Through A Glass Darkly III

TAGD 3 title

Banner by Bindingdiva

Jack walked slowly along the powder soft sand feeling the minute grains sliding between his toes. He liked the sensation; it gave him something to concentrate on beside the pair of blue eyes he knew were watching him from the Beach House only yards away. Behind the lenses of his dark glasses his eyes were unfocussed and pinched. Another night of confused and disturbing dreams had left him feeling distinctly antsy and he had escaped to the beach where there was nothing but the sound of the white foamed breakers to distract him from his introspection. He’d had nothing more than growls for Daniel all morning and had decided that he should keep his own company for a while, if nothing else but to stop his lover from looking at him with confusion that was bound to become questions before too long. He didn’t know what was wrong himself, so there was absolutely no chance that he could explain things to Danny. The sick feeling in his stomach seemed to be getting worse day by day and he almost hoped that it would become something tangible. Even a dose of the stomach flu would be better than the queasy feeling of presentiment that pervaded his waking and sleeping. If he could just throw up then he could believe that it was just some bug that had made itself at home in his gut. Perhaps if he threw up he would feel better. Wouldn’t he?

Daniel watched, worried, from his vantage point in the soaking pool on the deck. Hands folded beneath his chin on the edge of the mosaic pool he followed Jack’s progress along the beach with a growing feeling of unease. Something was obviously bothering his lover but Jack seemed neither willing nor able to verbalise it and had reverted to a state of grunting snippy adolescence that Daniel always equated with Jack being afraid. When Jack got scared he reacted by becoming belligerent. It was a defence mechanism that Daniel recognised from the many episodes of ‘snake baiting,’ that Jack threw himself into when SG1 were in a serious situation with one System Lord or another. He wasn’t usually afraid for himself – Jack was probably the bravest man Daniel had ever known. Rather his concern would be for his team and the possible outcomes of the decisions he had to make moment by moment. He would ‘act up,’ unwilling to show his apprehension or alarm to either his team members or the snake-head du jour.

Daniel sighed and ran a long slender finger over his lips, wracking his brains for anything that might have happened to get Jack so far off kilter. They were here at the Beach House for R & R and so far their first week had been almost idyllic. The house itself was amazing, as was its location and Daniel had been bowled over by it. He had been more than a little put out when he found out it belonged to an ex-lover of Jack’s and he was still feeling the little niggle of jealousy that had wormed its way into his mind. Jack’s reaction to his memories of Simon had pushed the little green eyed monster right to the front of Daniels thoughts and he was only holding off asking more questions because Jack seemed so distracted.

Trying to clear his mind of these stupid and potentially damaging thoughts, Daniel let his eyes rake over the tall, slim frame of his older lover. Jack was dressed in a way that kept Daniel semi-hard all the time he was in view. His clothes were white and fine woven. A short sleeved linen shirt, unbuttoned, blew out slightly in the soft breeze giving tantalising glimpses of his tanned, muscled torso. Loose fitting pants with a drawstring at the waist hung low on his narrow hips. The cuffs were turned up several times and finished just above his ankles, showing off his bare feet. His silvered hair was almost bleached white by the strong sunshine. His tan had deepened and now showed off every well developed muscle in his forearms and chest. Jack took Daniel’s breath away and stoked his libido without ever trying. Daniel sighed deeply. “What can I do to get you to relax, Jack,” he murmured to himself. “What’s going on in that crazy, clever, beautiful head of yours?

“Mr. Daniel.” Izel’s gentle, low timbre voice intruded into his reverie. He turned to look at the small woman who was standing at the side of the pool.

“Juan is not able to collect me until later today; the panga has some trouble with the engine. I wondered if you would like me to prepare and serve your main meal at lunchtime today and just leave you a light dinner?” She cocked her head and gave him a sweet smile.

“Oh,” Daniel said quickly, “would that be okay?” He frowned slightly, “I mean is it your job to do that…erm, I mean…” Daniel began to blush. He was an explorer, he met new people (alien races for goodness sake who wanted sometimes to hurt, maim or even kill him) almost every working day and here he was finding it hard to negotiate with a small Mexican woman who had his best interests at heart. Izel saw his discomfort and quickly put him at his ease.

“Ah, Mr. Daniel,” she interrupted, smiling brightly. “I am cook and housekeeper here at La Troza. I have great pride in making Mr. Simon’s guests happy and enjoying their stay here.”

