Visits 5


Visits 5: Regrets & Secrets

 

Summary: Daniel and Jason are ambushed by Makepeace and his hired goons.  Because of the attack, both Jason and Jack learn a secret that Daniel had hoped to take to his grave.

Warning: Molestation and attempted rape.
Note:  Quote is from Heart.

 


We can’t go on
Just running away
If we wait any longer
We will surely never get away
Anything you want, we can make it happen
Stand up and turn around
Never let them shoot us down


 

 

It was time for a romantic dinner out and for the first time in years, Daniel had worried over what to wear.  But he’d decided and when he met Jason at the door in white shirt and beige trousers, he believed he was outmatched.  Jason wore a dark blue shirt and black trousers that seemed to accentuate his muscular build.  It wasn’t quite fair, but Daniel didn’t mind one bit.  What he did mind was going to the restaurant in separate vehicles.

“Let’s take my truck,” Jason had offered.

“Or my Jeep?”

In the end, Jason opted for the traditional Rochambeau.  Jason won, and he had driven to the restaurant on the edge of town with a very smug grin on his face.  Daniel hadn’t minded that, either.  All throughout dinner, he’d gotten his own back, teasing him with innuendo designed to make Jason hard by the time it was over.  Jason, however, had decided it was foreplay and so had done the same thing in return.

Now, with a full belly and slightly giddy feeling from the glass of wine, Daniel was half-hard and very much looking forward to getting home.  He looked at his watch for the second time–it was half past eight–and heard Jason snort as he did it.  “What?” he asked unnecessarily.

“Why do you need to know what time it is?  It’s not like we’re going anywhere in the morning.”

“Old habits, Jason.”

Jason shook his head and grinned as he pulled into the driveway next to Daniel’s vehicle.  Getting out of the truck, he moved around and felt disgustingly happy that Daniel waited for him.  Jason touched his arm, giving him a smile, took a step toward the door walkway … and froze.   He held Daniel back.

“Hang on.”  His smile was gone, and hairs were rising on the back of his neck.  Even from the far end of the walkway, he could see that the front door was ajar.  “You locked it, I know you did,” Jason said in a hushed tone.

Daniel nodded slowly.  “I did.”

Jason took a step back, intending to return to his truck, when the cold, hard feel of a gun barrel pressed against the back of his neck.  He glanced to his right and saw Daniel stiffen as the same thing happened to him.  Immediately, Jason began to mentally kick himself for letting his guard down.  If he’d been more watchful, he would have seen clues beforehand.  There were always clues.  “Sonofabitch.”

“Inside,” said the male voice behind Daniel.  They were nudged forward and grudgingly, they complied.  Jason knew he could take care of the asshole behind him, but that would risk Daniel getting shot.  The gunman behind him pushed the door open and after entering the house, the door was shut and locked.

Absurdly, Daniel thought that ironic.  Gunmen locking a door.  Who were they trying to lock out?  A noise from the kitchen abruptly halted his momentary amusement.

“We have them,” said the man behind Daniel.

“Excellent.  You were careful?” asked the voice from the kitchen.

“As instructed.”

“Good.”

Daniel groaned, and Jason snapped his gaze to his lover’s face.  He recognized the voice.  Jason didn’t.  That only made him feel worse.  If Daniel was reacting like that, then whoever had broken in had a personal motive.  But just who the fuck besides the Goa’uld wanted to hurt Daniel?

As they were held there in the foyer, Jason quickly ran a threat assessment.  He may not recognize the voice of the man in the kitchen, or the men holding them, but he knew from their actions that they were former military.  Men still in the service wouldn’t be risking their careers for revenge or robbery which is what Jason figured they were after.  That they’d gotten the drop on both of them meant that they’d been covert-ops trained.  There weren’t many people who could do that and get away with it.  Jason was fairly certain that no matter what, they wouldn’t be getting away with it.  By the end of the night, they’d be lucky if they were breathing, because Jason was fairly sure he could take them down the moment he had the opportunity.

He considered and dismissed the idea that any neighbors had noticed what was going on, so they wouldn’t be able to help.  Besides, police officers were the last thing Jason wanted.  The cops had to stay out of it.  This was now a military affair, rogues or not.

“Get their phones,” said the man in the kitchen.

The man who covered Jason quickly patted him down, removing his cell phone from his inside jacket, clicking it off, and tossing it on the bureau behind the couch.  The man covering Daniel repeated the movements, tossing his cell phone next to Jason’s.

“Done,” called out the man pointing his gun at Daniel’s head.

Jason looked at Daniel again and saw him clenching his jaw.  Jaw-clenching meant Daniel was pissed.  Of course, Jason couldn’t blame him, but a pissed-off Daniel was a reckless Daniel, which was why he tended to keep his cool most of the time.

“You know that fucker in the kitchen?” he asked, nodding in that direction.

Daniel sighed.  “Yeah.  I really wish I didn’t.”

“Who is it?” Jason asked.

The man in the kitchen finally came out and revealed himself, looking very smug and dangerous as he kept his eyes trained on Daniel.  Jason recognized him, but only from mission photos.  It was former-Colonel Robert Makepeace, who was supposed to be on death row for treason.

“Aren’t you supposed to be locked up?” Daniel asked.

“Had to be elsewhere, but I couldn’t leave without paying you a little visit.”

Daniel stared back at him.  “You shouldn’t have, really.  My feelings wouldn’t have been hurt.”

Makepeace narrowed his eyes.  “They will be, just like the rest of you.”

Jason silently groaned to himself, knowing for certain that this was now very personal.  Makepeace was here through some sort of misguided, irrational sense of revenge.  Why?  What the hell had happened between them?  He knew Daniel didn’t like him and that he’d been a pain in the ass when Makepeace had taken over SG-1, but there was something else.  When he looked at Daniel again, and saw the coldness in his eyes, Jason’s stomach clenched.  He’d never seen that particular look on Daniel’s face, but he’d seen hints of it whenever Daniel talked about Apophis.  It was hate.

Daniel stared at Makepeace, wishing that this sonofabitch would just go away.  He didn’t hate many people, but this man was one of them.  If it came to it, he knew he could kill the man, and only because he knew Makepeace was quite capable of driving him to it.  Jason’s presence gave him mixed feelings.  He was glad he was there, acting as a temper to his emotions, but at the same time, Daniel wished he was elsewhere.  Makepeace was going to reveal some things that Daniel didn’t want known.  Hell, his presence was enough to arouse Jason’s curiosity.  Daniel had to try to do something to mitigate whatever nastiness Makepeace had in mind.  “What do you want?”

Makepeace gave a soft, derisive snort as he moved in front of them, eyeing both Daniel and Jason.  “Settling accounts, Daniel, before I disappear.  You and I have unfinished business, and you know why.”

“I suppose moving on never occurred to you.”

Makepeace had been giving Jason the onceover, but at Daniel’s words, he looked over sharply.  He narrowed his eyes again, adopting a superior stance as he stepped in front of him.  Lifting his chin, he said, “I’ll say it again.  We have unfinished business.”

“No, we don’t,” Daniel answered, placing emphasis on each word.

Jason was looking for an opening, any opening, where he could disarm these men without risking injury to Daniel, but he was suddenly brought up short by the look on Makepeace’s face.  He was actually leering at Daniel.  Leering.  This visit was sexual.  And it was also some sort of twisted dominance game.  This man thought Daniel was his.  What the fucking hell had happened back during that NID sting operation?  Jason had read Daniel’s report on Makepeace after the incident and remembered thinking it was a bit too brief.  Teal’c had had more to say about the man.  So what happened back then?

A coldness settled within Jason as he thought of one logical reason for Makepeace’s presence.  “What the hell do you want, Makepeace?” he asked the man, avoiding Daniel’s glance.

“Nice monkey,” Makepeace said, his eyes on Daniel.

Proud that Jason didn’t rise to that bait, Daniel folded his arms and sneered.  “That’s rich coming from you.  Could you be more clichéd, bringing goons with you?  You couldn’t face me on your own?”

Makepeace backhanded him across the face and Jason started forward by reflex and got the barrel of a gun pushed against the back of his head.  “Now, now,” said the goon behind him.

Daniel was baiting him, Jason knew, just like he did everyone else he despised.  Jason wasn’t used to seeing it, and though he knew this attitude would only bring Daniel harm, he couldn’t help but love him for it.  Still.  Stay alive, no matter the cost.  “He knew I was with you, Daniel.  So, goons.”

Makepeace took a step sideways, facing him.  He gestured at the two goons and they stepped away.  When the man threw a punch at his head, Jason ducked quickly and hit back, catching Makepeace across the jaw.  He stumbled backward, shaking his head, and holding his chin.  There was a cold fire in his eyes that Daniel recognized and before Makepeace could do anything else, Daniel stepped in front of Jason, arms out.  Jason tried to get around him, but Daniel wouldn’t let him.  The guards behind him were unwittingly helpful.

“Don’t, Makepeace.  He’s doing what he’s supposed to do.  Don’t punish him for it.”

“Daniel, move,” Jason said, trying to push him out of the way.

“No,” Daniel said harshly.  “I know what I’m doing.”

Makepeace stared at him and suddenly laughed.  “Are you trying your diplomacy on me, Doctor Jackson?”

“Is it working?” Daniel asked with heavy sarcasm.  “Or have you lost what little honor you had left?”

Makepeace gave Daniel an oily, disgusting smile that had Jason wondering if there really wasn’t a snake in there somewhere.  “Same old Daniel.  It’s so refreshing to know that some things never change,” he said and dragged the point of his gun down Daniel’s chest with seductive emphasis.  “Tell me, are you ready to carry on where we left off?”

“We didn’t leave off anywhere, Makepeace,” Daniel said coldly as he pushed the gun away from him.  The goon behind him started forward but Makepeace waved him off.

“Stop.  Won’t do any good anyway.  Despite his looks, he’s no pussy.”  He abruptly grabbed Daniel by the front of his shirt and shoved him against the outer kitchen wall.

Daniel attempted to push him away just as Jason made a move toward him, but both of Makepeace’s goons were ready for that.  They grabbed Jason’s arms and pressed their gun muzzles on either side of his head and forced Jason to his knees.

“No!” Daniel shouted, and immediately stopped struggling against Makepeace’s arm across his chest.

“Just like I said.  You’re no pussy.  You’re a fighter.  Especially in bed, remember?”

“I had no choice,” Daniel answered, unable to think of something else, and he knew it was a mistake the moment he said it.  “Leave Jason alone.  This is our business, okay?”

“Yes,” Makepeace answered.  He gestured at his goons to take Jason into the kitchen.  “Cuff him to a chair.” He pulled out a gun from behind his back and aimed it at Daniel’s jaw as he pressed his body against him.  “It’s time to get this show on the road, but I think I’ll have some fun with your boyfriend first.”

“No, please,” Daniel said.  “This is between us.”  Jason was shoved into the kitchen and Daniel caught his gaze as he was handcuffed to one of the dining room chairs.

“It’ll be fine,” Jason told him, slightly lifting his chin.  It was an old combat signal Jason used that meant ‘be ready.’  Daniel lifted his chin in return, knowing that to Makepeace, all they’d done was look at each other.

Jason steeled himself as Makepeace stared at him, looking like he was readying himself for a good game of taunting.  Jason could only stare back at him with contempt.  The man had stupidly left his feet unrestrained.

“You’re certainly a looker,” Makepeace said, eyeing appreciatively.  “Better than O’Neill.  Glad you finally found someone decent to fuck, Daniel.”  He glanced at Daniel before tilting his head with assessment.  “He a member of security?”

Jason made no effort to correct him or to say who he was, and neither did Daniel.  Instead, he used his peripheral vision to keep an eye on the goons, adjusting his threat-assessment constantly.  He knew things were about to heat up.  It was just a matter of finding the opening before Makepeace set about confusing sex with rape.  Although it was quite likely that he knew the difference.

“Well?” Makepeace prompted, and when neither Jason nor Daniel answered, he set his gun’s muzzle against Jason’s crotch. “Answer the question or your future will be sexless.”

Jason sneered back.  He had no intention of letting this man know who he was. If he told him he was the leader of SG-2, Makepeace would have an idea what he was capable of.  SG-2 was a front-line team, like SG-1.  Certain skills were required.  Better to force the man and his goons into underestimating him.  “Security officer, yes.  Give the man a gold star.”

“Thought so,” Makepeace answered, shooting another leer Daniel’s way.  “Couldn’t very well risk another liaison with a team member, could you?”

“What happened between us was hardly what I’d call a liaison,” Daniel answered.

Makepeace glared back coldly.  “True enough.” He was quiet for a few long moments, staring at them both before he suddenly pushed against Jason’s chair, nearly toppling him over, and grabbed Daniel once more by the front of his shirt.  “Enough.  It’s time to get down to business, wonder boy.”  Daniel resisted, causing Makepeace to rip his shirt, and so he jerked his head at one of his goons.  “Get a hold of him, Sarge.”

“Fuck off and die,” Daniel answered as he fought with the man, but Sarge was bigger, quicker, and in a moment, had his arm up his back with a gun pointed at the back of his head.

Makepeace looked over at Jason.  “He get rough with you in bed?”  When he was met with a blank, stupid look from Jason, he shrugged it off.  “I know Daniel likes it rough.  I’m guessing you do too,” and he ran the barrel of his gun down Jason’s chest, dropping it lower, rubbing it up and down over his crotch.  “Has he left bruises yet?” he asked in a lustful tone.

Jason didn’t react as he watched the excitement grow in Makepeace’s eyes.  He just kept telling himself that one way or another, this man wasn’t leaving the house alive.

Makepeace sighed and drew his gun barrel across Jason’s cheek.  “I should’ve brought more men.  I’d love to watch you fight as I plow your ass.  My friends will.”

“We will,” Sarge said, looking at Jason.  Then to Makepeace he suggested, “We can tie your pet up in the bedroom, and while you have your fun, we can have ours too.”

The man standing behind Jason’s chair chuckled.  “That would be nice.”

Makepeace nodded.  “Sounds fair to me.  After we get this one secured, do whatever you want with that one.”  He went around Daniel and reached into a black canvas bag on the counter, pulling out a cloth and a brown bottle.

Both Daniel and Jason stared with dread.  It wasn’t chloroform or ether but it smelled similar.  “I thought you liked it when I fought?” Daniel asked, trying to head off being drugged.

“Oh, I do, but I need to get you secured first,” Makepeace said as he gave the cloth a quick dab of the solution.  “That will go quicker if you don’t struggle.”

“I won’t struggle,” Daniel said, shying away from the cloth.

“I don’t care,” Makepeace said, and viciously clamped the cloth over Daniel’s mouth and nose, pressing hard. Daniel tried to shake his head but the gunman behind him had a hold of him around the throat.  When Daniel tried to hold his breath, Makepeace raised his knee and caught Daniel in the balls.  He gasped and inhaled, and that was all it took.

The solution in the cloth acted quickly, making him extremely disoriented before he sagged into Sarge’s arms.  “No, Jason help…” he mumbled.

“Your boyfriend can’t help you,” said the man behind Jason as he placed a hand on Jason’s shoulder and dug his fingers in.

Jason took a deep, steadying breath, ordering himself to wait, but it was very difficult to watch Makepeace and Sarge drag Daniel, who was half-conscious, out of the kitchen.  There came a thud at the end of the hall as a door was kicked open and soon after, Jason heard the nasty sound of vicious laughter and the creaking of Daniel’s bed.  There was murmuring, and he tried to focus on what was said, but suddenly there was swearing and the unmistakable sound of a hand slapping skin.  It was followed by two more, and when he heard the sound of ripping fabric, a deep coldness settled into his heart.

