Heart and Soul

Author: Orrymain
Category: Slash, Big Time Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel .... and it's all J/D
Rating: NC-17
Season: 7 - November 16, 2003 and the days surrounding it!
Spoilers: None
Size: 139kb
Written: August 25-28, September 11-12,14,21,24-25, October 1-3,8-9, 2003
Archive: Area52, Comfort Zone, FanFiction.Net, Cartouche, AlphaGate, TheBoy
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. This was a whim; all in fun. I don't have anything to do with them legally!
Summary: Jack and Daniel tie the knot! This is the story of their wedding!
Notes:
1) “Because You Loved Me,” Words and Music by Diane Warren, Arranged by Robert Schultz
2) Once again, I have to give a nod to Devra's “The Last Dance”, which is beyond a doubt one of the most beautiful and poignant fan fics I've ever read and is the inspiration for one segment in this story.
3) Though only briefly referenced here, the characters of Christa and Jacob are from the creative minds of Brenda Anders and ELG in their awesome story, “New Year's Resolutions” and used in my fan fic “Anger's Song”.
4) Thanks to Suzanna, Mama Beast, and Drdjlover for the betas that have enhanced this special story! Thanks also to Brynn for the super grammar beta!
5) Thanks to Charlie for creating a wonderful photo to accompany the reception part of this fan fic! I am totally honored to add it to this page!!!
--
Warnings: I've been told this fic needs a tear jerker, hanky warning!

--

Heart and Soul
by Orrymain

--

October 18, 2003 - Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA:

--

Jack and Daniel walked through the door at the end of a very long and hectic day. It was almost 9 p.m., and they were exhausted from a mission gone wrong that they were lucky to have survived.

“Chinese, Danny?”

“No, pizza, supreme, extra cheese,“ Daniel said with a smile and a yawn.

“Pizza? Don't tell me I've come home with a clone?”

Daniel smiled as he walked up to Jack and managed to put his tired arms around Jack's neck and shoulders, smoothing out the back of his lover's shirt and gently caressing the area at the same time. With bleary blue eyes staring into equally bleary brown eyes, Daniel said lovingly, “You saved us, Jack. You almost gave me a heart attack when you did that Rambo bit, but it saved all of us, and I love you, so tonight, I'll ... sacrifice ... and you can have pizza.”

“....and after pizza?”

“Sleep, Jack. Lots of ... sleep.”

Jack tried to act like he was insulted, but truth be known, they'd both be asleep within two minutes of their heads hitting their king-sized pillows.

Jack headed to the phone to order the pizza as Daniel went to let Bijou and Katie, their two beagles, in the house.

Seeing there were messages on their answering machine, Jack hit the “play” button. There were a variety of calls from friends and telemarketers, but it was the last message that made both Jack and Daniel stand up and stare with surprise.

Jack, it's Sara. And ... this is for Daniel, too. I guess I should ... Jack, what we talked about recently, the event coming up? I didn't know if you had things planned or not, but I have a friend there and I spoke with her and ...”

Jack's face was hit with frown. Sara knew better than to be talking to anyone about his relationship with Daniel, even if she was trying to help. His blood pressure rose as he continued to listen to the message.

“... Stop scowling, Jack, I did it ... in a manner in which you'd be proud.”

Daniel laughed which prompted Jack to leer at him with a warning, but Daniel laughed on in spite of Jack's scowl.

“Anyway, she'd be willing to ... um, officiate the event, if you need someone. You might remember her, Jack. Lisa Anderson? Only it's not Anderson anymore. Anyway, if you're interested, give me a call and I'll put you in touch with her. I'm ... serious, Jack. I'd really like to help if I could. Oh, you probably don't remember the new number, or it'd take you ages to find it. It's 970-555-4232. Bye.“

Jack and Daniel stared at each other for a minute before Jack finally spoke.

“What do you think?”

Daniel shrugged. “We haven't found anyone yet. Geez, Jack, we haven't even had time to look, and we're running out of time. I guess ... Jack, I don't want to just walk into City Hall.”

“Me, either, Danny.”

Jack picked up the cordless phone and carried it to the armchair which he plopped down into and made himself as comfortable as possible as he dialed Sara's number.

“Hello.” It was a man, Sara's husband, Mark, Jack assumed.

“Um, hello, this is, uh, Jack O'Neill. Is Sara in?”

“Oh, just a moment.”

Jack heard the change in the man's voice once he realized it was Jack on the phone. He didn't seem jealous, but there was a tinge of concern or edginess. He heard Mark call Sara to the phone. “It's ... him,“ was all Mark had said. A few seconds later, Sara came onto the line.

“Jack?”

“Hi, Sara, I hope it's not too late.”

“No, Jack, it's fine. I'm ... glad you called. How are you?”

“Good. Actually, tired. It's been a long week. How about yourself?”

“Doing great. Baby is kicking now. Brings back memories.”

Jack sighed and fought back the lump that was forming in his throat. He remembered feeling Charlie's kicks when Sara was carrying their son. It was one of the best sensations Jack had ever felt in his life.

The phone was silent for a moment before Sara spoke again.

“How's Daniel?”

“Good. He's here. Tired, too. We got your message.”

“I'm glad you called. Do you remember Lisa? We went to college together. You met her a couple of times right after we ... do you remember?”

“No, I'm sorry, Sara. I guess I don't.”

“It's okay, but she remembers you. You charmed her just as you charmed all my friends. Jack, she's a native of Toronto and now lives outside Vancouver. She's what they call a Marriage Commissioner there.“

“Sounds great, Sara. Are you sure she's okay with ... you know, the ... participants?”

“Yes, perfectly okay with it. She's done it before. Oh, and Jack, she's willing to do it privately, at her home. She has the most beautiful log cabin up in the mountains, near Sooke, with a great view of the Juan de Fuca area. I've been there. It's a lovely view, and a great environment for ... what you want to do.“

“I don't know what to say, Sara. This is ... I mean ... thank you.”

“I told you, Jack. Memories don't have to be painful, and I really am happy for you, both of you.”

Jack took down the relevant information and then he and Daniel finally ordered their pizza. The next day, they would call Sara's friend, who had married and was now Lisa Anderson Cassidy.

--

October 26, 2003 - PCX-224, Somewhere on the Other Side of the Stargate:

--

“We're not supposed to do this off-world, Danny.”

“But I'm cold, Jack. This place is freezing.”

“It's like tempting fate.”

“Just ... behave yourself and keep your ... sidearm down and we'll be fine,” Daniel snickered.

“Daniel, we've been on this planet for three days. I'm telling you, it's tempting the gods.”

“No such thing, Jack. Just use restraint.”

“Daniel, I suggest if you want me to keep my sidearm down you stop trying to touch its trigger.”

“Jack, we're getting married in 21 days. Do you want me to have Bronchitis on our honeymoon?”

Jack frowned and said sourly, “Of course, not.”

“Good, now be quiet, and let's go to sleep.”

Jack sighed as he held Daniel in his arms. Their tent was only a few feet from Sam and Teal'c's, and Jack was, well, “horny”. He was in need, and knowing he couldn't do anything about it for at least two more days wasn't helping his attitude any, especially when Daniel was doing “that thing with his fingers” as his hand automatically snaked under Jack's tee, toying with the Colonel's chest hairs.

“Danny, don't do that.”

“Shh, Jack, trying to go to sleep.”

Jack rolled his eyes in frustration. This planet's idea of a hot day was 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It was cold. Jack just wasn't sure Daniel's idea of how to get warm was so smart.

Jack replayed everything they knew about this planet. The inhabitants had been warm and friendly. They hadn't held back anything that Jack could see. They'd been progressing nicely with the trade talks, and unlike the Tok'ra, these people had been forthcoming with the Tau'ri from the start about a potential new weapon. There had been nothing at all that had set off any alarms or caution alerts in Jack's mind.

It was almost midnight by Earth time, and the temperature had dropped to 40 degrees. Fortunately, while a “hot” day wasn't hot by Jack's standards, the changes in degrees from night to day on this strange world never veered more than 15 degrees. It was a unique phenomena that had Sam running a slew of tests and asking 1001 questions that made Jack wish he was fishing instead of here on this planet.

Daniel's hand was still caressing his lover and Daniel had sighed a few times as he was trying to get comfortable and go to sleep on Jack's right shoulder. A low, seductive “Mmmm” came out of Daniel just as his fingers rubbed a particularly sensitive area of Jack's anatomy, and that was all it took.

“To heck with being off-world,” he said out loud, causing Daniel's eyes to open wide and look up at Jack, surprised and even a bit alarmed.

“Don't look at me like that, Dannyboy,” Jack said as he rolled Daniel to the bottom spot and leaned down and kissed him.

“Jack, I don't ... <kiss> ... Jack ... <kiss> ... not a good ... <kiss> ... Jack ... mmmm, yes!”

====

“Good morning, Major,” Jack chirped as he exited his tent and went to get a cup of coffee from their campfire.

“Morning, Sir,” Sam said hesitantly, a yawn escaping, causing Jack to look her way.

“Sorry, Sir, didn't ... get much sleep last night.”

“Too cold for you, Carter?”

“No, Sir ... just ... a little ... noisy, Sir, that's all.”

Jack coughed and quickly took a sip of coffee. “Yeah, those winds were pretty ... loud last night.”

“Winds? Yes, Sir. Almost ... moaning, Sir,” Sam smirked.

“Major, don't you have some testing to do ... somewhere?”

“As a matter of fact, I need to wait for Teal'c to come back with Eloya from the village, so no ... Sir.”

Jack glared as his 2IC as Daniel walked out of the tent.

“Hey, Sam. Sleep well?”

“As a matter of fact....”

“Carter!”

“Yes, Sir. Yes, Daniel, I did. Thank you for asking.”

Daniel looked at Jack, certain he'd missed something, but he decided not to push his luck. Last night had been a solid eight on the lovemaking scale, not bad considering their confines and scenario. He was feeling pretty chipper and didn't need anything to bring him down from that natural high, so he took the cup of coffee Jack held out for him and sat down next to his partner, exchanging loving smiles of remembrance, making Sam blush from 12 feet away.

Teal'c and Eloya arrived a few minutes later. After confirming their plans for the day, Sam, Teal'c, and Eloya headed for the testing site, located about two miles northeast of their camp.

Jack and Daniel were going to continue the trade talks, but they weren't scheduled to begin for another hour, so they sat contentedly on the logs they had placed around the campfire, their shoulders and forearms brushing together often in intentional contact.

Jack had finished his coffee and was Daniel watching.

“Jack!”

“What?,” the older man smirked.

“I love you.”

“Love you, too.”

Small talk just wasn't going to work this morning. Both were still on a ... love high, for lack of another expression, so Jack thought to himself, “Why fight it?” and reached out and took hold of Daniel's left hand.

“Jack, we shouldn't.”

“But we are,” Jack insisted and continued.

“We never decided for sure who we were going to ask to come with us to Canada for the wedding. We need to make those decisions, or it might be too late for them to make plans. Geez, Danny, our life is so crazy. Best intentions are getting us nowhere, so let's take advantage of some ... free time.“

“Well, Sam, Janet and Cassie, of course. And we already agreed we can't ask Teal'c or the General, as much as I wish we could.”

Jack squeezed Daniel's hand. Excluding those two had been a difficult decision but they didn't have much choice. The General was their friend, and they respected and admired him, but they couldn't risk involving him in anything that could jeopardize his reputation or his pension. They knew if they asked him, Hammond would come, but they wouldn't put him in that position, just to prevent themselves from feeling guilty.

The decision to exclude Teal'c had been extremely nerve-wracking on both Jack and Daniel. They loved the Jaffa dearly, but they couldn't afford to use military transportation to go over the border, and with all the extra security since the tragedy of 9/11, they would have a great deal of difficulty getting the alien across the border without bringing all kinds of undue attention towards the couple.

The two didn't like having to keep the General and Teal'c in the dark about their marriage, but they simply didn't see any other alternatives, and they had already decided that once Jack did retire, they'd have another ceremony, a big one with all the bells and whistles, and then, they'd invite everyone, giving Teal'c and the General prime roles in the celebration.

“Are we going to ask Lou and Carolyn to watch the girls?,” Daniel asked, still concerned that their beagles, Bijou and Katie, had sufficient care while they were gone.

“Yeah, Ferretti's good.”

Jack didn't say anything, but he would also have liked to have invited the Ferretti's to the wedding, but it was back to the military mindset. Lou and Carolyn might know about them, but asking them to the wedding would put Lou in an awkward position.

If asked, Jack knew his long time pal would attend, but he didn't feel right about the potential harm to Lou's career and family. He prayed Lou would understand, just as he hoped Hammond and Teal'c would.

“Jack, what about ... Sara?”

Jack brought Daniel's hand to his mouth and kissed it, still surveying and carefully keeping a lookout in case any of the villagers surprised them with an unannounced visit.

“She's liable to come, Danny ... if we invite her ... just to ... prove the point. I guess what I mean is, she's happy for us, and she wants to move on, and she might look at this as ... a way of proving to herself, and to us, that she's doing that, just as we are.“

“How would you feel if she was there?”

Jack sighed as he considered the question carefully before answering.

“It would be ... strange, maybe a little awkward, at least at first.”

Jack looked at Daniel's pensive face, “But ... I don't plan to be thinking about Sara, or looking at her. I'll be too busy watching you and thinking how very lucky I am that you're mine.”

Daniel looked away, a smile and blush on his face.

“Danny, how would you feel if Sara attended our wedding?”

“I ... don't know. Like you said, it might be awkward, but ... I won't be looking at her or thinking about her either,” Daniel said, his eyes bright with love for the man who held his hand firmly.

"Danny, I love Sara, I always will. She's Charlie's mother, and I'll always love her for giving him to me, but I'm IN love with you. You're the most important person in my life, and if it's going to make you uncomfortable ..."

“Jack, let's do it. Let's invite her. It doesn't matter if she comes or not, because the day will be about us, and if we are focused on us, then nothing else does matter. It'll make her happy that we ... trust her enough to invite her.“

“Okay, done. Who else?”

“Ernest and Catherine, Christa and Jacob, and Mrs. Valissi, though I doubt any of them can come, but we have to invite them and give them the option, let them know we ... love them and want them there.“

“Oh, and we have to invite Erik. He'd get a kick out of it.”

Daniel laughed his agreement to including Jack's old friend from Chicago. He added, “How about Frances and Crystal? You know they'd come.”

Jack nodded as he shook his head, “No doubt about it. They'll be there with bells on.”

“Just as long as they don't bring Goofy with them,“ Daniel shuddered, remembering the moment he and Jack had met the two sisters at Disneyland several years ago. They'd struck up a great friendship over the years as a result of their theme park encounter with the ladies.

“Ah, c'mon, Danny. It was fun!“

“Sometimes, Jack, I worry about you,“ Daniel said with a smile before moving forward with their difficult decision making process.

“It's hard to decide, isn't it ... who we can really trust? I wish we didn't have to hide.”

“We don't, you know.”

“Jack, I can't. Not yet. I want to, though. I want to so freakin' much.”

Jack nodded. They just needed to survive another year or two, and then they'd be free, free to be who they are without hiding. He loved Daniel's dedication, and he knew it was tearing Daniel apart inside just as much as it was himself to wait, but they had agreed, and no matter what, they always had each other.

