Six: Journey into the Unknown
Daniel was bored. It didn’t happen very often, especially when he was on base. He almost always had something to do, and when he didn’t, he would create it. There was always cataloguing and archiving, minor translations his department hadn’t gotten to yet, and scientific papers to read. Jason was off-world and Jack was in Washington for the next five days. SG-1 was on stand-down till Jack returned so Daniel didn’t have their company to distract him. He’d have lots of time to get caught up on his backlog of work.
Except he’d done it all too damn fast and now, he found he’d actually run out of things to do. The only stuff left was makeshift and Daniel hated pointless work; it bored him to tears. There was only so much organizing one could do and so at the moment, he found himself restless.
He had a feeling it came down to lack of, well, sex. He didn’t like knowing that’s what it was, that he’d gotten used to having it, but with nothing to do, he kept remembering. And remembering.
It had been two weeks since he’d been at the club, since he’d met Dylan. Missions and lab work had made the time go fast and now that he had free time, especially since Jack and Jason were absent, Daniel realized that he hated their being absent.
Why? It hadn’t bothered him before. Correction, he hadn’t let it bother him before. But now, it did, and more than he liked to admit. So why did it matter all of a sudden? He’d gone without sex for over five years, without male sex for over six, and then after one wild weekend, he was addicted?
He could always take care of that by jacking off, but the idea was repugnant because it felt like a backward step, as if he was giving up and going back.
He sat back in his office chair, rubbing at his eyes with the heels of his hands before he tilted his head back and closed them. He was lonely, frustrated, and his thoughts kept returning to Dylan. When he thought of him, Daniel heard his deep voice, imagined his seductive eyes and that soft, full mouth that tended to twist into a sarcastic smile. There was also something else, too, something more to Dylan than just the sex. Daniel found he actually wanted to get to know the man, be with someone outside the job who understood the rules of ‘need to know’.
While Jack and Jason were men Daniel would have preferred staking a commitment with, he was also starting to think that Jack was right about keeping his options open. Jack had a healthy ego, but he also had a healthy sense of reality earned from long experience, so maybe there was something to his suggestion–and perhaps that was why Dylan kept returning to Daniel’s thoughts.
The only thing wrong with Jack’s plan was that Daniel didn’t like the idea of long absences with no explanations. When it came to someone casual, like Giancarlo, it didn’t bother him too much. But with Dylan, it was unacceptable. Daniel didn’t think of him as casual and the man had already shown him an inkling of what he would be like in a committed relationship, even after their brief time together. He was alarmingly open and passionate, as if he expected to die the next day. Maybe that was part of his SEAL background, or maybe it was his own philosophy. Either way, it made Daniel attracted to him, connected in a way he couldn’t explain.
Daniel thought of that Sunday morning two weeks ago, the day he’d left the club. Dylan had risen early, and after taking a piss, he’d given Daniel a poignant look as he’d picked up the bedroom phone to make a call …
“What?” Daniel asked, pushing up on his elbows.
Finger poised over the button meant for In-House extensions, Dylan hesitated, obviously struggling with a decision, but in a few seconds, the struggle was over. “I’m about to let you know exactly who I work for. If you don’t want to know, then maybe it’s your turn to take a leak.”
Daniel felt no hesitation, but he needed to be clear. “I’m not going anywhere. But Dylan, unless authorized, I can’t return the favor.”
Dylan frowned in confusion. “You work with Jack and Jason and I know they work down at Cheyenne. I know what NORAD does, Daniel, and what National Security means.”
“I’m referring to the nature of my work.” Daniel sighed, then cleared his throat. “Can I ask you something? About us?”
Dylan’s face held no expression. “Go ahead.”
Daniel gestured between them. “Is there something more between us, because I think there is, and that it could last awhile. Do you think so too or am I imagining things?”
Dylan stared back, looking stunned. Then he licked his dry lips. “You’re not imagining things. And for the record, I’d like us to last for more than awhile.”
Daniel returned it with a wan smile. “The problem is, if we allow whatever this is between us to go further, things will get more personal.”
“That follows,” Dylan smiled with amusement.
“Yes, but you see the problem?”
“I don’t see it as a problem.”
“National Security, Dylan. If I tell you about my work at all, the core of it will have to be a lie.”
Daniel would never forget the look on Dylan’s face, in his eyes. No rejection, no anger, and no hint of attempted negotiation. There was a little bit of regret there, not being in the loop, but they were in the same position, more or less, and his expression had said he understood.
With his eyes on Daniel, Dylan pressed four numbers into the handset and a second later said something that made Daniel’s eyes widen.
“This is McKenzie, checking in … yes, I’m on vacation but you know the drill. Any problems?”
There was a long pause, during which Dylan’s gaze never wavered from Daniel’s. Then, “Good. I’ll check in tomorrow. G’bye.”
Clicking off the phone but not setting it down, he stood there staring at Daniel.
“You work here?” Daniel asked, surprised.
“I do, yeah. Problem?”
His expression was guarded, and Daniel wondered why. Had he had some sort of negative response in the past? Daniel didn’t think it would have come from Jack or Jason. They wouldn’t have given a shit, and frankly, neither did he. He did, however, find it odd.
“No, it’s just … taking a holiday at the place you work? Isn’t that a little like a busman’s holiday?”
“Given that it’s where I also happen to live? Maybe.”
He still appeared unsure, so before he could say another word, Daniel got up and took the phone from him, slowly setting it back in its docking station, then took Dylan’s hand in his, clasping it like a handshake, and gave him a cheeky smile.
“Nice to meet you Dylan McKenzie. I’m Daniel Jackson.”
Dylan had laughed, a soft chuckle of knowing. They’d spent the day out of the bedroom, both of them just a little too sore for anything more. Daniel had liked it. It had felt comfortable and warm, and a strange feeling had filled him after Jack and Jason had joined them for a long, drawn-out game of Risk 2210, which Dylan had retrieved from his private room on the estate. At the beginning of play, Jack, Daniel, and Jason kept exchanging glances of amusement, playing a science fiction game of conquest. They’d actually been to worlds similar to the game. But after a while, all of them became too engrossed in the game to care.
It hadn’t mattered to Daniel. He could easily see the game for what it was, so he’d been able to indulge in it. For the first time in a long time, he’d been relaxed and happy. Unfortunately, the day had gone quickly and before they knew it, it had been time to leave. Dylan had seen him to the front doors, holding his shoulder bag. Passing it to Daniel, he’d leaned in and kissed him on the cheek. A chaste, dry kiss that shouldn’t have felt erotic but had. The clincher had been Dylan’s farewell.
“Be safe. I’ll see ya.”
No goodbyes, and the deep, meaningful look he’d given Daniel had told him one thing loud and clear: Dylan hadn’t wanted him to leave.
Now, two weeks later, with too much time to think, Daniel wondered if he’d misread the man. While there’d been no exchange of phone numbers, no ‘call me,’ it hadn’t been necessary. Daniel knew where Dylan worked and lived, so he could call if he wanted to. Dylan could do the same but given that Daniel wasn’t on Earth half the time, he’d get his voice mail a lot of the time. If the man would call, that is. Still, maybe it was a show of trust to give him his number this time.
He then thought of Jack and Jason. For a moment there was a twinge of guilt, but it faded when he reminded himself of the drive home from the club. They’d surprised him with their inquisitive, almost teasing, questions, but they’d never grilled him, never pried, not even once. In fact, they seemed smug, and he found their behavior unnerving. Had it been a set-up? If so, why? Was it for his benefit or theirs? He tried not to be jealous or envious and told himself it was stupid to feel that way. He probably wasn’t ready for a relationship anyway, despite what his stomach and dick did every time he thought of Dylan. Did Jack and Jason feel that way too, when they were separated?
Thinking of them made Daniel keenly aware their absence, which only added to his frustration, because he wanted to go to the club. It then suddenly hit him: he didn’t need them to go to club. He was a member.
Daniel’s eyes widened as the realization hit him and anticipation and excitement began to rise. He could spend time there over the next five days. Why not? He had the leave, he’d done his work, and SG-1 wasn’t going anywhere till next week. He could just send in the form and go. And providing he could get authorization to duck out early, he could be there that night.
Picking up the phone, he dialed Hammond’s office and got the airman who worked as his clerk. “This is Doctor Jackson. May I speak with the General, please?”
“One moment, Doctor,” came the airman’s voice.
There was silence, then …
“Doctor Jackson, what can I do for you?”
“Sorry to bother you, sir, but I’m calling to ask if I might take the rest of the week off.”
“Is there something wrong, Doctor?”
“No, sir, there isn’t, but …” Unable to think of a decent excuse, Daniel started subconsciously rubbing his forehead. “I’ve finished the backlog I had to do. The rest of any work I could do would be off the clock, so to speak. Plus I have a few scientific papers at home I’d like to finish.”
“They couldn’t be published at this time, Doctor.”
“I know that, sir. Doesn’t keep me from writing them.”
