a thousand petals, a thousand paths

When Daniel came into the kitchen, the sun was flashing its last, rosy hues of twilight before sinking behind the Rockies. The pale yellow room was an almost misty mingling of delicate purples and deep shadows. Jack was standing by the windows, peering through the curtains and sipping from a mug that steamed in the chill shivering off the panes of glass. Gravitating immediately to the hot cup of coffee that waited for him on the counter, Daniel sighed blissfully, closed his eyes and took his first sip of caffeine since before they’d gone to Glacier Planet - Jack’s moniker, of course. The coffee was perfect, and he leaned his hip against the cabinets and drank lightly but steadily, his eyes peering over the rim of the mug as he watched Jack watch him.

Daniel was beautiful, that’s all there was to it, Jack mused from his vantage point at the curtained windows, taking in the hideous green and yellow plaid shirt, the sweatpants, the socks that now adorned those shapely feet. Even with the tousled hair and the steady blinking of sleepy eyes behind corrective lenses, nothing could stem the wave of love and desire that swept through Jack like a high tide. Yeah, he was a goner. Buh-bye.

“Feeling better?” he asked finally, finishing his coffee and dangling the mug, fingertips gripping around the rim.

Daniel finished his own coffee and nodded, sliding off his glasses and setting them behind him on the counter, his eyes no longer blinking like semaphores but now holding Jack’s in a steady blue gaze. “Yeah,” he said huskily. “All better.”

Jack felt his skin tightening under the hot pressure of Daniel’s look. “Good,” he said, his own voice just as rough. “Do me a favor?”


“Don’t die again.”


And as one, they set down their mugs, strode to the middle of the kitchen, and clamped onto each other like giant magnets.

It wasn’t gentle. They’d spent years getting to know each other, years hating each other, years loving each other, a week seriously figuring out their heads from their asses, an hour of sweet, dreamy emotional exploration, and now, now it was about completing the circle, finding the hot, hard flesh to make them whole, fitting their puzzle pieces together in ways that brought the sharpest, deepest pleasure.

Hands clamped to each other’s faces, lips bruising, teeth knocking, there was nothing graceful or delicate about this. It was about learning every inch of skin as well as they knew every inch of each other’s souls, seeking, tasting, biting. With both hands, Jack fisted the cloth of Daniel’s shirt on either side of the button placket and pulled, buttons popping everywhere, spanging off the refrigerator, one far-flung fellow pipping into the sink with sharp bing. He wrestled the flannel over Daniel’s shoulders and arms, flinging the cloth to the floor. Then he slapped his hands to Daniel’s rib cage, sliding his tongue down the strong column of Daniel’s neck, lipping the divot between his clavicles, nipping the skin over to one shoulder.

“Christ,” Daniel groaned, his own hands clutching in an iron grip on Jack’s hips. Then he yanked at Jack’s ribbed, long-sleeved shirt, impatiently tugging it over Jack’s head, leaving Jack’s silver hair tufted and messy, the black cotton falling atop the flannel. “Nice,” Daniel grated, hands behind Jack’s neck, pulling Jack in for another deep, wet kiss that was soft and demanding at the same time. When Jack moved to go back to Daniel’s neck, Daniel tangled one hand in Jack’s dogtags and kept their lips mashed together.

“You taste like the desert,” Jack mumbled into his mouth, working at the waistband of Daniel’s sweats.

There was a moment of confusion for Daniel, and he muttered, “Sandy - ” and Jack shook his head, stopped the word with another tongue-driven kiss and clarified, “Hot and exotic.”

“Oh,” Daniel gasped in astonishment, and started working at Jack’s jeans, suddenly, violently, hating button-flys.

Jack had it easy, shoving down Daniel’s sweats to pool around his ankles, then he had Daniel by the shoulders and slammed him against the refrigerator, rocking the appliance back while Daniel kicked the sweatpants off his feet. “Socks,” he panted, and Jack went blank for a moment, then started to laugh into Daniel’s shoulder.

“Socks?” Jack repeated, licking behind Daniel’s ear with a grin, snuffling and blowing at the short hair that curved behind the swell of skull.

“Traction,” Daniel explained breathlessly, and the light bulb went on over Jack’s head and he kept Daniel pushed against the fridge while he began kissing his way down the pale, precious skin, kissing those scars he had so lovingly respected earlier in the evening, lingering at the nipples, sucking at the belly button, rubbing his stubbled cheek against a hipbone. Daniel groaned, the back of his head knocking softly against the freezer door and he closed his eyes, swamped with heavy sensations. By the time Jack’s lips and teeth found the inside of Daniel’s right thigh, he was able to reach down and strip the socks right off Daniel’s feet. But before he placed them back on the cold linoleum, Jack kissed the arch of each foot, rubbing the pad of his thumb over the heel, then sliding his hands up the strong calves, the still-perfect knees, the soft-skinned inner thighs. His own knees were protesting, but he padded Daniel’s sweats beneath him, grasped Daniel’s thighs and continued his kissing, with teeth, with lips, sliding his tongue to the backs of Daniel’s knees, his fingers digging into the firm flesh of Daniel’s buttocks.

