loud and proud
Summary: Follow up to Quietude and the boys go on a trip. Many thanks to Joy for the beta. I think her web editor ran out of red ink on this one. All mistakes and wording cock-ups, however, are my own.
The alarm rang through the morning air, waking first Paul, then Daniel. Both men groaned loudly as they realised that it was time to get up and get ready for work. They'd had a late night, celebrating with Sam and Janet.
Cassie was at her grandparents for a week as it was the school holidays and the women had stayed overnight with the men. Not that they had to pretend to be their girlfriends anymore. The inane law had been rescinded (the reason for their late night) and it was now okay for them to be who they really were. However, they'd decided to keep up the pretence, just for now. Just because it was legally okay to be in a same-sex relationship, didn't mean it was safe. They wanted to see how people's attitudes panned out first. If they were caught in the meantime, though, it wouldn't be the end of the world.
In public, Jan had held Daniel's hand, as Sam had with Paul. Back at the men's place, they went off together as was their wont.
Showered and dressed, the men met the ladies in the kitchen, gratified to find them already cooking the breakfast.
"Oh God, Jan," Daniel moaned seductively, "if you carry on cooking like this, I think I'm going to have to marry you."
That got the predictable groans and complaints from the other two, till Paul decided to get his own back. He slipped his arms around Sam's waist from behind her and kissed her cheek.
"Well, Sam, if those two are running off together, how about you and me, huh?"
"You won't get very far," Daniel growled. "Besides, it's not as if you'd know what to do with her," he teased.
"I know," Paul's miffed reply came. "In principle, anyway," he added with a frown. "Not sure I'd be able to do anything," came his next comment with a snigger.
"Don't you find me attractive, then?" Sam pretended to be annoyed.
"How can I put this tactfully?" Paul mused. "Um, no. Well, not like that, anyway. I mean, I can see that you are a very beautiful woman, honey, and I do love you as a friend. But, well, to be frank, boobs have never done a damned thing for me."
This got the predictable snigger from Daniel and the women cracked up. Over breakfast though, Sam continued to question Paul.
"You know how the guys are in barracks, or when they're young and in the Academy," she started, "poring over porno mags and pictures of nude women..." Her voice trailed off and she tucked into some food for a moment.
"Sure," replied Paul. "Go on," he urged, interested to see where this was going.
She swallowed her food and said, "What did you say? I mean, to keep your... distaste... a secret?"
"For a start, it's not a distaste, Sam. I know some guys that would run a mile at the mention of a woman's bits," he chuckled, getting laughs back, "but it doesn't put me off or make me feel weird or anything. It just doesn't do anything for me. And in answer to your question, I'd fake it. Or bitch about the women in the photos, depending on what was appropriate at the time."
"Examples, Paul," Daniel insisted. "I want to know what you'd say."
"Okay. Well, I remember this one horrific calendar. Barely clad women draped over some vehicles or other. One of the guys, Dave, called me over to ogle. I looked at it and made comments about the cars."
His friends sniggered at that.
"Anyway, Dave says, 'Not the motors, knucklehead'... he wasn't really the full meal deal, if you get my drift... 'the babes'. I looked again at it and asked 'What about them?'. He's saying things like, 'Are you queer or something? Look at the tits on that!'. So I'm saying things like, 'You can't miss them. I wonder how much she paid for them?'. Fortunately, most of the others there thought that Dave was a dickhead too, so they joined in the joke. Use your brain and you can turn the tables on morons. In the end, he tried the 'He must be gay' thing again. Needless to say, it was not something that I wanted to get around the barracks, so I just told him no, I had better taste than to look at tarts like that. I was fortunate to know Jess at the time and she covered for me."
Daniel had met Paul's friend a long time back and liked her immensely. Now that she was the liaison for the SGC with the Pentagon, the others knew her too. She was the only one in on the whole secret as Paul trusted her to keep it.
"Did she pretend to be your girlfriend?" Jan asked thoughtfully.
"Yeah," he said with a grin. "She'd guessed I was gay right at the beginning. Her twin brother Jeff is. She said she was cool with it, and that she didn't want any hassle from the guys there. So, we pretended and it stopped any guys hitting on her, which was something that she didn't want."
"Can't blame her," Sam growled. "If you didn't want them, you were obviously a lesbian," she added. "Of course, the fact that the pricks that were hitting on you were usually the sort you'd run to avoid - even after a sex-drought lasting decades - wasn't taken into consideration. It was safer to find a nice guy and quietly see him. It usually helped him too, stopped the dickheads assuming things about him."
"So, what, you went for the geeks?" Daniel teased softly.
"Oh yeah. Mind, when you were with them, they'd turn out one of two ways. Either they'd be total nerds and boring as hell, or they'd be the 'dark horses'. Fun!" she added with a wicked grin.
Though her three companions laughed at that one, Paul and Janet looked slyly at their own 'geeks'. Daniel noticed the smirk from his lover and smacked him gently.
"So, Jess' brother, this Jeff?" he prompted. "I know that Jess is gorgeous, and as he's her twin, is he the same?"
"His tits aren't as big," Paul sniggered. Then he looked dangerously at Daniel, straight in his eye. "Yeah, he's a god."
Daniel was intrigued. "And, so, but, therefore?"
"We went out for a few years. Every leave that Jess and I could get together, we went to her parents' place. They were seriously cool about it. I met him and fell big time."
"Why did you stop?" Sam asked.
"Real life sucks," Paul answered with a sigh. "I got an overseas posting. By the time I'd come back, he'd met an interior designer and they'd gone to live in California. Still, it was fun while it lasted."
Daniel sensed a bit of regret in Paul and leaned over, kissing his cheek.
"Well, I, for one, am glad he's no longer available."
He got a broad smile back from Paul. "Me too, hun. Me too."
In the gear up room, Sam was looking nervous. Daniel pulled her to one side and asked her what was wrong.
"Not here. Wait till we're off-world, okay?"
"Sure. You're okay though, aren't you?"
"I'm fine. Thanks." She smiled at him, but he could see the worry in her eyes as she did.
He said nothing though, just decided to follow her wishes. They left and got to the gate room before Jack, surprising the hell out of him and Teal'c, who was accompanying him.
"Oh oh," Jack moaned. "I just know I'm in for trouble."
"O'Neill? Why would Major Carter and Daniel Jackson beating us to the gate room indicate trouble for you?"
Jack opened his eyes wide. Beating them? Since when had Teal'c seen it as a race? He mentally shook himself.
"Not so much that they're here first," Jack said carefully, "more the looks on their faces. Kids? What's up?"
They both shook their heads, denying everything. Jack was about to say something else when the gate dialled up and they were given the order to go.
All through the mission, Sam was jittery. Jack pulled Daniel to one side while she was off with Teal'c gathering some botanical samples and asked what was up. Daniel had to answer that he didn't know.
"Jack, let me be the one to talk to her, please. Maybe she'll tell me what's bothering her if she's on her own."
Jack was a bit miffed that Daniel would be the one to likely find out, but he wasn't happy that Sam seemed 'off' either, so he put his best commander's hat on and gave Daniel the nod.
At lunchtime, Daniel took her for a little walk and asked her what was up. He was surprised when she told him, but supportive. Holding his 'big sister's' hand, he led her back to the others.
"Um, Jack," Sam started, getting a nod off Jack to continue in the 'off-duty' vein. "Teal'c," she added, getting a 'proceed' smile from him. "I've got something to tell you."
Daniel held her hand tightly as she took a deep breath. "Well, it's like this. Do you remember when Daniel left us for a while?" She looked at Daniel with pained eyes, but got a smile back. He wrapped his arm around her and pulled her close to him.
"It's okay, Sam," he said. "Say what you need to say."
Another deep breath, and at the nods from the men, she continued. "I was very upset," she said sadly, "so I went over to see Janet. She and I commiserated with each other, ate chocolate and ice cream, drank wine..." Her voice trailed off as she remembered that night. Then at Daniel's kiss to her head, she gave a filthy grin. "One thing led to another and, well, Jan and I have been together ever since then."
Silence reigned for a moment, then Teal'c shrugged. "Are you happy, Major Carter?"
"She makes me very happy," Sam replied with a warm smile.
"Then I am happy for you."
"Thanks, Teal'c. That means a lot to me. Um, Jack? You haven't said anything. Are you okay with this?"
Jack had had his suspicions about the two women over the previous few months, especially as he knew about Daniel and Paul, but to have his suspicions confirmed came as a bit of a shock. However, he had no wish to hurt or upset Sam, and he knew that Daniel would be furious with him if he said or did the wrong thing. So, he stood up and put his hand out to her. Nervously, unsure of why he was doing this, she took it. He pulled her to stand up.
He pointed to her insignia.
"See that?" he said. At her nod, he continued. "It hasn't changed, Major. You're still you, you still do your job as well and as efficiently as you've ever done. See us?" He pointed to Daniel, to Teal'c, and then back to himself. Again, the nod. "We're still your teammates. Daniel's still your little brother, Teal'c's still your 'warrior protector' and I'm still your CO. And will stay your CO." Then he took his jacket off and motioned that she should do the same. "No uniform, no team," he said quietly. He put his hands out to her and enveloped her in a hug. "Friends, Sam. Always friends. Nothing you say or do will change that. I love you, I love Jan and I always will. I'm happy for you, okay?"