There was a pause, then the General said, “Doctor Fraiser’s medical evaluation came in today and she notes you’ve been having a few more migraines in the past few months.”
Daniel winced. Thanks, Janet. “That really isn’t the case here, sir. Honest.” He could have said it was but didn’t have the heart. Playing sick was so childish.
“Well, since SG-1 won’t be going on a mission till Colonel O’Neill returns, you may as well take a couple of days. Check in with Doctor Fraiser before you leave, just to set our minds at ease.”
“Yes, sir. And thank you, sir.” Surprised, Daniel hung up, not knowing quite what Hammond meant. Did he sound sick or something? He wasn’t doing it on purpose … and feeling a little worried, he felt his forehead. It then struck him that perhaps Hammond had simply figured that Daniel had wanted some time off and had given him the out. Feeling silly, he packed up his laptop and turned off the desktop, hoping all the while that Janet wouldn’t insist on an MRI.
. . .
No MRI, and that had been a relief. The moment he got home, Daniel took the card out of his desk drawer. He was about to call the number when his cell phone rang, startling him. Looking at the screen, he was filled with mixed emotions.
“Hi Jack,” he said, answering.
“Damn nuisance, those Caller IDs.”
“Say ‘Hi Daniel.'”
“Hi Daniel,” Jack sing-songed. “Called work but got put through to Hammond. Said you’d gone home with a headache. What’s up?”
Daniel sighed. “I don’t have a headache, Jack. I asked for the rest of the week off because I need it. He gave it to me because he read Janet’s eval about my migraines.”
On the line, he heard Jack snort. “And because he knew you needed the time off.”
Daniel made a growling sound. “If he actually thought that, it’s because you opened your big mouth. I’m not sick, Jack.”
“No, you’re not, but I am talking to someone who works himself to death.”
“I’m not a workaholic, Jack. I genuinely like my work.”
“And you’ve been staying at the mountain eighteen hours a day for the last two weeks, missions notwithstanding.”
“There was work to be done, you know that.”
“Hammond said your work’s done, so … take advantage of the home life, Daniel.”
Daniel sighed. “I’m here, aren’t I? And you’re not, neither is Jason.”
“Oops. Out on a mission?”
“Make it up to you when I get home?”
“That’d be nice, but I’m not waiting till you get home,” Daniel answered, waiting for the expected reaction.
Jack was silent for a few long seconds, then, “Going to see Dylan?”
Daniel couldn’t keep the grin off his face. Adopting a lazy tone, he pointedly yawned and said, “Yeah, I thought I’d go up there.”
“I think that could have been just a bit better, Daniel. Try for more nuance.”
Daniel grinned against the receiver, wishing he could reach through the phone and touch him. “I’ll see you when you get home.”
“Behave yourself, Daniel.”
“Do you really want me to?”
After hanging up, he dialed the number to the club. After waiting for Carlyle, the desk clerk, to check on availability, and crossing his fingers that he’d come back with good news, the man came back on the line and said, “Mr. Jackson? Mr. O’Neill left us with instructions that should you request a room while he is not here, that you would have use of his suite. Would that be satisfactory?”
Daniel stood there, mouth open for a moment. “Yes, that’d be fine.” Arrangements made, he hung up, shaking his head. “That sneaky little bastard,” he muttered as he went off to pack.
. . .
An hour later, dressed in his tailored black suit and tie, Daniel was pulling up to the front entrance of the mansion. There were a few members of the estate staff on the ground, including a couple of men standing just on the edge of the circular drive, to the right of the main doors. Security, he figured, and gave no more thought to it as he took off his glasses, slipped them into his breast pocket, then got out and handed his keys to the waiting valet. Two bellboys came down the front steps and began to collect his luggage while Daniel walked around the front of his car, heading for the entrance.
When he looked casually over at the security team again, he did a double-take and paused on the bottom step. One of them was Dylan, talking very seriously to a slightly taller, elegant-looking black man. Both were dressed in the same expensive black suits with white shirts, no ties. In their breast pockets were neatly folded, red handkerchiefs that Daniel assumed might be their label for ‘security.’
Seeing Dylan working gave him mixed feelings. He wanted to go up to him and greet him properly, but he also knew that it wouldn’t be politic. The man was clearly working. Instead, Daniel moved off the step and opened his jacket, absently stuffing his hands in his pockets and waiting to see if Dylan would notice him. Sure enough, Dylan did just that a few seconds later and he too did a double-take, pausing in mid-sentence, briefly distracted. It made Daniel smile, despite himself, and he purposely looked away, focusing his gaze on the fountain for a few moments before looking back at Dylan.
Dylan’s partner, his back to Daniel, looked over his shoulder, grinned, then turned back and said something to Dylan. Dylan briefly flashed a mischievous smile, then placed his hand on his partner’s shoulder, turning them away to finish with whatever they were discussing. The body language and hand gestures looked to Daniel as if he were giving instructions.
At that moment, he tried to envision what Dylan’s job was like, the duties that it entailed. Given the clientele and the purpose of this exclusive club, he could well imagine how some of them might take advantage of the situation if security was lax. Daniel had a feeling that Dylan wasn’t the type to ever let that happen, or to let it go unpunished if it did.
Done with their conversation, Dylan’s partner moved onto the grass, touching his right earpiece as he headed off toward the left side of the mansion. Dylan turned, paused, and gave his full attention to Daniel. Stuffing his hands in his pockets too, he gave him a very welcoming, brilliant smile.
“Hey, stranger,” he said, slowly walking over.
“Hey yourself,” Daniel answered back, unable to keep the pleased look off his own face. He pulled his left hand out of his pocket and looked at his watch. “You’re working still? It’s after 6.”
Stopping a few feet away, Dylan said, “No,” with a shrug, then pointed with his left shoulder in the direction of the man with whom he’d been talking privately. “Just making arrangements with the night crew.”
His attention on Daniel was very focused and his eyes never left his, not even when he’d gestured where his colleague had gone. It was almost as if he was afraid Daniel would disappear on him. It was an easy thing to assume, given that focused look. Daniel felt that attention all the way down his back and between his legs.
“You have any plans for the evening?” Daniel asked, hoping the answer was no. The longer he stood there next to him, the stronger the feelings inside him rose.
“Just chillin’ out after work, the usual home-type stuff,” Dylan said, finally moving past him toward the entrance.
The answer wasn’t clear, but Daniel suddenly felt like he was intruding. Dylan was still watching him, making sure that he walked with him, but Daniel didn’t quite know what to make of it. Was he paying him attention because he was a client? Or was it something else? Silently, Daniel chided his injured self-esteem. Why did he always have to think the worst?
At the top of the stairs, Dylan stopped and reached out to touch the back of Daniel’s right arm. “Was I a bit vague?”
Daniel gave him a brief, toothy smile. “A bit.”
“Sorry about that. I’d love it if you would join me.” Then it seemed it was Dylan’s turn to be insecure. “Unless you were simply asking out of politeness, then …”
“I’d love to,” Daniel said immediately and wished he hadn’t. He felt it looked too eager. “I was just …” He took a breath, feeling a bit of a blush rising. “I came here specifically to see you.”
Dylan slid his hand down Daniel’s arm and took his hand. Daniel couldn’t help the swift rush of relief and pleasure that gave him.
“Did you really?” Dylan asked, and he looked pleased.
“Yeah, I thought maybe we could spend some time together.” Dylan’s eyes seemed to darken and Daniel couldn’t tell, but it looked like arousal.
“How long are you staying?” Dylan asked.
“Till Sunday,” Daniel answered and was rewarded with another brilliant smile.
. . .
As Daniel checked into his own suite, Dylan covertly inspected his room; it didn’t escape notice; Daniel had seen Jack do it a thousand times. But deciding that it might be a quirk of Dylan’s to act that way, he said nothing. He left his jacket and tie in the room as they left for Dylan’s quarters in the far corner of the west wing. Going up to the third floor, they headed toward a corner of the mansion which had a rounded tower that served as the top floor of Dylan’s two-story apartment; there was another matching it in the east wing. On the outside, each tower had a spire and Daniel wondered if that was simply architectural design or were the spires meant specifically as communications towers?
Going through the solid door of the man’s apartment, Daniel followed him down a short, wide hallway which opened up to an east-facing apartment with a cathedral ceiling. The dining room sat to the left and on the right was an open kitchen. Ahead was an expansive living room and the only window took up the entire east wall. Along the bottom edge sat four awning windows, all open, and judging by the small, rectangular brass slats that were set along floor and ceiling, Dylan liked his apartment well air-conditioned. Given that it was summer anyway, it made sense.
Painted an off-white, the apartment was both functional and beautiful, and though it contained the same old-style moldings and electric ‘gaslight’ fixtures as the rest of the mansion, it had a much homier feel to it because there were personal photographs and items here and there. This was a place where someone lived. The furniture was leather and one of the two stuffed chairs looked more worn so Daniel figured it was Dylan’s favorite. Before that chair was a small fireplace and to the left of it stood a four-shelved bookcase, the one that held the personal touches. To the right, an entertainment system containing more shelves filled with CDs and DVDs and there were other shelves that held a lot of electronic equipment that Daniel recognized: surveillance.
