Joy's Fiction Stargate SG-1 Slash Fanfiction

Trinity 30

T


Trinity 30: Veil

Part 1 of 3

Summary:  SG-2 gets new team members and SG-1 and SG-2 come face-to-face with a flesh-and-blood Ancient.
Author Note:  Special thanks to Cher for her assistance with the Russian language.  🙂
Quote: “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by George Harrison.


“I look at you all, see the love there that’s sleeping…”


“Jack, enough already,” Daniel warned, sick of the attention he was getting over this new empathy he’d developed. 

Jack gave him a long, sober look and suddenly shuddered.  If Daniel’s eyes flashed any more of a warning, he’d look like a Goa’uld.   “Daniel, it was weird, and even weirder that it appears to have been only that one time.”

“You can’t have it both ways,” Daniel answered with exasperation, “so stop being so curious about something I know damn well you don’t want to happen again.”

“I can’t help it.  It comes naturally.  And since when can’t I have it both ways?”

Daniel stopped the frustrated tapping of his pen on the bottom edge of the keyboard and took his eyes off the translation to slowly look over his right shoulder.  Jack was still leaning one shoulder against the bookcase, arms folded, looking both smug and insolent.  Jack’s face was serious but his eyes reflected that brand of amusement he adopted whenever he was thinking something particularly filthy. 

“Any time other than that way,” Daniel told him quietly, making sure his voice didn’t carry through the open door and into the corridor.  Jack had wandered in without closing it and had been quietly stalking the room ever since.  Daniel knew he was visiting for two reasons:  he was bored out of his skull waiting for Daniel’s translation of the obelisk they’d recently filmed and his curiosity about Daniel’s one-time only ability was getting out of hand. 

When Jack grinned at him, Daniel sighed, wishing his impossible lover would give it a rest.  “Jack,” he said, keeping his voice low, “it’s been two weeks, and yes, it looks like it was a fluke.  Now maybe it’ll happen again and maybe it won’t, but if it does, you’ll know, I’ll know, and hopefully it’ll be of more use than me answering a question you didn’t ask out loud.  Now, can we please move on?”

Jack wrinkled his nose, wincing at the sound of Daniel’s voice.  “I get carried away sometimes, don’t I?” he said in way of an apology. 

“Sometimes?”

Daniel rarely wished that Jack would just go away, but there had been times since that strange moment of telepathy that had him wishing Jack was on another planet. 

“Picked up anything else yet?” Jack had asked relentlessly. 

Every time he’d asked, Daniel had considered replying with creative sarcasm, but knew that Jack would only have made it worse.  In the end, his answer was always, “Nothing, Jack.”

Most of the time, Jack had appeared relieved.  Other times, he looked a bit disappointed, as if he were purposely thinking of something he’d hoped Daniel would pick up on.  Daniel had a feeling that he was perhaps inhibiting the process, that maybe he didn’t want to find things out about his friend and lover that the man didn’t want him to know.  It felt like a mental form of thievery. 

For that reason, Daniel had forced down his annoyance with Jack.  He couldn’t fault his persistent curiosity and probable fear.  No one liked having their thoughts guessed at, so it was even less desirable to have them read.  Even when he and his lovers finished each other’s sentences sometimes, it was still annoying. 

Daniel could understand how his one-time ability was both alarming and fascinating to Jack.  Both he and Jason had felt that way when they had discovered that they could read each other on occasion, but the difference was that both he and Jason were more open and accepting of it.  Neither of them had developed a protective wall as Jack had done.  Neither of them had as many built-in safeguards to help keep things hidden.  While Daniel and Jason had their own secrets they preferred remain that way, Jack had a lot more than either of them wanted to know about. 

With years of many covert missions under his belt, before the stargate, secrecy had become Jack’s bread and butter.  His experiences had caused a jaded attitude toward trust, and everyone who met him had to work their ass off to earn it.  Jack’s brusque but easy-going manner had had a lot of people fooled into thinking they’d earned that trust, but they’d learned otherwise when they’d slipped up.  It wasn’t so much a trap as it was that Jack’s experiences had forced him to expect everyone to fail his personal and professional expectations. 

It had taken Daniel a long time to earn Jack’s trust, his status as a scientist notwithstanding, and he had kept challenging Jack at every opportunity until Jack realized that it wasn’t out of disrespect for the military establishment.  It was from Daniel’s insatiable need to know and understand everything that came in his path.  Jack didn’t have that need and it took a while for him to see it in someone else and not view it as a threat. 

Daniel knew right off that Jack had issues with scientists, though neither he nor anyone else had ever been able to discern what they were.  All Daniel had learned over the years was that there were only two scientists Jack trusted.  Sam and him.  Daniel had often wanted to ask Jack for an explanation about his dislike, but he’d never pressed.  If Jack wanted him to know, he’d tell him.  For now, it simply wasn’t germane to anything.  There were things about Jack that remained a mystery and always would, and Daniel liked it that way.  There were some mysteries he didn’t need to solve. 

As for trust…well, a telepath was hard to trust.  It was bad enough that Jack didn’t like trusting people–except where love was concerned, and even then, it was a case of protecting oneself.  While Daniel knew that Jack trusted him with his life, when it came to trusting him not to read his mind, that was another matter.  It blurred the lines between love and self-protection.  Jack’s ability to threat assess didn’t operate well and that made him extremely nervous as well as guilt-ridden.  He was being forced to threat-assess his lover because of a creepy ability no one understood or had experience with — except with Adriann and his kin. 

So was it all that surprising that he kept asking?  No.   Two weeks of silence was plenty of time to show that his ability had been short-lived. 

Daniel sighed and continued to analyze the writing on the screen, referring to pages of notes from his journals and books.  As he worked, his turned his mind toward the current problem: the real reason the Tok’ra had asked for the joint venture SG-1 had only just returned from.  Daniel didn’t believe they had been honest, but that wasn’t all that unusual considering that the Tok’ra lived in secrecy. 

It was, perhaps, the real reason Hammond had had two MALP readings taken as well as one UAV recon.  He’d also assigned SG units 3 and 4 to accompany SG-1 to the planet, making it obvious that he didn’t trust the Tok’ra any further than he could throw them.  Though the official line was, “No offense, but I do not want to risk my people in case your information results in unfortunate surprises.”  That had made Jack’s day and pissed off the Tok’ra, Delek, in the process. 

The extra teams had taken guard stations on the apparently abandoned planet.  The planet had been verdant and alive, but so obviously empty that it felt creepy.  Daniel always felt uneasy when coming across abandoned planets that had once held sentient life.  He had yet to name or explain that strange little fear. 

Right after arrival, Daniel had gone immediately to film, capturing the detailed designs and lettering on the monument; for that’s what Daniel felt it was.  It was set up like one. 

Twenty yards southeast of the gate had sat a circular building, set two feet off the ground and perhaps thirty-five feet in diameter, with a three-step staircase encircling it.  It had been made up of what appeared to be a reddish granite that reminded Daniel of the time loop machine they’d found a few years before.  Six columns supported the edge of a frosted glass-like roof, six more half the distance to the center where the obelisk stood.  The roof itself towered over the artifact, its shape sloping upward in curves to a pointed spire, giving Daniel the image of a carousel.  All that the scene had lacked were old-fashioned wooden horses. 

In the center, the 25-foot tall object sat proudly, as if daring Daniel to examine its secrets.  The shape and its corresponding pyramid apex identified it as an obelisk and he’d tuned everyone out to focus on it, only absently aware of Sam recording the structure itself and their immediate surroundings.  After returning, Daniel had wasted no time in getting to the translation. 

He tilted his head to the right and sighed.  He’d have a lot more of a chance to figure it out if Jack would just give him some peace. 

“Jack–“

A throat clearing came from behind him, and both he and Jack turned, finding Jason leaning against the open door, arms crossed, watching them. 

“Jack, you know you’re being a pest, right?”

Jack made a gesture with his hand and Jason laughed quietly, snorting through his nose.  “Backatcha, baby.  By the way, Teal’c asked me to remind you that he’s waiting for you in the gym.”   Jason emphasized waiting by tapping the watch face on his wrist. 

Jack winced.  “Oops.”   He’d forgotten.  All because of his…preoccupation. 

Jason straightened and stepped inside, closing the door behind him.  “Me, I’m here to say adios for a couple of days.  I’m off to see a man about a unicorn,” reminding his lovers that SG-2 was assigned the return mission to the Ancients’ planet, going for a few days’ recon. 

“The UAV find any more rectangular patterns?” Jack asked as he finally moved away from his stalker’s perch against the bookcase. 

“No, just the three, and in that weird exact triangle around the temple–”   At Daniel’s look, he changed the word.  “Sorry, monument.”

Jack made a face about Jason’s imminent departure.  “Wish you weren’t going.”

“Yeah,” Jason shrugged, not looking all that excited about it, either. 

“I thought you wanted a chance to investigate an Ancients’ planet?” Daniel asked him. 

“I do,” Jason answered with a heavy sigh, “but this one’s not exactly a typical mission.  First of all, it’s clean-up duty.  Boring, plodding, too goddamn quiet.”

“The sort of mission you can do in your sleep, especially considering the change in SG-2’s circumstances,” Jack told him, smirking back.  “However, if you find any strange toys, don’t touch them.  Just call in and let the Geek department find the traps.”

Jason snorted, but by the look in Daniel’s eyes, he saw the warning there as well.  “What’s the matter?  Don’t trust me?”

“You, we trust.  Ancients’ tech, we don’t,” Jack told him. 

Especially Ancients’ technology,” Daniel emphasized, “so if you should find anything that looks like an elaborately carved ship’s port, don’t look into it.”  Daniel’s sharp gaze wouldn’t let up.  “So you’ll be careful, yes?”

“Yes,” Jason told him, squeezing his shoulder. 

“So what’s the second reason it’s not a typical mission?” Daniel asked.  “Would it have anything to do with Al and Connor?”

Jason grimaced and didn’t answer right away.  To their right, Jack pulled up a stool and sat down next to Daniel, eyeing Jason’s face.  “Speaking of, how’re things going for them?” he asked, sensing that this just might be the reason for Jason’s restrained mood. 

Jason shrugged again.  “As expected.”

Daniel set his pen down now and swiveled on his stool.  “You haven’t said much about it over the past few weeks.  Is Alex handling it okay?”  In fact, Daniel was worried that Jason hadn’t even bitched about losing two team members that he cared a lot about. 

Jason absently touched the table as he moved around it, his eyes focused on the surface.  He couldn’t look at his lovers.  “I know I haven’t said much.  It’s just, what the hell’s there to say, you know?  I’ll be fine.  Alex’ll be fine.  He’s just a bit pissed off, though.  He doesn’t like change, but then neither of us do.  At least I had advanced warning about Al to get used to the idea.  Alex didn’t.  He had to wait till we got back from the Residents’ planet because I promised Al that I wouldn’t say anything, leaving it for him.” He took a deep breath before going on.  “As for me, I’m okay, I guess.  I had no idea about Connor’s planned changes till last week.  Did he ever say anything to you, Daniel?”

Daniel shook his head and he and Jack exchanged glances.  There was something else wrong. 

Jason stopped at the far side of the long table, fingering one of the mission journals.  “Apparently he’s been thinking of going back to school for quite a while.  Seems he’s always wanted to be a linguist, and do the work you do, Daniel.  Now he’s taking the opportunity, though I think his wife has a lot of influence in that decision.  Still, it takes a lot of guts.” He looked up, his eyes on Daniel.  “You told him what to expect and all that?”

Daniel nodded silently, too busy trying to read between the lines, to figure out what Jason wasn’t saying. 

Jason let out another sigh, but this one less burdening.  “Al left last week.”

Jack’s eyes widened slightly with surprise.  “I know that.  I received a copy of the transfer orders and signed him out.”

“Right, sorry.”

“What’s wrong?” Daniel asked.  “Is it the mission or the new teammates?”

“Neither,” Jason told them.  “The new teammates are fine since I was the one who picked them.”

His lovers didn’t fail to notice that Jason said the instead of my teammates.  Daniel was about to mention it but Jason went on.  He decided to keep silent and sent Jack a look to do the same.  Jason would talk about it if he needed to. 

“It’s just that Alex isn’t the only one to hate change and this is a…well, a drastic one.  They say that change is necessary for there to be growth but right now, I hate that…inevitability.  You get things just where you want them and suddenly shit hits the fan.”

“Tell me about it,” Jack commented, and exchanged a look of understanding with Daniel.  “So they’re okay?”

“Yeah,” Jason said with a look of relief.  “They seem happier in that there’s a lot less stress, but it’s a little hard to get used to the wind down after all the excitement this place constantly generates.  Al said on the phone yesterday that he’s constantly cringing, expecting to hear that goddamned gate alert.” He gave his lovers that look, the one that appeared whenever his psychologist persona appeared.  “We don’t really see the stress syndrome until we’re taken out of the situation.”

They all understood that one, and had understood it long before each joined the SGC.  None of them had led sedate lives. 

Jack crossed his arms, nodding.  “I went through that several times, but it was more pronounced after I got back from Abydos the first time.” He tilted his head, a tiny smile aimed in Daniel’s direction. 

Daniel blinked rapidly a few times, trying to sort out his thoughts.  “I…think I’ve always felt it, since I watched…you know.  Since the museum.”  He was referring to his parents’ deaths and it wasn’t something he spoke of that often. 

Jason touched his shoulder.  “Death does that.” Nothing else to say and for a few minutes, the room was silent.  Jason finally decided to redirect the subject back to what it had been.   “Anyway…I hate breaking in green team members.”

“Like we all do,” Jack said sympathetically.  He gave Jason a gentle smile, free of sarcasm.  “But it’s not that so much as it is that you miss them.”

Jason rolled his eyes.  “I guess.”

A frown covered Jack’s face and the worry that something was bothering Jason increased.  “Any other changes coming?  Your options aren’t numerous,” he said, hoping to get Jason to reveal whatever it was. 

“Well, I could always have Alex take command in six months so I could retire and let my hair grow down to my ass.”

Jack stared at him, his eyes widening.  Jason wasn’t kidding. 

Daniel laughed, astonished.  “Right, Jason.  I have to admit that I like your hair longer, but seriously…”

Jason looked up at them from across the table, a table that suddenly seemed impossibly long and made Jason too far away.  Daniel’s laugh faded away and he felt Jack’s hand on his arm.  “Jace, are you serious?” he asked with stunned surprise as both he and Jack rose from their stools. 

Jason cleared his throat and flushed.  He refocused on the table, unable to answer the question.  Yes, he was serious.  Through his peripheral vision, he watched his lovers close in on him, flank both sides of the table.  He felt suddenly confined and fought the urge to run.  It was just fear of change, that’s all.  He’d finally – finally – given voice to what he’d been thinking about for a week or so, ever since the dreams.  He hadn’t even thought it through yet.  It was simply the beginning of yet one more change in his life.  They always ran in threes, like accidents or things that broke down. 

“What brought this on?” Jack asked quietly, his hand on Jason’s lower back, Daniel’s right next to it. 

Jason took a deep breath, started to speak, then laughed nervously.  “You’ll both think I’m crazy.”

“We already think that,” Daniel told him, trying a smile.  He moved his hand up Jason’s back and threaded the fingers through his hair.  “What’s going on?  Does it have anything to do with whatever it is that you’ve been dreaming about?”

Jason looked at him sharply, then relaxed and let a smirk grow.  “Should’ve known you’d notice.”

“Actually, we both did since you’ve been talking in your sleep,” Jack told him, “but since the dreams didn’t seem like nightmares…”

Jason shook his head.  “No, not nightmares, not exactly.”