Sam had no idea what to say. She'd figured he'd be cool about it, but years in the military had given her a natural caution about discussing any homosexual matters with other military personnel for fear that she would have been labelled, even though at the time she'd considered herself straight. Now, however, she was free to talk and she wanted to tell those that mattered to her about her relationship. It was only a few months old, but her friendship with Jan was years old and deep. She knew now it was stable enough to last through bitching and backbiting. In the end, she settled for hugging Jack back and thanking him in a whisper. He dropped a kiss on her head and then let her go.
"Seein' as it's safe to talk about these matters now," Jack said with a grin and looking pointedly at Daniel, "is there something you want to tell me too, Daniel?"
Daniel laughed out loud. "Well," he said, his voice falsely shy, "I'm gay. And I'm living with my boyfriend."
Jack hooted, picked up his jacket and threw it at him.
The four sat again, and while tucking into their MREs with more relish than was strictly either necessary or even likely, they chatted about the relationships. After a while, Teal'c asked,
"Are you now going to emerge from the wardrobe?"
Sam and Daniel looked at each other, looked at Teal'c, then Jack, then fell about laughing. As Jack tried to explain it was 'come out of the closet', he noticed Teal'c's eyes twinkling. He already knew.
"Um, not yet," Daniel finally gasped. "We're waiting to see how people react. Don't forget, that while Jack's pretty cool for an old guy," he sniggered as Jack yelled the obligatory 'oy', "not all COs will be either tolerant or understanding. Sure, they won't be able to say or do anything, but some can be bastards for no reason. And whereas Sam's safe with us, Janet's the CMO and has people under her. They may not all take to their boss being bisexual, if you get my drift. And the same's for Paul. He's certain that two of his team will be fine if they know for certain that he's gay, but the third member may or may not be okay about it. He's not going to hide as much, and if it comes out, it comes out. But we're not going to come out deliberately, just yet."
Daniel tossed and turned in bed that night. Paul wasn't there. He wasn't due back from a diplomatic mission until the next day and quite simply, Daniel missed him. He gave himself a mental kick up the ass as he thought back to the times when they hadn't seen each other in weeks. He and Paul had been living together for six months and most of the time they'd been in each other's company. Daniel still did overnight missions, but not as many as he had done in the past, and unlike the one he was currently on, Paul's were usually only one day long. So apart from the odd ones, and the occasional week that Daniel managed to get with SG-11 or 5 (usually with strict instructions from Paul and Jack - not to mention Sam, Teal'c and Janet - to stay away from temples, abandoned-looking or not, eat regularly, sleep and call home at least twice a day), they were together. They'd grown used to each other very quickly.
There was a noise at the door. Daniel shot out of bed and switched the bedroom lamp on. Cursing in a number of languages, he rapidly found himself a pair of sweats and pulled them on, nearly tripping as he tried to move and dress at the same time. By the time he'd got to the bedroom door though, he'd worked out who was there.
"Dan? God, I'm sorry, did I wa... mmmffffffffflll."
He couldn't finish his question as Daniel's tongue took up residence in his mouth. When they broke apart, Paul started laughing.
"Missed me?" he teased.
"Like a hole in the head. What are you doing home? More to the point, what are you doing standing around in the hall when you could be naked and in bed with me?"
"Ack! Move it, Jackson," Paul ordered, still laughing as he pushed his lover into the bedroom. "The negotiations ended quicker than we'd imagined," he explained after nudging Daniel to sit on the bed so that he could strip.
"We have the deal." Paul's eyes twinkled. It was a sweet deal, getting new medicines for farming tools and technology.
"I never doubted you would succeed for one moment," Daniel replied seriously.
Paul stopped what he was doing and bent down, kissed Daniel gently on the lips and thanked him. He knew that Daniel wasn't just saying that. He really believed in him.
"So, as it was a choice between staying there till morning, staying at the SGC till the debrief or coming here and taking the chance that I'd get my head bitten off for waking you, I thought I'd be brave and come home. You're warmer than the blankets on PR9-8RJ and more comfortable than the beds at the SGC."
"My hero," Daniel drawled sarcastically.
"I take it I didn't wake you?" Paul asked carefully, dreading the answer that Daniel had only just got in himself, which would likely have meant a problem with his mission.
"Um, no," Daniel replied slowly.
"I couldn't sleep," he finally admitted. "Missed you," he added with a shrug. "It's funny, I can sleep off-world without you. I get into my sleeping bag and I'm out like a light. But here, I just can't do it."
"It's because you expect me to be here," Paul surmised.
"Most likely. Now, hurry up and get ready. I'm tired."
"You don't want to ravish me to within an inch of my life? I'm hurt!" Paul teased as he headed off to the bathroom. Daniel followed him, deciding to take a leak before he got back into bed.
"I didn't say that," he said, "but I just need you there, Major D. In my bed. In my arms. Are you saying you just love me for the sex?"
Paul turned to look at him, a mouthful of toothpaste and brush.
"I ddnt sa vat."
Paul removed the toothbrush and spat out the toothpaste before rinsing, all the while waving at Daniel in a 'hang on a minute' way.
"I didn't say that," he repeated.
"That's what I said."
"I said that too."
"Dan? It's three o'clock in the morning. You are not making sense."
Daniel flushed and washed his hands, then pulled Paul into a long, deep kiss. He felt his lover's dick stirring at the contact, so he decided to do something about it. Without warning, he dropped to his knees, took Paul's now rapidly hardening cock into his mouth and started sucking for all he was worth. Paul gasped, reached behind him till he found the edge of the sink and held on for dear life. He gave himself over to the amazing sensations, thoroughly enjoying Daniel's tongue on his cock, running up and down as it simultaneously squashed him against the roof of Daniel's mouth. Hands roamed till Daniel got where he wanted to be, then he unceremoniously inserted a dry finger into Paul's ass, thrusting around till he found what he was looking for. He stroked it and Paul gave in totally, coming in hot spurts over Daniel's tongue and down his throat. By the time Daniel was back up on his feet and washing his hands again, Paul had calmed down to the point where he could talk.
"Now that's what I call a welcome home. C'mon, bed, I'm going to make you see stars."
"Uh huh. I'm just too fucking tired, Paul. Please, hun, can we go and sleep now?"
The plaintive sound of Daniel's voice made Paul laugh again. He took his hand and led him to bed. Daniel stripped, then they got in, Daniel on his back, Paul laying across him, his head on Daniel's chest as was their custom.
"Love you," Paul whispered. He got a sleepy "Hmm," in reply.
For the second time in five hours, Daniel woke to the sound of the front door opening.
"I told you he'd still be asleep." Jack's voice rang out, so Daniel was almost tempted to shut his eyes again. Almost. Paul was still artistically draped over him and he was starting to come round.
"It's Jack. He's with someone," Daniel explained, pulling the cover back over them and up to their waists.
Just in time too, the bedroom door opened and Jack breezed in.
"Daniel!" he called out, not really looking. "Time to get up. Oh fuck."
Daniel blinked, reached out for his glasses on the side table and put them on, then he saw who was with Jack. Not Sam or Janet or Teal'c.
"Jack? What's going on?"
"Ah, why don't we go and put some coffee on?"
George kept his amusement to himself and said, "Why don't we just, eh Jack?"
As Jack was about to leave, Daniel snapped, "Jack! Come back here! Explain!"
"I'm so sorry guys. I had no idea Paul was here. I thought you weren't due back till today."
"Completed the negotiations early," Paul's muffled voice told him. He was currently burying his head under Daniel's arm and wondering if he should ever come out again.
"It's okay, Jack," Daniel sighed. "Sort the coffee out, we'll be out in a minute. Come on, Paul. Sling some pants on and we'll go face the music together."
A couple of minutes later, they appeared in the kitchen, both in sweat pants and T-shirt. The coffee was brewing and Daniel's long-honed instinct took him straight towards it. Jack had to fight down a snigger as he watched the man, eyes almost shut, unerringly making it straight to the mugs and after getting them out, he pulled out the milk from the fridge, then stood, foot tapping impatiently as he waited for it to finish, muttering 'come on, come on' under his breath. Hammond was equally as amused, but Paul was a touch nervous so he missed the humour in the sight before him.
"Um, General," he started, but Hammond turned and smiled.
"Major," his voice kind and paternal, "I've suspected it since you moved in here. I didn't care then, I don't care now."
Paul hurried to shut his mouth which was flapping around in the breeze, soundlessly screaming in shock. He shouldn't have been surprised, and he knew it, but it was too damned early in the morning to think. Finally, a mug of coffee was put under his nose. He watched Daniel as the caffeine addict swallowed his first mug without pausing, then refilled his mug and did the same thing. By the time he'd got to his third, his eyes had started to open, if a little unfocussed even under his glasses.
"So?" he croaked as he put more coffee and water in the machine, "are you going to tell us why you're here? Not that you're not welcome here, but you don't tend to come here at all, General, and you, Jack, tend to have a reason if you turn up this time of morning unannounced."
"Too right I do," Jack muttered. "I like my ear drums."
"May I sit down?" Hammond asked.
"Of course. Sit, please," Paul ushered him to a seat. "We don't stand on ceremony here, General. Make yourself comfortable."
With a grateful smile, Hammond sat at the table and the others joined him.
"I'm actually glad you're here, Major," he said, smiling warmly at Paul. "I would have put this to you when you got back, but not on the base. I take it you finished early?"