Grinning to himself but saying nothing, Daniel ventured toward the kitchen. It was an open design, separated from the living room by a long, granite countertop island, and decorated with attractive, dark honey glass cabinetry, including the face of the refrigerator. Under-the-cabinet appliances and an oval bronze-colored pot rack that hung from the middle of the kitchen completed the appearance and Daniel found himself smiling.
“Well?” Dylan asked as he took off his jacket and hung it up in a closet in the hall.
“I’d feel right at home in a place like this.” He pointed at the staircase situated to the left of the living room window. “And up there?”
Dylan grinned. “The bedroom.”
Daniel looked a bit surprised. “The entire floor?”
“Bedroom and bathroom,” Dylan said, then pointed behind him. “I’ll show you in a sec, but first, I need a drink, then I’ll order dinner. It’s not something I normally do but I’ll make an exception this time since I haven’t had the opportunity to go shopping.” He moved around him and opened the outermost cabinet on the island and withdrew two crystal tumblers. Down below, there was a liquor rack, out of which he pulled a bottle of Drambuie. Lifting it, he raised a brow in query and Daniel gave him a nod.
“I can get the ice,” Daniel offered.
“Thanks,” Dylan answered, pointing behind him with his head as he opened the bottle. “The stuff I use is in a bucket.”
Curious by the answer, Daniel opened the left side of the wide fridge and discovered it to be the freezer. On the second shelf sat a white plastic bucket and he pulled it out. Inside were jagged chunks of ice, not the smooth cubes from an ice tray. Daniel grinned and brought the bucket over to the counter.
“So, this is how you release your aggressions?”
Cracking a mischievous smile, Dylan picked out a few chunks of ice. “Ice picks are great tools.”
There seemed to be more to it, or so Daniel thought, going by Dylan’s glance at him as he dropped two more chunks of ice into his glass. “Not everyone likes ice chunks.”
Dylan poured an inch of Drambuie in each glass, then handed Daniel his. “I like cold, rough edges.”
Daniel lifted his brows with amused curiosity as he sipped at his drink, finding the hard edges of the ice an interesting sensation. How rough? he asked himself but did not openly ask. Perhaps later. Instead, he asked, “How about warm, smooth edges?”
“Those too,” Dylan replied as he cleared his throat and adopted a bit of a secretive smile. Reaching around Daniel to pick up the black phone from its cradle on the counter, he asked, “What’re you in the mood for?” At Daniel’s small grin, he added with a cocked brow, “Food wise.”
Daniel’s grin widened. “Order what you’d usually have for dinner. I’m really not all that hungry right now.” When Dylan tilted his head, obviously expecting Daniel to tell him something, Daniel sighed. “An appetizer plate?”
Dylan shook his head. “No doubt you’ve had just as long a day as I have. I don’t know why you’re not hungry.”
“I tend to prefer large breakfasts and lunches.”
Dylan gave him an expression of surprised acceptance as he dialed the estate kitchen and ordered dinner. While he ordered, Daniel took his drink and walked around the living room, looking at framed pictures of Dylan’s SEAL days, along with others showing him outdoors on a mountain somewhere, in gear that looked meant for climbing or rappelling. Dylan was all smiles in the photos, looking like he’d been having a good time. Daniel envied him. The last time he’d had a genuinely good time, he’d been on a new dig at Lattes in France.
Pushing those memories aside, he headed for the window and gazed out over the grounds briefly before looking up. There was a platform for a deck of some kind, probably a balcony, but it didn’t end at a corner and instead curved off to the left. Craning his neck, he tried to see further, couldn’t, and shifted his gaze to the staircase that led upstairs. Was the upper floor round, like the tower?
“Sweet or savory appetizers?” Dylan called.
Daniel grinned and looked over his shoulder, turning slightly. “Savory, please.”
“Meat, vegetable or a combo?”
“Combo will be fine,” Daniel grinned, feeling a pit in his stomach that he couldn’t name. Dylan was going out of his way and he really didn’t have to. Perhaps it was part of his personality or perhaps something now ingrained after working at a club for eight years.
“Any specific ethnicity?”
“Doesn’t matter,” Daniel laughed, waving at him. “Just a platter with sauces or dips will be fine.”
“What about something else to drink? I don’t have anything in the fridge but water and Coke. I can have them bring up something else.”
Daniel shook his head and Dylan turned his attention back to ordering. When finished, he crossed the room to join him and flashed Daniel a crooked smile as he took his hand. “C’mon, let me show you my fortress of solitude.”
“You have a cape and tights up there?” Daniel grinned.
“Somebody’s at least seen a Superman movie,” Dylan grinned, making Daniel wonder what that meant as he followed him up the long flight of stairs that curved around to the left.
“No, just a couple of comics when I was little.”
“Really?” Dylan asked in surprise, pausing on the stairs.
Daniel shrugged. “Wasn’t interested, mostly. Superman is way too …”
“Choir boy,” Dylan said as he reached the top.
The exit was a hole in the floor and Daniel found himself in another room with cathedral ceiling, but this one took on the shape its domed roof, mirroring the grooved exterior. It gave the appearance of being inside a lighthouse and Daniel couldn’t help but feel charmed. “Is this really a lighthouse dome or did the owner just have it built like one?”
Dylan nodded. “The latter. That’s one aspect to being wealthy I’d really like. To build any damn thing I want.”
The room was painted and decorated the same as the ground floor, and the window was the same. The only differences were that the glass stopped at a seam where the wall began to curve into the ceiling and the window itself was covered by vertical blinds, drawn back at the moment. Six feet from the window was Dylan’s bed, king-sized with a wooden box as a base and a short, rounded brass frame only a foot higher than the mattress. Covered by a reddish brown cotton quilt with three large, matching pillows, the effect gave a warm, cozy feeling.
Daniel had a thought as he looked through the window into the forested vista beyond. “You must wake up to some spectacular sunrises.”
“When I leave the blinds open,” Dylan answered as he walked up next to him, hands stuffed in his pockets. Daniel said nothing as he continued to look around. There were the usual nightstands bookending the bed, and to their right, a huge leather chair, an ottoman, and two dressers. Over the bed was an oceanscape painting, and further along the wall, more of them. Wondering about the water theme, Daniel forgot all about it when he glanced behind him at the wall over the stairs.
He became transfixed, feeling very warm in interesting places. By itself on the wall was an immense black and white photographic print, erotic in nature and shot in artistic noir. The shadowy effect made the picture artwork but the subject made it more realistic, as if it were alive.
The print’s object was a naked man, well-built but not overly so, with long, dark hair. He stood in front of a shoulder-height wooden T-cross. His arms were loosely roped to the crossbeam, his legs widely spaced, and he was wet, head to toe, with what appeared to be both water and oil. His cock was fully erect, adorned with a cock ring and a Prince Albert piercing, and his head was thrown back, face in an expression of ecstasy. Cast before him on the floor were two whips, one long, one short, both oiled, and a shadow of a man, off-camera, overlaid them, stretching across the floor. The overall effect was seductive, emotional and Daniel wondered if the action in the scene was about the promise of things to come? Or was it an announcement of what had been?
Daniel felt Dylan’s presence behind him and he cleared his throat. “That’s one hell of a photograph.”
“It’s my favorite picture,” Dylan said, speaking softly.
The way he said it made Daniel curious and he thought to ask, but Dylan cut him off as he pointed across the room at the bathroom and an open, walk-in closet. Daniel nodded his acknowledgement, then remembered the balcony he’d seen. Turning back to the window, he saw it, but it wasn’t wide enough for table and chairs. That was a place you stood and stared from, with your arms resting on the railing. At first, Daniel didn’t see an entrance till he looked further to the left and spied the door. He would have looked around further, even gone out on the balcony, but his attention was drawn back to the photograph.
“You like that?” Dylan asked.
“It’s visceral in a way I can’t explain. BDSM practice isn’t my thing but Jason loves bondage so he’d fall in love with that picture.”
“He has,” Dylan said, jogging his brows when Daniel looked at him.
“You’ve brought him here?”
Dylan shook his head. “No, Jason’s never been here.”
Daniel frowned in confusion. “That makes no sense.”
Dylan smiled a little hesitantly. “He bought this for me. Last year.”
Daniel stared at Dylan as several thoughts ran through his mind. Dylan was trying to tell him something and Daniel had an idea it went far beyond his knowledge of shibari. “Because he thought you’d like it or because he knew you would?”
Looking wary, Dylan said, “Because he knew I would.” He nodded at the picture. “I’ve actually been in that position.”
Daniel stared at him in surprise. It didn’t bother him but because he wasn’t into it, he wondered how he could hope to be a pleasing lover if this was what truly turned Dylan on.