“What then?” Daniel asked, moving some strands of hair out of Jason’s eyes.  His hair was getting long again, too long for the Air Force regs, anyway.  Daniel didn’t mind the thought of Jason growing his hair out, but he didn’t want Jason leaving the SGC.  He was too important, like Jack.  Selfishly, Daniel wanted his comforting presence around him. 

Jason sighed and looked at his watch.  “Look, the dreams are…well, they’re a little too much to go into right now so I’ll talk to you guys about them when I get back.”

Daniel felt a sudden shiver travel down his spine.  A bad one.  “Jace, statements like that have a habit of being left unexplained.”

Jason snorted and gave Daniel a loving look.  “Don’t do that, Daniel.  Nothing bad will happen.  I’m not going anywhere else but here, okay?”

“Promise me then.” Daniel had a bad feeling and he didn’t know why. 

Jason frowned then and worry set in.  “I promise, Daniel, but there’s no need.”

“Then promise again,” Jack said, reaching out to touch Jason’s chin, turning his face toward him. 

Jason looked at his dark, intense eyes and experienced that fluttery feeling he got in his belly every time Jack looked at him like that.  “I promise,” he whispered. 

Even knowing that the door wasn’t locked, Jack took the risk and leaned in, still holding Jason’s chin.  He kissed him, keeping it soft and chaste. 

Jason parted his lips.  He couldn’t help it.  He could never just leave a kiss chaste.  Not with Jack.  When his tongue tentatively sought out Jack’s and met it, Jason let out a breathy moan and grabbed a handful of Jack’s shirt.  He felt Jack’s other hand support the back of his head, holding him, pulling him in.  The kiss became deeper, thorough, and when Jack stopped, Jason fought for breath, felt his knees go wobbly on him.  He was also hard as nails. 

Jack pulled away, giving his lover a smug grin.  “Good,” he said simply, staring at Jason’s mouth, then his eyes, satisfied that he’d gotten his message across. 

Jason cleared his throat.  “Bastard,” he whispered, palming his groin, wincing as a shudder passed through him.  “I hate it when you do that.”

“But you let me anyway,” Jack whispered back smugly. 

Jason didn’t answer.  He didn’t need to.  Why he didn’t know, as he should have expected it, but he was startled when Daniel’s fingers replaced Jack’s on his chin. 

Daniel didn’t kiss him, not yet.  He turned Jason’s face toward him, like Jack had, and stared into his eyes, letting his own communicate for him.  He remained silent for such a long time that Jason thought he could feel something coming from him.  He started to ask, out loud, but without thinking about it, he shut his mouth and thought it. 

Daniel?

If you die on me, I’ll kick your ass. 

Jason gave him a don’t be stupid look, right before Daniel yanked him into his arms and kissed him.  Hard.  Emotions suddenly hit him, and he knew they weren’t coming from him, but from Daniel.  There was fear and love dominating them and he wondered what the hell was wrong. 

Daniel felt something was wrong but it wasn’t coming just from Jason.  It was something…else.  Love for Jason and fear for his safety overrode everything else and the only way, at the moment, that Daniel could articulate anything was by thought and by touch.  Speaking wasn’t allowed. 

Quickly overwhelmed by arousal, Jason let the flood of love that Daniel sent him consume him.  It was so deep a passion that it hurt and he moaned a whimpering sound into Daniel’s mouth as he tightened his hold around him. 

Daniel responded by dropping to his knees, bringing Jason with him.  His hands travelled downward and he grabbed Jason’s ass cheeks with needy hands, holding him still while he ground their groins together.  They both reacted to that tremor of sensation with loud moans. 

Jack stared down at them, wondering what the hell Daniel and Jason thought they were doing, but he trusted them.  Whatever it was, it wasn’t just for a quick grope, though he hoped that they wouldn’t have sex right there on the floor… 

Until that second, Jack hadn’t actually thought they’d do that, but judging by the way they had their hips moving, Jack quickly went to the door to lock it.  When he returned to them, to whatever was actually going on underneath the sexual tension, he felt the need join them, to communicate to Jason what it was that Daniel was feeling. 

He knelt behind Jason, spooning him.  Moving his arms around his waist, he snuffled Jason’s hair and the back of his neck as he reached down and opened Jason’s trousers.  Moans from both his lovers now, and whatever it was guiding his hands, he didn’t fight it.  His fingers sought out Daniel’s trousers and opened them as well.  Their hands stopped caressing long enough to shove their pants and briefs down, exposing their erections, and with a quick move, Jack took hold of them both. 

He was suddenly assailed by the emotions Jason was experiencing and knew right away they were coming from Daniel.  He groaned deeply and pumped his fists slowly, encouraging them to move.  They did, quickly, urgently, and were soon fucking Jack’s fists with eager intent.  Their muffled voices were joined by the quick friction of skin on skin and Jack was excited by it, consumed by it.  The only drawback was that he’d forgotten to open his own pants.  Jason’s ass was right there, bared for him, waiting to be filled, but he could do nothing about it.  A sound came from Jason’s throat and he knew it was for him.  Encouraged, Jack bit the back of his neck, clamping down, sucking and licking the skin.  He thrust his hips, rubbing his own hardness against his lover as his hands went to work. 

Jason ended the kiss, panting with desperate need for air and release.  “God,” he whispered.  Daniel touched his forehead to his own as he reached up to grab Jason’s shoulders for leverage.  Jason did the same, his arms inside Daniel’s.  They held onto each other, their grip harder and more desperate as their thrusts increased, riding Jack’s skillful hands.  Breathing became rapid, erratic, and the two men came, one after the other. 

Jason was first, his cheek against Daniel’s, whispering Daniel’s name in his cry.  Jack milked him, doing the same to Daniel by accident.  Daniel responded to the pressure by coming hard, spilling forever over Jack’s fingers.  The wet, warm come saturated Jack’s fingers and combined with the sounds of sex, Jack cursed himself for not opening his trousers.  He was going to come and make a thorough mess.  But what did it matter?  There was already a mess. 

It was a good thing that Daniel kept the air conditioning running on high in his office, meant for the artifacts he kept there.  It made things a bit too cool sometimes, but for once, Jack was grateful.  The heavy scent of sex in the air would dissipate more quickly.  If anyone came in at that moment, they would know

Jason dropped his head back and turned his face toward Jack’s neck, his lips against his ear, distracting Jack from his musing.   “I’m gonna fuck you when I get back,” he whispered hoarsely as he reached behind him, finding Jack’s groin and the very exact outline of his cock.  He caressed him awkwardly, but with the same hard desperation with which he’d fucked Jack’s hand. 

Daniel leaned in, his tongue licking the sweat over Jason’s throat.  He groaned and reached around Jason, his hand joining in on the caresses, but he left Jack’s cock alone and cupped his balls instead, rolling them in his palm.  His thumb rubbed in circles and Jack’s groan made him smile against Jason’s skin.   Jason’s next words vibrated under Daniel’s lips, their content making him smile. 

“I’m gonna fuck you so goddamned hard.”

The words were spoken in a heated whisper as Jason’s hand did that little twisting pull, the strength just perfect, and Jack came as if Jason were already fulfilling the promise. 

Sitting on Daniel’s office sofa, Jack and Daniel surrounded Jason once more, their heads on the back of the sofa, eyes on the ceiling.  They sat in silence after cleaning up, waiting out their fading post-orgasmic highs. 

“Okay, what the hell just happened?” Jason asked, finally breaking the silence. 

Jack smirked.  “If you have to ask…”

“You know what I mean.” He laid his hand on Daniel’s thigh, absently rubbing.  “Daniel, I think you have some idea.”

Daniel clasped his hand and stilled it.  “Don’t do that, Jace, or you’ll wind up getting fucked on this couch.”

Jason was this close to daring him, and he had a feeling that if he did, Daniel would carry out his threat.  He looked down at his lover’s groin, eyeing the semi-hard outline of his cock.  A quick thought to a quickie, but when he glanced at his watch, he groaned.  Jason suddenly hated his job, leaving him so little time.  “Fuck.  I gotta get to the gear up room.” He sat up and turned to Daniel.  “So…wanna tell me what happened?  It wasn’t simple arousal.  I felt more.”

“Me, too,” Jack echoed, though right now, the only feeling he had was an urgent need to take a nap, sandwiched by his lovers. 

Daniel sighed and closed his eyes.  “Feelings.  First, there was an overwhelming sense of danger.  It was for you, but it wasn’t defined, and it abruptly changed to something else, as if the feeling was searching, trying to find the source.”

Jack sat up straight, staring hard at Daniel.  “Wait, is it that telepathy thing?”

Daniel furrowed his brows in concentration, examining the feelings he’d experienced.  Their memory was fading as fast as the afterglow so he couldn’t interpret them completely.  “I don’t know what to call it, Jack, but it wasn’t telepathy.” He gave Jason an intense glare of concern.  “The only telepathy was what I deliberately sent.”

“And received in the spirit in which it was given,” Jason replied, taking Daniel’s hand in his as he blinked at him slowly, once.  Daniel returned it and it made him smile. 

“There, got a smile out of you,” Daniel said with gentle satisfaction. 

“Do you have any idea what the worry was?” Jason asked suddenly. 

“No.  I just felt something was wrong.” He peered hard at Jason.  “Actually, I felt it long before that.  I think Jack did, too.”

Jack nodded, startled.  “Yeah, I did.”

“What?” Jason asked, startled.  “When?”

“Just after you walked in here, although I think I felt it early this morning,” Jack told him. 

Jason leered.  “That was probably Daniel’s dick, since I was in my own bed.”

Jack smirked.  “Keep pretending, tough guy.”

Jason sighed.  “Fine, you picked up on my stress.  So?”

“So, you were giving off those heavy vibes, Jace,” Daniel told him.  “The ones that tell us when something’s bothering you.  This morning you seemed in a good mood, but I know you better than that.  Doesn’t matter that you were walking around for about an hour looking sickeningly happy…” and he smirked at Jason who only looked back at him with a smug grin. 

“Not my fault, Daniel.  Stop giving me blow jobs that could shift tectonic plates and I’ll stop looking stupidly happy.”

Daniel claimed an inner victory, said nothing about happiness and blow jobs, and went on.  “Anyway, all I’m saying is that I don’t know what set this…  ability to feel more off but I’ll pay attention to them.”

“What were the other feelings…other than the obvious?” Jack asked. 

Daniel’s eyes narrowed in focus.  “It wasn’t…  a warning.  It was more like…  “

He paused longer, trying to find the words.  His lovers remained silent, waiting.  “It was like my arousal hit you, grew exponentially, and hit me back.  When that happened, there was no way we weren’t going to have sex.”

Both Jason and Jack began to chuckle quietly, completely understanding. 

“Sorry,” Daniel suddenly said, feeling a little guilty, as if he’d somehow forced them into it. 

“For?” Jack asked with surprise. 

Jason didn’t have to ask.  He knew.  He brushed the back of his hand over Daniel’s cheek.   “Never apologize for loving us, Daniel.  We’d never object.”  He turned his head and Jack gave him a nod of agreement. 

“Yeah, but still, the timing, you know…” Daniel went on, though he did so as a matter of personal expectation.  He didn’t really feel bad for what happened but he didn’t like compromising Jason’s job. 

“Yeah, well, we live dangerously in everything else so why not this.”

“Amen,” Jack agreed. 

Jason leaned forward and brought his lips to Daniel’s in an example of his statement.  He laughed against his mouth when Daniel growled in response. 

“So, getting back to that dangerous feeling, Daniel,” Jack interrupted, his own thoughts about anything he might have felt.  He’d always trusted his intuition as well as Daniel’s so this was beginning to alarm him.  Any affection or sexual interest was quickly taking a back seat to his highly developed need to protect.  “Are you saying that despite the reason, your emotions inflated like a sponge?”

Daniel frowned again, thinking it over.  “The analogy is accurate I guess, but it’s more like it boomeranged or something, like radar, only in this case, increasing as it passed back and forth and came back to me.”

Jason considered it and nodded.  “Sounds like what empathy would be.”

“How would we know?” Jack asked. 

Jason shook his head.  “We wouldn’t, really.  The only assumption we have about empathic ability is through that Star Trek episode.”

“I’m…  an empath?” Daniel repeated and his eyes grew wide.  “No, no, that’s…  holy shit,” he whispered, rubbing his forehead. 

“Don’t panic, Daniel,” Jason told him, taking his hand.  “That may not be what it is.  Can you read my emotions right now?  Or Jack’s?”

Daniel concentrated as he looked at his lovers, but after a minute, he shook his head and waved his hand dismissively.  “I feel something, but I can’t count it because I know the both of you too damn well.”

Anything else was interrupted when the intercom activated and Jason was called to the gear up room.  He winced.  “Shit.” He stiffened in surprise when Jack placed a hand in the middle of his back, then forced himself to relax and lean into it for a few seconds before he stood up, stretched…  and jumped from Jack’s touch on his ass. 

“Asshole.”

“I know.  Question for you,” Jack replied, taking away his admiring gaze as he stood up. 

“Answer for you.”

“Are your dreams one of the reasons you don’t plan to extend your contract?” Jack asked. 

“No, it’s not that.  This is something else.  I hate change but when my subconscious demands it, I have to pay attention.  In this case, it’s my job.  Don’t get me wrong, guys.  I love my job, but it’s just that I want to do more.” He gave Daniel a strangely intense look as he reached out and pulled him to his feet. 

“What?” Daniel asked. 

“Something in the dreams gave me the very specific idea that Adriann gave you something, and did it during that…”  He smiled, his eyes dark and intense.    “Exquisite ceremonial fuck.”  Daniel looked embarrassed and Jason gave him an apologetic look before he added, “That was something to watch, too.”  He also abruptly wished he hadn’t said it and hated himself for getting hard.  “Whatever he gave you, maybe that’s what’s happening.”

Daniel gave him a long look.  “You’re gonna tell me those dreams in detail when you get back.”

Jason grinned.  “Count on it.  I’ll see if I can’t sort them out while I’m standing around offworld scratching my ass.” Jack started to chuckle and Jason rolled his eyes.  “Yeah, laugh it up, flyboy.” He let out a frustrated sigh.  “Do me a favor, okay?”

“Anything,” Daniel replied. 

“Remember how Teal’c taught you to sort things out in your mind during meditation?”

“Yeah.”

“Use that.  It’ll help focus your feelings.  There’s something important there.”

“Okay.” Daniel knew that Jason was right.  Meditation was needed.  He’d felt intense emotions not all of them were his.  Could it really be empathy?  Regardless, he still felt uneasy about this supposed cake walk of a mission.   “Jace, do you think your new guys will work out?”

“I think so.  Or at least, I hope so.  They’re both risks.”

“What do you mean?” Jack asked, his protective side kicking up again.   “Hammond wouldn’t have approved them if they weren’t safe, Jason.”

“What I mean is that some military experience doesn’t prepare you for the knowledge of the SGC much less the experience of going through the gate.  One of the new members has gate experience, but the one who’s taking Al’s spot doesn’t.  He’s from Special Operations, who transferred in six months ago, by his own request, from the Middle East.”

“Why’d he request a transfer?” Jack asked warily. 

Jason gave him a look.  “You know, Jack.  We both do.  Like us, he saw his own burn out coming.  He’s still a bit jumpy.”

Jack stared back, stilling a moment in shock.  “Are you nuts?  Burn out takes a lot longer to come back from than six months, Jace.”

“Yes, it does, but there are people already assigned here who are suffering burn out.  And we can’t stand them down because we don’t have the personnel to replace them.”

