Author's notes: Thanks bunches to Catspaw and Gateroller :)
Puck Stops Here, The Part 4
Puck Stops Here, The Part 4
Date Archived: 06/19/03
Category: Story, Alternate Universe
Characters/Pairings: Other Characters Jack O'Neill & Daniel Jackson as you've never seen them Jack/Daniel
Permission to archive: Area 52
Series: Chapter 4
Notes: Thanks bunches to Catspaw and Gateroller :)
Disclaimer: Not mine, except the OCs and you guys know who they are.
Summary: More puckin' around
Jack slept fitfully. The meds helped the pain, but he couldn't turn properly with the fixator on his leg, and besides, it didn't help that every time he closed his eyes he thought of the guy in the crowd. Right now it felt like he was the only one who gave a damn; and he was a stranger. The rest of the team were concerned about him, and several of them had called to speak to him, but they had all taken a plane out to Minneapolis straight after the game and no-one was able to come visit.
It was 11 o'clock in the morning and Lori had already done her wifely duty. She'd come in and asked him about his finances, how much money he'd be likely to get from his own health insurance and from the NHL insurance fund, how long it would be until he was home, would he need help, if they'd pay for that too because she certainly wasn't about to help him to the bathroom. She'd stayed for all of fifteen minutes and he was glad to see the back of her, but her visit had left him feeling desolate and alone.
Daniel walked up to the nurse's station with sweaty palms and a rapidly beating heart. His stomach was tying itself in knots and even now there was a part of him that told him to stop. Fortunately - or not - the other side of him, the side that was in love with O'Neill, won out and after finding out his room number, Daniel made his way down the corridor.
He knocked softly on the door and heard Jack say 'Yeah?', then took a deep breath and sidled into the room. At first O'Neill looked a little puzzled, but then recognition swept over his face and he smiled.
"Hey! You were at the game, right?"
Daniel smiled and nodded, offering his hand. "Daniel. Daniel Jackson."
Jack shook it and motioned him to sit beside the bed.
"You didn't have to come see me, y'know."
A slight flush crept up Daniel's cheeks. "Yeah, I did. I needed to see how you were. I guess the rest of the guys are already in Minneapolis, so they can't come see you. Besides, I was worried. That was a helluva hit you took."
Jack smiled. "Yeah, it was. If I ever catch up with that motherfucker I'll rip his lungs out."
"Does it hurt a lot?"
"Nah, they keep sticking me with morphine injections, which kinda makes the world look a little fuzzy around the edges, but it keeps most of the pain away."
A slightly awkward silence descended as Daniel fought his nervousness and tried to think of a way to make conversation. As it happened, Jack pre-empted him.
"I'm glad you came," he said quietly, looking down and picking imaginary lint from the blanket. "I saw you looking at me at the game y'know. It... it was nice to see a friendly face. I don't seem to see many of those these days. I'm gettin' past it."
Daniel's mouth opened in shock. "No way! That was an awesome goal! You're every bit as good as you were in New York."
Jack raised his eyebrows. "You watched me with the Rangers?"
The younger man chuckled, "I was a fan: A big fan. I played defense for my High School team and you... you were my hero."
Jack grinned. "Well, how 'bout that? I don't think I've ever been somebody's hero."
"You're the best D I've ever seen!" Daniel exclaimed; then pulled himself up. "Jesus, listen to me. I didn't intend to come in here and prostrate myself on the floor chanting 'I'm not worthy'!" he laughed, relaxing a little. "I just wanted to say 'Hi' and see how you were doing. When d'you think you'll get home?"
Jack snorted, "With any luck about ten minutes after the whore I'm married to moves out."
Jack waved his hand. "Fuck! I'm sorry, Daniel. That just kinda came out. I guess one of the side effects of the morphine is losing your sense of decorum. You don't need to know all my sordid secrets."
"Maybe, but if you need anyone to listen... I guess you have plenty of friends and fans who'll be there if you need 'em. I don't mean to intrude."
Jack laughed. "Friends? Ah yeah, friends. Well, I reckon I'll probably have quite a few less now I won't be in the NHL any more. The only real friends I have are back in Chicago. They've known me since I played Pee-Wee and they've always been more than ready to kick my ass if I got too big for my skates. Here? Here they're concerned with your stats, how big your house is, whether you have a kidney shaped pool. As for fans... I reckon you're it, buddy."
Daniel blushed and looked at the floor, then at Jack who had the same look in his eyes as he had at the rink. Time slowed down just as it had the previous evening, and neither of them knew quite what to say or do about it. Daniel wasn't sure enough of anything to make a move, even a subtle one, and Jack wasn't even sure what he was feeling. Daniel coughed and smiled. "Well, I'll leave you to rest."
