Daniel looked down at the shattered remains of his dinner plate and rolled his eyes. So much for one of the dishes Sam had given him as a house-warming gift. Grumbling, he cleaned up the mess, knowing why he'd dropped the dish in the first place. He hadn't been paying attention. Normally, that would be a good thing. Washing dishes was a mundane task. It was the one time that his mind could wander without prejudice or caution. Why was that? Was it because it was such a mindless task? Was it the sound and feel of water? Was it the act of cleansing?
Out of the three, the mindless task was probably correct answer. When you found yourself doing something that didn't require a lot of brainpower, the mind wandered. The theory about water was interesting so perhaps it was...
Daniel suddenly shook himself from those thoughts and grabbed the drink he'd made, downing it in three gulps. Staring into the empty glass, he knew he'd want another. He had a decision to make. Call Jack. Or get drunk. He leaned against the counter and dropped his arms to sides, realizing that choice was pointless. No matter what, he had to call Jack. Shit.
For the umpteenth time, his eyes sought out the note sitting on the dining room table. Folded, the corners were already dog-eared and worried down. He moved over and started to reach for the note but made a detour and grabbed the wall phone instead. It was only 6:30. Sam should still be at home, getting ready to go out on a date with Pete. Their first Valentine's Day date, if his memory wasn't still functioning.
The phone rang three times and Daniel expected to get the recorder. He thought about hanging up, feeling only slightly guilty in not leaving a message, but Sam answered, breathless.
He hesitated a moment, then automatically said, "Hey, Sam, it's me."
"Did I catch you, um, at a bad time?" Sudden thoughts of her answering the phone in the middle of sex did nothing for his situation. In fact, they only made things worse. "If you're uh, you know,busy, then I'll ju--"
"Daniel, I just got out of the shower and you didn't interrupt anything. Besides, I wouldn't be answering the phone if that were the case."
Daniel breathed a sigh of relief as Sam laughed softly into the phone. "Okay, that's good 'cause, I mean, you should put the recorder on and turn off the ringer or..."
"Stop that. Now, what's up?"
He smiled. She always made him smile. Then thoughts of Jack intruded and he wondered why the hell he should be calling her about this when he should leave her out of it. Today was not the day to bring up past feelings. If they were past, that is.
"You know, maybe I should let you go 'cause I can always talk to you tomor--"
"Daniel, don't do that. What's up?" she asked.
Daniel snorted into the phone. If she only knew. He could hear her moving around so he figured she was talking to him and getting ready at the same time. "Um, no, you sound like you're getting ready to go out so I can talk to you--"
"Sorry. I know this is sort of out of the blue and everything and it's probably not the right time but..." He took a deep breath and held it for a moment. He heard her sigh on the other end, then something fell.
"Just dropped my mascara," she said with annoyance. Her voice softened then. "So, you were saying? But?"
"I need some advice," he said quickly, then added, "About Jack."
There was a momentary silence on the other end and he jumped--gated--to the wrong conclusion.
"I'm sorry. If this is a bad--"
"Daniel. What about him?"
She sounded guarded now. Oh shit. "Um, I know that there's nothing between the two of you anymore and--"
"There never really was, Daniel."
"I know, I know, but feelings sort of don't care about that."
Whatever she'd been doing had stopped and except for her voice, Daniel heard silence.
"Nothing about you, Sam."
"Oh," she replied, the obvious relief telling in and of itself. "So who then?"
"I'm not exactly sure. I got this note from Jack. He handed it to me in the locker room then made like he had some place to be in a hurry."
"He does that. What'd it say?"
"The note, Daniel."
Daniel was quiet for a few moments, unable to read her the note he now held in his hand once again. He had to have misinterpreted it. He had to have. But his gut instinct said otherwise and this just couldn't be happening. Not Jack. Jack had--
"Okay. The note says: 'I was wondering if you'd like to go out to dinner. We could have some food, see a movie, or we could watch a game or something. I'll expect your call one way or the other. Jack.'"
There was silence for a moment as Sam cleared her throat. "Typically short and to the point. Sounds like a normal invite, Daniel."
