CATEGORY: Angst, Established Relationship, Hurt/Comfort
COMPLETED: February 14, 2006
WARNINGS: Language, Stalking
AUTHOR’S NOTES: All my love goes to Laura with this one. If she hadn’t given me the idea, I wouldn’t have been able to write a valentine’s ficlet for the series. Thank you, baby!
“Hey.” Daniel didn’t bother to look up from the translation he was working on. He knew from experience that Cameron would let him work until he had come to a point where he could afford a break. If Daniel thought about it, he would realise that it had always been that way between him and Cameron, and he had to admit that, while Cameron was a hothead, he had the patience of a saint when it came to him and his work.
“You have a secret admirer,” Cameron finally said when Daniel leaned back in his chair and stretched.
Daniel smiled fondly at his lover, who was fingering the elegant and tasteful Valentine’s card. “Yeah. I didn’t even have time to read what it says yet.”
“May I?” Cameron asked quietly, waiting for Daniel’s permission to open the card.
Daniel’s smile widened into a grin as he nodded. Even though Cameron knew that he kept no secrets from him, he always asked for permission when he about to pry into Daniel’s private stuff.
“Whoa,” Cameron said, sounding both dumbfounded and awed at the same time. “Listen to this: Born from silence; silence full of it. A perfect concert: my best friend. So much to live for, so much to die for, if only my heart had a home.”
“Give me that.” Daniel snatched the card out of Cameron’s fingers, skimming the rest of the text quickly. “That’s ‘A Dead Boy’s Poem’ by Nightwish,” he muttered, brushing reverently over the black ink.
“Someone obviously knows that you have a soft spot for Tarja’s voice,” Cameron teased, bumping Daniel’s shoulder with his.
“Which is about everyone around here,” he replied, looking up at Cameron. “It might be a coincidence, but the song’s actually one of my favourites.”
“It’s that one where the boy says something in the background, right?”
“Yeah.” Daniel put the card into a drawer. “I should probably go to the commissary and get a vase for the rose.”
Cameron arched his eyebrows. “Rose?”
Daniel pointed at the sink where he had put the black rose for the time being. “They even know that I can’t stand red roses.” Daniel had to suppress the smile that wanted to break out over his face again when he watched Cameron touching the full crown, caressing the soft petals with careful fingers. Cameron had given Daniel twelve black roses this morning, right before he had fucked him into oblivion. Yeah, Daniel definitely had a fondness for black roses. Now even more than ever.
“And here I was, thinking that only I know what flowers you like,” Cameron complained, blushing faintly when Daniel looked pointedly at him. “Sorry. I know I don’t have a reason to be jealous, but I can’t help it.”
Now, Daniel had to laugh. This was the first time since they had gotten together that Cameron actually admitted to being jealous. He had always denied it before, and the fact that he was made Daniel feel light-headed. Cameron’s protectiveness actually made him feel appreciated, though Daniel thought that Cameron should back down a bit. His feelings for Daniel were beginning to trickle into their work relationship, and that was something Daniel wanted to avoid at all costs. Not only for his sake, but for Cameron’s as well. “So, what do you think about grabbing lunch and getting a vase for the rose?”
“That’s actually why I dropped by,” Cameron confessed. “Someone has to take care of you since you’re doing a very poor job yourself.”
“Cameron.” Daniel warned, shooting his lover a look that clearly stated to back off.
Cameron held up his hands in defence. “I know, I know. You’re a grown man and can take care of yourself.”
“Thanks.” Daniel smirked. “Let’s go.”
* * * *
Daniel handed the woman behind he counter his service ID without really paying attention. He was too focused on what Cameron was telling him quietly, and he had to admit that he was getting irritated. Cameron was simply reckless. Though Daniel doubted that the airman behind them could actually hear what Cameron was saying, he still thought that Cameron was taking too big a chance with telling Daniel that they really should just use Daniel’s bigger bedroom and reconvert Cameron’s space into either a guest room or storage area here on base.
“Dr. Jackson?” Daniel turned back to the woman, his eyebrows raising when she handed him an envelope and a black rose together with his ID. “I was asked to give you this,” she said with a smile.
“By whom?” he asked automatically, though he doubted the woman would actually tell him.