Their discussion ended a few moments later when several villagers arrived. The rest of their wedding list would have to wait!

--

October 30, 2003 - Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA:

--

“Danny, what are you doing? It's ... geez, Daniel, it's 3 a.m.”

“Sixteen days.”

“Okay, that would be the wedding. What's the problem?”

“Clothing.”

“Dress blues and your blue silk.”

Daniel sighed as he leaned back against the leather chair in the study. Jack saw a look he didn't like in Daniel's eyes so he decided that he'd forego for a while his ranting and sarcasm about Daniel being up and thinking about this in the middle of the night.

Jack walked over to the desk, and took Daniel's left hand, and pulled him up.

“Jack, I was trying to find something.”

“C'mere, Danny.”

Jack pulled his lover in to chest, and held him. Daniel was wearing only his pajama bottoms and shivered a little at the early morning cold that filled the house. Jack rubbed his bare back, loving the feel of Daniel's soft skin, and kissed the top of his shoulder as he pulled back just slightly to kiss Daniel on the lips.

He lead the younger man over to the sofa and sat down, and Daniel slumped right down next to Jack who put his arm around him and held him close.

“Okay, tell me.”

Daniel took a deep breath.

“I love your dress blues. You're so sexy in them. You're sexy anyway, but in your dress blues, I mean, I lose all sense of coherency.“

“Okay, so you don't want me to wear those blues on our wedding because ... ?“

“Colonel. I don't want to marry the Colonel. I mean. Jack.”

Jack smiled. Daniel had worked late the last three days and was exhausted. He had gotten little sleep, and was basically living on caffeine and junk food. Jack could feel the tension flowing through his soul mate as he held him; he also knew Daniel was ready to collapse. Jack needed to figure out this little dilemma, quickly.

The two had planned to discuss all aspects of their wedding weeks in advance but they didn't even pick a wedding date until six weeks before. So, here they sat in the middle of the morning, Daniel freaking out over their wedding attire, and losing his vocal skills.

Jack laughed to himself, “Good thing I speak fluent Daniel.“

“I know what you mean, Love. You want me to leave the Colonel here when we go to Canada. Is that the idea?“

Daniel nodded.

Jack kissed Daniel's silky hair.

“Done. So no dress blues. How about your silk midnight blue shirt and my black silk?“

Daniel sighed.

“No, uh?”

“Jack, that's like saying getting married is like going to a party or out to dinner.“

“Okay, something different, right?”

Daniel nodded. He was so tired. and it felt so good to relax against Jack. Jack felt his love growing as he held him. Only Daniel would stress out over what they wore at the wedding. Jack placed another tiny kiss on Daniel's head, and rubbed his arms to warm him.

“How about those fancy things the guys wear in Hawaii?”

“Getting married ... luau? Jack, different, like ... the robes from Aby <yawn> dos. Something special.”

Daniel yawned. Jack silently chuckled, knowing his lover was about to give out now that he was getting down to abbreviated sentences. One word answers would be next if they sat here much longer. The older man was tempted to let the conversation slide, but he also knew Daniel wouldn't rest peacefully if he did. Some part of Daniel would know it was unresolved and it would interrupt his sleep. Besides, Jack felt Daniel relying on him for this, so he pressed on.

“Scratch Hawaii. You have an idea?”

“Maybe.”

“Are you going to share, Love, or would you rather go to sleep? Danny, I promise. We'll discuss this when you wake up.“

“No, now.“

“Okay, so what's your idea?“

“Hmmm, I was looking at what they wear in different countries.”

“And?”

Daniel moved out of Jack's hold, and arched his back as he stretched, causing Jack to start thinking about other things that had nothing to do with attire aside from how fast it would take to get them both naked.

The younger man stood and ambled over to the desk, and as he reached the chair, called out “Jack”, which was more of a reprimand to this lover for not being right behind him.

“Sorry, Love, just watching your six, noon and ... well, just about everything,“ Jack smirked as he made his way over to Daniel.

“Too tired,” Daniel said truthfully.

Jack chuckled and put his arms around Daniel's neck, standing behind him as Daniel sat in the office chair.

“Show me.”

Daniel yawned again and went to a bookmark he had saved that showed several Mexican wedding shirts.

“You like them, Danny?”

Jack knew he'd wear anything Daniel wanted. His only requirement was that Daniel be happy.

“You?”

Jack let out an internal “Geez”. Daniel didn't want him to go along; he wanted Jack to be honest. Jack gave a closer look at the lightweight Guayabera shirts. He liked the embroidered pleats, but there was something else he wasn't fond of.

“Love you, Danny, but not those. I can see they are nice, but what is with all those ...“

“Pockets.”

They were on the same page, and Daniel had already clicked to another bookmark showing some Kurtas from India.

“Some of those are nice. Colorful. They look comfy. Danny, are these shirts or pajamas?“

“Whatever.”

Jack laughed, again shaking his head that it was a good thing he spoke fluent Daniel, and that he could read the computer monitor talking about the tradition of the kurta.

“Let's think about that one. It's a possibility, Love. What else is out there?“

Daniel clicked to another bookmark.

“Hey, those look nice,” Jack said quickly as he read the information about the Filipino Barongs. The material was extremely lightweight, called Jusi, which was made from raw silk. Its natural color was cream or ecru.

There were several styles to select from but the one that caught Jack's eye was called Raya, which featured styling on the front, back, and sleeves of the shirt. The back had four vertical columns of embroidery, similar to those on the front.

“Danny, which style do you like the best?”

“This one.”

Jack smiled and kissed Daniel on the side of his head.

“Me, too.”

“You think we have time to get these?”

Daniel sighed. They'd waited too long to acquire this particular custom made Barong, and he slumped a little in his chair. Jack's heart sank to his feet, but no way was his Daniel not going to have what he wanted.

“I want these Daniel. Look, they have a couple that are one of a kind. No one else in the world will have these two exact patterns. We're going to have these. I promise.“

Daniel turned off the computer and stood up using his decreasing energy reserve to keep him up. He put his hands around Jack's neck, his exhausted eyes looking into Jack's sexy chocolate brown eyes. Daniel wished for a moment that he wasn't so tired before continuing their "conversation".

“Jack.”

“We're going to have them.”

“No killing, relocating to Penguin Land, or scaring young children.”

“Small threats only.”

“Just ... wear your dress blues, Jack. No one can resist you in your,” Daniel yawned, “dress blues.”

Daniel put his head on Jack's right shoulder, his arms still around his neck, Daniel's forehead leaning next to Jack's chin. He was on his last coherent thruster. “Just threaten lightly and get us our Barongs.”

Jack laughed. He didn't think the day would come that Daniel would give him permission to threaten for personal gain. His lover was out for the count, Jack practically holding him up. Jack knew Daniel had released his faith in Jack, and would now sleep peacefully. Jack would not disappoint.

“C'mon, Danny, time for bed ... again.”

Jack supported Daniel up the stairs to their bed, and tucked him in.

“Jack.”

“I'll be right back, Angel.”

“Hurry.”

Jack hurried down the stairs and jotted down a few quick notes about the Barongs and the contact information for the two custom ones they liked. He powered down the computer and turned out the lights and went upstairs climbing back in bed.

Daniel was clinching one of Jack's pillows and looked sound a sleep. Jack figured he'd make do with only one pillow, not having the heart to take the chance of waking his soul mate.

Suddenly, Daniel's left arm pushed the pillow away as he reached over feeling for Jack. His eyes never opened. Jack took the pillow and placed it under his head, and took Daniel's hand, scooting them closer together.

“I'm right here, Love.”

“Only threaten; don't really do. Promise.”

“I promise, Danny. Go to sleep. Love you.”

“Too.” Jack laughed again at the abbreviated sentence, as he reveled in Daniel's scent and once again thanked the powers that be for giving him this precious gift that was his lover.

--

November 13, 2003 - Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA:

--

“Hey,” Jack said as he approached Daniel at the edge of the patio deck. It was a chilly night, but a clear one, and the stars were shining brightly in the sky. Daniel had on his blue sweats, and Jack his gray ones. It was only 8 p.m.

The two had finished all their last minute reports and obligations at the SGC earlier in the day. Tomorrow afternoon, they'd be boarding a plane to Vancouver, and two days after that, they'd be getting married.

Jack's arms went around Daniel's waist as it they belonged there always, and Daniel's hands went naturally to rest upon Jack's, as his head relaxed against Jack's left shoulder. This was such a natural pose for them. It was a slice of heaven for the lovers.

“Nervous?,” Jack asked cautiously.

Daniel laughed, shaking his head slightly.

“Jack, it's the funniest thing. I thought I would be. I thought I'd be scared to death, that I'd wonder if we were making a mistake. You know, all the jittery stuff.”

“But?”

“That little boy, Jack? He really is gone now. I mean, the abandoned part. When you came after me after that crazy fight and that nightmare with the Roayians, it just ... you chased away the demons. I'm happy, Jack. I love you, and I've never wanted anything more than to marry you. I'm not nervous. I'm ... excited.“

“I love you, Danny,” Jack said, his voice choking. He'd worked and prayed so long and hard for the miracle that would let his Daniel be happy and unafraid, and now he had it, and it left him speechless.

“Are you nervous, Jack?”

“Scared to death.”

Daniel turned his head to look at him, questions racing in his eyes.

“Not second guessing. Scared I'll do or say something stupid. You know me, Danny. I'm not good with words, and I don't want to mess this up for you. I want it to be ... special, memorable, perfect.”

“Are you going to marry me, Jack?”

Jack's head snapped back from the shock of the question.

“Of course, I am. Yes.”

“Then it will be perfect and special and memorable. I only need you to be there and put the ring on my finger. Okay?”

“Okay, Angel” Jack said leaning his forehead against Daniel.

“Danny, I know we said no wedding presents, but ...”

Daniel burst out in laughter.

“What?”

“We're pathetic, Jack. Someday we might actually admit we're romantic saps to the core and not even try to lie about ... acting like it.”

Jack kissed Daniel's forehead. “You, too, eh?”

“Hmm-mmm.”

“Let's do it now. I don't want to wait for you to see this.”

Daniel nodded and walked hand in hand back into the house with Jack. Bijou and Katie followed and quickly went to lay in their bean bag which sat by the fireplace. Jack lead Daniel to the sofa and kissed him, his hands reaching up to cup his face.

“Geez, Danny, I love you so much.”

Another tender kiss was shared by the two lovers, and then Jack sighed. “Sit down. I'll be right back.”

Daniel sat and waited while Jack disappeared into the garage, returning a few minutes later with a large wrapped package.

“I hope you like this, Danny. I ... well, I hope you like it.”

Jack handed the large package to Daniel and scooted things from the top of the coffee table so that Daniel could use it to brace the package against it as he opened it.

Jack stood in front of the TV, anxiously watching Daniel's slender fingers as they unwrapped the present. Jack had been working on this for weeks, since Daniel had proposed in Denver.

Daniel's eyes widened, a lump forming in his throat as he took in the very unique present from his ... soon-to-be-spouse. “Spouse ... what a beautiful word,” Daniel thought silently as he viewed the gift.

At first, as he opened it, Daniel had thought it must be a painting. He could see the oak frame of the item which measured 4'x2 1/2', but then he saw the words at the top of the gift. Centered across the top, written in black ink, calligraphy style, were the words, “The Jackson-O'Neill Tree of Love” and below it was a large green tree with several branches that symbolized ancestry.

On the very left edge of the frame, one under another, were four photographs of Daniel. The top was a baby shot, then one at age eight, another from college, and finally a current one from the Ferretti's barbecue held just a few weeks ago.

On the very right edge of the frame, one under another, directly across from the corresponding photos of Daniel, were four pictures of Jack, in the same order, a baby shot, then one at age 10, one in the Academy, and finally a current one, also from the Ferretti's recent get-together.

Across the bottom edge of the frame, were a series of six photos, all of Jack and Daniel together. These were from their special keepsake box, photos and memorabilia from their trips and time together that they couldn't leave out for others to see.

From left to right, the photos were Jack and Daniel at Hammond's first Fourth of July party, an annual event he held for SG-1 and close members of his staff. Jack and Daniel were side by side, wearing big smiles, in that particular shot. Jack had his arm around Daniel's shoulders.

Then, there was a profile shot of the two men in Egypt on a boat going down the Nile. They were both leaning forward against the rails looking out at the waterway.

Next was a photo from their trip to Disneyland, both apparently in the middle of a laugh attack, wearing their Mickey Mouse ears.

Next to it was a picture from Valentine's Day two years ago. They had used the auto timer on Daniel's camera to snap the picture. They were kissing, their hands caressing each other's backs.

The fifth photo was another one that they had used the self-timer to take. This had been from their backyard four years ago. They were supposed to be facing the camera for the photo, with their arms around each other's waists, but Daniel had placed his head against Jack's forearm, and Jack was placing a kiss on Daniel's head when the timer went off.

Last in the row was a Polaroid shot of Jack and Daniel taken by a lovely lady they had met in Los Angeles. They were seated at a table at a restaurant, smiling brightly, holding hands atop the table.

The ancestor tree had four big branches, two going out to Jack's side, and two to Daniel's. Each big branch had a few smaller limbs extending from them. On Jack's side, were photos of his parents, both sets of grandparents, and Sara and Charlie. On Daniel's side, there were snapshots of his parents, one set of grandparents, and ones of Sha're and Skaara. There was also a sketch of two loving grandparents to represent Daniel's paternal grandparents that Jack couldn't find any photos of.

Towards the bottom of the tree were four additional photos, placed under a label that read “Our Children”. There was a picture of Daniel's fish swimming in the aquarium, one of Bijou, one of Katie, and one of Bijou and Katie together.

Daniel couldn't help but notice that while their Tree of Love was full, Jack had made it so they could easily add to it in the future. They had plans now, to adopt a few years down the road, and there was plenty of room to add photos of their human kids to their four-legged and gilled kind.

Daniel stood speechless, gazing at the gift he already treasured. His eyes were misty as his fingers traced the words ... “The Jackson-O'Neill Tree of Love”. The lump in Daniel's throat got bigger.

“I figured we'd hang it in your den. I ... left room under the swords for this, if you think that's a good place for it.”

“It's the perfect place for it, Jack.” Daniel could barely speak. His voice was cracked and low.

“I hope you like it. It was this, or another copy of Budge,“ Jack tried to tease, realizing his gift was having quite an emotional impact on his lover.

“What do you think? Is it okay? We could change it if anything isn't what you want.“

“I think ... I ... think,” but Daniel couldn't think. It was all too much. He wasn't expecting such a personal gift for some reason, one that Jack had obviously worked on for a very long time. Daniel's heart was full of even more love for his partner, and he wished he could find the words to tell him, but all he could do was sit on the sofa and trace the those words over and over.

“Tree of Love,” he choked out.

Jack went to sit by his heart, his love, his Daniel, wrapping his arms around the younger man, his hand caressing Daniel's back. Jack leaned over and kissed his lover on the cheek, and then, with his other hand, started to dry the tears that were now sliding down Daniel's cheek.

“I love you, Danny.”