“Which is why Janet assigns a lot of medical leave on base,” Daniel added.  “She knows and she refuses to place them back on active duty, almost to the point of insubordination.  She risks a lot.”

Jack nodded in agreement, as did Jason.  They all knew how hard Janet’s job was.  Just because she didn’t see a lot of combat didn’t mean she never suffered through her own version of stress trauma.  She was surrounded by more death than some of the teams. 

“Jack, trust me, they’ll work out,” Jason told him, touching his arm. 

Jack gave Jason a long, measured look.  “I always trust you.  I can’t say that about many people.  As for the Sand Rat, this’ll be a piece of cake in comparison to where he’s been…once he’s gotten over the alien shock, that is.  How long ago was he told?”

“A month.  He’s been undergoing the usual orientation, already had his spate of tests, medical and psychological and passed them.”

Jack sighed then did a double take to Daniel.  “You going to jump in here with your two cents?”

“No, I’m just listening.  This is your area anyway, not mine.”

“Usually,” Jack replied with a grin. 

“Usually,” Daniel agreed. 

“So what’s his background?” Jack asked as he always did.  A person’s ethnicity and background shaped their views and it always indicated how they would react to the SGC’s particular brand of stress. 

“Well, just as soon as you get rid of one…He’s an Irishman, you know.  They’re everywhere,” Jason told them, grinning wickedly. 

Jack purposely rose to the bait.  “Aye, that’s because we run the planet, don’tcha know.”

Daniel covered his eyes with his hand, laughing.  “Jack, you need to go to Ireland to find out how their accent sounds and stop listening to the Lucky Charms commercials.”

“Funny,” Jack glared, then turned back to Jason.  “What’s his name?”

“Captain Kane Riley.”

“An officer?” Jack asked, surprised. 

“I couldn’t find anyone else with his qualifications and years’ experience.  He knows explosives, medical training, the art of negotiating.”

“Really?” Daniel asked, impressed.  “That could come in handy.”

“Yes,” Jack added, “but Hammond was aiming on getting more enlisted on the teams.  I’m surprised he didn’t stick this guy somewhere else.”

“That’s because I specifically requested him.  He didn’t know about Riley till I gave him his file.  I wanted him on the team so…  he kinda caved.”

Daniel tried not to smirk and failed.  He reached up and brushed Jason’s bangs out of his eyes, getting Jason to bat at his hand.  “You sweet-talked him, didn’t you?”

Jason’s cheeks actually flushed a bit.  “I didn’t,” he protested weakly, “but he agreed with my reasons.”

“Which were?” Jack asked. 

“Kane’s also a bit of a student of history, having earned a degree in Ancient History, both fact and myth.”

Daniel’s smile widened in approval.  “That’s very cool.  So, is he rested, no more burn-out?”

“He’s still edgy but needs to get out and do something, so he is.  Don’t worry.  He’s fine.  He wouldn’t be on my team otherwise.  I’ve been talking to him over the last few days.”

Daniel snorted.  “Been working him, haven’t you?”

“I don’t know what you mean,” Jason answered, his innocent routine not fooling anyone. 

“What’s he look like?” Daniel then asked, wondering if the man he’d seen talking to Jason in the mess hall had been him.  “Is he that tall guy with the dark brown wavy hair that you were talking to at lunch the other day?”

“Yeah, that’s him.”

“Daniel?” Jack asked. 

“Saw Jason and Riley in the mess hall Tuesday and since it seemed like business, I didn’t want to interrupt.”

Jason grinned at him.  “I pointed you out to him as you were making your way to sit down with Janet.”

“So that’s where you were,” Jack said, leering at Daniel.  “Making moves on my woman.”

“Ha, ha, Jack, the better man won,” Daniel shot back. 

“We’ll see,” Jack challenged. 

They snickered at each other and followed Jason to the door. 

“Any ‘phobe potential there?” Jack asked, always risk assessing. 

Jason grinned broadly.  “You can ease your mind on that one, Jack.  He’s been given three Article 15’s for assaulting ‘phobes.  One of those 15’s was given to him in the hospital.  It’s also one of the reasons that he’s still a Captain, despite his education and years in service.”

Jack cringed.  “Yep, that’ll do it.”

“What?” Daniel asked, his sense of righteousness kicking in.  “He got an Article 15 for defending a gay serviceman?”

Jason nodded.  “Though the records will show it was for beating the fuck out of three men before four others showed up and beat the tar out of him.  The gay man too.”

“But to land himself in the hospital…that was brave.”

“Not really, Daniel.”

Daniel frowned.  “What’s that mean?”

“It means that he has the same attitude I have.”

“We both have,” Jack reminded him, knowing what he was going to say. 

Daniel groaned, knowing too.  “Live and let die.  Jason–“

“I’m sorry I said it, Daniel, ’cause now we’ll argue and I don’t–“

“No, we won’t argue.  I get it.  I just don’t agree that violence is the answer.”

The three were silence for a few seconds.  “Sometimes it’s the only answer, Daniel, and you know damn well it is.”

Daniel sighed and reached up to caress Jason’s arm.  “I know.  So, he’s someone who’ll defend gays.  That’s cool.  Does he know that you…?”

“It wasn’t relevant to tell him so, no, he doesn’t.”

“Is he…?”

Jason shrugged.  “Not my place to out him, but I don’t think so.  It may be a cover, but I’ve caught him watching female tail.”

Jack snorted.  “So who’s the other guy?”

“Um, he’s a she.”

“What?” his lovers asked together. 

“Yep.  And more specifically, a Russian Lieutenant.” Jason cleared his throat and moved over to Daniel’s bottled water, removed the cap and took a drink, all the while watching the huge grin spreading over Daniel’s face.  Daniel took the few steps to reach his lover and pulled him in to kiss him. 

“Thanks.”

“For?”

“Listening to my rants about the lack of Russians on teams other than the two we have.”

Jason brushed him off fondly.  “I did no such thing.  I happen to like the Russians.” Daniel reached up and did something Jason hated.  He ruffled his hair.  Snorting out a laugh and ducking too late, he received a cuff on the back of the head. 

Jason glanced at his watch and headed for the door…for the second time.  He knew he was gonna have to push it once he got to the gear up room.  “They’ve been given an unfair shake because some people, thankfully not Hammond, don’t know the cold war’s been over with for a long time.”

“Assholes,” Jack swore.  He held his hand up when the two men looked at him funny.  “I meant the bigots, not the Russians.  So who’s the new LT?”

“Well, you know that temporary assignment thing that Hammond’s initiated, where people from a few of our allies, not just the Russians, spend time with a team?” Jack and Daniel nodded.  “She’s one of those.  She’ll spend three months with SG-2, taking Connor’s place, and she’s ironically better qualified.  Alex will look for someone permanent in the meantime.”

“Why isn’t she permanent?” Daniel asked, starting to scowl. 

“Don’t get your dander up, Daniel.  He’s got her in mind to lead a research team, even though she’s only an LT.”

“Really?”

“Really.  She’s been back and forth, so she knows the SGC already.  She’s currently in your department, Daniel, and both of you have served with her already.”

“We have?” Jack and Daniel asked together. 

Then Jack’s surprise gave way to groaning assumption.  “Oh, don’t tell me.  Svetlana?  How can she take Connor’s–“

“No, Jack, not Svetlana, and besides, she’s a Captain.  I think.”

“Who then?” Jack asked. 

Daniel looked just as clueless, and annoyed that he’d missed a Russian working in his department. 

Jason couldn’t help but grin at them both.  “She was a member of Colonel Zuhkov’s team two years ago.”

Daniel’s mouth dropped.  “Lieutenant Tolenev?”

“I liked that woman,” Jack said, nodding.  “Smart, even with the, you know…” and he gestured at his neck, grimacing when remembering that she’d been attacked by a small creature with four large fangs. 

“She’s definitely that, Jack,” Jason told him.  “I’ve already had the chance to talk with her off and on and she’s extremely eager to prove herself, especially with um…the sort of attention she’s been getting.”

Daniel’s scowl returned.  “Who’s been giving her a hard time?”

Jason raised his hand to stall the rant.  “Not because she’s Russian, Daniel.”

Daniel looked, again, clueless, but Jack covered his mouth to keep from smirking. 

“What?” Daniel asked impatiently. 

“You haven’t noticed?” Jason asked, frankly surprised.  “I’m shocked, Daniel.”

“What?” Daniel asked a little louder.  “Someday Jason, you’re going to go too far.”

“She’s pretty,” Jack told him, having controlled his amusement.  “She’s pretty and she’s Russian, and though she speaks excellent English, the jugheads around here think that a beautiful foreign woman is ripe for a little…  action.”

“What?” Daniel asked, affronted and becoming a bit angry, ready to confront the transgressors.  He reached to open the door but Jason placed a hand on his chest. 

“Don’t worry.  She can handle herself.  Besides, Alex and Kane are already taking care of things.”

Daniel calmed down but his frown was still deeply creasing his brows.  “If you say so.” When Jason nodded, he took a deep and breath and tried to relax.  “So, how’s she taking the co-ed thing?”

Jason’s mouth twitched as he grinned madly.  “She was not happy so until we get her used to her teammates and certain they won’t try and jump her when she’s changing, she’ll shower in the regular women’s locker room.”

“I hope that’s soon.  That’ll wear after a while.  Sam hated it, said it took up too much time,” Daniel commented. 

“She’ll get comfortable soon.  I hope, anyway.  She’s already comfortable in the lab.  I’ve heard she’s pretty good at identifying the origins of stuff the geek department’s given up on.”

Daniel’s brow rose.  “Really?  Why haven’t I heard about this?”

“Because the department has grown, Daniel,” Jack told him, “and you’re not the technical leader of it…yet.”

“Yet,” Daniel said glumly. 

“Well, when you are, guess what that will mean?” Jack went on.  Daniel gave him a querying look.  “It’ll mean that you’re no longer on a team.  One can’t do both.”

“Yes I can,” Daniel argued. 

“Let me rephrase that, Daniel.  The Pentagon won’t allow you to do both.”

Daniel pursed his lips.  “Great.  One more anthill to knock down.  No problem.”

Jack pointed his thumb at Daniel while looking at Jason.  “Meet Mr.  Anteater.”

Jason snorted and started to laugh at the glare Daniel shot Jack.  “Well, anyway,” he said, recovering.  “Did you know that she has archaeological and anthropological training?”

“Actually, yeah, I did know that,” Daniel said, “when I studied the bios of the Russian team we went out with.  I didn’t get a chance to spend any time with her though.”

“None of us really got the time to get to know her but she’s been working in your field department, going offworld with the few research teams we have.  I asked General Hammond if it wouldn’t be good for her to get some further experience with an actual SG team and not a research team, and he approved of the temporary transfer.  He said I can have her for three months.  He wants her to lead a research team after that.”

“Really?” Daniel asked.  “Wow.  He must be impressed.  Oh, what’s her first name?”

“Anna.”

“No shit?”

“No shit.”

“Isn’t that Hebrew?” Jack asked. 

“Yeah,” Jason nodded, then tilted his head to the side.  “In a way, I’m getting my Irishman and Jew back again.”

Daniel reached up and rubbed Jason’s shoulder while Jack touched his back.  “Things’ll be okay.”

“I know.”

The door opened and they entered the corridor. 

“So she’s going out with you today?” Jack asked. 

Jason glanced at his watch for the third time.  “Yep, in twenty minutes, and I’m so fucking late.  I gotta go.”

Daniel grabbed his shirt sleeve.  “Remember your promise.”

“Like I’d forget.  I’ll see you in a couple of days or less.” He started off but stopped and turned around after taking only a few strides.  “Oh, before I forget, you guys going to be ready for the gothic pumpkin bash a week from now?”

Daniel traded a grin with Jack at Jason’s nickname for next week’s event.  None of them knew what the other was wearing to the SGC’s Holiday Charity Ball, now officially renamed as the SGC Halloween Costume and Charity Ball, and they wanted to surprise each other.  Privately, each wanted something sexy to wear and hoped they succeeded.  But in the last week, Daniel and Jack had been left wondering if Jason hadn’t lost his mind.  He’d been letting bits of information drop about his costume, and from what they could piece together, Jason could very well show up as a ghoul. 

Daniel rubbed at the corner of his mouth with his index finger before crossing his arms.  “I think we’re ready.” He looked at Jack.  “Are you ready?”

“I’m always ready,” Jack replied, unable to help it. 

“Well at least you didn’t say you were born ready,” Daniel said in an undertone. 

“There’s that, too,” Jack answered. 

Jason smirked at them, knowing how coy they were playing it, and getting him back for the hints he’d dropped.  Well, he still had to make up his mind.  He had two costumes he’d ordered online.  He only had to decide, at the last minute, what sort of mood he’d be in.  He would probably go with the sex-on-a-stick outfit, but with his moodiness lately, there was no telling. 

“Just be ready to set the place on fire,” and he gave them a salute using only the first two fingers and moved away, heading for the elevators. 

“Be careful out there,” Daniel called after him and Jason waved a hand over his head without turning around. 

Daniel sighed and moved back into his office.  “He’d better be careful or I will kick his ass, martial art training or no.”

Jack gave him a wry grin.  “He’ll be careful.  He always is.  I’m dying to know what he’s going to wear.  I think he’s undecided, despite getting that large package in the mail the other day.”

“Hmm, I don’t know.  Maybe.”

Daniel started to worry about Jason’s mood, and the strange feeling he’d received earlier, but Jack’s hand on his arm brought him out of his thoughts.  “We’re going home at six.”

“Why?” Daniel asked with a smirk. 

“Because I know how fixated you are with this,” and he gestured at the translation.  “You can’t work all night.  You need your rest, and then…you need your sleep.”

Daniel snickered.  “Message received, Colonel.”

“I’ll come get your ass.  I’m not waiting an hour like last time.”

“Promise?”

“No.  It’s a threat, Daniel.”

His brow rose in interest, the smirk turning into a taunting grin.  “Ooh, Alpha Jack.  Think you’ll get far with that?”

“Oh yeah, lots of mileage.”

Daniel’s grin altered with the wicked gleam in his eyes. 

“What?” Jack asked warily. 

“How about we go for a bit of mileage after work?”

“I’m not hiking, Daniel.  Forget it.”

Daniel laughed.  “I promise, no hiking, but we can enjoy the beautiful outdoors.  You game?”

“Game enough.  Gonna tell me where?”

“No.”

Jack regarded him for a moment and felt the sudden interest sparking low in his belly.  He recognized that look in Daniel’s eyes.  Outdoors meant secluded.  Only thing was, where?  Didn’t really matter though.  Jack was up for a bit of game playing.  “Didn’t think you’d tell me.  In the meantime…c’mon,” and he gestured at the corridor. 

“I’ve got this work to do.”

“In a bit,” he said, gesturing at the time on his watch.  “Let’s go to the control room and see Jason’s team off.”

Daniel smirked at him as they left his office.  “You just can’t leave the protective routine to Jason, can you?”

“What, I just want to wish the new members a good mission.”

“No, you want to check out Anna and Kane.”

“I swear, that’s not the reason.”

“Ah huh.”

Jason looked over his shoulder after hearing a loud curse from Alex.  He finished tightening his field vest and walked over, eyeing the new team member, Kane, as he did so.  The man looked over as he got ready, but he also looked away, his experience telling him to do so.  Jason didn’t miss the edginess and knew he had to have a talk with him.  Looking back at Alex told him whatever was wrong was serious.  “Alex?  What’s wrong?”

