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Trinity V - Sacrifice

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Jason clamped down on the back of Daniel's waistband and yanked him backward.  The momentum sent both to the floor on their backsides, laughing, and he made another grab for Daniel just as his lover twisted away, knocking Jason into the legs of one of the table chairs.  Glaring, Jason righted the chair that threatened to topple over on him and took a deep breath against Daniel's smugly smiling face.

"You are so mine, Daniel." He lunged forward and pinned Daniel to the floor but found his lover's calves wrapping behind his knees; with a quick turn, Daniel had him on his back.

"You are mine," Daniel whispered as he lay over his lover's trapped body.

Squirming, Jason replied, "I am."

With a wicked smile, Daniel said, "I'm so glad you finally see that."

Jason gave in to being pinned down and laced his fingers through Daniel's.  "What are you going to do about it then?"

Daniel gave him a filthy smile in return.  "Oh, let's see..."  He didn't pretend to be thinking it over.  He simply bit his lip in a blatant tease and rubbed his erection against Jason's, loving how his lover groaned and closed his eyes.

Daniel leaned down, an inch away from a kiss.  "I can think of one or two things I'd like to do."

Jason leaned up for a kiss but Daniel pulled back a bit, denying him.  "Don't tease me."

Daniel ground against him, sending pleasure through them both.  "You like it."

Jason stared at his lips and into his eyes.  "Yes."

Daniel thrust once more, enjoying himself immensely, but a tiny splashing noise tore his attention away and he looked up.  "Shit!" he exclaimed in alarm and scrambled off of Jason in a flash.

"Daniel, what the fuck?" Jason blurted out, rolling over onto his stomach.

Daniel hurried over to the fish tank and grabbed his net, plunging it and his free hand into the water.  "That goddamn beta jumped the screen wall!"

Jason sighed and thumped his forehead into the carpet a few times.  How he could stop their fooling around, just to save a fish.  "Daniel, let them fight it out."

"Cassie gave me this damn thing.  I'm not letting them fight."

"Then maybe you need to get another tank."

"No, I'm making them live together."

Jason started snickering as he watched Daniel follow the beta around the tank with the net, finally corralling him and dumping him back into his side of the aquarium.  He removed the net, studying the angelfish and the beta, trying to determine if any damage was done.  Bubbles came from the Beta's mouth, making him look rabid and Daniel stepped back, bumping into Jason as he got to his feet.

"Get another tank, Daniel, so we're not interrupted again," Jason told him as he slid his arms around Daniel's waist and pinned him to his body, letting Daniel feel what had been interrupted.

Daniel turned his head since he was unable to turn around.  "Annoyed?" he asked sheepishly.

"That you interrupted us to save a fish you should have separated instead of quarantined?"

Daniel sighed and dropped his head back on Jason's shoulder.  "Sorry."

"Angelfish seems to be the target," Jason said, staring at the fish.

"Because Boris is the alpha male of the tank, along with his mate, Natasha."

"I didn't know you actually named them.  Where've I been?"

Daniel grinned.  "Paying attention to me, not my fish."

It was Jason's turn to look sheepish.  "Still, I should've known by now." He felt Daniel shrug and added, "So...Boris and Natasha?"

"One of the few cartoons I liked growing up was Bullwinkle."

"Obviously," Jason shook his head and looked over at the door just as Jack walked in.

"Daniel, where's the charcoal?"

Daniel and Jason couldn't help but smirk.  Jack was dirty with grill soot, with one such smudge across his cheek.

Daniel pointed to the nearest bottom drawer in the kitchen.  "In the bottom utility drawer.  Keeping it dry."

Jack grunted, grabbed the charcoal and went back outside and Daniel snorted with amusement.  "A man with a mission."

"So, does Jack know you have Russian names for your fish?"

"I told him once, but he probably wasn't paying attention.  Jack sees fish as eventual entrees."

"Gonna remind him?"

"No point.  He still has that thing about a few members of the Russian covert ops."

Jason nodded in understanding.  "You know why that is, don't you?"

Daniel looked at him carefully, then grabbed the screen material from the shelf under the aquarium.  "I never asked but I can guess."

Jason nodded.  "It's not all Russians he hates, Daniel."

"I know that he tends to treat all Russians the same.  Our governments are assholes, not most of the men in their military.  It's not fair."

"No, it's not," Jack replied from the doorway.  Daniel regarded him carefully as Jack went over to the kitchen sink to wash up.  "Old prejudices take time to break.  I'm getting there."

Daniel sighed and continued with what he was doing.  Grabbing a pair of metal-cutting shears, he slowly cut another screen, folded part of it over, then replaced it with the other screen, hooking it to clamps secured inside and on top of the tank.  The folded section now barred any attempt by the Beta to jump his side.  "There, that ought to hold you till you get your own home, you shithead.  In the meantime, try jumping that."

Jack was drying his hands and arms and as he approached, Jason snorted and took the towel away, wiping at the smudge on his face.  "You should go wash up."

Jack leered as he took the towel from his lover.  "Later, when I'm finished.  Wanna help?"

"Just grab me."

"Okay," Jack answered, caressing Jason's ass as he walked around him to step in behind Daniel.  Peering into the tank, he asked, "Whatcha doin'?"

"Had to put up another screen to keep the beta from jumping it."

Jack raised his brow.  "He jumped his cage, eh?  That the one from Cassie?"

Daniel nodded.  "A late birthday present."

"She's so sentimental with you," Jack commented absently, staring at the tank and tapping on it.  The angelfish ignored him but the Beta swished his tail belligerently.

Daniel shook his head.  "That'd be you, Jack, not me." When Jack tapped the tank again, this time getting the angelfish's attention, Daniel slapped his arm.  "Stop provoking Boris, Jack."

Jack half-straightened and sent Daniel a smirk.  "Boris?"

Daniel pointed.  "Boris... Natasha."

Jack grinned back.  "I get it," he said in a sarcastic tone and looked back at the fish.

"Boris reminds me of you."

Jack cocked a brow at him as Jason stepped back to watch the play-by-play.  "Why's that?"

"He's paternal and protective in the extreme."

Jack scowled at him, then tapped the back of his fingers against the side of the tank where the Beta resided.  The Beta darted at the glass, his tail swishing even more.

"Kinda small isn't it?" Jack asked, peering at the fish as he continued to provoke it.

Daniel grabbed Jack's hand.  "Stop it, Jack."

"What's the beta's name?"

"Not sure yet, but right now, it's either Demon or Satan."

"Nah, those don't fit."

"Well, what would you name him?"

"Cat food."

Jason spat out a laugh, which grew, urged on by Jack's mischievous grin and Daniel's scowl.

"Jack," Daniel protested.

"He looks gay."

"Jack!" Jason guffawed.

"He does!  All swishing that pretty tail," Jack defended, waving his hand at the tank.  "You could call him Queenie."

Throwing a glare at Jason's cackling, Daniel propelled Jack away from the aquarium and toward the kitchen.  "Okay, smart ass, go fix our steaks."

"I have a neighbor who's selling their latest batch of kittens," Jack teased.  "I hear they're one of those fishing breeds," and he resisting the push outside by slipping an arm around Daniel's waist and pulling him in for quick kiss that ended up smudging soot on Daniel's cheek.  Jack snickered as he admired his handiwork.

"Ha, ha, very funny, Jack," Daniel replied, rubbing at the smudge and pushed him away and went to the stove, seeing to the nearly-forgotten potato slices.  Jack shot him a smug look, complete with an "I told you so," sniff, as he went back outside.  Daniel rolled his eyes and decided to ignore him.  As he set the timer, Jason walked over, still laughing.

Daniel answered the laugh with a push against Jason's chest, moving him backward toward the living room.  "Now... where were we before we were so rudely interrupted by demonic fish?"

"I forget.  It was you who interrupted by insisting on rescuing said demonic fish.  I'm feeling a little pouty."

"Jason," Daniel warned as he grabbed his arm and maneuvered him against the arm of the sofa.  "Forget the fish."

"You didn't," Jason sniffed around the grin that was forming.

"I am now."

"I'm still having memory problems."

"I could fix that."


"By reminding you."

"Of what exactly?"

"Of what we were doing?  Or rather, what I was doing to you."

"Wasn't that the other way around?"

"Wow, you really are forgetful, Jace," Daniel told him as he shoved, watching gleefully as Jason fell onto his back on the wide, soft couch.

"That felt very much like assault," Jason replied as he cupped himself and rubbed.

"Could be," Daniel told him.  A dangerous smile curled his lips as he stood at the arm, unbuttoning his jeans and sliding them off his hips.  Jason really liked that look and began to unbutton his own shirt automatically but Daniel slapped his hands away.  "You just lie there and hold onto the sofa."

Jason exhaled and laid one hand on of the back of the couch and the other, at his side, staring up at his lover, his face flushed with excitement as Daniel stripped them both naked below the waist.

"Now what?" he asked.

With a devious smile, Daniel settled between Jason's knees and took his lover's cock in one hand, his own in the other, and stroked slowly, bringing their cocks together.  It made Jason hiss and he covered Daniel's hands with his own, thrusting into them, feeling his dick glide wonderfully against his lover's friction.

It didn't take long before they created a rhythm, fucking Daniel's hands, and Jason had to break off, grabbing the couch once more, this time for leverage.  A thin layer of sweat shone over their skin as the pleasure neared completion and Jason could no longer manage the slow rhythm.

He thrust faster, mumbling, "Daniel."

"Jason," Daniel murmured back, tightening his hands as he met Jason's pace.  Their movements easily synchronized, pumping faster, Daniel rubbed his thumbs firmly over both heads as they thrust upward, rubbing the leaking pre-come over the hot skin, making them both jerk at the heightened sensitivity.

"Yes," Jason blurted out, quickly reaching around for Daniel's ass.  His voice was desperate and needy and he groaned in warning as his balls drew up.

"Yes, Jason," Daniel whispered again, adding, "Come for me."

The need was tight and fast, the end closing in, when Jason suddenly arched, spurting with each moaning exhale, hips thrusting madly.  Daniel cursed and fell atop him, kissing Jason hard as he came between them, mixing it with his lover's.  The sharp tang of semen in the air made Daniel kiss him harder, squeezing their cocks and pulling the last of their release from their bodies.

Breaking off and slumping down, Daniel nuzzled Jason's throat, moaning as Jason's hands lovingly caressed his ass.  Eyes closed, they waited through the afterglow, and eventually, Daniel pushed off his lover, standing unsteadily and bringing an equally shaky lover to his feet.


"With you?  Always."

After washing up, Jason pulled his jeans back on, allowing himself the luxury of watching Daniel get dressed.  With a sudden fierceness, he grabbed his lover and pulled him into an embrace, kissing him long and passionately.  When he let him go, Daniel let out a slow breath.

"What was that for?"

"Because I love you," Jason said softly, combing his fingers through his hair, kissing him again.

Daniel smiled.  "Oh, well, I know that."

"Should I stop saying it then?" Jason teased.

"No, I never get tired of hearing it."

"I'll never get tired of saying it," Jason grinned.  "Jack, on the other hand..."

"He can be sappy."

"Yes, he can."

"I love you back."

"I know."

They let each other go just as Jack walked in, grinning at them as he walked by.

"I smell something familiar in here," he said, slapping Daniel gently on the ass as he moved past and down the hall.

Daniel grinned, getting an idea, and Jason caught on quickly.  They were both still wound up and more than a little aroused by their mutual idea.  Moving down the hall, they found Jack in the laundry room, sorting through a basket of clean linen.

Jack looked up as his lovers appeared in the doorway.  He felt warm.  Very warm.  Pretending he didn't, he asked, "Daniel, don't you have an apron in here somewhere?  I could've sworn you had one."

Daniel went over to the short linen hutch and pulled out a folded apron with 'Chef' written in large, red, script letters across the front.  "If it had been a snake, Jack," he said and as Jack reached for it, Daniel moved it behind his back.  Jason took that moment to shut the door and close in behind Jack, smirking as Jack glanced over his shoulder at him, then back to Daniel.

"How long before you have to turn over the steaks, Jack?" Daniel asked, pulling at Jack's waistband.  "I'll assume you have them on slow grill?" His lover's scent, sweat mixed with beer, charcoal, soot, and wood chips, aroused his sense of smell enough to give him a low hum of pleasure; enough to give Jack what he'd just had.  But, considering the timing, he and Jason would have to be quick.

"Yes, and the point--"

"Hold him," Daniel said quickly as he dropped the apron on the unfolded pile of clean laundry, then pushed Jack into Jason's arms.

