CHOICES OF THE HEART
By Carlyn

 

Daniel Jackson gazed tenderly into the soft brown eyes of his wife.

His wife. Daniel could not believe that, even now, this incredibly stunning woman wanted him.

As he beheld this beauty who had offered herself so freely to him, Daniel mused on the vagaries of love. 

Falling in love had been so unexpected. Reflecting on the circumstances that had brought him here, Daniel marveled that, after a lifetime of solitude, he had finally found someone with whom he wanted to spend his life. It seemed only slightly ironic that he had had to travel several thousand light years to do so. He never was one to do things the easy way.

Lifting his hand, he twisted his finger in a lock of Sha’re’s wavy dark hair, pushing it out of her face, only to have the desert breeze catch it and return it to its former resting place. Averting her eyes from his, Sha’re smiled shyly and Daniel’s heart melted.

As his hand disentangled from her hair, Daniel brushed his work-roughened fingers fondly over her smooth skin. Gently cupping her cheek in his palm, he stroked her lips with his thumb, gasping, barely audibly, when her sweet mouth pursed to affectionately kiss the digit. 

When he started to pull his hand away, Sha’re covered it with her own, holding it against the edge of her jaw, lovingly nuzzling the calloused surface, her warm breath teasing his wrist.

Gazing up into Daniel’s penetrating blue eyes, Sha’re reached out with her free hand and grasped his arm, following its length downward to thread her fingers through his. Raising herself on her toes, Sha’re tipped her head back slightly, angling her lips towards his ear.

“I am proud to have you for my husband,” she said in her native Abydonian.

Daniel smiled sadly. “I can’t stay. You know that,” he said as Sha’re clasped, almost desperately, to his hands.

“Daniel.” The man’s voice startled them both.

Gently but firmly pulling his hand from beneath hers, Daniel grazed Sha’re’s cheek with his fingertips, sweeping away a single tear. He took a step back, turning to face his lover.

“It’s time to go,” Jack O’Neill stated simply, ignoring the embrace he had interrupted.

Nodding his acknowledgement, Daniel lifted the hand Sha’re still had wrapped in his, and brushed it with his lips, before turning and placing the hand into that of her father, the only other witness to their early morning departure. 

Kasuf eyed him gravely as he accepted the hand of his daughter. There were no words necessary between them this morning; they had talked at length already.

When Sha’re had come to him a week earlier, a far too generous gift from the tribal leaders, Daniel had had no choice but to refuse her, loathe though he was to distress her father or cause Sha’re disgrace in the eyes of her people. But the disgrace of abandonment was far better than the disgrace of an adulterous spouse.

And Daniel knew from the moment he realized he loved Jack O’Neill, that if he was lucky enough to have his love returned, he could not forsake a relationship with the colonel, even under the threat of death, the Abydonian penalty for infidelity.

Their first time together, following Daniel’s impassioned argument that Jack indeed had a reason to live, was nothing more than a sweaty tangle of strong limbs and hastily ground together groins. But in the resultant release, as their essences blended, their souls were merged, their destiny sealed – their hearts, having asserted themselves, impossible to deny.

Their second union, in the aftermath of Ra’s destruction, was slower, sweeter, and as Jack slid deep into the warm, snug depths of his eagerly wriggling body, Daniel left behind any guilt he felt over his rejection of Sha’re. He belonged with Jack.

Sha’re could not live with the stigma of rejection, therefore, since in the eyes of her people she and Daniel were married – all save the two of them, Kasuf and Jack believing Daniel had bedded her – the only thing she could do was don the mantle of abandoned wife. Once Daniel returned through the Stargate, Sha’re would be forced to live in seclusion for a year, after which time Kasuf would be free to arrange another, more suitable match for her. Harsh though this sentence was, as an exceptionally desirable woman, Sha’re would undoubtedly have many suitors anxiously awaiting her reappearance from legally imposed solitude.

Bending to retrieve his pack from the sand where he had dropped it, Daniel slowly walked over to the base of the steps leading into the pyramid, where the man who owned his heart waited.

Drawing even with Jack, Daniel looked over his shoulder, smiling an affable farewell to the wife he was leaving behind, for whom he felt little beyond sympathetic affection. He then turned and gazed longingly into the coffee brown eyes of the man with whom he would go forward, into what promised to be a life of passion and deep abiding devotion.

As they ascended the stairs together, Jack placed his hand possessively in the small of Daniel’s back, smiling contentedly when the younger man moved closer, resting his head briefly on Jack’s shoulder.

Stepping into the shadows of the pyramid’s entrance, Jack backed Daniel against the wall and pressed his lips solidly to those of the younger man, reclaiming his love – the choice of his heart – erasing any lingering connection Daniel may have had with Sha’re.

When Daniel shifted, pressing one of his legs between Jack’s, the colonel quickly broke the connection, smiling indulgently into blue eyes, half-lidded with desire, and gently pulled Daniel towards the Stargate and the rest of their team.

They had no real plans beyond spending time at Jack’s cabin – once Jack ended the marriage that, in truth, had died with his son, and officially retired, again. But plans were unimportant: “Just details,” Jack had said. Wherever they settled, whatever they ended up doing with the rest of their lives, they would travel the path that their hearts had chosen – together.     

 

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