Trinity 18: Sweet Blood
Part 4 of 5
Summary: Four days with the Var’chol’si aren’t exactly boring.
Warning: As with the previous three chapters, it isn’t strictly J/D/J.
The Residents (cont)
Neva bolted into the sunroom at such a velocity she nearly upset Adriann’s script. Her amber eyes widened as she pinwheeled mightily before righting herself. Adriann looked at her calmly, a tiny smile tugging at his lips, then set his stylus down.
“What’s the matter, Neva? Have the cha’pac escaped their feeding grounds again?”
She grinned, her eyes sparkling. “No, Adriann. The stone circle has lit up once again. I did not wait to see who was coming through, thinking only to tell you first.”
Adriann was out of the room before she finished her sentence.
Jack stepped out of the gate and onto the stone platform. “Let’s make a perimeter sweep and make sure no furry things with fangs are hanging about, or dare I say it, any hand-wringing Jekyll and Hyde characters.”
Daniel snorted. “Well, it’s mid-afternoon, or by our watches…” and he made a noise of disgust, “zero-dark-thirty. Also known as 0330, o-dark-thirty, and Too Damn Early. We shouldn’t have to worry about said furry things with fangs.”
“Yeah, well, I’d rather be safe than sorry, Daniel. Everyone double-check their equipment. We don’t have to check-in until tomorrow morning, planet time, so we may as well make sure we have everything right now.”
“We just checked everything before we left, Jack.”
“Humor me, okay, Daniel?”
Sam’s voice distracted Jack from his glare at Daniel. “Our internal clocks are going to hate these four days, sir,” she commented as she checked over one of the FREDs.
Jack made a half-groan, half-growl sound. “Tell me about it.” Then, after a deep sigh, he headed over to the FRED Sam was looking through. “Where’d we put that coffee? I think Daniel’s got me hooked on the stuff.”
Daniel grinned to himself as he turned round to help Sam. “I haven’t heard you complain about it until now.”
“You’re a bad influence.”
“I’ll drink to that,” Jason replied.
“Me, too, sir,” Connor replied as he dug out his thermos from his pack. In two seconds, he made a sound of disgust as he pulled his thermos from his pack. “It’s fucking frozen!” and a split-second after that came a soft smack upside the back of his head from Jason.
“Sorry, sir, but it’s frozen.”
Alex and Al made the same discoveries, and noises of disgust, when they pulled out their own thermoses from their pack. Jack and Daniel exchanged glances as they watched Jason roll his eyes as he pulled out a silver insulation bag from his pack. He then assumed a scolding look, walked over to his boys, and waved the bag under their noses by its black strap.
“Does this ring a bell?”
“Hello? Daniel does this. I was wise enough to pay attention. Now, that was a long time ago. How long have I been telling you three bozos to get these insulation bags?” They started to answer, looking fairly resistant though sheepish, but Jason waved the bag at them and cut them off. “Never mind. Don’t answer. Next time, you either have these bags or you just suffer through the frozen stuff. Any more complaining about frozen coffee and I’m taking it away. Deprivation may make you remember.”
He wasn’t serious, of course. He was just giving them a swift verbal kick. However, the fact that he could do that made his teammates nervous.
Daniel winked at Jack as he pulled out his own insulated thermos, unzipped the bag, opened it up and drank. “Ahh. That’s coffee.”
“It should be, Daniel. You made it strong enough to kill an entire herd of sheep,” Jason called over. Jack sniggered and so did everyone else.
Daniel ignored them as he looked back to Jason and mouthed, ‘Bite me’, knowing full well Jason couldn’t reply like he wanted to.
Jason grumbled to himself, then joined his teammates around one of the FREDs and passed around his large thermos of coffee. “You going to listen to me next time?” he asked them.
“I always listen to you, Major,” Connor grumbled as he gratefully sipped the hot liquid. “It’s just that at 0130 hours this morning, my body said I should have been in bed, not at the base preparing to come back here to the planet of the vampires.”
No one bothered to reply. Everyone agreed with him.
After everything was double-checked, the teams and medical staff headed out. Halfway up the stone road, Jack heard the metallic echo of what sounded like the gate’s lock opening. Not long after, three figures appeared on the backs of riding animals and trotted up to meet them.
Adriann, grinning ear to ear, was dressed in black suede, like Talen and Kashan.
“You have returned.”
“Master of understatement,” Jack drawled, but smiled when Adriann’s smile faltered. “That’s called kidding, Adriann.”
“Also known as Jack O’Neill-humor,” Daniel added. “Guaranteed to confuse the hell out of you and make you wonder what the hell you’re smiling about.”
Jack stared at him as everyone held back a snicker. They knew better than to laugh out loud. “So not funny, Daniel.”
Daniel smiled anyway. “We said we would return, didn’t we?”
“Yes, you did.”
“It’s good to see you,” Daniel said as he held out his hand in greeting, looking also at Talen and Kashan. “All of you.”
Adriann bent down from the tall animal’s saddle and grasped Daniel’s forearm. “And you. It looks as if you have brought plenty of equipment with you this time.” He looked about him, then spied the newcomers. “Might one of the new two people be your Doctor Fraiser?”
Janet cocked a brow at Daniel, then Sam nudged him in the back. “Intros, Daniel?”
“Damn,” Daniel muttered under his breath. “Sorry. Janet, Carla, this is Adriann, Talen, and Kashan. Some of The Residents.”
Instead of weaving through the teams from their positions in back, Janet and Carla smiled warmly and nodded. Sam thought Carla looked just a little awe-struck. Well, who could blame her? The Residents were handsome people, if a bit strange.
Adriann cleared his throat and swung himself down from his ride, keeping his hand on the bridle. “Let us get you up to the house, and this time,” he said with a large grin, “we have assembled better rooms for you to stay in. And speaking of that, how long can you stay?”
“Four days,” Daniel replied.
“That many?” Adriann replied, pleased.
“It’ll probably take less time than that for Janet to do her tests and for us to gather plant specimens, but it’s our mission window.”
Adriann smiled, not understanding the terms although he did know what Daniel meant. “Let us hope that Janet finds something to study.”
“Speaking of that, would you mind a bit of help in reconstructing the scroll?”
Daniel briefly looked behind him as he and Adriann walked ahead of the others. “Yes, Jack said you were working on a scroll when he went to visit you.”
“Oh,” Adriann nodded. “The history, yes.”
“Will you allow me to work on the history with you?”
“I’d be willing but I won’t have the time to teach you the language you’ll be looking at – or rather, the faded writing you’ll be looking at.”
“That’s okay. I’d still find it fascinating.”
“Then, yes, I’d be glad of the assistance.”
“That’s great. Tell me…” and Daniel started to rattle off question after question as he and Adriann walked further ahead of the group. While they discussed the finer points, the others took the opportunity to look around them, now that they had a few hours of bright daylight left. Carla and Janet dropped further back to inspect the flora that lined their route so Al and Connor automatically dropped back to ‘guard’ them, just in case they should come across something unexpected.
Alex stayed next to Jack and Jason, and as they took the opportunity to look around without slowing or straying from the road, Talen and Kashan eventually took their cue from Adriann and dismounted to walk in front of them. They were quickly flanked by Sam and Teal’c, who asked questions about the weather, the seasons, the terrain, about whether or not the Residents had ever lived far outside this region, and if so, what lay beyond. Teal’c finally asked about the mounts they had been riding, as if saving the question for last.
“What are they called?” he asked.
“cha’pac,” Talen replied as she stroked the muzzle of her mount.
“They sort of resemble a cross between the horse and the alpaca on our world,” Sam observed as she brushed the back of her fingers along the nose.
“Alpaca?” Kashan asked. “Sounds very similar to cha’pac.”
“Huh, so it does,” Sam replied. She looked over at Teal’c, who was making his appraisal.
“Do you eat these animals as well?” Teal’c suddenly asked. It was a simple enough question, but behind him, Jack winced at the abruptness.
Sam was also taken by surprise as she rolled her eyes slightly. “Teal’c.”
Teal’c looked down at her, reading her face. “I have asked a wrong question?”
“No, it was just unexpected. If we were to ask, there’s no other way to put it, it’s just that it was unexpected.”
Talen exchanged a soft smirk with Kashan. “No, Teal’c, we won’t eat them unless we have to. These are our work and travel animals. The animals we use for labor and food are called zha’ren.”
“Do you think we could see them?” Sam asked.
Kashan grinned. “Probably tomorrow. It is too late today. They are at the far field, feeding. You will be able to taste them before you see them for zha’ren is to be served for evening meal.”
Judging by their hungry looks, Jack figured that zha’ren must be like steak to these people.
“What type of meat is it?” he asked. At Talen’s frown, he elaborated. “Is it red or white meat?”
“It is a red meat,” Talen said.
“Is that the only animal you feed from?” Teal’c asked.
“No, Teal’c,” Talen replied. “We make use of small, wild birds as well,” and she made a gesture with her hands that seemed to describe something the size of a chicken.
Up ahead, Daniel and Adriann had heard the entire conversation, and Daniel asked in low voice, “Tell me, Adriann, are there fish in that small lake back there?”
Adriann wondered why Daniel was being secretive, but kept his answer as quiet. “No, Daniel, that is a man-made watering place for the beasts. That way, they are content and don’t attempt to traverse the fence to get at our lake.”
Daniel blinked. “Your…lake? As in, inside the fence?”
“I never thought to ask last time but how much land does the fence encompass?”
“Um…forgive me…I do not know the measurements of your world, so I cannot say…” Adriann began.
Daniel waved him off. “Read it from my mind then.”
“You are certain?”
“Very well,” and for a moment, Adriann concentrated, not looking directly at Daniel, but in his direction. “It is perhaps ten of your miles in diameter.”
“Ten miles in diameter? Jesus.”
“I cannot be sure of the measurement, you understand.”
“Yes, I know. Language barriers.”
“Why did you ask about fish? Did you wish to have fish for dinner perhaps?”
Daniel smirked. “No, no, no. I mean, sure, I’d love to tomorrow maybe, but what I meant was Jack loves to fish and doesn’t get much of a chance to do it. Tomorrow is his birthday and I’d like to surprise him with an outing: fishing would be ideal. We, Jason and I, have our own surprise for him waiting at home, but I think this would be a treat for him.”
“Birthday? That means the day of one’s birth?”
“Yes, most humans of Earth celebrate the day of their birth every year. Or rather, I should say that their friends or family celebrate it on their behalf, with special meals and gifts.”
“You don’t know what that means?”
“I’m getting the reference from your mind, but my confusion is the need for gifts. We don’t give gifts on birth days because every day that we are alive is special.”
“Oh. Of course.” Not the most tactful of remarks to someone whose species was on the verge of extinction: Daniel berated himself for bringing up the subject and backtracked.
“Would you take Jack fishing?”
“Our methods are bound to be different.”
Daniel smiled brightly. “Jack can adapt to anything.”
Adriann nodded, thinking. “We could use some fish for evening meal tomorrow, so what we catch, we eat. I would be honored to show him the lake and our own methods.”
Daniel’s smile brightened even more. “Thank you.”
“You’re most welcome.”
“Tell me, do you cast nets or pole fish?”
“Using bait as a lure on the end of a stick.”
“Ah. Yes, and it is all we do now. We used to net fish a very long time ago, out in our ocean, but the ocean is too far away, even by riding the cha’pac.”
“Is it because of the beasts?”
“Yes, the beasts are too numerous.”
“If you have such names for your other animals and plants, why isn’t there a name for the beasts?”
“There is. But the beasts have changed so much in the last two hundred years that they no longer resemble what they were once called.”
“What do you mean changed?”
“I think you would call it a mutation in their evolution.”
“But that’s incredible. In the time frame of a hundred years?”
“It is so, Daniel.”
“Do you know what caused it?” he asked as they approached the open gate and strode on through.
Adriann was silent for a moment, hesitant to answer.
“Remember what happened to Tan?”
Daniel stared at him. “I won’t ever forget it. Looking at those rounded eyes and those twisted fangs. He was hideous.”
“It was the moonflower.”
“Yes, you mentioned that before when healing Jason.”
“The Brethren have a deep affinity for the planet, a deeper one than we do. They’re closer to their ancient evolution. The beasts are of a similar origin.”
Daniel thought a moment, and likened the explanation to the primate relationships on Earth. “I understand. And you? How did your species evolve? You must be related to humans in a lot of ways Adriann, one being that you are humanoid.”
“That explanation will take a long time to give, much longer than we have time for at the moment.”
“Of course. So, the beasts what? Eat the moonflower? That’s what changed them?”
“Yes, Daniel. The moonflower seems to revert the Brethren to a bestial state, similar to their ancestors. But it is unnatural, so if any of the Brethren eat it, for any reason, they must be killed. It causes madness in the Brethren but it will kill others…like us, the Var’chol’si.”
“How did you develop an immunity for it.”
“I sucked the poison from a family member many years ago and became deathly ill, but I never died.”
“You were very lucky then.”
“Yes, I was.” He seemed disturbed by the memory so when he changed the subject slightly, Daniel said nothing. “As for the beasts, it corrupts them by changing their appearance and making them ferocious. They were not exactly friendly before the change but we could live with them. Only occasional skirmishes caused deaths. But now, they’re extremely vicious, mad animals. I do not know why they eat the moonflower either. They are carnivorous.”
“I see. Even though they have changed, what did you once call them?”
“Yes, why, does it sound familiar?”
“No, just that it reminds me of Russia, an ancient nation on my world. And China, too. Your methods of embroidery and cut of clothing are similar, but the designs are completely different. I find them fascinating. I thought at first they tied in with Earth because so many ancient cultures were kidnapped from Earth by the Goa’uld and seeded on other planets. We are constantly running into descendants from those many cultures. Some of them are intact, but others have either been abandoned or corrupted into something different.”
