The Spirits of Our Hearts

Author: Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Drama, Missing Scene/Epilogue, Partial POV - Daniel, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  6 - (Flashback to Season 2)
Spoilers:  Spirits
Size:  34kb
Written:  July 19, 2003  Revised: January 10,17, August 31, November 11-12, 2005, June 3,7-10, 2006  Revised for consistency:  February 22, 2007
Summary:  Daniel begins his computer diary, recalling when the Tau'ri met Tonane and the Salish.  How will his personal studmuffin react?
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) Jack and Daniel sometimes say things that have double meanings.  A simple “Jack” or “What are you doing?” could mean much more than the words spoken and could carry multiple connotations, including feelings, desires, fears, etc.  These double meanings are noted like this:  “Actual spoken words”  **(double meaning)**
2) Sometimes, Jack and Daniel speak almost telepathically.  Their “silent” words to each other are indicated by asterisks instead of quotes, such as **Jack, we can't.**
3) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
4) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fic(s), “They Don't Understand”
5) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Drdjlover, QuinGem, Heather, Claudia, Linda, Jodi!

The Spirits of Our Hearts
By Orrymain

“Danny, whatcha' doing?” Jack asked playfully as he entered the study.

“Just making some notes in my computer diary,” the archaeologist responded as he continued to type on the keyboard.

“Diary?” a surprised Jack responded.  “Giving up your journals?” he asked, feeling a bit confused at the moment.

“No, never,” Daniel answered, looking up at his lover.  “Jack, my journals are ... they're ... for me, but this is different,” he intoned.

“How so?” the older man asked, crossing the room and sitting down on the old, but comfy sofa.

“Well, I'm recording my thoughts about some of our missions,” the archaeologist explained.  Seeing the latest issue of Teal'c's favorite tabloid publication -- 'Glimmer' -- wrapped up under his lover's arm, Daniel mused playfully, “It seems inquiring minds want to know about them.  Actually, they want to know about us, Jack.  They're obsessing about us, now that they understand a little better about who we are and what we mean to each other.”

~He's lost his mind,~ Jack thought.  “Our missions are classified, Daniel, and what inquiring minds?  Just who have you been talking to?” he questioned.  ~I'll call Janet; maybe it's just stress.~

“They have clearance, Love,” Daniel spoke, a teasing expression on his face.  ~Look at his expression.  He thinks I've lost my mind.  He's so easy to confuse.  Gawd, I love him!~

“Daniel -- inquiring minds?”  Jack saw his lover's smirk and the direction of his focus, suddenly realizing he was being teased big time.  “Teal'c likes me to read it,” he spoke about the outrageous tabloid.

“Right.”  Smiling, Daniel requested, “C'mere, I'd like you to read this.”

“You're such a dictator!” Jack exclaimed.

“So you keep telling me.  Now come here,” Daniel ordered yet again.

“Yes, Sir!” Jack chuckled, standing and snapping to before joining his lover at the computer.

Smiling at Jack's humor, but not responding to it, Daniel explained, “I decided to write this entry in first person; I thought it might be more exciting, but I don't know.  I may just write the next one in regular third person for clarity.  I'm not sure though if ...”

“Daniel, do you want to discuss writing styles, or do you want me to read this?” Jack asked.

“Read!” the younger man commanded.  “But, uh, it's not my usual sty...le,” he added hesitantly, his last word broken upon seeing his soulmate's glare.  “I'll ... just be ... over here,” he said, pointing towards the sofa.

//Beginning of Daniel's Diary//
“Trinium,” General Hammond states as we sit around the large conference table in the briefing room.  He explains that the rocks currently in front of SG-1 are a new mineral thought to be one hundred times lighter and stronger than steel.  “That's a sample of raw Trinium which is too brittle for manufacturing because of its impurities,” he adds hastily, as Teal'c easily crushes one of the rocks in his hands.  Gee, he's strong.

There were big hopes for this material, but nothing ever seems to come easily.  SG-11 was late reporting back from their scouting mission to extract more samples from the planet, and, of course, we feared the worse.

Suddenly, the klaxons are blaring, and we quickly move to look out the large observation window that looks down on the Stargate.  The next thing I know, something swooshes through the Gate.

