New Day by Jude
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Category: Jack/Daniel
Genres: Angst, Established Relationship, Romance
Rated: Adult
Warnings: None
Series: None
Summary: Two months after Vis Uban, Daniel's memories are complete, no thanks to Jack.

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When Daniel remembered what he and Jack had been to each other before his ascension, the memories slammed into his mind with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, waking him from a sound sleep, leaving him sitting bolt upright in his bed, shaking, sweating, wide eyed, and incredulous.

Jack? He and Jack? Daniel shook his head and ran one hand over his face, smoothing his damp hair off his forehead.

Daniel was left gasping at the suddenness of the revelation of what he and Jack used to be, what they'd had, a little over a year before. Graphic recollections of the sex scrolled through his mind, at Jack's, at his loft, in their tent off world, in the woods. Earth woods or alien woods? He had no idea. Woods were woods, wherever one went, as Jack was fond of complaining. They'd even done it, apparently, in Jack's office on base. They'd thrown caution to the wind that time. The memory of the heat and speed of that encounter came crashing in, and Daniel could see their coupling in a series of fast images, like a slide show in a surreal dream. And finally, one lone memory of a dark night, in the back seat of Jack's big black truck. Daniel remembered the dim streetlights he'd glimpsed outside, from where he lay on his back on the hard leather seat, Jack covering his body with his own.

Jack and he had been lovers. And not just lovers, also in love. Interlaced with the memories of the lust and incendiary physical experiences were the softer, gentler recollections of long hours of foreplay, extended sessions of afterglow, murmured words, gentle touches, phone calls, dinners, time spent with lots of reassurances of forever, commitment, and the single mindedness of their dedication to one another. He and Jack had been partners in every way.

As Daniel sat up in bed in his new house, he looked around the dimly lit room. He tried to remember what day it was. A day off. First one in a couple of weeks. The clock said 10:12, so he'd slept late. The mid-morning sun was seeping around the blinds at the windows. He ran a hand over his face again, trying to clear the last of the sleep from his mind, which although barely awake, was already in some kind of serious overload mode.

"Jack," he whispered. "Why didn't you tell me?" He couldn't imagine what Jack had been waiting for. Daniel had been back in the swing of things with SG-1, going on missions, sharing in team nights, eating pizza and drinking beer with Jack on Friday nights and sometimes Saturday and Sunday nights too, for two months.

Jack liked him. A lot. Daniel could tell. He loved to hug him, squeeze his shoulder, jostle him with an elbow, which Daniel had always thought was just Jack being friendly. He smiled at Daniel a lot, teased him, ordered him around, reassured him, told him his stupid jokes, and shared stuff out of his refrigerator. They worked together, fought about stuff, laughed about other things, and did guy things together. Daniel liked Jack, too. A lot.

But. Now Daniel knew the truth. He had no doubt that these memories he'd been given were real, of actual experiences and feelings from his former life, before Kelowna and Oma. What he and Jack had back then had been hot. Rich. Wonderfully complete.

Daniel rolled out of bed, tugging his tee shirt and sweatpants off as he walked and throwing them aside as he headed for the shower.

He'd never been as angry with anyone in his life as he was now with one Jack O'Neill. Anger that he now knew was fueled by a love he hadn't remembered until five minutes before, but which was now restored, as real and as deep as ever.



It was damned hot out in Jack's back yard. He never could cut his grass early, when it was cool, because of the racket the mower made. He was certain that it would bother his sleeping neighbors on either side of the tall hedge privacy fence running along beside and behind his house. So he mowed in the heat of mid-morning, the sun merciless on his skin.

The roar of the lawnmower was oddly comforting. As he pushed it along, actually just guiding it since it was one of those easy self- propelled things, he allowed his mind to wander as he followed the machine along in neat, orderly rows.

Daniel. Jack released the throttle, allowing the mower to come to a standstill. He stripped his sweaty tee shirt off over his head, wiped his face and neck with it, and threw it over onto the deck. He pulled his cap back down over his forehead, adjusted his sunglasses, and started mowing again. Daniel. Damn.