The mention of Simon de’Vere’s name piqued Daniels curiosity and he couldn’t help himself from asking, “Do you know Mr. Simon well, Izel?”

A broad, warm smile split Izel’s face. “I have known Mr. Simon since he was a very small boy, when his father bought La Troza many years ago.”

Daniel took one more look out to the beach and saw that Jack was now on the other side of the cove. He wouldn’t be back for a while. Pushing down his misgivings Daniel made a decision. “Izel, would you mind making coffee and then perhaps we could have a little chat.”

*****

Fifteen minutes later Daniel was sitting at the dining table. He had dressed, in deference to Izel, almost identically to Jack, much to the small woman’s amusement. She was used to guests wandering around the house in various states of undress. In fact some of the wilder parties that her employer had held here in years past had left her unfazed by anything. Sliding the laden coffee tray on the table she placed the carafe of Santa Catarina and a plate of little sweet bizcochitos in front of Daniel along with a large, leather bound book.

“Mr. Simon loves to keep photographs of all his parties,” she explained whilst pouring the fragrant brew into deep wide cups. “There are many pictures here of el rey de monos.”

As Izel was speaking Daniel was taking his first reverent sip of coffee. He almost sprayed it across the table as Izel’s remark sank through his caffeine worship.

“King of the Monkeys?” he choked out.

Izel blushed bright pink. “Yo y mi bocota.”

Daniel tried not to laugh again but a snort made its way out and he shook his head in apology.

“Jonny, cabeza en aire, he called him that,” she explained, still blushing furiously.

“Jonny-head-in-air?” Daniel translated. He had a vague notion that this was a quote but where it was from was nebulous. It always niggled at him if he couldn’t remember something but he was distracted by Izel sliding the now open leather album towards him.

“Mr. Simon always said he was his one true love,” she said sadly as she pointed to a well worn photo of a very familiar handsome face that was smiling out at Daniel. Two young pilots sat on a jet in flight suits, their helmets perched jauntily on their knees.

Pic: More Jack Simon

“Jack.” The name came out as a strangled whisper.

“No, Mr. Daniel, Jon.” The housekeeper quirked a little puzzled smile. “He was a pilot, like Mr. Simon,” Izel shook her head sorrowfully. “They never came here so I did not meet him but Mr. Simon still talks of him.” Her finger ran slowly down the face of the devastatingly handsome man who was captured in another, larger photograph.

Jack Si suits

Taller than Jack by a good couple of inches, he had black curly hair way over regulation length and deep blue gray eyes the colour of thunder clouds. Simon and Jack (who was wearing a white suit that screamed 80’s) were both looking straight into the camera and they looked – blissfully happy.

“This is my Jack,” he choked out, not really talking to Izel but needing to express his revelation out loud. Izel looked at the photo once more and then back at Daniel with a look of shocked recognition.

“Madre de Dios.” Izel stood, flustered, and began to tidy away the untouched coffee. “This is cold,” she said hurriedly, “I will make more, Mr. Daniel,” Her face still flushed and her teeth worrying her bottom lip she began to leave the room.

Daniel stood quickly. He wanted her to stay, to explain more about this beautiful man and his relationship with his own true love. Before he could call her back out of the corner of his eye he caught the still form of Jack standing in the entrance way that led from the patio deck to the dining room. His stillness would have looked relaxed to any casual observer but Daniel knew Jack’s body language far better than that. He could see that he was poised for a fight but that he was waiting for Daniel to make the first move. The young man was shaking with a mixture of fear and possessive rage. His rational mind was well aware that he was not Jack’s first male lover but he wanted so much to be the only one he had truly loved.

The silence stretched out between them so tautly that even the cicada’s constant song seemed muted. Finally Daniel sat back down at the table and pulled the photo album towards him. Flipping over a few pages it seemed that a large proportion of this heavy book was taken over with photos of Jack and Simon together both in and out of uniform. Daniel swallowed hard against the rising surge of jealousy that threatened to spill out of him in ugly words and accusations as one picture in particular caught his eye.

PictureWindow1

An obviously naked Simon sat on a bed looking over at Jack who was staring moodily at the camera. Daniel wondered just who had been trusted to take such an intrusive picture.

