"Are we there yet?" It was childish and Daniel knew it.
"We are not, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c said from the scout ship's pilot seat.
Sam quirked and eyebrow and gave him a half-smile. "If it's any consolation, the modifications the Colonel made to the engines are going to get us home a lot faster than we could have hoped for."
"Sorry, I'm feeling antsy. I'm going to go in the back and…" Daniel shrugged and turned, not sure what he was going to do in the back.
Jack was unpacking the cases and crates in the cargo area Jack hadn't said anything – Ancient or English - since they had left Taonas. At the outpost, the Ancient knowledge in his brain had unspooled enough to reveal the location of the lost city and a power source they had never seen. In theory it would resurrect a weapon system that could protect them from Anubis. It had also shown Jack how to lay hands on mortally wounded Bra’tac and heal him. Bra’tac, while grateful, had found things to do in other parts of the scout ship.
This was good; they were doing their jobs. Jack had found the information they desperately needed – at least that was what they hoped. What Daniel was trying and failing to avoid focusing on was what that really meant. Jack, at least Jack as they knew him, was dying. The Ancient knowledge in his head would take over and overwrite Jack, leaving only a shell.
"Jack." Daniel rested his hand on Jack's shoulder.
Jack looked up at him and raised both eyebrows. Even if he didn't say anything, Daniel could hear Jack saying his name and the mocking tone that came along with it. Squatting next to Jack, Daniel looked down, fighting the emotions welling up. "I know we have to focus on getting to Earth, and saving the planet, but I can't stop thinking about what happens after. Has any of that Ancient knowledge told you how to save yourself?"
The line of Jack's mouth remained flat. He gave Daniel's thigh a long slow stroke, then looked away.
"It took us seven years to figure out what we mean to one another, and I don't want to let you go!" Daniel choked on the last words.
Jack tossed the screwdriver he held back in the tool box and stood up. He offered his hand, and Daniel allowed himself to be pulled up. With a nod, Jack turned around, then moved two or three large cases until he found a small black one, about half the size of a briefcase. He handed it to Daniel, grabbed his elbow and led him behind a stack of crates.
"Jack, I'm not sure what you need me to do, but I want to help."
Jack ran his hand along Daniel's check and squeezed the back of his neck. Then he took the case and kneeled down, indicating with his hand that Daniel should follow. The case contained an assortment of pens and flashlights. Jack picked out a marker with a lime green sticker.
Popping the cap, Jack took Daniel's wrist, then drew a line on Daniel's bare forearm. The marker scratched, almost like a nail being dragged on his skin, Daniel flinched. Jack paused and looked into Daniel's eyes.
Jack's mouth was set in a serious line, the way it got on combat missions, but his eyes pleaded for permission to do this.
Licking his lip, Daniel nodded and took a breath. When he looked down at his arm, he couldn’t see anything, but he felt the remnant of the marker's touch – wet and warm like a fresh scratch. "I don’t see anything. Do you need to start it on a piece of paper?"
Not letting go of Daniel's wrist, Jack reached back and picked up a small flashlight. He shined it on Daniel's wrist and a fluorescent green line jumped to life. Understanding clicked and Daniel said, "UV! Why are you—"
He stopped talking when Jack put his fingers on Daniel's lips. The thought finished in Daniel's brain that Jack was essentially writing on him with invisible ink. They used the markers in the field to tag objects. Once they had used them to leave a message on a public wall so another SG team could read it, but the enemy would be unaware. Taking away his fingers, Jack let go of Daniel's wrist a moment to draw on his own. Then he shined the blue-black light on it.
"Canis Minor," Daniel said automatically when he saw the two triangles stacked like an hourglass.
Jack said, "Shhh."
"Right, the gate symbols all have sound values in the Ancient alpha-" Jack put his finger on Daniel's mouth again. Once Daniel was quiet, Jack shined the light on the symbol.
Daniel lowered his voice to a whisper. "You would like me to be quiet, but Jack, we're alone except for Sam, Teal'c and Bra'tac."
"The message is for me and not our teammates?"
Sliding his fingers around the back of Daniel's neck, Jack kissed him, long and slow, eloquently communicating there were things they kept from their teammates. It felt good and should have been comforting, but it intensified the grief, building inside Daniel. When Jack moved back, Daniel could only trust himself to nod.
