Joy's Fiction Stargate SG-1 Slash Fanfiction

Trinity 32

T


Trinity 32: Veil

Part 3 of 3

Summary:  The plot continues.
Author Note:  Special thanks to Cher for her assistance with the excellent Russian language.


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


“Daniel, what’s with the face?” Jack asked as they waited for the gate to finish dialing. 

“Well, if Delek has been hijacked by the Dragornai and…”

“And?”

“And if it was posing as Delek all the time it’s been at the SGC…”  Daniel gave him a grimace that said the conclusion of his thought was not good.  Jack was puzzled, but when he got it a few seconds later, he made a loud noise of disgust and shielded his eyes. 

Picking up the distress, Jason walked toward Daniel from his position on the right side of the platform.  “Daniel, what’s wrong?”

Daniel looked over his shoulder, looking a little green.  “I’m just wondering who exactly it was that kissed me in my office.”

Jason halted mid-step.  “Gah!”  He mirrored Jack’s reaction as he turned to go back to his assigned position.  Others heard Daniel’s question and they weren’t too thrilled, either. 

“That’s disgusting,” Sam got out as she rubbed her stomach, getting a pat on the shoulder from Teal’c. 

“Yeah.  I just thought about it and…I think I’m gonna be sick,” Daniel said limply as he leaned against the pillar.  Eros approached him with concern and Daniel gave him a wan smile.  “Don’t suppose you have any good news about that?”

Eros shook his head, eyeing the gate as the wormhole stabilized.  Keeping the pillar between it and himself, he said, “If it makes you feel any better, the Dragornai was probably reflecting Delek’s thoughts and acting accordingly.  Which means–“

Daniel’s brows lifted in slight surprise.  “Which means that Delek has–“

“Got the hots for Daniel?” Jack finished, making Daniel roll his eyes at his choice of phrasing. 

No one was coming through the gate yet and Jack became concerned.  “SG-1 to Base, come in.”

“Stand by, Colonel.  We’re awaiting the arrival of Delek.  As soon as he’s joined Jacob, they’ll both come through.”

“Yes, sir.” Then Jack mumbled under his breath, something about the Tok’ra being late for their own funeral. 

Eros tried not to smile but he couldn’t help it as he retreated back to the obelisk.  Having been ‘cured’ of the negative reaction to his empathy, Jack O’Neill was a very entertaining man, one that Eros wished he could get to know a lot more intimately. 

Daniel looked around the pillar at Jack.  “I think he’s got the hots for you,” he said with a smirk. 

“Delek?”

“No, Eros.”

“Oh,” Jack replied, and turned away, hoping Daniel wouldn’t see the flush in his cheeks. 

“You know, Jack, you can arrange to stay here for the beginnings of our cultural exchange,” Daniel went on.  “I’m sure the General won’t mind if you expand your cultural horizons with an Ancient.”

“Daniel, cease and desist.”

Daniel lowered his voice, whispering, “I’m quite certain Eros won’t mind.”

Jack looked around the pillar.  “Okay, well, hop aboard the cultural exchange train, Daniel.  I’m sure Delek would be a willing teacher.”

Daniel was trying to think up a rejoinder when the two Tok’ra appeared and the gate shut down behind them.  There was a tense moment as Jacob/Selmak held Delek back and both waited for Jack to send the all-clear signal. 

A second later, Jack did, and coming out from behind his pillar, he passed the DHD and met them halfway up the walkway.  He greeted Jacob with a grin and a firm handshake.  “Glad you could make it, Jake.”

“As always, Jack, it’s good to see you.  Been awhile.”

“Tell me about it.  You really have to stick around longer this time.” He turned to the other Tok’ra.  “Delek.  Hope you weren’t bored to death cooling your heels while we found something worth talking about.”

“Not too bored, Colonel.  I found things to occupy my time.”

“Oh yeah?  Such as?” Jack asked politely as he walked down the front entrance and made his way toward the monument.  He really didn’t give a damn about Delek’s answer, but tried to make the Tok’ra feel as if things were just fine. 

“Reading.”

“Really?” Daniel asked.  “Like what?”

“An amusing tale from one of your culture’s religious sects.”

“What would that be?” Sam asked as the two Tok’ra reached the monument and she gave her father a hug. 

The Exorcist.”

Selmak appeared at that moment and gave Delek a long look filled with disapproval.  “The Exorcist is not an amusing story, Delek.”

Daniel stiffened as Delek’s lips curled slightly at the corners in a sarcastic smile.  Any confusion about Delek’s opinion on Tau’ri literature and cultural mythos was made abundantly clear to him in that one expression.  Daniel wondered if all of the Tok’ra, Selmak aside, thought the same way, and had to conclude they probably did.  The Tau’ri were one arrogant bunch on the whole, the Tok’ra notwithstanding. 

“Is it not?” Delek asked after pretending to think about Selmak’s correction.  “I found the idea of throwing water on demon-possessed human to be very amusing.”  His patronizing and sarcastic attitude forced a scowl to Selmak’s face. 

“It probably would be if they threw the holy water on you,” Daniel commented in a low voice a few feet behind Jack. 

“What I mean,” Delek continued without the slightest sign that he’d made others uncomfortable, “is that one can clearly see parallels to the Goa’uld–“

“With which you are familiar, no doubt?” Daniel went on. 

“Oh-kay, next subject,” Jack interrupted, cutting off Daniel’s baiting before he really got going.  “No offense, Delek, but we can debate that later.  We have some work to do right now.”

Delek regarded him with disdain.  “Very well, Colonel O’Neill.” He looked over Jack’s shoulder and gave Daniel a hint of a smile. 

Jack turned slowly and looked behind him.  Knowing that Delek couldn’t see, Jack mimed, “Cultural exchange?” Daniel only smirked and looked away, finding Jason leaning against a pillar, a tiny smile on his face as he looked at the ground. 

Jack turned to Jacob.  “So, Jake, how’s life treating you at the new Beta club?”

“Like crap,” Jacob complained.  “Nothing’s where it’s supposed to be.  But then I’ve always hated moving.  It doesn’t help that Selmak hates moving too so we’re pretty useless to be around.”

“Then you’ll fit right in with our little gathering today, Jacob, because I’ve not been at my best, either.”

“You do need a vacation, Jack,” he firmly reminded him. 

“As do we all,” Jack answered.  The other members of SG-1 and 2 nodded at the Tok’ra as they made eye contact and just as before, no one detected anything unusual in Delek’s behavior. 

As they took the few steps up to the platform, Jacob looked around, but spoke in Selmak’s voice.  “This is truly a unique find,” he said looking around before approaching the obelisk. 

“It is,” Delek agreed.  He then pointedly turned to Jason, not Jack.  “I take it that you found something on the return visit?”

“More like, found someone,” Jason answered as he approached. 

“Major Coburn and his 2IC, Captain Wagner, discovered a person, alive,” Jack told them. 

“More like he discovered us,” Alex cautioned from behind Jason. 

“The planet was also visited by a Jaffa scout party serving the Goa’uld, Damuz,” Teal’c informed the Tok’ra. 

Selmak and Delek turned around, looking for them.  “Where are they?  I’ll assume they didn’t come by ship.”

“You’d assume right,” Jack told him, “otherwise we’d be up to our armpits in Martians.”

Selmak got the cartoon reference since he shared Jacob’s memories, but Delek was left out of the loop.  He didn’t even bother to ask for an interpretation.  “So who was it that you found?” he asked. 

“You’ll like him,” Jack said condescendingly.  “Though you’ll have to check your emotions at the door since the guy can manipulate them.”

Behind him and off to the right, Jason rolled his eyes as he moved toward Eros on the other side of the obelisk, masking himself from view. 

“I beg your pardon?” Selmak asked, confused by Jack’s words. 

Jack pointed.  Behind the obelisk, Eros appeared.  The bottom of his long, dark blue tunic flipped open with his motion, showing the sides of the garment to be slit open to the top of the thigh.  A small breeze picked up just then and blew Eros’ hair over his brows, making him look younger than he already did. 

Jason turned to keep himself within six feet of Eros, and now Delek.  He held his P90 in such a way that made him appear carefree and relaxed.  Delek paid him no heed so the affectation was working.  Although it could very well be Delek’s own attitude toward the Tau’ri being played out for everyone.  He rarely paid heed to humans, Jason had noticed.  Stupidly, it made him a good target for suspicion, which Jason had an abundance of where the Tok’ra were concerned. 

“Eros, this is Jacob Carter, Sam’s dad, host to the Tok’ra, Selmak,” Daniel introduced.  “Jacob, Selmak, this is Eros.”

With his hands clasped behind his back, he bowed, and Selmak returned it. 

“Eros,” Daniel began again.  “This is Talin, host to the Tok’ra, Delek.  Delek, Talin, this is Eros.”

Again Eros bowed and Delek returned it.  “May I ask what brought you to the planet?  We detected no life signs on the Tok’ra scanners.”

Eros grinned and looked over at Jason, and then Alex just joining behind him.  “That is because there were none.  Earlier today, two members of SG-2 inadvertently activated my suspension capsule.”

Selmak’s expression turned puzzled, then wary.  “You were in life suspension?”

Eros nodded as he eyed Delek, who remained silent but was studying him carefully.  “Yes.  To answer the next likely question, I am a member of the race referred to by Asgard as The Ancients.”

Both Delek and Jacob’s brows rose in surprise, but Delek was the first to respond verbally.  “Then you knew the Asgard?”

“Yes, though I have never been fortunate enough to meet one.”

“It appears that you have been asleep for a very long time,” Delek went on. 

“That is correct.”

“Of course it is,” Delek answered dismissively.  He didn’t seem to register that Eros stiffened at the rude tone.  “I am curious.  Why did you not join the others when they ascended?”

Eros regarded Delek stonily before turning to stand before the tall obelisk.  He regarded the obelisk reverently as he ran his hand over the polished stone surface.  “I was one of the few not infected with the plague that descended on my people,” he said.  It didn’t escape Daniel’s notice that he purposely left out that the plague was a biochemical agent, not a natural disaster.  Was he trying to trap Delek?

“Yet you had the knowledge to ascend, did you not?  Why did you remain?” Delek persisted, and received irritated, puzzled looks. 

“I had choices to make,” Eros answered cryptically, still not looking at the Tok’ra. 

A strong breeze suddenly gusted, blowing his longer hair into his face.  Eros calmly brushed it aside and tucked it behind his ears.  Everyone else was quite obviously startled by the wind, including the Tok’ra.  The sky had been clear, the sun shining, but a few wisps of white had suddenly appeared. 

While Jacob diffused the tension by asking Eros other questions, most of which Eros had already answered before, Daniel took the opportunity to scan the sky, ostensibly to check the weather.  Jason had walked around the obelisk to come up on Daniel’s left.  To Daniel’s right came Jack. 

“You thinking what I’m thinking?” Jason asked quietly. 

Daniel nodded.  “You know,” he started, looking at his lovers, then made quick eye contact with Sam, Teal’c, and the others.  They drew nearer as he backed away from Eros and the Tok’ra, masking his actions by continuing to scan the sky.   “I think it’s fair to say that Eros has some guardians he doesn’t know about.”

“Indeed,” Teal’c said, his own eyes on the clouding sky. 

Daniel looked up at him as Teal’c took Jason’s place, the latter having walked off the platform to do his usual ‘listening’.  “You haven’t had much to say today,” Daniel commented.  “Nothing much to talk about?”

Teal’c smiled with his closed-mouth grin.  “Perhaps.” He looked to the side without turning his head, indicating the Tok’ra and Eros.  “I have been merely observing today.  I find our new friend to be remarkable, but I am uncertain as to whether or not he will be an ally.”

“You don’t trust him?”

“It is not that.  I simply cannot ascertain what he will do.  He is very unpredictable.”

“Well, he didn’t kill the Jaffa.”

“He has a regard for life, as we have heard.  For that I am grateful.”

“Think the Jaffa will stay on at the Alpha site?”

“I will know when I visit the base tomorrow.”

Daniel watched as Eros gave Selmak a smile and answered a question.  “I hope Eros turns out to be an ally ’cause I think we could use his help from time to time.”

Teal’c nodded with agreement, then arched a brow as another gust of wind blew around them.  It seemed to startle the Tok’ra more than the humans, and Daniel noted that just as before, it didn’t seem to bother Eros at all.  The Ancient caught his gaze and with a frown, moved past the Tok’ra and walked over to him, gesturing at the sky. 

“Daniel, a lot of you are concerned by the wind.  Is there a storm approaching?  Are we in danger?”

“That would depend on the type of storm,” Daniel said, “and I don’t know if there actually is one.  Based on the UAV scans, we figured we’d have quite a few clear, calm days.  But this wind, and now clouds?”

“It disturbs you?” Eros asked with concern. 

“Well, we’ve come across this sort of thing before,” Daniel told him, hesitating to explain as he noticed Delek staring at him. 

“Go on,” Eros asked. 

“We think it’s your ascended kinfolk,” Jack told him.  “They have this really cool ability to manipulate the weather.”

“I thought you said they didn’t interfere,” Eros said as he looked at the sky.  “What makes you think it’s them?”

Daniel was still surprised, despite his supposition.  “You really can’t sense them?”

Eros shook his head and finally appeared worried as a frown creased his brow.  He turned and started back for the obelisk and when he passed Delek, the Tok’ra suddenly reached out and grabbed his arm.  Eros gave him a look of startled amusement and looked down at the Tok’ra’s strong grip. 

Delek released him quickly.   “My apologies.  I merely wished to get your attention.”

Eros’ brow arched once more only this expression looked rather regal.  Daniel decided he liked the look, especially when it was leveled on a Tok’ra.  The Tok’ra’s grasp of Eros’ arm hadn’t gone unnoticed and everyone was suddenly on alert.  Daniel looked back for Jason on the other side of the obelisk, but he wasn’t there.  A quick scan found him off the platform, circling the left side of the monument, looking for all the world as if he were taking a walk.  Daniel caught the slow movement of his fingers and from experience, knew he was adjusting the sights on his P90.  He was readying it for sniper shooting and that particular bit of knowledge sent a chill down Daniel’s spine.  Intuition had him looking for Jack, and sure enough, Jack and Teal’c were doing the same, pretending to scan the sky while they readied their weapons. 

Their movements weren’t missed by Jacob who moved restlessly–in their sight line, but not Jason’s.  It was clear that Selmak didn’t want Delek killed but if it became necessary, Daniel knew Jason would not hesitate.  Turning his attention to Delek and Eros, Daniel wondered if Eros suspected the same thing he did:  That the Tok’ra had not meant to get his attention but to feel the energy of the man claiming to be the Ancient, Eros. 

Jacob’s eyes flashed, something that Daniel rarely saw, and Selmak whispered to him as they both now kept their eyes on Delek and Eros.   “Stay alert.  Something is about to happen.”

“Where’d you get that idea?” Daniel whispered with sarcasm. 

With his back to the obelisk, Eros stared down into Delek’s eyes and caught the tiny spark of red. 

“You are exactly who you say you are, Ayrose íal Macha.”

Eros’ eyes narrowed dangerously as he regarded the Tok’ra for a long silent moment. 

During that moment, Daniel was suddenly distracted by the last name, Macha, wondering if he’d heard the word Delek had spoken correctly.  It sounded like ancient Irish Celtic.  Was there a correlation?  A cross-cultural contamination was certainly plausible.  Language shifts were useless, however, even if the Ancients’ language was related somehow to old Latin.  Although that in itself suggested a contamination of some kind by an Ascended… 

Just as the entire issue began to give Daniel one of those headaches, Eros broke the silence. 

“You know my name,” Eros finally said, disrupting Daniel’s rapid thoughts.  “It hasn’t been spoken for–“

“Several thousand millennia, yes.  Neither has mine.”  He smiled at Eros and the entirety of both eyes slowly glowed a translucent red and no one saw it but Eros.   “I have been looking forward to…  meeting…  you.”

All trace of Eros’ good will was gone.  The transformation startled Daniel a little.   “You’re a long way from home, Dragornai.”

The creature only smiled.  Then with lightning quick reflexes, he grabbed Eros by the throat, shoving him against the obelisk.  Eros began to cough and choke, grabbing at the creature’s hand but even his strength couldn’t dislodge him. 

Afraid for Eros and not thinking about his own safety, Daniel started forward but the Dragornai turned his red eyes on him, making Daniel halt mid-stride.  “Interfere and I will kill him.” The voice was no longer Tok’ra nor human and it resonated with a deep, rasping sound. 

Three red points from P90 laser sights appeared over Delek’s brow, dancing amazingly close together.   “Since that’s what you came here to do, that’s a hollow threat,” Jack told him in a voice that no one took lightly.  Everyone went still. 

“I would prefer not to kill him,” the creature answered as he spotted Jack, Jason, and Teal’c at the rear of the monument.  He smiled and returned his gaze back to Eros.  “You see, I have become used to inhabiting this type of lifeform,” he went on.   “But I think it is time for a change of…  hosts.”  His grin was malicious, evil. 

Daniel’s stomach lurched as the creature turned his head again and looked straight at him.  Slowly, its eyes looked him up and down, making his silent observations absolutely clear.  Daniel recoiled when the creature licked over the points of his canines.  God only knew what he wanted to do with them. 

Watching Daniel purposely, the creature moved, and with a quick jerk, pushed Eros up the obelisk’s surface, taking his feet a few inches off the ground.  “Put away your weapons and move away!” he ordered.  Eros kicked out in panic as he began to choke, feebly scratching at the hand that pinned him.  No one moved so the creature possessing Delek growled and pushed Eros further up the obelisk, tightening his hold.  Eros lost the strength in his hands and dropped them at his sides.  His eyes rolled up into their sockets, showing mostly white, as his body began to convulse. 

Having been given the go ahead to fire at will, Anna swore in Russian.   “Hui!”

Daniel’s eyes widened in surprise, though he didn’t dare turn his attention from Eros and the creature. 

“I am sorry, Eros,” Anna whispered, and the discharge from her zat gun enveloped Eros and Delek. 

Eros hadn’t heard her, but he felt the electrical blast and spasmed as he hit the stone floor, released from the creature’s grasp.  A scream rang out, sounding as if it came from Delek, but his scant awareness was on the obelisk as it activated and fired. 

On Anna. 

“Cease,” Eros croaked in Ancient, realizing his mistake.  The obelisk’s flaw–as the creature had apparently figured out–was that it couldn’t aim at itself.  Anna had fired on Delek–and by contact with him, on himself–so it had responded as programmed.  Fortunately, the computer recognized his voice pattern and when the weapon let Anna go, Eros sighed with intense relief.  “Heal,” he ordered. 

Anna grimaced as the amber beam hit her, but it suddenly cut off, only to be replaced by a few seconds of purple light.  The pain subsided a little.  Kane was beside her as she dropped to her knees, holding her, watching the chaos of the scene unwind. 

Struggling to his knees, Eros found the still figure of Delek.  He’d moved far enough away from the obelisk for it to fire, but it was no longer moving.  When Eros had ordered the computer to cease fire, it wouldn’t fire again until he was attacked.  Eros had to give the preemptive strike order.  Sitting with his back against the obelisk, Eros was distracted for the moment by the wind that was now whipping around the monument.  He thought he heard something whispering to him but couldn’t understand it.  Ignoring it, he looked back down–and found those red eyes regarding him once more.  The creature got to its knees and began to crawl toward him with a malevolent smile. 

Closing his eyes, Eros said, “Fire.”

A single, white beam shot from the crystal, covering Delek’s body.  Arching, the thing screamed; it twisted viciously in what would normally have broken a human’s spine, and the beam shut off.  Delek’s back arched again and reddish light began to spill out through his open, staring eyes.  More came out through his mouth, nose, and ears, and when it was free of the body, Delek’s eyes closed and his body collapsed. 

Coalesced into a type of cloud, the creature glowed with dark translucence the color of blood.  It hovered along the ceiling of the monument’s roof, pulsing, thinking, considering its target.  When it began to move, it didn’t stop over the obelisk and Eros.  It stopped two yards to the left…  and directly over Daniel. 

Daniel had been watching the creature’s progress and when it stopped over him, his eyes widened as the meaning struck home.  He reached to get his zat–which wasn’t there.  He’d left it in Eros’ home so that the Ancient could take a look at its technology.  He hadn’t thought to recover it and only now realized his fuck-up. 

“Daniel, drop and roll!” Jack and Jason shouted.  Dropping to the ground, he began to roll toward their voices.  When he chanced a look up, he found that his movements had forced the creature to act.  The red, pulsing thing came for him like a predator stalking down its prey.  Zat charges were shot…  and flew right through…  to scatter uselessly over the ceiling.  Cursing, Daniel rolled faster and tumbled down the back steps.  Jack and Jason were quickly over him, protecting him with their own bodies as they tried unsuccessfully to use their zats. 

The seconds seemed to last forever to Jack, but it hadn’t really been that long before he felt the strength of windy gusts increase to storm quality; they blew in and through the structure with such force that Anna, Kane, Sam, and Alex were forced to drop flat and cover their heads from the whirling dirt and rocks.  Eros, protected by the obelisk, crossed his arms over his face. 

A shrieking noise ensued, coming from the cloud, and it rivaled the howling whine of the wind.  Chancing a look up, Daniel watched as the cloud was battered away, not just from him, but from the monument itself, and pushed into the sky. 

“Look,” he called out, and despite the debris in the air, everyone tried to watch the supernatural scene.  The sky had been clear not five minutes before, even as the creature had attacked Eros.  But now it was almost black, covered with dark purple clouds that menacingly moved as if something were being born within. 