“Jack ...” It was just too much for the speechless linguist. He never imagined he could be this happy, or this secure. He must have died and gone to heaven. Daniel was sure of it.

Jack reached and took the framed ancestry gift and carefully sat it on the coffee table, and then he turned Daniel to face him, and kissed him.
“I love you, Danny,” Jack repeated as he pulled Daniel back against the sofa and into his arms. He knew Daniel's tears were happy ones, and that made Jack feel like a king, to know he made his lover feel so blissful.

It was twenty minutes later before the two stopped kissing and Daniel spoke.

“Thank you, Jack. It's perfect. It's priceless. I love it. It'll be great in the den which I love so much. More than anything, I just love you so freakin' much, Jack, that I think I'm going to explode.”

Their hands were caressing each other's faces, wiping away tears both were shedding.

“We're such saps, Daniel.”

“Hmm-mmm. I got you something too, but it's ...” Daniel looked back at the gift Jack had given him, overwhelmed by the sense of family and foreverness it gave him, “... but it's not ... I mean ...”

“Danny, you're all I need <kiss>, and all I want <kiss>, and you, My Love, are the most precious gift I could ever receive <big kiss>.”

“You're easy, Jack,” Daniel sniffed as Jack kissed his forehead.

“Wait here.”

Daniel reluctantly rose from the sofa and went to the study, and when he came back, he was carrying a very large box, also gift wrapped.

“I hope you like it.”

Jack gently scooted the Tree of Love to rest against the sofa on his left, as Daniel placed his gift for Jack in front of the gray haired man.

“I love it already because whatever it is, it came from you.”

Jack began to unwrap the gift as Daniel fidgeted slightly.

“I ... I hope I got the right thing. There were a lot of choices out there. I really wanted it to be special, Jack. If it's not right, promise me you'll tell me.”

“Danny, I'll love it. I already love it.”

Daniel smiled. Jack was glowing and he had no idea what was in the box. He hoped Jack didn't lose the smile when he saw the gift.

“Holy Saints, Daniel!” Jack practically shot up off the sofa as he realized what was in the box.

“Danny, you can't get these; it's near impossible. It can't be.”

Daniel sported a gigantic grin, relief in his heart. He so wanted this to be right, and from the look on Jack's face, that of a little boy on Christmas morning, Daniel knew he'd chosen well.

Jack was tearing off the paper and opening the box with a swelling enthusiasm.

“Danny, how?”

“I ... know people, Jack.”

Jack stood and literally grabbed Daniel and swung him around and landed the biggest kiss on his lover as he could manage. The momentum landed both of them both prone on the couch, Daniel on the bottom, Jack serving as a very heavy blanket. Daniel reached over slightly with his left hand to make sure the Tree of Love was secure before refocusing on Jack.

“Oh, Danny, it's perfect. Thank you, Love.”

Jack kissed Daniel tenderly, and Daniel figured it was a good time for a pre-honeymoon warm-up, but then Jack raised himself and scurried over to the box, pulling out the gift.

“This is awesome, Danny, totally awesome.”

Daniel sat up, a bit disappointed that Jack's excitement was focused on the gift; then again, he saw the shine in his love's eyes, and that made him happy.

Jack ranted and raved as he removed and examined the gift closely. It was an Astro-Physics 130mm f8.35 Starfire EDT Refractor telescope, a very high class and very difficult to acquire item. It cost several thousand dollars, and normally the waiting list was a minimum of two years.

Jack was like a child at Christmas, as he put the large scope together. “Wow, Danny, I can't believe this. They stopped making these, twice, but the demand ... wow. I don't know how you pulled this off.”

Jack's eyes were drooling over his new toy, and Daniel's heart was bulging in pleasure.

“I've got to put this up. You don't mind, do you? Wow.”

Daniel smiled, “No, of course not. I'm glad it was the right one.”

“Perfect, Love ... just perfect.”

Jack carefully picked up the telescope and walked towards the patio door. Daniel stood and went to the box and picked up some of the accessories to carry up to the roof, but then Jack stopped and turned.

Jack picked out a corner of the living room that was fairly protected from the wagging tails of Bijou and Katie and put the telescope down. He walked over to Daniel, and took the things he was holding and put them back in the big box, moving it over to where the AP Refractor sat.
Then, he walked over to his Daniel, took him in his arms, and kissed him.

“You would let me do it, wouldn't you?” Jack finally asked as he gazed into his love's eyes.

“Do what?”

“Spend the entire night playing with the telescope, setting it up, experimenting, watching the stars.”

“It's ... it's why I got it for you ... so you ... could do that.”

“Not tonight, Love. I love you, Daniel, love you so darn much for being so beautiful and loving me so completely.”

“Love you, too, Jack.”

“Let's go to bed, Danny, and then tomorrow, we set sail for paradise.”

“Jack?”

“Mmm?”

“When we make love, it is paradise.”

“Ah, Danny, I love you so friggin' much. Let me show you.”

Heads leaning together, their arms wrapped around each other's waist, Jack and Daniel walked upstairs to enter their paradise.

--

November 15, 2003 - Victoria Harbor, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada:

--

“This was an awesome idea, Sam. Thank you so much for doing this for us.” Daniel had a huge smile on his face as he hugged Sam on the deck of the yacht Sam and Janet had rented for what they could only call the rehearsal dinner.

“It was Janet's idea, Daniel, but I have to agree; it's lovely out here, chilly, but what a gorgeous view of the city at night.”

“Hey, hands off, Carter; he's taken,” Jack laughed as he approached Daniel, scooping him into his arms and kissing him, not caring who saw, and the “who” was a surprisingly large number of family and friends, considering that they originally thought it would just be the two of them plus Sam, Janet and Cassie.

But, gathered on the yacht, in addition to those three guests, were Ernest and Catherine Littlefield, Mrs. Valissi along with her son Evan and his partner Robert, Frances and her sister Crystal, Sara and Mark, Erik Wilcox and Suzanna Simpson.

Christa and Jacob had wanted desperately to come as well, but Christa had fallen the day before their scheduled departure and sprained an ankle, and they had felt it was best if they canceled their plans.

“Maybe next time she'll wait for me or at least call someone to help before she decides to rescue an injured bird from our oak tree,” Jacob had lovingly teased as he explained what had happened to Jack and Daniel, who were genuinely disappointed these two special people weren't able to be with them on their special day.

Ernest and Catherine had been planning an extensive trip to Europe so when Jack and Daniel had invited them to their ceremony, they simply tacked Canada into their plans. They had left New York three weeks ago and had been sightseeing, joining up with the wedding party for the dinner cruise on the yacht.

Mrs. Valissi had been stunned to be invited. She had known Jack and Daniel for years, but hadn't admitted she knew they were lovers until just before Daniel's birthday this year. Once the lovers knew she was aware of their relationship, they were totally relaxed around her.

She had adopted Daniel from the beginning, sensing his need for a motherly presence in his life, and he had grown to love and respect her. Once their secret was out, Mrs. Valissi insisted they meet her son and his long-time partner when they visited America.

They'd all gotten along beautifully and had kept in touch when Evan and Robert returned to Europe, so when Mrs. Valissi told her son about the wedding, he asked if they could come as a show of support. Jack and Daniel had agreed.

Frances and Crystal were the spirited sisters that Jack and Daniel had bonded with during a trip to Los Angeles a few years ago. Something about these two men brought out the doting mother in women, and these, Frances and Crystal, had been no exception.

Jack and Daniel had met them during their antics at Disneyland. Frances was the one who had taken the dreaded photograph with Goofy that usually embarrassed Daniel. She was a retired school teacher and a frequent traveler, so jumped at the chance to be a part of this very special occasion.

Crystal was a freelance romance and mystery writer who was active in her local theater company. She often joined Frances in her travels and eagerly accepted the invitation to the wedding.

Sara had done as Jack anticipated, and when invited, leaped at the chance to come. She had asked if Mark could accompany her, and neither Jack nor Daniel could think of a way to say “no”, so Mark was there, a bit taken aback that his wife had wanted to attend, but he was courteous and actually seemed to be having a good time talking with Evan and Robert, and also with Erik.

Erik was Jack's oldest friend from his childhood days in Chicago. They had lost touch and then bumped into each other, literally, a couple years ago when Jack took Daniel to see his home town neighborhood.

Jack hadn't planned on seeing Erik or any of his pals from those days; in fact, he didn't know anyone was still living in the area, so he had practically jumped out of his skin when he bumped into Erik while holding Daniel's hand during a stroll along the lake.

“Something you want to tell me, Jack?,” Erik had prodded aggressively before breaking into a grin. It turned out Erik had his own surprise. While not involved with anyone at the moment, he had realized he preferred men to women during their high school years. He had simply been too afraid to admit it at the time, the stigma in those days being worse than in the present day, so he hadn't told Jack or any of their friends about his sexual preferences.

Since that chance meeting, they'd renewed their friendship and Erik had come for dinner during business trips to Denver. He, too, leaped at the chance to be one of the handful invited to witness Jack and Daniel's wedding.

The final guest was Suzanna Simpson. She was the one foster sibling of Daniel's he had tried to keep in touch with as she had been the only “sibling” who seemed to genuinely love and care for him.

Suzanna's family had been the second one to have cared for Daniel after his parent's tragic death, and they had wanted to adopt him, but Daniel's grandfather had refused to give up custody, and eventually, Daniel was placed in another foster home.

Though they hadn't kept in frequent contact, up until Daniel's fall from grace in Academia, Suzanna had called Daniel anytime something major happened in her life. With the fall out from being laughed at, Daniel had shied away from the few people he had felt close to, including Suzanna. He simply disappeared.

Actually, the truth was that Daniel had been tossed out of his apartment, and didn't have a penny to his name. He had felt both lost and embarrassed. Then, he joined the SGC and when he got his footing again, he had sent her a note, just to let her know he was alive and well.

Suzanna had called Daniel to catch up immediately after receiving his card. Of course, he couldn't really say much. They had stayed in touch since that call, but only spoke a few times a year. Daniel was “out of town” so much, and Suzanna's business travels kept her on the go frequently, too. But Daniel did love her, and trusted her completely.

She still had no clue about what he was doing for a living. Back then, all she really wanted to know was if Daniel was happy.

“Okay, I get the picture, Daniel. You aren't going to tell me what you're doing, so just tell me. Are you happy?”

It was a question she would continue to ask him as the years passed.

Daniel's answers over the years were usually along the line of “I'm okay, Suz” or “As good as can be” or “You don't need to worry” or “Sure, why wouldn't I be?”.

Suzanna had known that her foster sibling wasn't happy, but all she felt she could do was to continue staying in touch and hope things improved. She did notice that he seemed more and more content as time passed, but still, she was sad that he hadn't found that inner peace that true happiness brought to a person's life.

Then, the last time she asked, just two months ago, Daniel had responded to her usual question with an enthusiastic, “Oh yeah, definitely happy. Life couldn't be better.”

Suzanna had never heard Daniel gush, but that's exactly how he sounded over the phone. “Okay, Bro, give it up, what's her name?”

“Wha...what?”

“Who's the girl?”

“Girl?”

“Daniel, you're happy. You've never ever admitted to that before, so there has to be a girl. What's her name?”

Silence had filled the phone line for several seconds.

“There's no ... girl, Suz, but yes, I am happy, happier than ever.”

They had continued talking for quite a while. Daniel had told her about his birthday and his new dogs, a gift from his best friend.

“Oh my gosh,” she had suddenly exclaimed.

“Suz, you okay?”

“Daniel, it's that guy ... Jack, isn't it?”

“Jack?”

“Oh, Bro, you've got it bad over that guy. I don't know why I didn't see it before, but he's all you've ever talked about, even when your wife was missing, you talked more about him than her. I'm so happy for you, Bro! He does know how lucky he is to have you, doesn't he? He'd better, or I'll teach him a thing or two myself when I meet him. I do get to meet him, don't I, Daniel?“

Suzanna had rambled, her statements and questions shot off in rapid fire. She had clearly been excited for Daniel.

”Um, well, yes, I guess so,“ and without really intending to, Daniel had admitted to Suzanna that he and Jack were involved and since then, she had kept in touch more often, calling once a week to make sure her ”brother“ was being properly taken care of.

She was so excited for Daniel, thrilled to hear his voice sounding so light and to hear the sound of laughter coming from him, which was something she had never heard before. In fact, the first time Daniel laughed outright while telling her about his “Murphy's Law” day from a few years before and how everything had gone totally wrong, she had cried from the joy she felt.

Suzanna was determined to make sure Daniel stayed happy. Anytime Jack was home, Suzanna would grill him to make sure he knew how lucky he was, and to make sure he understood that if he hurt her “bro”, she'd get revenge. She constantly asked Jack what he had done lately to show Daniel that he was appreciated and love. She drove Jack crazy with questions. He wasn't used to being grilled by “civilians.”

The last time Suzanna called, interrogating Jack, he couldn't help himself. He had come to respect her devotion to Daniel, and he had seen Daniel's caring expression when talking about her, his one tie to his childhood that mattered.

Daniel hadn't asked Jack about inviting her to the wedding and Jack knew why. They had to be careful with their secret ceremony, and asking Jack to trust someone he hadn't met and that Daniel hadn't stayed in closer contact with would be asking a lot.

“So, Suz, are you coming to the wedding?”

“Wedding? You're having a wedding?”

“November 16, and you're invited.”

“Jack, I wasn't sure you even liked me.”

“Listen, Suz, anyone who can interrogate someone on Daniel's behalf the way you have been nagging me for the last several weeks deserves to see us get hitched. Besides, it would mean a lot to Daniel.”

Jack sighed and his voice turned soft, “He ... family, you know.” He didn't know how to say what he intended to, but Suzanna understood fully, and that was the moment when Jack O'Neill won over Suzanna Simpson's heart.

When Jack had told Daniel that Suzanna would be attending, the look on his face filled Jack with a tremendous joy, and he knew his hunch had been right. Daniel had thrown his arms around Jack and engaged him in a lip lock of love that lasted for several minutes.

“Thank you, Jack, but ... why did you invite her?”

“Because you love her, Daniel, and I love you.”

Jack's declaration had earned him a passionate reward that had lasted the rest of the night! Daniel hadn't been the only happy man in Colorado Springs that night!

--

The night sky was clear as the yacht made its way up the Gorge Waterway into Oak Bay. The air was brisk, but not too cold. The guests had all dressed warmly in anticipation of fully enjoying time outside the cabin.

The dinner was a scrumptious three course meal that left all the attendees more than satisfied. They were two hours into their three hour tour, and most were on the deck chatting about the big event that would happen tomorrow.

“Time for a toast,” Sam called out, as everyone gathered round.

“To ...,” she laughed and then took a big gulp as if summoning her courage, “To Jack and Daniel. Be happy!”

“Short and sweet, just the way I like it, Car ... Sam,” Jack chuckled as Daniel shook his head.

The group broke up into smaller factions, and Jack and Daniel finally found a moment to be alone.

“Tomorrow, Danny.”

“No doubts?”

“Nope. You?”

“Not a one.”

“I love you.”

Daniel ran his hand along Jack's strong jaw line, his fingers eventually tracing Jack's lips. He leaned forward and brushed Jack's lips, and then their tongues demanded equal time and before long, the two were wrapped around each other in a passionate kiss and embrace that threatened to become embarrassing should anyone see them.

