Lazy Day

Author:  Orrymain and special guest co-authors, Mama Bear, Claudia, Jodi, Robert!
Category:  Slash, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  2 - early, just before the fic, “Skinny Dipping”
Spoilers:  None
Size:  40kb
Written:  October 18-21, November 11-12,17-18,26-27, December 11,13,24, 2006
Summary:  It's a lazy day as Jack and Daniel enjoy some downtime at the cabin in Minnesota.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) “I'll Always Love You” lyrics by Jimmy George.
2) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
3) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  QuinGem!

Lazy Day
by Orrymain and special guest co-authors, Mama Bear, Claudia, Jodi, Robert!

“Eggs?” Jack asked as he yawned.

“Sausage?” Daniel countered.

Jack tipped his head back as he considered it, but then suggested, “Pancakes?”

“Waffles?” the younger man countered practically before his lover had finished his own idea.

“Coffee and an orange?” Jack offered in negotiation.

“Wheaties,” Daniel returned.  Seeing Jack frown, he added, “I'm not the one who devoured the entire box of Froot Loops during our first day here.”

The older man nodded, having to face the truth that he had, indeed, eaten the entire box, leaving him Loop-less for the rest of their stay.

“Donuts!” Jack suddenly exclaimed, his eyes twinkling at the thoughts.

“That works,” Daniel agreed, stretching his body as he scooted out of bed.  “And ... coffee.”

“After breakfast, we can go for a walk,” Jack suggested.

“Play chess,” Daniel responded.

“Gin?” Jack asked.

“Read,” the younger man put forth.

“Go skinny dipping,” Jack smirked with a huge grin.

“Not on your life, O'Neill,” a now very-awake Daniel replied as he made his way to the shower.

~It's going to be a long day,~ Jack thought.  Smiling, he added, ~Long and perfect because Danny and I are in paradise.  No Goa'ulds, no prattling scientific mumbo jumbo, no memos, no Brass to please, no ...~

Poking his head back through the door, Daniel suggested shyly, “Jack, we could, uh ... you know before ...”

In a flash, Jack's silent list of all the things he wasn't missing was halted as he joined his soulmate in the shower for a 'hello, morning' round of their love.

The couple was making the most out of a few days of downtime at the Minnesota cabin, wanting to be far away from the SGC.  Their relationship was still very new, but both men were devoted to each other.

The pair's biggest problem in the early part of their love affair had been Daniel's guilt about Sha're, but he was slowly coming to terms with that.  Things hadn't happened the way he would have chosen them to, and he hated the betrayal he felt deep within his soul.  Yet, Jack filled him with a sense of awareness and delight that was taking him to places that he'd never even dreamed about before.  It was still a struggle, one the young man didn't know if he'd ever be able to resolve, but he had to try.  Today, now, he buried the guilt and enjoyed the tender and passionate love of the man he cherished.

The morning was passing way too fast for the colonel and the archaeologist, who would both be happy for the moment they were now enjoying in the shower to go on forever.

====

After finally dressing and having a leisurely coffee and donut breakfast, Jack and Daniel were now relaxing by the lake.  At the moment, the off-duty colonel was sitting up against a tree, his legs straight out in front of him, with the lanky linguist lying stretched out at a ninety-degree angle, his head in his lover's lap.  The older man smiled down at his Love as he fingered through the long, silky locks of Daniel's hair while using his thumb to press gently against the younger man's forehead.  He took in the beauty laid out before him, satisfied to see his lover so relaxed and comfortable.

It wasn't an easy task, but Jack was making it his goal in life to make Daniel smile, laugh, and just be happy, in the truest sense of the word.  If anyone deserved to enjoy life, it was the man he held in his arms, and in his heart.  Now, if he could just work out how to persuade Daniel to go skinny dipping with him, his current mission would be complete.

Daniel made a sound of contentment and shifted slightly.  His legs were also outstretched in front of him, and his eyes were closed as he enjoyed just being alone with Jack.  He could hear the purring of the lake's waters and the chirping of the birds.  It was all so serene and peaceful.

~Gawd, I love this.  No pressure.  No stress.  Just me and Jack,~ the archaeologist expressed silently.

It was the day before they had to leave, and since it was very hot, both men were wearing only their swimming trunks and shoes.

Jack smiled as he observed his sexy partner, resting peacefully to his touches and the effects of nature.

Daniel opened his eyes and, seeing Jack's smile, replied, “No Jack.”

“Danny, I didn't say a word.  I didn't ...”

