This story is based on the song, "100 Years" by Five for Fighting. Lyrics open each new time segment.
"I'm 15 for a moment - Caught in between 10 and 20
And I'm just dreaming - Counting the ways to where you are...."
Chest heaving, he crossed the chalk line, veered left and ran over the small rise that separated track from grass. After running a few feet more, he jogged in place for several moments in order to cool off. Sweat trickled down his face and back as he slowly allowed his body to wind down before plopping himself onto the soft, fragrant grass. The rest of his class was still running so Jack dropped onto his back and clasped his hands behind his head. He stared up at the white puffs of cotton that crawled across the Illinois sky, eyes narrowed in the brightness of the sun. The pounding of feet on the track tried to lull him into a contented state of near sleep, but he found himself torn. He wanted to continue his perusal of the blue canvas above, but he also wanted to flop over on his stomach and watch his classmates. More specifically, he wanted to watch the strong, well-muscled thighs, broad, sweat-coated chests, slim waists and tight, high butts. One choice was safe and held his future, the other was definitely not but was the stuff of secret fantasies.
He was fifteen, horny as hell and making do with magazines (hidden under his mattress and away from prying parental eyes), his right hand, and strange, but oddly thrilling, sexual dreams of which his parents would, no doubt, be less than approving. He decided to turn his attention back to the clouds before he embarrassed himself.
The sky teased him with all that it hid in its apparent openness. Someday, he'd conquer the damn thing, burst through the final barrier and enter space. He wasn't sure how, only that he would. But sometimes, like now, what lay beyond the blue canopy seemed to hint at more than mere flight. Sometimes, when he was in the right mood, it seemed that a face formed among the clouds, a face that he could almost reach out and touch. A male face. But he was pretty sure that was his imagination. On the other hand, his mother was always telling him that for a boy with his head in the clouds, it was amazing how much of an imagination he lacked. When he thought of some of his most recent fantasies that involved something more than his right hand applied to his dick, he could pretty much assure her that he did, indeed, possess an imagination.
He grinned as he watched a bird soar, dip, glide and coast. He could feel the controls of his uncle's Piper PA-34 Seneca in his hands and his uncle's words of praise when he'd brought her in with an almost flawless landing. Flying and sexual fantasies - the mainstay of his life. He chuckled deep in his chest. In three years, high school would be behind him and the Air Force Academy - he hoped - his next step. If that fell through, then college or perhaps enlisting and going onto Officer Candidate School. In any case, the Air Force was his future.
Someday - he'd have it all. He had time. Lots of time. His entire life.
"I'm 22 for a moment - She feels better than ever
And we're on fire - Making our way back from Mars...."
Lorraine felt good, he had to admit it. He was moving languidly, her body rising up to meet his as her fingers tightened around his arms. A pearl of sweat hung from the end of his nose and with a slight pause, it lengthened, teased, and finally dropped off to land in the inviting valley between her breasts. He lowered his head and lapped it up. She moaned, her hips jerking upward. His tags swung down and brushed her lips, and he watched her open them to take the metal into her mouth. He closed his eyes and thrust deeper, speeding up, lifting his head and feeling the tags slide out.
Her voice was hoarse, tight with passion, need and impending orgasm. He took one rosy nipple into his mouth, bit lightly as he thrust again and felt liquid warmth surround his dick as her body shuddered and nails dug into his skin. She bit her lip to keep from screaming. Seeing the flush begin on her spectacular breasts, feeling her tighten around his dick, he came with a long, deep groan of satisfaction.
When it was over, he kissed her lax lips, eased out, then dropped onto his back. She immediately turned and scooted into his side, one leg looping over his. He stared up at the ceiling and sighed. She felt good, better than ever, but she wasn't ... Chip. Her body was too soft, but it was the body he was expected to crave and need and want.
"I've got to go." She ran her hand over his chest, her fingers playing with his chest hair.
"Okay." He didn't move.
She gave a little huff and sat up, her hair falling around her face like a veil. "You could sound a little more upset, Jack."
"It's eleven and I'm walking you back to Susan's house. And there's the game tomorrow followed by... tomorrow night."
She laughed, a teasing laugh, patted his stomach and said, "One thing on your mind."
"I'm twenty-two." As explanations went, it worked for him.
"You're way older than that here." Lorraine touched his head.
She swung her legs over the edge of the bed and rose. As she stretched, he found his gaze just naturally landing on her ass. High, round, pale, silky soft... but not... Chip's.
