Daniel Jackson - Fly Boy?
Category: Slash, Drama, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Season: Beyond the Series - August 1 - September 16, 2006
Written: July 10, August 13-14, September 3,9-10,14-16,18-19, 2004 Revised for consistency: July 21-23,29, 2007
Summary: Daniel studies to become a pilot. Will his sultry instructor cause Jack's Mr. Jealousy to commit murder?
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 past fic(s), “Ten Months,” “Flying High,” and “Oshkosh U.S.A.”
4) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better: Claudia, QuinGem, Sue P., Drdjlover, Linda, Jo, Carol!
Daniel Jackson - Fly Boy?
Jack sat at the computer, feeling very pleased with himself.
While he acknowledged there was a little trickery involved in what he
was doing, he also believed that it was the right thing to do.
~He just needs a little push,~ the retired brigadier general thought. Jack laughed, ~You did agree, Danny.~
As the exhausted lovers closed their eyes to sleep, Jack had an idea that made him smile. He mulled it over and decided to move forward with it.
After ten minutes had passed, Jack whispered, “Danny?”
“Hmm?” the younger man answered, more asleep than awake.
“How'd you like to learn how to fly Jo?”
“Mmm-mmm,” Daniel replied, his eyes shut snuggly.
~That was easy enough. We're half way there, Dannyboy,~ the plotting general chuckled inwardly. “Good. I'll teach you, and then we'll arrange lessons, and you can get your license.”
“Okay, J'ck. Night.”
Jack grinned as he thought about flying the skies with Daniel. It was heaven being the pilot, but Jack wanted Daniel to know that joy, too. He couldn't imagine anything more inspiring and thrilling than being in Jo, soaring through the air, with his lover.
~If that isn't Heaven, I don't know what is!~
Dreaming of flying high with his husband, Jack fell asleep.
//End of Flashback//
~You'll love it, Danny.~
As he walked down the stairs, Daniel could hear whistling. After a moment, he determined the noise to be coming from the study. His lover had gotten up with the early birds to catch the worms, but he'd chosen to sleep in.
As the clock struck 9:15 in the morning, Daniel entered the study and greeted his soulmate, “Hey.”
“Hey, yourself. Love you,” Jack said, accepting the good morning kiss. “Did you get your beauty sleep?”
Daniel laughed, “I was tired.”
“Daniel, you haven't seen tired yet,” Jack replied. “Just wait until our baby is born.”
The younger man grinned. He couldn't help it. A surrogate was carrying their child, and by the end of the year, Jack and Daniel would be parents.
“Which is a good reason to take advantage of being able to sleep in now,” Daniel responded. “What are you working on?” he asked curiously, knowing Jack wasn't much of a computer junkie.
“You know me, just playing,” the older man answered, quickly closing the web browser. Wanting to deflect any further inquiries, he asked, “Did you get something to eat yet?”
“No, I was hoping you hadn't eaten yet.”
“Just had some juice.”
“You waited for me?” Daniel asked hopefully.
“Always love,” Jack answered, smiling as he stood. “I'm starved,” he said, rubbing his abdomen.
“You make it sound like you haven't eaten in days,” Daniel chuckled.
“Hey, playing is hard work,” Jack laughed, leading his lover out of the study so they could eat breakfast.
After breakfast, the lovers tended to various household tasks. Eventually, Jack ended up back in the study, continuing his research.
~I should have just told him,~ Jack thought about his cover-up of his activities earlier. ~Never mind, I'll tell him soon. Besides, he'll be happy about it, after I convince him,~ he laughed.
As lunchtime approached, Daniel again entered the study, seeing his lover looking intensely at the computer monitor as he sat behind the desk.
“What are you working on?” the archaeologist inquired. “Or ... are you playing again?”
“Playtime is over, Love. I'm checking out flight instructors,” Jack informed, opting to follow his new plan of being up front with his husband about his research.
“Flying instructors? Why? You already know how to fly, at least you've conned the Air Force into thinking you can,” Daniel quipped, a pleased smirk on his face.
“Thank you, Babe, but, uh, you still haven't told me why you need a flight instructor.”
“Not for me, for you.”
“ME?” Daniel had just begun to sit down on the sofa, but hearing Jack's words, he stood right back up. “What are you talking about?”
“You said you wanted to learn how to fly.”
“I did not,” the younger man denied adamantly.
“Yes, you did.”
“Did, too,” Jack insisted.
“When?” Daniel asked, not recalling even having such a conversation.
“Oshkosh? I don't remember that.”
“Well, you were sleeping at the time, but you did say 'yes',” Jack mused, now wearing a prideful smirk himself.
“Jack, you're out of your freakin' mind. I don't need to know how to fly a plane and ...”
“You never know when it might come in handy. You never thought you'd need to know how to fly a mother ship, either,” Jack reminded.
“You've lost your mind, O'Neill,” Daniel asserted once again.
“You'll love it.”
“No, Jack,” Daniel said as he headed for the door. “I'm going to eat lunch now. Are you coming?”
“Be right there,” Jack replied.
As Daniel walked the hallway into the living room, he heard Jack whistling again, and then he broke into song: “Off we go, into the wild blue yonder ...”
Daniel sighed, shaking his head, as he lamented, ~I'm doomed.~
As he headed for the kitchen to prepare lunch, Daniel casually looked out the patio door. Stunned by what he was seeing, he stopped still in his tracks. Katie was in the far corner of the yard having a stare down with a tiny garden snake. She was 'on point', her tail straight up into the air, her nose down, nearly touching the slithering creature.
Daniel quickly opened the door and called out, “Katie ... come!”
Katie held her ground, though, as if protecting her family and home. Daniel's call alerted Bijou, however, who had been sleeping in her doghouse. She charged the snake, causing it to move swiftly away through a small hole in the fence. Bijou barked at the moving creature until it was long gone. Meanwhile, Katie pranced around victoriously.
“Katie, we need to have a little talk,” Daniel said, sitting Indian-style on the grass near where the incident occurred.
Katie trotted up to Daniel and sat down, ready for her lecture.
“Now, Katie, I realize you want to protect us, but when I call you, you need to trust me and come. There wasn't any danger to us here, and you could have gotten hurt by not listening to me and backing off. We love you, and having a showdown with a snake of any kind just isn't a good thing for a little beagle like you.”
“It's not such a good idea for archaeologists, either,” Jack mused and then sat down next to Daniel. He'd heard Daniel's shout to the youngest beagle and sensed his lover's alarm, so decided he would see what was going on. “What happened?”
“Garden snake. We need to repair the fence,” Daniel answered, motioning towards the hole.
“I'll do that this afternoon,” Jack stated, picking up Katie, who promptly gave him a kiss. “You okay, ya runt?”
Daniel laughed, “She's proud as can be. She thinks she saved us from some terrible danger.”
The younger man smiled, then nodded as he agreed, “Yeah, I guess she did. After all, the snake left. Good girl,” Daniel praised, caving in as he reached over to pet the beagle. Then he picked up Bijou and complimented, “And you did a great job, too, Bij. Thank you.” Several licks on his cheek were Daniel's reward for his words. He laughed and said, “I love you, too.”
With lunch concluded and the fence repaired, Jack again returned to his study and placed a phone call to Dale Rancolini, an old Air Force Academy buddy whose informal reunion of fellow Academy graduates in July had been the catalyst for Jack and Daniel buying their plane last month.
“So, Daniel is going to learn to fly?” Dale questioned.