“Babe, I know what you're thinking.  NO!” Daniel stated, cutting off his lover's next words.

“Daniel, it's fun.  You'll like it,” Jack pleaded as his right hand ran down to the center of his Love's abdomen and stopped to caress the area.

“Jack, for the final time, I am not going skinny dipping,” Daniel firmly rebuffed, pushing away Jack's hand when he began to tickle his abdomen.

For the last couple of days, Jack had been trying to get Daniel to go skinny dipping in the lake.  The younger man had refused every time.  He was convinced that if they did partake in some naked fun that someone would unexpectedly show up, even though Jack had told Daniel no one ever came to the cabin without an invitation.

“Aw, come on, Danny, it's a rite of passage.  Everybody has to go skinny dipping at least once in their lives,” Jack maintained as he returned his hand to its previous position and continued stroking his lover's forehead.

“I've been skinny dipping, and the experience was overrated,” Daniel spoke with a straight face, unable to stop himself from laughing a moment later at Jack's open mouthed expression.

“You...you've been skinny dipping?  When?” Jack asked sharply as he fought back a scowl.  Then a more important question occurred to him.  “Who were you with?  And if you did it with someone else, why won't you do it with me?” his green-eyed monster inquired.

~He's jealous.  I hate it, but I love it.~  Daniel grinned at Jack's put-out expression.  Although it was tempting to hold out on his lover, he decided to confess, saying, “It was a long time ago, Jack,  before I met you.”  His eyes were twinkling as he strung Jack along, adding, “In fact, it was so long ago that I *bare*ly remember it.”

“Daniel, skinny dipping is not an experience you ever forget,” Jack argued.  ~I'm going to kill him, whomever the 'him' is that he went skinny dipping with.~

“It is if you're four, and all the other kids are skinny dipping as well,” Daniel laughed loudly.

“Four?”  Jack's expression was priceless as the truth sank in.  With a growl, he gently pulled on his soulmate's ear as a rebuke.  “Danny!  Four year olds don't skinny dip.  You have to be at least a teenager before swimming naked counts as skinny dipping.”

“Forget it, Jack.  I'm not skinny dipping.  What if a helicopter flew overhead?  It would be too embarrassing for words,” the younger man maintained.  “And I know a lot of words,” he teased.

“Tell me about it,” Jack quipped.

“Okay, well, in English, there's ...”

“Daniel, I was only kidding,” the older man said, stopping his lover from giving him a linguistics lecture that would surely ruin their lazy day by the lake.  “Use your brain.  If a helicopter flew over us, your *assets* would be underwater, and they couldn't see a thing,” he argued.

"Not if they had binoculars,” Daniel countered.  “Or, knowing my luck, it would be a news crew with cameras.  That would be so humiliating,” he stated, shuddering at the thought.

“You're impossible,” Jack groused.

“That makes us even,” Daniel replied.

“Even?”

“Yeah.  You're incorrigible!” the scientist chuckled.  “Come here,” he requested, reaching up and pulling his Love down for a tender kiss.  Then he looked around, taking in both the beauty and the tranquillity surrounding them.  Hoping to distract the other man from trying any further coaxing on the skinny-dipping subject, and also because he was just plain curious, he asked, “Jack, why is that old dilapidated boathouse still there?  It looks like it's ready to collapse in a stiff breeze.”

“You wound me, Sir,” Jack responded with exaggerated dismay, putting his hand over his heart.  “I'll have you know that boathouse is the first piece of artistry to bear the proud distinction of Jack O'Neill's craftsmanship.”

“Really?  It looks like a dollhouse with a bad hangover,” Daniel remarked, earning him a playful punch in the shoulder from the man whose lap was serving as his pillow.

“Ow!” the young lover exclaimed, moving his left hand to rub his shoulder for a second.  “Okay, Okay, it's a superb example of O'Neill craftsmanship.  Now, tell me all about it.”

“It was when I was a little rugrat, couldn't have been more than four, five at the most.  Grandpa O'Neill announced at breakfast that one of our 'neighbors' was tearing down their old tool shed, and was going to drop the 'lumber' off here.  He had heard him say he was going to raze it and put up a nice new one.  When Grandpa asked for the wood, he was happy to oblige, because it saved him a much longer trip to the dump,” Jack expounded.

“Why didn't your grandfather just buy new lumber?” Daniel asked logically.

