Seven: Catching the Tiger’s Tail
Daniel sat down on the large flat stone that marked the entrance to a cave on P4X-957 and opened his field pack to get out his lunch. He was tired and a bit dirty, but happy with the recording work he’d managed to finish in one morning. He was also glad that this small planet was forested, and a lot cooler than the planet on the previous mission. That one had resembled Abydos more than a little and it was a bittersweet thing that Daniel no longer loved the dry, hot desert.
As he dug out the spoon and ripped open the MRE entree bag, he smelled the contents of the vegetable beef stew and was satisfied. It was better a lot better than the Mac ‘n Cheese the Mess had supplied them with five years ago. The second MRE bag, a side dish of applesauce, he would save for later if Jack decided they’d stay another night.
They’d been on the planet for three days. It was absent of people, but filled with the usual plant and animal life, and thankfully, none of that animal life was much of a threat. A decent campfire kept the weasel-like animals away. To Daniel, it was peaceful, and he wouldn’t have minded the animals if it weren’t for past experience. They held unknown bacteria just as the visiting humans did. It was best not to mix.
Daniel sat and ate, scanning the forest beyond the small clearing that prefaced the cave entrance. He didn’t really see the forest, nor hear the wildlife that hummed all around him and kept the planet from being silent. What Daniel thought about was how long he’d been at the mountain and how long it had been since he’d seen Dylan. He’d given him his cell phone number before he’d left, almost a month ago now. He was sure to find a message or two on it when he got back to the mountain; he didn’t take his phone with him on missions. What would be the point? Besides, if someone called, they’d get an “out of area” message and that was suspicious for a phone with a global range. Best to just leave the phone in his desk till he returned.
The jealousy he’d wrestled with a month ago was mostly gone now. With Dylan, anyway. But with Jack and Jason, it hadn’t. And it wasn’t really jealousy he was feeling there. It was envy. His two best friends still insisted theirs was a casual relationship, but Daniel knew better. Every moment he saw them together, it was easily apparent. Even Dylan could see it, but like Daniel, he didn’t dare confront Jack and Jason with that knowledge. Like the cell phone, there was no point.
Another subject that came to mind was Dylan’s discussion about his bondage dream. They’d had it that second night four weeks ago and discussed it again before Daniel had gone back to work. Both talks had resulted in the same answer: I’ll think about it. That was the only thing Daniel could say to Dylan’s proposal: act out the dream.
Even now, Daniel posed the questions. How do I act out the dream? Why should I act out the dream? It’s only a psychological message, isn’t it? Daniel smiled to himself, remembering how vexed Dylan had become.
“Haven’t you ever acted out a fantasy?” he’d asked at dinner that second night.
“Yes, but not something like that dream.”
“Don’t you think this is worth exploring? There’s nothing to lose here, Daniel. Take the plunge and have some good, sweaty, outrageous fun.”
“I get that part. But just who gets to be the stranger? It won’t be the same if I know who’s there.”
In the end, Dylan had told Daniel that he’d think of something. And so for the last four weeks, Daniel couldn’t help but wonder what possible scenario Dylan could come up with that would even come close to matching the elements of the dream. First, he had to wake up in a confused and puzzled state, wondering why he was on his bed, tied up, and who that faceless man was in the room?
Second, if Dylan managed to pull this off somehow, what if the person chosen to be the “stranger” wasn’t someone Daniel wanted? It couldn’t be Jack, couldn’t be Jason, and couldn’t be Dylan. They were all people he’d recognize, even if they wore a hood and didn’t speak. He knew their bodies too well by now.
And Daniel wasn’t about to let Dylan tie him up with a stranger. So again, how could Dylan hope to match the elements of the dream?
Daniel sighed, wishing he’d called Dylan more than one time between continuous missions, and that their one phone call had lasted more than five minutes. With a bigger sigh, he placed the MRE packet in a Ziploc baggie, stuffed it back into his pack, and pulled out a small bottle of Gatorade and drank half of it before replacing it in the pack. Getting to his feet, he put aside his thoughts of Dylan, but his traitorous mind replaced those thoughts with ones of Jason. It had been a while since he’d seen him, too. SG-2 had their own missions and whenever they were on base with SG-1, it seemed like Jack and Jason would disappear. Daniel envied them. And he missed being with them both.
He didn’t think of anything more sexual than just the abstract longing because it was dangerous to be on a mission and let your mind wander to a place that would close off outside noises. Sexual thoughts had a habit of doing that.
“Daniel, come in,” crackled his radio.
Daniel keyed his mic as he walked back into the cave, lit with three field lamps. “Go ahead, Jack.”
“I think we’ve pretty much gotten the test samples we came to get. At least, that’s what Carter says. Tell me you’re done.”
Daniel sighed. He’d like to stay longer and investigate–where there was one cave filled with evidence of an ancient people, there was another–but he also knew the rules. This wasn’t an archaeological dig, it was a survey mission. It would be marked, however, so that perhaps one day, he could return. But they had to move on.
“All I have left to do is pack up.”
“Why didn’t you radio in and tell me that?”
Daniel rolled his eyes. Jack’s impatience was sometimes a pain in the ass. “Because I had to double and triple-check.”
There was a few beats of silence as Daniel knew that Jack was digesting that information, probably debating whether or not to start an argument. Daniel blamed himself partly. He’d been sharing his tent with Sam this mission because Teal’c was, well, being a superstitious asshole. Sam was on her period. And in Jaffa society, a woman–warrior or not–stayed with other women during this time. It was a sacred time, Teal’c had said, something that men were not allowed to be near. And if they violated that time, then something might happen to inhibit breeding.
Daniel had been tempted to explain to Teal’c that Sam was a) not a Jaffa warrior, and b) the menstrual cycle usually meant it was too late for breeding. Instead, he’d simply offered to switch tents. Because of Teal’c’s cultural taboo, Sam had been rather cool with their Jaffa team member, and privately told Daniel that no matter how well Teal’c dressed it up, his society was as backward as any male-dominated, sexually repressed culture on Earth.
Daniel hadn’t dared argue the point. She was, after all, right. But as a result of the tent switch, Jack and Daniel hadn’t had their private time–which only ever amounted to blow jobs while off-world. Jack was, therefore, out of sorts. Daniel found it endearing, a thing he’d never admit to Jack. Jack had blamed his crotchety behavior on his hate for change. He liked routine, especially if it made his life easier.
“But you’ve had to tolerate changes before, why does this bother you so much?” Daniel had asked the day before when Jack had come to check on his progress.
“Because I’m older and sick and tired of having to put up with it,” had been Jack’s answer, and he’d punctuated that statement with a kiss in the cave.
Daniel knew what it had meant, and what Jack had not said. It had nothing to do with change. He simply didn’t like being separated, didn’t like Daniel sleeping with anyone but him while they were off-world. He’d never admit it, never own up to his feelings. Instead, he’d list professional reasons, give once more his dislike of change.
With a sigh, Daniel clicked the radio. “I’ll probably be ready to go in thirty, Jack.”
“Hold on, I’ll come help.”
Daniel touched his radio, thinking to tell Jack he didn’t need the help, but he had a feeling that perhaps Jack just wanted an excuse to do something. Teal’c was probably helping Sam and no doubt they were heading back to base camp. With a sort of shrug, Daniel radioed, “Roger that.”
Looking around the cave one more time, he grabbed the large artifact case he’d requested on their second mission day and began to carefully place inside the items he’d wrapped in bubble plastic. As soon as that was finished, he repacked his tools into his field pack. Placing both the pack and the case outside the cave, he went back in to gather the lamps.
As soon as he exited the cave, he heard a deep-throated growl and froze for a few seconds before he slowly squatted and set the lamps on the ground. Rising, he looked over at the 10 o’clock position and tried to peer through the forest for whatever it was that was watching him. He considered using his radio, but he had to get out his sidearm first. Slowly unsnapping it from his thigh holster, he flipped the safety off out of habit but kept the gun at his side. Reaching up slowly with his free hand, he slowly clicked the mic.
“Jack, where are you?”
“Not far, five minutes maybe. Why?”
Another growl came and the hairs on the back of Daniel’s neck rose as he thought he detected the reflectivity found in animal’s eyes on Earth. Maybe twenty yards away, between two thick bushes, surrounded by tall fir-like trees.
Daniel quietly cleared his throat and depressed the mic again. “Because I think we missed an animal on our initial scout.”
“On my way,” came Jack’s business-like reply. “Carter, Teal’c, meet me at the cave.”
Daniel didn’t relax his posture or his stance. He held his weapon ready, but he was filled with conflicted feelings. He didn’t want to hurt this animal. They were the intruders and the animal was only doing what it normally did, protecting its range. But if it charged, Daniel knew he’d have no choice but to aim and fire and probably kill it.
The only question he had at the moment was how big this animal was. If the thing was small with large eyes, he wouldn’t shoot it. He’d toss a lamp at it, try to scare it away. But if it was the size of a polar bear, and for all he knew, it was, then he’d have to shoot. Problem was, he’d have only one chance if Jack, Sam, and Teal’c didn’t get there in time. He’d dealt with situations like this before, but rarely alone.
