Author's notes: Thanks for your support everyone :)
Puck Stops Here, The Chapter 11
Puck Stops Here, The Chapter 11
Date Archived: 07/24/03
Category: Story, Established 'ship, Slash, Alternate Universe
Characters/Pairings: Other Characters Jack O'Neill and Daniel Jackson Jack/Daniel
Permission to archive: Area 52
Series: Puck Stops Here, The
Notes: Thanks for your support everyone :)
Disclaimer: Not mine except the ones that are.
Summary: This may be Chapter 11 but no-one is going bankrupt, except perhaps.
Jack slept more soundly than he had for weeks. When he awoke in the morning he was sore all over but as he looked at Daniel, who was still sleeping, he couldn't help a dumb grin spreading across his face. He couldn't understand why he'd been so reticent about spending the night with him, or why he'd waited so long to be with another man, but then he figured this was just right and the wait was more than worth it.
He eased himself out of bed and onto his crutches to go to the bathroom and found that it was becoming easier to bear weight on his leg now. The exercises the PT had given him were hard, but they were obviously doing the job. Jack could finally see the day when the fixator would come off and he could make love to Daniel the way he wanted to, with Daniel lying beneath him, face to face. He was looking forward to Daniel being inside him too. Jack knew that his lover would make his first time amazing. Daniel had been a revelation. He was a skilled lover with a great deal of imagination, especially given their current constrained circumstances, but there were so many other things that Jack wanted to try. None of which could be done with the fixator still on.
He tried not to think of the previous night as he made his way to relieve himself. Peeing on the ceiling wouldn't go down well with Jeff. This thing with Lori was going to be messy; and Jack didn't know how Jeff was planning to handle it. He knew that Jeff would do whatever was necessary to get Jack's home back and Lori out of his life, but he wasn't looking forward to the process. Maybe he should just 'come out' and the hell with all of them.
Daniel was murmuring Jack's name when he reached the bed and the young man turned over, exposing his chest above the comforter. He was still asleep, his face was relaxed, and a small smile played around his lips. Jack sat on the armchair beside him, just watching. Jack didn't know how long he'd been there, but finally Daniel opened his eyes.
"Dreamin' about me?" Jack smiled.
Daniel stretched lazily and smiled back at him. " Mmmm. Morning."
"How're you doing?"
"I'm good. Exhausted, and my butt's a little sore, but that's to be expected."
"Sorry," Jack said, feeling a little sheepish.
Daniel took his hand. "Hey, don't apologise! I was the one in control, remember? How was I to know you'd be able to get it up five times in one night?" he grinned. "It's my own fault, I just can't get enough of you."
Jack's face flushed red and he looked at the floor as Daniel chuckled and kissed his fingers.
"You're fantastic and I'm so not complaining."
"Well, as long as it was good for you, because I haven't had sex like that in my life before. Never. Swear to God." He put his hand over Daniel's and linked their fingers, and then kissed the palm of his hand, sighing happily. "It wasn't just the sex talkin' when I said I loved you, y'know. I really do."
"I know. Me too. Say, why don't we give the sap a rest for a minute and get some breakfast?"
Jack laughed. "That's a good idea. You got anything planned for today?" he asked as Daniel got out of bed and put on his shorts.
"Now, whatcha have to go and do that for?" Jack chided.
Jack stood up and walked over to him using only one crutch, then put his arm around Daniel, fondling his ass. "Cover this up. You know how much I love it."
"What? This?" Daniel chuckled and sashayed over to the kitchen.
"Bastard!" Jack mumbled with a grin on his face.
Jeff Cohen kissed his prayer book and prayer shawl, then put them back in his tallis bag and waved to Kim up in the balcony as the Saturday morning synagogue service ended. He made his way through to the back of the hall, where the congregants were mingling and getting cups of coffee. He headed straight to Michael Goldstein, editor of the local paper, and held out his hand.
"Gut shabbos, Moishe. How's it going?"
Michael shook his hand and shrugged. "Shabbos. Can't complain. You?"
The other man's eyes narrowed. "You're goin' frum on me, Yossel. That usually means you need a favour."
Jeff smiled. "Am I that obvious?"
"Well, when you do that, it's to remind me how we were at religion school together and that you still have markers to call in. What's the deal?" he smiled back.
"Not here. I'd get in trouble with the Rabbi for talking business on Shabbos, and then Kim would start and it's just not worth the aggravation. You know what a yenta she can be."
Michael nodded. He'd known Jeff and Kim since they were all children, and knew that Jeff's wife had a temper.