The red cloud was trying to get away from them but the created crosswinds kept it mostly in one place.  Its shrieking continued as it fought its invisible attackers but its motions were ineffective.  It seemed to Daniel that what was going on was a type of vengeance, with the ‘winds’ hurtling the cloud back and forth before a deafening thunder split the chaos.  Underneath the sudden torrent of hissing rain came a deep, low-pitched howling.  It rose dramatically until it reached whatever required pitch it needed and lightning struck from several different ground locations, the bolts thick and blinding white.  They converged in the air, illuminating the cloud-filled sky, and hit the red cloud as if it were a solid mass. 

A terrible crash rang through the air like that of an explosion and the creature screamed once more, the sound so loud that everyone on the ground had to cover their ears.  A second later, the cloud exploded into millions of tiny sparks.  The end result reminded Jack of a firework display.  The sparks arced outward and drifted downward, fizzling out, leaving wispy smoke trails behind and the stench of sulfur. 

The excitement over with, Daniel realized that he couldn’t move.  “Dammit, get off,” he said, scowling as he shoved his lovers off.  “Don’t do that again!”

They looked at him in confusion even as they looked him over for any injuries. 

“I’m okay,” he said, pushing their hands away. 

Trying to fight off his amusement, Jack got to his feet and looked around while Jason sat back and gently cuffed his annoyed lover.  “Think we’d chance losing you?”

“Think I’d want to lose you?”

For the first time since Eros ‘healed’ Jack, Jason met the man’s eyes regarding their relationship–with Daniel.  He shrugged, as if protecting Daniel was something necessary–like breathing–and stood up to make his way to the monument.  Jack understood the gesture and nodded in agreement, mostly at himself, then looked down at Daniel and smirked at him.  He’d risk Daniel’s wrath as long as Daniel ended up safe. 

Daniel knew damn well what he was thinking and rolled his eyes.  He took Jack’s outstretched hand and stood up, brushing himself off.  Jack was looking at the ground, moving around the monument, searching for something. 

“What’re you looking for?” Daniel asked. 

“Location marks.”

“From?”

“Lightning,” Jack answered.  Around the other side of the structure he quickly found what he was looking for when he came upon a foot-wide scorch mark.  He scuffed the blackened surface with his boot, then looked up at the sky.  “Well, that was definitely pretty cool,” he mumbled to himself.  Turning away, he moved up the steps and found Anna, with Jason already checking her over. 

“Tolenev, you okay?”

She cringed at the sound of his voice.   “Bad headache, sir.”

“We should get her to the infirmary,” Jason told him. 

“Unnecessary,” Eros said as Daniel knelt next to Delek, looking at Jacob. 

Jacob looked up at him and shook his head.  “There is too much damage,” he said.  “From what Selmak tells me, Delek is in no condition to heal anything.”

Daniel sighed and looked over his shoulder at his lovers.  “I wonder if this computer system has–“

A purple light came down from the obelisk, scanning them, then it altered to blue and the next thing everyone knew, they were inside the house and in a large room none of them had ever seen before. 

Jack snorted.  “Apparently that answers your question.”

“Apparently,” Daniel said in astonishment. 

~

The computerized medical system had Eros, Anna, and Delek on three ‘infirmary’ beds, a pale purple light gently scanning them and healing the physical injuries.  Delek required the most healing and feeling strangely connected, Daniel stayed nearby with Sam and Jacob. 

“Think he’ll get better?” he asked. 

It was Selmak who answered.  “I think so.  But then we’ll have to repair his mind.  That will not be an easy task.”

“That bad?”

“No, but if that creature had been inside Delek since we found him, then we have no idea who Delek is or if he really is Tok’ra.”

“Oh,” Daniel said with a grimace.  “So it’s hurry up and wait time?”

“Precisely,” Selmak told him. 

The beam suddenly cut off.  A few seconds later, Delek groaned as if he were coming out of a troubling sleep, then his eyes flashed open, the glow included. 

“Where am I?” he asked looking at Selmak and Daniel suspiciously. 

“Do you know me?” Selmak asked. 

Delek didn’t answer but his reaction answered in the negative. 

“Is your name Delek?” Daniel asked. 

Delek didn’t answer.  Then Selmak spoke to him using the fifty year old code words, hoping that the man knew them.  Alarm began to recede from the man’s expression and he answered using the old password.  Selmak smiled at him. 

“You’re among friends,” he said.  “Are you Delek?” The Tok’ra nodded, his eyes resting on Daniel. 

“You are not Tok’ra,” he said. 

“No,” Daniel told him with an amused grin.  “I’m Tau’ri.”

Frowning, Delek repeated, “Tau’ri?  First humans?”

“From the first world,” Selmak told him.  “I’ll explain.”

Daniel nodded to him to leave them alone when Delek laid his hand on Daniel’s forearm.  “Do I know you?  You seem familiar.”

Looking at Selmak, Daniel asked, “Did General Hammond tell you what happened?”

Selmak nodded. 

Relaxing, Daniel gently removed Delek’s hand from his arm.  “You know me, a little.  Selmak will fill you in.”

The further he moved away from Delek, the better he felt.  Approaching Eros’ bed, he found the Ancient sitting up, rubbing his neck.  Anna was on her feet and walking out of the room with Alex and Kane as her escorts.  Jason looked back at Daniel and gave him a nod before leaving.  Looking quickly at Jack, who stood on Eros’ opposite side, he frowned. 

“Nothing’s wrong Daniel.  Jason’s just taking his team to the gate to inform Hammond what happened.”

“Oh.” Eros pushed off the exam table and muttered something in Ancient.  A glass of clear liquid, probably water, materialized on a counter behind them.  Retrieving it, Daniel handed it to him.  He took a few grateful gulps, his eyes on Daniel and Jack. 

“You okay?” Daniel asked. 

He nodded.  “I will be fine,” he said, though his voice sounded harsh. 

“I’m sure, but how’re you feeling?” Jack asked, making Eros smile at him.  In fact, Eros’ gaze stayed on him as he finished his water. 

It made Jack nervous and he looked around, making Daniel smile. 

“You’re making him nervous, Eros,” Daniel told him. 

Eros only smiled.  “I know.”

Jack looked back at him, then cleared his throat.  “Look, I hate to do this but–“

“You have to leave,” Eros finished, setting down the glass and sliding off the table to stand on his feet.  Jack hadn’t stepped away in time so Eros was literally up against him.  Instead of moving out of the way, Jack stuck his hand out for balance, grabbing the man’s shoulder. 

“Y’alright?” Jack covered. 

He took a deep breath, obviously breathing the smell of Jack in.  “Not really, but I will be.”

“Sorry to just up and leave you.”

Eros wrinkled his nose.  “I need to get settled and I can’t do that with you here to distract me.  I’m sure I’ll see you again…yes?”

Daniel snorted.  “Well, that’s that, Jack.  You finally landed one.”

“Daniel,” Jack admonished but Daniel was leaving the room, laughing to himself. 

“We can always come back next week sometime.  Right, Carter?”

She walked away from her father and Delek and reached out to shake Eros’ hand.  Just when she thought to pull her hand away, he took it and clasped it between both his own.  There was no sensation of any kind.  “I’m not quite back to normal,” he said a little sadly and she reflected it. 

“I’m sorry.  It must be tough not being able to touch people.”

“I have never become used to it.  I do not think I ever will.”

“Well, if I can, I’d love to come back next week–that is, if that’s okay with you.”

“It is,” Eros smiled.  “I’m sure you can bring me up to date on your current level of astrophysics?  We could probably start there with any minor help I can give.”

“I’d like that,” she said hopefully.  “Sir, I’ll meet you guys at the gate.” She moved over to help Jacob escort Delek from the room. 

When they were alone, Jack turned to Eros.  “You’ll be fine here by yourself?”

An enigmatic smile crossed Eros’ features.  “I don’t think I’m alone.  Do you?”

“No, ‘spose not.” Jack then became fidgety as the awkwardness hit him in saying goodbye to a man who’d kissed the hell out of him earlier. 

“I want to apologize.”

“For?”

“Causing you harm.”

“Did you do it deliberately?” Jack asked him. 

“No, but it doesn’t excuse the harm I’ve caused your lover, Jason.  He’s hiding the hurt he feels.”

“I know.”

“Please tell the others I meant no offense, making them feel what they didn’t wish to.”

Jack gave him a small grin.  “They weren’t offended, Eros.  Just shocked.  They’d have been more so if we hadn’t already made friends with a race of telepaths.”

“Ah, I see.” He studied Jack closely, then said, “You’re close to one of them.”

Jack shrugged.  “A little.  Daniel is more so,” and he thought of the tattoo between Daniel’s shoulder blades. 

“Is this the Adriann you spoke of?”

“Yeah.”

“Could I meet him sometime?”

“If Adriann survives the ass-kicking Daniel’s giving him when we meet up again.”

“He gave him the gifts he has now?”

“I wouldn’t call them gifts but yes.”

“They pointed you at an enemy, Jack.  That is considered a gift.”

“I guess,” he shrugged.  They were silent for a moment and Jack felt awkward.  “I should go,” he said, and turned, but Eros touched his arm.  Jack felt a little tingling and looked down at his arm.  “I guess you’re getting better.” He looked up and saw the panicked expression.  “What is it?”

“Could I…?” Eros started but halted, unable to finish. 

Jack noticed the blush that crept up Eros’ cheeks and couldn’t help the smile.   “What?”

Eros knew that solitude awaited him, knew that Jack had to leave, but he wanted one more moment and didn’t want it to end in rejection.  He calculated the man’s breathing, the way he was looking at him.  Fear of rejection began to leave him, and he thought about what he’d learned of Jack earlier.  He’d read the strong human as careful man, but one who took risks when the situation required it, and he was not always practical.  Perhaps he needed to give Jack a reason to return, not just his teammates. 

Yet, for the first time in his life, Eros couldn’t think of the words he needed, not even in Earth’s English, so he decided that few words were necessary.  He slid his hands up Jack’s chest, over his neck, and stopped when his hands cradled Jack’s head.  “I will miss you,” he whispered, and kissed Jack so slowly, so sensuously, that Jack was soon thinking of nothing else as he returned the attention. 

Before anything else could happen, however, Eros broke off gently and stepped away, letting the flirtatious light in his eyes show as he slowly lifted his tunic up and off his shoulders, letting it fall to the floor.  “Until we meet again, Jack, be well.”

“And you, Eros,” Jack replied, startled to find himself unable to move when he thought that Eros was going to come back for one more kiss.  He was so goddamned hard he ached.  His eyes were glued to the play of muscles rippling over the man’s chest, and Jack held his breath, wanting and not wanting something more to happen.  His body made up his mind for him when a deep surge of disappointment filled him when Eros turned away. 

Watching his back muscles as Eros crossed the room, Jack let his eyes wander down.  As if reading his mind, Eros pushed his dark blue pants over his hips.  They slid easily down his legs and he stepped out of them, revealing himself in all his nude glory.  Jack couldn’t take his eyes off of him.  The dark tan, the graceful flow of one muscle over the other; the wide shoulders, slender waist, narrow hips, rounded buttocks, strong thighs that stretched into impossibly long legs. 

Eros approached the back corner of the room and a door opened.  He paused on the threshold and looked over his shoulder, giving Jack a brilliant smile before disappearing into the dark and letting the door close after him. 

Jack stood there for a moment, taking several deep breaths, trying not to wallow in the thoughts of lining up behind that body and…  He nearly jumped out of his skin when Daniel’s voice came from behind. 

“You coming or what?” Daniel asked. 

“Not funny, Daniel,” Jack growled, pushing past him. 

“What?  All I asked was if you were coming.”

“Yeah, well, ask me that again after I’ve had a cold shower.”

Eyes widening with comprehension, Daniel sniggered.  “So…  a cold shower, huh?” he asked, and moved up alongside as they entered the living room.  “I don’t see the evidence of one of those kisses.” He blatantly looked down and Jack pushed him away again, trying to ignore Daniel’s chuckle as he wished he could walk faster.  His balls were screaming at him with a staggering amount of rebellion. 

“What happened?” Daniel asked, thinking he knew. 

Slamming the front doors behind him, Jack growled, “Kissed me goodbye then stripped in front of me and walked off.”

Daniel couldn’t help it.  “Built?”

“Like the fucking god of love would be.”

“And did you have some rather naughty–“

“Shut up, Daniel.”

“Wanna duck in the bushes for a quickie?” he teased. 

Jack abruptly halted, hissing as he did so.  He stepped over to Daniel, pushing against him, and Daniel took a step back.  When he did, Jack took a step forward.  Each time Daniel stepped back, Jack followed. 

“Jack?” Daniel asked, still teasing when he recognized Jack on overload. 

“Daniel, if you want me to fuck you, right here, right now, then just tempt me one…more…time.”

“You know this’ll be fodder for days, if not weeks.”

“I’m sure,” Jack replied, grabbing Daniel and spinning him around. 

Daniel sucked in a breath and was hard in seconds.  He was suddenly torn — like Jack was not long before — between bolting and shoving his trousers down.  Then Jack pushed him forward. 

“Walk, Daniel.  Slowly.  If you say or do anything else, it’ll be hand jobs for a while.”

Hastily clearing his throat, Daniel began to walk.  They hadn’t gone very far when he felt resentment for the threat creeping up on him.  And Jack had said it on purpose.  He knew Daniel couldn’t keep from baiting his attacker–in this case, Jack–so what did Jack want?  An excuse to drop down and fuck like crazed minks?  Daniel didn’t know, and he had an idea that Jack didn’t either.  He was just pushing limits.  The bad boy in Daniel, therefore, couldn’t let the threat die unchallenged. 

“The problem with hand jobs is that they’re so incomplete, unsatisfactory–“

“Daniel…” came the obligatory warning. 

“So, instead, when we get home, you can always whisper extremely descriptive, not to mention filthy, things about Eros…” and Daniel turned, walking backwards, grinning his head off. 

“Thin ice, Daniel.”

Daniel’s grin grew wicked as he lowered his head slightly, knowing Jack favored the angle of his eyes and lashes.  “I want you to tell me all the things you’re thinking of doing, right now, to me, to Eros, and most especially to Jason, while you fuck me so goddamned hard over the bench seat in your truck.”

Jack snatched out for him and just missed Daniel’s field vest.  “You are so dead.”

Daniel somehow managed to sprint away as he headed for the gate.  He hit the mic of his radio as he ran.  “Sam, have you dialed home yet?” he asked, desperately looking over his shoulder. 

“Just about to, why?”

“Dial.  Now.  Please.”

“What’d you do, Daniel?”

 

“You treat me like I was your ocean; you swim in my blood when it’s warm.”

.  .  . 

 

The invitation read:

The 1st Annual Halloween Costume and Charity Ball
{ Glass Slippers Optional }

Jason sat on the edge of his desk and stared at the ivory-colored card with the blood-red flowery script.  He waved the card at Daniel as he strode into his small office.   “Hey, Daniel.  Who’s the dumbass who thought this line up?”

Daniel took the invitation, never having glanced at his own long enough.  He smirked.  “Probably the same dumbass who thought of the slave auction.”

“Fuckhead,” Jason said under his breath. 

Daniel set the card down on the desk and took in Jason’s serious and sober look. 

“So…” he began. 

“So…” Jason repeated in their usual conversation broker. 

“Are you gonna talk to him?”

Jason shook his head, then glanced at his watch. 

Daniel sighed.  It had only been four hours since returning from the planet, but he was hoping that a change of scenery would have changed Jason’s perspective–as it sometimes had.   Daniel knew what Jack had said had hurt, but Daniel knew Jason loved Jack, and vice-versa.  He only had to devise a means of getting Jason to forgive him.  At least the reports were handed in and the medicals were done.  They could go home.  Speaking of which… 

“I’m glad you’re still here,” he said, “but how come?  Were you waiting for me?”

“No, yes, I don’t know,” Jason said, dancing around the issue.  “I want to talk to him, I want to hit him.”

“He knows how badly he acted but it wasn’t his fault and you know it.  He’s very ashamed, Jason.”

Jason only nodded. 

“He loves you.”

Jason shook his head that time. 

“Jason, for fuck’s sake.  Don’t do that to yourself.”

“Do you have any idea how that hurt?  It came from somewhere, Daniel.  And did he bitch at you?  No.  Only me.  I’m not allowed to…  screw around.  Only you and him.”

“You know that’s not true.  You’re mad and hurt and won’t see.  Since when are you a person who won’t forgive, Jason?”

“Since I was called a whore, Daniel!”

They were both silent for a few minutes, then Jason said in a much quieter voice, “There are times that I like it when he calls me that, but that’s when we’re making love or having a one-off in the middle of nowhere.  But practically calling me that in that blind rage was the one and only time he’s ever made me feel ashamed.  I hate him for making me feel that way.”

“Even if he wasn’t responsible for saying it?”

“Eros didn’t put those thoughts in his head!  They’re old fears from somewhere down deep and they finally came up.  It’s made me think just how much of this relationship is actually held together by you.”

“Jason–” Daniel started, getting pissed. 

“It’s always been you, you know?  He resents me.  Deep down.  And that’s where those words came from.”

“That is so…you really need to step back and listen to yourself.  It’s true what they say about ‘Physician, heal thyself.'”

“I’m not a doctor,” Jason frowned. 

“No, but you’re a shrink.”

“Not exactly and–“

“You know damn well what I mean.  Think about what you’re saying.  He doesn’t look at you like that.  He fucking loves you.”

“I heard you the first, second, and third time, Daniel, alright?  Now just…go.  Be with Jack.  Leave me the hell alone.” He started for his jacket but Daniel’s words froze him in his tracks. 

“Are you leaving me?” he whispered. 

Jason turned slowly, his face paling under the lamplight of his office.  “What?  No, Daniel, I could never…  Do you want me to?”  Daniel shook his head and Jason walked back to him, pulling him into his arms and embracing him tightly.  “I could never leave you.  I’ve told you that time and again.”

“Then were you trying to hurt me, just then?” Daniel asked, stepping back. 

Jason frowned again and started to argue but Daniel shook his head and placed his fingers on his lips.  “Listen to me, Jason.  Please.  Listen to me.  Did you mean for me to leave you alone forever?”

“No,” Jason answered as if the idea were preposterous. 

“Did you say it to hurt me because I’m defending Jack?”

Jason wouldn’t look at him but they knew the answer. 

“Then do me a favor, please?  Remember that when you think about what Jack said.  Perhaps he’s jealous of you in a way he doesn’t want to face yet.  And for whatever reason, it came out that way to hurt you.  He didn’t mean it.  Somewhere deep down, he’s hurting about something that has nothing to do with what he said.”

Jason took a deep breath and closed his eyes for a few seconds.  “Fine.  Anything else?”

Daniel sighed with a little relief, but he was still fraught with tension for Jack.  “Right now, Jack thinks you’re leaving him.”

Jason’s mouth worked and he shook his head.  After a minute he said, “I’m not, I’m not, please tell him I’m not–“

“Tell him yourself.”

“I can’t.  I’m too…”  He stepped back.   “I can’t do this.  Not now.”

Daniel took the cue and walked out of the office with him.  Jason shut off everything and locked the door.  “Do you want me to come over?” he asked hopefully, also wanting to get a look at Jason’s costume.  Jason gave him a knowing grin. 

“No.  If I don’t call you first, give me a call tomorrow to say hi.”

“Okay,” Daniel said with disappointment. 

“You’re the one who set this separation up, remember?” Jason said softly as they got into the elevator and rode up to the 18th floor.  “Besides, I want to surprise you.  I’ll also take the time to think, okay?”

Daniel waited till the other passengers got off on level 21.  “Okay.  But would you mind a suggestion?”

“Depends.”

“Call Alex and have him over.”

“Daniel, I’m not sleeping with him.”

“I didn’t say sleep with him,” he answered nervously.  “But maybe he’d be a good…  distraction while you try to heal from what Jack said.”

Jason sighed and shook his head as he leaned against the wall.  He didn’t respond. 

“Then what if I called you later?  I could always distract you.” He didn’t smile but let Jason read the suggestion in his eyes instead. 

Jason smiled at him as the doors opened on 18 and Daniel stepped out.  “Phone sex is off-limits too, remember?” he told him as the doors shut. 

Daniel pursed his lips together and pulled out his cell phone. 

Daniel sat at his desk, his eyes unfocused as he twirled a tube of parchment around his fingers. 

Jack walked in, hands in pockets, and shut the door.  “Well, you ready to–” he started, then groaned when Daniel gave him an unhappy look.  “Don’t tell me.  Did he just leave?”

Daniel nodded.  “Not just now, but an hour ago.  Said he’ll see me tomorrow night.  He wants to get his costume ready and be alone with time to think.”

“He’s still mad and hurt.”

“Hurt yes, mad no.”

“He’s not mad?”

Daniel shook his head slowly.  “Doesn’t matter.  He’s hurting as if you sliced him open with a chainsaw.”

Jack growled in his throat.  “I did.”

“He’s justified, you know,” Daniel finally admitted, not wishing to make things worse but he had to say it.  “That anger came from somewhere.”

“I know that!” Jack snapped. 

“Know what I told him?”

“No, but you’re going to tell me, right?”

“No, you’re going to tell me what I said.”

“Shit, Daniel.”

“Jack, you know this.”

Jack sat down on his desk and crossed his arms.  “I remember thinking that all I wanted was for him to hurt as much as I was, so I let him have the worst thing I could think of, because I know his weaknesses and fears.  I don’t know why I was hurting, I just was.  I felt…threatened.  I know they weren’t real fears and I didn’t believe the things I said.  He’s got to know that.”

“You said it yourself, Jack,” Daniel said slowly, remembering what he told Jason about Jack knowing but not recognizing his own fears.  “You know his weaknesses and fears.  He doesn’t believe that you were making that up.  In his mind, you’ve just ended our three-way relationship.”

“Jesus Christ,” Jack snarled as he made his way to the door, but Daniel was up in a flash and blocked him. 

“No, you can’t.”

“Daniel, I’ve got to fix this so get out of the way.”