Jack sat back comfortably in the deluxe chair Daniel had once bought for him. He had the massager on. In front of him on the desk was the Yellow Pages, flipped open to the section on flight instruction.
The general spoke into the phone, “That's the plan, Dale, but I need to find the right instructor.”
“Why don't you teach him?”
“Well, I will, unofficially, but I'm not a licensed instructor, so he's still going to have to do the time with one of the locals,” Jack answered.
“One of the locals? Jack, sometimes you talk funny.”
Jack chuckled. All those years going off-world did sometimes color his speech. As he chatted with his friend, he continued to casually look through the airport listings for instructors.
“Jack, how about Tony Romero?” Dale suggested.
“Tony. Great pilot. Let me get the phone number. Works with a couple of others out of COS,” Dale informed.
A minute later, Dale stated, “Jack, I can't find the phone number, but I have the email. It's email@example.com.”
“Flyme.com?” Jack repeated, laughing. “Where do they think up these email addresses, anyway?”
“No clue. I'm just happy that I know how to turn the dang computer on,” Dale laughed.
“I know what you mean. Thanks again, Dale. Uh, by the way, we have something to discuss.”
“A proposition, but it'll have to wait until we can talk in person,” Jack stated.
“You've always been a tease, Jack.”
“Yeah, that's what Daniel says, too,” the general responded lightly.
After Jack hung up, he sent an email to the address he'd just been given. He explained he was inquiring about lessons and wanted information on Romero's services.
~That does it. Just wait, Love. Soon, you'll be flying Jo, too!~
After a series of emails over the next few days, Jack was convinced Romero would be the perfect instructor. They'd never managed to catch each other on the phone due to differing schedules, but Romero had great references and a solid resume, so Jack paid for the lessons and prepared to surprise his husband with the news that he was about to take his first steps towards becoming a legitimate pilot.
“Angel,” Jack called out as he entered the den.
Daniel turned his desk chair around and gave his husband a brilliant smile, one that made the older man feel like he was worth a million dollars. Jack's heart even fluttered for a moment at the sight of his lover's reaction to his presence.
“Geez, I love you,” Jack crooned, leaning down for a kiss.
“I love you, too, but that's not why you came in here just now,” Daniel chuckled, quickly stopping his lover from standing upright by pulling on his shirt. “But, uh, I'll take another one of those.”
“Anything to oblige,” Jack responded, kissing his Love again.
“And, no, I didn't come in here just to tell you I love you, but I do.”
“I know,” Daniel responded. “Jack?” he prompted, ready for his husband to get to the point.
As he sat down in the recliner, Jack saw Bijou and Katie resting quietly on their den beanbag and greeted, “Hey, Bij, Katie. Who wants some love?”
Bijou responded first, jumping up on Jack and placing kiss after kiss on his face.
Daniel laughed, “Guess you don't need to take a shower tonight.”
“Yes, I do,” Jack said, winking seductively and making Daniel blush. “Ah, Angel, you still blush. We're about to have a baby, and you're a blushing maniac.”
Daniel shrugged shyly, but decided to get back to business. It's not that Jack needed a reason to be near him, or vice versa, but he was in the middle of a translation that the SGC was having problems with. He'd promised General Hammond he'd look at it and have a preliminary report, if not more, done by noon tomorrow.
“Um, Jack ...”
“Oh, sorry,” the older man said, moving Bijou to his lap where he continued to pet her. “You have work to do.”
“Yes, and the sooner I get this translation figured out, the sooner I can get to it,” Daniel stated, his eyes full of mischief.
“Oh, then I won't keep you, but I wanted to make sure you didn't make any plans for Monday at 1400 hours ...”
“Sorry, old habits; make that 2 p.m.,” Jack corrected.
“Why?” Daniel asked suspiciously. ~It's his eyes; he's got something in mind that I won't like; I'm sure of it ... I think.~
“Because you just yelled at me not to use military time.”
“Jack!” Daniel chastised.
The older man laughed, then feigned innocence as he responded, “What? I answered your question.”
“Jack, you know that work I mentioned?”
“Well, I have to get this done, and if I can't get this done, then there is nothing that is going to get *up* tonight *except* for the moon,” the linguist pointed out.
“Oh,” Jack expressed as he looked a little torn at the thought of having to choose between teasing and 'you knowing'. “Down to business then.”
“Business, yes,” Daniel affirmed. “So, I ask one more time. Why?”
~I love him, but Aris was right; Jack can be a real pain in the mikta sometimes,~ Daniel thought, groaning in frustration as he sat back in his chair. He brought his hands to his forehead and exclaimed in exasperation, “JACK!”
Apologetically, even if his laughing seemed to counter his words, Jack said, “Sorry, Love. I just couldn't resist.”
“Flying lessons,” the general stated.
~I was right; I hate being right,~ Daniel thought. “Jack, I don't need to be a pilot. You're a pilot.”
“I want you to fly Jo,” Jack said softly.
Daniel sighed, hearing the softness and seeing a hope in his Love's eyes. He didn't quite understand why Jack was advocating this so much.
“You're not going to give up on this, are you?”
Enthusiastically, the older man answered, “Daniel, you're gonna love it. I've seen you up there. You feel it, and when you control that power, you'll really understand.”
“That's why you want me to learn to fly.” Daniel hunched forward in his chair, extending his arms in front of him, his hands clasped together. “You want me to know what you feel.”
“Yes,” Jack answered, an airiness in his voice. “We share everything, Danny. Maybe I'm wrong to ask you, but I want you to know, not guess, or assume, or think being on a pel'tac even compares to what I'm talking about. Don't get me wrong. I love huge honkin' firepower, but this is different.”
~Now I understand.~ Daniel smiled and nodded. He knew how much it meant to him that Jack was learning about archaeology, so he was more than willing to learn to fly. ~It's all about sharing, not because we have to, but because we want to.~ He nodded and, turning around to return to his work, confirmed, “Two o'clock on Monday.”
Smiling, Jack informed, “I have all the information in the study.”
“Instructor is Tony Romero. Dale recommended him.”
“Okay,” Daniel acknowledged, his focus now back on the translation.
“He's supposed to be really good,” Jack stated, his excitement still evident by the uplift in his voice.
“Jack. *Up*, remember?”
“Going,” Jack said, nudging Bijou off his lap and walking towards the door. He stopped, though, and returned to his husband, surprising him by spinning the chair around and kissing him soundly. “Just in case you needed motivation to get through this translation quickly.”
“Motivation,” Daniel sighed.
Jack smiled at the sappy look on Daniel's face and said, “Yep. Motivation.”
Whistling, Jack left the den.
~Gawd, I love him. Okay, translation. I'm going to figure you out if it kills me. Ah, actually, no I'm not. I'm going to try my best, give you my undivided attention, but you know what? If I can't figure you out in the next three hours, you'll just have to wait because I'm having a romantic rendezvous tonight with my husband.~
Daniel walked into the hangar and looked around. He was five minutes early and assumed Romero wasn't there yet. Over the weekend, he and his lover had begun a review of, and Daniel had spent hours reading about, planes and their operation. Part of him, though, wondered if he shouldn't just turn and run. He wasn't about to admit it, but the thought of flying a plane intimidated him. He was lured away from that thought by the voice of a stranger.
“Can I help you?” a woman asked, seeing Daniel lurking about.
“Ah, I'm supposed to meet someone here for flying lessons,” the archaeologist answered.
“Doctor Jackson?” the woman spoke expectantly.