“By Colonel Carter, but she insisted that she was asked as well.”
“Thank you. I guess,” Daniel muttered and turned to search for an empty table. Without waiting for Cameron, he marched towards the corner furthest away from everybody else and plopped down in a chair. He so didn’t need the attention that seemed to be solely focused on him at the moment. He opened the card, closing his eyes when he recognised the words being the chorus line from ‘Wishmaster’. “That’s not funny,” he muttered, jumping when Cameron sat down his tray and straddled a chair backwards.
“What does it say?” Cameron asked before he began attacking his steak almost viciously.
“Master! Apprentice! Heartborne, seventh seeker. Warrior! Disciple! In me, the Wishmaster.” Daniel started his lunch as well, though he realised that he wasn’t hungry anymore. He put down his cutlery before he plucked his glasses from his nose, rubbing his eyes.
“Everything alright?” Cameron sounded truly concerned, making Daniel cringe.
“Actually, there are several things coming together that bother the hell out of me,” Daniel admitted, nudging the rose in an absentminded gesture.
Cameron frowned, and Daniel saw the twitch of his hand. Yes, several things were coming together, and it didn’t help that Cameron was looking at him with expectant eyes. “Wanna talk about it?”
“No.” Daniel wanted to sigh and roll his eyes when Cameron’s face fell. “At least, not here. These walls have too many eyes and ears.”
This time, Daniel didn’t bother to suppress his sigh. While Cameron was very patient when it came to Daniel’s work, he was definitely pushy when it came to their private relationship. And he couldn’t take a hint if his life depended on it. “I guess we should.” He picked up his tray again, his lunch remaining almost untouched. “I’m not hungry anymore. I’ll see you at the briefing.”
Daniel didn’t bother to wait for Cameron’s reply. Right now, he wanted nothing more than to get as far away as possible from the man. When exactly had Cameron’s presence started to make him feel crowded and smothered, and why? All he had done was ask him if he wanted to talk about what was disconcerting him. Wasn’t that what a relationship was about, too? To talk to your partner about those things?
Daniel sighed, deciding to leave those thoughts for tonight. He wasn’t looking forward to the discussion. On the contrary, because he had the feeling that he was going to hurt Cameron one way or another. Most likely, Cameron wasn’t even aware of what he was doing. Or it explained why Cameron had still been without a significant relationship record at the time he and Daniel had decided to try.
He closed the door of his office behind him, unconsciously telling everyone to stay away from him for the time being. Thus, he didn’t even try to keep his annoyance in check when he discovered yet another card accompanied with a black rose on his desk. “Okay, this stopped being funny right now,” he muttered under his breath, snatching the rose from under the card to put it into the sink. Only now he realised that he had left the second card along with the rose on his tray.
He shrugged. There was nothing he could do about it anymore. Unlike the first card and the card that lay still untouched on his desk, the card he had left in the commissary had been unmarked, and unless someone decided to take it upon themselves to bring the card and rose to him…
Picking up the card, Daniel leaned against his desk. For a brief moment, he considered not opening it and just put it into the drawer. Or in the shredder. Together with the roses. But he liked the roses. Yet, they gave him the distinct feeling of being—stalked. Yeah, that’s what it felt like. And Daniel didn’t like the feeling. At. All.
The knock on his office door was quiet and tentative, and Daniel simply knew it was Cameron. The man definitely didn’t know when to stop. “Great,” Daniel thought. “I’m being stalked by an anonymous person and my boyfriend. Just. Fucking. Great.”
“Come!” he said eventually, though he had seriously thought about just not reacting to the knock. There was a small chance after all that it was important and work-related after all.
But he was not disappointed. It was indeed Cameron, who held up the card and rose Daniel had left in the commissary. “Just wanted to drop those and be on my way. I know you want to be alone.”
Cameron placed the forgotten items on the shelf next to the door and moved to leave Daniel alone again. “Cam,” Daniel said softly, deliberately using the diminutive to get Cameron’s attention.
“What?” Cameron croaked, but he didn’t turn around.
Yeah, what? Daniel didn’t understand himself anymore. Minutes ago, he had needed to get away from Cameron, and now he didn’t want him to leave; he didn’t want to be alone. Not with—“I got another card, and I feel seriously creeped out by now.”