As if reading his mind, or experienced enough to see it coming, Dylan said, “I don’t expect you to play a scene with me, Daniel. I’m telling you so that you’ll know it’s part of who I am.”
“BDSM?” Daniel asked. Dylan nodded. “Do you practice it regularly?”
With a little arch to his brow, Dylan nodded. “The D/S part, not the S/M part.”
Daniel was a little dumbstruck till he remembered that Dylan had told him he preferred to bottom. “So you’re … what’s it called? A submissive?”
Again, Dylan nodded. “Not as a lifestyle, but yeah.” He then swallowed. Hard. “It’s … why I was attracted to you.”
Daniel’s eyes widened. “I’m sorry?”
“You have a naturally dominant personality, Daniel, whether you actively recognize it or not.”
“How do you see that?”
Dylan tilted his head. “You like to take the upper hand.”
Daniel could see where Dylan was going with this. “But that’s different than performing a scene, isn’t it? I don’t want to treat you like you’re subservient to me. I love equals, the shared fight for dominance, the compromise, the giving in.”
“Not subservient, Daniel. Submissive.” Taking Daniel’s hand and linking his fingers with his, Dylan turned to the picture on the wall. “That is me. Look at his face. He’s not in anguish, he’s not afraid, he’s not in a place he doesn’t want to be. That is the essence of dominant/submissive relationships. It’s also the essence of sadomasochism, although I don’t practice that because I’m not into extreme pain. But all of it, regardless of the discipline, no pun intended, is the pleasure of consent. It’s getting off on what your partner is giving you, from either role.”
Daniel sighed and gave Dylan an intense look. “If I asked you to top, would you?”
Dylan frowned slightly, then slowly nodded. “For you, yes I would.”
Daniel smiled back. “Don’t say that if you know deep down that it would bother you.”
“I’ve topped before, it’s just not my preference. But there have been times, people, that I’ve enjoyed doing that for. And I’m certain you’ll be added to that extremely short list.”
Daniel looked over his shoulder at the bed. “Do you prefer the bed or a dungeon?”
“Depends on my mood,” Dylan answered with a furrowed brow of thought. “I love bondage and I love a little pain, but I don’t like the intense inflictions that most S/M scenes involve so I don’t do the full treatment with Dominic. I like the sting I get from small whips like the flogger, and the louder, fuller sting from the paddle.”
Daniel suddenly remembered the look on Dylan’s face when he’d threatened to spank him. “I guess spanking would only turn you on, not punish.”
“In a matter of speaking,” Dylan said, his cheeks flushing a little. “There are a lot of things I like, but spanking and flogging are the only things that ever leave a mark, and not for long.”
Daniel nodded, accepting the information, but it still didn’t tell him what he really wanted to know. “Are you telling me this because you want me to dominate you like that?”
“No, not … well, yeah, I’d love it if you fucked me like that, but I’m telling you because I visit our dungeon master.” He paused, staring at him, and cleared his throat again. “In scenes similar to that one.”
Daniel nodded, but he was definitely out of his league here. He wasn’t in familiar territory and had no wish to assume at this point. He was definitely curious but it was a little scary, especially given his past with the Goa’uld. How could he reconcile the two?
“You okay?” Dylan asked, looking uncertain.
Daniel made a face. “Sorry. Yeah, I’m fine. I’m just … wondering if I’m the right guy to, ya know, be what you want.” He sighed and looked up at the picture, then back into Dylan’s eyes. He pressed his lips together, fighting with the proper way to explain what was wrong. “I’ve experienced some rather nasty people, Dylan. People who’ve confined me to cells, tortured me for information.” Dylan’s brows rose significantly and Daniel put a hand up. “I can’t tell you who, where, or when. Hell, I can’t even tell you why. I just want you to know that it’s because of that that I don’t really know if I can join you in a scene anytime soon.” He saw that Dylan was about to speak but he held his hand up again.
“With whips or in a dungeon,” he went on carefully, clearing his throat. “But here’s the thing. There is something that attracts me to bondage, or submissiveness. It’s that act of letting go, I think.” When Dylan gave him a brief smile of astonishment, Daniel smirked at him. “Yeah, I’m familiar with the psychological aspects of BDSM. I’ve just never wanted to do any of it, except maybe the occasional bondage thing in a bed.”
He moved away from Dylan at that point, creating a little distance. He wanted to tell him about the dream, but was it too soon? Given the subject matter, maybe it wasn’t. Was Dylan perhaps the message Daniel’s brain had been sending? Daniel wasn’t sure and his hesitance was looking like rejection so he’d better say something.
“What’s wrong?” Dylan asked, proving Daniel’s fear.
“Nothing,” Daniel assured, stuffing his hands in his pockets. “It’s just …” He sighed with frustration. “I’m not quite sure I know what I’m talking about. And maybe you can help me with that. I’ve had this bondage dream for a few months. I don’t know what it means. And then I meet you, and I find out about what you like … it can’t be a coincidence. I don’t really believe in it when it comes to people. There’s always a reason and … anyway, I don’t really know how to start.”
Dylan cocked his head toward the stairs and took off his jacket. “Tell you what.” He thumbed behind him, pointing at his bathroom. “I have to take a shower. It won’t take long. Have another drink, think about what you wanna tell me. Then we can talk downstairs.” He then pointed at the bed and the picture on the wall. “And away from intimidating influences.”
Daniel grinned. He went to the hole in the floor and as he descended, looked over his shoulder. Dylan was heading for the bathroom, unbuttoning his shirt, and he too was looking over his shoulder. For a moment, Daniel thought he detected an invitation, and though he’d love to join the man in the shower, now really wasn’t the time.
Downstairs, Daniel slipped off his shoes and set them next to the second chair by the fireplace. The chair that wasn’t Dylan’s favorite. He then untucked his light grey shirt and opened an extra button at the neck. Rolling up the sleeves came next, and he did it as he looked at the pictures on the shelves. There were some he hadn’t noticed before. Dylan was much younger, they looked like family photos. Almost all were the same. An older couple and two teenagers, a girl and boy, standing on either side of Dylan, in the middle. All but the women had cleft chins, like Dylan, and they were standing outside an old brick building, immaculately kept. Daniel figured it was the Navy school in Great Lakes, Illinois.
He looked around for other family photos and found only one. The two teens from the military photo were much younger, and stood with him on a dock, next to an outboard boat, with fish and fishing rods in their hands. They wore very smug, happy smiles. Daniel smirked at the fishing gear, thinking, No wonder he gets along with Jack. In the photo, Dylan looked like he was fifteen or sixteen. Daniel automatically time-stamped the photo in his mind, figuring out where he was when the picture was taken. Given that Dylan was amazingly only two years younger at thirty-six, Daniel knew exactly where he himself was when this photo had been taken. In his second year at Brown University, after having been accepted early.
Still, looking at the photos, Daniel envied Dylan his family. With a sigh, he turned away and looked at other shelves, trying to find something else that told Daniel more about Dylan. Photos were great, but the keepsakes people had tended to have something else to say. And on one shelf, Daniel smiled. Hanging off the edges of a framed picture of a forested waterfall were necklaces. The chains were made of dark leather, but Daniel was looking at the pendants. Made of silver, they were carved replicas of a phoenix, turtle, a Japanese unicorn called a kirin, and a dragon. All of these figures were elements of Japanese Buddhism. What was most relevant, and what made Daniel smile, was that the design of the dragon indicated it was a Tatsu, the spirit protector of the sea. For a former Navy SEAL, that very likely meant something. The necklaces told Daniel one more thing. Dylan must’ve been stationed in Okinawa at some point. What was ironic was that Jason was, too, only probably not at the same time.
Or were they?
“Like my necklaces?” Dylan asked, startling Daniel somewhat.
Daniel turned, and for a moment paused to appreciate him in his white tank top, jeans, and bare feet. He was combing his damp hair and Daniel felt an urge to run his fingers through it. Instead, he gave Dylan a puzzled smile. “These are Japanese. Were you stationed in Okinawa?”
Dylan raised his brows. “Good eye.”
“Doctor of Anthropology.”
“No shit?” Dylan asked as he came closer and stopped next to him. Taking the necklaces off the frame, he handed them to Daniel for further inspection. “To answer your question, sort of. We were in the Pacific, aboard a ship half the time. On land, sometimes it was Okinawa, sometimes elsewhere. Is it important or are you just asking because of those?”
“Jason was stationed on Okinawa.”
“That’s interesting,” Dylan said, frowning. “He never said where, just that it was in the Pacific. I assumed Hawaii or Korea.”
“Why not Japan?”
Dylan shrugged. “He could have been at Kadena. I just find it …”
“Ironic?” Daniel asked with a smirk. “I know I do. You two could have crossed paths.”
Dylan shook his head. “Not unless we met in a bar. SEALs and Air Force boys don’t mix unless we need a ride somewhere.”