“Because money was tight, and times were tough.  He'd lived through the depression and never forgot what it took for the O'Neills, and the country, to recover from it.  Lumber for a boathouse to house two old rowboats and a canoe was frivolous in his mind,” Jack commented, a light chuckle escaping for a moment.  “Even if he had the cash, it was simply out of the question to spend money on something that was extra to him.  Besides, he abhorred waste, and throwing out good lumber was definitely wasteful to him”

“We studied about the depression in history, ancient history.  It was just a few years after all the dinosaurs died, right?” Daniel jested.  He raised both hands, palms open to ward off the impending blow.  “Okay, okay, so it was a few dozen centuries after the last dinosaur kicked the bucket.  Go on with your story, Babe.  I do want to hear it,” he prodded.

“Around ten in the morning or so, this truck backs a trailer into the drive, full of what looks like scrap lumber, but Grandpa sure was excited.  Dad helped him unload.  I had to watch from the sidelines because it was full of nails sticking out.  Dad and Grandpa spent the rest of the day pulling the nails and cutting off rotting ends.  The next day, I was up before dawn, because they told me I could help them build the boathouse.  From my excitement, you'd have thought it was Christmas, Danny, but to me it was way better than Christmas because I was spending the day with Dad and Grandpa doing man stuff,” Jack spoke.

The young Jack O'Neill's excitement was alive in his voice, even now.  There was a lightheartedness in his expression and a sense of longing in his demeanor.  Suddenly, though, the older man became lost in his memories.  He remembered his family and someone else he loved very much.  He wished the world hadn't taken another path towards war.  He wished for so many things, until a loving voice drew him from his reverie.

“Jack?  Jack?  Ja-ack, where did you go?”

“What?”

“Hey, are you okay?  You were telling me about the boathouse, and then all of a sudden you stopped,” Daniel observed.  “You, uh, looked kinda ... sad for a minute.”

“Remembering, Danny;  I'm just remembering that day.  It was more work for Dad and Grandpa to have a five year old help than it would have been for them to just get the job done, but they were careful to leave most of the nails only three-quarters driven into the wood, having me 'check' them as they worked ahead of me,” the older man lightly chuckled.

“How did it get so run down?”

“Time and the elements.  The lumber was never painted.  Remember I said Dad and Grandpa cut off the rotting ends?  I'm sure there was rot still left in the wood, because they trimmed it so as to keep as much wood as possible to have enough to finish building.  The best and heaviest boards were used to the north and the west.  The south side got short shrift.  It was always going to be painted, but by the time they got around to it, the rot had set in, and it was going to be torn down and a new one built, 'someday',” Jack recalled.

“The famous someday,” Daniel echoed.

“Yeah.  It never came,” Jack stated.  “I think my dad had such fond memories of us building it together he couldn't bring himself to tear it down.  We replaced some of the boards through the years, but there was never enough replaced at once to paint a whole side.  We always said we'd do it ...”

“Someday,” both men said in unison, a chuckle following their joint speech.

“So it just ... stayed how it was,” the younger man surmised after their chuckles subsided.

“More or less.  There are so many nails in that old boathouse that compasses point to it if you get within ten feet,” Jack joked.

“So, it's a family heirloom,” Daniel said softly, not wanting to shatter his lover's remembrances.

“Sort of, I guess,” Jack agreed.  He smiled, looking down at the man who was everything in the universe to him.  “I love you, Danny.”

“I love you, too, Jack.”

“Walk?”

“Okay,” Daniel agreed, standing up.  “Ah, af...after we ...”

“Yeah, after we ...” the older man spoke, his arms pulling Daniel closer for a passionate kiss.

The two men sighed contently and then began a leisurely stroll down the path that followed the river.

Jack let his thoughts wander and realized how far Daniel had come in their relationship, feeling safe enough to tease him, almost relentlessly.

~Dinosaurs,~ the colonel mused to himself as they ambled quietly through the trees.

The older man was eager to get the younger man to make his needs known, something Daniel was hesitant to do.  Jack had time, though, all the time in the world, to convince his lover that reaching for what he wanted was not a bad thing.  While the archaeologist learned to believe in that philosophy, Jack would be there working to fulfill those needs.

Every time Daniel did put his trust and faith in his lover, since it was such a big step for him to do, Jack was humbled.  He hugged the knowledge close and vowed to always be there for the younger man, providing all those things and more, for as long as needed.

~Aw, Danny, you make me feel like I'm the richest man on Earth.  I hope I'm worthy of you.~

====

Silently, Jack and Daniel continued their walk, their arms around each other's waists as they took in the calm of the day.  Birds chirped as they flew among the trees, squirrels ran from tree to tree, sometimes pausing to stand up and stare at the lovers inquisitively, and the sun shone down upon the couple with a protective warmth as noontime approached.