Two months he'd been back, and Jack had been nothing but a gutless wonder. He'd wanted to tell him, really he had, but when? When was it a good time to take your best friend aside and tell him that oh, by the way, you don't remember any of this, but I'm in love with you, and you're in love with me, and say, wanna get it on?

Daniel was oblivious. Jack was fit to be tied.

They had a "date" to go to a movie that evening. Maybe he could turn it into a real date, dinner, the whole nine yards, and finally get real with Daniel. Jack turned over various scenarios in his mind, but the whole thing gave him a headache. Give him a P90 and a hoard of Jaffa, and he'd know what to do. But woo his smart, funny, mouthy, wonderful archaeologist? Get real with the hottest guy Jack had ever had the privilege of knowing, in every way, including the Biblical? Talk? Damn.



Daniel pulled his Subaru up next to Jack's truck and reached to turn off the ignition. In the sudden quiet, when the car radio shut off and the engine noise faded away, he could hear a lawn mower.

He stepped out of his car and started up the walk to Jack's front door. Up on the porch, he knocked and rang the bell, already knowing that Jack wouldn't answer. He was obviously out in the back yard, mowing.

Daniel went through the keys in his hand and chose the one Jack had given him when he'd come back from Vis Uban. Daniel remembered how odd he'd thought that was, that Jack had insisted on his having a key to his private domain. But now he was glad he had it.

He eased into the house. It was dim in there after the brightness of the summer sun outside. Cool. The air conditioning was doing its job. Daniel could smell coffee, and the aroma of toast was in the air. Jack's breakfast.

As he shut the door behind himself, making sure it was locked again, he turned and looked around the place with new eyes.

Once, this had been his home, too. Oh, he'd had the loft, his own space, with his own things, but he and Jack had slept here most of the time. Together. Loved here, fought here, made up here. Laughed. Cried. They had eaten, drunk and been merry together in this space. It hadn't been perfect. Nothing ever was. But Daniel remembered it had been good. They'd been good together, for each other, in every way.

And Jack hadn't seen fit to remind him of any of it.

Daniel fumed as he pocketed his keys and went to look out the living room windows into the back yard. Yes, there was Jack, patiently mowing, bare-chested, sunglasses on, muscles rippling in the bright sun. Cap down low over his eyes, sweat dripping in rivulets down his exposed skin. Daniel was pissed at him, but his mouth went dry at the sight of him. Oh, yes, he remembered now. Everything.

Daniel turned and went down the hall to the master bedroom, his stride purposeful. In the two months he'd been back from his year of ascension, this was only the second time he'd been farther down the hall than the guest bathroom.

Jack's room was neat, bed made, nothing strewn around. At the windows, the wooden, slatted shades were closed against the outside sunlight and heat. Same dumb fish pictures on the walls. His eyes took in the medals in their frames over the dresser. Next to the bed, a photo of Jack, back in his Iraq days, and another of him, Charlie and Sara. And a third one. Daniel went over to the bedside table and picked it up. God. This one was new. A picture of himself and Jack. Arms around each other's shoulders, smiling into the camera. Daniel had no memory of when it had been taken.

He used one index finger to trace Jack's face in the photo. The grin, the warm, crinkled up eyes, looking right into the camera lens. The silver hair, long neck, wide shoulders, slim hips, long legs. "Dressing to the right that day, Jack," he whispered to the picture, smiling in spite of himself.

Shit, he was so angry. But mixed with the anger he was aware of a large dose of relief that he finally knew the truth. Lots more things made sense, now that he understood. Somehow he had to make it right.

As he continued to gaze at Jack's image, a wave of longing went down his spine. He could feel it in the pit of his stomach. He'd been so lonely, at odd ends, since coming home from Vis Uban. Actually, since the herders had found him naked where Oma had dumped him in that chilly field. The loneliness was a hollow in his insides, and Daniel needed so badly to fill it up and try to feel warm again.

