"But hunting for eggs is for little kids," Cassandra said, her tone torn between longing and scorn. "I'm not a little kid."
Janet tugged at a strand of Cassandra's long blond hair. Her adopted daughter was growing up quickly, having reached that stage between sweet child and teen rebel. Draping her arm over Cassandra's shoulders, Janet guided her away from the group clustered on Jack's porch. She lowered her voice conspiratorially. "You have to do it as a favor for us."
"A favor for you guys?" Cassandra shot a suspicious look at the adults. Janet was sitting on the swing while the Jedi and Teal'c stood, Obi-Wan leaning against the porch railing. Jack and Daniel were inside, making coffee for the group.
"You see, it's Easter and on Easter, small children are supposed to hunt for Easter eggs. But well - "
"You're the only one with a kid."
Another year older, and she would have rolled her eyes at calling herself a kid, Janet mused. She never thought she would be so grateful for the first signs of that teenage desire to appear ‘mature.’ Cassandra had seemed so frail and vulnerable when Janet adopted her. Traumatized by the Goa’uld destruction of the entire population of her world, her fevered nightmares had woken both of them for many months. "Teal'c has a son, but he lives on Chulak."
"The Colonel's son died, didn't he?" At Janet's nod, Cassandra tossed her head, her hair flipping. She covertly studied the adults. She could understand the pain and loss the Colonel had suffered. "I guess I could. As a favor. I don't have to eat all the eggs, do I?"
"No, you don't have to eat all the eggs. Actually, the Easter bunny may have left a few other presents too." Janet tugged at her daughter's ear lobe. "Be sure to look for small packages."
Janet smiled at her excitement. Cassandra was definitely ready to be a teen, finding a new fascination in clothes and jewelry, but Janet wanted to introduce her to the joys of the Earth childhood she had missed while growing up on the planet Hanka. The Doctor had been delighted that her plans fell so neatly into place, Jack volunteering his house, he and Daniel driving up early to hide the eggs and presents. "Happy hunting," she said, as she handed her a small basket.
Taking the basket, Cassandra hesitantly smiled before starting to wander around the yard. Her friends at the base had told her about Easter egg hunts, but she had never seen one. Run around, pick things up, was her general understanding as she started searching for a glimpse of color in the green shrubbery.
"Mission accomplished?" Sam asked, as Janet settled on the porch swing next to her.
"I told her it was her obligation as the only kid, to help all us adults celebrate the holiday." The women swung their feet, starting the swing gently swaying, the chain faintly squeaking in the calm morning.
"That sounds suspiciously like how you convinced us to help dye all those eggs. Except that you wanted to ensure that Cassandra had a chance to enjoy an Earth holiday, even if she was too old for Easter egg hunts," Qui-Gon said as he folded his arms over his chest. It was already mid-morning since Janet had instructed everyone not to arrive before the eggs were safely hid, but the air was definitely chilly.
Obi-Wan sounded amused as he added, "I think the good doctor has a streak of deviousness."
Unfazed by the accusation, Janet smiled. "There's nothing wrong with a little reverse psychology. We all needed a break away from the base. It's a beautiful morning, good friends are gathered, Cassandra will get a few nice presents, what more could you want from a holiday?"
"How about coffee?" The Colonel asked as he emerged from the house, carrying a tray filled with cups, followed by Daniel. The coffee was handed out, cream and sugar added to soften the strong brew, as the adults watched Cassandra meander around Jack's front yard, stopping now and then to scoop up a multi-colored egg, giving a tentative wave after each successful find.
Touching Qui-Gon's mind, Obi-Wan asked / / You're not upset over Janet's little manipulation, are you?/ /
Their eyes met, Qui-Gon allowing Obi-Wan to see the banked desire in his blue gaze. / / After the pleasure I received, scrubbing the egg dye off your body? Besides, I'm not sure Janet even knows which of us she's trying to make sure has a nice holiday. / /
Obi-Wan almost groaned at the mental image they shared, a tight shower stall, a spray of hot water, sudsy soap, hands energetically washing bright streaks of dye from each other's skin. And then proceeding to scrub many places that dye never touched. / / I don't think the vibrant yellow and green were really my colors. Though I did like the blue on you. / / A sandaled foot stamping on the porch was a welcome distraction from the inappropriately timed passionate remembrance.
