Trinity 28: The Passionate
Part 1 of 2
Summary: A cure from Janet’s team brings the SGC members together again with Adriann and his kin. Quote is Peggy Lee’s “Fever.”
Never know how much I love you
Never know how much I care
When you put your arms around me
I get a fever that’s so hard to bear
You give me fever
Spending a Sunday at Jason’s, Jack plopped down on the sofa and brought his feet up on the cushions, his eyes on his dark-haired lover sitting at the end of the couch. Jason’s attention was lost in whatever it was that he was reading and Jack couldn’t help but wonder what gave his lover such an intense look of concentration. He toed Jason’s thigh and the man looked up, startled at the interruption.
“What?” Jason asked.
“What’re you reading?”
Jason was about to answer when Daniel entered the living room, handing Jack his beer.
“A book, Jack,” he said. At Jack’s expression, he bit the inside of his cheek as he picked up his computer and sat down in the over-stuffed chair.
“Remind me to book you in Vegas,” Jack snapped back.
Daniel only grinned in response. Before returning to his work, he looked across at Jason and eyed the book in his lover’s hands. He was unable to see its cover so his brow rose in query. Jason smirked and held up the hard-bound book, revealing the cover, and Daniel’s expression was one of mild surprise.
“Thought you’d be kind of sick of those.”
Jason shook his head. “Despite the subject matter, it’s laced with psychological drama. That’s what attracts me to Thomas Harris’ serial killer books.”
Daniel pointed. “That’s hardly a serial killer book.”
Jason tilted his head in consideration. “Depends on how you look at it.”
Daniel laughed softly. “I guess, Jason. Jeez, your mind is a strange place.”
“Yeah, but you love me anyway.”
“Yes, I do.”
During the exchange, Jack was getting just a bit ticked off that ‘his’ question wasn’t answered, so he leaned forward and tried to snatch the book from Jason’s hands. Jason held on firmly, pulling it out of Jack’s grasp.
“Jack, if I lose my place, you’re in deep shit,” he scolded.
“Yeah, tell me another one.”
“You’ll only make sarcastic remarks, Jack.”
“I will not. Let me see!”
Jason stared and Jack stared and finally, Jason relented. “Should call you Felix the Cat,” he teased and lifted the book to show Jack the cover.
Jack stared at him, then Daniel. “That is what you’d consider a serial killer book?”
Jason nodded as he grabbed his beer on the right-hand table. “If you think of that aspect while rereading this story, it becomes a whole new outlook. Makes for better reading.”
It was Jack’s turn to laugh, only his was a short one, filled with disbelief. He leaned back, reclining against the arm of the couch and raised his beer, pointing at Jason. “Daniel, why do we have a lover who reads Frankenstein like a dissertation from Quantico?”
Jason twitched his lips with amusement, knowing damn well Jack couldn’t refrain from sarcasm any more than he could stop breathing.
“Beats the shit out of me,” Daniel replied, winking at Jason. “But you do the same thing with Murders From the Rue Morgue so…”
Jack growled deeply and readjusted the pillow cushions behind him, using Jason’s thigh as a brace. As he relaxed into the sofa, watching his lovers, Jack thought that everything looked so…normal. As if they hadn’t ever visited that hotel from hell.
This served to remind Jack that he still didn’t have everything explained to his satisfaction. After returning home, they’d all given their verbal accounting to the General, and they’d all written up their reports. Except for Daniel, who seemed to be treating his like a thesis or something. It had been two days, and Jack was still waiting to hear about Daniel’s last conversation with Ms. Francis Clarke. A rather long conversation. And one he hadn’t been privy to, which even more annoying. His patience was finally wearing out.
“You gonna be done soon, Daniel?”
Daniel made an iffy motion with his head, which Jack couldn’t read. A shrug, a nod, an invitation to bed? What?
“Putting down that last convo with that Clarke woman?” he prompted Daniel again, hinting.
Daniel nodded absently. “More or less.”
“Daniel?” Jack asked, and his lover replied with an absent nod.
Jason glanced at Jack, then over to Daniel, and Jack determined that Jason had also been waiting. He sighed with impatience and tapped the coffee table with two fingertips. “Are you going to tell us or do we have to torture it out of you?”
Daniel didn’t look up and kept on typing. “Tell you what?”
Jack dropped his head back on the arm of the sofa and pinched the bridge of his nose.
Jason bit his lips together, trying not to laugh…considering where Jack’s feet were. Although he did have a rather heavy hard-cover book in his hands so…he let go of a snicker. Jack raised his hand and glared at him, which only made it worse.
The sounds from Jason alerted Daniel this time, breaking his concentration. He sighed. “What?”
Jason looked over. “Daniel, the conversation with Ms. Clarke? We’ve been waiting for you tell us what you talked about and what exactly was going on at that hotel.”
“Ah, that,” Daniel replied, finally coming out from under his tunnel-vision. “Sorry. I just wanted to…” He shrugged after a second. “I needed to put all of it together so it would make some sort of sense.”
“Well, whether it does or not,” Jack went on, removing his hand from his eyes, “I wanna know what the hell happened and why? Like, what the hell was the point of those dreams? Why those images? I mean, that ascended being, the orange one, was a twisted, manipulative fuck, that much is obvious, but what the hell was up with that room? Why the S and M theme? Why make all of us have that dream? Why lure you and Jason in there?”
“And why have me speak French, out of all the goddamn languages?” Jason added.
Daniel stared at them as he sipped his coffee. “I was planning on telling you guys everything after I finished typing up my own notes on the whole thing.”
“Notes?” Jack asked slowly. “Where’s the report you were supposed to finish?”
“I finished that a while ago and emailed it to the SGC.”
Jack closed his eyes, breathed in deeply and let it out. When he opened his eyes again, his gaze was on Jason. “Remind me again why we can’t kill him?”
Jason didn’t need to mull over the answer as he sent a scorching look Daniel’s way. “Because he’s extremely good in bed.”
Normally, comments like that drew smiles and action. This time, Daniel felt himself both blush with embarrassment and because he was blushing. Only his lovers could make him do that and Daniel still didn’t understand how. He was just thankful that the damnable embarrassment never lasted that long–however this one was taking its damn sweet time going away. It likely had something to do with the wicked look that Jason was still shooting him.
“Jack, look, he’s blushing,” Jason teased.
Jack laughed, and in that soft way that Daniel knew meant trouble. “Fine,” he replied quickly before the tease could develop momentum. “An explanation.” Daniel tapped a few keys on his computer and then closed it, setting it on the coffee table. He took a longer drink from his coffee mug, then leaned forward, elbows on knees, rubbing his mug between his hands.
“First, the French was a distraction, Jason. You know how I am about languages.” Jason and Jack smiled, forcing Daniel to remember how much putty he was in their hands when they spoke something other than English in his ear. He cleared his throat again. “Anyway, the reason it was French was because there were some Frenchmen staying in the hotel just after it was built. Apparently they were having a good old time in that room we found.”
Jack sat up a bit. “You mean, that shit actually happened?”
“The room is evidence, Jack. You saw the paddle and the crop.”
Jack stared at the peeling label on his beer bottle. “Yeah.”
Jason exchange glances with Daniel. “Jack, are you going to talk to us about why your dream bothers you so much?”
Jack looked up at him sharply, then at Daniel. He shook his head. “Let’s stay on topic.”
“It is on topic,” Jason pushed.
“Jason,” Daniel said in warning.
“Listen,” Jack answered, his voice suddenly guarded. “I know we don’t keep many secrets from each other but that’s not one I’m comfortable with sharing right now. I don’t know if I ever will be, but all I can say is that when I’ve come to…terms with what was in my dream, then I’ll talk about it. Not before.”
Daniel wanted answers but his instincts told him he wouldn’t get any. “Whenever you want, Jack.”
“Do you think we’d run screaming?” Jason asked carefully, not willing to let it go just yet.
Jack snorted sadly. “No. It’s me that’s trying not to run.” At the panicked look in his lovers’ eyes, he quickly added, “Not from you two. Just from myself.” There was an audible sigh of relief but the sudden tension was still heavy. “Daniel, let’s move on, okay?”
“Sure,” Daniel nodded slowly, looking down at his hands.
Seeing that his words bothered them, Jack dropped his feet to the floor and took Jason’s hand, then leaned forward toward Daniel. “Listen to me. It’s something that’s very hard to talk about.” He paused for effect, then added, “Like Iraq.” As the light dawned in his lovers’ eyes, Jack could see that they were beginning to understand. If anyone could, they could.
Jason looked down at Jack’s hand in his, his expression knowing. “That’s why those nightmares have come back, isn’t it?”
Jack shrugged it off, hoping against hope that he hadn’t wakened them during the night. At least, not that way. “Not a big deal.”
Jason sighed, rubbing his thumb over Jack’s fingers. “Don’t think you have to pretend with us,” he said softly. “We know you.”
“Ditto,” Daniel replied.
Jack sighed. “So…this ascended asshole was around back then?” he asked, hoping they’d move on.
Daniel took a breath, giving Jack a long look, wishing he could take all the pain away, but this was one battle he wouldn’t win. “It read the minds and emotions of the people who stayed in the hotel, feeding off them. Also, the only one to ever visit that secret room on a regular basis was Avery Hawkins.”
“Nice private, secret place to fulfill kinks,” Jason stated.
Daniel shrugged. “Probably, but after Hawkins brought home the Ancients’ artifact,” and he made quotation marks with his fingers, “he suddenly stopped all astronomical pursuits and became obsessed instead with the sexual activity inside that room. Seems the Frenchmen got him addicted to kink. The ascended being took it further, exploiting his interest and distracting him from studying the artifact. Servants were also affected, becoming his companions. When he had guests, they also participated, willingly or not, I don’t know, but judging by that ascended being’s recent actions, it wouldn’t have mattered.”
“How do you know this?” Jack asked, puzzled. “That’s a bit more than your usual deduction, Daniel.”
Daniel nodded. “I didn’t spend all that time with Ms. Clarke talking. I spent most of it reading and scanning.”
“What?” they asked.
“Avery Hawkins’ diary. I couldn’t take it with me but I could make copies. I also promised I’d never show them to anyone…well, outside of us.” He raised the screen of his computer, tapped a few buttons, then turned it so that his lovers could see. On the screen, there were scanned images of the old diary pages, complete with legible handwriting. “If you wanna read it later…” and he gestured at the computer as he set it aside again. Neither of his lovers seemed eager to read it. “Well, it’s there in case you change your mind.”
“Um, so…what else?” Jack croaked and cleared his throat.
“Going by what I’ve read, Hawkins thought he was communing with a spirit and the being seemed to do everything in its power to make him believe that.”
“Understandable, given the time and technological understanding,” Jason observed.
“Yeah, it affected Hawkins’ mind, forcing the power of suggestion on him. It’s quite interesting, from a psychological perspective, to see the change in Hawkins through his diary.”
“You said it was only there for a little while. How long?” Jack asked.
“Hawkins’ diary doesn’t mention any ‘weird’ things going on until after he came back from the Mediterranean. I think that’s when it followed him back from Lemnos.”
Jason shook his head. “This doesn’t make sense. If it didn’t want them to have the artifact, why didn’t it just–“
“It did want them to have it, Jace,” Daniel said, sounding like a contradiction. “It’s just that it didn’t want them to have control of it, however limited, which they might have gotten upon studying it. So, it began its little mind fucks. It did it specifically through repressed emotions and what we obsess most about. Either sex, violence, power…whatever. It did it probably through dreams and mind control, and after a while, that room became the first thing Hawkins thought about when he got out of bed in the morning.”
“You said he brought everyone into that room?” Jack asked.
“Yeah, everyone, Jack. He was bisexual.”
Jack and Jason blinked. It made sense now. “So, we didn’t just have those dreams of two men because we’re gay but because Hawkins was?” Jack further asked.
“Yeah, I’m pretty sure. I’m quite certain that it exploited that hidden part of him in order to get Hawkins’ mind off the artifact. It probably made him hide the thing behind that vanity mirror.”
“So does Francis Clarke know about the entity?” Jason asked.
Daniel smiled a bit. “She thinks a spirit possessed the house because that’s what Hawkins thought.”
Jason snorted. “Makes sense. So that was it, the whole story?”
“Yeah, pretty much. What it did to us was the same as it did to Hawkins. It didn’t want us to have the tech and used what it knew to distract us, to spook us, to chase us away.”
“Two out of three,” Jack said, shrugging.
Jason was going to ask Daniel just how much he’d gotten off on his dream, but considering that Jack didn’t share that feeling, he decided to bring it up when he and Daniel were alone. He cleared his throat, becoming embarrassingly aroused by the images he remembered. To alter the direction his mind was going, he revisited his earlier question. “Daniel, I still don’t get why it chose French for me to speak. I know that speaking in another language does one hell of a thing for you,” he went on, a small, seductive smile forming, “but why not have me speak Navaho or Diné?”
Daniel tried to figure out the words. “I didn’t know this until we went there but…apparently I’ve got this major kink about romantic settings, large feather beds, and a handsome French-speaking man.” He paused, slowly smiling, and got up and moved over to the couch, kneeling in front of Jason, whose eyes widened slightly as he tried to figure out what Daniel was up to. Daniel cast a sly look at Jack, who returned it, knowing exactly what Daniel was up to.
“How does getting a large feather bed sound?” Daniel asked, taking Jason’s hands in his.
Jason cast a glance at Jack. “I don’t think they make one big enough, Daniel.”
Daniel wrinkled his nose. “True. Have to build our own, I suppose.” His smile turned mischievous. “So…how much French do you remember?”
Jason took on a look of regret. “Not a lot. I wish I did.”
“Tell me what do you know.”
Jason thought a moment. “Je suis…Je suis á toi. Je te veux. Je veux t’embrasser…” His voice trailed off as he caught the nearly imperceptible enlargement of Daniel’s pupils. Jason inhaled through his nose, excitement rapidly rising as Daniel straddled his thighs. “Voulez vous–“
He didn’t finish that phrase because Daniel’s hands were over his groin, rubbing, and Jason was suddenly shaky on English, much less French.
Daniel leaned in, his breath heating Jason’s lips, his eyes darkening further. “You know, you’re not bad in bed, either.” Just as he reached for the buttons of Jason’s shirt, a beeper went off, followed quickly by two more.
Jack’s snicker followed and Daniel and Jason shot him evil looks. They didn’t need to check the pagers to see who was messaging them. The beepers were base-only. All three men rose off the couch and as Jason reached for his inside in his coat pocket, he ordered his body and mind to calm down. Daniel was so good at winding him up. Of course, Jack was, too. He sighed as he read the beeper’s screen.
Jack glanced at his own as he grabbed it off the kitchen table. “No rest for the wicked, boys.”
“That would apply if I’d actually had the chance to get wicked,” came Daniel’s growl of frustration as he grabbed for his shoes. He palmed his groin for emphasis and received sounds of agreement.
Arriving at Level 27, and still in civilian clothes, the two teams met up, exchanging brief hellos. Instead of changing, they made their way to the briefing room first. It was quite obvious that none of them were in the mood to have their downtime disturbed. When they entered the room, they found General Hammond and Doctor Fraiser waiting.
“General?” Jack asked, surprised, as he nodded at Janet. “Doc?”
“We’ve got an unscheduled medical mission, people,” Hammond replied, giving Jack and Jason the business look.
“What’s the mission?” Jack asked.
“You’re to accompany Doctor Fraiser and her medical team back to P7X-445.” Hammond restrained the urge to smirk as his teams looked puzzled. “That’s the new designation for The Residents’ planet.”
The mention of Adriann caused everyone to trade quick glances.
“Has something happened? Are they okay?” Daniel asked worriedly. “I mean,” and his attention focused on Janet, “you visited them a week and a half ago, right? I thought they were doing okay.” Janet’s expression didn’t make Daniel happy. At all.
Before she could answer him, Hammond gestured them to sit, with Janet taking the seat to his immediate right. Jason sat down next to her, looking over her shoulder as she set her notes down in front of her. He raised a brow in query but before he could ask, Sam did instead.
