Trinity 29: The Passionate
Part 2 of 2
Summary: Cures of a different sort bring surprises.
The night passed slowly, and it seemed as if it did it on purpose, giving everyone time. A few hours later, after his post-coital nap, Jason stood before Calane and Techan’s door, wiping his hands nervously over his black sweats, and jumped as a hand closed over his shoulder.
“Christ, you’re as jumpy as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs,” came the teasing voice.
“Jack, don’t do that,” Jason breathed, laughing at himself. He turned, found Jack, but no Daniel. “Daniel go already?”
Jack thumbed at the next hallway over. “He went to see Emeni. Calane and Techan?” he asked, pointing at the door Jason had been contemplating.
“Yeah,” Jason said. “You’re heading to Kaleon and Quessan?”
“Yeah,” Jack replied.
Jack’s own nervousness betrayed him as Jason eyed the light sheen of sweat on his lover’s upper lip. He wanted to kiss it off and felt his mouth water. “Sam and Teal’c?”
“With Devana, Pasha, and Ghanen.”
“Al and Connor changed their minds.”
Jack’s brow line shot up. “How the hell did that happen?”
“I have no idea. I think maybe guilt about doing the right thing did it, overriding any guilt about adultery since they’re not really having sex. I think maybe they’ll give their blood and nothing else will happen.” He wasn’t about to ruin the evening by telling Jack about the conversation he’d had with his over-worrying teammates.
Jack snorted and shook his head. “I admire their loyalty, but I’ll bet they have raging hard-ons when they get back.”
Jason grinned. “Not an image I’d like right now, but I believe you’re right.”
“So who’re they with?” Jack asked.
“Talen and Tashin.”
Jack figured as much, then stated the obvious. “Fraiser’s with Kashan.” He paused and gave Jason a long look. “As for Adriann, is anyone going to visit him tonight?”
Jason smirked at him. “He’s had his…turn. Jack, if it had been you or Daniel in my place, you’d’ve done the same and you know it so don’t even start.”
Jack grinned at him. “It’s so easy to get a rise out of you. Besides, I’m not starting anything. Daniel and I could hardly justify being jealous or possessive.” His grin deepened.
“I sense an ‘and’.”
“If I know Adriann, it’ll probably happen again. To me. To Daniel. To you…again.”
“‘Again’ applies to you. I’ve never had sex with him.”
“Who was talking about sex, Jason?”
Damn. Jason winced. “Shit.”
“Talking about your slip ups. Sex on the brain?”
Jason felt a heat stirring deep in his belly and saw the same reflected in Jack’s eyes.
“Well, if you must know…”
Jack’s grin turned wicked as he moved closer. “He gets you hot, doesn’t he?”
“Who?” Jason asked, returning the grin.
“You know who. Are you playing me, Jace?”
“Succeeding. And he does get you hot.”
Jason swallowed. “Yes.” Jack took another step closer and Jason’s eyes slid up and down his lover’s muscular body, coming to rest on his upper lip. He felt the wall at his back now and when Jack’s hands pressed the wall, framing his face, he couldn’t think of anything to say. At all.
“Are your teammates currently occupied?” Jack whispered secretively as he looked up and down the hallway.
“Yes,” Jason replied, reaching up just as Jack’s tongue dove into his mouth, trading tastes, testing limits. When Jack broke away, Jason had trouble doing the same, stealing a short kiss, with soft bites of the lower lip added for emphasis. “So,” he said, his heart beating wildly.
“So,” Jack breathed, stepping away, creating space between them. Not a lot but too much. “Meet me in my room when we’re through?”
“Good idea,” Jason replied shakily, his eyes giving Jack the once-over. “Very good idea.”
Jack looked like he was going to attack him. “I’m gonna go before I lose my composure and fuck you right here in the hall.”
Jason closed his eyes, groaning. He could picture it so easily. What limits? He gave Jack a twisted smile as he pulled at the back of the man’s thigh, rubbing his erection into his hip. “Fuck me anyway, right here, right now. Hard. Raw. Just yank my pants down a–“
Jack growled loudly and kissed Jason hard, rubbing frantically against him, sending a message. Jason held on, thrusting back, and Jack wanted him so badly. Wanted to spread his lover’s legs, to do him there against the wall, not caring anymore about discretion.
Whether from training or a sudden wish for privacy, they both pushed away with Jason wiping his mouth on the back of his hand.
“Must be this place, I swear to fucking god,” he whispered, his voice heavy with lust. “You’re hard now, and ready for your visit.”
Jack gave him a hot, dangerous look. “You’re a bastard for doing that. But…thanks. I think. I’ll definitely see you later. If you’re lucky, you won’t be able to walk in the morning.” The promise sent a shiver down Jason’s spine.
Jason watched him walk down the hall and knock on the last door on the right. Jack kept his eyes on him until he disappeared into the room. Jason knocked on the door in front of him and at Calane’s call, entered the room, his cock throbbing madly.
Jack rubbed at his neck as he walked down the dimly lit corridor. The hunting jaunt with the beasts and the blood just given had him feeling bone tired. Entering his room and closing the door behind him, he began to strip off his clothes, making his way to the bedroom. Having visited Kaleon and Quessan in socked feet, he didn’t have to worry about his boots, and easily stepped out of his trousers.
He found Jason asleep on the bed, having changed into the shorts he slept in during missions. Jack immediately wondered why he’d changed and the image of come-stained pants made him look about the room. The sweats were nowhere to be found and Jack irrationally thought for a brief second that Jason had hidden them. But the thought was quickly gone when it occurred to him that Jason had probably changed in his own room before showing up in Jack’s. His eyes swept over the hard, muscular body, resting on the dog tags that nestled between his lover’s pecs, framed by the black t-shirt. He looked down at outline hidden under the regulation shorts and wished he had the energy. Damn it. He stood there in admiration for a moment. Admiring the olive green of the shorts. Not so much the color as the fact that they simply looked sexy on his lover. They were long enough to cover the groin and some upper thigh, but high enough to accentuate leg muscles. They certainly did that.
Jack crawled over, the dip in the mattress rousing Jason slightly. His lover half-opened his eyes as Jack settled behind, and seeing Jack as he looked over his shoulder, he gave him a grunting hello. No words yet. Just a grunt. Jack thought that sleepy look was even sexier, and leaned over.
“It go okay?” he asked softly as he kissed over Jason’s cheek. Another grunt smoothed into a moan. Jack smiled. “Yeah. Me, too. Tired.”
Jason reached over his shoulder, his fingers grabbing some hair as he pulled Jack into a long, lazy kiss. “I wanted you to fuck me till I couldn’t stand up but…” It was an admission; an apology.
Jack slid his arm over Jason’s waist and snuggled in. “I know. Tired. Maybe later?”
Jason made an agreeable sound and in moments, they were asleep.
Daniel stopped at the bedroom door as he undressed, taking in the sight of his sleeping lovers spooned on the bed, wearing nothing but shorts, t-shirts, and dog tags. Sexy as hell and his cock made a half-hearted attempt to come to attention. But he was just as tired as they were, and all Daniel wanted was to look and feel.
As he settled in behind Jack, touching the warmth of his body, he grinned at Jack’s arm possessively wrapped around Jason, his face pressed against the black hair. Daniel remembered Jack’s initial resistance to loving Jason and smiled wider. Now, Jack could no more be separated from Jason than Daniel could. They belonged.
Jack looked across the room and grinned, tapping Jason with the back of his hand. Jason turned round and his face mirrored Jack’s. They stared at the bed, watching as a bare arm snaked across the mattress, searching for bodies that were no longer there.
Daniel groaned, turning over on his back. “Where the fuck are you?” he asked, not opening his eyes to look. It was then that he smelled something familiar and realized it was freshly brewed coffee. He opened an eye and spying the mug on the bedside table, he reached for it, frowning as he caught sight of his lovers getting dressed.
“Rone brought it up not long ago,” Jason told him. “Said Adriann sends his regards and invites us to breakfast.”
Daniel nodded silently as he sat up and brought the coffee mug to his lips, sipping experimentally. Liking the taste and the fact that the coffee wasn’t too hot, he sipped more.
Jack walked over, buckling his belt, and kissed Daniel’s hair. “How’re you doin’?”
Daniel looked up, his eyes lingering over fingers that should be undoing that belt. He took a longer drink of the coffee. “Good. You guys okay?”
They both nodded. “Why didn’t you wake us?” Jason asked as he joined them, sitting down next to Daniel. He slid an arm around him and gave his sleepy lover a kiss on his cheekbone. The action sent a signal straight to his dick and the kiss lingered, his lips whispering down Daniel’s face. A soft bite to the jawline had Daniel giving his dark-haired lover a morning grumble.
“Jason, you know I love you, and you know I appreciate your morning…mood…but…”
Jason smiled and gave a small laugh. “I know. So that said, why didn’t you wake us? We could’ve–” At Jack’s raised brow, he shrugged. “Okay, so we were tired, but still.”
Daniel stifled a grin and drank more of the quickly cooling dark brew. “Preferred to watch you sleep. The two of you are so adorable.”
Jack was going to send back a barb but was interrupted by his growling stomach. “Time for breakfast.”
Since he and Jason had already washed up, they waited as Daniel went through his own morning ablutions and dressed. All the while, they shot him scolding, annoyed looks, not saying a word.
Daniel couldn’t help but smirk, enjoying that his affectionate adjective had vexed them. On their way out of the room, Jack and Jason moved in behind him, preferring to follow him down the hall. Daniel knew they were teasing, trying to provoke him in retaliation for his nickname.
Rounding the corner, Jason whispered, “We’re not teddy bears, Daniel. We are not adorable.”
Daniel only smiled as he looked over his shoulder.
Greeting their teammates and Janet in the grand hall, Sam cocked her head, indicating the extra dining table, and the formal, elegant cloths that were spread over them.
“Check it out,” she said. “Something special planned apparently.”
Jack equaled the surprised and curious look on her face. “Guess so.” He briefly touched Neva’s arm as she emptied the tray she carried, decorating one end of the table with flowers, breakfast condiments, and spices while Sela decorated the other. Two other Brethren set down the eating utensils, plates, and mugs. “What’s the occasion?” Jack asked.
“Our Residents are well,” she said, smiling as she looked up.
Jack blinked and caught the doubtful look on Janet’s face.
“Yes, they’re healing, Neva, but they’re not fully well yet.”
Neva exchanged glances with Sela, their expressions telling Janet that they didn’t believe her.
“Have you not seen Kashan with your own eyes?” Sela asked.
Janet guiltily looked at her teammates before looking back to Sela. “Yes. And yes, he is looking as fit as ever, but that doesn’t mean he’s fully recovered. Give it awhile.”
The two Brethren simply shook their heads, still smiling. The effect was almost patronizing, but more like that of a parent to a small child who has just given an absurd answer to some life mystery. They gestured for the humans to sit down at the original table and disappeared into the kitchen.
Daniel sat down in his usual place, to the right of the head of table, where Adriann normally sat. Jack, Sam, and Teal’c took their positions next to him and Janet sat down next to Teal’c. Across from them, Jason and his team sat down, trying to get comfortable. Jason noticed something was off as he looked over his teammates.
“You guys okay? You’re awfully quiet.”
As Jason’s eyes rested on Al and Connor, they nodded, their expressions somewhat sober, but they didn’t appear to be disturbed by the night’s events.
“You, sir?” Al asked.
Jason nodded. “Good. Tired as hell after last night but good.” He moved his attention to Alex. “Alex?”
Alex nodded, and Jason realized he was more subdued than the others. “I’m fine, sir.”
“Sure?” Jason asked. When Alex glanced quickly across the table, Jason knew that he didn’t want to talk in front of others. “Okay, good.” He tapped the side of Alex’s knee twice, a familiar code, letting him know that they would talk when Alex wanted. His 2IC sent him a short smile of appreciation.
Four Brethren interrupted the strange silence as they appeared, carrying earthen jugs filled with coffee, juice, and a white liquid similar to milk. As Sela poured coffee into Daniel’s mug, she smiled at him.
“You are well?” she asked.
He nodded, then indicated the jug with the white liquid. “We haven’t seen that before. What is it?”
“A special drink made from the teat of the small animals we call izzo. They live wild in the distant mountains. Since it is too far to go after their herds for their teat, we have brought them to us.”
Jack grinned. “Teat? You mean milk?”
“Milk?” she asked back.
“Teat liquid,” Daniel answered back quickly before Jack said something teasing.
“Ah. Milk. I like that.” She grinned at her relatives as they seemed to agree with her opinion. “It is sweetened and spiced,” she said, taking one of the extra mugs and poured some for him. “Try it?”
Knowing he was being used as the proverbial guinea pig, Daniel brought the mug to his nose and sniffed. “Smells faintly like coconut.” He sipped, not failing to notice that his teammates and SG-2 were holding their breaths and practically snorted into the mug. The milk was no different in thickness than the milks they had at home, but it had a faintly grainy texture and tasted like coconut, reminding him of coconut ‘milk’. He took a longer drink, then set the mug down. Everyone looked at him expectantly and Daniel couldn’t resist.
He began to cough, increasing them as if he were starting to choke. He stood, his hand going to his throat as he coughed harder. Alarmed, Jack rose and slapped him on the back.
“Daniel!” Jason asked, and Daniel could hear the panic.
“Daniel, are you okay?” Sam, too. And then Teal’c and Jason’s teammates. Sela was petting his hair, looking stricken, and he hated pulling the joke on her but god, his teammates could be such worry-warts sometimes. When Janet rushed over, Daniel suddenly straightened and cleared his throat before taking another drink of the milk. All that false coughing had turned his throat a little raw.
Stares greeted him when he finally looked up, at Jason and Jack first. “I’m fine.”
Jack glared, stepped back, then gently cuffed Daniel in the back of his head, making him laugh. “Not funny,” Jack scolded. Jason echoed the sentiment and the others grumbled their own.
“I couldn’t help it. Tastes like goat’s milk,” Daniel explained, sitting back down. He looked up at Sela. “I’m sorry, Sela. I didn’t mean to make you panic, but my friends can be a little over the top with their worrying.”
She nodded. “I understand. The Residents are that way with us.”
“You said the mountains,” he went on, ignoring the scowls he was still receiving. “Do you mean those in the distance behind the house?”
She nodded. “It is too far to go there, though we wish we still could. It is more than a day’s journey and the beasts are too numerous.”
“Mind if I ask why you don’t…” Jack began and paused. “I think we covered this once but I’m asking again. Why don’t you just kill off most of the beasts?”
“Because there are too many of them.”
“But surely there are a more Brethren to pick up the lack of numbers in the Residents,” Teal’c said.
Sela nodded. “Yes, but we…remember what happened to Tan?”
The guests remembered and Daniel felt a shiver run over his spine. “Oh yeah,” he said.
“We cannot risk being attacked and since we would do all we can to stay alive, considering that our own numbers are dwindling, it is too high a price to pay. In the meantime, we are cared for, protected, and we have done the same in return. They are part of our life.”
As if on cue, noises were heard and the teams looked to the main staircase, finding the Residents descending. All of them. Sela beamed brightly and grabbing Neva, ran for the kitchen. “Rone!”
The teams rose to their feet, staring. The change overnight was amazing. Daniel was in awe as the Residents approached. They almost glowed with life. None of them, including Daniel, had realized that the pale skin of the Residents wasn’t completely normal. Though still white, it held a golden hue now, an indication of their well-being.
As he neared, Janet walked over to Kashan, pausing, touching his arm to give him a long look. He nodded once, keeping their exchange silent. She moved on to the head of the table, waiting, peering at Adriann with her customary ‘doctor’ gaze as he approached and stopped before her.
“I am well,” he said, his hand on her elbow. He nudged her in the direction of her seat and because of his appearance, she relented. He sat down, gesturing to the twelve other Residents to take their seats. Most took the second table but Kashan sat down next to Janet and Talen took the seat next to Connor. She smiled at him and he quickly fought off the blush that rose. Daniel tilted his head at Jason, communicating silently that apparently something intimate had gone on.
Adriann took his customary seat at the end of the table, and caught sight of the Brethren returning from the kitchen with six others, their hands filled with trays laden with food.
When the platters were being set down, revealing biscuits, sauces, meats, and fruit, Daniel heard a scraping noise and looked over his shoulder. The commotion drew everyone else’s attention as other Brethren appeared from doors beyond the staircase, carrying smaller tables. The furniture around the massive fireplace was moved out of the way and the tables, four in all, were quickly set up. Daniel turned back, giving Adriann a questioning look. Adriann smiled and gestured at Rone, who approached with another pitcher of milk. He poured Adriann a glass and handed it to him, smiling as Adriann emptied in one go.
Daniel cleared his throat and met Rone’s gaze. “That doesn’t look like enough to seat all of the Brethren.”
Rone grinned, his eyes bright and happy. For the first time, Daniel noticed a bit of green specks in the golden eyes. “It is not. The others are already in celebration, preparing their own feast in our own Hall of Gathering, situated within the hillside.”
“Oh.” Daniel tried for apologetic, but was waved off.
“I am heartened that you worry for us, Daniel,” Rone said, “but please, do not. We are not slighted. We are, in fact, very pleased and happy.”
“I am glad for it,” Adriann replied and handed Rone a mug, filled it, then raised his mug in a toast. Rone returned it and they both drank.
As the silence grew afterward, Adriann broke it finally with a sudden clearing of his throat.
“To our honored guests,” he began, raising his mug. “May I express my deepest appreciation to Doctor Janet and her fellow humans for saving us from death. We are in your debt.”
Predictably, the expressions of the team members and Janet appeared to be both modest and embarrassed.