“Hmm, I uh, oh gee,” Sara twisted her body, trying to decide whether to stay or go.

“Sara,” Jack smiled.

“I'm sorry, I ... oh, I did it again, only this time, I swear, it was an accident.”

“It's okay, Sara,” Jack said.

“Actually, I'm glad we have a moment because I wanted to thank you for inviting me, and agreeing to let Mark come.”

“It makes sense he'd want to come.”

“Yes, but ... this isn't exactly a normal situation. He's having a great time, though. I, uh, don't think he thought he would.”

“Look, I'll go and ...”

"Oh, no you don't," Jack spoke firmly, grasping Daniel's hand tightly.

“Oh, no, Daniel, please don't,” Sara spoke urgently, her words overlapping with Jack's “command” prompting Jack to look at her and smile in thanks for her sincerity.

“I just wanted to wish you both ... lots of happiness. I guess most people would think it's crazy for me to be here, but ... thank you.”

Jack stood and crossed the few feet that separated them and took Sara into his arms.

“Mark's a pretty lucky guy. Is he treating you right?”

“Absolutely.”

“You be happy, too, Sara.”

“I am, and I think that's why this is so ... right. Charlie would want this, Jack, for us to be friends. Don't you think so?”

“Yes, I think he'd want that.”

“Well, again, I'm sorry, didn't mean to intrude. I'll leave you two alone. It's a beautiful night. Think I'll try to lure Mark away from Mrs. Valissi long enough to walk the deck with me for a while.”

Sara nodded at Daniel, who smiled back, and then she walked back towards the yacht's cabin. Jack returned to Daniel.

“You know, Danny, I think Sara and Carter must be related.”

“Jack!”

“Well, geez, Danny, their timing is the same.”

“You want to talk about their timing ... or ...”

“I'll take the 'or', Danny.”

Daniel leaned in and began to kiss Jack. When they were at the same point of explosion as they had been when Sara interrupted, they heard another voice.

“Oh, I'm sorry, Sir, Daniel. The others ... they ... oh crap.”

Jack shook his head.

“I told you, Danny.”

“Jaaaack!”

“What is it, Carter?”

“Sam, Jack.” Daniel reminded, hoping against hope that some day Jack and Sam would get over their Sir and Carter mentalities.

“Huh?“

“Never mind, Jack.“

“Sir, the others would like you two to come inside for a moment.” Sam turned her head slightly in a sort of “oops” and apology at having interrupted and then returned to inside the cabin.

Jack and Daniel shrugged, kissed one more time, and then went inside as well.

The guests were all seated and Sam pointed the lovers toward the two chairs at the front of the cabin.

“Okay, Cass, you're on.”

“Cool! Thanks, Mom,” the seventeen year old said, flashing a smile at her adoptive mother, Janet, as she stood.

“Well, Uncle Jack and Uncle Daniel are my two most favorite uncles in the entire universe ...”

“They're your only uncles, Cassandra,” Janet chimed.

“Hey, don't interrupt your daughter. She has good taste,” Jack quipped as everyone chuckled.

“Maybe she's been drinking, Jack,“ Erik teased.

“Why else would she say that?,“ Catherine joked, a devious smile on her face.

“I think they bribed her,“ Sam theorized.

“Okay, okay. Chill, Folks. As I was saying before the floor show began,” Cassie continued over more laughter, “Uncle Jack and Uncle Daniel are my two favorite uncles and even if I had a thousand uncles they'd still be my two favorites ...”

“Thanks, Cass; I knew we could count on you.”

“I may change my mind if you don't stop interrupting, Uncle Jack” Cassie sighed.

“Uh oh, Colonel, you're in trouble now,” Mrs. Valissi offered.

“Even if they don't know when to be quiet, I love them, and I'm glad they're getting married and are so happy. I remember when I first ... when Mom adopted me. Everyone was so nice and took care of me and made me feel welcome, but I knew even then that my two new uncles were lonely, so I'm just so happy they are together and ... happy now.“

Everyone applauded as Cassie held back a little tear.

“Anyway, we wanted to do something special for you, from all of us, and Sam said you weren't able to get the flight you wanted and since we're, well, you know, covert and all that stuff, everyone scattering at different times so that you are actually staying when you'd rather be going ...“

“Cassandra, Sweetie, would you like to try that again so Jack and Daniel might have a clue what you are talking about?,” Janet smirked at her daughter's incoherence.

“I just meant that with everyone leaving at different times, trying to hide that we were even here, that Uncle Jack and Uncle Daniel are stuck in Vancouver longer than they wanted to be, and nothing against Vancouver, but anyway, what we decided to do was rent this yacht for you two to stay on for the next few days until your flight leaves. Oh, and Christa and Jacob contributed, too, even though they couldn't make it to the wedding. Isn't that cool?“

Jack and Daniel looked at each other. The luxury yacht was huge and elegant and very expensive.

“Um, it's ... wow ... it's too much, really,” Daniel tried to say.

“Give it up, Boys, we love you, and you know you aren't going to be sightseeing anyway, so you might as well be out sailing where truly no one can disturb you, and you can stargaze to your hearts content.”

Mrs. Valissi's comments were applauded by everyone, with more words of “You can't say no” , “Just have a good time“, and ”It's only money“ circulating throughout.

Daniel looked at Jack, eyes blinking and sparkling at the idea of three days alone with Jack on the vessel.

“You've made him speechless, and me, too. Thank you all.”

“Another toast, to Jack and Daniel and their future together. May it always burn brightly and may they always find joy and strength in each other's love.”

The room was a peaceful silence for a few moments before the glasses were clinked together after Sara's toast, and then one by one, the guests each toasted the engaged couple.

“That was a beautiful toast, Sara. Thank you very much,” Daniel said, exchanging a long look of understanding with Jack's ex-wife. They shared something no one else in the room did ... a romantic love for Jack O'Neill that would never end. Sara had moved on and was happy and in love with Mark, but Jack still held a place in her heart, and Daniel was well aware of that, even if Jack wasn't.

Just then, the Captain of the yacht walked in to share his congratulations and let everyone know they'd be docking in fifteen minutes, having returned to Victoria Harbor.

Jack and Daniel thanked and hugged everyone for the lovely dinner and surprise wedding present, which they knew cost several thousand dollars to arrange. Their friends were definitely not cheap, though they also knew that the majority of the money had to come from just three of their more affluent guests, the others definitely not in the league to be able to afford this kind of gift!

--

-- 11:56 p.m. - Rental Cabin Just Outside Sooke, 20 Miles Southwest of Victoria:

--

Jack held Daniel in his arms, his chin buried on his heart's shoulder.

“This time tomorrow, Danny ...”

“I love you, Jack.”

“You realize this is ... ridiculous?”

“The women insisted.”

“Who's running this show anyway?”

“Jack?”

“What?”

“We have 30 seconds left. You wanna talk or ...”

Daniel didn't finish his sentence as Jack swooped in and devoured his mouth until he was once again rudely interrupted, at least in his mind.

“Okay, Uncles, that's it. Daniel, inside.”

“Who made you Napoleon?,” Jack asked the teenager.

“Mom! Move it, Uncle Daniel.”

Daniel shrugged and looked longingly at Jack, their hands still holding the other until Daniel was practically inside the cabin door.

“Danny ...” Jack tried to say something, but the door was closed in his face.

“Sorry, Sir, you know the rules,” Sam said.

“Carter, I'm going to make you pay for this.”

“Yes, Sir. Goodnight, Sir.”

Jack grunted and looked at Cassie who had a pleased expression on her face.

“Goodnight, Uncle Jack, and remember, no peeking! You stay over there until someone comes and gets you.”

“Cass, you do know that we've ... On second thought, good night, Cass.”

Cassandra laughed, enjoying her temporary power over her uncles.

--

November 16, 2003 - Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada:

--

-- 8 a.m. - Rental Cabin Just Outside Sooke, 20 Miles Southwest of Victoria:

--

“Sleep well, Jack?,” Suzanna asked as she placed his breakfast on the small cabin table.

“No!,” he snapped which made the young woman laugh.

“What's so funny?”

“You. Daniel always told me you could sound like a grizzly bear, but I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't just hear you growl,” Suzanna said animatedly.

Jack groaned. He had tossed and turned all night. He missed sleeping with Daniel. They never slept apart, and even off-world, they were at least in the same tent. It had been a miserable night.

Jack stabbed his fork at the sausage violently and it went flying through the air, hitting his 2IC who had just walked in the door.

“Wow. Lose something, Sir?,” Sam chuckled.

“Carter, tell me again whose idea this was, because I may just murder them.”

“Cassie's, Sir,” Sam said with an innocent pride.

Jack groaned.

“I want to see Daniel.”

“Sorry, Jack, no can do,” Suzanna said sounding like the bluebird of happiness which only frustrated Jack even more.

“Carter, this is an order. I want to see Daniel!”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Now that's more like it,” Jack said standing up and walking to the door, but his 2IC stepped in front of him and smirked, “And you will see him, Sir, at 4 p.m. this afternoon.”

“And not a minute before, Jack.”

Jack mumbled something about Teal'c having cursed him and walked back to the table, and shouted, “Give me my sausage back.”

Sam laughed and put the sausage on Jack's plate, and was “grossed out” when he actually ate it.

Fifteen minutes later, at a cabin only a few feet away ...

“You aren't mad at me, are you, Uncle Daniel? I mean, this is what people do when they get married.”

“No, I'm not mad, but Cass, Jack and I have been. Never mind.”

Cassie laughed. “You two are so funny. Uncle Jack couldn't say you'd been having sex for years either.

“Cassandra.”

“Geez, Mom, facts of life, and all of that. I'm not 12 anymore, you know.”

“Believe me, Cassie, I know; boy, do I know,” Janet rolled her eyes as she put Daniel's breakfast on the table.

“Daniel, food's on.”

“That's okay, Janet. I'm not really hungry.”

“Ah, come on, Uncle Daniel. Don't be sad. You'll be seeing Uncle Jack soon.”

“How soon?”

Cassie shrugged with a shy smile.

“That's what I thought.”

“Doctor's orders, Daniel. Eat. Now!,” Janet barked in a tone that would have made Jack proud.

Daniel's face dropped, his nose scrunched, and a worried frown appeared on his brow as his mind drifted, lost in a sea of last minute panicked thoughts.

"What is it, Uncle Daniel?"

"What if ...? What if he ...?"

Cassie looked at her mom with concern that maybe she had been wrong for insisting on tradition, but Janet shook her head and smiled at her daughter reassuredly, and then went to Daniel's side, kneeling down next to him and taking his hand. Janet had a feeling this was just a sudden case of the jitters, in reverse.

"What are you thinking, Daniel?"

"What if he's had second thoughts, Janet? What if he's ... wherever you have him ... frantically trying to find a way out of this. What if ..."

"Sweetie, calm down. Jack loves you. More than that, he needs you. He's over there now acting like a grizzly bear with a headache because he can't see you."

Daniel looked up at her, and smiled. "He is? Are you sure?"

"Oh, yes. I talked to Sam a few minutes ago, and she said he threw a sausage at her.“

“Sausage?,” Daniel asked quizzically.

“Maybe I should have said he's over there acting like a bear trapped in a cage, wanting desperately to get out and find its mate.“

Daniel smiled shyly but happily at the image.

“Daniel,” Janet urged, “I suggest that if you want to see that old bear anytime soon you get over there and eat!"

“Yes, Ma'am,” Daniel said as he eagerly got up from the armchair and went to the table to eat his waffles.

--

--10 a.m. - Lisa Cassidy's Front Yard, Near Sooke, 30 Miles Outside of Victoria:

--

“Sara, it's so good to see you!” Lisa Cassidy shouted, her arms stretching out to welcome her old college friend.

“Lisa, it's been too long! You remember Mark,” Sara motioned to her husband.

“Yes, of course, hello again!”

Mark nodded, noticing that Mrs. Valissi, Evan, Robert, and Erik were chatting near the back of the log house. “Sara, I'm going to go say hello.”

“Sure.” Mark gave his wife a peck on the cheek and headed over to join the others.

“Sara, I have to say this was a big surprise.”

“I know, Lisa. It is unusual, I guess.”

“You're really okay with this?”

Sara looked lovingly over at her husband and nodded.

“Yes, I am. Lisa, Jack is at a place now in his life where he is more at peace than I ever could have imagined he'd be. I admit I was hurt at first, shocked,” Sara chuckled in remembrance, “even outraged, but Jack's happy. He loves Daniel and Lisa, wait until you meet him. Daniel's so in love with Jack, and Jack just glows when he talks about Daniel. How can I fault them for loving each other?”

“You're an unusual woman, Sara. I wish more of us could be like you.”

“I don't think I'm anything special. Maybe a few years ago I couldn't be here, doing this, but I'm happy now, too. Mark loves me, and I love him, and the baby's coming. It may not make sense to most of the world, but I am thrilled for Jack and Daniel. Thank you for letting them come here.“

--

-- 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. - Inside Lisa Cassidy's Cabin and Home Office:

--

Lisa spent the next several hours chatting with each of the guests who would be attending the wedding. Jack and Daniel were brought in blindfolded so they wouldn't see each other. Jack grumbled and growled so Erik gagged him until they had Daniel safely tucked away in one room.

“It's like being in prison,” Jack shouted to Janet. “Let me out!”

“Sorry, Colonel. We're on a schedule.”

“Listen, Doc, I just want two minutes with Daniel.”

“And you'll have it.”

“NOW!”

Janet shook her head as Jack broke in two the pencil he'd been holding.

“Everything okay in here?,” Lisa asked as she entered the bedroom.

Jack stood, “Yes, thanks.”

“If it's all right, I'd like to speak with you for a few minutes, Colonel, and try to get a feel about you and your relationship with Daniel.”

“Sure, and drop the Colonel. Left him back in the States. Call me, Jack.”

Lisa talked with Jack for quite a while, and then with Daniel. She smiled as she left Daniel in one of the other bedrooms.

“You're right, Sara. Daniel is a sweetheart.”

“And head over heels in love with Jack.”

“And vice versa, from what I can tell.”

Sara nodded and before she could say anything else, Sam entered the living room.

“Shouldn't we let the guys get ready about now? Um, and us, too?”

They were right on schedule. The day was beautiful, the weather was unusually warm for this time of year, a whopping 68 degrees. All the guests had arrived and had said hello to the happy couple.

Lisa's husband, Carl, a professional freelance photographer known for his photos of nature, had arrived back from Victoria about 2 p.m. from a morning business meeting. He had agreed to videotape the entire event, and began by quietly filming the guests as they prepared for the nuptials and then chatted with one another as they waited for the wedding to begin.

--

-- 3:45 p.m. - Lisa's Cabin, Jack's temporary holding cell:

--

“Okay, Sir, time to go.”

Jack stood and took a look around.

“You okay?”

“Is Daniel?”

“He's just fine, Sir, except he wanted to be with you every bit as much as you wanted to be with him, if that's any consolation.”

Jack smiled. “At least it's over.”

“You made Cassie happy, Sir. She wanted everything to be perfect, and since this was the tradition ...”