"We wrapped it up," Paul confirmed. "All of the details are at the SGC. It was late, so when we'd been cleared medically, Colonel Markham said we could go home till the debrief."
"Not a problem," Hammond soothed. "Will your team be all right to do the debrief without you?"
"Er, yes, General. They have all of the pertinent facts there. My own report was written up before I came home last night while I was waiting for the medical clearance. It went well, the treaty was signed."
"Good work, Major. I knew I could count on you to pull that one off. Doctor Frasier will be pleased too, I think. Now then, as to the reason I'm here and not doing this at the SGC. I spoke to Colonel O'Neill last night, off the record, and after some very clever plays on words and some subtle and not so subtle threats on my part, he confirmed my suspicions about the two of you. Don't blame him, gentlemen, he was left with no choice."
Daniel looked at Jack who was blushing a little at the memory of the previous night. Somehow, Daniel knew that he'd never get the details from his friend.
"I didn't want to bring this up at the base because, as Colonel O'Neill has pointed out, you have asked that your relationship remain, er, quiet for the time being, at least. I understand that and will keep to it. However, I needed you to be together," Hammond stated. "At least, I needed you, Doctor Jackson, to be close enough to a member of the military to pull off the cover of a relationship."
"Um, General?" Daniel was confused.
"It's quite simple, Dr. Jackson. I need you to attend a lecture. However, I do not want you to be alone at any time. We've had word that the NID will also attend this lecture and that the lecturer may have some information relevant to the stargate programme."
"If the NID think so, why don't they just 'visit' the lecturer?" Daniel asked.
"The lecture is very well publicised," Hammond explained, "so he will be expected to present his information. Suspicions will be raised if he doesn't. And, if this gentleman has not found anything relevant, then visiting him will alert him to the fact that there's something to be found. My sources tell me that they're intending to play it cool for now. If he does say anything or possess any information that may look as if it could lead to the SGC, they may well take him."
"So, what's my job, and why me in particular?" Daniel didn't ask why Hammond wanted him accompanied at all times now, he understood. It wasn't necessarily that he'd be in danger, but Hammond wouldn't send him into a situation like that without back-up. At least having Paul and him in a relationship meant that night-times wouldn't be a problem either.
"I need you to attend the lecture, take notes if you like. Find out what the lecturer knows, how much is speculation, and whether the information could suggest alien involvement. If he's just found something old, older than previously thought, then we'll leave it."
"Why?" Jack's head snapped up. He expected Hammond to answer, but Daniel did.
"Simple. When the SGC finally does become public knowledge, an already proven link to more ancient civilisations will help the acceptance within both the academic and public domains." He turned to Hammond with his own question.
"General? Who's the lecturer?"
Hammond swallowed a mouthful of coffee before answering.
"Doctor Steven Rayner."
Daniel was still holding his head in his hands after a few minutes. The announcement had come as an unpleasant surprise to him. Jack was confused.
"I thought you two were friends once, Daniel," he stated.
"Yeah," came the drawled reply. "More than friends, Jack."
"Huh? I thought you and Sarah were together at Chicago."
"Oh we were." Daniel's voice was falsely light and he flopped against the back of his chair. "After Steve and I broke up."
"Ah." Then Jack did a double take and looked at Paul, raising an eyebrow at him.
"I knew, Jack, it's okay. We talked about it after that debacle in Egypt." Paul nearly kicked himself for mentioning that time when he saw Jack wince. He was glad when Daniel put his hand out to his friend, taking Jack's in his, he held it tight.
"It's over, Jack," was all he said. Jack nodded.
"Do you guys want me to come?"
"I'm not sure what you could do, Colonel," Hammond said. "You said you'd be prepared to pretend to be with Doctor Jackson if Major Davis was unable to accompany him, but I can't see how you would help with him being there."
"You said that?" Daniel looked at him with a warmth that filled Jack's heart, but he shrugged as he replied.
"Sure. Come on, Daniel, apart from Paul, who else knows you as well as me? The fact that, to be perfectly frank here, you don't really do it for me is fairly irrelevant."
Hammond and Paul snorted, trying to hold back the laughter. Daniel just said, "I don't? I'm hurt, Jack."
Jack smacked him gently.
"Ach, you're right. And I know that if we'd had to do that, my virtue would be intact at the end of the mission." Daniel's answer was given quite glibly and caused Paul to lose it completely.
"Dan! Your virtue hasn't been intact since Adam was in diapers."
"Shh," Daniel scolded. "Don't let out all my secrets."
Paul looked at Daniel with a dangerous glare, sending iced water down his lover's veins.
"Daniel," the word was drawn out, slow, low and seriously in warning. "I haven't told them about the ha.."
He'd have finished the sentence but Daniel's hand was now covering his mouth.
"NOT one more word, Major Davis," Daniel growled, "or you'll be sleeping in your side of the house for the next month."
"Promise!" Paul squeaked as Daniel's hand withdrew. Then he looked at Hammond and had to fight back a blush that threatened. "I'm sorry, General," he started.
Hammond put his hand up. "Ah! Don't be. Look, son, it's about damned time you can be who you want to be and remain in the Air Force. I'm happy for you - for you both. And for certain others at the base." Daniel looked at Jack who shook his head. He hadn't said a thing about Sam and Janet. It would appear that he had guessed anyway. "Besides, gentlemen, this is your own home and you're not on duty. I think that a little teasing can be overlooked without any worries, don't you?"
He got three large and warm smiles back at him for that. Then Daniel poured the second round of coffee that had been made as they sat down to discuss the details of the trip.
Early that evening, Paul and Daniel found themselves in an hotel on the east side of Central Park, a few streets away from the Institute of Fine Arts where the lecture was to take place the following night. Daniel and Jack had had discussions and had come up with a strategy. Daniel was currently implementing one of them.
"Dan? What on earth has seducing me in public got to do with our mission?" Paul asked as they sat on their balcony overlooking the park. "I mean, when we landed, all that hand holding and snuggling and so on?"
"NO! Just surprised."
"We don't know if we're being watched. Now, the chances are, the NID don't care that we're here, they probably already know it. I think that my credit card purchases are monitored."
Daniel laughed. "They wouldn't have said a thing, Paul. Those things I bought over the Internet were for me, a civilian, anyway. Besides, I don't think they monitor all my accounts."
"Let's just say that Daniel Jackson isn't the only persona I have."
"No, it's not. If there's something I need to do in secret - like make arrangements to see you before you moved down - I used a different name, a different account. One that wouldn't be traced back to me. Jack arranged that the moment he knew the NID were even interested in the programme. He had a feeling that maybe they'd want to keep an eye on us. He has friends, you know."
"Will they be listening in to this room?"
"Um, unlikely. As I said, I doubt they're even interested in us for this mission as such. It's not as if - on a more personal note - we have to hide out anymore.
"True. We can come out loud and proud if we want."
Daniel bent over the arm of his chair and kissed him gently. "Whatever you want, whenever you want it, okay? I'll be happy for people to know about us, but if you think it's a bit awkward just yet, then we'll not say a word.
"You still haven't explained why the snuggling? You're not sure if we're being watched, and you think they'll know why we're here - so why the open display?"
"It's more why are you accompanying me instead of Jack, who is, after all, the one thought most likely to accompany me on a mission? If they see us as the overt couple, they'll likely give up and leave us alone. If we're not hiding then we have nothing to hide and they have nothing to use against us. Add plan B to that, and if that becomes necessary to implement, our behaviour will act as a front, or a diversion."
"Dan? You never mentioned plan B to me before."
"Oops, sorry. Jack and I thought of it. Must have been when you were heading off to get dressed. Hammond agreed, so we're going with it as a back-up."
"Are you going to tell me?"
"Hmm. If I'm going to tell you that, it would be a good idea for you to come really close. Shall we...?"
Daniel nodded toward the bed, but Paul winked and sauntered off to the bathroom, saying over his shoulder, "I need a shower, first. Or a bath. You do, too. Coming?"
Daniel was up and out of his chair in moments.
While in the huge bath, with Paul sitting on Daniel's lap, wriggling about and 'talking about the first thing that would come up', Daniel explained his back-up plan. It met with Paul's approval, which he showed by twisting around and laying a large kiss on his lover.
"It'll work, Dan. Hopefully, it won't be necessary, but I'm glad of it. So, you and I are going to be the public face of this mission, huh?"
"Yup. I think it will work. After all, if they're watching us and Steven..."
"Gotcha. So, seeing as I have you, what shall I do with you?"
"Are you sure that I don't have you? I mean, look at us." Daniel's arms were wrapped around him and they were now nose to nose. Kisses were placed on each other's lips, then they started to trail them over the other's face. Paul was know kneeling across Daniel's thighs, their cocks gently brushing and starting to harden. The kisses got harder, more passionate, their lips met again, opened and tongues started to softly battle.
Quiet moans escaped from both men as Daniel pulled Paul closer to him. He reached between them and took Paul's dick into his hand and started to stroke him slowly but firmly. Paul returned the favour, making Daniel gasp as he ran his fingers over the head. They broke the kiss and lay their heads on the other's shoulder, panting breaths that were muffled by skin.
The strokes increased in pressure and speed, one encouraging the other to move by his own actions. Their breathing got louder and harsher, more desperate as they neared the end. Finally, Paul could hold on no more and let go, triggering Daniel's own orgasm.
"Hmm," Paul hummed as he let go, wrapping his arm back around Daniel, just as Daniel was doing to him.