Daniel frowned, not understanding why there had to be a rivalry. It’s one thing to show pride and loyalty, but it never made sense when their asses were on the line. He pursed his lips and gave Dylan a long look.
“What?” Dylan asked.
“On the Navy ships, especially carriers, there are aircraft.”
Dylan narrowed his eyes, knowing there had to be a point. “Yeah, and?”
“On every one of them, there’s this logo. Two stripes with a star in the middle surrounded by a blue circle.” He paused, twisting his mouth into a smirk. Dylan rolled his eyes in response as Daniel added, “Whose logo is that exactly?”
Dylan sighed. “The Air Force. Your point?”
“We all help each other. It doesn’t make sense to me to diss another service.”
Dylan made a face. “No harm done, really. We get it just as much.” When Daniel shook his head disbelievingly, Dylan smirked back. “Look who’s defending the Air Force.”
Dylan chuckled. “We get along during war time, Daniel.” Pointing at the necklaces, he said, “But I have a feeling that rivalries aren’t what you’re interested in.”
“Curious is a better word,” Daniel said, looking them over. “Are you a Buddhist?”
Dylan shook his head. “No. I like a lot of the tenets of the religion but I don’t really believe enough of any one thing to call myself a Buddhist. Or a Hindu, Catholic, Protestant, Jew, et cetera. Which would probably frighten the shit out of my parents because I was baptized a Catholic.”
They both grinned and Dylan continued as Daniel gave back the necklaces. “I’m curious why you didn’t just take these down and look at them.”
“I’ve learned, both from childhood and training, never to pick up anything personal without permission. Although there’s an exception when I touch and handle artifacts. I don’t think the dead civilizations mind.”
“Not that they’re around to tell you otherwise,” Dylan joked.
Daniel snorted and thought, not usually.
“So,” Dylan began as he put the necklaces back on the frame, “do you still want to tell me about that dream of yours?”
Daniel stared at him a few seconds before he cleared his throat and rubbed the palms of his hands against his trousers. “Yeah.”
Sensing embarrassment, Dylan picked up the glass Daniel had set on the coffee table and raised it, silently asking Daniel if he wanted a refill. Daniel nodded at him as he moved to the kitchen. Refilling the glass with Drambuie and ice, Dylan refilled his own and indicated the overstuffed chairs.
As Daniel thought, the man unerringly took the worn chair and he sat down in the one across from it. “I had a feeling that one was the one you preferred.” Dylan paused, frowning as he looked down at his chair. Daniel found it a bit amusing and smiled. “Am I right?”
“How’d you tell?”
“It’s a bit more … lived in … than this one.”
Dylan chuckled. “So it is.” He leaned forward then, forearms resting on his knees, and gave Daniel an inquisitive look. “Now, what about this dream?”
Daniel blew out a breath and began to describe the dream in detail, from noticing the colors of the silk restraints to how the dream kept increasing in action. He knew Dylan would be aroused by the dream because of its bondage signature and he knew that Dylan would be surprised by its abrupt ending. When he was finished, Dylan’s brows raised in surprise.
“And you’re left unfinished every time?” Dylan asked, feeling protective.
Daniel nodded shortly, then furrowed his brows questioningly. “You frowned when I mentioned the scarves, or whatever they were, holding me down. Why?”
Dylan shook his head. “It’s nothing. I was approaching the dream as if it were real so I got a bit annoyed at your captor.”
“Because silk is used as a blindfold, never as a restraint, because it’s very binding and can cut off blood supply.”
To Daniel, that made sense, but he wondered why it hadn’t occurred to him before. He blew out another breath and asked, “So, in your experience, have you ever heard of anyone having dreams like that?”
Dylan nodded. “They’re usually locked fantasies and your subconscious is treating you to them till you experience them for real.” He grew concerned at the worried look on Daniel’s face. “This is why you wanted to tell me, isn’t it? You think this is what you want?”
Daniel shook his head and looked down into his nearly empty glass. “I don’t know. Maybe.” He shook his head and sighed as he ran a hand through his hair. He looked up into Dylan’s face and the slight smile that was there vanished when he saw the look on Daniel’s.
“What?” Dylan asked.
Daniel started to speak, paused, started to speak again, then paused. “This feels too much like a rape fantasy, Dylan. And believe me when I say that I have no interest whatsoever in a rape fantasy.”
Dylan reached across for Daniel’s hand and when Daniel took it, he squeezed firmly. “Is that what’s really bothering you about this dream?” Daniel didn’t respond right away but eventually nodded. “In my opinion, I don’t think that’s what the dream is about.”
“You have a better idea then?”
Dylan jogged his brows. “I think so.”
“Then enlighten me,” Daniel said, letting out a short, self-deprecating laugh. “Because for once, I’m at a loss.”
Dylan squeezed Daniel’s hand again. “What happened after you woke up?”
Daniel frowned a bit, not sure what Dylan meant. “What do you mean, ‘what happened’?”
Dylan smiled at the corner of his mouth. “Were you aroused?”
Daniel let out another short laugh, this one of embarrassment. “Big time.” He paused, then added, “And it’s actually the reason Jack and I got together in the first place.”
Dylan was confused. “How?”
Daniel didn’t know how to explain that one without leaving Dylan with more questions, but he’d have to risk it, and hope Dylan understood enough not to ask. “We were out on a mission, doing what I’ll call survey work. We were in the tent we shared and I had that dream. Jack was awake when I had it and when I woke up, he knew I’d just had some sort of erotic dream.” Dylan’s expression of curiosity suddenly added a frown of confusion and Daniel added, “In the field, we sleep in t-shirts and shorts, and my sleeping bag was open. Plus … I apparently made sounds and talked in my sleep.”
“Awkward,” Dylan drawled as he smiled. “And this somehow graduated to your sleeping with him?”
“Not exactly. I needed to go jerk off but Jack didn’t want me to go outside the tent. So he just up and offered to do it for me.” Dylan’s surprised smile made Daniel blush, which only made it worse when he was embarrassed that he’d blushed.
“Sorry,” Dylan said, meaning the blushed embarrassment. “Back to the dream, okay?” When Daniel smiled at him, he continued. “I asked what happened after. You said you were aroused. And given what happened in the dream, I can tell you that’s not rape fantasy.”
“But I didn’t ask to be tied down. I woke up somewhere as if I’d been kidnapped and then some guy shows up, forces me on my stomach and …” He sighed deeply.
“It wasn’t rape,” Dylan said gently, once again squeezing his hand. “Think about it, Daniel. What did you feel when you saw this faceless man naked? What did you feel when he opened the drawer and got out the dildo and the lube?” He paused a moment, then went on. “What did you feel when he pulled your legs apart? How did you react when he grabbed your dick? How did you react when he began to fuck you with the dildo, with his dick? How did you react when he slapped your ass?”
Daniel’s blush returned, and with it, arousal. He’d already been feeling arousal just repeating the dream, but it had been mixed with apprehension and confusion. But the latter two emotions were fading when he thought about Dylan’s questions. “I wanted him.”
Dylan smiled. “Yes. And not because you wanted to be raped. No one wants to be raped. It’s not rape if you want sex, especially the kind you’ve never had before, and it’s not rape fantasy if you act out captive-in-bondage scenarios, in fantasy, dreams, or for real.”
“But I thought that’s what rape fantasy was.”
“Rape fantasy is acting out a role play in which you’re taken literally by surprise and you’re forced to do things you don’t want to do under normal sexual circumstance. Your dream doesn’t describe that. It’s a man who’s giving you what you want, but then leaving you with blue balls at the end of it. That, to me, is a psychological signal that you’re tired of being alone with your hand.”
Daniel looked doubtful. “Are you sure?”
“Have you had that dream since you started having sex again?”
Daniel made a face. “Not exactly.”
“What’s that mean?”
Daniel felt the warmth in his cheeks return once more. “Meaning I’ve thought about the dream. A lot.”
“‘Thought’ meaning you jerked off to that fantasy?”
Daniel laughed, mostly at himself. “And felt guilty about it afterward.”
Dylan laughed gently and squeezed his hand again as he rose out of his chair and knelt in front of him. “Don’t feel guilty. It’s not rape fantasy. It’s a desire, and if you ask me, a pretty normal one.”
Dylan reached up and stroked Daniel’s cheek. “If you start dreaming about being whipped with a nail-spiked cat ‘o nine tails, then that would not be normal. For you, anyway.”
Daniel’s brows raised in alarm. “You don’t dream about that, do you?”
Dylan was confused for a second, then let out a soft laugh. “No, I meant that there are people who’d find that a normal dream, you’re just not one of them.”
“Right,” Daniel replied, showing a smile. He still felt embarrassed, but he also felt much better. He was also starting to feel a little annoyed with himself for not figuring this out on his own. Doctors really do make the worst patients, medical and otherwise. He started to call Dylan “Doctor” but giggled instead.
“What?” Dylan smiled.
“I was gonna say, ‘How much do I owe you, Dr. McKenzie,’ but we actually have a Dr. McKenzie on the base and he isn’t someone I would trust with my mental health.”