Another growl came and Daniel didn’t take his eyes off the glowing eyes. He knew it would probably be taken as a challenge, but he knew that if he lost sight of his unknown stalker, he’d get hurt and possibly killed. That was something he’d learned at an early age, whether at dig sites or at inner city schools harassed by thugs in blue jeans and letterman’s jackets.
A twig or something snapped in the distance off to his right and it triggered the action of the animal, which began to bound forward. Daniel raised his weapon as he bent down and grasped the handle of one of the lamps. When the animal appeared, Daniel’s heart sank. The damn thing looked feline and it was tiger-sized with very long fangs.
“Shit,” he said, unwilling to kill it. He fired a shot into the air, hoping to scare it, and launched the lamp in its direction. It ducked out of the way and kept coming. Daniel was out of options, but he still didn’t want to kill it. The only problem was, he’d called Jack and no matter what he said, Jack, Teal’c, or Sam would not hesitate if they reached him before the animal did.
“Dammit,” he growled and backed up a few feet, knowing the edge of the cave entrance was right behind him.
The big cat stopped charging, but it began to stalk, coming slowly closer. Daniel fired off another shot, this one over the animal’s head. This time it crouched down and stopped, giving the impression it was thinking the matter over. It was at the edge of the clearing now, maybe fifteen feet away. Its fur was tawny with black striping, as if someone had bred a tiger with a cougar. But this cat was bigger than any tiger he’d ever seen.
Absurdity rose within and Daniel had the urge to say, “Nice kitty.” Hysterical laughter threatened to erupt but he quashed it firmly and swallowed instead. He fired his weapon again, a little closer but still over the cat’s head. It flinched and cowered, but it still didn’t move. Damn thing was smart.
“I don’t want to kill you,” Daniel muttered.
The cat hissed and growled, apparently mistaking Daniel’s low utterance as a growl. It put a large paw forward and Daniel cocked his weapon, grinding his teeth with hated resolution.
Suddenly to his right, sounds of running and snapping twigs. They caught Daniel’s attention and he broke his gaze off the giant cat. That was his mistake. It launched at him, and given its size, it was an easy distance. Daniel took a step to his right and dived for the ground, hoping to throw the cat off as he aimed. He partly succeeded. Instead of reaching his head, the animal caught his left leg with claws and teeth. It was too late for his leg or the animal because as soon as it had him, Daniel’s self-preservation overrode any desire to protect the cat. He fired into its middle and the fourth shot made the animal scream and let go. Just as it bounded away into the forest, Daniel’s teammates arrived.
Why was it that bullet holes didn’t hurt as much as other wounds? Daniel found himself wishing he’d been shot instead of mauled and he’d cursed loudly when Jack and Teal’c had carried him through the gate. He remembered the attack clearly, but it was a strange recall, like something that had happened a long time ago. He didn’t feel any fear, no post-traumatic stress. He figured there was some sort of protective measure going on that his mind had cooked up. In a day or two, he’d probably remember a lot more and have stronger feelings about it, but at the moment, the pain was the only thing on his mind.
Standing next to his infirmary bed, Janet gave him a sympathetic look as she adjusted the I.V. drip after giving him a shot of morphine. “Just give it a minute, Daniel. It’ll kick in soon.” She winced at his now-wrapped leg. He had four large claw gashes down the inside of his calf and two teeth gashes across the shin. During minor surgery, she and Dr. Warner had removed a piece of a broken claw and had found residue that was likely animal spit. That was the only part that worried her because that saliva had had foreign bacteria.
“Something on your mind?” Daniel asked her, interrupting her thoughts.
Daniel snorted with dark amusement. “Tell me about it.”
“You’re damn lucky that cat’s teeth only bruised your tibialis anterior and those claw marks didn’t completely reach bone. It’s the foreign bacteria from the cat’s saliva that I’m concerned about, but you’re on antibiotics so there shouldn’t be a problem.”
“And yet you’re concerned,” he said.
She gave him one of her bedside smiles. “Alien animals always pose a risk, so I’m just being cautious. Either way, that was a very close call, Daniel.”
Daniel sighed heavily and nodded with agreement. “Jack know?”
“I’ll tell the Colonel.”
“No, I’ll tell him,” Daniel replied, and could feel the medicine beginning to work. The pain was still there, but it was dulling down a bit.
“Tell me what?” Jack asked as he walked in, followed by Sam, Teal’c, and General Hammond.
“How’d you know I meant you?” Daniel asked.
“Ah,” Daniel said, and with an amused smirk tossed at Janet, he said, “Just going to tell you that my tibialis anterior isn’t broken.” He couldn’t help but love the confused look on Jack’s face. “Never mind, I’ll explain later.”
“Report, Doctor,” Hammond requested.
It turned out that Daniel didn’t need to tell Jack anything because Janet repeated what she’d told Daniel to both him and the General. She also informed them that Daniel would have to stay in the infirmary for two days of observation before being sent home for a week’s medical leave.
“At the end of that time,” she continued, “he can return to duty but I’d advise against any missions for another month until his bone has completely healed.”
Daniel wasn’t happy and he could see that his teammates weren’t either. SG-1 would be minus a fourth member for a while. Hammond gave Daniel a grim smile and said, “I know it’s a pain in the ass, Doctor Jackson, but I’m just relieved you’re alive and in one piece.” With a nod to everyone, he left the infirmary.
As soon as he disappeared, Jack set a pair of glasses on the mobile table and handed Daniel his phone. “When I fetched your spare glasses, your phone was buzzing in your desk.”
With a quick glance at Sam and Teal’c, who looked curious, Daniel flipped open his phone, checking the message list. He smiled at first, then felt more awful than before. It had been Dylan calling. He sighed and looked up at Jack. “Guess I won’t be going out anywhere anytime soon.”
Daniel didn’t say anything more, not in front of Sam and Teal’c, so Jack waited till they left half an hour later. “Dylan?” he asked.
Daniel nodded. “I should call him,” he said, but just as he tried to, the medicine began to work extremely well and his exhausted and beat up body pulled him into sleep.
When Daniel groggily fought off the strange dream about tigers and opened his eyes, his bed had been adjusted so that he was reclining with his feet raised. Janet must’ve been worrying about his head, too, though Daniel had merely bumped it when he’d hit the ground.
Shifting his gaze to the left, he found Jason sitting next to the bed, dozing. He was still wearing his BDUs. Daniel smiled broadly as his heart and stomach filled with love and yearning. He held his hand out but couldn’t reach him. “Hey,” he said.
Jason’s eyelids fluttered open and he sleepily sat up and ran his hand through his hair. “Hey,” he said, taking Daniel’s hand. “What the hell did I tell you about getting injured?”
“Not to?” Daniel smiled.
“Exactly,” Jason replied, squeezing Daniel’s fingers. “Please don’t do this again.”
Daniel sighed. “I’ve missed you.”
“Me too,” Jason replied, getting up so he could sit on the edge of the bed. Still holding Daniel’s hand, he reached up with his free one and brushed his hair. “Even when you look like shit, you look good.”
“Thanks,” Daniel replied, then he was suddenly aware of how dry his mouth was and how badly he had to pee. “Got any ice water somewhere?” he asked, trying to sit up.
“What’re you doing?”
“I have to piss and I am not going in a bed pan. Help me get to the bathroom.”
It was difficult and Daniel was so dizzy that Jason not only had to hold him up, he had to aim for him too. When he got back into bed, Daniel took Jason’s hand and kissed his fingers, making Jason look around quickly. “Blame it on the meds,” he said with a grin, and then in a lowered voice he added, “You know, under different circumstances, you holding my dick would be the best thing ever.”
“Don’t tease me,” Jason murmured and the two of them couldn’t help but smile. Jason watched Daniel close his eyes afterward and he cleared his throat. “Daniel, Jack mentioned that you wanted to call Dylan.”
Daniel nodded, keeping his eyes closed. “I do. Want to explain somehow that I won’t be coming up for a while. It’s been a month since I’ve seen him and two weeks since I’ve spoken to him. I just want to tell him that I haven’t …” He paused, hating how weak his voice sounded. It was his turn to clear his throat. “Is there any ice water, Jason?”
With a sigh, Jason got up and reached over to the table next to the bed and fetched the plastic pitcher and the cup next to it. “Yeah.” As Daniel drank the water Jason poured for him, Jason said, “I know you worry about leaving him out in cold, so I called him for you.”
“What?” Daniel asked, coughing in surprise.
“Don’t be mad. I told him you’d call him as soon you could.”
“What’d you tell him?” Daniel asked, automatically needing to know the cover story Jason used. “If it doesn’t mesh with what I’d already told him–“
“Daniel, chill. I just told him that you’d been injured on a mission but that you’re okay and you’ll call him as soon as you can.”
“Shit,” Daniel complained. “Where’s my phone?”
Jason grinned and tapped the portable table. “Here.” When Daniel tried to reach for it, Jason stopped him. “It’s 0330, Daniel.”
Daniel frowned at him. “But …” He suddenly didn’t know what day it was. “Why are you here at this crappy hour?”