He’d get Daniel free, but first things first.  With all that he had, Jason focused his anger on the man behind him, gauging just when to act.  He was caught off-guard when he heard the sound of a zipper being pulled down and the fumbling whispers of a man taking his dick out.  Jason had to resist the urge to laugh because despite how it looked, this was actually good news.

“I’m going to love fucking you,” the guard said.

“No you won’t,” Jason answered, grimacing as the guard grabbed him by the hair and pulled his head to the side. The familiar feel of soft, warm cock touched him as the man began to rub the head of his erection against Jason’s cheek and neck.  Despite the hold on his hair, Jason tried to pull away, making the man laugh and roughly let him go.  Soon after came the sound of clothes being shed, and not long after that, the man resumed jerking off, rubbing his cock over the back of Jason’s neck.  “I think I’ll blow my load all over your black hair.”

“Will you now,” Jason said, rolling his eyes.

The man grabbed his hair again and pulled Jason’s head far back, rubbing his dick over his face–but careful to stay away from his mouth.  “Think I’ll dose you too.”

“No, don’t drug me, please,” Jason forced himself to say, grinding his teeth against the guard’s laughter.  Thankfully his head was let go; he immediately tucked his chin against his chest as if in abject submission.  “Please don’t,” he said, knowing it would goad the man the way he wanted.

“That’s right,” the guard said, his breathing growing short.  “Beg me.”

Jason said nothing else as he waited, patiently, for the tell-tale sounds.  They didn’t take long.  When the guard began to quickly rub himself against the back of Jason’s head, whispering, “God yeah,” over and over, it was time.

When the guard gasped loudly, Jason got to his feet and careful of the chair, he side-kicked and connected with the goon’s chin.  The force of it knocked the man down, stunned, and Jason jerked the handcuff chain against the slat in the back of the chair, breaking it.  Free of his encumbrance, Jason quickly found his balance, pivoted on one foot, and kicked out sideways once more.  He snapped the thug’s neck.  He knew the crashing sound would have the others running in and he braced himself for a fight.  But all that happened was Makepeace yelling from the bedroom, “You get hurt playing with him and I’ll leave your ass here!”

Jason laughed quietly, incredulous, but decided he’d take no chances on Makepeace changing his mind and coming out to check.  He sat down and eased his hands under his ass, eventually transferring the cuffs to the front of his body. Once that was done, he searched the guard for the handcuff key and freed himself, then stuck the cuffs into one back pocket and their key into another.  Picking up the guard’s gun, he checked its ammo clip out of habit, made sure the safety was off, and paused to listen again for signs he’d have company.

There was nothing, but he could hear movement in the bedroom.  Listening for another few seconds, he was intensely relieved to find that the sounds had nothing to do with fucking.  Makepeace wanted to take his time, apparently, which was fine with Jason.  He retrieved Daniel’s phone off the bureau and moved to the couch, holding the phone under a pillow to mask the sound as he hit the speed number stored for Jack.  Once the beeps were finished, Jason moved silently back into the kitchen, phone at his ear.  He started to worry when no one answered but on the seventh ring, Jack picked up.

“O’Neill.”

Thankfully, he sounded awake.  “It’s Coburn.  Makepeace is at Daniel’s.  He’s in trouble.”  Jason hung up and set the phone on the table just as he heard Makepeace order Sarge to fetch kitchen oil.  Jason smiled tightly.  This was going to be much easier than he’d thought, as he didn’t relish the idea of facing two men in Daniel’s bedroom, but his satisfaction was short-lived the moment he heard Makepeace’s sickening laugh and another rip of clothing.  Jason placed the gun into the back waistband of his jeans and crept to the edge of the kitchen wall.  When Sarge came around the corner, Jason moved with skill and alacrity, placing his hands on the chin and the back of the head.  He twisted up sharply and another body slumped to the floor.

Jason moved down the hall as carefully as he could and took a careful peek around the edge of the bedroom doorway. Makepeace stood at the end of the bed, looking down on Daniel as he masturbated.  Jason flicked his gaze around the room, looking for the gun, and found it on the nightstand.  When he allowed himself to take in the whole scene, the pit of his stomach became an abyss.  Daniel was on his stomach, tied to the four posts of the bed.  His shirt had been ripped and used to tie his hands; his feet were bound with the ties Daniel had in his closet.  He took in the rest of Daniel’s body and he breathed an internal sigh of relief that Daniel’s trousers hadn’t been touched.  He was conscious, groggily pulling at his bonds.

Makepeace suddenly called out, causing Jason to jump slightly.  “Sarge, stop fucking around with that bitch and bring me that oil!”

Jason stifled a snort, thinking neither of Makepeace’s goons was fucking anything except their afterlife, but very quickly, his dark amusement abandoned him when Makepeace decided not to wait.

“Fuck it.  I’m past ready for you.”  He attacked Daniel, punching him in the back of the head several times before Jason reached him and placed the nose of the gun at the base of his skull.

“Now, now, Makepeace.  Don’t make me spill your brains and face all over Daniel’s hair.”  He pulled Makepeace by his collar and slowly pulled him off Daniel and off the bed.  When Makepeace stopped halfway, Jason pushed the gun harder against his skull.

“Where are my men?” Makepeace asked.

“Dead.”

“Obviously not security.”

Jason’s lip curled.  “Bright boy.”

“Who are you?”

Jason knew the man was trying to buy time, hoping for an opportunity to turn the tables.  It didn’t matter.  “Major Coburn, leader of SG-2.  And you’ll soon be reacquainted with a friend of yours.”

Makepeace growled.  “You called for help.”

Jason snorted at him.  “You remember O’Neill?”  Jason risked a glance at Daniel and found him turning his head, trying to see him.  Them.  He thought about talking to him but didn’t risk it.

“As long as we’re sharing, I bet you’re wondering why I’m here,” Makepeace said, his voice thick with venom.

“Nope.  It’s clear you have a hard-on for Daniel.  Pathetic.”

Makepeace was silent for a moment before blurting out, “He’s a good fuck, isn’t he?”

Jason sighed.  “Here we go.  Blah, blah, blah.”

“How do you like the way he screams cuss words at you when you make him come?”

Jason sighed and didn’t answer, but his jaw was starting to grind.

“Or when he pretends to hate it when you bring others in?”

“Shut up,” Daniel mumbled, taking Jason by surprise.

“Don’t listen to him, Daniel,” Jason told him.

“How about when he sucks you off?” Makepeace continued.  “That’s the best thing I’ve missed about him.  Holding his head and ramming my cock down there, watching his face turn red as I choke him with my load.  I bet you like that too, don’t you?”

“Shut!  Up!” Daniel said, voice louder.  His words still slurred, but he was able to enunciate.  That told Jason the drug was wearing off.

“Daniel, calm down.  I’ll get you free in a minute and then we can get rid of this cocksucker.”

“Jace?” Daniel asked, blinking, and trying to focus.  “What are you doing?”

“Protecting you,” Jason replied.  “Just hang on.  I’ll get you loose as soon as help gets here.”

At his words, Daniel remembered the bonds he was held by and squirmed viciously, trying to rip himself free.  Because of that, Jason’s attention was distracted, and it was all Makepeace needed.  He turned on his knees and made a grab for the gun and Daniel inhaled sharply as the two men fell to the floor, struggling for possession.  He tried all the harder to get free and help and he was making progress as the material continued to rip.  Then suddenly the weapon went off twice and Daniel heard one of them hit the back of his closet.  He looked over his shoulder but he couldn’t see anything but dark shapes.  His eyesight was blurred without his glasses, and thanks to that goddamn drug.

“Jason!”  Eyes widened in panic.  “Jason!”

“Here,” Jason said as he wrested control of the gun and with a vicious strike, he used the butt of the gun and hit Makepeace across his temple, knocking him out.

Daniel ripped his hands free right at that moment and stared as Jason got to his feet.  He saw something wet.  “Jason, are you bleeding?”

Jason winced and looked down.  “Yeah, bullet grazed me but I’m fine.  You okay?”

“Head’s clearing,” Daniel answered, placing exaggerated emphasis on the sibilants.  He held up his wrists and joked, “Sorry, but bondage is off the table for a while.”

“So not funny,” Jason said, shaking his head.  He was amazed at the comment, but it was still expected.  Daniel always found some way to lighten a tragic event with his pragmatic humor.

The sound of a truck could be heard through Daniel’s open window and Jason looked up and went quickly to the window.

“Who?” Daniel asked.

“Jack,” Jason said as he retrieved the handcuffs from his back pocket and turned Makepeace over, securing his wrists.

“You called Jack?” Daniel asked, eyes wide.  He moved off the bed and grabbed a t-shirt and a pair of jeans from his closet.

“Yes, Daniel, I called Jack,” Jason said, rolling his eyes as he searched the room for anything Makepeace brought with him.  He looked up at Daniel quick, panicky actions.  “Daniel?”

“Changing clothes,” Daniel answered as put them on.  He had to do it partly because Makepeace had touched him and ruined the clothes he’d worn, and partly because he didn’t want Jack to see him compromised.  It was bad enough that Jason had seen, although that couldn’t really be helped.  Jason approached him and began looking him over.  There was something different about his behavior.  He was … cold?  No, that didn’t fit.  Hard?  Yes.  Business-like.  Stern.  No bullshit.  No nonsense.  He was seeing Jason in his special ops mode and despite everything, it was a turn-on.  He wasn’t interested in sex right now, but he was suddenly a lot more attracted to Jason than he had been.  He’d examine why later.  “What’re you doing?”

“Looking for injury.”

“I could’ve told you,” Daniel said, slapping his hands away.

“You’re still out of it, running on adrenaline.  You’re not in a position to know if you’re fine.”

“Jason, for fuck’s sake—”

A noise came from the hall and Jason cupped his left hand under the one still holding his gun and aimed under line of sight.  Jack appeared in the doorway and he sighed and lowered the weapon.  “About fucking time.”

Jack lowered his own weapon.  “I’m here, Coburn.  Chill.  You both okay?”

“No,” Daniel said.  “And Jason’s been grazed.”

“Let me see,” Jack said.

“I’m fine,” Jason said, stepping away from him.

“Jason,” Daniel said, chiding him.  “Let him check.  Don’t be an ass.”

Jack snorted.  “Seems you’ve been labelled, just like me.”

“Thanks,” Jason said sarcastically and grimaced when Jack pulled his shirt from his jeans and lifted it to look.  A brief touch of arousal hit him, and he stomped on it.  Later, dumbass.  Much later.

“You’ll be okay, but you’ll need to get it seen to or it’ll get infected.”

“Yes, thank you,” Jason said, rolling his eyes again.  He saw Daniel open his mouth and cut him off.  “Shut up, Daniel.  I already know.  And I’m entitled to be bitchy, just like you.  We’ve just gone through some terrorizing, right?  So.  Lay off.”  As Jack lowered his shirt, they exchanged a long look.  “Thanks,” Jason said, allowing a softer tone.

“No problem.  And stop being a dick.”

“You should—”

“Shut up, both of you!” Daniel growled.  He stared down at Makepeace, as did Jack.

The latter man squatted and checked out the temple wound.  “You?” he asked Jason needlessly.  “Nice.”

“Thanks,” Jason said, and gave Daniel a warning look when he stared at him.

“Are you really okay, Daniel?” Jack asked again, rising.

“I’m fine, Jack, thanks,” Daniel told him as he rubbed the red marks on his wrists.

“I wish we had a zat,” Jason considered as he stepped to the doorway.  He thumbed toward the kitchen.  “You see the goon squad he brought?”

Jack nodded.  “Are they out?”

“Nope,” Jason said, shaking his head.

“Nice,” Jack said, smiling.  Jason went up in his estimation.  “And yes.  A zat makes body disposal so much easier.”

As Jason turned around to look down at Makepeace, Daniel froze, staring at Jason’s back.  “Jason.”

“What?” Jason asked, turning.  Jack’s hands were on him suddenly, turning him, and when Jason resisted, he was hit with a bolt of pain.  “Sonofabitch?” he said, lifting the side of his shirt, and tried to look in the dresser mirror.  “What the …”

“It’s no graze, dammit,” Jack said, examining the right side of his rib cage and the line of blood that was still wet.  “Shit.  You weren’t grazed.  It nicked a bit more than that at the entry point.  The exit looks like a graze, but it’s actually—”

“The exit wound,” Jason sighed.  “Fuck.”

Jack pulled out his cell phone and dialed Janet.  “Doc, we got a situation here.  Are there any treatment rooms available?  Major Coburn’s been shot.”

Daniel had gone to the bathroom and returned with a large roll of gauze.  He placed a pad over the wound that sat just above the back side of his sixth rib, then wrapped the roll around Jason’s ribs while Jack explained Jason’s injury to Janet.  He listened, nodded, and hung up.  As he dialed the infirmary, he quickly said, “She’ll see you in the morning but right now, we have to get you to the Wing A infirmary, since they’ve left that open for emergencies.”  After informing the base they had a patient coming in, Jack hung up and looked over at Daniel.  “I’m glad you live closer to the mountain than the rest of us.”

Daniel gave him a pained smile.  “For once, me too.”

To Jason’s embarrassment, they escorted him to Daniel’s Jeep and Jack put a hand on Daniel’s shoulder.  “Get in, I’ll be right back,” and went back inside.  As they waited, Jason had to fight off the urge to snap.  It wasn’t serious, dammit.  Just a little nick.

“I know that look,” Daniel said as he got into the driver’s seat.

“Daniel, goddamn it,” Jason began just as a huge wave of nausea overtook him.  “Shock,” he said, gritting his teeth.

“What?”

“Nausea,” Jason said.

“Please don’t puke in my Jeep,” Daniel said, trying to make light of his own worry.  Jason was getting paler.

Inside the house, Jack made another phone call.  When he was through, he came back outside and handed Daniel his wallet, shoes, and jacket.

“Aren’t you coming?” Daniel asked.

“This mess needs to be cleaned up, Daniel.  Take Coburn to the infirmary.”

Jason dropped his head back, wishing the nausea would go.  “Colonel, we can’t go.  You have to drive.”

“Why?”

“Daniel can’t drive.  He was drugged.”

“Drugged?” Jack asked, his eyes immediately filled with worry.

“Something like chloroform,” Jason explained through gritted teeth.  The pain was showing up now.

“It’s clearing out of my system,” Daniel said.  “I can see, and my reflexes are fine.”

Jason had to admit he was right.  Daniel’s voice sounded fine now.  He wondered if that’s what Makepeace had wanted.  A drug that had a short life.  It would have been perfect for a sadist’s drug.

“Where’s this drug?” Jack growled at Daniel.

“On the kitchen counter,” Jason told him.  “Brown bottle.”

Jack sighed and looked intently at Daniel.  “How many fingers am I holding up,” he said, holding up his index and middle fingers.

“Two.”

“Well, you seem fine.” He paused, then added, “I need to clean this up, so please don’t make me regret it by getting into an accident on the way to the infirmary.”

Daniel sighed.  “Stop your fussing.  I’ll be okay.”

Jack then bent down to look at Jason and growled at him as well.  “Don’t you dare die on him, Major.”

“I think at this point, you can call me Jason.”

Jack traded another long look with him.  “Okay.  Jason.”

“No worries,” Jason replied softly, smiling through a grimace as the pain of the wound began to hit him full force now. The shock was settling in harder.  “I’ll be fine.”

Daniel got out of the Jeep and toed on his shoes and pulled on his jacket, pausing a moment as he regarded Jack with gratitude.  “Thanks.  I’m glad Jason called you.”

“One very smart guy,” Jack said, thumping the top of the car.  “Go.”

Daniel left Jack at his house and tried not to speed too badly as he raced for the mountain.  He wondered exactly what Jack was doing staying behind at his house and wondered if he really wanted to know.

