|Slash:||Jack and Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves sex.|
|Category:||Angst. Drama. Established Relationship. Hurt/Comfort.|
|Synopsis:||Memories of Valentines past.|
|Warnings:||Sweet and sentimental.|
"Daniel?" Jack waved a hand in front of Daniel's face. One very annoyed archaeologist paused from typing on his laptop and gave him a dirty look.
"Yes, Jack?" he said with forced patience.
"How much longer you gonna' be at that?" Jack smiled to show he wasn't scared in the least.
"Considering that I'm being interrupted every five minutes asking when I'm going to be finished, I figure I'll still be working away at this report until some time tomorrow," Daniel replied. "Now, for the hundredth time, leave," pause and deep breath, "me," another pause, "alone." Daniel leaned back in his chair and stretched before looking at Jack, who was wearing a slightly hurt expression. Daniel sighed and gave a small apologetic smile, "I'm just going to work another hour, okay, Jack? I should have most of it done by then. But I really need to have quiet while I translate this. Please?" Daniel gave Jack's hand a squeeze and turned his attention back to the screen.
Jack smiled at the absorbed look and dropped a kiss on Daniel's head before heading towards the bedroom. The storage closet needed a good cleaning, and he suspected that some old fishing lures he thought lost were hiding somewhere in its depths. Jack was absolutely sure that Daniel, once the report was done, would be applying the same intensity he put into his work into making Jack happy tonight. He hummed quietly as he pulled open the door to the closet.
Daniel typed one last period, hit save, and turned off the computer. He stood and stretched, arching his back. He looked into the kitchen, surprised Jack wasn't there, then he remembered seeing Jack head towards the bedroom. He grinned, Jack had probably fallen asleep. No matter. Daniel figured he could think of some creative ways to wake him up. He walked silently to the bedroom, surprised to see Jack sitting on the edge of the bed, back to the door.
"Jack? You okay?" he asked, coming into the room.
Jack turned at his voice and Daniel was dismayed to see traces of tears on Jack's cheeks. Daniel hurried to his side and sat down beside him, only now noticing the cardboard box sitting on the pillows beside his lover.
"What's wrong?" Daniel asked softly.
Jack was holding a small piece of blue flannel in his hands, the fabric worn smooth in spots.
"I'd forgotten I had this box," Jack whispered. "I must have put it in the closet when I first moved in." He looked at Daniel and pulled the box onto his lap. "Sara gave me this. She said that maybe some day I'd be glad I had it."
Daniel looked at the box and realized what it held, pieces of Charlie. All the little things that represented a life cut tragically short.
"I think Sara was right, Jack." He moved closer to Jack, putting an arm around Jack's waist.
"I am glad, Daniel. I just wasn't expecting to find it today, you know?" Jack smiled wistfully. He held out the flannel. "This was from his baby blanket. He dragged that thing everywhere, and it got so tattered that Sara had to cut it into these little squares. He used to carry a piece in his backpack when he went to kindergarten."
Jack continued to pull things out of the box, bringing out a plaster cast of a small hand. "He made this in preschool." Jack's hand covered the tiny toddler one, preserved forever. "God, I forgot how small he was." There were some school photos, one of a smiling blond child missing three front teeth. A certificate for winning a classroom spelling bee. A paper with his ABC's, more than one letter written backwards. Jack brought them all out, showing them to Daniel, memories flooding his mind of Charlie laughing, Charlie holding up a paper saying, 'Look, Daddy, look!' Charlie crying because the tooth fairy forgot to leave a quarter for his lost tooth, and he froze as he brought out the last piece of paper folded in half. Jack opened it, knowing what he would see.He felt Daniel's hand move up to his shoulders, pull him close. The picture had been done when Charlie was in kindergarten. 'I love my daddy,' had been written laboriously by five year old hands, and in the teacher's writing was the end of the sentence... 'because he scares away the monsters.' There was a picture of a tall figure, dressed in what was supposed to be an Air Force uniform, standing between a small blond boy and a purple blob with scary teeth. The tall man was pointing a finger at the purple blob.