She raised a finger, pointing. “What’s happened, Janet?”
Hammond gave her the nod to proceed so Janet took a deep breath. “I believe I’ve found the cure for Adriann and his people.”
Startled responses of “What?” and “Really?” answered her.
She stood so she could see everyone at the table. “I’ve had my research team studying the Residents’ blood, isolating the antigen. Focusing on blood proteins, we’ve finally come up with a defense, an ante serum, that we’ll need to infuse them with, through I.V.s, and they’ll need a few of these doses, though I don’t know how many it will take. It will greatly depend on how depleted their healing abilities have become, as well as how their systems react to the synthetic protein created to kill off the antigen.”
“Okay,” Jack drew out, “that’s the good news, but you don’t look very happy, Doc. What’s the catch?”
Janet took another deep breath. “It may be too late, Colonel. Late last night, I received word from Lieutenant Vasquez, who’s been leading the staff assigned to oversee their treatments. The Residents’ condition has apparently taken a sudden downward turn. The infusions of clean blood are no longer holding off the attack of the antigen. Though I expected this to happen, I didn’t expect it to happen this soon. This turn of events came out of nowhere. I was hoping that we’d have more time to test the ante serum but the Residents have run out of time.”
She sighed heavily and as she did, there was silence in the room.
“And?” Daniel asked.
“And…if this cure doesn’t work, Daniel, we won’t have time to develop another. They’ll be dead in a matter of days.”
Sharp inhalations greeted her words.
Daniel looked at Hammond, then at Janet. “I don’t understand. Why are you still here–?” but he cut himself off as he remembered the time. “Sorry, forgot about the time difference.”
Hammond gave him a look of understanding and then looked at his watch. “It’s now 2245, people. That means we have six hours until planetary dawn to get prepped, packed, and ready to go.”
Jack knew something didn’t sound right. “Sir, I don’t mean to sound cold, because I genuinely like and care about these people, but why are SG-1 and 2 going? It’s obvious the Residents or Brethren don’t need us for security because our medical personnel are fully trained combat specialists and they’ve been going to the planet for months.”
Daniel felt a deep pit of dread develop in his belly. “It’s a request, isn’t it?”
Hammond and Janet exchanged glances and she nodded. “Adriann has asked to see all of you. He and the others want to say goodbye. He doesn’t yet know about the cure, but it makes no difference. If it doesn’t work…” She left the rest of the sentence unsaid. What else was there to say?
“Understood,” Jack said gravely. The more he let the facts sink in, the more his stomach knotted. He wouldn’t just miss Adriann as if he were an acquaintance–something Jack had been trying to tell himself that that’s all Adriann was. He knew Daniel and Jason felt the same and that made it harder.
“Get ready to go, people,” Hammond ordered shortly. “You depart at 0300.”
“Yes, sir,” Jack and Jason replied.
Everyone stood as Hammond excused himself and returned to his office. They said nothing as the teams made for the elevator with Janet. Jason looked down at her and for the first time, noticed slight purplish smudges underneath her eyes. He placed a hand at her elbow, showing concern.
“When’s the last time you got more than a few hours’ sleep at one time?” he asked, making sure his voice didn’t carry to the personnel passing them in the corridor.
She gave him a tired smile. “About a week, once my lab team isolated the mutant protein causing all the problems.”
“You seem doubtful that the cure will work,” he said carefully.
She shrugged as the eight team members joined her in the elevator. Jack obliged her by pushing the number for her floor. “Lab analysis says it should work, but it’s alien blood chemistry so anything can happen.”
“So what was it? The problem with their blood?” Sam asked.
“Adriann and his people were…are…suffering from an immune system failure. The antigen was replicating faster than their healing ability could make their unique antibodies. We had to look for a way to either create or stimulate their antibodies so we created a protein. Since we didn’t get the chance to test the synthetic protein, we now have to test it on the Residents themselves.”
“I thought that since you had confirmation that it worked, that would’ve been enough of a test. It isn’t?” Alex asked.
Janet shook her head. “We need to conduct a larger test with the remaining blood supply that we reserved for that purpose.”
“Blood supply?” Daniel asked.
“From the beasts,” she clarified.
“The rest of the blood is being used to make batches of ante serum. And…we’re out of time. While the microscope showed that it killed the antigen, we didn’t get the chance to move on to the next step before Vasquez sent the message. I don’t like blind tests like this but we have no choice. I’m hoping this doesn’t do any damage to them. It *is* a synthetic protein we’ve created. There’s no telling how their systems will react.”
“So the method of delivery is an I.V.? Like plasma?” Jack asked.
Janet nodded. “Through the same way they’d been getting blood infusions.”
Everyone who knew the Residents’ opinions on that winced. Infusions meant more needles and hook-up to tubes, something the Residents had not only disliked, but had abhorred to the point of superstition. Although the I.V. treatments were better than being hooked up to machines.
“So this ante serum is like an antibiotic?” Alex asked.
“No,” Janet informed him. “Antibiotics are toxins used to kill off dangerous organisms. In the Residents’ case, another toxin would be a death sentence. Even their amazing ability to heal themselves has been extremely compromised. Adding anything homeopathic would be deadly. Well, in their case, anyway.”
“Where’d you get the idea for the synthetic protein?” Al asked.
“Remember that purple flower they have growing there?” she asked everyone as the elevator doors opened to the locker room floor. Everyone nodded that they remembered the five-petaled plant.
“It’s one of their medicinal plants and when its effects are multiplied and given to the antigen, the poison is neutralized.”
“So the flower is the cure?” Daniel asked, the next question on everyone’s mind. “Why not simply give the Residents the flower?”
“The flower is toxic to the Residents, and though it would normally just make them sick to their stomachs and make them miserable for a few days, their current immunity state is fragile. It can’t fight the toxin without help. So, they’ll get it in a different manner. Like a software program specifically designed to give instructions to the body to replicate the synthetic protein and attack the antigen. Hopefully, this will work, as well as help build up a wall of resistance to anything else. We’ll need more of the beasts’ blood, sir.”
“The other shoe,” Jack said, grimacing. “We’ll have to kill one of those damn things?”
Janet shook her head. “No, sir. I’ll need blood from a live host. Two, preferably.”
“I thought the flower was the cure?” Sam asked, puzzled.
“The antigen is needed in conjunction with the flower.”
No one seemed to understand that but it didn’t really matter.
“Do you need more of the flower, too?” Jason asked, picturing the last time they went plant harvesting.
“No, we have enough of the flower on hand.”
“How’d Adriann look the last time you saw him?” Daniel asked.
Janet gave him a sad, grieving look, before the elevator doors closed. “Not well, Daniel. None of them did.”
Lt. Carla Vasquez and Rone greeted them at the gate, their faces masks of pain. It was confirmation for everything Janet had told them and their hearts sank.
“How’re you holding up?” Janet asked.
“Just fine, ma’am, considering the circumstances,” Vasquez replied. Dark circles lined the skin under her reddened eyes.
“I know, but hopefully this will work.”
Rone remained quiet, his hands wringing as he guided the teams to the house. Upon entering the immense main room, the only noise came from their own movements and equipment, the electronic hum from the MALP and FREDs almost deafening.
To the left, at the kitchen door, hovered three Brethren, two women, one male. Neva, Rina, and Poul. The three Brethren who’d been with the teams when they’d gathered plant specimens on their previous visit. Before all hell had broken loose with the beasts and the bizarre lightning storm.
Jack and the teams nodded to them and the three nodded back, their demeanor worried and — if Jack read them correctly — not a little angry. He guessed why. SG-1 and other SG teams tended to bring ‘miracles’ to planets. He hoped that this one was another, though the irony in saving a people superior in many ways to humans was not lost on him.
“We need to see Adriann and the others. Are they upstairs?” he asked Vasquez. He peered with concern at Rone, who stood silently behind Vasquez, his eyes unable to fix on anything for long.
The Lieutenant started to answer but was interrupted when Rone disappeared for the seclusion of the kitchen, tears wetting his cheeks. Only Neva remained, coming forward to take Rone’s vacated spot. “All of them are in a state,” she explained bleakly.
“Waiting for the rest to die,” Vasquez added in a revelation, her voice tight. Only her training kept her from showing tears.
Janet grabbed her arm, her face pale and scared. “Carla, what’s happened?”
Vasquez swallowed, then lifted her head, her chin jutting out in an effort to look brave. Daniel hurriedly stepped up, his hand at Neva’s back. “The rest?” he whispered.
“We lost several Var’chol’si in the past few days.” Her head dropped as she said it and at the words, all semblance of Vasquez’ affected bravery departed as her eyes filled with tears.
One could hear a pin drop a hundred miles away.
“Who?” Jack asked, bracing himself and wishing he didn’t have to.
Neva tried to answer but Vasquez put her hand on the small woman’s shoulder and answered for her. “Oponna died four days ago. Zeph and Diran followed her two days ago, and last night, we lost Dorran and Derra. Talen’s devastated because Derra was her and Adriann’s biological sister.”
Daniel felt his heart stop. “Adriann?”
Vasquez’ eyes rested on Janet. “I think he will go next. He suddenly deteriorated overnight, more rapidly than the others.”
“Shit,” Jack cursed.
“How?” Janet asked. “His health was better than the others.”
“Yesterday…he insisted on going out and capturing more blood. Wouldn’t let me take the risk. The exertion weakened him and now…”
Neva started to cry and brushed the back of her hand across her face, trying to stem the flow.
“Let’s get this going then,” Janet requested, and after a quick nod of agreement from Jack, she took command of the situation and issued medical orders. Everyone grabbed containers from the FREDs and followed her as Neva led them to the second floor and to Adriann’s room. At the door, Janet stopped.
“Limited visitors would be advisable.”
Neva placed her hand on Janet’s uniform sleeve, shaking her head. “They should all come in, Janet. He’s already asked to say…”
She couldn’t get herself to say the word and shamefully dropped her chin to her chest, her face in a grimace as she tried not to cry again. Daniel was nearest her and he put an arm at her back as he opened the door for her.
Daniel had been preparing himself for this, ever since Janet informed them all, but he was not prepared for the lack of odor in the room. It was, if anything, almost stale and old, like old air. He glanced at the windows, finding them open, bringing in the fresh air. The lack of outdoor smells was strange, and stranger still came the thought that maybe the planet was grieving, too.
When he looked at the bed, however, Daniel was unprepared for the sight that greeted him. He and the others approached Adriann’s large bed, their reactions open.
Adriann literally looked like perfect example of the superstitious myths of the undead. He hadn’t lost any weight or muscle mass. Instead, it was his skin and eyes that were the victims of the poison. His skin was no longer the pale cream color but whitish-grey, covered with a light sheen of sweat. His lips were dry, cracked, the obvious sign of the fever within. His eyes were closed but as they opened at their approach, the beautifully-hued greys seemed bleached of brilliance, the sparkle of life absent. He lay on top of the thick quilt, dressed in his multi-hued silk shirt and pants, the burgundies and violets somehow making the grey of his skin look that much paler. Adriann looked surreal.
Seeing Daniel next to the bed, Adriann tried to reach for him. Daniel caught his hand and held it for a moment before moving away to let Janet and Carla work, setting up the I.V.
“You have come,” Adriann said, relieved, attempting to smile but grimaced instead. “I am glad to get the chance to say goodbye. I apologize for the state of my appearance and that it will be the last thing you remember of me.” He managed a smile but it all it did was emphasize the profound sadness in his eyes. “It appears that I now match the description of your Nosferatu.”
Daniel ground his back teeth for a moment, then swallowed with difficulty. “Except that you don’t have the long nails, the ugly appearance, the long, crooked fangs in the middle,” and he pointed to his front teeth. Adriann actually smiled, as Daniel hoped he would.
The ante serum bottle was hung onto the previously fashioned hanger stationed on the overhead frame of the four poster bed. Carla settled on the bed to Adriann’s other side, taking his vitals as Janet inserted the needle.
Adriann looked down. “I do not mean to be ungrateful, but is that not a waste of time?”
Janet grinned as Carla handed her some strips of tape. “Look at the bottle,” she told him, finishing the hookup and adjusting the drip flow. Carla gave her the note pad with Adriann’s vitals quickly scribbled down and Janet nodded, mostly to herself. She gestured at Jason as she stood up and made for the door. “Jason, your team’s finished their advanced field medical training?”
“Then Vasquez and I will need your help with the others.”
“Not a problem, Janet,” and he indicated the door. “Let’s go, boys.” As his team followed Janet and Carla with the rest of the equipment, he turned back, his eyes on Adriann’s. He sent out thoughts that Adriann would be well, but his eyes suddenly reflected a keen loss. There were no thoughts sent back to him and he realized that Adriann couldn’t hear him. Swallowing, he turned away without looking at anyone else and left the room.
“Wait,” Adriann said weakly, lifting his head as Jason departed.
“They’re not leaving, Adriann,” Daniel told him quickly, sitting back down, his fingers petting Adriann’s lusterless blond mane. Even the honey hue was gone. “They’re simply setting up the new I.V.s for the others.”
“I couldn’t hear him,” Adriann said solemnly. “I couldn’t hear Jason.” The repeated words were barely a whisper and he closed his eyes.
“Shh,” Daniel told him, rubbing his arm. “You will. Once you’re better. We’ve brought a cure.”
Adriann’s eyes opened as wide as the fever allowed. The color was even more startling. Almost white. “What?” he croaked, his voice thick with regret. Remembering what Janet told him, his eyes traveled upward, locking on the unfamiliar plastic bottle that hung from the metal hook attached to the bed frame. Inside was an amber liquid. He was used to getting infusions from blood-filled plastic bags. His eyes moved along the tubing that held the golden stuff that now entered the vein in his arm.
Daniel took Adriann’s hand again, trying to warm the cold skin with his own heat. “Janet’s team found a cure. We have to hope that we aren’t too late to save the rest of you.”
Neva gasped then and turned away and it was then that Daniel and the others discovered that Adriann hadn’t known that others had died. His telepathy was gone. No wonder he couldn’t hear Jason.
“Who’s gone, Neva?” Adriann asked her, framing his question as an order.
She didn’t answer and began hugging herself harder than she had been.
Jack’s brow furrowed deeply as he watched her, suddenly reminded of Daniel after Shau’re died. Sam and Teal’c moved to her, trying to calm her fears as they put their arms around her and it seemed to work as she accepted their comfort.
Jack looked back over to Adriann as he set down his gear and took off his jacket. He stepped behind Daniel, touching his shoulder. Daniel let Adriann go and stood up, letting Jack take his place. Taking Adriann’s hand in one hand, he carded the fingers of his free hand through a few dull strands of Adriann’s hair. He couldn’t help but remember the last time he’d been with Adriann on this planet. The man had had such a vitality and strength, a deep passion for life, and it was extremely hard to see him so…debilitated. Forcing the thoughts away, Jack swallowed his reluctance and gave the man what he wanted to hear. “Five others.” He recounted their names, with Daniel’s help, and Adriann’s eyes squeezed tightly shut, a few teardrops falling.
“Derra.” He pictured her dark hair, then pictured the others. “So many. Too many.”
His voice drifted, and his words seemed to sound a bit slurry. Panic gripped everyone in the room and Teal’c left in a hurry. Moments later, he returned with Janet. Jack moved away so she could take vitals again. After a moment, she sighed and nodded.
“It’s okay. I had a feeling this would be the effect. The serum is acting like a sedative on his system. It’s his species’ way of healing. It shuts down and they go to sleep. Remember how their medicines treated Adriann before?”
They did. He’d gone to sleep for a while.
“I suppose this is good news then?” Jack asked, wanting to be relieved as he watched her move to the door.
She paused and gave him a look Jack hadn’t seen before. “It is, Colonel. It is.”
When she left, Jack frowned and looked at Daniel. “I know she can’t help but have some personal stake in this, but did I just get a vibe from her?”
“You did,” Daniel nodded.
It was almost noon. Off and on, they’d taken turns checking on the sleeping residents and the second bottle of serum had just been set up.
