Summary: Daniel uncovers a secret of Jack's.
Author Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Feedback welcome)
Author Website: http://orrymain.com
Category: Slash, Drama, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Season: S7 - August 29, 2003
Spoilers: Learning Curve
Size: 20kb, ficlet
Written: January 4, June 28, July 3,11, 2015, February 18,21-22, March 6,9,16-17, 2016
Summary: Daniel uncovers a secret of Jack's.
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
1) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
2) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fic(s): "Stay Awake"
Jack O'Neill was feeling pretty chipper these days. His lover, Daniel Jackson, was nearly fully recovered from a near-death experience from SG-1's mission to P2Y-333. Soon, the archaeologist would be back on light duty. In the meantime, Daniel was safe at the country-like home the two shared. Jack's injuries were much less severe and he was already back full time at Cheyenne Mountain.
Right now, though, the colonel was doing a bit of shopping at the mall. He was in a bookstore, seeking out a new tome with which to surprise his soulmate. As he passed, he paused at the children's section. A grin came over his face as he picked up an item of intrigue.
~I like this one.~
Meanwhile at the house, weary of spending so much time in bed, Daniel leisurely went downstairs. He perused his partner's bookshelves in the living room, but none of the books, not even his own, captured his interest. He decided to check out the study. It was unlikely he'd find anything in the archaeological field there, but Jack loved history so maybe there would be a book or novel that would appeal to him.
Daniel's fingers ran horizontally across a row of books as he searched. He loved the tactile sensation the texture of the bindings sent through his being. Books had been his salvation for years, years that now totaled decades. He smiled a moment, realizing that he finally had something more than the written word.
~Jack,~ the avid researcher thought to himself as his heart felt the warmth of a forever love.
The young man's fingers stopped at a Louis L'Amour novel from 1978. Daniel was well aware that his lover enjoyed reading the L'Amour western works. He decided to check this book out and see if it could keep him from thinking about the accident and near-death experience from which he was recovering.
The scientist walked over to Jack's desk and took a seat. He leaned back in the deluxe Concorde chair he'd given Jack as a surprise two years ago. He turned on the heat massager and inwardly awed at the pleasure it gave his still-weakened body. As he opened the book, he glanced to his right and caught sight of a black rectangular box. He'd seen it once before, in the bottom drawer of Jack's desk. He'd never opened it or asked his Love what was inside. Based on the box's look, he wondered if it contained medals or maybe old jewelry. His lover was more sentimental than he cared to admit, so Daniel wondered if the contents belonged to Jack's parents. Perhaps it was something that used to be Charlie's, or maybe even Sara's.
Daniel was more curious than ever and he reached over, tapping the top of the box as he thought.
~No,~ the curious man decided. ~When he's ready, he'll tell me what's inside.~ Then Daniel smiled as he told himself aloud, "Or maybe it's full of pencils and I have an overactive imagination." After a few seconds, he nodded a silent affirmation of that fact. ~It's not exactly hidden, is it, Jackson?~
Daniel returned his attention to the book and began to read. Unfortunately, his interest in L'Amour's "Fair Blows the Wind" was minimal. There had to be something more tailored to his interest.
~Gawd, this is crazy.~
Even with his own books in the house, nothing seemed to be calling to Daniel. He wanted nothing more at the moment than to follow Jack's frequent advice, to chill out and read something that had nothing to do with his many professional fields.
Standing, Daniel began to walk toward the shelves in the study when he noticed a paper in the trash can. Something about it seemed strange and different for his colonel. He couldn't stop himself. He leaned over, picked up the crumpled paper, and unfolded it.
~This is a ... a page from a coloring book, I think,~ the confused archaeologist observed about the picture of a barn with a cow in front. The page was completely colored, though not in a neat fashion. The cow, for example, had spikes of brown hide protruding from its rear and belly. ~I don't understand. What would Jack be doing with this?~
Daniel stuffed the page into his pocket and headed back upstairs. He hated to admit it, but he was tired and feeling weak. While his injuries were healed, his body was still rebuilding its strength and stamina. Finding a book to read would have to wait for another time.
"Angel," Jack spoke softly as he sat on the side of the bed. He leaned in and gently kissed his soulmate. "I love you."
"Were those lips belonging to someone else?"