At some point, he would tell Jack off, he knew that. They had that kind of relationship. But Daniel would also make love to him. Because apparently they had that kind of relationship, too. He wanted Jack back. All of him. And Daniel would have him, if he had anything to say about it. He believed he did.

Setting the photo back down in its place, he opened the drawer in the bedside table. Another flash of memory. Yes, the condoms and lube were still there. He pulled a condom out of the box and put the little bottle of Astroglide on the table with it before closing the drawer.

He reached for the quilt and sheets and drew them down on the bed, fluffing the pillows, running his hand over the bottom sheet, feeling its cool smoothness.

Mouth dry, heart galloping in his chest in anticipation, fear, and excitement, Daniel stripped off his tee shirt and threw it on the floor. He toed off his shoes and bent down to pull his socks off. He reached for his waistband and unbuttoned his jeans, leaving the fly open. Taking a deep breath, he ran one hand from the middle of his chest down his lightly furred belly and then lower into his pubic hair. He ran his palm over his cock, feeling it swell against his fingers. He threw his head back, closing his eyes, and made a little needy sound in his throat. Time to go get Jack.

Daniel pulled off his glasses, laying them down on the table next to the condom and lube, and walked out of the room.



Finally the lawn was done, and Jack hauled the mower over by the garage. He tipped it up and quickly cleaned the grass gunk out of the bottom, cleaning off the blades and the underside with a small trowel. He took the hose to it and wiped it dry with a rag, then put everything away.

His mind about five miles away, with Daniel, wherever he was, Jack walked to his back deck to retrieve his shirt. As he took his sunglasses off and reached for the old Air Force tee, so he could wipe his face with it, he froze in mid-step. Daniel was standing at the open doorway, one hand on the doorjamb, looking at him with a serious expression. Naked from the waist up, Daniel had jeans on, but they were unbuttoned, showing lots of smooth belly. He was barefoot. And also, Jack couldn't help noticing, magnificently aroused.

Jack's dick twitched in his pants. "Daniel?"

With raised eyebrows and an upward tilt of his chin, Daniel turned away from him and disappeared into the cool, dark interior of the house.

Wiping his sweaty arms and neck with his shirt, Jack hustled along behind him, closing and locking the door behind himself. He left his boots and socks, shirt, cap and sunglasses in a pile at the door. Barefoot, heartbeat hammering in his ears, he quickly walked up out of the living room and down the hall.



Daniel went back to Jack's bedroom, knowing that Jack would be right behind him. He walked in and took up a position just slightly behind the bedroom door, his hand on the doorknob. It wasn't long before he heard Jack coming down the hall.

"Daniel?" he called out softly. "You back here?"

Jack came two steps into the room and started to turn, obviously searching for him. As he started to swing around, catching sight of Daniel, Daniel pushed the door closed, hearing it latch with an audible click.

It was chilly, semi-dark, and silent in the room. Dressed only in jeans, the two of them stood and regarded each other across a few feet of empty space that felt sharp, crackling with the electricity between them.

"Daniel." Jack's eyes were huge as they flickered over his face and body. He sucked in his lips and moistened them with the tip of his tongue, taking a deep breath. "What-" he whispered.

"I'm back," Daniel told him softly. "All the way back now."

"Oh."

"How come you didn't tell me?"

Jack shook his head, swallowing. He stood up straight, ready to try to defend his defenseless position.

"No answer?" Daniel asked quietly. "No reason? Just 'because'?"

"No."

"No, what?"

Jack shook his head again. "I-- I-- I don't know."

"Get over here." Daniel was damned if he was going to make every concession to this man who owned his heart but who didn't have the communications skills of a gnat. He didn't smile at Jack, actually wanting to give him a hard time, but so damned turned on, he was rapidly losing the ability to even speak.

