Homecoming


Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  7 - December 1-2, 2003
Spoilers:  None
Size:  27kb, ficlet
Written:  September 26, October 2-3, 2003  Revised:  January 30, July 31, 2005, March 28, September 9-10, 2006, March 7, 2007
Summary:  A blissful Jack and Daniel return home from their honeymoon and make another pivotal decision about their future.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
2) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Mama Beast, Drdjlover, Linda!


Homecoming
by Orrymain

“Here you go,” Jack said as handed the taxi driver his fare for the drive from Denver to their house.  “Keep the change, and thanks.”

Jack and Daniel had just returned home from their Australian honeymoon.  They'd just removed their luggage from the trunk of the cab when Jack turned, surprised to see his spouse simply standing still, just a few feet away, staring at their house.

~Wonder what he's thinking,~ Jack thought.  Leaving the luggage where it sat, he approached from behind, putting his arms around Daniel's waist.  “I love you,” he intoned and then kissed his lover's nape.

~Feels good,~ Daniel thought as he shivered from the touch.  He let out a small moan, but the rustle of the trees reminded him they were outside.  “Jack, we're in the front yard; neighbors could be watching.”

“They know, Danny, and, if they don't, they're too thick to care,” Jack replied, having no intention of letting go just yet.

Daniel turned his head to look at his soulmate, surprised at his comments.

Jack's head moved to the side just slightly as he took in his husband's stare and then replied, “What?  C'mon, Danny, you've been living here for five years.  They've gotta know, and I really don't care if they don't.”

The younger man blinked a few times as he considered their home and the neighborhood in which they lived.  Jack was right, and the newlyweds were still on a 'honeymoon high', so he relaxed, resting his head against Jack's right shoulder.

“Why are we hiding, Jack?” Daniel asked suddenly, wishing they didn't have to worry about who saw them at moments such as now.  “I always thought it was the NID and Kinsey, more than anything else, but now I ... I just don't know.”

“It was them for a while,” Jack affirmed before stopping to think more about it.  He took a deep breath as he enjoyed the feel of the younger man he held.  Then he put forth, “Now, it's just waiting for that dang lost city to be found and whatever comes with it.”

“We'll find it,” Daniel responded.

“At least we didn't wait for that day to get married,” Jack spoke.  He leaned his head against Daniel's as he continued, “Danny, I'm proud of us.  I don't want to hide anymore.  It felt too good to be free these last few weeks.”

“Free.  Gawd, we were,” Daniel interjected, his sigh almost a gasp.

“I think maybe we should just be careful in the Springs, but our neighbors know.  You know they do, so why should we pretend anymore?” Jack questioned.

“What if we're watched?” Daniel asked, not concerned about the neighbors, but about the NID, Kinsey, or the mystery man who had threatened them earlier in the fall.

“Then they'll get the best show of their miserable lives,” Jack said with a cocky smile of the potential spies.

“It's good to be home,” Daniel sighed contently.  ~It feels like a dream, and, if it is, I don't ever want to wake up.~

“Yeah, it is.  I missed Katie sleeping on my stomach,” Jack chuckled.

“You're a marshmallow, Babe,” Daniel replied.  “You missed our girls more than I did, I think.”  ~And that was a lot!~

“Me?  Never thought about them once, except of course for the warmth from Katie,” Jack responded.  ~Okay, so I missed them more than ... more than a man should miss two dogs.~

“And that's why every time we went into a novelty shop you were looking at beagle figurines?  That's why we had to buy an extra piece of luggage just to bring back all the beagle memorabilia *you* bought?  And, uh, is that why you had all the beagle figurines lined up in rows on the bureau in our hotel room?”

~He's got me there,~ Jack inwardly admitted.  He coughed, saying, “Okay, so I missed them.  They're our girls, you know.”

Daniel chuckled as he caressed Jack's hands, suggesting, “We'd better go say 'Hi'.  I ... I want to see them.”

“Tell me the truth, Danny,” the older man requested.  “If I hadn't bought all those reminders of Bij and Katie, wouldn't you have?”

“In a second,” Daniel admitted before breaking out into a loving laugh.

