- *No Site Warnings Apply
Jack had everything planned out with military precision, as though it was one of the special ops he’d been on back in the day. He picked up Daniel from the airport at lunchtime on Friday and had his driver take them back to his Washington townhouse. While the archaeologist unpacked his bag, largely consisting of taking the books out and piling them on the coffee table, Jack sorted out a quick lunch of cold meats, cheese, mixed salad and rosemary ciabatta, freshly baked at a little store a half mile away. After lunch, he pulled out a folder full of paperwork.
“It won’t take more than an hour to get through,” he promised, then proceeded to set some of it in front of Daniel, right on top of the book he was reading.
“Daniel, just sign these and our weekend will belong to us and not Major Davies, who had these sent through because he knew you wouldn’t get round to signing them before you left,” Jack pointed out in a reasonable tone.
With a mulish expression, Daniel grabbed a pen and signed the pile of papers, from staff holiday requests to requisition forms and maintenance reports. “There, done. Can I go play in the dirt now?”
“Sure, knock yourself out,” Jack smirked. He dealt with his own stack of paperwork in short order, then stuffed everything back into the folder. “Be back in a few,” he said, grabbing his jacket. “I’ll pick up something for dinner on the way back. Steak okay?”
“Salmon,” Daniel said without looking up. “And a nice pinot noir.”
Jack touched two fingers to his forehead in salute. “Your word is my command.” With that, he called for his driver and headed out.
Half an hour later, his paperwork was in his driver’s keeping, to drop off at the office before five. The only piece of paper that mattered was in front of Jack as he handed over a fee to the clerk at the courthouse. With the receipt tucked safely into his wallet, Jack left the courthouse with a spring in his step and went off to buy dinner for his friend.
The weekend was good; Daniel read a lot and slept starfished over four-fifths of Jack’s mattress, making cute little snuffly almost-snores as his allergy medication battled Washington’s springtime attempts at pollinating his sinuses. Jack woke early and watched him, face relaxed in sleep, lines smoothed out and hair going in all directions, and felt his heart swell in his chest.
He compensated by making Daniel go with him to a basketball match, but relented and took him to a museum showing an exhibition of pottery and stone that had hitherto untranslated and untranslatable languages inscribed on them. Daniel sniggered over some of the labels, pointed out similarities to other languages which were still in use in the areas from which the artefacts came, and Jack made his day by translating a fragment of Ancient before calling the SGC to come and confiscate it.
Monday morning came all too soon, but Jack was surprisingly cheerful. He showered and shaved, then put on his dress blues. From the back of his closet, he fished out a new suit, complete with shirt, tie and cufflinks, and hung it from the closet door.
“Daniel! Get your butt out of bed!” He tugged the comforter back and watched with thinly-veiled amusement as his favourite scientist screwed up his face in protest.
“Jaaack! I’m on vacation. That means I don’t have to get up,” Daniel pouted.
Jack fought the urge to ruffle his hair. “I made coffee. C’mon, open those baby blues.”
“Where?” Daniel cracked open an eye.
“If you get your ass out of bed and into the shower, I’ll bring you a mug,” Jack promised.
“Make it a big mug.”
“You’re on.” Jack reached down and took Daniel’s hand, then hauled him upright. “God, what are they feeding you at the Mountain now? Rocks?”
Daniel ignored the insult and lurched to his feet. Staggering to the bathroom, he still managed to flip Jack the bird. “Coffee!”
“Yes, dear,” Jack grinned, admiring his lover’s muscled backside, then, with a spring in his step, he went to fetch the coffee. “Ever think you might have a problem?” he asked, handing the oversized mug to Daniel in the shower. His wet, naked lover moaned indecently as he inhaled the first mouthful. Sternly, Jack told his cock to behave. “I swear watching you drink your first coffee of the day is like watching a junkie get a fix,” he chided.
In reply, Daniel thrust the mug back out of the shower stall. It was empty.