From behind, Jack scratched his brow as he shot a smirk at Jason. The two listened as Daniel continued to tell Adriann about the people they had discovered on previous missions, and from Adriann’s rapt attention, Daniel seemed to have the man eating out of the palm of his hand.
They were nearly to the front door when Jack walked up and tapped Adriann’s left shoulder. “For safety’s sake, we’re gonna need to store our equipment inside like we did the MALP previously. If that’s okay with you?”
Adriann nodded. “Yes, fine, Jack. The central hall is big enough,” and as they opened the immense wooden door, all talk of the equipment was forgotten as the smells from the kitchen wafted towards everyone’s noses. They hadn’t had a full breakfast and were very hungry.
Jack looked to his left and pointed. “Smells like buffalo.”
Jason nodded in agreement. “It does,” then a tiny smirk appeared. He leaned over, pretending to spit tobacco to the floor as he hooked his thumbs in his belt. “Want me to go rustle you up some grub, boss?”
Janet and Carla laughed at Jason’s effective ‘twang’ while everyone else bit their lips together, waiting for the inevitable comeback.
“Yes, that will do,” Jack replied seriously as he strolled over to the dining table and sat down at the near end. “And whilst you’re at it, bring me some wine. You may as well,” and he casually waved his fingerless gloved hand in the air at the others, “bring some for the minions. I’m sure there will be scraps leftover. In the meantime, Carter can peel me a grape.”
“That’s Daniel’s job, sir,” she snickered.
Daniel levelled a withering glance at her before saying, “Would sir care for a pedicure?”
“Nah. I’ll just skip that. My feet and the smell of food are two things that should never be combined.”
While everyone laughed at the remark, Daniel leaned over his shoulder and whispered, “Unless you’re just out of the bath.”
Jack coughed then – a few times, in fact – as the memory of their previous evening came back. Daniel, beer, toes, Daniel’s mouth on said toes…
A sudden thump on the back of his neck from Daniel’s fingers jarred Jack loose of his brief memory and he stood up, giving Daniel a definite ‘payback’ look. He looked over at Adriann, Talen, and Kashan who were removing their outer black jackets to hang within a closet near the kitchen door. Their expressions were confused but curious.
Jack suddenly smiled at them. “Don’t mind us, guys. We’re just fooling around. Okay, so,” and he turned to the people holding the remotes for the vehicles. “Let’s put the gear over here.” He moved to the right of the front door and pointed along the front windows. “This should be okay, right?” he asked Adriann.
Jack took a moment to look around the room more, then commented, “Looks a little different.”
“That’s funny. Detail never escapes you normally,” Daniel said drily. “Must’ve been the spirits last time.”
“What, you’re saying the place is haunted now?”
Jason sniggered and Daniel tried hard not smile as Sam, Al, Connor, and Carla used the remote controls to maneuver the vehicles until they were parked in a square, with the medical FRED being the most accessible.
“So, should we get settled first, Adriann?” Jack asked.
“Yes, but not where you were last time,” Adriann told him as he brushed off the faint traces of animal hair from his sleeveless shirt and pants. He strode across the room toward the staircase while his boot heels made sharp echoing reports. When he turned halfway there and found his ten guests staring at him expectantly, he appeared a bit apologetic. “We never bothered to put lights in those rooms. Plus the lock from your old room, Jack, has not been repaired. The rooms we have set aside for you have the light ornaments.”
“You mean those wall sconces that were in the domed room we talked in?”
“Domed room?” Daniel asked, immediately interested. He’d not seen it previously and felt a bit jealous that Jack had.
Adriann grinned and nodded. “Yes, like those in that room.”
“May I see that room?” Daniel asked, keeping the jealousy out of his voice.
“It is where I am doing my reconstruction work on the histories so, yes, Daniel. It would not matter anyway. It is a shared room, so it is free for you to use. The rooms we have made available also have two beds in them.”
SG-1 didn’t appear all that enthusiastic about the news, but everyone else seemed okay with it.
Especially Jason and Alex. Daniel noted the looks between them and wondered if it had to do with his and Alex’s private talk.
The group was led down a corridor to the left of the staircase and to the first hallway on the left they came to. There were six rooms, three on each side of the dead-end corridor. The rooms were enormous, like apartments. Each with a living room, one bathroom, and one bedroom, though the bedrooms held two beds. The same furnishings that decorated their previous rooms were evident, only these seemed just a bit more…lavish.
Along with the chiffoniers sat two armoires, a large chest of drawers, a few sofas, chairs, and a large desk. Each was made of wood and the seats of the chairs and sofas were overstuffed and embroidered. Everything seemed to be made of leather and velvet, and all in dark, rich colors, much like they had already seen. The one huge difference in their new rooms was that there were no regular windows. Instead, large plates of glass were inset into the high ceilings of the ‘living rooms’ and bedrooms, like multiple skylights, flooding the rooms with sunlight.
Jack and Daniel were given the first room on the left, then came Sam and Teal’c, then Jason and Alex on the end. Directly across the hall from their room were Al and Connor, and next to them and directly across from Sam and Teal’c, were Janet and Carla.
Adriann paused at the threshold to Jack and Daniel’s room. “I’ll leave you and yours to relax and freshen up, to change if you wish. I must see to the preparations, so I’ll be back to escort you for evening meal.”
“We’re probably going to be staying in our own clothes, Adriann, but thanks,” Jack told him.
“Well, if something fits, Jack,” Daniel started.
“Daniel, we really need to–“
“Maintain a certain amount of mission protocol, yes, but how often do we have to wear the local dress to accommodate the other races we encounter?”
Sam had come up behind Adriann and heard Daniel’s objection. “Daniel, that argument would be okay, considering the nice clothes they have here, but may I remind you of that god-awful dress I wore on P3X-593?”
“Yeah, that. And get that stupid smirk off your face.”
“I’m not smirking. Just thinking how stupid I acted on that mission.”
Jack was smirking, however, but not at the two of them. “I think she just backed me up, Daniel.”
“Jack, I for one would love to get out of these damned boots. Adriann, do you have other footwear?”
“You may find footwear in the tall repository, but if it does not fit, I may ask for some shoes to be made for you.”
“No, no, that’s okay. Combat boots and leather or suede clothing don’t exactly go together.” He sighed, then cast a sidelong look at Jack. “Fine, Jack. You win. Don’t let it go to your head.”
Jack grinned like a fiend. “I have to write this down in my diary.”
“If you change your mind,” Adriann interrupted, “then please let me know. Now, if you will excuse me,” and Adriann backed away and left.
Sam looked around, looking a bit smug. She was about to say something else but Teal’c called her from their room. She nodded at them and left abruptly.
Daniel pursed his lips and frowned. “I think she needs to get laid.”
“Or something. Teal’c should be–“
“Daniel, don’t go there.”
Daniel sniggered as they set their stuff down on the floor and removed their vests and jackets. Taking the opportunity to relax a bit more, they made a more thorough search of their accommodations than the last time.
“So…which one do you want?” Jack asked as he went into the bedroom. Daniel walked in and looked around, then went over to the nearest bed and pushed on it with his hands.
“Nice,” Daniel drawled out in a seductive manner.
Jack rolled his eyes. “Daniel, don’t start.”
Jason walked in just then, startling them. “Not without me, anyway.”
“Jason, dammit,” Jack complained. “Don’t do that.”
Jason grinned evilly, then noticed there was an actual door to the bedroom. He took a step back and closed it, then levelled a look at Jack that bordered on the pathological.
“Jason, don’t you start.”
Daniel read Jason’s intent quickly and suddenly moved up behind Jack, wrapped his arms around him, and effectively trapped him. Jack thought about fighting as Jason moved toward him but he really wasn’t in any mood to fight.
What was it about this place? he asked himself. No words were uttered between the three, but Jack swallowed convulsively as Jason closed in and ran the tip of his index finger over Jack’s lips, then down his throat. He tilted his head, his eyes following the progression of his finger, as if examining a fine work of art…or prey.
Daniel’s lips ran over the back of Jack’s ear while his hands moved upward, brushing over his pecs. Jack shivered, then shivered again as Jason leaned in and brushed his lips with his own, keeping the contact light. His tongue barely touched Jack’s bottom lip and it was all Jack could do to contain himself as the slow intimacy wound them up. Just when Jason’s fingers whispered over Jack’s crotch, he stepped away. Daniel let him go then and backed up as Jason opened the door. He turned back, winked, then went through the door. Daniel followed, winking also.
Jack’s mouth dropped open. “Sonofa…” he growled. Revenge would present itself…sooner or later.
Adriann sat at the head of the table, as last time, only what was different about this meal was that the guests found themselves sitting at a much longer and wider table. Jack wondered how they got the table inside until Adriann told him that they’d merely carried it down from one of the rooms upstairs. Jack remembered the strength of these people and decided to leave any further questions until later.
He and his teammates were seated as they had been during their last visit, with SG-1 on one side of the enormous dining table and SG-2 on the other. Janet sat next to Sam while Carla was seated opposite, next to Al. At that point the table would have been half-seated…were it not for more of the Residents joining them, among them, Talen, at the end opposite Adriann, then Kashan to her right. Seven more people sat with them, most of them nervous and not speaking to their guests. They seemed to prefer to observe.
Before them, the table was more elegantly prepared. A dark brown cloth, soft and textured like chamois, was laid over the table, and over that, curious centerpieces containing connecting bowls. Each contained tiny spoons, and the bowls were filled with an assortment of colored granules, which Daniel took to be spices. The usual wooden and ceramic bowls, plates and eating utensils, including knives, were set down, then large glass goblets were filled with red wine (Teal’c’s with a light green fruit juice) and set before each diner. The guests sipped, rather cautiously at first, but found the wine pleasant and not too sweet.
Conversation was subdued at first, as Rone and a few others brought out large platters of dishes and arranged them on the table. The meal was actually very simple, containing tuber vegetables and meats, along with interesting flat breads. The aromas were delightful…and mouth-watering. The meat, served in three identical platters, was sliced, and looked very similar to beef, though as Jack had observed earlier, it smelled like buffalo.
Once everything had been served, and without pausing for a ritual toast or prayer, the Residents immediately started to serve themselves. Jack, seated at Adriann’s right this time, with Daniel to his left, decided to steal yet another page from Daniel’s book of alien etiquette, and introduced the toast himself.
“On our world, Adriann, we usually say something before eating. So I’d like to offer what we call a toast, to commemorate the meal, those that prepared it, and our hosts.” He raised his glass, as did his teammates (with Daniel proudly beaming at him – for which Jack privately thought he’d scored one point for the evening), and the Residents curiously raised their glasses too. “To our hosts, the Var’chol’si, and to the Brethren for the preparation of the fine meal.” He took a sip from his glass then set it down. Everyone else followed suit and Jack watched as Adriann sipped, smiling to himself.
“I take it that was amusing?” Jack asked as he served himself several slices of meat.
“No, not amusing in the way you mean, Jack. It is just that we refrained from our usual ritual salutation, so we would not make you uncomfortable.”
Daniel blinked. “Don’t hold back on our account, Adriann. We frequently observe the rituals of other worlds while on our…more friendly missions.”
“Very well, thank you,” Adriann smiled widely, then lifted his ceramic spoon and tapped his glass, leaving it on the table. “Family,” he announced. The others looked at him, then closed their eyes…as Adriann did. “We thank those that gifted us with life and this great meal. May we always have it so.”
“Ka’shen’wa,” the Residents finished.
“Ka’shen’wa,” Adriann replied, then opened his eyes. The Residents resumed serving without another pause.
Daniel looked at Jack, a smile playing at his lips.
“What?” Jack asked.
“You remembered how to pronounce it. I’m so proud.”
“Cut it out, Daniel. I’m not that big an idiot.”
“You never were, Jack.”
“Hear hear,” Jason said, taking his glass and clinking it with Daniel’s. The other team members did the same, repeating the words. Jack found it very comforting and not a bit embarrassing. He passed a smug look to Daniel, who in return passed him a platter of vegetables. Jack eagerly gave himself a small helping but received a frown from Adriann.
“Take more, Jack. This is a hearty meal. No one goes hungry here.”
Jack shrugged and gave himself a larger portion, then passed the dish to the man.
After everyone had finished serving, they dug in. Daniel didn’t wait too long to start up the conversations, either.
“If I may ask, what is the meaning of Ka’shen’wa?”
Adriann frowned in concentration as he swallowed his mouthful of food, following it with wine. “It means…”
From the other end of the table, Talen answered. “It means ‘so it is spoken’, Daniel.”
Adriann smiled and raised his glass. “Thank you, Talen.” She smiled lifted her glass at him before drinking. Daniel found it amusing, as they either did it themselves, or were now copying the humans’ simple rituals.
“Would you tell me, Daniel, more of what our earlier talk was about? I was asking about your contact with other races.”
Daniel looked at the others before he answered. They seemed to give their silent approval. “Well, what would you like to know?”
“Have you ever encountered anyone…in your words…weirder than us?”
Sam coughed in the act of drinking, but quickly recovered. “Sorry, Daniel, Adriann. That phrasing caught me off guard. Weirder? Who used that word with you?”
Adriann grinned at Jack and Jack looked askance at Sam before rolling his eyes. “I did, Carter, and let’s just skip the reason.”
Everyone was suddenly busy with their food – except for Daniel. He knew about the conversation, he just hadn’t known, until earlier, where it had taken place and was suddenly reminded of the room he wanted to see.
“Well, there was our mission before this. I think that beats your type of vampirism hands down.”