Daniel chuckled, even as he yawned.
"Hungry?" Jack asked his lover.
"Um, well, actually ... yes!"
The colonel kissed his archaeologist a few more times before helping him up and putting his arm around Daniel's waist as the two walked leisurely downstairs.
The aroma of Jack's cooking caught Daniel's attention almost immediately.
"Smells good," the young man noted.
"It's a wee bit of Ireland," Jack explained as he pointed toward the table in the kitchen nook, directing his lover to sit down.
Daniel waited and smiled when a plate of sausages and mash was placed before him. He noticed quickly, though, that Jack's plate was fuller than his.
"Um, Jack ..."
"I plan to, but ..."
"Fork ... knife ... pick up food ... eat," Jack commanded playfully as he pointed to the utensils, food, and Daniel's mouth.
"Why do you have more food than me?"
"You're still recovering, Angel. Doc wants you to eat healthier."
Daniel's eyes darted around the area as he pondered a response. He looked at Jack's plate with two voluminous sausages, a large spread of peas, and a nice amount of sliced onions. Looking down at his own plate, he observed that his two sausages had been cut down in size so that each sausage was less than half of Jack's sausages. His serving of peas was also half size, while he had just a couple sliced onions. The only food item that equaled Jack's was the mash. Somehow, he wasn't buying the words he'd just heard.
"Jack, where's the rest of my food?"
"I told you."
"I have a third of the sausages, Babe, and," picking up one of sides, "two strips of onions."
With a sexy smirk, the older man answered, "I have plans for us. I don't want to deal with onion breath."
"What about you?"
"Well, I figured a little wouldn't hurt."
Growing more frustrated, Daniel snapped, "Jack, where is my food?"
Putting down his knife and fork that he'd just used to take a bite of the Guinness sausage, Jack laughed as he stood and walked deeper into the kitchen. Retrieving a plate, he grinned as he put it down in front of his Love.
"Just having some fun, Danny," Jack mused as he leaned over for a kiss, which he got, albeit reluctantly.
"Gawd," Daniel expressed at his colonel's sense of humor. "You're a big kid, Jack. You know that, right?"
Jack simply smiled and dug into his meal.
Daniel sighed as he moved the rest of his sausages onto the first plate he'd been given.
~He is a child, a great big child,~ Daniel thought to himself, though once he began to eat, his thoughts went to the meal and how good it was. ~Considering we aren't cooks, sometimes we do okay for ourselves.~
Dinner was over and Jack thought that his soulmate had returned to bed. At least, the bedroom was where he'd left the archaeologist thirty minutes earlier.
Though not fond of anything that dealt with cyberspace or anything other than the familiar landline, the older man had learned his way around computers and cell phones. He knew more than he let on, but that his nature in dealing with most everything. Still, he was not a big fan of new technology. It was something he tolerated more for work than any other reason.
Jack groaned as he stared at the blank word processing document.
~I saved the darn thing,~ the colonel groaned at his desk in his study. ~I know I did.~ With a deep inward sigh, he leaned back into his chair and said softly, "I hope I did."
The power had just gone off, the computer screen switching to blackness as the tower hissed to silence.
Jack made a variety of facial expressions as he sat in the dark. Tiny sounds emanated from him as he thought about his personnel notes that had been lost. In a moment, though, he shrugged it off. He decided he didn't really need the notes as he was confident he could verbally make his feelings known to General Hammond quite easily. His analysis of various SGC personnel could be summed up in one or two words or in short phrases, such as "Elmendorf," "a day with Teal'c," or "school," which meant send the offending person back to the Academy or anywhere other than Stargate Command.
With his mood softened, Jack opened a desk drawer and took hold of a flashlight. He reached for the black box and smiled as thoughts of Stargate Command ebbed in favor of other less pressurized places.
A couple of hours later, Daniel awoke, surprised Jack was not beside him. Wondering if perhaps Jack was in the bathroom, Daniel called out, but didn't hear a response. Curious, he eased his way out of bed and went in search of his lover. He made his way in the darkness, every step of the house etched in his mind.
Not finding Jack in the living room, Daniel checked out the study. It, too, was devoid of light, but as his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he could see Jack, bent over, his head on the desk. His eyes were closed. He also saw the dimness of the flashlight that was on the desk almost touching the hair of his sleeping Silver Fox.
