Surprising Jack -- Again!

Author: Orrymain with special guest author, Claudia!

Author Email: marciastudley@comcast.net (Feedback welcome)

Author Website: http://orrymain.raikiri.net/fanfichome.html

Category: Slash, Mini-Angst, Mini-H/C, Romance, Established Relationship

Pairing: Jack/Daniel .... and it's all J/D

Rating: NC-17

Season: 8 - August - October 20, 2004 (pre-canon shows)

Spoilers: Window of Opportunity (blink and you miss it)

Size: 111kb

Written: April 3-10,23, 2004

Summary: Daniel wants to do something special for Jack's birthday, but he's full of self-doubt about it. Can he go through with it, and will Jack's Mr. Jealousy from Daniel's secret cause problems?

Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!

Notes:

1) Sometimes, Jack and Daniel speak almost telepathically. Their "silent" words to each other are indicated by asterisks instead of quotes, such as **Jack, we can't.**

2) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~

3) Information on silversmithing was gleaned in part from the Society of American Silversmiths website at http://www.silversmithing.com/

4) "Silver Fox" is adapted from a Korean poem translated by Jimmy found at http://www.freefeel.org/wiki/SilverFox

5) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my past fics, "I'm Fine," "Surprising Jack," and "Allegro"

6) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better: QuinGem, Kalimyre, Drdjlover!



Surprising Jack -- Again!

by Orrymain and Claudia

"Daniel? Why so glum?" Sam said as she entered her friend's office on Level 18 of the SGC. The archaeologist had his elbows on a lab table, his head resting in the palms of his hands, and he was looking sadly downward.

"Sam, I want to do something special for Jack's birthday, but I don't know what."

"You gave him that big surprise party earlier this year. He loved that."

"I know, but that wasn't really his birthday."

Sam laughed. "That made it more fun."

"But his real birthday is coming up in a couple of months, and ... Sam, he does so much for me all the time. Our entire history is full of Jack doing things for me. I don't want to just buy him something all the time. I want to give him something he can look at and ..." Daniel shrugged.

"See you? Or maybe just feel your presence just by looking at it or touching it?"

"Yeah, something like that."

Sam picked up a pen and leaned forward against the table. She sighed. "You know, the best gifts, in my opinion, are things people make for someone. My niece made me this really dopey looking figurine of a little girl with her dog. It's pretty ... bad," Sam admitted, "but it's probably one of the few things I have in my home that I can walk into a room and just break out into a smile because ... well, it's her. It's ..."

"... love," Daniel completed. Sam nodded. "But I'm not really good at making things."

"Learn."

"What?"

"Take a crash course. Figure out something you'd like to do for the Colonel, and then ... learn how to do it."

Daniel bobbed his head back and forth as if that should have been an obvious solution for him.

"Oh, Daniel, the reason I came in here. We're getting a hit from another one of the planets with the cold dialing program. General Hammond wants us in the control room this afternoon when we send the MALP through."

"Okay. What time?"

"1350 hours."

Daniel made a note on his calendar about the time as Sam headed for the exit. "Thanks, Sam ... for the suggestion."

"You're welcome!"

====

Daniel sat at his computer not even noticing the screen in front of him. ~Okay, Daniel, you can do this. What does Jack like? What can you make for him?~ Daniel looked hopefully at his hands as if maybe they would provide him with an answer. They didn't.

"Okay, Okay. Flying. Something to do with planes? No idea what. Something for the house?"

He suddenly had a vision of himself sitting in a rocking chair knitting Jack a pair of woolen socks. He snorted. "No, I am not knitting him a pair of socks."

"Who are you not knitting socks for?" Jack came breezing into Daniel's office.

"No one." Daniel cursed as he felt himself blushing.

"Danny?" Jack gave his husband a wicked grin. "Are you thinking about knitting me a pair of socks?"

Daniel glared at him. "No, I most certainly am not." He stood and walked to his lab table to look at something, anything, to avoid looking at Jack.

**You're so cute when you blush, Love.**

**Jaaaack.**

Jack checked that the door to Daniel's office was locked and that the camera was turned off and began stalking towards his lover.

"So why are you knitting me socks?" Jack's grin broadened as Daniel blushed again.

"For crying out loud, Jack. I don't even know how to knit." Daniel was backing up towards the wall. "And for the last time, I am not knitting you socks!"

Jack pounced, drawing Daniel into a passionate kiss. Then whispered in Daniel's ear, "That's okay, Angel. I don't need socks to keep me warm. I've got me my very own Danny blanket."

Tiny puffs of air tantalized Daniels senses as Jack spoke making him moan. He leaned his head against his husbands shoulder.

"You are so going to pay, Jack."

Jack laughed. "It could be worse."

"Huh?"

"Knitting socks. Pregnant."

"Oh gawd, Jack. Give me a break. I am a man, in case you hadn't noticed."

"Oh, trust me, Love, I've noticed," Jack said, reaching down to touch the material against his lover's groin. "Believe me, I've noticed." Jack leaned in for another kiss.

"Mmm ... um, Jack. Why did you come in here?"

"Oh, briefing. Hammond has a scheduling conflict, so we're pushing it back to 1415."

"Okay. I'll ... make a note."

"Good." Jack planted one more kiss on his husband and turned for the door. "Oh, Danny?"

"Hmm?"

"Remember, blue is my favorite color."

"You're so dead, Jack!"

~Gawd, what am I going to do? I'm not good at building things. I already composed our song for Valentine's Day. I'm such a geek!~

Daniel sat down on the cot in his office and pouted silently.

====

Jack sat in the briefing room, only half listening to his 2IC's enthusiastic descriptions of the planet designated as PX7-111. The remainder of his attention was focused on his husband.

Uncharacteristically, Daniel didn't seem to be paying any attention to Sam's presentation, although no one but Jack would have noticed given the way Daniel was staring at the papers in front of him, a small frown on his face.

It was that frown that told Jack his spouse wasn't paying attention. If something was troubling Daniel about the briefing, he wouldn't be sitting there frowning about it, he'd be asking questions and arguing. ~What are you thinking about, Danny?~

**You.**

Jack chuckled. **You weren't supposed to hear that, but that was a great answer, you beautiful, sexy thing.**

**Gawd, Jack, not here.** Daniel blushed, attempting to hide his face within the folder that held the report he was reviewing during the briefing.

"Colonel?" Jack looked up to see General Hammond, Sam and Teal'c looking at him.



"Is something amusing about the high levels of sulfur in the soil of PX7-111?" Teal'c looked genuinely confused.

"Sorry, Carter. Just thought of something funny," Jack apologized. Sam narrowed her eyes, clearly not believing a word of it.

**So, Danny?**

**Listen to the briefing, Jack.**

**Love you, Angel.**

**Love you too, my Silver Fox.**

Exchanging a quick loving look, they focused their attention back on Sam. That was Daniel's intention anyway, but as he turned to view the projection Sam had put up, the solution to his problem hit him. Daniel couldn't help but smile with delight at the thought of Jack's reaction to such a present.

Jack didn't begin to try and refocus his attention back onto Sam. He knew it was pointless when he had a much more delightful outlet for his attention. He saw Daniel's brilliant smile and knew it meant Daniel had found the answer to a problem he'd been working on. Then Daniel began frowning again. ~Hmm, not the answer you wanted after all, Danny.~

Daniel's euphoria was short lived as self-doubt crept in. ~It would be perfect. I wonder if it's possible. It has to be. I'm not creative enough. It's crazy, but it would be perfect. Come on, Sam, finish up already. I want to do some research.~

As soon as the briefing ended, Daniel was out the door making a beeline for his office.

"Is DanielJackson well, O'Neill?" Teal'c stood beside Jack as they watched the departing back of their archaeologist.

"He's fine Teal'c. I think he's hot on the trail of a breakthrough, that's all. Probably just found the key to yet another dead language that'll save all our butts some day."

Jack pondered his lover's behavior as he walked back to his own office. ~You're up to something, Danny. And I don't think it's work-related.~

====

"Okay." Daniel started typing words into the search engine he'd pulled up on his computer. "Silver, silversmithing courses."

~Hmm, England. That's a little far away. Oh, Colorado Academy of Silversmithing and Art Metal. That sounds promising.~

Daniel picked up the phone to make an inquiry. He got some basic information and class schedules. "Um, do you, or do you know of anyone who does private lessons? ... Well, it's just I'm on a time deadline. I need to be able to complete my project by mid-October ... I know, it's quick, but it's for a special occasion ... no, not jewelry, but, uh, an animal actually ... fox ... it's personal, but I need to know if it's possible to have private lessons to speed up the process? ... okay, here's my number ..."

Daniel was told that a few of the instructors sometimes tutored and did private instruction, but the person answering his questions wasn't sure if they were available on such short notice, especially for the number of classes that would be necessary for Daniel to complete the project on schedule. He left his cell phone number for a return call, and made sure they knew that money wasn't an object.

"You realize we sell various animal creations. In fact, I believe we have a fox somewhere."

"No, that's not the point," Daniel had answered. This had to be handmade -- by him.

The archaeologist decided to continue his exploration of the project. He found a glossary of terms and decided to study it. He figured the more he researched now, the better prepared he'd be.

"Okay, let's start with the beginning. A ... Annealing. Um ... it says it's the heat treating or softening of metal after it has been work-hardened with steel tools ... and, uh, it's done between the raising and forging stages."

Daniel scrunched his face as he read on. "Okay, so raising is a technique of forming a flat sheet of metal over a cast iron T-stake or head, forming and compressing the metal to take a hollow form. Hmmm ... it's the purest form of silversmithing. Yeah, and the hardest no doubt."

Daniel hit another key on the keyboard. "Brazing ... brazing ... there it is ... soldering that uses high temperature alloys to join high temperature metals. And care has to be used to prevent firescale ..."

Daniel sighed, not finishing the sentence he had been reading. ~Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. Who am I kidding? I can memorize terms, but to actually make it? I think I'm out of my league here.~

Daniel stood and walked to a shelf, staring at the artifacts on it. "Maybe I'll just buy him something. Money ... money is so easy."

~But this is Jack. You can at least try, Jackson. If it ends up being a complete mess, then you can buy something. You can show Jack what a hopeless artist you are and have a good laugh about it together. At least he'll know that you tried.~

He straightened his shoulders and went back to his computer. ~Okay, forget about the silversmithing side of it for now. How about looking at some pictures of foxes. You need to decide what you want it to look like.~

A few minutes later, Daniel was engrossed in looking at pictures of foxes. He was concentrating on his task so much that he almost lost track of time and had to race to the control room making it just as the MALP was sent through.

"Daniel, decided to grace us with your presence ... finally?" Jack teased. Daniel just made a face at him and turned his attention to the images the MALP was sending back.

====

"So Danny," Jack breezed into Daniel's office at the end of the day, "Coming home now?"

At that moment Daniel's cell phone rang. "Hello ... Yes, this is Daniel Jackson ... Yes, that would be great."

Jack watched as Daniel began flicking through his diary. The person on the other end of the phone said something further, and Daniel looked nervously up at Jack. Still, he continued with his call. "Yes, tonight would be good. I'll see you in an hour."

Daniel hung up the phone and looked at his frowning husband. He cursed himself for not pre-planning what he was going to say to Jack.

"So ... Who are you meeting?" Jack asked leadingly. He was very disappointed, having looked forward to having a nice quiet evening with his lover all day.

"Ah, somebody who's going to help me with something."

The vagueness of the answer sounded suspicious to Jack. "Help you with what?"

Daniel looked at Jack and sighed. He closed the door behind him and used the remote to turn off the security equipment. Then, he walked over and put his arms around his husband. His hands caressed the back of Jack's neck for a moment, and then straightened his husband's collar.

"You're not going to get jealous, are you, Jack? You know I love you." He felt Jack relax.

"I know. I love you too, Angel. I was just ... looking forward to snuggling." Jack leaned in to kiss Daniel, a long passionate kiss that left them both hungry for more.

"Trust me, Babe. We'll have plenty of time to snuggle ... and then some."

Jack liked the sound of that, and the look in Daniel's eye. ~Nope, nothing to be jealous about here ... I don't think.~ "Don't be too late," he pleaded.

Daniel smiled. "I won't."

====

"Hi. Am I, uh, in the right place?"

"Daniel Jackson?"

"Yes." Daniel moved forward towards the man, noticing the leather apron he was wearing.

