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Mardi Gras

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Author's notes: Warnings: Graphic m/m sex and bad language. If you don't like the idea of exhibitionism or voyeurism and a feisty Danny - don't read it.

"So Daniel, an entire 10 days downtime. What've you got planned?" Extra homework?" Jack teased as Daniel got himself dressed after what had been - thank goodness - a quiet mission.

"No, actually I'm going away for some of it," Daniel replied quietly.

"Oh?" Jack was intrigued. "Going anywhere interesting? Got some 'must see' exhibition of early Greek chamber pots or something?"

The marines of SG-6 who were currently gearing up to head out on a mission laughed at Jack's gentle ribbing of his friend. Daniel, however, wasn't in the mood to play. He was desperate to get out of there.

He gritted his teeth. 'Ah stuff it,' he thought, 'I'm gonna tell him.'

"No, Jack, I'm going to New Orleans."

"Um, why?" Jack's curiosity was running wild now.

Internally Daniel screamed, 'to fuck my boyfriend senseless,' but out loud he remained calm and said, "Mardi Gras, Jack. What? You've never heard of it?"

"Of course I have, Daniel, but since when did you go to stuff like that?"

"You'd be surprised," Daniel drawled. He wasn't feeling inclined to elaborate.

He grabbed his bag, wished SG-6 a safe trip and called to Jack that he would see him when he got back.

Daniel emerged from the mountain to find that yet another freaking snowfall had happened while he had been off world. He giggled to himself. Here he was, coming out from the bowels of Cheyenne, a place from which he travelled to the other side of the galaxy about once a week. Weird. And the people below in the Springs had no fucking idea.

Jack was confused. Daniel never went away during downtime. Or, perhaps he did? When was the last time they'd spent a downtime together? Jack couldn't remember, and that realisation made him sad.

He was sure that Daniel wouldn't be spending it alone though. One didn't go to Mardi Gras on one's own. Not a good idea. Not unless you had Special Ops training, of course.....

Daniel's plane finally landed in New Orleans. An hour late after a snow covered Springs airport had had to be cleared yet again before take off was possible. He looked for his friend at the airport but there was no sign of him. Perhaps he'd gone straight to the hotel. Daniel retrieved his bags and headed towards the taxi rank. As he approached the doors a familiar voice broke through his concentration.


"Paul! I thought you'd have given up waiting and gone on. I wouldn't have blamed you if you had. Bloody snow in the Springs again."

"I was just getting another coffee when they finally announced the flight," he answered. "Never mind, you're here now. I got in this morning. My stuff's already at the hotel. Come on, let's get out of here."

They kept their greetings polite, 'good friends' polite. It wasn't easy. They'd booked this holiday months before and had been praying that they would get the break they so deserved. New Orleans was going to be packed to the gills over the next few days and they could get lost in the crowd.

As the taxi rumbled through the streets to their hotel in the French Quarter, the two men chatted, talking of things they wanted to do whilst there. The underlying tension between them was stifling though. Both men were already getting hard at the prospect of arriving at an anonymous hotel room. Daniel knew they wouldn't get past the door before they fell on each other, hands tearing at clothes, lips battling to find any trace of bare skin.

It reminded him of their first time together, not long after the submarine incident. He'd invited Paul to dinner after a particularly harassing budgeting meeting at the SGC. He'd known Paul for quite a while now, knew him reasonably well in fact. They'd been e mailing, chatting, phoning even and certainly enjoying each other's company. One thing Daniel was sure of, he fancied Paul and had done for ages. He was pretty certain that Paul felt the same way about him. Over a French meal that night, he had come out and told Paul something that he could never have told Jack in a million years - not even when they were close friends.

"Paul, what would you do if I told you I was gay?"

Paul blinked, grinned and replied in a whisper.

"I'd want to fuck you, Daniel, and be fucked by you."

Daniel grinned in return. "I'm gay," he said in a calm but amused voice.

Later, he had qualified that remark, explaining that he was technically bi, he supposed, but that he really, reeeeaally fancied Paul.

As they got to his apartment, Daniel had unlocked the door with trembling hands. Before Paul had a chance to even look inside the room, Daniel had locked and bolted the door, slammed him up against it and dropped to his knees.

After his initial surprise statement at the restaurant, Daniel had said little else. Dessert had been foregone, as had coffee. They hadn't even kissed, and yet here was Daniel, on his knees and tearing at Paul's flies and yanking his pants down with a desperation that Paul hadn't anticipated. Then he swallowed him whole. How Paul hadn't come on the spot he never knew, but somehow he regained a modicum of control. This was by far and away the best blow job he had ever had in his life. He'd been sucked off countless times. He was 33, gay all his adult life and by no means celibate - that sort of thing happened! But never like this, and never so good. Dr Jackson's famed skill with his tongue extended way beyond his linguistics.

"I'm gonna come," he had gasped. Daniel's response was to grab his hips and pull them closer, urging him on. It didn't take Paul much longer. He collapsed on the floor, sliding down the door as he went. Then he felt his mouth being captured in that first kiss.

They broke off gasping for air.

"Paul, I want you so badly," Daniel moaned. "I want to bury myself inside that beautiful body of yours and never come out. Please Paul, will you let me?"

Paul learned there and then that Daniel never, ever took without asking. He always checked that whatever he was doing met with Paul's approval. That blow job against the door had been Daniel's way of giving Paul the reassurance that he was wanted, loved even - certainly desired by Daniel. It had taken Paul months of training, but he had finally taught Daniel that he could initiate anything and that Paul would stop him if he wasn't happy. He never had to ask again. Once in a blue moon, Paul would stop him, or persuade him to take a different tack. Not because he really wanted Daniel to stop what he was doing, but to prove to Daniel that he wouldn't let him take advantage, or force Paul into anything at all. All Paul had to do was say 'stop' and Daniel would. The same went the other way, of course. Paul could never hurt him or use him like that. He quite simply loved him too much.

The taxi pulled up and Paul paid as Daniel retrieved his bags. They checked in and headed up the wooden stairs, the bell hop taking Daniel's bags. Daniel tipped him and they entered the room. The hotel was one of the older buildings, all wood, a balcony overlooking the street below. And a big bed was centrepiece of the whole room.

Neither man looked at the dcor as they went in. As soon as Paul locked the door, he returned the favour that Daniel had given him all those months before.

They knew each other well, now; understood each other's needs and desires. Daniel was a fan of the fast, hard fuck. Paul liked to make love, tenderly and gently. So, they compromised. Paul exposed Daniel's cock and took it hard and fast. He roughly pushed his legs apart and unceremoniously thrust a dry finger inside him up to the knuckle. He knew that Daniel was seriously getting off on this, that he actually enjoyed a little pain with his pleasure. Not too much, no whipping or fisting or anything like that, but he needed to feel. Paul could understand that. Their job sometimes left them feeling numb, and with Daniel's tragic history, anything that made him physically feel aided his mental state.