“You’ll make it worse and you know it.  He needs time to think and realize that he’s wallowing in self-pity.  He might also be drunk as a skunk while he’s wallowing and you know that won’t help your case.”

Jack groaned and leaned against the door, banging his head softly against it.  “No, it won’t.”

“All we can do is wait till tomorrow night.”

“Can you call him, at least?  Make sure he’s okay, hasn’t fallen on anything or cut himself open or…”

Daniel smiled.  “I’d already planned to but I sent back up instead.  And don’t get mad or you’ll have two lovers to deal with instead of one.”

Jack eyed him warily as Daniel told him about the conversation with Jason about Alex.  He waited through Jack’s sudden silence before he then told him about the phone call he’d just made. 

“Daniel, call him back and tell him to forget it.”

“Jack…”

“Daniel, I can’t lose him.”

It suddenly dawn on Daniel what Jack’s fear was, and what prompted the attack on Jason.  “Well, there it is.”

“What?” Jack asked, wary. 

Ticking off the items on his fingers, Daniel went on.  “One.   You never felt Adriann or his kin were a threat when any of them were with Jason?”

“Yeah, okay…” Jack answered, wondering where Daniel was going. 

“Two.   You never felt threatened by Eros.”

Jack frowned.  “Are you sure?”

“Are you?  Think about that a second.”

Jack shook his head.  “Daniel…”

“Just do it, please?”

“Okay, how?  Think about what exactly?”

“Close your eyes.  Picture Eros kissing Jason.”

Jack closed his eyes, figuring that humoring Daniel was a good idea or he’d be nagging him forever.  He pictured Jason and Eros and felt a little flutter in his stomach but that was it.  “Okay.”

“And?  What’re you feeling?”

“Nothing.  Well, okay, a little aroused but that’s it.”

“Okay.  Three.  You feel threatened by Alex.”

Jack hadn’t opened his eyes and they suddenly flew open, staring hard at Daniel.  “What?”

“Close your eyes and think of Jason kissing Alex and then tell me what you feel.”

Hedging, Jack eventually closed his eyes but a second later, shook his head.  “This is stupid.”

“Why?”

Jack glared at him.  “You seem to have all the answers in my own head.  You tell me.”

Daniel reached out and gave Jack a sincere rub on his shoulder.  “I’m sorry I’m acting like that but you know how you are when you don’t want to face something.”

Jack shrugged and conceded that. 

“The thing is, Jack, there is no threat with Eros or Adriann because neither one of them is a real threat in taking Jason away from you, or me, for that matter.  Alex, on the other hand, is.  Or at least, you think he is.  Jason’s known him for a few years and they’ve become close friends.  He’s also attracted to him, a fact that neither one of them would have known about if it hadn’t been for me or Adriann.”

“You?” Jack asked, momentarily puzzled. 

“On that first day, with Adriann, when I found Alex dreaming, he whispered Jason’s name.  I then had to tell Jason and later, they kissed.  Then Alex began to recognize his desire for Jason, and the feelings have started to become mutual.  You see Alex as a clear and present danger to your relationship with Jason, regardless of what I tell you.”

Jack was quiet for a while, thinking it over.  In the end, what Daniel said was right.  He didn’t like Daniel’s recommendation to Jason about Alex, and not for the usual reasons but because it was only a step closer to losing Jason to him.  Alex was a rival. 

“Yeah, I guess it’s possible, isn’t it?”

Daniel sighed with relief, but gave himself an exasperated shake of the head.  “God, Jack.  The two of you are so stubborn.  What the hell am I going to do with you?”

“I’ve one idea.”

When they got into the truck, Jack smiled secretively.  Daniel hadn’t remembered, had he?  He was so focused on getting things patched up between himself and Jason, that he’d forgotten his teasing.  Well, Jack hadn’t forgotten, and right now, with Daniel so tantalizingly within reach, and the perfect balm to his ache over Jason, Jack had plans to implement that forgotten suggestion. 

It didn’t hurt that he hadn’t had any intimate time with Daniel since…well, okay, it’d only been nearly two days, but where Daniel was concerned, it may as well have been weeks.  Where Jason was concerned, it was also beginning to feel like months. 

Jack’s plan would take care of three things at once.  Revenge, lust, and temporarily forgetting about things that couldn’t be changed. 

Daniel was deep in thought about Jason, so he hadn’t been paying attention to where they were going until he realized that Jack had pulled into his own garage, hit the remote for the door to close, and shut off the truck. 

He looked around then turned to him in confusion.  “I thought we were going to the store?”

“Pit stop,” Jack told him as he shrugged out of his coat and laid it over the steering wheel.  With one hand unbuttoning his dark beige shirt and the other catching the latch behind the back of the seat, he gave Daniel a very filthy smile. 

Daniel swallowed down the excitement he was starting to feel and took in where they were.  Looking back at Jack, allowing him to see his flushed cheeks of arousal, he subconsciously played hard to get–which he sometimes did when he wasn’t with the program.  Jack sometimes liked that, sometimes hated it.  Daniel could get so wrapped up in something, he’d forget everything else.  During sex, that was a damn great thing, but getting his mind on sex?  That took a tiny bit of persuasion.  It never took long.  And sometimes, Jack didn’t really mind the effort of the hunt. 

Since this was the result of a tease that Daniel had forgotten, Jack didn’t mind this one at all.  He lifted the latch and the back of the seat dropped, and Daniel’s brow line went up as his hand shot out to balance himself.  He cleared his throat quickly when the last of Jack’s shirt buttons were undone and he went to work on his trousers. 

“Um, not that I’m complaining or anything, but what brought this on?”

“Tsk, tsk, Daniel,” he admonished with a dirty leer, and unzipped his khakis.   “We’ve a date in my truck.”

“We do?” Daniel asked, feeling both hot and cold when Jack’s free hand slid underneath his nearest knee and pulled Daniel’s leg up on the bench seat. 

“Oh yes, we do.  A little matter of you, me, and…”

He pushed Daniel’s knee further until his foot dropped down on his right side, effectively spreading Daniel wide.  Although there was a little problem with Daniel being clothed, but hey, he could work that quickly enough. 

“And?” Daniel asked, bracing his hands behind him to hold himself up.  He was fully aware of his crotch in full, albeit covered, view, and it gave him a delicious surge of arousal.  As were Jack’s hands, which were now pushing his jacket off his shoulders and tossing it behind him. 

Jack leaned over… 

Then veered to the left and toward the glove compartment.  He retrieved the item in there that took Daniel a half-second to realize was the emergency tube of lube.  His eyes went wide, because he’d stupidly been thinking of Jason and not concentrating on the job at hand, and therefore the only thing that had come to mind was maybe a hand job or a blowjob.  But lube meant fucking and… 

Daniel closed his eyes and groaned.  When he opened them, Jack’s leer had become a wicked smile. 

“I see you’ve just remembered,” he said, dropping the lube between his legs.  He placed a hand over Daniel’s presented groin and slid it over the rapidly growing length of his erection. 

Daniel bit his lip and made a breathy sound, unconsciously raising his hips to encourage Jack’s hand for more.  Jack teasingly reached up and unbuttoned his trousers instead, sliding the zipper down, revealing the tight, white cotton.  With a sudden jerk that sent a fission of excitement through Daniel’s body, Jack pulled his lover’s trousers off his hips.  Legs closing to accommodate, Jack next came across the impediment of a left-footed sneaker.  He yanked it off, then pulled the pant leg free. 

“C’mere,” he said and reached across to grab him by the back of the neck. 

Daniel did nothing to stop him, but he did nothing to help, either.  He’d laid the foundation for this date with his goading teases and knew at that moment that this was exactly what he’d wanted.  This was Jack’s show and whatever he wanted, Daniel would gladly give him.  He gave Jack a look that said, “I dare you,” and Jack grinned wolfishly as he brought Daniel’s mouth to his for a passionate, hungry kiss. 

Busy tasting and challenging every bit of Daniel’s agile tongue, Jack’s free hand guided both of his lover’s to his trousers.  Without further prompting, Daniel quickly shoved them down to Jack’s thighs, along with his boxers.  One hand found the lube while the other took Jack’s hot, stiff cock and pumped its straining length.  Jack moaned and deepened the kiss, forcing Daniel to unbalance and drop onto his back. 

The truck’s leather was cold where Daniel’s arms touched, but he was still clothed above waist.  He made short work of that, glad to have worn a button-up, and with practiced ease, opened the shirt.  He was a little distracted in having to drop the lube to do it, but Jack took care of that by letting him go with one more hard, quick kiss. 

Jack took the lube, and while he opened it and applied a generous amount to his fingers, he sought out Daniel’s throat, nipping the skin with feral intent.  He allowed himself to grin at the expected result when he felt Daniel’s body shudder underneath him. 

“Turn over,” he said gruffly, and guided Daniel’s legs as he got onto his knees.  Quickly, he pulled off the other sneaker, but left the trousers bunched below his right knee.  He liked the look of it; hasty, dirty, with implications of illicit sex. 

Reaching back to his left foot, Daniel yanked the sock off before he placed his foot on the floor of the cab, bracing it against the median hub.  The thick carpeting was easy to grab with his toes so with that leverage taken care of, he spread his right knee wider, waiting.  Cool, slick gel made him gasp as Jack eagerly spread it over his perineum and up to his puckered hole, rubbing in firm circles before pushing a finger inside. 

He moaned with want when Jack didn’t hesitate before thrusting in and out, twisting as he went.  “Remember what you wanted, Daniel?” Jack asked as he prepared him. 

“Remind me,” Daniel told him.  He braced his left hand on the side of the cab and his right on the leather seat back, gripping the edge.  He inhaled sharply when Jack reached between his legs and pulled his cock down and back, stroking in time to the movements of his index finger. 

“Filthy descriptive words, you said, about you, Eros, and Jason.  Remember?  Something about getting fucked hard on a bench seat?”

“I remember,” Daniel breathed, dropping his head down and closing his eyes.  “What did Eros look like?”

Inserting another finger and pushing deep, Jack described Eros’ naked body.  He gently, maddeningly squeezed and pulled at the head of Daniel’s cock, getting the tiny moans he liked. 

“And what were you thinking when you saw him like that?” Daniel somehow managed to ask. 

Jack slowly eased his hands from Daniel, grinning when he heard the groan of disappointment.  With practiced haste, he applied another generous amount of lube over Daniel’s hole, then slicked his cock. 

“How much I wanted to do this,” he answered, and holding his cock firmly, he held Daniel’s hip with his free hand and rubbed his cock against his perineum, sliding up, over, around, letting Daniel think he was going to tease, when he suddenly zeroed in and sheathed his dick in one powerful thrust. 

“Oh god!” Daniel yelled, arching, his ass rising to meet his lover’s plunging cock, fingers flexing to grip whatever was handy. 

Jack stroked his back muscles with his hands, caressing from neck to ass.  “You’re so fucking sexy.”

Daniel moaned in response, biting his lip again, his head still dropped between his shoulder blades.  “What else did you want to do?” he asked when he caught his breath. 

Jack moved his hands over the front of Daniel’s thighs, sliding them inward and pulling them out and back, pinning Daniel wide.  He was rewarded with that one loud growl that made him crazy.  “This,” he answered, and thrust his hips in short, powerful strokes, banging against Daniel’s ass.  The soft slap of skin on skin was music to his ears as were Daniel’s rhythmic moans.  “That’s the sound,” he gasped, and increased the force and speed of his hips for a minute, building up sweat and pre-come. 

He suddenly slowed down, lengthening his stroke, rolling his hips, and smiled when he nailed Daniel’s gland perfectly.  He knew he’d only been edging it, but now he was going to pull every trick on him he knew. 

“Think they’re doing it right now?” he asked, leaning over Daniel’s body, letting him taking some of his weight, though Jack braced his hands on either side of Daniel’s ribcage. 

Taken off guard, Daniel had no idea who Jack was talking about.  “You expect me to…think?” he asked between gasps. 

“Yes.”

“Who?”

“Jason and Alex,” Jack told him.  He kept his strokes rhythmically slow, like a dance.  He was still driving him mad with his rocking, hip-circling movements, knowing he was brushing Daniel’s gland like a bow-string in the process.  “Like that?”

“Which?” Daniel asked, thoroughly confused now and loving it. 

“Both.”

“Yes.”

“Who’s on top?” Jack asked, giving one thrust just a little more force before returning to his ‘dance’. 

The force and idea made Daniel groan as a picture filled his mind.  “Jason.”

“How’re they doing it?”

“Like us, only on Jason’s bed.”  Jack growled against his ear and pulled his hips back, making Daniel gasp with pleasure as he slammed home.  “Oh god.   Jack.”

“Right now, Jason is teaching Alex the fine art of deep throating.”

“Is he liking it?” Daniel asked, panting breathlessly, reaching underneath with his right hand to squeeze the slippery head of his cock.  He adjusted his left hand, somehow finding the leather hand loop attached to the roof meant for travel garment hangers. 

“Which one, Daniel?” Jack asked, using more force in his thrusts, still keeping the pace slow. 

“Alex.”

“God, yes.  You know how Jason tastes.”

“Jesus, Jack.”

“And there’s more.  Want to hear?”

“Yes.”

“Dammit,” Jack panted.  He couldn’t wait anymore.  He was going to come.  “He’s doing this now,” and pushing himself back, he grabbed hold of Daniel’s shoulders and began fucking him hard and fast. 

“Yes,” Daniel demanded, squeezing his eyes shut and moved his tight fist so fast over his cock it became blurred. 

“And we’re there, watching.”

“Oh shit,” Daniel cried, his balls tightening, swinging wildly with the force of Jack’s pounding. 

“He’s got him face down across that bed, Daniel.  Legs spread, his cock so goddamn deep, plowing his ass, humping, spearing, choking, pounding, slamming, making him scream, making him come!”

“Who’s doing who?” Daniel asked in a plaintive, needy voice.  Just one more thing to push him over…just one more–

“Does it matter?” Jack whispered. 

“God, fuck me!” Daniel cried out, shooting his come between his fingers as his body was buffeted by Jack’s incessant onslaught.  His ass tightened and spasmed, gripping Jack’s cock like the invader it was.  It was so good he kept jerking himself off, waiting for Jack.  He didn’t wait long.  Jack dropped over him and bit down over the back of Daniel’s neck as he groaned loudly and came. 

Letting go of his cock and the leather loop, Daniel eased down to the bench, guided by Jack’s bracing arms.  Their bodies still tremored with pleasure and the only sound now was their heavy panting.  Waiting through the afterglow, their thoughts were scattered and unfocused, their sweat-sticky skin the only thing registering. 

“Think we should share these thoughts with Jason?” Daniel asked, finally able to speak. 

Jack kissed the bite mark, then nuzzled the back of his head.  “Yes.  If he lets me.”

~

Alex parked his car in the small lot and shut off the engine.  He stared down at his hand on the round gear shift knob and felt it shaking.  Gripping the knob tightly, he took a deep breath, then hit the button on the console to turn on the CD player.  Looking up at the second level of the building, he saw that Jason’s loft was dimly lit, which meant either he’d gone to sleep with the bedside lamp on or he was still up. 

Alex massaged his stomach, and the butterflies that churned there, and wondered just what the fuck he thought he was doing.  He’d been lying to himself the entire ride over, trying to convince himself that Daniel’s phone call had been innocent. 

“Would you mind dropping over, see how he’s doing?  I think he could use your company.”

“Is he mad at you, too, Daniel?” Alex had asked. 

“Well, not exactly, but he won’t take any comfort from me right now.  Maybe you could…”

Maybe you could… 

Comfort him?  Daniel had left the statement unfinished and Alex felt he’d done it on purpose, leaving the meaning implicit.  Just what kind of comfort was it his place to offer?  Alex moved his hand to his temple as he rested his left elbow on the door’s rounded window edging.  He knew he shouldn’t be there so what the hell did he think he was doing?  Going by those kisses they’d shared, if he went up, found Jason in a vulnerable moment, and god forbid–drunk, and he even remotely flirted… 

God, would Jason actually do something?  Alex experienced a mixture of dread and excitement that Jason very likely would. 

But the point was, did he want him to?  If they actually did something–and okay, outside the realm of reasonable excuse and explanation–it would change everything.  And it would be for all the wrong reasons.  Jason may have shown Alex that he desired him, but he couldn’t give more than that; wouldn’t give more than that.  Alex knew that things would self-destruct from there.  He’d want–demand–Jason’s time, attention.  Love.  And the man simply couldn’t give it under the circumstances, could he?

Like some nagging conscience, the CD was playing a song ironically accurate to the situation.  He reached for the controls, but instead of advancing the disc, he turned up the volume. 

“I don’t wanna touch you too much, baby, ’cause making love to you might drive me crazy.  I know you think that love is the way you make it, so I don’t wanna be there when you decide to break it.  No…”

Def Leppard was right.  Love Bites. 

No, this was definitely not a good idea.  Jason didn’t need comfort.  Not from him.  Not like this.  He didn’t need change.   Starting up the car, Alex backed out of the parking space.  With a soft, wistful sigh, he stepped on the gas and drove down the road.  When he got to his apartment, he dialed Jason’s cell number and got his phone mail. 

“Obviously I’m not answering the phone so leave a message.”

Alex closed his eyes.  “Hey there, Jace.  I um, started to come up to see you but I changed my mind.  See, Daniel asked me to come over and see you, but I figured, screw it, you’d rather be alone.  Just in case I was somehow wrong, and you’re simply pining away without your 2IC, then give me a call and I’ll make it up to you.  We’ll go do something before we set out for that thing you call a shindig.  Later.”

Jason woke up with a start.  He’d heard a noise, hadn’t he?  Getting up, rubbing his eyes, he looked over at the clock and saw that it was 12:30 am.  Groaning, he rubbed his bare stomach and padded to the door in his shorts.  He peered out, listened, then shut it and locked it, wondering what the hell had made him wake. 

Passing the couch, he looked at the large clothing box taking up half the cushion space.  He didn’t want to go to that damned charity thing, but he’d already bought the costume.  Besides, he had to see what Daniel had bought.  Jack, too.  He was still mad, but was more saddened than anything.  Closing the window that faced the parking lot, he fell back into bed and shut off the light. 

The next morning, Jason got up a little later than usual but it didn’t change his routine any.  After relieving himself, he sleepily padded to the kitchen, pulled out the Gatorade, downed his vitamins, and hit the message button on his cell. 

He paused as he put the cap back on the bottle, listening to Alex’s message.  Was it Alex’s car that had woken him last night?  Could’ve been.  The times were nearly the same.  Besides, who else would be visiting?  Jason knew it wouldn’t have been Daniel.  It wasn’t because of their argument, but they’d all made an agreement not to see each other the night before Halloween and the day itself.  Not till after the Costume Ball.  It’d been some game Daniel had wanted to play, to purposely keep away from each other, and somehow raise the eroticism.  So far, it was working.  Jason had missed Daniel terribly last night.  But right now, he could strangle him. 

Why would Daniel have sent Alex of all people?  One thing he was pretty sure about was that given the way he’d been feeling and the moderate amount of liquor he’d drank, he’d have started something.  And he knew damn well that Alex wouldn’t have refused him. 

And perhaps, that was exactly why Daniel had called Alex.  Jason both loved him for it and wanted to kick his ass.  Sometimes Daniel could go too far.  Last night would have been the worst possible time for anything to happen. 

After his morning run, Jason would call him and tell him exactly that.  And speaking of his morning run… 

Jason picked up his cell and dialed, waiting for Alex to pick up as he slid on his sweats. 

“Whatever god you worship–“ came the mumbling, grumpy voice. 

Jason couldn’t keep from grinning.   “It’s me, shithead.”

“Nice.  You kiss your beloved with that mouth?”

“As a matter of fact, yes.  Now, get your pantyhose on, sweetheart.  We’re going for a run.  I’ll be there in fifteen.”

“Wait just a damn–“ Alex started to protest but Jason hung up on him. 

“Fuck,” Alex groaned, not bothering to call Jason back. 

An arousing hand slid over his sweating chest.  “That’s what we’re doing.  Unless you want to stop?”

“No,” Alex growled back, clutching the arms that surrounded him against his chest as his bed partner’s thrust hit his gland once more.   “Don’t you dare stop.”

He silently thanked the universe for not staying home after he’d left the message for Jason, thanked it for one too many shots of bourbon and the curb he’d stepped off on his way home.  Thanked it for falling, deservedly, right on his ass, because it was then that the strong hand and warm voice greeted him and helped him to his feet…  and then home.  An hour later and only slightly more sober, Alex told the Airman he knew from the base that it was getting late.  The Airman had agreed, then abruptly kissed him.  A few seconds later, after deciding that he didn’t care if he was drunk, Alex had kissed him back, and kept kissing him until he’d fallen asleep. 

A half hour ago, he’d been awakened by a nicely hard reminder of what they hadn’t gotten to the night before.  Alex knew why and liked the feeling of security it gave him:  his partner had wanted him sober. 

Right now, Alex could appreciate that no end.  “Just…pick up the pace.  I’m gonna have my commander here in fifteen.”

His lover did as asked and had them both coming in under five. 

~

“Hello?” Daniel said sleepily. 

“Wakey, wakey, hands off snaky.”

“Too late,” Daniel answered laughing, not looking where he was going.  A string of curses came right behind a hard wooden thump as he ran into the dining chair, stubbing two toes.  Hopping and cursing even more, he held his toes as if he’d split them open.  It certainly felt like it. 

“Daniel?” came the voice from the floor where he’d dropped the phone. 

Daniel picked it up after glaring at it.  “Here.  Stubbed my fucking toes.”

“I knew we should have put rubber guards on everything.”

“Funny, Jack, you’re a real comedian.  Now, what’re you calling me about?”

“Oh, come on, Mr.  Grumpy Gills.  When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do?”

“Don’t go there.”

