|Slash:||Jack and Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves sex.|
|Category:||First Time. Holiday.|
|Synopsis:||Just before Christmas, Daniel takes a walk in the park and finds the courage he needs|
|Warnings:||Christmas sap ahead.|
Lovely day, cool, clear and he had some down time so why the hell not? A walk in the park, maybe a coffee at Bennie's, then home, a fire and some dinner. Might even stop at the Booze Brothers for a bottle of wine. Mind made up, Daniel Jackson donned his sheepskin jacket and gloves and headed out.
Once on the sidewalk, he took in a deep cleansing breath of the Colorado winter air and marveled that only two days ago he'd been on a planet with lush jungle greenery and temps in the upper 100's. Amazing.
Even after all this time, the culture shock could still astound him, in a good way. He turned up the collar of his jacket and headed to the crosswalk. As he walked, he noticed, for the first time, the Christmas decorations on the lampposts.
When SG-1 had left for P3X290, Thanksgiving had only been two days in the past with Christmas on the distant horizon. But that had been--oops, almost four weeks ago. Which meant that Christmas was, Daniel did some rapid Sam math in his head, three days away! Which explained why Sam was visiting her brother until the end of next week. And of course, Teal'c was on Chulak. And Jack--
Daniel paused halfway across the street. God, Jack.
Christmas and Jack.
No wonder he'd been so silent yesterday when they'd all parted company. Jack and Christmas were no longer on speaking terms. Of course, Daniel Jackson hadn't been speaking to the holiday for the last twenty-five years. Not that he didn't buy gifts for friends, but celebrate? No way. Decorate? Absolutely not. A tree? Please.
But damn, he hated being reminded. And he was currently surrounded by reminders. Colorado and Christmas were like peanut butter and jelly. Ham and cheese. Jack and Danny. Double oops. How 'bout bacon and eggs? Yeah, bacon and eggs. Colorado and Christmas--bacon and eggs. Yeah, that was better.
His feet hit the grass belonging to the small park across from his building and he started walking, head down, thoughts darkening. He made it to one end, turned, and without thought, headed back. The sound of panicked barking brought his head up sharply and he spotted two elderly men fighting with a leash and a small Jack Russell Terrier. It was obvious they were in trouble. Daniel hurried his step and as he came abreast, he asked in a voice loud enough to be heard over the barking dog, "Can I help?"
One of the men, slightly taller than the other, responded immediately. "Please, if you could? Lane is caught and I can't get him free."
Not knowing if Lane might be the dog or the other gentleman, Daniel nevertheless dove in. Five minutes later he had the dog's leash untwisted and a licking canine in his arms. The man who'd been caught within the hungry leather was panting hard (almost as hard as the dog) and the taller of the two was leading him to a nearby bench. Daniel, dog still in arms, followed.
"It's okay, Tommie is safe. Just breathe deeply, Lane. Breathe deeply."
Land did as instructed, then sat down, the other man sitting next to him, one hand on the back of Lane's neck. As Daniel stood watching, he couldn't help but notice the positions of the two men. They were seated in such close proximity that their hips and legs touched, and the concern and affection of the taller and obviously younger man was unmistakable.
Finally the taller one glanced away from his friend and up to Daniel. "Thank you for your assistance, young man. My name is Jonah and this is my partner, Lane. And the wiggle wart you're holding for us is Tommie. She can get a bit excited in the park and this time got away from us, leash-wise, that is."
"No problem. Look, there's a hot dog cart over there," he indicated the fountain to their right, "Let me get a couple of waters for you two? In spite of the cold, you both look like you could use it and I know I could."
"Normally, I'd say no, but you're right. Would you? Here," he dug in his pocket and pulled out a five dollar bill then handed it up to Daniel, "Take this. And again, thank you."
Daniel waved the money away. "It's on me, please. I've always held a soft spot in my heart for Jack--Russell terriers."
"That's very kind." Jonah held out his arms for the dog, who once invited and obviously forgiven, nearly leapt out of Daniel's arms and into the welcoming arms.
Laughing, Daniel said, "Be right back. Two waters, coming right up."