“Nothing!” Alex snapped, throwing his towel into his locker.  He sent Jason an apologetic look soon after but the anger on his face didn’t lessen any. 

Jason sighed.  “Summarize, then fill me in later.”

Alex glanced at Kane, then hesitated as he lifted a foot to the bench before him to lace up his boot.  He didn’t know how to say it, so blunt was best. 

“Cari broke it off.”

Jason blinked, not getting it at first.  “Broke what off?”

Alex sighed heavily.  “Jace…” he whispered impatiently. 

A second later, Jason squeezed his eyes shut, silently cursing himself as an inconsiderate fool.  “Why?”

“As you said, later, okay?”

With another sigh, Jason nodded, then cleared his throat.  “We ready to check out the planet then?”

“Not a problem.”

Jason gave him a long look then finally nodded and turned to face Kane.  The man was trying to look inconspicuous, having finished dressing in his field gear and was now triple checking his pockets.   Jason experienced a second or two of indecision, doubt rising over his replacement for Al.  He was suddenly not so certain that the man was ready for a gate mission but he shook off that dangerous thought and walked over to him, his hand coming to rest on the man’s left shoulder. 

“Riley, you alright there?  You’re looking a little…green.” He followed it with a grin, hoping the man’s sense of humor appeared in response.  If he didn’t react appropriately to the awkwardness of the personal situation, as well as his own nervousness of the overall situation, then Jason knew that the new teammate’s sense of humor would have to be developed.  A pain in the ass, but Jason had handled lesser personalities. 

Kane turned his head slightly, looking evenly into Jason’s dark eyes, his own blue reflecting his anxious emotion.  “I think so, Major.”

Noise from Alex’s locker as he closed it and walked over.  Alex grinned at him.  “After a while, Riley, you’ll get to know this guy and you’ll stop calling him Major, although he is a major pain in the–“

“Alex, do you want to clean weapons for the next three months?” Jason asked, his right brow arching slightly. 

“Tyrant,” Alex muttered, though a grin formed as he walked past them and through the door. 

“Six months it is,” Jason answered loudly, winking at Kane before turning to close his own locker.  There was a moment of silence and when Jason turned round, he found Kane’s demeanor a little more relaxed, though a bit embarrassed.  “I know that things are unorthodox here, though some other teams keep a tighter protocol, but remember, it’s because of the mixed personnel here.  You’ll find your legs, so no worries.”

Kane sighed and nodded, running the large fingers of his right hand through his wavy, brown hair.  “It was lax at my last posting, though it sort of had to be looser.”

Jason nodded in agreement.  “I know.  Constant alertness to living in enemy territory is stressful enough so the usual rules get dumped to free up the stress.”  He gestured at the door and followed Kane through it.  “Just remember that General Hammond likes things loose to a certain point, but he does expect other things, like following duty rosters, writing mission reports.” He grinned at Kane’s grimace.  “I take it your writing skills are…?”

“They suck, sir.”

Jason laughed.  “You’ll do fine.  Just ask Alex.  He’s never met a punctuation mark that didn’t like him.”

Alex rolled his eyes.  “I’ve gotten better.”

The door to the women’s community locker room opened nearby and Anna Tolenev strode out, adjusting her vest.  She wore her Russian uniform, complete with black beret, and Jason grinned admiringly.  She came to attention with a shock of surprise and saluted him, waiting for his return.  He saluted back. 

“At ease, Lieutenant.  You don’t need to salute throughout the base, by the way, otherwise you’ll be saluting all damn day.  Just one for the General will suffice.”

“Yes, sir,” she answered, then eyed Alex and Kane, nodding once.  “Good morning, sirs.”

“Morning,” they said almost simultaneously. 

“I’ll bet that, unlike me or Riley here, you’ll have no problems writing mission reports, eh Lieutenant?” Alex asked. 

“No sir, no problems at all,” she replied crisply, her English accented but clear.  She frowned slightly at Alex’s grin when he nudged Kane with his elbow, and wondered if were teasing or testing her.  Using the confrontational nature that had often gotten her into trouble, she lifted her chin and gazed at him with hard dark eyes.  “Is there a problem, Captain?”

Alex looked surprised and immediately fought for some sort of explanation. 

Jason couldn’t help but laugh, touching her elbow.  “No problems, Anna.”  She gave him another look of surprise and Jason read it quickly.  “Remember that talk we had about how relaxed it is here compared to what you’re used to?”

“Yes, sir,” she answered readily, feeling a little more at ease, but not enough to relax.  “The use of given names is not what I am used to, that is for certain.”

Down the hall, Sam was heading for her team’s locker room shared with SG-2.  She was in civilian clothes, carrying her motorcycle helmet, and her boot heels clicked audibly on the cement floor.  She’d heard Anna’s reply and could only imagine what the guys were ribbing her about.  Taking a deep breath, she quickened her step.  She took in the look of discomfort on Anna’s face and quickly put on her business face. 

“How about a friendly female escort, Lieutenant?” she asked, gesturing the way she’d come, at the elevators.  Anna stepped forward, quickly joining Sam as the Major made an about-face and headed back the way she’d came.  She purposely ignored the men of SG-2.  “How’re you doing?” she asked. 

“I am well, Major.  How are you?”

“I’m great.”

“You are here late in the day.  Does SG-1 have a late mission?”

“No, just here to get some work done.  Besides, your team is conducting the extensive examination of P4X-566 while Daniel translates the obelisk.”

Anna gave her a confused look.  “You are certain that Doctor Jackson will translate the object?”

Sam’s eyes widened as she nodded.  “Oh, of course.  That’s not a problem for him.” She glanced back at Jason, walking directly behind Anna, then got an idea to introduce Anna to Daniel…and into the tight circle of people who were, for better or worse, the General’s favorites.  While Sam had no qualms about Jason’s behavior, she knew Alex tended to be a little sexist and she had no clue about the new guy.  Put low-brained men together and you had sexist testosterone running on overdrive.  It might be better to get Anna the proper education about the base.  God knew what the hell the woman had already put up with.   “I’ve an idea.   When you get back, why don’t you offer Daniel your help with the translation.  I think you two would get along well.  Especially since he speaks Russian, unlike the rest of us monoglot idiots.”

“Monoglot?” Alex asked. 

“Single language speaker,” Sam told him. 

“Watch it, Sam,” Jason murmured, though he was smiling.  He knew a dig when he heard one.  “Some of us polyglots actually speak languages that no longer exist in wide usage.” He gave her a knowing look and Sam returned it. 

“Anyway,” she went on, “Daniel should make you feel at home here.”

“Hey,” Alex objected and Sam sent him a withering glance. 

“You are interested in his branch of work, aren’t you, Anna?” Jason asked. 

Anna was floored.  She’d never have offered to work with Daniel.  She would have waited to be invited. 

“I…are you sure that I would not be, as you say…out of line…working with him, should he accept assistance?”

“Daniel’s a civilian, Anna,” Sam answered as they entered the elevator, “and he’s more civilian than the rest of the civilians, which means, you don’t stand on protocol with him.   Ever.   Except for, you know, the normal considerations, like knocking on his office door before entering.”

“Yes, of course, ma’am.”

Sam stood by the controls and punched 28.  She then crossed her arms and eyed each man, including Jason, before looking back at Anna.  “Are these…gentlemen…giving you a hard time?”

Alex and Kane started to open their mouths to protest but Jason smirked at Sam as he held up his hand, silencing his teammates.  “Sam, don’t start.  We’ve been nice.  No Neanderthal behavior, trust me.  I can’t say for the rest of the base, but her teammates won’t be acting like assholes.”

Anna blinked in shock and stared at Jason’s use of the curse word.  He grinned at her in sympathy.  “Have you had to deal with much sexist or bigoted behavior?”  He hoped not. 

Anna pressed her lips together.  Frankly, she’d expected more than she’d received.  “No, sir, not much.  I was prepared for it but not much has happened.”

“Anything worth reporting?” he asked. 

“No, sir.”

The elevators opened and as they reached the doorway that led to the control room, Sam held out her hand to shake Anna’s.  “Good luck, and you’ll do fine.” She looked at the men and finally—finally—looked at Kane.  She held out her hand.  “I’ve been rude, and I apologize.  It’s just too easy to fall into the joking manner here.”

He shook it, appreciating Sam’s strong grip.  A small grin appeared and he was relieved to feel it reaching his eyes.  He was frankly apprehensive, almost scared, to go through that gate.  He knew it was just butterflies and not post-trauma, but that didn’t make it easier. 

“Thanks, Major.  I’m hoping to get to that joking manner soon.  I think I’m a rack of nerves.”

She smiled, genuinely liking this man, though she was resisting out of a stubborn loyalty to Al.  She didn’t know why.  She was easily accepting Anna’s place.  “You’ll be fine.  Me, I was excited as hell, but I had no clue about my stomach.  You ate only light meals for lunch I hope?” she asked, and looked over at Anna.  They both nodded.  “Good.  You won’t have to worry about that after a while, but for the first dozen or so trips, you’ll need to keep your stomach calm.” She was interrupted by Jason’s silent signal to get to the gateroom.  “Good luck, Jason, though I don’t think you’ll need it.” They headed toward C door when she called out, “And no running into giant spiders!” She snickered and ducked into the control room. 

As SG-2 entered the control room, Kane looked pale, the bluish-white light from the event horizon making it worse.  “Wait a minute.  Giant spiders?”

Alex clapped him on the back as they gathered at the foot of the ramp.  “Not a problem, Riley.  Just stay out of the way of the spraying venom and you’ll be fine.”

Kane’s eyes narrowed, believing he was being made fun of.  No problem.  He could deal it back, once his nerves calmed.  “Very funny,” he mumbled.  Despite the unusual relaxed behavior he’d received from his new teammates, he liked them.  Even the woman seemed like a good sort.  He only hoped she stayed that way and wasn’t a whiner when things got dicey. 

“SG-2, you have a go,” came Hammond’s voice from the control room. 

Anna copied her teammates and saluted the General.  He saluted back, giving her a grin which strangely comforted her.  She’d only met him a few times, and though she liked him, she still didn’t know what to make of him yet.  She spied Jack and Daniel, who waved, and she sent them both a nod of respect before turning around.  She glanced at Kane just as he looked up into the control room.  She knew exactly how to pay Kane back for the private joke she hadn’t been in on.  She really hated those, feeling like the joke was on her.  That crack about writing had to be referring to women as secretaries.  Hmph. 

Kane sent Jack a salute and a nod to Daniel, still unsure how to treat civilians. 

Anna walked up the ramp, reaching Kane’s shoulder, and felt an urge to do something that had often gotten her into trouble during her academic schooling.  She gave in to the urge, but kept the remarks simple.   She whispered, “I had heard about the spiders Major Carter mentioned, Captain.  It is true about the venom.” He gave her a wide-eyed look and she made sure her expression was deadly serious before she stepped through the event horizon right after Alex. 

Kane gave Jason a disconcerted look.  “I’m gonna have a hard time telling when she’s kidding, sir.  She’s got that Russian poker face.”

Jason started laughing and took Kane by the bicep.  A quick nod to the General–and Jack and Daniel, who’d been standing in the shadows–and they were through. 

Up in the control room, Jack and Daniel stood like a pair of shadowing bookends, each with crossed arms, and three steps back behind the General. 

Daniel nudged Jack with his elbow.  “Well?”

Hammond echoed the question, turning.  “Yes, did you gain anything, Colonel?”

“Only that Riley needs to lighten up, sir,” Jack replied, and the General smirked, shook his head, and walked to his office.  Jack turned his eyes on Daniel and did a double take, finding his lover staring at him with a slight frown.  “What?”

Daniel sighed.  “Nothing to say about Anna?”

“What, I hardly know the woman.”

Daniel’s patience was getting thin.  “Jack, you had your arm around her on Martok’s planet when Lieutenant Marchenko was killed.  You spent some quality seconds and you formed an opinion then.  What’s up now?”

Jack sighed.  “Daniel, the General already knows my opinion on her professionally.  I gave it after that mission.  Only time will tell if she’s improved or remained the same.”

“You said there was room for improvement?” Daniel asked, remembering that Jack hadn’t said anything at the time.  Not to him, anyway. 

“No,” Jack drawled, wishing they were elsewhere so he could raise his voice, “I said she was an excellent soldier and a tremendous asset to her unit.”

“Jeez.”

“What?  That’s not a slam, Daniel.”

“Perhaps not but it might as well have come from a handbook for all the personal opinion put into it.”

“Don’t start, Daniel.  She is a credit to her unit, and she will be to this one, especially if she’s only gotten better.  Does that suit you?”

“No, but that doesn’t matter.” Daniel knew what Jack was saying but he wanted more. 

Jack rolled his eyes.  “Daniel, don’t go there.  Your opinion matters.  It just so happens that mine is limited where Tolenev and Riley are concerned.  I need to evaluate their performances, judge them in person during a mission.  That crap inside that Zigure-eight wasn’t long enough to form any kind of opinion other than the one I gave.”

“Ziggurat.”

Jack glared at him, holding up a finger.  Fortunately, not the middle one, but it would have been if they’d been anywhere else.  “Sorry,” Daniel amended.  Jack knew the name of the structure.  He simply had his nicknames. 

Jack sighed and gestured at the doorway.  “After you, Professor. 

“Funny, Jack.  Take it on the road.”

Jack looked at his watch.  “I will, in approximately…an hour and twenty-three minutes.”

“Give or take thirty.”

“Give or take one.”

Daniel hid the grin.  It was so easy to wind Jack up.  In more ways than the typical usage of that particular phrase. 

It was nearly 5:30 pm when Daniel got up from his chair to stretch and take a leak.  The Ancients’ translation hadn’t been too hard at first, but newer symbols added to what he could only define as their alphabet were creating problems.  He knew it would take him a few days to crack the thing, but no longer than that.  He’d stay up all night if he had to.  Or ask for the time off so that he could. 

Coming out of the bathroom he was lucky to have in his office, he found the Tok’ra, Delek, standing by his lab desk, and staring at the lengthy notations Daniel had been making.  He frowned and held up the tablet revealing Daniel’s peculiar short-hand. 

“This isn’t English, Doctor Jackson.”

Daniel took a deep breath to rein in his anger and strode across the room.  He firmly took the pad from Delek’s fingers, feeling just a hint of resistance, and laid it back down where he’d left it.  “No, it’s not.  What can I do for you, Delek?”  What he thought was, Other than ripping your heart out and feeding it to you, now get the fuck out of my office

Daniel liked most Tok’ra, unlike everyone else on the base except for Sam.  Aside from Jacob and his symbiote, Selmak, he actually missed Aldwin from time to time and had to remember that the Tok’ra had died on Revanna.  No one liked Anise, and Daniel felt more than a little sympathy for Freya, having to co-exist with such a cold, unfeeling bitch. 

Members of the council were hit and miss.  Sometimes he could tolerate them, get to know them, but the members changed periodically, and he didn’t really know the most recent members.  Delek was one of them, and for him to have travelled to the lowly Tau’ri for a translation request was strange.  Stranger still was Daniel’s automatic dislike for him and that wasn’t something he was used to feeling.  He was used to having a reason, a good one, and he had none this time. 

Instead, Daniel had been saddled with strong intuition.  He didn’t trust him.  There was something wrong with this Tok’ra, and though Daniel didn’t know what it was, he was determined to find out some or all of it before the Tok’ra left. 

What had set him on edge was their first meeting, yesterday in the briefing room. 

Delek arrived, taking the role of spokesman for his three-man group, but Daniel felt certain it was more a one-man group with two bodyguards.  That only made his instincts jump up and take notice.  Why was the Tok’ra there himself?  Why not send someone else, even Anise?