Jason just looked at him, as if Daniel were delirious. “We got back three hours ago and I’m still on mission time. You know how our internal clocks get wiped. And for the record, you’ve only been back for fourteen hours.”
“Right,” Daniel said, just barely remembering. He had a sneaky suspicion that Janet had put something in the I.V. along with the pain medication. Jason took his hand again and Daniel closed his eyes and sighed. “It’s so nice, Jason, having you here,” he said.
Jason frowned, having only heard mumbled, slurred words. He got up and threaded his fingers through Daniel’s hair again, then bent over and kissed his forehead. “No more nightmares for you,” he whispered. “Understand?” With a worried smile, he left in the infirmary.
Jason approached the door to Jack’s quarters and raised his hand to knock, then paused when he remembered what time it was. “Crap,” he muttered to himself. To his right, someone yawned and Jason looked down the hall. It was Sergeant Davis, coming toward him, probably heading for his own quarters in the adjoining corridor. He walked toward the man and as he passed him, clapped him on the shoulder.
“Thanks for staying up, Walter. Have a good night.”
“You’re welcome, sir,” Walter said, then yawned again. “By the way, the Colonel’s gone home.”
Jason’s brows rose, partly because the Sergeant had that uncanny knack of knowing what people were thinking. “Thanks, Sergeant. I’ll catch him in the morning then.”
“Good night, sir,” Walter said, continuing on his way.
Jason did the same, but as he stood in front of the door to his own quarters, he wondered if he should stop by and see Jack anyway. Was it worth the risk getting yelled at for waking him up? If the man was asleep, that is. Knowing Jack, he might not be.
Jason drove up to Jack’s house and smiled as he caught the light on in the living room. Pulling into the driveway, he shut off the engine and got out, his eyes trained on the living room window, hoping to catch a shadow. If there was no movement, then perhaps Jack had fallen asleep on the couch.
He strode up to the door, but as he raised his hand, he once more hesitated. This probably wasn’t a good idea. He really didn’t want to disturb the man’s sleep. Jack wasn’t all that forgiving when it came to sleeping in his own bed.
With a sigh, Jason turned away from the door but stopped when his phone rang. Digging it out of his jacket, he opened it and frowned at the screen, then laughed as he answered the phone. “I’m at your door.” Jack didn’t say anything, he simply hung up. With a smirk, Jason put his phone back into his jacket pocket and a minute later, the door opened. Jack was still dressed, wearing a white t-shirt and his favorite beige cargo pants, but his clothes were wrinkled which meant he’d been sleeping in them. Which meant he was waiting to be called to the infirmary.
Jason sighed and stepped passed him as he entered. “Jack, he’s fine,” he said as Jack closed the door. “I just saw him.”
Jack lifted his chin. “I figured you would.” He gave him a jerk of his head, indicating the kitchen. “Beer?”
Jason followed him. “Thanks.” Sitting down at the table, he watched Jack retrieve two bottles from the fridge. “What message were you gonna leave me?”
Jack cracked a crooked smile as he twisted off the cap and handed Jason the bottle. “To come by if we were off duty.” Jason grinned and saluted him with the bottle as Jack sat down next to him, giving him a long look. “When’d you get back?”
“Around midnight. After the post-mission clearance, I went to see him, dozed off in the chair.”
Jack nodded and took a sip from his own bottle. “How was the mission?”
“Routine but physical.” Jack lifted a brow, a signal for more information. Jason made a face and added, “Lots and lots of hills and bush country. Pain in the ass. We should start carrying machetes in our packs.”
“So nothing to report?”
Jason shook his head as he sighed. “Total bust. Nothing there. Be a good planet to colonize though, use it for agriculture.”
Jack nodded again, as if by rote. He really wasn’t interested in the planet, just intensely relieved that Jason was fine. Truth was, he was thinking only of two things: Daniel’s attack and Jason’s safety. His thoughts were interrupted by Jason taking his hand in his.
“Wanna talk about it? I got the short version from the med techs.”
Jack growled deep in his throat. “We fucked up, didn’t know about the large predator on the planet.”
Jason reached over and took his hand, squeezing it. “That shit happens because we don’t survey the entire planet, you know that.”
“Yeah, we should, but that takes time and you know how the brass doesn’t like that.”
“I’m submitting a request for longer mission prep. This shit has to stop.” When he started to pull away, Jason wouldn’t let him.
“He’s fine, Jack.”
“He’s not,” Jack said angrily. “He’s hurt.”
“Okay, yeah, he’s hurt,” Jason said rather forcefully, knowing damn well that there was more to it. “But he’ll be fine. He’ll heal. He’s alive because of his prior experience and his training with us. And you also know that. So what’s really on your mind? Talk to me.”
Jack bowed his head as he rubbed between his brows. “We got there too late.” Looking up, he scowled. “Why the hell can’t forests come with natural pathways? Why the hell can’t we find a planet without wildlife? Why the hell does this shit happen?”
Jason couldn’t help but smile with loving indulgence. “Because the universe is out to torture you.”
“Wise ass,” Jack growled, then squeezed Jason’s hand back. After a moment of silence, he sighed heavily and pulled Jason toward him, receiving a soft kiss hello.
Jason tried to pull back but Jack refused to let him go. “I haven’t had my shower. I stink.”
“You smell fine to me,” Jack grinned, tugging him forward again for another kiss, but again, Jason pulled back.
“Because you have low standards,” Jason teased, laughing when Jack scowled at him. Setting his bottle on the table, he crouched down in front of him and let out another sigh. “What happened?”
Jack stared at him, knowing that Jason wasn’t going to let it go. He also understood him because he’d be doing the same thing … although maybe not so quietly. “Daniel was working in a cave ten minutes’ walk from base camp. Carter was working about half a mile away at a mineral site. Teal’c and I went back and forth between sites. Carter was finished first so we were helping her pack up. Then I radioed Daniel and he said he was packing up, too. Then five or ten minutes later, he radios me and tells me that we missed a large animal on the planet. So we hightailed it to his location but got there too late.”
“So you killed the animal and got him back here,” Jason finished.
“No,” Jack said, a slight smile coming to his lips. “Daniel shot the goddamn thing four times. It managed to run off just as we got there, but he had to have killed it. No animal survives with four nine millimeter slugs in it, I don’t care how big the thing is.”
Jason blinked a few times in surprise. “Shit, that must’ve been a last resort, Jack. You know how he feels about indigenous life.”
“Self-preservation beats saving the animals every time,” Jack said flatly. When Jason gave him a disapproving look, Jack returned it with an apologetic one. “Look, I agree with him, okay, but if something’s coming at me with long claws and eight inch fangs, it’s going down.”
“What?” Jason exclaimed. “What the fuck attacked him?”
Jack snorted. “Daniel said it looked like a sabretooth tiger, but none of us saw it. Doc Warner said that Daniel’s right, though. When he and Fraiser patched him up, he said the bruise pattern was consistent with very large fang marks.” He took a deep breath. “Fraiser said he was lucky. If the fangs hadn’t glanced off his leg, they’d have broken it, and probably so severely that he’d have been in a cast for a long damn time, and maybe permanently benched from SG-1.”
Jason stared at Jack as he absorbed that information. “Christ, no wonder you’re still up.”
Jack gave him a tiny grin. “I got some sleep.”
Jason reached up and touched his face, smiling when Jack leaned against his palm, his grin widening. “Let me guess. Two, three hours?”
Jack set his beer down next to Jason’s and took his hand, holding both now. “Maybe.”
With a crooked grin, Jason stood up and pulled Jack to his feet. “Come help me wash the stink off.”
Jack playfully resisted as he wrapped his arms around him. “I told you, you don’t stink.” He leaned in for a kiss, then purposely inhaled along his jaw line. “In fact, I like it.”
Jason was enjoying himself. He didn’t mind old sweat and knew Jack didn’t either, but it was a fun way to get him in the shower. He reached down and cupped one hand on Jack’s buttock, and his partner flexed his muscle as a result, making Jason grin. “If you think old sweat is sexy, you’re more tired than I thought.”
Jack was prepared for that. “Yeah, I’m definitely tired,” he said, releasing him and stepping away. “Maybe I’ll get back to bed.”
“You shit,” Jason growled at him, yanking him back into his arms. The smile on his face matched Jack’s but was lost in a much firmer, deeper kiss. But as Jack’s hands passed over him, Jason could feel a slight trembling, something that happened only when Jack really was exceedingly tired. “Tell me you’re going in late,” he said, taking his hand. “You really do need to get some sleep.”
“Hammond told me to take the morning,” Jack replied as he let Jason lead him into the bedroom. He really was tired, but before Jason had shown up, he’d been too wound up with worry to sleep. Having Daniel get hurt was draining and he’d practically been holding his breath, waiting for Jason to return from his mission. Now, he could let out that breath. In the bedroom, he grinned as Jason put his hands on his pants, unbuttoning them. “Tucking me into bed?”
Jason only smiled at him and took off his pants, then socks. As Jack crawled into bed, he stood next to the bed and stripped off his clothes.
