Visits 2: Discoveries
Summary: Daniel and Jason discover more about the new aspect to their relationship and during dinner out, they run into Jack.
Note: Quote is from The Carpenters
Before the rising sun we fly
So many roads to choose
We start out walking and learn to run
And yes we’ve just begun
Daniel was starving by the time he got home, so after changing into comfortable grey sweats and a darker T-shirt, he threw together a pasta dish and salad. Too antsy to sit down, he leaned against the kitchen counter and ate his salad, going over all the things Jason had said to him. It bothered him just a little bit to have Jason speak ill of Jack, but he was right. Jack did have his head up his ass and it wasn’t coming out any time soon.
With a long-suffering sigh, he finished eating and proceeded to wash up. But while rinsing the salad bowl, he suddenly paused as an insecure thought popped into his head. What if Jason changed his mind? Further, Daniel discovered that he really wanted Jason to be there. The man was important to him, always had been, but now, there was an urgency about his presence that, for reasons he couldn’t articulate, was required. There was also the embarrassing fact that Jason had been to his house only once. For someone who was supposedly his best friend, how messed up was that? Why hadn’t he taken the time to have Jason over before now, even as just his friend?
As he thought it over, examining every possibility, the answer that finally came was horribly embarrassing: Jack. What if he showed up while Jason was there, and Jason’s presence scared him off? What if Jack showed up and got jealous? What if Jack showed up and needed him for something and…
On and on. Just… what if Jack showed up. While Daniel wanted to get the friendship back, as anyone would, this excuse was pathetic. And with the desperation of it came the unfortunate distrust and sour expectation: what would Jack say later, at work, and when would he find the most inconvenient of times to make some dig, some irritating, sarcastic remark?
Daniel leaned against the counter and let the water run over his hands as he closed his eyes and sighed deeply. Was he that obsessed with Jack? This was ridiculous.
A moment later, anger at himself began to rise up, turning quickly into rebellion. To hell with Jack and what he thought. Daniel was going have Jason, for any and all reasons, and if Jack ever jumped to conclusions or even found out about them, so be it. Rebellion began to surge now, and Daniel started to actively wish that Jack would see them now. It would serve him right. See what you missed out on, your stupid bastard?
A flush rose to his cheeks as guilt crept in. He could get mad at Jack all he liked–when the man deserved it. But right now, what was past was past and Jack didn’t deserve it. Daniel had learned the hard way that with Jack, you forgave and forgot, or you just learned to live with him, cause either way, resentment wasn’t on the table. Resentment could fester, turn to hate, and end up getting your ass killed–well, in their job it could.
Taking several deep breaths, Daniel tried to rid himself of the anger, and thoughts of retaliation turned to revenge, hoping Jack saw them kissing one day. Then those thoughts turned to more kissing, then touching, and eventually, Daniel forgot about Jack and found himself back at the beginning: Jason would soon be there, and they would then be…
Daniel’s eyes widened when he thought of fucking him, and oh shit, did he even have condoms? He closed his eyes again and shook his head. “You idiot.” Thoughts went immediately into justifying not using one–they were both clean, they didn’t sleep around–and… did Jason use a condom with his ex?
Daniel shook his head because the answers didn’t matter, not right now. To be honest, the only thing he cared about was having Jason please him till he passed out. His dick twitched in agreement and he palmed himself, rubbing downward. An electrical surge of pleasure ran through him and he shuddered in both anticipation and wonder. He was hornier than he could remember being in a very long time, and while that wasn’t all that unusual, getting another erection this close to the last two was another matter. He was thirty-seven years old, not twenty-one. Was he that stored up? That out of practice? That… lonely?
Probably all three. His cock stiffened a bit more under his hand and Daniel stopped touching himself. “Dammit, Jason,” he said, blaming him, and in saying the name out loud, he shivered again. Jason. He’d had sex with Jason, and it had been so perfect in the way he’d just accepted him. Daniel could never remember feeling that way before. It wasn’t that he’d never been at ease with sex, but there was always the tension and guessing. With Jason, it felt as if he could do anything and it would be fine with him.
Still, Daniel looked forward to discovering Jason’s specific hot spots, knowing just where to rub and lick, how to apply just the right sort of pressure, the right angle and speed to keep him pleasured but without achieving orgasm…
Another shudder passed through him and the anticipation increased. A thought occurred… supplies, he had to make sure they were there, and leaving the sink, wiping his wet hands on the dish towel, Daniel left the kitchen for the bedroom and beside the bed, opened up the top drawer of the night stand. The lube was there, not in the living room, thank god, and just in case Jason wanted to play…
Daniel suddenly looked at the clock and began to worry. It had been well over ninety minutes. What if what happened at the mountain was all there was to their chemistry? The spontaneity. What if Jason backed out because this was now planned, like a date of sorts? What if–
There was a knock at the door and Daniel literally jumped. He found his hand was shaking again, and with irritation, made a fist, ordering himself to knock it off.
Another knock at the door, and panic set in. What if Jason decided to leave because he was standing here with his head up his butt?
“Just a minute!” Daniel called out, heading down the hall for the front door. His heart was pounding, and his palms began to sweat. “Stop it,” he whispered harshly. Wiping his hands with the towel, he went to the door and opened it.
Jason was standing there in a white T-shirt and blue jeans, his dark leather jacket slung over his shoulder, and all Daniel could think of was, hotfuckingdamn.
“Hey,” Daniel smiled nervously.
“Hey,” Jason answered, and held up two bottles of wine by their necks; one white, one red. “I thought I’d bring you these.”
“Oh, um, I already ate. I was starving.”
“That’s okay. Consider these your house warming gifts. I didn’t bring anything the last time I was here.”
“Thanks,” Daniel said as he took the bottles, then stood there eyeing the way Jason’s shirt defined his pectorals and ordered himself not to look lower. Then he disobeyed.
Jason chewed at his lip, resisting the urge to tease him about where he was staring. “May I come in, or would you rather I just go–“
“What?” Daniel asked, the spell broken. “No, no, come in, please,” he said with a sweeping gesture, then turned and headed for the kitchen, feeling like a teenager. “Make yourself at home.”
As Jason hung up his coat, he followed him, his gaze fixed on that wonderful ass. It was in admiration, of course, but as Jason looked, he didn’t see any brief or boxer lines, which meant Daniel wasn’t wearing anything under those sweat pants. It thickened his cock, which had been in a half-hard state for the last half hour. His hands itched to touch him again.
Daniel set the bottles of wine on the counter in the kitchen and turned to ask Jason which he’d like when he suddenly found him right behind him. His close proximity was undeniably intoxicating.
“Hey,” Jason said, trying very hard not to touch him as he stood very close. He looked down at Daniel’s lips, then over the curve of his face and back into his eyes. Daniel’s lips quirked, as if to smile, and Jason did the same, then looked down at the dish towel in Daniel’s hand, then over at the sink. “Can the dishes wait?”
Daniel heard him, but his senses were beginning to overload; there was the smell of musk and the light cologne Jason wore, the alluring curve and angle of his collarbones and shoulders, the throat begging to be bitten, the sensual curve of his mouth. “Dishes?” he asked.
Jason leaned in just enough to brush his lips over Daniel’s. “You were doing dishes,” he said softly, modulating his voice.
“Fuck it,” Daniel breathed, and his body shivered at the thought of being touched again. Jason’s nipples were now poking through the t-shirt. He cleared his throat. “Do you want some wine?”
Jason licked his upper lip. “Later,” he said, then reached out to slide his hands around Daniel’s waist.
It seemed to break some sort of boundary because Daniel’s heart beat even faster, his breathing becoming shallow. “Hungry?”
“Not for food,” Jason answered, then gave in and took Daniel in his arms, capturing his mouth.
His tongue was demanding and the feel of it around his own had Daniel moaning loudly. In case Jason didn’t know exactly what was on his mind, Daniel moved his hands around Jason’s body and sought out his ass, grabbing firmly when he found it. With a quick, jerking pull, bringing their groins together, Daniel made sure his intentions were clear.
