Daniel leaned forward a little in his taxicab to get a better view of the side of the bridge, to see if he was there again. He felt a pang of disappointment when the tall handsome stranger wasn't in the usual spot directing his team of workmen.
Then a car in the next lane moved ahead to create a space, and suddenly there he was. Even at this distance the man's animal magnetism drew Daniel as few ever could. He stood with an easy grace; his long length lumberjack-style shirt, open over a dark blue tee, brushing the hips of his tight pale blue jeans.
As the man lifted a booted foot onto the rail of the bridge and leaned forward, Daniel sucked in a breath at the length of leg and the smooth curve of his ass. Topping off this delectable picture was a mobile smiling face and a shock of silver grey hair, which gave the man a distinctive air. He was raising an arm, pointing to one of the towering pillars of the structure, indicating something to one of the workers.
This was the fourth day in a row that Daniel had seen the man as he'd crossed the bridge on his way to the Archaeology seminar at the Conference Centre. He had been annoyed at first that there had been an error made and he had been booked into the wrong hotel, necessitating crossing the Golden Gate Bridge twice a day. Now, however, he was pleased as it enabled him to see this alluring man as he passed by. He guessed the man was an engineer, or something similar, as every time Daniel had seen him, he seemed to directing work as part of the strengthening and re-building of the seventy-year-old bridge.
Jackson could still remember the first time he saw him, when he was stuck in a line of traffic and he casually glanced around looking the famous edifice that he had never seen before, when his eye was caught by movement high up off to his left. Reacting to the motion he stared and that's when he saw the man, suddenly appearing larger than life as he seemed to be almost floating in mid air near one of the huge cables that swept up into the sky supported by the bridge towers. Daniel soon realised that the man was in fact balanced on the edge of the bridge railing hanging onto the very cable and looking down, apparently speaking to a group of people clustered below. Daniel found it very hard to tear his eyes away from the vision, not just of the unusual picture the pose painted but of the man himself who seemed mysterious and ...and alluring. He silently laughed then at his own sentimental imaginings; the man was just one of the many working on the bridge repairs.
When he saw the same man again on his return journey, which he admitted to himself might have been helped by the fact that he'd been on the look out for him, Daniel found himself again drawn to him and this time he couldn't blame it on any outlandish position the man was in. He was simply standing on the walkway near the railing talking to a large black man and something about him drew Daniel like a magnet. However, that was the beginning of his daily ritual as he crossed the bridge, looking out for the stranger and each time he saw him he became more fascinated.
Trouble was that after four days, watching from a distance was no longer enough for Daniel and, as he lost sight of the stranger in the traffic on the bridge, his eye fell on the walkway near where he was working. A smile lit Daniel's face as a plan began to form and he dismissed the trepidation that surfaced at what, for him, would be considered as audacious behaviour.
Even though it was only four in the afternoon, it had already been a long day for Jack O’Neill and his muscles were stiffening, and his knees began to ache. He shook out each leg and then leaned first to one side and then the other, followed by shoulder swinging and raising his arms above his head, stretching muscles and working out the knots. He wasn't as young as he used to be and he grinned at the obvious fact, climbing the towers taxed him these days. As he surveyed the beautiful bridge though, he knew it would be worth the pain and effort to keep the magnificent structure standing for another hundred years.
He turned back and smiled at the sight of the sun hitting the water in exactly the right way to create a wonderful backdrop across the bay. He had to raise a hand to shield his eyes from the bright light and it was at that moment a tall man passed between him and the sun to be picked out in a halo of candescent luminosity. Jack's eye was drawn to the interruption and for a second his glance followed the man as he moved past. When he glanced back the effect had disappeared. He was miffed for a moment and glanced towards the man again who had stopped to lean against the barrier and gaze out over the view. Jack could see him clearly now and his irritation evaporated.
The man was tall; at least six foot, and he had fair hair, not quite blond. He had long legs that were shown to advantage in the dark suit he was wearing; the jacket of which was slung over one shoulder and Jack's eye was drawn to the movement of the muscles in the man's back as he switched the coat from one shoulder to the other. As if he knew he was being watched, the suited man suddenly turned towards Jack and he had to suppress the urge to gasp. The man had the most remarkable blue eyes Jack had ever seen and the small neat glasses he wore only seemed to emphasise them. He also had a very handsome face and he met Jack's stare unabashedly but, with a slight smile on his generous lips, he turned away again. Jack let out the breath he hadn't known he was holding.
Daniel had to turn away to hide his reaction to the man. Seeing him across two lanes of traffic was one thing, being this close to him was quite another. If he'd thought the man was something special before, now he knew just how attractive he really was and his reaction was immediate. What he hadn't been able to see from a distance was the warmth in the deep brown eyes, or the twinkle that lit them from within. He took deep breaths trying to quell his desire.
He couldn't remember ever being affected so dramatically before. And he knew he couldn't let the opportunity slip by. He wasn't the type of man who went out looking for it, in fact quite the opposite. He didn't visit gay bars unless he was with friends and the only encounters he'd experienced had been with people he already knew, mostly men, though a couple of women too.
This was a first for him and he didn't really know how to proceed. God, the man might be a raving homophobe for all he knew. He’d better be real careful; he didn't want to end up in hospital! With a pang he knew he did want to end up in bed but not alone. He figuratively shook his head at that admission; he'd never wanted just sex before, he always wanted.... No, it wasn't just sex, he wanted more. He couldn't even explain it to himself. Never before had he had such a reaction to another person and he knew, he just knew he would forever regret it if he didn't at least try and connect with this man. Taking a breath he turned back -- to find the stranger watching him.
"You're working on this re-building project?" Daniel asked feeling awkward.
The man smiled and answered, his voice as deep and beguiling as those eyes. "Yeah, I guess the plans," he raised a sheaf of papers that Daniel hadn't even noticed, "gave me away, huh?"
The younger man dropped his eyes for a second, raising them to shrug as he said, "Should have but I didn't see those, the gear gave you away too."
"What, you never wear jeans and a lumberjack shirt?" he grinned.
The other man laughed, "Not to work, no." Suddenly he stuck out his hand, "I'm Daniel, Daniel Jackson."
"Oh, uh, Jack O'Neill," the engineer replied grasping the man's hand.
Daniel had expected a strong grip but he hadn't been prepared for the jolt that shot through him as the warm skin slid into his hand.
"And what work is it you do, Mr. Jackson?" Jack asked to cover the confusion he felt at the look in the other man's eyes.
"It's Doctor Jackson," Daniel replied automatically and could have kicked himself. He hadn't meant to sound so pretentious and hoped that the other man wouldn't think he was some sort of snob. "Please call me Daniel," he added quickly.
Jack recognised the discomfiture from the man's verbal slip but couldn't help wondering why he had begun the conversation in the first place, not that he wasn't grateful that he had done so. "Thank you, Daniel," he inclined his head a little, "and what can I do for you?"
"Do for me?"
"I assumed there was something you wished to know, about the seismic retrofit?" he said with a slight frown.
"Er, yes, of course," the younger man replied and Jack knew that wasn't why he had spoken to him at all and he couldn't help the tiny glow that began inside him.
Jack gave Daniel pretty much the standard run down on the project, explaining how the bridge had escaped serious damage in the 1989 earthquake but how tests had predicted it could collapse if another quake of seven or more on the Richter scale took place. He described how it had been decided rather than to build a completely new bridge, that it would be possible to strengthen and virtually re-build the existing bridge and yet keep it in use. It was a remarkable engineering feat.
After a few minutes of talking, Jack stopped with a grin and said, "Sorry for the lecture, but I am very proud of this work and I sometimes get carried away."
Daniel laughed, "Oh, that was no lecture, if you want a real lecture come to one of mine."
"One of yours, thought you were a doctor. You a teacher or something?" asked Jack as he leaned back against the railing.
"Or something," Daniel smiled, taking up position alongside Jack, their shoulders not quite touching. "Sorry for the confusion, I'm not a medical doctor. I am actually an Archaeo-linguist and I am in the city to attend a Conference."
"Archaeo-linguist? Is that what it sounds like? You study dead languages?"
"That's the simple definition," he smiled. "I'm an archaeologist who specialises in the use of language by the ancient peoples of the world and how it affected their everyday lift and their progress as a people. Anyhow, I had always wanted to see the Golden Gate Bridge and now I have to cross it daily." Jack frowned and Daniel went on to explain about the mix-up with his hotel.
"You didn't think about changing hotels?"
"Well yeah, but I don't like to make a fuss, and it is a very nice hotel," he added with a smile.
Jack was fast coming to the conclusion that he wanted to see that smile as often as he could, the man's whole face lit up. He had this unaccountable feeling that he was as bright on the inside as he was on the outside. He coughed to shake off the odd feeling and asked the first thing that came to mind, "So why are you here on foot now? It's a good walk this far out; haven't you got enough of an eyeful already?" he laughed.
"Needed the fresh air. I've spent most of the last four days stuck inside a stuffy conference room with stuffy archaeologists." Daniel paused for a moment before lifting his eyes and said quietly, "I really came for the view."
He was staring at Jack with such intensity that the other man couldn't tear his eyes away. Jack couldn't help but wonder if Daniel realised what he said, or had he meant exactly what he said? "Er, yeah," Jack said after a long second, "it's quite something. Even for someone like me who gets to see it every day," he smiled, "I always seem to find something new."
Daniel held his gaze until he blinked and turned to look over the water. A moment later he asked, "So, you've worked on the project since the beginning?"
"Almost. I've known the Chief Engineer for some time. She and I go way back and she brought me in."
"She?" Daniel's first reaction was to wonder if Jack and his friend were really more than just friends and he knew it had been too good to be true. He felt a pang at what he assumed was a missed golden opportunity.
Jack however assumed Daniel had the majority reaction to a female chief engineer of such a huge project and said, "Yeah," he grinned, "people are still surprised by that but Sam is one hell of an engineer."
Daniel knew this man's private life was none of his business but he just had to know the truth so, he plastered on a knowing smile and asked, "You two more than just good friends?"
Jack laughed, "With Sam? Hell no, she knows me too well." Jack just couldn't let this opportunity pass, and he quickly added; "Besides she's not my type."
"She blonde and you like brunettes?" asked Daniel, a touch of asperity in his voice.
"Like blonds well enough," Jack smiled, glancing most definitely at Daniel's fair hair, "Just the wrong...gender."
Daniel's eyes widened. Oh god, he made a pass. That was a pass wasn't it? Damn, I am so hopeless at this!
Jack watched as the emotions chased themselves across the man's face, his expression so open that the engineer felt his hope rise as Daniel flushed a little as excitement danced in his eyes.
"Look, Daniel, my shift was over fifteen minutes ago..."
"Oh, sorry, I didn't mean to keep you, you must have family to go home to," Daniel said beginning to back away, disappointment flooding him.