Dylan smiled and stroked Daniel’s cheek again. “You can definitely trust this McKenzie.”
Daniel laughed and nodded, looking down at his glass. “Already done.”
Dylan took the glass from his hand and set it on the end table, giving Daniel a look that was part lust, part mischief. Rising to his knees and sliding his hand behind Daniel’s neck, he said, “It’s occurred to me that I haven’t kissed you since you got here.”
Daniel swallowed as he nodded with agreement. “I kept thinking about it but so much other stuff was on my mind …” He slid both hands around Dylan’s head, thumbs caressing his jaw, and pulled him forward. Parted lips met for a soft kiss, then for another. Dylan moaned softly under his embrace and Daniel swiftly moved one hand around to encircle Dylan in his arm and was rewarded with fingers threading through his hair. Pulling him up against him, Daniel kissed him harder, loving the taste of his tongue and the way Dylan explored his own. Daniel was getting more aroused and his dick was stiffening, demanding attention. Parting for a breath, whispered, “I wish you hadn’t ordered dinner yet,” as he reached down to cup Dylan’s crotch and feel his hardening cock.
Dylan growled and kissed him passionately, his hand over Daniel’s. He was considering calling the kitchen when there came a knock at the door. Both men groaned a laugh and separated, Dylan rising to his feet. “Bastard,” he whispered as he turned away, smoothing down his shirt as he went to the door.
“That for me or the guy at the door?” Daniel asked as he licked his lips and palmed himself briefly as he got to his feet and stopped next to the kitchen.
Dylan looked over his shoulder and said, “Both,” as he opened the door. He smiled at the young man. “Thank you, Victor,” he said, stepping aside to let the man wheel the cart into the living room.
He wore the same black and white suit Daniel had noticed all service staff wore, including Giancarlo. After two trays were placed on the dining table, Victor wheeled the cart out of the room. Daniel noticed the smile the young man gave Dylan, as well as the obvious glance at his crotch.
When Victor was gone and Dylan went to the kitchen, filling two glasses with ice water, Daniel couldn’t help but ask. “Have you and Victor …?”
Dylan shook his head as he returned to the dining table and handed Daniel one glass. “Hot as some of them are, I don’t fool around with the staff.”
As Dylan pulled out a chair and sat down, Daniel joined him. “Is that a job rule?”
“No, but it’s advised,” Dylan said as he lifted the lid off his dinner, revealing his own steak dinner, then with a pause and a smile, lifted the lid off Daniel’s appetizer platter, which turned out to be a selection of sushi. Daniel stared at it and smiled, making Dylan smile back. “Anyway, a dude can be completely kosher on the job but as soon as he starts fucking someone else on the job, and on a regular basis, work performance slides when personal problems crop up.”
Daniel jogged his brows in agreement as he prepared his sauce and arranged the different the different rolls. “I kinda know that one from personal experience.”
Before taking a bite of his Porterhouse, Dylan asked, “So have I, just not here. Care to elaborate on yours?”
Daniel grinned. “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours?” Dylan grinned, mouth closed, as he chewed. Daniel smiled back and as he began to eat, he explained. “Okay. When I worked for the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, I got involved with a fellow researcher. Her name was Sarah.”
“It ended badly I take it,” Dylan assumed.
Daniel made a face. “I was, and am, very focused in my work, and so much so that I forgot a big date.” He cleared his throat. “Our one year anniversary.”
“Yeah. I’m not saying I was right, either. I deserved to get dumped. But her actions afterward … it was as if we were enemies. My theories–and a few proofs–on a few artifacts weren’t widely accepted by the archaeological community and because of our broken relationship, she suddenly wasn’t as open-minded as she used to be. When I published a few research papers, she went on record opposing them, as did other researchers. So, out of respect for my lead researcher, I decided to leave and pursue my theories on my own.”
Dylan sighed. “That’s the one thing I always tried to make sure my boyfriends understood: Don’t mess with my job. With me, it was a civilian I’d met on the job–and all I can say is that he wasn’t American. The problem came when I couldn’t tell him about my work and he wouldn’t understand why. He thought I was lying about everything, not just my missions. He started to think I was sleeping with everyone I worked with so I had to break it off.”
Daniel sighed. “I’m afraid of that something like that happening.”
Dylan frowned. “Not with me, you don’t.”
“No, no,” Daniel said, reaching over to touch Dylan’s forearm. “I meant with Jack and Jason.”
Dylan was still frowning, partly out of confusion. “In what way? You work with them so there’s no misunderstanding.”
There was a bit too much wasabi sauce on the piece Daniel ate and he coughed before he could answer, making Dylan grin at him. After drinking some water, Daniel said, “Sorry. What I mean is that because Jack’s my immediate superior–“
“He’s your superior?” Dylan interrupted.
Daniel gave him a wan smile. “Yeah. I’m afraid he’ll be more protective than is necessary. He’s normally like that anyway as part of his job … and I’m afraid I kind of give him a reason to be on occasion.”
Dylan rolled his eyes. “So that means every time you put yourself in danger and he pulls you back, you’re gonna think it’s because you’re sleeping with him, not because he’s protecting your ass.”
Daniel cringed. “God, when you put it like that, I sound like a fifteen-year old.”
Dylan smiled and jogged his brows. “Not to me, you don’t, but I had to put it that way so you could see it and prepare ahead of time.”
“Ahead of time?”
“It’s not happening now, right?” Daniel shook his head. “Okay, then it may not happen at all. But just in case it does, and you jump to that conclusion, talking it out now can make you step back and think later.”
Daniel considered his words as he ate, giving Dylan a long look as he swallowed. “Thanks. I actually don’t think Jack would be like that, but I really don’t know how he is. Our last two weeks together were fine, but we haven’t been on any dangerous assignments. Right now, he’s in D.C. so I haven’t seen him for a few days.”
“And Jason?” Dylan asked, not bothering to ask why Jack would be in D.C.
Daniel gave Dylan a look. “I’ve hardly seen him in the last two weeks.”
“On assignment?” Daniel just looked at him and Dylan nodded. “You didn’t answer the question though.”
Daniel took a drink of water and tried to answer but in the end, he sighed. “I’m actually going blind here. I have no idea. Normally, there’s the worry about friends. Now it’s lovers.”
Dylan paused mid-chew as something occurred to him, then swallowed as he lifted his glass. “I think you already have your answer in how they’d act.”
Daniel looked confused, then his face cleared as he realized what Dylan meant. “Because they’ve been together for a while.”
Dylan smiled and raised his glass in a salute. “There ya go. If they haven’t had any problems with each other, then they’re not going to with you.”
“Except Jason’s not Jack’s teammate out in the field. I am. That’s the part I’m concerned about.” It was Dylan’s turn to make a face. “What?” Daniel asked.
“Like I said, wait and see and don’t assume anything.”
Daniel nodded again. He couldn’t help but worry that Jack would get over-protective, but Dylan was right. There was no point in worrying about something that might never happen. He pushed aside his plate, no longer hungry. At least for food. Watching Dylan eat a rare steak was making his partial erection stay right where it was. He looked at the meat juice in a dipping saucer and wondered if it tasted as good as it looked. He reached over, dipping the tip of his middle finger into it, and waited for Dylan to watch him as he sucked his finger clean.
Stabbing a cut piece of meat, Dylan dipped it into the juice and held it up, letting it drip onto his plate. “Do you want some of my meat?” he asked, showing a mischievous smile.
“Not that meat,” Daniel said, once more dipping his fingertip into the saucer. “I’d like to use this juice on you … and do this,” and he brought his finger to his mouth and slowly sucked the juice off.
Dylan coughed, then coughed again. “Dammit, don’t do that. Let me finish this.”
Dylan was halfway finished with his meal and it was apparent that he liked to take his time, but Daniel wasn’t kidding, either. He had a vision of taking the remaining juice and pouring it over Dylan’s cock. “Okay but leave some of that juice.”
They were quiet for a few minutes; Dylan ate while Daniel picked at his food with the chopsticks, trying very hard not to give his lover erotic looks as he sucked the food off the slender pieces of wood. He was feeling extremely warm, possibly due to the sushi, but mostly due to watching Dylan eat. Just when he felt Dylan was nearly finished, Daniel stood up and walked toward the overstuffed chair in the living room.
“Where’re you going?” Dylan asked.
Daniel turned toward him and began to unbutton his shirt. “Getting ready for dessert.”
Dylan wiped his mouth with the napkin and pushed his chair back as he got up and headed toward Daniel. “Why don’t you let me do that.” As he reached for his buttons, Daniel grabbed his hands and pulled them away when he was done. Dylan’s pupils dilated and he leaned in and kissed Daniel lightly, his breathing increasing. “I wasn’t done.”
“No, you’re not done,” Daniel said quietly, kissing him back. “But I think you forgot something.”