"Mom, there's a package in the tree!" Cassandra exclaimed.
"Wow, that Easter bunny must be tall, to hop that high," Jack joked.
Cassandra scowled and gestured at her pink dress. "I can't climb a tree!"
"Allow me," Obi-Wan said easily, setting his cup on the porch railing.
She looked hesitantly at the Padawan who seemed very tall to her, and faintly exotic, with his long braid and the ponytail. Between her school studies, Janet's efforts to make sure she enjoyed a normal Earth life even within the confines of a top-secret military installation and the general hectic pace of everyone's lives, Cassandra had mixed little with the Jedi. Despite their nice English accents, she knew they were like her, aliens from another planet, who had arrived on Earth through the Stargate. Unlike her, they would go home eventually.
Obi-Wan gallantly offered his arm and after a questioning glance at Janet for permission, Cassandra slipped her small hand into the crook of his elbow. The two strolled across the lawn to the large old tree, where Cassandra excitedly pointed at the gaily wrapped present tucked between a branch and the trunk. The others sipped coffee and watched as Obi-Wan elegantly leaped, grabbing a low branch, swinging himself up and twisting to sit on the limb. He retrieved the package and fell back, his knees catching on the branch to hold him. Dangling in mid-air, he held out the package with a flourish. "Your present, my lady."
"Wow! Thank you." Cassandra clutched the present as Obi-Wan reached back up to grab the branch, his legs swinging forward until he released his hands and let the momentum carry him forward to drop to the ground.
Smiling at Obi-Wan's chivalrous air, Sam turned to Janet and was distressed to see tears sparkling in her friend's eyes. "Janet, are you okay?"
"It's silly but - she called me Mom."
Confused at Janet's distress, Sam replied, "You are her mother. You adopted her."
Shaking her head, Janet brushed one crystal drop from her cheek. "We had a long chat after I adopted her, about what children call their parents and stepparents. Daniel even talked to her about his foster parents. She called me Aunt Janet for a long time. Mom's started slipping in."
Qui-Gon's hand rested on Janet's shoulder, squeezing lightly. "It is the will of the Force, that you two found each other."
A slight giggle escaped Janet, "You sound like my mother, only she would have said God works in mysterious ways. Personally, I thank Sam." At Qui-Gon's obvious confusion, she continued, "the Goa'uld placed an explosive device within Cassandra, in an attempt to destroy the Stargate. Hammond ordered her sent to an abandoned nuclear facility to contain the device when it detonated. Sam - " Janet clasped her friend's hand as she said, "Sam wouldn't leave her, even when the countdown was reached. Fortunately, the device was only designed to explode when going through the gate. It ultimately shrank and she'll be able to live a normal life on Earth."
Qui-Gon's eyes were warm and full of respect as they rested on Sam. "You were willing to give your life, rather than let a child die alone."
Sam shrugged, disconcerted at the admiration. "She was crying. And just a kid." The decision wasn’t one that Sam thought was admirable; it was simply an instinctive reaction to seeing Cassandra sitting forlornly in the elevator, waiting for the doors to shut. Waiting for the elevator to descend and for herself to die, a helpless victim of the Goa’uld hatred of the Earth people. Every maternal instinct in Sam had screamed at her to stay with Cassandra, to comfort the child caught in a battle she didn’t understand.
“Is that not what this holiday is about? The sacrifice of one of your religious leaders?” Qui-Gon asked.
Janet nodded. “Actually, today is a celebration of his rebirth, rather than death. The son of God, Jesus Christ, was crucified for our sins and he was resurrected today."
Qui-Gon's "What sins?" was interrupted by "Mom! Mom!" as Cassandra came running across the lawn, holding a small package, her blond hair streaming behind her. She skipped onto the porch and halted in front of Janet. "Can I open it now?"