“Actually, uh, it's Jackson-O'Neill, but that's a mouthful, so Jackson is good enough, and I'm, uh, rambling.”
The other person laughed jovially, saying, “I ramble all the time. You're a few minutes early, but that's fine. I'm Tony Romero.”
Daniel stood stunned and questioned, “You're ... Tony Romero?”
“That's me,” the dark-headed woman smiled. “Okay, look, I'm half Mexican, half Italian. That means I'm fiery. I don't take guff from anyone. Not from anyone, Doctor Jackson. I'm a qualified pilot, and I teach, and I'm sick and tired of military types thinking if you're a woman, you can't do squat.”
Daniel had observed the female as she talked. She looked to be about five-feet, eight-inches tall, had long, wavy black hair with striking black eyes. Her demeanor and tone clearly demonstrated her spirited Italian half while her dark complexion showcased the Mexican part of her heritage. In some ways, the woman reminded him of Sha're.
“I'm ... not military.”
“No, but that General O'Neill is, and he's the one that hired me. The point is, Doctor Jackson, do you want the lessons or not?” the woman asked aggressively.
“Yes, I do, and my name is Daniel,” the archaeologist replied, a little taken back by the woman's aggressiveness.
“Good. I'm Tony, and yes, it's with a 'y'. My folks wanted a boy, they got me, and they didn't bother to change the spelling simply because I turned out to be the wrong sex,” Romero explained with no hint of an apology.
“Okay,” Daniel acknowledged softly as he stood with his hands placed casually on his hips.
Tony Romero took a deep breath and sighed, “Hey, Man, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to come on like gangbusters, but believe it or not, in our world, there are still a lot of male chauvinists out there who think a woman's place in the sky should be limited to asking, 'coffee, tea, or me?'.”
With just the slightest hint of a laugh, Daniel responded, “That's not me, or Jack.”
“Jack is the general?” Tony asked.
“And my husband,” Daniel said, deciding to see if the woman's open-mindedness extended to same-sex marriages.
“Husband?” the woman questioned with widened eyes.
“Jackson-O'Neill,” Daniel repeated his name.
“Wow. Cool,” Tony said, smacking her lips together for a moment. “Okay, are you ready?”
Daniel nodded and followed the instructor as she exited the hangar.
“We'll start with the pre-flight. I'm sure you know this, but it's essential. Never assume anything about your aircraft. Safety always comes first, so the more detailed you are during the pre-flight, the better off you'll be. We cover the basics, of course: fuel levels and quality, propeller and control surfaces, tire pressures, oil levels. General O'Neill said you own a plane?”
“Yes, we do. It's, uh, a Meyers 200.”
“Which version?” the instruction asked.
“A,” Daniel answered.
“Rare, but an excellent plane. Here's mine ...” The instructor slowly walked Daniel through the pre-flight of her Cessna, and he was careful to pay close attention. “Okay, get in,” Tony said.
“Uh, here? It's the ... pilot's seat. Shouldn't you ...”
“Get in Doctor Jackson,” the woman stated, smiling at the hesitant man.
Turning a bit paler, the younger man took a breath, and as he began to get into the plane, he said again, “It's Daniel.”
Tony sat on the right side and handed Daniel a checklist, saying, “General O'Neill said that while you haven't flown smaller aircraft that you've had experience with flying, I believe he used the term, 'alternate aircraft'. I don't know what he meant by that, but the implication was that you weren't a greenhorn. He's told me what you two have already discussed and some of the reading you've done. You're ready to go, Daniel. Put on your headset, and start 'er up,” she said, putting on her headset as well.
~Alternate aircraft! Big mouth general. Okay, I know this. I've flown freakin' mother ships and cargo ships. This is a tiny little Cessna. That's the problem. It's a *tiny* little Cessna. Focus, Jackson. Remember what you've read and what Jack has already taught you. Jack.~ Daniel smiled. ~Oops. Concentrate on flying. It's a piece of cake. Jack says so, even if he is a big mouth general!~
A bit nervously, Daniel pressed the starter button.
“Okay, Daniel, what you're listening to is the Automated Terminal Information System. We call it ATIS for short. It'll tell you everything you want to know about an airport: weather, runways currently in use, news or special instructions. You listen to this before beginning a flight and when approaching an airport.”
“I don't understand half of what this ... man? or is it a woman ... whatever. I don't know what they're saying,” Daniel stated, tilting his head slightly to try and make out words that were indistinguishable to him.
“A lot of it is jargon, but you'll pick that up pretty quick,” Tony explained. “The voice sounds funny because this one is computerized. Sounds like they're having a problem with it. Happens sometimes.”
“Oh. That's nice to know ... I think.”
Daniel's head turned to face the instructor so fast that for a minute, he thought his head might spin around completely, like from the movie, “The Exorcist.”
“Excuuuuuse me?” Daniel questioned, wondering if the woman was insane or something.
“Take us to the runup area,” Tony instructed.
“Runup area? What is that? Uh, where is that?” Daniel queried, looking all around.
“Smaller planes need to do a final check on the engines before taking off, so there's a designated area for that. We let the engines run at high power for a few moments just to make sure oil pressure is okay, that the magnetos and carburetor heat are working; things like that. It's over there,” Tony said, pointing toward the area in question.
“And you want me to ... to ... to ...”
“Go. Oh, gawd,” Daniel said softly.
“Careful on the throttle. I know it's tempting to want to pull it out for more power, but trust me, Daniel, now's not the time ... Good ... Whoa, keep to the right. Wouldn't want to hit one of those beauties. The insurance company wouldn't be happy ... Better ... Still weaving a little too much ... Great!”
Daniel had reached the runup area. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He'd actually done pretty well. Unlike a lot of new pilots, he hadn't been confused about the rudder directions and had only gone off course a few feet a couple of times.
“How does it feel?” Tony asked.
“Good,” Daniel admitted, though still feeling a little out of his league.
“My turn,” the instructor said, smiling.
Tony took over the controls and took Daniel up for a quick spin, explaining various details of the flight and how to work with Air Traffic Control. She had contemplated letting Daniel fly the plane, and her intuition told her he could do it, but he seemed a little bit too nervous, so, having not actually met him before, she opted for the safer tactic of controlling the flight herself and finding out more about her student and his knowledge base.
“Want you,” Daniel moaned as he kissed his husband as they lay on their bed in the bedroom.
“Ditto, but you haven't answered the question yet,” Jack stated, refusing to be dissuaded from the task at hand.
“Danny, you know the rules. Now, tell me about the wings. Three profiles. What are they?” Jack quizzed, looking up at his lover who was leaning over him somewhat.
Daniel groaned and rolled over on his back, frustrated. He searched his brain for the answer. Reviews and pop quizzes such as this one were now part of his daily routine as his lover helped him learn all about flying.
“Uhhhh, flat bottom is the most stable and creates the most lift,” Daniel began, then continued, “semi-symmetrical is stable, too, but allows more maneuverability, and, ah, fully symmetrical.”
“And you won't be doing that why?”
“Daniel!” the general admonished at the delay in response.
“It's Aerobatics 101. It's the least stable,” Daniel answered.
“Jo is not for aerobatics,” Jack reminded.
“Actually, Love, Jo is a perfect plane for aerobatics,” the younger man stated, a sly smile on his face.
“No aerobatics,” the archaeologist chuckled.
“Better, now you may ravish me,” Jack spoke, spreading his arms out wide as if offering himself up as the perfect prize.