No firm muscles clenching and unclenching as Jack entered him. No strong thighs tight into his chest....
He got up quickly.
Twenty minutes later they left the motel and started to walk.
She was tucked in next to him as they strolled down the quiet streets of Colorado Springs. The night was cool, but not so cool that he needed to play the gentleman and offer his jacket. The sidewalk was bumpy on this side of the street, thanks to the roots coming up through the concrete. He didn't mind, he simply guided her with his hip. Her scent wafted over him and he inhaled sharply, could still smell himself on her, so he exhaled. She smelled nice, but still ... she wasn't Chip.
Damn, he was a mess.
How the hell had this happened? Last year of the Academy, number three in his class, number one in the skies, number one on the ice, a different girl - okay - woman, on his arm every few weeks or so, yet... Chip was all he could think about. Instead of Lorraine's soft, feminine voice helping him drift off at night, it took memories of dark, dangerous sex with Chip in the back alleys of Denver to send him into sweet slumber. Memories of stolen moments in small, smelly motel rooms where the neon lights blinked red and blue on Chip's face and chest as Jack pounded into him could do for him what thoughts of Lorraine, or any other woman, could not.
He had no intention of leaving the Air Force after his required five years, and yet - there was Chip. Chip, who had his own dreams of a future in the Air Force. It was fucking hopeless, that was what it was. He couldn't afford Chip, and Chip couldn't afford him.
Insult to injury -- Chip wasn't the face he sometimes spotted in the dark blue skies of flight.
It seemed as if he were moving toward something - or someone - but at other times, he felt he was doomed to live this fake life forever. No, that wasn't true - couldn't be true. He was only twenty-two and he had time, didn't he? Plenty of time. Hell yeah, he had time. But--
"Jack? A penny?"
He smiled down into Lorraine's upturned face. "Not worth even that, babe." He squeezed her waist and dropped a kiss that meant nothing onto her moist lips. This was his life. It had to be. It was that simple. Space, flight, they beckoned....
"I'm 33 for a moment - Still the man, but you see I'm a they
A kid on the way - A family on my mind...."
Juggling the grocery bags, Jack fought his pocket for the keys. Just as his fingers grasped and held, Sara pulled the door open, blew a lock of hair from her eyes, and said, "Thank God. Charlie hasn't stopped crying since you left."
Well, welcome home, he thought.
Couldn't really blame her, though. Charlie had another earache, one of many he'd been suffering through in the last several months - months that Jack hadn't been available. Hadn't been able to relieve Sara of some of the burden. As he squeezed past her with the bags, she said, "I'll put them away. Charlie always does better with you and he needs those drops again."
He put the bags on the kitchen table and with a smile said, "No problem. In fact, when you're done, why don't you get out for a while? I'll hold down the fort for the rest of the afternoon."
Her arm slid around his waist as she leaned him and gave him a peck on the cheek. "I love you, Jack O'Neill."
"Drops in his bedroom?"
"Yep, on the nightstand."
"I'm on it."
"God, I love you 'in charge' guys. All this and you look great in uniform too."
He chuckled, swatted her on the butt and walked out and down the hall toward Charlie's bedroom. The door was half open and he slowly pushed it the rest of way in. He expected residual tears, but instead, found Charlie on his back in his crib, his small, almost-two year old fingers reaching for the fighter jet that swayed from the ceiling in the afternoon breeze wafting in from the open bedroom window. Two red spots on his cheeks told Jack that his son had a low-grade fever to go with the earache. He glanced at the nightstand and was relieved to see the children's Tylenol next to the ear drops. But Charlie would need juice. No Tylenol without his favorite grape juice. He smiled at that thought, a thought that sent warm shivers up and down his spine. His son, already needing 'special' things, exhibiting the personality that would be his through the rest of his life. He moved to the crib and peeked in. Hazel eyes lazily moved to take in his face, and Charlie smiled.
"Hey, buddy, not feeling so good, eh?"
Arms reached out to him as the typical baby babble spewed forth. Grinning, Jack picked him up and moved to the rocking chair, but not before grabbing the medicines. He sat down - and then remembered the juice.
"Okay, good thing your mother isn't here. I doubt that listening to you say your first cuss word would be top on her list. She was hoping 'grandpa' would be next."
"He said 'grandpa'?"
Sara walked in, a glass of grape juice in her hand.