"Hmm, indeed. I think we need to get out now though. The water's icky."
"Icky? Fine word for a linguist."
"I just had sex. What do you expect?"
"You just had great sex."
"Even better - and you're less likely to get a coherent response as a result."
"Feel like going clubbing?" Daniel asked as he lay on the bed, towel around his waist, waggling his feet from side-to-side in time to the rock'n'roll music currently playing on the radio.
"Yeah. You know. Night club, dancing, drinking..."
"If you say 'babes' I'm going to smack you."
"How about 'twinks'?"
Paul threw his own towel at him instead.
"Ach, what the hell, it's not as if we usually get much of a chance, is it? The lecture's not till early tomorrow evening, so we should make the most of this."
"That's the spirit, think of this as a vacation. So, what are you going to wear?"
"Damn. There was me hoping you'd wear your birthday suit."
"I could, but then I'd get arrested. And of course, you'd have to share me with others. Like 'Butch Bailey' and 'Killer Kelly', the local friendly leather boys currently populating the accommodations of the NYPD."
Daniel was up in a flash and throwing Paul's entire contents of his drawers at him.
"HERE! Wear this!" he called out.
"What, all of it?" Paul nearly collapsed in a fit of giggles as a pair of boxers hit him square on the nose.
"Yes! Cover yourself up from head to foot. Better still, let's get naked and get into bed."
"Is that all you ever think about?" Paul hooted as he picked out what he was going to wear.
"I'm a guy, it comes with the territory. And you are my territory, Major D. No one else's."
Daniel stopped throwing clothes at him and then moved seductively towards him, 'accidentally' dropping his towel as he went.
"This is mine," he growled quietly as he reached out and stroked Paul's body, sending shivers down his spine and giving him goosebumps. "Anyone touches you ends up visiting the ER. Capiche?"
"Oh yeah," Paul drawled, slipping his own hands around Daniel's waist. "And if anyone, anyone tries it on with you, Dr. J, they'll have me to answer to. It won't be pretty."
"Oh, I don't know about that," Daniel whispered as his lips finally found Paul's neck, brushing feather-light touches over his skin. "You are gorgeous. Happy, sad, angry... whatever. Love you, you know."
"Hmm, love you, too. Now, stop that, or else I'll not get dressed. No way will these jeans fit if I'm as hard as you want me to be."
"Want me to do something about that?"
"Dan, please. If we're going to go out, we should go soon or else it will be too late. We'll have plenty of time when we come back. It's not as if we're going to get up for anything in the morning, is it?"
Reluctantly, Daniel agreed and let go of his lover.
The club wasn't too far from the hotel, within a short walking distance, so they were there in a few minutes after finally getting dressed. Both were in jeans, Daniel's were dark-blue, Paul's were black - both were tight and highlighted their neat asses rather nicely. On top, Daniel wore a white T-shirt and black leather jacket which stopped at his waist, and on his feet, a pair of sneakers. Paul had a green shirt and his own leather jacket, his feet were clad in his black shoes. Paul got a real thrill out of being able to walk into the club, his arm around Daniel's waist, not looking to see if he was being observed by anyone that would know him. It made such a change.
Inside, the noise was initially deafening, lights strobed through the room, coming to rest on the dance floor. They battled their way to the bar and eventually attracted the attention of one of the bar staff. Daniel had to lean over the bar to make his order heard. He bought them both two drinks each, to save them having to return too soon, then they threaded themselves through the crowd and to the only remaining table with available seats. It was in a darkened corner, giving them a good view of the dance floor and stage. On stage, a man danced using a pole, stripping as he went.
"What do you think?" Daniel asked Paul, nodding over to the guy on stage.
"He's got nothing on you, hun."
Daniel hugged him and then pulled him up to dance. They moved slowly in time to the music, not noticing anyone else in the entire place as they did. Until a man, young and good-looking, tried to break in and asked Paul to dance. Paul was shocked and didn't answer his question straight away, leading Daniel to think that he was considering it.
"Uh huh," Daniel insisted, putting his arms around Paul. "He's mine, I don't share."
The young man noticed the warning in Daniel's eyes and apologised for interrupting, then backed off.
"Jealous?" Paul teased.
"You know it."
"I wouldn't have danced with him," Paul reassured.
Daniel shrugged, then did something that he'd wanted to do for a long time. Without hesitation, or a look over his shoulder, he leaned in and kissed Paul. In public. He felt Paul's initial hesitation, then noticed him relaxing as he remembered that he was now safe to do this. Daniel became aware that Paul was smiling as they deepened the kiss. He wrapped his arm around him, took him back to their table, sat down and then pulled Paul to straddle on his thighs.
"We can do this," was all that Daniel said as he moved in to carry on with the kiss.
When they finally broke apart, Paul started laughing.
"You are crazy," he said to Daniel's ear, leaning close to him as he did.
"Quite possibly. Crazy in love."
"Are you going sappy?"
"Hmm, there's a distinct probability of it. It's called 'proximity mush'."
"Proximity mush?" Paul howled. "What the fuck is that?"
"When I'm in proximity to you, I turn to mush," Daniel answered with a smug grin, getting a shake of the head from Paul as a result.
"You've got it bad, Daniel."
"Terribly. It's terminal, I'm afraid."
"Yeah. I've got you for life."
"That you have, babe, that you have."
Both were more than a little drunk when they finally fell into bed that night, giggling and hushing each other as they did. Somehow, they'd managed their bedtime routines, stumbling over each other as they went.
"Why is the bedroom spinning?" Paul slurred as he flopped onto his back.
"'Cause you're drunk."
"I'm not, am I?"
Daniel started sniggering. "Yeah. Me too. You know what happens to boys that get drunk, don't you?"
"They get s'dooced."
"Hmm. C'mere. I'm gonna s'dooce you."
"You couldn't get it up."
Paul was stunned, somehow, Daniel actually managed to 'get it up'. "You know, we're s'posed to do things we wouldn't normally do when we get drunk."
"What would we normally do when we get drunk?"
"No. Stuff we wouldn't do normally. When we're sober."
"You said when we're drunk."
"Shaddup. Now, what wouldn't we normally do?"
"I dunno. I'll do anything, me."
"I'll do you anyway you want."
They started to giggle again and the next minute they were rolling around on the bed, kissing and touching each other.
"Stop," Daniel gasped. "I want to do something."
"Weren't we already doing it?"
"No. Wait here."
Daniel stumbled off the bed and started getting clothes from the drawer, eventually finding what he was looking for.
"Ties. I'm gonna tie you up."
"You do that anyway."
"Not like this I don't."
Paul followed Daniel's finger and stood up, moving to where he was pointing. Then he bent over as Daniel motioned him to and put his hands on the metal foot board of the bed. He found one hand tied to one side, the other to the opposite side. Then he felt Daniel tying another tie over his eyes till he could see nothing.
"Sure, go on," Paul gasped.
More movement. He felt his dog tags being taken off and let out a groan. He knew what was coming. And it wouldn't be him, just yet.
Daniel giggled as he fiddled with the chain. "You look so pretty like this, all dec'rated an' all. Such a picture. Jewellery danglin' from your dick *hic* and that ass stickin' out on display. I wish I'd brought my cam'ra."
"DANIEL!" Paul was horrified at the thought for a moment, then a dangerous smirk curved over his lips.
"Me," came the snigger. "I don't want you taking still photos of my ass, Dan."
"Paul?" Daniel's voice was now muffled as he trailed kisses over Paul's shoulders and neck, all the while nudging Paul's asshole with the end of his lubed cock.
"Video, Daniel," Paul gasped as Daniel pushed in. "I want to see what we look like. My big strong archaeologist nailing..."
"The slut," Daniel hiccuped. "My very own slut. Major Slut," he teased, making Paul shiver as he whispered the words right next to his ear as he thrust inside him.
"God, Daniel, take the blindfold off, please," Paul begged. In moments it was off.
"Nothing." Paul craned his neck around as he spoke. "I just want to see you, okay?"
"Hmm, 'kay. No-to a problem. Now, Major Slut, how about some begging?"
"Make me," came the challenge.
Daniel stopped his movements and Paul complained. "I didn't mean like that," he hissed through gritted teeth.
"Hmm. Just how did you want me to do it, then? I mean, I could just stop what I'm doing and leave you here all night. That would make you beg, wouldn't it?"
"No? Oh, you mean like this?"
He pushed in gently, teasing Paul with light brushes over his prostate, while softly ran his fingers up and down the shaft and over the head of Paul's cock.
"Oh. You like this, do you?"
"You know I do. More!"
"Beg me, Major."
"Daniel, please. More. You know how I like it."
"Oh, that I do."
Ever so slowly, he built up the speed and pressure, making Paul thrash his head back and forth as he felt every little stroke. His nerves seemed to be on fire and soon he was babbling incoherently with his need to get off. He couldn't though, the chain was stopping him. Daniel meanwhile, was having a fine old time. He'd built up to a good rhythm and he knew that he would be coming at any moment.
"You're not going to come like this," he whispered to Paul. "You're going to wait."
He felt Daniel's release as it washed into his ass, felt the pants of hot breath on his neck as his lover tried to get his breath back.
Then Daniel pulled out, dropped to his knees and shifted till he was in front of Paul. He took Paul's cock into his mouth, reached up, released the chain and sucked hard.