Jason broke contact with a gasp and nuzzled Daniel’s neck, nipping and kissing below his ear, before he pushed away slowly and let out a long breath. Staring into Daniel’s dilated eyes, he paused, considering what next to do.
“Something on your mind?” Daniel half-smiled, his voice shaky with rising need.
Decision made, Jason ran finger over the hollow of Daniel’s throat and traced an erotic trail down his chest and over his abdomen. “You’re good with insinuation. What’s this mean?”
Daniel bit at his lip. “You tell me.”
Looking downward, Jason drew a circle with his fingertip around the spot where he knew Daniel’s navel to be. “Beautiful,” he said, and moved his finger lower, hitting the waistband, and what lay beneath. Then all his fingers moved over the outline of Daniel’s obvious erection and he palmed him. Looking up into his eyes, he said, “But more accurately, how about ‘I want you to fuck me’?”
Daniel blinked slowly and reached back around to pull Jason’s T-shirt out of his jeans. He planned on stripping right here but decided that kitchen sex could be had later. Taking a handful of Jason’s shirt, he tugged and stepped backward, moving through the kitchen and into the hall. “You seem to be just as good with words, Jace.”
“I can be,” he said. “Where are we going?” he asked, a smile coming to his lips.
“To apply an active test to your insinuation.”
“I think we already know what the result will be,” Jason chuckled and halfway down the hallway, pulled his shirt from Daniel’s grasp, taking it off over his head.
“We know the likelihood,” Daniel said as he stepped backward into the bedroom and pulled off his own shirt, and followed quickly with his sweats, watching as Jason stared admiringly at him while he too quickly shed his clothes. Daniel gave him a knowing smile when he saw that Jason hadn’t worn any underwear, either. “But you have yet to have my mouth on your dick, or my dick up your–“
Jason came forward then, naked body pressing against him as he quickly cupped the back of Daniel’s head and clapped the other hand over his mouth. “Don’t you dare start talking like that,” he said with a warning grin.
Daniel pulled his hand away and said, “Have I mentioned that I had a good time earlier?” He moved backward again, this time crawling onto the bed and pulling Jason with him.
“No, you didn’t,” Jason replied, eyeing Daniel’s healthy erection as he scooted to the middle of the bed, pillow under his head.
“I did,” Daniel told him, and Jason whispered that he did too just before he laid over him and locked their lips together, rubbing their bodies together while his hands did the rest. Daniel responded by rolling them over, acknowledging that he could do whatever he wanted now; it was real, very real, so now was the time to let go of his habitual restraint and indulge himself. Live for the day, that’s what someone used to tell him a long time ago and it was time Daniel got back to it.
With his mouth next to Jason’s ear, he whispered, “You want my cock, Jason?” as he rubbed himself over him, grinning when Jason silently spread his legs and ran his hands over his back. “Is that a yes?” Daniel asked and licked a trail from his ear to Jason’s lips.
“Yes,” Jason breathed, then claimed Daniel’s mouth in a long kiss that went on and on.
Daniel reached between them to stroke his own erection, taking the time to rub the head under Jason’s balls, and smiled around the kiss when Jason growled. “My turn,” he said when he broke their kiss, then licked a warm, wet trail down Jason’s throat and pausing to play with his nipples.
Jason breathed shallowly, caressing Daniel’s shoulders with firm fingers before he moved down, out of reach. Making his way over his abdomen, Daniel teased his navel with the tip of his tongue and Jason moaned appreciatively, his body jerking with a spasmodic shudder as that amazing sensation Daniel produced went straight to his dick.
Kissing down the line of fine dark hairs that ran like a map toward Jason’s cock, Daniel inhaled his scent and buried his nose in the mass of black curls. Jason’s cockhead bumped against his face and refusing to ignore him, Daniel took him into his mouth. He was immediately beset by salt, pre-com, the watering of his mouth from both, so he sucked firmly and swallowed.
“Daniel,” Jason panted. “Jesus.”
“Like that, Jace?” Daniel whispered as he looked up with a wicked grin, then kissed the tip of his cock with his open mouth, flattening his tongue over it. Jason’s eyes seemed to get impossibly darker as the desire spread over his face. A fine layer of sweat now covered his body, making him glisten in the low light from the lamp.
“Yes… just don’t…”
“What?” Daniel asked, opening his mouth to simply breathe over the head.
“But you love it,” Daniel told him, then lapped at pooling pre-come before running his tongue down the shaft.
“Fuck… yes, just…”
His words were cut off when Daniel moved back up and engulfed the head and half the shaft, sucking him firmly, bobbing up and down.
“Oh fuck, yes,” Jason writhed, his hands moving to the bed to tightly grip the sheets.
Pleased, Daniel groaned, making his throat vibrate as he took Jason’s cock further inside. For a while, he dedicated himself to getting Jason extremely hard, to the point of coming, moving him in and out of his mouth while holding Jason’s hips down, making him squirm. When he finally pulled his mouth off him, Jason gasped loudly.
“Don’t do that, you’ll make me come.”
“Do what, suck you?” Daniel laughed. Of course he’d come, what–
“Hold me down.”
Daniel stared at him, brow rising. “Holding you down? You have a kink about that?”
Jason closed his eyes and sighed. “You have no idea.”
“So, just holding down or…” Daniel asked as he dipped his head and took Jason’s shaved balls into his mouth.
Jason reached down with one hand, mussing Daniel’s hair, and lifted his hips, legs opening ever wider. “Bondage, Daniel. I have a huge thing.”
“Guess I’ll have to indulge you then,” Daniel said as he worked his way down to the perineum, flicking his tongue back and forth.
Jason bit his lip and moaned, the words giving him wonderful ideas. He was thinking up the possibilities when Daniel surprised him with a bit of tonguing over his hole. “Oh shit,” he whispered.
“Can’t indulge too much,” Daniel said, pausing from the spicy taste he was enjoying. “Reach into the top drawer, grab the lube.”
Pushing up on his elbow, Jason tried to focus as he pulled the drawer open and groped for the lube. When Daniel stuck his tongue inside and began to fuck him, Jason stilled, unable to do anything but feel.
Satisfied, Daniel pulled away and wrote a firm trail of wetness back up to Jason’s cock, taking the lube when Jason handed it over. It was then that Daniel was reminded of his earlier misgiving.
“Jace?” he asked as he rubbed two lubed fingers over against Jason’s wrinkled hole.
Tightening his fingers in Daniel’s hair, Jason asked, “What?” with such exasperation that Daniel couldn’t help but grin.
“I don’t have any condoms,” Daniel said. He didn’t move, waiting and looking up at Jason for the cue.
Jason let go of his hair and pushed up on his elbows, giving Daniel an intense look he couldn’t read. Reaching down, he caressed his face. “I’ve always used a condom before now, but I’m willing to go without. Do you want to go ahead?”
Daniel turned his face into his hand and sucked the index finger into his mouth just as he began to massage Jason’s ring of muscle. Jason bit his lip and stared at Daniel’s mouth… then Daniel pushed in his own index finger, slowly moving the lube around, twisting and thrusting. Jason groaned, and his sphincter muscles contracted.
Daniel had his answer. He moaned around the finger in his mouth and after a few more anal caresses, pushed two fingers in. The wet heat was wonderful but nothing like he knew his cock would feel. Jason tossed his head back while Daniel proceeded to try and loosen him up, and kept his finger in Daniel’s mouth, fucking him with it. After a minute, he couldn’t take it and pulled his hand away as well as Daniel’s.
“Now,” he said, and he sat up, pulling Daniel forward so he could kiss that exquisite mouth. “Which way do you want me?” he asked between kisses.
Daniel smiled and murmured back against his lips, “Start on your stomach.”