Sam abruptly spat out her food, barely into her mouth, fortunately. “Daniel, not during dinner, please?”
Daniel blinked, not seeing the problem. “Sam, you’ve talked about worse over dinners…and lunches…and even breakfasts out in the middle of some godforsaken swamp on P3R-whatever. Don’t give me that sudden wussy attitude.”
“Yeah, but we never encountered cannibals before, either.”
Adriann stopped chewing. “Cannibals?”
When Daniel realized he’d have to explain what that meant, he winced. Sam was right. Jack, however, decided to take the matter into his own hands…but he also had an ulterior motive. Plan A: his little payback for his lovers’ ambush before dinner.
“Adriann, this subject isn’t a good thing to discuss while eating…meat, but if you must know, cannibalism is the practice of eating the flesh of your own kind.”
“Oh,” Adriann shrugged…with relief. The other residents seemed unaffected by the explanation, as well, and their reactions confused their guests.
“That doesn’t bother you?” Daniel asked.
“No,” Adriann shook his head casually. “The Bor’cha do the same to members of their kind that become weak or injured.”
“Nice,” Jack replied sarcastically.
Daniel looked at his teammates. “You guys mind if I tell him what happened?”
“No,” Sam replied and Teal’c shook his head. Jason and the others hadn’t been there but they’d seen what had happened afterward. Even so, they shook their heads.
“Okay…” and Daniel described their mission, in detail, including the natives and the trouble with the DHD. When he was through, he was amazed that Adriann and the others showed great concern.
“You could have been killed,” Adriann whispered.
“Yes,” Daniel replied simply. What else was there to say?
It was then that Jack decided to implement Plan A.
“It was a good thing that Jason and his teammates weren’t there.”
Jason looked across at Jack and froze in the act of cutting his meat. “Why? We could have backed you up?”
Jack shook his head seriously. “No, Jason. The natives would have taken one look at you and gone bananas.”
Jack looked over at Adriann and winked, letting him know he was in for a show of teasing. To Jack’s surprise, Adriann subtly winked back.
“Come on, Jason, you know what I mean.”
Alex picked up on where Jack was going with this and he let a small grin. “I agree with Colonel O’Neill, sir. A man built like you? You’d have been like prime rib to those natives.”
“What?” Jason asked, incredulous, just as Daniel nearly spit out his wine…in laughter.
“Oh, I agree, sir,” Connor chipped in, eyeing Al as he did it. “Definitely.”
“Beefcake, definitely,” Daniel added, joining in. He knew what Jack was doing, but could never refuse an opportunity to tease his lover. Or more accurately, either of them, but in this case, it was Jason’s turn.
“Hey, watch it,” Jason said, pointing his knife.
“Definitely the centerfold in their swimsuit issue,” Alex remarked with a wry grin.
“Amongst others,” Janet added before hiding her evil grin inside her wine glass.
Jason looked at all of them, trying to scowl but it came off just a little too handsomely. Instead he only growled and shoved some meat into his mouth, which made Adriann laugh.
“You were being complimented, yes?”
“Stand up and take your shirt off, Jason. Show them what you’re made of,” Jack suggested as he slowly savored the meat in his mouth. His grin was just this side of evil incarnate and Jason wanted to kill him.
“No need, sir. Adriann and Kashan got a good look when they were curing me. I don’t think I need to go on parade.”
“Well, then, I’m sure we’ll get a good look at those muscles tomorrow when we gather plant specimens.”
Jason growled. “I wondered why SG-2 was needed for the follow-up mission. Now I know. Labor.”
Jack’s grin somehow deepened but he said nothing. The word ‘labor’ had sexual connotations and he made sure Jason got the message.
Jack now turned the conversation toward Daniel. Unfortunately, Janet was going to have to play victim, but he’d deal with her wrath later. Much later, if possible.
“Oh, by the way, Adriann, Janet and her horde of medical staff back home are the SGC’s version of a vampire.”
As Janet and Carla started to cough, incredulous at what Jack had said, Adriann and his family members stared at them, their faces expressing confusion. Daniel couldn’t help but start sniggering, which grew into a low laughter.
“You’re not serious,” Adriann finally said.
Completely serious, Jack replied, “Oh yes. They do nasty things. Nasty.”
Janet suddenly cleared her throat. “I’ll show you vampire, Colonel O’Neill. You’ve just volunteered as the test subject for Adriann and his people.”
Daniel broke out into true laughter then, as did Jason. Sam and Teal’c grinned like idiots and the others took one look at Jack’s face and decided that silence was the better decision.
Janet nodded, eyeing the Residents at her end of the table before looking at her teammates. “Transfusions, amongst other…things.”
“Oh, you’ve done it now,” Daniel whispered.
“Be quiet. I’ll get out of it,” Jack whispered back.
“No, you won’t,” Janet said, having heard them both quite clearly.
Daniel winked at Adriann then explained that Jack had been teasing. “Our medical staff, like Doctor Fraiser and Lieutenant Vasquez, take regular samples of our blood to make sure that we’re okay. Because of that, we’ve nicknamed them vampires.”
“I see,” Adriann replied, though he didn’t really. These humans had very strange senses of humor.
Dinner went on with periodic ribbing, along with questions and answers, most from Talen and Kashan as they asked Janet about the procedures she planned. Adriann listened attentively, leaving it to his family members to ask whatever they wanted. They were too shy sometimes.
Janet was careful not to talk down to them as she tried to put the medical terms into words that would make sense to the Residents. By the time they were through with the meal, the Residents had some idea of what was expected, and came to realize that what Janet proposed would take a while.
A long while.
“Adriann,” Talen said carefully while eyeing everyone at the table, especially the teams. “While you and I and a few others have already received our…blood, the others have not. Though they are not feeling the stress too much, they are growing more tired as each day passes. As we were…before they came.”
Janet looked back and forth between Adriann and Talen. “What do you mean? You need blood now?”
Looking up from staring into his wineglass, Adriann nodded solemnly. Jack, Daniel, and the others frowned with confusion and worry.
“You didn’t say the situation was that dire,” Daniel said, his voice filled with concern. “You gave us the impression that you needed the blood only to extend your lives…not to keep you alive.”
Adriann took a deep breath but before he could speak, Talen answered instead. “Adriann is stubborn, Daniel. He will not accept the fact that we are becoming extinct, that we are, in fact, dying.”
Daniel shook his head as he stared at Adriann. “No, you told me that something has prevented your ability to reproduce, and that that was why you were dying. That your need for blood was no more like vitamins are to us.”
“I am sorry, Daniel. Talen is right. I kept that part of the truth from you because I’m…trying to find a way to save our people. Unfortunately, it is taking too long.”
“So what are you saying then?” Janet asked. “That you need transfusions before myself and Lieutenant Vasquez return home with our lab samples?”
Adriann didn’t answer. The idea of the transfusions was disgusting him more and more, just as he knew it was disgusting to the rest of his people. “Yes, Doctor,” he said tightly. He suddenly stood up. “If you will excuse me, I have patrols to make.” He started to leave when Jack got up and grabbed his arm, although gently.
“Mind if I join you?” Jack asked.
Adriann regarded Jack for a few moments, then shook his head. “No, I do not mind, but do not be offended if I do not talk much.”
“Hey, who needs to talk?” Jack said lightly as Adriann turned toward a doorway to the right of main staircase.
Jack turned to those at the table, sending a silent message to his teams that it was time to call it a day. “Doc, see what you can set up for tomorrow. Maybe you can help them while you run your tests.”
“I’ll be back in a while,” he said before following after Adriann.
After he left, Daniel turned round to look at the Residents, specifically Talen. He suddenly understood their desperation much more. Then something else occurred to him.
“He’s been restoring those old records because they may hold a key to what’s happening to you?”
“That is very astute of you, Daniel. Yes, that is what Adriann believes.”
“Then my offer to help him with that work has become all the more imperative.”
Leader to leader, Jack felt it necessary to offer a comforting presence. After all, he knew better than the rest of them what it was like to lose people you felt it was your duty to protect.
He walked with Adriann over the lawn and out to the fencing on the right side of the mansion. They were quiet for a time while Adriann checked over the metal barrier until Jack finally broke the silence. He wanted to talk to Adriann about keeping something so important quiet, but he sensed that the man needed to gather his thoughts. Jack had never seen Adriann’s cheeks flush except when he was angry at Tan; it was a dead giveaway now, only Jack wasn’t quite sure if Adriann was mad, upset, or both.
“Do you check this fencing every day?” Jack asked, leaving the sensitive subject alone for a moment longer, hoping that Adriann would broach it instead.
“No. Every few days,” Adriann replied. “I make a cursory sweep but mostly in different areas. As I told Daniel, as I understand your measurement system, this fence measures maybe ten miles in diameter, but that is a guess. I do not know.”
“I guess it’s not that important. Ten miles or more is a lot of ground to cover.”
“Is it a responsibility you took on yourself or one that was assigned a long time ago?”
“It was…a community decision.”
“If you don’t mind my saying, you act as their leader and they seem to treat you as one.”
Adriann shrugged. “It is only because they don’t wish the responsibility, the weight of it.”
“I understand that, all too well.”
“Yet you share your burdens, if not the responsibility.”
It was Jack’s turn to shrug. “Yes, but so do you.”
Adriann smiled and nodded. As they walked for another thirty minutes or so, Jack slowly became aware of the attraction between them returning. He had partly hoped that it had just been a figment of his imagination the last time, that Adriann had been playing with him. But as they continued to talk, Jack now knew better. It had been real, just as it was becoming real once more.
“Adriann, are you feeling…something?”
“As you would say, ‘that old attraction thing’?”
Jack laughed, nodding. “Yes, that old attraction thing.”
“I am feeling it, Jack,” he said as they walked past a scattering of blue, three-petalled flowers.
Jack was about to ask about the flowers when he was startled by a loud rustling through bushes on the other side of the fence. He stepped back several steps but Adriann took his arm in reassurance.
“It is okay. It is only the ground fowl that we hunt. They make their nests in bushes like these.”
Jack could just barely make out brown feathers amongst the foliage, but he was suddenly more aware of Adriann’s hand on his arm and his other arm around his waist. He turned his head to look at him and found himself staring. He’d never really paid attention, but he had noticed that Adriann was perhaps an inch taller than himself. He also had a light tan to his face, something which the interior lighting of the mansion (as well as the walk up there earlier) had failed to show. He was also aware, as was Adriann, that their attraction was building.
Both men swallowed as Adriann removed his enticingly warm hands. Resuming their patrol for another thirty minutes, neither spoke of the passing look between them. Instead, the only conversation was in discussing how long it took to build and erect the tall, iron fence. In the back of Jack’s mind, he felt the conversation itself was somehow erotic.
Jason sat on the edge of the bed and removed his boots. He grinned to himself as the grumblings from the bathroom reached his ears. Alex was complaining about the lack of shower facilities and how the handheld nozzle attached to their sunken bath seemed to be stuck. Grabbing the book he’d brought with him, he arranged the pillows on his bed and sat back against them to read. Barely a few paragraphs in, a loud thud and thump were followed by a resounding, “Fuck!”
Laughing to himself, Jason went to investigate and found Alex on his backside against the wall opposite the bath. He shook his head and went over to help him up.
“What the hell are you doing, Alex?”
“Fixing the fucking plumbing,” he said, pointing at the handheld nozzle that was now lying over the lip of the bath, freed from its tight restraint.
Jason got him to his feet and gave him a tiny smile.
“Don’t start, sir.”
Jason pretended innocence. “I didn’t say anything.”
“No, but you were going to. I can tell,” and then he spied the book in Jason’s hand. “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me? You brought that book with you? That book?”
Jason looked down at it. “What?”
“It’s a novel about a killer vampire!”
“Oh, it is not. It’s a novel about a serial killer who leaves two tiny holes in people by way of this thing he’s made for his front teeth,” and Jason tapped his own teeth. “It’s a crime novel, Alex. Not a novel about a vampire. If it were, it’d be called Red Vampire, not Red Dragon.”
“Okay, but that book? It’s got Hannibal Lector in it, doesn’t it?”
Jason tried not to smirk again. “And your point?”
“That you’re really weird…sir.”
“I don’t get spooked by books anymore, Alex. I’m too old for that.” After Alex was through snorting, he added, “In fact, the last book that did spook me was when I was seventeen, reading in the middle of the night, in a dark, deserted house.”
“Serves you right, choosing that atmosphere. What was the book?”
“The Amityville Horror.”
Alex laughed outright. “Red eyes in a window…in the dark. Way to spook yourself. Could have been worse, I suppose. It could have been The Exorcist.”
Jason smiled slowly. “That was the week before. And no, it wasn’t the stupid screenplay version, either.”
Alex made a noise of derision as he turned away from him, which made Jason snigger behind him. “I think I know what to get you for Christmas or your birthday. The scariest damn book I can find.” He started laughing and Jason joined in, daring him to find that book, if it existed. Their laughter was momentarily forgotten as they both spied a long vertical crack in the wall.
“Ah, seems you’ve found the secret door.”
Alex turned, frowning. “Why haven’t we asked them about the passageways? Wasn’t that how that fucking toad got through the house?”
“It wasn’t necessary at the time, Alex. If you wish to do a recon, be my guest. They only go behind the rooms on this floor, according to Adriann.” As Alex opened the secret panel and looked inside, Jason grinned knowingly. “Never could resist mazes and puzzles, could you?”
“Hey,” Alex protested, his voice now echoing within the wall as he peered further in. “Getting caught in that maze on ‘445 wasn’t my fault.”
“Ah huh. Who decided to take a page from Daniel’s book and explore that maze, making the rest of us go in and find your ass? How long were we in there before we all made it out?”