Daniel turned around, and the two men shared a rare, brief kiss in full view of any prying eyes.  Then they each picked up several pieces of their luggage, carrying them up the walkway and up the steps to their front porch.  Putting the pieces he was toting down, Daniel pulled out his house keys and unlocked the door.  Just as he started to open it, a loud noise startled him.

“FREEZE!” Jack shouted, releasing the suitcases he held to the porch.

“What!” Daniel exclaimed as he twisted around, realizing the loud noise had been the bellow of his new spouse.

“Almost forgot,” Jack smirked.  “We have to do this right.”

“Do what right?” a very clueless Daniel inquired.

“This,” Jack answered, pouncing on his soulmate and lifting him into his arms.

Stunned, Daniel asked, “Jack, what are you are doing?”

“It's tradition!” Jack exclaimed happily.

“For a bride!” Daniel quipped, even though his arms were wrapped around the older man's neck.

“Well ... it's tradition, and one of us has to be, sooooo ...” Jack began, his grin wider than Daniel had ever seen it before.

“Jack, one of us may get a headache tonight, and one of us may be on the couch or sleeping in the children's doghouse, if you insist on using that line of logic.”

Jack chuckled, “Geez, Danny, what you do to me.”

“Don't you mean what I *won't* be doing to you?” Daniel threatened.  As Jack laughed even louder, enjoying his torment, he warned, “Jack, your knees.”

“My knees?”  Jack's laugh transformed to a smile as he realized his lover was truly concerned.  “I love you, Danny.  Tradition is tradition.  Please,” he lovingly cajoled.

Daniel moved his head back and forth in resignation, agreeing, “Okay, if you must, but so help me, Jack, you tell anyone about this, and you are so dead.”

“Boys, you're home,” Mrs. Valissi called out from the street, waving her arms excitedly.  She was taking one of her frequent walks in the neighborhood and was delighted to see her friends back from their honeymoon.  ~They make such a cute couple.~

Daniel closed his eyes and buried his head in Jack's shoulder, wishing he could just fade away.

“Hey, Mrs. Valissi.  Just got back, as you can probably tell by my shrinking violet here,” Jack called out gaily.

“JACK!” Daniel chastised, feeling extremely embarrassed.  ~But, gawd, he loves me.  Listen to him, and ... look at his expression.~

“Come down and see me when you get a chance this week.  I want to hear all about the honeymoon,” the senior citizen invited.

Jack nodded and responded, “We'll do that.  Thanks!”

“Jack, I'm so embarrassed,” Daniel softly spoke as his head snuggled even further into Jack's neck.

The younger man was crimson red, something which delighted Jack, who teased, “My blushing bride!”

“JAAAAAAAACK!”

“Sorry, Love.”

“Paybacks; trust me on this,” Daniel promised.  ~And I will have it, too!~

“I'll be counting on it,” Jack replied.

As his fingers played gently with the hairs at the back of his lover's neck, Daniel sighed, “Seriously, Love, your knees.”

Jack saw the overwhelming love in his partner's eyes, and it made him feel special.  He smiled, giving a little nod, and pushed opened the front door.  Then he carried Daniel over the threshold.  As he did, both men felt a long downpour, trickling down their bodies.

“What the ...” Jack shouted, looking up for just a second.

Daniel started laughing as pounds and pounds of white rice dumped down on them.

“Put me down, Jack,” Daniel demanded.

This time, Jack did gently lower Daniel, but moved his arm around his waist as they surveyed all the rice on their clothes as well as decorating their entranceway floor.

“Has to be Carter,” Jack guessed.

“No, Cassie.”

Jack thought a moment, then agreed, “Yeah, you're right -- Cassie.”

“Woof!  Woof!  WoofWoofWoof!”

“Our fan club awaits,” Jack mused.  “Go say hello, Angel, and I'll bring the luggage in the house.”

“Okay.  I love you, Jack,” Daniel replied, giving his husband a quick kiss on the lips before heading for the patio door to greet Bijou and Katie, their two beagles.

====

“Hey, Girls,” Daniel cheerfully greeted as he opened the patio door and headed out into the backyard.  He sat down on the steps, where he was inundated with kisses and wagging tails from the two dogs, who were clearly glad their 'parents' were home again.  “We missed you, too, so much,” he chuckled as he patted and hugged them.  “Jack's bringing in the suitcases; he'll be out in a minute.”