"Can... can you come back tomorrow? I mean, if you're not too busy. I could really use the company," Jack asked tentatively.
Daniel's face lit up. "Sure! Of... of course, I'm in town for a while. Can I bring you anything?"
"Food!" Jack laughed. "Bring me food, for God's sake. The slop they serve in here I wouldn't give to my dog!"
Daniel chuckled with him. "What should I get?"
"Oh anything. Chips, dip, Twinkies, all the essential food groups," the older man smiled. "I'll straighten up with you when you come back."
"No! Wouldn't hear of it. It's the least I can do. You helped me a lot when I was a teenager, even though you never knew."
Jack was genuinely moved. "Really? Gee, I... I don't know what to say. You're welcome?"
"You don't need to say anything, Jack. I'll see you tomorrow," he smiled and rose from the chair. He offered his hand and Jack took it, squeezing gently, but not shaking it this time. Their eyes met again and Jack pulled him closer, putting his free arm around Daniel's shoulders and hugging him. Daniel nestled further into Jack's shoulder than he intended and would have been happy to stay there for at least the rest of the week, but Jack let go and Daniel moved back sheepishly.
"Thanks," Jack said quietly. "I needed a friend today and I guess I just made one."
Daniel smiled and stepped out of the room, then practically floated up the corridor, beaming. He was certain: absolutely certain, that there was a mutual attraction. Whether Jack realised it was another matter. Daniel had the feeling that Jack was in denial and had been for a long time. It was going to be a challenge to drop the scales from his eyes and Daniel would have to be very patient, but he'd waited twenty years, a few more weeks or even months would be hardly noticeable and definitely well worth it.
Jack felt... odd. Cared about, for the first time in so long he couldn't remember: Desired? He didn't really know. This Daniel kid had stirred up feelings he hadn't had since... since the Pens signed that cute forward the year he married Lori. He could remember jerking off and having filthy fantasies about him, then feeling unbelievably guilty and ashamed. Did that mean he was gay? Or maybe bisexual? He certainly felt attracted to the young man who had just visited and was looking forward to seeing him again and getting to know him. However, although his dick perked up at the thought of having Daniel's lips around it, or being buried inside him, a deep rooted voice in his mind continued to tell him that it was wrong; that he shouldn't feel that way toward another man. He closed his eyes and sighed, cursing his lack of privacy.
Daniel had had a very hot night, his already detailed fantasies fuelled by the smell and touch of the object of them. By the time he'd woken, jerked off (again) and showered, he had to hustle to get groceries and head out to the hospital.
The 7-11 was fairly empty and Daniel wracked his brains as he wandered through the aisles; chips and various dips duly went in the cart, along with a half dozen Twinkies, but he wanted to make a fuss of O'Neill; get him something special. The trouble was he had no idea of Jack's likes and dislikes, so he loaded the cart with an assortment of cold-cuts, fresh bread, cheese and fruit.
He arrived at the hospital loaded with bulging paper bags just in time to see a woman, whom he presumed was Lori, slamming the door of Jack's room and storming noisily back down the corridor towards him. He pushed the door of the room open with his ass as Jack let rip with a stream of abuse. Jack paused in mid-rant, his jaw wide open as he realised that it wasn't Lori coming back, but the young man who'd caused his dick to be half hard all night.
"Daniel! Fuck! I'm sorry, come in. You just missed the lady wife, and I use the term 'lady' very loosely."
Daniel smiled, "I saw. You had a fight?"
"Our whole marriage has been one long fight. Man, are you a sight for sore eyes. Wow! Did you buy up the 7-11?"
"Food you want? I bring food." He began slinging packages on the bed, being careful to avoid Jack's leg. "We have cheese, we have bread, we have meats - various - we have Twinkies for dessert, or fruit if you're feeling pious, we have chips; Phileas Fogg, naturally, and a coupla dips. I wasn't sure how spicy you liked it, so I brought sour cream, hummus and salsa. I brought Sprite and Coke, too. I guessed they wouldn't let you have beer in here."
"Oh my God! I think you just saved my life."
Daniel chuckled and passed Jack a plastic plate and utensils, so that the starving man could eat his fill. The two men ate and talked about everything and nothing, getting on so well that the regulation hour passed way too quickly. The bell rang for the end of visiting hours and Daniel groaned in disappointment.
Jack waved his fork in the air, dismissively. "Pay no attention to that. I have this private room and I can pretty much have visitors whenever I like. Stay. If you want to, that is. Hope I'm not boring the ass off you with my hockey tales," he grinned.
"God, no! It's great hearing them. I just don't want anyone to get into trouble. Are you sure it'll be okay?"