Daniel loved to be taken, inside and out. Paul wondered if he had ever had two men at once, but he suppressed that thought ruthlessly as he never wanted to share his lover with anyone, past or present. His musings took his mind off his current state, and Daniel's orgasm hit him almost completely by surprise. He swallowed fast to avoid getting choked. Then he stood up as quickly as he could, grabbed the now completely relaxed Daniel and hauled him to the bed, his pants still around his ankles. He pushed him gently face down on the covers and stood back, quickly kicking off his shoes and shucking his clothes. He heard Daniel's shoes being lazily kicked off and landing on the floor with a thump. He grabbed Daniel's pants and yanked them off, spreading the long legs and positioning himself between them. He lubed himself up and artlessly pushed inside without preparing Daniel at all. He knew that Daniel could take this, that he in fact loved this. It was a side to Daniel that he had never expected. Who'd have thought that this quiet man could have such a dark side, would crave being fucked so roughly?

Paul thrust hard, revelling in the moans that came.

"Gonna fuck you so hard, baby," he taunted, "gonna make you come again."

"Please, Paul, please. You know what I like, what I want. Please, harder, more, I need to feel you."

Paul pushed as hard and as fast as he could, totally getting off on the little power trip that Daniel allowed him to take. He slipped his hand underneath his lover and grabbed the now hard again dick. With none of his usual finesse, he jerked him roughly and brought him to the edge.

"Now, Dan, come for me, babe," he ordered. It was enough for Daniel and he let himself go, spilling over his lover's hand, the anal contractions pushing Paul to come too.

"God, Daniel, I love you so fucking much," he panted as he collapsed to the side of the other man.

"Paul, babe, missed you. It's so hard without you by my side, I missed you so badly," Daniel whispered.

"C'mere," Paul ordered, "get your sweater off and we'll get into bed for a minute, huh?"

He helped Daniel get it off and then they crawled under the covers, wrapped their arms around each other, kissed for a few minutes and then dropped off to sleep.

They woke up an hour or so later, and Daniel repaid the favour, making love to Paul as he liked it. He was so tender and gentle with him that it nearly left Paul in tears at just how much Daniel really loved him. Butterfly kisses were planted all over his body, pulse points gently suckled and when he finally entered his lover he was slow and controlled. Both men came with a wave of relief, kissing and touching as they did.

Jack got off his flight and headed to the baggage carousel. He waited impatiently for the bags to arrive and then headed straight to the taxi rank. He had no idea where he was going to stay as he knew that virtually every hotel would be booked up in advance. He asked the cab driver if he had any ideas. The driver took one look at him, saw the leather jacket and the single man and came to the wrong conclusion. He headed straight for the French Quarter, assuming that Jack was there for the Gay Mardi Gras. He knew of one hotel that may have a room spare, as he knew the proprietor well and she had complained that some people had cancelled a booking at the last minute. Jack was grateful for this and accepted the recommendation, not really understanding that he would be away from the main parades and staying in what would be the 'adult' section.

He entered the hotel. It was old, but clean and nicely appointed. The man behind the desk was polite and agreed that yes, they did have one last room spare, but it was a double and would he mind because it was more expensive than the singles. Jack didn't mind at all and signed the register, his blood running cold the second he did. The next signature above his was for one 'Daniel Jackson'.

He didn't think at that moment to look for the signature of Daniel's companion - if he had one, of course. He had come to New Orleans wanting to find Daniel, but he hadn't wanted to take any chances on being found himself. He was going to have to be careful. He ordered his evening meal to be served in his bedroom, not wanting there to be the opportunity for a meeting in the dining room. If Daniel saw him, he would get very angry and Jack knew it. Jack also knew that an angry Daniel was more dangerous than a whole host of Goa'uld with chronic toothache. He was a dead man if Daniel saw him. A slow, painful death if he was lucky.

Jack ate his meal looking out onto the street below. The weather was warm that March evening, he had his balcony shutters open, his table placed in the gap so he could eat in his room and watch the world go by. Something caught his eye from the sidewalk opposite. He put down his fork, his meal over, and stared. A figure in black leather, both jacket and trousers stood with his back to Jack. It was Daniel, and Jack knew it, even though he had never seen him dressed like this before. He couldn't see who was with him, Daniel's body was shielding the other. Jack watched as Daniel opened a door to a bar a little way down the street and then lost sight as he and his companion went in.

'So,' he thought, 'time for a little covert ops.'

He changed his jeans, slung a clean white T on and draped his jacket over his shoulders. Then he headed over the road to the bar.

Daniel was sat at a corner table, unconsciously mimicking Jack in his choice of table. He could see anyone who came into the bar from where he sat, but as he sat in the shadow, few people could see him. Paul sat next to him, nursing his drink and snuggled under Daniel's arm. He looked up at his lover and grinned. He rarely got to see this side of Daniel, carefree and happy for once, no worries about protecting the world from alien invaders. He kissed his cheek and got a big smile in return.

"What was that for?" Daniel asked laughingly.

"Love you," he said in return.

"Hmm, what are you after?" Daniel teased. Paul smacked him gently in the stomach.

"Nothing! Honestly, you are so suspicious."

"And why is that?"

"Probably because I'm always after something - or someone," Paul retorted with a snort.

"Precisely!" Daniel hooted. Then his features froze.

"I don't fucking believe it. God, I can't do a fucking thing without him following me, can I? What does he want from me Paul?"

Paul followed Daniel's line of sight and saw Jack ordering a drink from the other side of the bar. Jack had his collar up and his shades sat on the top of his head. He was looking around as if he was searching someone out. Paul also saw that some guy was moving in on him.

"Dan, he's gonna get hit on in a minute," he warned.

"Yeah. I know. Part of me wants to let it happen, teach him a lesson he'll never forget. But if I do...."

Paul understood. There'd be a fight, police would be called, it could get back that Jack and Paul were in a gay bar in New Orleans and both careers would be down the pan and both men could be jailed. Daniel had to do something and fast. He got up and made a beeline for the bar, quickly insinuating himself between Jack and the other guy.

"Jack," he growled, "why are you following me?"

Jack nearly choked on his drink and couldn't answer. He hadn't seen Daniel and thought that he and whoever he was with had left while he was on his way there. Daniel took advantage of his confusion and grabbed him by the hand, pulling him from the bar. He wrapped his arm over Jack's shoulder and propelled him towards the table.

"Davis!" Jack spluttered. He had no idea that they were more than acquaintances. He certainly didn't think they knew each other well enough to go on vacation together.

"Sit down Jack, or I'll let that guy hit on you," Daniel warned.

"What guy?" Jack was stunned, he hadn't seen any guy.

"The one I just rescued you from. Jack, what the fuck are you doing here?"

He couldn't answer that, he just hung his head.

"You have no idea where you are, have you?" Paul asked with a smirk. Jack just sat there and looked around. There were only men in the bar. No biggie - loads of bars were places you wouldn't take a woman. But, er, oh my God. The men were...kissing? Wrapped up in each other.

"Daniel!" he hissed, "what the fuck are you doing in a gay bar?"

"Could ask the same of you, Jack, in fact I have been. You still haven't answered. I'm gay, what's your excuse? Want to see if you can find someone willing for a quick fuck?" Daniel sneered. He really was cross.

