Series: Finding Home #2
Category: Drama, Angst, Hurt/Comfort, AU, Established Relationship,
Pairings: Jack/Daniel, Janet/Teal’c, Sam/Pete
Summary: Jack’s back from the dead. This is what happens.
Dr. Daniel Jackson looked at the street below his loft. It was rainy weather. It had been raining for over three days. He had been able to stay in for those three days, since he worked from home. But today he would have to go out and into the rain. It was a ritual he had kept for the last six years and he wouldn’t break it now on it’s seventh year. He was jolted from his quiet contemplation by the ringing of a phone. He moved quickly to answer it.
“Jackson.” He said into the phone. But there was no answer. “Hello? Is anybody there? Hello?” When he didn’t get an answer he hung up the phone. He thought it was just some kids playing a prank. He put his cordless phone back into the charger and moved to the hall closet to get his coat. He didn’t grab an umbrella because he didn’t want anyone to see his tears and the rain would wash them away. As he got into the elevator his phone rang again. But he didn’t hear it.
He silently drove his car to the cemetery. Not wanting to have an accident. His mind was elsewhere and he didn’t need a radio to distract him. The trip took him over an hour. Daniel hadn’t attended the funeral for Jack, who was laid in the ground. He knew that he couldn’t because Jack was male and had been his lover. Jack had been a member of the American Military. And Daniel had never visited the grave on the anniversary of the day Jack had died. He didn’t want to meet anyone. So he had chosen the day he had met Jack at the cafe. No one was ever there to see him. No one could see the tears he cried for his lost Jack.
Jack had been declared dead almost seven years ago. Lost over seas on a mission. They had found Jack’s pack bloodied with holes in it. They couldn’t find any evidence of Jack or his teammates so they had declared them dead. Thinking that maybe animals had got their remains. Or they had been buried in a mass grave somewhere. Daniel crouched at the gravesite. He never left anything there. So that no one would know he was there. Except a simple kiss over Jack’s name on the gravestone, he stared at the name: Jonathan Charles ‘Jack’ O’Neill. He never spoke words. Afraid someone would hear him.
After a little bit Daniel stood and went back to his car. His tears are gone now. He wouldn’t let himself cry tears for another year. The next time he comes to visit the grave. He’d only let himself cry on that day. The only time he’s ever cried was when his parents died at age eight he cried. But not after not till near seven years ago. Between the ages of eight and twenty-three he had never really cried. Until his lover was declared dead. Daniel was still silent when he got out of his car. His new doorman, Siler, opened the door for him. Siler smiled at him.
“Dr. Jackson. A man was here for you earlier. He left his phone number. I put it in your mail box.” Siler said. Daniel nodded and picked up his mail. He didn’t look at any of it until he got back into his apartment. He knew the phone number. He picked up his phone and dialed the number. He quickly set about turning on his computer to work and get his lunch started.
“Hello.” The voice on the other end said.
“It’s Daniel, Teal’c.” Daniel said into the phone. He was putting a kettle on the stove for tea.
“Daniel Jackson. How are you?” Teal’c asked.
“I’m good, T. I’m good. How about you and the girls?” Daniel asked. He looked at the picture of Teal’c and his two daughters and mother in the living room.
“Janet is well. Pregnant again. We hope it’s a boy.” Teal’c said.
“Like you two need anymore…sure it’s not twins?” Daniel asked a smile on his face. He was moving around the kitchen grabbing the things he needed to make a sandwich.
“Don’t say that. You’re the third person to say it.” Teal’c said. Daniel could hear the smile in his voice. “If we do have a boy, Janet already has his name picked out.”
“Yeah. Any better than the girls names she tried to get you to pick.” Daniel asked. Some of those names had been bad. He started putting the things together for the sandwich.
“Yes it is. It is Daniel.” Teal’c said. Daniel didn’t say anything. He couldn’t. “It is our way of saying thank you for saving me from my death at the hands of my captors.”
“T, I don’t know what to say.” Daniel said. He started cleaning up. His sandwich made. The kettle started whistling and he shut the stove off. He pulled a mug down from his cupboard and put a tea bag in it before pouring the hot water in. Once the tea had seeped a few seconds the smell of chamomile tea filled the kitchen, calming him down slightly.
“Say that you will let us call our son that.” Teal’c said.
“Yes, of course you can.” Daniel said. He grabbed a plate to put the sandwiches and chips on then left to go to the den where his computer was up and running.
“We also wish you to give him his middle name.” Teal’c said. Daniel nearly dropped his plate on his desk.
“Charles. I think it should be Charles.” Daniel said as he sat down in his chair. Teal’c was the only person who knew any information about his lost lover. As well as the fact that Jack’s middle name had been Charles.
“Then his name it will be. How is the book coming along?” Teal’c asked.
“It’s going good. Finishing touches then I am sending it to the publisher. Sam can’t wait to get her hands on it.” Daniel said. He pulled a disk out of his desk drawer and put it in the computer. He pulled up the last chapter of his newest novel.
“What is this one about again?” Teal’c asked.
“Oh, murder mystery.” Daniel said. He heard a cry ring out on Teal’c’s end of the phone. “I hear you need to go.”
“Indeed. But Janet has invited you to dinner tonight.” Teal’c said.
“I’ll be there.” Daniel said hanging up the phone. He smiled and started to eat. Three hours later he was done with the revisions to the last chapter of the book. He printed it out and added it to the rest of the manuscript. He was interrupted by a knock at his door. He looked at the clock it was around four. It couldn’t be Teal’c. He stood and stretched. He wondered who it was. Had to be someone he knew if they got passed the doorman, or someone with an important ID. Daniel opened the door and was shocked. It was two men from the Air Force.
“Dr. Daniel Jackson?” One of them asked. Daniel nodded. “I’m Major Paul Davis. If you don’t mind, I would like you to come with me.”
“Why?” Daniel asked. He wasn’t about to leave with knowing why he was going. He didn’t think it could be about Jack. He had been gone for so long now.
“I can’t tell you why. I’m not allowed.” Paul said. Daniel saw the look the other man gave him. That made Daniel’s decision. This man knew he was gay and hated him for it. No way was he getting into a car with that man.
“No. I’m sorry.” Daniel said. He made to shut the door. Paul stopped him by showing his foot between the jab and the door. The other man was huffing. He didn’t want to be here and he showed it.
“Please. You and I can take your car. My co-worker here will go back to his job. You won’t be hurt.” Paul said. The other man turned and left, quickly. Daniel watched him leave.
“You still haven’t convinced me I should go.” Daniel said. Paul sighed. He had been told that Daniel was stubborn and to expect a battle to get him to come with him.
“I know you are gay. It’s widely known. But I am to take you somewhere, safe. And I think you will want to go. If it was me I would go.” Paul said. Daniel eyed the man. He saw the truth in his eyes.
“Black Grand Am on the street. I’ll meet you down there in five.” Daniel said. He quickly shut down his computer. Put his manuscript in his safe and locked up the house. It had stopped raining so he didn’t put his coat on but carried it with him. Paul was waiting at the base of the steps.
“I thought it would be better if I drove. So we can get through security easier.” Paul said. Daniel nodded and handed him the keys. The drive took half an hour through the D.C. traffic. Daniel saw they were pulling up to a military hospital. Daniel refrained from asking any questions, even though he was curious. He followed Paul back to a family room. Before Paul opened the door he faced Daniel. “This room is sound proof. There are no cameras. Feel free to talk.”
“Major Davis?” Daniel asked. But Paul opened the door and shoved Daniel in. Daniel was surprised. Why did they want him? Why was he put into this room? Alone. He didn’t look around. He didn’t understand. “That’s the military.”
“Yeah, it is.” A voice said from behind Daniel. Daniel spun around; he wasn’t alone like he thought. He looked at the man in front of him. The hair was short and silvering but just how it used to be. And the body was leaner like it hadn’t eaten enough for a long time. But this person shouldn’t be there, Daniel’s mind said. He backed up into the door and fainted. The man couldn’t move quick enough to catch him so Daniel slumped to the floor. The man cursed but didn’t move. He was afraid that if he got close and Daniel woke up he would scare him worse.
