Trinity 17: Sweet Blood
Part 3 of 5
Summary: Danger and solidarity await.
Warning: Bondage; brief non-con (no rape); clichés abound.
The Residents (cont)
As he began to awake, Daniel was only vaguely aware of the rough binding around his wrists. When he regained full consciousness, his memory returned, making him fully aware of his situation. The bathroom in Alex’s room. Tan. He suddenly cringed at the hands that touched him, followed by the hot breath at his neck.
“Time to begin, Daniel.”
He was startled by the man’s voice at his ear. “No, I don’t think so.”
“What was Adriann’s is now mine.”
“I was never Adriann’s,” he said through clenched teeth as he pulled hard at his bonds.
“You cannot free yourself so stop struggling.”
Daniel laughed at the man. “Yeah well, you don’t know me and orders. I follow them about as much as Jack does, so screw you.”
When he felt the hands on his legs, he kicked out, and from the thud and grunt he heard, he knew he’d hit pay dirt. He went to kick again but had to abruptly bite down on a scream as fingers reached between his legs and squeezed.
Running around the corner of a short hallway, the group came to a halt behind Adriann as he stopped before a door. Without hesitation, Adriann knocked the door down. Jack thought the door could more accurately be described as being blown off, however, as its top hinge was ripped apart as it slammed back against the wall. Next, Jack saw the look of surprise on Tan’s face, then caught the scene in its entirety. His body went cold.
Tan was straddling Daniel’s clothed thighs, and in his hand, a long knife. It was apparent that he’d been practicing, or playing, on Daniel’s t-shirt because the back of it had been cut into long strips. Some of the cuts by the blade had marred Daniel’s skin as well, judging by the long, angry red marks down his back.
Daniel was attempting to control his breathing, fearing that the next touch that came from Tan would be the one that actually cut his skin. His body jumped with equal parts of fright and hope when he heard what sounded like the door crashing open. Then the uncomfortable heat from Tan’s body, as well as the terrifying coldness of his blade, left him, followed by a loud howl of anger and a very loud crash across the room.
What he didn’t see was what caused the noise. Adriann had grabbed Tan by the scruff of the neck and had thrown him effortlessly across the room to hit the far wall next to the tall, narrow window. Jack and his teammates stared open-mouthed.
As soon as Tan was away from him, Jack and Jason acted. Jack’s knife came down on Daniel’s bonds and he was freed in seconds, but Jason held him in place a moment as he and Jack looked over Daniel’s body, especially his back.
“Hold up, Daniel. Don’t move,” Jason explained, then after a better examination, “You okay?”
“I am now,” Daniel quipped, then rolled away from them and off the other side of the bed. He frowned, looking across the room, then suddenly became dizzy. His lovers leapt across the width of the bed to steady him and Teal’c was there, joining them.
“You are not well,” Teal’c said with worry.
“I’m…fine, Teal’c. Thanks,” Daniel replied distractedly, patting Teal’c on the shoulder as he watched the two people across the room. “It’s just the after-effects of getting knocked out…yet again. You know, been there, done that, know what it is.” He frowned and narrowed his eyes. He could see without his glasses, but the normally crisp lines to everything were slightly blurred. “Adriann?” he asked, then looked over his shoulder at Jack and Jason. They nodded.
Adriann didn’t respond to Daniel’s call as he was more than a little occupied as he allowed the angry bloodlust to release within him. He stared down at Tan, who wasn’t as injured as someone else would have been. He was, however, staring up at Adriann in rage and fear as the man stalked toward him.
“Adriann!” came Talen’s voice, echoed by Rone. He ignored them.
“After all I shared with you, after all those words of apology for the last time…you still choose not to learn. I told you what would happen, you vile creature. I warned you.”
“You went to…him!” he spat.
“My interest in anyone else is none of your concern! How could you do such a thing?!”
“He is not worthy of you!” Tan lied.
“You do not care about that! You thought only to punish me! I heard you, Tan!”
He reached for him, grabbing Tan by the ankle in an iron grip. He started to pull him toward the door and everyone stepped out of the way. Except Daniel.
“Adriann,” he started to say but Adriann’s glare cut him off.
“Do not interfere, Daniel,” he said, continuing out of the room. He threw open one of the tall, wide windows in the hallway that overlooked the rear courtyard and the land beyond. With one hand, he opened the window, while in the other, Tan kicked, spat, and tried to wrench himself free. Adriann lifted Tan like a rag doll through the second-story window and held him by his throat and leg, dangling out into open space. What lay below was stone, not grass. Tan started screaming.
“You were going to kill Daniel…weren’t you?” The horrified sickness on his face increased the anger even more. “WEREN’T YOU?” he shouted.
“Yes!” Tan howled.
Adriann squeezed his fingers around Tan’s throat. The man struggled wildly in panic, uselessly grasping, and clawing at Adriann’s fingers around his throat, realizing that Adriann was actually going to kill him. He could survive the fall possibly but not Adriann’s grip on his throat. He tried kicking at him but the strength was leaving his limbs as well as the breath from his body.
Adriann’s face was filled with fury and hate, readying for a kill he rarely made, when he suddenly heard Daniel’s voice behind him. “Adriann, don’t kill him.”
Jack and Jason stood behind him and they scowled at Daniel in disgust. After what the man had tried to do, he deserved what he got. Sam walked up behind Daniel and put her hand on his shoulder.
“It’s their system of justice, Daniel. It’s not our place to interfere.” When he turned to look at her, he saw the worry, the fear, and the anger. He understood, but he couldn’t allow Adriann to kill in cold blood. To him, that’s what this would be.
“But I was involved, even if it was indirectly.” He turned back to Adriann. “Adriann, don’t kill him,” he repeated, and when it appeared that Adriann didn’t hear him, he walked up to him. “Adriann, not in cold blood,” he told him as his hand came down on Adriann’s shoulder.
After a long silence, during which everyone seemed to hold their breath, Adriann turned…and pulled the now-unconscious man inside. For a brief moment, Adriann considered snapping the man’s neck, but as he felt Daniel near him, the rage dissipated and the urge to kill in retaliation waned. He let Tan drop to the floor in a heap, then turned fully and laid his eyes directly on Rone.
“Get Kesa and the others up here. Take him away. He will no longer be welcome among us. If he sets one foot in this house, for any reason, he dies. Understand?” The ferocity in his voice had lessened, but his order was taken very seriously.
“I understand,” Rone replied sadly and turned down the hall toward the main part of the house.
Adriann stared after him, long after the man had disappeared, then turned and fixed Daniel with a hard stare. “Your plea to me has only delayed the inevitable, Daniel. He deserves to die for what he has done. This was not the first time he has done such a thing.” He paused, letting the information sink in.
Daniel stared back, not letting his eyes move away, and thought about what Adriann said…and didn’t say. Before he could answer, however, Adriann went on.
“Though he had been punished, I let his actions go, telling myself that it would not happen again. But, others have warned me,” and he looked at Talen with annoyance. She returned it but made no comment. Adriann looked carefully at Jack, then at Jason and Teal’c. He saw in each of them that they knew what he meant by delaying the inevitable. They understood it. Though not murderers, they had killed many times and understood what that felt like. At last, he looked back into Daniel’s eyes, eyes that echoed the stress he’d just gone through. “I hope you accept my deepest apologies for what has happened to you,” and he gestured at the unconscious man on the floor. “I should have killed him, but deferring to your wishes, I did not. I hope it does not come back to, how do you say, haunt us. If something like this happens again, he will die, Daniel. I must protect my own, and for a time, that includes you and your friends.”
“You’ve a funny way of showing it,” Alex growled, referring to the blood-taking.
Adriann levelled a cold stare upon him. Daniel also thought he saw a bit of weariness mixed with it. “Judge us however you want. We will die off anyway, and so comes your…retribution.”
He left the others in a state of shock with that statement as he walked away from them down the other end of the corridor to a part of the house they hadn’t seen yet. Daniel started to follow him but both Jack and Talen held him back.
“Daniel, stay here,” Jack told him, his tone, an order.
“He needs to be by himself,” Talen added.
“I don’t see why,” Daniel mumbled. “If all that he said was true…”
“It was,” Talen said stiffly, then stepped away from them. “Adriann has told you what you need to stay safe and you may freely avail yourselves of the kitchen. We will not bother any of you again but you may find us if you need to do so.” She then left, striding off in the direction Adriann had taken.
As the eight team members returned to the central hallway that overlooked the main hall and dining area downstairs, Jack’s radio crackled.
“SG-1, this is General Hammond, do you read?”
Jack snorted. “Perfect timing.” He keyed his radio. “This Colonel O’Neill, sir. We read you.”
“How are things going, Colonel? Anything to report?”
General snorts from the assembly as they reached their rooms. Jack rolled his eyes. “Sir, we’re…fine. Just a little shake up at this house.”
“Care to enlighten me, Colonel?”
“Not really, sir. I’ll make a full report when we return. No one is hurt or injured and everything is fine now.”
“Colonel, if there’s anything to report…” Hammond prodded.
“Sir, if there was anything to report that was of any use to you at this present time, I would say so. For now, we’ve had a little scare from those creatures. You know, the ones that were the reason we stayed here in the first place. Stand by, sir. I’ll see if anyone else has anything to add.”
Jack looked around at everyone and they shook their heads, unwilling to say anything. But Daniel held out his hand for the radio. In surprise, Jack handed it to him.
“Sir, this is Daniel.”
“Doctor Jackson? Something to report?”
“I don’t know yet, sir, but they have a medicinal paste here that has amazing properties. I’d like permission to bring some back with us, that is, if I have permission from the leader here.”
“You have permission, Doctor. Doctor Fraiser will be notified.”
“Thank you, sir. I…I’m going to need her expertise on one other matter here as well.”
“What’s that, Doctor?”
Daniel’s teammates stared in astonishment at him. “Daniel,” Jack started but Daniel held up his hand as he keyed the radio while never taking his eyes from Jack.
“The residents here have some health problems, sir. If we could help, maybe they’d be freer in offering information about the medicine they have here.”
“I see, Doctor. Do what you can. Colonel O’Neill, the next check in is at 2130 hours.”
Jack took the radio and responded. “Yes, sir. It should be light before then and we should be safe from the predators.”
“Very good, Colonel. Hammond out.”
The radio crackled and went silent. Jack looked over at Daniel.
“So you believe Adriann?”
Daniel pressed his lips together. “Don’t you?”
Jack tilted his head, then shrugged. He looked at the others. “Well, our watch schedule was thrown to shit. For the next six hours, or until daylight, we’ll divide it up. The first three hours will be my team, the last three hours, yours.”
“Yes, sir,” Jason replied.
“If you want to keep your doors open, or gather in one room, be my guest, but considering the…incense,” and he waved his hand in the air, “what’s the point if they can…knock down doors?”
“Well, no point on our door, that’s for sure,” Daniel added drily.
Jack didn’t bother answering that one. “Well, let’s keep alert and try and relax. Hopefully the next six hours will be a breeze.”
“From your lips, sir,” Connor replied.
“Guys?” Jason turned, looking at his men. “You wanna keep the arrangements we already have?”
Alex shrugged. “If you’re going to be spending time with the Colonel and Doctor Jackson, then I’ll just hole up with the clowns here.”
“Hey, I resemble that remark,” Connor replied, giving a small grin to lighten the dour mood.
“Speak for yourself,” Al grumbled good-naturedly as they turned for their room.
“Hey, I said ‘I’, didn’t I?”
“Only so far as you think you’re three people,” Al replied as they entered the room, his voice fading.
“Hey!” Connor replied, disappearing out of sight. Alex shot Jason a smirk, shaking his head, before disappearing into his room to grab his gear and join his men.
“Well, they’ll be fine. Water off a duck’s back and all that,” Jason said.
Jack’s mouth twitched for a moment, a hint to Jason that teasing was imminent. “Well, considering that your team is made up of poultry…”
Jason narrowed his eyes at him. “At least they’ve been in the water. I’ve heard those stories about fishing in a lake where there are no fish.”
“Well, there was fish in it…once,” Jack replied, slightly defensive, though the corner of his mouth started to turn up.
“Yeah, back before Permian extinction,” Daniel quipped.
Jack allowed a grin as he watched Daniel move over to their room to examine the doorknob.
“How long ago was that?” Jack asked after him.
“About 265 million years, sir,” Sam replied when Daniel ignored him.
“Give or take,” Jack replied with a smirk. “You two gonna be okay in that room by yourselves?”
“I think we’ll manage,” Sam replied, rolling her eyes, then gave a cautious look at Teal’c. “T?”
He almost grinned at the sound of her new nickname for him. It had always been Jack who called him that. “I concur.” She grinned and held out her hand. “Then shall we?”
“What shall we do for three hours?” he asked as they entered the room.
“Oh, I dunno. Meditation, word games, talking?”
They shut the door and Jack could’ve sworn Teal’c winked at him. He knew the two wouldn’t be doing anything – okay, he didn’t want to think that they’d be doing anything – considering the circumstances, but now that he knew about their relationship, he no longer simply barged in on them – even when they were sharing tents on some rain-drenched planet.
He cast a long look at Jason, then tilted his head toward Daniel – and the room – before walking over to the door.
“So, Daniel, have you examined the door long enough?”
Daniel gave him a dirty look. “Was trying to look at that interesting door lock they have but you shot the hell out of it.”
“Well, that was the point.”
“Yes, but now there’s nothing left to study. It’s a fascinating piece of technology.”
“You sound like Carter,” Jack told him as the three stepped into the room. He closed the door and was surprised when it shut completely. Examining it closer, he realized that there were no latches, bolts, or normal locks. There was, however, a gaping hole where the lock and doorknob used to be. “Huh. Well, I suppose we can examine the other doors later.”
“If my guys aren’t doing it already,” Jason said absently. His eyes were trained on Daniel as the man stripped of what remained of his t-shirt. He looked around, holding it in his hand, and remembered that they hadn’t brought regular mission field packs with them, the ones that carried extra clothes.
“Shit. I guess I get to go topless.”
“You say that like it’s a bad thing,” Jason remarked with a quiet grin. Daniel threw the balled up, tattered shirt at him and hit him in the face. Jason tossed it back. Back and forth, back, and forth.
“Maybe they’ve got something around here,” Jack replied, shaking his head as he went between them and snagged the shirt out of mid-air before heading for the chiffonier.
While Jack was looking, Jason moved over and pulled Daniel into a bear hug, snuffling his neck. “You scared me,” came his muffled voice.
Surprised but pleased, Daniel wound his arms around him. “I’m sorry, Jace.”
That’s what Daniel said, but what his lovers heard was, I didn’t do anything wrong.
It hit Jack like a ton of bricks and he turned from the tall chest of drawers. He realized he’d been acting as if Daniel had cheated on him. Technically, yes, but in his heart, he hadn’t, and never would have if not for these people. He walked up and ran his fingers through Daniel’s hair before grabbing his neck, almost forcefully. “You didn’t do anything wrong, Daniel,” and his grip relaxed as he unnecessarily brushed hair from Daniel’s face. “I’m sorry if I made you feel like you did.”
Daniel pushed away from them both. “For all intents and purposes, Jack, I cheated on you,” then he turned to look at Jason. “And you.”
Jason frowned at him and touched his arm. “How?”
Daniel looked at them both in surprise, getting that arched ‘please explain’ brow from Jack. He sighed, closed his eyes for a moment, then walked over to the foot of the bed and sat down.
“I let him…” and he stared down at his hands tucked protectively between his knees.
Jason rolled his eyes; so did Jack. They exchanged glances, then went over and sat next to him.
“Would you have done that if he hadn’t gone all ‘Count Dracula’ on you?” Jack asked.
Daniel worked his jaw. “No.”
“Well then?” Jason said.
Daniel sighed and started to get up but both his lovers pulled him back down.
“This is a weird…no, really weird…situation, Daniel,” Jack told him. “It’s not something we can…define. And even after the guilt, you still want to…well, be friends with him. Hell, I want to be friends with the man. I’m feeling sorry for him. I don’t want to but there it is.”