“Right. I’ll just go put some more on, shall I? Eggs and toast for breakfast,” Jack said, with a shake of his head, then went back to the kitchen.
A minute later, Daniel’s eyes popped wide open. “Jack? Why are you all dressed up?”
With caffeine making its way through his system, Daniel hurried through the shower, shaving as quickly as he could without cutting himself. As he stepped out of the bathroom, a towel wrapped low around his hips, Jack called, “Breakfast’s getting cold! Move it, coffeeboy!”
“Two minutes,” Daniel called back, dropping the towel on the floor and tugging on a pair of shorts. He frowned as he caught sight of the suit. “Jack! Why is there a suit here?”
“It’d look bad if you got arrested for indecent exposure,” Jack hollered back. “Just put the damn thing on!”
Scowling, Daniel donned the suit and strode into the kitchen. A plate of scrambled eggs on toast was waiting for him, along with another large mug of coffee. “What’s going on, Jack? Did we get called into a meeting or something?”
“Or something,” Jack said cheerfully, finishing up the last of his breakfast. “Car’ll be here in five.” Whistling, he set to loading the dishwasher, ignoring Daniel’s glare. His former teammate ate quickly and by the time the door buzzer sounded, they were ready to go.
“I’m telling you, you won’t need a book. Or a journal. Come on, Danny. Time’s a-wastin’!” Jack said, chivvying him out of the townhouse and into the car. Twenty minutes later, they pulled up in front of a courthouse. Jack led the way into the building and straight into one of the rooms, where a Justice of the Peace was waiting.
“Hi Larry,” Jack said, greeting him with a smile and a handshake. “I hope we aren’t too late.”
“No, you’re right on time,” the JP reassured him. “And you must be Daniel. Pleasure to meet you. Jack’s told me a lot about you.”
Bemused, Daniel shook his hand. “I, ah, I wish I could say the same thing. Jack, what’s going on?”
Jack suddenly looked nervous. “Daniel. Danny. I thought maybe it was about time we made things more official.”
“More official? What things?”
“You and me, Dannyboy. I’m not getting any younger here and thank goodness they can’t kick me out any longer, but you’ve been the reason I get up every day, the reason I keep doing what I do.” He stepped forwards and took Daniel’s hands in his. “Will you marry me? Right here, right now?”
Daniel blinked. “What about the license? I thought there was, what, a three-day wait?”
“All taken care of,” Jack said with his little-boy grin. “You should pay more attention to what you’re signing.”
“That paperwork was all just a ruse to get me to sign a, a marriage license form?” Daniel asked. “Really?”
“Yeah,” Jack said. “But look at it this way, you’re all caught up on mindless paperwork for when you get back.”
“Jack, that stuff multiplies by itself. There’ll be a whole new stack to go through, you know that,” Daniel said, frowning once more.
“That isn’t an answer,” Jack said. “Daniel, please. I can go down on one knee if you’d rather.”
“Would you?” Daniel asked, staring at his lover with a familiar faintly puzzled air of abstraction. As Jack started to drop, Daniel squeezed his hands. “No, no that wasn’t- It was rhetorical. Are you sure you want to do this? I mean, if it gets out, there’ll be a lot of pressure on you.”
Jack shrugged. “So what’s new? I wouldn’t have set this up if I hadn’t meant it. And for the record, I’ll be growing old with you whether or not we do this today.”
“I suppose it isn’t as though I don’t know about your unnatural fondness for The Simpsons and hockey,” Daniel mused. “All right, yes, I’ll marry you. But I’m keeping my own name.”
“Yes dear,” Jack said with an enormous smile. “Larry, if you’d be so kind?”
The ceremony was short and sweet and Jack spent the whole of it staring at Daniel as though he were the center of the universe. From somewhere, rings were produced, and the heavy gold bands felt odd for a moment until it warmed up, and then it was as if they had always been there, the weight a reassurance.