“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming, Just keep–“

“I’m taking Finding Nemo away from you.”

“I have it memorized, so it’s too late.”

“Ah huh.  Got your costume ready?”

“Oh yeah.”

“Don’t tell me, you’re going as Bruce.”

“Wayne?”

“No, dickhead, the shark.”

“And this phone call was going so well, too, Mr.  Potty Mouth.”

“Fuck off and die, Jack,” Daniel told him, feeling his temporary gloom lift as he laughed. 

“Woohoo, what a way to go!  Come over here and make me.  I dare you.”

Daniel blew over his hot coffee, then sipped, trying to stifle the grin that wouldn’t leave.  “Want more truck bench workouts, I take it?”

“God, slept like a babe after I got home.”

“You should have.  You fucked me like a Soviet gymnast.”

Jack chuckled evilly.  “Why thank you, Daniel.  Care for a repeat performance tonight?”

“I would, but you and Jason are going to kiss and make up first.”

“If he doesn’t want to, then what?”

“I’ll tie you both to the bed.”

Jack growled.  “I like that idea.”

“After the party, Jack, not before.”

“Party pooper.”

“I’m tempted to call him over now and skip the party, just tie him to my bed and make him calm down.”

“Yeah, well, he’ll probably need that long to decide whether or not he wants me in the same bed, and at that, you’ll probably have to slip him a Mr.  Valium.”

“Jeez, you’re as bad as he is.  I hope Alex was more comforting.”

“Daniel, I know you think that you’re helping scratch an itch, but I’m not liking the idea much.”

Daniel sighed.  “I know.  I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be, I understand the reason, but it’s just…  listen I have to be honest here.  Considering Jason’s mood, and Wagner’s, who’s just broken off his thing with Carmichael, both of them would have been together for all the wrong reasons.  If there’s a right reason, that is.”

Daniel was silent for a moment, and a sinking feeling came over him.  “God,” he said, passing a hand over his face.  “You’re right.  Jason hasn’t been answering his phone this morning.  I wonder if that’s why?”

“Maybe.  But he may just be out running, considering the time.  You won’t know till you call him.  Call Wagner, see if he answers.”

“Why don’t you call him?”

“Because I’m pulling into the driveway at Fraiser’s.”

“God, I smell blackmail.”

“Yep, she roped me into escort service.”

“Excuse me?” Daniel laughed in shock.  “What’d you say?”

“I’ll need resuscitation later.  All this work for a man my age…”

“Later I’ll remind you how that’s such bullshit.  Now, the escort business?”

“I’m escorting Cassie to a sleepover.”

“Why doesn’t Janet take her?”

“Because she’s apparently secreting over to Carter’s for their private costume party.”

“Jack, that sounds suspiciously…  lewd.”

“Doesn’t it though?  Fraiser’s ready with a pair of shears if I don’t quit the innuendo.”

“You know she doesn’t mind.”

“I think she likes the teasing.”

“I think she needs to get laid.”

Jack sputtered on the other end, laughing.  “Christ, Daniel.  Got anyone in mind?”

“No, I’m leaving that strictly for Janet.  I value my healthy set of balls.”

“So do I,” Jack said with a certain tone. 

“Jack?”

“Hmmm?”

“I need to ask you a question.”

“Uh oh.  Go on.”

“Are you mad at me for wanting to sort whatever that is going on between Jason and Alex?”  Jack sighed and held his peace for so long that Daniel wondered if he was still on the line.   “Jack?”

“I’m here.  No, Daniel, I’m not mad.  And I don’t blame you, but like I said, I don’t like this idea so I’m not going to be too supportive about it.  I’d prefer it if Jason wasn’t attracted to him.  I’d prefer it if it didn’t make me nervous and scared that he’s leaving me.  Us.”

After a minute, Daniel confessed, “Yeah, me too.”

“Then why did you give him…  well, permission?”

“Because of Alex.  I like the guy and I thought his first time should be with someone he knows and cares about.”

“He’s had his first time.  With Ophius.”

“Yeah, but Ophius wasn’t exactly a normal guy, you know?”

“Okay, I got that, but you need to let Alex Wagner take care of himself.”

Daniel sighed.  “I still think that whatever attractions they have, they need to get them out of their systems.”

“That might not work.”

“Why?”

“Because he’s in love with Jason.”

“What?”

“He’s in love with Jason, Daniel.”

“How do you know?”

“Watch him tonight.  He hides it, but not enough.  And unfortunately, Jason loves him in such a way that he unknowingly encourages it.”

“Jack you can’t encourage being in love.  You are or you aren’t.  And are you sure about this?  I mean, I can’t believe I missed this.”

“You weren’t…”

“I wasn’t what?”

“You weren’t looking, Daniel.  You’re secure in our relationship.  But both Jason and I, well, we have issues, you know?”

“Yeah, I know.  Insecure ones.”

“So, that’s the thing.  In my weird state of possessiveness lately, I’ve been watching him.  Them.”

“Why haven’t you mentioned this before?”

Jack sighed.  “Because there wasn’t any need to.  I figured if you wanted to see it, you would.  But with this attitude of yours, about the two of them, I realized you really didn’t know.  You surprised me, Daniel.  You’re usually a lot more observant than I am.”

“Bullshit.”

“No bullshit.”

“You sure it’s not just because of Cari?”

“It’s not rebounding, Daniel.  Trust me.  I think the only thing to do is find someone else for him to focus on.”

“I’m not actually crazy about putting them in bed together, either, Jack.”

“I know.”

“So, have you got anyone in mind?”

“I made a call yesterday, actually.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because I didn’t know if it would work out.  In case the guy was seeing someone.  Turns out he’s not.  So, we’ll just have to wait and see and pray that nature takes her proper course.”

“With a little encouragement from Jack O’Neill?”

“Naturally.”

Daniel sniggered.  “You just keep on surprising me, Jack.”

“I hope that’s a good thing.”  It was Daniel’s turn to be silent for a while.  “Daniel?”

“I’m here.  I’m thinking, and I think we need to redefine our relationship.”

“What?” Jack yelled. 

“No, no, no, no, no, that’s not how I meant it, Jack, calm down.”

“Fuckin’ A, Daniel, don’t scare me.”

“I’m sorry.”

“So what do you mean?”

“Um, let me think about this for a bit so I can make sure I don’t scare you again.”

“Christ, that sounds even worse.  Remember the part of my personality that holds an abundance of paranoia?”

Daniel smiled.  “I love you.”

Jack made a sound that made Daniel’s smile brighter.  “When you say that, the paranoia is amazingly countered.  Love you back.  And if anyone’s tapping in, we are so busted.”

“Woohoo.  Next time, let’s have phone sex and see how that works.”

“Bye, Daniel,” Jack drawled.   “Finish your coffee, think of me when you have your hand where mine should be.”

“I would rather watch you instead,” Daniel suggested, biting his lip when Jack made a groaning sound.  When Jack didn’t say something smart-assed, he added meaningfully, “Or I could just…  listen.”

“For cryin’ out loud.  You’re the one who stipulated this no sex thing, and now you’re teasing me for phone sex?”

“You’re sure?” Daniel teased, dropping the level of his voice so that it sounded low, soft, and seductive as hell.   Jack’s low growling reply made him laugh as all the hairs stood up on the back of his neck and his skin prickled with goose flesh. 

“Well, Cassie’s ready to go.  I’ll see you tonight and make you pay.”

“I hope so.”  The phone clicked dead and Daniel was certain that if Cassie hadn’t been there, he would have been treated to something that would have blistered the coating on his phone.  No sooner had he flipped the phone cover closed when it rang again.   “Hello?”

Jason toed off his sneakers and made for the bathroom as Alex grabbed a bottle of Gatorade from the fridge.  He fidgeted for a second, then grimaced as the sweat dried enough on his back to free the clinging cotton of his sweatshirt.  “I’m gonna head home!” he called out to Jason. 

“What?” Jason asked in a muffled voice as he stepped into the doorway, pulling his shirt off. 

“I’m gonna head out, go use my own shower.”

“Okay,” he smirked and headed back in, closing the door most of the way.  He had wanted to ask during the run but hadn’t.  Now seemed as good a time as any.   “So, did you meet someone, Alex?”

Alex’s eyes went wide and he stepped over to the bathroom door.  “What’re you talking about?”

“Alex, I’m not blind and my sense of smell hasn’t left me.  You had company.  Why didn’t you just say that on the phone?”

Avoiding the answer, he said, “I met him last night.”

Having that fact confirmed, the albatross of guilt hanging round Jason’s neck abruptly disappeared.  He sighed as the hot water hit him.  “Was this a one-night stand or what?”

“I don’t know yet.”

“Well, I’m hoping it’s more.  You deserve it.”

“I’m not sure it’s such a good idea to look for someone else,” Alex answered, raising his voice over the din of the water. 

“Cari?” Jason asked, not bothering to mention how Alex would’ve jumped in the sack with him, rebounding or not. 

“Rebound effect.”

“Gotcha.  But it doesn’t hurt to play, Alex.”

Alex reddened and was suddenly glad that neither of them could see the other.  “I met him after I called you last night.  I couldn’t sit still so I went out to get drunk.  He escorted me home.”

“Does he have a name?” Jason asked as he brushed the water from his face and shut off the shower.  Stepping out, he wrapped himself in a towel and pulled the door open the rest of the way.  When there was no answer, he repeated the question. 

Alex shrugged as Jason appeared.  Having sex last night and again that morning, and male sex at that, made him nervous talking about it with Jason.  “I’ll keep that to myself, no offense.  There might not be a point in remembering if he doesn’t want to see me again.”

“Good point,” Jason said wistfully. 

Alex made for the door, saying, “Since I’m not supposed to see you in your get up till tonight, give me a hint.  What century will you be in so I know what to look for?”

“You mean you won’t be able to recognize me?” Jason teased. 

Alex didn’t bother to tell him that he’d recognize Jason no matter what he wore.  “I’ll know you anywhere, Jason.”

“18th.”

“Pardon me?”

“18th century, and that’s a guesstimate.”

“God, please tell me you’re not gonna be wearing one of those stupid royal court frou-frou wigs?”

“I’m not gonna be wearing one of those stupid royal court frou-frou wigs.”

“Thank Christ.”

“Now you.”

“What?”

“A hint, please?”

“Oh.  Um…”

“Alex, c’mon…”

“I’m tempted to chicken out.”  He was.   The costume was pretty much painted on, leaving little to the imagination.  The one good thing was that at least he had the body to wear it.  Not too muscled, not too thin.  Plus it helped that the costume made him feel…  good

“Why?” Jason asked, wearing a concerned frown.  “It can’t be that bad.”

“Not really bad but let me say…  um, never mind.  You wanted a hint?  Here the hint.  Mask.”

“A mask?” Jason asked, the interest of a puzzle to solve peaking behind his eyes.   “That means only one thing where you’re concerned, Alex.  A comic book hero.” He then groaned.  “Or villain, and I know you like a few each.  Give me some colors?”

“No,” Alex told him, smirking as he entered the elevator. 

“Please?”

“No,” he said, looking up at Alex through the cage door as the elevator descended.  “See you tonight, Jason.”

Jason tried to think of who Alex’s latest favorite was and couldn’t.  Already frustrated, he made it worse by trying to guess what Daniel and Jack would be wearing.  They were supposed to stay in the theme of movie characters, but that theme was wide and varied so they could show up as anyone. 

Jason’s thoughts inevitably turned to Jack.  He wasn’t mad any longer, and a strange melancholy was taking over, as if he’d lost Jack already.  He knew he was feeling sorry for himself, but Jack’s venomous words in his head wouldn’t leave him alone.  It reminded him just how insecure he felt his place was in their little triad. 

Sighing and telling himself to stop worrying, he ran a comb through his damp hair as he dialed Daniel’s number. 

“Hello.”

“Hey there.  I was just about to call you.”

“Here I am.”

“Jason, I’m sorry.”

“About?”

“Sending Alex over.”

“Nothing happened, Daniel.  I was asleep.  He showed up but turned around and left.  I just talked to him.”

“Oh,” and Jason heard the unmistakable sound of relief. 

“Relieved are we?”

“Not…  exactly.  It’s just that I wasn’t thinking about the timing.  Jack’s scolded me on it.”

“Jack’s in on it?” Jason asked with alarm. 

“No.  He’s not happy about it, as a matter of fact.”

“Really?” Jason asked, feeling elated.  He tried to squash the hopeful feeling but it didn’t work. 

“Sounding a little forgiving, Jason?”

“More like insecure, Daniel, and don’t argue with me.  Not today.”

“Okay.”

Daniel’s voice sounded a bit strained and Jason assumed a pang of guilt.  “I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

“Worrying you.  I don’t mean to.  I’m just feeling…”

“He loves you, Jace.”

He sighed and closed his eyes as he sat on his bed, the cotton comforter slightly scratchy against his bare skin.  “Part of me knows that, Daniel.  The part that isn’t still hearing those words.”

“Jace–“

“I can’t help it, Daniel.  They hurt.”

Daniel was silent for a minute, then said, “I know.  They hurt *me* to hear them.”

More silence, then Jason felt the need to tell him that everything would be okay.  He hoped it would be. 

“I love you,” Daniel told him. 

“I love you more,” Jason answered.  He could just ‘see’ Daniel smiling and began to feel better.  “One last thing.”

“What’s that?”

“I got back at you for pushing Alex on me.”

“Jason,” Daniel warned.  “What did you do?”

Jason felt his lips twitching into an evil, mischievous grin.  “I told him that the only reason you’re pushing us together is because you want to watch.”

“What?” Daniel shouted. 

Smiling, Jason said, “You should’ve seen his face.  See you tonight, Daniel.”

He hit ‘end’ and tossed his phone on the bed.  A second later, it began to ring, but he ignored it, then turned off the beeping alert that let him know he had messages.  Still grinning, he grabbed the current book he was reading from the bed stand and lay down to read. 

 

“Sweet dreams are made of this, who am I to disagree?”

~

6:12 pm… 

Jason looked at himself in the floor-length mirror and adjusted the light brown woolen waistcoat, pulling it sharply underneath the wide leather belt.  The large buckle seemed fitting, as did the second one that hung slightly lower and off at an angle.  His sword belt.  Inside the leather scabbard was a handmade replica of a pirate’s best friend: the tuck, a straight, narrow blade with two edges.  This one was perhaps two and a half feet long.  Average.  It was perhaps a little off for the time period, but he wasn’t going for authenticity.  Just the look.  Despite the dark brown leather trousers that fit him perfectly, he felt that what set the costume off was the billowy, long-sleeved shirt. 

Tailor-made to be loose-fitting like the 18th century shirts, the thin, off-white roughened silk felt erotic against his skin, and his heavily muscled arms and chest didn’t pull at the expensive fabric.  The collarless garment was left unlaced down to his abdomen, as were the buttons of his waistcoat, left open to his belt.  Underneath, a large gold coin lay against his breastbone, hung from a thick golden chain.  Pirate treasure.  And his identification mark, so to speak, since the coin’s design was of a skull with Mayan symbols carved inexpertly around it.  He fingered it, pulling the chain taut, wondering if it would hold or break.  It didn’t really matter.  It was his now. 

Sighing, he looked down to examine the cuffed boots that covered his legs to mid-thigh and gave him perhaps an inch and a half of heel.  Examining the soles again, he was thankful that the roads weren’t icy and that snow had held off.  The bootheels that would click nicely on dry ground and tiled flooring would not work too well on slick pavement. 

He’d wanted to wear the hat, but it went only with the coat, which he didn’t feel like wearing.  He wouldn’t check it in and he wasn’t going to dance with it.  Without it, it would be a cold evening, but it would be worth it. 

He picked up the gold earring the size of a dime and an eighth of an inch thick and slid it through the hole of his left ear.  He’d purposely left his hair unkempt and the longish bangs looked even longer as they fell into his eyes.  He’d purposely skipped shaving, wrestling with the dilemma, but a half hour earlier, had decided to shave.  He really didn’t want to give Daniel skin burn.  He wouldn’t mind it from Daniel, though.  His facial hair was softer when he let it grow a little.  For that matter, so was Jack’s.  He hoped his emotions would settle by the end of the evening just so he could be reminded. 

Taking the plain gold and silver rings, he slipped them on his fingers, then eased the trinity ring onto his left pinky.  He rubbed it, as if it were a lucky stone.  Perhaps it was.  Tonight would tell. 

Grabbing a crimson silk scarf, he placed that under the stubby collar of his waist coat and looked once more in the mirror.  Perfect.  His wallet and keys safely tucked into a square pouch at his belt, he was ready.  With anticipation and a belly full of frenzied butterflies, it was time to go. 

6:14 pm… 

Sighing with disgust, Jack wished for the thousandth time that he was younger.  While the costume looked okay on him, he couldn’t help but feel old.  He ran his fingers through his peppered hair, also feeling a twinge of guilt.  Considering his age, he hadn’t really felt at home with Daniel’s theme suggestion.  His lovers would look good as pirates or rogues or heroes of Middle Earth, but those styles weren’t meant for him.  The tailor he’d gone to had agreed.  Instead, Jack wore black.  Well, not completely black.  From a distance, the 1930’s pinstripe would look black, but up close, the gray striping would be seen. 

Jack pulled and fussed with the tapered V-shaped vest.  Its plain back was dark grey silk with the adjustable band to tighten or loosen as needs permitted.  Satisfied, he checked the charcoal grey silk shirt’s fit, making sure it hadn’t ridden up anywhere.  It hadn’t.  It fit well and looked stunning against his throat; the black silk tie set it off nicely. 

Round silver cufflinks accented his shirt, and were engraved with soaring eagles.  They made him feel as if he were wearing his rank.  Taking a swipe at his shiny black shoes, he’d at least broken costume design by getting newer made shoes.  The shoes of the ’30s were insanely uncomfortable. 

Tucking his wallet in his inner breast pocket, he next placed the silver pocket watch and fob into his vest, checking the time as he did so.  Next came the over-the-shoulder gun holster.  He placed the empty .45 revolver–a very real sidearm he owned–into the leather holster and snapped the strap closed, making sure the black handle could be seen if his coat opened wide enough.  Without the ammo, the gun was a little lighter, though not by much.  He’d argued whether or not to carry it, but decided that since he had no problems shouldering a P90 all day, he could certainly carry the .45 for four or five hours.  While definitely not part of the 1930s, the revolver looked more the part and he was satisfied. 

Putting on the jacket, he double-checked the cut of his trousers, making sure they weren’t baggy in the ass, then grabbed the black fedora off the bed and fitted it so that it tilted just a little over his right brow, shading his eye.  The dark grey band was just as perfect as the rest of it.  Placing his keys in his pocket, Jack left the house whistling The Godfather.  One thought stayed in his mind–a hopeful fantasy for later:  his black tie securely binding two wrists together.  He just couldn’t make up his mind if the wrists were his own. 

6:17 pm… 

Daniel slipped the poniard into the sheath on the side of his knee-length soft-leather boot.  He turned his body to admire the elaborately decorated gold hilt, nodded, then buckled the sword belt at his hips and tied the slender scabbard to his thigh.  Bending his knee, the scabbard moved with him.  It would work for sitting at a table.  There was no way he was taking this baby off.  He pulled the foil from its sheath, admiring the scrollwork the engraver had done over the pommel.  He smiled. 

He’d worn this outfit once before and with a sparing reluctance, had to wear it again.  His package hadn’t arrived and he hadn’t had the heart to tell Jason or Jack.  Coincidentally, the costume still fit with the sword theme, although he had a feeling that Jack wouldn’t be following it.  He looked forward to whatever his lover did find to wear. 

Adjusting his leather pants and making sure the loose silk shirt didn’t bunch anywhere, he tied a loose bandana around his neck, then tied on the black, fitted scarf over his head.  Lastly, the leather eye mask with the slight extension to cover part of the nose.  Turning this way and that, he knew something was wrong.  When he realized what it was, he snorted at himself.  Grasping one string, he pulled, untying the lacing at his throat, letting it fall open to reveal just the top part of his pecs. 

Grinning, he placed one small gold loop in each earlobe and made sure his trinity ring was on before sliding his hands into the black leather gloves, tugging their wrist covers over the cuffs of his silk shirt.  Snapping the money pouch to his sword belt, he threw on the heavy cape with hood and exited the house. 

6:21… 

Alex’s stomach wouldn’t rest.  Brushing his thick, wavy, honey-blond hair, he worried over his appearance for the thousandth time.  Needlessly smoothing the costume, he wondered what the fuck had possessed him to wear a costume that came with white gloves?  The mask was the last bit to go on and in his opinion it was the best-made feature of the entire costume. 

It didn’t have a string (thank god) to hold it to his face, and instead used a very sticky adhesive that covered the entire inner surface.  Alex had been assured that the adhesive wasn’t harmful to his skin, but didn’t believe that any more than he believed microwaves were harmless.  He only hoped he didn’t break out in a rash.  That would suck. 

Made of a very thin rubber, he carefully applied the dark green eye mask to his face, pressing firmly around the bridge of his nose and the area under his eyes.  It only partially covered his temples but left his brow line alone.  The mask was pretty damned small, come to think of it, but at least this version of the mask was wide enough not to end up narrowing his face. 

Bending over, squatting, running in place, Alex checked every angle of his costume.  The only flaw was at the top of the spine where the thin tabs of Velcro opened the garment enough to let him squeeze into.  The green was made with a neon shade that glowed and the black was in the grey-blue range so that its undertone matched when a light hit it.  If they were going to use any black lights at the party, Alex knew he’d stick out like the proverbial sore thumb.  Fortunately, this wasn’t a black light party crowd, and more closely catered to the black tie, instead.  Pity.  The black light atmosphere was more fun. 

