Daring to Achieve
Category: Slash, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Size: 33kb, short story
Written: June 2-3, August 12-14,16-18, 2004
Summary: Daniel decides it's time to work on his romantic self.
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 is a follow-up to my past fic, “Dare to Quiz”
4) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better: Claudia, Sue B., Drdjlover, QuinGem, Sue P., Kalimyre!
Daring to Achieve
Jack groaned as he opened his eyes and took a deep breath. His eyelids opened and closed a couple of times as his body adjusted to its waking state. He had known instantly that there wasn't anything really wrong, his years of Special Ops training and experience always alerting him to any true physical danger, but his feeling now, as he woke, was that of a personal loss.
With a sigh, he looked over at the vacant spot on his left. He felt so empty, but then he saw it and couldn't help but smile. On Daniel's pillow was one of the stuffed animals that Jack had purchased over the years in the form of a monkey. Attached to it was a note.
Jack reached over and picked up the monkey, holding it over his head as he continued to lie in bed. He read the note:
Have I told you lately just how much I love you? Well, just in case. I love you more than life. You make me happy, J. I haven't left the house yet, but already, I miss you, knowing we'll be apart for the entire day. It seems like a lifetime. I love you.
“My Angel,” Jack whispered as he tugged the monkey to his chest. “Breaking our tradition, Danny. When have we ever started a note with anything but our ...”
Jack's torso arched upward as momentary panic hit him. Maybe the unusual opening was a sign. Maybe something was wrong. The lovers had always begun and closed their notes with nothing more than their initial followed by a period. It was a protection in case someone else ever discovered their notes and messages to each other.
~No, he's fine. You kissed him goodbye and watched him leave the house. Okay, you were half-asleep. No, mostly asleep, but you're just being paranoid, O'Neill.~ Jack laughed, a loving smile appearing on his face. ~Jackson-O'Neill. We're married now, and at home. We could do with some new traditions around here.~
Daniel had woken his lover at 3 a.m. to say goodbye. The archaeologist was accompanying SG-11 on a one-day survey of PRJ-179 and had only had a few minutes to talk with Jack before leaving for the Mountain. Interestingly, the days on the arid planet were very short -- only twelve Earth hours -- which meant Daniel would be returning mid-afternoon; but since Jack had a training session scheduled for the afternoon that wasn't due to end until 6 p.m., the two lovers would be separated for most of the day.
~Okay, O'Neill. The sooner you start this day, the sooner it will be over, and Danny will be home. Move your body.~
Jack rose from the bed, still holding the monkey. He carried it over to the dresser and put it down to set against the mirror. Smiling at the brown creature, he did some stretching.
~Getting old, for crying out loud,~ Jack thought as he woke up his muscles. ~But he loves me, and that's what counts. Geez, he loves me. How lucky does that make me? I know the answer: I'm the luckiest man in the universe.~
He took off his pajama top and walked into the bathroom, instantly smiling. Sitting on the countertop was another small stuffed animal -- a black grizzly bear. It, too, had a note, that read:
We'll be together again soon. Don't be a grizzly today, taking out your frustration on Sam, Teal'c, and the poor recruits. When you start to growl, remember the monkey and know that soon, you'll be holding the real thing in your arms.
No one makes me laugh like you.
Jack held the note contently as he took in the words and the reality. He could get through this day, because when it was over, Daniel would be home.
“I love you, Angel.”
~Warm; water colliding against my back. Makes me tingly ... Like Danny. I miss him.~
Jack stood beneath the showerhead, the water cascading down, gently massaging his body as he washed. His thoughts were of his husband and all the wonderful times they'd showered together, sometimes making love, sometimes just touching, sometimes ... just being together.
~I know. It's only a day. Not even a whole one, just seventeen hours or so, but you're part of me, Angel, and being away from you feels like someone has cut out my heart.~
The water continued to massage his body.
~Warm; tingly ... like My Danny.~
Closing his eyes, Jack felt Daniel's touch and then sighed. It was time to get focused on the business of the day. Turning off the water, he exited the shower, dried himself off, and dressed for the day, and then he went downstairs.