A barely audible voice said, “Five hours.”
“Five wet, muddy, disgusting hours,” Jason smirked. “You are as stubborn as Daniel. Have I ever told you that?”
“Yeah, yeah,” Alex said, hiding his smile as he stuck his head further into the dark passage. “These passages at least lead somewhere. I just want to make sure it’s only to rooms and not some damn dungeon somewhere.”
Jason lifted a brow. “I thought you trusted these people?”
Alex turned to him. “You’re alive, so yes, I trust them. At least, I trust Adriann.” He turned back to the passage. “Looks big enough to move around in. I’ve got nothing better to do, Major. May I?”
“You may run into rats or spiders in there,” Jason teased.
“Very funny. We’d have found the rats beforehand. And I’m not afraid of spiders.”
“Everyone is afraid of the big ones, Alex. I don’t care who you are.”
“Except possibly those guys who actually work with spiders.”
Jason bit the corner of his bottom lip, readying for the final strike. “Yeah, and how many of them come across the giant tarantulas in Belize, Central America?”
Alex scowled at him. “You just had to put that image in my head, didn’t you?”
Jason held out his hands and shrugged. “It just slipped out.”
“Nothing just slips out of that mouth.” He froze for a moment, realizing how filthy those words sounded.
Jason, however, smiled wickedly, turned round, and left the bathroom. “Just don’t get lost, Alex. I don’t think the Var’chol’si would be thrilled at having to go hunting for your sorry ass.”
Alex looked over his shoulder, glaring at the open door. “I’ll try not to get my sorry ass lost.”
“Make sure you take the flashlight,” Jason reminded him as he laid back on his bed.
A bit of grumbling from the bathroom and Alex shot his team leader a deadly look as he came out to retrieve said flashlight from his pack.
Another growl and Alex was gone. After about ten minutes, Jason decided to take advantage of the situation and pay Daniel a visit.
When Jack returned to his room, he shut the door and looked around…for Daniel. He couldn’t believe how goddamned hard he was, but one thing was certain: when he found Daniel…
He grinned evilly and walked into the bedroom. His smile faltered slightly. Daniel wasn’t there. When he heard a noise coming from the bathroom, his evil grin reasserted itself, along with his intense need. Inside, Daniel was standing near the vanity-style sink and turned round, slightly startled, as Jack walked in.
“Hey, Jack,” he greeted. He took one look at Jack’s predatory gaze and felt an immediate warmth shoot through his groin. “Jack?” he asked, his heart rate increasing as he recognized that glitter in Jack’s eyes. Then Jack was over to him in a nanosecond, grabbing him and shoving him against the wall, taking his face in his hands to kiss the life from him.
“What’s gotten into you?” Daniel tried to ask but couldn’t seem to make the words make sense around Jack’s lips and his tongue. He tried to break away but that mouth of his was too tantalizing, too irresistible. Jack hungrily bit over his jaw and throat and Daniel felt that surge through his belly; that matching hunger was rising. Jack’s hands were everywhere, caressing just a bit too firmly, telling Daniel in no uncertain terms what he wanted. Just as his lover’s groin rubbed frantically against his own, Daniel felt himself quickly joining in Jack’s unexplainable mood. Not that he was complaining. Not in the least. He was simply surprised.
Daniel gasped, closing his eyes, as Jack latched onto his pulse point with his teeth, sucking and nipping hard. Another gasp escaped his throat when Jack rubbed his palm over his quickly stiffening erection. Whatever was going on with Jack, Daniel didn’t want it to stop, and he knew that somehow, Adriann had put Jack in this state. He also understood it…all too well. Before he had a chance to think about asking just that, Jack broke contact and moved away to shut the bathroom door. Daniel watched him carefully and knew he was in for one hell of time. He could feel the sweat forming already.
Jack turned and stalked back toward him. “I need you,” he whispered as he opened his trousers.
Daniel took in the feral quality in Jack’s eyes and didn’t want to ask any more questions. “I got that,” he replied as he pulled open his own trousers, then let them drop to his ankles. He firmly grasped his cock and stroked twice, then bit his lips together and hissed at the sudden pleasure. “Is this what you want?”
When Jack reached him, he dropped his own pants to his ankles, then grasped Daniel’s hand and placed it on his cock. “You want me?” he asked, groaning as Daniel’s fingers flexed around him. The sensation sent Jack into an even wilder frenzy and he took possession of Daniel’s mouth again, thrusting his hips through Daniel’s fist, finding that delicious friction. “You want me?” he asked again, his voice heavy and needy as he returned the caresses.
“Yes,” Daniel replied, amazed at how easy it was for Jack to wind him up so fast. He stroked, twice, then stopped, teasing.
“Touch me,” Jack whispered with urgent demand.
“Touching,” Daniel replied. “So touching,” and his hand quickened and strengthened as he ran his closed fingers up and down the shaft of his lover’s cock. “Like it?”
Jack growled and kissed him again, hard, and fierce as his free hand wound through his lover’s hair. Daniel matched him, grabbing his own hair at the back of the neck as his body thrust eagerly through his fingers. Jack increased the tension and they were soon thrusting in tandem. His tongue locked with Daniel’s, tasting, demanding more. Together, they established a strong, fervent rhythm and in five sweat-soaked minutes, they came over each other’s hands, panting hard, sucking in needed breaths as they worried the other’s shoulder with their teeth.
As soon as he found his cognitive function again, Daniel asked breathlessly, “I take it that sudden need was sparked by Adriann?”
“Yes. God, this is weird.”
“I’m not complaining, Jack.”
Jack grinned, nuzzling his face into Daniel’s damp neck. “Me neither, but it’s still weird. We need a shower now.”
“We need to take our clothes off first.” They looked down and found their pants puddled around their ankles. Daniel laughed softly. “Plus, we don’t have a shower. Guess it’s time to put that handheld thing to use.”
Jack leered at him as he pulled back. “Didn’t we just go through a ‘handheld thing’?”
Daniel tried to keep from smirking and failed. “We did,” then backhanded Jack across the stomach. “Time to get clean.”
“Maybe we should go find Jason.”
“Maybe we should send Jason to see Adriann first.”
“Jealous?” Daniel asked, mostly because he felt it odd that he wasn’t, or that Jack’s arousal over the man didn’t bother him, nor the thought that Jason could be seduced by him.
Jack frowned as he thought about it. “No. That’s…weird. Almost as weird as me getting so…wound up,” and he wrapped his arms around Daniel’s waist and rubbed their semen-stained skin together.
Daniel felt them both twitch a bit. “I think the man is good for our…”
“Excuse me, Jason?”
Jason raised a brow as he was about to open the door to Jack and Daniel’s room. “Adriann. Where’s Jack? I thought he was with you?”
“He was,” Adriann replied, pointing at the door. “He is inside by now. I was on my way to the sunroom, but…there was something I needed to talk to you about. I should have spoken to Jack, but…I think I’d like your opinion first. Could we talk privately?”
Jason frowned. “That doesn’t sound promising, Adriann.”
Adriann smiled. “This is nothing bad. Please?”
Curious, Jason gestured at his room. “By all means.”
Adriann hesitated. “I wanted to talk privately.”
“Alex isn’t in, Adriann,” he answered as he held open the door.
When they entered the room, Adriann looked about cautiously. “Where is he?”
Jason snorted and pointed at the bathroom. “In the passageways. After what happened with Tan, I let him investigate. I hope that’s not a problem.” It really didn’t matter if it was, Jason thought. He should have had it done immediately. What the hell was it about this mission that was so damned distracting as to make him lose sight of his duty?
Adriann studied Jason’s suddenly features and shook his head. “No. I should have brought it up myself and encouraged it. It did not occur to me that the passages might be a concern, but I can see that I was in error. There is nothing to fear back there, Jason. There are no secret torture chambers or creatures waiting to pounce. My only worry is that your Alex does not enter into someone else’s bathroom and see something he should not.”
Jason snorted. “Well, one, he’s not ‘my’ Alex, unless you’ve got his twin lying around here somewhere,” and the words made Adriann grin and shake his head, “and two, I didn’t even consider he’d get into too much trouble. Although entering someone else’s suite isn’t a good idea. Maybe I should go get him,” and he started toward his pack to get his flashlight but Adriann took his arm, stopping him.
“No, let him roam. He is not in any danger, I assure you. He may end up being embarrassed but nothing worse than that.”
Jogging his brows, Jason figured Adriann was right. He turned round and sat on one of the sofas. “Okay, so…what’d you want to talk to me about?”
Adriann sat down next to him. “As I said, it is nothing bad…well, not for you.” He hesitated for a moment. “I am having trouble coming to accept the method of procuring blood that your Doctor Fraiser described after evening meal. Though I do not need it as the others do, I must participate first, to show them that there is nothing to fear.”
“There isn’t anything to fear, Adriann,” Jason said, frowning.
“I do not like the idea of the transfusion. It is…cold, disconnected. There is no sharing, no bonding.”
Jason felt a strange sympathy coming over him at the word ‘bonding.’ He seemed to feel what Adriann meant without it being explained to him. It was then he thought he heard a whisper, an echo, inside his thoughts. Adriann’s voice. His eyes went wide and he stood up, staring at Adriann.
“What is it?”
“I just…I just…you weren’t reading my mind or projecting thoughts into my head just then, were you?”
Adriann frowned in concern and stood up next to him. “No. Why?”
“I suddenly understood what you were trying to say without you having to explain it. Then…I heard your voice. In my head.” He took a step back, not watching where he was going and before he could trip and fall, Adriann caught him about the waist. Jason reached out on instinct for something to grab hold of and found himself grasping Adriann’s bare arms.
“Are you okay?” Adriann asked.
Jason heard him, but his voice sounded as if it were in a large drum – a deep echo behind it. “I’m fine, thanks.” He let go and stepped away, free of obstacles this time. “What the hell just happened?”
Adriann pressed his lips together. “I feared this might happen. It is called Bonding. It happened because of the poison.”
“The poison? Because you took so much from me?”
“Will it last?”
“I do not know, Jason. Truthfully. I have never bonded with a human.”
“But when you…fed…from Daniel, did you bond with him?”
“Only for that one brief moment. With you, it was different because of the amount of blood. The brief instance of the poison in your system may have also affected you. It is troubling you.” The last wasn’t a question. It was a statement of fact.
Jason was troubled. “What does this mean?”
“Have you felt any urge to be with me since you have been gone?”
Jason thought for a moment. “No,” he replied, unable to hide his relief.
Adriann smiled warmly, reassuringly. “Then it does not mean anything. There is no draw, no pull. You only feel it when near me. This may mean that it is temporary.”
Jason took a deep breath. “Okay. Weird, but okay.” They were silent for a long time, then Jason shook the thoughts from his mind, tabling the subject for the time being. “So…back to the transfusion. You were saying that it bothers you. What is the problem exactly?”
Again, Adriann hesitated. “I do not want to force my brothers and sisters through this, yet I want to save their lives. The horrible thing is…they do not wish to try it. We will freely give what we’ve promised to give, our medicines, but this transfusion process frightens them.”
“Frightens them? Because it is cold?”
“I suppose it is as frightening to us as our method of feeding is to you.”
“I no longer find it frightening, Adriann. Just strange and unusual. Erotic is another word I would use. Not everyone is comfortable having those feelings come out. Especially to strangers.”
“But we are no longer strangers.”
“No, not with you, Talen, or Kashan, but we haven’t had much to talk about with the rest of your family. They seem a lot more subdued than you.”
Adriann nodded. “It is their way. But right now, they are less vital, weaker. They need the nourishment of the blood or they will die. Maybe one of your months from now, maybe a few of them. I do not know. I only know that when they go, I won’t live without them.”
Jason folded his arms and looked away. “I know the feeling. I don’t know what I’d do if Jack or Daniel were to ever die. It is a constant in our lives, something that we live with, but actually knowing that they could die…” He shook his head. “Even though they are your family and not your lovers, I do understand what you mean.”
“I had my mate die in my arms, Jason.”
Jason turned to him in shock. “Then we understand each other,” he whispered as he looked away again, staring at the fireplace. “So, what you’re saying is, they would rather die than face the coldness of the machine?”
“I think so.”
“They will not talk to me about it. I have tried.”
“They’re as telepathic as you, yes?”
“Yes,” Adriann replied, frowning. “What do you mean?”
“Can’t they read from our minds how safe this procedure is? There are people on my world with a nasty fear of needles. They become squeamish whenever they have to get a shot and you couldn’t drag them to give blood. But if their lives were on the line, I think they’d force themselves to get over it. Can’t your people do the same?”
Jason was trying to rationalize this. He understood, from his contact with Adriann’s mind, what the machine’s coldness meant. But at the same time, he couldn’t figure out why his people wouldn’t do this if it meant saving their lives. But if they wouldn’t, then…
He looked into Adriann’s eyes and saw a tired pain. Maybe it was that look, or maybe he was feeling sorry for them, or maybe he just wanted to help. But Jason had an idea. A crazy idea. “Adriann, I would not be against helping them in your…traditional…method.”
Adriann tilted his head and his eyes widened. “What? Are you serious? You would give us your blood through personal contact?”
Jason turned away from him then, suddenly feeling that odd pull toward the man. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea, but he couldn’t just let them die because of some stupid fear. Maybe they needed time to get used to the idea, but in the meantime…if this would help…
“Yes, I’m serious. I think Daniel and Jack would, too, although Jack would probably argue the case. Actually, they both probably would. What would draw Daniel would be his strong desire to help you…along with the fact that he’s experienced this already and knows what to expect. The others, however,…” and he shook his head. “They’re too freaked about what happened before so they don’t exactly trust you. I’m pretty sure they’d say no but I’ll ask anyway.” Jason paused a moment, then gave Adriann a careful look. “Alex might do this, though for different reasons.”