 

. . .

 

It was just a little before five a.m. when Dr. Janet Fraiser finally arrived at her Infirmary.  It was Friday, and she normally looked forward to duty-free weekends, but thanks to the renovations, she was on-call until they were finished.  Fortunately, she wasn’t alone, and the other doctors and nurses were also on-call.  Unfortunately, the person who came in needing help was someone she knew quite well.

She stood leaning against the open doorway of the recovery ward, watching Daniel sleep in the chair next to Jason’s bed.  She worried about him, although not just because she knew he’d been up all night.  It was his close friendship with Jason and she had a feeling that Jason was the man Daniel was now seeing.  She knew they’d be careful, that they weren’t innocent or naïve, but it was a big risk.  She’d protect them both as much as she could.  They weren’t just patients, they were her friends.

Janet felt a hand on her shoulder and turned to see the concerned light blue eyes of General Hammond.  A nod of her head indicated to General Hammond that they’d talk in her office, so they made their way there.  Once inside, Hammond closed the door.

“How’s Major Coburn, Doctor?” he asked, taking a seat.  Janet sat down and folded her hands on her desk.

“He’ll be fine, sir.  Dr. Warner was here last night, and he performed minor surgery over his ribs.  The bullet passed through the muscle tissue cleanly, but it was a lucky through-and-through.  Any deeper and it would have broken a rib and that might have clipped his liver.”

“How long till he’s cleared for duty?”

“No more than two weeks.  He can return to work next week, but I wouldn’t clear him for combat duty in case he runs into something offworld that will infect the healing wound.  He’ll be released after the anesthesia is fully out of his system.”

“Understood,” Hammond sighed, realizing he’d have to assign a temporary field leader for SG-2.  “Any damage to Dr. Jackson?”

“No, sir, other than a bruise to his right cheek and thigh.”

“Caused by what, Doctor?”

“Getting assaulted with the butt of a gun, I believe.”

“Makepeace or one of the men he had with him?”

“I don’t have all the details, sir.  Colonel O’Neill only explained Major Coburn’s injury.  I haven’t spoken to Daniel yet, though I have a feeling he won’t be very forthcoming.”

“He knows that he has to report this, Doctor,” Hammond replied gravely.

Just then, a knock came at the door.  “Come in,” she called out.  Jack stepped inside and closed the door as Hammond and Janet rose to their feet.

“Doctor, General.”

“Colonel,” both Hammond and Janet replied.

“I understand you were there?” Hammond asked.

“After the fact.  Major Coburn phoned me after he’d already subdued one of the assailants and then he took out the other two before I arrived.”

Hammond frowned, noticing how tired Jack looked.  “Have you gotten any sleep, Jack?”

“When I’m dead, sir,” Jack said with a cautious smile.

“Do you have any idea why Makepeace was there?”

Jack had an idea, but it was speculation at this point.  “Nothing concrete.  I haven’t had a chance to talk to Daniel.  It’s apparent, however, that Makepeace felt he had unfinished business with him.  It probably stems from whatever happened while Makepeace was head of SG-1.  I can’t think of any other reason.”

“So you have no specific idea?”

“No, sir, and I doubt Daniel will be very talkative.”

Hammond gave Janet a grim look.  “Doctor Fraiser agrees with you.”

Janet, however, had no idea that something had happened previously with Makepeace.  “Colonel, are you saying that Makepeace hurt Daniel two years ago?”

Jack bit both lips as he hesitated.  He didn’t want to reveal anything, especially since Daniel wasn’t willing to talk.  “Daniel’s never said.  All I know is that after I retook command of SG-1 and we were getting cleaned up in the locker room, I noticed a couple of minor bruises on his back.”  The bruises weren’t minor, and they weren’t on his back.  “He said he’d fallen off a ladder at home.”

Hammond sighed.  “Did you believe him?”

Jack shook his head.  “I asked, and he dismissed it.  The one thing I know for certain is that he doesn’t cover up crimes and he’s not the type to submit to coercion, blackmail, or domestic violence.  If he omitted details from the official record, it’ll be because he thought they weren’t pertinent.”

“Are you serious?” Hammond asked, clearly upset.  “Why didn’t you report these injuries?”

“Because I took him at his word.  It wasn’t a case of domestic violence, sir.  He lived alone.”

“It doesn’t matter.  He was apparently assaulted,” Hammond said angrily.  “It’s something he should have reported.”

“Sir, if I may,” Janet interrupted.  “A victim of assault, even sexual assault, needs to feel they have power over their choices.  Their life.  Forcing him to report something that he may feel has humiliated him would add to his PTSD, not help it.”

“He still should have reported it, Doctor.”

“Yes, sir,” Jack said for her.  “But his performance hasn’t suffered, and the military only cares about that.  The rules and regs don’t give a shit about anything else.”

“Colonel,” Hammond sighed.  “This isn’t the time for a rehash about obsolete regs.”

“No, but it’s relevant.”

Hammond nodded, conceding the point.  “Doctor, how is he now, in your opinion?”

Janet shifted uncomfortable.  “He’s been depressed.  But I believe it’s passing.”

“Based on what?” Hammond asked.

“Based on the fact that he’s no longer alone.  I believe he’s seeing someone.”

“Do we know who she is?” Hammond asked, surprised.

“No, sir, and I haven’t asked.”  She traded a quick look with Jack.  This was one thing Janet hated about the military.  The regs that forced people to lie, to dishonor themselves in a place that lauded honor.

“Colonel,” Hammond said carefully.  “Dr. Jackson has asked to go on leave.  Does it have anything to do with this?”

Jack hedged.  “Maybe, but I think it’s more about his own assault.  Listen, couldn’t SG-1 serve on base for two weeks?  Carter has projects to finish, and Teal’c and I can head to the training site.  That’ll give Daniel time to work out his own assault without actually going on leave.”

Hammond considered the suggestion.  “Very well.  But if SG-1 is needed, you’ll go.  Understood?”

“Yes, sir.”

“We’re done here for the time being,” Hammond stated.  “I’ve got a few things to do.”

Janet nodded.  “I’ve got some installation oversight to look over, but I’ll be checking on Major Coburn in a little while.”

“Mind if I…” Jack began, thumbing in Daniel and Jason’s direction.

“As long as you’re quiet.”

“Thanks, Doc.”

She nodded as she excused herself to the General and left the office.

When Jack started to leave, Hammond held him up.  “Jack, did you call the SFs and the prison authorities?”

“Yes, sir,” Jack stated matter-of-factly.  “They hauled Makepeace off a little while ago.”

Hammond considered him and he had a feeling that Jack had just lied to him. “What happened to the men who accompanied him?”

Jack didn’t hesitate.  “OSI, sir.”

“Office of Special Investigations are the ones to call about this, but what really happened to them?” Hammond asked.

Jack gave him a very meaningful, level stare.  “Major Coburn took care of them.  As for their bodies, I called OSI.  They’ve been taken care of.”

Hammond stared at him for a few seconds, digesting that.  “I see.  Are you sure that’s your answer?”

Jack nodded slowly.  Hammond continued to stare at him and asked one more question. “If you’re placed under oath, what would you say was Makepeace’s purpose for visiting Doctor Jackson?”

“To kill him, sir.”

Hammond looked astonished.  “Why on Earth would he do that?”

Jack inclined his head.  “We’d have to ask him, sir.  Daniel, I mean.  If I had to guess, I think it’s probably to make him pay for my actions during the sting that got his ass thrown in prison.  He’d have gone after Daniel because we’re friends.”

Hammond gave Jack a wry grin, tinged with a bit of sadness.  “Except your friendship has been on the rocks over the last two years, if I’m not mistaken, Colonel.  Don’t think for one minute that I haven’t noticed.”

Jack felt a pain in his heart and ignored it the best he could as he pulled an envelope out of his pocket and handed it to the General.  “Makepeace wouldn’t know that, sir.”

“What’s this?”

“My report.”

Hammond assessed Jack’s expression before waggling the envelope.  “Will this be an interesting or boring read?”

“Boring, sir.  Partly.”

“I see.  Return to work on Monday, Colonel.  0900.  Let your teammates know.”

“Yes, sir,” Jack said before leaving for the ward, thankful for the reprieve.

 

. . .

 

Jack stood at the entrance to the ward, unknowingly in the same place Janet had been, and watched Daniel sleep in the chair next to Coburn’s bed.  He wondered at the generosity of his friend, allowing him back into his life after all the damage he had inflicted, and could only feel grateful that fate had forced him to wake up.

He looked at Coburn and felt a twinge of jealousy, but it was mostly out of an annoyance that he’d missed his opportunity.  It didn’t have anything to do with Coburn himself.  Likeable enough, handsome, and if Jack was honest, hot.  But he knew that he’d feel jealous no matter who Daniel dated.  One thing Jack knew for certain that despite his feelings, he’d keep away from their relationship.  It was Daniel’s choice and Jack valued the friendship far more than any idiotic measure of jealousy.  He’d do anything for him.  Just like before.  Only difference now was that he was admitting it.  He’d rescued Daniel on so many occasions.  That, at least, hadn’t been affected by his stupidity.  A teammate was a teammate.

But over the last two months, he’d been a right bastard.  Which was why he had taken care of the mess at Daniel’s house.  His time with Special Services had awarded him all kinds of contacts, not the least of which was a group of people that some government agencies would call a cleaning crew.  He’d cashed in that favor and now there were no more ties from that corner of his past.  Almost all evidence of Makepeace and his friends were gone. The only reminders of what had happened were a missing chair, scratches on the kitchen floor, and … the carpeting in Daniel’s bedroom.  It was beige and didn’t match the light gold in the rest of the house, but Jack hoped that Daniel wouldn’t mind.  Or at least not hate it.  Jack suspected he wouldn’t, just like he wouldn’t mind the fact that the torn shirt was gone, too.

Daniel’s movement brought Jack out of his thoughts and he watched him sit up and stretch, not knowing he was there.  He frowned when Daniel winced and rubbed his back and he knew it wasn’t from sleeping in a bad chair.  When Daniel looked around and pulled a double-take when he saw him, Jack put gave him a wan smile and walked over.

“Hey,” Daniel said quietly.

“Hey.”

Daniel looked at Jason as he stood up and grabbed his glasses off the medical stand by the bed.  “How, uh, long have you been standing there?”

“Not long,” Jack answered as he jerked his chin at Jason.  “Got the news from Fraiser.  She says he’ll be fine, but he’s on downtime for a couple of weeks.”

Daniel nodded as he looked back at Jason, still asleep.  An ache tugged inside his belly. “The bullet passed through nothing but side muscle.  Not even that much, either.”  He sighed and shook his head.  “A graze, he said.”

“Don’t be hard on him.  Adrenaline makes you think you’re fine when you’re not.”  Jack reached out and gripped his shoulder comfortingly, but when Daniel looked startled by the contact, he dropped his hand. “He did what I would have done.”

“He was playing the idiot hero,” Daniel said, brows knotting.  “Just like you.  Where the hell is it written that men must be at death’s door before they acknowledge they’re hurt?”

“The Bible,” Jack answered, his grin returning.

“That’s bullshit.  Jason’s an atheist,” Daniel said, staring at Jack in surprise.

“Well, then you got me,” Jack said, raising both hands and then dropping them at his sides.

Daniel reached out to touch Jack’s shoulder.  “Sorry for being an asshole.  I’m still a little freaked, I guess.”

Jack gave him a sardonic smile.  “Daniel, that’s not the only reason.”

Daniel took a deep breath, not meeting his gaze.  “Maybe I’m not used to …”

“Loving someone?” Jack asked.

Daniel winced.  “Yeah.”

“That too, is bullshit.  You love people.  It’s the relationship part you’re not used to.”

Daniel sighed and turned around to stare at Jason.  Jack’s presence behind him was highly distracting.  “I guess.”

“I’m not going anywhere.”

Daniel looked at him over his shoulder.  “Meaning?”

“Meaning that if you need me, I’ll be around.”

Daniel gave him a tired smile and nodded as he looked back at Jason.  “Adrenaline is why he didn’t know he’d been shot?”

“He did, but he consciously ignored it because his training kicked in.”  Jack reached out again and squeezed Daniel’s shoulder.  When he looked back at him, Jack added, “I’m glad you’ve never had the chance to know that first hand.”

“I’m not so sure that’s a positive, Jack,” Daniel said, turning his gaze away.

“Maybe,” Jack said, removing his hand.  “I’m not saying that you’re a pussy, Daniel,” and he earned at frown at the use of the term.  “Weak,” Jack corrected.  “I’m saying that I’m glad you weren’t shot.”

“Well, me too,” Daniel said dryly.

Jack gave him a wry grin.  “I suspect he is too.  Probably would have taken the bullet for you.”

Daniel rolled his eyes, even though Jack couldn’t see it.  “I’d rather I did.”

“Mutual sacrificial society,” Jack said, rolling his own eyes.

“Where’d the bullet go?” Daniel suddenly wondered.

“It hit the other side of your closet door. That and the other one that lodged in there have been removed, but you’ll have to patch the holes.  I didn’t have time to do that.”

Daniel blinked rapidly in surprise as he turned to face Jack.  “You didn’t have to do that.”

Jack stared back at him and it took all his self-control not to hug him.  “Yes, I did.”

Daniel frowned.  “No.”  He knew arguing would be pointless and he sighed.  “What happened with Makepeace?”

“Everything’s been taken care of.”

“But those men–”

Everything’s taken care of.”

Daniel gave him a careful look.  “What’s that mean?  Everything?”

“Everything,” Jack said slowly, not wanting to explain.  Not now, anyway.  He was glad when Daniel, for once, didn’t press.  “By the way, Coburn handled himself well.”

Jason knows how to handle himself pretty well.  He spars with Teal’c.”

“I know.  Took those men down easily.”

It suddenly occurred to Daniel what he thought were unconscious bodies might not have been.  “Jack, are those men dead?”

Jack lifted his chin, as if bracing himself for a rant.  “Yes, Daniel, they are.”

“And Makepeace?”

Jack pursed his lips.  “He won’t be bothering you again.”

“But … Jason didn’t hit him that hard.”  When Jack simply gave him a look that said otherwise, Daniel actually felt pity for those men and hated that he did.  The moment didn’t last as he felt the bruises twinge on him and he remembered the looks on their faces.  He probably would have died that night if Jason hadn’t been there.  The enormity of it hit him and he was slowly changing his mind about who deserved what.  He shaded his eyes, fingers rubbing at his temples.  “Shit.”

“Don’t you dare give Coburn a hard time about it, Daniel.  He did what he had to do.”

“Jason,” Daniel reminded.  “And I don’t plan to.  I wouldn’t get on Jason’s case for saving my life.  I’m not an ungrateful asshole.”

“No, you’re not.  So, what’d you say ‘shit’ for?”

“I was just thinking about what happened.  If Jason hadn’t gotten loose, he might very well be dead.”

Jack shook his head.  “I think all of them would still be dead.  He just might not have escaped serious injury.  And for the record, Daniel, he did what I would have done.”

Daniel touched Jack’s arm again.  “I know.  Thanks for … you know.”

Jack frowned at Daniel’s obvious disturbance at the fact the men were dead.  “Don’t waste pity on those assholes who’d have tortured you before killing you.  Do you even get that that was their end game?  Makepeace’s end game?”

Daniel sighed and turned away, wishing that the previous night had never happened.  “Capital punishment is stupid, Jack, even for treason.  People don’t learn their lessons by getting executed.”

“They rarely learn their lessons staying alive, but I take your point.”

Daniel crossed his arms, yawning.  “I’m just gonna…” he said, returning to his chair and adjusted the pillows before he sat back down.  He could feel Jack behind him and felt a tingle of warm security when Jack patted his arm.  He was soon dozing.