"Hell, yeah. I'm paying enough, or I should say my insurance company is paying enough and over the years I've paid them enough, so, sit. Eat. Have another Twinkie. Y'know that reminds me of when..."
Daniel laughed and sat on the bed as Jack recounted yet another tall tale of the NHL. They were both guffawing when Jeff Cohen and Zack Wolff arrived, both of them stern faced.
"Hey guys, c'mon in a grab a bite. What's up? You got faces as long as the Mishnah, both of ya."
Jeff cleared his throat. "We need to speak to you, Jack." He glanced at Daniel. "In private."
Daniel got off the bed and finished his mouthful. "I'll go. I'll leave you my cell, then you can let me know when you get home, okay?"
"You don't have to go. This is just business crap."
Daniel smiled as he saw the faces of the two 'suits'. "Yeah, I do. It's okay, Jack. I'll see you before I get back to L.A."
"You make sure you leave me that number, kid."
"I will. Look. Writing it down now."
"All right. I'll be in touch, and... thanks Danny. For everything."
"You're welcome. Get better and do as you're told," he grinned, and then left the room.
Jeff and Zack looked at each other, then at Jack. "Touching," Zack noted with a hint of sarcasm.
"And who peed on your fries, Zachariah?"
The lawyer snorted and turned to look out of the window, watching Daniel walk across the parking lot to his car. Jeff sat in the armchair and drew a sheaf of papers from his briefcase.
"She wants the house, Jack."
"What?! That's my home goddammit! I was living there for two fucking years before she moved in. How the hell...?"
"And the Lexus, and a monthly payment of ten grand for 'expenses'."
Jack pounded his fists into the mattress. "Fucking bitch! We're not letting her get away with that..." he looked at his two advisers. "Are we?"
Zack shrugged. "It's up to you, Jack, but if we don't she says she'll go public and 'out' you."
"Out you as gay, Jack. She'll go to the press, tell them you haven't had sex for years, that you prefer men," Jeff clarified.
"But that's complete bullshit!" Jack protested. "We had sex...shit, when was it? Just before the play-offs! Not that it was much good, but... D'you think they'd believe her?"
Zack shrugged again.
"Jesus Christ, Zack. I know you're Jewish, but can we please stop with the shrugging?"
"I don't know, dammit! What else am I supposed to do? Look, there were rumours flying around the place before you two got married. I know there are some members of the local press who thought it was a scam to begin with."
Jack's jaw dropped. "Where do they get this stuff from? I've always been straight. My whole fucking life! I've never been with a guy for cryin' out loud!"
"Because they know Lori," Jeff sighed. "She's pretty much the bottom of the heap as far as the hockey whores are concerned, and I know you won't take offense at that. They figured that because you married so late on, and because you'd drifted from girl to girl before you married her..."
"So, I had a lot of girlfriends, and all of a sudden I like fucking guys? Come on. That's the most feeble excuse I ever heard!"
"Whether or not it's true is irrelevant at this point, Jack," Zack interjected. "The point is, she can say it. And mud sticks. Worst case scenario, she gets into it with Pankowski - you did know she was fucking him... didn't you?"
Jack was rendered speechless.
"I guess you didn't. Anyhow, they could easily cook up a little story, now it looks like Stanley is going to be suspended pending a hearing with the Commissioner. Stan tells the press you made a pass at him, which is why he went so hard for you out on the ice, Lori chips in with the fact that your sex life is nil and when you were having sex you had to get yourself ready by reading porno mags or something... It's so easy, Jack."
"But... she'd do that to me?" he asked, the hurt evident in his face.
Jeff nodded, sadly. "Could and would, buddy. She's in it for the money, pure and simple."
"Jesus. Y'know, I actually thought I loved her once."
"Well, I suggest you forget that small fact and concentrate on not becoming bankrupt. She could cripple you financially just as easily as her lover has crippled you physically."
Jack wiped his face with his hands. "Can we deal?"
"Possibly on the monthly payment. Absolutely not on the house and car, oh and you have to take the dog."
"There's no way I'd leave Oscar with that whore in any case."
"Do you have anywhere to stay?" Jeff asked.
"What?" Jack was stunned and confused.
"She doesn't want you to go back. She found out somehow that you were planning a divorce; either that or she put two and two together. She wants you and your stuff out of the house. You can't go back there. I can go and get your stuff and move it into the loft downtown if you want? It'll piss Sandy off, but I was gonna cut her loose anyway."
Jack nodded dumbly.
Zack patted him on the shoulder. "We'll do what we can to get you as good a deal as possible, go through your accounts, see what we can hide away and what we can't. We'll do our best, Jack."
"Thanks Zack, Jeff. God, this was something I needed like a hole in the head. I'm fucked. I have a busted leg, no home, no car, and no job. What the hell am I going to do?"
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