Dropping the flashlight back into the case, Jack took Daniel's wrist and used the marker again. This time, Daniel steeled himself for the sensation. It wasn't the first time Daniel had been written on. Once in college a girl had put her number on the back of his hand, but most of his experience had been in the field when his notebook became misplaced. With a ballpoint pen, the pressure of the tip was the main sensation. Highlighters were wet. Sharpies were wet but also a little scratchy. The UV marker took it to another level. It was almost as if his skin was being etched, branded with Jack's mark.
Daniel wanted to grab a flashlight and read along, but Jack didn't seem interested in letting him do that. The strokes were deliberate. Daniel had seen Jack do this the last time he had an Ancient database into his head. With a draftsman's precision he had diagrammed a new power source, labeled with architectural lettering. It had been nothing like the usual scrawl Jack affixed to military forms.
The same kind of penmanship was happening on Daniel's arm, but the letters weren't from the Latin alphabet, spelling out English words. Equuleus, Sculptor, Capricornus, all easy symbols to decipher. He wondered how Jack would manage the more detailed symbols like Virgo or the tiny details of Serpens Caput. Maybe he should be more concerned about translating what it said.
Daniel bit back a grunt when Jack wrote on the sensitive flesh of his inner wrist, holding his arm still against the discomfort. In a moment Jack was done and let him go. There was nothing on Daniel's arm that anyone could see, but he could feel it, almost like Jack had made a pass or two with light sandpaper.
Before Daniel could reach for a flashlight, Jack tugged the black T-shirt out of Daniel’s pants and pulled it over his head. Instinctively, Daniel looked toward the cargo ship's bridge, but the cases and crates they were nestled behind blocked his view. Jack slid a low crate in front of Daniel, and led Daniel to lean over it, his chest resting against the textured metal. His heart pounded against the cool surface. This was a position Daniel was familiar with - on his knees draped over a piece of furniture, like the coffee table in his living room. It happened most often after they'd survived a narrow escape, and Jack needed something emotionally he only seemed to be able to ask for by holding Daniel down and driving into him until they collapsed, exhausted.
Was Jack going to fuck him here in the cargo hold, with their friends in the next room? Even though embarrassment heated his face, his cock stirred at the prospect. Almost on cue, Jack grabbed the back of his neck hard and whispered, "Tua deserdeo ego, tua indeo ego."
I desire you, I need you. rang in Daniel's head even as Jack gave the back of his neck a little shove. The nib of the maker scratched against his skin. Jack had more to say. What would Sam think if she walked in and saw him half-dressed and vulnerable, at Jack's mercy? Embarrassment rose, mixed with rising desire and the throb of his arm, but he dismissed it.
Daniel didn't care. Didn't care if they got caught, didn't care if he had to explain everything, didn't think of the long list of life changing ramifications if their relationship was outed. With his eyes closed, he pulled off his glasses and let them drop, leaning against the crate. The muscles of his back tensed, anticipated pain. He decided to work on that.
One, two three, four, five, six as he inhaled and the same on the exhale: over and over. Jack's left hand pressed on his hip, holding him down, while Jack's right hand marked him, line after line from right to left. He stopped himself from listing all the languages that read in that direction, because it didn't matter what Jack was writing.
When Jack undid Daniel's belt and opened his pants, Daniel was floating. His back throbbed faintly from neck to waist. An anxious moment passed when Jack yanked the pants down around Daniel's knees. Maybe Daniel could have made up something about Jack writing on his back. What would he say now if they were caught with Jack's cock pumping his ass?
Then the scratching began from where it left off down the right cheek. It was harder to be still because the flesh was more sensitive. The marker scratched and tickled as it made its wet line, but it also bit harder into the tender flesh.
All sorts of thoughts from their current mission to doing his laundry, invaded Daniel's thoughts, but he dismissed them, promising to get to them later. The only place Daniel wanted to be was now. He smiled through the scratching pain and let the reaction of every neuron reinforce that Jack wanted him, and for this time, Jack owned him.