Adriann was simply astounded. “Why? You would do this why?”
“Because they don’t deserve to die. Because I despise bigotry.”
“Bigotry? What does that have to do with it?”
“Bigotry. Fear of that which is different, that which is unknown. There is also a sexual repression on my world that goes back a few hundred years. There is also the psychological aspect of our animal instincts. Or rather, the fear of them. The way you take your blood. Your…” and he motioned at Adriann’s mouth, “teeth…your fangs. They’re a reminder of the beast within us. And we humans don’t like to be reminded. The animal scares us.”
Adriann tilted his head again, regarding Jason more thoughtfully. “You seem to have an insight which even Daniel does not have.”
Jason shrugged dismissively. “I’ve been educated in the ways of psychology, that’s all. Daniel is the expert in sociology and anthropology and he has these wicked flashes of insight that no one can explain. He’d have come to the same conclusion as me, and probably already has. You’ve only heard it from me first.”
“You sound as if your contribution is not worth much. But I can tell you that it is.”
“No, I’m not that dismissive of my abilities. It’s just that they’re only part of the make-up. It’s like…Daniel figures out what people are doing when they’re lighting the torches of the altar, and he can figure out who they are doing it for and why they are doing it. Jack’s abilities there work only if the people are alive, but he’s amazing. He can read their body language and tell whether or not they’re up to something. Sometimes I don’t see it, but he sure does and most of the time, he’s right. Me, I’m the one who can see why they do what they do on an instinctual level.”
Adriann nodded in understanding but his features suddenly changed to doubt. “About your…proposal. Are you sure about this?”
Jason fidgeted for a moment, then ran his hand through his hair. “Yes…and I can’t understand it. It’s not out of gratitude for saving my life and it’s not out of some need to blindly help. It’s this…connection, bonding, whatever it is.” He stared hard into Adriann’s eyes then. “Whatever it is, it’s making me understand you, but not in words I can adequately explain. I’ll try to explain it to the others. Jack, Daniel, and Alex will probably understand, but I’m pretty sure the others won’t. Just know, that whatever the outcome, the transfusion is likely your people’s only permanent option.”
Adriann grimaced and turned away. “I know.” Jason could see the man struggling with his own fear, his anger, his need to take the pain away from his people. Jason knew that feeling very well, just as Jack did. Leaders always felt alone in this way. It was their lot. Adriann turned back to him, his features a little clearer.
“I’ll talk with them later on about what needs to be done, but if you’re serious about this offer…”
“Then…could it be tonight?”
Jason sighed. “Yes.”
“How would you want to arrange it?”
Jason crossed his arms and thought about it for a few moments. “Our rooms are more of a secure place. I’ll let you know in a little bit what the decision is. No matter what, Adriann, I will help.”
Adriann suddenly closed the distance between them, then took Jason’s left hand and hugged it to his chest. “Thank you.”
Jason was a bit surprised, but he didn’t mind. “You’re welcome.” Jason suddenly realized that his libido was kicking up. In fact, his breathing was becoming shallow, his dick stiffening slightly. He slowly pulled his hand from Adriann’s grasp. “God, there’s that ‘thing’ again, whatever it is.”
Adriann smiled, staring back. “Yes. Jack and I felt it earlier.”
Jason cleared his throat. “Well, I think I’ll pay my guys a visit. Besides, I have some talking to do, don’t I?”
Adriann gave him a hopeful grin as Jason opened the door and went out into hall. “I’ll be in the sunroom. Get Jack to show you where it is. I will be there for some time.”
“I’ll see you later then.”
Adriann nodded and left Jason alone in the hallway, thinking about a few things. In fact, the blood issue was foremost on Jason’s mind, but seeing his lovers was just as dominant a thought. Deciding that it should be business – kind of – first, he knocked on Al and Connor’s door. Alex he’d have to find later.
Daniel took a card from the deck, thought a moment, rearranged a few cards, then discarded. He looked at Jack, lying there, on his side, relaxed, and so very…
He stared at the dog tags draped provocatively over one pectoral muscle, then looked down at his own.
Jack grinned. “Still can’t get used to them, can you?”
“Well, they’re annoying. Besides, they don’t look right on me. Not like they do on you.”
Jack snorted. “They have their uses.”
A knowing smile spread across Daniel’s lips. “They do. It’s your turn,” Daniel reminded Jack as he unfolded his legs and sprawled onto his side.
Jack cocked a brow, watching Daniel’s tags fall in a manner that made him want to grab them and twirl them around his fingers. “My turn?”
“The cards, Jack.”
“Oh. I knew that.” He drew one.
“If you say so. Discard.”
“Don’t rush me.”
Daniel reached out suddenly and snatched the cards from Jack’s hand.
“Hush up,” Daniel ordered as he threw himself on top of Jack, pushing him onto his back and grabbing his dog tags, pulling the chain taut against the back of his neck.
“What’s gotten into you?”
“You, hopefully,” Daniel smiled. “I just decided you needed to be surprised.”
“Okay, I’m surprised, but…Daniel, you’re crinkling the cards up,” Jack protested right before Daniel latched onto his mouth and went exploring with his tongue. Jack decided the cards could go fuck themselves as his fingers secured the back of Daniel’s head to deepen their kiss.
Just when things were heating up, they were interrupted, startled by the door to their living room opening then closing – and closing rather emphatically. It wasn’t exactly a slam but there was emotion behind it.
“Hello?” Jack asked as he and Daniel slid off the bed and ventured into the living room. They found Jason pouring himself a drink…and scowling.
“Jace?” Daniel queried.
“What’s up?” came from Jack as they approached him.
Jason held up a finger to forestall any questions before he downed the small glass of liquor. He poured another and drank that down. Then with a heavy sigh, he plunked down on the sofa. It was then they noticed his bare feet, but the look on his face made them forget about his bootless state. Flanking him, they sat down, waiting, and when he didn’t talk, they both nudged him in the ribs. Jason sighed again and got up to pace but ended up back at the liquor.
His lovers frowned with worry. “Jason, what the fuck is the matter?” Jack asked.
Jason sighed, then in a rush… “Adriann came to me earlier, not long after you got back. He told me how he wasn’t comfortable with the idea of the transfusions and had a feeling his family members wouldn’t accept the help.”
Daniel and Jack stared at him. “Why’d he go to you?” Jack asked. “Why not to Daniel? Or me?”
Jason’s features softened a bit. “I think he assumed that the two of you were…busy?”
Daniel didn’t bother hiding the smile. “We were. Jack came back rather…wound up.”
Jack snorted again. “You could say that.”
Jason grinned at them, then his grin faltered. “Well, anyway, long story short, I told him that if his people weren’t comfortable with the device Janet has–“
“Yeah, why is that?” Jack interrupted.
With another sigh, Jason said, “It’s cold, impersonal, and frankly, it gives them the willies about as much as their fangs give our people the willies. Adriann is afraid that his people would rather die than submit to such a device.”
Daniel blinked. “Are you serious? I mean, I know you are but would they really sacrifice themselves because of a fear of machinery?”
Jason nodded sadly. “It’s not just a fear, Daniel. Try to understand it from their point of view. They have those teeth for a reason. Imagine, if you will, that one day, your food supply dwindles down to oatmeal and crackers. Then someone comes along and presents you with steak, but then tells you that you can’t have it unless they pull your chewing teeth. It’s like declawing a cat or taking the fangs from a tiger.”
Both Jack and Daniel grimaced. “That’s one hell of an analogy, Jace,” Jack told him.
“Yeah, but a very accurate one.”
“Okay, I can see what you mean,” Daniel put in. “I guess they just need time to get used to the idea.”
“I get that. But when you came in here, Jason, you were mad. Why?” Jack asked.
Jason shook his head. “It’s our own people. You see, I came up with an idea, a temporary solution until the Residents get used to the idea of the machine. Instead of bringing it to you two first, I went to the others, except for Alex, of course, who’s investigating those passageways behind the walls, and–“
“Damn, knew I forgot to check something out,” Jack frowned and shot a look at Daniel as if he were to blame. Daniel’s right brow rose up, telling Jack not to go there.
“Adriann said Alex is in no danger so I let him go. Anyway, I passed the idea on to everyone else, including Janet and her nurse, Carla.”
“And the idea was?” Jack asked carefully, though he had a feeling what Jason would say. He knew the man well now. He could be as insufferably gallant as Daniel.
Daniel guessed, too. “You offered blood in their traditional way, didn’t you?”
Again, Jason nodded. “Adriann said they were weak. I thought that if we helped, it would be like a show of trust. Trust them to…well, use us, then maybe they’ll trust our judgment about the machine.”
His lovers were thoughtful for a time, then they nodded, understanding where Jason was coming from and what he was asking.
“It’s only a temporary measure, Jace,” Daniel finally said.
Daniel took a deep breath. He remembered his connection with Adriann, remembered the feeling he had when the man had…loved him. There wasn’t another word for it. Adriann hadn’t just fed from him. He’d made love to him. Twice. It was a very persuasive argument when added to his own desire to help these people. “I have nothing against helping them that way,” he finally said.
Jack rolled his eyes at both of his lovers. “Okay, hold on. I get what you’re saying, Jace, and maybe a show of trust is the ticket, but are you two serious?”
“Yes,” Daniel replied, his eyes bright with sincerity. “It doesn’t hurt…and in fact, it’s rather…”
“Erotic as hell?” Jack said with a bit of jealousy thrown into the tone.
“Jack, you don’t remember but trust me, it was an amazing…feeling.”
Jason cleared his throat as the memory of Adriann’s teeth in his shoulder, or rather, his lips and tongue, came back to him. “I agree.”
Jack was leaning toward saying yes, simply because his lovers’ enthusiasm was catching. He knew their minds and though they sometimes baffled him, he trusted their judgment. He also had a feeling that his own people weren’t so…accommodating. “Our own guys didn’t take too well to your…idea, did they? That’s why you were mad.”
“No and yes, respectively,” Jason replied, the disappointment obvious.
“Did all of them refuse?” Daniel asked, surprised. “Even Sam and Teal’c?”
Jason nodded morosely, then poured himself another drink and downed it. “I don’t know why I’m so disappointed, or surprised. My guys – except for Alex – are married. Too married, sometimes.”
“Bad?” Jack asked sarcastically.
“Yes. It’s like they’re on honeymoon all the time.”
“Well, we act that way,” Jack observed, making Jason grin.
“Maybe, but I don’t see you bringing me flowers and chocolates once a week, do you?”
Jack grimaced. “No. God, they actually do that?”
Jason nodded. Daniel, on the other hand, assumed a devilish smile. He got up and put his arms around Jason’s neck and started kissing his cheek repeatedly. “Jack, our poor baby’s jealous. Do you want flowers and chocolates, sweetie pie?”
“Daniel!” Jason objected, pushing him away. “That’s disgusting.” He then made the stupid mistake of wiping the kisses from his face and Daniel affected a pouty look.
Daniel sniffed dramatically as a tiny curve of a smile ghosted the corner of his lips. “Jack, he doesn’t wuv me anymore. He wiped off my kiss.”
Jason made the sign of the cross with his fingers. “Back! Stay away from me. Jack, we need an exorcist.”
Daniel started laughing quietly, mostly at himself, as he sat down across from Jack. “Sorry, Jace. Couldn’t resist. If I’d behaved like that with Shau’re, she’d have had my balls.” His lovers smiled.
“I’ll bet,” Jack said, bringing up his own memory of Shau’re.
“So, what else, Jace?” Daniel asked.
“Well, I actually got the idea that Teal’c and Sam wouldn’t be that opposed, but he’s not thrilled with having them near her. Plus he’s not happy because Junior’s acting like he’s at the Olympics. As for Sam, well, her immediate reaction was that if Teal’c isn’t, she won’t. They’re sort of possessive about the other.”
“I can relate,” Jack replied, making Jason and Daniel smirk at him.
“I think Sam would if Teal’c said it was okay, but he didn’t seem too inclined to talk about it. I only hope they change their minds. As for Janet and Carla, well…forget it. Absolutely not. In her words: Hell no. I actually expected their reaction. I was just hoping that all of them would put aside their fears and surprise me. But…they really don’t have the connection with these people that we do. It looks like it’s just a few of us to help out the ten who haven’t–“
“Ten?” Jack asked, aghast, then made a quick mental count and nodded. “Yeah, ten. Never mind. So that’s three, three, and four apiece.”
Both Daniel and Jason stared. “You’re going to?” they asked simultaneously, exchanging quick looks afterward.
Jack thought about it for a moment, then shrugged. “Sure, why not. It’s no weirder than the rest of the events of this mission…So, who gets four?”
Jason groaned and plopped down on the sofa. “I kept thinking one…or two, but not four.”
Daniel walked over to the liquor, poured himself a shot into the glass that Jason used, then downed it. “I’ll do…four,” and then quickly downed another shot. “Why does this sound like we’re planning an orgy?”
Jason snorted and shook his head. “Because the contact is sexual in nature.” He got up then and made for the door. “I’ll go find Adriann and tell him. He said he’d be in the sunroom.” He turned back to Jack. “You wanna tell me where that is?”
Jack got up then. “I’ll go, Jace. You stay here…or go back to your room, wait for Alex and put the question to him.”
Jason smirked. “That sounded decidedly dirty.”
Jack gave an amused snort as he retrieved his boots and put them on. “I’ll be back in a bit. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” He winked at Jason, then Daniel, before leaving and closing the door.
Jason sighed and headed for the bathroom to relieve himself and Daniel followed.