While Jack's cabin wasn't the only one in the vicinity, it was the last one in this particular inlet, and it was quite a ways until the next neighbor's cabin would be reached at the entrance of the inlet.  Privacy was something they didn't often have, and making the most of it when they did, like now, was a gift they gave themselves, and each other.

“Favorite movie,” Jack suddenly blurted.

“Excuse me?” Daniel asked, not quite understanding the question that had popped out of nowhere.

“The question game, 'favorites' category, Danny,” the older man explained.  “What's your favorite movie?”

“I don't know,” Daniel answered, shrugging.  After a second, he added, “I guess I haven't watched that many, un...til our Friday nights.”

“Friday nights are great,” Jack said with a smile.

Chuckling, the younger man responded, “Yeah, pizza.  Mmmm -- extra cheeeese.”

Jack's eyes widened as he glanced at his lover, who was looking near-orgasmic.

Suddenly, Daniel broke out into laughter and mused, “You're *so* easy, O'Neill.”

“Oh, you are so going to pay for that, Danny,” Jack replied and then reached out to quickly start tickling his lover.

Daniel squirmed free and ran down the path.  Although he knew that he could easily outrun his soulmate, he only ran fast enough to stay ahead of Jack's talented fingers, wanting to be caught sooner, rather than later.

“I'm going to get you, Love, and then you'll be sorry you ran away from me,” Jack bellowed as he ran behind Daniel.

The lovers ran for several minutes, laughing, teasing, and playfully taunting each other.  Daniel zigged and zagged in all directions through the trees, but ended up heading more inland, leaving the lake far behind from them.  Then Daniel came to an abrupt stop.

Jack seized the opportunity, thinking that Daniel had decided it was time to be caught and wanted to laugh a little.  He grabbed his conquest and began tickling his lover yet again.

“JACK, STOP!” Daniel firmly stated, his voice a near yell.

Daniel's voice also had an edge of fear to it, so Jack immediately stopped his actions and turned the younger man around to face him.

“Danny, what's wrong?” Jack asked, seeing the look of terror on Daniel's face.

“Jack, they could see!” Daniel answered, glancing over his shoulder.

“Who?  There's no one around,” Jack reminded, looking all around the two.

“There!” Daniel announced.

Jack looked in the direction Daniel was pointing and saw a barely distinguishable cabin far off in the distance.

~Wow, we ran a long way,~ Jack thought, realizing where they were at the moment.  “Danny, Love, that's the Anderson's cabin, or it used to be.  You can't tell from here, but it's barely a shell now.”

“Who are the Andersons?”

“They live in New York and used to come here just once or twice during the spring. They're in their seventies now; haven't been here in five or six years,” Jack commented.

“What if they sell it?  Jack, it's so close,” Daniel said, worried about discovery.

“Danny, it's not that close.  You just don't realize the chase you just led me on.  I think it is for sale, though.”  Sensing his Love's anxiety, he added, “I'll buy it.  They don't want much for it,” Jack soothed, rubbing Daniel's arms.

“You don't need to do that, Jack,” Daniel responded, not wanting his lover to feel obliged to buy the property just for his sake.

“I want to, Danny.  It would make you feel more comfortable if I did, wouldn't it?”

Reluctantly Daniel nodded, prompting Jack to smile and reply, “And, anyway, I kind of like the idea of owning more land up here, expanding our little patch of wilderness.”

The archaeologist glanced one more time at the faraway cabin, then said, “Okay, buy it.”  With a smirk, he added, “But you still can't catch me.”

The fast-footed younger man took off running, heading back towards Jack's cabin.

“DAAANNNY,” Jack yelled, as he started chasing his lover again.

====

Several minutes later, the lovers were back in more familiar territory.  They stopped running, both trying to catch their breath as they enjoyed the view of the lake.

“I almost forgot you had neighbors here,” Daniel admitted, reflecting on the cabin they'd seen.

“Do you realize how far you ran, Danny?” Jack asked.

“No, uh, I guess not,” the younger man admitted.

“A lonnnnng way,” Jack responded, drawing out the word 'long' and then releasing a big breath.  “Swim?”

“Okay,” Daniel agreed, willing and eager to go for a quick dip, but still wanting nothing to do with skinny dipping.  As they approached the dock, hoping to distract Jack from asking him again, he decided to continue the game.  “Favorite music group, Babe.”