Perhaps because the Tok’ra needed their attention and this was one way to get it.  Delek had nearly pleaded for their assistance.  Already annoyed at having their downtime cut short, and after the mention of the Ancients, Jack had cut off Delek’s long-winded explanation in the briefing room. 

“Meaning you want Daniel to translate something.”

“Yes,” Delek had replied, looking aggrieved at Jack’s rudeness. 

“Then why didn’t you just say so?”

Jack had never had any patience for the Tok’ra.  He had sat through the longer explanation of why there was the urgent need for a translation, but at the mention of the Ancients, Daniel had watched Jack’s interest change slightly.  Ancients’ weaponry was likely the source of the interest, but Daniel didn’t say anything.  He didn’t want to tread on Jack’s hopes that they would find something more useful than a downloading device or the Ancients’ version of a large particle accelerator.  Perhaps they would even find something as cool — Jack’s word for it — as the weapon Orlin had told Sam was extremely destructive. 

Jack had whispered to Daniel, “Maybe this time we’ll find something without the interactive weather station.”

Daniel had smothered a laugh, clearing his throat to ask for more details.  Jack hadn’t been paying too much attention to the content of the discussion between Daniel and Delek, as Delek tended to drone on and on and on…so Daniel had distilled it down for him afterwards when they had met up in Daniel’s office. 

“Apparently the Tok’ra have been searching Ancients’ planets for a while now, hoping to find the location of a lost group of them, which supposedly includes one that could possibly have been a queen like Egeria.  They’d undoubtedly heard, through us I figure, that the Ancients had a habit of writing down their histories on the planets they had inhabited.”

“So Metric thinks this planet has the information they want?”

Jack’s penchant for nicknaming had him grinning at that point, but fortunately, no one saw.  “*He* hopes so,” Daniel emphasized. 

“And you?”

“I kinda hope so, but if you ask me, the obelisk is a monument detailing the history on the planet…which means, for you, that it’s nothing more than a signpost of their existence, even if it is a pretty cool signpost.”

“Well, we’re not done searching the place so let’s hope it’s a bit more than a small version of the Washington Monument.”

So far, the translation was ending up to be just that, only a bit more so, and despite what others might think of the contents of the obelisk, Daniel found it fascinating.  He’d devoted his start time to studying the entire obelisk, then got to work examining it in sections, starting with the side that faced to the right of the stargate, which Daniel decided was the front side.  There were sections of text — in a form written amazingly like three paragraphs — and hypothesized that the front side of the obelisk was a type of memorial eulogy. 

Below the ‘paragraphs’ was a short list composed of what Daniel felt certain were names:  Aphordine, Airses, and Airose.  Did the alliteration suggest family names?  Some ancient families on Earth tended to name their children using pieces of their parents’ names, which then evolved into surnames.  Was Airose the son or daughter of Aphordine and Airses?

After a cursory study of the three remaining sides of the monument, Daniel determined that the text likely held a history of the Ancients’ lives on the planet, another piece of the Ancients’ puzzle for him to figure out. 

He wished that Delek would leave him alone to get the work done, but he also had to find out what it was about the Tok’ra snake that he did not like.  His initial reaction to meeting Delek had been alarming, as if the symbiote were radiating Goa’uld Here, Goa’uld Here

After that introduction in the briefing room, Daniel had followed Sam to her lab and asked if Jolinar had known him.  She hadn’t been able to recall it, but a few hours later, after a meditation that Teal’c had led her through, she’d come to his office with some interesting, but not immediately useful, information. 

“I remembered a little.  Galeth and Selmak had found him on a planet about fifty years ago.  He’d been tortured and was on the brink of death.  He detected their symbiotes, said his name was Delek and that he was a Tok’ra, then stated that he’d die before telling them anything else.  He only asked that his host be allowed to survive.  That little bit had persuaded Selmak that he was indeed Tok’ra.  Are you thinking that he’s a Goa’uld spy?”

“No…maybe…I don’t know, Sam.  All I do know is that there’s something not right about him.”

“He’s a snake,” Jack had interjected, getting the appropriate amount of annoyed glances. 

“Well, he’s been on the Tok’ra council for more than ten years and hasn’t behaved in any way that could be construed as suspicious.  I’d like to confirm with Dad, but he’s on a mission.”

Sam had made a face then, but she had agreed with him that Delek’s behavior was just a bit too…arrogant and forceful, even for a Tok’ra. 

“Doctor Jackson?” Delek asked, irritated. 

“Hmmm?  Oh, was occupied, thinking about the monument.  What we Tau’ri might call woolgathering.  What did you want again?”

Delek gave him a false smile and took a long breath.   “Have you discovered anything?”

“Only a recipe for duck á l’orange.”

Delek scowled in confusion. 

“Sorry, little joke.”

“I’m not laughing,” Delek said sourly. 

Daniel’s brows furrowed and he quickly decided that if Delek was going to be blunt, then so was he.  “Okay, now…I was kidding.  I made a joke to get you to relax.”

“I am relaxed.”

“No, you’re not.  Allow me to let you in on a little secret.  That scowling tactic doesn’t work on me.  You can’t intimidate me into giving you something I don’t have…  yet.  All you’ll end up doing is getting a whole handful of nothing, so back off, lighten up, and let me do my job.”

“Lighten up?” Delek asked, his face filled with surprise, and Daniel thought he caught some respect in his eyes. 

“A synonym for relax.”

Delek cleared his throat, the scowl only slightly fading from his face.  “I am sorry, Doctor Jackson, but I was led to believe that your deciphering skills were excellent, that you could translate quickly.”

Daniel was so used to being insulted, by the Tok’ra or anyone else, that the comment slid over him and to the left.  “Because of my study of the Ancients’ language, as well as hearing it spoken from Jack via that inadvertent contact with that knowledge device, I can hopefully translate and get all of this down.  It won’t be perfect, that much is a fact.  This monument further complicates matters by the appearance of new symbols, which I hadn’t found on any other writings recorded.” He paused and narrowed his eyes.  When he spoke again, he deliberately spoke slower, hoping the subtle insult would ruffle the Tok’ra.  “What that means is that this will take time.  It can’t be done in a day, much less a few hours, and I won’t be rushed.  I’m sure the Tok’ra are well familiar with the phrase, ‘a man in a rush makes mistakes’?”

“We’re acquainted with something like it, yes.”

“Well, there you are.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll get back to work.”

“How much time will this take?  In your opinion?” Delek asked, still showing that false smile. 

Daniel stared at him.  The Tok’ra was handsome, but he also gave Daniel the creeps.  He sat down, the frustration with the snake grating severely on his nerves.  He couldn’t help channeling Jack.  He really couldn’t.  At least, that’s what he kept telling himself later.  “Got a hot date or something?” he asked, his eyes focused on the text. 

“Hot date?”

“Sorry, that means getting acquainted with someone you want to mate with.”

It was the typical defensive mechanism, used mostly to distract and make yourself laugh.  When Daniel glanced up during the ensuing silence and found Delek gaping at him, he snorted with mirth. 

“Sorry, but you need to relax that seriousness and you know, that comment of mine was–“

The Tok’ra cleared his throat, a hint of a flush covering his features.  He took a step closer.  “Are you asking me to mate, Doctor Jackson?”

Oh shit.  Daniel worked his mouth, opening and closing, trying to figure out how to answer that with something other than a resounding ‘no’ as well as explain why he’d made the comment in the first place.  “Sorry, but no.  I was using a defense mechanism.”

“I do not agree,” Delek said softly. 

Daniel, with his back to him again, felt a chill down his spine that he refused to admit had anything to do with arousal.  The dark side of the force, that’s all it was.  He turned slowly, regarding the Tok’ra.  “Excuse me?”

“You would not have said it if it was not within your wishes, however minimally.”

Daniel was struggling for an answer to that and shook his head in the meantime, hoping that would stall the snake till he found his voice again.  In the meantime, Delek seemed to have other plans.  He reached out and grabbed Daniel’s arm, his fingers tightly wrapping around his bicep.  He pulled Daniel off the stool, an arm immediately about his waist, and whispered, “I therefore accept your offer,” before pulling Daniel into a hard kiss. 

Daniel wanted to shove him across the room — immediately.  But he didn’t.  It was strange, but he was receiving some sort of alarm inside his head and wanted to know what it was.  He let Delek kiss him while his mind treated the moment like an experiment.  He felt something, being this close.  It was like a voice whispering in his mind, like Adriann or Jason had, but this one was quite muted in comparison. 

The Tok’ra is a liar and The Tok’ra is mad. 

While Delek’s tongue probed his tongue, his mouth, Daniel then heard, Beware.   Beware. 

Daniel pushed the man away, profoundly relieved to find that he hadn’t put his arms around the snake.  Delek stepped back reluctantly, looking confused as well as shocked.  Perhaps he hadn’t intended for the kiss to last so long, or more likely, had hoped that Daniel would kiss him back. 

“I seem to have, um, sent you the wrong signals, Delek,” Daniel said, biting his lips together to try and get the feeling back in them.  He hoped they didn’t look too puffy.  Delek had really kissed him.  “I didn’t mean that you and I should get together.  It was simply a suggestion for relaxation…although I was joking, and not very well.” He scrambled for another answer and could only come up with the lame, “I’m already in a committed relationship.”  Or in a relationship that should be committed, he thought afterwards. 

Delek blinked several times, took a few backward steps, and promptly blushed the deep red of embarrassment.  “I apologize Doctor Jackson.  Your language has too many misleading phrases.”

Daniel cleared his throat several times and sat back down.  “It’s okay,” he said quickly, “and probably one of the reasons we need to exchange more than military information.  Cultural necessity.”

“I agree,” Delek said, just as quickly and he backed up to the door, seeking escape.  “Please let me know if you come across the information that we seek.”

“I will, but I’m going home in a few hours to get some rest.   Come by to see me tomorrow afternoon.   I might have something by then.”

“Home?” Delek asked. 

“Off the base, I have a place that I call home, where I live when I am not at work.”

Delek frowned and bent his head in thought.  “I envy you.   It has been a very long time since I have had a home.  Would that I could have it back again, I would gladly kill a million Goa’uld, their Jaffa included.”

Daniel wanted to sympathize but he still disliked the Tok’ra and the warning he received only emphasized it.  He said nothing in response and seeing that Daniel was waiting for him to leave, Delek gave him a short nod and left. 

Daniel moved quickly to the door and locked it, and with a sense of urgency, he made his way to the bathroom.  He rested his forearms on the edge of the sink, splashed his face a few times with cold water, breathing slowly, willing his heartbeat to slow down.  It was only then that he realized that he was filled with fear.  The tiny arousal had somehow masked the fear for a short time, but it was now gone. 

The Tok’ra had made him afraid and Daniel didn’t like the feeling.  The messages he’d received were vague and could mean any damn thing, and one thing Daniel hated was feeling something he couldn’t give a name to, or explain.  Sitting down on his couch, he breathed deeply using Teal’c’s teaching, and only when his heart rate returned to normal did he allow himself to examine what had happened.  Where the hell had that voice come from?  Why?

He couldn’t find the answers so he dropped his head back and left his mind to drift.  Teal’c said that sometimes, this was the best way to bring up thoughts from your subconscious.  Daniel’s mind went to the memories of shared meditations, Teal’c’s words of advice drifting in and out. 

Minutes passed, then Daniel suddenly sat up, eyes wide open with shocked realization.  There had been no voice speaking to him.  It had been a feeling, a thought, only louder, deeper, and therefore more alarming.  It had filled him, starting in his brain and moved throughout his body.  But it had been more than that.  The ‘reading’–for lack of a better word to call it–had formed words in his mind.  It had been kind of like a mental translation.  He knew, without a doubt now, that this…  reading was exactly the same as the warning he’d experienced earlier about Jason.  At the time, he’d ignored the words about Jason because of his intimate link with him, but Daniel now recognized that the warnings’ source was the same.  It came from both inside and out, as if he wore a sensor net or something. 

If so, perhaps it would work in reverse.  Focusing harder, he examined the words he had received that Delek was a liar, reliving their feeling inside his head.  A liar about what?  In general or about something specific?  When he touched them with mental fingers, and felt them, over and over, he found that they didn’t contain the fear he’d experienced.  That had been just a warning, stern and forceful.  He moved onto the other words, the ones that told him that the Tok’ra was mad, the one that told him to beware.  He’d scarcely begun to touch them when he was overwhelmed by fear.  Those were the source of the fear, but why?  Why did…  whatever this was…  have to be so goddamned vague?  The fear wasn’t like his own emotion.  It was cold and hard and nothing he’d ever experienced before, ever. 

Daniel dropped his head back down again and closed his eyes.  “What the fuck is going on?” he whispered. 

~

Daniel didn’t tell Jack what had happened.  Jack was already jumpy and telling him that two things had happened, one of them being a kiss from a Tok’ra…  no.  Not right now.  His decision sprang from his need to examine the messages more than any defensive reasoning as to how Jack would behave in hearing about the kiss.  Better to save that till later.  Much later. 

Besides, right now, Daniel had better things to focus on.  

It was nearly sunset when he and Jack arrived at one of the lesser known observatories around the mountain.  Jack’s evident surprise made Daniel feel that he’d done the right thing. 

Jack, on the other hand, was a bit more reluctant.  The ‘observatory’ was nothing more than a simple lookout, a rest stop of sorts, that looked out over one of the deep valleys carved into the side of the huge mountain.  Everywhere they looked, they could see nothing but trees, most of them firs.  The observatory wasn’t anything more than an old-fashioned stone bench and a small weather shelter, with two stone walls and a ceramic tiled roof.  It explained how it was still standing. 

During the short walk up the hill to the tiny clearing, Jack knew that something was on Daniel’s mind, but decided to let him talk about it when he was ready.  He felt guilty for putting Daniel through an interrogation for two weeks and needed to make it up to him.  Was this what Daniel had planned?  He remembered his challenging words, ones that hinted about who was in charge. 

Jack walked over to the bench, stared at slightly green hue and straddled the bench in the middle. 

Daniel felt an edginess creeping over him.  His inability to rid himself of the fear he’d experienced was making him a little testy, and because it was, that only made him angry, feeling manipulated.  He sighed and started to sit to Jack’s left, facing outward toward the trees, but Jack grabbed his arm.  “Like me,” he said.   Daniel gave him a curious look but straddled the bench, facing him.  He was too far away, nearly sitting on the edge of the bench and Jack told himself not to snap, not to start an argument over where Daniel had chosen to sit.  He motioned his fingers.  “C’mere.”

“Why?” Daniel drawled, and began to feel a little of the earlier arousal–the one with his lovers–return. 

Jack gave him one of his sarcastic grins, this one joking and kind, not reprimanding.   “So I can hug you and kiss you and tell you that whatever is bothering you, everything will work out fine, but only as long as you brush your teeth, do what I tell you, and stop thinking pornographic thoughts while you watch those tight asses in the gym.”

Daniel began to relax, remembering why he’d brought Jack up here in the first place.  “Well, two out of three ain’t–“

“Little shit,” Jack growled at him and pushed him onto his back.  Daniel’s head made that pulpy sound as it cracked on the stone surface of the long bench and Jack flinched. 

“Ow!”

“Sorry.”

“You’re not.”

“I am…  a little.” He grinned again, this one filled with a tease.  “Big baby,” he taunted as he carefully took hold of Daniel’s thighs, raised them, and draped them over his own. 

