A Time for Us


Author:  Orrymain
Category: Slash, Angst, Drama, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  6 - December 17, 2002
Spoilers:  Fire and Water, Window of Opportunity
Size:  40kb; short story
Written:  July 20, 2003  Revised:  January 10,31, 2005, May 5, September 9, 2006, February 22, May 11-13,15,27, 2007
Summary:  When is enough, enough?  That's the question Jack and Daniel examine during their latest downtime from the SGC.
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) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
3) Used with the author's permission, reference to Jack having taken Daniel dancing is from Devra's magnificent work, “The Last Dance”
4) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better: QuinGem, Linda, Jodi, Melissa, Mair, Claudia!

A Time for Us
By Orrymain

SG-1's last mission was nothing especially worth noting, pretty much a standard meet and greet:  no Goa'uld to fight, no alien technology they had to barter their souls for, and, most importantly, no lonely natives to lust after Daniel, which pleased Jack greatly.  Now, the team had some downtime.  For Jack and Daniel, that meant time to relax and take care of things at the house.

Last night, the happy couple had made slow and tender love, and then, this morning, had begun the new day with some serious making out before being interrupted by a phone call from Mrs. Greenley, an elderly neighbor, who needed some help with her plumbing.  She had no one else and was on a fixed income, so Jack had been her unofficial handyman for years.

“I'll be back soon, Love,” Jack called out.

“I'm not going anywhere,” Daniel replied.  “Besides, I have a lot of things to do around here myself today.”

~I was hoping you'd 'do' me,~ Jack thought.

“Gawd, Jack, we've already done it twice in less than twelve hours, and I'm sure we'll ... *do* it again tonight.  Have a little patience,” Daniel chastised in a slightly amused tone.

“You aren't gonna miss me as much as I already miss you,” Jack whined.

“Jack, Mrs. Greenley is expecting you.  Go!”

“Meanie,” the older man groused.

Daniel rolled his eyes, turning around from his lover and walking away.

Growling and with a certain regret, Jack left his home to check out Mrs. Greenley's pipes.

====

When Jack returned, Daniel was occupied doing their laundry.  He had four different piles of clothing in front of him, something Jack just didn't understand, being the type to just throw everything in and hit the 'start' button.

“Laundry?  Can't it wait?” Jack asked.

“It's already waited a week longer than it should, Babe.  If it waits any longer, I'll be sockless and you'll be boxerless.”

“What's wrong with that?” Jack asked with a seductive smirk.

“No, Jack.”

“Well, you don't have to be so meticulous about it,” Jack complained as he watched his lover sort their laundry.

“Love me, love my laundry technique.”

“If I must,” Jack teased, earning him a glare from his life partner.  He coughed, then said, “I'm gonna mow the lawn.”

“You do that, Jack,” Daniel said, still glaring as Jack left the garage.

Reluctantly, Jack busied himself by mowing the lawn.  When that was done, he pulled a few weeds, repaired a fence post, and replaced one of the sprinkler heads, which had met its demise the last time he had mowed the lawn, accidentally running over the item and causing it to break.  Smiling as he adjusted the new sprayer, the Air Force colonel recalled how his preoccupation with getting Daniel back into bed had been the reason for the destruction of the previous sprinkler head.

~Oh, yeah!  I wonder if a repeat of that would work.~  Jack shook his head, thinking, ~Maybe later, when the laundry is done,~ he growled.

Satisfied with the yard work and hoping his mind could stay focused enough on the remainder of his downtime chores to not destroy anything else, Jack expressed a silent chuckle, realizing that forcing himself not to think of Daniel was more distracting than actually thinking about his lover.

~If that was even possible, on both counts.~

When he went inside to grab a beer, Jack decided to check on his soulmate, but couldn't find him in the garage or anywhere downstairs.  When he went upstairs, he noticed that the laundry had been completely done and put away, the sheets had been replaced on their bed, and even the bedroom furniture had been dusted.