He was suddenly aware that they had no such record of their time together as lovers. Yes, there were team snaps aplenty and formal portraits of them both from innumerable SGC and Pentagon shindigs. But they had nothing so very…intimate. Jack was almost paranoid about anything that could be traced back to them as a couple. Daniel had only two snaps which had been taken by Teal’c during a visit to Abydos and one of Jack’s SGC barbeques. They showed Jack and Daniel in unguarded moments; a look of love captured seemingly by accident and they were buried away in the back of his safe hidden in plain sight amongst other less incendiary pictures.

“Looks like you had a lot of fun together,” Daniel finally ground out. He felt rather than saw Jack moving towards him and waited.

“We were very young,” Jack said quietly. “We were reckless and our lives were so dangerous we really didn’t know if the next mission would be our last. He always had a camera with him. In fact he took that photo on my office wall. You know, the one of the sunset out of the cockpit of the F117.” He moved a chair close to Daniel and turning it he slid astride it, his long legs stretched out either side and his chin resting on the back. “Si used to say that photographs were the art of the future; that all the portraits on the wall of Castle Mey couldn’t capture immediacy the way a photo could.”

“Our lives are that dangerous.” Daniel snapped, wanting to scream at Jack but just managing to hold in the irrational anger that he was feeling. “Yet you won’t even let me take a snap of you in the back yard. What’s so different Jack?”

The older man frowned with puzzlement. He had been expecting the third degree about his relationship with Simon. He shouldn’t have been surprised that there were albums in the Beach House; after all Simon had photos everywhere. What was amazing to him was that so many of the contents were of him. He had known that he was important to the other pilot but this was a real surprise.

“You know why Daniel,” Jack sighed tiredly. “I’m going to be retiring soon and then…”

“Fuck you, Jack.” His retort was so vehement that Jack physically rocked back in his seat. “All you ever wanted was to fly, you’ve told me that over and over. You had so much more to lose then than you do now.” Angrily he turned the album to face Jack and stabbed a finger at the picture in the centre of the page. It showed Jack and Simon, stripped to the waist, leaning against an antique cannon with a large castle in the background. They were both dishevelled and sweaty and had a post coital glow about them that was unmissable.

si and Jack castle

“Nice, Jack: The ‘just fucked’ look?” Unable to stay still any longer, Daniel pushed his chair back and began to pace, ticking off points on his fingers. “I don’t care how reckless you were, you didn’t have the seniority you do now. You know the President for fuck’s sake, we’ve saved the planet more times than I wish to remember and I’ve died, DIED, Jack, so many times. Do you think they’d really throw you in Leavenworth? Give you a dishonourable discharge? How come it was alright with Simon, Jack and it’s not okay with me.” He turned to glare at the older man and Jack could see his hands shaking.

“Daniel…”

“He has all these memories, Jack and you were only together a year. We have been lovers for four years now and I have two snapshots, taken by accident and they are hidden away where no one ever sees them – not even me!” Tears shone in Daniels eyes but he refused to let them fall. “I’m sick of it Jack; sick of hiding and pretending and waiting…” He tried to stem the flow of words before he said something stupid or worse. He wasn’t even sure where all this bitterness was coming from but the jealousy that had begun a few days before had sunk its green claws into his gut and was refusing to let go.

Jack stood silently and walked across to where Daniel stood, his arms tightly laced across his chest, his posture stiff and vibrating with tension.

“Danny, please just listen.” He put out a hand to pull Daniel to him and then dropped it back to his side as Daniel shrugged him off. “I understand and I’m sorry. The Brits have a different culture and rules with regard to gay servicemen. Simon never had the fears or hang ups I have and he wasn’t about to kowtow to a rule which he thought was ridiculous in the extreme. He was careful with his pictures; did all his own developing and kept them all locked away while he was in the US. When we went to Castle Blair on leave he took them all with him and spent days sticking them in his damn albums.” Jack tried once more to touch Daniel and was relieved when his lover allowed Jack to pull him into his chest. “I’m so sorry, Danny. I want more than anything to be able to tell the world you’re mine and that I love you. And yes you are right; I am paranoid about something getting out about us.”

“Half the base already thinks we’re doing it,” Daniel muttered sourly.

“Yeah?” Jack snorted and then schooled his features as Daniel’s eyes flashed a warning at him. “Oh baby, I’m so sorry. I know you put up with so much to keep me safe but I don’t know how else to be.”

Daniel pushed half heartedly against his chest. “You knew how to be something else with Simon.”