Jason smiled against his neck, his fingers reaching to undo Jack's jeans as he nuzzled his neck.  "Think he can do you in under ten minutes?" he asked as he pushed Jack's jeans down over his hips.  Jack inhaled softly as his hardening dick was freed, hitting the cooler air.

"I can, providing you help, Jace," Daniel replied for Jack as his fingers joined Jason's.

"Not a problem," Jason said, enjoying the feel of Jack's cock as it stiffened within his fist.

"I don't think that's--" Jack started to say but Daniel cut off his words with a slow, arousing kiss, moaning softly as Jack wrapped his arms around him and kissed him back, hips moving under Jason's touch.

After a few more a long, slow kisses, Daniel pulled away.  "Think I can do you in five?" he asked, kneeling.

"Try me," Jack said, giving in and dropping his head back as Daniel laved and licked, then took him whole, sucking firmly while he held onto his thighs.  Jason took his hips in hand and began to move him, urging him to thrust, and Jack had no problem with that as he began to work with Daniel's quick, purposeful rhythm.

Daniel closed his eyes, relishing in the taste and heaviness of Jack's cock as he rolled his tongue over smooth, silky skin, his mouth drooling hungrily.  Grabbing blindly for one of Jason's hands, he guided him down, and together, their fingers toyed with Jack's hole and perineum, adding spit so they could slip one finger each inside their lover.

Jack's legs buckled briefly, but between his lovers, he was kept upright, moaning loudly as they tortured him delightfully, giving his gland one hell of a massage.  He combed his fingers through Daniel's hair, guiding him as he took over the double assault, sliding into his mouth and backward onto busy fingers.

"Yes, that's it, Jack," Jason whispered and in less than five, Jack grabbed at whatever body part he could find, hanging on as he grunted through one long, beautiful orgasm.

A minute later, Daniel was kissing him, gentling him, whispering as he got to his feet.  "Love you," Daniel whispered as he pulled away.

"Backatcha," Jack mumbled as he fastened his jeans and wandered out of the room in haste, eager to check the steaks.  Behind him, Daniel followed, apron in hand, and shoved it in his hands with a smirk before he and Jason washed up at the sink.

"Well?" Daniel asked with a shout.

Jack threw him a smirk as he turned the steaks, shaking his head.  "Perfect timing," he called back.  "Maybe you two should do me like that every time I put steaks on the grill."

Daniel snickered.  "I don't think that would go over too well at Hammond's annual barbecue, do you?"

"There's more than one bathroom in that huge house of his," Jack answered with a wicked smile.

Daniel gaped at him in shock, as did Jason.  "You're not serious... are you?"

Jack took a long swig from his beer, enjoying this tease.  "You'll just have to find out next month, won't you?"

Their expressions were priceless.  Jack was inwardly patting himself on the back for still being able to fool them. 


A few weeks later...

Life returned to what passed for normal at the SGC as the back-on-track friendship between Jack and Daniel didn't go unnoticed.  While things between them had obviously improved, it took a while for everyone outside of Sam, Teal'c, General Hammond, and Janet, to accept that it wasn't a temporary cease fire.

It was a great relief to most everyone; the backlash everyone inevitably suffered--something that Jack hadn't meant to inflict but had--was now gone.  People were even commenting on it, and though it was annoying, Daniel couldn't blame the bored or cynical ones from making their side bets.

Overall, Daniel was happy, even if he did find the revelation more than a little sad.  Jack's past behavior had affected more people than he'd realized--people had actually been afraid to be his friend.  Now they were friendly, making it more than obvious--to the point of rudeness sometimes--that they were glad the friendship was back.

Jack wasn't oblivious, and that was the real reason for Daniel's feeling of sadness.  Jack knew which way the wind blew and it hurt him to realize just what an unnecessary clusterfuck he'd made of the lives around him.  Daniel didn't like to dwell on things he didn't have to and preferred to keep the past where it was supposed to be, especially since things had changed permanently.  People knew, as he did, that once Jack made up his mind about something or someone, it rarely changed.

Daniel was happy to see that included his friendship with Jason.  Although it had taken Jason a while to stop being pissed off at Jack--as Jason could hold a grudge longer than the both of them--he had no hope of holding onto those bad feelings.  Jack had a way of sweet-talking him that made Daniel grin his head off whenever he thought about it.  On base, nothing was too obvious, but Jason's teammates noticed the change and welcomed it.  They weren't inclined to read anything other than a trickle-down effect from Jack's renewed friendship with Daniel.

But, as usual, there were rumors.  People loved to gossip, and as Daniel noted from time to time, men really were the worst offenders--women were given the blame in society, but Daniel knew otherwise.  He wished he could control the more serious of the rumors, but he left it to Jason, who seemed to consider it his job to stomp out the ones that got out of hand.

Jack and Daniel hadn't asked him to do that, and neither had Hammond, but they appreciated the effort, nonetheless.  Most gossip-mongering was of the harmless sort, thankfully; laughed at and made fun of.

Unfortunately, for Jason, he never had to go far to hear the latest.  His own teammates tended to be his private source and sometimes, Jason wasn't so sure that was a good thing.

Currently in the locker room, Jason was dressing in his gym gear, listening to his 2IC, Captain Alex Wagner, and his munitions man, Lieutenant Al Kaufman, trade some of the weirder rumors back and forth.  He considered putting a stop to it, even if they were hardly damaging, but some were so silly they were entertaining, such as the weird rumor about Teal'c's late night excursions to the mess hall for chocolate cake raids.

The moment he heard Hammond's name, however, Jason had to put his foot down.  "Okay, guys, enough gossip.  Don't diss the CO, even out of earshot.  If you have to make fun, wait till you get home.  No doing that around personnel."

"Sorry, sir," they both said.  Alex Wagner was already dressed and getting ready to leave when he added, "If you need anything, Major, you know where I am," and he threw him a single-fingered salute that Jason sometimes thought should have been the middle one.

"Yeah, I know, and whatever you do, don't make me look bad.  See you at 0900 for the briefing."

"After SG-1's, I know.  Jeez, Major, you're worse than a girlfriend sometimes," Wagner snorted as he left.  Jason stared after the vacant spot left by Alex, thinking that over, then dismissed it with a smirk as he looked over at Sergeant Connor McCaffrey, his tracker and amateur language specialist, who suddenly looked busy.

"Do I sound like a girlfriend?" he asked, squinting at both his teammates, daring them to say yes.

Getting ready to leave, Connor looked amused.  "In a word, yes."  Kaufman smiled in agreement.

"This is what I get for caring about you ingrates," he growled as he finishing tying his sneakers.  "I'm not bailing either one of you out ever again." He could hear his men snickering as they left the room and it put a grin on his face.

After locking up his things, Jason went to the base's gym to get his light workout in before going home.  It was just after 7 p.m., and this late, he'd normally spend only a half hour on the weights, but tonight, unfortunately, he had time.  Daniel was holed up in his office for the evening, working on some translation that was pissing him off, and Jack was in his own office, grumbling at having to catch up on the paperwork he'd been trying to ignore.

Jason took a cursory look, finding the locker room empty, before moving to his assigned locker to grab his weight belt and tape up his hands.  As he finished securing it, he heard voices, their direction indicating that the owners were coming from the exercise room.  As they entered the far side of the locker room, Jason paid little attention to what they were saying since he didn't much care for eavesdropping.  He concentrated on taping up his hands, thinking about the workout routine he'd use, and slipped on his fingerless gloves.

When the tone and level of the voices suddenly dropped, sounding secretive, conspiratorial, the hairs on the back of Jason's neck rose.  His radar went off but he told himself they were probably complaining about something and didn't want to be overheard.  And whoever they were, they didn't know he was there, so he wanted to keep it that way.

He knew who they were, however.  He'd heard the voices before, in the entryway on level 11 that morning.  SG-22.  Or rather, the new SG-22.  He frowned as he adjusted his gloves, walking down the row of lockers toward the weight room.  He was trying to remember their names when one of the voices rose a little louder than the others, the tone commanding.  Swaying.

Jason slowed, suddenly remembering the man's name from the clipboard Jack had of the newbies.  Major Hank Rogers.  Something had him ticked off and he was getting it out with garbage talk.  Well, it was up to Jason, as veteran and leader of SG-2, to set an example and calm things down.  Or break bones.  Sometimes he preferred the latter.

As he approached the end of the locker row, he stopped.  What had just come out of Rogers' mouth was in no way garbage talk.

"You listen to me, Bradley," Rogers said.  "O'Neill is a fag.  He's shagging that pussy Jackson under everyone's nose.  You can just see it, looking at the two of them."

"Major, it's not a good idea to diss the base 2IC," the man Jason figured was Bradley said.  He sounded as if he was trying to speak up for the base's most respected people, but his voice was filled with fear.

"Sergeant, they're not worth respecting.  I heard a lot about this place and it's full of bleeding hearts and faggot-lovers.  They put a dyke on SG-1, so I rest my case."

"Sir, she was engaged from what I hear--" another man said.  Jason couldn't identify the voice.

"And she left his ass at the altar and equally left him to rot on some planet.  A good, strong man, who didn't take second billing to no bitch.  He gave her everything and she shit on him.  She's a fucking dyke."

"Just because she doesn't have a boyfriend, sir--"

"You listen to me, all of you," and Rogers went on and on, ticking off points that held no truth, never mind validity.  As he spoke his lies, Jason could practically hear the members of his team lose their voices as they were held captive by their leader's anger and position.

Jason, on the other hand, was about to find his voice, trying to control his own anger as it rose.  But this had to be done correctly.  A fear-based team worked up by their irrational leader would be capable of anything--including lying to protect their own asses.  He moved back toward his locker when Rogers' next words made Jason's blood run cold.

"You know what happens to a command with faggots in charge?  I won't let that happen to a place that should be a proud command.  He has to be fragged."

A gasp from his team members, then Bradley objecting again.  "Maybe he is shagging Jackson, but so what?  It don't hurt us any.  He's a good leader, and I respect him."

"You don't even know him, Bradley!"

"Neither do you, sir!  O'Neill's shown his abilities time and again.  I don't believe those rumors, and they only serve--"

There was a loud grunt and a gasp for air as Jason was sure that Rogers had hit the man to shut him up.  "You wanna find out what it's like to get fucked in the ass?" Rogers threatened.

"No," Bradley croaked and there was the sound of a scuffle and Bradley cried out again.  "NO!"

"No what?  Maybe you want it?"

The other members started to object but Rogers yelled at them, threatening them with false rape reports.  "Bradley, you answer me!"

"No, I don't want it, sir!"

"That's better, you fucking little coward."

From what Jason could hear, Rogers hit him again for good measure and Bradley sounded like he was struggling to catch his breath.  He wondered, if Bradley kept fighting, would Rogers actually rape him.  Jason wouldn't let that happen, of course, but the idea turned his stomach.  A repressed homophobe was what that man was and Jason hated to admit it, but he half-hoped Rogers would try something, only so he could take the bastard out... then call Security.

Jason returned to his locker, waiting to hear more about the veiled threat.  In the next few moments, however, the threat wasn't so veiled anymore.

"It just so happens I do know him from a long time ago.  He's a prima donna.  He never follows the rules.  Thinks the service is here for him, not the other way around.  It's time he learned his lesson."

Rogers began to explain his plan about sabotaging Jack's truck; that he had access to some explosives.  The others were too intimidated to post objections and it made Jason sick.  He also realized from the man's ranting that he had it in for Jack.  Whatever happened in their previous encounter, Jason knew this man was dangerous.  He'd probably fucked up a past mission and if anyone had died, the sorry-assed sonofabitch was lucky he was still alive.

As Jason listened, he was also thinking about how the hell Rogers got here.  He obviously wasn't stable.  Someone with a grudge against Jack, someone in power, had gone to considerable trouble to find someone with an equal or higher grudge--someone who didn't have a problem committing cold-blooded murder.  That sort of person wasn't just dangerous to Jack.  He was dangerous to the entire command, hell, the service, the planet.

When Rogers began to outline how he'd sabotage his truck, Jason's anger began to flame.  Rogers' sabotage would be later that night, rigged so that when Jack drove home, the bomb would go off.  If it didn't kill him right off, the explosion would likely roll the vehicle, so Rogers planned to follow, just in case, and finish the job if he had to.

Jason wanted to kill him then and there, but he had to get rid of him legally.  Which meant letting him go through with his plan.  Which meant pretending he hadn't heard.

Grimacing, hating that he couldn't just take the traitorous bastard out, Jason slipped out the main door.  As he walked, he removed his gloves and ripped the tape off his hands, depositing the latter in the nearest waste container.  After he'd gone half the length of the short corridor, he turned around and headed back.