"I'm not gay!" Jack whispered.

"You could've fooled me," Paul sniggered. "You were sitting up at the bar looking like you were waiting to be picked up. And what with the leathers and all..." he let his voice trail off and Daniel snorted in his drink.

"Daniel, you are so disgusting," he scolded.

"You'd know all about that," Daniel replied with a grin.

Jack smacked his head with his hands and Daniel took pity on him.

"Come on, let's get out of here," he ordered, "we should talk. And we can't do that in here."

Out in the street the party atmosphere was already starting. A tall guy in drag was heading down the street towards them, holding court as he strolled along with some friends or followers. He stopped in front of Daniel, who truth be told was looking totally dangerous that night.

"Well hel-lo, honey chile," the queen called out lasciviously. "You've got yourself a real handful there, haven't you?" She pointed out to Paul and Jack and winked.

Jack was waiting for Daniel to blush and stammer, but he laughed instead.

"Sure thing, sweetheart," he replied with a wink of his own. "Got to keep me busy or I could get into trouble." He slid an arm protectively around Jack's waist, and his other around Paul's shoulders. He kissed Paul's cheek.

"Why, doesn't a girl get a kiss these days?" the drag queen teased.

Jack was now astounded because instead of retreating to a quivering wreck Daniel let go of the men and placed a huge kiss on the queen's cheek. He didn't even blink when she grasped his ass and squeezed it.

"You want to share?" she sniggered.

"Not a hope in hell, they're mine," he replied with a grin.

"Well, you ever get fed up with them, send 'em my way, sweet cheeks, especially Poppa here," she reached out and stroked Jack's cheek.

Jack's eyes opened wide, but before he could say anything Daniel butted in, "He's shy with people he doesn't know." Then he grabbed his hand and yanked him close. "Come on, Jack, Paul, we've got somewhere we have to be. Have fun, darlin'," he called out and led his friends down the street.

"Daniel?" Jack asked. The question didn't need to be spoken, not between them. Even after their years of estrangement they knew each other far too well.

"Come back to the hotel, Jack, I'll explain everything," Daniel replied with a sigh. "And then you will."

Within minutes they were sitting in the men's room, Daniel and Paul together on the bed and Jack on an armchair.

"You're not going to say a word about Paul, are you?" Daniel growled.

"Of course not, what do you think I am?" Jack was annoyed. He was surprised as hell to find out about Daniel, but he really couldn't give a shit.

"Didn't think so, but I needed to ask. I will hurt you - badly - if you do anything to him," Daniel promised.

"I had no idea about you, either of you," Jack tried changing the subject.

"That was the idea," Paul drawled, snuggling further under Daniel's arm.

Jack ignored that and added, "That wasn't you, out in the street, Daniel. You don't behave like that."

"Jack," Daniel sighed, "it's Mardi Gras. People are here to have fun. Anything goes. Besides, you have no idea what I'm really like. I told you, I'm gay. Women, they're okay. I prefer guys - always have done. You don't get to see this side of me because of our jobs. If SG-6 saw me like this I'd probably end up in hospital if I was lucky. I've been on the wrong end of a fag bashing, it's not pretty."

Jack winced at that. "When?" he asked quietly.

"Remember about 2 years ago? I was, er, mugged while I was shopping in Denver. Well," he continued as he saw Jack nodding, "I wasn't shopping and I sure as hell wasn't mugged. I was beaten up by 5 bigots when I was coming out of a club up there. I fought back, but I was outnumbered. Still, hospitalised three of them," he added with a smirk. Paul wrapped his arms around him and hugged him close.

"Why didn't you say anything when you were brought to the infirmary, Daniel? You wouldn't even tell us what had happened."

"Of course I didn't Jack. You weren't talking to me at the time. I didn't know if I could trust you not to finish the job."

Jack was hurt by that statement and he showed it in the scowl he gave Daniel. However, all he said was, "Did you press charges?"

"How could I? It would have got out why I was beaten up, Jack. I couldn't afford that knowledge to get out. Janet knew, but I swore her to secrecy. She had no option but to keep quiet - she gave me hell for it though."

"Go Janet," Paul grinned.

"Teal'c and I wanted to find the bastards that beat you and tear them apart, Danny," Jack murmured.

"You did? Why?" Daniel was genuinely confused.

Jack couldn't answer, he was left with his jaw flapping, floundering for something to say. Of course he did. Why wouldn't he? Then he thought back to that time and realised that he probably hadn't given Daniel much cause to trust him or feel wanted either. He hung his head in shame.

"So, are you going to tell me why you followed me?"

"I'm sorry, it's just you didn't say that you were coming with anyone. I, er I guess I wanted to make sure you were okay. I'm kinda redundant here, aren't I?"

Daniel smiled at him. Jack was just being Jack. At least it proved he cared.

"Jack? I can take care of myself, at least if I'm only outnumbered by about 4 to 1 I guess. It's okay. Besides, you're the one who's out of his depth here. It's not the first time I've been here. Hell, I've been to the Rio carnival on my own and survived it."

"You have?" Paul was surprised, poking him in the ribs. "You never said."

"No? Oh, I'll tell you later," Daniel smirked. There was obviously a story behind this that he didn't want Jack to hear.

"I'll fly back tomorrow," Jack said and stood up to go back to his own room.

"Hey, stay," Daniel shot back, getting a small nod from Paul too.

Daniel stood up and headed over to Jack. "Come on, Jack, you're here now. Don't freak about Paul and me and you can spend your time with us, okay? We're not toning anything down for you, we've wanted this break for a long time. We needed to get away, lose ourselves in the crowd so to speak. It's why we booked this hotel months ago. It's small and on a side street that no one seems to want to stay in. Guess that's how you got to stay here too, is it?"

Jack nodded.

"So, are you going to stay?"

"A day or so. I don't want to fuck up your holiday anymore than I already have. I'm sorry, honestly."

"It's okay Jack. You wouldn't be the Jack O'Neill I love if you didn't do stuff like this."

"Yyyyyou love me?" Jack asked, astounded.

"Of course I do, Jack. We were best friends once, weren't we? You should know by now that I can't switch off my feelings for anyone. I still love Shau're, still miss my parents. You don't think that I would stop loving my best friend just because he stopped liking me?"

"Never stopped, Danny, honest. I know I stopped showing it and I'm sorry, so fucking sorry about that. Never stopped caring, not for a minute."

Daniel drew Jack into a hug and they held each other tightly till Daniel broke it and pulled back. "And now? Do you still like me? Now that you know about me, I mean."

Jack pulled him back into the hug. "Like ya? Love ya Danny, always will."

He suddenly broke the hug, there were tears in both men's eyes.

"I'm gonna go," Jack croaked. "See you in the morning?"

"Not too early Jack," Daniel warned with a smile.

"Course not, I want to live."

Before Jack left, Daniel kissed his cheek.

"What was that for?" Jack asked, not angrily though.

"Just 'cause," Daniel shrugged and he headed back to Paul.

"How long have you guys been together?" Jack enquired as he got to the door.