The Colonel tutted. "You can't let yourself be diverted from your mission, soldier. There are eggs still to hunt." Biting her lip, Cassandra's eyes shifted between the Colonel and Janet but she conceded without argument, bouncing back down the porch stairs. "So do the Jedi have any heroic religious figures? Or is everything just the little bugs?"
"The midichlorians," Qui-Gon responded calmly to Jack’s jibe, "are not bugs. But yes, many Jedi have given their lives in service to the Republic and the Force. We do revere their memories and their sacrifices, though we do not regard them as religious icons."
Teal'c spoke abruptly. "The Jaffa who die in the service of the Goa'uld are not honored by the false Gods for their sacrifice. They are remembered only by the other Jaffa." Seemingly not aware of the others, the big man's concentration was dedicated to watching Cassandra as she smiled and chatted with Obi-Wan, the sunlight catching glints of gold in their hair. "It is good, to honor the dead."
"Um, well," Daniel cleared his voice, "we had actually a less reverent day planned. We thought we'd let Cassandra find eggs and presents, then we have hot cross buns and slices of ham and Jack's special scrambled eggs for breakfast. And we rented Easter Parade."
"I did not know parades could be rented," Teal'c said gravely.
"It's a movie, Teal'c," Sam chipped in. "Dorothy’s in it. And it sounds like a great Easter morning. A celebration of being friends together."
“Ah, Dorothy. I shall enjoy seeing this Easter Parade then,” Teal’c rumbled.
The day had been fun, Jack decided as he wandered around the living room, picking up random pieces of debris. Breakfast was a loud, noisy affair, everyone chatting, Cassandra still bubbling with excitement from her gifts and admiring her eggs. A cheerful argument had erupted over who decorated the eggs best, Obi-Wan pretending to mind whammy them into accepting his masterpieces were the most beautiful. Jack collected a few scraps of wrapping paper, a coffee cup, and a discarded napkin, while moving a few chairs back into place. Daniel watched him tidy up with a thoughtful expression on his face before saying, “Jack, what's wrong?"
Inside, Jack quailed, though he didn't let that reaction register on his face. He’d noticed Daniel watching him out of the corner of his eye and knew a question was brewing. Sometimes, he thought he would rather have a Goa'uld rip out his fingernails than face Daniel in one of his inquisitive moods. The scientist was the most doggedly persistent man of his acquaintance. Spitting at a torturer must be easier than meeting the concern in Daniel's bright eyes. Jack prevaricated, "Wrong with what?"
"Wrong with you. And the Jedi. Like - the crack about little bugs."
"Come on, Danny, you gotta admit the whole midichlorians thing is kinda…odd."
Approaching Jack's back, Daniel raised one hand hesitantly, letting the palm rest flat on his shoulder blade. "You've seen the power of the Force. You've seen their abilities, the mind control, the levitation. I've seen you flippant, and funny, and amusing, but I've never seen you disrespectful, not of what you know to be true."
Jack flexed the muscles of his back, but not violently enough to dislodge Daniel's hand. "It's just so - ."
"Oh you know, you spend all the time with them." Breaking away from the warmth of Daniel's hand, Jack headed for the kitchen, dumping the cup in the sink, tossing the garbage away. He looked over to see Daniel standing in the doorway, an expression of wonder and revelation on his face.
"You're jealous!" As Daniel stalked toward him, Jack stepped back, bumping into the refrigerator door. Daniel swiftly put his hands on each side of Jack's head, pinning him in place. "Jealous," he repeated.
"Hell." Denial seemed pointless. With one hand between his shoulder blades and the other in the small of his back, Jack pulled Daniel into his arms, their lips meeting in a kiss. The kiss deepened, lengthened, their tongues exploring with voracious hunger. They had to spend so many days, maintaining their distance, pretending to be merely good friends, that the passion almost invariably overwhelmed them when freed. Breathing hard, their lips released, foreheads touching as they leaned together. "Why shouldn't I be jealous, when you spend most of your free time with two of the best looking guys on the base."
