I don't know how I missed this. Right under my nose all night. I'm usually really good at reading Daniel ... but damn ... tonight I was far off the mark. Actually the night had started out fine ... SG1 had been invited to the wedding of one of the nurses who worked in the infirmary. An event that we had been looking forward to for awhile, dressing up ... going out ... Daniel and I very rarely, if ever, get to do that together.
True to the workings of the SGC, Daniel had been delayed working on a project, so I picked him up at his loft ... late as usual. He silently admired me in my dress blues, Daniel's expressive blue eyes speaking volumes with regard to what he was planning after the wedding. Daniel in that suit ... suffice it to say, I began cursing the fates at our lack of time.
We had a nice time ... pretty bride, handsome groom, nice place, good food, great band, excellent company. No Goa'ulds, no off world activations, no weapon's discharge, no klaxons ... everyone in one piece by the end of the night. Hey, in my book ... that makes the night a winner.
The first hint I had that maybe this night wasn't turning out as wonderfully as I had thought was when I maneuvered the Avalanche into the driveway of my house. Okay, in retrospect maybe Daniel had been uncharacteristically silent during the ride home. I believe I was halfway to the front door to the house when I realized that my archeologist was not on my heels in sexual anticipation. Backtracking, I opened the passenger door ... "Daniel?"
Daniel turns to face me and all thoughts of having my wicked way with Daniel's body dissipate as his eyes meet mine. Glazed, unfocused, red rimmed ... the eyes of someone who definitely has consumed too much alcohol in a short period of time. It's a look I know well from personal experience.
"Come on big guy, it's time for all archeologists to go to bed." Daniel honors me with a wavering smile then amazingly manages to extricate himself under his own volition from the seatbelt and the truck. He gets two steps down the walk before swaying, stumbling; I grab him, my own knee protesting under his uncooperative weight.
"Jack?" He slurs ... "I don't feel so great."
"What did you expect?" I find it hard to keep the anger from my voice. Anger at myself ... where the hell was I when Daniel drank himself into this condition. Anger with Daniel for ruining our precious time together. "What did you hope to accomplish by this? Except a visit with the porcelain throne and a hangover?" I give him a little shake.
He turns to face me, the smell of liquor on his breath overwhelming. "I wanted to do this ... with you." He pulls me close, encircles my waist with his right hand intertwining our fingers with his left. Daniel hums a nondescript tune, and sways his body drunkenly to the nameless music. "This ... I wanted to do this."
I separate from him, meeting his look of longing. "Not here, Danny. Not now."
This was not how I wanted to get Daniel out of his clothes ... out of that suit. This is not how I wanted to end the night. Confused that I missed something ... unbuttoning his shirt trying to comprehend what had managed to slip under my Daniel radar. Trying to understand how Daniel managed to ingest as much alcohol as he did with me sitting to his right.
Slipping off his pants, leaving Daniel dressed in boxers, tee shirt and socks; I balance him against the headboard, while I get aspirin and a glass of water. Drinking the water, taking the aspirin, Daniel watches me through hooded eyes, with a desire I can't seem to identify.
By the time I have gotten undressed, finished my nightly ritual I return to the bedroom to find Daniel prone in the bed, strewn across its length, the water glass balancing precariously in his loosed grip. I remove the glass, cover him with the quilt, and sit on the bed, gently rubbing his arm.
"Why Daniel?" Daniel never does anything without a reason. I really don't expect an answer, this may be one of those incidents in our lives where the question is not answered in the here and now ... but somewhere down the line. "Hmmm ... Why did you do this?"
I'm surprised when I feel the weight of Daniel's hand move until it rests on my bare thigh ... even more surprised when he answers my question. "You danced with Sam ... and Janet ... It hurt ... how you touched them. Moved their bodies. I wanted ... I wanted and can't get. Much easier to see through blurred vision. Blurred thoughts."