“Gee, thanks, Jack,” Daniel responded dryly at his lover's words of permission. “But, if you insist.”
“Oh, I do, Danny, I do.”
“But it's not part of tonight's quiz. I think I should go ...”
Daniel started to get up, but Jack pulled him down, saying, “I'm the instructor, and I'm instructing you to ravish me.”
The younger man chuckled, “I love you, Jack,” and then proceeded to do as his instructor had ordered, though he stopped for a moment and added, “I'd better get an 'A', Jack.”
“You're an 'A+', Angel,” Jack responded as the two began their foreplay that would lead to a wonderful night of lovemaking.
“Yum. This truffle is ... yum, it's scrumptious!”
“Scrumptious?” Daniel raised his eyebrows, his eyes begging. “It looks ... scrumptious,” he said with lust in his voice.
“You know the rules,” Jack taunted.
The archaeologist groaned. He was getting tired of hearing that line from his husband, but he'd come to learn that if he wanted to get anywhere with Jack, he would have to go along. Quickly, he spouted off the answer to the latest trivia quiz, something that had become a part of his daily life recently, as if panicking over becoming a new father wasn't enough to fill his days.
~Why do I let him put me through this? Oh, yeah, because I love the loon,~ Daniel thought. “Lift occurs when air moving over the top of the wing moves faster than the air underneath,” he droned, while keeping a close eye on the newest truffle Jack held teasingly in front of his face. “The faster air moves past a surface, the less pressure it exerts on that surface, and, uh, lift is created when pressure underneath the surface is greater. It, uh, pushes the wing up. JACK, I WANT THAT TRUFFLE NOW!”
“Anything you say, Love,” Jack agreed, starting to hand the truffle over, but then pulling it back.
“HEY!” Daniel objected sharply, his eyes beginning to shoot daggers at his soulmate.
“One more thing -- degrees,” Jack stated.
“Degrees?” the student pilot inquired.
“Lift is always at a certain level.”
“Ninety. Now give me that truffle,” Daniel ordered, grabbing the chocolate treat and practically running over to the sofa, sitting in the corner, and closing his eyes in an orgasmic delight as he tasted the chocolate candy.
Jack shook his hand and rubbed his elbow, the force of his lover's action having caused his arm to move back against the counter and make contact with it slightly.
Looking over at Bijou and Katie, Jack spoke, “Never come between a man and his truffle; it can be dangerous to your health.”
“Jack, it was awesome!” Daniel exclaimed.
Jack smiled. Daniel had taken the controls in the air for a few minutes for the first time. He was in full lecture-mode, his face radiating in delight as he talked about the experience.
“I mean, at first, I thought Tony was crazy for turning control over to me, but like you said, it was a piece of cake. I felt like I was floating. It was incredible.”
Jack continued to smile. This was what he wanted, except he wished he had been the one to be there. He had planned to be. They had been going to go flying together in Jo a few days earlier, but Hammond had called, requesting yet another favor, this time from him. He hadn't been able to refuse, and the price, as it turned out, was missing out on this experience. It filled Jack with conflicting emotions. He was happy Daniel had enjoyed the experience; at the same time, he wished he had been there with him, instead of Tony Romero.
“I mean, it was ... I was scared at first. I thought we'd have all these sessions in the plane or a simulator ... or something before I actually flew the plane, but, wow, Jack, we got in the plane, and Tony told me to start the engine. I did and taxied to the runup like before and then ... gawd, then Tony contacted the ATC, and the next thing I knew, I was going down the runway. Jack, I took off. Wow.”
Jack sat quietly, a happy smile pasted on his face. Daniel looked so young and alive. He was walking the floor of their living room, not in an anxiety-driven pace, but in an excited, almost euphoric prance. His hands waved wildly in the air to accentuate his words and the strong emotions he was feeling.
“You know the first time, I didn't have any problems with the rudder, but I, uh, kinda weaved a little, but this time, Jack, I barely went off the path at all, and it was easier to follow along with what the air traffic guys were saying. What a feeling. I just kept trying to remember everything you've taught me, the procedures I've read, the instructions Tony had given me. Power ... rudder ... ailerons. I wasn't sure when to take off. I mean, I think I almost panicked, but suddenly Tony told me to 'pull it back' and I did, and, Jack, then we were climbing. Me! I was controlling this plane, and we were going higher and higher. It was incredible.”
“I always knew you could do it,” Jack replied confidently.
“You think I can do anything,” Daniel responded with a loving smile.
This was true. Jack saw no end to Daniel's talents, skills, and abilities. The only regret he had was not having been able to teach him to fly himself. He'd made sure Daniel knew the workings of a plane; that much, they had been able to do together, both before Daniel had begun his lessons and throughout his flight instruction, but he couldn't actually let Daniel fly Jo, though he had wanted to desperately.
Jack knew that as a student pilot, no one would be allowed to fly with Daniel except for a licensed instructor, which he wasn't. While he wasn't a big stickler for regulations, he didn't want to jeopardize Daniel getting his private pilot's license; it was a risk he wasn't willing to take, so as Daniel was learning, Jack would not fly with him.
The one exception they had agreed to was this first moment, the very first time Daniel actually flew a plane. It would just have been for a few minutes, up in Jo. No one would have known, but them. They'd planned it all out. Nothing fancy, just a quick switch up in the skies, and they would have been able to share this wondrous experience.
~The best made plans, and all that jazz. Dang SGC still interferes with our lives,~ the general bemoaned, enormously regretting having missed out on the pleasure of being the first person to fly with his Angel.
Now, though, Jack had to be an outsider. From now on, no matter how much he regretted not being there for this moment, or the many 'firsts' that he knew would be coming in the next month or two, he wouldn't bend the rules, not an inch. He wanted his husband to be a pilot and that would come first over his personal need to be part of the experience.
“You can,” Jack said, reiterating that he was positive his soulmate could do anything he put his mind to. “So, no problems?”
“Um, not really, except for two things. There was a little crosswind on the takeoff that was disconcerting, but I just held on and kept going.”
“What else?” Jack asked curiously.
“Well, after we'd been flying a few minutes, this plane appeared out of nowhere. They weren't on the radio,” Daniel informed.
“Probably using another airport.”
“Oh, yeah, that's what Tony said, but it was scary, Jack. I think that plane was only six or seven-hundred feet under us,” the amateur pilot revealed.
“You have to keep your eyes open, Love.”
“Yeah, that was a good wake-up call.”
“Did you land the plane?” Jack questioned.
“Tony had more sense than that,” Daniel said, relief in his voice.
“You could have done it.”
Daniel saw a wealth of belief in Jack's eyes, and it made him feel so special. Then he saw something else, something he'd missed since coming home. He walked to the sofa to sit next to his lover.
“You know what I can't wait for?” the younger man asked.
With a broad smile and a tender tone, Daniel answered, “To take you flying. I want you with me.”
“That's what I'm waiting for, too.”
“I'm sorry our plans were cancelled the other day. You're disappointed, aren't you, Jack?” Daniel inquired, sensing the sadness Jack was hiding inside.
Jack sighed, “I guess a part of me is. I wanted to be with you when you first experienced what it feels like to fly through the sky, but ...” He raised his right hand to brush back a lock of Daniel's growing hair that had fallen in front of his face. He let his fingers run just over the ear a few times and then traced the earlobe, sliding his fingers behind it. He shook his head and continued, “... Seeing your eyes, hearing your voice: you're sharing it with me now. We'll go up together soon enough.”
“I love you, Jack.”