Daniel was half-hard when Jack got him to roll over. The pressure of the case felt good against his back, dissipating the hellfire static charge crawling across his skin. The sensation in his arm had faded, only the memory of a touch, remaining. Jack's pen was ceaseless in its work. It started with his right shoulder and moved to caress his collar bone.
Now the thoughts intruding came from his cock, absurdly hanging out in space, begging for attention. But Jack only made contact when the edges of his BDU jacket or the back of his sleeve accidentally brushed past.
The first touch of the pen on his belly tickled and Daniel couldn't help the flinch. Jack slowed down enough to use his free hand to soothe the flesh in advance of the pen. His work would not be interrupted or slowed. In fact, the speed of Jack's writing increased again when he reached the more rugged flesh of Daniel's thigh.
After Jack had written a line or two on his thighs, there was a pause and the light changed through his eye lids. Opening his eyes, Daniel saw Jack standing over him holding a flashlight. He had checked his work, but Daniel had missed the light show, not that he was in a position to appreciate it.
"Jack, please." Daniel had no idea what he was asking for. He felt residual pain and pressure from his neck to his ass and it was all he wanted.
Jack looked around, seeming frustrated, then shrugged. He pointed to his head and below his belt. Moving forward, he laid a hand in the middle of Daniel's chest and kissed him, kissed him hard.
There was a gentle thump when the flashlight hit the ground, then Jack finally wrapped his hand around Daniel's cock gave it a squeeze. Daniel sucked in a breath and scooted back. The pen scratched a line from the base to the head of his cock and his body didn't know what to do with the rush of pleasure and pain. The lack of contact had been almost unbearable, now the single line intensity was almost too much. Over and over, around and around…, Daniel almost begged for the next one because each mark of the pen brought a new world of pleasure with the pain.
.When it was done, Jack pumped him fast and hard, teasing the head of Daniel's cock with his thumb. It was too much stimulation to endure. He came, spilling over Jack's fist. Jack didn’t let go, but slowed his strokes to bring him down.
Daniel looked at the pool of come on his belly, worried it was smearing or washing away the invisible writing. Jack put a steadying hand on his hip as he looked around and finally came up with a bandana, probably from Daniel's pants pocket.
Jack cleaned him up, kissed him, then stood. Daniel didn’t move. He wasn't ready to, and didn't want to. Leaning down, Jack helped him sit up and pulled the black T-shirt back over his head. Daniel moved his arms and felt more connected to realty, as if the cloth was grounding the floating feeling. After pulling him up, Jack helped Daniel get his pants back on. The floating might be gone, but hidden away from everyone else, Daniel's skin throbbed slightly and he never wanted to lose that feeling.
With a squeeze to Daniel's shoulder, Jack frowned and picked a small silver case, before walking away. Not liking feeling alone, Daniel smoothed his clothes, then straightened the case with the UV markers and tools. He hesitated over the lime green marker and finally tucked it into a pocket in his pants. Pulling off his clothes again would not be a good idea, so instead he shined the UV light on his arm. The random words he picked out didn't seem to make sense together but the strangest thing was the last word; along string of mostly repeated consonants, no vowels.
Pocketing the flashlight, Daniel came around the cases and saw Jack working on the rings. The panels were off and random devices were being wired in. Teal'c and Sam talked in the other room and as much as Daniel wanted to be alone with Jack, they had a world to save. Reaching down, he squeezed Jack's shoulder. "I'll send Sam back, in case you need a hand."
Jack gave his fingers a brief squeeze and went back to work.
"Aveo ... amacus," Jack said, the last of his energy spent.
"Goodbye," Daniel translated. Goodbye friends, literally, but Daniel didn't need to say that out loud for Sam and Teal'c.
The chamber activated and the strange alien light enveloped Jack's body, sealing him in. In a few moments, the lights went out, leaving Jack encased in the stasis chamber. The only message for lovers left behind was written on Daniel's body. He stroked the writing on his arm through his BDU jacket.
"We can't just leave him like this. I mean, there has to be a way to reverse the process. The answer has to be here somewhere -" Sam said.
Daniel shook his head. Somewhere in the gunfire and the worry for Jack, Daniel had taken in the scope of the place. "I don't think this is it, Sam."
"What do you mean?"
"The dome's too small. It's like Taonas. It's obviously not a city; it's just an outpost of some kind."
