Daniel rolled over onto his side, his heartbeat thudding in his ears. He ran his hand down Jack's sweaty chest, watching his profile, while they both caught their breath.
Slowly, Jack turned his head and looked over at him, a little smile playing around the corners of his mouth. "Hey, babe," Jack whispered.
Daniel leaned over and kissed him gently. "Hey. That was--"
Jack nodded. "It sure was." He and Daniel looked into each other's eyes for a long moment until slowly Jack broke his gaze and returned to studying the ceiling in Daniel's bedroom. He ran a hand over his damp forehead, smoothing his hair back.
Daniel closed his eyes. He was physically sated, but he knew, sensed somehow, that there was something hanging between them, something unspoken. His body craved rest, he knew they were both exhausted, but he couldn't sleep until he knew Jack was okay.
Gripping his bicep, he asked softly, "Something you're not telling me?"
Jack didn't answer. His eyes were closed now, and he swallowed. He gave Daniel a small shrug.
Daniel wanted to press him to talk, but knew it was useless. Jack would talk if and when he was ready, as always.
After a couple of minutes, Daniel summoned the motivation to get up. Not bothering to fetch his glasses, he ambled into the bathroom and turned on the hot water tap in the sink. While the water warmed, he quickly brushed his teeth and then washed himself with a cloth. Getting another clean one, he soaked it in hot water and added a little soap. Picking it up along with a fresh hand towel, he went back into the bedroom.
Jack wasn't sleeping. He was lying on his back, watching as Daniel came over to him. His face was tense, his mouth drawn in a thin line.
As he approached the bed, Daniel was surprised to see two long tear tracks running into Jack's ears. He put the towels down on the bedside table and leaned over him.
He kissed his face, wiping away the tears with his lips, grateful to feel Jack's long arms wind around his shoulders. Jack was trembling.
"Jack?" he whispered in his ear. He nuzzled the side of Jack's head with his nose and then drew back to look into his face. Jack shook his head, his eyes closed.
With a sigh, Daniel straightened up, grabbed the washcloth, and gently began to clean Jack's chest and groin for him.
Jack opened his eyes and watched him again. As Daniel was wiping him down with the dry towel, Jack grabbed his wrist for a second and gave him a squeeze. "Thanks."
Without a word, Daniel wrapped the wet washcloth in the towel, lobbed them through the open bathroom door, and went around to his side of the bed. He slid under the covers and into Jack's open arms. Laying his head on Jack's shoulder, he put his arm around his waist. Eyes shut, he hugged him and waited.
After a minute or two of silence, Jack took a deep breath. "I can't do it anymore, Daniel."
Daniel's eyes flew open. He didn't move a muscle, barely breathing.
"I love you so much. I can't lose you. Ever. If I lose you again, I'll die. And I'm not just being dramatic. I fucking mean it."
"No one's losing anybody," Daniel murmured, forcing himself to sound calm. He kissed the side of Jack's neck. "And I love you, too. I'm not going anywhere, Jack. Neither are you."
Jack chuckled mirthlessly. "Shit. Tell that to those damned Jaffa that chased us back to the gate today. I saw that staff blast whiz past your head when you were dialing out. It missed you by about two hairs' width. I just stood there. I couldn't do a thing to help you or any of us."
Daniel didn't answer. Yeah, it had been a pretty bad scene. It'd been not unlike about a hundred other equally hairy escapes they'd lived through.
He didn't know what to say. How could he answer to, or argue with, something about which they had no choice? It was their job, their duty, their privilege, their cross to bear. Going through the gate, doing first contact -- it had its fun moments, but lately... Jack was right. It had been starting to get really, really old.
Jack tightened his arms around his lover and kissed the top of his head. "I'm out, Danny. This is it. I've decided I'm retiring."
Daniel drew back and looked at Jack's face. "Look at me, Jack."
Jack pried his eyes open and turned his head to do as he'd been asked. "I'm out," he said again. "Tomorrow morning. I've made up my mind, so don't try to talk me out of it. And you know what that means, right?"
"Yeah," Daniel said in a voice a little louder than he intended. "It means that Earth loses the best commanding officer it has in the field right now. You can't do this, Jack," he insisted. "You can't do it!"