Leaving Calane’s room, Jason needed a break and headed for the courtyard, thoughts of fresh air enveloping him. As he looked through the glass double doors, he was surprised to spot Janet outside, alone, sitting in the grass just off the edge of the stonework. Her knees were drawn up, her arms clasped around them. She stared straight ahead, looking a hell of a lot more worn out than Jason had first suspected. Opening the doors and quietly shutting them behind him, he walked over and sat down next to her, folding his legs. She tried to appear cheerful and failed miserably. Jason sighed and put his arm around her, hugging her against his side.
“It’ll work, Janet.”
She breathed in slowly and laid her head on his shoulder, continuing to stare straight ahead. “Thought you were watching Calane?”
“I was. He’s asleep and I needed to get some air. The color’s only just starting to come back to his skin. It’s encouraging. It’ll work, Janet. You’ll see.”
“I can only hope it does, Jason.”
“You need sleep,” he said, squeezing her shoulders.
“I’ll get some later. I’ve never been able to sleep when my patients’ lives are in danger.”
“I know, but you also know that if you’re not fit to tend to them, they won’t get your best.” She made an argumentative noise in her throat and it made Jason smile. “Want me to pick you up and force you to rest?”
A sound of disgust came from her next. “Try it and sing soprano, Major.”
“You wouldn’t say that if you knew I had ulterior motives,” he teased, laughing softly.
“You wouldn’t say that if you were serious.”
He laughed again, shrugging. “Maybe.”
From the second story windows overlooking the courtyard, Daniel and Jack watched them. Daniel crossed his arms and gave Jack a worried look.
“Adriann will be fine, Daniel. I think he looks a lot better.”
“Me, too. I just hope we got here in time.”
“We did,” Jack said. His intuition told him Adriann would be fine, and that intuition had never let him down.
Daniel gave him a long look, staring into his eyes. He recognized that look of certainty and allowed himself to relax a bit. Jack’s confidence was always amazingly accurate.
Daniel nodded his acceptance, though the fear remained. Only Adriann’s full health would remove his fear permanently. He looked around them, then lifted his chin, gesturing at the duo outside. “If he weren’t gay,” he whispered, “I’d say they made a cute couple.”
Jack snorted. “I know, but I for one am glad that they aren’t.” He grinned conspiratorially. “Scuttlebutt is that our good Doctor is…” He tilted his head back and forth.
“What?” Daniel asked, keeping his voice a hair above a whisper. “Involved with someone?”
“I haven’t heard anything,” Daniel said, frowning. He normally did.
“That’s because the scuttlebutt is from here, from the Brethren.”
Daniel’s eyes widened. “One of the Residents or one of the Brethren?”
Jack shrugged. “One of the Residents. It was something in that young woman’s tone. Neva?”
Daniel’s mouth slowly dropped. “What’d she say?”
“Just that Janet and Kashan have become close. They’ve been spending a lot of time together.”
Daniel felt bothered and couldn’t help but feel a strong possessiveness. Janet was family as far as he was concerned and the brotherly urge to give any potential mates the once-over overwhelmed his common sense. Janet would kill him if he so much as hinted at any possessiveness. He cleared his throat. “Doesn’t necessarily mean anything, Jack.”
“True, but the tone was implied, Daniel.”
When Daniel didn’t answer and re-crossed his arms irritably, Jack grinned at him. “Your possessiveness is showing.”
Daniel tried not to look defensive. “It is not.”
“Yes it is.”
“And you’re not feeling it?” he asked defensively.
“I didn’t say that.”
Daniel’s mouth twisted with wry humor. “She’d kill us for thinking this way, you know.”
“I know. I won’t tell if you don’t.”
Daniel’s lips twitched a moment as he watched Janet. “I’m glad for her.”
“But?” Jack asked, thinking that he knew what Daniel would say. “You wish she’d found someone on Earth, don’t you?”
Daniel’s eyes suddenly grew sad. “Yes. This sickness only makes things worse for her.”
Jack looked down at Jason and Janet. “I know. They won’t die, Daniel.”
“I hope to god they don’t, Jack. And not just for their sakes or Janet’s.”
“I know. Me, too.”
“You’ve become attached to one of them, haven’t you?” Jason abruptly asked. He had no idea why he’d asked, but he suddenly knew it to be true. And when Janet stiffened in his embrace, his assumption was confirmed. “It’s okay, you know.”
She sighed. “Maybe. Is it that obvious?”
“No. It’s just that I think I’ve come to know you well enough to tell when something’s changed or wrong.”
After several long seconds of silence, Jason could feel Janet’s body practically vibrating with tension and stress. “Who is it?”
“Kashan. I thought he only liked men but…apparently the Residents swing either way.”
She tried to pass off some humor as if to lighten the mood, but it didn’t work. She only sounded despaired. Jason tightened his arm around her, turning her into his chest. He began to stroke her hair and she wished he wouldn’t. She felt her throat clog and the tears come to her eyes.
“Jason…” she started to argue.
“Shh. Just let it out, Jan. You need to. Everyone will understand, should they notice. So let it go.”
She nodded, trying to relax into him, to let the grief release, but nothing would come, as if she were just too numb from going on robot mode. But the moment Jason added, “He’ll be okay, Janet,” she felt her throat constrict and her cheeks heat up. A second later, tears fell and she sobbed quietly against his shirt. Jason held her and rocked them back and forth.
“Oh shit,” Daniel whispered, when Jason and Janet started to rock. “She’s crying.” His panicked eyes found Jack’s. “I’ve never seen her cry.”
Jack only nodded silently and put his hand on Daniel’s back. “She probably needs it, Daniel. Let’s get to the kitchen, grab the juice skins and those pocket sandwiches or whatever that food was that Rone told us about, and get back to the rooms. Jason can handle this by himself.”
Daniel knew he could but part of him wanted to rush downstairs and hold onto Janet himself. Having someone as strong as her break down was shattering to see.
Alex leaned forward in the chair next to the bed, his forearms resting on his knees as he sat vigil, watching Ophius sleep, watching as the skin color slowly returned. During that time, he’d been going over things in his mind. His evolving desires, specifically. Though the man was ill and in bed, Alex felt a pull from Ophius that had nothing to do with his unique telepathic abilities.
Making sure that the water and mild juice was at hand on the bedside table, Alex stood up, removed his socks (his boots long since discarded) and gently eased himself on the bed, sitting back against the headboard. He looked down into the strained but still handsome face of the only man he’d ever had sex with. Made love to. Whether it was appropriate or not, Alex couldn’t help but think about doing it again. And going further than they had.
As Alex’s thoughts ran round and round, waging an internal argument, he didn’t notice that Ophius had opened his eyes. The man looked up, startled to see the blond human, Alex, sitting next to him. He’d had so many dreams about him, most of them wistful, filled with burning desires for what he’d had just the once. He blinked, focusing, and located Alex’s nearest hand. He reached over and touched him, and couldn’t help the smile that came when Alex jumped. He felt an inner joy come over him when he realized the man’s grey eyes were also returning to normal. Six hours. That’s all it had taken to start them on the road to recovery. Though Janet said it would probably take them a few days for their immune systems to kick back in and start its own miraculous method of self-healing.
Alex relaxed and gave Ophius a soft, chastising grin. “Are you trying to give me a heart attack?”
“I did not see you before,” Ophius said, strengthening his hold.
“You were asleep, feverish.”
“I do not feel feverish.”
“The fever has passed.”
“I am very glad to see you now,” he said, bringing Alex’s wrist to his mouth. He laid a soft kiss over the pulse point and Alex felt his cock twitch, beginning to fill, amazed at how the man, the vampire, could be feeling amorous.
The vampire smiled a little. “It helps me. Do not be offended.”
“I’m not, but it’s just that you need to rest–“
“I am dying, Alex. Please do not take away the last–“
“You’re not dying anymore, Ophius.”
Alex pointed and Ophius looked up at the bottle of amber liquid, then down the tubing and at the needle pressed into his vein. “This is…what?”
Ophius stiffened a bit in surprise. “I thought it my imagination. It is working?”
Alex smiled and held up Ophius’ hand to show him the returning healthy color of his skin. “What do you think?”
Ophius smiled at him and brought Alex’s wrist back to his mouth. “I look forward to my strength returning,” and licked the pale blue vein.
Alex swallowed and for the next few hours, it was as if there was no one else in the world.
Kashan heard a pounding in his head, but it didn’t hurt. He didn’t dare open his eyes, just in case the headache would return in a fury. But as the pounding lessened and cleared, he could hear voices, and one in particular. But the voices came not from his ears, but from inside his head.
He felt his heart beat faster and opened his eyes, focusing for a moment before his vision sharpened. He found the dark-eyed beauty sitting next to him and tried a smile.
“Are you not bored, sitting here?” he asked, making her jump and being oddly pleased that he did.
Janet sighed and withheld her own smile, raising the book in her hands. “I came prepared this time.”
Kashan looked up at his I.V. “So I see.”
Janet’s work-worn fingers reached out, their gentleness ever present as she touched his face, as if checking for his temperature. She took his wrist in hand to take his pulse but Kashan grabbed her fingers and brought her palm to his lips, kissing it. She didn’t, couldn’t, say anything. She simply bit her lip and smiled.
Jack called home and gave Hammond his report, telling the General that the Residents seemed to be on the mend, and though he was certain they’d be okay, they had to make sure. Hammond sent the latest batch of serum through, the thick medical case protecting it from the bone-numbing cold of wormhole travel.
“What about acquiring the blood from the indigenous animals, Colonel?”
“We haven’t formulated a plan yet, sir. Doctor Fraiser wanted to make sure that the serum would work first.”
“Understood. Use extreme caution, Jack. I don’t relish losing members of my command.”
Jack smiled. “Received and understood, sir.”
“I’ll contact you this time tomorrow for the next update.”
Jack shut off the sending mode of the MALP and returned to the kitchen where everyone had gathered for a mid-afternoon meal. He looked around the room, noting the optimism taking shape in everyone’s expressions as they ate. Especially Janet’s. He sat down on a stool next to her as she nibbled on a piece of cheese.
“So, what’s that mind thinking of?” he asked, half-teasing.
She gave him a soft smile; it even reached her eyes this time. The Residents, as she’d secretly hoped, were healing at a remarkable rate. Their metabolisms, it seemed, hadn’t been completely suppressed and the ante serum had worked in conjunction with it, the cells literally replicating what they were given.
At that moment, Teal’c and Sam entered, carrying the case that had been sent through the gate. “Lieutenant Vasquez has returned to the SGC with the last of the blood taken by Adriann,” he announced.
Janet pointed at the refrigeration device behind her as she stood and the medical case set down in front of her. She opened it, staring at the contents, kept in their own small refrigeration unit. “Good thing it was kept refrigerated or it would’ve been a wasted effort.” The white fog floated out of the container and evaporated in the room, making the Brethren present curious enough to move over and stare.
“Does that mean we can skip a blood-letting?” Jack asked, hopefully.
Janet shook her head. “I’m sorry, Colonel. Though we have a batch here and one currently being made, the supply drawn by Adriann wasn’t enough. We need more. Eight vials, at least. So if you capture two beasts, that’s four vials each.” She sighed, unable to help wishing that there were Residents strong enough for the task. She’d watched over the months how they’d done it and, next to the Brethren, she and the now absent Vasquez were the only humans experienced in getting blood from the beasts.
“The Residents need at least two more batches, but I’m guessing. I’m hoping that’s all it takes to secure their immune systems with enough antibodies to fight the remaining antigens. They’ll need it every twenty-four hours.”
Jack sighed and closed his eyes momentarily. “So how soon do we need to get the blood?”
“As soon as possible, Colonel.”
“I’m sorry, sir.”
Jack sighed. “S’alright, Doc. Okay, folks, how do we do this?”
Teal’c was about to suggest something but Rone came forward. “Please, forgive the interruption, but none of you know how to take the beasts down. Only Janet has seen how Adriann and Calane have done it before. Despite your impressive weapons, they will kill, not disable. We need the bow.”
“Against those beasts?” Alex asked. “I know you slowed them down before but disabling them so we can draw blood? C’mon, that’s impossible.”
Rone shook his head. “It is not. When you were here before, Calane and Oponna took them down easily, but that was meant only to slow them down. Calane and Adriann have the skill to disable them, hitting them in specific places.”
“What about zats?” Connor and Daniel asked.
“No,” Rone said sadly, “they did not work before and they will not work now.”
“Sir, he’s right,” Janet told Jack. “Zats will only electrify the blood, rendering it useless. P-90s cause too much damage and from what I’ve learned of the animal’s physiology, their systems shut down and the blood cells start to die immediately. I can’t allow that to happen. The cells need to be intact. We can’t use tranquilizers because they’ll compromise the integrity of the blood as much as the zats would.”
Jack looked at Rone. “Suppose the bow works. How did Adriann do this before?”
Rone swallowed. “He shot the animal and then sat on it, holding it down while he drew the blood.” At the words, everyone groaned.
“Swell,” Jack said, crossing his arms, thinking. “We’re nowhere near as strong, so that means I’ll have to shoot one, then…”
At his hesitation, Rone asked, “You have skill with a bow?”
Jack glanced at him with mild annoyance, and looked around the room. “Why is that so hard to believe, I ask you,” and he shook his head. “Yes, I’ve the skill. Now…suggestions as to do this. T?”
“Three of us may be all that is needed to hold one such animal down, O’Neill. Four others to guard while one other draws the blood.”
Jack nodded to himself, liking Teal’c’s idea. “Okay, and if we need as much blood as you say, Doc, we’ll have to do this twice.” Janet nodded soberly. “So, the question is, how do we get to them and isolate two without being set upon by the others?”
“Daylight,” Rone offered.
“That’s right, they’re nocturnal, aren’t they?” Daniel said, snapping his fingers. “Light is their weakness.”
Jack nodded. “Okay, so we lure them out. Ideas?”
Rone exchanged glances with his siblings. “We would gladly kill a few animals to sacrifice if it will save our cousins.”
“Perfect,” Jack said, liking the offer. “Where would be the likely place to set up an ambush?”
Rone turned to Poul and Sela. “There is that rise of land that is perhaps a fifty yards southeast from the rear entrance to the gate. We could take a few of the Zha’ren there, mortally wound them, then leave them. Their loud moaning would alert the beasts.”
“But will they take the bait?” Daniel asked. “And how long before they do, if they do?”
Rone took a long breath, his eyes focusing on the light through the kitchen windows. “It is only just after mid-day. The sounds of wounded animals as well as the smell of fresh blood will wake them. Only a few will venture forth to collect their kill, but there should be enough of them to give us our opportunity. As sun fall comes late this time of year, there should be enough time before it settles over the trees. We should move now before we lose the advantage of time.”
“So, what kind of bow?” Jason asked.
“Normal or compound. Crossbow’s range is too short,” Jack told him.
“Compound? Crossbow?” Rone asked.
Jack thumbed in the direction of the gate. “I’ll have someone bring some back with us the next time we visit and you’ll be able to fashion your own from the models.”
“Either that or you could have Adriann or one of the others read your mind and get the diagram that way,” Daniel rattled off in a low tone.
Jack glanced at him. “Very funny, Daniel.”
“Excuse me, please,” came Neva’s voice from the doorway.
Everyone turned, their expressions looking just a bit alarmed, not wanting any more bad news.
“What’s wrong?” Janet asked.
“Nothing, Janet,” Neva said, quickly waving off the concern. “Adriann would like to see Jason.”
Brows rose in surprise. “Why you and not us?” Jack asked, then looked at Neva.
She shook her head. “I do not know, Jack.”
“Well, I’ll go find out,” Jason replied as he headed for the door. He turned back and eyed Jack carefully. “Start without me, sir, and regret it.”
“Never dream of it, Major,” Jack replied.
After Jason left, Rone turned his attention on Jack and eyed his clothing. When his eyes settled on Jack’s hips, Jack gave him a suspicious look. “Rone, what are you doing?”
“Figuring your size.”
Daniel turned away, stifling a laugh.
