Goofy and the Boys

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Humor, Drama, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  7 - February 15, 2004 (Flashback to S2 - August 1998 and mid-1999)
Spoilers:  None
Size:  40kb, short story
Written:  September 25-26, October 2,14, 2003  Revised:  May 11, June 11, September 7,18-19,27, 2006  Revised for consistency:  February 22, March 7, 2007
Summary:  It's the story of Jack and Daniel at Mickey's theme park and how that incriminating photo of the lovers with Goofy was taken.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) Thanks to Crystal for her great idea about what exactly that embarrassing photo was of Jack and Daniel with Goofy!
2) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
3) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fic(s), “Adjustments and Parameters,” “Home at Last,” and “Heart and Soul.”
4) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Mama Beast, Brynn, Linda, QuinGem, Claudia!

Goofy and the Boys
by Orrymain

With a number of mementos cradled safely in his arms, Daniel walked into his den and looked over to the bookshelf on the far wall nearest the window.  On the last shelf was a large treasure chest which Jack and Daniel called their keepsake box.  Always kept locked, the keepsake box was the place where the lovers kept special items, things they didn't feel safe leaving out downstairs.

Towards the end of their first year together as a couple, Jack and Daniel had found the box, made of cherry wood and featuring a turquoise blue velvet lining, in a specialty store at the mall in Denver.  The carving on the box lid had special meaning for the lovers.

//Flashback//
As they window-shopped their way through the mall, Jack and Daniel passed a store with various wooden novelties.  Intrigued, Daniel was drawn into the specialty store closely followed by his lover.  Seeing an interesting wooden statue ahead of him, Daniel walked forward, only to find his progress was being impeded by someone pulling on his arm.

“Jack, I want to look at ...” Daniel began, lightly complaining as he allowed himself to be guided over to a table near the window.

“Danny, look,” Jack intoned softly, letting his lover’s arm go and pointing to a wooden box.

“It’s a ... wooden box,” Daniel acknowledged, thinking it was pretty and unique, but still, it was essentially just a box.

“Yeah, and it's blue inside,” Jack remarked, reaching out and feeling the lining of the opened box.

“Jack, just because it's blue …”

“Danny,” Jack said, leaning in closer to Daniel.  “This would be good to keep our 'special things' in.  See, it has a lock,” Jack quietly stated.  “And, it matches your eyes.”

Daniel rolled his eyes, but considered his partner's idea.  At the moment, any time they had special photos taken or picked up keepsakes and souvenirs from events or trips they'd shared, the two would place them in books, bags, or sometimes just in a plain cardboard box.  While some were kept at Jack's house, others were stored at Daniel's apartment.  Neither man could display their memorabilia, but, like any couple, they wanted to keep certain items, to view them and recall the memories from when they were acquired.

“A keepsake box,” Daniel whispered as he gently lowered the lid.

Hearing the younger man suddenly chuckle, Jack asked, “What’s so funny?”

Jack's view of the box had been cut off when Daniel stepped in front of him to examine the item more closely.

“You know how you always say I think outside the box?” Daniel asked, a tiny smile on his face.

“Yeah,” the older man acknowledged, his hands resting lightly on his hips.

“Well, in this case, I'll be thinking about what's on the outside of this box,” Daniel stated, moving to the side so Jack could see.

On the cover was a beautiful carving of a fox and a bear, two animals that symbolized Jack to Daniel, a fact that Jack was well aware of.

Smiling, Jack picked up the box and replied, “You see, Love, this box was meant for us.”

====

As they drove home, Daniel looked at the wooden box sitting on the seat between him and his soulmate.  The box had been placed there because Jack wanted to make sure it wasn't damaged on the trip home.

“Jack, it was too expensive ...” Daniel began, wondering if they really should have spent the money on the antique-like item.

“Daniel ...”

“Jack, let me finish,” the archaeologist requested, rubbing his hand over the carving on the special object.  “It was too expensive, but I agree with you that this box was meant for us.  I’m glad we bought it,” he said, quickly adding, “I do mean 'we', Jack.  I'm writing you a check for half of the cost, and you *will* cash it.”