He jogged over to the cart, purchased three bottles and hurried back. As he approached the bench, Jonah placed one hand on Lane's cheek, then leaned in close and rested his head against the other man's. For a moment, Daniel stayed where he was, the breath having been driven out of him by the simple, loving gesture. He felt hot tears stinging his eyes and an unaccustomed lump in his throat. Swallowing, then blinking back the moisture, he took a deep breath and walked up to the two men.
"Here you go," he said, as twisted off the caps and held out two of the waters. Johan took both, then lifted Lane's hand and pressed the water into it. The shorter man smiled gratefully and took a healthy swig. It was only after he'd swallowed that Jonah drank any of his.
Lane, breathing easier, glanced up at Daniel and grinned again. "Thanks, kid. Hit the spot, I can tell you that. And I can't believe I fell for Tommie's race around Lane's legs with my leash game again!"
Daniel's grin matched Lane's. "I've heard tell of that particular Jack Russell trick."
"You know the breed then?"
"Loved them for years. Smart as whips, affectionate, everything you could ask for in a dog."
"Amen," Jonah added. "Have you been owned by one, young man?"
"It's Daniel, please. And no. I was never allowed--um, no. But who knows, someday, I might just settle down long enough to have one."
Both Jonah and Lane immediately started petting their owner, who lapped it up as her due. Then Lane said quietly, "It took us a while, but settle down we did, and Tommie here is our second. Love her to pieces, but if you tell a soul, you're dead meat." His chuckle took any possible heat from the words.
Jonah looked up at Daniel and nodded at the understanding he witnessed in Daniel's eyes. "Yep, we've been together for over forty years. We've been through it all. Aids, Stonewall, you name it. We found each other late, but we've made the most of it."
Daniel nodded, glad that he'd read the situation correctly. The two men seemed to fit together like hand and glove. And what was with this sudden pairing thing he had going? Freudian, no doubt.
"You got anyone, kid?" Lane asked, completely unashamed at being so personal.
"Um, no, no. Not really."
Jonah tilted his head, his eyes seeing more than Daniel was aware he was exposing. "Well, son," he said thoughtfully, "Not really doesn't keep you warm at night. Of course, neither does Lane, here. He has the coldest feet God ever graced a man with, but I have a heating blanket."
Daniel found his grin growing. "I'll remember that, Jonah. Well, it's been good meeting you two and if you ever need anything, I live in the brownstone on the corner." He held out his hand and shook first with Jonah, then with Lane. As he started to take his leave, Jonah said quietly, " 'Not really' just doesn't work, Daniel. Make it really."
Daniel paused, then with a wave, moved on. As he walked back to his place, all thoughts of Bennie's or the Booze Brothers gone, he found himself seeing that sweet gesture of Jonah's over and over again in his mind.
For two days, Daniel struggled with himself. Should he, or shouldn't he? But as Christmas Eve approached, he found his mind falling on the side of should. He slept badly Friday night, worse on Saturday and by Sunday, he was a wreck. Until he actually did decide that he should in fact--should. He went to bed Sunday night and slept like the proverbial log.
On Monday morning, he went shopping. Then he did more shopping. Then he went to the grocery store and did even more shopping. By two that afternoon, he only had one last stop.
Jack wandered. He moved from room to room and did nothing. Well, if you didn't count deep, pathetic sighs. It was Christmas Eve and a bottle of Bushmills was looking pretty good. He ambled back into his living room and cursed himself for not getting away. Except, of course, he had no away to get to.
Standing in the middle of the room and scratching the back of his head he wondered what Daniel was doing right now? But he could guess. Head buried in a book, that was his Daniel. Well, not his Daniel. But--oh, give it up, O'Neill.
Jack was about to give in to the urge to get plastered when his doorbell rang. Frowning, he moved to answer. Swinging the door wide, he found himself staring at a body with no face.
"Hey. Would you help me out here?"
The voice came from behind the mound of stuff in the body's arms and sounded suspiciously like Daniel's.
"No, Christopher Lee. Of course it's me, you idiot. Now give me a hand."
Damn, but he sounded--cheerful. Disgustingly so. Jack reached out and took half the stuff.