Jeff beckoned Zack over to where they were standing. "Ze'ev. C'mere for a second."
Zack picked up his coffee and cake, and then walked over to the two men who had retired to a quiet corner of the room.
"Jeff, Mike. Shabbos. What's up?"
Jeff looked around to see if they were being overheard and dropped his voice to almost a whisper.
"I need to see both of you. This afternoon if you can. I'm trying to get a plan in place to help Jack."
"Why so urgent?" Zack enquired.
"I'll tell you later. Kim is going to visit her mother this afternoon, so can you get to my place for around 2:30?"
"Fine with me," Michael replied. "Becky's teaching a women's class here, so she's coming back straight after lunch."
Zack nodded. "Chaya's coming back for that, too. This new Rebbetzin seems really hot on women's education."
Jeff shrugged. "That's what you get for bringing in a Lubavitch rabbi."
"Don't get me started," Zack warned.
"You are on the committee, Ze'ev," Mike pointed out.
"Well anyways, she's gettin' a little too enthusiastic about it for comfort, if y'ask me. Which, of course, nobody ever does," Zack grumbled. "She'll be using the mikveh and expecting me to wear capel and tzitzit next. Oy!"
The other men mumbled their agreement.
"Kim's already keeping the laws of family purity. Why the hell d'you think I hardly ever go home?" Jeff complained.
Zack laughed. "I could say, but the Rov is just over there and he'd probably have you ex-communicated! It must have cramped your style, Jeff, having Jack O'Neill and his buddy staying in your pied a terre."
Jeff rolled his eyes. "Don't ask. If I don't get some soon, I'll forget how to do it!"
Zack looked over at his wife, who was tapping her foot impatiently. "Oops, gotta go, guys. I'll see you later, yeah?"
"See you later." Jeff replied.
"I'd better head out, too. I'll see you at your place in an hour or so."
"That's great. Thanks, Moish."
A couple of hours later, all three men sat in Jeff's living room, sipping coffee, Zack and Mike wondering what the hell was going on.
"So, spill, for cryin' out loud. What's this big plan of yours?" Zack asked, finally.
Jeff sat down in his favourite chair and took a mouthful of coffee before beginning.
"Okay, just to fill you in a little, Mike. Lori O'Neill is after Jack's money: all of it. And the way she intends to make this happen is by calling Jack's sexuality into question."
Mike's jaw dropped open. "Get out!"
"Nobody'd ever buy that, Jeff. He was in everybody's panties when he first got here," Mike replied, still incredulous.
"Maybe, but I don't want anything to ruin whatever Jack has left in the game; whether that be coaching, commentating..."
Mike shook his head. "Jack's way too shy for that."
"Well, I dunno, endorsements, whatever. He's worked damned hard for his money and I intend to make sure he keeps it."
"So, what do you want me to do?"
"You're the editor of the paper, Mike. Nothing goes in there without your approval. Am I right?"
"So I want to spread a little rumour of my own," Jeff announced.
"Now wait a minute, Jeff," Mike began. "I can't be putting stuff in my paper that isn't true."
At this point, Zack and Jeff almost fell off their chairs laughing.
"What? What?" Mike protested, somewhat feebly.
Jeff clapped his arm on Mike's shoulder. "I'm sorry, Moish. It's just that... never mind. Anyhow, I'm not going to tell you anything that I can't back up with solid evidence. Is that good enough?"
"I guess. So, what's the gossip?"
"Just the whole story as I see it. Lori O'Neill hooked up with Pankowski and got to know him... in the Biblical sense, if you know what I mean?"
Mike rolled his eyes.
"And while I don't think it was Stanley's idea - he doesn't have enough brain cells to blow wax out of his ears if they turned into TNT - the fact is, that Lori persuaded him to deliberately injure Jack, thereby ending his career and collecting on the disability payment. Now, the way she intended to get the rest of his money and have Jack permanently out of the picture, was to put the word around that he's a fag, and that Stanley was only defending his macho honour after Jack made a pass at him in the showers or something."
"Are you serious?" Mike asked, still unable to believe what he was hearing.
"I heard it from the horse's mouth. Or at least, I heard some of it from there. The rest I just put two and two together. It ain't brain surgery."
"Can't imagine why Jack would make a pass at a guy that ugly anyhow," Zack commented.
"Skeletons in your closet, Zachariah?" Jeff grinned.
"No! Jeez, I just meant... ah, forget it."
"So, I go back to my original question. What do you want me to do?" Mike asked again.