“That's My Daniel, Mister Domestication,” Jack mused aloud.

On a hunch, Jack checked the front yard and discovered his domesticated partner leaning over his car.  The hood was open, Daniel's shirt was off, and his derriere was wiggling an invitation that Jack was eager to accept, especially since that was just about all he'd thought about since SG-1 had been given their downtime.

~Sheer perfection, and all mine!~  Jack approached his lover, who was swearing in one of the many languages he now spoke.  ~Wonder how many languages he knows now.  It was twenty-three when we met, must be at least forty by now.~

Jack was in awe of Daniel and counted himself very lucky, indeed.  Peeking around the street to make sure none of the neighbors were outside, he maneuvered his way behind the younger man, sliding his arms around his lover's waist and drawing him near.

~What the ...?~  Daniel jumped in response to the sudden contact against his body.  “Jack, don't do that!” he chastised as his heart raced.

Jack retaliated by planting a long and devouring kiss on the startled man and then coaxing him into the house.

“Jack, I really need to, uh ... well, to get this done,” Daniel said in a half-hearted attempt to continue his automobile maintenance.  “It ... needs to, I mean, lube ... and ...” he muttered somewhat incoherently.

The only lubricant Jack cared about was in the master bedroom, and that's exactly where he steered his lover, saying, “The engine will keep, Danny.”

====

After their mid-morning tryst into the heavens, Jack had run a few errands, while Daniel finished the work on his car and did some research on the internet.  Sam had dropped by for a few minutes to show off her latest revamped motorcycle, and then Daniel played fireman, getting six-year-old Cindy Herndon's cat out of a tree.

Jack had arrived home just in time to witness the 'rescue', shaking his head and uttering his usual, “Daniel, you never cease to amaze me with your talents,” when his lover had walked over to greet him.

“Anyone could have done it,” the younger man claimed, lowering his head as he glanced back over at Cindy, who was still holding her precious cat tightly to her chest.

“Maybe,” Jack agreed as he smiled over in the direction of the girl and her mother.  “But not many would have,” he said softly.

Daniel smiled, and the two headed back for their house.  Once inside, Jack began to make inferences that he was ready for another downtime tryst.

“Jack, is that all you think about?” Daniel laughed.

“No, there's that and ... Mary Steenburgen!”

As the two laughed, the phone rang.  It was General Hammond, wanting to confer with his second-in-command.  The call took the colonel out of Daniel's earshot for quite a while, allowing the archaeologist to get several other chores done.

Eventually, Daniel determined he'd done enough work for the day and settled on the couch, deciding this was the day he was going to finish reading Toni Morrison's novel, “Sula.” It was the most recent selection of Oprah's current Book Club, and Teal'c was insisting that Daniel read it so they could discuss it.

~Jack never should have told Teal'c about Oprah,~ Daniel chuckled.  ~I think Teal'c has a crush on her.~

The Jaffa never missed Oprah, videotaping the show even when SG-1 was off-world.  Ever since Jack had joked about being on the talk show as they left the Land of Light, Teal'c had become fascinated by Oprah Winfrey.  Now that the talk show host had brought back her book club after a hiatus, Teal'c was even more obsessed.  Daniel had never been one to read a lot of fiction, but turning down an intimidating Jaffa was not so easy to do.

As he turned to the chapter where he'd previously left off reading, Daniel remembered how Teal'c had roped him into this latest Oprah adventure.

//Flashback//
“You have something against reading this novel, DanielJackson?” Teal'c asked stoically.

“No, of course not, Teal'c, it's just my time is so limited,” Daniel replied, desperately trying to avoid his friend's intense stare.

“Perhaps it is Oprah you are displeased with?”

Daniel, for all his smarts, felt like a young child.  He had no clue how to explain that participating in Oprah's Book Club was not exactly on his 'Top Ten Things to Do During My Downtime' list, especially when what he did want to do involved his colonel, a couple of silk ties, and a bottle of Jack Daniels.  Having noticed Teal'c was still waiting for a response, Daniel squeaked onward.