The man put down a soldering tool and wiped his hands. Walking over to the archaeologist, he extended his hand. "I'm Joel Stevens, and if we come to an understanding this evening, I'll be your instructor."

Joel was tall, about 6'6", slender, but definitely in shape. He had wavy brown hair, short, and when he smiled, so did his dimples.

Daniel smiled. "I know this may be a bit ... unique. I saw from the internet that classes are usually fourteen weeks for the beginner, and I'm ... I may be reaching over my head here, but I ... I'd like to try."

"Have a seat." Joel pointed to a stool next to his work bench. He then went and sat down on another stool a few feet away. "So, why don't you tell me what you want to do and exactly what kind of time frame we're looking at."

"I want to make a fox ... a silver fox. It has, um, a personal meaning for the person I want to give it to. And it's for ... their birthday."

"Which is?"

"October 20. The thing is I want it to be personal this year. We're always going overboard, buying things." Daniel noticed Joel nodding his head in understanding. "This time, I just thought I'd try to make something, so that it's about the gift, not about how much I spend."

"You do realize that the cost of the class far exceeds what you'd spend if you walked into a collectors store and bought one?"

"Yes, but that's not the point."

Joel smiled. "Okay, so time frame ..."

"That's a bit tricky. Like I said, it needs to be done by his ... by the birthday, but ... we, uh, our jobs take us out of ... town a lot and I don't always know that far in advance. Things tend to ... happen."

"So you need a flexible schedule?"

"If that's possible."

Joel got up and opened a large datebook that sat on a desk in the corner. He studied it carefully. "Days or nights, Daniel?"

Daniel sighed. "Mostly nights, but ... maybe days. It ... depends. Do you have any flexibility in your schedule?"

"Some, with limitations."

Daniel fidgeted with his hands. ~This is pointless. I'm asking for the impossible. I can't even commit for sure to a schedule. Gawd, what am I doing here?~ He stood. "Look, I'm sorry. This was a bad idea. I'm asking you to go way out of your way, and ... I'm sorry. Thank you for your time."

Daniel walked out of the building, feeling depressed and useless. He'd just reached his car when he heard Joel calling him back. He turned and walked back to the door of Joel's workshop.

"Daniel. Come back inside, and we'll work something out. I've worked with tough deadlines and schedules before."

Daniel paused, but only for a moment, and returned to the studio, taking his same seat. Joel grabbed his datebook again. "You said you're free usually at night, right?" Daniel nodded. "Good, so am I. I find some of my best work is created at night."

Joel smiled, and Daniel gave him a shy smile in return. The easy going nature of this man was beginning to make him feel a bit better about things.

"This is obviously important to you, so I'm sure it can be done as long as you're willing to put in as much time as you can. And if its the thought that counts, trust me the recipient of this gift will love it. I suggest that whenever you have the time, day or night, you give me a call, and if I'm here, come over."

Daniel's smile broadened. "Thanks, Joel. I'm ... a little nervous about this."

"Nothing to worry about. It's just silver!" the lanky man smiled. "Let's get some of the basics sorted out. How big do you want the fox to be?"

"Um ..." Daniel held his hands about a foot apart.

"Good. Bigger is actually easier. If you'd wanted to make one that was only a couple of inches high, we would have been in trouble. Now, do you want the fox lying down or standing up?"

Daniel gave him a self-deprecating laugh. "Whichever is easier."

Joel thought for a moment. "Probably lying down. He could have his head resting on his paws, tail curled up beside him. It's less complicated - not so many parts sticking out that way."

"Joel, do you really think I can do this?" Daniel asked hesitantly.

"Absolutely. How about if we get started tomorrow?" Daniel nodded his agreement. "Okay, great. In the meantime, draw or find a picture of the fox that you want to make. Trust me, its always easier if you have a template to work from."

"Thanks again, Joel. I really appreciate this."

"No problem. I'll see you tomorrow. Oh, and wear old clothes." Joel grinned. "It can get messy."

"I have lots of those. Goodnight." Daniel gave Joel a wave and headed out to his car.



~Gawd, Jack. Only you could get me doing something like this. Love you so much, my beautiful, gorgeous Silver Fox.~

====

"Danny, it's time for bed." Daniel looked up from his computer in his den. Seeing Jack walking in, he quickly closed the browser.

"Secret?" Jack asked instinctively.

"Just ... work." ~It is work. Homework ... for my class. Not a lie. No, not a lie.~

"Well, okay, but it's time for bed."

"Actually, I have more work I need to do."

"Come on, Danny. You came home late, and once we got done with dinner, you marched up here and," Jack pulled Daniel up from his chair, holding him tightly to his body, "I haven't even had a chance to do this ..." Jack kissed his husband.

"Mmm," Daniel sighed contently. This pleased Jack. He tried not to, but whenever Daniel had a secret he wouldn't share, his Mr. Jealousy seemed to come out, and he had to work extra hard to keep him hidden and buried. But, having Daniel melt in his arms always served to make him feel better and reassured.

"Bed, Danny."

"Mmm." Daniel had turned to mush, and he knew it. ~Must be the lack of kisses during the day. I wonder if I can get Janet to order the General to make sure Jack kisses me at least ten, no twenty, thirty, hmm ... forever ...~ Daniel's mind was off in dreamland somewhere.

Jack loved it. He led his lover to their bedroom where they made love and fell asleep in each other's arms. Jack was glad to know that Daniel would be getting some sleep, since he had rescued him from working all night at the computer.

"Hmmm ... mmmm ... Danny?" Jack's eyes fluttered open slowly as he realized his Daniel blanket had disappeared. "Grrrr," he grunted, knowing his wayward husband was in his den. ~I know it as sure as I know my name.~

Jack got up, putting on his burgundy robe, and stood at the door frame of the den. "Daniel?"

"Oh, hi, Jack." Again, the first thing Daniel did was close the browser.

"Whatcha' working on at ..." Jack glanced at the clock, "0300 hours?"

"Work."

"Daniel ... bed."

Daniel glanced at his notes. He wanted to continue, but he knew Jack would hound him. ~Funny, he seems to worry about me. It's very aggravating. It's also one of the reasons I love him so much.~ Daniel broke out into a huge smile.

"Hey, something funny?"

"No, just thinking about how much I love you," Daniel said as he powered off the computer and put his notes away. "Let's go back to bed, Love."

"Gee, where have I heard that idea before?"

Daniel laughed as he stole a kiss. Then the two lovers returned to their bed.

====

Daniel sat at his computer the following day finalizing his design for his silver fox. Despite what he and Joel had discussed yesterday, the pictures of foxes that he liked best were of the foxes standing. They were more 'Jack' like, graceful yet alert.

That done he decided it was time he told Jack that he'd be late home again this evening. He walked down to Jack's office, making a detour past Sam's lab.

"Hi, Sam." Daniel sat down and looked over her experiment. She had a number of instruments hooked up to a crystal that had been brought back by one of the SG teams.

"Daniel." She smiled at him. "How are you going with the Colonel's birthday present?"



Daniel smiled nervously. "I have an idea. I know what I want to do. I just don't know if I can do it."

"Daniel, trust me, even if you end up with an unrecognizable whatever, the Colonel will love it, just because you made it."

Daniel blushed slightly. "I hope so." He remembered the sketch of their beagles that he'd given Jack. His lover had been so enraptured by it that he'd insisted on hanging it up immediately. If he'd liked that sketch, which Daniel personally didn't think was very good, then maybe he would like whatever Daniel managed to create.

"You know I'm right, Daniel."

He blushed again. Jack loved him, so completely, so totally, that he could probably give his lover a pencil and say "Look what I bought you" and Jack would go bananas over it ... simply because Daniel had given it to him. "Yeah," Daniel acknowledged softly, lost in the security of that love for a moment. "Thanks, Sam."

====

"Hi, Jack." Daniel grinned at the huge smile that broke out on Jack's face at the sight of him.

"I'm interrupting paperwork, aren't I?" he teased.

Jack flicked the button on the remote, got up from behind his desk, and locked the door. Then he drew Daniel in for a long, passionate kiss. He'd done a pretty good job of squashing his earlier jealousy down, but he needed to feel Daniel melt in his arms to banish the last lingering traces of it.

"Mmmm, love you," Daniel whispered.

"Love you too, Angel." Jack kissed his lover one more time, then went back to sit behind his desk before he got carried away.

"So, what's up, Doc?" Jack fluttered his eyelashes on purpose.

Daniel gave his husband a mock glare. "Very funny."

"I know," Jack said smugly looking so pleased with himself that Daniel had to laugh.

"Gawd, I love you." He hesitated. "I'm going to be late getting home tonight, Jack."

"Why?"

Daniel sighed. He really hadn't thought this out very well. If he had prepared earlier, he could have logically covered all the time away he was going to have to take over the next several weeks, but he hadn't. ~I should tell him the truth, at least, as much as I can.~

"Daniel?"

"Jack, come here."

Immediately, Jack grew suspicious. He waited a moment, then stood and walked to Daniel who drew him in for another kiss.

"I need you to hear me, with your mind and your heart."

"I'm not going to like this, am I?"

~Oh gawd. I'm not thinking this out well at all. He'll guess it's for his birthday if I tell him I'm working on a project. Anything at the SGC and he'd know about it. Classes or lectures would have set schedules. Tutor ... oh ... that'll work. I'm sorry in advance for lying to you, but it's just a little one, sort of, just for now. Love you. Please understand.~

Jack saw his lover going through some internal struggle. His nose was scrunched and he was totally lost in whatever he was thinking. "Danny, you're okay, aren't you?"

"What? Oh, gawd, yes, Jack. It's nothing bad. Look, I promised a contact of mine that I'd participate in a tutoring project. It's short term, but a bit sporadic. He has a very flexible time table, and with our wacky schedule, we're doing things when we can."

"Sharing your genius, eh?"

Daniel shrugged. "It's a ... learning process."

"Okay, short term?"

"Yes, and we're starting tonight. He has an opening."

"Okay, Angel." Jack kissed Daniel again, and then turned to go back to his desk.

Daniel breathed a sigh of relief. ~That wasn't too bad, and actually, I don't really even think I lied ... I don't think.~

"So, who's the guy, where is this happening, and what are you tutoring?"

~Gawd, I spoke too soon!~

Daniel closed his eyes, his mind racing. He looked at Jack. "His name is Joel Stevens, and it's at his house."

Jack didn't look happy at this last comment. "His house? Isn't that a bit unusual?"

Daniel shrugged and tried to look nonchalant. "Academics tend to do a lot of their work at home." ~Well, that is true. And I haven't said that Joel is an academic.~

Jack still didn't look happy. "So, what are you tutoring in?"

Daniel didn't know what to say to this. He shrugged again. "You know, this and that."

Jack narrowed his eyes and looked suspiciously at Daniel. "Why are you being shifty, Daniel?"

"Shifty? I am not being ... shifty. Jack, what kind of a word is shifty anyway? Never mind. Shifty," Daniel snorted. "I am NOT being shifty." Daniel felt ashamed as soon as he'd finished his effort to stifle his lover. ~I am though, aren't I?~ Suddenly, a solution came to him.

"I'm going to teach him Latin." Daniel figured that in each lesson Joel gave him, he'd try and mention some Latin words, tell Joel their meanings and then it wouldn't really be a lie he'd told Jack. He would be teaching Joel some Latin.

Jack smiled at him, and Daniel immediately felt even guiltier. While he was doing his best not to lie, he wasn't really being honest, either. Jack saw the emotions flitting across Daniel's face and went back over to him. He put his arms around his soulmate and hugged him close.

"Hey, Danny, it really is okay. I don't mind. Well, I do because I'll miss you, but its okay."

"I love you, Jack. Please don't doubt that."

"I don't. How could I when you look at me the way you are right now?"

They kissed and regretfully parted to return to their SGC duties.

====

Jack sat staring at the paperwork in front of him. He was trying to suppress the urge to get Sam to run a check on this Joel Stevens that Daniel was going to be working with. While some of this desire to check on the man stemmed from Jack's protective impulses, he knew that some of it was coming from that green-eyed monster he was trying so hard to ignore.

~No. I trust Danny. I trust his judgment. I am not going to run a check on this guy.~

Making a concerted effort, Jack tried to forget all about Joel Stevens and lose himself in the paperwork in front of him. When it got to the end of the day, he realized that he'd failed miserably. He'd managed to get through a quarter of the paperwork that he should have and was still fighting the urge to check up on Daniel's friend.