“For hunting clothing. You will need it for protection.”
“Protection from what exactly?”
Rone reached out cautiously, as if Jack might bite him, and pinched the material of Jack’s sleeve. “This is unsuitable protection and will easily tear. Our leather hunting gear would be more suitable in case a beast’s claw scratches you.” He turned to look at the others, especially Daniel and Teal’c, then looked back at Poul and Sela. “We’ll need Residents’ clothing stores.” They nodded and immediately left through the back entrance of the kitchen. “In fact, those who will be helping should wear the clothing.”
Something in his tone brought Jack up. “Didn’t you ever help taking down the beasts?”
Rone shook his head. “Considering what contact with the beasts does to us…”
Memories of Tam’s changed form came back.
“Point taken. Carter, T, I want you two on security, guarding us.” Sam started to object but Jack held up a hand. “No, Carter. You and Teal’c have sharper aim.”
“Your aim is better, sir,” she argued.
“Carter, do you really want to get up close and personal with those things?”
She flinched. “Not really.”
“So, McCaffrey, Kaufman, I want your help on guard.”
“Yes, sir,” they said, their relief hidden.
Daniel cast Jack a look that spelled payback somehow. “That leaves you, me, Jason, and Alex to hold the animal down. Which one of us draws the blood?”
“I can take care of that, and a lot more quickly than Major Coburn,” Janet said.
Jack shook his head. “Sorry, Doc, but that’s not an option. If we’re injured, we’ll need your skill.”
She pursed her lips in frustration. “Very good, sir. That means the only two who’re experienced in drawing blood are Major Coburn and Captain Wagner.”
“So who’s more proficient?” Jack asked, putting Janet on the spot. “Sorry, Doc, but this is one time I’d rather not flip a coin. Especially as the Major isn’t here.”
“No offense, Captain, but Major Coburn is more adept at this sort of thing than you are.”
“None taken, Doc, trust me,” Alex said with relief.
Daniel winced as he regarded Jack and received a similar look of sympathy in return. Jason was not going to be happy.
With Neva right behind him, Jason found the door to Adriann’s room half-open and gently pushed it aside. One of the Brethren, Mira, was sitting on the bed, reading something from a small book. Her words were in their own language, though spoken so softly Jason had to strain his ears to hear.
Adriann’s attention was straight ahead, his mind focusing on Mira’s words. At Jason’s entrance, he turned his head, his eyes redirected. The grey was nearly back to normal, the light behind them bright and alive. He touched Mira’s arm to stall her reading.
“Thank you, Mira,” he said quietly. “Could you two please leave us alone? I’ll call you.”
They nodded and left, shooting Jason an enigmatic look which Jason interpreted as protective and worried. Don’t tire him out. Or something like that. Jason closed the door behind them and walked over to the bed, taking in the improved change in the leader.
“You’re looking a hell of a lot better than you did several hours ago.” He sat down, his thigh touching Adriann’s.
“I feel a lot better,” Adriann said, relieved, though there was an edge to his voice.
Jason caught it. Irritation? He smiled knowingly. “I’m guessing you don’t like being bedridden any more than the rest of us do.”
Adriann sighed heavily. “You would be right, my friend.”
Jason nodded. “So, what’d you want to see me about?”
With the arm that had the I.V. attached, Adriann reached over and touched Jason’s forearm, squeezing. “I’d like your help in getting my telepathy back.”
Jason’s eyes widened. “But aren’t the other Residents or the Brethren more suited to–“
“No, Jason, they’re not. Worry and stress tends to block their minds from me on a normal day. This isn’t a normal time. They’re too close, emotionally. Do you understand?”
“So I’m not emotionally close, is that it?” Jason asked, his smile turning a shade defensive.
Adriann sighed and grabbed Jason’s hand. “NO. It’s not that. It is this…” Adriann said contritely as he indicated the I.V. “Neva’s a nervous wreck despite how I’m doing now. Mira’s hopeless, Rone is hopeless…” He let out a sigh of frustration. “I adore them but they are, as you would say, driving me crazy.”
Jason smiled at Adriann’s use of contractions as well as the Earth colloquialisms. “Nothing wrong with your memory, at least,” and he clasping the fingers in his own. The gesture seemed to bolster the prone man. “I’ve no idea if I’ll be able to help, but I’ll try. Why is it so important now? Surely it’ll return?”
Adriann didn’t answer and looked down at their hands, stroking the back of Jason’s with his left.
Jason thought he got it because the fear had gripped him, too. “You’re afraid it won’t come back, aren’t you?”
Adriann didn’t look up. “Does that sound stupid to you?”
“No. I’ve grown used our silent communication. I feel weird now that it’s gone. I’m a bit worried.”
Adriann closed his eyes. “Me, too. Very much.”
“So how do you want to do this?”
Adriann frowned, pushing himself up. Leaning back on the pillows, he thought about what Jason asked. “I do not know. Think of something, then tell me when you’re ready.”
Jason closed his eyes and started to think about something, but he opened them, a knot of confusion forming between his brows. “Does it matter if we keep our eyes open or closed?”
“Let’s try it with eyes closed first.” He took Jason’s hands in his and Jason’s expression made him smile. “Contact might help.”
Jason gave him a half-nod and closed his eyes. He tried to think of something Adriann couldn’t know or guess. He thought of Jack getting ready to go hunting, but Adriann could probably guess that. He let his mind wander a moment, then remembered the mission in California.
“Keep your mind on that and try to send me the pictures.”
“How did you before?” Adriann asked, his voice light with sarcasm.
Jason gave him a chiding smirk and took a deep breath. He brought up images of the hotel, from the exterior to the rooms he’d been in, including the secret one. He concentrated, sending the images, seeing in his mind’s eye an image of giving them to Adriann. When Adriann gasped sharply, his eyes flew open in alarm. “What’s wrong?” he asked, relaxing his grip on Adriann’s hands, but Adriann tightened his hold, refusing to let go.
“Nothing,” Adriann said, smiling, and opened his eyes slowly. “I saw.”
A slow, careful grin formed on Jason’s lips. “What did you see?”
“A white building with…columns, I think you call them. There were numerous rooms and one was…hidden. You did something in that room.” His smile turned knowing. “Something wicked?”
Jason’s smile widened. “Yes, I did.”
Then Adriann held his hand tighter, pointedly keeping his gaze on Jason, their eyes locked. Jason recognized what Adriann was doing and tried to focus, to listen. At first, he couldn’t hear anything, but after a minute, he heard a faint voice.
“Can you hear me?” Adriann asked.
Just barely, came Jason’s reply. “Try again,” he said aloud.
“Can you hear me now?” Adriann asked and Jason started to laugh quietly, attempting not to fall into a fit of giggles.
“What?” Adriann asked, starting to get annoyed because he wasn’t in on whatever amused Jason.
“Nothing, it’s just an Earth stupidity right now. I heard you, though,” and he smiled, letting go of a small giggle. “Try once more. Read what made me laugh.”
Adriann focused his gaze again, narrowing his eyes. A moment later, his eyes widened in a reflection of triumph. “It worked!”
“You read me?” he asked, knowing Adriann did.
“A ‘TV’ commercial?” Adriann asked, looking confused.
Jason gave him a huge smile. “Yes!” He suddenly found himself engulfed in amazingly strong arms as Adriann pulled him into a fierce hug.
“I guess it worked,” Jason replied, brushing the man’s hair with one hand while rubbing his back with the other. He pulled back to say something about trying it again but Adriann was suddenly kissing him. Jason pulled back in surprise. “Adriann?” he asked, letting Adriann read the feelings inside him. He didn’t think Adriann was all that attracted to him and figured it was a spontaneous show of affection, reflecting how happy he was.
“It’s not just that,” Adriann told him. “I’ve always been attracted to you.” He leaned forward to kiss Jason again but again, Jason pulled back, a hand framing Adriann’s face.
“But aren’t Daniel and Jack the ones you…want?”
Something intense appeared in Adriann’s eyes and Jason felt the inside of his thighs heat up. He was then pulled back into Adriann’s arms and kissed again. This time, deeply. The feel of wet tongue in his mouth and the immense strength holding him shot arousal through Jason. He’d never kissed Adriann this way before. It wasn’t as if Adriann hadn’t touched him before, but it had never been private and intimate. Jason felt confused, mixed signals fighting between his mind, heart, and groin. Apprehension fought with lust, his heart pounding as he tried to figure out what to do. He pushed to stop the kiss, but Adriann wouldn’t let him go. And Jason knew that if he really wanted the kiss to stop, all he had to do was twist his head to either side. He didn’t. When Adriann pulled away, he felt a disappointing loss of contact, whether he wanted to or not.
“Dammit, Adriann,” he said, rubbing his lips together, feeling them tingle from the kiss, his tongue missing the tactile sensation of being literally massaged. Adriann brought his fingers up, touching Jason’s lips lightly, his expression one of curiosity. “What was that for?” Jason asked him as the tingle from Adriann’s touch spread through his limbs.
“I wish I were fully healed and did not have this needle in my arm.”
Jason cleared his throat, feeling the heat of a blush that he tried and failed to force away. “Why?” he heard himself ask and wanted to smack himself for asking a stupid question. He started to laugh with embarrassment instead.
Adriann’s gaze grew much more intense, the effect quite startling. Jason had never been afraid of Adriann but there was something that caused him to hesitate. Not fear exactly, but the intensity of the vampire’s gaze was like that of a predator. His heart began beat faster. “Adriann?” he asked, not knowing exactly what to ask other than what the vampire was thinking. He suddenly wished he could read the vampire’s mind as easily as Adriann could read him.
Jason followed the up and down motion of Adriann’s throat as he swallowed. The man was either nervous or making a difficult decision. Then his fingers drew soft lines over Jason’s jaw and down his throat, tips pausing over the pulse point. “I need you,” Adriann whispered, his expression deadly serious. He leaned in, his lips brushing over Jason’s lips and down his jaw, nipping lightly at first, but the nips transformed into bites.
“Adriann, you’re still not well,” Jason told him, attempting a protest even as his head fell back and his eyes focused on the ceiling. He felt a strong pull, a desire that didn’t seem to be of his own making, and his dick hardened amazingly fast. Then Adriann was wrapping his left arm firmly around Jason’s waist, pulling forward, forcing Jason to straddle his lap. “Wait,” Jason started once more, panic at odds with the throbbing of his cock and the lust racing through his heart. He suddenly wished he’d taken off his boots, but the thought was ripped away when Adriann’s free hand cradled the back of his head as his lips moved down his neck. “Wait, Adriann,” but the objection was only half-hearted. The vampire’s tongue drew circular designs over his skin and settled over the pulse point, licking, then sucking, hard, biting and nipping. “God, Adriann,” Jason breathed, his hands clutching at his shoulders. “You’ll hurt yourself, please, don’t,” but he didn’t want him stop. He knew it especially when Adriann’s teeth became sharp points, scratching and catching over his skin.
“I need you,” Adriann repeated, his voice deep and harsh, beguiling.
Jason inhaled sharply, abruptly reminded exactly what Adriann was. He swallowed, hard, both aroused by the eroticism and afraid that Adriann could compromise his healing.
“Adriann, you’ll hurt yourself,” he tried once more, this time sending the words silently, figuring that way would reach Adriann.
“I need this, Jason. I need you,” came Adriann’s inner voice, the sound melodic, soothing, seducing…
Jason hadn’t heard that voice before and wound his fingers through Adriann’s long, dark honey-colored hair, trying not to grip tightly. But when the vampire’s pointed teeth grazed roughly over the artery, Jason’s eyes half-lidded and he let out a hitched sigh, his fingers closing into fists filled with the thick, soft hair. “Yes,” he panted, though he wasn’t sure he’d said that aloud. He knew his lips moved but he couldn’t hear anymore. All that he could hear was the rush of blood in his ears and the overwhelming need to feel those teeth sinking into him.
Adriann’s right hand moved up from his waist to hold him by the back of his neck, the long fingers tilting his head backward and to the right, exposing his throat. There was a brief sharpness as Jason felt sharp teeth slicing into his neck like a hot knife through butter.
Tremendous heat spread everywhere when Adriann’s lips and tongue sucked hard against his flesh. So consuming was it that it caused waves of dizzy pleasure though Jason’s body, making him pant with the acute need to feel more, to be brought off. Adriann hummed and moaned against his neck, the vibration making Jason want him all the more. If it were possible right now, he knew he’d gladly open his legs and let Adriann fuck him.
“Harder,” he heard himself say, though he didn’t know why he said it because what he was thinking had nothing to do with Adriann’s lips at his neck. Adriann growled, sucking harder, and the animal sound traveled down Jason’s spine, through his balls, and up the shaft of his cock. Curiously, Jason’s brain chose that moment to try and analyze why the feel of teeth buried inside his flesh excited him, why the thought of his blood being taken from him made him so damn hard.
Answers and further thought vanished abruptly when Adriann’s right hand left the back of his head to slide over his groin. Demanding fingers squeezed, rubbing up and down around the definitive outline of his erection. “Oh god, yes,” Jason said as he bit his lip, rocking his hips into the beguiling touch, need making him thrust. He gasped in harsh surprise, his eyes flying open, as strong, tactile fingers wrapped around his cock, pumping hard and quick. “Yes, god, yes.” A brief thought managed to sneak in his mind: When had his trousers been opened?
Adriann knew exactly where and how to apply the right amount of pressure and friction on his cock and Jason heard himself making these small, demanding sounds, fingers opening and closing through the man’s thick hair.
Adriann growled again, sucking even harder, his fingers forming a tight fist, stroking achingly slow. Jason heard a curious sound come from his own throat and knew at that point that he didn’t care how loud he was or how strange he sounded. All he wanted was to fuck that exquisite hand and he did so with demanding urgency. He kept rocking into that capable hand, not wanting the pleasure to end. It felt so damned good.
Without warning, Adriann twisted his fist, pumping hard and fast. “Fuck,” Jason breathed and suddenly there was blackness and white stars. Jason was startled. He usually had a tiny warning when he’d come, but this time, there was none. He came hard, the warm and sticky white fluid spurting rapidly, the vampire’s chest and robe catching most of it. The remaining fluid coated Adriann’s fingers, making it easy to milk the remaining orgasm from his body.
In the afterglow, Jason slowly opened his fists, releasing his hold of Adriann’s hair. There was a sense of relief when Adriann nuzzled him instead of letting go. When the man finally pulled back and caught his gaze, Jason looked down into his face and was amazed at the immediate change. Adriann’s color was returning rapidly, complete with rosy blush and sparkling eyes. Adriann smiled and kissed him chastely, the action warm and loving. “Thank you.”
Jason dropped his forehead on the man’s shoulder, willing his heart to slow down, his body to calm. “Damn you. I don’t think I had much choice in the matter.”
“I would have let you go if you had wanted it, Jason. But you did not want me to stop. I felt it.”
Jason knew he was right, but it wasn’t just intuition or instinct. “You were the reason, Adriann, whether you realize it or not.” When his mind turned to thoughts of Daniel and Jack and how they’d react when he told them, guilt flooded in and Adriann read it.
“No, Jason, please do not feel guilty. You gave me what I needed.”
Jason took a deep breath. “I know. It’s just that…aside from Daniel’s first time with you, and when Jack was with you, we knew beforehand. This feels like I’ve…”
Jason winced. “Yeah.”
“You have not. You helped me.”
“I know that and maybe Jack will understand but I don’t know about Daniel.”
Adriann rubbed his arm. “He is very possessive but he will also understand.”
Jason shot the man a look of irritation, hating that Adriann knew Daniel’s mind. He abruptly laughed at himself. Who was feeling possessive now?
Forcing the thoughts from his mind for the time being, he gently pushed off Adriann and the bed. Fixing his pants, he eyed the I.V., then Adriann’s hand. He reached down and examined the insertion point and the tubing. “Your arm feel okay?” he asked a little worriedly.
The vampire gazed back at him intently, then purposely brought his hand to his lips, reminding Jason that sticky fluid remained there. He licked it from the back of his fingers. “I’m fine.”