~Loops! Gotta have my ... huh? Whoa, there. Where are my Loops?~
Jack had been unpleasantly surprised when he opened the cabinet and found his box of Froot Loops gone. He looked around frantically before he finally noticed the refrigerator door. Taped to the front was a Xerox copy of the Froot Loops cereal box with a message written on it:
“Jack Jackson-O'Neill - Froot Loops Junkie, but not today. I prepared your favorite omelet -- that ham, cheese, and steak one. It's all cooked so you just need to warm it up; drink some OJ, Love. You need your vitamins because when I get home, I'm going to show you how much you mean to me. Thank you for all the special meals you've made for me over the years, for all the Godiva and Starbuck's, the Chinese delights, the wine of my heart's desire ... thank you, Love, for always making me feel like the tastes of my soul were also the tastes of your soul. I love you.”
Again, Jack noticed the use of his name; in fact, Daniel had actually written his complete married name. A small part of him wondered if he should be worried, but there was nothing out of place, and no reason for alarm. Daniel wouldn't be writing love notes in such detail if something were out of whack. Besides, since Daniel was off-world, if he hadn't shown up, Hammond would have phoned. So, quickly, Jack dispensed with his worry and instead concentrated on the loving words in the note.
“Geez, Danny. Wow. It's ... only food. What's food compared to your happiness? Besides, I like spoiling you. You deserve to be spoiled.”
After regrouping his emotions, Jack opened the refrigerator door, only to find another large note hanging down from the top. It read simply, “You deserve to be spoiled, too!”
Jack smiled broadly as he left the note in place, pulling out the omelet and his orange juice.
Jack started his Ford F-350 truck and was about to back out of the driveway when the sound of the CD player got his attention.
~I thought I turned that off. Wait. I *did* turn it off.~
Jack never left the stereo equipment in the truck on, but it was definitely on now. He didn't mind. It was a John Tesh CD that both he and Daniel liked a lot. They frequently played it during nights when they lounged and cuddled together.
About three minutes into his journey, the music softened. Jack was about to check to see if something had happened to the disk when he heard the voice that always made his heart sing -- his Daniel.
“Surprise! Stop your vehicle. Pull over. I'll wait. Don't argue.”
The talking stopped, the music serenading Jack who smiled as he pulled over to the side of the road. As if he were watching, Daniel began to talk again when Jack was safely at the side of the road.
“Thank you. I just needed to know you'd be okay as you listen to what I have to say. What I wanted to tell you is that I appreciate all the little things you've done for me from the first day we met. You do so much, and it never stops. Thank you, Love, for making me understand what it means to be special to someone, to be so thoroughly loved that I know what family and home really mean. Family ... Home ... means you.
“I especially wanted to thank you for letting me sleep in the last couple of days. I know we had things planned, but I needed to get this research done, and it took longer than I thought it would. Once again, you understood, and you let me do what I felt I had to, but know this, and know it with all your soul ... you ARE my priority. I love you so freakin' much ... so much. See you soon ... very soon, and then ... then I'll show you how grateful I am for all your sacrifices. Drive safe!”
“I'm supposed to drive after that? Danny!”
As he tried to regroup, the music ebbed again with one last thought: “And don't start driving again until you're under control. I have big plans for us tonight. You need to be in one piece -- and fully ... functional.”
Jack laughed, shaking his head.
~Just what I needed ... humor to get over the other. Geez, you know me so well.~
Taking a deep breath and a minute to watch some squirrels running along the lawn of a nearby home, Jack finally put the truck back in gear and headed for the Mountain.
“How's it going, Big Guy?” Jack asked Teal'c as he entered the locker room.
“It goes well, O'Neill.”
The two friends chatted for a bit as they changed until Teal'c finished and exited. Jack sat down on the bench in front of his cubbyhole to change his socks and shoes. As he went to put on his right shoe, he saw a piece of paper under the flap.
Jack smiled, instantly knowing it was another note. He felt his entire body relax, his muscles calm and his heart full of happiness. His eyes shined as he anxiously picked up the paper and read it:
Don't touch anything.
Jack laughed at his lover's humor.
~It's a training session. What could I possibly touch that would get me in trouble?~
It was Jack who had for years kidded, sometimes seriously, sometimes jokingly, the younger man about not touching things, things that always ended up getting SG-1 into trouble. Still, Jack had to admit that he had touched a few things himself on missions that had landed them in difficult situations as well. In the end, the note was just the bit of levity he needed to start out his day at the SGC.