Jack just watched him appreciatively, fully expecting the man to turn around and head for the shower. But instead, Jason pushed the bed covers aside and climbed on top of him. Jack gladly received the kiss, feeling his muscles loosen with each passing second. He didn’t think Jason was up to anything else; he usually did this sort of thing before Jack fell asleep. But when Jason moved down his body and slipped his hands under his briefs, taking them down, Jack took his head between his hands. “Jace, raincheck. I’m too tired to give you proper attention.”
“That’s okay,” Jason replied with a little smile. “I just want to give you a sleeping pill.” He paused, waiting, and when Jack threaded his fingers through his thick, black hair, Jason had his answer. Taking Jack’s cock in hand, he sucked him into his mouth, moaning softly as Jack encouraged him with his hands. He was initially slow to arouse, as Jason expected he would be, but once he used a few tricks with his hands, massaging Jack’s thighs and reaching up to do the same to his chest and abdomen, his lover quickly swelled to fullness.
Despite his exhaustion, Jack couldn’t deny Jason’s expert touch. He loved the feel of his mouth around him, loved the sounds he made, the vibrations from his moans going through his balls. Though he’d have loved to have this last a while, it didn’t take long before he gave Jason the familiar signal. Grabbing his hair, he threw back his head and lifted his hips, body tensing as he grunted and jerked, come pulsing down his lover’s throat.
“Jesus,” he whispered, messing Jason’s hair up further before he started to tug on him. “C’mere.”
Satisfied, Jason licked his lips and pulled up Jack’s briefs before he was pulled down into a passionate but lazy kiss. Jack then rolled over, trapping Jason with legs and arms and body weight.
“Jack,” Jason laughed softly.
Jack buried his face between Jason’s and the pillow. “What?”
Jason sighed and kissed the side of Jack’s head. “I promise I’ll stay but I have to take a shower.”
“You don’t stink,” Jack repeated, voice muffled by the pillow. He knew that Jason would eventually win, but for now, Jack wasn’t giving in.
Jason relaxed his head on the second pillow, and stroked Jack’s hair until he was sure the man had fallen asleep, then slowly extricated himself and rolled out of bed. He took a look back over his shoulder and felt a tug at his heart. Not paying much attention to it, he got into the shower and began to wash. But the way he felt came back to him, along with images past and present. Suddenly Daniel’s words, spoken almost a month before, came back to him: “There’s more than something casual between you two, no matter how many times you and Jack say otherwise.”
Maybe Daniel was right.
. . .
Daniel was roused by the throbbing pain in his leg and opened his eyes. There were more medical personnel about, judging from the movement he could see through the ward doorway across the room and he hoped someone was going to come in and see him soon. He wasn’t in the mood to tolerate the pain in his leg. Either that or his tolerance had lowered over the years. Either way, he wanted a shot.
After a few minutes of waiting and hoping, he decided that perhaps he could go round up help on his own. He looked for and found the remote control for his bed and lowered the foot so he could easily swing his legs over the side. The trick would be taking the IV with him. Just as he moved his left leg, however, a rush of fresh pain swarmed through him and he had to pause and take several deep breaths before he attempted it again.
He was on his third try, and his left leg was nearly over the side of the bed, when Janet appeared in the doorway.
“Daniel, what are you doing?” she asked scoldingly as she walked over and set her clipboard down on the portable table.
“Trying to find pain meds.” He winced. “And I need to take a piss while I’m at it.” At the look on her face, he added, “No, I am not pissing in that pan. Just get me a shot please and help me to the bathroom?”
After five years of experience with him, she knew that if he was asking for pain meds, it was bad. “You can’t put weight on that leg, Daniel. You need support. Just wait here and I’ll bring you a crutch and a shot.”
After a few minutes, she returned with a four-legged orthopedic cane instead and set that on the bed, then pulled out a syringe. “Can you wait here for a few minutes or do you have to go right now?”
“I gotta go,” he said with a grimace.
Janet couldn’t tell if the grimace was from pain or his bladder. She dropped the syringe back into her coat pocket and helped him off the bed and into the bathroom, hanging up the IV next to the toilet. “Holler when you’re done.”
“Thanks,” he said, and not long after wished Jack or Jason were there. Hell, he’d even allow Teal’c to help him, although the image of the Jaffa helping him stand while he pissed wasn’t a comfortable one. Eventually, he got the job done and flushed the urinal. “Ready, Janet,” he called out after he tied the drawstring of his white scrub pants.
She came in soon after and as soon as Daniel was back in bed, his leg was killing him. “Janet, I really, really need that shot.”
He was sweating and pale. “You don’t look so good,” she said as she stuck a digital thermometer in his mouth, then pulled out the syringe and plunged the medicine into his I.V.
“Don’t feel so good either. I’ve had injuries worse than this, so what the hell is wrong?”
“You’ve developed an infection,” she said, taking the thermometer. With a sigh, she nodded and called the nurse across the room to get the antibiotics. Daniel closed his eyes and tried to relax using the breathing method, but the throbbing in his leg wouldn’t allow it. He was tense and rigid from the pain. Soon, however, Janet had a cool cloth on his forehead and it seemed the medicine was kicking in. She handed him pills to take and he took those easily, wanting more water afterward.
“Have all the water you want,” she said gently, “but just remember you’ll have to relieve yourself again.” She placed the small green plastic bed pan on the portable table and wheeled it around to the right side of the bed.
“Janet,” he started to complain but she held up a finger.
“Consider what you just went through against the minor indignity of urinating in that.” And she pointed at the plastic bed pan.
“Good point,” he mumbled. He looked down at his leg and searched for the remote again, but Janet put a hand on his arm.
“Not quite yet. Time to check your wounds and change the bandages.”
That was not something he looked forward to, but Janet and her nurses were gentle with him. “Well? What’s the verdict?” he asked when the bandages were off and the cool air of the room seemed to soothe the itchy-throbbing a bit.
Janet made a face. “There’s definitely an infection, Daniel, but it doesn’t look too bad, at least on the outside. However, if I can’t get it under control, I’m gonna have to request that a team go back to the planet and capture one of those creatures.”
Daniel groaned. “How long till you determine that one way or the other?”
“Six hours, if your fever hasn’t gone down.”
“Is it that high? I don’t feel hot,” he said, a little worried.
“But you have one, nonetheless. And I’m gonna have to insist on the bed pan for now anyway. No more exercise.”
Daniel let out a long sigh, praying he didn’t have to do anything other than piss in the next twenty-four hours.
The medicine had him napping again, but when Daniel woke up again, his pain had lessened considerably and the headache he’d had was gone. Feeling tremendously sore but able to tolerate it, he pulled at the portable table and grabbed his phone. The time on the display said 1030 and he wondered if Jack, Sam, and Teal’c had the morning or day off. They would have come to see him by now. He knew Jason wouldn’t be in, given the time he’d returned. The man was probably still asleep. Daniel also hoped he was asleep at Jack’s because his grouchy best friend could definitely use the company.
Searching for Dylan’s number, Daniel hit dial. The man answered on the third ring.
“Hi, Daniel,” he said, sounding thrilled.
“Jason said you’d call.”
“He told me. What else did he say?” Daniel wasn’t taking any chances.
“Just that you got into a bit of a scrape but that you’d call to explain.”
Just as Jason had said. Not that Daniel thought he’d lied but sometimes Jason’s protectiveness went a little too far. “Yeah, it was a bit more than a scrape. Was out on an assignment, doing field work, and …” What animal was best to use, one that was believable? Daniel couldn’t really think of one that wouldn’t also require more lies. “I’m afraid I was attacked by animal, and I can’t say what. But I got clawed in the leg so I’ll be laid up for a while.”
“Shit. Are you okay? Any broken bones?”
“I’m okay, no broken bones. A bruised one, but I’ll be fine in a couple of weeks, I think.” There was a pause and Daniel didn’t hear anyone in the background talking. For a moment, he thought Dylan had hung up. “You there?”
“Sorry, yeah, I’m here. I was just thinking.”
Daniel grinned. “Always a dangerous thing.”
“Ha ha, if you only knew.”
Daniel let it slip before he checked himself. “I’d like the chance to find out.”
“Stick around me and you will, sooner or later.”
Daniel smiled, unable to help that either. He wanted to tell Dylan how much he missed him, apologize for the time away, but he couldn’t say the words in the infirmary. “So what were you thinking about?”
“I was wondering … is it okay if I come up and see you?”
Daniel winced. “Not on base, no.”
“Are you going to be on base during recuperation?”
“No, I’ll be sent home in a few days, providing I’m cleared.”
“Then …?” Dylan asked, leaving the rest unsaid.
It was Daniel’s turn to think. They were usually so careful off-base anyway, so why not? “I should be home this weekend,” he offered.
“So I’m invited to come up?”
Daniel knew Dylan was just being thorough, asking for clarification like that. It wasn’t something he was used to. “Yes. Please.”
“Great. Just one thing.”
“Where do you live?”
Daniel chuckled into the phone and Dylan’s echo made him feel that old excitement that was part anticipation, part trepidation. It was good to feel that again.
On Saturday, four days after his attack, Daniel finally arrived home. It was also the first time he’d taken the elevator since he’d moved in two years ago. Jack, Sam, and Teal’c had delivered him safely, and with the accompanying medical supplies so he could change his bandages himself. He couldn’t wear his usual clothes, so he’d been given several pairs of scrub pants, one of which he’d worn home. He was allowed to take showers, but only if he used the special soap and shampoo Janet had given him, designed specifically for post-operative care.