"The Jedi are fascinating to study as a culture. But you're the one I love, Jack."
"Yeah?" was Jack's half-delighted, half-skeptical answer. He had enjoyed celebrating the holiday with his Stargate family, just as the other incursions to let the Jedi experience Earth activities had been fun. But sometimes the frustration ate at him, wanting to be with Daniel, and only Daniel.
Daniel's affirmation was a confident, "Yes. I love you Jack. Your strength, your honesty, your sense of humor."
“My striking good looks?” Jack asked coyly, tipping his head slightly.
“Those too,” Daniel replied, tracing one finger down the side of Jack’s cheek.
“Well, as long as we’ve got that straightened out.” Though he sounded calm, Jack was finding Daniel's direct admission made his knees decidedly weak. And another part of his anatomy definitely hard.
"Do you want to know what I was thinking today?"
"When you were staring at me instead of the movie?" Every time he had glanced across the crowded living room, he caught Daniel glancing at him. It was such a small thing, a look, the contact of eyes, but it reassured him that Daniel might share the same tangled emotions.
Daniel shook his head ruefully. He thought he'd been cautious, playing it cool, not letting the others see how often he enjoyed watching Jack. Hoping the rest were less observant, he said, "Yes, when you were watching the movie." His finger continued down the strong line of Jack's jaw, sliding down his throat. "I would look at this spot." The index finger settled in the hollow of Jack's throat, under his adam's apple. "I remembered how very soft your skin is. I decided it's as soft as a bunny's fur."
The "Yeah?" was smugly pleased, encouraging Daniel to keep talking despite the brevity of the response.
"Soft, and warm, and so smooth…I remember when I was a little kid, and got to pet a bunny. I would bury my face and nuzzle its fur, because it was so silky. There was the Jedi and Janet and Sam and everyone around, and I just wanted to bury my face in this spot." Suiting deeds to words, Daniel leaned forward, his lips kissing the hollow as Jack's head clunked back against the metal door of the refrigerator. He kissed and licked and nibbled while Jack's hands clung to his shoulders.
"Danny," Jack gasped, "Danny, let's get out of the kitchen."
A mumbled "hum?" came from the scientist, absorbed in unbuttoning Jack's shirt and working his way down his chest.
"The bedroom, the bedroom," Jack chanted. "Not the - " His voice seized abruptly as Daniel parted his shirt wide enough to expose his nipples. The scientist latched on greedily, licking one nub into a hard, tight point, before transferring to its twin and relishing it with the same dedicated attention.
When he was satisfied with Jack's incoherent moaning, Daniel stepped back. "Okay," he said cheerfully.
"Okay? Okay what?" Jack's dazed mind had lost track of the conversation.
Daniel latched one hand into the front of Jack's jeans. "The bedroom, not the kitchen." He pulled and Jack obediently followed him out of the kitchen, down the hallway, into the big master bedroom.
Ceding control was nice, Jack decided, as Daniel pushed him onto the bed. "Feeling like a little change of pace, huh Doctor?"
Kneeling on the bed beside him, Daniel asked, "You don't mind, do you? I just thought - "
"Mind? How could I mind?" Jack replied as Daniel seemed unable to complete his statement, instead working efficiently on the rest of his shirt buttons before starting on the belt buckle. Beginning a relationship had been an unplanned insanity, orchestrated by too much good beer and a Force-push by Qui-Gon. Working things out had taken time, particularly with the complications of military restrictions and Daniel's marriage. The scientist's guilt over Shau'ri's death had temporarily escalated the turmoil, Daniel questioning everything in his life, including their relationship.
Jack was delighted to see this aggressive side of Daniel, a side that affirmed problems and issues and concerns had all been resolved - that Daniel wanted Jack, wanted him now, wanted him beyond any other consideration. A rush of adrenaline surged through Jack's body as Daniel continued ravishing him, yanking off Jack's jeans and shoes.