“That's easy -- The Chipmunks.  Love that Alvin!” Jack remarked, grinning like a kid.  “Your turn.  Favorite special dessert.”

“Can I name two favorites?  It would be too hard to choose,” Daniel noted.

Seeing the wistful look in his lovers eyes, Jack immediately agreed, “Sure, but I reserve the right to pick two answers to a question, if I so choose, also.”

“Well, there was this ... this Egyptian dessert my Mom made for me.”  Daniel's eyes took on a dreamy look, and he turned to look out over the water, before continuing.  “When I didn't feel well, she would make me Mahallabia.  It's this wonderful almond rice pudding and was Mom's special fix-it.  She told me the secret ingredient was love and that she put in extra for me.”

~I love Danny's parents,~ Jack thought.

~Mommy, I miss you,~ Daniel thought as he closed his eyes and his lip slightly trembled.  He felt arms wrap around him from behind.  Knowing his Love was offering support, waiting for him to go on, he felt safe enough to continue.  He took a calming breath, and added,  “I can still taste it, Jack.”

“And did it work?” the older man softly asked.

“Every time.”  Daniel opened his eyes, letting his gaze travel across the water, taking in the beauty around him.  He squeezed the arms that held him closer for a few seconds, then gently pushed back on them, loosening their grip, allowing him to turn and face Jack.  Wanting to lighten the mood again, he said, “If you want to know where my obsession with coffee came from, it started at this little cafe that my other favorite dessert comes from.  The smells were so rich and mouth-watering, and the owner always had this dish called Palace bread.  It sounds exotic, but it's really very simple.  You just take hearty, crustless white bread and soak it with honey for a bit, layer it in a buttered pan, and bake it until it gets nice and toasty.  When it cools, you pour heavy cream over it.”

Daniel lowered his lashes, tilting his head slightly, and moaned his delight at the memory, taunting Jack, hoping to provoke a reaction.  

Sure enough, his lover pounced, taking his lips in a passionate kiss, wanting to give the younger man something tangible to moan about.  Jack removed his Love's glasses, then slowly lowered them to the warm wood of the deck, and finally rolled them gently into the water.  

The look on Daniel's face as he came up sputtering had Jack roaring with laughter, until he saw the gleam in those impossibly blue eyes.  The race was on, and they spent the next several minutes trying to out-swim and dunk each other.

“Truce, Daniel,” Jack laughed.  “I'm an old man.  I need to rest!”

“HA!  Try again, Babe.”

“Let's play a game, Danny,” Jack suggested as he climbed out of the lake, quickly dried himself off, and then lay down on the warm grass.

“What kind of game?” Daniel asked a little warily, pulling himself out of the water and then putting his glasses back on.  He hoped this game wouldn't be another attempt by Jack to get him skinny dipping.  He looked around for his towel and saw it was occupied by a squirrel.  Fortunately, as he moved towards it, the squirrel scampered off.  ~Sorry, I need it,~ he thought, bending over to pick up the towel.

“Come over here, Love,” Jack requested, tapping the ground next to him.

After dabbing the soft cloth against his skin to dry it, Daniel did as requested, though he was very curious as to what his lover had in mind.

“Look up,” Jack commanded.  “See all those clouds?”

“They're hard to miss,” a confused Daniel answered.

“Good.  The game is, what kind of animals can you see in the clouds?” Jack announced, smiling in anticipation of some creature comfort once their game was over.

“Animals?  Oh, you mean, what animal shapes do the clouds make.  I remember this game,” Daniel replied.  “When I was nine, I was in a foster home where the other children would play this game a lot,” Daniel stated, his eyes dull as unhappy memories from that time of his life surfaced.

Hearing the truth in the younger man's voice, Jack rolled onto his side and looked into the blue eyes he loved so much.

“They didn't let you play, did they, Love?” Jack asked, even though he already knew the answer would be no.  When Daniel just shook his head, he leaned down and kissed him, then rolled back to lay atop the ground as they looked up into the sky.  “Look, Danny, it's a teddy bear,” he announced, pointing to the cloud formation.

“Jack, see how all the clouds look like puffy cotton balls?” the younger man questioned.  “That's how you can tell they are Cumulus clouds; uh, they're also called fair weather clouds.  If they become dark and billowy, then they are called Cumulonimbus clouds.  Cumulonimbis clouds produce electrical storms, rain, hail, and even tornados.  The height of the clouds is also important, by the way.  High clouds usually means good weather, while low clouds is a sign of bad weather.  Then there are Cirrus clouds ...”