"Not any more," Jack said quietly and then as he realised the other man was moving away from him. "I was gonna say I was enjoying our talk and ask if you wanted to go for coffee or something? Like to know more about you."
Daniel stared, "Coffee? Well I do have a thing for coffee..." he grinned, "Like to know more about you too, Jack." He'd done it! Well actually Jack was the one who'd done it, but he wasn't going to split hairs. He had a...a sort of date with this gorgeous man.
Nervously, Daniel looked around Jack's apartment. He'd only met the man the day before and here he was in his place contemplating -- he swallowed -- contemplating having sex with him. Okay, they'd shared coffee and talked for hours last evening and then parted when Daniel's cab arrived. The sparks between them had been obvious and he’d half expected Jack to protest when he said he needed to order a cab but he hadn't, just asking to see him again the next evening and Daniel had agreed to have dinner with him.
He’d gone back to his hotel room buzzing with the connection he had felt for the man and pleased that Jack wanted to see him again. He thought he would have been too excited to sleep but in fact he slept like a baby. The next morning, Daniel had been excited at the prospect of another date, looking forward to it all day. And it had been wonderful.
Jack was so much more knowledgeable about the world than Daniel had expected. The man had worked in more countries than even Daniel had, so there were comparisons to make and stories to swap. Also, as the evening wore on the pull between them deepened until it seemed to Daniel that the very air between them crackled.
So this time, when Jack asked if he would come to his apartment for a nightcap, Daniel had determinedly said yes. Looking around the man's home now, Daniel didn't regret the decision, not one bit, but he couldn't deny his uncertainty, the fear that Jack may be disappointed. After all the man was so attractive, so confident and Daniel couldn't help but contrast the experience Jack must have compared to him. It never occurred to him that Jack might be harbouring his own doubts.
Jack stood in the doorway watching the younger man, recognising how nervous he was and he shook his head. What did a man who looked like he did and was so intelligent, so interesting have to be nervous about? Not him, surely? After all, he was almost ten years older than this gorgeous younger man who had shown more interest in a wandering engineer than he had any right to expect.
As he walked back in carrying two small glasses of brandy, Jack smiled as he handed one to the other man who was still standing in the centre of the room, "Relax, Daniel, sit down. I'm not going to put any pressure on you. We can just have a night cap if that's all you want."
Daniel smiled shyly and took a sip of the alcohol but its heat didn't warm him as much as Jack's smile. "I...I know what you want..." he stopped, flushing as he stared at Jack, "You do want... me, don't you?" He suddenly understood how much he did want Jack, and even more he wanted Jack to want him. He wanted to touch and be touched, to be kissed with passion and strength. God, he wanted be taken!
Jack put his glass down on the coffee table, turned on beyond belief by the mixture of uncertainty and desire coming from Daniel in waves. "Yes," he said softly, "I want you." He took a step closer but then waited, not wanting to spook the man. He had learned enough from their conversation to understand that Daniel Jackson was not into one-night stands, that he needed to feel, needed to trust.
Daniel stared into Jack's eyes and failed to understand the power this man seemed to have over him but at that moment the last thing on his mind was fighting it. He took that last step, the one which took him into Jack's arms and gave himself over to the sensations rushing through him. Wrapping his arms around the man who now held him so tightly, Daniel sighed at the feeling of coming home. He'd never been in love before though he thought he'd come close a couple of times but now he knew he'd been wrong. This feeling of belonging was so unlike anything he'd ever felt before, a mixture of contentment and excitement, both soothing and thrilling. Like Ice and Fire -- and he wanted to burn...
Lifting his head, Daniel sought out his soon-to-be lover's mouth, feeling his touch for the first time, tasting him as he opened to allow Daniel's tongue to slip inside.
Jack pulled the man in his arms closer and closer until he almost felt as if he was inside Daniel's skin. The kiss deepened as they explored each other, tasting all the hidden places inside, sliding over teeth and withdrawing to lick along lips. Daniel moaned and Jack felt his cock twitch at the erotic sound. Pulling away to catch his breath, Jack stared at the man who had captured him.
He'd been attracted to men before, drawn to certain ones like a moth to a flame but he had never been so enraptured in his life before. He had only met the man a little over twenty-four hours ago and already he craved him, like a drug. He couldn't understand what was happening but he didn't care, he just had to have this man, he needed him. Jack O'Neill had never needed anyone before. He tried the marriage game once, but it had been a mistake probably because he hadn't needed her the way he needed this man. He felt intoxicated and he wanted another refill.
Before either of them realised it they were stretched out naked on the sofa, wrapped in each other's arms, learning about the other's needs and wants and doing everything possible to satisfy them until the room was filled with murmurings and sighs, then cries and one long sob....
As Jack was awoken by his alarm clock the next morning it was to find one arm numb, trapped beneath the delectable body of his new lover -- and a morning erection he was sorry to have to ignore. He would need his shower cold this morning, he mused.
"Daniel," he said softly as he tried to pull the uncooperative limb from under the still slumbering body. "Daniel," he repeated a little louder.
"Hmmm, what? Tired," Daniel mumbled.
"Yeah, well I have to get to work," Jack grumbled back.
"Jack!" Daniel bolted upright and stared at the other man with wide eyes.
"Whoa there, Danny, everything's fine," he said rubbing his now tingling arm. He leaned over and kissed the younger man on the side of the neck and Daniel visibly relaxed.
"Uh, sorry, just a little ...disoriented," Daniel grinned sheepishly. He kissed Jack back, "Nice place to wake up though."
"Sure is, but I can't stay, have to go fix a bridge," Jack said bounding out of bed and heading for the bathroom. "Want to make coffee and I'll fix a quick breakfast while you shower."
"Er, yeah, sure," Daniel replied, getting up more slowly, grumbling when he saw the clock. "What sort of time is this to get up in the morning?"
"What was that?" Jack called from the bathroom.
"Nothing, nothing," Daniel mumbled through a yawn, stretching and crawling out of bed. He smiled though as he remembered the night before, the smile fading a little as he wondered if he would ever see Jack again. Perhaps now that the man had had sex with him his interest would wane. God, he hoped not. He'd been pretty sure he was falling in love with the guy before he’d even touched him, now he knew it for certain. No one had ever made him feel the way he'd felt last night. Even though he couldn't claim tons of sexual experience he'd always considered himself a generous lover, but he had never felt the need before to give his partner so much of himself, everything he possibly could. As for Jack, the man was so giving it was humbling. It had been the most wonderful experience of his life and he was afraid he'd never attain such heights again.
He heard Jack singing -- badly -- as he competed with the water in the shower and he so wanted to know how the older man felt about it, if Jack wanted to continue seeing him, yet Daniel was afraid of the answer. He could still hardly believe he had fallen so quickly and so hard for Jack and he didn't know what he would do if the man just considered last night a fling.
The water stopped and Daniel suddenly remembered that Jack had asked him to make coffee while he was in the shower. He quickly pulled on his boxers and headed for the small kitchen area.
He'd hardly got the coffee going when Jack walked in. "Bit tardy there, Danny-boy," Jack said cheerfully grabbed him around the waist, pulling him back against his body. "Come here," he added, nibbling his ear.
Daniel sagged against him; Jack had discovered last night that his ears were one of Daniel's hot spots. "Will you meet me after work, at the same coffee shop?" Jack asked huskily, licking around the curve of his ear.
"Oh, god, yeah," Daniel replied breathlessly. Then the words broke through the haze. "You want to see me again?"
Jack pulled back, turning Daniel in his arms, "Are you kidding?"
Daniel flushed and dropped his eyes.
"You thought.... I don't do one night stands, Daniel," he said firmly. "If that's all I wanted I could just cruise the bars. This is San Francisco, Daniel, the gay capital of the world." Jack smiled gently, brushing a finger down Daniel's cheek. "Just the way I made some kind of impression on you -- though how the hell I did that escapes me -- you walked into my life and... well," he shrugged, "I want to keep you in it as long as you let me."
Daniel hauled Jack back in and planted a kiss on him that left his lover reeling.
The next few days were a whirlwind of excitement and fun for both men. They spent a good portion of the weekend in Jack's place and most of that in bed, though they did go out a couple of times when Jack showed Daniel some of the sights of the city. When Jack was working Daniel met him every afternoon after his work shift; he even cut a couple of events at the conference centre to be waiting when Jack walked into the coffee shop. On the day following their first night together he also met the large black man he had seen Jack talking to the second time he’d spotted him on the bridge walkway.
His name was Teal'c, which Daniel immediately recognised as of African descent though Teal'c's family had been in the States for four generations. The man was physically impressive but he was also an extremely polite man who had a distinctive way of speaking in his deep resonant voice. It seemed that he and Jack had worked together for many years, travelling the world together, often working for Samantha Carter, the Chief Engineer and Daniel noticed he spoke of her with respect. When Teal'c went to the rest room Daniel asked Jack if there was anything between the big guy, as Jack frequently called him, and Samantha.
Jack laughed, "What is it with you and matchmaking for Sam. You've never even met the woman!"
Daniel shrugged a little embarrassed, "I don't know, he just seemed to be very ....very deferential when speaking about her."
Jack frowned a minute, then his brow cleared, "Oh yeah, he is. He's always kinda polite anyway but he has a lot of respect for Sam. He is very proud of the progress she has made. It's tough being a woman in this game and..."
"Well, yeah, I can certainly see that, which doesn't really make a lot of sense. I mean why is it that women are readily accepted in some scientific fields and not in others. I mean there's got to be as much mathematics required in this kind of engineering as there is in say, physics."
Jack grinned, "I think Sam would like you."
"I think maybe I would like to meet her," Daniel mused.
"Can be arranged," Jack shrugged. "Hey, I can ask her to give you the royal tour, she likes doing that. Showing off," he grinned.
"Sure, I'd like that."
"My lecture wasn't good enough, huh?"
Daniel chewed his upper lip and grinned, "I was, er, rather more interested in watching how your mouth moved than listening to the words coming out of it."
"You wanna come back to my place and listen to some of the dirty words that can come out of my mouth," Jack asked huskily.
Daniel's eyes widened but before he could answer Teal'c arrived back at their table and they drank their coffee as Teal'c talked of the few months they had spent working in Malaysia before they began work on the Golden Gate. Daniel did his best to listen but he couldn't get his mind off what Jack had said. Suddenly the idea of Jack of saying things to him as he moved inside him...god he was getting hot just thinking about it! Teal'c seemed to realise Daniel was distracted and excused himself as soon as he'd finished his coffee.
"Hey, T," Jack called after him, "when you see Sam in the morning tell her I’ve got a friend who wants the royal tour."
Teal'c smiled and gave a small bow in Daniel's direction. "Tomorrow, O'Neill," he added.
"Why does he never call you Jack?" Daniel asked as they walked towards Jack's place.
