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Can't Not Wonder

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Dancing, Comfort, Cabins, and Such". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: "Because Willow could ask – at times, like him, has probably been dying to ask – but she still doesn’t out of respect. Out of care for what they have here and the deceptively delicate balance of their easygoing relationship..."

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Stargate > Willow-Centered > Pairing: Jack O'NeillsmolderFR1511,4471122,02529 Jan 1229 Jan 12Yes
Author: smolder
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Stargate belongs to Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner. The Buffyverse belongs to Joss Whedon.
A/N: Reviews are Good. This has been a subtle hint from the author - Please return to your regularly scheduled reading.
A/N 2: This is a sequel to "It Starts With A Dance". If you haven't read that you might be a little lost at their level of comfort.

She freezes under him at the question – her whole body going from the stage of happily crawling up out of sleep and wallowing in the comforting warmth right before waking to instantly tense. And any hope in his mind that she hadn’t heard him, that he hadn’t actually said that out loud, goes right out the window.

“Sorry,” he whispers wondering if he should pull away. Jack really doesn’t want to though, doesn’t want this to have broken something between them. “You don’t have to answer,” he says running his lips across her bare shoulder soothingly.

“No,” Willow says. And something in his chest gets tight when she starts to turn within his arms – but she is only turning to face him, to be able to speak to him easier. “It’s all right. I have thought about it too,” she admits. “I used to talk about it a lot.”

“Tara…” her eyes get distant, but Jack is patient, he is used to this. Her first girlfriend (although simply calling Tara that seems diminishing. She was so much more to Willow than her first girlfriend.) was a huge part of her life – and her death left a huge impact. That is nothing to be jealous of, that is something to respect. He knows quite personally about the impact death can have on a person after all.

“There were bad times with us, it would be stupid to look back and say that there weren’t - to willfully blind myself to all the stupid mistakes just because she’s dead now. But,” she bit her lip and looked so paradoxily joyous and heartbroken that he had to hug her to him, rolling on his back so she was a comforting weight atop him.

She sighed with her head against his chest seeming to just soak in his presence for a moment. “But yeah,” she picked up the story after her long pause as if it hadn’t happened and started to absentmindedly comb her fingers through the bit of hair on his chest, “we would talk about it sometimes late at night. What ifs. Especially during that time when we were taking care of Dawn.”

“ Goddess,” she chuckled. “it’s hard to think of Dawn as a kid now – these days she’s a full grown woman that I depend on constantly. And I suppose she was a teenager then and not really a child but we were her guardians during that period when her sister was,” she cleared her throat awkwardly and her hand stopped, “away. And so, it didn’t seem as large of a jump to dream a little farther. I mean, we still never really thought we would live long enough for it to be an actual possibility but it was fun to dream. Exciting you know. The relative normality of it, it seemed dangerous – much much more dangerous than the actual physical danger in our everyday lives. But that’s why it was a dream I suppose.”

His mind caught that little detail she had given about her work (of how long she had been doing the job she did and the fact that Tara had been a part of it while she was alive too – and Dawn still was to this day) and filed it away. Jack wouldn’t ask, they both knew not to ask about that part of each other’s lives, but he can’t not wonder. He can’t not automatically grab a hold of and keep track of every little detail she drops without realizing it.

Jack is sure that Willow does the same thing. Probably a whole hell of a lot more than he does with how curious and super analytical he has found her brain can be the longer he’s spent time with her. That should scare him, but oddly it is yet another comfort. Because Willow could ask – at times, like him, has probably been dying to ask – but she still doesn’t out of respect. Out of care for what they have here and the deceptively delicate balance of their easygoing relationship that could be toppled with the tension caused by a question that pushed too hard, asked too much about something they just weren’t allowed to talk about.

Right now though, she seemed far away and when she spoke there was a different cadence to her voice like she was quoting someone, “A-a-a little girl or boy – I don’t care really as long as they have your hair. And hopefully those freckles too my Willow-tree.”

Jack swallowed hard and stroked that hair himself and she settled against him with a shaky breath.

He shouldn’t have asked. Well, duh. That is beyond obvious (especially now when she was practically crying) but he shouldn’t have even had the thought. He couldn’t help it though. When he had woken up that morning with his limbs entangled with hers awareness had come to him slowly.

What he had first noticed, before anything else at all, was her. Her. The feel of her against him and even without full wakefulness he had taken note and reveled in that, some part of him knowing that she wasn’t always there to share his bed and wanting to savor it. (And Jack can’t help but place significance on this principal singular awareness of her with all of the things he has been trained to pick up on.

Because seriously - Willow was the very first thing he thought about – no, not only thought about, but even more than that, the very first thing his mind registers when he woke up in the morning and that meant nothing? Yeah. Sure. Youbetcha.)

Next his brain picked up on was that it was still raining outside. The patter of rain on his roof a constant, dull, hypnotizing sound that seemed to try and lull him to continue dozing. To stay in this feeling.

But once awake he continued to not be able to sink back into unconsciousness and when his eyes finally open to find her skin covered in nothing but the sheets (that had been kicked down the bed quite aways during the night), her freckles, and him – spooned up behind her with his arm draped over her waist. Well, waking up didn’t seem so bad anymore. (Even though he has yet to have his coffee.)

So Jack had curled even tighter to her and Willow, who wasn’t quite awake yet herself (even though a quick glance at the clock confirmed that it was way past the time they both usually got up) cuddled automatically back into him – pulling his arm to her chest and hugging it to her.

And looking at her, surrounded in this moment by so much warmth and comfort, the words had left his mouth – jumping from somewhere deep in his brain to lips with no filter whatsoever.

“Have you ever thought about having kids?”

That’s what got them to this moment. The good morning mood scattered by melancholy and both now caught up in memories of dead loved ones. Because the question hadn’t been without thorns for him either. The name Charlie hung heavily in the air.

(It’s one of the reasons he would never ever fault her or feel any jealousy whatsoever when she brings up Tara. He is amazed at this ability of hers to be able to talk about it, to talk about her - if not exactly easily at least at all. Every time he thinks about Charlie it’s as if his throat has closed up.)

And there was also the implication within that question, the one she hadn’t answered: Have you ever thought about having kids with me?

“It still feels that way,” Willow said tilting her head and looking up at him, breaking him out of his thoughts. “Like a dream,” she clarified at his look of confusion. “But you never know,” she leaned up and kissed and when she broke away she was grinning, “maybe someday.”

“As long as they have your hair,” he said meeting her eyes seriously and echoing what she had said earlier.

The smile slid off her face and her green eyes went wide and Jack was afraid he went too far but he would never take it back. A second later though she through her arms around his neck and hugged him fiercely, a tight bear hug.

And he buried his face in red hair and returned the hug just as tight.

The End

You have reached the end of "Can't Not Wonder". This story is complete.

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