"Get ready to print what I've just told you. In the sports section, maybe, or in the entertainment section. That's where the gossip usually is. Don't send it to press, just hold onto it until I let you know. Frill it out however you think best. You're the writer around here."
"What about me? Where do I fit in?" Zack asked.
"Technique assessor? Check if Jack and his buddy are doin' it right?" Jeff teased.
"Suck my dick," Zack shot back, then grimaced at what he'd just said, as Jeff and Mike began to chuckle.
"Are you sure there aren't any skeletons in there?" Mike asked.
"Don't you start. All I can do is what I've already been doing; salting Jack's money away in offshore accounts and companies, none of which Lori has any control over. I can't do anything about the personal accounts; Jack will have to change those, but I've done just about as much as I can."
"Fair enough, buddy."
"Okay, I'll do it, but tell me. Is he?"
"Mike, I have no idea. He hasn't told me he's jumped buses, so I'm assuming he's straight. Like the rest of us... although I ain't too sure about you now, Zack," Jeff laughed.
"Yeah, yeah, very funny. Okay, if you're through, I gotta get back before the light of my life gets home. I'll speak to you on Monday. If you need me, I'll be in the office."
"Sure. No problem, Zack. I just wanted to make sure you were up to speed."
"Okay, thanks buddy. Have a good weekend."
Zack closed the screen door behind him and walked back out to his car.
So, Jack could well be gay, or bisexual. The implications permeated through Zack's mind as he drove. The way Jeff said it was ambiguous. Jack hadn't told him; maybe the young guy had. What was his name? Daniel. Yeah, that was it. Cute kid. No-one could blame him. Great body, cute smile and he obviously had the hots for Jack in the worst way.
Zack sighed. He'd played the part of a straight man for a very long time now, and he couldn't honestly see how else he could live his life. He'd had a couple of male lovers during the Sixties in college, but as soon as he'd received his degree, the pressure was on. Get a good job, be a good Jewish boy, take a wife, have a family. He knew it would have broken his parents' hearts if they'd known; and now there was no escape. Or maybe there was. If a previously straight acting guy of almost forty could do a one-eighty and fall in love with another man, maybe it was time he took a good long look at his own choices. If Jack really was gay, then Zack hoped Daniel could make him happy.
One thing was for sure. Lori wouldn't get a penny as long as he was in charge of Jack's money.
Monday morning, Mike drafted the 'rumour' and saved it in a password protected file on his laptop. It wasn't worth the risk of anyone coming into his office and seeing it, if Jeff didn't have to use it after all.
Jeff and Rose collated the evidence against Lori, and put it in a file, in date order, so that when Lori and Stan came down to the office, they wouldn't have to stretch their brains too far. Jeff had already called Gus to congratulate him on a job well done, and offered a steak dinner as a bonus for all the staff who had worked on the case. It never hurt business to spread a little nice warm fuzzy around. Gus's clients would need legal representation and although sports management was a part of Jeff's work, he was first and foremost an attorney.
Along with the photographs, audio tapes from the wire tap Jeff had had installed in Jack's house phone and video evidence, there were hotel bills, credit card statements and a copy of the draft article Mike had prepared. If that didn't scare her, nothing would.
The next stage was to get the Wicked Witch of the West and her friend Godzilla down to Jeff's offices in town and away from the house. Jeff grinned wickedly and picked up the phone.
"Lori? It's Jeff Cohen. Well, yeah. Actually, Jack is ready to deal. If you and Mr. Pankowski would like to come down to my office, we can agree and sign the paperwork. No, no I'm sorry, it has to be done down here. The papers need to be notarised and witnessed and it's all a little complicated. I promise we won't keep you any longer than is necessary. Yes. That's right. Tell you what, to save you even bringing the car, I'll send a limo for you both, how would that be? Yes, I heard about the argument at the rink. Most unfortunate. Yes, Jack is in a much more conciliatory mood now. Oh, I have no idea if he is or not. As far as I know, they're merely friends. Well, I guess you'd have to ask Jack. I'll send the limo for you in about an hour. Would that be acceptable? Fine. I'll look forward to seeing you both then."
He put down the phone and rubbed his hands together, allowing himself a small chuckle before picking up the phone again to call Daniel.
The telephone ringing drowned out the sound of Jack crying out as he came hard down Daniel's throat. Daniel made sure Jack was finished, swallowed quickly and wiped his mouth, then picked up the receiver, figuring that it would be a couple of minutes before Jack's brain had unscrambled itself.