Slipping on a strange square ring over his gloved right ring finger, he stared at it and felt a moment of embarrassment.  Grinning, he pulled it off and went to his jewelry box.  Inside he found the thing he wanted.  It didn’t look like the right sort of ring but was a lot better than the costume one.  The ring’s metal looked like bronze, with a raised, rectangular center that sat vertically instead of horizontally.  It wasn’t a class ring as it had no writing, but it could’ve been taken for one. 

It was a ring he’d earned as part of a small group of ‘sanctioned’ terrorists.  Black Wing had been their moniker, and after graduation, they’d gone out and had the rings made on the sly.  The center of the rings were a quartz crystal heated to look like an emerald.  The emerald itself didn’t reflect the unit’s name, motto, or purpose, but one of the team members had remarked that the only thing that could stop them was kryptonite.  Thus, the color of the stone had been decided. 

Wistfully, Alex sighed as he slid on the Black Wing ring, making a fist.  Of the eight-man team, only half remained. 

Pushing away the memories, he slid on his long, black coat and headed out. 

~

The Ballroom at last… 

Janet licked her front teeth and Sam swatted at her. 

“Stop doing that Janet.  Your lipstick is fine.”

“You can say that Miss Perfect Lips but you know why I don’t wear lipstick that often.  Damn stuff hates me.  Especially this blood-red shade.”

“At least you’re not wearing black lipstick, Janet,” Sam complained, grandly pursing her lips to accentuate their dark color. 

Janet gave her a saucy, flirtatious smile.  She followed it by drawing one catlike fingernail down Sam’s arm, tracing the black silk as if she were sizing up her meal.   “Shall I speak French, ma Cherie?”

Sam grinned back.   “Only if I can’t find Gomez.”

Janet clucked her tongue in disgust.   “Tell me about it.  There’s never a tomcat when you need one.”

Sam’s hand suddenly caught her arm, squeezing.   “Whoa, whoa, bandit sighted, 11 o’clock.”  Janet looked up at her in surprise, then turned, craning her neck to see.  She stood up on tiptoe, then scowled. 

“I can’t see shit, Sam,” she whispered. 

Quickly ushering her behind the huge refreshment table that sported a fancy three-tiered fountain filled with sparkling cider, Sam had Janet stand on one of the solid wooden boxes used in the table’s backdrop.  The centerpiece of the decoration was a scarecrow and around it, bales of hay, pumpkins, assorted gourds and sheaves of corn, all decorated on apple crates.  Janet eyed the wooden box dubiously as she stepped up, making sure her stiletto heels were secure, then turned her attention on whomever Sam was pointing at. 

“Oh my, my.”

Other guests were on the immensely wide staircase that emptied into the large ballroom, but among them was Zorro, his left hand resting on his sword hilt.  He slowly descended the steps, speaking to others while he looked ahead to scan the ballroom floor.  While there were many black-clad figures wearing masks, he stood out more than the rest.  His gait and body language made it unmistakably clear who he was.  Janet and Sam grinned ear to ear and proceeded to wade through the crowd to greet him. 

Daniel saw them break through the crowd milling several feet from the edge of the staircase.  Changing his draped cape from his right arm to his left, he gave them an elaborate bow. 

“Ladies, as always, you take my breath away and bring me to my knees.”

“You’re as handsome as ever,” Sam returned with a short, regal bow that her costume character had been seen to use once in a while. 

Janet, on the other hand, looked purposely narcissistic as she blew on her extremely long nails, painted a glossy, metallic grey.   “You should be on your knees, you rogue, and you’re late.  Where’s my cream?”

Daniel didn’t answer as he gave her a wide smile and locked one arm in hers and one in Sam’s.  They walked through the crowd toward the refreshment tables, then Daniel looked around.   “Where’s The Hulk?” he asked suddenly as he let them go to ladle himself a drink. 

Sam grimaced.  “Having a reaction to the green body paint.  His symbiote is having a fit, it seems.  He’s not coming.”

“Shit.  He would have looked good.  Still, at least there’s Catwoman and Morticia to keep me company.”

“I think you’re forgetting two very lovely gentlemen, señor,” Janet countered with a hopeful look. 

Daniel gave her a solemn nod.  “Except one at a time.” The women started to say something about that but Daniel cut them off with a shake of his head, then stared at the flower Sam had been holding.  “Sam, your black rose is supposed to be headless.”

She held up the fake rose and stared at it, sniffing with dramatic flair.   “I know, but I’d be forever answering questions from those who haven’t the wit to know who I am so…”

“Too true, too true,” he replied.  His eyes now caught admiringly on her long, ass-length black wig.  “You really look perfect in that, although it’s a little strange seeing you with black hair and eyebrows.”

“Thanks,” she said, making a primping gesture. 

Spotting the one-inch black nails, he took her hand and let out a soft whistle as he fingered the squared ends.  “Salon job?” he asked, then picked up one of Janet’s elegantly manicured hands. 

The women nodded and Daniel suddenly grinned.  “This one of the things you were doing earlier today when Jack took Cassie off your hands?” When Janet nodded, he asked with an expressionless face, “Nice.  Gonna use them on anyone later?”

She tugged at his scabbard in return.   “Gonna use this on anyone later?  Or perhaps that pretty little thing in your boot?”

Daniel gave her a devilish smile.  “We’ll see.”

“My words exactly.”

Daniel finished pouring his drink, sipped, and promptly grimaced.  “Gah.  Who messed up the cider?  This crap’s too sweet.  Where’s the bar?”

Janet slipped her arm through Daniel’s.  “Come along, dahling.  Sam and I were heading over to have something yummy and creamy.”

“Order a chocolate cow,” Daniel suggested, remembering one of the many recipes he’d learned from his bartending stint at an SGC barbecue almost two years before. 

“Mmm, chocolate and cream?” Janet said, giving Sam the question. 

“I can definitely do chocolate and cream,” she answered. 

There was a short line at the counter and they waited only a few minutes before Sam stepped up and gave the bartender their order. 

“What about you?” she asked over her shoulder. 

He nodded at the smirking bartender.  “Double metaxa.”

“Daniel, that brandy is strong and you’re driving,” Sam reminded. 

“So’re you.  Besides, this’ll be my only drink of the evening.  Everything else will be soda.  But just in case, there’re the taxis standing by.”

Getting their drinks, they hummed to the orchestral music playing over the stereo system as they wove their way through the guests, mingling here and there.  Finally deciding to costume-watch, the three found themselves an empty spot by the darkened stage, and Daniel lifted both women so they could sit on the edge of the high platform. 

When they spotted the General, once again dressed as Caesar, they waved as he made his way over.  The man certainly didn’t mind showing off his knees.  When asked why he didn’t choose something else, he answered, “Why ruin a good thing?”

Sam and Janet were whispering and grinning evilly and Daniel knew something was up.  He’d returned with refills of their drinks and after taking back his snifter of Greek brandy, he sipped at it while watching them with suspicion.  “Okay, what’re you up to?”

Janet raised her cocktail glass to her mouth, then pointed with her pinkie.  Daniel warily looked over his shoulder and found an alarming number of women looking in his direction, and from what he could tell, a few sets of eyes were on his backside.  He looked back at Janet with a ‘So?’ expression. 

“They don’t know you’re off the menu,” Janet said with a knowing smirk. 

“Yes,” he drawled, then pointedly said, “but who says they’re all looking at me?”

The two grinned a little shyly, pretending to look everywhere but where the specific knot of women gathered.  Daniel found that amusing and was going to say something suggestive when Janet took a double-look behind him, then immediately looked to Daniel’s right, toward the entrance.  Sam was looking at something else when Janet touched her arm and pointed with the hand that held her cocktail glass. 

“I think that’s Will.  And I believe he’s looking for his man here,” she said, and gave Daniel a mischievous wink. 

Because of the crowd and the distance from the entrance, Daniel couldn’t see who they were talking about, but Sam’s and Janet’s seat gave them an excellent vantage point. 

“Will?” he asked, getting annoyed that he wasn’t taller.  Knowing these two, they could be talking about anyone, and were very likely referring to someone Daniel couldn’t stand. 

“The blacksmith, the one that makes all those swords,” Sam answered slowly, but Daniel still didn’t know who she was talking about.  Not falling into their baiting trap, he shrugged, feigning indifference, leaned between them against the stage, and looked off to their right.  A minute later, he found himself smirking at an unusual version of Dracula when Sam nudged him.  “Will’s at the bar, getting a beer.”

Daniel rolled his eyes and looked at her.  “I’m not falling for that, Morticia.”

She gave him a look and her own indifferent shrug.  “Suit yourself.”

Grinding his jaw, Daniel let his eyes move across the room and in the direction of the bar.  Carefully scanning people, his eyes suddenly froze over the back of a man standing at the bar, talking to the bartender.  Taking a sip of brandy, he whispered, “I’d know that ass anywhere.” Distractedly, he added, “Be right back.”

Sam and Janet started to make private bets. 

Jason turned away from the bar and took three steps before halting, finding a man in black coming toward him.  Their eyes met, locked, and they slowly approached each other like adversaries.  Jason looked down at the sword Daniel wore and made an exaggerated sigh of disapproval. 

“If I’d known you’d be wearing that, I’d’ve found a matching one.  How’re we supposed to duel if we don’t have the right swords?”

Daniel gave him a small, impish grin, and leaned in.  “Not that it matters, but you might be interested to know that right now, there’s nothing I want more than to rub my sword against you.”

“It matters, if you must know,” Jason said as he let his lips quirk upward into a slight smile.  He followed that by raising his bottle to his lips and slipping his tongue out slowly to make sure that Daniel saw it.  He took a long drink, swallowed, then leaned in to whisper, “What I wouldn’t give to have that sword against me.  Hot from the forge, but very, very hard.”

Daniel let out a suddenly shaky breath.  He raised his snifter and took a larger drink from his cognac.  Jason did the same from his bottle.  Both sighing, each knew the other was getting hard.  Daniel gestured and made his way back to Sam and Janet, a small scowl on his face. 

“You started it,” Jason whispered behind him. 

“Can we find a closet or something?” he asked. 

“And ruin what happens later?” Jason asked. 

Daniel turned round, his expression suddenly serious.  “It won’t be ruined because right after leaving the party tonight?”

“Yes?”

“You and Jack are going to make up if I have to tie you both to the same bed.  I told Jack that, now I’m telling you.”

Jason looked down at his beer bottle.  “What was his answer?”

“That he didn’t think you wanted to share the same bed.” At Jason’s look of surprise, Daniel only rolled his eyes.  “Honestly, Jace, the two of you with your insecurities are trying my patience.”

Jason was struck by that, finding it hard to believe that Jack was insecure about him.  What on Earth for?  His attention was consumed by that so he missed Daniel’s look over his shoulder and the wide smile. 

“Jace?” Daniel called. 

Startled, Jason said, “What?”

Daniel pointed and Jason looked over his shoulder, then slowly turned around. 

Jack was giving the General a charming grin as they talked at the refreshment tables, a bottle of beer already in his hand. 

“God, he looks good,” Jason whispered. 

“Damn good,” Daniel agreed, then shoved Jason forward as they both walked in Jack’s direction. 

When Jack saw them, his eyes focused and Jason thought he caught the slightest hint of a smile on his handsome face.  His lover lifted his bottle in hello, but before they could reach him, General Hammond was suddenly at Jack’s elbow, telling him something and gesturing in the opposite direction.  Without any signal to Jason or Daniel that he’d be back, Jack walked off with their Commander. 

“Seems fate has stepped in,” he said with resignation. 

“We’ll catch up with him later,” Daniel said, clearly confused and annoyed.  “I have a bad feeling though.”

“What?” Jason asked, taking a longer drink from his beer and headed for the bar.  Frowning, Daniel followed. 

“I think the General’s roped Jack for the evening.”

“Whatever,” Jason replied, returning to the dark mood he’d been in earlier.  “Where’re Janet and Sam?”

“Jason, remember what I told you what would happen later?”

“What, about me and Jack?”

“No matter how this evening ends, you have to make up with him.”

“Daniel…”

“Make up with him, Jason.”

“And if I don’t?”

“I’ll tie you both to the bed and make you.”

Shaking his head, Jason walked off to look for the women. 

By late evening, Daniel had begun to think that Jack was avoiding them both but he’d looked in their direction a few times, and it seemed to Daniel that he’d been wistful, wishing he could leave the boring knots of people that the General kept guiding him to.  At one point, Daniel had gotten very annoyed and after locating Jack and Hammond, made his way over.  But the moment he’d been spotted, the General would nod, smile, then whisk Jack off to another group whose attentions Daniel didn’t want turned on him.  

Feeling a little guilty, he’d left Jack in the hands of their enterprising General, but there’d been moments that he could’ve sworn Jack should’ve signaled them for a brief hello at least — like when he’d made his way to the bar to get refills for the General when the roving waiters were busy elsewhere.  But he knew he wasn’t being fair.  Daniel knew Jack, certain that he was doing this avoidance thing for a good reason.  Who the hell knew what Jack might be protecting them from. 

Returning to Jason, Daniel told him what he thought and was relieved when Jason seemed to brighten a little and smile.  Jack hadn’t been avoiding them on purpose…or rather, not for any personal reasons.  Still, Daniel knew Jason’s moods and while his lover hadn’t reacted negatively, his less than cheerful disposition caused Daniel to worry. 

It was nearly midnight when the party wound down and it was time to go.  The crowd had thinned considerably and the General had thankfully left.  Taking advantage that Jason was busy with Alex, Sam, and Janet, Daniel swiftly tracked Jack down as the man headed to the bathroom. 

Making sure that no one else was in there with them, Daniel turned to him.  “Was that bullshit Hammond’s idea right from the start?” He didn’t bother to mask the sharpness of his tone just to let Jack know he was not happy about it one bit. 

Jack unbuttoned his fly at a urinal.  “I didn’t think so at first, but after a while, every fucking time I turned around and tried to get away, he was dragging me to some other sycophantic group.  I’m telling you, Daniel,” he went on, finishing and moving to the sink.  “I’m this close to finding an excuse to punch the fuck out of something.”

Daniel gave him a sympathetic look.  “Why’d he rope you into that shit, anyway?”

“He finally told me that he wanted to groom me to take over these little shindigs in his absence.” He took in a deep breath as he wiped his hands.  “Just take me out and shoot me before the next party, okay?”

“I’ll kidnap you instead.”

“Deal.”

Daniel’s anger and resentment began to fade and he gave Jack a look of chagrin.  “Will Jason understand, you think?  Without the facts, his opinion right now is worse than mine.”

Jack nodded solemnly.  “I saw him talking to the ladies and Wagner.  He did not look happy.  I’ll try to make peace with Jason, but if it doesn’t work, it’s because Jason doesn’t want it to.”

“I’ve an idea about that.  Still, tying him to the bed is my plan B.”

“Always a sound idea,” Jack said with a small grin. 

Daniel stared into his eyes for a long minute.  “Make it work, Jack, okay?  Don’t get pissed and walk out on him.  I know he can push you, but please, promise me you won’t do that?”

Jack sighed worriedly.  “I see what I can do.  But I’m not approaching him here, not with all the brass hanging around.”

Daniel thought for a moment, then laid out the plan he’d just thought up.  “He probably won’t like the way this starts–“

“Daniel, he’ll be pissed off.  Wouldn’t you be?”

“Then let’s leave a note for him with the coat check girl, saying we had to run a favor for Hammond.”

“Like what?”

“Doesn’t matter, it’s a lie anyway.”

“No, no, Daniel this won’t work.”

“Okay, fine, no note, but I want you to be there, in his apartment, before he gets there.  Yes, he’ll be mad, but I’ll make it up to him.”

“It still doesn’t make any sense,” Jack argued. 

“It does only because you have to be there before he gets there.”

“Why?  As a present or as a trap lying in wait?”

Daniel gave him a sad grin.  “It’s a tactless thing to do, I admit, but we need to do something to kick him in the ass.”

“Providing he doesn’t feel like kicking back.”

“He won’t…I hope.  He needs to yell or do something.  Instead, he’s as quiet as a ghost.”

“It’s not going to work, but what the fuck.  I can take him on.  You’ll be up there later?” Jack asked as they made their way out of the bathroom. 

“Yeah, I’ll be there.”

As the restrooms were near the entrance, Jack quickly grabbed his overcoat from the coatroom attendant and left before Jason could see that he had. 

Looking over his shoulder in Jason’s direction, Daniel dialed a number on his cell phone and left a message.  With a fervent wish that Jason wouldn’t be too mad to listen and to forgive him the subterfuge, Daniel donned his cloak and hurried to his Jeep. 

Standing by the coatroom, Jason frowned heavily.  Daniel and Jack were nowhere to be found.  He hoped they were together wherever they were, even if that would make him much angrier.  Pulling out his phone, he checked messages, found one, and pressed the number.  It read: “Go home.  You have a visitor.  ~ D.”

Alex took the time to check his because at that moment, it vibrated, telling him he had a message waiting.  Checking it while Jason checked his, he found the message, “Send him home, Alex.  It’s make up time.” Keeping his face neutral, he hung up and looked at Jason’s perplexed expression. 

“Anything good?” Alex asked as he put on his overcoat. 

“Not sure, but I’ll find out when I get there.  What about you?” he asked. 

“Nothing important.  I’ll tell you tomorrow, maybe.  If you’re lucky,” Alex replied with a roguish grin.  He was a little drunk.  “You look good tonight.  Have I told you that?”

“Once, and thanks.  You look inspiring.  Wanna go save lives or fight crime?” Jason wasn’t kidding.  He suddenly wasn’t so sure he wanted to go home. 

“Yes, but it’s a bad idea.  Please go home, Jason.  Daniel’s probably cut out early to surprise you or something.  Go on.” With a heartfelt look, he shoved Jason toward his truck just as Janet and Sam walked up and stole him away. 

 

“Taking more than his share, he had me fighting for air.
He told me to come but I was already there…”

~

Daniel was nuts, Jack thought, as he slipped into Jason’s dimly lit loft apartment.  Jason was going to be pissed off finding that he and Daniel had left without him.  This idea of Daniel’s was going to backfire spectacularly.  Jack looked around and grimaced, even more certain that Daniel had lost his mind–and his own right with it. 

What the hell had made him agree?  He should’ve waited for Jason at the party, but then some of those Pentagon bastards might have been hanging about still.  And that possibility was really the only one that had forced Jack to agree to Daniel’s plan.  If Jason had been in the mood to pick a fight, even in the parking lot… 

No, waiting here was the best thing, so this wacky plan of Daniel’s was as good a plan as any.  No matter what, the estrangement had to end tonight. 

Taking off his overcoat and jacket, Jack laid them over the back of the couch.  Eyeing the bed, then the couch, he was trying to figure out which one to sit on or stand by when he heard the elevator’s engine grind to life as it made its way back to the main floor.   Jason. 

Jason wearily stepped inside and closed the sliding door.  The moment he turned around and saw Jack standing by the couch, he froze.  A flash of ready anger welled up inside him and after the evening’s wear on his emotions, he suddenly wasn’t ready to make up, no matter what he’d felt earlier or what Daniel had said. 

Throughout the evening, he’d caught glimpses of Jack, and having him so close but so far away made the distance he felt between them grow.  Daniel had told him that Jack was on duty, and Jason had tried to put things into perspective.  When the party was over, he thought he’d been ready to forgive, to lay the blame at Hammond’s feet.  He knew it was childish to hang onto his feelings of resentment, to wallow in the hurt he still felt at Jack’s words, so for Daniel’s sake, this separation between himself and Jack had to be settled. 

Except the joke wasn’t funny.  Regardless what Daniel had told him earlier, he and Jack should have known better than to end the evening this way.  It seemed Daniel had been smoking wacky weed. 

“Thanks for playing that joke on me, making me feel abandoned,” Jason began even as a voice warned him to shut up.  “Since Daniel orchestrated this little shit-game,” he went on, feeling an irrational surge of anger well up within.  That inner voice once more warned him to shut the hell up but…  “I’ll assume he’ll show up later, so knowing that, why don’t you wait for the bastard downstairs.  Right now, I don’t want to see either one of you.”

Jason unbuckled his belt and threw it and the sword on the dining table, the leather and metal clattering loudly on the surface.  After the words left his mouth, he realized that he wanted to hurt Jack as much as he hurt, and that only wound up making him feel worse.  In the typical vicious cycle, it then activated his self-pity.  He turned to Jack and started to say something, but the anger on Jack’s face finally forced him to keep his mouth shut.  He walked past him and then pulled away angrily when Jack reached out and took his arm.  

Jack stared at him and Daniel’s words of warning were suddenly forgotten as his own anger rose.  “You know what?  You’re right.  This was a bad idea.  Daniel asked me to come up here and I agreed because I wanted to patch things up.  But you know what, Jason?  I’m tired of feeling like the asshole.  So you stay mad at me since it seems that’s what you’d rather do.”  He picked up his coats and was at the door in moments, sliding it open to let himself out. 

“Yeah, it fucking figures,” Jason mumbled partly to himself.  “I told Daniel you wanted nothing more to do with me.  Go tell him I was right.” With that, he kept walking across the room.  By the time he threw his waistcoat on the floor by the bed, his eyes were hot and stinging from the knowledge that he’d gone insane and seriously fucked things up — all because he wouldn’t forgive. 

Angry at himself, he threw one boot across the room, sniffing to keep the tears back.  “Fuck!” The boot landed with a loud thud.  “You stupid, fucking idiot!” he yelled at himself.  Taking a shallow breath of panic, he immediately tried to rationalize what he’d done.  “Shit.  Probably for the best.  It’s not like he ever really cared, right?” and the other boot was thrown hard against the wall.  It made a satisfactory thud and a black scuff marred the wall. 