Daniel fell onto Jack, pressing his clothed body to Jack's naked form. Jack quivered at the eroticism of fabric rubbing against his skin but became faintly uneasy as Daniel's hands charted his body with a frenzied haste. A fine line existed between passion and desperation, a line which Daniel had clearly stepped over. He pushed at Daniel and the scientist raised himself slightly. "Danny, what's wrong?"
Equivocating, Daniel asked, "Haven't we had this conversation?"
Looking at his lover, with his potent combination of innocence and intelligence, Jack wanted to shut up and let whatever was happening, happen. Instead, he said, "Yeah, and I was honest."
His eyes intent and yet nervous behind the lenses of his glasses, Daniel said, "Jack, I want to make love to you."
"We are making - oh." They were still for a moment, even their breath slowing. Finally, Jack promised, "Anything you want, Danny. Take it slow and easy, okay? I'm not going to stop you." Jack was glad of his promise, as he felt Daniel's muscles relax and the worry in his eyes fade away.
Daniel's weight settled on Jack again, and they kissed, slowly and gently, both of them tugging randomly at Daniel's clothes. "Lube," Jack whispered. At Daniel's uncomprehending expression, Jack repeated, "Lube. There's lube in the bathroom." The scientist leaped off the bed and Jack almost cursed, missing his warmth. He stared at Daniel moving across the room, leaving a trail of clothes as he headed for the other room.
Rolling over, Jack positioned himself, arms wrapped around a pillow, legs spread wide. He heard Daniel return and give a soft, "Wow," before he felt hands caressing his skin. The ridges of his back were traced, each bump of his spine receiving an individual kiss as Daniel snuggled up to him.
Daniel's legs settled between his own, then Daniel's hands, resting on his butt, separated the cheeks. Jack shivered as thumbs traced down the crevice and his "Jeez!" was explosive when Daniel's lips kissed him, a warm tongue darting out to taste him intimately.
A falling object caught the side of Jack's vision, and he realized Daniel had tossed his glasses on the floor. "You okay, Jack?"
"I'm fine. I'm better than fine," Jack reassured him honestly. He heard faint noises of a cap being untwisted and a tube squeezed before a finger probed at the tight ring. Clenching his muscles was an instinctive reaction to the unfamiliar presence.
Attuned to Jack's responses, Daniel paused. "Jack?"
"Go on, go on. I want this," he gasped.
Without verbal response, Daniel returned to his sensual task, his lube-coated finger sliding in and out of Jack, coaxing the muscles to relax. He searched for Jack's prostate, gratified by his lover's harsh exhalation as he found the sensitive bundle of nerves. "Is that good?"
"Jeez, Danny, just - do it again!" was the half-command, half-plea.
Grinning, Daniel inserted another finger, kissing and licking at the soft skin of Jack's butt as he prepared him. Some part of his mind distantly realized this was a true acceptance of their relationship - a physical affirmation that he was in love with and making love to Jack. It wasn't too much beer or Force manipulation or a casual affair or Jack taking control. It was Daniel, willingly giving his lover pleasure.
He waited until Jack was moaning, rocking senselessly on his hands and knees. Daniel removed his finger and nudged his cock into Jack, his arms bracketing Jack's restless body. The entry wasn't completely smooth, but Daniel was patient, allowing Jack time to adjust to this new invasion.
"You…are…good," Jack muttered, as Daniel thrust slowly back and forth into his body, burying his cock completely until his balls slapped against Jack's skin. Balancing his weight on one arm, Daniel ran the fingers of his other arm through Jack's short, silvered hair, nibbling on his neck.
The force and speed of Daniel's hips increased, Jack urgently shoving back to meet him. His free hand coasted down Jack's body, fisting Jack's cock, pumping hard as his own climax rushed up to meet him. Desperately holding on, he delayed his gratification until Jack's low cry sounded in his ears, hot come spurting in his hand. Releasing his control, he came, swamped in a tidal wave of pleasure and love for this man who had become his life.