Daniel's attention was temporarily diverted when the overhead light suddenly came on.
~Power outage. That explains the flashlight.~ Daniel looked again at the other man and was about to smile at the alluring vision when he noticed something curious. He slowly walked forward, stopping next to the chair. He fixated at the paper on the desk. Jack's head was covering the right side, but the left half was easily visible. ~Okay, that's ... odd,~ the archaeologist thought. "Jack?" he called out. "Babe!" he exclaimed, though in a quiet tone. Gently nudging his life partner's shoulder, Daniel again spoke, "Jack!"
"He did it!" Jack called out groggily as his upper body jumped upward. "It was Marv. He cut her hair."
"Marv? Whose hair?"
"Danny?" Jack leaned back in his chair as his senses returned. ~Light. Ah, power's back on.~ Briefly, he glared at the computer, but then he blinked a couple of times as images of his dream returned. "Marvin Delvecchio," the colonel answered. "He cut Sue Ellen Ratterberry's hair and pasted it on her rain slicker."
Jack chuckled, "It was a long time ago. I haven't thought about that in decades."
"Were you accused?"
"I sat behind her in the library. Oh yeah, I was accused."
"Did you tell?"
"And be a tattletale?" Jack responded with intensity. With a sly smirk, he added, "I talked Marv into confessing."
"I threatened him with elementary school's version of Elmendorf."
"Jack, how could you have done that in school?"
"Daniel, you know I couldn't. I know I couldn't. Poor Marv didn't know I couldn't."
"Oh, I see," Daniel responded with a bit of a smile. "Uh, speaking of ... school," he cleared his throat, "Jack, what's that?"
"That," Daniel answered while pointing at the now-totally visible paper.
Picking it up and handing it to his Love, Jack asked, "What do you think?"
Daniel took hold of the paper Jack handed him. He cocked his head slightly and gave a closed smile.
"it's, uh, interesting."
Snatching the paper back, Jack growled, "Okay, it's not the Mona Lisa."
"It's not even Mona," Daniel teased. "It's ... youthful," he remarked quietly.
"You want perfection, you're not going to find it here," the older man replied with an edge.
"I already know that," Daniel retorted. He drew a breath and then spoke again quickly in an effort not to let his playful jab start an argument. He also remembered the paper he had in his pocket. Without saying anything specific about it, he pulled it out and let if fall onto the desktop. He saw Jack smile, obviously pleased with the artwork. "Babe, why are you coloring?"
"What's wrong with coloring?"
"Nothing," the scientist responded truthfully. "It's just I thought you were more of a doodler."
Jack had always been known for his doodling. He'd done it often, even during staff meetings at Cheyenne Mountain. These, however, were pages torn out of a coloring book. Both were rather freeform with the crayon colors penetrating outside the lines in various spots.
With his colonel still groaning about their slight sparring, Daniel grew more earnest as he asked, "Really, Jack, what's this about?"
The silver-haired man leaned back leisurely in his chair and his eyes drifted back in time as he explained, "I always liked to color. I was never that good, but even as a kid, it was cool." He chuckled as childhood memories of coloring with his mother at the kitchen table flooded back. "I stopped coloring when I was too old. You know, the I'm-not-a-kid-anymore attitude. Then ..."
"Charlie," the younger man surmised.
With a nod, Jack continued, "I think it was more fun for me than him, but he was a kid, and when you're a kid, coloring is cool. After he ... died, I forgot about it again, until ..."
"Merrin," the in-tune archaeologist interjected, referring to the then eleven-year-old girl who was perceived as a young genius until it was discovered that nanites had been injected into her bloodstream, a process that allowed select children to learn knowledge at a faster pace than others.
"Merrin," Jack confirmed, remembering how the Orbanian child was all business when SG-1 first met her. "She needed to find color in life, especially when she was reborn."
Reborn was how Jack thought of Merrin. She had gone from genius to an infantile state once the nanites were removed from her system on her twelfth birthday. Thanks to SG-1's influence on the adults of Orban, the chosen children whose nanites were removed, once abandoned to be cared for as if babies, were now taught and raised as normal children. It was a rebirth of sorts.
"I remember when we first went back. You sat down next to her and drew on the wall," Daniel recalled.