====

"Hello again, Daniel," Joel greeted Daniel with a friendly smile.

"Hi Joel." Daniel shifted his feet nervously. "Ah, Joel, I know you said a lying down fox would be easier, but I found this and ... well, it's almost perfect for my, uh, friend."



He held it out to Joel. It was a picture of a fox standing, looking back over its shoulder.

Joel smiled. "It might have been easier to do it differently, Daniel, but I'm sure we can still do it. So, ready for our first lesson?"

Daniel took a deep breath and nodded, a silent mantra running through his head. ~I can do this. For Jack, I can do this.~

"Ready to make a ... vulpes."

"A what?"

"Vulpes. It's Latin for fox."

"Oh."

"Um, it's pretty easy to remember. Fox. Vulpes. Vulpes. Fox."

Joel looked at Daniel strangely. "Fox ... vulpes," he echoed, surprised when Daniel let out a big smile.

"Yes. Okay, I'm ready."

Joel paused just a moment, trying to digest the last minute, but then began the lesson. "Come over here, Daniel. I'd like to begin by acquainting you with some of the tools we'll be using."

"I've done a bit of research, so hopefully it won't be so foreign to me."

"Good. Okay, do you know what this is?" Joel picked up a long hammer that had a narrow face running perpendicular to the handle.

"Um, a hammer. Oh, yes, a cross-peen hammer."

"Right. We'll be using this when we raise, form and planish the fox." Daniel nodded. "Raising is what gives our piece a hollow shape. We'll have to decide on what technique to go with. Traditionally, it's been raising, but there's a quicker process called fold forming that really cuts down the time and uses this hammer, an anvil, mill and your fingers. And planishing is towards the end. That's when we'll get our piece in shape, refining it. But it's very detailed."

Again, Daniel nodded.

Joel picked up another item. "Any idea what this is?"

"No, not really."

"This is the rolling mill. It's like a hand crank clothes dryer, and we'll be using it when we texture."

They reviewed some other equipment, and then Joel asked, "So, do you know much about silver itself? I've found it's good to know as much as possible about the material you're working with. It's not required, but ..."

"Yes, uh, I'm acquainted with ... silver."

"Good. Tell me about it."

~What is this ... a test? I speak Latin, for crying out loud. Gawd, Jackson, calm down. He's teaching, just like you would. Don't be impatient.~ "What do you want to know?"

"What you know." Joel sat on a stool. He was sure Daniel would say what most people did, that silver was a metal, used for jewelry. ~That's what all the women care about, anyway.~

"Okay, well, silver is known as Ag on the periodic table. It's a white, lustrous metallic element that conducts heat and electricity better than any other metal. Um, the atomic number of silver is forty-seven, by the way. Back from the days of ancient civilizations, it's been treasured as both an adornment and as coinage.

"In fact, there were mines worked before 2500BC. The alchemists called the metal Luna or Diana after the goddess of the moon and ascribed to it the symbol of a crescent moon.

"Let's see. It is the most malleable and ductile of all the metals, except for gold, of course. It is, however, harder than gold, but it's, uh, softer than copper, though I know that's neither here nor there.

"Silver melts at about 1764 degrees Fahrenheit], boils at 4014 degrees. What else?" Daniel scratched his head for a second. "Oh, its atomic weight is 107.868. I'm, uh, not sure why I remember that, but that's neither here nor there. I seem to remember that it doesn't react with oxygen or water at ordinary temperatures. I'm not much on the chemical side of things though. I just memorized all those numbers recently.

"Uh, the most notable deposits of native silver are in Peru and Norway, where the mines have been worked for centuries. I recall reading somewhere that half of the world's production of silver is obtained as a by-product in the processing of lead, copper and zinc ores.

"I, uh, haven't ever done this, of course, but my understanding is that silver is usually recovered from silver ores by roasting the ore in a furnace to convert the sulfides to sulfates and then chemically precipitating metallic silver. There are several ways of doing this.

"As for uses, I think that's obvious. We make foxes with it," Daniel said with a smile. He saw Joel sitting still, a blank expression on his face, so he folded his arms across his chest and decided to finish his mini-lecture. "Tableware, coins, jewelry. Silver is also used to coat smooth glass surfaces for mirrors, although aluminum is being used more now. It's used quite a bit for electrical circuitry and components, and even as medicine. Uh, that would be colloidal silver mainly. Um, Argyrol is actually a silver-protein compound. It's a local antiseptic for the eyes, ears, nose, and throat, according to my doctor."

Daniel felt like he was rambling. ~For good reason, you are. Shut up, Jackson.~

"Lastly, silver-halide salts which darken on exposure to light are used in emulsions for photographic plates, film, and paper. And, um, is that enough?"

Joel blinked. "What did you say you do?"

"I didn't. I'm an archaeologist." Joel started to respond. "And an anthropologist." Joel was about to stand up. "Um, a linguist, too." Joel opened his mouth to speak. "And I guess I'm sort of a diplomatic negotiator, too."

"Anything else?"

"I ... talk too much."

Joel laughed. "Let's get started, Daniel."

Daniel followed Joel over to a workbench. "Okay, I think we'll use an eighteen-gauge sheet of sterling silver. We'll start off by making the body of the fox. Then we'll move onto the legs and tail. We'll save the head for last because the ears might be a little tricky. Now to make the body we need to hammer the sheet of silver over some stakes."

Joel led Daniel over to a row of stakes that were hanging on the wall. They were all of varying sizes and shapes, some with narrow tops, others had tops that looked like mushrooms, and yet others looked more like balls.

"You need to decide if you think you can make the fox using combinations of these stakes, or if you want to you can make your own."

Daniel stepped forward and began examining the stakes. He could see that they all had the same bottom, built to fit into the vice that Joel had sitting on the end of his work bench, but all the tops were different. Some were similar, but no two were exactly the same. After examining them all, he selected a mushroom shaped stake.

"How about this one?" He grinned at Joel. "I really don't want to make a new one."

"Good decision." Joel returned the grin. "We probably wouldn't have the time to make a new one anyway."

"Alrighty, now bring that over here, and slot it into the vice."

Daniel did as he was told, beginning to feel a ray of hope that maybe he really could do this.

====

Jack sat on the sofa in front of the television, Bijou and Katie snuggled up beside him.

"He'll be home soon, Girls," he said more to himself than to the relaxed looking dogs. He saw Bijou looking at him. "Okay, okay, I know I keep saying that and ..." Bijou continued to look steadily at him. "Oh, all right. I'm jealous. I admit it. Happy now?"

The mama beagle put her head on her paws and continued to stare at him. "Fine. I'm jealous, and I don't need to be. Is that better?"

Bijou gave a light wag of her tail, and Jack could have sworn she smiled at him. **Bully.**

He caught her glaring at him again. "Oh, come on. You can't have heard that. Telepathic communication with Danny is one thing, but telepathic communication with a dog, even a dog as special as you Bij, is just ridiculous."

At that, she got up and went to sit in her beanbag. Jack sighed. ~Come home soon, Danny. The beagles may stage an uprising!~

====

"Well done, Daniel. I know it doesn't look like much now, but trust me, you've done very well."

"Thanks Joel. You're a good teacher." Daniel smiled shyly and placed the curved piece of silver he'd been working on in a place on one of Joel's shelves that had been set aside for him. He'd spent the last hour first cutting the sheet of silver down to the right size and then hammering the silver over the shape of the mushroom stake until he had a curved U-shaped piece of silver which would end up being the back of the fox.

As he'd worked, he explained the etymology of various words, mostly how many of the names of tools and many words of the English language derived from Latin. He's discovered that Joel was intelligent, curious about things and entertaining.

"See you tomorrow?"

"I think so. If I can't make it, I'll give you a call." Daniel shook Joel's hand and exited the studio workshop that was part of the man's home.

He got into his car and prepared to return home when he noticed the time. ~Oh, gawd. He's going to kill me. No, he's going to be jealous. I know my Jack. He's trying. He really is, but ... oh gawd.~

====

Taking a breath, Daniel entered his home and was immediately greeted by Bijou and Katie. They woofed in excitement, wagging their tails, and exchanged some kisses. Looking up, Daniel saw the living room was vacant of his husband. He sighed. "He's not happy, is he?"

Katie rolled over as if to answer his question.

"I didn't think so. Where is he?"

The dogs ran to the patio door. Daniel smiled. "The roof deck." Taking a deep breath as if preparing for battle, Daniel trudged his way out the door and climbed up the ladder that led to the roof deck.

"Hey," Daniel spoke softly, climbing over the rail to join Jack on the deck.

"Hey yourself," Jack responded, his voice low. He was seated on the deck floor, up against the wall. His knees were drawn up about halfway, and he was loosely holding a bottle of beer in his right hand.

Daniel sat down next to Jack and assumed a similar position. "You're mad, aren't you?"

"No."

"Jealous?"

"No."

"Drunk?"

Jack snickered. "At the moment, Love, I'm wondering why you love me."

"Jack, you know why, and I do ... love you, forever and always." Daniel leaned over to give Jack a kiss on the cheek. "I'm sorry time slipped by so fast. Jack, I promise. What I'm doing is very important to me. It may take a lot of my time right now, but what's in my heart, what I feel for you, that's with me every second that I'm away from you. I love you."

Jack smiled and finally turned to look at Daniel. "I tried not to be jealous. I did. Ask the girls, but ... it's just ... inside me, Danny. When I don't have all the answers, my mind just explodes with possibilities."

Daniel placed his left hand on Jack's cheek and smiled. He moved his hand to trace the edge of Jack's jaw, and then his lips. "Only you, O'Neill. Only you."

They kissed, short and gentle at first, and then it grew to a passionate kiss of need and want. Daniel shifted around to face Jack as their kisses continued. His hands moved to unbutton his lover's brown shirt, but he got frustrated. "Gawd, I hate buttons," he whispered in an aggravated tone, finally just ripping the buttons off.

Jack laughed. He loved it when Daniel got so crazy with lust that he couldn't maneuver the buttons. Plus, it meant he got a new shirt. It was a running joke of sorts, and one way Daniel always kept Jack with a new wardrobe. He could easily affix new buttons, but Daniel thought it was more fun to buy his husband new clothes instead.

Daniel gently slid Jack down to the deck. As he began to undo Jack's jeans, the older man said, "Danny, Love?"

"Hmm?

"Black."

"Black what?"

"Shirt. When you go shopping, get me a new black one. I'm tired of brown."

Daniel let out a noise of exasperation. "We're making love here, Babe, not discussing wardrobe."

"Oh, sorry."

Daniel grinned. "You will be."

He slowed his pace and inch by torturous inch undid the top of Jacks jeans, blowing warm puffs of air on his husbands abdomen and kissing each inch of skin as it was revealed.

"Geez, Danny." Jack writhed under the slow pace his lover was setting. Eventually, Daniel had the jeans undone. Jack was extraordinarily glad he'd gone commando. ~ Less clothing for Danny to torture me with, and right now, torture is the right word. Get on with it, Babe.~

He looked down at his lover and his breath caught in his throat. The look of concentration and love on Daniel's face as he examined the prize before him was awe-inspiring and humbling.

**My Angel. Love you so much.**

Daniel heard the thought and gave Jack an all-encompassing smile that made Jack's heart stop. Then he swooped down and swallowed Jack whole. He hummed happily as he listened to Jack moan with pleasure. Drawing back, he surveyed his prize again, driving Jack to distraction.

"Danny." Jack was eager, very eager.

Daniel just grinned at the older man. He was not going to rush this examination of his favorite artifact. Gentle fingers reached out to caress every inch, the feather light touches driving Jack insane with desire. Daniel looked down at his writhing lover and felt a surge of possessiveness flare up inside him. He knew how hard it was for Jack to suppress that green-eyed monster because over the years he'd had his own fights with the same monster.

~Mmmm, maybe that's an idea. Every night we make mind-blowing sex, and then we cuddle. That'll help reassure Jack that he is still and will always be my Silver Fox.~ Daniel thought he had come up with a great plan, until ... ~Wait ... we already do that.~

"Danny!" Jack's indignant voice brought Daniel back to the present. "Not that I'm trying to pressure you or anything, but I'm dying here."