"Uh, no, no, 'fraid not. I was just... you know. And thanks for the juice."
"It's all he'll drink now with his baby Tylenol."
Smiling, Jack looked down into the sweet face of his son and said, "I know. Already a personality."
Sara scoffed. "He's always had a personality, Jack. From day one. God forbid you put his diaper on less than just right, remember?"
Jack waved a hand airily. "Not the same. This is a real preference. A choice. Not comfort, choice."
Smiling indulgently, she kissed first her son, then the top of Jack's head. "Men," she sniffed. "Okay, I'm off. I'm meeting Julie and we're heading to the mall. Need anything?"
"Nope. Have fun, and if you promise to be good to the checkbook, I'll have dinner ready--"
"I'm gonna destroy the checkbook and I'll bring dinner."
He laughed softly. "Deal."
She kissed him again, this time on the lips, and he savored it before offering her another smile. "Love you."
"Back atcha, O'Neill."
Their standard phrase. He watched her walk out and thanked God for his life. A major in the Air Force, doing well, moving fast, and waiting at home, Sara and Charlie. Who could ask for anything more, unless it was another child on the way. Maybe someday. He was only in his early thirties - he had time.
And if it seemed - sometimes - as if another life should have been his, if it seemed that he hadn't arrived at the destination planned, well, the soft, warm body in his arms made up for it - as well as a multitude of other things.
"Okay, Charlie, time for those drops." He rocked his son slowly, preparing him for the medicine, while overhead, the plane mobile danced lazily. Next to it, the space mobile, with all the planets, did the same.
"I'm 45 for a moment -The sea is high
And I'm heading into a crisis - Chasing the years of my life...."
The alarms went off around them and Jack instinctively moved closer to Carter, as did Teal'c. "What's--"
Ambassador Dreylock began to move quickly down the corridor as she threw over her shoulder, "There's a problem in the labs. That's the lockdown warning. It means an explosion is imminent."
"The labs? As in the lab where one of my people is currently receiving a tour by your--"
"Yes." She broke into a run as the red lights in the corner of the hall began to blink on and off.
Jack, Sam and Teal'c ran after her, their only thought -- Daniel.
He didn't understand any of it. Oh, he understood the experiments, the need to find a weapon to defend themselves, and he understood that something had gone wrong, but other than a few cuts and a burned hand, Daniel had looked fine.
Damn it, he looked fine. So why was Carter looking as though she'd lost her best friend?
"Sir, we have to get him back - now."
"I know. He'll be here. The Kelowans are allowing us to take him home on some kind of compassionate something or other. Dial her up."
At the same moment that Carter turned toward the DHD and started pressing symbols, two men, obviously representing what passed for the Kelowan version of the law, entered with Daniel. They stopped a few feet away and symbolically turned him over to Jack, who couldn't fail to notice that the 'cops' managed to control Daniel while still keeping their distance. When they stepped back, Jack stepped forward, only to have Daniel raise a hand - the unburned one.
"Don't. No closer, Jack. Just... get me home."
Right. Home. He could do that.
Jack walked into his home, dropped the keys somewhere, let his jacket fall from his fingers, and toed off his shoes. He walked into the kitchen and took his bottle of Glenlivet Archive 21 Year Old. He'd been saving it for a special occasion. Guess this qualified.
He took down a glass and walked back out and down into his living room. He set the two items on the coffee table, stepped over to the sliding glass doors and opened them.
Night entered the room in the form of cool air, and he inhaled deeply. He went over to the mantle and picked up a photograph, stepped over to the couch and sat down. As he set the framed photo down, he picked up the bottle and gazed at the label. He remembered his buddy, Carl, telling him on the phone from Scotland, that it was the "'Sean Connery' of whiskies - mature, sexy, rich, and debonair." Guess he was about to find out.
He poured himself a good three fingers worth, twirled the glass in his fingers, then saluting the photo, said, "Here's to you, Danny boy." He downed the amber liquid and closed his eyes as it traveled down his throat.
As wakes went, this one was all right. And what better use for this particular Scotch than to use it to send Daniel on his way.
He poured another shot, raised his glass again, and said, "To Daniel Jackson, wherever the Hell he is." He tossed the liquor back and swallowed. An Irish blessing came immediately to mind and he repeated it mentally. 'May your road rise to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warmly upon your face. May the rain fall softly up on all that you plant. And until we meet again, may God cradle you in the palm of His hand.'