Jason kissed him hard then as he searched for the lube. Breaking off with a gasp, he squirted a liberal amount on his fingers, then took Daniel’s cock in hand. Twisting and stroking, he kissed Daniel again, loving how he held onto him for support when his strokes became too stimulating, threatening to get him to the point of orgasm. He dropped Daniel’s cock and, with a soft kiss, turned over. He wrapped his arms around the pillow and spread his legs, jiggling his hips invitingly.
Daniel bit his lip, and with dick in hand, he nudged Jason’s legs apart by widening his own knees. Bending over him, he rubbed his cock over Jason’s cheeks. He groaned, and Jason lifted his head, catching him in his peripheral vision.
“Anything wrong?” he asked, knowing there wasn’t.
“I haven’t done this in a long, long time,” Daniel said, swallowing. “If I come too soon …”
Jason pushed his ass against Daniel’s hand, almost writhing from the feel of his dick, and said in a low, breathy voice, “Then make me come after in any way you see fit.”
Biting his lip again, Daniel pushed past the tight hole and felt sucked in as the heat and tightness shrunk his entire world to the bed. To Jason’s body. They were all that existed. He let out a groan almost as loud as the gasp Jason gave him.
“Fuck, yes,” Jason managed, and the burn was wonderful. It wasn’t the ‘first time’ burn. It was the slow, sensual version of repeated sensation.
Daniel rested his body over him and took his hands, linking their fingers together. He pressed his cheek against Jason’s and thrust further. Jason’s mouth dropped open in instant panting.
“Oh god,” Jason croaked.
Daniel squeezed Jason’s fingers as he slowly buried himself in Jason’s ass. “Goddamn,” he breathed.
Jason tightened his fingers around Daniel’s, then raised his ass and pushed back. Daniel let out a loud groan of satisfaction. “Yes,” Jason said.
“You feel so good,” Daniel whispered.
“So do you,” Jason said, closing his eyes. “Fuck me.”
“Hold on,” Daniel answered, and began to thrust. When Jason raised his ass, Daniel spread his knees wider, encouraging Jason to do the same. After that, he quickly established a rhythm that he never wanted to stop. He inhaled, taking in the smell of Jason’s sweat, the feel of his heartbeat against his back, and choking back the desire to fuck him hard, at least for now, Daniel hungrily kissed along the back of his neck as the pleasure overtook his senses.
Pushing Jason’s hands into the bed, Daniel dug his knees into the mattress and began to circle his hips as he ground against Jason’s ass, searching for his gland. “You’re gonna have to turn over so I can find that little nub,” he said seductively, and when Jason tightened around him and shuddered, Daniel ground against him, moving his hips in a constant circle.
“Oh damn, where’d you learn to do that?” Jason panted.
“Egypt,” Daniel said. His eyes were closed as he continued to move, enjoying the feel of Jason’s body, his reactions, and slowly, minute by minute, he began to speed up. Just a little.
Jason was writhing beneath him, groaning repeatedly. The sweat was dripping off them both now and Daniel knew it wouldn’t be long. If he stopped and changed positions, he might not have enough energy to do what he wanted. And what he wanted was the hot lust of the finish.
Tightening his arms around Jason, he whispered, “Raise your hips as much as you can, Jason,” and found to his dismay that his voice was shaking.
“I’ll come if you do what I think you’re going to do.”
Daniel lifted his hips, pulling out a bit, and said, “It’s time, Jace. I need you.”
A second later, Jason raised up against him, murmuring into the pillow, “Do it.” His voice was heavy with need and Daniel let go, slamming into him. Jason let go of his hands and grabbed the short headboard, crying out, “Yes! Fuck me!” He kept repeating the last two words when Daniel pushed to his knees and grabbed his hips. “Daniel, oh god.”
“Jason!” he warned, and then his orgasm exploded from him. Before him, Jason buried his face in the pillow and yelled, body tensing against him, around him. Daniel dropped on top of him, hips jerking as he emptied into him.
“Jesus fucking Christ,” Jason said, running the words together.
Daniel kissed his ear, holding him as tightly while his climax washed over him. It stretched on and on because he felt Jason shuddering beneath him and it was such a goddamn turn-on. He suddenly wanted to say, “I love you,” just then, but what would Jason think? He loved him, yes, but to say it this soon, as a lover and partner would? He kept the words to himself for now.
When he let him go and pulled out, he fell beside him in a boneless heap, grinning when Jason groaned at the loss of him. “Camera,” he said, and pulled him in. Jason turned over and slowly, sleepily, kissed him.
Brushing Jason’s bangs off his forehead, Daniel stared at him till Jason opened his eyes and looked at him.
“How’re you doin’?” he asked.
Jason opened his eyes, a serious expression on his face. “Beautiful,” he whispered, and lost himself in the sleep of afterglow.
Daniel sighed contentedly and did the same, thinking that for once, this surprise was the best he’d ever had.
A while later, Daniel woke to a warm body spooned up behind him, the covers draped over them, and he looked over his shoulder to find Jason was watching him through sleepy eyes.
“Spend the night?” Daniel asked, squeezing the hand draped over his chest.
“Gladly,” Jason whispered against the side of his face.
Around midnight, a nightmare catapulted Daniel from sleep and he sat up and drew his knees to his chest. Startled and disoriented, still stuck in the dream, he tried to recognize where he was. He wrapped his hands over the back of his neck and groaned as he closed his eyes. The muscles were tense and aching and he began to massage them loose.
A movement and hand on his back startled the hell out of him and he turned slightly, one hand half-raised for attack, till a second later, he realized–with even more astonishment–that Jason was with him. Swallowing against the momentary memory lapse, he paused, dumbfounded.
Jason had been asleep, but Daniel’s groaning had woken him, and just when he’d been about to wake him, Daniel had done it himself. That he was surprised that he wasn’t alone didn’t bother Jason–he half-expected it.
“Forgot I was here?” he asked, sitting up and putting an arm around him.
“Sorry,” Daniel said, rubbing his face. “I’m just not used to having anyone with me when I get these fucking dreams.”
Jason hugged him and kissed his shoulder. “You wanna talk about it?”
It had also been a long, long time since anyone had asked him that in the middle of the night, and because of it, Daniel was deeply touched. He turned his face toward him, catching the sleepy, mussed look, and was suddenly distracted with the question of why he and Jason had never gotten together before now. Jason’s reasons aside, he still found it hard to fathom.
“What’s that look for?” Jason asked as he leaned forward and rested his chin on Daniel’s arm.
“Just… astonished that you’re here, now, and a little bummed that it hasn’t happened sooner. You and me, I mean.” Jason started to open his mouth to answer but Daniel put a hand over his mouth. “I know, you told me why, but it’s still…”
Jason gave him a lop-sided grin. “I know. Me, too, actually.”
Daniel half-smiled and lay on his side, pulling Jason down with him. Caressing his broad chest, and telling himself not to get distracted again, he said, “It was a dream about the space station…” but as he said it, he shuddered, and a deep frown furrowed his brows.
Jason frowned with him in sympathy and he took Daniel’s hand and kissed the palm. “Would it help to know that I’ve been there?” Daniel’s brows rose in surprise and Jason nodded soberly. “Way too many times, long before I came to the SGC.”
Daniel shuddered again, and the involuntary fact of it made him angry and he started to pull away, but Jason held him fast, scooting closer.
“You don’t have to talk about it. Just know that I’m here and I understand, okay?”
Daniel nodded, but he still felt unnerved and unsettled. Jason seemed to understand as much as he said because he took him in his arms and held him to him, asking him nothing, expecting nothing. Daniel closed his eyes and burrowed his face against Jason’s shoulder. When he was unable to calm, he began to feel annoyed. Then Jason began to hum softly.
A shocked and embarrassed smile crossed Daniel’s face as he pulled back a little and said, “Jason, are you singing to me?”
“I’ve sung before,” Jason said matter-of-factly.
Daniel’s mouth dropped open then. “Yeah, but not to me and… hey, in bed here?”