Jack chuckled and nodded, then commented, “It sure beats a paper bag.”

“Jack, look out!”

“I see it,” the older man replied, slowing down to avoid hitting a squirrel that was crossing the road.  Returning to their discussion, he noted, “I want to protect our treasures.”

“Me, too, Babe,” Daniel agreed as the lovers continued on with their day.
//End of Flashback//

~The treasures of our hearts,~ Daniel thought with a smile, having recalled that special day and the years since in a blink of an eye.

Actually, many of the things in Daniel's den were largely private and indicative of the two men's relationship.  While having some of things out in the open was a risk they took, the couple rarely had visitors upstairs.  When they did, the den was kept locked.

Daniel pulled out the chest and unlocked it.  He had brought several wedding mementos to put inside, including the videotape Carl Cassidy had made of the day's events.  The happy couple had kept a lot of the items out since their wedding last November, displaying them in their master bedroom, reveling in the memories, but earlier that day, they had reluctantly decided that it would be best to lock most of the things up for safekeeping until Jack retired.

After watching the wedding video one more time and reviewing their collection of memories, Daniel had excused himself from Jack's tight hold to secure the items in the keepsake box while Jack stayed to enjoy a hockey game on cable TV.

~One day, Jack, we won't hide our treasures.  I promise,~ Daniel inwardly vowed, relegated to putting the keepsakes away, but hating that they'd only been able to enjoy them in other parts of their home for a couple of months.  ~As Jack would say -- choiceless.~

As he carefully made room in the box for the cherished wedding items, Daniel saw the eight-by-ten color photo that had been taken of the couple with Goofy at Disneyland several years before.  He reached down and lifted it out.

~Oh, gawd.  I still can't believe it happened,~ the archaeologist thought as he stared at the picture.

Daniel was embarrassed by the photo and had always wanted to burn it, but for some strange reason he didn't understand, Jack loved it and had always wanted to frame it.

~Not in my lifetime,~ Daniel pledged as he held the photo in his hand.  ~That was such a crazy trip,~ he recalled while carrying the photo over to his recliner.  He switched on the massager, turning the heat on medium.  ~Geez, that feels good.~

The archaeologist was wearing a comfortable pair of khaki pants and a thin white shirt with horizontal blue stripes.  The first four buttons were open, leaving lots of his chest accessible, something that always pleased his husband.  He was barefoot, having left his shoes and socks downstairs.  He adjusted the recliner so that he was leaning back.

The sometimes shy man stared lovingly at the photo, even though it still embarrassed him.  As he looked at the picture, he could remember every detail as if it had been yesterday.

~It feels like yesterday, and yet, it doesn't.  So much has happened to us, Jack, but, gawd, this was the beginning in ... in so many ways.~

It was August 1998, and Jack and Daniel had only been together a short time.  Most of their romantic relationship had been blissful, but there were a couple of bad weeks, too, when Daniel had let his guilt about Sha're get the best of him.

~I still wish you had lived, Sha're.  I know you would have met someone who could have made you as happy as I am with Jack.  I ... It wasn't me.  I'm so sorry,~ Daniel thought, still feeling regret about what had happened to his wife.

Daniel's birthday had been during their rough patch, and while Jack had made sure Daniel had a cake and a present and that his birthday hadn't gone uncelebrated, he also hadn't been able to make it as special as he had hoped to.

~A cake was more than I usually had growing up, Jack.  I thought that was pretty special, just by itself.~

So, some weeks later, when things were solidly back on track, Jack had surprised his lover with a weekend getaway.

~You and your surprises,~ Daniel chuckled as he leaned his head back for a moment.

The couple didn't consider their trip a vacation because they had only had four days, and, since it had been a surprise, Daniel hadn't even had time to pack.  He had literally been kidnapped from the SGC, coerced by seduction into changing into civvies.

~The next thing I knew, we were checking into a suite at an Anaheim hotel,~ Daniel mused.  ~My Jack and his surprises,~ he thought, returning his gaze to the photo and recalling the magical adventure he'd had with his lover.