"Whew. Thanks. You gonna move aside and let me in?"
"Oh, sorry." Jack dutifully stepped aside and Daniel walked in and over to the dining room. He dropped his load, then wiped his face.
"Colder than whatever out there and I'm sweating. Got anything good to drink? If not, pour me some of this and this," he held out a carton of eggnog and a bottle of brandy. Good brandy.
"Eggnog first, uh, Daniel second. Here. Go."
Jack took--and went.
Glasses. He had glasses. Everyone has glasses. Now if he could just remember where the hell he kept them--
Damn, only Daniel could confuse Jack in his own home.
"Jack?" Daniel yelled from the living room. "How long does it take to make eggnog? You only have to pour."
"Um, coming," Jack yelled back. Cupboard over the counter. Glasses. Oh, gosh, and plates too. Leave it to a soldier to be properly prepared for any contingency. He took down two of his better glasses, opened the brandy, poured a generous amount into each, then added the rich, creamy holiday tradition. Then it hit him.
He was pouring eggnog on Christmas Eve. For he and Danny.
Nah, he was sound asleep. Only explanation. But hey, what the hell. It was a damn fine dream and he was going with it for as long as it lasted. Jack happily carried the fantasy drinks out to his not there friend.
Daniel sat down at the dining room table, stripped off his jacket and gloves, then started separating the bags. Two groceries bags--the kitchen. The big red one and the white one with gold lettering for under the tree along with the two green ones. He was about to start unpacking when Jack appeared with the nogs. Daniel took his gratefully and swallowed quickly. Then coughed. Face going red, he said in a thin voice, "--how much--brandy--did you--"
"Just a little bit, why?"
Feeling the warmth of the liquor moving its heated way through his body, Daniel smiled and took another gulp, then said, "No reason. This is great. Thanks."
Jack wasn't listening. He was too busy staring at the bags and packages.
Daniel's response was to jump up, face stricken. "Oh, shit, the tree."
Then he grabbed Jack's arm and as the older man hastily put down his drink, Daniel started leading him to the door. "We gotta bring in the tree!"
"Tree?" Jack said in disbelief as he was dragged away.
"Well, sure. You have to have a tree at Christmas. Where else would all the presents fit, but under the tree? Geesh, Jack. Get with the program."
Program? They had a program? Maybe Jack should ask for a flyer?
"More to your left. Yeah, like that--okay, I've got it, now scoot to the right--yeah, that works--"
Jack moved, parried, thrust and sidled sideways at every one of the Danielcommands. The end result was that he had a very large Frasier Fir in his living room. Working together, they set it down, then stepped back, Jack to get his bearings and Daniel to admire.
"Wow, it's beautiful. And the smell? I don't remember them smelling--oh, wait, the two times we had a tree--it was fake. I'm betting fake trees don't smell, right?"
Jack pinched himself, but remained asleep, which was odd. He turned to Daniel, who even in a dream would be smart. Jack would never shortchange him and make him only sexy.
The sexy, smart dream grinned and said, "You know Jack, ever since I arrived, you've said um, Daniel several times. How 'bout Hey, Daniel? for a change?"
"Hey, Daniel? Could you pinch me?"
The man-who-wasn't-there because he couldn't be there, frowned. "Um, Jack? Why should I pinch you?"
"Um, because I need to wake up?"
"But you're not asleep and we have work to do. If I pinch you, you'll turn into a full-fledged gold bricking colonel. You'll complain that I hurt you and that you just have to rest and recover and I'll end up doing all the work. So to answer your question: no, I won't pinch you."
"Come on, we have to decorate the tree."
For the second time in a few minutes, Jack was being dragged. This was ridiculous! People don't drag colonels, colonels drag people. Someone should tell the man-who-wasn't-there that he couldn't possibly be dragging Jack.
"Oh, wait, groceries first. We need to put the groceries away. Cold stuff, you know."
"Sure, why not? This isn't real anyway. Let's go."
Jack led the way after grabbing one bag and handing off the other to Daniel.
"Jack? What isn't real?" the archeologist asked, puzzled.