“Love you, too, Angel.”
“Daniel, you look like I used to when I was cramming for a final,” Kayla Armentrout, the woman who was carrying their child, said as she entered the den. “Hope you don't mind. Jack told me it was okay to come on up.”
“Kayla!” Daniel stood and hugged the woman. “How's the baby?”
“Doing great. I saw Sylvia this morning, so I figured I'd drop by and tell you and Jack about it.”
“That's great. Thanks,” Daniel said, anxious to hear the latest about the unborn child.
“Jack's on the phone, though, which is why he sent me up, I think. Shall we wait?” Kayla asked.
“Yeah, he'll want to hear it all.”
“So what were you doing that had you so engrossed?” Kayla questioned curiously. “I'm not kidding; I remember cramming for exams and looking like you just did.”
“I'm studying some materials from Jepp. Uh, Jeppersen. They publish books, charts, software, stuff like that, on flying. I'm trying to take in as much as I can about the basic mechanics, electrical system, and ...” Daniel sighed. “There's so much technical information to learn, Kayla, and I'm not Sam.”
“Are you enjoying it though?”
“I flew last week; I mean, with just me at the controls, and it was incredible. We went up again yesterday, too, and that was, uh, an experience.” He paused, then added, “I really want to show Jack I can do this,” Daniel answered.
~Mmm.~ Kayla turned her head a little. She was a little concerned as she asked, “Daniel, are you doing this for you, or for Jack?”
“Both,” the archaeologist answered honestly. “I like flying. I never thought I would fly a plane. Jack wants me to understand what he feels when he's up there. To be honest, I don't think that's possible, but I do think this will give me a better idea, and ... Kayla, it is incredible. There's one more thing, too.”
“And that is?”
“We'll probably take our children flying, and, just as a backup, it would probably be a good idea for me to know how to fly Jo,” Daniel confided.
“Now that sounds like you, Daniel, thinking ahead to the future,” Kayla responded, smiling.
Daniel shrugged and said an unassuming, “I guess so.”
“When do you go up again?”
“My next lesson is tomorrow,” Daniel answered.
“So soon?” Kayla asked, a bit surprised, thinking her friend would attend lessons once a week, or something similar. ~Actually, you don't know much about flying; maybe you should check that out once you unload these packages you're lugging around,~ she chuckled inwardly. ~Precious packages, they are,~ she opined about the twins she was carrying. ~Twins, and you only think there's one baby. Daniel, you and Jack are in for one big surprise.~
“They recommend going up two or three times a week, to keep everything fresh in your mind. I don't know if I'll be able to maintain that, but ... uh, I'm going to try.”
“And that is all part of flying?” Kayla asked about the books and papers Daniel had strewn out all over desk.
“Like you said, it's like cramming for an exam. My instructor believes in covering the details, and there's a lot to learn before I can be certified. After the flight yesterday, we reviewed charts and procedures, which is one of the reasons I'm studying all this,” Daniel flung his arms out towards the materials that were askew on his desk, “now.”
Kayla laughed, teasing, “At least it's keeping you busy.”
“Actually, I think Jack planned this as a way to keep my mind off the baby and all the crazy stuff I've been doing lately,” Daniel chuckled.
Kayla laughed, thinking about the stories she'd heard, about the overabundance of parenting magazines Daniel purchased, the baby bellies Daniel had made Jack wear, and the life-like doll babies that the two had taken care of for several days.
The woman chuckled as she remembered Jack telling her recently, “If he wasn't the sanest man I know, I'd think he was the craziest.”
Fortunately, though whining and bellowing about some of the things Daniel was putting him through, Jack also realized they were all the result of love and being a nervous first-time expectant parent.
“Our baby is going to have the best daddy in the world,” Jack had boasted, “and even if these gimmicks of his are crazy, I'm going to make sure the kid knows what Danny went through for him, or her.”
~Or both,~ Kayla had silently laughed, thinking about the unborn babies she was carrying.
Daniel and Kayla's conversation was interrupted when Jack appeared, his phone call concluded. Eager to hear what Kayla had to say, the couple took the woman downstairs for an hour of baby talk.
“Jack, you're serious about this?” Daniel questioned later that afternoon.
“Absolutely, and I know you can do it,” Jack stated with confidence.
“But most pilots take six to eight months to get their license,” Daniel pointed out.
“Daniel, eight months from now, we'll be burping our baby, huddling like crazy around the little tyke. Plus, we'll be working more with our company. No matter how you look at it, we'll be busier. Right now, we have the time,” the silver-haired pilot professed.
“But every day? You want me to go out there *every* day?” the younger man asked incredulously. “I'm still learning the basics.”
“Danny, they have programs now where people can be certified in twenty-one days. It's like going to school full-time. You're a scholar, so ... scholar.” When his lover just stared at him incredulously, Jack sighed, “But if you don't want to, then don't,” the retired general said a bit dejectedly.
Daniel sighed as he contemplated the situation. There were a lot of things to consider. As a rule, private pilots tended to get seventy hours of flight time over a period of eight to twelve months. Still, the bare minimum was thirty-five. He was a genius, and while scientific applications weren't his thing, if he truly focused on the Jeppersen texts and other materials he'd accumulated since Jack had talked him into learning how to fly, he felt he could grasp all the material appropriately. He did, after all, have Jack to help.
The flight student knew, too, that Jack was right about the baby and their company. They were making great progress with J-O Enterprises, and it was going to start taking up more of their time as it grew, and the baby was a no-brainer. Daniel wouldn't want to miss a second more than he had to. As he thought about that, he realized what his husband was really saying.
~My husband. He's a genius. I have to stop forgetting that,~ Daniel laughed to himself. ~He knows I'll put off the flying lessons to be with the baby.~ Smiling, he spoke, “Okay.”
“Okay?” Jack said, feeling encouraged.
“I'll call Tony and see if it's possible. Besides, if I've read this right then about half-way through, most of the flying is done ... oh, gawd,” Daniel said, a momentary anxiety attack flowing through him, “by my...uh, myself.”
“You can do it,” Jack repeated yet again.
“I can do it,” Daniel smiled, adding, “especially after what happened yesterday.”
“What happened yesterday?” Jack asked anxiously.
“Oh,” Daniel said hesitantly, suddenly remembering why he had accidentally, conveniently, sort of, kind of on purpose forgotten to mention the incident to his husband.
The archaeologist-turned-student pilot knew there was no turning back. He just had to paint the story as simply as he could.
“It was really nothing. Tony says that ...”
The timber of Jack's voice had raised and sharpened. The expectation was definitely there. He wanted an answer, and he wanted it now.
“Well, uh, we were doing MCAs when one of the instruments malfunctioned,” Daniel confessed.
Part of learning to fly was being able to handle stalls and other problems. MCAs, or minimum controllable airspeed maneuvers, were planned exercises to give the new pilot experience in preventing a stall. The plane never actually stalls in the MCAs, though it does travel at very slow speeds. At least, that's how it was supposed to go.
“You stalled?” Jack asked, his voice having a sharp edge to it.
“Um, yeah, we went into a bit of a tailspin, but Tony was great; got us out of the spin, restarted, and back to the airport. I'm not sure what went wrong; might have been a short or a blown fuse.”
Jack just stared at Daniel, and stared, and stared.
“Jack, are you going to say something?”
“Why didn't you tell me?” the retired Air Force officer inquired cooly.
“Because you would have overreacted, like you're doing now,” Daniel admitted.