“We’re glad to have helped,” Jack told him, his eyes locking with Adriann’s. “But I don’t think you owe us anything.”
Adriann nodded once at him, his grey eyes bright with something Jack couldn’t read. “Certainly your superiors would disagree. I hope the plants that we have furnished, and will continue to furnish, will help reduce the debt we feel is warranted.”
“Not a problem, but Adriann, you are not indebted to us,” Jack insisted, trying to figure out what Adriann wasn’t saying. He didn’t have to wait long to find out.
The vampire fixed his eyes on Daniel next, bringing a hand to the man’s shoulder. “It is you whom we owe, Daniel.”
Daniel coughed into his cup in surprise and quickly looked around to let his teammates know that he wasn’t playing. “No you don’t.”
“Yes,” Adriann persisted, “we do. I do. If it had not been for your open mind and convincing your friends to help us, we would not be here now.”
Daniel shook his head, looking down into his cup, and felt Jason toe his feet from across the table and Jack elbow his arm. He looked up, surprised a second time, when it seemed all of his teammates were agreeing with Adriann. “I didn’t do anything.”
“Yes, you did, Daniel,” Jack told him.
“But…all I did was talk to him,” he said, clearly confused. He turned to Adriann and repeated himself. “All I did was talk to you.”
“You heard him out, Daniel,” Jack told him, then met Adriann’s gaze. “Even though we didn’t give permission that first time, I for one understood why you did what you did.” He looked back at Daniel. “You talked to him, Daniel. You did what you always do.” He paused and grinned. “Damn annoying.”
Jason smiled and laughed softly, gaining a small frown from Daniel.
“But I…” Daniel began, and stopped. He knew when to concede a recognition, deserved or not. Like with the stargate. That was something else he didn’t feel he could take credit for, but he did, reluctantly, and on occasion, his feelings contradicted themselves when he felt the only credit he was worthy enough to take was ‘blame’ for opening the damn thing. “You’re welcome, Adriann. I’m just glad you were able to hear me, and we could then be in a position to help.”
Adriann smiled engagingly at him. He gestured at the food and as everyone dished up their plates and poured drinks, Janet spoke up.
“After breakfast, Adriann, if you don’t mind, I’d like to examine you, run a few tests.”
“On all of us or just Adriann?” Kashan asked, a teasing grin forming.
“On just Adriann,” she smirked. “I only need one of you for this and since he healed faster than the rest of you…”
Adriann nodded as he swallowed a bite of food and chased it down with the milk. “I would be glad to, Janet.”
Small talk followed, as the exported plants were discussed, and what Janet’s medical research program was doing with them. The bor’cha, the beasts, were briefly discussed but inevitably, the talk turned to what the Residents would do now.
“Are you going to be able to have children now?” Daniel asked, looking back and forth between Adriann, Janet, and the other Residents.
Adriann and his ‘family’ were silent. They hadn’t actually thought about that.
Janet looked over at Talen. “There’s enough genetic diversity to produce children again, but I’ve never known an infertile woman to suddenly become fertile. But that applies to human women. Since you’re not human, I’ll need to perform medical exams on you and the other women.”
Sam groaned and Talen gave her a sharp look. “Sam? You do not believe this is a good idea?”
Sam shook her head and wiped her mouth with the cloth napkin. “It’s not that, Talen. It’s just the exams are very personal and you may not like them. I certainly don’t and I’m used to them.”
“Then why do you have them?” Talen asked.
“Because they’re necessary for continued good health,” Janet replied, cutting off Sam’s answer with a glare. “We can’t fix what we don’t know about.”
“And this ‘exam’ will help find out if we can have children?” Emeni asked from the other table.
Janet nodded. She suddenly caught Talen staring at her and realized she was being read. She glared. “I wasn’t lying,” she told her defensively.
Talen blinked and looked around her, casting a quick apologetic glance at Adriann, then a longer one at Janet. “I am sorry. I did not do it out of malice.”
Janet took a deep breath and waved her hand, forcing her anger to leave. “I didn’t think you were. I’m just not used to that.”
Adriann cleared his throat and rose slowly from his chair. “She did not, Janet,” and he looked around the table, his demeanor and expression showing a very clear warning. “In fact, now that we are healthy, our telepathic powers are returning to normal. Something you have yet to witness. This is our nature, my dear friends. Though we will try not to intrude in your minds, will we not curb that which has been lost to us for a very long time. A very long time.”
“We don’t wish you to,” Jason began, “but I’m confused. You were able to do what you did in that dungeon we were in. To keep that bastard from reading you and detecting your presence in my head. Are you saying that was, in fact, your weakened state?”
Adriann gave him a soft smile that did not reach his eyes. “I was injured as well, was I not?” Jason nodded slowly. “Yes, Jason, that was my weakened state. Had I been healthy, I would have…we would have felt that bastard long before we reached the structure. And we would have taken care of him long beforehand.”
Everyone tried to imagine what Adriann meant by that but Jack didn’t bother trying. “How, may I ask?”
Adriann looked around the room, something to use for an example, but there was nothing. “I’d give you an example, but it would require something living. I will not harm that which does not deserve it.”
Jack stared back at the tall man, only now coming to realize that this vampire had a lot more to him than he had observed before. A lot more.
“Adriann,” Talen interrupted, and she lifted her fork in her hand, laying it flat in her palm. “Try.”
Adriann tilted his head to the side, thinking about it. He picked up the knife on his plate and laid it flat in his palm. “I have yet to test this. Trying and failing would make me look weak in front of our guests.”
“Friends,” Daniel corrected. “And you won’t look weak under the circumstances, Adriann. What is it you’re going to do?”
A small smile appeared. “What you would call telekinesis. Powers of the mind are all inclusive with us. We do not differentiate.”
Daniel felt a slight measure of alarm, as did the others, when Adriann’s eyes narrowed and the knife lifted and hovered a few seconds above his hand.
Neva came to an abrupt halt on her way to the table, and because of it, one of the mugs she carried on a tray tipped over and fell to the floor with a crash. The interruption forced Adriann’s concentration to break and the knife fell, landing point first into the table. Adriann cleared his throat and glanced at Neva. “Sorry, my dear. I did not mean to startle you.”
“You did not,” she said with amazement, picking up the broken pieces of pottery and laying them on an empty section of her tray. Rina came out from the kitchen just then to help with the spillage. “It is only something I have rarely seen you do.”
“I know.” He pulled the knife from the table and laid it down, holding his fingertips over it. His gaze fell on Jason first, then on Daniel, and lastly on Jack. “I would have cracked that creature’s skull open without a second thought. He was one who would have deserved harm. Aberrations such as him are not meant to live.”
Jack held Adriann’s eyes for a few moments. “I understand that all too well.”
Adriann took his seat, then took Jason’s hand in his, squeezing it. “I am sorry I could not have done more.”
Jason shook his head, returning the squeeze. “Don’t be. We…managed.”
Adriann suddenly gave him a brilliant smile. “We did.” When he let go of Jason’s hand, he fixed his gaze back on Daniel. “If I may…”
“I would ask one last favor.”
“Finding a cure wasn’t a favor, Adriann.”
“Figure of your speech, Daniel,” Adriann replied. “I would ask for one more gift?”
“What?” Daniel asked, his interest perked. What could Adriann ask for?
“I would ask you to join me in a very important ritual.”
“For?” Daniel asked.
“To formalize and commemorate our pact and union. Please say yes.”
Jack interrupted before Daniel could answer. “Nothing involving pain, I hope?”
Daniel could see he was teasing but he knew from experience that Jack was only half-kidding. “Jack.”
Adriann gave Jack a bland expression. “Actually, I plan to dismember Daniel during the next seven full moons.”
Daniel tried, and failed, to suppress a smile as he looked down at his plate. Adriann had such a wicked sense of humor, one that matched Jack’s on occasion. He looked across the table as he heard Jason snigger and found barely contained smiles on the other team members’ faces.
Jack exhaled a breathy growl. “Okay, okay, I deserved that.”
Daniel grinned at him and Jack was about to reply but Daniel quickly switched his attention back to Adriann. “What’s the ritual called and what’s it for?”
“It is called Ka’rel’noi. It is an exchange of ka’rei.” At the frowns of confusion, he gave them all a contrite look. “My apologies. In your language, a tattoo. The participants receive a tattoo here,” and he reached behind Daniel, touching him between the shoulder blades.
“And the meaning?” Daniel asked, feeling warm from the man’s touch. It was innocent, just the briefest of touches, but Daniel was discovering that because of Adriann, he had more erogenous zones than he had realized. There was automatic regret that it hadn’t been Jason or Jack who had helped him discover them.
“It is a bonding, a commitment, metaphorically, to one another. You could say it is our version of a trade agreement, although we have already signed one for General Hammond. This ritual is for us, and me specifically, as leader.”
Jack suddenly groaned, and so did Jason and the others. Except Daniel.
“What now?” Daniel asked.
“I hate to tell you this, Adriann, Daniel, but we can’t be part of the ceremony. Not the tattooing part, anyway,” Jack told him.
“Why not?” both Adriann and Daniel asked loudly. Daniel’s defenses went up. If Jack was being possessive and protective, he’d kill him.
“Because whether we like it or not,” Jack started, “We serve in the military, and we’re allowed only sanctioned, regulation tattoos. Everything else is, believe it or not, subject to punishment. Fraiser would also have to report them in our medical records.”
Janet cleared her throat then, too. “The Colonel’s right. It’s considered a ‘defacement of government property’.”
Adriann guffawed with incredulousness. So did Daniel.
“You are joking, yes?” Adriann asked.
Jack shook his head. “It’s why none of us have tattoos. In fact, the only ones allowed to ‘deface’,” and he made quotation marks with his hands, “their bodies are Carter and Fraiser.”
Sam blinked. “We are?”
Janet nudged her and tapped her left earlobe. “Earrings.”
Sam rolled her eyes. “Right, I forgot.” She then nodded with a disappointed sigh. “I would’ve liked a tattoo though.”
Teal’c cast her a raised brow. “Why would you wish to defile your body?”
Sam frowned, her back getting up in defensive posture. “Defile? I don’t see it as defiling anything, Teal’c. Body decoration is well-known and practiced on our planet. Daniel can tell you the anthropological reasons for it.”
“Why’d you say ‘defile’, Teal’c?” Daniel asked. “Aren’t Jaffa allowed tattoos, considering they have them on their foreheads?”
Teal’c thought about it, then took a long breath. “It is a cultural taboo. Something that all Jaffa are taught soon after we are born. Only the symbol of our ‘god’ is placed upon our forehead. If the Goa’uld wish us to have others, then we are allowed those, but no others of our own choosing.” He frowned. “I did not realize that I had not overcome my dislike of the practice.”
“Perhaps because you wish to remove the one from your forehead,” Adriann observed.
“Perhaps. I would not mind a tattoo, but I do not think it appropriate for me. However, I do believe it is appropriate for Daniel.”
“He can’t, Teal’c,” Jack began.
“Oh yes, I can,” Daniel said, touching Adriann’s arm and squeezing for reassurance. “They’re military, Adriann. I’m not. I’ll perform the ritual with you.” At the looks around the table, he added, “I’m a civilian and therefore not subject to Air Force regulations. I can even wear an earring if I wanted to.”
“Not under the Office of Personnel Management rules and regulations, you can’t,” Jack told him.
“Yes, I can. Those old rules have been rescinded. Too bad the military won’t do the same.”
Feeling a bit defensive, Jack gave Daniel only a small nod. “I know. But you know Hammond won’t see it that way. He’ll want to give his permission.”
“He doesn’t need to give his permission, Jack. Go ahead and ask, but I’m going through with it.”
“Daniel,” Jack warned, feeling the anger that welled up whenever Daniel’s rebelliousness kicked in. Sometimes, just sometimes, Daniel rebelled simply because he could. Jack let out a long sigh. “Okay, fine, Daniel, but…are you quite certain this is what you want to do?”
Daniel felt his shoulders relax, knowing what Jack was doing. “Yes.”
“So what method do you use to mark the skin?” Jason asked, stifling his own protective urge. “On Earth, the most common method is to break the top layers of skin and dye the underlying layers with ink.”
“We use something pointed, but not sharp. A brush of fine quills. Sela, would you please get an example?”
The young woman at one of the smaller tables got up and made quickly for the library. A minute later, while everyone sat in silence, she returned and handed Adriann something that looked like a Japanese calligraphy brush. She returned to her seat as Adriann held out his empty hand, gesturing at Daniel to give him his.
Daniel did, and Adriann held it, palm down, and passed the bristles of the brush over the back of his hand. Daniel shivered because the touch was mildly abrasive, lightly scratching the skin, but that was all. “We use a penetrative ink that easily stains the skin. It is also permanent and cannot ever be removed unless you remove the skin itself.”
“Yep, that’s permanent,” Jack replied, giving the tattoo brush a cautious look. “Now, the next question. What do you plan on tattooing?”
“Jack,” Daniel warned.
“It is a symbol,” Adriann told him, his eyes meeting Sela’s again. And again, she disappeared and returned with one of Adriann’s historical tomes. Moving aside the plate and utensils, Adriann flipped through the book. “The symbol is one that represents us. It is beautiful, at least to me.” Other Residents murmured agreement just as Adriann stopped at a page and turned the book so that the humans at the table could see. On the right-hand page was a symbol drawn in black ink.
“That is remarkable,” Daniel said. “What is it?”
“It is called Va’res’nel, and it means…” and he paused, staring at the image, thinking. He suddenly smiled and looked up from the book. “The Passionate.”
Janet grinned to herself and looked at Kashan.
“Most fitting,” Kashan said, a slow smile spreading as easily as the blush across her cheeks.
“It is,” Daniel said in a muted voice. “Though the design doesn’t match what I think of as passionate. Could you explain the design?”
Adriann pointed to the center and the eight-pointed star. “This is pairing, symbolizing both fertility of the growing seasons and the fact that none of us is ever alone.” He tapped at his temple and smiled, referring to their telepathy. He pointed next at the two sets of quad-points, the outer set resembling the spade from a playing card. “These symbolize compass directions as well as directional infinity.”
“Directional?” Daniel asked.
“The best way I can describe it in your language, Daniel. It means the stretching out in all directions,” and he spread the fingers of both hands, moving them up and out in front of him. “Endlessness, or rather, something that never ends. Specifically, our passion for life.”
“Something we nearly lost,” Talen said quietly. “Thanks to you, we have it back.” Her imminent death had scared her more than the others as she couldn’t accept it, clinging to her life harder than even Adriann had.
Connor noticed and cleared his throat, trying to be silent, to communicate only to her, but it didn’t work. He kept his attention on her though, trying to imply that his feelings weren’t open for group discussion. He’d given Talen his blood and unlike the previous time, it had been highly erotic for him. Guilt had been with him ever since, as he had no idea how he’d tell his wife what had happened.
Talen took his hand in hers briefly, giving it a squeeze. It was obvious that she had heard his thoughts, had read his feelings. “Thank you,” she said simply, giving him a small, warm smile. Her voice held that strange tonal quality, just as it had when they’d first met the Residents. “I can make it so you will forget. Would you prefer that?”
She asked the question quietly but to Connor’s dismay, her hypnotic, lulling voice carried. He tried to keep from blushing with embarrassment and glanced around the table. “No thanks, Talen. I’ll deal with it like I’m supposed to.”
She nodded with understanding and squeezed his hand again, then her eyes rested on Al, fixing him with a long stare. It was several moments before he shook his head.
“We’re meant to feel guilty about things, Talen,” he said. “Otherwise, there’d be no restraint and the human race needs that.”
Jason sighed, proud of his men, especially Al. He rarely heard Al’s wisdom spoken outside of their own team circle because the man tended to keep his personal feelings hidden from those he didn’t know. It was one of the reasons ‘bonding’ with the Residents was so hard for him. Being faithful with his wife was only part of the reason for his discomfort. Al had a big heart but sometimes, saving people had limits.
He then remembered the talk with Al just before gating to the planet–and wished he hadn’t. In fact, he wanted to forget the talk ever happened.
Al wanted a transfer to another post.
The news had been a shock, to say the least, and at first, Jason had selfishly thought the reasons were because of him. But they weren’t, and after Al had explained, Jason had understood. The man’s marriage was in trouble. His wife, pregnant and in her second trimester, was unable to deal with his long absences. Jason also knew that maybe the real reason his Lieutenant had relented to the giving of his blood was because this would be the last time Al would ever see the Residents. Would probably, possibly, be his last mission offworld. Considering the problems at home, Jason hoped so. It wouldn’t do for Al to get injured on his last mission, now would it?
As Jason gave his science geek a long look, he noticed that the man was still sad, that his decision was influencing his normal behavior. He knew Al loved his job at the SGC. He’d told Jason it was the one and only time he’d ever felt like he’d been making a difference — a common theme amongst all the personnel at the base. Transferring to another post was going to be hard, and Jason knew it would be nearly as hard letting his Lieutenant go. He had yet to tell Alex and Connor about Al’s decision, but Jason had a feeling that Connor already knew. In fact, the normal silly banter that occurred between Al and Connor hadn’t been going this last trip, though the two were their normal selves, thick as thieves, best friends, accompanying each other everywhere they went. It was going to be damned hard saying goodbye.
Jason broke his thoughts away from Al as he caught Daniel’s intense scrutiny. He cleared his throat, shaking his head slightly, telling Daniel he’d talk about it later.
“You’d do that?” Jason asked Talen, then Adriann. “If we asked not to remember something?”
Adriann gave him a gentle smile, then turned to Daniel.