"This isn't Atlantis?" Sam asked.
"I don't think so."
"If this is not the lost city, then where is it?" Teal'c asked.
Daniel stared at Jack's seemingly lifeless body and didn’t respond, not that he had an answer. Jack was going to have to stay where he was until they found a solution. "We should start researching this place."
Before Sam or Teal'c could agree or disagree, General Hammond's voice came from the radio. "SG-1, I am sending a recovery team to you." The rings activated and before long, there were a dozen Marines, helping them secure the bodies of the Kull supersoldiers.
Sam tackled the logistics and explained Jack's state. Teal'c lent a hand to the Marines, nodding at the compliments they heaped on the team. When a medic asked Daniel how he was doing, he lied and said he was fine. Daniel’s exploration of the outpost hadn't made it past the chair room when they were recalled. No one could stay on the Antarctic base. SG-1 protested, but Hammond had orders from higher up.
Nothing about the last three days had been ordinary, so Daniel took advantage of Weir's order to go home and get some sleep. Well, he took advantage of the fact that Sam had fibbed for them and said they were medically checked out on the Prometheus. They had spent too short a time on the brand new space ship before being ringed back to the SGC.
Daniel hadn't slept much over the last twenty-four hours, but the one thing he wanted and didn't get post mission was privacy. There hadn't been a chance since the scout ship to shine some black light on his new ink.
When he got into his apartment, he stripped off his clothes, then walked to the bedroom closet. The two sliding doors were mirrored. Daniel watched the naked man in the glass as he turned the flashlight on to his chest and belly, sighing with relief this hadn't been some weird and wishful dream. His body was covered in glowing green letters that jumped out, as if they weren’t part of his skin. Jack had written the text backwards, knowing the only way Daniel would be able to read it was in a mirror. This was a message – something Jack wanted him to know.
The only problem was the flashlight wasn't up to the task. Even pointing straight down, he could only see portions of the text at once and virtually nothing on his back. There was a large mirror in the bathroom that he could probably lean against the bed or maybe a chair, but it was essentially glued to the wall.
Daniel put on his clothes and grabbed his keys. Jack wasn't the only one who could MacGyver things out of spare parts. Big Bob's Odd Lot store had thin as paper, full length mirrors for $8.97 apiece, and Home Depot had bungee cords, assorted hardware, and most importantly, black lights. It took two trips to haul all the new equipment up to his bedroom.
Standing on a chair, he pounded a couple of plant hooks into the ceiling about a foot from the closet mirrors. If anyone asked, Daniel could claim they were there when he moved in. Fortunately, that was the hardest part of the operation. It was a simple matter to run some chain into the fluorescent fixture that held the black lights and suspend it from the hooks.
He bungeed the four mirrors to the backs of the chairs from his dining room and arranged them in a half-circle facing the closet. Kneeling down in the center of the circle, he could see all the way around his body, but a view of the backside of his jeans wasn't what he was after. He got up only long enough to turn off the ceiling fixture and drop his pants.
Kneeling down in the dark, Daniel took off his shirt. He took up the end of the extension cord and plugged in the black light. It took a moment or two for the light to sputter to life. The markings on his chest leaped to life and Daniel sucked in a breath, remembering how they got there.
"Jack," Daniel said out loud, letting every bit of breath escape him.
Lines and lines of Ancient symbols covered him. Jack hadn't left blank spaces or accidentally overlapped the lines. Maybe it was because Daniel didn't understand a word of it that he could appreciate the way Jack had turned him into a piece of art.
Absently he traced the symbols, desperate to remember the scratches and pain that had accompanied every mark. The lines on his cock were almost ridiculous, like prehistoric cultures making statues with out of proportion genitals. He traced those lines too, pretending he only wanted to remember Jack's touch, and not dwelling on how being the canvas for Jack's expression excited him even now. He thought of the scratch of the pen, dragging across his skin as he slowly pumped his cock to hardness, watching art come to life while his hips bucked and the ancient symbols danced in the mirrors.
He ran his fingers around the tip the tip of his cock, wet with drips of come. Slick now his hand pulled harder on his cock while he spread his legs wide to tug at his balls. "Jack, Jack, Jack…" came out of him like a chant as the orgasm ripped through him and ropes of come hit his thighs and his image in the mirror.