“I don’t want to, either…but I can’t help but feel something for them. All of them. I know what he did was wrong, but even that line is blurred, Jack. I try to put myself in his place and I don’t know that I wouldn’t do the same. Then even after doing what he and his people did, they’ve backed off.”
“For now,” Jack grumbled.
“No, Jack,” Jason said, disagreeing. “I don’t think they’ll come looking for more from us.”
“And you figure this how?”
“Well, part of the reason is Daniel.”
“He got to him,” and Jason grinned then. “Like he gets to everyone he comes in contact with.”
“Don’t make me out to be some damn saint, Jace. It’s not fair. Especially considering…” and he made an indefinite gesture in the air, intimating what had happened earlier in the room.
“Not a saint, Daniel. None of us would have stopped Adriann from killing Tan, but you did. And you had more right to see Tan dead than the rest of us.”
Daniel shook his head. “I couldn’t allow…I can’t stand by and watch someone kill in cold blood like that. Not if I can prevent it.”
“Why did you?” Jack suddenly asked. Daniel stared at him. “I’m serious, Daniel. Why does it matter? I know why you wouldn’t, and why you’d be upset if me or Jason or Carter or Teal’c, basically anyone you know and like, did it. Christ, you even tried to stop Chaka from killing that weasel, Burrock. But Adriann? Why should you care if he kills one of his own who was definitely intent on killing you…or at the very least, doing some nasty damage?”
Daniel didn’t understand himself. He was silent for a few moments until he hit on the truth, and the truth was…
“Gut feeling, Jack. I…like him. Before this weird shit happened, I was getting along with him. We seemed to, I don’t know, have this rapport. And um, even when I was pissed off and fighting with him, he never did anything deliberately hurtful. No, I’m serious. He didn’t do anything mean or nasty. I just have this…instinct.”
More rolled eyes from his lovers. “Only you, Daniel.”
“Let me ask you something, Jack. Have you ever killed in a situation like the one Adriann was in?” Jack didn’t answer right away and he didn’t need to. Daniel knew he had. “Okay, so you have. Have you Jace?”
Jason stared across the room, remembering Makepeace’s goons. They weren’t the first, either. “You know the answer.”
“Okay. If I can stop someone from doing that, if there’s no other way out, then I will.”
“I know,” Jack sighed and rubbed his hand on Daniel’s back. Daniel hissed then and it drew his lover’s eyes to his back. Jack turned, wincing. “Crap, I’m sorry.” He got up and went back to the chiffonier. “Maybe there’s something in here…” and he rooted through a section that contain clothing hung from rods resembling hangers. “Here,” and he held out a dark blue silky sleeveless shirt. “It feels soft. It shouldn’t irritate your back.”
Daniel got up and took it from him, examining the material. Jason moved around him and began to go through the doors. “Jace? What are you looking for?”
“You said Adriann used some sort of medicinal paste on your knuckles,” and he turned and pointed at Daniel’s hand. “Maybe there’s some of that stuff in here.”
Daniel’s brows rose. “Yes, there might be. The jar was squat and round, ceramic, unglazed.”
Jason pulled out a plain jar, reddish brown in color. “This?”
“Uh, I guess. The light’s not good in here because the fire’s gone down a bit.”
Jack immediately went over to the hearth. “Well, I’ll get it going again. Use some of the wood here in this bin.” While Jack did that, Jason removed the lid and showed the paste inside to Daniel.
“It look like this?”
“Okay, sit down here, your back to the fire.”
With a tiny smile at Jason’s mothering, Daniel obeyed, sitting sideways on the bed so that his back faced the fire. With gentle fingers, Jason spread the amber paste on a small red line.
“I don’t know if this is the stuff. That help at all?”
“You’ll have to rub it in a little,” Daniel told him.
Jason couldn’t help it. “Sounds like a plan only I’m on the wrong end of your–“
When he applied a little more pressure, Daniel sighed. “Yes, that’s better. The pain is going.”
Jason pulled at his shoulder, forcing Daniel to turn and look at him. Daniel saw alarm. When he looked over at Jack, he found his eyes boring holes into him.
“Why didn’t you say you were in pain?” Jack snapped, then softened his features to lessen the heat of the words.
“Sorry. It just didn’t seem important until now.”
Jack sighed and turned back to the fire. “For cryin’ out loud,” said softly as he shook his head. The room was silent for a moment, then Jack frowned at Jason. “Hey, you said that Daniel was only part of the reason that Adriann backed off. What’s the other?”
Jason sighed. “Like you two, there’s something about him that I like. I resented the shit out of being duped, used, lied to, but even so, it was like getting lied to by a friend. At least…that’s what it felt like, and no, that doesn’t make sense. We’ve only just met the man and his family. We don’t know them.”
“But we do…kind of,” Daniel said thoughtfully. “I have the same feeling but I don’t know why. I was never afraid of the man, either, and for all his strength, and those teeth,” and Daniel jogged his shoulders in a mock-shudder, “I still felt…something.” When Jack raised his brow at him, Daniel looked up at the ceiling. “No, Jack, it does not mean that I want to fuck his brains out. You, on the other hand,” he pointed, letting a filthy grin form on his lips.
That sideways grin of Jack’s appeared. He looked back to the fire, not saying anything in response. There was no need, anyway.
The silence was interrupted by a knock at the door and both Jason and Jack replied.
“Come.” Smirking at each other, they focused their attention upon their visitor. The door opened and Alex walked in carrying Jason’s gear.
“Thought you might like this,” he said, staring, curious at what his leader was doing.
“Would you please set it over on the floor next to the Colonel’s and Daniel’s stuff, Alex. Thanks. I got a little side-tracked,” he said, showing his preoccupation as he gently rubbed the paste into Daniel’s nasty scratches. Alex set the stuff down as instructed, then walked over and looked at Daniel’s back. He whistled.
“Damn, Daniel. Didn’t look that bad before. But then, you had that shirt on. That looks like it smarts.”
Jason snorted. “Master of understatement.”
Alex sent him a mock-glare. “I try.”
“It did smart…Alex,” Daniel replied, grinning at the near-pun. From the hearth, Jack sniggered.
“That’s very amusing, Daniel,” Alex replied. He hesitated a moment, then, “So, what are you going to wear…now…if I may ask? We didn’t bring normal field gear.”
Jason regarded him with a tiny smirk as Daniel picked up the shirt from the bed and showed it to him. “Jack found…this…in the chiffonier.”
“Chest of drawers,” Daniel replied blandly.
“Oh…is that what that is,” Alex remarked with a grin. “Thought it was a dresser.” Jason reached out and nudged him in the shin with his boot, making Alex’s grin widen.
“I don’t have a choice, unless I want to go through the gate later on wearing nothing.”
The three men grinned like fiends.
Daniel rolled his eyes and indulged them. “On…my…back.”
“Could be worse. You could be naked,” Jack said, his face turned away to hide his smile.
“Oh, that’d be perfect for you, wouldn’t it, Jack? I can just imagine the months, if not years, of teasing you’d get out of that scenario.”
Jack sniggered again and from the firelight, the crease of his smile was plainly evident. Daniel loved that look.
Alex had to stifle his own snigger – mostly because Jason’s look told him to. Jason smoothed in more of the paste on the remaining red marks and kept an eye on his 2IC. The man was definitely…loitering. Which meant that he wanted to talk to his team leader and Jason had a feeling that it probably related to whatever Daniel hadn’t told him.
“Something on your mind, Captain?”
“Um, yes, sir. I’d like to speak with you in private, if I may?”
Jason’s hand paused on Daniel’s back. “Wait for me in the room we were sharing. I’ll be there as soon as I’m done.”
“Yes, sir.” With a nod at both Daniel and Jack, Alex left the room, quietly closing the door.
Jack had followed his progress then looked at Jason. “Something up?”
Daniel glanced nervously at Jason, who kept a steady eye trained on his face. Done with his first aid, he set the jar of paste aside, then touched Daniel’s arm, forcing the man to look at him.
“I think it has to do with what Daniel didn’t want to tell me yet…right?”
Jack frowned at the words and stopped what he was doing. He turned and sat on the nearby stool, waiting. “Daniel, what’s he talking about?”
Daniel sighed. “Alex. When you went in to wake up Sam and Teal’c, I asked Jace to see to Al and Connor while I woke up Alex. Unfortunately, that’s when Tan grabbed me. He was in the bathroom, hiding or something.”
“Daniel…” Jason prodded. Daniel hesitated, but this time, he gave Jason a very serious look that made his lover nervous. “Daniel…out with it.”
“The Residents here have the ability to change a person’s dreams. I had them change Alex’s.”
“Why?” Jason asked slowly.
“Because…because Alex was dreaming about someone else other than Cari.”
“So?” Jason asked, frowning in irritation.
A slow dread filled Jack and he had a feeling what Daniel was going to say. It would explain why Daniel had told Jason to check on his other roommates. When Jack took a careful look at Jason’s expression, he could see that his lover was clueless. Which meant that Jason didn’t think of his 2IC that way, and more likely, didn’t want to. Jack didn’t blame him. Despite his brief silly flirtation with Carter, he still hadn’t been able to see her in any other light than as his 2IC and friend.
“Who was it, Daniel?” Jack asked.
Daniel took a deep breath. “Jason.”
Jason blinked a few times, not getting it at first…then…the light dawned. He knew there was a reason Daniel didn’t want to tell him but…this? “No, that’s not…are you sure?”
Daniel nodded slowly. “He said your name, Jace. Adriann confirmed it for me because he and the others can read dreams as well as conscious thoughts. I know Alex is straight and what I heard, well, I panicked. I practically ordered Adriann – um, Kashan, actually – to change his dream, to replace you with Cari.”
“And they did that?” Jack asked, suspicious.
Daniel nodded soberly. “I could…tell by his…body language.”
Jason didn’t want to believe. “No, no way. They must’ve influenced his dreaming somehow.”
Daniel shook his head. “I accused them. They said no.”
“And how do you know they weren’t lying?” Jason asked, his voice rising slightly.
“Jason, when you’re having a bad dream, it’s obvious. When Jack has a bad dream, it’s obvious. When there’s sex involved, it’s even more obvious. If someone is with you that shouldn’t be, it’s like a rape scenario. And the body, from a watcher’s perspective, has those certain traits, certain movements, certain sounds. I’ve watched each of you dream, just as I watched Shau’re and Sarah. I know what I’m looking at. Alex’s sounds and body language weren’t of pain or anger or anxiety. At first, I thought they were forced pleasure, but Adriann assured me they weren’t. They were his own fantasies, Jason. Buried fantasies. They were of you. It was clear he was…pleased…and um…”
“And what?” Jason snapped immediately.
“He was…while he was dreaming…he was jerking off.” Daniel cleared his throat several times, choking down the blush that rose.
Jason covered his face with a hand and dropped back onto the bed. “Oh God.”
“Adriann told me that the incense sometimes brings up hidden desires in dreams. After I told him to get rid of Alex’s dream and replace you with Cari, Alex’s body language changed. I didn’t want to see what else happened, so I left the room.”
“You think he’s remembering the dream, Daniel?” Jack asked.
“Maybe, I don’t know. Jace, you’re gonna have to go talk to him, see what he wants. Hopefully, it won’t be that, but if it is, then…well, I guess the two of you will have to work it out.”
“Fuck, this is not happening.”
“Well, at least he’s not an ugly sonofabitch,” Jack said with light sarcasm.
“Jack, for fuck’s sake!” Jason scowled as he sat back up.
“So what if he’s handsome. I already know that. I’m not blind. But I’m just not…he’s not…”
“Interested?” Daniel finished.
“Would you be, if he offered?”
“Daniel, what kind of a lame-assed question is that? You sound like you don’t trust me.”
“Never crossed my mind. I’m only asking…well, hell, I don’t know what I’m asking. Okay, listen, just go by your instincts and whatever happens, Jack and I will support it, okay?”
“Except you leaving us for him. I’ll not support that,” Jack said quickly.
Jason glared at him. “Like there’s a chance in hell of that happening.”
“Jack,” Daniel started.
“I’m not sorry I said it, Daniel, so back off.”
Daniel sighed heavily. “Jace, if he wants to…you know…experiment–“
“Oh for fuck’s sake, Daniel,” Jason whispered and suddenly pulled Daniel into a fiery kiss, wrapping his arms around him, and pushing his upper body down on the bed. Daniel’s hands came up to wind through his hair, then he forcefully pulled Jason’s head back, breaking the kiss.
“What’s that for?”
“I love you. I love Jack. I can only envision myself cheating on you by way of what Adriann pulled on you. Now, this is free will, without aid of incense or mind games or whatever. There’s no way, Daniel. A lot of guys are good looking and a lot of those are my friends. Doesn’t mean I’m going to bed with them.”
Daniel eyes half-lidded with desire. He didn’t understand why he was so aroused by this talk, but he was. “Go, talk to him. Straighten things out…then…come back here…and fuck me.”
Jack coughed several times, making Jason believe that had Jack been drinking something, he would have put out the fire with it. Making a growling noise in his throat, Jason gave Daniel another kiss before he got up. He walked over to Jack and rested his hand on his shoulder.
“You okay?” he asked.
“Go talk to him, Jace,” Jack told him as his hand reached up to caress the back of his calf. Jason moved away slowly, then left the room, thinking that he could use that proverbial drink.
After Jason left, Jack stood up slowly. “Jesus, Daniel. Did you have to say it like that?”
“Got his attention, didn’t it?”
“Yeah, but shit.”
“Got your attention too, it seems,” Daniel replied, pointing.
“How’s your back?” Jack asked, seemingly changing the subject.
“Just fine now. Wanna see?” Daniel answered, undeterred.
“Come here and show me.”
Jason hesitated at the door, then for reasons he had no clue about, he knocked. Maybe he was hoping the realm of normality would interrupt and a “go away” would be issued.
It wasn’t. Alex opened the door, frowning. “What are you knocking for, sir?”
Jason entered and closed the door. “If this is a personal talk, Alex,” he said, dismissing the question, “then I think you’d better call me Jason, don’t you?”
Alex blinked in surprise. “Oh, right,” and after closing the door, he made a bee-line for the chairs by the window – and the table that held a decanter of liquor and two tiny glasses.
Jason followed and sat down in the chair opposite Alex. He pointed. “You going to need that?”
“For right now, yes, I think so.” He immediately knocked back a glassful, then grimaced as he swallowed. “It’s not bad, s…Jason. I took the liberty of pouring you a drink. If you want it, that is.”
“Am I going to need it?”
“I’m afraid so.”
Jason reached out and briefly touched Alex’s arm. The man was shaking, which meant that Alex was very possibly freaking.
“It’s not like you to beat around the bush, Alex. What’s the matter?”
“I think…you know,” he said, not looking at him.
“I’m not playing that, Alex. Tell me.”
After several seconds of throat clearing, “When I was in here, and when they, or rather, he was in here…” He sighed deeply and Jason touched him again, only this time, he kept his hand there a little longer, trying to reassure him.
“Alex, trust me. I won’t freak. Nothing will leave this room and it’ll just be between the two of us. Okay?”
“Okay.” His shaking lessened, but only marginally. After Jason removed his hand, Alex took a deep breath and blew it out slowly. “I’ve never…not in a million years…I mean, last time I checked, I was straight. I like breasts, I like women.”
Jason made sure his features didn’t change. He wasn’t surprised but even if he didn’t want to hear any of this, he had to make sure that Alex was okay by the time he left the room. That meant that Alex had to know, under no uncertain terms, that everything was okay with him, too.
“But…” Alex poured another drink, spilling some, then drank it down.
“It’s okay, Alex.”
Alex shook his head. “No, Jason, I don’t think so.”
Jason sighed. “You going to tell me?”
Alex nodded. He poured a third drink. “Liquid courage first.” He drank, then took a few more deep breaths. “I dreamed about you and me having sex,” he said in a rush, then poured another drink.