"Nothing, Daniel, nothing."
"This is a fresh turkey, Danny."
"Christmas is tomorrow," Daniel explained. "You can't thaw a turkey in one day, you know. Well, I didn't really know that, but the guy at the market did. He had three fresh left and I got one of them."
Jack surveyed his kitchen. Boxes of stuffing, a couple of potatoes, a can of yams, celery, carrots, onions, mushrooms, apples, wine, Brussels sprouts, a can of cranberry sauce, a can of pumpkin, a frozen pie shell--
Jack sighed. "Do you know how to do all this?
"Well, yes--and--no. But there are directions on almost everything," Daniel picked up the can of pumpkin, "like this, see? And the lady at check-out said to add cream in place of half the evaporated milk and she said to add vanilla. I bought vanilla. Didn't know if you'd have any or not--" his voice trailed off uncertainly.
"Uh-huh. And the turkey?"
"Oh, the guy who gave it to me said we clean it, um, season it inside and out, and he recommended adding butter under the skin? Showed me how. He was pretty nice, really. Anyway, he told me how to tent it and suggested a nice basting liquid using this," Daniel picked up the bottle of Calvados, "and butter. And this," he lifted up a magazine, "has a great stuffing recipe, so basically, we're set."
"And you plan to cook this tonight?"
"Why, no, Jack. This is Christmas dinner--for tomorrow night. We'll have pizza tonight. We'll be too tired after decorating, you know?"
"You're coming back tomorrow?" Jack squeaked out.
"Oh, no. I'm spending the night, Jack." Then Daniel started putting the cold stuff away.
Jack was really getting into this particular dream. He'd started praying that he'd never wake up when he caught Daniel bending over, his back -- and backside -- to Jack. A what a truly fine backside it was too, Jack thought happily to himself. No doubt about it. And he was going to take this dream all the way. And since it was a dream--
"Danny? You sleeping in the spare room?"
Daniel straightened and opened the fridge. "Nope."
"Uh-huh." Yep, this dream was getting better by the moment.
The kitchen was cleared, all the goodies put away. The pizza had been ordered and the tree was done. Daniel had even bought a CD of various artists sharing their spin on classic carols. Right now, the late John Lennon was serenading them from Jack's stereo with "So This Is Christmas".
"Okay, you ready, Jack?"
"Uh? Oh, yeah, the lights. Here we go." Jack flicked the switch and the tree lit up.
"Oh, wow," Daniel said dreamily.
Jack tore his gaze away from the dazzling tree to focus on a dazzling Daniel. Blue eyes wide behind his glasses, mouth slightly open, face flushed with pleasure, flannel shirt open at the collar--
Jack groaned. Hell, Daniel looked better than the tree.
"We done good, Jack."
"Um-yeah, sure, you betcha."
Daniel rubbed his hands together gleefully and moved back toward the dining room table. He took several of the bags, carried them to the tree and started removing--wrapped Christmas presents. Wrapped. Already--wrapped. One could even say--gaily wrapped.
Jack had gaily wrapped presents under a Christmas tree.
"Who are those--are those--"
"You gotta have presents under the tree, Jack. It's Christmas."
Jack rubbed the back of his neck in a gesture that was Daniel oriented. It was a common gesture, an affliction, really. He only did it around Daniel. Because of Daniel. Sam even had a name for the hand movement: Danielitis. General Hammond had a similar gesture reserved for Jack, but in reality, that gesture was almost always a direct result of Danielitis.
"I knew that," Jack finally said, then he pinched himself again.
Stockings. Were hung by Jack's fireplace with Daniel'S care. In Jack's house. Two stockings. Two large, gaudy stockings.
Jack downed his wine, then poured again. The pizza was a distant memory and Jack was working on doing the same with the wine. Wine with pizza. What the hell was his world coming to, anyway?
It was late, the only lights in the house were the tree lights and Daniel sat next to him, watching the tree as if--
"You know, we should go to bed, Jack."
Startled out of his reverie by that remark, Jack shook his head as if he'd just been hit by Mohammed Ali in his heyday.