“No, of course, not, but Jack, ... he, ah ...”

“So it is O'Neill that makes your time so limited?  How does he do this?  I wish to understand, in detail, DanielJackson.”

Suddenly, Daniel tensed.  While neither he nor Jack had told Teal'c of their relationship, not wanting to place him in a difficult situation, they suspected the Jaffa was aware of it.  In fact, looking at the man in front of him, the archaeologist was certain Teal'c knew because he could see what he swore was a smirk on the Chulakian's face, a smirk that said he knew perfectly well why Daniel's time was so limited.

“I'll ... read the book, Teal'c,” Daniel stated, admitting his defeat.

“By the twentieth, DanielJackson, and then we will consume dinner and discuss it as Oprah has requested.”
//End of Flashback//

Daniel had no choice but to do some intense speed reading because he was only a few chapters into the book, and the twentieth was just around the corner.  Something always seemed to interfere, and that something was a certain brown-eyed devil that filled his heart with joy and turned his knees into Jell-O.  Daniel had to finish the novel in the next couple of days or explain to Teal'c just exactly how Jack was making his time so limited.  Just the thought of explaining that “in detail” caused him to both shudder and blush at the same time.

When Jack returned from the study, where he'd been on the phone with Hammond, Daniel was thoroughly engrossed in the novel, doing nothing more than giving his lover a faint smile and nod to acknowledge his return.  It was the kind of look that told the older man he needed to give his lover some time, or there would be no more 'playtime' for the colonel.

Thus, Jack sighed and spent the next bit of time working on his pottery, something he had learned during the time loop business a few years before.

====

Some hours later, still unable to distract the very-absorbed linguist from his reading, Jack eventually decided it was time to clean his telescope and went up to the roof to do so.  When he was done, he sat there a while, pondering his luck in life to have a man as beautiful and wonderful as Daniel as his partner.

Life was good.  At the moment, it was also ridiculously slow, so slow that Jack found himself with nothing of interest to do.

~Time to reclaim my archaeologist; watch out, Danny, here I come.~

With his mind made up, Jack returned to the living room and sat next to his Love, putting his right arm around Daniel's shoulder and placing a long line of tender kisses along his nape up to his earlobe.

“I love you, Angel,” Jack whispered in between kisses.

“I love you, too, Jack, but go away,” Daniel said without flinching.  His lover continued his affectionate assault until the archaeologist moved slightly forward, turning his head towards his aggressor and issuing a warning glare along with the words, “Back off, Babe.”

Undaunted, Jack replied, “Danny, I'm bored.  Let's go fishing!”

“Jack, don't be a loon.  In the first place, we only have two days off, of which three quarters of the day is already gone, and that's not enough time to go to the cabin; and, in the second place, I'm in the middle of a book which I intend to finish reading tonight.  Now, go away, and leave me alone,” Daniel ordered, his right arm out in front of him with his fingers making a walking motion.

“But, Danny, I'm bored; I want to play,” Jack whined, reminding Daniel of a five-year-old.

“Play?” Daniel questioned distractedly, trying to focus his attention on the book and not his lover.  “We're not kids.”

“Yes, play, and what I had in mind is definitely not child's play,” Jack smirked seductively.  “I have a few ideas.  We could ...”

Daniel suddenly found himself being nibbled, kissed, and caressed by his one-track-mind lover, which normally he wouldn't mind, but the image of telling Teal'c why he hadn't finished the book kept circling through his mind.  Thus, he mustered up all the strength he could to try and ignore the pleasure he was receiving through Jack's attentions.

“Jack, stop it!  We played, to use your terminology, all last night, and again when you woke me up this morning, without even bringing me a cup of coffee first, I might add, and then again just a few hours ago.  I'm all played out, at least until tonight after dinner.  Now ... go ... a...way!”