"Eighteen months," Paul replied.

"Wow. Serious then, eh?"

"Oh yes," Daniel said defiantly, "very."

"Good, I'm happy for you. You should get a chance to enjoy yourselves. I'll do what I can to protect you, give you alibis, whatever," Jack promised.

"Thanks Jack," Daniel smiled.

"Welcome," he replied and headed out of the door.

Jack cursed the luck that he had as he tried to sleep later that night. He'd been given the room next door to Daniel and Paul. And the walls were thin. To be fair, the guys weren't shouting or anything, but still....

They'd gone back out after Jack had left them, and he'd lain on the bed and considered everything that had been said and done. He didn't recognise Daniel like this, but he liked what he saw. He looked happy for the first time, truly relaxed. Jack swore to himself that he wasn't going to do anything to screw that up for him. Then they had come back to the hotel. Loud whispers outside his door told him that they were happy and probably drunk. Low moans from the next room told him that they were making love. He tried to fight his mind, but his imagination ran wild. What was going on?

"God, Paul, yesss, just there."

Shit, what was happening to Daniel? Jack saw Daniel in his mind's eye, being undressed slowly, his hands running over what he knew to be a strong body. Daniel had buffed up a lot after that beating he had taken - was that as a result of it? Surely nobody messed with him now.

"Please Paul, I want you. Love you so much."

Jack's mind replaced 'Paul' with 'Jack' and he stuck his hand inside the sweat pants he habitually put on to sleep in. He was as hard as a rock. More groans followed by silences. Were they kissing? What would it be like to kiss Daniel? Would he be as soft as a woman? Would he be hard to the touch? What would it feel like to have his tongue inside his mouth? Jack wasn't as innocent as he made out. Sure, he didn't consider himself gay or even bi, but he'd had sex with other guys - recreation while bored. Quick gropes in the barrack showers. He'd even fucked one guy he knew.

He'd come to him in the night, Jack remembered. Jack had a separate room from the others for some reason, he couldn't remember why just now. All he could remember was Andy - that was his name - as he crawled into Jack's bunk and tugged hard on Jack's pants. Then he had slapped some lube on his dick and skewered himself with it. No kisses or touches or tenderness, none of the interaction that Jack had seen between Daniel and Paul earlier - just sex. Jack had grabbed Andy's dick and worked him hard as he moved up and down. Both of them came but there was only the feeling that an itch had been scratched - no real satisfaction.

He'd been fucked himself. Andy the same perpetrator in similar circumstances. The next night he had come to Jack's bunk, still no words being said. This time he had gone down on Jack and sucked him till he came hard, being roughly finger fucked at the same time. Then Andy had turned him over and entered him with no finesse. Again, just sex, no love. Jack had felt a little humiliated at the time. Andy had been killed the next day.

Jack wondered how it would be if Daniel had been the one to take him first. Would he have been so cold? He doubted it.

"Paul, inside me now."

Jack's hand worked harder now, jerking faster. To be buried inside Daniel - wow, what a thought. That tight ass, that muscular back....he could see sweaty arms, could feel the touch of Daniel's skin as he slid up and down while he fucked him gently. His climax hit him with a force never before encountered; the voices from next door telling him that he came in time with them.

A feeling of loneliness hit him now - complete despair washed over him. 'Stupid man', he thought to himself, 'I could have had that, could have had all that love and passion, but I pushed him away. I only have myself to blame.'

Jack knocked on the door to the guy's room nervously the next morning. He heard footsteps padding towards the door and saw a bleary eyed Paul open it. He was only wearing boxers and looked absolutely shattered.

"Sorry guys, am I too early?" he asked.

A moan from the bed confirmed his suspicions.

"J'ck? What'cha doin'? 'Searly," Daniel mumbled.

"It's 1000 hours, Daniel, that's not early."

"It is for Daniel," Paul replied with a laugh.

"Shhhh, noisy," Daniel scolded. "Holiday - wanna sleep."

"For all of it, Danny?" Jack teased.

He saw a blue eye staring at him from the edge of the covers. It had a wicked glint.

"No, the rest of the time I wanna fu..."

"Daniel! TMI, baby," Paul interrupted.

"Baby?" Jack sniggered.

"Drives him loopy," Paul admitted. "I'll order some coffee."

As he got on the phone to room service Jack made his way to Daniel and sat on the side of the bed.

"Hey, Danny, you okay?"

Daniel sat up slowly, the sheets falling down his naked body. Jack swallowed hard at the sight.

"Yeah, 'm okay," he agreed.

"I'm really sorry about fucking everything up for you. Don't really know what brought me here. Curiosity I guess. A bit of jealousy too," Jack confessed. Daniel raised an eyebrow but said nothing. "I'm sorry I've been such a bastard to you. I've missed you, Daniel, honestly. I think I was afraid that we were getting too close. I've come so close to losing you over the years that I was afraid to lose you for good. I'm guessing that I pushed you away so that when I did lose you - if you left the SGC or whatever - it wouldn't hurt so much. Can you forgive me?"

"Are you going to stop? You have been better recently, but I miss you too, Jack."

"Promise, Danny. There's nothing I want more than to be friends with you again."

"Forgiven then, Jack. I'm not leaving Paul, by the way. But if you want to spend time with the two of us when he's down, we won't have a problem with that." He opened his arms and Jack fell into them willingly, revelling in the touch of Daniel's skin on his bare arms.

"Hey, cut that out," Paul tried to sound jealous.

"Green eyed monster," Daniel teased.

"You bet your life, sweetheart," Paul snarled.

Daniel let go of Jack and pulled Paul onto the bed and kissed him briefly.

"Nothing to be jealous of, Paul," Jack reassured. "We're just putting some old problems to rest. I won't come between you two, I promise."

Paul felt a little awkward about dropping the rank thing and scolded himself. "Thank you Jack. I appreciate your consideration. You do realise that I will kill anyone that hurts Daniel, don't you?"

"You'd have to get in line, Paul," Jack grinned as he headed over to the door. There had been a knock and the coffee was delivered.

"Look what I've got, Danny," he teased, getting a growl in return.

"I'm going to have a shower," Paul announced after downing a quick cup. "Make sure you behave while I'm gone."

"You're curious, aren't you?" Daniel asked as Paul disappeared.

"About you? Yes. How long have you known you were, what, bisexual?"

"Always thought I was gay, to tell the truth. I met a girl in college and she changed my mind. I prefer guys still, but I'm not averse to getting it where I can. I was, what, 14 I think. Yeah, 14. I was back in an orphanage, one of the older guys came into my room one night. Nothing unusual in that, we were friends. He was one of the few guys that didn't try to beat me up."

Jack shuddered at that thought. He had often wondered what Daniel's childhood was like but the younger man was usually reluctant to talk. He was talking now though, so Jack listened.