When he'd returned to the land of the living, Paul decided that he'd never once come as hard as that. He hadn't even been aware that Daniel had undone the ties and manhandled him into bed.
"Paul? Hun? You okay?"
"Oh my fucking God," came the groaned reply. "You should be bottled."
"Definitely. Prescribed as a remedy for, well, just about anything." He snuggled into Daniel's arms and under the covers. "You are amazing," he whispered as he shut his eyes.
Daniel just smiled. "You are mine," he whispered back. "Not going to let you even think of looking elsewhere."
"Suit or casual?" Daniel asked Paul as they prepared to get dressed for the lecture.
"What would you normally wear?"
"Well, that's just it. Last time I went to one of these types of lectures, I didn't really own a suit. I had a sports jacket and decent pants and that was it. Now that I have money, I have designer fucking jeans, Paul. What in hell's name has happened to me? One day, a poor student, now I'm a fucking clothes-horse."
Paul chuckled and put his hands out to Daniel, hugging him tightly.
"You are way more gorgeous than any old clothes-horse, all wooden and pointy."
Daniel sniggered, then looked at what he'd laid out. The 'casual/smart' and the suit. Casual - he inwardly laughed. Jeans by Dolce & Gabbana, T-shirt by Versace, overshirt by Yves Saint Laurent. Paul was no better, jeans by Hugo Boss, T-shirt by Gant, shirt by Armani... what were they coming to? Instead, Daniel chose the suit. By Oscar de la Renta. Streetsmart but smart. Shoes by Gucci, naturally. Paul grinned and picked his own suit up. No big name for him, but tailor-made (and costing more than Daniel's prêt-à-porter designer wear), the same for his shoes, made by a shoemaker that had trained in London and who now lived in Boston. Black, soft leather lace-up shoes. Paul revelled in the feeling of this most comfortable of footwear.
Daniel's suit was a dark-grey, his shirt a powder-blue, his tie matching the azure of his eyes. Paul's suit was black, his shirt white, his tie emerald, making his hazel-green eyes look greener than normal.
"You look stunning," Daniel murmured as he saw Paul ready.
"Looked in a mirror, babe? Woof," came the reply, Paul's face lighting up the minute he got a good look. No matter how often he saw Daniel in a suit, he was always seriously turned on by it.
They took the time for a quick kiss - nothing more though, as they had to get a move on. They were only a couple of streets away from the Institute, so they decided to walk rather than battle for a cab. Some kids were messing about in the street ahead of them, not looking like they were going to get out of the way anytime soon. Paul was stunned to hear a broad Bronx accent come out of Daniel's mouth as he 'persuaded' them to shift.
"Where the fuck did you pick that accent up?"
Daniel stopped in his tracks. "Um, Paul, where did I grow up?"
"After my parents died."
"New York," Paul said, realisation dawning on him. Daniel's accent was pretty neutral most of the time, it was hard for Paul to pinpoint it.
"Yeah. I spent half of my childhood in the Bronx. It's why I'm happy enough to come back here. It's one of my homes."
"I don't know why it was such a shock to me," Paul confessed. "I guess I've never heard you talking like that before."
"You have a problem with it?"
"NO! Of course not. I'm just surprised."
"Ach, don't worry about it. Wherever I go, I tend to pick the accent up. You should have heard me when I was living in Oxford."
"Were you posh?" Paul teased, especially as he'd been on the wrong side of the same teasing from Daniel.
"God, no. I had a real mishmash of accents there. Don't forget, I'd come from Harvard, where I'd lived with an Egyptian, New York and Egypt itself - then my best friends there were Welsh, Suffolk, which is a broad burr..."
"I know. I was stationed there for a while."
"I didn't know that. Um, anyway, Millie was a Londoner and Andy was from Lancashire, in the north. When I moved to Chicago, Sarah was the only one that could understand me most of the time. I adapted quickly though."
"I guess you'd have to."
"Besides, I'm a linguist - accents are as much a part of a language as the words."
"Not so much what is said but how you say it."
"Precisely. It's pretty important. No point in trying to blend in if you speak every language with a blatant US accent."
"I get you. I've not learned that many languages. French is the only one I'm comfortable to speak in."
"Your accent's pretty good for that too. It's probably why you're more comfortable."
"That and the fact that I have more vocabulary."
"You know, I've never asked you what other languages you know," Daniel nearly shouted as they took their lives in their hands and ran across the road.
"Oh," Paul panted as they got back onto the pavement, "um, I'm familiar with Spanish, er, a bit of Italian - and Russian, of course."
"Of course," Daniel chuckled.
Around a corner and a little way down and they arrived at the building. They were a few minutes earlier than they'd banked on and were lucky enough to get good seats, near to the front. A few heads turned as they walked down the aisle to the chairs, some in awe, some in recognition. Daniel heard a few whispers of 'I'm sure that's Daniel Jackson. What's he doing here?' and the like, but he ignored them. Paul heard them too, put his hand on Daniel's elbow and steered him to a chair. As they sat, he whispered, "Don't pay them any heed, Dan. We know things they'll never know."
Daniel smiled at his lover and nodded. Yeah, let the others wonder.
While waiting for Steven to appear at the lectern, Daniel looked around. He saw a man that looked particularly familiar.
"Hey, Paul," he whispered. "Over there. Don't look now but that guy's NID."
"Absolutely. He's one of the men that took Sam and me prisoner that time. Barrett, I think his name is."
"You think he's here for the reasons we assumed?"
"Why else? I don't see him as interested in radiocarbon dating techniques on Ancient Egyptian artefacts otherwise."
Paul nodded in agreement, then put his hand on Daniel's arm to warn him. Steven Rayner was on stage.
"...And so, in conclusion, we have absolute proof that the amulet was made over 10,000 years ago. This level of metalworking technology was never believed to have been reached at this point in time. Add to this the fact that we now know that the canopic jars found at the latest site are a lot older than previously thought, we're going to have to re-evaluate our thinking."
A man at the back of the room called out in a jeering manner. "You want us to completely change our perception of historical timelines on the shaky evidence of a missing amulet, an email and a couple of jars? I notice that your friend Doctor Jackson is here tonight too. Perhaps you're going to be telling us that aliens are involved as well?"
A few members of the audience sniggered, but Daniel just held his peace, not wanting to get into this.
Steven looked through the crowd and homed in on Daniel, seeing that his one-time friend and lover wasn't even looking his way. He muttered to himself, unhappy that Daniel was present. In the end, he turned to the loudmouth and said, "Tell me when, just when did I ever mentioned anything like that? I don't believe that any more than you do. All I know is the facts as I have presented them."
Paul looked around the room and decided to have a little fun.
"Doctor Rayner," his voice rang through the air and everyone turned to look at him, including Daniel. "Is it not true that once people thought the Earth was flat? That the Sun went around the Earth? That the Earth was the centre of the universe?"
"Er, yes," Steven drawled, unsure as to where this was going - and from whom it was coming.
"Good. Perhaps your heckler at the back of the hall belongs to the Flat Earth Society? Probably a founding member," he added with a low sneer. Steven had to fight back a grin.
"Your meaning?" he managed to get out.
"Perhaps you are right, and he is wrong, and as a result his life's work is going to be proven mistaken. Perhaps that's why he's so rude? Perhaps he's not enough of a scientist to open his mind to the evidence and possibilities that are in front of him. I shouldn't worry about what someone like him says, Doctor. They said the same things to Galileo."
Steven lost his control and chuckled.
"Perhaps that's the case, er, Mr...?"
"Davis," Paul said, leaving the rest of his identity a secret. For now.
Steven looked at Daniel curiously. "Daniel? Have you nothing to say?"
Daniel looked at him and just snorted quietly. "No. I think you've said enough."
"My findings have validated your theories about civilisations being older than expected. Surely you want to at least say 'I told you so'?"
Steven's voice was actually kind as he said this, surprising the hell out of Daniel. But Daniel was far too tired of the politicking to worry about validation.
"What good would that do, Steven?" he asked quietly in the end, all the members of the audience listening in to his every word. "I know what I know. It's no skin off my nose if no one else wants to know it. I'm happy doing what I'm doing." He stood up, ushering Paul to stand as he did. "Congratulations on your find, Steven," he said with a warm smile on his face. "I wish you luck in expounding your theories. God only knows you'll need it with the narrow minds that infest our subject. See you around."
With that, he put his hand on the small of Paul's back and gently pushed him to make a move out of the lecture hall. They left the room, all eyes on them. Daniel saw then that the heckler had been the one that had started the trouble in his own lecture. The older man's face was a picture. Just how did the poor geek end up in a designer suit? He looked down at his own tweed jacket and sighed. Perhaps the old theories weren't paying enough.
Rather than leave the Institute, Daniel and Paul slipped backstage and waited for Steven to finish his question and answer session. As he left the stage, trying to stuff his lecture notes into his battered briefcase, he felt a hand on his arm pulling him into the shadows. He was about to call out when he felt a different hand on his mouth.
"Don't yell, it's only me," Daniel murmured.
Despite the years that parted them, Steven knew him already by his touch. He nodded, knowing that Daniel wouldn't hurt him.
"What's this all about?" he hissed when Daniel let go of him.
"A man in the audience, one of the quiet ones. He's NID."
"Who the fuck are they?"
"Not the good guys, okay? Come with me, I'll take you to dinner and tell you what I can. You'll be safe while you're with me."