Jack stepped tentatively towards him, his hands coming up between them like maybe he was afraid Daniel would deck him.

"Come on. I don't wanna fight about it. Not now, anyway." He reached for Jack, putting his hands flat along his lean ribs, drawing him closer. "Maybe later, though," he whispered with a little smirk.

Jack stepped into his personal space, his palms on Daniel's cheeks. He looked deep into his eyes. "I'm so sorry."

Daniel nodded at him. Of course Jack was sorry. Daniel had no doubts about that.

His eyes slid shut at the touch of Jack's hands, his warm chest against his own. He could smell Jack's fresh sweat, the fragrance of newly mown grass an aura around him. And underneath it all, Jack's spicy soap, the tang of musk, the remembered scent of arousal. Blood slammed into Daniel's groin, making him gasp.

Opening his eyes, he squeezed Jack's waist hard, and propelled him around with his back against the door. He stepped closer and plastered his body down the length of Jack's, pressing their mouths together in a desperate kiss.

They stood for many moments, tongues intertwined, helpless whimpers torn from their throats, their hands wandering over each other's bodies, desperate to touch after so long apart.

Pushing hard against each other in a familiar struggle for dominance, Daniel seized Jack's hands and lifted them, pinning them against the door beside his head while he plundered his mouth again and again, diving for his tonsils, exploring his teeth and palate with his tongue.

With a loud groan, Daniel tore his mouth away, kissing down onto Jack's throat as Jack tipped his head back to give him better access. Daniel found the pulse point there, then mouthed Jack's Adam's apple, sucking up the dried, cool sweat from the salty skin as he moved along, first on one side of Jack's neck and then the other.

Jack was squirming under his weight, still pushing back at him, a litany of murmured words pouring over him in a stream. Daniel, love, want, yes, mine, Daniel. Hands still pinned beside his head, Jack kissed what he could reach, lapping at Daniel in the red haze of his lust, thrusting his hips forward, anxious to feel his lover's arousal against his own, desperate to touch whatever part of him he could.

Daniel was licking at his nipples, running his tongue in swirls around them. He let go of Jack's hands as he kissed and laved along his ribs and onto his hard belly. At last he sank to his knees, his fingers at the waistband of Jack's jeans. He mouthed his hardcock through the thick material, biting and licking at it, tasting Jack's precome that had soaked through the denim, listening to his moans.

He paused, looking up at Jack for permission to continue. Jack had been giving him no sign that he wasn't completely on board with what Daniel had planned, but it'd been a long time, a lot of things had happened between them, and he had to be sure.

"Jack?"

Jack's head had been thrown back against the door, eyes closed. At Daniel's beckoning, he tilted his head forward, looking down with dark, intense eyes. He put his hands in Daniel's hair, stroking him, running his thumbs along his temples. "Yes. Oh, yes." He smiled knowingly, his eyes hooded, face flushed.

Daniel started to unbutton Jack's jeans, actually salivating in his excitement. Soon he would bring Jack over the edge, and then it would be his turn. Soon.



Jack looked up into Daniel's face. So beautiful. Sweating, concentrating not only on his own impending orgasm, but in making their loving good for both of them. His azure eyes were intense, piercing, the pupils dilated, and Jack felt like he was looking right into his soul.

Jack reached up with one hand and smoothed Daniel's damp hair away from his forehead, gratified that Daniel nudged his hand with his temple, rubbing at him affectionately, his eyes sliding shut.

"That's it, Danny," Jack murmured as Daniel thrust into him again and again, arching his back and rolling his hips. God, he had missed this. Daniel knew just what he liked and was pulling out all the stops to make it perfect. It was like their first time all over again, only better, because now they had a shared history as lovers. It had been so long, and yet, to Jack, it seemed like the fourteen months they'd been apart had disappeared in the intensity and perfection of Daniel's lovemaking. "Come for me, babe," Jack encouraged him in a hoarse whisper. "That's it. So good."