It sounded good and if he were a more -- sentimental man -- he'd have said it out loud. But he wasn't, so he said, after pouring again, "Danny, may your glass be ever full. May the roof over your head be always strong. And may you be in heaven a half an hour before the devil knows you're dead."
Except... Daniel had been... dead... now for six hours. Not to mention that the Devil didn't stand a chance with Danny. Hell, he couldn't afford the guy. Daniel would have Hell completely turned around and floating upward in a New York minute. Not that Daniel Jackson was a saint, no sir, not Daniel. But he was... he was....
He used to be Daniel. Now he was....
Daniel was dead and no amount of glowy crap could change that, no matter what Jack thought he'd heard or witnessed.
He lounged back against the cushion, newly-filled glass in his hand. Drunk really sounded like a good idea. Dead drunk. Jack closed his eyes and ignored the moisture that seemed intent on slipping out from under his lids. No way was he crying.
Life would go on - it always did. On and on and on... and on. Years of life. .
"Half time goes by - Suddenly you're wise - Another blink of an eye...."
"I'm feeling every bit of my age, Jack."
"Your age? Your age? What about me, huh? I've got knees an eighty year old wouldn't want. You, you're in the prime of your... second... life."
One well-defined eyebrow went up. "Second?"
"Okay, okay, third or fourth, but who's counting?"
Daniel swiveled the bar stool around and stood up. "You know, that whole thing with the Langarans was a useless experiment in nothing."
"That pretty much sums up the Kelowans, and no, I refuse to use their new moniker." He downed his glass and, after setting it down again, said sarcastically, "At least Jonas saved the day."
"I'm going home before I can't. See you on Monday, Jack." He took out his wallet, pulled a twenty and set it under his glass as he gave the bartender a waggle of his eyebrows.
"Right, Monday." Jack did his own waggle, indicating that the bartender should fill him up.
A hand landed on his shoulder and Daniel's soft voice said close to his ear, "Sam's okay, she made it."
He was tempted to say, "So?" but he didn't. His friend straightened, took his jacket from the back of the stool and headed out. Jack watched in the mirror over the bar, his eyes dropping to Daniel's....
He was pathetic. Time to go home - after one more.
Jack walked over to his truck, beeped it unlocked, climbed in, and after turning on the engine and powering down his window, he sat back, unprepared to actually move, his mind on last night's little 'drinking party' with Daniel. Funny how so much was different, while remaining the same.
Daniel had been back for months, finally had most of his memory intact, and things should have been better. The year following his death had been hard on Jack, something he was only now willing to admit. He caught a glimpse of himself in the rear view mirror and scowled. He was fast approaching fifty and oddly enough, felt older now than in the year of Daniel's absence. Shouldn't that be reversed? Shouldn't he feel younger now that Daniel was back?
He put the truck into drive and pulled forward from his parking spot, turned right down the aisle and headed out of the complex. On the road down Cheyenne Mountain, he considered the last months since finding Daniel on P4T-3G6 and had to agree with himself that life hadn't improved. It should have because they had Daniel back, but it hadn't. And that admission required a question.
He thought back to his misery during the year Daniel had been dead and compared those feelings to today. He should be ecstatic. They all should. Of course, maybe everyone was ecstatic and just hiding it well. Real well. Wouldn't want Daniel to think he'd been missed... or anything. No, wouldn't want that.
The sun glinted through the evergreens and reminded him that he still had, in spite of having to go into the SGC on a Saturday morning, most of his weekend left. His hands relaxed on the steering wheel and he turned on the radio. He thought about all the things he could do today and settled on the backyard. It could do with some weeding and the lawn needed a haircut. Man, such a life he led on his time off.
Thirty minutes later, he was home and changing into his work jeans and an old Air Force sweatshirt that he'd long ago cropped. In the kitchen, he opened the window over the sink, positioned the radio so he'd be able to hear it while working, then debated whether to go classical or something else. He decided that lawn work demanded something upbeat. He turned to KKFM, grabbed a beer and headed outside.
The weeding took him the better part of an hour, the mowing, another half hour. When he was done, he went inside, took out another beer and walked back out to admire his handiwork. Standing in the shade, he stared out over the newly cut lawn. A fleeting memory tickled his brain and, with a grin, he stepped off the deck and onto the grass. He plopped down, then dropped back and stretched out. Beer near hand, he inhaled deeply of the scent of freshly mowed grass before turning his attention to the sky overhead.