"I think I would say that we're good together," Daniel said when he could collect his breath enough to speak.
"That sounds like a hypothesis I could accept, Doctor. We'll have to test it again. Later."
"Later," Daniel agreed sleepily, as they scooted under the covers and curled up for a nap. "And then later again."
As soon as the car engine stopped and the brake was set, Obi-Wan turned to face Qui-Gon, pulling his Master into a teasing exploration of lips and tongue. Obi-Wan sucked at Qui-Gon’s lower lip before stroking his tongue along the contours of his Master’s upper lip, diverting to nibble at his nose before returning to another brief meeting of lips.
Qui-Gon reluctantly separated their faces, pushing Obi-Wan away from him in the tight confines of the sports car. “Not here, Obi-Wan. I’m too old for…what is this called?”
“Parking,” Obi-Wan replied, leaning in to snatch a bite of the firm flesh of Qui-Gon’s throat. He dropped a hand to Qui-Gon’s crotch, letting his hand rest on the burning hardness tenting the front. “And you don’t feel old. You feel quite…vibrant.”
Qui-Gon groaned at eager fingers caressed his length and Obi-Wan’s teeth moved to his ear. “This car is too small.”
At that response, Obi-Wan leaned back against the leather bucket seats, far enough to admire Qui-Gon’s rangy frame. “You do look as if your knees are bumping your chin. This sports car is not designed for tall people. I'll find something else to borrow next time.” He stole another swift kiss before conceding, “I didn’t actually intend to start ravishing you in the car. I wanted you to see the view.”
“Not that I mind being ravished,” Qui-Gon said as they stepped from the car, slamming the doors. Their shoes crunched in the gravel on the shoulder of the road as they walked to the edge of the cliff and paused by the railing. Obi-Wan leaned back against Qui-Gon, who folded his arms around the younger man, hugging him. “It is a beautiful view,” he added, as they stared down into the valley. Evergreen trees covered the landscape, with the rooftops of small towns and the black ribbon of roads occasionally breaking the green expanse. The afternoon was quiet except for the small chitter of mammals and the faint chirping of birds.
Obi-Wan gently sighed, closing his eyes as he burrowed into Qui-Gon’s protective embrace. His mental shields dropped, his mind reaching out for his other half. Qui-Gon’s thoughts met his eagerly, their consciousness wrapping around each other’s, just as their arms entwined together, Obi-Wan pulling Qui-Gon's long arms closer to his chest. Neither knew how long they stood, Qui-Gon’s beard rubbing against Obi-Wan’s temple, listening to the pulse of their heartbeats, experiencing the joy of becoming one united soul.
Images from the day flooded through their minds. Jack showing off his unexpected culinary expertise, whipping up a breakfast that left everyone satisfied and full. Cassandra carefully untying each bow and preserving the paper of each present until Jack and Janet exhorted her to simply rip the wrapping to shreds. The covert glances between Jack and Daniel, which fooled no one but themselves. Cassandra's open adoration of Obi-Wan, which only increased when he began an impromptu juggling and levitation of the Easter eggs. Daniel's muddled attempts to explain the connection of Easter egg hunts to the death of Christ. Sam's contented smile when she shared childhood memories of Easter egg hunting with her brother. Teal'c's startling laugh as he watched Fred Astaire and Judy Garland dance dressed like tramps.
"I needed this," Obi-Wan said softly as he reluctantly separated their bodies, the invisible barriers separating their minds again. "Needed to be close to you."
"The day was enjoyable, but I always yearn to be with you. Alone together, meditating with you, at peace."
Obi-Wan's mischievous grin warned Qui-Gon before he spoke. "If you want peace, I suppose you don't want to get off this road and return to the base for hot sex."
"Well," Qui-Gon said thoughtfully, scratching at his beard, "I have heard that intense physical satiation can lead to a state of extraordinary bliss." Flashing a look of carnal desire at his apprentice, he suggested, "Shall we go explore this option for achieving peace?"
"Yes, Master, I believe that would be the perfect way to end the holiday."
~ the end ~