“Fucker hurt,” Daniel scowled, rubbing the back of his head, though the emotions inside him didn’t match the scowl.  Jack’s actions were comfortable and familiar and Daniel didn’t think anything of it at first, but now he was beginning to get some ideas.  Jack gave him that puppy dog look and Daniel rolled his eyes, looking to his left and out into the darkening landscape. 

“Want me to kiss it better?” Jack asked. 

Daniel looked back, catching a glimmer in Jack’s eyes even in the dimming light.  His position on the bench became even more erotic as he took in his spread legs–and Jack’s hands conveniently settled on the upper thighs.  His thumbs were starting to draw soft, caressing circles on his inner thighs and Daniel felt the shiver move quickly over his skin.  He cleared his throat.  “Not necessary, I’m fine.  And what was that about staring at those fine, tight asses in the gym?  You are the pot calling the kettle black, Jack.”

Jack grinned and increased the pressure of his thumbs, though he kept up the slow caress.  “Me?” he said, and Daniel couldn’t miss the teasing tone yet again.  Jack was in a playful mood, which sometimes meant that he was in an adventurous one.  Not so much by having alfresco sex, but in doing something other than the usual suck and fuck.  “I never look longer than I’m supposed to,” Jack finished. 

“Liar,” Daniel replied, wishing Jack’s groin were more easily accessible.  As Jack’s thumbs moved upward, in barest increments, Daniel felt the need to turn up the heat.  What he wanted to do was get those trousers off and Jack’s hot silky heat into his mouth, but he had to think of a way to do that without kneeling.  Gardening a few days ago had made his knees a little sore.  He really needed a permanent gardener. 

Taking hold of Jack’s arms, he pulled himself up, scooted back slightly, and dropped his feet to the ground, his thighs off of Jack.  Jack gave him a look of disappointment mixed with intrigue. 

“Daniel?”

“Stand up for me,” and he began to unbutton Jack’s trousers. 

Questions came to Jack’s mind, but he decided it was more fun not knowing.  He stood up and abruptly felt the eroticism of standing with his feet spread and Daniel’s lips just an inch or so below the base of his cock, eye level with his balls.  He held his breath and let it out as Daniel’s fingers slowly opened his pants.    “Something in mind?” he asked. 

“Clearly,” Daniel replied, keeping his eyes on Jack’s, his own face reflecting a picture of seductive intent as he inched Jack’s pants and briefs down as far as they would allow given his lover’s spread legs.  They ended only a third of the way down his long thighs and Daniel’s hands were soon on naked, warm skin, stroking, caressing, winding up.  He delighted in the soft hairy feel, his hands moving around to his favorite target next to Jack’s lips and cock.  His ass.  He squeezed and kneaded, making Jack moan when he leaned in and kissed the hollow of his hip.  He smiled, triumphant, and tongued the skin, drawing it through the mass of curls as his pinky fingers came within taunting reach of his balls and asshole. 

“Daniel,” Jack whispered, his fingers taking hold in Daniel’s hair.  “Maybe we should take this elsewhere.”

Daniel only smiled and continued his caresses, his kisses, carefully avoiding Jack’s cock, the tip of which teased his cheek.  “This is perfect, Jack.  For now.”

“But we have a chance to get caught.  Murphy’s Law, you know.” Jack’s voice was hitched and Daniel knew the man didn’t mean a word.  He only wanted a bed–and a way to take over. 

“Hypocritical chickenshit,” Daniel prodded, making a clucking noise as he tongued his way down past Jack’s balls, tasting the inner thigh instead.  “Never stopped you at the mountain, did it?  Sucking me off in the infirmary room after I broke my ankle falling into that hole in the ground?  You didn’t object when Jason fucked you behind my lab table.  And we could’ve been caught when you chased Jason through the woods by your cabin and tore half his clothes off, sucking him, or how about when you fucked me in the grass while Jason watched and…”

Jack couldn’t believe his ears, his dick twitching to every word Daniel spoke as his lover went on, describing more instances of Jack messing around ‘in public’, daring to get caught.  Jack clamped a hand over Daniel’s mouth just as he realized that the other was behind Daniel’s head.  He blinked at the sight, at holding Daniel like that, and moaned when Daniel’s tongue licked his palm.   “Alright, Daniel, enough.  Forget I said anything.”

Daniel slowly rose, keeping his hands on Jack’s ass, and when he was standing fully, he yanked — hard — pulling Jack against him and grinding against him.  Jack winced, his bared cock rubbing against Daniel’s jeans, but Daniel only smiled, knowing damn well that the wince was from pleasure, not pain.   He whispered seductively, “Why would I want to forget?” before kissing Jack with hungry need. 

Jack broke the kiss–several times–trying to say something but Daniel wouldn’t allow it, kept kissing him back until the final time, when he opened his own jeans and freed his cock before sitting back down. 

“Daniel, I didn’t say…” Jack began but Daniel suddenly threw off his jacket and shirt, placing them on the bench before lying back on them.  Deliberately, he eyed Jack as he grasped his own cock and stroked slowly. 

Jack was mesmerized but not frozen.  His eyes on Daniel, he started to sink down but Daniel’s knees were outside of his legs and they clamped on him.  “Stay there,” Daniel whispered.  “I’m not done.  Watch me.”

Jack swallowed, nodding mutely, and Daniel closed his eyes and got into the act of pleasuring himself.  Licking his lips as if hungry for cock, he moaned as he pumped his tight fist over his dick, long, sweeping strokes that left him gasping.  His free hand caressed the skin of his abdomen, his chest, pinching and twisting his nipples. 

He opened his eyes slowly and found Jack’s on his hand.  He smiled and sat up carefully, taking his hand away from his cock.  He hadn’t been fully hard, but now he was.  He was ready. 

Jack reached for him but Daniel’s hands blocked him, placing Jack’s hands in his hair. 

“Don’t interrupt the master at work,” Daniel replied, taking a lick at the head of Jack’s cock, a mischievous smile painted across his face, growing wider as Jack looked around them with embarrassed arousal.  He leaned in and placed a kiss at Jack’s navel, inhaling the smell of his skin; a hint of soap behind the stronger scent of sexual arousal.  He was all the more determined to give Jack something special and no matter what Jack said, it was quite obvious that he wanted this. 

“I’m going to suck your brain through your cock,” he said heatedly, reaching around with one hand to cup a buttock while his right hand wrapped around the base of Jack’s dick.  He smiled as Jack closed his eyes with a groan, the fingers in his hair tightening. 

But then Jack was pushing Daniel’s head back, away from his intended target.  “Daniel…”

“What did I tell you about moving?” Daniel asked, and without a single thought to what he was doing, he lifted his hand and slapped Jack on the ass cheek he’d been caressing.  Hard.  He was surprised, but not as much as Jack was when his eyes went wide, his body frozen.  Daniel had expected some sort of reprimand, something that would start the alpha duel between them, but all Jack did was stare down at him in shock. 

Daniel was suddenly remembering the haunted hotel in Arizona, the secret room and the paddle on the wall, the kink dreams each of them had had–and the fact that Jack hadn’t wanted to talk about his own.  He remembered the teasing slap on the ass he’d gotten from Jack and how he knew damn well that it hadn’t been just a little tease. 

Daniel lowered his eyes to the cock before his face, staring with acute fascination and lust as Jack’s half-hard cock twitched violently and began to stiffen appreciably.  With knowledge that was heady with wondrous revelation, Daniel took a chance and slapped Jack’s ass again with the same force as before, this time on the other buttock.  Sure enough, his cock filled even more, lengthening and hardening to an aching state that Daniel was used to bringing only after a good hard suck.  Pre-come appeared at the slit and Daniel couldn’t help but taste as he watched Jack’s face. 

Jack felt a surge of lust as his ass warmed quickly.  He tried to say something because his initial response was to object, but he froze, unable to find the words.  He was hard, and he wanted…more.  More.  He had to tell Daniel but he didn’t know how.  It was stupid.  He had no problems with any request of his lover.  So why this?

“Again,” he felt his mouth move, but the word was whispered so mutely, Daniel wouldn’t have caught it had he not been looking at his face. 

Daniel raised his hand again and brought it down on the right cheek, feeling his own cock twitch when Jack flinched in surprised lust, the fingers moving to grip his hair almost painfully.  Daniel smiled softly.  He was going to enjoy this new thing he’d discovered, determined to make Jack come first.  With some effort, he stood and moved around Jack, his hands still caressing, still soothing, as if calming a fractious horse.  He removed Jack’s coat, then his shirt, leaving them on top of his own, and returned to caress his lover’s back…before pushing him to bend over. 

He heard Jack’s tiny gasp and rubbed his ass.  “Okay?” he asked. 

Jack only nodded, unable to say a word. 

Daniel looked down at his bared ass as he held back the tremendous desire to fuck him.  Besides, they didn’t have lube.  Instead, he drew his tongue down Jack’s spine, pulling another groan from his lover’s mouth, and once seated behind him, gave him a kiss on each cheek before he brought a hard slap on the left cheek. 

Jack jumped and nearly fell forward, but he hung on, his fingers gripping the bench.  “Daniel,” he whispered, saying nothing else. 

Daniel watched in amazement as the sheen of sweat formed quickly over Jack’s skin, and without another word, he slapped the other cheek.  The skin reddened and Daniel caressed it, bringing the blood up to the top even more. 

“Want me to stop?” Daniel heard himself ask. 

“No,” came the immediate answer. 

Daniel felt his own cock aching for relief as he struck Jack again and again.  He could only imagine what Jack was feeling, but his leaking cock gave him a pretty good idea.  Daniel became fixated with it, his mouth watering at the thought of sucking him, hard, until he came. 

But he had one more thing he had to do.  Sliding his tongue over the middle of one butt cheek, he trembled when Jack cried out.  He kept going, even knowing that the skin was acutely sensitive, and with both hands on Jack’s sensitive ass, he spread his cheeks.  This time, the gasp was for a different reason and Daniel heard Jack’s whisper of encouragement.  He tongued the puckered skin, tasting the uniquely spicy flavor, and abruptly dove in. 

Jack began to moan constantly, rocking his hips in time to Daniel’s tongue fucking his ass. 

“Daniel, please…” he whispered. 

Daniel pulled back, and slapped once more.  Jack cried out, his entire body shaking, and Daniel held onto his thighs until he had regained some of his composure. 

“Shit,” Jack said, the sound almost begging. 

Daniel knew.  Jack was going to come if he slapped him one more time. 

Another whisper, this time he was clearly begging.  “Please.   Suck me.”

Daniel stood and rubbed Jack’s back as he pulled him back, straightening him.  He continued his caresses, staying away from his ass, and sat back down in front of him.  He tongued the cockhead before wrapping his lips back around it and sucking him in, taking in the wonderful heavy feel against his tongue, the back of his throat.  Daniel let himself need, drooling because it was so damn good to suck Jack, especially out in the open. 

Once more, he gently took hold of Jack’s ass and caressed the red, sensitive skin, having to hold onto one thigh with his free hand to keep Jack from falling.  Moving one finger down, between the cleft, finding the sweaty, wrinkled entrance, he circled then pushed inside to the first knuckle.  Jack gasped and pulled at him, making Daniel smile. 

Tasting pre-come, salt, heat and silky skin, he sucked greedily, moving his finger in a twisting motion before pushing deeper.  He took more of Jack’s length inside, and after a few good sucks, he swallowed.  Jack’s groan increased in volume, and Daniel knew it was time.  He plunged his finger deep, finding the special gland, and after teasing it, began to fuck his lover.  Jack wanted more, thrusting his hips backward. 

Taking a deep breath, his finger plunging deep again, Daniel raised his free hand from Jack’s thigh and the hard slap on his lover’s ass came down one last time. 

With a growling sort of cry, Jack nearly tore Daniel’s hair from his scalp as he came, bucking hard, pouring down his throat.  Daniel wrapped his arms around Jack’s waist and thighs and held on, drinking greedily. 

Jack groaned in pleasured shock as Daniel sucked him down, taking every ounce of his come.  He seemed to be spilling forever, each spurt sending more shocks through him.  With his muscles tense and sore, the warm flow of his orgasm eventually receded. 

Unable to stand any longer, Jack slowly sat, wincing, his body still quaking, and pulled Daniel into his arms. 

“Daniel, Daniel…” he said quietly against his throat. 

“I love you, too, you know,” Daniel said roughly as he pulled Jack against him and kissed him deep, enjoying how he’d just fulfilled a fantasy of Jack’s.  He just wished Jack had told him beforehand.  He’d have brought lube. 

In the bath at home, Jack’s muscles relaxed and the skin of his ass was soothed with the special skin salts Daniel added to the water.  Jack was exhausted, and most of it was emotional.  He frowned, knowing Daniel hadn’t come, and wanted to reciprocate somehow but couldn’t gather enough energy to move.  It had been enough just to get here, into this bath.  He wished Jason were there.  Then he could relax while listening to his other lover bringing Daniel off.  Strangely, that was just as relaxing sometimes, instead of being the turn-on it normally was.  

When Daniel came in and set a cold beer bottle on the side of the tub, Jack grinned.  “You’re spoiling me.”

Daniel returned the smile.  “I know.” He started to walk out, but Jack called after him. 

“You haven’t had yours yet.  Are you interested in something?”

Daniel could see Jack fighting with the need to please and the greater need to relax and become a vegetable.  He chuckled.  “No, Jack.  I’m fine.  I’m going to make myself hold out until Jason gets home.”

Jack groaned, his grin fading a little.  “I think I’ll do the same, considering you’ve zapped all the strength out of me.”

Daniel gave him a loving look.  “Feel like talking about it yet?”

Jack shook his head.  “Not until Jason gets home.” He felt instantly guilty and added gruffly, “Only because I don’t like to repeat myself.”

Daniel bit his lips together and nodded silently as he left the bathroom.  Jack dropped his head back against the padded edge of the bath that Daniel had added not too long ago.  He moved a little, lifting one butt cheek, wincing, then sighing when the water hit it, then lifted the other.  He kept repeating this little ritual, per Daniel’s orders, and let himself be swept away by the overwhelming sense of peace.  The truth was, he couldn’t explain anything to Daniel.  He had no words yet, and Daniel seemed to know that without his explaining.  That only made the sense of peace even deeper. 

In the kitchen, Daniel leaned against the stove to get at the spice cupboard overhead, and groaned when his still half-hard cock rubbed against the oven’s door handle.  He rubbed again, and again, and in seconds, he was once again achingly hard.  He stopped in mid-motion, deciding to put his pie making off for five minutes.  He’d never said he wouldn’t hold off from making himself come, as that was exactly what he’d meant when he’d answered Jack.  But here, in the kitchen, while Jack was in the bath?  It felt too secretive. 

Making his way to the bedroom, he looked into the bathroom, gave Jack a knowing smile, and left the door ajar.  He stood by the bed, contemplating, feeling that good low burn deep inside his belly.  He was just planning to lay down and jerk off, use both his hands, but…  He eyed the door, and the bathroom beyond, and then thought of Jason offworld.  The dream he’d had…  perhaps a little re-enactment would do.  He slid the bedside table drawer open and looked inside.  He’d only used it a couple of times, and it had been a while since he’d touched it. 

Daniel ran his fingertips over the cool, silicone surface, then picked up the large toy and held it, closing his eyes.  He’d felt a shudder of strange anticipation each time he’d thought of using the long black toy, and the longer he touched it, the more aroused he became at the thought of using it.  He placed it on the bed, along with the lube, and shut the drawer. 