//Flashback//
The hotel suite had two bedrooms and a living room.  When Daniel saw the two bedrooms, he stared at Jack with a nervous question.

“Jack, are we ... I mean, uh, well ...”

Jack scooped his lover into his arms and explained, “Just in case, Love, for appearances sake.”

“So, we're not ...”

“Danny, we're sleeping together, and a lot more, I hope,” Jack said seductively with an expectant smile on his face.

“I hope so, tooooooooommph,” Daniel spoke, the last coherent words he would speak for the next few hours as Jack promptly quelled any and all doubts the younger man had with an intense lovemaking session.

====

Later that night, the first of several Jack surprises arrived -- a German Chocolate birthday cake, with candles and a bouquet of balloons, in various shades of blue, all containing birthday wishes or the words, “I love you,” on them.

“Jack, I can't believe you did this,” a totally surprised Daniel stated as he took in the private celebration.  He had assumed their trip was nothing more than a spur-of-the-moment idea on Jack's part, something he had expressed to his lover previously.  ~This is for ... for me?  For ... for my birthday?  I can't believe he's doing this just because ... because it's my birthday, or, well, was my birthday.~

“I've been planning this since my wish came true,” Jack proudly boasted.  “It just got delayed a while.  Birthdays are special, Love, and every one of yours are going to be holidays for us.  This year, we're just celebrating a little bit late, that's all.”  Jack took his slender lover into his arms and crooned, “Happy Birthday, Danny.”

“I can't believe it, Jack,” Daniel replied with misty eyes.

“It's just a cake and some balloons,” Jack replied, although he knew it was much more than that.

“No, I mean ... this ... you and me ... us,” Daniel clarified.  “Birthdays ... I'd ... thank you, Jack,” Daniel spoke, leaning into Jack, seeking his strength and comfort.

~Every year is going to be a holiday, Danny; every year,~ Jack silently vowed as his arms tightened around the man who symbolized love and joy to him.

The two made love again, then fell asleep, blissfully connected in so many ways.

====

Early the next morning, Jack rousted his soulmate to ride the tram over to the front entrance of the Disneyland Theme Park.

“Do we get coffee first?” Daniel asked with a yawn.

Jack chuckled, “It's waiting, along with some bagels and muffins.”

Daniel blinked and asked, “No meat?”

Laughing as he pulled Daniel up, Jack responded, “We'll be eating our socks off at Mickey's.”

“Mickey's?  I thought we were going to Disneyland?” Daniel asked, wrinkling his nose in confusion.

Jack just stared at his Love, then ordered, “Shower ... and lots and lots of coffee for you.”

“And, Babe, I don't want to eat socks, mine or yours,” the younger man teased.

“Oh, for crying out loud!” Jack exclaimed, shaking his head as Daniel disappeared, laughing, into the large bathroom.

====

Jack and Daniel walked through the gates of Disneyland, but before Daniel could even get a clear picture of what Main Street looked like, Jack immediately steered Daniel over to the left where the concession stand was.

“Shopping?” Daniel asked incredulously.  “You brought me all this way to go shopping?”

“Just a few essentials,” Jack spoke in reply as he selected the must-have items.

Seeing the items his lover had just picked up, Daniel's first instinct was to turn and run, but Jack had a hold of his elbow, prohibiting his escape.

“Jack, I'm not wearing those ears,” Daniel argued as Jack handed him one of the items.

“Yes, you are, Danny,” Jack insisted.  He had a giant grin on his face as he put on his own black ear cap.  “We're in Mickey's Park, and you have to be polite.”

“Jack ...”

“Daniel, put on your ears,” Jack lovingly ordered.

Daniel grunted, looked around at the bedlam of sleeping babies, anticipating kids, dating teenagers, and tired parents and then finally put on his black mouse ears.

“I can't believe I'm going to walk around here wearing this ... this ...”

“Your ears.  It's mandatory!”

~Personally, I think you're crazy,~ Daniel thought as he stared at the black mouse cap.

“I heard that!” Jack exclaimed testily.