Daniel remembered. Adriann had planned on depositing all of them at the gate, their memory of the Residents erased. His confrontation with Adriann had prevented that. “He would, Jason. If you remember, he had planned to at the beginning.”
“I am glad that I listened. And gave you the choice,” Adriann said.
Daniel nodded, and turned his attention back to the ritual. “So, you said an exchange of tattoos? You receive the same one or something else?”
“No, the reciprocal symbol will be up to you, Daniel.”
“What?” Daniel asked, blinking rapidly. “You mean it’s up to me to choose the tattoo you’ll wear for the rest of your life?” He was alarmed when Adriann nodded. The enormity of the decision was well, enormous. “What sort of symbol?”
“Choose something that speaks of your Earth as well as reflects some part of you.”
Daniel blinked. “I’ll have to think about it, Adriann. This is a huge decision.”
“Then take the day to think it over. I would like the ritual performed tonight,” Adriann told him.
“Because tonight is an ancient holiday for our people, when all of our moons rise within minutes of each other, and most will be in the same phase.”
Daniel sighed heavily. “Oh sure. No pressure.”
With breakfast pretty much over with, Jack checked his watch and tapped it.
“Think I’ll call Hammond early, give him an update.” At Daniel’s look, he touched his arm. “Don’t worry. I’ll remind him how stubborn you are.”
“Thanks,” Daniel replied drily.
“While Daniel is mulling over his decision, why don’t the rest of you run a weapons’ check and clean, as there’s nothing better to do. Then just…I don’t know.” He looked around the house. “Find something to do. Walk around, explore. I’m sure Fraiser’s got things to do.”
“I want that medical check, for one.”
“Could you make it tomorrow morning?” Adriann asked, having other plans.
Janet sighed. “I can.”
Neva hovered nearby, picking up a few empty platters. “We were planning on running a harvest after morning meal. Would any of you like to join us?”
SG-1 and 2 looked collectively nervous.
“The sky is clear and the storm has passed,” Neva informed them before they could utter any concern.
Connor took a deep breath as he and Al exchanged glances. “Colonel, I do have a botany degree I’m working on, so I wouldn’t mind accompanying them.”
“I’ll join him, sir,” Al pitched in, giving his team leader a nod. “Just to keep him out of trouble. We can clean our weapons when we return?”
Jack looked across at Jason, then shrugged. “They’re your team, Major.”
Jason shot the smirk back and considered it for a few moments as he looked over his teammates. Finally, he gave Neva an intense look. Sela soon joined her, as if for support under that gaze. “How many Brethren are going? And how safe is it? I remember the last time.”
“That day was different, Jason,” Sela told him. “This day is already very bright and should be warm.”
Jason nodded. “Okay. As long as all the precautions are set.” They nodded understanding. “Bring your radios along. Just in case.” He looked at Jack as he said it and the Colonel nodded agreement.
Jack turned away from the table. “T, Carter, you gonna stay here or do you want to join me for a walk?”
Teal’c and Sam stood, nodding. “I could use a walk,” she said, giving Teal’c a mysterious smile and he smiled back.
“I, too. Perhaps we could take a survey of the area.”
“I would be glad to point out the safe areas,” Adriann said, rising. “Jack, would you mind some company?”
Daniel let a tiny smile play at his lips when Jack actually looked surprised.
“Um, sure,” Jack replied, giving Daniel a quick frown when he noticed the smile. He leaned over Daniel’s shoulder and quickly whispered, “Gutter mind.” He then turned away just as quickly, looking at Adriann as the tall blond man joined him for the door. “Actually, I’d like to talk to you about those hunting weapons.”
“No, no. I’d like to know how you made those broadheads.”
Adriann grinned. “Simple process really,” he said, matching Jack’s stride through the wide front door. Sam and Teal’c followed, but Sam soon found Teal’c just as engaged in the talk of weapons and sighed to herself. There would be no talk of weapons on the way back, that was for sure. In fact, she decided that if it were safe, a bit of a detour and a nice leisurely stroll through a secluded part of the woods would do the trick for what she had in mind.
His mind focused on symbol-choosing, Daniel absently noticed Jason walking close behind him as they approached the second floor landing. When he turned at the left-hand hallway that led to their rooms, Daniel realized that Jason was no longer behind him. He turned and looked over his shoulder, finding that Jason was talking to Alex in a hushed tone.
Daniel approached the door to his room and paused, not wanting to eavesdrop but he wondered what was wrong, if anything. Jason had a strange look on his face as he spoke to Alex. He seemed worried. When Alex walked away, taking off down the main corridor–not toward their shared room–Jason remained where he was, watching.
“Jason?” Daniel called.
Jason turned, realizing that Daniel had been watching. He immediately looked guilty as he started for him. “Sorry.”
Daniel frowned as he opened the door to his room and gestured for Jason to go in first. “For what exactly?” he asked, closing the door.
“I’m just worried about Alex.”
“Is he okay?” Daniel asked.
“Yeah, yeah, he’s fine, it’s just…”
Something was off and Daniel had an inkling what it was. He sensed it as a tingle started up the nape of his neck, and had a feeling Jason wasn’t all that willing to talk about it. Too bad. “Jason, I’ll get it out of you one way or the other.”
Trying to look matter-of-fact, Jason pointed off-handedly in the direction Alex went. “Alex went to visit Ophius.”
“Visit as in visit?” Daniel asked, beginning to smile, but his smile faded slightly when Jason didn’t return it. Or answer him. Daniel felt a pang of jealousy, wondering if Jason was jealous of Alex. “Jace, you’re not jealous are you?”
“No, it’s not that,” Jason objected.
Daniel felt something inside him unknot and he let out a sigh. “Then you’re just worried about…what exactly?”
“You know, him and Ophius.”
“You’re so overprotective, I swear. Jace, he’s a grown man.”
Jason winced. “I know that, Daniel, but…” He gave Daniel a pleading look. “It’s just that he’s an inexperienced grown man. It’s his first time.”
Daniel gauged the look on Jason’s face and knew that despite how worried his lover was, that over-protectiveness wasn’t at all the problem. Daniel saw the tiny flush to his lover’s cheeks. Jason was turned on by the idea of Alex losing his virginity. A few other things began to make sense to Daniel and Daniel began to smile.
“Jason, Alex’ll learn on his own, like we did. And he’s not stupid. He knows what he needs, and even if he doesn’t, I’m quite certain that Ophius knows.”
Jason moved over to the sofa and plopped down, now looking distracted. “I know that.” He rubbed his eyes and closed them, dropping his head on the back of the couch. Jason felt antsy, restless, and angry at himself. There was something he wanted, or more accurately, something about Alex and Ophius that drew him, but hell if he could figure out what it was. He had ideas but nothing concrete and damn it, he knew he was being over-protective. And that’s all that it was, too.
“Alex and Cari talked about this so it’s not that I’m worried about them.”
“That’s good,” Daniel told him, trying not to smile. “Because it is his business.”
Jason snorted. “Yeah, but I feel odd about it.”
Daniel sat down next to him. “Jason,” he said, reaching over to brush the back of his fingers along Jason’s cheek. He said nothing, waiting, and smiled when Jason covered the hand on his cheek with his own. When he turned and looked at Daniel, his dark eyes emotional, Daniel let him see his smile.
“What?” Jason said guardedly.
“Out with it.”
Jason gave him a look of aggravation. “I know that tone and that look. You seemed to have worked it out. You tell me.”
Daniel shook his head. “Huh uh. Out with it.”
Jason sighed, wishing he could be let off the hook trying to explain this, even to himself. “Ever since Alex started seeing Ophius, I’ve felt this…I don’t know…a curiosity.” Daniel smiled and that seemed to only aggravate Jason further. “Stop doing that.”
“Then tell me what you’re feeling. All of it, Jace.”
“I don’t know what you want me to say!” Jason growled, turning his face away from Daniel, unable to look into his blue eyes. “Alex looks different, acts different. Now that he’s wanting to experience things, he’s, you know, showing signs of that need. You know what I mean? That craving?”
Daniel knew Jason cared a lot about Alex, but only as a friend. What was going on in Jason’s head had nothing whatsoever to do with Alex and more about what Alex was doing. “And you’re craving it, too, aren’t you. Only something slightly different.”
Jason turned and stared in surprise. “I’m sorry…what?”
Yes! Daniel thought. He had it. He smiled inwardly, strangely happy that he’d discovered another of Jason’s kinks. This time, Jason wouldn’t admit it because it was Alex. Alex’s first time was setting off a major, unexplored kink in Jason. Alex was going to have sex for the first time.
Jason was, whether he realized it or not, was getting off on the idea. And it was feeding another growing kink Jason had been developing.
This was something that Daniel had never really purposely explored with Jason, and he felt the allure of something new, of being able to find a new and exciting way of getting Jason off. Something Daniel loved to do.
“You’re aroused by what’s going to happen. You want to watch.” When Jason looked away, Daniel placed his hand over Jason’s crotch, feeling the man’s very hard cock. He began to rub up and down the length and Jason immediately covered his hand with his own, stilling Daniel’s touch.
“Don’t. It’s not funny, nor is it nice to tease.”
“Who’s teasing, Jace? I want to feed it,” Daniel breathed as he leaned in quickly to kiss him, pushing him into the cushions. Jason went with it, kissing him back and Daniel thrust his hips, grinding down against Jason’s erection. The action sent a sharp spike of pleasure through him. When Jason groaned and pushed him away, Daniel stood.
“C’mon,” he said, holding his hand out.
“To give in to your kinks.”
Jason’s eyes widened in shock. “Are you crazy?”
“Jason, we’re all pretty safe here. Let’s take a radio, just in case, and go for a bit of a walk.”
Jason shook his head, not looking at him. But his cock throbbed at the idea and argued for him to get the hell off the couch.
Daniel dropped his hand and went to the bathroom. Jason looked up when he heard the distinctive sound of the secret door opening. His heart began to pound. He’d forgotten the secret passages. Could he? Would he dare?
He swallowed when Daniel appeared, standing in the bathroom door, his boots off, his t-shirt untucked from his trousers. He held his hand out to Jason. “C’mon. Let’s go.”
Daniel felt this urgent need to give Jason what he wanted; wanted to watch his lover react while Daniel acted out his own form of voyeurism. And truth be told, he was also getting off on the idea of listening to Alex lose his virginity. In fact, the more he let himself think about it, the more he wished he could find a way to secretly watch.
When Jason pushed off the couch and walked tentatively toward him, Daniel met him halfway, pulling at his t-shirt. “Boots off. Don’t want to make noise.”
“Daniel, we can’t.”
Daniel smiled dangerously as he dropped to his knees to unlace Jason’s boots. “Yes we can. And consider it payback.”
“Payback?” Jason asked, wanting to step away but Daniel’s words held him still.
“Remember?” Daniel asked as Jason allowed him to lift one foot, pulling the boot loose and sliding his hand up the inside of Jason’s thigh before letting his leg go to repeat the same on the other leg.
Jason swallowed again. “Daniel.”
“He watched us, Jace. Turnabout is fair play. Besides, I know you want it. And the more I think about it, I want it, too.”
“Yes. And if we can’t watch, we can listen.”
“Listen…” Jason repeated and the word echoed in his head. “God.”
When Daniel rose, he suddenly shoved Jason against the wall and kissed him hard.
Jason moaned into his mouth, quickly giving in to his desires. Daniel was being rough with him, arousing him, getting him to accept what he wanted. And this was Daniel. Why the hell would he refuse him?
Daniel pulled back, giving Jason a heavy-lidded look. “Let’s go, Jace.”
When Daniel started to step through the secret door in the bathroom wall, Jason took a step back. His heart was pounding harder.
“Flashlight? Radio? Um, lube?” he asked, wondering why.
Daniel grinned wickedly, retrieved the items quickly and returned, taking his lover by the hand through the door of the hidden passage.
Again Jason resisted, but this time not enough to stop. Only enough to force Daniel into pulling him along. He soon found himself having to pay attention where they were going as they wound through the myriad of passages. “Daniel, do you know where you’re going?”
“Yes,” Daniel said, laughing softly. “More or less.”
“More or less?” Jason asked, trying to pull Daniel to a stop and suddenly found himself pressed against the dusty wall with Daniel’s tongue down his throat and his hand over his groin. Okay, more or less, who cared?
Ophius stopped at his door, his brow arched when Alex called after him, not so much with curiosity. He knew why Alex sought him out.
Alex swallowed, seeing a glint in the man’s eyes. “I think maybe you know my mind.”
Ophius stepped aside and gestured that Alex go inside first. Alex’s palms were damp with sweat, his body and mind nervous. He knew exactly what he wanted this time and part of him was nervous as hell, not knowing how to proceed, despite their contact the night before. He knew the mechanics, knew how some of it felt. Hell, Ophius had already showed him, and blissfully so. Though that had been over a year ago, it still haunted his dreams, creating a restlessness that Cari had seen grow.
Alex loved her, he knew that much, but felt guilty for wanting more, even though Cari had practically given him the go-ahead. He’d called her after the briefing, telling her where they were going and there’d been that silent, even breathing he envied of her. Always calm, even-tempered.
“Alex? If you feel that you need to be with him–”
“Cari, don’t. Please. I’m sorry, I won’t–”
“No, don’t you do that. I can’t deny that I’d feel jealous, but…” She’d sighed heavily. “Jason’s sense must be infecting me, damn him. Listen, I can’t hold you back from something you need to explore. If you feel the need to be with him, then be with him. Find out what you want.”
“Cari, I love you,” he’d said, feeling the burn of a flush cross his face and neck. He’d also absurdly thought he’d fallen into the middle of a soap opera.
“I know you do, I love you, too, okay, but hear me out. Should Ophius be well, and Alex, I pray he is, then…be with him. Find out if it’s what you really want.”
“How do you know he’s even what I–”
“The dreams, Alex.”
She hadn’t said anything else about it. But her consent had been damn surprising.
Ophius couldn’t help but catch Alex’s musing. He waited, knowing that he’d have to let the man lead. Or more accurately, let Alex think he was in the lead, in charge. Truth was, Ophius knew what Alex wanted and he planned to give it to him. It was simply the waiting that was…annoying.
Looking about the room, Alex spied the chiffonier and remembered the green liqueur he’d had the last time, the first time. As he moved over and open the doors, looking around inside, he couldn’t help but remember the feel of Ophius’ mouth on him. That slick, wet heat engulfing him. He felt dizzy with the memory and had to hold onto the open door of the chiffonier. Behind him, he heard the room’s door close, heard the rustle of silk as the man neared. Thoughts of the previous evening came back to him, lips at his neck, hand around his cock. He shuddered from the memory of the orgasm he’d had.
“What are you looking for?” Ophius asked, his voice closer than Alex had thought and made the man jump.
“Just remembered that green liquor I had the last time,” he answered. He could feel the heat coming off his own skin, and it seemed to increase the closer Ophius got.
Suddenly the man was there, just barely touching against his back. Alex closed his eyes, feeling his cock throb as the man’s arms slid slowly around his waist, pulling him against the tall man’s chest. Hips and thighs aligned and he could feel the hard outline of the alien cock pressed firmly against his ass.
“Do you think you need it?” Ophius asked, his lips a whisper over his neck.
Alex swallowed. He knew he didn’t. He wanted to relax, or more accurately, let go. “No, but I’m–“
One hand moved up to cup his jaw, holding him as the man turned Alex in his arms. He looked into the grey eyes, framed by long, dark auburn hair, and held his breath. The man was uncannily beautiful. A thought he had about Cari, too, when she slept and the hard stress of the waking hours left her face.
Ophius leaned in, tentatively brushing his lips over Alex’s face. “What do you want, Alex. Tell me.”
“I want…” Alex started, and swallowed again. Hard. Then Ophius slid one hand down, over his ass. A small moan escaped Alex’s throat. “I want you to…fuck me,” and blushed that he’d said it. He didn’t want to ask, embarrassed now beyond belief. “What do you want?”
Ophius’ white teeth partially showed in a soft smile. “I believe I would like to, how do you humans say,” and he paused, staring into Alex’s darkening brown eyes. “Make hot, sticky, sweaty love to you.”
Alex heard himself laugh. “Oh G–” he started to say but a wet, hungry tongue dove into his mouth. He fisted the back of the man’s shirt, not caring if he tore anything as he held on. Just at that thought, a large, possessive hand moved between them and ripped his t-shirt down the middle. Alex let out a loud moan as their groins met and sought out the friction as Ophius rubbed against him.
This was his need, his desire, and for some reason, he thought that maybe he should talk about it. He thought to pull away, but when Ophius slid a hand down his abdomen, easily tearing away his trousers, he stopped thinking. Then his lover…his lover…curled his fingers around his aching cock.
“So different.” He stroked, and Alex forgot about anything other than raw instinct.
The moans echoed through the walls now and Daniel slowed his pace, his sweaty palm stuck to Jason’s. His eyes had long since adjusted to the near-dark of the passages and when he looked at Jason, he found his lover’s mouth open, his eyes wide. He hadn’t really needed to see. Jason’s soft panting had given him away.
They came to a familiar section of wall and stopped. Daniel found the tab, pushed, and the wall compartment opened, letting a long stream of light into the corridor–and the noises filled the air. Jason’s hand was suddenly on his bicep, squeezing.
“Should we leave?” Daniel whispered, feeling his pulse race along with Jason’s as his hand slid around the man’s wrist.
Jason shook his head, staring back into Daniel’s eyes as his ears were filled with sounds of moaning and words of entreaty. Begging. Alex was begging.