"Anyway, I was already in bed, and he slipped in beside me and asked if he could kiss me. I'd never been kissed, I was shy with the girls and to be honest, a good book was more interesting. I was curious so I said yes. I loved it, he was a really good kisser." Daniel giggled a little at the memory. "Next thing I know he's got his hands in my pyjamas and he's jerking me off. I wasn't going to stop him. I got off and then he asked me to do the same for him - so I did. Realised I liked doing it too; the feeling of control over someone else was incredible for someone who'd had no control over his own destiny. I guess I was seduced by it. He and I experimented a lot over the next couple of months before I was sent off to another foster home."

"How old were you when you really lost your virginity?"


"That's a bit young?"

"Yes, but don't forget, I was a lot older mentally and emotionally than a lot of kids even two years my senior."

"Good point."

"Jack? What about you? I'm sure you're not as innocent as you make out," Daniel grinned, scrunching up his nose and making Jack laugh.

"No, true, but I've never had what you'd call a relationship."

"Have you ever been fu...."

"Yeah, eh hem, I have, once," Jack interrupted and blushed a little.

"Jack?" Daniel was concerned, "were you forced?"

"No, taken by surprise, yes, but not forced. I'd fucked him the night before so I guess it was only fair," he replied quietly.

"What happened to him?"

"Killed next time out. I didn't love him, Daniel, he was someone I hardly knew. It was a long time ago, before I was even married. We were going to be behind enemy lines, we wanted a distraction, that's all." He looked really embarrassed by this, by the whole lack of feelings.

"I understand," Daniel reached out and hugged Jack close. "Don't worry, I don't think any less of you. If I thought that a one night stand would be a cause for embarrassment I'd be permanently blushing."

Jack looked surprised. "Danny? You don't do casual."

"Jack, till yesterday as far as you knew I didn't do men. I used to do casual a long time back - at my first college. Worked my way through most of the faculty to tell the truth, including some of the lecturers - but never near paper marking time, honestly." Daniel sounded so serious at that point that Jack burst out laughing. He looked up at Daniel and saw a twinkle in his eye.

"You were having me on," he said.

"Yeah. I never needed to screw my grades higher. Still fucked the lecturers though. Just the good looking ones, mind you, I have my standards."

Jack howled at that. "I never really knew you, did I?"

"You formed an opinion of me at the beginning, Jack, I lived up to that. I shouldn't have, I guess, but I didn't want to be beaten up by the military members. I didn't know you, Jack, not then. As far as I knew you were a stereotypical robot soldier. At the time I didn't understand that the military was the same as anywhere else. I feel for the gay soldiers and airmen at the base. They have to be so careful."

"I know, Danny. I've had to help cover up a couple of close calls myself - not mine, but some of the guys on the base. I protect them, you know. I'll do what I can to protect you and Paul too."

Daniel hugged him again for that and then smiled as Paul came out of the shower and said,

"I thought I told you to behave, Dan."

"I am behaving, Paul," Daniel replied a little petulantly. "If I wasn't, Jack would be as naked as me and looking thoroughly fucked by now."

"Ya know, I really didn't need that image, Danny," Jack drawled, reddening a little at the thought of a naked Daniel and him so exhausted.

"Your turn for the shower. Go, slut," Paul ordered, "and clean up your act."

Daniel shrugged and slipped out of the bed, standing up in front of both men and sauntering nonchalantly past them. He took the towel that Paul offered and then slapped him on the ass with it as he walked past. Paul was by now in his jeans, if nothing else, and he just laughed at him. Jack didn't know where to look. Daniel never behaved like that in the showers back on base. He wasn't shy, as such, he just didn't flaunt himself in the way he was doing now.

He shook his head in disbelief at the sight and then caught the look that Paul was giving him. Paul waited till he heard the water running before he spoke.

"You're in love with him, aren't you?" he asked.

"What? No! He's my friend, that's all. I do love him, but not like that. I'm straight, Paul."

"Yeah, right. Look, Jack, you may not want to jump into bed with any other guy, but if Daniel offered himself to you, you'd take it, wouldn't you?" Jack didn't answer that. "I'm not having a go," Paul continued, "hell, he offered himself to me and I took the opportunity. I love him now - I just fancied him back then. He's grown on me a lot, you know. And if you hurt him again, I'll kill you."

Jack had heard many threats to his life over the years, but he had never heard one which meant more than this one. Not so much what he said, but the way he said it. This exquisitely polite man had turned cold and calculating. It was at this moment that Jack realised that he had long underestimated him. Yes, he was a brilliant political player, a good officer and a credit to the Air Force. He was also an extremely dangerous opponent. Fortunately for Jack, Daniel loved them both. And Paul loved Daniel and wouldn't do a damned thing to upset him. So, for now, Jack was safe. Because he didn't doubt for one second that Paul meant what he said.

"We'll both do what makes Daniel happy while we're here," Paul added. "Whatever that is."

Jack nodded. He and Paul were at least on the same page on this one.

Jack found himself trailing Daniel and Paul into Jackson Square to see the sights. Daniel had of course wanted to visit as much as he could while he was there and they couldn't help but tease him over the choice of visiting the place named after the President with Daniel's surname. He good naturedly allowed himself to be dragged into museums and around the French Market, enjoying listening to Daniel haggling in French with some of the local vendors. A wonderful meal was had later at a riverside restaurant, full of shrimp and Cajun spices. Daniel had waxed lyrical over the history of the area and for once Jack let him talk without interruption, thoroughly enjoying watching Daniel in his element as he lectured them.

Daniel's blue eyes twinkled with excitement over the whole thing and they talked animatedly about what they wanted to do that night.

"What did you two do last night?" Jack asked, and for once, Daniel blushed. So did Paul.

"Guys? Come on, you don't need to get embarrassed," he encouraged.

"Well, we went to a club," Paul offered.

"A gay club?" prompted Jack.

Daniel grinned and licked his bottom lip before catching it in his teeth.

"Um, yes," he replied mischievously. "There was a show."

"A show?" Jack now felt he was getting into the realms of 'I wish I'd never asked' territory.

"Yes. Dancers," Daniel added.

"Strippers?" Jack gulped.

"No, they didn't strip," Paul sniggered, "they didn't really need to. They didn't have much on to start with." Then he burst out laughing, Daniel joining in on the joke.

"Sort of like pole dancing in a regular club, Jack," Daniel explained.

"I wouldn't know about that sort of thing," Paul put in.

"Ah," replied Jack, feeling that he couldn't really say much more. Though the part of his brain that never listened to him anyway asked, "Do you really get anything out of that?" He couldn't see it himself.

"Not as such, Jack," Daniel said, "but it's nice for us to be able to go out together and just be ourselves, okay? I can't even be more than an acquaintance to Paul at work. But here, we can go out, hold hands if we want, walk arm in arm, kiss even in the appropriate places such as a club or bar. I don't want to make out in the square here or in the streets, that's not for me, nor is it for Paul, but I want to be as affectionate as I chose to be. Does that make any sense?"

"Perfect sense, Daniel, I understand. Do you two want to go somewhere like that tonight?"

"Yes," Paul interjected. "Tomorrow is the big parade night, the three of us can watch that together, but tonight we'd like to be on our own, if you don't mind."