Previous experience had taught Daniel UV ink was next to impossible to remove. It would basically have to wear off. Still, when he stepped into the shower, Daniel lathered up his hands and gently washed his body for fear of removing the letters.
Over the next few months, Daniel found himself with plenty of research time. All gate activities had ceased, and there were only so many reports needed to describe Taonas and the Ancient outpost in Antarctica. Daniel would have longed to go back there even if his lover wasn't encased in its frozen waste, but politics was preventing anyone from going there.
Daniel could only speculate why Jack had chosen to write on his body. He bet this wasn't the secret of the Ancients, meant for the SGC. Everything about what had happened was personal and this message on his body was meant for Daniel and Daniel alone. It was perhaps too personal to commit to paper, which was why Jack had used Daniel's flesh.
Every morning Daniel kneeled in the circle of mirrors. He would transcribe one line onto a sheet of paper and tuck it into his wallet. Then he would complete the morning ritual of putting the flimsy mirrors and bungee cords into the closet. He would remove the black light from the ceiling hooks and slide it beneath the bed. Then the chairs would go back to the dining room so nothing looked out of the ordinary.
At the SGC he would take out the paper from his wallet and the notes he had written when Jack had begun to go Ancient. In one column were the gate symbols and in the other were the sounds Jack had made when he saw them.
Symbol by symbol, Daniel sounded out the words over and over until he could hear their Latin or Greek counterpart. Word by word, Daniel deciphered the message. It was the end of the first week when he finally understood what Jack had written on his arm. Pissed off, Daniel went to the gym to cool down.
Teal'c was there, also frustrated with the lack of gate activity. They had come to the gym for some semblance of their normal downtime and in Daniel's case, to forget about the glowing letters hidden under his clothes. Unplanned and unsurprisingly, Sam joined them. They three of them began to brainstorm possible reasons to break the sanction against traveling to Antarctica as they worked out their frustrations on the exercise equipment. Daniel was on his tenth rep on a bench press, when Teal'c lifted the bar and put it back on the hooks.
"Hey, spotter, I had that," Daniel complained.
Teal'c took Daniel's hand, turning it to view the forearm; the forearm with the hidden UV ink. "Daniel Jackson, there is something on your arm."
Crap, maybe not so hidden. "It's, it's nothing, just some UV ink."
"It seems to cover your arm," Teal'c said.
"Have you been out clubbing, Daniel?" Sam asked, clearly unconvinced that was a possible answer. "Here, let me see." She appeared on the other side of the weight bench. Daniel was trapped, lying there with Teal'c holding his arm. Then out of nowhere blue-black light illuminated the Ancient symbols on his arm. Daniel looked from Teal'c to Sam, only to find her holding a set of keys with a miniature black light pen.
"You carry a black light with you?" Daniel demanded, trying to pull back his arm.
"It was a giveaway at a scientific conference," Sam said. "Hey, could you stay still?"
Daniel sighed and pulled back his arm so he could sit up. Then he held it to allow Sam to shine the light on the damning symbols. "Jack wrote it."
"O'Neill did this?" Teal'c asked. "Is it an address?"
Sam spoke before he could reply. "When did he do this?"
"He did it when we were on the scout ship, on the way back from Taonas, after he had stopped talking, and no, it's not a gate address."
"You let him write on your arm?" Sam asked.
Daniel bit his lip, but it wasn't as if he hadn't thought of a story. "Remember the last time Jack had the Ancient repository of knowledge in his head? He started drawing plans for that crazy power device."
"The one he used to reach the Asgard home world," Teal’c said.
"Yeah, well, when he grabbed my arm and started writing, I figured it might be important." It occurred to Daniel this situation was salvageable.
"It’s not?" Sam asked.
"It a nutshell, it says, 'Absence makes the fart grow fonder.'" Daniel stuck out his tongue and gave them the raspberries. "This long string of consonant sounds…" Daniel pointed at the last word. "Took me a while to figure that out."
The light disappeared, and Sam bounced the keys off her leg. "He didn't."
"Oh, he did."
"It does sound like O'Neill."
Sam scratched her forehead. "Yeah, it does. For what it's worth, it sounds like him saying he'd miss you."