“What?” Dylan asked as his mouth moved along Daniel’s jaw, unerringly going for the back where he knew Daniel liked it. He smiled when Daniel tilted his head, giving him access, and Dylan licked a thin, wet stripe with the tip of his tongue, ending just under his ear.
Daniel released his hands and stepped back, then walked around him and headed back to the dining table. When he picked up the dipping saucer, he looked at Dylan and said, “Time for dessert.”
Dylan felt a shudder move slowly through him and he knew that the one thing he wanted more than anything was to be naked by the time Daniel reached him. He was.
Daniel bit at his lip as he approached him, watching with appreciation as Dylan shed his clothes. The man had one hell of a body on him. He held out the saucer and said, “Hold this.” Dylan took it and watched him avidly as Daniel stripped down. When he was done and his clothes were set on the chair right next to where Dylan had tossed his own, he took the saucer once more and then leaned, careful not to touch any part of him except his lips. He kissed him as lightly as before, then pulled back. “Should you get a towel for the rug?” he asked.
Dylan swallowed. “I’ll shampoo it. I’m not moving.”
Daniel smiled. “Damn right you’re not.” He dropped slowly to his knees and lifted Dylan’s half-hard cock by the tip with just the edge of his forefinger. He then raised the saucer and starting from head to base, drizzled the remaining juice over his cock.
Dylan hissed because the juice was cooler than his body temperature and his cock began to harden. “God,” he whispered, staring down as Daniel leaned in and stuck out his tongue, tasting the head. With tiny licks, he kept going, not touching any other part of Dylan until his cock could stand up on its own. When Daniel set the empty saucer on the carpet and looked up at him, Dylan let out a shuddery breath. “Daniel,” he whispered.
Daniel held up hands. “Give me your wrists.”
“God,” Dylan said as he complied, then groaned deeply when Daniel wrapped his hands tightly around them.
Holding them out at Dylan’s sides, Daniel leaned in and took the head of his cock into his mouth. The normal taste of musky skin was made even more delicious by the savory juice and Daniel couldn’t help but suck. And suck. He was halfway down his cock when he pulled back and let him drop from his mouth, then he zeroed in on the base and began to suck along the shaft, licking up every bit of juice, now almost dried, that he could find. Dylan’s knees nearly buckled when he dipped his head down to take care of his balls and Daniel could only smile in triumph.
When he took his cock back into his mouth, he released Dylan’s wrists and grabbed his ass instead. Dylan threaded his fingers through his hair and moaned, which only spurred Daniel on. He wanted to get him to come and had an idea how to do that. The only question was whether or not Dylan would allow it or if he wanted to save his orgasm. Looking up, Daniel bobbed back and forth, sucking harder each time he time he moved until he felt Dylan’s cock swell slightly. With a gasp, Dylan grabbed his head and pulled out of his mouth.
“Not yet,” Dylan said.
Daniel took his wrist and pulled Dylan down in front of him, then wrapped his arms around him and hugged him against his body. “What is it?” he asked as he lightly brushed his lips over Dylan’s face, ending with a gentle bite over his chin. “You want to come with my cock deep inside you?”
Dylan let out another groan and kissed Daniel hard as he wrapped his arms around him, hands in his hair. His hips undulated against him, cock rubbing against Daniel’s, and Daniel couldn’t help but return the passion. But … “If we don’t get upstairs soon, this is gonna happen right here.”
Dylan took his hand and stood up, then with awkward steps, Daniel followed him upstairs. The moment he cleared the square opening in the floor, Daniel looked over his shoulder and stared at the photo. He felt a moment of indecision, wondering whether or not to ask if Dylan wanted to be tied up, but perhaps that should be saved for another time. Right now, he wanted to feel Dylan under him, around him.
When Daniel turned back to look at the bed, Dylan was lying on top of it, held up on his elbows, a smile on his face. “Something on your mind?”
“We’ll talk about it later,” Daniel murmured as he crawled onto the bed and lay down on top of him. The moment Dylan moaned deeply in his mouth and wrapped his arms around him, Daniel moaned back and automatically used his knees to spread Dylan’s legs apart. Another moan from Dylan and Daniel began to dry hump him, hands in his just slightly damp hair. Clutching, he broke the kiss and pulled Dylan’s head back so he could get at his neck. He went at him like that for a few minutes, winding his partner up until Dylan wrapped his legs around him and turned them over.
“I need you in me,” Dylan panted and reached to his right to open the bedside table.
Daniel looked up at him as he slid his hands over his abdomen and chest, rubbing his nipples. When Dylan had the lube and condom in his hand, Daniel’s hands were on his ribs. He was so tempted to test if Dylan was ticklish, but sometimes, tickling made an erection disappear. He wondered if Dylan would appreciate that. “How close are you to coming?”
“Why?” Dylan asked, pausing with tools in hand.
Daniel flexed his fingers, tenderly digging at Dylan’s ribs. Dylan bit his lip as his body twitched a bit, telling Daniel he wasn’t too sensitive, which was good. He stopped and rubbed over the area. “Just wondering if you’d like a little breather so you’ll last longer.”
Dylan set the condom and lube aside as he reached down and wrapped his right hand around Daniel’s dick. “Trust me, I have something in mind before I put this condom on you.” With that, he moved down a little to settle his knees between Daniel’s legs, then he pushed his legs apart as he busied his mouth on Daniel’s chest, working his way down.
Daniel was soon gasping, his cock in Dylan’s mouth, and with the hints his lover gave him, clutched another handful of hair as he held him still and gently, slowly pumped into his mouth. Dylan was loving it, moaning and drooling around his shaft, and it turned Daniel on so much that he had to stop before it became too late. Pulling out, he let him go and picked up the condom. Wordlessly, Dylan smiled as he slid the ultra-sensitive sheath over his warm flesh, then pumped him till the condom matched the temperature of his body.
Daniel picked up the lube next and moved back, getting to his knees. “Turn around, on hands and knees,” he said, knowing that Dylan would be facing the immense black and white on the wall.
Dylan shook his head. “I want to concentrate on you, not the photo. If I face that way, I’ll have no choice and I’ll …”
“What?” Daniel asked as he slid his hand between Dylan’s legs and lubed his asshole.
“Come too fast,” Dylan said with a half-laugh. “I want this to last a while.”
Daniel gave him a slight smile as he pushed a finger in. “Don’t worry. It will.”
“You’re sure about that?” Dylan said as he pulled Daniel’s hand away and turned around.
Daniel slathered lube over his cock and grabbed Dylan’s hips. With an easy push, he slid into him and Dylan grabbed the footboard in front of him and dropped his head down, groaning. “I’m sure,” Daniel whispered as he lay down on top of him, knees spreading his legs, and began to thrust with slow, gentle strokes.
“God yes,” Dylan breathed, and when Daniel laced his fingers in his, he squeezed. “I’m so glad you’re here,” he said, then bit his lip when Daniel pushed in deep.
“Me too,” Daniel said as he continued the slow ride, relaxing Dylan’s body. “I kept thinking of you, wanting so much to get back here just so I could do this.” With that, he kissed the side of his face, his mouth, then reached under to lift Dylan’s head and kiss him more fully. Dylan’s tongue was quick and agile, moving in time with Daniel’s hips, and Daniel suddenly kissed him harder and deeper just as he snapped his hips. Dylan moaned loudly, giving a noise of assent as puffs of air through his nose hit against Daniel’s. He wanted more like that, that was the message, and Daniel would give it to him, but he’d draw it out so that when the time came, they’d both be blinded by it.
The problem was, he wanted to see Dylan’s face and that meant he had to pull out. And he didn’t want to do that just yet. But the way the man felt against him, the feel of his ass against his groin, the way he was making his balls draw up, Daniel knew that if he sped up anymore, he’d come. He suddenly laughed, his own breath hitting Dylan’s chin.
“What?” Dylan asked.
“I want to turn you over but I don’t want to stop.”
Dylan let out his own laugh, though it sounded more like a gasp as he dropped his head down, forehead on the bed. “Me too.”
“Then let’s do this with as little movement as possible,” Daniel said, then eased his hips back, withdrawing from Dylan. As soon as he was free, Dylan surprised him by quickly turning underneath him, elbows down to make sure he didn’t hit him in a mood-destroying place. When he looked up into his face, Daniel claimed his mouth while he redirected his cock. Aided by Dylan, who raised his knees, he easily slid back home.
“God yes,” Dylan said again, and grabbed the footboard over his head with one hand while the other reached up and once more, threaded his fingers through Daniel’s hair. When Daniel circled his hips, he let out a long, low moan. “Fuck me,” he managed, and gasped loudly and repeatedly when Daniel increased his rhythm.
The resulting sounds made Daniel lie on top of him, needing to feel his body, his nipples rubbing against Dylan’s skin. He copied him and ran his own fingers running through Dylan’s hair, pulling his head back slightly because his lover liked that so much. “God I love the sounds you make.”
