I wake up shivering. I can feel and hear the emptiness of the house. Shifting slightly, I feel the coolness of the sheet behind me; I'm alone. I'm not surprised. Hurt and disappointed, yes, but surprised, no. Jack and I have argued before. We’ve both said things off the cuff we’ve regretted afterwards. This time…this time we’d both gone too far and crossed those invisible boundaries we each set up to protect ourselves. The result: he left and I stayed. Funny, since this is Jack’s house.
Squinting, I look at the clock: three in the morning. Wonderful. Maybe Jack’s here but sticking to his side of the bed? I hold on to that slim hope for as long as it takes me to prop myself up on one elbow and glance over my shoulder. His side of the bed hasn’t even been disturbed. I lay back with a sigh and feel the tears begin to burn. Damn it, I am not going to cry. I bite my lip and force the tears back. God, I hate this.
Maybe I should have gone after him. I debated long enough about it, but I think we both needed time alone. Well, I’ve been alone long enough, Jack. Where the hell are you? At least he didn’t take his truck. The state he was in I’d hate to think of him behind the wheel. It wasn’t the alcohol so much that worried me, but his anger; it’s not a good combination for anyone.
I waited up for hours hoping he’d come home. I tried seeking solace in whiskey. Bad move. It may work for Jack, but it only makes me sick. I went back to coffee and books. When I finally felt I could sleep I went to bed and was faced with my next momentous decision: nude or clothed? I opted for nude. Now, I’m not so sure. It’s damn cold. I’ve never been cold in this bed before and that thought makes me even colder as I pull the comforter up around me to control the tremors. God, let this just be another stupid argument.
Jack and I have only been lovers for two months, but it turns out we carried a torch for each other for a lot longer than that. We were both afraid to make the first move. If I hadn’t tried to take a header off my balcony, and if we hadn’t been quarantined at that Goa’uld pleasure palace we would probably still be denying our feelings. But why do we fight so much? Is it an alpha male thing? Are we afraid of our feelings and that somehow admitting we love each other is a sign of weakness? God, are we that shallow? Am I? Or am I just afraid of losing him?
I was hopelessly in love with Sha're. Losing her shattered me completely. Humpty Dumpty had nothing on me. But, little by little, the pieces of my soul were put back together. Jack saw to that, and somewhere along the way, I fell hopelessly in love: with Jack. My love for Sha're will never diminish. What she gave me can never be replaced. I will always love her, and a part of me will always miss her. Jack understands that in the same way that I understand he will always love and miss Sara. We've talked about this a lot, and it only makes me love Jack more.
My ears prick at a sound. It's the noise of a key fumbling in a lock. He’s home! I feel the tremors start, and my heart begins to race in spite of my best efforts to remain calm. What’s he been doing all this time? Is he okay? Will he be angry that I’m still here? Will he be angry that I went to bed? Will he think I don’t care? What if he’s been outside all this time waiting for me to leave? God, I’m being stupid. Should I get up? Before I can answer that thought, I hear footsteps in the hall. His steps are slow, almost hesitant, and that saddens me. Maybe he’s afraid that I’m not here? Right, wishful thinking. Besides, my damn car’s in the driveway. Shit, this isn’t helping. I silence my thoughts and listen.
I can hear him in the bathroom, washing up. I know he likes to shower before bed, but an absurd stab of hope pierces my heart: he doesn’t want to wake me. I hold on to that notion with a kind of desperate faith. I can’t stop my heart from pounding. I don’t know what the hell to expect. God, what if he comes in, sees me, then goes to the guest room? Then it’s all over. If we can’t get past this, there’s no hope. How the hell do we go back? Can we? Can I? No. In my heart and soul, I know I can never go back. I love him too much, too deeply, too selfishly to let go. I’d rather die than pretend. God, why am I doing this to myself? Jack’s always saying I talk and think too much.
He’s here. He’s standing in the doorway. I can feel him. Please, Jack, don't leave. I feign sleep. I got pretty good at this while Chaka had me on a short leash. I may be good enough to fool an Unas, but Jack is a whole different ball game. Hey, Jack, I just used a sports metaphor. I'll have to take him to Mexico and show him the Mayan ball courts. That'll surprise him. He'll cock his head, give me that bemused look that makes my heart melt and say, 'You've been holding out on me, Dannyboy'.
Why won't he move? God, Jack, get in the damn bed! He's coming in. Why am I so scared? I feel the bed dip, and I try not to hold my breath. I will myself to breathe long and deep like I'm asleep. He's just sitting there. Why is he just sitting there? Does he think I don't want him here? Shit, Jack., I'm naked for God's sake! Maybe it's because he really doesn't want me here and he feels guilty about that. The bed dips some more, and I feel him slide in under the sheets. The warmth hits me immediately. I can feel him; I can smell him. I want him so much it terrifies me. I shiver and curl up tighter. Defensively? Maybe. I don't have time to rationalize my action because I feel my weight shift backwards as Jack edges closer. The comforter slides down and I shiver. Next, I feel it being carefully pulled up and tucked around my neck. The gesture is so tender and so Jack that I want to cry. When did I become such an emotional wreck? Jack's hand lingers on my shoulder, and I have to use all my self-control not to turn and bury myself in his arms. I feel the bed dip again and his warmth is so close I have to bite my tongue to control my impulses. He kisses me tenderly behind the ear and my eyes sting with a sudden wetness. He whispers, "I love you." I’m gone. Goa'uld hand devices and the Blood of Sokar, these I can resist. Jack whispering he loves me? Not a hope in hell. I clutch the hand still resting on my shoulder and grip it tight as the tears leak out and slide down my face.
Jack's voice is tinged with concern, fear, and hope. I turn and clasp onto him and bury my face in his neck. His arms and legs immediately wrap around me, and I've never felt more loved or more treasured.
"I love you, too," I rasp out in a half-choked sob.
Amazingly, Jack's arms tighten around me even further. I didn't think he could hug me any tighter. I respond in kind, soaking up all the love, warmth, and passion that I can. "Forever," he whispers, and the hot wetness of his tears burns me with a pain so beautiful that I can only nod and sob into his throat. We will talk, and we will work this out. There is no other option. But for now, we cling to each other and to our future. A future together, forever.
|Genres:||Angst, Established Relationship, Vignette|
|Summary:||Daniel agonizes over his relationship with Jack.|
Author's Chapter Notes:
This vignette first appeared in Ancient's Gate IX - Devotion. It takes place in season 4, after The Light.