“I genuinely thought one of us would be dead before the year was out.” Jack dropped a sweet, soft kiss onto Daniel’s forehead. “I also know in my heart that we are going to grow old together so I want us to be comfortably off in our old age, not scraping along on savings and food stamps.” The older man looked at his lover and lifted his chin so their eyes met. He was gratified to see that some of the fire had gone from his lovers gaze. “I know money isn’t everything, but my pension is worth a hell of a lot now and it will give us a much better life.” He hugged Daniel close, trying to put all his passion for him into gently moving fingers that skimmed over his back and hooked under his loose shirt to caress soft skin. “I want to travel Danny, see the places you love, show you the places I love. I want to remodel the house; put in a bigger master bathroom – one of those huge rain shower heads you love so much.” Jack waggled his eyebrows in a comic leer.

Daniel began to relax, unsure where all the irrational anger had come from. Jack’s hands felt good on his skin, leaving little burning trails of want in their wake. The jealousy was still there, still tugging at his gut and making him feel unsettled and jumpy. Without thinking about it he turned his head and latched onto Jack’s neck, sucking hard at the tender flesh. He was gratified to feel Jack’s cock give a definite jump at the sensation and suddenly a plan formed in his mind. By the time he as finished with him Jack would know who his lover was and how he owned his paranoid military ass. First there were a few preparations to make and Izel was going to be serving lunch anytime. So Daniel would wait and spring a surprise on his lover that it would take him a long time to forget.

“You startin’ somthin’?” Jack drawled pulling Daniel in to feel the burgeoning hardness against him.

“Nah,” Daniel replied casually. “Izel is making us lunch. The panga is laid up in the dock for repairs and Juan won’t be here for a couple of hours. So she asked if we’d like our main meal now.”

Jack looked a little crestfallen but cheered up when Izel walked through from the kitchen carrying two plates crammed with steak, shrimp, shoelace fries and bright red tomato, pepper, onion and chilli salad.

The two men sat quickly at the table and a rather quiet Izel served their meal. As she turned to leave Daniel caught her by the hand.

“Izel. Lo siento. Mi hizo sentir incómoda y me disculpo. Todo esta bien ahora.” He gave her one of his most brilliant smiles and her face creased with relief.

“Claro. Enjoy your meal. Your dessert is in the blue container in the freezer compartment of the fridge in the kitchen. It is my mamma’s Pastel de Tres Leches. If you take it out five minutes before you are ready to eat it then it will be perfecto I think. Juan will be here in a few minutes. I will see you in the morning, Mr. Daniel, Mr. Jack.” With a little wave over her shoulder she left the room.

Jack waved his fork in her direction as he smiled around a mouthful of food. The steak was cooked to perfection and for the first time in a couple of days he was not feeling the nausea that had dogged every meal. Dessert sounded like it was going to be interesting too.

“So, ‘King of the Monkey’s’?”

Jack’s shoulders dropped as he realised that although the heat was gone, the discussion was still up for airing. He might have known that Daniel would not let it go without having all the facts at his disposal. Resigning himself to seeing it through to the bitter end he plastered a smile on his face and looked over at Daniel.

“That was because Si managed, on no less than three occasions, to be shot down over enemy territory, ejecting from his plane and ending up dangling from a tree. If that wasn’t enough, to add insult to injury, one time he was pelted with rotten fruit by monkeys. So – ‘King of the Monkey’s’.”

“Ahh I see,” Daniel nodded. “Then why are you Johnny-head-in-air?” There was still a glint of something angry in Daniel’s eyes. Jack just wanted to kiss him, to take the doubt away. But he knew he had to face this head on; to clear the air once and for all.

“It’s from a poem by an English war poet called John Pudney;

Do not despair For Johnny-head-in-air; He sleeps as sound As Johnny underground.’

Si thought it was appropriate for me – He always said I was a dreamer. It tells the reader not to worry about the pilot and the danger of death that he faces, just to go on and look after his family.” Jack shrugged, feeling the prickle of tears forming in his eyes and he bit them back angrily. “Like I said Daniel, we believed we would die, quickly and probably sooner rather than later. What we were doing was dangerous and dirty.” Jack pushed his plate away, his appetite dulled by the dark memories. “Black ops aren’t like the SGC. You go in knowing that no-one will be watching your six. There is no team, just you, your firearm and the pack on your back.”

Jack fell silent as his mind went back to missions long gone; all the times when he’d said goodbye to Simon believing that they would never see one another again. Their reunions had been hot and sweet and all consuming. He flushed as he realised he was getting aroused by the sense memory of that time. He felt a deep rush of guilt that he was thinking about another man while he was sitting in the middle of paradise with the man he loved more than anything in the Universe. What the fuck was wrong with him.