Taking off his belt, he purposely made a lot of noise as he brushed through the double swinging doors.  Banging his locker door open, he quickly put his belt away, grabbed the tape, and began to re-tape his hands as if he'd just shown up.  He had no intentions of lifting weights now but it had to look like he was.  Privately, he had something else to do.  Perhaps he'd even get the chance to kill this sonofabitch by the end of the night.

As he finished one hand and began to tape the other, the members of SG-22 rounded the end of the locker row, Rogers in the lead.  Jason looked up and nodded absently, making it look as if he had other things on his mind and couldn't care less that they were there.  It would have been so easy, right at that moment, to take his baton to all of them, but he reminded himself that this had to be done legally.  Sometimes that just sucked.

The team didn't move away and Jason had a pretty good idea why.  Rogers had to find out if he'd heard anything.  Ironically, Jason would have done the same.

"Excuse me, didn't know anyone else was in here."

"Just got here," Jason told him tersely, letting Rogers know in no uncertain terms that he wasn't there to waste time talking.

"Of course.  You're Major Coburn, aren't you?" he asked walking up to stand a few feet away from him.  Jason regarded the man with annoyance, as if angry that his time was interrupted.

"Leader of SG-2," Jason added in reminder, as if Rogers should have stated that first.  He peered hard at him intently, as if he'd only just recognized him.  "And you're Rogers." He then waved at the men behind him... still at the end of the row.  "And Bradley, Stokes, and Clark.  Newest replacements for SG-22." His information put Rogers on the defensive immediately, which is exactly what he intended.

"That's right, but you say that as if it's a bad thing."

His manner was bizarre, even considering the planning of a murder.  He was taking umbrage where no offense existed and that told Jason everything else he needed to know.  The man was a hair trigger.  Jason tilted his head back slightly, giving him a cold look.  "Stand down, Rogers.  Prove yourself before you entertain notions of attitude."

"Excuse me?"

"You're a newbie, despite your rank.  I'm not going to ask where your defensive attitude is coming from because I don't care.  I'm only going to tell you twice, since once is not enough.  Stand down.  Is that understood?"

His commanding words had taken Rogers by surprise so the man didn't say anything as Jason looked him over as well as that of his teammates.  They were built well enough, but the one thing Jason noticed was that Bradley was the smallest.  It told him that Rogers liked to pick on the smallest.  Another strike against him, though hardly surprising.  Rogers apparently equated being smaller with weakness.  Considering what Jason had heard, fairness was also a weak link.

"I said, is that understood?" Jason asked more coldly.  He was purposely baiting him, wanting the man to take a swing at him.  Of course, he could tell now that Rogers wasn't going to.  Instead, Rogers was assessing him.  Inwardly, Jason laughed.

Rogers looked him up and down and sneered.  "Understood, Major." He didn't say anything else and Jason didn't ask for elaboration of the slur.  Pity.  He really wanted to pick a fight, but the bastard needed to be taken down in more ways than a good skull crushing.

Jason knew it was a bit hypocritical to hate murderers like this man, when wanting to kill him might be considered the same thing, but the difference was his thought behind it.  Jason would never, ever, have a problem with killing in defense of another.  It didn't matter to him if the person was under attack directly.  Anyone who was a threat, and could be taken out, he'd gladly do the job.

Jason watched as SG-22 went to another locker row and before they disappeared, he caught a lingering glance from Bradley, as if the man were somehow trying to warn him.  Maybe there was hope for that one but Jason didn't think so.  The man was a coward long before he showed up here.  It had Jason wondering just how he'd managed to get this far.  Probably some senator's little boy.  He'd have to check.

With a few other thoughts, Jason shut his locker and left the gym.


Jason made his way to level 16 to check in with the security personnel on duty... but more importantly, with one in particular.

"Hey, Major, what're you doing here so late?" asked Carmichael, the tall female Sergeant on duty.  Jason had liked the woman the moment he'd met her.  She presented herself well.  Her long blond hair was always up, braided tightly, and the rest of her appearance was always sharp and no-nonsense.  She was a strong woman, too, who had spotted his weights for him on occasion as they'd worked out together in the weight room.

"It's not that late, Cari," he said with a grin.  "I was going to lift weights but I got distracted.  Have those security cameras in the parking level been fixed yet?  The ones for the first row?"

She checked her material assignment roster.  "Tomorrow, sir.  We won't get the new kits in until tomorrow."

Jason didn't bother to hide his noise of disgust.  "Dammit.  Thanks, Sergeant."

"Anything I can help with, sir?" she asked, curious.

Jason had reservations about getting her involved but Security needed to know.  It was something he had to report or Hammond would have his ass.  However, he wanted to catch the prick before Jack got into his truck.  Chewing at his lip, he thought about what actions to take, and it struck him that he'd need proof, not just his word.

Sighing, he said, "I need a camcorder and I won't ask Daniel.  I don't want him involved."

"Involved in what, sir?" she asked, becoming serious.

"I have reason to believe Colonel O'Neill's truck is going to get tampered with."

Carmichael's eyes grew wide in disbelief.  "What?  Where'd you learn this?" She grabbed her report log clipboard.

He placed his hand over the clipboard.  "It might have just been grandstanding, Sergeant."

"Even so, sir, you know the rules."

"I know, but the point here is that regardless of what I heard, I need proof.  I want to catch the s.o.b. in action first."

Carmichael crossed her arms and thought about it, then her face brightened.  "A girlfriend in Research, Amanda, is one of Dr. Jackson's assistants and she has an extra one.  It's not in use at the moment, since she's on vacation, but I can leave a note for her that we've borrowed it for security purposes."

"If she's on vacation, how will she know?"

"It's a precaution, sir," Carmichael said with a grin.  "Just in case something happens to it."

"Ah.  Cari?"


"You said 'we'."

She stood, reminding him that she was his height, and with her Security arm badge, she didn't look like someone to mess with.  "Yes, sir.  You'll need a member of Security with you."

"Understood, but you can't leave your post.  Where's Lieutenant Pederson?"

"Fixing a Securecam in science lab 4, sir.  One of Major Carter's people accidentally broke it." Jason snorted and nodded while Carmichael grinned.  Just then, Pederson entered and greeted Jason warmly.

"Major Coburn.  How nice of you to grace us with your presence," he said jovially, sticking his big paw out to shake Jason's hand.  Pederson was a bear of a man, and though he was only 5" taller than Jason, he packed away the muscle.  Jason thought he fit his Northern European heritage well as he shook his hand.

"Adam.  I need to borrow Sergeant Carmichael.  Think you can handle things by yourself for a while?"

As was usual with Pederson, he had to tease Jason.  He knew Jason's orientation, just as Jason knew his, having run into one another in a club in Denver once upon a time... and long before Daniel.  Giving a wink at Carmichael, he said, "You bring her back by curfew, sir, and you be a gentlemen, unless she tells you otherwise."

Having already passed the point of protocol, Carmichael felt no restriction in backhanding a fist into Pederson's chest, which he made a great show of defending.  "Seriously, sir, what's going on?"

"I overheard someone planning to sabotage Colonel O'Neill's truck, so I need a camcorder to catch the perps.  Cari's helping, and she knows where to grab a camera."

Pederson's eyes went wide as he realized Jason was serious.  "Fuck me.  You couldn't have mis-heard?"

Jason shook his head gravely.  "And I can't have it stand as a he said/he said."

"Understood, sir.  What can I do?"

"Monitor the other cameras on the garage level in case they pick up anything.  If it turns out we need help, you'll need to notify the rest of Security and, very likely, the infirmary."

Pederson's gaze narrowed.  "No offense, sir, but maybe I should--"

Jason held up his hand and cut him off.  "Cari knows where the camcorder is and I'm not risking more time to come back here, grab you, and wait for a replacement.  We have to catch them in the act."

Pederson groaned in disappointment.  "Yes, sir.  How long do I wait if I don't see anything on the security cameras?"

Jason shook his head.  "It isn't a question of time, Lieutenant.  It's only a question of 'if'.  But do me a favor and keep your radio on.  When we nail them, Cari will turn on her radio and report.  If anything bad happens, she'll be reporting that first."

"Do you expect something bad to happen, sir?" Pederson asked as Carmichael paused in the act of attaching her security belt.

"We going to catch a group of terrorists, Lieutenant.  Something bad always happens."

Pederson grimaced.  "Yes, sir.  For that reason, you should have more than one person with you."

"Can't take the risk.  I'll tell you what.  I'm going to hide the camera on the first row, behind the second column somewhere.  Across from space five or six, I think.  Carmichael and I will position ourselves behind the first column.  Wait an hour and if you don't hear anything, move up there en masse, understand?"

Pederson frowned.  "Yes, sir.  I wish I could give you a weapon but I'd need to record the entry and notify the chief, who's currently in the mess hall."

"That'd take too much time anyway."



"Colonel O'Neill should be notified since he's currently on base."

"I know that, Lieutenant, but wait 30 minutes after Cari and I head upstairs.  I don't want to risk blowing this chance to catch them or accidentally let them know what's going on."

Pederson gave Jason a long look, then finally nodded.  "I can see the need, sir, but let's make it 20."

Jason nodded.  "Agreed.  Thank you, Lieutenant."

"You can thank me by not getting yourselves hurt, sir."

"No promises, Pederson, but we'll try."

With that, they left.  Carmichael was right and her friend had a camcorder ready for use.  They lifted it, leaving a note, then made their way to the parking garage.

In the elevator, Carmichael asked, "Do you think there's a chance we'll get through this unscathed?  Because if not, sir, all we have is my sidearm.  There's no telling what they'll have."

"Bomb notwithstanding," Jason grinned sadly.

"Yes, bomb notwithstanding."

"I know.  And I wish I could tell you we'll be fine.  But there's going to be a fight, Cari.  They're acting like terrorists and terrorists always have to bloody things up in order to get what they want."

"Sometimes, terrorist tactics or not, that is the only way to get through to people."

Jason gave her a wistful look.  "You're thinking of the enslaved and brainwashed planets."

"I'm only saying that what you said sounds black and white.  The reasons behind terrorist actions are rarely black and white."

Jason nodded, and after changing elevators, he said, "Sometimes you have to see the black and white, Cari, in order to understand the shades of grey.  Things are both simple and complex at the same time."

"Damn pain in the ass, sir."

"Agreed.  Quite a damn pain in the ass."


Jack knocked on Daniel's office door and entered when he heard Daniel call.  Sitting wearily in the chair next to Daniel's desk, he tipped his head back and closed his eyes.  "I really hate paperwork," he complained as he scrubbed his face with his hands.  He raised his head then, blinked several times, then got up and stood behind Daniel as his lover peered at his computer screen.

He bent down, cheek nearly touching Daniel's and grinned when he saw his lover's face twitch.  "Anything new?" he asked softly.

"No," Daniel said in a tone that made his frustration obvious.

Daniel tried to refocus on the set of symbols etched into an obelisk stone but wasn't going to get anywhere with Jack hovering like that.  He also tried not to grin.  As much as Jack annoyed him when he did this, he secretly enjoyed the man's attention... and ability to make his thoughts scatter.

It was apparent that they both needed a break and when he looked to his left, he found Jack's lips too temptingly close to his own.  Jack looked down, at his mouth, and leaned in just a bit.

"Jack, are you nuts?" Daniel asked softly, not moving.

"Obviously," Jack replied.

"Stop doing that."

"You don't want me to kiss you?"


"You're lying."

"Yes.  But you didn't lock the door."


"So... no kiss."

"What if I did it anyway?" Jack asked.

"Jack, you're a pain in the ass."

"No, I'm not," Jack told him, an evil grin forming.

"That's not what I meant."

"But it's what I meant."

"You have a one-track mind."

"And you love me anyway."

"Yes, I do, and I need to have my head examined."

Jack grinned as if he had a secret, and Daniel couldn't stop grinning back.  "So..."


"I'm going up to the mess hall.  Wanna come?"

Daniel stared at him, amazed at Jack's ability to toss innuendo into everything.  And he refused to smile about it.  Barely.  "I'll assume you mean to eat."

Jack's expression turned wicked.  "I was thinking of lots of sweaty sex at home, but if you'd prefer to risk our careers by--"

"Jack," Daniel replied, giving into a smile.



Daniel sat down with a bowl of cut strawberries and a pint of milk while Jack opted only for coke.  "Why'd you want to come here if all you wanted was a soda?" he asked as he mixed the milk and strawberries.  "There's a machine in the Officer's Lounge."