“Danny ...”

“Jack, just go!  Go ... Jack, stop it!  Go ... just ... go ... play with yourself.”  Daniel was having a hard time getting his lover to take the hint, the older man continuing to 'play' with the linguist via as much kissing, nibbling, touching, and groping as he could possibly get away with.  “Jack!”

“Daniel, it's no fun without you.  C'mon.  We can watch a hockey game on TV.”

“Hockey?” Daniel asked incredulously with an almost pained expression.  “You've totally lost your mind!”

“I'm bored, and I just want to be with you, that's all.  I'm sorry if that upsets you, or interrupts your important reading,” the older man explained solemnly, his demeanor changing as he spoke.

It had begun as sort of a game, but Jack loved Daniel so much, and the need to be with him was practically burning a hole through his heart.  He knew better, but a part of the colonel wondered if maybe his partner wouldn't one day tire of him, especially if some old novel could keep them apart.

Sensing Jack's distress, Daniel put his good intentions on hold for a few minutes, and sighed, “C'mere, you ole softie,” as he cupped his Love's face and brought him closer.  Looking him deep in the eyes, he said softly, “I love you, Jack, and you will always be first with me.”

The younger man's comment was the beginning of some tacit reassurance for the colonel, verification that Jack and Daniel were always and forever.

A few minutes later, after some heavy making out which threatened Daniel's resolve to finish the book, the archaeologist pulled back, giving Jack one final long lip lock that left his silver-haired fox looking like the guppy that he himself was so often accused of imitating.

“That's all you're going to get for now.  I *am* going to finish this book, Jack.  You can sit here with me, or go watch hockey, or do whatever you want, but no nibbling, rubbing, petting, nuzzling, or anything else, if you stay here.”

“But, Danny ...”  **(Please)**

“No, Jack.”  **(You are so pushing it, colonel of mine)**

Realizing a need for a sudden change of tactic, Jack remembered seeing Daniel spending time on the computer in the study before they had gone to bed the night before.  He had another hunch.

Daniel had been putting in a lot of time working on his computer diaries.  At first, Jack didn't know why his soulmate was working on such a project, but the cultural expert had finally explained it to him, telling Jack that he was hoping that some day their experiences could be an example to others, even though he still wasn't able to explain exactly to whom.  Daniel wanted to teach that labels only hurt and that prejudice was the real sickness in the world.

//Flashback//
“I'm not really sure who, if anyone, will ever get to see it, Jack, but it's something I have to do, as if by writing about us, I'm achieving something,” Daniel began as he paced the living room, twiddling a rubber band in his hands.  “Sometimes, it feels like we're being watched, like people are out there observing everything we do and can magically see and hear us.  There's a reason for this; something I'm not sure that I understand, but I have to do it.”  He paused, stopping as he looked Jack in the eye.  “It's crazy, I know.”

“Maybe,” Jack agreed cautiously as he tried to understand his lover's emotions.

“Jack, I know how odd it is for me to be saying that one day I want people to read my private thoughts.  It's ... it's hard for me to come to terms with someone else reading about us, about our intimate thoughts and feelings.”  Daniel took a deep breath, his eyes focused on some faraway goal.  Maybe it was too far away; maybe it was idealistic, but, whatever it was, Daniel couldn't escape it.  “I'm ... I'm not even sure I can really do it, not ... not even sure how I feel about ... I mean, I love you, Jack,” he professed shyly.

“We operate in secret, Danny.  The odds on any of our missions being declassified during our lifetime is pretty slim,” Jack replied.

“But not impossible,” Daniel refuted, his eyes expressing so clearly how much he wanted to share their love.  “It's not the missions, Jack, it's ... us, who we are, what we are.  They just ... they just need to understand.”