Alight bulb went off in Daniel's head. Maybe Jack put the bad joke on his arm for plausible deniability. If anyone caught a glimpse of the writing under his clothes, he could point to the fart joke on his arm and tell them they didn’t want to know. He needed to stop being mad about Jack being Jack and go translate the rest of his body.
While Daniel thought that through, a silence grew between them, as they considered Jack’s absence.
"Yeah, I think you're both right." Daniel cleared his throat and stood. "You know, before we get a little too maudlin, I think I might…"
"Yes, I wish to kel'no'reem."
"I should get back to my lab; I've got an experiment going."
Daniel made it to the door first. "I'll be in my office."
Daniel's evening ritual was much more profound than his morning one. After he had eaten, he would reassemble the circle of mirrors, making sure he had a complete view of his body. If anyone else knew about this, Daniel probably wouldn’t escape charges of narcissism, but he wasn't looking at his body. He was looking at what Jack had transformed him into: a living book.
He would kneel and turn on the black light, spreading his arms to see every mark. Then he would start at the beginning, never touching the ink for fear of damaging it. He would say the words one by one as he translated.
Olium was the first word, which seemed close to olim in Latin. It was once in English, but the rest of the text told Daniel his body was now a story, and olium was once upon a time. The more he said the words aloud, the more they coalesced into phrases and sentences. Hidden beyond that was a flow and meter. His body was a poem. The poem started out as a love triangle, a model for the forbidden love captured by the Persians as Vis and Ramin, the French as Tristan and Iseult and the Welsh as Lancelot and Guinevere. Folklorists recognized the story was based on something much older – something much, much older.
But the story Jack told him took a turn. Instead of the loyal knight, bringing the unwilling maiden to the king’s marriage bed, only to fall in love with her, the knight fell in love with his king. The knight had always loved his king, but politics dictated the marriage must take place. The maiden was content to have a marriage in name only. The men met by moonlight in forest glens and fields of grain.
Daniel was shaking the first time he finished it. He wanted Jack to be there, to bend him over and take him under the black light, while all the words of love glowed on his skin, letting the sweat of their bodies smear until the letters were gone and no one would ever be able to read this secret between them. He would have been happy to have Jack there if only to hold him.
The only comfort Daniel found was reading and rereading the words.
The letters seemed to be holding steady at four weeks in, but Daniel did a little digging for information. The UV ink would eventually wear off as his skin cells died, but and light could also fade it. That was exactly what was happening to the message on his arm that often saw the light of day. The letters were becoming fainter over time.
He sat in his circle of mirrors with the black light illuminating his naked flesh.
He took the stolen UV marker and traced the symbols on his arm, one by one. He needed them to stay, at least until Jack came back. When he had done the first pass, he made a second, pressing harder and trying to find the feeling of the original marking in the scratching pain.
At eight weeks in, he couldn’t deny the letters on his back and chest were fading. The treacherous black light revealed the sacred art and slowly destroyed it. A dozen times Daniel took the cap off the pen only to put it on again. Writing on the forearm was one thing, but the angles were all wrong to properly trace all the words on his chest. Touching up the words on his back was a pipedream.
At thirteen weeks, Daniel found himself negotiating with the System Lords, nearly getting attacked by another Goa'uld mother ship, being sucked off the planet by Thor, and debating with Thor if they had the right to risk Jack's life to find a solution to the Replicator problem in the Ancient knowledge still in Jack's head. Another day at the office.
Then Jack started talking through the ships speakers and Thor explained Jack was interfacing with the Daniel Jackson. Teal'c told him it was the name of the ship, which was flattering and disappointing all at once, but something they could talk about when they could interface in Daniel's bed, assuming they saved Thor's planet, got Jack back into his body, got the Ancient knowledge out of his head, and worked past Sam's death.
Daniel sobered again as Thor explained everything to Jack. His worry didn't end until Thor pulled the switch at the last moment, taking the Ancient knowledge out of Jack's head. Somehow Daniel was more reassured after they had bickered over whether Jack had built the alien object that Thor fabricated out of the plans Jack left in the ship's computer.
"Sweet. What is it?"
"We don't know, but you made it."