“No, you didn't.”

“Yes, I did.”

“You're guessing,” Daniel assumed.

“Guessing what?”

“That I thought you were cra...”  Daniel groaned as he saw Jack's smirky laugh.  “Some day, O'Neill.”

“Promises, promises,” Jack quipped as he pulled out his wallet to pay for the souvenirs.

“Tell me why we're here again, Jack,” Daniel requested after the transaction was completed.

“Disneyland is a tradition, Daniel,” Jack explained.  “It's America's playground, and everyone should go at least once in their life.”

“Couldn't we have gone to Disney World?  They have the Epcot Center, cultural ...”

“And that's exactly why we're here and not in Florida, Daniel.  This is a vacation, to celebrate your birth, not a learning expedition.  We're going to have fun, ride the rides, eat popcorn, meet Donald Duck.”

With Jack's encouragement, for the first time in his life, Daniel let his inner child come out to play.  It was magic.  In Mickey's park, the two let themselves be free, even riding the amusement rides that were intended for kids.

====

“Jack, no way,” Daniel nearly shouted when his lover tried to get him to go on the Space Mountain ride in the park.

“Come on, Danny,” Jack urged as he gently took Daniel's arm and tried to lead him into the long line for the fast ride.

“Jack, N-O ... no way.”

Jack moved closer to Daniel and whispered, “Daniel, you go through the Stargate several times a week, and you're afraid of an amusement park ride?”

“I don't like heights, remember?” Daniel asked.

“Danny, you've conquered that fear, remember?” the older man challenged in return.

“On *business* ... when *required* to ... *not* to go inside some man-made mountain, in a bobsled where you can't even see where you're going and go screeching around up, down, right, left ...” Daniel rambled, his head making movements to emulate the photos he'd seen of the ride.

“Okay,” Jack relented.  “Let's go to Frontierland, I'll win you a cupie doll in the shooting gallery,” Jack teased.

“Cupie doll?” Daniel replied, nodding his head up and down.  “Very funny, Jack.”

Jack chuckled, and, smiling at the lunacy of the older man, Daniel followed his silly lover towards Frontierland.

~I'll have him on Space Mountain and the Matterhorn, too, by the end of the day,~ Jack inwardly mused.  ~It's all in the method,~ he thought as his mind began to compose its plan.

Daniel stared at Jack and sighed, thinking, ~Gawd, he's not going to give up.  Okay, Jackson, just pretend your on Planet Disneyland and the fate of the universe is in the balance.~

“Danny, what are you thinking?”  Jack asked, seeing his lover with an odd expression on his face.

“I'm thinking I shouldn't have left Colorado Springs,” the younger man responded.

Jack laughed again, an infectious outburst of goodness that had Daniel laughing as well, in spite of himself.

~No, I'd rather be here,~ the archaeologist admitted to himself as the lovers headed towards the shooting galleries.

====

“Was that so bad?” Jack asked tenderly at day's end when they took off their 'ears' and placed them on the bedroom dresser.

“No, Jack, it, uh, well ... it wasn't bad at all,” Daniel admitted.

====

On their third day in Anaheim and the second day spent in the huge theme park, Jack's and Daniel's playfulness continued.  It peaked late in the afternoon when they met up with an equally playful Goofy.

~Hey, Mickey's favorite dog,~ Jack silently cheered as he caught sight of the six-feet-four character.  ~Pluto isn't here to argue the point,~ he thought in amusement.  Of course, Jack wasn't sure if the man portraying Goofy was really that tall, or if it was the costume.  What he could tell from the character's demeanor and interactions with passersby was that he had a great sense of humor.  Still, Goofy was slipping away from the crowds when Jack spotted him.  “Danny, it's Goofy!” Jack shouted, tugging Daniel on the elbow, grabbing his hand, and running as if they were being chased by the Goa'uld.

“Huh?  Uh, what?” Daniel called out.  “Jack, have you lost your freakin' mind?” he asked as they ran towards their objective.  ~What am I asking?  I *know* he's lost his mind.~

--

“Goofy, Old Buddy, how ya doing?” Jack asked, stopping the character, both he and Daniel a bit out of breath from their run.