Daniel exchanged long looks with his lover as they listened, and he slowly pushed Jason against the wall next to the door, his own lust igniting. He knew he’d get off on this just as much as Jason. It had been a while since he’d done anything like it, with the exception of that first night with Adriann. Watching everyone experience their erotic dreams had been a huge turn on and this was taking the voyeurism up a notch. He suddenly wished Jack were there and promised himself that he’d think of something for his lover. Then came the idea of what Jack and Adriann might be doing, should Jack let it happen that is.
Clasping Jason’s fingers in his own, Daniel pushed Jason’s arms up what felt like a brick foundation wall, stopping with Jason’s hands high over his head. “Stay like that,” he ordered softly, then his fingers were at Jason’s belt, opening, unbuttoning the trousers and pushing them down with Jason’s briefs, exposing his hard cock.
Jason hissed when the cold air of the corridor hit him and Daniel smiled. “Good?”
Jason nodded, unable to speak, breathing hard, and Daniel passed his hands over Jason’s chest, pulling the shirt up, exposing his stiff nipples. He licked at them, wetting the exposed skin, getting a hiss from his lover. He looked up as he pulled a nub between his teeth and let go. “You look so goddamn good, Jace,” he whispered.
Jason groaned, stifling most of the sound as he bit his lips together. Daniel smiled at it as he circled the hard, pulsing head of Jason’s cock with his fingertips. Jason felt the shudder of pleasure pulse through him and thrust involuntarily. Daniel leaned in, nipping at Jason’s ear, cupping his fingertips around the head, screwing his hand clockwise. “How’s it feel?” He twisted counterclockwise, then back and forth, sliding his fingers over the hot skin. A gasp escaped Jason’s throat just as a yell came from Alex.
“Oh god, yes, yes.”
“You like my tongue there?”
“God, yes, don’t stop.”
“I thought you wanted me to fuck you.”
“Yes, anything, just don’t stop.”
A soft chuckle preceded a disapproving groan.
Daniel stared into Jason’s wide eyes as he caressed his cock. “Want to watch?”
Jason shook his head. “Not going in there,” he whispered.
Daniel smiled. “With what they’re doing, they won’t notice.”
“Daniel, Ophius has got to know we’re here. He’ll know.” He hissed at the sudden stroke of Daniel’s hand down his shaft. “Stay here. Open your pants.” He did it himself, not waiting, and Daniel only smiled at him, biting his bottom lip as Jason reached for his cock. He let out a soft, pleasured groan.
Then there were slick sounds that had nothing to do with their own movements.
“Yes, stay on your back. Spread your legs and raise your knees.”
Daniel watched Jason’s throat bob in a hard swallow and brought out the lube and slicked himself quickly. Jason watched, mesmerized. “God, you love this.”
“So do you.”
“Ah fuck,” came the tight groan. A groan they were familiar with.
Daniel stepped away and turned Jason around roughly, pushing his hands against the wall while yanking his feet and hips away from it. “Feet together.”
Jason swallowed again and closed his eyes. Feet together, he felt Daniel’s lubed cock sliding between his cheeks, down under his balls, and between his thighs. The cottage way. The cottage way? Then a finger moved down, teasing his hole while the fingers from his other hand wrapped around his cock. “Jesus.”
“If I could, I’d have you screaming with him. But I think our finale should be in our room, don’t you?”
Jason couldn’t answer him. He felt too good. Then the sounds reached his ears, reminding him why he was there.
“Oh god, oh god, oh god.”
“Yes, let go, Alex. You like this. Tell me.”
“Sounds like Alex is starting to get his,” Daniel said with lips pressed against Jason’s right ear, his breath hot and heavy.
Jason closed his eyes, his imagination running rampant. Alex was vocal now, howling “Fuck me!” repeatedly and Jason knew the man had just had his prostate touched for possibly the second time, though Jason wasn’t sure if it weren’t the first.
Daniel took his attention as his hand pulled up, over the head of his cock, twisting, pulling back down, over his lover’s balls, rolling them in his palm. Pulling the sac gently up the length of Jason’s shaft, he let it drop slowly, and then repeated the entire method several times. When he changed to an abrupt pumping motion, forcing Jason to slowly fuck both his fists, Jason gasped.
“Yes, you like this, don’t you, Jason?”
“Yes. Listen to him, feel me.”
Alex’s groans continued and the slick sounds of sex sped up. Jason was about to ask Daniel to stop, to fuck him now, do it hard, do it fast and…
Jason practically guffawed and it was only due to some sort of inner control he didn’t think was possible at the moment that he kept mostly silent.
Adriann! Now’s not a good time. Trust me.
“I need your permission to…Jason, you and Daniel are…”
Yes. Even in his head, Jason heard the strange tone in Adriann’s thoughts. “Are you okay?”
“Just fine. I…want Jack.”
Jason coughed and made sure it was against Daniel’s throat.
“Jace?” Daniel asked.
“Adriann. He’s talking to me. He wants Jack.” Jason had to fight off a fit of giggles.
Daniel joined him, laughing silently against his shoulder. “Who doesn’t?” he asked. “So he’s asking?” Though he was glad Adriann thought to do so.
“Apparently,” and he followed the word with a groan when Daniel’s hands twisted and pulled up, reminding him that he didn’t like interruptions. “Damn you.”
I’m glad you’re asking, but can you…make it quick? Daniel passed a finger behind his balls to press into that sensitive spot and Jason’s legs shook.
“I would like to take Jack through a section of woods here. Very safe and secure, but I wanted you to know and ask if it was okay if this time, I penetrated him.”
“God,” Jason said aloud.
“What?” Daniel said as he bit against Jason’s shoulder, feeling their organs pulse with warning. It would be time to leave soon. Daniel had no intention of coming this way.
“Adriann wants to fuck him. Out in a safe area of the woods.”
Daniel involuntarily bit into Jason’s neck, making his lover groan and bite back. “God.”
“That’s what I said,” Jason panted, taking a deep breath when Daniel’s pumping sped up. “More than fine with me. Okay with you?”
“Yes,” Daniel said, lost in lust, sex, voyeurism, listening to Jason and Alex, and the sudden need to add Jack to the mix. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking.”
Can you join our minds, or is this only possible with me?
“I can easily join your minds,” Adriann answered, his voice sounding deeper in Jason’s mind. “In fact, I can feel both your passion and Daniel’s. I am very aroused by it. I don’t think Jack knows why. Yet.”
Then tell him. “Daniel, let’s get back to our room. I think we’ll need to be there.”
Holding onto their pants, not bothering to close up, Daniel led Jason away quickly. They didn’t forget about Alex, though. The one thing Jason and Daniel would never forget was the sound of skin slapping skin, loud and fast; of Alex shouting through his first fuck and the high-pitched noise he made when he came, the sound echoing through the walls.
Jack felt the heat stirring between his legs. Just like last time. He looked ahead on the path, taking in the peace of the wooded area he and Adriann had been walking through for the past thirty minutes. He suddenly wondered if he should make a move, but a flash of guilt swept over him. He’d told himself he wouldn’t do that again unless Daniel and Jason knew.
When he turned to look at why Adriann had stopped, he found the vampire’s eyes roaming over him, a very specific signal sent. He took a deep breath and walked the few paces back to the long-haired man.
“I was thinking,” he started but was startled when Adriann grabbed him, arms going around him as he was kissed, thoroughly, deeply, his back suddenly against one of the large trees. When he tried to gently push Adriann away, he recognized the far-away look in the vampire’s eyes.
“You’re talking to Jason.” He was jealous. Of Jason. Reason overrode it, though, along with anger at himself, because there was a purpose for the communication. There had to be. This was Jason, for cryin’ out loud. “Why are you talking to Jason at this moment?”
Adriann’s gaze came back to him and he smiled. “Because I want you.” He drew the tip of a forefinger over Jack’s lips. “I wanted his and Daniel’s permission.”
Jack laughed nervously, then swallowed against the continued caress. “And?” he asked.
“They were involved when I asked,” Adriann told him seductively, leaning in, his voice low and quiet against Jack’s ear as his fingers undid Jack’s trousers. “Jason then asked if we could all be linked. I believe that he wants to watch me fuck you. What do you think?”
“Jesus.” Jack closed his eyes as a sudden shudder of lust passed through him, an effect that previously only his lovers ever managed to do. Adriann’s words sank in fully as his fingers went to the vampire’s leather pants, unlacing their front. “What if I wanted to fuck you?”
“It is my turn, I believe,” Adriann answered, kissing Jack fiercely as his hands pushed both pairs of trousers down to drop at their ankles. Pulling back, he looked at the silver-haired man before him, both out of breath. “Don’t you think?” His fingertips drew up the insides of Jack’s bared thighs.
Jack closed his eyes, containing the gasp that threatened to escape. “Yes.” The fresh air on his abdomen felt good as his t-shirt was hiked upward, then the gasp that he’d contained let loose as a warm wetness located a nipple to lick and suck.
“And how will we be joined, linked, whatever?” Jack asked, hitching his breath.
“We are joined already, Jack,” Adriann told him, licking the taut nub and moving to the other one. “Just open to me and you’ll feel them.” He suddenly dropped to his knees and quickly and efficiently removed Jack’s boots, his trousers and briefs next. Adriann looked up into his face, holding his gaze as he slowly jerked him off. “He can see me doing this right now.”
“Jesus.” The idea of it sent a frisson of heat through Jack. “Jason.”
“And Daniel. They can see me doing this, too,” he added, before taking the head of his cock into his mouth.
Naked and stumbling awkwardly to the bed, Jason sucked in a breath as he caught a faint picture of Jack being sucked off. He tripped, falling onto the bed. “God, Daniel, do you see him?”
“Yes,” Daniel replied, having retrieved the lube with some difficulty and tossing it on the bed. He dove down, taking Jason’s thighs in his arms, his cock in his mouth.
Daniel made an agreeable sound, moaning as he sucked the length of his lover’s cock, in and out, quickly. As if Jason wasn’t hard enough.
“Daniel, I need you.”
Daniel answered with a loud moan, his tongue rolling over the head, dipping into the pre-come.
“Daniel,” Jason groaned, yanking at his lover’s arms as he spread his legs and raised his knees. “Fuck me.”
Daniel let out a breathy growl, blindly feeling for the tube as he moved up to kiss Jason hungrily. Lube applied generously, Daniel fingered him, teasing his entrance.
“Daniel, damn it.”
Daniel smiled and stared down into his lover’s face, simultaneously seeing something like an over-exposure at the same time: Adriann’s point of view, sliding Jack’s cock in and out of his mouth, sucking progressively harder; Jack’s fingers in Adriann’s hair, his open-mouthed, wide-eyed expression as he thrust into his mouth, intent on one thing.
Daniel closed his eyes and just as he pushed his cock inside Jason, his lover pulled him down into a long kiss, raising his knees higher and crossing his ankles behind his back. Daniel’s cock sank deeply, nearly balls deep.
“Yes,” Jason whispered, referring both to Jack’s pleasure and Daniel inside him. “Fuck him,” he added and gasped when Daniel pulled out slowly, twisting his hips. “Daniel.”
“Feel me,” Daniel said, the heat around him incredible, and began to fuck his lover using long, slow thrusts, aiming, hitting that spot sparingly, smiling as man below him writhed. “I love doing this to you,” he said, locking his fingers in Jason’s and pinning them over his head. He rocked his hips, his cadence still too wonderfully slow. One stroke drew his cock nearly out, another slid him deep inside. In. Achingly slow. Out. Driving him mad. “You love me doing this to you.”
“Yes,” Jason said, his voice just a puff of air. “So good.”
“Fuck him, Adriann,” Daniel said, staring into Jason’s eyes, hoping Jack could see him. “Fuck him hard,” he said, clenching his teeth and suddenly slamming his hips down into Jason, once, before returning to the long, torturously slow thrusts.
“Yes,” Jack replied, pulling Adriann’s mouth off his cock. “Adriann.”
The vampire moaned around his cock, kissing the hot, wet skin of the shaft, licking at the head. With Jack held firmly against the tree, Adriann spread the man’s legs, his tongue moving downward, lazily detailing a path over an inner thigh, before zeroing in on that one sensitive spot behind his balls. Jack’s fingers tightened in his hair and Adriann smiled. “Delicious.” He then moved back upward, licking across Jack’s cock and up over his stomach, tracing the hairs that led to his chest. “Very delicious,” he mouthed.
Jack pulled at him, needing him. His thighs trembled, feeling the need for that long, slender cock to slide inside. “I need you now.” He suddenly found himself reminded of Adriann’s great strength when he was lifted effortlessly, his back against the tree, his legs placed around Adriann’s waist.
“I won’t let you fall,” Adriann said.
Jack’s eyes widened as lube appeared from somewhere, thick over Adriann’s fingers as they spread the cold, slick substance over his ass. He groaned and lifted his hips, asking, and Adriann hesitated, rubbing the narrow cockhead against his opening.
“Remember how different I am to you?” Adriann asked as he pushed inside.
“Yes,” Jack whispered, not feeling anything too different, other than Adriann was a lot slenderer in size than Daniel or Jason. Penetration was easy and smooth.
“Like it?” Adriann asked, breathing harshly as he pushed in deep.
“Yes. Do you?”
“Wonderful. You feel nothing different?”
Jack started to say no but his breath caught as he felt a burning that wasn’t unpleasant. It was good. By degrees, it started mildly, then gained in strength until Jack found the pleasure acute. His prostate. It was his prostate. He’d never felt it so…used.
“God. Yes. Different.”
Jack was then made aware how different as the vampire kept stopping to roll his hips, thrusting a few times. Jack swallowed, his eyes opening wide when he realized Adriann wasn’t even inside him completely. He made a low, growling sound, taking his hands from Adriann’s shoulders, touching the smooth, hairless chest.
“Want it?” Adriann asked, leaning in for a brief, chaste kiss.
“Yes,” Jack whispered, the words flowing over Adriann’s tongue as it slid into his mouth. Tasting him, exploring deeply, sucking on his tongue. Jack tore his mouth away as Adriann’s cock buried inside him, the vampire’s groin slapping against his ass, the rhythm increasing. He heard himself panting, harshly, felt the goosebumps rising and spreading over his skin. “Adriann.”
Adriann’s grey eyes bore into his, intense and alarmingly aggressive. Alpha. Animalistic. And for a brief second, the rims around his irises seemed to glow white. A flickering of power, it seemed to Jack. The man’s muscular body moved with ease, thrusting and pulling his long cock easily from Jack’s body. Or at least, Jack thought it was easy, but soon, sweat appeared on Adriann’s brow and it only heightened Jack’s sense of his own sweat and the feel of his body’s pleasure. He wanted more. He wanted to be nailed with pure, raw need.
“Let go, Adriann.”
“And you as well, Jack. Let go.” Adriann wrapped his arms around his back and pulled Jack away from the tree. His legs spread, his hips in constant motion, and Jack realized that the only thing that suspended him was Adriann’s strength and constant movement. He grimaced as another long shudder of pleasure ripped through him, and tossing his head back, he let go, crossing his ankles high over Adriann’s back. He allowed himself to let go, to be taken, fucked. Owned.
His fingers dug into the vampire’s long, blond hair, and gripping hard, Jack plunged his tongue into Adriann’s mouth, fucking him with his tongue as Adriann fucked him with his cock. He was breathing hard, puffing through his nose, the exquisite pleasure shooting through his body like tiny bolts of lightning. He was suddenly forced to suck in large breaths as Adriann’s rhythm altered, increasing as his hips angled. His cock now endlessly rode over Jack’s prostate and the acute pleasure forced Jack into demanding more. He slammed up to meet his lover and in the moment, once more, their eyes locked.
Jason clasped Daniel’s fingers tightly, his hands pressed almost painfully hard into the mattress. His skin, flushed, feverish, wet with sweat, matched Daniel’s as his lover rode him hard and fast. Their knuckles rapped against the headboard in time with Daniel’s thrusts and were the only things that kept Jason’s body from being pushed up the bed.
“You love it,” Daniel suddenly gasped. “You love being watched and you love to watch.”
“Yes,” Jason barely spoke, his language skills mostly gone as he stared into the blue eyes black with lust.
“See them?” Daniel asked, feeling that familiar, aching pleasure crawl inside, down his spine, over his balls and up his cock.
“Jace…” The image of Jack and Adriann finally did it and Daniel lost his voice as he tried to find air, tried to find his voice, just as his orgasm ripped through him.
“God, Daniel,” Jason growled, one hand coming free to grab Daniel by the back of his neck. He yanked him down as he lifted up, biting into his lover’s neck just beyond the pulse point where the thick tendons met the shoulder. He tasted salt and sweat and a faint tang of iron as he sucked hard. He didn’t puncture the skin but when he spilled his semen over his belly, it certainly felt like he had. Certainly Daniel’s rough cry told him he might have. There was no guilt about it, either. To hell with it when they could both come like this.
Daniel thought the same, as well as wondering if they’d ever come down from the high.
Jack saw through Jason’s eyes, recognized the flush of Daniel’s face, literally feeling his lover’s mental stress when they came. In seconds, his orgasm rushed through his body, forcing a dry, harsh cry from his throat. Adriann’s voice startled him with a literal roar, the sound rumbling through the trees. Jack watched the vampire’s teeth lengthen, the grey eyes darken. His cock twitched and jerked as Adriann gripped his hair, holding him, bending his head back. Then the sharp teeth sank into his jugular, slick and smooth as silk. The act pulled one more orgasm from his body that Jack didn’t think was possible.
Walking as if they had all the time in the world, they made their way through the woods, heading eventually to the house. Jack watched Adriann, trying to figure out the vampire’s mood. The man seemed wistful, somber, and hadn’t spoken more than a few words since they’d come down from the afterglow and gotten dressed. This time with Adriann had been very good, just as the last time had been, but this had also been different and Jack couldn’t help but feel it. It came to Jack just what was different.