"There you go again. We have a big day tomorrow. Christmas you know. Opening presents, cooking, fooling around--yeah, we should go to bed now."
It didn't escape Jack's notice that Daniel had licked his lips. Twice.
Jack didn't know if the lip-licking had been a nervous lip-licking or an erotic lip-licking. His groin said erotic, but his knowledge of Daniel said--nervous.
"You think we should go to bed now, is that right, Daniel?"
"And you're still planning on sleeping in my bed, right, Daniel?"
"And I'm sleeping--where?"
"In your bed. With me."
He'd known it was coming. But he spilled his wine anyway.
"You and I--in my bed--together?"
"Um, yeah. And Jack? You spilled your wine."
"Thank you so much, Doctor Jackson."
"Fortunately--your slacks are dark. Take them off and we'll get them to the cleaners after Christmas."
"Take them off?" Jack squeaked out.
"Well, number one, we're going to bed and you're not planning on sleeping in them, right? And number two," he went on without allowing Jack to answer, "the cleaners can't clean them if you're wearing them. So take them off."
Jack drummed his fingers on the arm of the couch. The liquid on his slacks barely registering, he narrowed his eyes. Maybe it was time to test this dream? Yeah. Test. Jack stood.
Jack undid his belt, then the button, then he unzipped--and--Daniel watched. Of course his eyes were bugging out of their sockets, and would a dream Daniel have bugged out eyes? No way. Dream Daniel would be suave, one eyebrow arched and looking every bit the lecherous Cary Grant. Okay, maybe the Cary Grant from Monkey Business, but still--Cary Grant.
Jack stepped out of his slacks. Take that, Daniel Jackson.
Daniel smiled--brilliantly. Then he took Jack's hand and led him to the bedroom.
Now wait one God damned minute here.
"Daniel, wait one God damned minute here. Just what the hell do you think you're--we're--doing?"
"Going to bed?" the Daniel dream (and maybe not) said guilelessly.
"Together? You really think we're gonna get into," he jerked his head at the bed, "that, together?"
Even in the semi-dark room, Jack could see Daniel gulp nervously and he'd bet his last dollar that the guy was blushing--furiously. But man, he had cajones.
"Well, hard to sleep together and--and--and--"
Jack decided to take pity on Daniel.
"And fool around? Have sex? Make love?" Then he leaned in close and whispered, "Fuck?"
The heat of Daniel's nervousness nearly scalded Jack, but damn, the guy was game. He gulped again and nodded--dumbly.
"And you really want to do this? You and," he ran his finger between them, "me?"
Daniel nodded again--miserably.
Jack frowned. Then he pulled Daniel into the hall and turned on the light. The sudden brightness caused Daniel to wince as he let his gaze slide away from Jack.
"Daniel, you gotta tell me what this is all about. What got this particular bee circulating in your overstuffed brain?"
Daniel actually shuffled a bit, then scuffed at the floor before finally giving Jack a detailed explanation by saying lamely, "The park."
Jack sighed patiently. "Yeah, Danny, parks make me horny too. That certainly explains it, yes it does."
"Jerk," Daniel said softly. "I was at the park, I saw these two old gentlemen, I helped them out and they've been together over thirty years and I want what they have. And I want it with," he lifted his head almost defiantly, but the pleading in his eyes told Jack more than Daniel intended as he finished with, "you."
"Oh. Well, then. Okay. Why didn't you say so in the first place? Let's go, Braniac."
Jack took Daniel's hand and led him back into the bedroom. Once inside, he stopped long enough to kiss Daniel to the point of amnesia, then started to undress him.
"This--I'm not--it's not a dream, Jack."
Jack kissed the now bare shoulder. "I know," he whispered, then added, "Thank God."
Daniel smiled. Kissed him back. "So you like my idea?"
"I love your idea. And the two guys? I'm buying them a small country at my earliest convenience."
"They'll like that," Daniel murmured as he ran a hand over Jack's chest.
"God, you're beautiful. Should I ruin the moment by saying how much I love you, Daniel Jackson?"
"Aw, go ahead, ruin it."
Jack rested his forehead against Daniel's. "I love you, Daniel Jackson."