Oh, God. Yes. Just like that. The frisson of pure sensation, running up Jack's spine every time his prostate was stroked, was just the way he remembered it. He was full, stretched, joined with Daniel, one with him. How he'd needed this again.

And then Daniel was coming, gasping, his eyes rolling back in his head. Jack, love, ohmygod, yes. He continued to thrust into him with each spasm, burying himself as deeply as he could, drawing out his own pleasure as Jack squeezed him with his ass muscles, milking him.

Slowly, slowly, Daniel opened his eyes. He gently pulled out, moving his arms so Jack could lower his feet back down onto the bed. He reached down and pulled off the condom he'd used and slung it towards the wastebasket beside the bed, seeming not to care if he hit it or not. He collapsed onto Jack, burying his face in his neck, sucking and lapping at the damp skin there, breathing hard, humming to himself in contentment.

Jack slid his arms and legs around him and held him as tightly as he could, relishing the feel of their sweaty union. He was so happy and relieved to have Daniel back, right where he belonged; he was having difficulty thinking coherently.

After a couple of minutes of listening to each other breathe and slowly getting their heart rates back to normal, Daniel pushed himself up a bit and looked down at Jack. "So. We love each other, huh?" He managed a small smile.

Jack brushed his cheek with the tips of his fingers. "Oh, yeah," he breathed. "We sure do."

Daniel lowered his lips onto Jack's, running his mouth back and forth, tasting him, savoring him. "Ummm. We do." He dipped his tongue into Jack's mouth, savoring the essence of him like a long-starved man finally seated at the banqueting table. When he pulled back, he rolled over on his side, his head on Jack's shoulder. They wrapped their arms around each other and generally tried to crawl inside each other's skin.

"Love you," Jack whispered fiercely, kissing Daniel's forehead. "Always."

"Mmmm." Daniel nuzzled him with his nose. "Sshhh," he said quietly. "Sleep now."

Jack squeezed him and wriggled around to get comfortable as he pulled the sheet up over them. He buried his nose in Daniel's soft hair. Yes. This is where he belonged.



When Daniel woke up, the clock told him only an hour had passed. He stretched, looking around for Jack. He was alone in the bed, and Jack had pulled the covers up around his shoulders against the chill of the air conditioning. Daniel reached for his glasses, put them on, and turned over onto his back.

Jack was standing at the window, dressed in his jeans and a clean tee shirt, using the fingers of one hand to separate the slats of the wooden blinds. He was very still, staring outside.

"Hey," Daniel murmured. He put one hand behind his head and pushed himself up a bit on his pillows in order to see him better.

Jack stepped back from the window and turned towards him. His dark eyes were serious, his mouth drawn into a straight line. He walked towards the bed, and Daniel held his hand out to him.

Jack grabbed onto him and sat down on the bed so that his hip was right next to Daniel's. Daniel could feel the heat of him right through the sheet and blankets between them. He continued to hold Jack's hand, running his thumb back and forth over the backs of his fingers.

Jack lowered his chin, looking at his own lap. "So when did you remember?"

"This morning," Daniel told him. He dropped his hand and put his fingertips on Jack's thigh, smoothing little circles in the denim fabric. "At first it was like a really vivid dream. I was sleeping, but then suddenly I was awake, and it was right there. All of it. All of-- us."

Jack glanced at him, looking away just as quickly, looking nervous about what Daniel might be thinking. "And you knew it was real?" he whispered. He turned his head and dared another peek at Daniel's face. "You were sure it wasn't still just a dream?"

Daniel nodded.

"You must be pretty mad at me." Jack shrugged like it was a given.

"Jack." Daniel got up on his elbows and pushed himself back against the headboard, his pillows arranged behind him. "Look at me." He crossed his arms over his chest, his forehead furrowed, mouth pursed in concentration. "Yeah," he said softly, holding Jack's eyes with his own. "I was pretty PO'ed at first. I took a shower, got dressed, and came right over here. I had every intention of telling you off. And no way was I gonna let more time get wasted while we danced around each other."