Jason groaned and closed his eyes, turning away. “Don’t do that.” His eyes flew open in shock when he found himself pulled backward and onto the bed. Even though Adriann was careful of the needle in his arm, he didn’t hesitate in pinning Jason beneath him, covering his body with his own, his long dark blonde hair falling over his shoulders, brushing across Jason’s face.
Jason blew out a sharp breath, spitting away strands of hair that fell across his mouth. “Adriann, dammit!” He tried to read through the feral expression in Adriann’s eyes, confused by the man’s behavior. If it weren’t for the fact that there was no malice in Adriann’s eyes, he would have felt panicked by the overt alpha display. “What the hell are you doing? Are you trying to rip the needle out of your arm?”
Adriann dipped his head, his tongue running over Jason’s lips. Jason turned his head away, though deep in his heart, he liked the attention. He cursed himself for it, and knew that’s why Adriann did what he did. He knew he wouldn’t be refused. Too much. The playful vampire sought out his lips, his tongue running between Jason’s lips, and despite himself, Jason opened his mouth. He was going to protest but Adriann’s tongue found his own, mixing the minute taste of blood with the stronger taste of semen. He tried to resist it, but Adriann’s strength was intoxicating.
Adriann pulled back slowly, kissing lightly. “You want me,” he whispered.
Jason scowled, not so much avoiding the statement as refusing to confirm or deny. Instead, he decided that going on the offensive might do better. “This exertion isn’t good for you. I know you feel a lot better but you still need the cure, so don’t go getting any ideas that you’re just fine to do anything you like.” As he looked over Adriann’s shoulder and found the I.V. bottle was nearly empty. “Let me up, Adriann. I’ve gotta clean up then tell Janet that the serum bottle is empty.”
Adriann’s feral expression softened, then disappeared altogether. He rubbed Jason’s arm with comforting fingers. “I’m not sorry, Jason. Please don’t feel bad.”
“I don’t, not for helping you. I’m okay about that.”
“And for yourself?”
“I don’t know,” Jason answered honestly. He touched Adriann’s hair, fingering a strand that framed the man’s angular face. “You…unnerve me with that power of yours. It’s a bit scary, Adriann.”
“You like it, though.”
Jason sighed. “Yes.”
Adriann took Jason’s hand in his, bringing it to his mouth. He kissed softly over the palm, stopping at the wrist. “I am very sorry for scaring you.”
Jason shook his head, pulling his hand away as Adriann let him up. “No, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have made you feel bad for being who and what you are.” He straightened his clothes, then something occurred to him and he shot a look of concern at the man staring at him from the bed. “Question?”
“Will the others need to feed, too?”
“I don’t know,” Adriann replied earnestly.
Jason gave Adriann a tired smile before moving to the bathroom. “We’re all gonna need a change of clothes.”
Janet was starting up the stairs when she met Jason coming down.
“He needs another I.V., Janet. Bottle’s empty,” he said, trying to sound normal.
She spied the pinkish spot over his throat and frowned, guessing what had happened. “Jason, that could’ve compromised him.”
He shook his head. “He knew it wouldn’t so I trusted him. Go have a look at him, Janet. The change is freakin’ amazing.” He was *not* about to explain everything that had happened.
She studied him for a moment, thinking. “Do you have your link with him again?”
“Yes. Adriann was relieved, to say the least,” he said, gesturing at his neck. “Because of it, this happened. He acted on instinct. And so did I.” He gave her the embarrassed grin she always found endearing.
She also understood why he couldn’t resist the vampire. “Passionate men, aren’t they?”
He fought off a blush and cleared his throat. “Daniel and Jack know and now, so do I,” he said carefully. “When you see him, ask him about the others because since he reacted well to feeding, then the others will, too. His strength is returning with an amazing vitality, Janet, and he seems…”
“More alpha male than he ever was. You know, we’ve never seen him and his people normal. If he was aggressive, confidant, and very much the alpha male before… well, he’s more than that now and I don’t exactly know how to explain it. Assertive and aggressive don’t really define it.”
Janet didn’t look a bit surprised, as if she expected this result. Or hoped.
“You had a feeling?” Jason asked, not missing the look.
“Kashan told me that their full health would bring back their aggressiveness.”
Jason’s thoughts were suddenly on Alex, wondering how he’d react to Ophius. He then wondered why it didn’t bother him to think of Daniel and Jack alone with Adriann now, but Alex was…inexperienced? He winced, not liking the sound of that. Alex was by no means an innocent and he firmly told himself to get rid of his protective feelings.
“What is it?”
“Just thinking.” He took a few steps past her and she started up the stairs again. She suddenly paused and looked back.
He turned, looking up toward her.
“Do you have a story for that?” she asked, pointing at his neck. “In case Connor and Al notice?”
Another wince. “They’re not blind. They’ll notice. As for a story, I’m not giving them one. I’ll tell them the truth.” His words trailed off as she smiled suddenly. “What?”
She cleared her throat and pointed behind him. “Take a look.”
Jason slowly turned and found Daniel and Jack walking toward the stairs. He could have, would have, noticed other things, such as the presence of anyone else in the large room, but he even forgot that Janet was standing there. His lizard brain woke up and took control of his higher functions as his eyes registered what his lovers were wearing.
Leather. Lots of snug, dark brown leather. Accentuating those long legs and the muscles defining those long legs.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph on a farm in Kentucky.
Jason firmly ordered himself not to get hard, a physical impossibility a few seconds before but now…holy shit. His eyes traveled over Jack’s body, then Daniel’s. Soft-looking trousers hugged them in all the right places, especially the crotch area where his gaze lingered, discerning the definite outline. No damn underwear.
The lizard moved in and set up camp, not planning to leave anytime soon.
He heard footsteps approaching and the sound forced him, somehow, to tear his eyes away from their groins, relocating on their feet. The boots they wore were thick soled and knee-length, reminding him of moccasins. No laces, either, so they were pulled on. A fact his brain quickly stored away under the file heading of ‘easy removal’. The sleeveless jerkins they wore were the sexiest damn things he’d ever seen on them, what with the laces up the front, from waist to collarbone, and open just a bit to show tantalizing shadow between their pecs. A brief, flicker of an image shot across Jason’s mind: his hands, slipping the laces free, while his lips kissed at warm, sweaty skin; his body lying over them, one at a time, rubbing his cock…
Jason swallowed hard, stomping down on his lizard brain for betraying his higher intelligence.
“Damn,” he said, as his eyes traveled to their bare arms. Well, they were sort of bare. They were covered by eight-inch gauntlets. Two on each arm. One around the bicep, one around the forearm, leaving the elbow exposed yet free to move. Jack also had his black fingerless gloves on as an added benefit and Jason abruptly remembered the last time he’d seen those gloves on Jack’s fingers; he remembered the soft feel of the leather as it had encircled his…
“Cat got your tongue, Jace?” Daniel asked as Rone came into Jason’s view and handed Jason a set of leather clothes, boots included. Jason barely noticed and Daniel couldn’t help but smirk.
Jason finally found his voice and some semblance of language. “I take it these are the hunting clothes?” he asked, telling himself to stop staring but his brain ignored him.
“I don’t think mine fit well,” Jack remarked, an evil glint in his eye.
Jack’s words made Jason look him over again and he wanted to hit him for it.
Daniel allowed a smile to form. “Yeah, Jack thinks he looks fat,” and Jack shot him a dirty look that had nothing to do with sex and everything to do with a death sentence. It made Daniel laugh softly.
“What was that I heard you saying about the truth?” Jack suddenly asked as his eyes found the slightly pinking spot on Jason’s throat.
“Nothing,” Jason replied, his eyes telling Jack and Daniel that he’d explain later. “Adriann can hear me. His telepathic sense is back.”
“It is?” Rone asked excitedly.
Jason nodded, his eyes still fixed on his lovers.
“Something else happened,” Sam said as she approached, her eyes on his throat.
Jason nodded slowly. “Adriann asked and I gave. The effect from it is startling.” He looked back at Janet. “Seriously, Janet, go look. His color is back and he looks better than he did when we met him. And he’s a bit more…alpha male, if that’s possible.”
“I need to check on him anyway,” she said, turning with a smirk and disappearing up the stairs and down the second floor hallway.
Jack studied Jason carefully, seeing something different in the man. “Get changed and meet us outside.”
Jason snorted softly. “Yes, sir.”
The Sam, Teal’c, and Jason’s teammates moved past them, their faces filled with curiosity, but they said nothing as they headed for the courtyard doors.
Neither Jack nor Daniel followed them right away, making Jason nervous. Jack waited till the others were outside before he turned back to Jason and purposely let his eyes rise slowly, resting on his groin before moving on, pausing at his neck. The look was deliberately taunting.
“I expect a detailed account later,” Jack told him, his tone seductive and threatening at the same time. “Detailed.“
“I was planning on explain–” Jason began, but gasped his last word as it was cut off by the touch of a hand passing possessively over his ass.
Daniel inhaled deeply at his neck, letting Jason feel his breath against his skin as he pressed his body against his back. His hand moved over the firm muscle of his buttocks then Daniel pulled away as quickly as he’d touched. He gave that dangerous look of his once more, then smiled. Which was worse, somehow. He leaned in and slowly licked at the shell-like curve of Jason’s ear. “You’re in so much trouble,” he whispered.
Chills went down Jason’s spine as he closed his eyes. “I’m not guilty of anything,” he answered, but they were gone, and Jason’s eyes opened at the close of the door. Was Daniel’s statement a threat or a promise?
He went for the stairs when Jack stuck his head back in the back door. “By the way, Jason, you’re taking the blood.”
Jason grimaced. “Great. Justice has a fucked up sense of humor.”
After leaving Neva with Adriann, Janet made a beeline for Kashan’s room. She found him sitting up, fussing with his I.V. Making a disgusted snort, she closed the door and walked briskly to the bed, taking the tubing from his hands.
“You’re a trial.”
“So you tell me.”
She disconnected the tubing, clamping it shut but leaving the insertion needle in his arm, readying it for the next batch of ante serum. Sighing, she sat down next to him, brushing his long, dark auburn hair out of his face. His grey eyes met hers and he caught her hand as before, kissing the palm this time.
“You look a lot better,” she said, feeling her own pulse quicken by his touch.
“I look like shit,” he said irritably.
She smiled and chuckled softly at his use of the cuss word. “I’m a horrible influence on you.”
He gave her a seductive smile as his arm slid around her waist. “On the contrary,” he said, pulling her further on the bed.
“Kashan,” she scolded, “No nonsense now. I’ve a job to do and I have to hook up the next batch of serum.”
He pulled her on top of him as he laid down, careful of the needle in his arm, smiling as she tried to pull away. He knew she had professional duties but they were in no way going to prevent him from showing her how he felt.
“I can hear Adriann,” he revealed as he ran his lips over her chin, his hands over her body.
“Really?” she said, ordering herself to maintain control as his doctor and not become distracted by his touch. It wasn’t working well enough.
He brought his lips to her throat as one hand passed over her ass, holding her as he thrust up, letting her feel his erection. “I know what I need, Janet.”
She groaned when she felt his robe open. “Kashan…”
“Please,” he whispered, lightly scraping the sharp points of his lengthening incisors over the pulse point of her throat. “I love you.”
“God,” she returned huskily and closed her eyes.
Surveying the area planned for ambush, Jack waited impatiently for Rone and his siblings to bring the animals through the iron gate. Daniel stood up from his crouch, stretching his legs. Looking down, he bent over and passed his fingers over mud-dried animal tracks that were at least a few day’s old.
“Damn things are big,” he commented.
Jack looked up from his squatting position and held up the bow and quiver. “Tell me about it. I’d feel much safer with my P-90 instead of this.”
Daniel’s eyes danced with mischief, wanting to break the tension of what they had to do soon. “Jack’s gotta have his gun.”
Jack stood and bent his knees a few times; all the while, his lips twitched with humor. “Watch it. People will talk.”
Daniel wiped the dirt off his hands as he pretended to look around. “Oh yeah? What would they say?”
Jack’s grin took on that teasing curl at the corner. “That it’s obvious that you’re head over heels in love with me, while I, on the other hand, am the sole innocent–“
“You are so full of yourself,” Daniel interrupted, chuckling softly.
“Hey, my charms are legendary.”
Laughing a bit louder, Daniel lowered his voice and bent over, his lips behind Jack’s right ear. “Really? Well, in this bizarre fantasy of yours, who’s giving it to whom?”
Jack grinned, keeping his face averted. “Well, going by how other people would see, it would have to be you as bottom boy.”
Daniel straightened as he bit his lips together, his eyes containing the laughter he felt. “How do you figure?”
Jack still wouldn’t look at him. He knew he’d burst out laughing. “It’s ’cause you’re shorter,” he said matter-of-factly. “Everyone knows that smaller equals passive.”
Daniel covered his mouth with the back of his hand as he looked around him. “I’m shorter by two inches, not a foot. Although I can see how you’d exaggerate. You do have a measurement problem.”
Jack turned and leered, lowering his voice considerably. “I’m quite sure that I can give you a proper demonstration on just how accurate I am. Anyway, the taller man is always on top.”
Daniel bit his lips together, trying not to get aroused. “Hmmm. Well, I make up for those two inches.”
Daniel turned away and mumbled, “My dick’s bigger.”
Jack’s mouth fell open as he turned round from his still-crouched position. “It so is not.”
“Is too. Your memory’s as faulty as your measuring ability.”
“Who’s got the measurement problem now? There’s a serious flaw in your math skills, Daniel.”
Daniel stuck his tongue between his teeth, containing his laughter. “Why Colonel O’Neill, you’re flirting with me. I think it’s you they’ll say has the thing for me, teasing me with all that talk about math and measurements.”
Jack shook his head, turning away, biting his cheek. “I’ll show you my math skills later.”
“Threat or promise?” Daniel asked.
“Take your pick, Daniel, they mean the same,” Jack grinned.
Daniel was about to respond but turned to look over his shoulder when he heard a noise coming from behind them. His eyes widened as he took in the sight of his approaching lover. Swallowing, he reached back and slapped Jack’s arm with the back of his hand.
“What?” Jack asked, and when he turned, “Whoa. Holy fuck,” he whispered.
Jason strode toward them and as he neared, Daniel could see the jerkin he wore was just a bit too snug across the chest. Jason’s muscles and nipples were emphasized by the pull of the leather fabric and Daniel bit his lips together again and looked away. “Damn him.”
“Yeah, that’s what I said,” Jack muttered.
“Rock, paper, scissors,” Daniel suddenly said, and Jack laughed.
“No way. He’s mine, first.”
“Nope, I saw him first.”
“I offered rock, paper, scissors, but…”
“Oh, shut up.”
Jason nodded to Alex and the others as he passed them.
Alex snorted. “Rone got your size wrong.”
“Apparently Wilson’s Suede and Leather was all out of my size,” and he tugged at the end of one of the untied leather laces. “I can’t even tie the stupid thing.”
“Aw,” Sam teased, smirking when Teal’c’s brow rose at her.
“Don’t start, Sam,” Jason told her.
“If only I had a camera.”
He paused and before he could say it, Jack frowned. “What am I? Chopped liver?”
“I can’t say, sir,” Sam replied and bit her lips together and turned away.
“Traitors,” Jack complained and refocused his attention on Jason, looking the man up and down as if inspecting a piece of property. “Not bad.” He inclined his head at Jason as he looked over at Daniel. “Cleans up nice, doesn’t he?”
“This is clean?” Jason asked.
Daniel walked up to him and whispered in his ear. “Right now it is.”
Jason straightened and cleared his throat, taking a few steps away from Daniel. The smell of leather on the man was… The wrong images flooded his mind. Leather rubbing on the soft grass. He took a deep breath and looked up at the sky. Rain clouds closed in from the distance, and instead of thinking strategically, he had an image of wet leather trousers pushed down strong, enticing thighs…
“Damn it,” he said, shaking his head, trying to get rid of the thought. He caught Alex smirking at him. “Don’t say it, Alex.”