He stopped, taking Adriann by the arm and turning him to face him. “You didn’t want to be close after. Why?”
Adriann hesitated, not wanting to change the feeling of the warm afterglow he knew they shared by telling the complete truth. “Did you want me to? I sensed that you didn’t.”
“I don’t know,” he answered truthfully. “I’m not sure if I wanted it or not but I can’t help but feel that there’s something missing. I think that maybe it’s because we didn’t have anything to lie on afterwards.”
Adriann’s arms twitched, moving toward him, but they returned to the man’s sides. The movement told Jack a lot and he felt he understood.
“You’re distancing yourself because we’re going to be leaving,” he said simply.
Adriann did a double take and started to answer but stopped. Instead, the tall man nodded and said nothing. He could feel the Jack’s emotions more clearly than ever and wanted to oblige him by talking but he hadn’t known what to say with all the mixed emotions inside him.
Especially as most of his thoughts weren’t on Jack and he felt guilty. Adriann adored Jack, and Jason even more so because of their special link, but his thoughts were of Daniel. Through the contact with their minds, Adriann had realized that he loved the man. Deeply. Telling Jack that right after having their time together seemed…inappropriate.
Adriann turned, carefully taking in Jack’s expression, gauging his emotions. He felt the concern, the care, and love, though the love was quite different from that which he shared with Daniel and Jason. He sensed that Jack wanted to talk and wondered if it had anything to do with what he was trying to hide. From himself, from his lovers. Adriann felt the thoughts, shoved deeply away; the revulsion and fear about a time long ago, and something in a dream that had reawakened Jack’s old fears; something in that building with the white columns that was causing the man before him nightmares. Adriann understood that deflection was a common way to avoid something disturbing.
With a sigh, Adriann decided that he’d better say something. If he helped Jack in some way, he might help himself, too. A selfish thought, but it was what it was. “I’m not the only one, Jack.”
Jack gave him a look of surprise. “Meaning me?”
Adriann nodded, coming to a stop to face the man. “Yes. Something is bothering you.”
Jack shook his head, not understanding. “No. Nothing overly worrying. What makes you think…” He stopped, his eyes narrowing. “I wish you wouldn’t do that.”
A lonely, sad sigh came from Adriann. “I can’t help it anymore, Jack. I’m sorry. Especially after having made love with you, I can read you even better. I mean no harm.”
Jack shook his head. “I know that. It’s just…”
“I can see what it is that troubles you.”
Jack’s eyes widened then and he took an involuntary step back. He was literally horrified. He thought that Adriann could read the memories of the hotel, but…Iraq? Jack had those carefully buried. “How?”
“I don’t know how to explain it to you and I’m sorry for making you feel invaded. It’s the last thing you need.” Adriann stayed where he was, but he held out his hand, palm up. “I can help if you let me.”
Jack swallowed. “By taking the memory, like Talen offered Al and Connor?”
Adriann frowned in confusion. “You don’t want the memory gone?”
Jack shook his head. “No. Much as I hate it, it’s part of my life. If you take it away, it becomes an unexplainable black patch. Does that make sense?”
“It does.” Adriann considered his thoughts carefully. “Then…what if I were to ‘diffuse’ the memory, make it so that your nightmares disappear completely. I can do that. I can bury the memory even further. The memory of Iraq won’t bother your sleep anymore and you’ll only have vague ideas why the dream images from that hotel haunt you.”
Again, Jack swallowed. That was an offer he was willing to take. He was bone tired of the nightmares and hated that they’d returned. They were brutal, disturbing images. Of torture, of sexual violation. Though he’d never been penetrated, thank god, he quickly thanked, for the millionth time probably, that his torturers hadn’t mutilated him. The nightmares left his heart pounding in fear every time he woke from his sleep and he knew that if they didn’t fade, they’d begin to affect his daily waking life.
“Okay…yes. I accept. How will you, you know…?”
Instead of trying to find a way to explain, Adriann gently took Jack by the arm and pulled him off the trail, pushing him against a tree. His intense gaze rested on Jack’s face, as if examining his features and burning them to memory.
Jack felt a shiver from the examination and started to speak but Adriann kissed him, lightly at first. Sensuously, loving and tender. Then his kiss became passionate and Adriann’s hands wrapped around him, pulling him away from the tree and against his body. Adriann was hard again.
Adriann slowly broke away, his hands lingering over Jack’s waist, his hips, before moving up to carefully frame Jack’s head with his hands. He stared into amber eyes and opened his mouth, showing Jack the sharp points of his lengthening teeth. “I’m going to take some blood, and as I do, I want you to concentrate on that only. On my body, on my teeth. Understood?”
Jack understood and nodded. “Okay.” The vampire’s teeth pricked his neck, then sank inside slowly. Jack inhaled deeply, his fingers unknowingly gripping Adriann’s shirt. There was only a slight flush of warmth; a soft, pleasurable feeling. His cock started to harden, but remained at half-mast. Per Adriann’s orders, Jack concentrated on the teeth at his neck, at the body against him, the hard cock rubbing against the juncture of hip and groin.
Then before anything else could happen, Adriann pulled away, licking his lips, his teeth.
Jack let him go. He thought hard and found that when he tried to think of Iraq, he saw only vague images, felt only the briefest of fears. “Thanks,” he whispered in amazement.
“You are very welcome, Jack. I would do anything for you. For the others. Anything.”
They began to walk again and Adriann felt himself growing more morose, more somber. He wished…he so wished…
“You go home tomorrow.”
Jack blinked at the suddenness of statement. And he remembered it was what they’d started to talk about before Adriann had gone and done him one of the hugest favors he could think of. And perhaps, the two subjects were connected? Did Adriann do it because he wanted to or was it in an effort to get Jack to stay? Jack shoved that negative thought away. Adriann knew reality and would no more manipulate it than he could breathe. Jack suddenly knew that with as much certainty as he knew Daniel and Jason would never leave him.
“I guess so. But it’s not up to me, Adriann. Not this time. It’s a medical mission and therefore Fraiser’s call.”
Adriann understood and gave a slight nod. He suddenly wished, irrational as it was, that none of them had healed as well as they had. He didn’t want them to leave, didn’t want the pain of missing them to come, how his heart would ache when it did. He remembered how he’d felt when Jason had come to him, his mind announcing that Jack and Daniel were lost. Adriann couldn’t help being afraid of that sort of thing happening again. With any of them. He tried to think of something else as the heaviness of his spirit weighed on him. “Why do you sometimes call her Fraiser instead of Janet?”
Jack was surprised by the question. Surely Adriann knew? Perhaps Adriann was trying hard not to read him, giving him some courtesy. “I tend to call her Fraiser in a work environment,” and he pointed at his clothes. “Despite what’s been going on, we are on a mission. If I’m at home, away from the SGC, I call her Janet.”
“Separating work from play?” Adriann asked as they began to walk again.
They were silent for a time, but as they exited the woods and approached the iron gate, Adriann suddenly said, “I’m going to miss you terribly, Jack.”
Jack tilted his head in agreement, giving a single nod. “Me, too. But it’s not like we’ll never see you again.”
Through the continued quiet, Jack puzzled at the thoughts that now passed in his mind, and wondered if Adriann weren’t inadvertently giving them to him. “Is there something about Daniel…?”
Adriann didn’t answer as they went through the gate’s open entrance. He paused, looking back at the woods. “Sam and Teal’c should be showing up soon. We should wait.”
Jack agreed, almost absently. “Adriann? Daniel?”
Adriann fidgeted, still remaining quiet as he stared into the woods. Jack was becoming annoyed. “You’re starting to worry me.”
Adriann whipped his head around. “Nothing worrying, Jack. I just do not know what you want me to say.”
Jack snorted, despite himself. “Funny, coming from you.”
“Jack, I am trying not to read you. Out of respect. It is hard. Your thoughts are very loud.”
Jack took a deep breath. “Fair enough. It’s just that I’m getting the idea that this ritual seems a bit more personal than the usual deal. That it’s more than what you’d normally do. Is it?”
Adriann looked down at the ground, giving Jack the impression that he was embarrassed. Was he?
“What?” Jack asked, moving past annoyance and into irritation.
Adriann looked up. “It is all that I have said, Jack. A ritual bonding in return for saving our lives. Yet it is more than what we would normally do in thanking someone.”
Jack nodded. “I thought so, considering that I haven’t seen any tattoos on you. Is this the first time you’ve decided to have this ritual?”
Adriann ground his jaw, trying to think of a way to explain. “Yes, it is the first time I have decided to go through the ritual but it is not the first time I have wanted to perform such a bonding.”
“I wish to bond with Daniel in a much closer way than I have already done with Jason.”
“I thought that linking with Jason was accidental?” Jack asked, frowning.
“Not accidental so much as it was an…inevitable outcome from taking so much of his blood. The toxin only increased the effect, but you see, drinking so deeply from someone is usually done in a ritual meant for a different type of bonding.”
Jack’s eyes widened. “Wait. That means you want to drink that deeply with Daniel?”
Jack shook his head as several questions crashed together, all wanting to be asked at once. “Why?”
“I think you know why.”
“Because you love him.”
Jack inhaled another deep breath. “And this won’t hurt him?”
“No, Jack. It will not hurt him. I would not allow it if there was a chance of that.”
Jack winced. “No, of course not.” He paused, thinking. “So, you want to bond. And that means, letting Daniel hear your thoughts?”
“Yes, Jack. But more so. It is a true bonding, a sharing of my soul, as it were. Jason can read me because I drank deep, shared my healing with him. But with Daniel, only with Daniel, I want to share all of me. He does wish to know more than he does about me.”
“Daniel always wants to know more,” Jack muttered. He couldn’t help the jealousy that was rearing its ugly head and tried to will it away.
“I’ve no intention of taking him away or affecting his feelings, Jack. Neither will this affect how I feel about you.”
Jack swallowed against the flush of embarrassment. “It’s annoying when I can’t deny that I felt you would.”
“But you’re worried. Why?”
“Perhaps because Jason already feels a bond to you and he feels more than I think he would have if your bonding with him hadn’t happened.”
“It was not the act that did it, Jack.”
“Are you sure?”
“Quite. It is because we shared a traumatic experience. Twice. One cannot help but emotionally bond that way. He is still yours, Jack.”
Jack toed the ground, frowning. “He’s not mine.”
“It is okay to think so of him. He is yours, as Daniel is. Just as Jason thinks you and Daniel are his and Daniel thinks that you and Jason are his.”
Adriann was right. And it wasn’t jealousy, Jack realized, as much as it was alpha possessiveness. Then…then came the selfish thought. The other side of the jealous coin. “Why not share this with me?”
Adriann gave him a look that Jack couldn’t interpret. “Because you are the leader, more so than Jason. To bond with you in that way would, how would you put it…compromise you?”
Jack’s frown increased until it nearly became a scowl. “We’ve already been compromised, Adriann. On that very first mission.”
The vampire blinked several times, then sighed in a manner that automatically made Jack defensive. Adriann’s attitude was almost patronizing. “Jack, do you want to be able to hear me, and me hear you? No matter what?”
Said out loud, Jack realized that the idea made him nervous. Very.
“I have come to know a little of your mind,” Adriann went on, his hand reaching out to affectionately squeeze Jack’s shoulder. “The fact that you do not like the idea gave me the distinct impression that you would neither like nor want to be linked with me. Was I in error?”
The jealousy began to leave when Jack thought more seriously about the result of being linked. He shook his head, giving Adriann a sheepish grin. “A little jealous of Daniel and Jason, but I’d rather keep my thoughts to myself.”
Adriann laughed in agreement, squeezing Jack’s shoulder once more before dropping his hand to his side.
A question flitted across his face and Jack raised a brow.
“I think he will say yes, but I do not know for sure. Will he?”
Jack snorted. “You’re kidding, right? Remember what I said about him always wanting to know more?”
A small smile. “I remember. But Daniel is unpredictable sometimes.”
“As are you,” Adriann said, catching Jack off-guard as he reached out and touched his fingers to Jack’s, taking his hand. “Letting me help you, for instance. Would you have done that a year ago? I do not think so.”
Jack looked around him, hyper aware of Adriann’s fingers laced through his own, of being out in the open, of possibly being observed by Jason’s teammates. He slowly withdrew his hand and Adriann tipped his head to one side, that same smile curling his lips. He understood and was not offended. Okay, so maybe the telepathic thing had advantages. Saved Jack from explaining anything. Anything.
Adriann caught the thought, too. “You may not have to explain, but I think maybe I do.” He placed his hand over Jack’s heart, feeling the warmth of his body, the beat of his heart. “I want to give Daniel a part of me, Jack. A gift. Jason may have a small version of the gift. My mind. My ability. But he does not own a lot for himself, and it was never by his own choosing. I want it to be Daniel’s choice. I hope he chooses to say yes.”
Jack took a deep breath, not bothering to remove the hand over his heart. “I don’t think he will say no.”
Adriann started to say something, then gave Jack a smile that looked ironic as he raised his hand from Jack’s chest, only to draw a fingertip down his chin. “If not for your military laws, I would have loved to have drawn my mark on your skin.”
Adriann’s words were low and erotic and Jack felt his cock twitch. He was about to respond but Sam and Teal’c appeared from the woods at that moment. As they approached, Jack saw the satisfied grins on their faces and couldn’t help but smirk.
“Have fun?” he asked as his friends stepped through the open gate.
Sam simply smirked back. “You?”
Jack cleared his throat. There was no way he was answering that, and the hypocrisy wasn’t lost on him. “Hungry?”
Sam started to laugh and bit her lips together.
“I am,” Teal’c replied, giving Jack a curious stare.
“You have dirt in your hair, O’Neill,” he said as he moved off, taking Sam’s arm.
“What?” Jack said, running his hand through his hair, finding nothing. He heard Adriann snickering behind him as the man locked the gate and turned. “What?” he snapped.
“As Daniel would say, ‘you are so easy, O’Neill’.”
Jack made a low growl as he started after Teal’c and Sam. “Funny, T. That was really funny.”
“I thought so as well, O’Neill.”
When Adriann came up alongside, catching up to him, Jack caught the grin. “Don’t you start.”
“I did not say a word, Jack.”
“No, but maybe I don’t need a link with you in order to tell that you were going to.”
Daniel sat at the table in his suite’s living room, frowning. Scattered sheets of paper lay before him and several crumpled balls of paper littered the floor. He nervously twirled a pencil between the fingers of his right hand, his frown increasing, then pursed his lips in determination and began to doodle on a clean sheet. Becoming frustrated, he suddenly made an X on the paper, balled it up and threw it on the floor. With a growl, he dropped his forehead to the table.
Jason smiled in sympathy as he walked up behind him, laying a kiss in his hair. “Having trouble choosing?”
Daniel straightened and leaned back, resting his head against Jason’s stomach as he looked up at him. In a perfect attempt at a pathetic whine, he said, “Help?”
Jason laughed. “Aw, poor baby.” Giving another kiss on his head, he sat down next to him, resting Daniel’s P-90 on the table, including the cleaning kit. “Already did mine. Yours is next.”
Daniel wrinkled his nose. “I thought Jack was kidding.”
Jason snorted. “You know he wasn’t. We have to do these whether we like it or not.” Daniel’s expression altered to a grimace and made Jason laugh. “Don’t worry. While you do that, I’ll clean your weapon.” He then added, “Even if you can do it blindfolded.”
“Knowledge I wish I didn’t have.”
Jason shook his head, grinning, as he began to take apart the weapon, pressing a small button that detached the upper part of the weapon from the stock. “Better to have than not have, Daniel.”
“I know, but you know what I mean.”
“Yeah, I know.” He paused and then leaned in, snuffling Daniel’s neck. “I really do enjoy cleaning your weapon.”
Daniel’s expression changed again, admitting a reluctant smile. “Certainly gave it a good cleaning earlier.” He shied away suddenly as Jason smiled and bit his neck, laughing. Daniel laughed in return, his mood changing to curiosity when Jason pulled back and began staring over the papers on the table. Various symbols from different religions dotted their surfaces.
“How’s it going?” Jason asked as his eyes roamed over the litter as well.
“Want some help?”
“Definitely,” Daniel said, gesturing at the papers. “I’ll need your skill in drawing the symbol when I finally come up with one.” He growled and dropped the pencil, running his fingers through his hair. He glanced at his watch and then looked again. It was now nearly late afternoon and he’d been at it for almost five hours. “Fuck.” Jason started to smile but Daniel held up a hand. “Don’t start, Jace.”
Jason’s lips quirked in an effort to keep from saying it, but after a moment, he decided that Daniel needed help, not teasing. “Tell me what you’re considering so far.”
Blowing out a long breath, Daniel gestured at his laptop, sitting at the far end of the table. “That’s been of no help whatsoever. I can’t seem to focus on a single idea what would represent Earth.”
“Okay, so what have you eliminated?”
“I thought about religions but those are too secular, too exclusionary. What I need is a symbol, or a combination of them, that would represent a single idea that everyone, religion included, would have in common.”
“Well, you could always start with Egypt, since that’s likely the oldest culture next to the Chinese.”
“Not necessarily, but they are the oldest cultures with languages we can read.”
“You can read Chinese?” Jason asked, feeling like he should have known.
“No, but I can recognize a few sets of character symbols. I want to learn how to read it, though. It may come in handy dealing with Yu someday.”
“But he’s a Goa’uld. Wouldn’t Goa’uld be more relative?”
“Yes, but he also adopted the Chinese mythology and if there are stories about him…” and he gave Jason a questioning look, expecting Jason to finish the thought.