Grabbing the fifth of tequila that sat on the coffee table, he took two long drinks, grimacing after and rubbing his stomach from the burn.  He debated whether or not to take another drink and absently set the bottle back down when the self-pity churned full force.  “I let myself in for this one,” he coughed, the burn of the liquor making him queasy.  Wiping the back of his mouth, he made his way toward the raised bed.  “Yep, Jason, ol’ buddy, you fucked up.  You must not want him around.  Why is that?  Maybe because he’d finally see what a pathetic, gullible, needy loser you are?  The fucking joke isn’t on you, pal, it is you–“

Hands grabbed his shoulders and spun him around, nearly making him lose his balance.  God.  Jack hadn’t left!

“I never meant to hurt you, not then, not now, but you’re making it fucking hard not to get pissed off!  Now you listen to me, you stubborn sonofabitch!  I never lied, never played you, never thought of you as a joke and I still don’t.  I don’t tell just anyone that I love them, either.  Haven’t you learned that yet?”

Almost every word was punctuated with a hard jab onto his chest by the first and second fingers of Jack’s right hand.  By the time Jack had finished, Jason had grabbed the offending hand, holding it away from him.  Confused, Jason was torn between bringing those fingers back to his chest–or breaking them.  In the end, he did neither, and stupidly lashed out instead. 

“Daniel’s obviously not here so there’s no more need to stay, no more need to pretend!  I know better, remember?” Jason was aware that a tear had escaped before he choked it back and in embarrassment, decided to punctuate his own last words by making things even worse. 

By shoving Jack backward.  Hard. 

“Now take your chance and get out!”

Jack went stumbling back several paces, trying not to fall, but ended up doing just that, only landing on the couch in an ungraceful thump.  Jason swiped at the tear with the back of his hand, and howled, “Leave!”

Turning away to hide the mask of pain on his face, he let out a choked laugh and unbuttoned his pants.  Slipping them off with hard, jerking motions, he was quite certain that this time, Jack was on his way out the door.  He asked himself why he’d just done that and the answer that came startled him. 

Tremendous guilt, because of Alex. 

He suddenly laughed, his stomach rolling with further nausea.  “Doesn’t matter.  He only ever tried because of Daniel.  Only because of Daniel.” Other thoughts came to him, making him laugh even more at himself.  “Wallowing in self-pity and guilt isn’t going to make this easier, you dumbass,” he went on, reaching down to grab the bottle of tequila.  He started for the bed, still laughing, and noticed how much he was shaking.  He took two more swallows from the burning liquid before capping it and letting it fall with a dull thud onto the floor. 

Passing a hand over his face, he felt the world go dizzy for a moment as the tequila settled in his uneasy, empty stomach.  He absently rubbed his chest, feeling the soft silk of the antique shirt.  Looking down, he let out a short laugh when he realized he was dressed only in the shirt.  “Bought this for him, too, but that was wasted effort, like buying a painting for a blind man.  As grandfather says, reap what you sow…”

Jack stared at Jason’s back, watching him, listening to him, processing that his lover had shoved him so hard that he’d stumbled several steps backward and onto the couch.  When was the last time Jason had ever used violence on him?  Jack couldn’t remember, or maybe his own anger was getting in the way, but the person he saw right now bore little resemblance to the Jason he knew.  He’d seen a brand of this particular Jason before though:  On the Dine’ planet, on the plane ride home from the cabin.  The one that abandoned his self-confidence and believed only the worst.  Yet this Jason was someone he didn’t recognize.  The one capable of self-destruction.  What the hell had brought this on?  The insults he’d hurled on the planet?  How could Jason believe those words?  How could he allow himself to wallow in self-loathing because of them?

Jack knew from experience that it always took a while for the Jason he knew to get to a point anywhere near this destructive a mood, and it never came out of the blue.  It grew slowly, over time, and something rather startling tended to let it out with a rather volcanic result.  But what?

Jason had tear tracks down his face, which made Jack’s chest hurt.  The man wasn’t just wallowing in self-pity.  He believed in the shit he was saying.  Why?  Jack knew that what he’d said to Jason on the planet wasn’t just fiction; there were times where he was jealous of him, and his attraction to Alex was a growing knot of fear in his belly.  He knew that when he felt threatened, he lashed out, and Daniel’s suggestion about Alex had only exacerbated that fear.  Jason knew that, too.  But right now, it seemed as if he’d forgotten that. 

Watching him, listening to him, Jack’s anger rose, but out of a fear of loss, on protecting the man he loved.  He had to get the sorry sonofabitch to listen to him, no matter what he had to do.  As Jason stood at the side of the bed, still muttering to himself, Jack stripped quickly.  Looking at his necktie, the bondage idea returned to him.  If he had to use that way, he would.  Picking it up, he took a step, then halted at the sound of Jason’s next words. 

“Bastard will be happy now that I’m out of the way, won’t he?”

Thinking Jack was gone, Jason felt a flash of alarm as the hairs rose on the back of his neck.  The attack came right after he heard the whoosh of motion.  Before he had a chance to turn around and look, a figure came at him and hit him like a tackle dummy, throwing them both onto the bed.  They hit the mattress dead center, and at the same time, so that their combined weight came down on the frame.  The result was a loud, reverberating crack before the entire wooden frame collapsed underneath and lowered the bed by a foot. 

The two of them lay perfectly still, panicked breaths the only sound as they waited for further collapse.  The headboard was attached to the underframe, but the two mattresses seemed to have it pinned against the wall and for the moment, safe.  Jason stared at the ceiling, realizing that he’d somehow ended up on his back instead of his stomach with Jack sprawled half over him, arms around him.  He felt his fingers on Jack’s chest but didn’t register that he was touching skin, not cloth.  The only thing that he registered was the fear of hearing his own hurtful words confirmed.  He shoved against him but Jack’s arms were wrapped so tightly around him that he wouldn’t be budged. 

Wouldn’t let go. 

He knew Jack was staring down at him but he couldn’t look at him.  Not yet.  He was then aware of Jack’s body and hated the distraction.  He closed his eyes, wondering what the fuck was wrong with himself.  His face was hot and his eyes were stinging again.  He was trying to ignore the feel of Jack’s body lying over his but it wasn’t working.  Then with one more alarming jolt, the top right corner of the bed suddenly dropped to the floor. 

It seemed to act as a signal because it broke Jason’s silence and he expelled a gust of air through his nose.  “Just great.  You broke my fucking bed!”

“Who gives a shit about the bed!” Jack growled at him, his face inches away so his breath lingered over Jason’s skin.  “You’re as seriously fucked up as I am, you know that?”

Jason turned his face slightly to the right and looked into the face of someone he loved, someone he trusted.  Yet he still hurt, and carrying that hurt like a prized possession seemed to be his only protection from getting hurt worse. 

“You made your feelings quite clear, Jack,” he said, but all the fight was out of his voice, his throat hurting a little from the yelling.  Hearing the defeat in his voice, his didn’t have the heart to be angry anymore. 

“Yes, I believe I did,” Jack shot back, his eyes refusing to look elsewhere and as Jason started to look away, he grabbed his chin and forced him to look back.  The look on his lover’s face was one of surprise.  “But you weren’t listening.  Now you listen to me, you stubborn sonofabitch!  Did you ever once ask yourself why I get the least bit jealous, enough so that it would be amplified by someone like Eros?”

“Jealousy is the twisted form of–“

“Don’t psychoanalyze it, Jason!  Look at this with your emotions.  You’re always telling me that, dammit, so do some of it yourself.  You never bothered to ask why, did you?”

Jason colored when he realized he hadn’t.  “No.  I assumed you were…” The next words were as surprising to him as the realization about his guilt.  “…you were protecting Daniel from being fucked over.” He swallowed.  “After the fact, I thought maybe you said those things to get me out of the way.  After all, that’s what–“

“–You were trying to do just a while ago.  But I’m still here, aren’t I?  Ask yourself why?  If I wanted you gone, why would I be here?”

Jason shook his head, unable to think, to reason.  “I don’t know.”

Jack’s voice softened considerably.  “Have you ever once thought that I have a reason to feel threatened where Alex is concerned?”

Closing his eyes again, he turned his head to the side, but once more, Jack forced his face forward.  “Look at me.”

Swallowing hard, Jason forced himself to look up.  “I’m sorry, Jack.”

“I’m not giving you up, you know,” Jack told him, and Jason felt an ache begin, everywhere.  “I feel he’s a threat because he’s the only one who could take you away from me.  But that’s not going to happen.”

“No, it’s not, Jack–“

“All this time, I’m trying make you understand one damn thing.  Do you know what that is, Jason?  Do you?”

Because he loved him

Jason really hated it when Jack outmaneuvered him, making him feel what he should have.  He needed to get the upper hand somehow.  He abruptly rolled them over, trying to dislodge himself from Jack’s hold as he grabbed fistfuls of the comforter and pushed his knees into the mattress for leverage.  The result backfired spectacularly. 

“Oh shit.” All that got him was the surprising realization that Jack was nude, and that below the waist, so was he.  Jason inhaled sharply and lifted his hips to separate the contact but Jack pulled him back down and rolled them back over. 

Jack smiled at him.  “Didn’t quite work, did it?”

“Shut up,” Jason whispered. 

“Jason, I’m just as afraid of you leaving me as you are of me leaving you.  It has nothing to do with Daniel, and you know that, don’t you?”

Jason’s eyes widened as he took in the dark expression of Jack’s.  It told him many things, and most damning of them all was that Jack knew him, how he thought, even when Jason refused to see. 

Jack suddenly nuzzled him, resting his slightly sweating forehead against Jason’s temple.  “When are you going to truly believe in how much I love you?” he asked in a whisper, then brought up his left hand, still clasping Jason’s, and held their hands over his heart so that Jason could see his pinky.  And the silver ring there. 

Jason stared at the ring and felt the one on his own finger.  The ache in his body grew more intensely and in reflex, he pulled his right hand up to display his own ring. 

Jack looked at it with a sad grin.   “I thought you believed in me when you gave us these rings.”

“I do,” Jason replied, staring at the rings.  “It was just…those words cut deep, and I couldn’t see or think of anything else.”

“Why was that?” Jack asked, frowning in confusion, trying to understand. 

Jason saw with a strange relief that there were some things Jack didn’t know.  He looked down at their clasped fingers.  “I didn’t understand until a little while ago.  It was guilt.”

“Guilt?  For what?”

“Alex,” he answered, daring to look back into Jack’s eyes.  “Guilt over my feelings for him and the things that keep happening between us, whether I want them to or not.  It’s the reason for the sudden drop in my confidence.  Because even though your words hurt, they were tru–“

Jack’s free hand clamped over his mouth.  “No.  I had no call to say those things, and if it weren’t for Eros, I never would have.  Hell, I never would have felt them, Jason.  There’s reason for a little guilt, Jace, but not the amount you’ve been harboring.  I feel guilty for being drawn to Eros, for his kissing me, for cryin’ out loud.  Tell me, should I feel guilty over that?”

Jason frowned at him.  “Of course not.”

“Well then?”

Jason felt a blush cover him and looked down at their hands.  “I really hate it when you do that.”

“What?  Point out flaws you don’t really have?”

“No.  Beat me with my own psychology knowledge,” he said sheepishly. 

“A doctor’s worst patient is himself, right?”

“Right,” Jason answered, still feeling that flush over his cheeks.  “I’m sorry for the things I said.”

“Me, too.  Now…  I have to ask, Jason,” Jack asked, his eyes flitting back and forth over Jason’s. 

Jason knew the question.  And the answer.  He tightened his fingers around Jack’s.  “Yes, dammit.  I love you.”  He then lowered his voice to a whisper.   “At the risk of being mushy…  I will until I die, Jack.  Until I di—”

His declaration was cut off as Jack pushed their entwined hands back to the bed and kissed him hard.  Mouths closed at first were opened like the truth when Jack sought out Jason’s tongue.  Passion flared and desperate moans escaped, want and need rising to show each other how much they felt.  Jack rubbed every inch of himself to every matching part of Jason’s, even to the caressing of his feet.  Small electrical surges spread through them, making them aware of every touch, their skin tingling, demanding more. 

When Jack’s fingers combed too tightly through his hair, Jason let out a loud, needy moan.  “Jack,” he whispered before kissing him again, spreading his legs to wrap them around Jack’s hips.  He thrust upward and brought moans from them both when their cocks brushed together.  Jack complimented him, adjusting his hips, and took over with long thrusts that rode the length of each other’s shafts.  The tempo quickened easily, their rhythm blinding all else as they brought each other close to the edge, yet release stayed tantalizingly out of reach. 

Jack pushed Jason’s thighs down and grabbing hold of him with his calves, rolled them over.  He raised his knees to encircle Jason’s hips with his legs and thrust up invitingly.  “Show me,” he whispered, knowing where to find the small tube under the pillow and handing it to him. 

Lifting up onto his elbows, Jason started to take off his shirt, but Jack stopped him.  “Leave it on,” he said, nuzzling the hollow of Jason’s throat, his hands caressing his chest over the silky feel of the fabric.  “It’s so goddamn sexy on you.”

A flush of want, perhaps embarrassment, rose in Jason’s cheeks as he nodded, then flipped open the cap.  Cool, slick fingers reached down between them, rubbing and circling before entering.  Jack groaned with anticipation and with a fistful of Jason’s hair, pulled him down for another deep, passionate kiss. 

While Jason’s fingers busily readied him, Jack grabbed for the tube and with a messy squeeze onto his own fingers, he spread cool, slick liquid over his lover’s straining, blood-engorged cock.  Gasping against Jack’s lips, Jason closed his eyes against the acute pleasure spiking through him, unable to help moving his hips.  Jack’s fist moved teasingly up and around, sliding over the head, his thumb rubbing in circles as the pre-come flowed. 

Jason slowed down his own preparations, losing himself both in the heat of Jack’s body and the touch of his hand.  When Jack pushed his fingers away and lifted his knees higher, Jason took that as a sign of needy impatience and smiled against the corner of his mouth.  “You want it so bad, don’t you?” he whispered.  Jack’s answer was to rub the head of Jason’s cock against his entrance as he rested his heels on Jason’s ass.  Removing his hand slowly, he pressed his feet and lifted up. 

Jason resisted, somehow keeping himself from entering.  “Don’t you?” he asked again, the words breathless as he opened his eyes. 

“Yes,” Jack answered, opening his mouth to bite his lover’s chin. 

With the need make this last, Jason reached between them to tease them both.  Grasping his cock, he rubbed the sensitive, puckered skin, pushed lightly then backed off, making his lover tighten his thighs and push up.  Jack succeeded in getting what he wanted, but only a little as Jason’s cockhead was only half inside before Jason pulled back.  With a growl, Jack pushed up again, this time getting all of the head inside before Jason pulled back.  Back and forth, they played this aggravatingly delicious game. 

His mouth over Jack’s, Jason smiled again as pushed in, then removed his hand and wiped his fingers on the comforter.  Threading both hands through Jack’s hair, and tightening his hold, he rocked forward, pushing just as Jack thrust upward. 

“Oh god,” he gasped as chills ran up and down his spine.  With his cock halfway inside now, he drew out the sensations, knowing that they needed to feel the act itself; for himself to relish the heat of being within his lover’s body, and for Jack to wallow in the sensations of his lover’s full, hard cock filling him. 

He moved his hips with aching slowness, forward and back, guided by Jack’s lifts.  When he was completely sheathed, balls resting against Jack’s ass and Jack’s heels pressing firmly over his lower back, Jason used his knees and feet to set a smooth, rocking pace that moved their bodies, not just their hips.  The pleasure leveled, letting them enjoy each other for minutes on end until their need for rougher, harder action altered their rhythm. 

When Jack arched his head back and his eyes slowly closed, Jason knew it as the sign for ‘harder’.  He was reminded, despite his fears, that he knew the man underneath him; his moods, his wants, his fears.  Only Jason’s own fears had clouded what he knew, making him forget, prohibiting him from seeing the truth he’d known all along.  Leaving the fears behind and replacing them with relief so keen his heart ached, Jason dropped his mouth to Jack’s throat and bit hard, delighting in the groan that vibrated against his mouth. 

The need for more friction set Jason’s gaining rhythm, and with his mouth still locked on Jack’s throat, the puffs of air through his nose let Jack feel Jason’s urgent passion against his skin. 

“Yes,” Jack whispered gruffly, clawing at his back while his ass suddenly slammed up to meet Jason’s thrusts.  Jason let out a loud groan against his neck and pulled back, his eyes closed and his hips moving faster.  Skin slapping skin was abruptly the only sound louder than their breathing and the slick sounds of Jason’s cock. 

Jason let out a warning moan that was choked off as he moved his hands to the bed, clamping down on the mattress over his head.  “Yes, yes,” he cried in a strangled voice. 

Looking into dark eyes that once more gazed down at him, Jack spread his legs wide, giving Jason room, whispering, “I love you.”  Then he clamped his fingers over the flexing muscles of his lover’s ass and drew his nails across, scratching the skin.   “Fuck me hard.”

White-knuckling the sheets overhead, the touch of Jack’s nails and the words from his mouth forced Jason to cut loose.  He dropped his head down, brought his teeth again to Jack’s throat, and fucked his lover hard and fast.  Harsh, filthy words rang in his ear, urging him on, and Jason came with sharp gasps.  Slipping his right hand desperately between them, Jason twisted and pulled, bringing Jack what he needed.  With dizzying speed and the need to keep moving before his cock grew soft, Jason rode Jack hard until he came, shouting love and need and sappy things that Jason would never remind him of. 

Harsh panting breaths were soon the only sound remaining, with occasional hitches of breath as tiny shudders quaked through their bodies.  In the afterglow, they lay together for a few minutes before Jack mouthed, “I love you,” again, this time over Jason’s cheek, before settling into a sated, happy doze. 

~

Moving his way up the little used back stairway, meant mostly as a fire escape, Daniel used his key to slip in quietly.  There were no sounds now, so he knew that they were asleep, hopefully temporarily.  Walking quietly with practiced ease, Daniel paused as he passed the kitchen island.  His eyes were on the bed and he couldn’t help but stare, becoming both aroused and amused at the same time. 

Setting one bag on a chair and another on the counter, he moved to Jason’s computer desk and picked up the camera.  Grinning from ear to ear, he made his way over to the foot of the bed and viewed the pre-shot.  He’d expected a little carnage but the broken bed was unbelievable.  The frame was completely wasted, splintered several times and flattened horizontally, as if a big foot had come down and stomped on the bed.  He shook his head and let his eye fall on his lovers. 

Jason lay on his stomach, right arm thrown over Jack, his face almost snuffling his shoulder.  That sexy shirt was hiked up past his waist, and Daniel spotted a few tears in the thin fabric over the shoulders.  Red lines marked Jason’s ass and lower back and Daniel knew from experience what they were from.  He smiled darkly, his pupils enlarging right along with his cock.  He hoped Jack hadn’t broken the skin but it wouldn’t really matter to Jason when he was being fucked. 

And speaking of Jack, he looked as impossibly sexy as ever, lying on his back, his face turned away and his right arm thrown over his head.  One leg was straight, the other bent. 

To Jack’s left, the lube was abandoned and the cap left open.  Which meant only one thing.  Jack was on the bottom.  He usually got impatient and careless when he wanted to be fucked.  Daniel swallowed and his cock twitched just thinking about what had gone on.  Obviously they’d kissed and made up, but judging from the broken bed, which Jason wouldn’t have risked breaking if he’d had a choice, something else had happened. 

Well, Daniel would get the story later.  Right now, the evidence.  When the two of them fought again, he’d show them the pictures.  Daniel hit the button and let the pictures record one after another.  The near-silent rasping of the camera broke the quiet of the room and his lovers opened their eyes and raised their heads.  Looking up from the camera, Daniel smiled roguishly at them. 

“Judging from the carnage, you’d better have made up.”

Jason made a sound suspiciously like a warning growl as he pushed himself up and stretched a hand over Jack’s chest, his fingernails lightly scratching Jack’s chest.  He smiled like a naughty boy when Jack stilled him and was about to say something until he realized that Daniel really was standing at the foot of the bed.  He looked over his shoulder and narrowed his eyes. 

Sucking in a breath, Daniel put down the camera knelt carefully on the bed, crawling over Jason’s body until his face was looking down at his lover’s. 

“Mad at me?” he asked. 

Looking up, then letting his eyes travel over Daniel, Jason scowled.  “Yes,” he said with disappointment. 

“I’m sorry, Jace, but I just–“

Jason’s hand was over his mouth.  “No.  I don’t want to talk about me and Jack right now.  Let me just say I’m sorry for being an ass, okay?  Unfortunately, I am mad at you.  But only because you’ve taken off your costume.”

That roused Jack and he peered out from waking eyes to finally notice.  “Shit, Daniel,” he yawned.  “I wanted to take those off of you.”

“We,” Jason corrected. 

“Sorry.   We.

“Oh,” Daniel said, then said with calculation, “Well, that outfit and behaving hands don’t go well together.” As expected, Jason and Jack sat up together, awake.  When he smirked at them, they sighed, realizing that Daniel was only teasing. 

Jason started to reprimand him when smells caught his attention.  “I smell fast food,” he murmured.  “Jack, I smell fast food.”

Jack inhaled and leered at his clothed lover.  “Daniel, what’d you bring us?”

“Before-and-after-sex food,” Daniel answered as he backed off the bed, took several rapid shots with the camera before placing it in his coat pocket as he shrugged it off.  He brought one bag over and set it on the floor just when Jack reached for it.  “Hold on.  Don’t I get something first?” he asked, leaning down to kiss him. 

“Certainly,” Jack answered, placing his arms around Daniel’s neck and waist and pulling him into bed between himself and Jason.  Daniel smiled and greeted Jack more enthusiastically with a deep kiss. 

“We’ve already had sex,” Jason commented as his hand snaked over the side and picked up the bag of food. 

Daniel pulled back, fighting with Jack lips so he could say something.  He managed, “Not with me,” before Jack thrust his tongue back into his mouth. 