“Hey, ya mutts!” Jack called out once he'd brought the luggage inside and had shut the front door.  “We're baaaaack!” he chuckled, holding out his arms wide and making a funny face.

“Woooof!” Bijou barked, running up to him and attempting to jump up.

“Whoa!” Jack laughed, picking her up to say a proper 'hello' before carrying her over to the steps and sitting down next to Daniel where the two continued to enjoy a loving reunion with the canines.  “They look happy and healthy,” he observed after a few minutes.

“I'm sure the Ferrettis gave them lots of attention,” Daniel commented.

“Woof!  Woof!” Katie replied with a wagging tail, as if to confirm the archaeologist's assumption.

Lou and Carolyn Ferretti had spent a lot of time dog-sitting the beagles at Jack and Daniel's home.  They had also taken the girls to their house a few times, having gotten Jack and Daniel's permission to do so first.  Lou had been gone a couple of times on missions during the honeymoon, so during those times,  it was easier on Carolyn to 'doggie sit' at their house.  Still, the Ferrettis knew Bijou and Katie were more comfortable in their own place, so most of the time had been spent in their own home.

“I'll give a Lou a call tonight and thank him,” Jack remarked as he tossed out a ball for Katie to chase.

“We should invite them out to dinner or something, Jack, to say thank you,” Daniel suggested.

“Okay,” Jack agreed.

“Don't take 'no' for an answer,” Daniel insisted.  “I, uh, didn't worry much about them, knowing Lou and Carolyn were taking care of them,” he mentioned, his smile soft with gratitude.

“Yeah,” Jack sighed.  “I missed the things, but I wasn't worried about them, either, not with Lou and Carolyn on the job.”

After thirty minutes, Jack excused himself to take the suitcases upstairs.  Daniel started to help, but Jack told him to stay with their still very hyper dogs.

“They need to know we're not going anywhere,” Jack opined as he stood and headed inside.

“Have I told you that you're a marshmallow?” Daniel asked.

“Yeah, about an hour ago,” Jack chuckled, moving to the entranceway where the suitcases were.

“He is ... a marshmallow,” Daniel echoed as he playfully went nose to snout with Bijou.

====

“DANNY, COME HERE,” Jack shouted out a couple of minutes later.

Daniel didn't hear any alarm or panic in Jack's voice, so he tossed the ball for the girls and then walked inside the house and went upstairs, where Jack was standing in the doorway to their bedroom.

“Look at this, Love,” Jack laughed.

The archaeologist ambled over to his lover, put his arm around his waist, and let out a laugh as he took in the spectacle.  Around their king-sized bed were three string lines of cans and bottles, all connected.  At the foot of the bed was a big sign that said “Just Married.”

“Look, Jack, there's a note on the bed,” Daniel observed, pointing to the bed as he moved towards it.

“Cassie, definitely Cassie,” Jack stated as he watched Daniel pick up the note.

Daniel read the short note aloud:

Dear Uncles,

Because of all that covert garbage, we couldn't do everything we had wanted to during the wedding, but we can do some of it now!  We're very creative!

Bij and Katie were superb, but they missed you both terribly.  Even the fish seemed lonely, but Lou and Carolyn were terrific taking care of all of them.

I missed you both, too, but don't tell Mom.  She'll think I'm sentimental or something.

Love you both!

Cass

Jack and Daniel both smiled and shared a warm and tender look.

“Jack?”

“Girls,” Jack stated.

The two men were definitely on the same page about their future adoption plans, and, right now, the plan was definitely to adopt girls.

Daniel walked to Jack and placed his hand against his heart as he spoke, “We can figure something out about all that ... stuff we're not so good at.  Sam, Janet, and Cass will help.  Don't you think we could do it?”

“Yeah, I do, and pretty darn good, too!”

The couple kissed tenderly, a long and lingering kiss as they contemplated their future when they knew one day they would adopt children.  Both felt such joy in their hearts.

~Can't wait to hear Carter tell them about the birds and the bees!  I'll have to 'bug' the place,~ Jack silently mused.

====

Later that night, the newlyweds unpacked, putting away their clothes and sundries.  They also had several mementos from their wedding and honeymoon that needed to be safely put away.