“Then those stories would be in Chinese. Gotcha.”
Jack suddenly walked into the room going for his field vest. Jason and Daniel started to get up but Jack waved them back down. “Just relax, guys.”
“Oh,” Daniel replied, almost sorry it wasn’t something to drag him away from a task he was beginning to hate.
“Having trouble?” Jack asked as he slipped the vest on over his black t-shirt.
“Yeah. Can’t seem to focus on an idea that everyone would have in common.”
Jack paused, thinking, as he absently grabbed his P-90 and slung it over his shoulder.
“What’re you up to, Jack?” Jason asked as he looked through the separated gun barrel, eyeing the dirt.
“I’m going out to check out where the broadheads are made,” Jack replied as his pulled on his fingerless gloves.
Daniel rolled his eyes. “Can I join you? Seems infinitely easier than this.” Jack gave him such a long, intense stare that Daniel frowned in alarm. “What?”
“Trust me, Daniel,” Jack told him, his eyes resting on him for a long moment. “Keep working. The reward will be worth it and you’ll appreciate the ritual all the more.”
“What’s that mean?” Daniel asked. He hadn’t seen Adriann since that morning and had been wondering if the man weren’t avoiding him.
“You’ll find out.”
Daniel’s mouth dropped open as he turned in his chair, his eyes never leaving Jack’s. “You know something. Adriann’s told you something that he hasn’t told me. What?”
“Nothing that can’t keep, Daniel,” Jack answered, a secretive smile threatening.
A growl of frustration came from Daniel’s throat as he tapped the table with his pencil. “You know more about this ritual than I do.”
“Because I asked.”
“Yeah, well, so did I, Jack!”
“He wasn’t very forthcoming other than what he said at breakfast. He’s pissing me off.”
Jack walked over and kissed his lover when he lifted his head to look up. “He will be forthcoming, Daniel. He just wants you to focus on this, not on the ritual.”
With a heavy sigh, Daniel didn’t feel better, though he was glad for the kiss. He’d missed Jack all afternoon. “Doesn’t do me any good right now though.”
Jack started to turn away but stopped, thinking again. “Why don’t you use the idea of peace. Everyone has that in common.” He slapped Daniel on the back with a parting shot and left the room, closing the door loudly behind him.
Jason had been examining the firing mechanism, cleaning it off with a cloth, and at Daniel’s silence he looked up and found Daniel’s mouth hanging open in astonishment. “What?”
“How does that sonofabitch do that?”
“Just think up an idea like that?”
“Maybe it wasn’t like that, Daniel. You’re thinking too hard, if that’s possible.”
Jason considered Daniel for a moment and realized his lover now had an idea. “You got an idea from what he said?”
Daniel smiled and drew a symbol. “Think you can make that look artful?”
Jason gave him a nod. “I’ll see what I can do when I’m through with this.”
Daniel took the weapon from his hand. “I’ll finish the cleaning. You draw.”
After drawing several designs using the chosen symbol, and having Daniel reject them, Jason was long past frustrated and moving into pissed off territory. Glancing at Daniel, he decided to covertly–for now–get the subject’s opinion.
Adriann, you busy?
“Yes, but that is alright. What is it, Jason?”
I need your opinion on the tattoo designs. Daniel is being stubborn. As usual. He’s chosen a symbol, so that’s done, but I’ve got the duty to make it tattoo-worthy. Problem is, he keeps rejecting my ideas and if he keeps this up, I’m going to throttle him.
Jason could hear a small laugh before Adriann said, “I hope to alleviate the frustration, Jason. Is he really being that bad?”
You have no idea. Or perhaps you do?
“I have a good idea. Show me the drawings.”
Jason gazed at the rejected pieces of paper, one by one, going slowly.
The faraway look on Jason’s face hinted that he was talking to Adriann but Daniel couldn’t be sure. Sometimes that expression showed up when he was lost in thought. “Jace, are you talking to Adriann?” Jason glared at him and Daniel recoiled a bit, frowning. Was Jason mad? “What?”
“I’m showing him the symbol drawings so he can choose. You are being too damn picky.”
“Jace, it has to be–“
“Perfect, I know,” Jason interrupted as he shuffled through the sheets of paper. “But at this rate, it’ll never get done. What you reject may be perfectly acceptable to Adriann so let’s let him decide, shall we? He’ll be the one wearing it, after all.”
Daniel’s frown deepened. “Point taken.” He paused, then asked, “Does Adriann like any of them?”
“He hasn’t said yet.”
“Hold on.” Jason cut him off, hearing both Daniel and Adriann at the same time. “Which?” he asked Adriann aloud, touching two drawings in front of him.
“The right one.
Jason nodded and discarded the finished papers, shoving them out of the way.
What’s Jack up to?
“Hunting with the broadheads. He wants to see if they would be an acceptable alternative to use against the Goa’uld.”
Figures. When will you be in?
“Just after the sun sets. One of your hours.”
“Stop worrying. I am always careful.”
Jason irritably tapped the page in front of him. “He likes this one.”
Daniel only half-paid attention as he pulled the drawing away from Jason and studied it. “I liked this one.”
“You rejected it.”
“Only because I thought it looked too plain.”
Jason gave his lover a long look. “You rejected this because you thought Adriann wouldn’t like it. Not enough sharp angles you said. And you only like it now only because he does.”
“That’s not fair, Jace,” Daniel replied indignantly.
“No, it’s not, but you rejected every single one of my designs. Started feeling like I was wasting my time.”
Daniel studied Jason and realized that he’d been so absorbed in his task that he hadn’t noticed the deeply etched knot between Jason’s brows. He winced. Jason wasn’t mad. He was pissed. Daniel hated making Jason mad at him and he swallowed down the irritation he was beginning to feel. Taking a moment to gather his thoughts, he swallowed. “I’m sorry.”
Jason sighed and the knot in his brow began to relax. A little. “You can be a slave driver. No wonder your department personnel would like to strangle you with that Indiana Jones whip you have.”
“I didn’t mean to piss you off,” Daniel told him, stroking his lover’s arm with the back of his hand.
Daniel’s eyes then brightened as he let the corner of his mouth curve upward. “About that whip–“
“Daniel, don’t go there,” Jason warned, recognizing the look as well as the sign that Daniel wanted to diffuse his anger. The fact that Daniel was trying to do that caused the negative feeling to fade.
“Want me to go there we get home?” his lover asked, lowering the tone of his voice.
Jason felt a flush creep up his skin that had nothing to do with embarrassment and everything to do with the sound of Daniel’s voice and the implication of what he wanted to do. “Snap me with that bullwhip and you’re a dead man.”
Daniel allowed a grin. “I promise. No snapping with the whip. But I can think of plenty of other uses.” If he hadn’t had gun oil all over his hands, he would have climbed on Jason’s lap and apologized with interest. He gave his most contrite look instead. “I am sorry, you know. Want me to show you how much later?”
Jason didn’t look up from the paper, and kept the smile from showing on his face. “Yes.”
Daniel eyed him before returning to oiling the parts of the gun, thinking about how he’d repay Jason. Minutes later, Jason’s loud tone startled him.
“Daniel, stop that.”
“That,” and Jason pointed to Daniel’s hand. Stroking the barrel of the weapon. “It’s distracting.”
Daniel looked and found he had been stroking it. He’d also given entirely too much oil to the barrel. Talk about sublimation. Giving Jason an apologetic look that could only be half earnest, Daniel grabbed a clean cloth and wiped down the metal, mindful of the way his hand moved. “Sorry, Jace.”
“You’re not,” Jason answered as he tried to focus on the drawing.
Daniel bit his lips for a moment. “Did I tell you that that’s a really good design?”
“Fuck off, Daniel,” Jason sing-songed.
“Have I told you how sorry I am?”
“Fuck off, Daniel.”
“Have I told you how much I’d like to–“
“Fuck off, Daniel.”
Daniel sniggered to himself. Saying sorry later would be fun.
An hour later, Jack entered the room with Adriann directly behind and found Daniel and Jason sitting at the table with several drawings of the same symbol design in front of them. They were currently finishing the one in front of them, their pens busy on the table.
“That the design?” he asked.
His lovers nodded.
Jack considered the drawing carefully. “Is that supposed to be an ankh?”
Jason looked at Jack worriedly. “It doesn’t look like one?”
Jack nodded. “It does, Jace. I was just making sure what I was looking at.”
“Now, how about you come help me clean dinner. Leave Adriann to talk to Daniel.”
Daniel looked up sharply, his gaze flitting between Jack and the Resident. “About?” both he and Jason asked.
Jack grinned but his lovers noted that it had a note of seriousness about it. “C’mon, Jace. I’ll fill you in.”
Jason got up as Jack gestured and gave Daniel a look of curiosity. “Guess I have to follow the boss.”
After they left, Adriann sat down slowly, shifting a bit uncomfortably under the blue-eyed stare.
Daniel didn’t sense anything was wrong but Adriann could be cagey. “What?”
Adriann turned his chair to that he faced Daniel without the table blocking him. He leaned forward, elbows on his knees. “I would like to add something to the ritual. After the tattooing is finished.”
Daniel’s interest went up, but so did his guard. “What?” he repeated. Adriann told him and Daniel sat stunned, taking a few minutes to think about it. He finally decided and nodded his assent. “Yes.” When Adriann’s body language relaxed, Daniel knew then that the subject had been a worrying one. “It’s that important?” he asked and received another nod.
An hour before the ceremony was set to begin, Adriann and Talen prepared the sunroom, the place where Adriann’s desk sat, where most of his work had been over the years. Several foot-high pillar candles were brought out along with a few more of the lighting spheres and they were set around the room. A space of twelve feet square was prepared in front of the fireplace, candles set at the corners as a short-napped fur skin rug was placed on the floor. A brazier was set in front of the rug and inside, fragranced wood was placed and lit. A subtle musky spice began to fill the room.
Adriann stared down into the brazier, watching the embers form. Talen watched him and approached, hugging him from behind. “You are confident that this is what you wish to do?” she asked in their own language.
“Yes,” he answered. “I wish to help him. Protect him when he is not here.”
“You understand he does not need–“
“I know, I know. He does not need protecting.” He looked over his shoulder. “And yet, compared to us, he does.”
She nodded. “Be very careful.”
The sunroom was lit with an ethereal glow by the many amber-colored candles, spheres, and the light from the fireplace. The effect was a contradiction. There was enough light to see clearly by, but the color made the atmosphere romantic. Shadows cast were deep gold, not black, and the light that fell across the participants of the ritual made their skin appear lightly bronzed, adding to the effect.
Daniel knelt on the right side of the rug, facing in, his hands clasped on his lap. Dressed in loose, white linen pants, fastened only with a wide silk sash for a belt, Daniel wore nothing else, including underwear. He had this uncomfortable feeling that if he moved too suddenly, the sash would fall away, and so would his pants. Normally not a worry, but with Al and Connor watching, revealing himself to them wasn’t something Daniel wanted. Especially if he grew aroused at some stage during the ritual, which was highly likely.
Across from him knelt Adriann, dressed in the same clothing, his hands also clasped. Daniel kept looking to his left where his teammates and Jason and his team sat on the floor before the ritual square. He was relieved by their presence, and if he allowed himself to admit it, he needed their reassurance as well.
“It will be fine,” Adriann whispered, giving him a bit of reassurance as well.
Daniel only sighed and nodded. But he didn’t feel reassured.
He was nervous. Very nervous. His own hand would be the one administering the tattooing on Adriann and his drawing ability was far from stellar. If it weren’t for Talen’s assurance that she would help him, he’d be very worried. Another reason for that nervousness was that he felt exposed and vulnerable, dressed in nothing but the suspiciously loose pants. With the lighting, the feel of the linen whispering against his skin, the rug underneath him, he also couldn’t help but feel erotic. It only increased his worry that his thoughts would stray, showing Al and Connor just how bisexual he really was. The thought made him fervently wish for privacy.
Mostly, his nervousness stemmed from the fact that Daniel hadn’t actually grasped how serious the ritual was until he saw the sunroom prepared. He really did not want to screw this up.
To his right, her back to the fire, stood Talen, dressed in white linen worn like a sarong, a long end thrown over her shoulders, covering her breasts. Her arms were outstretched and in each hand, she held a dark red cloth, the color of blood. Daniel wondered what the cloth was for but knew he’d find out soon enough. To her left, and his immediate right, a floor length mirror sat against the wall. Through its reflection, Daniel could see that perhaps thirty of the Brethren had gathered. While he had expected attendance by some, he hadn’t expected so many, though he realized that he had no idea what to expect. Their presence made the ritual that much important, but he had no idea why.
One thing Daniel was keenly aware of was that his exhibitionist kink was getting hit. The strong feeling of exposure (from the clothing he wore–and didn’t wear) was combining with the number of onlookers. If Al and Connor weren’t there, he knew with a rather embarrassed certainty that he wouldn’t care if his cock decided to take point. Yet he wondered if he would have thought about that particular kink if not for their presence.
A soft bell was sounded by one of the Residents that sat around behind the humans from Earth and brought Daniel’s attention back to the ritual.
“We return to the time long before,” Talen began, her voice raised but curiously soft, “when our hearts and minds were many. Long have we remained, long have we suffered. But now, we are free. We hold ourselves to this place to pay homage and respect to those whose lives have enriched ours, to those who have saved our lives. Indeed, our species. We do not have much, but what we have, we thank with the Ka’rel’noi.” She then laid one cloth on Adriann’s left shoulder and the other on Daniel’s right.
Daniel’s eyes widened with curiosity when Adriann picked up the small bowl that had been sitting between them and removed the lid, offering the contents to Talen. It was a thick oily paste, smelling like the incense smoking in the brazier. She smothered her fingers with it, then stepped behind him. Daniel’s worry about his physical state increased as she began to apply it to his skin, using a soothing, light massage as she rubbed it into his shoulders and down his back. Kashan appeared at that moment and did the same for Adriann.
Adriann, meanwhile, was starting to increase Daniel’s nervousness. His grey eyes, flickering gold from the candle and firelight, never left him and Daniel began to fidget under the scrutiny. Talen broke Adriann’s gaze momentarily by taking the cloth from Daniel’s shoulder and handing it to him.
“You will cleanse the one who is revered.”
As her hands smoothed oil down his arms, and while Kashan continued to oil Adriann’s skin, the vampire leader brought the cloth to Daniel’s chest, slowly moving it over his skin in wide soothing circles.
Daniel swallowed. If this kept up, Adriann’s touch would get him hard, and as delightful as that would be at any other time, now was definitely not it. Adriann heard the thought and smiled secretively so Daniel shot him a scolding look. Unrepentant, Adriann moved the cloth sensuously over oiled skin, ‘cleaning’ him, and it took all of Daniel’s inner strength not to get hard. He closed his eyes and began to spell his own name in Acadian cuneiform, then moved on to Jack’s name, then Jason’s. Before he got to the names of SG-12, Adriann was finished.
Daniel opened his eyes and Talen placed the other cloth in his hands.
“You will cleanse the one to whom you have brought life.”
Daniel opened his mouth to argue, to say that he’d done nothing, but wisely shut it when he sensed it wasn’t a good idea to be humble at this particular time. Trying to remember the exact movements Adriann had used, Daniel proceeded to ‘cleanse’ his ritual partner’s oiled skin. When he finished, Talen stepped forward, picked up the pot of oily paste and the two cloths, set them aside and brought forward a tray containing a shallow bowl of black dye and six brushes of varying bristle sizes. Adriann took Daniel by the shoulders and guided him to turn, placing his back to the fireplace.
Daniel wondered if he was supposed to remain silent, but he had to ask. He pointed to his oiled skin and raised his brow. “Isn’t this going to interfere with the process?”
“No, Daniel. It will help to settle the ink into the skin,” Talen answered.
“Oh.” Turning on his knees, Daniel placed his back to the fire and settled on his calves. Never having had any desire for a tattoo, and familiar only with the Earth methods, Daniel prepared himself for a sharp pain, despite knowing the tattoo would be applied with a stiff-bristled brush.
“I am going to start, Daniel,” Adriann warned him. “Don’t flinch or move away, okay?”
When the touch of the brush came, Daniel was ready, more or less, and only his muscles twitched. But the feel of the brush was nothing like he expected — yet again, what *did* he expect? There was no pain and he quickly wondered what the hell he was worried about. After a few passes of the brush over one area, the skin would turn numb, becoming accustomed. When Adriann moved the brush to a fresh area of skin, the skin would be sensitive for only a few seconds, the calm. The method became rhythmic, soothing, and Daniel soon found that he was enjoying the touch of the brush.
He thought about when his turn would come to tattoo Adriann and felt the same worry, even though he knew Talen would be helping him. It wasn’t so much his lack of artistic ability as the fact that this ritual was so important to Adriann. He’d be marking something on him that would be permanent. Permanent. He suddenly thought about what he would be doing and compared it to his first meeting with the vampire. How large a contrast that had been. Except for Adriann’s passion. That hadn’t ever changed much, had it?
Daniel remembered first meeting the man, and how Adriann had revealed himself to be a vampire. He remembered his mixture of fear and fascination, and a definite arousal behind both. He remembered how his Earth-based fears and ignorance had made him dislike Adriann at first; his need to protect his friends and lovers had been paramount and his rarely exercised alpha male behavior had asserted itself strongly. But his fears had soon been overridden by interest once he’d listened to his instincts and not some age-old myth that had had no basis in fact. Over a short five days, Adriann had become someone Daniel respected and now, a year later, quite possibly loved. Thoughts of losing him had actually made Daniel face his feelings for the man. The vampire. The love was different, certainly. Scary in a way, and it held an excitement that acted like a drug. Especially when Adriann touched him.