Cameron moved quickly enough for Daniel to flinch as the door was closed and as Cameron pulled him into his arms. “ You don’t like your secret Valentine?” he asked carefully.
“I don’t know. On the one hand, I think it’s cute. On the other hand, I feel like I’m being stalked, and all the other things that go through my head don’t help.” Daniel sighed and hugged Cameron back, mindful to keep it friendly enough for passing as an embrace between friends from the point of view of the security camera. “I was just about to open the third card.”
Cameron let him go, and Daniel felt cold again. He really didn’t know what to think about himself anymore. “Want me to do it?”
“Please.” Daniel handed Cameron the card and picked up the rose Cameron had brought with him to put it into the sink. “What does it say?”
“I wish for this night time to last for a life time. The darkness surrounds me. Shores of a solar sea. Oh, how I wish to go down with the sun. Sleeping… Weeping… With you,” Cameron read out quietly.
“Oh, for crying out loud!” Daniel snatched the card from Cameron’s fingers and threw it into the drawer together with the second card he had received.
“Daniel—” Cameron didn’t finish whatever he had wanted to say because his pager took this moment to beep insistently. “I have to go,” he said, regret and something else that Daniel couldn’t quite decipher colouring his voice. “We’ll talk later about this, right?”
“Right.” For a moment, Daniel thought Cameron would lean in to kiss him, but obviously the man thought better of it and left. “Damn. Where’s Jack when you need him?”
Without even thinking about it, Daniel grabbed his mobile phone, realising that he simply needed Jack to talk to. Jack had been going out of his way for the better part of last month to make Daniel still feel welcome in his life. Daniel knew how hard it had been on Jack; how much the older man still wanted to be with him, and, not for the first time since Daniel had decided to stay with Cameron, he asked himself if he had made a capital mistake.
His feelings were clearly telling him ‘no’. He knew that he loved Cameron, and he didn’t need to hear Cameron saying the words to know he felt the same way. But he couldn’t help but wonder now and then how things would have turned out with Jack, especially in times when he couldn’t decide if he wanted to slap or kiss Cameron. He was sure that, in one reality or the other, he had left Cameron for Jack. “What a feeble thing the heart is,” he muttered, getting into the elevator to ride up to the surface.
He nodded at the SF who was on duty and stepped into the crisp February air. Damn. He should’ve thought about taking his coat with him. And his gloves. His fingers would be blue by the time he was done with talking to Jack. Unless Jack was in a meeting and couldn’t talk. Who was he kidding? Even if Jack were busy, he would make the time for him. He always did.
Daniel jumped. He hadn’t even noticed that he had speed-dialed Jack’s mobile. He cleared his throat. “Hey, Jack.”
“Daniel.” Jack didn’t need to say more. It was all in how he inflected his voice. Are you alright? Did something happen? Are my kids still safe? Do I need to hurt Mitchell?
“I, ah, I called at a bad time, didn’t I?”
“Daniel, it’s never a bad time for you. Hang on one second.” Daniel waited patiently while Jack was finishing whatever he had been doing before Daniel had called him, and Daniel actually felt guilty. He had no right to abuse their friendship like that. And it wasn’t like Jack was able to do anything about it, short of coming to the Springs. But just hearing his friend’s voice had a calming effect on Daniel. “Sorry ‘bout that. Just had to tell them to fuck off.”
“I did call at a bad time,” Daniel complained. “Why didn’t you just tell me you’d call back?”
“Because I know you. If you’re calling during the daytime, you need to talk. So spill. What’s going on?”
Daniel leaned against a tree. “Nothing big. Just—A lot of things coming together, really.”
Jack sighed. “Just spit it out.”
“It’s Cameron, mostly,” Daniel said, ignoring Jack’s growl completely. “He’s being reckless; he’s too attentive and overprotective… And I have a stalker.”
“Daniel?” Again, just the way Jack was saying his name was telling him more than he could put into words.
“I don’t know, Jack. I really don’t. I’m getting these cards together with black roses. Every card has a quote from a Nightwish song in it. And whoever’s sending the cards didn’t pick the most cheerful lines.”