In response to his lover's passion and confusion, Jack simply kissed him and then responded, “You do what you have to do, Angel.  I'm with you all the way.”  He saw his soulmate's beautiful smile and the sparkling of the younger man's cerulean blue eyes, both causing his heart to sing.  “Whatever you want to do is fine by me.  I'm not ashamed of our love, or how we got to where we are, so you write whatever you want.  If you want me to read it, I'll do it happily; if not, that's okay, too.”
//End of Flashback//

Jack smiled, recalling the pleased look on his true love's face.  His lover had wanted support, and Jack had given it.  As he returned to the here and now, he was certain Daniel had added more to the diary.  He also figured that this might be the best tactic to get his way with his linguist ASAP.

“Daniel, have you written more in your computer diary?” Jack inquired nonchalantly.

“Um, actually, yes, I did,” Daniel responded, looking up from his book.

“Can I read it?”

“I don't know, Babe.  The last time you read one of the diary entries, you freaked out over being my Studmuffin,” Daniel smirked.

Jack lightly chuckled, “No fair, Danny.  I was just surprised you'd write about that, that's all.  I really want to read what you wrote.  Besides, if you let me read it, you can finish your book in peace and quiet.  I'll be distracted from my ...”

“Nibbling?”

“Yes, nibbling,” Jack chuckled mischievously.  “Then again, I could just keep ... <nibble> ... doing ... <kiss> ... this, and we could ...”

Daniel was about to be lost to the sensations of Jack's touches and kisses when he snapped back to reality.  Jack was putting all his efforts into sensually nibbling one of Daniel's most erogenous zones.

~Oh, geez.  He's ... oh, Jack.  Have to stop.  Teal'c will ... kill me.  Dang book.~  “Jack!”  **(I can't concentrate when you do that.)**

“Daniel?”  **(I know, which is why I'm doing it.)**

“Okay, you win.  Let's go into the study, and I'll open the file for you.  Stop nibbling!” Daniel ordered desperately.

“You're no fun!” Jack said, mock pouting.  ~On the contrary, you bring joy to my life, Angel.~

Daniel made a motion for the two of them to get up off the couch, and then he put the book down onto the coffee table.  Jack's next question, however, made him pause, a nervous anxiety springing forth inside of him.

“So, what did you write about this time?” Jack inquired innocently.

The question made Daniel pause, a nervous anxiety springing forth inside of him. He remained seated on the sofa, and since he didn't move, neither did Jack.

~Okay, mood change,~ Jack observed, curious about the sudden shift in his lover's demeanor.

“I ... I wrote about ...” Daniel sighed, suddenly unsure about having Jack read the diary.

Jack had enjoyed reading his lover's account of their experience with Tonane.  Daniel sharing his private thoughts with him made Jack feel a warmth he couldn't express.  Still, if reading more of these remembrances was going to make his lover uncomfortable, he wanted no part of it.

“Danny, I won't read the diary if you really don't want me to,” the older man spoke, his words calm and sincere.

Daniel rose and walked towards the sliding glass door facing the backyard.  Jack followed, staying just a foot or so behind him, giving his lover a bit of space, which he sensed Daniel needed at the moment.

After a minute of staring at the green grass, Daniel turned around, wanting Jack to see the sincerity of what he was about to say.

“No, Jack, I want you to read it.  It's supposed to be read.  I don't know when or by whom exactly, but there is a reason for all of this rambling down memory lane, and ... Jack, if I can't share it with you, who can I share it with?”

“I love you, Daniel,” Jack spoke softly, taking the younger man in his arms for a moment, then moving apart just slightly to look into his lover's precious blue eyes.

Jack could see Daniel's soul in those eyes.  It was his personal gauge to the health and well-being of this wonderful man with whom he shared his life.  He placed his left hand on Daniel's cheek, gently rubbing his thumb across it.  Daniel gave a small smile, and Jack couldn't resist a brief kiss before continuing on.  He had to find out what was wrong.

“So, if you want me to read it, why are you upset?”