Jack nodded, looking into Daniel's face. "I didn't think-I didn't know--- damn it," he groused. He took a deep breath. "Look, when you didn't remember about us after so long, I just thought you'd be better off without-" He hesitated. He used an index finger to indicate between the two of them. "Without this."

Daniel stared at him, nonplussed. He scrunched his eyebrows, blinking his eyes rapidly as he thought about what Jack had said. "This." He did the same index finger waggling move.

Jack sat up straight and took a deep breath, eyes studying Daniel's expression. "Yeah?" Question or agreement, not clear.

In a move so fast he even surprised himself, Daniel tossed back the covers and slid his butt over to the edge of the bed. "Okay, that does it." He stood up, grabbing his underwear off the floor and quickly shoving his feet into them so he could pull them up.

"Daniel," Jack protested. "For chrissake. What're you doing? Would you just listen to me?"

Daniel yanked on his jeans and buttoned them up, his back still to Jack. He found his tee shirt, impatiently turned it right side out, and then stepped around to face the bed again. He pulled the shirt on, speaking as it was still covering his face. "No. You're talking crap." His head popped out of the neckline, and he glared at Jack as he adjusted the shirt around his hips. He reached down to get his glasses and slid them on his face. "You're talking out of your ass, Jack."

Jack stood up. "Oh, really."

Daniel sat down heavily on the edge of the bed and started pulling on his socks and shoes. "Look, I'm going home. Got things to do."

Jack came around the bed and stood next to Daniel's knees, looking down at him. "More important than this?"

Daniel finished tying his shoes and abruptly got up, giving Jack a little push back. He stepped around him and started to stride for the door. He stopped, hand on the doorknob and turned to face Jack again. The two of them stared at each other.

"No," Daniel murmured. "Not more important. You see, I don't seem to feel that anything's as important as us. And meanwhile, you were thinking that we," he made the index finger motion again between them, "we-- well, I, I think you said, might be better off without us being together."

The moments ticked away as they stood quietly and no one said anything.

Finally Jack took a couple steps forward. "Look, I didn't mean-"

"You know what, Jack? Let's take some time to think about what we do mean. And when you're ready? We can decide something. 'Cause one thing's for sure, if you have doubts about us being together like this, then we need to talk about it."

Daniel wanted to leave, but the expression on Jack's face stopped him. Maybe Jack was ready, more than either of them realized. He stepped towards Jack again until they were chest to chest. He put his hands on his wide shoulders, letting his eyes rove over his face.

Jack put his arms around Daniel's waist, his hands coming to rest of his rounded denim covered ass. "Hey." He pulled him closer, pressing himself against the rough fabric of Daniel's jeans. "Shut the fuck up for a minute and let me talk, Jackson."

Daniel nodded, his eyes wide. He slid his hands up to Jack's neck, caressing the knotted muscles there.

"You got hurt, Danny." Jack's voice was just above a whisper, hoarse and rough. "It was bad. I knew within ten minutes of you coming back from that fuckin' Kelowna that you were gonna die. Janet told me. Her first report was to me. You told me, too, but I already knew by then. One of the perks of being the CO, you know." He closed his eyes for a moment, remembering. "You get all the bad news first."

Jack tipped his head forward until their foreheads were pressed together. He gently scratched at the fabric covering Daniel's butt, running the tips of his fingers back and forth. He took a shaky breath. "Then somehow, later, when you were laying in the bed in the infirmary, and Jacob couldn't heal you right, couldn't make you 100%, no matter what he did, I started to let you go, you know, in my heart. I don't know how it was possible, but you came to me, asked for me to tell Jacob to let you go, not to try to fix you anymore. And then I came and stood out on the ramp with you. You, me and Oma. You didn't know where you were going, couldn't tell me what was happening."