~Duck,~ I tell myself.  It was pure instinct.  ~Is everyone okay?~ I wonder as things calm.

When I look up, my heart screams as I realize everyone is okay, except for one.  My Jack is on the floor.  I rush to his side, helping him to sit up.  As he leans against my chest, I can see the blood running down his right arm, a result of the vicious-looking thick silver arrow protruding from his bicep.  I want to get angry at whoever sent this projectile hurling through the Gate and into My Jack, but right now fury would serve no purpose.  All I can think about is Jack.

~Be okay, Jack; please be okay,~ I silently beg since I can't say anything more aloud.

I want to hold him closer, more intimately, but I can't, not here in the briefing room.  Still, I refuse to let him go until Doctor Warner arrives to take my injured lover safely to the infirmary.  Fortunately, no one thinks it's odd or strange.  They're learning to accept that the colonel and the archaeologist are best friends who are always there for each other; and we are friends.  We're just lovers, too, and that, they can't know about.

Wishing I could do more, all I can do is watch as the medical team tends to My Love.  I can't even see him alone; there's no time.  We can't postpone the mission.  SG-11 is still out there, and we have to find out what's happened to them.  We delay only long enough to be sure that Jack is okay.

Before we head out, Sam, Teal'c, and I go to see our team leader.  It's not the visit I want with him.  It's far too public to say the things we want to say to each other; in fact, I stay back, almost afraid to move closer to his bed for fear I might forget we aren't alone.  At least he looks better now.  His voice is strong, and his humor is in full force as evidenced by him teasing Sam about her first command.  Still, I wish we could have had a moment alone, or something, but it just wasn't possible.  A look -- all we could muster was a look that spoke a million unspoken words.

“SG-1, you have a go,” the general tells us.

Reluctantly, I turn away from my lover's hospital bed and head for the Stargate.  I'm not the only one filled with anguish, as I know My Jack is, too.

My Colonel always worries about me when I go through the Gate without him.  You'd think I was a child, but it's just he loves me.  Truth be told, he hated our separations long before we were romantically involved, but now that we are, his concern has tripled.  His heart aches, and he never relaxes until he sees me return, safely back through Gate, and can take me into his loving arms.

It's no picnic for me either.  I still play my independent card, though.

“You worry too much, Jack,” I constantly tell him.  “I'll be fine,” but Jack scoffs when I say that.

“You're always fine, Daniel,” my lover retorts in frustration.

It's a bone of contention between us; one of those things we'll probably always bicker about until the day we retire.  That will be the day the world will learn that Jack and Daniel are an 'us', a 'we', and that we'll be that way forever and always.

My Lover and I are both men of strong wills and testaments.  We've built up defenses designed to keep others out of our emotions, to protect ourselves from pain, despair, and loss.  Now that we are 'us', though, we've had to find a way to let go of some of our hard-won independence, to realize that it's okay to worry, to ache, and to miss the other to the point of distraction.  It's not like we have a choice.  We suffer from an incurable affliction.

It's called love, and as crazy as it seems, as difficult as it is for some to understand, My Studmuffin and I are most definitely in love!
//End of Daniel's Diary//

“Studmuffin, Daniel?” Jack asked incredulously.  “When have you ever called me a studmuffin?”

“All the time, Love.  You're just usually in the process of seeing stars when I say it, too euphoric to remember,” the archaeologist smirked cockily.

“Oh,” Jack replied, clearing his throat for a second.  “But, come on -- Studmuffin?  Can't you come up with something more dignified?  I'm a colonel in the United States Air Force, you know,” he whined.

“I've noticed,” Daniel chuckled.  “It's hard to miss all that bellowing and order-giving.”

“Like you know what an order is,” Jack challenged.  As Daniel laughed some more, he asked suspiciously, “And just who are the mysterious 'they' that will be reading this?  You keep avoiding the question.”