~A lecture?~ Jack thought.  ~Can't have that.~  He sat up a little and cut his partner's next words off with a deep kiss.  Afterwards, he smiled, running his thumb over Daniel's succulent lips.  “Daniel, I would love to hear about all those facts you know about the clouds when we get home, but this trip is about fun, so look up at the sky, and tell me what animal you see.”

“Sorry,” the archaeologist apologized, as Jack again returned to his original position.

“Don't be sorry, Danny,” Jack replied.  “Just find an animal for me.”

Daniel gave a little nod.  Moving his head just slightly, he looked up, searching for a fluffy animal.

Smiling, Daniel said, “I see a camel.”

“Where?” Jack asked, looking everywhere, trying to find the camel.

“Right there,” Daniel replied, pointing at the cloud animal, though still feeling a little sad about never having been allowed to play the game as a child.

“Oh, now I see it.  Look, you're riding it,” Jack teased, seeing that the cloud had changed shape and now appeared to have someone riding it.

Daniel's mind went back to the many times he'd ridden a camel, both as a child with his parents and as an adult on digs.

~How does he always know how to make me feel better?~ the younger man thought.

“I love you, Danny,” Jack spoke, sensing his lover's thoughts.

“I love you, too,” Daniel replied, rolling over and giving his lover a quick kiss and then laying back down next to the older man who owned his heart.  “There's a cat,” he pointed out, his arm extending out towards the left at the feline-shaped cloud.

“Being chased by a dog,” Jack added, pointing to the dog-shaped cloud right behind it.  

Then Daniel started laughing.

“Danny?”

“Homer,” Daniel managed to say between giggles as he pointed to the clouds shaped like Jack's beloved 'Homer Simpson' cartoon character.

For the next half-hour, Jack and Daniel played the cloud game, each studying the various animal shapes in the sky.  The older man loved to hear Daniel giggle at some of the creative images, and the younger man was just happy to feel so relaxed and peaceful.

“Okay, how about we go inside, and get comfortable?” the colonel suggested when it seemed as though there were no more members of the animal nation to be discovered in the clouds.

“How about you go start some coffee, and I'll be right there,” Daniel suggested.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes, I just want to take another quick dip,” Daniel answered.

“Okay, you've got yourself a deal, but hurry up.  I have plans for you,” Jack sing-songed on his way to the cabin.  ~Big plans.~

====

A few minutes later, as he reached into the cabinet for the special blend, Jack spotted the jar of honey on the shelf.  Then, he glanced at the loaf of french bread on the counter.  He quickly assembled everything he thought Daniel would need and turned as his lover came through the door.

The look of surprise on the younger man's face quickly transformed into pleasure as he took in the items laid out waiting for him.  He stepped close to Jack and placed his palms on his Heart's face, gently pulling him close for a tender kiss.  He leaned back, looking up into the brown eyes he loved so much, and just gazed, getting lost in their depth.

“Danny, would you make some Palace bread for me, please?  When I'm with you, I feel like I'm a king,” Jack murmured.

At a loss for words, Daniel just nodded, swallowing the lump that lodged in his throat.  With a shy smile, he carried out his lover's request.

“Can I help?” Jack asked.

“Uh, yes.  Set up the chess board,” Daniel requested.  “When I'm done, I plan on a checkmate in twelve moves.”

“Twelve?” an astounded Jack asked skeptically.

“Twelve,” Daniel stated smugly.

“We'll play gin.  I'll get the cards,” Jack replied, walking over to a cabinet where various games were kept.

Daniel chuckled, prepared to be distracted as the lovers played the card game later that day.

====

“That was great,” Jack praised.  He licked his finger and ran it over the surface of the plate to pick up any last crumbs of Daniel's Palace bread that remained.  “You have got to make that again!”

“I'm glad you liked it,” Daniel replied, blushing a little at the compliment, but clearly pleased that Jack had enjoyed the treat.

“Hey, how about we go skinny dipping now, Danny?  It's dark, so no one will be able to see us.”

Daniel rolled his eyes and stood up, heading over to make some more coffee as he responded, “Forget it, Jack.  I am not going skinny dipping.  Want some coffee?”

“No, thanks.  Hot chocolate would be nice though,” Jack requested hopefully.
 
“Well, because I'm such a nice guy, I suppose I could make you some hot chocolate,” Daniel chuckled.

Jack grinned and watched as Daniel bent over to get the pan to make the cocoa.  His eyes popped with delight.

~Hmm, if he won't try skinny dipping, maybe there's another way to get him naked,~ the older man thought seductively.