Daniel sat up quickly, not remembering where he was. He heard breathing from somewhere above him. He looked up into Jack’s eyes. He was standing on his crutches now. Daniel stood quickly. He didn’t know how long he had been out. But it couldn’t have been long since Jack hadn’t called for help. Nor had he moved to help him. Daniel put his hand on the doorknob behind him, to steady himself.
“Dead. They said you were dead.” Daniel said. Jack nodded. Daniel collapsed against the door behind him, his legs not being able to hold him. Jack started moving towards Daniel slowly. Even slower than normal for a man on crutches, like he was approaching a wild animal. He knew this would be a lot on Daniel and he didn’t want Daniel freaking out.
“I knew if they had told you I was alive then you would have freaked. I would have had to have come and got you out of the loft. So I thought this was best.” Jack said. Daniel looked at him like he was seeing a ghost.
“How?” Daniel asked. His voice low and controlled. Like he was about to break. Jack stopped moving. “How are you alive?”
“Blind oversight. The mission wasn’t fully sanctioned. Which none of us knew until we were ambushed by the locals in the middle of the night halfway into the mission. So when we turned up missing they just classified us as MIA. Then KIA after they found the packs. No evidence of us meant no evidence of what we were supposed to be doing.” Jack said. Daniel couldn’t stand it anymore. He could stand there looking at Jack. He quickly turned the knob and left the room. He didn’t notice anyone around him. Nor did he register Paul hurrying after him or the woman he bumped into.
“Daniel?” The woman said. But Daniel didn’t hear her and he kept on going. By the time Paul made it out of the hospital, Daniel was already to the security gate leaving, handing back his ID. Paul didn’t call for them to stop him because he didn’t know what that would do to him. The woman went out next, staring at the retreating car. Not knowing why Daniel had been here in the first place or why he had left so quickly and emotionally. “Why was Dr. Jackson here?”
“You know him?” Paul asked as he looked at Dr. Fraiser.
“Yes. He and my husband are wonderful friends.” Janet said. Paul nodded. He knew that right now she could help Jack and maybe help Daniel as well.
“Come with me. I think that Colonel O’Neill will need some help.” Paul said. Janet nodded but didn’t say anything. She didn’t know why Daniel would be there to visit the Colonel and why Daniel had left the place running. They made their way back to the family room to find Jack silently crying. Janet walked over to him.
“Colonel?” Janet asked. Jack just shoved her away. He didn’t want to be touched. Not until he had better control of his emotions.
“He looked at me and fainted. When he woke up he just ran. I hoped that seeing me instead of being told would make it better. That he wouldn’t be so scared.” Jack said. Janet pulled him into a hug. He accepted it this time. Janet looked up at Paul. Wanting to know more. Because of how both men were acting she had her thoughts on who this man was. And she now knew why Daniel had done that. Her husband, Teal’c had told her many things of Daniel. One being when things got rough he ran. So he could think things out calmly.
“He and Daniel were friends. I went and got him this morning to show him that Jack was alive. I left Daniel in the room with Jack. A few minutes later he took off out the door.” Paul said. He backed out of the room and shut the door. Letting them have privacy.
“Daniel never talked about you. At least to me.” Janet said. Jack looked at Janet sharply. Janet saw the fear in his eyes. The fear that maybe Daniel was with her.
“You know him?” Jack asked. Wondering how this woman knew him as he regained composure. And the fear that Daniel was lost to him.
“Yes, he and my husband are good friends.” Janet said. Jack nodded. Janet saw the pain in his eyes. But she understood why Daniel ran like that. She saw the love in Jack’s eyes. And she knew why Daniel couldn’t stand it to stand there. Teal’c had told her about Daniel’s past. What he was allowed to tell. She knew the pain he had went through when his partner had died. But she was never told that he was military. She had seen the looks in his eyes. The pain when he would see people together who were happy.
“Friends?” Jack asked. She heard the pain in his voice.
“I have known Daniel for almost seven years. Since a few months after we believed you died. He has dated. But it’s never gone past one date. Deep down. He still loves you.” Janet said. Jack’s eyes flashed with horror in them. “Don’t worry. I am a doctor. I won’t tell. I wouldn’t do that. But listen I have a plan. I was coming to tell you that you are a free man, a civilian now. Paperwork’s all done. You have an appointment to get your other ID’s tomorrow. But since there is no one to come get you, I have a plan. I am getting off…. three minutes ago. Why don’t I take you shopping for clothes? Then you can have dinner at my house. Meet my husband and two children.”
“Doc…” Jack started. He didn’t want her to do this because she felt bad about Daniel leaving him there. He looked into her eyes and saw the he wouldn’t win.
“Janet. My name is Janet, Jack.” Janet said. Half an hour later Jack was in Janet’s front seat. His crutches in the backseat and his sprained ankle on the dashboard, the air cast not putting any pressure on his injured limb.
“So how long before I can get rid of the crutches?” Jack asked.
“A week. If you are good.” Janet said.
“I don’t have a place to go. I was counting on staying with Danny.” Jack said.
“We have a guest room. You could rent it out. Until Daniel comes to his senses, which shouldn’t be very long, a week tops. He told me once about visiting your grave. That he never did it when you died because he didn’t want anyone to see him. But how he always went on the day you two met.” Janet said.
“That was today. Thirteen years ago.” Jack said. Laughing at the irony of his coming back on that day.
“He rarely talks about you. I never knew your name. He’s a very private man.” Janet said. Jack nodded. He remembered how long it took to get information out of Daniel. He never thought things like that were important. He never thought he was.
“He always has been. I want to thank you, Janet. For helping me with everything. I guess I never really planned for if Danny didn’t want me. It was something my mind just didn’t want to think about. I don’t think I would have survived if I had thought about that.” Jack said. And he hadn’t. They had been so in love.
“He wants you, dear. But you’ve been dead for seven years. That takes some adjusting. You have the cash you were given?” Janet asked as she drove carefully.
“Yeah. In my wallet Paul got me. Along with a credit card and other simple identification.” Jack said. Janet smiled and nodded. Janet took Jack to a local mall. They spent an hour getting Jack a few changes of clothes along with other essentials. They passed a jewelry shop and a set of rings caught his eye. Janet saw what he was looking at.
“It would make a good first purchase for your credit card.” Janet said. Jack shrugged. He didn’t want to hope. He didn’t want to plan ahead to that. In case it didn’t happen.
“Daniel would love them. Simple and beautiful.” Jack said. Janet nodded. She knew that.
“Then get them. Ask him. Once everything is settled down and you two are back on track. Jack, he loves you. But you just returned from the dead. It was a shock. It’s going to take some time to get used to. That’s all.” Janet said. She maneuvered Jack into the jewelry shop. Knowing this was what he needed.
“When things get too much he runs.” Jack said. Janet stopped and looked at him. Jack smiled. “It’s a defense mechanism. It’s easier for him. He had lost so many people in his life. His parents. His grandfather didn’t want him. He bounced from foster home to foster home because no one could cope with a kid that didn’t like to talk and just wanted to read. Wanted to be left alone.”
“Things like that are hard to lose.” Janet said. She added the part about Jack leaving silently in her mind. Now she knew why he never really came over in the beginning. Not wanting to get attached.
“He got better as the years went by in our relationship. We were together for six years.” Jack said looking at the wedding bands. Janet left him alone so he could look at them in peace. When a jeweler came over Janet waved him away. The man nodded and left. Half an hour later Jack had found the perfect set of rings. The rings were silver. But what made them perfect was the fact that it was really two rings in one. The ring was two bands of silver twined together. “Two people joined perfectly.” Jack said pointing at the rings. Janet moved over and looked at them. Janet smiled.