“Jack, just read,” the younger man ordered as he lay back on the sofa, deciding to get a bit more comfortable.  He loved the old sofa.  ~We should get a new one, but ... no, I like this one.~

“Daniel,” Jack spoke.  **(I want to know now.)**

“Jack,” Daniel replied as he put a pillow beneath his head.  **(Why do you have to make things so complicated?)**

“Daniel.”  **(You're holding out on me, Danny.)**

“Jack,” the younger man replied, thrusting his hips just slightly as he settled in more fully.  **(If you don't keep reading, you'll see what holding out really means because you'll be sleeping on the couch tonight ... alone.)**

//Beginning of Daniel's Diary//
The mission on PXY-887 wasn't really dangerous, or rather, we didn't think it was when we set foot on it a little while ago.  Then, of course, we were all knocked out while I was translating a totem pole.  Well, explaining it to Sam would be a better way of explaining what I was doing, but the point is that while doing that, Sam, Teal'c, and I were all tranquilized by the natives there.

The planet is populated by people who are very much like the Salish of Earth. One of their leaders is a very amiable man named Tonane.  He and his people are guided by spirits, Xe'ls and T'akaya, who appear readily to them as a raven and wolf, respectively.

As we visit and get to know the inhabitants, I am surprised the tribe isn't more ritualistic.  Every time I think they are about to break out into some tribal dance or something, they use common sense or logic, instead.  I'm stunned when I warn Sam she may have to go along with some unusual rites when Tonane calls on the spirits for us, but instead, he simply call out their names.  I must be tired, or maybe I'm just worried about Jack, but regardless of the reason, for an anthropologist, I'm falling into a far-too-common trap.  That is, I'm taking too much for granted, and that's not a good thing, but that's neither here nor there at the moment.

Eventually, the spirits agree to return SG-11 to us.  At the same time, we convince their tribal council to allow Tonane to visit us at the SGC, which was important since they had denied our request for more trinium as it would damage their land.  We were confident we could change their minds by showing Tonane alternative mining operations we could use that wouldn't totally destroy 887's environment and/or that would replenish what was ruined.

I manage to find a quick moment to sneak into the infirmary while the others are still welcoming Tonane.  My Jack is dressed in his BDUs again, looking so handsome and sexy that I want to ravish him on the spot, but his arm is in a sling, and Sam will be coming soon to give her CO a report on the mission, so I settle for a quick hello.  I hate the military.  I don't want to settle, but there's nothing else I can do right now.

The infirmary is busy, bustling with activity, so we can't do any more than exchange looks of reassurance alongside our bland words.  We want to do so much more than that.  Some might say that it's because our love is new that we are so passionate, but I think they're wrong.  I think My Love and I will always be like this: each with a desperate hunger and need for the other.  I believe that forever and always love never lets passion diminish, that it feeds the flames of desire causing them to burn out of control.  We are forever and always, My Jack and I.

Okay, in the moment, that's what I hope, that we're forever, and yet I know it isn't that simple.  Before my lover ignited my soul, I didn't even know a forever could be dreamed about.  Now I do dream about it, wondering at the same time if I could finally end the loneliness and make the fears that have consumed me disappear.  I want to, with him.

“Daniel,” My Jack says quietly.  That's what his voice said, but his eyes are asking, 'Did everything go all right?  Are you okay?'

“Jack,” I respond with a smile, though my eyes respond, 'You're the one who had the arrow in his arm, Love.  Are you okay?'

My lover smiles in reply, and then I hear Sam.  Our brief moment of aloneness is ending, but I need to say something; it's welling up inside me.

I lean over, pretending to dust off something nonexistent on the hospital bed, and whisper softly in his ear, “I love you, Jack.”

I don't often say those words first because I, well, I guess I'm scared, but I had to say it right now.  As soon as the words are out of my mouth, I make a hasty retreat.  I feel good inside.  New or not, this connection with him feels so right.  I wish the feeling would stay forever.

Our hearts are so full -- of desire, lust, unadulterated joy, and all-consuming love.  We can't get enough of each other when we are alone, just the two of us in our private world.  It's like an addiction for which there is no cure, but who would want to be cured from this?  This isn't a bad thing like a sarcophagus, but rather, it's like chocolate -- something so sweet that it melts in our mouths, gliding its way down through our bodies, soothing, tempting, making us hungry for each other minute by minute.  While our hearts are pumping our sugary sweetness through our veins, our spirits soar in our minds as we share our burdens and our nightmares, our dreams and our hopes, and our longing for that elusive forever together.