"Safe? What do you mean, safe?"
"Steven, please. For once in your life, do something I ask without arguing with me. It's to your benefit."
With an angry sigh, Steven agreed.
"I have to get my coat and things from the side room."
"Wait here. Paul?"
"Is the room clear?"
"One minute... yes, come on."
They moved into the room and Steven quickly picked up his things, slipping his coat on and tucking his briefcase under his arm.
"Are you going to tell me what this is all about, Daniel?" he asked a little angrily.
"Yes. Not here though."
"Damn it, Steve, please wait. You know I won't do anything to harm you, don't you?"
Steven stopped and studied Daniel's face. He ran Daniel's past actions through his head - his disappearance, mainly to protect Doctor Jordan, Sarah and himself from association with him. And whatever had happened with Sarah in the tomb - which was something he couldn't remember - he did remember a very tired and worried-looking Daniel with a nasty red mark on his head by his side as he was being wheeled off for surgery. He'd even heard from him after that, checking up on him to make sure he was okay. Steven bit down on the guilt he now felt for blowing Daniel off when he'd phoned. He'd been confused, a little angry that he couldn't understand what had happened, and he'd taken it straight back out on Daniel. Yet here he was again, apparently coming to protect him. Steven just nodded in response and started to follow Paul out of the room.
A man stood at the doorway. Barrett.
"Well, well, I thought I saw you in the lecture hall," Daniel drawled. "Too late, Barrett."
"It's never too late, Doctor."
"Will someone please tell me what's going on?" Rayner was getting desperate.
"Soon, I promise. You have to trust me, Steve."
"Fine! Just go, will you?"
"Just a minute," Barrett said. "I wish to talk to Dr. Rayner."
"Later," Daniel insisted. "Much later."
"You have no right..." Barrett started, but soon found himself slammed up against the doorframe, a very angry-looking major holding him up against it.
"Barrett," he growled. "Get lost. Tell your handlers that this one is a no-go. Or else."
"Or else what?" Barrett snarled, but Daniel was way ahead of him. He had his cellphone out and pressed speed dial.
Two rings later, he spoke into it. "Plan B." Then he put the phone down.
"Plan B?" Barrett asked. "What the fuck is that?"
"Something you won't find out about till it's too late," Daniel answered with a grin.
"He won't work for you," came the warning - only Daniel and Paul understanding what the NID officer was getting at. If they couldn't have Steven, no one could.
"Barrett, I'd watch out if I were you," Daniel counteracted. "Watch your back. Watch windows and roofs. Watch what and where you eat and drink. Because as of one minute ago, someone's watching you."
He put his hand on Steven's back, propelling him out of the room, and leaving a shocked and now sweating agent in his wake.
The restaurant had been carefully chosen earlier in the day and a table for three had been booked. Rayner was a little annoyed that Daniel had been that sure that he would join him.
"Are you going to introduce us properly?" he asked, nodding towards Paul.
"Oh, of course. Major Paul Davis, meet Dr. Steven Rayner."
"Air Force," Paul confirmed.
"Daniel, what are you doing with the Air Force? Is that who you were with before? Those women?"
"They're Air Force too," Daniel explained. "I work for them. Civilian."
"Technically," Paul muttered.
"Excuse me?" Steven was feeling totally lost now.
"Daniel is the head of his department, as well as part of a field team and is also the most senior civilian on our base. As such, he's been granted a nominal rank. However, as he is also... active," he added with a grin, "the nominal status is fairly moot. He has the same rights and privileges as a colonel."
"Jealous," Daniel teased.
"Not in the slightest. Some of us earned our rank."
"Some of us wouldn't want to," he retorted. It was an old joke between them and Rayner got the idea that there was something more between them than just being colleagues.
"Daniel? You two friends?"
Daniel looked at Steven dangerously, then grinned at Paul. "More than that, Steve. We live together."
"But they've only just changed the law - about time too," he added under his breath, getting agreement from the others.
"True, but I thought, I still think, that Daniel's worth the risk," Paul insisted. "He is way more important to me than a career."
Steven ignored the dig. Daniel had explained to Paul how he and Steven had broken up when Steven had got jittery about their relationship in light of his position. He wanted Dr. Jordan's job after the man had retired and he'd felt that living with a guy wouldn't have been conducive to his career chances. Paul had been really angry with him for that.
A waiter came over and they ordered their meals, then Daniel explained a little of why he was there.
"You now know things, or are assumed to know things, that some people would rather you didn't make public," he said. At Steven's raised eyebrow, he elaborated. "The NID are a dubious bunch of people that would have you stuck at Area 51."
"I thought that was a product of over-active sci-fi geeks' imaginations."
"No. It's there. And doing work I'm not going to explain. Your acceptance of certain facts has made you a prime target for them to want you to work for them."
"What's your position?"
"I work for a different group of people - the good guys if you like. We're doing lots of serious research into the history and development of ancient civilisations, as much the history and culture as the weaponry and so on."
"I'm not getting this, Daniel. You sound like you're making a case for the ancient civilisations being more technically developed than we thought. There isn't the evidence there."
"Oh, there is. You just have to know where to look. Basically, Steve, I'm offering you a job. Come and work for us and you'll be comparatively safe. Work for them and you'll never get away from them."
"What if I want to go back to Chicago?"
"I'd be fine about it," Daniel said with a sigh, and flopping back into his chair. "However, I'm not sure that the NID would leave you alone."
"I'll refuse to work for them," Steven said defiantly.
"You heard the threat, Rayner," Paul finally put in. "They'll kill you."
"Shh, keep your voice down," Daniel warned.
"Barrett said that I wouldn't work for you, that was all," Rayner hissed.
"He was threatening us," Paul explained. "Telling us that he's got orders to kill you rather than let you work for us."
"So? I won't work for you."
"And if you don't work for them, they'll kill you to stop you inadvertently spreading the information that they don't want to get into the public domain just yet. We're hoping to go public at some point, maybe in the not too distant future. They're fighting us tooth and nail. We're going to go international soon. The Russians are already involved in the project. The NID so do not like that one. But tough. We want this to be for everyone, Steven. If you come and work for us, we'll protect you. After a little while, they'll give up anyway."
"How do you know that?"
"They stopped harassing me and my team," Daniel said with a shrug. "We're the flagship team - the one that gets the publicity within the project. They're not interested in anyone else."
"But I have no idea what you do or if what I've found is even close to it. How can I expose your project if I don't know what it is?"
"It's not so much that as what you may inadvertently do. Until the project is made public, the fewer people that have the idea to go off and look for more ancient evidence the better."
Daniel sighed - just how would he tell him of the latent Goa'uld threat without telling him?
"There is something there..." he began.
"Daniel!" Paul hissed.
Daniel put his hand on Paul's arm. "It's okay. Trust me."
Paul stared hard at him but nodded.
"As I was saying, there's something there, in the past. It's not safe, Steve. Come and work for me and I'll tell you everything there is to know. But till then, I can't tell you a damned thing. It's for your own safety."
"You keep saying that," Steven muttered.
"I know. But it is, Steve, honestly. I wouldn't have bothered if it wasn't true. I'd have left you to go on in your own way, studying what you wanted. However, I need to protect you. I failed to protect Sarah..."
"What has she got to do with this?" Steven spat.
"Everything - and then nothing. What happened there wasn't her fault, that's all I can say."
"Is she alive?"
"In a manner of speaking, yes."
"Don't tell me, I have to work with you to find out what that cryptic phrase means?"
"Me or the NID. You'll have more fun with us," Daniel replied with a grin.
A shadow caught Daniel's eye and he looked over Steven's shoulder, then nodded slightly.
"I have to go to the bathroom. I'll be back in a minute." He stood up and strode across the restaurant floor just as the food was being delivered to their table. Paul looked up and around the restaurant, then out of the window. He was sure that there was someone watching them. He cursed under his breath that he wasn't armed. His stomach was starting to knot and he didn't like the feeling at all.
Daniel entered the toilets and looked around. There was no one in there, so he entered the first of two cubicles and lifted the lid of the cistern. Nothing. He went into the second and shut the door, locking it. It had to be there. He prised open the lid, found and removed the plastic bound package. Putting the lid back down, he put down the toilet seat and untied the pack. He put the contents into his pocket then stood up. Hearing the door to the room open, he flushed the toilet and left the plastic cover, tucked behind the back of the cistern. He washed his hands, carefully ignoring the man standing at the urinal to the side, then he left the room.
Back at the table, he slid something into Paul's hand. He got an acknowledging squeeze back as Paul took it, slipping it into his own pocket as all the while he continued his conversation with Steven.
They ate their meal in apparent good spirits, but every time the restaurant door opened, Daniel looked up and at the people coming in.
"Daniel? What's up?" Steven had noticed an almost imperceptible relaxation in Daniel's shoulders when he saw that they were just customers coming and going.
"Oh, nothing, not really," Daniel shrugged. "I guess that Barrett just got to me. Where are you staying?"
Steven told him the name of his hotel, which was near to the one that the men were staying at themselves.
"Can you change it? Come and stay in ours for tonight? We need to talk. I, er, need to convince you to join us."
"Daniel, I'm not sure about this," Steven sighed. "It's all a bit cloak and dagger for me. Let me talk to the NID or whoever they are, convince them that I'm not interested in anything that isn't in my sphere of study."
Daniel was about to try to argue with him when Paul put his hand on his arm.