“That might be because Nightwish doesn’t do cheerful,” said Jack teasingly. “Was there anything else with the cards? Dinner invitations? Stuffed animals? Threats?”
“No. Just—the cards and the roses. One actually was delivered by Sam. Well, not directly. She gave it to one of the girls in the commissary, who gave it to me.” He sighed. “Maybe, it’s really just that a lot of things are coming together and bug the hell out of me.”
“Yeah. As I said, he’s taking risks like talking to me about changing his bedroom into a guest room or storage again on base, or coming close to kissing me where about everyone could walk in on us. Can you imagine that he glared at Mrs. Frazier from across my hall when I helped her with her grocery bags?”
“Yep. She’s a hag, Daniel. Good for Mitchell to glare at her.” Jack sighed again. “Do you love him?”
Daniel blinked. “What?”
“Geez, Daniel. Do you love him? It’s an easy question, isn’t it?”
“I, ah. Yes, I do. But what has me loving him got to do with anything?”
“Oh, I don’t know. I would’ve hated to find out that you don’t love the shrub now that I’m seeing someone,” Jack answered casually, and Daniel could almost imagine him smirking at the phone. “But that’s not the point. Maybe I’m the wrong person to talk to about those things. Perhaps you should talk to him instead. I mean, if you love him, and he’d better love you back, you need to sit down and talk.”
“I know. We’re planning on doing that tonight. Wait. Did you just say you were seeing someone?”
“What do you think of getting together on St. Patrick’s? It’s a Friday this year. We could do pizza and beer and hockey like old times,” Jack said instead, totally evading Daniel’s question.
“Daniel.” Jack chuckled. “Nothing serious yet. We went out of a couple of times and kissed, but that’s it, Daniel. I swear.”
Daniel couldn’t help but laugh at the anxiety in his friend’s voice, and he tried to push away the jealousy that flared inside him. He had no right to feel that way. He knew that. On the other hand, it had always been this way. Whenever he had found out that someone had been having feelings for him, and it didn’t matter if he returned them or not, he had felt jealous when they had staring dating someone else. “It’s okay, Jack. I’m happy, really.” Daniel thought he sounded neither convincing nor supportive. And apparently, Jack didn’t think so either.
“You know him and you like him. That’ll have to do until St. Patrick’s.”
Daniel frowned. “St. Patrick’s?”
“Daniel, we were just talking about this. You and me. On St. Patrick’s. With beer, pizza and hockey.”
Daniel felt the blush rising into his cheeks. Usually, it was Jack who tuned him out. “Oh. Yeah. Uhm, I’m sorry, Jack.”
“Never mind.” Daniel could hear someone talking to Jack and he knew instinctively that their phone chat was over. “I’m sorry, Daniel, I have to go. Work calls.”
“Yeah. Thanks for the talk,” Daniel added, trying to keep his disappointment out of his voice.
“Always. You know that.” Again, Daniel could hear another person’s insistent voice through the phone. “Sorry, gotta go. Bye.”
Daniel couldn’t even reply to say goodbye, before he heard Jack hanging up.
* * * *
Daniel half-suspected, half-feared that another rose and card were waiting for him in his office, but it was definitely not the reason why he went to see Sam first. At least, that’s what he was telling himself. And of course, it was very convenient that Sam’s lab was two floors above his own office. It definitely had nothing to do with the fact that Sam had delivered the second card to the girl in the commissary. No. Absolutely not.
“Hey!” he said, sounding too cheerful even to his own ears.
“Hey, Daniel!” Sam smiled at him, removing the protective glasses. “You okay?”
“Yeah. I’m just being stalked by some unknown person and I’ve heard it through the grapevine that you have something to do with this,” said Daniel quickly, quirking his brows at Sam.
“Yeah, I have.” Sam smirked. “But we both know that I won’t tell you who it is, right?”
“Right.” Daniel rocked back onto his heels. “You do realise that I have received three almost identical cards that only differ in the text?”
“No, I don’t.” She stood up and pulled his hands out of his pockets to embrace him. “You’re not being stalked. I promise.”