Jason smiled but was too busy inspecting the contents of the bag.  He made a sound that was the combination of hunger and lust mixed with profound gratitude.  “Oh my god.” He fished out the enormous burgers in their cardboard packages and the separate box that contained the home fries. 

Jack finally let Daniel go and looked down.  He arched a surprised brow and looked at the wall clock opposite Jason’s bed.  It was 2 am.  “Donna’s was open this late?”

“She closed an hour ago, but I couldn’t resist.”

“I adore you,” Jason said with a mouthful, making other sounds that he wholeheartedly approved, lukewarm burger or not.  “Drink?” he asked. 

“No, sorry,” he said on his way to the fridge.  “Watered down coke tastes like shit so…water or beer?” Jason asked for water; Jack chose the beer.

Stretching across the foot of the bed, Daniel watched them with the smuggest expression he’d ever worn on his face. 

Jason glanced at Jack and said with a mouth full of food, “I don’t know what the hell he’s so insufferably pleased with himself about.”

“Me, either,” Jack agreed, swallowing quickly.  “But that’s okay.”

“You have a plan?” Jason asked after he swallowed his mouthful and chased it with water. 

“I always have a plan,” Jack answered, eyeing Daniel appreciatively.  “Which reminds me.” He pointed to himself and Jason, then to Daniel.  “Not naked.  Get with the program.”

Daniel grinned as he got to his feet, toeing off his shoes.  “Frankly, I’m surprised the bed’s the only thing broken.”

Jason leaned back on his pillows, exchanging a grin with Jack as they watched.  When he washed another mouthful of food down and waited for Jack to do the same, he leaned over to steal a kiss, whispering, “We’ll break something else later.” Jack was still lying on his side, propped up on an elbow, looking sexier and more relaxed than he had a right to. 

Jack brought up a hand to caress Jason’s cheek and Jason leaned into it, rubbing into the touch and purring contentedly, but with a hint of wanting more. 

Jack growled and pushed him gently away.   “Stop that.  I want to eat this food first.”

Jason sighed then tossed a fry at Daniel.  “You eat?”

“Yeah.”

“So where’d you go after leaving the party?”

Daniel indicated his t-shirt and jeans he was removing.  “I went home to change, stopped by Janet’s, dropped Alex home, then got Jack some extra clothes which are in the kitchen, bought food, and came here.  Anything else?”

“First, Jack’s not getting dressed anytime soon,” Jason went on in such a proprietary tone that Jack’s brow line rose.  “Second, I thought Janet and Sam were taking Alex home?”

“They were but instead invited Alex over for a little while.  After I showed up and visited for a few minutes, Alex was yawning.  So, I drove him home.  He looks hot in that Lantern outfit, by the way.”

“Yeah, he does, but he thinks he looks…exposed.”

“He did look exposed,” Jack pitched in, then cast Jason a very meaningful look.  “And I can see the attraction, Jason.  I’m not blind and I definitely wasn’t this evening.  Now what was that about me not getting dressed anytime soon?”

“Meaning that we’re not done,” Jason replied.  “I’m not saying a word about Alex, so moving on.” He took a bite of food as Jack grinned at him.  “I’m serious, Jack.  I’m also not letting you leave until we’re through.” He then pointed a finger at Daniel.  “You’re not going anywhere either.  And if I had any kind of magical powers, I’d seal this room.”

“Is that so?” Daniel said with mock surprise. 

“Yes,” Jason answered.  Jack didn’t bother to say anything.  He shrugged and kept on eating.  Staying was just fine with him. 

There was silence for a few minutes as they watched Daniel’s graceful movements.  When Daniel removed his briefs, he was hard.  He knelt on the bed, grinning as his lovers groaned at him. 

“Daniel, that’s not fair,” Jason told him. 

Daniel tilted his head to the side as he opened his eyes.  “I don’t mind being hard for a while.”

“I don’t mind getting fucked until I am hard,” Jason replied. 

Daniel’s smile turned wicked.  “I don’t mind waiting.” He then slid onto his stomach, propping up on his elbows, his feet in the air.  Stealing some of the fries, he dipped them in ketchup, then tartar sauce.  “So…”

“So?” Jason asked. 

“So, since we’re together again, I’m dying to know about that dream you had.  You know, the one that you said brought up the idea about retiring?”

Jason had almost forgotten the disturbing thing.  Recalling it wasn’t difficult and even with the recent events and his fight with Jack, he was still determined to retire in six months and most of that reasoning was based on the feelings driven by the dream.  “It was weird.  I can’t blame any outside influences for the dream and I’ve tried.  There’s no correlation to anything within the dream.  If I had any of my grandfather’s wacky tobacco, I could blame it on that.  But I don’t, so I can’t.”

Jack frowned.  “Wait a minute, in the two years of our friendship, I’ve never known you smoke.”

“I haven’t for a long time, Jack, but grandfather grew it for religious purposes…plus it simply relaxed the old guy.  Anyway, he left me some.”

“Seriously?” Daniel asked. 

“Leavenworth doesn’t mean much to you?” Jack interjected. 

“Don’t worry, Jack.  As I said, I haven’t smoked any for a while and never touched the stuff my grandfather left.  Besides, I won’t.  He’s charmed it or something.  I was going to toss it out but grandfather put it in a medicine bag and tied it up with sweetgrass and sage, then put some shaman symbols on it.  Think if I tossed it in the fire, I might turn into a Gila monster or something so I decided to just keep it the shelf with my other shaman things grandfather left me.” He pointed to the shelving between the two large windows. 

“Okay, so you’re explaining what didn’t affect you having the dream,” Daniel recounted.  “I don’t care why, Jason.  I take your dreams seriously, you know that.”

“Yeah, but Jack thinks it’s all horseshit,” Jason said, not looking at him. 

“Except where you or Daniel are concerned,” Jack said defensively, nudging Jason with his foot. 

“Go on, Jace.”

“Um, the dream starts in the mess hall.  The cook was serving both grits and cream of wheat.  In fact, everything had a white, creamy texture theme about it.”

“Had we just had sex or something?” Jack asked. 

“I thought of that, but no.  Anyway, there were these small pudding cups and they had salmon fish symbols on them, showing that they were salmon eggs or something.  For some reason, I opened one.  The red stuff was mixed with something that was either milt or human semen, I don’t know which.”

“Ew,” said Daniel and Jack together and Jack kicked him and pointed at the tartar sauce Jack was dipping the fries into.  Jason winced. 

“Oops.  Sorry.”

Jack shook his head.  “Go on.  I’ll contain the urge to throw up on you.”

“Thanks so much, but Daniel asked, and the dream isn’t a nice one,” Jason told him.  He wasn’t kidding, either.  While his face was calm and a small smile played on his lips, Jason’s eyes reflected the seriousness of the dream.  “The stuff in the mess hall made me lose my appetite so I took off.  Something told me not to use the elevator, so I went to the emergency ladder and used that.  It felt like I was climbing down forever.  When I came to level 18, I found that the rungs of the ladder were red.  At first I thought it was a trick of the light within that emergency services conduit, but my hands felt warm and sticky.  I lifted one and it was covered in blood.”

The looks on Jack and Daniel’s faces became severe and concerned.  They were definitely paying attention. 

“I pushed open the hatch door for your level, Daniel, and stepped out.  The emergency lighting was on everywhere so all I could see was illuminated in the red flashing.  I raced to your office and the moment I got there, the lights turned back on.  You were on the floor, tied up with duct tape, so I removed it from your mouth and you said, ‘It’s time.'”

“Time for what?” Daniel asked. 

“I don’t know what you meant in the dream but considering all that happened, I think the dream itself meant for me to retire and change career fields, become a civilian consultant, like you.”  They both gaped at him and Jason frowned.   “What?  I have the degrees, I just need to get my life situated first.”  He looked down, then up at both of them.   “I have some things to learn though, that’s for sure.  Where my personal life is concerned–“

“You overreacted, Jason,” Jack told him.  “Any of us would have.  I’m sorry if I was responsible for–“

“No, you’re not responsible, Jack.  I am.  And I promise, I’ll concentrate on my healing and…”

“And?” Jack asked as something like another realization passed over Jason’s face.  “What?”

“I didn’t really think I had any emotional scars left over from when I thought you guys were dead.  But I found out otherwise.”  They looked at him with confused expressions, so he clarified.   “My insecurities.  Daniel, you thought I’d gotten over them, and I thought that, too.  But as I lay here, afterward,” and he passed the back of his fingers over Jack’s chest, “I started to think that all of my guilt about Alex and my fears over losing Jack were hints that I’d never really lost my fears about losing either of you.  So, the point is, if I want a civilian psych job, I’d better get my head healed up so I can do it.”

“You will, Jace,” Daniel told him, “but you have to know that even with your own problems, you still do a damn good job of psych evaluation even as leader of SG-2.”

“Others might not see it that way if Kane’s little relapse gets out.”

“But you put him in the field to push him, didn’t you?” Jack asked.  When Jason sighed and nodded, he said, “I think it worked, along with Tolenev’s slap upside the head.  I don’t think she’ll talk, but the others might.  I’ll have a talk with Reynolds and–“

“No, Jack, leave it.  If it comes out, it comes out.  Don’t–“

“If I want to help, then I’ll help,” Jack said forcefully and Jason stared at him before grabbing him and kissing him. 

When Jason pulled away, Daniel touched his arm.  “What job is it that you think you need to have, Jace?”

Jason took a deep breath.  “I think it’s better if I tell you the rest of the dream first.”

“Okay, go on.”

“Okay, where was I?”

“My office.”

“Right.  You told me to leave, so I ran around the corner of your office and suddenly heard Janet’s voice.  She was shouting out orders.  I went down another hall and found myself in the infirmary, which isn’t on your floor obviously.  Janet was giving orders as if she were in surgery, but she was in the treatment ward.  When I got closer, I saw that four hospital beds were filled, only the people were covered with blue sheets.  Janet was standing at one bed in the middle of the ward.  The set up was bizarre.”

“How?” Jack asked carefully. 

“She was performing an autopsy.  Now we know she doesn’t perform postmortem exams so I went over to ask her what was going on.  She looked at me and scowled, and asked me why I wasn’t doing my job.  I asked her what job, but she just shook her head and waved me out.  When I wouldn’t leave, two corpsmen grabbed me and escorted me out.  I kept yelling over my shoulder, asking her who died.  She wouldn’t answer. 

“I turned around and found myself down another corridor,” Jason went on, eyes unfocused as he fought to remember everything.  “A sense of urgency overcame me, like I was running out of time.  Then a loud, piercing scream began.  A terrified scream and it sounded like a woman’s voice.  I ran through the corridors, asking people what was going on, who was hurt, but they’d just press up against the wall and stare at the floor.  It seemed like I ran through the entire base, going from one floor to another like some interconnected spiral staircase and the screaming was still there.  It didn’t stop till I reached the gateroom. 

“The gate was trying to dial but it suddenly stopped, freezing up, and the electrical conduits blew, sending sparks everywhere.  I looked up into the control room and saw Sergeant Davis yelling at me behind the glass but I couldn’t hear him because he wasn’t talking into the comm system.  I turned and ran for the entrance and when I got up there, he was nowhere to be seen and neither were the other techs.  I ran up the stairs to the briefing room and found you two, Sam, Teal’c, Hammond, Major Davis, and Janet seated at the table.  Now here’s the even weirder part.”

“Weirder?” Jack and Daniel asked. 

“Um, yeah.  Harry Maybourne was giving the briefing.”

“What?”

“Yeah.  On the wall behind him was a schematic of the SGC.  He was pointing at sections of corridors circled in red and was talking as if we were all on lockdown.  But there wasn’t any lockdown, not the normal one, anyway.  I asked what the hell was going on, and you, Jack, pointed at me, then pointed out in the corridor.  None of you said a word but you all looked at me like I’d let you down or I’d done something wrong.  You expected me to do something but I couldn’t figure out what it was.  I turned and went into the corridor.  I found a body covered in a blue sheet, with blood seeping through.  I didn’t want to but I knelt down and pulled away the sheet to see who it was.”

Jason swallowed, then cleared his throat.  “It was Alex.  He’d had his throat slit.  His expression was one of surprise.  I threw back the rest of the sheet to find out what the other injuries were and found that his…  genitals had been cut off and a large letter was carved into his stomach.  The letter A. 

“At the end of the corridor, something shrieked and came flying at me.  I realized a second later that it was a hawk, a red-tail I think.  It flew over Alex’s body, making that piercing cry it has, then came straight at me.  I put up my right arm, to shield my face, but it landed on my forearm.  It was digging its talons into my skin and blood was dripping down.  All the while it sat on my arm, it made that same cry.  It was trying to tell me something.  Soon after, the unmistakable guttural sound of a raven filled the corridor and I looked behind me.  When I looked back, the hawk had become a huge raven.  The blood was still there.  It cawed at me, turning its head this way and that like it was either trying to figure me out or wonder why I wasn’t doing what it wanted.  Or both. 

“So, I asked, ‘What do you want?’ It cawed, then lifted off my arm and flew back the way it came.  Then that terrified screaming voice filled the corridors again, echoing everywhere.  I put my hands to my ears and suddenly there were two uniformed people standing against the wall, staring at me.  They didn’t say anything, they just stared.  Then two more people showed up and stood against the opposite wall.  They were also staring at me.  Pretty soon, the hall contained ten people, two of which were civilians.  Counting Alex, that made eleven.”

“Judging you or something?” Jack asked. 

Jason shook his head.  “Begging me, I think.”

“Why?  For what?” Daniel asked. 

“I don’t know…  exactly.  They also weren’t…  normal.”

“What do you mean?” Jack asked. 

“Um, let’s see.  Remember An American Werewolf in London?”

“Yeah, that movie was pretty cool.  Nice werewolf,” Jack said. 

Daniel shrugged.  “I remember it.  Go on.”

Jason nodded.  “Okay, well, remember how David’s friend, Jack, came to visit him in the hospital after he died?” They nodded.  “And then how he was faced with the people he killed when he was visiting Jack in that porn theatre?”

“You don’t think you killed those people in the dream, do you?” Daniel asked, alarmed. 

Jason shook his head quickly, holding up his hand.  “No, Daniel, that’s not what I mean.  What I mean is that the people in the corridor were dead.  Their wounds were still on them.  In the dream itself, I remembered thinking they looked like people from the film.  Then Alex suddenly sat up, scaring the shit out of me, and pulled the sheet away.  ‘Just remember your training,’ he said.  ‘Don’t let this happen to us.’ Then…  I woke up from the dream.”

“Dream?” Daniel asked, aghast.  “That was a nightmare, Jason.”

“Well, it was a message, and therefore, to me, a dreamscape.  I used to have them a long time ago, though never as clearly as that one.  Or as gross.”

“Other than the few bits that hinted at it, what makes you think it’s a message dream?” Jack asked. 

“Because of the presence of the hawk and the raven.  This is in my subconscious mind, so the symbols of these birds is important.  I’ve been thinking about them for a little while, off and on, then dismissed the dream until I could pick it apart later.”

“So what do the birds mean?” Daniel asked.  “Some cultures view ravens as carrion eaters or killers, like they do vultures.  Except in Egypt, the vulture is a sacred bird because of its symbol of renewal.”

“Exactly.  The hawk is seen by most Native Americans as a messenger.  When it appears, it’s said that there’s something coming to impart news to you, or that you’re supposed to pay attention to the things around you.  It could be anything from the electric bill to something someone says in the mess hall to something even more obscure as the backfire of a car.  Usually, it’s clearer than that, but you’ll only see it if you open your mind.  Now the raven, on the other hand, is a three-fold symbol.  It means magic or supernatural forces.  But it’s also a symbol for death, like the grim reaper.  It’s also an omen bringer, a tool of prescience, which ties into ‘magic’ but can be seen as psychic if you want.  In my case, it’s not the bringer of death that the Christians and other cultures have viewed it to be, but a bird imparting omens, good or bad.”

“In the case of that dream, I’d say it was a bad omen,” Jack told him. 

Jason shook his head.  “No, not bad.  The other stuff from the dream was bad but the presence of the bird was indeterminate.  It’s neither a good or bad bird.  It just…  is.  Like the hawk, it was bringing me what I think is a warning.”

They were quiet for a few seconds, then Daniel said, “Do you think the dream was telling you what to do with your life?  That you could be of some use at the SGC?”

“I think it was mirroring what I want to do, but I think it was also telling me that my training in psychology and behavioral science would be of particular use in the future.”

“To what?  Find a killer?” Jack asked. 

“I don’t know.  Those bits may have come from my own mind, since I like shows like CSI.  With the way Alex died in the dream, there’s no telling if that was prescient or just something conjured from one of the episodes I watched.  I have no idea.”

“So…what’s the bottom line?” Jack asked, taking hold of Jason’s left pinky with his own. 

“I have to talk to General Hammond, then ask Paul Davis if he can look into creating a position for a psychologist/behavioral scientist.  There are times where that sort of job will be needed.”

“And when it’s not, what’ll you be doing?  I don’t see you staying at home, unless you plan on getting a job out in the world, and I honestly don’t see you doing something sedate.”

Jason shook his head.  “Frankly, I don’t see that either.  I’ve known covert ops during most of my career.  I’ve seen a lot of shit, so I know I can do a lot of good there.  As for my own personal life, well, I’ll get better.  I’ve always been able to help others, but rarely myself.”

“That’s the way it is with most everyone,” Jack told him, squeezing his pinky finger against Jason’s.  “Including you.  You’re not infallible.”

“No, just crazy.”

“Well, that goes without saying.”

Jason grinned and bit the knuckle of Jack’s pinky.  “Thanks.”

“For?”

“Everything.  Anything.  Just…  being you.”

Daniel was turning the ring on his pinky when he suddenly held out his hand, pinky outstretched.  The sudden influx of sentiment made him feel a little silly, but looking at the other two rings, he knew he couldn’t help it.  “Whatever you decide, I’ll back you,” he said, and almost as if they knew why his hand was outstretched, they curled their pinkies around his own. 

Jason flushed, as did Jack.  A moment later, Daniel was the first to let go.  He pulled himself up into a sitting position, knees drawn up, and arms crossed over them.  “Just don’t turn into Dr.  Ruth.  I don’t think Jack could put up with you as a sex therapist.”

“God, no,” Jack warned, even though a little smile appeared. 

Jason tilted his head, his sparkling eyes filled with mischief.  “Let’s see, there are a few more courses to take for that, and there are bound to be several patients at the base just waiting to get themselves straightened out.” At Jack’s disagreeable look, Jason couldn’t help but grin as he backed off.  “I’m kidding, Jack.”

Daniel bit his cheek, purposely smirking at Jack.  “How about opening a store for sex toys?”

Jack coughed as he bit off a piece of home fry.  “Daniel.”

“What?”

“One track mind, all of a sudden?”

“You’ve had yours, Jack.  I haven’t.” Turning the residual creepiness of the dream as well as the seriousness of Jason’s thoughts away, he decided to change the subject from maudlin to erotic.  Or hopefully erotic, anyway.  Folding his legs, he tugged Jason’s foot into his lap and began massaging it.  Jason lay back groaning, crossing his arms under his head, and missed the appropriate response when Daniel said, “So…speaking of one track minds, I’ve been thinking about the vacation time we have coming up.”

“Oh?” Jack asked. 

“We all need to get away for a week.  Do something extraordinary.  So…on the off-chance that you guys patched things up, I put in for two weeks leave starting next week.”

Jason lifted his head, then pushed up on his elbows, very unwilling to remove his foot from Daniel’s expert fingers.  He was about to say something when he caught Jack’s secretive smile.  The man had an idea already.  “Don’t tell me you were anticipating Daniel’s leave request?” he asked. 

Jack’s smile widened a bit as he looked up at him, then over at Daniel.  “I wasn’t completely wasting my time last night.  Hammond knows we need a serious break, that a couple of days isn’t going to cut it, so he’s given each of us thirty days.”

“Thirty?” Daniel asked. 

“We all have a few months’ worth saved up, Daniel, you included.  We’re taking a month, not two weeks.”

“Starting?” Jason asked. 

“Next week, like Daniel surmised.  We’ll be needed here for the Christmas holiday preparations, but I think we can safely skip Thanksgiving.”

Jason’s tiny smile grew thoughtful, pleased…relieved.  He really could use that time off. 

“You’ve an idea, don’t you?” Daniel asked, eyeing Jack carefully. 

“Maybe.  I don’t know if any of you are in the mood for it, but I’m all for packing up and heading out.  Some resort spot or getaway, but something remote.” He gave Daniel a teasing look.  “Although we’ll have to pack certain work-related things, of course, or Daniel will go insane.”

Daniel sent back a challenging look.  “Perhaps you’re right, and perhaps all I’ve ever lacked is motivation to find something else to do.”

“I think between the three of us, we can come up with something, especially since sex isn’t a problem here.”

Jason snorted.  “No, definitely not a prob–” He stopped short, his attention caught by Jack’s words.  “You really do have an idea.  What?”

Daniel observed him as Jack chewed on his lip, contemplating whatever plan he was weaving in that mind of his.  When Jack’s eyes caught him watching, he shifted, but not uncomfortably.  Then Daniel spied the underlying horniness, or rather, a sexual restlessness he hadn’t seen in a while.  “Sex definitely isn’t a problem, and in fact, I’d venture a guess that Jack means that in more ways than one.  Considering what happened two days ago as a sign, Jack?”

Blushing a little at the thoughts in his head, Jack nodded.  “Is anyone up for more role-play?”

Jason’s cheeks matched Jack’s, but then deepened as he remembered the last time, on his birthday two years before.  That had been, at first, one hell of an interesting role-play, but he sensed that Jack wanted to go deeper than that.  A lot deeper.  “How about something we’ve never done, using the role-play as a sort of playground?”