Before he could drink it down, Jason stopped him and took the glass away, setting it down. He was a bit surprised but not at what Alex said. He was more surprised that he’d actually said it. Alex was never comfortable talking about sex and this was much more difficult. Now, Jason had to decide quickly about how to respond. Too long a delay could make things worse and a short, flippant answer would do certain damage. He carefully controlled his expression, making sure that Alex read no shock, no rejection, that he read friendliness and warmth instead.
“First, what you dreamed about doesn’t bother me. Second, it doesn’t bother me. Third, it doesn’t bother me. See a trend developing?”
Alex’s cheeks flushed and Jason blamed the alcohol in part. Alex wasn’t a blusher either, and though taking into account that he didn’t like to talk openly about sex, it was this kind of sex that was embarrassing him…to say the least. Jason hoped it wasn’t too big a freak out for him. If the man started to hate him, or even blame him, for the dreams, it would kill Jason. He knew it could happen and his mind whirled with things to say to see if Alex would go in that direction.
“What I said doesn’t bother you?”
Jason shook his head. “No. I know you think it’s supposed to, but it doesn’t.”
It was Alex’s turn to be surprised. “I don’t think anything, Jason. You’re an open-minded kind of guy, but…I’m straight, you’re straight…I think.”
Jason gauged the look on Alex’s face. Maybe he could tell him. Alex wasn’t giving off the defensive hate vibes. “And if I weren’t, Alex, it wouldn’t change anything…would it?”
Alex’s mouth dropped open, then abruptly shut. “But…” Then his eyes widened appreciably. “Then you are…? It’s true?”
Jason considered saying ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ but the conversation had gone way past that point. “If I said ‘yes’?” He tensed suddenly, waiting for Alex to freak even more, but something was still telling him that that wouldn’t happen.
Alex took a deep breath. “Then…I feel a bit relieved.”
So did Jason. “You’re not…angry? Or having a homophobic reaction to the dreams…or to what I said…or rather, didn’t say?”
Alex looked at him for the longest time, then finally shook his head. He looked down and played with the glass but didn’t drink from it. His stomach was doing a little dance of nerves anyway. The alcohol wasn’t such a good idea after all.
“I’m okay, Jason. We’re fine.”
Jason breathed a sigh of relief. “Alex, I’m sorry I have to ask this, but, considering the dream…do you have feelings for me?”
Alex gave him a sudden sober, very serious expression, which softened slightly. “As a friend, Jason. The dream made me aware of the attraction I didn’t know I had, but…no, I’m not lusting after you, if that’s what you mean.”
Jason let another soft smile show. “I’m glad. I don’t want you feeling weirded out by all this, but it is only natural. And…I have a question.”
“Did you want to tell me what happened in the dream, or just tell me of it?”
Alex coughed then, and his cough turned into a spasm. Jason got up and leaned over him, smacking his back. Alex had his eyes shut from the coughing and when he opened them, Jason’s abdomen was right next to his face. He could just smell the man’s body musk and whether he liked it or not, he started to stiffen. He abruptly pushed Jason’s hand away and lightly urged him to sit back down.
Jason sat, regarding him, saw the flush and frowned in confusion. Alex was embarrassed. About what? The question?
“You don’t have to tell me, Alex. It’s okay.”
“I…was going to but…um…oh fuck!” and he bent over, burying his face in his hands. “I’ve been straight all my life. This can’t be happening.”
“You’re not gay, Alex,” Jason said, pulling his hands away from his face. “You’re bi, and maybe only a little at that. You’re also human, Alex. Now, how long ago did you see Cari?”
Alex had started to argue, but at the mention of Cari’s name, he faltered. “Cari? Um, last night,” and Jason saw the small, secretive grin.
“Okay. Now, I want to run an experiment,” and at Alex’s shocked expression, Jason held up his hands. “Just to calm you down, nothing more. We need to save your ego and your sanity, okay?”
Alex recognized the sarcasm and felt a bit relieved that Jason hadn’t been offended by what he’d said…or how he’d reacted. He swallowed. “Okay. What?”
“Close your eyes.”
“Alex, I’m not going to throw you to the floor and suck your brains out through your dick.”
The mental image that came up made Alex shut his eyes. “Why’d you have to go and say that?”
Jason groaned for his stupid foot-in-mouth disease. “God, I’m sorry. What I meant was, I’m not going to touch you, okay?”
Alex sighed, but for the moment, Jason couldn’t tell if it was from relief or not. “Now, keep your eyes closed. Form a picture in your mind of someone who’s revolting and picture them naked.”
“That’s disgusting,” Alex replied, but kept his eyes closed.
“Form a picture, dimwit.”
From the grimace on Alex’s face, Jason would say he had. “Okay, now picture yourself fucking that person.”
“Gahhhhhh!” Alex exclaimed and opened his eyes, his grimace worsening. “That’s fucking disgusting.”
“Who was it?”
Jason laughed and nodded…which made Alex grin. “Okay, question?”
“Are you hard?”
Alex snorted. “God no.”
“Good. Now, close your eyes again.”
He did. “Okay, now what?”
“Picture Cari, nude. Or more accurately, picture her breasts.”
Alex smiled. “Easy.”
“Okay,” and he silently swallowed. “Now, picture her fondling them.”
Alex cleared his throat. “Okay.”
“Good. Open your eyes.”
Alex opened his eyes. “What was the point of that?”
“You got hard over a woman’s breasts, Alex. If you were gay, that wouldn’t have happened, trust me.”
Alex stared at him unbelievingly. “You don’t get aroused by that?”
Jason stared back. Answering would definitely be a yay or nay. “I don’t get hard, Alex. Women are beautiful to look at, but they don’t float my boat.”
Alex’s brow line shot up. “But you and Cari…damn, you made that look real.”
“I’m good at it, Alex. I have to be.”
Alex looked down at his glass, feeling a sudden warmth come over him. It was sympathy for his friend and team leader and regret in that he had to hide his feelings. It was something that Alex was only just now beginning to relate to. “I guess you’d have to.”
“Yeah. But as for you, getting hard over both an attractive woman and a man means that you’re bisexual. Guess what? So’s fifty percent of the population of Earth. Your feelings are normal, Alex. But our society has determined that it’s not normal, so we’re made to repress them. That causes a lot of problems in the world. Like guilt, shame, fear, and hatred.”
Alex grinned as he bit at his cheek. “Do you ever stop being a psychologist?”
Jason smirked at him. “Probably not.”
Alex nodded and took a deep breath. “I’ve never knowingly felt anything for a man, Jason, including you. That dream earlier…that was…a shock to say the least. If I’ve had them before, I’ve never remembered them.”
“Daniel told me that Adriann warned him about the effects of the incense. It could be the reason you remembered this one.”
“You’re sure you’re okay about all of this?”
“Yeah, I guess. Still in shock maybe. Maybe I’ll go through a meltdown later. Just wish I knew why the incense prompted this shit…uh, sorry.”
“Don’t be an idiot,” Jason said, waving off the apology. “Now, from what Daniel told me, the incense has a tendency to bring out hidden desires, but not always. What you were dreaming of was…well…a chemically-induced fantasy. When you dream normally, I’ll bet I’m not in them.”
Alex shrugged. “You are, but not that way.”
“Don’t tell me – I’m getting snaked or something, right?”
“Yeah,” he said, looking down at his hands. “It’s that or you and the guys are dying and I can’t get to you.”
“I get those after bad missions.”
“God, that bites, doesn’t it?”
“Yeah, but now you know you’re not the only one. I know it’s easy to blow this stuff off, play the macho card to death, but you should always feel free to come to me about this stuff, Alex. Don’t lock it up. After all, we’re in the Air Force, not the Army or Navy.”
Alex sniggered. “Ain’t that the truth.”
Jason stood up and Alex joined him. “So, we good?”
Again, Alex shrugged.
“That thing you said about testing desires. I have an experiment of my own to prove. You said that nothing leaves this room, right?”
“I meant it, Alex.”
“Then…I need to be sure of something.”
“Okay,” Jason said cautiously. “What is it?” He didn’t want to think what he was thinking.
“Um…I don’t know how to say this…”
“Just say it–“
Jason’s brow line shot up again. “Excuse me?”
Alex winced, then nodded. “Sounds stupid, but I think–“
Jason held up his hand. “Never mind, Alex. Just…never mind. No more words for this. I know why.” He stared into Alex’s dark eyes, then down at his curved, full lips. He leaned forward and was happy to see that Alex was meeting him halfway, not remaining passive. This was a good thing, he told himself. Alex pressed his lips more firmly to his and Jason felt a bit of warmth…and was extremely relieved when his cock only twitched…it didn’t stiffen.
Alex pulled away, licking his lips together, then looked into Jason’s eyes and shook his head. “Did you…?”
“Feel anything?” Jason finished. “A bit of a twitch, but I’m a guy, so that’s to be expected. You felt…?”
“A twitch, nothing more.”
Both men sighed with relief. “Good. Now, are we done or did you wanna talk some more about something else?”
“No, no, that’s okay. Me and the guys are playing poker so I’d better get to it.”
Jason grinned at him. “No taking money, Alex.”
Alex shook his head as they walked out of the room, then put his hand out on his arm. “Thanks, Jason.”
“Not a problem,” then he returned the touch to Alex’s arm. “Are you sure we’re okay? I mean, I know you’re likely to have a minor panic attack later…but we are fine, aren’t we? No problems with command, our work together?”
Alex shook his head fervently. “To quote you…sir…don’t be an idiot.”
Jason grinned. “Good. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with a chessboard.”
Alex rolled his eyes. “Boring.”
Jason snorted. “Not the way we play. It gets nasty.”
Alex was now at Al and Connor’s door and called out over his shoulder, “It’s still boring.”
“Pfft!” Jason replied and disappeared quickly into Daniel’s and Jack’s room.
Pausing at the door to his teammates’ room, Alex suddenly wondered who it was that Jason was seeing, for surely the man was seeing someone. No one like him could be alone for long.
Alex knew that he’d always been protective of his commander, but now that he was aware of his feelings, he wondered if that protectiveness wasn’t sexually motivated. He had a lot to mull over, that was for sure. Even if he didn’t understand his feelings, he could accept things better after his talk with Jason. Somehow, the way the man said things always put him at ease.
One thing was for sure, he was a lot closer to his team leader now than he had been a half hour before. Except he’d just lied to him. That kiss, simple as it was, made him hard as hell.
“Make me?” Jack asked as he went toward him.
Daniel returned the evil grin with one of roguish mischief. “That’s what I said? You going deaf?”
“Oh you little…” and Jack launched himself at Daniel…and missed…as Daniel danced out of the way.
“When I catch you, you’ll wish I hadn’t.”
“Ooooh good,” Daniel purred at him as he circled the small sofa in the opposite side of the room. “I haven’t heard you threaten me in a long time.”
Jack stealthily approached, then darted first one side of the couch, then the other, making Daniel do the same. A small giggle escaped from Daniel during this ‘chase’ and it never ceased to amuse Jack that of all the things that could possibly make Daniel giggle – sober – this was one of the few that did.
Daniel made a good feinting move and caught Jack unprepared. He ran past him and straight for the bathroom…only there wasn’t a door to slam shut. Shit.
Jack started laughing. He didn’t even bother going into the bathroom. “I think you’ve painted yourself into a corner, Daniel.”
“Like hell,” Daniel said and bolted from the bathroom, just slipping past Jack’s fingers. He slid himself over the bed and off, then back across the room behind the sofa.
“That was impressive,” Jack said, pointing before bending over to rest his hands on his knees as he studied what to do.
“Thank you, I try,” Daniel snorted through a wide smile. “Now…come and get some.”
Jack stood up straight, staring with hot intent into Daniel’s eyes. “Excuse me?” he said softly, and ever so cat-like, stalked toward the sofa.
Daniel blinked. Uh oh. That was the wrong thing to say apparently. He darted…and was cut off. He feinted again…and was cut off. When Jack reached for him, catching part of his belt, he shoved – hard – twisting away from him, but Jack grabbed the back of his trousers. Another twist, and shove, and he was free…except he was now cut off and backing his way toward the bed.
Jack smiled evilly. “I’m coming.”
“You’re not,” he replied, laughing, then grunted as Jack tackled him onto the bed, dragging him into the center of it. His wrists were now pinned by Jack’s large hands and his lover was looking down at him with one of those predatory smirks. Then Jack’s knee, or more accurately, the place just above his knee, started riding up and down over his groin.
The sight of his lover’s eyes darkening made Jack’s smile widen. “I have you now,” Jack whispered, then lowered himself for a long session of kissing and winding up – courtesy only of his knee.
Jason entered the room without knocking – on purpose. He caught Jack and Daniel scrambling off the bed and grinned his head off.
“Hey, if you thought you’d get caught, you shouldn’t have been doing that so don’t go getting all defens–mmm…”
Daniel kissed him, quickly, then pulled back. “Yep.”
“What?” Jack asked as Jason blinked, trying to get his bearings back.
“He kissed him.”
Jason was going to protest – just because – when Jack grabbed him and kissed him longer, during which Daniel said, “Jack, my taste covered up the other, you can’t taste anything now…unless Jason had his tongue down his throat.”
Jason suddenly pushed Jack away and took a step back. “I didn’t.” His lovers didn’t believe him. For a brief second, he thought that maybe he should work on his lying skills. But he couldn’t, not with them. “Okay, okay. Once. It was a test. And it worked. Neither of us got worked up…if you know what I mean.”
“Good,” came from Jack as he wiped his lips, staring at Jason hungrily. “And since you’ve interrupted what was a thoroughly good tease, you may as well tell us what happened.”
Jason smirked. “Private chat, gentlemen. I’m not violating Alex’s confidence. Just know that things are cool. Okay?” From their expressions, they believed him and he was relieved. Sighing, he looked about the room, then found the decanter of liquor. “I need a drink.” Alex may be okay, Jason thought, but it was going to be a while before he got used the attraction thing.
His lovers watched him, exchanging glances, then Daniel found himself the sole object of attention. Jack gave him that wicked smile again as he placed his hand on Daniel’s chest and pushed him back toward the bed.
“Where were we?”
The back of Daniel’s knees hit the bed and he crawled backward onto it until he thought himself in the center, watching with interest as Jack followed, crawling over him.
“I believe we were here,” Daniel replied, answering the question as he maneuvered Jack’s knee between his legs and his hand over Jack’s crotch. He rubbed his own partial erection against Jack’s leg and moaned with quiet encouragement.
“Yes, I believe you’re right,” Jack told him and rubbed further. Daniel’s arousal abruptly returned to its former glory.
Jason turned in mid-drink in time to see them roll themselves onto their sides to kiss and fondle. Growling to himself, he drank the liquor down, then distractedly looked at the bottle in amazement. “Hmmm. Not bad.” He poured another and drank that down. The distraction was lost when Daniel made that hungry moan that always sent chills up and down his spine. It always signaled Daniel’s intention to give intense pleasure. He looked over and watched as Jack’s hand slid inside Daniel’s now-opened trousers, massaging his cock. Jason felt his own arousal spike and he bit his lips together as he set the glass down and approached the bed.
Daniel’s hand was now around Jack’s cock, slowly sliding up and down. Jack’s reaction spiked Jason’s arousal even more. He took a deep, satisfied breath, then straddled the inside corner of the bed, his back against the post. For a moment, he considered what to do. Watch or remain where he was? For now, it was an intense turn on to watch Jack’s hand slide slowly up and down Daniel’s cock. He opened his trousers and began to stroke himself, getting off enormously on watching them. After a few moments, he knew he couldn’t simply watch. He needed to touch them.
It was then he remembered Daniel’s subtle order before he’d gone to talk to Alex. Grinning with lustful anticipation, he went to the chiffonier and found what he hoped he’d find. A jar of oil. It had a faint smell of honey. He pulled his trousers down and smoothed the oil over his cock, then brought the jar with him as he crawled up behind Daniel.
Daniel broke his kiss with Jack and looked over his shoulder. “What are you up to?”
“Fulfilling an order,” Jason whispered, then bit at his ear as he pulled Daniel’s trousers down over his ass.