Goofy shrugged, putting his paws up into the air as if to answer, “so so.”  Then he pointed a paw at Jack's watch, trying to indicate he was off duty.

“Ah, Goof, Pal,” Jack spoke as if they were old friends, slinging an arm around the character and walking him away from Daniel so that the younger man couldn't hear what he was saying.  “I want you to meet Danny.  Now, I know this is going to sound strange, but the guy is a geek.  His parents were killed right in front of his eyes when he was a little boy, and he was shoved around from foster home to foster home.”

Goofy looked over at the archaeologist, sensing his ill ease with everything.  He could tell Daniel was feeling a bit self-conscious, especially since he kept looking all around, wondering who might be watching them.

“He needs to smile, Goof,” Jack continued.  “I want him to play, to have a taste of what it's like to be a little boy in Mickey's park.  I know it seems odd, unusual even, and I hope you don't think I'm out of my mind.  I just ... I care about him.  So, I know you're off duty, but if you could take a few minutes to play and make him smile, I'll make it worth your while.”

Jack looked at Goofy's costume, unable to see the person's eyes.  He just hoped his message had gotten through.

“What'dya say, Goof?” Jack asked, full of hope.  When he saw the large, droopy face nod, Jack smiled, turning himself and Goofy around.  They walked back towards Daniel, who was self-hugging, unsure why he'd been left behind.  He whispered, “He's a good guy, Goofy.  He's just had a lot of bad breaks.  I want that to change.  I don't want him to have to protect himself anymore by hugging his own body.”

“Jack, what's going on?” the younger man asked, his shaggy hair blowing a bit in front of his face.

“Danny, this is Mickey's best dog pal, Goofy.  Goof, my ... best friend, Danny,” the colonel introduced.

Goofy acted all excited and put out his paw.  Daniel was embarrassed, but what's a polite guy to do?  So, he extended his hand and did a hand/paw shake with the character.  Daniel had a small smile on his face, but that wasn't enough for Goofy. The character began to prance around, and with his paw, tried to trace Daniel's lips to indicate a broad smile.

Goofy and Jack both started to chase Daniel, who ran around in circles like a five-year-old.

“Wha ... what's hap ... happen ... happening?” Daniel stuttered as he ran.

“We're playing,” Jack laughed when he caught Daniel and promptly began tickling him.

“Jaaaack,” Daniel chastised amid his laughter.

At that point, Goofy decided to act territorial, and mockingly pushed Jack.

~Hey, he's good,~ Jack thought as he did a pratfall backwards.

In triumph, Goofy pointed to Daniel and then drummed against his own chest, not unlike what Tarzan often did in the movies and on TV.  It was a type of 'he's mine' game.

“Oh, no, Goof, the geek is all mine,” Jack refuted with pride as he lunged gently at the dog.

Jack and Goofy pretended to box back and forth for quite a while.

“Gawd, Jack, stop it!” Daniel urged, though he couldn't help but laugh at the spectacle that was occurring in front of his eyes.  ~Look at him, acting like a big kid!  What am I saying?  He is a big kid!~

Finally, Jack acted like he had been beaten and fell back to the ground, though in truth, he was the victor.  He knew that by the sounds of laughter coming from his lover at the pantomime.

All of a sudden, Goofy surprised the laughing archaeologist by picking him up and holding him in his arms, just like King Kong had held Fay Wray in the movies.  Daniel's eyes were wide, but he was still laughing heartily.  His feet were kicking wildly, and he was trying to shout, “Put me down,” but the only thing that came out was more laughter.

~Perfect!~  Jack got up and burst into hysterics.  He walked over to Goofy and intoned, “Yeah, I guess you've earned him, but watch out, he'll talk those big ears of yours off, if you aren't careful.”

Jack was standing to the side of Goofy, by Daniel's head.  He reached over and tickled his lover, making him squirm even more in Goofy's arms.  Then the older man kissed Daniel's silky hair.  It was a gentle kiss, done while his hand was atop his lover's abdomen, his fingers tickling the younger man.