“I know, Carter.” Jack smiled, finally at peace. Any minute now he'd finally get to see his lover, and then everything would truly be perfect.

Sam walked with Jack to the vista, her arm in his. “Wow, this is awesome,” Jack said as he took it in for the first time that day.

“Pretty amazing.”

The ceremony was being held at the vista of Lisa's home, about 10 miles outside of the small, quaint town of Sooke which was roughly 20 miles southwest of Victoria. The town surrounded a harbor, and was highly forested, and featured luscious views and inspirational sunsets.

Lisa's house overlooked the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The waters below were breathtaking and the beach in the distance inviting. It was a calm and peaceful locale with an incredibly rich and enchanting view.

Jack turned back to face and acknowledge the seated guests whom he and Sam had just filed past, down the grassy aisle.

“Love the shirt, Sir,” Sam said sincerely, and then added, “I'll be right back,” grinning widely and walking back through the aisle towards the other cabin.

Jack and Daniel had debated for a long time on how formal to make their ceremony, and in the end, they had decided on a more casual theme. Daniel loved Jack in his dress blues, but today, they wanted to be themselves, so the Colonel and his dress blues were left in Colorado.

Jack and Daniel had their hearts set on custom made Barongs, a traditional Filipino design. They were extremely expensive but worth the price. No one else in the world wore the exact shirts that they did on this day. They considered having the shirts color dyed, but in the end, decided to keep the natural color, so both wore cream barongs with white pants. The embroidery was exquisite on each.

“Ready, Jack?” Lisa asked as she approached the edge of the overlook where the ceremony was about to begin.

“More than ready.”

“Then you won't mind if we start a few minutes ahead of schedule?”

Jack was about to say he didn't mind at all, except he suddenly lost his ability to speak as he beheld the sight of his lover on the arm of his 2IC. He swore he had never seen anything so beautiful in his life than the man he was about to marry. Jack's heart flip-flopped, butterflies fluttering in his stomach, not from fear or nerves, but from Daniel's total radiance.

Daniel beamed when he finally saw Jack. Their eyes locked, and the rest of the world simply didn't exist any more. They were a nation of two.

Reaching the front of the vista, Sam gave her dear friend a hug and kiss on the cheek and said to Jack, “He's all yours ... Jack ... almost.”

A burst of laughter came from their friends, jolting both Jack and Daniel back to their reality. They stood facing each other and Jack reached out and took Daniel's right hand. He didn't care about protocol or what the rules were, he couldn't stand not touching Daniel any longer.

The women had kept him separated from his heart for sixteen hours, and he couldn't help but react. He leaned over and kissed Daniel and said, “I love you, Angel,” which brought forth a round of “ahs” from those gathered, and a little tear from Sara who squeezed her husband's hand at the same time the tear escaped.

“Are you ready, Daniel?,” Lisa asked.

“Oh yeah, definitely. More than ready.”

Lisa laughed at Daniel using the same verbiage as Jack, and said, “Then we begin.”

--

-- 4 p.m. - Vista, Near Sooke, Overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca:

--

Lisa smiled at Jack and Daniel and looked out at their family and friends, and gave a nod to Sara as she began her remarks.

“Welcome to a Celebration of the Heart, a Ceremony Celebrating the Commitment and Joining of the Hearts and Souls of Jonathan “Jack” O'Neill and Daniel Patrick Jackson, for time and all eternity.

“These two men are here today pledging their love for all to see and hear, in front of whatever almighty powers might be listening, and to their family, and to their friends.

“I'm told these two are polar opposites, with different ideals and philosophies, who approach life and its hazards from totally different points of view. And yet, their compassion and concern for the other took them from extreme opposites to best friends and then to lovers and in a few moments, to being spouses.

“I was intrigued that even with all the differences Jack and Daniel claim to have, and those offered from their friends, I've seen nothing but warmth and gentleness, and a oneness of their hearts.

“They share a sense of humor. Their friend Sam says they bicker a lot but that it's part of their relationship, part of their “game of love,” she called it.

“Their friend Janet told me Jack and Daniel are practically telepathic, that they don't need words, and that the one thing she has noticed about them from the beginning is that when one needed the other, the other was always there, in good times, and in bad.

“And their young niece, Cassie, beamed about her two uncles, telling me that she's just happy they are finally able to share their love with their family.

“Personal dynamics. So many differences. Jack is military, and Daniel believes in peace; Jack loves hockey and beer, and Daniel loves museums and fine wine; Jack isn't good with words, and Daniel is a linguist.

“And yet, their friends and family gathered here today are full of smiles, and Jack and Daniel's differences don't seem to mean so much, because their hearts and souls are full of the goodness given by the other. Their cup, as both told me, is always at least half full, and never half empty.

“And so today, Jack and Daniel are here to announce to the world that they are in love, and are committed to one another for the rest of their lives, and whatever comes after.

“Jack, what would you like to say to Daniel as you pledge your loyalty and devotion to him today?“

Jack reached forward and took Daniel's hand and stared deeply into his eyes. He looked down for a minute, and sighed and then back up at Daniel.

“Danny, I'm ... no good with words. You know that. I keep trying to find that magic phrase or sentence that can somehow communicate how much I love and admire you. But there isn't one, Danny.“

Jack's hands were caressing Daniel's and he brought up Daniel's left hand and kissed his palm with his lips.

“Ah, Danny. The day I met you, I was dead. My heart and soul had died with my son, and there was nothing left but a brain that functioned like a robot. I didn't care about anything or anyone. I hid my pain. I hid from myself. I was a shell, flesh with no heartbeat.

“And then, there you were, looking like a lost puppy. Somehow, you got me to live again. You convinced me life was worth something. My heart started to beat again, and then I lost you, but I got lucky, and you came back.

“I'm not that man anymore, that empty shell, because you taught me how to love again. I don't know anyone stronger or braver than you. I've seen you sacrifice yourself time and time again, and so many times, Danny, I was afraid you'd never come back, but like a cat with nine lives, you always survive, better and stronger than before.

“You're the most compassionate and giving person I've ever met, and you will bend over backwards to protect everyone else but yourself.

“There's no one in the universe I respect more than you; there's no one anywhere I want to be with more than you.

“I love you, Danny, and while you go on taking care of everyone else, I'm going to go on taking care of you, protecting you. And I'm going to work hard to make you smile and laugh.

“Danny, you have the most incredible laugh, and these people, our family and friends, they rarely get to hear it. When you laugh, it fills me up with pleasure. I'm going to keep you laughing. That's my promise.“

Jack shook his head. “I'm just no good with words, but I love you so friggin' much, and I'm never gonna let you go, not ever. And no one, no one, Danny, will hurt you without having to deal with me, and that's a promise, too.

“Forever and always, Danny; the circle of our love never ends. I don't know what you see in me, but I thank the heavens you see whatever it is, because I couldn't live without you, not for a day. You're my heart, my soul, my life.

“Our future, Danny ... the specifics don't matter. I only need you here, standing next to me. Whatever happens, good or bad, we'll make it a paradise, because we'll be together. And together, Love, we're unbeatable.

“Geez, Danny, what you do to me. I love you.“

Jack was crying as he kissed Daniel's hands again. Daniel had tears of happiness running down his cheeks, too, as did most everyone in attendance.

Lisa let a minute or so pass, giving the two time to collect themselves, each uninhibitedly drying the other's tears.

“And now Daniel, what would you like to say to Jack as you pledge your loyalty and devotion to him today?“

“Wow, Jack, I don't think you do so badly with words. When we talked about our vows one night, you told me you weren't going to write them, that you'd just say what you felt in your heart. I think your heart speaks like a poet; those words you spoke just now were the most beautiful words I've ever heard.“

Daniel looked away towards the cliffs for a moment to regain control of his wandering emotions. He had so much he wanted to say, but right now, he didn't know if he could find the words to convey his thoughts.

“I kept trying to find the perfect thing to say. I wanted some quote or passage that would represent how I felt, something to say what you mean to me. I read so many things, Jack, searching for the perfect line, the perfect set of words to say what I wanted them to. I wanted it to be ... unique and something you'd remember always. I wanted it to be perfect.

“But after we talked, and after I searched so long, I realized there was no such thing as the perfect quote. There was nothing that could adequately say what I feel for you, or what you've meant to me.

“I know that the people here, they love us and we love them, and yet they don't know us, Jack, not really, because we haven't let them. I haven't let them. I spent most of my life running away from relationships. My parents, not having a home, I didn't want to be hurt anymore, and I made sure I wasn't. I was an expert on being detached.

“You said you were a shell. So was I, Jack. Don't you see that? I was just as empty as you, but in a different way. I gave everything I had to everyone else, and kept nothing for me. I lived in books and,“ Daniel chuckled and sniffled at the same time, “rocks, but you saved me from living my life like ... like a geek who knew nothing but ... Budge.“

A group chuckle escaped for a few moments, giving Daniel a few seconds to gather his thoughts some more. He reached up and caressed Jack's left cheek.

“You taught me that I could do this, Jack; that it is okay to touch, to reach out, to say I need you and I want you. I didn't know how to do that before. It was foreign to me. Everything was buried inside the shell I lived in.

“But Jack, I do need you, and I do want you so very much. Every year gets better than the last, and this year ... wow, Jack, this entire year has been so wonderful, so perfect.

“Every time I thought I couldn't love you more, something would happen that would make my heart double in size just to be able to hold the love I have for you. Our house, Bijou and Katie, the den. You've given me so much, but the best thing you've ever given me, Jack, was yourself.

“You've given me a home and a family. For the first time in my life, when someone asks me if I'm happy, I can say yes. 'Happiness' was only a word in the dictionary until I met you. And now, if I get any happier, they'll probably lock me up. Either that, or I'll explode.

“I will always be at your side because we belong together. No one can hurt us, Jack. We're going be to like Ozzie and Harriet and live a silly, fluffy suburban life until they cart us away somewhere.

“I'll never leave you, Jack. You have the biggest heart. You've sacrificed so much for me, and you fought for me. You made me tear down the walls that I worked so hard to build, and when I ran, you came after me. You're strong and kind, and intelligent, and don't try to give me that 'who me' thing because we all know it's just an act, Jack.“

Jack tried to scoff at Daniel's compliment but Daniel wouldn't allow it. Jack was always trying to play dumb. It was something that had worked well in mental combat, and he'd done such a good job with it at the SGC that a lot of people wondered how someone so thick or dense had become the 2IC of the SGC as Jack had. Jack was extremely intelligent; maybe not a genius, but he was much wiser and smarter than he let on.

Daniel laughed, his head bowing for just a second, as he looked back to Jack.

“You're so darn sexy, Jack. You make me shiver with your smile and your delicious brown eyes.“

Jack was turning red from his partner's words, surprised that Daniel would be so open, even during their wedding.

Daniel's right hand reached up and ran his fingers through the fine strands of his lover's hair, and added enthusiastically, “And I love your beautiful silver gray hair. You're my silver fox, Jack.“

“You want to know what I see in you? I see my world, my universe. I see a man who sometimes has to do things he wishes he didn't, things the average person can't even imagine, things that tear apart a soul, but you do it because it saves lives when you do.

“I see a man who isn't afraid to fight for what he believes in, even if it means going against the tide, even if it means personal loss. I see a man who loves deeply and cares more than he lets the world see. You're a teddy bear, Love, in a grizzly bear's disguise.

“I see someone who has never given up on me, no matter how hard I made it. I see the man who held me through withdrawal and helped me to readjust after being locked away in some nuthouse. I see the man who has saved my life so many times that I've lost count.

“Most of all, Jack, what I see in you ... is love, and in the end, that's all that matters.

“You are my heart and my soul. You're my life, Jack, and you always will be. Whatever happens to us, happens to us together. I won't live a day without you either. I couldn't because your lungs keep mine breathing. Your heart makes mine beat. It's as simple as that.

“I love you, Jack. I ... couldn't find the perfect words, but I love you, forever and always, like the circle, our love has no endings. It just goes on, forever. Love you so freakin' much, Jack.“

“Love you, Danny, always.“

There was more sniffling from the guests and the happy couple when Daniel finished. Again, Lisa gave them a moment to regroup.

During the pause, Sam chuckled, remembering Daniel's comments during his vows. The image of her CO as a teddy bear was a bit more than she could handle. Then again, she was finally coming to terms with the fact that Daniel was right, and she really didn't know them as well as she thought.

Together, her dear friend and her commanding officer were romantically tender with each other, a softness coming from both of them that she had never been able to envision until recently. She never thought she'd see the day when Colonel Jack O'Neill would stand in front of a group and openly cry, and not care.

Watching them now, she once again hoped that someday she'd find that same connection for herself with someone. She was hoping it would be with the man she was dating, but it was still too soon to know for sure. Suppressing her mental imagery of Jack as a stuffed animal, Sam tuned back in to her friends as they stood looking lovingly into each other's eyes.

Jack and Daniel again dried their tears and Jack kissed Daniel's palm again before releasing it. After a few more moments, they both turned to face Lisa.

“Better get on with it while you can, Lisa; it's only going to get worse. We're a couple of hopeless saps, and uh, we might as well admit it.“

“Hopeless romantic saps,” Daniel added, and then with a laugh, “I guess our secret's out now.“

The small crowd laughed to hide their own sniffling. After a few moments, Lisa continued.

“The ring has long been a symbol of love and marriage. As both have just expressed so poignantly, Jack and Daniel believe the ring represents their unending love, like a circle with no endings. It goes on forever.

“Jack, please take the ring you have for Daniel and place it on his finger and repeat these words: With this ring, I thee wed.“

Jack smiled and nervously took the ring from the silk red pillow that Cassie held out in her hands. He placed a kiss on her cheek, and whispered his thanks, then took a deep breath as nerves finally began to take hold of him, but when Jack looked up into Daniel's sparkling blue eyes, he felt a warmth inside him that overruled his bout of temporary nervousness. There was no doubt he had lived just for this moment.

With conviction and love, he softly repeated, “With this ring, I thee wed, forever and always, Danny.”

The guests sighed and chuckled at the same time at Jack's improvisation. It was so in character for Jack to go outside the prescribed norm.

“Daniel, please take the ring you have for Jack and place it on his finger and repeat these words: With this ring, I thee wed.“

Daniel anxiously picked up the ring from the pillow and slightly fumbled it, but Cassie caught it with the pillow and Daniel successfully retrieved it, breathing a sigh of relief as he finally held it in his hand.

The lapse into clumsy Daniel, a part of him that hadn't been seen in years, prompted some of the attendees to chuckle, and even Daniel smiled and shook his head a little as if to say “some things may never change”, and then as Jack did, Daniel spoke with conviction and love, softly repeating, “With this ring, I thee wed, forever and always, Jack.”

Daniel had a little smirk on his face and Jack grinned. They would never do anything status quo and as told, not even their own wedding.

Both stood facing Lisa again as she spoke to them and those attended.

“Love is a sacred thing, to be cherished and nurtured. Jack and Daniel have shared with us their hopes and dreams for their future as they begin their life together in partnership and marriage.