“‘Bout time,” Daniel groaned with need. Jack abruptly pushed up and pulled Jason over Daniel for a wet, probing kiss. When they broke apart, they licked their lips, then Jason winked at Jack and looked quickly at Daniel’s cock. The corner of Jack’s mouth went up as he moved away, as if he were leaving.
“You’re not going anywhere,” Daniel said with a slight growl, reaching for him.
“No, I’m not,” Jack replied as he turned about.
“Oh!” Daniel said quietly, seeing where Jack was going, then Jack’s mouth was on him. “Ohmygod,” he whispered quickly, then felt Jason’s slick fingers entering him. “Oh god,” he panted as the dual assault began. Finding Jack’s cock bobbing tantalizingly in front of him, he wasted no time and took him into his mouth.
Jack groaned and pulled his mouth away to keep from biting down from the pleasure, then quickly stroked Daniel to make up for the lack of wet heat. He looked down as Daniel ran his tongue up the side of his shaft, so he bent to his own target to lick the pre-come off with the tip of his tongue. Daniel responded with a moan, followed by a bit of rapid sucking on the glans.
“Damn it,” Jack gasped. In order to distract himself from coming too soon, he focused on Jason’s actions, watching him wind Daniel up instead.
Jason closed his eyes as he removed his fingers and slowly breached his lover’s body. Before his cock was completely inside, Jason began to rotate his hips, moving purposely, seductively. Daniel’s deep moan reverberated around Jack’s cock, making him shudder at the pleasurable vibration. He reached between Daniel’s legs and slid his hand over the back of Jason’s thigh.
The touch sent a chill through Jason. “Jack!” he whispered intensely.
“Jason,” Jack whispered back, his voice teasing. Jason reached over and ran his fingers through Jack’s hair, encouraging him, then letting go, he took hold of Daniel’s hip and set up a short, steady rhythm, pushing deeper as he moved. When he adjusted the angle and ground hard against Daniel’s ass, he finally hit the right spot.
“Jason, fuck!” He didn’t trust himself not to bite down on Jack, so with his hand, he began to jerk him off.
“Daniel…” Jack groaned at the too-tight fingers, but found he liked it and couldn’t pull away. He returned the touch in kind, smiling at the groan reciprocated from Daniel’s throat.
Highly aroused at the sight of Jason sliding in and out of Daniel’s body, Jack moved his hand with single-minded purpose. “Fuck him harder,” he whispered.
Jason bit his lip and complied with the order. Daniel growled and dropped his head to the bed’s coverlet, biting into it as his free hand clenched it tightly in his fist. “Yes, Jace, yes.” His response provoked Jason to move faster when he felt Daniel’s body tightening, readying for release.
Daniel knew it, too, feeling the warmth riding up his erection. His hand suddenly sped up on Jack’s cock, jerking him off with maddening speed and strength just as he thrust a spit-wet finger into his ass.
“Fucking hell, Daniel!” Jack panted, then with anticipated hunger for release, he latched onto the head of Daniel’s cock and suckled rapidly, just as Daniel had done, like a baby on a pacifier. In seconds, Daniel’s frantic stroking had him coming hard. As he pearled over his fingers, Jack sucked harder and faster, rubbing his tongue over the head of Daniel’s cock as the man panted toward orgasm. Daniel bit down harder into the coverlet in order to stifle the howl that threatened as both Jason and Jack hurtled his body over the edge. He let loose a stifled scream into the mattress, shooting thickly into Jack’s waiting mouth.
Jason hadn’t thought it would be this soon but Daniel’s spasming grip on his cock brought him over. He arched back and came, his hips jerking spasmodically while he bit his bottom lip to the point of nearly drawing blood.
Their collective motions slowed, drawing out the remaining pleasure. They lay there, waiting through the aftershocks, then Jason pulled out and forced his wobbly legs into the bathroom to grab things to clean up with. He spied the tub and smiled, then suddenly remembered the dream he’d had…which wasn’t a dream. He then realized what they’d just done and where they’d done it and frowned. What the hell was the matter with them? Why weren’t they more careful? The door wasn’t locked and it had a gaping hole where the doorknob used to be! Anyone could have looked…or come in!
Bringing out three small damp cloths, he saw the looks on his lovers’ faces and knew they were thinking the same thing as he was.
“Daniel, I don’t smell that incense,” Jason told him. “Are they controlling our minds or something? Making us so horny that we’re doing things we normally never would?”
Daniel took the towel from his hands and cleaned himself up. “I don’t know, Jace. All I know is that I’ve been permanently horny since I got here. It started out a little slow, but I can’t seem to keep myself from getting hard. Of course, I wouldn’t mind this at all if we were at home.”
Jason and Jack both blinked in surprise. “You know, he’s right,” Jack replied. “I’ve never been this horny on a mission.” At Daniel’s smirk, he glared. “Don’t even go there. I just want to know why.”
Daniel sighed and stood up. “Me, too. I’ll go find out wh–“
“No,” Jack said, rolling his eyes toward the ceiling. “I’ll go. About time I got the facts from the horse’s…mouth.” He almost said ass.
“Jack, maybe I should go,” Jason said.
Jack frowned at him. “Why?”
Jason regarded him steadily for a moment. “You tend to be a little…brusque.”
Daniel tried not to smirk. “What Jason means is that your diplomatic skills leave a lot to be desir–“
“I know what he meant, Daniel.”
His lovers somehow refrained from further smirking as they looked back at him. Jack sighed heavily. “Fine, I’ll be nice.”
Now, they did smirk.
When Jack left the room, Jason pulled Daniel into a long kiss. When they broke apart, Daniel asked, “So…since we’ve got nothing better to do than to wait and see how Jack fares, you up for a game of chess?”
“Your queen is doomed.”
“In your dreams, flyboy.”
Jack was making his way past the top of the grand staircase when he halted, spying a young woman below who looked a lot like Rone, dressed in the same black coatdress. The only difference was an interesting knotted clasp at the nape of her neck, holding her waist-length black hair back.
“Excuse me,” he called.
She looked up, startled. Jack motioned with two fingers, signifying he wanted to speak with her upstairs. She ascended the staircase, then stopped a few feet in front of him, lacing her fingers together in front of her. Jack was taken by surprise momentarily as he realized she was taller than Sam.
He frowned, taken further by surprise. “You know my name?”
“Yes,” she said simply but politely.
“Oh. Well, seeing as you know mine, what’s yours?”
“Well, Kesa. I’m looking for Adriann. Would you please take me to him?”
She regarded him warily. “He is in the other end of the house. He did not wish to be disturbed.”
“Yeah, well, I need to talk to him about what’s going on around here.”
She looked confused. “I may be able to help. To what are you referring?”
“I think you know.”
She shook her head slightly. “No. Adriann and the others are not bothering you and the incense has been turned off in this part of the house.”
“Yeah, but there’s something else going on.”
“No, Jack, there is not.”
“I beg to differ. Please, take me to him.”
She frowned in further confusion, then shrugged. “Very well.”
He followed her through the corridor that took them away from the central part of the house and in the direction where Tan had taken Daniel. They passed the section where Adriann had almost killed Tan, continuing down the hall that Adriann had taken afterwards. At the end of the hall, they passed through a small room, like a foyer, then through an opposite door. Jack took in his surroundings, marking the way they had come so he could find his way back alone.
When they exited the small room, he found himself in another expansive room, this one with a domed ceiling, half of which was made of glass. It reminded Jack of a both a sunroom and an aviary, and he imagined the room must look amazing in the daylight. An immense fireplace was positioned directly across the room from the door, seemingly the center of the place, and its fire was enough to light the entire space. Jack noticed other light sources: v-shaped wall sconces that held round globes of light. One sat near the door and he peered at it, finding that the ball, almost like frosted glass, gave off a bright golden light. Jack wondered why the sconces weren’t elsewhere in the house – for instance, in the rooms he and his teammates were staying in. His suspicious nature made him wonder also if that weren’t on purpose. Taking a page from Daniel’s book, he decided to hold that judgment in reserve.
The room, like all the others in the house, was richly furnished, and at the far end, tall windows reached the edge of the domed ceiling. Next to the windows was a large, ornate desk, and sitting at it, facing the window, was Adriann. He appeared to be writing, bent over what appeared to be a large, partially-opened scroll. Kesa motioned for Jack to stay where he was, then she cleared her throat as she walked across the room.
Jack took the moment to look around further. At the other end of the room, he did a double-take as he saw a few of Adriann’s family members sitting on short sofas, reading from books. One member sat on the floor, in front of one of the two fireplaces in the room. The other was where Adriann sat. Politely, Jack nodded but they made no polite gesture in return. In fact, they didn’t seem particularly pleased to see him. He didn’t blame them, not after all that had happened.
These people were surprising him left and right. One moment they appeared sinister; the next, they were people trying to survive. Now, they appeared to be normal, everyday people relaxing before bed. Was there something wrong with this picture? Jack didn’t know and he didn’t like ambiguity. He needed to be certain if they were good people or bad people. He unthinkingly fingered the butt of the pistol strapped to his leg as he made a quick threat assessment. In all, six people in the room, but who knew where the remaining twelve were, if there really were only eighteen Residents…or more accurately, Var’chol’si.
Kesa’s voice cut through his thoughts as she spoke softly to Adriann, announcing him, and Jack observed Adriann looking over his shoulder in his direction.
“It’s all right, Kesa,” he said, turning slightly in his chair. He gestured Jack to join him, then looked up at her. “I knew he was coming. Thank you for bringing him. Have you and the others retired yet?”
“Why not?” he asked worriedly.
“Tan is…proving to be difficult.”
Adriann frowned and at the mention of Tan’s name, Jack halted, then walked the remaining few yards with caution. Before Adriann could answer, Jack interrupted.
“I thought you incapacitated that psychopath?”
Adriann scowled at Jack. “I did.” He looked at Kesa kindlier. “What is going on, Kesa?”
“He is recovering more quickly than we thought possible. I think he has been consuming the flower.”
Adriann closed his eyes. “Then tie him down.”
“Yes, Adriann. We have already done that.”
“We had to dose him with calla root and he is fighting that off, as well.”
He sighed. “He has always been difficult and if he has been eating the flower, it will be even harder.” He then shrugged and patted her arm. “Thank you, Kesa. Is there anything you wish?”
“No, Adriann. I was off to the kitchen to prepare something for Rone. He cannot sleep.”
She nodded, took a step back, glanced at Jack, then left the room without another word. Adriann gestured at a chair at the end of the desk.
“Have a seat, Jack.”
Jack hesitated, then looked behind him and across the room at the others. He sat down cautiously. “They aren’t thrilled that I’m here,” he stated.
“No, I do not imagine that they are.”
“Neither are you.”
“Talen told us to come looking for you if we needed to talk, so here I am.”
“Yes, I am aware.”
“You said you knew I was coming.”
“That telepathy thing, I suppose?”
Adriann sighed deeply. “Yes. That telepathy thing.“
“I want to know–“
“I already know.”
“You mind if I ask?”
“Do what you will,” Adriann said with irritated resignation as he returned to writing on the scroll. Jack became perturbed and tapped the paper, causing Adriann to slowly set down his writing instrument with further irritation. Jack noted, for a brief moment, the interesting design of the stylus and thought that Daniel would find it fascinating. Annoyed at being distracted, he pushed the thought away from him as he realized he was beginning to think like Daniel. Not that that was bad…exactly.
“What else is going on around here?”
“Nothing from us, Jack.”
Jack leaned forward. “That’s bull. Something is affecting us.” Adriann narrowed his eyes and Jack correctly interpreted the look and waved his hand at him. “Don’t do that. Don’t read my mind. Ask.”
“I will not change the rest of my behavior to suit you,” he said deliberately. “I had already read – easily I should add – that you are upset that your libidinous behavior is unusual for a mission. Is it that which is bothering you?”
After a moment, Jack decided to just lay the cards on the table. Considering what had been going on, and what Adriann had already seen (according to Daniel), he may as well. “We’re not given to screwing around offworld. It’s a dangerous distraction we can’t afford and we’re normally better disciplined than this. We are feeling this…behavior…constantly, as if we were on some drug, and I want to know what’s causing it.”
Adriann shrugged as he turned slightly in his chair to give Jack his undivided attention. He really didn’t want to but, like he had with Daniel, he was beginning to find the man intriguing. He wondered idly if it was just because of the blood need. He could practically smell it coming from Jack’s body heat.
With a deep sigh, attempting to push those thoughts away, he answered, “It may be that the food you ate has had an effect. Or it may be the alcohol you drank. It may also have been the incense you inhaled. It could be a combination of all three. I do not know. It has been a very long time since we have had true humans here. The side effects of those three things may be the reason for your…behavior.”
Jack took a deep breath then. “Okay. Is it temporary?”
“I do not know, Jack, if I don’t know the cause.”
Adriann started to pick up his stylus but left it and picked up the glass goblet to his left. He drank slowly, looking out the windows in front of him. The only thing to see was the moonlight reflecting off the distant trees. The room was situated to accept moonlight only after the moons reached zenith. Until then, the room had to be artificially lit.
Suddenly picking up on Jack’s thoughts, Adriann looked over at him. The thoughts revealed a lot to him, informing him of Jack’s innate protectiveness. He saw death in Jack’s background. A lot of it. It made the man before him a hard person to get to know. But the other thing he saw was a softening of his heart and it seemed to be because of his association – and subsequent relationship – with Daniel. Adriann could relate. He had done something he never would have thought himself capable of – denying his family the means to live. Those who hadn’t received blood were extremely angry about that. Angry and afraid.
Adriann let his examination of the man follow the curve of cheek, down the hollow of the throat, along the strong shoulders and firm musculature.
“Why are you staring at me like that?” Jack asked, forcing Adriann to look him in the eye.
“I think you should leave now,” Adriann warned. He realized that he was becoming aroused and he needed Jack to leave, to heed his warning. Problem was, Adriann had a feeling that Jack was just as insufferably stubborn as Daniel.
“I don’t think so. I want to know what you told Daniel.”
“Daniel told you, did he not?”
“He did. I want to hear it from you. Daniel tends to edit things, even as he tells me the truth. I think you’ll tell me what I need to know without getting…creative.”
“That is a gift Daniel has. Do not belittle it or take it for granted.”
Jack blinked, then became defensive. “I know and I don’t. Listen, Daniel asked me to be more diplomatic, so I’m trying, but I think it’ll suit the two of us better if we speak plainly, whaddya think? Daniel tends to put a polite spin on things and I frankly don’t want that. Just tell me what you told him without all the gothic romance attached.”
Adriann realized that he liked Jack even more than he wanted to. He also appreciated Daniel’s influence on him and that if Daniel didn’t want him here, Jack wouldn’t be here. So for Daniel’s sake, Adriann stifled the distraction that Jack was quickly becoming and answered his questions.
He looked down at the parchment-like paper in front of him, forcing himself to focus, and in a slow, methodical voice, devoid of passionate nuance or inflection, he told Jack everything he had explained Daniel. His words were crisp, his sentences short, and his body language no-nonsense. He made sure that Jack had all the facts and nothing more, just as he wanted.
After Adriann had finished, Jack sat mulling over the information. He didn’t like what he heard…or how he felt. Like Daniel, he was starting to feel sympathy for these people and an urge to help them was coming over him, despite what they had done. Struggling to bring his warring thoughts together, he stood up and began to pace in front of the desk. He didn’t say a word and Adriann didn’t ask for his thoughts or opinions.
Probably because he knows what I’m thinking, Jack thought sarcastically, then turned and looked at Adriann, who was writing again. He peered at the language, not recognizing it all, realized that maybe Daniel should have come with him – but he didn’t want the two of them in the same room, if he could help it.
Rational or not, Jack suddenly decided to test Adriann. He had no idea why. Maybe it was to test the man’s ability to concentrate, or more likely to test his ability to ignore Jack’s talent for pissing people off. He watched Adriann write, then deliberately voiced a question without saying it out loud.
“Is that your language,” he asked.