“They are perfect, Jack.” Janet said. Jack nodded. Jack would be able to pick them up next week. He still remembered Daniel’s ring size and he hoped it hadn’t changed. “He’ll love them.”
“I know. I saw them and knew they were the ones.” Jack said as he got into Janet’s car. “Now where?”
“Home.” Janet said. She saw the flinch on Jack’s face. She knew that for him home was that loft in the middle of town that Daniel lived in. “Did you live with him?”
“Sorta.” Jack said. He didn’t say anything for a few minutes. “I had my apartment. I kept it for the obvious reasons. But most of my time was spent at his loft. In the beginning it was because he was more comfortable there. It kept him at ease and made him happy. I had twelve years on him. We ate at his and my place for our first few dates. Just till he was comfortable with me and wouldn’t jump when I touched him. But our first real date outside the houses, he was so nervous. He spilled his drink. He was so cute. Always was. But he never thought it.”
“That’s not him now.” Janet said as she pulled onto her street. “He’s not that shy anymore.”
“He lost it as the years went by. No one ever seemed to care for him. Not ever any of the foster parents. Not until I came along. All he had was me. I never got along with my parents so all I had was him. In so many ways he was a lost little boy. I’m just glad I was the one to help him find his way. I’m also glad he didn’t lose the confidence he gained while with me. He seems to lose the ones he loves.” Jack said staring out the window of the car at the houses.
“He hasn’t lost you. Not yet. And if I have anything to say or do about it, He won’t. He’s stubborn you should know that.” Janet said as she pulled into her driveway.
“Stubborn to a fault. I will need to call him Janet. If just to tell him where I am.” Jack said.
“I know. You can after we eat dinner.” Janet said. She knew that Daniel would be there for dinner. He never breaks the dinner dates he plans. And she had had a guess that he was at the house. And the red jeep sitting in the driveway confirmed it. She wondered for a second why he had switched vehicles.
Jack saw a jeep parked outside of Janet’s house. It was a nice jeep. Red. Jack remembered back to when Daniel talked about owning a jeep like that. Right before he sent his first book off to the publisher. They had been laying together on the couch after finishing watching a movie. Many weeks later Jack had disappeared into the wastelands of the Middle East.
“Whose jeep?” Jack asked staring at it. He could see Daniel driving it during summer with the top off. Sunglasses covering his eyes and a warm smile on his face. He could also see himself beside Daniel. But that image was fading in his mind.
“Oh, we must have company.” Janet said. She carried all of Jack’s stuff in to the house. “Go straight back. The den should be there. Teal’c, my husband, is expecting you.”
“Thanks.” Jack said. He made his way back there. He heard a deep voice talking. The tone was soothing. But he couldn’t understand the words.
“I left. I just ran.” Another voice said. It stopped Jack in his tracks. It was Daniel. He heard Janet behind him. And he turned. She looked sheepish but not sorry.
“We invited him to dinner this morning. To celebrate.” Janet said.
“Celebrate what?” Jack asked. He could hear Daniel crying in the other room. Janet knocked and motioned for Teal’c to come out. Teal’c did. He eyed Jack with a raised eyebrow before looking at Janet. Jack knew Teal’c recognized him. Which meant that Daniel must have shown him a picture at some point during their friendship.
“Teal’c. Jack O’Neill. Jack, Teal’c. Now, Teal’c, you and I are going to get the meal ready. Jack is going to talk to Daniel. The girls are outside so you won’t have to worry about them bugging you. Go, Jack.” Janet said. Jack nodded and entered the room. He left his crutches outside so Daniel wouldn’t hear them. Janet shut the door to let the men have some peace. Jack grabbed a tissue and handed it to Daniel. Daniel thought it was Teal’c. Jack sat down and pulled Daniel to him. Daniel went willingly until he knew it wasn’t Teal’c. Jack’s body was a lot leaner than Teal’c’s.
“Shh. Don’t Danny. Please. Let me hold you.” Jack said. Daniel turned and put his arms around Jack’s waist. He started crying again.
“I’m sorry… I was so …surprised… My mind just… shut down… I drove to the park… I just… sat there.” Daniel said. Jack kissed the top of Daniel’s head. “I did it again. I…”
“It’s fine. I saw your jeep. Finally bought the vehicle of your dreams, huh?” Jack said he felt Daniel laugh. That’s what he wanted, to get Daniel laughing. They were together. Nothing else mattered. Not sobs and tears, just Jack and Daniel. “Tell me about your books.”
“Okay.” Daniel said. He sat up and dried his eyes. “A week after you left the publisher of Echo Books called. Her name is Sam Carter. My book hit big with them. I mourned you, believe me I did. But to hide from the pain I buried myself in my writing. After that first one, I wrote a whole trilogy in two years.”
“When did you meet Teal’c?” Jack asked starting to rub Daniel’s back. Daniel leaned into Jack like a cat. Like he used to do years ago when Jack did this.
“With the money from my first book I went to Egypt. Like we had planned. Like you wanted. A group of robbers had him. They were about to kill him. I helped him with citizenship and he lived with me till he could support himself. He and Janet have been married five years. They have two girls, Joey and Susie. And tonight thye are celebrating their third kid.”
“They both seem grateful.” Jack said. Daniel nodded. “Do they know what it’s going to be?”
“Teal’c thinks it’s going to be a boy.” Daniel said. He stood to get another tissue to blow his nose. “They asked me to give him his middle name.”
“Charles, right?” Jack asked. Daniel nodded. Jack stood and hugged Daniel from behind. “Daniel Charles Fraiser. I like it. You always loved my middle name. They have to have food ready. We can talk more after.”
“Okay, Jack.” Daniel stood. He got Jack his crutches from the hall then showed him to the kitchen.
“Daniel, Jack, how are things?” Janet asked. Jack and Daniel saw Teal’c rounding up Joey and Susie.
“Good. Really good.” Jack said with a smile. Janet looked at Daniel who also smiled. Joey and Susie walked in. Their faces lit up when they saw Daniel.
“Uncle Daniel!” They both screamed. They ran to him. Daniel bent down to hug them.
“Joey, Susie, this is Jack.” Daniel said. They both looked at Jack curious.
“How do you know Uncle Daniel?” Susie asked.
“He’s my friend.” Daniel said while looking at Jack. Jack smiled knowing that was the best he was getting from Daniel at the moment. Dinner was a not so quiet affair. Joey and Susie were asking Daniel questions about Jack. At one point, near the end, Janet got up to answer the phone. Jack saw a look cross Daniel’s face.
“Danny, what’s wrong?” Jack asked.
“You called this morning didn’t you?” Daniel asked.
“I had to hear your voice. And I was going to tell you that Paul and the other man would be over this afternoon. But I choked up. I couldn’t answer you. And by the time I was under control again you had hung up. I called back a few minutes later. But got no answer.”
“I went to your grave. Jack, you need to see your parents.” Daniel said. He knew the relationship wasn’t the best. But he still needed to see them.
“Tomorrow.” Jack said. While the two men were talking they didn’t notice that everyone else had finished and had moved outside giving the two men privacy. “Tomorrow you meet them for the first time.”
“Why didn’t I ever meet them before the end?” Daniel asked. Jack looked around. Daniel followed his eyes. “Maybe we should talk about this back at the loft. Can you get out to the jeep fine?”
“My stuff’s upstairs.” Jack said. Teal’c entered the room.
“No. It’s in Daniel Jackson’s jeep.” Teal’c said with a smile. Janet came in after him. Her face showing that she was in doctor mode.
“Jack, I don’t want you on your feet without crutches unless you have to.” Janet said.
“Napoleonic powermonger.” Jack said under his breath. Daniel laughed and leaned close.
“You’re not the first to call her that.” Daniel said in a whisper to him. Janet smiled at the men.
“Another nickname?” Janet asked. Daniel shook his head ‘no’.
“An old one.” Daniel said with a smile.
“Ahh. I see. Little Nappy?” Janet asked as she and Teal’c walked them to the door.
“No. The one I gave you.” Daniel said. He stayed close to Jack as he made his way down the three steps to the sidewalk that would take them to the car.