At the door, Jack looked back over his shoulder before heading for his quarters to get his own much-needed sleep.

 

. . .

 

Jason felt Janet’s fingers taking his pulse and opened his eyes slowly.  She smiled down at him, put a finger to her lips, and looked to his left.  He turned his head to find Daniel asleep in a chair.  His eyes widened and he looked at Janet.  “How is he?” he mouthed.

She mouthed, “Alive.”  Then whispered, “Other than that …”  She waggled her hand.

Jason winced as he moved.  “Fucking sutures.”

“And sub-sutures.  Be careful.  If I have to sew you up again, I’ll ground your ass for month.  Got me?”

He groaned and lay back.  “Fuck.  It’s that serious?” She nodded grimly as she took his blood pressure and temperature, then handed him a cup of ice chips for his throat.  “Thanks,” he said, crunching on a mouthful as he looked down at what he was wearing.  Blue scrubs.  Plucking at his top, he said, “Seriously?”

“Would you rather have that horrible gown?”

He grimaced.  “Forget I complained.  So, staring over.  Thanks for this.  I really hate that drafty gown.”

“You’re welcome,” she said with a small grin.  “And now it’s time for you to roll over so I can check,” she said, motioning for him to get on his left side.

“Check for what?” Jason asked with a mouthful of ice.  “Oil?  Air pressure?  Termites?”

She smiled at him and put on gloves before removing the bandage.  Jason remained still, comforted by her touch.  He was also comforted by Daniel’s presence beside his bed.  It was, Jason realized, the first time he’d been there as his lover, and it amazed him because he saw Daniel in a slightly different manner.  Before, he’d have noticed Daniel’s rumpled look and found it amusing.  Now he found it adorable, although he’d never in a million years tell him that.  For now, he could just watch and admire, and Daniel would never see the sappy, idiot look of love on his face.  However, Janet just did.  She cleared her throat.  “What?” he drawled, waiting for sappy comments.

Still whispering, she gave him a worried look.  “You’re being obvious.  Be careful how you look at him, Jason.  One asshole is all it takes.”

Jason eyed her and smirked.  “That’s funny.”

She growled at him as she rebandaged his wound and pulled his shirt back down.  “Done.  I’m serious.”

Jason rolled onto his back, his eyes never leaving her face.  She knew.  “What’s on your mind?”  At her aggrieved look, he relented and reached up, offering his hand.  She took it and he squeezed affectionately.  “I love him, and you already know that.”

“Yes, because we’ve talked about it many times.  I just didn’t know …”  She looked at Daniel.  “But his wife?”

“Wait,” Jason said knowingly.

She made an O of her mouth, as if to say, “Oh, I see.”

At that moment, Daniel stirred, shifting position.  When he opened his eyes, he looked right at him.  And smiled.

“Hey,” he said lovingly before he noticed Janet was standing there too.  He cleared his throat hastily.  “Uh, hi, Janet.”

“Hey sleepyhead,” she said with a smile.

Jason cleared his throat deliberately.  “Janet just asked me something, Daniel.  Something I couldn’t answer without your consent.”

Daniel frowned in confusion and sat forward.  “What?”

Jason looked around the room and Janet said confidentially, “We’re alone.”

With a sigh, he said to Daniel, “She … knows about us.  What she doesn’t get is your wife.”

It took a moment for his sleepiness to lift enough to get what Jason meant.  He looked at Janet and said, “I’m Bi.  I thought you would have figured that out by now.”

“I didn’t because I don’t like to assume,” Janet said reassuringly.  “I just hope it’s serious.”

That surprised them both.  “I’m sorry?” Daniel asked.

“I just don’t want you risking your careers over something casual.”

“Daniel isn’t risking his career,” Jason argued.

“No, but he’s risking his job.  You, on the other hand…” and she left the sentence unfinished.

Daniel nodded.  “It’s serious.  And it may be a lot more complicated.”

Jason stared at him.  “Daniel … you probably shouldn’t …”

“She’s our friend,” Daniel said.  “If he …”

“He,” she repeated, trying to guess who they meant.  It suddenly dawned on her that there was a third party.  “Who does he want?” she asked, pointedly skipping the part about who ‘he’ was.

“Me,” Daniel said.

She winced.  “You’re a popular guy, good and bad.”

“I don’t want to be,” Daniel said tiredly.  He groaned and dropped his head on the bed.  Jason worriedly ran his fingers through his hair.  When he glanced at Janet and saw the puzzled look on her face, he explained, “He hates being noticed.”

She frowned.  “That makes no sense.  You wrote papers on archaeological digs.  You held seminars and lectures.”

“I know,” Daniel sing-songed, his voice muffled.  He lifted his head and rested his chin in both hands.  “But that’s academic.  It’s different.  When it comes to the military, and aliens, it’s a whole other kettle of fish.”

She looked puzzled but held up her hands.  “Okay.  I don’t get it, but whatever.”  When Jason continued to thread his fingers through Daniel’s hair, Janet looked around, knowing that one of her nurses could come in at any moment.  Or Dr. Warner for that matter.  She cleared her throat and Jason removed his hand.

“Moving on,” she said with emphasis.  “You can go home at noon.  The anesthesia will have worn off completely by that time.  Your next set of labs will also be back, so I’ll be able to tell if your wound is healing properly.  Even so, you’re gonna have some antibiotics to take.”

Daniel looked up, taking Jason’s caressing hand in his own.  “And his recuperating orders are?”

Janet put on her ‘doctor’ face.  “No strenuous activity.  Don’t pull those stitches.”

Jason groaned and dropped his head back on his pillow.  This meant he was off the mission list, which he knew would happen, but physical therapy meant it’d last for more than a week.  “Tell me it’s not more than two weeks?”

She leaned over and adjusted his pillows.  “It’s not more than two weeks.  But you’ll have to do your part to make sure it stays that way.”

“Preaching to the choir, Janet.  Preaching to the choir.”

She pretty much meant no martial art activity, but she suddenly thought about his and Daniel’s relationship, which meant … sex.  The thought of them having it made her feel strangely warm and at the moment, she couldn’t tell if it was embarrassing warmth or aroused warmth.  “Just make sure you take it easy,” she said, wishing she didn’t have to say it but she was a stickler for details.  Jason and Daniel at least had the grace to look embarrassed.  She reached into her coat pocket and pulled out prescription bottles and handed them to him.  “Pharmacy is closed, so I took the liberty.  Follow the directions precisely.”

Jason looked at the labels.  One was an antibiotic, the other a painkiller, and he handed the latter out to her.  “I won’t need this.”

She snorted at him and didn’t take the bottle.  “Don’t take them, but they’re there just in case.”  She knew by the look on his face that he’d leave it sitting unused.  She looked at Daniel for back-up.  “Make sure he takes those when he needs to.”

“I will,” Daniel nodded and gave Jason his own stern look.  “Don’t look at me like that.  If you think I’m going to let you walk around in pain, you’re mistaken.  Besides, you’ll need them by bed time.  Trust me.”

Jason knew when to give in.  Fighting both Daniel and Janet was a battle he wasn’t going to win.  “Fine.  You’re both a pain in the ass.”  He started to sit up but winced and Janet pointed to the controls by Daniel’s feet.  He adjusted the bed so Jason could sit up without help.

“What did I tell you?” she said to Jason with a lift of her brow.

Jason grumbled and tried to change the subject.  “Am I going to be fed in this joint or do I have to send Daniel out?”

Janet threw him another stern look.  “Jello or pudding.  Nothing else.  After the post-operative drugs are gone from your system, then you can eat something solid.  Mess Hall’s running a skeleton crew but they’ll have either jello or pudding.  Daniel can run down.”  When he groaned again, she knew it wasn’t because of what she’d said.  She withdrew a hypodermic needle from her other pocket and began to inject it into his I.V.  When he reached up, intending to stop her, he withdrew his arm when the motion caused another jolt of pain.  Janet rolled her eyes in sympathy as she injected the medicine.  “You’re just out of surgery, Jason.  You need the painkiller so you can recover.”

Jason groaned again, this time in consternation.  “I don’t need pain meds for something as lame as this.”

She threw him a sterner look and held up her index and thumb, half an inch apart.  “This much to the left and you’d have had your liver nicked.”

Daniel groaned this time.  “Jason.  Just do what you’re told.”

Jason sighed with annoyance.  “Fine, but I’ve handled worse things, trust me.  But no Jello, please.  I hate Jell-O.  May as well feed me oysters which, incidentally, I also can’t stand.”

“Scrambled Eggs?” Daniel asked Janet.

“No, but yogurt is fine.  It actually benefits when you’re on antibiotics.”

Jason made a face.  “God, shoot me now.”

Daniel chuckled just as his own stomach made a growling noise.  He rubbed it and smirked at Jason and Janet.  “Seems I need to grab something to eat.”

“You’ve been through a lot, Daniel.  Have something along with the coffee,” Janet told him and earned an eye roll.

“Yes, ma’am.”

Jason perked up.  “Coffee?”

“Sorry,” she said, patting his arm.  “Not until this afternoon.”

He suddenly felt very exhausted and blamed it on the painkiller.  “Go, Daniel.  Get something to eat.” He yawned mightily and added, “I’ll just nap for a while.”

“You’re sure?” Daniel asked.

“Yes, go.  Don’t make me feel guilty.”

Daniel stretched as he stood up.  “I’ll bring back something.”  He suddenly thought of another choice.  “Tapioca?”

Jason actually considered that.  “Depends on how it’s made.  Bring it back, if they have any.”

“You like tapioca?” Janet asked, surprised.

“Sure.  Good nutrition,” he said.  “And don’t bring yogurt,” he added with another yawn.  “Pudding is okay as long as it isn’t vanilla.”

Daniel hesitated, wanting to lean over and kiss him, but instead, he affectionately rubbed his arm.  “Be back soon.”

Jason watched him till he left, then looked up at Janet. She was giving him a reproachful look.  “What?”

“You’re an awfully good liar.  You’re not that sleepy.”

“You’re half-right,” he said, looking guilty.  “I don’t want him hovering.”  Janet nodded with understanding.  “So,” he began as she walked to the end of the bed and picked up his chart.  Before he could say another word, Jack walked in.  Despite himself, Jason felt a pull of attraction, and making it worse was Jack running his hand through his hair, as if he’d just woken up.

“Major.  Doc.”

Jason nodded.  He was still refusing to call him by his given name.  Stubborn bastard.  “Colonel,” he said, emphasizing.

“Aren’t you supposed to be getting some sleep?” Janet asked Jack.

“Four hours seems to be enough.  I couldn’t get more.” He frowned and looked around.  “Where’s Daniel?”

“Mess hall,” Jason answered.

“Getting me goop to eat, too,” Jason said with a grimace.

“You have my sympathies,” Jack said earnestly, getting a narrow-eyed look from Janet.  “Not my fault they don’t have anything worth eating when you’re stuck on a soft diet.”

“Hmm,” was all she said.

He looked at his watch.  It was just after nine a.m.  “Coffee?”

“No,” Janet said before Jason could bypass his orders.

Jack waited, then gave him assessing look.  “Nice work, by the way.  You did good.”

Jason could only nod, surprised by how much it meant to hear Jack say that.  He thought that Daniel might not appreciate what both of them had had to do and wondered if Daniel had realized it yet.  “Does Daniel know?”

“Yes.  But don’t worry about what he’ll think.  He knows it was necessary.”

“You talked to him already?” Jason asked, trying not to feel surprised.

“Yeah, and he’s fine,” Jack assured him.

Janet watched the two of them, wondering what they were talking about. “I’d ask what you two are talking about, but I probably don’t want to know, do I?”

“Um, no, not really,” Jack said.  He stared down at Jason and grinned when he frowned at him.  “It’s nothing, Coburn.  I’m just glad you’re okay.”

Jason looked at Janet hopefully.  “Could you give us a minute, Janet?”

She nodded.  “I was just about to leave anyway.  I’ll check on you in a little while.”

As soon as she left, Jason said, “Given everything you’ve witnessed, never mind helped out on, I think you can honor Daniel’s wishes and call me Jason.  What do you think?”

Jack gave him one of his sarcastic, lop-sided grins.  “Fine.  Jason.  But that wasn’t all you wanted to say.”

Jason shook his head slowly.  “Daniel and Makepeace.”

Jack scowled, but he wasn’t aiming it Jason.  “He’s not gonna talk about it.  He’s been very tight-lipped about that bastard’s time with SG-1.”

“Except something nasty happened.  No matter how much Daniel wishes me to forget what Makepeace said, I can’t.”  He lowered his voice.  “He said some startling shit.”

Jack frowned.  “Like?”

Jason relayed it as fast as he could, stomping on the urge to say each thing loudly, with disgust.  Jack’s face darkened with each sentence and Jason felt a bit vindicated in that he’d been right to be upset, never mind take the bastard’s words as truth, not goading fantasy.  “I want to know what happened.  So do you.”

Jack nodded.  “As his friend, I think I should know but I don’t really have the right.  He’s entitled to his secrets.  But as his team leader, I have a right to know what the hell happened two years ago that he felt he couldn’t put in a report.” He paused for a couple of long minutes, appreciating that Jason could tell that there was more he wanted to say and waited for him to finish.  “About a week after that sting operation and we were in the locker room, getting cleaned up after a mission, I was worried about him.”

“Was he acting weird?”

“No, other than he was still pissed at me.”

Jason nodded.  “He was still mad about it after we became friends.”

Jack sighed.  “I kept trying to tell him I was sorry, that I could have confided but …”

Jason held up a hand.  “It’s fine, Jack.  I get it, but I also understand Daniel’s point of view, too.  Being left out of the loop on something like that is a major violation of trust and Hammond and that Tollan woman, plus Thor, had no right to leave your teammates out of it.  They could have done a decent acting job and you wouldn’t have said what you said when he came to visit you.  It’s something that’s stuck in his craw ever since, you know.”

“I know.  I don’t blame him.”  Jack ground his jaw.  “Given what you just told me, I’m more certain than ever that something went on.”  He paused for another long minute, then lowered his voice and said with a grimace, as if the words were painful.  “He had bruises on his ass and the backs of his thighs.”  Jack made a gesture with his fingers that suggested he was gripping something.  “Finger marks.”

Jason stared at him, thinking back, then closed his eyes.  “Shit.  I noticed faded marks.  We were showering at the same time after that sting operation that locked up that bastard.  We weren’t friends then, and I thought it was just something that happened during a mission.”  They were both quiet at that point, but then Jason remembered the things that Makepeace had said and suddenly slammed his fist into the bed.  His body didn’t like the force of it and the short jolt of pain made him wince.

Jack winced with him but said nothing about it; it wasn’t necessary.  “What?”

Jason took a deep breath.  “Remember what I told you he said?”

“Ah.”

“Yeah.  Ah.”

“Why the fuck didn’t he …?”

“Stop him?” Jason asked, nodding.

“It makes no sense.”

“I know.  Anyone who’d try that on him would have a fight on their hands.  Either one would end up in the hospital.”

Jack agreed.  “Which means there’s more to it and he willingly …”

Jason rubbed his face and threaded his fingers through his hair.  “Maybe he was blackmailed with something.”

“What the hell kind of blackmail would make Daniel capitulate like that?” Jack asked.

They both groaned because they knew the answer the moment Jack stopped talking.

“When someone else’s life is involved,” Jason said.

They were quiet for a minute, then Jack said, “Mess hall huh?” Jason nodded.  “Time we had a talk then.”

“If he will.  If he won’t, don’t push it, Jack.”

“I know.”

Jason sighed as he dropped his head back and stared at the far wall.  Why did it have to take a tragic event to get him to let go of his anger toward Jack?

 

. . .