"Yes, but I needed a change of scenery, Daniel, and so did you."

Daniel jogged his eyebrows in agreement.  "I guess." Spooning a few cut strawberries and cream into his mouth, Daniel asked, "Have you seen Jason?"

"Daniel... talking with food in your mouth is uncouth."

Daniel snorted... then choked as he nearly swallowed down the wrong pipe.  "Point," he rasped.

Jack only grinned in that quiet, smug way.  "And no, I haven't seen him, but he wouldn't leave without letting us know so he's around somewhere, probably in the gym."

"I called his office about fifteen minutes before you showed up but he wasn't there, so you're probably right." Daniel had had his mouthful again and Jack was glaring at him.  Swallowing, he asked, "What?"

Jack shook his head, giving up.  He stole a strawberry and popped it into his mouth.  "He's probably in the gym, as I said."

"I'll go check after I finish eating.  Care to join me?"

"Yep, considering it's the only kind of company I'll be gettin' tonight anyway."



"You have reports to do, I have a translation.  Business as usual."

"I didn't sign on for this," Jack groused as he stole another berry.

"You did, you just hate paperwork."

"And you like paperwork?"

"Nope.  But it doesn't bother me as much as you.  I'm used to doing it.  Or rather, I was.  If you think you have paperwork, try applying for a research grant."

Jack snorted.  "Point taken." He stole another strawberry and slowly sucked it into his mouth.

"Don't go there," Daniel warned.

"What?" Jack asked, swallowing.

"Don't play innocent with me.  It doesn't work, never did."

"Crap, you're no fun.  You're supposed to pretend, Daniel."

Their conversation wasn't loud enough to carry but it didn't matter considering that there weren't a lot of people around to hear.

"Eat, then let's go harass Jason," Jack told him, looking delighted at the prospect.

"Don't even go there, either."


"What," Daniel mimicked.  "What you're thinking."

"I'm not thinking that."

"Not thinking what?"



Sighing, Jack said, "I can't help it.  I get all worked up when he works out."

Daniel grinned and ate the last of the strawberries and followed it with the milk.  "Let's go, Jack.  And behave yourself."

Jack didn't answer and Daniel shot him a warning look.  "Jack... behave."

"I'll be good, Daniel, I swear."



"That this is the only time I'd ever want to hear that come out of your mouth."


Pederson turned in his chair, then shot out of it to stand at attention when Jack walked in.

"At ease, airman.  Have you seen Major Coburn?"

"He went with Sergeant Carmichael to investigate a possible vandalism threat on Garage Level A, sir."

"Just the two of them?"

"That's all he would accept, sir.  He wanted to make sure the threat was verified with as little interference as possible."

"Thank you, Lieutenant," Jack replied as he grabbed two radios off the utility shelf.  "Your radio on?"

"As per the Major's orders, sir."

"Good.  Doctor Jackson and I are heading up.  Get a squad assembled and have them meet us up there."

"Something bad happen, sir?" Pederson asked, eyes wide.  "I didn't hear anything from the Major--"

"No, just a gut feeling, Lieutenant." He and Daniel went to the elevators, moving briskly, with Jack cursing Jason under his breath.

Daniel shook his head at him as the elevator lurched upward.  "Jack, don't be mad at him.  You know how he gets.  He's sometimes more protective than you are."

"He should've taken more than one SF with him, Daniel."

"Well, he didn't, so let's worry about why later."

"Already plan on that.  Just getting my grumbling out of the way."


Carmichael watched, stunned, as she and Jason covertly filmed Rogers and his team placing a small bomb underneath Jack's engine.  She'd expected brake tampering or something similar since Jason hadn't elaborated on the type of threat but now she understood exactly why he'd chosen to call them terrorists.

She had her sidearm but Jason had nothing, and she cursed herself, knowing she'd fucked up.  She should have insisted on bringing a Security team with them, even with Jason insisting that a team's inadvertent movements would reveal their presence.  He'd been so adamant and had her believing his plan would work.  At the moment, she wasn't so sure anymore.  They couldn't tell if Rogers' team was armed, but they had to go on the assumption that they were and with Jason unarmed... not even his training could protect him in the open.

After the bomb was placed, she and Jason put in the earplugs she carried, then waited a moment as she pressed the button for riot broadcast.  The resulting squelch would echo in the garage and god help anyone in there.

The moment it went off, they came out of their hiding place.  Approaching the four men holding their hands over their ears, Carmichael pulled out her sidearm and trained it on Rogers.

"Security!  Stand to, gentlemen!"

A moment later, actions were blurred.  Rogers went for his gun and Jason attacked swiftly, kicking it out of his hand.  In the next blur, Clark was down, then Bradley and Stokes.  All four men were groaning, half-aware, and Carmichael didn't think they'd be faking it, which was her mistake when she looked away to watch Jason go for the hidden camera.

Movement from Rogers alerted her and she called out a warning.  "Major Coburn, get down!"

Her eyes widened as Rogers' hand flashed something metal and Jason was taken off guard as the knife was thrown.  She fired, too late, and radioed her fellow Security and called for medics.  Just when she started toward Jason, she was tackled from behind by Clark.  Their weapons went off between them, killing him and wounding her.  Stokes was on his feet, lifting his arm and pointing the gun he held, but Carmichael found her aim and fired.  She watched him go down and then knew nothing else.


Almost to the Garage level, Jack and Daniel heard the call from their radios.  Soon after, the alarms went off, then the elevator opened.  Their field training automatically kicked in and they bolted toward the sound of shots being fired.

Jack had a bad feeling that worsened the moment he saw and recognized Jason's prone body.  "Check him," he yelled, but he didn't have to.  Daniel was already running.

Letting Daniel see to Jason, Jack took Carmichael's handcuffs and secured the only man from SG-22 who remained alive.  Sergeant Cecil Bradley.  He was unconscious, with a nasty boot-sized bruise forming on the side of his face.  Jack shook his head grimly.  Jason's foot had connected with the cheek, not the jaw, or he'd have broken the man's neck.  Grabbing Carmichael's radio, he called in.

"This is Colonel O'Neill.  We need a medical team to the parking garage immediately."

"How serious, Colonel?" came Janet's voice.

"Carmichael has a thru-and-thru to the stomach.  Don't know about Major Coburn yet."


"Bradley has a probable concussion, but no apparent internal injuries.  There are three others, but they're dead."

"Roger that, Colonel," Janet replied.

"Jack!" Daniel called again and a chill ran down Jack's spine as he ran over to join him.  Jason lay partially on his stomach and there was blood pouring from an obvious knife wound in his back.  Fortunately, the blade wasn't completely buried.  It hung limply, but the blood that oozed out of him was what had caused that shaky sound in Daniel's voice.

"Look at the color, Jack." Jack's face became grim as they both tried to staunch the flow of dark blood around the blade, neither one attempting to remove it.  Kidney, Jack thought.  Shit.  Daniel's face was a sheet of white and probably matched his own.

"Doc!" Jack called on the radio.


"Major Coburn's been knifed in the back.  Blood color is dark."

"Almost there, Colonel."

A minute later, echoing footfalls and gurney wheels came tearing across the concrete.  Janet saw to Jason while her Corpsmen saw to Carmichael and Bradley.  Securing their patients didn't take long and they were transported down with alacrity.  The bodies of the dead men would be seen to by additional teams.

For a moment, Jason opened his eyes, recognizing the lights of one of the corridors as they whizzed past.  "Wha?" he slurred and Janet grabbed his hand.

"We're on the way to the OR, Jason."


"Here," Jack said.

Seeing Jack, Jason grabbed his hand.  "Tr...uck... bomb..." was all he could get out before he fell unconscious.

"I'll be back, Doc.  Take care of him."

"Jack?" Daniel asked, "Do you want--"

"Stay, Daniel.  I'll be back."

He grabbed a few SF's and went back to the Garage, checking the vehicles where the fight had taken place.  It didn't take long to find the bomb, set to the bottom of his engine block.  It was neatly disarmed by one of the security personnel experienced with bomb ordinance and removed for evidence.  They made their way back downstairs, not knowing about the camcorder that had been left behind.


Daniel put on his game face and for the next several hours nothing seemed real for him until Jason came out of surgery.  Bradley had made things worse during that waiting time by turning the situation around and placing the blame on Jason and Carmichael.  It was worrying because those who didn't know Jason and Carmichael might believe some of the poison that escaped the traitor's mouth.  It looked very bad.

In the waiting area outside of the OR, Daniel sat with Jack, Sam, Teal'c, and Jason's teammates, with a few of Carmichael's fellow SF's standing nearby.  None of them would leave until the surgeries were over.  Daniel rubbed his red-rimmed eyes, sitting cold and stoned-faced, preparing himself for the worst.  Old self-esteem issues cropped up to combine with fatalism; he knew he was in shock, but it didn't stop Daniel from expecting bad news.  Shit like this always ended in bad news.

Jack rubbed his shoulder, not saying anything, but Daniel knew that Jack could tell what was on his mind.  At that moment, Hammond came down the hall and gestured Jack to follow him into Janet's office.

Once inside, Hammond shut the door and took a good look at Jack.  "How long has it been since you had any sleep?"

"I'm not tired, sir."

"One look tells me otherwise, Jack."

Sighing, Jack said, "Right.  I'm not leaving till I find out what Jason's condition is."

Hammond gave Jack another long look.  "I won't discourage you or anyone in this command from making close friendships, but you have to step back a moment during the crisis so that Sergeant Bradley's accusations can be dealt with."

Jack ground his jaw.  "Understood, sir."

"Now, according to that... Sergeant... he and his team found Major Coburn planting a bomb on your vehicle."

"You and I both know he's lying, sir."

"And you'd be correct, Colonel.  I've launched a full investigation to get to the heart of the matter."

"Sir, we know the truth."

"At present, we don't know anything, Jack.  Major Coburn and Sergeant Carmichael are the only other witnesses and we'll have to wait until they're able to give their statements before anything can be corroborated.  The investigation team will, in the meantime, go over all other available evidence."

"Right now, sir, the only evidence is Lieutenant Pederson's log.  It shows something bad was going down."

"Only that they were investigating a possible vandalism threat, Jack, not what the nature of that vandalism was."

"Sir, I don't believe for an instant that Major Jason Coburn was planting a bomb on my truck.  Carmichael's presence, as a member of the security detail, was clearly an indication that they were there to catch someone doing something illegal and that something was planting a bomb."

"Bradley's statement says otherwise."

"Which you know is wrong, sir."

"My personal feelings agree with you, Colonel, but I can't go by them.  I have to follow procedure."

Jack sighed.  Suddenly there was a knock at the door.  It was Lieutenant Pederson.

"I'm sorry to interrupt, General.  Colonel."

"What is it, Lieutenant," Hammond asked.

"Sir, I've checked the log and there's no recovery of the camera."

Jack and Hammond stared at him in confusion and hope.  "What camera?" Jack asked.

"Major Coburn said he wanted to film what was going on for evidence."

Jack looked down at his feet, grinning.  "Bastard was thinking ahead."

"Lucky for him, Colonel," Hammond stated.  "Where'd he put the camera, Lieutenant?"

"On one of the columns near the Colonel's truck, sir.  As you know, the Security cameras for that row are out of order and I think that's what the perps were using against us.  Major Coburn found out somehow and wanted to catch them in the act in order to have them arrested."

"Are you saying that SG-22 were the perpetrators?" Hammond asked.

"From what I've heard, yes, sir, but I can't swear to the validity until we get the camera.  I'd have informed you earlier, sir, but I had to wait until my post was relieved since I'm short a man." He grinned, referring to Carmichael.  "The rest of Security is busy locking down the base."

"Thank you, Lieutenant," Hammond told him, nodding.  "I'll need your report and a statement from you."

"Sir, if it helps, I can vouch for Sergeant Carmichael and Major Coburn."

"Do so in a separate statement, Lieutenant, and thank you for the news."

"Actually, sir, I've already taken care of both," and Pederson handed Hammond a large legal envelope.  "Attached are copies of my log report."

"Thank you, airman.  I'll let you know what happens."

"Thank you, sir.  Have you heard anything yet on Sergeant Carmichael or Major Coburn?"

"No word yet, Lieutenant," Jack answered.  "We're still waiting."

"Yes, sir."

"Good job, lieutenant," Jack added, and Hammond agreed.  Pederson thanked them and left.  He nodded to the waiting group as he passed them further down the hall before leaving the base.

Jack turned to Hammond.  "Sir, permission to go back up--"

"Granted.  Go find that camera, Jack.  We'll need it."

"It could clear things up easily, sir."