His laughter turned to a loving smile as he looked again at the letters -- LYSM. It meant, “love you so much” and filled Jack's soul with happiness.
Putting the note in his pocket, Jack finally put on his shoe and headed to his office to begin his tasks for the day.
Three hours later, Jack was at the end of his patience, tired of paperwork and of turning memos into paper airplanes. He sailed a final 'memo plane' through his office, then leaned back fully in his chair. His face was looking upward towards the ceiling. Groaning, he reached both hands up to his head and ran his fingers through his hair.
~About now I'd be terrorizing Danny in his office.~
Jack grunted as he leaned forward and stared at yet another pile of folders he needed to go through. They were mostly evaluations and assessments of SGC personnel. They weren't urgent, these particular reviews being for base personnel who weren't subject to going through the Stargate and fighting the Goa'uld.
~No, no more paperwork.~
Jack stared at his watched. Since he still had two more hours before his training session with the new recruits would begin, he was about to go find an Airman to terrorize when Sam tapped on his office door.
~Carter? Wonder what's up. Actually, I'd rather head down to Danny's office, play with some rocks, annoy him. Geez, that's what gets me through the day -- seeing him, just being in the same room with him, even if we have to play this insipid game.~ “Carter? Presents? For me?” Jack asked with a twinkle in his eye.
Sam chuckled as she approached the desk, carrying two boxes. She carefully put them down and shrugged.
“Sorry, Sir, I have no idea what they are. I was asked to deliver them at precisely 1115 hours, so that's what I'm doing.” Sam casually looked over towards the camera and then back at Jack. “It's just a hunch, Colonel, but you might want to ...”
“Dismissed, Carter,” Jack said, a smile on his face. “Oh, and thanks,” he added just as she was about to disappear from view.
“You're welcome, Sir.”
Jack used his remote to turn off the recording devices and then closed and locked his door.
He sat down in his chair, leaning back. He brought his right hand to his chin and kept it there as his smile grew.
~It's from you, Danny, isn't it? What do you have in those boxes?~ Jack chuckled as he played with the unopened boxes. “You're sure full of surprises today.~ Jack carefully shook the boxes. ~Hmm. Okay, let's see what you have in here for this old grizzly bear.~
The first box, marked with a number one on it, was very small. Inside was yet another note. On the outside of the sealed note, it had written, “Read me when you've opened box number two.”
~Okay, I can follow orders.~
Jack opened box number two, which was bigger than the first one. He laughed when inside there was another box. He pulled it out and opened it, only to find another box. Opening it, Jack found yet another box. The Colonel was about to get frustrated when he saw the writing on the next box: “I'm worth it ... aren't I?”
~Geez, Danny. You're worth everything and more.~
Smiling, Jack went through five more boxes until he finally reached the last one -- a tiny box that was even smaller than the box the note was in.
~Hmm. Wonder what this is. Okay, let's find out.~
Jack opened the box and found a chocolate heart decorated with a red rose. He opened the note as directed.
Don't be fooled by the size of this heart. It's only a teeny representation of my heart, the one that loves you to the end of time and beyond. You are my heart and soul, and nowhere does there exist a heart big enough to show that. Soon, Love, we'll be together again. I need so badly to listen to your heart, to hear the steady beat that keeps me safe and so well loved. Only you, J., can get to my center, to know what's really there. All I have, all I am, is now just for you. So, sit, eat this delicious representation of our love, covered with chocolate and roses, and soon, we'll feast on each other.
~Aw, Danny. I love you.~
It was almost 7 p.m. when Jack walked through the doors of the house he shared with his husband. He almost jumped for joy upon seeing Daniel's silver car in the driveway, confirming that the man of his heart was home. They were just moments away from their reunion, and Jack's heart beat a bit faster in the anticipation.
~A whole day: a whole f-ing day: way too long,~ Jack thought as he closed the door, locking it.
Immediately, Jack smiled as he saw the carpet of flowers that adorned the entranceway. It was an intricate, multi-colored array of red, white, and yellow flowers, all mixed together, but as he moved towards the living room, he saw the carpet had transformed into a path.