Jack shrugged, "Just his way of showing respect I guess. I saved his life when we first met, years ago and he called me O'Neill and it just sorta stuck."
"Saved his life? How?"
Jack sighed, "We were working in Japan and there was an earthquake, he fell and I managed to grab hold of him as he tumbled past me. I held on until a couple of the guys helped us. We spent a couple of days side by side in the hospital and really got to know each other."
"In the hospital?"
"I dislocated my shoulder when I grabbed him. It was nothing, I mean I didn't think I just reacted."
"My hero," Daniel grinned.
They were almost at Jack's now and Daniel whispered, "I've not forgotten what you said."
"What I said?" Jack frowned.
"About talking dirty to me."
"Oh, you like the sound of that, no pun intended," Jack grinned and laughed as Daniel blushed. They got in the elevator and as soon as the door closed on the two of them, Jack leaned close and whispered in his ear, "I'm gonna strip you and then take you in my mouth, play with your balls and suck you so hard you come like a rocket, then while you are still floating I'm gonna roll you over, part those cheeks of yours and fuck you through the mattress."
Daniel's breath was coming in gasps, "Jack...oh god...now...do it now."
Jack grinned, grabbed his arm as the door opened and towed him to the apartment, "Inside, Daniel. The apartment and then you."
"Jack..." Daniel said tentatively as they were getting ready to leave Jack's apartment a couple of days later, "It's the last day of the conference tomorrow. I...er know it's not been very long since we met but how would you feel if I said I was thinking of arranging to stay a few days longer?"
Jack grinned, "I'd tell you I've been trying to think of a way to get you to stay."
Daniel glowed as he leaned up to kiss Jack and then he asked, "Jack, can I be totally honest here?"
"I'd hope you always have been, Daniel," Jack said with a frown.
"Perhaps I should've worded that better," Daniel said with a wry smile. "What I really meant is...I want to tell you how I feel but I don't know how you...see this thing between us. I'm afraid of saying too much...saying the wrong thing."
Jack gripped him tighter, "The only wrong thing you could say to me is goodbye."
Daniel sighed and snuggled in closer, his face pressed against Jack's neck, "I know we've only known each other a few days and I've never...it's never happened to me like this before," Daniel stopped, aware of a slight tension in Jack and he could feel that his breathing had speeded up and in a panic he rushed on, "I think I'm falling in love with you."
Jack relaxed and putting a finger under Daniel's chin he lifted his face to look into his beautiful eyes, "Think, Daniel?" he smiled, "I know I'm in love with you."
Daniel's eyes opened wide and his mouth gaped as he started to say 'oh' but he never really got the word out as instead Jack stuck his tongue inside as he gave Daniel a bruising kiss.
"Damn, I'm gonna be late, I have to go," Jack said reluctantly releasing him. He grabbed his coat and keys and hurried towards the door. "Oh, forgot to tell you Sam is looking forward to meeting you, T gave you quite the introduction."
"Great, looking forward to meeting her too," Daniel replied automatically, his mind still on Jack's declaration.
"See ya later," Jack said, turning at the last moment to mouth 'I love you'.
Later that afternoon, Jack looked at his lover across their table in the coffee shop. Daniel was sipping his coffee, holding the cup like it was one of those precious artefacts he liked to talk about and Jack got the impression his mind was miles away.
"What'cha thinking?" asked Jack, a little concerned at Daniel's distraction.
Daniel looked up at Jack and gave him a shy smile, "Er, this morning actually."
"What I said?" Jack asked quietly. It had bothered him all day that Daniel hadn’t responded to his admission, not that he'd given him a lot of chance he realised, as he remembered that scorching kiss. He hoped that had been Daniel's response but now he was worried.
"No, what I said and the fact it wasn't entirely honest."
"But you said..."
"I know, I know and I'm sorry but like I said I was afraid," Daniel raised a hand to stop Jack who was clearly ready to interrupt at any mention of the word afraid, "I mean I didn't want to scare you off," he smiled sheepishly. "I didn't mean what I said about thinking I was falling in love with you," he took Jack's hand and gripped it tightly. "I fell hook, line and sinker the moment I looked into your eyes and I've been falling ever since. I love you so damn much..."
Jack shifted the grip of their hands and he stroked Daniel's palm, "Thank you," he said softly, "I needed to hear that."
"Yeah," Daniel smiled, pleased at Jack's reaction, "you took my breath away this morning, you know."
"Like to take it away now but I guess it's a might public," Jack grinned.
They sat in companionable silence for a minute or so as they drank their coffee.
"Daniel, is it necessary for you to stay at the hotel now? It would be a lot more..." Jack grinned mischievously, "convenient if you were to stay with me."
Daniel smiled, "You want me to move in with you for the next few days? I would love to."
"Does it only have to be for a few days, Daniel?" Jack's mood was decidedly less casual now. "Couldn't you stay for longer?"
"Jack, I told you that the museum owed me some leave; I could probably get them to agree to two weeks, but I can't stay indefinitely."
"And you wouldn't consider...no, I guess that’s too much to ask," Jack said turning away, staring into his now empty cup.
Daniel frowned, could Jack be suggesting? "Jack, what's too much to ask?"
Jack lifted his eyes, staring at his lover, wanting him to be so much more. "I shouldn't have said anything, it's too soon."
"Jack, just ask!"
"I don't want this...us, to end. I...would you consider moving in with me permanently?"
Daniel's mouth dropped open in shock and then he snapped it shut and smiled. "Jack, I don't want us to end either. I would like nothing more than to move in with you but my life is back in New York," he finished sadly, chewing on his lower lip.
"You don't have any family there, you said so. Are there friends there you can't leave?
Daniel stared at the man he had come to love and he shook his head, "No, no one that special, not... But I have to earn a living." Why the hell am I arguing about this, it's what I want!
"So? There are museums in San Francisco too," Jack shrugged. "And Universities, you said you used to teach. Would it be so hard for you to get a position here?"
Daniel reached out his hand again and placed it over Jack's on the tabletop, "Not too hard to try, Jack." Then he frowned, cocking his head on one side. "But what about you, Jack? Your work takes you all over the world; this isn't really your base is it? I know it will take years yet to finish the bridge but one day..."
"I'm getting too old to keep wandering all over the world. It's been good, but if you’ll make your life with me then I’ll plant my roots here. Or any other damn place you choose."
Daniel took a breath and nodded. "I'll stay as long as I can and check out the possibilities while I'm here. I'll have to go back when my leave is up but I promise I'll come back as often as I can until I can move here. You will wait, Jack?"
They’d gone straight from the coffee shop to Daniel's hotel where he'd quickly packed. Jack laughed when he discovered he had one suitcase for his clothes and another for his books.
"Can you grab my laptop bag next to the bed, oh and the book on the bedside table?" Daniel asked.
Jack had assumed it would be a hardback, for reference or something but what he found was a leather-bound volume with a clasp. "What's this?" he asked curiously.
"Oh, my journal," Daniel said.
"You mean like a diary?" Jack was intrigued.
"I suppose you could call it that, but it's much more really," Daniel shrugged. "I've kept one for years, a way of putting my thoughts and ideas down. Even my dreams and hopes."
"Am I in there?" Jack smiled.
Daniel flushed and admitted in a very low voice, "Yes, every day since I first saw you."
By Daniel's expression, Jack understood very clearly what private thoughts were hidden between those pages and he carefully handed the slim book to his companion. "Anything else?" he asked casually, looking around the rather plush hotel suite. "Certainly didn't stint when they booked you into this place."
Daniel smiled, "No, I'm pretty sure they got the name mixed up. I guess they wanted to put me in one of those Holiday Inn type places and somehow I got booked in the Inn Above Tide instead. The views here are fantastic."
"You sure you want to leave? You're booked in for a couple more nights."
"I'm sure, I like your place better."
"My little box compared to this," Jack laughed.
"Any day," Daniel said and Jack saw the sparkle in his eyes. "That's everything, let's go."
As they walked out Jack suddenly said, "Oh, forgot to tell you, Sam is gonna take you on your royal tour tomorrow afternoon. What time does your conference end?"
"About two, I think."
"Sweet, I'll tell her to expect you about three."
The next morning, after Jack had left for work, Daniel took the opportunity to stay in bed a little longer as he had about an hour before he needed to leave for the last day of events. Daniel had a lot to think about and between concentrating on the conference during the day and the whirlwind that was Jack O'Neill in the evenings, he hadn't really had time to simply contemplate what was happening to him. His whole life had been turned upside down and inside out and yet instead of being freaked by it all he simply felt at ease and this puzzled even him. He smiled and wondered what the hell he was bothered about; he was in love and miracle of miracles, he was loved in return. He ought to be singing from the rooftops, not trying to dissect the how and the why.
Suddenly feeling invigorated Daniel swept back the covers and got out of bed. He wanted to be out in the sunshine and he quickly showered. He was too wound up to eat so he just had a coffee and left for the Conference Centre. There was a nice park just opposite the building and he intended to sit down in the sun and read his journal; remind himself how his feelings had overwhelmed him in the last few days and then write of how easy it all seemed this morning. Maybe one day in the distant future he would need reminding how right it had felt, or maybe he would just like to remember how love had begun.
As arranged with Jack, by three in the afternoon Daniel was waiting near the exhibit of the cross-section of a cable at the South Vista Point and exactly on time he saw a tall, blonde woman approaching him. She was dressed in blue jeans and a short denim jacket over a dark blue shirt and he saw that she was every bit as attractive as Jack had described. As she drew closer Daniel saw the twinkle in her bright blue eyes, as she blatantly looked him up and down.
"You must be Daniel," she grinned holding out a hand, "Jack said you were gorgeous."
Daniel blushed and she laughed, "He also said you were kinda shy. God, how the hell did the old reprobate catch someone like you?"
"He is not old! He's just perfect," Daniel retorted and then he saw her smile and grinned at how easily he'd been tripped. "Damn, he said you were quick." He finally took her hand and was not surprised when she gave him a hearty shake.
She laughed and said, "Ha, no one is as quick as Jack, he just covers it well. Hmm, shame the fog has decided to descend early today," she commented as she led the way back onto the bridge walkway heading towards the South Tower.
Daniel nodded, he'd heard a lot about the fog but this was the first day it had rolled in so thick that the only parts of the bridge clearly visible were the actual towers as they rose out of it into the bright sky above. All around them were the diffuse lights from the many cars that passed both ways along the bridge.
As they walked Sam was explaining in detail what they were doing to strengthen the southern steel support towers and the replacement of the approach viaduct and the installation of seismic isolation bearings. He admitted he didn't know a lot about engineering but that as an archaeologist he was particularly interested in the famous art deco appearance of the bridge.
Sam agreed that the bridge's famous profile was sacrosanct but said she wished the garish colour wasn't!