Jack pulled Daniel in, laying his chin down on Daniel's shoulder. Daniel held him as tightly as he could, glad to hear the flow of words, hoping against hope that they would be healing words. They hadn't talked about any of this, and Daniel still had no memories of anything after the accident.

Jack swallowed convulsively. "It was the longest year of my life. I saw you in Ba'al's prison, and then later in the infirmary, and again on Abydos." He kissed the base of Daniel's neck, sucking on the soft skin for a second. Taking a deep breath, he continued, "I could sense you around sometimes. But I was a mess. We had to work with Jonas, and I hated him. Not his fault, he was just being himself, but he came from--- from that place where you'd sacrificed yourself for him and his fuckin' ungrateful people. I hated him, and then, finally, all of it." Jack pulled back, slowly dropping his arms from around Daniel. "I hated what was left of my life without you there, anywhere with me."

Jack sat down on the edge of the bed, looking up into the beloved face with an expression of yearning and regret. "When we found you on Vis Uban, I almost let myself hope. God, you looked good." He held his hand out, and Daniel grabbed it. "Healthy, strong, and you sure looked like you. But at first, I didn't let myself believe it. Then we took you home, and come find out it was you. And we got you right back into the traces, working right alongside the rest of us."

Daniel moved over and sat down beside him so that they were sitting with shoulders touching, still holding hands. Daniel noticed how cold Jack's fingers were. "Jack-"

"No," Jack told him. "Let me finish." He turned his head and looked Daniel in the eye.

"I'm gonna be fifty soon, Danny," he said softly. "I don't bounce back from stuff as fast as I used to. What happened to me when you went all glowy was not a pretty sight. I still functioned, sort of, but no one knew-" He looked away and hung his head, chin practically on his chest. "No one knew about us, that we'd been more than just friends. So no one knew how I hurt so bad I didn't know from one day to the next how I was gonna go on."

Daniel squeezed his hand and turned to lay a small kiss on the edge of Jack's shoulder. They sat quietly side by side for a few seconds. "I'm so sorry, Jack," he whispered. "But I'm back now. Shouldn't we be together again? Don't you want that?"

Jack was silent. He took his free hand and pinched the bridge of his nose, rubbing at the inside corners of his eyes with his thumb and forefinger. He lifted his head at last, looking at Daniel with eyes that were bright with unshed tears. "I think you saw today how much I still want you." He swallowed. "How much I really do need you." He caressed Daniel's jawline with his fingers. "But I'm so scared. What if you-- you know. Again."

Daniel pulled his hand away from Jack's grasp and snaked an arm around his waist, glad to feel Jack put his arms around him and pull him close. Daniel kissed his neck and rubbed one hand up and down Jack's back, smoothing over the hard muscles there, relishing the feeling of having Jack in his arms again.

"Let's try, Jack," he said. "We don't have normal lives, and you and I can't guarantee each other anything or make promises about forever like regular people. All I know is, I love you, and I want to be with you whenever I can. I want to sleep with you and wake up with you and do my best to be what you need."

Jack was trembling, rocking Daniel back and forth in his fierce grip. He took a deep breath. "Will it be enough?" he asked. "Will you and I be happy, keeping 'us' a secret and sneaking around and never knowing if there'll be a tomorrow?"

Daniel pulled away to look Jack in the eye. "Yes," he told him with a shrug. "I will be. This is what's best for me. Don't be making decisions about this for me. I'm a big boy, and I have my eyes wide open." He nodded at Jack. "Yes?"

Jack smiled a tiny grin. "Yes," he said slowly. "Okay. If you say so."

"I do. Today's a new day. We'll start all over again,however it has to be. I remember what we were to each other, and I want that back. But I believe it'll be even better now. I've come back to you again, and it's where I belong. Don't fight it, okay?"

"All right, I won't," Jack told him. "Deal. A new day. Together."

They held each other in the cool quiet of Jack's bedroom, each heart filled with longing and hope. It was the first day of whatever future they had left, and for now, it was all they had, and it was enough.

~finis~
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