“Napoleonic powermonger. A favorite among my patients at the local hospital. Since Daniel screamed it down the hall after me.” Janet said. Jack looked at Daniel worried as to why Daniel was in the hospital. “The civilian one.”
“I’ll tell you when we get home.” Daniel said. Daniel was opening the car door and didn’t see the smile cross Jack’s face. But Janet did. And a small weight lifted of her heart. She knew these two men would be all right. Jack waved goodbye then he looked at Daniel. Daniel knew what he wanted to know. “My appendix. I was at Janet’s when the pain really started. She took me to the local hospital. She does rounds there every once and a while. So she did the surgery. After a few days I felt fine. I wanted out. But she wanted me to stay for a few days longer.”
“Yes, that’s you. Never listen to the doctors.” Jack said with a smile.
“I never listen to anyone, Jack.” Daniel said.
“True. Anyway back to your question. My father is homophobic. And I didn’t want him telling anyone. And I didn’t want him to make you feel bad. If it got out. But I have been given an honorable discharge. I won’t be going back to the military. And even if you met my father as a friend it wouldn’t work. I’m sorry Danny. But you can’t hide it. Not even back then. Not after those first two years. I knew after knowing you a month. And my father can smell them.” Jack said. Daniel smiled.
“I’m out anyway. The bio in my jacket covers on my books say I’m gay. So your father probably knows.” Daniel said. Jack nodded. “It was slightly controversial.”
“So, do I get to read your books?” Jack asked. Trying to lighten the mood.
“Sure. I have copies of all of them. I am sending one out to Sam tomorrow. I have to take it to the UPS store. I finished it after the visit to the cemetery this morning.” Daniel said.
“What genre is it?” Jack asked.
“Murder mystery.” Daniel said.
“So how many books do you have?” Jack asked.
“Well there was the first one. A murder mystery. You’ve read that one. The trilogy was a fantasy one. Then I put out a romance/mystery duology. Then two more murder mysteries. And this one. So….this is my ninth book.” Daniel said.
“And you’re only thirty.” Jack said. Daniel could hear the pride in his voice.
“Almost thirty you mean.” Daniel corrected.
“Yes.” Jack said. Daniel looked at Jack. He knew that tone. Jack’s thinking tone.
“Oh, no. No party. I didn’t let you do it before. I’m not going to now.” Daniel said. Jack didn’t answer. He saw a parking lot coming up.
“Pull over.” Jack said.
“Jack?” Daniel asked but he did as Jack asked. Daniel turned off the jeep and turned to look at Jack. Jack shifted in his seat. He looked Daniel in the eye.
“Just this one. Please. A party for your birthday. Danny, I didn’t think I would ever make it back. And if I ever did, you might not be alone. I’m so happy. Please let me throw a party for your birthday. It won’t be big. Just close friends at the loft.” Jack pleaded. Jack saw the tears in Daniel’s eyes and knew he was going to say yes. He leaned forward and lightly kissed Daniel. “Take me home, Danny. I’m so tired. I need sleep.”
“Sure.” Daniel said. He started the jeep again and pulled back onto the road. A few minutes later he was pulling into the spot he had for his vehicle.
“Don’t you park in the garage?” Jack asked as he slowly got himself out of the jeep.
“That’s where the other car is.” Daniel aid.
“Other…. the one we bought together.” Jack said. Daniel nodded.
“That can be yours now. Until you get a truck.” Daniel said knowing Jack likes trucks.
“Okay. Danny, you still have a spare room right?” Jack asked. Daniel nodded. A frown marring his face. He wondered why Jack didn’t want to sleep in the same room s him. “I don’t have nightmares but I do have troubling sleeping and staying asleep. Plus I don’t want you waking me up, if I do have a nightmare. I could hurt you.”
“I’m a fast learned, Jack. You know that.” Daniel said with a smile before grabbing Jack’s bags and helping him into the building and onto the elevator. He knew it would only be a short amount of time till Jack stopped acting like everything was good. He knew that it would all come down. The careful wall Jack was constructing, to hold out the pain would crash. And he didn’t know if he and Jack would still be friends, much less lovers, when it did.
Jack woke up to the smell of coffee and bacon. He rolled over and looked the clock. It was only a little after seven in the morning. Both men had gotten home and crashed. They had set out the stuff Jack would need then they had changed and fallen asleep. Jack in the spare room and Daniel in the master. Jack didn’t remember having a nightmare but he knew he would soon. He had had them in the years since he had been taken. And after he had been freed they had become worse. He rolled out of the bed and saw Daniel in the doorway looking at him. There was no emotion on Daniel’s face. He was just watching.
“Morning.” Jack said carefully. Afraid of what was going through Daniel’s mind.
“Morning.” Daniel said back. Jack grabbed his crutches from right next to the bed where Daniel had put them the night before. So that Jack could go to the bathroom if need be.
“You’re up early.” Jack said as he made his way past Daniel to use the restroom. He wasn’t going to push Daniel to talk. That would only clam him up more.
“I get up around 6:30 every day. I have a treadmill. I run on it till seven. Then I shower and I eat. Hope pancakes and bacon’s fine.” Daniel said. Jack hadn’t shut the door and had just used the restroom with Daniel standing there.
“Sounds good. Do I have time for a quick shower?” Jack asked. He saw Daniel smile and nod. He knew what Daniel was thinking finally at the shy smile and that Daniel was following him around. “I wasn’t a dream.”
“I thought that. I got up and did my run. Not even thinking. I haven’t had any coffee at this point, mind you. It was after my shower. I saw your toothpaste. I came into the room and watched you. Started the food. Then watched you.” Daniel said. Jack, after washing his hands, moved and placed his hand on Daniel’s cheek, rubbing. Daniel sighed and closed his eyes. “Food is going to get cold.”
“Yes, I’m hungry.” Jack said. He didn’t go to his room to change just stayed in his boxers and t-shirt. Jack enjoyed watching Daniel get him a plate of food. He was in a pair of jeans and a button up t-shirt. “When are you going to the UPS store?”
“Why?” Daniel asked as he sat down.
“I have a meeting today. To finish my papers and to take care of the rest of my new id’s. I need to put this address down. I was hoping you’d drop me off. Then, I can call when I am done. Doc doesn’t want me driving.” Jack said.
“Sure. I have a cell phone. I’ll give you the number.” Daniel said.
“Then afterward we will go and visit my parents.” Jack said. Daniel nodded and started eating. Jack watched Daniel go through four cups of coffee during the meal. “Still drink gallons of coffee during the day?”
“Yeah.” Daniel said with a smile. “Habits are hard to break.” Jack saw the haunted look in Daniel’s eye. He had finished eating so he moved to stand above Daniel. But Daniel stood and left the room. Jack knew what Daniel was doing. He didn’t want to tell Jack something because he thought it would make Jack think him weak. And Daniel hated seeming weak. Because he always wanted to be seen as strong. Jack followed and found Daniel on the balcony. Jack left his crutches inside and limped out. Daniel didn’t turn but he did allow Jack’s hand on the small of his back. “You should get ready to go. We’ll be leaving soon.”
“Danny, come on. This is me. You’re not weak. If you had been, you wouldn’t be here now. Not after your parents death. And my supposed death. Come on, Danny. What was that look?”
“Nightmares. After you died…. I had trouble sleeping. You know my imagination. I dreamed your death. In so many horrible ways, over and over, night after night. So I tried to stay awake as much as possible. George, you remember him. He still lives up stairs. He found out. Slipped me sleeping pills. Took me three weeks to figure it out. He convinced me to see a shrink. I got better.” Daniel said. Jack smiled and kissed Daniel’s forehead.
“Thank you, for telling me. I missed so much. I want to know all of it.” Jack said. Daniel nodded and leaned against Jack. After a few minutes he pulled away. Not wanting to fall back in to needing Jack like he had before.
