"It's November," Daniel grouses as he stares out the front window. "There's snow on the ground."
I'm hiding my chuckle behind a little throat clearing action, feeling not one iota of sympathy for Daniel. Come on! It's not like the man hasn't lived in Colorado for the last eight years of his life.
I truly don't know why he's even complaining. It's Thursday, the first day of a four-day down time, compliments of our last mission which featured a beautiful planet inhibited by a not so beautiful group of people who didn't exactly lay out the red carpet for SG1. Carter's on crutches, Teal'c probably will spend the next four days kel no reeming and Daniel and I were released in our recognizance, bruised but not battered. "Four days off," I remind him as I step up behind him and dig my chin into that sensitive hollow between shoulder blade and neck. "We don't even have to get in the car or go out of the house." I kiss, he shivers and leans just a little into me.
"Four days?" His flannel clad ass is doing this magical rubbing action thing right against my boxer clad cock.
"Four days, surely we can find something to do in four days that doesn't need us to go out in the snow."
I check my watch for the thousandth time, flick through the channels and settle on an old movie that holds my attention for maybe all of two minutes. Daniel's fingers are paused over the laptop's keyboard. I've noticed they've been idle for the past twenty minutes or so, and choose to say nothing, because it's safer that way. I should know, I've learned from experience.
Honestly, the first two days were spent just reveling in being home, alone. We overindulged in sex, sleeping, eating, sex -- I mentioned that already, didn't I? TV watching, napping, and the more than occasional middle of the afternoon alcoholic beverage. And now, we're bored out of ever-loving minds. Daniel powers down the laptop and closes the top harder than usual, not exactly a slam, but to me, it's quite obvious something is bothering him.
"Jack?" He stands and stretches, arms extended over his head, then in front of his body. I can't help but cringe as bones loudly pop into place. He yawns and rotates his head.
Daniel looks at me. "No, I'm not tired, nor am I hungry, nor do I want to watch a movie, or TV or read or ..."
"Fuck me?" I add helpfully, then twist my mouth in a show of exaggerated concentration. "Or is it more grammatically correct to say, 'fuck you'?"
"Was that a request or a just a general observation as to how totally bored the two us are?"
Daniel steps up to where I'm sitting and forcefully plucks the remote from my hand, pointing it over his shoulder at the television, blindly flicking the TV off, then nonchalantly drops the remote to the floor.
"Which is it?" he growls, clamping his hands on my shoulders, pinning me down. Before I can even formulate an answer, Daniel's descends into my space, tugging and sucking on my lips, outlining them with his tongue before he stands.
I wake up stiff and cold even though I'm covered in a snoring Daniel blanket. The fire is nothing more than embers and the chilliness of the wood floor is seeping right through the area rug numbing my naked ass. I slap the naked ass belonging to the equally naked Daniel.
"Cold," he mutters, tucking his hands between our bodies as he tries to sap warmth from me.
"Off," I command, trying to push him from my body.
He rolls off with a grunt of indignation and I reach out my arm and grab hold of my sweatshirt. Sitting up, I slip it on and then stand to search for my pants and boxers, stepping over Daniel.
I throw his shirt at him, then his pants, his boxers are next and I finally locate my sweats and boxers in the hallway. I lean on the wall for support and step into them, pulling down my shirt, glad that in the heat of passion I kept my socks on. It may not be romantic, but right now, I'm patting myself on the back 'cause at least my feet are semi-warm. Daniel is dressed by the time I return to the living room, trying to stoke some life back into the fire.
"We need more firewood."
I stamp off to the bedroom. It isn't worth the argument trying to convince Daniel to don his coat to help collect firewood so I'm surprised when he joins me in the room, his socks in one hand, his boots in the other.
"You're going to get the wood?"
He sits on the edge of the bed, drops his boots and begins to tug on his socks. "No, we're going to get the wood."
It's not only cold outside. It's frigid. The type of weather that steals your breath, and both Daniel and I both stop in shock at the temperature change. Like idiots, we stand there, stamping our feet and slapping our arms.
"You stay," I concede when it doesn't appear that Daniel will be moving anytime in the near future.
