“It's pronounced fort,” Daniel said.
“No, it's pronounced for-tay,” Jack insisted. “That's my for-tay.”
Pleased to be able to lecture to his favorite student, Daniel waved his index finger. “For-tay, with a second syllable, is a musical term. It means louder. Forte, with only one syllable, means strength, as in 'Grammar is not your forte.'”
“Grammar is my fortay,” Jack said. “I know how to use who and whom correctly, in case you've forgotten. For instance, 'With whom are you snuggled up next to? Or who gives the best blow jobs?”
With an eye roll at Jack's nonsense, Daniel said, “Grammar is your forte most of the time--although that wasn't it.”
Jack pulled Daniel down next to him on the bed, glad to have a day to play hooky, a day to engage in some silly conversation and a lot of touching and kissing. Later, there would be coffee and a junky book; maybe a walk or a movie. He should mow the lawn and fix the leaky tap in the bathroom. Or maybe they'd stay in bed all day and just be together like this. “Well, we all slip up once in a while.”
“And you just did.”
“You did. It's pronounced fort, as in 'You built a fort: F-O-R-T.' Forte spelled F-O-R-T-E and meaning strength is one syllable.”
Throwing his hands in the air, Jack asked, “Why are we talking about this now?”
“You started it.”
“Fine. I started it. But it is my fortay, right? The hugging, kissing, holding,” and with a leer “nailing you through the mattress? That's my fortay. And are we done?”
“No? No, we're not done, or no it's not my forte?” The “t” of forte (one syllable) received particular emphasis before Jack rolled away, putting some distance between him and Daniel. He frowned at the ceiling, waiting for the next gambit. An unexpected day off work was a treat. If he played his cards right, they could spend the afternoon doing more than talking—even though the talking was pretty fun. “I've certainly never heard any complaints up 'til now.”
“No, no! I didn't mean it that way.” Daniel eased his body toward Jack, trying to make amends. He put his hand on Jack's stomach and Jack sidled away. “I only meant that you're still pronouncing it wrong. Your hugging-kissing-holding-nailing skills are beyond reproach, extraordinary; you have prodigious talent in the art of making love.” This time Jack didn't move away as Daniel's hand came to rest. Instead, his stomach muscles twitched slightly, and his hand eased down Daniel's back.
“Prodigious, huh?” Jack said. “We're back to the fancy words again. I do love it when you use big words.”
“Forte isn't a big word.”
“It is if it's two syllables, and prodigious is three syllables, maybe four.”
“I do love words,” Daniel murmured.
“So, we're done with the linguistics lesson now?” Jack asked, a little breathless. Daniel's hand wasn't on his stomach anymore.
As Daniel slid under the covers he said, “I think we're just starting.”
“So what's this, Daniel?” Jack asked from his comfortable nest under the blankets. As always verbal sparring left Jack a little irritated and very turned on. It was disturbing. But the spark of their arguments always translated to the bedroom so Jack wasn't complaining. Definitely not complaining this time with a sticky, sweaty Daniel sprawled all over him.
“What's what?” Daniel asked with a sigh. His head rested on Jack's shoulder, half-asleep and very content.
“This,” Jack said pulling up the cover.
“A blanket.” He fumbled for the edge and pulled it over them to keep the heat from escaping.
“Yeah.” Daniel pushed himself up on one elbow. “A blan-ket.” He stressed each syllable.
“You sure it's not a fort?”
“Are we back to that again? I thought the linguistics lesson was over.”
“No, no. You're right as is your wont. Forte meaning strength is one syllable.”
“You know it makes me hot when you use big words correctly, right?” Daniel's eyes sparkled with laughter.
“Forte and now wont.”
“Wont isn't a big word, it's only one syllable.”
“Okay, maybe not big words, but elegant words like wont.”
“I like elegant words like forte and wont. Not quite as sexy as grammar, but hey, they make you hot, which in turn makes me hot. It's a feedback cycle.”
“Oh, now we're doing science-y words like 'feedback cycle.'” Daniel aligned himself over Jack, leg to leg, chest to chest, groin to groin. “I'm a scientist too, you know.”
“Are you ready to go again?” Jack asked with some surprise.
“Not yet,” Daniel admitted. “Your prodigious love-making skills wore me out, but if you keep using words like that, I soon will be.”
“Wont makes you want, huh?” Jack chuckled.
Daniel stopped moving. “Well that succeeded in cooling me off for a few minutes.”
“Yeah.” Daniel settled with a sigh and snuggled closer. “I love being able to hold you. I love having a whole day to be together. It's so warn and cozy under this--”
With a bigger sigh Daniel pushed himself up again. This time he let his eyebrows do the talking.
“Were you a kid, Daniel? It's a fort.”
The eyebrows went higher.
“A blanket fort,” Jack said with some exasperation. “Were you ever normal? You take a blanket and two chairs and you make a fort. Then you raid the kitchen for marshmallows and hide in your fort.”
“Good eating and good projectiles against invading armies.”
“My mother. When she came to look for the missing marshmallows.”
“Hiding? When everybody can see the chairs and the blanket?”
“You have to use your imagination, my friend. It's a secret fort, a blanket fort, the refuge of every kid.”
“We have no chairs and no marshmallows, nor are we kids; hence, no fort.”
“We have a blanket and a place to hide,” Jack whispered, “a place safe from invading armies. And for one blissful perfect afternoon, we can play under the covers.”
“As long as your mother's not planning on a visit in the next few minutes, I think we're safe from invading armies,” Daniel whispered back, a smile tugging at his lips. “I suppose the Goa'uld could find us here, but it's unlikely... right?” Daniel looked over the edge of the blanket in mock despair. “Although I'd take the Goa'uld over your mother, truthfully, especially right now.”
“Never fear, Daniel, you're secure here with me.” Afternoon had turned to evening and they had yet to move from the bed. The rest of the world was outside their door with all the things they could do and should do. But for now, there was just this. Jack put his arms around Daniel's back and pulled them together. Daniel collapsed onto his chest with a little “oof” as the elbow gave way. “You're safe here under my blanket. Secure. Mine." He moved his hands to cup Daniel's ass. "After all, it's my forte.”
Daniel groaned, “Oh, Jack!” as he pulled the covers over their heads. "That's so damn sexy!"