~Geez, this had to take hours to arrange.~
Hanging from the ceiling at the edge of the entranceway and living room was a note that read, “Take off your shoes and socks. Enjoy the softness of the petals. P.S. The girls are spending the night with Mrs. Valissi, so it's just us, Babe. Hurry!”
“I LOVE YOU!” Jack shouted as he did as the note requested, also removing his jacket.
The anxious lover paused for just a moment to study the path. The first couple of feet had a center section of red rose petals, just wide enough for Jack to walk along. Then, there was a change in colors. Another note hung from the ceiling where the colors had changed.
“Yellow, a symbol of friendship, our bond that began our forever.”
Under the words was a photo of Jack and Daniel at a barbecue at General Hammond's house just a couple of months after the official formation of SG-1 had occurred. Jack was smiling at the camera and had his left arm around Daniel. Daniel had a closed smile and his arms folded, but his eyes were bright and shiny. They'd come far from that moment.
Jack smiled as he moved to the stairs and spotted another note attached to the wall. He saw the yellow flowers had given way to bright pink ones.
“Pink, a symbol of more, of change, of our friendship evolving to another level, that of romance, which would change us for all time.”
Underneath it, was a copy of a photo of the two lovers at a wine tasting event in California. Their arms were linked together as they sipped a glass of red wine. Sighing contently at the memory, Jack slowly took the stairs, letting the petals seep through his toes.
Then, the top two stairs and the hallway had another change in flower color. Once again, a sign on the top railing highlighted the change.
“Red, a symbol of our love, the passion that burns within us, the circle that never ends, our eternity.”
The photo beneath it was from their wedding in Canada. They were kissing ... passionately, each practically inside the other.
~I forgot Cassie took that one, but I'm glad she did.~
The intricate flower path concluded with another multi-colored array symbolizing that they were best friends, lovers, and so much more, all rolled into one. The last of the bright petals stopped at the closed door of the master bedroom.
~Geez, how'd he get this done in just a couple of hours?~
On the door to the master bedroom was a sign, framed by a large heart of flowers. Jack laughed with pleasure as he read the sign: “No Clothes Allowed Beyond This Point. STRIP!”
“With pleasure, my love,” Jack called out as he began to remove his clothes. When he was completely divested of all clothing, he called out, “Wearing my birthday suit, Danny. May I enter?”
“Please do, oh prince of my heart.”
“Geez, I love him.”
Jack opened the door and was totally floored. Their bed had been removed, replaced with a waterbed, adorned with blue satin sheets and bedding that made it look like a little river. It had a specially made canopy of large leaves that moved in fan-like motions above the bed, creating a light, feathery breeze. Their bedroom was decorated in large palms and greenery and very lightly in the background, Jack could hear the music of a seductive chant.
“I am here to serve, Master,” Daniel said with a seductive grin on his face.
Daniel's hair was mussed slightly. Jack liked it that way, and Daniel knew it. The bangs hung tauntingly over his forehead which was also something Jack preferred. He wasn't wearing his glasses, his smooth face showing just how handsome Daniel really was. Strategically placed candles were the only lighting in the room, and at the moment, one shone just right on the young man's face, accentuating his attractive features.
The slave-for-a-night wore only a single powder blue silk scarf around his waist. It was long and thin, suitable for a master tugging on his slave. Jack noted it wasn't covering anything important, and that's what he really cared about.
Daniel's body glistened from a herbal lotion he had put on before Jack's arrival home. The archaeologist smelled of exotic musk and looked, in Jack's opinion, good enough to eat ... just as the chocolate heart had promised earlier in the day. All of Daniel's “assets” were fully visible and causing Jack's “assets” to get very excited as a result.
“Oh, I'm going to like this. Come here, my little slave,” Jack bade his naked lover.
He grabbed the long scarf, pulling Daniel to him, the two joining for their first kiss since the archaeologist's early morning departure for the SGC. As Jack held his lover to him, he kept one hold on the scarf, rubbing it against Daniel's buttocks. Daniel's hands caressed his soulmate's neck and shoulders, his eyes roving all around the body he deeply desired. As he prepared to devour Jack, Daniel needed to make something clear first.
“Jack, three things.”