We've never been good at expecting and planning for a future.  Why plan for something that we can't have, that we know will be taken away?  Some of that, actually a lot of that, might be my fault.  I love him, and yet, because of my past, I'm afraid of it ending.  That’s my conundrum.  I believe that Jack and I are forever and always, but I also believe that someday I will lose him. I lose everyone I love and care about.  Just think about Sha're.  No, not now. I don't want to think about my wife when I'm getting chills of excitement thinking about my lover.  I guess I'm far from being perfect.

As the days pass, though, My Jack and I are finding a way.  We ride the stars, building Stargates between them, each kiss and touch creating a new source of energy, each caress adding a new chevron to our existence, and each orgasmic scream launching us further into the belief of forever.  We soar through days and nights, our spirits melding together more and more until we wonder how we could ever have been two individuals instead of one 'us'.

How long have I been standing here, lost in the feelings of our love as I hug myself?  Apparently, it's been a while, judging from the stares I'm getting in the corridor.

~Focus, Jackson.  You have a job to do,~ I tell myself as I head towards my office.

Continuing to revel in our new world of Jack and Daniel, I proceed to go back to the task at hand, preparing a presentation for Tonane on various mining techniques.

I tried my best, but truth can't be hidden from the perceptive, and Tonane is perceptive.  It didn't take him long to see through the inadequacy of the our ways, to see the waste in our industrialization.  It's hard for me to argue with his decision, even though I know how much we need the precious mineral his planet can provide.

“I'm convinced our way is best,” the Salish representative speaks.

Along with being personable, our friend, Tonane, is wise.  He was ready to go home, and the presentation wasn't even half over yet.

General Hammond suggests I show Tonane around the base.  It's really an order, but I prefer to think of words like this as being suggestions, even from the general.  It's another of those bones of contention between My Love and I -- my failure to comprehend and follow orders, in his eyes, anyway.

Quickly, I realize there's some not-so-pleasant things to be discussed when we leave the room.

Later on, I learn the NID was part of the decision to lie to Tonane's people, to essentially go in and steal from a world we have no moral right to.  Why am I not surprised?

The trinium is highly desired, and for the first time, I'm ashamed of what was about to happen, about the way Earth would treat a new friend.

Jack tells me that the general had said, “What they don't know, won't hurt them.”

I'm surprised at General Hammond, but I suspect he's being pressured more than I can imagine.  It's why I don't like the military.  Diplomacy and fair trade go out the window too often when things don't go our way, but the truth is, we have no moral right to take from the Salish.  It's their world, not ours.  How can we possibly justify stealing?  We need their resources.  We're more technologically advanced.  We have the military might to back our wants.  We can do it, invade their land and take the trinium without them even knowing it, but does that make it right?

My Jack isn't happy about this situation, either.  He's a military man through and through, and yet, he has passion and concern for doing things the right way.  Okay, so sometimes, he has to fight his way through his own training to see what's right, but not on this.  From what I've learned, he was against it from the beginning.

Though we both believe there has to be a better way, we don't have a chance to figure it out.  The Salish are a lot smarter than our higher ups gave them credit for, and it seems SG-11 aren't really SG-11, but rather, Xe'ls, T'akaya, and, I assume, other spirits.  They are trying to take over the base, sending SGC personnel into some invisible land, and in the process, assuming the forms of various staff.

From out of the blue, I hear my lover's voice over the speakers, and he doesn't sound happy.

“Code 9.  Code 9.  This is not a drill.  I repeat, not a drill,” My Jack states with urgency.

I usher Tonane into a storage room.  Okay, for a genius, sometimes I'm not the quickest thinker, but I wanted to get him out of the way, to keep him safe.  There aren't that many options for hiding in the Mountain.  Uh, trust me, storage rooms can be very safe and secluded.  My Jack and I know that from first hand experience, but, oh, geez, that's not something I need to be thinking about right now.

I'm worried about Jack.  The alarm continues to sound, and my pulse races.  I need to be with him, to see him, to know he is safe.  Tonane sees through my 'tour' of the storage locker.  Tonane doesn't miss much.

“We have to find Jack,” I finally admit to our guest, trying to cover my concern with rapid movements.

After he astutely points out that Jack isn't in the storage room, I lead Tonane out of the room, into the corridors of the SGC, and we go in search of My Love.