"Except that whenever he wants to go out for dinner, he'll ask me directly. You know, like 'Up for a bite, Daniel?' But instead, he hands me this note and takes off like his house is on fire and he has to get home and put it out. Granted, he's almost always like that, sans the note."
"So you want my opinion about the note?"
"Yeah, gut instinct. Consider it a Rorschach answer."
"I don't know what to tell you, Daniel. Maybe it's just his way of asking you out to dinner."
"Except, we both know it's not his way. Do you know something that I don't?"
"Not really. Are you asking me if Jack's asking you out on a date?"
Daniel began to cough. Good god, she'd said it, and out loud.
"Daniel, you okay?"
"Fine, just fine. And yes, I'm asking."
"Stop analyzing and just go out to dinner with him."
"Sam, is this a date note?"
"I honestly don't know. You're closer to him than I am. You should know."
"Sam, that's the point. I'm not closer to him in this... way. You are."
"No, I'm not. You're the one he talks to."
She sounded evasive. "Sam?"
"Would it be so bad if he were asking you out?"
"Well, no, except he's straight."
"If he's asking you out, he's not straight."
"You'd think I'd've noticed before now."
"We both know that he's very good at hiding what he doesn't want people to see, Daniel."
Especially me, Daniel thought. "I know. But this is me he's asking. Me."
"We're friends, and strange ones at that. Most of the time I annoy the shit out of him."
"Daniel, he pretends to be annoyed, but we both know that he's your friend, probably best friend, and if you annoyed him that much, you wouldn't be. You know how he is. It's not his way to be emotionally open."
"Yeah, but all I've ever read from him was strictly hetero. There was never so much as a hint of anything else. His interest in you, for example?"
"Not anymore, Daniel. But if he were strictly hetero, he wouldn't have all these pet names and phrases for you."
"He doesn't..." he began to say, then realized she was right. The most recent addition was 'happy place' and Daniel had gone to that place the moment he'd gone home. A date with both hands that time. "God, you're right."
"And the only thing he's ever called me is egghead."
Daniel started to genuinely laugh, his face in a wide smile. "Sam. You are an egghead."
"Not right now I'm not," she answered, sounding a bit away from the phone.
"Sam, why aren't you surprised? Or weirded out? He's your commander." He drew out the last word for emphasis.
He heard her draw another long breath, letting it out slowly this time. "Maybe because I've had time to get used to the idea."
"So you talked?" He couldn't help but feel a touch of jealousy. Jack rarely talked to him about anything personal unless it was something Daniel already had the details about. Like Charlie.
"Sort of talked."
"About?" he drawled.
"One day, he caught me watching him watch you."
Daniel's mouth dropped to the floor. Stunned. That was the word. Good god. He hadn't gotten laid since before his ascension and now, just the thought of someone watching him got him hard?
No. Not someone.
"Why haven't you ever told me about this?"
"I was bit embarrassed, Daniel. And I really didn't know how you'd react after you came home."
"I was the same, Sam. Am the same."
"No, you're just a bit more intense."
He didn't think he was but maybe she was right. He shrugged. "Staring at me doesn't mean anything. He could've been staring in my direction."
"I don't think so."
"When was this?"
"It was that day that I was running late so you were coming out of the shower in nothing but a towel. Remember?"
Daniel smiled. He remembered. Sam had seen him and promptly blushed when the thin towel showed a lot more than it was supposed to. "I remember. I also remember threatening to drop the towel if you didn't leave."
She snorted. "Yeah, and then you turned your back. I looked over at the Colonel and he wasn't just looking at you. He was staring. And his eyes weren't..."
"On your face."
Daniel felt the blood pool in his dick a lot faster. Voyeurism and exhibitionism were big kinks. Big. "Really?" he asked, trying to sound like he wasn't turned on. "So he was looking and?"
"He looked over at me and saw that I'd been watching him. Since he was already dressed, he followed me out."
"I remember. At the time, I thought it was because he was interested in you."
"Nope, wasn't that."
"Okay. Then what happened?"
"And we went out for a beer and after trying to deny what he'd been doing, I assured him that I was okay with it. Rather relieved, actually. Then he told me a few things. Not much, but enough for me to guess what he was interested in was you. And you know, he should've talked to you about this months ago."