“Whatever it is.”
Alex turned away and winked at Al and Connor, whose expressions mirrored his own.
“Something’s missing,” Jack suddenly said, looking thoughtful.
Jason knew better and narrowed his eyes. “Any ‘injun’ wisecracks, Colonel, and you can forget about your details for at least a month.”
Jack turned away, letting himself smile for a second longer before coming to his senses. Clearing his throat, he turned around, putting on his business face. “Okay, where the hell are those animals?” As if on cue, Rone and Poul appeared from the far side of the fence exterior, leading two zha’ren across the field and toward the rise of land.
When Jason approached him, Jack just had to get one more comment in before things got serious. “If I go without, so do you.”
“Not necessarily,” Daniel said drily.
Rone, Poul and other Brethren gathered inside the fence gate, awaiting the humans. Thirty yards ahead and to the left, crouched behind a wide clump of thorn bushes were Jack, Daniel, Jason, and Alex. Behind them, and in protective flanking positions, were Sam, Teal’c, Al and Connor, weapons ready in case things went wrong.
Fifty yards further out sat the short rise of ground that Rone had spoken of. In the middle of it lay two zha’ren, bleating long drawn out cries, the wounds to their throats spilling out huge amounts of blood, the odor carrying thickly on the wind. Daniel kept grimacing, as did the others. He hated animal sacrifice, even if he understood it.
“Where did Rone tell you to hit in order to incapacitate?” Jason asked Jack as he put on the gloves Rone had handed out before he’d left.
“Upper right shoulder and lower left hip. Vulnerable spots.”
“You can hit that distance easily?” Daniel asked as he looked at the arrow Jack notched at the ready.
“No problem.” Jack nodded. “So the plan is to get hold of them one at a time, while you get four vials of blood each.”
Jason nodded. He touched the pouch at his waist that contained the pack Janet had prepared, holding nine large vials and two syringes.
“Why nine vials?” Jack suddenly asked.
“In case I drop one,” Jason told him.
Jack jogged his brows. It made sense.
“You know where to take the blood?” Daniel asked.
Jason nodded, his expression serious. “Rone filled me in. Either inside a thigh or under the arm. So not looking forward to it, either. Especially near the thigh. If that fucker pisses on me, I don’t want to hear a word out of anyone. Got me?” he said, raising his voice so that Al and Connor would know he was talking to them, too.
“Don’t worry,” Jack quipped. “If you get pissed on, I’ll be too busy laughing my ass off later to say anything.”
Daniel bit his lips together to keep from smiling.
“You’ll be watching sports by yourself for a while,” Jason warned cryptically.
Another half-hour crawled past and the cries from the injured animals were fading.
Jack sighed with impatience. “What the hell’s taking them so long?”
Daniel shrugged. “Maybe they’re smarter than the Brethren think they are.”
“Wouldn’t that just figure,” Jack shot back, his annoyance climbing.
“Look there,” Teal’c suddenly said, pointing to their right.
There was nothing Jack could see, but a few seconds later, a furry shape emerged from the tall brush. One of the beasts, its yellow eyes scanning the perimeter. It paused, raising its nose, sniffing the air. The sound didn’t reach its observers but it was easy to see what it was doing. Rone had assured the teams that the prevailing wind combined with the blood scent of the zha’ren would mask the human scent enough so the beasts wouldn’t be alarmed and frightened off. Looking at their long, dangerous fangs and lethal claws, Jack wondered how the beasts could be scared of anything. He dismissed Rone’s idea that the beasts would be frightened off. It was more likely to be self-preservation, as it was often mistaken for fear.
The animal began moving again, toward its prey, and a second later two other beasts appeared, quickly flanking the first one. Strangely, there was no audible growling or snarling. They simply sniffed the air. The nearest beast’s fur was matted with something dark, a maroon color, most likely blood. It seemed to be limping as well. Suddenly the first beast turned and growled, snapping at it. The beast snapped back even as it sank into a submissive position.
“Change of leadership?” Daniel asked no one in particular.
“Or mating,” Jason added.
The idea sent the hairs up on the back of Jack’s neck. He made a motion for them to keep quiet. Silently raising his bow, he gripped the arrow securely as he readied himself to stand.
Everyone else remained still, waiting as the three animals slowly approached the dying cattle. Rone had told them to wait until the beasts had started to feed or had begun to drag off the carcasses, so with disgusted reluctance, they were forced to wait. Daniel grimaced as the echoing sound of a broken neck greeted them, even from fifty yards away. At least the animal was out of its misery, he thought. As that beast started to feed, the other two began to fight over the other now dead zha’ren.
That was his cue. Jack rose slowly, bringing the bow parallel to his body as he pulled the bowstring back. The strangely shaped broadhead arrow gleamed in the sunlight, and when Jack had his target acquired and the distance figured, he pulled the sight up and let the arrow fly. Before it struck its target, he had the next one out and lined up. When the beasts howled in protest and fear, he let the arrow go. Before the beasts could turn and run, Jack released four more.
As he shot, Daniel and Jason watched him with admiration, unable to help it. Each time an arrow was notched, it was almost ritualistic: feet spread, muscles taut, eyes like a hawk trained on his quarry, his expression deadly. Whether appropriate or not, it was a major turn-on.
“Let’s go,” Jack said, and he, Daniel, Jason, and Alex ran forward, their ‘guards’ on their heels.
As soon as they reached the nearest beast, Jason sprang forward, his knees hitting the chest of the beast, knocking it down, the back of its head cracking against the ground, stunning it. It gave Jack, Daniel, and Alex time to get hold of it so the blood could be drawn. Tools out, Jason didn’t waste time and the vials began to fill one by one.
Eyes nervously watched fangs and claws of the beast they held, as well as the movements from the other injured beast. The third one was no longer an issue for it had run off in fear. It seemed to take Jason forever to fill the vials but in truth, it was only two minutes. “I hope this blood will be necessary,” he mumbled, holding his breath against the stench of the beast. “And could this fucker smell any goddamn worse?”
“I’m telling you,” Jack agreed. “It had so better be worth it.” He nervously watched the teeth near his knee, wishing he could turn away from the hideously rancid breath that met his nose every time the beast exhaled.
“We have to believe it’s necessary,” Daniel said, holding his breath between words. The stench was causing his stomach to turn.
“Done!” Jason said, jumping off. Once he and the others were free of the animal, Daniel and Alex zatted it gone.
He ran toward the other beast and cringed as the howling of the injured beast was nerve-shattering, hitting their spinal cords like some very bad feedback. The beast rolled to dislodge the arrows, but the strength of the shafts was too great to break. The star shape of each arrowhead also prevented it, forcing the tip to dig into the muscle.
Now that he’d had a good whiff of the animal’s smell, close and personal, Jason instinctively recoiled as he got near the next one. Gritting his teeth, he ran forward, kicking a leg out of the way as the others grabbed at limbs. Adrenalin pumped inside him even faster as his eyes were torn between his business and Jack’s knee pressing down the throat of the beast. A knee once more too perilously close to large fangs shining with spit. The beast growled and menacing yellow eyes seemed to glow.
“Don’t you dare move, Jack,” Jason automatically said, uncaring of how personal it was in front of Al and Connor. The stench from the beast took his mind off Jack’s danger for just a moment and he grimaced, his hands shaking as the last vial filled. After jumping away, the animal was zatted once more by Daniel and Alex.
“Okay, let’s get the fuck out of here,” Jack ordered. Ten yards from the gate and the waiting Brethren, a few more beasts came out of their daytime hiding places, the smell of blood now heavy on the air.
The eight team members pelted through the gate and the Brethren quickly closed it, mindful that nothing touched the electrified gate but the rubberized gloves they wore.
With hearts pounding from the fear and adrenalin, everyone breathed a sigh of relief the moment they stepped inside the courtyard doors. Catching sight of Janet in the great hall, Jack found Lieutenant Vasquez there with a few corpsmen.
He gave Janet a surprised look. “What’s up? Thought those batches took a while.”
She nodded. “Yes, sir, they do. The Residents are currently enjoying a second nap while they take in the second batch. The one that Lieutenant Vasquez brought back is currently processing, but we had one cooking when we left so she brought it back with her the moment it was done.”
Jason handed Vasquez the vials of blood and she wrinkled her nose at him. He nodded, looking apologetic. “Sorry,” was the only thing he could come up with as he and the others were now covered with the stench of the beasts.
Jack felt his stomach churning as the odor wafted off his clothes and up into his nostrils. He waved his hand in the direction of the front door. “Go, Lieutenants. No sense you staying here when it’s not necessary.”
Janet nodded agreement and looked at her watch. “In fact, it should be dawn in twelve hours,” she added, well used to the planet’s hours after all the months of travel back and forth. “Bring the next batch back at dawn.”
Jack gave her another look of surprise. “That fast? Thought it took days or weeks?”
Janet smirked. “We’ve made some improvements, sir.”
Jack only nodded. “I guess so. Alien tech, I take it?”
“Partially, sir, but only for the design of the machine. The rest is our own doing.”
“Good deal. Okay, folks, now if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with the shower.”
As Janet’s staff left, escorted by a few of the Brethren, Jack gestured at the stair. “Everyone who smells like a monkey’s behind, upstairs.”
A few laughs followed that but they were half-hearted. Jack looked over his shoulder as he ascended the stairs, catching Sam waving her hand, her face in a grimace. “Carter?”
“You now have a smell that’s worse than that Shavadai tent six years ago.”
She nodded, still grimacing. “I didn’t think it was possible, but god, it is. And I wasn’t even touching those nasty things.”
Daniel grinned and moved in behind her. “Nope, just being near them is enough.”
She looked over her shoulder and waved at him. “I never thought I’d say this to you, Daniel, but,” and she held her nose closed with two fingers. “Pew.” She moved away from him as they reached the top of the stairs, making everyone smile, including Daniel.
“You love me, face it.”
“Like that cat and Pepe Le Pew.”
Jason sniggered and Daniel gave him a dirty look. “You can be replaced.” Jason still sniggered.
Janet cleared her throat. “Sorry to interrupt this repartee,” and she couldn’t help but smirk, “but sir, before you all go in a take your um, much needed showers, I need to bring something to your attention.”
She suddenly had everyone’s attention and the smiles faded slightly.
“Okay, Doc, what is it?” Jack asked.
Janet cast a look at Jason and he knew then that she was planning on talking about giving Adriann blood. He winced. “Well, sir, while you were gone, I checked up on Adriann.”
“How is he?” Daniel asked.
“Good. Better than good.”
“The cure is working then?” Connor asked.
Janet nodded. “Yes, but…it’s not just due to the serum’s effects.”
“Explain,” Teal’c asked, his brow knotting with curiosity.
She cleared her throat once more. “Both he and Kashan have received recent…feedings.”
Jason knew at that moment that she’d given Kashan her blood while they’d been out retrieving the blood of the beasts. He quietly stepped over to stand next to her, showing support. She exchanged looks with him and abruptly, both blushed, simultaneously raising questions yet telling them what they’d done.
“Both of you?” Alex asked.
Al and Connor’s eyes widened. “Why?” Al asked.
Jason couldn’t help it. He frowned in annoyance. “Because it seemed damn important to him, Al.”
Al blinked. “I meant no offense, sir, but it’s just that I thought it wasn’t working.”
“That’s the thing I wanted to talk to everyone about,” Janet said, giving Al one of her patented ‘caring doctor’ looks.
“You think all of them will need blood, don’t you?” Sam asked. She didn’t really need the answer. She knew it was yes. But she also felt the question had to be put out there.
Janet paused, thinking. “I can’t say that for certain, Sam. What I do know is that, well, for reasons I have no explanation for, the combination of fresh blood and serum has sped up the healing process in their unique metabolisms.” She let that bit of news sink in, then went on. “As before, no one has to do this.”
“How many Residents are left, Doc?” Jack asked.
Janet winced. “Thirteen. Six women, seven men.”
“Thirteen?” Daniel asked, not realizing until that moment what a tremendous loss they’d suffered. “Thirteen? That’s all?”
“I’m afraid so.” She forced herself brighten, affecting a positive expression. “But even without the blood, the others are getting better with the serum. I don’t know what effect not giving the blood will have, but Adriann and Kashan look remarkable and before I hooked them up to their second batch of serum, they both said they felt better than they had in years. The others weren’t quite so…enthusiastic.”
Silence followed her good news.
“So, um, Doc, you and the Major here are okay, not feeling any…” Connor asked, his words left unfinished.
“I’m fine,” Jason and Janet said together. Then Jason turned to his two teammates, as he already knew that Alex would be seeing Ophius.
“You two can sit this one out, you know. Just like last time.” They both nodded and said nothing.
“Okay, so, let’s all get showered, get some food if we can stomach it, and chill out for a while. There’s no rush, is there, Doc?”
Janet’s eyes widened. “No, I don’t think so. Hadn’t really thought of a time frame, actually.” She frowned at herself.
Jack looked over his shoulder and found Rone nearby, still hovering it seemed. “You still insist on taking care of the guard duty?”
“Yes, Jack. Though it is not necessary.”
“Why is that?”
“There will be rain tonight. The beasts don’t like rain and rarely venture forth in it.”
Daniel grimaced, pulling at his jerkin as they moved down the hall to their left. “Good thing it didn’t rain earlier then. And why am I not surprised they don’t like rain? Could use a good wash. God.”
“Yeah, no kidding,” Jack echoed. “So, guess we have the night off, folks. I think you all remember where the Residents’ living quarters are?” When Sam and Teal’c nodded, Jack gave them a thoughtful look. “You’re going to help?”
Sam and Teal’c exchanged looks and both nodded. “I don’t have a problem with it, and Teal’c has figured out how to get Junior to calm down.”
“Oh yeah?” Jack asked, surprised.
“How?” Daniel asked as they turned down the first hallway on their left.
“A slightly different method of meditation,” he said, and a mysterious look came over his face. Sam smiled and turned away, quickly heading for their room.
Daniel grinned at Teal’c. “Gotcha.”
“If anyone wants anything to eat,” Jack went on as he gave Teal’c a knowing grin, “you know where the kitchen is. Remember, the blood offering is not an order.”
As everyone moved for their rooms, Jack held Janet up. “I’d like a word with you, Doc.”
Before he entering his room, Jason turned as he heard Jack’s words. He walked over just as Janet walked into Jack and Daniel’s room. “Jack, don’t give her a hard time.”
Jack cocked a brow. “Why would I give her a hard time. I just wanted to know why–“
“I know,” Jason said softly, “and I already know what’s going on. So, what I’m saying is…don’t give her a hard time.” He turned and moved back to the door to his room, and looked over his shoulder, smiling at Jack’s frown. “I’ll expect you later for the details, Jack. Just don’t expect Janet to give you hers.” He slipped into the room and shut the door before Jack could respond. He frowned deeper and walked into his room, his eyes squarely on Janet.
“Okay…I’ve just been informed by my other SO not to give you a hard time. Does that mean that you and Kashan are…that you’ve been…seeing each other while you’ve been here?”
Janet nodded slowly. “Which means that the issue of transferring the disease to humans is immaterial or I’d already be sick. It also explains that giving the Residents fresh blood isn’t the trigger to healing them. It’s the protein in the serum. The blood, I believe, acts as a kind of catalyst or accelerator, but I’m going only by visual observation here. If I had some of my equipment here I could do an analysis and–“
Jack touched her shoulder. “It’s not necessary right now, is it, Janet? Can you do an analysis at home just by using blood samples?”
“Good. Do you have blood samples of the Residents already?”
She nodded again. “Taken before I gave them their second batch of serum.”
“Okay, so can you take another sample tomorrow or does it have to be tonight?”
“Tomorrow,” she answered, wondering what he was getting at.
He squeezed her shoulder. “Then relax, Janet. Take the night off and go spend time with Kashan.”
She smiled. “Thank you, sir.”
Jack shrugged and pointed his thumb at Daniel. “Hardly seems fair, Janet, for you to stay away when I’ve got mine right here, all handy.”