“Smile, Boys,” the trio heard, all looking over towards the voice.

That's the moment when Frances snapped the picture, saying, “Now that's one for the scrapbook!”

“Oh, that's going to be a precious photo, Sis,” Crystal laughed.

Goofy put Daniel down, who was still laughing in spite of the two ladies intruding into their play, and so was Jack, though he was evaluating them closely.

~They came out of nowhere,~ Jack thought.

~They look harmless to me; oh, let Jack worry about it,~ a laughing Daniel inwardly decided, not wanting to lose the glorious feelings running through him just yet.

“Thanks, Goofy,” Jack said, starting to reach into his wallet.

Immediately, Goofy shook his head.  He gave Daniel a giant hug and then pushed him into Jack's arms.  He traced Daniel's smiling face and pointed to Jack.

~He *is* one of the good guys,~ Jack thought.  “You're right, Goofy.  He's all mine, and I'm not letting him go, not ever,” Jack asserted with a certainty, placing a kiss on Daniel's temple.

As Jack smiled at him, Goofy nodded, waved, and walked to the character exit, feeling pretty good about the last few minutes.

Jack regretted not seeing Goofy's eyes, but as he watched, his own brown eyes spoke of an eternal gratitude to someone he'd never be able to thank enough, a stranger who had taken ten minutes out of his personal time, to make the love of his life laugh.  That was a gift that meant more to Jack than almost anything else.

~I'll never forget you, Goofy,~ Jack silently promised.  His focus was drawn in another direction when he heard a female voice.  ~Now, who are these two?~

“I'm sorry, Boys.  I hope you don't mind, but that was such a priceless shot.  I know you'll love it.  I took a few others, too,” Frances said as she manually initiated the rewind function on her camera.

When the barely used twenty-four-roll exposure film finished rewinding, Frances took it from her camera and handed it to Jack.

~Is she just being extremely generous, or does she know I was about to ask for it?~ Jack wondered.  “I'm Jack, and this is Daniel.  It's good to know you, and thanks for the film,” he added, tossing the item slightly in his hand.

“It's good to meet you, too,” Frances said.  “I'm Frances, and this is my sister, Crystal.”

After the round of introductions, the foursome decided they were hungry, so they walked to one of the restaurants in New Orleans Square, deciding to spend the evening getting acquainted.

“I'm famished,” Frances commented as they waited for their food, adding, “So, I may embarrass myself.”

“It wouldn't be the first time, Frances,” Crystal jested.

“Look at you, thin as a rail, and you eat like a horse,” Frances laughed.  “Isn't that so unfair?  I eat one thing and then look like a blowfish; she stuffs herself silly and never gains an ounce.”

~These two are great,~  Jack thought, grinning at the sisters.

====

The sisters had already seen an eyeful of the couple, so, as they sat at a back table of the restaurant, Jack freely took Daniel's hand as it sat on top of the table and smiled.  He was explaining to the sisters about Daniel's genius.  He spoke lovingly and with great pride.  While he faced Daniel, he was carefully watching Frances and Crystal.  He was relieved that neither had flinched at the hand-holding, nor had their conversation paused at all.

“This was great, meeting you both and spending the evening together,” Crystal intoned when they began to head out of the restaurant.

“Hey, let's meet up again tomorrow,” Jack suggested.

After some discussion, the four eagerly agreed to meet for breakfast and take a final ride together on the “It's a Small World” attraction which they all loved.  It would be Jack's and Daniel's final day at Disneyland, and, actually, they only had the morning to spend at the park.  Their plane had a departure time of 2 p.m. to go back to Denver.

“It's been a pleasure,” Frances spoke, reluctantly ready to depart.

“Uh, wait,” Daniel interrupted.  “Jack, aren't there fireworks or something?”

Nodding, Jack asked, “How about it, Ladies?”

Seeing they were game for more, Jack and Daniel continued to spend the rest of their night at Disneyland with the two chatty females.  This was a rare experience for the lovers, to be able to be themselves, without having to be on guard.  It was a feeling Daniel couldn't even describe, and he treasured it dearly.