They had reached the South Tower by then but unfortunately there was very little they could see through the thick swirling fog and Daniel was about to suggest they should re-schedule when Sam asked if he wanted to see inside.
"Inside?" he asked intrigued.
"There's one place Jack figured you might like," she smiled, unlocking a metal door in the base of the tower that he hadn't noticed. "There's a room back here that was used for storage during the original construction, though Jack thinks some of the guys back then used it as a lunch room. Anyhow, a lot of small tools and even some personal stuff got left behind when it was closed up for the opening day in May 1937."
"You mean the stuff's still there?" he asked excitedly, eyes darting about as he followed her inside and between two huge metal plates that formed a kind of corridor. At the end they entered a room about six metres square and Sam flicked on a powerful flashlight that sat on the floor just as she entered. She panned the room with it before setting it down on the long trestle table in the centre of the room.
Daniel stood there looking around, not knowing what to expect but it had been more than this. The room was empty except for the table, which held a large metal trunk and a few folding wooden chairs leaning against the back wall. Sam saw his disappointed expression but said nothing as she opened the box and indicated he look inside. Daniel glanced at her and then looked into the box. There were tools of various kinds piled at one end, a couple of them looked rusty but most were in better condition. Nearby was a bucket half full with rivets and stuffed behind it was a battered hard-hat. Also there were more mundane things like a battered lunchbox, a water canteen, a magazine, a couple of newspapers, a long roll of paper and finally a broken ruler. At the other end there was what looked like a folded set of coveralls and a pile of photographs, one of them framed.
"Even though the bridge has been renewed and repaired over the years these were things used by the original builders," Sam explained, a touch of pride in her voice. "And subsequent generations of workers wanted these very personal items kept in this room where they were found. The company complied provided they were kept secure in this specially constructed box." She reached inside and took out the roll of paper, "This fascinates me," she said, "a set of the original plans that some engineer used, dated 1936. I've seen copies of course but these are special," she very carefully unrolled the paper, "actual plans that someone worked with."
Daniel smiled at Sam's tone of voice. He knew exactly what she was talking about. Every time he touched an artefact he knew he was touching more than a piece of history, he was touching a part of someone's life. It didn't matter how many years, how many centuries had gone by since that person had touched what he now touched, it was more than mere history he held.
Just then a shrill electronic beep intruded and Sam quickly reached into her pocket and clicked her cell. "Sorry, have to keep the volume high in my job," she shrugged. "Better to take this outside, clearer signal. Have a look," she invited indicating the box.
"Thanks," he waved as she left.
He only gave the tools a cursory glance, drawn to look at the photos, picking them up one at a time. Most of them were faded and the faces were hard to make out. He picked up the framed picture and that was clearer. He studied the faces of seven men clustered together, they were obviously workers, all but one of them wearing hard-hats. He glanced down at the battered example in the trunk and wondered if it had belonged to one of the men in the photo. Bringing his attention back to the picture Daniel frowned at the image of the man on the far right; the only one bareheaded and for a second he felt as if a cold hand had clutched his heart. The subject looked like Jack, the same build, the same hair, the same expression. Then he shook his head knowing, of course, that it couldn't be and he was just being fanciful. He moved the photo frame closer to the flashlight that Sam had put in the centre of the table, and it was with relief that in the brighter light he could see the resemblance only went as far as a similar build and silver-grey hair. His breath left him in a whoosh.
"Daniel?" Sam's voice pre-empted her entrance back into the room. "Sorry but I have to go, there is a problem developed about the support towers so I have to cut this short."
"That's okay, Sam, it’s been really interesting. I never expected anything like this. I know you can see pictures of such items in the visitors’ centre but to be able to handle stuff like this..." He gave a sheepish smile.
As she locked the door again, she commented, "Jack said you had a thing about touching stuff. Guess he didn't just mean him."
She laughed, "You're cute when you blush."
Daniel arrived back at Jack's place at about six. He had gone to the coffee shop to meet his lover as usual only to receive a message to say that there was a problem on site and Jack was required to stay behind to thrash out some ideas with Sam and some of the other engineers.
He was disappointed but on the short trip from the coffee shop to the apartment Daniel decided to use the time to do a little research. He knew quite a bit about the bridge retrofit programme from Jack and had learned more detail from Sam but he knew little about the original construction of the bridge in the thirties and his interest had been well and truly piqued by what she had shown him a couple of hours earlier.
So, he made himself comfortable with coffee, a sandwich and his laptop where he began a thorough search for information on the plans and work involved in the building of the world-famous icon. He found some really interesting sites and settled down to read. He was very interested to read that the first real hard-hat had been developed for workers on the bridge and that safety was such a concern that they had even strung a net beneath the whole floor of the bridge span itself.
After a while he glanced at the clock surprised at how late it was and even more so that Jack hadn't returned yet. He guessed whatever was wrong was proving difficult to solve. He was feeling tired but was halfway through a very interesting article so he decided to stay where he was until he had finished. After he would go to bed hoping Jack would be home by then.
Daniel looked down at the long drop to the sea below and was grateful that a safety net had been slung beneath the construction area of the bridge span. Already it had saved many lives, one of them his friend, Jacob. Trouble was he also knew that on a project of this size the builders expected deaths. He had read an article in the newspaper only a few days ago speculating that for every million dollars spent there would be the death of a worker and this bridge was going to cost at least thirty-five million dollars. He shook his head at the thought but knew it was a risk many would take in these difficult times when work could be all but impossible to find. No wonder it was called the Great Depression.
He turned to see the supervisor moving towards him. "I have a new job for you today, you are to assist him," the man pointed to a man coming up behind him. "O'Neill is one of my best riveters, you do what he says."
"Yes, boss," Daniel said. He was an unskilled worker and he was still new, so he was being passed from one skilled worker to another, assisting wherever he was needed.
There was little call for his profession these days and he had to resort to taking whatever work he could get. He had been very worried only a couple of weeks ago. He had no work and his money was virtually gone. His rent was due and it was a toss up between having a roof over his head and purchasing food to eat.
He would never be able to thank Jacob, a friend who lived in the same building and who got him the job on the bridge. He and the man had developed a friendship over the previous few months, he shared Daniel's interest in history and they talked as they played chess. So when he realised how desperate Daniel had become he suggested working with him. Daniel had thanked him for the thought but said he had no manual experience and they would never hire him but Jacob had said they owed him a favour. He had fallen from some scaffolding when a piece of equipment failed and if not for the innovation of the safety net, he would have fallen to his death. Jacob had been correct and, on his recommendation, the supervisor had hired Daniel, though it had been on the understanding that if he couldn't do the work he would be fired. Jacob had told him not to worry, that he would tell him everything he needed to know. So, Daniel, who held a professorship, ended up fetching and carrying for the skilled workers.
He’d heard of O'Neill, the man who could place rivets faster than anyone else, but he had never seen him until now. He held out a hand in greeting but O'Neill just shoved a bucket into his hand and Daniel got the message. He soon learned how the man worked so fast, his focus was wholly on his work and he was methodical, never sparing time to talk and he always expected a bucket of hot rivets to be waiting when he was ready. Daniel soon learned to watch his progress so he knew when to run off for the next load. O'Neill also needed plenty of water and so Daniel was constantly on the go. By lunchtime he was sweating profusely and exhausted. He had never needed the break so much.
It was with something akin to shock that he heard O'Neill speak to him.
"Jackson, is it? You did well for a beginner," he nodded, a slight smile curving his lips.
Daniel stared at him, really seeing him for the first time. He liked the look of the man, bright eyes in a face of clean straight lines. He did have a scar near his eyebrow but it only gave him a rakish air that Daniel thought was attractive. His hair was pretty grey, almost silver he thought as the sun caught it just then. The man had a lean strong body, and hands that looked every bit as strong and capable as Daniel knew they were.
"Thanks," he said. "My name is Daniel. You made it pretty clear what it was that you wanted, Mr. O'Neill."
O'Neill lifted an eyebrow. "You sound educated. What you doing this job for?"
"So I can eat, Mr. O'Neill. No one wants a Professor of Archaeology at the moment."
"You're a professor?" he nodded but gave no sign of surprise. "Archaeology? What is that exactly?"
So Daniel explained to him as succinctly as he could, expecting to be shut down at any moment. Other than Jacob none of the other workers seemed to want to hear about such things, quickly becoming bored and wanting to talk about subjects they understood. However, O'Neill listened even asking a couple of very smart questions and Daniel began to chide himself for underestimating the man.
"Come on," O'Neill said, "I know a nice quiet place where we can eat. Most of the guys like to stay outside, but I like a change." He led Daniel to a small door as the base of the nearest tower and showed him to a makeshift store area where a table and a few chairs were scattered about. "I like to read and that's easier in here," O'Neill explained. He got out his lunch box and Daniel followed suit. He asked Daniel to tell him more about these ancient buildings and the people.
At the end of their first day together O'Neill told the supervisor that he wanted Jackson to assist him from then on and they became partners at work. Jack, as he now wanted to be called, took Daniel under his wing and from that odd beginning, a friendship slowly developed between the two men and they began to see each other after work too. They would meet for coffee and to talk, or sometimes go to a bar. Occasionally they would play cards with some of the other guys but Daniel didn't like to gamble and after a while he persuaded Jack to let him teach him how to play chess. Surprisingly Jack found he liked it and he taught Daniel checkers in return and it became a regular thing that they would visit one another's apartments to challenge each other to a game. Over time the friendship became more important than either man would have expected.
Three months later the friendship finally became what each man secretly wanted but had been afraid to admit to the other. Not surprisingly it was Jack who finally broke through the barrier of fear and uncertainty.
"Daniel, you know I care about you, that your friendship means more to me than anything?"
"Yeah, Jack, and no you can't borrow any money, you haven't paid me back from last time yet," he replied good-naturedly.
Jack smiled, "No, I don't want to borrow anything. I...I want to...give you something."
Daniel frowned, "Give me something? It's not my birthday," he stated and Jack could tell he was a little embarrassed.
Jack sighed, "No, Daniel. Damn, I knew I would be no good at this. I am trying to tell you -- obviously very badly -- that I...I have feelings for you, that I want to give you my...my love."
Daniel's mouth dropped and he stared at the older man. For a moment he didn't speak and Jack thought he had ruined everything and wished he could take the words back. He was contemplating leaving Daniel's apartment but the younger man's voice stopped him. "You're not talking about friendship feelings are you? You mean...more?"
Jack looked at the other man, looking for disgust, anger, it wasn't what he wanted but it was what he had learned to expect. When he only saw curiosity and maybe concern, he explained gently, "I mean more. I mean I love you. I'm sorry if that upsets you but I couldn't go on like this any more, not saying anything. I understand that you don't feel the same but..."
"You don't understand anything, Jack O'Neill, if you did you'd know I love you too."