 

Daniel sipped at his coffee as he wove between tables to take a seat in the corner.  He absently realized he was doing what Jason did in the restaurant.  He also thought it was kinda adorable, taking on aspects of his new partner.  Of course, he could have been doing this for a long time and had just never realized it.  He set his tray down and sat, but took time to just relish his coffee.  It was very early, hardly anyone was around.  It was, after all, kind of ‘down time’, but really that only applied to the teams and support staff.  Regular mountain personnel didn’t get time off.  Like the cooks.

They were done serving breakfast and he wasn’t ungrateful enough to try and get someone to fix him something—hell, he’d just go home if he was that intent on having it.  Instead, he’d chosen a salad from the display case and a package of chocolate pudding for Jason, but he really wasn’t all that hungry.  Despite what his stomach said, he could feel butterflies zooming around in there and coffee was the only thing he knew wouldn’t upset his system.  Post-adrenaline rushes always caused a bit of nausea, but that wasn’t the issue here.  Neither was Jason’s injury.  It was the knowledge of what had damn near happened to him.  Damn Jack for pointing that out.  He’d been doing a good job of ignoring it until that point.

He knew Jason would have done the same, and in that way—hell, in a lot of ways—he was like Jack.  And it was annoying.  One particular similarity was something Daniel wasn’t looking forward to experiencing: the need for explanations.  In this case, about Makepeace.  Granted, he figured they had a right to know after everything that had happened, but just thinking about confiding in them and imagining their reactions … no.  Daniel had to convince them to back off.  It was just too humiliating to talk about.  Even thinking about what happened deepened that humiliation.

He warmed his hands around his mug, wishing he could forget about it, but after last night, it was damn near impossible.  He was shaking slightly, another post-adrenaline symptom, but it wasn’t enough for anyone else to notice.  He’d have to keep an eye on that so that it didn’t get more pronounced.  Janet was likely going to have a talk with him later about talking to the base psychologist and Daniel knew that he’d have to tell her, politely, to shove that idea where the sun don’t shine.  He did not want to talk about it, and he especially didn’t want to talk about with a goddamn therapist.  He wanted to forget it and have Jack and Jason forget it too.

Oh god.  Hammond was probably told something had happened because why else would Makepeace have shown up at his house?  He dropped his forehead to the table and groaned, then sat back up because god only knew what had been on that table before he got there.  He wiped at it with the back of his hand.  His stomach growled again, and after a minute, Daniel sighed and picked up his fork, absently stabbing at small pieces and eating them.  The cherry tomatoes excited his mouth and he ate a little more, but about fifteen seconds later, he pushed the plate away.  His mouth and his stomach weren’t in agreement.

Movement to his right said “someone advancing on your position” and Daniel looked up in alarm.   It immediately retreated when he saw it was Jack.  The man paused, taking in Daniel’s Red Alert reaction.

“Daniel?  You okay?”

“Fine,” Daniel said automatically.

“Mind if I join you?” Jack asked, then sat down anyway.

Daniel sighed.  “Jack?”

“Yeah?”

Anger went from A to Z in Daniel’s brain.  He controlled himself carefully and took a deep breath, then looked Jack in the eye.  “Do me a huge favor,” he said carefully.  He was satisfied that Jack was registering the anger.

“Okay.”

“Get up.  Walk back to the door.  Turn around.  Approach me again.  Ask if you can join me.  And then, wait for me to say ‘yes’.”  He stared at Jack, who just sat there, staring back at him.  “Fine.”  He got up to leave but Jack held a hand out and rose.  He did as Daniel asked.

“Mind if I join you?”  He waited.

“No.  Be my guest,” Daniel said, gesturing at the chair recently vacated.  After Jack sat down, obviously angry and confused, Daniel was still tempted to get up and leave.  “Why do you do that?  Ask, then make assumptions.”

“I don’t know,” Jack said, his anger abating.

Daniel easily contained the grin he used to give Jack when he pulled that, but he was way past giving him passes on idiotic and insulting behavior.  Jack was in his bossy mood and right now, that was not a mood Daniel wanted to put up with.  “I’m not talking about him.  If that’s why you’re here, you can just get right back up—”

“Daniel,” Jack said, cutting him off.  He folded his own fingers around his mug and stared back at him, trying not to let his anger show.  “I let that slide two years ago. It’s not gonna fly this time.”

Daniel sighed heavily as he shaded his eyes.  “You are unbelievable.  You let it slide because you were a bastard to me.  Now, you’re being one again.”  He dropped his hand and leaned forward.  “Drop it.”

“Why?” Jack asked sharply, making Daniel sit back and shade his eyes again.  “Tell me why I should ignore when you’re in pain? I saw it two years ago and I let that shit go because I knew you were mad at me and I probably couldn’t have helped, but that’s not the case here.”

Daniel’s brows knotted into a scowl as he looked at him again.  “Are you fucking kidding me?  Don’t do that.  It’s none of your–”

“The hell it isn’t.  As your friend, as your team leader, I can’t stand by and pretend you’re fine when you’re not.  You know that as well as I do.”

“Don’t get pissed at me,” Daniel warned.  “You have no goddamn right.”

“I have every right, especially as your friend.  You’re shutting us out and it’s not fair to us or to yourself.”

“Us?” Daniel asked, wondering why Sam and Teal’c needed to know.

Jack stared back, incredulous.  “Me and Jason, Daniel.”

Daniel didn’t know which to be surprised at more.  That Jack had called him Jason instead of Coburn or that he’d included him in an ‘Us.’  The goddamn gall it took.  “Fine.  Tell me about Iraq.”

Jack was caught off guard.  “What?”

“Talk to me about Iraq.  It has an effect on your behavior every bit as much as Makepeace has on mine.  So, what’s goose for the gander, Jack.  If you expect me to talk, I expect the same.”

“That’s low, Daniel,” Jack said, his anger rising.

“No, it isn’t.  It’s trauma.  You have every right to keep what happened to yourself.  So.  Do.  I.”

Annoyed, Jack sat back, grinding his jaw, reminding himself that if this had happened to him … because it sort of did.  He sighed.  “I had a little talk with Jason about what happened before I showed up.”  Daniel scowled at him and Jack threw it right back.  “What’s wrong with you?  I have every right to know!”

Daniel knew that Jack had a right to know, but he didn’t like Jason telling him.  It was irrational but there it was.  “You should have asked me,” he said evasively.  “Jason’s been through enough.”

“Oh, and that’s worked well so far,” Jack snapped.

They were both silent for several minutes.  Daniel was wishing he could just leave and Jack was wishing a good smack upside the head would do the trick.  Jack then berated himself for wanting to use violence.  A sign of the recent time.  Respond to a problem with aggression.

“I can’t,” Daniel said.  “Not just because of Makepeace.  Because it’s humiliating.  But because it brings back all those memories, and that one specific one at your house.”  When Jack opened his mouth to protest, Daniel raised a hand and glared at him.  “I know!  You were acting.  Is that supposed to make me feel better?”

“Why aren’t you over it?” he asked.

Daniel stared, astonished.  “Because not long after, you walked away from our friendship, you idiot.”  Jack blinked at him.  “So, nothing’s resolved.  Nothing’s forgiven.  You moved on, expected me to just grin and bear it.  And after what I went through, when I really needed you, you fucking walked away.  You came back from that … island … or wherever you went with Thor, and I was just … Walter Davis.”

Jack blinked.  “What?”

“There, and taken for granted.  You say hi, but you don’t make an effort to be close friends.  I was a member of your team.  Your teammate.  And you showed more feeling about a stranger …”  Jack started to speak again but Daniel cut him off.  And lowered his voice.  “You rescued me from suicide.  Great.  Thank you.  You’d have done that for Sam or Teal’c.  But you also admitted you loved Sam.”

“That Zatarc machine is faulty.”

Daniel’s train of thought skidded to a halt.  “What?” he asked, confused.

“You read the transcript, right?  Of that so-called re-interrogation by Anise?”

“Yeah.”

“I said that I was standing there at that forcefield, looking at her on the other side.  I was panicked.  I needed to get her out.  I wasn’t about to leave.  And Anise asked, why I wouldn’t leave.  So I said that it’s because I cared about her more than I’m supposed to.”

Daniel sat back, gesturing at him, as if what Jack said made his point.

But,” Jack went on.  “What I didn’t mention was that while I was standing there, staring at her, I was also thinking about whether or not I’d be doing the same thing if you were on the other side.  If Teal’c was on the other side.  And the answer is yes.  The three of you are far more important to me than you should be—according to the goddamn regs.”  Jack took a deep breath.  “But I was also ignoring the fact that I was lying to myself about you.  The machine thought I was lying to myself about Carter.”

Daniel blinked, his mouth working but no words came out.  Finally, he said.  “Huh.”

“What’s ‘huh’?”

“It means, ‘thanks for the info but what the fuck does that have to do with you ending our friendship’.”

“And I’ll throw that back.  What does that event have to do with why …”  Jack paused, frowning.

“See what you did there?” Daniel asked.  “It’s called deflecting.  I didn’t walk away, Jack.  You did.  And if I die tomorrow, what happens to your so-called about-face toward me?”

“I resign,” Jack said immediately.

“Pfft,” Daniel said.  “I don’t believe that and neither do you.”

“You have no goddamn clue what I’d …”  Jack stopped that train of thought because it made Daniel’s point.  He closed his eyes, sat back, and pinched the bridge of his nose.  “We’re going in circles.  You’re angry with me.  I’m angry that you prefer to keep something traumatic to yourself.  I want to help.  You say I can’t.”  He opened his eyes and though he kept his hands on the table, he opened them.  “So now what?  I’m frustrated.  It makes me angry.  You’re frustrated.  It’s making you even more angry.  And … now …?”

Daniel clenched and unclenched his jaw.  He closed his eyes and swallowed.  A metallic taste came to the back of his throat.  It was a sensation he recognized as a symptom of fear.  “What happened …”  He felt his face flush and his eyes sting, and he immediately pinched the bridge of his nose to stop the moisture from turning into tears.  “It’s bad.  And I don’t mean that I was raped.  I wasn’t.  Not … overtly.  Coercive threats are a type of rape because you’re taking away a person’s right to choose.  But I actively participated in what he wanted.”

“Because you were threatened with the lives of others,” Jack said.

Daniel frowned.  “How did you work that one out?”

“The only reason you’d do anything with that prick is because he threatened someone.  Probably Carter and Teal’c.”

“And you,” Daniel said, not looking at him.  He picked at a non-existent label on his coffee mug.  “But that was … wasn’t all.  And I really don’t want to discuss this.”

“And will you tell me why?” Jack asked.

“Because I’m not just embarrassed at what I did.  I’m humiliated.”  He swallowed.  “Because I acted against my own interests and against my personal ethics, and I …”  He took a deep breath, refusing to look at the man across the table.  “I enjoyed what happened between us.  For a while.”  He closed his eyes and waited for the disgust and the condemnation.  When it didn’t come right away, he figured Jack was in shock.  “I didn’t enjoy why it happened.  I only made the best out of a bad situation.  I allowed myself to achieve pleasure in a destructive manner.  And later, out of threats to people I cared about.  And afterward, every time, I got drunk out of shame.  And I kept getting drunk for quite a while.”

Jack’s cheeks burned with embarrassment and guilt because he understood from experience.  Not with Iraq.  But from other instances in his career where he’d been made to do some things that he’d allowed himself to enjoy as a method of dealing with them.

“I understand,” he said.  When Daniel refused to look at him, he added, “You did it because it was the only way to deal with the reason they were happening in the first place.”

Daniel slowly looked up at him, staring.  “You … understand,” he said.  Jack nodded.  “How do you live with the guilt?”

“By accepting it,” Jack said, shaking his head.  “You accept what happened and then you push it away, bury it, and tell yourself that if that situation arises again, you hope to god you react differently.”

“It happened two years ago and it’s hard to separate my anger at you for what happened between us and my anger at… him.”

“Makepeace.”

“Yes,” Daniel ground out.

Jack shook his head.  “Except that you took it out on me.”

“And you took your own issues out on me,” Daniel snapped back, then added in a softer voice, “Neither of us can claim righteous indignation here.  Except for the fact that instead of talking to me, you backed off.  And what’s happened over the last year?  Hell, the last six months?  It’s really, really hard not to hate you.”

Jack closed his eyes again.  “I’m sorry.”

“Why?” Daniel asked.  “Why were you acting like that?  Angry at me for no reason.”

“I loved you.  I love you.  And I didn’t want to admit it.”

“You’re as bad as Makepeace.”

What?” Jack hissed.  “How dare you—”

“I’m sorry,” Daniel hissed back.  “He’s the worst kind of gay man there is, Jack.  A self-loathing closet case who wanted to dip into that pool with someone he thought he could intimidate.”

“But that’s the thing I don’t get, that Jason doesn’t get.  We figured what happened was pretty much what you just said.  That you were coerced.  But you willingly …”

“At first.”

“Why?”

Daniel swallowed.  “He was … an excuse.  I wanted to self-destruct without actually doing anything to cost me my job.  So I … used him.  He used me.  But after a while, I couldn’t anymore.  And that’s when he threatened to have you, Sam, and Teal’c maimed.  Not killed.  Maimed.  He threatened to have Sam gang-raped.  I couldn’t take the risk that he was lying and call him on his bullshit.”  Daniel swallowed, leaned forward, and tapped on the table with two fingers.  “He showed me a live video of Sam at her gym.  There were five guys there who waved at the camera when he told them to.”

“Shit,” Jack said, briefly closing his eyes.

“I did whatever he wanted after that and the … it got extremely rough.”

“That’s what those bruises were,” Jack said softly.

Daniel snapped his gaze up, his mouth hanging open for a second or three.  “How did …”  He closed his eyes again.  “Oh.  Locker room.  I tried to dress as quickly as I could after a shower.  I hoped you didn’t notice.  They were fading.”

“Yellow and green, yes.  But Jason noticed, too, Daniel.  It scared him.  It scared me.”

Daniel sighed.  “Too bad neither of you had the guts to tell me how you felt as a way to comfort me.”

“I’m sorry,” Jack said, worrying about him and whether or not his sex life was screwed up because of that sonofabitch.  But then, it couldn’t be, now that he was with Jason.  “Are you okay now?  I mean, you’re with Jason, so you must be, but…”  He made a face when Daniel looked at him in surprise.  “Okay, shutting up now.”

Daniel snorted with exasperation.  “Now you shut up?”  Even so, Daniel was more surprised by the fact that he was actually feeling better.  Not by much, but a little.  He really hated secrets and hated carrying that one around, having no one to share the burden with, but it was so hard to talk about.  He still had to talk to Jason.  With a groan, he laid his head on the table.  Fuck the germs.

Jack reached over and tenderly ruffled his hair.  “What’s the matter?”

“I still have to talk to Jason about it,” came his muffled reply.

Their moment was broken when Sam and Teal’c came walking swiftly into the cafeteria, both wearing civilian clothing.  Teal’c was staying at Sam’s house during the infirmary’s renovations, mostly because he enjoyed going off-base and doing something different.  They stopped and stared at him and Daniel raised his head, winced at their worried expressions, and dropped his head back to the table.

Sam came over and hugged him, then sat down next to him while Teal’c sat down next to Jack.  “Are you okay?  Why the hell didn’t you call us?”

“I’m sorry.  It just wasn’t that big a deal.”  At the look on her face, he added, “Sam, nothing bad happ—”

“Hey, that’s not quite accurate,” Jack protested.  To Sam and Teal’c, he asked, “How’d you find out?”

Sam shot him a look that clearly said he too was in trouble.  “Janet called us.”  She looked back at Daniel and took his hand as she sighed heavily.  She knew Makepeace had had problems with Daniel and there’d been something suspicious about the way he’d hovered over him at times.  She’d never had the courage to bring it up because it would have been hard to talk about it herself if the roles had been reversed.  “Are you okay?”