"Sorry." Daniel smiled sheepishly at his lover, but couldn't resist teasing a little more with a few additional light touches and flicks of the tongues at the tip of Jack's shaft. Then, judging Jack had had enough tormenting, he once more engulfed the prized possession, losing himself in the ecstasy of knowing that he, and only he, could do this to Jack, could bring his husband so much pleasure. Much to his surprise, that knowledge was enough to bring his own release.

As they lay recovering in each others arms, Daniel reassured Jack once more. "Trust me, Jack. You don't need to be jealous. I can't even live without you."

"Love you Danny. Love you so much." Jack ran his hands through his husband's hair. ~I will not let my jealousy get the better of me. No way am I going to risk losing this. Came too close not that long ago. Nope, not going to lose my Angel.~



====

Two weeks later, Daniel wandered into Jack's office. Jack recognized the look. "Latin tonight?"

Daniel nodded. "Jack, how hungry are you?"

"Hungry? Why?"

"Well, I was thinking that maybe I could bring home some Chinese. I know it will be late, but we could ... you know ... eat it that ... special way we do ... sometimes."

"Geez, Danny, you're blushing."

"What do you expect? I never thought about Chinese food that way until you ... you know ... last year. I mean, chicken chow mein will never be the same."

Both men laughed, and then Jack said. "I'll make a fire and have it nice and warm. Realistically, are we talking seven or midnight?"

"Realistically?"

Jack nodded. Daniel wanted to say now, but he knew that once he arrived at Joel's that unless the silversmith had other plans, he'd become lost in his project. They were making progress, and he was constantly afraid that SG-1 would be called off-world and then who knows what would happen to his silver fox -- the figurine, not the man.

"Daniel?"

"Ten, maybe eleven."

Jack began reciting dialogue from "The Wizard of Oz."

"Jack, what are you doing?"

"Therapy."

"Huh?"

"The wicked witch is dead, only it's not the wicked witch, it's Mr. Jealousy. We're off to see the wizard, and the wicked Mr. Jealousy is dead."

"Oh," Daniel said, confused, looking up to his right for a second. "Well, make the fire, and I'll bring the ... Chinese." Daniel's voice was tentative. He was still trying to decipher Jack's comment.

"Be safe."

"You, too." Daniel smiled and then exited the office.

====

"Hi, Daniel."

"Joel. Have I said thank you lately for ..."

Joel laughed. "Yes, every time we talk."

"Oh, sorry. Um, by the way, did you know that ..."

"This is the Latin word for the night, right?"

Daniel looked at Joel in surprise. He had thought he was being sly. True, they had talked about Latin roots that first night, and several nights Daniel had worked the language in covertly, or so he thought, but he didn't realize his word of the night had been quite so obvious.

"It's that obvious?"

"I have no idea why you're trying to teach me Latin, but apparently you are. So what's the word?"

"Um, an easy one actually. Hammer. Since I knew we'd be using one, I thought it would make sense. Hammer is malleus, or sometimes marcus."

"Easy enough. I'll get the malleus, and we can begin, and while I'm getting ole marcus, why don't you tell me why I'm learning Latin as we make your vulpes." Joel smiled.

"Gawd. Um, you see, I ... told the person I'm making this for that I was teaching you Latin."

"Oh, she thinks you're tutoring me?"

~She? Oh gawd.~

"Ah, not exactly," Daniel hesitated. He didn't like lying to people and liked Joel so he wanted to tell him the truth. ~He doesn't know anything about us. He's just ... a guy. It can't hurt to be honest, just once, can it?~ "She is a he."

Joel saw Daniel's nervousness. ~Wondering whether I'm going to throw him out or treat him differently.~

"It's okay, Daniel. Actually my twin brother is gay. I don't have a problem with it. And now that I think about it, I remember you mentioned a 'he' the first time we met. It just didn't sink in then."

Daniel smiled with relief.

~And you, my friend, are enough to make me seriously wonder if I'm looking in the wrong place for my own Mr. or Ms. Right.~ Joel rubbed his hands together. "Okie Dokie. We're up to a leg today, if I'm not mistaken."

Daniel nodded. He was quite proud of his work so far. The body of the fox was now more or less shaped and Daniel was anxious to start on the legs and tail which he was sure would be more difficult.

"All right. We'll start with the front legs. Because they are basically narrow all the way up, they should be the easiest to start with." He held up two thick pieces of wire.

"I suggest we use fold forming. Basically, we'll use hand held tools. Do you remember?"

"Yes, the hammer, anvil, mill and ... my fingers," Daniel raised his hands and wriggled his fingers to emphasize his words.

"Right." Joel spread the tools out in front of Daniel as they talked.

Several hours later, Daniel had successfully managed to mould a piece into a leg. ~Gawd, it's taken me all night to make that leg, and that was the easy one.~ Daniel turned the leg over in his hands. This leg was to be the front left leg. All the other legs of the fox were slightly bent and so would definitely be harder to make. He looked at the paw. That had taken a lot of patience with a hammer to get looking even vaguely paw-like. He had to admit that the finished result wasn't bad though.

Tired, he said goodnight to Joel and headed for his favorite Chinese take-out. He perked up a little at the thought of devouring the food with his lover.

~Gawd, Jack. Love you so much. I hope you like this present and wouldn't rather I'd just bought you something. I know it's keeping us apart more than I'd like, but ... please like it, Love. I mean -- for real.~

He opened the door to be greeted by a pair of happy beagles. "Where is he?"

The two dogs went running into the study. Daniel chuckled as he followed them. Their beagles were better than any answering machine in the world. Entering the study, Daniel smiled. Jack was stretched out on the sofa sound asleep with a slew of Katie's toys surrounding him.

"Katie, have you been taking advantage of him?" Daniel asked the young beagle quietly. She wagged her tail, a smile on her young face.

Daniel leaned over to pet her as he laughed, and putting the take out food on the desk, walked over to kneel next to his lover. He just drank in the sight of his husband's face for a few minutes, then couldn't help himself. He ran his hands through that silver hair that always set his heart racing and bent down for a kiss.

"Mmm," Jack murmured as his hands came up to draw Daniel in deeper.

"Missed you, Angel."

"I missed you too, my gorgeous Silver Fox. Love you, Jack. Love you so much."

They kissed for a minute. "I brought the Chinese."

Jack grinned. "Been waiting for that all night. Chow Mein?" Daniel nodded. "Let's go."

Jack and Daniel put the girls outside for a while, and then adjourned to their bedroom, where they devoured Chinese food their favorite way -- in bed.

====

A few days later, the lovers were getting ready to go to work, but Daniel seemed a bit sluggish to Jack. Of course, they'd made love all night and didn't actually fall asleep until four hours ago, but still, Daniel's listlessness was unusual.

Jack prepared breakfast and placed it in front of his husband, who stared at it ... for two minutes before finally taking a bite, chewing it very slowly. But soon after, he put his fork back down.

"I didn't poison it, you know."

"I'm just not very hungry."

"Okay, that's it."

"What?" Daniel looked startled as Jack stood up, taking their plates and moving them to the kitchen counter.

Jack pulled Daniel up. He placed his hands all over Daniel's face, starting with his forehead. "Danny, those were your very favorite blueberry waffles. You love those things almost as much as you do Starbuck's."

"Jack ..."

"Don't Jack me. You've got a fever. Upstairs."

"I'm not a child."

"Move!"

"Oh for crying out loud," Daniel whined, but he did feel horrible, not even getting any satisfaction for using his lover's patented line. He was nauseous and his muscles ached. And he was hot. "Gawd, I'm sick." Walking up the stairs, he let out with a giant sneeze. He stopped in his tracks. He hated being sick.

Jack was behind him on the stairs. He caressed Daniel's back for a minute. "Go on, Love. I'm here."

"Mmmm," Daniel heard himself moan from contentment. He didn't realize he said it out loud, but he quietly spoke, "Jack's here. He'll take care of me."

"You got that right, forever and always. Come on," Jack gave his husband a little nudge.

Once in the bedroom, Jack helped Daniel change into pajamas and get back into bed. He took his temperature. "Oh yeah, Babe. 102.5. Man, that came on in a hurry."

"I'm sorry."

"Daniel, don't start that. It's not your fault you're sick."

"Working too hard."

"You always do. That's who you are, my love. I'm going to call the Doc and have her send something over."

"Okay."

====

Jack was feeding the fish later that afternoon. "Gloop, gloop to you, too," he said, chuckling.

He had called in sick to the SGC for both of them that morning. Actually, he called in sick for Daniel and then told the General, "You know how he is, Sir. He'll work if someone doesn't ride herd over him, and with that negotiation coming up in a few days, I thought ..."

Jack hadn't had to finish his sentence. Major General George Hammond knew exactly what his 2IC was talking about. It wasn't exactly a character flaw, but taking care of himself had never been Daniel's best attribute. Jack had smiled hanging up the phone. He didn't have to make up stories any more for his friend, the General, since they had revealed to truth to him earlier in the year, and as he moved to clean the dishes, Jack had realized for the first time how good it felt not to have to lie in a situation like this.

A muffled ring drew Jack's attention from the fish. Looking around, he saw his lover's jacket. ~Cell phone.~

Jack went over, reached into the pocket for the phone, and answered it. "Hello?"

"Uh, I was looking for Daniel Jackson."

"Who's this?"

"Joel."

~Joel?~ "Joel?"

"Yeah, I've been, ah ... Daniel's been teaching me Latin."

Jack frowned. That answer sounded far too hesitant for his liking. ~Trying to hide something, Pal?~

"So how's it going?" Jack asked. "Tu-ne vales?"

As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Jack cursed himself. He hadn't even realized he still remembered that phrase from the Latin he'd learned during the time loops. ~Geez, you're supposed to be trusting Daniel, so what do you do? The first chance you get, you test this guy? Great way to show your trust, O'Neill.~ His self-recriminations were cut off when he heard Joel's response.

"Sorry?"

Jack tried to ignore the sudden clenching of his heart. This guy had been learning Latin from Daniel, who Jack knew from personal experience was an excellent teacher, and he didn't know a basic phrase like 'Are you well?'

"No, I'm sorry. Did you want to speak to Daniel?" Jack started making his way to the bedroom.

"Yes, please. He left a message on my machine this morning and didn't sound too good. Just wanted to check he's okay."

Jack peered into the bedroom. Daniel was asleep, sprawled out on the bed, clutching Jack's pillow to his chest. ~Gawd, Danny. I trust you, I do. It's everyone else I don't trust. And you don't see it. Even after all this time, Angel, you still don't see how wonderful you are.~

Slowly Jack backed out of the bedroom. "Sorry, Joel, he's asleep. Can I take a message?"

"Just ask him to give me a call when he's feeling better. And look after him. He's a great guy."

"I know." Jack bristled. ~Who does he think he is to tell me about Daniel? He's MY husband.~ Jack began to seethe as he hung up the phone.

~I'm not jealous. I'm not going to be jealous. But Danny, you're not teaching him Latin. I remember when you taught Teal'c and I. That was one of the first phrases you taught us.~

Terrified he was losing his heart, Jack returned to the bedroom and spent the next hour watching his husband as he did battle with himself.

~There has to be some explanation, but, geez, please tell me you didn't lie to me. I can't lose you, Danny.~

**Jack, you know better than that.**

"Danny." Jack moved over to the bed and sat down. He cradled Daniel's head in his lap and ran his fingers slowly through his lover's soft brown hair.

"What happened, Jack?" Daniel suppressed a sneeze.

"Joel called. I ... I didn't mean to, Danny. It just kinda came out."

"What did?"

"Tu-ne vales?"

**Oh.**

Daniel tried to think, but was too tired, and he couldn't get his brain to work. "Jack, please trust me. I am teaching Joel Latin, but he doesn't need to know it the way you and Teal'c did, or the way most students do. That's why he didn't know that phrase."

"I'm sorry, Angel."

"I'm proud of you, Jack."

Jack snorted. That was the last thing he expected and certainly not something he thought he deserved to hear. Daniel smiled up and him.

"I know how hard it is to battle that green-eyed monster, Love. You are doing brilliantly. Definitely winning the battle." He nestled further into Jack's lap and sighed happily. **Love you, Jack.**

**Love you too, Angel, so friggin' much. I don't trust that Joel though.**

**Jaaack.**

**Sorry, Love.**

====

"Much better. Down to 101.4."

"Not good enough," Daniel pouted. "I have ... cough ... things I need to ... cough ... do." Daniel sniffled, not from tears, but from a runny nose.

"Aw, Angel. You have to get well first." Jack leaned forward to give Daniel a kiss."