The skin between his shoulder blades suddenly began to tingle and Daniel realized that the brush no longer touched him. Had he been daydreaming? Did he mess up? Or was Adriann now finished? The softest touch of lips at his ear was followed with whispered words.
“Time to mark me, Daniel.”
The voice sent a shiver down his spine and sparks of desire through his cock, threatening to make him hard yet again. Damn Adriann.
Daniel looked over at Jack and Jason and found their eyes fixed firmly on him. And the expression in their eyes…god. He knew those looks. He was suddenly set upon by an enormous frustration. Sexual frustration. Which in turn told him his dick was starting to fill and he looked away, clearing his throat, telling himself to calm down, to think of something else. That he’d fuck his lovers into their next incarnation…later.
When he caught Janet’s smile, he couldn’t help but return it. Sam and Teal’c gave him strange looks and Daniel thought they looked bored. He suddenly had to stifle a laugh and bit his lips as he looked down at the floor. Adriann cleared his throat and brought his attention back to the ritual.
With Adriann’s back at the fire, Daniel settled behind him and with brush in hand, Talen guided him as they drew the 6-inch design between the wide muscular shoulder blades. It wasn’t too difficult, but Daniel had to let Talen take over periodically because his hand shook too much. He wanted to scream in frustration, angry at himself, and had to stomp on the urge frequently. His anger, however, seemed to affect him in a different way. He calmed. Or rather, his shaking stopped and the worry mostly evaporated. When Talen handed him the brush once more, Daniel took a deep breath.
“I think I can handle it from here.”
She nodded and got up, stepping away. Settling down, he defiantly told himself to get a fucking grip and filled in the last third of the design. He was soon in a rhythm, just as he thought Adriann had been. Dip ink, brush, dip ink, brush. When he was finished, he blew out a huge sigh of relief that made his friends laugh softly.
Daniel leaned forward and whispered, “Done,” pressing his lips close to Adriann’s ear. He’d have gotten closer if it hadn’t been for Al and Connor’s presence.
Adriann rose, turning so that all could see Daniel’s handiwork, and his fellow Residents murmured with approval. He held out his hand, bringing Daniel to his feet to stand facing him. Talen stood off to the side, her back to them, smiling proudly. “It is a beautiful design, worthy of our Adriann,” she stated, then circled both Adriann and Daniel, raising the red cloths used at the beginning of the ritual. She waited as Adriann reached out and took Daniel’s left hand in his right, then his right hand in his left, their hands in the symbol of an X. She laid both cloths over the crossed wrists, then turned away, raising her hands to head-level, palms upraised.
“The Ka’rel’noi is complete. May the bond between us last long past death and beyond.”
Daniel didn’t know what to do. “Now what?” he mouthed his question, wondering when his own bonding with Adriann was to begin. His dick twitched again as he allowed his eyes to roam over Adriann’s face, and down over the oiled skin.
“We sit here and let our observers see the results of the Ka’rel’noi,” Adriann told him. “Then…” He smiled, secretive and sexy. Daniel felt his skin flush.
It seemed that the whole room had been broken from a trance and Jack blinked, looking around him. He rose from his seat on the floor, staring at Daniel and Adriann as he walked over. Circling, he paused to look at the 5-inch black tattoo now permanently painted between Daniel’s shoulder blades. It was fucking sexy, he thought.
“Well?” Daniel asked, wishing he could turn around but settled for looking over his shoulder.
“Looks damn good,” Jack told him, a little smile at the corners of his mouth.
“And Adriann’s?” Daniel really needed to know.
Jack moved round just as Jason crouched down and looked at Daniel’s tattoo.
“Don’t touch it,” Adriann warned.
Jason started to answer but Adriann’s voice came suddenly. “I know *you* won’t, Jason, but I said it for the benefit of the others.”
Jason bit his lips together, grinning. “Gotcha.”
“Jason,” Jack said, motioned with two fingers as he crossed his arms and stood regarding the tattoo on Adriann’s back.
Jason moved round, then the others did, wondering what Jack was on about.
Daniel started to worry. He knew he had done fine, and knew his hand hadn’t slipped. What was Jack looking at?
“You drew a smiley face, Daniel.”
“I did not!” Daniel argued, starting to rise, but Adriann held fast, keeping him in his kneeling position.
He shook his head at Daniel. “He’s teasing you.”
Daniel glared at Jack, who gave him that wide Cheshire cat smile. “What?” Jack asked, not bothering to assume any look of innocence.
Daniel was going to give his usual response but had to bite down on it because of Al and Connor. He caught their gazes as they walked around to face him.
“Well?” he asked them.
“Got a lot more guts than I do, Daniel,” Al said. “It’s a nice one. Looks good.”
The man nodded in agreement. “Yeah, it’s good. Wish I could get one.”
Daniel tried to give him a look of sympathy but couldn’t really come up with the desire for it. He really didn’t have any, if the truth be known. He had no use for military rules and regulations and the asinine notion that your body was government property until you left the service. How his lovers and friends tolerated it, he’d never understand.
“So now what?” Connor asked, gesturing at Daniel and Adriann’s crossed hands.
“We will remain like this for a time. There is a private meditation,” Adriann told him.
“Daniel?” Connor asked.
Daniel hated the worried looks of concern on Al and Connor’s faces. “What?” he said, frowning, his tone a warning.
It was enough to set them at ease. They didn’t need Daniel pissed off at them. “Nothing. Never mind.”
Jason heard it and realized that Daniel was getting mad. “Al? Connor? Don’t spoil the ritual. Let’s go.”
Connor didn’t want to, not yet. Then Talen’s voice startled him.
“Nothing bad will happen, Connor,” she told him, moving up behind him, her voice soothing and hypnotic. He swallowed hard when he felt her breasts brushing against his back. “Please, it is now time to leave them alone. Jack and Jason will stay, as they are Daniel’s closest friends, but the rest of us must leave the room.”
He and Al nodded and made for the door, Alex ushering them quickly. He looked over his shoulder, catching a nod from Ophius and smiled. “C’mon boys. I’m sure we can find something else to do.”
After they went through the doors, Sam and Teal’c paused before leaving. They understood what was coming because Daniel had informed them before the ritual had started.
“You’re sure this is going to be okay?” Sam asked Adriann.
“It hasn’t harmed me any, Sam,” Jason told her.
Teal’c agreed. “I have not seen anything wrong with the bonding you have described, Daniel Jackson.”
“And uh, what about the tattoo. Do you hate it?” Daniel asked.
Teal’c smiled. “No, Daniel, I do not. It looks most becoming on you.”
Daniel smiled widely. “Thanks, Teal’c.”
“You are welcome.”
“Sam?” he asked.
She nodded, moving around him and Adriann. “Although I like your design better.”
Adriann laughed softly. “You see Daniel. You worry for nothing.”
Daniel made a growling noise.
“On that note…” she said, taking Teal’c by the arm and exiting the room. “Have fun.”
The other Residents had put out all but a few of the globes and candles until only the ones around the ritual square and the light from the fireplace illuminated the room. Then the door was closed, leaving them alone.
“So now what?” Daniel asked, suddenly aware of the heat of the fireplace behind him as Adriann let go of his wrists and removed the cloth. The golden light seemed to give Adriann’s hair an angelic glow and Daniel found it highly erotic.
Adriann stood up and looked down at him. “Remain there. Please.” He gestured at Jack and Jason and they followed him across the room. Picking up two more pairs of white linen pants that had been draped over the top of one of the sofas, he held them out. “Change into these. I would like you to watch. But do not interfere. Please.”
Jack and Jason gave him a filthy smile. “Watch, eh?” Jack asked.
Adriann smiled and made for a hutch against the back wall. He opened it, retrieved another pot and returned, handing it to Jack. “Use this. It is a very effective aphrodisiac. As well as having other more traditional uses.”
Jack lifted the lid and found the same oily paste. He looked up through his lashes at Adriann. “You won’t mind if we…you know…while you and Daniel…?”
Adriann smiled, his gaze move over both men. “I would expect no less from such equally passionate men. In fact, I insist.” His smile widened then, reminding both men how wolfish he looked when he did that, the stark white of his teeth against the firelight making him look even more so.
Jason cleared his throat as a flush began at his throat and moved upward. He let his eyes fall on Jack’s arms, his back, and down to his ass…and suddenly had the need to remove his clothes. “Do we need to wear…these?” he asked, fingering the garment in his hands.
Adriann paused as he’d started to return to Daniel. “No.”
“And is there a certain place where we…” Jack began, but Adriann pointed to the large, plush rug, maroon in color, that lay to the left of the fireplace and the ritual square. His brows lifted. “Ah.” He and Jason started for the thickly piled rug, doing what everyone did when their bare feet met luxury. They rubbed the soles of their feet over it and scrunched up their toes. “Nice,” Jack added.
Daniel smiled, watching them, and Adriann, as the vampire dropped back down in front of him. Adriann touched his face, but when he spoke, he spoke to Daniel’s lovers. “Also, you are here to ease your minds that nothing bad will happen to Daniel.”
Daniel looked surprised and he looked over Adriann’s shoulder, his eyes quickly finding Jack and Jason’s equally surprised faces as they kicked off their trousers, having already disposed of their t-shirts. The sight of their dog tags against firelit skin was extremely arousing.
Jar in hand, Jack didn’t say anything at first as he and Jason dropped to their knees. “Adriann, I know that nothing bad will–“
Adriann interrupted him, looking over his shoulder as his hands slid up Daniel’s arms. “No, Jack. Be honest. You have doubts, even now.”
Jack took a deep breath. “Okay, I can’t help it because it’s nothing I’ve seen happen before.”
Adriann understood. “That is partly the reason I am asking you to stay for this. So you can witness. The other reason is so that you will share this with him. I will warn you though.”
“What?” came from all three men and Daniel was startled. Adriann had never said there was a warning or a drawback.
Adriann moved his hand under the man’s chin, lifting it. He bent, kissing lightly. “Taking your blood, and replacing it, will drain you. You will sleep soon after.”
Daniel relaxed. “I expected that, Adriann. I get that way when I donate blood.”
“Except this will be more so, Daniel. But do not worry. I will not harm you.”
“I don’t doubt that, Adriann.”
Jack and Jason exchanged glances, then looked at the pot of oily paste, not sure what to do, exactly. They suddenly grinned at each other and Jason pulled Jack against him, pressing their warm skin together as his tongue slid into his lover’s mouth.
Daniel watched them for a moment, unable to look away. Until Adriann caught his attention. The sash belt was suddenly removed and Daniel’s linen pants fell immediately to his knees. He looked up at Adriann, marveling once more at just how tall the man was, even kneeling. He felt for the slip-knot at Adriann’s waist and pulled, releasing the sash, and the man’s pants. Then noticed that Adriann had the small ceramic pot in his hands and was coating the fingers of his right hand with the oily paste. He grinned. “Guess this answers what we do first.”
“This first,” Adriann replied. He set the small jar down and spreading some of the paste onto the other fingers, he teasingly applied a soft touch to Daniel’s abdomen, moving downward. He rubbed his thumbs lightly through the pubic hair and the action caused an immediate reaction in Daniel’s cock.
Daniel couldn’t help but smile as he bit his lip to keep from laughing. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
“Something?” Adriann asked.
Daniel gave Adriann a gauging look. “You know, Adriann.”
Adriann gave him a look that reminded Daniel of a man caught with his hand in a cookie jar. “Yes.”
As his hands caressed down Daniel’s hips and moved to his thighs, Adriann leaned in and with a tilt of his head, he brought his lips to Daniel’s. The kiss was soft and light at first, but then Adriann opened his mouth, prompting Daniel to open his. Daniel then found Adriann’s tongue deep inside his mouth, wrestling for control of his own tongue.
Jason and Jack watched periodically while they caressed each other’s skin with the oil; the only other thing touching was the metal from their dog tags. For the ritual, Daniel had taken his off, so they were denied the look of metal against his skin. But they could have that any time. Right now, what they saw was enough.
Daniel’s hands had found the paste and they were soon matching movements with Adriann, fingers teasing his inner thighs. Adriann whispered his lips over Daniel’s, his breath harsh as Daniel’s fingers ghosted over his small sac. “I need you,” he said, sliding his hands over Daniel’s ass and between the cleft, the fingertips moving deliberately over his pucker, pressing in and out, making Daniel move his muscles to clutch at his fingers.
“So soon?” Daniel asked.
“I will not delay this,” Adriann whispered, then kissed him fiercely as two fingertips pressed inside.
Daniel moaned into his mouth, sliding his knees wider, spreading himself open. God, he wanted this. And Adriann hadn’t even touched his cock yet. He was abruptly let go and looked up in shock as Adriann separated from him and stood up.
He stared at the long, narrow cock, hard and leaking. “Where are you going?”
“I’m moving behind you.”
“Daniel, I cannot–“
Adriann’s voice cut out with a sharp inhale when Daniel grabbed his hips and pulled him in, his mouth taking the cockhead inside, sucking firmly, rubbing his tongue over the hot skin. When Daniel moaned, Adriann’s determination wavered and he found himself unwilling at that moment to pull away. All he needed, wanted, demanded, at that point in time, was to have Daniel force him to come right down his throat. His fingers laced messily through his lover’s hair, clutching tightly when Daniel took more of him into his mouth. Watching him became too much and he tipped his head back, breathing rapidly, rocking his hips in time to Daniel’s moving lips.
Daniel loved that he could do this, make Adriann lose control, and he applied himself even more, tasting the length of the man’s cock before sucking him down again, moving half of his long organ in and out of his mouth. When Adriann began to sway, Daniel knew he had him, but to his surprise, Adriann pulled out of his mouth, gasping as he fell to his knees, cursing at him in Earth English before kissing Daniel hard.
When Adriann finally pulled away, Daniel actually felt dizzy and couldn’t help but laugh at himself. “You were saying?” he asked.
Adriann growled as he rose, moving behind Daniel, kneeling, and with a sudden and abrupt tug, pulled Daniel back against him. Daniel’s hands flung out and up, grasping at anything and managed only Adriann’s hair.
“To use your Earth saying, you drive me crazy,” Adriann whispered against his ear as his hands passed over Daniel’s body, still staying away from his cock.
“You’re not touching me,” Daniel said when fingers teased over his inner thighs.
“Not yet. But I will.”
Daniel answered him with his own growl, but part of his attention was suddenly taken away when he looked at Jack and Jason, and found them coincidentally mirroring him and Adriann. And they’d gotten in their position first. Daniel swallowed. Hard. They were in his favorite position. The favorite one to watch, anyway. Damn them. Jack knelt upright, Jason in front of him, and from the sweat over their skin and the breathing, Jack was already inside Jason. Daniel’s eyes travelled over the well-muscled body of his dark-haired lover, focusing on the bobbing and swinging of his lover’s cock as Jack fucked him, holding Jason’s hands against his thighs. Jason’s head rested on Jack’s shoulder, but his eyes were open, watching him. As was Jack.
Daniel was riveted to them, his lust rising higher when he felt the hard length of Adriann pressing between his buttocks, the vampire’s lips at his neck. The hands at his thighs spread them apart, and at that moment, Jason chose to take his cock in one hand, his balls in the other. One of Jack’s hands roamed over his chest, pinching his nipples, while the other slid down, fingering the navel ring. Jason hadn’t been wearing it earlier. But he was now, and the moment Jack’s finger touched and played with it, Jason’s stroking hand sped up. Daniel groaned.
“You like watching them,” Adriann whispered, his eyes also on the pair.
“Yes,” Jack answered for him. “He does.” The hand at Jason’s nipples moved up swiftly to grasp Jason’s hair, pulling his head back at a hard angle. Jason’s gasp left his mouth open and Jack covered it with his own in a hungry kiss. He thrust hard, repeatedly, eliciting grunts from Jason’s throat.
“God, yes,” Daniel answered, then groaned when Adriann’s cockhead slid past his puckered entrance, moving with deliberate slowness, not stopping. Not until he was nearly all the way inside.
“It is time,” Adriann whispered huskily, his lengthening teeth wet with saliva as they smoothed over the sweating skin of Daniel’s neck.
“Time,” Daniel repeated, not knowing what Adriann meant.
“To share my heart, my soul. Everything.”
Then Daniel remembered. He’d actually forgotten. “And I would hear you then, and you would hear me?” he asked breathless, the full feeling inside his body as well as the sight of his lovers distracting him. His muscles tightened and his breath caught, hitching several times as Adriann’s cock rubbed over his prostate.
Adriann smiled against his throat. “Yes. And more. You will know me, Daniel. Everything that I am.” He wrapped one arm firmly around Daniel’s waist and pulled him higher into his lap, nestling his ass firmly against his groin. His free hand moved up, gently pressing over Daniel’s forehead, pulling his head back to rest on Adriann’s shoulder, exposing his neck. Then he gave a short, hard thrust, the action plunging him deeply inside. Before Daniel could breathe through it, he gave another short thrust.
Daniel swallowed, finding his throat dry. “Adriann,” he managed.
“Daniel,” Adriann whispered, his mind a whirlwind of desire and lust, of need and want. He grazed the points of his fanged teeth over the pulse point, and pressed, slicing through skin. Daniel gasped, unlike before, because he was taking his time, almost making it hurt, making it painful. But Adriann had a purpose, doing this as slow as he was. His open mouth hovered over the blood spots, the tears in the skin, and unknown to Daniel, a clear liquid with just the hint of blue escaped through Adriann’s teeth like venom. The substance soaked through the wounds previously made, mixing with Daniel’s blood. Adriann bit down then, his teeth slicing painlessly through muscle and into the thick vein, and with it, the clear, bluish liquid released, flowing through Daniel’s veins rapidly. Then Adriann began to suck, pulling the hot blood rapidly into his mouth, his body. He drank fiercely, and as he did, his hips moved with wild, animal-like force, driving Daniel’s body mad with pleasure as his slender cock rode mercilessly over his prostate.