"Okay," he said. "You do that. Unfortunately, we will not be able to reach you after you've spoken to them, so we'll take your disinterest in us as a 'no'."
Paul could feel a 'what are you doing?' coming from Daniel, so, under the table, he squeezed Daniel's leg in warning. Daniel took the hint and said nothing, just continued to eat his meal.
The meal finished and the men left the restaurant.
"Let us accompany you to your hotel at least," Daniel pleaded with Steven.
"Of course, if you want," came the agreement that he'd hoped for.
They turned down a side street to cross through to the one where the hotel was situated, and Daniel and Paul's worst fears came to fruition. They'd only got halfway down it when they were surrounded by three armed men. Daniel felt the cold steel of the barrel of a gun sticking into the back of his head.
"This way," came the gruff voice. None of the men were Barrett, so Daniel realised that the 'heavies' had been called in. Before he knew it, they were in a side alley. Paul and Steven were pushed to their knees, but Daniel remained standing.
"You think you're above this, eh, Jackson?" came the taunt. "That you're safe from us just because your precious General Hammond thinks the sun shines out of your ass. Well, I've got news for you, you can end up as dead as the next guy. And the next guy will be lover boy here if your ex-lover boy doesn't come and work for us."
Daniel said nothing, but looked at Paul and into his eyes. Paul's eyes were telling him something. A small smile crept over Daniel's face as he saw the green flicker over the shoulder of the man with his gun to Daniel's head. Daniel blinked in acknowledgement. In Arabic, Daniel said to Steven. "When I say now, duck. Do not question it."
Daniel got a smack over the back of his head for that.
"Speak English," the thug growled.
Paul sniggered. "When he's nervous, he forgets how. It's not his first language."
In French, Daniel asked, "Is it time?" getting another smack.
A blink from Paul confirmed it. Daniel pointed to his pocket and carefully moved his hand into it. Paul did the same as the three thugs were momentarily distracted by the noise of a dustbin lid clattering to the floor, followed by the aggrieved miaow of an alley cat.
In the Ancient's Latin, Daniel said, "Ready." Then in English, and as he dropped his own head, he said 'now!'.
The explosion of the head of the man holding Daniel was Paul's cue to fire on the thug holding Steven, while Daniel shot the one with his gun on Paul. It happened in an instant, literally before the now dead men had had time to react. The silencer on the first gunshot had aided in the surprise factor - the ones on the other two helping keep this out of public view.
Paul checked on their secrecy level while Daniel checked on a horrified and shaken Steven.
"Y.y.y.you killed him!" he finally stammered.
"He'd have killed Paul otherwise. It was an easy decision to make."
Jack strolled over to Daniel and put his hand on his back.
"You okay, Danny?"
"I'm fine. Got blood and brains all over my suit, but I'm fine."
Sniggering as he muttered, 'fashion victim," Jack pulled out the zat he had. On Paul's word that the coast was clear, he disintegrated the thugs. Steven sat amazed on the floor of the alley.
"You got a car?" Daniel asked of Jack.
"Sure. I'll go get it."
They had to go elsewhere first - to get cleaned up. No way could they be seen in public as they were. At least Daniel couldn't. The other two weren't as covered in blood as he was.
Steven looked at the side of the windowless air force plane that took him and the others back to Colorado Springs. He figured that he'd be safer there. He was still in shock about the events in the alleyway. Daniel's warnings had proven true and he was grateful that the men had been there with him. In his mind, he ran through the events, his own imagination filling in the blanks when he tried to picture them not having been with him. Would he have been lying in an alley? Would he instead be kidnapped and flying to Area 51 right about now? A shudder ran through his body as he thought these things. At least Daniel had shown that he would protect him as best he could.
And what of Daniel? The bookworm had turned. Prepared to kill. Inwardly, Steven shook his head as he saw again in his memory the cool, calm face of his ex-lover as he executed the man that had threatened to kill his lover. He hadn't seen any regrets on Daniel's face either.
The conversation in the car had been neutral.
"I take it, this is plan B?" Steven asked, pointing to Jack who was driving.
"Yeah. Colonel Jack O'Neill, meet Dr. Steven Rayner."
They'd greeted each other coolly - Jack's tone having a touch of ice in it. Steven wondered just how much Daniel had told him about their past relationship.
Eventually, they'd arrived at an air base and been hustled into a shower block and away from prying eyes. Steven had nearly died of shock when a woman appeared in there while he and the others were getting dried. He noticed that Daniel and Paul weren't bothered at being seen naked, but he had quickly pulled on his underwear. Paul had been especially pleased to see 'Jess' as he'd called her, and Daniel had even kissed her cheek when he'd pulled on some pants. This Jess character had seemed to be a 'fixer' of sorts. She'd told them that their things had been packed - and that she'd packed the guys' stuff herself, getting a laugh and a thank you from Daniel and Paul. All of the cases were there at the air base and waiting for them so they had clean clothes to put on. Their bills had been settled - including Steven's, for which he was grateful. Then they were hustled onto a waiting transport.
He was brought back to the present by voices. O'Neill was talking to Daniel.
"Danny, you okay?"
"Sure Jack. I just love the cloak and dagger stuff." Daniel's tone of voice told them all that he was being completely sarcastic as he said it.
"You did good, Dr. J," O'Neill complimented. "Great timing. You knew?"
"Paul told me."
"He didn't say a word."
"He didn't have to."
O'Neill chuckled, then nodded at the major. "Nice work, Paul."
"Thanks, Jack," Paul sighed, then he put his hand on Daniel's shoulder and squeezed it.
Steven observed the interaction between the three men and saw deep friendship, knowledge of each other and trust. He was stunned by how well they seemed to be able to read each other's moods. Daniel dropped his head on Paul's shoulder and then the two men had their arms around each other, hugging tightly. The airmen travelling with them were shocked by the overt display, but O'Neill just patted them both on the back before moving to sit by Steven.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
"Yeah. I think. Still in shock I guess." He let out a shiver and Jack issued orders for a blanket or coat to be brought. One of the airmen found something suitable and brought it over at the double. Jack put it around his shoulders and over his back.
"You did well back there. I take it Daniel told you to duck?"
"Yes, he did."
"Good. You can follow orders then?"
"Can you do what you are told without questioning it?"
"If what I've been told to do makes sense, sure," Steven shrugged.
Jack let out a groan and said, "I should have known." Then he shrugged his shoulders to copy Steven and said with a grin, "Hopefully, Daniel will want you to work at the base and not in the field."
"Is the base safer?"
"In theory. Look, do yourself a favour when you're there. I know about you and Daniel, okay? I know about Daniel and Paul too, and I'm cool about it. Daniel's my best friend and the fact that I'm straight and he's not is not a problem between us. For most people on the base it won't be a problem if they find out, too. But, it is a military base."
Steven nodded his head. He got Jack's message. Keep the details of his past relationship with Daniel quiet, for both their sakes.
"Okay, spill." Daniel pushed Paul into the bedroom and steered him to the bed where he made him sit. Then he sat next to him and slid his arm around Paul's back.
"What do you mean?" Paul asked, knowing full well what Daniel was on about.
"You. You've been like a bear with a sore head all day. Last night, we got back to the mountain and settled Steve into some quarters there till we can find him somewhere to live in the outside world - after Hammond's castrated one or two high level NID jerks for trying to kill us all. Since then you've been keeping to yourself, when you're not biting people's heads off, that is. Your team even came to me this afternoon and asked if something had gone wrong in New York. Diane was upset, Harvey was his usual self but I could see the concern in his eyes, and Eduardo looked like he wanted to kill someone. It's not you, hun, so talk, please. Have I done something to upset you?"
"No, honestly, you haven't. It's stupid."
"So stupid you're acting like Sam once every four weeks - with no chocolate to calm her down. I'm telling you, the last time we forgot to take extra rations on a mission was not pretty. She had to go hand to hand with some caveman-type and it was a total massacre."
Paul snorted, not really knowing whether Daniel was teasing him or not, but picturing the scene in his mind anyway.
"Okay. You've been flirting with Rayner."
"You have. Look, it's no worse than you do with just about anyone else."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"You flirt, Daniel. It's part of who you are and what you are. It's okay. You flirt with everyone."
"What, with Jack?" Daniel was astounded.
"He's the worst case."
After thinking for a moment, he said, "Well, it's not as if it means anything with him, is it?"
"True. It doesn't mean anything to you at all. But you still do it with everyone. Mrs. Kachansky in the commissary..."
"Chocolate cake," was Daniel's reply as if that explained everything. Paul sniggered and rested his head on Daniel's shoulder.
"If you say Hammond I'm shooting myself."
Paul burst out laughing.
"Babe, I'm hiding the guns because you do. Sort of."
"Well, in a 'please Daddy, I'll be good if you let me do this' way."
Daniel groaned and flopped back onto the bed.
"It works, though, doesn't it?" he finally said with a grin.
Paul lay down and joined him.
"Yeah, it works."
"Ah. Well. He's flirting back."
"Daniel. You are not as oblivious as you make out, you know he's responding to you."
"I'm only trying to make him feel at home, Paul. Poor guy's just had his entire life's work turned upside down - hell, his life turned upside down. He needs someone to make him feel a bit better, and as I'm the only one he knows, it's up to me."
"I know that. But you're leading him on. He's going to think, sooner or later, that you're wanting him."