"Sam, he's been in the military a long damn time. Suppressing ones homosexual desires is ingrained by now. That fact begs the question."
"Why now? Why me? Why's he taking such a huge risk?"
"Ask him, Daniel. Now, I gotta run."
He smiled. "Thanks, Sam."
"I didn't do anything."
"Yes, you did. Thanks. I'll talk to you tomorrow, okay?"
"I'll call you if you don't."
"Have a good time."
"You too, Daniel."
He groaned. "Does the phrase 'nervous wreck' ring any bells?"
She laughed softly. "'Night, Daniel."
He clicked off the phone and turned it back on before he could change his mind.
Jack's answering machine picked up after the second ring. "Jack, it's me. Get over here." Click.
Hanging up the phone, Daniel poured himself another drink. This was going to be, well, interesting was a word and a half.
. . .
Pacing. That's all he'd done for fifteen minutes. That and try to figure out what the hell to wear to accommodate his erection 'cause it was obvious it dick wasn't going down anytime soon. Rummaging through his closet, he laughed at himself. Every damn thought now sounded like a dirty double entendre.
He picked out the dockers, wondering if they'd be too dressy. What if they were going to that place with the great chili dogs? He might ruin the pants. He palmed his cock through the black sweats, taking a deep breath as a frisson of heat ran through him. Right now, his erection needed comfort, if not downright relief, and tighter jeans or trousers weren't going to happen. Dockers it was. As the sweats came off, he stroked himself then stopped, telling himself that it was just Jack, just a typical dinner, that it wasn't a date.
"Fuck," he sighed, looking up at the ceiling and closed his eyes. Who the hell was he fooling? "It's a date."
Pulling on the selected pants, he next looked for a shirt to wear, and picked out the dark green one that Janet had said looked good on him. Buttoning up, he looked at the long sleeves, then began to roll them up. Leaving them down was just too...
Date. He was going on a date. With Jack.
On Valentine's Day.
As first dates go, this one was a doozy. Jack could never do anything half-assed, could he?
Carefully tucking in his shirt and slipping on his belt, he slid on his shoes and went into the kitchen. Picking up his drink and downing the rest of it, he stared at the note on the counter where he'd left it.
Valentine's Day. Should he make up a card or something? Buy... flowers? Come on. Not even when he was dating guys did he ever buy them flowers. Well, he would have, had he ever been serious about any of them. Truth was, there was never really a chance of that, the guys being Air Force. And one Marine.
And Jack was Air Force. But he was also unorthodox and not a huge fan of rules and...
Was Jack considering retirement? Was that the reason for the big move? Was he that serious? Did he want--
Daniel groaned at himself, irritated at the idiotic, unfounded suppositions that ran through his brain. He needed to stop thinking about that and do something more immediate. Valentine's Day. A slow smile spread across his face. He sat down at the table and pulled the notebook pad in front of him, tearing off the scribbled-on top sheet and tossing it aside. The pen ran back and forth, and sheets of paper were torn off, crumpled and thrown away. On Daniel's sixth try, he thought he had what sounded okay. Not sappy, not sweet. Per se. Unorthodox. Like himself. Like Jack.
The doorbell rang and Daniel stood up quickly.
And got a head rush.
Guess he should not have had that second drink on an empty stomach. Unnecessarily smoothing down his pants and shirt, he folded up the piece of paper and walked to the door.
As he opened it, forcing himself to think that this was like every other day, he swallowed as he took in Jack and his appearance. Nothing out of the ordinary. Tan dockers, grey plaid shirt, hiking boots, leather jacket. Same dress, same man. Except this time, Daniel's heart beat a thousand miles an hour. And he found himself staring at Jack's lips for a moment too long before he met his eyes.
Damn. Have they always been that amazing shade of brown?
And had Daniel always acted like an idiot?
"Hey, Jack," he forced himself to say.
"Hey. I um, take it that the phone call meant you wanted to go out for dinner?"
Jack's ordinary tone of voice. Nothing different in it. Nothing different about the man whatsoever. And Daniel suddenly felt that both he and Sam were so full of shit. The note with the poem slid into his pocket. At the next opportunity, it was getting burned. What a fucking fool he was.
"Yeah, I could eat."