Daniel’s grip was painfully tight, holding onto Adriann’s hair and the forearm over his waist. His eyes were no longer on his lovers, but fixed on some point on the far wall. They widened with surprise and near-panic when he felt his knees leave the floor, only his shins and the top of his feet still in contact with the rug.
There was heat then, flowing over his body as if someone turned a lamp on him. But from inside. Then came the rushing sound of the ocean, but perhaps it was his blood in his ears. Daniel didn’t know. His cock was fat and heavy, balls tight with the need for release, but it seemed that the pleasure that coursed through him wasn’t going to allow it yet. It was too good. Was there a such thing? Yes. Too good. Acute and severe, to the point of pain, he supposed. But he didn’t care. The cock inside him, the teeth inside him, all plunging, sinking, taking from him, giving to him. Then came a wave of pleasure so intense that he had to hold his breath. His cock and balls, on fire it seemed, were spasming, and he was coming. Or was he? He couldn’t tell any more.
He barely registered the panting, rough voices of his lovers as they came. He was too busy realizing that he was shaking. His entire body was shaking. Then came the low, harsh scream from his throat. It started out low, barely a sound, and grew in volume along with the longest orgasm he’d ever had. His semen spilled out, down the length of his cock, shooting onto the floor in front of him. Or he supposed anyway. He didn’t know. His eyes were still fixed on that one spot on the wall. A spot he didn’t see. In his mind, he saw images, flashing before him like a life before his eyes. None of them made sense. They went by too fast. Then there were faint sounds, like echoes, filling his mind. And finally, there was Adriann’s voice. Inside his head. Whispering. I love you. He could have sworn he heard him cry out as his hot seed filled him, but nothing was certain once Daniel’s world went black.
He felt heavy, sleepy, achy, like one feels when having slept too long. And much too warm. Who the hell turned the heat up? Daniel opened his eyes, focusing, and became annoyed because his eyes didn’t want to cooperate immediately. He remembered where he was and what had happened, but it was only dim information, a tally sheet. He wouldn’t concentrate on it until he could figure out where that heat came from. Several long seconds passed, and through a lot of blinking, he finally found the source of the warmth. He lay on his side, on a thick rug with a blanket over him. Three bodies surrounded him. To his right, Jack and Jason, spooned, facing him. Asleep. Or dozing. Behind him was Adriann. Daniel knew this without looking. Well, who the hell else would it be?
“Indeed. Who else would it be?”
The voice startled him. It sounded amused.
“You slept a long while. How do you feel?”
From the pounding he knew his ass had taken, he expected to feel sore, but he didn’t. He felt thirsty, hungry, and slightly hung over. The last part annoyed him more than anything.
“Here,” Adriann’s voice said aloud. He helped Daniel to halfway sit up, pushed on his elbows, then brought a curiously pretty blue fruit to his lips. “Eat.”
Daniel opened his mouth, taking the food from Adriann’s fingers, too tired to do it himself. The fruit tasted like a mandarin orange but with the tartness of cranberries. But it seemed his body craved it because his stomach growled and he wanted more. He observed Adriann as the man fed him several sections of the fruit. Something was different about him, but Daniel didn’t know what. Other than Adriann had this cat-n-canary look about him. Smugness, that’s what it was. When he began to feel full, and out of breath from eating so hungrily, Adriann brought a large ceramic mug to his lips.
It was simple water. And before Daniel realized how thirsty he truly was, he’d drunk the contents down. When he suddenly burped, he found Adriann grinning at him.
“Stop that,” Daniel told him, trying to sound grouchy as he laid back down on his back.
Adriann grinned back and laid on his side, his head propped in his hand. Daniel wished that smugness would disappear.
“I can’t help it,” Adriann told him. In his mind.
It was then that the significance of hearing Adriann’s thoughts hit Daniel’s awakened mind. He pushed up on his elbows, staring. “I can hear you.”
“All the time?”
“Unless I don’t want you to, so you won’t hear me non-stop.”
Daniel’s eyes narrowed as his mind worked. “Unlike what you hear with us, right?”
Adriann shrugged. “I can turn it off and on, but choose not to limit my abilities.”
Daniel nodded with understanding, then looked at Adriann a little guiltily. “I forget that you hear me thinking.”
“Because you’re non-telepathic. It’s as easy for you to think that as it is for me to hear you think that.”
Daniel settled onto his back again, not answering. “Must be hard.”
“Not for us. It is natural. Like thinking.”
“It would drive me nuts.”
“Because,” Adriann drawled, “you’re not a telepath.”
Daniel smiled, finally getting it. He turned his head, looking at his lovers. “How long have they been asleep?”
“A little over four hours now.”
Daniel’s eyes widened. “What? What time is it?”
Adriann shook his head at Daniel’s need to know. “By your watch, it would be just past 3 a.m.” He grinned wider when Daniel’s mind was filled with shock.
“How long did I sleep?” he asked, trying to wrack his brain because he couldn’t immediately remember what time the ceremony had started.
“About six hours, give or take.”
“Damn,” he said, closing his eyes and pinching the bridge of his nose. He still felt tired. Adriann’s lips were at his temple just then.
“Go back to sleep. You have to wake in a few hours.” He paused. “And go home.”
Daniel opened his eyes and read the sorrow in Adriann’s. “I’m sorry.”
Adriann shook his head, silently saying there was no need to apologize.
Daniel suddenly remembered something else. “Turn around.”
With a smile of delight, Adriann rolled over, presenting his back. The black tattoo stood out starkly against the white skin, and Daniel ran his fingers over it, not touching the skin. It had been a good symbol to choose. It fit Adriann very well. “May I?”
At the touch of his fingers, Daniel felt Adriann shiver, and continued to do so as he traced the design. The man suddenly turned back over and pulled Daniel in his arms, kissing him deeply. Daniel kissed him back, fervently, and though his body did not respond completely to Adriann’s desire, he went with it anyway, allowing the vampire to make love to him one more time. This time, it was slow, gentle, and filled with wishes and regret.
It was, unfortunately, time for them to return home. After contacting Hammond, their presence was deemed no longer necessary and Janet was ordered to return, and the teams with her.
After dialing the gate open and sending the equipment through, Daniel watched Jason’s teammates go through along with Sam and Teal’c. He stayed behind with Jack, Jason, and Janet to say their goodbyes more privately. Alex had already said his and Ophius had opted not to see him off, preferring to stay at the mansion.
Janet couldn’t allow Kashan to do the same and was hugging him fiercely. Though Daniel didn’t see the tears or hear the sobbing, he knew she was crying. It was what he, Jack, and Jason had been afraid of. No one had wanted her heart broken. She may have an excuse to visit once in a while, but their relationship was not permanent, despite what they felt.
Daniel suddenly felt a wave of emotion in his mind and he turned quickly, finding Adriann’s eyes misting.
“Damn, don’t do that,” he said and pulled the taller man into his arms, hugging him. Behind Adriann, Talen and others stood and waited. They looked wistful but Daniel knew somehow that their emotions weren’t as deep as Adriann’s. They now had a future and looked forward to it.
With a kiss at Adriann’s neck, Daniel pulled away from the embrace, cupping his cheek. With irritation, Adriann ran his hand through his hair, brushing it out of his face.
“I am sorry for behaving like a baby,” and he smiled sheepishly, giving a long look at Jack and Jason. “It is only that I will miss you terribly for a while.”
“We’ll see each other again,” Jack told him firmly. “We’re allies now, remember? We can visit and you can visit. Hell, I might just show up and do some harvesting.”
Adriann smiled and nodded, knowing Jack was just saying that. Just as Jack knew.
Jason stepped forward and gave Adriann a light kiss on the lips. “Do me a favor?”
Adriann laughed and swallowed away the clogging of his throat. “Anything.”
“Don’t take any more beast blood?”
“I promise but I can’t speak for the others.”
Daniel looked over Adriann’s shoulder at the other Residents. “Please?”
He was surprised by the quick nods. It only made him suspicious and a feeling came over him.
“Adriann, what are you planning?” he began, his eyes narrowing.
Jack and Jason were alerted and Jason soon caught what Daniel did. “Yes, what’re you planning?”
Jack knew something was up and suddenly felt left out. “I’m beginning to have second thoughts about that link,” he said with heavy sarcasm.
Adriann smiled. “I can take care of that right now, if you wish.”
“No, no,” Jack said adamantly, surprising his lovers, before stepping over to Adriann and pulling him into a hug. “Not necessary, but I’ll give you call should I change my mind, okay?”
Adriann smiled, his lips pressed against his hair. “Okay.”
Daniel cleared his throat when Jack stepped away. “Whatever you’re planning, don’t go scaring the galaxy, okay?”
“Unless it’s the Tok’ra,” Jack added.
“Jack,” Daniel said.
“Kidding. Sort of.”
Daniel started to laugh and shook his head. “Funny.”
“Do not worry. It was not my intention to scare the universe. I do have other plans for it, though,” and a positively devious smile spread across Adriann’s face.
Daniel blinked, receiving the accurate thoughts. His expression soon matched Adriann’s. “Have at it, Adriann. Unfortunately for the universe, but fortunately for you, there’re plenty to go around.”
“Exactly,” Adriann replied. “We won’t starve for blood, that’s for sure. Especially with those coordinates we have in our archives.”
“Plenty of what?” Jack asked with annoyance.
“Snakes,” Daniel and Jason told him.
Jack grinned wolfishly. “I knew there was a reason I loved you.”
Adriann nodded, suddenly looking down at his feet.
Daniel touched the vampire’s shoulder, rubbing his thumb gently, making the man look up at him. “Until we see you again, please take care of yourselves.”
“And you do the same. I do not want another visit with bad news about any of you.” Adriann leaned down and gave Daniel a slow, soft kiss, letting his lips linger, not wanting to pull away. “I love you.”
Daniel was about to respond when a crackling voice over their radios startled them.
“Colonel O’Neill, is there a problem?”
Daniel mouthed the words, I love you, too, as Jack answered.
“On our way, sir. Just saying our goodbyes.”
“Understood, Colonel. However, we do need to cut this short.”
No more delays.
They moved to the gate’s platform and stood before the event horizon. With a final look, they disappeared through the gate.
Adriann felt his heart tug sharply and a few tears dropped from the corners of his eyes. The wormhole then shut off and Adriann felt alone.
“You are not alone, you silly fool,” Talen told him, speaking in their own language. She put her arm around his neck and pulled him close, kissing his cheek. “Now, let us go up to the house and plan our first excursion into our own fight with the Goa’uld.”
Kashan walked past, his face red from his own sadness. Adriann and Talen grabbed him, pulling him alongside.
“Sounds like we need to practice some of that archery. Think Calane is up for it?”
Kashan nodded silently.
Adriann understood his kin’s feelings. He sighed and hugged him. It would take time, and the distance from Daniel would be hard. What Daniel hadn’t grasped yet was that the bond they now shared was much greater than Jason’s and would end only with their deaths. For both their sakes, he hoped that wasn’t for a very long time. He then smiled, wishing he could see the look on Daniel’s face when he realized the enormity of the ritual’s…gifts.
After the med checks, which Janet had to go through as well, and the debriefing, the teams were given the next two nights off before a planned flurry of ten missions. Daniel propped a foot on the bench and unlaced his boot, suddenly feeling a loss he couldn’t explain. After a moment, he realized that it was because he missed Adriann. Part of him panicked, wondering if his link with Adriann would affect him like this all the time.
“Jason?” he called.
Jason came round the corner, dressed only in a towel while he rubbed his face with another. He was freshly washed and shaven and Daniel grinned at him. “You clean up nice.”
Jason snorted. “Thanks. What’s up?”
“Does your link with Adriann ever…make you miss him?”
Jason frowned and thought about it, then shook his head. “No. Only my feelings can do that. Why, are you missing him and thinking the link is to blame?”
Daniel nodded, then lowered his voice so that Al or Connor couldn’t hear him over the din of shower water. “Our um, ritual was intense, Jason. When we get home, I’ll recount what I felt in complete detail.”
Jason sighed. “I only know what I saw. It looked intense. Did you know,” and he suddenly lowered his voice, leaning in. “Did you know that you were shaking before you came?”
Daniel nodded, hating the blush that spread over his skin as he remembered.
“I’m a little jealous, you know,” Jason added. And he really was. Of both Adriann and Daniel, and it had nothing to do with Daniel’s ability to read Adriann. He’d seen Daniel shake from orgasm and wished he could do that to him. For him. He couldn’t help but feel he came up lacking.
Daniel’s eyes lit up. “No need, but I can rid you of that feeling later if you want.”
Jason looked at his watch. “In an hour will do nicely, providing you move your ass. I’ve got some–“
Jack came through the doors just as the gate alarm went off. He halted, looking up at nothing in particular as Sergeant Davis announced an unauthorized incoming traveler. Relieved that no other orders came over the intercom, he moved forward and caught the look on Jason’s face. He grinned as he walked to his locker.
“I know that look.”
“Do tell,” Jason said, spinning round and removing his towel before moving round the corner and out of sight.
Jack’s jaw clenched. “I hate it when he does that,” he mumbled.
Daniel laughed. “No you don’t.” He started to unbutton his trousers quickly. “We’d better get the hell out of here, Jack, before we get called.”
“Way ahead of you, Daniel.”
They both hurriedly changed, skipping their shower, and were soon waiting on Jason.
“Hurry the hell up,” Jack called out.
“I’m hurrying,” came Jason’s voice.
“Were we meeting up with Sam and Teal’c at my house?” Jack asked, wondering why he’d forgotten.
Daniel grinned. “No, Jace’s. He’s got that new kitchen island he’s been wanting to test out, remember? He’s been dying to cook up those gourmet burgers of his.” Daniel expected a more rousing reply than the look he got. “What?”
“Why’d you say that?” Jack asked, not moving.
Daniel’s smile turned hesitant and a frown followed. “Because you asked where we were meeting Sam and Teal’c.”
Jack swallowed. “Daniel. I didn’t say that out loud. I thought it.”
Daniel pinched the bridge of his nose as he closed his eyes. “Oh no.”
Jason walked up just then, slinging his backpack over his shoulder, and caught the frozen moment between his lovers. “What?”
~ o ~ 0 ~ o ~
Adriann tilted his head to the left, staring at the glyphs on the DHD. There were so many possible destinations. Which one to choose first? Either way, it was going to be a good day of hunting. He could feel it. He tightened the belt at his waist, adjusting the long-bladed dagger in its hilt at his right side. Smoothing down his leather vest and long jacket, he finally thought of a destination. And began to dial.
“Are you sure we’re going to a good address?” Talen asked, slapping at Ophius’ hands as he tried to adjust the back of her short leather coat. She slipped the strap of the carrying pack over her head and adjusted the fit of it as it hung over her chest. “Well, Adriann?”
“He’s not answering,” Kashan said in a whisper, a grin on his face.
“Obviously,” Talen snapped. “Adriann!”
Adriann didn’t answer her yet as he was still lost in thought. Though this one had nothing to do with the gate and everything to do with his last time with Daniel. He couldn’t get rid of the images he’d gotten from Daniel’s mind during the ritual and when he’d made love to him hours later. Though that had been a week ago, the words and images were still fresh, flittering across his mind. None of them had made any sense, but Adriann knew and understood their meaning. It was only the source of the images that he did not know. One day he’d have to see what the humans called a ‘film’.
“How does my kin like the name of pirate?”
As one, the five fellow Residents frowned at him. Talen, Kashan, Ophius, Calane, and Emeni. Each had chosen to go on the first excursion and now collectively wondered if maybe they should wait. Adriann had been acting a little strangely since Daniel and the other humans had returned home. Though he had always been different from them. Perhaps being the strongest of them, it was allowed, but this time, there was more to it. They knew that blending with Daniel had affected him more than he’d realized.
“You have been different since you’ve shared with Daniel, Adriann,” Calane finally asked. “What has happened?”
Adriann shrugged. “The blending was completed and everything is fine. It is simply a matter of interpreting what I see and feel.”
“Will Daniel handle it?” Emeni asked.
Adriann smiled. “He will. But I did not share all with him. Not at the conscious level. To save him from sensory overload. I could not allow him to have the memories of another flooding his conscious brain. He would be reminded of the Goa’uld and I think you all know why that is not a good idea.”
“So you are well then?” Kashan asked.
Adriann turned slightly, still not facing them. “I am well. Sad, but well. I have hundreds of these memories, strange and alien though they are, to comfort me.”
There was silence to greet his statement. Hating that her brother was sad, Talen returned to the previous concern. “What kind of a name is pirate?”
“Ah, but see,” Adriann said, turning, and tapping his temple. In seconds, he shared the thoughts that he had been thinking about. After what seemed a long consideration, they had an answer for him.
“It is, as Daniel would say, okay,” Talen replied. The others agreed.
“Though hardly applicable,” Kashan added. “We are not on a ship nor at sea.”
Adriann stared at the blue wall of the event horizon as it formed. “No, but this is comparable to one, is it not? Now, what do you say to pirate?”
“For what purpose?” Talen asked.
“When we are asked who we are, of course.”
“And answer that we are pirates?” Talen asked, walking after Adriann as he stepped toward the event horizon, his boot heels clicking on the cobblestone.
“Aye,” he said, snickering, and looked over his shoulder with an evil grin. “Drink up, me hearties, yo ho.”