~I love this,~ Daniel thought as he held one of the mementos in his hand, about to put it away.  He hesitated a moment, then glanced over at his lover and suggested, “Jack, any objections if we leave some of these things out for awhile, or ... is that being too risky?”

“Nah, I want to see them and remember, too,” Jack spoke with a smile.

Daniel smiled in return, putting the item on the bed to take back downstairs where they could see it.

When the lovers had everything sorted and put where they needed it, the dirty clothes in the clothes hamper, the wedding souvenirs scattered in their bedroom and even a few downstairs, and the suitcases on the rafters in the garage, the couple settled in front of the fire to enjoy their homecoming.

“Look at them,” Jack noted.

Daniel looked over, seeing Bijou and Katie sound sleep in their beanbag.

“They're smiling,” Jack added.

“They're glad we're home,” Daniel responded.  “So am I,” he added as he snuggled in a bit closer to his Love, the two lying side-by-side on the floor.

Jack and Daniel were enjoying this time together.  They had changed into their comfortable sweatsuits, a blue pair for Daniel and a red one for Jack.  They  drank some wine and nibbled on some chocolate as they enjoyed the soft roar of the warm fire.

After a while, they turned, each lying on their side, facing each other as their hands roaming the other's body.  Daniel's back was to the fire, enjoying both the fire's natural warmth and the internal blaze that Jack's touch to his skin brought him.  They kissed softly, and both were beyond happy in their souls.

“Danny,” Jack said as his right hand traced his lover's cheek, “on Monday, we need to see Mark and sign all those papers, make sure everything is in line.”

Mark Kingston had long been Jack's personal lawyer.  He'd met Daniel a few years ago, but only recently had been told about the lovers' true relationship.  The reveal had been necessary as Jack and Daniel moved forward with their commitment to each other.
 
“I can't wait.  It just ... makes it more real, crazy as that sounds,” the archaeologist confided.

“Not crazy,” Jack refuted.  “What is crazy is that we have to do all this extra stuff just to make sure we can take care of each other in the eyes of the law.  I don't like it, Danny.”

Daniel kissed the end of Jack's palm, which was still caressing his cheek, and replied, “I know, Love, but it's what we have to do, so ... let's just do it.  We haven't missed anything, have we?”

Jack nodded, regretfully agreeing with his soulmate, and responded, “We changed our wills quite a while ago.”

“We should update them, Jack.  I'm not sure they're up to date now,” Daniel suggested.

Again, Jack nodded, adding, “We should update the power of attorney, too, and we need to make sure we have a Living Will set up for medical mumbo jumbo in case we're not in the reach of Little Napoleon.”  Both men chuckled, and then he said, “Let's see, what else?”

“Um, that, uh, Mark called it a Hospital Visitation Authorization.  Geez, Jack, that really disgusts me, that someone could keep us separated just because we're ... different.  You could die, and they wouldn't let me in.  I hate that,” Daniel emotionally replied.

“We're not any different than any other two people who are in love,” Jack opined.

“Tell that to the medical authorities,” Daniel snapped lightly.  “For that matter, tell it to the military,” he sighed, his face drooping downward.

Jack raised Daniel's face by placing his hand under his chin and stated confidently, “They won't be able to keep us apart once we sign that authorization thing.  We're just going to have to keep those papers within quick reach, maybe give Carter a copy in case we need some backup,” he suggested.  After Daniel nodded his agreement, he added, “We already have the house in order, so no worries there, Angel.”

At Jack's insistence, the house had been put in both of their names earlier as joint tenants in common, so that neither would have any problems if something happened to the other.  Of course, no one but Mark knew about the arrangement.  The loft apartment still served as Daniel's official residence as far as the government and most people knew.

The two kissed some more, not stopping for several minutes, their hands now holding the other's, fingers entwined.

“Jack, what about ... names?” Daniel asked when they paused their kissing.

“Names?  Me Jack, You ... Angelface,” Jack snickered.

“Jack!”

Jack caught the sincere warning glare and silently thought, ~Nope, strike that nickname from the O'Neill glossary.~

Daniel explained, “When we adopt, it's going to be so hard for our children, and we just add to that difficulty with our different names, and who is who.  We have mine and mine ... and yours and yours.  Gawd, Jack, I don't want to make their lives harder.  I know what it's like to not ... belong to anyone.  I don't want our children to feel any more confusion than they have to.”