Adriann heard him. He heard all of Jack’s thoughts, as a matter of fact. The no-nonsense way of thinking was appealing to him, and like Jack and his test question, he had an urge to test him back. What Jack didn’t know was that Adriann had that same…appeal. The talent to piss people off mixed with the talent to attract them like flies to honey. Adriann looked up at Jack, then set his stylus down once more and got up from his chair. He walked over to a small table by the window and picked up a knife and a piece of fruit that looked like a green peach. He cut into it, breaking it in two, revealing a small dark brown pit in the middle. He held out one half to Jack.
After what Adriann had said about the food, Jack wasn’t too sure he should eat it. However, in the interests of ‘making nice’, he took it, examining the pale green flesh. It looked good and though Jack realized that he was hungry, he didn’t take a bite.
Adriann bit into his, including the slightly fuzzy skin, chewed, then swallowed. He took another bite, watching Jack stare suspiciously at the fruit. “If the food is part of the cause for your…abnormal behaviors…then it will likely not do you any further harm.”
“You sure about that?”
“No,” Adriann shrugged as he took another bite. “Live dangerously and take a bite.”
Jack snorted, trying to determine if Adriann was joking. “You know, they say that about eating tiny pieces of Puffer fish on Earth. Larger quantities will kill in under two minutes.”
“This isn’t a Puffer fish, Jack.”
“I noticed that.”
“It is not poisonous, either.”
Jack looked down at the fruit in his hands, then back at Adriann.
Another shrug came from Adriann. “Suit yourself,” he said as he sat down on the front edge of his desk and continued to eat his half of the fruit.
Jack picked up on the use of the colloquial English. “How is it you know our language? You take that from our minds?”
Jack’s phrasing made Adriann bristle. “I did not take that from your minds. It was easily readable.”
“Surface thoughts. The way your minds are constantly thinking.”
“Kinda hard to stop doing that.”
“Kinda hard to stop doing what we do, as well,” Adriann said, copying Jack’s manner of speech.
Jack examined the fruit once more as he leaned against one section of windowsill. Shrugging, he bit into the fruit. It was good, tasting more like a nectarine than a peach. He chewed, then swallowed, nodding. “Not bad.”
Adriann agreed as he took another bite.
“So, by what you’ve just said, about it being hard to stop doing what you do, that means you heard my question.”
Adriann slowly swallowed the fruit in his mouth before answering. “I heard.”
Jack figured he had. “So?”
“You really want to know?”
Jack shrugged. “Sure, why not?”
Adriann shook his head. “I would be glad to tell Daniel. He is the only one who had an interest, but even that is no longer likely.”
“Oh, his interest is still there, believe me.”
“But yours is not and never was. So, are you asking? Just to see if I would answer?”
Keeping his voice low and even, Jack said, “You drugged us and took our blood. You’re just as bad as the Goa’uld, taking without asking.”
Adriann grimaced, wanting to argue the point but he knew that Jack was right. It was something he’d already considered but dismissed the morality because of the need for himself and his people.
“What? Nothing to say to that?” Jack asked quietly, though the sarcasm was plain.
“We’re dying, Colonel,” Adriann said, formally using his rank. Jack hadn’t been introduced that way and Adriann was making it very plain to Jack that he knew a lot more than he had said. “What we did, we did to keep from dying.”
“You could have asked,” Jack said, knowing damn well that it wouldn’t have mattered.
“You would have said no. We had already read that and decided that subterfuge was the best alternative under the circumstances.”
“I still think there was a better alternative.”
“No, there wasn’t.”
“Isn’t there some place else you can go? How did you survive before?”
“The blood of others, like the Brethren. The blood of Jaffa. Small quantities, nothing more than that. Not enough to kill, although the Jaffa usually ended up making us kill them. The Goa’uld used to come here all the time. And there were many more of us. But the hunting catastrophe affected us and now, we’re doomed. Staving off our own deaths no longer seems viable.”
“So you don’t go offworld then?”
“And to whom could we go? Where could we go? Would we not receive the same type of fearful reaction that you have given us?”
“Yeah, I guess so,” Jack said, beginning to feel the weariness from the man.
“Aside from the reality of how our request would be received, we are too few in number to risk going through the stargate. Has not Daniel told you this?”
“Then what is the point of me continuing?” He waved his hand through the door. “For that matter, why are you here? Go back to your companions and await daybreak.”
Jack hesitated, looking at the fruit in his hands, then he set it on the table. “What if our reaction is not because of the fruit, Adriann? What if it’s not the incense or the alcohol, either? What if it’s something else?”
Adriann frowned, wondering why Jack refocused on what he considered a dead issue. “Why are you worried about that?”
“It could continue when we go home. We have been compromised already. I don’t want to be compromised any further.”
Adriann stared at him, and a sudden idea occurred to him. He stood and walked over, closing the distance between them. When he saw Jack bristle, he stopped. “I have an idea, but you will not like it. Tell me, what just happened? Why did you cringe like that?”
“Two different subjects, Adriann. What’s the idea?”
“No, I do not think they are different. Please, answer the question.”
Jack frowned. “I don’t…know.” His frown deepened. He wasn’t afraid of the man so why had he suddenly become edgy? He really didn’t have an answer.
“Despite your seemingly inherent fears about your world’s vampires–“
“Afraid of me, I know.”
“Would you stop doing that.”
Adriann ignored him. “I think that maybe the nature of your current state was in reaction to our feeding.”
“Daniel did tell you what happened when I drank from him, didn’t he? Or more to the point, what happens when we drink from a human in that state?”
Jack fidgeted. He didn’t like fidgeting. “Yes. So?”
“Maybe it is something that happens to you when we…drink.”
“Like the…” and he winced, not wanting to get into it all of a sudden. What was the matter with him? Why should it matter?
“Yes, what happens to your bodies at the moment of orgasm and why we chose moments like that in which to feed. There is a chemical change in the blood, something we taste. It is sweet. When we drink at that moment, your own orgasms are intensified. There might be a connection with that. Maybe your bodies’ feelings are heightened, I do not know,” and after studying the way Jack met his gaze, he added, “I told you that you would not like my idea.”
Jack shook his head. “My liking it or not does not enter into it. If this is the case, then we had better get over it.”
“Because it’s dangerous, that’s why?”
“Maybe it is more a factor of you getting control of these feelings.”
Jack sighed and turned away. “We’re highly trained, disciplined people. We may joke around, but we don’t let our hormones take over on missions. It can get people killed. The point is, we have already tried and failed. I don’t like the option of ‘wait and see’.”
Adriann suddenly felt his attraction for Jack increasing and he was becoming aroused. He wondered if the intense arousal weren’t two-way. “You could test the theory.”
Jack suddenly turned back as he heard something decidedly…seductive…in Adriann’s voice. “What?”
Jack gave him a shocked looked. “Excuse me? On who? You? You have got to be kidding me? You have your own…whatever it is…mind-whammy thing. From Daniel’s report, you don’t need to ask. And speaking of that, why are you?”
“I am suddenly aware of the same feeling, the same interesting spike of arousal. Though you are very handsome, and I can see how people can be drawn to you, I was not. I did not feel sexually attracted to you, yet I am very aware of it now. We have been in proximity for a while now. The arousal wasn’t there before. I don’t believe it was the fruit because if it were, it would take longer to achieve its effect. What if what you and I have been trying to figure out has no cause. What if it is simply the prolonged interaction between our two species.”
Adriann moved closer and Jack took a step back, holding up his hand. “Okay, hold on there, pal. This is getting way too bizarre. If, and I stress if, it is some chemical thing between our species, then you coming on to me is the last thing you should do. Whaddya think?” Adriann walked closer and Jack took yet another step back. “Did I mention that ‘last thing’ part? I think I mentioned it.” Another step, another retreat. Jack glanced quickly at the other side of the room, noting that the few family members there seemed a little curious, but they hadn’t moved. “Oh, and if I didn’t mention it…um, doing anything with you is the last, and very likely the weirdest thing, I should do.”
“Very likely,” Adriann said, and for the first time since the dinner, in Jack’s presence, he smiled, although the smile was wistful.
Jack found it disarming and backed up yet another step even though Adriann had not come any closer. He was going to take another step back but he paused…mostly because he found himself backed up against the side of some tall piece of furniture he had no intention of checking what it was. He did have easy egress, however. All he had to do was move to his left and walk out of the room. So why did he feel trapped all of a sudden?
Okay, he wasn’t exactly trapped. And he wasn’t afraid of the man. So why was he backing up? Uneasily, he realized that whatever had made Daniel pause was making him pause as well. Something that could be confused with fear, causing the fight or flight response. Unexpected or unwelcome.
Desire unbidden or unwelcome, though not exactly refused, was usually caused by people who had the ability to draw others to them. Like this Adriann did. Jack recognized that the man had that strange quality that he rarely found in people, despite the clichés to the contrary: good ol’ magnetism. Combined with all the other qualities that Adriann possessed, along with a need to know, this would have drawn Daniel in. Though the man hadn’t used any hypnotic voice that Jack could tell, he found himself being drawn in as well…and resisted. Daniel hadn’t been aware, but Jack was. He saw that Adriann was as well.
Adriann suddenly took a step back. Then another. He gave Jack another wistful smile before he turned back to his desk. “It seems something is going on, Jack. I’ve just proven to myself that the…attraction…between us, or more accurately, between my people and yours, is real, and likely one of the answers to your question. The chemical reaction in the blood…well, that is likely another. But again, that is only speculation. If you wish, bring your doctors here later on and run tests. Maybe you will find the answer.” He turned round and looked at Jack, having another thought come to him. “Did Daniel tell you that he offered to help my people find a solution?”
“Yes,” Jack said, frowning at the seeming turnaround. One moment the man was coming on to him, the next moment, he was back to his previous remote behavior. “Daniel told me that you said no. That in order for the blood to work, it has to be taken…hot.”
Adriann sighed. “Yes.”
Jack didn’t know why in God’s name he was thinking of helping these people, but he was. “What Daniel didn’t tell you Adriann was that your people could get transfusions of blood, intravenously. You don’t need to drink it, but it is…hot. Daniel would have thought of it, I’m sure, but I guess you had him sort of…preoccupied.” Those last words were spoken with obvious sarcasm…and not a little bit of jealous possessiveness.
Adriann, however, didn’t care. All he heard in Jack’s mind was that the man who would have seen him dead two hours ago was now offering a way to help save his life…as well as the lives of his family. He walked toward him, and at Jack’s hesitation, he stopped and held up a hand. “Don’t worry. No more come-ons. I can control myself, I promise,” and he returned the sarcasm with a smile. Jack relaxed and suddenly remembered what Daniel had said about the man prior to the…blooding. “What I want to know is,” Adriann went on, “is what this transfusion and intravenous method is.”
Jack held his arm out and mimed his explanation. “A transfusion is the transferring of blood from one person into the body of another. Intravenous is the method in which it’s done. Knowing our Doc Fraiser, she’d probably find a way to give you what you need – in the blood – without using whole blood.”
Jack grimaced and shook his head. “Never mind. If I can convince the General to get her here, then you can ask Doc Fraiser all the questions you want.” Peripheral movement caught his eye and he looked to his left, catching sight of the family across the room. They were looking over in their direction, obviously paying rapt attention to the current conversation. Their faces now appeared alive. With hope? Jack asked himself. He couldn’t help but feel like the world’s biggest heel.
A lot of things cleared up for him then. The need for survival caused people to do many things they wouldn’t normally do, given a better option. Adriann and his people had no more options and took their blood without asking, knowing that they’d have been refused. Jack wasn’t so sure he’d have done the same thing, but it wasn’t a situation he could relate to. He could, however, relate to the need for survival.
“The blood you took in the past, it’s all been voluntary, hasn’t it?” he asked as he brought his attention back to Adriann.
“Except for Jaffa, Goa’uld, and…you, of course.”
Jack made a face. “I’m not exactly happy to be in the same company as the Goa’uld and their Jaffa.”
Adriann made an apologetic gesture, which Jack waved off as unnecessary.
“The consensual taking of blood has involved only the Brethren for over a hundred years or more,” Adriann continued. “I am not certain, but I think I told Daniel two hundred. I would have to check with other family members. May I ask you something?”
“Are we reaching some sort of friendship? Are you willing to help us?”
Jack took a deep breath. “Can’t you read my mind?”
Adriann gave him an impatient look. “I’m trying not to, out of respect. It seems to bother you. So…are you willing to help?”
“Well…yes,” Jack answered.
Adriann sensed hesitancy in his words. “There is something else?”
“My people would want a trade-off. It’s not that we don’t like helping people, but we’ve been burned in that area far too many times so we’re overly cautious. Would you consider giving us the information on that medicinal paste you used on Daniel? We used the stuff that’s in our room on his back.”
Adriann’s eyes became wide. “I didn’t think he was injured that badly. Is he okay?”
Jack nodded. “Daniel likes to pretend he’s fine, even when he’s not, but he couldn’t hide it this time. So, we fixed him up. The marks didn’t break the skin completely, but they stung like a bitch.” At Adriann’s worried expression, Jack added, “He’s okay now.”
Adriann heaved a huge sigh of relief. “Good.”
“Oh, oh, the paste, yes. My apologies. It is from a plant that grows plentifully here…but outside the protection of the fence. Your people would have to be very careful. The beasts may be nocturnal, but they will come out into the daylight if disturbed. Some of their habitations are near heavy plant growths.”
“Do they live in–“
Jack’s question was cut off by a scream in the outer hallway. A woman’s voice. Adriann pelted out of the room and through the small connecting room, with Jack and the other family members behind him. Out into the hallway, and toward the additional rooms, Adriann found Talen, on her knees, holding someone. When they caught up with her, they found a bloody knife in her hand and Kesa in her arms, bleeding profusely from the chest. Jack immediately dropped to his knees and put his hand over the wound, while Adriann dropped down next to him as he ripped off his silk jacket to use for binding. Talen shook her head at them both. It was too late. The wound was fatal. Kesa’s bloody fingers reached out and grabbed Adriann’s collar.
She coughed violently, then wheezed, spasmed and went still. Talen started to cry and hugged the young woman to her chest, unmindful of the blood that seeped into her clothing. Jack swallowed the lump in his throat. The young woman had been nice, amiable, straight-forward. He’d liked her. He then remembered her warning. As did Adriann.
“Daniel,” Jack breathed, and they both took off like a shot for the central part of the house.
Daniel and Jason sat on the floor in front of the fireplace, mostly to keep warm. They were halfway through their third game, having won one apiece and each game having been won rather quickly. They were taking their time with the third.
“Your move,” Daniel reminded, smirking because he knew that Jason hated being interrupted. Like himself, Jason tended to go through several moves ahead, plotting, planning, strategizing. He suddenly shivered and rubbed his arms.
“Want me to build up the fire?” Jason asked, not looking up.
“No, it’s just that this silk shirt is too cold for a house like this. How the hell they keep it warm is beyond me.”
“Huge, enormous fireplaces. And there is a vent system. You know, the incense? Ask Adriann how the house is heated. I’m sure he’d be more than willing to tell you all about it.”
There was a note of jealousy there. “Don’t be catty, Jason.”
Jason looked up through his short lashes, purposely giving Daniel that sultry, let’s fuck look.
“Stop that,” Daniel said, staring right back in the exact same way.
“What?” Jason asked, giving him a dangerous smile. He was about to act on his impulsive thoughts when they both heard a creaking coming from somewhere, then a thud. The bathroom. Wasn’t there a hidden passageway behind one of the walls? As Daniel automatically reached for the fireplace poker, having forgotten to retrieve his weapon from Adriann’s room, Jason turned and went for his P-90.
As he snicked the safety off, he heard a low animal growl from behind him.
“Jason, look out!” came Daniel’s cry of warning a split-second later and Jason gasped out in pain as something lanced through the top of his left shoulder near his neck. As he looked down, a slicing pain shot through him as his shoulder muscles rebelled. He could only just see the pointed tip of either an arrow or a dart. He heard scuffling and Daniel’s heavy exertions as he fought with someone behind him. He felt a wave of dizziness as he swiftly turned, then caught sight of Tan…or what sort of looked like Tan…wrestling with Daniel on the floor next to the bed. As he raised his weapon to fire, his vision became blurred and he couldn’t focus or aim accurately. He cursed, not wanting to hit Daniel but needing to help. Instead, he charged, landing on top of the creature, or Tan, or whomever it was that had their clawed fingers around Daniel’s throat.