“How can you be so sure?” Daniel realised what a silly question that had been when Sam gave him a look that clearly told him to wear a skirt now and then to air his brain. “Right. You sure that you won’t tell me who it is?”
She nodded. “Actually, I think it’s kinda romantic.”
“It’s creeping me out,” Daniel mumbled. “Most likely, there’s another card waiting for me in my office.”
“Then you should go.” Sam pushed him towards the door. “Go!” she said, chuckling softly.
Daniel shook his head. “Traitor.” But he couldn’t help but smile. If Sam thought it was okay, he was almost certain he could relax. He didn’t believe that Sam would conspire with a stalker on base to freak him out.
Sighing rather pitifully, Daniel stepped into the elevator and joined two airmen on their way down. He only half-listened to their conversation, but he smiled nonetheless when the female side of the pair told her colleague happily about all the cards and little trinkets she had received so far. Maybe, he really should get a grip on himself. They were only cards, for crying out loud. And the roses. Mustn’t forget the roses.
Daniel couldn’t wipe the smile off his face when he entered his office and saw Cameron leaning against his desk, fiddling with the expected fourth card. “Another one?” he asked softly, closing the door behind him.
“Yeah.” He handed Daniel the card without looking at him. “I already put the rose in the sink with its brethren,” he added quietly, his voice carrying a note that Daniel couldn’t quite place, but sent an unpleasant shiver down his spine, nonetheless.
“Just—open it. It’s kinda self-explanatory,” Cameron retorted cryptically, crossing his arms over his chest.
Daniel frowned, not sure what to make of Cameron’s subdued demeanour. But he pulled the card out of its envelope, almost losing its contents in the process. “Nightwish tickets for tonight?” He opened the card, closing his eyes when he read the simple but very telling message inside. ‘I love you. Cameron.’
Daniel didn’t know how to react; if he should rant about Cameron’s carelessness or if he should kiss his lover and apologise for his behaviour. It didn’t matter. He felt like the world’s biggest jerk. In retrospect, he realised that he should have known. He knew how insanely jealous Cameron could get, but his reaction to the cards had been—guarded. As if he wanted to see Daniel’s response to them. The black roses also had been a big hint. There were only a few people who knew about his dislike for red roses. Cameron was one of them.
“See me ruined by my own creations,” Cameron said finally when Daniel remained unable to respond to the revelation.
Daniel wanted to scream. Yet another Nightwish quote Cameron was using. “Cam…”
“Don’t, Daniel. Just—don’t. I realise that I’ve overdone it, and I’m sorry that I freaked you out with my actions. I thought it was romantic and that you’d know where the cards came from.” The deep sigh that followed the apology made Daniel wince, and he realised that he had hurt Cameron deeply with his reaction to the cards. “I came here to tell you that General Landry’s been called to D.C. and that the debriefing’s been rescheduled for tomorrow, eleven-hundred hours. Enjoy the concert with whomever you’re taking because it sure as hell won’t be me. I’m heading out of here.” Cameron pushed away from the desk, trying to move around Daniel, but he caught himself around the waist. “Let me go, Daniel.”
“Not until you agree to come with me tonight,” Daniel said, desperately raking his mind for a way to fix this mess.
“Oh, well, then we might as well stand here till tomorrow because I’m not going. Or I could deck you right now, but I’d rather not hurt you.”
“Cameron, please. We need to talk.”
Cameron pushed Daniel’s arm off him. “I’ve been trying to make you talk all day, Daniel. You brushed me off.” He shook his head. “And don’t bother to come after me because my decision is final. Have a great night. I’ll see you tomorrow,” he added, silently telling Daniel that he would be sleeping in his own room tonight and that Daniel should stay clear of said room. Without looking back, Cameron left the office, slamming the door shut behind him.
* * * *
Leave me be
And cease to tell me how to feel
To grieve, to shield myself from evil
Leave me be
Ode of lies is killing me
Till love do me part
~ Romanticide by Nightwish ~
* * * *
AUTHOR’S NOTES2: The title was taken from the song “Romanticide” by Nightwish; the texts of the cards are from the following Nightwish songs: A Dead Boy’s Poem, Wishmaster, and Sleeping Sun. The quote “See me ruined by my own creations” was taken from Romanticide.
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