“Okay, but what do we do?  In case you hadn't noticed, despite the fact I carried you over the threshold, neither one of us is a bride,” Jack stated.

A frown on his face, Daniel answered dejectedly, “I don't know.”

A few minutes passed, the two pondering the situation as they gently caressed the other.  It was quiet and peaceful, just how they liked it.

Then Jack brightened and suggested, “Danny, maybe we could take each other's names, just tack on the others at the end of ours.  You know, Jackson-O'Neill and O'Neill-Jackson.”

“It's still different names, Jack,” Daniel replied with a sadness in his tone.

His lover's demeanor broke Jack's heart, and for the silver-gray-haired man, a sad Daniel was not acceptable, so Jack did something he hated to admit he did much -- he thought, long and hard.

“Danny, I got it!” Jack exclaimed happily.  “Let's make the names the same.  Look, professionally, we don't have to change anything, like actors or writers, Jackson and O'Neill, but legally, with our family, we could all be the same.”

Daniel looked hopeful, but he still wasn't sure what Jack meant.  His confusion was etched on his face.

“Angel, we'll be the Jackson-O'Neills, hyphenated, all of us; or we could do it the other way, the O'Neill-Jacksons,” Jack explained.

“Oh, uh, yeah, but ... which one?”

Jack shrugged, saying, “It doesn't matter to me.  I love you, and your name, and I don't care what we call ourselves.”

Daniel kissed his soulmate and traced Jack's lips with his fingers, gently going from side to side before leaning in for yet another, even more tender kiss than the last one.

“The Jackson-O'Neills?” Daniel spoke aloud, trying the name on for size.  “I ... I like that, Jack.”

“Okay, we go with that then,” Jack replied.

“But ... I guess we have to wait until you retire for that one,” Daniel spoke with regret.

“Yeah, probably, but with our friends, we can do whatever we want,” the older man reminded.

“I love you, Jack.”

“Love you, too, Angel.”

====

The next morning, Jack found Daniel in the kitchen inhaling his first morning coffee and laughed, “Some things will never change,” as he gave the younger man a peck on the cheek.

“Jack, what are we?” Daniel asked.

“Huh?”

“I was thinking.”

“When aren't you thinking?” Jack teased.

“When we ... you know,” Daniel answered with a slight blush that made Jack laugh.

“Like I said, some things will never change,” the older man commented, taking Daniel into his arms.  “So, explain yourself Doctor Jackson-O'Neill.”

“I like how that sounds,” Daniel responded softly.

“Me, too,” Jack agreed with a smile.  “So, what were you thinking?”

“We're lovers and best friends but ...  Jack, there's no word for us.  Husband and wife?  What are we?” Daniel repeated softly, leaning into his soulmate.

“Spouses,” Jack suggested.  “It's a good word.”

“It's a beautiful word.  It's just so ... general.  We don't have a word, Jack,” the younger man lamented.

“We have love; that's what counts,” Jack noted, feeling Daniel's nod against him. “Husband's a good word,” Jack offered.

Daniel laughed into Jack's shoulder, “Husband and husband.”

“Why not, Danny?  Seriously, why not?”

“Why not?” The archaeologist echoed as he stared into Jack's luscious chocolate brown eyes and couldn't think of a reason.  He smiled brightly as he repeated the name and a line of endearments -- “Husband, My husband, My Spouse, My Partner and My Soulmate, My Eternity.”

Jack kissed Daniel passionately and continued the list, saying, “My Husband, My Lover, My Significant Other, My Everything, My Forever.”

In unison, they added, as if saying their vows again, “My Heart, My Soul, My Life.”

“We have lots of names, don't we, Jack?”

Jack grinned as he answered, “Lots and lots, Danny, Angel, Love, Babe, Snuggle Bunny ...”

“Don't say it, Jack,” the younger man threatened.

Jack put on his saddest, best impression of Daniel's pouty lip and puppy dog eyes.  It wasn't as good as Daniel's patented 'You are so mine now with this expression' look, but it was enough to melt Daniel's heart.

“Okay, you can say it,” Daniel sighed in submission.

“My Space Monkey,” Jack crooned as he grinned broadly.

“Love you, Colonel O'...Jackson-O'Neill.”

“Love you, Husband.”

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