"You shouldn't kiss me. You'll get sick, too."

Jack smiled. "I don't care. I'll never stop kissing you." To prove his point, Jack kissed his lover tenderly.

"I don't want ... sneeze ... you to get sick."

"You can take care of me if I get sick."

"But you're taking care of me."

Jack grinned. "We'll take care of each other."

Daniel smiled as his hands caressed Jack's cheeks. "I love you so much."

"We've come a long way, haven't we?" Daniel nodded. "Danny, remember when we first met the Tok'ra?" Another nod. "You were so sick."

"I remember. I felt ... cough ... just horrible, worse than now."

"You thought I'd leave you."

"I was ... dumb."

"No, you were scared, but you know better now."

"Gawd, Jack. We've been through so much."

"Much more to come, Angel ... a forever's worth.

"Kiss me," Daniel said with a broad smile.

"I love you, Danny," and then Jack followed through with his husband's request. "And now, I need to make you something to eat. Feel like anything in particular?"

"It ... it'll be a little bit of trouble."

Jack smiled, taking his lover's hand in his. "There was a time I had to force your wants from you."

"I know."

"Tell me."

"Your grandmother's soup. The one that fixes everything."

"Okay. I need to make a quick run to the store for that. Will you be okay?"

Daniel nodded, and Jack stood, and began to walk out. "Oh, Jack. What did you want to do for your birthday this year?"

"My birthday?" Jack shrugged. Normally, they celebrated quietly or went somewhere. Daniel liked to fuss over him, but to Jack, it was pretty much just another day. "I don't know. I hadn't thought about it."

"Maybe we could go to the cabin, or to Disneyland even?"

"We could, or we could just stay in bed all day!" Jack looked at his husband with lust. "You're all I need ... all I want," Jack whispered, his voice full of emotion. "I'm a happy man, Danny, and it's all because of you. And if I don't get out of here now, you won't get your soup. Behave." Jack exited quickly. Another second, and he would have gotten into bed with his lover and not moved for hours.

Daniel waited several minutes, letting himself get lost in the thoughts of love that flowed through him, and then he reached over and grabbed the phone on the nightstand and called Joel.

"You sound horrible, Daniel."

"It's about how I feel."

"Listen, I hope I didn't mess things up by calling. I wasn't expecting anyone else to answer your cell phone."

"No, it's fine. I ... covered." ~Gawd, it feels like lying. I hope this is worth it, that he understands.~

"How long do you think it'll be before we can continue?"

Daniel sighed. "I don't think Jack is going to let me off the leash until Friday, and then we're supposed to go out of town for a couple of days." Daniel heard the discontented reaction. "I'm pushing it, aren't I?"

"Cutting it close. It takes a lot of time to get the piece finished, if you want it to be quality. Are you sure you don't want me to work on it a little?"

"No. If you did that, I ... I should have just bought one."

"Well, we'll have to hope for the best. Give me a call when you're free again."

"I will. Thanks. Joel."

Daniel hung up the phone. He felt depressed. ~I feel like I'm failing. I'm lying to Jack for nothing!~

Daniel was still feeling dispirited several hours later, wondering what on Earth had possessed him to attempt such an impossible task.

"Soup's up," Jack said cheerfully as carried a tray laden with a steaming bowl of soup, a Belgian chocolate truffle, and a single red rose into the bedroom.



Daniel looked up, his heart full of love for his husband. All the self-doubts he'd been feeling over the last few hours were firmly ignored. ~I'll do it if it kills me. Maybe I can talk to Hammond, take some time off. Whatever it takes, I WILL get it done.~

====

A week later SG-1 had a couple of days of downtime. Their mission to PXJ-539 hadn't been difficult, but it had been tiring, particularly for Daniel who had had to conduct endless negotiations with the natives for access to supplies of naquadah.

"What?"

Jack looked at Daniel in disbelief. He'd been looking forward to spending the next two days with his husband, preferably in bed. Now, however, Daniel had just informed him that he would, in fact, be spending the entire time working with Joel.

Daniel sighed. Jack was not a happy camper. Still, it couldn't be helped. He couldn't afford to waste these two days of downtime if he wanted to get his Silver Fox finished in time, and looking at the silver fox standing in front of him, Daniel was determined to succeed.

"I'm on a deadline with Joel, Jack. When I got sick last week we got behind. I'm sorry, Love. Believe me, I'd much rather be here with you, but this is just something I have to do."

Jack looked at the pleading expression in his husband's eyes, begging him to understand. It was his turn to sigh. He walked over and took Daniel into his arms.

"I'm sorry, Danny. I'm being a jerk."

"No, you're not, Jack. I love you."

"Love you too, Angel. What time will you be home?"

"I'm not sure."

"Hey, why don't you get Joel to come over here? That way I'd at least get to be around you. And I promise I wouldn't interrupt."

Daniel closed his eyes and rested his head on Jack's shoulder. ~Gawd, how do I get out of this?~

"Danny?"

"I can't." Reluctantly, Daniel lifted his head and looked up at his husband. "I ... just trust me. It wouldn't work."

"You don't trust me not to bug you?" Jack sounded hurt.

"Of course, I do. I just ... there are .... please, Jack. I can't explain now, but I will later. When I finish teaching Joel what I need to, I'll explain everything." ~I hope this is worth it, Jack.~ "I, uh, have to go now. I'll be back later tonight."

Daniel went to kiss Jack goodbye and found himself pulled into a deep passionate kiss. He caressed his lover's cheek. "Remember, you have no reason to be jealous. I love you, and only you."

Jack nodded and watched his husband leave. He was struggling to control his jealousy and didn't trust himself to speak. He knew that something was going on, and was trying not to let his imagination run rampant. ~What are you doing, Danny, that you don't want Joel here? What is it I can't see?~ Jack didn't know what to think. ~Danny, I do trust you. I do.~



He sank down onto the couch. ~I don't trust Joel though. Would it be so wrong to get Carter to do a background check on the guy?~ Jack stood and walked over to look at Daniel's ... their fish. ~I know. It would be wrong, almost unforgivably wrong, but I'm worried about him.~ Jack shook his head. ~Okay, I'm worried about losing him. I just love him so much.~

====

"Hi, Lou. It's Daniel."

"Doc? Is everything okay?"

Daniel laughed lightly. He was en route to Joel's place, using his cell phone to make the call to Lou Ferretti. It was an unusual move. They were friends, but Lou was really Jack's friend, and Daniel couldn't actually remember ever calling Lou before when it wasn't an emergency of some kind.

"Um, yeah. Everything's fine. No crisis, Lou." ~Well, at least not that kind of a crisis.~

"What's up, Doc?"

Daniel winced. He could hear the laugh. ~Sometimes I wish Bugs used another expression in his cartoons.~

"Well, you don't happen to have some free time tonight, do you?"

Lou was surprised, and intrigued. "Actually, I do. Carolyn's out at some shindig with all her yapping lady friends. Have the evening to myself. Why?"

"How about rescuing Jack from ... himself?"

"Huh?"

"I have some things I have to do tonight, and Jack is ..." Daniel paused, not knowing how to explain it. Lou was one of the few who in the past year had learned about Jack's and Daniel's eternal love affair, so he had nothing to hide, but at the same time, it wasn't something they talked about as a rule. "Um, well, it's ... gawd."

Lou laughed. "Let me see if I have this straight, Doc. You're going out somewhere, and Jack is on the warpath, and you'd like me to run interference?"

Daniel bobbed his head for a few seconds. "Well, yeah, that's essentially it. He's on the verge of doing something he doesn't need to do simply because he tends to get ..." Daniel paused again. ~Gawd, I don't talk about this stuff with Jack's friends, even when they're my friends, too. "He gets ... uh ..."

Lou chuckled again. "No one messes with Jack's archaeologist."

"Oh gawd."

Lou laughed even louder. "Old joke, Doc. Jack's been using that for years, and everyone knows it. I'm guessin' he doesn't take to other potential, er, interests getting too close?"

"Oh gawd."

Again, Lou laughed. "As it happens, I just bought some new sparkers for the MonsterMobile. I'll give him a call."

"Sparkers?"

"Spark plugs. He can get all greasy and grimy helping me put them in."

"Thanks, Lou. I appreciate this." Daniel paused. "I really do."

"No problem."

"Lou?"

"Yeah?"

"He has nothing to worry about -- ever. It's just something he can't know about yet."

"Jack doesn't like being left in the dark."

"Sure he does when ... oh, gawd."

Lou shook his head. "Don't worry, Doc. I've got your six."

"Don't say that to Jack. He has an exclusive. Thanks."

Both men hung up their phones. ~Greasy and grimy? In the dark? Oh, Jack, I know what we're doing tonight when I get home!~

Daniel pulled into the lot and parked. Joel was waiting at the studio door, smiling brightly.

"Daniel, I'm glad you could make it!"

"Me, too!

"What's the word for tonight?"

"Libido."

"Libido? Hey, I know that one!"

Daniel laughed. "Technically, it means lust, and that's just another word we've colloquialized from Latin."

"I can handle that. Libido is lust."

Daniel smiled. ~And I sure am lusting after my husband right now. It's all that ... greasy, grimy ... gawd, I want him.~

Making a supreme effort, Daniel brought his libido back under control so that he could focus on the task at hand. ~After all, the sooner I finish the sooner, I get to play with my real Silver Fox.~

====

Jack had so far tried to distract himself by reading a magazine, watching television, listening to opera and playing with the girls. And he was still fighting the temptation to pick up the phone to get Sam to run that background check.

He stared at the phone for what felt like the hundredth time, pacing up and down. Just as he turned to begin pacing out a new length, the phone rang.

"Jack?"

"Hey, Lou." Jack tried to keep the disappointment out of his voice. He'd hoped it would be Daniel even though there wasn't any reason it should be his husband.

Lou laughed. "Good try, Jack. Listen, I know I'm not the Doc, but I've got some new sparkers for the MonsterMobile. Want to come over and help me get them in place?"

"Sure. See you in fifteen."

====

Daniel felt like screaming in frustration. He simply could not get the head of his fox to go the way he wanted. He threw the hammer down on the bench.

"How do you do this?"



Joel laughed. "Do that last leg for now, then come back to the head. That's why I thought it might be an idea to start work on the head now, so that you can take a break from it when the frustration gets too much."

He walked over to Daniel and peered over the younger man's shoulder at the body of the fox and the oblong shaped piece of silver that would eventually, hopefully, be the head of the fox. "You really are doing well, Daniel. I don't know anyone else who could have come as far as you have. You're actually quite artistic, despite what you think."

====

Jack parked outside Lou's house. He could see his friend already at work on his truck.

"Hey, Jack. Come on over, grab a beer, and get your hands dirty."

Lou watched Jack grab a beer and grinned. He couldn't resist teasing his friend. "So, Jack, the Doc's out on the town tonight is he?" He broke out into laughter as Jack's head flew around, eyes narrowed suspiciously.

"Ha, ha. Very funny, Ferretti. Daniel called you?"

Lou gave him a grin. "Yep. He thought you might be at a loose end, and from the looks of it, he was right. I still can't quite believe it. You are so gone."

Jack simply nodded, and Lou turned serious. "Jack, you're not seriously worried, are you? Come on, we're talking about the Doc here."

Jack shook his head, but it lacked conviction even to himself. "Oh for crying out loud, Lou. What on Earth does Daniel see in me? He could do so much better. I'm ... geez, I'm terrified of losing him someday." ~Okay, when did I start turning to mush in front of Lou Ferretti? Get a grip, O'Neill, you ... whoa, make that get a grip, Jackson-O'Neill.~ Jack smiled at just the thought of the name.

"Jack, quit feeling sorry for yourself. The Doc loves you. Lord knows why, but he does. Why do you think he called me? Because he loves you, you moron. Now come over here and help me get these sparkers fitted."

"Hey, Lou?" Jack said a few minutes later.

"Yeah?"

"I ... know this isn't your thing, and ... well, I just ... thanks."

"I don't have to understand it, Jack, to be your friend ... or the Doc's. You two bums are ridiculously happy. What's wrong with that?"

Jack couldn't help but smile. "Nothing at all, Lou. Nothing at all."

====

"Finished." Daniel held the fourth leg up triumphantly.

"Well done. Now back to work on the head." Joel smiled as Daniel carefully placed the last leg of his fox next to the other three. "You might find it easier to shape the snout of the fox if you work with that stake that has the teardrop head." Joel pointed to a cast iron stake that was hanging on the wall.

