“You know, we never talked about the whole…um, monogamy thing,” said Jack out of nowhere, taking a beer out of the cooler and parking himself on the deck steps.
The guests were gone. It had been an impromptu dinner thrown together at the last minute to celebrate all the yard work that had been accomplished that weekend. Jack got his persimmon and Red Mulberry trees planted to attract birds. “Please Jack”, Daniel had asked. Otto across the street had finished the deck he had been working on, and Shaw next door had finished his raised herb beds.
The neighbor situation was new to Jack. Back in The Springs he wasn’t around all that much and when he was home it wasn’t like he could have casual conversations regarding his employment, the reason why he was gone for such long periods of time. Now he was more comfortable in making friends, and no one seemed to care he was living with a slightly graying archeologist who had a rather cushy teaching job at a university. Not that he and Daniel were living ‘parade-gay’ but they could at least live together without having to worry about Jack losing his commission.
They were finally, finally together, and Jack couldn’t have been happier. Jack was officially retired, and at the housewarming/retirement party he slipped an Etoile band ring with diamonds in platinum on Daniel’s ring finger in front of all the guests, telling Daniel and everyone there that their relationship was for real, for keeps, and hell yes Jack was finally claiming what had been his for years.
Money exchanged hands.
Daniel’s eyes were sparkling as Jack, still holding his hand, drew Daniel to him and tucking their twined hands beneath his chin, kissed him softly, deeply.
Janet, her own eyes sparkling due to one too many mint juleps, sighed as she fanned herself with a wad of bills. “You know, I don’t think anyone’s shocked by all this,” she said to Sam.
Sam sighed. “No, they’re not.” She couldn’t help but smile as she watched Jack and Daniel devour one another. “At least they made it.”
* * *
It had been a warm, early summer day and once all the work was done Jack decided to invite the men and their spouses over to show of his skills with a barbeque and the night blooming garden he planted. A good time was had by all, and the Night Phlox put on quite the show when the sun went down.
Once they finished cleaning up Jack grabbed a beer out of the cooler and sat on the deck steps, admiring the climbing hydrangea around the support posts. There was also a night blooming jasmine Jack had bought especially for Daniel. Between the jasmine, the mock orange, the night phlox and the evening primrose, the evening air, still warm from the days sun, was heavily perfumed. Jack couldn’t help but smile at his handiwork.
Daniel, having gone inside to get a cup of coffee, found Jack sitting on the steps and joined him, their shoulders touching. Jack had spent a lot of time on the backyard, hell the entire house and Daniel was more than touched that Jack got the trees for the birds. Brandywine, Maryland was their home for the time being, until Jack got tired of playing with the big kids in DC. He was retired, but now headed a Pentagon Advisory Board. As long as he had bankers hours, Jack didn’t mind.
So they were both home in the evenings now. Daniel was teaching at Georgetown in the Department of Classics and Jack had his day job at the Pentagon. Retired, he wasn’t The Man anymore, but being retired meant he could live with Daniel and have a nice, normal life until they finally decided enough was enough and fled to the cabin in Minnesota permanently. No more off world forays, no more dealing with a long distance relationship, no more dealing with the trappings of the United States Military.
Daniel tucked himself closer and put his head on Jack’s shoulder.
“We’ve never talked about the whole...you know…the monogamy thing,” said Jack.
Daniel sat up straight and stared at Jack, incredulous. “And that came from…where?”
Jack shrugged, seemingly embarrassed, or he was brushing something away. “We never have, Daniel.”
Daniel sighed. Jack was many things, but insecure about their relationship he was definitely not. At least, he shouldn’t be. He tucked himself back against him. “No, we haven’t”, Daniel agreed. “I didn’t think we ever really had to.”
“Well, you know, all the time we were apart and all,” Jack offered.
Daniel slid an arm around Jack and squeezed him close. “I never betrayed you, Jack,” he said softly. “Once you had me, it was for keeps, even when we were apart.”
With that, Daniel could feel Jack relax beneath his arm. “Does that make you feel better?”
“Why yes, yes it does,” said Jack, turning his head for a soft kiss. “It means my plan worked.”
Daniel blinked. “Plan? You had a plan?”
“Sure as hell did.”
“And what was this plan of yours, Jack?”
Jack shifted and turned so he could work an arm around Daniel and look directly at him. “To love you so you’d be spoiled for anyone else.”
Undone, Daniel swallowed. “Well, it worked.”
Jack smiled that sweet, goofy, almost bashful smile that no one other than Daniel has ever seen. “Why yes, yes it has.”
They moved around so Jack sat a step lower, between Daniel’s legs, leaning back against his chest.
“You OK?” Daniel asked, twining their fingers on Jack’s stomach.
“Good. I don’t ever want you to question our relationship, all right?” Daniel kissed Jack’s head.
“All right,” said Jack, sighing happily, relaxing in Daniel’s arms.
“Good. There’s nothing worse that an insecure, retired flyboy. So what brought that on?”
“At dinner,” Jack said quietly. “Shaw and I were admiring the Night Phlox and he just told me he had been cheating on his wife. For about a year.”
“Aw, damn,” mourned Daniel. “That’s horrible. I can tell you, Coran has no idea. According to her, everything is fine. We were out by the wild geranium and she told me she had never been happier. How sad.”
‘What’s strange is when Shaw told me, it was like he was looking for validation or something. Commiseration.” Jack waved the hand holding his beer. “One of the ‘ation’ words. Like he expected me to understand, or compare stories, or something.
“I told him he was looking at the wrong person if he was looking for someone to condone his behavior. I have never been an angel but I am loyal.”
“Fiercely,” said Daniel, giving him a squeeze. “Which is why I never worried about you when we were apart.”
“And I didn’t want you to,” said Jack, squeezing back. “I might be a whole lot of things but casual is not one of them.”
“Is he going to tell her?”
“He needs to. The girlfriend’s going to have a baby.”
They sat quietly. The frogs started their song in the creek at the rear of the property.
“It’s kinda sad,” Jack finally said, looking down at their twined fingers, their matching rings glinting in the porch light.
“Not everyone can be as happy as we are, Jack,” said Daniel.
“Finally,” said Jack.
|Genres:||Alternate Universe, Established Relationship, Romance|
|Summary:||Retired!Jack and Post-SGC!Daniel are lingering on the back porch of their new house, contemplating their neighbors and the night-blooming flowers|