Daniel watched as emotions skittered across Jack’s face. There was so much he didn’t know about this man and suddenly the jealousy remerged with a vengeance.

“You never talk about it, Jack. You’ve never told me about that time. Why not? I have clearance for the SGC and you tell me I can’t be trusted with intel about missions that happened nearly thirty years ago!”

“Daniel,” Jack clenched his jaw against the words he really wanted to speak – ‘back off, shut up, leave me the fuck alone.’ He knew that would only make things worse. Instead he stood slowly and moved over to his lover’s side. “Did it ever occur to you that I don’t talk about it because I don’t want you to know what I did; what I was ordered to do?”

He dragged a reluctant Daniel to his feet and turned him to face him. He wanted to look into his eyes and make him understand that there was nothing to be jealous of.

“We talked about it then because he was there, he knew what I was going through. Just like you and me after any mission through the Gate. We talk about what happened, both good and bad, but I’m not sure that in twenty years time I’d want to tell someone else about some of the things we’ve done.” Jack framed Daniels face with his hands, running his thumbs over his cheekbones and down onto his lips. “I love you Danny, more than anyone…Anyone, including Simon. What do I have to do to make you believe that?” Jack turned his body into Daniel’s intent on wrapping him in his arms and using his body to say what his words could not.

Daniel’s feelings left him ambivalent. Part of him wanted to respond to Jack’s gentle caress; to turn his lips to that arousing thumb and press kisses there; to get back to the heady feelings that were thrumming through him only a few minutes before. The other side of him was hot with jealousy. He didn’t know why today’s revelations were leaving him so angry but he couldn’t shake the urge to pick a fight with Jack, as if venting would help some how.

The anger won.

“Letting you fuck me is not making this go away Jack. You can’t expect me to just forget that you had a lover who you allowed to be all the things you won’t allow me to be.” Daniel’s irritation grew as his temper took away his ability to communicate fluently. “I try to understand what all your repressed military bullshit is about; I respect your fears for your career, your command. I’ve given up my chance to have an open relationship with someone else because I love you, only to find out that those rules only apply to me. You say you love me, but you don’t love me enough to give me that!”

“Daniel, you’re being ridiculous…” Jack was shocked at the vehemence of Daniel’s rant. Pulling away from him the younger man didn’t give him chance to continue.

“Not only that but I find out that you saw him only a few months ago and didn’t feel the need to tell me, along with bringing me to his Beach House which is full of photos of the two of you together. Change places with me Jack, and then tell me not to be jealous.”

Jack watched open mouthed as Daniel marched out of the open doors, across the patio and then onto the beach, where his quick walk turned into a sprint taking him across the cove and as far away from the house as he could get.

Jack squeezed his eyes shut against a flood of despair that seemed to consume him. He had to go after Daniel, that much was clear, but he had no idea how to make this right again. He opened his eyes to gauge how far his lover had gone when he noticed the small boy standing directly in front of him. His mouth fell open in shock.

“Where the fuck did you come from,” he demanded gruffly, surprise making him snap angrily.

The little boys blue eyes lit up and he smiled shyly. “Daddy, is it time to go?”

The words hit Jack like a bullet and he felt a sharp pain through his chest.

“Charlie?”

Staggering back he felt the chair behind him and fell onto it, his breathing shallow. Without warning he began to heave and emptied his stomach onto the tiled floor in front of him. Struggling with his rebelling stomach and the accompanying dizziness he dragged his eyes back to where the child had stood but there was no-one there. Unable to stop himself Jack slid forward off the chair and into the mess he had made. As the edges of his vision began to grey and recede he realised that the little boy, although familiar, could not have been his son. His hair was too blonde and his eyes not the right shade of blue. With a sad acceptance of that revelation he slumped, limp and unconsciousness on the floor.

*****

“We gotta get outta this place,

If it’s the last thing we ever do.

We gotta get outta this place.

Girl there’s a better life for me and you.”

Shit, ‘The Animals’ are right. There’s got to be something better than this crap hole of a town…

Fuck…Dammit. I’m dreaming again. Which crap hole of a town am I talking about because I don’t really know? Let’s do a sit rep, see if I can get any useful intel here.