Now it was time for Jack's mouth to drop in surprise. He stared deeply into those eyes he'd come to adore and now he saw warmth...and love. "You do. Oh, god you do!"
That night they consummated their new relationship, taking things easily as neither man wanted to rush this. As Daniel had said, they had the rest of their lives together and he wanted to explore and learn all about Jack's body so he would know how to please him. Jack had found that very erotic and was all in favour of slow and steady.
A few days later Daniel was getting some water for Jack and he suddenly had a very strange feeling. He couldn't explain it, not even to himself but he knew, he knew something was wrong, something to do with Jack. He dropped the water and ran back to where Jack was working, firing rivets into the south support towers, scattering other workers as he ran, ignoring the shouts that followed him.
He saw in his mind's eye the way Jack was suspended from the top to enable himself to get at a particularly awkward section of the framework. Daniel had voiced his concerns to Jack at the precarious position he would be in but the riveter had laughed it off, saying he knew many precarious positions and Daniel had been in awe at the double entendre of the statement. The twinkle in his lover's eye told Daniel that Jack knew exactly what he was saying. The amusement had taken his mind off his concern, now it returned with a vengeance.
Even as he reached the spot he heard an ominous creaking sound and almost simultaneously he heard a yell. Daniel slid to a halt, dropped to his knees and lay prone looking over the edge, his own scream joining that of his lover’s as the contraption he was fastened to broke away and fell tumbling end over end....
Jack opened the door of his apartment, annoyed that he was so late. Daniel would be worried; he had tried to call earlier but there was something wrong with the phone line and Daniel's cell was turned off.
He walked into the living room to find Daniel slumped in the armchair; his laptop precariously balanced on the chair's wide arm as he slept. Then Jack realised he must be dreaming as he seemed restless, his eyeballs were moving rapidly under his eyelids and he was muttering under his breath. Jack stepped nearer to remove the laptop before it fell off and he'd only just put it on the coffee table when Daniel suddenly let out a piercing scream. Jack was shocked and swung back, surprised to find the other man still sleeping, though now his whole head was being tossed from side to side and his hands gripped the chair arms so tightly that his knuckles were white.
"Daniel, Daniel!" he called, shaking him to try and wake him from whatever horror he was experiencing.
Daniel awoke still sobbing, dropping his head into his hands, and murmuring "Jack, oh god Jack, no!"
"Daniel? Daniel. It was only a dream, I'm here, I'm right here."
"Jack?" Daniel lifted his head, staring at Jack as if he couldn't believe his eyes and then it seemed to register where he was. "I'm really here. It was a dream?" He looked around and then he saw his laptop on the table. "I was researching. Oh, thank god it was just a dream."
Jack had never seen Daniel quite so shaken before and immediately got him a drink of whisky. Seeing his lover's hands shaking as he held the glass did little to ease his concern.
"It must've been some dream, Daniel," Jack said carefully. He didn't know if Daniel was the kind to want to talk about such things or if he liked to bury stuff deep. It hit him hard that here was something about the man he loved of which he had no idea.
Daniel placed his half empty glass on the coffee table and took a deep breath before he turned to Jack. "It was, Jack. It was unlike any dream I've ever had before. It was so real. The detail..." His voice faded and he leaned his head against the chair back.
"Do you wanna tell me about it?" Jack asked. "If you don't I understand, but sometimes it helps to get it off your chest."
"I want to tell you, Jack, in fact I need to," Daniel replied earnestly. Jack nodded and settled himself on the sofa opposite. Daniel gave him a wan smile and began to explain the involved, complicated dream he had experienced and when it came to the end part he found it difficult to describe. "It was awful, Jack...I knew that something terrible was going to happen to you but I had no idea what, and I also felt that I wouldn't reach you in time. I ran, I ran so fast, trying to shout and warn you but I...I got there just in time to see you fall. I...I called to you but it was too late. You screamed..." Daniel's eyes were wide, his face pale.
"Not me, Daniel," Jack said gently, sliding forward in his seat, hands fluttering in Daniel's direction. "It was a dream, just a dream."
"You...he seemed to fall forever, tumbling over and over until he finally hit the hillside below. I saw his body all tangled up with the scaffolding. It was..." Daniel shuddered.
"Hillside?" Jack asked.
"Yeah, like I said he was working on the south support towers, near the arch pylon."
Jack was quiet for a moment; he couldn't tell Daniel but he was disquieted by the similarity of the position in relation to the discussion he was having that evening.
Daniel reached forward, picked up the glass and downed the last of his whisky. "I had that dream for a reason, Jack. It's a warning."
Jack brought his thoughts back to the realm of common sense. "Daniel, Sam showed you the box in the South Tower. No wonder you dreamed about that time. I know what's in there too and knowing you, you'd have studied everything. Then you come home and search the web, read everything you could about the original construction, right? Are you really surprised you dreamed about it? Okay, so you added the touch of you and me to it. That doesn't really surprise me either. You were still pretty much yourself in the dream. Not sure why you cast me as a riveter. Oh, of course the bucket of rivets in the tower room. It's just a projection, Danny."
"No, it was more than that, Jack. I know what my dreams are usually like and this wasn't one of them. I'm not letting my imagination run away with me here. This was so...Jack, I experienced six months in that...reality. Three of them as your lover and," he dipped his head and said quietly, "making love with that Jack was a little different."
That piqued Jack's interest. "Different, what do you mean?" God he hoped it hadn't been better. God what I am I saying, it was a damned dream!
Daniel lifted his head and Jack saw the mischief in his eyes and was glad that at least he seemed to have gotten past his initial distress. "Well, showers weren't as common in those days and we didn't have one." Jack grinned at this; shower sex was one of his favourites. "But that Jack liked water as much as you do, so we bathed together and..."
"You had sex in the tub?" Jack grinned, licking his lips. "Tell me about it."
Daniel's eyes opened but he smiled knowingly, "Seriously?"
Daniel laughed then sobered. "I tell you this, Jack, I have never had sex in a tub and that was so damned real I want to do it...again." Jack's heartbeat increased at the need in Daniel's voice. "It was pretty large, but still it was a tight fit for us and he knelt while he washed me... "
"Like I do in the shower," Jack commented, his voice a rasp.
"Yeah, just like that, long strokes down my back and swirls over my chest and you know what a turn on that is."
"Not so different then."
Daniel didn't answer the comment but continued his description. "I washed him too and he was already hard when he positioned me in front of him between his legs. He slipped his hand underneath me in the warm water and began to prepare me. He was very slow and gentle and somehow half lying in that warm water it felt very erotic and when he thought I was ready he lifted me and, I know this sounds odd, but I felt as if the water was holding me as he slowly lowered me onto him."
Listening Jack was jealous of this other him in Daniel's dream and wasn't that weird.
"I wanted to help, wanted to move down to meet him but I couldn't get any proper purchase and he told me to leave it to him. So he held me tightly and he pushed up into me slowly at first but faster and harder until he was powering into me. The water was rising and falling, sloshing over the sides until the level dropped and it just made waves. I felt like I was riding on the water, and the heat inside me built and built until he shot into me and I came without even being touched. God, you were magnificent!"
Jack wished it had been him, wished it were real. Wished to do it with Daniel just like that! "Crap, Daniel I wish that had been me."
Daniel blushed, "Yeah, me too. You really want to try it sometime?"
"Damn right I do. We can try later if you want," he said with a distinct leer. "My tub should be big enough, right?"
Daniel smiled. "Yeah and I do, but don't think you’ve distracted me." Daniel stood and moving in front of Jack, he kneeled down. Staring up at his lover he allowed his concern to show and he said, "Please Jack, you have to listen, I am in earnest here. I have never had a dream like this before, I know it is a...a premonition." He stopped, looking thoughtful.
"What?" Jack asked, recognising that look.
"Remember that photograph I mentioned, the one that I thought for a moment looked like you, only when I looked closer I discovered it was just vaguely like you?"
Jack frowned not liking where this was going, "So what," he said. "All that proves is that you were already projecting me into the past in your imagination. You are just so used to thinking in terms of past lives..."
"No, Jack," Daniel interrupted. "I think it was much more than that, I think it was my first warning."
Jack was puzzled, unsure how to handle this Daniel he had never seen before. He was both focused and persistent and Jack couldn't seem to get through to him. Daniel was so set on this dream having some ulterior motive but Jack didn't know what to say to dissuade him otherwise.
"Jack?" Daniel suddenly asked, "What was wrong that you had to stay so late?"
That wasn't a question Jack wanted to answer but he knew Daniel would never let it drop, so with a frustrated sigh, he said, "You know we’re replacing the south support towers and the Fort Point archway?" When Daniel nodded understanding, he continued, "The archway has to be provided with scope for it to lift in the event of a quake and certain devices need to be embedded and we’ve got a design flaw with..."
Daniel interrupted before Jack got too technical. "That's it! In my dream, Jack was suspended and working underneath the arch pylon when he fell."
Jack smiled hoping to calm him. "There is no comparison, Danny, I won't be doing anything like that. It's just a coincidence."
"There's no such thing as a coincidence," Daniel stated, angry at Jack's dismissive attitude to his worries. "Damn it, Jack, don't you care how I feel!" he demanded. "I'm terrified of losing you," he finished more softly, his fear slipping through and if anything, that affected Jack more than the anger.
"Oh, Daniel, of course I care," he said reaching out to grip the back of Daniel's neck pulling him forward until their foreheads met. Staring into his lover's eyes, Jack said, "I'm sorry, I hadn't appreciated how seriously worried you really were. But it's my job, Daniel, what am I supposed to do? I can hardly tell them I can't come in because my partner had a bad dream. And how long for, Daniel? When is this, whatever it is, supposed to happen?"
"I don't know. God, I just know... what do I do?" Daniel dropped his eyes, refusing to meet Jack's.
"I don't know what else to say to you, how to convince you. Other than the problem we discussed tonight wasn't related to any danger to the workforce. It is purely to do with a possible design flaw. Sam is going to follow it up and she will just get the parts redesigned. It really is nothing to worry about."
"You say that and you must believe it, but I can't. This feeling is so strong..." Daniel lifted his eyes again and looked at Jack, not hiding his pain and confusion.
"Please, Daniel, it was just a dream, you must believe that. I won't fall, I won't be in a position like that."
"It's a warning, Jack, that doesn't mean the threat is only from what I witnessed in the dream. Please promise me that you'll be extra careful?"
"Always, Daniel, always." He kissed the other's man forehead, "I have even more reason than before." He tracked kisses down his partner’s face until he kissed his lips, licking the lower one asking for entrance. Daniel opened and welcomed him in and Jack took the opportunity to turn a gentle, healing kiss into a passionate one. Separating with the need for air, Jack gasped, "Shall we have that bath?"