“Hey,” Daniel objected, sending the same dirty look Jack’s way as he had Jason.
Jack grinned an apology at him. “Sorry.”
Daniel took a deep breath, shaking his head. He thumbed at Jack as he looked over at Janet. “Men.”
Janet sniggered and covered her mouth, trying not to laugh when Jack rolled his eyes.
Daniel walked a few feet away as he began to unlace his jerkin, grimacing as he did so. “This thing is totaled,” he mumbled. “Shame.” He turned back to Janet as he got the laces undone. “Are you okay with this relationship?” he asked carefully, the humor leaving his eyes as he turned serious. “I mean, he doesn’t just live in another country, Jan.”
She nodded. “It’s not ‘will you marry me’ serious, Daniel, but I do care a lot about him.”
“Is this wise?” Jack suddenly asked, though he still looked pleased that she’d done something personal for herself. For once.
“Jack,” Daniel scolded.
“It’s okay, Daniel. I know he means well. Sir, we’ve sort of had a…thing…for a while.”
“No shit?” Jack asked. “A bit sudden isn’t it?”
Daniel rolled his eyes at his lover’s lack of memory. “Jack, she’s been seeing the Residents for over a year.”
Jack frowned, thinking. Damn, but time flew. “So, you’re okay then?”
“Yes, sir. And I felt you should be made aware, although when he’s up and about again, his um, attention to me would make things sort of obvious.” Janet wrinkled her nose and made for the door.
Jack looked down at himself and gave her an embarrassed look of chagrin. “That offensive?”
She held up two fingers, spaced just barely apart in measurement. “A bit.”
He snorted. “I’ll either see you later or in the morning, Janet. I’ll tease you mercilessly about this another time.”
She closed the door, letting out a long breath. Maybe he’d forget. Maybe Adriann or the others could make him forget. Or maybe Daniel could make him forget. That was definitely doable. Maybe a word or two to Daniel…
Jack grimaced as the door closed. “She’s right, Daniel. We stink.” He started to unlace, moving to the bathroom.
“Don’t use all the hot water, Jack,” Daniel told him as he sat on a chair to remove his leather boots.
“Is that possible?” Jack asked from the bathroom as he began to strip down.
“Hell if I know,” Daniel answered, raising his voice, “but if I get in there and it’s cold, I’m kicking your ass.”
Jack grinned as he adjusted the handheld wand, hanging it so it acted like a showerhead. He turned it on, loving the feel of the hot spray soaking him down. After he wet his hair and grabbed the soap, a shadow appeared to his left. He grinned.
“Feel like sharing?” Daniel asked, not knowing that the words sparked a sad memory in Jack. It came out of nowhere and he frowned when Jack’s grin faded.
Jack stepped to one side, not looking at him, giving Daniel room as he stepped down into the slightly sunken, circular tub. Confused by the frown, it took Daniel a moment to remember. Then it hit him why those words sounded familiar. Those same words had come out of his mouth after Jack had ‘retired’ during the NID sting three years before. Not long after, the long downward spiral of their friendship had begun. All because Jack had been afraid of his feelings.
Daniel looked at him carefully, trying to get Jack to meet his eyes, but the man wouldn’t.
“I was such an ass,” Jack said softly, his voice low, deep.
Daniel stared at him with a look that said, “Don’t start.” He shook his head, and without saying a word, slid his arms around Jack and kissed him. At first, Jack kept the kiss chaste, but Daniel persisted, running his tongue between Jack’s lips until he opened and accepted him into his mouth. When Jack let out a small groaning sound, Daniel let him go, his eyes communicating volumes.
Over and done, Jack.
Remaining silent, Daniel scooped some soap paste from the jar provided, and handed the jar to Jack before he rubbed the smooth stuff in his hands, creating a lather. Spreading it over Jack’s arms and chest, his fingers slid through the sparse hair, taking their time, mapping, exploring. He moved his touch to Jack’s neck, caressing as he cleaned, and slowly, almost hesitantly, Jack returned the touch. In silence they washed each other, their hands and occasional short kisses speaking for them as the silky lather ran over tanned skin and muscle.
When Jack closed his eyes and dropped his head back, wetting down his hair and face, Daniel took the opportunity to heat things up, and doing it a little differently than their usual bathing routine. Jack was a little startled, jumping a bit when Daniel’s soapy fingers ran over his face, washing carefully, almost reverently. Straightening, he kept his eyes shut as Daniel’s tantalizing fingers washed his face, his fingertips pausing to massage at the temples and forehead, moving in slow circles. The touch was similar to the method he used to get rid of Jack’s headaches and Jack felt himself giving over to his lover’s touch, letting the stress go. Leaning back once more, he rinsed and opened his eyes, looking at Daniel’s hands as they refilled with their own personal shampoo.
When Daniel reached up to wash his hair, Jack stopped him. Daniel was surprised for a moment, a frown creasing his brow, but it soon smoothed away when Jack maneuvered him into trading places. Jack repeated the same touches, washing, caressing, Daniel’s face in return.
Their ritualistic cleansing finished with their hair and when Daniel rinsed last, dropping his head back under the spray of water, Jack reconnected them, sliding his arms around his wet body and pulling him close. Daniel opened his eyes, rapidly blinking away the water, and found a smoky, passionate gaze looking back at him. He felt his heart beat faster as Jack’s fingers wound through his clean, wet hair, stopping at the back of his neck, and moaned when Jack’s lips covered his own, soft, teasing, then firming, opening.
Daniel dug his fingers into Jack’s shoulders, holding on as he rubbed his chest against him, relishing in the silky, almost electric slide of Jack’s chest hair rubbing against his own smooth skin. God, he loved that feeling.
Jack groaned into his mouth as his free hand clamped down over Daniel’s ass, sliding a finger between the cleft of his buttocks, the sudden erotic touch forcing Daniel to clench. Jack smiled into the kiss, his tongue playing a game of cat and mouse with Daniel’s.
Daniel smiled back, his arousal spiking and he abruptly kissed Jack back, hard, rubbing his hardening cock against the dip in Jack’s hip, occasionally meeting his lover’s half-hard organ. Getting another idea, he slowly took their cocks in one hand, and the other sought out Jack’s ass, the middle finger sliding between the cleft. Jack gasped through their continuing kiss and Daniel echoed the sound, his breathing now harsh, irregular, desperate.
He pulled out of the kiss, panting. “You always do this do me,” he whispered against Jack’s lips, his voice sounding strange and erotic after the long silence. He bit at his lover’s bottom lip for emphasis and Jack nipped back.
“Is that a complaint?” Jack asked, enclosing his fingers around Daniel’s as he lazily stroked their cocks. When Daniel didn’t answer right away, Jack tightened his hold and forced a strong, upward pull, making them both shudder.
“No way,” came Daniel’s growling reply as the pleasure took hold of him and didn’t let go. Kissing and biting, he rocked and thrust, moving quicker and quicker until he knew Jack was on the verge of release. When he pulled away, Jack grabbed at him, but Daniel sent him a look that wasn’t a smile, wasn’t a frown. It was intense, calculating need. Dropping to his knees, Daniel stroked himself, letting Jack stare, wondering what he was up to. Then, with long, hard pulls at his own cock, he leaned back in and took Jack’s into his mouth.
“Fuck!” Jack gasped, holding the back of Daniel’s head firmly to keep from losing balance.
Daniel made a sound of agreement, the vibration making Jack’s knees go weak. He held on tightly, one arm firmly locked around a thigh as he licked and sucked at the head of Jack’s cock, slowly taking the length into his mouth. Opening, dropping his head back slightly, the move was an invitation.
“God,” Jack panted, taking a tentative thrust. Daniel blinked slowly as he looked up, telling Jack it was what he wanted. “God, Daniel,” Jack replied, slowly increasing the speed and frequency of his thrusts, careful not to move too hard. The sight of Daniel’s mouth around him, lips wet with saliva and pre-come, was hypnotizing, sending shocks of pleasure through the back of his thighs and up his balls.
Sliding now, easily, smoothly, watching as he fucked Daniel’s mouth, or as Daniel’s mouth fucked him. It was literally a union of lust as he saw the dark of Daniel’s eyes increasing. For a moment, Jack’s eyes diverted from Daniel’s mouth to the movement of his right arm, and angling his head slightly, he paused to catch Daniel’s hand moving back and forth in the same rhythm as the rest of him. “So beautiful, so hot,” he whispered. “You’re so…” He gasped, his words choked off as Daniel swallowed more, forcing Jack to clutch at his hair. “Daniel, I’m gonna…”
Daniel moaned encouragement, needing Jack to come and come now. His tongue moved along the shaft as he pulled back, keeping just two inches in his mouth. With another groan, Jack held Daniel’s head still, thrusting those few inches back and forth inside that hot, wet mouth, faster and faster. His breathing harsh and noisy, he felt his cock jerk spasmodically when the delicious mouth around him sucked hard. Very hard.
Rapidly thrusting now, with his eyes locked onto the blue staring back at him, Jack came with a choked cry, jerking as his come flowing thickly into Daniel’s mouth. A long gasp was suddenly forced from him when Daniel swallowed, purposely closing his throat, and the tight feel of it around his cock sent surges of pleasure through him–as well as additional spurts of come he didn’t think he had left. Running his fingers through Daniel’s hair, he caressed him, his eyes still locked on his lover, shuddering when Daniel moaned.
Jack could see, just off his vision, that Daniel hadn’t come, his hand moving rapidly. His eyes told Jack that he’d held back, that he’d delayed his orgasm. Jack knew then that Daniel wanted him to make him come. Jack tightened his grip in Daniel’s hair once more and pulled his cock from his lover’s mouth, moving his hips away so he could watch.
“That’s so hot, Daniel. When you jerk off for me, it’s fucking hot,” Jack whispered, his eyes flicking back and forth between Daniel’s face and his stroking hand. He fixed on Daniel’s lips, red and swollen from sucking him off, and thrust forward, softly touching his spent cock over Daniel’s lips and chin. “God, you look so good when you suck me.”
Daniel’s panting now carried small, urgent cries, then a soft, “Jack!” His face became a momentary grimace, his eyes narrowing through the acute pleasure.
Jack knew it was time to up the ante, so to speak. “I wanna watch him fuck you so goddamn hard,” he whispered, knowing Daniel knew he was talking about Adriann. “Wanna see you scream when you come for him.” A loud moan encouraged him and Jack knew what he wanted to hear. “Want to watch? Is that it? See him fuck me? Watch him as he makes me come all over him?”
Daniel’s wordless moan signaled he was close.
“Yeah, you like that, don’t you. Watching him fuck me with that long, slender dick. C’mon, Daniel, spill it for me while he fucks me. He’s fucking me, Daniel,” and Jack’s voice changed to panting. He thrust his hips, moved his body in a rhythm as if he were being fucked. “Fucking me so good, Daniel, god, so good. And I’m watching you as he fucks me.”
“Jack,” Daniel whispered, gripping Jack’s thigh almost painfully. The words were new and exciting, and Daniel felt the heat of release boiling just under the surface, the pleasure/pain of holding back sending sharp aches through his balls.
Jack tightened his fingers. “More?”
“Yes,” Daniel replied, breathless. “Yes!”
“How hard is he fucking me?”
“Hard,” Daniel replied.
Jack passed his softened cock over Daniel’s lips as he spoke in quiet, heated words. He paused between sentences, waiting to see which words would set Daniel off. “Hard, yes. I wish everyone could see what you look like when I fuck you hard. What you look like when I make you come.” Daniel was close. So close. Just something else to bring him over the edge. “I wanna watch you come as Adriann sucks you off. As he sucks me off. Want that? Wanna watch as he sucks me off?”
With a cry, Daniel came, somehow keeping his eyes locked with Jack’s as he spilled. And spilled. Trembling, he slumped, his face now buried in Jack’s groin. Jack dropped to his knees, holding him close.
“Love you,” he whispered, and received a soft echo in return.
After a few minutes, Daniel stood shakily as Jack took the shower nozzle from the hook and rinsed them both clean. Done, he leaned against Jack, dropping his forehead on a wet shoulder. “Damn,” he said, breathless.
“That’s what I said,” Jack replied.
Stepping out of the bath, Daniel passed a towel behind him and jumped slightly when Jack began to dry off his back for him. Closing his eyes, he melted into the touch, and smiled when the man planted a kiss between his shoulders.
“Never stop surprising me,” Jack whispered.
“I don’t ever plan to.”
Jason stripped down, grinning at Alex’s sudden bashfulness as his 2IC went into the bathroom to strip.
“Use all the hot water, Alex, and you’re a dead man.”
“Don’t worry,” Alex replied.
He sounded funny, shaky, and Jason frowned. “Alex, you okay?”
Alex stepped into the doorway, towel held in front of him. “Fine. It’s just the adrenalin catching up with me, that’s all. Feel nauseated.”
Jason nodded. “We’ll get something to eat in a while, but in the meantime…” He padded, nude, over to the liquor table, poured some golden liquid into a small goblet, and approached Alex, holding it out. “Drink it and that’s an order.”
Alex eyed him. “You know that’s not good for–“
“It’s not the usual shit, Alex. Resident’s liquor, remember?” Jason reminded him. “It’s that stuff that has a kind of sedative quality. It’ll help.”
When Alex took a drink, he paused when Jason didn’t share one with him. “You’re not having one?”
Jason shook his head. “For some reason or other, I feel okay. A little strange maybe.”
Alex’s brow rose. “How so?”
“Aroused,” he said quickly, then turned before Alex’s eyes moved down for proof. He needed to find Jack or Daniel and fuck either or both of them senseless.
“I already noticed, Jason. And believe it or not, I get that way after intense missions.”
Jason found a few towels in the chiffonier and placed one around his waist before turning. He gave Alex a knowing smile. “I’ll bet Cari doesn’t mind that.”
“You have no idea,” Alex replied as he handed Jason the empty glass. “Thanks.”
As Alex turned back to the bathroom and shut the door, Jason’s thoughts went to his lovers. His hand palmed his cock through the towel, wishing Alex would hurry the hell up.
Adriann tossed his head back and forth; his forehead and upper lip lightly shone with sweat. His eyes flew open suddenly and he let out a soft gasp. The pictures in his mind replayed, of Jack and Daniel in the shower. And the words they’d spoken — about him. He smiled and closed his eyes, reaching under the sheet to stroke his erection.
A little while later, Jason was toweling himself off when Alex appeared in the doorway, looking more than a bit distracted and nervous. Wiping his underarms and chest, Jason grinned at his 2IC.
“Go, Alex. I’ll see you in the morning.” When Alex cleared his throat and moved away, Jason just caught the faint tinge of a flushed cheek. He smiled wide, shaking his head. “Don’t name it after me,” he called out.
“Fuck off and die, Jason,” he heard Alex mumble before it was followed with the door opening and closing. Jason laughed, loving it when he got Alex to swear at him.
Padding into the bedroom, he dropped the towel on the floor and opened up the field pack to root for fresh underwear. After a minute, he realized he hadn’t packed any. Rolling his eyes in disgust, he reached for the black sweats he’d thought to bring with him so he wouldn’t have to sleep in his underwear–or in this case, in his trousers ’cause sleeping in the nude wasn’t an option. None of it would have been an issue if he could get away with sleeping in Daniel and Jack’s quarters, but this was a mission. Even if it wasn’t the normal sort where standard operating procedures applied, Al and Connor might not understand their commander not sleeping in his room, even if they were used to bending rules left and right. Most of the time, SOP just didn’t apply and this one such case.
Jason frowned. The two may not understand their commander sleeping elsewhere, but would they understand Alex staying away all night with Ophius? He cursed himself for not devising a cover with Alex before the man left. He could stop by Ophius’ room, but Jason winced at the thought of interrupting…anything. Dammit. He closed his eyes and told himself that he’d have to make sure he saw Alex in the morning before Al or Connor did. He briefly cursed the reason for having to hide, then shoved the thought away.