"Not in the slightest. I'm the fucking gooseberry guys, and I know it. I'm grateful that you've accepted my presence here at all. You go and have some fun. I'll head out to a bar - an ordinary one. I hear there are some good Irish pubs here. That'll do me nicely."

"If you're sure, Jack," Daniel asked again, "I don't want you to feel left out."

"Ya kidding? Course not. I've had fun today, a lot of fun. An hour in a bar will suit me down to the ground. I'm not as young as you two, clubbing isn't my scene any more - no matter what sort of club."

It wasn't very late when Paul and Daniel fell through the hotel bedroom door that night and fell on each other. They'd been drinking, not too much, but one of the shows - well - it didn't leave much to the imagination and turned them on. They'd kissed in the club, a lot, touching each other passionately, revelling in the fact that they were being watched. Neither man knew that they could feel that excited by an audience. They'd stopped before they went too far, wanting to take it home, but as they went they saw one man being kissed and touched by two others. Daniel, whilst already hard, became impossibly so. He had grabbed Paul and pushed him into a darkened alley and against the wall. There was no one around that he could see and he reached down, undid both flies and grabbed both erections in his hand. He squashed his body against Paul's, unconsciously protecting him as he did. The kisses grew in intensity until both men exploded into Daniel's coaxing hand.

"I can't believe I let you do that in the alley, Dan," Paul moaned as they both headed for the shower.

"I can't believe I did it. I'm sorry Paul, I shouldn't have. I couldn't help myself."

"Shh, it's okay. You'd have stopped if I'd said for you to, wouldn't you?"

Daniel was astounded at that. "Of course I would. I had just about enough control to stop if you'd wanted me to. You know I'd never force you into anything."

"So, don't apologise then. It was incredible. Dan, if we don't do crazy things once in a while, we'll just go plain crazy. It's not as if you went down on me in the club, is it?"

"You have no idea how close I came to doing that," Daniel answered seriously. "It was such a turn on, being in public. I've never felt like that before. It's probably because we always have to be so careful. I hope I haven't done anything to hurt you, Paul. You know I'd never want to do that."

"I doubt it, Dan. I told my secretary I was coming here, but I didn't tell her that I was meeting anyone. Nobody else knows where we are. You don't think that Jack would say anything, do you?"

"No. Absolutely not. If we do get caught, I'm hundred percent positive it'll have nothing to do with him. So, did you enjoy being watched?" Daniel's eyes twinkled as he asked Paul.

"God, yes. You're right, it's got to be because we hide all the time." Paul reached for the sponge and started to wash Daniel down, loving the effect that he had on him. They didn't make love in the shower this time, but took it back to the bedroom.

There was a knock on the door as they approached the bed.

"Fuck," Daniel growled, and he grabbed his towel, wrapped it around his waist and went to the door. It was Jack.

"Sorry, guys, was I interrupting? I, um, heard about some places we could go tomorrow while I was in the bar..." his voice trailed off as he saw that both men were wet and just had small towels around them.

"Come in, Jack, and shut the door," Paul ordered.

He entered tentatively.

"Guys? What's up?"

Daniel snorted and Paul shot him a filthy look. Jack flushed a little. Oh. That's what's up. Time to beat a hasty retreat.

"I'd better go, didn't mean to be small, round, green and hairy," he joked.

Daniel looked a little dangerous and Paul decided to let caution go to the wind.

"Jack," he said, "we were discussing something. Perhaps your viewpoint will help us decide. Why don't you sit down?" He pointed to an arm chair, the one that he had sat on before. Jack sat with a bump.

"What were you discussing?"

"Exhibitionism," Daniel said, picking up where Paul left off. "I kissed Paul in the club. Lots of kissing, touching, a bit of shirt opening if you get my drift." Jack swallowed hard. Where was Daniel going with this? "We enjoyed the fact that we were being watched. It was a huge turn on," Daniel added casually. "Neither of us has felt like that before and we were curious as to why it should affect us now. I had to fight hard to stop myself going down on him."

"What? In the club?" Jack was astounded - and trying desperately to put the image of Daniel on his knees and sucking Paul out of his head for good.

"Yes," Paul took over. "And I wanted him to. It was strange. We think it's because we have to hide all the time. A little freedom has gone to our heads. What do you think?"

"It makes sense," Jack croaked as he saw Daniel take Paul by the hand and lead him back to the bed. They lay on it, but propped themselves up against the headboard so they could talk to Jack. He sat facing them, feeling his cock start to swell at the sight.

"You said you'd never get turned on by the sight of a naked man, or two guys at it," Daniel mused, "but I think it's all to do with circumstances. I mean, I think I'd be too nervous to have sex at the SGC or even kiss Paul in a club in Denver - a little too close to home. And I doubt whether I'd get so turned on if I started now with you as the audience. I think it was the anonymity of the whole thing."

"That's possible," Jack agreed. "You didn't....."

"No, not in the club. Though it was so tempting. There was this one guy in the corner being worked on by two other guys. That got my blood running I can tell you," Daniel purred. "We waited till we got outside." His statement was blunt.

"WHAT? You didn't?"

"Yeah. I didn't go down on Paul, which is what I wanted to do, but I did get him off down an alley. Thrilling." His voice was even, scientific almost. It reminded Jack of one of Daniel's lectures in the briefing room.

"You like doing that?"

"What? Hand jobs in public or sucking someone off?"

Jack could not believe they were talking like this.

"The latter," he squeaked.

"Love it," Daniel admitted. "It's just so intimate. You've never...?"

"Not done it, no. Had it done, of course, but..."

"Don't knock it till you try it, Jack," Daniel replied a little seductively.

"We're getting off topic," Paul interrupted. "We were trying to figure out whether we would still get turned on if we had an audience, or whether it was just the atmosphere of the place."

"I have an idea," Daniel murmured and he kissed Paul. Gently at first and then deepening in intensity. He grabbed both towels with one hand and then in one swift movement yanked them off. Jack gasped as he saw this and felt himself get very uncomfortable.

Daniel broke away, his eyes questioning Paul. The answer 'anything you want' came back in Paul's gaze.

"It's working," he said, "this is incredibly erotic for me. What about you, Jack?" He turned slowly and glanced at his friend who was sitting on the arm chair and gripping the arms, his hands white knuckled with the tension.

"Shall we continue?" Daniel asked coolly. Silence greeted him, but both men nodded. "Undo your flies if you want, Jack, relieve some of the pressure. Don't want you getting uncomfortable."

Then he scooted down the bed and took Paul in his mouth. Jack watched as he saw his best friend more than happily working Paul to the point of ecstasy. Then he broke off, pushed Paul's legs wide and up and stuck his tongue up his ass. Paul howled. Jack very nearly did. He was doing what? This was too much for Jack and he wanted to leave. He made to stand up.

"Please, stay," Daniel intoned, stopping what he was doing, his voice still calm. "It won't be a successful experiment if one of the subjects leaves at the beginning, will it?"

Jack sat back down with a bump. Daniel stood up and walked over to him, reached down and undid his flies, slid his fingers behind Jack's boxer elastic and pulled the fabric over his erect cock.