“I'm fine, Babe, really I am,” Daniel assured.  “It's just, I don't know, this is so important.  They need to understand about 'us', that we're real and important and forever, but, sometimes, it's hard to remember things that ... that ...”

“... that we'd rather forget?  Or that live on in our nightmares?” Jack guessed.

“Yeah, something like that,” the younger man admitted.

“So, what did you write about?”

“When I died ... the first time.  I wrote about Nem and ... I love you so much, Jack, but back then, on Oannes, it was still so far away.  We were so ... so ... oh, I don't know.”  Daniel sighed in exasperation at his inability to vocalize his feelings.  ~And you call yourself a linguist, Jackson!~

“How about in denial?”

“Maybe.  I was focused on Sha're, on getting her back, except ...” Daniel trailed off again uncertainly.

“Danny?” Jack said worriedly, stroking his Angel's cheek.

“Just read it, okay.  I'm not sure I was making much sense, though.”

Daniel walked back towards the couch, staring blankly at the long-forgotten novel sitting on the table.  He knew his lover wasn't going to let this go.

The younger man was so much better at communicating his thoughts -- his hurts, his pains -- these days, especially since that dream the couple had shared about his dying as the savior of Kelowna.  Still, he kept things inside sometimes, but only those most private thoughts and fears, those which were buried deep in his heart.  Some old habits were hard to break.

“There's something else bothering you.  What is it?” Jack questioned, sitting down on the arm of the sofa in front of his distressed lover.

“It's just ... I don't know.  Jack, it's so important.  I want us to be free.  I want people to see how much we love each other and not think that we're freaks or strange or a couple of abnormal rejects from society,” Daniel confided, unbidden tears springing to his eyes.

“Daniel ...”

“I know.  It's this hiding in plain sight business; it gets tiring.  I want to go dancing with you, Jack, and I don't mean at some supper club where there's only men, though it was so special, and I love you so much for taking me there and remembering, but I want to go dancing, in mixed company.

“I want to walk hand-in-hand at the park, here in the Springs, not just on vacation in San Francisco or when by some odd chance we're off-world, alone, on some planet where our relationship is accepted.  I want us to joke over grocery choices at the store.  I want us to snuggle at the movies, and not be afraid.  I want to go to dinner parties as a couple and not as best friends.  I ... I want us to be able to entertain here, as committed life partners, not like a friend who's helping out.  Gawd, it's so unfair!

“I want ... I want to love you, Jack, just love you.  I want the world to see us, and have that be okay without having to look around the edges for the NID trying to get something to blackmail you with, or without seeing mothers hiding their children because the 'gays' can't keep their hands to themselves, or without being beaten up for doing nothing more than breathing and wanting to be with the man whose heart is my heart.  I mean ... oh, I don't know what I mean ... I want ... it's just ...”

Jack couldn't take the distance any longer.  He saw the tears welling in Daniel's eyes, saw the sadness erupting within him, so he took action, closing the space that had been between them.  He pulled his Love into a comforting embrace, and as he did so, Daniel's tears somehow knew it was time to make their release, now that he was safely in his beloved's arms.

Jack kissed Daniel's nape and made soothing motions with his hands on the young man's back.  Daniel cried sometimes, but never liked doing so, and Jack's heart ached each and every time.

Jack continued to kiss and caress his lover, and then finally spoke softly into his lover's ear, “Shhh, Danny.  I know, and while I can't fix the world, I can fix part of it, for you, and for 'us'.  I can retire.  I'll do it, Daniel, right now, if you want me to.”

“You would?”

Daniel's voice had been so low, the question barely spoken, but Jack knew the answer.  It came without question, without hesitation.  Jack looked Daniel in the eyes, gently placed a kiss onto his nose, smiled, and headed towards the kitchen counter where the phone sat.

“Where are you going?” Daniel asked.

“To call Hammond and tell him I need to see him; then I'm going to type up my letter of resignation.”

~What?  Gawd, he's doing it.  For me?  I love him, but ...~  “Jack, wait.  Don't.”