Next morning Daniel seemed more relaxed, more like his usual self. They’d made love in the tub and Jack had found it every bit as erotic as Daniel had suggested. He wondered if his lover harboured any more such fantasies. When they'd retired to bed Daniel seemed so peaceful that Jack just held him as he finally allowed himself to rest.
Jack was up first as usual, and Daniel soon answered the siren call of coffee. He was still sitting at the breakfast table when Jack gathered his stuff to leave for work. "See you later. Oh, don't go to the coffee shop to meet me this afternoon, Sam was arranging a meeting with one of the designers so I'll be late."
Daniel quickly looked up, "Where is the meeting? What time do you expect it be over?"
Jack sighed inwardly but answered the questions calmly. "The meeting is in Sam's office and I should be done by five, five thirty at the latest."
"So you should be home by six."
"Daaaniel." Jack said unable to quite hide the frustration.
"I know, I know, everything is fine," Daniel tried to show he was calm and then promptly added, "but you will be careful won't you, Jack?"
Jack sighed but recognising the doubt in his lover's eyes, he nodded and said seriously, "Yes, Daniel, I will."
Watching him go, Daniel knew his fears, groundless as far as Jack was concerned, were frustrating for his lover but he couldn't help it. The unease was genuine and he couldn't shake it. He didn't know what to do.
He looked around the apartment deciding he could do some chores then he suddenly realised he wanted to move in permanently and he should be spending his time looking for a position. So far the museum was being very reasonable about his absence but he didn't think they would extend his leave much longer. He had gotten sidetracked and was determined to get on with what he ought to be doing.
Jack was worried about Daniel, not about his dream though that concerned him, but about his lover's reaction to it. The guy was sensitive anyway and something like this he would really take to heart. No wonder Daniel was so upset, he loved Jack to distraction, which the older man would never understand but be forever grateful for. Jack supposed it would just take time, time for the dream to fade and for the concern to take care of itself. He would give Daniel every second he needed.
Jack had to shove those thoughts aside as he arrived at work; he had to concentrate on leading his team. He did intend to keep his promise to Daniel just the same, he would be very careful but he smiled knowing it was second nature to him because his actions affected the men he worked with, the men for whom he was responsible.
The next few days passed without incident. Jack worked as usual and Daniel contacted a few colleagues he knew in town, some old and some new he had met at the Conference. He regretted, in one way, that he hadn't attended many of the evening socials preferring to spend his time with Jack. He wondered if he might have unintentionally alienated a few friends, or even missed meeting potential useful contacts. But, deep inside, he didn't begrudge one minute he'd spent with his lover.
He tried to put the dream out of his mind and as the days passed it became easier but it was still there at the back of his mind; that nagging little voice telling him that maybe his life just then was just too good to last.
Jack was grateful that Daniel's tension had eased and his energy now seemed to be centred on his concern about getting a post. Despite the feelers he had put out he didn't feel very confident. Jack tried to bolster his confidence but for a very intelligent man, Daniel could sometimes be insular.
Four days later, Jack again told Daniel not to meet him; he had another late meeting. This time Daniel merely nodded though his eyes sent Jack a message just the same and the older man smiled and nodded back.
As he rode down in the elevator, Jack took a small white envelope from his pocket and carefully removed two sheets of hand-written notepaper. He didn't read it, he knew the words by heart after all the careful effort he'd put into writing down his thoughts and feelings clearly. He just wanted one last look to ensure it was neat enough to be read clearly. He hadn't told Daniel of his plan, it was just something he felt he needed to do and one day he would tell his lover what he had written. On the way to work he planned to pick up a picture frame for the photograph he had taken and then he would place them both in the box.
Daniel kept looking at the clock, trying not to worry but it was hard. It was after eight and Jack should've been home by six. He'd waited until seven-thirty, determined not to be a nag but Jack knew he was spooked by that dream and if he was going to be this late he would have called. He would have! So, finally at seven-thirty Daniel called Jack’s cell phone. There was no answer. Jack never turned off his cell, not when he was at work. Daniel called Sam and she said that the meeting had ended at five forty-five and that Jack should have been back by six-fifteen if he was coming straight home. Daniel frowned at that; maybe Jack had an errand to run.
So he had waited a little longer and then at eight o'clock he called Teal'c but as far as the big man was concerned, Jack had been looking forward to dinner with Daniel.
Daniel paced, his eye on the clock. Could Jack have gone for a drink with the guys? He doubted it, they would already have left by then and anyway Jack would've let him know. He didn't want to keep calling Jack's friends, make himself seem clingy or acting as if Jack wasn't trustworthy but he couldn't help the panic that was building. He kept seeing the terrible sight of Jack plummeting off the bridge.
He decided to wait another half-hour then he'd have to do something. He just couldn't sit there much longer and wait while maybe...oh god! Where could he be? He would have called; Daniel knew it!
God, could this be it? Is it too late? Jack!
Jack tried once again but he couldn't move, the heavy metal plate was lying over the lower half of his body. He was trying to reach his cell but it had flown from his pocket when the huge plate had come away from the wall behind him and struck him down.
As planned he had arrived at the tower as soon as he could after the meeting ended. He knew he would be a little late, but not enough to worry Daniel. He knew it would only take a few minutes to open the box and place the picture frame of him and his team inside along with the white envelope and he'd been right.
The trouble was he'd never been able to leave the room becoming trapped instead and no one knew where he was. He had no idea how badly he was hurt, his legs were numb and he tried to convince himself that it was just because he was trapped and the metal was heavy. He hoped that was all it was, he couldn't bear the idea of being... his job was physically demanding, requiring complete mobility as he needed to be able to climb or crawl about in small inaccessible places. How could do that if he... Oh god, Daniel! He knew that whatever happened Daniel would stand by him but it wasn't what he -- Jack shook his head to try and stop such negative thinking but all he did was make himself dizzy. He had cracked his head on the floor when he fell, though he didn't think it was concussion. He was sure he hadn't lost consciousness and he only had a slight headache.
Think about something else. Daniel -- Daniel and sex? Well he certainly had lots of good ideas about sex, like doing it in the bath tub, or the kitchen table, one memorable time in front of the TV. Jack wondered what else he could come up with?
Jack could see his wristwatch and it was seven-fifty. He knew Daniel would be worried by now. Even before his dream he would've been concerned if Jack had told him he would be home by six and didn’t arrive by eight. But now Daniel would probably be thinking the worst. Suddenly the fear clutched at him that it could be weeks before he was found, this room wasn't visited that often. He had a sudden urge to laugh at becoming one of the room's artefacts.
Oh, fuck, he was getting hysterical. He needed to keep calm. Think; think about something positive. He smiled, what was more positive in his life than Daniel? He thought about the statement, letter, whatever it was that he had placed in the box less than two hours ago and closing his eyes, he remembered the words he had written.
This is not easy to put into words yet I feel I have to try.
My name is Jack O'Neill, I am 47 and have had a good life so far.
I have a job I love and I've worked in most corners of the world,
made some wonderful friends. I tried the marriage game but it
didn't work out and I ended it with little regret. Thought my life
was winding down. Here I was involved in one of the most
difficult, most innovative jobs of my career. I'd hit the pinnacle.
What did I know?
A ridiculously short time ago, about three weeks, a man walked
into my life. Walked? Exploded is a better description. Being
bisexual, I wasn't surprised to find myself attracted to him, after
all he's totally gorgeous, way more intelligent than me, sensitive,
caring and so full of compassion it scares me.
What terrifies me even more is that he thinks I'm something
special too -- he loves me. I still can't believe it but he is now so
much a part of my life that I can't imagine breathing if he's not
around to share it occasionally. Literally.
I've tried to tell him how special he is, how blessed I feel, how
he's made my life complete but he just looks at me as if I'm
crazy and dismisses it with a shy smile.
So I thought I'd write it down and put it here in this box with the
other special memories. It probably sounds arrogant but I wanted
to leave a memory of my time here working on the bridge and
while the picture of my team seemed appropriate, so does this
glimpse into what makes me tick.
His name is Daniel.
Jack was surprised to feel tears in his eyes. He meant every word and he suddenly wished he'd told Daniel what he'd written. Or if... he hoped he would see it afterwards if....
Time was passing much too fast for Daniel. Where could he be? Daniel thought furiously. Sam had assured him that Jack had no cause to go anywhere on the bridge following the meeting, certainly nowhere dangerous and that she was convinced he had gone home. She started to tell him that when she left Jack's car hadn't been in the parking lot but he interrupted to say it wouldn't be, it was in the shop. Jack had gone by bus that morning. Sighing, she then suggested he was worrying unnecessarily and though she said the words kindly, Daniel could sense the underlying edge to her voice. He was pretty sure she thought he was over-reacting. He hadn't told her that he’d already called the police and thankfully there had been no accidents reported in the area of the bridge but he still contacted the major hospitals in the area; Jack hadn't been admitted anywhere.
No matter what Sam thought, Daniel was convinced that Jack was still on the bridge, hurt somewhere; god forbid it was anything more...extreme.
Abruptly Daniel remembered his words to Jack concerning what he considered his first warning, the photograph in the special box in the small room. The image of the man really had looked like Jack when he'd first seen it. He'd tried -- and for a time succeeded -- in believing it had been a trick of the light or his own fertile imagination placing Jack into the picture but he knew deep in his heart that it was more. It was a warning -- it was a guide!
That room? Of course, Jack had been asking him a little more about it in the past couple of days; asking what he, as an archaeologist, thought of the few small items kept there over the years and he'd said he felt more of a connection with the real people concerned because of those few personal belongings. It was a fellowship their future colleagues obviously also felt as they protected them over the years.
He recalled the expression on Jack's face when he talked about the feelings behind why the workers had wanted to keep their own 'shrine' to their predecessors and with a flash of insight he understood. Jack wanted a piece of his life preserved in that box of memories as a testament to his involvement with this once-in-a-lifetime project.
Daniel grabbed his coat from the closet and yanked open the drawer where he kept his keys. He'd almost closed the drawer when he saw the small flashlight and on a whim he took that too and then he ran out of the apartment. Even as he flew down the stairs, too impatient to wait for the elevator, he wondered if he should have called for help but dismissed the idea as he didn't think Sam would believe him. Later, he would regret he hadn't contacted Teal'c.
Jack froze as the flashlight dimmed yet again. The first time it happened he thought he’d imagined it, even wondered if it was due to his headache which he thought might be affecting his vision, but now he knew he hadn't. Then suddenly it flickered and dimmed again. It was fading fast now; obviously the batteries were dying. He just hoped he wasn’t going to die as well.
"Damn, damn!" he groaned. He knew there was a compartment in the base of the large flashlight for spare batteries but he had left the lamp over by the door when he'd entered. After all, he'd only planned to be a minute! Crap!