"Yes, but after you find it, hand it over to the investigations unit once they get here, understood?"

"Yes, sir." The minute Jack found that camera, he planned on making copies of whatever had been filmed.  There was no way he'd trust an outside source to determine Jason's innocence.  Besides, he had to know what happened firsthand.


It took a few more hours of waiting, with a nurse popping out every once in a while to update that things were progressing well.  Finally, Janet and Warner emerged, removing their masks, and looking quite tired.  Everyone sitting was on their feet except Daniel.  Janet looked down at him with tired eyes, but they smiled at him.

"He'll be fine," she told him.  Daniel damn near fainted from relief, wishing Jason's team members couldn't see the emotional stress he was under.  With a comforting hand on Daniel's shoulder, she turned her attention to Hammond.  "The Major's not out of the woods but he's stable.  The knife nicked his left kidney.  With rest and rehab, he'll make a full recovery in a month or so.

"Sergeant Carmichael got the worst end of it and she'll need longer rehabilitation.  The bullet perforated her lower intestine and we had to repair a lot of damage.  Neither will be in any shape to give their statements for at least forty-eight hours, so I order all of you get some sleep."

"Goes for you both as well, Doctor," Hammond told them.  Warner nodded and left, but Janet started to object.  "Use your quarters, Doctor Fraiser, but get some rest.  Those're my orders."

"Yes, sir."

Hammond then backed up her own order for everyone else to get some sleep so they moved off, dazed, tired, and in shock.

Jack and Hammond exchanged looks, knowing there was some evidence to be viewed later... once everyone could think properly.


If it weren't for Jason being surrounded by medical personnel over the next ten hours, Daniel would have snuck his way into ICU to be with him, but Janet and Hammond were right.  He needed sleep.  Trouble was, he didn't know if he could.

In his quarters, he sat on the edge of his bunk, staring at nothing, and absently noted Jack's presence as he entered and locked the door.

Jack glanced up at the disconnected wires to the security camera and grinned inwardly at the memory of watching Daniel rip it out of the wall in a fit of pique.  Security had had the common sense not to repair it.  He walked tiredly over to the stiff figure of his lover and sat down next to him.  Daniel didn't bother to look up; he stared at his hands hanging limply between his knees and Jack recognized the body language.

"He'll be fine."

Daniel nodded, as if expected to, and Jack read him well enough to know that Daniel needed to vent.  Perhaps he did, too.  Better now than later, in front of witnesses.  It was awkward, Jack thought, putting his arm around Daniel and pulling him close.  He'd never been in the position to allow himself to comfort Daniel.  The last time Daniel had needed it--when he'd had his wrist broken by that stupid robot--Jack had had his head so far up his own ass it was amazing that he'd managed to pull it out again.  He remembered leaving Daniel to himself, blaming him for the incident for no logical reason whatsoever.  The ache of doing that still hurt and it was something he'd regret for rest of his life.

It still astounded him how vast Daniel's capacity to forgive was.  That he was in a relationship with him was still a mystery to Jack.  The fact of it was frightening.  So, instead of dwelling on the past, Jack was determined to make up for it.  Time to rectify all that he hadn't done with what he could.  Now, he could freely give comfort to the man he loved more than his own life.  "Did you hear me?"


He pulled Daniel even tighter against him.  "C'mere," and felt enormous gratitude when Daniel collapsed into him, turning his face to Jack's chest, his lips brushing Jack's dog tags.  He inhaled deeply but said nothing.  Jack could feel him literally vibrating with emotion.  "Let it out, Daniel.  Holding it all in, like I do, will only make things worse." He stroked Daniel's back and kissed his hair, feeling Daniel stiffen under his touch for just a moment before relaxing again.

"I can't," came Daniel's muffled reply.

"Yes, you can."

"Can you?"

Jack hesitated, and it was too long.

"I thought so," Daniel said, his voice clearing as he sat up and pushed himself partly from Jack's hold.  He gave Jack a red-eyed accusing glare.  "Don't ask me to do what you can't even manage to do yourself."

Jack didn't know what the hell to say to that.  So instead, he acted on instinct and feeling instead--something he was quite familiar with doing.  Grabbing Daniel's face in his hands, he pulled him in for a kiss.  Deep and desperate, he kissed harder when Daniel responded.  He sought out Daniel's body, caressing over his clothes, and Daniel returned the same, only rougher.

Unmindful how they'd managed to be lying down, Jack found himself on his side, kissing him passionately, rubbing into him--all without any purposeful measure of desire or arousal.  Just the need to touch and feel.

The moment they each began to get hard, however, Daniel's lips practically crumpled under his own as a whimper escaped.  Jack couldn't help but echo it.  Soon another soft cry escaped, then another, before Daniel was crying silently against his black tee, rubbing his nose into the collar, getting it wet.  Jack rarely allowed himself the luxury of tears--there was no one to give them to, and it was always something he preferred to do.  Jack didn't cry alone.

And this time, he wasn't.  Jack let go and gave them to Daniel, to himself, and was amazed when Daniel clutched at him, holding him in his arms as if he were the only one who needed comfort.  Jack wrapped his arms around him and together, they both let go over the realization that Jason had almost lost his life.


Janet knocked on Daniel's door and waited.  A moment later, Daniel opened the door, sleepy-eyed, but the moment he saw Janet, his heart started to hammer.

"Calm down, Daniel.  I'm only here to tell you that he's now in ICU and you can see him."

"Is he awake?"

"Not yet."

"Isn't that bad?"

"He lost a lot of blood.  Even with the transfusions, it'll take time.  He's basically sleeping off the repair work his body is doing.  He's in rem sleep though, not just unconscious, so relax.  He should be waking soon enough but remember that he'll be out off and on for the next twenty-four to forty-eight so when you visit, don't upset him."

"Upset him?" Daniel asked, grabbing his keys.  Janet laid a hand on his chest.

"You're a fright, Daniel.  Clean up first."


Jack found Daniel in Jason's Iso room, sitting in a chair by Jason's bed, snoozing.  He grinned sadly, then walked away, going to the ward that held that lying bastard.


When Jack walked in, SF's were posted at the exits, with two on either side of Sergeant Bradley's bed.  It was obvious that Hammond was making a statement about what he believed.

Bradley seemed to be asleep, his hands folded over his stomach, still dressed in his fatigues, but Jack figured the asshole was faking it.  He walked over, silently motioning to the exit guards to wait outside, then did the same thing to the two on either side of Bradley's bed.  They left smartly, reassembling just outside of the ward and turning a blind eye to the Base 2IC.  If Jack weren't an ethical individual, such leeway by the guards could be taken advantage of.

Bradley opened his eyes and stared as Jack stood at the foot of his bed, arms folded.  Jack assumed his dark scowl, knowing from Daniel and Carter that people who knew that expression also knew it meant beating a hasty retreat.  Bradley was clueless and Jack liked it that way.  The man would slip eventually and it was Jack's job to make sure he did it.  He only hoped that the coward didn't invent more lies during the process.

"What do you want, sir?" Bradley asked.

"Just here to give you a chance to recant your false accusations."

"They weren't false."

"You're a lying bastard, Bradley."

The Sergeant looked away.  "I've got nothing to say to you, sir."

"You do know that Major Coburn and Sergeant Carmichael were filming you, don't you?"

A panicked expression crossed Bradley's face, then it changed to one of disbelief.  "You're lying."

"You're lying, sir," Jack corrected mildly.

"Sir," Bradley corrected, confused.

"And no, I'm not."

"Then why haven't I heard about it?"

Jack smirked.  "Why do you think these guards are everywhere?"

Bradley squirmed.  "For my protection."

Jack's smirked turned malicious.  "Well, you'd be partly right about that, Sergeant, but mostly, it's to make sure the rest of us don't kill your sorry ass."

Truth was, Jack hadn't seen the film yet; he hadn't had the time.  It was still sitting untouched in his office.  But he knew what was on it, and so did Bradley.  Jack stared coldly back at the traitor, then left the ward, sending the SF's back to their guard duty.


Knocking on her lab door, Jack found Sam tinkering with something she didn't look particularly interested in.  Or more likely it was a case of needing a distraction from her wanting to beat the shit out of Bradley.  She'd heard the crap that the Sergeant had been laying on anyone who'd listen.

"Keeping busy?" he asked.

"It helps," she answered, sitting up straighter as he walked over.  "How's Daniel doing?"

"About as you'd expect.  Glued to Jason's side like a super magnet."

She nodded.  "What's that?" she asked, pointing at his hand.

"A camera," he answered and she glared at him.  "Sorry.  Could you copy the film to your computer please?  I don't think I have the cable."

"What's on it?"

"Jason was filming the traitors."

"What?" she asked loudly.

"I've only just got around to taking a look, and I need you to make a copy or five to your computer."

"Isn't this evidence?"

"Yes but make the copies anyway."

She stopped and stared at him.  "Are you afraid this will get tampered with?"

"Those men got on this base with help, Major.  Let's make sure whoever did that doesn't get a hold of the only copy of the incriminating evidence."

"Yes, sir."

"I'll make it an order if you want, so you don't get in trouble."

"Not necessary, sir," she said, already hooking it up and uploading.  "People like that give the rest of us a bad name.  I'll clear that good name by any means necessary.  Short of murder, that is."

"Damn," Jack kidded.

"You're not very funny, sir."

Jack grinned a little.  "Just finding the levity, Carter.  After you make the copies, we'll play back the record.  The investigations team should be here soon to clear Jason and Carmichael."

Sam frowned.  "I'm surprised they aren't here already."

"I'm not."

As he watched, she copied the contents and called up the software for playback.  Before she clicked 'Play' on the software, Jack held her off.  "Wait.  Hammond will be pissed if he doesn't view this first.  Call him and Teal'c and I'll fetch Daniel."


Daniel felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up, realizing that he'd dozed off again.  Jack motioned his head toward the door and pulled on Daniel's tee shirt sleeve.  Daniel followed him out of the room.

"I found the camcorder Jason was using.  It's in Sam's lab."

"Did you look at it?" Daniel asked, a knot in his gut tightening.

Jack shook his head.  "Wanted to get you first.  Teal'c and Hammond should be there waiting." Daniel cast a look back at Jason's sleeping form before leaving with Jack for Sam's lab.


Everyone assembled, Sam pressed 'play'.

Jack felt a mixture of pride and annoyance with his lover... until Carmichael's off-camera voice suddenly shouted in warning, startling everyone watching even as the camera caught it on tape.  When the shots were fired off-camera and Rogers let go of the knife he'd just put into Jason, Jack lost any remaining annoyance with his lover.

He and Daniel blanched at Jason's wincing face as the knife pierced his back and he slumped to the ground, out of camera range.  Just barely in view, Carmichael was heard dispatching the others before she was taken down.

Silence filled the room as Janet's team showed up, then left, then more Security showed up, then left.  For several minutes, there was nothing, so Sam forwarded over the rest of the recording, showing nothing but empty garage.

"That appears to be all of it, sir," she said as the recording ended.  She handed the camera, with digital card, to Hammond.  "Just in case, sir, I made copies."

Hammond nodded, still in shock, like everyone else.

So no one, not even Jack, noticed the murderous look in Daniel's eyes or the fact that he was no longer in the room.


Four days earlier, SG-6 had returned from a mission with an incubator of live Goa'uld symbiote larvae.  And Daniel knew where they were being kept.  And he knew the access code into the room.

Sneaking into the room, he quickly stole one of the larvae, hiding it in a rolled up towel.  Moving with determination, he strode quickly into the ward next door and before the SF's could do anything, he jumped onto Bradley's bed and straddled the man, trapping his arms beneath his knees.  Grabbed the bastard by his hair, Daniel found a sudden, sick sense of satisfaction at the look of shock on the liar's face.

A millisecond after, the SF's had their guns on him.

"Get away from him, Doctor Jackson!"

"Help!" Bradley screamed the moment Daniel opened the towel and brought out the screeching larva, holding it up for Bradley to see.  Jack and the others came running into the ward at that moment, sliding to a halt at the sight of guns being trained on Daniel, not the bad guy.

"Stand down, airmen!" Jack yelled.  "Daniel, that means you, too!"

"We can't do that, sir!" one of the airmen said.

Daniel didn't look at him, but he could just imagine the look on Jack's face.  He knew Jack would be pissed off later, that he was scared as hell now, but Daniel shamelessly didn't care about either.  All he gave a damn about was getting the insufferable bastard in his grasp to tell the goddamned truth.

"I can't do that, Jack.  Not until this fucker recants the lies."