Daniel felt another sudden flow of desire run through him. Just looking at his lovers did that, but not normally so…easily. Not on missions. This was one different kind of mission. Nothing was normal. “This is only a temporary fix, Jace.”
“You said that already.”
Daniel’s eyes raked over Jason’s body and he licked his lips. “I know, but…we should help them find a permanent solution.”
Jason looked over his shoulder. “Isn’t that what we’re doing here in the first place, aside from the medicine?”
“Yes, but I’m gonna help Adriann in those records. See if there isn’t an answer there, too.”
“If anyone can help in that area, you can,” Jason replied as he finished. He went to tuck himself back into his pants but Daniel stepped in behind him and stopped him. His hand reached down to lazily stroke his cock. Jason groaned, leaning back against him. Daniel’s hand felt so good.
“I can help here, too,” Daniel told him.
“Daniel,” Jason half-complained. “Doesn’t any of this sound nuts? Like…what you’re doing? Haven’t you just…” he asked as his hips began to move.
“Yes, to both,” Daniel replied as he pressed his lips against the back of his jaw and ran his tongue along the ridge of bone. “But it’s also very hot. Like you. We could do what happened before, on our first visit, only it’ll be real, no dreams.” He pushed Jason’s trousers down and reached up inside his shirt to caress the hard muscle. The dog tags clinked against his fingers and he wrapped them around the chain and tightened slightly. “Remember that feeling, Jace? How hard you got when Adriann sucked from your shoulder?”
Jason reached back, grabbing at Daniel’s hips while he pushed back, rubbing his ass against his lover’s crotch. “Damn you. You’re so fucking good at that.”
“What?” Daniel breathed as his hands moved slowly.
“Winding me up,” and to prove it, he thrust his now stiff cock through Daniel’s hand.
“Good. But blame Jack, or Adriann, or just my desire to bury myself inside you at any given opportunity.”
Jason closed his eyes and moaned at the words in his ear…and the hands on him…and the press of Daniel’s still-clothed hard cock against his ass. “Daniel, shouldn’t we close the door or…something?” he asked as his breathing quickened.
Daniel smiled against the back of his neck before he pulled Jason’s t-shirt over his head. “I already did,” he whispered, then dropped his pants to his ankles…once again.
Alex was grateful that the hidden passageway was wide enough to comfortably walk through. He was also glad he’d brought the flashlight. It was pitch dark except for where the flashlight was aimed. He passed what he thought were several rooms, then moved to the right as he came upon a t-section. Becoming irritated that he hadn’t the right amount of light to tell Jason, or Daniel for that matter, what he’d found (or not found), he decided that one of the large halogen lamps from the FRED would be better. He doubled back, but quickly determined that he was lost. It seemed to take forever to get back to where he’d started.
Using the flashlight and his hand, Alex searched for that telltale outline that indicated a doorway. He found one, then faintly heard voices. He pushed at the tab near the top of the outline and the door pushed open a crack. He was about to push it further but the voices that he had barely heard were now clearly audible…and had him frozen in place. Through the crack in the secret passage along the wall, he could see…everything.
Alex thought his own heart was going to fly through his chest as his brain started to process what he was looking at: Jason, feet spread, his hands against the wall, his backside facing Alex’s direction. Daniel was behind him and it looked almost as if he were planning an arrest…especially the way he was conducting his search. Jason was nude…except for his dog tags. Though he could only see him from the side, Alex could make out the chain around his neck. When his eyes moved lower, he had to take in a slow breath. He’d seen his leader naked before, on plenty of missions and post-mission showers. This…this was…way different.
His eyes travelled to Daniel’s equally naked form, then widened as he noticed where Daniel’s fingers were. They lazily circled Jason’s ass and his engorged cock was perilously close to his rectum. Perilously? No. Wrong word. Alex couldn’t think of a word just then as his own cock spurred to vivid life.
“Daniel, damn it, stop teasing me!” Jason hissed, then gasped as Daniel breached him with a finger.
“Answer the question.”
“Remember those teeth and that heat and how hard you got?”
“God, I remember.”
Daniel smiled and leaned over his back, kissing along his spine as he removed his finger and pushed his cock inside. Jason dropped his head back and groaned, smiling as he bit at his bottom lip.
“Wanted me to suck you right then and there, didn’t you?” Then without waiting, Daniel pushed Jason forward, making him brace himself against the wall, and plunged his cock deep, immediately glancing over the sensitive gland.
“Damn you, Daniel!” Jason gasped as he dropped his head down. Daniel swiveled his hips. “Damn you,” he gasped again.
“Liked that, did you?” Daniel breathed as his fingers dug into his lover’s hips and thrust into him, hard.
Fuck…yes! Alex croaked to himself as his eyes burned. He hadn’t blinked, afraid he’d miss something. His leader, his friend, was being fucked by Daniel. Oh…my…God. That meant…oh…my…God.
Daniel slid his fingers down the front of Jason’s thighs as he angled his strokes from side to side. “Want more like this?”
“Yes, baby, yes.”
Daniel smiled at getting Jason to call him that so quickly. He increased his speed and strength, quickly ramming into him. “God, you feel good.”
Another gasp. “Daniel, just shut up and fuck me senseless.”
Another devious smile from Daniel and he complied with enthusiastic abandon.
Alex’s mouth hung open, unable to close. As Jason’s vocal tones registered in Alex’s ears, he realized just how much his leader loved what was happening to him. Sex. Raw and primal. The sounds from Jason made Alex reach down inside his own trousers. Quickly taking cock in hand, he jerked off, watching Jason’s skin glisten and drip with the sweat of sex.
Alex didn’t even realize that he’d forgotten that Daniel was there. His brain registered the fact that Daniel was fucking Jason but that was all. His focus was on his team leader and the cock plunging and retreating rapidly from his ass, making him thrust backward while he scratched for purchase on the wall. Alex watched his ass, his face, his legs bracing. Hell, he watched everything, memorizing every detail. Until Daniel’s hand reached around to stroke Jason’s cock, then that was all Alex saw. The hand on that gorgeous cock, pleasuring him in time with the thrusts. Alex’s breathing subconsciously began to match Jason’s and when Jason started panting rapidly, his throat releasing repetitive moans, Alex realized something else he hadn’t grasped yet.
Jason was going to come. Right then and there. In front of him. He was going to see him come!
Alex’s hand tightened as he pumped his cock with frenzied need, watching as Jason’s muscles bunched and tightened. His need suddenly magnified to obsession. He had to see Jason come. He needed it, wanted it, coveted it, and…then…Alex froze.
Daniel’s voice whispered urgently, “Give it to me, baby. Come for me!”
Then it was Jason’s voice, panting, “Take it from me,” then the man’s body spasmed through wordless, hoarse whispers as semen spurted from his cock. When it did, Alex’s cock jerked and he shot his own come all over the dark wall.
Daniel dropped his head back and moaned loudly as Jason’s tightening muscles overtook his senses. Two more thrusts and he froze, panting hard as he spilled into his lover. Jason started to sink down to his knees but Daniel grabbed him and turned him around, kissing him passionately.
Through whispers of ‘I love you’, they pulled back, stripped, then stepped into the bath. The hot water from the handheld nozzle poured over them, cleaning, relaxing, and through more kisses, they settled down to washing.
Neither of them noticed the hidden door closing.
Adriann jumped and nearly spoiled the section of writing with his stylus. He turned and scowled at Jack. “Jack! How did you sneak up on me?”
“I’m good,” Jack smirked as he took the seat next to the desk.
Adriann grumbled. “Too good. What’s on your mind?”
“Jason…or more accurately, what he proposed.”
Adriann set his stylus down and gave Jack his undivided attention. “And?”
Jack gave him a sad look. “For reasons I have no clue about, the only people willing to help you and your people the ‘old-fashioned’ way are me, Daniel, and Jason.”
Adriann sighed. “And that surprises you?”
“Well, no, not from them,” and he paused. “I’m rather surprised at my own willingness, and I’m sorry if that offends you. I don’t mean anything by it. There may be a fourth member to add as Jason has yet to talk to Alex.”
Adriann nodded. “No offense was taken, by the way.”
“So, when did you want to do this?”
Adriann almost looked sheepish. “I would normally wait, but I would like them to be…”
“Relieved of their need…tonight.”
Jack nodded. “I figured as much.”
Jack suddenly looked over across the room where he’d seen other family members before and didn’t see anyone. “Where are they?”
Adriann looked away and stared out of the window. “Some are having evening meal and others are resting.”
“They tire easily these days.”
“Oh. And here we thought you were a threat.”
“We never were, Jack,” Adriann replied, then watched Jack grimace when he realized how his words had sounded.
“Do not be. I like your honesty. And as a leader, Jack, I understand.”
“Okay. Well, um…” As Jack started to make his mind get down to…business, he became nervous. He got up and paced a bit, then sat on the windowsill directly in front of Adriann’s desk. His hands needed something to play with, something to occupy themselves, but as they had nothing, he gripped the sill instead. Tightly. “Anyway…how do we do this?”
“One at a time, Jack. I don’t intend to let them overwhelm you.”
“Okay, well…um, that’s good.” Jack suddenly turned round and stared outside. It was getting dark. “Maybe you could…”
“Do you wish me to be there?” Adriann asked, suddenly right behind Jack, his voice in his ear. Jack turned quickly, his eyes wide.
“Shit, do you have to sneak up on me like that?”
Adriann smiled at the flush and the cuss word. “I did not mean to, but it is only fair. You did it to me.”
Jack snorted. “Fair enough. But just…” and he gently nudged him with his hands on Adriann’s arms, “stand back a little. Do you have to stand so close?”
Adriann gave him a teasing smile now. “If I understood you correctly, Jack, you want me to be close.”
“Well…okay…yeah, but…not now. It’s just that there’s this sparkage, or whatever it is, between us…”
Adriann didn’t need a translation for that. “Yes. It is very…”
Adriann backed away, the smile still on his lips. “When would you like me and the others to arrive?”
“Um…whenever you’re ready.”
“We are ready now, but we will wait for you. This may sound funny to you, Jack, but some of my family are shy. They will prefer to…be last. They are not much on attention. If it were one on one only, it would be different, but…”
It was Jack’s turn to laugh. “Like every one of us feels, Adriann. Tell you what, come back to the room with me and talk to us. We’ll figure out something that can accommodate everyone, okay?”
“After you then,” Adriann said, gesturing at the door.
Jason dressed and padded back to his room. When he heard a noise from the bathroom, he smirked.
“‘Bout time you got back here,” he said as he walked to the doorway. His smile faltered a little as he found himself looking upon the tall blonde’s very nude backside. The man stood in the bath, washing himself down as well as his trousers and shorts. Jason considered averting his eyes but it was a bit too late for that. He cleared his throat and spoke as gently as he could. “Alex? You run into something in there?”
Alex tensed, flinching slightly, then cleared his own throat, not bothering to turn around. “Something like that.”
Jason started to come in but Alex stopped him. “No, stay there, Major. This is…embarrassing.” He had another half-erection anyway and had no intention of showing it to Jason. He knew damn well that having Jason looking directly at his cock would make it grow and stiffen and therefore, create questions he didn’t want to answer. But Jason was never one to heed warnings that weren’t directly related to an obvious threat. Alex should have known better.
“I’ve seen your ass many times, Alex. And considering I’m looking at said ass, I think ‘Major’ is a bit too formal.” It was meant as a joke, but Alex seemed not to take it as such. Jason cleared his throat again. “I’ll just be out here, okay? I need to talk to you.”
“I…have a proposition for you.”
“What?” Alex asked, his eyes wide as he dropped his clothes into the bath. “Shit.” He picked them up quickly, then realized that he was showing Jason more than he should be – in his current state – and abruptly blushed. “Never mind, Jason, I’ll be out there in a minute.”
Jason saw the blush…and the partial erection. He took in Alex’s washing, including the wet clothes, and quickly deduced that Alex had been jerking off. It had obviously gotten messy. He bit his lips to keep from laughing. He understood it – had had that sort of embarrassment happen to himself – so he backed out of the bathroom carefully.
“Sorry, Alex,” he said earnestly and returned to the living room. After a few minutes, he heard Alex curse.
“Jason, could you…oh fuck it, never mind.” He padded naked out of the bathroom and in deference to his modesty, Jason turned away. Alex was very relieved for that as he went into the bedroom to retrieve a dry t-shirt and shorts. He hadn’t thought he’d spilled any semen on his clothes but apparently there had been…backsplash. A little. On his t-shirt, trousers. His boxers were already history from the pre-come.
Dressing quickly in his fresh underwear, he relaxed. As soon as he had a dry pair of trousers on, he relaxed even more.
“You wanna drink?” Jason asked him as Alex came out of the bedroom and sat down on the sofa.
“If you’re propositioning me, I’ll need one, don’t you think?”
Jason snorted as he looked over his shoulder. “Not in that way, Alex. But you may need it anyway as I have a very…strange…thing to ask of you.” He saw Alex’s embarrassment seem to deepen, so he gestured at the bathroom. “Relax. I’m not asking what happened. I can guess. Happens to all of us, Alex.”
Alex wanted to respond to that but nothing suitable came to mind. In fact, everything he thought to say just made his embarrassment worse.
Jason finished and handed him the drink as he sat across from him on the matching sofa. “At any other time, I’d probably give you a hard time, but I’ll leave you alone.”
“Thanks, you’re all heart.” Alex took a sip, then asked. “Okay, what’s the proposition?”
Very quickly, Jason told him his conversation with Adriann, then what he, Jack, and Daniel had decided. Alex sat there, stunned, gawping like a fish, and for some reason Jason couldn’t figure out, he was also blushing again. Jason got up, poured another drink, took the half-empty glass from Alex’s hand, then handed him the full one. Alex drank it. Then took the half-empty glass back and emptied that too. Jason sighed and sat down next to him, then patted him on the back.