Walking with the orthopedic cane he’d used in the infirmary, it wasn’t too difficult to get around since he could use the pads of his left foot for balance, just as long as he didn’t put his full weight down. On Monday, aqua therapy would start and he was actually looking forward to that. He wanted to heal as soon as he could.
Sam and Teal’c hung around for a little while, and though Daniel loved their company, he was glad to see them to the door. Jack was in the kitchen when he returned, looking over the contents of his fridge, when Daniel walked up behind him and rested his chin on his shoulder.
Jack turned his head slightly, cracking a tiny smile. “You need more food.”
“Probably,” Daniel replied, staring into the fridge, but he was more concerned with where he was standing. He slid his right arm around Jack’s waist and hugged him. “Sorry.”
“For what?” Jack asked, slowly turning in place. His brows wrinkled for a second as he caught a tiny bruise at the edge of Daniel’s hairline that he hadn’t noticed before.
“For … I don’t know. Getting injured.”
“That wasn’t your fault, Daniel.”
“Well, no, but I still feel like I need to apologize for not being available.”
Jack couldn’t help but push Daniel off that self-pity podium and gave him one of his crooked grins. “We’ll manage.”
Daniel smirked back as he nodded. “Probably.”
Jack grinned in response, taking the jibe with humor. However, he wasn’t above teasing. “So, looks like you’ll have plenty of spare time on your hands.”
Daniel narrowed his eyes slightly. “Which won’t be spent idly.”
Still grinning, Jack leaned in a bit. He was going to kiss him, that was a certainty. The only question was whether or not Daniel would play along with his “talk about something else while I get closer” game. Lowering his voice, he said, “I think you’ve forgotten what ‘not supposed to be working’ means.”
Daniel lifted his chin as the tiniest hint of a smile appeared at the corners of his mouth. He knew what Jack was up to, but only because he’d moved just a bit closer. He’d play along because this was fun, a nice distraction, and because Jack seemed to know how to do that pretty damn well. Dropping his voice, too, he answered, “No, but I don’t need to use my legs in order to work.”
Jack reached up and placed his fingers under Daniel’s chin and leaned in much closer. “You’re supposed to be taking it easy.”
Daniel’s gaze moved back and forth between Jack’s eyes and his lips. “And I suppose you’re going to make sure I do,” he said, nearly whispering.
“Something like that,” Jack murmured just before his lips met Daniel’s. The kiss was soft but marred deliciously by stubble. When he stopped pursing his lips and opened them instead, he was pleasantly surprised when Daniel wrapped an arm around his neck and pulled him in for a much more intimate embrace.
“I missed you,” Daniel said when they parted for air. Jack was holding him in such a way that Daniel knew was protective of his leg, but he didn’t really care at the moment.
“I haven’t been anywhere,” Jack replied.
“No, I meant that I missed this,” Daniel corrected, tugging Jack’s back and pushing his body against him.
Jack nodded silently before he framed Daniel’s face with one hand and kissed him again. “How do you feel?”
Daniel made a face as reached around Jack and shut the fridge door. “Honestly, I’m hungry. My stomach feels like I haven’t eaten in a month.”
Jack’s brows rose as he let Daniel go and gestured in the direction of the front door. “That’s because you had that infirmary crap for the last four days. Name it and I’ll go get it.”
Daniel almost said no, but the idea of trying to fix anything to eat with what he had in his kitchen wasn’t all that appetizing. He had food, sure, but nothing he really wanted. Soups and pasta weren’t on his mind. What he wanted was homemade fries and serious cheeseburgers. “How about Ray’s?”
Jack smiled broadly. “I knew there was a reason I loved you.”
Daniel had never heard Jack say that before, even as a joke, but he let it slide so Jack wouldn’t take it back. It sounded too nice, even as joke. “Is that all you love me for?”
Jack’s smile turned teasing. “Maybe a few other things.”
Daniel chuckled and turned away, heading for the living room. “Someday you’ll have to inform me,” he said as he sat down gingerly on the couch and propped his injured leg on the coffee table.
Jack stuffed his hands in his pockets, looking down at him. “So what do you want?”
“Generally or specifically?” Daniel smirked.
“Food specifics, please,” Jack replied with a dirty look.
“The usual burger, but no soda this time. I’ll drink ice water.”
“Fries, onion rings, or those deep-fried mushrooms?”
“Fries. Been craving those damn things since yesterday.”
“You want their tartar sauce or the sour cream?”
Daniel pursed his lips. “We can do the thing we usually do. Get the tartar sauce and mix it with ketchup.”
“See? There’s another reason I love you,” Jack said as he came over and kissed him on the top of his head before heading toward the front door. “Back in a few,” he called out as he started through the door, then he backstepped and added, “Don’t do anything.”
Daniel rolled his eyes as he grabbed the remote and turned on the TV. “Yes, Mom.” Jack grunted as the front door shut and Daniel muttered to himself, “Don’t worry, Jack. I have no intention of messing up my recuperation.” He sighed as he wiggled on the sofa cushions, getting comfortable as he laid his head back. His muttered words came back to him as he thought about what, if anything, they’d do after they’d eaten. No exercise meant no literal exercise, but they could easily do other things. The only problem Daniel could see was that he was home and that Jack might not be willing to do anything sexual here. It was frustrating. He knew damn well that Jack and Jason didn’t wait till they got to the club, so exactly where did they go? Jack’s house? Jason’s apartment?
Thinking of them together, he palmed his groin, rubbing idly as he thought about moments at the club. He thought also of Jack’s kiss in the kitchen, the feel of his tongue, the touch of his hands. The words “I love you” repeated in his mind and they only increased his desire. With a heavy sigh, he stopped moving his hand, refusing to pleasure himself. He wanted Jack’s mouth there, not his hand.
Dinner had been good. Daniel felt satisfied for the first time in over a week. Food-wise, anyway. Now all that was needed was for some quality time with Jack. Problem was, Jack was too engrossed in the hockey game. Daniel liked hockey well enough, but he wasn’t as enthralled as Jack. Not right now, anyway.
His leg was throbbing a bit. He’d taken his pills, and the painkiller was dulling down the ache in his shin bone. Funny how that hurt worse than the claw marks. The other funny thing was that Daniel was still horny, which surprised him because he normally didn’t feel in the mood when he was in pain.
Sitting at his right, Jack was absently munching on leftover fries, leaning forward, intently watching the action on the TV screen. Daniel snorted to himself as he gently moved his leg off the coffee table and pushed off the couch with his good leg. He grabbed his cane and moved around the couch, heading toward the hallway. Jack didn’t say anything, so he must figure Daniel was going to take a leak. It was partly what Daniel was planning to do.
After relieving himself, he headed into the bedroom. Setting the cane next to the nightstand, he crawled onto the bed, wincing as he maneuvered around to get comfortable. He could hear the game in the living room, but didn’t hear Jack’s typical growling at the players. He was probably grumbling under his breath. Daniel smirked and turned onto his left side, giving the weight responsibility to his right leg, which he bent to keep from rubbing his bandage.
Closing his eyes, he thought of Jason, who was probably still at the mountain, then thought of Dylan. The only reason he hadn’t shown up was because he’d had to work the weekend for some club party. Because of that, Daniel didn’t dare call him. He didn’t want to bother him, not while he was working. Still, Daniel wished he’d thought to bring his phone with him into the bedroom. He could always call and leave a message. Just a short thing.
Ever since that second weekend, seeing the photograph and learning more about Dylan and his kinks, Daniel had been thinking more and more about a dominant/submissive relationship with Dylan. He didn’t think he could be completely satisfied with being top-only. He liked bottoming and wanted to feel Dylan inside him.
The bed dipped behind him, startling Daniel out of his thoughts.
“Not feeling well?” Jack asked as he settled behind him.
“No, I’m fine,” Daniel said, keeping his eyes closed.
“Daniel,” Jack said, reminding him of Daniel’s typical answer.
“Really, I am,” Daniel said. “I was just feeling … I decided to leave you to your hockey.”
“You were just feeling … what?” Jack probed.
Daniel smiled mildly as he reached behind him and groped for Jack’s hand. Finding it, he brought it to his groin. His cock was still partially stiff. “This,” he said, turning partially on his back to give Jack a smirk.
“And you didn’t want me to know this?” Jack asked, confused.
“You were occupied. And I didn’t think you’d want to take the risk.”
Even more confused, Jack thought about what he said. “First, I wasn’t that occupied. Second, I think we’re safe here. Third and last, I thought you weren’t supposed to do anything.”
Daniel sighed, especially happy to hear the second point. Tipping a hip into Jack’s hand, he said, “Topping is off the menu, and probably bottoming, since you know how I like to use my legs.” Jack grinned back as he increased his caresses. “But I’m definitely sure everything else is fair game.”
“Glad to hear that,” Jack said as he leaned down and kissed him as he untied the drawstring to his scrubs and slid his hand underneath. Moving inside his briefs, he took his cock in hand and stroked him expertly until Daniel was moaning continuously in his mouth. “I think this needs more than my hand.”