He reached for his tank top but set it aside, his skin feeling just a bit too warm. Running his hand across his slightly damp stomach, he thought about what he would be doing in a little while and wondered if Calane had anything planned. Or the other one…who was it? Techan, that was it. Jason hadn’t ever spoken with the man except to say hello and hoped he was as…passionate as Calane. Or Adriann for that matter. A sudden shiver traveled down Jason’s spine, remembering the vampire’s hand on him, bringing him off. God, that had been hot.
Why he thought of it, he didn’t know, but Jason wondered if any of the Residents ever did such a simple act of pleasure for each other. Some of them must for not all were directly related. It suddenly occurred to Jason that maybe the Residents hadn’t a taboo about sleeping with close cousins. Brothers and sisters didn’t, that much Jason knew from his limited contact with Adriann’s mind. It wasn’t anything he’d read so much as it was a feeling. That was a relief. But what of curing their loneliness? With so few of their race left? They couldn’t mate with the Brethren, for reasons Jason could only guess at. Could they find others of their race that had left the planet long ago? Jason hoped so.
His mind pondered their problem as he rubbed a towel over his hair, thinking of ways to help, such as assisting Daniel with a search through the histories. A knock at the door startled him and he walked into the living room, still rubbing his hair. “Come.”
His eyes widened when Al and Connor entered, looking for all the world like they’d just committed a major crime. Jason knew those looks. They had something serious to talk about. He sat down on an overstuffed foot stool and gestured at the plush sofa.
“Gentlemen, sit down and tell me what’s wrong.”
Al and Connor exchanged glances as they sat down. “How do you do that, sir?” Al asked.
Jason smiled at him. “I can read your faces like an alphabet, Al. What’s up?” Connor suddenly snorted and Jason gave him a surprised look. “What?”
“We’ve um…been talking it over and…well, you we’ve decided that…um…”
Al rolled his eyes at Connor’s hesitation. “We’re going to participate, sir.”
He and Connor then promptly blushed, though not much. For them, however, it was a lot.
Jason regarded them carefully, a little surprised, a little pleased, a little worried. “Why? I know how you feel about this.”
“That hasn’t really changed, sir,” Al went on, “but this situation is different than the other times. I think we’re being rather selfish forcing the rest of you to take up the slack in something so important. Just because the nature of the blood-giving is intimate doesn’t mean we should say no. It’s too important to another race that we help do this.”
“We’ve also talked to two of the women Residents,” Connor told him. “We wanted to understand everything and make them understand that we weren’t being so much phobic as we were in honoring our vows.”
Jason nodded. “Who’d you talk to?”
“Talen and Tashin,” Connor told him.
Jason smiled. “They’re both good women, guys. Honorable, like the rest. They won’t do anything to you that you don’t want. If all you’d want is to bend your head to the side,” and he demonstrated, “and not touch them, then you won’t really have broken–“
“No, sir,” Connor interrupted.
“It feels disrespectful to just let them feed as if they were dogs or something,” Al said, revealing the reason they’d changed their minds. “They’re sentient beings, sir. We can’t, in good conscience, abstain just because we’re freaked about the sexual aspect of it. They deserve better.”
Jason agreed. “They do.” He was silent for a moment, wondering if he should talk to them about all aspects of this. In the end, he decided that silence wasn’t a good idea. Too many assumptions could be made and ignorance thrived in silence and assumptions. “Guys, I need to know something. It’s very serious.”
They looked at him worriedly. “What?” Al asked.
“It doesn’t escape my attention that you both went out of your way to choose women.”
They nodded, not seeing his meaning, so he took a deep breath and plunged ahead. “So, that leads me to wonder if either of you have a problem that me or the other team members haven’t been so…selective. Do you have a problem with that?”
Connor answered first, but both men were shaking their heads. “No, sir.”
Connor fidgeted again, this time toeing the carpet with his boot. “Sir, the Residents seem to be, well, bisexual. And I know I’m not supposed to ask, but you seem to be the same.”
Jason felt a pit grow deep in his belly. “I’m not supposed to tell, and frankly, whether or not I am, does it have to do with my job?”
“Not really, sir. I just worry,” Connor answered, looking at his feet.
Al, on the other hand, gave Jason a direct look. “I worry, too. What you are or aren’t doesn’t affect my job or how I view yours, sir, but I can’t help but get concerned. For instance, how do we fill out our reports when we get home so that we don’t compromise you in any way?”
“Didn’t I cover this in mission reports 101?”
“I’m worried about the people who read our reports,” Connor replied. “How can we be truthful? I’m not exactly going to go into detail if Talen decides to do more than take my blood, but I feel like I’m lying and I hate that. Does that make sense to you, sir?”
“Do you want her to do more than just take blood, Connor?” Jason asked.
The man blushed again. “I don’t know.”
“Well, when the time comes, make your decision and remember the golden rule. No second thoughts and no going back. There’s something else, isn’t there?”
“Yes, sir,” Al answered. “What do we report about the rest of you?”
“It’s more ‘what to leave out’, sir,” Connor clarified.
“Wasn’t I clear?” Jason mumbled, passing a hand over his face. “Okay, boys, listen up. I’m leaving the decision up to you as to how you want to edit your report when it concerns the intimate relations between yourselves and others. However, if you want guidance or a suggestion, then here it is, fellas. You don’t have to mention who the rest of us were with. You may have found out from any of us who we gave our blood to, but if sexual relations were exchanged, you’ll never know that information because you weren’t there and no one will be confiding the details to you. Understood? You can’t report what you do not know for a fact.”
They nodded, though they still looked uncomfortable.
Jason folded his arms and gave them his best ‘warning’ look. “Boys, do you want to give those bastards ammunition to use against us?”
Al and Connor immediately shook their heads.
“Do you write down in your reports the things you bring in your field packs that you’re not supposed to?”
Their silence was telling as they blushed again.
Jason nodded, beginning to relax. “Then there’s no problem, is there?”
Connor abruptly cleared his throat and took Al by the sleeve. “No, sir. C’mon, Al. Let’s get out of here before we dig ourselves deeper.”
“Guys,” Jason called, forcing them to halt at the door and stare back at him. He could swear they were holding their breaths. “There’re no holes dug. We clear?”
“Clear, sir,” they replied and quietly left the room.
Jason passed his hand over his face again. He was going to have to have a very long talk with them. And soon. They were perhaps the most repressed men he’d ever met, as well as excessive worriers. He hoped Talen and Tashin would help cure them of some of that, if anything else happened, that is.
As he moved into the bedroom to grab his tank top, thinking he might need it later, he heard the room’s door open and close and his eyes widened at the sound of the door locking. He turned just when Daniel and Jack appeared in the doorway. Barefoot, in just their trousers and t-shirts. Damn.
Jack leaned against the door frame, his arms folded, and Daniel looked at him, amused, before turning his eyes on Jason.
“So, what happened with Adriann, Jace?” he asked.
Jason turned to face them, feet apart, his stance confrontational. He narrowed his eyes and pointed at them, finger moving accusingly back and forth. “You know, where Adriann’s concerned, neither of you have any room to be jealous. None whatsoever.” And they didn’t. Both had had their own private time with Adriann before.
“Point taken,” Jack replied.
Jason noticed something else and his lips curled into a grin.
“What?” Daniel asked, taking a step toward his lover.
“You both have that ‘I’ve been happily fucked’ look about you.” Fortunately, it was something only he could spot.
“Really?” Jack asked, pushing away from the doorway as he started toward Jason, following Daniel. They circled him as Jason looked back and forth between them.
“Okay, guys, none of that. It’s not going to work.”
Jack settled in front of him and rested a hand at his lover’s waist, the other smoothing over his chest, slipping underneath the waistband of his sweats. Jason felt the heat from the man, and then the heat from Daniel as his other lover settled in behind him. He bit his lip suddenly when Jack pulled the front of his sweats down, revealing Jason’s navel and the silver ring nestled there.
Jack looked down, then up into Jason’s eyes, and grinned. “Maybe we didn’t plan on anything but driving you insane. That has its own rewards, you know.”
Daniel smiled and moved his hand around to tug at the ring, forcing Jason to shudder and stumble backward. “Daniel!”
“Why are you wearing your ring on duty?” he asked, reaching for it again as he and Jack attacked, pushing Jason down on the bed.
Jason pushed backward, deciding to play a mild game of ‘keep away’. “Daniel!” he said, slapping his hand away. “The hole might close up so I have to wear the ring most of the time. You know that, too, so…”
Daniel refrained from smiling though his eyes gave away his feeling. He crawled up and leaned over, his tongue zeroing in on the ring, pulling on it even as the tip teased Jason’s navel underneath.
Jason groaned, feeling his cock swell, both from the touch of Daniel’s tongue and the fact that Jack was pulling his sweats off and pushing his legs apart. He closed his eyes and grabbed the bed covers as his lovers’ touch pinned him in place. Jack’s tongue ran over his inner thigh, leaving wet swirling trails up to his groin. His lovers didn’t waste time and Jason felt as if his mind needed to play catch-up to his body. As Jack kissed up the length of his shaft, Daniel slid his hands upward, catching his nipples between his fingers, pinching hard.
Jason inhaled sharply as the dual assault began. Jack’s hot, wet mouth surrounded him, rubbing his tongue across the back of the head. He sucked luxuriously, taking more and more into his mouth, bobbing slowly and nudging Jason’s hips with his hands, asking him to thrust. Jason did, and when Daniel claimed his mouth, plunging his tongue inside, he clutched at his lovers, tightening his fingers in their hair. The pleasure mounted quickly, leading him toward an astonishingly rapid release. He thrust up, again and again, loving the feel of his dick inside Jack’s mouth, sucking so hard at times that Jason’s body tensed each time in anticipation of coming.
“Jack,” he protested when Jack suddenly stopped.
Jack straddled his legs and brought his hands to Jason’s groin. “Daniel, get his gloves from his pack.”
Daniel broke the kiss with a mischievous smile and moved into the next room. Meanwhile, Jack stared down at Jason, two fingers moving up and down his glistening erection. He licked his lips.
Jason swallowed. It had been a while since Jack had been in such a mood. God.
When Daniel returned, he also had the lube.
Jack smiled. “That should feel interesting,” he said, sliding his right hand into the black leather. Wrapping the leather around Jason’s cock, he gave a few tentative pulls, watching Jason’s body twitch and arch into his touch.
Jason bit his lip, moaning at the contact from the soft, warm leather. He thrust into Jack’s fist, wanting it faster and harder, but Jack kept his strokes frustratingly slow. “Jack,” he gasped in complaint as a leather-encased thumb smeared pre-come into the blood-engorged skin.
“Suffer,” Jack said as Daniel slid the other glove on his own left hand. Jason’s eyes widened as Daniel poured lube onto the leather, soaking it before he reached down to cup his balls, teasing them with slow, rolling caresses.
A sharp tug at his navel sent a shock through his dick and Jason arched his body off the bed. “Fuck!”
“More lube, Daniel,” Jack told him, his eyes dilated and black, his cock half hard, his breathing excited. Jason met his gaze, his mouth dropping open as he felt slick, leather fingers teasing his hole.
“Holy shit,” he gasped, feeling his balls tighten in anticipation.
Daniel continued to rub circles, teasing him, forcing his lover’s body to open with want. He looked up, watching Jack’s intense expression. “Feels good to touch him that way, doesn’t it?”
“Amazing,” Jack replied, taking the lube and squirting a liberal amount over Jason’s cock and his gloved hand. “Isn’t it, Jace?” he asked, lightly stroking, teasing the hot, hard skin with his now-slippery leather hand.
Jason’s fingers clamped down into the bed covers, white knuckling as he thrust back and forth, demanding Daniel’s fingers and Jack’s fist. “Please, dammit,” he begged, and knew if they kept torturing him, he’d grab his own cock and finish himself off.
That was sort of what happened in the end. Jack grabbed his right hand, forcing his fingers over his own. “Please yourself,” he ordered, moving his hand away. Jason gasped with frustration, taking his cock in both fists, tightening as he thrust upward, teased by the continuously circling fingertips of Daniel’s gloved hand. More lube was applied then and Jack suddenly lined his fingers up with Daniel’s. Jason’s eyes widened in shock and desire as they slowly thrust four fingers inside.
“Oh fuck,” he whispered, pumping his cock more slowly so he could feel the leather fingers moving inside his ass. They’d double-teamed him before, like this, only without gloves, and this time, he knew he couldn’t hold back for long. Their fingers rode with his thrusts as he slid up and down through his fists, moving faster and faster. “Fuck me,” he whispered, and when fingers touched his gland, he repeated it with a demand. “Yes, fuck me!”
Jack’s hand covered Daniel’s so he took control of the thrusts, twisting as he pumped their fingers sharply inside their lover’s ass. “God, that’s amazing.” When Jason’s face began to flush, his lips darkening, Jack smiled. “Yes, that’s it, Jace. That’s it.”
“Bastards,” Jason croaked, spreading his legs wider, bucking wildly in both directions, riding those amazing fingers. He came hard, the semen shooting across his hands and onto the bed, and cried out as his orgasm took forever to complete. When he was able to focus after his sight returned, he found both his lovers hard. “Give it to him, Daniel,” he said breathlessly, pushing Jack with his strong thighs until Jack fell forward over him. Undoing his lover’s pants, Jason felt Daniel’s hands helping him pull Jack’s trousers down and watched Jack’s face as lube was quickly smeared over his hole. “Want it?” he asked as he wrapped his fingers around Jack’s cock, stroking firmly, quickly, and he smiled with satisfaction as he made him gasp.
“Fuck me, Daniel.”
With a growl, Daniel dropped his trousers, his hands shaking as he coated his dick. He couldn’t believe how hard he was again and the anticipation of nailing Jack over Jason was making it all the better. Jack groaned as he slid in, twisting and boring into his body until he was fully inside. Holding onto his hips, he rolled his own, taking a tentative thrust.
“God–” Jack gasped, his word cut off as Jason kissed him hard and deep. His body felt on fire as Daniel fucked him slowly from behind, at odds with the faster stroking of his cock by Jason’s hand.
Jason watched them both, his own pleasure continuing as he watched Daniel and Jack fuck over him. He loved the sight of it, their flushed skin, their pleasured expressions, their mouths open and panting. He wanted more.
“Let go and do him, Daniel,” he whispered harshly. “Now.”
“God, Jason,” Daniel breathed as his head dropped back, eyes closed as his cadence increased until he was fucking Jack wildly, driving them toward that euphemistic cliff. “Feels good, so good.”
Jack groaned, sliding his knees over the sheets, opening himself more, fingers digging into the mattress as he held on. So close, so close, so…
“Yes!” he cried through a tight throat, his shout consumed as Jason pulled him down in a hard, deep kiss. Jack rode out his orgasm, moaning loudly into Jason’s mouth as his semen blended with his lover’s sticky skin.
“God!” Daniel shouted as Jack’s muscles tightened around him. He fell forward over Jack’s back, their skin slick with sweat, and slapped his hips over his lover’s ass again and again. Another shout was muffled as he bit onto Jack’s muscled back, tasting the salt of sweat as he came. His body shook through the tremors and shudders, made only better as he felt them echoed through Jack’s. Jason’s legs surprised him as he felt them over his back, tipping them sideways. Tired, Daniel slid his softening cock from Jack and moved over both his lovers. The cooling sweat made his lips sticky as he kissed his lovers one at a time before dropping down between them in the space they made for him. He closed his eyes, waiting through the afterglow for his heart to slow.
“Ditto,” came Jack’s mumbled reply.
Jason smiled, loving the fact that he could get them to come again. Maybe later on tonight or tomorrow, he could do it to them again.
“Gotta rest up now. God only knows what the vamps have in mind later.”
Two groans reached his ears before he drifted off.
Once more, Adriann had listened, pumping his cock through both fists, coming with Daniel at the last.
As his skin cooled, Adriann vowed to himself that before these special humans left his world, he’d give Daniel a gift.
But before that, he had to taste Jack one more time. Lying there, sticky, sweaty, Adriann planned it out in his mind, stroking his cock to hardness once more. Images filled his mind and he smiled.
Cont. in Trinity 29