"Next year," I gripe to myself, trekking across the backyard, "I'm moving the wood pile onto the porch." I'm so intent on my mental complaining that I feel myself begin to slide, and it's only my pinwheeling arms that manage to keep me upright. I look down at my feet and smile. Here, in my backyard, in god only knows how cold temperatures, I'm warmed by a memory of my youth. The smoke from my heartfelt "yes" blocks my vision for a moment. Cautiously, I pick my way around the slippery strip of ice, grab an armload of wood, and head back to the deck, skirting the icy area. Daniel is already standing by the door, letting out precious warmth as he holds it open in anticipation of my hasty return.
I drop the wood at his feet. "Close the door, I want to make another wood run."
He closes the door and I make a second trip, avoiding the ice in both directions, smiling as I see Daniel standing there, yet again, with the door open.
"Shut the door," I order, again dropping the wood on the deck.
"Are you nuts?" he sniffs, the cold already causing his nose to run, but he closes the door.
"Come with me." I grab his arm and pull him out to the ice patch. "Look." I point down.
He looks, sniffs, and his gloved hand pushes his glasses back up. He glances at the ice, then me, ice and then finally settles on me. "It's ice, Jack. That's what happens when water reaches a certain ..."
"I know what it is. But I don't think you know what it is." I place my hands on his shoulders and maneuver him to the side. "Watch," I command, then back up a little to get a running start and I slide the length of the ice. "Ta da."
Daniel's confused, but bless his soul, he gives me a patronizing smile. "Can we go in now?"
"You never did this as a kid?"
"Not too many ice patches in Egypt."
"Yeah, whatever," I concede, kicking myself for bringing up Daniel's childhood, but there's something about the way he's examining the ice ...
"Want to try it?" I challenge.
"Nope." Daniel backs away.
"Come on, I see you ... watch." I slide in the opposite direction. "There's nothing to it."
"Jack, it's cold."
"A little exercise will warm you up. Be adventuresome."
"Adventuresome. Unless I'm in some alternate universe, you do know what we do for a living, don't you?"
"Yeah. Stargate. Travel the universe. Okay, maybe adventuresome was the wrong word. How about," I tap my temple, "getting in touch with your inner child."
I slide again and now I'm facing Daniel and wave him on, encouraging him with a crook of my finger. "You can do it."
Daniel takes a step forward, slides and ends up stuck in the middle of the ice. I wave him off and he steps to the side while I demonstrate one more time how it's done.
He tries again with a bit more success, the hint of a smile and after two more times you never would have known that he hadn't been doing this his whole childhood. Daniel's enjoying this with an abandon that makes me smile as he fights me for ice time. I don't know how long we keep this up. Daniel is now red faced, my knee is starting to protest the cold, and he's sliding past me like an old pro, but I refuse to be the one to tell Daniel it's time to stop.
We're at opposite ends of the ice when Daniel cocks his head in the direction of the house. "I'm cold." He studies me and then his glance slides towards my knee. He knows. "Let call it a day."
"Just one more," I insist, and trot backwards. I don't know what went wrong. Maybe the ice developed some soft spots, maybe my velocity was just a bit more forceful than before, maybe Daniel was standing on the ice and not on the frozen grass or maybe, just maybe, I'm just plain stupid. I slide, faster than before, my legs preceding my body down the length of ice and Daniel just stands there, waiting, his arms reaching towards me as he sees me floundering. Except my legs make contact with his calves ahead of the rest of my body. And before he has a chance to catch and steady me, I literally sweep Daniel off his feet and he falls backwards with a loud and painful 'oomph'.
I'm flat on my back, staring up at a grey winter's sky and Daniel is making these horrific groaning noises, which I'm sure are for my sole benefit. Our feet are tangled together and it takes me a moment to catch my breath and lever my body onto my elbows.
The lower half of his body is lying straight, but from the hips up he's twisted at what looks to be an uncomfortable, and dare I say it, unnatural angle. "Daniel?"
He flops onto his back when I call his name. "Ow."
"Would you like to get up and go into the house?" Cautiously, I lean forward and begin to untangle our legs, my hands doing a quick spot check on all four limbs for any broken bones. He actually whimpers when my hand travels up his calf to his knee, already swelling under my fingertips. "Hurts?"
His chuckle turns into a moan as he moves to push my hand away. "And people say you're dumb."
"Snide remarks are only tolerated due to --"
"The fact Janet is going to kill you." Even as he attempts to sit up, Daniel's movements are deliberate and sluggish, and I'm more than a little concerned over his swelling knee and the way he's clutching his elbow, hugging it tightly to his side.