He dreaded being in this place alone in the dark and he was getting cold; it reminded him starkly of a tomb. God, he didn't want to die here. Get a grip, you're not that badly hurt, just pinned. He had to believe that, he had to! He desperately ignored the fact that he no longer had any feeling in his legs. He knew by now his friends would be missing him; he had no doubt that Daniel would already be searching for him. He was smart; he'd figure it out. Jack closed his eyes, dismissing his own optimism. Why should Daniel even consider this place, he had no reason to think he'd come here. Daniel, please....
Stop it! That doesn't help!
In frustration he again tried twisting his upper body as far as he could to try and reach his cell phone but it was useless, it was just beyond his reach. He sank back feeling even worse than before, his head was now beginning to pound. He knew now, of course, that he'd been wrong before, he did have a concussion. He tried to have faith that everything would be okay but he couldn't help but think of Daniel's dream -- his premonition -- and wonder if his time was really up.
As if in answer to his silent question the flashlight finally gave up the ghost and died…
As his cab parked in the South Vista Point, the nearest the driver could get to the South Tower as parking on the bridge itself was strictly prohibited, Daniel wondered how he would get into the tower. He remembered Sam had needed a key, then he realised that if Jack was indeed inside it would have been left unlocked. He glanced at the time on the cab's dashboard as he paid the driver; it was after ten. If Jack was inside he had been there for over four hours.
He ran along the walkway grateful it was virtually empty at this time of night and he was breathless by the time he finally reached the tower. In trepidation he approached the door, in two minds what he wanted to find. If Jack was there the odds were he was hurt, but if he wasn't then where the hell was he? Taking a breath Daniel tried the door; it opened easily under his hand.
Thought fled as adrenaline kicked in and Daniel rushed inside the narrow passage almost colliding with one of the walls in the dark. It was then that it hit him there was no light from the small room and panic welled up again. Remembering the small flashlight he'd brought he whipped it out and lit his way ahead, realising the door at the end was ajar. Hurrying forward he entered the room sweeping his light around. It was then he saw him; half buried under one of the huge metal plates that had formed the wall of the small room. It had apparently fallen from the wall above and behind where Jack must have been standing and it had thrown him forward to land on his front with the plate covering the lower half of his body from the small of his back.
"Jack!" Daniel rushed forward and fell to his knees beside the other man whose face was half turned towards him. Jack's eyes were closed and it was then Daniel saw the thick trickle of blood under his head where he must have struck the floor. Daniel's first thought was that his lover was dead but when he touched his neck he was still warm and there was a definite pulse, slow but steady. Daniel breathed a sigh of relief and absently leaned down to kiss Jack’s temple. That was when he saw the blood again and carefully slid his hand under Jack's head to feel for the injury. When all he could feel was warm wetness he decided that it was probably only a minor injury, he knew how head wounds could bleed profusely. He wouldn't allow himself to think it was anything worse. "Jack," he said more quietly, "It's Daniel, please open your eyes," and to his great relief the eyes fluttered open, to almost immediately slide closed again. But to Daniel it was enough to know that he conscious. He just had to keep him that way.
Coming to his senses he reached for his cell phone and it was then he wished he'd had the foresight to call Teal'c; he could do with the big guy's strength, as he knew he could never move the slab of metal alone.
"Come on, come on," he chanted as the cell continued to ring and then he heard Teal'c's deep voice asking who it was. "I've found him, I need help."
"Daniel? What are you...you have found O'Neill? He is hurt? Where are you?" As usual Teal'c didn't waste time with pointless questions.
"The room with the box of workers’ memorabilia, in the tower. He’s pinned by a metal plate that’s fallen from the wall. He’s out of it. I need help."
"I will come. Have you contacted the authorities?"
Daniel could've kicked himself, he wasn't thinking at all clearly. "Er, no."
"Do it now. I am leaving immediately and I will be there soon. Do not attempt to move him." Daniel could hear the sound of an engine starting; Teal'c had been on the move the entire time they had been talking.
Daniel immediately called 911 and explained the situation, knowing they would send whatever was required. He kept a hand on Jack's shoulder constantly rubbing him and talking to him while he waited for the connection. Daniel was relieved to see that he opened his eyes; they flickered for a moment, slid closed and then shot open as if Jack finally realised he really was there. Daniel flicked his cell closed and slipped it back into his pocket.
"Jack, how do you feel?" He shook his head at the inanity of the question. "Don't worry," he went on, "help is on the way. Don't close your eyes, look at me."
"Danny," Jack said his voice hoarse.
"Damn, I wish I had some water," Daniel said.
"You…just wanted you." Jack gasped. "I was afraid..." He smiled a little, "Should've said, you've a right to know."
Daniel frowned, not sure if Jack was delirious, or maybe he was just confused. "What is it, Jack?"
"Letter, need you to read it now. In case I have to...leave."
Leave? Daniel stared at him in horror. Is he hurt that badly? No, please! Panicked he moved to study the metal plate again, getting down on his haunches and shining his flashlight as far as he could to see exactly what was going on underneath. Trouble was it wasn't large enough to give off enough light to see properly; all he could make out were shadows. Damn!
He moved back to sit beside his lover. "Jack, please don't do this. I know you're hurt but..."
"In the box," Jack interrupted, sounding stronger than before. "A white envelope with my picture. Read it."
Daniel frowned but did as Jack asked, hoping that help would arrive soon. The table was upended and the metal trunk was now lying on its side on the floor. It looked in good condition and it was still closed. Daniel opened the box and some of the contents spilled out, including a new picture frame, which he took out. He saw a photograph of Jack with Teal'c and the rest of his team, and Sam in the background. Caught up in one corner of the frame was a white envelope. "This, Jack?" he asked taking the envelope and putting the frame back.
"Yeah, you weren't in the photo so I wanted to paint a word picture of the one person who was missing, the person most important to me," he reached a hand out to his lover and Daniel took it eagerly.
Even as their hands connected Daniel heard voices and releasing Jack he hurried to the door still holding the envelope. He saw Teal'c leading a paramedic team inside the tower entrance. Quickly stuffing the envelope in his pocket he turned to Jack, "They're here, Jack, you'll be fine. You'll be fine." Daniel wasn't sure whom he was trying to reassure.
Jack stared at Daniel in the entrance with the other men, so glad that he had the letter. Jack knew he wasn't very good at putting his feelings into words and he'd been surprised how much easier it was to put them on paper. He felt a little stronger now which could simply be because Daniel was with him, but even if his fears had led him to believe he was hurt more than he really was he didn't regret that Daniel would read his words. He had told himself he would tell Daniel sometime in the future but if he was honest he didn't know if that was true, he was the kind of man who usually let his actions speak for him.
One of the paramedics knelt down beside him and checked him over while the second one moved to the metal slab, lay down beside it and shone a very powerful flashlight underneath. After a long minute he got up and nodded to his partner who then indicated to someone beyond Jack's view. Two more uniformed men came forward followed by Teal'c and suddenly Daniel was by his side again. He spoke quickly and quietly to the paramedic but the words seemed to slide by Jack's understanding. As if he knew Jack didn't know what was happening, Daniel turned and spoke to him, leaning close to him and speaking slowly.
"The firefighters are going to get you out, but it may take a while. They said it would probably be best to use cutting equipment but it would be difficult to use it in here. They are going to see if, with Teal'c's help, between them they can lift it enough so we can try and pull you out. Now, don't worry, the paramedic said the plate is mostly jammed against the sidewall, which is taking a lot of the weight. Are you listening carefully?" Daniel frowned.
Jack knew why he asked, his eyes slid closed as he could no longer keep them open. He heard Daniel speaking to someone, "What's wrong with him, you said it was only slight concussion."
"It is Mr. Jackson, but he needed treatment hours ago. Mr. O'Neill, open your eyes please. Can you hear me?"
Daniel sounded worried and Jack didn't like that so he fought the lethargy and opened his eyes again. "Yeah?" he said and Daniel sighed with relief. The paramedic checked his pupils again, using the dreaded penlight and then gave Jack some more water. He felt a little better and he flicked his eyes at Daniel again.
"I was explaining," Daniel said carefully, "It seems that a couple of the chairs were crushed when the plate fell and it’s those that entangled and trapped your legs, not the metal itself."
Jack nodded which immediately proved to have been a mistake as pain sliced through his head.
"Mr. O'Neill, keep still. Can we do this, guys?" one of the paramedics asked.
Jack heard Teal'c's deep voice confirm that he was ready and then a stranger; Jack assumed one of the firefighters said, "Everyone into position, I will count down from three. Ready?" He waited a beat and Jack felt hands take hold of him, and then the firefighter said, "Three, two, one, pull!"
Jack heard the sound of screeching metal, the grunts of men straining, he heard Daniel yell, "Now!" and he felt himself being yanked backwards, somehow both quickly and very smoothly. His legs, which he belatedly realised had been numb for some time, suddenly let their presence be known and he groaned.
"Legs, forgot I had 'em," he grumbled.
As the doctors were examining Jack, a paramedic told Daniel he had been very lucky. His legs were badly scraped and bruised but there was no indication of any breaks. He thanked them very much for their help and he was told they were only doing their job.
Teal'c stayed with Daniel in the waiting area near to Jack’s room where they remained for confirmation that Jack really was okay. The big guy refused to leave Daniel alone until they heard something. Partly to occupy himself, Daniel decided to call Sam who was suitably shocked and apologetic when she heard what had happened to Jack, telling him that his perseverance had perhaps saved his life. Daniel didn't gloat but neither did he correct her.
Finally the doctor came out to talk to them.
"Mr. Jackson?" she asked looking from one man to the other till Daniel stepped forward. "I'm Dr. Fraiser," she introduced herself, "Mr. O'Neill is going to be fine. He has some contusions and lacerations on his legs but from what I gather he was extremely fortunate. I am more concerned with the concussion and have admitted him for overnight observation. If there are no complications," she cocked her head to one side at the expression on Daniel's face in response to that qualification and gave him a small smile, adding, "Which I have no reason to expect. He should be released sometime tomorrow."
"Thank you, doctor."
"Can I give you a prescription?" Without waiting for an answer, she continued, "You look as if you've just about had it, go home and get some rest. Mr. O'Neill is in good hands. Come and get him tomorrow."
Teal'c stepped forward, "I shall ensure he follows your suggestion, doctor."
Daniel looked from one determined diminutive woman to one very tall man and shrugged in defeat.
Teal'c really did ensure he went straight home and would probably have checked to see he got into bed except that Daniel shooed him out. He was quite happy to go to bed, he was exhausted except that his mind wouldn't stop. At least this time his thoughts were filled with relief and not fear. The premonition had come to pass but Jack was going to fine. He finally succumbed as dawn lightened the bedroom.
Not surprisingly, he slept later than usual and he called the hospital immediately on waking the next morning, to be told that Jack had a good night and that Daniel should come and speak to the doctor later that afternoon, at which time he should be able to bring the patient home.