The pain in his left shoulder was keeping him from using his left arm, but there was nothing keeping him from using his right. His weapon came down, again and again. Blood quickly dotted his t-shirt and weapon but he kept at it until he felt his target weaken. The attacker dropped down over Daniel and Jason reached down and pried the heavy paw-like hands from Daniel’s throat. When he went to snap the neck of the creature, pain shot through his left arm and shoulder as it refused to be used. Sudden dizziness hit him like a title wave, making him lose his balance. Slumping to the right, Jason lost consciousness before he hit the carpeted floor.
Daniel had almost blacked out, but the squeezing around his neck eased off abruptly and though the inevitable spots and light shows formed before his eyes, he could just barely make out Jason behind the grisly changeling that used to be Tan. Just as he was about to push the creature off, Jason wavered and fell off them both.
“Jason!” Daniel cried weakly as he shoved and wiggled his way out from under the heavy creature that lay unconscious – or dead, he hoped – on top of him. He pulled Jason by his weak arm, holding him, checking his pulse. He couldn’t see very well and he kept coughing from the near-strangulation he’d received, but he was able to focus enough to realize that Jason was unconscious, not dead, but the man was awfully pale. He pushed his lover’s hair out of his face, petting, caressing.
“Jason, don’t you dare die on me.” He turned then, yelling. “Help!” but his voice wasn’t working correctly. It came out in a strangled, raspy cry, reminding him of the one time he’d had laryngitis. He grabbed Jason’s P-90 off the floor, and without getting up, he shot off several rounds into the ceiling. That ought to bring people running.
It did. But not what he’d expected. The first two came through the door immediately after the weapons’ fire – which meant they’d already been on their way – it was Jack and…Adriann? Not bothering to question what that was about, he called out.
“Jack! It’s Jason,” he said, his voice barely able to produce a hoarse squeak. Jack reached him, touched his face and throat, then bent to Jason.
“Daniel, let go, we need to get him on the bed.”
Daniel let go, but as he and Jack tried to pick him up, it was more than a little awkward considering the placement of the unconscious whatever-it-was next to the bed.
“Allow me, Jack, Daniel,” Adriann said. Jack and Daniel reluctantly backed away and watched in amazement as Adriann lifted Jason as if he weighed no more than a baby and gently laid him on the bed. He also stepped on Tan to do it. The man went up another notch in Jack’s estimation.
At that moment, Sam, Teal’c, Alex, Al and Connor came racing into the room. All of them misunderstood and started for Adriann but Jack and Daniel held up their hands.
“No, he’s helping,” they said simultaneously, causing their teammates to come to an abrupt halt at the foot of the bed. Jack and Daniel then crawled onto the bed to support Jason’s body while Adriann removed Jason’s shirt to examine the wound…and the long wooden dart. Adriann startled everyone as he cursed in an unfamiliar language, then looked over at the door and caught sight of one of his brothers.
“Kashan!” he called out. “It’s moonflower root.”
With a horrified look, and a similar round of cursing, Kashan went into the bathroom, retrieved a tiny white ceramic jar, then rummaged through the chiffonier, and returned to Adriann’s side with a wooden bowl and a large towel. He looked down at the dart and hissed.
“Adriann…that is bad.”
“Yes,” Adriann replied through gritted teeth, then grabbed the towel and draped it around Jason’s shoulders.
“A poison?” Daniel asked, barely able to speak so it came out in a hoarse whisper and when Adriann nodded, his face became a mask of fear. Sam and Teal’c were hovering nearby, trying to examine his neck but he brushed them off. “Guys, I’ll be fine,” he managed to get out, then touched Adriann’s shoulder. “Is Jason dying?” he asked, already knowing the answer. Jason’s skin was damp, clammy, and paler than it had been a moment ago.
“Can you help him?” Jack asked carefully, afraid for the answer.
Adriann looked at him, then at Daniel. He didn’t bother looking at their companions as he finally nodded. “I will have to bite into him.”
Kashan touched Jack’s arm as both he and Daniel winced. “It is the only way of getting it quickly out of the system.”
Daniel focused his gaze on Adriann. “What about you? Won’t it kill you in return?”
Adriann had an urge to say something bitter and sarcastic, but he quashed it. “I am immune.”
“Will you need to take much blood?”
“Only enough until the blood is free of poison, Daniel. Are you going to let me do this? If you wait, he will most assuredly die.”
Jason started to stir then and as he opened his eyes and saw Adriann, he started to resist.
Jack held him down. “It’s okay, Jace. He’s trying to help. Can you understand me?”
“Of course I can understand you, you idiot. I didn’t just wake up speaking Abydonian.”
Despite the dreadful seriousness of the situation, his sarcasm was a relief and it made everyone smile, including Jack. Jason then gave him a look of apology. “Yes, Jack, I understand,” then suddenly gritted his teeth as hot pain shot through him. “Fucking Christ,” he gasped. “What the hell is that?”
“Poison,” came Daniel’s hoarse voice from behind him.
“Daniel! You okay?”
“Throat’s sore as fuck, but I’m alive…thanks to you.”
“Jace,” Jack interrupted. “Adriann can save your life. Will you let him?”
Jason frowned, wondering why Jack was asking. “I thought you already said he was helping.”
“I am,” Adriann said, getting Jason’s attention. “But part of that help requires me to suck the poison out and I have to bite you to do it. Will you allow it?”
Jason dropped his head back against Daniel’s chest and closed his eyes. “God. Just don’t make a meal out of it, okay?”
Adriann frowned in confusion. Did Jason just give his consent or not? “Does that mean I can go ahead?”
Jack grinned and nodded. Sarcastic and joking, Jason had just given his consent. As Adriann went to preparing the dart for removal, Jack looked at the worried faces of his teammates. “Okay, guys, take a seat and stop hovering.”
Alex harrumphed and remained where he was while Sam, Teal’c, and his teammates moved back and sat down in the available seating across the room or in front of the fireplace. Alex hesitated for a moment as he spotted Jason’s P-90 near the chiffonier. Picking the weapon up, he grimaced at the blood spatter covering it, then aimed the weapon at the nearly-forgotten creature on the floor.
“Who the fuck is that? What the fuck is that?”
Adriann looked over his shoulder at Alex, then at Jack, Daniel, and Jason. “It is Tan. He has taken large amounts of a plant we call moonflower. It flowers only during certain moon phases, which is why someone long ago named it thus. The plant is normally a type of healing poison but it has vicious effects on Tan and his people.”
“Ya think?” Jack remarked drily.
“What did it do to him?” Daniel asked, clearing his throat.
From the door, Rone entered and answered the question as he slowly approached the bed. “It turned him, as it would all of my people, into a wild animal.” He reached down and grabbed Tan, showing his own amazing amount of strength as he picked up his brother by the nape of the neck. Everyone who saw Tan’s face recoiled in horror, including Daniel, although he’d already seen that face up close and personal. Tan’s face had distorted and twisted, with erratic hair growth over his cheeks. Four of his teeth had elongated into fangs, each protruding over his lips. He then slung the man over his shoulder, waiting.
“Rone, please get Tan out of here,” Adriann ordered. “You know what has to happen to him now, don’t you?”
Rone nodded, his face a mask of shame and grief. “I’m his brother, Adriann. I’ll do what needs to be done.” He hoisted Tan over his shoulder then left the room.
“He’s going to kill him?” Daniel asked.
“Daniel,” both Jason and Jack intoned.
“I’m just asking a question.”
“Yes,” Adriann said sadly. “He is going to kill him. Tan is mad now. There is no cure. And now, I suggest we dispense with the…”
“Bullshit?” Jack offered.
Adriann smiled tightly. “Yes. Bullshit. Jason, are you ready?”
“No, but do it anyway.” His eyes followed Rone out of the room. “God, first vampires, now werewolves,” and he looked over at Jack. “Have we somehow been transported into an alternate universe run by Hammer films?”
“Nah, the films are much cheesier,” Daniel said with a straight face.
Alex snorted. “You got that right. I don’t see Peter Cushing or Christopher Lee around here, either. Maybe we’ve dropped into a universe directed by Wes Craven.”
A few people sniggered, knowing what he meant, and Connor added, “The Hills Have Eyes.”
“Ew, don’t say that,” Al replied, shoving him in the back.
“Would you prefer The Last House on the Left? Hey, I know, An American Werewolf in London. I knew Tan’s…face…reminded me of something.”
“Gross…but accurate. Except that’s not Wes Craven.”
“No, that’s…um…John Landis.”
“Right, but Thriller? What a joke.”
“It was a music video. It wasn’t meant to be taken seriously.”
“Neither was An American Werewolf but it was.”
“God, would you two shut the fuck up,” Jason said, attempting a grin. He really didn’t want them to. They were a nice distraction.
Alex affected a New York accent. “Sorry, boss. I’ll have them taken out as soon as you give the order.”
Jason sniggered, then grimaced as the motion caused pain.
“God, I’m sorry, sir.”
“Don’t be,” Jason replied. “I needed the humor. Adriann, let’s get on with it. I don’t feel so hot.”
Adriann didn’t understand the dry humor and went on to explain what needed to be done.
“First, I will have to remove the dart, then immediately following that, I will have to bite over the wound. Do you understand?”
“I will have to take the initial blood out, then drink until no poison is left.”
“How will you know when it’s all gone?” Jason asked, his voice now starting to waver as the poison took control of his nervous system.
“I can taste it.”
“I must also warn you.”
“Now you want to warn me?” Jason squeaked.
“You may feel conflicted while I do this.”
“Meaning a mixture of pain and…”
“Arousal?” Jason asked unbelievingly.
“It is something that I have recently discovered that happens between our species.”
“I’ll explain later, Jace,” Jack whispered.
“You will? Okay, that should be good,” Jason replied as he grimaced as another shock of pain coursed through his body. “God, whatever. Adriann, do it, for gods sake.” He grabbed Jack’s hand tightly in his right and his left had no choice but to clasp onto Adriann’s clothing. He could feel Daniel behind him, his arms around his chest, feeling relief that the man was there, holding him, alive.
Opening the white jar, Adriann applied the black paste around the entrance and exit wounds.
“Do it,” Jason replied just as Adriann quickly pulled the dart through his shoulder. Jason howled and arched back. “FUCK!” His fingers gripped Adriann’s shirt tightly as the man set to work, sucking, and spitting out the surface poison into the bowl that Kashan held near the shoulder. After the third time, Kashan took the bowl away.
Then Jason felt Adriann’s teeth.
Jack and Daniel stared in part-fear, part-fascination as Adriann’s teeth elongated, then sliced through Jason’s skin. Jason gasped with astonishment, more so because it didn’t really hurt. More of a pinch than anything. And heat. Curious heat. He then remembered that Daniel was the only one of them who had actually been awake for this…although the circumstances had been different.
“God, this feels…weird,” he whispered as his fingers clutched tighter as Adriann began to drink. He felt the heat inside his shoulder rapidly spread throughout his body, then the heat changed to the tingling warmth of arousal. “Oh no,” he gasped and somehow resisted the intense urge to rub himself against Adriann.
“Jason?” Daniel whispered.
Jason didn’t answer. He was lost in the arousal and knew if he didn’t concentrate, he could easily have an orgasm…in front of all and sundry. That would not be good.
A slight bit of pink suffused his cheeks and his lovers recognized it as the flush of embarrassed arousal. Jason didn’t look like that too often, unless he was worked up by his lovers in a compromising place – such as work. They looked at each other, then back down to Jason, thinking rapidly about how they’d cover for him…just in case he couldn’t stem back the tide.
Adriann’s task didn’t take very long, though from everyone’s perspective, especially Jason’s, it seemed to take an eternity. Daniel frequently wiped Jason’s sweating brow, using a corner of the towel that remained draped around his shoulders. When Adriann at last pulled away, Jason had relaxed into a deep sleep. His color had returned a bit, Jack, and Daniel sighed in relief.
“He’ll be okay now,” Adriann whispered, out of breath. Daniel noticed a trace of blood on the inside of his mouth as Kashan brought a cup, filled with a white liquid, to his lips.
“What is that?” Jack asked.
“An energy replenisher,” Kashan told him as Adriann eagerly did as told.
“But shouldn’t Jason have that instead?” Jack asked, frowning.
Kashan shook his head. “No. Adriann has the poison in his system. This is a remedy.”
“Thought you said you were immune?” Daniel asked.
“He is,” Kashan answered for him as Adriann drank. “It will not kill him, but it will make him very sick if he doesn’t have something to counteract the poison.”
“So, Jason doesn’t have any more of that poison in him?” Daniel asked.
“No. Adriann would not have stopped if he had.”
Adriann finished the glass of liquid, then started to rise, became dizzy, and promptly sat back down. “Kashan, I need some assistance to my room. Would you, please?”
“I’ll help,” Jack added, and as Daniel looked at him, he covered. “Hey, I have to retrieve your 9mm, anyway. Should’ve done it before. One of too many fuck-ups on this mission.”
“All things considered, Jack, you’re excused.”
“You’re all heart, Daniel,” Jack scowled.
Daniel hid the tiny smile and gently moved out from behind Jason so that his lover could be more comfortable. He started to comb his fingers through his hair but checked himself when he remembered that Jason’s teammates were still in the room.
Fortunately, they read the action differently. “Don’t worry, Daniel,” Connor told him with a sappy smirk. “We won’t tell your best friend that you displayed affection for him in front of his teammates.”
Daniel looked over at them and took in their very worried, tired faces. “Thanks. Maybe you guys should get some shut-eye. You look like death warmed over.”
“Daniel, we are just fine but you…you don’t look so hot,” Sam said from behind him, repeating Jason’s words, then purposely reached out and ran her fingers through his hair. He grinned, pulling his head away.
“I concur, Daniel Jackson,” Teal’c told him. “It would be best if you rested along with Major Coburn.”
Daniel agreed, feeling a measure of fatigue slipping over him. “Okay. I’ll rest. On one condition. No hovering.”
His friends grinned at him, and though Jason’s teammates reluctantly left the room with Teal’c, Sam stayed. Daniel took the opportunity to run his fingers through Jason’s hair then, gaining a soft sigh from the sleeping man.
“Almost, Sam,” Daniel said quietly, the tremor in his voice very apparent now.
“Almost nothing. He’s alive, thanks to…Adriann. And Daniel, Jason saved your life.”
Daniel blinked, realizing what she said was true. He hadn’t thought about it and the realization hit him hard. “Yeah, he did.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll keep it to myself.” She leaned down and kissed his forehead, then Jason’s. “Get some sleep. I’ll wait until Colonel O’Neill comes back, then I’ll go back to my room and get some rest myself. I don’t think we need to worry, now that creep is gone. It’s funny, but I thought the others were creepy. But what I find strange most of all is the Colonel’s attitude with Adriann. They seem to have become friends. Know what that’s about?”
“I’m not sure. I’ll have to talk to him and find out what happened.”
“No, you rest. I’ll find out. If you don’t, I’ll sick Teal’c on you.”
“Please don’t. He’s almost as bad as Janet. Actually, I think that Jack and Jas…” His words drifted off as he laid his face down next to Jason’s and within moments, he was asleep.
Jack helped Kashan deposit Adriann onto his bed, then grabbed the Five-Seven pistol from the foot of the bed and stuck it into his waistband as he gathered up the bullets and replaced them in the cartridge. His manner was perfunctory, automatic, but as he did what came naturally, he was aware of Adriann’s and Kashan’s eyes on him. He looked over at them.
Both Adriann and Kashan shook their heads. They were merely observing him was all. Jack shrugged as he finished loading the magazine clip, then pulled the gun from his waistband, slid the clip into the gun, then returned it to his waistband. He approached the bed and looked down at Adriann, who smiled up at him.