“I know it’s cliched, Daniel, singing you to sleep,” Jason said as he pulled Daniel back to him, “but just kick off the armor for a sec and go with it.”
Sighing with incredulity, and very secretly flattered, Daniel settled down and closed his eyes, and over the next several minutes, began to feel a warm contentment. He thought he recognized the song Jason began to hum, but he didn’t really pay it any mind and before long, he was asleep. And for the first time in days, Daniel had no nightmares.
. . .
It was morning and sunshine filtered through the blinds, making patterns across the bed. Daniel could hear the birds outside and felt the warmth of the body lying next to him. Relief flooded him. He’d actually been afraid that maybe Jason had been a long, vivid dream. Daniel breathed a groan of contentment as he turned on his side and snuggled against Jason, sliding his arm over his waist.
“Hey,” Jason mumbled, barely cracking his eyes open.
“Hey,” Daniel sighed, but when he licked and swallowed, he grimaced at the glue that was his saliva. “Gross. Morning mouth.” Groaning again, he sat up and stretched, the muscles he’d rarely used screaming at him for hot water. “Shower. Toothpaste.” He stood up a little unsteadily, then got his balance. “And coffee.”
Jason grinned smugly. “It’s already made.”
Daniel frowned and sniffed the air. “Okay, something’s wrong. I can’t smell it.”
“You just need to get the smell of sweat and come out of your nose, that’s all.”
Daniel threw him a mock-glare. “Funny.”
“I try,” Jason grinned and rolled out of bed.
Daniel stared at him, somewhat confused. Jason was wearing his jeans, and though he wore nothing else and Daniel liked the look, he was confused.
“You’re wearing jeans.”
“I was up before you.”
“And you got back in bed wearing jeans.”
“I wasn’t under the covers, Daniel.”
Daniel frowned again, sleep still covering most of his brain. “What time is it?”
“I should go back to bed,” Daniel grumbled on his way to the bathroom.
“Mind if I say you were great last night?” Jason asked as he stopped him to give him a hug from behind.
“No. Feeling’s mutual,” Daniel answered groggily, then yawned. Widely.
Jason grinned. “Go. Your shower awaits.”
“I bet you say that to all the boys,” Daniel said, heading into the bathroom.
Jason chuckled as he sat on the bed and began to put on his socks.
Daniel arched a brow at him. “Where’re you going?”
“For my run.”
Daniel blinked. “Run?”
“Daniel,” Jason said, rolling his eyes at him. “You know I usually run in the morning.”
Daniel rubbed his face and kept his hand going into his hair where he scratched at his scalp. “Yeah, but I not in this situation.”
Jason grinned indulgently. “I gotta go home and change.”
Daniel felt a spark of arousal as he watched Jason bend over and he groaned. “Jace, let this one goes and come take a shower with me instead.”
“Daniel…” Jason complained, mildly, and wished Daniel wasn’t giving him that look. Or standing there beautifully naked.
“I’m serious,” Daniel said, and purposely stretched again, then looked over his shoulder. “Stay.”
Groaning, Jason pulled off his one sock, then his jeans. “You’re gonna be trouble.”
“Going to be?” Daniel said with a grin as he moved aside the curtain and started up the shower, then suddenly sucked in a breath when Jason moved in behind him and did a shimmy up and down his back. “Jason, behave,” he said as he tested the water, then stepped into the tub.
“You asked me to shower with you. This only leads to one thing.”
“Getting clean,” Daniel grinned.
Jason smirked back as he waited for Daniel to give him room, and once inside, took a moment to watch his lover wet himself down. When Daniel smiled through the shower of water, Jason gave in. He stepped in close, letting the shower spray wet down his hair and his face as he leaned in and kissed Daniel deeply. Daniel smiled around his lips and Jason felt like the luckiest man in the world. All the smiles Daniel had given him before couldn’t possibly measure up to this one and he wanted to feel that smile against his kiss for the rest of his life.
“C’mon, Jace, let’s wash up,” Daniel said as he pulled away and felt behind him for the shampoo on the bath caddy.
Sighing, Jason held out his hand and accepted the dollop of shampoo squirted into his hand. “No shower sexes?”
Daniel grinned. “Rain check? Later?”
Reluctantly, Jason reached around Daniel and took the sponge off the caddy. “In that case, turn around.”
Daniel couldn’t keep the smile off his face as he complied. “Sounds risky.”
“Only if you keep teasing me.”
Biting off the comment he thought about making, Daniel groaned luxuriously as Jason began to scrub his back. God, it was worth having him here just for that. Well, not just for that. He felt a mixture of normality and newness; Jason’s presence was the missing puzzle piece to his life and one he didn’t plan on giving up. His friendship had been a life-saver, but this was something better. A light shining in a dark room. He was no longer just a companion amidst a sea of military missions and endless linguistic research.
Daniel thought about saying something, perhaps talking out his feelings, until his stomach rumbled. The sponge on his back paused, then resumed, and Daniel grinned. “I think breakfast is next on the menu, Jace.”
Sighing and leaning in to kiss a clean shoulder, Jason said, “I think you’re right.”
While Jason started up breakfast, Daniel drank half of his mug of coffee before he stripped his bed, gathered up the wet towels, and headed for the laundry room at the end of the hall. His stomach grumbled again as he made his way back to the kitchen. Daniel found Jason filling his mug and held out his own. He took the time to inhale the aroma, savoring his second cup, while his free hand slid down over Jason’s ass, cupping him briefly before letting go. Jason leaned over and kissed his cheek before taking a sip from his coffee and turning back to the stove.
The normality of that, too, didn’t escape Daniel’s attention and he couldn’t help but feel a tightening in his stomach. Was now the time to bring this up? He glanced at the stove and the countertop grill, checking out what Jason had made for them. Toast was warming. In the pan was sausage, but Daniel could smell bacon and eggs.
“Where’re the eggs and…”
Jason pointed at the oven, then grabbed a pot holder and opened the door. He pulled out the larger frying pan and Daniel saw the bacon frittata.
“Jesus, Jason, you cook fast.”
“Just seems like it,” Jason grinned. “None of this stuff takes long, especially when you’re a multi-tasker.”
“Ah, is that what you are?” Daniel asked as he moved up behind him and kissed the back of his neck.
The touch of the kiss sent a frisson of desire through Jason and he set the frying pan down on the stove and turned around, quickly taking Daniel in his arms and kissing him. “Absolutely,” he said, gripping Daniel’s ass. “I can suck and fingerfuck at the same time.”
Daniel groaned and pushed him away. “Tease.”
Slowly letting out a breath, Jason said, “I need to confess something.”
His tone was a bit wary, maybe even shy, and Daniel’s curiosity was colored with concern. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” Jason said, and swallowed. “I love you. Not just as a friend. And I’ve loved you for a very long time.”
Daniel thought his legs were tingling but wasn’t sure. He knew the rest of him was. “I thought about saying it, but it seemed too soon. I thought maybe you’d think I was crazy. Or just wafting in afterglow.”
Jason was taken completely by surprise. “You mean it,” he stated, awed.
Daniel nodded, frowning. “I do. But you sound doubtful.”
“I’m not. I’m making sure I don’t misunderstand.”
“I mean it,” Daniel said, then reached up and brushed Jason’s cheek with his knuckles. “Thanks, Jace.”
Looking into Daniel’s eyes, Jason reached over and did the same. “For what?”
“For starting this yesterday. For giving me something to feel happy about.”
“I had to,” Jason answered. “I couldn’t stall anymore.”
“I’m glad. I only wish I’d had the courage.”
“You have it,” Jason argued. “But you also consider more than your own needs,” and Jason paused to give Daniel more severe look. “Which is a pain in the ass, you know.”
“Jason,” Daniel rebutted, meaning to scold.
“No, don’t ‘Jason’ me. You know you do that. My point is, it’s not a negative. You have respect for my job, and because of that, you wouldn’t cross that line. So I did.”