“Daniel, you *stalled* and went into a tailspin, and you expect me *not* to react?”
“Jack, in the first place, doing MCAs and stalling is part of the learning process. It's normal.” Daniel tilted his head slightly, and looked off to the right as he thought. “Of course, the stalling wasn't exactly planned, but Tony says ...”
“I don't friggin' care about Tony and what he says, but I do expect my husband to tell me when he goes into a tailspin during a flying lesson.”
“You're right,” Daniel admitted, hoping to avoid a fight. “If it means anything, Tony was impressed with how I handled it. I mean, I'm not the one who pulled the plane out, but I paid close attention,” he tried to say excitedly.
“Jack, you're the one who wanted me to learn how to fly. Have you changed your mind?” the archaeologist questioned.
Jack took a deep breath and answered, “No, but I also don't want you to die in the process.”
Daniel smiled, saying, “Jack, how many near disasters have you had since learning to fly?”
“Too many to count.”
“Well ...” Daniel challenged.
“So, you should be an expert by the time Tony has you stall the plane on purpose,” the older man responded.
“I don't know about being an expert, but the tailspin already terrified me, so a simple stall shouldn't be that bad.”
“Good point,” Jack said more calmly. He reached over and took Daniel's hand, bringing it to his mouth. He kissed it, and then brought it to his cheek. “Just stay safe, Danny.”
“I will ... especially since we're accelerating the instruction.”
“I love you, Danny.”
Daniel smiled brightly, his eyes shining.
“What?” Jack asked.
“It's just ... there was a time when even though I believed those words, at the same time, I ... didn't. Do you know what I mean?”
“Yeah, I know,” Jack responded, leaning into his lover. “But that was a long time ago, right?”
Chuckling, Daniel nodded and said, “Right; a very long time ago. I love you, Jack. You make me so happy.”
“Me, too, Danny,” Jack whispered.
Within minutes, any discussion about flying was long forgotten as the lovers let their lingering kiss morph into a lingering, tender round of joining their bodies together. They may not have been flying through the skies, but they were definitely soaring.
“You're doing super, Daniel. Let me give you a piece of advice, though,” Tony offered before Daniel was about to take off during another lesson. “In mid-air, don't look at your instruments and try to adjust the flight controls. Instruments tend to lag behind reality and if you aren't careful, you'll end up overcorrecting and oscillating.”
“Oh, okay,” Daniel responded, trying to stop staring intently at the multitude of controls.
“And something else you'll notice if you don't take your eyes off that panel,” Tony began.
“Huh? Oh, what?” the young man inquired.
Tony smiled and encouraged, “Stop worrying, Daniel. You're a natural, but trust me, staring at the instruments the way you're doing right now; well, that's a good way to get motion sickness.”
“Not a good idea when flying.”
“No, it's not. So, use your flight controls to keep the nose of the airplane at a constant attitude relative to the horizon. Once you've got that established, glance at your instruments to see if you're where you want to be. Check for level flight or see if you're climbing; whatever it is you're doing or trying to do. If not, set a new attitude for the nose relative to the horizon, and look at the instruments again a few seconds later. Remember, in VFR flight the primary instrument is the nose's position relative to the horizon,” Tony reminded, referring to the Visual Flight Rules.
“Right,” Daniel acknowledged. “Show time!” Daniel said, mimicking his husband in an attempt to get over his pre-flight jitters.
“Tony, are you sure I'm ready for this?” Daniel asked.
“Positive,” the spirited instructor stated. “We've been up in the air a lot this week, Daniel, and you said you wanted to do this on the fly.” Seeing her pupil's stare, she laughed, “Sorry, I couldn't resist. In my opinion, you could have done this a week ago. I don't know anything about that 'alternative aircraft' you've worked with, but you're a quick study and once you're in the air, you're a cool cucumber. I'm totally convinced you can handle this landing with ease.”
“Wish I was,” Daniel lamented as he prepared to tackle his first landing. “Any tips, besides praying, I mean?”
Tony laughed at the young man's insecurities. She knew he could do it. He did everything with care and precision, and he had never forgotten a single thing she'd told him. If anyone was ready to move forward, it was Daniel.
“Well, here's my favorite tip. Landing a plane is like driving a car in at least one respect. Just like you look ahead when driving on a highway, you want to keep your gaze centered about halfway up the runway. It makes it easier to detect the small changes in aircraft attitude that are critically important. It's usually not what is right in front of you that will affect your landing, but the distant portions of the runway move around dramatically as your attitude changes.”
“Okay, look forward, like I'm driving,” Daniel repeated. “What else?”
“Relax your hands, Daniel. You don't need to grip the wheel as hard as you are.”
Looking at his hands, Daniel realized that his knuckles were white due to the death grip he had on the controls.
“Sorry,” the student apologized quietly.
“Daniel, if you just try to float along the runway as low as possible without landing, eventually you'll sink down onto the runway in more or less the correct attitude.”
“In other words, don't over think,” Daniel clarified.
“I guess that's a good way of saying it. I want to see how you do just trying to land. Later, we'll do several touch-and-go's, let you go up and down in a series of aborted landings,” Tony informed.
“We can do that?”
“Yes, we have to clear it with the tower, tell them what we're doing, and it's somewhat dependent on traffic, but worth doing. After an hour or so, you'll be a lot more confident, but, first, let's see how you do this first time.”
“Let's contact the tower,” Tony instructed. Just as Daniel was reaching for the radio, she added, “In a couple of days, you'll be doing all of this by yourself.”
“Oh, gawd,” Daniel expressed with a look of terror on his face, leaning back without taking the radio.
Tony chuckled and shook her head, certain the man sitting next to her would be an expert pilot within a year. For all his insecurities, she sensed an amazing inner confidence as well. It seemed a strange dichotomy, but that was what she sensed.
“Contacting the tower,” Daniel said a moment later while reaching for the radio.
~There it is; there's that confidence. Interesting man, this Daniel Jackson,~ Tony opined with curiosity.
“Daniel, you're now cleared for solo flights,” Tony informed with a smile.
“Solo? That's, uh, great,” Daniel said with a pasted smile on his face.
Tony laughed. She was used to Daniel's shyness now, and his self-doubts, but she herself had no doubts about him. He had passed the required written knowledge test, had handled the Cessna well even in take-offs and landings, and had submitted the required medical papers for a third-class certificate which is what was necessary for private pilots. In her opinion, he was competent and qualified to make solo flights, and she had no qualms about providing the necessary endorsement that would certify her belief in him.
“You're now a student pilot. Fly, Daniel!”
“Thanks. Uh, Tony, I might want to solo in Jo,” Daniel replied.
“Jo? Oh, that's your plane.” So far, Daniel had always gone up in Tony's plane. It had been more convenient. “Let's make an appointment for tomorrow afternoon,” the instructor suggested. “We won't need to fly her, but I just want to make sure you feel comfortable in the pilot's seat, and then I'll give you an endorsement for Jo, too.”
“Thanks, Tony,” Daniel spoke appreciatively.
“Jack? Where are you?” Daniel called out excitedly.
It was three weeks since the archaeologist had been certified to fly solo. Though he'd been out of town for a few days early on, since then he'd spent hours and hours in the air. He actually liked it because it gave him time to think and clear his head. So much was going on for the couple right now. They were close to being parents for the first time and the more immediate event, their second wedding, was just around the corner. Daniel's time in the air allowed him to breathe and just enjoy all the good that was now in his life.
“Study,” Jack shouted. “Trying to get this computer to work. Daniel, it crashed again.”