“My only advice to them today is this. Remember the important things, to keep your priorities in line. Treasure your happiness, and draw on the reserves of those times, and in your faith in each other, to survive the times when things are not so happy, and there will be those unhappy days because life is like a swinging pendulum, going from the good to the bad, with both happy and unhappy memories being made each and every day.

“But as a dear friend told me recently, memories do not have to have be painful. Learn from the down times, grow during the happy ones. Nurture your love, and remember, that no matter what, you share a rare and unique love that is not and may not ever be openly accepted, and therefore, needs to be cherished even more than a more traditional love because the wearing of your rings, and the acknowledgment of who you are and who you love brings with it a series of battles and challenges that will add to the normal struggles of a life together.

“Jack and Daniel, please face each other and take your partner's hand. I'd like you both to speak with your eyes of the love you feel in your heart and soul for the other, now in this moment. Listen with your hearts as your eyes speak, and engrave it on your souls.“

The two turned and held both of the other's hands. They loved doing this, and did it often at home. Their eyes locked, their hands caressed the other in a constant, gentle motion. They both smiled. Both were teary eyed. Their silent words turning both into instant Jell-O, causing each to have to brace up the other. The crowd was silent, with an occasional sniffle being the only human sound registering.

The waves of the ocean below could be heard crashing against the rocks. The light sea breeze wisped through the air, their hair lightly blowing with the calm wind. They knew rain would be coming that night, clouds having filled the skies earlier, and the warm 50-degree weather both indicative of rain, but at the moment, everything was perfect. The sun was over the horizon, creating a picturesque backdrop for the couple at the altar.

Their hands held on even tighter as almost two minutes passed and Jack and Daniel hadn't even blinked, busy talking their private words of commitment.

Finally, Lisa spoke again.

“Jack and Daniel, be strong and centered within yourselves and in your deep and abiding love for each other, and face each day with delight, celebrating in the knowledge that you are truly loved. If you ever doubt it, remember this day and the look in the eyes of your soul mate, and the unspoken words you just shared here in front of those who care so very much about you both.

“May you, Jack, and you, Daniel, never forget the joy of this day which joins you as one heart and one soul.

“It is my pleasure to present Jack and Daniel, united as one, and joined in marriage, for time and all eternity.

“You may kiss as a symbol of your joining.“

The small crowd cheered as Jack and Daniel kissed, their arms wrapping around the other. They were oblivious to the crowd once again, their unison of their mouths desperately trying to feel as much of the other as they could as their tongues united in their own marriage dance.

Whoops and hollers continued to come from those in attendance as the kiss lingered, and the women all had tears in their eyes. Even a couple of the men were misty eyed.

When they finally broke apart, Jack and Daniel looked into each others eyes once again. Both pairs were bright and twinkling, just as their faces radiated with their happiness.

“Finally,” they both said at the same time. Laughter again came from the now standing group of family and friends, calling the new spouses back to reality.

The ceremony ended just as the sun was preparing to disappear from view. Jack and Daniel looked out over the cliffs at the awe-inspiring site in front of them, the orange and yellow of the setting sun over the blue majesty of the ocean on the horizon. They both paused for moment and looked at each other.

Jack looked out again feeling gratitude to whatever powers were out there which created this sunset and was allowing him to share it with the man who held his heart.

“There has to be something, Jack. I don't know what for sure, but ... definitely something greater than us that helps us to ... have all of this.“

Jack nodded and affirmed Daniel's words, “Definitely something, and to whomever or whatever ... thank you.“

“Thank you,“ Daniel repeated as they faced the sunset one last time.

The guests had watched the two at the edge of the vista, unable to hear their words, but then again, not needing to either.

“Party time,” Jack announced and he and Daniel strolled back down nature's aisle to the picnic tables set up between the cabin and the vista for an intimate reception party.

--

-- 5:15 p.m. - Picnic Area, Outside of Lisa's Cabin:

--

The party was going strong under the bright stars of the warm clear night. Beautiful Chinese lanterns and candles lit the reception area. Mrs. Valissi commented to Catherine that it looked like a picture out her travel magazine. Both women agreed it was a lovely setting and the perfect night for it.

Jack and Daniel were all smiles as they chatted with their family and friends. They weren't doing the traditional reception, just more of a chance for everyone to laugh and hug and talk for a while, and share in the joy that Jack and Daniel were finally wed.

Lisa had helped put up a few festive decorations and her collection of Chinese lanterns so that it looked a bit more like a wedding party than a group on a picnic. Lisa had a wonderful outdoor sound system, and Sam and Janet had made sure that they had a couple of the CDs that Jack and Daniel especially liked playing in the background, filling the mountain air.

They chose to have a light buffet, finger foods and appetizers, and snack foods. They had champagne for the toasts. As in the night before, Sam did the honorary “best man, er woman ... hey, what exactly am I anyway?“ toast which got her a bunch of laughs and a “Don't ask me, Carter,” from Jack.

A few minutes earlier they'd done the usual wedding cake bit. Jack and Daniel hadn't planned on doing it, but Cassie had her heart set on it. “It's tradition,” she had insisted, so the couple had agreed, and a small two-tier white cake had been arranged for. The newlyweds had chuckled to see the small figures atop the cake.

“Now, that couldn't be easy to find,” Jack had said of the two men holding hands at the top of the cake.

“You just have to know where to shop, and I'm an expert shopper.”

“You can say that again, and my credit card has the charges to prove it,” Janet had quipped about her daughter's comments causing everyone to laugh.

Keeping Cassie happy, Jack and Daniel had each fed each other cake, and naturally, had become little boys at play, each having tried to outdo the other in the “smear cake on the face” routine. It had been quite comical, and truth be told, they were glad they had agreed, especially when they had ended the cake tradition with a long lingering kiss, each scooping up bits of the white frosting from the others lips and chin.

It had been a beautiful wedding and a lovely reception. Daniel knew it would be wrapping up soon, and that both excited him because it would mean starting the first night of his married life with Jack, and saddened him because the people who had joined in the celebration had made it the perfect event. They'd all worked so hard and gone out of their way to not only attend the wedding but to make it as special as it could be.

This was the first time Jack and Daniel were able to openly share their love with so many of their friends at one time. It was almost overwhelming for the younger man. As he chatted with Frances and Crystal about the sisters' recent trip to Cairo, one they had taken after Jack and Daniel had talked so enthusiastically with them about their own vacation there, Daniel saw Jack flashing him a big grin that made Daniel warm inside, knowing that in Jack, he had just gotten every dream he'd ever wished for.

Jack was talking with Ernest, Catherine, and Cassie, but he couldn't keep his eyes off of Daniel. Jack felt like the most blessed man alive to know Daniel loved him, and was at long last, his spouse. He had a momentary regret that when they returned to their home, they'd have to muffle their joy, but he dispatched that regret until later. Right now, he just wanted to get lost in the perfection of the day, in Daniel.

“Sir,” Sam nodded from where the sound system was located. Jack's smile grew as he acknowledged the nod and excused himself from the conversation he had been a part of.

He went to a spot that was more or less in the middle of the wedding party, and put on his best command voice to get everyone's attention.

“Everyone, can I have your attention a moment.“ The small crowd slowly stopped their individual chatter and faced Jack. Daniel was surprised, having no clue what Jack was up to.

“A long time ago, Daniel and I went to a wedding, and at that point in time, being careful about ... covering up our relationship was more important than it had ever been.“

Jack glanced at Daniel who looked at him tenderly, listening so intently to every word his soul mate was saying. Jack felt the warmth flowing through his veins, every vessel full of the love given to him by Daniel. In this moment, he didn't think anything bad could ever happen to them again. He smiled and continued on.

“It's ... not been the easiest thing, hiding how we feel from people we love, but it's been necessary, and when we go back home, we'll have to keep on doing it, but today, we're not going to think about that.“

Jack looked down and chuckled a little before he went on with his reason for his little speech.

“I've said it a thousand times. I'm not good with words. Daniel is the linguist, but sometimes, you don't need words. The wedding I mentioned. I made the rounds as was expected. I danced with Carter and the Doc and a bunch of the other nurses, but not with the one person I really wanted to.

“I didn't realize until later that night, just how important sharing a dance can be, and what it means and symbolizes. I will never forget the look in Daniel's eyes that night, or the words he spoke from the hurt of that wedding. I hadn't thought about it, which is pretty typical for me. But ... I promised myself, I would never again forget the importance of a simple dance.“

Jack looked over at a blushing and once again misty-eyed Daniel and never looked away as he finished his thoughts.

“We've danced in a couple of supper clubs since then. We've danced among strangers in cities we've visited. But we've never danced in front of those we love, our family and friends. We've never showed you all just how well Daniel and I ... go together. Until now.“

Daniel's heart was beating faster than normal. His love for Jack grew even more as he listened to him make a speech about such a little thing, except little things are so often the most important things in life. Daniel blinked a few times, butterflies of more joy than he could ever have dreamed forming in his stomach from what he knew was coming, as he watched Jack walk over to him.

“Danny, may I have this dance?”

Sometimes, it just didn't pay to be a big, tough, strong, independent guy. Apophis and Yu and Anubis wouldn't believe it if they saw it, but right there, in front of their family and friends, Daniel shed a tear as he reached his hand up to Jack's.

“I love you, Danny, and I hope this is the first of many dances in front of those we love,“ Jack spoke softly as he dried the tear, and wrapped his arms around Daniel for a moment before leading him to where Jack had stood a moment before.

Jack held Daniel's hand, and spoke again, gazing into Daniel's eyes.

“I chose this song because I can't think of anything truer. I'm alive because of you. I'm not the ... unfeeling person I was when we met, because of you. In every way, I'm better because of you. I'm everything I am today because you loved me, Danny.”

Right on cue, Sam started the music and Celine Dion's “Because You Loved Me” soared through the breeze of the mountaintop as Jack and Daniel joined their hands and bodies together as they began their dance. Their bodies were moving as one, as Daniel had always dreamed of, for all to see. They were cheek to cheek as they danced through the first verse.

“For all those times you stood by me
For all the truth that you made me see
For all the joy you brought to my life
For all the wrong that you made right
For every dream you made come true
For all the love I found in you
I'll be forever thankful, baby.
You're the one who held me up
Never let me fall
You're the one who saw me through, through it all.“

Jack stared into Daniel's eyes, whispering, “Every word is true, Danny; everything she says in this song, it's all because of you, because you love me, Angel.“

Another tear fell as Daniel rested his head on Jack's shoulder as they continued their dance, every word filling their souls. Daniel's heart was about to burst from the overwhelming love swelling within him.

“You gave me wings and made me fly
You touched my hand, I could touch the sky
I lost my faith, you gave it back to me
You said no star was out of reach
You stood by me and I stood tall
I had your love, I had it all
I'm grateful for each day you gave me.
Maybe I don't know that much
But I know this much is true
I was blessed because I was loved by you.“

Jack kissed Daniel's silky hair, and whispered, “You are my wings, Angel; my faith; you're everything to me, Danny, and I am the luckiest man in the universe because you love me.“

Their arms now simply wrapped around each other as they danced, the standard dance position forgotten in favor of the intimacy of a closer contact.

Daniel's mind was spinning from the emotions, and just when he thought he might just survive, when they got to the last verse of the song, Jack did something he had never done before, something that surprised Daniel because he didn't know Jack was capable of it. Jack sang softly into Daniel's ear.

'You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn't speak
You were my eyes when I couldn't see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn't reach
You gave me faith 'cause you believed
I'm everything I am
Because you loved me

“I'm everything I am
Because you loved me“

“I love you, Danny, forever and always.”

Daniel pulled back and looked at Jack, his eyes still tearing, sparkling with amazement at what Jack had just done. He thought he could speak, he opened his mouth to talk, but what came out was a strained voice, overwhelmed and wrought with emotion.

“I ... didn't know you could sing.”

“Nah, just warble ... like a duck.”

“No, Jack, that was so beautiful. Jack ...”

Daniel was out of words; the linguist had checked out, and the only thing still working were the tear ducts. Jack kissed every tear, right in front of everyone, without the slightest hesitation.

Jack had a few tears of his own, and honestly didn't care who saw. He loved Daniel so much, and his soul smiled knowing he'd done something special for his love. He probably would never do it again, but he was glad he'd done it on this day. He knew Daniel would never forget it.

As Jack held Daniel close, Daniel's voice finally returned with a whispered, “Thank you for the dance, for the song, and for loving me.“

“Easiest thing in the world to do, Love; the absolute easiest.“

There wasn't a dry eye in the crowd, including the men. Even Mark was misty, and Sara was never prouder of her husband. He'd been hesitant, skeptical about them coming, but he seemed to understand now that Jack O'Neill wasn't just your average ex-husband.

Mark felt grateful that he was the one Sara chose to give her heart to now because it meant he must be pretty special himself. Sara and Mark exchanged a look reconfirming their own commitment before turning back to watch Jack and Daniel, now dancing to the next song on the specially made CD.

--

-- 6:20 p.m. - Driveway of Lisa's Cabin:

--

“Thank you all so much for making this day so special for Daniel and me,” Jack said with a voice that threatened to break with emotion. His and Daniel's arms were wrapped around each other's waist as they said goodbye to their friends.

Sam and Janet had signed the license, serving as the official witnesses for the wedding. Both felt honored to have been asked and included to participate in the wedding. Sam had been especially touched when Jack and Daniel had both asked her to more or less give them away to each other.

Cassie had taken several rolls of film and had been reminded several times by most of the guests not to take the film to be developed. She thought she might slug the next person who had forgotten she wasn't a child anymore. She'd give the film to her mom when they got home, and Janet would figure out a discreet way to have it developed.

Ernest and Catherine had left soon after Jack's and Daniel's dance, having a flight out to Zurich later that night to begin the European part of their vacation.

Mrs. Valissi, Evan and Robert had left 30 minutes earlier, also needing to catch a flight to Europe. Mrs. Valissi would be vacationing a few weeks with her family there, and Ernest and Catherine had made plans to meet up with them for lunch one day the following week.

Erik and Suzanna spent part of the time finalizing the details for the couple's next few days that would be spent aboard the yacht that had been rented exclusively for them. They had Jack's and Daniel's luggage transported to the yacht, and made the payment arrangements while also planning a few surprises for the newlyweds to make the first day of their marriage even more enjoyable.

“We love you all. I ... We can't say thanks enough for doing all this,” Daniel said, turning his head off towards the cliffs to try and shield his emotion. Jack squeeze him tightly and kissed his temple. It felt so good to be so free in front of their friends.

“Ah, Bro, love you and am so happy for you,” Suzanna said as she moved forward to hug her foster sibling one more time.

“Thanks Suz for coming. It means more than you know.”

More hugs were given, and tears shed. Frances and Crystal, Erik, Suzanna, and Janet and Cassie all left over the next several minutes.

Sara and Mark were saying their good-byes to Lisa as Jack and Daniel chatted with Sam. Sam would be driving the newlyweds to the yacht.

“Ah, chauffeur service, door to yacht. Love it. You may have found your calling, Ca ... Sam.”

“So glad you think so ... Jack.”

“Jack,” Sara called as she approached with Mark and Lisa. “Just wanted to say goodbye.”

“I'll warm up the car, Sara. Congratulations Colonel, Dr. Jackson,” Mark said, shaking both their hands. “I, um ... good luck, and I mean that.”