There’s a store over there that looks really familiar. I’ll put down my fishing pole and go…Oh! I recognise this pole. It’s the one my gramps gave me for my thirteenth birthday. The one I broke in a temper when he refused to take me to Minneapolis with him. He never took me fishing again after that no matter how hard I pleaded. I felt like such a heel when I realised he’d made it himself. The fact that I’d broken it was enough but to know that the old man had put in hours of work to make it for me and then I just threw it in his face – almost literally. I hurt him so badly and although he never said so I think he never really forgave me. It wasn’t the same between us from then on. I’d always been the favourite grandchild. He never got on with my cousin Brad; he hated the outdoors, preferring TV and football to time spent by the pond at the cabin. His sister Claire was a girly girl and not Gramps type at all. He was a hard man, toughened by work and war and adversity. He wanted me to join the Marine Corps like he did but I wanted to fly so much. He was so angry with me for joining the Air Force that he never even came to say goodbye when I left for the Academy. He was too proud and too stubborn and I was too afraid to face him. I was overseas when he died and couldn’t even get to his funeral. I was so surprised to find he’d left me the cabin.

Sheesh, I haven’t thought about that time in Eagle Lake for so long and now here I am and fuck…There he is.

“Gramps?” God, my voice sounds funny: Squeaky and hoarse. Puberty was a bad time for me. I went through everything ten times worse than any of my friends. Acne, massive growth spurts that took me from five feet nothing to six feet two in a matter of months. I had pains all over my body. I wasn’t a shy kid but I was a gawky teen and despite what I may imply I didn’t find it easy to talk to girls – or boys for that matter, ‘cause I definitely knew pretty quickly that either sex could float my boat quite easily. Not that I would have said anything to the old bear standing next to me right now. He would have beaten me the other side of next Tuesday if he’d found out that I had a bigger hankering for Alec Strong than I did for his sister Julie.

What’s that he’s saying?

“What you doing lollygagging around here boy. There’s work to be done. If you don’t get pulling your finger out your ass soon it’s going to be too late. He needs you and time’s running out.”

If I knew what the fuck…Ow! Did I say that out loud? Must have ‘cause the back-hander he just gave me was not for nothing. He could hit hard and he didn’t pull his whacks but he never hit for no reason. I always knew I deserved it.

“Sorry Sir.”

He’s nodding now but he looks so very sad. Was it me? Did I put that look of disappointment on his face? Shit, I feel like I just broke my fishing pole all over again.

“No, don’t leave. Please Gramps. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean it.”

He’s walking back across the street and doesn’t look back once. I want to scream at him but the words won’t come out as my stupid voice lets me down again, squeaking and squawking like a strangled parrot.

I loved him so much and I let him down. I hate myself for that. I feel so bad that I can’t stop the tears. He hated crying, used to say only girls and nancy-boys cried. Looks like you were right Gramps even though you never knew who I really was. Wouldn’t have mattered how much I said I was sorry he would’ve never understood that.

And this little town still suffocates me, the radio is still playing The Animals but as I turn back to my fishing pole the water looks soooo inviting. I feel dirty, soiled somehow. I need to clean off and the pond sure is a beautiful shade of blue…the exact blue of Danny’s eyes…so beautiful…

*****

It took Daniel a few minutes of hard running before he realised that he wasn’t sure what he was running from. He stopped suddenly, knee deep in the surf, his toes pressing hard into the wet sand beneath them.

“What the fuck are you doing, Jackson?” he muttered to himself. Dragging his hands through his hair he thought back to the argument they – or rather he – had just had. His jealousy had caused them to fight and the irrational anger it had stirred up had made him say things he didn’t really mean.

He dropped down into the surf, allowing the waves to wash over him time after time, cooling his temper and lulling him with their regularity.

‘So what’s this about really?’ he wondered, biting his bottom lip as he puzzled out his reactions. He knew he wasn’t Jack’s first male lover; Jack had made no secret of that. But it had been many years since he had been with a man. He had been faithful to Sarah and apart from a few ill judged and drug influenced dalliances off-world there had been no one since his divorce from her either until he and Daniel had hooked up not long after Jack had returned from Eudora. If he was to be believed he had fallen head over heels for Daniel on their first trip through the gate and, even though he thought he would never see him again, had decided that there could be no-one else for him. Daniel cracked a small wry grin.

“The guy tells you that he was willing to be celibate for the rest of his life if he couldn’t have you and you accuse him of not loving you enough. You’re such a fucking asshole. Am I really so insecure that just a mention of an ex-lover gets me screaming like a harpy.”