Walking into the study, Daniel examined the damage and asked, “Jack, what did you download?”
“Why do you always think I downloaded something?” the older man challenged.
“Because you do, and when you do, somehow, you always seem to download the wrong thing.”
“I do not,” Jack argued.
“Do, too, Babe,” Daniel maintained calmly as he continued to study the computer.
“Too!” Daniel said firmly, then sighed and shook his head at the computer. “You've definitely downloaded something.”
“It said it loved me. I thought it was from you,” Jack spoke.
“Jack! I do love you, but I'm not going to send you an email when I can just tell you.”
“How am I supposed to know that?”
“Babe, in all the years we've been together, have I ever, ever sent you an email to tell you that I love you?” Daniel questioned.
“No,” Jack admitted hesitantly, but then he sat back, crossing his arms, and asked, “and why haven't you?”
“Why haven't you sent me an email saying that you love me? I've sent you an email telling you that I love you,” Jack whined.
Daniel rolled his eyes and replied, “Jack, you've downloaded a virus. Didn't the virus scan work?”
“What virus scan?”
“The little gray box that pops up and says 'you've got a virus' and asks what you want to do,” the archaeologist pointed out dryly.
“I didn't want to do anything. I clicked 'cancel'.”
“What am I going to do with you? I've told you a hundred times how to work the virus program. I can't believe you ...” Daniel stopped. He had been hunched over the computer keyboard, but as a realization hit, he stood up straight. “Okay, Jack. What new program do you want?”
“I don't know what you mean,” the general answered casually, though avoiding his lover's gaze.
“Danny, I don't like this XP stuff. I want my old 98 back. I liked 98. I don't care if it's ancient, or if they aren't supporting it very much anymore. I ... like ... it. Please?” Jack asked, as if he were an eight-year-old child.
~He thinks XP is new still. Just wait until Windows Vista comes out,~ Daniel thought. “Did you back up the important stuff like I've taught you?”
Jack grinned as he reached in a drawer and pulled out the zip disks.
Daniel sighed when he saw his husband pull out the Win98 floppy disk, too. Most of the time, Jack feigned ignorance about knowing what disk was which, but on this occasion, he had placed the correct diskette on the desk.
“All there, Love,” Jack stated as he got up and presented the chair to Daniel, pushing him down gently to sit on it. He leaned over and placed a chaste kiss on his cheek. “Win98, Danny, and don't forget to include all my games,” he requested, turning and walking out of the study.
“Like I could forget,” Daniel mumbled.
“I HEARD THAT,” Jack shouted, though his voice became fainter as he proceeded through the house.
**Tough. You're lucky I'm doing this, Jackson-O'Neill.**
**Knew I could count on you, Space Monkey,** Jack replied.
**You actually haven't called me that in a ... gee, a whole ... week,** Daniel said, referring to his nickname.
**Missed it?** When silence loomed, Jack called out mentally, **Danny?**
**Um, well, I refuse to answer on the grounds that it may incriminate me,** the younger man answered hesitantly.
**Love you ... Space Monkey.**
Jack could hear Daniel's laughter emanating from the study. It made him laugh, too.
**Love you, too, my Silver Fox!**
The lovers had just had a spontaneous lovemaking session in the study. Jack had returned to see if Daniel had fixed his computer, and one thing had led to another. Of course, with Jack and Daniel, it really never took much more than both of them being in the same room at the same time. Now, they lay on the sofa, Daniel supine and Jack's head resting on his husband's chest, in the reverse of their usual positions. Daniel placed a kiss on the dampened hair.
“I did it.”
“Yes, you did, and very well, I might add,” Jack complimented.
“Jack, I'm not talking about ... this.”
Jack looked up at Daniel and had a twinkle in his eye as he spoke, “But you did do it perfectly.”
Daniel smiled brightly and replied, “I love you.”
“I love you, too, Angel, but if you weren't talking about this, what were you talking about?” Jack asked curiously.
“I have all the required hours, and Tony is going on vacation, so ... my practical is tomorrow,” Daniel announced.
“Tomorrow? Really?” When his husband nodded, Jack expressed, “Angel, I'm so proud of you.”
“I can't believe it's going to happen. It's been so fast.”
“The FAA only cares that you're competent,” Jack put forth.
“I hope so.”
“Your instructor thinks so from everything you've said,” the older man remarked. “What time is the test?”
“Two,” Daniel answered.
“Crap. Told Hammond I'd scare the newbies,” Jack said with regret at not being able to go with Daniel.
“It's not like you could go up with me,” Daniel lamented, wishing he could.
“I can tomorrow night.” Jack raised his head again and asked, “Take me flying tomorrow night, Love?”
“You so sure I'll pass?”
“Not a doubt in my mind.”
“Flying in Jo. Wow!” a smiling Daniel replied in amazement.
“Danny, wow me again ... here,” Jack requested, his eyebrows rising in a flirtatious manner.
“Jack, we just ...”
“Let's ... just ... again.”
“Uh ... okay,” Daniel responded, proceeding to do so and making both men extremely happy.
“Congratulations, Daniel. You're now a private pilot!”
“Wow. Oh, wow!” Daniel was so excited that he hugged the beautiful woman; then he heard it: the cough, followed by the clearing of the voice, a very familiar voice. He closed his eyes, his joy of flying having just turned into the pain of one great big misunderstanding. He pulled back and with a tiny smile on his face turned to face his husband. “Hi, Jack,” he said nonchalantly.
“Daniel,” the older man replied, his eyes focused on the sultry woman who was standing next to *his* husband.
“Jack?” Tony asked, looking at Daniel. Then she looked again at the man with the silver-gray hair. She walked eagerly towards him, extending her hand as she approached, and greeted excitedly, “It's a pleasure to meet you, General. I'm Tony Romero.”
As Jack's eyes widened, Daniel's closed yet again. He shook his head, knowing from past experience what was about to happen. It wasn't going to be pretty.
“Uh, Tony Romero. We've exchanged quite a few emails over the past couple of months.”
“Quite a few?” Daniel asked, perking up slightly. ~Quite a few?~
“Oh, yes, your husband here has been quite interested in your progress,” Tony revealed.
Suddenly, Daniel had his own offensive battle to fight and questioned, “Have you been checking up on me?”
“Don't change the subject.”
“Change *what* subject?” the younger man challenged as he crossed his arms in front of him.
“HER!” Jack exclaimed as he pointed at the flight instructor. “Her was supposed to be a *he*. He is a *her*, and you *didn't* tell me.”
“Oh, now I understand. The old man thing again,” Tony sighed. “I assure you, General, I'm as good a pilot as any hotshot Air Force fly boy.”
Jack was about to say something when Daniel walked between him and Tony, ordering, “Jack, we're going home. We are *not* making a scene in public.” He turned to face Tony and said, “Thank you, and I'm sorry. I should have told him.” He glanced back slightly at his husband who was again about to speak. “Not ... now, Jack,” he said forcefully. Looking at Tony again, he whispered, “Sorry. It's not about your skill. He's just jealous.” Then he asked, “Is there anything else I need to do for my private pilot's license?”
“No, not a thing.” Tony pulled a paper off the clipboard she was carrying and signed it. Handing it to Daniel, she said, “This is your temporary license. You'll get a permanent one in the mail in a few weeks.”
“So I can fly now?”
