It hit Jack between the turkey and the pumpkin pie. More specifically it hit him when he was loading the dishwasher with the first batch of plates from Christmas dinner. He was holding a plate in each hand and he realized he was in love. Granted it seemed a strange time to have such a revelation but there it was. He put in the last plate, closed the dishwasher and hit start.
He spent some time wiping down the counter, just to see if the feeling was going to go away. Not that he wanted it to--no sirree bob. It was a nice feeling--a feeling he hadn't had in, well, way too long. He looked out the window at his snow-covered backyard--nope. Still there. Jack took a deep breath and listened to the sounds from his living room. How weird was it that his stomach gave a little flip-flop each time he heard a certain voice? What was he---fifteen? But there it was. There was no denying it--and Jack was almost as good at denial as Daniel. Maybe even better. He was sure this couldn't have happened in an instant. No, he was absolutely sure it hadn't. Maybe he was tired of fighting the inevitable pull of what he knew to be truth. Or maybe just maybe he knew what had almost been lost to him for good. He'd lost much in his life--his son, oh God, his son and then through his refusal to talk, to deal with that loss, his wife. There were times he wondered, not many times to be sure because he didn't like spending time on might-have-beens and if-onlies, if in one of those alternate universes through the mirror there was a Jack O'Neill who hadn't lost his son, who still had his wife. He was betting that if there was, it was a universe where there wasn't a Daniel Jackson.
That wasn't fair, he knew it wasn't. He loved Sara, had loved her with heart and soul. There was a part of him that would always love her. One time when he was a little kid, his cousin had come to stay with his parents and him for a whole summer. Jack wasn't used to sharing his parents' attention and he hadn't liked it one bit. But then his dad had taken him out to the dock and said, son, hearts aren't so small that they can only hold a finite bit of love. Jack was sure he must have asked what finite meant, but in memory, he understood completely. Don't you want your heart to grow, his dad asked. And of course, he said yes, because his dad had the biggest heart in the whole world and he wanted his heart to be at least as big as that. I'm gonna tell you a secret, his dad said and Jack leaned in close and his dad whispered, the more you love, the bigger your heart grows and the more you love even more.
As a kid those words had been something he didn't really understand, although he'd done his best to not be a brat when his parents gave his cousin as many hugs and kisses as they did him. But when he'd married Sara, when he'd held Charlie in his arms moments after the cord had been cut, he understood. His heart felt so big then he thought it would burst.
And now someone else--nope, correct that, three someone elses had snuck in there too.
He left the kitchen and stood at the entrance to his living room. Teal'c was playing a hand-held video game Jack had bought him. Carter was sitting on the love-seat, blonde head bent over a book while Daniel sat on the arm of the love-seat, his arm thrown casually over her shoulder.
Carter said something, What it was, Jack didn't know but he saw a smile crease Daniel's usually serious expression a moment before he tilted his head back and laughed.
And just as it had on his wedding day and all those little moments after when Jack's heart felt full to bursting, his breath caught in his throat and he knew with certainty his life was complete.
Daniel glanced in his direction, blue eyes bright behind his glasses, his eyebrows raised in question.
"Jack--take a rest. Sit down," Daniel said, his voice warm and gentle.
Jack felt a lump in his throat and he was sure that if he tried to speak, it would sound as if he was going through puberty all over again. He shook his head and leaned against the wall, just watching, as his team, his friends, his family enjoyed their time together.
Who was he kidding? He was watching one person--the way he gestured expansively with his hands as he explained something to Carter, the way he licked his lips when he was listening intently, the way he breathed and was so alive--so very alive when last year...
Jack pushed away from the wall and went back to the safety of the kitchen even though there was really nothing left for him to do there.
He should have known Daniel would show up. Of course he'd show up--that was Daniel. Seemed even Oma couldn't keep Daniel from his need to help--Daniel didn't remember being with Jack in Ba'al's cell, but Jack had never, would never forget.
"You, uh, need some help? Dishes to be done? Something?"
Jack put his hands flat on the counter and kept his gaze on the tree branches bending in the breeze. "It's okay."
"Huh." Daniel moved to stand close beside him. His arm brushed against Jack's, their shoulders bumped. "What's so interesting?"
Focus, Jack told himself. It wasn't as if he could make a confession to his best friend, his sure to be straight best friend. "Just thinking."
He should have expected that response too--and knowing Daniel's persistence Jack figured he was doomed. "Stuff." Not the best response to the question, but maybe if he was lucky it would throw Daniel off.
"Oh." Daniel shifted a little and Jack closed his eyes and prayed for strength.
This close he could smell Daniel's aftershave and the underlying clean scent of soap. He thought he might have groaned a little because next thing he knew, Daniel was asking him if he was okay again.
"I'm...fine," At least that was what he wanted to say. But it wasn't what came out. Oh no. Nope. Nada. Nyet. "I love you." Jack wasn't sure how it happened because he swore he'd been thinking, I'm fine. So how the wires got crossed was a mystery. And he could have left it go because Daniel's response was a pat on his arm as if Jack was drunk and a quiet, I love you too.
He should have moved away from Daniel. Should have laughed or done something to make it pass off as a joke. He knew the second Daniel got it and knew the import of the words. Daniel's breath caught and he made a little noise in his throat--it was the same little noise Daniel made off-world when he was on the verge of discovery.
"You can..." But Jack wasn't able to finish because after Daniel made that little noise, he pulled on Jack's collar and put his hands on Jack's face and kissed him like he hadn't been kissed in years.
"Oh." It was Jack's turn to say when they finished. Daniel looked back at him, not with a smile but with the serious expression Jack was used to, the expression that meant Daniel meant every single word, would stick by his guns no matter what.
"Is this my Christmas present?" Daniel asked, still wearing that same expression.
"Do you want it to be?" Jack asked.
The way Daniel ducked his head and grinned was answer enough.
"We've wasted a lot of time, I think," Daniel said. "We have a lot to catch up on and Sam and Teal'c are here and it's Christmas."
Jack nodded and went to the refrigerator. "Yeah." He pulled out a white bakery box and jerked his head to the side for Daniel to follow.
"There'll be time," Jack said in a quiet voice meant only for Daniel to hear. "Plenty of time. But first, we eat pie."
|Genres:||First Time, Friendship, Holiday, Smarm|
|Summary:||Jack has a revelation.|
This was written on Christmas Eve as a present for two of my dearest friends. They were generous and said--Share.