Daniel leapt to his feet and began to run back to the Beach House, water streaming from his clothes as he loped up the beach and to onto the patio. He wasn’t sure how he was going to do it but he knew he had to put this right, and quickly. The sight of Jack face down in a pool of vomit brought him up cold.

“Jack? JACK?” In two strides he was next to the prone figure of his lover, his fingers pressed to his neck searching for his pulse. It was there, strong if a little fast. The acrid smell of the mess surrounding him battered at Daniel’s nose and he had to beat down the urge to add the contents of his own stomach to that already there. He turned Jack over and quickly pulled him away from the noisome puddle turning him onto his side, checking his airways and putting him into the recovery position. He was about to reach for the satellite phone when Jack began to come around, coughing a little as he tried to clear his airways.

“Jack, lie still,” Daniel insisted as the older man tried to sit up. “I’m calling for the boat. We have to get you to a doctor.”

Reaching out Jack snagged hold of Daniel’s hand. “Don’t need a doctor,” he croaked through acid clogged airways, “need water.” Daniel moved over to the dining room bar and grabbed a cool bottle of mineral water from the fridge. He cracked the lid as he hurried back to his lover’s side.

“Just a little at a time,” he advised gently. “You’ve already thrown up once; you don’t need a repeat performance.”

Jack snorted weakly, but took his advice, sipping the cool liquid and allowing it to soothe his throat. He felt as weak as a kitten and it was all he could do to prop himself up on one arm. He wasn’t sure why he had passed out after being so very sick, but he sure as hell didn’t want to do it again.

After a few minutes of fretful hovering by Daniel and irritated coughing by Jack, the older man felt able to get up and make his way to the master bedroom. Daniel walked beside him, his face clouded with concern. Jack stripped off his soiled clothes and stepped gratefully into the shower. Daniel sat on the closed toilet seat, afraid to leave his lover alone in the bathroom in case he collapsed again.

“So what happened, Jack?” Daniel called over the sound of the running water.

“I’ve no idea Danny. One minute I’m wondering where you were running to and the next I wake up in a pile of my own barf.” Jack was really unsure what had been the precursor to his collapse. He had a vague memory but…

“I still think we ought to get you to a doctor.” Daniel stood outside the shower with a towel as he heard the water go off. “What if I’d been gone for longer? What if you’d hit your head?”

Jack shook his head fondly at the worried frown on Daniel’s face. “I’ve been feeling queasy since the flight here, you know that. Perhaps now I’ve finally thrown up it’ll settle down.” Tucking the towel around his hips he took Daniel by the shoulders and smiled at him reassuringly. “I’m okay Danny, apart from needing a toothbrush and some industrial strength mouthwash.” He gave his lover a lopsided grin and moved to the sink to clean his teeth. As he took away the rank taste from his mouth he watched Daniel in the mirror. As he expected, the man looked guilty, as if what had happened was his fault.

“Look, Daniel,” Jack smiled gently as he turned and smoothed the frown from between Daniel’s eyes. “What I want now more than anything else is a long cold drink and for us to relax in the hammock for a while.” He brought cold, mint flavoured lips to meet Daniel’s in a soft chaste kiss. “I think we have some stuff to talk about and I for one would like to be comfortable to do it.”

Daniel nodded, still concerned. “If you’re sick again we call the doctor,” he insisted quietly.

“OK,” Jack agreed with a shrug, “But I feel fine now.” Slinging his arm around Daniel’s shoulders he moved them both out of the bathroom and along to the stairs to the loft. He wasn’t lying, he did feel better, although as he thought about what had happened the image of a familiar little boy flashed into his mind and he had to fight to quell the queasy feeling that rolled around his stomach. “All I need is to kick back and take a load off,” he added almost too cheerily, not really sure which of them he was trying to convince.

Yo y mi bocota – me and my big mouth

Lo siento. Mi hizo sentir incómoda y me disculpo. Todo esta bien ahora – I’m sorry. I made you uncomfortable and I apologise. Everything is alright now.

FOR JOHNNY:  Do not despair For Johnny-head-in-air; He sleeps as sound As Johnny underground. Fetch out no shroud For Johnny-in-the-cloud; And keep your tears For him in after years. Better by far For Johnny-the-bright-star, To keep your head, And see his children fed. –  John Pudney

Print Friendly