Jack stepped aside as that lop-sided grin came out of nowhere. "You wanna follow me or take my truck?"
Daniel started to reach for his jacket and keys, prepared to take his car. "Um, you know, how about I ride with you. I've had a few drinks since I got home."
Another grin along with a gesture at his truck, and for some reason he couldn't fathom, Daniel felt himself getting warm. He stood frozen, like some moron incapable of rational thought. Which probably wasn't that far off.
"Daniel? You ready to go?"
"Oh, um, yeah, sure." He closed the door behind him and... Jack didn't move. Daniel was forced to brush against him as he stepped away from his front door and...
That was a tease.
Jack was flirting.
Okay, the time to begin the confused signals had come and gone and no one told him. Feeling the urge for payback, and why, he had no idea, Daniel looked over his shoulder, that half-smile forming over his lips. "Coming?"
Jack swallowed. "Yeah."
. . .
Dinner and a movie. Jesus, how clichéd was that? But he'd somehow guessed right about dinner, having had those authentic Chicago-style polish sausage chili dogs. Daniel started to feel a little better about how well he knew Jack. For a while there, he'd been thinking that Jack had changed when he wasn't looking. But he hadn't. Daniel just hadn't been allowed to see the complete package.
As for the movie. Could they have gone to see anything more goddamned romantic, even with all the war stuff? Return of the King?
For nearly three hours, they sat together, leaning in, commenting quietly as they did at each other's homes, watching a dvd... only without sitting so close.
Flirting. This was Jack flirting. It was small stuff. Simple touches and close body warmth. A brush of a shoulder, accidental touching of feet at the restaurant. Feeling the heat and closeness from Jack as he stood in front of him in the thankfully-short movie line. Forearms touching, the armrests too narrow. Daniel wondered if dating professionals designed movie theatre seats.
Then there was the sharing a rather large popcorn instead of getting individual ones. "It's cheaper this way," Jack said.
Daniel wondered at that, too, what with the occasional brushing of fingers reaching into the bowl. And wasn't that was a new experience. Daniel was almost certain that, at one point, Jack had hesitated before pulling his hand away. The slick feel of melted butter only made it worse because butter on fingers brought thoughts of sucking which only managed to make Daniel harder.
And what was worse was that Daniel hadn't actually thought of it until his forefinger was in his mouth while his eyes were on the screen. It was automatic, something he did without thinking. He'd sucked the butter and salt off each finger, and when a brightly lit scene appeared onscreen, his peripheral vision had caught Jack watching him. He knew he'd only made things worse (better?) by slowly removing his finger from his mouth. His cock had sat up in appreciation then, as it had been doing the entire evening. Somehow, Daniel had managed to appear normal, whatever that meant, while inside, his body and hormones were screaming.
Now, they were driving home and Daniel didn't want the evening to end. Even though it was nearly 11 p.m., his lizard brain said now was the time to have hot, sweaty, spontaneously combusting--
"So," Daniel began, wishing his brain would just shut off, "you want to call it a night or do you want a drink or something?"
"I could use a drink," Jack replied.
Daniel made sure he didn't sound obvious. "Me, too." He really didn't want one, though.
"So, which place?" Jack asked as he pulled at a stop light.
Daniel thought about it. "Well, considering that my place is closer, how about there? Besides, if we drink too much, you'd have to give me a ride home in the morning. This way, if you drink too much, you'll have your truck."
He was babbling. Stating the obvious. And he felt that any moment now, he'd implode from the emotions held in check. He had so many questions. Needed to talk. So far, Jack wasn't giving any overt signs of anything being different between them. Daniel also wasn't sure if the touching wasn't just his imagination because of the note.
Damn Jack. Damn him. For someone who thought of himself as an uncomplicated person, he was amazingly complex.
Finally home, getting out of the truck and fishing his keys from his pocket, Daniel felt more than heard Jack's presence behind him. If something didn't happen soon, and something smooth and adult, Daniel just knew he'd blow it by acting in haste.
Problem was, would Jack want to talk or act? Despite Jack's 'action, not words' preferences, was this a situation that would call for that? This was exactly the complex shit Daniel hated. He normally knew what to expect, but damn it, this was different, a big--
"Are you gonna open the door, Daniel?"
