A gift? Jack, no one gives gifts on St. Patrick's Day.”
“Don't argue; open.”
“You're nuts, O'Neill,” Daniel said as he opened the package. When he saw what it was, he couldn't believe his eyes. “You got me a rock? A *rock*?”
“Not a rock, Daniel; it's a Blarney Stone. You've heard of the Blarney Stone, haven't you?”
“Of course, I have.” Daniel paused. “Actually, it fits you perfectly, Jack.”
“Well, the Blarney Stone, the real one, that is, is a stone set in the wall of the Blarney Castle tower in the Irish village of Blarney. Legend has it that an old woman cast a spell on the stone to reward a king who had saved her from drowning. Kissing the stone while under the spell gave the king the ability to speak sweetly and convincingly. So, as legend goes, kissing the Blarney Stone supposedly brings the kisser the gift of persuasive eloquence.”
“And that fits me how?”
“No one is full of more blarney than you, Babe!”
Daniel chuckled and kissed his astonished lover.
“I think I should be insulted.”
“Never,” Daniel said softly. “I wouldn't want you to change, not ever.”
Jack moved his thumb over Daniel's lips and said as sincerely as he knew how, “Don't you change, either, Danny, not ever. Now, kiss my stone.”
“Jack, that sounds very unappealing.”
“Just kiss the Blarney Stone.”
“It's a rock. The real Blarney Stone is in Ireland.”
“Daniel, kiss the blasted stone.”
Daniel laughed, then kissed the stone, as did Jack.
“Let's go to bed, Danny.”
“See, I'm right again.”
“Pure eloquence, My Love.”
After another kiss, their hands on each other's waists as they stood under the stars, Jack surprised the younger man yet again.
“Tá mo chroí istigh ionat, Danny.”
“My heart,” Jack said, tapping lightly over his chest, and then moving the palm of his hand over Daniel's heart, “is within you.”
Daniel didn't know what to say, and yet, he wanted to say many things. He wished he knew the Gaelic language, but of the now twenty-three languages that he spoke, Gaelic wasn't one them.
“I think I know the next language I'm going to learn.”
Daniel shook his head. He didn't want to talk linguistics, not really.
“Jack, how do you say, 'kiss me'?”
“You say, 'Tabhair póg dom'.”
“Tabhair póg dom, and uh, don't stop until morning.”
“Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit, Love.”
“Happy St. Patrick's Day, Jack,” Daniel responded, his linguistic skills, and knowledge of his lover's thought patterns, merging to help him know that Jack had just wished him a happy holiday, too.
Their nation of two growing in strength, the lovers climbed off the roof, locked up the house, and carried a bottle of Irish whiskey to the bedroom. Their night was just beginning, as was their forever.
The next morning, Daniel awoke before Jack, which was highly unusual. Carefully, disentangling himself from his lover, Daniel slid off the bed and headed downstairs, having a yen for more of that Irish Coffee. Of course, he was a bit hung over, but he had no regrets. The night had been incredible as the two had fused their bodies together and then partied on a variety of libations and snacks.
Yawning, Daniel stretched at the foot of the stairs, his arms reaching up towards the ceiling, when suddenly, he froze, staring at Jack's leprechaun trap.
“How'd he do that?”
“How'd I do what?”
“I'm sorry, did I wake you?” Daniel asked.
“I missed you. I got cold.”
Jack leaned in for a morning kiss.
“We need to, uh ...”
“Yeah, not our best kiss,” Jack agreed as both had that morning-after grunge mouth.
“We'll make up for it in a few minutes. Jack, we were together all night. When did you come down here?”
“Yes, you did.”
“No, I didn't.”
“You had to.”
“Danny, we were together, in constant physical contact from the moment we went upstairs, remember?”
“Yes, I mean, no, I mean ... Jack, the leprechaun trap.”
Jack looked over the box. The trap had been pulled, and the box was closed.
“That's odd,” Jack responded and then walked over to the box. He knelt down, looked back at Daniel who had followed, but was still standing about a foot away, and then began to finger the trap. He played with the cover slightly, cocking his head to study the area. “Okay, well, let's see what's inside.” Opening the box, Jack smiled. “Look, Danny, more gold coins.”
Daniel moved closer and looked down. Then, he sat on his haunches and reached into the box, taking out what he thought were three chocolate gold coins. Holding them in his hand, and then studying them closely, Daniel was taken aback.
“Jack, these *are* gold coins. I mean, real cold coins. How'd you do it?”
“I didn't do anything.”
“Yes, you did.”
“I don't know, but you did.”
Jack shrugged and checked out the path of green shamrocks that led from the trap door towards the entranceway.
“Hmmm,” Jack said, standing and following the shamrocks. “They stop here,” he announced as he stood at the front door. Then he unlocked the door and walked outside. A moment later, he walked back inside. “Nothing on the porch. The shamrocks just stop.”
“Come on, Jack, fess up.”
“I would if I could.”
“Right.” Daniel bounced the three coins in his hand. “Well, it's not exactly a pot o' gold, but it's gold. I guess you were jammy.”
“I don't need these,” Jack said, moving to Daniel and taking him into his arms.
Both men were dressed only in their pajama bottoms, so relished the feeling of skin as their hands moved up and down the other's back.
“No, Love, don't you see? You're my pot o' gold. Having you makes me the richest man in the universe.” Seeing Daniel blush, Jack smiled. “I think that's why the leprechaun only left the three pieces; he knew I didn't need more.”
“I love you.”
“Love you, too, so much.” The two headed up the stairs to resume their lovemaking. “But you did leave the gold pieces and set off the trap, right, Jack?”
“No, Danny, I didn't.”
“You had to.”
“I swear, I didn't.“
“You're just teasing me.”
“Me, teasing? Never.”
Jack would never change his story. Forever, he would maintain that they had almost caught a leprechaun on their very first try. He insisted that the little green man had escaped, leaving behind just a little sign that he'd been there, knowing that Jack's pot o' gold wasn't monetary, but was the soul and beauty of his Daniel, the man he loved with all his heart.
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