“How you doin’?” Jack asked, surprised that he felt a little worry.
Adriann was surprised as well. “I will be fine. He is a strong man, your Jason.”
Jack blinked. My Jason? He’d never thought of those words to describe Jason as his lover. He found he liked them…then felt odd at having an alien make him aware of it.
“He is,” was all Jack could think to say.
Adriann grinned and turned his eyes on Kashan. “Would you leave us alone for a moment please?”
Kashan nodded. “I will check on you again in a short while,” and left quietly, closing the door behind him. Jack took that moment to sit down on the side of the bed. It wasn’t that he didn’t like Kashan, but he wasn’t comfortable around him like he was with Adriann. He then wondered just when it was during his talk with Adriann that he had become comfortable. Shrugging it away for the moment, he reached out and touched the man’s arm, surprising himself once more. He wasn’t given to tactile gestures, either – with aliens anyway.
“I meant what I said.”
“I will appreciate any help you can provide,” Adriann said.
“I’ll do what I can.”
Their conversation felt like an awkward dance, though every word was meant. Something was hanging over them, something unsaid. Jack didn’t have a clue, but it seemed that Adriann did. Though he felt the fatigue enveloping him, he pushed himself up on his elbows, then reached out and wrapped his fingers around Jack’s neck. Slowly, tentatively, he pulled Jack to him.
Though surprised, Jack allowed it.
Adriann touched his lips to Jack’s, just brushing them lightly at first, then pursed his lips as he kissed Jack more firmly.
Jack didn’t know why he did it, but he opened his mouth. He didn’t think it was from a morbid curiosity to taste Jason’s blood in the man’s mouth, but the thought crossed his mind as Adriann’s tongue touched his own. He was consciously relieved when he tasted none.
Adriann suddenly lay back, easily pulling Jack with him. All he wanted at that moment was to roll them over and kiss Jack with more passion, but his fatigue was gaining a good hold over him and he simply didn’t have the strength. He would have tried anyway, but he knew with a powerful certainty that Jack needed to be the one to initiate anything else. What Jack did was to slowly pull away, taking a long breath as he did.
“Um…what was that about?”
Adriann only smiled, drawing a finger down Jack’s chest…just before he slipped into sleep. Jack frowned as he moved off the bed. He didn’t exactly understand why he’d let that happen, but he found himself once again understanding why Daniel had allowed things to happen. The man certainly had that magnetism thing going.
Jack returned to his room, and his sleeping lovers. When he went to take a leak, he looked at his hands and realized that they were stained in blood. For a moment, he didn’t remember why. When he found a few spots of blood on his t-shirt and trousers, it was then that he remembered. Kesa. Sighing with sadness for the young woman, he washed the blood from his hands. From his clothes, he didn’t bother. There would be no way for him to wash and he wasn’t wearing those silk clothes. He’d just have to wait a while and get new one ones when he went home.
He returned to the room and looked down at his lovers, watching them sleep. He noticed that the bruising on Daniel’s neck was becoming more pronounced. Just what Daniel needed, he thought. Hammond and Fraiser would have coronaries. A soft rap came at the door and he went to open it. It was Talen, freshly washed and changed into clean clothes, although these looked more like black suede. They were flattering on her, he noticed absently. What he also noticed was that her face was slightly puffy, very likely from the tears she had shed. He stepped back and allowed her inside, gesturing to keep her voice low, then indicated the two men on the bed.
She nodded, studying them.
“You okay?” he asked.
“I am…okay,” she replied, digging up a smile for him. She then pointed at his clothes. “You did not change.”
“I didn’t bring extra clothes. Our mission didn’t require it at the time. Unless you have more of that kind of cloth, instead of the thinner material, I’ll wait until I get back home.” He studied her more closely. “You sure you’re okay?”
“Yes. I am fine.”
Jack thought he heard Daniel in her voice. “You don’t have to put on the brave face on my account. I know what it’s like to lose people you care about.”
Talen didn’t reply. She merely looked at him intensely for a moment, finding his Earth language curious, then turned away and went over to the bed. Her fingers traced the air over Daniel’s throat, then moved over Jason’s mouth and nose, as if testing his breathing. She looked over her shoulder suddenly, startled at Jack’s close proximity.
“You do not shun me as you did before.”
Jack took a breath, then guided her away from the bed to stand by the windows across the room. He stuffed his hands in his pockets and took a deep breath. “We have never come into contact with people like you. After what had happened, I had no reason to trust you or your people.”
“Now you do?”
“Adriann and I…came to an understanding.”
She gave him a genuine smile. “Thank you.”
“Understanding…and trying to help.”
“Do all of you read minds?” Jack asked irritably.
She tilted her head in a manner Jack found engaging. “Yes. But I did not learn this information from your mind. The others told me.”
She smiled, then rose and went over to the window. “The sun will be up in a few of your hours.”
“I can’t guarantee that my people will help, but I’ll do what I can.”
She turned, regarding him carefully, then looked across the room at Daniel and Jason. Making up her mind about something, Jack watched her move over to the chiffonier to remove the jar of healing paste. He got up and followed her as she sat carefully next to Daniel. Opening the jar, she began applying the paste to Daniel’s neck.
Jack reached out and stilled her hand. “You’ll wake him,” he whispered.
She shook her head. “He is too exhausted.” To prove it, she continued her ministrations. Daniel only stirred slightly as she turned his head to get at the bruising on the other side of his neck. When she was finished, she put the lid back on the jar, then sat there observing him and Jason for a moment before she got up and retrieved another, smaller jar. Sitting down next to Jason this time, she opened the lid and began smoothing a green gel over the wound. As before, Adriann’s bite wounds had already begun healing so she did not touch them.
“He is going to be okay, isn’t he?” Jack asked, startling her again. He winced, realizing that when she concentrated on something, she really concentrated. “Sorry.”
She shrugged. “It is…okay,” and smiled at the use of the colloquialism. She then gave him a much more sober look as she finished and stood up from the bed. “He will be well, Jack.”
“You are welcome.” She moved over to the chiffonier and returned the jar. “I am going to go check on Adriann. If you notice a fever, on either of them, let me know.”
“I will. Thanks. Oh, by the way, how long will they be out like this?”
“After daybreak, they should rise. It takes a while for their bodies to heal.”
Jack rolled his eyes. “Don’t I know it.” At her questioning look, he shook his head. “Never mind. Just thanks for doing what you did.”
She gave him a nod, then left the room. Jack looked back over at his lovers, then trying not to make too much noise, he rearranged the furniture in the room just enough to drag the small sofa over to the foot of the bed. Checking on his lovers once more, he placed a footstool in front of the sofa, sat down, propped his feet up, and settled into his vigil.
Over the next few hours, Jack had to frequently reassure Sam and Teal’c, as well as Jason’s roommates. Despite Daniel’s order for them to leave, they kept returning, checking, and double-checking. By the time the moons had set and the sun started to rise – along with two more moons – Jack was ready to do anything just to get away from the worried mother hens. Himself included.
The sun’s rays stretched across the room, lighting it up fully and when bright enough, Jack roused from his nap. Blinking, he realized it was now day. He looked down at his watch and saw that it was 7:30 p.m., Earth time. Hammond wasn’t due to check in for two more hours, but Jack decided that an early call home might be a good idea. He pushed himself off the sofa, grabbed his monocular device from his field vest, then went over to the windows. Scanning the area, there was no sign that he could see anything.
The door opened and Teal’c and Sam walked in. They spotted Jack by the windows and joined him. They were also dressed and ready to go.
Subtle, Jack thought sarcastically. “I take it you two are ready to make a foray to the DHD and call Hammond?”
“Yes, sir,” Sam replied, the tone in her voice making it abundantly clear that she was bored to tears.
“What’s the matter, Carter? Not enough here to keep you occupied?”
“Funny, sir. Ha ha.”
Jack grinned. “Well, let’s double-check on the sleeping beauties, then I’ll have Adriann’s people look after them while we contact the boss.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Sam agreed, smiling smugly at Teal’c, who almost scowled at her. Jack noticed, figuring they’d made some private bet – about which he had no intention of asking. They moved over to the bed and Jack discovered that the bruises on Daniel and Jason weren’t so noticeable, especially after the medicine that Talen had used.
“Damn, we gotta take some of that paste home. Talen put that stuff on those bruises around Daniel’s neck not two hours ago.”
“Wow,” Sam whispered as she looked down at Jason’s wound, which had shrunk considerably. She then looked back and forth between the two sleeping men, then frowned. “Why are they still sleeping, even while we’re talking? Daniel would have woken up by now.”
“And very likely would have hurled some expletive for us to remain quiet,” Teal’c added as he laid his palm over Jason’s chest, checking the man’s heartbeat.
Sam grinned as she watched Jack wince.
“He’s right. To answer your question, Carter, Talen said they’d be out for a while. I don’t know how long but she said not long after daybreak.”
At that moment, Jason’s teammates walked through the open door. They too were dressed and ready to leave. Jack snorted. “What are you, my escort? We’re only going to call the boss. I highly doubt you’re planning on going home without your team leader.”
Alex winced. “What? Are you kidding, sir? He’d have our guts for garters.”
Connor sniggered. “He would, too,” then nodded at the bed. “How they doin, sir?”
“Oh, they’re fine. Sleeping, but fine. They’ll be awake soon so why don’t we head out and call home. Before we do that, I have to find someone to sit guard duty.”
“Not necessary,” Adriann said from the doorway. Everyone turned, astonished to find a seemingly healthy, strong man standing there. He looked as vibrant as he had a few hours before saving Jason’s life.
“You look remarkably healthy, Adriann,” Jack replied. “I’m jealous.”
Adriann smiled. “I heal quickly.”
“As I said, jealous.”
“The stargate will be free of beasts now. I will stay with Daniel and Jason until your return.”
“Good. I was going to suggest something like that.”
“I figured as much.”
Jack gave Adriann a slight scowl. “Do you have any idea how annoying that is?”
In return, Adriann smirked. “I did not need to read your mind, Jack. It is what I would have done.”
“Oh,” and Jack shrugged. “Okay. Well folks, let’s get a move on. Carter, we may as well bring the MALP with us, in case Hammond wants us to send it back.”
The five team members arrived at the stargate, finding it as peaceful as when they’d arrived. Only fresh track marks along the lake’s edge gave them any indication that the area had been disturbed. Apparently the beasts did not find the stargate or DHD interesting, which was a good thing.
Hammond was still in his office when they dialed home. Throughout the long explanations, and even longer ones regarding Daniel’s and Jason’s injuries, Jack somehow managed to omit the whole blood taking thing. Hammond was given a summary of the situation but Jack planned on telling him the whole truth once they got home – which they were ordered to do immediately after the two team members woke up.
Jason opened his eyes and blinked a few times to focus. He felt warmth and looked to his right, finding Daniel snuggled up against his side, his face pressed against his own. Daniel opened his eyes and looked at him, and his brows immediately knotted with worry. Jason smiled, then nuzzled Daniel’s cheek.
Daniel’s smile disappeared as he put his arm around him and squeezed, not minding the sappy nickname. “Hey. How’re you feeling?”
“That’s not surprising.”
“Tired. Sore, although I wish it was for another reason,” Jason replied with a tiny grin, which Daniel matched.
Daniel realized that his throat wasn’t scratchy and brought his hand up to feel it. There was no soreness at all, inside or out. Jason turned carefully, pushing Daniel’s hand away to have a look, and found faint bruising.
“My God, shouldn’t there be…” and he stopped, remembering those horrid hands around Daniel’s throat. “Motherfucker better be dead.”
“He is,” came Adriann’s distant voice from across the room. Startled, they tried to sit up by themselves but ended up helping each other.
“How?” Daniel asked, trying to focus on the man, then turned to Jason. “Did you…?”
Jason shrugged. “Hell if I know. I passed out. I do remember everyone being in the room afterwards, so something must’ve happened to the skanky sonofabitch.”
Daniel bit his lips together to keep from laughing. Not so much at what Jason said, although he found that amusing, but at Adriann’s frown of confusion at the odd phrase. Jason noticed Daniel’s look and scowled at him.
“What? He was, the skanky sonofafucking–“
Daniel lost it and burst out laughing, especially as Adriann’s frown of confusion increased.
“What?” Jason asked with louder irritation.
Daniel pointed at Adriann and Jason took in his expression. “Oh,” then sniggered. “Guess that was rather oddly descriptive, wasn’t it?”
“And nowhere near accurate,” Adriann replied drily. “I recognized some words but…” and he made a wave of his hand. “Our expletives are very boring by comparison, especially when translated to your English.”
“Have you seen my glasses, perchance?” Daniel interrupted as he collected himself. “I’m kind tired of seeing blurry edges here.”
Adriann nodded, moving to a small table. He picked up the glasses and approached the bed.
“I found them on the floor in the bathroom,” he said as he handed them to him. He looked down at Jason, then at his wound. “Now that you’re sitting up, would you mind if I looked at this?” he asked.
Jason was about to say something sarcastic but refrained. “Um, sure.” Adriann sat down and placed his hands on Jason’s bare shoulder.
“This is healing nicely. No sign of residual infection and that’s good.”
As his fingers moved over his skin, pressing, sliding, almost caressing, a sudden shiver went through Jason. Daniel and Adriann couldn’t help but notice.
“Cold?” Adriann asked.
Jason nodded, lying. “Maybe a little.”
“Want me to get you a silk shirt?” Daniel asked, smiling.
Jason groaned. “No, please. I need something warmer. And so do you.”
“The daylight will warm up the house very quickly. You won’t need it. There is a small blanket at the bottom of the chiffonier.”
Daniel was already up, although moving a bit slowly, and opening the chiffonier. He found the elaborately crafted throw and placed it over one of Jason’s shoulders.
“You are welcome.”
Their eyes met and they both understood that Jason wasn’t cold. Adriann’s touch had made him shiver. Jason suddenly swallowed. “Is there anything to drink besides that liquor?”
Adriann winced. “How dreadful I am. I will return will something suitable.” He got up carefully, then left the room.
Daniel rubbed Jason’s back, taking off his glasses so he could lean in to kiss his cheek. “I love you. Thanks for saving my life.”
Jason turned his face and found Daniel’s lips. He kissed him, but it wasn’t enough. His hand came up and held the back of Daniel’s head as he kissed him more firmly, battling his tongue for taste after taste. Jason suddenly moaned and broke away.
“Goddamn it. I’m tired as hell but fuck if I don’t have another hard-on.”
“Tell me about it,” Daniel replied, then pulled Jason’s hand down over his crotch and rubbed himself against the palm. Jason bit his lip and smiled. He rubbed more firmly as he leaned over and pressed his lips to Daniel’s ear. “Want me to take care of that?”
“Adriann will be back soon,” Daniel replied.
Jason groaned in frustration and pulled away. The door opened then and Adriann came in with a pitcher and three glasses. He set them down on one of the tables by the fireplace, then filled two glasses halfway and brought them over. By the pale orange color, the liquid looked almost like either orange or papaya juice.
Daniel and Jason smelled it, then sipped. It was good. “What is it?” Jason asked as Adriann gathered supplies this time before he sat back down to examine his shoulder.
“A fruit juice.”
“Well, duh,” Daniel said into his glass, making Jason snigger.
Adriann caught the sarcastic humor this time and smirked. “It is called grazzo, after the name of the tart fruit.”
“Tastes kinda like orange or papaya.”
Adriann smiled as he cleaned the wound, then applied the black paste that had been used to remove the dart. Over it, he began to bandage Jason’s neck with a gauzy material and had to wrap the material around his chest to hold it in place.
“Is that necessary?” Jason asked.
“Only for a few hours, to let the tanna paste soak into the wound.”
With each touch on his skin, including a brief pass over one nipple, Jason’s erection would not go away. He shuddered again.
“Um, Adriann, I hate to be rude, but…” Jason started.
“You wish me to leave you alone with Daniel?”
“I wish you wouldn’t read my mind.”
“I did not. I felt your arousal.”
“Ah.” Jason suddenly winced and laid back against the pillows.