As powder puff clouds moved at a snail's pace, he thought about the fact that he was alone, had been alone for most of the last eighteen months. There'd been the odd team dinner after Daniel's... death, and a couple of barbecues since his return, but overall, even his friendship with Teal'c had been restricted to work and the base. All of which - again - left him with more questions than answers.
Okay, he'd chosen this solitude, had been choosing it since... yes, well. Even Lou had been a victim to Jack's need to be alone. Just today Lou had caught him on his way out and suggested a game tonight. Jack had turned him down claiming work, but something in Lou's eyes told him people were catching on and starting to worry. He couldn't really blame them, after all, 'Loner O'Neill' had died after the first mission to Abydos. Was it anyone's fault that he'd been resurrected with Daniel's death and, other than a couple of drinks with Daniel since his return, had remained in place?
He really should stop saying 'death'. But that's what it was, no matter what, or where, Daniel had ended up. And was he thinking about Daniel an awful lot lately?
Guess so. When he wasn't thinking of his own life. And where it wasn't.
The annoying commercial played out and he was relieved when a song came on. He was tempted to get up and change the channel now that his work was done, but something about the lyrics stopped him - not to mention how comfortable he was.
"15 there's still time for you
Time to buy and time to lose
15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live...."
A hundred years to live. He supposed that was actually a possibility now. For all their lack of satisfactory weapons found and brought back through the Stargate, they had succeeded in bringing a few plants, etc., that were already proving to be medical breakthroughs that could ultimately prolong life.
God, he remembered how horny he'd been and how much he'd wanted Jeff Dolan, the Senior God of Austin Academy High School. He'd never acted on it, of course. The song was right - when you're fifteen, you really believe that you have all the time in the world. He'd certainly believed it, and he'd believed that he could have it all. A career in the Air Force, a relationship with a man, his flying - all of it. He opened his eyes and stared upward, hoping, trying, praying that the face that used to tease and tantalize him, but in later years had eluded him, would make an appearance. The face - person - that at fifteen, he'd believed there was time to find. The person who, when he was twenty-two, he'd only half believed he still had the time to find, and the person who, by thirty-three, had been abandoned.
He sat up suddenly, shielded his eyes with his hand, peered at the sky, at the clouds that suddenly seemed to form into... and he gasped, because it couldn't be... it was impossible, but those clouds... and wouldn't most people see a horse, or a fish, or maybe, okay, maybe a dinosaur? Surely kids weren't lying on the grass right now and pointing up and saying, "Is that a face?" Surely not.
"I'm 99 for a moment
Dying for just another moment
And I'm just dreaming
Counting the ways to where you are...."
The song ended, the clouds moved, stretched out, and Jack was looking at nothing but blue sky and white wisps. He got up quickly, knocking his beer over in his rush. Ignoring it, he almost ran into the house, grabbed his keys and sprinted out the front door.
"...there's still time for you...."
He didn't practice what he'd say; he just drove with the single-mindedness of the military man that he was. He didn't think through the consequences, or the what-ifs. He just drove. Fast. He slid along the curb in front of the sky blue house, shut off the engine, jumped out and jogged up to the front door. He put his index finger on the small, white button of the doorbell and pushed. And kept it pushed.
Inside, through the tinted smoked glass, he could see a shadow moving toward the door and he only let his finger off the button when the door opened.
"Hey. Can I come in?"
Looking every bit the puzzled scientist, Daniel stepped aside as Jack stepped in. He looked at Daniel, who stared back at him. His friend was dressed in old, oft-washed jeans and a white sleeveless undershirt. He was barefoot, gritty, a bit dusty, and had grass stains on his jeans. He looked good enough to... yes, well.
"Doing the backyard?" Jack grinned.
"Uhm, well, as it happens, ye-ah. And since when do you drop by? I don't think, other than that whole thing with Sarah, you've been here...."
There wasn't even a hint of censure in the statement, which was typical Daniel. His best friend only sees his new home on the morning he's trying to capture a Goa'uld who's trying to kill him.
"Got any beer?" Jack starts to head for the kitchen.
That stopped him. He turned. "You actually have beer?"
"Oh." He continued. At the fridge, he nodded at the six-pack of Bud. His favorite. Daniel had his favorite beer in his refrigerator. He took one, then a second one, slammed the door shut and sat down at the small table. He unscrewed both and lifted his arm, bottle in hand. Daniel took it and sat down.