Daniel sighed deeply. “Again, I’m glad.”
He would have added more to it, but the sausage made a pop just then, quickly reminding them that breakfast was waiting. Grinning, Jason moved the food over to the table while Daniel refilled their mugs and sat down, his mind still on the subject of their getting together. Jason had broached it, obviously, but it wasn’t enough.
Trading somewhat shy smiles with him as they ate, Daniel formulated the words in his mind so that when he spoke, he’d have a clear understanding of what he wanted to say. Except that by the time their meal was nearly finished, Daniel still hadn’t made up his mind. What he had so far sounded adolescent.
“Spit it out,” Jason said, startling Daniel out of his thoughts as he sipped on his third cup of coffee.
“Excuse me?” Daniel asked, blinking at him. Then he realized what Jason meant. “Oh, right. Sorry. Went off for a bit, didn’t I?”
“Scenic route, I’d say,” Jason said with a curious brow. “I’ve seen that look. You’re in a contemplative mood, which happens right before you say something deep.”
Daniel shook his head. “Just trying to find the right words, Jace. I have… a confession of my own to make.”
Jason felt his stomach knot and took a large swallow of coffee just in case it was his breakfast. “Go ahead. Something’s obviously lighting up the synapses behind those eyes.”
“Probably the coffee,” Daniel smiled back.
“Nice try,” Jason said, gesturing ‘give me’.
Daniel started to say something, but he paused and made a face. “It’s gonna sound stupid.”
“Can’t be any worse than saying, I love you.”
“That wasn’t stupid,” Daniel corrected.
“You know what I mean, Daniel,” Jason said, gesturing again.
Daniel wrapped his fingers around his mug, staring into it as he chewed at his lip. Get it over with, he told himself. “I had a strange, but nice, feeling come over me in the shower.” He looked up at Jason and didn’t see a teasing or mocking look, and Daniel suddenly berated himself, realizing that he was expecting Jason to act like Jack. And Jack would never in a million years be in his position. With another deep breath, he said, “It wasn’t just love, Jason. It was a feeling of… home.”
Jason blinked at him. “Familiar. Normal.”
“Yeah,” Daniel said, relieved. “It felt like you belonged there.” Jason went to him and kissed him softly, then dropped to his knees in front of him while he wrestled with Daniel’s tongue.
“You’re all I’ll ever want or need,” he said when they broke apart. He got up and moved back to his chair, picking up his coffee mug. “Glad we got that settled.”
Daniel smiled, then shocked Jason so much he damn near spilled his coffee. “What do you like to do in bed? Or out of it?”
Jason was halfway through a swallow and he coughed, then coughed again, half-glaring at Daniel and making him smile.
“Sorry,” Daniel said.
“Bullshit,” Jason rasped, then thumped his chest. “You did that on purpose.”
“Maybe,” Daniel said, managing a straight face before it dissolved into another smile. “But it’s pertinent anyway.”
Jason’s grin altered slightly as his eyes darkened. “So what kinks do I like? What games?” He felt a sudden warmth that had nothing to do breakfast or the coffee.
“You tell me, I’ll tell you,” Daniel said as he grinned behind his coffee mug.
“I like a lot of things,” Jason said quietly as he stood and held out his hand for Daniel to take. When he did, he guided him to the far kitchen wall, then directed Daniel to stand in front of him as Jason set his back against the wall. Locking his fingers with Daniel’s, he said, “Raise my hands over my head.”
Daniel did, slowly, and when he had them there, he watched Jason’s pupils enlarge. It filled him with a deep arousal. “Oh right. The bondage thing you mentioned?” he asked.
Jason swallowed as his breathing became shallow. “Yes.”
Daniel pressed Jason’s hands firmly against the wall, then leaned in and kissed him. Jason moaned softly, but Daniel clearly heard the excited gasp within it. The sudden eroticism made him kiss Jason harder, with more passion, and when he broke off, they were both panting.
“Goddamn it, Jason,” Daniel said.
“That good or bad?” Jason asked, smiling.
“What’s the bad part?”
Daniel slowly released him, recognizing, and loving, how hot Jason had made him in just a short period of time. “We’re not horizontal,” he said, then stepped back and let out a breath. “And no, we’re not doing anything on the table.”
Jason narrowed his eyes in curiosity. “Why not?”
Feeling mischievous, Daniel set down his coffee and turned in Jason’s arms, then abruptly shoved him down into his chair. Surprised, but smiling, Jason reached for the waistband of Daniel’s jeans just when the wall phone next to them rang, making them jump.
Laughing a little nervously, Daniel reached over and answered. “Hello.”
“Hey, you, how you doin’?”
It was Janet. “Hi. I’m fine. What’s up?”
“Just checking on you. My mother hen complex, you know.”
Jason mouthed a question and Daniel mouthed back, ‘Janet’. Jason nodded, knowing the two were good friends. At least someone else besides Sam and Teal’c cared about Daniel.
“So…?” she asked.
“How’re you doing? Don’t tell me you worked last night.”
Daniel looked slyly down at Jason. “No, I didn’t work last night.”
“Then tell me you found an ‘outlet’.”
“Not where you probably mean,” he answered carefully.
“Janet?” he said. It was reminiscent of what he and Jack used to do, and his cheeks colored.
Jason reached out to caress the inside of Daniel’s thigh. “Tell her not to worry.”
Daniel grabbed his hand to stop him. “Shah,” he said, the sound barely audible.
Except Janet caught it. “Daniel… you’re not alone, are you?”
Jason grinned. “I can hear her, you know.”
Daniel scowled at him, then said to Janet, “No, Janet, I’m not.”
“Really?” she asked, sounding excited. “So… do I know this person?”
“Janet, you can’t ask.”
She inhaled. “That answer only applies to people on the base.”
Daniel grimaced just as Jason said, “Busted.”
“Janet,” Daniel said, trying to recover.
Rolling his eyes, knowing it was inevitable, he said, “I knew him already and that’s all I’m saying.”
“And he’s there now?”
“Mm mm-hmmm,” Daniel said, eyeing Jason deliberately, warning him.
“Interrupted, didn’t I?”
“Not at all. We just finishing breakfast,” Daniel answered, then inhaled sharply as Jason pulled his jeans open to expose his cock. He immediately took it into his mouth and began to get him hard. Fast. Fortunately, Janet didn’t act as if she’d heard the gasp. “And it’s okay, Janet, really, but I do h-have to go,” he said, grabbing Jason’s head.
“Bye,” she snorted and hung up.
Daniel shoved him off his cock and smacked Jason across the shoulder with one hand while he held him away. “Dammit, Jason, are you insane?”
Jason laughed softly and bent down to tongue at Daniel’s navel. Daniel’s now-hard cock pressed against his cheek. “Jason,” Daniel half-complained, but he really didn’t mind. He let him run his fingers through his hair. “You’re insane alright.”
Jason laughed, his voice deepening. “I think you love me that way.”
“Uh huh,” Daniel replied doubtfully. “So, where were we?”
“I believe I was right here, ” Jason said as he dropped his hands to the back of Daniel’s thighs and began to kiss his way below Daniel’s navel.
“No, I would have remembered that,” Daniel replied, though he didn’t move. “Maybe we should go in the bedroom.”
“Stay right here,” Jason whispered as his attention was now only on pleasing Daniel’s body as he moved in and mouthed over the head of his half-erect cock, touching only with his lips.
Daniel gasped and closed his eyes, cock stiffening quickly. “Jason.”
“Hamm?” Jason asked absently as he took a taste with his tongue, then swallowed him again.
Daniel didn’t respond. Instead, he tightened his fingers in his hair. Jason pulled his jeans down over his hips and while one hand cupped his balls, the other slid a finger between Daniel’s cheeks to play at his hole. “Jace,” Daniel gasped and started to pull away, wanting to move elsewhere, but Jason held onto him and moaned against his flesh, releasing a vibration through Daniel’s balls. “God.”
