Jack started awake, unsure what had roused him -- unsure until he felt the emptiness of the bed. Where the hell had Daniel gotten to? Sitting up, Jack gazed around the darkness of Daniel's bedroom, his senses already telling him the other man wasn't in the room. Jack's Daniel Radar wasn't waving any red flags but he was still left with a sense of unease that something was out of place.
Swinging his legs over the side of the bed, Jack groped around in the darkness until he located a pair of boxers. He quickly pulled them on before quietly padding to the bedroom doorway.
By now his eyes had adjusted to the darkness, so he was able to avoid the ugly little statue Daniel kept on the floor as a doorstop. Daniel had dubbed it The Little Curse in honor of Jack's frequent cursing upon stubbing his toe on it. Jack was certain the little obscenity had it in for him.
Finding himself strangely loath to break the silence that permeated the apartment -- it seemed disrespectful somehow -- Jack crept silently through the darkness. The light of the quarter moon shone through the balcony doors, giving Jack enough light to track down Daniel. The other man sat on the couch, arms wrapped around drawn-up legs, the throw from the back of the couch tossed haphazardly across his shoulders, providing his only protection against the slight chill in the air. Daniel stared into the distance at something only he could see. But for Jack it was a familiar stare. A stare full of shadows. Old ghosts were haunting Daniel tonight.
Jack leaned against the wall, arms crossed over his chest, and indulged in some Daniel watching. The corners of his mouth tilted upward slightly as affection for this man washed over him.
In the beginning, during that first trip to Abydos, they had barely tolerated each other. Correction, Jack frowned, he had barely tolerated Jackson. He'd had little patience for a geeky civilian scientist who had no business being included on a military expedition.
However, said civilian had not only saved Jack's life, in more ways than one, but he had turned the tide of a civilization and brought a rebirth to the people of Abydos. A lesser man would have taken his due and been worshipped as a God. Not Daniel Jackson. Daniel had unwittingly charmed the people of Abydos and found himself not only adopted by them but married into their tribe.
Fond exasperation filled Jack as remembrance of missions since Daniel's return from Abydos washed over him. Daniel seemed to have a natural, almost instinctual, proclivity for getting himself right smack dab in the middle of off-world cultures, friendly or not. Those reckless actions all too frequently earned Daniel a lecture from Jack about rushing in where angels fear to tread -- lectures which would leave Daniel smiling, nodding his head and then heading right back out on the next mission and doing the same thing all over again. Stubborn man, his Daniel. And that was exactly how Jack liked him.
Shaking himself out of the past, Jack refocused on the present and the man sitting in silent solitude on the couch. The man he loved, and boy had that been a surprise.
They'd been together intimately for only a couple of months but those two months, backed up by the foundation of a strong friendship, were enough for Jack to read Daniel's various moods. Pushing away from the wall, he quietly approached Daniel. A gentle touch to a shoulder so as not to startle the other man, then Jack was sliding in behind Daniel and pulling him into the not so unfamiliar territory between his legs. Jack's arms wrapped around Daniel in a loose embrace as Daniel settled back against his chest.
Daniel made no sound, not even a sigh of pleasure at being in Jack's arms, which told Jack all he needed to know. This was one of the silent nights. One of the nights where Jack held vigil while Daniel sorted out the mob of griefs that had cursed his life -- griefs that had once more escaped to invade the space that was usually occupied by that optimistic spark of vitality that was Daniel Jackson.
The first time Daniel had left their bed and wandered off into the night alone, Jack's Daniel Radar had blipped alarmingly. Jack, usually so taciturn about airing private hurts, had been worried enough to overcome his own hesitations and had attempted to coax Daniel into talking. But Daniel had remained noncommunicative on the subject of these late night meanderings.
As time passed and more late night vigils were held, Jack slowly came to understand these middle-of-the night silences were just that.
Daniel had a need for silence while he paid respects to those elusive shadows full of unhealed hurts before putting them back in their proper place.
As Jack came to the realization that Daniel had no need of verbal reassurance during these late night watches, Daniel, in turn, discovered that silence did not equate with solitude. While he needed the silence, he did not need the loneliness of distance. Jack stopped trying to force Daniel to talk about it and Daniel was content to share the silence with Jack.
Still, Jack couldn't help worrying over how many nights Daniel had spent in solitary confinement with these old griefs before their lives had became so interwoven. It hurt -- caused him actual pain -- when he pictured Daniel holding these lonely vigils by himself. Nowadays, Jack made sure he was here so that Daniel had someone to lean on should he feel the need.
This had become a familiar ritual. The silence. The air charged with raw emotions. The sorting of old ghosts. In the midst of this, Jack discovered that Daniel liked being touched. Liked being held. And so Jack made certain he was there not only emotionally but physically as well during these watches. It had brought about a change in their relationship -- for the better.
Until these late night sessions quiet and sometimes anguished contemplation, casual lover's touches and shared tenderness at times other than foreplay and sex had been very rare between them. Yeah, the sex was great. The after-sex cuddling was terrific. And they had even graduated to couch cuddling and couch foreplay when watching TV. But up until now, there had been an awkwardness of new lovers who weren't certain where the boundaries were when they weren't in bed together. The fact that they were good friends before becoming lovers seem to make the awkwardness all the more painful.
An unacknowledged wall lay between them that said men don't touch men like that. Both understood the absurdity of that notion but neither knew how to tear it down, and both were afraid to make the first move for fear of being rejected.
Then Jack had found Daniel sitting alone in the darkness one night, shadows surrounding him, and the need to comfort had overwhelmed the hesitancy of what was permitted. The wall had crumbled to dust at the first touch.
So now on these dark, silent nights, Jack embraced Daniel both in body and soul and Daniel never lost faith that Jack would be there for him. And the late night vigils were lessening. They never talked about these times spent in silence, but in his own way, Daniel had let Jack know that Jack was the reason old, and not so old, griefs no longer haunted him the way they once had.
Jack's hands rubbed up and down Daniel's arms in a soothing matter. His lips touched gently to Daniel's hair, his neck, his shoulders. There was nothing sexual in the touch. It spoke of understanding and caring and holding on and being there for the one you love. In some ways, it was as healing for Jack as it was for Daniel.
An unexpected brightness glinting in the mirror on the living room wall caught Jack's eye. He had become so lost in Daniel that he had missed the night leaving. The coming day reflected brightly in the mirror.
Jack unlaced his hand from Daniel's and patted the other man's thigh where their intertwined hands had rested. Climbing to his feet, Jack held out a hand to Daniel. Daniel's eyes lifted to his. There it was. That brightness that got Jack through every day. That blue light full of love for him. He was loved as Daniel was loved.
It was more than enough.
Daniel took Jack's hand. They found their way back to bed and, laying on their sides facing each other, kissed gently. Affectionate smiles were exchanged. Then Jack, guardian of Daniel's sleep, watched until Daniel finally drifted off into peaceful slumber. Fingers still entwined with Daniel's, Jack finally gave in to the sleep that had been slowly creeping up on him, allowing it to pull him into its gentle embrace.
And the silence
filled with the serenity of two hearts woven together into one.
not the most moving moments of our lives