"So what brings you to my humble abode?"
Jack took another swallow. "That could be a tricky question, Daniel."
One eyebrow rose.
"No, really, it could. Give me a bit and I'll try to answer. It might take a couple more beers though."
Silently, Daniel got up and took three more beers from the fridge. He set them down and retook his seat.
They sat like that for another twenty minutes; Jack staying quiet while he drank his beers, Daniel pointedly not asking any questions.
The buzz hit him and he figured his lips would work now, nicely lubricated by the alcohol. He played with his empty third bottle said, "I don't want to be ninety-nine without you, Daniel."
He lifted his gaze to Daniel's face and wasn't surprised to see the furrowed brow. Daniel was undoubtedly trying to puzzle out his words.
"I see." Daniel reached for his barely touched second beer and downed it in one. When he was done, he set it back down and repeated, "I see."
Daniel started peeling the label off the nearest bottle. Jack watched the long slender fingers pick at the corner of the paper and he knew Daniel was working something out. He hoped he'd work it out right and feel good about it when he did.
"You don't want to turn ninety-nine without me."
"That's what I said."
Eyes still on the bottle, Daniel said, "So I have to wait until you're what, almost ninety-nine? I mean, I'm sure by then Viagra will have improved considerably, but still, ninety-eight? Not that you won't still be a hunk, albeit a bald, toothless one, with the energy of a slug, and not that I'd complain, but by then, I'll have gone fifty-five years without sex."
Hearing the humor in Daniel's voice, and feeling hopeful for the first time since his epiphany, Jack said, "You won't exactly be a spring chicken yourself, Daniel. And according to the Cassie of the future, you're the one who'll be bald."
"Jack, she was talking to Teal'c. Remember he was wearing that wig? She meant that she hardly recognized him with hair."
"I don't even have a hint of a receding hairline."
Now it was Jack's eyebrow that rose.
"I don't," Daniel said defensively.
"You're taking my ... declaration well, Daniel. Other than the whole bald thing."
"Is that what it was? A declaration?" Daniel went back to label peeling.
"Yes. Lame, but a declaration nevertheless."
"I'm glad I guessed right - that it was a funky declaration. After all, you could have meant a lot of things. Could have meant it in the whole team concept thing and telling Teal'c and Sam the same thing, or--"
"Daniel, shut up. And funky?"
"Okay. And yeah, funky."
"Right, so maybe some background to this - funky -- declaration, is needed." He nodded more to himself than to Daniel. "See, I realized today that... okay, I realized a helluva lot of things today, but paramount among them was the memory of when I was fifteen and I'd look at the sky and know that my future was there."
"You mean flying?"
"Did I tell you to shut up?"
"You always do, so what?"
"Right. Look, just let me - I need to get this out, okay?"
Daniel made a zipping motion over his mouth.
"Okay, good. As I was saying, and no, I don't necessarily mean flying, although that was a big part of it. I mean... I used to see the promise of a face in the clouds. I knew it was a man's face and it was like I was working my way... to him. I knew that face held my life and I've spent all these years chasing my life - that face - and today, I finally caught up."
"In spite of the funkiness of the declaration, I thought I made it clear by my 'no sex for fifty-five years' that I knew what you meant." Daniel had said it easily, but there was an undercurrent of something Jack couldn't quite pin down.
"Well, I'm just... just want to make sure, you know? Give some depth to it - so to speak."
"So that you can now tell me that the face you saw all those years ago was Kinsey's?"
Jack blew out a large puff of air. "Daniel, I could kill you, you know that, right?"
"But you won't. You need me to be your best man."
"I am going to kill you." He took a deep breath, then said, "Look, let me just... I need to marshal my thoughts, okay? I mean, I'm in my late forties, you're in your late thirties, although I'm at a distinct disadvantage because you look like you're in the late twenties, but anyway, I realized that I have fifty some odd years to one hundred, and you have, contrary to your looks, sixty some odd years... with or without hair... and--"
"You've been listening to KKFM, haven't you?"
"...we can get - uh?"
"I said, you've been listening to KKFM, haven't you?"
"How the hell should I know? What's a KKFM?"
Daniel shot him a disgusted look. "The radio station, Jack. Rock station to be more precise."
Suspicious, Jack narrowed his eyes and asked, "Why do you ask?"