“I think so, too,” Daniel replied, but he pulled Jack’s hand away. “I want you first.”
Jack looked down at his leg, then up into Daniel’s face. “I’d love that, but how do you want to do this?”
Daniel felt his mouth water at the idea. “Get your pants off and straddle my chest.”
Jack’s cock twitched as he rolled off the bed and stripped. Meanwhile, Daniel pulled off his own t-shirt and shoved his scrubs and briefs down, removing only one leg. When Jack crawled back on the bed, he took Daniel’s cock in hand and looked like that was where he heading.
“Oh no you don’t,” Daniel said, pulling at him.
Jack knelt next to him, feeling a little torn. His cock was saying otherwise, but he still had his hand on Daniel. “Maybe I just don’t want to leave this.”
“You can leave it,” he said, grinning as he hooked a hand behind Jack’s thigh, then bent his right knee and used his foot as leverage to pull him forward. “Trust me, my erection will still be there.”
Jack reluctantly let him go and swung his right leg over. The very next moment, he inhaled sharply and grabbed the headboard for balance because Daniel didn’t waste time, taking him into his mouth. “Damn, you really are in the mood.”
“When’s the last time I did this?” Daniel asked as he mouthed the side of Jack’s shaft.
Jack groaned. “Good point.”
Between kisses and little sucks, Daniel said, “I’m not about … to wait … till I’m healed.”
Jack bit his lip and grinned, reaching down to thread his fingers through Daniel’s hair. “I don’t think I’d want that either.”
Daniel breathed against Jack’s cock as he tried to adjust his pillow. “Help me out here,” he said, and when Jack pushed the pillow down, supporting his shoulders, he added, “Better.” Taking his cock back into his mouth, he grabbed Jack’s ass and indicated he wanted him to thrust. When Jack didn’t, he used his hands to give Jack a stronger hint.
“I don’t want to hurt you,” Jack said. Beneath him, Daniel growled and sucked harder. Jack pulled his hips back, taking his cock out of Daniel’s mouth. “I’m serious.”
Daniel leaned forward, licking along his thighs. “Jack, my leg’s hurt, not the rest of me.” Staring up into his eyes, he proved it by sucking him back in, guiding Jack’s hips. When Jack was panting heavily, he pushed him away from his mouth and looked up. “Get the dildo out of the drawer.”
Jack felt his heart race and wasted no time. After giving Daniel the black dildo, he reached for the lube. His hard, leaking cock was back in Daniel’s mouth and it was all he could do to keep from coming then and there. “I’m close, dammit,” he warned.
“Not yet, don’t you dare,” Daniel said, mouthing his balls as he held the dildo behind Jack and slicked it with lube. His cock was hard and aching to be touched, but he had to have this. Had to feel Jack, hear the noises he made, and when he slid the head of the phallus between Jack’s cheeks, he got one of those noises. Wrapping a hand around the base of his lover’s cock, he sucked the head back into his mouth while finding Jack’s puckered hole with the dildo. Above him, Jack was gasping, hands squeaking along the headboard, and Daniel knew he was nearly there.
Pushing the dildo in, he moaned at the groans and gasps Jack made and they encouraged him to find a rhythm quickly. Angling the sex toy, he aimed for and found the gland, indicated by the way Jack jerked back against the dildo. Encouraging Jack to move his hips in time with the rapid thrusts of the dildo, it didn’t take him long to come. When he shot into his mouth, Daniel moaned luxuriantly and continued to pump the dildo inside him. Eventually, he eased him out of his mouth, given how sensitive Jack was after he came.
“Jesus,” Jack gasped, one hand still in Daniel’s hair. He wanted to wait, but he had to take advantage of the afterglow. Reaching behind, he tapped Daniel’s hand to withdraw the dildo, then eased his leg back over Daniel’s body. Leaning over, he kissed him passionately, then reached into the drawer for the second dildo.
Daniel had a feeling that Jack was very likely going to go slow, but his intuition was wrong. His lover was already slicking up the dildo. “So soon?” he grinned.
“Given the state of your cock, I don’t think long foreplay is required.”
Daniel could see his point. He was so very hard and jerked at Jack’s slightest touch. He hooked his hand under his knee and pulled toward his chest, giving Jack better access. He fully expected Jack to give him the same double treatment, but instead, Jack rubbed the new, flesh-colored dildo over his hole before he slid it inside. He stared down at him, watching Daniel’s face as he fucked him, and Daniel couldn’t help but moan.
“I’m thinking about that dream of yours,” Jack said quietly, easing the dildo in and out. He then squeezed his hand around Daniel’s cock and pulled just a bit roughly. “Maybe I should be wearing one of those black hoods.”
At the thought of it, Daniel bit his lip and moaned, eyes wide as he suddenly wondered if that was why the stranger in his dream had no face. Was he wearing a mask? “I love your face,” he said automatically, but when he imagined that this was the dream and that Jack was really masked, he moaned more loudly. “Suck me,” he said suddenly.
“Say please,” Jack replied.
Jack leaned over, but instead of taking his cock into his mouth, he simply licked at his head.
“Jack,” Daniel gasped, reaching for him with his left hand.
“No you don’t,” Jack replied as he grasped his hand and pinned it to the bed. Since Daniel’s other hand was busy keeping his leg up, he knew he had him. “Nice,” he said. “The only thing left is a blindfold.”
“Jack,” Daniel repeated, almost scoldingly, but then he lost whatever else he’d been thinking when Jack found his prostate and began to stroke faster. “Suck me!” he called out, not giving a damn anymore about being quiet. Jack seemed not to notice, or care, and he did as Daniel asked, fellating him so deeply and slowly it was excruciatingly good. “Fuck yes,” he said with a gasp, but he barely had time to get used to that rhythm when Jack changed it.
Rapidly, in and out, he brought Daniel to the edge before he’d slow down. Again and again, he tortured him with extreme skill, until he finally sucked just two inches into his mouth and bobbed quickly. Down below, hand on the dildo, he pounded, fist hitting Daniel’s anal muscles with delicious precision.
Then it happened and Daniel was there, sucking in a breath and throwing his head back. “Oh fuck yes, Jack!” he cried out as he came like a rocket down Jack’s throat. Jack continued sucking, continuing thrusting, until every last drop was pulled out of him. Daniel’s leg was hurting just a bit, but he didn’t care, at least, not at the moment. All he wanted right then was to kiss his partner, so he lowered his leg and pulled at Jack until he complied just as passionately as before.
Daniel had this urge to tell him he loved him, but it sounded so cliched that he couldn’t bring himself to actually say it. His kiss and hug would have to do it for him, and it seemed Jack got the message–or knew it already–because he didn’t leave his side until Daniel had fallen deeply asleep.
. . .
Jack had stayed overnight and Daniel was immensely glad, and not just because he wanted the company. Despite his injury, he was feeling content. This had been the first time Jack had spent the night and Daniel liked it. The only thing missing was Jason. And Dylan.
He felt like he was still riding the afterglow of the night before and though it could’ve been the painkiller he had to take with his meals, it wasn’t likely. It didn’t feel the same.
It was just after lunch and Jack was in the kitchen, washing up the few dishes they’d used. He’d gone out for food again, only this time, it had been to the grocery store. They’d had simple grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, and Daniel had gotten sleepy afterward. This time, it really was due to the painkiller.
Coming out of the kitchen, Jack looked into the living room and grinned fondly at Daniel sound asleep on the couch. He was thinking about waking him up but really didn’t have the heart. He could always wake him up later. What he wanted to do was get home and check on things, then call Jason. Just as Jack considered leaving Daniel a note, there was a gentle knock at the door.
With a slight grin, figuring it was Jason, he went to open the door. Except standing there in a leather jacket and jeans wasn’t Jason, it was Dylan. Jack smiled more broadly, partly out of selfishness and partly for Daniel. Putting a hand to his lips, he stepped out on the landing and closed the door behind him. “Hey,” Jack said, shaking the man’s hand.
“Hi Jack, nice to see you,” Dylan replied, pleasantly surprised.
“You have perfect timing. I was about to leave him a note. I gotta get home.”
Dylan nodded, but he was confused. “Okay, but what’s with the private chat?”
Jack jerked his head toward the door. “He’s asleep on the couch. His doctor gave him pretty good painkillers, and he’s a pretty big lightweight.”
Dylan nodded, but he was still confused. “Should I leave?”
Jack frowned. “Hell no. C’mon,” he said, and quietly opened the door. Grabbing his jacket and keys, he pointed at the couch. “In there. Tell him I had some stuff to do at home.”
“Sure,” Dylan replied. “You’re coming back?”
Jack pursed his lips. “Don’t know, but maybe, with Jason.” He started to leave, then paused and pulled Dylan close to whisper in his ear. “First, don’t go snooping. Second, he’s gonna be very happy to see you.” With that, he left Dylan standing there digesting his words.