"Hello? Oh hi, Jeff. No, I'm sorry I was just um... in the middle of something. What can I do for you? Do you want to speak to Jack? Because he's um... sleeping... right now and he... OH okay. Sure. I'll drop him off. No problem. See you later."
"Hnng?" Jack enquired.
"It was Jeff. He wants you to go down to the office in about an hour; go over some stuff. I said I'd drop you off, and then I'll head down to the gym. I haven't had a decent workout for a while."
"Yeah, you go ahead. I'll jump in the shower when you're done. I'll get your clothes ready."
Jack gradually pulled himself together, as languid as he felt, and limped off to the shower room as Daniel grinned secretively. It was a shame he wasn't actually going to be there when the showdown came, but the fact that he knew what was happening and he had a part in it, made him feel a glow of pride. By the end of the day, Jack would be home.
It hadn't been that difficult to persuade any of the interested parties to meet down at Jeff's office, although them meeting in the waiting room was a mini-drama Jeff would have liked to avoid. He could hear raised voices in the lobby and quickly walked out of his office to escort them all in.
"Please. Could we at least keep it down? My staff are trying to work here. Come into my office and we can sort all this out. Shall we?"
Daniel looked at his watch as he stood waiting for the locksmith to arrive. He had a copy of the order in his pocket, instructing the locksmith to change every outside lock, including the keypad and remote code on the automatic gates, and deposit the new keys with Daniel. He'd packed up all of their stuff and it was safely in the trunk of Jack's truck, parked outside the house on the street. He looked up the drive and smiled. The Lexus had been taken away, as had the Porsche, the only car left on the driveway was Pankowski's Corvette, which would be towed away and parked up on the street the moment the truck arrived. Daniel had Jack's gate remote and looked at it, still unable to believe that Lori had been arrogant enough not to have the locks changed.
Jeff's office was a sea of open mouths as he carefully went through the evidence against Lori and Pankowski. Jack couldn't believe his ears either, although there was no emotional distress; just a growing sense of glee that his wife hadn't succeeded. She was clever and devious, right enough, but she hadn't locked horns with a determined lawyer before.
"So, in conclusion, I'd say that your best bet; both of you, would be to get out of Pittsburgh as quickly and quietly as possible before I have all this sent to the national papers too. I think once people found out what you two have been up to, you, Mrs. O'Neill, would have difficulty getting a job in a rink bar, and you, Mr. Pankowski, would be lucky if they let you drive the Zamboni for a Pee-wee game. " Jeff declared. "And if the Commissioner's report comes out as I expect it to, you won't even be able to do that. And that's without the legal case for conspiracy to commit assault that I could almost certainly build... if I was forced into that position."
Lori and Stan were speechless, and Jack was chuckling as quietly as he could, his body rocking in the chair. Lori rose and stormed out of Jeff's office with Pankowski in tow, whining, "Lori, what are we gonna do?"
"Shut up! I'm going home to think," she spat.
"Ah. One tiny problem, there. The locks on the gates and the outer doors have been changed, or at least they will have been by the time you get there, and the burglar alarm has been given a new code, so don't think about breaking in. Oh, and your cars are gone. They've been taken back to the dealers, apart from yours, Mr. Pankowski. That'll be on the street," Jeff smiled.
"But... you can't do that! That's my CAR!" Lori yelled.
"I think you'll find that on all of the vehicle registration documents, the legal owner is Mr. J. O'Neill. He was allowing you to drive them out of the kindness of his heart. Given the current circumstances, I think we can safely say that kindness is no longer present."
Jack couldn't help but laugh out loud.
"You fucking BASTARD!" Lori screamed, her face bright red with rage. "I'll get you for this. I'll STILL get you!"
"And this..." Jeff handed a piece of paper to Lori, "...is an injunction banning you both from coming within five hundred yards of the O'Neill residence and within five hundred yards of Mr. O'Neill, beginning today in... about five minutes," Jeff continued, deadpan. "I'll be drawing up the divorce papers later this afternoon."
" You've been pretty quiet, Jack. What do you have to say about all this?" Pankowski asked quietly, crestfallen.
"I say, 'Woohoo! Go Jeff!'" Jack shouted.
"Look, I'm... I'm sorry about your leg, man." Pankowski began.
Jack stood up and stared Pankowski straight in the eye, grinning.
"Save it. Don't use up your pity on me, Stan. You've got no job and the biggest leech in the cosmos. Good luck to ya, guy. I'm goin' home!"
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