Jack stepped forward, nearing the bed.  "Daniel, think about what you're doing." He dreaded the self-recriminations that would come later, but one thing was for certain.  Jack understood.  Daniel was doing what Jack had only thought about.

To Daniel, Jack's voice seemed muffled, far away.  He glared maliciously down into Bradley's face as he held the snake over the man's face.  Bradley tried to shriek but nothing came out but gasping air.

"This is the face of your real enemy, Bradley.  A Goa'uld symbiote.  It's immature but it will still invade a host.  If you don't tell the truth now, and back up the film we recovered, the next host of a symbiote is going to be you.  Now talk!"

Bradley pissed himself, staring at the whitish transparent snake screeching at him with its four-fanged mouth.  "Okay!  Okay!"  It was the scariest thing he'd ever seen.  He hadn't even seen an adult symbiote yet and at that moment, he never wanted to.

"Okay what?" Daniel yelled back.

"It was us!" he screamed.  "I tried to talk Major Rogers out of it but he and the others forced me to go along, said I'd end up on the wrong end of a rape if I didn't!  So, I went along!  I'm sorry!  Rogers did the whole thing!  I'm sorry I lied!  Please, take that thing away!"

"And what about the other lies?  Those filthy ones!"

"I'm sorry, yes!  I made them up!  You'd do the same if you were scared!"

"No," Daniel said calmly.  "I'd sooner kill myself."

"They're gonna kill me now!" Bradley's voice sounded almost like the symbiote's.  Harsh and screechy.  Not as high-pitched... but damn close.

"Not with the guard you'll have," Hammond glowered from the doorway.

Daniel moved carefully off the bed, holding the symbiote away from his body.  "Someone take this thing before I crush it under my boot."

Janet walked up and took it from him, giving him a look of disbelief as she turned and left, followed by an SF. Daniel glanced at the SF's still drawn on him, then to Hammond.  He sighed as Hammond gestured toward the SF, but it wasn't as if he hadn't expected this.

The SF walked up behind Daniel, taking his wrists and cuffing him.

"General--" Jack said.

Hammond gave Jack a stern look.  "It's procedure, Colonel.  Don't waste your breath arguing about it."

"It's okay, Jack," Daniel told him.

"The hell it is," Jack muttered, even knowing that Hammond was right.  He followed Daniel to the holding cell, resisting the urge to growl the whole way.  "You didn't need to do that.  We had the video."

Daniel sat down on the bunk and scooted back to lean against the wall.  "Just making sure there would be no doubt," then he looked up.  His eyes were the brightest blue Jack could ever remember seeing.  "No one fucks with my friends."

Jack sighed, nodding with both understanding and acceptance.  He closed the door and sat down in a chair he pulled up next to the bunk, lacing his fingers together as he sat forward.  "You gonna be okay in here?  It may be a while."

Daniel closed his eyes.  "I'll be fine, Jack.  Go check on Jason for me, okay?"

"Already planned on it," and Jack paused before getting up to leave.  "Daniel, this stunt you pulled is going to haunt you."

A shadow crossed Daniel's eyes, but his expression did not change.  "Maybe."

Jack regarded him carefully, then nodded.  "I'll be back in a while when you're released.  It won't be too long."

When Jack opened the door, Daniel stopped him.  "Jack?"

He turned to look at him and Daniel's face softened somewhat but his eyes remained bright.

"I'm not sorry."


Five hours later, the door to Daniel's cell was opened and a very irritable, and relieved, Jack walked in.  Daniel sat up and blearily looked at his lover.

"How's Jason?" he asked.  Jack's eyes told him that he was in deep trouble with him.

"Come on," Jack said gruffly.  "You're released.  The asshole investigation team finally decided to show up and now this is all quickly put to bed.  It's all over."

"Jack, how's Jason?"

"Go see for yourself," Jack answered blandly.

Daniel sprung to his feet.  "Is he awake?"

Jack shrugged.  "How the hell would I know?  I haven't been able to see him.  I've been rather busy trying to get you out of lock-up." That 'deep trouble' didn't disappear but Jack didn't look worried, so that told Daniel that Jason was okay.


"You're welcome."

Daniel shot him a grateful look as he walked past but paused to lay a hand on his lover's arm.  "I want to get some of Jason's things from his apartment first, since he's not going anywhere for a while."

"I figured as much.  You're already cleared."


By the time Daniel returned, dressed in his civilian clothes, he found that Jason had already been awake for a while and was talking to Jack and General Hammond, giving his account of what had happened with SG-22.  Dropping a few of Jason's bags on the floor, Daniel leaned against the corridor wall to wait.

Next to him were Jason's teammates.  They stared at the civilian duffle bag and knapsack they recognized as Jason's and Alex Wagner gave Daniel a scrutinizing look.  It didn't look cordial.

"What is it?" Daniel asked.

"Why do you have copies of his keys, Daniel?" Alex asked suspiciously.

Daniel gave Alex an amused look and spoke slowly, as if the information he was giving him were something any idiot would know.  "Because he's my Best Friend, Alex."

"I thought that was Colonel O'Neill," Alex stated, his voice getting a bit edgier.  McCaffrey laid a hand on his arm, silently asking Alex to calm down but the Captain shrugged it off.

Daniel didn't miss the protective stance and slowly recognized what it meant.  Alex was jealous of Daniel's closeness and he probably didn't even know why.  Daniel knew the man wasn't openly gay, but he could be repressing.  Even if he was attracted to Jason, or just possessive over his team leader, it gave him no right to take it out on others, especially Jason's best friend.  And Daniel was in no mood for coddling this behavior.

"Haven't you ever had two best friends, Alex?" he asked, attempting to keep this civil.

"Maybe," Alex replied evasively.

"Maybe," Daniel repeated as his anger rose.  "Well, maybe you want to back off.  Maybe there's absolutely no reason for you to be judging Jason's friendships." He walked up to stand confrontationally in front of the man.  "If you don't approve, I suggest you deal with it."

"Maybe we should discuss this with Major Coburn," Alex threatened.

Daniel inclined his head and narrowed his eyes.  "Yes, but not right now.  Or perhaps you'd like to upset him in his weakened state."

"Don't be stupid."

"It's you who's being stupid.  What's this really about, Alex?  You've every right to be protective, or perhaps it's more than that.  Perhaps it's more than that for all of you."

Jason's teammates bristled at the homosexual implications of Daniel's statement.  "What right have you--" Alex started.

"What right have I?  You've got to be fucking kidding me?" Daniel spat, raising his voice just enough.  "You have a lot of fucking nerve to be offended.  Where was your offense when Bradley spat that poison about me and Jason?  Where?  No, you only give a shit if it's about you.  You could care less about Jason's reputation, only how it'd reflect on you."

The shocked faces gave him satisfaction but nowhere near enough.  "I didn't see any of you threatening the bastard, confronting him after he told those lies.  Perhaps, Alex, that's what we should talk to Jason about.  Bother him with this shit you can't seem to get around.  Let him ask why you wouldn't defend him... till now."

"Daniel," Al started but Daniel cut him off with a wave of his hand.

"You listen to me.  I almost lost my best friend, you almost lost your commander, and you're... what?  About to accuse him of something that could get him court martialed?  How fucking dare you."

"It's not that, it's just..." Connor began, but trailed off, shaking his head.

Still pissed off, Daniel purposely didn't lower his voice, but he decided not to yell.  "You don't give a shit if the rumors are true.  You just don't want them to make you look bad!"

"Stop it!  That's not what this is about!" Alex shouted.

"The fuck it's not," Daniel went on, letting them know he was, indeed, serious.

"It isn't," Alex told him, lowering his voice.  "We're worried about him, not us."

"Really?  Why?"

"Excuse me?" Connor asked.

"There've been other rumors before Bradley's shit.  Why haven't you confronted him?"

"Because those're just rumors, they're..." Alex started, then shut up.

"Ah huh," Daniel remarked nastily.  "I'm two seconds from ripping your fucking throat out."

"Daniel, we're just--"

"Worried, afraid for him, blah blah blah.  Well, tell someone who believes that shit.  It's obvious you don't respect your leader, and if you can't respect him, then transfer out before you endanger his life."

Jason's teammates began to argue with him, trying to convince Daniel that they'd die for Jason.

"You don't even trust him.  How can you die for him?"

"What the hell does that have to do with anything?" Connor asked.

"Trust and respect, gentlemen.  You know what it means.  You're not green, you're not newbies.  If the three of you don't get your heads out of your asses, then Jason won't be able to trust you." Daniel kept his arms folded, standing belligerently and staring hard at all three of them, daring them to contradict him, to argue his point.  When they didn't, Daniel turned to Alex.

"I'll warn you right now, Alex, you won't like his answer if you force him to answer your charges of homosexuality.  It's none of your business what he does, anyway, and you know as well as I do that Jason doesn't respond well to blackmail or prejudice.  No matter how much he likes you, he will drop you for disrespecting him."

Alex was pensive for a while, thinking, as were his teammates, and Daniel said nothing more, letting them stew.

When Jack and Hammond opened the door to leave the room, Jason saw Daniel and motioned him in, but Daniel motioned Jason's team in the room instead, pushing Wagner in the back.  Wagner brushed him off, literally, and walked in.  Jason frowned, but Daniel merely gave Jason a very sober look.  "You guys need to have a chat.  A very serious chat." Daniel blinked slowly, once, at Jason and went back to the hall.  Hammond had already left for his office and Jack was waiting by himself for Daniel.

"What was that about?" Jack asked, stuffing his hands in his pockets.  He had to.  He saw the troubled look on Daniel's face and all he wanted to do right then was grab Daniel and put his arms around him.

"Issues.  Jason has to straighten out his team or get a new one."

"Fuck.  Don't tell me they're believing what that fuckwit said?"

Daniel nodded.  "I'm afraid so."

"Well, then, good riddance."

Daniel gave Jack a disgusted look.  "Give them a chance.  They're just defensive after what happened to their friend and leader.  If Jason can't convince them that they're reacting to his injury and that the bastard rumors mean nothing, then we can judge 'good riddance'."

"You can't be that lenient, Daniel, shit."

"I'm not.  I wanted to beat the fucking hell out of them."

Jack leaned against the wall and nodded with agreement.  They waited silently, and as they did, Daniel suddenly found it easier to recall the memories of the previous weekend.  He smiled and Jack nudged him with an elbow.

"What?" he asked quietly.

"I was remembering last Saturday."

Jack mock-scowled at him.  "Sure, remember something that I wasn't involved in."

"Sorry," Daniel said with a sad smile.

"Don't be.  I'm doing the same thing.  Now, no more worrying.  He's fine now."

Daniel shrugged.  "I know." He nudged Jack again.  "Thanks for earlier."

"No thanks necessary."

Daniel only nodded.  "Would have liked to have done more."

"Later, maybe."

"Yes, but more than maybe."

Jack sent him a secretive smile and just the look of it reminded Daniel of Jason.  It was the expression in his eyes, he decided.  Both his lovers had that mischievous look down pat. Daniel grinned to himself as he thought of the last time he'd seen that look on Jason.

His lover had been working on a landscape, his first canvas in the new studio Daniel had set up for him at his house.  He'd come to see what Jason had been working on and found the landscape had been one of Jack's cabin, seen from the point of view of the dock.

He'd been eyeing it critically until Jason had shifted on his stool, muscles rippling, and it had been that moment that Daniel had forgotten about the painting and focused solely on Jason and what he'd been wearing.

Daniel had taken a fond liking to that old undershirt, the kind with no sleeves and a very low neckline, whitish grey and almost transparent in places.  It had always looked so damn sexy on him, smudged with old paint in places, and combined with the equally dirty cutoffs he wore had Daniel's cock taking interest.  That and the fact that Jason was barefoot... which Daniel considered a small kink at a time.  Jason--and Jack for that matter--in shorts or jeans and barefoot.  It always got to him.

Jason had had his back to the door and Daniel hadn't been able to resist sneaking up on him, sliding his arms around his waist.

"Hello, gorgeous," he'd said, kissing Jason's shoulder, and the act had resulted in Jason's hand going back in auto-reflex, painting a whitish smudge across his cheek.

Daniel had caught his hand, but then the battle ensued, with grappling and the swapping of paint.  More grappling, more paint, and soon... it had gotten everywhere.  A brush had appeared in Jason's hand at one point, and Daniel found his chin decorated with dark blue.  That blue ended up on Jason's face, courtesy of Daniel's vengeful fingers.

The battle had started on their feet but had ended up with their asses, and bodies, on the floor.  Daniel remembered the amazingly nice feeling of having paint rubbed over his bare chest and after that, the battle had become an erotic war.  Laughing crazily, smearing more paint, the two had dirtied each other in minutes.