“One, don't get carried away. This slave business is good for one night, and one night only. When the waterbed drains in the morning so we can return it to the rental store, your fantasy ends ... for now,” Daniel said as he again eyed his husband from top to bottom, his eyelashes fluttering not-so-innocently as he grinned for just a second. “Second, the master thing had better not inflate your ego too much, or I'll have to deflate it tomorrow, and that might be a little ... hard on you. Third, but definitely not least, I am not little.”
“Definitely not,” Jack agreed before beginning another kiss.
Then, Daniel got back into character.
“Come, Master. I have seen to all your needs as we cruise the Nile together.”
Daniel led Jack to their bed and directed him to lie down on his front. Then, with a variety of scented oils at his disposal, he prepared to massage his lover. Wanting the scent of the flowers to continue in their Nile waterbed, Daniel selected a rose and jasmine blend to use first.
He filled his palm with the oil, slowly rubbing his hands together, warming the liquid. After kissing the middle of Jack's back, Daniel placed his hands at hip level and made one long, smooth glide up to the base of Jack's neck, and then back down again, his palms just lightly sliding over the skin to apply the oil. Daniel repeated his long, gliding motions several times as he applied the oil.
Jack moaned peacefully from the gentleness of Daniel's hands. When Jack's back had the oil all over it, Daniel concentrated on the shoulder blades, his fingers tips pressing lightly as he relaxed his husband's muscles. The younger man took note of any tightened or tensed muscles that needed extra work.
Next, Daniel switched to a soothing pine and juniper mix to relax those tired muscles he had just mapped in his mind and fingertips.
“Geez, this feels so good. I had a hard day, Danny.”
“Are those recruits giving you a difficult time, Master?”
“Recruits? Nah, they were a piece of cake. Missing you, though -- that's what killed me.”
Daniel smiled, pausing his stroking motions as he straddled his lover. He leaned forward and nibbled on his ear, then kissed his shoulder. His lover had just warmed his heart and soul, melting him to butter.
“I love you, Jack.”
“You'd better. It's an order from your master.”
Daniel laughed, then asked, “And tomorrow?”
“Tomorrow, it'll be my greatest wish and desire that you still love me.”
“Gawd, Jack. Love you so much.”
“I love you, too, Angel. This waterbed was a great idea.”
“We're on the Nile. Feel the breeze?”
“Oh yeah. Just what I needed, too.”
Daniel returned to his task, taking the massage to another level. With his fingers open, and palms facing outward, he made a long stroking motion up the right side of Jack's body. He made a small circling motion at the base, than returned to the top. Repeating the action, Daniel whispered softly, “I love you, my master. I live to please you.”
“You're definitely pleasing me,” Jack responded as he relaxed with his eyes closed.
More contented sighs were heard from the older man, making Daniel happy inside.
~Gawd, I love effecting him like this, and it's so simple. We both love massages; we need to do this more often.~
Daniel switched to Jack's left side and did the same thing there, repeating the massaging technique about five times, and then doing another few strokes up and down Jack's back again.
“Turn over,” Daniel said, the slave commanding his master who promptly obeyed. Spreading a lavender and citrus blend, he continued his massage, delicately pressing his fingertips against his lover's torso. Their massage was transforming to foreplay. “You're so sexy, Jack. Gawd, you make me go wild.”
“These old bones?”
Slowly, Daniel rubbed his hands from Jack's abdomen up over his pectorals, doing a circular motion around each, and then up to his lover's neck. As he leaned forward, his eyelashes fluttered for just a moment. Then, Daniel nibbled on Jack's upper lip and eventually slid his tongue inside Jack's mouth. He explored freely until neither could breathe. At the same time, his hands had never stopped their gentle, kneading motions on Jack's chest.
“Every bone fragment.” Daniel repositioned his hands to run through the fine strands of Jack's silver-gray hair. “Love this. So distinguished, not old. Handsome.”
Daniel kissed the side of Jack's head. He hadn't done this often, and actually, he couldn't recall if he'd ever done it exactly like this, but he did know that many times during the course of their love affair Jack had kissed him this way. He had always loved it, so now, Daniel kissed his husband's eyes, one at a time.
“Love your eyes. They shine with love, and they see right into my soul. Eyes ... beautiful chocolate brown eyes, and you know how I love chocolate!”