"Merry Christmas, Jack O'Neill and I love you right back."
The sun had been up for over two hours when Jack finally stirred. Eyes still shut, he wondered why he was so warm. He seemed to be cocooned in his blankets and that wasn't his norm. Of course, blankets moving over him couldn't be classified as normal either. Maybe he should open his eyes.
Oops. He shut them again. Short hair, patrician profile, sexy lips--all this--on his body. A hand stroked up his side and his eyes popped open.
The body that shouldn't--couldn't--have been there, murmured appreciatively, then said, "I'm real, Jack. And--mmm--so are you."
Oh. Right. Memory kicking in and hot damn!
"It's Christmas morning. Wanna go open some packages?"
Jack looked into sleepy, smiling blues and nodded, unable to speak.
"Well, come on then. Up and at 'em!"
Daniel bounded out of bed wearing nothing but a grin and Jack watched blissfully.
"Dibs on the bathroom and while I'm in there, you, Colonel O'Neill, better get some coffee on and take out the danish I brought. Your favorites."
With that, the naked Daniel disappeared. Jack stretched, felt every bit of last night's loving, including, he was proud to say, several rather itchy hickeys. Heh.
He threw off the covers, grabbed his robe and hustled his way to the kitchen, turning up the heat on his way.
Fifteen minutes later, coffee and danish on the table next to them, Jack and Daniel hunkered down next to the tree. Daniel picked up two gifts, made a show of reading the tags, then said, "Ah, this one is yours, this mine. Here ya go."
But Danny was already tearing into his gift. He unwrapped it, tore open the box and held up a snappy wheat colored cable-knit sweater.
"Wow, thanks Jack. This is gorgeous."
"Aren't you going to open yours?"
Jack glanced down, sighed, and ripped the paper off. Inside his box sat a red, black and white flannel shirt. He took it out and whistled low. "Very nice, Daniel."
And so it went. One package for Jack, one for Daniel. The fact that Daniel had purchased all of them--well, somehow, that seemed to have little import. He opened every single one of them as if they were a complete surprise and he oohed and ahhed over every gift he'd purchased for Jack as if they too were a complete surprise.
When they were done, the two men were surrounded by shirts, books, tickets to see Patrick Roy of the Colorado Avalanche square off against the Minnesota Wild (something Daniel wanted to see--in order to watch Jack root for both teams), two DVD's, namely "The Mummy" and "The Mummy Returns" so Jack and Daniel could get a good laugh and tickets to a museum opening. All in all--Santa, the blue-eyed devil, had done well by them.
"Santa knows us pretty well, doesn't he, Daniel?"
"Apparently. But then, he is Santa."
Jack ran a finger down the part of Daniel's chest that was not quite covered by his robe as he said, "Yep. And I gotta tell ya, I'm in love with Santa. He's not only one great gift giver, but he's sexy as hell too."
Eyes closed and enjoying the finger tracings, Daniel murmured, "Don't let Mrs. Claus hear that."
"Don't worry. Everyone knows she has this thing for Rudolph."
Before Daniel's eyes could pop open, Jack kissed him. Seconds later packages were pushed hastily away and he was moving Daniel down--and down--until he could cover him with his own body. Then between raining small kisses over Daniel's forehead, nose, cheeks and temples, he said, "And don't tell--me--the whole--world--doesn't--know the--truth about--the Mrs. and Rudolph. Common--knowledge."
"Well said. Verbose as usual. Witty comeback, nothing less than I'd expect from a man with your linguistic talents and brain--"
Daniel took one of Jack's hand and placed it on his dick. "Brain power. Go to it, Jack."
Rising up on his elbows, Jack grinned down at his best gift from Santa. "Who knew this about you, Daniel? Who knew?"
Daniel smiled right back at him as he said, "No one. Not even me. Until now. Now shut up and take care of my--mental--problem before it's too late."
Jack saluted smartly and went to work on Daniel's brain.
Neck arched and head thrown back, Daniel caught a glimpse of the tree and just before he succumbed completely to the brain quiz Jack was bestowing upon him, he thought that maybe Christmas was all right after all. Now.