====

As Jack and Daniel walked Frances and Crystal to their hotel rooms after watching the closing parade and fireworks, Crystal dared to ask the question she'd had on her mind all night.

“Jack, you haven't exactly said, but I get the sense that you're military,” the inquisitive female stated.

Jack hesitated, but answered honestly, “Yes, I'm a colonel in the Air Force.”

“And you, Daniel?” Crystal probed.  “You don't seem like the military type, and Jack ranted about all your degrees earlier.”

“Actually, uh, I'm a consultant for the Air Force, which is how Jack and I met,” Daniel answered.

“I suppose this is an indelicate question, and I probably shouldn't ask it,” Frances started to say.

“Actually, Frances, that's exactly how it is,” Jack interrupted, answering her question.  “No one asks, and we don't tell.  In fact, you two are probably the only ones who do know right now, and I hope you can keep our little secret, if it ever comes up.”

“Comes up?  Why would anyone ever ask us about you two?” Crystal asked curiously.  “It's certainly no one's business.”

“You never know,” Jack spoke, hating that realism was popping back into their birthday celebration, but he couldn't take the chance.  ~I do like your style, Crystal.~

“Don't you boys worry,” Frances stated with a comforting smile.  “Sis would forget her husband if he didn't remind her where he was every now and then.  And me?  I'm just a little ole gal from N'awlins, and all I know are gators and crawfish!”

“Thank you,” Daniel responded shyly, though he laughed along with everyone else.

The group said goodnight, and then Jack and Daniel returned to their own hotel room to enjoy some private time together.

====

The next morning, the lovers and the sisters picked up right where they had left off.  When they parted, the lovers hugged the women and exchanged phone numbers, knowing they'd never forget the two energetic women.

“They're delightful, Jack,” Daniel remarked as the couple talked while doing a check of their suite to make sure they weren't leaving anything behind.

“Delightfully crazy,” Jack chuckled.

“Jack?” Daniel spoke tentatively, stopping his room check.

“What, Love?”

“It, uh ... it felt ... good, didn't it?” the younger man asked.

Jack smiled and nodded, saying, “Very good, and it's going to happen again.  That's a promise, Danny,” he pledged, getting a smile that melted his heart in return.
//End of Flashback//

~Frances and Crystal, wow!  You two are, as Jack would say, a hoot,~ Daniel thought.

Over the years, the lovers and the sisters had not only kept in touch, but managed to meet for lunch or dinner or just a short visit whenever one of them was near the other.  Jack and Daniel had also been happy that the two women had been able to attend their wedding just five months ago, in November.

~It really was a great trip.  Gawd, the Tarzan bit in the tree house in Adventureland.~  Daniel shook his head, thinking about another part of their trip that first time they'd gone to Disneyland.  ~We almost forgot children were around.~

“Hey, where'd you go?  I missed you,” Jack complained as he entered the den.

“I ... started remembering,” the archaeologist confessed, not wanting to be confused for Jane or Cheetah, as Jack had once teased, so purposefully not mentioning his current train of thought.

“Remembering what?” Jack asked as he pushed Daniel over to share the recliner with him.

Daniel laughed, “You know, Babe, this recliner is roomy, but it's really not built for two.”

“Wanna bet?” Jack spoke with determination as he maneuvered the two of them so that they were leaning into each other, Daniel's head again resting on Jack's shoulder.

Both liked this position a lot.  Jack loved the feeling of protecting and holding his spouse, and while Daniel hated to admit it, he cherished that same feeling.  When Jack held him, Daniel felt secure and treasured, giving him a warmth inside that sustained him whenever his soulmate wasn't around.

“Goofy?” Jack laughed, noticing the photo that Daniel held in his hands.  “I love that photo, and I still want to frame it.”

“Not in my lifetime,” Daniel mused.

“You still want to burn it, Danny?” Jack asked with a tone of seriousness.