“We really need to get going. Your parents moved. They are about an hour away. I need to send in my manuscript and you need to get all legal again.” Daniel said. Jack nodded. He let Daniel help him get dressed then they left. Daniel’s trip only took about twenty minutes and by the time Jack was done with his, it was lunchtime.
“Come on, Danny. I’ve been seven years without this food. Please?” Jack begged. Daniel looked at him. And caved. He pulled into the McDonald’s on the outskirts of the city. They went through the drive through, so they could save sometime. Daniel ordered remembering the meal that Jack always got. Jack smiled.
“So how did it go?” Daniel asked Jack once they were back on the road. His and Jack’s drinks in the cup holders. His sandwich still in the bag and his fries between his legs. Jack was eating his sandwich and fries at the same time.
“Good. Nothing wrong. Of course I told them you were a friend. I’ll wait till I get everything worked out then come out.” Jack said. Daniel frowned.
“You might lose the money you’ll get.” Daniel said. Jack shrugged.
“Danny, I have money saved I know you didn’t touch it. Even though it was in your account.” Jack said. He saw the look on Daniel’s face and knew he was right. “I can get a job. And you aren’t exactly poor. You know that I can probably get a job at any airliner company.” Jack said.
“I know. But Jack you sure you could live with not working for the military?” Daniel asked.
“Danny, I wasn’t even supposed to be out there. I should never have gone on that trip. They just didn’t want to wait till this other guy got off his assignment. I was never fit for active duty. Not with my knees and eyesight.” Jack said. Daniel nodded. Jack saw that Daniel was tense. And he knew why. Daniel was scared of meeting his parents. And add the fact they don’t know that Jack is alive. Jack wiped his hand on a napkin and put it on Daniel’s neck massaging. Daniel stretched his neck and smiled. Jack knew this calmed Daniel down. The six years they had been together taught him that. “So you know where my parents live?”
“I’ve kept an eye on them. They moved out here about a year after they told them you were dead. Jack, why didn’t you have them informed?” Daniel asked as he ate the last of his fries. Jack knew it was coming.
“Because you’re more important. Danny, I visited mom and dad a few days before I went on the mission. We got into a row. I blurted out I was gay. My father told me to get out. Last I saw him until today. I’m sure they feel bad about how they acted. I really thought they would at least try to understand. I wanted you to know them.” Jack said. He wasn’t looking at Daniel but he felt him nod from where his hand was on Daniel’s neck.
“I want a truthful answer. I don’t give a damn about national security. You owe me that much.” Daniel said keeping his eyes on the road. Jack knew that Daniel would be mad. Mad that he hadn’t been told. But Jack hadn’t been able to tell anyone. “How long have you been back? How long as the military known you were alive?”
“I’ve only been in the U.S. for two weeks. I spent two months in a hospital in Europe. We weren’t allowed to contact anyone. Danny, the mission. We had a spy among us. The Air Force didn’t want any fanfare about our return. No papers, no reporters, no nothing. Just family knowing we were alive. And Danny, you are my family. If my death didn’t make mom and dad accept me for whom I am. I won’t make you play nice with them. They accept who I am or I am gone. I’ll visit. Believe that. But I won’t play nice.” Jack said. Daniel nodded while eating the last of his food.
“Then how’d you hurt your ankle? I know it’s not from overseas.” Daniel said. Jack laughed. He looked out his window to compose himself.
“That…now that’s funny. I was moving around my room one night on the base in D.C. My knees were acting up and I lost my footing when I bumped into a stand.” Jack said. Daniel laughed. The tension in his voice and body gone. “Don’t you still drive the Grand Am?”
“Yes, it’s what I drove to the hospital. After I drove home from the park, I switched.” Daniel said. Jack moved his hand from Daniel’s neck to put it atop the hand on the gearshift. Daniel looked at him and smiled. They drove in silence the rest of the way. They both loved their quiet times together. They used to just lie on the couch while both read books or watched some movie on the TV. Sometimes they even just watched the clouds go by in the evenings. Wrapped in each other’s arms. Daniel stopped at the call box. “Dr. Daniel Jackson to see Mr. and Mrs. O’Neill. I don’t have an appointment.”
“You can come through.” A female voice said. Jack gave Daniel a funny look, that wasn’t like his parents to okay someone with sending someone to meet him or her at the gate. Daniel parked outside the house. Daniel was reaching to knock when the door opened. A man stood there. Jack was far enough away that his father, Jon, didn’t see him.
“Dr. Jackson, what a pleasure to finally meet you.” Jon said shaking Daniel’s hand. “Though seven years too late. Or should I say thirteen.”
“Ex… Excuse me, Sir?” Daniel asked. Surprised. He hadn’t expected those words for this man’s mouth. Especially since it meant that he knew who Daniel was. And how long ago Jack had knew him. A woman moved to look at him. Daniel could see Jack in both Jon and Grace’s facial features.
“My word! You are better looking in person. Jonathan O’Neill why haven’t you invited him….” Grace stopped when Jack finally moved so they could see him “Jack?!”
“Good God!” Jon said. No one moved. Jon and Grace were afraid they were seeing things. Daniel moved to stand beside Jack. To give him silent strength, but he knew Jack had to do this on his own.
“Mom. Dad. It’s me. I’m not dead. That rumor has been exaggerated. I was a guest of Iraqi hospitality for about seven years. I wanted to do this in person. I didn’t want this done at the hospital. That’s why I had Daniel come get me.” Jack said. Jack knew he was rambling. But he couldn’t help it. After what his father had said. Everything he had planned to say had gone right out.
Grace ran and hugged him. Jack dropped his crutches, so he could hug her. Daniel picked up the crutches and leaned them against the house so Jack could reach them when he needed them. Jon moved to stand beside Daniel while mother and son hugged. Jon started talking when Jack pulled back from his mother.
“After you left, Jack, we talked to a few people, Harry Maybourne, was one of them. They told us about a young man you’d been helping, had taken under your wing so to say. Didn’t think anything of it. He was too many years younger than you. Seems he was around a decade younger than you. A while after your death we were going to visit your grave. Daniel, here, was crouching by it, crying. We recognized him from the photos we had seen of the young man. While we were emptying your apartment we found a few personal items missing. Missing were photos from some albums and just basic living essentials. We figured that must have been living elsewhere. And found that the only real friend you had was Daniel. We put two and two together. How long were you two together?”
“Well, Dad….” Jack said settling on his crutches again. “About six years.”
“Six years?” Grace asked. She went pale. Jon stepped up to hold her.
“Jack, I’m afraid that we owe you an apology and by extension, to you as well, Daniel. But that’s best left for once we are inside and seated.” As they entered the living room Jack’s eyes were drawn to the bookshelf. He found a book and pulled it off. He read aloud the dedication inside it.
He was the man who had the utmost faith in me and pushed me to write what I wanted, no matter what. If it hadn’t been for you this book wouldn’t be published, your note made me do it. I love you. I hope you’re floating above watching and waiting for me.
Daniel turned to look at Jack. He saw every one of his books there. And they looked like that had been read quite a few times.
“We figured out why Jack never introduced us. Even as a friend of his. And we hated ourselves for it. That he was scared of us. Of us knowing all aspects of his life. Of you meeting us. We knew that something was different with Jack those six years he knew you. But we didn’t try to figure out what it was. We never really knew you, Jack.” Jon said. Grace entered the room with four cups of coffee. Daniel took on with a nod of thanks. “In your dedication you said Jack’s note made you publish the book.”
“Yes, before he went on the mission he left a note in my desk. Telling me to publish no matter what. A few weeks after he died I got a message from Echo books. I almost didn’t call back. Till I found the note. Then I did.” Daniel said. Grace looked at him, nodding in understanding.
“Why didn’t you come to us sooner?” Grace asked Jack. Jack sighed.
“I just found out yesterday that he was alive.” Daniel said as a buffer between Jack and his parents.
“Your health. I didn’t want either of you to get a call. I wanted to do it in person. And not in a hospital. I wanted to be able to talk freely and I wanted Daniel to know first.” Jack said. Daniel looked at Jack shocked. Jon laughed at the look that Daniel had given Jack.