He nodded.  “I’m fine.  No damage done.”

“Doctor Fraiser informed us that Major Coburn was shot,” Teal’s stated before Sam could ask.  “She mentioned that the wound was not severe and that he would recover soon.  She did not mention why Major Coburn was there.”

Daniel sighed.  “We’re friends.  He was visiting, and we went out to dinner.  When we came back to my house, we were ambushed.  Makepeace’s goons came up behind us.  And so … we found out who was there.  He took me into my bedroom, intending to rape me.  He let one of his goons try to play with Jason.”  Daniel smiled.  The first one since their date.  “That didn’t work out so well.”

“Why did Makepeace come for you when he should have been as far away as would be necessary to avoid detection?” Teal’c asked.

“Um,” Daniel hesitated, not wanting to explain anything to him or Sam.  Jack and Jason was enough.  If he told Sam and Teal’c, it would feel like he was broadcasting his own stupidity, never mind his sex life.  However, there was one thing Sam and Teal’c maybe had a right to know but he wasn’t quite sure how to tell them.

“That’s okay, Daniel,” Sam said, giving Teal’c a scolding look.  “You don’t have to talk about it now.”

“I’m not gonna want to talk about it later, Sam.” He took a breath, then said, “I don’t know why Makepeace decided to come after me.”  It wasn’t exactly a lie.  Thankfully, Jack let it be.

“I believe it had something to do with his sexual interest in you,” Teal’c said flatly, and Daniel jerked his head up in shock and Jack stared at him.

“How’d you work that one out?” Jack asked for him.

“It is nothing to be ashamed of, Daniel Jackson,” Teal’c went on in a lower tone. “I do not judge.  I have seen many relationships fail badly.”

“It wasn’t even remotely a relationship, Teal’c,” Daniel told him.

“Then what would you call it?”

“I’d say … casual … encounters.  And that’s all I’m gonna say about that.  I ended it.  He refused, and he threatened your lives if I didn’t continue.  I believed him.  Now, can we move on from that topic please?”

“Agreed,” Jack said, giving Sam and Teal’c a look.

Daniel cleared his throat.  “But there is something I should probably tell you.  About Jason.  Because it’s fairly important.”  He winced.  “No, it’s very important.”

“What?” Sam asked, eyes wide.  “Janet said he was okay–”

“No, he is.  I meant about Jason and me.”

Sam stared at him, looking confused for a moment.  “Jason and you …?”  Her eyes widened.

“You are in a relationship?” Teal’c asked.

Daniel nodded.  Sam punched him in the arm.  “Hey!” he said, scowling at her, and holding his arm.

She abruptly lowered her voice.  “Why didn’t you say anything about who you are?”

“Hello,” he snapped back.  “Do I ask you about your heterosexuality?”

She frowned.  “Oh.  No.  I get your point.  But were you going to tell us about him, if he’s this important in your life?”

“We’ve only been dating for …”  He blushed.  “Three days.  And since it’s against regs because the military is filled with homophobic assholes, I haven’t thought about telling anyone.”  He looked at Jack and deliberately said, “Although if I’d had my way, I would have waited a lot longer.”

Sam frowned in confusion.  “But being with Jason means you’re gay, doesn’t it?”

“Bi.  If I considered myself gay, that would imply my feelings for Shau’re weren’t real.  And they were.” He cleared his throat again and added, “The only reason I’m telling you now is because Jason’s very important to me.  Plus being Bi is part of who I am.  As my friends, not my teammates, you should know about whomever I bring into my life.  Except Makepeace because he didn’t matter and that … was not something I’m going over again.”

“Is it not true that your military considers such unions illegal?” Teal’c asked.

Daniel and Jack sighed with disgust.  “That’s what homophobic means, Teal’c,” Jack said.  “They’re a little behind the times.”

“To put it mildly,” Daniel added.

“Then you may rely on my discretion, Daniel Jackson.”

Daniel smiled at him.  “Thank you, Teal’c.”

Sam chewed at her lip and when Daniel looked at her worriedly, she briefly put an arm around his shoulders and hugged him. “Well, I’m happy for you. It’s about time you found someone.” She then looked at Jack and Teal’c. “You guys aren’t involved with anyone, are you?”

“Are you?” Jack shot back.

Sam cleared her throat and turned her attention back to Daniel.  “So what happened last night?”

“Better get something to drink,” Daniel advised, and after Sam got herself some coffee and Teal’c poured himself some juice, he gave them a button-down version of the night’s events.  All the while, Jack’s presence was curiously reassuring.  He was still angry with him, but after telling him that, and hearing back from him, it seemed to be fading a bit.  As long as Jack didn’t revert back to assholery, things would be fine.

“What happened to Makepeace and the dickheads he brought with him?” Sam asked, looking from Daniel to Jack.

Jack paused, taking a long sip from his mug.  “I called some friends.”  By that, he meant his friends at the OSI.

“Is that what your spy movies call a cleaning crew?” Teal’c asked.

Jack had been taking a sip from his mug and coughed at Teal’c’s words.  “Yes, Teal’c,” he chuckled, pleased that Teal’c merely regarded him with approval.

“If you had not,” Teal’c said, “I would have gladly done it.  Prison is not a place for him to await execution for his crimes.  It should have been swift and immediate.”

“Treason is no reason to kill someone,” Daniel said, getting an eye roll from Jack.

“I was not referring to his treason,” Teal’c said.

Daniel didn’t dare ask what that meant.

“I agree,” Sam said, surprising everyone, especially Daniel.  Her views on capital punishment matched his own.

“Why do you say that?” he had to ask.

“Because,” she said carefully, “Think about what would’ve happened if Jason hadn’t been with you.”

Daniel’s belly went cold because she voiced the statement he’d been actively ignoring.  Before he even had a chance to think about an answer, Jack said, “Thanks for that uplifting thought, Carter.”

“Well, c’mon, sir, I know you were thinking it.”

“Yeah, but you didn’t need to say it.”

“I’d be dead now,” Daniel said rather quickly as heat spread through his cheeks.  The team sat quietly for a while, finishing their coffee and juice, then Daniel stood up and stretched.  “I gotta get back.  Jason will think I’ve deserted him.”

“Not likely,” Sam said, standing.  “And thanks for confiding.”  He smiled at her and she couldn’t help but give him another hug.  She suddenly had an idea and gave Teal’c a conspiratorial look.  “I think we should thank Jason, too.”

“Indeed,” Teal’c said as he smiled back and bowed his head.  “And give him our blessing as well.”

Daniel shaded his eyes and groaned.  “No, you’re not my parents and we’re not getting married.  Please don’t embarrass him.  Please?”

Jack put his arm around Daniel’s shoulder as he steered him toward the exit.  “Give them their fun.  It’ll be practically painless.”

 

. . .

 

Jason heard footsteps and opened his eyes to see Jack, Sam, and Teal’c standing at the foot of his bed.  Daniel was standing a few feet away from them, arms crossed.  He looked tense.  “Colonel, Major Carter, Master Teal’c.  What’s goin’ on?”

“How are you, Major Coburn?” Teal’c asked, pleased to hear Major Coburn greet him with ‘Master.’  He was the only one who ever did that.

“Good,” Jason replied warily, wondering what the visitation was for.  “Just waiting to get sprung.”  He looked at his lover and asked, “Daniel, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” Daniel said, eyeing his teammates.  “You’re about to be hazed, I think.”

“What?  Is that why you’re standing over there like a coward and failing to protect me?” Jason joked, looking at the odd smiles of Daniel’s teammates.  He had the feeling he’d missed the in-joke.

Daniel glowered at him as he walked over to stand beside him.  He slowly took his hand and Jason looked at it, as if it were the first time Daniel had held his hand.  Sam and Teal’c didn’t seem to mind.  In fact, they looked pleased.  Jason looked around the room, waiting for the jokes to begin.  “Someone wanna clue me in?” he asked.  Daniel cleared his throat and he did it nervously, which only made Jason nervous.  “What?”

“Sam and Teal’c came see if I was okay, and they wanted to thank you for saving my life.”

“Not necessary,” Jason said.  It was getting a little surreal, he thought, Daniel holding his hand in front of them.  He didn’t mind, exactly, but when he tried to pull his hand away, Daniel tightened his grip.

“It’s okay,” Daniel told him.

“And if a nurse walks in?”

“Then they will see a friend holding another’s hand, nothing more,” Teal’c said.  “And I believe we do owe you a debt of thanks.”

“No, you don’t,” Jason said.

“Yes we do,” Sam said.  “We owe you.”

“Indeed.”

No, you don’t,” Jason said more emphatically.  “He’s my best friend.”

“More than that,” Sam said with a jog of her brows.

Jason’s eyes widened, and he tried to pull his hand away again, but again, Daniel wouldn’t let him.  Looking at him, he said, “What did you do?”

“I told them, Jace,” Daniel confided softly.

Jason eyed his teammates before asking, “Told them what exactly?”

“It is alright, Major Coburn,” Teal’c said.  “We give you our blessing.  Daniel Jackson is very particular about those he shares his life with.”

“Obviously not that picky,” Daniel said with self-reproach and Jack smacked him in the shoulder.

“With one exception,” Jack scolded.  “Don’t interrupt.”

“We are grateful that you are in his life,” Teal’c said pointedly.  “For if you were not, then Daniel Jackson might not be in ours.  We do owe you a debt.”

“Okay,” Jason said, swallowing.  “Then why do I get the feeling that I’m in trouble?”

“Only because they’re probably going to do something to embarrass you,” Daniel said, throwing his teammates a dirty look.

Jason smirked.  “Bring it.  I haven’t been hazed since the Academy.”

“Hazed?” Teal’c asked.

“A kind of initiation,” Daniel told him.

“That’s exactly what we should do,” Sam said, exchanging looks with Teal’c.

“What do you have in mind, Major Carter?” Teal’c asked, playing along.

“This really … Where’s Janet?” Jason started, worried.

“Quiet,” Jack told him, crossing his arms.  “They don’t get to do this.”

“The last time was with Ferretti, too,” Daniel informed him.

“They,” Jason began, then looked at Jack and Teal’c.  “Why?  What’d you do?”

“We made him an honorary member of SG-1,” Teal’c said.

Jason wondered what they intended to do with him.  Knotting his brows with pretended confusion, he said, “I’m honored, Master Teal’c, Major Carter…” He gave Jack a sarcastic look.  “But I’m already the Alpha member of Sierra Golf Tango.”

Jack grinned at him.  “What makes you think you’re taking my place?”

Jason couldn’t help but grin wider.  “Two.  Sierra Golf Tango Two.”

“Wow, you’re an Alpha?” Daniel asked, rolling his eyes, and Sam started laughing.

Jason felt a bit embarrassed just then and cleared his throat.  “Okay,” he said, gesturing with his hand.  “Give it to me.  I can take it.”

Jack snickered.  “I doubt it.”

“Thanks, Jack,” Jason said on a sigh.

Sam glanced at him in surprise and when Jack shot her a queried look, she gave him a look of exasperation.  “Why’s he get to call you that?”  She paused.  “Sir.”

“Because Daniel asked me to,” Jack said.

“That makes no …”

“Special concession because he saved my life,” Daniel said.  “So.  Exactly how’re you going to haze him?”

Sam looked at Teal’c, then pulled at his sleeve, indicating he follow her as she left the ward.  Jack looked after them, puzzled, but when he looked back at Jason’s curious, he simply shrugged.  “Don’t look at me.  It’s her party.”

“Yeah right,” Jason said, clearly not believing him.

“No, seriously, I have no idea.”

A moment later, Sam returned with a white sack used for medicines.  Looking inside, she grinned and handed it to him.  “Welcome to the club.”

“Asylum is more like,” Daniel said relinquishing Jason’s hand as he took the sack.

Looking inside, Jason barked out a laugh and stared up at her.  “That’s embarrassing, Major.”

“Sam.”

“Jason,” he said, nodding to her.  She returned it.

“It’s all I could find on short notice,” she said.  “Next time we have a team night, you’re invited. I’ll be prepared then.”

Daniel started to reach for the sack, but Jason pulled it away and in a sad attempt at mimicking Eliza Doolittle, he said, “‘Ere, ‘e gave it to me, not to you.”

Jack covered his eyes with one hand as Daniel started laughing.  “Someone’s a fan of My Fair Lady.”  Then he dropped his hand and said, “Do me a favor and don’t be a cliché.”

“If it’s good enough for you, it’s good enough for me.”

Sam covered her mouth, stifling a laugh, and when Jack gave her a mock-scowl, she dropped her hand and bit her lips together.  “Sorry, sir, but it was funny.”

“Ha ha,” Jack replied, then threw Jason a dirty look.  “As Carter said before, touché.”

Jason peered into the bag again, snickering, then gave Sam an appreciative smile.  “Thanks.  Saves me from going to the store.”

“What is in the bag, Major Coburn?” Teal’c asked.

“What, you don’t know?”

“Major Carter did not show me what she was doing.  And what I did see, I did not think strange.”

Jason eyed Daniel, then the others, and cleared his throat as he upended the contents on his lap.  There were five condoms, two pairs of latex gloves, and a tube of KY jelly.

Daniel immediately shaded his eyes and groaned.  “Sam.”  Sam bit her lips again, trying–and failing spectacularly–not to smile.  Jack crossed his arms and covered his mouth, chuckling behind it, while Teal’c picked up the gloves, then gave Jason an arched brow.

“I am not sure I should ask.”

“Don’t,” Jason said.

Daniel dropped his hand from his eyes and stared at Sam. “Wait till Valentine’s Day, Sam.”

Sam put on a girly smile and shrugged.  “I can’t wait.”

Daniel only snorted, getting some ideas in his head.  One of which involved a glow-in-the-dark dildo.  “You say that now.”

Jason started to chuckle and touched his side again.  “Thanks,” he said tightly, looking from Teal’c to Sam to Jack. “Appreciated.”

“You’re welcome,” Sam said.

“Indeed,” Teal’c stated.  “However, I believe that a sparring match in the gym, when you are fit, would be a better gift from me.”

Jason smiled and nodded as he put his ‘party favors’ back into the sack.  “Only if it’s something different, Teal’c, since we normally spar.”

“Agreed.”

“So,” Jason said, hesitating for a moment when Daniel retook his hand.  “You guys found Daniel in the mess hall?”

Sam nodded, losing her smile.  “Had a talk about what happened.”

Jason cringed.  “Not a pleasant conversation.”

“Especially when we found out what happened two years ago,” Sam said.

Jason stared at her, then at Daniel.  “Right,” he replied slowly.  They knew.  He didn’t.  Daniel looked uncomfortable, not meeting his eyes, and Jason suddenly felt once more like a fifth wheel.  For a while there, he’d been part of the group, but now he was back to being outside of it.  They knew something he didn’t and maybe they had a right to know, but that also implied that he didn’t.  Was Daniel planning to tell him later?  He pulled his hand from Daniel’s as he groaned and pushed himself forward, swinging his legs over the side. Daniel was there, hands on him, trying to help.

“What’s the matter, Jace?” Daniel asked worriedly as he helped him to his feet.

“Nothing, Daniel, relax,” Jason told him, wincing.  He smiled reassuringly at him, then glanced at the others.  “Sorry to interrupt the moment here, but nature calls.”  He reached for his I.V. bag but Daniel plucked it off the stand for him. “Thanks,” Jason said, taking it.

“Let me help,” Daniel said, hating how pale Jason suddenly looked.

“Thanks, Daniel, but I got it,” Jason said as he pushed him gently away and walked carefully to the bathroom, which was thankfully only a few yards to the left of the bed.