"There, isn't that better now?" he asked almost demurely.

Jack said nothing, finding it hard to keep his eyes north of Daniel's waist.

Daniel went back to the bed, grabbed the lube and went back down on Paul, not letting up this time till he came howling into Daniel's mouth. Daniel's fingers had been working him inside and had hit the spot which got Paul every single time.

Daniel stood up, bent over and kissed Paul, lubed his dick and then got back on the bed. He took Paul's left leg in his hand, kissed the inside of his ankle, licked his way up the calf until he got to the back of Paul's knee - a real hot spot for the younger man. Jack was amazed by the effect that this had on Paul. He was thrashing about on the bed, begging Daniel to fuck him already and stop fucking teasing him. Daniel took pity on him, stuck his feet over his shoulders and in a couple of smooth jerks he pushed inside.

Jack was riveted to the sight in front of him. He'd never watched this before. He'd seen guys jerking each other off, caught the tail end of a blow job in the showers, but never this. And he couldn't get over how hot it was. He tried to imagine if he would feel that way if it wasn't Daniel doing this and came to the conclusion that he probably wouldn't. It was just him. Those other guys he'd seen, it had only partially aroused him and that was when he was in his early twenties and a bundle of seething hormones. He was forty five now and more painfully hard than he had ever been before. He was so caught up in what was going on that he was stunned when Daniel came, cursing and howling in many different languages. Paul had come again - how the hell had that happened? So soon, too. Was this normal? Jack didn't know.

Daniel collapsed on Paul and kissed him hard.

"Love you so much," he whispered.

Paul whispered something back and got a quizzical look from Daniel. Paul reiterated what he had said, insisting on something. Daniel got off him and made his way to Jack.

"So?" he asked huskily, "did you like what you saw?"

He saw that Jack's erection was still there, he hadn't jerked off or anything. Hmm, what to do?

"Well?" he asked again, getting closer to Jack.

"Yessssss," he hissed, and then he yelled, "fucking hell Danny!" as Daniel dropped to his knees and took Jack in his mouth.

He didn't stop, wouldn't stop until Jack had come pouring into his mouth and calling his name over and over again, begging him to stop because he couldn't take any more.

Daniel let him go and knelt up, reaching out to him and pulling him into his arms.

"Shhh, Jack," he murmured, stroking his back. "I couldn't let you go without helping you out." Jack was nearly sobbing with relief, but he was still stunned by the whole thing.

"Why?" he asked.

"Anything goes, Jack, that's the thing for the Mardi Gras. We're none of us behaving the way we would back at work. And you've been so good about us, you deserved a little treat. Did you like it?"

Jack's face flushed as he answered. "You fucking know I did. Who wouldn't?"

"Indeed," Daniel replied. "What do you want to do now?" he asked.

"I need a drink," Jack growled and he stood up, doing himself back up and stalking over to the door. "I'll see you tomorrow."

"FUCK!" Daniel yelled as he saw Jack departing. "Dammit Paul, we went too far."

"Go to him, Daniel. Spend the night with him."

"What?" Daniel was shocked.

"Trust me, babe. He needs reassurance now. You're the only one that can do that."

"I don't want to have an affair with him, Paul, I love you. YOU! Remember?"

"I know, babe, but you have to trust me on this one. I'm not going to get jealous or anything. Come on, you doing that was my idea, wasn't it? Grab some pants and go and talk to him at least. Sleep with him if it makes him feel better. We need him on our side."

"Prostitute myself?" Daniel snarled.

"NO! Just comfort him. Daniel, you two are friends. He needs you now. I'll manage tonight, I promise. I love you, don't forget that."

Daniel grabbed him and kissed him fiercely. "Love you so fucking much, Paul. Don't you dare think that I don't."

He slung on a pair of jeans and stalked to the door, not looking back as he walked through it. He banged on Jack's door until the older man let him in.

"Danny? What's up?"

Daniel replied by kissing him hard.

"Why did you walk? There was no need, Jack. Are you ashamed of me?"

"No. Of course not. I just needed to get away. It was too much, Daniel. I do love you, Christ only knows I do. But I'm not sure I can cope with knowing what you just did. What you just did for me. You opened my eyes, Danny, made me see stuff. I'm not talking about your little floor show, but stuff inside me. This isn't easy, you know. I think I want to be with you."

"I'm in love with Paul," Daniel said coldly, pushing Jack to the bed. "I won't leave him. Tonight. One off Jack. This is your chance. Do you want to fuck me?"

"Yes," Jack answered, "but I'm not going to."


"Because it will fuck us up. And you know it."

Daniel kissed him more gently for that and lay down on the bed, artlessly ripping his jeans off as he did.

"I'm going to sleep with you tonight," he announced. Jack looked at him for a minute and then nodded. He headed off to the bathroom, took a leak and cleaned his teeth as if this was a normal state of affairs, then he changed into some sweats and got into bed with Daniel, pulling him into his arms.

"Do you regret what you did?"

"Going down on you, you mean?" Jack nodded. "No. I've wanted to do that for a long time. I needed to know how you tasted."

Jack screwed up his face at that, unable to comprehend Daniel's thought processes.

"I love you, Jack. For a long time I was in love with you. I used to fantasise about you all the time. It's Paul for me now though, and I'm not giving him up."

"So why are you with me now?"

"Paul said you'd need me. I think he knows that I need you tonight too."

"Is everything going to be okay between you?"

"I hope so," Daniel sighed and then buried himself into Jack's chest. Jack held him close and the two of them fell asleep together.

The next morning wasn't as awkward as it could have been. Daniel woke up earlier than he would have expected. Jack was already awake and out of bed. He handed Daniel a coffee and they talked of where they would go that day. They figured a stroll down the riverside, doing some present shopping would be a good thing. Then Daniel got up, put his jeans back on and headed to his own room.

"Is everything okay?" Paul asked.

"We didn't do anything," Daniel replied.

"Dan, that's not what I asked," Paul sighed.

"Yes, sorry, it's as good as it's going to be." Daniel rubbed the bridge of his nose as he thought of the next thing to say.

"I kissed him when I went into the room, that was all," Paul was about to interrupt but Daniel put his hand up. "No, Paul, you've got to know. You've got to know you can trust me. I kissed him. I slept with him - real sleep. No sex. I couldn't do that. I offered, but he turned me down. He knew I didn't want it."

Paul pulled him into his arms and held him close.

"How are you feeling?"

"Confused as hell, but I'll live. He was talking about going shopping today. I think we should."

Paul agreed and then they ordered breakfast and got ready for the day.

They called on Jack and he went with them on their shopping trip. Nothing more was said about the night before. Jack laughed it up with them as they chose presents for those back home. Paul found some Mardi Gras beads for his secretary - she'd asked for some when he'd asked her what she wanted.

"You should have got those the more traditional way," Daniel teased.

"What way is that, " Jack asked - blushing when Daniel whispered just how.

"People really do that?" he howled. "I thought that was one of those urban myth things."

"Oh no," Daniel replied with a grin. "I might get me some tonight, who knows? Gonna get some now to give away. Never know who'll come along."