“No, not anymore,” the younger man admitted, quickly adding, “but we're not framing it, either.”  He felt his husband's left arm wrapping around his waist, while his right hand was snaking under Daniel's shirt, caressing his skin.  ~Mmm ... feels so good.~  Daniel's mind returned to Goofy, though, and he finally asked a question he'd been wanting to for quite a while.  “Jack, were you going to pay him?”

“Pay who?” Jack asked.

Daniel answered, “Goofy?  You said something to him, and I thought for a minute you were reaching for your wallet.  What did you say to him, Jack?”

Jack kissed Daniel's temple and leaned his chin against Daniel's head as he responded, “I told him you needed to smile, and I'd appreciate it if he'd help with that.”

“You must have said more than that.”

Jack cocked his head slightly and replied, “Probably, but Goof was a good guy.  He not only made you smile, Angel, but he made you laugh.  I wish I could have thanked him for that.”  He laughed as he stared at the color photograph.  “Look at you, Love -- shaggy hair and that cute little boy smile.  You're so beautiful, Danny.”

“I'm focused on you,” Daniel pointed out.  “See, Jack, you weren't gray then, but you were outrageously sexy.”

“Were?  What do you mean were?” Jack whined with a slight pout.
 
Daniel grinned, correcting himself to say, “Were, and are!  I love your chocolate eyes.  Look at the shine in them, and that smile.  That's your Irish charm showing through.  Wow, Jack, your smile still makes me shiver.  It ... it always does.”

Jack raised his hand to the photo.  He took it, placing it carefully on the ottoman that sat next to the recliner.

~Someday, we're going to frame it and display it.  Just you wait and see, Love.  One day, it's going to happen,~ Jack vowed.

Now, though, with his right hand, Jack took Daniel's hand and traced the spot where his wedding ring would be if they weren't hiding in plain sight.  He brought the hand up and kissed that spot.

“I see it there, even when you aren't wearing it,” Jack softly spoke.

“I miss it when I'm not wearing it, and I ... I hate it when I know you're not wearing yours.  It almost feels like ... like ... I don't know,” the archaeologist sighed.

“... like a betrayal?” Jack asked, feeling that way himself.

“Yeah, maybe,” Daniel acknowledged, wishing their game would end soon.

“Danny, we don't have a lot of company, and now, most anyone who shows up, knows about us.  Heck, even Hammond knows, and probably Teal'c.  We could wear them at night, and downtimes,” Jack suggested.

“We might forget.  It's taking a chance,” Daniel responded, quickly growing quiet as he pondered the situation.

Jack, too, remained silent as he considered the pros and cons of wearing their rings at home.

“I wish we could, though,” the archaeologist finally spoke.

“Angel, have you noticed we're taking more and more chances now?” Jack questioned.  Seeing his lover's affirmative nod, he asked, “Do you regret that?”

“No,” Daniel quietly answered.

Quickly, Jack noted, “Me, either.”

“Hey,” Daniel objected when Jack pushed against him, squashing him slightly as the older man reached for his wallet.

Daniel looked in his eyes, knowing what Jack was doing, so he squished against Jack as he pulled out his own wallet.  They both held their rings in their palms.

~It's the right thing for us now.~  Jack took Daniel's ring and placed it gently on his finger, kissing it afterwards.  Then he looked in his Love's eyes and promised, “No one but you, Danny, always and forever.”

~He's right; it is right for us.  We've come too far to be afraid in our own home.~  Daniel took Jack's ring and slid it on his ring finger.  He traced it for a moment, looking at the gold band that encircled Jack's finger as if it were a rare artifact.  “I love you, Jack,” he solemnly intoned.  Finally looking up at his life partner, he added, “No one else would think to ask Goofy to make me smile.  Forever and always, Jack.”

The newlyweds kissed, and then Daniel snuggled into Jack, the two clasping their hands together.  The massager was still on, though its automatic timer would soon shut it off.  For now, though, the heat soothingly warmed the soulmates.  A few minutes later, both fell asleep, more secure than ever in their nation of two.

~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~
Feedback Welcome - click here to email the author


Web Site Counters
Mini 10v Netbooks