“It’s okay, Alex. I don’t blame you or judge you. I’m not even sure why Daniel, Jack and I are willing to do this, but it basically comes down to saving their lives and–“
“I’ll do it.”
It was Jason’s turn to gawp. “What? You will?”
There was an awkward silence, then Alex said, “But I’ll need one thing.”
“I want to be alone in our room.”
“Okay,” Jason said slowly. He was planning on being in Jack and Daniel’s room anyway but this gave him the excuse he needed. Even so, he didn’t want to leave Alex alone in case he freaked. “I’ll just be out here then, just in case you want me to–“
“No. I need to be alone alone. I’m embarrassed enough with what’s already…,” and he gestured at the bathroom, “and I don’t want you seeing anything…you know.”
Jason took a deep breath, remembering that despite his 2IC’s tendency to talk openly about anything else, Alex was private about his sex life. After all, it would be as if he were having sex, wouldn’t it?
“You don’t have to ‘do’ anything, Alex. You can always just have them–“
“No, just…let me handle it myself. Let’s not get into it.”
Jason still wasn’t convinced Alex was okay. “Alex, look at me.”
Alex turned and finally looked into his eyes. Jason read a lot of emotion there. “Are you really okay? You don’t have to do this just because I’m asking.”
“I know, and I’m fine,” and he cleared his throat several times. “Do you know when they will be…?”
“That’s up to you, Alex. I have yet to talk to Colonel O’Neill. He went to arrange things with Adriann.”
Alex got up and went to get himself another drink. With his back to Jason, he asked, “Is this going on the official mission report?”
“No, Alex,” Jason said rising, watching the man carefully. “It’s not.”
With a sigh of relief, Alex turned, his eyes curious. “Al and Connor?”
“They’ve said no. But they won’t mention anything. They also know it’s off the record.”
Alex sighed. “Probably said no because of their wives. If I ever get as bad as those two, please shoot me.”
Jason grinned and walked over to him. “Promise.” They were quiet for a moment longer, then Jason had to ask once more. “Are you sure you’re fine with this? You don’t seem fine.”
Alex rolled his eyes. “Jason, I’m fine.”
When Jason’s hand slid over his back, he could feel Alex tense even further. He wondered what the hell could make him so jumpy. He thought over Alex’s expedition into the hidden passageway and then remembered the soiled clothes. Then Adriann’s words suddenly came back to him…about Alex seeing something he shouldn’t. Abruptly, the memory of being with Daniel – in the bathroom – came back to him. He thought that Alex had been jerking off in the room, or maybe the bathroom, but maybe that wasn’t it, was it? Had he been…? Did that mean that…? Had Alex…seen? The realization sank in slowly, as though a fog were lifting.
Jason slowly removed his hand from Alex’s back, ordering himself not to panic. “Oh God.”
Alex turned to look at him, his eyes wide. “Jason?”
“You saw us. God, Alex, you saw us.”
Alex turned away – blushing furiously now – and Jason had his answer. Alex’s words suddenly rattled off in quick succession without any pause for breath. “For what it’s worth, I pushed open the wrong door, thinking that it was ours and that maybe you’d closed it and the fact is, I realized I’d gotten lost and I didn’t mean to see but I did.”
Jason heard himself ask, “How much did you…see?” then thought it was the most absurd question. If he’d seen, he’d seen enough. “Never mind. That’s what’s got you so upset, isn’t it?” His need to protect Daniel suddenly overrode any embarrassment he might have felt otherwise.
“I’m…I’m not upset.”
“And Daniel. You’re not…”
Alex forgot his embarrassment long enough to look shocked and shake his head fervently. “No. I would never rat out my friends! You should know me better than that!”
Jason swallowed, forcing himself to relax. He felt the panic slowly start to recede. This would all be okay if he could get damage control. He looked to the bathroom…and the earlier image of Alex washing his clothes…the fact that he’d been…
Alarm came back, replacing the panic. Alex had jerked off. Which meant that he’d deliberately watched, hadn’t he? It was very likely his first time seeing two men fuck and he had gotten off on watching him. Now…Jason was extremely embarrassed.
He swiped at his face with his hand, then took a deep breath and let it out slowly, forcing himself to once again calm down. That included ordering his dick to go back to sleep. His body was choosing the wrong time to appreciate being watched. The silence stretched on and with it, Jason tried put things into a quick perspective, but it was hard. He was embarrassed at being jerk-off fodder…but realistically, he couldn’t blame Alex or be mad at him. The first time he himself had seen two men together, he’d come like a rocket in less than a minute – touching himself outside of his clothing.
Alex, unlike Jason, was on the verge of a good panic attack. Damn Jason for being too intuitive, he thought. “Are you pissed off?” he abruptly asked, breaking Jason from his thoughts.
“What?” Jason asked loudly, surprised. “No, Alex,” he said in a calmer voice. He turned away, staring at the furnishings absently as he struggled to find the words to make all of this okay. They couldn’t go back to what had been, but they could make this right somehow. “It’s one helluva thing to see the first time, Alex. I couldn’t be mad if I tried. I’m just very embarrassed.”
“God, you’re not the only one,” Alex said, the panic quite evident in his voice. His hand went over his eyes as quickly moved away. “I shouldn’t have…watched. I’m really sorry.”
Jason went after him but kept his hands to himself. He suddenly understood why Alex had tensed when he’d touched him, when he’d seen him nude. He took another deep breath. “Don’t be sorry. I understand completely. It’s a huge turn-on to see that, first time or otherwise. It’s hard to take your eyes away.”
Alex turned to give Jason a long look, then his eyes narrowed in confusion. “You’re really not mad, are you?”
Jason shook his head. “No.”
“Please don’t tell Daniel. I’m humiliated enough that you know.”
Jason let the hint of a gentle, encouraging smile show. “Nothing to worry about. Don’t feel like that. I won’t lie to Daniel, ever, but I’ll never say anything unless he asks. And really, why would he? Besides, this is between you and me and there’s nothing that can make me break a confidence. We’re okay.”
“I appreciate that,” Alex replied with sarcasm, showing Jason that he was starting to relax a bit.
“If you ever need to talk or anything–“
“Jason, stop it. It’s bad enough to know that you know that I…” Alex whispered, gesturing in the direction of Daniel’s room as he turned away again.
Jason suddenly became serious and he frowned as he took several steps toward Alex and stopped a few feet away. “Don’t push it away. If you need to talk, and can’t talk to anyone else, like Cari, come talk to me.”
Though his back was turned, Jason could tell by the back of the man’s neck that Alex had reddened again. “Did you tell Cari about what we talked about before? About the kiss? About…everything?”
Alex turned back once more to look at him and was relieved that he could look Jason directly in the eyes without embarrassment. “I did.”
“You two didn’t break up or anything, did you?”
Alex snorted. “No. She’s been great about it. Confided something to me, in fact.”
Jason grinned, knowing exactly what it was. “That she finds the idea of two guys together hot?”
Alex gawped once more. “How’d you…oh, of course,” and he slapped his forehead. “You two are thick as thieves, aren’t you? Probably told you all sorts of things she has yet to tell me.”
“Well…yes, but I’m quite certain she’s sharing a lot more with you than she ever did me.”
Alex grinned secretively and said nothing.
“So…at the risk of sounding repetitive, are we good?”
Alex took a deep breath. “We’re good. I feel very weird and very, very embarrassed, but we’re good.”
“Swell. If it makes you feel any better, you can always blame the weird atmosphere of this place. It’s making me a little more…you know…than usual.”
Alex winced. “Thanks. For some reason, that doesn’t help.”
“Okay, I’ll shut up.”
“There’s a first.”
Jason growled at him as he went for the door. “Now, I’ve got to go see what time we can get this show on the road.”
After he left the room, Alex sank down onto the couch and buried his face in his hands with a mixture of relief and anxiety.
Jason leaned against the door, taking several deep breaths. This was one of the strangest missions…filled with more surprises than he could shake a stick at. Taking another breath, he placed his hand on the doorknob just as Jack and Adriann rounded the corner at the end of the hall.
“Jack. Adriann,” Jason said, nodding to the man. He went inside, closing the door after the other two entered. Daniel looked up from his laptop, then stood.
“So, when’s the big…you know?”
“That’s what we’re here to discuss. Though, I’m thinking full dark,” Jack gestured, indicating the color of the sky through the glass panes in the ceiling. He turned to Jason then. “Did you find your errant 2IC?”
Jason nodded slowly. “I did.”
His lovers’ eyes widened along with Adriann’s.
“He’s going to help?” Daniel asked, astonished.
“Yep. He didn’t take long to decide, either, which surprised the shit out of me.”
“What changed his tune? I thought he didn’t like these people?” Jack asked.
“I think Adriann saving my life is what changed his mind. He’s been okay about them ever since.”
“Too bad the others are not okay with it,” Daniel said quietly.
“Yeah, well, I don’t even know why I’m okay with it. This is all very weird,” Jack said, though he sent an apologetic look to Adriann, who waved his hand dismissively.
Adriann looked up at the ceiling, the others watching him, wondering what he was looking at through the glass. He dropped his eyes back down to his audience, then gave them a soft smile. “Just checking the time. I can always tell by the color of the sky.”
Jack gestured at his eyes. “They’re that sensitive to color?”
Adriann nodded. “And to the dark.”
“So…full dark is okay?” Daniel asked.
“It is. But I wanted to talk to you…make a suggestion.” The three pairs of eyes widened with a little apprehension. “Um, I sensed a bit of reluctance and I guess it’s understandable. I have something that may help with that.”
“What? A drug or something?” Jason asked, frowning. “I don’t think that’ll be necessary.”
“Maybe, but I sense that Alex isn’t exactly okay with this?”
Jason rolled his eyes. “It’s…complicated. But he could do with a beer or something. That liquor isn’t calming him.”
“So what is it you’re offering?” Jack asked, wanting to ask Jason what that meant but he also wanted to get to the point.
Adriann cleared his throat. “It is a powder made from the Cavro flower. It is, as you might say, a relaxant.”
“Like a tranquilizer?” Daniel asked.
“Well…not exactly. It relaxes…inhibitions.”
Jack snorted. “Drinking enough booze will do the same.”
“Yeah, but not always, Jack,” Daniel remarked. “You know the old saying, good drunk-bad drunk. What’s it do exactly, Adriann?”
“As I said, it relaxes, lowers the inhibitions. A long time ago, our ancestors used it as a mild…” and he shook his head, trying to think up the English equivalent. “What do you call a chemical that increases libido?”
“Viagra?” Jack asked through a snort. “I don’t think we’re having that problem.”
“What is Viagra?” Adriann asked. He could have just taken the information from Jack’s mind, but felt he shouldn’t. They were friends, or so he hoped. He didn’t want to damage that hard won fact.
Daniel rolled his eyes at Jack. “It’s a drug on our world, Adriann, specifically developed to maintain a man’s erection.”
“Ah. No, this is not like that. It makes one more…susceptible to…” and he made a noise of frustration.
Jason suddenly saw the words in Adriann’s mind, then somehow heard what he was trying to say. “Aphrodisiac. You mean an aphrodisiac.”
As Jack and Daniel stared at him, Jason realized that he had forgotten to tell them something. About how he could read Adriann. Well, slightly read him. He could see that they’d assumed he had guessed so he was safe from having to impart that bit of knowledge. He didn’t want to tell them yet. He was hoping it would go away and he wouldn’t have to. He didn’t really want to keep this from them, but with all the other weird things going on, and Jack already acting a bit alpha, he felt it best to keep it to himself for now.
Adriann nodded at Jason, answering his assumption. “Yes. If that means an artificial means of heightening the libido.”
Daniel nodded at Adriann’s definition as he looked back and forth between the man and Jason. He thought he caught something between them, but quickly dismissed it. “That’s what it means. So, if one of us were to take it, what would happen?”
“Happen?” Adriann asked, frowning. Hadn’t he already said?
“Consider the fact that we’re human, Adriann. Things may not go as you’d expect,” Jack suddenly put in.
“If Alex, or any of us, took the powder, what would happen?” Jason asked.
“Any sexual feelings would come out. If you do not have them, then you would feel only friendly acceptance. No fear, no hesitation, no worry. Is that a sufficient answer? I cannot give you another, because Jack is right. You are human and I do not know exactly what would happen.”
The three men considered it, then nodded their own acceptance of the answer.
“Do you have any here?” Jason asked, pointing to the chiffonier, then the bathroom. “I don’t believe I need any but Alex might.”
Adriann nodded sagely. “It might be better if you told your people about it instead of having my people present it.”
Jack nodded. “I agree. There’s trust, but that kind of thing would raise an eyebrow.”
“It isn’t in all the rooms,” Adriann went on, “but there is some here, in the small drawer of what you’ve called the armoire.”
Daniel turned, spying the armoire behind him, and opened the doors. A small, narrow drawer sat at the bottom and he opened it. He withdrew a long glass vial containing a blue powder. “This?” he asked, holding it up.
Adriann nodded, taking it from Daniel and moving to the liquor table. He poured a drink and then removed a tiny spoon from the vial and measured a small amount.
Jack looked over his shoulder. “Looks like blue eyeshadow.”
Adriann’s puzzled look wasn’t what made the room grow quiet with astonishment. It was the gaping fishmouths to his left and further left. Then Daniel bit his lips to keep from laughing while Jason blinked several times.
“And just pray tell how you know that little piece of information?” Jason asked.