“Where’re you gonna put the I.V. bag?” Daniel asked, walking with him anyway.  He opened the door.

Jason rolled his eyes.  “There’re hooks on the wall, Daniel.  It’s what they’re there for.”  Hand on the door handle, he smiled wanly at him before he shut the door.

Daniel frowned, staring at the door, then crossed his arms and turned away, toward his teammates.  Something was wrong, but he couldn’t pinpoint what.  Maybe he was just being overprotective.

Jack glanced at Sam and Teal’c, then back at Daniel.  “What was that about?”

Daniel walked back over to the bed, shrugging.  “It’s probably the pain medicine wearing off.”

Sam looked worried.  “He looked sad, Daniel.  After we told him that we knew.”

Daniel suddenly grimaced and turned away. “Fuck,” he said, mostly at himself.

“What?” Sam asked.

Jack, however, had an idea.  “I think it’s because Daniel hasn’t told him about why Makepeace showed up yesterday.”

“It’s more like I haven’t had the chance, but he might not see it that way,” Daniel said, feeling horrible.  “He’s feeling left out.”  To cover for him, he added, “Pain medicine makes him a little maudlin.”

Sam rounded the bed.  “Oh.  Then I think we should leave so you can talk to him alone.” She hugged him tightly.  “I’m glad you’re okay, Daniel.  Jason, too.”

“Indeed,” Teal’c said and to Daniel’s surprise, he hugged him too.

“Thanks, Teal’c,” Daniel said.  With a backward glance, they left, and Daniel sighed, looking at Jack. “Guess you should …”

Jack nodded.  “It’s time for me to get home and catch a few more z’s.  I’ll definitely be getting to bed tonight, that’s for certain.”

Daniel nodded, wanting to hug him, but it was way too soon.  But Jack pulled him into his arms and hugged him anyway. Daniel closed his eyes, then pulled away when he began to feel just a bit more than he should.

At that moment, the bathroom door opened.  Jack felt an irrational loss as Daniel stepped away from him and went to Jason, taking his I.V. bag.  The loss was somewhat lessened as he watched them together.  His eyes traveled over Jason’s well-muscled body and not for the first time, he imagined them in bed.  Feeling flushed, he slipped out of the ward before they could notice and headed for the elevator, thinking about adding Jason to his jerk off fantasies.

 

. . .

 

As Jason got back into bed, Daniel hung up his I.V.  “We need to have a talk,” Daniel told him before Jason had the chance to get comfortable.

Jason froze for a moment, staring at him, and tried not to jump to the wrong conclusion.  “About?” he asked, sinking back into his pillows.

“Makepeace,” Daniel said, sitting down next to him.  “And I need to apologize.  I didn’t mean to make you feel left out.  But they found me in the Mess Hall and I just felt … cornered.  And I love them.  They’re family.  You understand?”

Jason reddened with embarrassment.  “Yes.  But what makes you think I—”

“The way you suddenly got up to take a piss after Sam said what she said.”

Jason frowned, suddenly realizing they were alone.  “Where’d they go?  Where’s Jack?”

“They took off,” Daniel answered, taking Jason’s hand in both of his and placing it on his lap.  “Partly because they’d had their say.”  He smiled.  “And they were done teasing you.  But mostly because they knew we needed to be alone.”

Daniel looked around, then got up and pulled the curtain around the bed.

“What’re you doing?” Jason asked warily.  “You know where we are.”

“I have you trapped.  And I’m ensuring that I can hold your hand without you yanking it away if someone happens to pass by the open door.”

Jason felt pleased by that, but oddly guilty.  “You were holding my hand earlier without the curtain.”

“Because they were here and so it was okay.  But alone?  I don’t want to get you into trouble.”

“And have anyone looking to get the right idea?” Jason asked, growing annoyed.  “I hate the military sometimes.  I’ve dealt with it for nearly twenty years.  Someday, the phobic regs will change.  But, the frat regs never will.”  He tightened his grip.  “And this would still be a no-no.  In some ways, it makes sense.  But husbands and wives can hold hands, except they choose not to because it’s a professional environment.  And it isn’t a civilian business.”

Daniel smiled lovingly at him and leaned over.  “Yep, but right now, I can kiss you and get away with it,” he whispered.

“Such a risktaker,” Jason whispered back.  Then their lips met, and he let out a breathy sigh as he opened his mouth, wanting more.

“Thrillseeker,” Daniel teased, then kissed him more deeply, meeting Jason’s tongue with his own.

Jason could feel his dick stiffen and he groaned and broke off the kiss.  “That’s enough.  We’re new enough that when you kiss me, I get hard.” Daniel suddenly smiled mischievously, and Jason shook his head.  “Don’t you dare do whatever you’re thinking.  My side can’t take it.”

“What am I thinking?” Daniel asked as he slid his hand down over the blanket.

Jason stopped him before he got to his groin, wincing as the sudden action tweaked the sore wound.  “That you’ve forgotten my wound,” he said, heart beating faster.

Daniel sighed and bit off the erotic words he’d been about to spill.  “Okay.  I’ll wait till we get home.”

“Thank you,” Jason grinned.  “But whose home?”

Daniel blinked at him, having forgotten for the moment.  “Um, mine?”  Jason nodded at him and Daniel dropped his head down onto his chest.  “I want you to live with me.”

Jason blinked in shock.  “What?”

Lifting his head, Daniel looked him in the eye this time.  “I want you to live with me.”

Jason sighed, thinking quickly about how to work that out.  “I can’t give up my apartment.  Appearances.”

“I know,” Daniel told him.  “Besides, you need your own place.  Your private time.”

“All those,” Jason nodded, “but I doubt I’d need much time away from you.”

Daniel smiled.  “You will, but there’s another reason to keep your apartment.”

“What’s that?”

Daniel leaned in and kissed him softly.  “We need to christen it.”

Jason smiled against the kisses.  “I like that idea.”

“Thought you might,” Daniel said as he pulled away, clearing his throat.

Jason stared at him and sighed.  “I’m sorry for behaving like an ass.”

“You weren’t.  You felt a little threatened.  It’s understandable.”

“It wasn’t that,” Jason said.

“Then what?”

“I felt like I didn’t belong.”  When Daniel rolled his eyes at him, he blushed again.  “Okay, so I have abandonment issues.”

“Well stop it,” Daniel admonished.  “Don’t ever think you don’t belong, Jason.”

“Yes, sir,” Jason replied with a sigh, hoping he could take Daniel’s advice.

“Now, about Makepeace.”  Daniel opened the curtain again to make sure they could see if they were being overheard, not to make sure people could see that nothing untoward was happening.  He told him the same things he had shared with Jack.  But at the end, after telling him about the last time he’d been with Makepeace, he paused and took a deep breath.  “There are a few things I didn’t tell Jack.  Maybe it’s because we were in the mess hall or maybe it’s because it was Jack, I don’t know.  Maybe because we just aren’t fully healed yet and I don’t trust him.  But can you wait till we get home?  I really don’t want this to be the setting.”

Jason shook his head, feeling relieved.  “Not one bit.  I think you’ll need an assurance of privacy.  Can’t get that here.  And we can chill out.  Hang around in our underwear.”

“Or nothing,” Daniel grinned.

“You two staying out of trouble?” Janet asked as she came in with a wheelchair.  Daniel and Jason looked guiltily at her and she grinned knowingly at them.

“Tell me that chair’s for me,” Jason said.

“Yep.  You’re out of here.”  As she removed his I.V. and placed a small bandage on his hand, she added, “Just remember to take it easy.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Jason sighed gratefully.  As Daniel moved out of the way so he could get out of bed, she rolled the wheelchair over.  “Are you sure I have to use that?”

She nodded, then handed him a metal cane.  “‘Fraid so.  Use this for the next few days.”

“I can walk, Janet,” he said.  “I don’t need a bloody cane.”

“Use it anyway.”

Jason nodded absently as he sat into the chair.  “Okay, let’s get to the locker room so I can change.”

“You have spare clothes there?” Daniel asked, only remembering Jason’s uniforms.

“Always be prepared,” Jason said, winking at him.  Janet snorted and handed him the medicines that were left on the medicine table and he looked at her sheepishly.  “Thanks, Janet.”

“Stay out of trouble,” she said, petting his hair, and at the look on his face, she added, “At least till you’re better.”

“I promise,” he said, wondering if he could actually keep it.

 

. . .

 

The minute Daniel shut the door, Jason dropped his cane and gathered him in his arms, kissing the life out of him.  Surprised but cautious of his injury, Daniel kissed him back.

“I love you,” Jason whispered.

“Love you back,” Daniel replied, still surprised when he heard it.  Surprised and thankful.

“And you can hold me tighter than that.  I won’t break.”

“Forget it.  Unless you wanna go back to the infirmary.”

Jason cleared his throat and stepped away.  “Good point.  Let’s get to bed.”

Daniel laughed and headed down the hall to drop Jason’s things off in his bedroom.  “Not now.”

“But you’re heading there,” Jason teased as he slowly squatted and picked up his cane.  Goddamn but that hurt.  Holding onto his side, he carefully got back up, but not quick enough for Daniel to miss.

“Jason, what the fuck are you doing?” Daniel said, coming back down the hall.

“Getting my cane,” Jason said, frowning back.  “And don’t nag, or I’ll go home.”

Daniel sighed and took his hand.  “You are home.”

Jason couldn’t love him more than at that moment, though that was likely to change the longer he was with him.  “In that case, I need a shower.”

Laughing, Daniel gestured down the hall.  “Mi baña es su baña.”

Jason couldn’t help but grin as he started down the hall.  “That go for the banana?”

Daniel groaned, walking after him.  “Bad, Jason.”

“I know,” Jason replied, and paused at the bathroom door.  He held up a hand, indicating he didn’t want him coming inside.  “You know I love your company, particularly in the shower.”  That earned him a broad smile.  “But it’s not a good idea right now.”

“You might need help,” Daniel offered, knowing it probably wasn’t true.

Jason sighed as he hooked his cane on a towel rack and took off his shirt.  “I don’t.  And if you come in here, I will need help because you’ll get me hard and I don’t think I can handle anything standing up.”

“Fine, I won’t come in,” Daniel said, smirking as he helped Jason out of the rest of his clothes.

Jason gave him a dirty look.  “Every time you get naked and wet, my dick sits up and takes notice.” For emphasis, he took hold of his cock and lifted it up.

Daniel raised his brows.  “Every time?”

“Yes, every time.”

“Even when we were just friends?”

Jason threw him another dirty look.  “Even then.”  He turned away and started up the shower, adding, “Why do you think I took my showers before or after you did?”

“Ah huh,” Daniel said as he started to leave.  “And just what do you think happens to my dick when I see you naked and wet?”

Jason turned to respond but his lover had left, shutting the door quietly behind him.  With a pleased groan, he got into the shower and indulged in the soothing hot water.  Even under the waterproofing bandage, his stitches stung, but it was a healing sting, like the sore muscles.  It had taken him about ten days to heal the last time he’d been shot, but he’d also been twenty-five, not nearly forty.  Still, he was in good shape and figured he’d heal almost as quickly.  Ten minutes later, as he was drying off, Daniel knocked on the door and said, “I didn’t even notice, but Jack had the carpet in my room replaced.”

“What?” Jason frowned, opening the door.  He crossed to the room.  It was true.  The carpet didn’t match the hallway.  “I’ll be a sonofabitch,” he said, rubbing the towel up and down his body.

Daniel stared at him, eyes moving with the towel, and sighed at him when Jason’s eyes met his.  “Hypocrite.”  Jason laughed.  “Here,” Daniel said, handing him a set of fresh scrubs, mauve in color.  “They’ll fit.  They’re oversized.  I always have a few sets on hand for whenever I’m stuck at home recuperating.”

Jason took the scrubs, dropping the towel.  “That’s a good idea.  You get injured more often than I do.”

Daniel turned away with a groan, heading back down the hall.  “Yeah, but that’s not my fault.”

“You’re not going to help me dress?” Jason asked as he pulled on the pants.

“No,” Daniel called back.  “Tease.  You hungry?” he asked as he disappeared into the kitchen.

“I am, actually,” Jason called back, grinning his head off.  “What’s for lunch?”

“The worst possible thing, probably,” Daniel replied.  “I’m hungry for Chinese, but because it’s lunch time, it’d take an hour.  So I figured we’d wait till after lunch?”

“Wait for what?” Jason asked, tying the drawstring of his scrub pants.  He grabbed the med kit from the bathroom cabinet.  When he entered the kitchen, he handed it to Daniel, who was sitting at the table.  “Here, boyfriend, patch me up.”

Daniel’s mouth dropped open and he stared up at Jason, speechless.  Jason knew that word would sound strange but he hoped it was a good strange.  It certainly was for him.  “What?” he asked, pretending ignorance.

“I like the sound of that,” Daniel said, taking the kit.  “It surprised me though.  I haven’t been a boyfriend for a long time.”  Jason only smiled in answer and Daniel smiled back as he lifted a corner of the wet bandage.  “Are you sure you were supposed to take a shower?”

“Bandage was waterproof, but it needs changing anyway.  I won’t need it in the morning.”

“Okay.  You sure?  How will you know if you rip a sub-suture?”

“I have medical training, remember?”

Daniel jogged his brows as he concentrated on applying the new bandage.  “Okay, fine, but if I find out tomorrow, when Janet calls to check on you, that you weren’t supposed to take a shower, bandage or no bandage …”

Jason waited till Daniel was finished, then leaned over and kissed him.  “Would you punish me?”

“No, you’d like it.”

Jason chuckled.  “You’re getting to know me better.”

“Likewise,” Daniel replied, then suddenly cleared his throat, reminded of the talk they were supposed to have.  “Which reminds me.”

“What?” Jason asked.

“I said we’d wait after lunch.”

“Oh yeah,” Jason said, pulling on the scrub top.  “Wait for what?”

“To talk about Makepeace.”

“Right,” Jason sighed.  He really wasn’t interested but there were some things he had to know.  “So—”

“But I’m gonna chicken out,” Daniel said.  “So I figure now’s the time.”

“Living room then,” Jason said, heading there.

Daniel grabbed them both a Coke before settling at one end of the cozy sofa.  Jason sat in the middle and turned toward him, propping his head in his hand.  Fortunately, the injured side wasn’t against the cushion.  Daniel distracted himself with that because he wasn’t sure how to proceed.

Jason sensed something wasn’t quite right.  “If you’d rather not talk about it.”

“No, I have to tell you some things,” Daniel said, shaking his head.  “I think you’re the one who’d be able to understand, even though … no, you could at least help me figure out some stuff.  Maybe it’s because I know a few of your kinks now.”

“Everyone has their kinks, big and small,” Jason encouraged.

Daniel took another deep breath.  “I … had angry sex with Makepeace.”

“You said,” Jason said, ordering himself not to wince.

“But I left out the details because I didn’t want Jack to know what they were.”

Jason gave him a cautious look.  “You don’t have to tell me, either.”

“Yeah, I do,” Daniel said, blushing a bit.  “And it’s because that angry sex wasn’t the first time we’d had sex.”

Jason stared at him, confused.  “Didn’t you say that’s when you’d had sex?” Daniel nodded.  “So you’re saying now that you… fudged the truth a bit?”  Daniel nodded again.  “Do you plan on ever telling Jack this?”

Daniel grimaced.  “Later, after I’ve gotten to know him a bit better.”

“You know him enough to tell him everything else,” Jason scolded mildly.

“I don’t know his kinks, Jason.  What he likes, what he doesn’t.  He could be completely vanilla for all I know.”

Jason had to consider that, and he nodded.  “Okay, I get that, but eventually, he’s gonna find out because you’ll end up telling him.  As you say, he has a way of getting information out of you.  So when that happens, he’s gonna be mad that you lied.”