"What the hell did I do?" I get up slowly, floundering, trying to find purchase on the ice patch. I look around, but there's nothing for me to lean on to push my body up into a standing position. Daniel, meanwhile, has been rocking back and forth in a futile attempt to build up the necessary momentum to get at least one leg and a functioning arm underneath him.
"What did you do?" We're both sitting up, facing each other and if this picture weren't so pathetic, it would be hysterical. "You knocked me down!"
"You were standing in the wrong place."
"How the hell did this get to be my fault, Mr. Find-Your-Inner-Child?"
I lose it. I start to laugh. In the wake of Daniel's indignation, I struggle to hold back but the chuckles seem to burst from someplace deep inside.
"Are you finished?"
I nod, pressing my lips together to hold in any remaining laughter.
"Good. It's nice to know that my falling on my ass rates an Abbott and Costello moment for you."
"Sorry. I wasn't laughing at you."
"I was laughing at ..."
"Me falling on my ass." Daniel huffs and looks at me.
"Hey, my ass hit the ground as hard as yours."
I get a smile as Daniel pauses, obviously contemplating the visual. "Can you get up off your ass, and help me up, 'cause my ass is freezing."
All the ha ha'ness has gone out of the situation by the time the two of us hobble into the house. Daniel's shivering and shaking with each step, hurting a lot more than he's letting on. And me? By the way I'm slowly hunching over, I see a dose or two of muscle relaxants in my immediate future.
"No!" Daniel yelps as I try to lower him into a kitchen chair.
"No?" Okay, my 'no' comes out more like a pathetic squeak as the act of placing him in the chair is pulling on strained back and shoulder muscles.
"Wet clothes." he manages through gritted teeth. His good arm shoots out and latches onto to table in defense of his body being lowered and is now keeping his ass balanced just above the chair.
"Good idea." He allows me to help him stand but then pushes away my attempts to assist him.
"I can manage." Daniel stands and does manage to get out of the kitchen, holding on to every flat surface available to him.
He makes it up the two stairs and down the hallway, sticking to the wall like glue and me, I'm right behind him, my hand is resting on my lower back for support and as I shuffle along with my shoulders slumped, my posture is strangely reminiscent of Grandpa O'Neill.
Daniel is leaning heavily on the corner of the dresser, awkwardly opening the drawer, slowly extracting sweatpants and a tee shirt which he puts on top of the dresser. He keeps his hand on its perch for balance and begins to unzip his jacket. His gloves have been lost en route and he drops his jacket to the floor once he struggles out of it. My progress is so slow that by the time I sidle up to him, he's working on removing his shirt. I get a grateful smile as I move his hand away and undo the buttons.
"Does it hurt?" I stupidly ask when the discarded shirt reveals a blossoming bruise centering around his elbow.
He flexes his arm, then rotates it so he can get a better view, grimacing at the Technicolor palate on his skin. Daniel pokes the area with his left forefinger. "Think it looks worse than it feels." For the first time he notices my arthritic stance. "Are you okay?"
I opt for the shower and bend languidly under the pulsating shower head, groaning as the hot water massages the knotted muscles in my lower back.
I had promised Daniel a steaming hot bath after I took my shower and he's sitting on the closed toilet lid with an ice pack pressed against his swollen knee. I can hear him yelling something but I'm so lost in the sensation of the water pulsating against my back, I choose to ignore his rantings. But he's broken my 'one with the shower' feeling and with a heavy sigh of exasperation, I turn off the water.
"It's about time," Daniel yells. "You were groaning so much, I thought you were jerking off and using all the hot water."
Cautiously, I step out of the tub. Snatching up a towel, I slowly wrap it around my waist, leaning slightly to the left and then to the right, checking out the benefits of the warm water.
"Feel better?" Daniel's concern is laced with a touch of sarcasm which he's using to hide behind how much he's hurting. He flings the ice packet into the sink, then places his hands behind his knee for support as he bends his leg.
"Keep the ice pack where it belongs." I take it out of the sink and place it atop his knee and he has no choice but to reposition his hands to hold it in place. I grunt at him before turning my back to start his bath. I'm using the gruffness of my actions to cower behind how guilty I feel.
"It was an accident."
"It was stupidity." My hand flickers back and forth under the running water, testing the temperature.
"It was fun."
The bathroom is stifling, but I shut the door behind me when I enter, smiling at the picture of relaxation before me. Daniel is lying in the tub, his head thrown back against the porcelain, with his eyes closed. He's sweating profusely, his cheeks pink in the heat and his hair is plastered down, and he's humming some nondescript tune, his injured elbow and knee submerged in the water's warmth.