Standing alone in the foyer, Dylan took a breath and walked forward, taking a look around to get his bearings. To his right was a dining room and kitchen, and next to them, a dark hallway. To his left was the living room and straight ahead was a sliding glass door that obviously opened to a balcony. He took a few steps to the left and though he could partly see Daniel on the couch, his attention was drawn to the items hanging on the walls and sitting on shelves. There he could see that Daniel was definitely an archaeologist and anthropologist. An old sword was displayed on the wall, which Dylan recognized as from the Middle East. Artifacts lined the shelves but they were outnumbered by the volume of books.
Taking a few steps toward the couch, he quickly lost interest in Daniel’s belongings. Daniel was wearing shorts and a t-shirt and he lay on his back, one arm over his head, the other on his lower belly. His right leg partly shielded his left, but Dylan could discern the white bandages that completely covered his lower leg.
Coming around the couch, at Daniel’s feet, he frowned as he looked at the bandaging. It wasn’t ordinary bandaging. It was meant to insulate and protect, which meant that whatever injury Daniel had, it was bad. Dylan’s eye was drawn to the coffee table, where three bottles of pills sat. Yep, the injury was serious, and Dylan was suddenly filled with the desire to find the thing that did this and kill it. Moving in front of the couch, he squatted down beside Daniel’s chest and reached out to lightly caress his hair. He hadn’t been with him more than two weekends, and yet there was something about him, something that made Dylan want more than just weekends. The only problem was that their jobs kept getting in the way. Fuckin’ pain in the ass.
“Daniel,” he called quietly.
“Hmmm,” Daniel asked, thinking it was Jack, but a second later, he realized that voice hadn’t been Jack’s. Flashing his eyes open, Daniel blinked several times as he stared at the man in front of him. “Dylan?” he asked, puzzled, as he sat up.
“Hi there,” Dylan said with a smile.
“Hey,” Daniel answered. He reached up to touch him, and reached around the man’s neck when Dylan leaned over to kiss him hello. Soft with a hint of stubble, and aroused, Daniel opened his mouth for a more thorough hello. “I thought you had to work,” he said when they pulled away.
“I did,” Dylan answered, then paused as he stared long into his eyes. “But not today. I had to come down and see you.”
Daniel smiled, curious, as he pushed up to sit back in the corner of the couch, and swung his legs over a little bit, giving Dylan room to sit down. As he moved, he winced only a little bit, but more out of fear of bumping his leg than anything else.
“Hurt much?” Dylan asked as he sat down close, reaching out to gently touch the bandage.
“Only if I use it or bang it into something, and I’m careful not to do either but …”
“But you can’t avoid doing either.”
“Exactly,” Daniel said and pointed to the pills on the table. “Painkillers and antibiotics.”
Dylan laid his hand flat over the shin bone, doing nothing but trying to feel the warmth through the bandage. Daniel’s leg was hot. “I’ll assume ibuprofen or some other anti-inflammatory is in the third bottle?”
Daniel frowned. “Ibuprofen. What’s the matter? If it’s getting inflamed, I have to call my doctor.”
“No, not inflamed,” Dylan reassured as he continued to move his down. Looking into Daniel’s face, he asked, “What’re the injuries?”
Daniel pointed. “Okay, I’ll let out some information,” Daniel replied with a half-smile as he pointed at his leg. “Here, there are claw marks. Up here, there’s a very large, nasty bruise that continues to the bone. I was lucky not to have had my leg broken. If I had, you’d be touching a cast.”
Dylan sighed as he turned toward Daniel and leaned back into the cushions, his inspecting hand now resting just above Daniel’s knee. Reaching out with his other hand, he stroked Daniel’s hair a few times, pretending to smooth it down. “Thank god for small favors.”
Daniel jogged his brows. “So …” he began, then frowned and looked around. All this time, he’d been expecting Jack to come in and act all protective. “Where’s Jack?”
“He left, said he had some things to do at home.”
Daniel only nodded in response, his gaze locked on Dylan’s face. “It’s good to see you.”
Despite himself, Dylan smiled broadly. “You too. But I had to come down.”
“Miss me that much?” Daniel teased.
“Yeah,” Dylan drawled, but his pleased smile faded to a hesitant. “But I also have something to talk to you about.”
Daniel immediately jumped to the conclusion that Dylan came down to tell him he couldn’t see him anymore, but a few seconds later, logic told him that he simply could have told him that at the club. Whatever it was, it was obviously important. “What’s up?” he asked instead of asking what was wrong.
Dylan took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, then reached over and took Daniel’s hand. “The owner of the estate is building a second one up in Vancouver, B.C. He wants me there to oversee the installations of the security systems, and to either take over when things are completed or train someone else.”
Daniel blinked at him, feeling his heart sink. “When?”
“Three months from now, in September.” When Daniel didn’t say anything, he added, “He gave me the choice.”
Daniel nodded almost imperceptibly. “And?”
Dylan looked down at Daniel’s hand, but forced himself to meet his gaze. “I’ve been in B.C. before,” he began, and with a worried laugh, continued. “I really do like it there. But … I prefer the weather in Colorado, even with the snow in winter.”
Daniel couldn’t read Dylan’s expression and it bothered him. He wasn’t grave, but he didn’t look optimistic either. “So … what’s the verdict?”
“I chose to train someone else,” Dylan said, but because he knew he didn’t look all that pleased, and Daniel was frowning, he added, “But it means I’m probably going to be gone till November or December, depending on how things go.”
Daniel was relieved that he wasn’t leaving permanently. However, there’d be times, just like recently, where they’d be separated because of Daniel’s job, and now, it was because of Dylan’s. Pragmatically, Daniel knew these things were inevitable. Still, he couldn’t keep from feeling disappointed. He did wonder, though, why Dylan chose to stay. Part of him hoped it was because of him, but the other part hoped not. Basing huge decisions like this on someone you hardly knew was rather reckless. He had done something like that only once, and it had resulted in a year and a half on Abydos.
Dylan watched Daniel chew at his lip as he looked down and, like Daniel, he couldn’t read him. “I felt it was important to tell you now instead of waiting till you got to the club, where we might be … distracted.”
Daniel returned Dylan’s smile absently as he kept thinking, feeling like there was something he was missing. Then it hit him. He tugged and squeezed Dylan’s hand, and though Dylan sat as close as he could, he pulled him closer, making Dylan lean forward. “What makes you think neither of us would be distracted here?”
“Your injury?” Dylan drawled, but then sucked in a breath when Daniel slid his hand over the side of his neck, cradling his head, and kissed him.
“You’re distracting no matter what,” Daniel told him before kissing him again. He was very much in the mood for plenty of distraction, and though he’d have loved to fuck Dylan in a straddling position on the couch, Daniel decided that oral was really the only option. And a lot of oral at that. Dylan was hesitant and overcareful at first, but in the bedroom, Daniel made sure to let him know that despite the injury to his leg, everything else was just fine. His orgasm was thick and long, triggered not by Dylan’s mouth on his dick or a dildo in his ass, but by Dylan’s fingers deeply massaging his prostate.
Daniel returned the pleasure in the same way he’d done with Jack, and he took his time. But when Dylan came, he came harder than he had during their previous lovemaking because this time, Daniel had clamped his hand over his mouth in simulated bondage.
Lazily spooned together under the covers, with Dylan snuggled behind, they calmly stroked each other’s skin as the afterglow wore off. Outside the bedroom, they heard the front door open and close, then two voices.
Daniel looked over at the clock. It was nearly 6 p.m. He wondered if Jack and Jason had been having their own sexual siesta. Dylan kissed his cheek, grabbing his attention, and Daniel turned his head to meet his lips for a second kiss. “When I’m healed, I’d like to be with the three of you.”
Dylan’s brows raised as a smile stretched his lips. “A foursome?”
“Yeah.” Daniel nodded and sighed, thinking about what his life was like just six months ago and how it was now. He couldn’t believe the difference, or how horny he seemed to be all the damn time. Would it last? Nothing good in his life seemed to, so just in case, there was one thing he simply had to take advantage of and indulge in. He wanted to be in an orgy. He didn’t know with whom, but preferred that it be Jack, Jason, and Dylan. “I’d like to be surrounded and swallowed in sex.”
Dylan smiled against the stubbled skin and said, “That can be arranged. And something else, too.”
“What’s that?” Daniel asked, curious.
“I’ve an idea how to make your dream come true.”
It was Daniel’s turn to look surprised, but before Dylan could explain, he said, “Speaking of that. I think I do too. And something else that may explain part of that dream.”
“Last night, when Jack and I were having sex, he said he was thinking about the dream as he used the dildo on me.” Dylan nodded, waiting. Daniel hesitated a moment, then continued. “He then said the only thing missing was … a mask.” Dylan stared at him as thoughts seemed to swim across his face. “I think that maybe my dream isn’t just a psychological dream about being left unsatisfied, but one more along the lines of what you said. Unfulfilled fantasy. And I think it’s about bondage. Perhaps the stranger in my dream isn’t a stranger. What if he’s someone I know or trust, but he’s wearing a mask?”
“That’s fucking weird.”
Daniel blinked in confusion. “I’m sorry?”
“That’s what I was gonna tell you, Daniel,” he said, smiling. “I figured that the only way to have your dream come true is to have it be a little BDSM-flavored. Meaning, a mask.”