"That day, it came back. I found the crayons and a couple of coloring books with a few of Charlie's things that Sara had given me, and that was that."
"So for the last several years, you've been hiding your love of coloring?" Daniel asked with raised eyebrows and a flick of his wrist.
"I haven't been hiding it."
"Yes, you have.''
"Yes, Jack, you have. I've never seen you coloring."
Daniel just stared at his lover, his accusation innocent but indicting.
"Everything was right here," Jack said as he dramatically opened up his desk drawer as proof.
"In a box."
"It wasn't locked."
"Ah, Danny, I wasn't hiding it from you. You know how I think. I just let things go."
Daniel couldn't help but smile because the more he knew his soulmate, the more he knew that surprises were alive inside of him. Besides, enjoying the process of coloring was hardly a sin. It's not like Jack was lying about something important.
"You do know they make adult coloring books?"
Jack looked up at his soulmate and saw there was no argument to be had. He felt good inside. This was their normal version of play, as it were. Life was good.
"I've seen them, but I like the kid ones; makes me feel more like a kid."
Daniel ignored the opportunity to issue another retort about his often child-like lover and instead responded, "Actually, coloring as an adult can be very helpful, especially in the military."
"Do tell," Jack commanded in an amused tone.
"Think about it, Jack. You've already said it in a round-about way. Coloring lets you escape."
"A stress killer," Jack agreed.
"Yes, and it lets you remember, just like you did at the beginning of our conversation."
"When you leaned back in your chair," Daniel began, "you had a beautiful smile on your face and in your eyes."
"I'm guessing you were thinking about coloring when you were a child."
"Yeah, I was." After a pause of reflection, Jack expounded, "I was thinking about Mom and how we colored, or I'd color while she cooked." He let out a little wisp of air as he realized a truth. "It was our time together, just the two of us. We shared a lot while I colored."
"That's my point. You were remembering good times, and that's nothing new, Babe, and neither is the concept of an adult coloring. It's been done since the early 20th century when ..."
"I know this!" Jack exclaimed, standing up in excitement. "Jung!" he stated confidently about noted psychologist, Carl G. Jung.
"Jung," Daniel repeated with a nod.
"Old high school psychology course," Jack laughed, pleased that he'd remember before Daniel could get out the name.
"The point is that he considered coloring to be relaxing."
"What are those things called that he wanted his patients to draw?"
"Mandalas. They symbolize the self, or the center," Daniel responded, his head going back and forth slightly as he pondered how he wanted to describe the form. "Actually, Jung called mandalas 'the psychological expression of the totality of the self'."
Suddenly, Jack looked at his Love a bit skeptically. His head cocked slightly as his eyes spoke of something hidden.
"What?" Daniel inquired.
"Jung's patients. They were a bit short of a dollar."
Jack held his stare, but then decided it would be wiser to not bring up the issue of the patients being mental.
Daniel knew exactly what Jack was alluding to, however, and opted to note, "Jung drew mandalas himself before he ever did any research with his patients."
"Yes, Babe, he did. It helped him to understand, well, his moods throughout the day. He saw that what he drew matched how he was feeling at the time." Daniel could have easily spoken more in depth on the subject, but he decided to leave the psychological details behind and ask his lover a question instead. "Jack, the black box where you keep the crayons isn't big enough for a coloring book."
"I never keep the whole book," the colonel replied. "I look through the books, pull out the pages I want, and put them in there," he noted as he twisted around to look at the opened box that clearly showed a handful of folded pages yet to be drawn.
"And then you ..."
"Toss 'em," Jack answered the partially unasked query.
Tired of the topic, Jack took his Love in his arms and opined, "It's late, Angel. You need your rest."
"Actually, I'm feeling pretty good right now."
"Extremely good, as in ..."
Daniel's words were cut off by a quick meeting of his lips and Jack's. Thoughts of coloring books and psychologists were immediately forgotten, replaced by their own emotional and physical needs and desires. After all, there were many simple joys in life and it was time to leave the art of coloring behind and concentrate on the art of lovemaking. As Jack had thought earlier, life was good in Colorado Springs, especially now that he was in his lover's embrace.
~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~
Author's Note: Please feel free to email me with your comments or suggestions; constructive criticism, things you'd like to see, etc. A chronological listing of my universe is at http://orrymain.com