"What?" Daniel asked, and realized that he'd been staring at the key in the door for... seconds? Minutes?
Moving inside, he quickly hung up his coat and made for the kitchen, getting away from Jack as quickly as possible. "JD okay?"
"Perfect," Jack replied. Following him.
Fuck. Why couldn't he just go into the living room like he did every other time?
Okay, almost every other time.
"Yeah," Jack drawled. "Why are you asking? You know what I like."
Daniel coughed, damn near dropping the ice cubes he pried out of the tray in the freezer. Thank god the freezer door blocked his face from Jack.
Clearing his throat, he returned, dropping ice into two glasses, one of them the glass he'd used earlier. Pouring the liquor, he realized he didn't answer Jack but he honestly couldn't think of an answer.
"Yeah, fine," Daniel replied, sipping his drink quickly and heading into the living room. He wondered why he was in such a hurry to get away from Jack when all he really wanted was to do was lay the man out, naked, sweating, moaning. Was he playing a game? Hard to get, cat and mouse, what?
No. He knew what it was. He wanted to make certain that Jack had space, that if this wasn't a date, there'd be nothing to misconstrue.
And goddamn it if Jack didn't just throw the monkey wrench into the works by not sitting down in the corner of the couch as he usually did.
No, wrong word, Daniel. Bad. Very bad. Very, very... oh no.
Jack's arm was now on the back of the couch and his fingers only a few inches from possible touching territory with his hair.
Suddenly, Daniel had had enough. He couldn't take it anymore.
"Jack, about that note."
"Yeah?" Jack asked, taking a sip from his glass.
"About dinner, the movie?"
"You didn't like it?"
"Fine. It was fine. I enjoyed myself. Thanks." Apart from the nervous knots twisting in his stomach all evening and the erection that died down only during half of the movie. Thank god. But now, it was starting to make a come back. Oh. Wrong thought. Bad Daniel. "I guess what I'm trying to say, and not doing a very good job of it, by the way, is... did we just go on a date?" His heart stopped. He could swear it did. Jack didn't answer right away and it took a lot for Daniel to turn his body to the left so he could face Jack, look him in the eye, and get that expectant laugh from the man.
Only Jack wasn't laughing, nor was he frowning. He was staring into his glass. Taking a sip, he set it down on the coffee table and it was then that Daniel noticed Jack's cheeks were pink.
Jack O'Neill was blushing?
The tension started to leave Daniel's shoulders like a drain unplugged, though it didn't help that it was quickly replaced by excitement, anticipation. Hope.
"Are we still on a date, Jack?" he asked, his voice quiet. He found himself leaning forward slightly, his eyes on Jack's lips. The need to feel them against his own overwhelming all remaining acts of caution.
Jack met him halfway and good god, yes. "Yes."
Soft, firm, wet, and oh god, nothing but fire and heat and intense want. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Daniel found himself falling back, pulling Jack with him, over him, the need to feel more than his lips against him becoming just as overwhelming. Then the man's strong, capable hand, used to handling P-90s and C4, rubbed over his crotch. Daniel deepened their kiss and Jack met it with such hunger that it felt as if Jack wanted to jump inside him. Daniel started to laugh through the kiss. Not far off on that thought. Although jumping inside him was a little exaggeration. Plowing inside him, on the other hand...
Daniel replaced the laugh with a moan, the vibration sending a shock through Jack's mouth. The sound was a new one for them, sending chills down Daniel's spine. A sound he never thought he'd hear himself make in Jack's presence. Because of Jack. He moaned again. And again. Thrusting up as Jack ground down. And returned the sound. God.
Jack's fingers were now moving over his pocket where the note was and Daniel broke away, clutching at the paper too late as Jack pushed back, kneeling over his legs.
"It's just a grocery list," Daniel lied, trying again to grab it, knowing damn well that if he had simply acted as if it weren't important, Jack would buy that.
The paper unfolded. And Jack was reading.
That slow, crooked grin appeared and when it blossomed into a wide, gorgeous smile, Daniel didn't dare breath. Jack was unpredictable at best. God only knew if he was gearing up for a major tease. "You wrote me a Valentine?"