"Shit. Okay, I'll be more careful. You don't think that I'm wanting him, do you?"
Paul took too long to answer and Daniel got a bit cross, sitting up, his back to his lover.
Paul put his hand out and calmed him.
"Hey, I'm sorry, I trust you, I don't trust him. It's just I can see that Steven's interested in being with you again, that's all."
"It's not going to happen, Paul. You and I have been through far too much together for me to even consider it. You think you mean that little to me?"
Paul decided that he should show Daniel how sorry he was, because words just weren't cutting it at that moment.
"Dan? I'm really sorry," he murmured, then started to kiss his neck. Daniel turned to join in, but Paul stopped him. "Let me, please. Let me show you how much I love you."
Daniel let out a low, hungry groan as he heard those words and felt Paul's soft breath on his ear.
Paul wrenched his own shirt off, kicked off his shoes, then he pulled Daniel's sweater over his head, quickly followed by his T-shirt. He pushed Daniel to lay back on the bed, then undid his pants and slid them off, shucking his own as rapidly as he could. Socks were ripped off and finally, they were both naked. Daniel was only half-hard, still annoyed with Paul for doubting him, so Paul decided to do something about it.
Daniel's ass was at the edge of the bed, his legs dangling off the side. Paul knelt down and wriggled in-between them, then lifted both of Daniel's legs over his shoulders. His face was now level with his goal and he smiled wickedly. Leaving Daniel's dick alone, Paul started to mouth his balls, getting them soaking wet before withdrawing and blowing cool air on them. Daniel nearly shot off the bed, his erection growing by the moment. Paul licked and sucked, then worked the skin behind Daniel's balls before pushing Daniel's legs up a bit and exposing his ass. He ran the tip of his tongue over the entrance, playing with the small pucker and gradually inching his tongue inside. Daniel thrashed about, moans and groans being uttered as the sensations started to drive him wild. Paul didn't let up, he pushed his tongue in as far as he could get it, then proceeded to tongue-fuck Daniel without stopping.
To make things a little more interesting, Paul trailed his fingers with feather-light touches over Daniel's balls and finally, his dick. He felt the cock twitch and jerk and knew that it wouldn't be long. Redoubling his efforts, he licked and probed till Daniel yelled that he was about to come. He flicked his eyes up and saw Daniel coming without any more urging.
"OhmygodPaul," the words rushed out as Daniel spurted time and again. Four, five, six times before the final groan came to let Paul know it was time to stop.
He stood up, grabbed the lube from the bedside table, covered himself, then put Daniel's legs back over his shoulders. He slid inside his open lover easily, standing beside the bed as Daniel arched up to meet him.
"So good, babe, so good," Daniel murmured. "Go on, do it."
Paul took him at his word and thrust his hips slowly but forcefully.
"You are mine Daniel," he warned in an almost singsong voice. "Nobody else gets anywhere near your ass, you understand?"
"Only yours, Paul, I told you that. Only you."
"Gonna have to tell everyone, let them know you are so not on the market."
"Whatever, whenever, tell them. Not looking, okay?"
"I know." Paul's voice gentled as his movements hardened. He knew he wouldn't be long, how could he? Daniel was lying there, looking thoroughly debauched, semen streaks over his stomach, his hair plastered to his head with sweat as his reddened face huffed and puffed with each stroke.
He grunted as he came, thrusting violently into Daniel with each final jerk. Eventually he calmed, numbly dropped Daniel's legs down off his shoulders and then leaned over his prone body.
"I love you," he whispered against Daniel's mouth. It was all Daniel could do in response to pat his arm.
Showered, changed and fed, they headed up to the mountain again, where they picked Steven up. They were meeting up with a group of people in a nearby bar - SG's 1, 2 and 9, Janet and some of the infirmary staff, and a few others from Daniel's department. It was a regular event, the meeting of the various teams, as a way of bonding off duty - and letting their hair down in relative safety. It gave the military the chance to get to know the civilians that weren't on active teams, and vice versa.
Frankie's was well-known and well-liked, run by an ex-SGC man, one that had been wounded in action. Rather than leave the mountain altogether, he'd decided to set up a bar nearby, where it wouldn't matter too much if a drunken soldier said something he shouldn't. Frankie was always stone cold sober and available with a quick cover story if necessary.
The three men strode into the smoky bar and were greeted by a chorus of 'about time too' and the like. Daniel got their drinks in and then they went to the tables. All the teams had dragged the small tables into a group, as they liked to do, and were sitting together. Before he sat, though, Daniel pulled Sam and Janet to one side and whispered something that surprised them. He looked at them with curiosity, then they both patted his arms and nodded. Looking at each other with wry grins, they gave each other a little squeeze before sitting back down.
Jack looked at Daniel with a cocked head and raised eyebrow. Daniel responded with a lopsided grin. Jack's eyes opened wide.
This exchange was witnessed by the others present, but only a select few knew what had been said.
Daniel sat next to Paul and the conversation reverted back to what it had been before the interruption. As time went on though, Paul's team especially noticed that their CO and his friend were distinctly flirting. In the end, Diane had to say something.
"Um, Major? Is there something you want to tell us?"
"Captain?" Paul played dumb. Daniel hit him.
"You two, you're off duty. Doesn't the concept of names mean anything to you?"
Paul grinned. "You're right, Doctor." Daniel growled, then looked at Paul with mischief in his eyes. "Oh crap," Paul moaned, "I'm in deep, deep shit."
"You got it."
Paul tried to stand up to make an undignified exit (i.e., as fast as he could make it), when Daniel caught him by the waistband and yanked him onto his lap.
"You were asking something, Diane?" Daniel asked, his arms now locked around the struggling Paul. "Don't wriggle, Paul, you know what happens when you do that."
Jack, Sam, Teal'c and Janet fell about laughing. Paul hit Daniel. Steven was stunned by their openness and the rest the teams there moaned about losing the sweepstake. Paul sat with open mouth, then dropped his head on Daniel's shoulder.
"You knew, didn't you?" he asked when he saw Daniel not looking at all surprised.
"I had a good idea. There's a pool on pretty much everything. Don't worry, I believe we'd have got better odds for betting on us. The odds are evens that Jack's been doing me since I came back from Abydos."
"You knew?" Paul asked Jack.
"Well, yeah. Not that I put a bet on. Though I did bet against me doing anyone, seein' as I'm not."
"Poor baby," Daniel teased. "Come home with me and I'll take care of you."
Jack threw a beer mat at Daniel and Paul smacked him again.
"We need proof," Eduardo called out.
"Yeah." The man's eyes were twinkling with humour as he demanded it. "Otherwise the pool won't pay up."
Paul groaned, Daniel sniggered and his team laughed out loud.
"You're going to regret asking for that, Cores," Jack warned the sergeant. "I've seen them."
"Seen them what?"
They turned and looked and saw Paul and Daniel in a deep, languid kiss. The two men broke away to cheers and laughter, but Daniel noticed that Steven's face had become almost blank. Paul had been right. Ah well, there was nothing he could do about that. He'd saved the man's life, what more did he want?
Paul slid back onto his chair, looking a little uneasy. He looked at his team more seriously and said, "Are you guys okay with this?"
"I'm fine," Diane shrugged.
"Me too," added Eduardo. "It's not as if you're going to be any different tomorrow. I take it you guys have been together since before you took over SG-9?"
"We have. Um, God, this is a relief that I can say this, we've been together two and a half years."
"Wow. It's not a problem," the young sergeant assured him. "You're a great CO."
Paul beamed at him. "I'm a very lucky one." Then he turned to his third team member, the one that had kept silent throughout.
"Harvey? Are you all right with this?" Harvey had been the one person he'd been most wary of telling.
"I'm okay with it," the quiet reply came. "It's okay. Um, you're not the only one." His final sentence was added so quietly that they had to strain to hear.
It dawned on Daniel why Harvey had been as stand-offish as he had been in the past. He'd fallen for Paul. Saying nothing, he watched as Paul reached out and put his hand on the lieutenant, offering support and friendship. Diane slid her arm around him and hugged him and Eduardo patted him on the back. The young man looked relieved, but sad.
It was up to Jack to lighten the mood.
"So guys, now you've come out and all, when are you getting married?"
Daniel and Paul looked at Jack in a double take, then both let out a groan. Trust him to say something like that.
"We're just waiting to fix a date," Daniel ended up answering, his face dangerous. Paul couldn't restrain himself and said, "Yeah, Daniel's dress is taking longer to make than we'd thought it would."
Steven knew then that no way were the guys going to split up. Their teasing and double-teaming proved it. He started to reconsider his position at the SGC in light of this.
"I don't believe we did that," Paul said as they got into bed.
"I can't believe you said that I'd wear the dress," Daniel sniggered. Then he hugged Paul close to him. "Regrets?"
"None. Never, Daniel. Not one."
"Me neither. Harvey's in love with you."
"I saw it in his face when we came out."
"Shit. Do you think it's going to cause trouble?"
"I doubt it. He's smart, young. He'll move on. Perhaps I should properly introduce him to Steven?"
"Ack - don't start with the matchmaking, please. We've got enough on our plates as it is."
"Yeah. Tomorrow, we've got to face the rest of the SGC."
"We'll do it. We'll cope."
Paul rested his head on Daniel's chest, draped his arm over him and snuggled closer as Daniel hugged him.
"Together," he whispered as he shut his eyes. "I like the sound of that."