It was only as he sat down to eat some breakfast that he remembered Jack's letter, which he had stuffed into his pocket when the paramedics arrived the night before. He quickly went to the closet and withdrew the envelope, hands shaking a little at his sudden desperation to know what his lover had written.
Opening the envelope he saw two closely written pages in Jack's hand, but a neater version than he was used to and he smiled at how careful Jack had been. Realising the words were special to Jack, Daniel decided to get comfortable to read them.
A few minutes later Daniel leaned back in his chair feeling overwhelmed at the words Jack had written, words he recognised that Jack wanted to be read by strangers in the future -- and even colleagues or friends now. The box was available to anyone who knew it was there and Daniel felt humbled by that public admission of his importance in his lover's life.
If Jack had been there then he would have been treated to a very special thank you and Daniel planned to give it to him as soon as he was home.
He left for the hospital when he thought enough time had passed, arriving there about two that afternoon. He was surprised to see Dr. Fraiser was still there.
"Do you ever go home?" he asked her with a smile.
"Home? What's that?" she replied acerbically, taking the sting away with a bright smile. "Mr. O'Neill kindly informed me I ought to call you Doctor Jackson," she said as she led the way to Jack's room.
Daniel coughed, "Er, technically that's true but my doctorates are in archaeology and linguistics, not quite applicable in a hospital. Why on earth would Jack tell you that?"
"Because he wanted to make the point that doctors aren't gods, just people with qualifications. Then again, I think perhaps he thinks you're a god."
Daniel blushed and she laughed. Daniel had an inkling why Jack was being smart-mouthed with this woman.
"You sure you really want to take him home? I bet you could do better than him."
"I heard that you little...!" Jack's voice floated to them from inside his hospital room.
A broad grin broke across Jack's face when he saw Daniel.
"As you can see, Doctor Jackson he's back to normal," Dr. Fraiser interjected. She turned to Daniel and in a more serious tone, she went on, "He'll be stiff and achy for a while but simple analgesia can help with that. Same for his headache but if it persists or gets any worse bring him back in..."
"Hey, I’m in the same room y’know!" Jack declared.
"Couldn't forget that," she grumbled loud enough for him to hear. "Please take him home, I'll be glad to be shot of him," but the twinkle in her eyes decried her words.
During the journey home Jack was quiet and Daniel wondered if he was in pain, but when he asked, Jack just said, "A little," and lapsed into silence again.
Daniel had an idea what might be weighing on his mind but decided to wait until they were back in the apartment. He finally got Jack settled on the sofa with a bottle of water and some painkillers. He watched Jack take the pills, sat down beside him and said, "I read your letter, Jack."
Jack looked at him; eyebrows raised in question, cheeks a little flushed.
"It was beautiful, Jack. I can't tell you how touched I was. Such a public outpouring... Do you want me to put it back in the box?"
"That's why I wrote it," Jack said quietly.
Daniel looked long and hard at him and Jack met his gaze steadily.
"Is there some reason you couldn't tell me? Why you needed to...to tell the world?" Daniel smiled to let Jack know he wasn't upset, in fact anything but.
Jack looked thoughtful for a moment before admitting, "I don't know. I just suddenly wanted to put something of myself in that box. I love my work and the life it’s given me and I think it helped shape the kind of man I am, but I came to understand that you are the best part of me. I didn't know how to say that to you and not sound stupid."
"Oh, Jack, you just did and in the most wonderful way. Thank you. So now, I have two reasons to thank you."
"Well yeah, I've had a private verbal declaration and a public written statement. Not bad for an old guy huh?"
"Old guy? I'll show you old!" Jack said grabbing Daniel by the shoulders and pulling him against his body for a kiss.
"Yes, please," Daniel whispered, his breath gusting over Jack's mouth as he captured his lover's lips.
Boy, could Jack kiss; Daniel's lips were tingling and Jack had tasted just about every surface inside his mouth. And Daniel wanted more. He pressed closer to Jack, his right hand dropping onto his partner’s thigh and he moved it up towards his lover's groin when suddenly Jack sucked in a breath and Daniel realised he was hurting him.
"Oh, Jack, sorry that was thoughtless."
"Well, yeah 'cause your libido ambushed your higher functions."
Daniel laughed and then sighed, "Damn, I want to make love to you but you're hurting."
Now it was Jack's turn to sigh, "Danny, for a time last night I thought I was dying, I thought I'd never see you again, never touch you or feel you in my arms. I need you now, want you to remind me what it feels like to get lost in that place where everything is just so much ...more."
Daniel didn't speak; he simply got to his feet, reached out a hand and led Jack to their bedroom, where he undressed him before gently pushing him to sit on the bed. Then he proceeded to remove his own clothes, slowly as if uncovering a precious artefact.
Jack watched avidly, his eyes following every movement as Daniel's fingers brushed his own flesh as items of clothing slid from silken skin and he wanted to feel that body beneath his own fingers.
When Daniel was completely naked, Jack said huskily, "Come here, I want to touch you," and with alacrity Daniel stepped in between Jack's parted legs. Keeping eye contact, Jack ran his hands tenderly up and down Daniel's flanks letting him know he wanted him exactly where he was. Jack reached under the pillow and withdrew the lube, spreading a little on his fingers before, with a lascivious smile, he slid them around his lover's back to caress his buttocks. He never could believe how smooth Daniel's skin felt under his rough fingers. Daniel's very erect cock bobbed enticingly right in Jack's face and with a huge grin he kissed the tip, making Daniel hiss. Then he licked along the length and Daniel's hands seized his shoulders in a grip of iron. "Easy, Daniel," Jack murmured around a mouthful of hot hard flesh.
"Oh, god, Jack!"
Jack played with Daniel's ass as he swallowed him whole, his fingers teasing his lover's hole, stroking along the crack of his ass and then sliding in just enough to push the tip of one finger inside. At the same time, Jack's tongue and lips were just as teasing with Daniel's cock, twirling around the head and sucking the shaft deep inside his mouth, only to pull back, grazing it very gently with his teeth. Daniel was gasping and his legs were trembling under Jack's ministrations.
Jack flicked his eyes up to see Daniel's face and found himself staring into a pair of eyes that were black with passion, his mouth was open as he panted his breath through kiss-swollen lips. Jack thought he was beautiful and he needed to feel that mouth under his. He reached up, grabbed his lover behind the neck and pulled him down into another passionate kiss, his hand replacing his mouth around Daniel's penis for a few moments.
"Jack," Daniel said softly when his lover released his mouth. It was remarkable how much a linguist could put into just saying his lover's name.
Moving to take Daniel's cock back into his mouth, Jack's hand slipped down to caress his balls, first one then the other. It was obvious now that Daniel was very close, so he slipped his hand underneath to circle his entrance again, pushing the finger further inside searching for his sweet spot. Drawing Daniel's cock deeply into the warm cavern of his mouth, sucking as hard as he could, Jack moved his finger inside his lover and, as he finally found when he was looking for, Daniel's grip on his shoulders tightened again as his orgasm hit. Jack swallowed down all that Daniel gave him, continuing to massage inside him until Daniel was spent and virtually collapsed against him.
Jack guided Daniel, who was still vibrating with the aftermath of his climax, to lie on the bed with him. He continued to lazily caress him while he came down from his high.
"Wow, Jack," Daniel said hazily, "you're something else." He rolled over, smiling at him, "It's your turn now," he added, reaching out to fondle Jack, brushing his hand over his chest, tangling his fingers in his springy chest hair. "Okay, you can't do anything too strenuous but you can just lie back and enjoy, right?"
Jack grinned, "Oh, I'm sure I can do that."
Daniel gave him a gentle push so he would lie on his back and then he straddled him. The lube was in his hands and he passed it to Jack, "Wanna finish preparing me?" he asked, leaning forward to kiss him.
The position Daniel was in was perfect for Jack to reach his entrance and he slid one finger in easily, working him for a few moments before he added a second finger. All the time Daniel was licking and kissing his face, along his jaw and then down his neck, which Jack angled to give him better access. Jack didn't bother with a third finger; Daniel was open enough to take him, so instead he reached for his own cock.
"Ah no," Daniel said intercepting him. "That's mine," he added, moving back slightly and picking up the lube. He squeezed a small amount onto his fingers and carefully took hold of Jack's shaft and smoothed the lube over him.
"Aah, that's good..." Jack said, throwing his arm across his eyes and trying to arch up a little into Daniel's hand.
"True," Daniel smiled, "but this is better," he added, lifting himself over Jack and positioning his partner's cock against his entrance.
Jack moved his arm and lifted his head to look at Daniel as he ever so slowly sank down onto him. "Oh god, Daniel that feels...oh god..."
Daniel felt wonderfully full and he lifted again to slowly slide back down. He was being as careful as he could not to hurt Jack's thighs, which were badly bruised.
"Faster, Danny, harder, wanna feel you."
"Don't wanna hurt you."
"You won't, need this. Come on."
Wanting to give Jack what he needed, Daniel increased his pace steadily until he was panting with the effort, perspiration pouring from him onto Jack's chest.
Jack flung his arm over his face again while his other hand was gripping the bedding like it was a lifeline. He was muttering Daniel's name over and over, peppered with demands for more, more intermixed with imprecations to god. Daniel was riding him to within an inch of his life and he loved it.
The heat pounding deep inside Daniel was igniting a blaze and his blood felt like liquid fire flowing through his veins. "Jack, ohgodohgod, Jack!"
Jack felt his orgasm building deep within, it was gathering, ready to race through his body and burst from him deep into his lover. "Daniel ...I'm coming, Danny, I'm...coming...coming..." He could feel Daniel's internal muscles gripping him tighter and tighter until his climax exploded from him and he cried out, "Daaaaniel!"
As Jack sprayed his come deep inside his lover he was overwhelmed with that feeling of floating high above himself while at the same time he was so connected to the man he loved he could feel every cell in his body igniting where he was touching Daniel. It was like being in two places at once, exhilarating.
He was brought back to earth as Daniel collapsed across him and Jack gathered him close, kissing his face and neck and murmuring in his ear.
"Love you too, Jack," Daniel whispered.
Jack smiled, "Thought you were too far gone to hear me."
"Never too far gone for that, need to hear that."
"In case you're wondering, I felt the more and then some."
"Me too, Jack, me too. Tired now."
"Yeah, just one thing, Daniel."
"Remember in my letter I talked about sharing breath with you?"
Daniel opened his eyes to gaze softly at his lover, "Oh yeah."
"When you're in New York, just remember I can't breathe properly without you, so please hurry back?"
|Genres:||Alternate Universe, Drama, First Time|
|Summary:||The burgeoning relationship of two seemingly disparate men, who meet on one of the most famous bridges in the world, slides from a dream come true towards a nightmare.
Author's Chapter Notes:
Thanks to my Beta, Gateroller!