His touch gentling for a moment, Jack rubbed his cheek along Daniel’s hard length, feeling the silky, hot skin against his lips. Then he turned and took Daniel softly into his mouth, tasting salt and that certain cinnamony flavor that was just Daniel.

Daniel groaned, deep and throaty, one hand tangling in Jack’s hair, the other clutching the edge of the refrigerator, his eyes closed, cheeks flushed. Then he tugged, pulling Jack up to him for another deep, scorching kiss, tongues thrusting deep, their chests pressing together, skin sliding hot and slick with their sweat. Their hands locked together, pulling, pushing, straining to meld skin, to absorb each other as the kiss lengthened, deepened further, the world narrowing to their lips and their tongues and the feel of their chests pressed together, their heartbeats hammering wildly between them, hard and urgent flesh caught between their hips.

“Dammit,” Jack gasped, and they slid down the refrigerator onto the floor, squishing their discarded clothes around until they made a sort of pallet on the cold linoleum. “Didn’t want to do this here,” he panted, sliding a knee between Daniel’s and pressing his thigh, hard, against Daniel’s erection. “Wanted to do this all soft and … well, you know, with a bed.”

“Don’t care,” Daniel breathed in response, his fingers digging into Jack’s back, hips wriggling beneath Jack’s, his tongue and lips and teeth at the strong column of Jack’s neck. “Don’t care, don’t care, anywhere is perfect. Jack … ”

“Daniel, Daniel, wait,” Jack said, planting his hands firmly on the floor on either side of Daniel’s head and pushing up to get a clear look. Blue eyes met his, incandescent like a live flame. “I have no idea what I’m doing,” Jack admitted.

The blue eyes crinkled at the corner with the smile that bloomed across Daniel’s flushed face. “Me either,” Daniel grinned, planting his hands firmly on Jack’s ass and squeezing gently. “It’s all theory, no practical application.”

“Oh,” Jack replied, momentarily nonplussed and losing all semblance of his thoughts as the hands on his ass cupped and held, fingertips wedging into the cleft between his cheeks. “So, so, so, uh, just wing it?”

“Hell, yeah,” Daniel averred, and knocked Jack’s hands out from underneath him with well-placed elbows. Jack flumped onto his chest with a woof, then took advantage of his proximity by kissing Daniel again, deeply, searingly.

And every stitch of clothing between them was gone, vanished, and there was nothing but heat and skin and rubbing and rubbing and sliding, and it was like every single brain cell imploded, molten metal and superheated gases transforming into supernovas, burning former stars that swirled and vibrated, illuminating their darkness. The kisses lasted forever, the fingers were woven together for eternity, and there was only the pulse of breath against hot skin, the vague scent of coffee and cinnamon, and the lush release as eyes fluttered closed, necks arched, hips jerked, stuttered, softened, stilled.

For a while, they just lay there, a sticky mess on linoleum, the air cool against Jack’s back, Daniel’s hands running gently along Jack’s ribs, over the gentle swell of hip and ass, feeling and exploring every scar on Jack’s strong back. Then Jack reluctantly rolled to the side, tucking Daniel’s shirt under his hip, and propped his chin on his hand. “So,” he said, a goofy smile hovering around the corners of his mouth. “Hi.”

Daniel kissed the bent elbow by his chin. “Hi,” he said softly, and reached up to kiss Jack, lingeringly, without any of the urgency that had filled the ten minutes before. “Come here often?”

Jack did smile then, and his free hand drifted down to rest like a feather on Daniel’s stomach, his thumb rubbing small circles in the damp skin. “Not often enough,” he said.

“Then I’ll have to institute an open-door policy,” Daniel said thoughtfully, covering Jack’s hand with his and twining their fingers again.

“That would be nice,” Jack said, squeezing their fingers together.

Daniel looked at him searchingly for a moment, before he said, “No freak-outs?”

Jack paused, and did an actual, serious survey of his brain and body. All he found was repletion, and a deep welling tide of love and contentment. “Not a one,” he said finally, sounding vaguely surprised.

Daniel’s face reflected that same surprise. “Not one?”

Jack shook his head. “Not a one.”

“Well, then,” Daniel commented, and rolled gingerly to his butt, sitting cross-legged on the floor, one hand covering his newly-healed wounds.

Jack removed Daniel’s hand to place kisses on the scars, then sat up himself and pulled Daniel gently to him, engulfing him in a steady, warming hug. “Then let’s to bed, ” Jack said.

“Then let’s,” Daniel replied, smiling, and Jack helped him stand, cleaned them both up with towels dampened with warm water, helped Daniel slip his socks back on, and his sweatpants, and together, hand in hand, they wandered to Daniel’s bedroom and to Daniel’s bed.

Their bed. Where they would love and laugh and snipe and bicker, as they had always done, and where Jack had found this improbable, beautiful creature meant more to him than anything or anyone he had ever known before, and where Daniel had waited for years, patiently, for Jack to be on his page.

From here, they could write the book together.


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