“Thank you,” Jack and Daniel spoke in unison.

“I'll ... go say goodbye to Mark,” Sam fidgeted as she sent a little nod to Lisa who took the hint and followed her.

“We're glad you came, Sara.”

“Really, Jack?”

Jack and Daniel both smiled and again spoke in unison, “really”. They laughed and then unconsciously they did it again, but saying, “Yes, really.” They exchanged looks as Sara laughed some more.

“Do you two do that all the time?”

“Yes,” they both said simultaneously, unable to hold back giant grins.

“Ah, Sara,” Jack released Daniel and embraced his ex-wife. “I honestly can't tell you how happy it makes me that you're happy, and that we can be friends. I ... I don't want to lose you from my life again, Sara. I hope you'll stay in touch.”

Sara's tears couldn't stay hidden. “I'd like that, Jack. I'd like that very much.”

They parted, but were still touching when Jack asked, “Would he mind?”

Sara looked over at Mark and back at Jack. “No, he knows I love him. We're very happy together, Jack, even more so now since I saw you in the park, if that makes any sense.”

“Yeah, it does.”

Sara looked over at Daniel and asked, “Would he mind?”

Jack looked at Daniel and grinned. “No, he knows I love him, forever and always, even more after today, if that makes any sense.”

Daniel smiled and nodded.

Jack looked off at Mark and nodded, just a little precautionary look to make sure Mark wouldn't come running, and then he placed a chaste kiss of goodbye on Sara's lips. Her arms wrapped around him briefly, and after the kiss, Jack held her closely one more time.

Daniel looked at Mark whom he was surprised was watching him and not Jack kissing his wife. Daniel smiled and Mark waved. Daniel waved back. Neither were the least bit concerned about this tender farewell of the ex's.

“Take Care, Sara.”

“You too, Jack.”

Sara went to Daniel who welcomed her into an embrace, suddenly feeling like she was truly part of their extended family now. He may never feel totally comfortable with the touchy feely part of close friendships, but he was relaxed and pleased that everything had gone smoothly. He also realized he felt a genuine affection for Sara, as if she were a ... cousin or something, and that made him smile. Gone were the worries and anxieties about Sara being Jack's ex-wife and instead, there was warmth and a friendly caring.

“Travel safely, and please do stay in touch,” Daniel offered genuinely.

“Maybe you two can come for dinner and see the baby when he, or she, is born.”

The couple exchanged a “that would be okay” look and Daniel answered, “We'd like that, Sara.”

“I'll call then. Goodbye.”

As Sara walked off, Jack edged towards his spouse and kissed him. “You're pretty special. You know that, don't you?”

Daniel shrugged as he leaned into Jack's shoulder.

“You're right, Jack. She is an amazing woman. I'm glad she likes me.”

“Me, too.”

“Ready ... Jack? Daniel?”

“Ready, Sam,” they both said together, breaking out in laughter again along with Sam.

A final check to make sure everything had been packed up and then Jack and Daniel said farewell to Lisa and Carl, who had given them a T-160 videotape full of memories of their special day.

“We really appreciate that you did this, and here. It was so beautiful.”

“Thank you for letting us get married here, in your home, Lisa. I couldn't have imagined any place more beautiful,” Daniel added to Jack's words.

“It was my pleasure, and it was good to see you again, Jack, even if you didn't remember me.”

“Sorry about that, but sororities and all of that were never my thing.”

“That's what Sara said, even back then. Be happy you two. I have a good feeling about this marriage.”

Jack and Daniel looked at each other and smiled.

“It's forever,” Daniel said.

“Forever and always, Love,” Jack added kissing Daniel on the temple.

They hugged Lisa and then Sam drove them to the yacht in the rented Cadillac. After making sure everything was in order with the Captain, and everything was in place, Sam stood on the dock to say her good-byes and found herself tearing up once again.

“Oh, for crying out loud,” she barked at herself. “I'm a Major in the United States Air Force, I am NOT supposed to be a leaking faucet.”

“It's okay, Sam,” Daniel said gently as he embraced her. “Thank you so much for everything, and there's so much you've done for us that I ... I couldn't even list it all.”

“He's right. We may not be here if you hadn't gone way beyond the call of duty. We may still need you.”

“I'm just glad I was able to help, and if you need me, I'll do it again, but I'm just so happy for you two. Have fun!”

Jack and Daniel boarded the luxury yacht after Sam drove off and picked out a spot near the aft to watch the stars for a few minutes as the yacht got under way. They kissed and held each other until the yacht was out of the harbor. They had no clue where the yacht was going, but Sam had told them just to go along. They'd be docked in plenty of time to meet their plane taking them to their honeymoon location.

Thirty minutes later, they sat on the deck bench still kissing and caressing, and occasionally looking up at the stars. They knew the rain would fall soon, but by then, they'd be well into a more intimate phase of their honeymoon.

They hadn't said much with their voices, letting their hearts talk instead. Finally, though, after Daniel's eyes spoke of forever to Jack, the older man said softly.

“Angel, if you only knew how much; if I could just find a way to tell you, but I don't think the words exist.”

“I love you, Jack,” Daniel said as they kissed again.

Jack looked into his spouse's eyes. “It's official now, you know. You're mine.”

“And you're mine, O'Neill, all mine, and don't you forget it.”

“Never. You're my life, only you,” Jack said nibbling Daniel's lips as his palm caressed Daniel's cheek.

“Geez, Danny, we're forever; it's for real, now, not that it wasn't before, but ... ah, crap, Daniel ...”

“Jack?”

“Hmmm?”

“Maybe ... maybe we don't need any more words tonight.”

Daniel stood up and held out his hand. Jack took hold and stood up and for a few moments, he and Daniel leaned their foreheads together as they often did as a symbol of their unity.

“Thank you for proposing to me.”

“Thank you for marrying me.”

“My Angel,” Jack said softly kissing Daniel.

“My ... Heart, Soul, Love, Spouse. I love you so much, Jack.”

“See those stars, Danny,” Jack said as he pointed up.“

“They're beautiful.”

“Not as beautiful as you. But take a good look, because I'm about to ravish you, and I don't think I'll let you up for air until we dock again. Any objections?”

“Only one.”

“One? What?” Jack asked in surprised.

“You're still talking and not ravishing.”

“Oh. Love you.”

“Love you, too, Jack.”

Five minutes later, they entered their cabin suite for the first time. It was elegantly decorated.

“I feel like I've walked into an episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and Robin Leach is going to walk out at any moment and describe the history of the furniture,“ Jack mused as they looked over the beautiful stateroom, accentuated in gold and ivory colors.

The Master Suite featured a California King-sized bed complimented with an elegant ivory-colored comforter with gold flower designs on it, a whirlpool/jacuzzi and large shower, and, not that they'd be using it, a large screen TV complete with DVD and VCR and satellite coverage. A stereo system was also included with several CDs provided for their listening pleasure.

There was a large walk-in closet, too, though they didn't figure on unpacking much. For the most part, Jack and Daniel expected their attire for the next few days to be their “birthday suits“.

There was a sitting area with a comfortable love seat with several pillows on it. The cabin had two large portholes and four smaller ones. The suite even included mood scene lighting that could be switched to a wide selection of scenes via remote control.

The floors and console were Verona Marble. The side tables and writing desk were cherry wood. The entire suite was simply exquisite.

“I can't believe they did this for us, Jack,” Daniel said as he took in the totality of it.

“Me, either. Someone's going to be living on beans and franks for a while after this.”

“They shouldn't have done it,” Daniel said softly, standing near the bed looking towards the bathroom area as a wave of guilt swelled within him over the amount of money it had to cost their friends to make this happen.

“Ah, Angel,” Jack softly spoke sidling up to his spouse and kissing him on the temple as his hand went to Daniel's back to turn him towards him.

“I agree it's nuts, but let's enjoy it. That's what they want. It's an incredibly, ridiculously expensive gift and we're going to honor our friends by having the perfect start to our honeymoon here.“

A tap on their door caused the couple to let out a collective sigh. Jack placed a quick kiss on Daniel's nose before he headed for the door.

“Yes?”

“Compliments of Sam and all your family and friends, Sir,” a seaman said with a smile as he sat the bottle of champagne along with a basket of goodies that included various cheeses and crackers, three mini-boxes of Froot Loops, Twinkies, and a variety pack of Starbuck's coffee on the desk.

“Have a good night, Gentlemen,” the seaman added, quickly turning and exiting the room without batting an eye that he had delivered the gift package to two men.

Daniel walked over to his spouse, reaching an arm through Jack's as both surveyed their basket of goodies. Jack opened the card that was attached to the basket and read it, “Consider this your survival kit for the next few days ... From your family and friends.

“Twinkies! Now whoever heard of Twinkies in a gift basket?,” Jack chuckled.

“Me!,” Daniel said as he grabbed one and opened it.

“Hey, I have no desire to taste Twinkies on your breath,” Jack teased making a move towards his lover, but Daniel only laughed as he darted out of Jack's reach.

“Oh, it's going to be like that is it?”

“Only until I finish my Twinkie,” Daniel said as he took a bite.

“No way,” Jack insisted making a concerted effort to reach Daniel, but the younger man again avoided the tackle in a move Jack thought was “as good as any move Gale Sayers ever made.”

Daniel taunted Jack as he took a third bite of his Twinkie.

“Ummmmm. Yummy. Perfect wedding feast.”

“I'm going to drown them,” Jack teased heading for the rest of the Twinkie supply on the table. He took out the package of junk food and started to walk towards the bathroom, but he was surprised when Daniel hadn't tried to stop him. Jack turned and saw his lover standing where he had been before with a huge smile on his face.

“What are you grinning at?”

Daniel swallowed the last bite and wiped his hands on a napkin and walked to Jack, taking the Twinkies out of his hand and tossing them onto a chair. He took Jack's hands in his and kissed each of them.

“You. You'd never toss my Twinkies overboard.”

“Not overboard. I was thinking of flushing them.”

“Na-uh. You wouldn't do it.”

“What makes you so sure, Dr. Jackson?”

Again, a large grin appeared on Daniel's face as his hands caressed Jack's.

“Because you love me.”

Jack sighed, “No fair. That's ... cheating.”

Daniel laughed as he kissed Jack, still holding his hands. The kiss continued as the two moved as one to the sofa in the sitting area and sat against the pillows, their hands tingling from their touches.

The two seemed unusually content to sit for a while, holding each other's hand as they gazed into the other's eyes and kissed intermittently.

“It's different now, Danny. It seems so crazy,” Jack spoke softly before he kissed his love. “How many times have we barely made it through the door before jumping the other?”

“Too many to count,” Daniel answered with a kiss. “But it is different, because tonight is different. It's not about desperate need or lust or even want.”

Jack smiled as they kissed again. “Love. It's all about love, and just being together.”

“Forever, Jack,” Daniel softly crooned as Jack kissed his neck, their hands still clasped in a tender union.

Jack stood and pulled Daniel up and guided him towards the bed. He nibbled Daniel's lips, a soft moan coming from Daniel's throat as their hands finally unlocked, Daniel's arms going around Jack's back.

“Love you, Babe.”

“The foreplay of nicknames?,” Daniel joked.

“You love them. You know it,” Jack said as his tongue got intimate with Daniel's, sparks of pleasure rolling through them.

“In your dreams.”

“My Love,” Jack softly spoke, slipping Daniel's shirt off, his hands then roaming the skin he treasured so much, their kisses increasing in number and intensity.

“My Angel,” Jack crooned as he lured Daniel to sit on the bed. Daniel eased Jack's shirt off as they went. They weren't in a hurry, each motion being done with a feeling that eternity was theirs.

Jack kissed Daniel's neck, and brought his left hand to Daniel's cheek, a wicked smile on his face.

“Don't say it, Jack,” Daniel pleaded, knowing it was a lost cause even as he uttered the words.

“My Space Monkey,” Jack laughed as Daniel leaned back, prone, on the bed, Jack's kisses and touches causing him to moan even more, their honeymoon about to go full throttle.

In unison, they each unsnapped the other's buttons, unzipping their pants. Another long moist kiss as their hands roamed the other's skin for a few moments, just touching, feeling, knowing that skin belonged to them.

Jack gently slid off his spouse's pants, his hands caressing the insides of Daniel's legs. Jack kissed that spot right above Daniel's belly button that always turned his lover into mush, or a hysterical hyena, depending on whether Jack was kissing or tickling.

“Love you, Jack,“ Daniel crooned his left hand fingering though Jack's hair as Jack continued to lay a line of kisses around Daniel's waist. His desire for his spouse beginning to consume him, Jack finally removed Daniel's boxers, throwing them onto the floor with his left hand, lowering his hand to the inner thigh of Daniel's left leg.

Jack's hand teased his love, squeezing and gliding seductively up and down the thigh causing Daniel to squirm in anticipation. Jack continued the touches as he kissed Daniel's smooth torso, from his waist up to his Adam's apple, Daniel's chin lifting to give Jack access. Jack's parade of sensations continued up to Daniel's mouth, devouring it as their tongues reunited in a dance of joy.

Daniel's hands went around Jack's back as they kissed, something mumbled heard through their lips.

“What?,“ Jack rasped.

“Too many,“ Daniel answered.

“Too many what?“

“Too many clothes,“ Daniel responded by turning the tables on Jack, pushing him over to be on the bottom, Daniel taking the lead as he nibbled his way through Jack's hairy chest, down to his waist, licking the skin around Jack's belly button and waistline causing Jack to groan.
He flicked his tongue over as much skin as he could get to as he moved to take off Jack's pants.

“Efficiency is the key,“ Daniel chuckled.

“Huh?“ Jack really didn't want to talk anymore. His feeling of slow and easy was rapidly morphing into a need for fast and hard.

“Why waste time?“ Daniel answered rhetorically, showing Jack what he meant, quickly removing Jack's pants and his boxers at the same time, letting them drop to the carpet as Daniel slid himself on top of his spouse. Jack's arms held Daniel to him, their lips brushing, their tongues jiggling against the other, and their erections dueling with each other.

Daniel's hands moved cupping Jack's face in a serious need to suck out Jack's tonsils. Daniel moaned as he kissed Jack hard, his fingers kneading into Jack's neck and then again carding through the fine strands of Jack's hair.

“My Silver Fox,“ the young man gasped out between kisses.

“Me, or the car?“ Jack managed to tease.

“The car isn't here, Jack.“

“Thought maybe you missed it.“

“Shut up, Jack,“ Daniel said as he planted a kiss on Jack that made the older man speechless.

“My Studmuffin,” Daniel continued in his retaliation of the nickname wars, but Jack was already too far gone, lost in the oneness of their souls, to let Daniel's nickname register.

Daniel decided to bath Jack with his tongue. With a last moan escaping from his throat as he devoured Jack's mouth, Daniel's tongue flicked against Jack's chin, not losing contact as his mouth closed around the strong chin as if to eat it.

Jack's head lifted upwards to give his lover plenty of room to do whatever he had planned. Daniel washed every inch of it, going ear to ear, swiping his tongue along the sun-tanned skin, nibbling each ear lobe when he reached it.

Jack swallowed as Daniel placed a moist kiss at the base of Jack's Adam's apple as he began the downward trek along Jack's well-built physique.