Stripping off only his jeans, he lay over the side, his feet touching the floor, and placed one of the fat pillows under his lower back, raising his ass off the bed.  He spread his legs and lubed his fingers, touching himself with not-quite mechanical efficiency, but with a more deliberate need.  His preparations were purposeful, the want and need to feel pleasure, to come, foremost in his mind.  Besides, his cock wouldn’t allow for anything else, nor the lust deep in his belly.  With his fingers now sliding effortlessly in and out of his ass, he slowly pulled at his cock. 

He pictured himself in the doorway of the bathroom, Jack watching from the bath, while Jason snuck up and grabbed him, secured him, and then prepared him from behind.  His arms were over his head, his wrists attached to cuffs held by chains in the ceiling.  Jason teased him, kneeling before him, sucking his cock, teasing his wrinkled hole, before he brought out the large black dildo, slick with lube. 

On the bed, Daniel kept his eyes closed as he reached for the toy, imagining Jason’s hand in place of his own. 

He groaned, telling Jason, “No, I can’t take that,” but Jason’s voice told him he had no choice, that he would take it, that he would love it, and that he would be fucked with it till he screamed.  He spit out a choked gasp as Jason rubbed the head of the warmed and oiled dildo against his opening, pushing with just enough pressure to tease.  Daniel again protested, albeit weakly, the use of the dildo, but Jason only chuckled and pushed it slowly inside him. 

Daniel’s eyes were wide with shock, his gaze somewhere on the ceiling, just out of focus.  He always forgot how large the toy felt.  He damn near stopped, but instead began to push and pull the invader just barely inside him, using tiny movements.  It was what he needed and it stimulated his muscles, stirring up his lust.  The pleasure guided his hand, the huge dildo sliding deeper inside, inch by slow inch, withdrawing at times to tease as well as stretch. 

His actions were too slow, however, and they warred with his rushed need.  It seemed to take forever to ease the toy inside him, but finally, he felt his fist, Jason’s fist, against his ass, holding nearly eight inches of the splendid tool inside him.  The thing was…  it wasn’t enough.  Daniel needed friction, needed to get that hot, tight feeling that sent shocks of pleasure everywhere despite the burn — so he pulled back…  and the dildo breathed over his gland, sending sparks of heat throughout his body. 

“Jesus,” he whispered, and rolled himself over — the hand wrapped firmly around his cock now trapped underneath.  He spread his legs, re-securing his hold on the dildo, and began to fuck himself slowly, pretending that it was Jason.  It didn’t take long to build the need inside him for harder, faster, so he increased the movement of his hand while angling to catch more of his prostate. 

Liquid fire raced through his balls and cock, making his entire body shudder, and he realized that he was constantly moaning now, words merely a jumble of nonsense.  In his mind, Jason was taunting him, fucking him much too slowly while sucking on the head of his cock.  His tongue drove him mad, licking firmly in the slit, and his lips–so damn good–sucking hard over the now-slick glans.  He could hear Jack encouraging Jason to make him come, make him scream, and Daniel began to whisper both their names, begging for release… 

He suddenly jerked with surprise as his fantasy was brought to an end and real wet hands touched his ass and his hand, pushing it away to take hold of the dildo. 

“You’re so fucking sexy when you do this,” Jack groaned.  With a firm hold of the dildo, he shoved it deep, slamming his fist against Daniel’s ass, making him scream Jack’s name in exquisite pleasure.  Jack slowed down and stopped his hand, biting his lip and smiling at his ability to surprise Daniel into screaming–who was now growling that he’d stopped.  “Take your cock in both hands and enjoy the ride, Daniel,” he told him, and when Daniel slid his free hand underneath him and surrounded his cock in two fists, Jack pulled the dildo back, then plunged in, fucking him fast and furious, angling side to side, pleased by the continuous stream of descriptive words pulled from his lover’s throat. 

The words grew filthier, their sound higher and louder the closer he got to orgasm.   “Bastard, god, fuck me, please, just ram it, fuck me with it, c’mon!”  Daniel lifted his ass suggestively, his fists pumping furiously.   He shouted more of the same at Jack as his eyes widened, the pleasure and need so acute he’d do anything at this point to get it.   Anything.   “C’mon, fucker, do it!”

That was the signal Jack waited for and he took hold of Daniel’s balls, massaging them, rubbing them against his body.  He whispered as he pumped the dildo inside him with short, vicious strokes, the side of his fist repeatedly striking his ass.  “Come for me!” he said gruffly, now pressing against Daniel’s perineum with his thumb, rubbing hard.  “Come for me, show me you love it!”

Daniel screamed as his eyes squeezed shut, his hands pumping vigorously, milking the orgasm from his body as he spilled onto the bed and the shirt he hadn’t bothered to remove. 

Jack kept fucking him until the tremors began, then slowed and stopped, easing the dildo out of him so that he could pull further up on the bed, then spoon in behind him and take him into his arms.  This was the first time Daniel had used the dildo like this but Jack wasn’t surprised, and he didn’t feel neglected by it either.  He only wished he could have seen the whole thing.  Daniel’s constant moaning had stirred him from the bath to watch, but merely watching wasn’t possible.  He had to do something, so he had.  Daniel felt limp and boneless in his arms, but he still had life as he turned around. 

“Thanks,” he whispered, and kissed Jack deeply. 

“No problem.  Wanna share the fantasy?”

Daniel shook his head, his face against Jack’s throat.  “When Jason comes home.”  He was suddenly aware of the dampness and realized that Jack hadn’t even dried off when he came in to…  assist.  “You’re wet.”

“Ya think?” Jack asked, grinning before he bit Daniel’s cheek. 

~

“Major, I found it,” Lieutenant Tolenev radioed. 

“On our way,” Jason radioed back, the pronoun an unspoken command given to the rest of his teammates to reform and locate their fourth. 

Anna was standing fifty yards to the southwest of the monument.  To her right was a stone block, reddish in color, facing exactly southwest.  It rose six inches from the ground, though that could scarcely be its thickness.  Anna traced a bottom edge with her knife, determining that it was buried, but how far down she was unable to find due to the hard, compact dirt.  Its size stretched eight feet in length by five or so feet in width, like the other two they had found.  And like the other two, it had a line of six, two-inch high symbols deeply engraved at the bottom left edge of the narrow side. 

From what Anna could determine, having had a limited study of the material gathered on the Ancients, it looked as if the symbols were inscribed along the southwest side, or bottom left edge.  Read from any other side, the few recognizable symbols appeared upside down. 

Jason, Alex, and Kane reached her position and surrounded the block of stone.  It had taken several hours for the four teammates to discover all three of the stone slabs, each identical. 

“Two of the symbols are Ancient letters so I am assuming that the others are, too.  Unlike the other two stone blocks, the letters here are different,” she said, pointing. 

The stone blocks reminded Jason of something, but he couldn’t put his finger on it.  After circling the block for the fourth time, just when Alex was going to reach out and stop him from making a fifth turn, it suddenly hit Jason what the stone reminded him of. 

He cleared his throat.  “Does anyone else get a vague feeling about this shape?”

“Why do you ask, sir?” Kane replied, not daring to say what was on his mind. 

Unknown to him, he and Jason were thinking the same thing. 

“A bunker of some sort, I would guess,” Anna answered. 

Alex nodded, agreeing with that assessment, but Jason and Kane’s expressions said they thought otherwise.  “Okay, what do you think these things are?”

Again, Jason cleared his throat.  “Ever been to New Orleans?” pronouncing it N’Orlans

None of them nodded. 

“I have.  Their cemeteries are works of art in some places.  Anyway, this reminds me of one of their tomb covers.” Silence met his observation and Kane wasn’t about to say why he was reminded of tomb covers.  Jason looked over at Anna on his right.  “Did you touch the symbols?” he asked. 

“No, sir.  Do you wish me to?”

Jason nodded.  “Like the others.”

Anna crouched down and did the same thing as she had before, sliding her fingers over the engraving, from right to left, then left to right.  Nothing had happened with the other two, but suddenly there was the sound of stone grinding against stone. 

“Chert!” Anna whispered, backing away with her three teammates. 

Kane glanced at her.  “Is that some sort of cuss word?”

“Yes.”

“Then I second it.”

“Just chill, guys and gals,” Jason said softly, his weapon pulled and his arm held out as they backed away slowly.  Ten feet away, he stopped, but his teammates were reluctant to.  They looked at him warily. 

Alex moved next to him.  “Major?”

Jason tilted his head, watching as the block of stone opened.  He was listening and he closed his eyes to listen better.  Kane and Anna frowned, wondering what the hell their new commander was doing and when Kane opened his mouth to say something, Alex threw up his hand to stop him, his expression telling him to be quiet. 

Subsiding against his better judgment he waited, and realized that Anna was scowling at him.  He frowned back, telegraphing his refusal to be intimidated by her gaze. 

Anna looked away, returning her gaze to her commander.  Kane Riley was an idiot, she decided. 

Alex touched Jason’s shoulder, raising his brow line when Jason opened his eyes and looked at him. 

Jason turned to look at Anna and Kane.  “You two stay put, guard the entrance.  Captain Wagner and I are going in to investigate.”

“Sir, are you sure that’s a good idea?” Kane asked. 

“No, but standing around out here isn’t a good idea either.  Alex, you up for a bit of investigating?”

Alex shrugged.  “Sure, Major.  What the hell.  Who wants to live forever?”

“Indeed,” Jason replied, reminding himself of Teal’c and suddenly wishing the man was there. 

“Sir, your orders if something goes wrong?” Anna asked. 

Jason regarded her for a moment, remembering the old ways of the Russian military to never abandon their post or break mission protocol.  “Anna, the mission protocol for all offworld missions is to get back to the gate and report what you know.  If you’re told to get back to the SGC, then you go.  If you can’t dial Earth for some reason, dial the new beta site, not the alpha site.  Understood?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Riley, got that?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good,” Jason said.  He and Alex made their way to the entrance and cautiously looked inside.  All that they could see was a long set of stairs and bluish light illuminating the bottom.  He gave Alex another grin. 

“You wanna flip a coin for point?”

Alex snorted.  “I’m going in first so don’t even think about it.”

“Ah, my mad handsome protector.”

“Fuck that, Major.  I just don’t want to hear you whining if you get shot first.”

Jason began to laugh and shoved Alex at the entrance.  Turning on the flashlights attached to their weapons, they descended carefully.  Kane and Anna stared after them, shocked by their lack of military behavior.  It was then that they realized that their commander and his 2IC weren’t just teammates, they were close friends.  In their experience, you didn’t dare form close bonds, even if a little emotional attachment was inevitable in any close-knit team, like the stargate teams.  Major Coburn’s and Captain Wagner’s friendship would take a bit of getting used to. 

The stairway emptied into a large room that opened up to the left of the stairs.  A wall ran ahead of the stairs on the right, and ended perhaps thirty feet beyond.  The far wall ran the length of the room in a perfectly straight line, and Jason judged the length to be forty or forty-five feet.  At the far left connecting wall, its length wasn’t the same as the right as it ended in a deep alcove that comprised half of the wall to the immediate left of the stairwell.  The far-left wall also held three shallowly protruding shelves or cabinets that were built into the wall–or rather, seemed to be part of it.  There were no seams to be found anywhere, though there was writing that labelled a lot of things on the walls themselves as well as the cabinets.  A free-standing table–that is, set into the floor but apart from the wall, stood four feet from the floor.  Like the cabinets.  Jason wondered if the tables were high lab tables or if the Ancients themselves were simply very tall. 

Alex waved the point of his P-90 around the room.  “Nothing here that could be picked up and carried off, so whomever left this underground chamber either put things away in the wall sections where they belonged or they took them with them.”

Jason nodded and stepped closer to the far rear wall, noting that tiny lights marked everywhere there was writing, like an elaborate filing system.  And it hit him. 

He turned around, frowning in concentration and examined all of the walls.  “Alex, I think we’ve discovered a library.  We need to get Daniel down here.” Alex nodded.  He walked over to the twenty-foot long alcove and peered at the rectangle of pastel lights, square in shape instead of round.  The squares themselves were no more than an eighth of an inch in width and height, but they were fascinating to look at since they were flush with the wall’s surface, and unlike Earth technology, there was no clue where the light came from or what contained it.  No bulb or rod.  Whatever illuminated the tiny ‘panels’ was definitely better than what they had on earth.  Especially if one considered how long the lights had been active. 

“Think they’re getting powered by the sun?” Alex asked, touching one of the reddish lights that sat in a row of other light squares at his own eye level. 

“Probably, but we really have no damn clue.  Perhaps one of the ascended ones can get off their cloud and come down here to tell us.”

Jason really had no time for ascended beings.  Not after that shit at the haunted hotel.  He had no use for Oma Desala, either.  Supposedly omnipotent beings who did nothing to help others except to help them ascend?  If one had the power, one should use it for good.  Jason was aware that the corruption factor was probably what kept them from doing just that, but even so, even a little help would be better than nothing.  Daniel said some of them had hung around to help the Romans and Greeks.  Minimal help, although lasting. 

The aqueducts were certainly an inspiration of genius, though Jason had a feeling that plain old humans could have come up with that idea themselves.  What the Ancients helped out with–or not–was speculation.  Daniel’s guess was still just a guess.  Even if his other ‘guesses’ had been eerily accurate, this was one that Jason couldn’t see being true. 

Jason’s eye followed along the edges of the floor.  “I like the lighting plan.  It doesn’t hit you in the face, though there are panels up along the ceiling, just darkened.  I wonder if they’re inoperable or if they’re just turned off to conserve power.”

“Who knows,” Alex said, looking up. 

The light source Jason referred to came from several horizontal strips along the base of the walls.  Three or four inches wide and perhaps two feet long, they cast a bluish-white light not unlike the color of the wormholes created by the stargates.  Jason thought the similarity appropriate somehow.  The walls themselves were a blue-grey stone, and much different than the stone cover entrance.  He pulled off his left glove and ran his fingertips over one section. 

“Like marble, only it looks more like granite.  I’d love a kitchen and bath made out of this stuff.” Alex snorted and Jason looked over.  “Maybe we’ll get lucky and find a quarry.”

Still in the alcove, Alex turned and gave Jason a comical look.   “If so, you’re on your own to mine it.”

Jason smirked.  “Wuss.”

“You bet your ass.”

As they surveyed more of the walls, investigating the different lights, Jason cast a brief look over his shoulder at his friend and teammate. 

“Since we have the time right now, gonna tell me what the hell happened?”

Alex didn’t need an explanation to know what Jason meant.  He cleared his throat and partly distracted himself with bigger light squares at knee-height as he spoke. 

“I’ll always love her, Jace…” he began, dropping his military protocol. 

Jason turned around, sensing the burden of loss in Alex’s tone.  He fought off the urge to defend Cari, his first close friend at the SGC next to Daniel.  “I know,” he said expectantly, moving across the wide expanse of the room, looking down for a moment to examine the decorative mosaic in the floor, like an artful replica of the stargate above ground.  He looked away and gave his friend his attention even though half of his attention was on their surroundings–as always. 

“Cari…  has decided that she can’t give me what I need because she’s not…  male.” Alex blushed after he said it. 

Jason sighed and looked at the ceiling, praying to his ancestors for guidance.  “I’m going to shake her bones loose.  What on Earth possessed her to–“

Alex turned to face him then.  “It’s my fault, Jace.  I should never have agreed to her suggestion for an open relationship so I could investigate my new-found bisexual feelings.  It put too much on her shoulders because she didn’t want to see anyone else.  Except, neither did I!  It was more a case of ‘just in case’ so that neither of us would feel jealousy or guilt if I went and…you know.”

“I know, you told me that before.  So what, she couldn’t handle the chance that you’d…” Jason trailed off, his eyes growing wide.  “Wait, this is because of Ophius, isn’t it?”