Daniel remembered the pause that had come soon after.  One moment laughing, the next, staring into Jason's face and becoming amazingly aroused.  Kissing and caressing had ignited with a surprising intensity and before he'd realized it, Jason had grabbed the painter's soap and dragged them into the shower.  Even more aroused than before, they'd cleaned each other and made love at the same time, finishing what Daniel had started...

"Heads up," Jack whispered, bringing Daniel out of his thoughts just as Jason's team emerged from his hospital room.  They seemed subdued; fairly brow-beaten and guilty-looking.  Alex Wagner looked at Daniel, still with a bit of a defensive posture, but he held out his hand.  Daniel, confused, clasped it readily.

"I'm sorry, Daniel.  I didn't mean any disrespect." The rest of SG-2 said the same, then saluted Jack and walked off together.  Daniel was still frowning in confusion when he realized something and he smirked at Jack.

"Jason did a Psych 101 number on them," Jack grinned as they entered Jason's room and shut the door.


Jason was exhausted.  He didn't need the shit he'd just had to lay on his teammates.  Of all the times to go protective on him.  He forcibly brightened as Daniel and Jack walked in.  They came to the bed and he took their hands in a tight grip to let them know how strong he still was.  It was quite an effort on his part, but it was made easier by their reassuring squeeze.  He could tell the touch did a lot for the three of them so he managed.

Jack cleared his throat and spoke first.  "How'd you straighten out your team, Jace?"

Jason sighed and closed his eyes.  "After seeing you shove them in here, I asked them what the fuck was the problem, and I used those words.  Alex owned up, saying he'd pissed you off because... well, because he and the guys were believing that fucking bullshit Bradley had been spewing, reinforcing other rumors I usually nipped in the bud.

"He told me that it wasn't just the lie.  He wasn't that bothered to think of you guys as gay but that because of my close friendship with you, he assumed that it would hurt me, whether I was gay or not." Jason paused, sighing deeply.  "For fuck's sake.  I've had straight friends all my life who'd never had a problem with me, and though some needed straightening out, no pun intended, from the societal crap, they'd turned out fine.  The fact that I had to actually do that with my own men pissed me off no end.

"Alex tends to be like that, you know.  React first, think later.  He doesn't really have a phobic bone in his body but he's like the others who're fairly decent guys.  It's that phobic shit drilled into him and he needed to be educated.  I educated him, just as I did Al and Connor.  I didn't confirm, nor did I deny.

"First, I asked them how in the hell they could worry about this shit when they had real bad guys out there who didn't give a flying piece of shit who was fucking whom."

Jason took another long breath, still keeping his eyes closed.  He didn't want to see their expressions.

"Second, I turned it back on them in true Doctor of Psychology fashion."

"I just bet you did," Daniel said softly and Jason opened his eyes, showing him pain.

"I asked them, 'Do you think your sex lives interfere with your job?'"

"And they said?" Jack asked.

"What you'd expect.  No. So I then explained to them that if their own sex lives held no problem, what made them think that being gay would change anything?  Alex said he was just worried about me, which only managed to piss me off even more.  I told him and the other two that my sex life, gay or straight, is none of their fucking business just as their sex lives are none of mine.  That sort of seemed to settle one point for them but I had to draw the line in the sand for them and give them the ol' ultimatum."

Jason paused again, staring down at the blanket covering his legs.  "I told them that if my leadership wasn't good enough them, regardless of my orientation, then they were free to leave the room right now and go type up their requests for transfer because I wouldn't work with men I couldn't trust with my life.  I told them that their behavior was exactly like that of SG-22.  If they believed that my being gay was an issue, then they were no different than the murderers who'd tried to kill Jack.  If they wanted me dead, they'd better do it now and not during a mission."

"Jesus, Jace," Daniel said, sitting on the bed, rubbing his lover's calf through the blanket.

"I'm sick and tired of this shit, Daniel."

Jack snorted quietly, but it wasn't in fun.  "Tell me about it."

"They must've taken your word, Jace," Daniel told him, "because Alex apologized to me."

"I heard, and I'm glad.  I really love those guys and it breaks my fucking heart that they'd believe that my being gay would make such a goddamned bit of difference all of a sudden.  They've never said anything phobic in the entire time I'd known them.  This one hurts.  One of you do me a favor and check my desk later.  I left my office open."

"Check it for letters, you mean?" Jack asked quietly.

"Yeah," Jason said, not looking at them.

"I don't think it'll be necessary, Jace," Jack told him, "but I'll look anyway just so you don't have to worry about that."

"All you need to worry about is healing up," Daniel said.  He leaned over, brushing Jason's hair out of his eyes, using it as an excuse to touch his face.  He blinked slowly and Jason blinked back.  "Would it be too much if I said I love you right now?" he whispered.

"No.  Because I love you back, both of you," Jason whispered in return, then coughed and winced in pain.  "Shit." Jack handed Daniel the water cup filled with ice chips and Daniel gave Jason a few.  "Dammit, I'm hungry.  Soon as you can, bust me the fuck out of here," Jason complained, crunching around the ice.  "Jack... about Rogers... I saw his name on your clipboard when I saw them checking in on Level 11.  There was something about him I did not like but I let it go, telling myself I was probably being resistant.  You know how we get about newbies.  Whoever sent him here used whatever it was that prick had against you as a means to an end.  What was it?"

Jack nodded at him, knowing this had been coming.  "I've pissed off a lot of people in over twenty years so I'd forgotten him." That got him some small, knowing smiles.  "He's why I wasn't waiting with you during Jason's surgery.  I did my own checks."

"Jack, it didn't sound like Rogers' was planning on waiting," Jason said glumly.  "They'd only been here for two days.  I don't think that motherfucker was going to be here longer than he had to be to get the murder job done."

"You'd be right.  Quick in and out.  Well, your suspicions are correct.  We knew each other, briefly.  It was a covert mission some years back.  He came on to me, I rejected him." He grinned at the shocked look.  "Yeah, one of those repressed pricks.  After, he had a prissy little fit."

"That's hard to believe," Daniel commented drily.

"He threw a punch and I put him on his ass, embarrassing him in front of a few of the locals.  When we finally went out on the Op, he didn't do what I told him to do and as a result that put our lives in danger and one man died.  I wrote him up and he was reprimanded and sent somewhere, I don't know where.  If it had been up to me and the men, we'd have killed him in the field for that shit."

Jack paused, taking a sip of Jason's water, then put his hands in his pockets and stared down at the bed.  "Anyway, I called Major Davis to find out who sent that shithead here but he couldn't dig up anything.  One of the results in all this is that our screening process needs to be tightened up.  Whoever sent Rogers and that team here faked the psych evals.  What that means is that yours truly gets to screen all newbie files from now on.  Won't that be fun."

Jason shook his head suddenly.  "Don't see that as a negative, but if you want help, just ask."

"I plan to," Jack answered through a grin.

"One more problem, Jack."


"Rogers knew things.  Which meant he was informed, whether by sources here or from visitors."

"I figured, Jace, but it also could have been Kinsey using his nifty imagination.  The bastard thinks he knows everything after a few visits."

"True." Jason then added, "Jack, Bradley did try to defend you but..."


"Rogers threatened him with rape if he didn't do what he was told."

Daniel remembered something and grimaced, turning away from the bed.  "Shit, he said something like that and I thought he was just making shit up."

Jack looked over at him.  "I don't think that's something he'd have made up, Daniel."

"Yeah, well, it's not like I was thinking rationally at the time," Daniel answered guiltily.  "All I was concentrating on was shoving that snake in his face--"

Jack made a gesture to quiet him but it was too late.  Daniel was then reminded that Jason hadn't been told what he'd done.


"What'd you do?" Jason asked, eyes narrowing.  When Daniel didn't answer, he asked again.  "What did you do, Daniel?"

"Only what I would have done if I'd thought of it first, Jason," Jack said, defending him.  "The guy wasn't 'fessing up so... Daniel persuaded him."

"And just how in the hell did he do that?" Jason drawled, looking them both.

When Daniel wouldn't answer, Jason closed his eyes again and decided now was the time for some deep breathing exercises.  He breathed in, breathed out, breathed in, breathed out, breathed in--

"Jason?" Daniel asked.

Jason ignored him as he breathed out.  He'd have told Daniel to leave but he didn't want him to.  He just wanted him to see how pissed he was.

Daniel pressed his lips tightly.  "You know that batch of larvae that SG-6 brought back?"

Jason breathed in.

"I threatened Bradley with one of them."

Jason breathed out... then held his breath and opened his eyes.  "You did what?" he asked as calmly as he could.

Daniel folded his arms in a stubborn manner well familiar to both of them and described what he did.

Jason closed his eyes again.  "Was that all that happened while I was out of it?"

"Out of it?" Daniel asked, his expression one of shock.  "You weren't just out of it, Jason, you were in surgery."

"What else?" Jason asked edgily, ignoring Daniel's comment.

"That little event got him locked up for several hours," Jack informed him.

Opening his eyes and glaring at his lover, Jason ground out, "Fuck.  What the hell am I going to do with you?"

Daniel returned a stubborn expression.  "I'm thinking the same thing about you."

"What are talking about?" Jason asked, confused.

"You almost died, Jason," Daniel told him calmly, though he wanted to scream it.

At that moment, Hammond opened the door and gestured to Jack.  "Colonel, the NID are here.  We need to have chat."

"Can't we just shoot them?"

Hammond smirked.  "Not this time, Colonel.  My office." Hammond closed the door and Jack squeezed Jason's foot, eyeing both him and Daniel.  "As the man said, I'll be back."

Jason sighed, knowing Daniel was going to chew him out, so he deflected.  "You know, that's his favorite movie."

"I know," Daniel said, sitting on the bed, letting him deflect.

"He'd better not be the next one to land in a holding cell."

Daniel wrinkled his nose.  "He'll be fine.  Jack will handle them as he always does.  Like he did with Maybourne."

"Except for that last time."

"Yeah, well, he helped with Sam so Jack got soft."

Jason nodded with thoughtful consideration before he and Daniel started to laugh quietly, then Jason grimaced, his hand going to the left side of his back.  Daniel went to him, stroking his leg in a futile effort to make Jason feel better.  "Shit, Daniel, don't make me laugh."

Janet came in then, eyeing Daniel with that 'don't fuck with my patient' look and checked Jason's vitals.  She noted the rise in his pulse.

"Major, the pain getting worse?"

Sheepishly, Daniel said, "That's my fault.  I made him mad, then I made him laugh." She started to berate him but Jason stopped her.

"Don't.  I need the distraction, even if it hurts."

"You don't need it if it gets a suture pulled and you end up back in surgery." Jason said nothing and just looked at Daniel.  She knew the answer to her next question but asked it anyway.  "How much pain, one to ten."

"Five or six," Jason hedged.

"Jason..." she prodded softly.

"Fifteen..." he whispered as a new pain spiked across his back and stomach, alarming them both.  Janet pressed a button attached to the smaller IV bag, releasing a large dose of morphine.  "Shit, Janet, I'm gonna go all loopy now."

"You'll sleep, too." After checking his pulse again, she stared at him sternly.  "Don't exert yourself, Major."

"Yes, Doctor," he answered irritably.

"You're as bad as Daniel and the Colonel," she scolded mildly, then squeezed his hand and left the room with a slightly rebuking look to Daniel.

They were quiet for a moment and Jason had to reluctantly admit that the morphine was welcome.  His back started to ease up and his muscles began to relax.  When he finally focused his attention on his lover, he found Daniel staring at his hands folded in his lap.

Taking one, he asked, "Daniel, look at me." When Jason saw a surprisingly misty look, it startled him.  "Hey, I'm fine," he insisted.

"You scared me," Daniel whispered after another long pause.

Jason pulled Daniel's hand to his lips and kissed his palm.  "I'm sorry." He then reached up and stroked his thumbpad over Daniel's eyes.  "Please don't do that.  Besides, you'll make me cry and it's not a pretty sight, trust me."

He succeeded in making Daniel smile and Daniel sniffed back the unshed tears in a half-laugh, but after a moment, he became serious again.  With a hint of the anger that he'd been trying to stave off, he said, "You should have come to me and Jack, Jason, no matter what.  I know you were trying to protect us but you should have told us about Rogers."

Jason gave him an unwilling nod but he was only humoring Daniel.  He wouldn't ever put him or Jack in danger, no matter what kind of scolding he got afterwards.  As long as they were safe, he could handle their anger and disappointment.

Unfortunately, Daniel knew Jason wasn't listening.  "I'm serious."