Jack turned his head, his brow lifting smugly, knowingly. “I was married, Jace. Sara, remember?” He turned back to watch Adriann place the tiny spoonful into the amber liquid. “She went through this phase when we were dating…and blue eyeshadow was still in style. She was probably the only woman I ever met who could wear the disgusting stuff with grace, that is, when she wore makeup at all. Mostly, she just wore lipstick and mascara.”
Jason gave his lover a quick kiss on the side of the head before giving him a swift – and not so subtle – proprietary slap on the ass. “Sorry. Forgot. I tend to go a little blind when I think of you with anyone else but us.”
Jack favored him with a small, teasing laugh. “That doesn’t cause blindness, you know. Old, old fairy tale.”
“In more ways than one,” Daniel added drily.
“Very funny,” Jason snorted, then reached over and picked up the glass. “Adriann, make another, would you. If I’m going to ask Alex to take this, I’d better show some moral support and take it myself.”
Daniel lifted his brows. “You know, maybe we should all take some of that.”
“And the reason would be?” Jack asked.
Daniel gave him a sly grin. “What Jace said, Jack. If Alex drinks it,” and he looked over at Jason, “if he does, that is, then he shouldn’t be the only one. So, why don’t we be the first ones.”
“What if we start fucking like crazed rabbits?” Jack asked.
“Jack,” Daniel and Jason intoned.
“What? It’s an aphrodisiac.”
“Have you ever known one on Earth that actually works like that?” Daniel asked, the doubt coloring his question.
“Maybe,” Jack replied enigmatically.
While Daniel and Jason pondered that bit of interesting news, Adriann motioned with his booted toe. “There are more glasses in the bottom drawer. Would you please?”
Jack retrieved three more glasses then filled them with liquor. As Adriann carefully measured out spoonsful, a knock at the door broke the momentary silence.
It was Sam and Teal’c.
“What’s goin’ on?” Daniel asked, letting them in.
Sam had a sheepish expression which she fixed on Jason, the man responsible for said look, then looked at Daniel and her C.O. “I’ve…changed my mind. I’m sort of…you know, interested in helping. If you guys are willing to, so am I. Except Teal’c is still not going to do this ’cause of Junior.”
“Teal’c?” Jack asked.
“My symbiote is quite restless and I must meditate to calm it down. I am not prepared to do this for that reason, though I support…Samantha’s…willingness to cooperate.” He turned his gaze on Adriann. “While she and I are occupied, they will take their requirement, but only then.”
Sam only gave Teal’c and the others a secretive smile as she flushed slightly.
“That brings it down to two people per one of us,” Jack commented as he grinned at his 2IC. Sam rarely blushed and when she did, Jack couldn’t help but egg it on.
“So…when should we expect them?” Sam asked, pointedly ignoring her C.O.’s teasing look.
“After full dark. I’ll assume they’ll knock on the door,” and he looked questioningly at Adriann, who nodded. “Also, this is on the QT. Meaning, it’s not going on the official report. Unless this is a problem?”
“Not a problem, sir,” she replied, nodding, then looked at the glasses Adriann was filling. “What’s going on?”
Daniel quickly explained what they’d been discussing, including Alex’s nervousness. “Do you want to?” he asked then.
“Have you tried it yet?” she asked.
She looked at the filled glass in Jason’s hand. “You don’t seem too enthused.”
“I’m going to drink mine with Alex so he doesn’t have to drink his alone. Are you going to?”
Sam took a deep breath and reached for a glass. “As long as it doesn’t make me dance on tabletops and take my clothes off.” At her warning look, Daniel and Jack valiantly refrained from smiling at the memory of that long ago mission. Teal’c, however, did not. His smile, in fact, widened, until Sam backhanded him softly across the stomach.
“Truthfully, Sam,” Adriann said, interrupting the moment, “I don’t know how it will affect you. However, I am fairly certain that Teal’c will keep you from any embarrassment.”
“You are correct,” Teal’c responded with certainty, making Sam smirk. She looked at the glass, and the now amazingly beautiful crystal-green color the blue powder had caused the liquor to become.
She held the glass up to look at it more closely, then without warning, she said, “Well, here’s mud in your eye,” and downed the contents, then tipped the glass over on the table as if it were a shot glass. The boys stared at her, their eyes wide for a second, and when she regarded them, smacking her lips, they relaxed slightly. “All that’s missing is lime and salt. Except it tastes like anise.”
The men’s jaws dropped to their boot heels.
“For Pete’s sake, not that Tok’ra bitch, you bunch of gutter minds. Aniseed?” Ignoring them as their mouths collectively snapped shut, she turned to Adriann and gave him a smirk. “Well, I don’t feel like sprouting hair and fangs, so I must be safe.”
“I wouldn’t count on that Teal’c. She probably bites,” Jack said with heavy sarcasm.
“Of that I am sure,” Teal’c said with as straight a face as possible, making Jack gawk at him.
Sam sniggered. “And on that note…uh…Teal’c?” she said as she suddenly became dizzy. Teal’c grabbed her, to keep her from falling. As quickly as she’d become dizzy, it was over with. She found her legs and stood stiffly, though Teal’c didn’t release his hold. “I’m fine. Got dizzy for a moment.”
The men looked over at Adriann, who shrugged. “I did warn you.”
Sam licked her lips again, then waved a hand in Adriann’s direction. “So you did.” She pulled away from Teal’c and headed for the door. “Teal’c, shall we?” She gave the guys a wicked grin before leaving. “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do, and if you do, don’t name it after me.”
“Indeed,” Teal’c said, smirking as he followed Sam out the door.
“Have a good night, Carter, Teal’c,” Jack called after them.
“Yasureyoubetcha,” she called back.
“I will try, O’Neill,” Teal’c replied, his voice fading as they entered their room and closed the door.
Jack shut the door and shook his head. “Woman’s got one hell of a set of brass ones, that’s for sure.”
Daniel bit his cheek, smirking. “And this is a surprise?”
“No, just making an editorial comment. Ever since that tabletop incident,” and he started laughing. Daniel couldn’t help it and laughed with him. “That was one for the books. Should’ve seen that, Jace. Oh, on second thought, maybe not.”
Daniel’s smirk grew to an evil grin. “If that had happened to you…oh wait, it did. I recall you eating that cake – and no, not that crap from Kynthia – and waking up naked, sprawled over that–“
“Okay, okay, let’s just drop it,” Jack said, defensively. Behind him, Jason made a choking noise. “Jason, not one word,” he added, not bothering to turn and look at him. Jason and Daniel exchanged amused glances but let the subject die.
Adriann finished mixing four more glasses of the liquor, then handed three of them to the men. Daniel gestured at the fourth glass on the table.
“Expecting someone else?”
“That is for me.”
“Are you nervous?” Daniel asking, unable to keep the sideways grin from forming.
“Well…maybe a little.”
The reception he received made him feel a bit put upon, but he let it go. These men seemed to enjoy teasing those they cared about and he could only assume that included himself. For that, he could let the small laughter go.
“Well, as Carter said, here’s mud in your eye,” Jack said as he saluted Jason, Daniel, and Adriann, then emptied the contents of his glass.
Daniel returned the silent salute and knocked his back, then Adriann followed suit. Jason had a feeling what was coming so he set his two glasses down. Jack and Daniel stood there, waiting for something to happen. The only obvious thing it did was give them each a brief warming in their stomachs.
“Carter was right,” Jack commented. “It does taste like licorice.”
“Hmm. So it does,” Daniel commented.
Adriann watched them carefully. “Any odd effects? We don’t feel anything, usually. Not even light-headedness.”
“Now that you mention it,” Daniel mumbled and when he shook his head, his equilibrium teetered. He stumbled and Adriann immediately helped him to the sofa. He looked with alarm at Jack.
“I suggest you sit down, now.”
Jack frowned at him, not feeling anything, but when he moved to sit down, he ended up plopping down hard as a wave of dizziness hit him. Adriann pressed his lips together, watching worriedly with Jason. Then Daniel leaned forward, elbows on knees, and took several deep breaths. Jack did the same, and within moments, the flush on their faces cleared.
“Are you well?” Adriann asked anxiously.
Daniel nodded. “Was dizzy for a minute, but it’s gone now.”
“Any other unusual feelings?” he asked.
“Not yet,” Jack answered. “Don’t feel like fucking the nearest thing that moves, if that’s what you mean.”
“Shame,” Jason answered drily as he picked up the glasses and made his way for the door.
Jack was suddenly up like a shot, as if he’d never gotten dizzy. “Where do you think you’re going?” he asked, grabbing him, and roughly pulling Jason into his arms.
“Hey, hey, watch the glasses,” Jason called out. From behind him, Adriann took the glasses, grinning mischievously.
“I repeat, where do you think you’re going?”
Jason saw the signs of Alpha Jack emerging. With that bit of news, he thought it was time to have a brief bit of fun. “I’m leaving you.”
“Oh, you are, are you?”
Jack surprised Jason and dumped them both to the carpet, making Adriann jump out of the way, startled, and just barely avoided spilling the contents of the glasses. Jack landed on top, his hands wrapped firmly around Jason’s wrists, pinning them near his head. Daniel turned on the sofa, laughing softly at the ‘floor show’. Adriann shot him a confused look.
“Is this normal?”
Daniel nodded, smiling. “Classic Alpha Jack. Except Jack usually does this sort of thing at home, so I’m thinking the drink mixture is working already.”
“Leaving me, are you?” Jack growled at his prey as he ignored the laughter in Daniel’s voice.
Jason defiantly refused to answer, then gasped as Jack rubbed his knee up over his crotch. Daniel bit his bottom lip, well familiar with that move. Jason looked over his shoulder, eyeing Daniel almost pleadingly.
Daniel grinned at him. “Like that move, do you?”
“Oh yeah,” he grunted as Jack grinned wickedly and did it again.
“Gonna tell me where you were really going?” Jack asked as his knee moved once more. Not a good place to attempt to persuade someone to talk.
Jason groaned. “Not if you keep doing that.”
Jack reconsidered his options, then dipped his head and bit Jason’s nipple through his t-shirt.
“OW! Goddamn it, Jack!”
“Talk or you get it again.”
“Fuck you,” Jason growled back.
Jack’s grin deepened. “Very likely.”
Jason hated it when he looked like that. He was too fucking gorgeous to live sometimes. “How could you forget? I’m going to bring Alex his drink.”
“Ah. That’s all?”
“I haven’t had mine, either. I’ll wait to see that nothing else happens after we both do the dizzy thing. Then I’ll be right back. What are you thinking…exactly?” Jason asked, aware that Jack was teasing…mostly.
“If you’re not back in five minutes, he dies, then you, got me?”
Jason snorted and Jack leaned down to bite his nipple.
“Yes! Yes, I got it. If you’re going to bite there, please, lighten up a–“
Jack’s mouth moved immediately to capture Jason’s in a deep kiss. Jason returned the kiss wholeheartedly. In fact, his dick was in complete agreement with Jack’s actions.
“If you’re not going to let me up, Jack,” Jason said around a second kiss. “Then please, hump me or something.”
Daniel started laughing as Jack growled through another kiss, then let him up.
“More for you later.”
“I keep mine.”
Jason grinned widely, then retrieved the glasses from Adriann and made for the door.
“Is Alex really okay about this?” Daniel asked, making Jason pause at the threshold.
Jason nodded. “He’ll be fine. He’s just a bit…anxious.”
“If he’s so worried, why did he agree?” Jack asked.
Jason sighed. “It’s…complicated.”
“You said that before,” Jack reminded him.
“Remember that convo he and I had that I wouldn’t tell you about?”
“Yeah, and you still haven’t,” Jack sarcastically reminded him of that, too.
“It was confidential. What we talked about earlier had to do with that. I can’t tell you two because if I did, how would you ever be able to trust me with one of your confidences and secrets?”
Daniel made a face. “Which means you can’t tell us and I hate it when you’re logical.”
“I know. I’ll be back in a few,” he said with that same mischievous smile he’d given Jack. He then disappeared from the doorway before Jack could do anything else. A second later, his lovers heard him singing, his voice fading as he moved for the room down the hall. “He was a fast machine…he kept his motor clean…he was the best damn lover…that I ever seen…he had the sightless eyes…telling me no lies…knocking me out with those Amer-i-can thighs…taking more than his share…had me fighting for air…he told me to come but I was already there…“
Jack closed his eyes for a second, then regarded Daniel seriously. “If he’s not back in five minutes, we go get him.”
Daniel laughed. “Don’t trust him, Jack, or Alex?”
“You heard that tone when he sang. He’s in a mischievous mood.”
“And you’re in your alpha mood. He’ll be back, Jack,” Daniel assured as his shirt came off. “And he’ll get mischievous on your ass, you can believe that.”
“God, I really love it when he’s like that,” Jack grumbled, eyeing Daniel appreciatively. “And you…whatcha doin’?”
“Taking off my shirt. I’m suddenly warm.”
Jack eyed him appreciatively, then as he cast a casual glance at Adriann, he struck without warning. Daniel suddenly found himself on the carpet.
Jack wasn’t biting, he was nibbling, tickling Daniel under his arm – with his tongue. Jack didn’t mind, either. He loved that smell from Daniel. Raw. Male. Daniel. It never failed to turn him on. And it wasn’t like he needed any help. Daniel did mind, however, as laughter burst forth.
“Jack, stop! That’s disgusting.”
“Is not. You like this… and so do I,” he murmured as his tongue purposely changed tactics and began to detail a slow, torturous path toward a nipple.
Adriann watched them with growing amusement and arousal. “Well, I think I will take my leave of you for the moment to tell the others what we have decided.”
As he started to pass, both Jack and Daniel reached out and grabbed the man’s ankle. He looked down into two very predatory sets of eyes and groaned.