"He gave this to me for Valentine's Day when he was five," Jack said after swallowing painfully around the lump that was in his throat. He shook his head. "He used to have nightmares about monsters and I used to come in his room before he'd go to sleep and tell all the monsters to leave my boy alone."
Daniel shook Jack a little, forcing Jack's eyes to meet his. "Charlie was so lucky to have you as a dad, Jack. So blessed to have been so loved." Daniel shook his head when Jack opened his mouth to speak. "Be glad for what you had, Jack. Please be glad for that."
Jack couldn't understand why Daniel had been so uncharacteristically quiet for the day. Daniel had sat in their briefing for SG-1's upcoming mission not adding much to the discussion except to mention that he thought that the operation should be extended an extra day because the few glyphs he'd translated from the pictures sent back from the MALP indicated that there appeared to be a network of underground caverns near the ruins. General Hammond had agreed and decided that the mission should proceed in two days. Then Daniel had disappeared into his office for the rest of the day.
The Valentine's Day dinner that Jack had planned consisting of Daniel's favorite foods had wound up being take out Chinese because Jack's stove finally gave up the ghost. Daniel had laughed and told him not to worry about it. Valentine's Day wasn't about the dinner anyway, it was about love and being together. But then Daniel became quiet again and kept sending worried glances in Jack's direction. Now Daniel lay snuggled against Jack , as they stretched out on the sofa.
"Danny, what's wrong?" Jack finally asked, realizing that Daniel was far from relaxed.
"Nothing," Daniel pushed himself up.
"Uh huh, that's why you're so tense," Jack said. "Did something happen today that I don't know about?"
Daniel shook his head, then he finally looked at Jack. "I got you a present."
"And? Give me some help here, Danny," Jack said. "I mean, I know we said we weren't going to do the present thing for Valentine's Day, but..."
"No, no," Daniel said, getting up. "I have it in my car. Just wait."
Jack sat, puzzled. Sometimes no matter how well he thought he knew Daniel Jackson, he found out he didn't know him at all. Of course he didn't have a present for Daniel, but he really didn't think Daniel would care about that. Daniel came back in, snow melting in his hair, carrying a small flat package.
"I don't know," Daniel began, "I probably shouldn't have..."
"Daniel, just give me the present," Jack finally said while Daniel sat holding it. He could feel it was a picture frame through the thin wrapping paper and he unwrapped it slowly, aware of Daniel's breath coming in quick short bursts. Jack's hands stilled as the paper fell away from the picture in the oak frame. It was Charlie's kindergarten Valentine to him, preserved behind glass. Jack forgot to breathe for a moment, feeling his eyes fill.
"Oh, God, Danny."
"I knew I shouldn't have. I should have asked you. I can get it taken apart, Jack. I'm sorry," Daniel was saying in a small miserable voice.
Jack looked at him. Daniel looked heartbroken, convinced that he had some how done a terrible thing. He was biting his lower lip, his hands were twisting nervously, and his eyes were downcast.
"Danny." Jack reached out and placed his hand over Daniel's. "Danny, this is the best Valentine's Day present I could have asked for."
The words had a startling effect. Daniel looked up, his smile lighting his face. "You like it?"
Jack shook his head. "I love it, Daniel." He chuckled then, pointing to the writing at the bottom of the picture underneath the drawing, a childish 'I.', then a wobbly heart, and then the word 'you' with a backwards y. Charlie was written beside it in big letters.
"I heart you," Jack murmured. At Daniel's puzzled glance, he pointed to it again. "That's what Charlie used to say. The first time he saw 'I love you' written with a heart, he read it as 'I heart you.' So that's what we used to say to each other when we wanted to say 'I love you.'" Jack paused and looked at the beloved face of the man sitting next to him. "I heart you, Danny, I heart you with all my soul." And he leaned over to seal the words with a kiss.
On to part two