“Yes. It's been a pleasure meeting you, Daniel.” Tony smiled and extended her hand to pat him on the upper arm. “Take care.” Looking back at Jack, she said, “Good afternoon ... General,” and then walked away, leaving the lovers alone.
“Home ... *now*!”
Daniel turned around, heading for his vehicle, leaving a very frustrated and confused Jack behind.
Jack shut the door and walked into the living room. He still had on his brown leather jacket and, as he stood near the sofa, he was jingling his keys in his hands.
Daniel stood in front of the patio door. He had just checked on Bijou and Katie, who were still outside. Now, he stood with his arms folded.
“No,” Daniel said, holding his finger up. “Listen. Just stand there, and listen.”
Jack nodded his head a few times and said a quiet, “Okay.”
“First, I want you to remember that I am not the one who hired Tony. You did, based on Dale's recommendation. Obviously, Dale didn't tell you Tony was a woman, either.”
~Note to self: kill Dale,~ Jack thought silently.
Daniel didn't need their silent communication to know what Jack was thinking, but he chose to ignore it.
“Secondly, I did this for you. I mean, I'm glad I did it. I like to fly; I love it, even. It's a fantastic feeling, inspirational in many ways, but even though I did it for me so I'd know first-hand how you feel, and for our children so that we always have a backup when we fly together; even though that's why I just spent weeks devoting myself to flying, in the end, Jack, I did it for you, because *you* wanted me to, because it would make you happy, and for me, that means everything -- your happiness.”
Jack was quickly beginning to feel like a heel. He just hated it when Daniel cut through the crud so quickly. He'd witnessed his husband's excitement at passing the practical and getting his pilot's license, and here he was, raining on Daniel's parade.
“In the third place, I started to tell you, but got distracted, and then I forgot, and then ... yes, I admit it. I didn't tell you because I knew you'd get upset. I was going to tell you tonight, when it was all over. I'll probably never see Tony again, and that's okay. She's just my flight instructor, and I haven't even seen all that much of her. Think about it. After the first few lessons, I was more or less on my own. You're the one who helped me with the technical terms: all those quizzes you gave me and the time we spent reviewing Jepps; and once I began to solo, she wasn't a part of it at all until the certification.”
Jack felt like one of the recruits he had dressed down earlier that day. His lover wasn't mincing any words, and the problem was that all the words were right on the mark.
Daniel continued, “Fourth, if I wanted to, I could get very angry with you for checking up on me and doing it behind my back. Jack, I don't have to see the emails to know what you said. Gawd, it's frustrating and, at the same time, I love that you care so much.”
“I was just making sure you ...” Jack began.
“Babe, I know. On the way home, I told myself I should have known you'd be watching, somehow or another.”
This was very important to Jack. His own anger was greatly diminished by now, and he didn't want his husband to think he had been doing anything out of line.
“I didn't spy, Danny. I just sent her emails, asking if you understood everything and making sure that she wasn't leaving anything out,” Jack explained.
“In other words, you pestered her to death about something she does for a living,” Daniel stated pointedly.
“She's a licensed instructor, Jack, and well qualified, which you know, but ...” Daniel paused, shaking his head for a moment. “I'm not angry. Maybe I should be, but I'm not, so it's not an issue, not for me anyway.”
“Good, but she's still a she, Daniel.”
“Gawd.” Daniel moved towards Jack, stopping on the other side of the sofa. “Jack, do you really want to argue over my flight instructor's gender, or would you rather go flying with me in Jo? I guarantee you, only one of those options is going to happen tonight. So, General Jackson-O'Neill, what's your pleasure?”
~Hate it when he leaves me choiceless.~ Jack let out a puff of air, releasing some pent up tension he'd had inside of him. With a lilt in his voice, he replied, “You drive a hard bargain there, Doctor Jackson-O'Neill.”
“I don't want to argue. Jack, we're having a baby, starting our family. Our family, Jack. We've been doing all these ... gawd, I know I've driven you crazy with magazines and sympathy bellies and ... well, everything, but that baby will be ours, and I love you. Yes, Tony's a beautiful woman. She's nice, but Jack, to me, what she is more than anything is the flight instructor that helped me make you happy, and for crying out loud, Jack, we're getting married again in two days. I don't know how to get you to understand other than what I've said.”
Jack drew a deep breath. He walked around the sofa and over to Daniel. After putting his keys in his pocket, he placed his hands on Daniel's upper arms and rubbed up and down, and then he leaned in. At first, he was going to hold his lover, but all of sudden, Jack realized it was he who needed to be held.
Daniel realized this at the same time and as Jack slumped into him, the archaeologist's arms wrapped around the man he loved.
“I love you, Jack, forever and always.”
The archaeologist placed a kiss on his general's neck and let the palm of his hand caress the back of Jack's head.
Jack leaned into his husband's shoulder and spoke, “I'm sorry, Danny. I was surprised, that's all. You should have told me.”
“I am?” Jack was a bit surprised, so much so that he pulled back to look at his husband. “I'm right?”
“You know something? Jack, you've been really good about keeping Mr. Jealousy in his corner, and I should have trusted you to be able to keep him there, but I ... I've been so busy learning to fly and learning about being a parent that I just didn't want to deal with it. I didn't want to take the chance. I underestimated you, Jack. If I had come home that first day and told you, it wouldn't have been that big of deal.”
“We probably would have argued.”
Daniel put his hands on Jack's face, making short, caressing sweeps with his thumbs and fingers.
“Maybe; probably, but not like today. I mean, it would have been ... us, just being us, and then we would have moved on, and I wouldn't have felt so bad for not telling you, and you wouldn't have been upset at all today. I was wrong.”
“That doesn't happen very often, Danny.”
“But I was wrong, and I apologize. Forgive me?”
“I love you, Angel, and I know you did what you thought was best. It's been pretty hectic around here. You're nervous about the baby,” Jack said, wrapping his arms around Daniel and pulling him close.
“I want to be prepared,” Daniel replied.
“We are. We're as prepared as any parent can be,” Jack put forth.
“A baby. Our baby,” Daniel sighed happily, nuzzling into his spouse's neck.
“I can't wait, but for now, I have a suggestion.”
“What's that?” Daniel asked.
“Come on ... Fly Boy ... take your old man flying!”
Daniel laughed and then the two kissed and headed for the airport where they boarded Jo and took to the skies.
“Jack, I thought you were scaring the recruits?” the archaeologist inquired.
“I did, but then I got Teal'c to finish it off. I wanted to see you solo, Love,” Jack stated.
“From the corner of the hangar. I just didn't want to say anything until you were through, but then I ...”
“Saw me with a woman,” Daniel chuckled.
“I am sorry, Danny.” Jack looked out into the skies and asked, “Do you understand now?”
“I think so,” Daniel answered. “It's ... I don't have the word for it,” he admitted as he, too, looked out into the skies.
Daniel looked over from his pilot seat position and responded, “Yes, Love?”
“For the record, you make me happy just by breathing,” Jack spoke, his brown eyes radiating his love for his husband.
“I'll remember that,” Daniel answered, a warm smile on his face. “Jack?”
“Yes, Angel?” the older man said.
“For the record, you make me happy just by breathing, too,” Daniel stated, his blue eyes shining with happiness.
“I'll remember that,” Jack said, a huge grin on his face.
“I love you, Fly Boy,” Daniel expressed softly.
“I love you, too, Fly Boy,” Jack chimed.
The lovers soared through the sky headed for their future, one full of children and magical time spent aboard Jo. It didn't matter who piloted the plane, only that they were together, loving and in love, forever and always.
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