**Jack, be safe.  Please be safe,** I communicate silently, hoping magically that he can hear me.

Then, I hear it, softly and gently, filling my mind -- **Danny, be careful.  It's not safe right now.  I love you.**

It's Jack!  My Jack is okay.  I can both feel and him.  The sensation draws me to the infirmary.  Wow!  Sure enough, there he is, but there's obviously a problem.  Teal'c is holding a zat on me, and it looks like he's zatted Xe'ls.  It also appears that Tonane's spirits are actually humanoid aliens with gills.

“Jack?” I ask as I enter the room.  **(What's going on?)**

“Daniel?” My Colonel responds a bit hesitantly.  **(It is you, isn't it, Babe?)**

“Are you, you?” I question, hoping he's really him and safe.  **(Please be you.  I've been worried.)**

“Yeah.  You?” Jack asks, giving me a quizzical look.  **(Of course, I'm me; who else would I be?)**

“What?” I reply, frustrated all of a sudden, though I'm not sure exactly why.  **(C'mon, Jack, you know it's me.)**

“Never mind,” Jack says, equally frustrated, I think.  **(For crying out loud, Daniel, no one else in the world could have these insane non-conversations, and I was worried about you, too.)**

I don't understand it.  Sometimes, I hear him, but he's not saying a word.  Sometimes, he says a word or a phrase, but I know he's really saying so much more, just like I am.  It's been like that from the beginning, before we were an 'us'.  Just saying each other's name could mean so many different things.  It's still that way, only now, we're hearing each other.  I don't think I want to think about it too much.

As we confer, I shake my head, realizing how we were about to steal from the Salish.  I suggest we try honesty as our weapon of choice.  After all, nothing else is working, and people are disappearing like there's no tomorrow.

“You mean fess up,” My Not-So-Dumb Jack simplifies.

My Jack, the colonel -- he never wanted to be a part of the deception in the first place, so he agrees to tell Tonane the truth.

Although I can see Jack is reluctant to let me out of sight, it's my job, along with Teal'c, to head back to the planet and explain the situation.  Even though the feeling is mutual, and I'm not anxious to leave My Love on Earth alone, we both know that we don't have a choice.

**Jack?**

**Be safe,** Jack communicates before I leave the room.

Wow!  I just don't understand how I can hear him when his mouth isn't moving, and I guess, he hears me, too.  Do I sound different when I'm silent?

~Good, Jackson.  Now that makes a lot of sense.  Stop thinking so much,~ I tell myself, as if it were possible.

Teal'c and I head to the gate room where we plan to return to the planet and talk with the elders of the Salish in the hopes that honesty will lead to understanding and a solution to this crisis.  Meanwhile, Jack begins the unpleasant task of explaining to Tonane what we were planning to do behind the backs of his people.

In the gate room, we find T'akaya guarding the ramp to the Stargate.  After she makes Teal'c disappear, I fear she's about to do the same thing to me.  Quickly, I tell her I know where Xe'ls is, knowing she'd be trying to find him. We make a deal.  She agrees to hear me out, and I agree to take her to Xe'ls, who is still unconscious from his injuries.

As we approach the infirmary, I see Jack has his weapon aimed on one of the aliens.  I charge in, holding my hand out to indicate for him not to fire.  I tell him it's okay, but my lover is confused, aiming his weapon at the aliens, then at me, back at the aliens, then at me again.

~He doesn't know it's me for sure,~ I think silently.

My Jack is scared, and that is something that doesn't happen often.  What if he fires, and I am me?  I see the terror on his face, the worry in his brow, and the love in his heart, fighting to know what he should do.

“How do I know you're really Daniel?” Jack asks cautiously.  **(Give me something, Danny; I'll kill myself if I kill you by accident.)**

“Because,” I answer.  **(Who else would answer a question like that with 'because'?  Listen to my heart, Love; listen.)**

What else could I say?  I just hoped he realized I was me.  I knew it was him; there wasn't a doubt in my mind.

“Yeah, okay,” Jack agrees, quickly coming to my side.  **(Danny, please stop scaring me like this.  I know I must have another gray hair.)**

We stand together side by side, taking comfort from knowing we are 'us', alive and well, at least for the moment.  Being close is all we can do right now; the crisis is still ongoing, but no matter what, we're together.  I feel his strength.  He makes me feel safe.  We're going to get through this; I know we will.