“I have more,” Dylan replied before he kissed him deeply and wound an arm around Daniel’s neck. With it, he widened his legs and planted his heels on Daniel’s ass. They both began to rock in that rhythmic way that was the age old movement for sex. Daniel’s speed wasn’t slow, wasn’t fast, but it was definitely increasing the heart rate. When sweat dropped from Daniel’s forehead to Dylan’s face, they both smiled slightly and stared into each other’s eyes.
Daniel loved the interesting hazel-green color and how it seemed to darken sometimes like a mood ring changing color. Gazing there, he felt his balls tingle and abruptly, he grabbed the edge of the footboard with both hands. The intensity of his eyes–not to mention grabbing the board–must’ve tipped Dylan off because he reached overhead to place his hands inside Daniel’s.
“Please,” he said, tilting his head back and giving Daniel a sexy-sleepy look. “Please.”
Daniel continued to meet his gaze as he slowly built up speed, eventually snapping his hips in a way that made Dylan’s cheeks redden as he bit his lower lip. Then suddenly, Dylan let out a gasp and with his right hand, he let go of the footboard and reached down to jerk himself off, a signal that he was about to come.
“Harder,” he gasped, head tilting back just a bit more. His heels left Daniel’s ass and were now in the air, out of the way. Wanting it.
Daniel gave it to him, never looking away from those beautifully intense eyes. Then Dylan’s eyes widened and his mouth fell open in a long groan as his eyes rolled back as he arched his neck. Come spurted between them and hit his chin and throat and that was all Daniel needed. “God yes, yes,” and without warning, Dylan grabbed his head, holding him up to watch him come. All that did was make Daniel explode as he tensed and jerked, knees sliding a bit now that Daniel was no longer in control of them. Dylan’s heels were back on his ass, pushing, pressuring. Holding.
Daniel closed his eyes and slowly kissed him as they lay there through the afterglow, not moving and not wanting to. When Dylan began to chuckle softly through the kisses, Daniel asked, “What?” over his lips without opening his eyes.
“That was some dessert.”
Daniel only smiled and sighed contentedly against him.
. . .
Daniel was soundly asleep when he felt a gentle shaking on his arm. Then came Dylan’s voice, calling him. “What?” he mumbled.
“Your phone’s ringing,” Dylan said.
The ringing was louder now and Daniel opened his eyes to find Dylan had placed it next to him. With a groan, Daniel shut his eyes and reached for it, answering groggily. “Hello.”
“Where are you?”
It was Jack. “In bed. What time is it?”
“A little after eight,” Dylan called from a distance.
“Ten after eight,” Jack replied.
Daniel groaned. He’d wanted to sleep in. “Also known as ten after ten in D.C.”
“Nope, I’m back home.”
There was silence as Daniel registered that. He was going to ask why Jack got back early but didn’t bother. The foremost question was, “Why’d you ask where I was? You know where I am.” Suddenly the smell of coffee hit Daniel’s nose and he opened his eyes to see Dylan setting a mug on the bedside table. Pulling the phone away, Daniel smiled and said, “Morning.”
“Morning,” Dylan smiled back and leaned over to kiss his forehead. “I’ll be in the shower. Work starts at nine.” He was nude and smelled vaguely of sex. Daniel groaned and pulled at him but Dylan chuckled as he easily got away. “Don’t you dare. I have to get ready for work.”
When he moved off toward the shower, followed by a short glance over his shoulder, Daniel sighed and palmed his morning erection. Growling into the phone, he said, “Sorry, Jack, but if you’re calling to get me to come back home, I’m gonna have to kill you.”
Jack snorted with amusement and the sound was deliciously low in Daniel’s ear. “I take it you’re in Dylan’s apartment.”
“Which begs the question, again, why you asked where I was when you probably knew?”
“Ah huh.” There was a pause and Daniel wondered what Jack was doing. “Where are you?”
“Home,” Jack replied with typical sarcasm.
“As in?” Daniel drawled, wishing he could reach through the phone and slap him.
“The place where you hang your hat.”
Daniel closed his eyes. It was too early for Jack to wind him up and get away with it, so he decided to go on the offensive. “What’re you wearing?” he asked as he idly rubbed himself.
There was a pause, then Jack finally said, “A towel. You?”
Daniel sighed, liking that image. “Technically, nothing,” he replied, grinning when he imagined the annoyed look on Jack’s face.
“What’s ‘technically’ mean?”
He didn’t quite sound annoyed, but it could just be his usual skill in deception. “It means,” he said slowly, “that I’m in bed, naked, covered by a sheet, a blanket, and various dried bodily fluids.”
He grinned broadly when there came a scrambling sound. “Dammit, Daniel.”
Daniel snickered. “Drop something?”
Jack growled. “Define ‘various’.”
“Is your hand on your dick?” Daniel teased.
“Is my … Daniel.”
“I’m stroking now, wishing you were here with me.”
“I can’t. I want you here so I could slide my cock in your mouth and in your–“
“I’m not kidding.”
“Why?” Daniel smiled.
Jack cleared his throat. “Okay, I deserved that for winding you up. Just stop doing that.”
Daniel realized that Jack had lied and he was at work. If he really was at home, they’d be having phone sex, he was sure of it. “Next time, for real.”
“Which part?” Jack asked.
Daniel chuckled as he rolled out of bed and headed for the bathroom. Despite the hard-on, he also had to pee. “So what happened in D.C.?” he asked as he lifted the lid. Dylan opened the glass door, understood what Daniel meant, grinned, and shut it again. In the meantime, Jack had said something about the meetings winding up early. “Explains why you’re back home so soon then. Are you coming up?”
“Think I’ll wait for Jason. He’s due to be back tomorrow, then we’ll join you for the weekend.”
Daniel suddenly felt a twinge of jealousy and though he pushed it aside, his silence probably spoke volumes.
Jack’s tone said, Is something wrong? “Sorry, I was drinking my coffee,” he lied.
“While taking a piss?” Jack asked.
Daniel cringed. He really shouldn’t try lying while not quite awake. “Okay, you distracted me.”
Dylan was finished and as he slid the door open, Daniel flushed and sent him a smile as he walked out of the bathroom. He hoped it didn’t look like he was bolting but he wasn’t comfortable talking to Jack about being jealous while he was standing in another man’s apartment. “It was nothing,” he said, a more believable not-quite-lie coming to him. “I just miss you two, that’s all.”
“And that was hard to say?” Jack asked.
He sounded confused and Daniel sighed. “Yeah, it was, because … I’m standing in another guy’s home.”
“Ah,” Jack responded in that short, sharp way.
“So, you get it,” Daniel half-asked.
“Kinda, I guess … no, not really. But you can explain it day after tomorrow.”
Daniel grinned. “In person, not over the phone?”
“You got it,” Jack replied. “Listen, I gotta go. I’ll talk to you later.”
Just when Daniel hung up, Dylan touched him from behind, startling him a bit. Giving him a kiss on the neck, he walked away, heading toward his walk-in closet. “How’s Jack?” he asked.
Daniel flushed a bit and couldn’t understand why. “He’s fine,” he answered shortly, then headed back to the bathroom. “Is there hot water left?”
Dylan appeared in the doorway, a slight frown between his brows. “Yeah, there’s hot water. What’s the matter?”
Daniel had his back to him and for a moment, he considered lying, but he sighed with resignation and sat on the toilet lid. “I don’t know. I just felt awkward, talking to Jack while being in your apartment.” Before Dylan could respond, Daniel got up, raising his hand to stall him. “And yes, I know there’s no reason to feel that way. Maybe I just need to get used to being involved with three different men.”
The moment Daniel said the last part, the light seemed to dawn on Dylan’s face. He smiled as he came forward and Daniel was glad the man was wearing black boxer briefs–although he looked damn sexy in the things. He took his hand and kissed his knuckles. “You will, and it won’t take long. Just remember that until you decide to go monogamous, you’re free to be with whomever you want and so are they.”
“I know that. And yet I feel both guilty and jealous sometimes.”
Dylan shrugged and kissed his hand again before letting it go. “I just have to remind myself that I’m in no position to judge and so the jealousy goes away.”
Daniel sighed, knowing that, too. After a quick kiss, Dylan said, “When I get off work, we can talk more about that dream of yours. And what you’d like to do about it.” He winked at him, leaving Daniel alone in the bathroom to ponder that statement. What exactly was there to do? With a dismissive shake of his head, he stepped into the shower.
As he washed and tried to calm his mind and get rid of those inconvenient feelings of guilt and jealousy, it suddenly occurred to him that since Dylan was working, he would have nothing to do. Why hadn’t he thought of that when he came up to the club? He suddenly laughed at himself for thinking with the wrong head.
He felt a little calmer as he spread the shampoo through his hair, and then suddenly, Dylan’s words about jealousy came back to him. “I just have to remind myself that I’m in no position to judge and so the jealousy goes away.”
Dylan was jealous? Despite Daniel’s earlier thoughts, and his tendency to dislike jealousy in others, he secretively smiled.