Daniel had followed his soulmate until Jack finally turned around, now holding the phone in his hand.  They stood, facing each other, looking intently at the other, making sure they could read each other's faces.

“Danny, everything you feel, I feel, and everything you want, I want.  Don't you know that?” Jack asked in earnest, needing to reassure his soulmate and let him know he wasn't alone in his feelings.

“Yes, but ...”

“Daniel, I want to dance with you, too.  The next wedding we go to, I want you in my arms when the bride and groom lead their guests to the dance floor.  When we go shopping for Cassie's Christmas present, I want the gift to be from Jack and Daniel, one gift, from her uncles, her very together uncles, and she's old enough to know what that means.

“I want us to go to O'Malleys and sit at our favorite table, and I want to hold your hand as we wait for our dinner, not under the table, Danny, but right there for everyone to see.  I want the world to see how much I love you, and that, for some reason I may never be able to fathom, you're mine.  'Eat your hearts out, world, he's my archaeologist' - it's what I want to shout to anyone who looks and drools at you.

“I want it all as much as you do, so, yes, I'm going to retire, so we can start that life of ours.  No more hiding from the ignorant, not any more.”

Daniel's heart was so full that he thought it might explode.  His lover, who hated words, had just spoken the sweetest, most beautiful words he'd ever heard.  His eyes were wet from the moisture of love, but as much as he wanted to be selfish, he just couldn't.

“Jack, it's not time for that, yet, and you know it.  I'm sorry, I ... I just got so wrapped up in wanting and wishing, but if we stop now, and, you know when you retire, I'm out too; we've already discussed that, and it's not negotiable, so when we do stop, it means we leave knowing the Goa'uld are still out there.  Anubis is still out there.  Sarah is still there, too, Jack.  I ... I feel responsible for that, even though I know I shouldn't ... and what about Sam and Teal'c?  Are you ready to let go of what we've got with SG-1?”

Jack put the phone down and went back into the living room.  He wanted to make sure of his words.  He needed Daniel to understand.  Running his hands through his silver-gray hair, he collected his thoughts as the younger man waited patiently.  Then Jack turned and again closed the space between them.  Reaching out, he placed his hands on Daniel's waist and then leaned his forehead against Daniel's as he began to speak.

“Danny, we can't do this forever.  We can't be responsible for every snake still on the loose.  There'll always be someone out there, and all we can do is keep the world safe for as long as we can do it.  At some point, though, we have to let it go.

“I know, that's a strange thing coming from the military guy here, but I want more.  Honestly, Daniel, we've both given up more than anyone could ever ask to save the butts of the same people you were talking about, the same ones who don't understand and probably don't even want to.

“Most people don't want to listen; they can't, because they get caught up in their own fears.  They think we're different, and that scares the living daylights out of them.  We can't change those people, Danny.

“I know what you're trying to do with your diaries on the computer, and, frankly, I'm glad, because there are others out there who are not prejudiced, only ignorant, and maybe we can get through to them.”

Jack paused, putting his left hand under Daniel's chin and lifting it slightly upward to make sure Daniel would see his eyes as he continued to talk.

“Maybe if we let them see that a retired, highly decorated USAF colonel and a multiple PhD'd geek can be in love and happy and as married as any traditional couple, then just maybe we can open their eyes a little and make it easier for the next guys, if not for ourselves.”

Jack paused, still gazing into his Love's eyes, and then spoke, “Regardless, we're entitled to a life.  When is enough, enough?  You said it yourself.  You wrote about the time you died ... 'the first time'.  Danny, that was already one time too many.

“As for Carter and Teal'c, we'll always be a family, you know that, but Carter's ready for the next challenge, and maybe a command will finally get her to where she needs to be.  She's come close to losing her edge a few times because we are all so close.  It's cost her, I think, in terms of her capabilities, so I'm not so sure that leaving now wouldn't be a good thing for her career.