Jason sighed.  "Daniel, you and Jack would have done the same thing in my position."

Daniel wanted to deny that, but he couldn't.  He knew he would have taken care of it alone while Jack would've grabbed Teal'c and an SF.  He nodded with the same sort of unwilling agreement as he tried and failed to swallow the anger.

"I'm sorry," Jason said again, reading him.

Daniel curled his pinky around Jason's.  "You're a hero, saving his life like that."

Jason made noise, showing exactly what he thought of that.  "Only dead men are heroes, Daniel."

"Which makes my point for me," Daniel prodded, letting out the anger a little.

Jason sighed again.  "And yet, I give the point back.  Not a hero."

"You and Cari deserve to be recognized for what you did."

Jason felt a sudden wash of guilt; he'd completely forgotten about her.  "Shit, how is she?"

"She's fine, Jace," Daniel said, his tone clearly saying that she wasn't.

"What happened?"

"As you went down, she covered for you but apparently Clark or one of the others had a gun and she caught a bullet before she took them out."

"Fuck," Jason said tightly, closing his eyes yet again.

"She'll have a long rehab but Janet says she'll be fine."

Jason grimaced.  "When I'm able to, I need to send her the entire West coast's supply of orange roses."

Daniel smiled.  "She'd like that, I think.  But why orange?"

"She likes orange roses," Jason said, liking that smile.

Daniel rubbed his outer thigh through the blanket, pretending jealousy.  "And just how do you know she likes orange roses?"

Jason smiled, seeing the warning flash in Daniel's eye.  Game time.  "Oh, we've had a few late night chats."

"Really?" Daniel pursed his lips.  He got up from the bed, turned down the shades and locked the door.  Jason's eyes widened.

"Daniel?  ICU isn't exactly a private room."

"You missed the part where you're actually in a private room."

"Hello?  I.C.U.?" Jason told him as that wonderful heat starting to stir in his groin.  The medication wasn't letting his body get with the program though.  "Daniel, you can't do anything.  Hell, I can't do anything.  Be fair."

"Fair will be when you're well enough for me to tie you down and suck you till I make you beg."

Jason closed his eyes.  "God, shut up, will you?"

"Make me," Daniel told him as he sat down on his right side and put his arms around him.  "I can at least kiss you... even if you do need to brush."

Jason snickered but suddenly found his mouth occupied.  He kissed back but it was nowhere near long enough.  When Daniel pulled away, he whispered, "You taste good."

"You've tasted better, but I love kissing you."

Jason grinned at him and opened his mouth to say something else but was cut off as Daniel kissed him again, longer that time.

"I want you," Daniel whispered huskily as he broke off to breathe.

Jason groaned, half-lidding his eyes.  "Daniel, play fair."

"Suffer.  Orange roses, Jason..." Daniel moved his hand down the blanket to cup him, getting a groan in response as he felt Jason twitch under his hand.  "God, I want to suck you."

"Daniel, goddamn it," Jason growled at him.  He wished he could.  God, he wished he could.  "I can't even get hard enough to come--"

Daniel kissed him again as he began to rub firmly.  When he let him go and sat back, Jason was breathing hard.  "Daniel, the monitors will bring the nurses."

"I know, but you needed to be reminded," Daniel whispered, his eyes darkening.

"Of?" Jason whispered back as he reached down and brushed his hand over his lover's hard outline.  He groaned in frustration.

Daniel growled softly as he nuzzled his neck.  "That you're mine."

"What about Jack?"

"Him, too," Daniel said shakily as Jason's hand cupped him more firmly.

"I think you need to visit Jack.  Soon."

"I don't want to leave."

Jason grinned at him, his eyes drooping, his hand slowing.  "You gonna watch me sleep, waste a perfectly good erection?"

Daniel's lips twitched.  "It wasn't wasted."

Jason shook his head drunkenly as the medication suddenly took over, making his hand drop away from Daniel's groin.  "G'fine Jack," he slurred, closing his eyes.

Daniel leaned in and kissed him softly, wishing he could crawl in bed with him and hold him.  He had an image of tomorrow, sitting here and describing to Jason exactly what he'd done to Jack.  That prompted action and he was off the bed and out of the room, with a last look over his shoulder.


Jack rolled his eyes as he lounged back in the chair before Hammond's desk.  The spook sitting next to him was past getting on his nerves.  Besides, the fun time had been over five minutes after walking in the old man's office.  He slowly got to his feet.  "Sir, I've got some paperwork to finish."

Hammond nodded and gestured at the door.  "Leave it and go home, Colonel."

"Yes, sir," Jack smirked at him and as he passed the spook and opened the door, he said over his shoulder, "If he gets uppity, call Teal'c."

"Goodnight, Colonel," Hammond told him with a regretful grin as the door closed behind him.

Jack slowly relaxed as he walked down the stairs and into the corridor, somehow making it to his office without too much thinking involved.  He simply put himself on auto-pilot as he sat down behind his desk.  He was very tired, very cranky, and wished he could legally kill a few people.  Dropping his head down, resting them on his hands, he closed his eyes for a minute.

The next thing he knew was the feel of strong fingers massaging his neck.  He tried to be alarmed that he hadn't heard Daniel come in but he simply couldn't be bothered.  "Feels good," he said to the desk.

"You're very tense," Daniel replied quietly as both hands went to work on his neck and shoulders.

"You lock the door?"

"No, it's wide open."

Jack snickered... but just in case, he had to look, then snorted at himself for falling for it.  Daniel preyed on his gullible paranoia like a professional.  He was so proud.  "You're funny."

"I know.  Wanna get blown?"

Jack groaned, mumbling, "Here?"

"No, in the gateroom."

Jack snickered again and sat up, sliding a hand around Daniel's waist and pulling him as close as he could, given the interfering arms of the chair.  "What's gotten into you?"

It was Daniel's turn to snicker.  He moved his fingers to Jack's temples and rubbed in circles before carding them through his hair and massaging his scalp.  "Jason.  I wish it had been literal.  But he is responsible for my mood.  How about the showers?  SG-2 is home.  We'll have the cubicles to ourselves."

It was a lovely idea, Jack thought, but he sighed and shook his head.  "I've got paperwork." Daniel stared down at him and he grinned.  "Don't start."

"C'mon, Jack," Daniel urged, "I just know you don't have to do that right now." He stepped back and sat on the edge of his lover's desk, feet spread, displaying the growing outline in his trousers.

It was only then did Jack realize that Daniel was in civilian clothes and he narrowed his eyes.  His lover was a dangerous bastard.  "Daniel?"

"Jack?" Daniel grinned, determined to amp up the seduction.

"What're you doing?"

"Tempting you."

"It's working."

This time, it was Daniel's turn to narrow his eyes, only he took off his glasses and began to unbutton his shirt.  "I dare you to do something."

Jack quickly reached out, stopping Daniel's hands and his lover chose that moment to thrust his hips a little.  Hands on Daniel's, with Jack still sitting, he looked down between his arms, then up into Daniel's face without lifting his head.  Without a word, he slid his hands down and quickly unbuttoned and unzipped.  "Don't move, Daniel.  And don't talk."

Daniel swallowed as Jack opened his trousers and slid them off his hips along with his briefs.  He shivered as the odor of sex filled the air and his bare ass met the wooden desk.  He couldn't help but get harder and hissed when Jack wrapped his fingers around his cock.

"Remember, no talking, Daniel," Jack reminded him.

Again, Daniel swallowed, waiting to see what Jack would do, and a few seconds later, he stopped waiting as Jack's hand began to move.

"This what you want?" he asked, grinning as Daniel's hands gripped the edge of the desk in a death hold.  Daniel didn't answer but nodded and Jack slowed the pumping of his hand as his thumb firmly rubbed the head, catching pre-come.  "Like this, don't you?"

It was rhetorical but Daniel nodded anyway, biting his lip and closing his eyes.

"So do I," Jack said, inching his face closer, getting off on the hitching of Daniel's breath.  "In fact, this might end up being your sleeping pill on missions, although you'll have to wear a condom when I do it.  No muss, no fuss."

Daniel smiled, trying not to laugh, knowing Jack was trying to make him disobey his orders to keep quiet.  Although... he'd said no talking.  Didn't say anything about moaning, so when Jack's hand began to pump a little faster, Daniel let a small sound escape his throat.  When he opened his eyes, it was just in time to catch Jack's evil look before his mouth covered the head.

Daniel couldn't help the shuddery groan as he caught Jack's hair in his right hand and clutched the desk harder with his left.  He had to bite both lips to keep from saying his name or asking for more.  Jack's tongue was making it difficult, combined with his pumping hand.  When Jack groaned around the head and probed the slit with the tip of his tongue, it took all of Daniel's will power not to thrust.  Both hands grabbed the desk once more and he dropped his head forward, breathing hard and shallow, the sound just begging Jack to bring him off.

Jack had been waiting for this moment and took more of Daniel's cock into his mouth, sucking as he pulled back, opening his throat as the head touched the back of his palate.  He rode him, directing the movements, loving it that Daniel was trying to do as he was told, to keep himself still.  Under his hands, Jack could feel the strain.  Daniel was nearly there.  Just a few more things to do before he'd get the man to come.  Hard.

Jack sat back, throwing his left arm around Daniel's waist and pulling him off the desk.  Daniel stumbled, hands clawing for purchase on the back of Jack's chair, and Jack seized that opportunity to spread his own feet apart, moving Daniel's legs open.  The surprising sneak attack was only a hint and as he took Daniel's cock down his throat, his right hand slipped quickly behind his balls.  Just as he heard the harsh inhalation from his lover, Jack shoved his forefinger into Daniel's ass.

He was rewarded with a shaking, trembling lover as the man pulsed down his throat.  He also knew what else was coming and seconds later, Daniel proved it.  He was on his knees, kissing him thoroughly while his hands opened Jack's trousers to get at his cock.

Daniel was frantic.  He needed to taste, to suck, to get that cock into his mouth before his shudders were over.  "Don't move, don't talk," he whispered, before he took hold of Jack's cock and balls and swallowed the head into his mouth.  Jack slumped down in the chair, unable to sit up, his hands gripping the arms tightly so he could hang on.  Pleased, Daniel took him down, wallowing in the pleasure and excitement in making Jack respond without moving.

Instead of the abrupt invasion he'd been given, Daniel teased Jack's hole, flicking the tip of his middle finger back and forth while he worked his cock in and out of his mouth.  Jack always tasted so good, smelled so spicy and sweet, and it was all Daniel could do not to take the time to play.

But this wasn't the place and time for that and Jack knew it, too.  He was responding like he should--like any secret act would make him, so when Daniel stopped flicking his finger and slid it inside, Jack pushed off the chair, slightly unbalanced, hips twitching, and toppled forward, hands seeking out the edge of the table.

He growled deep as Daniel opened his throat and swallowed, not allowing him to thrust as he finger-fucked him quick and dirty.  It was all it took and Jack came hard, knees nearly buckling as his body shook and thrust.

Letting Jack's cock slide out of his mouth, Daniel swallowed, licked his lips, and yanked Jack to his knees for a long, loving kiss.  "That should make Jason happy," he whispered as Jack broke the kiss to burrow his face in his neck and wait out the afterglow.  Jack made a questioning noise and Daniel sighed around the stupid smile on his face.  "Oh, I just teased him in his room."

Jack lifted his head.  "Daniel, he's in ICU."

"I know."

"It's not like he has a broken ankle, like you did."

"I know."

"Seems a little mean, since he can't do anything," Jack told him, eyebrow arching.

Daniel gave him that teacher look.  "I kissed him, he kissed me back; I felt him up, he felt me back.  I did it because he needed to be reassured that he was okay and that I loved him."

"You needed to reassure yourself, Daniel.  Jason's just fine."

"Yeah, perhaps, but still, he needed to know."

Jack grinned softly at him, shaking his head.  "And so this little encounter is because Jason told you to?"

"No, but he did say that I shouldn't waste a perfectly good erection."

Jack kissed him lightly.  "It wasn't wasted."

"Funny, that's just what I said, but I'll say it again if you want."

"I think we should stop talking and go home."

"I thought you had paperwork."

"I'll do it during normal hours.  We need our beauty sleep."

"So... yours or mine?"



"Yours.  Your house is closer."

"Not really, but I'll go with that." Jack snickered as they stood up together, closing their trousers, and Daniel shivered as Jack ran a hand over his ass.  "Jack, I thought you were tired."

"I am.  But you won't mind if I wake you up in the morning and fuck you into next week, will you?"

"No," Daniel drawled.  "In fact, I insist."