Xe'ls' comrades gather round and, in a very short amount of time, heal him.  Then, suddenly, we're all in the gate room.  Xe'ls is angry, not so much about almost dying, I don't think, as about the lies we told.  He tells T'akaya that he wants us punished.  It's only due to the agreement I made with T'akaya that we aren't instantly sent to the nowhere land that the spirits send their enemies.  I have no idea where that is, but wherever it is, I don't want to go. I'm quite content to be here on Earth, with Jack.

Note:  these spirits act with honor.  T'akaya really didn't have to keep her promise to me and doing so clearly put her at odds with Xe'ls, who is the obvious head spirit.  Xe'ls himself had no obligation to honor T'akaya's promise, especially considering we almost killed him.  Interesting, too, is that the Salish we met seem to act with integrity and simplicity.  I wish I could get the Pentagon to see the value of allies and friendships.  They are just as important as Jack's 'big, honkin' weapons' that the military loves to lust for.

Think about it.  What if the spirits had come through with SG-11 and heard us offer our alternatives to Tonane, but then, instead of covering up our intentions, had responded with truth.  What if we had said we understood and set up an agreement for what we could get from them, or maybe even to negotiate for more later.  What if we had just written off the trinium and decided to see what we could learn from the Salish as friends?

Who knows?  Maybe Xe'ls would have provided us with the trinium, or at least some.  Maybe he would have returned the real SG-11 and agree to let us come back and discuss a future as friends.

I can only sigh at the questions as I'll never know the answer.  Instead, we took the path of 'take no matter what the cost', and, in the end, we almost all died because of it.  No one is to blame for what has happened today but us.  Now, Xe'ls has agreed to listen, but will our words sway him?

I'm almost amazed that we do reach a meeting of the minds, and I'm proud that My Jack was instrumental in that achievement.  He suggested to the spirits that they bury their Gate to ensure the safety of their world.  He even persuaded the spirits to trust the Salish with their real identity.

Taking a chance that Jack was right, Tonane suddenly appears in the gate room, meeting his spirits in their true form for the first time.  As with everything else, the Salish man is wise in his acceptance of his people's benefactors, something that pleases Xe'ls and T'akaya greatly.  Maybe they've learned a little something from us after all.

Before our visitors return to their planet, they return the real SG-11 and all the SGC personnel who had been taken to that nowhere place.  They are safe and sound, although very confused, having no memory from wherever they'd been.

We're safe; Tonane and his people are safe; and another crisis has been averted.  There will be trinium taken from 887, but there are other planets.  I regret only that we won't be able to get to know the Salish and their spirits better.  It's just like the Nox, and inwardly, I hope that, just like we have with the Nox, someday we will be able to reestablish communication with those on 887.

I see Jack looking at me.  I'm tired, and he knows it.  He's also a little weak, not having had enough time to regain his strength from his injury.  We say nothing, but head to the briefing room to fill General Hammond in on everything he missed.  Afterwards, we head to our respective offices to prepare our reports.

Janet, who had arrived in the middle of the crisis, gives My Love her seal of approval, letting me take him home.  She doesn't know about 'us', but she learned way back when we first visited the Land of Light, that Jack and I take care of each other.  It never mattered which one of us was in need, the other was always there, and when it was time to go home, Janet would know to give the healthy one the instructions on the care and feeding of the injured one.

There was no such thing as releasing Jack or Daniel to going home alone; it never happened; not once, so on this day, she clears Jack, turns around, knowing I'll be there, and hands me the pills.  It's not a bad injury, but the man of my dreams had lost a lot of blood and spent the last several hours running around the SGC engaged in battle.  Lots of relaxation was in order.

“No strenuous activities for thirty-six hours, Daniel.  I'm counting on you to keep the colonel in check,” Janet tells me with that stern glare of hers.

Me?  She's got to be kidding.  I have plans for this evening, and from the look I'm getting from My Jack, so does he.

“Sure, Janet.  I'll make sure he ... behaves,” I respond.  Okay, so it's a stretch.  No, it's not a lie.  He'll do what I say.  He'll behave.  I am in such trouble.  ~I need a way out of this.~

Well, I guess we'll have to figure out a compromise somehow, only how do you negotiate a compromise without revealing the precise nature of the exertion in question?  He's a tough cookie; My Jack will survive a bit of strenuous activity.  We'll be careful.