“I understand. We understand. We weren’t the best parents to you. Daniel was your family. Your co-worker, Harry, he told us everything. I mean everything. After we pushed in to. And told him that we had figured it out. He seemed to know quite a bit about your lives together.” Jon said. Jack chuckled. “He gave us the third degree. But he made us promise not to tell Daniel that we knew. He didn’t want us around him. He didn’t want Daniel to have the reminder.”
“That’s Harry.” Jack said.
“He’s the one that told me.” Daniel said. He couldn’t finish. Grace moved over to hug and comfort him. Jack saw Daniel go stiff in her arms. He stood and limped to the end of the couch where Daniel was. He shooed his mom away and sat down. Daniel leaned into Jack and buried his head in Jack’s neck. Jack held him close. Daniel’s body relaxed and his breathing evened out. He was asleep.
“He’s asleep.” Grace said. Surprise on her face.
“I know. I don’t think he slept very well last night. He doesn’t like to be touched, Mom. It’s from his childhood. I’m about the only one he really lets touch him.” Jack said. He kissed Daniel’s forehead. “Seems he’s still like that. Mom, get me a blanket. He gets cold easy. That’s from living in the desert for the first eight years of his life.”
“Alright.” Grace said as she left the room. She came back a few minutes later with a blanket. Jack helped her wrap it around Daniel’s shoulders. Daniel snuggled closer to Jack. “Was his childhood that bad?”
“He will get mad at me, he’s very private, but yes.” Jack said. He started rubbing Daniel’s back. “His parents died right in front of him when he was eight. A cover stone fell on them in a museum, he was standing there watching them. No one cared. He was sent off to a room while the people took care of his parents. He never saw them again. He wasn’t allowed to go to the funeral. They thought it wouldn’t be good for a child his age. He was bounced from foster home to foster home because his grandfather didn’t want him. He didn’t want to deal with a child while he worked. Daniel got emancipated when he was fourteen to go to college in Oxford. He never had any real friends. Until me.”
“Dear God.” Grace said. She looked at the man leaning on Jack. She was surprised that he was a strong as he seemed.
“Yeah. We were friends for about five months before I even tried anything. He was seventeen at the time. He was so scared I was mad that I found out that he was gay. Ran away from me. I had to break into his place. He’d lost so many friends because of being gay. And since I was military, it really scared him. He thought I was going to beat him up. But he stood there. Egging me on. Sometimes he doesn’t use the sense God gave him. I call it snake baiting when he does that.”
“Seventeen? That’s a little young. Jack.” Jon said.
“I know. But Dad, he’s old for his age. Please don’t bring up his parents. You won’t like who he becomes. He hates his parents. He’s hates them because of what they left him.” Jack said. His hand was now rubbing the back of Daniel’s neck, which always calmed him down.
“What do you mean?” Jon asked.
“His parents were wonderful archeologists. His mother was also a linguist. They left him a legacy. He hates pity. And even in the linguistics field everyone knows him. He was never allowed to do anything without the reminder. Everyone pitied him. He never knew if what he got was because of how good he was or because he was the son of Claire and Melburn Jackson. And he hated it. He didn’t even tell me when he got his PhD. He didn’t care that he got it. And this was two years into the relationship. September of 1992. I had never seen him cry until then.” Jack said. None of them spoke. It wasn’t until two hours later that anyone said anything. And that was because Daniel had woke up. Small talk was made and Jack and Daniel left. Daniel knew that Jack had told Jon and Grace something but he didn’t know what. He thought it had to do with Jack’s time in Iraq. And he pulled back from Jack. Not letting himself take comfort in Jack. Jon and Grace watched the boys leave.
“They are trying not to show that they need each other.” Grace said as the boys got into the jeep.
“I know. Daniel’s protecting himself from Jack. And it’s killing them both inside.” Jon said as they watched Jack and Daniel drive away.
“It’s going to be bad when it comes to head.” Grace said as she and Jon stepped inside their home and shut the door.
Jack stared at the TV. He hadn’t moved from in front of it nor had he changed the channel. The only movement he made was to look at the clock. It was now after midnight. Jack stood and grabbed the keys to the Grand Am. He went to the garage and got it. He drove to a local park. And sure enough Daniel’s jeep was there. Jack got out quietly and walked to where he thought Daniel was. And he was there, on a bench in the middle of the park. Looking up at he stars. Jack heard Daniel start talking.
“Mom, Dad. Sorry, we haven’t talked in a while. I guess I can’t ask you to take care of Jack anymore. He was never there. He’s back home. I remember he and I talked so long ago, whenever a POW came home. He said he would want as little as possible to change. So I did that. I treated him like I did before. We’ve both changed. We’re getting to know each other again. But maybe we’ve changed too much. Maybe were just trying to hold onto the love we had before and not seeing what’s in front of us.” Daniel said. He wiped away tears he had been crying. Jack started to move forward but stopped when Daniel started talking again.
“He was away longer than we were together. He won’t talk. I know they had him talk to a shrink, but he never opens up. I haven’t pushed; I didn’t want to push him away. And tonight he thinks I don’t care because I haven’t pushed him to talk. If I had he would have shut down. We both know it. He has to do it on his own time.” Daniel pulled his legs up so he could rest his head on his knees. Daniel hadn’t done that in a long time. Jack’s heart broke. Then Jack thought that he must have done it a lot since Jack had died. It was his way of giving himself comfort.
“I guess I need your help. I need to know what to do.” Daniel said. Jack backed up and returned to the car. He sat there for a minute then quickly drove away. He didn’t want Daniel to see him. He drove to the loft and went to the spare bedroom. His clothes and things were in the master bedroom but he slept in the other. Jack heard Daniel’s keys in the lock and quickly jumped in bed. Jack heard Daniel go about shutting up for the night and fell asleep waiting to hear the door move, signaling that Daniel was checking on him, it never happened.
Jack woke up the next morning very late. He found Daniel typing away at his computer. Daniel didn’t hear seem to him. Jack had to move next to Daniel before Daniel noticed him. Daniel looked up and smiled.
“Morning, Jack. I got donuts this morning. They are on the counter.” Daniel said. Jack nodded and went to eat breakfast. He was waiting for the best time to talk to Daniel. He didn’t want to mess him up. Daniel got up from his desk half an hour later to grab a book from his shelves and Jack moved to block his path back to the desk. “Jack?”
“Terribly busy?” Jack asked. Daniel looked at his book then shook his head no.
“I got an idea for a story but I won’t forget it. Why?” Daniel asked sidestepping Jack to save his progress and put a note on the book. He turned back to Jack. Jack swallowed.
“I’m sorry. You’re right. I shouldn’t have acted like that. You do have a life. The one you always wanted. Maybe I shouldn’t have moved directly back in. Why don’t I go live with my parents.” Jack said. He wasn’t prepared for the look on Daniel’s face. After last night he thought this was what Daniel wanted. Jack saw Daniel’s smile fade, his arms drop from his hips, and the light in his eyes dulled. But he nodded. And that was all that Jack needed. Daniel didn’t want him to go. But he didn’t want to fight to make him stay. So Jack didn’t want to. Not if Daniel didn’t fight him to make him stay.
“Maybe, it’s best. You can use the car. Do you want help packing?” Daniel asked his voice calm and restrained. To Jack, it cut like a knife. Jack shook his head no. Daniel nodded and sat down at his computer and started working again. Once Jack had everything packed, he moved it all to the car. He has just put the last box in and shut the trunk when he heard a gun shot go off. His only thought was Daniel. He quickly ran to the steps and up the five floors in no time. He saw the front door open and knew he had shut it. He slowly entered. A man rushed by him and flew out the door. After recovering from the brush off Jack ran to the study. Daniel was lying face down and a puddle of blood was expanding from the area around his right shoulder. Jack grabbed the cordless phone from its stand on the desk and dialed Janet. The only number he could remember at the moment. While turning Daniel over so he could stop the blood.
