I Still Love You by Belladonna
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Category: Jack/Daniel
Genres: Angst, Drama
Rated: Pre-Teen
Warnings: None
Series: None
Summary: Inspired by country song Austin by Blake Shelton.

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Author's Chapter Notes:
I work where they play ALOT of country music (not my fave, I have a teenager at home who listens to hard rock-my brain twitches). Anyway, I heard this song and the story popped into my head (stupid muse).
Daniel dropped his ratty dufflebag and his carryon case with a relieved sigh. He looked around the hotel room and smiled, he was finally back in the states after five years on a dig. Just the fact that he was in New York made him smile, and made him realize that he had something to do. He needed to call Sam, and the General, and Jack.

It had taken him a year of denial, and a dream from Shar'e, of which he was positive Oma had a hand in, to make him realize that he loved Jack. He'd denied it even harder, dating various men and women until he'd finally admitted defeat.

Retired General Jack O'Neill was something of a celebrity, though most of that had worn off in the first 6 months after the Stargate program had been made public. As he walked from his truck, he smiled and waved at a couple of excited neighbor boys, then opened the door to his house, went in, closed the door and sighed. Being fifty-one was no picnic, but at least he was in excellent shape thanks to new technological advances that were a direct result of the Stargate program. He dropped his briefcase onto a chair and did what he did every day, listened to his messages. Then he dialed his phone.



Sam grinned, "Jack, how are you? I heard you were off world again!" She shook her head at her 3 year old son, Jake, who was about to stick a fork in the light socket. "Jake, you'll get shocked again." She said, hearing her old CO chuckle on the other end.

Jack snorted, "Tell him he'll glow in the dark like Siler. How's Pete and the kids?"

"Janet is finally sleeping through the night, thanks for the advice, it really helped. And Pete is doing great, just like always."

This made Jack smile, "Good. Listen, I heard from Teal'c and he's gonna be here around the tenth and wants to get together. I think he's bringing Rya'ac."

Sam got on her laptop and typed rapidly, "It looks good around then. The classes are doing well and me having a couple of days off shouldn't irreparably damage the cadets."

"Good. He wants to see the kids too, so drag them along. He hasn't seen little Janet yet."

"You bet." She paused, "So, how are you Sir?" Sam asked, falling into their old routine as CO and second in command.

Jack smiled, she knew him too well, "I'm good Sam, really. I have bad days, especially when I go by his office, but what can you do?"

"I'm just" she trailed off, then jumped, "Jacob Daniel Shanahan, if you don't get down from there I'm gonna paddle your behind!"

Jack laughed as he heard his godson whine, "But Mooooommm!"

"Go get 'em Carter!" He advised, "I'm headed to Texas for the next couple of days to see George and to give him Teal'c's invitation in person."

"Send him our love. Darn it! I've got to head Jake off at the pass."

"Go Carter, I'll call you later." Then laughed again when the phone clicked off without a goodbye.

He went into his bedroom, gathering enough clothes for a two-day trip, pausing as he saw the picture of Daniel, and all of the memories flooded back.

Daniel and Jack had only been lovers for a couple of months when the world had been told of the Stargate program. Complete vindication for Daniel had opened up amazing opportunities, and had been the beginning of horrible arguments.

Daniel had been offered a dig in a region of Saudi Arabia that had been closed to archeologists and specifically foreigners in the past. His past as a child of archeologists, his early upbringing in Egypt and his validation on such a huge and public scale had convinced the Saudi Royal family that only Daniel would do. Jack could remember the conversation as if it had been only yesterday

"Jack, this is a fabulous opportunity! If someone needs me the Royal family has graciously volunteered to fly me to the mountain anytime!" Daniel had said.

"Danny, I don't want you to go." Jack was still tied to the Stargate Program, and he didn't want to be so far from his lover.

"Why?" Daniel demanded, "You want me to slave away under the mountain, getting no recognition and doing translations until the moon crashes into the sun?" He said pissily.

Jack had known that Daniel had only become his lover for the physical reasons, and the fact that they were best friends. But Jack had fallen for his best friend, and now was maybe the time to tell him, "Don't be so dramatic Daniel. I don't want you to stay for the program. I want you to stay for me, at least until I can go with you." He paused, "I love you."

Daniel had shaken his head, "That's not funny Jack." His eyes were flinty.

Jack had shrugged, "Sorry, that's the way I feel." Daniel's response had fallen way short of what he'd hoped for, and it hurt.

The other man had stood and begun to pace, "Jack, you know that after Shar'e I wasn't looking for anything serious. I ~thought~ you knew that!"

Knowing he'd already lost, Jack had snapped, "I can't just turn this off Daniel! You're my best friend, who better to love?"

Daniel faced him, his face pale, "Then you're going to be miserable because I'm leaving." And he walked out. It had been a little over five years. Well, five years, one month and six days, but who was counting?

Jack sighed, then looked at the clock. It was almost time for his staff car to pick him up for his flight. He moved to the answering machine, erased the message and left a new one, then when the staff car honked he picked up his bag and left.