Jack sees me over-thinking and glares at me.  Oh, sorry, Love.  Let's just go home and figure it out.  It's not like he's concussed or anything.  After all, My Jack is a big, strong studmuffin!
//End of Daniel's Diary//

“Daniel?” Jack asked, looking over the computer monitor at his lover.

“Yes, Jack?” Daniel responded, shifting slightly at having been disturbed from his relaxation.

“I'm going to let the studmuffin thing go, this time,” Jack intoned.

“That's nice of ... <yawn> ... you, Babe,” the archaeologist replied.

More sternly, Jack asked in amazement, “You didn't think my injury was worth being careful and understanding of?  You sure dismissed our doctor's orders pretty easily.  I'm hurt, Daniel, deeply hurt.”  He purposefully played up his despair as best he could.  This could be worth some serious good stuff, like, ~Ah, slave Danny; good for at least a weekend!~

“Can it, Jack.  Like I'm the only one who does,” Daniel snorted as he sat up and stretched his upper body for a moment..

“Hey!” the older man tried to object.

Shaking his head, Daniel retorted, “Give it up, O'Neill.  You don't listen any better to Janet's instructions than I do.  Who's always saying 'we' know best?  Besides, don't you remember that night?” he asked, a twinkle in his eye at the recollection.

“No.”

“Jack?  The ice cream, the whipped cream, and the peanut butter which we ...” Daniel lustfully recalled.

~Oh, geez, that was *that* night?~  Interrupting, Jack acknowledged, “Okay, Daniel, yes, I remember.”

“You weren't complaining then,” Daniel smirked.

“I'm not now either.  I'm just ...” Jack began.

“... being annoying?” the younger man completed.

Jack refuted, “Participating!  I'm reading your story and giving you feedback.”

“Feedback?” Daniel questioned skeptically.

“Yes, feedback,” Jack verified forcefully.  “You know, something that says what I like or don't like about it: a review.  I'm critiquing you.”

“Jack?”

“Yes, Babe?” Jack asked.

Dryly, Daniel stated, “I didn't ask you to be a critic; I only asked you to read it.”

“Don't you want to know my opinion?” the older man inquired, his eyes trying to give him a look of innocence, hurt, and betrayal.

Standing, Daniel replied, “Always, Babe, but right now, I thought I'd get out the ice cream, and maybe the whipped cream, and some wine ... and I might even grab the peanut butter.”  Smirking as he now stood at the doorway, he asked, “Now, would  you rather stay here and critique my notes, or are you coming with me?”

“With you, Danny, always and forever, Love,” Jack crooned as he stood up.  “I love you.”

“I love you, too,” Daniel replied.  “Chocolate or vanilla?”

“Both!” Jack replied as the two headed for the kitchen and a rendezvous of their bodies.

//Epilogue - Excerpt from Daniel's Personal Journal//
Who knew my computer diary could lead to such an exotic adventure, but it did.  When Jack finished reading about our adventure with the Salish, we began a night of exploration and discovery.  No matter how many times over the years we've made love, it never gets old.  There's always something new and sweet to find out about the 'us' of our love.

Tonane's spirits had been real beings, disguised in myth as animals of the forests.  They cared about the Salish and had no real desire to hurt us or anyone.  Their spirits, their reason for being, was simply to protect Tonane and his people.

Our spirits, Jack's and mine, are our hearts, always open and revealing the truths of our souls to each other.  Together, we are free -- to laugh, to cry, to hold, to touch.

When My Jack and I are together, alone in our nation of two, we soar like eagles, our wings big and strong, moving effortlessly as we connect the layers of our skin.  We fly higher than we can imagine as we meld together our limbs into one, moving and flowing in a rapidly increasing rhythm that takes us over the mountaintops and into the heavens.

Together, forever, My Love and I soar through our skies, and then sleep, nuzzled and entwined as if we were a human blanket and a human pillow, protecting and loving the other with our bodies.  Tomorrow, we'll face more battles, but the spirits of our hearts will never be defeated.  Sleep, My Love.  I love you.

... and yes, you are a studmuffin!

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