Daniel smiled and reached up to tug Dylan down for another kiss, one that turned deeply passionate. When they broke apart, Dylan said, “I also have an idea how you can wake up, tied, and not have any clue how you got there.”
Daniel stared at him, liking the underlying excitement in Dylan’s face. “And that idea is?”
Dylan didn’t answer right off, but took a few moments to stare into his eyes, examine his face. Finally, with a firm look, he said, “Rohypnol.”
Daniel blinked at him. “Isn’t that a date rape drug?”
Dylan grimaced. “It’s abused that way, unfortunately. It’s a drug designed for treatment of insomnia.”
“What about side-effects? Because if it causes headaches or amnesia–“
“Amnesia occurs only when under the influence, not before or after. It does impair you when you wake up, making you feel groggy. I think it’s perfect for what you need. You need to wake up disoriented and confused, like in the dream.”
“What other side-effects?”
“Some loss of muscle control.”
“As in a very relaxed state. Rohypnol isn’t just a sleep drug, it’s a muscle relaxant.”
Daniel frowned, thinking it didn’t make sense to be taking that just prior to sexual activity. “Um, isn’t that going to be a problem after I wake up?”
“In what way?” Dylan asked.
“Getting it up? Muscle relaxants?”
Dylan grinned. “Some prevent erections but this one doesn’t when you’re given a low dosage. Trust me, if you want to go this route, you’ll be perfectly safe. If at any time that you’re not satisfied with how you’re feeling, you say a safe word and the fantasy ends and we’ll just try again another time with something different.”
Daniel nodded, thinking it over. He figured Dylan had done his homework or he wouldn’t have offered to use the drug. Daniel was a bit worried but he was more excited at the prospect. “When?”
Dylan smirked at him lovingly. “You can’t expect me to tell you that. Just know that it’ll be at the club because that will be a safe, controlled environment.”
Daniel stared into Dylan’s eyes, which looked green at the moment. “So anything I drink at the club might be laced with it?”
Dylan shook his head. “Nowhere public, like the dining room, the pool area.”
Daniel thought about that and grinned. “You’re narrowing down my guesswork.”
Dylan only answered with a soft smile, then said, “Next time you come up, I’d like you to meet Dominic, our dungeon master.”
“Why?” Daniel drawled.
“Because he’s the man who takes care of my more submissive needs. And I’d feel a lot better if you two had a good chemistry.”
“Again, why?” Daniel asked, thinking about the spanking in his dream. “Do you want him in the fantasy?”
Dylan stared back into Daniel’s face, trying to search for the words that weren’t quite a lie. “Do I want? What an odd thing to ask, given that this is supposed to be your fantasy.”
Daniel pursed his lips in frustration at Dylan’s annoying evasion. He couldn’t blame him, or his excitement, because Daniel would do and feel exactly the same.
“One answer I’ll give you now,” Dylan said, and leaned down to kiss him. “He’s the man who takes care of my bondage needs, like the ones seen in the photo at my apartment. But if neither of you get along or there’s some instant dislike, then I’ll have to stop seeing him and find someone else.”
That was a serious thing to state, Daniel thought, and it suddenly made him realize that Dylan was very serious about a real relationship, even one that was open. Daniel felt the same, actually, but he wanted to talk about it, make sure he wasn’t misinterpreting, or fooling himself. But was it a good idea to be talking about it in bed? Or was it actually the perfect place?
“What?” Dylan asked.
Daniel hesitated, then made up his mind. “What you just said.”
Dylan was confused. “What about it?”
Daniel caressingly laid the back of his hand on Dylan’s throat. “That you would actually find someone else if we didn’t get along.”
Dylan still didn’t get it. “And?”
Daniel knotted his brows, his expression a mixture of wonder and confusion. “Not to put too fine a point on it but telling me something like that places a lot more importance on our relationship than I thought you felt.”
Still, Dylan was confused, but now surprised also. “I came down here just to see you. That should tell you something.”
“It does but telling me you’d sacrifice Dominic is a hell of a lot more serious than taking a drive.”
With their eyes locked, Dylan swallowed. “Does it bother you?”
Daniel shook his head. “But it’s extremely odd, don’t you think?”
Dylan nodded agreement. “Given we’ve only been together for a short time, yeah.”
“I don’t understand how it got like that,” Daniel began. “I mean, I feel something, some sort of connection, and it doesn’t make any sense how.”
“Does it have to make sense?” Dylan asked.
Daniel frowned, trying to think of an answer. “Yeah, I think so. I mean, I don’t know what it is that drew us together or made Jack and Jason want to pair us up in the first place. Maybe it’s simple chemistry. Maybe you remind me of Jack and Jason. Maybe it’s something else. Maybe it’s the same for you, or it could be something–“
He was cut off with a deep, distracting kiss that lasted almost a minute. When Dylan pulled back, Daniel licked his lips. “What was that for?”
“Maybe it’s not meant to be analyzed,” Dylan murmured. “Trust your instincts.”
At that moment, Daniel realized that he was right. While he didn’t know him as well as he’d like, there was one thing he knew for certain. He trusted him, and with the same instinctive security he’d felt meeting both Jack and Jason. Only there was one thing. “Good enough. But don’t stop seeing Dominic, no matter what.”
Daniel covered his mouth with his hand. “No. I don’t know much about BDSM, but I know that a Dominant/Submissive relationship is an important one and you can’t simply get a new one because your new lover doesn’t get along with him.”
“It’s important to me that you do.”
Daniel sighed, seeing Dylan’s sincerity. “Okay. Let’s look at this another way.”
“Go ahead,” Dylan agreed.
“Given how well you know Dominic, and how well you know me … so far …” Dylan grinned at him. “Do you think we’d get along? Because I wonder if maybe you mentioned finding someone else because you thought we wouldn’t.”
Dylan furrowed his brow, thinking it over. A minute later, he shook his head. “Now that you ask, the answer is yes, I think you’ll get along. The only reason I said I’d find someone else was in the event that you wouldn’t get along.”
Daniel once more saw the SEAL in the man before him. Again, a lot like Jack and Jason. “Planning for all contingencies?” he asked with a grin.
Dylan smiled broadly. “Something like that.”
“Then just promise me something,” Daniel requested.
“If I can.”
“Don’t find someone else. I’m very good at finding common ground. It’ll be okay.”
Dylan chuckled and kissed him. “Jack said you were like that, almost to a fault.”
“It’s useful most of the time, no matter what he says,” Daniel smirked back. As Dylan nodded in agreement, Daniel sighed, feeling a sort of giddy anticipation at whatever it was Dylan had in mind. “Now that that’s all settled, how about we do this fantasy thing in a couple of weeks’ time?”
Dylan nodded, then exaggerated a sigh. “It’s just such a long wait,” he grinned, then laughed when Daniel pulled him down for a series of playful bites along his jaw and neck.
At that moment, there was a knock at the door and Jason’s voice followed. “You decent?”
“No,” Daniel answered, making Dylan snort with amusement.
“Can I come in anyway?” Jason asked.
“Has that ever stopped you?” Daniel called back, grinning when Jason opened the door and took a step in. Seeing Dylan, he grinned. “Nice to see you, Dylan.”
With an expression on the verge of sarcasm, Dylan jogged his brows. “How ya been?”
“Can’t complain,” Jason replied, then gestured at Daniel. “Except about Mr. Wild Kingdom over there.”
“Hey,” Daniel mock-protested. “Next time, you can get attacked.”
Jason ignored him and winked at Dylan. “You behaving yourself?”
“Was I supposed to?” Dylan grinned as he hugged Daniel to him.
Daniel felt a blush rise to his cheek because they were both behaving protectively, something Daniel didn’t want, even if they were teasing. “Okay, knock it off,” he warned.
Jason grinned as he held up a warding hand. “Okay, sorry.”
“Me too,” Dylan replied, loosening his hold.
Daniel grabbed his hand, however, making sure Dylan knew he wasn’t going anywhere. “Where’s Jack?”
“Behind me somewhere,” Jason answered, then smirked when Jack appeared. “You two hungry?”
“What’s for dinner?” Daniel asked.
“You two are, I think,” Jack replied as he started to close the door. “But when you’re ready for dessert, KFC will be in the kitchen.”
Alone again, Daniel leaned back and looked up into Dylan’s face. “Hungry?”
“Yes,” Dylan replied.
Eventually, they made their way to the kitchen for dessert, putting up with teasing about main courses. Daniel tolerated Jack’s and Jason’s overprotective behavior, but they stopped once he ate and took his medicine. In the living room, they watched Raiders of the Lost Ark and it was then that Daniel introduced Dylan to the usual friendly jibes and combativeness that happened between him, Jack, and Jason, whenever they watched the film.
Dylan seemed to fit right in, Daniel thought, thinking of the way the man held his own in the conversation and didn’t act threatened by the old friendships around him. It made Daniel all the more attracted to him, and to Jack and Jason. By the time Jurassic Park had been put into the DVD player, and he ordered them to stop goading him and just enjoy the damn movie, he was quite certain that once he was fully healed, he was definitely going to have one hell of a good time getting all three of them into bed. Together.