“Janet? God! Danny’s been shot. It just happened. Where? Oh, God. His shoulder, his right one. It’s still in him. Hurry!” Jack said then hung up and threw the phone. He ripped off his shirt to use it was a way to stop the blood flow, he pressed it into Daniel’s shoulder. He cradled Daniel’s head in his lap and started crying. “Don’t leave me. God! Danny, please don’t go. I’m not as strong as you. I couldn’t survive without you.”
“Shh, Jack, don’t.” Daniel said, his voice barely a whisper. He raised his uninjured arm up and cupped Jack’s face with his hand. Jack held the hand in place. The two men kept their eyes locked until Janet and the paramedics arrived. Jack was in shock and didn’t even notice Teal’c pull him away from Daniel. Or the paramedics put Daniel on a gurney. The cops entered to look at the scene but Janet wouldn’t let them question Jack. She told them that if they wanted a statement they could get it at the hospital. After he’d woken up from his sedation. Jack didn’t even notice the young man sitting in the back of a police car on the street. And Mr. Hammond talking to the police.
Jack woke up that evening in a room. Across from him in another bed was Daniel. Jack saw the monitors and saw that Daniel was doing just fine. He didn’t see Janet enter the room. He was just staring at Daniel.
“Jack.” Janet said. Jack jumped slightly and looked up at her. He smiled. “Are you hungry? It’s after five. I think you would be.”
“Yeah. I am.” Jack said. He didn’t look back up at her.
“He’s going to be fine. It just hit the flesh. No lasting problems. 100% recovery.” Janet said.
“He was trying to rob the place.” Jack said.
“Yeah. We know. Mr. Hammond caught the man. George was coming in the door when he was trying to get out. He had heard the shot. And when he saw the gun he decked the man. The police have him now.” Janet said. Jack nodded. Janet left the room to get Jack some food. Jack took Daniel’s hand in his and leaned close so he could whisper to Daniel.
“Oh, Danny. God. I am so sorry.” Jack said. He felt the hand in his squeeze.
“Shh, Jack. Don’t cry over spilt milk. You could be in the bed beside me.” Daniel said. His voice still a whisper. Daniel turned his head to kiss Jack on the lips. “We both need to admit that we need each other more than we are willing to admit.”
“Yeah, we do.” Jack said kissing Daniel again. Daniel sighed and closed his eyes when Jack pulled back. “You need to sleep.”
“Jack you never answered my question last night.” Daniel said. Jack squeezed Daniel’s hand and sighed. “You never told me what they did to you.”
“Me and my group were lucky. They hated to have to touch us. Didn’t want to demean themselves by touching Americans. They spent the first few weeks beating us. Then they just threw us in this large cell. We were given enough food to live on. But nothing more. We kept our clothes. Seems that they didn’t want to even look at our naked bodies. They didn’t rape me or any of the others. Every few months they would spend a few days beating us. But we never spilled. There were ten of us. I was the only one to survive. Me, newly promoted Colonel Jack O’Neill, never been on a mission in my life. And I know why. I had you to come home to. I had you to look forward to. I had you.” Jack said. He saw Daniel was trying to remain awake so he could hear Jack. Jack kissed his lips chastely then started talking again. “Now sleep, love. I’ll be right here.”
A week later Jack was still sleeping in the guest room but only because Daniel’s arm and shoulder was still too sensitive to have Jack in bed as well. Jack felt that something was wrong when he woke up so he got out of bed and went to Daniel’s room. And sure enough Daniel wasn’t in bed. Jack found him on the balcony looking at the stars.
“Daniel, it’s four in the morning. Time for all wounded, just out of the hospital after being in there for a week, invalids to be in bed.” Jack said. Daniel didn’t move or say anything to show that he had heard Jack. Jack crouched down cursing his creaking knees, silently, and looked at Daniel’s face. He was fast asleep on the balcony. Jack knew that with his shoulder, Jack couldn’t pick him up and carry him to bed like he used to without hurting him. So he decided to grab a blanket from the bedroom and sit with him.
Three hours later Daniel showed signs of waking up and woke Jack up as well when Daniel’s head left his shoulder. Daniel tensed for a moment, took in his surroundings, and then relaxed. Neither man spoke for a while. Not wanting to upset the quiet. After a while a knock came on the outside door. Daniel looked down at Jack’s watch, squinting.
“Security company people.” Daniel said as he moved to stand. Jack nodded and helped him. Daniel gave Jack a quick kiss then moved towards the kitchen. “You deal with them. I will make coffee.”
“You do that.” Jack said with a smile knowing the reason Daniel had been sitting outside. He couldn’t sleep. And knowing that for Daniel to function for the day, that he needed his coffee. An hour later once the device was hooked up, Jack let the men out and went to look for his lover. Daniel was at his computer typing when Jack walked into the room. Jack sighed.
“You’re not supposed to be working. Doc’s orders” Jack said. Daniel looked up at him with a slight smile on his face. He held up a hand and wriggled his fingers.
“One handed. I’m not moving the injured one at all.” Daniel said. Jack moved over to the computer and twisted the chair so that he could kiss Daniel. All the while saving what Daniel was doing and shutting it down. Daniel didn’t know what Jack was doing and wasn’t prepared to see a shutting down computer when he turned around. “Jack, I was working.”
“I know. But I want to talk. Janet gave me an idea. You just gave your book to Sam. It’ll take what a few weeks for her to get back to you.” Jack said. Daniel nodded in confirmation.
“It takes about six weeks for her. She takes her time. Why?” Daniel asked. He wanted to know what Janet suggested to him.
“She suggested that we get away. Anywhere. Just you and me. She called it time to re-connect. And I think it sounds good.” Jack said. Daniel looked down at his arm. He knew that if he stayed near his computer that he would get frustrated. He nodded. Jack smiled and kissed him again. Jack ran his tongue across Daniel’s lips and Daniel opened his mouth. This is what Jack had missed. The taste of Daniel. The feel of Daniel moving against him, pushing and shoving, his hard body and the strength that rivaled his own. Daniel stood up from his chair backing Jack into the desk until Daniel had him trapped. He wound his good hand around Jack’s neck to hold him right where he wanted him. Jack wrapped his arms around Daniel’s waist and made him take a step closer. When Daniel did, Jack could feel a hard bulge press against him at waist level and knew there had to be one pressing into Daniel from him. They both reacquainted themselves with each other until someone clearing their throat interrupted them.
“Jack! We just got a security system installed. Use it!” Daniel said as he stepped back straightening his clothes from where they had been messed up. Janet stood in the door laughing.
“So I forgot to set it.” Jack said with a sheepish grin on his face.
“I see things are better.” Janet said.
“Yes.” Daniel said. Jack nodded.
“Have you…?” Janet asked looking at Jack. Jack nodded.
“He’s agreed. But we haven’t talked about what we are going to do.” Jack said as he wrapped an arm around Daniel’s waist. Daniel laid his head on Jack’s shoulder.
“I came over to make sure Daniel’s eating.” Janet said. Daniel groaned and Jack laughed.
“We were just going to eat breakfast.” Jack said. Daniel made his way into the kitchen where he poured three cups of coffee. Janet stayed for breakfast making sure that Daniel was eating and then she left. Daniel and Jack lay down on the couch so that they could talk. Daniel at one end and Jack at the other. Jack put on some low music so they had something to listen to. “What do you want to do?”
“I don’t know. I can’t drive so you would have to do all of that. Nowhere with a beach cause I can’t go swimming. No hiking, no running…. not a lot we can do.” Daniel said. Jack smiled.
“Driving sounds good. You, the open road, and me, alone. Drive wherever we want. You know I like driving. And we would take the jeep. Convertible. Feel the wind in my hair.” Jack said. Daniel smiled.
“Get you used to feeing alive again. Not stuck in some jail in the middle of Iraq.” Daniel said. Jack smiled back at him before getting up and leaning over Daniel to kiss him without hitting his arm that was in the sling stuck to his chest. Daniel returned the kiss with passion.