“So, are we playing gin?” Daniel asked as returned to the table a bit later, hot chocolate in hand for his lover and coffee for himself.

“We're playing a version of poker,” Jack answered cryptically.

Daniel raised an eyebrow in question, growing even more suspicious when Jack grinned mischievously in his direction.

“If you won't skinny dip with me, the least you can do is play strip poker with me,” Jack expounded, giving his lover his best puppy dog eyes.  ~Wish I could do the 'Danny Pout'.~

Daniel's gaze immediately went to the window, but he didn't automatically say no, which gave Jack hope.

“We're closing the curtains,” Daniel said firmly.

“No one ...” Jack stopped at Daniel's glare and nodded.  “We can close the curtains.”

“Okay, then,” Daniel conceded.

“Yes?”

“Yes, Jack, we can play strip poker.”

“Yes!”

====

“Now that's my kind of Five Card Stud, and, Danny, you are purrrrrrrre stud,” Jack purred as the naked lovers nuzzled against each other on the floor of the cabin.

“Just remember one thing, Babe.”

“What's that?”

“I won,” Daniel responded.

“No, you didn't,” the older man refuted.  “My full house beat your pair, and you had to shake your booty for me.”

“Like I said, Jack.  I won,” Daniel smirked.

====

“Beautiful, isn't it,” Daniel stated more than asked as the lovers stood on the dock, their arms around each other's waists as they watched the majestic, pastel-like sunset.

“Very beautiful,” Jack proclaimed.

The tone of Jack's voice made Daniel turn to look at the older man, who wasn't looking at the sunset, but at him.  That awareness made the archaeologist tingle inside.  He felt so special.

“Jack ...”

Jack quieted his lover with two fingers to his lips and said, “Danny, you are the most beautiful sight in the world.”  Then he replaced his fingers with his lips and was rewarded with a moan of pleasure from his partner.  “I love you.”

“This feels good, Jack,” Daniel replied.

“That it does, Danny, that it does,” Jack agreed.  “Hungry?”

“Starved.”

The lovers chuckled at how quickly their romantic sappiness had turned into a need to stuff their bellies.

“I could eat a horse,” Jack quipped as he headed back for the cabin.

“Jack, that's a horrible thing to say.”

“It's a cliché, Daniel.”

“I thought you didn't like clichés,” the linguist chuckled as he stepped onto the porch.

“Everything in its time, and every time has a ... thing.  Forget I said that,” Jack requested, grimacing at the strange comment.  “Let's barbecue.”

“I guess you can burn them here as easily as you can in the Springs,” Daniel teased.

“I resemble that remark,” the older man retorted.

“You certainly do, Babe!”

Laughing, the lovers went inside to begin their dinnertime preparations.

====

“What should we do tonight?” the archaeologist asked when dinner was done and both the barbecue grill and the kitchen area were clean once again.  Seeing his lover's lips poised to speak all-too-familiar words, Daniel raised his hand, palm outward, and said, “No, we're not going skinny dipping.  Give it up.”

Jack sighed, then said, “We already played cards.”

“I remember,” Daniel said, his eyes shining with joy from their card-related lovemaking.  “We could read.”

“Yeah?  Well, read my mind, then,” Jack challenged.

“It only says one thing, skinny dipping,” the younger man replied, shaking his head emphatically as he added, “And the answer is still 'N-O' -- no, Jack O'Neill.”

“There's more than that in my mind,” Jack argued as if taking affront at the reply from his partner.

“I know, but the print's too small,” Daniel joked.

“Well, then, read my lips,” Jack ordered.

With that, Jack began smooching his soulmate, which quickly gave way to deeper kissing and passionate moaning on both their parts.  Still lip-locked, the lovers shuffled to the bedroom, where they shed their clothes, without the need for card games as a lure.

====

A couple hours later, Jack and Daniel were outside, in a familiar pose at the back of the cabin.  Jack was sitting against the wall with Daniel in front of him, the younger man's head leaning against his lover's left shoulder.

“The stars are beautiful up here, so bright and twinkly.”

“Twinkly?  Is that a word, Danny?” Jack questioned, as he slid his hands under Daniel's shirt.

“It is tonight.  Any objections?” the linguist challenged.

Jack chuckled lightly, “None, Love.  Did you know that there are eighty-eight different constellations?”

“Yeah, I think I read that somewhere,” Daniel teased.

“Very funny,” Jack responded, kissing the side of his partner's neck.