Daniel hadn’t even hung up the phone yet and it dropped from his hand as he grabbed Jason’s head and fell against the wall. Jason began to suck him in earnest and Daniel tried not pull his hair too much as he encouraged him to move faster. The feel of his mouth and his tongue was wonderful, and it didn’t take long before Jason had him close to the edge. When he slipped a finger inside and began to rub at his prostate, Daniel tightened his grip and emitted high-pitched, gasping sounds. “Jason,” he warned, and when his cock swelled, Jason hummed encouragement, and Daniel threw his head back and cried out as he came down his throat.
Jason pulled the pleasure out of his body, enjoying the unintelligible sounds that issued from his lover. Finally, he removed his mouth from Daniel’s softening cock, running his lips over his skin as Daniel dropped his jeans down and kicked them off.
“Damn, Jason,” Daniel murmured as he straddled Jason’s lap. He quickly opened Jason’s jeans and released his half-hard cock. He began to jerk him off, keeping Jason’s gaze locked with his own. He knew what to say, how to act, and though this wasn’t his particular kink, he could still enjoy how much he was pleasing Jason. That in itself was his kink. He increased speed and pressure, smiling as he listened to Jason’s ragged, desperate breathing.
“Oh fuck, Daniel.”
“There yam go. Come on, baby, come for me.”
“Baby?” Jason laughed, panting.
“You called me that, don’t you remember?” Daniel grinned, half-teasing as he tightened his grip in his lover’s hair. “Give in to me!”
Jason cried out, trying to look into Daniel’s eyes but he ended up squeezing his eyes shut as he came hard, spurting over Daniel’s hand. A sheen of sweat coated his face and Daniel thought he’d never seen anything so beautiful. Kissing Jason’s lips, he said, “Yes, baby,” and smiled. Jason smiled back against him as he finally opened his eyes again to greet Daniel’s.
“You are so fucking amazing, you know that?”
“So are you.” Daniel kissed him again, more fully this time, then carefully got up off his lap and retrieved his jeans. He grabbed a tea towel and tossed it to Jason, then took another to clean himself up. “Want another shower?” he asked as he went back to Jason, sitting down next to him. Facing him, he felt the urge to just take them both back to bed. “Or bed?” he asked.
Jason grinned and shook his head as he picked up his plate and brought it to the sink. “I’ll want to stay there all day.”
“Did you have something else to do today?” Daniel smirked as he cleared his own dishes. Jason grinned at him and Daniel knew exactly what he was thinking. “Well, we can’t stay in all day, much as that really appeals to me.”
“Yeah, me too. But I really do have other things I have to do today. Have to go home, check messages, run over to my sister’s, see how she’s doin’.”
“She’s due any time, right?”
“Aren’t you going to be godfather besides uncle?”
“Yeah, and I must’ve been out of my mind.”
Daniel grinned, knowing what Jason meant. He wasn’t the father type. “Since you’ll be gone for a while, I’ll get a little work done on the CDs I made.”
“Christ, Daniel,” Jason said, rolling his eyes. “Leave the job alone for a while.” He knew Daniel wouldn’t comply, but it had to be said.
“I have planting to do, too,” Daniel said, frowning in thought.
“Well, there you go,” Jason said sarcastically.
“But I have to work on the research, too. It won’t take me that long, Jace. Besides, the job is part of who I am, just as it’s part of who you are.”
Jason made a growling sound as he left for the bathroom to clean up more thoroughly while Daniel finished the dishes. Returning, he said, “I’ll be back later, okay?”
“You have to ask?” Daniel said as he met him at the door.
Jason grinned and grabbed his coat off one of the dining chairs, but before he could turn to go, Daniel pulled him in for a long kiss.
“I’ll see you in a little while,” Jason repeated, nuzzling Daniel’s cheek.
“In a while,” Daniel echoed.
After Jason left, it surprised Daniel how long it took him to get his head out of the clouds and his body to stop missing his new partner. Admitting that he loved him like a boyfriend was still a bit scary. The universe hadn’t been kind to him in the love department. Maybe this time, it wouldn’t reach out and bite him on the ass. Again. He suddenly thought about Jack and his heart ached. He’d loved Jack first, even if it was just as friends, and not even that had worked out. Daniel made a silent vow that it would work out with Jason no matter who or what got in the way. Including Jack.
Pushing Jack out of his mind, Daniel went into the spare room he used as an office and opened the large bay window. The fresh rain smell reached his nose and he took in a deep breath. He loved that smell. Everything was so clean. Going to the bedroom to retrieve a fresh T-shirt, he went back to the kitchen and made another pot of coffee, then returned to his office and settled down to work.
It was late afternoon and the sun had long since left Daniel’s east facing office. Outside the air was warm, the day quiet and buzzing with the sound of a far-off lawnmower. Daniel was feeling content, going about his work. His stomach had been rumbling for the last hour or so, but he’d been ignoring it as he often did when he worked. He was so focused on his work, in fact, that he paid no attention to the shadow that crossed his desk as he sat with his back to the window.
Jason knew he’d be completely distracted so he leaned in far enough to reach Daniel and tickled him under the ear.
Daniel backhanded the intruding touch as he spun around in his chair. It took him a second to recognize Jason and another to realize that he now had someone who actually had cause to touch him like that now. “Jason, damn it. Ever hear of knocking?”
Jason grinned and vaulted himself up and over the sill and landed with his ass on the bay window’s seat. “No, why would I do that when you have a very inviting window open?”
Daniel lifted his brows. “An open window is an invitation? Are you moonlighting as a cat burglar?”
Jason chuckled as he stood up and bent over, giving Daniel a welcome kiss… which Daniel started to accept until he remembered the window. He leaned back, out of the viewing range. “Are you crazy?”
“Is this a rhetorical question?”
“Wiseass,” Daniel said, standing up and pulling Jason away from the window for a better hello kiss.
“Better,” Jason grinned as he stepped away and walked around the desk.
As Daniel watched him, he was suddenly filled with nervous butterflies. He let his eyes roam over his lover–it still sounded odd; nice, but odd–and admired how the black jeans and grey button-down shirt fit his body. But then, practically everything Jason wore, apart from his large plaid ‘lumberjack’ shirts, fit snugly. He also liked the way he’d left three buttons undone. “You look good,” Daniel said finally.
“So do you,” Jason said, noticing that Daniel now wore a black T-shirt. It looked good on him, that color. “Time for a break,” he said, tapping his watch. “I’m in the mood for Mexican.”
“There are laws against that now,” Daniel grinned.
Jason snapped his fingers. “That explains the brothel.”
Daniel barked out a laugh. “You mean El Tesoro, the place over on Sierra Madre?”
“That’s the one,” Jason smiled, and winked at him. “Let’s go have some good spicy food, stare at the artwork, and pretend there used to be male whores there once upon a time.”
Daniel grinned. “So I take you still want to go out.”
Jason paused, momentarily unsure. “You don’t?”
“I’m asking, not refusing.”
“Oh,” Jason said sheepishly and moved around the desk to slip his arm around Daniel’s waist. “Yes, I still wanna go out,” he said, kissing his chin. He loved how Daniel wasn’t used to it and actually blushed. It would a little disappointing when that stopped. “We can go as we are…” and Jason stepped back to eye Daniel up and down. “Well, you’ll have to change your shirt. Not a fancy place, but not a place I’d go in a T-shirt.”
Daniel fingered Jason’s collar. “Explains this shirt.”
“Like it?” Jason asked.
Daniel nodded, getting ideas. “I’d like to see it open later.”
Jason bit his lip and narrowed his eyes. “Deal.” He looked down as Daniel slipped a finger around a button and popped it open. Grinning, he caught his hand and stopped him. “If you don’t stop, we’re not going anywhere for a while.”
Daniel smiled devilishly. “You know, that sounds nice, too, but dinner first.”
“Sounds like a plan. Now go change. Your stomach’s rumbling.”