Daniel sat down at the ornate desk in the hotel living room, and dialed. He sat back in the stiff chair, then grimaced, it was nothing like sitting on soft pillows on the ground.

"Hi, this is Jack O'Neill. I'm not home right now. If you've got something to sell, you're wasting your time, if this is anyone else, you know what to do. Oh, and if this is Daniel? I still love you."

Daniel dropped the phone in shock, then he quickly picked it up and slammed it down. "Ohgod." He whispered, all of the feeling he'd suppressed and tried to bury deep inside of his heart came rushing to the surface. How could Jack do it? How could he wait like this, for all of this time?

With shaking fingers he dialed another number, and heard a childish but clear, "Hello Shanahan's."

Daniel smiled, "Hello Shanahan's, is Sam there?"

Jake frowned, "Mom, who's Sam?" He bellowed, making Daniel hold the phone from his ear. He heard a happy laugh, "That's me honey, let me have the phone." Daniel heard a rustle, then, "Hello?"

Daniel's throat closed with emotion, "Sam?" He choked.

Sam sat down abruptly, "Daniel?" she whispered. Daniel hadn't technically cut himself off, he'd sent regular gifts to Jake, and post cards, but had never called. "Daniel is that you?"

Feeling a little teary Daniel nodded, then snorted at himself, "Yeah Sam, it's me? How are you?"

"Oh god Daniel! I'm good, I'm fine! How are you? ~Where~ are you? When can we see you? Are you alright?" Sam babbled.

"Whoa! One question at a time Sam! I can't believe how old Jake sounds, the last pictures you sent of me said he was three but he sounds so much older!"

Immediately distracted by the mention of her son, Sam regaled Daniel with anecdotes, then gasped, "Oh, I forgot, did you get the post card yet?"

"What postcard?" Daniel asked.

"About the baby?"

Daniel smiled, "You had the baby? What was it? What's it's name?"

Sam smiled, "Janet Cassandra Shanahan was born on September 30th."

"Janet." Daniel sighed. "What a great name."

Sam wiped away a tear, then caught a rolled up pair of socks that Jake threw. "Yeah, I promised myself that if I ever had a girl then I'd name her after Janet." She looked over at Jake who was about to draw on the floor with a magic marker, and pointed. He grinned sunnily, understanding that he was to go to the board on the 'fridge on draw on that instead. "So, now that you're done distracting me."

Daniel grimaced, "You were always too smart."

"I can't be that smart, I have two kids." She said wryly, then added, "Jacob Daniel, put that pen down and go to your room. I know you understood me earlier."

"Listen Sam, I know you have your hands full."

"Daniel, it's been five years, and you called me! Spill." She ordered, watching her son with eagle eyes as he trooped disconsolately to his bedroom.

"Ok, I'm in New York. I'm fine, really. I just " he trailed off.

"Did you call the General yet?" Sam asked.

"No, not yet." Daniel said.

"Daniel, you know ~which~ General I meant." There was gentle reproof in her tone.

"Ok, ok. Yes, I called him, and got his answering machine."

Sam smiled, she'd heard the message at least a dozen times in the past year, "And?"

"I hurt him so much. How can he still love me?" Daniel said, his voice raw with pain, wanting to understand.

"Oh Daniel. He never stopped loving Charlie, never stopped missing you when you were ascended. What makes you think he'd ever stop loving you?"

"Where is he now?" Daniel asked quietly.

"In Texas. He went to see the General." And they both knew she meant Hammond.

He took a deep breath, "Ok, I've got stuff to do here first. I'll let you know when I get there."

"You'd better." Sam smiled, "I'm glad you're home Daniel."

For the first time in awhile, Daniel was glad too. "Me too Sam."

Jack was weary but happy. He'd had a great weekend with the General and his grand daughters. They were teenagers now but still as sweet as he remembered them. They taken him horseback riding all over their ranch and his ass and legs were still sore.

He tossed his duffle bag with dirty stuff into the laundry room then headed to his answering machine. He pressed the button and smiled as he heard little Jake, "Hi Jack, this is Jake and mom said you were gonna see us soon and mom said I could call ya and dad says hi and I want a dog for Christmas but mom said no!" Jack chuckled as he heard someone in the background, then his machine beeped and the next message played just a phone number.

Jack was curious, so he dialed it, "Hello?"

"Hi Jack."

Jack's heart stuttered in surprise. "Danny?" He said, clearing his suddenly tight throat.

Daniel sat up, "Jack listen, I'm so sorry. I got messed up, scared of loving someone so much then losing them again. So I pushed you away, I was such an ass." He'd spoke so quickly that he almost stuttered. "I want you to know that I heard your message and if you still want me, I'm yours." His heart was beating rapidly, afraid that it was too late.

"Daniel. My Danny." Jack spoke quietly, emotions making him tear up. "Please come home?"

"I'll be there tomorrow." Daniel promised.

"Tomorrow." Jack echoed and suddenly his future seemed brighter.

The end~
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