It was definitely feeling more normal, except Sam wasn't with them.
And then a few hours later, Sam was back and they were congratulating and commiserating with Jack on his promotion to Brigadier General and Commander of the SGC.
Just another day in the office.
Daniel and Jack rode the elevator up to the surface. On the walk to the parking lot, Jack asked, "Are you coming over tonight, to fill me in on what I missed?"
Daniel kicked the ground, gearing himself up. "Do you remember what happed on the scout ship? Our trip to Taonas or the trip back?"
"Really?" Daniel let three months of frustration out with that word.
"Hey," Jack said quietly, stopping. He touched Daniel's upper arm before shoving his hands in his pockets. "I'm not lying or teasing or whatever. I don't know."
"I know," Daniel said because he was a smart person and understood the facts.
"I know! I know, I really do." Daniel looked Jack in the eye and felt his three months of loss dissipate. "You're coming to my place, tonight."
Daniel had been home for about twenty minutes when there was a knock at the door. As expected, Jack was on the other side, holding a six-pack and a bottle of wine.
"You brought wine."
"I don't show up empty-handed."
"You usually bring a six-pack, even though I don't like beer much."
Jack looked down, rocking on his feet. "I get the sense have to apologize for something I don't remember doing."
Daniel sighed, regretting his earlier sharpness. "Get in here."
As soon as Jack dropped the bottles on the kitchen counter, Daniel grabbed his hand. "Come on. I know you just woke, up, but I've been waiting three months to show you something.”
"Sure. Let me grab a –"
Daniel yanked his arm.
"Yeah, let's go see this thing."
Daniel hadn't bothered with the extra mirrors; he knew the 360 degree view inside and out. When they came into the room, Daniel pointed up.
"That’s new.” Jack frowned. “So, black light. Last time I saw one of those in someone's house, it was the seventies and there may have been recreational drugs."
Daniel raised an eyebrow and took off his shirt. Then he took off his pants and tossed everything to the foot of the bed. Jack looked up and down Daniel's naked body.
"It may have only been a few days, but I've missed this."
"Thanks, but that's not what I want to show you." Daniel plugged in the black light. He didn't look at Jack; he didn't look in the mirror. Daniel was afraid to look in the mirror. The ink had faded and would soon disappear completely, erasing all evidence of this love letter his body had become.
He held out his arms and slowly turned so Jack could get the entire view, but Jack's warm hand on his shoulder and the arm Jack wrapped around his waist stopped him.
"I don't remember."
"You should because you did it."
"No, I mean. I mean you should tell me what it says."
And Daniel did, reciting the words to the Ancient poem from memory.
"I don't know Ancient, but I liked the sound of that."
Daniel snorted a laugh. "It's a poem. I haven't translated it well enough to make it sound like a poem in English, but you may know the story. It's what inspired Lancelot and Guinevere."
"I went with Wagner?" Jack mused.
"Wagner?" Daniel tried to spin in Jack's arms, but Jack held him fast. "What are you talking about?"
"Tristan and Isolde, Wagner's opera. It's the whole dissonance thing; it sticks in your head. It started the movement away from tonality in this century's classical music. I'm not a fan of the movement, really, but Wagner is the right kind of earworm."
This time Daniel did turn around and looked at Jack.
"What, do you think I play opera to screw with anyone trying to bug my house?"
"I… I think I might have."
"You know, the story ends in tragedy, lovers united in death crap. Sorry about that."
"Oh, you fixed that," Daniel said. "You stuck with the middle of the story with the secret love affair. I recognized that motif from real life. Also, it was King Arthur meeting Lancelot, naked under the moonlight."
"Huh, that's a much better story." Jack traced one of the Ancient symbols on Daniel's chest. "That's all I wrote? It's personal, but not personal?"
Daniel held up his arm. "You wrote this too, Absence makes the fart grow fonder—
"Excellent," Jack said putting on his best Monty Burns voice. Then he took Daniel's arm, studying it. "This isn't as faded as the rest of you. Shouldn't it be more faded?"
Daniel tried to pull his arm back, but Jack didn't let him. "I didn't want to let you go. I retraced the marks a few times. The pen, it was scratchy and I…"
Jack put his hands on either side of Daniel's neck, threading his fingers through Daniel's hair.