Daniel moved past him and as he headed down to the bedroom, he could feel Jason’s eyes on him. Taking a breath and trying not to get distracted by it, he focused on opening his dresser, pulling out another pair of jeans. Jason leaned in the doorway, arms crossed, watching.
“Jason?” Daniel asked after stripping down.
“Hmmm?” Jason asked, letting his gaze wander appreciatively.
“Go wait in the living room,” Daniel asked as he fished for underwear. Jason cleared his throat and left, and Daniel couldn’t help but smile. He dressed quickly and as he rolled up the sleeves of the jade green shirt he’d chosen, he couldn’t help but think of what would happen after dinner. And whether Jason would like to see him in an open shirt, too.
The restaurant was moderately busy but not so much that they had to wait for a table. It was still early for the dinner crowd. Their hostess seated them by a window in the far corner of the restaurant and Jason automatically chose the seat that faced the room. Daniel grinned, picking up his menu.
Jason furrowed his brow. “What?”
“You’re former special ops, alright.”
Jason rolled his eyes. “Don’t start.”
“Back to the wall, eyes on the room. Have you picked out all the exits yet?”
Jason threw him a mock-glare. “Yes.”
Daniel chuckled. “You crack me up. You and Jack both.”
Jason was a bit caught by the mention of Jack, but he said nothing and hoped his face didn’t betray him. From Daniel’s attitude, he didn’t think so. “Habit,” he said, “and stop teasing.”
“Then start relaxing,” Daniel shot back as he stared at the entree page. He looked up, hearing laughter, then contradicted his advice to Jason and started to look around.
“Daniel, weren’t you telling me to relax?” Jason smirked.
“I am relaxed.”
“Then why are you looking around.”
Jason had an expectant, curious look on his face, and Daniel couldn’t believe he’d be that clueless. He leaned forward and whispered, “This is a date, Jason.”
Jason loved the sound of ‘date’ and gave Daniel the charming, lop-sided grin he sometimes affected. “It is. Your point?”
“I don’t want it to look like one.”
Jason raised his brows, feeling both honored that Daniel felt the need to protect him, but annoyed that he would think it necessary. “Daniel, it’ll only look like a date if I take your hand or lean over this table to kiss you. And frankly, that’s not such a bad–“
He didn’t finish his sentence because their waitress showed up. It took a moment to order and as Jason watched Daniel rattle off his order in Spanish, he could see the uneasiness in his body language. When the waitress turned to him, Jason looked up at her and ordered, then handed back the menu.
“Something to drink?” the waitress asked.
“Guinness extra stout, please,” Jason said.
“Pinot noir, please,” Daniel said, giving the waitress a smile.
After she left, Jason asked, “You’re still nervous, Daniel. Stop worrying. You’re acting as if we haven’t gone out before.”
Sipping at his water, Daniel added, “But that was then, and this is now. And I can’t help but worry.”
Jason sighed deeply. “Daniel, take a deep breath.”
“I’m serious. I understand the concern and I love you for it, but you need to chill, or your body language will start to speak volumes to other people besides me.”
Daniel knew he was going to say that, and he also knew Jason was right. He took a deep breath, then swallowed. A few seconds later, a waiter came over with their beverages. After he left, Daniel took a long drink from his wine.
Jason grinned as he sipped at his beer, licking the foam off his lip. “Getting you drunk is suddenly appealing.”
“Not gonna happen,” Daniel grinned secretively. “I want things in working order when we get home. Right now, however, I could use the buzz.”
They were quiet for a few minutes, each sipping at their beverages, then Jason grinned and gave Daniel an almost shy look.
“What?” Daniel asked.
Jason shrugged. “I shouldn’t have given you a hard time. Date or no date, we’re…” and he crossed two fingers.
Daniel stared back at him, thinking he knew exactly what Jason meant. “Yeah, we are,” he said, and he liked the sound of the confirmation. Judging by the new look on Jason’s face, so did he.
But Jason’s expression altered as he frowned slightly. “We kinda got here through unfortunate means though.”
Daniel nodded soberly and took a sip of his wine, wishing that Jason would leave it alone. He understood, but still. “You mean Jack.”
Jason looked down at his beer, then back across the table. He wished he could take Daniel’s hand in his. “I would have made a move eventually,” he said, getting a smile back from Daniel. A little tease was called for, to keep him smiling. “But maybe not the same way.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Daniel answered, changing his smile just a bit. “I liked the way you made your move.”
Jason smiled then and picked up his glass. “Here’s to many more of them.”
Daniel coughed. “You had better be talking about me.”
Jason touched his chest. “You wound me, sir.” Daniel chuckled, and he did it in such a way that his face wrinkled around his eyes. Jason rarely saw that smile and he couldn’t help but want to see it more often. “You don’t do enough of that.”
A sad look passed over Daniel briefly. “Yeah, I know.”
Jason lifted his glass a bit higher. “To new beginnings and more laughter.”
Daniel raised his glass. They drank, eyes on each other. Then Jason looked away, his gaze going across the room, toward the hostess desk. And he froze.
“What?” Daniel asked, starting to turn and look.
“No, don’t look,” Jason said, looking away and keeping his eyes on Daniel’s.
“Why?” Daniel asked warily, then turned to his right to look.
Jason sighed. “Told you not to look.”
Daniel froze, just as Jason had. Across the room was Jack, standing at the hostess desk, talking to their hostess. Despite his internal walls, Daniel couldn’t help but admire how handsome Jack looked. He sighed and looked back at Jason. “Well, at least he hasn’t seen us.”
“Could be worse, I suppose,” Jason grinned, feeling the urge to make Daniel laugh. And have Jack see it.
“Oh right, how?” Daniel asked, sipping his wine.
Jason waited, then said, “We could be fucking on the table.”
Daniel started coughing and threw his napkin at him. “Oh not funny, Jason,” he said, but he was laughing nonetheless.
At the same moment Daniel said it, Jack heard his voice. He turned away from the Hostess as she tallied up his order and the moment he saw Daniel and Major Coburn sitting together, he froze. Daniel was laughing. How long had it been since he’d seen Daniel laugh like that, and more to the point, that he’d been the cause of it? Jack thought about it, and the answer made a lump form in his stomach. It had been a long damn time. And if Jack’s memory was accurate, the last person who’d made Daniel laugh was sitting across from him.
A deep, dark feeling knotted around the lump in Jack’s stomach and he didn’t identify it at first. Guilt and anger overrode everything so often, he wasn’t sure, but as he watched Major Coburn throw the napkin back and reach across the table to wipe something off Daniel’s chin, Jack finally recognized it for what it was: jealousy.
Immediately, Jack clamped down on it. It wasn’t an emotion he tolerated, not from himself or anyone else. It might be a conditioned emotion to feel, but he’d long since learned the damage it could cause. Taking a deep breath, he made a mental note to find out why the jealousy was there.
“Sir, your order will be up in twenty minutes.”
Jack nodded, then gestured in Daniel and Jason’s direction. “Mind if I wait there, if they don’t mind?”
“As you wish, sir.”
“I’ll just check,” he said.
At Daniel and Jason’s table, Jason saw Jack looking over, then slowly sauntering his way in their direction. “Shit, here he comes.”
Daniel’s eyes widened. “Over here?”
“Oh this is ridiculous,” Daniel said, rolling his eyes. “We’re acting like teenagers.”
“Says you,” Jason said under his breath, hating that Daniel would use that analogy. “I’m not the one in love with him.”
Daniel narrowed his eyes and whispered angrily, “Oh fuck you, Jason, that’s so not–“
“Daniel,” Jack greeted. “Major Coburn. Fancy meeting you here.”
“Jack,” Daniel said with a deep resigned sigh.
“Colonel,” Jason said, giving Jack a cool reception.
“What brings you here?” Daniel asked, wishing Jack would just turn around and leave. He braced himself for the cutting remarks that would soon come his way and unconsciously wrapped his right hand around his newly healed left wrist. He felt an ache there that had nothing to do with the injury left by Reese.