Daniel dropped back on the couch and covered his eyes. "Shit. I knew I should've ripped it up."
Peeking under his hand, he looked down and watched as Jack folded the paper and stuck it in his breast pocket. Then his hands were, god, on his thighs, caressing, moving upward, around his groin. Damn tease.
Daniel couldn't help the gasp that escaped his mouth when Jack's fingers found his belt, unhooking, opening, unzipping the front of his trousers. Daniel's eyes grew round and his body stilled. Jack paused, staring at him.
"What do you want for your valentine?" he asked. Thumbs rubbed skin before sliding inside the waistband of his briefs.
"Touch me." God, please.
"How?" Jack breathed as he lowered his head, his eyes trained on Daniel's.
Fucking tease. Jack knew it, too, as he smiled and hovered, his mouth dropping closer and closer as he pulled Daniel's briefs down, letting his aching cock spring into cooler air. He looked down, then back up. "Nice. Looks like it needs attention. Think so?"
Daniel growled, unable to issue a complaint or even a reprimand.
That smile was followed by tongue and wetness and heat and Daniel was being engulfed and driven out of his mind, his orgasm quick, hard, and embarrassingly good. When he found his eyesight again, he realized his fingers had given Jack the equivalency of bed-head. And he laughed.
"What's so funny?" Jack asked, climbing over him.
"I fucked up your hair."
"Ironic. I was planning on having it look that way eventually."
More tongue, in his mouth this time, and the taste of himself in Jack's mouth made his dick twitch. Hunger. Yes. Jack was all about that. Remaining clothes shed and lube retrieved from a place between the seat covers--and the reason for its hiding place was going to be something Jack weaseled out of him later. Daniel found himself arching back, thighs spread, biting his lip as Jack filled him. A sudden thought that maybe they were going too fast was viciously pushed away when Jack's thrusts massaged his gland.
Words, pornographic and beautiful, were growled in Daniel's ear. That voice. Fuck if he couldn't come just from hearing it like that. Then there was the one sound Daniel never thought he'd hear and he climaxed a second time because of it.
Jack let out a loud groan and harsh cry, the sound vibrating against his shoulder through the bitten muscle.
Because of him.
. . .
Naked. In bed with Jack. Damn.
. . .
Coffee woke Daniel abruptly and he rolled over, realizing that Jack wasn't lying next to him, but was standing next to the bed, grinning down at him. Daniel wasn't a morning person and typically, he'd be in a rather grouchy mood till after he'd been up three hours and had two cups of coffee. This time, new memories and sore muscles made him smile despite himself. Taking the coffee cup Jack offered, he sipped at it before setting it on the nightstand. Jack looked very good. Very good. "Thanks."
"You're welcome. Now, up and Adam. Gotta get ready for work." Jack leaned down and kissed his nose, then his mouth. Slow. Sweet. When Daniel moaned, Jack growled back. "Don't do that or I'll be late and so will you."
"What the hell, Jack," Daniel replied, smiling against the man's mouth as he pulled him down.
"Daniel, we gotta go."
"I'll show Carter and Teal'c that poem."
It was Daniel's turn to growl. He kissed Jack again, hard, turning them over and pushing him into the mattress. When he let him up, he couldn't help but stare. The man was so fuckable. "You wouldn't dare," he said, but he knew he was wrong, especially given the spark in Jack's eyes. The man might just show it to them anyway. "I'm going to fuck you again," Daniel informed him, pulling at his trousers. Jack fought him off, but not with any kind of real effort. When the shirt slid off, the note fell between them, and ignoring it, Daniel laced his fingers through Jack's and held him down. He was met with a suddenly serious expression and asked, "What?" while maneuvering between Jack's legs, his cock pushing inside, his body unwilling to wait for total nudity. His own was enough, he figured.
Jack groaned. "I was only going to say I love you but that can wait."
Surprised, that's what Daniel was, and in response, the fuck was fast, furious, and passionate, ending with him saying it back through a shout Jack would later tease him was a scream.
As for the note, it lay underneath them, ruined. It didn't matter anyway, Daniel thought, since he knew damn well that Jack had committed the thing to memory.
. . .
Roses are blue, violets are red,
my gift for you is that I'm not dead.