Jack looked up and pointed to familiar constellations as he spoke, “See those stars?  Those are the dippers, big bear and little bear.”

“Not the grizzly and the teddy?” Daniel joked.

“Cute, Daniel.”  Ignoring his lover's smirky laugh, Jack continued, “Over there is Orion, the hunter, and those stars next to him are his dogs, Sirius and Procyon, also known as Canis Major and Canis Minor.  According to one version of Greek mythology, Orion was stung and killed by a scorpion.  Another myth says that Artemis was in love with Orion, but she killed him with a single arrow after being challenged by Apollo to hit a speck in the ocean and, not knowing that speck was Orion swimming, she accepted and ...”

Daniel turned around quickly and claimed Jack's lips, stopping his lover's lesson on mythology.

“Jack, I know all about mythology.  Tonight is all about fun, so sit back and just enjoy the stars,” Daniel said, grinning at how he had turned Jack's earlier words on him.

“Sorry, Love,” Jack apologized, leaning his head against his soulmate's.

“Don't be sorry, Jack,” Daniel replied.  “I love listening to you talk about the stars, but as you reminded me earlier, today is a fun day, so ... let's have some fun,” he suggested, wiggling away from the older man and tugging gently on his arm.

“I do love how you think, Doctor Jackson,” Jack said with a smile as he got up and shared a quick kiss with the younger man.

The soulmates went to their bedroom, where the only stars they saw were the ones that came from the union of their bodies as they burst forth with their love, culminating in an explosive release that could rival any starry galaxy.

====

“I'm not that tired,” Daniel spoke later that night.

The lovers had gotten back up and had eaten a snack since both were hungry after their latest round of lovemaking.

“Cards?” Jack asked.

“No,” Daniel answered.  “Reading?”

“Been there, done that,” Jack responded.  “You know?” he asked, raising his eyebrows in a seductive manner.

“Been there, done that a few times today, Jack.  I, uh ... no,” Daniel answered.  “Chess?”

“I don't want to lose tonight,” Jack replied.

“You won't, not if we play strip chess,” Daniel softly promised, a blush spreading over his face.  “And I promise to be gentle,” he added, looking down smugly, his lashes fluttering against his cheeks, so sure of his victory.

Jack inhaled sharply, the sight before him robbing him of breath.  The firelight reflected off the younger man's hair and face, making his skin glow even more with the added blush.  He once again realized what a treasure he had in Daniel.

~Thank the stars,~ the colonel thought.  ~How'd I get so lucky?~  Reaching out, he ran his fingers along his lover's cheek and up under his chin, raising it to look into the happy eyes before him.  “You are so beautiful.  I'm so glad you're here with me, and I love you very much,” he spoke hoarsely, his emotions getting the better of him.  “La Mio Bello Stella Cadente -- my beautiful falling star,” Jack whispered as his eyes shone with love.

~Wow.~  Daniel was overwhelmed and swallowed hard a few times.  Tenderly, he requested, “Ask me what my favorite song is, Jack.”

“Okay.  What's your favorite song?”

“Right this minute, thinking of you, it's 'I'll Always Love You',” the younger man began.

“Taylor Dayne?” Jack questioned.  “Danny, since when do you listen to music like that?”

“Since I discovered that you're my lucky star, the one I've been searching for,” Daniel answered, paraphrasing some of the song's words.  “The lyrics are everything I feel in my heart right now for you, especially the part that says you're my lover and my friend, someone whose filled my heart with a thrill its never known before.”

“What you do to me,” Jack spoke as the lovers kissed.  “I know the perfect thing to do for the rest of the night.”

“What's that?”

“Snuggle,” Jack suggested with a smile.

“I'd ... like that ... a lot.”

Jack grabbed the blanket from the back of the couch and laid it on the floor. Then he took Daniel's hand and pulled him down to the floor.  As the lovers cuddled, they both got lost in their thoughts, neither wanting to move from their partner's embrace.

“The fire is dying, Jack,” Daniel mumbled as the night ebbed into the wee hours of the morning.

“Mmm, let it.  You can keep me warm,” Jack replied.

“'Kay,” Daniel agreed as he started to fall asleep, a great feeling of peace inside of him.

“Love you,” Jack spoke as he, too, succumbed to the sandman.

“Too,” was all Daniel managed to say as he joined his lover in slumber.

As the two soulmates slept and the moon crossed the sky, both men dreamed about their lazy day and how much fun they had had just enjoying being with the other.  As their nation of two strengthened, both dreamed there'd be hundreds, even thousands more lazy days spent together.

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