Daniel felt a renewed spark of interest.  To him, role-play was a little boring, although that was only because of his lack of experience with it.  “Are you saying we role-play the entire time we’re gone?”

Looking at Jack’s reaction, Jason nodded slowly.  “Maybe not the same role-play, but…well, treat the entire vacation as long exercise in exploration.”

“Of?” Jack asked, though he knew where Jason was going.  “Kink, perhaps?”

Daniel chewed at his own bottom lip.  “Then let’s treat it a bit more seriously.  Except for the safe word, there’d be no rules.  Once the game starts, there’s no limits, no guilt,” and he pointedly looked at Jason.  “This could be where anything goes and we can do anything we want.  And I do mean…  anything.”

“Careful, though.  The dark, kinky side of things is addictive,” Jack warned. 

“You’d know?” Daniel asked. 

Jack smiled.  “We’d know a little.”

Jason suddenly caught the unmistakable look of meaning between Daniel and Jack.  “What?” He was then told, in great detail, about Jack’s little spanking adventure on the mountain, followed by Daniel’s dildo finish back home.  Jack was blushing a bit, but not as much as Jason expected.  When he looked at Jason, it was filled with challenge.  “Do you want something like that again?”

Jack shrugged coyly.  “Yes, but not for a while, though.  I loved what Daniel did, but I have to think about how I’d like it again.” He rubbed his foot down Daniel’s side and Daniel grasped it and bit his toe.  Laughing, Jack pulled it away before Daniel could do anything else; he hadn’t washed his feet. 

“So, how about we bring…toys with us?” He suddenly grinned evilly.  “I’m sensing a visit to that sex shop in Boulder.” Jason and Jack exchanged looked of curiosity and plainly evident excitement.  “And Jace, what about we splurge for some…equipment?”

“Equipment?” Jason asked, puzzled for a moment, then images came to him and quite abruptly, his dick began to thicken and fill.  He looked down at his crotch, then gasped with astonishment as Daniel reached over and slowly curled his hand around the base of Jason’s cock. 

“Lots of toys, equipment, accessories,” he said as his eyes fell to Jason’s cock.  “Binding items.”

“Except,” Jason replied as he carefully removed Daniel’s hand and got up onto his knees, resting on his heels.  He exchanged knowing looks with Jack and found himself amazed that Jack seemed to be on the same page.  They both gave Daniel cryptic looks as Jack copied Jason and got up to sit on his heels. 

“I think it’s Daniel’s turn,” he added, watching with sparking desire as Daniel gave them a look of surprise. 

“It is?” he asked them. 

“It is,” Jason told him. 

“And you’ve already got a plan, I take it?” Daniel asked them. 

Jack nodded slowly.  “A filthy mind is a wonderful thing.” He leaned over, his hand going to Daniel’s ass, caressing it, sliding a finger between his cheeks.  “Care for a preview?”

Daniel licked his lips as he spread his heels wider.  “What’ve you got in mind, Jack?”

“First, Jason and I will set up the vacation.  That includes where we’re going, how we’ll get there, and what will happen while we’re there.  I just remembered someone who owes me a big favor.  He has a place that we can use, but it all depends on whether or not I can get a hold of him.  Second, how about a little of the role-play I have in mind?”

“Go for it,” Daniel said, feeling his heart pound and the anticipation of the unknown.  He really liked Jack like this. 

“You know we’d never really hurt you,” Jack said as he removed his hand and crawled up behind Daniel, necktie in hand. 

“I know,” Daniel said, looking just a little over his shoulder.  He felt a rush of scary excitement fill him. 

Jack caught Jason’s attention with his words, and the necktie in his hand.  His eyes widened at the possible implications and he grew harder.  “We you going to…?”

Jack shrugged his shoulders.  “I was prepared to do anything to get you to listen to me.”

Jason swallowed.  “Maybe I should have argued more.”

Jack leaned past Daniel and kissed him.  “I’m glad how it turned out though.  Are you?”

“Yes,” Jason answered. 

“Good.  Now do me a favor, Jace.  Lay back.” Jason complied, watching his lovers with thrilling expectation. 

Jack placed his hand on Daniel’s hip, startling him.  “Daniel, lay over him.”

Daniel’s heart began to pound as he lay over Jason. 

“Now, hands behind your back, wrists crossed.”

Daniel stared into Jason’s face and found his expression as surprised as his own.  Placing his hands behind his back, Jason took hold of his waist to steady him when Daniel nearly rolled off.  His wrists were bound, snug but not too tight, and he tensed, sucking in a breath, when Jack’s hands next found the inside of his knees and spread Daniel’s legs wide. 

Jason looked into Daniel’s face, watching his pupils grow large and his face flush with excited anticipation.  He could feel his hard cock brushing against his belly next to Daniel’s. 

Straddling behind Daniel, his knees inside Daniel’s and Jason’s, Jack bent over and wrapped his arms around Daniel’s chest and waist, pulling him up to a kneeling position.  “Jason, take off your shirt and roll it up.  Blindfold him.” Daniel inhaled at the words and Jason carefully moved out from under their legs, then pulled off the thin shirt.  He rolled it up and when he placed it over Daniel’s eyes, he watched his face, seeing his nostrils flare when his lover caught the smell of sweat, sweat caused by sex.  He knew Daniel liked that particular musky scent.  Tying it comfortably snug, he caught Jack’s nod for him to remain kneeling in front of Daniel. 

Jack ran his hands over Daniel’s body.  “Caress him, Jason.  Let Daniel know that two men he barely knows have desired him for a long time and are finally taking their chance.  After months of subtle flirting, Jack and Jason are letting their prey, Daniel, know that they’re taking the initiative and the first move.  They know how much Daniel dreams of them.  They’ve stolen his private journal and read it.  So, right now, where we are?  We’re in a secluded place where we’ve kidnapped him.  No one will disturb us.  Perhaps we’ll even invite a friend to show Daniel what group sex really means.”

Daniel’s mouth dropped open.  “Oh god.  Are you serious?” he asked.  A strange excitement sent tingling goosebumps everywhere.  Jack didn’t answer him, and neither did Jason.  All Daniel knew now was the touch of their hands.  “Jason?” he asked, then Jason’s mouth was on him, silencing him with a rough, deep kiss, his hands firmly caressing the back of his thighs.  He felt Jack’s hand move between them to take hold of his cock and balls for a few quick, tantalizing strokes and squeezes as he bit the back of his neck. 

When Jason bent over to attack his nipples, sucking hard before worrying the nubs between his teeth, Daniel couldn’t believe how hard his heart was beating.  Jason’s mouth and Jack’s cock pressed against his ass gave him double sensations, sending sparks of desire all through him.  The scenario Jack just described made him harder, emphasizing the secret fantasy he had of being attended to, pleasured until he was exhausted.  This was exactly what he’d told Jack one day and the man had remembered.  Damn him, love him, he’d remembered. 

He heard Jack tell Jason to stand and then Jack moved away.  “Hold him still,” he told Jason, and Jason’s hands were on his shoulders. 

Then there was a sudden slap across Daniel’s ass and he jumped, feeling the heat spread across his skin.  “Spread wider, Daniel,” Jack ordered.  Daniel hesitated, wondering if he should or not, but Jack didn’t wait.  He slowly pushed Daniel’s knees as wide as they would comfortably go.  “Good man.” Then lubed fingers caressed the skin of his perineum and Daniel let out another gasp.  “Nice,” Jack said.  “We know you haven’t been fucked much, Daniel, according to your journal, so this should be exceptionally good.  Can’t have you bored, can we?”

Daniel couldn’t help the excited shaking of his body and as Jack’s fingers began to enter him, he went into role-play and tried to resist the touch.  Jason’s arms were around him, his mouth at his throat, pinning him, holding him.  Daniel let out a gasp as Jack’s fingers returned with eager haste, moving a bit differently than they normally did.  Jack was playing up his role with excellent enthusiasm and probed his fingers inside with hard, quick breaths that warmed the back of Daniel’s neck. 

“God, you are tight,” he said, his breathing ragged.  Daniel couldn’t help but wonder if Jack were faking that breathing, and was occupied with that until he realized that he’d forgotten about Jason.  The smell of spiced sex grabbed his attention and Daniel found that Jason stood before him.  Licking his lips and rubbing them together, he was again startled when Jason brushed his cockhead against his mouth.  One hand threaded through his hair and held his head back, pushing gently. 

“Open,” Jason told him.  “Taste me.”

His mouth watering, Daniel took the head of his cock inside, tasting salt and spice while Jack’s fingers moved very slowly inside him, his hand on his cock once more, slowly jacking him.  Moaning, he sucked hard and heard Jason let out a startled curse.  Both hands now firmly cradled his head and he could imagine Jason’s head dropped back, immersing himself in the feel of Daniel’s mouth. 

“God, Jack, he’s a natural,” Jason said and then Jack’s breath was at his ear, growling. 

“Like sucking cock?” Jack asked. 

Daniel tried to nod, but Jason was pushing more of his cock inside before withdrawing slowly.  Daniel knew what it meant and he opened his mouth. 

“Oh yes, Jason, he’s eager for it.  Fuck his mouth, but don’t be too rough.  We don’t want our pretty boy hurt.  We have to save him for other things.” Then Jack whispered in his ear, “Leather things.” If Daniel hadn’t had the blindfold, he’d have closed his eyes. 

Jack’s fingers, three of them now, were pushing inside and Daniel couldn’t concentrate on both ends.  He stayed with Jason, concentrating on using his tongue, to get him to come, quick and hard.  Jason pulled out suddenly, rubbing his pre-come over Daniel’s lips, then dropping onto his knees to kiss him hard.  It didn’t fool Daniel.  He was giving his mouth a break, wanting to come off when his lovers did.  The thought of it filled Daniel with love and want and he moaned loudly. 

“Exactly what I was thinking,” Jack said, biting the juncture between neck and shoulder.  Then Daniel realized why.  Jack had been lubing himself and was now pressing his slick cockhead against his puckered opening.  Moaning again, but in a negative way to somehow pretend that he didn’t want what Jack was going to do, Daniel moved his arms and knees, pulling from Jason’s kiss.  He knew that this would only encourage his lovers to do more. 

“Hold him still,” Jack ordered gruffly. 

Daniel thought Jason would grab his hips or his thighs, and he did grab his thighs, but only after he quickly kissed and bit his way down his body.  Daniel let out another startled gasp when Jason’s mouth latched onto the shaft of his cock, just under the head, and sucked hard.  Jerking in reaction, he let out a breathy moan as Jason moved lower, taking one of his balls into his mouth…  and pulled. 

“Fuck,” he hissed as both pleasure and pain lanced throughout his groin and up to the head of his cock. 

“That’s right,” Jack growled behind his ear, still teasing Daniel’s hole with his cock.  “Give it to him good, Jason.”

Daniel couldn’t help the sounds of lust escaping his throat, nor the jerking of his body as Jason went to work on him.  Kneading his balls with his tongue, he pulled on each ball before taking it into his mouth, stretching the sac.  When Jason moved his mouth away finally, Daniel shivered, his balls and sac thoroughly bathed with cooling spit.  But Jason was still moving with intent, sucking and licking his way slowly up his shaft, pausing every so often to lick at the juncture between groin and hip, teasing unmercifully. 

When Jason’s mouth neared the head of his cock, Jack began whispering orders, his voice rough with need.  “Slowly, Jason.  Let him feel every suck, every lick.  Do it hard.” Daniel bucked, even under the tight hold of Jason’s arms around his thighs, and let out a long, drawn-out groaning noise when Jason’s lips sucked just under the cleft ridge of his cockhead.  “Wait for me,” Jack went on, beginning to push and withdraw, just as Jason had done with him earlier.  “Time it right.”

Jason moaned, his mouth drooling with anticipation to get the head inside, to hear Daniel’s voice when he was breached two-fold. 

Daniel pretended he hadn’t been fucked in a very long time and tensed, tightening his ass, making Jack feel it every time he pushed.  “Relax,” Jack said behind his ear.  “You’ll love this, trust me.  Jason…” he called, pushing almost painfully slow. 

Jason’s mouth hovered over the head of his cock and Daniel’s breath shivered when his lover’s tongue flicked over the slit.  He felt Jason tug at Jack just as his mouth engulfed his cockhead, taking it inside warm, inviting wetness, closing over him, sucking immediately. 

Jack’s cock pushed through at that moment, sliding effortlessly, unstopping.  Daniel sucked in a breath, listening to his lovers’ groans, his own choked off as he was filled.  He lost control of himself at that point, dropping his head back to rest on Jack’s shoulder.  He flexed the muscles of his ass, drawing Jack deeper, and suddenly expelled a shock of air when Jason began to move his mouth up and down his shaft. 

Jack’s growl sounded new to him, vibrating at the back of his neck.  “Yes, suck him,” he said with a tone of desperation.  He ground his hips against Daniel’s ass and Daniel realized that Jack was completely inside.  He hadn’t expected him to be there already.  A burning jolt of pleasure rocked through him as his prostate was found, and Jack chuckled at the noise he made.  Both sent a volley of shudders through him. 

“Like that?” Jack asked, but Daniel didn’t reply.  He was too consumed in the pleasure to keep up the pretense of not wanting more.  Jack seemed to think it was okay because it only spurred him on.  “I knew you’d cave.  Just wait till you experience the other things we have planned for you.  Sex will never be the same.  Not with anyone else.”

With that Jack pulled back, forcing a groan from Daniel’s lips.  He felt more lube being applied as the cool stuff ran down the slope of his ass.  Taking a few short thrusts to work the lube, Jack paused, then began anew, the longer thrusts brushing against Daniel’s gland more easily than before. 

Having been distracted, Daniel was now aware that Jason had pulled his mouth away and had returned to his feet.  He grabbed Daniel by the hair and pushed his head back, waiting for Daniel to drop his mouth open.  It was easy, Daniel knew, because he couldn’t stop panting, not with Jack fucking him like he could last forever. 

Jason pushed his cock past his lips and into his mouth, then withdrew before Daniel had a chance to do anything.  But when he pushed in again, Daniel found the slit with his tongue and after a few quick jabs, sucked.  Hard. 

“Oh god, yes,” Jason cried out, moving his hips with short pumping motions.  “Suck me.” The order was soft-voiced but the need clear.  Daniel moaned to get Jason aroused by the vibration, and rubbing his tongue over the silky glans, he sucked repeatedly, loving how Jason sounded as a result. 

Jack’s fingers were soon busy, pinching and twisting his nipples, pulling them taut.  Daniel’s reaction to that sensitive touch had him gurgling around Jason’s cock, his body bucking once more. 

“I can’t hold off, Jack,” Jason warned, his voice sounding like he was hurt, but it only told Daniel how good he was making him feel.  He wanted to make it last, but his mouth wouldn’t last.  Besides, he wanted Jason to come.  Opening wide, readying his tongue over his bottom teeth, he let Jason slide into the back of his tongue.  Then Daniel swallowed.  Again and again. 

With an exclamation of surprise, Jason held Daniel’s face pressed against his groin, hips bucking with need.  “Fuck, Jack, I’m…”

“Yes, come down his throat,” Jack told him as he altered his thrusts to short, hard, rapid jabs. 

Hearing Jason cry out, Daniel reveled in the feel of his come hitting the roof of his mouth.  Swallowing continuously, he moaned when he could, breathed when he could, and when Jason pulled his still twitching cock from his mouth, Daniel gulped in a few needed breaths.  Jason didn’t waste time.  He was down, kissing him thoroughly, tasting himself in Daniel’s mouth. 

“God, that was hot,” Jack told him, moving with an intense energy that sent more shivers through Daniel’s body.  Jason was kissing and biting his way back to his cock, and when he engulfed him again, Jack latched onto his neck and sucked hard.  HIs pistoning hips reached a frenzied rhythm while his muffled moans announced how good he felt. 

When Daniel felt his balls tighten, he whispered ‘yes’ before he could catch himself.  Jason’s mouth was suddenly off, his hand replacing it, then Daniel felt himself falling forward, pushed onto his stomach.  His legs were forced wider as his ass was yanked back in the air.  He gasped in shock, liking the rough, unexpected treatment, then was forced to shout, “Oh my god, yes!” when Jack grabbed his hips and fucked him impossibly hard with the same short thrusts. 

Jason’s skillful hand brought the orgasm and Jack’s thrusts made it acute.  With a choked off scream into the mattress, Daniel came hard.  His ass tightened around Jack and he was coming inside him, his moans muffled by kissing noises.  A brief smile danced over Daniel’s lips as he pictured them and stayed there as Jack kept fucking him until his dick softened. 

Groaning with disappointing loss as Jack withdrew, he felt fingers at his wrists and his bonds released.  The blindfold was removed, too, and a dull light through his lids made him hide his face.  Then another surprise greeted him as Jack and Jason lay on either side of him, hugging their bodies to him, kissing him.  It had a desperate feel to it, almost…  apologizing?  No, not apologizing.  Asking.  Seeking approval?  A go-ahead for the upcoming role-play?

“Good,” was the only thing he could manage, mumbling it as sleep overcame him. 

Jason definitely needed a new bed, Daniel decided.  A bigger one.  But only so that he could have more room to stretch.  But right now, Daniel was comfortable, lying between his lovers, feeling wonderfully sated.  He glanced at the clock and realized with a shock that it was 6 am.  He was still tired, and no wonder.  He had only three hours of sleep. 

Mulling over Jason’s dream, he fell back to sleep. 

The smell of coffee penetrated his nose, awaking his brain.  He felt heavy, dreamy, and pulled at the comforter.  It came too easily and Daniel’s fogged brain realized that both of his lovers were missing from the bed.  He raised his head and found Jason sitting on the edge of the bed, watching him…  and holding a cup of coffee. 

“Mornin’ gorgeous,” Jason told him. 

“Guh,” was Daniel’s reply and he forced himself out of the other side of the bed, took the cup from Jason’s now-outstretched hand and made for the bathroom.  Relieving himself, he gulped half the coffee down before getting hold of his toothbrush Jason kept there.  His mouth was a foul-tasting thing, but as he brushed, he began to feel better.  A shower and shave later, he left the bathroom and found Jack dressed in the clothes he’d brought with him last night, sitting at the end of the island designed specifically as a sort of dining nook. 

“Hey, I thought you weren’t supposed to be dressed,” he said, picking up his clothes. 

Jack gave him a sexy, lopsided grin.  “I can get them off easily enough.”  He looked up from one of Jason’s magazines, gazing at Daniel appreciatively.   “In the meantime, you look good just like that.”

Jason, also dressed, was cooking and he looked over his shoulder with a bit of a mischievous grin.   “Morning.”

“Morning,” Daniel replied warily. 

“What do you want to do today…other than go into work?”

Daniel froze, realizing that it was Monday, then closed his eyes, wincing.  Sighing, he opened them, knowing they weren’t in too much trouble, considering the actual military members were still here–and acting as if nothing was wrong. 

“So…?”

Jack read the puzzled look well.   “We don’t have to be in till noon.”

Daniel grabbed his shorts and slid them on, his jeans next.   “Hammond?”

Jack nodded as he set his coffee down.  Walking over with his empty cup, Daniel held it out.  Smirking, Jack refilled it.   “Considering the hours we put in every day, I think we’re given a luxury…and a reprieve from Sunday night’s…celebrations.”  He glanced at Jason, who looked over at him.  The man grinned contentedly and said nothing. 

Watching them, Daniel couldn’t help but feel relief.   “How’re you guys?” he asked. 

“Fine,” Jack answered, sipping on his coffee but looking at Jason.  With a flick of the spatula in his right hand, Jason surprised him and flung something at him.  Something hot.  When Jack yanked his hand away after trying to catch it, the short strip of bacon dropped onto the counter next to Jack’s empty plate.   “Fuckhead, that was hot.”

Jason looked over at Daniel and grinned with satisfaction.   “We’re fine.”

Jack scowled but his eyes told Daniel that he was happy.  Wiping his hand off on a paper towel, he asked, “How’re you doin’?”

“Mmm, can’t complain,” he answered, imitating a certain blue fish from a certain movie as he sat down next to Jack. 

Jack couldn’t help but smile at that. 

“So,” Daniel went on, “when did you put in for that vacation?”

Jack hadn’t said that he had, just that he’d planned to.  With a glance at Jason, he got up from his stool and moved around to put his arms around Daniel, giving him a bear hug.  Daniel chuckled, then laughed when Jack bit at his neck. 

“Jack,” he admonished.   “Jason’s cooking breakfast.”

“I am?” Jason asked. 

“Jason, don’t start.   Jack, when’d you put in for our vacations?”

Letting go, Jack walked around and smugly sat down.  He popped the piece of cooled bacon into his mouth, chewed, washed it down with coffee, then answered him with a look that Daniel recognized.   He was warning him.   “Like a good ambush, the trick about kidnapping, Doctor Jackson, is that you’ll never see it coming until it’s too late.”

Daniel stared at him.  “Answer the flipping question.”

Jack sighed, resigned.  “Fine.  We’re going to Kauai.  An old buddy owns a vacation spot and he’s letting me use it for a few days.”

Jason frowned.  “And why is he being so magnanimous when we’ve never even met him?  I mean, you don’t do something like that for someone you rarely see.”

“He owes me for a favor I did, and I’m not explaining that.  It’s a secret thing and I made a promise.”

“Oh,” Daniel said, jogging his brows.  “I get that.”  The idea of a tropical vacation began to excite him.  “So.  You have some ideas when we get there, right?  Given your tease.”

Jack smiled and said nothing.

~

By the time they came home, they had deep tans and sore muscles.


End of Trinity.  Next series is Trilogy.

Joy's Fiction Stargate SG-1 Slash Fanfiction

Feedback!

Joy

writer, artist, veteran, and progressive pain in the asset.

Get in touch

If you want to have a gander, here I am.

Main Site

Archive of Our Own

Meta

back to top