"Okay." Daniel walked over to retrieve the stake while Joel removed the one Daniel had been using previously. He turned around as he heard a crash followed by a loud curse in some unidentifiable language.

"Daniel?" The archaeologist was hopping up and down on one foot, unshed tears in his eyes, still muttering curses under his breath. The cast iron stake lay on the floor.

"Such an idiot ... clumsy geek ... butter fingers ... can't do anything right ..." Daniel berated himself as Joel guided him over to a stool.

"Ow, ow, ow, ow," Daniel couldn't help muttering as Joel gingerly removed his left shoe and sock.

~I am such an idiot.~ Daniel continued to silently berate himself as he looked down at his rapidly swelling foot, now turning a brilliant shade of purple.

"Daniel, I think this might be broken. I'm not a doctor, but it's awfully sensitive. We'd better get you to the hospital."

"No, uh, I'm ... fine," Daniel tried to lie.

"You can't even stand on this, Daniel."

"Oh gawd. You may be right." ~Jack is so going to kill me.~

"Let me help you to my truck, and we'll go to the Emergency Room."

"No, I have ... I need to call my own doctor. It's, uh, well when we ... gawd, it's complicated."

"Daniel, we have to do something. It's swelling in front of my eyes, and don't tell me it doesn't hurt."

Daniel closed his eyes and sighed. ~Idiot.~ "Would you get my cell phone, please?"

Joel picked up Daniel's jacket and Daniel pointed to where his phone was. Joel reached in and pulled it out, handing it to the injured archaeologist.

"Hi, Janet. It's Daniel ... I, uh ... very funny, Janet, but no, I didn't break another pair of glasses ... stop laughing ... but I do think I may have, possibly, perhaps broken my foot, or something ... no, he's not; I mean, I'm not home. How about if I meet you at the Mountain? ... thanks."

Daniel sighed in frustration.

"The Mountain?" Joel inquired. The only 'Mountain' he could think of was Cheyenne Mountain where NORAD was. ~No way can Daniel work at NORAD. He's just ... NORAD?~

"Yeah, uh, Cheyenne Mountain. I ... work there. Joel, could you drive me there in my car, and then I'll have someone drive you back here?"

"Have someone drive me back?"

"Yeah. If it's too much trouble, I'll ..."

"No. No. Sure."

====

"Doctor Jackson?"

"Hi, Mike. Mike, I've injured my foot, and this gentlemen was kind enough to drive me here. Janet ..."

"She arrived a few minutes ago."

"Oh, okay. Well, I need someone to drive my car in and then give Joel a ride back to his studio."

"Sure, Doctor Jackson. I'll call Sergeant Fitzgerald and ask him to send down an Airman with a car." Mike turned to another Airman at the gate. "Carl, I'm going to help Doctor Jackson. I'll be back in a few minutes."

Joel watched as the Airman catered to Daniel. ~Wow, he must have some clout.~

"Joel, thank you for doing this. I'm afraid this is as far as you can go, but there will be an Airman here in a minute to give you a ride back. Thanks again, and I'll give you a call."

"Anytime, Daniel."

Joel stood observing his surroundings. He'd never been this close to the area, even though he'd lived in Colorado Springs for over fifteen years. A couple minutes later, an Airman arrived.

"You Doctor Jackson's friend who needs the ride?"

"Yes, I guess that's me."

The Airman nodded. "Hop on in, Sir." The Airman opened the passenger door. ~Wow, service.~ "Where to?"

Joel gave his address and they headed back towards his studio. "Must be a great place to work."

"It's interesting, Sir."

"I had no idea Daniel worked there."

"He's one of our best and brightest as the General says, Sir."

~He does have clout. Wonder what he really does for a living? I doubt it's teaching Latin, that's for sure.~

====

"Thanks, Lou. I'll see you at the base tomorrow." Jack waved as he drove off in his truck. It was late - 2230 hours. ~Wonder if Danny is hungry?~

Jack reached for his cell phone and dialed the house. ~Answering machine? Hmmm.~ He clicked the speed dial for Daniel's cell.

Joel was just turning out the lights in his studio when he heard a ringing. ~Uh-oh. Daniel forgot his cell phone.~ Joel hesitated, wondering if he should ignore it. He picked it up and looked at the name indicated on the display -- 'Jack' ~Hmm, I guess that would be Daniel's partner. I guess I better answer it.~

"Hello."

A squeal of brakes could be heard and then "Who's this?"

Joel winced at the tone. It wasn't anger, but there was an unmistakable threat in the voice that told him he'd better phrase his next words very carefully.

"Joel. Ah, are you Daniel's partner? I think we talked once before."

Jack closed his eyes in relief. When he'd heard a stranger answering his lover's cell phone, he'd been terrified that maybe Daniel had been taken again by those thugs that were after Jack. With that threat dismissed though, his jealousy came back in full force.

"Where is Daniel, and why are you answering his phone?" Jack fought hard to control his rising temper, fighting the urge to add 'if you've hurt him, or taken advantage of him in any way, I'll kill you.'

"There was a small accident."

Jack's anger shifted to concern again, but his temper was about to flare. He didn't want a lot of chatter. He wanted specifics, and he wanted them now. "What kind of accident, and WHERE IS DANIEL?"

Joel gulped. ~Geez, Daniel is with this guy?~ "He dropped something on his foot. I think it's broken. I took him to Cheyenne Mountain. He said ..."

Jack hung up and began speeding towards the Mountain.

Joel looked at the cell phone he was holding in surprise. 'Jack' had hung up. ~I don't know what you really do, Daniel, but I really wouldn't want to mess with you. I think I'd find myself at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean before I could say 'silversmithing'.~

A few moments later the phone rang again. 'Jack' ~What now?~ "Jack?"

"And don't answer Daniel's phone. Someone will be by to get it later. What's your address?"

Joel quickly answered Jack's question and heard a click. Jack had abruptly hung up.

Joel turned off the phone. ~Okay. I must be missing something. Daniel's a nice guy. Why would he be with a jerk?~ Joel returned to his main residence and decided not to think about Jack any more.

====

"Well, Daniel, you're lucky. You've fractured your phalanx."

"Huh?"

"You've broken your toe. This one, next to the big one. I'll get some wrap and we'll tape it."

"But my foot ... it ... hurts."

Janet smiled. "I'm sure it does from ... however it got in this condition, but the ankle itself is just slightly sprained. You'll have to be on light duty for a week or so, but I there's no serious damage to the ankle. I think the pain from the toe is making it feel worse than it is."

"Oh."

"Are you going to tell me how you did this?"

"I ... dropped something heavy on it?" It was a statement posed as a question meaning 'please don't ask.'

Janet raised her eyebrow, and Daniel wondered if Teal'c had been giving everyone at the base lessons on that particular skill. Daniel just looked at her making sure he appeared as pathetic and woebegone as possible.

"Stay put, and I'll get the bandages I need."

"I should call Jack."

Janet gave him a wicked grin. "He's going to want to know how you did this, too, and he won't be put off with the 'something heavy' line."

"Thanks, Janet. You're a real pal," Daniel said snarkily, a small smile on his face that said "I am in trouble." It wasn't her fault he was a klutz, though, and soon, he realized he would have a serious problem on his hands. As Daniel puzzled through his dilemma, Janet laughed and brought the phone over to him.

With a sigh, Daniel picked up the receiver and began dialing. He thought hard as he waited for Lou to answer the phone. He figured if the two men were still working on the MonsterMobile, Jack wouldn't hear his cell phone ringing so he'd decided to use the land line. He also knew Janet was right. He'd have to come up with something to tell Jack. ~Darn it, and I wanted some hot and sweaty loving with my husband tonight, too.~

"Yo, Lou here."

"Lou. It's Daniel. Is Jack still there?"

"Hey, Doc. No, he left about ten minutes ago. By the way, you were right, he was driving himself insane. A bit of grease and grime though, and he's back on the straight and narrow now."

~Until he hears about this anyway.~ Daniel sighed. "Thanks Lou. I really appreciate it."

"No sweat, Doc. Anytime -- you know that."

Daniel hung up and began dialing Jack's cell phone.

"HELLO."

Daniel closed his eyes. He didn't like the sound of that greeting. "Jack?"

"DANIEL, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, WHY DIDN'T YOU CALL ME?"

Daniel looked at the cell phone. "Jack, you know, you sound really ... loud."

"That's because I'm standing behind you."

"Oh gawd." Slowly, Daniel twisted his torso to look behind him, and sure enough, several feet to the rear, near the entrance was Jack, standing still, debating whether to be a worried teddy bear or snarling grizzly bear. Daniel smiled weakly. "Hi, Jack."

Jack walked to the cot and looked down at Daniel's foot. Just as he was about to say something, Janet returned.

"Colonel." Janet was almost in hysterics. "I wish you two could see the looks on your faces." Suppressing snickers, she tended to Daniel's foot.

"So, Doc, what's the verdict?"

"He'll live, but the ankle suffered a minor sprain and he broke this little guy here," Janet put her fingers over the toe and moved back and forth, only she wasn't really touching it.

"You're having too much fun with this, Janet," Daniel pouted.

"You're right, but I'm used to you coming in here with mortal wounds, not ... stubbed toes."

"It's not ... stubbed. It's ... broken," Daniel whined.

"And just how did you do that?" Jack asked, seizing his opportunity to do so.

Daniel looked at Janet who grinned and was again trying hard not to laugh. "I dropped something on it."

"That's very informative, Daniel. Dropped what exactly?"

"A ... thing."

"What thing?"

"A thingy I was using."

"A thingy? THINGY?"

"Yes, Jack, a thingy. Do you mind? I have a broken toe!"

Jack leaned forward and got very close to his lover's right ear. "We'll finish this at home," Jack whispered.

"Do we have to?"

"Oh yeah."

====

Joel heard the doorbell. ~A bit late for callers. I wonder who ... the Air Force?~ He opened the door.

"Joel Stevens?"

"Yes."

"Airman Carl Servantes. I've been instructed to procure Doctor Jackson's cell phone from you immediately, Sir."

"Sure. One moment." As he began to move, Joel noticed a second Airman near a car, surveying the area. ~Dang, Daniel, exactly who are you anyway?~ Joel retrieved the phone and handed it to the Airman.

"Thank you, Sir. The Colonel sends his regards and apologizes for hanging up on you. He also requested I pass on his thanks for transporting Doctor Jackson to the base."

~Colonel? Jack is a Colonel? In the Air Force? Hold the phone here. Daniel's Jack is military, and a Colonel to boot? I'm surprised he's trusted me as much as he has.~

"That's ... nice. Uh, tell him ... welcome. Daniel's a pretty important guy on that base, is he?"

"Goodnight, Sir." The Airman turned and walked away.



~Oh my. That important? Whoa! I am definitely NOT messing with you, Daniel.~

====

"Jack ..."

"Wait until we get home, Daniel," Jack said in a controlled voice as he helped his lover to the security checkpoint, just in time to meet up with the Airman who had gone to Joel's.

"Colonel O'Neill, Sir," the Airman said as he saluted.

Jack nodded, watching as the Airman held out the cell phone. "Doctor Jackson, your cell phone. Mister Stevens said you're welcome, Sir."

"Dismissed."

Daniel stared at the cell phone and sighed. "You called, didn't you?" Jack nodded. "Joel answered my cell?" Another nod. "You're going to kill me when we get home, aren't you?"

Jack closed the passenger door and moved to the driver's side. The drive home began in silence.

"I forgot my cell phone."

"Yes, I figured that out, Daniel."

"Jack, why are you so angry?"

"I'm ..."

Jack pulled over to the side of the road and stopped the truck, turning off the ignition. He turned his body sideways to face Daniel who was sure all Netu was about to break out. But then Jack raised his left hand to Daniel's cheek, and with his thumb gently caressed the stubbly skin. Slowly, Jack's face inched forward until his lips touched Daniel's, and then a fire exploded and the two were engulfed in a flame of passion, a series of passionate kisses burning wildly between them.

It was thirty minutes later before they ceased their connection. "Angry? Geez, Danny. Do you have any idea, any idea at all, how scared I was? I call you on your cell. No one answers our phones -- not ever. And here's this guy, someone we know nothing about, answering your phone, and asking, by the way, if I'm your partner."

Daniel blinked, a bit surprised Joel would have asked that question.