Oh, jealousy ... I can handle that. The green eyed monster rears its ugly head on occasion in our relationship ... but shit, not something to drink yourself in a stupor over. "Daniel, please you know that I lo ..."
His hand may be warm against my leg, but his next statement wraps my heart in an icy blanket. "Dance ... I wanted you to dance with me. I wanted to dance with you in public. So people see ... people know ... I love you. Together ... never." He turns on his back, moving his hand through the air. "Door shut ... not fair. Always closed. Never open. Always looking ... you are always looking so no one sees. Hate that." Daniel turns away from me, wrapping the blankets tightly around him.
I get under the covers, forcibly removing his grip on the blanket ... spooning his body's length to me. "Silly ... I'm being silly. I'm very drunk." He mumbles. "Sorry ..."
I kiss the softness of his hair, letting him know that he shouldn't be sorry ... he wasn't silly ... but he is already asleep, unable to hear my words of love and shared sorrow.
Nothing is said in the morning. Daniel mentions nothing ... neither do I. Why talk about something that, at this moment in time, is unchangeable? I feel the frustration bubbling below the surface in both of us, but no verbal expression is warranted. Neither the linguist nor the Colonel can share the words to rectify the situation. So silence ensues for the better part of the morning. Daniel drinks coffee and takes aspirin throughout the day, waving away any attempts at food ... those actions alone are the sole acknowledgment of yesterday.
The wedding becomes buried in everyday life. Missions, reports ... change of season. Time passes ... but sometimes things are not forgotten.
We had been driving for a while before Daniel even questioned our destination. "Patience, grasshopper." I respond.
He snorts in reply, leaning forward to change the station on the radio. Frustrated with the selection, he pulls out a CD and soon the car is filled with the loud guitar rifts of Linkin Park. The things one does for love, I think, leaning over and lowering the volume. For the thousandth time, I remind myself to talk to Daniel about the musical influence that Cassie has in his life.
We stand in a foyer of a supper club, intimate, welcoming ... surrounded by other men. A place to be ourselves, a discrete ... private place. I place my hand on Daniel's lower back as we are shown to our table. For a moment he stiffens at this intimate touch, this guide in such a public place.
I cannot tell you honestly what we ate for dinner, just that it was an accompaniment to the feeling of just being Jack and Daniel. Not the Colonel and the Archeologist ... We checked the regs at the door, the "don't ask, don't tell" joined our coats in the coat checkroom.
We talked, we touched ... and I realized how much I needed to touch him and not think about touching. Usually physical contact of any kind is relegated behind closed doors. There are the occasional touches of comfort ... those are acceptable to be done in public. But even that contact is given with the conscious effort of not crossing the invisible line.
This is a dangerous place, this place of freedom. The place I searched for to give Daniel what he asked for ... a simple dance. It may not be as public as he wishes, but I believe that part he understands. My thoughts begin to wander to the idea of retirement ... when the strains of music filter through. I remember the reason for bringing Daniel here, I stand, offering him my hand. I say, without a shadow of a doubt, the sappiest thing I probably could ever say to Daniel. "Can I have this dance?"
First a look of confusion, followed by remembrance, then he hangs his head in embarrassment. Even in the muted light, I see the stain of blush work its way up the exposed nape of his neck. I tap his arm with the back of my hand. "I didn't forget, Daniel."
Tugging him up, I push him towards the dance floor and I step around him when he hesitates. We fit well together, Daniel and I ... something I did forget. I rest my chin on his shoulder as he disengages his hands from their dance position and circles my waist, joining his fingers so his clasped hands rest against the small of my back.
"Thank you, for remembering," he sighs into my ear.
"Thank you for reminding me." I grab his ass, pulling him closer to me ... groin to groin. A remembrance of the idea of how well we do fit together. He grunts in surprise, then relaxes in my embrace. We stay that way, together, until the last dance is called. As we separate to head back to our table, to get out coats, to retrieve our lives outside of this place ... I wonder how I could have missed this important piece of information ... that sometimes a simple dance is all it takes.
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