“I didn’t lie.  I just implied.”

Jason laughed and shook his head.  “Don’t do that.  It’s not a distinction he’ll get.”

Daniel sighed again.  “I know.”  He gave Jason an assessing look and said, “You know, you’re a lot more comfortable with him than you used to be.”

“That’s because I was extremely pissed off at him and now that he’s stopped behaving like a monstrous fuck, I can chill the attitude a bit.  Give him time to prove himself to you.”  He gave Daniel a flirtatious smile.  “I’m rather glad, since it was really annoying to feel attracted to someone I couldn’t stand.”

Daniel made a face.  “Which is the situation I was in with Makepeace.”

Jason sighed deeply.  “When did it really start?”

“Right after he was given leadership of SG-1.”  Jason’s brows lifted in mild surprise.  “Anyway, he’d invited me over to his house, asked me to fill him in on the way to handle ‘the Jaffa.'”

“You’re kidding.”

Daniel shook his head.  “He really didn’t like Teal’c and the feeling was mutual.  Of course, Sam didn’t much like Makepeace, either.  Me, I was… well, confused and pissed off at Jack.  And I figured the best way to get my mind off him, at least for a little while, was to do something that would have my full attention.  Being around Makepeace is like that.  I was on guard most of the time.”

Jason sighed.  “Except when you had sex.  And sorry, Daniel, but me seeing you and him, I can’t picture it.”

“Be glad,” Daniel sighed in return.  “I didn’t see it either, till I was standing in the foyer of his house, putting on my jacket, and he just up and kissed me.”  He paused, thinking about it, and shook his head and sighed.  “There was something about him that I was attracted to.  Maybe it was because he was so completely opposite to everything I liked.  Maybe it was because he was a Marine and pretty damn … almost as good as you.  Maybe it was…” Daniel swallowed and cleared his throat.  “The way he approached sex.”

“Which was?” Jason asked.

“Robert Makepeace was a man who came from a very homophobic background.  He had a weird form of self-loathing. To him, the only way to be a proper gay man was to act macho.  No flaming ‘pansy’ attitudes, no feminine behavior.”  At Jason’s scowl, he nodded.  “I know.  You’re gay and you don’t act like that.  It’s misogynistic if you think about it.  Anyway, he thought that the only sex gay men should have and retain any self-respect was to have it be rough and macho.  He was rarely gentle with me, which made me return the favor.”  Daniel cleared his throat again.  “And I was so angry all the time that that was how I wanted it.  That first time was rough but not overly so. It was almost shameful because he wouldn’t kiss me while we fucked.  Only before, and never after.”

Jason sighed, nodding with understanding.  “Been there.”

Daniel softly smiled at him, mostly out of relief.  He just knew Jason would understand.  “Anyway, for a week, this was how it went.  We’d go out on a single day mission, come home, and he’d come over or he’d invite me over.  We did nothing but fuck.  There was nothing else.  That next Saturday afternoon, I went over to Jack’s to talk some sense into him and he ended our friendship.”  Jason winced.  “Yeah, my thoughts exactly when I left his house, but by the time I got home I was mad as hell.  Robert showed up that night and I couldn’t help but think about Jack while he fucked me, and I eventually gave in and pretended he was Jack.”

“Ah,” Jason said.  “No wonder you won’t tell him.”

Daniel paused at that moment, taking a deep breath.   “Anyway, the next day, Jack came to the SGC to ask Hammond if he might live out his retirement on Edora.  Of course, I had no idea why he was there.  I thought he was abandoning us.  Abandoning me.  Everyone went to the gateroom to see him off, but I stayed and watched from the control room.  I’d have knocked his ass down if I hadn’t.  I was so mad.”

He got up and began to pace and though Jason wanted him to sit down, he didn’t ask.  This was obviously something Daniel really needed to talk about and it was no longer just about Makepeace.  He’d never really talked about the sting; he’d only ever mentioned how mad he’d been.

“So there I was in my office, fuming, trying to concentrate on my work and completely failing.”  He turned and faced Jason, grinding his jaw.  “In walks Robert.  And the sonofabitch is goading me.  He shuts both doors and proceeds to twist the knife.”

Daniel gestured with each description and Jason couldn’t help but be both concerned with the story and fascinated with the way he talked with his hands.  “Goading?  Meaning he came in there to bad-mouth Jack?”

Daniel sighed.  “I never said a word to him about my visit with Jack, but he somehow equated my being angry at Jack with jealousy.”

“Oh boy.”

Daniel flashed a sick smile.  “Yeah.  Well, I asked him politely to leave and when he wouldn’t, I left.  After I got home, he came over and he continued his sniping.  Saying things like ‘Don’t sweat it, Jackson.  You’re better off.  While he’s fucking his off-world whore, you and I get a chance to plow the fields he never had the balls to go for.'”

Jason raised his brows.

“Oh yeah,” Daniel nodded.  “And that was the mild stuff.  Then…” He took a deep breath and crossed his arms.  “He said something that made me so mad.”  Jason waited, and Daniel finally said, “He looked me up and down and said, ‘O’Neill will never know what he’s missing, getting a chance at this tasty piece of ass.  You’re my on-world whore, aren’t you, Jackson?'”  Jason groaned, and Daniel came back over and sat down, hands clenched in tight fists.  “I lost it,” Daniel went on, lowering his voice.  “We were in the bedroom at the time and, well, getting ready to fuck.  I told him to shut the hell up.  I shoved him face down over the foot of the bed and fucked the living shit out of him.”

Jason didn’t say a word, but he made sure there was no dismay or revulsion in his expression.  Truth was, he couldn’t help but be a bit turned on, despite Daniel’s apparent disgust.

Daniel eyed him.  “You’re probably turned on by this, aren’t you?”

Jason cringed.  “I’m really trying not to be.  It was hardcore, consensual sex, Daniel, and no man alive has a problem with that, even if it’s just in his fantasies.”

“This went past fantasy,” Daniel said, taking another deep breath.  “I didn’t force him, Jason, but… this is precisely where he got the idea that it was okay to reciprocate.  I’d done it to him, so it was only fair that he did it to me.  Except I didn’t want him after I’d done that, and I said it was over.  That was when he stooped to blackmail.”

Jason nodded as he watched him, trying to assess what Daniel’s real point about this was.  Talking about the past wasn’t what he’d wanted to do.  It was talking about his feelings about it, something he wasn’t comfortable doing with Jack.  “Okay, so, you cut him off because what you did disgusted you?”  When Daniel nodded, Jason asked, “And what you felt bothers you?  Even enjoying what he did after he blackmailed you?”

“Yes!” Daniel said emphatically.  “It was rough.  I mean, rough.  And I liked it.  I didn’t think I would.  But I did.”

“Can you think about that and examine what exactly it was?  It wasn’t him.  There was something about it.  What was it?”

Daniel looked at him, surprised.  “Aren’t I supposed to be bothered?  You’re the psychology major, Jason.  How do I get over being bothered by this?”

“Sex is complicated.  What turns us on is complicated.  We think we shouldn’t like something that we, in fact, really do.  It’s how paraphilias are born, although that’s a bad example.”

“Para… what?”

“Abnormal arousals.  Like pedophilia, necrophilia.  Paraphilias are sexual attractions to inanimate objects or to non-consenting partners.  Like children or corpses.”

“Ew.  That’s not me.”

Jason wanted to hug him, then smack him upside the head.  Instead he scooted closer and took his hands.  “Technically, bondage, kink, is a paraphilia in that it’s abnormal.  Or, unusual.  What’s normal for one person isn’t normal for another, and the FBI has a statistical manual about all this stuff but it lists these things as abnormal, when it shouldn’t.  Of course, they could’ve updated it by now, so—”

“Jason,” Daniel said, shaking his head a bit while widening his eyes.  “Off track.”

“Sorry.  Point is, it’s normal to like kinky stuff.  Rough sex is kink.  Being tied up is kink.  Being whipped is a kink.  Wanting to be a slave is a kink.  As long as whatever you do pleases your partner, it’s okay.  It’s when it doesn’t that the paraphilias come in.  So whatever you’re into, Daniel, it’s okay.  It’s okay to feel what you feel.”

Daniel blinked at him.  “What?”

“It’s okay to feel what you feel.  There’s no such thing as column A, column B, here’s what you’re supposed to feel and what you’re not supposed to feel, not in normal sexual behavior, and kinks are normal sexual behavior.  Only uptight, repressed dickheads tell people otherwise.  And overzealous academics who can’t lift their heads out of their books, or their asses, to take a look at the real world.  You liking what you did is normal and it’s not wrong to get off on rough, dominating, sadistic sex as long as your partner is consenting.  The problem here is unlearning what society has deemed unacceptable.  We know about sadomasochistic kinks only through killers and butchers.

“We don’t know about the consensual forms so when we come across the leather bars or the professional dominant or dominatrix, society makes fun of them and looks down on the submissives, thinking they’re the weak ones, which is horseshit.  According to the repressed fucks of this world, we’re all supposed to be vanilla, do the missionary, and when we aren’t and don’t, we’re made to feel bad.”  He pulled Daniel forward and kissed him.  “You feel what you feel and it’s not wrong.  You got off.  He got off.”  He then gave him a mischievous smile.

Daniel shoved at him, but he didn’t pull away.  He sighed again, tilting his head as he thought about what his lover had just said.  After a minute, he shook his head.

“What?” Jason asked.

“Blackmail sex is wrong.”

Jason stared at him.  “Yes, it is.  And coercion sex is rape.”

“Except it wasn’t rape,” Daniel said, desperate to make him understand.  “I enjoyed it.  What’s that make me?  Sick, right?  I don’t like rape fantasy, so what the fuck was I doing?  What the fuck was I liking there?”

Jason sighed.  “You adapted.  You forced yourself to like something you didn’t want to do so you could get through it.  It twisted your normal kink into something wrong, but you adapted and allowed yourself to like it because it’s how you could process it and handle it without anyone the wiser.”

“I guess,” Daniel sighed.  “He lied, you know.”

“Who?”

“Makepeace.”

“About?”

“He never choked me during a blow job.”

“Well thank god for small favors.”

“But … Jason?”

“What?”

Daniel closed his eyes.  “I … have a tape.”

What?”

“He recorded it one day.  I persuaded him to let me have the tape.  I said I needed it to jerk off to.”

Jason grimaced and closed his eyes.  “Jesus Christ.”

“I’m going to show it to you.  Then you’ll understand that it wasn’t rape.”

Jason shook his head, despite the fact that he was curious about watching Daniel have sex, he didn’t want to see it with Makepeace.  “No.  I don’t need to see it.”

“You and Jack have to understand.”

“Thanks, but burn it.  We can do just fine imagining and taking your word for it.”

“You’re sure?” Daniel asked.  Jason nodded slowly.  Daniel got up and went to his fireplace mantle and pulled out a VHS tape from behind the antique clock that sat there.  He looked at it, then walked over and handed it to Jason.  “I’ve watched it.”

Jason stared at him.  “Why?”

“To remind me.”

“Of?”

“What to never do again.  To succumb to blackmail.”  He swallowed.  “Destroy it.  It’s symbolic, in a way.  You get to kill him twice.”

“I didn’t kill him the first time.”

“In a way, you did.  Jack killed him.”

“Maybe Jack should destroy this then.”

“No!” Daniel said, and he was vehement.  “Under no circumstances give it to him.  He’ll watch it.  It’s too disturbing and he’ll go off.”

“Okay, okay.  I’ll get rid of it.  But kill him twice?”

Daniel said with deadly seriousness, “You know damn well that whoever he called didn’t come here to take away a live person.”

Jason chewed at his lip.  “Yeah, probably.  But now that you’ve said all this, are you feeling a little better about it?”

Daniel sighed.  “A little, yeah.  But please don’t tell me time will help me understand more.”

“No, it won’t.  Only actively facing it will.  Not through therapy, which I don’t think you need.  A willing partner is what you need, someone who’ll help you explore those things.” He cleared his throat and added, “Whether that’s me or someone else is up to you.”

Daniel pulled at his hands, bringing Jason close for a kiss.  “You.  I won’t be comfortable with anyone else.”

“Jack.”

Daniel jogged his brows, knowing Jason had a point.  “Maybe.  Mind if I ask you a question?”

“Anything, you know that.”

“How do you know so much about this?  About how to handle extreme … situations?”

“I’ve had to go through my own sort of private therapy, only part of that was professional.”

“What?  When?”

“When I was a POW, in Indonesia.  Twelve years ago.”

Daniel stared at him in horror.  “Like Jack.”

Jason shrugged.  “It wasn’t nearly as long as Jack’s.  Only two weeks.  The biggest victim was my sex life.  My love of bondage and rough sex were seriously torpedoed for a while.  It took me a while to sort it out.”

“Can you tell me what happened?”

Jason took a deep breath.  “Okay.  I was on a mission in Indonesia when I was caught by local… police, if you can call them that.  Lawless motherfuckers is more like.  I was shipped off to a small prison, run by a fuckhead who loved watching men get raped.  After a couple of days of torture, I was given a choice.  More torture, or be a drugged-up sex toy.  In their minds, sex and rape were the same thing and so rape wasn’t torture.  I refused, so the torture went on.” He paused for a moment and cleared his throat.

“You can stop talking about it, Jason.  Letting me know this much is enough.”

“No, I’m fine,” Jason disagreed.  “You shared.  I’ll share.  I just haven’t talked about this in a very long time.” He smiled and said, “Maybe it’s my turn to vent.”  Daniel gave him a soft smile back.  “One day, I found out that the choice between fuck toy and torture wasn’t really a choice.  Instead of the usual infliction of pain, I was tied up and injected with drugs.  After I was sufficiently high, they ordered me to fuck three men or they’d skin them alive in front of me.  I did as they asked.

“I don’t know what the drug was, but it amped up my aggressiveness and my sexual desire so I can only assume it had testosterone in it.  Whatever else it had made it so that I didn’t care.  Two weeks later, something happened, and they left us prisoners alone for a day and a half.  When I was off the drug long enough to gather my wits, I found a way to escape.  When I managed to get to some place safe and contact my unit, I had to wait a year before I was able to get some therapy and get my head back on straight.”

“What kind of therapy?” Daniel asked, feeling heartsick that Jason had endured something like that.

“A British shrink I met.  He was also my lover.  Very open-minded.” Jason paused, looking down at their hands as he remembered him.  When he looked up, he said, “If you ever want to try out the methods he taught me, let me know.”

Daniel nodded slowly, thinking he’d like to try them now, except for one thing.  “When you’re healed.”

Jason sighed.  “I agree.  And when it comes to rough sex, what we did in the laundry room?  That was hot.  And we can do that again anytime you like.  If you want to take it further, we can do that too.  But I think we’ll leave the bondage off the menu for a while.  What do you think?”

Daniel nodded.  “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.”  Jason groaned and inched backward until he was lying down.  “Fuck.”

“That’s it, you stubborn mule.”

“What?” Jason asked.

Daniel went to the bag on the bureau and opened a bottle.  He returned with two pills and handed them to him.  “Take these.  I’ll nag if you don’t.”

Jason sighed again.  “Slave driver.”  He popped the pills and tossed them back with some Coke.  “Now what?”

“Chill out.  I’ll make a late lunch.”

“I’ll fall asleep.  I do that with pain meds.”

Daniel leaned down and kissed him.  “Then it’ll be an early dinner.”

“I love you,” Jason said, pulling him in for a longer kiss.  “Have I told you that today?”

“Yes,” Daniel said, and he stood up.  “You can keep telling me for the rest of my life.  I won’t mind.”

“The rest of your life,” Jason said.  “I like the sound of that.”

 

~

Continued in Visits 6

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