"Think you're just about cooked."
Daniel shakes his head. "Feels good," he mutters lazily.
I stand over him, gazing down, and I can't resist touching a burgeoning bruise on his shoulder. He slowly opens his eyes in response.
"Was it really fun?"
"Yes, it was." Daniel's hand rises out of the water and bats at my knee, dripping water on my socks and the bottom half of my sweats and then he pauses, allowing his hand to just hang in mid air, the water slowly dripping off his fingers, creating a puddle on the floor. "We don't do that enough."
I have some smart sarcastic remark about falling on our asses ready to fly outta my mouth, but there's something in the way Daniel is studying me; the intensity of those eyes challenging me, daring me to dispute what he's said. So instead I cave. "No, we don't."
Daniel's hand falls back into the water with a splash. "I think it's time for me to get out."
The shower is just a distant memory as I feel my back begin to stiffen up. Muscles contracting painfully once again, I choose to crank up the heat, opting to forgo dragging the wood into the house until I feel a little more up to par. My walk has once again slowed to shuffling and I find myself hobbling in front of the couch where Daniel sits.
"Sit down," Daniel whines as he shifts position on the couch. He's been in constant motion, squirming, fidgeting, grimacing as he tries to locate a comfortable position.
"You're moving just as much as I am. You're just moving sitting down."
Daniel opens his mouth but I shush him with a forefinger pressed to my lips. "Hold that thought," I order, then scuffle off towards the kitchen.
I make countless trips back and forth between the kitchen and the living room, and I know how much Daniel's hurting when he never questions me nor offers to help as I carry in two plates filled with sandwiches and chips, along with two bottles of water and a side order of Motrin and Flexeril.
Daniel picks up the pills and I admonish him to eat first before ingesting the medication, lovingly mentioning something about not wanting to clean up vomit the way I feel. He holds the two pills in one hand, picks up the sandwich with the other, takes a bite then pops the pills in his mouth, washing them down with half the bottle of water, all before I even manage to sit down next to him on the couch.
My posture sucks. I'm bending forward to eat 'cause I'm afraid if I lean back and settle into the couch, then I'll be unable to stand. Every squirm that Daniel's doing in an attempt to relieve his own aches and pains is creating a wave like movement of the pillow, and my body rises and falls painfully each time he readjusts himself. I manage half a sandwich and gratefully down my own two pills.
Something is knocking against my knee. "Go away," I order, but the insistent prodding keeps up.
The poking stops but now I'm assaulted by a whiney voice that is begging me to go to sleep.
"Thought I was sleeping," I blink in the dimness of the living room, barely discerning Daniel standing over me.
"Need to sleep in bed ..." The remainder of his sentence is lost in a cavernous yawn.
Fireplace. Outside. Frigid. Ice. Slide. Falling. Pills. Ah yes, I remember now as it takes two attempts and an extended hand from Daniel to help me sit up and then bring me to a standing position.
The two of us plod towards the bedroom, leaving our dinner remains on the coffee table, the muscle relaxants working their magic, making us groggy but pliable. It's late, but I don't have the energy to even lift my arm and check out my watch, the only thing my body wants to do at this moment is to lie horizontal on my bed.
Silently, but in sync, we pull down the covers and slip into bed, neither one of us bothering to change from our sweats. Me, I manage to find a comfortable spot almost immediately, but from Daniel's side of the bed, all I'm hearing is grunting and the shuffling of pillows.
"Give me a minute," is his terse reply, and I do, but in that minute I begin to drift towards sleep, only to be awakened by Daniel reaching out towards me, his hand falling heavily on my stomach.
"Sorry," he apologizes sleepily, then begins to move his hand away.
"It's okay," and I reach my hand out and grab his, intertwining our fingers, then giving a quick squeeze. "How are you feeling?"
I squeeze the fingers in my grip a little harder, a warning that even in the dark I don't have to see his facial expression to know that he's not being exactly truthful.
"I'm feeling as good as you are, Jack."
I roll my eyes in exasperation at his ability to throw it back into my court. "Which means exactly what, Daniel?"
"Which means I'll feel almost normal after another two days of warm baths, sandwiches and a plethora of medication."
"Fraiser may think otherwise when she gets a gander at your elbow and knee."
"I'm thinking your bent-over posture may be a dead giveaway."
"She's gonna be pissed."