"Because you seem to have this whole, '100 Years' thing going, which, before you ask, is a song by Five for Fighting. If you were listening to KKFM and '100 Years', I might be insulted that it took a song to get you over here with your confessions of... love, so to speak."
Expression moving from suspicious to worried, and a bit contrite, Jack said, "Might be insulted?"
Daniel sat back. "Damn, you were listening to KKFM and you did hear '100 Years' and it did inspire you to--"
"Daniel, does it really matter what my inspiration was? And it wasn't the song at all--"
"So you admit it was playing? That you were listening to it?"
"It was the face... oh, well, it might have been playing, maybe, and it helped... a little. But it was your face in the clouds that did it. See, I was lying--"
"Jack, look, we've already had a seven-year courtship, you know? Can't we just stop all of this declaring-face-in-the-clouds stuff and get down to what's really important? You're not getting any younger, and ninety-nine will be here before you know it, and personally, I'd like to say, by then, that we'd had some really terrific times in bed, you know?"
As if Daniel hadn't said a word, let alone anything about terrific times in bed, Jack went on....
"...on the grass and the face appeared in the clouds again, just like the first time, when I was fifteen, only this time, this time it was clear, the bone structure, the lips, the jaw line, all of it - it was you. I sat up, got up, ran out, drove here, and--"
"Yeah, yeah, had a few beers," Daniel interrupted again, "and mumbled something about not wanting to see ninety-nine alone, yadda-yadda, when all you needed to do was say--"
"Daniel, I love you."
"... Daniel...what? Oh. Okay, that would have worked too. And by the way, you should probably know that I've known how you felt for a while, just been waiting until you did."
Used to switching gears in conversations with Daniel, Jack said in disbelief, "Oh, yeah?"
"I was ascended, remember?"
"As a matter of fact, I do remember, but you don't ... remember. Remember?"
"But I do. Some things anyway. And it's also not a question of actually remembering. It's more... an intuitive thing, a kind of leftover thing from ... then."
"So you've," Jack made quote marks in the air, "'intuitively' known that I loved you since your return and said nothing?"
"You wouldn't have believed me."
"Okay, so I would have... questioned it, but eventually, eventually--"
"You would have scoffed and made fun."
"Of course, being the optimistic man that I am," Daniel mused, his attention back on the label, which he was tearing into small strips, "I knew there was the outside chance that you might have believed me, or at least have your epiphany while we were both still young enough to enjoy it, so I just happen to have... certain supplies... in my bedroom."
Jack perked up. "You do?"
Daniel nodded, still not looking up.
"Wait, what did you mean by ... 'too'?"
"What do you mean what did I mean by 'too'?"
"You said, 'that would have worked too' when I said that I loved you. What did you mean?"
"Oh. That. Well, I was figuring that when you'd finally figured things out, you'd saunter into my office, pick up some artifact and say something like, 'Daniel, it's time we fucked' or something equally O'Neill-ish."
"Sam and I coined that a while back. Sometimes when you do something, it's very O'Neill-ish, but then you do things that are very Jack-ish."
"There's a difference?"
"Could you give me an example?"
"Please. This is very ...illuminating."
Daniel's temple vein started dancing. "O-kay. If you need to top during our first time, that would be very O'Neill-ish, but if you agree that I should top our first time, that would be very Jack-ish."
Jack's eyes narrowed as he wiggled uncomfortably in his seat. He cleared his throat. "So if I say... we'll flip a coin for our first time, and reverse the process for the second, what would I be?"
Smug expression in place, Daniel said, "Daniel-ish."
Jack reached back, dipped his hand into his pocket, then the other pocket, and groaned. Finally he looked up and grinned hopefully. "Got a quarter I can borrow?"
Daniel stood up, slowly felt his side pockets, then patted, rather seductively, Jack thought, the back of his jeans, then his chest. "Gosh, no, Jack. Why don't you pick a number between one and a hundred."
"Sorry, it was fifteen. You lose. I top first. Last one to bed gets the wet spot after. And has to lovingly wash the other one - after."
Daniel took off on a run. Jack watched a moment, then slowly rose, took the bottles over to the recycle bin and dumped them, then started walking languidly toward the bedroom. He was rather looking forward to washing Daniel off - from stem to stern - after. As for the wet spot, Daniel never could resist his liquid brown, puppy dog eyes.
It was time to lose himself within a morning star. For the next fifty or so years.
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