Daniel closed his eyes. "It was like feeling you touch me again."
"I'm here now. I can do this for real." Jack kissed him, pressing their chests together. Daniel wanted to feel Jack's body against his, but there was a certain thrill in being naked while Jack was clothed. There was a bigger thrill when Jack ran his fingers over his back. The dried ink almost felt like plastic, dulling the sensation under his skin. All the flesh between the letters became electrified at Jack's touch.
Jack was leaning against him, trying to move him to the bed with his electric fingers and hungry kisses, but Daniel slid a hand between them and pressed back with his fingertips. "I've been dreaming about something."
Daniel moved to the foot of the bed and dragged an old sea chest to the side, under the black light. He tossed a pillow on top. Daniel went to his knees. "On the scout ship, when you painted these on: when you marked me, you had me lean over the crates."
Not waiting for any kind of response, Daniel, leaned over the sea chest, ass in the air, and his head turned toward the mirror.
Jack's shirt flew past Daniel's eyes, landing in full view of him and the mirror. Belt, pants shoes all followed. Jack was in the mirror too, but he was out of the light, a shadow waiting in the wings to ravish him. There was a little pop and Daniel knew it was from the bottle of lube he had left on the bedside table.
Then Jack came into blue, black view, stroking his cock to hardness, then rolling on a condom and slicking it up with his hand. Daniel's watched Jack's face in the mirror as he took it all in too. He squirted more lube into his hand and dropped the bottle on top of the clothes. One hand pressed into Daniels back, holding him down, while lube soaked fingers worked their way into his ass.
Daniel wanted to focus on that, but Jack painted a new line down his back with his tongue, then traced Canis Minor under his shoulder. With a little gasp, Daniel bucked his hips and found bit of cushioning from the pillow that had wrapped around the edge.
With no further prelude, Jack slid his cock into Daniel, feeling huge after months of celibacy. The first stroke was fast out of the gate, and Daniel was grateful for the steadying touch of Jack's hands. He spread his knees wider, begging for Jack to use his body.
The mirror was nothing Daniel had thought he desired, but his cock swelled as he watched Jack, piston into his body. He pulled at Daniel's hips to get a better angle, as if Daniel was a doll at his command, a doll, Jack had written, property of up and down the back. It wasn't Daniel's job to do anything but open up for whatever Jack wanted. It was pressure and friction and a hint of pain, like the pen had been on his flesh, so many months ago. Jack fell forward with a grunt and bit into Corona Australius. He breathed hard into Daniel's neck. Daniel's heartbeat matched the pace of Jack's, beating through the Ancient text into his rib cage.
It was glorious to lie there; being filled and watching his lover possess him. Then Jack moved, leaving the sweat on Daniel's back to cool. The condom fell into the trash and Jack came back to him, running a hand up Daniel's thigh to squeeze his ass.
Did Jack know, did he remember this was how it had gone with the pen? Daniel rolled over and saw himself in the mirror, lying there like an offering on an altar. He looked up, but Jack was out of view. Back in the mirror, he saw Jack kneel between Daniel's legs, roughly stroking his thighs before wrapping long, agile fingers around Daniel’s cock.
Daniel told himself his neck would hurt if he tried to watch, which was true, but the real truth was he liked the view in the mirror more, seeing Jack lave his cock, seeing his teeth neatly tucked away, It was almost shameful to watch his body writhe with no conscious thought behind it. He knew Jack could see his wantonness as he looked down.
Any constraints the rough fuck had put on him, were gone. His cock became painfully hard, Jack's sucking hard, fingers playing with his balls. Daniel wanted it to go on forever, but found he had the control of a teenager as he grabbed at the edges of the trunk and came all over Jack who rode him through his climax, before cleaning Daniel with his mouth.
"Jack," Daniel called out, begging not to lose contact.
Jack replied by shushing him as he laid his body on Daniel's, resting his head on Daniel's neck.
In the mirror, Daniel saw Jack's lips move and was convinced he saw, I love you.
Daniel turned away from the mirror, fighting back the flood of emotion held tightly in check when he was worried he had lost Jack forever. Rubbing, Jack's neck and back, Daniel said, "Me too, Jack, me too."