"And then he says you're hurt, and it takes me five friggin' minutes to finally find out it's maybe just your foot. Daniel, with our history, the enemies we've made, I can't afford to relax, not until I see for myself that you're all right. Angry? Crap, Daniel, I'm not angry. I'm friggin' out of mind with worry. I love you so much. Don't do this, Danny. Geez!"

Jack began a new round of kisses and gentle touches.

"I'm sorry, Jack. I should have called you right away."

"Yes, you should have, and you didn't ... because?"

"I ..." ~Oh gawd. Here we go again. How can I tell him that I didn't call him because he would have insisted on coming to get me, and one look at the studio, he'd know what I've been doing. Why do I make a mess of everything?~

"Danny, what's wrong?" Jack had seen Daniel's expression become pained, almost anguished.

Daniel shook his head. "Nothing."

"Danny, talk to me."

"It's just. I always manage to mess things up. I'm sorry, Jack."

"Sorry for what? I don't understand."

"Can we go home, please?" ~I'll just buy you something. I should have stuck with money in the first place. Money. Maybe I'll just write you a check.~ Daniel turned to stare out at the window of the truck, shifting his body away from his husband's.

"Okay, we'll go home."

====

Jack helped Daniel inside the house and up into their bedroom. As soon as he lay down on the bed, Daniel curled up on his side and buried his face in his pillow. Jack frowned and sat down beside him, running his fingers through his husband's soft brown hair.

"Danny, what's wrong? Talk to me Angel, please."

**Go 'way, Jack. I don't deserve you. I mess up everything I do. I make you worry. You'd ... you'd ...**

"Don't you dare finish that thought, Space Monkey. I would so not be better off without you." Jack got up and walked to his side of the bed. He lay down and pulled a resisting Daniel towards him.

"For crying out loud, Danny, I am not letting you go, and I need a hug."

Daniel looked up as he considered Jack's words. He shifted over into his usual position, his head on Jack's chest. He felt Jack's arms close around him.

~I never give you support when you need it. I'm selfish. I never give you what you need. What on Earth do you see in me, Jack? How can you possibly love me?~

**Danny, you are all I need.**

**And what are you doing in my head? You weren't supposed to hear that.**

"Maybe you needed me to, Angel. Maybe I needed to. Danny, you are everything to me. You always give me what I need. And I love you, all of you, including all your foibles." Jack looked down at his husband, his heart overflowing with love for the man in his arms.

"You are the most incredible person I have ever met. You are beautiful, inside and out, but you are human, and believe it or not, you are allowed to make mistakes. And you have to admit, you don't make many. I mean, this wasn't even a mistake, Angel, it was just an accident."

"I'm a klutz."

"Then so am I. I've broken bones doing both stupid and elementary things. One time I broke my elbow because I jumped off a trampoline and landed on the side of it. Another time I broke my finger - playing on my own with a baseball."

"But you were a kid then, Jack. Everyone is a bit of a klutz as a kid."

"Okay, how about that time when everything went wrong, beginning with my sprained ankle. That happened because I was being an idiot."

"I'm ..."

Jack interrupted him. "Daniel, the next word out of your mouth better not be 'sorry'. You have nothing to be sorry for."

"I shouldn't be so insecure."

"With the childhood you had, I think its incredible that you aren't more insecure. But you've come so far. You fight now, stronger and more fiercely than ever before. No one kicks you around, and you know it."

Daniel's heart was full of such love. His husband always knew the right thing to say. "I love you, Jack."

"Love you, too."

Daniel gazed up at his husband, his eyes full of love. He leaned over and kissed Jack, slowly deepening the kiss. His libido which had taken a nose dive with his accident earlier was waking up again, and he could feel Jack's need to reconnect after the scare he'd had. As he took his husband to dizzying heights of ecstasy, Daniel began to regain confidence in himself.

As the two rested satiated in each others arms, Daniel thought about the silver fox he was trying to create. He still wasn't sure it was worth all this angst and heartache. Would Jack even like it? Maybe it would just be a reminder to them of these not so wonderful moments. Then he smiled contentedly as he considered where he was. ~These moments aren't so bad. Maybe I will finish the darn thing.~

====

With Daniel on light duty, SG-1's missions had been reassigned to SG-9. Daniel kept his toe wrapped, and over the next few days, his ankle improved a great deal. Janet had taken a second set of X-rays just to be sure and verified nothing else was broken or dislocated, which made both Jack and Daniel feel better. Daniel actually felt lucky -- in the end, the only real inconvenience was a bit of pain to deal with. Otherwise, he wore his old comfortable Nikes and that was the extent of his suffering.

As he sat at his desk at the SGC, Daniel looked at the calendar. ~I only have two more weeks. I need to call Joel."

He picked up the phone and dialed.

"Hello."

"Joel, it's Daniel Jackson."

"Daniel, how's the foot?"

"I broke my toe and that's it. Well, slight sprain, actually."

"I really thought it was broken."

"Me, too. I'm sorry I didn't call before, but ..."

"Not a problem. When did you want to continue the project?"

"Well, as it turns out, I'm not going out of town this weekend. Will you have any time?"

"Hmm. I have plans on Friday and Saturday nights, but I am free Saturday from 10 until 2 p.m., and ... wait, let me make sure," Daniel heard some papers being turned, "yeah, and on Sunday from 3 to 7p.m. Do either or both of those work for you?"

"They'll have to. Joel, I only have two weeks left. Do you think we can get it done?"

"It'll be tight, but yes ... unless you break another toe."

"Geez, I hope not. I'll see you on Saturday then."

"See you then."

"See who on Saturday?" Jack walked into Daniel's office, his hands in his pocket.

"Um, Joel. He has free time this weekend, and ..."

"Daniel, are you sure you can trust that guy?"

"Yes, Jack. I can't believe you haven't had him checked out." Daniel suddenly startled at his own words. If Jack did that, it might ruin everything. "You haven't, have you?" His voice was hesitant, but as firm as he could make it.

"I ... thought about it, but no." ~Geez, Danny. You thought I already had. Where's the trust in return? Whoa, O'Neill. That means he has nothing to hide, either. This two-way trust thing is hard.~

"Please don't. Jack, this isn't going to go on forever. Joel is ... doing nicely with his Latin, and soon it won't be necessary to continue."

"Necessary?"

"He'll ... know enough for the purposes of the project."

"Project?"

"Jack, go ... read a memo or something."

"Pizza tonight. Hockey's on."

"Okay," Daniel sighed in resignation. "But I'd rather have Chinese!" he called out as Jack disappeared from his sight.

~I can't wait for this to be over.~

====

"Daniel!" Joel greeting the young man warmly, very pleased to see that Daniel really wasn't seriously injured.

"Hi, Joel. Look, I'm not even on crutches."

"Good to see. So, what's our word for the day?"

"Desperatus."

"Let me guess - desperate."

Daniel laughed. "It's how I'm starting to feel."

"Well, don't panic. I had a look at your work this morning, and we should be able to get it done. You've got the tail and legs all ready to be attached. Today, we'll finish the head. Tomorrow, we'll make the ears and start attaching everything. Then I think we'll need one more session to texture him. We'll use the cross-peen hammer for that."

Joel laughed at Daniel's dazed expression. "Don't worry, its not as complicated as it sounds."

He sat Daniel down in front of the vise which he'd already set up and handed him the body of the fox.

"Here you go. Now get to work."

"Yes, Sir." Daniel chuckled. He really was glad he had been put in touch with such a fun and understanding instructor. Someone with less of a sense of humor might have been disastrous.

Joel watched Daniel begin work. He couldn't help himself from commenting on the events of their last session.

"So Daniel, you are obviously someone very important up at Cheyenne Mountain."

"What?" Daniel looked up at Joel who was astonished to see genuine surprise on Daniel's face. Did the guy really not have a clue as to how highly he was valued by his work colleagues. Even Joel knew that when security personnel knew an employee, that employee was either incredibly important or incredibly nice. Joel suspected that in Daniel's case it was probably both. Sensing this line of conversation would only embarrass Daniel, Joel decided to drop it.

"I'm sorry if I caused trouble with Jack when I answered your cell phone."

"No, you didn't. It's just, Jack is very protective. Actually, he's a bit overprotective. Usually if a stranger answers my cell phone it means I'm, uh, in trouble."

Joel raised his eyebrow, prompting Daniel to wonder if Teal'c was giving eyebrow raising lessons online.

"Our job can be dangerous sometimes," Daniel added quietly.



Joel nodded and decided to change the subject completely. "So, whose your bet for the hockey game tonight Daniel?"

Daniel grinned in silent thanks for the smooth change of subject and happily discussed the merits of various hockey teams. ~Amazing how much of Jack's ravings at the television screen sink in.~

====

"Oh, for crying out loud," Jack whined having just looked at the clock. He'd been puttering around in the garden all afternoon trying not to think about Daniel with Joel. He knew it was ridiculous to be so jealous, and he had better control over his emotions. ~Still, I'll feel better when you're home, Danny.~

"He'd better come home uninjured, too," Jack muttered to Bijou. She simply gazed at him. "Okay, I know, it was an accident, geez." The temptation to blame Joel for Daniel's accident had been overwhelming.

====



"I've finished, Joel."

The silversmith smiled wondering how Daniel's voice could contain excitement, disappointment and satisfaction all at the one time. He walked over and examined the silver sculpture being held out to him.

"It's great, Daniel. You really have done an incredible job, especially for a beginner."

"I'm not very happy with the face, but since we're out of time it'll just have to do."

"You're a perfectionist, right?" Joel smiled. "I know plenty of professional silversmiths who'd be happy with work like this."

"Really? You're not just saying that?"

Joel shook his head. "It's very good, and like I said, for a first timer, it's incredible." He walked over to place the head next to the legs and tail. "Tomorrow, we do the ears and attach everything."

Daniel stood to leave. "Thanks, again."

====

It was 2 a.m. and Daniel was sitting up in bed using his laptop. Jack was sound asleep, snuggling into Daniel's right side. Daniel smiled seeing Jack's right arm protectively wrapped around his own leg. ~I'm not going anywhere, Love.~

The young man returned his attention to what would be the card to accompany his gift. ~I must be crazy, but I'm supposed to be a linguist ... so they tell me.~

"Love has made me many things

Among them sly and cunning

So I am now a Silver Fox.

Though my eyes were once full of tears

My lips now know how to smile

A warm, glowing smile.

And I know how to covertly steel

The fire of carnal desire blazing blue

In the darkness of our night.

In the dark

The river is flowing

And a moonbeam is thrusting into the surface.

I am a loyal and steadfast fox

I am a Silver Fox

Forever under the spell of our love."

Daniel sighed. ~That's horrible. I should delete it. But what if I can't think of something better? Gawd, keep it, Jackson. What's the worse he could do? Yeah, I know -- laugh.~

Afraid if he continued to work much longer that Jack would awaken, Daniel powered down the laptop, then returned to a snuggling position with his lover.

"Danny?" Jack spoke as Daniel shifted their positions. "Shh, Love. Time to sleep."

"Love you."

"I love you, too."

====

Daniel and Joel had been working for three hours, and they were behind schedule. Daniel knew it was his fault. He was having a hard time getting the pieces on the way he wanted them to be. ~Stop trying to be so exact.~

Finally, in frustration, Daniel banged down the work tool he was using. He stared at the partially put-together object. He wanted to hate it, but it was Jack. Suddenly, his internal anger left.

"Jack's your silver fox, isn't he?"

Daniel looked up in shock. "I'm sorry, Daniel. I shouldn't have said that. It was just the way you looked at it just now. I've never met the man, but I have to admit, I have a hard time picturing you two together. He gives off a ... drastically different impression."

Daniel shrugged. "It's just who he is. He's ... military and ... like I said, protective." The archaeologist smiled, tilting his head slightly, adding, "He's pure gold." Daniel took a big breath, regrouping. "Joel, I've messed this up. I need help."

Joel looked at the young man. He seemed so defeated, and yet he knew how important this was to him. The silversmith went through his own internal debate. Between their two schedules, they only had time for one more session ... unless one of them had a sudden change ... and that last session would have to be the texturing. They had to get this done today. Joel could easily do it, but if he did, that would defeat Daniel's entire reason for learning the craft himself. Or ... he could change his plans ... ~for someone I barely know?~

Joel looked at Daniel's slumped shoulders. "Daniel, I could rearrange my plans for tomorrow. You said you would have the evening free?"