“I knew you’d understand.” Jack said before kissing Daniel again. The second kiss was interrupted by a yawn. Jack looked at the clock. “It’s only noon.”
“Pain pills make me sleepy. But I couldn’t sleep last night. You ought to know that. You found me on the balcony.” Daniel said while closing his eyes. Jack knew he would be asleep in minutes so he shook Daniel’s leg.
“No, you don’t. Not yet. You need to sleep in a bed.” Jack said. Daniel shook his head no. Then he closed his eyes again. Jack knew that Daniel hated sleeping on the couch. It always messed with his neck muscles. He knew that something must be wrong with Daniel. And then he knew why Daniel wanted to stay on the couch. Daniel’s couch was too small to fit two people. He wouldn’t miss not being held. “Come on, Danny. Up you go. Time to go snuggle in bed.” Jack said. Daniel opened his eyes. He looked at Jack and Jack smiled.
“You miss being held, don’t you?” Jack asked. Daniel nodded. Jack helped him stand up from the couch. Jack wasn’t going to try to undress Daniel. It was too hard to get him dressed again so they both just lay down. “You spent the whole week thinking about when we got home. Having someone you love in your bed again.”
“Just hold me, Jack. Hold me for all the years you’ve been gone.” Daniel said before he went to sleep. And Jack agreed. He held onto Daniel and he didn’t let go until both men were awake again.
Daniel felt the hot water splash his tense shoulders. He had worked late into the night and hard all day. Plus he hadn’t slept well once he had gone to bed. It was now after six in the evening. Jack had been out of town for a week and wouldn’t be home for another few days. He was up in New York for a convention with his co-workers from his new job. He had been missing Jack so he spent the whole time working on his new book. He still wouldn’t let Jack read any of it until it was done. Which made Jack mad. But he understood the reasons.
Daniel was lost in thought about his book and didn’t hear the bathroom door open or shut. Nor did he see the shadow moving beyond the shower door. Jack slipped into the shower with Daniel and laughed when Daniel jumped and nearly slipped when Jack wrapped an arm around Daniel’s waist.
“Jack! You nearly gave me a heart attack!” Daniel said turning around in the shower. Jack chuckled.
“Washed your hair?” Jack asked as he grabbed Daniel’s shampoo. This time Daniel chuckled.
“The one fetish you had to keep.” Daniel said turning around so Jack could wash his hair.
“So, how’s it feel to be thirty?” Jack asked. Daniel tensed and stepped away from Jack. He quickly washed the shampoo from his hair so he could look at Jack.
“It can’t be!” Daniel said. Jack laughed. He knew Daniel wouldn’t remember.
“Oh, yes. It’s July 8th. My little Danny’s turned 30.” Jack said. Daniel groaned and laid his head on Jack’s shoulder. Jack wrapped his arms around Daniel. They stood like that for a while. Finally Daniel wrapped his arms around Jack.
“Fuck me, Jack.” Daniel said into Jack’s neck.
“No.” Jack said. Daniel pulled back to look Jack in the face.
“Jack?” Daniel asked. Jack had never refused before.
“We’ve never fucked. Never. Nor will we start. I will make love to you.” Jack said as he slipped a finger inside Daniel. He found that Daniel was already prepared. He cast a look at Daniel.
“I prepped because after I washed I was going to uh…” Daniel said while blushing. Jack cupped Daniel’s face and kissed him. Jack shut off the water and turned Daniel so he was facing the wall. Then he slowly entered Daniel. Daniel couldn’t hold back the moan in his throat.
“Seven years.” Jack said Daniel clenched his ass muscles and Jack moaned and then slowly pulled out. And pushed back in just as slow. When he pulled out the second time Daniel tried to make Jack entered him faster and harder. Jack grabbed Daniel’s hips to stop him. “Oh no. We are going to do this real slow. And neither you nor I are going to touch your dick.”
“Jack.” Daniel moaned as Jack pushed back in. They both lost themselves in sensations being played across their bodies. Finally, Jack couldn’t hold it in anymore. He pushed in fully and came inside Daniel. Daniel felt the heat spread in him and came when Jack slumped on his back. And like their first time twelve years ago both men had been silent except moans. Jack pulled out of Daniel and turned him around for a kiss. Daniel turned the water back on and they washed each other slowly.
“Are your clothes in here?” Jack asked as he finished drying himself off. Daniel nodded. “Good. Dress. Dinner’s waiting outside.”
“Food sounds good.” Daniel said. Jack quickly got dressed and left the bathroom. When Daniel exited a few moments later the whole loft was dark. “Jack? Where are you?” Daniel asked as he entered the living room.
“Surprise!” A chorus of voices screamed as the lights were flipped on. He looked at everyone in the living room. He saw Janet, Teal’c, Joey, and Susie. Jon and Grace, his now adopted parents. George and his granddaughters: Tessa and Kayla. And last he saw Sam and her new husband Pete Shanahan.
“Forgot, didntcha?” Jack asked kissing Daniel. “Janet, T, and George set it up while we were in the shower.”
“God. I did. I totally forgot.” Daniel said while blushing. Jack smiled. “And I wish you would have forgot, too.”
“See guys I told you. I knew it would work as a surprise party.” Jack said to everyone. The next three hours were spent talking and laughing. Sam was getting to know everyone and Jack was watching Daniel. Jack knew Daniel didn’t like parties but he seemed to be enjoying himself. Everyone noticed the looks Jack was giving Daniel. But Janet noticed something in Jack’s back pocket of his jeans. She had to think for a second what it could be then she smiled. Teal’c noticed the smile adorn her face and raised an eyebrow.
“I think that this won’t be the last party we set up for these two.” Janet said. Teal’c didn’t understand but he nodded nonetheless. Around ten the kids started yawning and the parents and grandparent started getting ready to leave. Daniel was happy because no one got him a present. He didn’t like accepting them. But Jack stopped everyone from leaving.
“I have a present for Daniel. I know that having me back is enough. But I wanted to get him something that tells everyone he’s mine.” Jack said. He pulled Daniel into a hug from behind. Daniel struggled to get away. Hating to be the center of attention. Jack gripped him harder till he stopped struggling. “On the day that Danny found out I was alive. I sort of sprung it on him. He walked into a room and there I was. He fainted. Then ran. Janet was nice enough to offer let me stay with her. Seeing she knew Danny. She took me to a local mall so I could get clothes. And there I found the perfect gift for Danny.”
“Jack, stop.” Daniel whined. Jack let go with one hand and covered Daniel’s mouth.
“See he hates this. He hates attention. Just be lucky I didn’t do this in public. Like at a restaurant.” Jack said. Daniel’s eyes widened. He had a few suspicions at what Jack was going to do. Jack let go of Daniel’s mouth and pulled out the ring box. But he stayed behind Daniel. “My knees couldn’t do it.” Jack said as he opened the box. Daniel saw the two rings in the box. Every adult in the room, except Janet, gasped.
“It’s about damn time.” George said. Daniel didn’t move for a few minutes and Jack was afraid that Daniel was in shock. Seconds before Jack was going to let Daniel go to look him in the face, Daniel spun around and kissed Jack. Jack was so surprised that his eyes widened. But he soon let Daniel guide him back to a wall. Neither man was aware of everyone leaving. Jon helped George take Tessa upstairs while he carried Kayla. Teal’c and Pete took Joey and Susie to his and Janet’s car. While Grace, Sam, and Janet talked about the wedding. Already planning it.
Inside Jack pulled Daniel away from his face. He saw the tears running down Daniel’s face. But saw the happiness in Daniel’s eyes.
“Yes, Jack. I’ll gladly marry you.” Daniel said. Jack closed the ring case and threw it in the direction of the couch. Then he wrapped his arms around Daniel to hold him. Jack wouldn’t let anyone take him away from Daniel again. He didn’t know if either of them would survive it a second time around.