Daniel's hands massaged the sides of his lover, the tips of his fingers gently pressing and stroking the skin. Daniel's lips nestled into Jack's chest hair as his tongue continued to taste Jack. Daniel nibbled a couple of his spouse's most sensitive areas, causing Jack's body to squirm in reflex.

Jack's hands were massaging against Daniel's broad shoulders, caressing with touches and presses. Jack sometimes brought his hands up to walk through Daniel's silky hair with his fingers.

Daniel's tongue flicked Jack's belly button, sending a tingle through the older man, and then Daniel began to stroke Jack's length as he continued to lick his way down.

Jack began to wither as Daniel licked his shaft, Daniel's tongue flicking in spots, then licking in sometimes short, sometimes long motions. Jack was melting to nothingness with Daniel's actions.

At last, Daniel swallowed Jack whole, his tongue sliding along the shaft as he slid it out of his mouth. He repeated the move over and over, swallow ... lick ... swallow ... lick and then he nibbled the end of Jack's length and began to suck hard on his lover.

He wanted Jack on the edge, so he sucked and sucked, then swallowed and lick, his tongue flicking and swiping the engorged shaft until Jack begged for more.

“Yes. Gawd, Daniel. I want you. Please Danny. Need you so much. Please, Danny.”

Daniel loved swallowing Jack, and as he did, Jack was pushing into his mouth. It added to their eroticism. Daniel liked it and began to let Jack continue to thrust his shaft into his mouth, Daniel biting down and sucking on it each time as if Jack were a popsicle.

“Danny. Please. Inside me. Want to feel you.”

With one last nibble at the edge of Jack's length that made Jack shudder, Daniel reached for the lube before he realized they hadn't unpacked it yet.

“Geez, Jack,” he said almost frantically.

“What?”

“We haven't unpacked,” Daniel said, almost harshly, but totally out of frustration.

“Don't care, Danny. Come on.”

“Jack, just wait a minute,” Daniel said as he moved to get off of Jack, but Jack grabbed him and held him.

“I want you in me NOW. Forget the friggin' lube.”

“No, Jack.”

“Crap, Danny, we have three days to recoup before the real honeymoon starts. It's buried in our suitcases. I don't want to wait. Please, Danny.”

Daniel wanted to say “no”. Jack would be sore. They sometimes had sex without lube, and sometimes, like now, it was a conscious choice, but whoever topped usually always felt a little guilty at first. They loved each other and only wanted to bring waves of pleasure to the other, not sensations of pain. On the other hand, Daniel knew that mixture of pain and ecstasy was also very erotic, and he wanted Jack “now”, too.

Daniel moved back on top of Jack, stroking his shaft for a moment, just wanting the feeling of the touch. He used his saliva to moisten his fingers as much as possible and then reached inside his lover with one finger. He rolled it around gently for a minute, lightly fluttering the finger against Jack's insides before withdrawing it, causing Jack to groan from the loss of contact.

Daniel put in two fingers next, using a scissoring action to move them within his lover. He also pushed against Jack, and at the same time, his other hand stroked Jack's shaft and pressed it hard causing Jack to cry out Daniel's name.

Daniel withdrew again, another grumbling heard from Jack due to the loss.

“Hurry, Danny. Gawd, I want to feel you in me.”

Next, Daniel inserted three fingers, pushing and shoving against Jack's prostrate, causing a fire to ignite in Jack.

“Danny, get to it already,” Jack demanded.

“Patience, My Love,” Daniel smiled, his fingers twisting and scissoring inside Jack for another few moments before he pulled them out. Daniel leaned over Jack demanding a kiss before continuing.

“I love you, Jack,” he said looking into his spouse's darkened eyes.

“Danny, I love you, too, so friggin' much, but DO IT already!”

Daniel chuckled as he stole another kiss and moved into position, slowly entering Jack. He waited a few moments giving Jack time to adjust to his size being inside of him and then Daniel began to move his shaft slowly and gently inside his love.

Jack moaned from the feeling. The calmness and patience of earlier in the evening was displaced by eagerness and a consuming need. Jack arched his back to take more of Daniel in him.

Daniel began to slide more powerfully inside Jack, back and forth, each forward motion going just a little deeper. His thrusts became quicker and harder, and Jack continued to try and take even more, opening himself up to his lover by arching.

“Love you, Jack,” Daniel grunted as his pace quickened.

Jack was groaning from the hits of Daniel's shaft against his prostate, each connection sending a shiver through his body.

“Harder, Danny,” Jack moaned, moving his left hand to work his own length as Daniel's thrust pounded against him. Jack's hand began to match Daniel's rhythm, each hit of his gland coinciding with a squeeze of his hardened shaft.

Daniel's hands were gripping the comforter under Jack. He had one moment of lucidity when he realized they really hadn't thought this through. They were about to make a mess out of a lovely spread that didn't belong to them.

They had thought themselves to be so patient this night, so calm, but they hadn't even pushed down the covers on the bed, their desire to share their bodies so strong. “Oh well,” Daniel thought, dismissing the concern that he had allowed into his brain for all of five seconds maximum before losing himself in his lovemaking again.

“Yes! Oh gawd, yes,” Jack cried out as Daniel slammed himself deeper into Jack. Their breathing was heavier now. Jack's hips rocked as Daniel moved within him, but again, Jack's passion wanted more. He bucked into Daniel to meet his thrusts.

Like two locomotives colliding, they set a grueling pace together. Daniel slammed into Jack over and over, as Jack pushed upwards to meet the pounding. In unison they continued, each slam met with a buck. Sweat poured down Daniel and Jack as they feverishly fused their bodies.

Jack continued to work his shaft as much as he could, concentrating more on the bucks and thrusts. Daniel moved upward a bit more. He and Jack were one body now, even more than before. He was totally inside his love, filling Jack completely, sending waves of pleasure through Jack.

Daniel's shaft was warm. He loved the sensation of being completely in Jack, like two pieces of a puzzle that fit together perfectly.

“Danny,” Jack panted as one hand stroked himself in a rapid movement and the other gripped the comforter.

Daniel was lost in Jack's body now. The pounding was so much and so deep that Jack forgot about himself and pulled up to put his hands on Daniel's shoulder. As Daniel thundered inside of him, in and out, harder and harder, Jack's nails pressed into his lover's skin. Jack's head leaned into Daniel and Jack bit through Daniel's skin after Daniel's shaft blasted against his prostate.

Daniel cried out in reaction to both the smashing of his length into Jack and the bite. This was a difficult position but for a moment, Jack found it exhilarating.

He held himself into Daniel as the younger man continued to use every inch of his strength to hammer into Jack. Both were drenched in sweat, their groans and moans were loud.

It went on and on ... thrusting and slamming, pounding and hammering. Jack bit Daniel again, increasing the passion, a strange pleasure coming from the pain.

Jack leaned back, knowing Daniel was close, and began to work himself again, stroking and pressing his own shaft again in pace with Daniel's pounding. Daniel was ready to crash, but wanted to wait for Jack. He held on as he shoved deeply inside Jack.

Two more times, Daniel drove himself in his lover as Jack pumped his shaft, and then Jack cried out, “NOW”, and with the very last fiber of will he had, Daniel thrust against Jack, slamming hard into his prostate, releasing himself as Jack came in his own hand. Their releases were both long and full.

Their bodies convulsed in reaction, trembling and shaking from the jolt of electricity that circulated through their bodies, grounding them into the other. Daniel collapsed onto Jack, his length still inside him, moving slightly in the wet warmth.

Jack's hands massaged Daniel's completely soaked hair. Both were panting, working hard to breathe. Stars were circling overhead from their orgasms. It had been the best yet for the two, creating a euphoric post-coital ambiance that went beyond bliss and to another plane of existence.

“Danny?,” Jack gasped after a minute, still trying to calm his breathing. He was a little concerned as Daniel hadn't moved or said anything.

“Gawd, J'ck. Don't wanna move.”

“Don't have to.”

They both were still breathing hard, Daniel loved the feeling of Jack's rising and falling chest. He wanted to keep this moment alive forever and never lose the feeling.

“Love you so much, Jack. Was good, so good.”

“Good is an understatement. Geez, Danny, what you do to me. Love you, Space Monkey.

“No. Monk ... space.”

Daniel's brain was short-circuiting a little. He had a tendency of getting out one or two coherent sentences after sex and then losing most of his linguistic abilities for several minutes. Jack had never understood it, but he loved that he was part of Daniel totally losing the ability to think.

Jack chuckled as he placed a kiss on Daniel's hair.

“You're so beautiful, Danny. I love the feel of you.”

“Hmmm ... feel ... gawd, J'ck ... died ... think I've died.”

Jack laughed again. His breathing was more under control now and Daniel's was evening out slowly.

“You were so good, Danny.”

“You're gonna be sore, Jack,“ Daniel spoke regaining the use of the English language.

“Not for long.”

“Don't wanna, but,” Daniel said finally moving off of the top of Jack to the side, his head taking its accustomed place on Jack's left shoulder, his left hand gently caressing Jack's chest, his left leg hooked between Jack's legs.

“You didn't have to move.”

“Didn't want to squish you.”

“Squish?”

“Squish.”

“You can squish me anytime you want, Angel.”

“Comforter.”

Jack thought about Daniel's response. He loved it that he was fluent in speaking “Danielese”. It confused a lot of their friends, and Jack had to admit that he had learned the unique language over a period of years, but now, he considered himself the one and only expert of the language. He thought a few moments and then it was as if he had heard the “ding” of the bell.

“Don't worry. We'll get it cleaned.”

“What happened to being patient?”

“It's called desire.”

“Lust.”

“Appetite.”

“You just want food; that's why you said appetite.”

“Who needs food? I can dine off you forever. Besides, how many words are there for lust anyway? Can't be that many.”

“Hmmm ... well, eroticism, heat, yen, aphrodisia, lechery, sensualism, urge,” Daniel paused as he yawned, “pruriency, itch, concupiscence ...”

“Con what?”

“Concupiscence ... means a strong desire, especially a sexual one. You know -- lust, Jack.”

“That makes sense.”

“So sharp. And then there's lasciviousness, animalism, salacity, ...”

“Okay, I give ... there's a lot of words for lust.”

“And another of your favorites ... hunger.”

“Oh yeah, always hungry for you, Babe.”

“Again,” Daniel yawned again, “with the nicknames.”

“... which you adore.”

“Not.”

“Too.”

“Not.”

“Too.“

“Not.”

“Really not?,” Jack asked a bit apprehensively. He loved his nicknames for Daniel, and he had always believed that down deep Daniel liked them, but he began to wonder if he was wrong.

Daniel was about out of it, his body drained from the exertion of their lovemaking and their very long but perfect wedding day. He raised his head, which was harder than he thought it would be to do, and smiled.

“I love you, and if you ask me this again, I will deny it, swear that you were under the influence, or drugged, or just plain out of your mind, but ... I love you, Jack, and I love that to you I'm all those things. It took getting used to, years even, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.”

Jack's right hand caressed Daniel's cheek, his thumb brushing across Daniel's soft lips.

“So you really don't hate it? I mean, you're not just going along, humoring me?”

Daniel shook his head, his eyes misting a little.

“I'm so happy, Jack. I love everything me you call me, even if it's a little embarrassing.”

“Okay ... which ones are embarrassing?”

“Want me to make a list?”

“Yes.”

“All of them.”

“All?,” Jack said, sounding crushed.

“Jack,” Daniel leaned in and kissed his spouse tenderly, “you say the sweetest things, call me the most endearing things ...”

“That's because you're precious, Danny, the most precious creation in the universe. You are My Angel who watches over and protects me, My Snuggle Bunny who keeps me warm, My Baby, My Babe, who gives me a reason to keep on living, My Heart that makes me love and feel, My Soul that gives me compassion, My Life that flows blood through my veins, My Space Monkey who makes me believe that anything is possible, and you are beautiful to me, so beautiful. Love you, Danny.”

Jack wiped the tears that fell from Daniel's eye with his thumb and pulled his heart down to him for a soft kiss.

“I love you, Daniel, for always and forever. You're mine, all mine, and nothing or no one will ever change that.”

Daniel again rested his head on his Jack pillow that he cherished so much.

“Gawd, that was like hearing your vows again. For someone who insists they aren't good with words, you say the most perfect things. I love you so much, Jack.”

Jack placed another kiss on Daniel's hair, and held him tightly. He meant every word. As he closed his eyes, he reveled in the sensations of his world, his Daniel.

Daniel's last thought as he closed his eyes was that being called Space Monkey wasn't so bad after all, because it meant Jack loved him, and in Daniel's world, that was all that truly mattered.

--

November 19, 2003 - Victoria Harbor, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada:

--

“Thank you, Captain. It was a great cruise. We had a super time.”

“It was a pleasure to have you gentlemen aboard. Good luck to you both.“

“Thank you, Captain,” Daniel said as he and Jack began to walk the dock towards the pier and the waiting cab that would take them to the airport. Their luggage had already been placed in the cab.

At the edge of the pier, the two stood arms wrapped around each other's waist looking back on the yacht. Silently, they reflected on their short cruise to the San Juan Islands.

They had seen pods of Orca whales swimming in the waters that neither Jack nor Daniel could stop watching until the yacht had totally gone out of the area where the killer whales were. They'd also seen other mammals such as porpoises and seals.

One of the highlights had been a kayaking adventure for a couple of hours, which neither had ever done before, but the close-up view of the shore and wildlife had been well worth the time.

Still, even with their whale watching and kayaking, they hadn't spent much time on deck, preferring to spend their time making love and cuddling in their cabin. They had loved the incredible sunsets, though, and had never missed those, holding hands and each other, whispering sweet nothings to each other as they had watched the magical moments from the deck of the yacht.

“It was perfect, wasn't it, Jack?”

“Absolutely, Angel,” Jack responded happily, capturing a kiss from Daniel as they stood. They could get use to this freedom of being open and in love. It felt right and they were happier than ever.

In addition to the champagne and gift basket, Sam and the others had arranged for fresh flowers and some chocolates to be delivered each day, as well as for a few other goodies to make the small cruise even more special.

“You know something, Danny? We'll never be able to thank Car ... Sam and the others for all of this. They really outdid themselves for us.“

“I know. It's a bit overwhelming.“

“We have some very good friends, Love.“

“Family, Jack.“

Jack nodded in agreement as they prepared to depart for their another part of the world.

“Are you ... sorry we didn't spend more time on the deck?”

“Nope,” Daniel snickered. “Loved our cabin the best of all.”

Daniel let out a happy sigh. “You know, Jack, we've already had the perfect honeymoon. I almost feel guilty for going on.”

“I hope you mean that literally -- almost.” Jack had a little bit of a leer in his voice and eyes. The last thing he wanted was a guilty spouse on his hands.

Daniel laughed. “Nothing could take me away from you and our official honeymoon. I have ... plans for us.”

“Oh, do you now? Well, I have plans, too.”

“I guess we'll have to take turns.”

“Definitely.”

With a last look at the yacht, the two shared another kiss. Jack took Daniel's hand to walk him to the cab.

“C'mon, Danny. To Oz!”

Daniel laughed. “To Oz, Jack!”



~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~
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