“Jack, I don’t know what to wear. I haven’t gone anywhere like this in a long, loooooong while.” Daniel called from inside the walk-in closet.
“And you think I have?”
Daniel thought about this for a while. “No. But, you were a regular attendee at one point, where I’ve never gone in my entire life. Well except maybe for a funeral or for study, but that doesn’t count.”
“Okay, I see your point, but it’s not like we’re going to some important military shindig. It’s church Daniel. And unlike some of the off world religious ceremonies we’ve been too, I’m pretty sure no one’s gonna to try and sacrifice either of us to God, or give us drugged up cake to eat, or make us perform any kind of perverse sexual acts in front of everyone. Comparatively, I don’t think we have anything to worry about.”
Daniel peeked around the closet door at Jack with a devilish grin on his face. “Well that’s no fun.” He said and then scooted back into the closet.
Jack rocked back on his heels before bouncing impatiently. “C'mon stop teasing I wanna see what you have on.” He realized how much he sounded like a whiny teenager just then but didn’t care. In normal everyday clothes Daniel was a sight to see…like cammos’ mmmm…but when he got dressed up…hooboy.
Daniel stepped out and did a little turn. “How’s this?” He executed a slow roundabout with his arms lifted slightly and finished facing Jack, dropping his hands to his sides. At Jack’s silence he got nervous. “If it’s too casual…”
“No!” Jack flinched at the force of his response and Daniel smiled. “It’s perfect.” He finally whispered and advanced on Daniel with great speed. “There’s only one problem.” Jack began with a husky voice.
“I’m gonna have a hard time keeping my hands off you.”
Daniels heartbeat quickened as the thought took flight in his imagination. “Like you said Jack, no sexual acts in front of everyone.”
“I think I said ‘no perverse sexual acts’ but…what about here? We’re not in front of anyone…right…now.” He accentuated each of the last two words with little nips along Daniels’ jaw.
“Mmmm, I think I can fit you in my busy schedule. Although we should be leaving soon.”
Jack barely let him finish his sentence before he turned his head and pressed his mouth to Daniel’s. They both opened to one another, feeling the soft familiar press of lips and tongues. Daniel breathed in the strong scent of Jack’s cologne through his nose and it sent a wave of pleasant calm through him. They sighed deeply and broke the kiss--eyes closed and foreheads resting together for a moment.
“We need to get going.” Daniel reminded after giving another quick kiss. “We don’t want to be late, and the roads are snowy.”
“Yeah.” Jack smiled.
They grabbed their coats and gloves and headed out to the car.
“You know, I don’t think I’ve said thank you yet.” Daniel said after they were a few minutes on the road.
“For letting me come along.”
Jack looked over at Daniel and smiled. “I thought I had made it clear I wanted you along. I asked every year, but you always said you’d rather not.”
“Well, yeah that’s what you said…” he placed a gloved hand across jacks right thigh, “but I was never really sure you’d actually want to be seen in church with your male lover. That can’t exactly be easy.”
“No one but you and I know we’re sleeping together Daniel. How would it be a strain on me?”
Daniel shook his head. “I’m just not used to…” His words fell off into a whisper--abandoning that thought and beginning another. “This was always something you did with your family.”
“Daniel, how long have we been together and you still can’t get used to the fact that I love you and will always love you? You are my family now and I want you around. Okay? And just because we can’t yell it from the rooftops doesn’t mean I’m not proud of you or us…it just means people are ignorant and hurtful.”
“I know, really I do…I’m trying.”
“I know you are. And later I’m gonna have a fun time learning how to teach you better.” He said with a suggestive leer as they pulled into the packed parking lot.
When they stepped inside, Daniel immediately had the ‘peaceful explorer’ look. Or at least that’s what Jack called it. It was the look Daniel got every time SG-1 found themselves in a new place. It was a look of wonder and intrigue…like he’d heard stories about it all his life but had never seen it before and couldn’t quite believe it was all real. It was the look that, on missions, usually prompted him to remind Daniel not to touch anything. Jack loved that look especially when it was coupled with the pink cheeks and slightly watery eyes from the cold wind outside.
Jack took Daniel’s coat, hung it with his own and guided him through the front corridor into the huge open sanctuary. Jack watched Daniel’s eyes light up as he took in the beautiful stained-glass windows, the several candle-lit alcoves holding medium sized statues of various saints, and the greens strung everywhere as decorations for Christmas. He himself smiled at Daniel and then at the evergreen smell that hung in the air.
The choir sung softly in Latin. Daniel noted it in the back of his mind almost on impulse, translating it without even thinking about it. Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est congregavit nos unum Christi amor exultemus et in ipso jucundemur timeamus et amemus Deum vivum et excorde diligamus nos sincero. It was beautiful. He hadn’t been inside a church for ages, and hadn’t remembered how amazing they could be…especially huge Catholic churches like this one.
The sanctuary was split into three sections by enormous marble pillars. Jack placed his hand against the small of Daniel’s back and gently led him to the front toward one of the smaller and less crowded alcoves. They stood and waited until almost everyone had left. Jack slowly made his way to the front and lit a candle then turned and walked a short distance off to the side and knelt at the railing.
Daniel stood behind him to his right and waited quietly, not exactly sure what to do. Slowly Jack looked back and nodded to the space on the kneeler beside him. Daniel knelt beside him and placed his left hand on Jacks shoulder. To any passing person he looked like a man consoling a good friend.