“Nothing, Daniel,” and he adjusted the front of his trousers. From the way he did it, Daniel again bit his lips together. He gave Adriann a look.
Adriann didn’t quite hide his smile. “If you will excuse me. I will check to see if your companions are on their way back.”
When he left the room, Jason opened his trousers and heaved a sigh of relief as the confinement eased.
Daniel reclined next to him and laid his hand over Jason’s abdomen, softly caressing. “Want some help?” he whispered against his ear.
Jason groaned and reached out to stroke his cheek. “They could be back any moment.” His breath hitched as Daniel slid his hand over his briefs.
“This clearly a very bad idea…and it won’t take long,” Daniel promised as he pulled at his earlobe.
“Oh God, Daniel, don’t do this to me,” Jason pleaded, not meaning a damn word of it as his right hand moved down to rub over Daniel’s covered groin. He found him as hard as stone. “Seems you’re just as worked up.”
“Very,” Daniel whispered as he removed his hand and quickly opened his own trousers and pushed them down. His briefs followed. “I also need tactile reassurance. Close your eyes.”
“Fuck,” Jason said softly as he complied.
“Push down your pants,” Daniel told him quietly.
He did, along with his briefs.
“Now, take my cock in your hand. But I won’t be insulted if you…forget to return the favor.”
“Daniel…” he objected, then inhaled sharply as Daniel’s hand formed a tight sheath and began to work him. Up, over, twist, down, twist, up, over…
“I wanna fuck you so badly right now,” and he leaned over to kiss him fiercely as he increased pressure and speed. Jason moaned into his mouth and mirrored his lover’s actions with slight deviations, according to the way Daniel liked his dick massaged. When Daniel started to speed up, he broke the kiss, gasping.
“Daniel,” he said as his hips thrust upward, urging more from Daniel’s hand.
“Like that, baby?”
“More?” and his fist tightened.
“Yes, damn you.”
Daniel couldn’t take the aural teasing anymore and decided on a much more oral approach. He need to taste.
Jason bucked up the moment Daniel took him into his mouth, keeping his hand on the base of his cock while he sucked. Moving up and down, he paused frequently for suction and warm massages by his tongue around the glans. When he felt that familiar tightening and heard Jason’s vocal encouragements, he sucked faster.
“Oh god, suck me, suck me, suck me,” Jason panted softly, then came like a freight train down Daniel’s throat. He clutched the coverlet while the rest of his body arched off the bed, loving each spurt and each delicious suck for more. Finally he fell back, spent, gasping. He waited about two seconds before he turned and shoved Daniel onto his back to return the favor.
“No, Jace. You’ll compromise your shoulder.”
“Then roll over me, onto my other side, so I can use my proper hand. You are getting off, Daniel.”
Daniel did as suggested, then found himself captured by long, deep kisses, bites along his jaw, and Jason’s clever, knowing hand. Whenever Jason masturbated him, he found himself remembering that first time in the locker room, and every time Jason did this, he took care of him quickly. As he was doing now. Daniel’s body bucked and squirmed through each stroke, each tease, and in minutes, he was coming hard over Jason’s fingers.
After a moment, Daniel whispered, “Damn, you do that so fucking well.”
“I love doing that to you. Turns me on times ten.”
“Except you came first,” Daniel contradicted.
“I got off on it, Daniel. Trust me.”
“Oh, I trust you, Jace.”
Jason abruptly giggled, his laugh tickling Daniel’s ear.
Daniel rubbed his ear. “Jace, you giggled. What? That was funny?”
“No, no, no. I’m sorry,” Jason apologized, kissing his neck. “I just remembered the song that was playing in my head while I was sleeping.”
“Uh oh. A Led Zep song, no doubt.”
“Nope, not this time.”
“Who was it then?”
Then to Daniel’s secret delight, Jason sang, “I don’t mind you coming here, and wasting all my time. I guess you’re just what I needed. I needed someone to feed. I guess you’re just what I needed. I needed someone to bleed.”
When he was through, Daniel was laughing with him. “That’s sick, Jace.”
Jason sniggered. “Yes, it is. Which is why it’s funny.”
Daniel sat up then, rearranging his clothing as he scooted off the bed. “We need to clean up here before we’re…found out.”
Groaning with agreement, Jason grabbed his trousers and briefs and smoothly rolled off his side of the bed, landing on his feet. “Well, come on. I’ll serenade you in the bathroom.”
Daniel smiled at him as he pushed Jason into the bathroom. While they cleaned up, in silence, Daniel favored him with an uncharacteristic shy smile.
“I don’t tell you often enough, but you have a wonderful voice.”
“You told me once, Daniel,” Jason argued softly. “I don’t need to hear it again and again. Now, telling me you love me, that’s a horse of a different color,” and he grinned wolfishly.
Daniel stared in surprise. “I love you, Jace, but so help me, if you start–“
Jason grinned with mischief, then in a purposely nasal tone, “We’re off to see the wizard–“
“What? Wrong tune? Okay, how ’bout this–“
“No, stop it–” Daniel said, but he couldn’t help but laugh at his lover as he started playacting.
“Somewhere…over the rainbow…way up high–“
“There’s a land that I dreamt of once in a lullaby.”
Cleaned and dressed once more, Jason made his way to the fireplace, smiling impishly. He opened his mouth to sing again but Daniel moved over quickly and covered his mouth with his hand. At that moment, the door opened and in walked their teammates. Jason’s were first. They took a look at the scene: Daniel covering Jason’s mouth with his hand, and both with rather amused but guilty expressions, and they deduced something funny was going on. Only not in a bad way. Jason’s teammates knew him.
“Okay, what’s he been doing, Daniel?” Alex accused. Jason sent him a purposely haughty and indignant look.
“I haven’t been doing anything…wrong, that is.”
Daniel rolled his eyes.
“Daniel?” Jack asked, trying not to smirk. He knew Jason had been up to something…something likely embarrassing.
“He was singing.”
A collective groan and Jason took comic offense. “Hey!”
“Not that you don’t sing well, Major, but…” Jack said as he walked over to examine the bandages on him. “Your choice of songs to sing is usually meant to embarrass,” and he then looked over Jason’s shoulder at Daniel. “Dare I ask…?”
Daniel folded his arms and smirked. “Over the Rainbow.”
That did it. Jason’s teammates usually took off with openings that Jason provided, though at the moment, it didn’t matter if it was Daniel who made the opening.
“I’ll get you, my pretty,” Al said in a good imitation of the Wicked Witch of the West.
“And your little dog, too,” Connor finished.
Alex followed, staring at Jason as he put up his fists and brushed a thumb over his nose. “Put ’em up…put ’em up.”
Jack suddenly took off his cap and slapped Alex in the back of the head with it, which made Alex abruptly stop and fix Jack with a ‘what did I do?’ look. Daniel, Al, and Connor fell about, and Sam with them. Teal’c just stood there, a slow grin of amusement spreading over his face at their antics.
Jason, meanwhile, had to bite his lips together to keep himself from laughing with them. The action was already stressing his shoulder wound. Then Jack turned back to look at his injury once more before he moved over to Daniel to look at his throat. Daniel tried to push away his mothering, but Jack won out, simply by fixing him with a look that meant ‘business first’.
As Jack made a cursory inspection, Daniel asked, “So, what’d Hammond say?”
“The usual,” Jack shrugged. “We gotta go home, report, bring Doc some of that paste, then I’m planning on asking–” At that moment, Adriann’s arrival interrupted him. “Ah, Adriann. We’re ordered to go back and report. I’d like to take a sample of the medicine with me, just to provide a reason for Doctor Fraiser and ourselves to return.”
Adriann stared. “You’re planning on returning?”
Jack frowned. “I said so, didn’t I? You can read thoughts, so you knew I wasn’t lying.”
Adriann held up his hand, forestalling any further explanation. “I did not mean to imply otherwise. What I meant was that you weren’t sure if you would be allowed back, and if you think you will be, then I will be grateful.”
“Well, Daniel wasn’t there to talk to Hammond, but after he gets done with him, he usually has our Commander wrapped around his little pinky.”
“I do not,” Daniel argued.
“You do, too,” came from the other seven voices in the room.
Daniel frowned. Okay, so maybe he was able to persuade Hammond on occasion but surely they were exaggerating. He found Adriann smiling at him in amusement.
“Don’t you start,” and he then fixed Jack with an accusing glare. “You’re a bad influence. What’d you two talk about?”
“Oh, a little of this, a little of that. Never mind, Daniel. I’ll tell you later. Now, let’s grab our stuff and get home before Hammond calls it a night.”
Adriann and Talen escorted them to the gate, and as Sam dialed home, Daniel gave them both a careful smile. “You should be prepared for the inevitable request for you to come to our facility. Mostly to undergo medical examinations by Doctor Fraiser and her staff. It’ll be beyond boring, and maybe a bit stressful, but it’ll be the only way she can run decent tests. I doubt General Hammond will authorize a lab to be set up here, but anything’s possible.”
“We’ll appreciate whatever you can do, Daniel.” He then held out the boxed and wrapped jar of healing paste. “Here. It’s only one of our medicines, but maybe it’ll help persuade them to help.”
Jack rolled his eyes then. “We’ve helped people for far less reasons, Adriann, and none of them were ethical. I think we can manage to convince Hammond on this one. The real reason will be to help you, but the reason he will need to give his self-serving bosses will be the medicine.”
“I understand, Jack.”
The wormhole was now open and waiting. Jason, dressed in a sleeveless black suede shirt that Talen had given him, told his teammates to go through. After they disappeared through the event horizon, he walked up to Adriann and gave him a strong hug, much to Adriann’s surprise.
“What was that for?” Adriann asked.
“You don’t know?” Jason asked with an arched brow.
“I am trying very hard not to read you, Jason.”
“Thank you for saving my life.”
Adriann shook his head. “If it were not for my error in judgment, there would have been no need.”
Daniel looked down at his boots, then up into Adriann’s eyes. “I’m sorry for that, Adriann. I should not have interfered.”
“You had no idea what Tan was capable of, Daniel. It was my responsibility and my decision.”
Daniel nodded. “Hopefully, we’ll see you in a few days, or maybe even before that.”
“I and my family will look forward to it.”
Daniel thought he looked a bit wistful as they went through the gate. He knew then that Adriann did not think they would ever be returning.
During the long debriefing, Hammond stared open-mouthed as the members of SG units 1 and 2 gave their verbal reports. His expression seemed to grow from disbelief to abject horror to controlled anger to slight amusement. He ended with disbelief as he heard Daniel requesting permission to help the people of that world survive.
In fact, Hammond’s expression said, ‘Are you out of your mind?’. What he said instead was, “Doctor Jackson, I need a practical reason to help these people who have willingly put your lives at risk. Convince me why I should do that.”
Later that night, the lovers met up at Daniel’s for a large dinner of steak and potatoes. Since it was nearly 1 a.m. by the time they’d gotten home and didn’t need to be in until ten that next morning, they took the opportunity to have a good-sized meal. During the usual round of food, talk and television, sudden yawning – at a look at the clock – made them realize that it was time for bed.
“So, Daniel,” Jack asked as he crawled into bed beside him, “why didn’t Adriann use any of that mind-whammy stuff on us? You know, when we were together, dreaming?”
“Yeah, I was wondering about that myself,” Jason drawled as pulled his shirt over his head. The bandaging had been removed and the wound was healing nicely, though there’d likely be a faint scar. Daniel watched him, admiring the play of muscles. “All I remember is fucking Jack.”
As Daniel stifled a snigger, Jack looked over his shoulder and grinned sarcastically. “I think I remember something like that happening.”
Jason gave him one of those looks that told Jack he was bordering on becoming cat food. “So, Daniel,” he said, pointedly looking away from one of Jack’s wolfish grins as his jeans came off. “Give. Why didn’t Adriann read or even affect mine or Jack’s dreams?”
“I don’t know. Maybe it’s because there was no reason to,” Daniel said, distractedly running his hand over Jack’s chest.
Jack caught his hand and held it still. “Come on, Daniel. You have a clue. You always do.”
Jason got into bed on his other side and snaked an arm around Daniel’s waist. He puffed out a few breaths over Daniel’s chest before his lips – and teeth – came upon a nipple. “Come on, Daniel. Fess up.”
Daniel knew his lovers were preparing some sort of erotic winding up, and judging by their tone, their questions seemed to be hinting at a bit of jealousy. He thought about not saying anything, but as their hands started to tease him, he thought that maybe a little hard wind-up of his own was in order.
After a deliberately long moment of thought, Daniel replied finally, trying to appear bored.
“Adriann was preoccupied.”
His lovers stared at him, pretending to be serious, and he grinned slightly as he looked at the ceiling.
“The man was…busy.”
“Busy?” they intoned as their hands began to explore further.
Daniel’s grin grew to sarcastic proportions. “Probably because he had my dick in his mouth.”
Soon after that, Daniel found that his memory wasn’t quite functioning properly.
Two days later, they were given the go-ahead. Janet and her field nurse, Carla Vasquez, joined SG-1 and SG-2 in the gateroom. At the base of the ramp sat the MALP and three fully packed FREDs, one of them specifically redesigned for medical work. Equipment was checked and rechecked and this time, full field packs were issued for the teams. The mission was given a four-day window with 2 six-hour check-ins during the daylight hours.
The wormhole opened and the equipment was sent through first, as usual.
Jack adjusted his cap as he looked down at the Doctor. “You ready?”
Janet took a long breath. “As I’ll ever be.”
To Janet’s annoyance, Jack looked over her head at her slightly taller assistant. He couldn’t help it, but it always annoyed her anyway.
“Are you ready, Lt. Vasquez?”
“Like the Major said, sir,” she replied, referring to Janet.
Janet gave her a sidelong look. “Carla, for this mission, there’s one too many Majors for this mission so how about Doctor or Janet, got it?”
Janet grimaced slightly. “No, on second thought, just Janet will do. We are, after all, going to be around civilians who don’t give a rat’s ass about rank or titles,” and she looked at Jack, “that is, if the reports have been accurate.”
Jack gave her a steady look and was about to answer when Sam came up and inserted herself between the two. She slapped Janet on the shoulder and walked beside her up the ramp. “It’s accurate. You just have to see this place.”
“Piece of cake, Janet. And none of them look like Vlad the Impaler, so don’t worry.”
“Very funny, Sam. Remind me to update your shot records.” The two went through, followed by an amused Teal’c and a nervous-looking Lt. Vasquez.
As Daniel walked up the ramp next to Jason and Jack, he looked behind him. “You guys ready for another tour?”
“Yeah, but this time we came prepared,” Connor replied.
Jason barked out a disgusted laugh as he looked over his shoulder. “You didn’t,” he said to Alex.
“Not me. They did it.”
“Uh huh. How many laptops did you stow away on the FREDs?”
Alex chewed on his bottom lip. “Three of them…actually.”
With a deep sigh, he shook his head.
“What’d you bring?” Jack asked Daniel.
“Don’t ask,” Jason replied for him.
“He brought books. For Adriann.”
“Books? For Adriann?”
“Yes, books, Jack. Adriann likes to read so I brought material I think he’d be fascinated by.”
“For cryin’ out loud, Daniel. You didn’t bring books on archaeology, anthropology or mythology did you?”
Daniel looked back, indignant. “Some. The others are fiction books.”
“God, and you say I’m a horrible influence?”
“I thought he’d get a kick out of Bram Stoker, Stephen King, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and Anne Rice. On an anthropological plane, they’re a good example of society throughout the last two hundred years.”
“Only you, Daniel. Only you.”
“Well, what did you bring him? Flowers and chocolate?”
Daniel knew that grin. He looked over at Jason. “What did he bring?”
“Don’t look at me, I’m stayin’ out of it,” Jason replied and quickly disappeared through the gate before Daniel could correct him.
Daniel narrowed his eyes at Jack. “So help me, if you brought him stuff about hockey or flying…”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“After what you just said?” Daniel said. When Jack smirked at him in that particularly nasty way, Daniel whispered, “I’m beatin’ the shit out of you later.”
Jack’s answer was swallowed by the event horizon.