"Well let her."
I'm taken back by his display of indignation. "I'm equating pissed with large needles and unwarranted, invasive medical tests, Daniel. Your bravery has never been a question in my mind, though at this moment your intelligence at your willingness to go up against our CMO leaves me a bit baffled."
"I had fun."
"I know you ..."
"Shut up and let me finish."
"Ooookay. Shutting now." His hand is still attached to mine and there is more of a sense of urgency in his voice than anger. Sorta like he knows the meds have loosened both his tongue and his thought processes, and he wants to speak his mind before rationalization returns.
"I don't think even you understand."
"Try me," I prod. "Sorry," I immediately add, "forgot the shutting up order."
"Even we, you know ..." Daniel rubs our conjoined hands on the mattress between our bodies.
"Have sex?" Maybe Daniel is right, maybe I won't understand or better yet, maybe I don't even want to know what he's thinking.
"Have sex, yes. Even then, the SGC is here."
"I don't have your full attention when I fuck you? Or vice versa?"
Daniel sputters. "No. yes. never mind, forget it. I'm not making any sense."
"Oh no, you don't." I'm shocked at the anger in my own voice. "You don't open a can of worms like that and then decide to try to stuff the top back on after all the worms have slithered away."
Daniel sits up suddenly, and in the dim light I can see the lines of pain around the corner of his mouth, his eyes. "There is never a time when we're together in this bedroom that I'm not aware of what we do, or who we are. After we fuck, we watch the clock and calculate how soon we have to leave for work, or how many hours we have left before we return to the mountain. How many times, after a hard mission, do we end up screwing the second we walk through your door. or my door? How many times do we rip our clothes off before we even talk?"
"That's a bad thing?" My voice is low, controlled and filled with hurt and confusion.
"We never turn our cell phones off, Jack. We never leave Colonel O'Neill and Dr. Jackson where they belong. at work, in the mountain at the SGC."
"We need a vacation?" That was a stupid remark, after my fiasco and reprimand when I tossed my cell phone when Daniel was investigating Osiris, I have learned, that like my American Express card, I'm not allowed to leave home without it.
"No, Jack." His sigh is deep. "We need to have fun."
"And look what happened when we tried that."
"I'll survive. But for those twenty minutes when we were outside, we were just Jack and Daniel. No different than anyone else. You shared a bit of yourself with me. a touch of your childhood. And we laughed. And my world was focused on the backyard, that little patch of ice. and you." Daniel paused, then chuckled softly. "Was that whiney enough for you?
I tug him back down onto the bed, and with a grunt he lies down, repositioning one pillow behind his knee and another under his elbow. We're a mess, but for some reason, I think even with all the aches and pains, Daniel's smiling.
I lean over and kiss his shoulder. "Not whiney at all, though the thought of the SGC being in the bedroom with us when we ..."
"Sorry, that's how I feel."
I kiss his shoulder again, rubbing my five o'clock shadow across his sweatshirt. "I know, and you know something? I understand, but until I retire, or you retire ..."
Daniel snorts. "Retire? By the time that happens, we'll be old to even think of getting it up."
Retirement is the least of all evils, better than contemplating a future where something happens to either one of us. And then suddenly, I know Daniel's right. That slam-in-the-gut-unable-to-draw-a-breath feeling when someone reveals a truth you'd rather not hear. There really is nowhere we can go without the fragility of our life or the SGC hanging over our heads. I force a bit of laughter into my voice. "Just think of all the fun we can have *trying* to get it up."
"I liked sliding on the ice better. Thank you." And I can tell by his movements that Daniel's settling in for the night, and I fight my own desire to join him in sleep. His breath is evening out but because he's sleeping on his back, I wait until the snoring starts until I'm positive he's truly out. The muscle relaxants have worked wonders, but I still cautiously slip out of the bed.
I unplug the bedside clock and turn the ringer off the phone. I locate our cell phones on the dresser, silently beg General Hammond's forgiveness and turn them both off. I get back into bed, and Daniel instinctively turns to spoon up against me, his knee and elbow discomfort obviously forgotten in sleep. The warmth of his body against my back is better than any heating pad money could buy.
I yawn into my pillow. No phones, no clock. Okay, maybe it will be just for tomorrow, or maybe even just for a few hours, that we forget about being on SG1, about all the secrets we harbor from the world. Maybe without any interruptions we can just be Jack and Daniel, and dream of having a little bit fun.
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