"I can and I will and I really already have. In my head, I'm already gone. And what it also means is that I want you to retire from SG-1, too."
"What?" Daniel's voice rose up in an incredulous squeak.
"Me retire? How come? And you are NOT retiring, so stop this right now!" Daniel drew away from Jack and sat up. He pushed his pillows against the headboard and sat up against them, the blankets drawn up around his chest. Jack rolled over onto his side to look up at him.
"I am NOT losing you, Daniel Jackson." Jack reached up one hand to caress his cheek, but Daniel batted his hand away.
"That's right, you're not," Daniel told him, staring down into his face. "Nothing's gonna happen to you and nothing's gonna happen to me. Shit, Jack, we've got work to do. You CAN'T quit!"
"Can, will and have," Jack murmured. He got up on one elbow, his head propped up in his hand. He gave Daniel a calm look. Now that he'd announced his decision to the love of his life, it all seemed so much easier. "And you have to, too, 'cause I'm not lettin' you stay on SG-1 without me. You can stay at the SGC if you want to. You can even still go through the gate. All I'm askin' for is no more first contact. I've decided. No one's gonna be shooting at either of us ever again."
Daniel gave him an intense look of confusion, anger, and disbelief. "Where'd this all come from, may I ask?"
Jack shrugged. "I've been thinking about it for a long time. And I swear to God, today was the last straw. I cannot take it another minute. Worrying about you, worrying about us. I am so desperate to never lose you again." He reached out to touch Daniel's chest, using his fingertips to rub small circles between his nipples. "I know I can't tell you what to do. I'm hoping you'll want to, is all. Please, babe, do this for me. Please."
Daniel leaned down to kiss Jack's warm lips. "I hate you, you know," he announced with a soft growl into his mouth. He drew back a bit, looking at Jack, nose to nose with him. "How come life with you is so upside down all the time?"
Jack laughed, low in his chest. "Stand on your head with me, Daniel. Forever. I don't give a shit how we are, upside down, right side up or horizontal, as long as we're alive and together." He put a hand on the back of Daniel's head and drew him close for another kiss.
Daniel sat back and crossed his arms over his chest. He looked Jack in the eye. "No negotiation about this, huh?"
"But I WANT to negotiate."
"Stubborn, opinionated, overbearing, son of a --- "
"Love of your life," Jack reminded him.
Daniel took a deep breath and then expelled it in a big, loud sigh. "Yeah, well, there is that."
Jack laughed in delight. Daniel looked like a little kid, his lower lip sticking out like a park bench, eyebrows drawn down into a petulant frown.
"Sexy, horny, good-feeling, insatiable, jealous, worried, soon to be VERY happy love of your life," Jack added with a poke to Daniel's ribs that earned him another slap on the wrist.
"And there is that." Daniel grinned at him in spite of himself.
"The guy who puts that smile on your face." Jack pointed at the very same.
"Pot and kettle," Jack reminded him.
"Know it all."
"I've lost this argument, and we haven't even argued, huh?" Daniel said in a resigned little voice.
Daniel slid down beside Jack and pulled the bed covers up over their shoulders. "Okay, Jack. God, I can never win with you."
Jack shook his head. "Naw, you win with me all the time. 'Cause I'm a winner."
"You sure are," Daniel agreed.
Daniel yawned expansively, eyes sliding shut. "Now shut the fuck up so I can sleep. We'll talk about this in the morning."
"No, we won't," Jack said in a matter of fact voice as he rolled over on his side, his back to Daniel. "In the morning, we'll go see Hammond. And make plans for the rest of our lives. Together." He reached up and snapped off the bedside lamp.
In the darkness, Daniel opened his eyes again and looked at the shadow that was the back of Jack's head.
Huh. Well, it had been quite a day. And Jack was right. They had the rest of their lives together. It was just a night like any one of hundreds of others, except now maybe they could finally be sure of their future. And that had to be a good thing.
Daniel laid the back of his hand against Jack's silver mane and caressed him for a moment. He closed his eyes and slept.
|Genres:||Alternate Universe, Romance|
|Summary:||Jack's sick of taking chances.|