Jack laughed, taking in the feast his lover was bestowing upon him.
Daniel kissed Jack's nose, and sighed contently as he moved to kiss each cheek; then kissed them both again.
“Love these cheeks. They press against mine,” Daniel said, moving to illustrate his point, his right cheek rubbing against Jack's. “So connected, skin to skin. Safe. Strong, firm jaw line,” Daniel said, moving to trace the jaw of his husband.
“Earlobes. Oh gawd, I'm hungry for these.”
Jack arched his body, his head moving back as Daniel helped himself to a nibble of Jack's right ear, and then began to lick.
The feast went on, Daniel celebrating every part of Jack's body, complimenting each and every one, describing exactly how each sent Daniel soaring into the atmosphere of love. He had worked his way down to the naked Colonel's toes, tasting each one, then licking and sucking them one by one.
Jack was enjoying being the object of Daniel's desires, but he was also on the edge of oblivion, and Daniel hadn't even touched the one part of his body that Jack couldn't wait for him to get to, the part that was now protruding and hard as the proverbial rock.
“Danny, uh, slave, I need a little ... attention,” Jack gasped, motioning to the body part in question.
“Dang it, Danny. I'm ready to explode here.”
Daniel laughed as he moved up to help his master of the night. He flicked his tongue against the tip of Jack's length.
“Is, uh, this your problem?”
“For crying out loud ... YESSSSSSSSS!” Jack screamed, as Daniel suddenly dived in for the main course, swallowing Jack whole in one fell swoop and beginning a massage with his tongue that had Jack begging for more. “Don't you dare ... stop ... I ... GAWD, DANNY!”
“No god, just your slave,” Daniel said as he released the shaft.
“Don't stop, slave. I command you!”
Daniel laughed and said, “Yes, Master.”
He dove in for a second helping of Jack, this time sucking in a rhythm that had his lover gasping with each movement.
Once again, the slave backed off, causing Jack to curse, but then Daniel flicked his tongue again against the tip of Jack's shaft. He whispered, “Come for me, Master. Now,” and with those words, Daniel swallowed Jack again, and with a final sucking of the length, Jack came, long and hard.
“Oh gawd, Danny. Perfect ... love you so much, Angel.”
“That was just the appetizer, my love.”
Daniel moved up to kiss Jack on the lips. He looked into his eyes, and spoke with a love that flowed from deep within his essence.
“Jack, you are everything to me. I haven't showed you that enough. I know you're going to disagree with me about that, but when we took that silly quiz recently, it wasn't the score that meant anything, but it was a reminder that we all need to feel loved and wanted. I love you so freakin' much, and I want you more than ever. You drive me crazy with desire, Jack. Gawd, my body burns for you all the time, and I ache when we're apart, no matter how crazy it sounds. I think maybe I've turned into a sex fanatic or something.”
Both men laughed, but then Daniel continued, “You deserve to know that, to see that I adore you, all of you, and from now on, my Silver Fox, I'm going to surprise you just as often as you surprise me.”
“Danny, you do. You have,” Jack reassured.
“Not enough. Not nearly enough, Jack. You bring me flowers all the time; you've decorated our room in flower petals. How often have I done that for you?”
“Daniel, you don't ...”
“Yes, I do, and I'm going to, Jack, forever and always, so ... you just get used to being pampered and surprised from now on, too. Okay?”
“Okay, Angel. Uh, you aren't done, are you?”
“Just getting started, Love. You and I, Jack: we've only just begun. I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
For the rest of the night, Daniel pampered his master. They made love all night, and then Daniel bathed his lover in the barge that was their bathtub, surrounded by more candles and flower petals. After that, he took him downstairs for a feast next to the fireplace. All Jack's favorites were there, plus some new morsels of delight. They cuddled and snuggled, and then they made love again.
The quiz long forgotten, Daniel knew when he awoke the next morning in his lover's arms and saw the smile painted on Jack's face, that he had achieved his goal of making his husband happy. He vowed to never forget the lesson he had learned. Jack was always doing things for him, and now, Daniel would reciprocate, more than ever. Together, they'd achieve a state of total bliss that few would ever understand as their nation of two grew in strength, love, and romance.
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