Jack rested his left elbow on the railing and reached to guide Daniel’s right hand to his own left one. He searched Daniel’s eyes, making sure he was all right with all of this and finding permission he placed his remaining hand on Daniels’ knee. Together, they knelt as Jack bowed his head and whispered his prayers against their joined hands. Daniel could feel the warm puffs of air, Jacks’ lips softly forming the words against his thumb, he closed his eyes and formed a wordless prayer of his own that nothing would ever take him away from this man he loved so dearly…the man that was showing him a totally different facet of what his life had been and a part of him he didn’t show, to anyone, all that often.
Once Jack had finished he opened his eyes to find Daniel staring at him intently. His gaze pierced through him. Daniels’ eyes bore deep into his soul and he felt a rush. Suddenly, he had to kiss Daniel, had to try and show him how very much he needed him. Jack stood as quickly as his knees would allow and led Daniel by the arm to one side of the sanctuary. Taking a quick glance from the left to the right, making sure no one was looking, he deftly pushed Daniel backwards into one of the confessionals.
“You realize what I’m about to do is probably going to end in me being struck down by lightening or something.” Jack whispered.
Daniel didn’t know what to say, his jaw worked but no sound came out. He’d totally been taken by surprise. One minute he was gazing at his lover realizing how much he adored him, needed him, and the next he was being drug into a confessional at a pace that probably broke the land speed record.
Jack grinned and gently pushed Daniel to sit on the bench before checking to see the hook was in place over the latch of the door. Thank god almost everyone has left the church by now. He thought.
There wasn’t much room and Jack was forced to sit on Daniels lap. Slowly he pressed his lips to the side of Daniels neck, trailing up toward his ear with tiny light kisses. Daniel clamped his mouth shut, not trusting himself to stay quiet otherwise. Their lips finally met and Daniel snaked a hand into Jacks short-cropped hair with a groan. One of Jacks’ hands found it’s way around to the back of Daniels’ neck and the other was tracing circles over his soft sweater-covered chest.
Just then both of them were startled by the unmistakable slide of wood. They stopped immediately and held their breath, not sure what to do.
“Bless me father for I have sinned…” Jack blurted out. It ended up sounding more like a question than a statement.
Daniel was horrified, his eyebrows rose almost off his head and he looked at Jack, silently asking ‘what the hell are you doing?’. Jack gave him a mirrored expression of ‘I have no idea’ and shrugged his shoulders.
“It has been…” He thought about it for a while. “…uh…a really long time since my last confession.” Jack rubbed a thumb over his eyebrow. Both he and Daniel were painfully aware of the irony of Jack sitting on Daniels lap while confessing his sins to a priest, but neither was about to laugh about it just yet. Daniel was trying to keep his laughter in by holding both his hands over his mouth and Jack felt like he was back in Catholic school being caught doing something naughty…oh wait he was doing something naughty. Figures.
“I…uh…” He searched his head quickly for something to confess that wasn’t classified. “I’ve failed to love my neighbor the way I should. Or rather I’ve tried but I don’t think they understand that I love them.” Jack looked at Daniel with a lopsided grin as he reached for his hand.
The priest said something but neither of them was paying much attention. They were too busy staring at one another. After a short while Jack noticed there wasn’t anymore talking coming from the other side of the screen and the priest had finished his instructions. “Thank you Father.” He mumbled distractedly and they heard the window slide closed once again.
After a moment, Jack chuckled. “Let’s get out of here before we get into any more trouble.”
They stood, and Jack peeked through the crack in the door. No one seemed to be paying attention so they hurried out of the small space and fell into a comfortable yet deliberate walk toward the back of the church.
After retrieving their coats they walked to their car, holding each other against the cold and giggled like teenagers. “Oh, my god, Jack, I can’t believe you did that!” Daniel said once safely inside the car.
Jack just smiled.
“What you just did was so sacrilegious, on so many levels…and I’m sorry but you sitting on my lap in the confessional while confessing your sins to the priest!” Daniel lost it. His face was one huge smile as he burst into laughter. Jack joined him. It was so rare that Daniel laughed like this it was good for them both.
“I don’t think I can believe it either. I just, I looked up at you…you looking at me like that… I had to kiss you.”
Daniel’s face softened. “What were you saying anyway?”
Jack became suddenly contemplative and Daniel worried he’d asked too much. But Jack suddenly replied in a soft tone. “A lot of things. Sometimes I pray for Charlie, and Sara…” He paused for a moment, “and you.” Daniel squeezed Jacks hand encouragingly.
“You pray for me?”
Jack nodded. “I pray for everything I love. And I always say this prayer in Latin I learned a long time ago. I say it a lot, sometimes on missions even…Peccantem me quoitdie et non me poenitentem timor mortis conturbat me, quia in inferno nulla est redemptio: miserere mei Deus, et salva me. ”
“That’s beautiful Jack.” Daniels eyes shone in the light from the streetlamp. “I love you.”
“I love you too Daniel. Thank you for coming with me.” He drew Daniel in for another slow kiss across the car.
“Now,” Jack grinned mischievously. “How about we go home and commit a few more sins to keep for next Christmas’ confessions?”
Daniel laughed as Jack turned the key in the ignition and pointed the car in the direction of home.
“Sounds good.” He replied. Then continued thoughtfully, “You know Jack. The last foster family I stayed with always opened their presents on Christmas Eve because they traveled on Christmas Day. I have one particular present I’d like to open tonight. How’s that sound to you? Wanna start a new tradition?” He punctuated the last phrase with a firm stroke and squeeze of Jacks’ thigh.
Jack grinned. “Sounds good Danny, sounds real good.”