“Teal'c, he can write his own ticket -- stay on with the SGC or go back to Chulak.  He's a warrior, Daniel, with years ahead of him, and he'll never have to worry about growing gray hairs, either!  So, when is enough, enough?  When do we finally get to think about us?  Answer me that.”

Daniel pulled away, the truth of Jack's words circling through his mind.  Jack was right.  Yet, he couldn't help himself.  His lover had spoken so eloquently, expressed so many emotions, and he'd done it intelligently, rationally, and lovingly.  They both wanted the same thing.  Still, there was something inside of him that was urging him to continue on, that there was more to be accomplished at the SGC.  He hated himself for that, but he just couldn't run from it.

“Soon, but ... but not yet, Jack.  We can't be that selfish,” Daniel stated apologetically.

“Sarah?”

“Yes, but not only her.  We need to find the lost city that was written about on the tablet we found on Abydos, and we're close, Jack.  I feel it.  I don't know why, but I do.  Please, Jack.  Let's stay a little longer.”
 
Jack could never deny Daniel of something he wanted, not even this, at least not yet.

“If that's what you want, we'll stay, but not forever, Daniel.  That lost city or whatever it turns out to be will probably open up a whole new can of worms, and then what?”

Daniel suddenly smiled, not a small, shy one like Jack had seen earlier, but that bright, happy, radiating one which always gave Jack's stomach happy butterflies. It was Daniel who closed the space between them this time.

The archaeologist gave his colonel a kiss, and answered, “Then, we do what we can to make sure they are friendly worms, and then we ... we go fishing.”

Jack laughed, passionately kissing the smiling man he now embraced, and then challenged, “Friendly worms?  Fishing?  *We* go fishing?  Daniel, you must be coming down with something.  You never volunteer to go fishing with me.”

Grinning, the younger man answered, “I am now.  I may be out of my mind, but it seems like heaven to me.  You fish, and I read, and then we ... don't!”

“We don't?  And what is it we ... don't?” Jack asked coyly.

“Well ... There's this ... <kiss> ... and this ... <nibble> ... and ...<bite> ... this ... <nuzzle> ...  and ... <big kiss> ...”

Jack was oh-so-willing to get with the program, but thought he should at least make one attempt to get Daniel back on track, since both were supposed to be reading.  He was positive Daniel would whine about it later, so this was a preemptive volley in that 'discussion' to come.

The military man's defense formed in his mind:  “I tried to get you to finish reading your book, Daniel, remember?”  Yes, Jack had it already planned.  He'd be safe.  Trying to speak while Daniel was doing what he was currently doing wasn't easy, but Jack pressed onward.

“Daniel?  Uh, Love, I thought you wanted to finish your book?”

“What book?” Daniel asked absentmindedly, too involved in his current task of unbuttoning his lover's shirt to have more than short-term memory access.

“That one, there on the table, and I wanted to read your computer diary,” Jack answered, thoroughly enjoying what was happening.

As Daniel was pulling off his lover's shirt, he responded, “I'll finish the book later, and you were there, Jack, so you know what happened, but if you want, I'll let you read it tonight.  Right now, I'd rather ... play ... with you.”

“Ah, play ...”

Jack let out a soft moan as Daniel kissed a particularly sensual spot on his chest.

“... and nibble,” Daniel added, nibbling away at his lover.

“Nibbling is good,” Jack agreed happily.

Jack was beginning to lose brain power and found himself wondering why they were still downstairs.

“... and?”  That was it.  With his lover's next touch against his body, Jack could take no more.  “Daniel, bedroom ... Now!”

“Lead on, Colonel!” Daniel said knowingly.

As the lovers hurried up the stairs, the younger man had a momentary thought flare that he'd forgotten something important, something about Jaffas, details, and potential embarrassment, but a few kisses later, being entwined as one with the man he loved, Daniel figured whatever it was couldn't have been very important.  He'd have to ask Teal'c about it tomorrow.

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