Jason immediately tensed, watching Daniel’s body language. He looked back up at Jack and wished the anger he felt wasn’t so intense, but he couldn’t help it. Why the hell would this man ditch the friendship he had with someone like Daniel? What the fuck had Daniel ever done to him?
In return, Daniel noticed Jason’s attitude and nudged his feet under the table to tell Jason to behave. Jason gave him a grudging nod as Daniel turned to Jack.
“Am I interrupting?” Jack asked warily.
“No, we’re just having dinner,” Daniel answered, warning Jason with a look not to contradict him. “Are you getting dinner to go?”
“Yeah,” Jack said, pointing a thumb behind him. “It’ll be up in twenty.” Instinct told him to turn around and leave, but lately, he’d been ignoring his instincts where Daniel was concerned. Maybe it was time to change that. “Um…” he began, then abruptly decided that ignoring to his instincts could be saved for another day. “I’ll let you two–“
Daniel didn’t know what possessed him, but he said, “Why don’t you pull up a chair, Jack. Wait here instead of in the lobby.” Daniel gave Jason a pointed, careful look. “You mind?”
Jason shook his head and gestured at a chair at a nearby empty table. “Go ahead,” he said, refusing to smile as he went along with Daniel’s decision.
“Okay,” Jack said carefully, knowing that neither of them looked pleased. What the hell had happened? Was it him? He looked back to the Hostess and pointed to their table and she made her way over to them. Taking a chair from a nearby table, she gestured Jack to use it.
“Would you care for a drink while you wait?” she asked.
“Guinness, stout,” Jack answered. He leaned back in his chair and crossed his leg. “So, what’re you two up to?”
“Hanging out,” Jason answered.
“Yeah, nothing much to do till the infirmary’s ready,” Daniel added, suddenly feeling bad for telling Jason to fuck off. The man had been right after all, but Daniel hadn’t wanted to hear it. He sent Jason an apologetic look. “So we’re just…”
“Hanging out,” Jason finished, sending the same look back.
Their waiter appeared just then with Jack’s beer, and quickly left. Jack took a sip and wiped the foam from his lip. “I didn’t realize you ate here.”
“We don’t, normally,” Daniel answered. “We usually go to the Thai restaurant downtown.”
In truth, they’d never been there. “But this is a nice change,” Jason added, wondering why Daniel felt compelled to lie.
“You two go out often?” Jack asked, surprised.
“When we can,” Daniel answered before Jason could.
Jack looked just a bit confused and Daniel tried not to get angry. “We’re close friends, Jack.”
“Have been since Kheb, Colonel,” Jason added. “I could’ve sworn you knew that already.”
Jack regarded Jason carefully, knowing damn well the man was acting protective of Daniel. He couldn’t blame him. “I know that, Major, but I didn’t know you guys were buds.”
Daniel snorted, his dark humor rising. “Yeah, we’re ‘buds’, Jack.”
Jason let out a short cough and covered it quickly by pretending to have a dry throat. He picked up his glass and took a long drink, then coughed again to clear his throat. Misdirection, he ordered himself. “So, Colonel, you have any plans for the next five days?”
Jack’s instinct told him he’d just witnessed a deception; not quite a lie, but it was deliberate. What did they think they needed to hide? A friendship? So what? There was more going on here, but Jack couldn’t tell what. And right now was not the time to find out. But exactly when would? Feeling the perverse need to be just as enigmatic, he answered Jason’s question.
“A little housekeeping.”
“Thought you’d be going up to the cabin,” Daniel said, and when Jack looked at him, slightly surprised, he was reminded of an invite made a few years back; an invite that had never been repeated. It stung, and irritated that Jack could still get to him without saying a goddamn word, Daniel decided to minimize the importance of his comment, act as if it was nothing more than just a casual observation. But before he could, the waitress appeared with a tray containing their entrees.
Jack moved out of the way, so she could set the dishes down and the waitress said, “I’ll be back with your pozole,” and left promptly.
“I should leave you two to eat,” Jack said.
“You don’t have to,” Daniel said, barely glancing at Jason as he wondered what the hell had just come over him. Of course Jack had to leave. He had to.
With one hand on the back of his chair and the other holding his beer, Jack pointed his chin at the table. “You two looked like you were having fun and I think I spoiled it.”
“You didn’t,” Jason said, giving the Colonel a long look. What was the man playing at?
Jack couldn’t help but see the protective body language Major Coburn exhibited. He suddenly felt the need to ask. “How’d you two become friends, if you don’t mind my asking?”
Jason gave Daniel a look, asking permission and Daniel shrugged back as he cut into his burrito. “We met up one day at a coffee bar downtown. And pretty soon, that’s where we were always running into each other. We got to be good friends because of it. Pretty simple really.”
“You know how it is, Jack,” Daniel said as he blew on the hot food attached to his fork. “You can’t make close friendships with people outside the job.”
Jason nodded in agreement. “They’re always wanting to know why you couldn’t go out with them for their birthday, or whatever, and it’s just tiresome having to lie all the time.” He paused and purposely said, “Having relationships is the same thing, only worse.”
Daniel’s eyes widened, and he quickly covered so Jack wouldn’t notice. Under the table, he kicked Jason’s toe and he received one in return–one that said, chill.
There was something there, Jack thought. But what? He wanted to ask point blank but shoved the thought aside. Given the way Daniel was acting, it’d only start an argument. Instead of sitting back down, he returned his chair to the table the hostess had taken it from. “Yeah, I know something about that,” he said, nodding with agreement. “Having been married and divorced.”
Daniel looked up and couldn’t help giving Jack a sympathetic look. “Yeah, it bites.”
Jack was slightly taken aback. It had been a while since he’d seen that look. Unfortunately, he didn’t stop himself from stepping on it, inserting his foot in his mouth. “You’re in a rare good mood, Daniel. You get laid or something?”
In the middle of swallowing, Daniel coughed and almost choked. Jack moved over quickly and gently thumped his back. Daniel was blushing. Did he hit the mark? “Sorry,” he said, meaning it. “I didn’t mean to touch a nerve.”
Furious with Jack for that comment, and more furious with himself for being unprepared, Daniel drank half his water and thumped his chest before answering. “You didn’t,” he rasped, clearing his throat. “But thanks a lot, Jack. I can always count on you to embarrass the shit out me.”
“It wasn’t on purpose,” Jack said, frowning. “And it’s not like the whole restaurant heard me.”
Daniel shrugged dismissively, not believing him. “If you say so.”
Across the room, the hostess signaled Jack and he waved back. Giving Daniel a look and knowing damn well he’d just been told to back off, he couldn’t help but be curious. Daniel’s reaction pretty much screamed that he had gotten laid and Jack realized that he didn’t like the knowledge. But rather than risk saying something caustic, he decided to leave with a joke.
“Time to go. You two have fun. And Coburn? Don’t get him pregnant.”
Daniel made a rude sound. “I’ll use a condom.”
It was designed to make Jack uncomfortable, but Daniel hadn’t realized just exactly what he’d said until after Jack left. He stared at his plate, then looked across the table. “I can’t believe I said that.” Jason was trying not to grin as he chewed a mouthful and shook his head in answer. Daniel picked up his wine glass and drained the remainder. “Kick me next time.”
Jason swallowed and chased it with water. “Next time? Will there be a next time?”
Daniel sighed. “With Jack, there always is.”
On his way home, Jack mulled over Daniel’s words, his body language, and compared them with Coburn’s. If he hadn’t felt like such an interloper, he’d have noticed it right off: There was something going on between them. Jack could see it now, and sadly, it reminded him of the old days, between himself and Daniel, where their friendship used to be. Except these weren’t the old days anymore and a flood of guilt filled him as Jack realized just how much he missed having his friendship. He wanted Daniel back but, after all the damage he’d inflicted over the last two years, it was probably too late.