Jack kissed Daniel, soft and chaste, his lips dry. “Hey,” he said softly as they pulled back.
“Hey,” Daniel smiled. “Wow, not something I thought I’d be doing today.”
Jack let out a sigh of relief. “Fancy a walk, then grabbing some lunch?” At Daniel’s nod, he turned to the JP. “Larry?”
“I’ll take a rain-check, got a few more of these to do today. Congratulations, both of you.” He shook Jack’s hand, then Daniel’s.
“Thanks,” Jack said. “See you next week, then.”
Hand-in-hand they strolled out of the courthouse only to find news crews hurrying to set up on the steps. As they appeared, reporters began clamoring.
“What the-” Jack flicked open his cell phone. “I need my car round front. Now.” He placed a hand on the small of his husband’s back and began the task of ushering him through the growing throng. “God, I need my gun,” he murmured.
“You weren’t planning on coming this far out of the closet, huh?” Daniel muttered back. “Wait, wait, Jack, stop a moment.”
Jack rolled his eyes, but stopped pushing Daniel through the crowd.
Daniel raised a hand and waited for the questions to die down. “I – we – understand that since the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the media has focused on servicemen and women coming out and the reactions of those serving with them. America has joined a growing number of countries that allow gay men and women to serve in the military. By and large, those countries don’t have a problem with it, just as they – and we – don’t have a problem with allowing women to serve, or people from ethnic minorities. And I know how important it is for people to see that this change in policy is absolutely supported from the top down. But I’d ask you to remember also that at the heart of each one of these stories is a human being. Every single one of these stories is personal to somebody.
“I know you want some big story about how a three-star general just got married to another man, but this is our wedding day. This is our story; it doesn’t get more personal or private than this. So please, get in touch with the Pentagon if you want your questions answering, but our phones are going to be switched off while we enjoy our day. Thank you.”
In the moment of quiet that followed, Jack and Daniel made it the last few feet to the kerb where the general’s car was idling. Jack held the door for his husband, then swooped in and kissed him before he could climb in. With an impish grin, he looked back at the reporters and their bristling array of microphones.
“That’s all, folks!” He climbed in and slammed the door. “So. No walk and lunch at home?”
“Probably for the best,” Daniel said.
“Take us home,” Jack instructed the driver. “And make sure none of those damn vultures is following us.” As they pulled away into traffic, Jack’s cell phone rang. “Damn it!” He fished it out of his inside pocket and scowled. “I’d ignore it, but it’s the President…”
Daniel waved a hand. “Take it, but after this, you turn it off.”
“Hi, Mister President! What can I do for you?” Jack’s tone was falsely cheerful, but he sobered up as he listened. “Thank you, sir, but we were keeping it small. We weren’t planning on having a reception… It’s very kind of you to offer us the White House. I’ll have to discuss it with Daniel. Can I get back to you tomorrow? … Will do. Thanks again, sir.” He cut off the call and powered off his phone, before dropping it on the seat.
“So?” Daniel asked.
“He sends his congratulations. Oh, and if we want, we can have our reception in the White House. Maybe Thursday.”
“You want to?” Daniel asked.
“Hell, no!” Jack snorted. “But politically, yeah, we probably should.”
Daniel laid a comforting hand on his knee. “At least you won’t have to pick up the tab.”
Jack brightened. “Yup. And maybe we could sneak away…” He eyed his husband lasciviously.
“Jack! I’m not skipping out of our own reception just so you can say you’ve had sex somewhere in the White House,” Daniel chided. “Isn’t that a little tacky, even for you?”
Jack shrugged, unrepentant. “Probably.” They drove on in silence for a couple more blocks, before Jack sighed. “You going to be okay heading back to the Mountain next week?” He took Daniel’s hand and laced their fingers together.
It was Daniel’s turn to shrug. “I’d rather be with you, but I don’t think I’ll have any problems at work, if that’s what you’re asking.”