Alex cringed, nodding as he rubbed his forehead with a gloved hand.  “Yeah, I think so.  She was okay with it, with him, and was actually happy about it, for me.  But then I started having these dreams and…  well, they were extremely…  erotic, so much so that they woke her up and she saw…you know.” He blushed even more and Jason’s eyes were nearly round in surprise. 

“Shit, Alex.  When did they start?” he asked, grasping Alex’s shoulder. 

“After…  after my first time.” He cleared his throat in embarrassment and when he spoke again, he rambled, barely taking a breath between run-on sentences.  “They only increased after this last visit and they were practically hallucinations, reliving memories that somehow mixed with fantasy, and sometimes Cari was in them but most of the time she wasn’t and when she’d wake me from them, I’d be covered in…and I’d just attack her, even if she didn’t mind that part, but god, I’d be thinking of him, not her, and afterward I’d feel so fucking guilty and I’d purposely try to block those feelings just so I wouldn’t feel like I was betraying her.  But goddamn, Jace, those feelings, like the first time…”

“First time…” Jason repeated, remembering his own first time and how addictive those feelings had become for a little while, like what happens when you discover how to jerk off, to give yourself an orgasm.  It becomes an obsession for a boy or a young man, and probably for a girl or woman as well.  For someone like Alex, far older and more in tune with his body, it would have been overwhelming.  Jason hadn’t seen, hadn’t paid enough attention to Alex to see what he was going through.  He remembered the intensity that Alex had used with their own short-term encounters, and remembered how Adriann had instilled the same intense dreaming in himself.  And he wasn’t even a virgin.   “You should have come to me.”

“And said what, Jace?” Alex asked him in low but intense voice.  “‘Jason, I need you to suck me off so I can stop dreaming about it and coming all over myself?'”

Jason winced.  He felt Alex shudder and withdrew his hand from his shoulder.  “Ophius had that strong a hold over you?”

“No, not a hold exactly, just…  the passion he had for me was kind of addictive.  I shouldn’t have let him get so close to me–“

“Alex, he needed it more than you did, so don’t feel guilty for that.  No matter the reasons or the after-effects, your being there for him was probably what saved his life.”

Alex nodded and leaned against a blank portion of the wall.  There was no telling what leaning against the lighted squares would do.  “I feel guilty.  She’s such a beautiful, intelligent, amazing woman and I’ve fucked it all up just because I’ve become addicted to–“

“No,” Jason interrupted, frowning with concern as he placed his bare hand over Alex’s mouth, silencing him.  He pressed firmly, not letting Alex speak.  “You’re bisexual, dammit, not an addict.  Don’t you dare think of your feelings that way.  It’s unfair.  Cari doesn’t think that way, or she never used to.” He removed his hand and asked, “She doesn’t, does she?”

“No, she doesn’t.”

“How’d she break up with you, anyway?  Did she just call an end to it?”

Alex nodded.  “Calmly, over dinner.  Silent tears soon after, by both of us.  Naturally, neither one of us could eat the dinner she’d made.  She said she didn’t want to be in the way of me finding what I wanted.  She thinks that I can’t be happy with a woman now, but she’s wrong, Jason.  She’s wrong!”

“And she didn’t believe her when you told her that?”

“No, except I didn’t contradict her right away because I was in too much shock.  I protested…maybe a minute later.  Because I didn’t right away, she read it as a sign that she was right.  She said, and I quote, “I’m letting you go because I love you.” He stopped talking, choking on his emotion and fighting to keep the tears from welling up.  He sniffed, loudly, and saw the dark emotion in Jason’s eyes.  “Oh, hey, buddy, don’t look like that,” and he wrapped an arm around Jason’s neck and pulled him in for a hug.  “It’ll all work out for the best, no matter what happens.”

Jason sighed and hugged him back.  “I know.”

Alex laughed softly, the breath against Jason’s neck.  “You’re saying that too much.”

Jason smiled.  “I know.”

Alex laughed a little more and shoved his friend playfully away from him.  They were silent for a few minutes, and Alex tilted his head and gave Jason a curious look. 

“What?” Jason asked. 

“How do you manage it with Daniel?  Because of Adriann?”

Jason wanted to tell him that it wasn’t just Adriann.  “I don’t know.  Daniel and I have never had problems…  well, that’s not true.  I’ve occasionally felt like an outsider because I know that Daniel loves Jack–” He cut himself off, his eyes wide in surprise, wondering how the hell he could have made such a stupid, boneheaded error. 

But all Alex did was nod his head.  “I figured there was more to his and O’Neill’s strange on-and-off friendship.” He gave Jason a focused look.  “That’s it, isn’t it?  O’Neill loves him back and with the sort of man he is, that’s the reason for all that rudeness a few years ago?”

Jason slowly nodded, unable to speak. 

“So what changed?  They’re best of pals now.  Was it your relationship with Daniel that did it?”

Jason swallowed and tried to keep his gaze on Alex.  “I think so.  He just woke up one day after seeing Daniel and me in a restaurant.  I have no idea why that triggered him to…  make amends, but I’m glad he did.  Daniel’s been a lot better for it.”

“And you and O’Neill?” Alex asked carefully, keeping his eyes on his friend’s. 

“Me and…?” Jason started, not able to admit anything at the moment. 

“I’ve seen the way the two of you behave toward each other sometimes, and if it weren’t for my own attention toward men, I don’t think I’d have noticed.  You appear to be friends and most everyone believes that it’s because of your friendship with Daniel, the peacemaker.”

Jason let out a quiet snort at the nickname, but his thoughts were on Alex’s ‘suspicions’.  If he didn’t admit to the truth, would it be a betrayal, an insult to Alex’s intelligence, a cop-out to the asinine Don’t Ask Don’t Tell?

Jason closed his eyes and sighed.  “I think you know the truth of it, or part of it…” He opened his eyes.  “Don’t you, Alex?”

Alex slowly nodded, looking down at the floor.  “I didn’t want to pry because it’s not my business–“

“Horseshit, Alex.  What the hell have we been talking about if it’s not your business?”

They were quiet for a few minutes, and Alex had only a few questions and wondered… 

“Can I ask you a few somethings?”

“Ask.”

“How do the three of you keep it from…”

“Descending into a jealousy-fest?”

Alex nodded. 

“Daniel.”

“Daniel?”

“Daniel.  He got us together, and eventually got Jack to care about me, though I don’t know how he did it.  I still have trouble believing sometimes that Daniel even loves me, what with the amount of love he’s held for Jack since Abydos.”

“That long?”

“Well, not the relationship, but he’s loved Jack for that long, yeah.”

“And Ja…O’Neill?”

“I think so, but Jack was fighting his homosexual feelings for a long time.  He’s from the severely brainwashed crowd, and whether he knew it or not it’s part of the reason he positively hates what modern religion and cultists have done, aka what the Goa’uld have done.  To take leadership roles and lie to people, oppress them by making them think only one way, to make them feel worthless and practically suicidal if they don’t toe the party line’s thinking.  To have feelings for another man, well, you know how that trap works.”

Alex nodded.  “I wasn’t raised Protestant but my family was.  German Orthodox, Lutheran.”

“Gotcha.”

“So…he eventually came around to accept his feelings, and I get that, but I’m wondering…”

“What?”

“Daniel.  It’s obvious, to me and a few others, that he’s bisexual–and yes, I know you told me that a while back on the Residents’ planet.  But I mean, can I ask you who made the move?  Were you friends first?  I have no idea how long your relationship with Daniel has been going on.  I think you told me it’s been a few years but I don’t see it.  It feels longer.”

Jason frowned and thought about what he meant by that.  “I think maybe you’re confusing my friendship with him.  I’ve been friends with Daniel for four years.  About three and a half of it as close friends.”

Alex then remembered what Jason had told him a long time ago.  “That’s right, you met him after the mission to Kheb.”

“Yeah, damned cursed place.  I never got to see the building except via Daniel’s camera, and I frankly didn’t want to.  Gave me the creeps.  Apophis’ Jaffa hanging around didn’t help discourage the feeling, either.”

“No, I s’pose not.”

When Alex didn’t continue and leaned back against the wall, his eyes on him, Jason sighed and leaned against the wall next to him.  “I hated Jack for a long time, did you know that?”

Alex’s eyes widened.  “No, I just thought you were annoyed with him.  I can’t think of anyone who’d hate him, other than that Rogers creep…and the Goa’uld, naturally.”

“Well, I did, and it was because of his fucked up attitude toward Daniel.  Every day I saw Daniel sink deeper and deeper into depression.  We’d hang out and I would have to coax conversation out of him.  I’d practically have to kidnap him to take him to a movie or the theatre or to some exhibit, something, anything, to get his mind off of losing Jack’s friendship.” Jason paused, feeling that the anger toward Jack was still somewhat fresh and hating himself for it.  It shouldn’t be there. 

As if reading his mind, Alex stated, “You’re still mad at him.”

Jason took a deep breath.  “Mad, yes.  But there’s no hatred anymore.  I swear, back then, given enough provocation, I really could have fragged the sonofabitch.”

Alex’s eyes went round as saucers at the admission.  “And now?”

Jason’s features softened and any trace of anger or hatred disappeared.  “I’d die and kill for him.  Not out of loyalty, not out of a sense of duty.”

“Because you love him.”

“Yes.”

“And Daniel?  Is it different?”

Jason smiled sadly.  “Yeah, I’m afraid so.  I wish it wasn’t, but it is.  I love him far more deeply than I do Jack.  I would rather die than choose between them, though, that much I do know.”

“You never answered the question about Daniel though.”

“Oh, right.  Um, me.  I started it.  He had no clue whatsoever.  That clueless persona he puts up?” Alex nodded.  “It wasn’t an act that day, I can tell you that.  I hid my personal feelings pretty well.”

He didn’t go on so Alex had to prod.  “Well?”

Jason gave him a half-smile as he got up to tour the room once more.  “What, you want the details?”

“Yes,” Alex replied, straightening.  His smile mirrored Jason’s. 

“Okay, but I’m not going to tell you intimate stuff, Alex.  We were both in the shower room on base during the Infirmary overhaul and rebuild.  I turned the lights off and heard him call out in protest.  I went to his shower stall, opened the door, stepped inside, and the rest is history.”

“Oh, no you don’t.  Not so fast.  What’d he do, how’d he react?”

Jason couldn’t help but turn his half-smile secretive.  “He was surprised, but he surprised me more by accepting me.  He fought his feelings for a little while, out of protectiveness I think, but he gave in to me so easily that it broke my heart to see him so starved for affection.  He didn’t cling or become dependent, and it wouldn’t have been him anyway if he had.  I’d have suspected demonic possession or something.”

Alex gave him a grin.  He couldn’t see Daniel that way, either. 

“But what’s ironic is though I started the relationship, I’m the one who’s been willing to walk away from it, just so Daniel could have Jack to himself.  We hadn’t been together, the three of us, for very long, and it was just after my 40th birthday.  I had seen them together, watched them, and knew I’d never have that depth of feeling that they shared.  So I decided to end things.”

“What?”

“Yeah, and Daniel didn’t know.  Jack guessed and forced me to change my mind, then he told Daniel, who promptly did something he would never do under any other circumstances.”

“What?”

“He laid a right hook across my jaw and sent me flying on my ass.  Bastard can hit.”

Alex started to laugh, but a little sadly.  “I don’t think that would work between Cari and me.”

“No,” Jason agreed.  “Besides, she hits harder than you.”

“Hey now,” Alex warned, but the joke did what it was meant to and that was diffuse the feelings and keep him from his depression. 

“Do me a favor?” Jason asked. 

“Name it,” Alex answered. 

“If you start to feel depressed, come talk to me.  Even if I get sick of you, at least I’ll be there, if only to smack you in the head and tell you to knock it off.  I’ll then drag you somewhere to watch some ass.”

Alex’s mouth dropped open.  “You’re not serious…what about Daniel and Jack?”

“I can look, so can they.  We’re not dead.  That’s the problem with committed relationship brainwashing.  This possessive ideal that’s been teaching us, ‘You’re body is now mine and you will look nowhere else, feel nothing else, and be no one else’s but mine.'”

Alex winced.  “Jesus, it’s exactly like that, too.  Okay, deal.  We’ll go look, but I can’t drink.  You know how I get.  I could come on to you and…I’m not in the mood for rejection.”

Jason only leered at him.  “I could take advantage of your drunken state, make you think something happened so you wouldn’t feel bad.”

Alex leaned against the wall again, only this time, on his palm as it lay flat on the center of the alcove wall.  “Wouldn’t work.  I don’t have blackouts.”

“Thank the gods or you’d be off the team.”

“Seriously?”

“Seriously, and–“

“Sirs!  Get out of there, the cover is closing!” came Anna’s warning over the radio. 

“What?” Jason and Alex yelled, and running to the stairs, they saw the fast whoosh of the stone cover cutting off the only other source of light. 

It was too late.  The cover made an ominous thud as it came to a stop. 

“Shit,” Alex exclaimed. 

Jason keyed his radio.  “Anna, Kane, come in!”

Silence, as he was afraid there would be.  Still, he tried again.  Then Alex tried.  Nothing. 

“Well, we’re fucked,” Alex commented in dismay. 

“Maybe not,” Jason said, feeling a wisp of fresh air.  He frowned, sniffing, turning his face to the source, trying to locate it.  “There’s fresh air circulating.  And remember?  This chamber didn’t emit any closed in gases or rank air when it opened.  When we came down here, there was absolutely no odor at all.”

Alex relaxed a little bit.  “Okay, that’s a relief, but I don’t have that many rations on me and I’d rather die than eat you.”

Jason gave him a filthy grin.  “That hurts my feelings, Alex.”

Alex was actually mad at him.  “Jason, sometimes your tendency toward humor at times like this is a little annoying.”

Jason gave him a suddenly serious look.  “I know, but it got your mind off panicking, didn’t it?”

“I wasn’t…” Alex started to protest but stopped.  “Yes, I was, wasn’t I?” He cringed again.  “Sorry.”

“Don’t be.  I was, too.  We’re normal.  Now, let’s check out where that air supply is coming from.”

They looked around, following the air, and came to a stop before the alcove.  And simply stared open-mouthed at the wall.  A large blue square was illuminated, with a handprint over it.  Alex’s handprint. 

“Shit, I activated some defense system, didn’t I?”

“Don’t assume, Alex.  Maybe you simply activated something…else.” The moment Jason said it, he knew it to be true.  Three feet up from the floor, a rounded rectangular yellowish-gold line, about twelve feet long and another three feet high, began to appear on the surface of the wall.  It began as a line of perhaps a quarter of an inch, but widened slowly to a full inch.  As they watched, there was a faint humming noise, or a whine, neither were sure which. 

“Jace, is it my eyes or is the center of that rectangle getting whiter, with a sort of blue in the middle?”

“You’re not seeing things,” Jason told him, and he held out a protective arm in front of Alex and forced him to take a few steps backwards as he did so himself. 

“What now?” Alex asked. 

“We wait and see what happens.  We don’t have another choice.”

Alex sighed.  “Did I ever tell you about the fantasy I have about–“

“Don’t go there Alex or I’m liable to fulfill it just to keep myself distracted.”

When Alex’s eyes widened, Jason gave him a knowing smile, and the wide-eyed shock turned to narrow-eyed annoyance.  “I’m going to get you back, you know.”

“I know.”

Alex rolled his eyes.


Cont. in Trinity 31

Joy's Fiction Stargate SG-1 Slash Fanfiction

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