"Jeez Danny, you're right, I never knew you, did I?" Jack sounded sad about this and Daniel stopped walking abruptly and pulled him into a hug, not giving a damn who saw them.

"Does it matter? Jack, tell me, does this really matter?"

"No," he hissed. "You're still the best fucking friend I've ever had. None of this matters, Danny. None of it. The only thing that matters is us. And when we get back, you're gonna see the old me. It'll shock the hell out of everyone but I don't give a shit. We'll spend time together, okay?" He looked up at Paul and added, "I'm not going to get in your way. I'll help you out, I promise. What are friends for?"

Daniel let go of him and took Paul's hand as they walked along the river's edge.

Paul looked over at Jack and nodded. They understood each other perfectly.

Night time came and the parades started. They drank Southern Comfort from plastic cups behind the barriers as they watched the floats and the amazing costumes of the normal parade, then they headed back to the French Quarter. Daniel was right, people screamed at him to expose various bits of himself. He collected a few beads for the more modest areas of his body, and ended up walking along with no jacket or shirt on at all. When one guy asked to see his ass, Jack fell about laughing. No way was he going to do it. Paul, however said, "Dare you Dan."

Next thing they knew, Daniel dropped his pants and very briefly mooned the guy. Paul fell about laughing and Jack looked stunned. Daniel grinned like an idiot as he collected his reward.

"Come on, Jack, you know I'll do almost anything for a dare," he called out. "Besides, who the fuck knows me here?"

As they got further into the Quarter and the night drew on, they got amongst the drunker and less inhibited party goers. Jack was in his leather jacket and looking good - according to the guys. They too were in their leathers, Daniel's extending to the tight pants he was wearing, he had put his tops back on against the chill of the night air. They stopped for a while to watch some costumed people parading down the street. When Jack turned back to them he saw them kissing in the street. It looked so loving and tender that he couldn't help but smile.

A man came up to Jack and whispered something to him.

"Er, no, thanks, not interested," Jack replied after he calmed down a little.

"Come on, sugar," the other one insisted. He was obviously drunk and in no mood to take no for an answer.

Jack felt that he was going to have to resort to physically restraining him, something he didn't want to have to do. The other guy was smaller than him, certainly he wasn't as strong. Jack didn't want to hurt him. Before he had to intervene though, he felt his mouth being captured. He knew those lips. Daniel.

It was a breathtaking kiss, love and passion behind it, not the fierceness of the night before.

"Mine," Daniel growled as he pulled away. The other guy wanted to make something of it.

"He's yours," he nodded at Paul.

"So? I'm lucky," Daniel grinned. He wrapped his arms around both men's waists. "MINE!" He insisted and the other guy finally backed off.

"Thanks, Danny," Jack said, very grateful that he'd been got out of that. "I nearly ended up in a fight there. Didn't want things to get like that."

"What are friends for, Jack?" Daniel replied with a grin.

After a long and happy evening - with no more untoward events - the guys staggered back to the hotel. Paul and Daniel said goodnight to Jack and fell into their room. Jack entered his a lot more quietly, contemplating the kiss, the hug - the whole damned shooting match. Funnily enough, the kiss affected him more than the freaking blow job had. The night before had been strange. The guys had been a bit drunk, were seriously hyped up by their experience in the club - turned on beyond belief, he guessed. And Daniel, wow, well he'd never expected him to do that, but he didn't think badly of him or anything. He couldn't have explained it if a gun had been held to his head. It had been wonderful, best of his life, but it really meant nothing. Daniel was in love with Paul and Jack knew that. But that kiss tonight. The tenderness in felt the same way that Daniel's kiss with Paul looked. Jack felt loved. And now he didn't know what to do.

He had already realised that he was a bit in love with Daniel, that was pretty much a given. But until he had been kissed tonight, he'd thought that he'd be able to live with that - live with the friendship and nothing else. After all, he only had himself to blame. But now, he wanted Daniel all to himself. Fuck it! He opened his shutters and stood out on his balcony. Hands on the railings he looked out to the street below.

"Tough, O'Neill," he told himself out loud, "you had your chance and you blew it. You're not going to do a fucking thing to hurt them. Nobody hurts Daniel, nobody. Including you. Suck it up and live with it, fly boy. Maybe he'll stay your friend."

He slammed his fist on the railing and turned back inside, closing his shutters on the outside world and shutting down his feelings hard.

Daniel stood by his open window and shook. He had heard Jack's outburst and his heart broke for his friend. 'Oh Jack,' he thought, 'why now? Why couldn't you tell me before?'

"Dan?" Paul called to him, "come to bed, babe."

Daniel shut his own window and got into bed with Paul, snuggling up close. He didn't want to make love, just wanted to be held. Paul wondered what was going on in his head. He'd bet anything that it had something to do with Jack O'Neill. He let out a sigh, accepted that there was probably nothing he could do about it and tried to sleep.

Daniel didn't sleep. He had no idea what he was going to do. He loved Paul - without doubt. He'd had a wonderful eighteen months. He hated being apart from him, absolutely hated it. He was never truly happy unless the two of them were away from work and together. And it wasn't just the sex. It was the meals they shared, the films they watched, the books and news they discussed. Everything. So, why could he only think of Jack?

The next morning saw Jack packed and ready to leave. He couldn't stay any more. No way. It was just too much for him. He'd hardly slept the night before, tossing and turning as he worked everything through his mind. One thing he noticed, there were no noises coming from the guy's room. Perhaps they were just tired. Or perhaps he'd already done too much damage. Whatever - he had to get away.

He knocked on their door before leaving. Paul opened the door to him and invited him in.

"Just come to say 'bye'," Jack announced.

"You're going? Why?" Daniel called out as he re-entered the room from the bathroom.

"It's time, Danny," Jack replied. "I've got stuff to do back home. You two have a good time, okay? I'll try to keep the snakes from spoiling anything for you."

"You're not doing this because...." Daniel's voice trailed off.

"No, of course not. I really have got stuff to do, Daniel. I shouldn't have come in the first place."

"Do you regret it?"

"Only in as much as I've spoilt your time together. I'm sorry about that, truly I am. I know it can't be easy for you guys. Told you before, but I'll say it again. Paul, you've got nothing to fear from me. I'll protect you as best I can if needs be. Hell, I'd do that even if you weren't with Daniel. You're a good man and fine officer and the law sucks. I've always thought that. Thanks for putting up with me. You were both really generous to share your time with me."

"Jack," Paul walked over to him and put out his hand. "It's been a pleasure. It's hard on us because we can't tell anyone about us. Having someone we can trust to share this with....well, it's been good for us too. You've been good company. Thank you."

They shook hands and Jack turned to Daniel. He cocked his head to one side and raised an eyebrow. Daniel grinned and stepped close to him and then they held each other in a full body hug.

"See ya when you get back, Space monkey," Jack teased.

"Take care, Jack. I'll be home soon," Daniel promised.

As Jack sat on the plane flying home he thought about the last few days. "I'll be home soon." Those words rattled in his head. 'Please Danny,' he thought. 'Come home to me.'