Daniel shook his head. "I can't let you do that, Joel."

Joel thought for a minute. There was an alternative, something he'd never done before, but he trusted Daniel. There was something about the man that just inspired trust and goodwill.

"Okay, how about this? You know how to use the soldering iron, and you know how to attach the pieces. It's just taking time to get it right. But that's not something you need me for. Why don't I give you the key to the workshop and you can come over tomorrow evening? I won't be here, but I don't think you need me to be."

"Really?" Joel nodded. "That would be perfect. But are you sure, Joel? That's a huge leap of faith for you."

"Daniel, I trust you." He grinned. "After all, if the guys at Cheyenne Mountain think you're trustworthy, who am I to disagree?"



Daniel returned the grin. "Thanks. You're a lifesaver."

With renewed enthusiasm, Daniel went back to work on his silver fox.

====

Jack was lying on the sofa reading a magazine when he heard the door open. He smiled at the sleeping dog on his stomach. "Katie, Danny's home."

Bijou was already at the front door greeting Daniel when the younger of the beagles suddenly realized she was missing out on saying hello. She leapt off Jack and raced over to jump all over Daniel. Jack stood and walked over to the love-fest taking place.

"Jack." A second later Jack found himself being kissed to within an inch of his life, not something he minded at all.

"Hmm, now that almost makes the hours I've spent alone worthwhile." Jack leaned in for another kiss.

"So, things going well with the Latin teaching?"

Daniel smiled, a brilliant smile that made Jack's heart melt. "Yes! I have to go over tomorrow night for a couple of hours, then one more session, and we're done."

"Now that is definitely worth celebrating." Jack pulled Daniel in for another kiss. "Shall ... kiss ... we go ... kiss... upstairs?"

Daniel didn't bother to nod. He just started pulling Jack towards the stairs. Just as he reached them, though, he saw a very pathetic sight. Their two beagles were sitting by the front door, a picture of disappointment.

"Danny? Why have you stopped?" Daniel pointed at the sight that had stopped him in his tracks. Jack sighed.

"Oh, for crying out loud!"

"They want to go for a family walk, Jack."

"They're a pair of manipulators," Jack grumbled.

Daniel laughed. "Maybe, but we love them anyway. Come on, the sooner we take them, the sooner we can pick up where we're leaving off."

====

"How's your ankle?" They'd been walking for quite a while, and Jack wanted to make sure his lover wasn't overdoing it.

"It's fine. I have the right shoes on. Janet checked it today."

"Good. How about letting the girls play at the park for a few minutes?"

"Jack, you never really answered my question. Did you have anything special you wanted to do on your birthday?"

"I'm boycotting my birthday this year."

Daniel ignored the comment. "Dinner at O'Malleys? Or maybe a small dinner party at home with a few friends? Or ..."

"Or twenty-four hours in bed with my husband?"

"Jack, be serious."

"I am, Love. Everything I want is right here."

~Stubborn.~

====

"Doctor Jackson, a crisis has come up that requires your attention," General Hammond said over the phone.

"Crisis?" Daniel said over the phone as he stood in his office. ~I don't have time for a crisis. I have to go ... now.~

"Yes, SG-13 has encountered ..."

"Sir, if I may, uh, when you say 'crisis' do you mean crisis as in Earth is going to be attacked tonight, crisis as in Kinsey and his friends will make our lives miserable for a while, or crisis as in pain in the mikta, but tomorrow will do just fine?"

The General chuckled.

~That lets out the Goa'uld attack.~ Daniel felt relieved.

"May I assume you have plans this evening, Son?"

"Um, well ... yes, Sir, and it's important. Can this ... crisis wait for tomorrow morning?"

"Go home, Doctor."

"Thank you, General." ~That was close.~ Before anything else could happen, Daniel grabbed his jacket and left the SGC. Jack had already departed.

Daniel drove to Joel's and used the key he'd been given to enter the studio that served as the workshop. ~I can do this!~

He retrieved the parts to his silver fox and the tools and began to go to work.

~Okay, the legs are the hardest to get right. That's what Joel said anyway. I've done the front legs. Time for the back legs and the tail.~

Several hours later, Daniel was finally happy with the leg attachments he'd made to his fox. He'd managed to solder on the legs and tail, pleased to note that he'd even managed to make the joins look smooth. In fact, you had to look very closely to see them.

~I did it. I actually did it.~

He stood the fox in front of him and was ecstatic to see it actually balanced quite well. He gave it a nudge, and sighed a breath of relief when it didn't topple over. Between the tail and all four legs, it was actually quite sturdy.

"Time for the ears. We can't have an earless fox! Jack wouldn't like that. He's too ... nosy!"

Just as Daniel finished soldering on the second ear, Joel returned and looked over the silver fox. "Nice work, Daniel!"

The archaeologist grinned. "Are you still okay for the final session tomorrow?"

"Yeah, now scoot off home, and get some sleep. Tomorrow's bits are going to be delicate."

After Daniel left, Joel locked up and took one last look at Daniel's nearly completed silver fox. He sent up a silent prayer, "please let it go well tomorrow." Joel knew only too well how easy it was to be so nearly finished then make a blundering error in the final stages which either wrecked the work or took ages to correct.

====

"Daniel, let's use the scratch-brush as well as the cross-peen hammer, and maybe even an engraver to get the texture right."

Joel watched like a hawk as Daniel added the finishing touches to his precious creation. As Daniel added the last stroke, he let out a long breath and couldn't hold back a chuckle at seeing the rapt expression on Daniel's face.

"It's finished. It's actually finished." Daniel gazed at the object he had created. It wasn't perfect by any means. He still wasn't happy with the fox's face, but it was certainly not a bad effort. And when he looked at it, he thought of his human silver fox. His heart sang with loving thoughts.

"It's great, Daniel. It's a work of which any silversmith would be proud, and don't let that perfectionist nature of yours tell you any different."

"Thank you, Joel. Thank you so much."

Joel grinned. "And the final Latin word is ...?"

"Facio! I've finished!" Daniel grinned happily. Joel wondered if Jack knew how lucky he was to have such a wonderful man who clearly loved him so much.

====

Jack awoke to the aroma of his favorite breakfast foods.

"Ah, Danny." Jack smiled at the breakfast tray. It was a crazy assortment of foods, but they were all Jack's top favorites, including oatmeal, pancakes, sausage, and Froot Loops, of course.

"Happy Birthday, My Love," Daniel said as he placed the tray over Jack's lap and then leaned forward for a quick kiss.

"It's time to make your first birthday wish of the day," Daniel said, pointing to the stack of pancakes. Daniel had turned the flapjacks into a cake.

"Hap Bday, J'ck?" Jack laughed.

"I didn't have room to write it out," Daniel lamented. "Just ... make your wish!"

Jack looked at the single candle and thought for a moment. Then he smiled, winked at Daniel, and blew out the candle.

"What did you wish for?"

"Na-uh, Love. You aren't supposed to tell your wish, so I'm not!"

Daniel gave his lover one more kiss, and then moved to sit on the bed next to him while Jack ate. It was Wednesday, October 20. Both had taken the day off from work so they weren't on any time schedule.

After breakfast, Jack took a shower. He was half way through when he got a surprise -- his lover joined him ... and then they joined their bodies together. "Hmm. See? I got my wish. You and me, making love in the shower; one of my favorite things in the entire universe," Jack said in the aftermath of their watery lovemaking.

"Like you had to wish for that!"

Daniel filled his husband's day with little surprises -- a massage for brunch, a striptease for lunch, eye candy for dinner (Daniel wearing nothing but his very short cutoffs, the button undone), and mind-blowing sex for dessert. In between, they cuddled, watched a few episodes of "The Simpsons," took the beagles for a walk, dreamed about their future, and in essence, just turned off the world. In the end, the majority of the day was spent in their bedroom. It really was Jack's biggest wish for this year.

Daniel had baked a chocolate birthday cake for which they found a new use for other than just eating it, and finally, with Bijou and Katie asleep in their beanbag, Jack and Daniel snuggled in front of the fire, each currently wearing sweatsuits, Daniel's blue and Jack's gray.

"Time for your presents, Birthday Boy," Daniel said after another kiss.

"I have my present -- you."

"Jack, gawd, you're so romantic. I love you." Daniel got up and brought out some gifts which Jack opened eagerly -- more hockey tickets, a couple of shirts, silk boxers ("Danny, you're getting kinky on me -- silk shorts?"), and his novelty gift of the year, a "I Win This Fight, Now Let's Make Love" card ("I'd be careful when you use that one, Babe. It's a one-time only and read the fine print. It says 'only good in our home or cabin, and not for Grade A level fights' - you know, the ones where you're so wrong that it would be a sin to let you even pretend to be right!").

"Thank you, Danny. I love my presents." Jack saw that look. It was Daniel's insecure look. "What?"

"There's ... one more thing. It's in my car. I'll be right back."

~Hmm, wonder why he's so hesitant. After all these years, what does he have to be afraid of? Danny, you geek, I love you so much.~

Daniel brought in a box, wrapped in shiny silver paper and accentuated with a silver bow. "This is for you," Daniel spoke shyly. He took a deep breath as he handed the box to his husband and sat back down in front of the fire next to him.

Jack carefully opened the box. On top was a medium-size card, beautifully decorated. It was a poem -- "Silver Fox."

"Oh, Angel. That's beautiful. Thank you."

Daniel shrugged. He was nervous, and Jack saw that fact clearly. Slowly, the older man took out the tissue paper, and piece by piece revealed the gift.

"A silver fox. This is great. I love it, and I love you," Jack leaned over to kiss Daniel. ~Oh, there's something more here.~ "Where'd you buy this, Love? I've never seen one like it."

"I ... I ... Jack, do you really like it?"

"What kind of a question is that? Of course, I do. Look at it. It's me, and you want to know how I know that?" Daniel nodded. "He's looking back over his shoulder for his lover, the geeky fox always lagging behind to touch things and get us into trouble."

"Jack, geez." Daniel looked down. "You really like it?"

"Daniel, it's great. Yes, I love it. I'm going to keep it on my desk in the study."

Daniel was beginning to feel comforted. Jack only kept things he loved in his study, treasured things.

"Danny? What aren't you telling me?"

"Jack, it's just ... I wanted to give you something special this year, because I love you so much, and ... you're always doing these wonderful, crazy things for me. I ... wanted this to be unique."

"I love it, Angel." ~There's more. Come on, Love. Get it out.~

"I ran out of time to make it really good, but ..."

"Hang on, Danny. You made this?"

Daniel nodded, his nervousness continuing to be obvious by his downward glances and placement of his hands held close to his body. He wasn't quite self-hugging, but he was on the verge.

Stunned by this revelation, Jack looked closer at the fox he held in his hands. His eyes roamed the fine workmanship, the little details, the way it all looked so natural. "Danny, this is ... awesome. When did you have ..." and suddenly the light dawned. "Joel."

Daniel smiled. "I tried not to lie to you. I really tried my best, and I did teach him Latin."

"Angel," Jack reached over and pulled his husband to him. Still holding the fox, Jack put his arms around Daniel. "I love you so friggin' much. I can't believe you went to so much trouble for me. You did great. It's ... I'm speechless."

For a moment, they just stood there, holding each other. They didn't need words, their hearts were speaking loudly. Finally, Jack spoke, "This means so much, Danny, and you worked so hard. It couldn't have been very easy for you to learn this, juggle schedules, and keep me from losing my mind. I'm just glad I ..."

"... didn't let Mr. Jealousy go berserk?" Daniel finished the sentence for his husband.

Jack nodded. "I do owe Joel an apology."

"He understands. He went way out of his way, Jack, to teach me, and with our crazy schedule, it wasn't easy, and ... he let me do it on my own. He never touched it." Daniel stared at his creation. "It's not perfect, Jack."

"Oh, yes it is. Danny, this silver fox is absolute perfection ... because it's our love. I love you, Angel. I love that you love me so much you'd go to all the trouble to do this for me. This is the best present I have ever received from anyone, Danny. I love you La Mio Bello Stella Cadente."

Daniel's smile was huge. ~He really likes it. Gawd, it was worth it. Every minute of it. His eyes are smiling. He likes it ... no, he loves it.~ Daniel reached over to caress Jack's cheek for a moment, and then they kissed.

"I love you, too. Happy Birthday, My Silver Fox."

~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~